Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/382

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CHAPTER XVI

A FEW FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA

IT is rather presumptuous for the strolling Westerner who can count only months in China to have any impressions at all of anything so huge, so old, so varied, so complicated as China and its people, and still more inexcusable to put these impressions before the world. And yet it may be possible to find some sort of an excuse if one is bent on doing it.

We live to-day in a time of surprises. Turkey is reforming, China waking up, the self-satisfied complacency of the white race has received a shock, and more are feared. Most of us of the West are anxious to get over the wall, or look around it,—we are told it is there,—and see what that other man is really like. We read books written by those who have spent years in China, in Japan, in India, and we realize that they know thoroughly this or that corner of the whole. We talk with the man who has lived his life among the people of the East, and we feel that he has plumbed them to the core—along one line. He has preached to them, he has healed them, he has traded with them, and he knows them as the doctor or the