Page:Inside Canton.djvu/223

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tors than sick people, and more masters than scholars. This very exaggerated proposition has yet a degree of plausibility and truth in it. In China, literary degrees open the door to honours and to wealth. No success in life is possible, if the aspirant have not passed the ordeal of the public examinations. The merited privileges which here attend upon learning have the effect of enticing into a literary career great numbers of persons, for whom it is an unhappy one: there is not a family which does not make great sacrifices in order to count a graduate among its members. But in China, as elsewhere, there are "many called and few chosen!" The unlucky candidates are very numerous, and different orders of minds are compelled to seek, in different professions, the means of utilising the knowledge they have acquired. It is not only France which is encumbered with educated young men in search of a vocation. Teaching and medicine are the two pursuits most commonly resorted to by these university men. It sometimes happens, even, that the poor unsuccessful ones devote themselves to school-keeping when young, picking up as they can stray recipes for curing all diseases; and then when their hair begins to turn gray, they suddenly appear in the character of physicians!

I shall not enter upon a discussion relative to the difficulties which the Chinese method of writing presents. We have in France plenty of learned men well able to deal with that subject, and I shall