Page:Inside Canton.djvu/143

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shocking anybody, visit in the middle of the day one of our grand choreographic establishments; for the female crew who man the flower-boats shun the rays of the sun, like the lepbastered heart-moths of all countries; they abandon the vessels at the first dawn of day, which is why strangers can then visit them. For my own part, I was admitted on board several of these establishments with Messrs. Rondot, Renard, and Hausman, for a mere trifle, and throughout the day not the slightest obstacle was offered to our curiosity. It was not the people of the extreme East who gave the flower-boats their poetical name, but the Europeans. The Chinese, much more prosaic in the things of this life, call these establishments simply houses of the four pleasures, designating them, according to their importance and dimensions, by the names of Keng-Heou, Cha-Kou, Tze-Toung, and Tuen-Pou. We will retain, however, the name by which they are commonly known among ourselves.

The flower-boats of the first size, consist of two storeys: namely, a basement, or, if the reader prefers it, a first landing, and an upper storey. But the second landing does not occupy the entire storey. You would call it rather a pavilion, raised above the centre of the establishment. The roof forms a terrace, which is usually furnished with tables and chairs. The basement is divided into a multitude of small apartments, decorated with rather free pic-