It is rather alarming, even sitting in one’s armchair on the opposite side of the world, to observe the youth of America and England through the various newspapers and periodicals of the times. Especially when one’s days have been spent, placidly enough, among the ultraconservative parents and grandparents of a remote spot in the Far East, where the covert glance of a man for a maid is an outrage, and the said maid is at once fastened yet more securely behind barred courtyard doors.
Dancing on six inches or so of floor-space, the discussion of knees and necks and petting parties, the menace of the movies and the divorce question, are a far cry from this tranquil corner of my cool, wide veranda. I look through the shady screen of drooping mimosas and, bamboos, upon the quiet street of small town in the far interior of China. High brick walls almost hide the curling roofs of the staid, respectable neighbor homes about me. All I can see of the flapper age of maiden within is when a curtained sedan-chair stops behind the spirit wall protecting each great carved gateway. If one watches keenly enough from the corner of one’s eye, one may see a slender figure in peach-colored brocaded silk, with tiny embroidered shoes, and smooth jet hair decorated with seed-pearls, slip shyly through the gate. Fragile, long-nailed fingers stained a deep rose, a satin-smooth, painted cheek, and dark, downcast eyes—an instant, then the curtains are drawn, and the chair-bearers go trotting down the street.