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Title: Following the Sun-Flag - A Vain Pursuit Through Manchuria
Author: Fox, John
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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                         FOLLOWING THE SUN-FLAG



                               FOLLOWING
                              THE SUN-FLAG

                             A VAIN PURSUIT
                           THROUGH MANCHURIA

                                   BY

                             JOHN FOX, JR.

                                NEW YORK
                        CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
                                  1905



                          COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY
                        CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

                         Published April, 1905


                             TROW DIRECTORY
                    PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY
                                NEW YORK



                                   To

                         "THE MEN OF MANY WARS"

                        WITH CONGRATULATIONS TO
                           THOSE ON WHOM FELL
                   THROUGH CHANCE OR PERSONAL EFFORT
                     A BETTER FORTUNE THAN WAS MINE



                                CONTENTS


                                                                PAGE

    I. THE TRAIL OF THE SAXON                                      1

    II. HARDSHIPS OF THE CAMPAIGN                                 18

    III. LINGERING IN TOKIO                                       50

    IV. MAKING FOR MANCHURIA                                      74

    V. ON THE WAR-DRAGON'S TRAIL                                 102

    VI. THE WHITE SLAVES OF HAICHENG                             128

    VII. THE BACKWARD TRAIL OF THE SAXON                         160



                              INTRODUCTION


After a long still-hunt in Tokio, and a long pursuit through Manchuria,
following that Sun-Flag of Japan, I gave up the chase at Liao-Yang.

Not being a military expert, my purpose was simply to see under that
flag the brown little "gun-man"--as he calls himself in his own
tongue--in camp and on the march, in trench and in open field, in
assault and in retreat; to tell tales of his heroism, chivalry,
devotion, sacrifice, incomparable patriotism; to see him fighting,
wounded--and, since such things in war must be--dying, dead. After seven
months my spoils of war were post-mortem battle-fields, wounded
convalescents in hospitals, deserted trenches, a few graves, and one
Russian prisoner in a red shirt.

Upon that unimportant personal disaster I can look back now with no
little amusement; and were I to re-write these articles, I should
doubtless temper both word and spirit here and there; but as my feeling
at the time was sincere, natural, and justified, as there is, I believe,
no over-statement of the facts that caused it, and as the articles were
written without malice or the least desire to "get even"--I let them go,
as written, into book form now.

No more enthusiastic pro-Japanese than I ever touched foot on the shores
of the little island, and no Japanese, however much he might, if only
for that reason, value my good opinion, can regret more than I any
change that took place within me when I came face to face with a land
and a people I had longed since childhood to see.

I am very sorry to have sounded the personal note so relentlessly in
this little book. That, too, was unavoidable, and will, I hope, be
pardoned.

                                                   JOHN FOX, JR.
    BIG STONE GAP, VIRGINIA.



                         FOLLOWING THE SUN-FLAG



                         FOLLOWING THE SUN-FLAG


                                   I

                         THE TRAIL OF THE SAXON


An amphitheatre of feathery clouds ran half around the horizon and close
to the water's edge; midway and toward Russia rose a great dark shadow
through which the sun shone faintly. Such was the celestial setting for
the entrance of a certain ship some ten days since at sunset into the
harbor of Yokohama and the Land of the Rising Sun; but no man was to
guess from the strange pictures, strange people, and jumbled mass of new
ideas and impressions waiting to make his brain dizzy on shore, that the
big cloud aloft was the symbol of actual war. No sign was to come, by
night or by day, from the tiled roofs, latticed windows, paper houses,
the foreign architectural monstrosities of wood and stone; the lights,
lanterns, shops--tiny and brilliantly lit; the innumerable rickshas, the
swift play under them of muscular bare brown legs which bore
thin-chested men who run open-mouthed and smoke cigarettes while waiting
a fare; the musical chorus of getas clicking on stone, mounted by men
bareheaded or in billycock hats; little women in kimonos; ponies with
big bellies, apex rumps, bushy forelocks and mean eyes; rows of painted
dolls caged behind barred windows and under the glare of electric
lights--expectant, waiting, patient--hour by hour, night after night, no
suggestion save perhaps in their idle patience; coolies with push carts,
staggering under heavy loads, "cargadores" in straw hats and rain coats
of rushes, looking for all the world like walking little haycocks--no
sign except in flags, the red sunbursts of Japan, along now and then
with the Stars and Stripes--flags which, for all else one could know,
might have been hung out for a holiday.

For more than a month I had been on the trail of the Saxon, the westward
trail on which he set his feet more than a hundred years ago, when he
cut the apron-strings of Mother England, turned his back on her, and,
without knowing it, started back toward her the other way round the
world, to clasp hands, perhaps, again across the Far East. Where he
started, I started, too, from the top of the Cumberland over which he
first saw the Star of Empire beckoning westward only. I went through a
black tunnel straight under the trail his moccasined feet wore over
Cumberland Gap, and stopped, for a moment, in a sleeper on the spot
where he pitched his sunset camp for the night; and the blood of his
footprints still was there.

"This is a hell of a town," said the conductor cheerfully.

I waited for an explanation. It came.

"Why, I went to a nigger-minstrel show here the other night. A
mountaineer in the gallery shot a nigger and a white man dead in the
aisle, but the band struck up 'Dixie,' and the show never stopped. But
one man left the house and that was Bones. They found him at the hotel,
but he refused to go back. 'I can't be funny in that place,' he said."

Now the curious thing is that each one of those three, the slayer and
the slain--the Saxon through the arrogance of race, the African through
the imitative faculty that has given him something of that same
arrogance toward the people of other lands--felt himself the superior of
any Oriental with a yellow skin. And now when I think of the exquisite
courtesy and ceremony and gentle politeness in this land, I smile; then
I think of the bearing of the man toward the woman of this land, and the
bearing of the man--even the mountaineer--toward the woman in our own
land, and the place the woman holds in each--and the smile passes.

