Women in Red China
Chief foreign correspondent for the London News Chronicle, JAMES CAMERON is one of the first Western observers since 1949 to travel freely in Red China. He covered 6000 miles, accompanied by Communist guides, and when he tired of seeing what they wanted him to see, his stubbornness brought him other encounters and observations still more revealing. His objective account of what is going on inside Communist China he has set forth in his book, Mandarin Red, which is being published this autumn by Rinehart.
by JAMES CAMERON
EVERYBODY had talked and written so much about the new freedom of women in Red China that it had to be a fact, and it was. Probably no other single factor in the Revolution was so revolutionary. The old condition of the Chinese woman had of course been brutal - an almost unbelievable destiny by Western standards and deplorable even by those of the rest of Asia. There were no accepted rights for a woman in the old China—the very birth of a girl was traditionally held to be a misfortune. Malay times I asked, “Is it a fact that female babies were occasionally drowned?" and always I was told, “Certainly. Not invariably, of course, but often enough. In the case of the river by my own village, for example. . . .” Everyone had an example, recounted with the same gravity as the tales of the bad food and the Western imperialism and the unsatisfactory dams; a curious gloomy satisfaction: “You have only to look to see the change.”
The Chinese woman of the old days had been unwanted — not always unbeloved, perhaps, but usually. It was customary for her to be betrothed very young to some child, or occasionally some man, she had never seen; that is not rare in the Orient, but there were not many of the matriarchal compensations of the Hindu wife, and none of the oblivion of the Muslim purdah. After marriage she was to all intents and purposes the slave of her mother-inlaw and her husband; she became an integral part of the new family, and could on no account return home. If her husband died, she could not remarry; or if she did (it was occasionally known) the law would automatically protect her relatives if they killed her to save the family face. There were even more curiously barbaric touches: if the affianced man died before the wedding, the girl could be traditionally compelled to “marry" his memorial tablet, which provided her with every conceivable legal disadvantage. Up until fairly recently there was a great deal of selling into concubinage or the brothels. There was no female right of divorce. An illegitimate child provided no claim on the father. Not one in twenty female children went to school. In the last year of the Kuomintang occupation of Shanghai 6500 babies were found abandoned in the streets.
On the first of May, 1950, the new Government announced the Marriage Law. It abrogated the old “feudal" matrimonial methods as “arbitrary and imperative, based on the superiority of men, indifferent to the rights of children.”The document of the law itself is quite startling, not for any originality in the system it defines but for the hopeless negations it replaces. It opens with the statement: “The New Democratic Marriage is based on the free choice of partners.” It abolishes “bigamy, concubinage, child betrothal, interference with the remarriage of widows, and the exaction of gifts or money in connection with marriage.”It states that marriage requires “the willingness of both parties.”It gives men the right to marry at twenty, women at eighteen. It says, “They have the duty to love one another, to live in harmony, to engage in useful production, to help each other in the building of a new society.”It gives them both the right to retain their own name. Abruptly, in Article Thirteen, it says bleakly: “It is strictly forbidden to drown newborn babies.” Children born out of wedlock “have the same rights as those born in wedlock, and are protected from all persecution and insult.” Each partner has the right to inherit the other’s property. There is a quiet concession to the historic traditions of filial piety: “Neither parents nor children shall maltreat or desert one another.”
It was all astonishing and somehow pathetic, for all its worthiness and solemnity. “They have the duty to lose” — is there such a thing as a duly to love? —“to engage in useful production . . .” They would walk down to the Administrative Office of the Chu, the city district, of the Hsiang, the rural area, and one saw them going off, each preserving his and her own name with steadfast democracy, to the factory for Mutual Aid in building the New Society as required by statute. It seemed very splendid and a little sad: a gray way to legislate for ecstasy. And then you thought of the exhausted young-old women imprisoned in someone else’s kitchen, of the fourteen-year-olds in the Shanghai whore houses, of the village matchmaker extorting his 20 per cent from dowry, of the little girls and the adolescent boys facing each other for the first time across the bewildering nightmare of the marriage bed (for the first night only, it was usually conceded, they had it to themselves, with the old women fretting impatiently in the doorway); you thought of all these things, and legalized free will did not seem so had at all.
