Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/229

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
173
ACROSS CHENGTU PLAIN

unroll at your feet as you sit on your verandah exquisitely soft, shimmering silks and wonderful embroideries. It was these last that caught my fancy, and the British Consul-General, himself a great collector, kindly sent to the house his "second-best" man and then his "first-best," and between the two I made a few modest purchases at even more modest prices. Imagine getting two strips of wonderful silk embroidery for twenty cents gold, or two silk squares ingeniously ornamented and pieced with gold for the same contemptible sum. That was what the men wanted at the missionary house where I was staying; at the Consul-General's they asked me twenty-five cents: that is the price of being an official.

I liked even better to go to the shops, and Chengtu is so progressive that that is quite possible. One section is given over to brass and copper dishes, another to furs, another to porcelains, and so on. Indeed, the town seems to be a very good place for "picking up" things, for hither come men from the far distant Tibetan lamasseries, and patient effort is often rewarded with interesting spoil, while Chinese productions of real value sometimes drift into the bazaar from the collections of the ever-changing officials.

But I did not spend all my days bargaining for curios, although they were tempting enough, for there were other things to do more worth while. The European community of Chengtu is surprisingly large