Along that old wilderness trail I went across the Ohio, through prairie
lands, across the rich fields of Iowa, the plains of Nebraska, over the
Rockies, and down into the great deserts that stretch to the Sierras.
Along went others who were concerned in that trail: three Japanese
students hurrying home from England, France, and Germany, bits of that
network of eager investigation that Japan has spread over the
globe--quiet, unobtrusive little fellows who rushed for papers at every
station to see news of the war; three Americans on the way to the
Philippines for the Government; an English Major of Infantry and an
English Captain of Cavalry and a pretty English girl; and two who in
that trail had no interest--two newspaper men from France. I have been
told that the only two seven-masted vessels in the world collided one
night in mid-ocean. Well, these sons of France--the only ones on their
mission, perhaps, in broad America--collided not only on the same train,
the same sleeper, and the same section, I was told, but both were
gazetted for the same lower berth. Each asserted his claim with a
politeness that became gesticulatory and vociferous. Conductor,
brakeman, and porter came to the scene of action. Nobody could settle
the dispute, so the correspondents exchanged cards, claimed Gallic
satisfaction mutually, and requested the conductor to stop the train and
let them get off and fight. The conductor explained that, much as he
personally would like to see the scrap, the law of the land and the
speed of the Overland Limited made tarrying impossible. Without rapiers
I have often wondered how those two gentlemen of France would have drawn
each other's blood. Each still refused to take the upper berth, but next
day they were friends, and came over sea practically arm and arm on
shipboard, and arm and arm they practically are in Japan to-day.

Through the stamping grounds of Wister's "Virginian" and other men of
fact and fiction in the West, the trail led--through barren wastes with
nothing alive in sight except an occasional flock of gray, starved sheep
with a lonely herder and his sheep-dog watching us pass, while a
blue-eyed frontiersman gave me more reasons for race arrogance with his
tales of Western ethics in the old days: How men trusted each other and
were not deceived in friendship and in trade; how they sacrificed
themselves for each other without regret, and no wish for reward, and
honored and protected women always.

Then forty miles of snowsheds over the Sierras, and the trail dropped
sheer into the dewy green of flowers, gardens, and fruit-tree blossoms,
where the grass was lush, cattle and sheep were fat, and the fields
looked like rich orchards--to end in the last camp of the Saxon, San
Francisco--where the heathen Chinee walks the streets, where Robert
Louis Stevenson's bronze galley has motionless sails set to the winds
that blow through a little park, where Bret Harte's memory is soon to be
honored in a similar way, and where a man claimed that the civilization
of the trail had leaped in one bound from Chicago to the Pacific Coast.
And I wondered what the intermediate Saxons, over whose heads that leap
was made, would have to say in answer.

He had sailed one wide ocean--this Saxon--the other and wider one was by
comparison a child's play on a mill-pond with a boat of his own making,
and over it I followed him on.

On the dock two days later I saw my first crowd of Japanese, in Saxon
clothes, waving flags, and giving Saxon yells to their countrymen who
were going home to fight. After that, but for an occasional march of
those same countrymen on the steerage deck to the measure of a war-song,
no more tidings, or rumors or suggestions of war.

Seven days later, long, slowly rising slopes of mountains veiled in mist
came in view, and we saw waves of many colors washing the feet of newest
America, where the Saxon has pitched his latest but not his most
Eastern--as I must say now--camp; and where he is patching a human crazy
quilt of skins from China, Japan, Portugal, America, England, Africa.
The patching of it goes swiftly, but there will be one hole in the quilt
that will never be filled again on this earth, for the Hawaiian is
going--as he himself says, he is "pau," which in English means finished,
done for, doomed. Now girls who are three-quarters Saxon dance the
hula-hula for tourists, and but for a movement of their feet, it is the
dance of the East wretchedly and vulgarly done, and the spectator would
wipe away, if he could, every memory but the wailing song of the woman
with the guitar--a song which to my ear had no more connection with the
dance than a cradle song could have with a bacchanalian orgy.

At a big white hotel that night hundreds of people sat in a brilliantly
lighted open-air garden with a stone floor and stone balustrade, and
heard an Hawaiian band of many nationalities play the tunes of all
nations, and two women give vent to that adaptation of the Methodist
hymn that passes for an Hawaiian song.

Every possible human mixture of blood I had seen that day, I fancied,
but of the morals that caused the mixture I will not speak, for the
looseness of them is climatic and easily explained. I am told that after
five or six years the molecules even in the granite of the New England
character begin to get restless. Still there seems to be hope on the
horizon.

At midnight a bibulous gentleman descended from a hack in front of the
hotel.

"Roderick Random," he said to his Portuguese driver, "this is a bum-m
town," spelling the word out thickly. Roderick smiled with polite
acquiescence. The bibulous gentleman spoke likewise to the watchman at
the door.

"Quite right, sir," said the watchman.

The elevator got the same blighting criticism from the visitor, whose
good-night to the clerk at the desk still was:

"This is a bum-m town."

The clerk, too, agreed, and the man turned away in disgust.

"I can't get an argument out of anybody on that point," he said--all of
which would seem to cast some doubt on the public late-at-night
flaunting of vice in Honolulu.

Two pictures only I carried away of the many I hoped to see--the
Hawaiian swimmers, bronzed and perfect as statues, who floated out to
meet us and dive for coins, and a crowd of little yellow fellows, each
on the swaying branch of the monkey-pod tree, black hair shaking in the
wind, white teeth flashing, faces merry, and mouths stretched wide with
song.

Thence eleven long, long days to that sunset entrance into the Land of
the Rising Sun--where Perry came to throw open to the world the
long-shut sea portals of Japan.

The Japanese way of revealing heart-beats is not the way of the
Occidental world, and seeing no signs of war, this correspondent, at
least, straightway forgot the mission on which he had come, and
straightway was turned into an eager student of a people and a land
which since childhood he had yearned to see.

On a certain bluff sits a certain tea-house--you can see it from the
deck of the ship. It is the tea-house of One Hundred and One Steps, and
the mistress of it is O-kin-san, daughter of the man who was mayor when
Perry opened the sea portals at the mouth of the cannon, whose guest
Perry was, and whose friend.

O-kin-san's people lost their money once, and she opened the tea-house,
as the American girl under similar circumstances would have taken to the
typewriter and the stenographer's pen. The house has a year of life for
almost every one of the steps that mount to it, which is ancient life
for Japan, where fires make an infant life of three years for the
average Japanese home. The tea-girls are O-kin-san's own kin. Everything
under her roof is blameless, and the women of any home in any land can
be taken there fearlessly.

An American enthusiast--a voluntary exile, whom I met later--told me
that O-kin-san's Japanese was as good as could be found in the empire;
that her husband was one of the best-educated men he had ever known, and
had been a great help and inspiration to Lafcadio Hearn. There were all
the pretty courtesies, the pretty ceremonies, and the gentle kindness of
which the world has read.

