Across the distress of the present I wonder if I shall be able to escape successfully into the sunshine of the past? The attempt is worth making, and, as the crowded months of anxiety flock past, it will grow more and more desperate, as further and further the sunshine recedes, crowded into the background of recollection by multitudinous darkness. Already very far away behind me lie Tien Tang and Chebson, and the huge harsh glory of their desolate land: if I let them slip further they may escape me altogether, or be of no profit to anyone but myself. Let us go, then, for a while out of storm into calm, out of the clamour of guns into the radiant stillness that fills the remote heart of Asia. For, after all, the guns may roar for their time, and lay a world in ruins round us; but now the irises are blooming again at the Halls of Heaven. And when the guns are broken and silent once more, the irises will still go on blooming year by year. But the Halls of Heaven are a long way hence!