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Shanghai Native City

creek, house, shops and tea

SHANGHAI NATIVE CITY Its Entrance and Streets—The New Maloo—The Old Tea House and its Legend— The Piece-Goods Temple—Difficulties of Painting—My Sedan Chair— Police Interference—" You wanchee one Licence "—Permit Obtained—My Work at a China Shop and at the Old Tea House.

The Native City is reached by passing through the French Concession. It forms as complete a con trast to the European Settlement as can well be imagined. On approaching the boundary between the two, we notice that the houses diminish in size and importance, and are much more Chinese in style ; but at the dirty little creek which forms the real boundary line this creek sweeps right round the original Settlement to the Soochow Creek, and formed at that time a natural means of defence which is still known as Defence Creek. Along this creek there are many small shops for the sale of all sorts of hardware, and many a good old bronze has been picked up here. We then reach the old walls of the Native City. Huddled against them are dirty native houses, booths, and stalls, and on crossing the bridge and entering the gate we meet with perhaps the greatest contrast in all China.

Within a few hundred yards of these modern buildings, constructed according to all the latest ideas of civilisation, we are at once carried back to the tions prevailing in the Middle Ages in our own country.

Plunging into a low, dark, and evil-smelling tunnel, or passage, through the wall, we see the old gates fitted with immense wooden bars for closing them at night.

Beggars are everywhere, cripples with grotesque and unusual deformities, and other sufferers. The air is filled with the loud cries of the small huckster announcing the nature of his wares.

Quaint little shops line the narrow passages, whose greasy pavement exhales the rich, close, and altogether peculiar odour so familiar to all old residents in the Celestial Empire. A few more narrow streets and we come to the New Maloo, so called, of greater width—and, at any rate, a potential carriage road, if indeed a carriage could reach it, though at present this is quite out of the question. Leaving this picturesque street with its quaint signs, busy shops, and crowds of people, one dives once more through intricate passages and emerges at the Bird Market, there to be deafened by the cease less songs of the birds, the shouts of the salesmen and their customers. Near at hand, surrounded by water, stands the Old Tea House, famous as the original from which the inspiration was taken for the design on the willow-pattern plate. Here are bridges of zig-zag pattern leadinv to the beautiful old building, with its many gables and quaint windows of oyster shell, built on piles and tilted considerably out of the perpendicular. One can see it all on the old blue plates.