5 thoughts on “And I’d Be the King of China

  1. This luxuriously upholstered book has 48 pages, a colour frontispiece and four black and white pictures.
    Its subtitle is: ‘The Strange Life of Charles Welsh Mason’
    It is numbered 23/85.
    I may comment on it below when I read it.

  2. And I’d be the King of China M.V.
    “At present, we do not even know his date or place of death.”
    To cast a Birth Chart one needs the date and place of birth, and preferably the time of day, too. For a Death Chart one needs similar at the point of expiry, so this engaging portrait of a Byronic Jekyll and Hyde is necessarily incomplete, but I admire the rigorous research needed even for such incompletion of already such an obscurely incomplete life, even with Shiel-like or Corvo-like books in his name but not in the general public gaze. For him to become the ‘delightfully improbable’ King of China was equivalent, I guess, not to that of becoming Pope, but to becoming a benign coloniser of people or merely a coloniser of his self. However menial or grand.
    “Such disgust with European expatriates and sympathy with the indigenous people was not unique in its time, but was unusual.”
    The ‘And’ in the title makes it seem an afterthought.

  3. A Little Chinese Party Mr. M
    “…I furtively attacked cold duck, cold chicken, and ham, to get a solid foundation for the main dishes, which seemed to evaporate in my palate.”
    An exquisite repast of a story that would soon evaporate without the Oxford Commas. It is absolutely unmissable as we join Mr M in being subject to a Chinese hospitality of decadently fey coquetries and of misty, opiuminated, post-prandial repartee and canoodling. Believe me, this work, as discovered for us by M.V., is worth alone the price of this sturdy book, which gives a ‘solid foundation’ to such evaporable qualities. Even if it doesn’t provides a tablecloth.

    There follows a checklist of the books by Charles Welsh Mason in his own name and in the name of his pseudonyms: Mr. M and Julian Croskey.
    Was it significant that I read this book today, St David’s Day? With my being half-Welsh.

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