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nor European. He had no cue, but his eyes were slightly bias, and there was a mixture of Saxon and Tartar in his dress as well as his features. We passed by slowly, and the captain being somewhat in advance, I determined to settle the question of his nationality on my own hook.
"John," I asked, "are you a Chinaman, or not?" To which he replied, with equal candor and sincerity:
"My mother she be Englishman; my father he one Chinaman."
Every man we met knew our captain, and had a friendly recognition for him; and as there were about three Chinamen to every square inch of pavement, the walk through Chinatown was nearly equal to passing through a New Ye r's levee at the White House. Before crossing the street the captain stopped to inquire whether the young lady felt sufficiently recovered to enter a place which was just a little bit crowded. The Baron suggested that perhaps Miss Hatch had had enough Chinatown for one day, and that the rest of us could finish some other time. But the lady vowed in the most solemn manner not to faint any more if some of the gentlemen would lend her an additional handkerchief or two; and we crossed the street to enter a blind alley which led up to the rear entrance of what had once been a large store. Foul, slimy water oozed out from under the dilapidated walls of the building, and stood in little green-covered pools along the alleyway. The captain had pleasant little reminiscences attached to all these savory spots, and while we were picking our way along told us how one fine morning at about six o'clock he spied a Mongolian slipping through this alley and up to the door with a large cloth-covered basket on his shoulder. He shouted to him to stop, and the man stood stock still till the captain coming up asked him what was in the basket.
"Me get washee clo'es," said John, with the most innocent face in the world.
"You never went for clothes to wash as early as this in the morning," protested the captain, and lifting the cloth, what should come to view but a lot of the most elegant silverware! Without a word the captain marched his prisoner, basket on shoulder, to the city hall, where he found the police already apprised of the robbery, consisting of a lot of fine table linen and cutlery, beside the silver. Retracing his steps from the city prison
to this building, he searched among the sleepers till he found the other robber, unearthed the rest of the plunder, and carried both back with him.
"Were you alone, captain?" I asked. "Were' you not afraid? And how is it that all these men speak to you as if they really liked you?"
"Oh, well," he said, "they know that I don't trouble them as long as they behave themselves, and they know also that I find them out every time they get into mischief."
He said he was in the habit of getting among the most villainous crowds alone, and could almost always detect the culprit he was in search of at the first glance, in spite of their great powers of dissemblance.
While recounting these things he had very leisurely, after knocking for admittance once or twice, pried back the tin sheets that served for window glass in the door, and now proceeded to unfasten the lock from the inside. The Baron, standing nearest to him, entered the door firsts but started back, put his handkerchief to his nose, and took off his hat. Mr. Hatch followed, started back, put his handkerchief to his nose, and entered sideways. Cousin Harry turned a little pale, but resolutely followed him. When it came my turn to enter last, I saw that the ceiling was so low that the Baron had to stoop even with his hat off; the passage between a row of bunks on either side was so narrow that Mr. Hatch's broad shoulders had to make progress sideways, and the captain alone of all the company seemed to move and breathe with perfect ease. He stood in our midst all at once (I don't know how he got there), and said that just above us were rows of bunks similar to these, and that these low ceilings, or floors, were put into all rooms over ten feet high by the Chinese, so that they always got two rooms where a white man had but one. Nor must the reader imagine that there was but one row of bunks on either side of us; there was tier above tier as high up as the ceiling would permit, and all these tiers of bunks were filled with sleepers. They were not all sleepers though, as the captain's next words convinced us.
"These are all thieves," he informed us; "chicken thieves, burglars and pickpockets. Some of them are stupid and dead asleep with opium, but the rest are lying with their eyes only half closed, counting every ring on your finger and measuring every inch of chain they see on your vest." The gentlemen made a simultaneous move with the hand to the watch-pocket, but the
captain only smiled grimly, you," he assured them.
"Not while I am
there are just as many bunks above, it ought to make a sum total of three hundred and sixty to the room. Three in a bunk, you see; but it's a "You might carry pretty large room, seventy feet deep, I should say, diamonds in your coat pockets loose, and they and its pretty full during the daytime, too." wouldn't touch them while I am around; they I So full that Miss Hatch and I struggled man
know that nothing could save them from crossing the bay (the penitentiary is situated at San Quentin, on the other side of the bay). Some of them are cut-throats, and I know there must be a dozen here who have served their term in San Quentin." "How many are there in here altogether?" asked Mr. Hatch, who is of a statistical turn of mind.
"Lemme see;" the captain counted on his fingers, his gaze seeming to penetrate to the farthest end of the narrow passage, where all was lost in bunks and darkness to our unpracticed eyes, "I should say about one hundred and eighty on this level; but as this," touching the ceiling with his finger, "divides the room into two stories, and
fully but without ostentation to reach the door, which the captain had wisely left open.
Speaking out as plainly as I could from behind my handkerchief, I observed to Miss Hatch that I intended describing Chinatown to the readers of Potter's American Monthly. She looked up quickly into my face, dropping her handkerchief in her surprise.
"How many languages do you speak?" she asked, hurriedly reapplying her handkerchief to her nose.
