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Title: An English Girl in Japan
Author: Bennett, Ella M. Hart
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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                        AN ENGLISH GIRL IN JAPAN

[Illustration:                             (_Page_ 24.
A LITTLE NASAN APPEARED.
]

                            AN ENGLISH GIRL
                                IN JAPAN

                                   BY
                          ELLA M. HART BENNETT



                            _SECOND EDITION_



                          =Illustrated=



                                 LONDON
                   WELLS GARDNER, DARTON & CO., LTD.
                     3, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.C.

[Illustration]

                       _First Edition, May, 1904_
                      _Second Edition, June, 1906_



                                   TO

                             MY FRIEND MARY

                               A SOUVENIR

                         OF MANY PLEASANT DAYS

             ‘Though wide the ocean now dividing us,
             Ne’er let its waters separate our souls.’
                                   (_Japanese quotation._)



                       PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION


The following sketches of life in Japan and the voyage there and back
are taken from a diary which I kept during my travels.

Since writing my little book of personal reminiscences, which, thanks to
indulgent readers and kind friends, is now republished in a second
edition, many and great changes have taken place in the Far East.

Japan has now become a great Power--not only in the East, but also in
the West. It is _little_ Japan no longer; or, rather, its greatness is
now understood and acknowledged by all the world. Western civilization
has taken a firm hold on the Japanese people. They have been rapidly
adopting, and, in fact, improving on, Western methods, customs, and
manners. The fear of the globe-trotter of to-day is whether he will be
in time to see the Japan of his dreams and of romance, before this great
Western wave of progress and reform has divested the Land of the Rising
Sun of its quaint originality and fascinating charm.

                                                                E. H. B.

1906.



                        PREFACE TO FIRST EDITION


The following sketches of life in Japan and the voyage there and back
are taken from a diary which I kept during my travels.

As Japan and its wonderful little people have come so much before the
world during the last few years, and especially at this time are one of
the chief factors in the crisis in the Far East, I thought that these
reminiscences and anecdotes taken from real life might be of interest.

I am indebted to the editors of the _Cornhill_, _Sketch_, _Sunday_, and
the _Buenos Aires Standard_ for the reproduction of some of the
following sketches.

                                                      ELLA HART BENNETT.

1904.



                                CONTENTS

                                CHAPTER I
                               ON THE WAY

                                                                    PAGE
 I start on my travels--A fair Theosophist--Life on an              1–12
   American liner--Arrival at New York--Delmonico’s---The
   Hotel Waldorf--Niagara Falls--Across the Lakes--The
   prairies--A quiet Sunday

                               CHAPTER II
                             IN THE ROCKIES

 First sight of the Rockies--Stay at Banff--Indians and            13–22
   salmon--Arrival at Vancouver--The _Empress of
   India_--Chinese passengers--The missing day--A
   court-martial--First sight of Japan

                               CHAPTER III
                           EARLY DAYS IN JAPAN

 A new friend--A Japanese dinner--Japanese temples--An             23–32
   earthquake--A fire in Yokohama

                               CHAPTER IV
                          A JAPANESE HARROGATE

 A trip to the Japanese Harrogate--A curious travelling            33–50
   companion--A Japanese inn--A mountain ride--At the sulphur
   springs--A sulphur bath--A night in a tea-house--Sad news

                                CHAPTER V
                        AN IMPERIAL GARDEN-PARTY

 Silk dresses and frock-coats--A disappointed Colonel--The         51–65
   Royal procession--The chrysanthemums--I am presented--A
   Japanese play--Japanese royal sport--The Mikado and his
   subjects

                               CHAPTER VI
                             JAPANESE LADIES

 Their habits and ways--Home life--The Honourable Bath--Count      66–82
   Ito and his wife--Old Japan--Loyalty to husbands--A mixed
   marriage--Curious customs--Japanese sayings

                               CHAPTER VII
                            JAPANESE CHILDREN

 Boys and girls--Games--The Feast of Dolls--School life--The       83–97
   ‘Hina Matsuri’--The Feast of the Carp--The ‘Bon Matsuri,’
   the festival for dead children

                              CHAPTER VIII
                            SERVANTS IN JAPAN

 Their politeness--Frequency of their baths--Always ready for     98–108
   a nap--Mrs. Peter Potts

                               CHAPTER IX
                      SOME FESTIVALS AND A FUNERAL

 The Imperial Silver Wedding--Parade of the troops--The          109–123
   wedding feast--The Chinese ball in Tokio--A gay
   assembly--A Royal funeral--Strange customs

                                CHAPTER X
                             CHANG, MY CHOW

 His first appearance--Adventures and mishaps--Companions in     124–140
   the Hospital--Chang goes to church--Facing the enemy

                               CHAPTER XI
                       FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CHANG

 The tale of a tub--Sayonara--Board-ship acquaintance--Queer     141–163
   company

                               CHAPTER XII
                            PAUL AND VIRGINIA

 Life on a tea-estate--My animal friends--Two brown              164–176
   bears--Brutus, the monkey--Always in mischief--The
   Brazilian macaw



                         LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                   PAGE
 A little Nasan appeared                      _Frontispiece_
 In the Heart of the Rockies                                         15
 ‘Tum adain soone! sayonara!’                                        26
 One of the Shinto Temples                                           27
 The Great Bronze Buddha                                             28
 We start for Kodzu                                                  35
 Idaka, the Guide                                                    39
 Prepared for the Night                                              47
 Our Invitation-cards were very large and thick                      53
 The Gardens are very beautiful                                      57
 Quaint Signboards in some of the Streets, Tokio: Butcher’s,         63
   Umbrella Shop
 Quaint Signboards in some of the Streets, Tokio: Poultry            64
   and Egg Shop, Japanese Tailor
 ‘Many are distinctly pretty when young’                             68
 A Japanese Lady of the Upper Class                                  69
 A Tea-house Veranda                                                 72
 ‘How picturesque they looked!’                                      84
 Japanese Children                                                   87
 Japanese Servants                                                   99
 That Delightful Hotel in the Hills                                 102
 Three Friends                                                      125
 The Garden of the Little Tea-house                                 129
 The Kind Old ‘Isha-san’                                            133
 The Little House in the Forest                                     137
 Chang’s First Appearance                                           140
 Yum-Yum and Dodo                                                   141
 The Monastery in the Rock                                          143
 Mystical ‘Fuji-Yama’                                               151
 The Lotus Flower of Japan                                          154
 Arara                                                              173
                       Initials, Tailpieces, etc.

[Illustration]



                        An English Girl in Japan



                               CHAPTER I
                               ON THE WAY

I start on my travels--A fair Theosophist--Life on an American
    liner--Arrival at New York--Delmonico’s--The Hotel Waldorf--Niagara
    Falls--Across the Lakes--The prairies--A quiet Sunday.


The visit to the Far East, where my father had business in Japan, was
taken when I was only eighteen. Being an only child, I had been his
constant companion since the death of my mother nine years previously. I
was never sent to school, and, after a succession of governesses, my
education was put into the hands of the old bachelor Rector of our
parish, whose ideas as to what a girl ought to know were somewhat
peculiar. However, in other ways I had more practical knowledge of life
than was usual for one of my age, as my father discussed subjects of all
kinds with me freely; and I grew up to take interest in topics of the
day, in animal life of all kinds, and in my garden, of which I was very
proud.

Until the last moment I feared something might occur to prevent our
going; and it seemed almost too good to be true to think I was actually
to see the country from where my father had brought so many beautiful
curios on his former visit, and which I had always heard spoken of as an
earthly paradise.

However, the day of departure came at last, and after many preparations
and tearful farewells from the two old servants, who were to keep house
for us during our absence, we started--two planet pilgrims bound for the
Land of the Rising Sun.

I have always disliked books of travel with dates describing the day and
hour when the writer did this or that, and giving minute descriptions of
food, climate, feelings, etc. I don’t think it is in the least amusing
to read that on Monday, the 26th, the heroine was seasick, and on the
30th, at 6 p.m., was able to enjoy roast mutton and pudding. Or that she
landed on such a day at such a place, and exactly how she spent each
hour. I have decided only to write about the events and experiences
which have most impressed me during my travels, and to describe as well
as I can the characteristics of the people that I came across.

We sailed from Southampton in the _Paris_, a huge American liner of
12,000 tons, more like a floating hotel than a ship. My first
impressions of life on board were not altogether enjoyable, as we
started in a gale, and I own to more than once wishing myself back again
in Old England. However, in a couple of days the weather calmed down,
and I soon recovered my sea-legs, and was able once again to enjoy life.

There were a good number of passengers of every description and
nationality on board--a theatrical company, Mr. Carnegie (the
millionaire), the late Dr. Barnardo, Mrs. Annie Besant, a foreign
Ambassador and a Colonial Governor, besides many other well-known
people. Mrs. Besant was accompanied by two Indian Mahatmas, who were the
objects of much interest. They spent the greater part of their time
together, reclining in long deck-chairs, with pillows behind their
heads, and covered up to their chins with thick rugs. Sometimes they lay
for hours, hand in hand, with closed eyes; at other times they talked
earnestly in low tones. One Indian was very short and fat, the other
long and thin, with snake-like movements and curious piercing eyes. They
had thick black hair down to their shoulders, little red caps with
tassels on their heads, and long, rusty black frock-coats and white
trousers--a truly remarkable pair. I overheard the fat one remark to
Mrs. Besant that before they could disintegrate and assume their astral
shapes it was necessary to abstain from food for twelve hours, when
their bodies would be in a fit state to soar. The fat little man must
evidently have made up for his abstinence at other times, judging from
his portly appearance. We were told that the trio were going to lecture
on Theosophy in Chicago, and, after some little persuasion, Mrs. Besant
consented to give a lecture on board. Over three hundred of the
passengers assembled in the saloon, and the fair Theosophist held us
fascinated for more than an hour. She spoke very quietly, but with
intense earnestness, in a rich, deep voice, with hardly a moment’s
pause. The subject was evolution, and the manner in which the soul
passes from one body to another, either getting higher and more
spiritual, or deteriorating and becoming more animal.

One of the audience got up and asked for the proofs of Buddhism being
superior to other religions, others followed suit, and the discussion
became somewhat heated, until the chairman, Mr. Carnegie, restored order
by saying that we were not at a debating society, but that Mrs. Besant
having been persuaded to speak for our pleasure and entertainment, he
thought the least we could do was to listen with respectful attention,
if not agreeing with the subject in question. (Loud applause.)

The remainder of the voyage passed in the usual way--sports,
tournaments, concerts, the daily lottery on the run--the prize number
being sometimes worth between thirty and forty pounds. Various other
amusements were arranged by enterprising passengers and officers of the
ship.

We were fortunate in arriving at New York up to time--in five days and a
half--as the week before the mails had been delayed by a severe cyclone,
from the effects of which New York was still suffering. On landing at
the Custom House the scene of confusion baffled description. We luckily
possessed a pass, so had not to open our trunks, but it seemed hours
before our thirty-five boxes and packages were collected together.
Meanwhile, I sat waiting on one of my boxes until my patience was quite
exhausted.

My father had engaged rooms at the Hotel Waldorf, where we found a most
charming suite had been reserved for us. Each set of rooms in the hotel
is furnished in a different style--one Indian, one Japanese, another
Egyptian, and a special honeymoon suite, all pink, blue, and Cupids.
This hotel--probably the most luxurious in the world--was built by Mr.
Astor, the millionaire, costing £400,000, and £200,000 to furnish. The
State-rooms, fitted up for the Prince of Wales, who never went there
after all, are magnificent. The walls are hung with Gobelin tapestry,
and all the dinner-service is of solid silver. I was particularly
fascinated with the winter garden, which resembles a huge conservatory,
with fountains, palms, and little tables dotted about. A string band
played there every evening, and I saw a number of smartly-dressed
American women and girls, as well as men, enjoying their favourite
American drinks. I was not content until I had sampled a ‘corpse
reviver,’ drinking it through a long straw, but I cannot say the result
was altogether satisfactory.

Everything about New York interested me immensely after the quiet
country life I had led at home. The crowds in the streets, the bustle,
the electric-cars and overhead railways, were at first bewildering. We
were given a box at the Opera Comique to see ‘Panjandrum,’ and there I
saw several American society beauties. The girls reminded me much of
Dana Gibson’s charming drawings. The men seemed insignificant in
comparison; but it is said they make ideal husbands, which is an
important consideration.

After the theatre we went to a ‘roof garden,’ going up by lift to the
top of a large building, and through a door on to the roof. This had
been converted into a Café Chantant--plants, chairs, a small stage, and
a restaurant, all lit up with little coloured lamps. It was very
amusing, and a delightful way of spending a hot evening, as, although
the end of September, the weather in New York was still sultry.

Before returning to the hotel, my father took me to Delmonico’s, the
famous New York restaurant, where we had an excellent supper, beginning
with hot, soft-shell crabs--a very favourite dish in America. They are
just like our crabs, but the shells are quite soft and crisp, and one
eats shell, legs, and all. Mrs. Besant and her two Mahatmas were sitting
at a table near us. They had evidently no immediate intention of
assuming their astral shapes, to judge by the number of dishes which
were placed before them and were carried away empty. A precocious little
American girl of about ten was having supper with her ‘poppa’ and
‘momma’ at the table next to us. Between the intervals of eating she
placed her elbows on the table, brandishing aloft her knife and fork,
and made comments on the people round in a loud, nasal voice. After some
especially indiscreet remark about the long, thin Indian, who turned and
looked at her with a melancholy gleam in his snake-like eye, ‘momma’
exclaimed in equally strident tones: ‘I guess, Jemima, you had better
keep your remarks to your own _in_side, and not make them public, or
you’ll get yourself _dis_liked--say?’ For a few moments Jemima remained
silent, but soon began again.

The next morning I was awakened to find a negro standing by my bedside
with a tray in his hands. He stood motionless in an attitude of
attention, his feet well turned out, a broad grin showing his white
teeth, apparently awaiting my commands. After receiving my orders, he
departed with another low bow, still smiling. Most of the house-work is
done in America by negroes, who are very quick and willing.

After three delightful but most fatiguing days in New York, spent in
sight-seeing, we left by the night train for Niagara. I shall never
forget my first impressions of those wonderful Falls, which even
exceeded my expectations, they are so indescribably beautiful and
impressive.

After lunch at the hotel where we were to stay the night, we walked to
various points on the American side, and at each the view seemed more
beautiful than the last. The Niagara River divides and forms three
islands. On one side are the American Falls; on the other, over a large
suspension-bridge, are the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. I persuaded my
father to take me down under the latter. We were first both arrayed in a
complete set of oilskins--coat, long boots, and pointed hood--and
presented most comical figures. A guide led the way, as the path in
places was very steep and slippery. At one spot the water poured down on
us like a shower-bath, and it required some strength of mind not to turn
back; but when we had once started we were determined to see all. We
came to a tunnel, lighted by lanterns, where the water dripped from the
roof and walls, forming deep puddles, through which we plunged; and I
was glad to find myself in the daylight again, safe and sound. The
sunshine on the water produced a rainbow at both Falls--a most beautiful
sight on the white foam.

Almost more impressive, if possible, than the Falls are the whirlpool
rapids, which we visited next morning--the place where Captain Webb was
drowned, and where only lately a foolhardy woman lost her life
attempting to cross in a cask. The cask reached its destination safely,
after some hours’ buffeting with the current, but when opened, the woman
was found dead.

I can only liken the scene to a tremendous storm on a rocky coast, as
the waves dashed over the rocks, throwing up foam and spray high into
the air, whilst the thunder of the water was deafening. The cliffs on
either side of the river were covered with grass and trees growing to
the water’s edge, calm and peaceful--a striking contrast to the Rapids
and their ceaseless tumult.

From Niagara we went by train and boat to Toronto. On our arrival at the
hotel we found five reporters sitting in the hall awaiting us, ready to
pounce on my father, who, being well known in the literary world, was
doomed to be victimized. In vain did my unfortunate parent remind them
it was past nine o’clock, that we had had no dinner, and having only
that evening made our first acquaintance with the delights of Canada, it
was impossible fully to do justice either to himself or the country. All
was of no avail; a long string of questions had to be answered before we
were permitted to depart in peace, and the next morning in all the
leading papers appeared wonderful and totally untrue accounts of our
family history, appearance, and sentiments.

From Owen Sound we went by steamboat across Lake Huron and Lake Superior
to Port William, which is in connection with the Canadian-Pacific
Railway. The lake scenery is very beautiful, and was a pleasant change
after the dusty train. We were three hours passing through the lock
which divides the two lakes. As the steamboats are run on strictly
temperance principles, and no wine or spirit of any description allowed
on board--although we were fed with such dainties as frogs’ legs and
soft-shell crab--the excitement was great on seeing a little shanty by
the lock where home-brewed beer could be obtained. There was a frantic
rush on shore, and the little inn must have reaped a harvest that day.
Whilst waiting at the lock I was much interested in seeing large
quantities of timber floating over the rapids, having come downstream
hundreds of miles from the Canadian forests. The wood is caught by huge
nets made of chains, and just by the side of the lock is a storage
depot, where the timber is collected and cut into planks. We had some
excellent lake trout for dinner, and in the evening watched the northern
lights, which illuminated the sky far into the night.

The next morning we left Port William, a quaint little town which had
only been in existence three years, but already boasted of a church and
good shops and houses, and started westward on our four days’ train
journey to Vancouver. During the first twenty-four hours we passed
through the prairies, a vast stretch of yellow plain, with its deep
purple shadows, looking terribly desolate, but yet fascinating in its
loneliness. Here and there were prairie fires--some still smouldering,
others which had left only their charred and blackened marks behind
them. We passed many little settlements and farms--one farm was a
hundred miles in size--and an immense quantity of wheat is grown in this
district. At each station are huge elevators, and the grain is sucked up
into them through tubes by means of compressed air at marvellous
rapidity. It was harvest-time when we passed, but, being Sunday, none of
the men were at work. It seemed quite pathetic to see lines of buggies
and cars waiting outside some of the little settlement churches, and as
we passed we saw many of the settlers riding and driving to and from
service. Some must have come very long distances. At one place, far away
from any dwelling, there was a little cemetery--just a dozen white
stones and one little cross standing out against the sky--only divided
by a rough wooden rail from the rest of the prairie. In winter the
country is covered with snow to a depth of from twenty to thirty feet,
and the occupants of the farms have to dig their way out, leaving only
the front-door exposed. We saw large herds of cattle and horses, but the
buffalo is almost extinct. He, as well as the Indian, seems to disappear
as civilization advances.

There are still some Indians left, however, and we passed several
encampments. Their wigwams looked more picturesque than comfortable,
composed of mud and sticks. The few specimens we saw were
miserable-looking creatures. The women’s cheeks were painted a bright
brick-red, long matted hair hung over their shoulders, and their
costumes consisted of the most extraordinary collection of old rags and
finery imaginable. They seemed quite harmless, but were much alarmed
when I attempted to snap-shot them, and slunk away, evidently warning
the others against us. The papooses, fastened like little mummies to
their mothers’ backs, had some of them quaint, almost pretty, faces, but
looked horribly dirty and uncomfortable, swathed tightly in their filthy
rags.

The violent rocking of the train, the dust, the heat of the cars, all
combined to give me a bad attack of car-sickness, added to which I
knocked my head violently against the door of our car, and was almost
stunned. At each station the one thought of everyone on board was to get
out for some fresh air and to stretch one’s limbs, and I was almost left
behind at a little wayside station, where I had quite forgotten my
troubles looking at the glorious sunset lighting up the prairie.
Suddenly, to my horror, I saw the train slowly gliding off; had not the
guard cleverly caught me up in his arms as the end carriage was leaving
the platform, I should have been left to the tender mercies of the
station-master and signalman in the middle of the prairie until the next
train passed, twenty-four hours later.

After this adventure and fright I became so thoroughly upset that my
father decided to break our journey at Banff for a couple of days.



                               CHAPTER II
                             IN THE ROCKIES

First sight of the Rockies--Stay at Banff--Indians and salmon--Arrival
    at Vancouver--The _Empress of India_--Chinese passengers--The
    missing day--A court-martial--First sight of Japan.


After leaving the prairies the scenery became more hilly and the country
wooded and fertile. The maples had just turned, and their gorgeous
colouring of crimson and gold made the landscape appear like a gigantic
flower-garden. Ill as I felt, the beauty of the scene so fascinated me
that hours passed like minutes. Gradually the distant blue mountains
grew nearer and more distinct, and, almost without knowing it, we found
ourselves in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, four thousand feet above
the sea-level.

At sunset a mist rolled across the valley, and above towered the great
Cathedral Rock, thirteen thousand feet high, tinged a lovely rose-colour
which gradually faded into soft pink and gray; then all was left in
shadow, with the young moon shedding her pale light upon the dark,
rugged outline of rock. It was a scene never to be forgotten.

We spent three pleasant days at Banff. Oh, the joy of a quiet night’s
rest, a hot bath, and being clean again! I soon felt much better, though
still stiff and shaken. The hotel was very comfortable, built like a
huge Swiss chalet of pine-wood, with a big veranda, and beautifully
situated, overlooking lake, forest, and river, and surrounded by high
peaks in the distance. The hot, iron, and sulphur springs are a great
feature of the place, and I much enjoyed the warm, open-air bath, formed
out of the rocks, where I had a delightful swim each morning. The air at
Banff is most invigorating--so clear and pure. We spent a good deal of
our time on the Vermilion Lake, paddling about in a Canadian canoe, and
exploring the many little creeks, some only a few feet wide. Trout are
very abundant in the lake, and my father was fortunate in catching one
weighing nearly thirty-five pounds, much to the envy and admiration of
the other people at the hotel.