After tea and sake and little Japanese cakes and peanuts, thence
straightway to Tokio, whence the soldiers went to the front and the
unknown correspondent was going, at that time, to an unknown destination
in an unknown time. It is an hour between little patches of half-drowned
rice bulbs, cottages thatched with rice straw, with green things growing
on the roof, and little gardens laid out with an art minute and
exquisite, blossoming trees of wild cherry, that beloved symbol of
Japanese bravery because it dares to spread its petals under falling
snow, dashed here and there with the red camellia that is unlucky
because it drops its blossom whole and suggests the time when the
Japanese head might fall for a slight offence; between little hills
overspread with pine trees, and little leafless saplings that help so
much to give the delicate, airy quality that characterizes the landscape
of Japan. At every station was a hurrying throng of men, women, and
children who clicked the stone pavements on xylophones with a music that
some writer with the tympanum of a blacksmith characterized as a
clatter. These getas are often selected, I am told, to suit the
individual ear.

At Tokio outward evidences of war were as meagre as ever. But to that
lack, the answer is, "It is not the Japanese custom." I am told that the
night war was declared the Japanese went to bed, but about every
bulletin board there is now always an eager crowd of watchers. The shout
of "Nippon banzai!" from the foreigner, which means "Good luck to
Japan," always gets a grateful response from the child in the street,
the coolie with his ricksha, policeman on his beat, or the Japanese
gentleman in his carriage.

And then the stories I heard of the devotion and sacrifice of the people
who are left at home! The women let their hair go undressed once a month
that they may contribute each month the price of the dressing--five sen.
A gentleman discovered that every servant in his household, from butler
down, was contributing a certain amount of his wages each month, and in
consequence offered to raise wages just the amount each servant was
giving away. The answer was:

"Sir, we cannot allow that; it is an honor for us to give, and it would
be you who would be doing our duty for us to Japan."

A Japanese lady apologized profusely for being late at dinner. She had
been to the station to see her son off for the front, where already were
three of her sons.

Said another straightway:

"How fortunate to be able to give four sons to Japan!"

In a tea-house I saw an old woman with blackened teeth, a servant, who
bore herself proudly, and who, too, was honored because she had sent
four sons to the Yalu. Hundreds and thousands of families are denying
themselves one meal a day that they may give more to their country. And
one rich merchant, who has already given 100,000 yen, has himself cut
off one meal, and declares that he will if necessary live on one the
rest of his life for the sake of Japan.

There is a war play on the boards of one theatre. The heroine, a wife,
says that her unborn child in a crisis like this must be a man-child,
and that he shall be reared a soldier. To provide means, she will
herself, if necessary, go to the yoshiwara.

On every gateway is posted a red slab where a man has gone to the war,
marked "Gone to the front"--to be supplanted with a black one--"Bravery
forever"--should he be brought home dead. And when he is brought home
dead his body is received at the station by his kin with proud faces and
no tears. The Roman mother has come back to earth again, and it is the
Japanese mother who makes Japan the high priestess of patriotism among
the nations of the world. In that patriotism are the passionate fealty
of the subject to his king, the love of a republic for its flag, and
straightway the stranger feels that were the Mikado no more and Japan a
republic to-morrow, this war would go on just as it would had the
Japanese only this Mikado and no land that he could call his own. The
soldier at the front or on the seas will give no better account of
himself than the man, woman, or child who is left at home, and a
national spirit like this is too beautiful to be lost.

Here forks the trail of the Saxon. One branch goes straight to the
Philippines. The other splits here into a thousand tiny paths--where
railway coach has supplanted the palanquin, battle-ship the war-junk,
electricity the pictured lantern; where factory chimneys smoke and the
Japanese seems prouder of his commerce than of his art and his exquisite
manners; where the boycott has started, and even the word
strike--"strikey, strikey" it sounds--has become the refrain of a song.
How shallow, after all, the tiny paths are, no man may know; for who can
penetrate the mystery of Japanese life and character--a mystery that has
been deepening for a thousand years. Here is the chief lodge of the
Order of Sealed Lips the world over, and every man, woman, and child in
the empire seems born a life-member. It may be Japan who will clasp the
hands of the Saxon across this Far East. And yet who knows? Were Mother
Nature to found a national museum of the curiosities in plant and tree
that humanity has wrested from her, she would give the star-chamber to
Japan. This is due, maybe, to the Japanese love of plant and tree and
the limitations of space that forbid to both full height. Give the
little island room, and the dwarf pine and fruit-tree may become in
time, perhaps, as great a curiosity here as elsewhere in the world. What
will she do--when she gets the room? The Saxon hands may never meet.
Japan Saxonized may, in turn, Saxonize China and throw the tide that has
moved east and west, some day, west and east again.



                                   II

                       HARDSHIPS OF THE CAMPAIGN


I have taken to the big hills in some despair and to rest from the
hardships of this campaign. Truly the life of the war correspondent is
hard in Japan.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The Happy Exile left America three years ago with a Puck-purpose of
girdling the world. He got no farther than Japan, and here most likely
he will rest. He is a big man and a gentle one, and I have seen his
six-feet-two frame quiver with joy like jelly as we rickshawed through
the streets, he pointing out to me meanwhile little bits of color and
life on either side. I have heard him when the dusk rushes seaward
muttering half-unconsciously to himself:

"I'm so glad I am here. I'm _so_ glad I am here."

It is the "lust of the eye" he says, and the lust is as fierce now as on
the day he landed--which is rare; for the man who has been here before
has genuine envy of the eye that sees Japan for the first time. I have
watched the man who has seen, showing around the man who has not, with a
look of benevolent sympathy and reflected joy such as one may catch on
the face of a middle-aged gentleman in the theatre who is watching the
keen delight of some youth to whom he is showing the sights of a great
city. The Happy Exile was a painter once, but he came, saw Japanese art,
and was conquered.

"I have never touched brush to canvas again. What's the use? Why, I
can't even draw their characters. Other nations draw this way"; he
worked his hands and fingers from the wrist and elbow. "The Japanese
learn, drawing their characters in childhood, to use the whole arm.
Imagine the breadth and sweep of movement!" The Happy Exile threw up
both hands. "It's of no use, at least not for me. I have given it up."
So he studies life and Myth in Japan, collects curios, silks, and
satsuma, writes a little, dreams a good deal, and gives up his whole
heart to his eye. The Happy Exile has a friend, a Japanese friend, who
is one of the new types that one finds now in New Japan. His name is
Amenemori. He is the husband of O-kin-san, mistress of the tea-house of
One Hundred and One Steps, who herself can talk with her guests from all
parts of the world in five languages and is an authority on
tea-ceremonies and a poetess of some distinction. Amenemori is not only
a linguist, but a scholar. He has English, French, German, Italian and
Russian at his command, and more. Not long ago a wandering Indian priest
came to Yokohama and could talk with nobody. Amenemori tried him in
Japanese, Korean, and Chinese without success, and the two finally found
communication in Sanscrit. One of Lafcadio Hearn's books is dedicated to
him, and through him that author acquired the widest acquaintance with
old Japanese poetry yet attained by any foreigner. Illustrating the
change that has taken place in an ancient Japanese word to its modern
form, he quotes Chaucer and the modern equivalent for the Chaucerian
phrase!