"Two," I answered, proudly.
"Two!" she repeated, contemptuously; "I speak five; but I should never attempt to describe Chinatown till Iliad learned a sixth—the Chinese."
which were gathered five or six of the resident "Odalisques" playing at cards, and under the surveillance of an ancient dame who looked as if she vcould tell of the first years of the reign of Confucius. They were all dressed in the common blue blouse, a little longer than that of the men; and wide trousers, very loose about the ankle. The hair was dressed in the intricate fashion that is so hard to describe and makes the general effect of raven's wings and the sail of an old fashioned windmill at the same time. It is always drawn back tight and smooth from the forehead, and some of these damsels had their "back hair" stuck full of ornamental gold pins. "Are they really gold?" I asked. "Oh, yes," with the greatest sang-froid, pulling two or three out of one girl's head, and handing them around for inspection. She neither turned her head nor looked around; and when the captain went on to denude her of the rest of her ••• cU>, handing a massive gold ear-ring to one of us and a bracelet of gold and (I think) malachite to the other, she neither assisted nor retarded the business in hand: she sat still and passive, like any other piece of wood- or stonecarving.
We admired the beautiful red of the lips and cheeks of these women, and at a word from the captain, the "lady of the house" produced a little flat pasteboard box, from which' he took a piece of shiny dark-green pasteboard, folded screenfashion, and alike on both sides. Wetting the finger of one hand and passing it over the green paper, he painted the back of the other to the color of the women's lips in a moment's time, to the great amusement of the entire party. Then tearing the screen into sections he distributed the pieces among us, and bade the women show us the white and pink powder which they also use on their face.
When we got ready to go, the captain said he - ould land us in a different part of Chinatown, on a street more aristocratic than the one from which we had entered the house. As far as I can judge, the part of the city in which Chinatown is now located is one that was built up after the first great rush to early San Francisco was over, and when people began to build with the intention of staying here after they had made their money. These houses were tall, solidly built, with large spacious stores below and rooms for offices and
apartments for dwelling in the upper stories. When the Chinese took possession they not only made two rooms out of one in the manner above described, but in many cases broke doorways through separating walls, and added back-porches and long outside galleries where the architect had never designed they should be.
This house stood near the corner, and after getting a glimpse of Lesser China in the courtyard below, with its irruption of Mongolian ant-hills, we were led along corridors made endless by breaking the dividing walls between building and building, oppressing the spirit like dreams that we have, where we are lest in just such dark, hopeless passages, which never come to an end, and seem to have no outlet this side the grave.
Hand in hand Miss Hatch and I went on, shuddering a little in the chill gloom, but proud in the thought that we were doing Chinatown. Soon, to reward our perseverance, came a broad stream of light and sunshine, and we descended a staircase to find ourselves in " a highly desirable, firstclass neighborhood." The alley was fully half as wide as Jackson street itself, was paved with cobble-stones, had only one filthy gutter running through the centre, which was romantically overhung in one place by a balcony on which some Chinese Juliets were taking an airing and flirting with their pig-tailed Romeos below. The place was really quite recherchl, and seemed given up entirely to "bloated bondholders," as Denis the Devil has it; for they were merely idling their hours away, and not a rag-picker, a shoe-mender, nor vegetable-peddler was to be seen among the gay and brilliant crowd. At rare intervals, women, singly or in pairs, with hair decorated with paper flowers, or hidden under a large bandana, and carrying always a red silk handkerchief in their hands, passed along through the crowd, each one with the same step, half shuffle and half smirk. Again the captain paused to explain.
"Right where that young lady is standing there lay a dead man about three weeks ago." (You may believe that Miss Hatch made a leap nearly across the street.) "I was walking along Washington street when I heard shots fired, and hurrying up was just in time to see a Chinaman running as fast as his legs would carry him. I knew he had done the shooting, but knew I could find him later; so I looked up the other man first. The murderer had come up behind him—they always do—and
l!•'■TV The Principal room was '**" nwrf tables, made of a :-owr mood, and around which "s -'•• the same material, guiltless - •■ • r r i-oo^err. bat with handsomely. •-:-. ^.«rrn harks They were imported from i.VKMr with all other utensils and furniT« apartments. All around the room -.^ *»« the wall, were square stools, or - ««* without backs, of the same wood *w. i.w. and without cushions; and these -^ the captain said, were, at great fes[ivals a*- nr sitr.oocas.oos, drawn up near the table «« :» «nn occupied them, p]aced behind r* .-tar of their liege lord, not beside it Miss fatrt jaw an indignant sniff at this piece of in wrmat.on. but I-*cli, rre been marriedi
>omtof the male elite of Chinatown were seated
a' the tables, and they, just as their more humble
brethren ut the basement restaurant, had standine
beside their little fancy tea-bowl, another bowl
still smaller, containing a liquor made of rice in
Ohm. called Sham-shoo. (The orthography may
not be quite correct; my Chinese dictionary is
loaned out.) The little tea-bowls were double
that is. the tea was drawn in one and covered ur»
with the other. The viands on the table—excuse
Ok from going into details, there was no bill of