Letter

Scope and Content

From Peiping [Peking]. He arrived here on Tuesday at lam. Later that day he went to the Central Park at the entrance to the Forbidden City and then to the Coal Hill from which you get the best view of everything. He had tiffin at the Methodist Chapel and spent the rest of the day at the Altar of Heaven, which is in a city all to itself, surrounded by a wood of cedar trees. It is a bit dowdy and not well-looked after. The reality does not match the pictures. Yet it is all vast - these 'old chaps' certainly had great ideas. He spent yesterday at the Yenching University and the Summer Palace, accompanied by [Margaret] Swann. The University has wonderful buildings 'with absolutely Chinese construction on the lines of the Summer Palace in decoration but far more solid than any Oriental ever built. They must have cost a mint of money. Curiously enough there is no Altar of Heaven. The only place for worship is the chapel in the Theological School...' The Summer Palace is wonderful. It consists again of a walled city, enclosing a lake and hills with Imperial buildings scattered around. They saw all that was possible to comprehend in six hours and more besides. Nearly all the old guest rooms are now museums containing priceless jade, porcelain and brass going back as far as the Shang dynasty [1766-1122 BC]. Emily must return to China via Siberia in order to see [Peking]. She should keep the map that he has enclosed. Today he intends to see the Forbidden City, the Lana Temple tomorrow and the P.U.M.C. etc on Saturday before leaving for Shanghai.