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use no description for its own sake. The point is that I must describe my story. The point is that I must imagine all the time.


Therefore you must imagine your story. It is not enough to think it out; you must experience it. However you may express it, you must live it. A painter told me recently that he had made, for his picture of the year, some fifteen sketches in different schemes; this was his exploration of his idea; but this patient recombination, experiment after experiment, would profit him nothing unless he retained and gave out, kept and expressed, his delight in what he painted.

With this correction our advice to let the details go, to express the idea, will be seen to be consistent. We must have details, the right details, and their being right will be evidenced by our pleasure in them. The whole field, therefore, of method, the personality that is in classic method as well as in romantic, can be reduced to keeping one's attention upon the end, the story itself as you imagine it; whatever your method, you will not go wrong if you imagine it out to the end. And it is again better, here and now, to use the illustration rather than the argument; and I shall be fearlessly personal, for these things are not told for their own sake only.

Years ago, in old vacation swimming days, and in a prosy little western river, I used to swim across to the diving log with a notebook and a pencil in my teeth; these implements were deposited on the log; and up from every dive I came to scribble in the notebook another wet-fingered phrase or two, of the under-water world, of how the sun looked like a lamp in a dome, of how

my swimming comrades were turned golden, green, beautiful! For I was writing a poem on Hylas and the nymphs. So in another year I was writing upon a theme whose symbol and image was the wind blowing, and, of course, a girl in the wind; I watched five seasons through, watched and caught at and tried to express those beautiful living images. I remember an undated midwinter in Chicago—or was it New York ?—when at the corners of those deep city canyons every woman became, this instant and that, statuary beautiful as the winged Victory. And so similarly I have filled notebooks with recorded fragments of conversation that seemed to me characteristic of the speakers, or otherwise natural and contemporary habit: as of the young girl who said she was so tired she could taste it; as of the old gentleman who always said, when it began to rain, Well, we must do as they do in Germany,- let it rain"; and of conceiving in each case myself to be the speaker. If I may paraphrase Stevenson, that, like it or not, is the way to learn to tell the truth; whether I have profited or not, that is the way. Live it out for yourself, and all these things shall be added unto you, the rules and the rules, as you grow in wise experience of your own life.



Wu Tingfang has been one of the most influential forces of the last century in bringing together in mutual understanding the peoples of the East and the West. He was born in Kwang-tung province of southern China in 1842 and educated in Saint Paul's College, Canton. He read law in Lincoln's Inn, London, from 1874 to 1877. In 1882 he became closely associated in official life with Li Hung Chang and continued throughout a long life to forward and interpret the international policies of the party that was reshaping the national life of China. He was Chinese minister to the United States from 1896 to 1902 and again in 1908, and was appointed a third time as representative of the newly established Republic of China in 1912. His native talent, his cosmopolitan training, and his fortunate official associations all conspired to make him a faithful and sympathetic interpreter of varied national traits. His engaging frankness overlaying the delicate courtesy of oriental peoples gives us a peculiarly interesting mirror for seeing our national traits as they appear to others. He uses the English language with ease, but with a certain foreign tang that is readily felt, if not so easily pointed out. Wu Tingfang died in 1922.

Much has been written and more said about American manners, or rather the American lack of manners. Americans have frequently been criticized for their bad breeding, and many sarcastic references to American deportment have been made in my presence. I have even been told, I do not know how true it is, that European diplomats dislike being stationed in America, because of their aversion to the American way of doing things.

Much has been written and said about Chinese manners, not only by foreigners, but also by Chinese. One

1 From America Through the Spectacles of an Oriental Diplomat_by Wu Tingfang, copyright, 1914. Reprinted by permission of Frederick A. Stokes Company.

of the classics, which our youth have to know by heart, is practically devoted entirely to manners. There has also been much adverse criticism of our manners, or our excess of manners, though I have never heard that any diplomats have, on this account, objected to being sent to China. We Chinese are therefore in the same boat as the Americans. In regard to manners neither of us find much favor with foreigners, though for diametrically opposite reasons: the Americans are accused of observing too few formalities, and we of being too formal.

The Americans are direct and straightforward. They will tell you to your face that they like you, and occasionally they also have very little hesitation in telling you that they do not like you. They say frankly just what they think. It is immaterial to them that their remarks are personal, complimentary, or otherwise. I have had members of my own family complimented on their good looks as if they were children. In this respect Americans differ greatly from the English. The English adhere with meticulous care to the rule of avoiding everything personal. They are very much afraid of rudeness on the one hand, and of insincerity or flattery on the other. Even in the matter of such a harmless affair as a compliment to a foreigner on his knowledge of English, they will precede it with a request for pardon and speak in a half-apologetic manner, as if complimenting were something personal. The English and the Americans are closely related; they have much in common, but they also differ widely, and in nothing is the difference more conspicuous than in their conduct. I have noticed curiously enough that English Colonials, especially in such particulars as speech and manners, follow their quondam sister colony rather than the mother country. And this, not only in Canada, where the phenomenon might be explained by climatic, geographic, and historic reasons, but also in such antipodean places as Australia and South Africa, which are so far away as apparently to have very little in common either with America or with each other. Nevertheless, whatever the reason, the transplanted Englishman, whether in the arctics or the tropics, whether the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere, seems to develop a type quite different from the original stock, yet always resembling his fellow emigrants.

The directness of Americans is seen not only in what they say, but in the way they say it. They come directly to the point, without much preface or introduction; much less is there any circumlocution or "beating about the bush.” When they come to see you they say their say and then take their departure; moreover they say it in the most terse, concise, and unambiguous manner. In this respect what a contrast they are to us! We always approach each other with preliminary greetings. Then we talk of the weather, of politics or friends, of anything, in fact, which is as far as possible from the object of the visit. Only after this introduction do we broach the subject uppermost in our minds, and throughout the conversation polite courtesies are exchanged whenever the opportunity arises. These elaborate preludes and interludes, may, to the strenuous ever-in-a-hurry American, seem useless and superfluous, but they serye a good purpose.

Like the common courtesies and civilities of life they pave the way for the speakers, especially if they are strangers; they improve their tempers, and place them generally on terms of mutual understanding. It is said that some years ago a foreign consul in China, having a serious complaint to make on behalf

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