Page:Inside Canton.djvu/150

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
149
INSIDE CANTON.

are painted of various colours and adorned with glaring streamers, and having in front two large, haggard eyes—symbols of vigilance—drawn in a fantastic manner. To the Chinese, a ship is, in some degree, an animated body, and to deprive it of the organs of of sight would be to expose it wantonly to the risk of being dashed to pieces against the rocks. These large vessels riding at anchor, with their great goggle eyes and their straggling streamers, resemble so many amphibious animals, thrown up high and dry on the beach. A Chinaman can distinguish at the first glance whence the modern Noah's arks come; he recognises those which bring rice and sugar from the Fo-kien, or teas and silks from Nankin, or cinnamon from the Kuang-si; and the san-chou from the inland provinces.

No city in Europe can give an idea of the movement and life which reign in the streets of Canton. The streets of Canton alone can convey an idea of the feverish activity which reigns on the Tchou-kiang. In the midst of this prodigious passing and repassing, of goods in the course of being shipped and unshipped, of faï-tings, of lorchas, of junks, of vessels coming to anchor or setting sail, of mandarins cruising about in their rich craft, and of tradesmen proceeding to business, the itinerant cooks enumerate their ragouts; the manufacturers of tao-fou praise their toothsome production; the barbers offer their services; the brokers propose