After leaving Banff we travelled in the observation-car of the train as
far as Field, a little village five thousand feet up in the mountains,
where we stopped to dine. It was intensely cold, and snow was already on
the ground. The train after Field makes the most extraordinary turns and
twists, and is called the loop-line. In some places both ends of the
train were visible from the car. The skeleton iron bridges, hung from
rock to rock, shook as we passed over them, and I felt dizzy as I looked
down at the yawning chasms far below.

After leaving the Rockies we passed into the Selkirk Range, and crossed
and recrossed the great Frazer River, with its high rocks and great
boulders. The river is full of salmon, and in a clear pool we saw at
least forty or fifty big fish basking. The Indians catch them in great
quantities, and we passed several little encampments where queer-looking
strings of red stuff were hanging from long sticks, which we were told
was the salmon.

[Illustration: IN THE HEART OF THE ROCKIES.]

Here and there were little wigwams by the river-bank, with Indians and
their papooses, forming picturesque groups, some wading in the creeks,
or busy at work hanging up the salmon to dry in the sun.

The scenery as we neared Vancouver became less wild. Mount Baker, over
fifteen thousand feet high, rose up solitary and grand, its snow-capped
summit standing out like a white pyramid against the deep blue of the
sky. We were fortunate in seeing it in all its beauty, as it is
generally hidden in clouds.

Vancouver is a clean, well-built town at the mouth of the Frazer River.
The harbour there is large enough for men-of-war to anchor in, and there
we found our steamer, the _Empress of India_, awaiting us--a fine boat
of 6,000 tons, painted white and built on the lines of a large yacht. We
spent Sunday, the day after our arrival, in visiting the park near
Vancouver, where the famous big trees are to be seen--cedars, firs, and
spruce; one, perhaps the largest in the world, measures sixty feet
round, and a carriage and pair of horses can go inside the trunk, which
is hollow. The forest is almost tropical with its luxuriant vegetation
and beautiful ferns. Wild animals are to be found there, such as deer,
panthers, and a kind of lion, but the latter are rarely seen now near
the town.

The voyage between Vancouver and Yokohama takes fourteen days. I was
glad to find on board a very nice-looking set of passengers, mostly
English. The first day or two we took each other’s measure cautiously,
and limited the conversation to a few polite nothings, but before the
end of the voyage many of us were firm friends.

There were about a hundred first-class passengers, and three hundred
miserable-looking Chinese in the steerage. Many of them looked
wretchedly ill, and we saw a number of long black boxes in the hold,
which we heard afterwards were coffins. It seems that the one desire of
a Chinaman is to be buried in his native land, otherwise he believes
that his soul will go into some low animal instead of to Paradise. Just
before sailing at midnight, I noticed a long line of Chinese passing up
the gangway to the steamer. Before being admitted, they were carefully
examined by the ship’s doctor. Many poor wretches were turned back,
discovered to be suffering from some fatal chest disease very prevalent
amongst the Chinese. As it was, I believe, there were several deaths on
board, in which case the steamship company was bound under contract to
convey the Chinese passenger, alive or dead, to his destination.

Our stewards on board were all Chinamen, and most quick and willing.
They had all very long pigtails tied with black silk at the ends, and
little black caps with red tassels on their heads. When waiting at table
they wore butcher-blue garments down to their heels, white cuffs; and
their funny little feet were encased in white shoes with black rosettes.
They had sad, old-looking faces, but were really quite cheerful, and
talked incessantly in their queer pigeon-English. I longed to send one
home as a present to our old Rector, who always described our Norfolk
servants as ‘the curse of the age.’

An amusement committee was soon organized on board, and by the end of
the first week we were all busily engaged in Bridge, Chess, Halma, and
other tournaments--cricket matches, athletic sports, and one or two
dances when the weather was sufficiently calm. The Pacific Ocean rather
belies its name, as typhoons and severe storms prevail at times, and we
met one battered-looking sailing-ship, which reported very rough weather
off the Japanese coast. However, we were most fortunate during the whole
voyage in having nothing worse than a stiff breeze on one or two
occasions, although that was quite sufficient to send many of the
passengers, including myself, to their berths; but my fears of being
‘battened down’ were never realized.

In consequence of continually travelling westward, when we reached the
meridian of 180° from Greenwich, we were told that a day would be
dropped to equalize matters. Consequently, after going to bed one Sunday
night, we woke up to find it was Tuesday morning, and our missing day
was never recovered until, on our voyage home to England, we sailed
eastward. As there was much variety of opinion as to the reason of the
missing day, one of the passengers offered a prize for the best poem
describing _why_ we must lose a day, _where_ it goes to, and _what_ is
done with it. About twenty of the passengers sent in verses, which were
read aloud by the Captain in the saloon and voted for. The prize was won
by an American missionary. Not that his was by any means the best poem,
but the entire missionary party--there was a large gathering of them on
board--all arranged beforehand to vote for their dear brother, a rather
unfair proceeding.

During the voyage a stupid practical joke was played, of which I was one
of the chief victims. An Australian lady and her daughter sent out
invitations to a tea-party in honour of the daughter’s birthday. About a
dozen of us were invited, including the Captain and my father and me. A
sumptuous spread was prepared--cakes, sweets of all kinds, and a
delicious-looking soufflé, which our hostess particularly begged us to
try. I innocently put a spoonful into my mouth, when I discovered to my
disgust it was made of nothing but beaten-up soap--the most horrible
concoction imaginable. Two or three other people at the table followed
suit, and our feelings can be better imagined than described. It took,
indeed, some time before I recovered from the effects.

Nemesis, however, awaited the originators of this unpleasant trick. A
trial by jury was decided upon. Judge, counsel, and jury were got
together, and large notices were placed about the ship saying that a
most cold-blooded attempt at wholesale murder by poison had been
attempted, but fortunately, with no fatal results; that the police had
every reason to believe that jealousy was at the bottom of it, and so
on.

After this, the Australian lady and her daughter found life on board
ship not altogether so delightful as they had expected, but began to
realize that it is sometimes unwise to play practical jokes. The trial
took place two evenings later in the saloon, which was arranged as much
as possible like a court-room. The judge, an English Colonel, arrayed in
a long scarlet cloak and a wig, sat at a table. The prisoners were
placed in chairs on another table, guarded by a policeman. The counsel
for the plaintiffs and the defendants had wigs made by the ship’s
barber, a man of resource, who painted us up to represent our various
characters, making the three victims who had swallowed the soap appear
ghastly with white chalk. The jury was composed of seven ladies. There
were also six witnesses, an usher, and a clerk of the courts.

The counsel on both sides spoke well. The defence was that soap was
harmless and good to eat, and a witness was called who was really a soap
manufacturer at Shanghai. After the jury had retired for some minutes,
they returned with the verdict ‘Guilty,’ at which the two prisoners
turned pale and dissolved into tears. The judge, looking very stern,
after a short speech on the iniquity of practical jokes, sentenced the
prisoners to be taken on their arrival at Yokohama to be tattooed on
their wrists with the words ‘Pears’ Soap.’ Needless to say, this threat
was not carried into effect; but I think the offenders were already
sufficiently punished. Early the following morning my father called me
to see the first glimpse of Japan--a faint outline of blue hills against
the horizon, which gradually became more and more distinct until by
mid-day we anchored in Japan waters, and our long, pleasant voyage was
at an end.

                  *       *       *       *       *

On landing at Yokohama, we took rickshaws to the Grand Hotel, a large
English building on the Bund facing the harbour. Never shall I forget my
first ride in the quaint little carriage resembling a small buggy, only
instead of having a horse in the shafts, there was a funny little brown
grinning man, dressed in a blue cotton garment, barefooted, with a large
white hat like a mushroom on his head, on which was printed his name and
number. He started off at a steady trot and, after the first feeling of
insecurity had passed, I thoroughly enjoyed the motion and was quite
sorry when we, with our luggage, which had followed us in a long line of
rickshaws, were deposited at the steps of the hotel.

I was much amused the morning after my arrival before I was dressed to
receive visits from three Chinese tailors. They marched calmly into my
room at various times, without waiting for me to answer their knock,
bringing patterns and begging me to patronize them. The last had hardly
departed when another visitor appeared, in the shape of a dealer in
curios. He proceeded to strew my room with brocades, embroideries and
every conceivable knick-knack. I was unable to resist a quaint little
Japanese clock, a small bronze Buddha, and an embroidered silk kimono,
for which treasures I afterwards found I had paid about three times
their value, though I fondly imagined I had made excellent bargains.

There was a charming view from the veranda of my room. The harbour was
gay with Japanese sanpans,[A] little sailing-boats,--here and there a
man-of-war and a couple of mail-steamers. Late that afternoon I saw the
_Empress of India_ steaming slowly out of the harbour, bound for
Hongkong. It seemed rather like saying good-bye to an old friend, and I
felt a little homesick as I watched my last link with the old world
disappear into the dim distance.

-----

Footnote A:

  Japanese boats.

-----



                              CHAPTER III
                          EARLY DAYS IN JAPAN

A new friend--A Japanese dinner--Japanese temples--An earthquake--A fire
    in Yokohama.


The first few weeks after our arrival in Japan would have been rather
dull, as my father had to leave at once for Tokio on business, had I not
made the acquaintance of a girl staying in the hotel who was also
travelling with her father in Japan. Pauline, as she was called, was a
few years older than myself, a clever girl with very decided opinions on
most subjects. She was also an only child, and her father, who was an
invalid, gave way to her in everything. For some reason or other she
took a great fancy to me at first sight. We soon became good friends and
I was delighted to have someone to go about with as I had always longed
for a girl companion. We explored the streets of Yokohama together,
picking up a few words of Japanese which enabled us to make purchases
and direct our rickshaw coolies. What delightful drives we had, going
out sometimes far into the country with green rice-fields on either side
and here and there a little tea-house where we would stop to rest and
have a cup of the honourable tea!

One evening my father took us both to dine at a Japanese restaurant to
have a real Japanese dinner. On arriving, we had to take off our shoes
before entering the house and were then taken to a room with absolutely
no furniture, but divided by screens. The floor was covered with
spotless matting and some little cushions on which we sat in various
attitudes. The Japanese way of sitting on one’s heels is far too
fatiguing to try for long.

First a little nasan (servant) appeared bowing to the floor, bringing
tea in tiny cups and some cakes made of sweet beans; then three charming
little geishas (dancing girls) entered, dressed in scarlet-embroidered
kimonos and bright sashes. Their faces were carefully painted, and their
black hair decorated with many-coloured pins. They were the dearest
little people imaginable, not more than thirteen or fourteen years old,
with pretty little hands and feet and charming, graceful manners. A
lacquer tray was placed before each of us on the floor with a cup of
saké, the national drink--something like sherry and water, but with a
burning taste, and most intoxicating. As water-drinking is dangerous in
Japan we had to content ourselves with tea. Bowls of soup were first
brought us with large pieces of fish and some strange-looking morsels
floating in it. These we chased about with our chopsticks with little
success, much to the amusement of the geishas, who sat in a row watching
us, laughing merrily and evidently discussing our clothes and
appearance.

The next dish was raw fish cut in slices, with some green and very nasty
sauce made from seaweed; then came a course of fried fish, after which
there was a dance by the two geishas--wonderfully graceful and pretty.
It consisted chiefly in the waving of fans and the revolving on one leg
to the melodious strains of a samisen, which resembles anything rather
than what we call music. Still, it seemed to suit the dance and the
strange surroundings.

Shrimps in batter was the nicest dish that we tasted, followed by a
concoction of fermented turnip in slices and cabbage-stalks soaked in
vinegar; and finally a bowl of rice was served, always the last course
at a Japanese dinner.

Spoons and forks were given us, but we stuck manfully to our chopsticks.
It was a polite way of not eating more than absolutely necessary. Two
more dances finished our entertainment.

On leaving we were each presented with a fried fish in a little wooden
box for good luck, and the little geishas and nasans followed us to our
rickshaws, calling out as we left: ‘Tum adain soone! Sayonara!’

[Illustration: ‘TUM ADAIN SOONE! SAYONARA!’]

The Shinto and Buddhist temples round Yokohama are curious and
interesting with their stone lanterns and little lacquer shrines. Most
of them are built of wood painted red. Those in the town are generally
crowded with people constantly coming and going, some buying prayers on
rice-paper for their own particular want, price one sen (quarter of a
farthing), others only gossiping and strolling about.

[Illustration: ONE OF THE SHINTO TEMPLES.]

Outside some of the temples is to be seen the bronze or wooden figure of
a god enclosed in a kind of cage covered with wire-netting. These
figures are literally plastered over with little pellets of paper
prayers which the people chew in their mouths and throw or spit at the
image. If the paper sticks on the figure their petition is answered; if,
on the other hand, it remains in the netting their prayer is not
heard--a true relic of old Japanese superstitions. The great bronze
Buddha at Kamakura is very wonderful, and contains a small temple. The
eyes of the figure are of solid gold.

[Illustration: THE GREAT BRONZE BUDDHA.]

At one of the temples which Pauline and I visited a sacred horse is kept
in a stall, and close by small trays of corn are sold and given to the
horse to do duty as prayers. Needless to say, the poor beast is almost
as broad as it is long.

We had our first experience of an earthquake soon after our arrival in
Yokohama. It was not a severe shock, but quite enough to alarm the
visitors at the Grand Hotel, who came rushing out on the landings and
corridors in the strangest and most sketchy attires. I hardly like to
describe the appearance of one or two visions I met as I ran out of my
room to see what had happened. One lady was tearing downstairs followed
by her maid holding out a dressing-gown, which she vainly endeavoured to
persuade her mistress to put on. Two old maiden ladies, who had arrived
only the day before, insisted on the manager of the hotel hiring them
two rickshaws, although it was nearly midnight, and in them the two
agitated spinsters spent the rest of the night driving slowly up and
down the Bund (parade), to be prepared in case of further alarms. I saw
them the next morning looking very pale and weary, but still holding on
their laps bundles of underclothing, several bags and a miserable little
pet dog.

One or two cracks in the ceilings and walls of the hotel was all the
damage done by the shock that night.

A fire is almost as much dreaded as an earthquake in Japan, and,
unfortunately, is of common occurrence owing to the houses in the native
quarters of the towns being built entirely of wood and paper.

A few nights after the earthquake scare I was awakened at about 2 a.m.
by a brilliant glare in my room and the noise of many hurrying footsteps
passing the hotel. Looking out of my window, I saw what was apparently
the entire native quarter of Yokohama in a blaze. Flames and sparks were
leaping high into the air and great clouds of smoke were pouring down
the street. Quickly flinging on a few clothes, I hurried to Pauline’s
room, which was next mine, and found her already half dressed. It needed
but little persuasion on her part to convince me that the one and only
thing to be done was to go and see what we could of the fire from a safe
distance. We crept downstairs and out of a side-door into the street,
which was by this time full of little figures running rapidly in the
same direction, all carrying lanterns in their hands. I then remembered
that our passports, which had been given us by the British Consul only a
few days previously, notified that no one was to attend a fire on
horseback, or without carrying a lantern. I could well understand the
danger there would have been riding amongst this excited crowd of little
Japs, but what were we to do without a lantern? Suddenly I remembered I
had my purse in my pocket, and seeing two shabby-looking boys carrying a
light just in front of me, I stopped them, and holding out a yen
(dollar), pointed to their precious lantern. They understood my signals
and, grinning broadly, snatched at the money, handed me the lantern and
scampered off.

Pauline and I, clinging closely to each other, were swept on in the
crowd, which every moment grew denser, until we found ourselves on the
edge of the moat separating the native quarter from the settlement.

As it seemed hopeless to attempt to put out the fire, which every moment
attacked fresh houses, figures of men could be seen jumping from roof to
roof and tearing down houses still untouched to stop the flames going
further. The fierce glare lit up the pale, excited faces of the
thousands of little spectators swaying in one moving mass backwards and
forwards, whilst the clashing of bells from every quarter of the
town--one of the regulations in case of a fire--the shouts of the crowd,
and the crackling of the burning wood, all added to the strangely
horrible, yet fascinating sight. The heat and smoke became almost
unbearable, sparks began to fall on us and one had even scorched my
hair. It seemed probable, unless the wind changed, that the fire might
cross the moat, in which case our lives would be in danger. I turned and
asked Pauline whether we had not better try to get out of the crowd and
return home. To my horror I found she was looking ghastly and ready to
faint. The heat and excitement had been too much for her. I was in
despair, knowing it would be impossible to help her out in such a crush.
At that moment, to my intense relief, I saw my father’s head and
shoulders towering above the crowd not far behind. I managed to call
loud enough to attract his attention, and he soon pushed his way through
to where we were standing. After some difficulty we managed to get poor
Pauline safely to a cooler and less crowded spot. When she had revived a
little, we returned to the hotel half dead with fatigue, our clothes
ruined, and both of us thoroughly ashamed of ourselves. I think my
long-suffering parent thought we had been punished sufficiently, as he
did not refer to our escapade, and Pauline’s father never knew in what
danger his idolized daughter had been that night.

The next day we heard that over four hundred houses had been destroyed
in the fire and three lives lost. The loss of property was not great, as
the Japanese keep all their valuables in ‘go-downs’--small fireproof
buildings, which alone remained standing and unhurt when we visited the
spot a few days later. Even before the ashes were cold the plucky little
people were hard at work marking out fresh sites for new buildings, and
three or four months later it was difficult to believe that a fire could
ever have taken place in that neighbourhood.

Shortly after this Pauline confided to me her great desire to see
something of Japanese life in the interior, far away from Treaty-port
towns and European hotels. Naturally, I also became seized with a
similar desire, so, after much persuasion and many entreaties, our
parents gave their consent to our making a ten days’ tour, accompanied
by a highly-recommended and most respectable guide and interpreter, by
name Idaka. He was a most superior person, with a fair knowledge of the
English language, and quite deliciously ugly. I liked that guide; he
told me I was a most intelligent walker, and had a noble foot. Pauline
insisted on calling him a fool--of course not to his face, as ‘bacha,’
Japanese for fool, is a terrible term to apply to anyone in Japan--but
even she admitted he certainly was useful.

During our absence Pauline’s father decided to remain quietly at
Yokohama, whilst mine had still much important business to do in Tokio.



                               CHAPTER IV
                          A JAPANESE HARROGATE

A trip to the Japanese Harrogate--A curious travelling companion--A
    Japanese inn--A mountain ride--At the sulphur springs--A sulphur
    bath--A night in a tea-house--Sad news.


As our passports seemed to permit us to go anywhere we liked, except to
a fire on horseback, we decided, after much consultation with Idaka, to
go by train to Karuizawa, and from there to visit the hot sulphur baths
at Kusatzu, a place not generally known to globe-trotters, where we were
told we should see much to interest us.

Accordingly the next morning we bade an affectionate farewell to our
parents and also to the kind little manager of the Grand Hotel at
Yokohama, and started for Kodzu in the quaint little train, which goes
at the rate of, at least, ten miles an hour. Oh what a hot, steamy,
journey it was! and we anything but looked forward to the five hours’
journey which lay before us. However, we rejoiced in having the carriage
to ourselves, which was something to be thankful for. Idaka, very busy
and important, travelled third class in charge of the luggage, clad in a
marvellous costume, consisting of a scarlet and white blazer, thick
homespun shooting stockings, patent-leather shoes rather the worse for
wear, and a deer-stalking cap, all evidently ‘cast-offs’ of former
employers. We quite regretted that we had nothing to give him to add to
the collection.

Just, however, as the train was starting, much to our annoyance a stout
little Japanese jumped into the carriage and took his seat at the
opposite end of the compartment to where we were sitting. He was a
pale-faced little man, dressed in a black frock-coat, dark trousers and
a top-hat. He appeared very much oppressed with the heat, but that was
not unnatural with a temperature of about 90° in the shade.

[Illustration: WE START FOR KODZU (_p._ 33.)]

Finding our companion very quiet and inoffensive, we paid no further
attention to him. An hour passed, Pauline was fast asleep, and I suppose
I also must have closed my eyes, for presently, looking across the
carriage, I saw to my astonishment, instead of the little black-coated
man, a somewhat slighter figure, in a set of gray dittos and cap to
match, quietly reading his Japanese papers as if nothing had happened, a
neatly-folded suit of clothes on the seat beside him. I was somewhat
startled at this curious transformation, and stories of disguised
criminals rushed into my mind, when up jumped the little man and
proceeded calmly to divest himself of his gray suit, folding up the
garments he took off and placing them beside the black pile. Feeling
extremely embarrassed, I gazed severely out of the window for several
minutes. Pauline still slept. On hearing the rustle of a paper, I
ventured to look round, and there sat our strange fellow-traveller, deep
in his ‘nichi-nichi shimbun’ (Japanese newspaper), clad from head to
foot in white duck and cricketing-cap to match. ‘Now,’ thought I, ‘I
should hope his toilette is completed.’ No such thing. After about half
an hour the little man again seemed restless and overcome with heat, and
after casting a despairing and perspiring glance around him, he got up
and reaching down from the rack a small black bag, he pulled out a
‘ukata’ and ‘obi’ (the national dress of a Japanese). Seeing the same
performance about to begin with regard to the white suit, I coughed
violently; but that having no effect and escape being impossible I
feigned sleep, and, when I again ventured to open my eyes, a little thin
figure sat in the corner in correct Japanese attire. Three neatly-folded
bundles lay at his side,--hat, boots, and all.

