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CHAPTER XVI.
THE CHINESE THEATRE AND DANCES.
Although the Chinese are passionately fond of plays, yet they do not possess a good fixed theatre in their chief cities; for those edifices which are regularly used for this purpose are never of a good class, and many of them are even considered dis­reputable. The cream of the theatrical troupes are reserved for private entertainments; when a number of people of the middle class desire a comedy, they club together and engage a troupe. The upper classes, as already stated, have always their private comedy company. They have also their private halls for dramatic representations.
The Chinese, have like ourselves, Comedies, Tragedies, Farces, Ballets, etc., and the music attached to them is always of the style of the play. There is an excellent description of the ceremonies and social etiquette used at a private dramatic entertainment, given by Du Halde.* He says, . . . " It was then, four or five of the principal comedians were seen entering the hall, in rich costumes; they made a profound bow all together, and struck the earth four times with their forehead. . . . They arose and their chief
•Daae. da U Chin*. T. H. p. 182. In La ragei quotation tha paft la tkran a* 112, probably an OTanight, or a later edition.






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