By Mary Austin
THE CONVERSION OF AH LEW SING BY M. AUSTIN
“The heathen Chinee is peculiar.”
AH LEW SING was the proprietor of a vegetable garden between the stock yard and the rail-road bridge, on the farther side of the Summerfield canal. He was the lankest, obliquest-eyed celestial that ever combined an expression of childlike innocence with the appearance of having fallen into a state of permanent disrepair, an outward seeming that much belied the inner man.
Previous to his conversion, his ideas, if he had any, in regard to the Deity, were hazy in the extreme; but his convictions on the subject of devils were concise and dogmatic. There were about three hundred, according to Lew Sing’s computation; all of the most malevolent type.
If the potatoes rotted, if the celery rusted, if the cabbages failed to head, or the blight got his early peas, Lew Sing was at no loss where to lay the blame. All of these things frequently happened, notwithstanding that he burned punk at the four corners of his fields, and at all the foot-bridges that crossed his irregular ditches, which were so narrow and low that no sort of a devil could cross without wetting his feet,–a thing to which Chinese devils are very much averse.
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