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Our Chinese Visit
We went one day to the Chinese pavilions, and wandered around there to our hearts' content. It was so fascinating that we could hardly come away. The embroideries are wonderful, especially the scenes and birds, and we had no ambition to try to do them. The carved teakwood furniture is lovely, especially that combined with porcelain. Unless one could travel to China they could never see such treasures as are here displayed.
A very polite little Chinese gentleman noticed that we were interested in an old coin collection, and explained to us that "these ancient cash were unearthed by a farmer while plowing near Canton." The coins bear dates all the way from 618 B. C. to 1265 A. D. We decided that we would keep our "cash" in a different sort of bank.
The polite gentleman told us something about the dwarf trees which are used for decorative purposes, and showed us an elm tree which was over a hundred years old, and is only three feet in height, and is growing, or, as we said we thought, just living, in a flower-pot. The Chinese dragon on the flower-pot would have scared us, so that we never could grow any more if we had to live with it, and perhaps that is what happened to the tree.
The gentleman was feeling very sad over the loss of some similar trees which had been ruined by the voyage from China, by the carelessness of some one who took care of them, in watering them with sea water. We took note of the fact that salt water will kill trees and plants.
There were some reproductions of ancient temples and shrines, and a queer picture made of postage stamps of all nations, and we had a lot of fun finding our own stamps. It has a picture of George Washington, and as far as we can remember it was the third one from the end, starting at the right.
After we had seen all the pictures in the pavilion, and all the other treasures, we went to the teahouse to have lunch.
Dear little almond-eyed Chinese girls waited on us, and surprised us by speaking excellent English. We were a little disappointed that they wore American-made shoes with their pretty native costumes, but father said, "Why not? They are going to be American girls now. That is why Madame World was anxious to have the Canal."
We are glad we brought father, he always remembers what we do not want to forget.
Your loving cousins,
Jane and Ellen.