Fortunately, this was the last metamorphosis that our strange companion
indulged in, and soon afterwards we changed trains, leaving him in full
possession of the carriage; so I shall never know whether he redressed
himself before the end of his journey, or how he disposed of the
remainder of his wardrobe. It was certainly a novel way of carrying
luggage.

Pauline was very indignant when I told her of the occurrence. She said
had she been awake it would never have happened.

At last, after crawling along for five hours across the burning plain,
we reached Kodzu; and after a short rest and a few little cups of yellow
tea and some peppermint sticks at the tea-house in the village, we
started off again in the little mountain train for Karuizawa. Thankful
enough we were, after passing through twenty-six pitch-black tunnels
reeking with sulphur and smoke, to arrive at last, exhausted and
half-choked, but safe and sound at our journey’s end.

Karuizawa is situated on a large plain, formed by the lava from the
great volcano Asama, and is about four thousand feet above the
sea-level.

It is the strangest and weirdest spot imaginable. For miles and miles in
every direction as far as the eye can reach stretches a vast plain
covered with pampas-grass and wild-flowers of every description, and
hemmed in by long ranges of blue mountains in the far distance. In the
centre of the plain rises Asamayama like a great black pyramid,
absolutely bare; and from the summit a thin column of smoke can be seen
and an occasional flame, as if to give warning of the fires down below.

The village of Karuizawa, some little distance from the base, is
composed of a collection of hideous little wooden houses, principally
the summer residences of missionaries from all parts of Japan, a small
English church, only lately built, and a long, straggling village
street, with a few small native shops of a primitive nature.

[Illustration: IDAKA, THE GUIDE.]

Idaka had taken a room for us at the chief tea-house in the village,
and, although the smell of the ‘daikon’ (fermented turnip) which
permeated every corner was not conducive to appetite, we managed to make
a fair supper of the tinned food we had brought with us, supplemented by
some native rice and hot ‘saké’ (native drink).

We were escorted to our bedroom by the landlord. Either from mistaken
politeness or curiosity, he declined to leave us, repeatedly bowing and
apologizing for the want of comfort in his miserable establishment, and
assuring us how highly he appreciated the honour of entertaining such
distinguished guests. All this in the most excruciating English. Hints
that we wished to retire to bed were of no avail; and at last Pauline,
unable to restrain her impatience any longer, drew back the ‘shoji’
(sliding panel) and, with an imperious wave of her hand, pointed from
our little tormentor to the door, and said: ‘Go, wretch!’ This had the
desired effect. He departed, bowing even lower than before, still
murmuring to himself ‘honourable distinction.’

‘Well,’ I said to Pauline as, closing the panel carefully, she turned
towards me, ‘what about Japanese politeness? I thought it was the only
thing that really was important out here. You have put your foot in it.’
Pauline’s face was a study. Notwithstanding her manner, which was most
impressive, she was at heart extremely nervous and highly strung. It was
some time before I could assure her that doubtless the little man was
quite as glad to go as we were to get rid of him, and that there was no
fear of his detaining us by force or showing any resentment.

At last, however, we settled ourselves as comfortably as we could on our
‘futons’ (Japanese mattresses) on the floor, and slept the sleep of the
just. I have the impression that I saw a figure glide past the foot of
my bed during the night, but I was too sleepy to rouse myself, and it
may have been a dream.

The next morning we were off at sunrise. Pauline was meekness itself;
and the little landlord had evidently made a very good thing out of us,
as he presented us with some poisonous-looking cakes of a bright green
colour to eat on the journey; the last we saw of him as we rode down the
village street was a quaint little form bowing backwards and forwards
repeatedly until we were well out of sight.

Our cavalcade consisted of Pauline in a rickshaw drawn by three men, two
in the shafts and one pushing behind. I was on a solid-looking white
pony which we had hired from the village carpenter. Idaka and the cook
rode mules, and three other mules carried our provisions and baggage.

What a glorious morning it was! The sun had just risen, and the woods
through which we passed for the first couple of hours of our journey
seemed alive with the songs of birds and the hum of myriads of insects.
The climb was a steep one, and we were glad to arrive on the open
moorland, which stretched for miles around, covered with
wild-flowers--poppies, marguerites, campanulas; red, yellow, and white
lilies, and waving pampas-grass, all in wild profusion--a perfect blaze
of colour. Certainly there is no place like Japan for wild-flowers.

We halted at a little rest-house far away from any other habitation. The
air was very keen, and we sat round the open fire, built in the ground,
whilst we ate our breakfasts. Our coolies kept up an incessant chatter
the whole time as they gobbled up their little bowls of rice with their
chopsticks. I think Pauline rather regretted having chosen a rickshaw
instead of a pony, as the path was rough, and the springs of the
‘kurama’ had seen their best days; but after all, as I told her, a
rickshaw was far more Japanese, so she could not complain.

After a few hours’ ride through a park-like country--quite different
from anything else we had as yet seen in Japan--we arrived at a curious
little village, and halted for tiffin in what is called the Town Hall of
the place--a wooden hut built on long posts over a deep ravine. Three
sides were open, except for a little balcony; the posts and the one wall
were covered with Japanese advertisements--such strange-looking
hieroglyphics. Here we rested an hour. Another steep climb, through
scenery which gradually became wilder and more and more desolate,
brought us about sunset to the village of Kusatzu (pronounced
‘Koosats’)--a place which has been noted for centuries for its mineral
springs and baths, and where thousands of sick little Japanese come
every year to try to get cured of various complaints. Foreigners rarely
come to Kusatzu, and, as we passed down the village street, half the
population turned out to look at us, staring with open eyes and mouths
at the mad Englishwomen.

The village is built in a hollow and surrounded by bare and desolate
hills, on which no vegetation of any kind or description grows. In the
centre of the village a large enclosure is railed in, inside which is a
seething, steaming mass of sulphur rocks and water at boiling heat.
Round this enclosure are large open bath-houses, with water at different
temperatures and with different mineral properties, as all sorts of
diseases are treated here. The patients spend their entire day either in
the water or standing just outside awaiting their turn. From time to
time the most unearthly groans are to be heard proceeding from the
baths--a chorus of long-drawn ‘Ohs!’ as the master of the ceremonies,
the doctor of the bath-house, gives the word of command for the patients
to enter the water. Then a tremendous splashing ensues, which is caused
by the bathers beating the water to cool it. We were told that each
bather has to beat the water over a hundred times before entering or
leaving the bath. The temperature of the water in some of the baths is
almost incredible, and the poor creatures must suffer torments. In the
bath-house we passed, we saw rows of heads, each tied round with a blue
handkerchief, rising out of the steaming, yellow water, and
weird-looking figures were scrambling in and out, each holding a
‘beating board.’ It was a most depressing sight, and we were both glad
to pass to the outskirts of the village, where Idaka had taken rooms for
us.

I understand there are about two thousand patients generally under
treatment in Kusatzu, chiefly for rheumatism and beri-beri. The lepers
are separately treated at some baths two miles away.

Pauline was rather anxious to pay a visit to the lepers, as she
remarked, ‘When one is in for a thing it is best to miss nothing.’ But I
stoutly refused to go. The memory of the poor crippled, deformed and
suffering creatures I had seen in the streets of Kusatzu was quite
enough. In fact, I found sleep almost impossible that night. The groans
of the unfortunate bathers rang in my ears, and my dreams were peopled
with visions of horrors of every description.

We were lodged in a quaint little cardboard house, innocent of
furniture, but, fortunately, comparatively clean, and we made ourselves
fairly comfortable on a couple of ‘futons’ which Idaka secured for us;
and we were too tired after our long day to find fault with our
quarters.

The next morning I thought I would try the effects of a warm sulphur
swimming-bath attached to the house. Milky-looking water bubbled up out
of the white rocks, and the sensation as I plunged in was rather
pleasant. After swimming and floating about for a few minutes, I heard a
splash, and looking round, I saw, to my horror, a dark head rising out
of the water at the other end of the bath. What on earth to do I knew
not. As long as I was in the water at my end of the bath it was all very
well, but, unfortunately, I had left my clothes hanging on a nail on the
door at the other end! I waited, hoping the intruder might recognise my
predicament and have the grace to depart. On the contrary, he seemed
prepared to spend hours at his morning ablutions. Apparently he paid not
the smallest attention to poor me, but went through strange contortions
in the water, accompanying his movements with a weird incantation I
suppose he considered music. Feeling desperate, as the strong sulphur
water was rapidly making me faint, I waved my arms frantically in his
direction and pointed to my garments on the door. Then my companion
evidently grasped the situation, and a wide grin spread over his
countenance as he dived down into the water. I waited a moment, but, as
he did not reappear, I scrambled as fast as I could on to the rocks,
rushed to the door, tore on my clothes, and vanished. Whether the
grinning little face ever appeared again on the surface I know not, but
when I reached my room, breathless and exhausted, I vowed that nothing
on earth would again tempt me to take a sulphur bath.

After breakfast, although still feeling very sleepy and tired from the
effects of my prolonged swim, Pauline and I started for a walk, escorted
by Idaka, to the ‘Valley of the Iced Winds.’ What a desolate spot it
was! The rocks were of every conceivable shade and colour--some orange,
some green, others bright yellow and red, encrusted with the mineral
deposit from the little streams with which they were intersected. Some
of the streams were boiling hot, others icy cold, but all had a strong
sulphurous smell; and we were surprised to see vegetation growing almost
to the edge of the water. In one place, however, the fumes of sulphur
were so strong that no bird could pass above without being killed, and
we were glad enough to get away, feeling half suffocated.

During the rest of the day we explored the village and made friends with
some of the patient sufferers, who live most of their time when not at
the baths sitting on the rocks in the sun. Some come every year to
Kusatzu, spending all their hard-earned savings in the hope of deriving
benefit by the treatment; but many looked far too weak and feeble for
such drastic remedies.

The following morning we left at 7 a.m. for the Shibu Pass, a stiff bit
of riding; and the cold at the summit was very piercing--a height of
over seven thousand feet. We were very glad of our tiffin in a little
rest-house, seated close to a peat fire. Pauline and I had at last
accomplished the trick of eating rice with chopsticks--not an easy
matter to the uninitiated. With that and some hard-boiled eggs and
sandwiches we managed to fortify ourselves for our downward journey.

[Illustration: PREPARED FOR THE NIGHT (_p._ 49).]

After a brisk tramp of about three hours, we reached Shibu, a pretty
little town situated in a valley, surrounded by mountains. We found the
tea-house so full, on account of the arrival of a party of pilgrims on
their way to Asamayama, the great sacred volcano, that we had to do with
very small accommodation--in fact, a large blue mosquito-like cage only
separated us from the rest of the lady visitors at the tea-house. There
being only two spare rooms, one was reserved for the ladies and the
other for the gentlemen of the party.

How we laughed as we lay in our blue cage and watched the little ladies
preparing for the night! Sleep was practically impossible, owing to the
mosquitos and other lively inhabitants of the room and the incessant
tap-tap of the little Japanese pipes which, even in her slumbers, a
Japanese lady seems to require.

However, as Pauline said, such an experience of the inner life of the
Japanese was worth a little discomfort, and in the abstract I fully
agreed with her.

We were glad to be up betimes the next morning, and started off
again--all in rickshaws--for a pretty, though hot, ride down to Nagano,
where we took the train. The heat in the plains was intense, but
fortunately, ice was obtainable at all the stations, and by putting
pieces on our heads and in our mouths we managed to keep alive.

It was evening again before we reached Yokohama, travel-stained, brown
and weary, but very well pleased with ourselves and our trip to the
Japanese Harrogate.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Soon after our return Pauline and her father left Yokohama for Shanghai.
I missed my friend terribly, and at first felt quite lost without her.
We parted with many promises to write every week to each other and made
numerous plans as to our future meetings in England. But, alas, how
little we can foresee or direct the future! After three or four long and
cheery letters from my friend, she suddenly ceased writing, and my
letters to her remained unanswered. Some time afterwards we learnt that
she had caught typhoid fever in Shanghai, and died after a week’s
illness. I suppose her poor old father had not the heart to write and
tell us the sad news, but we heard that he had left for England almost
immediately after his daughter’s death.



                               CHAPTER V
                        AN IMPERIAL GARDEN-PARTY

Silk dresses and frock-coats--A disappointed Colonel--The Royal
    procession--The chrysanthemums--I am presented--A Japanese
    play--Japanese royal sport--The Mikado and his subjects.


We had been in Japan nearly three months when we were invited to attend
the chrysanthemum garden-party given by the Emperor and Empress each
November in honour of His Majesty’s birthday. Invitations are sent but a
few days beforehand, as the date of the party depends on the state of
the chrysanthemums. Only the Corps Diplomatique, Government officials,
and a few globe-trotters are invited; the latter obtain their
invitations through their own Legations. As it is almost the only
occasion when Their Imperial Majesties are seen in public, I was
delighted at the idea of going.

Our invitation-cards were very large and thick, with the Imperial crest
at the top and a gold border of chrysanthemums. The writing was in
Japanese characters, but enclosed in the same envelope was a slip of
paper in French, saying that ladies were to appear in silk dresses and
gentlemen in frock-coats and top-hats. Not possessing a suitable
garment, I was puzzled at first to know what to wear, but I eventually
succeeded, with the assistance of one of the little Chinese tailors, in
converting a blue silk evening frock into one suitable for the
garden-party.

The day was fortunately fine and exceptionally warm for November. We
started from the Imperial Hotel in Tokio, where we were staying, at
about half-past one, Colonel S. and his wife from Hongkong sharing a
carriage with us.

Japanese horses are willing little beasts, not much larger than ponies.
Our coachman drove full gallop through the streets, and the ‘betto,’ or
footman, ran along in front shouting at the crowds to get out of the
way. How an accident was avoided I do not know, as the streets seem to
be the playground of all the children in Tokio; and I thought several of
the little doll-like figures must have been run over. Our driver and
betto wore dark blue linen with a crest embroidered on their backs, and
large white pith hats fastened under the chin with a strap.

[Illustration: OUR INVITATION-CARDS WERE VERY LARGE AND THICK (_p._
52).]

Colonel S., who was only passing through Japan on his way to England,
had no frock-coat with him, but in his well-cut dark suit and top-hat we
all thought he could not fail to pass muster. We were mistaken, however.
On our arrival at the palace, we were ushered into a large hall where a
row of officials in blue-and-gold uniforms were waiting to inspect us.
As the gallant Colonel passed up the room, two of the officials stepped
up to him, pointed to his frockless coat, began gesticulating wildly and
talking rapidly in Japanese, of which the Colonel did not understand a
word. My father, who speaks Japanese, attempted to explain matters, but
without success. The discomfited and disappointed officer had to retire,
leaving his wife, who fortunately had on the required silk dress, to go
on with us alone.

After walking about half a mile through the grounds, which are very
beautiful, over little bridges and up little winding paths, we arrived
at some large tents, where the chrysanthemums were on show. Numerous
groups of people were dotted about--Japanese officers and officials in
uniform; others in grotesquely-cut frock-coats and opera-hats; their
wives and daughters in European dress; also members of the different
legations and consulates. I could not help thinking how far better the
little Japanese ladies would have looked in their own national costume,
but European dress is the strict order at Court. The scene was a very
picturesque and animated one, and great excitement prevailed when, about
half-past two, the Emperor and Empress were announced to be coming. The
Corps Diplomatique arranged themselves in line--first the French
Minister as _doyen_, with his wife, daughters, secretaries, and Belgian
staff; then followed the English, German, American, Spanish, Dutch,
Italian, Russian, Chinese and Korean diplomats, the two latter looking
very picturesque in their quaint head-dresses and long robes. The
remainder of the guests stood in a group a little apart.

As the Royal procession appeared in sight, walking slowly up the winding
paths, the band played the Japanese National Anthem and there was dead
silence amongst the crowd.

The Emperor walked first in full General’s uniform, quite alone. He is a
tall man for a Japanese, stout and extremely plain. He had a stern,
somewhat forbidding expression, which he always wore in public; and as
Sir Edwin Arnold says, ‘The slightest bend of his brow in salutation
appears to be the result of superhuman effort of reluctant will.’ Yet he
is idolized by his people; it is said that his power is enormous, while
no one knows how he controls and rules the Empire from the privacy of
his walled-in palace.

Behind him walked the Empress, quite alone also, dressed in crimson
brocaded satin with a little Paris bonnet to match, followed by her
ladies-in-waiting and the Court officials and Ministers of
State--amongst them the Marquess Ito, Count Oyama, and General Yamagata,
all well-known names in Europe at the present time.

They bowed low as they passed us, and we kept up a succession of bobs
and curtsies until we joined into line and followed the procession into
the flower-tents.

[Illustration: THE GARDENS ARE VERY BEAUTIFUL (_p._ 55).]

Apparently the great feature at a chrysanthemum show, from a Japanese
point of view, is not the size and shape of each flower, but the number
of blossoms on a plant flowering at the same time. Three of the tents
contained but one enormous plant in each; with from one to two thousand
blooms all the same size and colour. We were told that one of these
plants alone requires a gardener’s entire time to look after it, as the
difficulty is to get all the flowers to perfection at once. In other
tents, chrysanthemums with small, different-coloured flowers had been
trained over wires to represent figures of people and animals, more
curious than beautiful.

After the flowers had been inspected, the Emperor and Empress entered a
large tent, where the presentations were made. Each Legation went in
turn to felicitate the Emperor on his birthday and to bow to the
Empress. All had to walk backwards out of the tent past the Court ladies
and officials--not an easy task. With some the Emperor said a few words.
His face when smiling lighted up, changing his morose expression to one
of almost benevolence. I own to feeling horribly nervous when my turn
came to be presented by our Minister’s wife, and breathed a sigh of
relief when I returned safe and sound from the Royal tent without having
utterly disgraced myself by tumbling over my train, or knocking down one
of the little officials who were stationed at every available corner.

Small tables were placed about on the grass, and we were offered
sandwiches of foie-gras, caviare and chicken, creams, ices, and
champagne.

It was amusing to watch some of the Japanese guests, not only partaking
of a hearty meal, but quietly secreting sweetmeats and cakes in their
pockets, probably for some little child at home.

The royal party, after having some light refreshment at a table a little
apart from the rest, then rose to leave. The National Anthem was again
played, and we all followed as we liked.

At one end of the gardens a play was going on. No stage, only a ring of
chairs and a big sheet. The actors were being made up and dressed in
sight of everyone. Men clothed in black, with masks, arranged the
scenes, and were supposed to be invisible. The play was ‘The Forty-seven
Ronins.’ All the Japanese in the audience held handkerchiefs to their
eyes and wept copiously, although I failed to see anything at all
pathetic in the wild gesticulations of the actors. The famous Danjiro
was there--the Irving of Japan. Amongst the audience the poetess of the
Empress was pointed out to us, a curiously shrivelled-up little lady in
a stiff green-and-white brocade, with a large bustle, green shoes and
stockings, and a wonderful erection of flowers and feathers on her head.
This costume must have done duty on these occasions for many years, to
judge by its antique style; but the little lady was evidently very proud
of her toilette. Three of the young Princesses, pretty little girls,
with round, merry faces and bright dark eyes, were also spectators. We
did not see the Crown Prince, a delicate, consumptive youth, already
married and a father. The Empress is not his mother. She is childless,
but the Japanese law has sanctioned the adoption of this boy, the son of
one of the Emperor’s unofficial wives, as heir to the throne. I am told,
however, that the Crown Prince looks upon the Empress as his mother.

The Emperor has five unofficial wives, all ladies of good family, who
have separate establishments in the palace grounds, but are never seen
in public; in fact, of the private life of the palace the outside world
knows nothing. Japan is one of the oldest dynasties in the world, and
the Japanese were living very much as they do now, except for electric
light and European dress, when we Westerners were savages in blue paint
and feathers.

In another part of the palace grounds are the duck-ponds and decoys. The
killing of these wild duck, which come in great quantities every winter
to the moat and decoys, is held to be a royal sport in Japan, and they
are considered more or less sacred. The official who showed us the decoy
begged us to keep quite silent, and we walked on tiptoe, in single file,
up a narrow path to a small wooden hut, where we were allowed to peep at
the sacred birds through little slits in the wood. There were already
great numbers of them collected together, all apparently quite tame. The
‘sport’ is this: There are long dykes, with a high net at the end. The
‘sportsmen’ stand on either side with large hand-nets, and the duck are
driven into the dykes from the pond, and, not being able to get out,
rise, when they are caught in the nets and their necks wrung. It is
supposed to be a great disgrace to miss a bird.

We were afterwards taken to the aviaries, where we saw a collection of
birds of every description, from a Cochin-China hen to an eagle. There
was a parrot there which is known to be a hundred and twenty years old,
possibly more. They were all beautifully kept and cared for. One of the
attendants amused us by saying: ‘Is it not a sign of the Emperor’s good
heart to have so many birds?’ But when we asked him how often His
Majesty came to see them, he said: ‘Oh, he never _comes_ here.’

The Imperial Palace is an enormous building of wood surrounded by a
moat. The rooms are decorated with valuable paintings, the walls hung
with ‘kakimomos’ by celebrated Japanese artists, and old embroideries;
the Emperor also possesses a priceless collection of gold lacquer and
ivories. The palace is fitted up with electric light, but the Emperor
considers it dangerous, so the rooms are lighted by thousands of
candles.

