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Flash-lights from the Seven Seas   By: (1885-1949)

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First Page:

FLASH LIGHTS FROM THE SEVEN SEAS

WILLIAM L. STIDGER

[Illustration: MT. TAISHAN, CHINA, SAID TO BE THE OLDEST WORSHIPPING PLACE ON EARTH.]

FLASH LIGHTS FROM THE SEVEN SEAS

BY WILLIAM L. STIDGER

AUTHOR OF "STANDING ROOM ONLY," "STAR DUST FROM THE DUGOUTS," "OUTDOOR MEN AND MINDS," ETC.

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

BISHOP FRANCIS J. McCONNELL

ILLUSTRATED FROM PHOTOGRAPHS BY THE AUTHOR

NEW YORK GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1921, BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

DEDICATED TO

MARY I. SCOTT

A WOMAN FRIEND WHO PUSHED BACK THE HORIZONS OF THE WORLD AND LED ME TO THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAIL THAT HAS NO END: THE TRAIL OF DREAMS AND TRAVEL

INTRODUCTION

BY BISHOP FRANCIS J. McCONNELL

The Rev. William L. Stidger is one of the most thoroughly alive men in the ministry today. He sees quickly, reacts instantaneously, and knows how to bring others to a like alertness of mental and spiritual seizure. If it be said of him that he is impressionistic it must be remembered that the impressions are made on a mind of sound purpose and communicated to others for the sake of the truth behind the impression. His narratives of travel do not belong in the guide book category or in that of the scientific geography. But if you wish to know what it would be like to visit yourself the countries described, the reading of Mr. Stidger's sketches will help you. If it be said that what one after all is getting is the Stidger view, it must not be forgotten that the Stidger view is marvellously vital and enkindling. The Stidger vitality is bracing and health giving. It is a tonic for all of us who are getting a little old and sluggish. The contagion of youth and energy are in this book: it will reach and stir all who read.

FRANCIS J. MCCONNELL

Pittsburgh, Pa.

FOREWORD

That vast stretch of opal islands; jade continents; sapphire seas of strange sunsets; mysterious masses of brown skinned humanity; brown eyed, full breasted, full lipped and full hipped women; which we call the Orient, can only be caught by the photographer's art in flash light pictures.

It is like a photograph taken in the night. It cannot be clear cut. It cannot have clean outlines. It can only be a blurred mass of humanity with burdens on their shoulders; humanity bent to the ground; creaking carts; weary eyed children and women; moving, moving, moving; like phantom shadow shapes; in and out; one great maze through the majestic ages; one confused history of the ancient past; emerging; but not yet out into the sunlight!

Such masses of humanity; such dim, uncertain origins of unfathered races; these can only be caught and seen as through a glass darkly.

Paul Hutchinson, my friend, in "The Atlantic Monthly" says of China what is true of the whole Orient:

"In this vast stretch of country, with its poor communications, we can only know in part. When one sets out to generalize he does so at his own peril. The only consolation is that it is almost impossible to disprove any statement; for, however fantastical, it is probably in accord with the facts in some part of the land."

The facts, fancies, and fallacies of this book are gleaned from the rovings and ramblings of a solid year of over fifty five thousand miles of travel; through ten separate countries: Japan, Korea, China, the Philippine Islands, French Indo China, the Malay States, Borneo, Java, Sumatra and the Hawaiian Islands; across seven seas: the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, the North China Sea, the Yellow Sea, the South China Sea, the Malacca Straits, and the Sea of Java; after visiting five wild and primitive tribes: the Ainu Indians of Japan, the Igorrotes of the Philippines, the Negritos of the same islands; the Dyaks of Borneo, and the Battaks of Sumatra; face to face by night and day with new races, new faces, new problems, new aspirations, new ways of doing things, new ways of living, new evils, new sins, new cruelties, new fears, new degradations; new hopes, new days, new ways, new nations arising; new gods, and a new God!

When one comes back from such a trip, having fortified himself with the reading of many books written about these far lands, in addition to his travel, one still has the profound conviction that, after all is said, done, and thought out, the only honest way to picture these vast stretches of land and humanity is to confess that all is in motion; like a great mass of bees in a hive, one on top of the other, busy at buzzing, buying, selling, living, dying, climbing, achieving; groping in the dark; moving upward by an unerring instinct toward the light... Continue reading book >>




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