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ISAAC TAYLOR HEADLAND'S THREE BOOKS THAT "LINK EAST AND WEST"
Atec Февраль 16 2008 20:05:56


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."

"Ah, indeed, then perhaps I might see your second wife."

"That you might, if I had one. But the customs of our country do
not allow us to have a second wife. Indeed they would imprison us
if we were to have two wives."

"How singular," said the official with a nod of his head. "You do
not appreciate the advantages of this custom of ours."

That there are advantages in this custom from the Chinese point
of view, I have no doubt. But from certain things I have heard I
fear there are disadvantages as well. One day the head eunuch
from the palace of one of the leading princes in Peking came to
ask my wife, who was their physician, to go to see some of the
women or children who were ill. It was drawing near to the New
Year festival and, of course, they had their own absorbing topics
of conversation in the servants' courts. I said to him:

"The Prince has a good many children, has he not?"

"Twenty-three," he answered.

"How many concubines has he?" I inquired.

"Three," he replied, "but he expects to take on two more after
the holidays."

"Doesn't it cause trouble in a family for a man to have so many
women about? I should think they would be jealous of each other."

"Ah," said he, with a wave of his hand and a shake of his head,
"that is a topic that is difficult to discuss. Naturally if this
woman sees him taking to that woman, this one is going to eat
vinegar."

They do "eat vinegar," but perhaps as little of it as any people
who live in the way in which they live, for the Chinese have
organized their home life as nearly on a governmental basis as
any people in the world

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