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Title: In Eastern Seas - Or, the Commission of H.M.S. 'Iron Duke,' flag-ship in China, 1878-83
Author: Smith, J. J.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: O'Kosiri, 1880.

Iron Duke. Themis. Raiden. Kerguelen. Champlain. Modeste. Naezdnik.


  _Flag-ship in China_, 1878-83.

  J. J. SMITH, N. S.


  To my late Shipmates

  _The following pages are respectfully inscribed._

    Those who voyage beyond sea change their climate
    often, but their affections never.


To write something which shall please one's own friends is one thing; to
undertake the task of pleasing anybody else is another; and, I take it,
a far more difficult one. The writer of the following pages never sought
to sail beyond the peaceful and well-marked area of the first, until
induced--at the suggestions of his shipmates, though against his better
judgment--to venture on the dark and tempest-swept ocean of the second.

The only originality claimed for the narrative is that of introducing
such a manifestly inferior production to your notice.

Shipmates, my little bark is frail; deal gently with her, and--let me
ask it as a special favor--do not blow too fiercely on her untried

Much depends on the title of a book. Does it convey an adequate idea of
the subject-matter? I would claim for mine at least that merit; for is
not every sea over which we have voyaged to the eastward of England?



  We Commission our Ship--Visit Portsmouth--Prepare to Sail        1


  Good-by to Albion--Southward Ho!--Gibraltar                     12


  Up the Mediterranean--Malta                                     26


  Port Said--The Suez Canal--Voyage down the Red Sea--Aden        39


  Across the Indian Ocean--Ceylon--Singapore--A Cruise in
  the Straits of Malacca                                          47


  Sarawak--Labuan--Manilla--Heavy weather                         62


  Hong Kong--Some Chinese manners and customs                     71


  Preparations for the North--Amoy--Wosung, and what befell
  us there                                                        83


  Arrival at Nagasaki--Something about Japan--A run through
  the Town--Visit to a Sintoo Temple                              94


  The Inland Sea--Kobé--Fusi-Yama--Yokohama--Visit to
  Tokio                                                          113


  Northward--Hakodadi--Dui--Castries Bay--Barracouta--
  Vladivostock                                                   131


  Chefoo--Nagasaki _en route_--Japan revisited--Kobé--
  Yokohama                                                       146


  We attempt an overland route, with the result of the trial     159


  The new regime--Something about Saigon--The First Cruise
  of the China Squadron--An Alarm of Fire!--Arrival of
  Flying Squadron                                                181


  Second Cruise of the China Squadron--Principally concerning
  a Visit to the Loo-Choo Isles and Corea--Welcome news
  from home--Conclusion                                          210

  APPENDIX A.--Deaths during the Commission                       i.

  APPENDIX B.--Table of places visited and distances run
  during the Commission                                         iii.


    "We sail the ocean blue, And our saucy ship's a beauty."


On one of those delicious semi-tropical afternoons, which geologists
tell us once bathed the whole of our island, and which even now, as
though loath to part from its one-time home, still dwells lovingly in
Devonia's summer, I wended my way to Devonport Park to feast my eyes
once again on the familiar scenes of early days. What I beheld was a
fair picture--the Hamoaze, with its burden of shapely hulls, and its
beautiful undulating shores of wood and dell, lay glittering resplendent
at my feet. So still and peaceful was it all that the din of hammers,
the whir of machinery, and the voices of men were all blended in one
most musical cadence. Scores of pleasure-boats dot the lake-like surface
of the noble sheet of water, for the most part rowed by the lusty arms
of those amphibious creatures familiarly known as "Jack Tars," recently
let loose from the dear old "Model" or the equally dear "Academy." A
voice, bell-like and clear--surely that of a girl--invited my closer
attention; and yes, there she is! and not one only, but many ones,--one
in each boat, whom Jack is initiating into that wonderfully difficult
branch of navigation--a sailor's courtship!

Now, whatever anybody else may say to the contrary, I hold that the
British tar would scarcely be the "soaring soul" that he is were it not
for the influence--not always a beneficial influence, by the way, of the
softer sex. And here, a word for him with special respect to what people
are pleased to call his inconstancy. With all his vagaries, and from the
very nature of his calling he has many, I think there are few other
professions which would bear weighing in the balance with his and not be
found as wanting in this quality. True, none is so easily swayed, so
easily led; but the fault is not his, _that_ must be laid at the doors
of those who compel England's sailors to a forced banishment for long
periods of years, in lands where it is impossible the home influences
can reach them. Is it a matter of much wonderment, then, if he is swayed
by the new and intoxicating forms which pleasure takes in those
far-distant climes where the eye of Mrs. Grundy never penetrates?

A somewhat curious way in which to commence my narrative, say you? I
think so too, on re-reading it; but with your permission, I will not
dash my pen through it.

Let me, however, make sail and get under way with my yarn.

Cast we our eyes outward once again, beyond the boats with their
beautiful coxswains--I mean _hen_-swains--to where that huge glistening
iron mass floats proudly on the main. Reader, that object is the
heroine, if I may so say, of this very unromantic story. She is in
strange contrast with the numerous wooden veterans around her--relics
of Old England's fighting days. I thought as I gazed on that splendid
ship that, had I my choice, nothing would suit me better than to go to
sea in her.

A month has passed; it is the 4th of July, in the year of grace 1878,
and my wish is likely to be consummated, for I find myself on this
morning, with several hundreds of others, taking a short trip across the
harbour to the "Iron Duke," for so is she named, corrupted by irreverent
mariners into the "Irish Duke."

We skip lightly up the side, or through the ports, bundling boxes, bags,
and hats unceremoniously through anywhere; and find ourselves, though
not without sundry knocks and manifold bruises, standing on the

With a few exceptions we are all West-countrymen, undoubted "dumplings"
and "duff-eaters"--at least, so say our East-country friends, though
experience has taught me, and probably many of my readers too, that at
demolishing a plum pudding the east is not a whit behind the west; in
that particular we all betray a common English origin.

Though our ship's company is, seemingly, young, very young, the men are
growing, and lusty and strong: and bid fair, ere the end of our
commission, to develope into the ideal British sailor. A stranger,
perhaps, would be struck with their youthful appearance; for strangers,
especially if they be midland men, have an idea that a sailor is a hairy
monster, but once removed from a gorilla or a baboon; and if we accept
the relationship to these candated gentry, I don't think his ideas would
be far out--say a dozen years since. But these terrible monsters are all
now enjoying their well-earned pensions in rural quiet, leaving to the
youngsters of this generation the duty of supplying their places in
that great fighting machine--the navy.

The sailor of to-day possesses, at least, one decided advantage over his
brother of the past. In the olden days--not so very olden either--if one
man in a ship's company could read and write a letter he was considered
a genius; now a sailor is, comparatively, an educated man: and if one is
to be found who cannot read and write well, and accomplish far more
abstruse things with his head, he is dubbed--a donkey. He is not now the
debauched ignoramus which has made the English sailor a proverb all over
the world. Education is of little value if it is not capable of changing
a man's habits for the better. There is, however, much room for
improvement in certain national traits; _apropos_ of this, the "Mail"
for September, 20th, 1880, lies before me, wherein the writer, in a
leading article, after giving a description of the combined squadron at
Gravosa, goes on to say, "It is amusing to find that the traditional
impression of an Englishman prevails so largely at Gravosa, Ragrusa,
&c., namely, that he is always drunk, or has just been drunk, or is on
the point of being drunk." Great, though, was the surprise of the honest
Ragusans when they discovered that their estimate of that erratic
creature was at variance with the testimony of their experience of him;
for the writer further adds, "The conduct of our men ashore, the neat,
clean appearance they present, and their orderly and _sober_ behaviour
has been much commented on."

But this is a digression--let me bring to the wind again. At the time of
our arrival on board neither the captain nor the commander had joined.
The first lieutenant was, however, awaiting us on the quarter-deck, and
who, with the promptness of an old sailor, allowed no time to be
wasted, but proceeded at once with the work of stationing his crew.

At length every man knows his place on the watch-bill, and we hurry off
to the lower deck to look after our more private affairs.

It needs not that I enter into a long and dry description of the
peculiar construction of our ship, of the guns she carries, or how she
is fitted out. You yourselves are far more qualified to do that than I
am. After just a cursory glance at these particulars we see about
getting some "_panem_," especially as a most delectable odour from the
lower regions assails our nostrils, betraying that that indispensable
gentleman, the ship's cook, has lavished all his art on the production
of a sailor's dinner. "Man is mortal," so we yield to the temptation,
especially as we are awfully hungry--when is a sailor not so? Few meals
present so much food for wonderment to the landsman as does a sailor's
first dinner on board a newly-commissioned ship; all is hurry, bustle,
and apparently hopeless confusion. Bags and hammocks lie about just
where they ought not to lie; ditty boxes are piled anywhere, and
threatening instant downfall; whilst one has to wade knee-deep through a
whole sea of hats to reach a place at the tables.

A jostling, animated, good-natured throng is this multitude of seamen,
intent on satisfying nature's first demand; for dinner is the only meal,
properly so called, a sailor gets. Nor does it matter much, though the
ship's steward has not yet issued a single utensil out of which we can
dine; such a slight annoyance is not likely to inconvenience men who, in
most things, are as primitive in their mode of living as were our
progenitors in the garden of story. Bear in mind, the object we have in
view is to clear those tables of their frugal burdens--hunks of boiled
beef, absolutely nothing else. What, then, though there be no elaborate
dinner service, so long as the end is attained, and that it is, and in
the most satisfactory and expeditious manner, with scrupulous neatness
and perfect finish, our friends from the shore must bear witness.

A few words, ere we fall to, descriptive of the lower deck, which serves
us for "kitchen, parlour, and all." What an altitude between the decks!
Can it be that those concerns up there are meant for the stowage of
boxes and hats? And see, too, this systematic arrangement of bars,
transverse and upright, is it possible they are anything naval? Their
office, though, becomes apparent when we reflect that there are no
hooks, as in wooden ships, for the hammocks. In this iron age we have
advanced a step, and even sailors can now boast of having posts to their
beds. For the rest, the tables are large and at a comfortable distance
apart; the ports admit a cheerful amount of light and a wholesome supply
of air; and--but there goes the pipe "to dinner," so I will pipe down.

A telegram had been received during the forenoon, announcing that the
captain would join us further on in the day; and accordingly, at about 4
p.m., he arrived. A tall, rather slight made man is our future chief,
upright as an arrow, and with an eye such as one sees in men born to
command men. His reputation comes with him in that vague semi-mysterious
manner--such news does travel--and we hear he is a strict "service"
officer, and an excellent seaman--good qualities both, and such as the
generality of man-of-war's men raise no objection to. Withal we are
told he is "smart," meaning, of course, that there must be no shirking
of duty, no infringement of the regulations with him. His reputation, I
say, came with him, it stuck to him, and left with him. With the
captain's arrival our first day on board came to an end.

On the 6th the commander joined. In appearance he is the direct
antithesis of the captain, being stout, well knit, and of medium
height--the ideal Englishman of the country gentleman type--bluff and
hearty, and with a face as cheerful as the sun.

Let us now pass rapidly over the few intervening days, and start afresh
from July 17th. So much energy and determination had been displayed by
all hands, that long before most ships have half thought about the
matter we were ready for sea. In the short space of twelve days, so far
as we were concerned, we were quite capable of voyaging to the
moon--given a water-way by which to reach her, especially with such a
chief as "Energetic H." at the helm.

On the morning of the 17th, there being nothing further to detain us in
Hamoaze, steam was got up, and ere long we were leaving, for a few
years, the old and familiar "Cambridge" and "Impregnable," the one-time
homes of so many amongst us; and bidding king "Billy" and his royal
consort a long good bye! until Devil's Point hides from us a picture
many of us were destined never to behold again.

Ere long the booming of our heavy guns, as we saluted the admiral,
announced that we had dropped our anchor for the first time in the

After testing speed on the measured mile, powder and shell, and other
explosives, were got on board and safely stowed, though it would appear
that the engineer authorities were not satisfied with the results of the
steam trial. A second trial was therefore deemed necessary, and on this
occasion a sort of fête was made of it; for numbers of officials and
un-officials, with their lady friends, came on board to witness the
result. The day was beautifully fine, and the trip a really enjoyable
one--the cruising ground lying between the Start and Fowey.

July 22nd.--The "long-expected" come at last, namely, the admiral's

There is a purely nautical proverb, or, at any rate, one which is so
common amongst sailors, that it may be considered as such, which says
"Live to-day live for ever;" one of those expressions which, somehow,
everybody knows the meaning of, but which none seem to be able to render
intelligible. Well, this idea is peculiarly applicable to admirals'
visits; for if one can manage to live through such an atmosphere of
bustle and worry, such rushing and tearing, such anxiety of mind, and
such alacrity of movement as follows in the train of the great man, then
surely existence at any other time and under any other conditions is an
easy matter.

It was with peculiar feelings, then, that we received the august Sir
Thomas, over our gangway. Nor were these feelings modified by the
knowledge that Admiral Symonds is a thorough old "salt," a tar of the
old school; and, as such, is, of course, _au fait_ with the weak points
in a ship's cleanliness and manoeuvring. His inspection was, I believe,
extremely satisfactory.

We hoped that with the departure of the admiral we should have been
permitted to land earlier this evening, as a sort of reward for our late
exertions, especially as we have not seen our homes and families by
daylight for some considerable period. Imagine, then, our feelings when
a signal was thrown out at Mount-Wise that we were to perform some
evolution, which would consume all the remaining hours of light. But the
little cherub on the royal truck, which, according to Dibdin, is perched
at that commanding altitude, especially to look out that squalls don't
happen to Jack, came to console us in the--at other times
unwelcome--shape of a deluge of rain. Thus we got ashore earlier,
though, as a set-off against so much happiness, wetter men.

On July 26th orders came that we were to proceed to Portsmouth, to take
in our armament of torpedoes, and in a few hours the Start was growing
small astern as we took our way up channel. We were only a night at sea,
but that a dirty one--not rough, but foggy--such as one usually
encounters in this great commercial highway. Early on the following
morning the Isle of Wight lay abeam, and the view from the sea was most
lovely: the white cliffs of the island, packed in layers like slices of
cake, presenting a learned page out of the book of nature to the
curious. In passing Sandown Bay we caught a distant view of the
operations for raising the "Eurydice." Our thoughts naturally took a
melancholy turn, for many of us had lost comrades--some few, friends--in
that ill-fated ship. But I think one of the leading characteristics of
the sailor is the ease with which he throws off melancholy at will. The
fact is, he encounters danger so frequently, and in so many varied
shapes and forms, that if he put on depressing thoughts every time he is
brought face to face with it, then he would be for ever clothed in that

With a pausing tribute to the dead, and many a silent prayer,
perhaps--for sailors can and do pray--we steamed into Spithead,
forgetting, in all probability, the Eurydice and all connected with her.

As our torpedoes were all ready for us, it was not long before they were
on board and fitted in their places. Our ship was not originally
intended to carry these murderous weapons, so it was necessary to pierce
ports in her sides, two forward and two aft, that they may be
discharged. The staff of the torpedo school brought with them twelve of
these novel fighting machines, at a cost of about £300 each, though £500
is the price paid to Whitehead's firm at Fiume; but as the English
Government has the authority, with certain limitations, themselves to
manufacture the torpedo, they cost England the former price.

After a short trial of the discharging gear outside the circular forts
we shook hands with the land of smoked haddock and sour bread, and
trimmed sails for the west, reaching the Sound by the following morning,
when coaling lighters attached themselves to us before you could say
Jack Robinson.

Work is again the order of the day; for coaling a large iron-clad over
all means some exertion I can assure you. It is most unpleasant work,
nevertheless it has to be done, so we set to work with a will. Dirty as
the ship was, and dirty as we all were, from the copious showers of
diamond dust falling everywhere, yet nothing could daunt our friends
from paying us the usual dinner-hour visit.

It was a curious spectacle to witness that farewell visit, to see coal
begrimed men coming up from below, reeking with sweat, to clasp the fair
hand of a mother, to snatch a kiss from the soft cheek of a sister or
sweetheart, or to feel the lingering embrace of a wife.

      "Then the rough seamen's hands they wring;
      And some, o'erpowered with bursting feeling,
    Their arms around them wildly fling,
      While tears down many a cheek are stealing."


    "Now we must leave our fatherland,
    And wander far o'er ocean's foam."


Farewell, farewell! The last words have been said! How we would have put
off that last hour; how we would have blotted it out, if, by so doing,
we might have avoided that farewell. I never before realised how
impressive a sailor's parting is. Was it really but a few hours since
that loving, clinging hands rested within our own, that we heard the
scarcely breathed words which still linger in our ears? How like a dream
it all seems, and how like a dream it must continue to be, until we
shall once more hear those voices and feel those hands.

Thus felt we as on the morn of August, 4th, 1878, just one month from
the hoisting of the pennant, we rounded the western end of Plymouth
Breakwater, _en route_ for the land of the Celestials. It was Sunday,
and never Sabbath broke fairer than that one, or sun shone more
auspiciously on the commencement of a voyage.

Our friends, I doubt not, are casting longing and tear-bedimmed eyes
after us; and many a handkerchief flutters its good bye long after
objects on the shore have ceased to be distinguishable. Let us leave
them to their tears; for us the sterner realities of life. We are not
going away for ever, I trust; and England's sailors are patriots enough
to feel that their own land, and mothers, wives, and sisters are the
dearest and best in the world. With a short silent prayer, commending
them to God's protection, we take a last look for good and all, at old
Rame Head, and endeavour if we can to banish melancholy.

But are we really at sea? for the ship is so steady, and the water so
smooth, that, without the sense of sight, we have no perception of
motion. Sea voyages are, as a rule, uneventful and monotonous--to the
seaman, at any rate, and ours was no exception.

A few days after leaving Plymouth we were fairly in the bay so dreaded
by ancient mariners, and which is popularly supposed to be for ever

    "Upheaving, downrolling tumultuously."

Many a yarn have I heard old salts spin of this special and favourite
abode of the god of storms: how that the seas were so high that in the
valleys between the wind was taken completely out of a ship's sails;
then, fearful lest each successive wave would engulf her, her trembling
crew see her up-borne with terrible force, and once more subject to the
full fury of the blast: how that no bottom was to be reached by the
heaviest of leads and the longest of lines,--and such-like awe-inspiring
wonders; or, as that most observant of naval poets, old Falconer,
graphically puts it--

    "Now quivering o'er the topmast wave she rides,
    Whilst beneath the enormous gulf divides.
    Now launching headlong down the horrid vale,
    Becalmed, she hears no more the howling gale;
    Till up the dreadful height again she flies,
    Trembling beneath the current of the skies."

We probably crossed Biscay during the time the presiding restless spirit
was taking holiday or sleeping; for a lake could not possibly have
presented a smoother surface. Shoals of porpoises, trying their rate of
speed under our bows; the dull flop of a solitary sea-bird astern,
seeking sundry bits of biscuit or other waste; and the everlasting rythm
of the engines were the only occurrences to mar the sameness of this
part of our voyage.

Internally all the activity usually displayed on board a British
man-of-war was being carried on incessantly; nothing was neglected, and
the captain soon led us to see that "thorough" was his motto, and that
for him there were to be no half measures. Nor did he, during the time
he was with us, ever require of us more than he was ready to undertake
himself. He set us such an example of zeal and activity, that though we
might not altogether have approved, yet we were bound to admire it.

It is the fourth day of our voyage, and we are in sight of the high land
of the Torres Vedras, at the mouth of the Tagus. Far, far away in the
background, like a magnificent panorama, rise the high, time-worn
summits of the Sierras of Spain. On approaching near enough to
distinguish objects we discovered several large baronial castles, or
convents, perched high up on bold pinnacled crags, in positions most
inaccessible and impregnable. One goes back, in fancy, to the feudal
days, and recalls those heroes of our boyish imaginations to the times

    "Knights were bold and barons held their sway,"

with all the consequent ills of that system of government.

Our sails are filled with the balmy breath of Portugal's orange groves
as we continue our southward way. Cape St. Vincent soon rises,
Dungeness-like, right ahead, and we call to mind that this was the scene
of one of England's great naval victories. These rocks, so still and
peaceful now, have resounded to the din of deadly strife, when, in the
year 1797, a Spanish fleet, of twenty-seven sail, tried to wrest the
dominion of the seas from its lawful holders, the English fleet, under
Sir John Jervis, numbering only half that of the enemy.

Next, never to be forgotten Trafalgar is reached. Trafalgar, glorious
Trafalgar! a household word so long as England shall endure. How our
thoughts love to dwell on the deeds you witnessed our fathers do, every
man of whom was a hero.

And now arrives Sunday, August 11th, on which day, after having been
favoured with exceptionally fair weather, Gibraltar, with its mighty
rocky fortress, heaves in sight.

Before we arrive at the anchorage I would beg a slight indulgence of my
readers whilst I twist a yarn about "Gib.;" and as, I think, much of the
interest attaching to a place or object is due to a knowledge of its
previous history, I purpose to give just a rapid and cursory glance at a
few of the leading events connected with the past of the places we

Gibraltar is of Moorish origin, having been named after the famous
Saracen chieftain, Tarik, who made this rock the starting point of his
conquests in Spain. Hence it was called Gib-el-Tarik--the hill of
Tarik--further Europeanized into the modern Gibraltar. This magnificent
natural fortress rises perpendicularly to a height of 1300 feet from the
purple waves of the Mediterranean. It and the peak Abyla, on the
opposite (African) coast, were styled by the Greeks, in their poetical
language, "the pillars of Hercules;" whilst the strait between is said
to have been executed by the same man of muscle, to wile away the tedium
of an idle hour.

The remnants of this now almost-forgotten race--the Saracen--are still
to be found on the northern seaboard of Africa, in the kingdom called
Morocco, where they strive to eke out a scant existence from the arid
plains of that parched and burning clime.

The events I have recorded above happened hundreds of years ago. Let us
leap the gulf of time, and see if there be anything else worthy of note
or interest as bearing upon Gibraltar. I think there is--much that is
interesting to Englishmen. In 1704, Sir George Rooke and Admiral Byng
had made several attempts to engage the French fleet, but had signally
failed. Deeming it undesirable to return to Plymouth in this inglorious
manner, the two leaders determined to win laurels for themselves and
fleet somehow and somewhere--it mattered not where, and they decided on
making a bold attempt on Gibraltar.

It was during this memorable attack that the signal gallantry of the
Royal Marines displayed itself in so brilliant and wonderful a
manner--gallantry which has shed such lustre on the annals of naval
warfare, and gained for them a name and a place second to none in the
British army.

In 1713, on peace being proclaimed, the fortress was ceded to England in
perpetuity; but the Spaniards had no intention of abiding by a treaty
wrung from them at such a cost. The result was that several subsequent
attempts were made to regain the place. At length, in the years 1789-93,
occurred that memorable siege--the greatest, perhaps, on record--when a
mere handful of British soldiers, under General Elliott, successfully
withstood a siege of three years' duration, which settled at once and,
let us hope, for ever the question as to who were henceforth to be
masters here. But it is a bitter pill to the Spaniards; and even now
they can scarcely realize that it does not belong to them. The Spanish
people are continually being buoyed up with the pleasant fiction, that
it is only _lent_ to its present proprietors; for in all documents
relating to Gibraltar, or in all questions raised in the Spanish
parliament touching that place, the British are referred to as being
only "_in temporary possession of Gibraltar_."

The view of the town from the bay is rather pleasing. Before us and far
away to the left, till hid by an eminence, the houses stand out boldly,
terrace above terrace, against the rocky background--their white mass
and gaily-colored verandahs glistening in the sunbeams.

To prevent loss of time, instead of anchoring we were at once secured
alongside the jetty, thus offering a fine opportunity for sight-seers,
who speedily throng the wharf. A most motley gathering that same crowd,
a few were undoubtedly British, therefore nothing need be said of
them--a few more, half-blooded Spaniards; and as we shall become better
acquainted on our visiting the town, we will pass them without comment
also; but one remarkable race, which has its representatives amongst the
sea of faces before us, needs a few words of remark. Their proud,
commanding bearing, clearly-cut features--as if just from the sculptor's
chisel, their sallow complexion--almost approaching a saffron hue, all
are new to us. Red fez caps on a close-shaven head, loose flowing
scarlet tunics, bare legs, and sandalled feet--these clearly betray
their oriental origin. Who are they? Reader, a few pages back I
endeavoured to claim your interest in a people who once owned half
Spain--the Moors: these before you are some of their descendants, and
are a portion of the army of the Sultan of Morocco, here for the purpose
of receiving instruction in gunnery. Though they have such proud looks
they are extremely bashful and restive under our gaze, constantly
shifting their position to escape our scrutiny; as for making a sketch
of one, that is nearly impossible, for immediately he sees you put your
pencil to paper he vanishes in the crowd, as though he had detected you
levelling a revolver at him.

The other dwellers on the soil are a strange mixture of the
Mediterranean race; and as it is impossible to describe them, or say
what they are, we will just be content with the title they are proudest
of--the reptilian one of "rock scorpions"--a tough, hardy people,
though, notwithstanding their doubtful ancestry.

In my description of places I shall always assume that about twenty or
thirty of my shipmates accompany me in my strolls,--we shall get along
much pleasanter, and enjoy ourselves much better thus than if we were
scattered without any end in view: besides, it will be much less
difficult for me, and I shall be enabled to get rid of that
objectionable personal pronoun, first person singular, nominative. I
will, therefore, with your kind co-operation, introduce you to the first
of our series of rambles.

The climate is beautiful and the air most exhilirating, two, at any
rate, of the attributes to an enjoyable walk already manufactured for
us. Passing out of the Dockyard precincts we are at once in the English
quarter. As I said before, the houses are constructed in terraces: hence
we find ourselves continually mounting flights of steps to get from one
street to another, so that there is really little inducement for
pedestrians to move out of doors at all. Vegetation is very scarce, a
want we can scarcely be surprised at when we consider the soil. Of
course, that camel of the vegetable world, the cactus tribe, has its
representatives in this arid, parched earth, where, seemingly, it is
impossible anything else can take root.

As we approach the rising ground, which hides a portion of the town from
our view, we observe the walls of an old ruin boldly outlined against
the pure blue of the sky. This is all that now remains of a Moorish
castle, the last existing monument of that race in Gibraltar.

But we must hurry on, for we have a lot to do: amongst other things, a
climb to where that flag flutters indistinctly in the breeze. After
sundry twists and turns, now up these steps, now down this street, or
that, we find ourselves at the beginning of the ascent, and in as rubbly
and dusty a pathway as one would wish to traverse. What with the ruts
worn by the rain, and the tearing up of the ground by the passage of
heavy ordnance, it would be a difficult matter indeed to select any
particular line of march and call it a road. Travellers ordinarily
engage mules for the journey; we sailors scorn any such four-footed
assistance, though the next time we voyage this way it will be as well
to remember that ankle boots are preferable to "pursers' crabs." As we
advance, the sun's rays are beginning to get unpleasantly warm, whilst
the sand most persistently ignores all the known laws of gravity, by
fixing itself in our eyes, mouths, and nostrils.

Herds of goats, with their attendant shepherds, occasionally cross our
path, changing their pasturage. Query, what do they live on? I don't
think that any of our party have yet seen anything green since we
started, not a blade of grass nor even a moss to relieve the stony
reality of the hard rock.

With what a sigh of relief and satisfaction we reach the top, and enter
within the welcome shade afforded by the signal-house. Refreshments are
eagerly sought after, anything to wash the dust out of one's mouth.
There is no lack of drinks here, very fortunately; beer and stout, and
something--which being put into lemonade bottles passes, I suppose, for
that beverage--are speedily, greedily, gulped down our parched throats.
The supposed lemonade which, by special desire, fell to my lot, was
enough to engender thoughts of disloyalty to a certain lady and her
cause in the mind of the stoutest champion of the league; and I took
considerable credit to myself that I passed scathless through such a
trying ordeal. What stuff! Just imagine, you who are drinking your stout
with such keen relish, and smacking your lips in such evident
satisfaction, imbibing a liquid as hot almost as the surrounding air,
and so insipid that I have tasted medicines far more palatable.
Opportunely I call to mind a proverb of our Spanish friends yonder, "The
sailor who would caulk his boat must not turn up his nose at pitch;" and
as, figuratively speaking, I want to caulk mine, I make a virtue of
necessity, and the obnoxious liquid vanishes.

Having regaled ourselves at a very moderate cost, all things considered,
we are invited to insert our names in the visitors' book. To satisfy a
curiosity we possess we turn back over the pages, to see who has honored
this height with their presence. We find princes from Germany, grandees
from Spain, professors from America, naval officers of almost all
nations, and ladies not a few. One person of a witty and poetical turn
thus records his and his friends' visit:--

  "April 17th, 1878.

      Three friends this day
      Walked all the way
      To the signal station;
      There was W. T.,
      With his chum, C. G.,
      And R. H. of the British nation."

After such an enjoyable rest, suppose we just step outside on the
terrace, and have a look around whilst we "do" our tobacco.

We are at a height of 1255 feet above the level of the sea; and the
fatigue of the ascent is more than compensated by the view of the
splendid natural panorama, spread out like a map around us. The bay of
Gibraltar, with the houses of the town of Algeciras, are distinctly
visible; so, too, is the southern range of the Ronda mountains, the
purple Mediterranean, with the immense jumble of Afric's sparkling
shores, the Atlas mountains, the Neutral ground, and the Spanish lines.
These are some of the objects which never tire the eye. The precipices
below us are amazingly steep, in some cases the heights even overhang.
Many precious lives were lost through inadvertent steps during the first
occupation; and this suggests to me a story I have read somewhere, and
which I will ask your pardon for telling you.

A young officer of the garrison, who with a brother officer was on guard
one day, suddenly missed his companion; and on retracing his steps a
little he saw his poor friend's mangled body about 400 feet below. The
sub, however, made no reference or allusion to this accident in his
report. His commanding officer, on being informed of the sad business,
immediately summoned his subordinate before him, and demanded an
explanation of his conduct, the following dialogue taking place between
them:--"You say, sir, in your report, 'N.B.--nothing extraordinary since
guard mounting,' when your brother officer, who was on guard with you,
has fallen over a precipice 400 feet high and been killed! call you this
nothing?" Our sub, who hailed from 'auld reekie,' thus replied, "Weel,
sir, I dinna think there is onything extraordinary in that; had he fa'n
doon a precipice 400 feet high, and _not_ been killed, I should ha'e
thocht it vera extraordinary indeed, and would ha'e put it doon in my

I think we have found the down journey not nearly so difficult or
wearying as the ascent, for we are in the town ere we are aware of it,
and following in the wake of a throng of people, seemingly all heading
in one direction. As we have still a few hours left us we will accompany
them, and make a study of Spanish life by gaslight.

Graceful, black-eyed women, instinct with loveliness and vivacity, claim
our first notice--first, because they are ladies, and, secondly, because
of their becoming attire and the natural grace of their movements; for
theirs is "the very poetry of motion." We have all possibly seen
pictures of Spanish women, and may have, no doubt, remarked the
head-gear they were depicted with. The flowing lace adornment, reaching
from the head to the shoulders, and from thence thrown in graceful folds
over the back and one arm, is called the "mantilla," and is the
characteristic costume of the ladies of Spain. Each carries a fan in her
hand--no lady is dressed without it--which they use, not so much for the
purpose of cooling themselves as to convey the subtle emotions of the
Spanish female mind. It seems to do the duty of eyes, though they
possess very beautiful eyes, too. What I mean is, that whereas we in our
colder climate generally indicate love, passion, or melancholy by means
of the eyes principally, and through the facial muscles generally, these
ladies interpret all this through the agency of the fan. So skilled are
they in its use, that there is scarcely an emotion, it is said, which
they cannot render intelligible by this means.

To say that we passed them without an impertinent stare is to confess at
once that we are not sailors. This want of manners, or seeming want, is
excusable, I think, insomuch that in our everyday life we see so little
of them, that when we do fall across "the sex" we regard them more in
the light of curiosities than tangible flesh and blood like ourselves. I
see, too, that some of the more susceptible of our party are looking
behind them. "Remember Lot's wife," and remember, too, the blue-eyed
girls of your village homes whom you parted from so recently; for the
Spanish maids, with all their charms, will scarcely bear comparison with
our bonnie English lasses.

We have said something of the "_senoras_," now a word for the
"_senors_." The dress of the men is as picturesque and gaudy as that of
the ladies is not; in the particular, indeed, the sexes seem to have
usurped the other's rights. Young Spanish swells, in colored velvet
breeches and tastefully embroidered leggings, scarlet silk sash around
the loins, and irreproachable linen, with, here and there, one with the
far-famed guitar, improvising amorous nothings for the ear of some
susceptible damsel, abandon themselves to the luxury of the hour in true
Spanish style.

But what is this? Whither has the crowd conducted us? Surely the fairies
have been at work! In other words, we have wandered into the Alameda, or
Public Gardens. I beg to recall a statement which I fear I made somewhat
rashly a few pages back, in which I said that Gibraltar could not
possibly yield any green thing, owing to its miserable soil. I find I am
wrong, for here before us is a perfect greenery. Stately trees,
beautiful blossoms, fragrant and gaily-flowered shrubs, ferns and
grasses--all are here in abundance. How charming it all looked by the
light of many colored lamps! These gardens are evidently the favorite
promenade of all classes of the people--the Spanish don, the English
officer, the Southern Jew, and the swarthy African--all find a place in
its walks, and glide along its various avenues in twos or threes,
according to taste. The strains of the Garrison band, too, invite us to
linger yet, as the sweet airs of the reminiscences of Scotland whisper
among the branches. Sombre-clad priests, in long togas and shovel hats,
bustle about here and there, now talking cheerfully to one lady, now
looking correction at another; but all enjoying themselves with as much
evident pleasure as their more mundane flocks.

The boom of the Citadel gun cuts short all our pleasing reflections, and
we may (very unwillingly it must be confessed) tear ourselves away from
this happy place.

On arriving at the Dockyard gates we are summoned to give the pass-word
by the vigilant guard before we are allowed to pass the ponderous
portal. Those who have read Captain Marryatt's delightful story, "Peter
Simple," and I should hope there are few sailors who have not, will
perhaps recall the amusing scene which took place on this very spot
between lieutenant O'Brien and the soldier on guard.

Our days at pleasant "Gib." are drawing to a close. I feel assured that
we shall carry with us, in our voyage to the far east, many pleasing
recollections of Gibraltar--its balmy air and genial climate--its
abundance of grapes, melons, and oranges. Would we could send some to
our friends in England.


    Melita! The glory of a triumph clings, odorous as incense,
                        Around thy hero dead!


With the dawn of August 15th we were rounding Europa Point, and leaving
Gibraltar far away astern. On our starboard hand three or four luminous
points in the atmosphere indicate the position of the snow peaks of
Atlas, the range itself being lost in the distance.

We chanced on a favoring breeze, so all sail was spread to help us
against the strong five knot current always setting out from this sea. I
cannot tell with what feelings you entered upon this, the greatest
highway of commerce in the world. For all of us it possesses a certain
interest, but to some more so than to others. I refer to those who love
to wander in imagination amidst the departed glories of Greece and
Rome--empires which lived, moved, and had their being when our
forefathers were but tattooed savages.

As we advance, the sea begins to widen, the mountainous outline of the
Spanish coast trends boldly to the northward; whilst the African shore
grows indistinct and flatter, save where here and there some mighty peak
rears its head from out of cloudland. Since leaving "Gib." we have been
under the escort of shoals of porpoises, who ever and anon shoot ahead
to compare rate of speed; or, by way of change in the programme, to
exhibit their fishy feats under the ship's bows. Whether there be any
truth in the mariners' yarn, that the presence of porpoises generally
indicates a change in the wind, I will leave for you to form your own
opinion; but certain it was, that on the present occasion, the wind did
change, and to a "muzzler" illustrating in the most practical manner
that our ship could be just as lively on occasion as other pieces of
naval architecture. The stomachs of some of our younger hands, too,
seemed to have suddenly acquired a sympathetic feeling with the
movements of the ship, which, strangely enough, impressed them with a
desire to reveal what they had had for dinner. The ship, though, dashed
onward like a mad thing, regardless of the agony she was inflicting on
some of her human parasites.

This was but the commencement of our sufferings for now the heat was
beginning to annoy us. To us who could go on deck when we wished it was
bad enough, but to those poor fellows who had to swelter and toil in the
stokehole it must have been very trying, though compared with what was
yet to come this was a mere bagatelle. We had encountered that blasting
wind known as the "sirocco"--the scourge of the Mediterranean--which
after gathering force and heat in the African deserts comes with its
fiery and sand-laden breath to sap the moisture from all who have not
the natures of salamanders. Fortunately we soon passed beyond its
sphere of action.

Darkness rapidly sets in in these regions of eternal summer. The sunny
shores and genial climes of the Mediterranean, where the very touch of
the air seems a perfumed caress, lack only one thing to make them a
paradise. Those pleasant hours which obtain in our less favoured land
after the sun has set, and which we call twilight, are entirely unknown
here, hours which England's youths and maidens generally appropriate to
themselves, and which, in after years, recall some of the sweetest
memories of their lives. Fancy a day deprived of such hours! No sooner
has Phoebus veiled his glorious beams than there is a general demand for
candles, and we find our liberal supply of two 'dips' a very inadequate
apology for about four hours' illuminating purposes on a draughty deck.

But we must haste on our way past the Tunisian Coast, past Galita,
onward through fleets of lateen rigged piratical looking crafts, with
snowy sails and bird-like movements, dashing their white wings in the
surge. We must not dwell too long on this peaceful and pleasant shore,
for Pantellaria--an island of more interest in one sense--begins to rise
ahead. This, in all probability, is the "Calypso's Isle" of the
classics, but now the less poetical "Botany Bay" of the Italians. I
should think that a few years' compulsory residence here is a thing to
be desired rather than not, for it is a delightful spot enough, a sort
of embryo continent, and nature seems to have achieved here some of her
grandest works in the smallest possible space and with the least
possible amount of material. As we near its shore we catch a glimpse of
a pure white town, gracefully reclining on the slopes of a hill at the
head of a perfect miniature of a bay. Artistically the effect is very
pleasing, the glistening white houses seem as if embowered in the
darkest of green foliage, each roof, each angle standing out most
distinctly. Much as we regret it we see charming Pantellaria vanishing
astern, for our engines will not cease their everlasting plunges to
satisfy any weaknesses of ours.

How wonderfully strange and new everything seems to us; the sea, the
land, its peoples, all so different to England; even the very heavens
shed milder lights, have purer depths of colour. At night the stars
shine out larger and with greater brilliance than we are wont to see
them. Our old friend, the Great Bear, still remains true to us, though
he keeps shorter watches in our southward way, others less loyal,
forsake us altogether, yet in exchange if we get new forms they are not
less beautiful.

Brilliant as are the skies the sea is equally so, for there seem as many
gems beneath as above us; we appear to be cleaving our way through a
yielding mass of liquid gold. Every dash the ship makes she seems to set
the sea on fire, throwing starry sprays far over our heads on to the
deck where the drops still retain their light.

At early morning on August 22nd, a great jabbering outside the ship, as
though a colony of monkeys had encountered another babel, announced that
we were at Malta. Boats by the hundred swarm around us, and never was
seen such a gesticulating, swearing crowd, as their occupants, nor such
pushing and hauling, such splashing and wrangling, and even fighting to
maintain their stations alongside. One's eyes cannot fail to be
arrested by these boats, but the colouring of them is what attracts
particular attention. We get here our first idea of the criental love
for colour, though at Malta the idea is exaggerated, because the colours
do not blend harmoniously. For instance, the same boat will be painted
with emerald green, vermillion, cobalt, and chrome yellow, put on
without the slightest regard to effect or harmony. The eye on the bow is
universal, no waterman would dare venture from the shore without such a

These little crafts, in addition to their legitimate use, have a
secondary, though very important one, that of advertising mediums, not
unworthy the genius of our American cousins. To select an example here
and there. One boat bearing the characteristic and truly Catholic legend
"Nostra Senora di Lordes," also sets forth another legend to the effect
that "Every ting ver cheap here Jack," though _what_ is cheap and
_where_ is not so clearly indicated; on another this extraordinary piece
of English, "Spose you cum my housee, have got plenty." Of these same
"housees" numerous tales are told; of one in particular, where you can
obtain "ebery ting" except the right. You ask for beef steak, or ham and
eggs, and the master of the house, in the blandest manner and with much
shrugging of the shoulders, will answer you, "Me ver sorry, hab got
ebery ting but that," and ditto to your next order, he has also the sang
froid to tell you on your complaining of the toughness of that
succulent, that his cabbage must be tender because it has been boiling
_ever since the "Caledonia" went home_. If you don't enjoy it after
that, all that I can say is you are over fastidious.

