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lusts of 'civilized' industrialists. Yet balance, or lost touch with their own they neither copy Japan nor submit people. What is bad in the West — its tamely to foreign domination. They brutality, its restlessness, its readiness think, not in decades, but in centuries. to oppress the weak, its preoccupation They have been conquered before, first with purely material aims — they see by the Tartars and then by the Man- to be bad, and do not wish to adopt. chus. But in both cases they absorbed What is good, especially its science, their conquerors. Chinese civilization they do wish to adopt. persisted, unchanged; and after a few The old indigenous culture of China generations the invaders became more has become rather dead; its art and Chinese than their subjects.
literature are not what they were, and Manchuria is a rather empty country, Confucius does not satisfy the spiritual with abundant room for colonization. needs of a modern man, even if he is The Japanese assert that they need Chinese. The Chinese who have had a colonies for their surplus population, European or American education real
, yet the Chinese immigrants into Man- ize that a new element is needed to churia exceed the Japanese a hundred- vitalize native traditions, and they fold. Whatever may be the temporary look to our civilization to supply it. political status of Manchuria, it will But they do not wish to construct a remain a part of Chinese civilization, civilization just like ours; and it is preand can be recovered whenever Japan cisely in this that the best hope lies. If happens to be in difficulties. The
they are not goaded into militarism, Chinese derive such strength from their they may produce a genuinely new four hundred millions, the toughness of civilization, better than any that we in their national customs, their power of the West have been able to create. passive resistance, and their unrivaled national cohesiveness, — in spite of
III the civil wars, which merely ruffle the surface, - that they can afford to de- So far, I have spoken chiefly of the spise military methods, and to wait till good sides of the Chinese character; the feverish energy of their oppressors but, of course, China, like every other shall have exhausted itself in interne- nation, has its bad sides also. It is discine combats.
agreeable to me to speak of these, as China is much less a political entity I experienced so much courtesy and than a civilization the only one
that real kindness from the Chinese, that I has survived from ancient times. Since should prefer to say only nice things the days of Confucius, the Egyptian, about them. But for the sake of China,
. , Babylonian, Persian, Macedonian, and as well as for the sake of truth, it would Roman empires have perished; but Chi- be a mistake to conceal what is less adna has persisted through a continuous mirable. I will only ask the reader to evolution. There have been foreign in- remember that, in the balance, I think fluences first Buddhism, and now the Chinese one of the best nations I Western science. But Buddhism did have come across, and am prepared to not turn the Chinese into Indians, and draw up a graver indictment against Western science will not turn them into every one of the great powers. Europeans. I have met men in China Shortly before I left China, an emiwho knew as much of Western learning nent Chinese writer pressed me to say as any professor among ourselves; yet what I considered the chief defects of they had not been thrown off their the Chinese. With some reluctance, I
mentioned three: avarice, cowardice, planation, and is due to perception of and callousness. Strange to say, my the vastness of the problems involved. interlocutor, instead of getting angry, But there remains a residue which canadmitted the justice of my criticism, not be so explained. If a dog is run over and proceeded to discuss possible reme by an automobile and seriously hurt, dies. This is a sample of the intellectual nine out of ten passers-by will stop to integrity which is one of China's great- laugh at the poor brute's howls. The est virtues.
spectacle of suffering does not of itself The callousness of the Chinese is
rouse any sympathetic pain in the averbound to strike every Anglo-Saxon. age Chinaman; in fact, he seems to find They have none of that humanitarian it mildly agreeable. Their history, and impulse which leads us to devote one their penal code before the revolution per cent of our energy to mitigating the of 1911, show that they are by no means evils wrought by the other ninety-nine destitute of the impulse of active cruper cent. For instance, we have been elty; but of this I did not myself come forbidding the Austrians to join with across any instances. And it must be Germany, to emigrate, or to obtain the said that active cruelty is practised by raw materials of industry. Therefore all the great nations, to an extent conthe Viennese have starved, except those cealed from us only by our hypocrisy. whom it has pleased us to keep alive, Cowardice is prima facie a fault of the from philanthropy. The Chinese would Chinese; but I am not sure that they not have had the energy to starve the are really lacking in courage. It is true Viennese, or the philanthropy to keep that, in battles between rival tuchuns, some of them alive. While I was in both sides run away, and victory rests China, millions were dying of famine; with the side that first discovers the flight men sold their children into slavery for of the other. But this proves only that a few dollars, and killed them if this the Chinese soldier is a rational man. sum was unobtainable. Much was done No cause of any importance is involved, by white men to relieve the famine, but and the armies consist of mere merce very little by the Chinese, and that naries. When there is a serious issue, little vitiated by corruption. It must as, for instance, in the Tai-Ping rebelbe said, however, that the efforts of the lion, the Chinese are said to fight well, white men were more effective in sooth- particularly if they have good officers. ing their own consciences than in helping Nevertheless, I do not think that, in the Chinese. So long as the present comparison with the Anglo-Saxons, the birth-rate and the present methods of French, or the Germans, the Chinese agriculture persist, famines are bound can be considered a courageous people, to occur periodically; and those whom except in the matter of passive endurphilanthropy keeps alive through one ance. They will endure torture, and famine are only too likely to perish in even death, for motives which men of the next.
