Page:Inside Canton.djvu/130

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129
INSIDE CANTON.

CHAPTER VIII.

THE WATER CITY—THE STREETS OF TANKAS—THE FISHERMENS' STREET—MOVEABLE HOUSES—"NOT AT HOME" IN CANTON.

We will now leave terra firma, and in the tanka of the beautiful A-moun go through the floating-town, and the agitated streets of which the Tchou-kiang nurses incessantly the innumerable inhabitants.

Our boatwoman, seated in the front of the vessel, handled the light oars with much skill; A-fay, her little sister, who stood a little in the rear, held the rudder, whilst Bandot and myself, lying down beneath the covering of bamboos, and eager to see everything, left to our charming crew the care of conducting us according to the caprice of their fancy. The floating-town of Canton is, to all the Europeans who visit the Celestial Empire, the object of an exclusive predilection; for them China, the real China, the fantastic China of our screens, fans, and lacquer work, is all on the river which balances on its overhanging surface, &c., a population more numerous than that of Marseilles, Naples, Vienna, or Turin.

The sight of this marvellous city produced a magic effect upon me as I visited the populous bed