Page:Inside Canton.djvu/139

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and descended the canal. Towards evening, we were about to enter our house at Thè-ki-Han, when the doctor suddenly called out, "I see my friend's house," and he told the boatman to make for a very pretty water residence, which was only at a few cables' length from the place where we were being entertained. As soon as Kou-Mao saw the proprietor of this itinerant abode, he explained to him, after some indispensable compliments, the trouble he had had in finding him. The latter replied sententiously:

"It is true that I inhabit the canal when I wish to enjoy that calm and solitude which a sage desires; but sometimes, according to the season, I quit my habitual station to enjoy the beauties of nature, and the charms presented by other localities. During the spring, I ascend the river to admire the green rice grounds, enclosed by bamboos and trees in bloom; at a later period, I descend to where the river is broad, and where there is always a breeze. I witness all day long the coming and going of a thousand vessels which are entering or leaving the river. I perform these little voyages without putting myself out—without altering my habits in any respect. Yesterday, I heard that the men of the West had arrived at the house of Poun-tin-Koua—the plebeian name of Pan-se-Chen—and I came to take up my position here in order to see them: they cannot come out now