Solomonic justice

A poor man, passing through one of the back thoroughfares in Hankow(汉口), came upon a Tls. 50 (Fifty taels) note lying in the road and payable to bearer. His first impulse was to cash it, but reflecting that the sum was large and that the loser might be driven in despair to commit suicide, the consequences of which might be that he himself would perhaps get into trouble, he determined to wait on the spot for the owner and rest content with the “thanks money” he was entitled by Chinese custom to claim as a right. Very shortly he saw a stranger approaching, with his eyes bent on the ground, evidently in search of something; whereupon he made up to him and asked at once if anything was the matter. Explanations followed, and the Tls. 50 note was restored to its lawful possessor, who, recovering himself instantaneously, asked where the other one was, and went on to say that he had lost _two_ notes of the same value, and that on recovery of the other one he would reward the finder as he deserved, but that unless that was also forthcoming he should be too great a loser as it was. His benefactor was protesting strongly against this ungenerous behaviour when the “second Prefect” happened to come round the corner, who, seeing there was a row, stopped his chair, and inquired there and then into the merits of the case. The result was that he took the Tls. 50 note and presented it to the honest finder, telling him to go on his way rejoicing; while, turning to the ungrateful loser, he sternly bade him wait till he met some one who had found _two_ notes of that value, and from him endeavour to recover his lost property.

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