Intimate China: The Chinese as I Have Seen Them Archibald Little

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Published: July 29th 2009

Kindle Edition

442 pages


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Intimate China: The Chinese as I Have Seen Them  by  Archibald Little

Intimate China: The Chinese as I Have Seen Them by Archibald Little
July 29th 2009 | Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, talking book, mp3, ZIP | 442 pages | ISBN: | 6.73 Mb

It was in the merry month of May, 1887, that I first landed in China- but from the first there was nothing merry about China. It felt bitterly cold, after passing through the tropics- and in Shanghai one shivered in a warm wrap, as the wind blew direct from the North Pole straight at one’s chest, till one day it suddenly turned quite hot, and all clothes felt too heavy.

Every one almost knows what Shanghai is like. It has been admirably described over and over again, with its rows of fine European houses fronting the river, the beautiful public gardens and well-trodden grass-plats interposed between the two- with its electric lights and its carriages, and great European stores, at which you can buy everything you could possibly want only a very little dearer than in London.

There used to be nothing romantic or Eastern about it. Now, darkened by the smoke of over thirty factories, it is flooded by an ever-increasing Chinese population, who jostle with Europeans in the thoroughfare, till it seems as if the struggle between the two races would be settled in the streets of Shanghai, and the European get driven to the wall. For the Chinaman always goes a steady pace, and in his many garments, one upon the top of the other, presents a solid, impenetrable front to the hurrying European- whilst the wheelbarrows on which his womankind are conveyed rush in and out amongst the carriages, colliding here and there with a coolie-drawn ricksha, and always threatening the toes of the foot-passenger.

Too often there are no foot-pavements, and the whole motley crowd at its very varying paces is forced on to the muddy street. Ever and anon even now a closed sedan-chair, with some wealthy Chinaman from the adjacent Chinese city, threads its way in and out among the vehicles, noiseless and stealthy, a reminder of China’s past glories. There are also now wholly Chinese streets in the foreign settlement, where all the shop-fronts are gorgeous with gilding and fine decorative Chinese characters, where all the shops have signs which hang perpendicularly across the street-way, instead of horizontally over the shop-front as with us, and where Chinese shopkeepers sit inside, bare to the waist, in summer presenting a most unpleasing picture of too much flesh, and in winter masses of fur and satin.



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