But to return to the busy and noisy throng alongside. Its composition
differs very little from that usually encountered by ships of war in all
parts of call. The washerwomen are the undoubted masters of the
situation, and carry all before them. The alacrity with which they
scramble up the perpendicular side of the ship is simply astonishing. It
struck me that we could not do it with greater ease, notwithstanding
that we possess the advantage of unfettered extremities. In the
twinkling of an eye they are below, and besieging us in our messes,
holding out for our inspection greasy looking rolls of paper, purporting
to set forth in English, French, Italian and Spanish, and even in Greek
and Turkish, the bearers' exploits amidst the soap suds. To read the
English certificates while at breakfast is highly amusing and
provocative of much merriment. Here is one. The writer is one "Bill
Pumpkin," H.M.S. "Ugly Mug," who states that the holder, Mary Brown (who
does not know Mary the ubiquitous Mary), "has a strange knack of
forgetting the gender of a shirt, for it not unfrequently happens that
you may find her with that article of male apparel on her own 'proper
person,' otherwise, he says, she is all that can be desired." The said
Mary B being unable to read English--or for that matter any other
language--holds up her paper in triumph. Happy, ignorant Mary!

Having squared yards with the black-eyed nymphs (all the shady side of
thirty), we are next assailed with the milkmen, who not only bring their
cans, but also their goats on board. When the can is run out "nanny" is
milked, and sent about to look for a feed under the mess-tables, a
locality she is thoroughly acquainted with from frequent experience.

Our first breakfast in Malta is over, a meal not easily to be forgotten,
for fruit is plentiful and good and very cheap, and milk equally so, and
cans full of the latter added to the chocolate make that nutritious
beverage truly delightful, while luscious grapes supply a wholesome and
refreshing dietary.

Now for a run on shore. Valetta, or la Valette, in honor of one of the
most famous of the Grand Masters, the modern capital of Malta, is a
fairly large place, though by no means extensive enough to be styled a
City, except out of courtesy. How dingy the buildings and how dusty the
pavements from the crumbling masonry. The houses are so lofty that the
strip of blue sky can scarcely send its light to the bottom, whilst the
upper storeys have such an affectionate leaning towards each other, that
the wonder is that any mortar is capable of restraining their eagerness
to fall on each other's necks. But all the houses are not like this, and
the character of the masonry speedily improves on emerging from the
gloomy alleys into the magnificent Strada Reale, more of a roadway than
a street, for though there are many grand edifices and numerous shop
fronts, yet one may walk to Floriana on the one hand, and to Civita
Vecchia on the other, without turning to the right or left.

This crowded thoroughfare presents at this special time in particular a
most cosmopolitan appearance, for we have dropped in at Malta during the
sojourn here of the Indian Contingent, brought to Europe in anticipation
of difficulties with Russia.

The Maltese themselves, though unquestionably a small race, are wiry and
capable of enduring great hardships. They are very skilful artisans,
the filigree jewellery of their silversmiths, for example, is unequalled
as a work of art by anything of its kind in Europe. They are splendid
divers, and seem equally at home in the water as on the land; the
smallest coin thrown overboard being brought to the surface in a
twinkling. Whatever their original language might have been, that which
they now possess is a most animated one; for they throw their spars
about in a most alarming manner in emphasis of what they say, inclining
one to the belief that sailors have of this people, namely--if you tie a
Maltese hands he can't speak.

Just a word or two descriptive of the sexes: the men we will dismiss
with a few words; they are, as I said before, below the medium height,
with dark Italian faces and eyes, but otherwise not remarkable. The
women are, though, or perhaps I ought to have said their appearance is.
Landing in Malta for the first time, a stranger is apt to conclude that
every woman he sees is either a sister of mercy or a nun. This is due,
in a great measure, to their national costume, about the only national
possession they can now boast of, which consists of a loose gown of
rusty black and a hood-like covering over the head and shoulders, also
black. This construction throws their face--a rather comely one--into
deep shade, almost as sombre-looking as their dress. No doubt if they
could be induced to wear the various so-called aids to nature which our
ladies use to make "a good figure," the Maltese women might do as an
advertisement for Worth; but under the present system of dressing well,
I would guarantee to produce as shapely a structure out of a stuffed
bread bag with a spun-yarn around its middle.

If a people be religious, in proportion to the number of priests and
sacred edifices seen in their midst, then ought the Maltese to be
pre-eminently a devout people; for it seems as if every third building
is a church, and every other man one meets a priest; whilst the
incessant and not always melodious clanging of bells all day long, is a
constant reminder that there is no lack of opportunity for devotees.

So far as the outward appearance of the priests may be taken as the
index to the man's worldly position, I should pronounce their calling
anything but a lucrative one; for a more seedy-looking class is rarely
to be met with. Their care-worn faces and rusty and tattered garments
testifying that in Valetta, at least, the proverbial easy and jolly life
of the priesthood does not prevail.

In spite of the lack of good building material, there are some very fine
buildings in Malta--notably, the palace, the cathedral of San Giovanni,
and the opera house. The palace has its immediate entrance from the
Strada Reale, by means of an arched gateway of Oriental design, whilst
iron railings extend along the whole front of the structure on either
side the gate. Within is the palace square, beautifully and tastefully
laid out with rare exotics and flowering trees, floral designs and fish
ponds. A grand marble stairway indicates the direction we are to take to
reach the interior of the pile, at the head of which is a sort of
vestibule, or hall, when all further progress is barred by the presence
of one of the palace functionaries. We explain our errand, said
functionary demurs, pulls a long face, makes sundry excuses as to its
not being the proper day and so on, whilst all the time he is making a
mental calculation as to the value of the expected "tip." The workings
of that man's mind are as patent as the day. An English shilling
speedily smooths the wrinkles off that puckered brow as if by a miracle,
and makes us the best of friends. What wonders the little medallion
portrait of the Majesty of England will work, what hearts soften, what
doors unlock, and what hypocrites make! With a flattering and obsequious
bow our guide leads the way.

The palace was built by the Knights as their regal residence, and as
everything in it has been most religiously preserved, the various rooms
will present a pretty fair picture of the manner of life of these
soldier priests, whose portraits adorns the walls around. To the frame
of each a metal label is attached, on which is an inscription in Latin,
setting forth the patronymic and virtues of the original. Some are
represented in military armour with bold martial air, whilst others are
depicted in the more peaceful garb of priests, or civilians, but all
wear the sash and cross, peculiar to the Order, the latter symbol--known
as the Maltese Cross--being found on all their coins and possessions.

Out of the portrait gallery folding doors admit us to the Parliament
House, where the Government officials assemble for the conduct of State
business. The four walls are enriched and adorned with wonderful
specimens of needlework, testifying to the patience and skill of the
knights' fair friends.

But the most interesting place of all is the armoury, a vast hall at
right angles to the picture gallery, in which are weapons and arms of
all sizes, workmanship, and ages; from the light rapier and fencing
helmet for friendly practice, to the two-handed sword and iron casque of
thirty pounds weight, for the more deadly strife. Some highly
interesting relics are here, too, the original document whereby Charles
V. tendered the island to the Knights--a consumptive looking cannon with
very large touch-holes and very small bores--stone shot, iron shot, lead
balls, all arranged in neat designs. Suits of armour of delicate
filigree work, in silver and gold, in glass cases; other suits less
costly, though of equal ingenuity, ranged along the walls in erect
positions, spear in hand, or leaning on a huge sword. From the size and
weight of some of these suits, I opine, the Knights must have been men
of large build, a medium sized suit being rather the exception than

After a glance at the old, lumbering State carriage of Bonaparte, with
its faded, gilded trappings and armorial emblazonry, we haste away to
view something else.

Next in importance to the Palace, comes the Church of St. John (San
Giovanni), by far the finest building in Malta. The interior is very
gorgeous, with gilded vaulted roof, finely carved pulpits, rare old
crimson tapestries and monumental floor, resembling one enormous
heraldic shield. Beneath, lie the mouldering remains of the defunct
knights, the arms of each being represented on the slabs above them, in
the most delicate and accurate designs, in some cases stones more rare
and costly than marble being used.

At the end of the eastern aisle is the Chapel of the Madonna, guarded by
massive silver bars, saved from the rapacity of Napoleon's soldiers by
the cunning and ingenuity of a priest, who, perceiving that Bony's
followers had very loose ideas of mine and thine, painted the rails wood
colour, and thus preserved them inviolate.

Once more in busy, bustling, Strada Reale, with its gay shops filled
with a tempting display of gold and silver filigree work, corals and
laces, the latter very fine specimens of needlework indeed.

Thus far, we have performed all our movements on foot, but now, as we
have to go a rather long distance over very uninteresting ground, we
think it more convenient to sling our legs over a horse's back, for the
journey to Civita Vecchia, better known to sailors as "Chivity-Vic."
This was the former capital of the island, though now, as deserted
almost as Babylon, its streets overgrown with grass, its buildings
crumbling ruins, and echoing to the tread of our horses' hoofs. But it
is not so much to view these ruins that I have brought you here, as to
visit the Catacombs, or subterranean burying grounds of the early
inhabitants. These are not much compared with those at Naples, or
Palermo, for instance, but to those who have seen neither the one nor
the other, they will present all the charm of novelty. Though only a
charnel house it is laid out with great care, in street, square, and
alley, just like the abodes of men above. The bodies are mostly in a
fine state of preservation, reposing in niches cut out of the dry earth,
some of the tombs being double, others, again, having an additional crib
for a child. It is next to impossible that organic matter can fall to
decay, owing to the extreme dryness of the place, and, except that the
colour has changed a little, the dead people around would have no
difficulty in recognizing their own faces again if brought suddenly to
life. Some of the bodies seem actually alive, a deception further borne
out by their being clothed in the very garments they wore when sentient,
joyful dwellers, in the city above. It is worthy of remark that, though
there is but one and the same means of ingress and egress, the air is
wonderfully pure, and free from any offensive odour or mustiness.

Its extreme dryness though, seems somehow to have a reciprocal effect on
the palates of our party, for I hear vague murmurs of "wanting something
damp," which, by-an-bye, break out into a general stampede. If there be
any bye-laws in existence against hard riding, we are happily ignorant
of them, nor have we the slightest sympathy with anxious mothers, whose
dusky and grimy offspring are engaged at a rudimentary school for
cookery in the mud of the road. Sailors, as a rule, don't note such

August 25th, to-day, after a rather short stay, we looked our last, for
some years, on "the fair isle"--St. Paul's Melita.


    "Yet more! the billows and the depths have more!
      High hearts and brave are gathered to thy breast
    They hear not now the booming waters roar,
      The battle thunders will not break their rest."


The voyage from Malta to Port Said was accomplished without any notable
event, except that the heat goes on steadily increasing.

August 31st, to-day, we made the low-lying land in the neighbourhood of
Port Said, and by noon had arrived and moored off that uninteresting
town. Coaling at Port Said is effected with great rapidity, for ships
have to be speedily pushed on through the Canal to prevent a block,
thus, by the following afternoon, we commenced our first stage of the
Canal passage, under the escort of one of the Company's steam tugs, for
ships of our size may not use their own engines for fear of the "wash"
abrading the sandy banks.

The character of the scenery soon changes, and we seem to have an
intuitive perception that we are in the land of the Pharaohs. On the
one side, far as the eye can reach, and for hundreds of miles beyond, a
desert of glistening sand is spread before us, for the most part level
and unbroken, but occasionally interrupted by billow-like undulations,
resembling the ground swell at sea. Here and there a salt pond breaks
the monotonous ochre of the sand. These ponds are, in the majority of
cases, quite dry, and encrusted with a beautiful crystalline whiteness
resembling snow, making even the desert look interesting. On the
Egyptian side, a series of gem-studded lagoons stretch away to the haze
of an indistinct horizon, the mirage reproducing the green and gold of
the thousand isles in the highly heated atmosphere.

By 6 p.m. we had reached the first station, or "Gare," when we brought
up alongside a jetty for the night. When darkness had set in, the wild
melancholy howl of the jackal was borne across the desert by the evening
breeze, a sound sufficiently startling and inexplicable if you don't
happen to know its origin. What these animals can find to eat in a
parching desert is, and remains to me, a mystery.

On pushing on the following morning, a quail and several locusts flew on
board; interesting because we are now in the region of Scripture natural
history. As I was desirous of procuring a specimen of the Scriptural
locust, I expressed a wish to that effect, and soon had more of them
than I knew what to do with, till, in fact, I thought the Egyptian
plague was about to be exemplified. I will here take occasion to thank
my shipmates for their kindly and ready assistance, in helping me to
furnish a cabinet with natural history specimens. Nothing living, coming
within their reach, has ever escaped them; birds, insects, fish,
reptiles, all have been laid as trophies before me to undergo that
metamorphosis known as "bottling." I verily believe that had an elephant
insinuated himself across their path, he would have found his way into
my "preserves."

This was an extremely quiet day, everybody indulging a siesta under
double and curtained awnings, until about 5 p.m., when bump! a dead
stop, and a list to port. We are aground. But grounding on such a soft
bed is not a serious affair, and by extra exertions on the part of
"Robert," our tug, and a turn or two of our own screws, we were soon in
deep water again. This was but the initiation ceremony; ere the
termination of our commission we were destined to become passed masters
in the art of bumping, as the sequel will show.

At this juncture the Canal ceases to be such, as it enters that natural
watercourse--the Bitter Lakes. Herein, we are at perfect liberty to use
our own engines, whereby we are speedily across their glassy surface,
and entering on to the last portion of the passage. On rounding a point
on the opposite side, a scene, truly Biblical, met our view--two Arab
maidens tending their flocks. Perhaps they had taken advantage of the
absence of man to uncover their faces; if so, they were speedily careful
to rectify the error, on catching sight of such terrible beings as
bluejackets; but not before we had caught a glimpse at a rather pleasing
face, with small, straight nose, rosy lips, splendid teeth, the blackest
of eyes, and the brownest of skin. The veils, which serve to hide their
prettiness, are real works of art, composed of gold and silver coins,
beads and shells, tastefully and geometrically arranged on a groundwork
of black lace. After repeated hand kissing from our amorous tars--an
action whose significance is apparently lost on these damsels--we bid
good bye to the "nut-brown maids," and at 5 p.m., on September 4th,
enter the broad waters of the Gulf of Suez.

The great feature of the town of Suez is its donkeys; wonderfully
knowing creatures, who, with their masters, look upon every visitor, as
in duty bound, to engage their services. To say them nay, and to suggest
that your legs are quite capable of bearing you to the town, is only
provocative of an incredulous smile, or a negative shake of the head.
Never was seen such patience and importunity as that displayed by boy
and beast. The most striking thing about them is their names--shared in
common--which furnish one with a running commentary on current events in
Europe. For example, there were the "Prince of Wales" and "Roger
Tichborne," "Mrs. Besant" and the "Fruits of Philosophy"! The "mokes"
are so well trained--or is it that they have traversed the same ground
so often? that, in spite of all tugging at the reins, and the
administration of thundering applications of your heel in the abdominal
region, they will insist upon conducting you to a locality well
understood, but of no very pronounced respectability. I did hear--but
this between you and I--that a rather too confiding naval chaplain, on
one occasion, trusted himself to the guidance of one of these perfidious
beasts, and even the sanctity of his cloth, could not save him from the
same fate.

September 7th. We may now be said to have entered upon the saddest and
most unpleasant part of the voyage, that of the Red Sea passage.

The day after sailing, the look-out from the mast head reported a vessel
aground off the starboard bow, with a second vessel close by, and,
seemingly, in a similar predicament. Our thoughts at once adverted to
the two troopships which left last night, so we hurried on, and,
arriving at the spot, found we had surmised correctly. One only, the
steamer, was aground; her consort, the sailing ship, being at anchor a
safe distance off. We lost no time in sending hawsers on board, but it
was not until the third day that we were successful in our efforts to
haul her off.

Our voyage resumed, we had scarcely got out of sight of the two ships,
when the sudden cry of "man overboard!" was heard above the din of
flapping canvas and creaking blocks. To stop the engines, gather in the
upper sails, let fly sheets, and back the main yard, was the work of
seconds; and before the ship was well around--smart as she was on her
heel, too--the life-boat was half-way on her errand of mercy. Young
Moxey was soon amongst us again, none the worse for his involuntary
immersion, although his bath was more than an ordinary risky one, owing
to the proximity of sharks.

From that exalted observatory, the mast head, we noticed the red colour
from which the sea derives its name. The surface has not a general ruddy
tinge, as we most of us thought it had,--only here and there blood-red
patches appear, mottling the vivid blue surface.

September 11th.--My "journal" is a blank for three whole days, owing to
the intense heat, which is simply unbearable. I can only give our
friends a faint idea of what it was like, by asking them to imagine
themselves strapped down over a heated oven whilst somebody has built a
fire on top of them, to ensure a judicious "browning" on both sides
alike. Sleep is out of the question, "prickly heat" is careful of that.
As may be supposed, the sufferings of the deck hands--bad enough as in
all conscience it was--were not to be compared with the tortures endured
by the poor fellows in the stoke-hole, who had to be hoisted up in
buckets that they might gasp in the scarcely less hot air on deck. From
bad, this state of things came to worse--men succumbed to its influence,
the sick list swelled, and, finally, death stalked insidiously in our

September 13th.--The first victim was John Bayley, a marine, who died
to-day after an illness of only a few short hours. One curious thing
about this sickness is that those attacked by it exhibit, more or less,
symptoms of madness. One of my own messmates, for instance, whose life
was preserved by a miracle, almost went entirely out of his mind. I will
not dwell too long upon these sufferings, nor rekindle the harrowing
scenes in your minds.

At sunset on the 14th the bell tolled for a funeral, as, with
half-masted flag, and officers and men assembled, we prepared to do the
last that ever poor Bayley would require from man. Funerals are solemn
things at any time, but a funeral at sea is more than this--it is
impressive and awe-inspiring, especially if there be others so near
death's door that one does not know whose turn it may be next. Decently
and in order the hammock-clad form is brought to the gangway, whilst the
chaplain's voice, clear and distinct--more distinct than ordinary it
seems--reads the beautiful service for the Church of England's dead. A
hollow plunge, a few eddying circles, at the words--"we commit his body
to the deep"--and he is gone for ever.

Almost simultaneously with departure of one, another of our shipmates,
Mr. Easton, the gunner, died.

Providentially for all of us, a squall of wind struck us at this point
of our voyage--a squall of such violence, whilst it lasted, that the air
was thoroughly purged of its baneful qualities, and restored again to
its elasticity.

But what a God-send it was! The iron hull of our ship, always
unpleasantly hot in these latitudes, was rapidly cooled by the deluge of
rain which came with the wind. Renewed life and vigour entered into our
emaciated frames, and revivified men marked for death; and was it not
delicious to rush about naked in the puddles of rain on the upper deck!

Well, all things mundane have an end, even the most unpleasant--though
it must be confessed their finality is generally lingering. Thus our
desolate voyage through that seething cauldron, known to geographers and
schoolboys as the Red Sea, at length approached its termination.

Our grim shipmate, death, did not go over the side till he had marked
yet another victim for his insatiate grasp; for, to-day, Mr. Scoble, one
of our engineers, died. He, too, was buried at sea, though we were only
a few hours from port. On the morn of this day, September 17th, we
passed the strait of Bab-el-mandeb--Arabic for "Gate of Tears"--an
extremely appropriate name, too, I should think.

Aden, which we reached the same evening, has a very bleak and barren
appearance, and is, seemingly, nothing better than a volcanic rock. Its
apparent sterility does not, as a matter of fact, exist; for it produces
an abundance of vegetables of all kinds, splendid corn with stalks above
the ordinary height, fruits, roses, and other delightful and
highly-scented flowers, in rank abundance. There is something thriving
and go-a-head about the place, in spite of unkindly nature. It has one
terrible drawback, for rain falls only at intervals of years, sometimes
taking a holiday for three or even more years. The people are busy and
bustling--troops of camels, donkeys, and ostriches continually stream in
and out the town, testifying to an extensive trade with the neighbouring
states. A peculiar race of people is found here, the Soumali--tall,
gaunt-looking fellows, with a mass of moppy hair dyed a brilliant red.
This head-gear, surmounting a small black face, is laughable in the
extreme. Plenty of ostrich feathers may be obtained of the Arabian Jews;
and though, of course, you pay sailors' prices for them, yet even then
the sums given are not nearly so much as would be charged in England for
a far inferior feather.

On the eve of departure we were visited by a novel shower, composed of
sand and locusts, from the African desert. These things, unpleasant as
they seem to us, are, we are told, of as common occurrence here as rain
showers at home.


    "As slow our ship her foamy track
      Against the wind was cleaving,
    Her trembling pennant still look'd back
      To that dear isle 'twas leaving."


September 21st.--Having, as it were, given the go-by to two continents,
we commence on an extended acquaintance with a third.

With sails spread to a S.W. monsoon we rapidly speed over that glorious
expanse of luminous sea where it is ever summer, and in whose pearly
depths living things innumerable revel in the very joy of existence.

Though hot, this part of the voyage is not unpleasant, for a cooling
breeze is constantly setting down the hatchways from the sails. What one
would rather be without, though, is that tropical tinting known as the
"prickly heat," which now begins to get troublesome; for, like boils,
its spots generally select those parts of the epidermis where they are
likely to become of the greatest nuisance, making the friction of
garments almost intolerable; but there, one can't have everything.

When the sails are trimmed with the same regularity day after day, with
never a tack nor sheet started, existence does not offer much of
variety, so that, like Columbus' sailors, we were glad to welcome even a
gale of wind. Now, a rolling and pitching ship is capital fun if you can
manage to stay the surgings of a revolutionary stomach; but it sometimes
happens that you can't, when, to vary a line in "In Memoriam," "you
heave responsive to the heaving deep." Then, too, we are as hungry as
"sea dogs." Ten or twelve days on sea rations are not to be envied,
especially as there is plenty of room for improvement in the dietary. It
is all very nice, nay, pleasant even, to feel hungry when there is a
prospect of a good "feed" in the tin dish; but how frequently do we find
a "southerly wind" prevailing in that receptacle for "panem;" and what
is there, I ask, in "Fanny Adams" alternated with "salt junk?" In the
one, nausea; in the other, mahogany.

Friday, October 14th.--Just at our breakfast hour we sighted that
oriental fairy garden, Ceylon's isle; and though we must be from fifteen
to twenty miles off, a curiously-constructed native vessel, with perhaps
a dozen persons on board, has just put out to welcome and pilot us to
land. A boat so different to all other boats that I must say a word
about it. It is a sort of double canoe, constructed of the hollowed out
trunk of a cocoanut tree, to which is attached a couple of outriggers,
with a second canoe-shaped structure at their extremities, but of lesser
dimensions than the boat proper, and differing from it, too, in not
being hollowed out--in fact the latter is used only as a balance for the
other. When it comes on to blow with any force, the Singalese boatmen
may be observed standing out on their outriggers, to counteract the
force of the wind on the high sails. The stronger the breeze the further
out the men go. Their mode of expressing the intensity of a breeze is
significant. The Singalese don't say as we do, it is blowing stiff, or
half a gale, or a gale; but that it is a "one-man wind," or "two," or
"three-man wind," as the case may be. I believe a similar idiom is used
by the natives of the Sandwich isles.

On nearing the land we could see how really delightful this ocean gem
is. One mass of gorgeous, perfumed foliage blazes suddenly on the sight
from the midst of the sea; feathery palms, broad trembling leaves, and
groves of lofty cocoanut trees springing from the midst of
richly-flowering shrubs.

From the inner harbour the view of Galle is very fine. For miles on
either hand stretches a palm-fringed shore, with the noble cocoanut
trees so close to the water's edge, that at times the sea seems to dash
right into their midst. Cocoanut trees, like volcanoes, seemingly prefer
the proximity of the sea to a more retired position.

The whole scene reminds one of the beautiful places visited by captain
Cook, in his voyages. Even the boats are laden with the self-same royal
fruits--great green cocoanuts, pine apples, bananas, plantains, and

All those curiosities for which India is famous--every conceivable
article which the fancy or ingenuity of man can possibly fabricate out
of such commodities, as sandal wood, ebony, ivory, and porcupines'
quills, richly and delicately carved, may be had here for a mere song if
you possess only patience. Amongst other things there is a brisk trade
carried on in precious stones. Some of the dealers in this article have
found their way to our lower deck, and proceed to pull little parcels,
containing sparkling and pellucid gems from their inner garments. There,
before us, in their downy nest, lie rubies, sapphires, opals, and many
more real or fictitious stones, seven-eighths of which are probably
manufactured at Birmingham, though Ceylon abounds in real gems. It may,
I think, be safely conceded that "Jack" very rarely drops in for one
such. The dealers ask most fabulous prices for their wares--so many
thousand rupees; but after haggling with you for about an hour or so are
glad enough to part with them at your own price--a proof, should you
need it, of the _genuineness_ of your purchase.

We are rather dubious at first about entering the canoes, for they are
so narrow as scarcely to admit of our broad hams being comfortably
stowed. However, by dint of a little lateral pressure in that quarter,
we at length manage to wedge ourselves in. We find the motion pleasant
enough--a sense of security growing with experience.

I suppose we are not the first, nor, unless some sudden calamity
undertake the place, are we likely to be the last, who have remarked how
exceeding annoying the "boys" at the landing-place are. Guides they call
themselves; sailors, in their excellently-terse and rotund way, call
them by another name, which certainly does not commence with a "G."
These wasps know just sufficient of English to make you disgusted with
your mother tongue. The ordinary and generally conclusive argument of
applying the toe of one's boot to the region of their quarter galleries
does not seem to be effective here. It is one of those things one has
to put up with.

The town follows the sinuous windings of the shore for upwards of a mile
and a half, under an arcade of cocoa palms, which forms one of the
finest promenades imaginable. Under this quivering canopy the fierce
rays of the outside sun filter through--a soft, sheeny, mellow
light--making his tropic rays deliciously cool, at the same time
imparting to them a mystic coloring of gold and emerald green in all
their wonderful combinations and capabilities of tone, impossible to set
down in writing.

A noticeable thing about all this wonderful profusion, is the number of
beautiful shrubs, principally spice or perfume bearing, and the grand
harmonies and contrasts of colour they present. Here, for example, is
the nutmeg, with its peach-like fruit; here the cinnamon, a tree whose
foliage embraces the most delicate gradations of colour, from olive
green to softest pink; there an aromatic gum tree, the dark-leaved
coffee tree, the invaluable bread fruit, and scores of others beyond my
botanical ken.

The houses, examined in detail, are not by any means the captivating
objects we took them to be from the ship; and they certainly don't
improve on a closer acquaintance. The air in the vicinity is thick and
heavy, with a rancid odour of cocoanut oil, emanating from the hair and
bodies of the local humanity. Their dwellings are constructed of humble
enough materials, in all conscience; for of the four sides, three are of
mud, the fourth being left open for the purposes usually supplied by
doors, windows, and chimneys amongst ourselves. A sort of blind of
cocoanut-fibre covers this aperture to about half way, so that one can
easily see what is going on within. Near the door reclines an indolent,
almost nude man, in the most convenient attitude for sleep; in the far
corner his wife or slave--for the names are synonymous--toiling and
moiling at a stone mill--a gaunt, angular, ugly woman, with great rings
in her nose and ears, and on her wrists and ankles. Perfectly nude
children and mangy-looking curs have all the rest of the apartment to
themselves; and from the way in which they are enjoying their gambols,
one may judge that for them life is not an unpleasant thing on the
whole. The number of brown imps scattered about the streets, threatening
to upset your every movement, speaks highly of the prolificness of
Singalese matrons; and if a numerous progeny is a desirable thing, then
these mammas ought to consider themselves blessed amongst women. Their
general aspect, though, conveys the opposite impression.

Everybody is addicted to the vice of chewing the betel-nut, a proceeding
which has the effect of dyeing the teeth and lips a brilliant crimson,
and gives to this people the appearance of an universal bleeding at the

Having completed a hasty perambulation of the town we drive boldly into
the undergrowth to where a strange-looking building lies half-buried in
the foliage. It proves to be a Buddhist temple, an octagonal-shaped
structure with a bell-like roof. As we enter within its precincts, boy
priests are particularly careful to obliterate the marks of our
_heathen_ feet on their beautiful floor of golden sand. Inside are
eight figures of the good Buddha, alternately standing and sitting,
depicted with that calm, inscrutable countenance so remarkable in the
image of this deity wherever this religion prevails. Before each
figure is a small altar, littered with flowers, the most conspicuous
blossom being the lotus lily, the symbol of this faith. Other than
these devotional oblations there is little to be seen; what part in the
ceremonies the priests take, or where they perform their functions,
does not appear.

At the gate of the Court on our passing out, stands a bold, yellow-robed
priest, with a metal salver in his hand, suggestive of donations. We
told the old gent with naval bluntness that we were not in the habit of
aiding the Society for the propagation of paganism--a remark, by the
way, which it was as well, perhaps, he could not understand.

Sunday, October 6th.--Though sailors are excellent singers--especially
of hymn tunes--I never before heard a hymn rendered so effectively on
board a man-of-war as that beautiful composition by Bishop Heber,

    "What though the spicy breezes
    Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle,"

and which was one of the appropriate hymns for our morning Service.

October 8th.--Towards evening we bade good-bye to this favoured land,
and stood away to the eastward. We had made good an offing, and set
everything aloft snug for the night, when heavy volumes of steam were
found to be issuing from the regions of the engine-room. A steam pipe
had burst, a fracture of so little moment that after a short delay to
effect repairs we were able to resume our voyage. But though the damage
was not serious, so far as the ship was concerned, to us, personally, it
was a matter of some consequence, on account of our bags and chests
being stowed immediately over the fractured pipe; and in order to secure
our property, we were compelled to make a blind rush for it,
re-appearing from our vapour bath, as red as boiled lobsters.

A splendid eight knot breeze brought us, after a few days, off Acheen
head, in Sumatra, and at the entrance of the Straits of Malacca. And
here, the monsoon which had favoured us over so many miles of the
pathless ocean, suddenly forsook us. Sails were of no further use, and
we braced up our sweat glands for four or five days of increasing heat.
In obedience to the demands of an imperious, ever-rising, thermometer,
we reduced our rig to the least possible articles consistent with
decency and the regulations of the Service--which latter, by the way,
discriminates not between the caloric of the north pole and that of the

Just at this time, we encountered a phenomenon of frequent occurrence
in this region, namely, water-spouts. One of these tremendous,
funnel-shaped, columns of water actually burst just ahead of us,
drenching our decks in showers of spray, and causing the water to
seethe and vex itself as though some monster were lashing it into fury.

October 18th.--The scene which presented itself to our eyes, as we
entered the narrow, gem-studded channel which leads up to Singapore was
such that I trust it may live long in my mind as a memory picture of
grateful and refreshing beauty. I don't know that it will compare with
the mighty growth of Ceylon's forests, or with the variety and richness
of its forms; but for mellowness of tint and harmonious blending of soft
foliage, Singapore's park-like views seem to me, as yet, unrivalled. The
channel is so narrow and its banks so high, that one is quite unprepared
for the splendour which suddenly, like the shifting lights in a
transformation scene, blazes out in all its tropic splendour. _Now_, the
scenes depicted in the "Arabian Nights" seem to me not so impossible
after all, and, except that gems don't grow on the trees, this fairy
garden might well have stood in the writer's mind as his ideal of

Very reluctantly we turn away, as that grim reality, known as the
Tangong Pagar coaling wharf, heaves in sight, and alongside which we are
rapidly secured. Hundreds of coolies, in anticipation of our enormous
wants--500 tons of carbon--are already thronging the jetty with their
baskets of coal, which ere long, is rattling down our coal shoots.

The Malays, though labouring under the disadvantage of a bad reputation,
are a well developed, muscular race, of a dark, copper colour. Dress
does not trouble them much, for all that custom and society demand of
them in this respect is a couple of yards or so of white linen about
their lumbar region; the remainder of their sleek, oily bodies
presenting the appearance of polished bronze. They are great divers,
especially the youths and boys--I had almost said _infants_, for some of
the little mortals can scarcely have passed the sucking age. Their stock
of English is very limited: "Jack, I say jack, I dive," delivered all in
one mouthful and with no regard to punctuation, being about the extent
of their acquirements in our tongue.

Our first day at Singapore was marked by a sad termination. Emanuel
Dewdney, one of our boys, a weakly lad and far too delicate for the
rough life he had adopted, died of heat apoplexy in the afternoon.

Though Singapore lies so near the equator--within two degrees of it in
fact--it enjoys a very healthy, though, of course, a very hot climate.
The town itself is not very extensive. There is the usual native Malay
division with its system of mud architecture, its dirt and smells; and
that of the European residents--a marked contrast to the irregular
jumble of the other. I don't know that there is particularly much to see
in the island, except, perhaps, the Botanical Gardens, whose beauties
will amply repay you for the rather long walk to reach them. You may
take a coach if you like, but that will spoil the pleasure. In these
gardens all the choicest and rarest flora, and much of the fauna, of the
East Indies, are brought together and acclimatized. The most conspicuous
amongst the former, and certainly the most lovely--and that is saying
much where all excel--is a species of acacia, a large tree with great
flaming scarlet and yellow flowers. Then there is that extremely
interesting and singularly funny creeper, the sensitive plant, which, on
the approach of anybody, has the power of doubling up its leaves as if
in sudden fear. Birds in great variety--all scarlet, gold, and
azure--inhabit spacious aviaries within the grounds. Lyre birds, argus
pheasants, great eagles, and owls from Java, doves, pigeons, lories, and
humming birds, the metallic lustre of whose plumage flashes in the light
like the sheen of steel. One or two tigers--in a cage, of course--invite
our curiosity. I was not, however, prepared to make quite so close an
acquaintance with these lovely supple creatures, as one of the marines
of our party, who, having indulged too freely in malt, possibly mistook
the animals for cats, the result being he got so damaged about the bows
as to be rendered unfit for divisions the following morning, and barely
escaped with his eyesight. Drink makes a man do queer things.

The native men are very picturesquely apparelled in gaily coloured
turbans and sarongs, whilst the women,--tall, graceful, and
pretty--convey a small fortune about with them, in the shape of
jewellery, in the cartilage of the nose, in the ears, and around the
arms and legs. I saw one woman who had such heavy masses of gold in her
ears that the lobes of those organs touched her shoulders.

November 1st.--At 9 a.m. the long-expected "Audacious" hove in sight,
flying the flag of Admiral Hillyar at the main. How we already envy her
fortunate crew!

November 8th, off to Penang. The pipe "up anchor" this morning was
hailed with delight. Anything to change the dull monotony of the last
few weeks. We started with an overcast and rainy sky, and by the next
morning had reached Malacca, a small British settlement, essentially
Malay, more a village than a town. It lies very low and close to the
water's edge, the houses of the natives being all constructed on piles
driven into the mud, and embowered in a dense framework of cocoa palms.
In the distance rises the high cone-shaped peak of Ophir, now a lovely
sight because of the misty covering which envelopes it to near its
summit. Bananas are very plentiful; so, too, are monkeys and the canes
so highly prized at home.

November 9th.--To-day, our own admiral came in, in the mail steamer, and
glad are we that he has arrived, that we may be again on the move, for
you know there are happier states and more comfortable, than a forcible
detention in a red-hot ironclad.

Sunday, November 13th.--I see in my "journal" that I have noted what,
under ordinary conditions, would call for no remark, that a lady was
present at our service to-day. None but those who are banished the
softening and refreshing influence of woman's society can form any idea
how pleasant it is to see an English woman in this land of yellow
bellies and sable skins.

November 15th.--Now we are really the Flag Ship, for this morning the
"Audacious," with a parting cheer, bade us good-bye, and started for

November 21st.--By early morning we discovered the island of Din Ding
right a-head.

Nothing can exceed the wonderful beauty of this tiny island. From the
sea it has so much the appearance of the bosky slopes of Mount Edgcumbe,
that, were it not for the characteristic palm, one could well imagine
one's self looking at a bit of our own dear England.

A stretch of sandy beach, white and glistening as silver, with the
graceful waving plumes of the cocoanut tree close to the water's edge,
and behind, the pile dwellings of the Malays, nestling at the foot of a
wooded eminence, capped to its very summit with a dense and varied
growth; such is the picture viewed from the anchorage. Din Ding, or Ding
Ding--as sailors, by a system of alliteration, very fashionable amongst
themselves--render it, lies at the mouth of the Perak river.

On landing we struck at once into the jungle, under tall palms, with
their great ripening fruit, and other tropic vegetation. Road, there was
none; only a sort of bridle path, very heavy with mud, and overgrown
with great hawser-like creepers, indicated a way along which we trudged.
Now and then the fallen trunk of a great tree barred our further
progress, or a chasm yawned before us, or mayhap, a great time-worn
boulder stopped the way; insignificant objects all when matelôts are on
the war trail. Our object was to reach a certain house on yonder point,
in which a most dastardly murder was recently perpetrated on the British
resident, Colonel Lloyd, who, with his wife and sister, had made this
their home. The house is now quite empty, but in one of the rooms we
saw, or fancied we saw, spots of sanguine dye on the floor.

We hastened onward through a small hamlet of about a dozen miserable
huts, resting on piles. Tubs of putrid fish, in all stages of
decomposition, gave out a most horrid stench, whilst other carcasses
strewed the ground in advanced rottenness. Is it not revolting, that
amongst these people, fish in its pure state is rarely eaten, and if it
be, it is always raw. But nature is ever lovely, though the human part
of her does all it can to deface her; if she were not so what a spoiled
world ours would be!

Holding our nostrils we ran for it, doubtful if we should ever get rid
of the smell. Further on was a hut of rather larger pretensions, now
used as a barrack for the police. One of these latter, who possessed a
tolerable knowledge of English, struck up a conversation with us, and
amongst indifferent topics we asked about the prisoners recently
captured. He certainly took us by surprise, when he indicated they were
within the building, alongside of which we were standing. Would we like
to see them? We would. Yes, true enough, there on the floor were five
Chinamen, lashed and bound so tight that the flesh stood out in great
purple ridges on either side the rope.

To get back to our boat we had to repass the village of odours
delectable. On this occasion the scantily clad and polished Malays, whom
we had not seen on passing through, put in an appearance.

By 4 p.m. the anchor was aweigh, and we heading towards Penang, which
was reached on the following day in the midst of thick, dirty weather.

The town is well built, and the cleanest I have yet seen since leaving
Europe. The island is sometimes termed the "Garden of the East," and if
it is always as now, I should say the name was justly bestowed. A little
way out in the country is a fine waterfall, which all who call here,
make a point of visiting. Jumping into a pony carriage, locally called a
_gharry_, a comfortable, well ventilated vehicle, capable of seating
four persons, we desire the turban driver to steer for the latter place.
Along the very fine road to the fall, a profusion of palms and gigantic
tree ferns, between thirty and forty feet high, up whose great stems
gaily flowered creepers wind their hawser-like fronds, make a delicious
and cooling shade. Yonder tree away there in the background, with
delicate pea-green leaves, is an old friend of ours. Let your memories
go back to your infancy. Cannot you recall many a wry face; cannot you
remember how unpleasant the after sensations when stern, but kind
mothers forced a nauseous decoction called "senna" down your
widely-gaping throat? You smile. I felt certain you had all experienced
it. Well that is the senna tree.

Large mansions lying back from the roadway, with gates and paths leading
up to their entrances, and a smell of new mown hay, were most home-like
and refreshing.

We should have fared much better had a more mutual understanding existed
between us and our pony. That obtuse little beast, good enough at curves
and tangents, after half an hour's canter, flatly refused to exert
himself above a walk; nor, though frequently encouraged by the whip, did
he accelerate his movements to the end of our drive.

At the fall we had a very refreshing shower bath under a thundering
cascade of water tumbling over the edge of a gorge. Near at hand, and
conveniently so, too, for the priesthood, is a small shrine sacred to
the Hindoo god Brahin, a diminutive edition of whom stands on a little
pedestal, amidst braziers, lamps, figures with elephants' heads and
human bodies, and other monstrosities. You may be certain there was a
mendicant priest in attendance on his godship.

