Page:Inside Canton.djvu/193

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China, ruled by the extinct dynasties of Soung and Han. Not a thing, not a chair, of a pattern younger than several ages. Looking at that limping footstool, well-worn in the service of former generations, one begins to understand better the principle upon which the learned Chinaman goes about to stock his feminine dove-cot; it is no wonder that a man, who chooses the furniture that he uses daily on the principle of "the oftener handled by others, the better I like it," should resort to the flower-boats for his taié? In other respects, this bed-chamber presented a tout-ensemble which was harmonious enough; the old-fashioned bed, the old-fashioned easy-chairs, the old-fashioned tables, were covered with equally old-fashioned ornaments and curiosities, costly and pretty, and covered with a dust that smacked of the erudite and the venerable.

Pan-se-Chen impressed upon us, surrounded by this chaos, that he never allowed anybody to touch anything, giving as his reason that he never knew where to find things after they had been meddled with. In this sacred horror of the intervention of an untaught hand in the arrangement of his precious curiosities, what Gallic antiquarian will not recognise our dear mandarin for a man and a brother! I shall say no more of furniture in general, than that fashion is not more stationary in these matters in China than it is elsewhere; fresh forms and kinds of ornament are always coming into use.