| "A Voyage on the Grand
Canal of China" by Richard Henry Dana (1891) includes this paragraph:
After breakfast we went off again with our guide and braves through the northern suburb, which is built on both sides of the Grand Canal of China. This is beautiful, and goes far to justify the foreign notions of Su-Chau. The canal is wide, lined with trees, good houses, and pretty shops of every variety, with here and there grounds walled in, indicating the residences of the wealthy. The bridges are stately, always of stone, with arches high, mostly more than half circles, and canals cross the main canal, making a Chinese Venice of the city. A crowd pressed upon us all the while as we walked among the shops, but was almost always civil. There were a few cases of insulting words, but when Mr. Syle turned and rebuked them gently the crowd took his part. The most attractive shops are the flower shops, which are filled with dwarfed trees, shrubs, and flowers in pots. In most cases we were invited to the gardens in the rear, where the plants are growing. We bought some pots of flowers, absurdly cheap, to ornament our boat. The great number of these flower shops indicates the good and gentle taste of the people. 1
1 Dana, Richard Henry "A Voyage on the Grand Canal of China" (Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 67, Issue 403, May 1891), pp. 604.