It was noticeable, however, that my unrestrained laughter had a discordant effect, and that triangular eyes sometimes turned ominously toward the "Fanqui devil"; but as I retired discreetly before the play was finished, there were no serious results. I have only given the above as an instance of the impossibility of deciding upon the outward and superficial expression of Chinese mirth.
As traders they were grave and patient; as servants they were sad and civil, and all were singularly infantine in their natural simplicity. The living representatives of the oldest civilization in the world, they seemed like children. Yet they kept their beliefs and sympathies to themselves, never fraternizing with the fanqui, or foreign devil, or losing their singular racial qualities.
Somehow or other, the old man had mysteriously disappeared after leaving us at a quiet inn in the Tartar quarter, where, as well as we could understand him, we were to remain until he had a chance of communicating with the approaching English force to have us ransomed. "Chin, chin!" he said to Ned as he left us. "Mi go one piecee and yo waittee; Fanqui comee one piecee by by."
Witnessed the worship of one of this strange sect, and his devotions to his fire god in his setting, appeared as sincere, at least, as those of many, who consider themselves more favored in being able to look "through nature, up to nature's God." A Fanqui, or foreigner, finds himself much circumscribed in his peregrinations about Canton.