Page:Inside Canton.djvu/131

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of the Tchou-kiang. I was filled with a genuine enthusiasm, and now that I go over my recollections, I feel that the impression was a just one; that like most things that we meet with in the world, the city of waters ought to be studied silently, in order to comprehend its strange grandeur. There are certain beauties which can only be discovered by reflection. When the traveller sits down for the first time at the foot of the great pyramid of Giseh, he experiences no more emotion than a Parisian at the foot of Montmartre. This Cyclopean pile says nothing to his imagination, but if he walks round the base, if he climbs up the stone steps, in order to reach the summit, he then begins to realise what human efforts such a labour has necessitated, and he is struck with wonder. As the astonishing monument assumes colossal proportions in his eyes, the spectator somehow multiples the mass by the number of arms which have erected it, and he experiences a genuine admiration for the work whose greatness reveals in so striking a manner what men are capable of producing by the union of their efforts.

The mind goes through an analogous operation before the floating-city of Canton. The first feeling which is experienced at the sight of this plain cut into long lines, of this immense harbour, as populous as our largest cities, is one of stupefaction; but when we descend to the slightest details of the pri-