With all that, of course, went politics — the suffrage, the committees, the dialectics. It meant the transition of women, in one bound, from the mother-in-law’s scullery to the immutable tables of Marxist-Leninist education. It meant the AllChina Women’s Democratic Federation — and it was no time before I was in the thick of that, sitting in one of Peking’s uncountable and identical reception rooms (the pink wallpaper, the vast and threatening chandelier, the electric-blue upholstery, the endless procession of teacups; if it had not been for the reflective portrait of Chairman Mao it could have been a Woman’s Guild anywhere in South London). The All-China Women’s Democratic Federation is what its name suggests; in the extraordinary extension of fantasy that permeates all contemporary Chinese life this completely Communist organization has contrived to affiliate with the national branches of both the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the YWCA, whose political flexibility in this matter, I felt, could scarcely enjoy the full approval of their headquarters.
“ We Chinese women had to start from nothing - nothing at all,” said the Madame Secretary, “and now look at us,” I did; there were half a dozen of them in the regulation blue uniforms, very earnest and dedicated and less than lovely — how is it, I wondered, that feminist organizations all over the world must be built around a nucleus of characters so outstandingly unfeminine? The ladies of the All-China Women’s Democratic Federation were physically at one with the suffragettes from the word go. The blue boiler-suits did not help.
But their facts were fluent and useful. “The women have reached a high level of patriotism,” said the Madame Secretary. “The textile industry is mostly run by women. In 1949 a Chinese woman could tend twelve looms, now she can handle twenty-five. Of course there’s equal pay. A woman worker gets fifty-six days of maternity leave with pay. Land reform gave women just the same share-out of land as men. A husband can’t tell his wife ‘I feed you’ any more, because all she’s got to say is ‘My work is entered in the Labor Book too.’ ”
The Madame Secretary said this with enthusiasm, and there was a general flutter of applause. “As a matter of fact, women are now about 30 per cent of the country’s working power. And what is more,” said the Madame Secretary, snapping her fingers for the eleventh cup of tea, “they go to school. Thirty-four per cent of the pupils at primary classes are girls. In the high schools it’s a quarter. How many girls went to school in the feudal days? Not one in twenty. Now oxen the old women in the Hsiangs go to adult classes; they want to know how to read. Unheard of.”
Then, inevitably, the facts faded into the textbook maxims; the lesson which could only be admirable in its own right became a bore when touched up and colored with the inescapable phrases. “The vital need to make contact with the masses. . . . A state of emancipation unknown in the capitalist-dominated countries. . . . Thanks to the selfless leadership of Chairman Mao. ...” It could have been wholly and precisely true, but how swiftly the jargon stultified the good ideas, fossilized the excitement of the experiment. The women were always the worst, unable to let a stimulating story tell itself, always forcing one, as they forced themselves, into overemphatic attitudes. I kept nudging the Madame Secretary’s rhetoric back to facts, then it was better; when she got back to figures she was glad and you could see she was glad; she was one of the world’s busy virgins who rock statistics in their arms like infants.
“Of course women are encouraged in industry. There’s legislation to see that they get eight weeks’ leave on full pay if they have a baby. Miscarriages are well looked after, too - fifteen days if you have it in the first two months, thirty days if it’s after that. For working mothers there is a statutory thirty minutes off every four hours for suckling babies. The insurance laws let women retire at fifty —sometimes forty-five, if they’re in a heavy job - on about 55 per cent of their pay. That is a great deal better than men - they don’t retire till sixty.
“Of course we have the vote — Article Eightysix of the Constitution gives women all rights. It has been only five years, and what have they done?”
They had done a great deal. There was Soong Ching-ling, who is Madame Sun Yat-sen, widow of the First Revolutionary, and who is also ViceChairman of the Standing Committee of the State Council and sits on the right hand of Mao (while her sister, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, if one really seeks a paradox, sits across the water on Formosa at the right hand of the man whom Red China officially execrates as a condemned traitor). There is Shuh Liang, who is Minister of Justice. There is Li Teh-chuan, Minister of Public Health. There is Chieh Ying, Minister of Supervision. There is Ho Hsing-ning, Minister for Overseas Chinese Affairs. There is Chang Chin-chiu, Minister for the Textile Industry. They are all women, and where would they have been ten years ago?
“Doubtless washing dishes,” said the Secretary, crisply. “As quite probably so should I.”
