THE fact that in Hartford, both in the District School and in the High School some of my most intimate friends were Chinese boys seems strange as I look back. When I entered the West Middle School, I found a considerable number of Chinese boys there; it seemed natural to have them for playmates. This may have been partly owing to the attractive qualities of these Orientals, and their genius for adaptation.
A distinguished Chinese gentleman and scholar, Yung Wing, was living in Hartford, and it was through his influence that this large group of Chinese boys came there to study and to learn American ways. Every one of them was a patrician, of good family in China, and had as a rule much more spending money than most of the Americans. They had excellent manners, were splendid sportsmen, alert in mind, good at their studies, good at athletics. I do not think I have ever known a finer group of boys and young men. After graduating from the High School at Hartford, they entered Yale, when suddenly the command came from China, and they were all forced to return home.
These boys were dressed like us, except that they wore long queues. When they played football, they tucked these queues inside their shirts and sometimes tied them around their heads; for if the queue got loose, it afforded too strong a temptation for opponents. All our games were of course new to them, but they became excellent at baseball, football, hockey on the ice, then known as 'shinny,' and in