Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/385

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311
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA

Christ's teachings as they make the daily round of work and pleasure, and generally they confine their formal religious observances to one day of the week, if as often. The Chinese, to be sure, is one of the most superstitious of men, but there is little more religion in his fears than is implied in the practices of many a Westerner. He never builds a straight entrance into his house, for he believes that evil spirits cannot move in a curved line; and across the world, people who call him names because of this refuse to sit down thirteen at table. The malign influences appeased, the average Chinese goes his way untroubled or unconsoled by any thought concerning that which is to come, or at most he strives to acquire merit, not for a week only, but for the whole year, by some pilgrimage much more strenuous than church-going. Like the Western man of to-day he also is impatient of priestly control, and is apt to say slighting things of his spiritual leaders. His mind is set, not on things above, but on the bread-and-butter, or, more precisely, rice, aspect of life. The scale of rewards is different, but the mainspring of daily living is much the same in the Far East and the Far West.

Or put it in another way: with Chinese and man of the West alike, national standards, national aims, all bear the mark of the industrial world. In America and in Europe the chief concern is industry, industry in the large sense, agriculture, manufacture, com-