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CHINESE THEATRE AND DANCES. 199
progress. "Who dare say that the Chinese may not yet experience a similar awakening? At present their heaviest drawbacks, in music, as well as in all civilization, seem to he, a senseless clinging to ancient usages; an education of the head, and not of the heart; an etiquette which becomes both ludicrous and burdensome in ita requirements;* a totally false position of woman; and a theoretically competitive, but practically
•A good example of the ludicrous side of this over politeness, may be given here. The host in China will constantly press his guest to accept of things which the latter is expected to refuse; the host is also required by etiquette to depreciate himself and extol his guest, which the latter returns in kind. An English gentleman having resigned himself to his interpreter, the following dialogue (like that in Kinglake't " Eothen,") takes place: —
Interjrr'ter. His excellency has long looked forward to this day.
Chine-e Dignitary. I meet him cow as an old friend, and request to know his honorable age.
Int. Ilis excellency has profitlessly passed —— years.
Chinese Dig. The ears of his excellency are long, and betoken great ability.
Int. Ah! oh! he is unworthy of the compliment.
Chinese Dig. You have had an arduous journey.
Int We deserved it, etc.
A similar "call" is described in Ainsworth's "all around the world," p. 106.
" At last we begged to take our leave, and began violently to '" tsing-tsing," a ceremony which consists in clasping your hands before your breast, and making a crouching baboon-like gesture; it is the equivalent of shaking hands, only one shakes one's own hands . . Our host insists on following us to our chairs. We remonstrate; "stop! stop! we are unworthy," say we. " What language is this " he replies. " We are really unworthy " we reiterate. " Tou are in my house," he insists; and so we back to our chairs, perpetually imploring him not to accompany us, which he vehemently resists, until at last, when we are in our chairs, he reluctantly consents to return, apologizing to tb« last, for being so rude as to leave us even then "