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[266] for the Chinese criminal has curious ways, and your ramble in his purlieus should be made at night.

All round Bartlett Alley lie the thieves' yards and cribs; foul attics, falling balconies, underground kennels; with a few spikes of joss-wood burning at every door. Rags rot on the ground and garbage poisons the air. Slush squirts at you from under every plank, and where the planks fail you, the earth appears to be nothing but a running sore. Ragshops and receiving-houses hide in old pits and hollows under the plank floors. In all these damp and loathsome holes a swarm of Asiatics wallow in the filth, their pale and ghastly faces rendered visible by the flicker of a reeking lamp. Pah!

Fear lurks in every Mongol eye, and desperation glowers from every Mongol face. In passing from yard to yard you catch the slam of doors, the shot of bolts, and feel by instinct that every ruffian standing behind these planks, alarmed by strange footsteps and loud voices in the dead of night, is listening at his door, with hatchet raised to strike or rifle poised to fire.

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