Page:Inside Canton.djvu/145

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woman in a flower-boat during the day; it occurred as I was going up the stream which leads to Pan-se-Chen's villa. The "house of pleasure" in question was proceeding to the residence of some mandarin, and was towed by two tankas. The canal we were on was so narrow that the two vessels struck each other in passing. The slight shock resulting from this little collision, created a commotion among the passengers of the Tze-Toung, and one of them appeared at a port-hole of the elegant craft. She was a woman of about twenty, rather fat for a Chinese, and well daubed with white and rose, like a water-colour painting. Her cham, which had very wide sleeves, exposed to view a plump arm. She wore handsome gold bracelets, or, at least, perfectly gilt ones. Her gown was of a clear yellow, and embroidered with floss silk; in a word, she was armed from head to foot, ready to lead a formidable attack on the heart of some rich poussah. On perceiving herself in the presence of four Europeans, our fair sinner did not appear the least troubled, but made a little gesture with her hand, which far from indicated that she was very greatly prejudiced against the foreign devils.

The flower-boats compose several streets in the floating city, which streets constitute the most elegant quarter in it. They are naturally the parts most frequented by idlers and pleasure-seekers; but Europeans generally purchase, at the price of