more pugnacious races would find inFamines in China can be permanent sufficient — for example, to conceal the ly cured only by better methods of ag- hiding-place of stolen plunder. In spite riculture combined with emigration or of their comparative lack of active courbirth-control on a large scale. Educa- age, they have less fear of death than ted Chinese realize this, and it makes we have, as is shown by their readiness them indifferent to efforts to keep the to commit suicide. present victims alive. A great deal of Avarice is, I should say, the gravest Chinese callousness has a similar ex- defect of the Chinese. Life is hard, and
money is not easily obtained. For the some leader who would ultimately desake of money, all except a very few clare himself Emperor. I suppose it is foreign-educated Chinese will be guilty this element in their character that of corruption. For the sake of a few makes them, in spite of their habitual pence, almost any coolie will run an caution, the most reckless gamblers in imminent risk of death. The difficulty the world. And many emperors have of combating Japan has arisen mainly lost their thrones through the force of from the fact that hardly any Chinese romantic love, although romantic love politician can resist Japanese bribes. is far more despised than it is in the I think this defect is probably due to
West. the fact that, for many ages, an honest To sum up the Chinese character living has been hard to get; in which is not easy. Much of what strikes the case it will be lessened as economic con- foreigner is due merely to the fact that ditions improve. I doubt if it is any they have preserved an ancient civiliworse now in China than it was in Eu- zation which is not industrial. All this rope in the eighteenth century. I have is likely to pass away, under the presnot heard of any Chinese general more sure of Japanese, European, and Amercorrupt than Marlborough, or of any ican financiers. Their art is already politician more corrupt than Cardinal perishing, and being replaced by crude Dubois. It is, therefore, quite likely imitations of second-rate European picthat changed industrial conditions will tures. Most of the Chinese who have make the Chinese as honest as we are had a European education are quite in-- which is not saying much.
capable of seeing any beauty in native I have been speaking of the Chinese painting, and merely observe contemptas they are in ordinary life, when they uously that it does not obey the laws of appear as men of active and skeptical perspective. intelligence, but of somewhat sluggish The obvious charm which the tourpassions. There is, however, another ist finds in China cannot be preserved; side to them: they are capable of wild it must perish at the touch of indusexcitement, often of a collective kind. trialism. But perhaps something may I saw little of this myself, but there be preserved, something of the ethical can be no doubt of the fact. The Box- qualities in which China is supreme, er rising was a case in point, and one and which the modern world most deswhich particularly affected Europeans. perately needs. Among these qualities But their history is full of more or less I place first the pacific temper, which analogous disturbances. It is this ele- seeks to settle disputes on grounds of ment in their character that makes justice rather than by force. It remains them incalculable, and makes it im- to be seen whether the West will allow possible even to guess at their future. this temper to persist, or will force it to One can imagine a section of them be give place, in self-defense, to a frantic coming fanatically Bolshevist, or anti- militarism like that to which Japan has Japanese, or Christian, or devoted to been driven.
THE LETTERS IN SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS
BY ELLEN TERRY
SOME years ago, when I was asked to jected. 'I can't remember any myself lecture on Shakespeare's heroines in the beyond those in The Merchant of Venice, light of the knowledge which I had and As You Like It.' 'That's splendid!' gained of their character through im- I thought. 'If you, who are not at all personating them on the stage, I won- ignorant, can't do better than that, dered if it were possible to find any- there must be hundreds to whom it will thing to say that had not been said be a surprise to learn that there are before. 'If nothing is, that has not been thirty letters, and all good ones! before, how are our brains beguiled!' There is all the more reason for givHowever, I found out, when I applied ing them our attention because they myself to the task, that even Shake- are the only letters written by Shakespeare, about whom hundreds of books
speare that have survived. I doubt have been written, has a little of the whether, as a man, he was a good corunknown. For years it was my trade respondent. He crowded his great to find out, not what he had been to life's work, which has made England others, but what he was to me, and to more honored throughout the world make that visible in my acting. It was than the achievements of her great easier to describe what I saw through soldiers, sailors, and statesmen, into a my own medium, than through one for score of years. He did not begin his which I have had no training; but I am career as a youthful prodigy, and he glad that I tried, because it meant more died when he was fifty-two. What with study of the plays, and so, more delight- adapting plays, creating them, reful experiences.
