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Every day since learning that upon me the so great honor fall to become Essayist, I have secretly and with great carefulness searched within the libraries of each of our Honored Instructors to find out what Essay is, and to gain information about this thing.
At last, O, so great happiness, I find in Miss Powers' library one great and important book called, "Essay on Man," by Honorable Pope; also one small, unimportant book called, "Studies in Prose Essays." Now surely all these things I can to know about Essay.
All day, all evening, and again next day, I read most secretly, hiding book quickly if any one come near, for no one must know of these readings in Honorable Pope.
"Surely," I say, "By and by I will find part easy to understand." Another day I read and hide away books, yet no more can to understand what Honorable Pope make meaning. This time head ache, eyes ache, heart ache. Truly all too sad, too sorrowful.
Next day have no heart to read more, but try one little while. Then, O too great joy, one part not before found reveal new meaning to me! Here all parts separate with large, plain numbers - 1-2-3 - like questions in great Examination. "Possibly," I say, "one Essay I can do like book of wisdom." The great and wise book say:
"Three roads are open for further expansion of the stimulation of the brain; for the sensory nerve finds three -
1st - Other Sensory nerves. 2d - Sympathetic nerves. 3d - Motor nerves. The transference of its excitation to other sensory nerves, consequently the production of an accompanying sensation in the other than actually stimulated parts, must be confined within a narrow range."
Wonderful! I think at once to begin; can surely write Essay of 1, 2, 3 parts, and then some one very learned will answer questions and I will all things know which for three, four years make deep trouble in my heart.
O too great happiness, I will my Essay at once begin.
Question I - Honorable Pope make much speech of brain, what meaning I know not; Chinese people oldest wisest people in whole world, Chinese people know all learning is put away in stomach. When men know many things all people say, "He have many characters in his stomach."
Foreign people say not so, they say all learning put in brain, top-side head. Foreigner very afraid to let sun shine on head, afraid melt brain - perhaps mix characters.
Dr. Ewing say, "Chinese must of Solar-Plexus take good care." I not know what meaning "Solar-Plexus;" yet I know Chinese people of so great age so great wisdom, surely all will of "Solar-Plexus" take great care.
Question II - One year ago today Miss Sterling call me to room to transcribe for her a letter to a dear friend in Peking, this friend very fond Chinese letter.
I make beginning so -
Honorable and most learned Mme.
Bing Ang. Bing Ang.
"Your detestable and most contemptible friend wishes to know if you have eaten full, and if all of your household have eaten full, and are at peace."
"Your August consideration honorably vouchsafe as I have the honor to rejoice at your august robustness.
Then Miss Sterling stop me and say -
"Read me what is now written." I read; immediately Miss Sterling begin action like one crazy -
"Robustness! - Robustness!" she cry out. "Do you not know that - Robustness - means fat - a most awful insult to offer an American Lady"
Now what I wish most to know is, why is it that the most proper and polite Chinese is the most rude and impolite thing to write to an American lady?
Question III - One day every body run out of House because of loud angry quarrel in garden between Sedia and his wife Eksaw.
Dr. Ewing come quickly and say, "So loud talking must at once stop." Sedia say "Very sorry, Dr. Ewing, but what can do? If Eksaw want to be a man, and be boss, why she no put on skirts and be a man?"
Then Dr. Ewing laugh and say: "O you up-side-down people."
Why all people say Chinese make all things to stand on honorable heads, make honorable insides outsides, make honorable top sides down sides? Truly these things I cannot to understand.
Question IV - Every body know Chinese people greatest inventors in whole world, invent gunpowder, printing press, compass. Why Chinese way not best and wisest? Why, in this College, every body say must read from front to back of book? Why say eye of needle, when they mean nose of needle? Why speak to learned person without taking eye-glasses from face? Why is it best to serve dessert at the end and not at the beginning of a feast?
Dr. Ewing say one day when we go to walk in country, "This road just like one corkscrew," and ask of me the reason why? "Very good reason," I reply. "Chinese people know very well how to protect selves from Gui (devils). Gui always travel in straight line, roads wind around, so Gui no can catch traveler." Dr. Ewing look at me long time then say, "Can it be that after so long time in our great College you still believe such things as these?"
To this I only make reply - "Perhaps when your country become same age as China, you will learn how true these things are that I tell you." Then I take opportunity to tell Dr. Ewing why her friend's little child so very ill. Over the house in which this little child now sick to death grow vines, long vines that cover windows nearly up, and that hang down over roof, and doors, all truly most dangerous vines. Americans not know that Guis can enter house most easily where vines hang down over roofs and doors and windows; another most dangerous thing about this house is it have eaves about top side all turning down also. Now Chinese people can keep wicked devils out of all houses, all temples, because they know to build eaves to turn up, to throw devils into air, so no can come into house. I say surely baby in that foreign house must to die, and I feel very sorry, but can to do nothing because foreigner no listen to what poor ignorant Chinese girl say.
I well know how with whole heart Dr. Ewing love this little child, so one night I creep out so still, and carry long garden shears, and climb on step-ladder of window where baby so very sick, and cut away every little vine where hang down over window. That time very cold, very dark night make me very afraid, because angry Gui may come catch me protecting child, but I so much love little child, will try what can do. Next day Dr. Ewing say - "Dear little baby much better, now will to live." I know and no other know why baby live, but I keep secret down deep in heart, and feel greatest happiness.
"Road Wind Round so Gui (Devil) No Can Catch Traveler"