Page:Inside Canton.djvu/133

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there is much more animation in the place. As soon as they return from fishing, anchor has scarcely been cast when the children with naked feet run along the shore; they pass from one boat to another, to stretch out the nets. The men sitting down upon the ground examine the nets, mend the holes made in the preceding expedition, and the women at the back of the little house, prepare the family dinner on a portable stove made of plaster. The fishermen in this amphibious society represent the horticulturists and gardeners who supply large towns. Every morning they plough the inexhaustible plains of the ocean, and furnish the market with the principal object of consumption. The fishermen's street has certainly the most varied aspect of any in the universe. When the weather is fine, each habitation becomes detached from the one next it, and this part of the floating city is sometimes absent for days together. Then, when the fishing is over, the rising tide brings back the travelling abode to its starting place, and the two rows of houses resume their place in the floating city. For the rest, on this liquid soil the appearance of the streets changes every moment. A movement of the tide, a gust of wind, a sudden decrease in the pressure of the atmosphere, and the position of the town is completely changed. For instance, at the approach of a tempest the large vessels turn round, and present to the wind the least assailable portion