Page:Inside Canton.djvu/105

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104
104
INSIDE CANTON.

veritably Chinese, and extremely hostile to the ladies of the West.

I traversed afterwards this motley, confused scene in company with an Englishman, who had inhabited Canton for many years. On our road we met with an individual who was remarkable only for his miserable accoutrements. Although the cold wind of autumn had forced his compatriots to pile on their shoulders a good part of their wardrobe, he was shivering in a cham and pantaloons of gray cloth, both dirty and torn. He dragged on his feet worn-out sandals, and his head was covered with a large straw hat. He carried behind his back, suspended to a leathern thong, an old wooden case, the lid of which was hardly held in its place by hinges which had lost half their nails.

"Do you know who that man is?" said the Englishman, pointing to the unfortunate.

"Without doubt he is a gain little," replied I; "and I expect every moment to hear him cry knives, scissors, razors, set or ground."

"You have not hit it," said the Englishman. "This man enjoys at Canton a certain celebrity; he is the possessor of a marvellous secret."

"Most certainly, he doesn't possess that of making gold," replied I, laughing.

"That may or may not be," replied the son of Albion phlegmatically; "one may want money even in making gold."