SUNDAY, December 22.
We allowed our guide to leave us for to-day, and strolled about alone. In the early part of our walk we heard music - a harmonium and a well-known old hymn tune - and on entering a building found Rev. Dr. Hopper preaching in Chinese. We had entered at the wrong door, and were among the women, who are separated from the men by a high, solid wall; but Mrs. Hopper rose and conducted us to the other side, and after service the Doctor came and greeted us cordially. We spent an hour in their house, and were surprised to hear that both were old Pittsburghers. There were at church that morning about thirty Chinamen, all of the poorer classes, principally servants and dependents of Europeans. In the afternoon we stumbled upon the large Catholic cathedral, which is now almost ready for use. It is a magnificent granite structure, three hundred feet long and eighty-eight feet wide. If anything can impress the Chinese mind it must be grand mass in such a temple, with its vaulted roof, stained windows, the swelling organ, and all the "pride, pomp, and circumstance" of Catholic worship. As we stood admiring, the saintly bishop approached and greeted us with exquisite grace. He could not speak English, but. his French was the easiest to understand of any I ever listened to, and my little knowledge of the language enabled us to carry on an interesting conversation. When I told him I had been in St. Peter's at Rome, and had seen the Pope when the assembled thousands fell prostrate before him as he advanced up the aisle, carried upon his palanquin, he seemed much affected, and pressed us to visit his quarters, apologizing, as he showed us into a poor one-story building, for the poverty of his apartments, but adding that the true pretre Catholique must needs dwell in poverty among the poor of the earth. I asked if he did not expect to return to France to die; but, laying his hand upon his heart, he answered that he must not allow himself to think of France, since it had pleased God to place him here. For thirty years he had labored among these people, and among them he must die; it was the will of God. There were only a table and a few chairs in this bishop's palace, not even a mat or carpet on the floor; but he ordered a servant to bring wine, of which he only tasted, while we drank "sa sante ." He subsequently took us to the orphanage, where we saw eighty boys being educated. About an equal number of little girls are in a separate building. If the Chinese are ever to be reformed, this is the way to do it - get control of the young, and teach them. As for the older generation, I fear it is too late to do much with it. There are in and around Canton about five thousand Chinese Catholics, mostly recruited, I understand, from among the young, taken by these sagacious workers into their schools and orphanages and other institutions, and educated as Christians from their youth up.
When I told the good Bishop we spent our summers at Cresson, very near Loretto, and often drove to Count Gallitzin's tomb, he grasped my hand and gave me his benediction. Oh, blessed man! a grand Catholic, Father Gallitzin!
Every one has heard of the great wall of China, which stretches across the northern frontier from the sea to the westernmost province, a distance of twelve to fifteen hundred miles. It is fifteen to thirty feet high, with brick towers about forty feet high at intervals along the whole route. This gigantic work was begun in the third century before Christ by one of the greatest rulers of men the world has ever seen, the Emperor Che Hwang, who hoped that it would prove an insuperable barrier to the inroads of the Tartar hordes. But a still greater warrior than he; Genghis Khan, leader of the Mongols, showed in 1212 that it could be overcome. To this day the Chinese dynasty is Tartar, but the four hundred millions of people remain the same, having assimilated the foreign element. The Tartars are fast becoming Chinese, although a difference between the races is still clearly discernible. The Heathen Chinee changes not. The Jews and the Scotch are perhaps the races in Europe who preserve their types with the greatest tenacity, but compared with the Chinese they must be considered plasticity itself. Apart from their overwhelming numbers, which, being of one unvarying type throughout, constitute a mass upon which it is almost impossible to make much impression, one sees how climate and conditions of life in China operate to bring to the Chinese type all foreign elements, and to retain them there. Mrs. McC. has just been explaining to me to-day how much trouble she has to keep her children, for instance, from becoming young Celestials. They are of pure Scotch parentage upon both sides, yet are constantly alarming their fond mother by developing tastes wholly opposed to hers in food, dress, habits, manners, language, everything. It is just the same in India: the child of foreign parents there must be taken home for years before he is seven or eight years old, or he becomes a Hindoo. We have just such differences at home in a less degree. If two brothers leave Boston with their families, one for New Orleans, another for Chicago, the differences in their grandchildren will be very noticeable. The dream of some dreamer, that Englishmen can be grown in Hindostan or Australia, or even in America (or in Ireland, for that matter), will be rudely dispelled by a few weeks' residence in China or India. The opening gowan transplanted from its Scottish glen loses its modest charm and grows rank upon the prairies of the West even in its second year. The shamrock pines away in exile beyond the borders of its own Emerald Isle. Man, the most delicately touched of all to fine issues, is also the creature of his surroundings, even to a greater degree.