THURSDAY, December 19.

We took the steamer for the Paris of the East, far-famed Canton, distant ninety-five miles. The steamer is just an American river boat, and we enjoyed the trip very highly. And here let me note two strange customs which prevail in China. First, your passage money generally embraces all the liquor, beer, or wine you choose to consume on the trip. Such was the case to-day, and passengers were free to call for anything they wished to drink at any time (champagne excepted). The other custom is universal. There is no coin in circulation but silver, and it is so heavy that Europeans have adopted the habit of carrying none, giving for any debt incurred I. O. U.'s, called "chits," which are sent in at the end of each month for payment; a vicious custom, which leads to deplorable excesses, especially in drinking and in gambling. Men drink and gamble more freely when immediate payment is not required, or when the chances of a lucky turn may recoup their losses; besides, many who have no means to pay incur debts. Indeed, so many cases of this kind have happened since "hard times set in" that I am encouraged to hope the end of "chits" approaches. The rule at the clubs now is that no chits can be given beyond a trifling amount each month, and that they must be promptly redeemed. Canton was reached by four in the afternoon, and such a swarm of small boats as surrounded us was never seen elsewhere. When we were a full mile from the wharf I saw the mass begin to stir, and such a stir! and almost all rowed by women, yelling and striving, and dashing one boat against another, in their efforts to be first. One of the most active scrambled up the guards and reached us on the upper deck almost before the boat had stopped, and secured us as her spoil. How she and a young girl handled our trunks, carrying them over intervening boats and then coming back for us, giving us her hand to convey us to her craft! No mistaking her business capacity, nor her ability to cope with the strongest and most active man and capture two passengers to his one. John is no match for a Canton boatwoman on water, whatever he may be on land.

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