free ebooks
A Wayfarer in China by Elizabeth Kimball Kendall

Incorrect page numbers in the Illustrations list have been changed.]

A WAYFARER IN CHINA

[Illustration: THE LITTLE "FU T'OU" (CARAVAN HEADMAN)]

A WAYFARER IN CHINA

IMPRESSIONS OF A TRIP ACROSS WEST CHINA AND MONGOLIA

BY ELIZABETH KENDALL

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY The Riverside Press Cambridge

COPYRIGHT, 1913, BY ELIZABETH KENDALL ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

_Published February 1913_

TO THE HAPPY MEMORY OF MY MOTHER THE ONE WHO ALWAYS UNDERSTOOD

PREFACE

A word of explanation may help to an understanding of this record of a brief journey in China, in 1911, in the last quiet months before the revolution.

No one who has ever known the joy of hunting impressions of strange peoples and strange lands in the out-of-the-way corners of the world can ever feel quite free again, for he hears always a compelling voice that "calls him night and day" to go forth on the chase once more. Years ago, for a beginning, I pursued impressions and experiences in the Far West on the frontier,--there was a frontier then. And since that time, whenever chance has offered, that has been my holiday pastime, among the Kentucky mountains, in the Taurus, in Montenegro, in India. Everywhere there is interest, for everywhere there is human nature, but whoever has once come under the spell of the Orient knows that henceforth there is no choice; footloose, he must always turn eastwards.

But really to see the East one must shun the half-Europeanized town and the treaty port, must leave behind the comforts of hotel and railway, and be ready to accept the rough and the smooth of unbeaten trails. But the compensations are many: changing scenes, long days out of doors, freedom from the bondage of conventional life, and above all, the fascination of living among peoples of primitive simplicity and yet of a civilization so ancient that it makes all that is oldest in the West seem raw and crude and unfinished. So when two years ago my feet sought again the "open road," it was towards the East that I naturally turned, and this time it was China that called me. I did not go in pursuit of any information in particular, but just to get for myself an impression of the country and the people. My idea of the Chinese had been derived, like that of most Americans, from books and chance observation of the handful of Kwangtung men who are earning their living among us by washing our clothes. Silent, inscrutable, they flit through the American scene, alien to the last. What lies behind the riddle of their impassive faces? Perhaps I could find an answer. Then, too, it was clear, even to the most unintelligent, that a change was coming over the East, though few realized how speedily. I longed to see the old China before I made ready to welcome the new. But not the China of the coast, for there the West had already left its stamp. So I turned to the interior, to the western provinces of Yunnan and Szechuan. Wonderful for scenery, important in commerce and politics, still unspoiled, there I could find what I wanted.


eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us

freefictionbooks.org is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 freefictionbooks.org - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us