Forty Years in South China eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 197 pages of information about Forty Years in South China.

Parts of two letters written in 1852 to his sister Catharine will prove interesting.


“Our work here is continually growing on our hands.  Besides our usual missionary work, I do a little teaching, a little book-making, and a little printing.  You did not know, perhaps, that I am a printer.  We are teaching a few persons to read the colloquial (or spoken) language of Amoy.  But in order to teach this, it is necessary that this spoken language be committed to writing.  It is necessary to have books printed in it.  We have no printing press at Amoy.  I have had some types cut on bone or horn.  With these I print a copy.  This is handed to the carver.  He pastes it upside down on a block and carves the words on the block.  This block is then inked and is made to print other copies.  It is a slow process, but the only one we have at Amoy at present.  I have thus prepared a spelling-book in the Amoy colloquial.  It is not all completed yet.  The carver is busy with the last two or three sheets.  A few of the first sheets were struck off some weeks ago and made up into small books, which we have been using to teach those who are learning to read, until the whole book is complete.  Our printing is not very pretty.  When the caners get more experienced in their work, they will be able to do their part better.  Our plan of teaching is as follows:  On Monday afternoon we have a meeting for women at our house.  Before and after the service we teach them (those of them who wish to learn) to spell.  On Tuesday afternoon, Mrs. Doty meets those who wish to learn, in a room connected with the church.  On Wednesday, Mrs. Doty has a meeting for women at her house.  She also spends a little time then in teaching them.  On Friday, Abby and I go to the church and spend about an hour in teaching.  We cannot expect them to make very rapid progress in this manner of teaching, but it is the best we can do for them at present.  There are two little girls who have been coming to our house every day for more than a month.  They are beginning to read.”

“I must tell you a little of what I have been doing to-day.  This forenoon, among other things, I doctored a Yankee clock.  I bought it in Amoy nearly a year ago for three dollars.  Sometimes it goes, and sometimes it stands still.  But it stands still much more than it goes.  This morning I took it all apart, every wheel out, rubbed each wheel off, and put the clock together again.  It has been running ever since, but how long it will continue to run, I cannot tell.


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Forty Years in South China from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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