Page:Inside Canton.djvu/146

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145
INSIDE CANTON.

some outrage or another, the satisfaction of going over them, either by night or by day. There is usually at the entrance of these handsome edifices, a crowd of blackguards, who, when they observe a foreigner, pursue him with their cries. Generally, when the presence of a man of white race is signalled, these horrible, dirty, ragged, and hideous vagrants greet him with cries of fan-houaï! then, seizing their greasy queues with their left hands, they make signs to him that he will have his head cut off, if he approaches the seraglio. Such are the dragons who keep guard at the door of the paradise of Chinese pleasure, not the European, pursued by their clamour, can console himself with the reflection that those who would debar him from entering do not themselves touch the forbidden fruit. I always made a point of not provoking these manifestations when proceeding through this part of the city, in the mandarin-boat which Pan-se-Chen had placed at the disposal of Callery and myself.

The various nautical constructions I have now described, constitute the greater portion of the floating town; but, as in all grand centres of civilisation, the poor streets are most numerous. These handsome edifices and miserable craft are not, however, the only floating machines borne on the Tchou-kiang. You perceive, at certain distances, groups of craft, of uniform construction, moored