WUNG FOO'S BUSY DAY AND HIS LAND OF QUEER PEOPLE. When Wung Foo was a boy— which was 20 or 30 years ago —he studied very hard at school, and if he learned as many as 25 new sign words, his grand 1 mother told him stories in the evening.
I Wung Foo was a little Chinese boy, and 7 was then eight years old. His father was a rich silk merchant in Canton. His grand mother was a little old lady who wore such rich clothes, painted her face so carefully, and had so many jeweled pins and flowers in her hair, that she looked quite young.
Wung Foo was proud to have her lean on his shoulder when she wanted to cross the room. Her little crippled feet were only four inches long, and she had hard work walking without someone to help her.
Chinese stories for children were the scariest kind. They were all about witches and goblins and dragons. But they did not scare Wung Foo so long as his grandmother talked in her sweet sing-song way. Besides, his mother, his aunts, his sisters, his girl cousins, and his baby brother were there in the women's sitting room. Wung Foo was only a visitor there. He lived on the men's side of the house with his father, his grandfather, and his elder brothers.
Wung Foo had a chubby yellow face and bright black eyes which did not often dance with pleasure.
Indeed Wung Foo was a sober little fellow, for China a Or a 1.• V? wasn't nearly so pleasant a place for children to be born in as America.
Wung Foo looked very fat in the winter time because he had to wear thick quilted cotton clothing. There were no stoves or furnaces to keep the house warm. And there were no soft mats on the cold brick floors; so his gold-trimmed red cloth shoes had thick white felt soles. He wore loose trousers of red silk, folded around his ankles, and a wadded blue silk coat fastened with gold buttons and cord loops. He kept his round cap on, even in the house, and was a small copy of his grandfather.
His head was shaven, all but a thick black lock on top. The barber braided some long black silk threads with the hair, to make such a queue as his father still wore, and left a pretty silk tassel at the end. By
and by his hair would be long and he would not need the silk, but perhaps then he would adopt the new custom and cease to wear the queue.
Wung Foo's little ten-year-old sister was a small copy of her grandmother. She was dressed almost like her brother, but her silk trousers hung loose, like a divided skirt. She lay on cushions, on a bamboo sofa, with her bound feet under her. Some times she cried with pain. When grandmother told a fairy story she always said : " The beautiful maiden had such tiny feet that a mandarin's son married her." Then the little girl stopped crying. By and by she could wear satin shoes four inches long, and have her face painted, and dress her hair with flowers and jeweled pins, and perhaps a mandarin's son would marry her. Of the hero, grandmother always said : " He learned all the 30,000 sign words, worshiped at the tombs of his fathers, and became a rich mer chant." Wung Foo made up his little mind that he would be very good and study hard.
Wung Foo's home had a wall around it. It stood in a garden, with a lily and fish pond, a bridge, and a curly-roofed tea-house.
The women's sitting room was very pretty. It had stools and tables of carved black wood, inlaid with pearl flowers. On the walls were hung pictures embroidered on red satin or painted on rice paper. There were vases and jars of red and gold, and blue and The tea trays were of silver with gold birds on them. The ladies opened and shut scented fans. They spun flax embroidered on silk and linen, and played dominoes. They had pet goldfish and singing birds.
They ate a great many sweet things. When they visited other ladies they went in sedan chairs, which were cushioned and curtained boxes with doors and windows.
The tops resembled Chinese roofs and the outsides were finished with gilded wood and beautifully colored felt. Men servants car ried them by two poles extending out in front and behind. The ladies could not see out very well, or be seen. That was too bad, for the streets were very crowded and gay.