CHAPTER XXII. SOCIAL TYPHOONS. AMONG a population of such unexampled
density as in China, where families often of great size are crowded together in
narrow quarters, it is impossible that occasions for quarrels should not be
all-pervasive. "How many are there in your family?" you inquire of
your neighbour. "Between ten and twenty mouths," he replies.
"And do you have everything in common?" you ask. "Yes," is
the most common reply. Here, then, are fifteen or twenty human beings, probably
representing three, if not four, generations, who live from the income of the
same business or farm,...
CHAPTER XXI. THE ABSENCE OF SYMPATHYATTENTION has been directed to that aspect
of Chinese life which is represented by the term "benevolence," the very
first of the so-called Constant Virtues. Benevolence is well-wishing. Sympathy is fellow-feeling. Our present
object, having premised that the Chinese do practise a certain amount of
benevolence, is to illustrate the proposition that they are conspicuous for a
deficiency of sympathy.It must ever be borne in mind that the
population of China is dense. The disasters of flood and famine are of
periodical occurrence in almost all parts...
CHAPTER XX. BENEVOLENCE.THE Chinese have placed the term "benevolence"
at the head of their list of the Five Constant Virtues. The character which
denotes it, is composed of the symbols for "man" and "two,"
by which is supposed to be shadowed forth the view that benevolence is
something which ought to be developed by the contact of any two human beings
with each other. It is unnecessary to remark that the theory which the form of the
character seems to favour, is not at all substantiated by the facts of life
among the Chinese, as those facts are to be read by the intelligent and
CHAPTER XIX. FILIAL PIETY.TO discuss the characteristics of the
Chinese without mentioning filial piety, is out of the question. But the filial
piety of the Chinese is not an easy subject to treat. These words, like many
others which we are obliged to employ, have among the Chinese a sense very
different from that which we are accustomed to attach to them, and a sense of
which no English expression is an exact translation. This is also true of a
great variety of terms used in Chinese, and of no one more than of the word
ordinarily rendered "ceremony" (li),
with which filial piety is in...
CHAPTER XVIII. CONTENT AND CHEERFULNESS.WE have already seen that the capacity of
the Chinese to bear the ills they have, is a wonderful, and to us in most cases
an incomprehensible talent, which has well been called a psychological paradox.
Notwithstanding their apparently hopeless condition, they do not appear to lose
hope, or rather, they seem to struggle on without it and often against it. We do
not perceive among them that restlessness which characterises the people of
most other nations, especially towards the close of the nineteenth century.
They do not cherish plans which seem t...
CHAPTER XVII.PATIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE.THE term "patience" embraces
three quite different meanings. It is the act or quality of expecting long,
without complaint, anger, or discontent. It is the power or the act of suffering
or bearing quietly or with equanimity any evil — calm endurance. It is also
employed as a synonym of perseverance. That the group of qualities to which
reference is here made has a very important bearing on the life of the people to
whom they belong, is obvious at a glance. The disadvantage arising from a
separate and a distinct examination of individual Chinese cha...