Page:Inside Canton.djvu/170

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

begin to redden, messengers start from Canton every day, to carry branches laden with fruit to the Emperor. And his journey is reckoned with such nicety, that the porter reaches the palace-gate at the very moment when the pulp has reached its luscious maturity! Then, look at our pleasure-gardens: in all the eighteen provinces, are there any that can compare with them? Our kiosks and pavilions, beautifully painted, and delicately sculptured, rise from the midst of flowery pyramids, where blossom is piled on blossom. Then, what more can the lovers of sensual joys expect? Yet the sage and the man of letters are equally well catered for in our Canton. Here we have the greatest number of antique bronzes, folded silks voluptuously painted, and ancient objects in lacquer-work—to inspect which the greatest artists of the world meet together here. I will maintain it. Canton is the wonder of the universe!"

Callery did not see fit to reply to this eulogistic plea for the Chinese city. When our mandarin had taken breath, he added, addressing my friend:—

"And you, in the land of the West, have you anything to compare even with our flower-boats?"

His interlocutor endeavoured to describe to him establishments of a similar character in France; and then spoke of our theatres; but Pan-se-Chen interrupted him:

"What! When you go to see a play, you enter