Page:My life in China and America.djvu/277

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



that it would send him touring through a wide extent of country and possess him, by observation, of a knowledge that he deemed would be useful to him, he determined to accept. This business he followed for a year, and then, seeing a good chance for it, set up in a business for himself which proved so profitable a venture that, had he continued in it, he would, to all appearances, have speedily become rich. As it was, he made a very considerable sum of money.

But in 1862 the door of the opportunity which he had been constantly feeling after from the day he landed in China, unexpectedly opened to him.

It was in this wise: While in the city of Shanghai, he made the acquaintance of a Chinese astronomer — a man of rank and of eminence in learning. Or rather, the astronomer, who had in some way gained intelligence of Wing's antecedents, sought his acquaintance for the sake of talking astronomy with him. In repeated interviews through which their acquaintance progressed to the degree of mutual friendly regard. Wing, who had carried away from college a better knowledge of astronomy than most graduates do, told him all he knew, which was a long advance upon his own previous acquisitions in