For Those Concerned About Miss Davis

Barbara Stanwyck as Megan Davis
Barbara Stanwyck as Megan Davis

We haven’t been able to blog since last week, and I’ve been getting cards and letters from people all over the world concerned about Miss Megan Davis, who was swept up in the capture of Nanking by Nationalist forces in the Chinese revolution of 1911.

As recounted by Grace Zaring Stone in The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Miss David left the European Settlement to rescue some orphans, was set upon by a a mob and was rescued by the eponymous General Yen, who happened to come by in his private train.

General Yen wants to return Miss Davis to her medical missionary fiance in Changsha, but, as he reports, certain obstacles have come up:

“In capturing the city of Nanking the troops of General Chen Chien got a little out of hand… A number of people were shot and some were killed, missionaries largely, Doctor Williams of the Nanking College, some ladies, the British Consul too, I believe…”

All very regrettable. So Miss Davis is obliged to make herself at home in the yamen of General Yen,  and I think people are concerned because the general has something of a reputation with the ladies.

And I must say Miss Davis is not exactly helping the cause. One afternoon she sits musing about what a Chinese concubine does all day and she idly picks up a make-up kit and applies some eye powder and lipstick — just, you know, fooling around.

Miss Davis’ European clothes were ruined by the mob, so she is dressed in Chinese clothing, and when she goes down to the nightly poker game, she forgets that she has put on make-up.

Is it any wonder, then, that the general might get the wrong idea?