On the return voyage our hack behaved even more ungentlemanly than
before, for now he most emphatically refused to budge an inch,
indicating his intention of becoming a fixture by planting his feet
obliquely, like a stubborn jackass, into the ground. Human nature could
scarcely be expected to tolerate such evidence of mutiny, so, jumping
into the first passing carriage, we reached the town at a fairly
creditable canter.

November 28th.--To-day our short stay at Penang comes to a conclusion,
and a few days afterwards we are once more at Singapore.


    "Merrily, merrily on we sail!
    The sailor's life is gay!
    His hopes are on the favouring gale,
    And whether it freshens, or whether it fail
    He recks not, cares not, no not he;
    For his hope is ever upon the sea."


December 5th.--At 4 p.m. the anchor was hove short for our voyage to
Hong Kong, by way of Manilla. As we start some days sooner than we
anticipated, we had made no provision for getting our washed clothes on
board, and grave fears are entertained that we shall be compelled to
sail without it, for as yet there is not so much as the ghost of a
washerwoman in sight. Will they, can they by any fortuitous combination
of circumstances, put in an appearance before we leave? Despair, we are
off! But surely no, it can't be? Yes, by jove, there are boats pulling
after us with all the might the rowers can command. We lie to, the proas
come nearer. Hurrah! the clothes, some wholly washed, some half-washed,
and some not washed at all. Piles of fair white linen are bundled up
the gangway pell-mell, Malay washerwomen bundled _out_ ditto, and for
payment, the revolving screws settle that in a highly satisfactory

With the "Lapwing" in tow, and the gentlest of breezes filling the
lighter canvas, we shape our course eastward.

December 8th.--Late in the afternoon we brought up in the roadstead of
Sarawak, on the northern coast of Borneo. The place is not at all
enlivening; neither house, human being, nor boat, to indicate we are in
habitable land. The town itself, the capital of a small rajahship
governed by an Englishman, lies some twenty miles up a river, in the
estuary of which we are anchored. The province was presented by the
Sultan of Borneo, in 1843, to Sir James Brooke, uncle of the present
proprietor, who, on the decease of Sir James, in 1868, succeeded to the

Here the "Lapwing," after having taken the admiral up the river, parted
company, whilst we continued our way along the Bornean shore.

December 12th.--We awoke to find ourselves in the midst of a labyrinth
of isles most wonderful to behold, vaguely guessing which, out of so
many, can be Labuan. The rattling of the chain through the hawse,
decides it. A small settlement over which England's flag keeps guard,
lies before us. This is the town of Victoria. This small island,
previous to 1846, belonged to Borneo, but in that year the Sultan ceded
it to Britain, as a convenient station for checking piracy on his
sea-board. It lies off the north-eastern end of the great island of
Borneo, and within view of its precipitous heights and mist-clad peaks.

December 14th.--Coaling is a long process at Labuan, first, because the
ship lies so far from the shore, and next, because of the insufficiency
of convenient boats, and the necessary coolie labour to put the coal on
board, thus it took us two whole days to get in as many hundred tons. By
the evening of the 14th however, we had cleared the islands, and shaped
course for Manilla against a head wind.

December 19th.--It has taken us twelve hours to clear the intricate, and
gusty approaches to Manilla Bay, the wind, occasionally meeting us with
such force, accompanied by such a chopping sea, that we sometimes made
no progress at all. On coming to anchor we were rather surprised to find
the "Lapwing" had preceded us, and was lying close in shore.

Manilla, the capital of Luzon, the largest of the Philippine Islands, is
a city of considerable magnitude, and has all the appearance of a
Spanish town in Europe, these islands having belonged to Spain for over
300 years.

Though we arrived on a Sunday it was anticipated there would be no
difficulty in procuring coal immediately. Had the British been in
authority here we should have been _privileged_ to do so with impunity.
When this conclusion was arrived at, one potent factor had not been
considered--"the Church"--and for once in a way we were thankful to the
Church. The archbishop of Manilla and his subordinates hold more real
sway over the minds and bodies of the natives--Indians, as they are
called--than all the temporal power of the governor, backed by his
guards, or even than the king himself.

Amidst all the Spanish jabber around, it is refreshing to hear ourselves
hailed in genuine English, and soon the author of the sound grasps us by
the hand and welcomes us to his house, a request we gladly comply with.

The houses are very like those of Gibraltar, and one's memory is rapidly
borne back to the "Rock," especially as everything around is Spanish.

Perhaps the great feature of the place is its cathedrals; one in
particular, a magnificent structure, so roomy and lofty that I should
think half the devout of the city could find accommodation therein. In
less than two years subsequent to our visit the whole of this grand pile
was little better than a heap of ruins, from an earthquake wave which
passed over these islands. This most terrible of natural phenomena is of
frequent occurrence in this quarter of the world. In many parts of the
city we observed whole streets and churches in ruins, as if from a
recent bombardment.

Cock-fighting is the great national sport, amusement, or cruelty, which
of the three you will, indulged in by the good people of Manilla.
Everywhere along the streets you may meet Spanish boys and half castes,
with each his bird tucked under his arm ready for the combat, should the
chance passer-by make it worth their while.

The best place to witness this propensity for blood, which seems in-born
in every Spaniard, is at the public arena in the heart of the city,
where hundreds of cocks are generally engaged at once, the betting on a
certain bird not unfrequently amounting to thousands of dollars. I will
not trouble you with the sickening details of the scene I witnessed--to
my shame I say it--I think few of those who are present at a first
exhibition of this cruel and useless sport will be desirous of
witnessing a second--except he be a man of a morbid inclination. One may
be impelled by curiosity to satisfy a human weakness, but every rightly
balanced mind will turn from the scene with feelings of repugnance and

December 23rd.--The last day of our stay, and the last opportunity we
shall have for laying in stock for the 25th. In the afternoon the
caterers of messes having been accorded the necessary permission, went
on shore to make a general clearance in the Manilla markets. There was
every prospect, when they left the ship, of the day continuing fine--a
bright sun and a clear sky above, and a smooth sea below. Unfortunately
for the success of the expedition, this happy meteoric combination did
not continue. The heavens began to frown, and the sea--ever jealous of
its sister's moods--put on a restless appearance. At sun-down the wind
suddenly rose to half a gale, with a cross lumpy sea and drenching
showers of rain. The accommodation for the men to return to the ship was
degrees from being called even fair. They had hired a rickety steam
launch, scarcely capable of holding her own in ordinary weather, and two
smaller boats, or gigs, neither of which was in a seaworthy condition;
and in these was to be found room for upwards of forty men, besides
about a ton of provisions of all kinds. It was evident, or ought to have
been, that it was madness to attempt leaving the shore whilst the
present weather lasted. I have seen the offence of breaking leave
justified for less boisterous weather. Orders, however, (especially
sailing orders) are imperative; so the flotilla put off at 7 p.m. in tow
of the launch. The following was the arrangement:--The launch, laden
far below her bearings, took the lead; the second boat contained all the
heaviest provisions--flour, pigs, poultry, potatoes, and such like;
whilst far too many men had stowed themselves in the third boat, to give
but the faintest idea of either comfort or safety.

When about half-way to the ship, the painter of the hindmost boat
parted, and the launch, rounding to, to her assistance narrowly escaped
swamping. The next mishap chanced to the second boat--the provision
gig--whose stem piece was tugged completely out of her, and the two
sides, having thus lost their mutual support, parted and went to the
bottom, the onlookers having to endure the melancholy sight of
witnessing all their good things going to fatten old Davy Jones, or to
fill his lockers, or something of that sort. But the distress of these
very distressed mariners was not yet complete; a strange fatality seemed
to have embarked with them. It was now the launch's turn: first the
third boat, next the second, and now the launch in proper, though
fortunately not arithmetical progression. It was discovered that the
supply of coal could not possibly last to the ship! What was to be done?
"Opportunity," it is said, "makes the thief;" it may be also said, with
equal truth, that opportunity makes the dormant abilities of some men to
soar above their fellows, over-riding even destiny itself. The Spanish
crew of the launch were unequal to the emergency, were worse than
useless in fact; but an able substitute for the engineer was found in
Andrews, one of our leading stokers; and for coxswain, who better than
Law, the boatswain's mate? The former of these at once directed
everybody to pull the inner wood work of the launch to pieces, and, as
the bump of destructiveness has its full development in the sailor
phrenology, he had not long to wait for his fuel; thus they managed to
reach the ship full six hours after they had left the shore.

December 25th.--Christmas in merry England is one thing; Christmas in a
gale in the China Sea another, and so distinct a thing as scarcely to be
confounded with the former. But let us see if we can tell our friends
something about it. Considering the shortcomings we had to put up
with--bare tables, hungry bellies, and the lively movements of our ship,
consequent on a rising malevolent sea--I think we managed to enjoy a
fair amount of fun, whether it was genuine or not is another point, nor
would I like to vouch for its being altogether devoid of irony. "Father
Christmas" paid us his customary visit anyway, in his mantle of
snow--fancy snow within fifteen degrees of the line!--which merry,
rubicund, and very ancient man was ably personated by a gigantic marine,
the necessary barrel-like proportions being conveyed by a feather

"A hungry man is an angry one;" so runs the legend, but, if true, and I
have every reason to believe that it is, it held not on the lower deck
of the "Iron Duke" this day, for _no_ man was angry, and _every_ man
_was_ hungry, not counting some who had their heads down the lee
scuppers. Altogether the day passed very smoothly inboard, though
outside a storm was hurrying on us with gigantic strides.

December 26th.--The overcast sky of last night was indeed a precursor of
what was to follow. About midnight the wind freshened into a full gale,
the first we have encountered since leaving England. It gave us a proper
shaking down into our places. The sea became wild and mountainous, the
wind shrieking and vicious, and as to hold our course we had to stem its
full fury, it was found impossible to keep the ship head on except at a
much greater consumption of coal than we were prepared to use. Crash!
What's gone? The jib-boom and all its appurtenances. The wrecked spar
falling athwart the ram remained there for hours, proving a most
difficult obstacle to clear away in such a whirl as was going on in the
neighbourhood of our bows.

But there were no signs of the gale moderating, and the admiral deeming,
I suppose, the present state of things far from satisfactory determined
on putting back to Manilla. The ship was brought around, or "wore" as
nautical men term it, an evolution which, though not of difficult
accomplishment, at a certain moment in its progress leaves the vessel
completely helpless in the trough of the sea, a fact you all know far
better than myself, I only touch upon it to hint what the result must be
to such a cumbersome mass as our iron hull. As we broached to, it became
a matter of holding on to everything, and by everything--eyebrows and
all--especially between decks. Delightful times these for ditty boxes,
crockery, bread barges, and slush tubs; 'tis their only chance for
enjoyment and they make the most of it. Such revelry generally winds up
with a grand crash somewhere in the vicinity of the iron combings to the
hatchways. Any plates left, any basins? Nay, that would be to ask too
much of the potter's art. At length we are put round, and running back
to Manilla under all the canvas we dare shew.

December 31st.--Completed with coal and left on a fresh attempt to
reach Hong Kong, the black and lowering sky suggesting either the
continuation of, or the sequel to, the late stormy weather. Being New
Year's Eve the usual attempt at a tin-pot band was made to make the
night hideous. Setting aside the annoyance of this species of rowdyism
to the less exuberant spirits amongst us, the noise would be most
unseemly with the commander-in-chief on board, and it says much for the
would-be musicians that they saw it in this light.

We reached the northern point of Luzon without mishap, and stood away
with a heavy cross-sea for Hong Kong, arriving on January 4th, 1879.


    "Then Kublai Khan gave the word of command
    And they all poured into the Central Land."


I suppose there are few amongst us, sailors though we are, who, as boys
at school when reading of China, have never expressed a wish to see that
land for themselves, to say nothing of making the acquaintance of its
quaint old-world people in their very own homes. In my imagination I had
covered its goodly soil with wondrous palaces, all sparkling with
splendour and embellished with all that art could furnish or riches
command. I had peopled its broad plains with bright beautiful forms in
silken attire, amongst whom a love of the elegant and the beautiful
pervaded all classes of the community, and who in long ages ago had
attained to arts and learning which it has taken us centuries of careful
study and elaborate research to acquire. Yea, it was always a wonderland
to me, even down to the present year; such is the power which the
associations formed by the child exercise over the mind of the man. Yet
were we prepared to meet a people who should, in almost all things,
differ from almost all other peoples. In the last particular we are not
deceived; in all else, yes. But I wont anticipate.

In this little book I shall not be able to tell you a tithe of what may
be told of this land did I feel competent to do so. Volumes have been
written on the subject, and still the half has not been said. I purpose,
therefore, henceforward to intersperse with the narrative of our own
doings, just so much of the manners and customs of the Chinese and
Japanese, as every sailor possessed of the ordinary powers of vision may
see for himself.

January 4th.--The harbour of Hong Kong is reached from the sea by means
of a rather long and tortuous passage, with bleak barren heights on
either hand,--the channel being in some parts so narrow that there is
scarce room for the ship to turn.

The island itself--rendered either "_red harbour_" or "_fragrant
streams_," which you prefer, though neither seems applicable, certainly
not the latter if by _fragrance_ is meant what we mean by it--lies on
the southern seaboard of China. It became British in 1842, on the
conclusion of the first Chinese war. The city of Victoria is situated on
its northern side, and stands on a beautiful land-locked harbour, formed
by the island on the one hand and the peninsula of Kowloon (also
British) on the other a sheet of water which always presents a gay and
animated appearance, from the thousands of vessels and boats which cover
its surface like a mosaic.

It is not without some difficulty that we push our way through the
thronging craft, principally little boats termed "sampans," to our
moorings abreast of the Dockyard. Curious craft withal, and serving a
double purpose; for besides their legitimate one, whole families live
and move, are born, and die in them; the necessary accommodation being
furnished by an ingenious arrangement of hatches, floors, and
partitions, and, as it seems highly fashionable that the Chinese mammas
should be making constant additions to the population, the squalling of
the young celestials betrays a healthiness of lung, and a knowledge of
its capabilities, scarcely to be credited of such small humanity.

The earlier fate of these infantile members of the boat population is
sad. They are exposed to a "rough-and-tumble" existence as soon as they
are ushered into the world, especially should the poor innocent have the
misfortune to be born a girl baby, for in that case she has simply to
shift for herself, the inhuman parents considering themselves fortunate
if they lose a girl or two overboard. The boys, or "bull" children, as
they are termed, meet with rather more care relatively speaking. As,
from the nature of their occupation, but little time can be devoted to
nursing--the mother being compelled to constant labour at the oar--the
child is slung on to her back, and, as she moves to and fro with the
stroke of the oar, the babe's soft face bobs in unison against its
mother's back, a fact which will perhaps explain how it is that the
lower class Chinese wear their noses flattened out on their two cheeks
rather than in the prominent position usually selected by that organ.

It is amazing how wonderfully quick the Chinese pick up a colloquial
foreign tongue; the same tailor for instance experiencing no difficulty
in making himself understood in English, French, Russian, or Spanish;
English, though, is the language par excellence along all the China
seaboard. So universal is it that a foreigner must needs know something
of our tongue to make himself intelligible to the ordinary Chinaman;
and, more remarkable still, there is such a vast difference between the
spoken dialects of north and south China--nay, even between any two
provinces in the "Flowery Land"--that I have known some of our native
domestics from the Canton district, when talking with their countrymen
of Chefoo, communicate their ideas and wants in English, because their
own medium failed them; the difference between the native dialects being
as broad as that between English and Dutch.

Though such a diversity exists _orally_, the _written_ character is
common, and expresses exactly the same idea all over the empire, and
beyond it in Japan, Corea, and the Loo Choo islands.

The Chinese are splendid workmen, providing you can furnish them with a
model or copy, for there is very little genius, properly so-called,
attached to John Chinaman.

Their imitative faculty and powers of memory are really wonderful; as an
instance of the former perhaps the following may not be amiss:--

"In the earlier days of the first occupation, the English residents of
Hong Kong were often placed in difficulties about their clothing,
Chinamen not having attained to that perfection in the tailors' art
which they now have acquired. On one occasion an old coat was supplied
to a native tailor as a guide to the construction of a new one; it so
happened the old garment had a carefully mended rent in its sleeve--a
circumstance the man was prompt to notice--setting to at once, with
infinite pains, to make a tear of a similar size and shape in the new
coat, and to re-sew it with the exact number of stitches as in the

The old stories we have heard at home about a Chinaman's tail being
designed that by it he may be hoisted to heaven, and that if he lose it
he may never hope to reach that desirable altitude, have really no
foundation in fact, nor is it a fact, as sailors are apt to believe,
that it is nurtured for their special benefit as a convenient handle for
playing off practical jokes on the luckless possessors; the truth being
that the "queue," now so universally prized amongst them, is a symbol of
conquest forced upon them by their hated Tartar-masters. Previous to the
seventeenth century the inhabitants of the middle kingdom wore their
hair much after the style of the people of Corea, but after the Manchu
conquest they were compelled to adopt the present mode.

The city of Victoria is very prettily situated on the slopes of an
eminence which culminates in a peak at an altitude of 1300 feet, and
from which a most charming and cheerful view of the sea on the one side,
and the harbour and the yellow sand-stone hills of China on the other.

It is allowed to be the most cosmopolitan city in the world.
Representatives of races far in excess of the Pentecostal catalogue, may
be encountered in its streets in any hour's walk; men of all shades of
colour and of every religious creed live here side by side in apparent
perfect harmony. The Chinese who form the bulk of the population live
entirely apart from the "_Ung-moh_" (red hair devils) as they
flatteringly term us. English manners and customs do not seem to have
influenced the native mind in the smallest degree, in spite of our
charities and schools--a fact we cannot wonder at, taking into account
our _diabolical_ origin.

The town--by which I mean the European part of it--possesses many public
and private buildings of almost palatial grandeur. Of these, Government
house, the City hall--including the museum and reading room, the
cathedral and college, the various banks, and the residences of the
great merchants may be cited as examples. There is also a fine botanical
garden, not nearly so large as that at Singapore, but perhaps scarcely
less beautiful, and an extensive recreation and drill ground, where one
may see curious sights! pigtailed, loose-robed Chinamen wielding the
cricket-bat, and dealing the ball some creditable raps too.

There is perhaps only one good street in the colony, Victoria street or
Queen's road; this traverses the city from end to end, and constitutes
the great business thoroughfare of the place. After about an hour's walk
along it, for the first part under an arcade of trees, we find ourselves
in the filthy, unsavoury Chinese quarter, as the nose is careful to
remind you if there be any doubt about it. They are certainly a very
dirty race, these Chinamen; the dirtiest on earth, I should be inclined
to say, considering their boasted civilization and vaunted morals; and,
though compelled by our sanitary laws to live somewhat more cleanly than
their enthralled brethren on the continent, still they are dirty, and
I'll hazard to say a sight of the Chinese of this town would soon dispel
any illusions one might have nourished to the contrary. A subsequent
visit to the native city of Shanghai shewed us to what disgusting depths
humanity can descend in this particular.

This enterprising people possess some very fine shops, where you can
purchase every known European commodity at cheaper rates than of the
European firms. Every shop has a huge sign-board depending from the top
of the house to the bottom, whereon is recorded in vermillion and gold
characters, not so much the name as the virtues of the man within,
sometimes, too, his genealogical tree is appended. Such expressions as
"no cheating here" or "I cannot deceive," are common, but, in nearly
every case, belie the character of the proprietor, who is a living libel
on the word honesty. Honesty! old Shylock even would blush for them.

Here, where there is protection for life and property, a shopkeeper
surprises you at the rich and grand display of his wares. In China
proper, a dealer dare not show all he is worth for fear of the
mandarins, who, should one chance to pass that way, would in all
probability, cast his covetous eyes on the poor man's property, and
demand whatever had taken his fancy. Nor may a poor man be in possession
of an article inconsistent with his position in the social scale--he may
not be the owner of a tiger's skin, for instance, as none but mandarins
and people of similar position, are permitted such luxuries. This
reminds one of the time, not so very remote, when similar restrictions
were placed on dress in England.

This system of mulcting is known all over China as "_cum-shaw_," a
system, too, which I would advise all sailors to adopt in their dealings
with the slippery race if they would not be robbed. The vendor dare not
say nay to a mandarin; and, though it is a point of etiquette on the
part of the big man to offer payment, it is equally a point of etiquette
for the tradesman to refuse: a fact, it is said, the mandarin always
calculates on.

In addition to the orthodox shop, the streets are lined with itinerants,
orange stalls, betel-nut tables, heaps of rags, and sundries, baskets of
vegetables of very strange appearance and strong penetrating odours,
half-cooked roots and leaves--for the people never eat a well-cooked
root or vegetable; it is from these principally that the intolerable
stench is proceeding.

What the Chinese eat is a mystery, and such queer compounds enter into
their _menu_ that I would give everybody who dines with a Chinaman this
advice--don't enquire too minutely into what is placed before you, or
you will eat nothing, and so offend your host; bolt it and fancy it is
something nice--and _fancy_ goes for something at times, I can assure
you. That it requires a tremendous effort on the part of the human
stomach, the subjoined "Bill of Fare" of a dinner given to Governor
Hennessey by one of the Chinese guilds will, perhaps, serve to shew:

    Birds' Nest Soup.

    Pigeons' Egg Soup.

    Fungus Soup.

     *       *       *

    Fried Sharks' Fins.

    Beche-de-mer[1] and Wild Duck.

    Stewed Chicken and Sharks' Fins.

    Fish Maw.

     *       *       *

    Minced Partridge.

    Ham and Capon.

    Meat Ball and Fungus.

    Boiled Shell Fish.

    Pig's Throat, stewed.

    Minced Shell Fish with Greens.

    Chicken Gruel Salad.

    Stewed Mushrooms.

    Pig's Leg, stewed.

     *       *       *

    Roast Capon.     Roast Mutton.

    Roast Pig.       Roast Goose.

     *       *       *

    Fruits.          Melon Seeds.

    Preserves.       Almonds.

  [Footnote 1: The _Holothuria_ of naturalists--a species of
  sea-slug or sea-cucumber found on the shores of Borneo and on
  most of the islands of the Pacific, and which being dried in
  the sun is considered a dainty by Chinese epicures.]

Cats, too, are entertained as food, though I believe only by the
extremely poor, to whom nothing seems to come amiss. One may frequently
meet in the streets vendors of poor puss, easily recognisable by their
suggestive cry, "mow (miow?) youk"--cat-meat!

One is struck with astonishment at the vast crowds which always throng
the streets, each unit of which seems intent on some most important
business, and looks as though its accomplishment absorbed his whole
being. Perhaps it is only a few ounces of fish which he carries
suspended from his ringer by a cord; but if it were the emperor's
diamonds he could not conduct himself with more importance.

The ordinary means of conveyance in China is by the sedan chair, a sort
of box of cane-work supported on poles for the convenience of the
bearers, of whom there are generally two, but frequently as many as six.
The riding is comfortable enough, and the springy motion imparted by the
rider's weight is one of the pleasantest sensations I know of. Of course
our tars, immediately they come on shore and see something new, want to
find out all about it: hence sedan chairs are all the go, and a bad time
the poor coolies have of it, too; for "Jack" is all motion, especially
if he be in that semi-apathetic state known as "east half south," as it
not unfrequently happens that he is. He compels his bearers to tax their
powers of endurance to the utmost, urging them by all the endearing
epithets in the nautical vocabulary to unheard-of exertions, regardless
of the luckless pedestrians in the way.

Whilst we are on the return voyage through Queen's road, I must just say
a word or two about the people's costume, which, as we observe, is
nearly the same for both sexes; for if there be any difference, it is
but slight in detail. Their dress is the most unbecoming and ungraceful
it is possible to conceive, and yet, we are bound to admit, most
refined. Had the women the redeeming quality of beauty, or the charm of
a pretty face, possibly even this dress might appear to better
advantage. A coarse-looking black or blue blouse, of that material known
to us as "nankeen," a tiny apron confined to the waist by a slender
scarlet cord--their only bit of bright color--short wide trousers,
almost as broad at the bottoms as they are long, bare legs and
feet--such is a vision of the Chinese woman of the working classes. The
dress of a lady differs from this only in the nature of the material of
which the garments are made--in their case, silk as a rule--stockinged
feet, and silk shoes with thick while, though extremely light, soles.
Nations, like individuals, have their fopperies; the celestials display
this quality, particularly in the coverings for the feet. The shoe,
especially of the females, is, beyond question, the most tasteful
article in their costume. It is, as I have said before, made of silk,
generally of a lavender, salmon, or rose color, embroidered in beautiful
and artistic patterns of leaves, flowers, and insects. The soles are of
the whitest doeskin; and so particular are they that they shall retain
their unsullied appearance, that, like the cats, they seldom walk
through a wet or muddy street.

The system of binding the feet of the women is by no means so universal
as we have been led to believe, and we must confess to having been
deceived in this matter; we all thought, probably, to have seen _all_
the women with that useful member reduced to the dimensions of a baby's
foot--instead of which, what do we really see? scarce one deformed woman
in all our walks. Yet this nation considers this cramped, tortured lump
(it has lost all semblance to a foot) an index of beauty.

Their hair is by far their finest possession, which, with their large
almond-shaped eyes, is invariably of a black color. I once saw a
Chinaman with _red_ hair, and you cannot think how ludicrous his queue
looked beside the sable tails of his brethren. The manner in which the
women dress their hair is most wonderful, and materially helps to give
them their uninviting appearance. They have a fashion of sticking it out
around the head in the shape of a teapot, stiffened with grease and
slips of bamboo. That this style of head-dress enhances their ugliness
very few Europeans I think will deny; for some women whom we have seen,
with their hair combed neatly back over their heads and coiled up in a
trace behind, looked not altogether uncomely.

The head is dressed but once in ten days; and as the people sleep in
their day clothes, the possibility is they entertain about their persons
a private menagerie of those interesting creatures whose name looks so
vulgar in print. It is one of the commonest scenes in the streets to see
a Chinaman squat on the kerb-stone and turn up a fold or two of his
trousers to manipulate these little pests; and even the high officials
and well-to-do people look upon it as no outrage to the proprieties, to
be seen removing one of "_China's millions_" from the garment of a
friend or guest.


                ----"All the deep
    Is restless change." * * *


Whatever pretensions to beauty our ship may have possessed on leaving
England--and that she possessed some it is but fair to add--have been
greatly marred by the late voyage, and especially by the washing down we
encountered on the trip from Manilla. The effect has been to reduce our
once fairy and glistening hull to a jaundiced mass of rust and stains.
Therefore are we to go into "weeds." Black certainly gives an iron-clad
a more man-of-war look, and a more war-like effect, to say nothing of
the superior ease with which it can be kept clean.

January 22nd.--The Chinese new-year's day.--I should consider even such
a poor account of the Chinese as this professes to be very incomplete,
did it not contain something as to the manner the people observe the
festival of the new year. And just a word before I start. It must not be
supposed that I gained the information, if it be worthy to be classed as
such, on a first visit to Hong Kong. This part of my "journal,"
including the previous chapter, has received the corrections and
additions of nearly four years' experience.

The Chinese new year--a movable feast--depending, like all their
chronological measurements, on the motions of the moon, may occur as
early as it does this year, or it may fall as late as the middle of
February. It is to the celestials what Christmas day is to us, and is
observed by every true Chinaman most religiously: not, be it understood,
religiously in our and the common acceptation of the term--for China has
no religion--it possesses a gigantic superstition; but between a
superstition and a religion, I need scarcely add, a vast difference
exists. To the practical mind of John Chinaman, religious observances
are made to subordinate themselves to worldly interests.

During the time we have been on the station the Shanghai district was
once suffering from extreme drought. The rain-god was appealed to--still
no rain came. Well, what was to be done? This. The god was admonished,
that if rain came not within a certain period something terrible would
happen to him. Still no rain. The exasperated priests and people then
took measures to execute their threat. Putting a rope around the idol,
the people, with their united efforts, pulled him to the ground to
suffer further outrages at the hands of an ungrateful mob. Thus much for
their _religion_. But to continue.

The last month in the old year is spent in elaborate preparation for the
coming one. All arrears of business are made up, all accounts closed and
punctually discharged, whilst everyone works his hardest to increase his
stock of money.

At midnight on the last of the old year a bell is heard to toll, at
which signal everybody rushes into the streets, armed with squibs,
crackers, Catherine wheels, and other blatant pyrotechnical
compositions; and as each tries to outdo his neighbour in the din he
creates, the noise accompanying their discharge is the most satisfactory
possible. The temples and pagodas are brilliantly lighted with colored
lamps and colored candles, whilst similar candles and "joss-sticks," and
gold and silver paper, illumine the interiors of their, at other times,
grimy and dingy abodes. When morning arrives, the streets present a
curious spectacle--everybody seems to be shaking hands with _himself_. A
Chinaman, on meeting and saluting a friend, instead of seizing his hand,
as we should, clasps his own hands together, the right hand grasping the
left, which he sways up and down in front of his body.

Each person, too, is dressed in the newest and costliest dress he can
afford; and as there is but one universal fashion of garment in China,
everybody tries to surpass everybody else in the richness of the
material of which his clothes are made. The children, in particular,
come out well, the girls especially, with highly-rouged and powdered
cheeks and necks, gaudily decorated "queue" (for that appendix is not
confined to the one sex), and silk dresses of the most beautiful colors.
The whole scene has a very stage-like and brilliant effect.

It is worthy of remark, as shewing another trait in this truly
remarkable race, that though they manufacture a very fiery liquor
(called "_samshaw_") from rice, yet you will rarely see a drunken
Chinaman in the streets. As far as I can remember I have met with only
one such, and he a servant on board our ship, who had adopted a liking
for rum because, I suppose, it is the custom for a sailor to drink what
is issued to him.

The harbour, too, has its distinctive features on this gay and festive
occasion. Every junk is covered with great pennons of silk in the most
startling colors, whilst from every available space small oblong pieces
of paper, with characters written on them, flutter to the breeze. These
are "_joss-papers_," and contain prayers for wealth, prosperity, and (if
they have not one already) an heir, "_joss_" is the generic name they
give to their idols, and the whole ritual they call "_joss pidgin_." The
priests they name "_joss-men_," an appellation, too, they somewhat
irreverently bestow on our naval chaplains. One of the largest junks,
with a priest on board, and containing all the vessels and objects
pertaining to their ritual, makes the circuit of the harbour--the priest
meanwhile burning prayers and setting off crackers for a blessing on the
supply of fish for the ensuing year.

January 29th.--This evening the officers gave their first theatrical
entertainment on board, the acting of some of the characters being
pronounced above the average; one or two of the younger midshipmen, to
whom the parts fell, made very tempting and graceful ladies.

February 14th.--This day finds us at the back of the island preparing
for target practice. In one of the bays here is an admirable natural
target: a solitary rock rising perpendicularly from the sea, with a mark
painted on it, is a most interesting thing to fire at, for you can
observe the effect of your shot. Behind this rock sloped a hill, on
which were seated, though unknown to us, two Chinamen; the first
half-a-dozen rounds were so true that the unseen watchers had no
suspicion they were in dangerous quarters, or that it was possible that
even the Duke's marksmen were fallible; the seventh round disillusioned
them, for, from a slight fault in the elevation, the shot over-reached
the target and pitched so close to the Chinamen that stones and rubbish
came rattling down from everywhere about their ears; fear lent them
wings, and they scampered off like the wind. They may be running now for
aught I know, as when we last saw them the horizon seemed to be the goal
they were aiming at.

March 10th.--We were to have put to sea to-day had not a melancholy and
fatal accident changed the whole course of events. Richard Darcy, a
young seaman, whilst engaged on the crosstrees fell to the deck,
striking the rail on the topgallant forecastle in his fall. His body was
frightfully mangled and torn, his scull fractured, and all his limbs
broken. Mercifully he never regained consciousness. Next day we buried
him in the beautiful cemetery of Happy Valley, than which there are few
more picturesque spots in China; 'twas surely a poetic fancy which
inspired the Chinese with the term "_happy_" when naming this sylvian

In the afternoon we slipped from the buoy and steamed seaward for
tactics, returning the following day to prepare for going in dock.

March 26th.--The last day for our stay in Aberdeen. A special steam
launch had arrived from Hong Kong during the forenoon with all the élite
of the city to see the floating of our ship. However, they were doomed
to disappointment, for, on the tide reaching its highest, it was found
the ship refused to move, nor would she start, though every effort was
made to coax her. It was not until the next tide, assisted by a strong
breeze, that the ship once more rested in deep water.

With characteristic expedition and commendable zeal, our captain had the
ship ready for sea, and awaiting orders in the briefest possible time.

April 21st.--Early this morning that pleasant sound, the cable rattling
through the hawse, told us that we had bid good-bye to Victoria, for a
few months at least. A rather stiff breeze was blowing at the time--a
sufficient hint that we might possibly meet with something rash outside;
nor was the hint to be disregarded, for, scarcely had we cleared the
mouth of the harbour, when, what sailors call a "_sneezer_," accompanied
by a green sea in all our weather ports, met us as an introduction to
our northern cruise. So threatening was the look of the sky, and
remembering that in these seas old Boreas often indulges his fancy in a
gentle zephyr called a typhoon, it was deemed expedient to seek shelter
for the night.

On the third day out we reached Amoy, or rather the outside anchorage of
that harbour, to await daylight for the passage up to the town.

So far as the little island settlement forming the foreign concession
can make it so, Amoy is a pretty enough place; otherwise it is like all
other Chinese towns, and wont bear too close a scrutiny. It is built on
an island of the same name, and is walled in by several miles of
embrasured masonry; a fort or barracks on the beach, gay with pennons,
imparting a semi-military look to the place. Flags seem to play a most
important part in the usages of war amongst this nation, for, in
addition to the great banners of the mandarins and their subordinates,
every soldier bears one in the muzzle of his rifle, or stuck in a bamboo
over his shoulder.

Resuming our course, after a stay of about forty-eight hours, we next
touched at the island of White Dogs, off the port of Foo-Choo, the great
naval depôt and arsenal of China. The "Vigilant" had preceded us here to
embark the admiral for Foo-Choo, whilst we put to sea again.

April 30th.--At daylight we found ourselves amongst an archipelago of
picturesque and richly cultivated islands, one mass of greenery from
base to summit. The effect produced by the different tints of the
foliage was very fine indeed. Beyond a doubt the Chinese exhibit great
skill and economy in the gardener's art.

This was the approach to Chusan, the largest island of the group, at
which we anchored at noon. The place fell under a British attack in
1841, remaining in our possession until the more convenient and more
valuable island of Hong Kong was ceded to us in exchange. Before us lies
a considerable town called Tinghae, where are buried many of our poor
fellow countrymen and their families who fell victims to fever and the
attacks of a cruel enemy during the occupation. We found their graves in
a very neglected condition, many of the tombstones having been
appropriated by the inhabitants to prop up those architectural
abominations which it would be a libel to term houses. Admiral Coote
subsequently sent the "Modeste" down with orders to repair the burial
ground; the misappropriated stones were speedily restored to their
places by the blue-jackets, who dealt with the natives in a very summary
manner by wrecking their houses about their ears.

It was not long before a sleek old Chinaman, rejoicing in the imposing
Chin-English name of "_Chin-Chang-Jim-Crow_," came on board and
introduced himself as "me de bumboat"; he further explained that it was
so long since a man-of-war had been in that neighbourhood, that probably
he would experience some difficulty in procuring "_Chow_."

In the course of a day or so the admiral arrived from Ningpo, which was
the signal for our at once heaving up anchor and continuing our voyage.

We are now in the estuary of one of the noblest rivers of the world,
and the largest in China. It is estimated that this river, the
Yang-tsze-Kiang, "Son of the Ocean," brings seaward, annually, as much
solid matter as would make an island as large as Ireland! The
navigation of its mouth is extremely dangerous, on account of the
constantly-shifting sandbanks and consequent alteration of the channel.
Fortunately, the European pilots are very skilful in detecting these
changes. It is usual for large ships to drop anchor on this mud,
locally termed the "flats," until boarded by a pilot, who takes you
either to Wosung or Shanghai, according to your draught of water.

Wosung scarcely merits the name of town; perhaps with more accuracy it
might be termed a village. It is nevertheless, the head quarters of a
large junk fleet, and has one of the finest and strongest forts in China
to protect it from seaward. The place is interesting to us in one sense,
because in 1875 an English company obtained permission to construct a
line of rail from here to Shanghai.

China, with its four thousand years of existence, looked on this
innovation with a jealous eye, and would have pitched the whole concern
into the river, had she dared; unfortunately the line was carried near a
burying ground, and thus a ready excuse for stopping the work presented
itself. It was alleged that the noise would disturb the spirits of the
dead, of whom the Chinese are in ghostly fear. An almost similar
difficulty was met when the arsenal was built at Foo-Choo, and a
magnificent temple was actually erected in that city for the
accommodation of the refugee spirits.

To bring matters to a climax a man was run over by one of the trucks and
killed. The mandarins could no longer hold out against the popular
voice, and the whole plant was bought up by the Government for twice the
sum the projectors had spent about it.

This is the brief history of the first and, up to now, the only attempt
to introduce railways into China; but the late Kuldja difficulty, and
the ease with which the Russians had brought an army to their Siberian
frontier, have caused the Chinese to open their eyes to the advantage of
railways for strategic, if for no other purpose, and I believe a line is
already in contemplation between Tien-tsin and the capital.

Owing to a blunder on the part of the pilot, so some said, and some
others, in consequence of someone else's blunder, our anchor was dropped
too near a mud bank, with the result that when the ship swung to a firm
knot current, up she went high and dry. Means were at once taken to get
her off, but by the time all the necessary arrangements were
completed--and there was no time lost either--the tide had ebbed

In the middle watch of this, the "Iron Duke's" first night on the
Chinese territory, the steel hawser was brought to the capstan, but a
piece of yarn would have been equally efficacious; for, under the
immense strain, it snapped like a bow string, and, as there was now
nothing to keep the stern in check, away she went broadside on to the

Meantime a telegram had been wired to the admiral at Shanghai, and next
day all the available help at that port came down the river to our
assistance; besides the "Vigilant," "Eyera," "Midge," and "Growler,"
there were two American war vessels, the "Monocasy" and "Palos," also a
Chinese paddle steamer.

On the third night a combined attempt was made to either haul us off or
to pull us to pieces. With all their tugging they effected neither the
one nor the other, and, had not nature "lent us a fin"--in the shape of
a breeze of wind--we might have been lying there to this day; a few
pulls on our hawsers and we had the satisfaction of feeling that the
dear old craft was once more on her proper element. The commander of one
of the American ships afterwards commenting on the difficulty
experienced in removing us, hailed our captain with "Guess, Cap'n, that
piece of machinery of yours is lumpy!" "Rather, Jonothan, I calculate."

Had we not floated to-day the alternative was rather consoling; nothing
less than the removal of all our heavy guns and spars.

Before our departure Shanghai was all astir at the visit of General
Grant of the United States. Ostensibly, the general is travelling
_incog._, but really as the representative of the United States, for he
flies the "stars and stripes" at the main, and gets a salute of
twenty-one guns wherever he goes. For some reason or other we did not
salute as he passed up the river.

May 22nd saw us clearing out of the dangerous precincts of the Shanghai
river and shaping our course across the turbid waters of the Yellow Sea
for pastures new--that is to say--for Japan. Under double-reefed canvas
and a nine knot breeze we sighted land in the vicinity of Nagasaki on
the 25th, and by evening our anchor "kissed the mud" in as lovely a spot
as ever mortal set eyes on. But I will reserve my eulogies for another


    "It was a fresh and glorious world,
    A banner bright that shone unfurled
    Before me suddenly."


I know not if the author of the above lines had ever been to Japan. I
should think it very unlikely; and possibly the poet is but describing
the scenery of his Cumberland home. In no disparagement of the beauteous
country of the lake and mountain, yet we must confess that nothing there
can compare with Japan's natural magnificence.

All who have ever written of Japan, or who have ever visited its shores,
are unanimous in the praise they bestow on its charms of landscape. Even
rollicking and light-hearted tars, who, as a rule, are not very sensible
to the beauties of nature, are bound to use "unqualified expressions of
delight," when that "bright banner" lies unfurled under their gaze. And
of all this beauteous land no part of it is more beautiful than the bay
of Ommura, in the month of May.

