CHAPTER XV. INDIFFERENCE TO COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE.IN what we have now to say, it must be
premised at the outset that all that is affirmed of Chinese indifference to comfort
and convenience respects not Oriental but Occidental standards, the principal
object being to show how totally different those standards are. Let us first direct our attention for a
moment to the Chinese dress. In speaking of Chinese contempt for foreigners, we
have already had occasion to mention that Western modes of apparel have very little
which is attractive to the Chinese; we are now forced to admit that ...
CHAPTER XIV.CONSERVATISM.IT is true of the Chinese, to a greater
degree than of any other nation in history, that their Golden Age is in the past.
The sages of antiquity themselves spoke with the deepest reverence of more
ancient "ancients." Confucius declared that he was not an originator,
but a transmitter. It was his mission to gather up what had once been known,
but long neglected or misunderstood. It was his painstaking fidelity in
accomplishing this task, as well as the high ability which he brought to it,
that gave the Master his extraordinary hold upon the people of his race. It...
CHAPTER XIII. THE ABSENCE OF PUBLIC SPIRIT. THE Book of Odes, one of the most ancient
of the Chinese Classics, contains the following prayer, supposed to be uttered
by the husbandmen:" May it rain first on our public fields, and afterwards
extend to our private ones." Whatever may have been true of the palmy days
of the Chou Dynasty and of those which preceded it, there can be no doubt that very
little praying is done in the present day, either by husbandmen or any other
private individuals, for rain which is to be applied "first" on the
"pubic fields." The Chinese government, as w...
CHAPTER XII. CONTEMPT FOR FOREIGNERS. IT is difficult for the European traveller
who visits the city of Canton for the first time, to realise the fact that this
Chinese emporium has enjoyed regular intercourse with Europeans for a period of
more than three hundred and sixty years. During much the greater part of that
time there was very little in the conduct of any Western nation in its dealings
with the Chinese of which we have any reason to be proud. The normal attitude
of the Chinese towards the people of other lands who chose to come to China for
any purpose whatever, has been the a...
CHAPTER XI.THE ABSENCE OF NERVOUS.IT is a very significant aspect of modern
civilisation which is expressed in the different uses of the word
"nervous." Its original meaning is "possessing nerve; sinewy;
strong; vigorous." One of its derivative meanings, and the one which we by
far most frequently meet, is, "Having the nerves weak or diseased; subject
to, or suffering from, undue excitement of the nerves; easily excited;
weakly." The varied and complex phraseology by which the peculiar phases
of nervous diseases are expressed has become by this time familiar in our ears
as household wo...
CHAPTER X.INTELLECTUAL TURBIDITYIN speaking of "intellectual
turbidity" as a Chinese characteristic, we do not wish to be understood as
affirming it to be a peculiarity of the Chinese, or that all Chinese possess
it. Taken as a whole, the Chinese people seem abundantly able to hold their own
with any race now extant, and they certainly exhibit no weakness of the
intellectual powers, nor any tendency to such a weakness. At the same time it
must be borne in mind that education in China is restricted to a very narrow circle,
and that those who are but imperfectly educated, or who are not e...