Reflected Glory in a Bottle

PREFACE Snuff bottles made in China are one of China's never-ending delights. They demonstrate not only the skill of the maker but also his artistry and inventiveness. What other people can use a bent brush to inscribe tiny characters on the inside of a small bottle? And now comes Emily Byrne Curtis with a collection of snuff bottles containing portraits. This must be a unique presentation. It brings vividly to mind people who lived not long ago. 1 am reminded of a meeting inside the awesome precincts of the Forbidden City in 1921 when Hsu Shih-ch'ang, a Hanlin scholar, then President of the Republic, graciously received a group of us. He was a highly respected official throughout his long career. Lu Cheng-hsiang was another distinguished figure on the scene in Peking, as well as in several capitals abroad. I happened to be in France in May 1919 when he and Dr. C. T. Wang refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles, which delivered the province of Shantung into the hands of the Japanese. There was great rejoicing in the Chinese community in Paris that night. Mr. Lu's colleague, C. T. Wang or Wang Cheng-t'ing), was a friend for several years. A graduate of Yale (class of 1910), he had served initially as secretary of the Y.M.C.A. in Shanghai. At the time of the Peace Conference in February 1919 there was a meeting at Versailles of all the men, Chinese and foreign, serving the Y.M.C.A. for the Chinese laborers who had been brought over to work behind the lines of the French and British armies. I had just been demobilized from the United States Army and was assigned to work with them. C. T. made a stirring speech. I recall vividly his main theme: "What we Chinese need is fighting spirit!" And finally there was Liang Tun-yen, a statesman who had been in the first delegation of Chinese boys despatched to the United States for their secondary and college education. He maintained a fine home in Peking and rose to be Minister of Foreign Affairs. l used to play tennis frequently with his two sons. At the time of his death a considerable number of Chinese one-time schoolmates of his turned up for the funeral. It was extraordinary to hear them chatter in English, with a perfect New England accent, about their recollections of Hartford in the 1870s. It was Liang who negotiated with the United vi