Identifier

MSS.2.47

Publication Date

11-14-1918

Document Type

Letter

Transcription

30 Seymour Road
Shanghai.
14 November, 1918

Dear Dada:

Your 52nd just came and I wonder
whether you've "sponsored" the boat yet, have
you? I am anxious to hear all about it. A
few days ago, I sent you a money order
for $20.00 to get me some magazines with, have
you received it? And is it enough?

I am glad you like the linen &
lace I sent you. How I wish I could have seen
Grandad in his Service Uniform! Tell him for
me that the humorous twinkle in his eyes
would make one forget his "figger" even were
he ten times larger than he is! Don't you
love the way he crinkles his eyes when he
says something funny?

Well, I didn't tell you much about
Peking or Nanking either, did I?

Peking first of all has practically no
foreign stores, and all the foreigners have to come
down to Shanghai "the Mecca of the Flowery
Kingdom," (Remember?) to get spruced up. The streets [page break]
are on the whole narrow and bumpy, with dust
ten inches thick, & when it rains, the
mud is over a foot thick, and squashy!
Except in the Legation Quarter, the streets are very
winding and narrow. Mule carts are in great
evidence: on the whole belonging to the Manchus.
The Manchu women still effect their ridi-
culously unsightly and tall head-dress, &
their faces are clownish with powder and
paint an inch thick.

The street lighting is most inadequate;
although I will say that their telephone
service beats the Shanghai system. All
the streets' names are written in Chinese, and the
telephone operators understand no English.
Ergo to a foreigner there, it is of not much
use. In Peking, you will find China as
it was before it came under foreign in-
fluence; in Shanghai, you find a city
in most ways not unlike an American city.

Yuan Shih Kai during his short mon-
archical reign spent over 20 million to
build architectural temples to perpetuate his
name. Huge city gates of stone, high impren-
able walls of medieval strength were evi- [page break]
dent. Before the foreigners came into Peking, there used
to be three walls around Peking City; the first wall
was the city wall, then came the inner wall
and finally the wall surrounding the heart of Peking
or the Forbidden City. Some of the walls are now
torn down: but you still see enough remnants of it
to have an idea what it was like.

One day we took a trip to the Great
Wall. It is about 40 feet high and wide enough
to let three carriages pass in parallel column,
and extends for miles and miles.

As far as architectural beauty and
stability, I think we Chinese are not back-
ward.

The houses of the rich and poor are
alike in having stone paved courts: the difference
being in the number of courts and the way in
which they are constructed. Palaces sometimes
have over a hundred rooms, each of which
in one direction or another open to one or more
courts. On the whole, the palaces are of one story
high, but beautifully furnished with brilliant tiles and
carvings. Some of our friends live in these palaces: [page break]
but they have modernized it to such an extent
that I could only get a glimpse of what it
was. I know you will sigh over these improvements; but
when you consider how beastly cold
Peking is without modern appliances & how
devilishly uncomfortable it is to be bundled
up with thick clothing in the winter as
used to be the case of the former occupants,
you won't be so unforgiving. At first I
myself sighed over the modernity, but during
the latter part of my visit, the weather became
so cold that I was glad enough of
them! Fancy the Manchus having stone
flooring in the winter!

We went to the Ming Tombs too. But
I am so sleepy that I must stop now. Will
write again.

Love
Daughter

P.S. We were invited to the President's Reception & my
brother-in-law Mr. Kung was ordered by the President to
his office. He wanted to consult Mr. Kung on matters of
state. We were too busy to attend the Reception as
we were buying rugs. Fancy that, can you? M.

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