“That would spoil it,” said the Chinese damsel; “only outer barbarians would think of such a thing. And, ah! I see you are one! See, Ki-hi, what monstrous feet!”
“They are not bigger than your maid’s,” said Lucy rather disgusted. “Why are yours so small?”
“Because my mother and nurse took care of me when I was a baby, and bound them up that they might not grow big and ugly like those of the poor creatures who have to run about for their husbands, feed silk worms, and tend ducks!”
“But shouldn’t you like to walk without almost tumbling down?” said Lucy.
“No, indeed! Me a daughter of a mandarin of the blue button! You are a mere barbarian to think a lady ought to want to walk. Do you not see that I never do anything? Look at my lovely nails.”
“I think they are claws,” said Lucy; “do you never break them?”
“No; when they are a little longer, I shall wear silver shields for them as my mother does.”
“And do you really never work?”
“I should think not,” said the young lady, scornfully fanning herself; “I leave that to the common folk, who are obliged to. Come with me and let me lean on you, and I will give you a peep through the lattice, that you may see that my father is far above making his daughter work. See, there he sits, with his moustachios hanging down to his chin, and his pig-tail to his heels, and the blue dragon embroidered on his breast, watching while they prepare the hall for a grand dinner. There will be a stew of puppy dog, and another of kittens, and bird’s-nest soup; and then the players will come and act part of the nine-night tragedy, and we will look through the lattice. Ah! father is smoking opium, that he may be serene and in good spirits! Does it make your head ache? Ah! that is because your are a mere outer barbarian. She is asleep, Ki-hi; lay her on the sofa, and let her sleep. How ugly her pale hair is, almost as bad as her big feet!”
CHAPTER IX. KAMSCHATKA.
Lucy had been disappointed at not having a drive with the reindeer, and she had been telling Don how useful his relations were in other places. Behold, she awoke in a wide plain, where, as far as her eye could reach, there was nothing but snow. The few fir-trees that stood in the distance were heavily laden; and Lucy herself,—where was she? Going very fast? Yes, whisking over the snow with all her might and main, and muffled up in cloaks and furs, as indeed was necessary, for her breath froze upon the big muffler round her throat, so that it seemed to become as hard as a stone wall; and by her side was a little boy, muffled up quite as close, with a cap, or rather hood, casing his whole head, his hands gloved in fur up to the elbows, and long fur boots. He had an immense long whip in his hand, and was flourishing it, and striking with it—at what? They were an enormous way off from him,