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Notes on the Geography of China: Guangzhou: Shamian: Photo 36

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Acton had few kind words for his compatriots: "The small European community seldom stirred from the Shameen; and I remember being profoundly depressed by the sight of two stout middle-aged Westerners of the commercial traveller type. They were sitting in their shirt-sleeves on the hotel veranda, electric fan and ubiquitous whisky-bottle before them. Neither spoke, and I could not help wondering at the sheer hangdog misery of their expressions, for the immediate environment, a river crammed with the strangest multi-formity of water-traffic, was far from dull. And I had a simultaneous vision of thousands of bored individuals on verandas, sipping and cursing inwardly, mocked by the brilliant sunlight. And all of them began to chant in weary unison: 'Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.' Not one was out of tune. I met only one European who preferred Canton to anywhere else in the world, Dr. Otto, who ran a German hospital on an island. He had been adopted by a Cantonese official in gratitude for saving the life of his son and heir." (Acton, p. 295)

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