To have friends coming to one from distant parts -- is not this a great pleasure? -- Confucius
I do not wonder that the Chinese hate the foreigner. The foreigner is frequently severe and exacting in this Empire which is not his own. He often treats the Chinese as though they were dogs and had no rights whatever -- no wonder that they growl and sometimes bite. -- Sarah Pike Conger
TURN-of-the-century Peking ( Beijing) was the world's filthiest city -- or so foreigners thought. Their letters and diaries rail about "the worst smells imaginable," "the sickening odor," "dusty and malodorous streets," and "dirt, piled in mountains of dust in the summer, spread in oozing quagmires of mud after the rains." They complained it was "impossible to avoid the foul sights and smells" that made Peking "superlatively disgusting even for China" and that "the European eye may perhaps become more or less callous after years of education but the European nose never." They deplored "an infragrant population ignorant of the most elementary laws of sanitation, cleanliness, or decency," content to collect their sewage in great holes at the sides of the unlit streets into which at least one unwary foreigner had tumbled and drowned. The city was nicknamed Pékin-les-Odeurs.
Yet many also wrote lyrically of a unique city that was the most fascinating in the East. Bertram Lenox Simpson, a twenty-two- year-old Briton employed by the Imperial Customs Service, was captivated by this "capital of capitals" with its "unending lines of camels plodding slowly in from the Western deserts laden with all manner of merchandise . . . curious palanquins slung between two