The palace grounds cover many acres in the centre of Tokio--the highest
position in the city. Imperial etiquette forbids that the ruler of the
Land of the Rising Sun should be looked down upon from any point of
view; therefore from his palace windows _he_ can look down upon every
part of the city. For the same reason, on the rare occasions when His
Majesty passes through the streets of the city, orders are given for all
the upstair window-blinds to be lowered.

[Illustration: BUTCHER’S.]

[Illustration:

  UMBRELLA SHOP.
  QUAINT SIGNBOARDS IN SOME OF THE STREETS, TOKIO.
]

Formerly men, women, and children fell on their faces as the royal
carriage passed by; now they only bow low, in token of their awe and
respect.

[Illustration: POULTRY AND EGG SHOP.]

[Illustration:

  JAPANESE TAILOR.
  QUAINT SIGNBOARDS IN SOME OF THE STREETS, TOKIO.
]

Soon after our arrival in Tokio I had a rather startling experience. I
was standing in one of the streets to watch the Emperor drive past in
his carriage, when suddenly my hat was wrenched off my head, and I was
pushed forward violently by some heavy hand. On looking round, I saw an
officious little policeman glaring at me, my poor hat in his clutches.
Not until the procession had disappeared from view could I understand
what had happened, but remained meek and hatless. It seems the little
man considered my attitude towards his Sovereign was not sufficiently
humble, and took this somewhat drastic way of correcting me. I must say
this was the only occasion when I have experienced the slightest
rudeness or incivility in the streets of a Japanese town, although I do
not consider that foreigners are altogether beloved in Japan.

An artist who painted the portraits of the Emperor and Empress told me
that he had been obliged to do them almost entirely from photographs, as
their Imperial Majesties are far too sacred to pose as models. On one
occasion he persuaded one of the Court officials to allow him to stand
behind a curtain at a Royal banquet. Through the curtain he made a
little hole, and was thus enabled to get a glimpse at the Emperor.
Another time he waited patiently for hours at some place where the
Empress was to pass; but on her arrival all present were obliged to bow
their heads in obeisance, and the poor man could see nothing. However,
the likenesses were considered good, and the artist received three
thousand dollars for each picture, as well as a large medal, of which he
is very proud.



                               CHAPTER VI
                            JAPANESE LADIES

Their habits and ways--Home life--The Honourable Bath--Count Ito and his
    wife--Old Japan--Loyalty to husbands--A mixed marriage--Curious
    customs--Japanese sayings.


The fair sex in Japan are the most simple and, at the same time, the
most complicated creatures imaginable. In their general ideas and
knowledge of the world they are like children--delightful children,
too--and in their love of enjoyment and simple pleasures they retain
their youthful simplicity all their lives.

But, on the other hand, it is almost impossible for a foreigner really
to understand their natures. Up to a certain point a Japanese lady is
apparently friendly, as she greets one on meeting with that easy grace
and courtesy which is one of her peculiar charms. But one seldom becomes
more intimate. There seems to be a wall of reserve, beyond which it is
impossible to penetrate. I have often attempted to fathom the cause of
this barrier, but without success; and I find it is the general
experience of those who, like myself, have lived amongst the Japanese
and known them well.

Perhaps the natural antipathy which has so long existed between the
Eastern and Western races may somewhat account for this want of
intimacy; and also, I fear, we Europeans have often wounded the delicate
susceptibilities of our Eastern cousins by our want of tact, and our
tendency to treat their manners and customs with ridicule, if not
contempt.

I am speaking more particularly of the ladies of the upper classes. The
little ‘musmee,’ generally considered by the ordinary globe-trotter to
be the recognised type of a Japanese woman, is no more so than is the
grisette the typical Frenchwoman, or the English ballet-girl the typical
Englishwoman.

Nowhere, perhaps, in the world does one find a more ideal ‘lady’ than
amongst the wives and daughters in fair Japonica.

A Japanese lady reminds me of a delicate sea-anemone, which at the first
approach of a rough hand shrinks into itself, avoiding contact with the
practical hardness of everyday life.

She is almost morbidly sensitive, but her natural pride and politeness
forbid her in any way to retaliate. How little we understand her
feelings! A Japanese _never_ forgets. Sometimes revenge is impossible,
but I have heard of more than one case when a foreigner’s official
position has been lost owing to his wife’s indiscretion, though he and
his wife also may be entirely ignorant of the cause of his dismissal.

In appearance, a Japanese woman is smaller and of slighter build than a
European. Many are distinctly pretty when young, but they age very
quickly, and with their youth every vestige of good looks departs. Their
complexions are very sallow, but their faces are generally thickly
painted and powdered, a hard line round the neck showing the point where
art stops and Nature begins.

[Illustration: ‘MANY ARE DISTINCTLY PRETTY WHEN YOUNG.’]

Beauty, from a Japanese standpoint, consists in a long, oval face,
regular features, almond-shaped eyes sloping slightly upwards, a high,
narrow forehead, and abundance of smooth, black hair.

Their movements are graceful, although the style of their dress prevents
them walking with ease; their feet and hands are delicately formed, and
their manners unquestionably charming.

[Illustration: A JAPANESE LADY OF THE UPPER CLASS (_p._ 68).]

They take hardly any exercise, and one wonders sometimes how the little
ladies employ their time. There seems so little to be done in a Japanese
house. To begin with, there are no regular meals. The shops near at hand
supply daily numberless minute dishes, which seem to be eaten at all
hours of the day and night, a few pecks with those impossible chopsticks
at a time. Nothing is kept in the larder except some slices of ‘daikon’
(fermented turnip), some rice, and sweet biscuits.

‘The honourable live fish’ is sold by men who carry round large
water-tubs from house to house, and cut off as much as is required from
the unfortunate fish, replacing the sadly mutilated but still struggling
remains in the tub.

Eggs are cheap and plentiful. Bread is never used, so there is no
necessity for an oven.

The great stand-by is tea. A Japanese lady is seldom seen in her home
without the quaint little tea-tray by her side and the inevitable pipe,
containing one whiff of tobacco, which is in constant requisition.

There is practically no furniture in a Japanese house. The beds consist
of large quilted rugs called ‘futons,’ which are rolled up every morning
and put in the cupboards concealed behind the ‘shoji,’ or panels, in the
walls. There are no carpets, curtains, tables, or chairs, only the straw
‘tatami,’ and a few small, flat cushions on the floor.

Instead of our European fireplace, a brass or wooden ‘hibatchi’
(fire-box) is substituted, containing charcoal. The boxes can be moved
about a room as desired.

Everything is spotlessly clean. No muddy shoes are allowed inside a
house, and one can generally judge of the number of inmates by the row
of wooden clogs placed in a row outside the front-door.

[Illustration: A TEA-HOUSE VERANDA.]

It is all very quaint and strange in Japan, and the longer one lives in
the country, the more fascinated one becomes with the little people,
whose manners and customs differ so greatly from our own.

Before the Chino-Japanese War broke out there was quite a revival of
cordiality between the Japanese and foreigners in the capital. Dinners
and garden fêtes were given and returned, and the wives of the Japanese
Ministers and officials had their ‘At Home’ days during the winter, when
nothing could have exceeded their dainty politeness and the apparent
interest they took in our European houses and dress--especially dress, I
remember. Sometimes, when conversation became rather strained, the
introduction of a _Lady’s Pictorial_ or _Queen_ would quite revive
flagging interest, and many a time have I been consulted in the choice
of some important item in their ‘toilette.’ I am glad to say there has
been a reaction the last year or two in favour of the national dress,
the long flowing kimonos and quaint obis being infinitely more becoming
to their slender little figures than the madly complicated and
ever-changing fashions of the West.

But everyone must appear at Court in European dress, and many have been
the dilemmas of the little ladies when called upon to appear at some
function at the palace.

It has been said that foreign clothes make a difference in a man’s
behaviour to his wife: ‘European dress, European manners.’ How far this
is correct I cannot say, but there may be some truth in it. As I
mentioned before, we were congratulating ourselves on the progress we
were making in our friendly relations with the little ladies. But when
the war broke out, the Japanese Ministers left in the Emperor’s train
for the headquarters of the army at Shimonoseki, the officers joined
their regiments and ships, leaving their wives behind, and for the next
eighteen months no Japanese lady crossed our thresholds, nor was to be
seen at home or abroad.

Now, this was most disappointing. In vain we called at their houses.
‘“Arimazen” (‘Not at home’), said a smiling, and I fear untruthful,
nasan.

The nearest approach we had to success was one afternoon, calling on the
wife of one of the Ministers of State. In answer to our inquiries if the
Countess was at home, the doors were drawn back--they don’t open in
Japan--and we were admitted, feeling very triumphant. We removed our
shoes, and were ushered down long corridors to a room evidently kept to
receive foreigners, having as its only furniture one small table and
four chairs. After waiting about ten minutes we heard a shuffling of
feet and much suppressed laughter; one of the panels of the room was
drawn aside, and to our great surprise our own Japanese coachman
appeared, followed by two nasans, who seemed immensely amused about
something. After some difficulty--for our coachman’s vocabulary in
English was extremely limited--we were given to understand that the
‘oksama’ (honourable lady of the house) was engaged in having her bath,
and unable to receive us. We beat a hasty and discomfited retreat, and
after that resisted our desire to renew the acquaintance of the
mysterious little people, who for some reason best known to themselves
had so completely given us the cold-shoulder.

Some months later, the war being ended and the husbands having returned,
their wives reappeared in public as friendly and as smiling as before.
We asked them the reason of their apparent desertion, but all we could
gather was that their husbands had forbidden them to enter society
during their absence; I fancy, however, their own inclination had a good
deal to do with their retirement from European society.

A Japanese lady is noted for her courage, her strength of mind and
self-possession. It is wonderful to think what physical trials and
dangers these fragile, delicate little creatures will undergo in an
emergency. The Prime Minister’s life was once saved by the courage and
presence of mind of his wife.

Many years ago, when quite a young man, during a rebellion, Count Ito
was hiding from his enemies, who, having tracked him to his house, sent
a band of ‘soshis’ to assassinate him. On hearing his enemies
approaching, and trapped like a rat in its hole, the Count drew his
sword and prepared to die; but the Countess whispered, ‘Do not die;
there is hope still’; and removing the hibatchi, or fire-box, and
lifting up the mats and the planks beneath, she induced her husband to
conceal himself in the hollow space which exists under the floor of all
Japanese houses. The murderers broke into the room just as the fire-box
had been replaced, and demanded of the Countess their victim. In vain
they threatened and cruelly ill-treated her, dragging her about the room
by her long black hair. But it was of no avail; they could not shake her
resolute fidelity. Thanks to her courage Count Ito escaped, and has
lived to give to his country a new Constitution, and become one of the
greatest statesmen of modern Japan.[B] I often wondered when I saw the
Countess, now a delicate, gray-haired little lady, at the courage and
presence of mind that she displayed at that critical moment of her life.

-----

Footnote B:

  Sir Edwin Arnold.

-----

Another instance of the high spirit of Japanese women and their pride is
shown in the following anecdote, described by a German writer, entitled
‘A Japanese Lucretia’:

In 1646 a nobleman named Jacatai was ordered to present himself before
the Mikado, and was obliged to leave his wife behind. During his absence
a former rejected suitor of the lady’s, taking advantage of his
successful rival’s absence, came, with his retinue, and by force carried
off the unfortunate bride to his castle. She, however, eventually
managed to escape, and instantly determined to be revenged. Holding out
distant hopes of pardon to the offender, she induced him to remain in
the neighbourhood of Saccai until her husband’s return, when she gave an
entertainment to all her relations and friends to welcome him back. In
the middle of the banquet, which was held on the housetop, Lucretia
suddenly rose up and stated what had occurred, saying: ‘I pray you to
take my life now that I have been dishonoured, for I do not care to
live.’ All present protested against the idea of punishing her for
another’s crime, and her husband assured her he loved her none the less
for what had happened. But her high sense of honour was not satisfied.
‘Will no one punish me?’ she said. ‘Then must I do it myself; but I pray
you to avenge me.’ With these words she flung herself head foremost from
the housetop and broke her neck. The culprit was instantly pursued, but
escaped, only, however, to commit ‘hara-kiri’--the honourable
despatch--by the dead body of the unfortunate lady whom he had wronged,
but did not desire to survive.

From her youth a Japanese lady is taught to control her feelings, and
the strange immobility that is so noticeable in the Empress is
considered, from a Japanese point of view, the very highest mark of good
breeding. During the war, when one of the Japanese Princes was away
fighting in China, and exposed to every possible peril in that deadly
country, his wife was asked if she was not terribly anxious as to her
husband’s safety. ‘Oh no,’ she replied; ‘I am proud that my husband
should be fighting for his country. If he is killed in the service of
His Majesty, I should feel he was honoured above others who have not had
the opportunity of showing their loyalty.’

The Prince, however, returned in safety, and he and his wife are living
happily together; and one trusts the brave officer may have other ways
of showing his valour than by his death.

Much has been said about mixed marriages in Japan. On rare occasions
they are a success, but this is not generally the case, especially if
the wife be the foreigner.

I was much interested in a European lady I knew who had married a
Japanese officer. They were a very united couple, and, had it not been
for the husband’s mother, all might have been well. But in Japan a wife
is still entirely in subjection to her mother-in-law, who makes the most
of this authority, in some cases reducing her son’s wife into a sort of
upper servant. In the present instance, as long as her husband remained
at home his wife was able to do pretty much as she pleased. When,
however, the war broke out and he joined his regiment in China, the
mother-in-law entirely regained the upper hand. The unfortunate daughter
had to abandon her European customs, adopt Japanese dress for herself
and her child, sit on the floor, and live principally on Japanese food.
Nor was this all. During her husband’s absence the elder lady absolutely
forbade her victim to accept any invitations or to receive any visitors
except her Japanese relations and a few of their friends.

I managed, however, to gain admittance one day, and found my friend very
miserable, shivering over a wretched charcoal ‘hibatchi,’ and without a
single book or paper to distract her thoughts from her anxiety as to her
husband’s safety. So great was the old lady’s power and influence that
the Western woman did not dare to disobey, but had to submit in silence
until her husband’s return home, when, I am glad to say, life once more
became bearable to her.

The case is somewhat different when it is the wife who is Japanese. To
begin with, no Japanese lady of gentle birth would ever think of
marrying a foreigner. She would consider it a _mésalliance_ of the very
worst description. Therefore the Japanese wives whom one meets in
society are of very humble origin, and generally know no language but
their own. They are charming little creatures when young, pretty and
gentle; but they have nothing in common with their husbands, and are
looked upon more in the light of playthings than anything else. They
have often, though, great influence with their husbands in their
household, and succeed in bringing up their children as much like
Japanese and as little like foreigners as possible. I fancy it is
chiefly owing to the Japanese parent’s jealousy and the negligence of
the foreigner that this is the case.

The social position of Japanese women has very much changed for the
better during the last few years, chiefly owing to foreign influence and
the spread of Christianity in the country.

The Empress, too, has done much by promoting charitable work of all
kinds in the country, and through her influence the horrible custom of
blackening the teeth and shaving the eyebrows of married women has been
abolished. Her personal interest in the Red-Cross Society was especially
noticeable during the last war, when she and the wives of many of the
nobles visited, and some even nursed, the sick in hospital, and employed
their days making lint and bandages for the use of the wounded.

A Japanese courtship and wedding are both very curious ceremonies, and
still somewhat savour of barbarism.

‘When a young man has fixed his affections upon a maiden of suitable
standing, he declares his love by fastening a branch of a certain shrub
to the house of the damsel’s parents. If the branch be neglected, the
suit is rejected; if it be accepted, so is the suitor’ (Siebold).

At the time of the marriage the bridegroom sends presents to his bride
as costly as his means will allow, which she immediately offers to her
parents, in acknowledgment of their kindness in infancy and of the pains
bestowed upon her education. The wedding takes place in the evening. The
bride is dressed in a long white silk kimono and white veil, and she and
her future husband sit facing each other on the floor. Two tables are
placed close by. On the one is a kettle with two spouts, a bottle of
saké, and cups; on the other table a miniature fir-tree, signifying
strength of the bridegroom; a plum-tree, signifying the beauty of the
bride; and lastly a stork, standing on a tortoise, representing long
life and happiness, desired by them both.

At the marriage feast each guest in turn drinks three cups of the saké,
and the two-spouted kettle, also containing saké, is put to the mouths
of the bride and bridegroom alternately by two attendants, signifying
that they are to share together joys and sorrows. The bride keeps her
veil all her life, and at her death it is buried with her as her shroud.
The chief duty of a Japanese woman is obedience--whilst unmarried, to
her parents; when married, to her husband and his parents; when widowed,
to her son.

In the ‘Greater Learning of Women’ we read: ‘A woman should look upon
her husband as if he were heaven itself, and thus escape celestial
punishment.... The five worst maladies that afflict the female mind are
indocility, discontent, slander, jealousy, and silliness. Without any
doubt these five maladies afflict seven or eight out of every ten women,
and from them arises the inferiority of women to men. A woman should
cure them by self-inspection and self-reproach. The worst of them all
and the parent of the other four is silliness.’

The above extract shows us very clearly the position which women have
until quite recently taken in Japan. As a German writer says, ‘Her
condition is the intermediate link between the European and the
Asiatic.’ On the one hand, Japanese women are subjected to no seclusion,
and are as carefully educated as the men, and take their own place in
society; but, on the other hand, they have absolutely no independence,
and are in complete subjection to their husbands, sons, and other
relations. They are without legal rights, and under no circumstances can
a wife obtain a divorce or separation from her husband, however great
his offence. Notwithstanding this, in no country does one find a higher
standard of morality than amongst the married women of Japan.
Faithlessness is practically unknown, although the poor little wives
must often have much to put up with from their autocratic lords and
masters. They bear all, however, silently and uncomplainingly, their
characteristic pride and reserve forbidding them show to the outer world
what they suffer. I read the other day that a Japanese poet has called a
Japanese wife ‘social glue,’ meaning, I suppose, that she had to cement
the happiness of everyone in the house together.

We Europeans might well in many respects imitate, and have still much to
learn from, our little cousins in the Far East.



                              CHAPTER VII
                           JAPANESE CHILDREN

Boys and girls--Games--The Feast of Dolls--School life--The ‘Hina
    Matsuri’--The Feast of the Carp--The ‘Bon Matsuri,’ the festival for
    dead children.


There is nothing more delightful in Japan than the children. Japan has
been called ‘the Paradise for Babies,’ and the Japanese ‘a nation at
play.’ Certainly these titles seemed to me appropriate as I took my
first drive through the narrow Japanese streets, and saw at every turn
the crowds of happy-faced little beings, either flying huge kites--whose
long strings got sadly in the way of our rickshaws, though no one seemed
to care--or spinning tops on the pavement, a fatal practice to
short-sighted pedestrians.

How picturesque they looked toddling about in their bright-coloured
kimonos and high wooden clogs, with a baby almost as big as themselves
firmly secured on their backs, the rider and ridden sometimes so near of
an age that one almost fancied they must be taking turns and carrying
one another!

[Illustration: ‘HOW PICTURESQUE THEY LOOKED!’]

The babies, too, appeared to enjoy the fun as much as anyone, which was
fortunate, as, willing or unwilling, they had to join in all the games
of their elder brothers and sisters, and one wondered how on earth it
was their little heads didn’t roll off as they rocked backwards and
forwards, and up and down, in time to the rapid movements of the game
their elders were playing.

Little girls, too small to carry real babies, had big dolls strapped on
their backs, and it was really difficult to distinguish the live article
from the imitation. No wonder their backs become bent nearly double by
the time they are old women--they age very quickly do the women in the
Far East--but they are wonderfully fascinating when young, with their
curious, old-fashioned manners, their marvellous self-possession, and
the politeness and dignity with which they comport themselves on every
occasion. They have but one drawback, and that I must confess is a very
serious one--namely, the total absence of pocket-handkerchiefs; and
somehow they always seem to have colds! I think I need say no more.

There are many strange and original customs relating to the management
and bringing up of children in Japan. Boys are the most thought of, as
is universally the case all over the East, but not to the same extent as
in other Eastern countries.

‘On the birth of a son there is great rejoicing in a family. Two fans
are presented to the infant by his godparent, representing courage. When
he is thirty days old he is taken to a temple to receive his name. Three
names are written on separate bits of paper and given to a priest, who,
asking the gods to direct the choice, throws the slips into the air, and
the first falling to earth is supposed to contain the name the gods
approve of, and is consequently given to the child.

‘Other names are added during the boy’s life--on his fifteenth birthday,
on his marriage, and one is given to him after death by his relations.

‘A boy’s head is clean-shaven until he is five years old, with the
exception of four little tufts of hair--one in front, one behind, and
one at each side of his head. On his fifth birthday the function of the
“hakama” takes place--the child, in other words, goes into trousers. A
godparent is appointed for this important event, who presents his godson
with three gifts--a false sword, a wooden spear, and a ceremonial dress
embroidered with storks, tortoises, branches of fir, bamboo-twigs, and
cherry-blossom--all emblems of good luck and long life. From that date
his hair is allowed to grow, though it is generally very closely cropped
in French fashion.

‘On his fifteenth birthday the last and most important function is
celebrated--"the Ceremony of the Cap"--when a new godparent is chosen,
the boy receives his second name, and he attains his majority.’[C]

-----

Footnote C:

  Siebold.