But the lust of the eye! Well, the eye is all the stranger has. The work
his brain does has little value. No matter what he may learn one day,
that thing next day he may have to unlearn. The eye alone gives
pleasure--to the color-loving, picture-loving brain--delight
unmeasurable: but the eye does not understand. The ear hears strange new
calls and sounds--unmusical except in the xylophonic click of wooden
getas, the plaintive cry of the blind masseur, and in the national
anthem, which is moving beyond words; and the ear, too, does not
understand. But the nose--"that despised poet of the senses"--his
faculty holds firm the world over. In Tokio he puts on sable trappings
at sunset that would gloom the dark hour before dawn. You will get used
to it, you are told, and that frightens you, for you don't want to get
used to it. You should go to China, is the comfort you get, and in that
suggestion is no comfort. Straightway you swear, and boldly:

    No call of the East for me,
    Till the stink of the East be dead.

That is why a man who comes from a land where he can fill both lungs
fearlessly and stoop to drink from any stream that his feet may cross
must go down now and then to the sea or turn his face firmly to the
hills.

From Yokohama the little coaches start slowly for the country--so slowly
that, like Artemus Ward, you wonder if it wouldn't be wise sometimes to
put the cow-catcher on behind. There is the charm of thatched cottage,
green squares of wind-shaken barley, long waving grass and little hills,
pine-crowned; but by and by your heart gets wrung with sympathy for
Mother Nature. Every blade of grass, every rush, every little tree seems
to have been let grow only through human sufferance. It is as though a
solemn court-martial had been held on the life of everything that grew
not to make feed for man and man alone, for nowhere are there sheep,
cattle, horses, and rarely even a dog. Here and there the little hills
have been cut down sheer, that the rice squares might burrow under them.
The face of the earth looked terribly man-handled, but the effect was
still lovely. The little rows of pines on the hills seemed to have been
so left that no rearrangement would have been necessary to transfer them
to canvas, and even the crown of a pine sloping from a group of its
fellows seemed to have been spared for no other reason than picturesque
effect. Perhaps for that reason Nature herself seemed to enter no
protest. It was as though she said:

"I know your needs, my children, you do only what you must; you know
just what you do, and I forgive you, for you rob me with loving hands. A
little farther on is my refuge."

And a little farther on was her refuge in the big volcanic hills,
guarded by great white solemn Fuji, where birds sing and torrents lash
with swirling foam and a great roar through deep gorges or drop down in
white cataracts through masses of trembling green. But you have an hour
first in an electric car, with a bell ringing always to keep
multitudinous children from the track, along the old road that the
Daimios took in their semi-annual trip from their up-country estates to
Tokio and back again--the Daimios--gorgeously arrayed, in palanquins,
with their retinues following, while the people kept their foreheads to
the earth and dared not raise their eyes--honors which they no longer
pay even to the great Mikado. It seemed a sacrilege. Then an hour in a
rickshaw--two pushers behind, up a deep winding gorge from which comes
the wild call of free rushing water, and you are in the untainted air of
the primeval Cumberland.

It is pleasant to be welcomed by a host and a host of servants bent at
right angles with courtesy--a courtesy that follows you everywhere. Ten
minutes later, as I stepped from behind the screen--the ever-present
screen--in my room, the Maid of Miyanoshita--another new type in New
Japan--stood bowing at my door, and I am afraid I gave her scant
greeting. I had read of feminine service, and Saxon-like I was fearsome;
but how could I know that she was the daughter of mine host--a man more
well-to-do than most of his guests, who include the princes and
princesses at times of the royal household--and that she had come merely
to welcome me? And how could I know that she was a lady, as I understand
the word, for how can a stranger know who is gentlewoman or gentleman in
a land where gentle manners are universal, when he has not learned the
distinctions of dress and when face and voice give no unerring guidance
in any land? Later I was sorry and tried to make good, but here lack of
breeding is condoned in a barbarian. Straightway one little maid came in
to build a fire, while another swiftly unpacked my bag, laid out evening
clothes, and played the part of a blind automatic valet. Embarrassment,
even consciousness, fled like a flash, as it must flee with any man who
is not blackguard or fool, and I am thinking now how foreigners have
lied about the women of Japan.

I want no better dinner than the one that came later, and I went to
sleep with mountain air coming like balm through the windows, the music
of hushed falling water somewhere, and a cherry tree full-blown shining
like a great white, low star at the foot of a mountain that rose darkly
toward the stars. This life of the war correspondent in Japan--truly
'tis hard!

Next morning I heard the scampering of many feet and much laughter in
the hallways, and I thought there were children out there playing games.
It was those brown little chambermaids hard at work. I wonder whence
comes the perpetual sunny cheer of these little people; whether it be
simple temperament or ages of philosophy--or both.

"You have your troubles," they say, "therefore I must not burden you
with mine." And a man will tell you, with a smile, of some misfortune
that is almost breaking his heart.

The little maid who had unpacked my bag brought breakfast to me, and I
could see that I was invested with some interest which was not at all
apparent the night before. Presently it came out:

"You are going to Korea?"

"Yes, I am going to Korea."

"I want to go to Korea, but they won't let girls go."

"Why do you want to go to Korea?"

For the first time I saw Japanese eyes flash, and her answer came like
the crack of a whip:

"To fight!"

Among the thousands of applications, many of them written in blood,
which the war office has received from men who are anxious to go to the
front, is one from just such a girl. In her letter she said that she was
the last of an old Samurai family. Her father was killed in the war with
China; her only brother died during the Boxer troubles. She begged to be
allowed to take the place in the ranks which had always belonged to her
family. She could shoot, she said, and ride; and it would be a lasting
disgrace if her family name should be missing from the rolls, where it
has had an honored place for centuries, now that her country and her
Emperor are in such sore need.

