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[239]

No sort of labour comes amiss to John. He cooks your food and digs your quarry; rocks your cradle and feeds your cow; mends your shed and smelts your ore. When he has choice of work, he settles down most readily to household tasks, but he can turn his hand to any work; and after once seeing things done by others he can do them pretty well himself.

Ho Ling came by train to San Jose; the first moon-face ever seen in that old Free Town. Hiring a small shed, Ho Ling put out his sign: “Washing and Ironing done by Ho Ling.” Much linen may have been lying by unwashed in San Jose; anyhow, Ho Ling was soon busy day and night. He sent for Chou Ping; but the two moon-faces, scrubbing and squinting in their narrow room, could hardly overtake their work. Ho Ling saved money. When he had lived three months in San Jose, he called a carpenter, and asked his price for setting up ten frame shanties on a piece of ground in rear of Main Street, Ho Ling supplying him with poles and planks.

“ For ten houses, one hundred dollars.”

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