The Silken East v
But the mute trail of the liners smoke tells of the changing wind, the swing of the anchored ships of the outgoing tide, and overhead, the stars as they pass one by one into darkness speak of yet greater mysteries.
At the jetty stairs, under the shadow of the iron bridge, the sampan-men wait for the chance passenger. I hail one and pass swiftly into mid-stream, where the liner, blazing with lights from prow to stern, flings her ribbons of flame across the water. Overhead, the young
moon now shines, at play with the drifting clouds. My boatman steers in her silver track up the river, and the scene that lies before me is one that Venice herself cannot surpass. The myriad lights on the water rival the twinkling firmament overhead ; the river heaves with the billows of passing ships ; great cargo boats spread their black sails against the sky and bear down
sampans in full sail