Page:Inside Canton.djvu/148

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147
INSIDE CANTON.

The salt is thrown into the bottom of the hold, covered only with large reed mats to protect it against the moisture. One frequently saw in the river long ranks of these transports tied together; reminding one of the convoys of corn which used formerly to navigate the Rhone. In the midst of this strange assembly, there is one group of boats which especially attracts attention by its noisy commotion: it is the one where the duck dealers abound. The keepers sit indolently in their barks, leaving their amphibious charges in perfect freedom. The latter enjoy themselves to their hearts' content—quacking, paddling about, diving and sporting in the stream, in the society of their companions; but, at the first summons from their master, each company returns, in all haste, to the floating park which serves as its home.

Several inoffensive forts line the banks of the Tchou-kiang, and, in the bed of the river itself, two fortified moles have been constructed, known to Europeans by the names of the Dutch Folly and the French Folly, in remembrance of what I cannot say. To each of these fortlets are moored armed barks, intended to hold in check enemies from without and rebels from within, should there happen to be any; but it is exceedingly doubtful, whether the cannons which project from their portholes are capable of doing their duty; this old artillery bids fair to rust on the decks of the Ping-chou without