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Hu Shi: Turn around for marriage

by Berard Jackson 2 months ago in celebrities
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Hu Shi: Turn around for marriage

Long and respect this sentence, can also be a maxim for couples to get along. Respect is respect. Respect each other's personality, there is permanent happiness.

In 1955, after meeting Hu Shi and Jiang Dongxiu for the first time in New York, Eileen Chang wrote: "His wife has a little Anhui accent, and her beautiful round face shows the appearance of her old age, and her attitude is a little awkward. I think she may always be Mr. Shi Zhi's student in some places. It immediately reminded me of what I had read about them being a rare example of happiness in an old-fashioned marriage."

The marriage was made in 1902 when Hu Shi was just 12 years old. Hu Shi was engaged by his widowed mother, Feng Shundi, through the arrangement of matchmakers and eight characters, to Jiang Dongxiu, who lived forty miles away in Jiang village and had his feet bound.

In July 1908, Hu Shi, already a "Xinmin" in Shanghai, wrote to his mother, refusing to go home to get married. His tone was bitter and indignant. In the letter, he wrote: "The man's hands are trembling and he is about to cry. At the end of the sign "son crying book".

Hu Shi's marriage view generally maintains the recognition of the traditional Chinese marriage system, with a little harmony between China and the West that "children also have the right to speak". He believes that love in Western marriage is self-created, while love between old Chinese couples is created by virtue. It is produced after marriage, in the process of mutual compromise and adjustment.

During the 15 years from their engagement to their marriage, Hu Shi and Jiang Dongxiu never met each other, but they corresponded from time to time. Hu Shih lingered in a variety of complex emotions in submission and resistance, and finally did not overturn the marriage because he "could not bear to break the hearts of several people" -- he deeply understood the status of women in the old-fashioned marriage. He asked Jiang Dongxiu to read and write back to him. He expected that "in his boudoir, there would be a place to hold sutras and questions, and the joy of being a couple and a teacher and friend".

But he soon gave up on Jiang's cultural requirements. As he read people's history, he realized one thing: "It is a good thing that a woman can read and write. Neither is it, nor is it necessarily a major defect. The knowledge in books is but one of the hundred lines of character. I have seen many who can read and write but cannot be a good wife and mother. I dare to blame the thought of perfection?"

He encouraged Jiang Dongxiu's humble letter home. Once, Hu Shi wrote back: "Your letter is very good. I read some passages to Qian Dansheng and Zhang Ziying. They all said, 'Mrs. Hu is very capable and knowledgeable. Your letter said, 'Please leave me alone; I have my own opinions. You are too far away to be cared for. 'When they heard this, they all said,' This is a beautiful vernacular letter. '"

Although Jiang Dongxiu is an old-fashioned woman, she is neither rigid nor conservative. During Hu Shi's years at Peking University, Jiang Dongxiu kept two boxes of letters from his admirers, which Hu Shi threw away when he moved. One day, when Jiang Dongxiu was sorting out his letters, he found a "love letter" written to Hu Shi by Xu Fang, a poetess at Peking University. Jiang Dongxiu wrote to Hu Shi: "I have not written to you for one and a half months. I have something very unpleasant to say. I've been answering the mail this time, and there are some letters in it named Mr. Charming. Who is it?" Hu Shi wrote back: "Thank you for your advice. I can tell you that I have written only one letter of remonstrance to Miss Xu. You may rest assured that I will not do you any serious wrong."

When Hu Shi was an ambassador to the United States, one day he put on the clothes Jiang Dongxiu sent and found seven pairs of ivory ears in his pocket. He wrote back, "Only winter scholars would think of these things."

Another time, Hu turned his tie inside out to show a friend a little secret: a $5 bill hidden in a small zipper at the bottom of the tie. Hu Shi said that this is the wife very careful, even if the real robbed, and the 5 dollars can take a taxi back to the Dongcheng apartment safely.

In addition to Jiang Dongxiu's various deeds of focusing on the big and overruling the small, being coarse and fine, and being heroic, her aversion to officialdom and her exhortion to her husband to "never become an official" were classified as "own insight". On November 24, 1938, Hu Shi wrote to Jiang Dongxiu at home: "Now that I come out to work, I often feel ashamed and sorry for you. You've helped me by telling me not to go into politics. If the general women do not know, must hope that men do. You and I didn't think that way for 20 years, so we can live together."

In public, Hu Shi was willing to play the henpecked role. He knew his son no better than his father. His eldest son, Hu Zuwang, once said, "May I ask which one of them proudly proclaimed to the world that traditional Chinese culture was a henpecked culture, would be the real henpecked person? How can a true henpecker, who has tried to hide it, dare to publicize it?" In his later years, Hu Shi once said to his secretary Hu Songping, "This saying is a maxim for couples to get along with each other. Respect is respect. Respect each other's personality, there will be permanent happiness."


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Berard Jackson

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