No Language Is So Difficult To Read And Write
As The Chinese; It Contains More Than Four Thousand Characters, And
Is Wholly Composed Of Monosyllables.
Little brushes dipped in
Indian ink are used for writing, the writing itself extending down
the paper from right to left.
I had not been above a few days in Victoria before I had an
opportunity of proceeding to Canton on board a small Chinese junk.
A gentleman of the name of Pustan, who is settled as a merchant
here, and whom I found excessively kind, endeavoured very earnestly
to dissuade me from trusting myself among the Chinese without any
protector, and advised me either to take a boat for myself or a
place in the steamer; but both these means were too dear for my
small finances, since either would have cost twelve dollars, whereas
a passage in the junk was only three. I must also add, that the
appearance and behaviour of the Chinese did not inspire me with the
slightest apprehension. I looked to the priming of my pistols, and
embarked very tranquilly on the evening of the 12th of July.
A heavy fall of rain, and the approach of night, soon obliged me to
seek the interior of the vessel, where I passed my time in observing
my Chinese fellow-travellers.
The company were, it is true, not very select, but behaved with
great propriety, so that there was nothing which could prevent my
remaining among them. Some were playing at dominoes, while others
were extracting most horrible sounds from a sort of mandolin with
three strings; all, however, were smoking, chatting, and drinking
tea, without sugar, from little saucers.
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