23rd October 1931
Letter : Herbert Davy (
PAGE 1 :
( Send letters via Siberia and
address to c/- Dr. Borcic Weishengshu,
** Part of this letter was written in ship stationary.
you and all the others ( Rustom, Ali, Chanji, Meredith, Margaret & Esther )
are all well; here the weather is very fine plenty of sunshine and cool air. I
was glad to get off the boat for several reasons. There are a number of
Europeans here - diplomats, advisors of all nationalities, and a growing number
of experts from the
( We shall be in all about 15 League people soon).
PAGE 2 :
Now at the beginning there seems to be money difficulties in regards to the teaching of English - western standards are so inapplicable to any thing in the East. It would seem that I shall have more leisure than I anticipated when speaking to you about this ; there are 2 terms, one from September till the end of January, and the second term from the last week in February till end of June. Then 40 days vacation.
PAGE 3 :
I am very disappointed because so far I have received no letters, this may be due to misdirection ( ie. the wrong address ) or to accidents and bombs that have interrupted the Trans-Siberian & Chinese railways.
PAGE 4 : ... with whom most of my time will be spent. But through the language classes that the remaining 1,930 students must all attend, I may see a little of the majority though theoretically they are not in my department. But I shall have to help the language teachers to evolve more efficient methods of teaching English, if I can.
Europeans and Siamese in the ports and on the boat told me the most depressing
PAGE 5 : ( 25th October )
No moral courage - endless bribery & "squeeze" and corruption - inefficiency - no religion Of any kind - chaos & banditry - unsafe for a foreigner to walk in the streets of Nanking - communistic students.
I am relieved to find the Chinese I have met pleasanter than one group of my fellow-passengers !
will realise that the work would be very gradual and very difficult if the
above standards were wholly true. A diplomat confirmed from his own experience
my own impressions about the boat - ( I mentioned my impressions in a letter
PAGE 6 :
living in a hotel until the house which the Swiss Professor and I are to share
is found. Whether it is the political uncertainty, the endless crowds and
poverty stricken coolies in the street outside; the organization of the teaching ; or just the suspence that
starting a new job involves ; I find it very difficult to think of you and our
friends. More difficult than on the boat. The atmosphere of
PAGE 7 :
on the ship nor here in the hotel can one get fresh vegetables or proper
variety - here it is dangerous to eat
any vegetables or fruits from the ground because the Chinese use
human X night soil for manuring all their crops.
Similarily there is no water supply of drainage in
The last few days I have had to eat fish and poultry at least ( best ) once a day. When I have my own cook it will be easier to arrange my diet. I am sorry, but do not see how I could avoid it.
PAGE 8 :
I had to (be) inoculated for Cholera - I tried to avoid it but in the end I concentred. Owing to refugees, cholera and other diseases about.
lunch with the "Minister of Home Affairs", we had a long talk about
Gandhi and his passive resistance movement in
This letter will sound rather pessimistic, perhaps because I don't start my regular lectures till next Tuesday - I shall then, I hope, be more optimistic and confident.