DOWN in the quarter where I lived, in the Tung Tan district of Peking, the small streets and alleys net themselves into difficult patterns behind the main avenues, each with its low undulating horizon of roofs tiled Ln unglazed green, each with its street blackboard. The street blackboard was a large rectangle of the plaster wall painted black and covered daily with new columns of chalked characters - items of news, new municipal regulations, directives and suggestions from the neighborhood political center, lowest unit in the chain of party control: the Street Committee.
The Street Leader of my district was Mrs. Chao Ching. I went along with Wei, the interpreter, to see her — the alleys ducked and turned inexplicably; they were gray and drab but completely clean; on almost every corner a vegetable peddler stood gently wailing his wares, and the children played their solemn, personal Chinese games. Mrs. Chao Clung lived not far away, through a doorway into the usual square courtyard inhabited on four sides, with an ash tree in the middle. Her room was bare and bleak, brick walls and a stone floor. Like all Chinese other than the wealthy, she seemed to have the minimum of possessions; however long and full the life, there seldom seems to be anything to show for it. Mrs. Chao had a bed, one tall chest, a table, and three chairs. Chairman Mao hung on the main wall between a photograph of Congressmen (Mrs. Chao had been elected a Deputy for the district) and the bright-red silk pennant that is awarded to Labor Heroes or Model Mothers or anyone similarly distinguished in good works. It was a room where clearly no one had ever relaxed; there was no place to relax in. Mrs. Chao didn’t mind, you could see that Mrs. Chao had never had an idle or contemplative moment in her life - she bustled around pinching out the strands of green tea that looked like sage and smelled of flowers, talking and smiling and stepping over the cat.
She was a woman of fifty, and her husband was a teacher in a primary school. Everyone had told me that Mrs. Chao was a fine example of the Chinese woman of middle circumstances to whom emancipation had come in middle age, who had shown an admirable sense of adaptation and political consciousness; she was a very public-spirited person, everyone said. I don’t know quite what I had expected —something like the Secretary, I suppose, keen-eyed and masterful; certainly not this restless and rather embarrassed little housewife fiddling with the kettle and the enameled teapot. She talked in jerks, with long pauses, until — verysoon the inevitable denouement, with the textbook words taking control.
She had lived around here always. She came from a handicraft family that got some sort of living making paper flowers for old-fashioned weddings. “I was never good at it, but I was allowed to make the leaf part. It was a long time ago, of course. I got married in the usual way - you must know about that; I never saw my husband before the wedding day. I didn’t even know his name. It was all arranged by the others; there was nothing strange in that. Marriages were mainly a matter of mothers-in-law getting a new servant; that was all it amounted to. When you got married you just went to work. All I knew was that I couldn’t ever leave the house, and I was hungry. I got two bowls of noodles a day, and worked—oh, yes, I worked. It wasn’t allowed for me to go to the door of the courtyard without permission. My husband - naturally he was loyal to his mother only; that was the way everywhere. There were so many of us like that. Once a month I was allowed out to the temple and I used to burn a joss in front of the Buddha, just because it was the only thing I ever saw that had a smile. . . . It went on for twenty years.”
I asked here: Where had all this happened? Mrs. Chao looked around in a vague surprise and said, “ Why, here. This house. Where else could it be? How else does a man get a house except as his parents die?” She passed her eyes about the starkempty room; the glass-windowed door into the courtyard with the thin stalking chickens.
“It was hardest during the Japanese occupation. We were very poor. I had three children by then, and an orphan nephew. By and by I used to go out peddling steam-bread and tea to the mule drivers. I know now I should have been even sadder than I was, but what did you do in those days?”
I became suddenly aware that Mrs. Chao was suffering from a deeply strangled emotion; her face continued to look brightly about the room, but she was crying. It was tremendously awkward and painful; it is an impossible thing to pass off a crise de nerfs through an interpreter. It introduced a bewildering new dimension into an impossible situation: you heard the stumbling pain in Mrs. Chao’s voice and saw her furiously flick away a tear, and the words filtered solidly and with gray impassive accuracy through the unemotional voice of Wei, the translating machine. It was like reading Hamlet in Morse code. I muttered something about the time and half rose to go, but Mrs. Chao would not hear of it; the very suggestion restored her instantly to composure. One could see how the baffled bride of twenty years ago had been reincarnated into the Street Leader of today.
