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Jul 19 1902


The Montreal Herald, Saturday, July 19, 1902

The Departure of Wu Ting Fang

The announcement that Wu Ting Fang has been recalled by the Chinese Government, and that another is to take his place at Washington will be received with profound regret not only throughout the United States but in Canada as well. This little Chinese gentleman has done more to raise his country and his countrymen in the estimation of the people of this continent than any other man. He has quietly convinced us of the absurdity of supposing that the uneducated emigrants who come out here to do our washing are representative citizens of the great oriental empire. He has met us on our own ground and in our own country and has proved to our entire satisfaction that in intellectual acuteness and social graces he is worthy to rank with the ablest of occidental statesmen and diplomats. His broad grasp of affairs and his freedom from prejudice in discussing them are indicative of real greatness. His readiness and aptitude for looking at international affairs from our point of view has gone a long way toward inducing us in turn to bring ourselves to take an occasional glance at things from the Chinese angle of vision and our sympathies have been broadened accordingly. We shall miss the clever pointed saying with which his subtle wit enlivened the monotony of after dinner speeches; and we can only hope that his government has given him "something better," and us a successor who is something like him.

The Tower of St. Mark's

There is scarcely another structure in the world so universally familiar as the campanile of St. Mark's at Venice, says the Philadelphia Times. "No other city has been so frequently depicted as has Venice, and in any general view of the Bride of the Adriatic the campanile is the conspicuous point against the sky. It is so essential a feature in this familiar picture that we can hardly imagine Venice without it, and its sudden collapse will be felt as a loss to the whole civilized world as marring one of the world's greatest monuments."

"It was the type of a class quite numerous in Italy, and there are other towers of more individual importance. But not even Giotto's campanile at Florence bears so significant a relation to a great group of architectural magnificence as did this four-square tower that rose straight out of the pavement at the corner of St. Mark's, pointing heavenward above all the gilded domes and the palace roofs and casting its thin shadow over the most brilliant and beautiful and most famous public square in Christendom. For a thousand years it has stood there; the bells have sounded from it at morning, noon and night, the pigeons have circled about it, and all Venice has gathered at its foot. And yesterday it tumbled down and filled the plaza with its ruins."

"That Venice is built upon a hundred isles, which are mainly reclaimed marshes, is familiar. For many years past the evidence of instability in the foundations of the cathedral itself have been a cause of anxiety to the government. Engineering works of considerable importance have been undertaken to preserve this structure, and the Doge's Palace adjoining, and the columns on the piazetta were reconstructed not long ago. It appears that the campanile only showed signs of danger very recently, and work was to have begun upon it on the very day that it fell." "It's form and details have been so thoroughly studied that there probably will be no great difficultly in rebuilding the tower with the old material, and it is possible in these days to make foundations of concrete that will defy even the tides of the Adriatic. But it will never again be quite the same thing, and it is sad to reflect how Venice, after all these centuries, is wearing out and requires so much restoration as must, with the various inroads of modern invention, destroy much of that bloom of mellow antiquity that gives it its peculiar charm."

The Future Boer Words

As it is likely that within a few months South Africa will occupy scarcely a larger place in the minds of the British Empire at large than any other place of equal distance and importance; and while we are summing up the results of the Boer war in all their various phases, it is rather interesting to note its effect upon the English language. It has undoubtedly brought about an increased familiarity with the more general military terms, which are likely to be used figuratively for some time to come. It have also had the effect of bringing into general use throughout the whole British Empire, words which, before the outbreak of the war, so far as the great mass of the people were concerned, were both figuratively and literally speaking, 'Dutch to us.' How many people outside of South Africa with the exception of the readers of Rider Haggard's novels, could at the beginning of the campaign have told what a "kopje" or a "drift" was, or could have made anything like an accurate guess at the meaning of "trek" or "veldt," or "laager?"

The most interesting aspect of the subject, however, is the speculation as to the likelihood of even the commonest of them being retained in use for any length of time outside South Africa. It is true that most of them have no exact equivalent in English, and for this reason their adoption was perfectly permissible.

