Thursday, May 10, 2012


a INTERVIEW WITH A CHINESE LADY. (specially written for the Press) WELLINGTON, February 19. A door opened, o little lady came in, a slight, gentle figure, robed, in a tunic of brown brocado, reaching to th© knee. A voluminous skirt flowed beneath. A jewelled hand was extended, tin? wide shvv** fell back, disclosing sky-blue silk lining. Th© oval, pallid face was suriutmnuxi by black, shining coils of hair, drawn tightly back irom tho lorelicad. A h-otivy Iriiigo -was worn, wrapped around' a support, which elevated it straight out over tho face—a lac© guarded and expressionless in repose, the face of a. "now woman" of China, educated in th© States., yet a quiet little lady, with a thoughtful personality -behind that- express loniess mask. The conversation proceeded in monosyllables. Then a chord was struck, and animation awoke. Tho English cam© a trillo broken, but as the t>trangcnt«M of a. foreign visitor -wore away, it flow«t fiver and luster, with hen- and ihero an American, slurring of vowels that rang sweetly. "Yes," she said, "Western learning is advancing in Chiua: It i> made cowpuWy lor children to attend school. English is the main language; but other languages aro a.i*o taught. Among the rich peoplo, the j*iris are taugnt at home. Rich Chines hove tutors foi tho children. Boys* nnd girls are taught together, girls till they are sixteen or seventeen. Then logins ilio filial preparation for marriage. There are no .spinsters in China. The women embroider a great dwil. and mako household decorations. They moke gorgeous quilts and other household l tilings. When married, they are dowered m clothes—trunks and trunks of clothes. A Chinese lady may possess «s many as four hundred suits of clothing, and, of course, jewellery- Many pairs ot braoelots, many sets of rings, bed linen, pillow shams, tables, ciuiii-s, all the necessary things for the bed. chamber will bo given a brid© by her mother. This is why iioor people find a big family of girls expensive, and) sometimes they aro sent away to foundling schools—not because they are not as dear to their parenUs' liotirts as boys. Girls aro just as loved as boys. Fathers pet the little giris greatly iv China. I havo four girls and ono boy, and my husband pefcj the girls oven more than th© boy. Everyone knows how tho Chinese, as a nation, love children. "Tho fact that a woman sat ,upon th© thron© of China did not make any difference to the position of Chinese women. 'Educated women do not think she should have reigned in place of her nephew. A nan ought to sit upon th© throne. A man is more able to govern —do you not think?—than a woman. "A few Chines© ladies are going in for modiaino. I "know several Chinese women doctors in Pekin, and a few Chinese ladies are being trained as nurses by tho missions in various parts of China. I know some girls who are studying medicine, at present in America. Tli© rich (people do not like to part with their girls to send them away from home. That is ono reason why they do not go; also, it costs a good deal. Wo have our own doctors. They are clever; even Europeans go to them. A European lady in Melbourne I .met had been cured' by a Chinese doctor. They use herbs a great deal. Our women aro educated in household matters in their own home; they learn to cook, sew, and take caro of the house." "Do men do washing in Ghana?" th© lady was asked. "No. they don't"—and here came a scornful littlo laugh—"you would not get a man to do washing at homo. The women do that, and all the household tasks"—and the voice rang with pride —"the Chinese hero do it because they can moke money at it. The Chinese in New Zealand come from a commercial part; they oome from th© south of China. Wo belong to tho middle of the Empire. I 'have been away from China for eight years. I have only been hack for two months two yearn ago. Anyone brought up in China never likes to go to another country. "Yes, foot-binding is passing away; it has been forbidden by an edict of the Emperor issued several years ago. They do not begin to bind the foot till th© girl is four or five, and then it is (bound always, day and night, or it would! expand. Tho bandages are over three feet long, and it has been vogue over three hundred years; but I know a rich lady who has just taken off th© bandages from her feet, which is painful, for tho feet are tender. I think this is the reason why the Chinese women grow so little. In China there is little loss of infant life, because there is no cows' milk to feet th© babies; each mother feeds her own baby." Th© marriage customs ar© not changing greatly, our visitor says. In the district where her home is the majority of the people are Christian. There is an American Methodist mission, and th© marriage rites ar© the rites of their Church, and of the heathen rites sh© professes to know nothing? Asked as to the subjection of woman, it appears as if woman's power to get her own way held good- in thlo Eastern as well as in the Western world, and the assurance was given that a man in China, if ho is wise, asks his wife's opinion, just as ho does in Europe, ana probably Fails to_ take it and bears th© consequences just tho same in the East as in the West. During the recent anti-Japanese demonstrations in Hong Kong the women wero the most determined opponents, and marched in procession carrying banners in tho streets. It was the first time such a thing had taken place in th© East, and created a profound impression in Chinese, Japanese, and European minds, as heralding a new era in the civilisation of th© Eastern world. Press, Volume LXV, Issue 13354, 20 February 1909, Page 9

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