Re-encounters in China

Re-encounters in China

A writer named Tang Tao, who came to see us in Peking, presented us with a book of his newly published essays open to a page with a photograph that he eagerly pointed out to me because I was in it. It was a picture of a group taken in the garden of Soong Ching-ling’s house on a day in 1933 when George Bernard Shaw came to lunch. In the group, left to right, were Agnes Smedley, Shaw, Soong Ching-ling, myself, dark hair glinting in the sunlight, most of me covered by the figure of Tsai Yuan-pei,the liberal educator, Lin Yu-tang, at that time one of the editors of a Shanghai journal, China Critic, in which he wrote a column already well-known for its sardonic humor, and finally, at the far right, the small figure of Lu Hsun, with his stiff black hair, his brush of a mustache and heavy dark brows, squinting at the camera. I stared at the picture with a sudden rush of memory and feeling. I remembered the occasion well, if not this picture, and I was glad to have it as a souvenir. Just how much of a souvenir it was, I had yet to learn.

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Lima