A Bit of Old China

A Bit of Old China

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A Bit of Old China by Charles Warren Stoddard

Published:

1911

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A Bit of Old China

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This description of Old San Francisco's Chinatown has been taken from Charles Warren Stoddard's book, entitled In the Footprints of the Padres, which contains his memories of early days in California.

Book Excerpt

Chinese. There is, at first, a sprinkling of small shops in the hands of Jews and Gentiles, and a mingling of Chinese bazaars of the half-caste type, where American and English goods are exposed in the show-windows; but as we pass on the Asiatic element increases, and finally every trace of alien produce is withdrawn from the shelves and counters.

Here little China flaunts her scarlet streamers overhead, and flanks her doors with legends in saffron and gold; even its window-panes have a foreign look, and within is a glimmering of tinsel, a subdued light, and china lamps flickering before graven images of barbaric hideousness. The air is laden with the fumes of smoking sandalwood and strange odors of the East; and the streets, swarming with coolies, resound with the echoes of an unknown tongue. There is hardly room for us to pass; we pick our way, and are sometimes curiously regarded by slant-eyed pagans, who bear us no good-will, if that shadow of scorn in the face has been rightly interpreted. China i

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