Page:Inside Canton.djvu/183

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

quilt is attached to the cotton sheet. I might say just the same of a splendid hall which Pan-se-Chen had just got completed. The floor, in wood of different colours, was covered with beautiful devices; the ceilings were gilt like a shrine. The floor, cornices, and walls were brightened with that wonderful varnish which makes the substances to which it is applied look like blocks of marble, porphyry, or other rare stones, cut and polished. But all this luxury was cold and comfortless; our own splendid interiors, overdone as they are with huge floating curtains, seemed preferable. The total absence of anything in the shape of hangings was all the move noticeable at this time of year; the north winds were sometimes very keen, and the Chinese assumed, with an evident consciousness of its comfortableness, their cham which is lined with the soft, silky furs of Astrakan. In the house of Che-pa-Pou, then, Pan-se-Chen had not effected a happy alliance between Chinese magnificence and European comfort; perhaps in order that he might not wound the jealous prejudices of the great officers of state who visit him.

One morning our friend the mandarin begged us—Callery, Rondot, and myself—to take a passing glance at that part of his mansion which is consecrated to science and art; anxious, apparently, to let us see that a Celestial Sybarite could be also a man of learning and taste. We found among other things a