Page:Inside Canton.djvu/109

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to behold; the veterinary surgeons of the King of Siam's elephants must certainly use a more humane implement for their gigantic patients. It is needless to say that I showed the dirty quack to the door with as little politeness as possible; and I now fully appreciated the secret which the Chinese possess of detaching teeth from their gums without pain, without any instrument either of iron or steel, and simply by means of an innocent powder. In spite of this conclusive experiment, I have heard (a thousand times since) the same story; and my Englishman himself, when I informed him of the result of my adventure, repeated:

"Nevertheless, my cousin John—"

I am convinced that the intelligence of man is limited; but on the other hand, I believe his credulity and stupidity to be infinite.

After having crossed the Place of the Factories, and old China Street, we went directly into Physic Street, to a vender of curiosities, who was then the Monbro of Canton. This old man, whom the Europeans have surnamed Talkee-True, because the words "I tell the truth" are always in his mouth whenever he wishes to convince his customers of his commercial honesty, is one of those originals who denote a very advanced state of civilisation. Eccentric characters are the product of a highly developed intellectual society; barbarians and savages seem all cut out