“Well, you see how things are now. I suppose in my mind I was waiting for the Revolution all along. Anyhow, I was forty-five when the Liberation came, and I thought I had better do something about it before it was too late. I’m Chairman of the Woman’s Group too; the local Congress meets once a month to discuss our affairs. . . . The Government gave me this task, and of course if meant I had to learn things I didn’t know and do things I’d never done. Don’t think everything changed in a day; you can liberate the women but what about the men? My own daughter - her father was all against letting her go to school; what use is education to a girl? he said, and of course he hadn’t wanted her, anyway.”
But the husband now? I wondered. There was something Chekhovian in this strange household; this was the home to which Chao Ching had come to an unknown husband, to a dominating mother-inlaw, to an accepted but nevertheless dreadful condition of helotry that had lasted twenty years, with the husband always and inevitably on the side of the enemy — and now this: a state that proposed to reverse all these bitter relationships overnight in the name of the law; for the first time in a life full of frustrated resentments and persecution the woman was legislated into equality; what happened to the twenty years of hatred?
“But your husband now accepts the new system — approves it? ”
Mrs. Chao smiled; the single tear had long since gone. “There is no opportunity now for anyone not to accept it. My husband could not take up the old attitudes now. . . . The basis of female enslavement was economic dependence; that was all. It is well known. I’m not exactly independent economically, but I can be any time I like. I could go back to making paper flowers,” she laughed; “it is no longer necessary for unhappy women to hang themselves, or jump in the rivers, or eat opium to escape from their troubles. Certainly there were difficulties with husbands at the transition time, and more still with mothers-in-law. But now the road is made clear, the new society offers to all a future of prosperity and peace-loving harmony; through the example and teaching of our great leaders. . . .”
And there it was again; the spontaneity fled before the thud of the maxims; the words harnessed together in drilled and practiced teams, like circus horses. Mrs. Chao the middle-aged housewife had stumbled over her phrases and had knotted her fingers; Chao Ching the Chairman of the Woman’s Group reached out with easy accomplishment for the clichés of revolution and the texts of the new faith. It proved nothing against her. It proved nothing at all. The only thing it did was arouse once more the usual uneasy doubts of which one tried not to be ashamed. They had introduced me to Mrs. Chao—the two Mrs. Chaos; which one was the real one? Had the first Mrs. Chao, troubled into tears by a memory difficult to endure, been so splendidly schooled that she spoke the Party book as though she had written it? Or — a dismal thought - had the painful moment of emotion been part of the act, the brilliant improvisation to give the moral weight? One thing was sure: I should never know.
She saw me off at the courtyard door that still had the threshold board to keep the devils out, a keen and likable woman who should have been wearing a cretonne apron instead of blue dungarees. Outside in the alley a blind man shuffled along beside the street blackboard beating a pair of little gongs and trailing a board painted with red characters— a fortuneteller and caster of horoscopes; they still practice, even now. But he was wasting his time outside the house of Mrs. Chao; she knew where she was going.
IT WAS dusk when I arrived in Shanghai, at a railway station that was probably more crowded, full of denser swarms of human beings, than any I had seen before in time of peace. Perhaps the surging mobs in the German stations just after the war . . . but this was different; this was multitude in order, in columns-of-route; the thousands of people who packed the alcoves and approaches to the platforms did so with the strictest discipline, herding behind their barriers, shuffling in tight rows at a steady pace, while the loudspeakers called and wailed and whistled. There was no congestion. I walked through a central concourse like an empty field, between hedges of blue uniforms. It was almost eerie. Where does everybody go? I asked, but my interpreter, Big Wei, shrugged. “Wherever they want to, I suppose.” I said that such hosts of people must obviously have waited for tremendous periods — I thought of the platforms of the Indian stations, with the patient armies of peasants camping in turbulent groups, waiting for days. “Frequently they wait a long time,” said Big Wei, “not for the train; for the ticket. Once you have your ticket, you have your seat.”
“But to leave the city—their permits ...” I began to ask, but now we were out in the street, we were shaking hands with whoever it was who was in charge of the arrangements, smiling and looking at the lights of Shanghai.