Coming towards Nagasaki, from the westward, is like sailing on to a line
of high, rigid, impenetrable rocks, for, apparently, we are heading
blindly on to land which discloses not the slightest indication of an
opening; but, relying on the accuracy of our charts, and the skill of
our officers, we assume we are on the right course. By-and-bye the land,
as if by some magic power, seems to rend asunder, and we find ourselves
in a narrow channel, with well-wooded eminences on either hand, clothed
with handsome fir trees. Right in front of us, and hiding the view of
the town, is a small cone-shaped island of great beauty. English is a
weak language in which to express clearly its surpassing loveliness.
This is Takabuko, or more familiarly, Papenberg, a spot with a sad and
bloody history, for it was here that the remnant of the persecuted
Christians, who escaped the general massacre in 1838,--when 30,000
perished--made a last ineffectual stand for their lives and faith. But
to no purpose, for pressed to extremities by the swords of their
relentless persecutors, they threw themselves over the heights, and
perished in the sea.

The people are not altogether to blame for this barbarous and cruel
persecution. Had the Jesuits been satisfied with their spiritual
conquests, and not sought to subvert the government of the country, all
might have gone well, and Japan, ere now, been a Christian country. But
no; true to themselves and to their Order, they came not to bring peace,
but literally a sword, and the innocent were made to suffer for the
ambitions of a few designing priests.

The island passed, what a view presents itself! The long perspective of
the bay, the densely wooded hills and lower slopes teeming with
agricultural produce, rich corn-fields, ripe for the sickle; picturesque
dwellings, hid in shadowy foliage, and flowers and fruit trees, to which
the purity and rarity of the atmosphere lend a brilliancy of colouring
and distinctness of outline, impossible to describe; the clear blue
water, with here and there a quaint and curious-looking junk, resting on
its glassy and reflecting surface; the town, sweeping around the shores
of the bay; and, afar, the majesty of hill and vale; such, dear reader,
is a weak and very imperfect word picture of the charming bay of Omura.

Recent events in Japan have taken such a remarkable turn, that history,
neither ancient nor modern, presents no parallel with it. That we may
have a more adequate conception of the Japan of to-day, it is absolutely
necessary that we make some acquaintance with the Japan of the past.

Of the origin of the people we can gleam very little, except from the
questionable source of tradition. Several theories are advanced to
account for their existence here. One authority discovers in them the
long-lost "lost tribes of Israel;" according to another, they are a
branch of the great American-Indian family; both of which statements we
had better accept with caution. Their own theory--or rather that of the
aborigines, the Aïnos of Yeso,--a race whom the indefatigable Miss Bird
has recently brought prominently before the world--states that the
goddess of the celestial universe, a woman of incomparable beauty and
great accomplishments, came eastward to seek out the most beautiful spot
for a terrestrial residence, and at length chose Japan, where she spent
her time in cultivating the silkworm, and in the Diana-like pursuits of
the chase; until one day, as she stood beside a beautiful stream,
admiring her fair form in its reflecting surface, she was startled by
the sudden appearance of a large dog. Tremblingly she hid herself, but
the dog sought her out, and, to her surprise, entered into conversation
with her, and finally into a more intimate alliance. From the union of
these two opposite natures--according to this account--the Aïnos are

One other tradition I will mention--the Chinese--which perhaps has
something of the truth in it. According to it, a certain emperor of
China, ruminating on the brevity of human life, and of his own in
particular, thought it possible to find a means whereby his pleasant
existence might be indefinitely prolonged. To this end he summoned all
the physicians in his kingdom, and ordered them, on pain of forfeiting
their heads, to discover this remedy. After much deliberation, one at
last hit upon a plan which, if successful, would be the means of saving,
at least, his own head. He informed the emperor that in a land to the
eastward, across the Yellow Sea, was the panacea he sought; but that, in
order to obtain it, it was necessary to fit out a ship, with a certain
number of young virgins, and an equal number of young men of pure lives,
as a propitiatory offering to the stern guardian of the "elixir of
life." The ship sailed, freighted as desired, and after a few days
reached the western shores of Japan, from whence, you will readily
imagine, the wily sage never returned. These young men and maidens
became the ancestors of the Japanese race.

Their form of government was despotic in its character, and feudal in
its system. The country was governed by a powerful ruler with the title
of mikado--"son of the sun"--who was supported in his despotism by
tributary princes, or daimios. Of them the mikado demanded military
service in time of war, and also compelled them to reside a part of each
year in his capital, where quarters were provided for them and their
numerous retainers in the neighbourhood of the palace. The visitor may
still see whole streets in Tokio without a single inhabitant, the former
residences of the daimios' followers, and the aspect is dreary in the

In addition to his temporal functions, the mikado has always been the
great high priest of the Sintor faith. On the breaking out of a war with
China, it was found that his attendance with the army would deprive the
religion of its spiritual head, and so indispensable was his presence in
the great temple, that such a deprivation would be little short of a
calamity. In this dilemma, he called to his aid the general of his
forces, an able warrior and a shrewd designing man, conferred on him the
hereditary title of shio-goon, or tycoon, and despatched him at the head
of the army to carry fire and sword into the coasts of China. This
prince's name was Tycosama, a name great in Japan's history, and
destined to become terrible to the Christians. As generally happens,
when a clever soldier with a devoted army at his back is placed in such
a position, he finds it but a step to supreme dominion, the army being a
pretty conclusive argument in his favor. His first act was the removal
of the mikado to the holy city, Kioto, where henceforth he was kept
secluded, and hemmed in by so much mystery, that the people began to
look upon their ancient ruler as little less than a god.

It will be readily imagined that the tycoons, by their arrogant
assumption to the imperial dignity, made for themselves many enemies
amongst the powerful daimios. The disaffected united to form a party of
reaction which, in the end, overthrew the tycoon, restored the mikado to
his ancient splendour, and gave Japan to the world. In 1853, an American
squadron, under Commodore Perry, came to Yokohama, and demanded a trade
treaty with the United States. After much circumlocution he obtained
one, thus pioneering a way for the Europeans. England demanded one the
following year, and got it; then followed the other maritime nations of
Europe, but these treaties proved to be of as little value as the paper
on which they were drawn up.

The adherents of the tycoon displayed a bitter animosity against the
foreigner, and especially a most powerful daimio, the prince of Satsuma,
who nourished a detestable hatred to Europeans. Through the machinations
of this party, murders of foreigners, resident in Yokohama, were of
almost daily occurrence, till at last the British consul fell a victim
to their hatred. This brought matters to a head. In 1863, England
declared war against Japan; blockaded the Inland Seas with a combined
squadron of English, French, Dutch, and American ships, acting under the
orders of Admiral Keuper, stormed and captured Simonoseki, and burnt
Kagosima, the capital of the prince of Satsuma. Having brought the
Japanese to their senses, we demanded of them a war indemnity, half of
which was to be paid by Satsuma.

Five years passed. The mikado meanwhile had placed himself at the head
of the reactionary party, pensioned the tycoon, and made rapid
advancement in European manners and customs. In 1868, Satsuma and his
party broke out into open rebellion against the mikado. But the prince's
levies were no match for the imperial troops, armed with the snider, and
the result was the rebellion, after some sanguinary battles, was put
down, the estates of the rebels confiscated, and the chief actors in the
drama banished to distant parts of the empire.

There, dear reader, I am as glad as you that I have finished spinning
that yarn. Now for the legitimate narrative.

Nagasaki, or more correctly Nangasaki, is a town of considerable
magnitude, skirting the shores of the bay, and built in the form of an
amphitheatre. On the terraces above the town, several large temples with
graceful, fluted, tent-like roofs, embowered in sombre and tranquil pine
groves, shew out distinctly against the dark background, whilst the
thousands of little granite monumental columns of the burying grounds,
stud the hills on every side, giving to Nagasaki almost a distinct

Immediately ahead of the anchorage is the small island of Desima, the
most interesting portion of the city to Europeans. Previous to 1859 it
was the only part of Japan open to foreigners, and even then only to the
Dutch, who, for upwards of 200 years, had never been allowed to set foot
outside the limits of the island,--a space 600 feet long by 150 feet
broad--separated from the main land by the narrowest of canals.

Japanese towns are laid out in regular streets, much after the fashion
obtaining in Europe. The system of drainage is abominable, though
personally, the people are the cleanest on earth, if constant bathing is
to be taken as an index to cleanliness. The streets have no footpaths,
and access to the houses is obtained by three or four loose planks
stretching across the open festering gutters. As a natural result, small
pox and cholera commit yearly ravages amongst the populace. Another
great evil against good sanitation, exists in the shallowness of their
graves. The Japanese have also a penchant for unripe fruits.

A native house is a perfect model of neatness and simplicity. A simple
framework, of a rich dark coloured wood, is thrown up, and roofed over
with rice straw. There is but one story, the requisite number of
apartments being made by means of sliding wooden frames, covered with
snow-white rice paper. The floor is raised off the ground about eighteen
inches, and is covered with beautiful and delicately wrought straw
mattresses, on which the inmates sit, recline, take their meals, and
sleep at night. These habitations possess nothing in the shape of
furniture; no fireplace even, because the Japanese--like Chinese--never
use fire to warm themselves, the requisite degree of warmth being
obtained by the addition of more and heavier garments. These abodes
present a marked contrast to the Chinese dwellings, which, as we saw,
were foul and grimy, whilst here all is cheerful and airy.

No house is complete without its tiny garden of dwarf trees, its model
lakes, in which that curiosity of fish-culture, the many tailed gold and
silver fish, are to be seen disporting themselves; its rockeries
spanned by bridges; its boats and junks floating about on the surface of
the lakes, in fact a Japanese landscape in miniature.

It seems the privilege of a people, who live in a land where nature
surrounds them with bright and beautiful forms, to, in some manner,
reflect these beauties in their lives. This people possess these
qualities in an eminent degree, for a happier, healthier, more cheerful
race, one will rarely see. Their children--ridiculously like their
seniors from wearing the same style of garment--are the roundest,
rosiest, chubbiest little pieces of humanity ever born. Everybody has a
fresh, wholesome look, due to repeated ablutions. The bath amongst the
Japanese, as amongst the ancient Romans, is a public institution; in
fact, we think too public, for both sexes mix promiscuously together in
the same bath, almost in the full light of day; whilst hired wipers go
about their business in a most matter-of-fact manner. This is a feature
of the people we cannot understand, but they themselves consider it no
impropriety. A writer on Japan, speaking of this says:--"We cannot, with
justice, tax with immodesty the individual who, in his own country,
wounds none of the social proprieties in the midst of which he has been
brought up." These bath-houses are perfectly open to the public gaze, no
one evincing the slightest curiosity to look within, except, perhaps,
the diffident sailor. It is very evident that Mrs. Grundy has not yet
put in her censorious appearance in Japan, nor have our western
conventionalities set their seal on what, after all, is but a single act
of personal cleanliness. "_Honi soit qui mal y pense._"

Their mode of dress is an embodiment of simplicity and elegance. Both
sexes wear a sort of loose dressing gown, sometimes of silk--mostly so
in the case of the fair sex--crossed over the front of their bodies,
allowing the knee perfect liberty to protrude itself, if it is so
minded, and confined to the waist by a band. But it is more particularly
of the dress of the ladies I wish to speak. The band circling the waist,
and known as the "_obe_," is very broad, and composed of magnificent
folds of rich silk, and tied up in a large quaint bow behind. A Japanese
lady lavishes all her taste on the selection of the material and in the
choice of colour, of which these bands are composed, and which are to
them what jewellery is to the more refined Europeans. No ornament of the
precious metal is ever seen about their persons. Their taste in the
matter of hues is faultless; no people, I will venture to say, have such
a perception of the harmonies of colour. Their tints are of the most
delicate and charming shades the artist's fancy or the dyer's art can
furnish, and often wrought in rich and elegant patterns. They are
passionately fond of flowers, the dark and abundant tresses of their
hair being always decorated with them, either real or artificial. Their
only other adornments are a tortoise-shell comb of delicate workmanship,
and a long steel pin with a ball of red coral in the end, passing
through their rich raven hair. They use powder about their necks and
shoulders pretty freely, and sometimes colour the under lip a deep
carmine, or even gold, a process which does not add to their personal
attractions. They wear no linen; a very thin chemise of silk crepe, in
addition to the loose outer garment, is all their covering. But it must
be remembered that the great aim of this people seems to be simplicity,
therefore we wont too minutely scrutinize their deficiencies of costume;
there is much to be said in its favour, it is neither immodest nor
suggestive. The feet are clothed in a short sock, with a division at the
great toe for the passage of the sandal strap. These sandals or clogs
are the most ungainly articles in their wardrobe. A simple lump of wood,
the length and breadth of the foot, about two or three inches in
altitude, and lacquered at the sides, is their substitute for our boot.
Their walk is a shuffling gait, the knee bent and always in advance of
the body.

The married women have a curious custom--now fast dying out--of blacking
their teeth and plucking out their eye-brows to prevent, as their
husbands say, other men casting "sheep's eyes" at them.

The males of the coolie class are very scantily clad, for all that they
wear is the narrowest possible fold of linen around the loins; but, as
if to compensate for this scarcity of rigging, they are frequently most
elaborately tattooed from head to foot.

A Japanese husband does not make a slave of his wife, as is too often
the case amongst orientals; she is allowed perfect liberty of action,
and to indulge her fancy in innocent pleasures to an unlimited extent.
Her lord is not ashamed to be seen walking beside her, nor does he think
it too much beneath him to fondle and carry the baby in public. They are
excessively fond of their children; the hundreds of toy shops and
confection stalls about the streets bearing testimony to this.

The old custom of dressing the hair, which some of the men still
affect, is rather peculiar. A broad gutter is shaved from the crown of
the head forward, whilst the remaining hair, which is permitted to grow
long, is gathered and combed upwards, where the ends are tied, marled
down, and served over (as we should say in nautical phraseology) and
brought forward over the shaven gangway.

One other custom I must mention, the strangest one of all: they have a
legalized form of that vice which, in other countries, by tacit consent,
is banned, but which even the most refined people must tolerate. But
what makes it more strange still is, that no inconsiderable portion of
the public revenue is derived from this source. The government sets
aside a certain quarter in every city and town for its accommodation,
gives it a distinct and characteristic name, and appoints officers over
it for the collection of the revenues. I thought it not a little
significant on landing for the first time in Japan to find myself and
"rick-sha" wheeled, by the accommodating coolie, right into the heart of
this quarter. The advances of the fair sex are likely to prove
embarrassing to the stranger, for, before they are married, they are at
liberty to do as they please, and do not, by such acts, lose caste or
forfeit the respect of their friends and neighbours.

Here, as in the Indian Seas, our _laundresses_ are men, the cleanest and
quickest washers we have encountered in the voyage. As an instance of
their despatch, they will take your bedding ashore in the morning, and
by tea-time you will receive it ready for turning in, the blanket washed
and dried, the hair teazed and made so soft that you would scarcely
fancy it was the same old "doss" again.

Though the women do not wash our clothes, they do what is far harder
work, _i.e._ coal our ship. We were surprised, beyond measure, to see
women toiling away at this dirty, laborious calling. And the Japanese
women are such little creatures, too! There was, however, one exception,
a woman of herculean strength and limb, looking like a giantess amongst
her puny sisters, and fully conscious of her superior muscular power.
This lady, stripped to the waist as she was, would, I am sure,
intimidate the boldest mariner from a too close acquaintance with her
embrace. They belong to the coolie class, a distinct caste in Japan,
wear a distinguishing badge on their clothing, form a community amongst
themselves, and rarely marry out of their own calling.

At noon these grimy Hebes, Hercules as well, all tripped on board to
dine, the upper battery offering them all the accommodation they
required; each carried with her a little lacquered box, with three
sliding drawers, in which was neatly and cleanly stowed her
dinner--rice, fish, and vegetables; taking out all the drawers, and
laying them on her lap, with a pair of chop-sticks, she soon demolished
her frugal meal. After a whiff or two at a pipe, whose bowl just
contained enough tobacco for two draws, she was ready to resume her

The European concession occupies the most picturesque position in
Nagasaki, from which city it is separated by a creek, well known to our
blue-jackets, spanned by two or three bridges. On either side of this
strip of water a perfect cosmopolitan colony of beer-house keepers have
assembled, with the sole intention of "bleeding" the sailor, and upon
whose well-known devotion, to the shrine of Bass and Allsop, they
manage to amass considerable fortunes.

Before leaving Nagasaki I would ask you to accompany me to one of
the temples, that known as the Temple of the Horse, being, perhaps,
the best. It is rather a long distance by foot, but Englishmen,
at least according to Japanese ideas, have too much money to walk
when they can ride, so to keep up the national conceit, but more
for our own convenience, we jump into an elegant little carriage, or
"_jin-riki-sha_," literally "_man-power-carriage_," but in sailor phrase
"johnny-ring-shaw," or short "ring shaw." Away we go, a dozen or more in
a line, over the creek bridge, past Desima, which we leave on our left
hand, and soon we are in the heart of the native city, and traversing
what is popularly known as "curio" street. At this point we request our
human horses to trot, instead of going at the mad speed usual to them,
in order that we make notes of Japanese life by the way. We pass many
shops devoted to the sale of lacquer ware, for which the Japanese are so
justly famed, catch glimpses of unequalled egg shell, and Satsuma china,
made of a clay, formed only in this neighbourhood, and which, thanks to
the European mania for collecting, fetch the most fancy prices; get a
view of silk shops, full of rich stuffs and embroideries. Here an artist
tinting a fan or a silk lantern; there a woman weaving cloth for the use
of her household and everywhere people plying their various callings on
the elevated floors of their houses. I should say needle making amongst
these people is a rather laborious undertaking, and one which requires
more than an ordinary amount of patience. The wire has first to be cut
the desired length, then filed to a point at one end and the other
flattened ready for the eye to be drilled, and finally the whole has to
be filed up and smoothed off, and all by one man. The Japanese are but
indifferent sewers, all their seams exhibiting numerous "holidays."
Pretty children, with their hair clipped around their heads like a
priest's tonsure, sport around us, but are not intrusive. Each child has
a little pouch attached to his girdle, which, we are informed, contains
the address of the child's parents, and also an invocation to the little
one's protecting god, in case of his straying from home. We meet with
cheerful looks and pleasant greetings everywhere. The gentle and musical
"_o-hi-o_," "_good day_," with its softly accented second syllable, and
as we pass the earnest "_sayonara_," the "_au revoir_" of the French,
tell us very plainly we are no unwelcome visitors, whilst their bows are
the most graceful, because natural, and therefore unaffected, actions it
is possible to conceive.

We notice, too, that numbers of the males are in full European costume,
which generally hangs about them in a most awkward manner, reminding
one of a broom-handle dressed in a frock coat. Others, again, don't
discard the national dress altogether, but compromise matters by
putting on, in addition to their long gown, a European hat and shoes,
which, if anything, looks worse still. The ladies have not yet adopted
the European style which, perhaps, they have sense enough to see, is
far more complex and inconvenient than their own. Of this much I am
certain that no mysterious production of Worth would be more becoming,
or suit them better than their own graceful, national dress.

At our imperative "_chop_, _chop_," jack's sole stock-in-trade of that
intellectual puzzle, the Chinese language, and which he finds equally
serviceable this side the water, our Jehus start off like an arrow shot
from a bow. What endurance these men possess, and what limbs!

After a pleasant half-an-hour's ride, a sudden jolt indicates we are at
our destination.

We alight at the base of a flight of broad stone stairs leading to the
temple, and which we can just discern at a considerable altitude above
us, peeping out of the dark shadow of a grove of firs. Arches of a
curious and simple design, under which it is necessary to pass, are the
distinguishing features of a kami or sintoo temple, and perhaps of Japan
itself, as the pyramids are characteristic of ancient Egypt.

Two uprights of bronze, stone, or wood, inclined to each other at the
summits, and held in position by a transverse beam piercing the pillars
at about three feet from their tops. Over this again is another beam
with horn-like curves at the ends, and turned upward, and simply laid on
the tops of the shafts. The approaches to some of these temples are
spanned by hundreds of such structures, which, when made of wood and
lacquered bright vermillion, look altogether curious.

On the topmost stair, as if guarding the main entrance to the sanctuary,
are two seated idols of the "god of war," in complete armour, each with
bow in hand and a quiver full of arrows over his shoulder, and protected
by a cage work of wire. What certainly gives us matter for speculation,
and causes us no little surprise, is to see the golden scales of their
splendid armour, and even their ruddy lacquered faces, bespattered with
pellets of chewed paper after the manner familiar to us as school boys;
when not satisfied with the correctness of the geographers, we used to
chew blotting paper to fling in recent discoveries on the wall maps. Do
these people desecrate their idols thus? There is no desecration here.
These little lumps of pulp are simply _prayers_, pieces of paper on
which the priests have traced some mystic characters for the use of the
devout, and which, because of their inability to reach the idol to paste
the strips on, they shoot through the wire in this manner.

We now pass under the last arch, with its monstrous swinging paper
lantern, into the courtyard of the temple. The first object which claims
our attention is a bronze horse, from which the temple takes its name.
The work of art--for so it is reckoned--would be more like a horse, if
its tail were less suggestive of a pump handle. Near is a bronze trough
filled with holy water, to be applied internally; and around three sides
of the square numerous empty houses, which, on high days and holidays,
are used as shops for the sale of sacred and fancy articles. Up a few
more steps and suddenly we are on the polished floor of the temple, and
standing amidst a throng of kneeling worshippers, with heads bowed and
hands pressed together in prayer.

Their mode of procedure at these shrines seems something after the
following: the worshipper first seizes a straw rope depending from the
edge of the roof of the temple, to which is attached a bell, of that
shape worn by ferrets at home, only of course on a much more gigantic
scale; this is to apprise the slumbering god of the applicant's
presence. He then commences his petition or confession; places an
offering of money in a large trough-like receptacle for the purpose;
takes a drink at the holy water font, and departs to his home chatting
gaily to his neighbours as he descends the steps. The whole business
occupies about five minutes.

Sintoo temples have but little interior or body. All the worshipping is
done outside on the beautifully kept polished floor. A notice in English
reminds us vandals that we must remove our shoes if we would tread this
sacred spot.

Within, is simplicity itself; a mirror and a crystal ball is all one
sees; the former typical of the ease with which the Almighty can read
our hearts; the second an emblem of purity. They worship the Supreme
Being under the threefold title, which, strangely enough, we find in the
Book of Daniel, by which we may infer they have no inadequate conception
of the true God.

We leave the temple court by a different outlet to that by which we
entered, and come out on a charmingly laid out garden and fish ponds,
where are seats and tea houses for the accommodation of visitors. Each
tea house has its bevy of dark-eyed houris, who use every wile and charm
known to the sex, to induce you to patronise their several houses. To do
the proper thing, and perhaps influenced by the bright eyes raised so
beseechingly to ours, we adjourn to one of these restaurants. Removing
our shoes--a proceeding you are bound to comply with before entering a
Japanese house--we seat ourselves cross-legged, tailor fashion, on the
straw mattresses I have previously mentioned, whilst an attendant
damsel, with deft fingers, makes the tea in a little terra-cotta
teapot, the contents of which she poured into a number of doll's cups,
without handles, on a lacquered tray. Other girls handed us each a cup,
in which was a liquid not unlike saffron water in colour and in taste.

They use neither milk nor sugar, and the cups are so provokingly small,
that it is only by keeping our attendant syrens under the most active
employment, that we are at last able to say we have tasted it. With our
tea we get some excellent sponge cake called "_casutira_," a corruption
of the Spanish word "castile," said to be, until very recently, the only
word of European etymology in the language. The Jesuits first introduced
the cake from Spain, and taught the people how to make it. Whatever its
origin, it is very good. You get chop-sticks handed you too, which,
after a few ineffectual and laughable attempts to manipulate in the
approved fashion, you throw on one side. After the decks are cleared the
young ladies bring out their _sam-sins_, and whilst we smoke Japanese
pipes, they delight our ears with an overture, which we pronounce
excruciating in English, though with our eyes we say "divine as Patti."

But we must not tarry longer here for the setting sun warns us it is
time to get on board.

Our patient "steeds" are at the foot of the stairs, each ready to claim
his rider. These fellows will stick to you like a leech; follow you
about for hours, never intruding their presence on you, and yet seem to
anticipate all your movements and wants.


    "I looked upon those hills and plains,
    And seemed as if let loose from chains,
            To live at liberty."


The arrival of the "Vigilant" from Shanghai, with the admiral on board,
brought our stay at charming Nagasaki to a close. During the absence of
our band with the "Vigilant," one of its members, Henry Harper, a feeble
old man, and far advanced in consumption, died at Shanghai.

June 11th.--Left Nagasaki _en route_ for the eastward, _via_ the Inland
Seas. Our way to Simoneski lay through numerous islands of so beautiful
an appearance that a writer has compared them to some of the fairest
spots in Devon. But this, though it says much, is but a poor tribute to
such enchanting loveliness.

At daylight the following morning we made the narrow channel at
Simoneski, the western entrance to the seas; and as there is always a
strong rush of water through the passage towards the ocean, we had to
steam hard against a considerable current. The town, of which I spoke in
my last chapter, has a very straggling and neat cleanly appearance.
There are no forts or other defences to indicate that not so long ago
this town offered defiance and a short resistance to a European

The Inland Sea has four chief divisions, which now commences to open out
before us, and is reckoned to possess some of the finest scenery in the
world. I had often wished to see it for myself; but I must confess I was
unprepared, even with an imagination not liable to surprise, at a
picture of nature's own producing, for such beauty and grandeur. For
hundreds of miles, day after day, we were borne past a moving diorama of
scenery unrivalled by anything here below. On a smooth blue sea, and
under a cloudless sky, onward we sped, passing, one after another, the
most delightful islets the eye ever dwelt on, each appearing to us a
perfect paradise in itself. Further on, indicated by a mere purple haze,
appeared others, and yet others, in almost endless perspective. I should
say the islands in this sea may be numbered by thousands.

Not many years since, strangers were debarred from using this passage. I
fancy I can imagine the impressions the first Europeans must have had of
this fairy land, of such a climate, such a soil, and such delightful
glades and woodlands!

On each of the larger islands we noticed snug temples, like miniature
Swiss chalets, embowered in woods--their peculiar architecture standing
out in relief from a tangled mass of vegetation.

The channels where there are so many islands as here are necessarily
intricate and dangerous; and as it would be to court danger to continue
our course after sundown, there are several well-marked anchorages where
it is customary to bring up at night. The first of these was a sheltered
bay with twin villages at its head, which I fancifully designated
Kingsand and Cawsand--the promontory forming one arm of the bay, looking
not unlike Penlee point--greatly adding to the conceit.

June 14th.--At noon we reached Kobé, or Hiogo, and let go our anchor far
out in what appears to be an open roadstead. This town is one of the
most recent of the treaty ports--in fact it and Osaca opposite, are the
last thrown open to trade; hence we shall probably find Kobé more
_native_ and less Europeanized than are the other towns we shall visit.

The native town is very extensive, reaching far back to the basis of the
hills, and well away to the left of the anchorage. To the right a
stretch of low-lying land, with its tiny fields of ripe grain, looks
very fine. This track leads to the water-falls--a prettier place for a
pic-nic and one more accommodating one can scarcely find. Between this
plain and the old town of Hiogo the Europeans have raised their pretty
picturesque dwellings. The streets here are very regular and well kept,
the trees planted along the sides giving the place quite a French

There is at least one I was about to say magnificent street in the town,
with an extent of over two miles, along and in which all the bustle and
business are conducted. Notwithstanding its recent opening,
public-houses, with their alluring signs, have sprung up with
mushroom-like rapidity. One in particular I will just mention, not that
you are ever likely to forget "Good old Joe," but simply that you may
smile, when reading this over, at the willingness with which you were
led as lambs to the slaughter. I trust you escaped without the mark of
the butcher's knife.

After traversing about half the length of the street I mentioned before,
the traveller finds himself abreast of the Nanko temple, a large and
imposing structure having a wide and noble-looking entrance from the
street, and just now presenting a very festive and animated appearance.
On either side the really grand avenue to the temple a veritable fair is
being held, and such a spectacle was as welcome as it was unlooked for.
The amusements were so like those provided at similar gatherings at home
that the wonder is, that peoples separated by half a world of varied
civilization can possess the details of such festivities in common.
Confection stalls, wild beast shows, shooting galleries, archery
grounds, theatres, music halls, even a Japanese edition of the
thimble-and-pea business was not wanting. In one of the theatres we
visited, the acting, although considered good from a Japanese point of
view, possessed too many muscular contortions, too much contraction and
expansion of the facial organs, to please an English audience. Men do
all the acting, women never appear on the Japanese stage.

The music halls are not more enlivening than are the theatres, though
the sight of an interior is worth the ten _sen_ fee, if only to see
their manner of conducting the opera. If you imagine the interior of a
church, having all its pews removed, leaving only the cant pieces on
which they were erected, and the spaces between these pieces covered and
padded with the beautiful rice-straw matting of the country, you will
get a fairly good idea of the simple fittings of a Japanese music hall.
A whole family seats itself in one of these squares; and as a concert in
this country is really a formidable affair, they bring their braziers,
teapots, and chow-boxes with them. The performer--a lady--is seated,
tailor fashion, on a raised platform, a music desk in front of her, and
her musical instruments near at hand. The Japanese, like the Chinese,
sing from the throat, and the effect produced on the tympanum is that of
an amorous tom-cat chanting to his lady-love at midnight. The words she
is singing, and has been singing for the--a friend who was with me said
"_the last week_;" but knowing him to be a joker, I accept the statement
with caution--for the last six hours, and which she will probably
continue to sing for the next six, contain rather too much levity and
grossness, could we understand them, to be at all suitable even for
sailors. But her present audience receive them with the utmost
indifference, only betraying that they are at all conscious of what is
going on by an occasional clapping of the hands. Now and again the
singer has a spell and a libation of saki, an attendant keeping her
liberally supplied in this item, of which she manages to drink a
quantity during her song; and, by way of a change at these times, she
enters into a monologue or a recitation. Taken and viewed in an artistic
light, the audience in their rich gala dresses is a pleasing piece of
color and of harmonic contrasts.

Close to the temple a crowd is gathered around a horse box, in which is
a milk-white steed--sacred, of course. Before him a little table is
placed, covered with tiny saucers filled with beans; and the devout--and
we in particular--can have the puerile satisfaction of seeing him munch
his comfits in a strangely horselike manner for the small sum of a
"_sen_!" Near at hand are some more sacred creatures--hundreds of
turtles in a slimy pond rear their snake-like heads through the thick
green water for the pieces of biscuit and little red balls of prepared
food which the children are constantly flinging into their midst. These
reptiles, it may be remembered, form an important figure-subject in
Japanese carvings, paintings, and bronzes.

Within easy distance of Kobé, and connected with it by rail, are the
cities of Osaca and Kioto, the former being the seaport of the latter,
and, possibly, the greatest trade centre in the empire. It seems to be
built at the delta of a river; and as there are scores of bridges
spanning their several mouths, it has much the appearance of Venice.
Kioto is the sacred city of Japan, and contains, amongst other
interesting sights, a large temple, in which are no fewer than 33,333
gods! Yearly pilgrimages are made here; and to provide spiritual
ministrations for the thousands of pilgrims, it is said that the priests
form one-fifth of the entire population.

June 17th, to-day we completed with coal and started for Yokohama,
leaving the Inland Sea by its south eastern entrance and entering on the
broad bosom of the great Pacific. By the help of a splendid breeze we
are speedily clear of the Linschoten strait and in view of a strange
picture, for giant Fusi begins to rear his hoary head above the main.

At first it appears but a small conical shaped island, rising isolated
from the midst of the sea, and which in a few hours we shall reach. But
a few hours multiply into scores of hours, and still that island appears
at a tantalizing distance, and it is not until the main land comes into
view that we discover the misty island is no island at all, but a superb
mountain. It can be seen at an immense distance from the sea; we,
ourselves, are, at the very least, sixty miles from its base, and yet
how clearly distinct, how tangibly present, how boldly out-lined it
stands against the opal tints of the evening sky.

Fusi-yama--"the peerless," "the matchless," or "the unrivalled,"--is an
extinct volcano, on the island of Niphon, though, only a century since,
it was in active operation, and is said to have been brought into
existence in the space of a few days. Few sights are likely to leave
such an impression on one's mind, as solitary, graceful, cold looking
Fusi, which, clothed in a mantle of snow, may, not inaptly, be compared
to a grim sentinel guarding the destinies of a nation. But who shall
attempt a description of its glories as we saw it that evening at
sunset, and many an evening afterward, with the chance and transient
effect of light and shade playing on its pearly sides.

June 19.--The freshening gale soon rattled us past the town of Simoda,
and into the great bay of Yedo, with the volcano of Vries at its
entrance. Hundreds of queer-shaped junks and smaller craft, laden with
the produce of the busy nation, glide across the rolling seas with
duck-like motions, on their peaceful mission to the capital.

I have before had occasion to mention these unintelligible pieces of
naval architecture, but as they never before appeared to me at such
advantage as now, as they struggle up the wind across our track, I have
hitherto refrained from saying much about them. They are constructed
very sharp forward and very broad aft, with high, rising sterns
something after the manner of the Chinese junk, but far more picturesque
and compact than the sister country's vessel; and, so far as looks go, a
far more seaworthy craft than the latter. They carry an immense sail of
pure white canvas, save where a black cloth is let in--for contrast
perhaps--on the huge characters composing the owner's name, mar its fair
surface; and a stout, heavy mast placed well abaft the centre of the
vessel, and curved at its upper end, the better to form an overhanging
derrick to hoist the sail by. The sail is made of any number of cloths
laced together vertically--not sewn--by which method each cloth has a
bellying property and wrinkled appearance, independent of its
neighbours, thus the whole surface holds far more wind than one
continuous sheet would do. The vessels, despite their unnautical
appearance, sail well on a wind. Some writers have affirmed, that
instead of reefing as we do, and as is pretty universal all over the
world--namely, by reducing the perpendicular height of the sail--that
the Japanese accomplish this by taking in sail _at the sides_, or
laterally, by unlacing a cloth at a time. This seems to me highly
absurd, and is certainly not borne out by the testimony of my own
observation; and that they should not conform to the common usage of
maritime nations--both savage and civilized--in this particular is
improbable. Even the Chinese--who are generally admitted to be the most
_unconforming_ and irrational people in the world--reef their sails, at
least, in the orthodox way. Besides taking a practical view of the
matter, how are they in any sudden emergency, and with their limited
crews, to undo the elaborate lacing, without going out on the yard and
climbing _down_ the sail, unlacing as they go? So far as I am able to
judge, their method is a most simple and effective one, for all that
they do is to lower the sail, gather in the slack at the bottom, and as
there are several sheets up and down the breech of the sail, the thing
is done with the utmost facility.

The build of a junk's stern is somewhat peculiar, for there is a great
hollow which, apparently, penetrates the body of the vessel; a mode of
construction said to be due to an edict of one of the tycoons, to
prevent his subjects from leaving the country; for though it seems
incredible, these junks have been known to voyage to India. The sampan
has a similar faulty arrangement of stern. Though the people obeyed the
spirit of the law, they evaded the letter of it by placing sliding
watertight boards across the aperture.

By noon we had anchored off Yokohama, now a large and flourishing town,
and the chief naval and foreign trading port of Japan, though, before
the English arrived here in 1854, it was little more than a village.

Having got through the noise and smoke of salutes to no less than four
admirals, and other minor consular expenditures of gunpowder, we
prepared ourselves for a pleasurable stay in the sailor's paradise.
Perhaps no place in the round of sailors' visits, certainly none on this
station, offers so many inducements, so many and pleasing channels of
getting rid of money, as does Yokohama. Certain it is that the officers,
who form the banking committee on board, never complain of being over
worked, during a ship's stay in this harbour, and plethoric bank books
are frequently reduced to a sad and pitiable state of emaciation after
having "done" Yokohama and its vicinity.

The residences of the Europeans are situated out of the town on a rising
ground to the left, known as the Bluff. Here the merchants live in rural
magnificence, each with his mansion surrounded by its own park-like
grounds. The English and foreign naval hospitals are also situated in
this healthy and beautiful spot; and it was here, too, that our recent
marine contingent to Japan had their barrack.

The European concession is a small town in itself, and from the
nomenclature of the landing places it would appear that the English and
French claim the greatest interests here. These landing stages are
called, from the division of the settlement which they front, the
English and French "_Hatobahs_"--the "_atter bar_" of the sailor.

As this town is the great point of contest between the Japanese and the
foreigner, everything in the shape of "_curios_" can be obtained in its
marts and bazaars. Most of the objects are novel to us, and from their
attractiveness generally induce sailors to purchase on the strength of
that very quality. Except in very rare instances a piece of real lacquer
can scarcely be obtained, most of it having already found its way to
Europe; that which we see here is made chiefly for sailors, who needs
must take something home--they care not what, nor are they very
particular about the price asked. And how well these people have
studied the "tar;" how they have discovered his weakness for startling
colours! I am writing this about four years subsequent to this, our
first visit, and one would think, that four years was amply sufficient
for the purpose of opening our eyes to deceptions. Have they though? Not
a bit of it, for we are quite as ready to be "taken in" to-day or
to-morrow, as we were four years since. Still, there are some very
handsome and, now and then, really elegant things to be picked up in the
shops: bronzes, lacquers, china, tortoise-shell earrings, fans,
paintings, or silk, combining in their execution, the most educated
taste, and the most wonderful skill. Generally speaking a "Japper" after
naming a price will rarely retract. The Chinaman always will, the rogue!
The Japanese know this peculiarity of the Chinaman, and nothing will
wound a Jap's self-respect more than to compare his mode of dealing with
the celestial's.

They seem to enjoy arguing and chaffering over prices, and will
frequently go to the length of pulling down masses of paper, supposed to
be invoices, to shew that they are asking you fair. We pretend to
examine these inventories with a most erudite expression on our ignorant
faces, and invariably commence to open the wrong end of the book,
forgetful that the Japanese commence at what we call the last page. The
dealers display the utmost indifference as to whether you buy or not,
and you may pull their shops to pieces without raising their ire in the
slightest, for they will bow to you just as ceremoniously on leaving as
though you had purchased twenty dollars' worth.

Strange as Japanese art appears to us, there is design in all their
executions. This presents a marked contrast to Chinese art, which
appears to be simply the result of the artist's fancy. A Chinaman seems
to have no idea, when he commences a thing, what he is going to produce,
he goes on cutting and scraping, taking advantage of, here a vein in a
stone, perhaps, or there a knot in the gnarled branches of a tree, and
his imagination, distorted by the diabolical forms with which his
superstition surrounds him, does the rest.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now I will ask you to take a run with me to Tokio, the capital of

The hour's ride by rail conducts us through a pleasant, well cultivated
country. Fields of ripe grain, clusters of woods with cottages peeping
out of their bosky shades, and surrounded by stacks of hay and corn,
have, for the Englishman, a farm-like and altogether a home-like look.

The best and safest method to adopt on arriving at the terminus is to
hire rickshas of the company at the railway station, by so doing you are
saved from being victimised by the coolies, who are about as honest as
the Jehus of our own streets. You may employ them for as many hours as
you please, but to avoid fractions it is usual to engage them by the

Until Japan was opened to foreigners, Tokio, or Yedo, was a mystery to
the civilized world. It was supposed to be fabulously large, and was
said to contain more inhabitants than any other metropolis in the world;
some accounts putting it down to as many as four millions. As regards
its extent, the city certainly does cover an immense space. Its
population, though, is but half that of London. Its large area is due,
perhaps, more to the manner in which it is laid out, than to anything
else--which is in the form of concentric circles, the mikado's palace,
or castle, occupying the centre. Around this dismal, feudal looking,
royal abode, the various embassies are erected; buildings which present
a far finer--because more modern and European--appearance than does the
imperial residence. Circling the whole is a large deep moat, the waters
of which are thickly studded with beautiful water lilies, and spanned by
several bridges. Then come the dingy and now disused houses and streets
of those powerful men of a by-gone age, the daimios. The whole aspect of
this question may be summed up in the word _desolation_. This, too, is
surrounded by a canal, or moat. Beyond this, again comes the city
proper, with its busy, bustling population.

We are entirely at the mercy of our "ricksha" men, and have not the
remotest idea of where they are driving us; but assuming they know more
about the city than we, this does not exercise us much. They rattle us
along over unevenly paved streets, and whiz us around corners with the
rapidity of thought; an uncomfortable sensation in the region of the
dorsal vertebræ, resulting from the unusual bumping process, and a fear
lest, haply, we may be flying out of our carriage at a tangent into
somebody's shop front, a pleasing reflection should we take a header
amongst china.

