Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/268

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to offer, but well aware of the difficulty, indeed, the impossibility, of meeting them through the ordinary channels of missionary effort, Mr. Davidson hit upon the idea of starting a social club where men of standing, Christian and non-Christian, European as well as Chinese, might mingle on an equal footing. The plan proved successful from the start. Largely through the interest of a Chinese gentleman of Chung-king an attractive house has been put up and equipped with newspapers, books, games, and the beginnings of a museum, and here in the reading and recreation rooms some of the best business men of the city meet for social intercourse, discussions, and occasionally a lecture on such up-to-date subjects as X-rays, tuberculosis, and, very recently, the American Constitution. It is now open every day and evening except Sunday, and already it is making itself felt in the life of the city.

Mr. Davidson kindly planned for me to visit the Friends' Institute, as the club is called, and to meet some of the Chinese committee by which it is managed, for very wisely things are left as far as possible in the hands of the natives. For two hours or more I had the pleasure of talking with these gentlemen, and I was much impressed with their keen interest in outside matters. All were of a type new to me, quiet, dignified, interested, with the fine manners of the Chinese gentleman, but without the rather