We drove at a tremendous pace through miles of streets that were more crowded than anything I had seen in Peking or Mukden or even Canton. It was necessary to be in Shanghai only ten minutes to realize how different was its flavor from that of the capital; even through the darkness something appeared of its other-worldliness, its sophistication. Its lights were brighter, its shops were newer; there was an indefinable hint of something different in the crowds. This was clearly a city grown out of a concept that owed nothing to the great China of the hinterland; this had been the bridgehead of the West, and the marks remained.
Shanghai and Peking were in different worlds. It was this sprawling unlovely city of 6.5 million people which presented more than anywhere else the unfathomable paradox of Communist China. The difference showed up in small ways - a richer individuality of dress, a brighter splash of neon lighting, a certain uncowed anarchy among the pedicab drivers, a glimpse of lipstick here and there — but also in the biggest possible of ways: Red Shanghai was still, and of design, one of the most considerable capitalist cities of Asia.
It was still a fact that China’s national processions brought forth, among the People’s Armies and workers and cadres, the extraordinary revolutionary capitalists association, with its banners and its dedication to “good labor relations.”If that seemed symbolic only of lunacy, or perhaps an even less endearing hypocrisy, then the answer was here, in Shanghai. Shanghai was where the policemen in what had been the French Concession still wore French issue military helmets, where a modish Labor Heroine might even wear nylons under her boiler-suit, of orthodoxy, where the great Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank building still stood, with the Red flag at its masthead. In Shanghai everything changed, every problem was different, every argument modified. Here the Government which must “explain” coöperatives to 5 million doubtful peasants, and dialectical materialism to those who burned paper money at weddings, must now persuade a hive of merchants who for decades had lived on the periphery of world commerce to turn their backs on the empty sea and face the enormous land behind.
Chinese private enterprise had always been by definition a good deal more private than most. Now the relations between the Communist government and China’s mass of businessmen was governed by what was probably a good Marxist - Leninist argument, but which nevertheless looked uncommonly like a deviation.
Article Thirty of the Constitution said that the People’s Government “shall encourage the active coöperation of all private economic enterprises beneficial to the national welfare, and shall assist their development.” Not long before, Chou En-lai had said, “The new state of China relies on the big role to be played by the national bourgeoisie.” The words doubtless meant as much or as little as the circumstances might at any time require, but the general position was this: —
The Chinese state controlled all banking, virtually all heavy industry and raw materials — about 30 per cent of the nation’s total economy. Ownership by provincial or municipal governments accounted for another 10 per cent, mostly public utilities. The mixed private-public concerns, an increasing and especially Chinese affair, mostly involving local governments in light industry, was another 10 per cent; and the rural coöperatives another 15. Private enterprise, representing 35 per cent of the national economy, still continued with the largest share. It had not been what I had expected.
No one expected this interim situation to last more than about another fifteen years at the most. Meanwhile the “capitalist” — from the open-air cycle-repair shopkeeper to the owner of the great weaving mill — continued to live in a sort of economic dreamworld, buttressing his philosophy with the consideration that sufficient unto the day was the evil thereof. Nobody was prepared even to guess when, or in what circumstances, the chopper would fall.
THE People’s Court of Shanghai sat in a dim, drear Edwardian relic of a building that was no dimmer or drearier than the usual Sessions in an English province. Moreover, outside the building someone with a gong and a fiddle was rehearsing operatics, which is more than one gets in Birmingham.
Over the judgment seat were two red flags and the usual portrait of Chairman Mao, which was perhaps no less appropriate than the Royal Arms of the Old Bailey.
I did not know what the case would be — it turned out to be a commercial squabble over the sale of a store. Nothing more clearly pointed this ambivalent position of Shanghai, still full of petty industrialists and a few big ones too. The modus vivendi between the capitalists and the Communists became daily more absorbing.
It is possible that anywhere but here the thing would have been a bore— an old man, manager of a shop, was accused in some circumlocutory way of fiddling with the books, misappropriating the proceeds of the sale of the shop, and evading taxation thereon. Nothing here, however, was a bore, least of all the elaborate Communist juridical procedure to determine which of a crowd of palpably undesirable bourgeois traders was in the right over a deal that was certainly about as Marxist as Throgmorton Street.