-----

[Illustration: JAPANESE CHILDREN.]

We are also told by Siebold that it was the custom of the ancients, on
the birth of a female child, to let it lie on the floor for the space of
three days, and in this way to show the likening of the man to heaven
and the woman to earth. This custom has fortunately been abolished, with
many other cruel and barbarous practices, and female children are no
longer neglected.

When a daughter is born in a house, a godparent is chosen, who presents
the baby with a shell of paint, implying beauty. A pair of ‘hina,’ or
images, are also purchased for the little girl, which she plays with
until she is grown up. When she is married her hina are taken with her
to her husband’s house, and she gives them to her children, adding to
the stock as her family increases.

Dolls occupy a very important part in the life of a little girl. They
are not merely playthings to be thrown away and discarded at will; on
the contrary, they are considered ‘heirlooms’ in a family, and carefully
guarded and treasured for generations. I really think an ‘ichi ban,’ or
best doll, receives much more care and attention than the real baby, who
from its earliest infancy, as I have before remarked, is made to share
in all the work and play of its elders, with no regard to its own
feelings or wishes.

The ‘Hina Matsuri,’ or the Feast of Dolls, takes place annually on March
3, and lasts about a week. I remember paying a very interesting visit to
the wife of the late Japanese Minister of Marines in Tokio, when I was
invited to see her little girl’s show of dolls.

O Haru San--the Honourable Miss Spring--who was an only child, and
adored by her parents, greeted me with charming politeness and dignity,
placing her tiny white hands on her knees and bowing her head down to
the ground. She was a delightful little creature of eight years of age,
very small and slender, with manners quite equal to the Countess, her
mother, who is one of the most charming women I have met in the East. O
Haru San was dressed in a fascinating gray silk crape kimono, with a
fold of scarlet crape round the neck and a gold brocaded obi. Her face
and throat were much whitened, the paint terminating in three points at
the back of the neck; her lips were reddened and slightly touched with
gold. Her hair was drawn back, raised in front and gathered into a
double loop, into which a band of scarlet crape was twisted. On her feet
she wore ‘tabi,’ little white linen socks hooked up at the side, with a
separate place for the great toe, and I noticed her little lacquered
‘geta’ (clogs) were placed neatly together just outside the door. The
whole effect reminded me of an exquisite wax model, and it was
impossible to imagine that tiny delicate being capable of any mental or
physical exertion.

To my surprise, however, she tripped gaily in front of me up the wooden
staircase and down a long corridor to a large room where the Hina
Matsuri was being held. She appeared perfectly at her ease, and chatted
away, asking me many intelligent questions, through the interpreter,
about little English girls, their games, dolls, etc.

On the landing a dolls’ garden was arranged, with small houses, bridges,
miniature fir-trees--the latter a great speciality in Japan--a river
with real water, even a minute pond with three gold-fish--the whole
arrangement very artistically planned and set out. As O Haru San drew
back the lacquered panels of her room, she looked at me anxiously to see
how I should be impressed. I certainly had no cause to feign surprise.
The sight was a most unusual one. The room was literally packed with
dolls of every sort and description; almost every nationality was
represented, some nearly life-size, others the length of one’s little
finger; all were arranged in groups, standing, sitting, propped up
against cushions, in every conceivable attitude.

On a kind of daïs were two dolls on thrones, representing the Emperor
and Empress of Japan. As far as I could see every doll was in perfect
order, every detail of their costumes correct--no broken noses, arms, or
legs--no pins! Even in the hospital, where several pale-faced dolls were
lying in bed, I noticed the splints and bandages were not to hide, but
to represent, injuries.

My small hostess darted hither and thither, pointing out special
favourites, rearranging some of the groups with her delicate little
white hands with great care and precision. I thought of my favourite
rag-doll Sally, with no features and destitute of legs, that I used to
hug in my arms as a child when I went to sleep; and I wondered what O
Haru San’s feelings would have been if I had suggested adding that
mutilated remnant to her collection. What havoc a few English children
would have made in that room! But a Japanese child is perfectly content
to look and admire; and I imagine such a thing as breaking a doll would
be considered almost a crime. Many of these toys, I was told, were over
two hundred years old; some represented warriors and ‘samuri’ of the
seventeenth century--uniforms, weapons, complete. I must not forget the
dinner-service which was spread on one of the tables, and from which
every day during the Matsuri food was served to the more important of
the dolls by their young mistress.

How comic it all seemed, and yet how real and serious it was to little
Miss Spring! She told me that at the end of the week every doll was
carefully wrapped in paper and locked away until the following year,
although one or two special favourites were occasionally brought out for
change of air.

Before leaving O Haru San presented me with about a thimbleful of tea in
a tiny transparent cup of white and gold, saying in her pretty little
way: ‘This tea is worthless indeed, and green, but deign to moisten your
honourable lips with it.’ I did as she requested, assuring her that
never before had I tasted its equal in delicious fragrance.

One _must_ be polite to avoid hopelessly disgracing one’s self in
Japanese society.

I felt strongly inclined to kiss the tiny piquant face, white paint and
all, as we said good-bye; but that would have been far too great a
breach of etiquette to be tolerated by the little lady, who, bowing low
as I left the house, begged ‘to be very kindly remembered to my most
honourable father, of whom she had heard so much.’

The following extract, taken from a German book written in 1841, shows
us how much importance has always been attached to the rules of
politeness and etiquette in Japan. It says, speaking of education:
‘Children of the higher orders are carefully instructed in morals and
manners, including the whole science of good-breeding, the minutest laws
of etiquette, and the forms of behaviour as graduated towards every
individual of the whole human race, by relation, rank, and station.’

Compulsory education exists all over the country, even in remote country
villages in the interior. A drum beats at seven o’clock in the morning
to summon the children to school, and if one is energetic enough to be
about at that early hour, one sees troops of quaint little figures
wending their way to the school-house with satchels on their backs, very
possibly flying kites or spinning tops, according to the time of year,
as they go along.

On a wet morning, instead of the merry little faces, nothing is visible
but a long procession of large yellow parchment umbrellas, and bare
brown legs and feet. With one hand the kimono is carefully held up high
out of harm’s way, with no respect to appearances; in the other hand the
children carry their ‘geta’ (clogs), which are only used in fine
weather.

As Miss Bird says, describing a Japanese school:

‘The model behaviour of the children during school-hours is quite
remarkable; they are so imbued with the spirit of obedience that their
teachers have no difficulty in securing quiet and attention. In fact,
they are almost too good; and their little old-fashioned faces look
painfully serious sometimes as they pore over their books or repeat
verses and lessons in their monotonous voices.’

One of their recitations, which I have since seen translated, ran as
follows:

 ‘Colour and perfume vanish away;
 What can be lasting in this world?
 To-day disappears in the abyss of nothingness.
 It is but the passing image of a dream, and causes only a slight
    trouble.’

In other words, ‘vanity of vanities’--a dismal ditty for young children,
but very characteristic of the spirit of fatalism in the East.

‘The penalties for bad conduct used to be a few blows with a switch on
the leg, or a slight burn with the “moxa” on the forefinger, but now the
usual punishment is detention after school-hours.

‘The cost of education is not expensive--from a halfpenny to three
halfpence a month, according to the means of the parent.’

Besides the national schools, there are many excellent colleges and
schools for the children of the nobles and upper classes in Japan. In
Tokio alone there are military, naval, and engineering colleges, besides
a large University. Japanese students, however, frequently finish their
education at foreign Universities, where they often take high degrees.

A girl generally leaves school when she is fifteen, but she continues
her studies until she marries. An important part in her education is the
arrangement of flowers, an art cultivated into a veritable science in
Japan. I was anxious to take a few lessons, but was told that no
satisfactory result could be obtained under three years’ constant study,
so decided to leave that accomplishment to those who had more time and
patience at their disposal.

I must not forget to mention some of the games and fêtes which take such
an important place in the lives of Japanese children. I have described
the Hina Matsuri, the festival for girls, which is celebrated on the 3rd
of March. The feast for boys is held on the 5th of May at the festival
of Hachman, the god of war. The towns and villages on that date present
a most curious spectacle. Where there are any boys in the family, large,
hollow, canvas kites in the form of a carp are hung at the end of long
poles from every home; the number and size of the fish corresponding to
the number and age of the boys in the family.

These fish used to be made large enough to carry a man up in the air,
and have been known to be employed in time of war to spy into the
interior of an enemy’s castle. On one occasion a robber was caught by
means of their help, and killed, but they are no longer used for these
practices.

The carp is chosen as an emblem at the feast of boys on account of its
strength and power to swim up against stream. In like manner a boy is
supposed to push his way along the stream of life and combat
difficulties.

There is a very picturesque, and at the same time curiously pathetic,
festival which takes place annually at the end of August at
Nagasaki--the ‘Bon Matsuri,’ or festival to dead children. Every day
during the week children in gorgeous costumes parade the streets of the
town, carrying fans, banners and lanterns, collecting subscriptions. On
the last day of the festival, at sunset, whole fleets of little straw
sailing-boats, with food and a light on board each, are launched on the
beach for the souls of the little children who have died.

How well I remember the scene! The sun was sinking like a ball of fire
into the purple sea, tinging the mountains, the islands, and the yellow
sand a delicate rose colour.

As far as the eye could reach numberless little figures were hurrying to
and fro on the beach, fitting out their tiny crafts ready to launch into
the water. As the sun sank behind the horizon the murmur of many voices
broke the stillness, gradually resolving into a weird incantation, which
echoed from hill to hill. This was the signal for the lighting and
launching of the boats; a few minutes later, when night had fallen, the
sea seemed ablaze with countless flickering lights; and on the shore,
thousands of little figures, fast disappearing into the darkness, could
be seen kneeling on the sand offering up their prayers and petitions for
the welfare of the little ones they had lost, in whose memory the
festival had been celebrated.

Since the opening up of the country to foreigners and the introduction
of Western civilization, many of the quaint manners and customs in Japan
are fast disappearing, and the Japanese children, especially in the
Treaty-port towns, cannot be said to have benefited by the change.

Nothing can be more delightful than a Japanese child with Japanese
manners; nothing, I grieve to say, more objectionable than one with
European manners. Why is it, I wonder, that bad habits are so much more
easily learnt than good ones?

In spite of all this, however, one must admit that much still remains,
especially amongst the girls, of that grace, that gentle politeness and
courtesy, which has ever given such a charm and attracted one so much to
the children of Japonica.



                              CHAPTER VIII
                           SERVANTS IN JAPAN

Their politeness--Frequency of their baths--Always ready for a nap--Mrs.
    Peter Potts.


The Japanese make good servants--willing and obliging and quick to learn
English ways. They cost very little to feed, living chiefly on rice and
vegetables, although they are fond of European food when they can get
it. Their honesty depends chiefly on their masters and mistresses. Where
they attach themselves they are faithful and trustworthy. On the other
hand, an unpopular English house is often servantless, and many are the
stories I have been told, especially in the English settlements in
Yokohama and Kobé, of the extravagance and theft of the Japanese
‘boy’--a word always employed in the Far East for all male servants.

The head boy of our establishment in Tokio, where we had a house for
some time, was a Japanese who in more prosperous days had been a
_samuri_, or two-sworded man. He had a fair knowledge of English, was
responsible for the payment of the weekly bills, looked after the other
servants, and always accompanied us when travelling in the interior.
Yami was a little shrivelled-up-looking man who might have been any age
between thirty-five and sixty. He possessed a father and mother as well
as a wife and large family, all of whom lived together in two small
rooms in the Japanese quarter of our house. Except on the occasion of a
shock of earthquake, when the garden seemed full of small quaintly-robed
figures running in every direction, I saw little or nothing of some of
the members of our household; and on those unpleasant occasions I was
much too agitated to think of anything but my own safety.

[Illustration: JAPANESE SERVANTS.]

The only other time that our domestic staff appeared in force was on
Christmas Day, when my father summoned everyone to his study, beginning
with Yami and his family down to the rickshaw and water coolies, their
wives and children. There seemed an endless number of little bowing
figures as they appeared in a long line, all dressed in their best, and
apparently much impressed with the importance of the occasion.

Politeness in Japan is proverbial, and extends to the lowest classes of
the community. However much Japanese servants are scolded and abused,
they will listen with apparent submission and repentance, seemingly
never taking offence, although they really hide a good deal of feeling
under their humble demeanour. I have known a servant, after being
severely reprimanded by his master, attempt to commit suicide. On the
other hand, however, when once roused to hatred, a Japanese is very
vindictive and will stop short of nothing for revenge. They have, as a
nation, wonderful control over their feelings, and on no account would
they like to appear anything but happy and contented in public.

I remember one day asking Yami about the health of his old father, who
had not been well. With the broadest of grins and every sign of
pleasure, Yami told me that only that morning his honourable parent had
‘condescended to die’ and was about to be buried that afternoon. He then
apologized profusely for mentioning such a trivial matter. I believe, as
a matter of fact, the death of the old man was a great grief to his son,
as there is much filial affection existing between parents and children
in Japan.

Yami was very devoted to me, and when travelling always considered his
duties embraced those of maid. On arriving at our destination, his first
thought was to unpack my clothes and put out on my bed whatever he
considered suitable for me to wear--a somewhat strange selection
occasionally. Wherever we were staying, he always brought me my morning
cup of tea, saying as he entered the room: ‘Good-morning, everybody.’
Poor Yami died of pneumonia just before we left Japan. I went to see him
a few hours before his death. On the floor by his side were two little
wooden frames with photographs of my father and myself. He was too weak
to speak, but pointed to the photos, and then put his hand to his heart
to show us his affection, poor fellow!

Japanese servants, if left to themselves, are lazy little beings. Their
chief joy in life seems to be their bath. How often have I had to wait
to go for my drive until the betto returned from the bathhouse! Their
horror of a drop of rain seems strange, considering this; but not for
one minute will a coolie continue work in the garden if there is the
slightest indication of wet weather.

[Illustration: THAT DELIGHTFUL HOTEL IN THE HILLS.]

They are ready to sleep on all possible occasions. I remember we were
staying in a little Japanese house near Lake Chiunsenji, and having
started out for the day, we left orders that certain things were to be
done in the way of cleaning, during our absence. We had not left a
quarter of an hour, when we discovered our lunch-basket had been
forgotten, and my father hastened back to fetch it. On entering the
little hall, he heard a noise proceeding from a large cupboard in which
was a shelf kept for boots and fishing-tackle. Looking in, he discovered
our four servants--cook, maid, house-boy and water-coolie--all stretched
out on the shelf among the contents of the cupboard, evidently just
preparing for a pleasant siesta. They scurried away like rabbits on
seeing my father, and seemed overwhelmed with shame when we spoke to
them seriously the next morning on the sin of laziness.

Some of the nasans at the up-country hotels are charming little
creatures. How well I can still see the row of merry, laughing faces
that always greeted us when we arrived at the delightful hotel up at
Myanoshita, where we went sometimes for a change of air and rest after
the gaieties of Tokio. Before we knew it, our muddy boots would be taken
off, warm slippers given us, hot baths prepared; to say nothing of an
excellent meal always ready at whatever hour we arrived--and all without
any fuss or noise but the patter of small feet up and down the long
corridors, as the little maidens hastened to do our bidding.

Once or twice at Christmas time, when games were the order of the
evening, we would request the company of half a dozen of our little
handmaidens to join in a game of ‘hunt the slipper,’ How they laughed
and entered into the fun, and yet never forgot their polite manners, nor
failed to treat us with the greatest deference and respect!

Soon after our arrival in Tokio we had a difficulty in getting servants,
and it was suggested that we should obtain the services of Mrs. Peter
Potts, whose duties as ‘charwoman’ at the English Legation only occupied
her one day a week. When I first made the old lady’s acquaintance she
was about sixty-five years old, still hale and hearty, in spite of a
somewhat strong predilection, I grieve to say, for ‘old Tom.’ Her face
always reminded me of a dried russet apple, furrowed and lined by years
of toil and constant exposure. Her complexion was fresh and ruddy, and
shone from a lavish application of soap-suds and much polishing. Her
scanty gray locks were generally hidden in the house by a red cotton
handkerchief, tied under the chin, out of doors by an appalling erection
which was once a bonnet, but which the ravages of time and weather had
reduced to a confused jumble of faded blue velvet, jellow flowers, and
souvenirs from a deceased rooster’s tail.

Her clothes, though shabby through much wear and faded from many
introductions to the wash-tub, were always scrupulously clean and neat.
A rusty black silk dress and mantle, relics of former mistresses, only
appeared at weddings and funerals; and the wonderful violet silk garment
kept expressly for Royal functions--for the old lady was nothing if not
loyal--was the above-mentioned garment turned inside out!

From many years’ employment at the Legation, Mrs. Peter Potts had come
to consider herself one of the ‘staff,’ and expected to be treated as
such. Her respect for the authorities, from the English Minister
downwards, was immense, and she had a scale of reverence with which she
greeted them--the Court curtsey to His Excellency was a sight to be
remembered and wondered at. It could hardly be properly accomplished in
an ordinary-sized room, although I have seen the old woman, interrupted
in the midst of cleaning a grate, her face and hands black with soot,
rise to her feet, catch a piece of rough holland apron in either hand,
and sweep backwards across the room in a style a Duchess of the
eighteenth century could not have surpassed.

History, however, relates that a former Minister many years previously
had come under ban of Mrs. Peter Potts’ displeasure, and, in a moment of
indignation too strong to be suppressed, she grasped His
‘Excurrency’--as she called His Excellency--by the beard and shook it
violently, much to the great man’s surprise and alarm. Since then,
either the Corps Diplomatique became more cautious as to their dealings
with their ‘colleague,’ or our friend learnt prudence with age. In any
case, of late years the Legation has had no firmer ally than Mrs. Potts.
‘I allus makes my h’inclinations to them of the Corps ’cause I knows my
dooty, Miss,’ she said to me one day.

The late lamented Mr. Peter Potts had departed this life some years
before our arrival in Japan. He was a pensioner, having been sent out as
gate-keeper to the Legation, then in Yokohama, early in the sixties.
Mrs. Potts surrounded the memory of her ‘poor Peter’ with such a halo of
romance, and attributed his death to such a marvellous number of mortal
diseases, that the ex-sergeant of Marines became a glorified figure in
her imagination. As a matter of fact, I believe he was a weak sort of
creature, very hen-pecked, who died from too great an affection to the
gin bottle.

Mrs. Potts has no family living, and seems to rejoice in the fact.

‘I did once ’ave a little bit of a thing not worth mentioning, but,
thank the Lord, it was took arter three days. My mother, she ’ad eleven
of us, pore soul! all told, and I was the only one as lived to grow up.
I was a twin, too, and born with three teeth, and they do say as ’ow
they allus are vixens--I know I was when a gal.’

She treated our little Japanese maid-servants with condescension and
secret contempt. How could anyone under sixty know how to do things in
the proper way?

‘It’s comfort, not style, as you wants, my good young lidy,’ she would
say as she bustled about. ‘Them slips of Jap things can’t know your ways
as I does.’

Once a week she used to have her mid-day meal with us, and a glass of
stout. Then how her tongue would wag! I asked her one day how she had
enjoyed her dinner.

‘Why, miss, I fancied as ’ow I was at the Gilt ’All (Guild Hall). Them
young gals was that pressing I thought as ’ow I should never ’ave done.’

The memories of her early courtship and marriage always brought a blush
to her withered cheek, as she would tell us how she met her ‘pore
Peter,’ for the first time, on the Thames Embankment--‘Jist by one of
them little trees in cages, you know, my good young lidy.’ (This, you
will remember, was forty years ago; the trees have grown since then.)
‘He did look a proper dook, did Peter, in ’is red uniform--the dead
split of the Colonel ’e were.’

They were married at the Tower, and soon afterwards came out to Japan,
Mrs. Potts as temporary maid to the wife of the English Minister.

‘Law, miss,’ she said to me one day, ‘His Excurrency used to get real
Victoria Cross sometimes, and stamp, ’e did, fit to scare you into next
week, but ’e was a kind master, ’e was. He’d say, “Come along, Mrs.
Potts, and choose a drink for yourself,” and when I said I kind o’
fancied a glass o’ beer, he’d go and draw it with ’is own ’ands, ’e
would.’

The old lady had a great admiration for my father. I overheard her
saying to Yami one day: ‘I think as ’ow the master represents the one
from above. He’s no respecter of persons, ’e isn’t, but treats us all
alike--so perlite and consid’rate, ’e is. He says, “Thank you, Mrs.
Potts,” as if I was a Duchess, he do.‘

She was a perfect walking _Court Circular_. Every event connected with
Royalties was of the greatest personal interest to her, and she
invariably took a holiday to celebrate any Royal birthday, and hung a
little Union Jack out of her cottage window. Just before the Coronation
of the King we were all busy preparing for the festivities, but for some
reason best known to herself Mrs. Potts refused to share in the general
rejoicings, although as a rule she was the gayest of the gay on these
occasions.

‘I don’t somehow feel like jubilating, my dears,’ was all she would say.

When the news of the King’s illness reached Tokio, she said to my
father, ‘You see, sir, I ’ad a “presentimum” that there was something
wrong, and I thank the Lord that I wasn’t thinking of merry-making with
His Blessed Majesty ill-a-bed and like to die.’

Whether this was a strange coincidence, or second sight I know not, but
it was a fact.



                               CHAPTER IX
                      SOME FESTIVALS AND A FUNERAL

The Imperial Silver Wedding--Parade of the troops--The wedding
    feast--The Chinese ball in Tokio--A gay assembly--A Royal
    funeral--Strange customs.


