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Chapter 9

Sunday, June 8th
A very long, long day! Did not go to church. And for a wonder, did not go walking this evening. These Sundays here do not seem much like
Sunday. Today a Chinese cooper has had his tool sack at our back gate all morning mending up some of our affairs, some buckets and other things. Of course we did not employ him, but some of our servants did. There is no difference here between Sunday and another day, excepting that there are not quite so many boats on the bay as the vessels in port do not take in or send off cargo on Sunday. Of course the Chinese do every kind of work just as usual -- plough, paddle, work in the paddy fields and everything else. It is a very fine night; the crickets seem to be holding a concert.

Monday, June 9th
Sooah is sick, and I am on the border of despair. If Sooah stays sick, I'll have to go right back to America; for I cannot do a thing without him. Pa has been dosing him for two days, but he hasn't got any better. I could hardly eat dinner today for laughter. I told Sooah as he was sick to send one of the other coolies to wait on the table. So up comes Mr. Coolie, my chambermaid, dressing maid, errand boy and a good many other characters he bears. He is a handsome fellow, a Cantonese, understands little or no English -- although he is learning fast -- with a most magnificent set of teeth, very spry but rather awkward. He considered it a great promotion to be sent to wait on the table and had dressed up in honor of the occasion in a span new suit of some very shiny, stiff material and so thin that whenever he went through the door and the light fell on him, he might almost as well have had no clothes on at all. He thought he looked very fine, had got a pair of white stockings; a pair of shoes almost big enough to get into altogether; and his tail, which he usually wears wound around his head, plaited up newly and let down behind until it nearly touched the floor. He felt awkward in his new rig and when carrying a dish from the table, would frequently get his tail in it.

Sewed some today; went to walk in the evening with Pa. First fellow we met was Mr. Passedag, who is a great friend of Pa's and has called here several times; but somehow I have never met him. Pa said the sight of me this evening struck Mr. Passedag speechless, deaf, dumb, everything but blind; for Pa hailed him and was going to talk a little; but Mr. P. couldn't get one word out; so he just seized his hat by the crown and held it at arm's length above his head and rode past. Something really ought to be done about Mr. P's weak nerves. It is a splendid night, and a bat or some kind of a bird or animal has got adrift here in my room and is making an awful fuss.

Tuesday, June 10th
Feel very much disappointed and a little angry. The mail steamer came in the morning and brought no letters from home. We did not get any last mail either. I think it is too bad. They might write. We have only had two letters since August, nearly a year; and how many dozen have we written, I wonder. I can't think what it means at all. Had a letter from Mr. Hyatt. Choke Mr. Hyatt, I say. He can't take a hint or plain talk either. He asked me two or three times to write to him, and I told him as plainly as I could without making him angry that I wouldn't do it. I didn't dare to offend him, as he was at that time our host. I'll see him in Halifax before I'll write to him. Pa had a letter from Mr. Seward, the Consul at Shanghai. He has been trying to find John Maitland but has not had any success. I wrote a letter today to his sister. I have taken quite a fancy lately to write to folks I have never seen or heard of before.

Mrs. Carnegie called and stayed a good while. I like Mrs. Carnegie very much and the doctor too. Got a handsome Japanese work box, which I intend to take to Mother. Got a Chinaman to make me a pair of kid slippers. He found the stuff and made them all for 50 cents. I call that cheap enough.

Sooah has gotten well, and I'm very glad and thankful for it. Had another sing-song down at our temple today. A most glorious night.

A large American ship came in - the "Europa." I like no better fun than to see a fine, large ship coming in under full sail with the stars and stripes floating from her monkey gaff. It is a beautiful sight. She is the only full-rigged ship now in the harbor. There are plenty of barques, brigs and schooners, but no ships but her.

Wednesday, June 11th
Been quite busy all day for a wonder. Wash man brought the clothes, and I had them to look over and fix up. Scoured up the ivory furniture of my Japanese work-box, made it look very nice. Had a very pretty fan presented to me. Took a walk with Pa, went in a new direction. Were objects of the greatest interest and curiosity and were followed by an admiring crowd of Chinese men, women, children and dogs -- especially dogs. The dogs fairly swarm here. And such rascally looking animals I never saw before. They will come to our yard and are a perfect nuisance. Pa thought he would quietly make away with a few of them, so he got some arsenic and administered it to them in large doses. They swallowed it down, but it never fazed them. Then he got strychnine. They took that too, but it has no effect on them. I never saw or heard of anything like it. There is one white dog here which has taken a large dose of arsenic, two large doses of strychnine, and Ollie has shot him several times; but still he seems to be in perfectly good health and condition and runs around in the yard as if he had a right there. Pa has at last, in astonishment and disgust, given that dog up as a proof against death. About time, I think.

The mosquitoes are dreadfully bad tonight. Dreamed a dream last night which I wish was not all a dream. I must go to bed and get behind the mosquito bar or I'll be devoured.

Thursday, June 12th
Poured rain all day. Pa went over to Amoy this morning. The earthquake which we had the other night shook Amoy like fun and scared the folks a good deal. The water in the bay heaved up and down at a great rate. Over at Formosa, 90 miles from here, it shook down houses. Ollie succeeded in killing the white dog, shot him in the head and had four or five Chinamen bury him; but I believe the dog has come to again; for if I didn't see him this morning, I saw one that was his exact image.

It has cleared off and is a still night. The crickets are very musical and the mosquitoes and fleas very lively.