The presiding judge was one of the ubiquitous young-old experts of the new regime, cool and quick and fair. He sat between two civil assessors — there was no prosecuting counsel; the judge led all the examinations himself, and the defending attorney said never a word except a mitigating plea at the end. A score or so of onlookers filled the benches — the same old blue uniforms on the Bench and off it; a court of boilermakers, like a trade union conference, with no implications of right or wrong. The old man in question was the one individual there who seemed to have absorbed but an imperfect understanding of what the Revolution had been all about. He was a testy old character who spent his time tut-tutting at the witnesses, quite clearly tiring of the technicalities. Yes, yes, he kept on saying — naturally he did this and that; who didn’t? What did they all suppose he was in business for? When they urged upon him that a new and incorruptible world had dawned he said, Very well — why fuss? All this trifling affair had happened before the Liberation. Does anyone here know anything about this sort of transaction? He sat down, shaking his shaven head in exasperation.
It was all intensely fair and reasonable, and I felt a considerable warmth toward the keen young professional jurist presiding over the case. Once, when somebody murmured the words “political situation,” the judge snapped back: “Please understand there are no such things as political considerations here. We are investigating the truth or othervise of certain allegations, none of which remotely concerns politics.” Whenever issues of conflicting evidence occurred the Bench did an odd thing: he recalled both witnesses together, on opposite sides of him, and made them argue it out. The old man kept shrugging, clearly anxious to get back to the shop. From time to time the judge would call out to him, “You see? What do you say to that?” and the irascible old man would growl, “If people will tell lies, what am I supposed to do?”
I was considerably sold on the fairness and expedition of the proceedings. Then — it always happened; the fly devoured the ointment, the great truth became distracted, the blue note intruded on the pleasant chord — after an hour or two of exemplary hearing the judge asked the parties concerned if they felt they had another word or two to add. One side said, I want my money back. The old man said, Nonsense. And then a man with a notebook rose briskly from the public benches and moved into the well of the court and said:-
“I represent the business community of the district in question, and I consider it my duty to make reference to the great work done by the People’s Government of China in protecting the interests of all, both great and small. I would like to commend the work of the People’s Government in bringing such men as this to trial, for wrong thinking and antisocial behavior, and I trust that the sentence about to be passed upon him will be a warning to others who do not follow the teachings of our leaders.” With that he folded his notebook, slipped it into his pocket, and returned to his place.
This staggering intrusion — which for irrelevance, assumption of guilt, contempt of court, and generally intolerable interference with an otherwise impeccable hearing would have had the man arraigned in two minutes anywhere else - was to my astonishment accepted by the intelligent and shrewd young judge without a word.
“And we hope,” said this sinister visitation from the public benches as he regained his seat, “that the accused man will repent.”
The judge pursed his lips and made no remark.
And quite suddenly, then, a commonplace little case of fraud turned into something with implications too sad to be borne. That was all there was. The old man was sent down for two years, still grumbling; somehow he did not seem to matter any more.
If was weeks later, far from Shanghai — enclosed and bored in the cabin of a river steamer, in fact, with all this past and far away - that I went through my notes on New China and the Law. The country was making a big effort to speed legal processes throughout its unmanageably huge size, to standardize a system of justice in a country that had for centuries defined the law as the unpredictable whim of whoever happened to wield the local stick at the time. To this end they had established 2000 new mobile circuit, courts to tour the countryside, exercising both civil and criminal jurisdiction, acting as investigating and prosecuting agencies in cases of “non-coöperation” or “opposition to Government.”
Then Big Wei, my interpreter, knocked on the door and came in, as he sometimes did, with that air of vague and purposeless indecision that always presaged some awkward and pointed discussion. This time I was wrong; he merely wanted to ask the question put so often, with a motive so obscure as to be usually invisible: Was everything going all right? Of course, I said; everything was arranged with great efficiency.
“Naturally we are always obliged for your comments — criticisms,”he said. He often said it. “Has anything cropped up since we left Peking that struck you, one way or another?”
I was very tired, my head had begun to ache; I felt incapable of a sustained debate on the progress of the People’s Democracy in China. I said everything seemed till right to me.
“I don’t think so,” said Big Wei, “I think you were distressed in Shanghai.”Never once since we left had he mentioned Shanghai or any detail of our stay. “I think you did not like the case in the People’s Court. There was something . . .”
I said, “All right. I did not like it. I thought that by allowing the thing that we both of us remember you bitched up something that you could otherwise have been very proud of.”
He was in no way upset. He nodded, looked at his watch, and strolled toward the door.
“Funny thing,”he said, “but I knew you would say that. I did not forget, either.”