Our coolies had been directed to a quarter of the city called Shiba, and
here at length we find ourselves, and are shortly set down before one of
the grandest buddhist temples in Japan. How peacefully the great
building reposes in its dark casket of solemn fir trees! To reach the
main entrance, we traverse a broad pathway lined with praying lanterns
on either hand. These lanterns are stone pedestals, surmounted by a
hollow stone ball with a crescent shaped aperture in its surface,
through which, at night, the rays of light proceeding from _burning
prayers_ penetrate the gloom. Scores of tombs, containing the remains of
the defunct tycoons and their wives, fill the temple court; and as each
successive tycoon looked forward to reposing here after death, during
life he richly embellished it, and endeavoured to make it worthy to
receive so august a body as his own.

A bald-headed priest, standing at the great entrance, bids us remove our
shoes and follow him. He conducts us up grand stair cases, through
corridors, into courtyards, chapels, and sanctuaries; unlocks recesses,
and produces sacred vessels of massive gold work of vast antiquity and
splendid design, intimating to us that these are for the sole use of the
mikado, when he assumes his priestly office. Here we get our first idea
of what real lacquer means. Our bonze brought out a small lacquered
cubical box, of a dull gold colour, and about four inches in height, and
gave us to understand that it could not be purchased for 500 dollars!
Just fancy! And then the carving, gilding, colouring, and lacquer,
everywhere, is something beyond description. Even the very floors on
which we tread, the stairs, the hand-rails, are all gorgeous with
vermilion lacquer. One sanctuary is really resplendent, its vessel's
mouldings and ornaments being of dead gold work, wrought in all kinds of
emblematical designs and shapes. I feel assured that no thoughtful man
can visit Shiba's temple without being impressed with the high
perfection to which the Japanese have attained in the arts; a perfection
which the foreign mind can rarely grasp. After a donation to the polite
bonze--which he receives on a gold salver and lays on the altar--we
encase our feet in leather once more, and leave the sacred precincts. We
may possibly never have the opportunity of paying Shiba a second visit;
but the privilege of having done so once is--to a man of research--a
liberal education in itself.

The streets and their busy throng are very gay and lively. Hosts of
healthy-looking and prettily clad children are running here, there, and
everywhere in pursuit of their kites, and other childish amusements.
Vendors hawking their wares, as at home; the shrill melancholy whistle
of the blind shampooer who, with a staff in one hand and a short bamboo
pipe in the other, thus apprises people of his willingness to attend on
them; ladies bowing and "sayonaraing" each other in musical tones; the
encouraging voice of the driver to his jaded ox; and the warning "a--a"
of the _ricksha_ man; these are the music of the streets in "the land of
the rising sun."

The city can boast in the possession of several very fine and extensive
parks, that in which the Naval College is situate being one of the
largest. Here the youthful Japanese officers of the navy were educated
by English instructors in all the branches and requirements of the
modern naval service, and some of the work we saw in the different parts
of the building shews that the Japanese have become thorough masters of
the technicalities, and no mean adepts at their practical application.
All the foreign instructors--except one--have now been discharged, the
Japanese feeling themselves strong enough to walk alone in naval
matters. That one exception is a chief gunner's mate, who so rarely uses
the English language that, on conversing with us, he had frequently to
pause to consider what words he should make use of, and even then his
English was broken, and spoken just as a native would speak it.

On the return ride to Yokohama I was fortunate enough to find myself
seated next a gentleman who has been resident in Japan upwards of
twenty-five years, during which period he has travelled throughout the
length and breadth of the empire. As may be imagined he was a repository
of much valuable and varied information. He could hoist out facts and
figures as easily as you would fling a weevily biscuit to leeward. From
his conversation with me I gained much knowledge about Japan, which it
was impossible I could have acquired in any other way, and all of which
I have embodied in various parts of this narrative.

The manner in which the natural taste is assimilating itself to European
ideas appears more evident when one comes to observe the hundreds of
Japanese who take advantage of the railway. Stop at what station you
like, you will find the platform suddenly alive with gaily dressed and
clogged passengers, on pleasure bent, loaded with toys or wares that
have been purchased, in the gay capital.

A few days after the above events the Japanese squadron of smart
corvettes, and the large ironclad "Foo-soo" (Great Japan, as we say
Great Britain,) got under way and proceeded to sea. It was rumoured that
the mikado was to have accompanied in his yacht, and in anticipation of
his embarkation all the men-of-war in harbour dressed ship, though, as
it turned out, he did not put in an appearance.

July 3rd.--General Grant arrived this morning in the corvette
"Richmond," and escorted by a Japanese man-of-war. All ships, except the
English and German, dressed in honour of the American flag, which the
corvette flew at her main. The two nationalities I have mentioned seem
to have offered a marked discourtesy to the general, the German
especially so, for just as the "Richmond" was about to anchor the "Prinz
Adalbert" broke the German royal standard at her royal mast head, which,
as it were, blew the charges out of guns already loaded for the
American. The "Adalbert" has Prince Heinrich, the second son of our
Princess Royal, on board as a midshipman; hence the standard.

It would appear that the slight passed on Jonathan did not go entirely
unnoticed by him, for in the evening, at sunset, when, as is customary
with that nation, her band played her colours down and then the national
anthems, it was noticed that the English and German tunes were
studiously omitted.

But the "Richmond" had taken up a bad billet to anchor in, and to find a
more secure one she steamed out to the entrance of the harbour and made
a wide sweep before returning. Some of our jocular shipmates had quite a
different view of this proceeding, for, if we are to believe them, the
American went out to take the turn out of her flags, or to allow her
ship's company to bathe, the waters of the harbour being too shallow for
the latter purpose!

Unwillingly my pen has once again to trace the lines which are to record
the death of another of our poor fellows, Frederick Smyth, a stoker.
Returning from leave in one of the open, dangerous, shallow boats of the
place, and perhaps slightly the worse for liquor, the unfortunate man
fell overboard, his body not being recovered until some days after the
sad event.

July 22nd.--Up anchor once more! Onward is our motto, nor are we
particularly sorry to be on the move, for I think everybody is surfeited
with Yokohama, and perhaps the fact that everybody's money is all gone,
has something to do with our eagerness to be off. So, boys, "We'll go to
sea for more," as the old tars did. Just as the anchor was a-trip two
royal personages came on board, the Princes Arisugawa--father and son;
the father being the commander-in-chief of the Japanese army; the son a
"midshipmite" in the Imperial navy. They were attended by their suite
and Sir Harry Parkes, the British ambassador at Tokio. We took them a
short distance to sea with us, and after seeing one or two evolutions
they returned to Yokohama in the "Vigilant," whilst we resumed our


    From clime to clime, from sea to sea, we roam,
    'Tis one to us--we head not yet for home.


Shortly after rounding Mela Head and shaping our course to the
northward, the temperature underwent a marked change, in fact so
suddenly were we ushered into a colder zone that everybody is on the
search for pocket handkerchiefs, these articles being in very general

The eastern coast of Niphon, along which we are now cruising, has
several admirable harbours and sheltered anchorages. Two days after
leaving Yokohama we found the ship standing in for the land and making
for Yamada, one of the securest harbours on the coast. Bold hills and
headlands, clothed in the easily recognisable dark green foliage of the
fir, rear themselves on either hand as we pass into the outer bay. This
outer sheet of water--for there is an inner--has a very broad opening
seaward, but suddenly, on changing course, a narrow inlet reveals a
noble bay, perfectly land-locked with a village of considerable size at
its head. No sooner had our anchor left the bows than a volunteer party
asked and obtained permission to go fishing. So far, however, as
catching fish was concerned, the expedition was a signal failure,
though, looked at in the light of enjoyment, it was a perfect success.
Along the beach of this arcadia an abundance of flowers grow in a wild
state, amongst them the rose, whose beauty, bloom, and fragrance
equalled those of the choicest culture in our English garden; and on
looking at them and the other familiar flowers around, we might have
been forgiven for fancying ourselves at home. Whence come our
associates, and why is it that even the fragrance of a flower is capable
of seizing hold on the mind, and transporting it to the utmost limits of
a continent?

The usual wondering throng of natives speedily gathered around us, eager
to participate in the viands which we were endeavouring to stow away.
Fortunately we had plenty of biscuit with which to satisfy their
curiosity; but it was a long time before they could be prevailed upon to
drink out of a basin of cocoa. When we offered it to them they touched
their heads and swayed their bodies to and fro, making a very creditable
pantomime of intoxication. At length, however, one of us used the
Japanese word "_tcha_" (tea) which had the desired effect, for one man
advanced, took a drink, and liked it; and though he of course discovered
it was not tea, he also found out it was not rum.

July 27th--We have now reached the northern end of Niphon, and turned
westward into the broad strait of Tsugar, which separates the greater
island from Yesso. The scenery about the strait is very lovely; all day
we have coasted the land down, and alternate hill and dale, and here and
there a giant volcano peak were most refreshing objects on which to rest
the eye. Towards evening the great open bay of Awomori came into view,
and in a short time we had entered it, and cast anchor opposite a small
town, built on a level grassy plain. The irregularly scattered houses,
amidst trees and greensward, have something the appearance of Singapore,
when viewed from the seaward.

Our stay was but short, for on the following morning our anchor was at
the bows, and the ships heading for Hakodadi. This town--the largest in
Yesso--reminds one very forcibly of Gibraltar. There is a similar high
rock standing sheer out of the sea--almost the same narrow strip of land
connecting it with the main; whilst the town is built on the slopes of
the eminence, and circling the bay as at Gib. The town is not over
large, and commodities are very scarce, the only thing obtainable being
dried salmon.

During our stay the ship's company landed under arms--a by no means
pleasurable treat, as you shall see. The waters near the shore were so
shallow that the men experienced great difficulty in reaching the beach,
and were only able to accomplish it after wading through about twenty
yards of mud and water, dragging guns and ammunition with them. Add to
this the inconvenience of drilling and marching in dripping clothes, and
the knowledge that the same performance must be repeated to embark
again; and you will see that a sailor's life is not all sugar. Hakodadi
is not a place that sailors are likely to fall in love with, for there
is no accommodation on shore for them; yet leave was given, and the men
had to "bunk it out" where they could. On this occasion--let me record
it in the reddest of red letters, or in the most emphatic italics--_a
liberty boat was granted_.

August 3rd--To-day is Sunday, and a sort of preliminary inspection by
the admiral, but--would you believe it?--he completely ignored the
beautifully cleaned deck and stanchions, the glistening whitewash, and
all the other aids to appearances, well known to sailors, and put on
specially for the occasion! Yes, he actually took not the slightest
notice of these, but, instead, poked his head into all the holes and
corners where he was likely to find sundry and various small gear, such
as dirty towels, "duff" bags, ditty bags, and so forth. The result might
have been anticipated. He turned out so much that, before he had gone a
third of the way around the lower deck, he gave the captain orders to
make a personal inspection first, and then report to him; and as
everyone knows, when once Captain Cleveland gets into that canvas suit
of his, he is--in naval phrase--"a dead rivet."

One night, as we lay here ready for sea, a man-of-war was observed
entering the harbour, and as soon as the flashing lights were brought to
bear, and her number made, she proved to be the "Charybdis," last from
Yokohama. She informed us that, subsequent to her leaving that port,
cholera had broken out amongst her crew, one man having died of it on
the passage, whilst a second was down with the disease, though he was
now in a fair way towards recovery. She was at once ordered into
quarantine, and to hoist the "yellow jack" at the fore. Young Prince
Arisugawa was also on board, taking passage to join our ship as naval
cadet; however, he was not permitted to come to us until he had been
overhauled by the doctors on shore, and his clothes fumigated.
Immediately he had left her the "Charybdis" was ordered to sea; the
bracing sea air of a more northern clime being about the most effective
medicine for her crew.

August 9.--To-day Prince Arisugawa came on board, and in due course was
consigned to the tender mercies of the young English gentlemen in the
gunroom; his future messmates--and shall I be wrong if I say
_tormentors_? At the same time a most acceptable gift to the ship's
company, consisting of eight bullocks, was brought alongside; the
present, I believe, of the Emperor, whose health we _ate_ next day.

Steam was already up when the prince embarked, and there was nothing
further to detain us except the weather. That, indeed, was very
threatening, and not to be ignored. Terrific peals of thunder and
blinding lightning, accompanied by such heavy and persisted showers of
rain that it was a mystery how the soil could withstand such an
inundation, delayed our sailing for upwards of four hours. At the end of
that time nature again resumed her wonted smiling appearance, the sun
chasing away such evidences of bad temper with the rapidity of thought.

Nothing of moment occurred on our voyage up the gulf of Tartary, except
that, during one middle watch, the ship narrowly escaped running on a
rock; but as she did not actually touch, we verify the adage that "a
miss is as good as a mile." The day following, the lifting of a fog
bank revealed to us the "Charybdis" close in shore, under small sail.
On signalling us that she had pitched her late unwelcome visitor
overboard, she was allowed to join company, and afterwards proceeded on
to Dui, to coal and order some for us.

August 13th.--Sad misfortune! direful calamity! Why? Read, and you will
be as wise as myself. In the middle watch of this night, our two
cats--have I told you that we brought two cats from England with us?--as
was their wont, were skylarking and cutting capers on the hammock
nettings and davits, when tabby the lesser, instead of jumping on
something palpable, made a leap on space with the natural result, for he
lighted on water and was rapidly whirled astern by the inky waters of
the Tartar gulf. Poor pussy, little did we dream, or you either, that
Siberian waters were to sing your requiem! We feel very sorry at the
loss of our pet, for he was a thorough sailor, thinking it nothing to
mount the rigging and seat himself on the crosstrees, whilst on his
rounds; and as to the item "rats," shew me the rodent that could ever
boast of weathering him, and I will shew you a clever beast.

At daybreak we made the harbour of Dui, in the island of Saghalien, a
Russian penal settlement and coaling depôt, though coaling is under such
severe restrictions that the trouble to secure it is worth its cost. For
instance, only a certain number of tons can be had each day, and then
only for one ship at a time; and instead of using large lighters to
bring it off, small boats are employed, rendering it necessary to make a
multiplicity of visits to the shore. This island, until recently a part
of the Japanese empire, is rich in coal, and other minerals, a fact
Russia was careful to note when casting her covetous eyes over its broad

It may be remembered, perhaps, that in the year 1879, Russia sent her
first batch of Nihilists and other political offenders to Siberia, by
the more expeditious sea route, and that alarming reports had crept into
the European press, and especially into that of the national censor, the
English, as to the cruelties and inhumanities these poor people had to
endure on the voyage. The vessel, with the convicts on board, was lying
at Dui on our arrival, and our admiral was not slow to avail himself of
the means of satisfying himself, and, through him, the English press, as
to the alleged enormities. He found, I believe, that far from being
badly treated, the prisoners had every consideration allowed them
consistent with their position as state prisoners. Indeed, the convicts
on this island seem to enjoy almost perfect liberty of action, short of
being permitted to escape, for I encountered about a score of them on
shore--big, burly, well-fed fellows--smoking, playing at pitch-and-toss,
and singing, as if to be a convict was a state to be desired rather than
otherwise. Possibly, these were good characters, for I certainly saw
some in the coaling hulks with heavy chains on their wrists and legs,
and with half-shaved heads--a distinguishing mark which those I met on
shore had not.

By dint of extra pressure we managed to procure our coal next day,
though it took us till after sundown to get in 140 tons. We and the
"Charybdis" then sailed--she for Yokohama and we for Castries bay--about
sixty miles on the other side of the gulf--where we dropped anchor on
the following morning.

We felt the weather bitterly cold, as contrasted with the temperature of
our experience since leaving England, though, I suppose, at home such
would be called genial.

There is not a sign or semblance of the human species, near this spot.
All around us is forest, forest to the utmost limit of vision. Pines and
firs, firs and pines, for acres upon acres; sufficient, I should think,
to furnish all the navies of the world, present and yet unborn, with
spars. What a solemn and wintry aspect these northern forests have; what
weird murmurs and ghostly sighs haunt their virgin glades. Sometimes in
the midst of this almost black greenness, some forest monarch, bleached
and scared by the icy breath of generations of Siberian winters, stands
out with skeleton distinctness. A dreary, desolate place altogether.
There must be a town somewhere in the vicinity, though, for in the
afternoon the military commandant hove in sight. This official had on
the enormous bearskin head-dress, and dark green uniform of the Cossack
regiment. An insignificant-looking man, all moustache and swagger.

On Monday, the day following our arrival, to all those who cared to
avail themselves of it, a regular day's outing was granted. We started
early, so as to have a long day before us. We had permission to fish to
our heart's content, in waters where fish is specially abundant and
good. It was rather a long pull to the shore, and shallow water there
when we reached it, for we had gone a considerable distance up a small
river. The town (so it is called) of Alexandrovsk--at the same time the
village of "Tighee" (Torpoint) would make four such towns--was passed on
our way up. We pushed on into the interior as far as we could drag our
larger boats, and selected our encampment on a spit of beach, near the
dwellings of some natives. These huts were of tent shape and constructed
of bark, and covered with the skins of the reindeer, numbers of which
animals we can see grazing in the vicinity.

The inhabitants of this little-known part of the great asiatic
continent, are mongolian Tartars. They are possessed of a rather
forbidding cast of feature, have great square, flat faces, the nose
scarcely distinguishable, and swallowed up in the flattening process
(this though, by the way, is an index of beauty amongst them), low
foreheads, and dreamy-looking obliquely-set eyes. Their head-gear is
much after the Chinese style, except, that in addition to the queue,
they allow the remainder of the hair to develop itself, which it does in
the wildest and most elfish manner. For dress, the untanned skins of the
animals caught in the chase, with the hair outboard, answers all their
requirements. At first one experiences a great difficulty in
distinguishing the sexes, for the ordinary bearings by which we sight
"danger" ahead are entirely wanting. Stay, are they _all_ absent?
Scarcely, for the vanity inherent in woman displays itself even here.
These ladies have large _iron_ rings in their ears, and through the
cartilage of the nose a similar pendant is hung, on which is an
additional ornament of a green stone, much resembling the mineral
malachite. Their dress is a very capacious, continuous garment of the
yellow skin of the hair seal, seamed with sinews, and very rudely put
together. Hundreds of yelping dogs lay about in all possible attitudes
of laziness, whilst a few other village pets, _e.g._, a great
bald-headed eagle, of a most bloodthirsty and ferocious aspect, and a
couple of large brown bears with uncomfortable looking teeth and arms,
suggestive of a long embrace, stood unpleasantly near, though their
owners had thought fit to secure them.

This people's religion is a strange mixture of heathenism and Greek
church Christianity. The czar's soldiers have a very short and effective
manner of converting the subjugated races which bow before their swords,
by driving the whole batch at the point of the bayonet into the nearest
stream, whilst a little Greek cross is put round the neck of each, and a
copy of the bible given them. Near these huts I observed an idol of the
rudest construction. It was supposed, I presume, to represent a man's
shape--but it was merely a flat board, with the lower end sharpened to a
point to fix in the ground, and the upper end fashioned into a very
ambiguous circle to form a head; the mouth, nose, and eyes being
afterwards added in pigment. One old gent pulled from some obscure
retreat in the internal structure of his ample ulster, a pocket edition
of the Acts of the Apostles, in English, and from the careful manner in
which it was preserved, and the security of its hiding place, he seemed
to set great store by it. I tried to surmise how such a volume could
have come into his possession, and could only account for it by
supposing it had washed up on the beach; but then, if so, why such
reverential care of the book. Missionaries, say you. Well, a missionary
would scarcely provide himself with copies of the English scripture for
distribution amongst gilyaks and calmuck Tartars.

Meanwhile our fishers had pushed on still further inland, dragging the
dingy after them, and had met with such success that they returned to
camp with their boat laden to the gunwale with salmon and salmon trout.
But of all the fish taken that day, by far the finest specimen was that
captured near the camping ground. This was a magnificent salmon, of over
forty pounds weight, that had become entangled in the long grass with
which the surface of the river was covered, a circumstance which
rendered him an easy prey to his enemies.

Resuming our southward voyage, our next place of call was Barracouta
harbour. It was here, if I am rightly informed, that a French naval
officer shot himself, because he had allowed the Russian squadron to
overreach him. It was during the Crimean war, the English and French
squadrons had hunted the station all over to come up with the Russians,
but though they often sighted the enemy, they never succeeded in
engaging them. From China to Japan, from Japan to Corea, and away in
Siberian waters, it was all the same; the Russians were perfectly
successful in out manoeuvring their enemy. At length the squadron was
again sighted, and their capture seemed a dead certainty, when suddenly
it disappeared into a small inlet, apparently in the iron-bound coast of
Kamtschatka. Without charts, or the remotest knowledge of the locality,
it would be madness to follow. The British, indeed, did manage to find
their way into Petropoloski, and succeeded, I believe, in setting fire
to one old hulk. It was a most inglorious business throughout, and so
worked on the exciteable temperament of the French commanding officer,
that he decided to die by his own hand rather than survive such a
questionable victory.

On entering the harbour we observed the "Pegasus" at anchor, seemingly
in a wilderness of fir trees. This is the first time we have seen this
smart little sloop, as she is a recent addition to our fleet.

There is an abundance of wild fruits here; the raspberries, in
particular, being specially fine in size, and delicious in flavour.
These and sloes were the only two we recognised, and we took especial
care to go in for none of the others; wisely deciding that it was better
to confine ourselves to the known. After traversing a virgin
forest--soft, mossy, and velvety to the naked feet--and now and again
wading muddy streams, studded with artificial islets, composed of roots
and other _debris_--in fact floating islands--we at length came out into
a clearing, in which was a collection of huts, and a number of women
engaged in the preparation of fish, but for what purpose I am to this
day ignorant. The manner in which they set about their work is most
revolting. Unpleasant though I know it will look in print, nevertheless
it must be described. Each woman is armed with a sharp, crescent-shaped
blade--seemingly of steel--with which she makes an incision in the back
of the neck of the fish, sufficiently deep to penetrate the skin; then
taking the animal in both her hands, and applying her teeth to the
wound, she tears a long strip off towards the tail, which disappears
down her throat with the rapidity and movements of an eel, or of
macaroni "down the neck" of a Neapolitan beggar. This, I presume, is
called the tit-bit, for the remainder is thrown on one side into a pit,
amongst a heap of putrid, festering fish, to undergo the rotting
process, necessary to a perfect cure. The appetite of these squaws seem
unsatiable; for during the short time we looked on, three of them
managed to get outside of about twenty salmon trout, in this manner.

After a stay of three days in this pretty little spot, we started, under
very unfavourable circumstances. The weather was very cold and foggy,
and rain fell in abundance, so altogether it was very unpleasant. But
this was not all, for on making the open sea the wind began to rise, and
we close to a lee shore. We speedily prepared for a gale, as night was
coming on, and no indications of the wind going down. The "Pegasus" was
still in company; and the two ships kept up a pretty lively conversation
with each other during that night of fog, by means of that nautical toy,
the steam whistle. Fast and furious they went at it, singing sweet
lullabys to the slumbering tars of the watch below. Such horrible
shrieks and appalling yells would startle a Red-Indian war-whoop into
fits. I feel certain, from subsequent remarks on the subject--let fall
in the manner peculiar to seamen--that if their wishes had been answered
that night, all the waters in the sea would not have been sufficient to
cool the place where they would have consigned the whole apparatus.

At daybreak, the little patch of blue up aloft that mariners so delight
to see, shewed us hopes of a fine day. Shortly afterwards we observed a
Russian corvette standing out from the land, having just left the
anchorage we are about to visit, namely, Olga bay, another fine harbour
on the Siberian seaboard. Here we found the Russian admiral, the
"Vigilant," and an Italian frigate--the "Vittor Pisani." From hence the
"Pegasus" was despatched to Nagasaki, whilst we and the "Vigilant"
headed for Vladivostock, calling at Nayedznik bay on the way, and
anchoring for the night.

We made three or four attempts to start in the morning, but each time
were compelled to delay our departure, out of respect for the heavy fogs
which would gather so rapidly in our vicinity. When at length we did get
outside, things did not improve, by which we infer that the maritime
region of Siberia is a dangerous one at this season. However we steamed
along at a pretty brisk rate, and by 10 a.m. had the satisfaction of
seeing Vladivostock open out before us. This town is Russia's principal
seaport and naval station in this part of her dominions--the head
quarters of her navy, and the great military depôt. It has an extremely
pleasant appearance from the harbour. On going on shore, though, and
examining things in detail I saw that the houses which looked so
charming from the ship were constructed of rough unhewn logs of timber,
the crevices being filled up with mud. The inhabitants are principally
Russian, of course--soldiers and sailors, with their wives; but, in
addition, there are Coreans, Chinese, and a few (very few) Japanese. The
Russian women are coarse and masculine in appearance, are dressed in
cotton print gowns put on very slovenly, wear no covering on the head
except their unkempt and dishevelled hair, ride on horseback like a man,
and have their feet and legs encased in enormous sea-boots. Everybody
wears these leather boots just as everyone is an equestrian. Even the
officers' wives have a slovenly, faded look; and I can honestly say that
I never saw one amongst them whom, from her appearance, I should style a
lady. There is scarcely a street or road in the place, and the only
thoroughfare is that suggested by the deep and sloppy ruts made by the
heavy lumbering cart and the uncomfortable _drosky_--the latter a
four-wheeled concern peculiar to Russia, possessing a couple of seats
running fore and aft, and so near the ground that the passengers' feet
are in imminent danger of being brought in contact with stray stones and
other inequalities.

In a town such as this one would expect to find commodities both
reasonable in price and plenty in variety. Not so, however; what little
business there is in the provision line is in the hands of the
"ubiquitous"--I mean the Chinaman. Lemonade is a thing unknown, and none
of us was bold enough to tackle that vile brew--Russian beer. Of course,
like all salt water fish, after being on shore for a short time we
wanted "damping;" but there seemed no possibility of our wants being
understood, as, seemingly, nobody could speak English. Now, when the
British seaman particularly wants anything to drink, and can't get it,
he generally uses language which (all things considered) is rather more
forcible than polite--that is to say, we would not care for ladies to
hear it. It was so here. Vladivostock was this, that, and the other,
garnished with sundry and manifold adjectives; in fact it was anything
but a town. I dare say, had our sailors the least inkling that all this
while they were listened to and understood, they would have reserved
some of their more choice figures of speech. It was so, however; for
suddenly somebody asked, in splendid English, "Do you require anything,
gentlemen?" Our interrogator was a Russian military officer, with
several ribbons and crosses on his broad breast. We stated our
difficulty, and he very politely directed us to a French hotel, and even
accompanied us part of the way. I certainly was not prepared to hear
English spoken so well by a Rooski.


    "Come, friends, who plough the sea,
    A truce to navigation, let's take another station."


August 31st.--At the early hour of four this morning the shrill sound of
those ear-piercing instruments, the boatswains' pipes in combination,
resounded clearly and distinctly in the pure raw air, as "all hands"
summoned the sleepy crew to heave up anchor. In less than an hour,
thanks to the modern sailors' help, the steam capstan, our white wings
were spread for the expected breeze outside the harbour. As yet,
however, the wind has not been enticed, it being, as one of our
shipmates from the sister isle put it, "a dead calm, with what wind
there was dead ahead." Further on we overhauled a splendid breeze, which
caused our canvas to strain in every fibre as we careened to its
pressure. This gave us such material help that by noon of next day we
had carved a good big slice out of the six hundred miles to Nagasaki.

September 3rd.--From the greasy appearance of the moon last night, and
from a study of other varied phenomena whereby sailors, from time
immemorial, have learnt to forecast the weather, we "smelt" a change of
some sort was about to happen; and we sleepers, on turning out in the
morning, were in no wise surprised to find that the wind had headed us,
that all the sails were furled, and the ship poking her nose into a
nasty sea. But this was a blind: the clerk of the weather was evidently
meditating a stronger blow from the original direction, and had only
gone on ahead to seek some of his refractory forces to give us the full
benefit of the combination. All sail again, fast and furious we drove
through it, and succeeded in knocking "seven and a bit" out of the old
"Duke;" 'twould take something like a hurricane to persuade her to more.
We tore past Tsu-sima, an island in the Corea strait, and laughingly
cleared the run down to Nagasaki.

September 4th.--As information had reached us at Vladivostock that
cholera was raging pretty freely at Nagasaki, instead of proceeding at
once to the anchorage we brought up at the mouth of the harbour, under
the lee of Tacabuco, until such times as we should hear more definite
and accurate accounts of the extent of the enemy's depredations. Like
another much-libelled personage, who is often painted much blacker than
he perhaps is, the cholera, through undoubtedly present, was confined to
the poorer haunts of the city, so that with necessary precautions there
was nothing to fear. Stopping everybody's leave, though, unfortunately
happened to be a necessary precaution, and communication with the shore
was limited to the visits of the bumboat and washermen.

On the following morning we commenced to fill up with coal. I have
before remarked that in this port we have lady coal heavers. It so
chanced that for once they were rather short-handed, and to expedite the
work a party of blue-jackets were sent to clear a spare lighter. Whether
or not they mistook the commander's order, or whether their eyes had got
blinded with coal dust I can't say, but sure am I that they failed,
every man-jack of them, to go into the indicated boat. May be, the sight
of women at "unwomanly work" was too much for Jack's chivalry--at any
rate, they had jumped in among the women and were cheerfully heaving out
the coal whilst the latter bad a smoke. Now this, however laudable in
itself, was clearly not the commander's intention, and the gallants,
much against their will, had to yield to pressure and clear the bachelor

September 7th.--In company with the "Growler" and "Sylvia" we left the
shores of fair Nagasaki; and after despatching the small fry about their
business we shaped our course for Chefoo. The wind for a short distance
was again fair; but having, presumably, discovered its mistake, and that
we had had a full share of his favors lately, old boisterous suddenly
changed his tactics, and intimated to us in unmistakable language, by
alternate lulls and squalls, that he was about to do something rash. At
noon of the second day out, after, we must confess, ample warning, he
had apparently decided what to do, the wind came up as foul as it could
well be. We were at this time off the island of Quelpart, still carrying
reduced sail and barely going our course.

The breeze, though strong, was steady and all went well until the ship
reached the western extremity of the mountainous island, when, with a
roar and a screech truly terrific, a squall struck us in wild, fitful
gusts. We were carrying reefed topsails and trysails at the time, and it
was fortunate that we had no more sail on, or surely our spars must have
gone over the side. As it was, the fore trysail split with the report of
a cannon, and the main-topsail, unable to stand the enormous strain, was
torn from top to bottom. To make things more cheerful, the clouds, in
their sport, hurled blinding slanting sheets of water at us; for it
would be an error to say that rain fell. An effort was made to furl
sails; but though there was no lack of cheerful hands speedily on the
yards, numbers became powerless to manipulate canvas which by the
combined elements had been converted into deal boards. As it was
impossible that orders could be heard from deck, the officers went aloft
and lay out on the yards amongst the men, encouraging them by voice and
example. The attempt had to be given up and the sails secured to the
yards by lashings.

September 11th.--The dreary, monotonous, unenlivening coast line of
China, with its interminable sand hills and granite peaks, once more in
sight. The landscapes of north China are, if anything, more dreary than
ever. We must however take the bad with the good. Chefoo lies before us,
and into Chefoo we are bound to go. We cannot, as yet, see any town,
because of a sort of natural breakwater of sand and rocks which
stretches almost across the harbour's mouth; but that there is an
anchorage beyond is clear, from the thousands of masts pointing
skyward. So slow was our progress into the harbour that it seemed as if
we were never going to get there at all; but eventually we dropped
anchor at about three miles from what I suppose pretends to be a town,
but which from such a distance looked more like a straggling village. We
had gone in quite far enough, though, for every revolution of the screws
discoloured the water with sand and mud, and, furthermore, I believe we
touched, for a distinct not to be mistaken vibration was clearly felt by
all hands. This part of the anchorage is much exposed to the sea; and,
in the event of a blow from the northward, we are in a position to
encounter its full fury. Chefoo, notwithstanding its uninteresting
appearance, seems to be a pretty regular port of call for men-of-war,
several of which are lying at anchor within the bar.

There must be some spots in the neighbourhood capable of cultivation,
for our bumboat is loaded with an abundance of tempting fruits--grapes
of rich bloom and large growth, apples which would do no discredit to a
West of England orchard, and peaches scarcely inferior to those v of the
Mediterranean. And how cheap everything is--eggs you can get for the
asking almost, whilst a whole fowl (prepared and cooked in a manner
which, out of charity to the Chinese culinary art, we wont pry into too
closely, but which our sailor gourmands relish nevertheless) is
obtainable for five cents! I refer, of course, to that bird which our
shipmates denominate "_dungaree chicken_." Our first impression of
Chefoo is that it is the place of all others on the station to send
emaciated ships' companies to regain their stamina.

The district has a special manufacture of silk, much prized by our
female friends at home, made from the fibres of the bamboo. Did you ever
see such a wonderful plant as that same bamboo? I could not enumerate
half the uses to which the natives of China and Japan apply its
beautiful slender golden stem. The silk, of a color resembling brown
holland, is really very good, and makes excellent summer out-door
dresses for the European ladies and girls at Chefoo. Some of the best
costumes I noticed on shore were made of this material.

Shortly after our arrival the "Vigilant" came in, en route for Tientsin,
a port further up the Gulf of Pe-chili, and to the westward of us. You
may perhaps remember that it was here the recent massacre of some
helpless French sisters of mercy took place, an event which at one time
seemed very likely to have embroiled China into a war with France.

I wonder if I should be wrong in saying that one of the principal
reasons which makes this so desirable a port for navy ships is the
advantages presented by the sand-bar at the mouth of the harbour for
shore evolutions? This may or may not be so; but scarcely a week passed
without our captain taking us ashore to play at soldiers, and sometimes
two or even three times a week. The bar has many qualities suitable for
military operations; a rocky grass-covered mound at the western
extremity in particular forming an excellent position for the field guns
and assaulting parties. This spot will be always remembered by our
ship's company by the name of Fort Cleveland, a name they themselves
bestowed on it, because the captain, who conducted these landing parties
with strict regard to military tactics, so frequently made it the
culminating point in the day's manoeuvres.

After all it was deemed advisable to shift out of our present unsafe
anchorage to a more secure one inside the bar, and, as the "Modeste" was
about to leave for Chusan, she came alongside and took us in tow. We
have met with no heavy weather here yet; but we shall be fortunate
indeed if we don't get a "brew" at this season.

We had been here somewhere about ten days when the Chinese governor came
on board, attended, as is the custom in China, by a numerous suite of
lesser mandarins and their retainers. Chefoo is an important military
command, as well as one of the chief naval ports in the empire; hence
the governor is a high military mandarin. From the governor downwards
they were all dressed pretty much alike. The mandarins were
distinguishable only by a button, worn on the top of their mushroom
hats. The colour and material of this button, like the "tails" of a
pasha, indicate the position of the wearer, the red being considered the
highest of all. In addition to the button the military insignia of a
tuft of horse hair, dyed scarlet, depended from the top of the hat of
each, whilst some of the more fortunate wore a peacock's feather stuck
jauntily under the button. I say more fortunate because, like our
K.C.B.'s, only a very few can ever hope to attain to such a mark of the
sovereign's favor. These feathers are bestowed by the emperor, generally
in person, on such of his subjects as have achieved some renown, either
as a soldier or in the equally honorable province of letters. We may
well believe, then, that amongst such a people as the Chinese, whose
very breath almost is at the emperor's pleasure, such a distinction is
the chiefest ambition of every man; for _all_ may aspire to it.

A day or so subsequent to the events I have described before, the
captain of a trading junk from Tientsin reported that the "Vigilant" had
grounded in the Pei-ho, and had sustained considerable damage to her
rudder and stern-post, a report which was strictly true; for soon the
admiral returned, and at once ordered the "Vigilant" to Hong Kong for

Shortly before sailing the admiral inspected the ship. On this occasion
"Sailor," our widowed cat, was decked out in all the gay and gaudy
trappings of a field officer on parade, and, what is more to the point,
he was seemingly quite aware that he was looking smart. I suppose
"Sailor" can never have read the "Jackdaw of Rheims," but he certainly
_looked_ the words of that conceited bird as he strutted proudly along
before the admiral; and I feel assured that, though the
commander-in-chief may not have thought much about the matter, there was
no doubt in pussy's mind as to _his_ being one of the "greatest folk
here to-day."

By the third day out we had reached the Corean archipelago, and found
ourselves off the northern coast of Quelpart, where we had recently met
with such rough handling. The course was slightly altered to enable us
to touch at a small island in the same group, named Port Hamilton. This,
until very recently, was, I believe, the only place in the peninsula
empire where foreigners--Europeans and Americans--were allowed to hold
any intercourse with the natives. It was left to our admiral to alter
this edict, and to break through their prejudices.

October 23rd.--At four o'clock this morning we dashed through the strait
of Simoneski under steam and canvas, with the wind dead aft and fresh,
in company with some hundreds of junks, whose bellying snowy sails and
neat trim hulls had much the appearance of a yachting contest.

By sundown we had made the original anchorage. Owing, I suppose, to the
season being further advanced, the scenery has lost that freshness we
noticed during our first trip through, but not its charm--I think it
could never do that. The little bay looked very lovely to-night with the
moon's flood of silver light streaming down on its thousand isles.

"Fair luna" had scarcely left us to gladden another world of night
before the anchor was at the bows and the ship holding on her onward
course; and though the wind was both strong and favourable, no advantage
was taken of it to sail, for we were navigating such intricate
labyrinths, cutting so sharply around islets, and dodging in and out so
many channels and passages, that the jib and spanker were the only sails
that could be used with any degree of safety; but when at length we
broke out into the open again, we spread our wings to the gale and made
short work of the distance to Kobé.

Our arrival was most opportune, both for ourselves and also for society
on shore. To the regatta committee we were specially welcome, for a
regatta was to be held in the afternoon, and the presence of our band
was certainly a pleasing and unlooked-for item in the programme of
proceedings. Our third cutter took the first prize in the navy race,
though it was an open question whether the Russian boat did not deserve
it. It was ruled that "Rooski" had forfeited all claim to a place, in
consequence of fouling twice--so somebody said; though there were
others who declared that ours fouled the Russians. This led to angry
words, and a considerable show of splenetic feeling amongst the
committee, which was at length toned down by the appearance of a Russian
officer, who begged that, rightly or wrongly, the prize might be awarded
to the English boat.

Whilst at Kobé an event took place on board, of small moment indeed to
the big outside world, but one of considerable interest amongst
ourselves, namely, the birth of a lamb. If we except the rats and
cockroaches, and a few such-like atomies, this is the first being which
has drawn its first breath on board. One of the sheep taken in at Chefoo
happened to be in an "interesting condition," and as nature was not to
be thwarted of her purpose by big guns and tarry sailors, the little
fellow came along in due course. We are anxious that he may live, for it
is wonderful what tricks and antics sailors can train a lamb to, not the
least being the avidity with which, after a few lessons, he makes his
number at the grog tub at the sound of the bugle.

November 3rd.--Onward, ever onward; a flying visit to Yokohama, and then
back home again, or the nearest approach to home that this part of the
world affords for Englishmen.

But how changed is Yokohama now! Dirty, wet, cold, and dreary, and all
the other adjectives by which discomfort is usually interpreted. During
our stay our negro troupe came prominently before the public. At the
request of the managing committee of the Temperance Hall the captain
yielded, a somewhat reluctant assent, to the attendance of the troupe.
They performed before a highly pleased and encouraging audience, and
had no occasion to blush at the report of the entertainment in the
papers. At any rate many a disinterested resident in the cause of
temperance was induced to unbutton his pockets to further that end.

An entertainment, on a vastly different scale, was given to our
officers, by the imperial family at Tokio. For a whole day they were the
guests of Prince Arisugawa in his capacity of heir-apparent to the royal
dignities. Perhaps "heir-apparent" is not strictly the correct term to
apply to the royal "mid," the emperor having the power to bestow the
crown on whomsoever he lists at his demise. The prince is but the
adopted son of the emperor, who has issue of his own; he may set aside,
and it is generally understood that he will do so, his own children in
favour of his adopted child; by no means an uncommon custom amongst the
nobility of Japan.

