CHAPTER ONE The Diplomats and their Problem

THE inquisitive Western tourist has poked his walkingstick into every nook of China; he has loitered through the grounds of the Temple of Heaven and scribbled his myriad names on its wooden pillars. What he has discovered in his travels, might admit of Sir Thomas Browne's "wide solution". The mind of China was for too many ages sunk into a kind of solipsism, scarcely aware of anything but its own existence, to be so easily penetrated. It was a self-contemplative land, beset by buzzing importunities. The peculiar fascination, indeed, of the China revealed, or half-revealed, by our translations of her unique literature, is in the completeness with which this province of space and time makes its "reality" out of its own surroundings, so that one can hardly imagine the entry of anything foreign. The charm of the Flowery Kingdom lies in its dreaming, through thirty centuries, in one mood, or one landscape of moods melting into one another with an incomparable harmony, as perfect as that of a Chinese painting on silk, or of the image called up in half a dozen phrases of a Chinese poem--clouds floating over the Gorges, the wild geese flying towards the South. Wherever the thick volumes of China's poetry are opened it is the same world, haunted always by the same voices, the same sentiments and familiarities, too poignant, too perfect, ever to be relinquished; a broad moon is climbing the autumn sky, peach-blossoms hang over antique gateways, cups of wine are warmed and books stand on the table to shorten solitary days; there are blue mountains and silken women, slow rivers with stone-arched bridges, the tears and dreams of separated friends, and in the distance the vaguer recesses of feeling that language cannot be forced to express. Chinese painting has the self-same quality of being


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
British Diplomacy in China, 1880 to 1885


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 330

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?