Thursday, 2 August 2012

Letters from Turfan

"The professional letter-writer sits at the door of the Post Office.  It is his job to listen to what any particular man wishes to say to his distant friends or relatives, then, using flowery and appropriate terms to write out the message in the form of a letter to the person indicated.  He sits behind a table on which are placed inkslab, a Chinese pen, letter-paper and a pad.  The client comes to the side of the table and tells his tale.  The writer listens, bargains the price, pulls up his long sleeve, lifts the block of Chinese ink, rubs it very slowly over the inkslab, dexterously applies the brush to the ink, stroking its hair to a fine point, then, with a flourish of his hand begins to draw beautiful ideographs on the paper."

The Gobi Desert  Mildred Cable  with Francesca French

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