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Chinese Postoffices

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It is not to be itnagined that a ver itiible natioQ of shop-keepers like the Chinese would remain, owing1 to the reiusal of tneir government to convey tbeir correspondence, destitute of a postal service. They have, indeed, a very complete system of their own entirely independent of the state, says Corahill magazine. In every town of any size may be seen ten or a dozen shops with the sign ' -Hsin Chii, " letter office or postal establishment, suspended outside. Their business is to carry not letters only. but small parels, packets of silver and the like, ii ually to other towns in the same pi'ovince, but also on occasion to other urovinces. They are, in fact, general earriera, or, perhaps it would befairer to say, they occapy much the same position in China now as did the ■ 'agenta"' at Harwich and Dover of ihe postmaster general at the beginnin# of the eighteenth century - so miscelianeous are the packages committed to their charge. They have no fixed tariff varying aeeorcling to weight, and there appears to be no limit, within reason, to ihe size of letters or pareéis they will carry. The charge for letters is fairly constant but in estimating the ■cost of conveyance of pareéis the size and shape alone seeni to be taken into account. A rousrh calculation is then made. which the sender is at liberty - if he can - to abata In fact, the transmission of pareéis is regarded as being quite as much a matter of bargaining as the purchase of a pig. As there is no monopoly, each postoffice tries to underbid its rivals, and competition sometimos verges on the ludicfous. Since the institution of fer.iale post-oiüce clerks in England, hüw many complaints (doubtless cuito groundless) have there not been from would-be purchaser3 of Stampa who have been kept waiting al the counter white the postmisIruïjj and her assistaut compared notes on last Sunday's fashions? In China this deplorable state of things is i versed. There each post-office has its j touts, who go rounds at very short j tervals to eaca place of business to begr for the privilege of forwarding their letters. The bankers are the best customers, and as post time draws near, (post time is fixed at the open ports by the departure of the local steamer), you will see a tout enter a bank and interrupt the clerks with an ntreaty to be allowed to convey the letters they have not j et copied. He is dismissed for half an hour, and meanwhile t"'o or three rivals will appear with the same re-juest The lucky man is he who happens to come in as the letters are sealed.


Old News
Ann Arbor Argus