Madame Chrysantheme by Pierre Loti description:
It is the diary of a summer of my life, in which I have changed nothing, not even the dates, thinking as I do, that in our efforts to arrange matters we often only succeed in disarranging them. Although the most important rôle may appear to devolve on Madame Chrysantheme, it is very certain that the three principal personages are myself, Japan, and the effect produced on me by that country. (A novel of Japanese manners. Translated by Laura Ensor.)
lled by a couple of yellow boys stark naked in the rain. The craft approached us, I jumped into it, then through a little trap-door shaped like a rat-trap that one of the scullers throws open for me, I slipped in and stretched myself at full length on a mat in what is called the "cabin" of a sampan.
There was just room enough for my body to lie in this floating coffin, which is moreover scrupulously clean, white with the whiteness of new deal boards. I was well sheltered from the rain, that fell pattering on my lid, and thus I started off for the town, lying in this box, flat on my stomach, rocked by one wave, roughly shaken by another, at moments almost over-turned; and through the half-opened door of my rat-trap I saw, upside down, the two little creatures to whom I had entrusted my fate, children of eight or ten years of age at the most, who, with little monkeyish faces, had however fully developed muscles like miniature men, and were already as skillful as any regular old salts.
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