Monday, May 10
You know how there are always stories floating around in your family about past generations and their "goingsons"! You know what I mean. The ancestor who was a member of royalty, the German professor at Cambridge, the brewer of poteen who went to jail, [ hang on there that one was true!]. Well one of my favorites as a child was about the relative who was the first Britisher to walk the Wall of China after the Chinese rulers opened up their country to foreigners. In the bookcase at home in Belfast was one entitled ," Old Highways in China". I didn't think then to read it. It was next to the 12 volumes of Arthur Mee's Childrens' Encyclopedia, and dwarfed by the volumes of The Great War. I had a look at The Seven Pillars of Wisdom which was there as well, and found very little of use in it for my teenage years! So on my last visit back to Ireland I borrowed the book from my sister and read it. I was astounded at the amazing travel story that I read there. The book was written by Isabelle, the wife of Dr. Williamson a relative on my mother's side, and is an account of her travels through a part of China in the mid 19th C.