Friday, June 13th
A very hot day! Sewed a little this morning; did nothing the rest of the time. Mr. Kip sent over this evening several copies of "Frank Leslie." Very good of him. Dreamed last night I went to Darlington church, saw Jane Duncan with her head cut off. When I came near her, she picked up her head with the bonnet on it, put it on again and looked at me. But I clapped my handkerchief to my eyes so that I would not see her and ran down the aisle and made my escape. Talk about dreams! I'm ready to enter the lists and dream against anybody and beat them at it too. Last night's dream isn't a circumstance to some of mine.
The frogs are holding a free concert. It is full moon now and a most magnificent night. The fleas are holding a free concert, or rather a free dance over me too, but the fact is I have got so used to them now that I would feel strangely if I had not fifty or sixty about me. Wish I had Moll Wilder here awhile. She is so fond of them; guess she wouldn't talk about Tony. Why Tony never saw a flea. American dogs don't know what they are. A person has to come to China to find fleas in perfection. If there is a vestige of me left to take back to America, I shall be thankful; but at present it seems very doubtful. Oh for some tansy!

Saturday, June 14th
Most terribly hot. Pa and I took a walk in the cool of the evening. Read the papers all morning; didn't do anything else all day but give my coolie a lesson in English. He is a very smart fellow. I do wonder why we can't hear from home. Such a long time since we have had any news of the folks there. I must write letters tomorrow as the steamer will be down on

(Two pages torn out -- June 15 through part of June 20 missing.)

Part of June 20th
. . . . he is going to die. I do hope he won't. I don't know what in the world to do if Sooah gets very sick.

Wind still very high. Can't go out at all. It is much better though than such intense heat as we have had. And look! I am sleepy.

Saturday, June 21st
Pleasant day. Went off this evening alone on an exploring expedition. Went away out on the high cliffs overhanging the sea. Looked straight down from a tremendous height at the surf rolling up against the big rocks. Very grand sight. Saw the mail steamer going out with flying colors taking our letters home; saw some vessels coming in. Did some clambering which would astonish even "Our Crowd" after having been at the Alum Rocks. Came home through one of the towns. The China women surrounded me, brought a chair out into the public square for me to sit down on so that they could take a good look. I sat down to cool off, bought some chow chow in the shape of ground nuts from a little boy. The women meantime had raised the town, and in a few minutes I was surrounded by a dense crowd looking over each other's shoulders -- men, women, children and dogs chattering, gabbling and commenting on me at a great rate. They all have the same opinion of me in regard to one thing: they think I was once their color but have washed myself white. They compare their hands with mine and sing out "suey suey," which means "washed." I sat there very cooly, eating my nuts until the crowd got so thick that I couldn't stand it. So I chin chined them and came away, followed across the town by an admiring crowd. I could not sit with quite so much sang-froid in the middle of such a criticizing crowd at home, or here if I understood all they said of me. I only understand a little here and there.

They seem to doubt if I am flesh and blood and have a desire to touch me with their hands; but that is rather more than I can stand. I am sufficiently amused at a respectful distance.

Ollie is off on the "Europa" tonight. She is lying in the outer harbor. Seems funny going to bed as his room adjoins mine, and the door is always open between. Pa sleeps down below, and I am alone in my glory tonight. The "Azoff" went out this afternoon, taking Mrs. Boyd and Mrs. Fitz Gibbon. Good luck to them, I say. Two ladies less. This is the 21st, said to be the longest day in the year. I've seen many a longer one though, I think.

Upset a bottle of wine all over my dressing table today, damaging some things. Was mad. It is calm tonight. The first quiet night we had for a good while. The surf rolls up though pretty heavily. The waves sing me to sleep nights. I like it. I've got to be so fond of the sea. I don't know what I shall do when I leave it. I never see the waves rolling in that I don't want to get down and play with them. Pa is afraid to let me go to the beach alone for fear I will go in wading. I feel just now as if the fleas were dancing the "Virginia Reel" on me. Last place I danced the "Virginia Reel" was at Tristan Da Cuna. Wonder where will be the next place.

Sunday, June 22nd
Did not go to chapel. Hope the folks here won't think that all Americans are heathen. Ollie came off from the "Europa" this morning. He was much pleased with his entertainment. The "Carthage" came in from the North and has gone out again. The war goes on at Shanghai, and the northern ports are being vacated by foreigners. Hope the rebels will stay away from here. It is a very warm night and mosquitoes are plenty.

Monday, June 23rd
Pa and Ollie went in great state to call on the "Sowta," and I took charge of the office all morning. Had several customers. Called on Mrs. Carnegie this afternoon, stayed an hour or so. Came back to tea. Had ripe peaches and plums for supper, ate most too many. Expect to see my great-great-grandmother tonight for it.

Tuesday, June 24th
A dull day. The "Undine" came in from Hong Kong bringing the mail; brought us letters from France and Ireland but none from America. We have come to the conclusion that the folks at home think our ship was lost and "all on board perished," which would be a very natural conclusion as that was stated in the Hong Kong papers and word to that effect was sent to New York. Well, they are mistaken anyhow, for here we are as large as life. They will probably get our first letters from China in a week now, and then we may look for letters in about two months.

Pa and Ollie were calling on the Mandarins again this morning, and I was alone in my glory keeping the office. I keep my writing desk supplied out of "Uncle Sam's" pocket. I consider that my "pigeon" when I keep this office for him. Pa says he is about determined to go home by California, and I am delighted as I had rather go that way than any other. I'm perfectly nervous tonight from being obliged to listen to a Chinese baby squalling all evening. I don't wonder at Chinese women drowning their young ones if they are all as noisy as that. It is a nice cool night. "Good night to sleep," as we used to say at home.