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The two officers glanced sharply at each other. When the General turned again he flushed resentfully. "Have you never resumed your maiden name?"Close at hand is a stable where two beautiful ponies are kept. They are snowy white, and are consecrated to the goddess Ku-wanon, the deity of mercy, who is the presiding genius of the temple. They are in the care of a young girl, and it is considered a pious duty to feed them. Pease and beans are for sale outside, and many devotees contribute a few cash for the benefit of the sacred animals. If the poor beasts should eat a quarter of what is offered to them, or, rather, of what is paid for, they would soon die of overfeeding. It is shrewdly suspected that the grain is sold many times over, in consequence of a collusion between the dealers and the keeper of the horses. At all events, the health of the animals is regarded, and it would never do to give them all that is presented.
To show him how little I cared for any girl's age whose father preferred not to mention it, I reverted to his sister and brother. She was in New Orleans, he said, with her nieces, but might at any moment be sent into the Confederacy, being one of General Butler's "registered enemies." The brother was--
The boys had observed that the farther they penetrated from Yokohama and Tokio, the less did they find the people affected in their dress and[Pg 204] manners by the presence of the foreigners. Particularly was this the case with the women. They had seen in the open ports a good many women with blackened teeth; and the farther they went inland, the greater did they find the proportion of the fair sex who had thus disfigured themselves. So at the first opportunity they asked the Doctor about the custom."We had a long search among the porcelain shops for some blue china plates of what is called 'the willow pattern.' We must have gone into twenty shops at least before we found them; and, finally, when we did get them, the dealer was as anxious to sell as we were to buy. He said he had had those plates on hand a very long time, and nobody wanted them. We did not tell him how rare they are at home, and how anxious people are to get hold of them.
Was it possible that some crime or tragedy was being enacted behind those grimy walls, all unknown to the police? The house was reported to be luxuriously furnished, the front of the place was all shuttered. Stranger things are happening in this London of ours every day in the week.