It seems curious at first to think of an Emperor with six wives having a
silver wedding, but, as I have previously mentioned, His Majesty has but
one wife who is recognised officially--the present Empress of Japan. My
father and I were staying at Tokio at the time of this ceremony, and
were fortunate in receiving invitations, as, out of the three thousand
guests invited to the palace, only about a hundred were foreigners.

The event caused great excitement in the capital, for the Japanese are
most loyal and devoted subjects. Every street was decorated with flags
and garlands of flowers, whilst on the auspicious day, March the 9th,
everyone donned their best attire and there was a public holiday all
over Japan. Thousands of peasants came from the country on the chance of
getting a glimpse at the ‘Ruler of the Rising Sun,’ who was to review
his troops on the parade-ground just outside the walls of the city. The
cherry and peach trees were also _en fête_ for the occasion, their pink
and white blossoms adding much to the charm of the scene, whilst the
wind scattered their petals on the passers-by, covering the ground like
newly-fallen snow. By two o’clock over ten thousand troops had
assembled, as smart and well-turned-out a set of men as one could wish
to see. The cavalry left something to be desired, as the horses were
small and mostly in poor condition, but they are strong, willing little
beasts, and very serviceable for rough-riding.

Three large tents had been erected on the parade-ground, one for the
Royal party, another for the staff and Ministers of State, and the third
for the Corps Diplomatique and a few favoured foreigners.

At mid-day a loud fanfare of trumpets was heard, the massed bands struck
up the Japanese National Anthem and the Royal procession arrived in
sight. The Emperor and Empress were in a golden coach drawn by six
horses, followed by eight other carriages containing Royalties and
officials. As usual, on their arrival there was dead silence, and their
Majesties’ expressions were perfectly impassive, as if carved in stone;
in fact, during the whole afternoon and the march-past of the troops, I
never saw a smile or the slightest sign of interest on either of those
statuesque faces. When the review was over, we had barely time to rush
back to the hotel to dress for the banquet and reception at the Palace.
On this important occasion I wore my first Court train, and very proud I
felt as I drove off with my father in the carriage.

The Palace grounds were brilliantly lighted by thousands of coloured
lanterns and little lamps. As I stepped out of the brougham into the
large entrance-hall, where already many of the guests had assembled, and
had my train arranged by two of the gold-laced attendants, I felt as if
I were living in some other age, being no longer only an English country
girl, but some Japanese Princess of old Japan.

After passing down endless corridors brilliantly lit with countless
candles, along highly polished and very slippery floors, we arrived at
the banqueting-hall. I presently found myself sitting with the Chinese
Minister, Mr. Wong, on my right and a little Japanese Admiral on my
left. My father was some way down on the other side.

It was a never-to-be-forgotten sight. Over five hundred guests were
present, seated at long tables, which were exquisitely decorated with
orchids, roses, ferns, and every kind of fruit in silver dishes. All the
dinner-service was also of solid silver. At one end of the hall, a
little raised and apart, sat the Emperor and Empress. The latter wore a
European dress of rich white satin embroidered all over with silver; and
masses of priceless diamonds were round her neck and in her dress. On
her head was a small crown studded with precious stones. On either side
sat the Royal Princes and Princesses; they all wore the Grand Cross
Order of Japan--a broad orange and white ribbon. Every conceivable
uniform seemed to be represented--Diplomats, Generals, Admirals, and a
few foreigners in Court dress.

The dinner lasted nearly three hours, and, to judge by the manner His
Excellency Mr. Wong appreciated every dish, it must have been a very
good one. Mr. Wong was a tall, oldish man with a shrewd, parchment-like
face. He spoke English well and said he was a natural philosopher. He
had gorgeous brocades and thick furs lining his long robes. I asked him
why he did not wear these brocades outside at night for variety, which
idea seemed much to amuse him. He told me his jade ring was worth five
thousand dollars. It certainly was a lovely green stone.

The little Japanese Admiral, who spoke no English, tried to entertain me
by making all sorts of figures out of his bread. At each course he asked
for a fresh roll, and, by the end of dinner, we had an array of minute
bread soldiers, ladies and animals on the table before us, really most
cleverly contrived.

Before the banquet was half finished I felt I could eat no more, but my
two neighbours seemed so distressed when I passed a dish, that I felt
obliged to taste everything.

Each guest had before his plate a stork made of solid silver,
beautifully chased, standing on a little silver box, with two tortoises
at the foot, also in silver. These were presented by their Majesties as
souvenirs of their silver wedding. The stork is the emblem of happiness
in Japan and the tortoise of long life. Before leaving, we were also
presented with silver medals, coined especially for the occasion with an
inscription, and enclosed in a black and silver lacquer box.

After the banquet we went to the throne-room, where seats were arranged
for two thousand guests, many being present who had not attended the
dinner. There was a stage, and some very curious acting was
performed--old Japanese plays, with weird Japanese music, which
resembled cats on a roof more than anything I have ever heard.

The solemnity of the large audience, the weird acting and the appalling
music suddenly inspired me with a wild desire to laugh, and I only saved
myself from disgrace by bending my head low and trying to think of
everything sad I could recollect. It was no use; I was rapidly becoming
hysterical, when a kind little Japanese lady, thinking I was feeling
faint, offered me her scent-bottle. This restored me to my senses, and I
repressed my feelings until the end of the entertainment.

The Emperor and Empress were present, sitting in state together on their
thrones. During the whole performance they hardly moved a muscle of
their faces, the sign of high breeding in Japan, but the poor Empress
looked very pale and exhausted before the end, and neither she nor the
Emperor attended the supper to which we were all bidden before leaving
the palace.

Truly it was a strange and unique ceremony.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Another entertainment of interest to which we went some time later was a
ball given at the Chinese Legation by their Excellencies the Minister
and Lady Yü, who had succeeded my old friend and philosopher, Mr. Wong,
in Tokio. Looking at the large cosmopolitan company gathered together,
all apparently on the most friendly and cordial terms, it was hard to
believe that there had ever been war between China and Japan, or that
even then there were strained relations between several of the countries
whose representatives were there on apparently the most friendly and
cordial terms. However, I suppose even the most zealous statesman must
at times put aside his official capacity and yield to the enjoyment of
the moment, and this they certainly seemed to be doing on the present
occasion.

The Chinese Legation is a large European building of red brick,
commanding one of the best situations in Tokio. But for its yellow flag
flying aloft on fête-days and a few Chinese ‘monban,’ or guards, at the
gates, there is nothing to distinguish it from any of the other official
residences in the capital. The Legation is furnished in European style,
with curtains and coverings of bright-coloured brocades, and has a large
ball-room, with a parquet floor and electric light. On this important
evening the walls were decorated with Chinese weapons and flags,
arranged very effectively. The guests, who numbered between two and
three hundred, arrived shortly after nine o’clock; they included nearly
all the Japanese Ministers of State and high officials, the various
Corps Diplomatiques and their staffs, the Russian Admiral and a number
of Russian officers, and also the greater part of the foreign community
of Tokio.

On arrival, we were met at the entrance by an imposing group of Chinese
officials, who escorted us two by two across the hall and up a long
flight of stairs to the dressing-room. After delivering over our cloaks
and wraps to the quaintest and most picturesque-looking little
maid-servants, we were marched arm in arm solemnly in procession
downstairs to the drawing-room, where the Minister and Lady Yü were
waiting to receive us. Lady Yü wore a European dress of violet satin and
lace, and had a Court train trimmed with ostrich-feathers; although she
is usually seen in her national costume. She is a nice-looking woman,
with a kind, pleasant face. By birth she is American-Japanese, her
father having married and settled in Shanghai. Her two daughters, Miss
Lizzie and Miss Nelly Yü, were also in European dresses of white silk.
They are bright-looking girls, very popular in Tokio society. All three
speak English fluently. The Minister, however, speaks only Chinese, but,
I believe, understands a good deal of the conversation going on around
him. He is a native of the province of Manchu, in the North of China,
and, like most of the inhabitants of that part of the country, is above
the average height and a powerfully-made man. He adheres entirely to his
Chinese dress, and was attired in a long coat of yellow brocade, lined
with white Mongolian fur.

There are two sons, the eldest about twenty-one years of age, who is
already married, and is a proud father--the other a boy of about
seventeen. They both seemed thoroughly to enjoy the dancing, although
their long satin petticoats and curious high shoes must have been
somewhat inconvenient. They are being educated by French and English
governesses, and one of them confided to me that his mother fines him 10
sen (= 2½d.) whenever he speaks Chinese!

A number of Chinese guests were present, their gorgeous, embroidered
garments adding much to the general effect of the ballroom, as did also
the gay uniforms of the various naval and military officers. There was a
curious mixture of costumes. Chinese in Chinese dress, Chinese in
European dress, Japanese _à l’Anglaise_, Japanese _à la Japonaise_, and
Europeans in every imaginable combination of colour and style; some
toilettes as much ‘up-to-date’ as the distance from the land of fashions
permitted, others evidently desirous of striking out a line of their
own. One American lady had actually draped herself in a Japanese kimono,
but in a way that no Japanese lady would dream of appearing. I also
noticed a German lady in a dress of pure white.

Perhaps, however, they imagined it was a fancy-dress ball! Contrary to
the Chinese dress, which is a combination of the most vivid colouring,
the Japanese ladies over twenty--in fact, even younger--wear nothing but
the most sober colours--grays, drabs, fawns; and the elderly ladies are
generally seen in black, the only adornment being their crest
embroidered on the back of their kimonos. The men and boys wear gray,
dark blue, and black ukatas.

The cotillon was led by Miss Yü and a secretary of the Russian Legation,
and included some pretty and original figures. The Russian
_contredanses_ seemed to be especially appreciated, and the fun had
waxed fast and furious towards the small hours of the morning when we
took our departure. In fact, the ball was a great success in every way,
and the general originality of the entertainment added much to its
charm.

Some of the guests were a little disappointed in not having a real
Chinese supper; but when I mention a few of the palatable dishes that
were served to us at a Chinese dinner at which we were once present, I
think you will agree with me that we had a lucky escape.

The chief dainties at that delectable feast--which, by-the-by, lasted
three hours and a half--were swallows’-nest soup, a very expensive dish,
I believe; sharks’ fins, more or less eatable; eggs, which had been
buried for several months and had become the consistency and colour of
old Stilton cheese; and many other similar dainties which I fail to
remember, but all swimming in the inevitable and savoury Chinese sauce
made of pig and goose fat. Of course, tastes differ, but I own to
preferring the more commonplace chicken-and-ham supper menu to the above
delicacies.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Another ceremony of a very different character at which I was soon
afterwards present, was the Shinto funeral of His Imperial Highness
Prince Arizugawa, uncle to the present Emperor. There is a most
remarkable custom in Japan--that any person of Royal blood who dies away
from home must have his death concealed until his body can be removed to
his own palace. On this occasion, for several days after the Prince’s
death was an open secret, official bulletins were issued describing his
condition as very critical. On the arrival of the coffin at the Imperial
Palace in Tokio, however, his death was publicly announced to have taken
place--quite a week later than was really the case.

By an early hour the streets of Tokio were thronged with an expectant
crowd, all in their best attire--a picturesque gathering, very different
from our sober-coloured crowd in England. Death to a Japanese does not
inspire the same dread and awe with which we are accustomed to associate
it.

The day was all one could desire--one of those brilliant frosty days
which make the winter of Japan so delightful. The funeral procession
left the palace about 9 a.m., preceded by a large number of mounted
troops; and the roads were lined by the infantry to keep back the crowd.
Not wishing to follow the procession at a foot-pace for over two
hours--the Imperial burial-ground being nearly five miles from the
Prince’s palace--my father and I started an hour later and, driving by a
shortcut, reached our destination in good time. Only those having
tickets were admitted into the Temple grounds, but there was a very
large gathering--almost every nation being represented. The gay uniforms
of the Japanese Officials, Admirals, and Generals; the entire Corps
Diplomatique, Consuls from Yokohama, the officers from the Russian and
German men-of-war, and the Chinese and Koreans in their quaint dress,
all formed a brilliant gathering, standing out against the dark
background of the great cryptomeria trees.

Several ladies were present, all in deep mourning; among them we noticed
two of the Royal Princesses. Refreshments were provided in a small
Japanese house in the grounds; and the hot coffee and sandwiches seemed
much appreciated by many who had come up by an early train from Yokohama
that morning. As the faint notes of the bugle announced the approach of
the procession, we all formed into a long line near the entrance-gate.

The priests walked first, arrayed in white silk kimonos, with curious
erections of stiff black silk on their heads, somewhat resembling the
helmet of Britannia. Then followed the choir, playing a weird
incantation on their curious instruments. As I have said before, those
who have not heard Japanese music can hardly realize how utterly unlike
it is to the music of the West. Harmony it has none, and the wailing,
dirge-like sounds are somewhat trying to the uninitiated.
Notwithstanding, I noticed a solemn dignity in the mournful strains
which had never struck me before.

Great numbers of wreaths, also enormous erections of artificial and
natural flowers in bamboo stands, were carried by men in white cloaks.
Some of these offerings were over twelve feet in height and required two
men to carry them. These were followed by the late Prince’s servants,
his horses, then more priests--one carrying on a wooden stand a pair of
shoes for the use of the departed spirit on its journey to Paradise or
Hades, as the case might be. Then came the coffin, enclosed in a plain
white wood sarcophagus, from which appeared a piece of the sleeve of the
dead Prince’s kimono, which, I must own, produced a most uncanny effect.

A Shinto corpse is always buried in a sitting position, fully dressed,
with head bent to the knees in attitude of prayer. The coffin was
carried by a dozen men, all in white and bare-headed. Young Prince
Arizugawa followed immediately after his father’s coffin. He was in old
Court dress--a petticoat of black silk, very full, giving the appearance
of a divided skirt and a white silk kimono. He carried a long, narrow
piece of wood, which he held in front of him, on which, doubtless, were
inscribed prayers. His head-dress was somewhat similar to that worn by
the priests, but at the back of the head was fastened a large black wire
hoop covered with silk. In appearance the Prince is a small man, even
for a Japanese, but very dignified in manner, with a clever, rather sad
face. The ceremony must have been a trying one for him, as he marched on
foot in the centre of the procession from one end of Tokio to the other,
and the Shinto funeral rites, as far as the immediate relatives of the
dead are concerned, compelled them to remain by the coffin until after
sunset.

Princess Arizugawa, the Empress’s messenger and the late Prince’s mother
were also in old Japanese Court dress--enormous trousers of bright-red
material and white silk kimonos. Their hair was dressed in the most
fantastic style, part of it standing out on either side of the head in
stiff wings, the back view of the head resembling a heart in shape, the
rest of the hair falling loosely down the back. The poor little ladies
seemed to experience some difficulty in walking in their high clogs and
stiff trousers. I imagine they must prefer even European dress to this
quaint, but unpractical style.

After waiting about an hour, while the coffin and floral offerings were
being arranged, we were conducted to the other end of the Temple
grounds, where a temporary altar had been erected. The priests, who were
eight in number, after clapping their hands before the altar to call the
attention of the gods and bowing to the ground repeatedly, chanted
several long prayers, and the choir again began its dirge-like wailing.
Then the priests in turn placed a small white wooden stand in front of
the altar-steps, on each of which was a dish containing different sorts
of food. First, two fish were presented, then a pair of wild duck, game,
meat, rice, bread, fruits, and lastly, a bottle of saké. Food is always
offered at a Shinto funeral for use of the spirit of the departed, who
is supposed to travel for fifty days before his fate is finally decided
by the gods; and during that period prayers are incessantly offered up
by the priests and the family of the deceased until the fiftieth day,
when judgment is supposed to be pronounced as to his future state.

Before leaving, each guest in turn, beginning with the messengers of the
Emperor and Empress, placed before the coffin a small branch of a tree,
from which hung strips of white paper cut into little angular bunches,
intended to represent the offerings of cloth which in ancient days were
tied to the branches of the ‘cleyera’ tree in festival time. When our
turn came, over a hundred branches had been presented, and, on leaving,
we passed a large crowd with their offerings in their hands. The whole
ceremony was exceedingly simple. Indeed, the chief characteristic of the
Shinto religion is its simplicity; and ‘to follow the dictates of your
own conscience and to obey the Mikado’ embraces the whole of its
religious teaching. The present religion of the country is Shinto, but
many of the Buddhist ceremonies have become mingled with it, although
each religion has its distinctive marks.

[Illustration]



                               CHAPTER X
                             CHANG, MY CHOW

His first appearance--Adventures and mishaps--Companions in
    Hospital--Chang goes to Church--Facing the enemy.


Among all the reminiscences of my life in Japan I think those in which
my Chinese chow dog played a part are perhaps the most vivid in my
memory.

We had some good times together, Chang and I, and I fear the chief blame
lies at his mistress’s door for not training him up in the way he should
go. But who can teach a chow what he doesn’t want to learn? A cleverer
person than I.

How well I remember Chang’s first appearance on the scene--a Sunday
afternoon in Tokio. Enter Yami, very hot and agitated, holding a
struggling yellow ball in his arms. Here was the much-longed-for chow
puppy, sent me by a friend from Hong Kong. What a queer little chap he
was, with his bright brown eyes and black tongue. Exceedingly dirty,
too, I am sorry to have to confess, in spite of several baths on his
arrival at Yokohama, to which I was told he much objected.

As Chang grew up he became the very finest chow dog seen out of China.
What high-class specimens may be reserved for the special consumption of
the yellow-jacketed and peacock-befeathered Chinese mandarin I know not,
but in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’ he decidedly held his own.

[Illustration: THREE FRIENDS (_p._ 127).]

Which reminds me--and I have it on the best authority, that of His
Excellency Mr. Wong, late Chinese Minister in Tokio, since
beheaded--that chow dogs are _not_ eaten in China.

I had two little Japanese chins at that time--Yum-Yum and Dodo--which
ran Chang very close in my affections. What pretty little things they
were! Yum-Yum, no bigger than a fair-sized kitten, but almost human in
intelligence and powers of affection, with her pretty little bird-like
ways. I fancy even Chang’s stony heart now and then felt a pang of
jealousy when he saw her sitting on my shoulder, nibbling a bit of
lettuce, or chin-chinning to an admiring audience on the dining-room
table for a grape or wee bit of apple.

Then the fat, sturdy Dodo too, with his long, black-and-white, silky
coat and inquiring mind. I can see him now, gazing, with head on one
side, like a pert cock-robin, at that funny, immovable little policeman
outside the gates. I sometimes almost wondered myself if that small
wooden figure were really alive, or only a dummy in uniform and sword,
for surely it would have made a cat laugh to see Dodo’s never-ending
astonishment and curiosity.

One constant source of excitement in Chang’s life at Tokio were the
black crows. What games he used to play with them, feigning sleep, until
those wary thieves would venture to make a raid on a half-finished bone;
then up he would jump, and a mad chase would follow. But those wily old
birds somehow always got the best of it, and would sit, cawing away
triumphantly, in the twisted pine-tree just out of his reach.

But Chang was a great source of anxiety to me sometimes in those days,
to say nothing of expense. Only the other evening, looking over some old
papers, I came across the following bill, for which he is responsible:

              BILL FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT OF THE CHOW DOG.

     Consultation                                 1 yen.
     Examination                                            75 sen.
     Operation                                     2 yen    25 sen.
     Lodging, milk-and-egg diet for                4 yen    50 sen.
       above-named animal during one month
                                                        ‒‒‒‒‒‒‒‒‒‒‒
                      Total                        8 yen 50 sen.[D]
                                                        ‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗‗
      _First-class Veterinary Institution,_
                _Komobar, Tokio._

-----

Footnote D:

  Equals about 17s. 6d.

-----

[Illustration: THE GARDEN OF THE LITTLE TEA-HOUSE (_p._ 131).]

Ah! had it not been for the kind care and skill of those clever little
Japs, he would not now be basking in luxury by the fire.

One day I found him lying, to all appearance, dead under the pink
camellia-bush in the garden of that little tea-house far away from Tokio
in the interior where we were staying. What could be the matter?

‘Poison, evidently,’ suggested one would-be comforter. Had he not barked
at that melancholy-looking individual, who had apparently come to this
far-off, secluded spot, in search of quiet and repose? No wonder, then,
a foreigner’s dog--and such a dog--should be quietly, but surely,
condemned!

I was in despair. What was to be done?

‘Consult a city magistrate?’ There was no city, and certainly no
magistrate.

‘The village doctor’--brilliant suggestion from our faithful
interpreter, Idaka. A rickshaw was summoned, and with many injunctions
and--let me confess--a few tears, the poor, unconscious treasure was
sent off in Yami’s watchful charge.

Three hours’ waiting, whilst a long line of patient and sick little
Japanese went up for consultation to the kind old ‘isha-san’ (doctor),
who lived in the little wooden house at the end of the narrow street,
with the big tiger-lily before the door. There he sat upon his mat on
the floor, clad in his blue kimono, with spectacles and pipe, waiting to
receive his patients, with a little brass hibatchi burning away beside
him.

Chang’s pulse and tongue having been both examined, Yami was given a
small cardboard box containing six minute pills.

‘One every two hours until the patient is better.’ By mistake the pills
all falling into his bread-and-milk, were swallowed in one dose, but
fortunately no fatal result ensued.