touching them at rehearsal, writing In the course of this study for my sonnets, acting, managing companies lectures on the women in Shakespeare, of actors, and having a good time with I was struck by the fact that the letters his friends, he could not have had much in his plays have never had their due. leisure for pouring out his soul in letLittle volumes of the songs have been ters. The man who does that is, as a published; jewels of wit and wisdom rule, an idle man, and Shakespeare, I have been taken out of their setting and feel sure, was always busy. reset in birthday books, calendars, and People often say we have no authorthe rest; but, so far as I know, there is ity for talking about Shakespeare as no separate collection of the letters. a man at all. What do we know for I found, when I read them aloud, that certain about his life? But I quite they were wonderful letters, and worth agree with Georg Brandes (my favorite talking about on their merits. 'I Shakespearean scholar) that, given the should like to talk about them as well as possession of forty-five important works the heroines,' I said. "But there are so by any man, it is entirely our own fault few,' the friend, to whom I suggested if we know nothing about him. But them as a subject for a causerie, ob- perhaps these works are not by Shakethese great
speare, but by a syndicate, or by some O DEAR OPHELIA, I am ill at these numfellow who took his name! Why should
bers. I have not art to reckon my groans; we pursue these tiresome theories? I but that I love thee best, 0 most best, bewish we had just one authentic letter
lieve it. Adieu. of Shakespeare's to put a stop to it.
Thine evermore, most dear lady,
Whilst this machine is to him, Otherwise, I should be glad that he left
HAMLET. none behind for posterity to thumb. I don't like reading the private letters
Is this a sincere love-letter? Was of a great man. Print is so merciless.
Hamlet ever in love with Ophelia? I Many things pass in hand-writing,
think he was, and found it hard to put which print ‘shows up.' Print is so im
her out of his life. At the very moment pertinent — flinging open the door of a
when the revelation of his mother's inlittle room, where, perhaps, two lovers fidelity had made him cynical about are communing, and saying to the pub- woman's virtue, this girl acts in a way lic, 'Have a look at them
that fills him with suspicion. She hands people in love! You see they are just as
his letters to her father, allows herself silly as little people. The Browning to be made a tool. His conclusion is: letters ought they ever to have been
You are like my mother; you could act published? The Sonnets from the Portu
as she did.' But he loved her all the same. guese gave us the picture of a great love. I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers The letters were like an anatomical dis
Could not, with all their quantity of love, section of it.
Make up my sum. Now these letters in Shakespeare's
Proteus, in The Two Gentlemen of plays were meant for the public ear
Verona, is one of those professional invented to please it; so we can examine
lovers who are never in love and never them with a clear conscience. Yet they out of it. I can imagine him reeling are true to life. We can learn from them
off love-letters with consummate ease, how the man of action writes a letter,
not caring much to whom they were and how the poet writes a letter. We addressed so long as they contained can learn that, when people are in love, enough beautiful epithets to satisfy they all use the same language. Whether him! Of his letter to Julia we hear only they are stupid or clever, they employ fragments: ‘Kind Julia'; 'love-woundthe same phrases. 'I love you,' writes ed Proteus'; 'poor forlorn Proteus”; the man of genius — and I love you, 'passionate Proteus’ — more of Prowrites the fool. Hamlet begins his let
teus than of Julia, you see! — for Julia, ter to Ophelia in the conventional like many another woman, has, for the rhymes which were fashionable with sake of her self-respect, torn up the letElizabethan gallants:
ter that she is burning to read! She “To the celestial and my soul's idol, pieces the torn bits together, but these the most beautified Ophelia'-—'In her incoherent exclamations are all that her excellent white bosom, these,' and so on. pride has left legible. Proteus's letter
to Silvia we hear complete. It is in the ‘Doubt thou the stars are fire, Doubt that the sun doth move,
fashionable rhyme, affected, insincere, Doubt truth to be a liar,
but quite pretty. But never doubt I love.'
My thoughts do harbour with my Silvia nightly, So far he writes in his character of And slaves they are to me that send them fly‘the glass of fashion.' But he does not
0, could their master come and go as lightly, like the artificial style and soon aban
Himself would lodge where senseless they are dons it for simple, earnest prose: