Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/175

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TACHIENLU

transformed the supercilious impassiveness of their class into a serenity full of charm. It is a pity that it is not more often so, but the zeal of the West mars as well as mends, and in imparting Western beliefs and Western learning carelessly and needlessly destroys Eastern ideals of conduct and manner, often more reasonable and more attractive than our own. The complacent cocksureness of the Occidental attitude toward Oriental ways and standards has little to rest on. We have reviled the people of the East in the past for their unwillingness to admit that there was anything we could teach them, and they are amending their ways, but we have shown and show still a stupidity quite equal to theirs in our refusal to learn of them. Take, for example, the small matter of manners, — if it be a small matter. More than one teacher in America has confessed the value of the object lesson in good breeding given by the chance student from the East, but how few Westerners in China show any desire to pattern after the dignified, courteous bearing of the Chinese gentleman. I have met bad manners in the Flowery Kingdom, but not among the natives.

It had been a long, hard pull from Ning-yũan-fu; two weeks' continuous travelling is a tax upon every one, but at no place had we found comfortable quarters for the whole of the party, and as the men preferred to push on, I was not inclined to object. But