The next day we returned to Tokio. How were we to dispose of the poor
suffering one during the four hours’ rickshaw drive? Finally Chang was
rolled up in a rug at my feet and all went well for the first twelve
miles or so, when our rickshaw coolie in the shafts took it into his
head to bolt down a steep hill. Result, a smash--a confused heap of
mistress and dog on the ground, a broken-kneed coolie, to say nothing of
the telescoping of the other rickshaws in the rear, which, not being
able to stop in their downward course, were literally jammed together,
the shafts of one going straight through the back of the one in front.
Stiff and shaken as I was, I have seldom laughed more than at the sight
the unfortunate occupants presented in their original prison. However,
after some difficulty, at last we arrived home, and the next day Chang
was sent off to that most excellent Japanese institution, the Komobar,
where, after a month’s residence and the previously mentioned bill, he
returned home convalescent, not, however, in his former unblemished
condition. Having had inflammation of both lungs, it was thought
necessary to blister his sides, and the absence of hair was replaced by
a blue linen wadded coat, tied on with tape, and with two holes for the
front-legs.

[Illustration: THE KIND OLD ‘ISHA-SAN’ (_p._ 131).]

Poor Chang, how he hated being the laughing-stock of those odious curs
in the neighbourhood. But we tried our best to console him by making him
a coat of yellow iron-cloth, which we likened to the late Li Hung
Chang’s renowned yellow jacket.

Chang’s little friends, the Japanese spaniels, were also his companions
in hospital. Strange to say, about this time Dodo caught small-pox, or
what Dr. Hitchikito pronounced to be such, and was promptly bundled off
to the hospital for a three-weeks’ residence in a large wicker cage,
with strict quarantine, whence he returned somewhat thinner, but just as
pompous as ever.

Little Yum-Yum’s illness was of a different nature. During our absence
from Tokio she pined to such an extent that her little brain could no
longer stand the strain, and she developed brain-fever. We received one
morning a frantic telegram from the cook to say ‘Yum-Yum seriously ill;
under treatment.’ On our return, we found the patient better, looking
very interesting, lying in a small brown basket before the kitchen fire.
She had sufficient strength to give a weak little bark of joy, and
feebly lick our hands with her tiny red tongue. We were told she had
literally been packed in ice to reduce the fever, until her silken coat
stood out stiff and straight like frozen snow.

They are clever men those Japanese veterinaries. Where else in the world
would an animal have been treated in that scientific and up-to-date
fashion?

I think there were moments when Chang must have been possessed of an
evil spirit, otherwise what can have put it into his disobedient head to
follow me to church one Sunday morning, in spite of strict orders to
remain at home?

After he had been three times removed from the aisle by the irate
churchwarden, I was at last obliged to escort him myself to what I
thought was a safe distance, and, leaving him trotting sadly away up the
little path towards the house, I returned to church and my devotions
quite happy in my mind.

All went well until the sermon. The curate was just going up into the
pulpit when I saw him suddenly start back, very nearly falling over as
he did so, and then beckon to one of the choir-boys. An animated
discussion followed, then the boy, looking somewhat pale, mounted the
steps, dived down into the pulpit, and, to my horror, I saw Chang being
dragged out, much against his will, looking extremely cross, but
otherwise perfectly regardless of the commotion he was causing.

When he had been safely marched out through the vestry, and the door
firmly closed, the service was resumed, but I noticed that the sermon
was somewhat dogmatic that morning. A thousand pardons!

[Illustration: THE LITTLE HOUSE IN THE FOREST (_p._ 139).]

On investigation, I discovered that Chang, as soon as my back was
turned, had followed me quietly at some little distance, and, entering
the church unperceived by the vestry door, decided to take his morning
nap on the pulpit mat until it should be time to escort me home.

The next morning I received a polite note from the curate asking me
kindly to abstain in future from bringing my dog to church, as, although
he admired him immensely, he thought a dog a somewhat disturbing element
on such occasions. In future, on Sunday mornings, before our departure
to church, the offender was firmly secured to the leg of the kitchen
table, and we had no more startling apparitions to distract us.

I think life would have been quite ideal in our summer quarters at
Karuizawa had it not been for that odious black chow that lived in the
other little house in the forest, just across the stream down below.

He was not to be compared to Chang in beauty, and, I must confess, in a
tooth-to-tooth fight, Chang invariably got the worst of it. After a
daily encounter on neutral grounds, affairs reached a crisis when, one
day, in a fit of bravado, my hero ventured into the enemy’s camp, and a
terrific and sanguinary battle followed. In one last, desperate
struggle, they fell together into the gold-fish pond, and were only
rescued from a watery grave by the gallant exertions of the black chow’s
master, who dragged them out dripping, half dead, but still locked in a
deadly embrace, only to be loosened by the repeated application of
buckets of water and finally pepper on their respective noses.

The appearance of my friend for the next few days resembled that of a
victim to mumps, combined with a black and swollen eye and a somewhat
mangy condition of his naturally glossy coat.

Even that, alas! did not cure Chang’s pugilistic tendencies. How often
has he returned home a sadder, though I fear not a wiser, dog! On one
occasion with but three sound legs; on another, with a hole the size of
a bullet-wound in his throat from a mastiff’s fang. But enough of these
painful reflections.

[Illustration: CHANG’S FIRST APPEARANCE.]



                               CHAPTER XI
                      FURTHER ADVENTURES OF CHANG

  The tale of a tub--Sayonara--Board-ship acquaintance--Queer company.



[Illustration: YUM-YUM AND DODO.] There is one more reminiscence of that
happy summer I must recall; I recollect it very nearly ended
disastrously for my hero.

We started one morning at sunrise, a party of four foreigners, twelve
coolies, a guide, and one wildly-excited yellow dog, to the little
island of M----, where there is a curious old monastery inhabited by
Buddhist monks. After a steep descent of nearly two hours, we reached
the valley, and drove off gaily, three coolies to each rickshaw, two
pulling tandem in front and one pushing behind.

Our road lay close along the coast: on one side the blue waters of the
Inland Sea, with the waves rippling upon the yellow sand; on the other,
the green rice-fields, with the women hard at work at their monotonous
labour, looking, nevertheless, very picturesque in their short blue
linen kimonos and white handkerchiefs tied over their black hair. A
peculiarity we noticed in this locality was that the female portion of
the population seemed to do all the work. Women, mares, and cows are be
seen everywhere as beasts of burden, whereas the masculine element
appears to enjoy comparative leisure.

This is by the way, however.

After a three hours’ ride, at the rate of about five and a half to six
miles an hour, during which time the sun had risen and become very
powerful, whilst we felt the change from the invigorating mountain air
we had come from, we at last arrived at a small and exceedingly dirty
tea-house. The first stuff they brought us we could not drink. It was
only daikon, our guide assured us; wholesome possibly, but very nasty.

After partaking of some honourable tea and being supplied with ‘waragi’
(straw sandals) and long sticks, as the road was bad, we left our
jinrickshaws and coolies to wait our return, and started off on foot.

The island is only accessible at low tide, so we waited patiently on the
beach for an hour, and watched the innumerable little ‘sampans,’ with
their curious square sails, plying their way through the surf.

As soon as the tide was sufficiently low, we were carried across to the
island on the backs of some funny brown-skinned fishermen--an experience
more exciting than comfortable.

[Illustration: THE MONASTERY IN THE ROCK.]

Then up the narrow street, with quaint little shops on either side,
where we spent all our ‘sens’ buying curious shell ornaments, dried
sea-horses and endless rubbish; and where I distinguished myself by
purchasing what I fondly imagined to be the red, painted shell of a
small crab. On putting it, for safety, in the crown of my hat, I
discovered, to my horror, the brute was still alive and capable of using
its claws!

Then a steep climb up the rocks, at every turn getting the most glorious
peeps of the sea down below, until we arrived, hot and breathless, at
the monastery. There we found two smiling monks, ‘all shaven and shorn,’
standing at the door waiting to receive us, who begged us ‘to be kind
enough to favour their wretched dwelling by reposing our honourable
forms on a mat.’ In a weak moment, I suggested a bath, always a great
institution in Japan on every possible occasion, and our guide,
translating my request to the monks, was informed that one should be
prepared immediately for the ‘ojo-sama’ (honourable young lady) at
whatever temperature she required.

In the meantime, we decided to climb to the topmost rock and inspect the
view. On our return, I was told that my bath was ready, and, with many
smiles and the lowest of bows, I was conducted by two of the monks to a
large open quadrangle, in the centre of which was a big wooden tub,
about four feet high, out of which clouds of steam were issuing. Groups
of monks stood about the quadrangle. The advent of visitors was a great
event in their monotonous lives and the idea that I might not appreciate
their presence had not occurred to them for a moment.

What on earth was I to do?

I explained as well as I could, to our guide, that foreign ladies were
not accustomed to take their baths in public, and at length, after an
animated conversation, of which I did not understand a word, to my great
relief, I saw that terrible and still steaming tub being slowly but
surely removed from its place of honour.

What a strange ‘tiffin’ those kind monks gave us, and what a merry party
we were sitting on the floor, round a little table one foot high and
trying to eat with chopsticks! How our hosts laughed at our awkwardness.
I think Chang got most of those queer-looking little dishes. I can
remember the menu now.

First we had raw fish, with soy and pickled turnip; then seaweed soup
and young rushes; prawns, bamboo-shoots, and lotus-root; rice, in bowls,
which we found absolutely maddening to eat with chopsticks; hot saké,
tea, and pipes. I believe there were also some unwholesome-looking
little biscuits and arsenic-coloured bean-cakes. Without these
delicacies no Japanese banquet is complete.

Then, after an hour’s rest, off we started again to the caves down by
the sea. How clear the water was! We could distinctly see the beds of
coral far, far down below. A shoal of sardines flitted hither and
thither like a long line of silver. A school of porpoises were splashing
about at a little distance; and we fancied we saw the black fin of a
shark rising out of the water not very far off.

As we sat there watching the waves dashing up over the rocks, two
strange, brown, naked beings suddenly appeared from one of the caves and
offered to dive for some live lobsters, if we would give them a few sen.
Down they plunged, and so long were they gone that we began to think,
they really must be demons from the sea, and not men at all. Suddenly, a
dripping creature stood before us, with surely a lobster in its mouth,
which it put down on the rocks with a grin of triumph. Then, what must
Chang do but examine this strange-looking sea-trophy, with the result
that we heard a yell of pain and saw him dancing madly about with a
black lobster firmly fastened to his nose! Before we could come to his
help over he fell, backwards, into the sea below, and was borne rapidly
away by the swift current. The two brown demons plunged in after him,
and with some difficulty he was restored to land, gasping and stunned,
but safe.

Full of gratitude, I presented the rescuers with a yen (Japanese
dollar), which they received with many bows, rubbing their knees with
their claw-like fingers and hissing through their teeth in the most
polite Japanese manner. We noticed, however, they seemed much
entertained about something as they scrambled off to their caves,
chattering and laughing.

What could have so amused them?

After some hesitation, our guide confessed that they were saying that
the ‘ojo-san’ must be a silly fool to have given so much for saving a
dog, when, on a previous occasion, having rescued a child at the same
spot, the grateful parents had presented them with only ten sen (2½d.)!

                  *       *       *       *       *

I have not forgotten how Chang was once the means of saving my life. How
well I remember that night in January! The snow lay thick on the ground
and there was every appearance of a continued hard frost as I looked out
of my bedroom window on the moonlit scene below.

Chang had been very restless all the evening, jumping up and giving an
impatient bark from time to time, as if something were disturbing him. I
had induced him, however, to lie down on the mat in my room, where he
always slept, and jumping into bed myself, I was soon fast asleep.

It was about midnight, when I was suddenly awakened by something pulling
at my bed-clothes and heard a low whine at my side. Wondering what could
be the matter, I sprang out of bed, and had just hastily slipped on my
dressing-gown and slippers, when there was a loud roar like thunder,
followed immediately by a terrific crash, and the whole house seemed to
be falling. In less time than it takes me to tell you, I was out of my
room, flying as fast as my feet would carry me down the stairs, which
were rocking so violently I could hardly stand. On I rushed, out through
the veranda into the garden, until I found myself--how I know
not--clinging desperately to the branches of the twisted pine-tree.

The earth was still trembling, though much less violently, but I
expected at any moment another, and possibly a stronger, shock to follow
and the ground to open and swallow me up. However, all gradually became
still, and I was able to look around me and realize what had happened.

What a strange scene it was!

The black crows, which had been much disturbed by my sudden intrusion to
their roosting-place, cawed harshly as they flapped down from the
branches above me, brushing heavily against me with their great black
wings in their flight. The ground all around was covered with its pure
mantle of snow, white and peaceful, as if no terrific force of nature
lay below, ready at any moment to blot it out for ever.

The moon, shining through the fleecy clouds, looked down calm and cold.
The cries of children, the barking of many dogs, the twittering of birds
awakened from their slumbers, were heard on all sides, whilst, as I
climbed down from my perch, I discovered it was decidedly cold, and that
a tree is not the most agreeable place in which to spend a winter’s
night.

On approaching the house, which I found, almost to my surprise, to be
still standing, I was greeted with many anxious inquiries as to my
disappearance, and by loud barks of joy from my faithful Chang. Later on
I realized how much I owed to him, as, on going up to my room, I
discovered that a large piece of plaster from the ceiling had fallen on
my bed and, had I not been warned in time, I should most certainly have
been severely injured, if not killed.

Slight shocks continued at intervals, and I spent the remainder of the
night on the drawing-room sofa. The earthquake had evidently unhinged
Dodo’s inquiring mind, as at each recurring tremor he rushed frantically
round and round in a circle, howling dismally, and would not be
pacified.

Chang, being more philosophic--like all Celestials--considered that his
duty lay in defending his mistress from that ‘terrible subterranean
fish, whose tail was the cause of so much disturbance’--Japanese
superstition--and lay down calmly at my feet; with one ear, however,
well on the alert, to be prepared for all emergencies.

The next morning we found the town was a scene of desolation, and had
the appearance of a bombarded city. There were cracks in the ground in
some places five feet wide, walls down, roofs off, chimneys shattered,
our dear little church destroyed, and, worse than all, the reported loss
of many lives, though, happily, of no Europeans.

An earthquake evidently takes people differently. Several persons I
heard of afterwards, mad with fear, had jumped from the upper windows of
their houses, and were more or less seriously injured. One lady I knew,
had retired under her bed, whilst her husband, in the act of running
from the house, suddenly remembered he had left behind him, not his
wife, but his favourite cigar-case, which he promptly returned for and
rescued! One of the servants took refuge on the roof, another in the
arms of her more-valiant half in violent hysterics. Others flew wildly
hither and thither, whilst a few had sufficient presence of mind to
station themselves in the doorways.

Buildings and furniture have also the strangest vagaries on these
occasions. A solidly-built house close by us was literally in ruins,
whereas ours sustained little or no injury. I remember finding a heavy
clock on the ground, which had fallen off the mantelpiece, and was still
ticking away merrily, while, in some cases, every possible ornament that
could get smashed did so with a thoroughness that defied mending.

‘But,’ as the French say, ‘one must suffer to be beautiful,’ and had it
not been for those terrible volcanic eruptions, and those awful
earthquake convulsions, where would be that wonderful, that mystical
‘Fuji-yama’ the Sacred Mountain--those picturesque valleys and
hills--those fantastically-shaped rocks and mountain ranges, which add
such a charm and beauty to the islands of Japan?

                  *       *       *       *       *

Oh, what good times we had that summer in the little wooden house in the
midst of the forest of fir-trees far away in the mountains of Japan!

What gallops over the hills in the early mornings, with the dew still on
the grass and the larks singing overhead!

[Illustration: MYSTICAL ‘FUJI-YAMA.’]

Sometimes Chang would escort us--though without permission, I grieve to
say--on our riding expeditions. When we had gone two or three miles
along the plain, after leaving strict injunctions that he was to be shut
up until our return, a little speck would be seen in the distance,
rapidly developing into a panting, disobedient, yellow dog. Even then, I
fear, he did not get the punishment he deserved. Who could be severe for
long, with the delicious mountain air fanning our cheeks, the blue sky
above, and, on either side of the narrow path, a dazzling confusion of
the most lovely wild-flowers--from the tall white and orange lilies,
waving their stately heads in the summer breeze, down to the little
Japanese mountain edelweiss, which seemed to flourish equally well under
the hot Eastern sun as does its sister in the West amongst the Alpine
snows?

But I really believe the chief reason of the wily one’s appearance was
due to the thoughts of that delectable and oily sardine-box, of which he
was so fond, and the tit-bits and scraps, which tasted so much better
out in the open than at home.

Sometimes, too, after dinner, we would start off to pay an evening call
on one of our friends staying in the village, each carrying a little
paper lantern to light the way. Here and there, in the opening between
the dark fir-trees, we could distinctly see the outline of ‘Asamayama,’
the great volcano, rising up like a black pyramid against the star-lit
sky, a crimson cloud concealing the summit, and an occasional flame
shooting up, as if to remind one of the fires down below. The path
through the forest was so narrow we were obliged to go in single file,
our ‘four-runner,’ as we called Chang, trotting along in front to guide
us.

One evening, as we were warily picking our way over the stepping-stones
across the stream at the edge of the forest--a somewhat difficult matter
in the darkness--Chang suddenly stopped short, uttered a low growl, and
we distinctly heard the rustle of something in the long grass close by.
Peering down with our lanterns, we saw the outline of a large snake, and
heard the reptile hiss viciously as it disappeared into the brushwood.
In spite of many assurances that these large snakes in Japan were
perfectly harmless, and only the little flat-headed ‘mamushi’ deadly, I
always chose to consider that, but for Chang’s timely warning, one of us
would certainly have been poisoned.

Alas! those happy days in Japan are over now. All things must come to an
end, and we, too, at last, had to say good-bye to fair Japonica, with
its flowers, its sunshine, its dear, kindly, merry little people, and
sail away westward. I look back and see it all again: the quaint little
streets; the children flying their kites, with their small brothers and
sisters firmly secured on their backs; the never-ceasing murmur of
‘Houdah-huydah,’ as the patient coolies slowly drag their heavy burdens
up the hills; and all the countless sights and sounds only to be seen in
that delightful land.

Even the earthquakes, the typhoons, and the terrible floods seem to lose
half their terrors viewed across that mighty expanse of ever-rolling
ocean that separates us now from all things Japanese.

[Illustration: THE LOTUS FLOWER OF JAPAN.]

Sometimes, at night, as I lie awake in my Norfolk home and listen to the
murmur of the surf breaking against the cliffs far below, I fancy I can
hear the whispered Sayonaras, borne on the waves from my friends far
away; and as the wind sighs round the house like a soul in trouble, I am
reminded of those charming lines from ‘The Light of Asia’:

              ‘Ye are the voices of the wandering wind,
              Who seek for rest, and rest can never find,’

and I wonder if perchance in their restless journeyings they will bear
back my answering message: ‘Sayonara! Farewell, farewell!’

                  *       *       *       *       *

But I am moralizing. This will never do. I must not forget our journey
to Assam, nor the disaster that befell us at Hong Kong. Up to there all
went well. At Kobé we were fêted and made much of by the kind friend who
rescued Chang from drowning in the gold-fish pond. No dog could have
behaved better. His meekness and propriety were such that I inwardly
marvelled at the change, and our hospitable host and hostess were almost
in tears at his departure. ‘Such a sweet, gentle creature, and so good!’
I knew better; but ‘sufficient for the day.’

At Nagasaki we had only a few hours on shore, but, wishing to give Chang
exercise, I took him for a walk along the Bund, and we wandered about
the quaint streets of that most picturesque town immortalized by Pierre
Loti.

There, in spite of many temptations--such as tailless cats and mangy
curs, that looked only made to be annihilated--my hero returned to
the steamship _Hohenzollern_, having resisted all except a
villainous-looking coolie’s legs and a half-blind mongrel
puppy--they hardly count.

Our next port was Hong Kong, where we changed steamers and spent a
couple of days in that charming Blue Bungalow away up on the hill. What
a lovely spot it was, with its trailing creepers and tropical
vegetation, though terribly hot in summer, I believe. There, too, Chang
was admired and made much of by all, except the five Siamese cats, who
were banished to the kitchen regions, much to their disgust. It was a
necessary removal, though, and the one and only meeting between him and
those strange-looking, mouse-coloured, blue-eyed quadrupeds was rather
disastrous to the drawing-room furniture; but one must draw the line
somewhere, and he evidently considered--at a Siamese cat.

The morning of our departure on board the North German Lloyd’s steamship
_Kaiser_ was one of those days in a Hong Kong spring when the air seems
full of the scent of delicious flowers. The twining bougainvillea was a
blaze of brilliant crimson in the morning sunlight; the waxen flowers of
the stephanotis and gardenia glistened like snow against their
dark-green foliage; masses of delicate tropical ferns grew all around in
rich profusion; gorgeous butterflies flittered hither and thither across
our path.

A delicate gossamer mist hung over the harbour, converting those great
iron monsters of civilization into phantom ships, as we were rowed
across the water to our steamer, bound for Colombo.

Oh, what was it induced Chang, the now virtuous and reformed dog, to
bolt down the gangway and on to the quay just as we were about to sail
from Hong Kong? Heedless of all else but that my well-beloved was
leaving me, I tore after him, on and on along the quay, into the hot and
steaming town. What cared I for the frantic shouts from my father on
board, or the wild excitement of John Chinaman, who, seeing the mad
chase, added yet to the general confusion by his hideous yells?