After breakfast I climbed the mountain that I could see from my
window--it ran not so high by day--and up there great Fuji was gracious
enough for one fleeting moment to throw back the gray mantle of a cloud
and bare for me for the first time his sacred white head. Coming down, I
found a pretty story of American Chivalry and the Maid of Miyanoshita.
There was a man here whose nationality will not be mentioned, and a big
young American who hasn't lost the traditions of his race and country.
With the lack of understanding that is not uncommon with foreigners
during their first days in Japan, this particular foreigner said
something to the little lady that he would not have said under similar
circumstances at home. Now, just behind the hotel are two foaming
cascades which drop into a clear pool of water wherein sport many fishes
big and little--green, silver, gold, or mottled with white and
scarlet--which it is the pleasure of the guests to feed. A few minutes
later there was a commotion on the margin of the pond, and those fishes,
gathering as usual for biscuit and sugar, got a surprise. The American
had invited the other foreigner out there, and the two were having a
mighty mill. After a nice solar-plexus landing, the American caught up
his opponent and threw him bodily into the fish-pond. The man
disappeared next morning by the first train. Wallah, but it was grateful
to the soul--striking a Saxon trail like that!

After tiffin I was struggling with Japanese idioms in a guide-book. "I
will be glad to help you," said the Maid of Miyanoshita.

She had gone to school in a convent in Tokio. Only Japanese girls and a
few Eurasians, girls whose fathers are foreigners, were students, and
they were allowed to speak only French. There she was taught to read and
write English. To speak it, she had learned only from guests at the
hotel.

"Well," I said, "if the Japanese in this book is as bad as the English,
I don't think I want to learn it." She looked at the book.

"It iss bad," she said; "there are words here you must not use." (It is
impossible to give dialectic form to her quaint variations from normal
pronunciation.) By and by we found an example.

"Yes," she said, "sukimas means 'I like.' I like flowers, birds, and so
on, but you must not use that--" with one pointed finger on a word that
I proceeded straightway to damn forever.

"What is the proper word for _that_ word?"

"Ai suru," she said.

"And what does that mean?"

A vertical line of mental effort broke the smoothness of her forehead.

"It iss _deeper_ than 'like.'"

"Oh," I said. She continued her mental search for an English equivalent.
I tried to help.

"Love?" I ventured.

With straight eyes she met purely impersonal inquiry with response even
more impersonal.

"Yess," she said.

                   *       *       *       *       *

That afternoon I walked farther up the gorge, past curio shops, with the
river roaring far beneath and water tumbling from far above, and I
turned in for a moment where the word "Archery" curved in big letters
over a doorway, to see an old chap put eight arrows out of ten in a
small target a hundred feet away, and triumphantly shout:

"Russian!"

And then on past tea-houses and workshops and rice-mills with undershot
water-wheels such as I had left in the Cumberland Mountains. In a rice
square below and beyond me three little girls were playing. When they
saw me they ran toward the road, stooping now and then to pick up
something as they ran. The littlest one held up to me a bunch of blue
flowers. I was thrilled; here I thought is where I get the courtesy of
the land even from the peasant class and untainted by the rude manners
of the Saxon and his Caucasian kind. I took off my hat.

"Arigato," I said, which means "Thank you." Out came the mite's chubby
hand.

"Shinga!" she said, "mucha shinga!"

Now I have not been able to find anyone who knows what "shinga" means
except the little highway robbers who held me up in the road and made it
plain by signs. I went down into my pocket for a coin. Up stepped number
two of the little hold-ups, with number three in close support; but I
was too disappointed and sore, and I declined. Those three little ones
followed me half a mile and up many score of steep steps to a temple in
a grove, still proffering flowers and saying,

"Shinga." It was sad.

Going back I met another mite of a girl in a many-colored kimono. She
said something. I am afraid I glowered, but she said it again, with a
bow and a smile, and it was--

"Konnichi-wa!" which means "Good-day." Then wasn't I sorry! This was the
real thing. I took off my hat, and then and there this little maid and I
exchanged elaborate Oriental ceremonies in the middle of the road,
concluding with three right-angle bows of farewell, each saying three
times that very beautiful Japanese good-by,

"Sayonara."

I went on cheered and thinking. This was Old and New Japan, the
lingering beauty of one, the trail of the tourist over the other, and
this was Japan in general. When you are looking for a thing you get
something else; when you look for something else you get what you were
looking for. The trouble was that in neither case should I have been
surprised, for the Japanese even say,

"It is not surprising if the surprising does not surprise," which must
be thought about for a while. And then again, What's the odds, no matter
what happens.

"Shikata ga nai," says the Japanese; "It can't be helped"--a fatalistic
bit of philosophy that may play an important part on many future
battle-fields.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The Little Maid of Miyanoshita and I were tossing bits of cracker to the
gold-fishes in the pond, and each bit made a breaking, flashing rainbow
as they rushed for it in a writhing heap. She had never been to America
nor to England.

"Wouldn't you like to go?"

"Verry much," she said.

"Well, aren't you going some day?"

"I hope so, but--" she paused; "if I wore these clothes the people would
follow me about the streets. If I wore European clothes, I would look
like--what you say--a fright."

"Never!" Again she shook her head.

"Yess, yess I would." And the pity of it is I am afraid she was right.

The Little Maid did not walk the hills much.

"Japanese men do not like for women to go about much," she said. "My
uncle does not like that I go about alone, but my father he does not
care. He has been in America."

"It is perfectly safe?"

"Yes, perrfectly safe. Is it not so in America?"

"Well, no, not always; at least not in the South, where I come from."

She did not ask why, though I should not have been surprised to learn
that she knew, and I did not explain.

She was very fond of Schiller, she said, and she had read many American
and English novels. She liked "The Crisis" very much--she did not
mention others--though she liked better the novels that were written by
women.

"Because you understand them better?"

"Not only that," she said slowly, "but I think that men who write novels
try to make the women happy, and the women who write novels do not do
that so much; and I think the women must be nearer the truth."

She turned suddenly on me:

"_You_ have written a book."

"Guilty," I said.

"And what does that mean?"

"It means that I have," I said lamely. We talked international
differences.

"American women use very many pins, is it not true?"

"I think it is true," I said.

"We do not," she said; "we use what you call"--with her fingers on a
little cord at the breast of her kimono--"strings. But," she added
suddenly, "an American says to me that I must not speak of such things."

"Tut!"

"Well," she said, "I do not see anything wrong."

In America, I explained, we put the woman in a high place and looked up
at her.

"Is it not so in Japan?" I said.

"No," she said simply, "it is not so in Japan." She thought a while.
"That must be very nice for the woman in America," she said.

"I think it is," I said.

"But then," she said, to explain the mystery, "they are so well
ed-u-ca-ted."

"Well, I don't think it is because they are so well educated," I said.

"Then they are worthy," said the Little Maid.

