Page:My life in China and America.djvu/160

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

I was ushered into the presence of the great man of China. After the usual ceremonies of greeting, I was pointed to a seat right in front of him. For a few minutes he sat in silence, smiling all the while as though he were much pleased to see me, but at the same time his keen eyes scanned me over from head to foot to see if he could discover anything strange in my outward appearance. Finally, he took a steady look into my eyes which seemed to attract his special attention. I must confess I felt quite uneasy all the while, though I was not abashed. Then came his first question.

“How long were you abroad?”

“I was absent from China eight years in pursuit of a Western education.”

“Would you like to be a soldier in charge of a company?”

“I should be pleased to head one if I had been fitted for it. I have never studied military science.”

“I should judge from your looks, you would make a fine soldier, for I can see from your eyes that you are brave and can command.”

“I thank Your Excellency for the compliment. I may have the courage of a soldier, but I certainly lack military training and experience, and