Page:My life in China and America.djvu/276

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



there was no other place, he had to give it up.

After this followed an interval of nearly two years, during which he occupied himself with Chinese and other studies, earning his bread by such commercial translation as he could find to do, and waited for the right thing to turn up. He then, in the same hope that led him to his previous experiments, took a place in the Customs Service at Shanghai. But neither did this, on trial, promise, in his judgment, a pou sto for his operations, and he soon abandoned it.

It was now 1860. Five years and nothing accomplished! To one only looking on the outside Yung Wing would appear to have thus far pursued an uncertain and rather thriftless course; but not if he penetrated his real policy and the purpose that lay ever nearest his heart; most assuredly not if he knew — what was the fact — that all this time that he was going from one thing to another and keeping himself poor, he was refusing offers of employment at rates of remuneration that to him, so long familiar with a straightened lot, seemed little short of princely. In 1860, however, overtures were made him by one of the leading silk and tea houses of Shanghai to enter its service as traveling inland agent, which, for the reason in part