But it is equally true that in almost every instance where this is the case, the word stands for some object which is peculiar to South Africa. The curious little mountains with their cuplike summits, which are appropriately denominated "kopjes," the brown "veldt," and the military camp with its ramparts of oxcarts, designated a "laager," are all objects which practically do not exist any place else. Even the term "slim." Which is nearly synonymous with the current expression "foxy," is so peculiarly a Boer characteristic that it is scarcely likely to be applied elsewhere. It is not a reasonable conclusion, then, that when South Africa and the Boers cease to be talked of to any great extent, these words will also drop out of use, and will form no more integral a part of the English language than they did before the war?

There is one word, however, which I do not believe comes under this category; and that is the word "mafficking." The frenzied transports of enthusiasm which marked the receipt of the news that Mafficking had been relieved are likely to remain without parallel for some time. But for that very reason the vulgar and un-resourceful abuser of the superlative may be counted upon to trot it out whenever a mob shows the least disposition to celebrate in a similar manner.

English 'Standoffishness'

The following rather interesting explanation of the Englishman's "standoffishness" from the point of view of an American coronation visitor appeared in a recent issue of the London Daily Mail:- "Since my arrival in London I have kept a sharp lookout in the hope of discovering the cause of the English 'standoffishness' which has been, for so very many years, your accepted characteristic," said Professor G. S. Adams, a writer on educational matter in Nebraska, "and I think I have discovered the cause."

"Let the Englishmen protest as they may, and as they do, the fact remains, that they are a most reserved, silent, serious-faced race. No matter how much you may repudiate haughtiness, the characteristics I mention constitute it."

"You may not intend to be lofty, but you are. All nations have noticed it-some resent it. But, really, you cannot help it."

"I used to believe your hauteur came from pride in ancient lineage, and from the attitude assumed by your public schools. After mixing with you here in London, and coming to understand you better, I find that birth and education have little if anything to do with it. Yours is a 'geographic standoffishness.' The fact that you are surrounded by water accounts for it all."

"Thousands of year before you were a nation your island said to all other lands: 'Excuse me, sirs, but I do not wish know any of you. You are good fellows, and all that, but you will oblige me by keeping your distance.' Only trouble has come to me from over seas."

"No nation has ever been able to draw alongside you, either to fraternize with you or to fight you as the spirit moved. You live cheek by jowl with no one either as a nation or as an individual. Through the ages the individual has absorbed from the soil and the soil's own geographic reserve. An Englishman could no more live 'un-standoffishly,' if you will pardon the word, than a Swiss could inhabit the Alps without yodeling."

"This characteristic has been accentuated by dwelling long in crowded places. Being under the eyes of strangers at every turn you have come to act without caring a rap what gaze is upon you. To people who are unfamiliar with being under observation, you are 'shy', in fact, your very naturalness appears uncouth."

"You will talk from corner to corner of a crowded railway carriage with a friend in as natural a tone as though the two of you were quite along. Some people misunderstand this attitude-personally, I like it."

A Simpler Explanation

It seems to me after reading the article above that Professor Adams has gone a long way to discover something which needed no discovery, and has given a very far-fetched explanation for what is one of the most natural things in the world. Five minutes thought on the matter will, I believe, make it clear to anyone that the free and easy style of the American and the reserved manner of the Englishmen are just what one might reasonably expect to find in a new and an old country respectively.

In the old pioneer days when it was a rarer thing to meet a man than a bear or a wolf, and when a backwoodsman and his family might go for weeks or even months without seeing a living person outside of some half dozen neighbors, it was an event of importance to come across a human stranger, and it would have seemed unnatural to have passed without speaking. In a small settlement where every individual knew every other one and his affairs, it was but a logical conclusion that the advent of a stranger should be a matter of interest, and should arouse a desire to become acquainted with his circumstances and affairs. In rural districts to-day it is the custom for two strangers, meeting on the road to pass the time of day, and even to a city-bred man the interchange of such greetings seems but a natural act. It is this a hail-fellow-well-met spirit which comes as an inherited instinct even to the residents of such great cities such as New York and Chicago.

In England, on the other hand, conditions have been the very opposite. For centuries its people have been as accustomed to contact with crowds of their fellow-men as to the presence of the air they breathe, and they give as little thought to one as to the other. In their case it is unconscious realization of the impossibility of knowing everybody they meet that has become instinctive. The Englishman does not look down upon the men he does not know. But living the greater part of his life in one place, and having his own circle of friends, many of whom are no doubt the children of their father's friends, he takes it for granted that other men are similarly situated, and does not trouble himself about prospecting for new acquaintanceships which may be mutually advantageous.