Recent arrivals from the southward having reported stormy passage, more
than the usual precautions were taken to prepare the ship for whatever
might chance to fall athwart our hawse. A deck cargo of coals was taken
in, storm sails bent, extra gripes put on the boats, and anchors lashed;
but, as generally turns out in such cases, neither of these preparations
were more than ordinary necessary, for save a roll or two in Formosa's
tumbling channel, the splitting of a stunsail boom, and the snapping of
a rope now and then, the passage was a fairly smooth one. We put in at
Matson, en route, when we found the "Lapwing" awaiting our arrival with
mails and the men we left behind in Malta hospital on the outward
voyage. Theirs has been a chequered existence since that time; now one
ship, now another, until up to this time they can reckon up eight such

December 4th.--Whilst coaling at Amoy an accident happened, which has
resulted in the death of another of our poor fellows, George Allen, an
ordinary seaman. Whilst he and a companion were on a visit to a Chinese
gunboat in the harbour, and both, it is to be feared, under the
influence of liquor, Allen slipped as he was mounting the side, fell
overboard, and was not seen afterward. Strangely enough, the man who was
with him had not the slightest idea of the occurrence, and it was not
until the captain of the Chinaman came on board the following morning
and reported the circumstance, that we became aware that we had lost a
shipmate. Before sailing we were joined by the "Egeria," and as it was
the admiral's intention to visit Swatow we called in at Hope bay to
allow him to turn over to the "Egeria" for that purpose. We arrived in
Hong Kong on December 15th.

And now, dear reader, I have accomplished the round of our station, and
have got through, I trust, to your satisfaction, the most difficult part
of this narrative, viz.: the descriptive. Henceforward, to avoid tiring
and useless repetition I shall refer you to the appendix for ports
visited, only taking up for narrative purposes, such events in our
subsequent history as I shall deem of major importance. If I do not
adopt some such plan as this my book will far exceed its intended

December 25th.--If we may believe the old saw, there are some things
which have the misfortune to suffer by comparison. Accepting this as
fact, the Christmas of last year must hide its diminished head before
its present anniversary. We were determined on making our lower deck as
home-like as possible, to deceive ourselves--pleasant fiction!--into the
belief that there were not 120 degrees of longitude between us and our
friends. The admiral behaved like a brick, by contributing largely to
the good cheer. The mess-deck just showed how tastefully sailors can do
things in the way of "get ups" when left to their own devices and
resources. As Christmas, 1880, was by far the jolliest Christmas day we
have spent during our sojourn in China, I will not anticipate by
describing the present, but will reserve for a subsequent page the
pleasure of telling you all about it.


    "And there on reef we come to grief,
    Which has often occurred to _we_."


Hail, all hail, to the glad new year! What though there be no crisp
seasonable snow, no exhilarating frost, no cosy chimney nooks, or no
ladies muffs and comfortable ulsters? Let us joy at his birth all the
same, for does he not mark another year nearer the end?--of the
commission I mean.

And now to work. At the annual inspection of our heavy guns it was found
that three at least were so defective in the bore that it was necessary
to condemn them, and replace them by new ones. This entailed a terrible
amount of labour on our men. Hatchways had to be torn to pieces, and
yards rigged with most ponderous blocks, and purchases for the safe
transhipment of these iron playthings. Whatever may be urged against,
there is this to be said in favour of such heavy and unusual evolutions,
that observant men gain largely in practical experience and an extended
acquaintance with the "might be's" of their profession. Fortunately, in
one sense, but few commissions afford such unwelcome opportunities as
ours, for it has been one of accidental, rather than of meditated

In the midst of dismal rainy weather the business of refitting had to be
pushed forward, previous to our going in dock; then coaling and
painting--in our ship separate work--and provisioning, swallowed up the
greater part of the month of January.

February 11th.--To-day the "Tyne" arrived from England. To the
expatiated seaman the arrival of a troopship has a greater interest than
have ordinary arrivals; for has she not scarce two months since,
perhaps, looked on the very scenes we so long to behold? She is thus a
link between us and home. Then there is also the additional interest of
seeing fresh faces, whilst to the more fortunate who are about to leave
us she is the absorbing topic. She remained only eight days. On the
occasion of her departure we were allowed to cheer--a wonderful
concession; at the same time we were given clearly to understand that we
were to accept it in the light of a great privilege; and that there
should be no mistake on this point, the commander conducted the
arrangements with the order "Three cheers for H.M.S. 'Tyne,' homeward
bound;" "And no extras," added somebody in parenthesis.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now came April 15th, not so rapidly as would appear from the above
sketch; but it came, and with it the commencement of a second voyage to
the northward.

In the interval between the sailing of the "Tyne" and our departure we
were not idle. We had gone outside twice--once at target practice and
once on steam tactics. The "Armide," French flag-ship, had left for
Europe, and her relief, the "Thémis," had arrived on the station, losing
several sheets of copper off her starboard bow on the passage up from

It is curious to observe the different customs of foreign sailors when
sailing, homeward bound. The French, for instance, rig up a dummy man
and trice him up to the main top, where he is made to oscillate with a
pendulum movement until he gains sufficient impetus to clear the side,
when he is let go overboard amidst the cheering of the men. The Russians
man yards, white caps in hand, which, after waving in the air to make
their cheering more energetic, they fling into the sea.

But to return to April 15th.--We had but cleared Hong Kong when we
sighted the "Charybdis," with the long pennant flying. Fortunate
fellows! how long, I wonder, before we shall be similarly decorated? I
write this almost three years afterwards, and still the question remains

On the way we put in to White Dogs, in expectation of finding the
"Vigilant" with our mail. The mails latterly have been very erratic in
their arrivals, due to a change in the postal system at home. Henceforth
there is to be no penny mail--a fact which, seemingly, our friends have
not yet grasped; hence it is no uncommon thing to go weeks without
letters, and then suddenly to find oneself inundated with--say six or
eight _billets doux_.

The "Vigilant" was only a few hours behind us; and after giving us our
mail she left for Foo-chow, with the admiral and captain on board.

That night we rode out a very stiff gale. The seas were so heavy that
all ports had to be barred in, and even then, such was the violence of
the storm that water was occasionally shipped through the upper battery
ports. From the manner in which the cable "surged" and bumbed, it was
deemed expedient to let go a second anchor, and to get up steam; for in
the event of the wind chopping around--nothing more likely--we should be
on a dead lee shore, and our only alternative to slip and go to sea.
Still the gale increased, and still the one anchor and cable held. How
the wind did howl and screech through our cordage! This lasted for over
two days. On the third day the "Moorhen" came down from Foo-chow with
our captain; and as there was still a big lump of a sea on, she capered
about in the lively manner peculiar to gun vessels.

April 21st.--We rounded the Shun-tung promontory in a thick fog, groped
our way towards Chefoo in the same hazy atmosphere, and picked up our
anchorage in nearly the same spot as last year, glad enough to get in
anywhere out of such dangerous weather.

The cutter's crew of the "Pegasus," a day or two after our arrival,
reminded us of a challenge they had previously thrown out, to pull any
boat of similar size in our ship for forty-five dollars. Accordingly,
one fine afternoon when the sea was as smooth as a pond, and on the
occasion of a dance given by our officers, the contest came off.
Contrary to the expectations of most, our boat beat almost without an
effort. That same evening the "Lily's," with more pluck than discretion,
tossed their oars under our bows. Well, like a great good-tempered
Newfoundland dog, we can stand a deal of snapping at from insignificant
puppies, but when at length their attacks begin to get acrimonious, we
rise, and shake our shaggy coat; and in salt water language "_go_" for
the torments. Thus we "_went_" for the "Lily's," beat them, and pocketed
thirty-six dollars more.

On the arrival of the admiral a court-martial was held on a marine, of
the "Mosquito," for insubordination. I mention this because of the
extreme sentence of the court--twenty-five lashes with the "cat." The
admiral, though, came to the rescue, and with mercy seasoned justice,
for he refused to sign the warrant for the punishment.

We left Chefoo for Japan, calling in at the Golo islands--a group about
90 miles from Nagasaki--on the way. 'Twas a lovely spot, and recent
rains had made nature look all the fairer for her ablutions. The gentle
breeze wafted off such a delightful fragrance of pine, fir, hay, and
flowers, so welcome after China's reeking smells. Slowly, and with
caution, we wended our way up an intricate channel, meandering amongst
the hills in a most striking and artistic manner, until further progress
was barred, by the shores of a tiny bay, with a town at its head. We
found ourselves so perfectly land-locked that everybody was wondering
how we got in. Around us high volcanic hills, and under us,--not a
volcano--but, between twenty and thirty fathoms of water. We could not
anchor here, that was evident, so we set the spanker, slued about, and
made tracks as rapidly as we could before the darkness should set in.
Next morning we were at Nagasaki.

Early on the morning of the 29th of May we sailed for the eastward, by
way of the Inland Seas. We turned slightly out of our course to call at
Yobuko, a real bit of Japan, lovely and enchanting. We were objects of
absorbing interest to the simple islanders. They wore very primitive and
airy garments, some even none at all. They are not much like, in fact
very unlike, a community of Japanese; for cleanliness amongst them is an
"unknown quantity;" and their dwellings remind me very forcibly of the
squalid dens in Chinese native towns. The people, though, were
hospitable and kind to a degree, and highly glad to see us, offering us
of their little saké and tea--nor would they take money, or accept any
payment, though we pressed it upon them. At first they were shy,
following us about in curious, respectful, distant crowds; but seeing we
treated their chubby little children kindly they soon made friends with

We reached Kobé in due course where nothing of moment took place, if we
except a gale of wind which compelled our liberty-men--_much against
their will_, of course--to remain on shore all night. "Well '_'tis_ an
ill wind that blows _nobody_ good,' is it not?"

July 2nd.--We are at Yokohama, and are a-taut; for to-day some members
of the Japanese imperial family are to visit us. At noon they arrived
amidst salvoes of artillery from the shore and from the Japanese
men-of-war. The party consisted of prince Arisugawa's father and sister,
her maids of honor, and two admirals. The princess was of course the
"lion"--excuse the gender--of the party. But how lost, how utterly
bewildered, she looked in reaching our quarter-deck! like little Alice
in wonderland. I hear it is the first time she has ever been afloat.
Her style of dress is different to anything we have yet seen in this
country. A red silk skirt clothed her lower limbs, whilst a transparent
gauzy purple tunic, figured with the imperial emblem, fell from her
shoulders to the ground. But her hair was what drew most of our
attention, for it was the most remarkable piece of head architecture
possible. How shall I describe it? Imagine a frying-pan inverted, its
inner rim resting on the crown of the head, and the handle depending
down the back, and you will have a correct, though a homely idea, of the
fashion of her hair. Each individual hair seemed as if picked out from
it fellows, stiffened by some process until it appeared like a wire bent
into shape; gathered in and tied a little below the nape of the neck,
and from thence downward traced into a queue. Hers was the ideal type of
Japanese feature, so rarely seen amongst the common people, and
considered so unlovely by Europeans. A long face, narrow straight nose,
almond eyes, very obliquely set in the head, and a mouth so tiny, so
thin the upper lip, that it looks more like a scarlet button than any
thing designed for kissing.

She was childishly pleased at everything she saw whilst accompanying the
admiral around the decks, twitching at his arm incessantly that she
might indulge her curiosity as to hatchways, stoke-hole gratings, and so
on; clapping her hands continually in the exuberance of her joy.

The "Modeste" accompanied us in our trip to the north on this occasion.

A few days out we called in at Kamaishi, in the neighbourhood of which
are the imperial copper mines and smelting works. The people here lack
the rosiness and freshness of face of the Japanese, and have a dowdy,
sickly look, due, I suppose, to the unhealthy exhalations from the

Instead of calling in at Hakodadi we continued on along the eastern
coast of Yezo until we reached Endermo harbour, sentinelled at its
entrance by a grim vomiting volcano which, in addition to its charred
and fire-scored crater, has innumerable other little outlets in its
sides, giving out jets of steam and sulphurous smoke until the very air
is loaded with the oppressive vapour.

At the anchorage we saw the "Pegasus."

Here we are then! in the country of Miss Bird's Aïnos, a people whom she
describes as the most gentle and docile in the world. We had ample
opportunity of making their acquaintance, for during our stay the decks
were daily thronged with them. In these men the advocates of Darwinism
might well behold the missing link. From head to heel they are covered
with thick shaggy unkempt masses of hair; that on their heads and faces
hanging down in wild elfish locks. They wear but scant raiment, a sort
of over-all, which does not pretend to the use of even the most
primitive covering. It is of the men I speak. Strangely enough, though,
they all have their ears pierced, metal ornaments are not worn by any,
but, instead, they have a thin strip of scarlet cloth, just simply
placed through the hole. The women are strange looking creatures. Their
garments are modest enough, far more so even than those of their
southern sisters with whom, by the way, they have nothing in common,
save their sex. Can it be that this is the primitive Japanese
race--that the more enlightened people of Niphon trace their origin to
such a degraded source? I should be inclined to say no, if I did not
remember that history furnishes us with so many parallel cases of
similar degraded origin--our own for example.

Well built, but oh! so ugly these women; and, as if nature had not done
enough for them in this particular, they render their faces still more
repulsive looking by tattooing the lips on the outside to the depth of
an inch all around, elongating the mark at the corners. This, of course,
does not tend to lessen the apparent size of an aperture, already
suggestive of a main hatchway. This unhandsome, open, flat countenance,
is also further decorated with bands of blue on the forehead. The
females wear large rings of iron--some few of silver--in their ears.

Now, though of course I don't pretend to the faithfulness of
portraiture, nor to the accuracy of observation of the travelled lady I
have before quoted, yet I must add that my estimate of this people, in
my own small way, is antagonistic to hers. To me they are only a very
little removed from savages. Their women seem to be in abject slavery to
the men, and are treated by them in the most shameful manner. An
instance, which came under my own observation, will perhaps shew this.
Whilst on shore fishing, I had wandered away from the main party to
where I saw a native engaged at work on an upturned canoe. Up the beach
was his hut--I have seen many a stye a king to it--and in the doorway
his--wife must I call her? Curious I suppose like all her sex she came
down the strand to get a look at the white-skinned, light-haired
stranger, and was rewarded for temerity in a most summary manner. The
man, at first, seemed to expostulate with her, and so far as I could
judge, ordered her back to her domicile; but as the lady did not seem
prompt to obey the mandate, he further emphasised his meaning and
accelerated her movements by flinging a billet of wood at her with all
the irresponsible and unrestrained force of a savage nature. In the face
of this can I agree with Miss Bird? My first feeling was one of
indignation and an angry twitching of my ten digits to form themselves
into bunches of fives, but on second thoughts, seeing that the poor
woman took the chastisement as a matter of course, and that she was
seemingly used to such like gentle reminders, my indignation cooled down
to matter of fact surprise.

This place is the exile home of one of the banished daïmios I spoke of
in a former chapter.

From Endermo we retraced ours steps to Hakodadi, where, during a short
stay, we had some amusement in the shape of messes pulling for bags of
"spuds" (the potatoe of the non-sailor world) and other comestibles.

July 30th.--The date of the most important event of the commission.
Referring to my "journal" I find recorded below this date that word of
terrible import, "stranded." Yea, truly are we. And this is how it all
came about. We had sailed from Hakodadi with a fair wind, through the
strait of Sangar and out into the sea of Japan, shaped our course for
Aniwa bay, in Sagalien, with--except that the atmosphere was rather
hazy--every prospect of a fair and quick passage.

Off the south western corner of Yezo, and about ninety miles from
Hakodadi, lies the small island of O'Kosiri, in the track of vessels
going north. By morning we had reached its neighbourhood--it could be
seen in fact--when suddenly a thick fog enveloped it, us, and the
surrounding sea. We were to have gone outside the island, though the
inner passage is navigable, still, to avoid any possibility of an
accident, it was deemed best to go to seaward of it. At 4 a.m., whilst
steaming at six knots, the look out man reported land dead ahead. The
officer of the watch, seemingly pretty confident as to his whereabouts,
altered course a point or so, and kept on at the same speed. An hour
passed, the fog had settled thicker than ever. At ten minutes past two
bells in the morning, without any warning--the lead even shewing deep
soundings--a crashing, grating sound was heard, accompanied by a
distinct trembling vibration, proceeding, apparently, from under the
ship's bottom. Even then, no one dreamed we were ashore; such a sound,
such a sensation, might have been produced by running over a junk. At
this moment the leadsman got a throw of the lead, and "_a quarter less
four_," indicated only too plainly the origin of the sounds.

With his usual promptness--as if running ashore was a matter of ordinary
evolution--our captain at once gave orders for engines to be reversed,
for boats to be hoisted out, and anchors placed away, where they would
be of most use; at the same time directions were given to have the steam
launch coaled and provisioned to go back to Hakodadi for assistance. On
soundings being taken along the starboard side plenty of water was
obtained; it was only on her port bottom that the ship had grounded.
Efforts were made to roll her off, all hands rushing from one side of
the deck to the other, but without result. Through the crystal clear
water, and in the deep shadow of the ship, the nature of the bottom
could be clearly seen--coral rocks and yellow sand. Fortunately the sea
was a flat calm, or it must have fared ill indeed with us.

At ordinary times the sailor prefers plenty of sea room, and the further
he is from land the safer he feels; but when one's ship has suddenly
converted "_mare_" into "_terram_" with, may be, a hole in her to boot,
then indeed the proximity to some friendly shore is his first

The lifting fog revealed to us our whereabouts; within a hundred yards
of us the surf washed edges of a reef, and before us the low shores and
high hills of O'Kosiri.

The unusual sight of a large ship so near their island soon brought the
natives off in their queer canoes. By means of our interpreter we learn
that the people had never seen a man-of-war before; that there was no
rise and fall of tide there; and much more about the ways and means
available for opening up communications with Hakodadi.

Meanwhile shot and shell were got out and sent on shore, and coals
pitched overboard, because no lighters were obtainable at this stage in
the proceedings. The divers having gone down reported the ship aground
in three distinct places, aft, amidships under the batteries, and
forward. Thus ended the first day. With the morrow a swell set in from
seaward, which caused us to bump heavily, though it did not alter our
position. On this day the expected assistance arrived from Hakodadi.
Close on each other's heels the following ships bore down upon us:--the
"Modeste," with lighters in tow, the "Kerguelen," "Champlain," and
"Thémis," Frenchmen, the latter the admiral's ship; and the Russian
corvette "Naezdnik," with the admiral's flag at the mizen.

These five ships at once anchored in the best positions consistent with
their own safety to help us; the "Kerguelen" a little on our starboard
quarter, and the "Champlain" right astern with our steel hawsers on
board and two anchors down.

With the second night came a chapter of accidents.

At sunset a rolling sea again set in, heavier than that of the morning.
The swell and the weight of our hawsers acting on the necessarily short
cables of the "Champlain" caused that vessel to drag and take the ground
on our port quarter. In her attempts to extricate herself, our steel
hawser got foul of her propeller and wound itself around it in such a
confused mass, that the vessel's machinery became practically useless.
Thus, side by side, the two companions in distress kept the watches of
that night. But this was not all; the "Modeste" coming to the rescue of
the "Champlain," ran into the "Kerguelen," but fortunately without any
serious result.

Sunday, August 1st.--At daylight the "Modeste" succeeded in towing the
"Champlain" out of her perilous position. As she did so a large piece of
the Frenchman's false keel floated to the surface, whilst she was found
to be making two and a half tons of water per hour. A turn of her
propeller the other way caused the now useless hawser to fall off. When
recovered by the divers, this mass of steel wire was a gordian knot of
utter confusion.

The swell of last night, though it did our ship and the "Champlain" some
harm, rendered us at least one service, by causing a higher influx of
water than usual, which resulted in lifting us off our pinnacled and
dangerous resting place into deep soundings again. And now it was
discovered that we too were taking in water in one of our compartments
which, however, thanks to our double bottom system, we were enabled to
confine to the one space.

As we passed slowly by the anchored ships, cheer after cheer rent the
still air, whilst the bands played our national anthem. An analysis of
the sounds of this multitudinous chorus of men's voices, was a very
interesting, though not a difficult matter. The sweet cadence of the
Frenchmen's low cheer was clearly a distinct sound from the Russian's
ursine growl; whilst the Englishmen's "hip, hip, hurrah!" if not so
musical as the first, nor as bearish as the second, was a more honest
sound than either.

On the following evening, after having bundled all our stores on board,
we put back to Hakodadi for coal and to allow the admiral to turn over
to the "Modeste."

August 6th.--Off for Hong Kong by the Japan sea passage, touching at
Nagasaki for coal, and hence on to Amoy against a south-west monsoon,
and into the scorching heat of the southern summer. A few hours at Amoy
sufficed us to take in enough coal for the short distance to Hong Kong,
where we had the satisfaction of finding ourselves, without mishap, on
August 18th. Almost immediately the hands were sent on board the "Victor
Emmanuel," whilst the ship was undergoing repairs at Aberdeen.

Whilst resting on the chocks in the dock the extent of the damage
sustained by us was plainly visible; and, when we come to consider, that
fourteen plates had to be removed and replaced by new ones, and this too
in the immediate neighbourhood of the keel, the wonder is that Chinamen
accomplished the cumbrous work satisfactorily.

September 20th.--Exactly one month ago to-day the ship was
docked--to-day she came out; what do you think of that for expedition?
On floating it was found that a slight damage to the Kingston valve had
been overlooked, and as the ship was still making water, it was thought
a second docking would be necessary. Fortunately our very effective
diving staff were able to repair it without the bother and additional
expense of being shored up again.

September 22nd.--A fed-letter day. Why? Oh, only because--"tell it not
in Gath"--the captain "_spliced the main brace_!" Yea, yea, verily! The
fact was, his ship had been got ready for sea in _two days_; hence the

September 23rd.--We were to have gone to sea to-day, but "_l'homme
proposé_." Rumours of an approaching atmospheric disturbance had been
telegraphed from Manilla, within the previous forty-eight hours. Other
usual and confirmatory indications were also observed; the presence of
an unusual number of jelly-fish in the harbour till the sea stank with
them; the lurid appearance of the sunset sky, as if the heavens were
bathed in blood; the arrival of hundreds of junks from seaward seeking
shelter: all these signs summed up were considered satisfactory reasons
for preparing for a typhoon--than which, I suppose, no wind is more
violent and destructive. It is said that persons who have never
witnessed the sublime and terrible spectacle can scarcely realize, even
from the most graphic descriptions of eye witnesses, what a typhoon
really means. A Chinaman informed me that the last typhoon destroyed not
less than 18,000 persons in this neighbourhood alone--not a large number
when we bear in mind the enormous floating populations in Chinese towns.
All the day the air was ominous of a coming something. At noon I asked a
Chinaman when it might be expected. His answer shewed me how even this
mighty destroyer is guided by a far mightier hand--"Suppose he no' com
now, he com by'm by, nine clock." Well, "he" did not come now; but at 9
p.m.--and almost simultaneous with the firing of the gun--it came on to
blow; but, mercifully, not a typhoon, only the spent violence of one.
Even this necessitated the letting go a second anchor and the steaming
head on to it, for upwards of five hours.

With the morning the gale had considerably abated, and as the barometer
was on the rise, and the captain impatient to clear out, we put to sea.
But clearly the weather was in a very unsettled state, and outside Amoy
the glass again went down with a rising head sea. That we might put into
Amoy for shelter, all the furnaces were called into requisition; so we
lashed into and almost buried ourselves in seas rearing themselves up
a-head of us like walls of solid glass. We brought up in the outer
harbour just as the shades of night and the roar of the coming storm
gathered around us. That night the wind and sea played fast and furious
with our ship; again we had escaped a typhoon--it was subsequently
ascertained that one did actually visit the adjacent coasts and sea;
but, as this wind travels in a circle of many miles diameter, with its
greatest force distributed near its circumference, its centre only
passed over Amoy. On steaming seaward the next morning desolation,
destruction, and wreck were everywhere manifest.

In due course we reached Nagasaki. In the bay was the Russian iron-clad,
"Minin," a ship--if all we hear about her be true--capable of blowing
the "Iron Duke" sky-high. She is, however, inferior to us in many
desirable qualities, particularly in the essential one of being able to
keep the sea, and fight her guns in all weathers. The "Comus," one of
our handsome steel corvettes, was also here.

The hard steaming from Nagasaki, against exceptionally heavy winds, had
pretty well cleared us out of coal, and, as there was not enough in
store here to supply us with, we were ordered off to Kobé to fill up.

On our return, and just as we had cleared the strait of Simonoseki, we
fell in with what sailors term nasty weather. The ship behaved so
saucily that a seaman, Alexander Mann, whilst engaged lashing the anchor
was washed completely overboard and borne away astern. Daniel Mutch, the
captain of his top--a petty-officer who has already been instrumental in
saving life at sea--observing the accident, at once rushed aft to the
stern, plunged boldly into the turbulent waves and succeeded in rescuing
his topmate. It is satisfactory to be able to state that the captain
recognised Mutch's bravery by applying for the Humane Society's Medal,
which honorable decoration was received shortly afterwards.

Next day an event of a similar nature, but unfortunately with a sadder
termination, took place. In setting the starboard stunsail, John Irish,
A.B., lost his hold of the scarping on the starboard fore-and-aft
bridge, through the wood treacherously giving away with his weight, and,
being unable to swim, the poor fellow soon sank exhausted, just as
Joseph Summers had arrived on the spot. Irish had but lately come into a
legacy from some of his friends at home.

Early in December we left Nagasaki for Hong Kong, touching at the Rugged
Isles, on the opposite Chinese coast, on the passage. We spent about as
uncomfortable a week in this delicious retreat as can be well conceived;
our appetites sharpened to a keen edge by a north China winter--a week
never to be forgotten. Opportunely the admiral came in at the expiration
of time and terminated our miseries by ordering us to proceed.

December 20th.--To-day, and on the two subsequent days, the "one gun
salute" at eight bells from the "Victor Emanuel" announced that
somebody's fate was to be sealed. Three of our officers--the captain,
staff-commander, and Lieutenant Clarke--are to be tried on a charge,
preferred by the admiral, of negligently stranding Her Majesty's Ship
"Iron Duke." Much interest naturally centred around this trial; the
reporters from the local papers exerting themselves to the utmost for
information on such an engrossing topic. On the third day the sentence
of the court was announced:--the captain and Mr. Clarke to be
reprimanded, and the staff-commander to be severely so.

December 25th.--To fulfil a promise of twelve months' standing, from
the 20th to the 25th discipline was relaxed that we might prepare for
our one festival; and as the admiral had again rendered us pecuniary
help, and as this would be his last Christmas with us we were determined
on making it a success. Meanwhile, whilst the decorations are pushing
ahead, I must pause to notice the naval regatta of the 23rd, and
especially the race which came about between our cutter and a similar
boat of the "Lily," which it will be remembered we beat at Chefoo
recently; but so confident were the "Lily's" that our victory on that
occasion was the result of a "fluke," that they challenged us again to
pull for sixty dollars. The race was conclusive to the "Lily's," and
they handed over the "Mexicans" with the best grace a small ship's
company can be supposed to exhibit--on the eve of Christmas, too.

An interesting feature in the regatta, and one which caused no end of
fun, was the get-up of the copper punts. These naval abortions are, for
the nonce, handed over to the funny fellows on board, who proceed to
elect a "captain," and appoint themselves to the various offices
connected with the proper management of their craft. With great rapidity
and no little skill these punts are metamorphosed into brigs,
full-rigged ships, paddle-wheeled steamers, and ram-bowed ironclads. The
"captain's" get-up is the most gorgeous and elaborate thing possible--a
profusion of gold lace, a monster cocked hat suitable for the top of the
great pyramid, and a tremendous speaking trumpet whose bore would do
very well for a tunnel. His crew generally attire themselves in the
fantastic dress of niggers. Just as the proceedings for the day were
about to begin, a pigmy paddler was observed bearing down on the
flag-ship--her puffing funnel and foaming bows betraying no mean steam
power. On closing she was made out to be one of the punt fleet come to
pay a visit to the admiral. As she lay to she ran the St. George's Cross
up to the main, and saluted it with seventeen guns (wooden ones), out of
compliment to Admiral Coote, who shortly receives his promotion. She
next asked permission (by signal) to part company, a request the admiral
answered by hoisting the affirmative. It was indeed real fun.

By the 24th our lower deck looked a veritable fairy bower, but
essentially English--a character which the arrival of the "Thèmis," on
Christmas eve, modified somewhat. With characteristic good feeling and
with, perhaps, a spice of national vanity, we determined on asking the
Frenchmen to dine with us on the morrow--first, because having just come
in from sea they would be unable to prepare for themselves; and,
secondly, that we might shew them how Englishmen observe Christmas day.
Our invitation asked that three hundred men might be allowed to come,
but half that number only could be spared.

It now became necessary to make our surroundings as international as
possible, and as, happily, the French flag does not demand any very
great skill in its formation, we soon had the tri-color stuck up
everywhere; whilst in the most conspicuous positions French mottoes
shewed out from the greenery. The wording of these latter was a
tremendous effort, so limited was our knowledge of our nearest
neighbour's tongue. Just to quote a few:--surrounding every pudding a
scroll with "Bien venue 'Thèmis'" painted on it; in the mess shelves,
"Vive la France;" whilst, occupying a commanding place, the following
long yarn--"Servons nous votre reine mais honneur à la republique
français," shone out in great gilt letters. Then, too, there were plenty
of legends in English; and noticing these, one would be surprised at the
wit, no less than at the talent, exhibited in their execution. For
example, here is a sailor depicted with a most lugubrious and
"I-wish-I-might-get-it" expression on his rather florid face, looking
into an empty grog-tub; and that there may be no ambiguity about the
matter, the word _empty_ is printed on the tub, and attached to his
mouth a balloon-shaped sack containing the following visible
speech--"Three years on the 'Alert' but no 'Discovery.'" A second tar is
represented holding a stranded rope up to his captain, whilst he naîvely
remarks, "It wants splicing, sir." There were also several mottoes
specially designed as compliments to the admiral.

At noon on Christmas day we awaited on the quarter deck the arrival of
our guests, who, as soon as they came inboard were ushered below and
placed in the posts of honor at the tables. After the admiral, captain,
and officers had made the round of the decks, preceded by the band
playing the immortal strains of "The roast beef of Old England," the
shrill whistles piped "fall-to."

And now might have been witnessed a laughable scene, men rushing and
hurrying about here, there, and everywhere, exclaiming "Have you seen
our Frenchmen?" or "I've lost a Frenchman," and so on. But at length the
lost were found, and were, ere long, contemplating the formidable heap
of indigestible stuff set before them.

Such mountains of pudding, goose, ham, mutton, beef, and pickles--all
packed on one plate--I suppose it rarely falls to the lot of the more
polished Frenchman to behold. Well might they look aghast at the miracle
required of them. It is the proverbial hospitality of the Englishman,
enacted over again, which always imagines its guest starving.
Considering that not one word of the other's language was understood on
either side, a very kindly feeling sprang up between us during the
afternoon, and the time of departure arrived all too soon. After the
tea, which was to all intents and purposes a repetition of the mid-day
meal, the Frenchmen's boats came alongside, the crews invited inboard
and loaded with the dèbris of the feast. When at length they left us,
the Frenchmen all stood up in their boats, whilst we lined our bridges
and spar deck, and a succession of deafening cheers brought the happy
day to a close--cheers which most of the ships in port took up as the
boats passed their bows. So ended Christmas, 1880.


    "Each earing to its cringle first they bend--
    The reef-band then along the yard extend;
    The circling earings round th' extremes entwin'd,
    By outer and by inner turns they bind;
    The reeflines next from hand to hand received,
    Through eyelet-holes and roban legs were reeved;
    The folding reefs in plaits unrolled they lay,
    Extend the worming lines and ends belay."


Sunday, January 2nd.--For some time past we have been exercised to know
how we could best signify to the admiral our appreciation of his many
kindnesses to us during the time we have served under him. His
approaching promotion gave us the desired opportunity, and it was
decided that the most fitting present would be a silk flag of the
largest size, to be hoisted at the main on that auspicious occasion.
With this end in view we had purchased some 130 yards of silk at
Nagasaki, which had been made up on board so quietly that few even of
those most interested in it knew of its progress.

To day he was to hoist his flag as full admiral for the first time; and
on this morning a deputation of the ship's company awaited on him in his
cabin to make the presentation. The captain, in a few suitable words,
having introduced the representatives, and the admiral having responded
to their presentation address in simple, unaffected, heartfelt language,
the flag was soon fluttering in lazy folds aloft, to be saluted at
"eight bells" by the shore battery and foreign men-of-war in harbour. A
most innocent thing that flag, and scarcely could we conceive that it
was destined to become the occasion of newspaper paragraphs,
parliamentary questionings, admiralty minutes, and that sort of thing,
but it was so to be. By one of the regulations of the service no officer
may receive presents or testimonials from his men--hence the
correspondence. It is, however, satisfactory to know that in the present
instance the admiralty allowed the admiral to retain our flag.

January 7th.--To-day's mail proved a complete hoax. By it we were
speedily to be relieved--so said all our private letters, so
corroborated the officers, and even the admiral seemed to give a certain
amount of credence to the rumour. But need I say it was a chimera. The
papers are to blame for all this; for they stated that Admiral Willes
had inspected the "Swiftsure" and had found her in every way fit for his
flag-ship. This was all true; but what wasn't, was--that she is to come
out to relieve us.

February 16th.--A month since--and if anyone had asked us where we
should be bound when next we slipped from the buoy, we should have
answered with a joyful "_homeward_!" To-day we know better. We are
speeding Singapore-ward, it is true, but not to meet our relief. The
voyage into those torrid seas was not momentous, and a week afterwards
we lay alongside the coaling jetty before spoken of.

And now we became aware that quite an unexpected and perhaps in some
respects--judging from after experience--not altogether a welcome change
was about to be made in our executive. The admiral, of course, leaves
under any circumstances; but, further, the captain, commander, and
staff-commander were to be superseded, their reliefs being already on
the passage out. In addition, the chaplain and Mr. Clarke were to leave,
though at their own request.

By the mail of the 26th the first instalment of our fresh officers
arrived. These were the admiral, G. O. Willes, of Devonport dockyard
celebrity and traditionally known to us; the commander, nephew to the
admiral; and the flag lieutenant.

February 28th.--So quietly, that the majority of us scarce knew of it,
the admiral left to-day for England, and with him the good wishes of
everybody on the lower deck. With the hauling down of the flag at the
main, and its re-hoisting at the fore, a new departure in the conduct of
the fleet on the China station was inaugurated. Henceforth a season of
activity, seasoned with salt junk, is to be the order of the day.

After a short cruise with the squadron in Singapore waters, during which
period the "Tyne" arrived with our new captain, and having bid good-bye
to Captain Cleveland, we stood away for Hong Kong, encountering such
heavy weather on the passage that we were compelled to put into Saigon
for coal.

The anchorage to seaward of Saigon--which town is the French capital of
Gambodin, part of the kingdom of Anam, and situated some miles up the
river Dong-nai--is Cape St. James, where we brought up until the tide
should suit for the river passage. In the first watch we commenced to go
up the river by the light of a brilliant moon, which, however, did not
allow us to judge of the beauties of what is really a beautiful river.
By the following morning we had arrived off the town; and what a
surprise it was to see a popular European town in such a situation, well
laid out, clean, and--well, thoroughly French. The river here is so
narrow, and yet of so even a depth, that, in turning, our dolphin
striker was buried in the foliage on the one bank and our stern almost
touching the opposite one. The town is seemingly built on a well-drained
swamp or marsh, and consequently lies very low, in fact, from our
topgallant forecastle we could command a pretty general view of the
whole of it. Ashore the place is just as pretty as it looks from the
ship. It is almost a miniature of Paris. A great cathedral, Notre
Dame--an exact model of that on the island in the Seine; a palace for
the governor, which might well accommodate an emperor; streets with
Parisian names; boulevards and champs, all bearing the well-known
nomenclature of the gay capital; cafés, hotels, all remind one of the
Paris of Dumas' charming novels. It is the boulevards, streets, and
promenades, planted with trees, which make Saigon so beautiful, so cool,
and so refreshing towards the evening even in a temperature where to
live is a punishment. It is not until sunset that we see anything of
the French population,--then, indeed, the cafés and restaurants are in
full swing, and gay with music and laughter. These places of refreshment
are generally _al fresco_; and as each tiny pure white marble table is
presided over by pretty wholesome-looking French girls and matrons, we
must have less impressionable hearts than sailors are known to possess
if we can pass so much mischief by unnoticed, so courteous as these
demoiselles are too.

The native population is Anamese, a race something like the Chinese in
feature, but differing from them slightly in dress. They do not shave
the head, but gather all their hair into a knot at the top, which--in
the case of the females--they decorate with rolls of brilliantly colored
silks, generally scarlet or emerald green. The dress of the ladies is
far more graceful than that of their "celestial" sisters, for though
they wear the indispensable trousers, yet that masculine garment is hid
by a long sack-like robe, something after the style of a priest's toga,
of--in nearly every case--emerald-green silk, a color which seems to
harmonise well with their complexion. The men wear a similar garment of
black silk.

Their walk is peculiar. They go barefoot, and strut, rather than walk,
without bending the knee, with chest and stomach pompously projected.
From this gait results a certain balancing of the body and a movement to
the hips, which gives to the women a bold, and to the men a pretentious
air. Most of the women hide their faces when a stranger heaves in sight;
but it must not be supposed from this that they are either modest or
retiring, on the contrary, for young girls and women yield their
persons indiscriminately to men until they are married: before that
they are at liberty to do as they please, and do not, in consequence,
lose the respect of their fellows. In fact, I am given to understand,
most strangers find the advances of the fair sex rather embarrassing.

At the landing place, and thronging the fine bronze statute of Admiral
Genouilly, the hero of Saigon, an immense crowd had gathered to witness
the embarkation of the governor, on a visit to our admiral. His barge is
a splendidly got up affair. A large boat of native build, painted and
gilded till one could scarcely look on it, and rowed by fourteen French
seamen standing, clothed in spotless white, with broad crimson sashes
around their waists. This equipage had such a holiday look about it,
that one of our fellows irreverently asked if "Sanger's circus was

Only a day at Saigon, and off again. Instead of shaping course direct
for Hong Kong we hugged the coast of Cochin China, thinking thus to
cheat the monsoon. In this we were mistaken, for the wind and sea proved
so strong that lower yards and topmasts had to be struck. Thus it was
not until the 25th, and after hard steaming, that we reached Hong Kong.

April 16th.--To-day, William Edwards, second captain of the main top,
died in hospital of a complication of debilitating complaints.

April 21st--Started on our yearly trip. Between Hong Kong and Amoy we
encountered a series of baffling fogs, compelling us to anchor for days
at a stretch. One clear day the "Lapwing" passed, bound for Hong Kong.
She had recently been in collision with a Chinese merchant steamer, and
inflicted such telling damage on the latter that now her bones lie
rotting at the bottom of the Formosa channel.

At Amoy we found the first division of the cruising squadron at anchor,
under the command of Captain East, of the "Comus." From Hong Kong here
they had been under the convoy of the admiral, who had, to use an
expression of one of the interested, given them a thorough "shaking up,"
especially in the night watches.

Before sailing the "kit" of our late deceased shipmate was disposed of
at a public auction, and realised the sum of £25. This, together with a
general subscription, allowed us to send the comfortable sum of £100 to
his widow. It is at these sales that one sees the sailor come out
in--what shall I say, a new character? Well, in a way, yes; for he
certainly exhibits a carefulness of thought and an enlargement of the
organ of feeling, for which the world would scarce give him credit
perhaps. I have often thought it the most beautiful trait in an
otherwise rough and crude nature. Let it but be known that a poor woman
is left helpless to struggle through a hard and selfish world, may-be
children to add to her difficulties, then you shall see that the
sailor's heart is in the right place; then all private animosity against
the deceased is swallowed up in the "charity which is kind." The ancient
Romans were not more eager to obtain a memento of dead Cæsar than they
for some article of the deceased's clothing; not so much for the sake of
the thing itself, but simply that, by the purchase of it, they may
exercise their generosity, by giving for it, perhaps, four times its

We have orders to cruise to Chefoo _under sail_. Fancy an iron-clad
making a passage under canvas! With the "Iron Duke's" usual luck we
encountered either boisterous head winds or flat calms all the way,
compelling us to reef our canvas or to endure the tantalizing and
provoking agony of witnessing our sails hang in picturesque, but
useless, festoons up and down the masts.

For ten days we scarce saw the sun; for ten days the sextants lay idle.
When at length the sun did condescend to slash the sky with his hopeful
beams, we found we had made the satisfactory average of _ten miles_ a
day. Our potatoes, too,--that self-provided esculent upon which sailors
depend so much, and without which the admiralty allowance assumes such
skeleton proportions--now began to fail us. As it was useless to attempt
to reach Chefoo under sail alone, steam was got up, and we managed to
make the harbour on June 6th.