At last I captured the runaway, and, breathless and spent, we sank
together in a heap on the muddy road. A few minutes later, an exhausted
and disreputable pair were to be seen wending their way back to the
quay, the deserter firmly secured by a chain.

I wonder if that wicked dog had any self-reproach for my feelings when,
on arriving at the docks, I saw to my horror the _Kaiser_ had departed
with all my worldly possessions on board, including money; and was
slowly, but surely, steaming out of the harbour.

What was to be done?

In the distance I saw my friends rushing up and down the deck,
gesticulating wildly. I could even hear a faint shout from the captain,
but what good was that?

I was just considering whether to jump in and swim--such was my state of
mind at the moment--or to accept the inevitable, and throw myself on the
mercy of some kind friend in Hong Kong until the next steamer, a
fortnight later, when, suddenly, I heard a shout from one of the
steamers close by, and to my joy, perceived the kind, jolly face of the
captain of the _Hohenzollern_. He shouted to me to wait until he could
fetch me in his steam-launch, luckily near at hand, and a few minutes
later the captain and I, with Chang securely fastened up in the bows,
were steaming along merrily towards the great mail steamer; I fear,
laughing heartily over the adventure.

When, however, the _Kaiser_ stopped, and let down a ladder to take the
two runaways on board, I own to a certain feeling of dread as to what
punishment might be in store for us.

Luckily the captain was merciful and, in fact, treated the affair as a
good joke, which was far more than we deserved, as it is considered
rather a serious matter to stop a steamer carrying mails, if even for
only a short time. We had to stand a good deal of chaff during the
voyage home, but somehow I don’t think either of us minded much.

The funniest part of it all was that Florence, my friend from the Blue
Bungalow, who had come on board to see us off, in the excitement of the
moment was nearly carried off in my place, and had to be lifted over the
side of the ship, and into a boat below, as the steam-launch, with all
the other people on board returning to Hong Kong, had already left some
minutes.

The time that elapsed between our sensational ‘send off’ and our arrival
at Colombo was a little over three weeks.

At first Chang was regarded rather as a pet lamb among the children and
babies--there were seventy-five little olive-branches on board. Then an
officious and quarrelsome German made a request to the captain--who,
poor man, always tried to please everybody--that dogs on the promenade
deck were dangerous to the community at large; so my poor, harmless
chow, and also a minute canine specimen--a Chinese sleeve-dog I believe
it was called--were banished to the charge of the butcher and steerage
passengers, in spite of many tears on the part of the sleeve-dog’s owner
and remonstrances from myself.

Sometimes, however, before the ‘disagreeable man,’ as he was called,
appeared in the morning, we would bribe the jolly old quarter-master to
bring Chang up on deck.

‘Zo,’ he would say, ‘vat dee kinders dee hund vant for to play vith?
Ferry vell, I vill him up bringen for a leetle.’ And then what romps he
used to have with his little playmates, chasing each other round the
deck, when the sailors would stop in their never-ending work of
polishing to watch the fun.

How well I remember that strange little being, half child, half demon,
who used to fondle and caress Chang so much! What a pretty pair they
made, sitting side by side, their heads close together, her red-brown
curls mingling with his thick yellow coat, and her little brown arms
thrown round his neck.

What was it, I wonder, made him start away with a yelp of pain, and look
reproachfully at her from under the refuge of my chair, safe from her
wicked little fingers?

I think the ‘fiend,’ as we called her, was quite the most beautiful
child I had ever seen; she was about eight years old, and was being sent
to England, under the charge of the captain, to be educated.

Her father was an Englishman and her mother a Cingalese, which accounted
for the curious combination of olive skin, red-brown hair and deep blue
eyes with their long lashes. She was marvellously graceful, too. Her
movements often reminded me of a young tiger. Her moods were various.
Sometimes, if the spirit moved her, she would organize strange games of
her own invention, in which the children--who were all completely under
her influence--would be commanded to join. Woe betide any child who
dared to disobey her instructions. ‘Fiend’ would stamp her foot, her
eyes would flash, and the unfortunate little offender would retire
howling to its indignant ayah. In vain were the complaints of fond
parents to the captain. Such a spell did the strange, beautiful child
cast over the other children, that neither threats nor entreaties could
keep them away when the next wild game was organized. Even I fell under
her strange fascination, although, I regret to say, I, too, had to pay
the penalty.

I think, in her half-savage way, she was fond of me; and I had for that
reason more influence with her than had most people on board.

But one morning, as I was sitting in my deckchair with Chang at my side
enjoying the sweet, sleepy existence of a morning in the tropics, I
suddenly felt a little hand stroking my hair and a soft cheek rubbing
against my arm. Knowing well what those cat-like caresses meant, and
that I was probably about to be asked some favour, I continued reading
until a sharp pain in my shoulder caused me to jump to my feet, and
there I saw my tormentor, a truly wicked expression on her lovely face,
poised on the glass roof of the saloon well out of my reach, and
indignant Chang, evidently knowing from experience what had happened,
vainly trying to reach the bare legs of the culprit. She had calmly
bitten my shoulder through my thin cotton blouse, and it was some time
before the marks of her sharp little teeth disappeared.

For the rest of the day I completely ignored her existence. I think my
plan was effective.

That evening I came upon a solitary little figure in the stern of the
ship leaning against the rails, her hands clasped, her eyes gazing far
away at the still crimson sunset.

‘Oh God,’ I heard her say, ‘I know I am very wicked, but somehow I can’t
help it! _Please_ wash me with that stuff you always use to make bad
people good, for I am sorry, _really_!’

Poor child! There was much that was good in her nature, but she needed a
strong, yet loving and patient, hand to guide her. I fear her life may
be a hard one. What a change from the wild, unfettered existence in the
East, where she ruled the natives on her father’s estate with a rod of
iron, and rode bare-backed where her fancy chose over the hills, to the
stiff, conventional life, however advanced and modified, of an English
boarding-school!

Soon after the incident just mentioned poor Chang was seen on deck by
the ‘disagreeable man,’ who for some reason best known to himself had
risen earlier than usual that morning. Furious at having his commands
disregarded, he strode up to the captain’s cabin, and, after abusing
everyone on board, from the skipper downwards, informed him that he
should lodge a complaint against the North German Lloyd Steamship
Company if that abominable Chinese cur was seen again on deck.

So from that day poor Chang was banished from civilized society; not but
what I consider--I speak reservedly--that his steerage companions were
infinitely the more entertaining.

What a strange collection they were! First, the Burmese--quiet, gentle,
brown-eyed creatures. They were on their way to the Indian Exhibition,
where I afterwards saw them selling cigars and going through their
various performances. At first they did not know me; but when I
mentioned a certain yellow dog named Chang they remembered at once, and
were much delighted at hearing of their old board-ship companion.

Then there was the Buddhist priest in his quaint garb, likewise on his
way to the Exhibition; some Cingalese rickshaw coolies--merry,
indolent-looking fellows, who seemed to take life very easily; also
several Chinamen, who sat all day long smoking their long pipes or
playing cards. I must not forget those most uncanny-looking
ourang-outangs, too, which, as the weather became colder, were dressed
up in some cast-off sailors’ clothes, and looked more horribly human
than ever; nor that dear little white bear, which was always curled up
fast asleep--and such heaps of small, chattering monkeys; fowls, birds
of all descriptions--a true ‘happy family.’

I would often go down to pay Chang a visit and find him the centre of an
admiring group, looking rather melancholy, but patiently submitting to
the unconscious teasing of those pretty little Burmese children who so
adored him.

Sometimes he would be ‘down below’ in the butcher’s quarters in company
with a Siamese cat. ‘Friends in affliction’ they certainly had become,
sitting close together, puss purring away contentedly, and rubbing her
brown head against her companion’s yellow coat as if they had been chums
all their lives, and the Siamese cat’s mistress and I would watch them
both unperceived, and wonder at the sight.



                              CHAPTER XII
                           PAUL AND VIRGINIA

Life on a tea-estate--My animal friends--Two brown bears--Brutus, the
    monkey--Always in mischief--The Brazilian Macaw.


At Colombo I basely deserted Chang, leaving him to the charge of his
kind friend the butcher, who dispatched him, on the steamship _Kaiser’s_
arrival at Southampton, to my cousin at Aldershot; and for some weeks I
heard no more of my old favourite.

We stayed a few days at Colombo, and from there took a small steamer up
to Assam, where my father had a tea-estate, which needed his personal
supervision for a time. The change after my gay and busy life in Japan
was very great. My father was away riding all day, and I was left alone
at the bungalow except for the natives belonging to the estate, who
could hardly be considered companions.

At first I felt rather forlorn and desolate, and longed more than ever
for some girl friend to keep me company, but gradually I became very
dependent upon the society of a large and strange variety of animals, to
which I grew very much attached. Endless are the tales I could relate
about the faithfulness and sagacity of various of my horses and dogs--to
say nothing of birds of all descriptions, from the macaw--which saved my
life from a desperate thief one night by his keen sense of hearing when
I was alone in the bungalow--to the little bantam hen that laid an egg
for my breakfast every morning on my bed.

My strangest companions, I think, however, were two brown bears who went
by the names of Paul and Virginia. Why they were thus called I forget.
My father found them as little cubs about three weeks old in the jungle,
their mother having been killed a day or so previously by one of the men
on the estate. The poor little beasts were nearly starved when I first
saw them, but they rapidly recovered after having a few pints of warm
milk poured down their throats. We fed them out of an old soda-water
bottle wrapped in flannel, and it answered the purpose admirably.

As the cubs grew older they became the most delightful little creatures,
and as playful as two kittens. Paul was always the larger and stronger
of the two, but little Virginia was like a ball of brown fur, and had
the gentlest and most winning ways imaginable. Like all bears, they
dearly liked water, and we had a zinc bath made for them in the
compound, in which they would sit for hours during the heat of the
day--one at one end of the tub, and one at the other; swaying their
bodies backwards and forwards as if they loved to hear the splash of the
water against the sides.

As Paul grew bigger, however, he found that there was not sufficient
room for him and Virginia to bathe together; so, hurrying to the bath a
little before the appointed bathing hour, he would jump in, lie down
flat at the bottom of the tub, and effectually prevent his sister from
taking her morning ablutions until he had finished, and the water had
become most distinctly muddy. Poor Virginia’s face was a study. Round
and round the bath she used to pace, uttering from time to time a
plaintive whine, but all of no avail; Paul ignored her existence
completely until his morning bath was finished, although at other times
they were excellent friends--in fact, a most devoted couple.

They had a constant companion in the shape of a small gray monkey named
Brutus. Now, Brutus may have been ‘an honourable man,’ but my Brutus was
a most dishonest monkey. Had it not been for his strange friendship with
the bears, I think I could not have stood his vagaries. Nothing was
sacred to him. Once my brush and comb disappeared, and when all efforts
to find them had been unavailing, I heard a mocking chuckle, and
discovered Brutus on the roof calmly brushing and combing himself with
my lost property, just as he had, doubtless, observed me doing. Needless
to say, when my brush and comb came into my possession, they were not of
much further use to me.

I cannot mention a quarter of Brutus’s many offences and mischievous
ways. If only he had exercised his talents in some useful capacity, he
would have been, indeed, a valuable addition to the family. He nearly
put an end to himself one day by trying to shave his little gray chin
with my father’s razors; and had I not been near at the time and heard
his piteous and truly human yells, he would certainly have bled to
death, as he had given himself a frightful gash behind the neck,
completely severing one ear. His appearance for several weeks afterwards
resembled an old woman with the toothache, and it was a long time before
he ventured into my father’s room again, although he made up for it by
persecuting the cook almost to distraction. He was an intensely jealous
little beast, and took a most violent dislike to a black kitten
belonging to the kitchen regions. One day the kitten disappeared, and
the poor little thing’s body was found in a saucepan of boiling soup.
Brutus, in a fit of jealous rage, had thrust his victim into the
saucepan on the fire, carefully replacing the lid so that no escape was
possible.

The monkey’s friendship with the bears was purely mercenary. He was a
lazy little beast, and found that riding was the pleasantest way of
getting about the country. He therefore used to accompany Paul and
Virginia in all their expeditions, springing lightly on the back of one
or the other, holding on by their thick brown fur, and sticking to his
seat like any jockey.

It was the funniest thing in the world to see the trio starting off for
a long excursion into the jungle; and I think in time that Bruin and his
sister got quite fond of their little master.

The bears’ favourite sleeping-place was at the top of a short, stunted
tree just outside my room. This had its disadvantages, as their presence
attracted other bears from the neighbourhood, which had not the friendly
and harmless dispositions of Paul and Virginia. From time to time
numerous ducks and chickens began to disappear in a mysterious way. A
small and favourite dog also vanished, and, during the night, we
frequently heard sounds of stealthy footsteps on the veranda, and,
although my father rushed out with his gun to investigate, nothing was
visible. In the morning, however, the invaders were tracked right into
the jungle, as, wherever they had come, they had left devastation
behind, tearing up roots, breaking down hedges, and doing terrible
damage in our vegetable garden. In vain were traps laid, and coolies set
to watch round the house. All was of no avail. Our live-stock grew
gradually less and less, one by one the fowls disappeared, and we were
in despair. Affairs reached a climax, however, one morning, when one of
our coolies was missing, and, after a long search, his mangled remains
were discovered some distance from the house, evidently the victim of
the midnight invaders.

This settled the question. Paul and Virginia must go--but where?
Although they would have been accepted at the Zoological Gardens in
Calcutta, we did not like the idea of subjecting them to confinement in
a cage. At last my father reluctantly decided to shoot them; and one
morning a court-martial was held in the compound, attended by all the
coolies on the estate; a grave was dug, the condemned were led out, two
reports resounded through the still morning air--one following quickly
after another--two brown heaps lay on the ground motionless, and now
nothing is left of poor Paul and his sister but a grassy mound, with a
little wooden inscription bearing their names and the date.

Poor Brutus felt the loss of his companions keenly, and for several days
refused to take food. In fact, I quite thought he would have died. But
one morning, on looking for him in his box where he always slept, I
found he had disappeared. I hunted for him in vain, and had just come to
the conclusion that he must have committed suicide from grief, when one
of the coolies came to me in great excitement to say Brutus had been
seen riding one of the goats. True enough, riding in state on one of the
largest goats in the herd was seen the truant, looking very proud of
himself, and seemingly perfectly content with his new companions. How
the goats approved of their rider I cannot say; anyhow, willing or
unwilling, they had to put up with his company. Every morning, as soon
as the herd were released from the enclosure where they passed the night
and turned out on the hills, Brutus would spring on to the back of the
foremost goat and disappear with them for the day, only returning at
evening for his supper.

About this time my supply of goat’s milk, which I always took for my
breakfast and supper, began to diminish. I inquired the reason of the
cook, but could get no satisfactory solution. The quantity became less
and less, and one day I was informed with many apologies that there was
none, as Brutus had taken it all!

Thinking that probably the coolies were cheating me and selling the
milk, I abused every member of the household roundly, and threatened, if
no milk were forthcoming for my supper that evening, they would one and
all be dismissed.

At sunset that evening, however, my cook came and begged me to come with
him to the enclosure where the goats were being milked. On my arrival
there, what was my amazement to see Brutus calmly milking one of the
goats, drinking a little from time to time with much relish, whilst the
remainder trickled along the ground in a long white stream. The goat
seemed perfectly unconcerned, and stood quietly nibbling some grass as
if nothing unusual was occurring. We then discovered that all the other
goats had already been milked, probably at intervals during the day,
whenever it suited the pleasure and wishes of Master Brutus, who
evidently seemed to consider that he was performing a very meritorious
action. I thought differently, however. I was particularly fond of
goat’s milk, and I was in a country where good things were not to be had
for the asking, nor for money either, for that matter.

So after this I decided to shut Brutus up in a large cage, anyhow for a
time, until I could find some other plan to keep him out of mischief.
For the next few days I was away from home a good deal riding in the
district with my father, and did not notice Brutus particularly.
Naturally he would be feeling somewhat bored, but a little punishment
would do him good.

One evening about a week later, on returning home from a long ride, I
went as usual to take the little prisoner his supper. I thought the cage
seemed unusually quiet, but supposed he was asleep. On looking in,
however, I saw a tragic sight. How it had happened, to this day I know
not, but suspended by a long string from the top of his cage hung Brutus
quite dead, evidently strangled. One end of the string still fastened
together a portion of the roof of his wooden prison; the other end was
tightly wound round and round his little gray throat.

I have never kept another monkey. They are too human.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The only other member of my happy family that I brought home to England
was the Brazilian macaw, which I have already mentioned. Arara is,
without exception, the most beautiful and by far the most intelligent
bird I have ever seen. I have him still, and long may he live, for he
will never have an equal. I believe he is about a hundred and fifteen
years old; but as the macaw belonging to the Emperor of Japan is on the
best authority a hundred and thirty years old, there is every hope my
old favourite may still have many years before him. Arara formerly
belonged to a naval officer, who brought him from Rio de Janeiro, where
his ship was stationed. On leaving there Captain R---- brought the macaw
with him to Colombo, but the long confinement in a cage much too small,
and indifferent food and treatment, affected his health and temper so
much that my friend decided to part with him, and I became the happy
possessor of Arara. It is difficult to describe his plumage and its
wonderful combination of different colouring. His back and breast are
bright crimson, his tail feathers a vivid electric blue, and his wings
emerald green. His eye is a bright yellow--I say eye advisedly, as he
possesses but one, owing to a fight on board ship with a young eagle.
This loss, however, rather adds to his personal appearance, giving him a
most cunning expression as he gazes down from his perch, always on the
alert as to what is going on.

[Illustration: ARARA]

Although Arara’s vocabulary is not large--these macaws are rarely taught
to speak--he says a few words very distinctly, and his imitation of
other animals is quite extraordinary.

Often I have hunted vainly for a cat in my room, hearing a piteous
mewing, and thinking one must be imprisoned in some cupboard, and all
the time it was Arara sitting on a branch of a tree below my window. His
imitation of the bleating of sheep, the cackling of hens, and the
crowing of cocks would puzzle the most observant.

I must not forget to mention what happened to that Chinese rascal Chang
after we left him at Colombo. Hearing nothing of him for over two
months, I fondly imagined he had settled down in England a respectable
and civilized dog. Alas, this was anything but the case.

One morning a letter arrived from my cousin at Aldershot, saying that,
after fighting with every dog in the regiment and mortally wounding two
pedigree poodles, that terrible chow-dog had finally and hopelessly
disgraced himself by appearing one morning on parade, completely
disorganizing the men, who were drawn up at attention, by wildly
careering, up and down between the lines, and jumping up at any he
chanced to recognise--a performance which did not improve the appearance
of their spotless pipe-clayed belts and clean tunics, the morning
happening to be rather muddy.

Finding that his affectionate greetings were not appreciated, Chang next
turned his attention to the legs of the Colonel’s horse, thereby much
disturbing that noble steed and his rider.

‘Whose dog is that?’ roared the Colonel, casting an infuriated glance
upon him.

‘Captain X----’s, sir,’ replied the orderly.

‘Confound it! what does he mean by keeping such a brute? Tell Captain
X---- to have the dog removed from the barracks immediately.’

Oh, I blush now to think of Chang’s disgrace. He was promptly billeted
at a neighbouring inn; but an evil spirit seems again to have possessed
his Celestial brain, and he was returned a few days later ‘with thanks,’
and an alarming bill for the slaughter of numerous chickens and ducks.

His subsequent career, I grieve to say, was a long succession of
iniquities. On our arrival in England we took him down with us to
Norfolk, thinking there he must be out of harm’s way. At first all went
well. He spent his time meekly lying under the dining-room table,
looking as pious as a China pug. But, alas! he chanced one day to
observe one of those irresistible pheasants he used to chase in the
mountains of Japan. From that moment he was lost. Furious keepers
brought tales of a ‘great yallow, savage baste havin’ scared them thur
burds, ‘til there’s no doin’ northin’ with ‘em’; of nests destroyed,
coops overturned, and countless other offences too numerous to recount.
Chang narrowly escaped being shot on more than one occasion; and from
that time until his departure from the land of game he was securely
imprisoned in the stable, there to repent his sins in solitude.

What was I to do with such a dog? My friends urged me to sell him, and I
had several excellent opportunities of doing so, but I could not in that
mercenary fashion part with my old companion.

Looking back on those days now, I marvel that we were not banished from
civilized society; but it is a long lane that has no turning, and at
last Chang began to reform. Whether it was the wire-muzzle I made him
wear, or the recollection of the well-deserved and severe thrashing he
received on the terrible occasion when he worried a flock of sheep, I
know not; but slowly and surely he gave up his many evil ways, until at
length he became the steady, sober watch-dog and ever constant and
faithful companion he is now.

As I look at my old favourite stretched out on the hearthrug at my feet
in a way peculiar to chows, I realize that we ran a great risk of
getting ourselves disliked in those days. It is of no use for him to
pretend he does not understand me, as I know by the placid smile on his
wicked old face and the sly wink in his sleepy eye that he does so
perfectly.

But I often wonder if dogs have any memories of the past, and if Chang
sometimes thinks, as I so often do, of those happy, far-off days in fair
Japonica.

[Illustration]

            -----------------------------------------------

              WELLS GARDNER, DARTON AND CO., LTD., LONDON

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           Transcriber’s Note

There was only one error detected during the preparation of this text,
which has been corrected, and is noted here. The reference is to the
page and line in the original.

  110.1    of those statuesque faces[.]                   Added.





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