                   *       *       *       *       *

I have been to Big Hell--a climb of some three thousand feet past rice
squares and barley fields and little forests of bamboo trees, where on a
God-forsaken mountain top sulphurous smoke belches into the clouds that
drift about it. Now smoke suggests human habitation, human food, and
human comfort, and that smoke swirling up there gave the spot a
loneliness unspeakable. Under you the gray earth was hot, here and there
were springs of boiling water, and the ashy crust crackled under your
feet. Around the crest we went, and down through a forest of big trees
left standing because the place was a royal preserve. The absence of
animals, tame or wild, has constantly depressed me ever since I have
been in Japan. Even up there in the hills I had seen nothing hopping,
crawling, or climbing by the roadside or in the woods, and I could see
nothing now.

"Is there nothing wild up here?" I said.

"Oh, yes," said the guide, "there are deer and monkeys." If he had said
there were dodos I could have been no more surprised; but to this day I
have seen nothing in freedom except a few birds in the air.

By and by a thatched roof came in view. The path led sharply around one
corner of the house and I was brought up with a gasp. I had read and
heard much about bathing customs in Japan. The government has tried, I
believe, to legislate into the people Occidental ideas of modesty. One
regulation provided that the sexes should be separated. They were
separated--by a bamboo rod floating on the water. Another time it was
announced that bathing trunks must be worn at a certain place by the
sea. One old chap issued leisurely from his house on the hill-side and
stalked down without clothes, swinging his trunks in his hand. After he
got into the water he put the trunks on, and as soon as he came out he
took them off again and stalked home swinging them as before.

Well, there they were, old and young and of both sexes, and it was
apparent that the regulations of the bamboo rod and the bathing trunks
had not reached that high. It was a natural Turkish bath-house, and it
seems that the farmers around Big Hell furnish a certain amount of
produce each year to the proprietor for the privilege of hot baths, and
when work is slack they go up there--husbands and wives, sons and
daughters--and stay for days. Apparently work was slack just then. The
bath, some ten feet square, and sunk in the floor, was screened from the
gaze of the passing pedestrian and the coldness of the outer air merely
by slender bamboo rods, some eighteen inches apart. It was full to the
brim.

That night an Englishman seemed greatly taken with Big Hell.

"Most extraordinary!" he said. "Do you know, they never minded us at
all--not at all. A chap had a camera, and one dear old lady actually
stood upright when he was taking a picture. They asked me to come in,
and I really think I would, but--gad, you know, there wasn't any room."

The key-note of this symphony of ills will not be sounded here.

                   *       *       *       *       *

She could play the koto (the harp), and the piano a little--could the
Maid of Miyanoshita. She would play neither for me, but that afternoon
she would take me, she said, to hear a friend play the koto--an elderly
friend, whom she called, she said, her aunt. Later, she said she had
asked another gentleman also. Now when I spoke once of the musical click
of the getas, the Happy Exile had told me that the wearers often chose
them, taking only such pairs as pleased the individual ear. The
statement has since been much laughed at, so I asked the Maid of
Miyanoshita for confirmation. She at least did not choose her getas for
their sound.

"But," she said, "the Japanese say the getas go--

    "'Kara-ko, kara-ko, kara-ko!'"

The notes she gave were the notes I had heard on the stone platforms of
every station between Tokio and Yokohama, and going straightway to the
piano I found those notes to be F and D in the scale of F Minor. Let the
laugh proceed. The Happy Exile possibly might say that those notes were
the prominent ones in some old national song, and that the geta-makers
had been unconsciously reproducing them ever since.

                   *       *       *       *       *

It was raining. Alack and alas! the Little Maid carried an American
umbrella--impious trail of the Saxon! while the Other Man and I bore
picturesque Japanese ones that would have given the crowning touch to
her, but looked simply ridiculous over us. Thus we went to meet the
exquisite courtesy and genuine kindness of a real Japanese home.

Two kotos were played for us, while the players sang "Wind Among the
Pines," and the tale of the fairies who fell in love with the fisherman.

"Do you like Japanese music?" said the Little Maid to the Other Man.

"Yes," he said promptly, lying like a gentleman.

"Don't you think it is rather monotonous?" she asked.

"Well--um--um. Don't you like Japanese music?" he said, taking refuge.

"Well," she said, "I like your music better, I think. It is more lively
and has more variety."

Then we had tea, and after tea of the kind usually served in Japan, the
husband, a fierce Samurai in the pictures he showed us, but now a
genial, broad-smiling doctor of the old Japanese school, insisted that
we should take bowls of powdered tea which he prepared with his own
hands. In the drinking of this the Little Maid instructed us. We were to
take the bowl, the left hand underneath, the fingers of the right hand
clasped about it, lift it to the forehead, a movement of unspoken
thanks, and very gently, so as not to suggest that the tea needed to be
dissolved, were to roll the tea around in the bowl three times and then
take one drink--making much noise, meanwhile, with the lips to show how
much we enjoyed it.

"That is very vulgar in your country," interrupted the Little Maid, "is
it not so?"

"Well," I said, "lots of people do it, but not for the reason of
courtesy."

We were to roll it around three times more, and then drink again; three
times more, and a third drink, leaving this time but a little, which,
without being rolled around again, was to be drunk at a swallow--three
drinks and one swallow to the bowl. O-kin-san says that this last
swallow should be only the foam, which must be drunk to show that the
tea is so good that the guest must have even the foam; and that not
until then does the noise of appreciation come, and then only because
the foam cannot be drunk without noise. It was well. We exchanged
autographs and cards. With the kind permission of the Little Maid's aunt
we took pictures of the interior, and then with much bowing and many
"sayonaras" we passed out under the cherry trees.

"We say 'Good-morning,'" said the Little Maid, explaining the courtesies
of Japanese greeting and good-by, "and we bow; and we say 'It is a long
while since I have seen you,' or 'It is a fine day,' and we bow again.
At the end of each sentence you must bow, and it is the same when you
say good-by."

                   *       *       *       *       *

Before I learned that the Mikado had sent a general edict through the
land that all foreigners in Japan were to be treated with particular
consideration while this war is going on--thus making it safer for the
tourist now in this country than it ever has been or will be, perhaps,
for a long time--I had been greatly impressed by the absence of all
signs of disorder, street quarrels, loud talking, and by the fact that
in Tokio, one of the largest cities in the world, one could go about day
or night in perfect safety. I told this to the Maid of Miyanoshita.

"So desuka," she said without surprise, and that means "Indeed." And
when she said later that there were many Japanese novelists, but they
did not write love stories, I was reminded further that I had seen no
man in Japan turn his head to look at a woman who had passed him--no
exchange of glances, no street gallantry at all.