The difference in the attitudes of the two peoples as nations is accounted for on the same grounds of age and youth, with the corresponding experience and inexperience. As a nation, the United States may perhaps be compared to a half-grown puppy, when it first begins to run about on the streets. Its experiences in it's owners backyard were somewhat limited. It's little world treated it kindly and made much of it. It is true that the butcher's boy had on one occasion struck it with a stick; but then he was abnormally vicious, and was not to be taken as a sample of the world at large. And so as soon as it gets out of the gate it sidles up, in friendly fashion to the first man it sees. Expecting a caress, it receives a kick, and is hurt, grieved, indignant. Hearing the sounds of combat between two other canines, he rushes to the spot barking wildly with excitement. His action is immediately interpreted as interference and he receives snubs and menacing growls from both contestants, which may be followed by more drastic measures if he persists. An older dog would have known that even friendly overtures were as likely to be received with a kick as with a caress and would have run no chances. He would have left others to settles their own disputes. In doing so he would not have exhibited pride, churlishness or timidity; he would merely have shown that he had learned by experience that the wisest plan is for every dog to mind his own business and allow others to mind theirs.

The Man Who Kicked The Prince

Harry How, an English journalist, and the only man on earth who ever kicked the Prince of Wales, has just died. His feat was a unique one, but Harry How preferred not to boast of the fact. He spoke of it with fear and trembling, and often used to wonder whether it could be constructed into an act of high treason, and whether Traitor's Gate and a Tower dungeon were yearning for him. The incident occurred when he was a boy at Paul's School. One afternoon while the youngsters were at play, the two young Princes, Albert and George, paid an unexpected visit to the school. Boy-like, they were principally attracted by the games, and Prince George was specially interested in the "giant stride."

He wanted to try it. So it was arranged that His Royal Highness should take one of the ropes and some selected boys were allotted to the others. And young Harry How happened to be the boy placed immediately behind Prince George. They started their swinging leaps around the pole, and the fun grew fast and furious. Suddenly, carried away by excitement, How found himself also carried off his feet by the impetus of the giant stride. His boots were in the air, he was hanging by his arms. So he kicked out madly for a footing. And, the back of Prince George being horribly close, the present Prince of Wales received a kick from the agonized Harry How before he had realized the possibility of such a startling event.

A Curious Wound

An Eskimo arrow of walrus ivory, found imbedded deep in the breast of a Canadian gray goose, is on exhibition in a gun store at Spokane. The goose was shot a few days ago by John Cochran near Liberty Lake. As he picked up the big honker, weighing fourteen pounds, as he was surprised to see a little piece of ivory sticking from its breast for two inches.

With difficulty he pulled in out, for the flesh had grown around the arrow. Then he saw that it was an arrow eight inches long, and about as thick as a lead pencil. The carvings on the stem where it was tied to the arrow stick are still visible.

No arrow of the sort was ever seen here before. The bird evidently carried thousand upon thousands of miles from the Far North, where it was shot by some Eskimo.

Hypnotized Guards

In a lecture delivered before the King's College Medical Society, Dr. Milne Bramwell gave an interesting sketch of the subject of hypnotism.1 Describing the experiments of Florel, who till recently was medical director of the Burgholi Asylum and one of the professors of the University of Zurich, he said that he succeeded in hypnotizing nearly all his asylum attendants, both male and female, a large proportion of them profound somnambules. For ten years experiments were made in regard to the use of hypnotism in the night watching of dangerous lunatics. Warders were hypnotized and trained to sleep by the bedside of these patients and to awake the instant they heard them attempt to get out of bed, the hypnotic suggestion being made use of to inhibit all sound, which had no reference to the duty laid upon them, and it was found that warders so hypnotized could perform night duty for six months and work hard all day without showing any signs of fatigue. The results of these experiments were, it is said, uniformly successful, and no accident of any kind occurred.


1 photo of Dr. J. Milne Bramwell to be added here.

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Copyright 2002 Whitehern Historic House and Garden
The development of this website was directed by Mary Anderson, Ph.D. and Janelle Baldwin, M.A.
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