MUST BACK UP AND LIE DOWN. ~ When Rulers Pass, in That "Rotten Country of China."

November 23, 1908

When Rulers Pass, in That "Rotten
Country of China."

In Arthur P. Spencer, sentenced for the fourth time to a penitentiary, this time to do eighteen months, the federal authorities at Fort Leavenworth have an exceptional prisoner. He is an American, born in China, who speaks Chinese in eight dialects and who lived in that country till he was 21 years old.

"And a rotten country it is," said Spencer when waiting in the federal court in Kansas City last Tuesday. "I see that the emperor and dowager are both dead. Most likely they are. They may have been dead a month. You never can tell over there."

"Did you ever see either of them?" Spencer was asked.

"Neither," he replied, "though I have been in the street when the chairs have been carried past. They make you back up and lie down on the ground as the chairs approach, so that the man in the street does not get a chance to see the faces of the rulers. One may look out of the windows of the houses, but I never happened to be in a house when the chairs came by.

"It is seldom that the emperor leaves the palace. The ring around him sees to that. The ring is so crooked it is hard to call it a ring. Its principal work is to keep the emperor from learning anything, so it surrounds him with superstition and keeps him locked up."

Spencer does not think much of the Chinese mandarins.

"They are all scoundrels," he said. "They could not be mandarins and not be. But the reform party is growing and one day there will be an end to the mandarin. The reformers in this country are to be known by their short hair. Some of the orthodox Chinese have their queues cut off, but not many. The reformers all have their hair cropped. Their headquarters are in the United States."

Explaining the "Six Companies," Spencer said there are six dialects in China, each of them difficult to understand. In order to facilitate business each dialect has a representative in a common company, from which cause the name grew.