The day after we had had our grand Chinese dinner we went into the city, and the first object we visited was the Clepsydra (or water clock), which is placed in a chamber erected on the tower called Kung-Pak-Lau. We saw four tubs containing water, which are placed on an inclined plane and connected by open spouts. The tube vary in size, the largest one being at the top. The water trickles from the one tub into the other. A copper dial resembling a carpenter's rule, with Chinese characters engraved on it marking its divisions, rests on a wooden float in the lowest tub. As this dial rises it shows the length of time expired. A man remains in the building night and day, for the purpose of giving the hour to the citizens of Canton. This he does during the day, by placing boards outside the clock tower, which are painted white, and bear large black Chinese characters marking the hour. A gong and drum are kept in the tower, by which the watchman makes known the various watches or hours of the night. A small shrine is placed immediately above the steps leading to the water clock, in honour of Pwan-Ku, who is described in Chinese mythology as having been the first man. As clothes were supposed to be unknown when he flourished, he is represented as wearing an apron or girdle of green leaves. He appears to be regarded as the tutelary god of the water clock.
The string telephones which for several years have been flooding the boulevards and the streets of the different cities of Europe, and whose invention dates back, as we have seen, to the year 1667, are very interesting apparatuses by them themselves, and we are astonished that they did not appear rather in the physics cabinets. They consist of cylindrical-conical tubes of metal or cardboard, one end of which is closed by a stretched membrane of parchment, in the center of which is fixed by a knot the string or cord intended to bring them together. When two tubes of this kind are thus joined together and that the wire is tight, as shown, it suffices for a person to apply one of these tubes against the ear and for another person to speak very close to the opening of the other tube, so that all the words spoken by the latter are immediately transmitted to the other, and one can even converse in this manner in an almost low voice.