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THE CRUEL THOUSAND YEARS.

BY THE AUTHOR OF «THE CAT AND THE CHERUB.»

'HEN the grim ancestral joss of the Hoos led the family in an exit to a different domicile, the years of the Infant Hoo Chee were yet five. It was true that now he had the pride of silken strings to lengthen out his cue; but since the time when he had toddled away in pursuit of a lovely American girl, with whom he had wished to dwell forever in her home, which he called the House of Glittering Things, and since the moment when Hoo King had torn him from her whom the Infant called the Lady of Cakes and Tea, Hoo Chee had been more circumscribed than ever. Many a vision of that house and of that lady had been his as he seemed to be wistfully watching the humming world from the lofty flower-pot balcony And no one but his meditative cat One-Two was in the Infant's confidence or knew the weight of his

woe.

But on that day when the joss came down from the wall the few old smoky rooms were left as memories, and the father Hoo King and the mother and the amah walked away in the clear air, with Hoo Chee bearing the doubtful One-Two in his arms. Soon the Infant found himself in a second story, whence he looked upon a yard impossibly great, he thought a yard as long as a cloud. It dissolved in the gloaming as he gazed in awe, with his chin just over the window-sill, and he waked in the morning denying it. But when he found it true he rushed shouting down the stairs, one step at a time, and shouting into its vast freedom, where OneTwo scampered in giddy circles, with his tail in mirthful curves. Here was a roaming ground for all duration, and earth to dig, and straggling weeds, and sticks and stones! It mattered not what castles lay beyond; here was a park that equaled the House of Glittering Things.

There was one restriction: he must never have aught to do with the women who lived on the other side of the fence, commanded Hoo King, for reasons of his own. They were Sum Chow's women-Sum Chow, who had the curio shop, and opposed the traffic in women slaves by the Tong which Hoo King ruled.

But women whom the Infant neither feared nor loved did not concern him in his hours in the yard. The marvel of his liberty filled his mind; it lost him his appetite and some of his sleep for quite two days, whereafter he ate like a knight returned, and slept as hard as a horse can gallop, to be up and out, with One-Two at his heels, catching the dew and the dawn. In the other place, on the balcony, never a smallest finger might be laid on the stalk of a lily, nor a feather be drawn across one smooth green leaf, without discovery; here, first of all, he pulled up a tuft of grass, and saw its little white legs that walked in the soil; and this was a secret in his bosom. Then behind the shed, which he called the Gruesome Go-down, after the place where the doughty little Quong Sam, of a story he knew, had been impounded by a Sarcastic Turtle that stood between Quong Sam and the House of . Glittering Things-behind the Gruesome Godown was a spot where One-Two suggested by scratches that they dig, which they did. The Infant made mountains and valleys with an iron spoon, so clever was he, and he threw a pasteboard bridge across a river-bed, and by it built an Important Town, where the avenues were shaded by cabbage-leaf trees, and where One-Two drilled wilful worms and rebellious bugs as citizens.

From a window in Sum Chow's the learned Dr. Wing Shee, that soothsayer whom all Chinatown respected, occasionally observed the Infant's serious labors, and grew to like Hoo Chee. The industry which now was seen to thrive near the Important Town was mining-in a pile of débris as high as the Infant's self; and surely, in all the vast precincts of the House of Glittering Things, no more absorbing, dignifying occupation might be found. With One-Two's artful nasal divination they brought forth varied bits of crockery that, when polished with One-Two's ear, became as brilliant as other gems; and they drew out many an odd fabric and buried relic that told of bygone times and the domestic economies of extinct houses. The Infant could not stuff them all in the pocket that ran across the chest of his bib. The choicest was a big green ring, like those the grown folks wore, which the Infant squeezed as a love token over

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