Page:Inside Canton.djvu/155

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tastes, it strikes me that a little house on shore, adjoining a little garden, and a few friends, would suit you much better."

"Why?" said the young creature. "Do we not possess here everything which can content us? Have not all the ages of life their pleasures on the bed of the Tchou-kiang as well as on shore? In our boats, the child receives all the care his weakness requires; the young man exercises his profession in peace, and the old man, also, finds the diversion and repose his age demands. We shall inhabit the land only too soon!" added the beautiful tanka-girl, with a sigh. "When we are dead, it is there that our habitation is, and our bodies repose there for ever. After all, we inhabit the earth a much longer time than the water!"

Thus, those nations of India, who live far from rivers, come and throw their dead into the Ganges to purify them, while the denizens of the aquatic domains of the Tchou-kiang dig a hole in the ground for theirs, to secure them a peaceful sleep during eternity!

A great deal has been said lately about the population of the floating city of the Tchou-kiang. Men, in general, find a very great pleasure in disputing with and contradicting each other; polemics are a necessity of their nature. In China, subjects of conversation are rare among Europeans. Con-