Here again we picked up the squadron and the admiral, the former of whom
had been lying idle for fourteen days, eating of the fat of the land,
whilst we, like certain ruminants, have been consuming our own fat, for
want of more natural food.

On the 11th, the squadron departed for evolutions in the gulf of
Pe-chili, outside, the admiral accompanying to put them through a little

Whilst at Chefoo, this time, we became acquainted with the ladies and
gentlemen of the China Inland Mission, of whom Mr. Judd is the pastor.
These toilers in God's vineyard, for the better carrying out of their
work, adopt the Chinese national dress. The ladies are young, seemingly,
for such work, but possess unbounded enthusiasm. Their visits to the
ships were frequent, but not the less welcome in consequence; and long
before we left we had got to look upon them as very dear friends. On one
occasion they provided a temperance entertainment for as many as could
come in the Seamen's Hall, on shore--a real floral fête, where the fair
English faces of the ladies seemed to vie with the lovely blossoms
around. There were many in that audience who went there under the
impression of being bored, but who, long before the proceedings had
finished, declared they had not enjoyed so pleasant an evening since
leaving home. That was it, these kind Christian friends made that
gathering so home-like, that one could scarce fail to be happy. For a
few short hours only we rough sailors were permitted to enjoy the
refined and cultured society of our generous friends, and it is to be
hoped we came out the purer for the contact.

June 24th--The sweetest pleasure has its after-pang; the most beautiful
rose its latent thorn. So, too, I see, is it with those who undertake to
narrate facts. This day marks the loss of another shipmate, from one of
those suddenly awful deaths to which the sailor is, above all other men,
perhaps, ever liable. One of our boys, William Edwards, whilst at work
on the main crosstrees, fell to the deck, sustaining such fearful
injuries that he died a few moments afterwards. We buried him in the
little cemetery on shore, where an unpretending gothic cross now records
the simple fact that a sailor has died.

After all, our ship is not entirely useless; so thinks the admiral, for
he left orders that we were to repair to Wosung to fill up with
provisions for the squadron, and from thence to proceed to Nagasaki to
await their arrival; a feat we performed, I believe, to his entire

Another of our old officers left us here to take command of the
"Lapwing," her captain having shot himself in consequence of the
decision of the court against him in the affair of the late collision.
Much regret was felt at losing Mr. Haygarth--about the last of the
executive officers who commissioned us.

Sometime after the sailing of the squadron, we left, with the "Zephyr"
in company, to rejoin the admiral in Posiette Bay, Siberia. But the
little ship being minus several sheets of copper, we put in at the
island of Tsu-sima to allow her effective repairs.

August 7th.--And now we may be said to form a component part of the
squadron; henceforth, the ships are to follow our lead, for the St.
George's cross once more flutters from our fore-royal mast head.

Posiette is certainly a magnificent anchorage, capable of accommodating
many fleets. All around richly clothed hills, admirably suited for
grazing and agricultural purposes, shelter the great sheet of water from
all winds. Nature, however, seems to hold undivided sway on those still,
solemn hills, or those broad glassy plains; for not an animal nor house
to betray the presence of the universal devastator can be seen, though I
hear that only a short distance over the hills several thousands of
Russian soldiers are under canvas, pending the conclusion of
negociations with China, relative to Kashgar.

August 11th.--At noon the squadron, comprising the following ships:
"Iron Duke," "Comus," "Encounter," "Curaçoa," "Pegasus," "Albatross,"
"Zephyr," and "Vigilant," were signalled to get under sail, except our
ship, the "Zephyr," and the "Vigilant." Unfortunately for the
accomplishment of this evolution, the wind, after holding out hopes that
it would last all day, with the force of the morning fell light just as
the ships had tripped their anchors. The little "Zephyr," in this
emergency, proved of invaluable service. She was here, there, and
everywhere to the rescue of her great sisters, which could not be
induced anyhow to come to the wind. We were over four hours clearing the
harbour, and even then steam had to be got up for the purpose.

Next day we reached Vladivostock, anchoring in a semicircle in front of
the town. Scarce had our anchor left the bows when another of our young
lads, William McGill, was suddenly ushered into that unknown world that
lies beyond. Whilst uncovering the mizen gaff, he lost his hold, fell,
and was so shattered that he died ere he could be borne below. He lies
in the Russian cemetery on shore, a wild, neglected, "God's acre,"
without any pretensions to the sanctity usual to such places. Another of
the "Iron Duke's" crosses, of stout old English oak, also marks this

I must now request the reader to take a leap with me--permissible enough
to book writers, though scarcely possible to pedestrians. You are now in
the straits of Tsugar, and near the scene of our former misadventure.
Before you are the ships of the squadron drawn up in line for a
race--no, not all, for the "Mosquito" parted company during the night
through stress of weather. The breeze is now blowing at force eight;
or, as we should say, "slashing." During the night we had met with a few
casualties to our sails, but so slight were they that in the morning we
were able to take our place among the coursers, as judge, referee, and
starter. At this moment the admiral signals "chase to windward." What
takes place now is a pretty sight. Clouds of snowy balloon-like canvas
spring, as if by magic, to masts and yards, straining and bellying out
with tremendous effort. The steel corvettes were able to carry all plain
sail with impunity. Not so with the "Encounter," however, for she is
obliged to take a reef in her topsails and to furl her royals, a
proceeding which does not lessen her chance of coming in first in the
slightest, for she is known to be such a good sailer, that a few yards
of canvas, more or less, does not affect her much. Away they go, listing
over under the strong pressure, and rising and falling in all the
majesty of ships of war. The "Pegasus" now shoots ahead, bidding fair to
overhaul the corvettes, but her ambition is speedily curbed by the
springing of her main-topsail yard. Placed _hors de combat_, she drops
astern to shift her wounded spar. Many little accidents such as this,
calling for prompt seamanship, occurred during the forenoon, and hence
the value of such trials of speed.

For eight hours the squadron disported themselves in this manner, when
the "Encounter" was declared the winner by 400 yards. At the moment of
shortening sail, our lame duck, the "Mosquito," hove in sight astern, in
a sad plight, as is usual with lame ducks. She had lost her fore-topmast
and jib-boom during the night, off O'Kosiri. She was at once signalled
to repair to Hakodadi with all speed, to effect repairs.

By the time the race was finished we were broad off Hakodadi, on the
opposite side of the strait, but as it was not intended to push on until
next day, easy sail was kept on until daylight.

September 7th.--At daybreak a man-of-war, with the Japanese royal
standard at the main--sky blue, with a white chrysanthemum in the
centre--was observed making out of Hakodadi. Our larger ships at once
saluted, the smaller ones lowering their upper sails at the same time.
Subsequently we fell in with a Japanese squadron, all with royal flags
displayed. They were in attendance on the mikado, who is now on a tour
of his empire.

By the evening we had arrived and anchored in a double line, at right
angles with the town.

We have, doubtless, all seen, heard, or read of the various devices
adopted by the different peoples of the globe in the capture of the
finny tribe, from our own familiar hook and line to the Chinaman's
trained cormorant or the Chenook Indian's tame seal. These are all good
in their way, only they involve a great loss of time and require no end
of patience. But the method illustrated to us the morning after our
arrival, besides being a more certain is also less cruel than anything
else in the shape of fishing I have yet seen. Observing a vast quantity
of fish disporting themselves near the ship, our experimental torpedo
officer armed himself with a small torpedo, pulled himself into their
midst, quietly dropped the missile overboard, and pulled away again. The
beautiful unsuspecting creatures still played on, unconscious of the
doom that awaited them. The effect on firing the torpedo was terrible:
for a space of 150 yards all around, the surface was like one mass of
silver, from the closely-packed and upturned bellies of a species of
pilchard. The slaughter was complete--not a fish moved after the awful
stun it had received. Boats from the squadron were signalled to gather
up the slain, which will perhaps convey a pretty fair idea of their

Of late the admiral's barge has been attracting much attention by her
sailing qualities. She has been taken in hand by the same energetic
officer previously alluded to, who has altered the service rig, and
provided a new set of sails, more suited in every way to develop the
boat's qualities. We had not long to wait for a challenge, for the
"Comus'" people, ever jealous in all such matters, offered to match
their sailing pinnace against her. The challenge was accepted, and bets
were concluded in the customary manner. The admiral, in particular, was
especially pleased to think that, at last, he would have an opportunity
of verifying his remarks about his boat; for he has reiterated again and
again that, in his opinion, the boat wanted only proper handling to go.
Well, as you know the race came off, and as you may also remember the
"Comus'" boat was beat--in common phrase--"all to smash."

September 15th.--Southward once again. It was intended to call in at
Yamada on the way down, but by some unaccountable reason we overshot the
mark and found ourselves in Kama-ichi instead. The mistake was, of
course, speedily discovered; the squadron hove around and headed north
for Yamada.

Next we put in to Sendai bay, a commodious anchorage, but very much
exposed seaward from its broad and unprotected mouth. Great rollers and
heavy swells come thundering in with nearly all winds.

Previous to leaving, the admiral conveyed his intention that certain
ships would prepare to take the others in tow. Acting on this the
"Curaçoa" took us and the "Mosquito;" the "Comus," the "Albatross" and
"Zephyr;" and the "Swift," the "Lily." Thus we started, and under these
conditions logged five knots, and all went merry until the sky began to
frown, and displayed evident signs of bad temper. Half a gale blew,
ships still towing, but cutting a violent caper because their freedom of
action was curtailed. With the night the wind increased to a full gale,
and as the ships were making the most frantic efforts to free themselves
from the imprisoning hawsers, and likely to become bad friends over the
job, signal was made to cast off. Now in her impatience the "Mosquito"
was not content to wait until we gave her her freedom, but proceeded to
wrest herself free by pulling one arm of our main bitts clean off to the
deck. Annoying, was it not? But this is a quality generally conceded to
mosquitoes I believe. The squadron now re-formed under reefed canvas,
and though we could see scarcely 400 yards ahead, from the obscurity of
the weather, we managed to reel off eight and a half knots, the "Duke"
of course under steam.

Very cold and bleak blew the ice-cold breath of Fusi this morning as we
headed into the bay of Yedo. Contrary to all our expectations, instead
of making our way at once to Yokohama we turned aside, and anchored at
the naval arsenal of Yokusuka, on the opposite side of the bay,
presumably for the purpose of making the ships presentable to the
argus-eyed naval critics in Yokohama.

On the 24th we slipped across in gallant style, and confessedly in
first-rate order and trim. Even the "Yanks" conceded this, with a rider,
of course, to the effect that they "guess'd" the "Alert"--did'nt they
mean the "Palos," I wonder--"would knock saucepans out of the whole
bilin'." On account of the great number of men-of-war already at anchor
we had to take up stations as most convenient. As the flagship's anchor
dropped, a signal from main, mizen, and yard-arms, drew the attention of
the squadron. This great display of fluttering pennants and
parti-colored squares conveys to the initiated the following sentence:
"cruise at an end; satisfactory to both officers and men."

September 28th.--Before the dispersal of the ships to their winter
quarters, and as a pleasant finale to an unpleasant cruise a regatta,
under the sole patronage of the admiral and officers, was to be held on
this and the two succeeding days. The two first days were allotted to
the pulling contests, the third day to the sailing boats. Of the pulling
races it will, perhaps, suffice to say that they were contested in the
usual close and lusty manner.

The morn of the third day came in most auspiciously, so far as the wind
was concerned; but by mid-day heavy rain clouds began to darken the
weather horizon, and by their aspect, threatened to mar the pleasure of
the proceedings. The race, however, had started long before this. More
than ordinary excitement was felt concerning it, as the prize was to be
a splendid silver cup, presented by the admiral, and which he
hoped--which we too hoped, nay, confidently expected--would be won by
his own boat. So beyond question it would had the breeze held. But it
didn't, it fell to a flat calm, with not a breath to ripple the
harbour's glassy surface. In some manner to wipe out their late defeat,
and by a persistency really most laudable, the "Comus'" men _rolled_
their pinnace all around the course, and ended by winning the cup. Some
idea of the labour entailed on her crew may be formed from the time at
which they were at it. At 10 a.m. the boats started, and it was not
until 5 p.m. the race finished; the crews being all this time without a
drop of water, and under a vertical sun.

October 9th.--We are now in Nagasaki and about to go in dry dock on the

If we had previously made up our minds to any enjoyment in Japan's
westernmost port we were doomed to disappointment, for we had not been
an hour in the bay before alarming accounts reached us of the prevalence
of a most virulent cholera on shore. Leave is of course out of the
question--provoking, to say the least of it, in lovely Nagasaki. The
captain at once issued a memo., couched in terms which ought to have
appealed to each man's common sense, and containing the most accurate
information with regard to the epidemic. In the face of all this, and
notwithstanding the British consul's statistics, our men would not
believe in the urgency of the case at all; and several, despite all that
could be urged against it crossed over to the town.

The days in dock were not, however, allowed to pass altogether
unpleasantly or devoid of interest, for the officers--no whit better off
than we in the matter of leave--recognising the necessity of making an
effort to divert ennui, and to set an example of cheerfulness under
depressing circumstances, got up a series of athletic sports on the
limited space afforded by the dock. It will suffice to notice a few of
the leading items in our highly amusing programme, for amusing it really
was from beginning to end, exemplifying to the letter the committee's
motto, "fun, not dollars," though dollars were not lacking.

The sports commenced at 1 p.m. on the 13th, with a closely contested
flat race of 100 yards. A sack race which followed was, of course, rare
fun, though not to some who took the most active part in it, for I am
afraid one's nose coming in contact with hard gravel is anything but fun
to the owner of such organ. The jockey race which came next must be
noticed as exhibiting steeds in entirely a new light. In the present
instance, they so far threw aside the nature of the equine race that,
they selected for themselves jockeys from the arms of fearful Japanese
mothers, who had come to see the fun. Clearly, as the referees decided,
this class of jockey did not come within the scope of the programme.

But one of the most entertaining items was the obstacle race, and
considering, as I said before, the small space at the committee's
command, several severe obstacles had been placed in the way of the
competitors. Eighteen entered for this race. First, half a pound of
pudding, minus anything oleaginous, and a basin of water was
administered to each. At a given signal the "gorging" commenced. He who
first got outside his "duff and water" started, and so on with the next.
One would scarce believe with what incredible rapidity that pudding was
metamorphosed. The next obstacle to be surmounted was a huge balk of
timber raised at the ends, about a foot off the ground, under which the
coursers were compelled to _crawl_. A row of eighteen barrels, with the
ends knocked out, came next; then a climb up slack ropes, and over a
transverse bar; and finally another balk of timber--if anything less
than a foot off the ground--under which they had to squeeze and wriggle
in the best manner possible.

As a finale to our excellent programme, the most amusing and
entertaining thing of all was yet to be carried out. A stunsail boom had
been rigged out over the caisson, and rendered extremely fit for
pedestrianism by plentiful libations of slush and soft soap. At the
extreme end a basket containing, in the words of the programme, "a
little pig" was slung. About thirty men stood to the front, as would-be
possessors of "porcus." Each of the thirty, as valiant heroes as ever
trod a plank or fisted handspike, tried and failed--and tried again with
a like unsatisfactory result. Piggy still lay nestled in his swinging
stye. True, once or twice he had cocked out his head with an enquiring
squeal as the pole now and then received an extra hard shake, making the
foundations of his house rather insecure. The affair was at length
decided in an unlooked-for manner. As the thirty could not get the pork
out, the latter took the initiative and got out himself--of course
falling overboard, where he was secured by an amphibious sailor below.

As the time anticipated had not been consumed in the pork affair, a
tug-of-war between the fore and aft men was decided on; and as it is a
generally understood thing that our men can pull on occasions, a
four-and-half hemp hawser was hauled to the front, experience having
proved that ropes of lesser diameter are like as much tow in their
hands. As no prize could be conveniently awarded for this, about six
dollars' worth of that ambiguous compound, known as gingerbread, was
supplied and laid on a piece of canvas in a formidable heap within view
of the antagonists, with the intention that the winners might regale
themselves afterwards. But this highly laudable and very proper
intention was frustrated, for the _losers_ happening to be nearest the
heap took base advantage of their proximity to pillage the store, which,
by the aid of a score or so of Japanese imps, in all manners of
reversible attitudes in the crowd, they managed to raze to its
foundations. So ended one of the most enjoyable days of the commission.

By the way I must not omit to mention that the ubiquitous "Aunt Sally,"
of immortal memory, was present on the occasion, and contributed the
usual amount of sport.

October 14th.--By midnight, all hands having relegated themselves to the
close embraces of the sleepy god, a terrible din and an unusual alarm
was circulated throughout the ship. At first, in our semi-wakeful state,
and before we could adjust our ideas, we had the most confused notions
of what was the matter. Most thought that the shores under the ship's
bottom had carried away, and that we had fallen over on our bilge; and,
strange to say, in our imaginary terror our eyes seemed to convey that
impression. The ominous word "fire!" followed by the maddening unmusical
efforts of a crazed bell, reduced all this din and uncertainty to a
logical something. But where was it? What was on fire, the ship?
Fortunately no; but a fire so close to the ship that she was in imminent
danger of taking the flames every minute. Ahead of us, and within a
biscuit's throw of our flying boom, a long shed containing kerosene and
other inflammables had taken fire, but how does not so clearly appear.
But that doesn't matter. In a moment there was a general conflagration.
It burst out with sudden and alarming fierceness, threatening speedily
to overwhelm the whole yard.

Our captain's first consideration was the safety of his ship. To this
end the dock was flooded, and pumps rigged on board in readiness for any
possible eventuality; for, though we were not in immediate contact with
the danger, yet it was so unpleasantly hot on our top-gallant
forecastle, and such quantities of sparks and lumps of burning wood were
so constantly lodging on our tarry ropes and rigging, that there was no
saying how soon we too might add to the general glare.

The means for putting out fires in Japan are, as everybody knows, of the
most simple and primitive kind. But simple and ineffective as their
method is, we were compelled to adopt it until there should be a
sufficiency of water in the dock to enable us to work our pumps. One
would have thought that in a Government yard like this the machinery for
pumping out the dock might have been utilized for such a purpose.
Possibly if fires were of less frequent occurrence amongst the Japanese
this plan might be considered.

After the ship had been attended to we next turned our attention to the
fire. From the first we saw it was useless to attempt its subjugation,
even had we the ordinary appliances at hand, so our efforts were mainly
directed to the prevention of its spreading to another shed standing
near, containing vitriol, and to the preservation of a stack of huge
balks of timber, adjoining the burning shed. We succeeded in the former,
but the timber proved too cumbrous to be interfered with, and it was not
until four o'clock in the morning that the fire was got under--or
rather, burnt itself out is, I suppose, the more correct expression.
After a good hour and half's delay a Japanese fire brigade arrived on
the scene. The appearance of this body of men was such that they claim a
few words of description. They were attired in tight-fitting blue
garments, and mushroom-shaped hats of bamboo, with each an umbrella over
his shoulder, the use of which will become apparent directly. Before the
cortege marched a man blowing a large conch, which emitted, not "the
murmur of the shell," but a much more ear-splitting music. Next to him
came a personage bearing the insignia--I suppose we must term it--of the
brigade. This affair reminded me of nothing at home so much as the stall
or stand of the itinerant vendor of boot and corset laces in our
streets, the laces in this case being represented by strips of gilded
leather, and surmounted by a ball, on which was traced a great character
in gold, signifying fire, in the language of the children of the "rising
sun." Then followed their box-like engine, borne on bamboos across the
shoulders of the main body. Notwithstanding the ludicrousness of the
whole cavalcade, the men set to work most energetically, and displayed
that dash and intrepidity of conduct for which the Japanese are famed,
and which must eventually raise them to the dominance of the peoples of
the far east. Right into the midst of the fire dashed these fellows,
their only shelter from the fierce glare being the before-mentioned
umbrellas. These frail shades, though made only of paper, seemed to
answer the purpose admirably.

October 26th.--Left for Wosung, anchoring in the Yang-tsze, after a
quick run of four days across the Yellow Sea. We are to await here the
arrival of the flying squadron. Meanwhile an opportunity was given us of
visiting the great European metropolis of China. The "Foxhound" was
ordered down from Shanghai, and converted into a passenger steamer, for
the benefit of our ship's company. Shanghai at this time offered plenty
of scope for enjoyment to sailors. The city is divided into three
principal parts or "concessions"--English, French, and American--the
English being far more extensive than the other two combined, and much
more beautiful, with clean broad streets, houses like palaces, and shops
which would do no discredit to Regent street or the Strand. The great
attraction was the races, held outside the city, on the Nankin Road,
near which is an extensive race-course.

Of the native city--well--perhaps the less said the better. It is full
of the foulest filth and abominations in which it is possible for even a
Chinaman to exist. I will not afflict my readers with a description of
its horrors; it would scarcely be fit reading for our friends. Fever and
plague are ever rife within the city gates, a fact so well established
that the European residents never visit this quarter. We had not been
warned of this, however, and the result was that some of our men, who
had weakened their systems with poisonous liquor, fell victims to some
disease very like cholera, which in two cases proved fatal within
twenty-four hours. I trust these awfully terrible examples were not
without their lesson to us. (Shipmates, there is a higher aspiration
within the reach of every sailor than that of blindly devoting himself
to the service of the "boozy" god, a self-immolation which leaves no
enjoyment--no healthy enjoyment, I mean--to its devotees. It must be,
and I know it is so, that every one such feels ashamed of himself
afterwards, and calls himself by hard but honest adjectives when the
"bad head" period comes on.) I am thankful to state that our other cases
recovered, though not until almost all hope had well-nigh gone.

November 22nd.--To-day the long-expected flying squadron arrived, and
took up positions ahead of us. The following ships comprised
it--"Inconstant" (flag), "Bacchante," "Cleopatra," "Tourmaline," and

For days past much activity has existed amongst the junk fleet in this
neighbourhood. Dozens of these trim-built and picturesque-looking craft
have lately accumulated here to give the princes a proper reception. Day
after day they have duly gone through some extraordinary and to us
meaningless evolutions, all flags, gongs, yells, and gunpowder.

November 24th.--Leaving the squadron to the joy and festivities of
Shanghai, once more we head for Hong Kong. We thought then it was for
the last time; but hopes have been shattered so frequently of late that
we were not prepared to bet on it.

Whilst at anchor, awaiting the tide to cross the outer bar, our
attendant pilot boat came to grief under our bows. Everybody who knows
anything of Chinese rivers--of the Yangtsze in particular--will have
often remarked how great a velocity the current attains at near low
water, making boating alongside a ship an almost impossible and
extremely hazardous proceeding. The water hisses, seethes, and boils
past the sides as if the ship was under weigh in a heavy sea; thus when
the little vessel reached our bows there was nothing to save her.
Fortunately she came down upon us in such a manner that she escaped with
the loss of mainmast and sail, whilst a little damage was done to our
head-gear in the scrimmage.

November 30th.--Again the well-known rig of the Canton fishing junks
heaves in sight, and ere long the equally well-known outline of Victoria
Peak, the most welcome sight on the station, after all said and done. In
a few hours that prince of bumboat men, old Attam, had paid us a visit,
giving us a kindly welcome, with his good-tempered, ever-smiling, and
flat celestial face.

December 20th.--To-day at noon the flying squadron came in from the
northward. Their arrival was awaited by eager and expectant crowds
thronging the shore, in anticipation of witnessing the landing of the
young royal middies. In this they were disappointed. The same absence of
ceremony and reserve was to be observed here, with respect to the
queen's grandsons, as was recently followed out in Shanghai, and which
gave so much umbrage to the residents of that city. It was soon
officially known that whilst staying at Hong Kong, the princes would be
publicly recognised simply as "mids."

The Europeans and other foreign residents were quite prepared to do the
honors handsomely, had things been ordered differently. These
shortcomings were however amply compensated for by the magnificence of
the Chinamen. It did not signify to them as to _how_ the princes were to
be treated; to them they were the queen's grandsons, midshipmen or not.

The two nights immediately preceding Christmas Day were devoted to the
grandest display of fireworks and illuminations I have ever witnessed,
and which, possibly, few men see but once in a lifetime. All accounts of
China agree that in the pyrotechnic art the Chinese stand alone,

We have all, no doubt, been struck when reading of the wonderful changes
of form assumed by their fireworks in the air. This, like many other
descriptions about this people, is rather misleading. What actually does
take place I will endeavour to show; only bear in mind the most perfect
description must fall far short of the startling reality.

In the present instance two skeleton, tower-like structures of bamboo
were erected in the soldiers' drill ground, and within this simple
framework all the business was to be transacted. Seats for the
accommodation of the governor and other high functionaries, and for the
leading Chinese, were set up at a convenient distance, whilst the
respectable public were permitted within the enclosure. For several
hours before dusk, relays of coolies had been bearing into the open
space curious-looking balls of wicker, innocent of anything like the
gorgeous things they really were. At sunset the programme opened. One of
the balls was hoisted to the top of a tower, and set fire to in its
ascent, so that by the time it had reached its highest altitude it was
all one blaze. But behold the change! so sudden and brilliant that a
shout expressive of admiration was involuntarily sent up by the sea of
faces around. In place of the homogenous ball, hundreds of small figures
of mandarins and ladies, some seated at tables, some riding on mules,
others playing at shuttlecock or flying kites, and all clothed in the
most beautiful garments, and around which innumerable squibs were
hissing and cracking, revealed themselves to our astonished gaze.
Another change! The human element disappears. Birds and flowers, with
swarms of brilliant butterflies flitting amongst them, and alighting on
their gorgeous petals, the light all the time ever-changing and varying
in color. These in their turn disappear, and a grand pagoda suddenly
drops, as from the skies, out of the burning mass, its different storys
all distinctly marked by parti-colored lamps, whilst little rockets are
continually going off at all its windows. What, not finished yet? No;
exit pagoda, enter a royal crown, dominating the Prince of Wales'
feathers, with the initials "A V" and "G" underneath. Bear in mind all
these changes emanated from the _same_ ball, which was but one of scores
such, and all different. Each ball generally wound up in one tremendous
report, and a rocket, which shot far into the night, and whose sparks,
scintillating for awhile in space, rivalled in brilliancy the tints of
the stars.

This was but the first part of the entertainment; a far prettier was yet
to come. Starting from the various Chinese guilds, and uniting in front
of the governor's house, a grand procession, over a mile long, commenced
the perambulation of the streets of the city. Each man bore on his
shoulders exaggerated representations of all the domestic and food
animals used in the Chinese menage, principally fish, fowls, and pigs,
constructed of bamboo framework covered with tinted gauze, and illumined
from within by colored candles. Illuminated shops, trophies, interiors,
representations in character from the sacred books, the figures being
real and resplendent in the most beautiful silks, were amongst the most
important objects in the ceremonial. Bands of music--save the
mark!--filled up the intervals. Towards the end of the procession came
two dragons--a gold one and a silver one--of such a length that each
required somewhere about thirty pairs of bearers. They were divided into
sections, to every one of which a pair of men was attached, illumined
from within, and covered with a rich scaled brocade, in which the
bearers themselves were also enveloped, their legs and feet appearing
from underneath like the legs of a huge centipede.

Whilst on the subject of dragons I may just mention a curious ceremony I
witnessed, during the earlier part of the day, in connection with one of
these--the gold one--in the present ceremonial. The occasion was the
instillation of life into the legendary monster. He was conducted by his
bearers to the largest temple in the city, where a yellow-robed bonze
was in waiting to receive him. On the huge head being brought to the
door the farce commenced. Taking a live cock in his hand, the priest
pricked its comb in three several places, and with the blood proceeded
to mix some vermilion paint, in a small china vessel. With this pigment
he now described three cabalistic signs on a piece of yellow paper,
which he stuck on the monster's forehead, at the same time touching with
his brush the eyes, the cavernous jaws, and horrible fangs of the
animal. This completes the business, and the dragon proceeds on its
sinuous way amidst the howling and contortions of a superstitious and
excited mob.

It is not to be supposed that the flying squadron could be permitted to
leave for England without the usual challenges for boating contests
being thrown out. We, of course, came in for the lion's share of their
attacks. A match was pulled, in which our green galley came in the
victor; then a second, in which the "Bacchante's" cutter beat our crack
boat. This unexpected defeat set our men on their metal, in fact raised
a bit of a storm in the lower deck, so that dollars were freely tendered
towards a high stake to pull them again. But the "Bacchante" wanted not
our two hundred dollars. "They had beat us," they said, "and to their
entire satisfaction; what more could they desire?" The "Tourmaline's"
men appeared highly delighted at our defeat. On a black board, fixed up
in their fore-rigging, they had written, "'Iron Duke' no can do
'Bacchante.'" This was met by a counter taunt from us, "'Iron Duke' can
do 'Bacchante'--200 dollars." I am inclined to the belief that had the
"Dukes" and "Tourmalines" met on shore that night there would have been
work for the doctors.


    Heave, heave, heave! around the capstan,
    Up with the anchor with a will;
    For the "Duke," you may rely,
    Will be home by next July,
    If you'll only put old _Tom Lee_ to the wheel.


Before starting for the north, suppose we just glance at a few of the
leading events which transpired at the beginning of the year. The flying
squadron has sailed after having awaited the return of the "Inconstant"
from docking at Nagasaki.

The arrival of the yacht "Wanderer" must also be noted; for Mr. Lambert,
her princely owner, gave a magnificent cup worth 200 dollars as a prize
to be sailed for by the boats of the men-of-war in harbour. It was borne
off by the French admiral's barge.

In stripping our yards serious defects were discovered in the fore and
main, necessitating the replacing of the latter by a new one, and the
splicing of the former. Whilst awaiting these repairs the admiral
hurried us off, stripped as we were, up the Canton river to a bleak open
spot above the Bogue forts. The scenery of the river is flat and
uninviting, but eminently characteristic. Almost every hill has its
pagoda at the top, every bank that peculiar fishing apparatus--a lever
net, and the river is swarming with great lumbering junks, not a few of
which, if rumour speak correctly, engaged in piracy.

On the way up we obtained a fine view of the Bogue forts. The old ruins
still remain, mute witnesses of the completeness of our cannonade during
the Chinese war. At a short distance from the old, a much stronger and
more formidable structure is reared, which in the hands of Europeans
would form an almost impassable barrier. In addition to the large fort,
two small islands off in the river are also strongly fortified with
eighteen-ton guns.

Ten days--such was the term of our banishment. Economically considered,
I suppose it was all right; no doubt the fresh water of the river
succeeded in removing the saline incrustations from our bottom. One of
the home papers, more sensationally than truthfully, remarked that our
ship's company were all such a disreputable, boosing set, and proved
themselves so reckless and recalcitrant when on shore, that the admiral
took this means of punishing us. Now I call this a gross libel on the
ship's company at large. To speak honestly, I don't believe the admiral
did send us here for such a purpose, nor do I believe we are one whit
worse than those who stigmatize our characters in so wholesale and
careless a manner.

Next in order of events comes the admiral's inspection--searching, of
course, as all his inspections are known to be. He has a curious knack
of catching people on what, in lower-deck phrase, is styled the
"ground-hop," and generally succeeds, by his rapid and pertinent
questions, in putting people into such utter confusion of ideas that
negatives and affirmatives are bundled out indiscriminately, if indeed
the mouth can be induced to open itself at all, or to frame any speech.
However, in one department, at least, he got as good as he gave. Whilst
visiting the magazine he suddenly gave the order, "fire on the flat!"
The gunner's mate in charge of the magazine, whom we will call "Topper,"
immediately closed the hatch and stood on guard over it. Turning around,
the admiral said "I want to go into the magazine;" but observing that
"Topper" still stood motionless, he again repeated the order. "You
can't, sir," was the rejoinder, "because there is fire in the flat."
"Oh! very well," replied the admiral, "cease fire!" With great
promptitude and despatch the hatch was removed, and the admiral prepared
to descend, but was once more checked, and was informed that if he
complied with the magazine regulations, and left his shoes and sword
behind, he might do so. He fared no better down below, I believe, and
left the magazine perfectly satisfied with the conduct of affairs in
that region.

A few days before sailing, a suggestion made by Mr. Robinson, the
officer whose kindnesses I have had occasion to note before, met with
universal favor. For a very small sum each man, a telegram was sent to
Mr. R----'s agent in London, in the following words--"When will
'Audacious' commission, and probably sail?" For three days nothing else
was spoken of, and various were the speculations as to the answer. It
came--"Early September." Very short, but to the point, though to some
rather ambiguous. To which did the answer refer, the _commissioning_, or
the _sailing_? Reason implied the former, as, knowing it, the latter
might be inferred. A subsequent telegram set the matter at rest.

April 19th.--After a more than ordinarily long stay at Hong Kong, to-day
sees us clearing out of the harbour on our projected summer cruise. The
following ships besides ourselves comprised the squadron--"Curaçoa,"
"Encounter," "Albatross," "Swift," "Daring," and "Foxhound," with the
"Vigilant" and "Zephyr," which accompanied us out of the harbour. On
parting company with the admiral we shaped course for Manilla, the
admiral being specially careful to give Captain Tracey injunctions not
to forget to bring him 2,000 cigars from that place. We were then
sailing under sealed orders.

April 24th.--This morning, having sent the "Swift" back to Hong Kong,
the sealed orders were opened, and, to the surprise of everybody--to the
captain's not less than to our own--we were not to go to Manilla at all!
This in the face of what the admiral said to the captain! Well, up helm,
and away we go for Loo-Choo; it does not signify much where we go for
the next six or eight months, I suppose.

April 25th.--_Caught our first shark._ Yes; one out of the many scores
in the vicinity actually meditated an attack on our four-pound piece.
However he discovered, to his cost, that a barbed hook is no easy matter
to digest. He was landed inboard in a trice, and handed over to the
tender mercies of the forecastle hands. Now it was a most unfortunate
thing for that shark that one of these same _tender_ hands had, that
very morning, lost a "hook pot" of fish off the range, through the kind
services of some obliging shipmate. Hence revenge was the dominant
feeling in that man's breast. Electing himself butcher-in-chief,
sharko's spirit was soon gathered to his fathers.

A most devilish contrivance--torpedo, electric wire, and all
complete--was invented by our torpedo officer for the accommodation of
the next friendly shark. With this little affair safely stowed within
his stomach, he would find his internal arrangements subject to sudden
and unaccountable tension. Enough this to make the shark parliament pass
a bill condemning all illicit grabbing.

April 20th.--Off the east of Formosa, and during the middle watch, the
ships of the squadron were caught aback in a sudden squall. There was a
deuce of a commotion up aloft, sails flapping and splitting, ropes
cracking, and blocks rattling till further orders. To establish order
amongst these refractory things the hands were called. Next day the wind
crept ahead and gradually freshened to what looked and felt extremely
like a gale. The poor little "Foxhound" had a lively time of it, and
proved herself unequal to such a buffetting. The "Curaçoa" was signalled
to take her in tow, and the two fell rapidly astern, and finally
disappeared, to rejoin us about the third day afterwards. On May first
the "Daring" parted company for Napa, the capital of Great Loo-Choo, our
destination being Little Loo-Choo.

May 3rd.--I don't know if we do, but sailors ought to feel it a great
privilege that they are enabled to see all the wonderful and varied
sights so constantly surrounding them--the many countries and people
they come in contact with. Of all strange, out of the way, scarce heard
of places, perhaps, Loo-Choo has been less subject to the visits of
vandals from Europe than any. If I am correctly informed it is now close
on thirty years since a ship of war put in to Little Loo-Choo, and
certainly never before such a squadron as the present.

But two visits of consequence have taken place during the present
century; that of Captain Maxwell in the "Alceste," in 1817; and that of
Commodore Perry, of the U.S. navy, in 1853; so that the little we do
know of this _ultima thule_ is derivable from these sources. Strangely
enough, the two accounts are broadly opposed to each other. Captain
Maxwell found the people gentle, simple, and courteous; possessed of no
money, no arms, without police, or punishments; whilst the land, he
said, was an earthly paradise. I have in my possession an old print
entitled "the voyage of the 'Alceste,'" written by the surgeon of that
ship; and that part of it which refers to this visit is most pleasurable
reading. The commodore, on the other hand, endeavours to shew many of
Captain Maxwell's eulogies to be erroneous. It is certain, says he, that
the Loo-Chooans possess and understand the use of both money and arms;
and that they have a very severe and cruel code of punishment. So far as
we are able, let us judge which of the two descriptions comes nearest
the truth.

The Loo-Choo group of islands lies in the North Pacific, and forms a
semi-circle, extending from Japan to the island of Formosa. The
inhabitants number under three millions, perhaps. The two principal
islands of the group are known as Great and Little Loo-Choo. It is to
the latter that the following remarks must be understood to refer. This
island is almost intersected by a narrow arm of the sea reaching far,
far away inland amongst the richly clad hills and mountains. This,
according to the charts, is Hancock bay, up which we are steaming.
Nature is looking her best as we pass, and wafting off to us her
sweetest smells; a green summer mantle clothes every eminence and gentle
slope; and the nestling villages have such a quiet, peaceful look, that
it seems almost a pity to disturb them--as we certainly shall--from
their dream-like repose. Each village possesses its water mill or mills,
so that the natives are not entirely ignorant of mechanics.

Hundreds of canoes, of the rudest construction, crammed with men, women,
and children, put off to us when we came to anchor. Though it is said
they are of mixed Chinese and Aïno origin; the people are of cast
countenance, and style of dress peculiar to the Japanese; they have,
however, a way of doing their hair, all their own. The men gather all
theirs into a tuft at the poll, where it is secured with a silk marling,
the extreme ends forming a sort of fringe, like a plume of feathers. The
very fine, long, and glossy hair of the women is rolled jauntily on the
top of the head in a loose spiral coil, resembling the volutes of a
shell. Through this rather graceful head-dress they stick a long silver
pin, in some cases a foot long.

They appear a very timid race. This is particularly noticeable on board.
Whether it was because they saw none of their own sex amongst us, I know
not; but I doubt if the women saw much of what they had come to see, as
most of their time was passed in eclipse under their husbands' lee, and
whose hands they never once loosed from the time of entering the ship
until they left us again. We treated them to sailors' fare, allowing
them the free run of our bread barges, and endeavoured all we could--but
without success--to set them at their ease. They were all highly
perfumed with the penetrating odour of garlic. I noticed that the
married ladies, in common with Aïno women, tattoo the backs of their
hands, though not their mouths.

One king generally suffices a people,--and even one is often found too
much--but this race tolerates _three_, or did until very recently; one
of their own; the emperor of China, whom they call father; and the
mikado of Japan, whom they style mother. To both their "parents" they
pay an immense tribute, which annually absorbs two-thirds of their
produce. It will be inferred from this that the condition of the lower
classes is very unfavorable.

Since we have been on this station these islands have been a bone of
contention, between China and Japan, as to which shall possess them; the
old "father" and "mother" farce being recognised as played out by mutual
consent. The Japs, in 1877, took the initiative, and sent an expedition
to Napa, and forcibly made the native king prisoner; and before the
Chinese were aware of what was taking place, the Japanese were
administering the laws in all parts of the little kingdom, and gradually
absorbing it into their empire. The question between the two nations is
far from being settled yet, and may at any future time prove a _casus

The appearance of the houses on shore has given rise to not a little
speculation. All that we are enabled to make out of them from the ship
is a thatched roof raised about ten feet off the ground, and supported
on four stout uprights. Can these be dwelling houses? On landing, and
coming close up with them, we at once saw that whatever else they were
intended for, they were not places of abode. Close under the admirably
palm thatched roof is a strongly-made, tray-shaped floor, with a small
locked door beneath the eaves. Such was their simple structure. After a
little thought, we arrived at the conclusion that they must be granaries
for the stowage of grain, possibly the government tribute houses, as
they were of different design and vastly superior build to the mud and
stick hovels in which the people live. In their surroundings the natives
exhibit all the squalor and dirt of China, with none of the cleanlier
qualities of the people of Japan. Though they followed us about in
droves, they never attempted any familiarities; in fact our first
overtures were treated with awe-like silence. The only words we
understood, in common with them, were "tabac" and "Ya-pun" (Japan);
indeed Japan is the beginning and end of their ideas--their one standard
of perfection. Everything they noticed about us--watches, biscuit, the
buttons on our clothing, our _boots_ even--were all qualified with the
word "Ya-pun," in a most admiring and reverential tone. Seemingly the
Loo-Chooans have never heard of England, though on passing a school
house--wherein were about a score of children on their knees behind a
similar number of box-like desks, one of the youngsters jumped up and
shewed me an English spelling book!