"The song of the 'Goo-goo Eyes,'" I said, "would never have been written
in Japan."

"What iss 'Goo-goo Eyes'?" said the Little Maid, mystified.

Then had I trouble--but I must have made it clear at last.

"Perhaps the Japanese girl does not want to be seen--looking."

"Oh, you mean that she may look, but the foreigner doesn't see it?"

"Well, we are all human. That is very frank, is it not?"

It was frank--very frank--and of an innocence not to be misunderstood
save by a fool. Then I got a degree.

"But I am always frank with you, for if you are what you say 'guilty,' I
think you must understand. I call you to myself a Doctor of Humanity."

Wallah, but the life is hard!

                   *       *       *       *       *

By and by this remarkable Little Maid went on:

"The Japanese may be what you call in love, but they must not tell
it--must not even show it."

"Not even the men?"

"No, not even the men. Is it not so in your country?"

I laughed.

"No, it is not so in my country." I found myself suddenly imitating her
own slow speech. "That's the first thing the man in my country does.
Sometimes he tells it, even when he can't ask the girl to marry him, and
sometimes they even tell it over there when they don't mean it."

"So desuka!"

"They call that 'flirting.'"

"Yes, I know 'flirting,'" said the Little Maid.

"It is not a very nice word," I said. "There is no flirting in Japan?"

"There is no chance. Parents and friends make marriage in Japan."

"They don't marry for love?"

"It is as in France--not for love. And in America?"

"Well, we don't think it nice for people to marry unless they are in
love."

"So desuka," she said, which still means "Indeed." And then she went on:

"Japanese girls obey their parents." And then she added, rather sadly, I
thought, "and sometimes they are very unhappy."

"And what then?"

"Oh, deevorces--are very common among the lower classes, but among the
middle and upper classes it is verry difficult."

"So desuka!" I said, for I was surprised.

"So desu," said the Little Maid, which is the proper answer.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The Maid of Miyanoshita loves flowers, and at sunset this afternoon I
saw her coming down from her garden, where she had been at work. She had
a great round straw hat on her black hair. I got her to draw it about
her face with both hands, and with a camera she was caught as she
laughed. We went down the steps and stopped above the cascade which
shook the water where the goldfishes were playing.

Now I have been a month in Japan; I have seen the opening of the Diet,
heard the Emperor chant the fact that he was at peace with all the world
save Russia, and observed that he must show origin from the gods in
other ways than in his stride. I have dined with the gracious
representative of the Stars and Stripes and his staff, who seem to have
taken on an Oriental suavity that bodes well for our interests in this
Far East, and have seen an Imperial Highness play the delicate and
difficult double rôle of hand-shaking Democrat to Americans and God-head
to his own people--while both looked on. I have eaten a Japanese dinner
at the Maple Club, while Geishas and dancing-girls held fast the
wondering Occidental eye; have heard, there, American college songs sung
by Japanese statesmen, and have joined hands with them in a swaying
performance of "Auld Lang Syne." I have seen wrestling matches that
looked at first sight like two fat ladies trying to push each other out
of a ring--but which was much more. I have been to the theatre, to find
the laugh checked at my lips and to sit thereafter in silence,
mystification, and wonder. I have tossed pennies to children--the
"babies" who here "are kings"--while wandering through blossoming parks
and among people whom I cannot yet realize as real. I have visited
shrines, temples; have heard the wail of kite and the croak of raven
over the tombs of the Shoguns, and have seen a Holy Father beating a
drum and praying a day-long prayer with a cigarette-stub behind one ear.
I have learned that this is the land of the seductive "chit" and the
deceptive yen which doubles your gold when you arrive and makes you
think that when you have spent fifty cents you still have a dollar of it
left. Moreover, I have seen the glory of cherry-blossoms. But of all
these trifles and more--more, perhaps, anon. I pulled a little red
guide-book out of my pocket.

"That word," I asked, pointing to the proper one, "would you use that
word to your--well, your mother?"

"No," she said very slowly, and with straight eyes, again
answering impersonal inquiry with response even more impersonal,
"I--don'--don't--think--you--would--use--that word--to your--mother."

The sunlight lay only on the great white crest of Fuji. Everywhere else
the swift dusk of Japan was falling. In it the cherry-tree was fast
taking on the light of a great white star. In the grove above us a
nightingale sang.

Truly 'tis hard.



                                  III

                           LINGERING IN TOKIO


I might as well confess, I suppose, that these "Hardships of the
Campaign," pleasant as they are, ecstatic as they might be to an
untroubled mind, constitute a bluff pure and simple. Here goes another,
but it shall be my last, and I shall write no more until the needle of
my compass points to Manchuria. A month ago the first column got away
when the land was lit with the glory of cherry-blossoms. We have been
leaving every week since--next week we leave again. One man among us now
calls himself a cherry-blossom correspondent. He was lucky to say it
first. Clear across the Pacific we can hear the chuckle at home over our
plight even from the dear ones who sent us to Japan. If it were not such
a tragedy it would be very funny indeed.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The stars float high in the sky of Japan, so that when the moon rises, a
vaster dome is lit up than I have ever seen anywhere else in the world.
The first moon I saw in Japan was rising over the Bluff where the
foreigners live in Yokohama, and climbing slowly toward those distant
stars. The Happy Exile and I had climbed a narrow, winding,
bush-bordered alley, broken here and there with short flights of stone
steps, and we sat on mats in his Japanese home. Somewhere outside a
nightingale was singing and the fine needle-point of the first cicada
was jabbing vibrations into the night air. To the left of the Happy
Exile was a beautiful box of lacquer, and he reached out a caressing
hand for it. That was his _netsuke_ box, and he pulled out little
lacquer trays in which lay his diminutive treasures.

"I have only about forty here," he said, "but they are all good. The
dealers can't fool me now, and if ever a new _netsuke_ is brought in
from any part of Japan, the owner directly or indirectly lets me know it
is here. Sometimes I will strike one in some far interior town, but I
know it has been sent on there ahead of me, that I may think I have
stumbled on a treasure. My big collection is at home--and do you know
that a man in Boston has perhaps the best set in the world? They have
risen in value enormously, and are rising all the time. There are not so
many imitations as people suppose, for the reason that the carvers can't
afford to spend the time that is necessary to make even a good
deception. You see, in the old days each daimio had his carvers who did
nothing but make _netsukes_, and all time was theirs."

Then he began taking them out. Each one represented a myth, a tradition,
or a proverb.

