Page:Inside Canton.djvu/140

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139
INSIDE CANTON.

without passing before my eyes. These barbarians have two little girls with them that I wish to see; I wish to judge for myself whether they are prettier than my 'Ten-thousand-pieces-of-gold' as I am told they are." The little girls were Masdemoiselle Gabriel and Olga de Lagrené, and the "Ten-thousand-pieces-of-gold" the daughter of the speaker.

Kou-Mao hastened to inform his friend that we belonged to the party that had just arrived at the house of Pan-se-Chen, and that M. Gallery understood New Chinese like a member of the academy of Hau-lin. This news delighted the aquatic philosopher.

All these habitations, built on the oval hull of a ship, have the form of a long square; so that round about them there is a narrow space, where it is easy to walk, provided you are not giddy. Here men place themselves, with long poles in their hands, to move the house when the proprietor wishes to change the scene. As the craft have neither sails nor rudders, they are moved by means of these poles, which are thrust into the bed of the river, the holders leaning upon them with all their weight; of course it is necessary to keep close to the banks of the river in order to avoid holes.

Kou-Mao's friend took us inside his house; the room in which he received us was like all Chinese rooms belonging to the middle classes. Long strips of painted paper, representing flowers, scenes from

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