Margarete Ward October 16th, 1890 - October 17th 1977
"The reason I was inspired to make the
fortune-telling game, Gong Hee Fot Choy, was to give the American
people a little of the fine philosophy of the ancient Chinese race."
Many persons I meet want to know how I happened to take
up the study of Chinese philosophy; and the teaching of their religions. In the
following I will endeavor to explain.
When I lived in China I was
introduced, by an American friend, to a Chinese gentleman whose name was Kwan
Tsi Ching. Mr. Ching was wealthy, and like all the wealthy Chinese men, owned a
large estate about the size of one of our residential blocks. When I met Mr.
Ching he invited me to his home to visit his family. I never shall forget the
afternoon I went to his home to tea. After a short drive from my home my
chauffeur stopped at a large wall that had an opening just large enough for my
car to pass through. The wall was all of two and a half feet thick and twelve
feet high and on top, bedded in the cement, were large pieces of broken glass
which projected above the wall. As I had learned while travelling in foreign
countries not to ask questions, I made no comment.
When I found myself
inside the high wall and the gates were securely fastened, there greeted me one
of the most beautiful gardens I have ever seen. Smilingly I looked about and was
helped out of the car by one of Mr. Ching's servants and escorted to the big
house that stood majestically in the garden. The servant at the door very
politely escorted me through a spacious hall into the large front or receiving
room. In the hall a massive hand-carved stairway of teakwood led up to the top
floor. As this was the first Chinese home I had ever been in, it was with some
difficulty that I concealed my amazement, but I continued to smile and to give
the impression that I was happy and pleased to be there.
offered to me was dainty as could be, upholstered in brocaded pink silk, and the
framework was light and hand- carved. To be sure, it was not very comfortable;
but it was, as were all the other matching dainty pieces of furniture in the
room, a masterpiece of art. I had no more than been seated, than the servant
left the room very politely, and closed the hall door silently. From another
door, Mr. Ching made his appearance dressed in a gorgeous silk gown and a
Chinese afternoon coat. Following him, bowing and smiling was one of his six
wives, the one that could converse in English.