Page:Inside Canton.djvu/186

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185
INSIDE CANTON.

chant, and does not disdain the ancestral vocation. In the Celestial Empire, no one loses caste by moneymaking.

After going over the workshops, we passed into the court of the women's quarter, and Pan-se-Chen showed us over his study and his office. If it had not been for the strangely-shaped furniture, the odd arrangement of all the objects, the foreign character of the paintings, and the whimsical disposition of the books, we might have fancied ourselves suddenly transported into the rooms of a bibliomaniac or antiquarian of our own country. It may be said that the points of difference I have mentioned lie so open to notice that comparison is out of the question; but it is of man, who is the same everywhere, and not of the circumstantials, that I speak. The man himself was as greedy of rare smoke-dried editions and Chinese Elzevirs as the greediest specimen of the class could be, in his own way, among ourselves. The windows of the cabinet of Pan-se-Chen open upon the pretty court which I have described. The graceful bows of the weeping willows find their way almost into the very asylum of learning, and the birds who nest in the gray foliage are not afraid to peck at the furniture and the dusty bookshelves. A table of some very dark wood is set in the middle of the apartment, and upon it are ranged the implements necessary for the labours of the in-

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