Page:Inside Canton.djvu/135

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may see the largest of these edifices agitated by the current and the rise and fall of the waves. Here, however, as in Physic Street, there are shops of all kinds and trades of every nature. In the city of Tchou-kiang I have seen not only carpenters' and tailors' shops, but druggists' laboratories, ready-made clothing warehouses, fortune-tellers,' and professsional letter-writers' stalls, and even a pawnbroker's establishment.

These banks of misery and vice are not directed in China by philanthropic societies; they are entrusted to private speculators, who carry on their trade under the superintendence of the mandarins. It is true that this superintendence is only nominal; the functionaries only remind the directors of their existence, by extorting money from them from time to time. It is in this way that the inspectors of the finances of the Celestial Empire usually perform their functions; nothing is perfect under the sun. The pawnbroker of Tchou-kiang occupied one of the finest boats in the merchants' street; the façade, well varnished, well decorated, bore an inscription, of which the impertenent appropriatness must often have excited the anger of the habitués of the establishment. It was as follows: "Practise economy, so as not to borrow." The Chinese alone are capable of robbing their customers and preaching morality at the same time. When we went on board, we found the