We saw no money amongst them. They however recognised the Japanese
silver yen, but more on account of the inscription on it than from any
knowledge of its money value, I think. Buttons were eagerly sought

Their wants seem to be extremely few and simple; and being excellent
agriculturists and expert fishers, the land and sea amply supply these
demands. Their chief export is raw sugar. We noticed some women at rude
looms engaged in manufacturing a coarse kind of cloth out of cocoa-nut
fibre; but from its appearance most of their wearing apparel is of
Japanese fabrication. The parents are very affectionate towards their
children--who, by the way, don't trouble their mammas for more clothes
than they were born in, until they are about seven or eight years old.

The earth teems with beautiful and profuse vegetation--for the most part
in a wild state. Magnificent convolvuluses and lilies, rare ferns--of
which I gathered, perhaps, as rare a collection--amongst them two or
three species of tree ferns, great raspberries and gooseberries; and a
very arcadia of flowers, lovely objects all for the artist's pencil.

The women seem devoid of that quality we so much admire in Englishwomen,
and which is so rarely found beyond England's shores--the quality of
modesty. It is rather embarrassing, for instance, whilst bathing to find
your clothes--which you had left on the beach--the centre of an admiring
and criticising crowd of ladies, handling and trying on each separate
article of your rather intricate wardrobe, and wishing, no doubt, the
owner would swim to shore and help them in their efforts. Such
unaffected simplicity and ingenuousness is most refreshing to witness.

How extremely alike child nature is all over the world! Observing a
little half-famished girl in a canoe alongside, I handed her a piece of
jam tart through the port. At first she was at a loss what to do with
it, but soon following out an universal law in such cases, she ventured
to put it to her mouth. The result may be expected; for no matter how
widely tastes differ, every child likes jam. It was real good to see the
hearty way in which that copper-skinned maid smacked her tiny cherry
lips, and looked her grateful thanks through her great lustrous almond
eyes. With the intention, perhaps, of sharing the delicacy with her
brothers and sisters, who shall say? she carefully wrapped up the
remainder, and placed it inside her only garment. How often, dear
reader, have you and I not done similarly at school feasts? Though this
little Loo-Choo's heart was willing, the flesh was weak; the parcel was
again taken out, re-examined, and re-tasted--but with evident
reluctance--till, finally, after a few ineffectual efforts to overcome
selfishness, the whole was consumed.

It is satisfactory to be able to write that in their dealings with this
simple people our men acted always with kindness and consideration;
paying, or offering payment--for it was generally refused--for
everything they had.

The arrival of the "Swift" with our mails was the signal for our
departure from pleasant Loo-Choo.

Perhaps it may be remembered that just about this time English society
at home seems to have undergone a mental crisis which, at one time,
certainly threatened the fabric of its reason; and all about that absurd
pachyderm "Jumbo." Of course, more or less, any agitation emanating
from home must in time reach Englishmen abroad; thus the "Jumbo" wave
visited these seas, and day after day, week after week, it was nothing
but "Jumbo." You would have thought the whole ship's company was
sickening for elephantiasis. Some funny fellow in the squadron noticing
this weakness, attached the name to our ship which, amongst the blue
jackets at least, has entirely supplanted the original one. But this by
the way.

Well, we reached Nagasaki without accident; coaled, and left for
Kobé,--south of Kiusiu--with a rattling breeze fair abaft. All went
smoothly until we arrived off Satano-Misaki, the southernmost point of
Kiusiu. The word "Satano," if it be, as is said, of Portuguese origin,
needs no comment. Here the fine breeze forsook us, and left us in a flat
and quite unexpected calm; for, generally speaking, in rounding this
cape the reverse of calms is met with. To make matters still more
unpleasant, a heavy ground swell began to set through the straits, and
the squadron having fires drawn at the time we all found ourselves in
the doldrums. Still, however, there was something of a current which had
its effect on the ships, so that it was impossible to keep in anything
like station. In this state of affairs the "Curaçoa" drifted on top of
the "Daring," and cracked her up a bit, rendering extensive repairs to
her absolutely necessary. She was despatched on to Kobé for this

After varying fortunes, now a calm--anon a gale, we arrived at Kobé on
June 3rd. This makes the sixth time during the commission we have
touched at this place, and strange coincidence! on fives times out of
the six we have anchored at noon, and have dined off that delightful
compound, pea-soup, on entering the harbour.

Meanwhile the admiral and the "Swift" are away in Corea, negociating a
treaty with that nation.

On reaching Yokohama we found our anticipated pleasures doomed to
disappointment; for that yearly visitant, cholera, was holding high
revel in the town, and doing pretty well just as it pleased.
Nevertheless, the admiral arrived the previous day, and gave leave to
the squadron until 9 p.m., with injunctions against visiting certain

A few days subsequently we were joined by the "Cleopatra," late of the
flying squadron, but detached at Suez for service on this station. The
"Comus," meanwhile, is about to leave for the Pacific to replace the
"Champion," ordered to join our flag.

In spite of the precautions supposed to have been observed, cholera at
length discovered itself in the fleet; and on the 27th June a case from
the "Vigilant" and another from the "Encounter," were conveyed to the
hospital. At once further restrictions were placed on the leave, and
though not absolutely stopped it was curtailed to sundown.

July 2nd.--Resumed our cruise (now under the admiral) to the northward.
The "Foxhound," outside, was signalled to repair to Hong Kong, and the
"Zephyr" ordered up to take her place. The "Foxhound" has shewn herself
to be a most indifferent sailer and steamer, and not at all suited as a
handy auxiliary to the squadron.

July 5th.--Four years in commission to-day! Are we ever to hear anything
of our relief? I think we shall be preparing for eventualities if we
meditate a serious study of the Chinese and kindred languages to fit us
for an indefinite stay in the far east. Have they forgotten us at home?

On the passage to Hakodadi the "Cleopatra" and "Curaçoa" each lost a
poor fellow, of cholera. Thus it is evident had we not cleared out of
Yokohama when we did the epidemic might have taken alarming hold on the

We have left Hakodadi, and are now cruising up the gulf of Tartary to as
far north as our first year's round. Passing by Dui we braced sharp up,
encountering, with double reefs, a strong wind and heavy sea for the
sixty miles stretch across to Castries bay, making that anchorage in a
dense fog. Hence we recrossed to Dui, coaled, and continued southward to
Barracouta harbour. For the future this anchorage will possess a
melancholy interest for the "Cleopatra;" for, a day before sailing, the
squadron was startled to hear that a shocking and fatal occurrence had
happened to an officer of that ship, who was unfortunately shot through
the inadvertent discharge of a fowlingpiece. He was an officer much
beloved by the ship's company.

August 12th.--A day's sail from Vladivostock we fell in with the
"Champion," one of the "Curaçoa" class. I suppose, from her appearance,
black must be the uniform of the Pacific station, a color which looks
confessedly proper and ship-shape, but one which our admiral will not
allow on any account.

On arriving at Vladivostock, scraping operations were commenced on her,
and by the following morning early her crew had greeted us with
"Good-bye, 'Jumbo,'" which they had erased in great straggling letters
along one broadside.

Our last mails, brought up by the "Zephyr," have narrowly escaped total
destruction--at least such might have been the fate of one of them; for
the steamer conveying it to Yokohama struck on a rock in the Inland
Seas, and foundered--the mails being immersed for so long a period that
when our letters reached us they were reduced to what Sala would call an
"epistolary pulp." But no news came of the "Audacious," only what the
poor mothers and wives say.

August 24th.--For the first time during our already long commission we
are about to make an acquaintance with the "hermit kingdom"--that, I
believe, is what one writer calls Corea. Japan has for a number of years
held a sort of _quasi_ intercourse with this country, and has even gone
so far as to send an embassy to the court at Seoul, and to establish two
or three settlements along the coast within the last two years. But the
Coreans, taking their cue from their suzerain, China, have ever looked
with a jealous eye on the Japanese and any other foreign relations.
However, China's Bismarck, the astute Li-hung-Chang, has recently
altered his tactics, and is now as anxious that Corea should enter into
the community of nations as he was before, that it should stand outside;
thus, when our admiral, at the beginning of the recent treaty, solicited
the prime minister's aid it was readily given; for, argued he, what
Corea, concedes to foreigners surely China has a right to demand.

Since we have been on this station two countries have attempted to
enter into treaty relations with Corea--the "Vittor Pinani," for Italy,
in 1880, and Commodore Shufeldt, for America, in the "Ticonderego," in
the same year; but both, I believe, have resulted in failure--the first
because, instead of the Italians calling China to their aid, they relied
too much on the mediations of Japan, a nation whom the Coreans mortally
detest: and the second because, though Li-hung-Chang was the medium,
Corea, whilst admitting her inferiority to China, claimed equality with
America, or with any other of the great civilized powers.

Of course no European nation is willing to concede so much; hence, for
the present, that treaty is annulled. It remains to be seen if ours is a
more honorable one or not.

At present Corea is in a state bordering on anarchy. Sundry rumours have
reached us recently of some disturbance south. So far as I am able to
glean, this is what is actually occurring. The late king dying without
issue, his adopted son, the present king, ascended the throne. During
his minority his father acted as regent--a position the latter found to
suit him so well that, by-and-by, when his son became of age he refused
to abdicate the throne in favor of its lawful occupant, threw off all
semblance of allegiance, and assumed a high-handed and arrogant bearing,
especially exhibited towards the queen and her family, with whom the
regent was at bitter feud. To compass their destruction was then his
first care, and he openly declared to the mutinous palace guard that
their grievances would not be redressed until they had compassed the
queen's death. He even suggested to them how they were to set about
it--nay, even offered to aid them. On a certain night during last July,
and according to previous arrangement, the soldiers repaired to the
palace, shouting "the queen, death to the queen." That innocent lady,
turning to her unnatural father-in-law, asked what the shouting meant
and what the people wanted of her? and he, pretending to advise her for
her good, told her that rather than live to be outraged by the soldiers
it was better she should die by her own hand, at the same time placing a
cup of poison before her, which she in her extremity actually drank,
sharing it with her son's wife, a girl only eleven years old. The king
was compelled to seek safety in flight, and according to last accounts
is still in hiding.

The regent, now left master of the situation, next turned the people
against the Japanese embassy, of whom there were twenty-eight in all.
The subsequent adventures of this little band of brave men reads more
like a page of a romance than a fact of to-day's occurrence. After
fighting their way through immense odds--crossing rivers in open boats
amidst flights of stones and arrows--lying down to rest, to find
themselves, on awaking, surrounded by a revengeful and infuriated
people--they at length reached the shore to find no junk or vessel of
sufficient size to convey them across the narrow sea to their own
country. Driven to face their enemies on the very verge of the ocean,
they eventually succeeded in retreating to some small boats--in which,
wounded and bleeding, but all alive, they confided themselves to the
sea, as being more merciful than their relentless and cruel foe. All
this, I say, savours of the romantic. Fortunately for the poor worn-out
voyagers help was at hand, for soon H.M.S. "Flying Fish" hove in sight,
on board which they were kindly received, and brought to Nagasaki.

These stirring events have actually occurred whilst we have been lying
quietly at anchor, in Gen San and Chosan. Under such a state of affairs,
who shall predict the fate of Admiral Willes' treaty?

I trust I may be pardoned for being thus prolix; but surely, we who are
actually on the scene of events ought not to be more ignorant of what is
going on in our immediate neighbourhood than our friends who are so many
thousands of miles removed from it.

I cannot say much of the Coreans, for, in the first place, the usual
sources of information are almost silent on the subject, there being
about only one reliable English work on Corea; and secondly we have no
means, had we the desire, to study this people, who are so jealous of
their women that they wont allow you to approach within a mile of their
dwellings. On one occasion I remember I sought, for the purposes of this
present narrative, to set aside this prohibition, and feigning ignorance
of it I penetrated to the outskirts of a village, when half-a-dozen big
fellows rushing up to me, and gesticulating, I thought it advisable to
"boom off." However, I saw what I had ventured thus far to see,
notwithstanding--one of their women; but I am afraid an ugly specimen of
the sex. So far does this feeling prevail that they would not permit
even our admiral's lady to satisfy a woman's curiosity about women;
though the chief of the village did condescend to allow her to sit
beside him on his mat, and even went so far as to offer her a _smoke of
his pipe_.

One of the accounts of their origin is peculiar. A certain beautiful
goddess once descended from the celestial regions and sojourned in
Corea. But it would appear that she left her hat behind, for shortly
after arrival she received a sun-stroke, which caused her to lay an egg
of abnormal size, out of which there stepped--minerva-like--a full blown
Corean of gigantic stature. This young fellow, in one of his incursions
into the mountains, one day returned to his mamma with a beautiful
white-skinned maid whom he had picked up in a fairy bower. His mother
was not at all pleased--so the story goes--with this maid of earth, and
made it so hot for her that in a fit of rage the son, whom she had
hatched with such tender solicitude, slew her. Remorseful at the deed,
he swore that henceforth a similar misfortune should never again occur
to any man; hence the seclusion of the women. I need scarcely add that
from this stalwart first Corean and his pale bride all the present race
is descended.

The mandarin at Gen San came on board, attended with great
ceremony--flags, banners, pennons, soldiers, and trumpeters, in boat
loads; the latter gentlemen being furnished with brass instruments, such
as angels are usually depicted with, but which can be made to shut up
like a telescope to vary the music. The men are certainly a fine
race--tall and upright as an arrow, and rather intelligent looking than
otherwise. They wear long coarsely-fabricated, white cotton garments,
split up behind, in front and on the hips--all tails in fact; but the
great national peculiarity seems to be the hats, some made of bamboo,
others of horse hair, of very delicate net or gauze work, and shaped
like a reversed flower pot with a rim attached. Its purpose cannot be to
keep the head warm, to protect it from the rain, or to answer any other
purpose to which a hat may be applied: for instance you could not get a
drink of water by means of it, nor would it serve as a pillow. The
ordinary color of these hats is black, but in consequence of the queen's
demise they now don a white one--white being, as in China, the symbol of
mourning. Some who cannot afford, or have not the inclination, to
purchase a white one, paste a patch of white paper over the crown of the
black one which answers the purpose just as well.

They betray a weakness for rum, and a knowledge of the vessels in which
it is usually issued on board a man-of-war, scarcely credited of a
people who have so few means of acquiring such familiarity. But so it
is, and if noses can be accepted as indices of truth in such matters,
something stronger than water has been used in tinting them.

The soldiers of the party presented the appearance of guys, rather than
men of "fight." What do you say to a mixed uniform of pink and light
blue glazed calico, over dingy under-garments of impossible analysis,
and a mushroom hat of the coarsest felt, with the distinguishing red
horse hair attached to the crown; wooden shot and powder pouches of the
roughest and rudest make slung across the shoulders by a piece of thin
cord? And such shot! irregular pellets of raw iron and lead, of which
all I can say is that dying by such help would be far from an æsthetic
operation. And yet these same soldiers, as a mere pastime, are employed
in a service which requires no mean bravery. When not fighting the
two-legged enemies of their country, they are engaged waging war against
the four-legged ones, their land being infested with tigers of great
size and strength.

In the evening the local mandarin sent a present of fruits, fowls, eggs,
vegetables, and a pig, to the admiral. "Dennis," however, made a
terrible fuss at the prospect of being converted into a toothsome dish
for the sailors, and sent up such a squeal, in choicest
pig-Corean--piercing, prolonged, torturing--that the band was compelled
to cease, in the midst of the most pathetic part of "_La Traviata_," out
of respect of his superior music.

As the ladies of this country are for ever immured within the four mud
walls of their houses, the men have usurped a right generally conceded
to females, namely, that of indicating by some sign their state in
life--married or single. The married men do their hair up in a knot at
the top of the head; those who have not yet seen the girl they like
better than themselves wear theirs in a loose trace behind; whilst some
others who have successfully passed through both states, and are quite
willing to try it again--for marriage amongst them is honorable and
universal, as in China--indicate this desire by donning a sort of skull
cap. I thought it not a little curious that the men, and not the women,
should take the initiative in this matter. Men, in general, after having
committed a mistake, don't like to admit it.

After Gen-San we moved a little further south to Chosan, where, scarce
had we anchored, when the arrival of a small steamer threw the whole
squadron into violent commotion. She had been chartered either by Sir
Thomas Wade or Sir Harry Parkes expressly to convey despatches to the
admiral--what the subject was none of us could even guess, though it
subsequently leaked out that a disturbance of some sort had broken out
at Foo-Choo. The "Zephyr" was at once signalled to raise steam; and all
the admiral's staff were warned to hold themselves in readiness to turn
over to the "Vigilant" on the following day. Next morning the admiral
sailed, preceded by the "Cleopatra" by a few hours, and followed by the

September 12th.--We are now at Port Hamilton, and drawing towards the
end of our cruise. The "Vigilant" came in this morning with Mrs. Willes
on board to witness the regatta got up for the squadron. It was a
success in every way--especially so to the crew of our first cutter; in
fact a more than average share of prizes fell to "Jumbo." I quote the
flag borne by our boats (arms, an elephant passant-argent; motto,
"Jumbo"). The sailing races were to have come off the following day, but
at daybreak it was blowing so hard, and the barometer falling so
rapidly, that a second anchor had to be dropped. On the gale increasing
cable was veered; and it went on increasing until a third anchor was let

The third day came in fine, with a breeze all that could be desired. To
prevent loss of time, and to simplify matters, all the boats, of no
matter what race, started at once. It was a pretty sight to witness this
mosquito fleet clapping on sail after sail--balloons, outriggers,
skyjibs, and other extraordinary bits of duck. Our second cutter--under
the joint control of the commander and Mr. Alexander, midshipman--went
around in splendid style, the manoeuvring of Mr. Alexander being beyond
all praise. She came in first, and carried off the admiral's cup. The
whaler was managed equally well by Mr. Patey, and came in an excellent

This regatta brought the cruise practically to an end, though each ship
has to repair to Chefoo for provisions, independently of the other.

On the passage we ran against something dirty, which succeeded in
whipping our main-topsail clean off the yard, and left it dangling by
the starboard sheet, at the lower yard-arm; and as misfortunes don't
happen singly, the jib made most energetic and partially successful
efforts to hang up beside it. It did not reach quite so far aft as that,
but it did manage to coil itself around the fore yard arm. Such a
terrific squall we have never encountered before. And such lightning and
rain! who ever saw the like?

But joyful news was awaiting us at Chefoo. Mr. Robinson, in fulfilment
of a promise he made on leaving us at Nagasaki, telegraphed the welcome,
long-expected intelligence that the "Audacious" commissioned on the 5th

And now, dear shipmates, I must leave you, and I do so at once
regretfully and joyfully; regretfully, that I have to bid farewell to
what has given me not a little pleasure to write; joyfully, that I
have--as I would fain hope--been enabled to bring my narrative to a
successful termination. If any of you are disappointed that I have not
pursued it further, think how necessary it was that my manuscript should
be in the printer's hands as speedily as possible. I thought no more
opportune ending could have offered itself to me than the telegram
before quoted.

If "In Eastern Seas" shall have in the slightest degree contributed one
pleasure to you or your friends, or shall be the humble instrument of
calling to your mind some pleasant memories of the commission, I shall
indeed feel amply rewarded for any little trouble I may have been put to
in helping you to such pleasure or to such memories.

We have seen many lands together, many and strange peoples, much that is
delightful beyond description in this, our beautiful world; but, after
all, one feels his soul filled with enthusiasm at the thought that he is
an Englishman, though he may be but a sailor. Persons at home scarcely
realise what an inheritance that is.

In conclusion, may we all find happy homes; happy mothers, wives,
sisters, and sweethearts, all the more willing to treasure us because we
have been loyal to them for such a long, long time. I don't drink--as
you know--but I don't mind cracking a bottle of lemonade to the future
success in life, and happiness of all my late, much-respected,
shipmates. God bless them all.


Deaths During the Commission.

                  Rank or     Date of     Place of       Cause of
  NAMES.          Rating.      Death.      Death.         Death.

  John Bayley    Pte. R.M.   Sept. 13th   Red Sea      Heat Apoplexy

  Mr. Easton     Gunner        "   14th      "             "

  Mr. Scoble     Engineer      "   17th      "             "

  E. Dewdney     Boy         Oct   18th   Singapore        "

  Richd. Darcy   Ord.        March 10th   Hong Kong    Fall from Aloft

  Hy. Harper     Bandsman    May   10th   Shanghai     Decline

  Fredk. Smyth   Stoker      July   3rd   Yokohama     Drowning

  Ch. Allen      Ord.        Dec.  11th   Amoy             "

  John Irish     A.B.        Oct.  26th   At Sea           "

  Wm. Edwards    2d. C.M.T.  April 15th   Hong Kong    General Debility

  Wm. Edwards    Boy         June  24th   Chefoo       Fall from Aloft

  Wm. McGill     Ord.        Aug.  12th   Vladivostock     "

  John Higgins   Pte. R.M.   Novr.  6th   Wosung       Choleraic

  Wm. Young      A.B.          "    8th      "             "

  Wm. Drew[A]    A.B.            ?        Hong Kong    Ruptured

  [Note A: Discharged to hospital, and died during our cruise to the
  north. Date of death not procurable in ship's office.]


Table showing places visited and actual distance run, in miles,
by H.M.S. "Iron Duke" during commission.

    Date                                            Date       Actual
     of                                              of       Distance
  Departure.    From                To             Arrival.     run.
  July   25    Plymouth          Portsmouth        July   26    139

  August  1    Portsmouth        Plymouth          August  2    150

    "     4    Plymouth          Gibraltar           "    11   1022

    "    15    Gibraltar         Malta               "    22    931

    "    25    Malta             Port Said         Septr.  1    865

  Septr.  2    Port Said         Suez                "     4     86

    "     7    Suez              Aden                "    17   1144

    "    21    Aden              Point de Galle    Octr.   4   1950

  Octr.   8    Point de Galle    Singapore           "    18   1434

  Novr.  18    Singapore         Malacca           Novr.  19    100

    "    19    Malacca           Din Ding            "    21    164

    "    21    Din Ding          Penang              "    22    102

    "    28    Penang            Din Ding            "    29    112

    "    30    Din Ding          Singapore         Decr.   2    271

  Decr.   5    Singapore         Sarawak             "     8    368

    "     9    Sarawak           Labuan              "    12    325

    "    14    Labuan            Manilla             "    19    724

    "    24    Manilla           Manilla             "    28    511

    "    31    Manilla           Hong Kong         Jany.   4    640


  March  11    Hong Kong         Chino Bay         March  12    101

    "    14    Chino Bay         Hong Kong           "    15    101

  April  21    Hong Kong         Merz Bay          April  21     61

    "    22    Merz Bay          Amoy                "    24    262

    "    26    Amoy              White Dogs          "    27    152

    "    28    White Dogs        Chusan              "    30    283

  May     5    Chusan            Wosung            May     7    111

    "    23    Wosung            Nagasaki            "    25    388

  June   11    Nagasaki          Takasima          June   12    230

    "    13    Takasima          Sojasima            "    13     96

    "    14    Sojasima          Kobé                "    14     39

    "    17    Kobé              Yokohama            "    19    319

  July   24    Yokohama          Yamada            July   25    231

    "    26    Yamada            Awomori             "    27    200

    "    28    Awomori           Hakodadi            "    29     53

  August  9    Hakodaté          Dui               Augst  15    597

    "    16    Dui               Castries Bay        "    17     51

    "    19    Castries Bay      Barracouta Hr.      "    20    132

    "    23    Barracouta Hr.    Olga Bay            "    26    380

    "    26    Olga Bay          Askold Is.          "    27    146

    "    28    Askold Is.        Vladivostock        "    28     32

    "    31    Vladivostock      Nagasaki          Septr.  4    666

  Septr.  7    Nagasaki          Chefoo              "    12    580

  Octr.  18    Chefoo            Takasima          Octr.  23    662

    "    24    Takasima          Sojasima            "    24     94

    "    25    Sojasima          Kobé                "    25     48

  Novr.   5    Kobé              Yokohama          Novr.   6    346

    "    24    Yokohama          Matson Is.        Decr.   3   1311

  Decr.   3    Matson            Amoy                "     4    185

    "    12    Amoy              Hope Bay            "    13    132

    "    14    Hope Bay          Hong Kong           "    15    146

               At Hong Kong      Target Practice                147


  April   5    Hong Kong         Tong Sha          April   9    423

    "    15    Tong Sha          Chefoo              "    21    844

  May    11    Chefoo            Nagasaki          May    15    581

    "    29    Nagasaki          Yobuko              "    29     88

    "    31    Yobuko            Himesima            "    31    109

  June    1    Himesima          Obe-hito-ura      June    1     60

    "     2    Obe-hito-ura      Sojasima            "     2     89

    "     3    Sojasima          Kobé                "     3     45

    "     9    Kobé              Yokohama            "    12    364

  July    8    Yokohama          Kamaishi          July   10    339

    "    10    Kamaishi          Endermo             "    12    240

    "    17    Endermo           Hakodadi            "    17     68

    "    29    Hakodadi          O'Kosiri island     "    30     94

  August  3    Okisiri Island    Hakodadi          August  3     80

    "     6    Hakodadi          Nagasaki            "    10    830

    "    11    Nagasaki          Amoy                "    16    922

    "    17    Amoy              Hong Kong           "    18    295

  Septr. 25    Hong Kong         Amoy              Septr. 27    349

    "    28    Amoy              Nagasaki          Octr.   5    896

  Octr.  16    Nagasaki          Sojasima            "    18    369

    "    19    Sojasima          Kobé                "    19     51

    "    23    Kobé              Sojasima            "    23     68

    "    24    Sojasima          Nagasaki            "    26    312

  Decr    2    Nagasaki          Rugged Isles      Decr.   5    440

    "    10    Rugged Isles      Pirates' Bay        "    10     10

    "    11    Pirates' Bay      Amoy                "    14    495

    "    15    Amoy              Hong Kong           "    17    258


  Feby.  16    Hong Kong         Singapore         Feby.  24   1415

  March   3    Singapore         Malacca           March   4    106

    "     4    Malacca           Din Ding            "     6    170

    "     6    Din Ding          Penang              "     7     97

    "     8    Penang            Singapore           "    11    412

    "    13    Singapore         Cape St. James      "    17    658

    "    18    Cape St. James    Saigon              "    18     38

    "    19    Saigon            Hong Kong           "    25   1067

  April  21    Hong Kong         Chino Bay         April  22    148

    "    25    Chino Bay         Tungao Bay          "    25     33

    "    26    Tungao Bay        Namoa Is.           "    26     55

    "    30    Namoa Is.         Rees Is.            "    30     40

  May     1    Rees Is.          Amoy              May     1     57

    "     7    Amoy              Lamyet Is.          "     8    117

    "    13    Lamyet Is.        White Dogs          "    13     64

    "    14    White Dogs        Matson              "    14     18

    "    19    Matson            Chefoo            June    6   1269

  July    3    Chefoo            Wosung            July    6    467

    "    10    Wosung            Nagasaki            "    14    426

    "    28    Nagasaki          Tsusima             "    29    127

    "    31    Tsusima           Posiette Bay      August  7    606

  Augst. 11    Posiette Bay      Vladivostock        "    12     78

    "    19    Vladivostock      Olga Bay            "    22    190

    "    29    Olga Bay          St. Vladimir Bay    "    30     24

  Septr.  3    St. Vladimir Bay  Hakodadi          Septr.  7    373

    "    15    Hakodadi[A]       Yamada              "    17    239

    "    18    Yamada            Sendai Bay          "    19    104

    "    20    Sendai Bay        Yokosuka            "    22    274

    "    24    Yokosuka          Yokohama            "    24     13

  Octr.   2    Yokohama          Kobé              Octr.   4    372

    "     5    Kobé              Sojasima            "     5     42

    "     6    Sojasima          Gogosima            "     6     92

    "     7    Gogosima          Himesima            "     7     51

    "     8    Himesima          Nagasaki            "     9    210

    "    26    Nagasaki          Wosung              "    29    448

  Novr.  23    Wosung            Hong Kong         Novr.  29    804

  [Note A: Touched at Kamaishi _en route_.]


  Feby.  11    Hong Kong         Titam Bay         Feby.  11     22

    "    13    Titam Bay         Titam Bay           "    13      6

    "    14    Titam Bay         Bogue Forts         "    14     60

    "    27    Bogue Forts       Hong Kong           "    27     61

  April  19    Hong Kong         Osima, Loo Choo   May     3   1193

  May    11    Osima, Loo Choo   Nagasaki            "    16    416

    "    27    Nagasaki          Kobé              June    3    532

  June   10    Kobé              Kaneda Bay          "    14    368

    "    15    Kaneda Bay        Yokohama            "    15     21

  July    2    Yokohama          Hakodadi          July    9    665

    "    12    Hakodadi          Castries Bay        "    22    636

    "    27    Castries Bay      Dui                 "    28     54

    "    30    Dui               Barracouta          "    31    131

  August  4    Barracouta        Vladivostock      Augst  13    480

    "    19    Vladivostock      Gen San[B]          "    24    393

    "    30    Gen San           Fusan[C]          Septr.  3    288

  Septr.  7    Fusan             Port Hamilton       "     8    134

    "    15    Port Hamilton     Chefoo              "    19    429

  Octr.   4    Chefoo            Wosung            Octr.   8    482

    "    20    Wosung            Nagasaki                       388

        [D]    Nagasaki          Hong Kong                     1217

  Decr.   7    Hong Kong         Singapore                     1415

    "    20    Singapore         Point de Galle
                                 or Trincomalee                1434


        [D]    Point de Galle    Aden              Jany.  15   1950

  Jany.  17    Aden              Suez                          1114

        [D]    Suez              Port Said           "    27     86

    "    28    Port Said         Malta             Feby.   4    865

  Feby.   7    Malta             Gibraltar                      931

        [D]    Gibraltar         Plymouth                      1022

Total number of miles made during the commission, 55,566; or a distance
equal to 2-1/4 times around the earth.

  [Note B: Port Lazaref.]

  [Note C: Cho-San.]

  [Note D: The writer assumes that these places will be visited
  on the voyage home; and--as will be seen by referring to the
  earlier part of the table--we have touched at the same places
  before, the same distances are quoted. The dates necessary to
  make the form complete it is hoped the reader will be able to



Every effort has been made to keep to the original text as much as
possible. Non-standard spelling and grammar have been mostly preserved.
Changes have only been made in the case of obvious typographical
errors, and where not making a correction would leave the text
confusing or difficult to read. There is a fair amount of inconsistency
in the author's transliteration of foreign words, especially in place
and person names. Such inconsistency has been mostly preserved but in
some cases names have been made more recognizable or the spelling has
been standardized so that it is easier for the reader to follow the
author's narrative. All changes are documented below.

Inconsistencies in the hyphenation of words preserved. (ahead, a-head;
bluejackets, blue-jackets; cocoanut, cocoa-nut; eyebrows, eye-brows;
Gen San, Gen-San; ironclad, iron-clad; Loo Choo, Loo Choo; outlined,
out-lined; ricksha, rich-sha; seaboard, sea-board; semicircle,
semi-circle; sundown, sun-down; stokehole, stoke-hole; Tientsin,
Tien-tsin; Tsusima, Tsu-sima; topgallant, top-gallant; Yangtsze,

The author's inconsistent style of making a diary entry has been
preserved. In some cases, a date is followed by a period and emdash and
then the entry proper. In others, there is a date, no period and an
emdash. In yet others, the date is followed by a comma and then the
entry proper.

Pg. 7, word "smart'", in the original there was a lefthand or opening
single quote mark just after the letter "t" and the whole word
including the single quote mark was enclosed in double quote marks. The
opening single quote mark is more plausibly a comma which printer has
placed upside down. Changed to comma. (we are told he is "smart,"
meaning, of course, that)

Pg. 8, "fete" grave accent changed to circumflex, matching spelling on
page 289. (a sort of fête was made of it)

Pg. 10, period after "aft" changed to comma, which is more appropriate
in the context. (two forward and two aft, that they may be discharged)

Pg. 20, "aud" changed to "and". (beer and stout, and something)

Pg. 21, duplicated word "are" removed (we are invited to insert our

Pg. 28, "Pontellaria" changed to "Pantellaria", to match spelling later
in the same paragraph. (for Pantellaria--an island of more interest)

Pg. 30, "criental". The word "oriental" might possibly have been
intended, however, the original text is preserved. (criental love for

Pg. 31, "ubiquitious May" changed to "ubiquitous Mary". The phrase
"ubiquitous Mary" seems more appropriate in context, changed
accordingly. (who does not know Mary the ubiquitous Mary)

Pg. 50, "laterel" changed to "lateral". (by dint of a little lateral

Pg. 54, "Simatra" changed to "Sumatra". (off Acheen head, in Sumatra)

Pg. 56, "liries" changed to "lories", seems more appropriate in
context. (doves, pigeons, lories, and humming birds)

Pg. 61, "to the Hindoo god Brahin". Unclear what author's intended to
refer to: "Brahmin", "Brahma" are among several possibilities. The
author's original text is preserved.

Pg. 61, "becomiug" changed to "becoming". (becoming a fixture by
planting his feet)

Pg. 64, "Lebaun" changed to "Labuan", to match spelling elsewhere in
the text. (Coaling is a long process at Labuan)

Pg. 72, "Rowloon" changed to "Kowloon". (the peninsula of Kowloon)

Pg. 72, "wont". Throughout the text, when "wont" is used as a
contraction for "will not" or "would not" the author did not insert
an apostrophe. This original style is preserved in all instances. In
other contexts the author also uses "wont" to mean "habitually".

Pg. 74, "Cirea" changed to "Corea", matching the spelling elsewhere in
the text for the country now more commonly called "Korea". (beyond it
in Japan, Corea, and)

Pg. 75, "Cirea" changed to "Corea", matching the spelling elsewhere in
the text for the country now more commonly called "Korea". (after the
style of the people of Corea)

Pg. 85, "blatent" changed to "blatant". (and other blatant
pyrotechnical compositions)

Pg. 85, "univeral" changed to "universal". (there is but one universal
fashion of garment)

Pg. 91, "as" changed to "at", which seems more appropriate in
context. (arsenal was built at Foo-Choo)

Pg. 92, ship name "Eyera". Author was possibly referring to "Egeria",
an English warship which is also mentioned elsewhere in the text.
Original spelling preserved.

Pg. 92, ship name "Monocasy". Author was most likely referring to the
USS Monocacy but the author's original spelling is preserved as it is a
plausible rendering of an unfamiliar name as he heard it.

Pg. 94, a closing double quote mark is presumed after the word
"delight" and has been inserted. ("unqualified expressions of

Pg. 96, "Yeso" also spelled "Yesso" and "Yezo" elsewhere in the text.
The original text is preserved in all instances.

Pg. 97, "panace" changed to "panacea", seems more appropriate and
easily understood in the context. (was the panacea he sought)

Pg. 98, "Sintor", elsewhere, also "Sintoo". This refers to the Japanese
religion now more commonly spelled "Shinto". However, the author's
original spelling is preserved as they are plausible transliterations
of the foreign words as heard by an English seaman with no knowledge of

Pg. 98, "Kivto" changed to "Kioto", matching spelling elsewhere in the
text. This refers to the Japanese city now more commonly spelled
"Kyoto". (to the holy city, Kioto, where)

Pg. 108, "by putting on, in addition their long gown" would read more
smoothly as "by putting on, in addition to their long gown". The word
"to" has been added. (by putting on, in addition to their long gown, a
European hat)

Pg. 110, "coure" changed to "course". (only of course on a much more

Pg. 119, "shades" changed to "shade", seems more appropriate in
context. (effect of light and shade playing)

Pg. 119, "Fusi-yama" refers to the mountain now more commonly spelled
Fujiyama. The author's original spelling is preserved as it is a
plausible rendering of an unfamiliar word as he heard it.

Pg. 119, comma after "days" changed to period, seems more appropriate
in context. (of a few days. Few sights are likely)

Pg. 120, "usuage" changed to "usage". (the common usage of maritime

Pg. 121, "part" changed to "port", seems more appropriate in context.
(chief naval and foreign trading port of Japan)

Pg. 129, "nationalites" changed to "nationalities", seems more
appropriate in context. (The two nationalities I have mentioned seem)

Pg. 136, "Saghalien" is also spelled "Sagalien" on page 168. Original
text preserved in both instances.

Pg. 150, "infer" changed to "refer", seems more appropriate in context.
(I refer, of course, to that bird which)

Pg. 159, "unusal" changed to "unusual". (such heavy and unusual

Pg. 161, "billets deux" changed to "billets doux", seems
more appropriate in context. (six or eight _billets doux_.)

Pg. 162, "bumbed". The author might possibly have intended "bumped" but
unclear, so original text preserved. (From the manner in which the
cable "surged" and bumbed)

Pg. 162, "their was still" changed to "there was still", seems more
appropriate in context. (and as there was still a big lump of a sea on)

Pg. 163, "Golo islands". Author was probably referring to the "Goto
islands". However the author's original spelling is preserved as it is
a plausible transliteration of an unfamiliar word as he heard it.

Pg. 166, comma changed to period at end of sentence. (their sex. Can it
be that this is)

Pg. 168, "daïmios". This is also spelled "daimio" without diaeresis
above the "i" elsewhere in the text. The original spellings have been
preserved in all instances.

Pg. 173, "unusal" changed to "unusual". (presence of an unusual number
of jelly-fish)

Pg. 175, "Liminoseki" likely to be "Simonoseki", as mentioned on page
99 and also as "Simoneski" on pages 113 and 153, both plausible
transliterations. The author was most likely referring to the place now
more commonly spelled "Shimonoseki". Changed to "Simonoseki". (we had
cleared the strait of Simonoseki, we fell in with)

Pg. 176, "legecy" changed to "legacy". (come into a legacy from some of

Pg. 178 and 179, ship name "Thèmis" is more correctly spelled "Thémis"
and "Themis". The original spelling is preserved in all instances as
all are plausible renderings on the part of the author and there is no
ambiguity in reference.

Pg. 183, original text "January 28th" probably ought to read "February
28th" in order to conform to the chronological sequence. Changed
accordingly. (February 28th.--So quietly, that the)

Pg. 185, "populaton" changed to "population". (The native population is

Pg. 188, "gulf of Ne-chili" changed to "gulf of Pe-chili". (for
evolutions in the gulf of Pe-chili)

Pg. 192, "slighest" changed to "slightest". (does not lessen her chance
of coming in first in the slightest)

Pg. 192, period changed to comma after "sail". (At the moment of
shortening sail, our lame duck)

Pg. 195, place name "Yokusuka" also spelled "Yokosuka" elsewhere in the
text. Both are plausible transliterations and so the original is
preserved in all cases.

Pg. 196, "pupose" changed to "purpose". (for the purpose of making the

Pg. 204, missing period at sentence end, added. (in this neighbourhood.
Dozens of these)

Pg. 211, "recalcitant" changed to "recalcitrant". (proved themselves so
reckless and recalcitrant)

Pg. 217, missing period at sentence end, added. (set them at their
ease. They were all)

Pg. 225, ship name "Vittor Pinani" is more correctly spelled "Vittor
Pisani" on page 143. The author's original spelling is preserved as it
is a plausible rendering of an unfamiliar name as he heard it and there
is little ambiguity. Also closing double quote mark added after
"Pinani". (the "Vittor Pinani," for Italy, in 1880)

Pg. 225, ship name "Ticonderego" is more correctly spelled
"Ticonderoga". However, the author's original spelling is preserved as
it is a plausible rendering of an unfamiliar name as he heard it and
there is little ambiguity.

Itinerary, entry for 1879, August 9, point of departure "Hakodaté".
This should probably read "Hakodadi", a spelling which is used in the
entry just above and also, consistently, elsewhere in the text
(although the place name is in fact more commonly spelled Hakodate
today). The difference in spelling between the names in the two
adjacent itinerary entries is rather easy to spot, and so the
inconsistency is puzzling. To allow for the possibility that the author
might well have spotted the inconsistency and chose, for whatever
reason, to let it remain, the original text is preserved.

Itinerary, entry for 1880, August 3, point of departure, "Okisiri
Island". This should probably read "O'Kosiri Island", a spelling used
in the entry just above and elsewhere in the text, being a place of
some importance in the narrative. However the original spelling is
preserved for the same reasons as for "Hakodaté" above.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "In Eastern Seas - Or, the Commission of H.M.S. 'Iron Duke,' flag-ship in China, 1878-83" ***

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