"I love these things not only for their exquisite carving and their
color and age, but because they are so significant in reflecting
Japanese life and character. You have no idea how much you can learn
about Japan from studying these curios."

Whiskey and soda were brought in. We watched the moon, listened to the
nightingale, and the Happy Exile's talk drifted to old Japanese
poetry--to the little seventeen-syllable form in which the Japanese has
caught a picture, a mood, one swift impression, or a sorrow. Here are
three that he gave me--but inaccurately he said: "A mother is sitting on
a mat, perhaps alone. The wind rattles the fragile wall and she turns:

    "The east wind blowing;
    Oh, the little finger-holes
    Through the shogis!"

Now, _shogis_ are the little squares of latticed paper that make the
fragile wall, and mischievous children delight in thrusting their
fingers through them. Those little finger-holes were made by the
vanished hand of a dead child.

This is a picture in three strokes:

    Moonlight;
    Across the mat
    The shadow of a pine.

Think of that for a while.

And here is another mother-cry for a dead child. There are summer days
in which every Japanese child that can toddle is chasing dragon-flies,
and the children who die must pass through a hundred worlds. So this
mother's thought runs thus:

    Oh, little catcher of dragon-flies,
    I wonder how far
    You've gone.

But I like best the first:

    The east wind blowing;
    Oh, the little finger-holes
    Through the shogis!

We drifted out into the night air. Every house was dark and quiet. The
Happy Exile stopped once to pat a yellow cur on the head.

"All these people know me," he said, "and I can step into any house
without a word and sleep the night." But we followed that narrow alley
up long flights of narrow, winding steps, under thick bushes that arched
above us and shattered the moonbeams about our feet. There was not a
cloud in the sky when we reached the top of the bluff, and I felt for
the first time what the magic of this land was to the Happy Exile. The
moon was soaring on toward those stars--the stars that float high in
this sky of Japan.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Once I took refuge in a wrestling-match. I found a great pagoda-like,
circus-like tent made of bamboo with matting for a roof. Outside long
streamers of various colors floated from the tops of long poles. High
above and on a little platform supported by four bamboos a man was
beating a drum. He had started beating that drum at daybreak. About the
entrance and around the big, fragile structure was the same crowd of men
and boys that you would find at an American circus. To get in I paid two
yen. Had my skin been yellow and my eyes slant I would have dropped but
one. The arena inside was amphitheatrical in shape with three broad
tiers of benches on which squatted the spectators. In the centre and
under a bamboo roof was a hummock of dirt about two feet high. Four
pillars swathed with red and blue supported this roof, and from each
pillar was stretched a streamer from which dangled little banners
covered with Chinese ideographs. A ring some twelve feet in diameter was
dug into the dirt hummock and in the centre of this ring were two huge
fat men, stark naked except for a breech-clout. As I came in, they rose
and took hold. To the Saxon it looked at first glance like two fat
ladies simply trying to push each other out of the ring, and I came near
laughing aloud. Before I had approached ten steps one of the two fat men
touched one foot outside of the ring. He had lost and the bout was over.
Now two more came walking in with great dignity. They mounted the arena
and turned their backs upon each other. Then each stretched out his
right leg with his right hand on the knee, raised it high in the air and
brought it down on the earth with a mighty stamp. The same performance
with the left leg, and then they strained downward until their buttocks
almost touched the earth. Turning, they squatted on their heels opposite
each other at the edge of the ring, and each man slapped his hands
together gently, stretched them out at full length and turned the palms
over. This was a salute--the Japanese equivalent of the Saxon pugilist's
handshake. Each walked then to one of the posts from which hung a little
box of salt, and his second handed him there water in a _sake_ cup. He
rinsed his mouth, spurted the water out, took a pinch of salt and threw
it into the ring. One of them stooped and plucked a few blades of grass
from the sod and threw them also into the ring. Both these acts were
meant to drive the spirits of evil away, and it was all so serious that
I was aroused at once. Four times they squatted like two huge
game-cocks, and four times they got up slowly, strolled leisurely to the
salt-box and the _sake_ cup. At last they got together, and there was a
mighty tussle, and to my astonishment, one of those giants threw the
other over his head and landed him some eight feet outside the ring.
Apparently there was more in it than was evident to the casual eye, and
it was very serious business indeed. The fact is, wrestling is an
ancient and honorable calling in Japan, and goes back to the sun
goddess. She had a brother once who used to annoy her by killing wild
animals and tossing them into her backyard. One day she got angry and
ran away to a cave, leaving the earth in total darkness. Her retainers,
and the brother and his retainers tried to get her out, but she refused
to come out--having blocked the cave with a great stone. So they
performed antics and made strange cries until, tempted by curiosity, she
pushed the stone slightly away and looked out, and thereupon one Taji
Karac, stamping the earth, rushed forward and tore the bowlder away, and
that is why the wrestlers stamp the earth to-day. This is myth--what
follows is historical.

"Once upon a time," said an American correspondent, as he leaned over
the bar that night at the Imperial Hotel, "a chesty noble got gay, and
remarked that he was about the best on earth. The emperor heard of this,
and sent a challenge broadcast. A big chap took it up, kicked in the
chesty noble's ribs, and brake his bones so that he died. This was
twenty-four years before celestial peace was proclaimed on earth. About
nine hundred years later, two brothers claimed the throne and they
agreed to wrassle for it. They did it by proxy, though, and one
Korishito got the throne through his champion. In the same century there
was a wrestling-match at the autumn festival of the Five Grains. The
harvest was good that year, and the emperor argued thereupon that the
coincident wrestling must be good, and so wrestling became a permanent
national custom. When the champion Kiobashi became referee the emperor
gave him a fan which proclaimed that he was the Prince of Lions. The
wrestlers were divided into east and west, and that's why they come into
the arena from the east and west to-day. Hollyhock is the flower of the
east, the gourd-flower is symbol of the west, and the path to the stage
is called the flower-path to-day. The pillars indicate the points of the
compass. The next champion the emperor called the Driving Wind, and the
family of the Driving Wind alone can hold the symbol of the referee
to-day."

These wrestlers are exempt from military service, and they constitute, I
understand, a very close corporation. When an unusually large child is
born in Japan, the father and mother say: "He shall be a wrestler."

The wrestlers are enormous men, and average over six feet in height.
Some of them are magnificent in shape, but as weight counts in the
science, they encourage fat. The present champion weighs over three
hundred pounds. Certainly, as a class, the wrestlers show what Japan can
do in the way of producing big men. Constantly I have been surprised not
only at the thick-set sturdiness, but at the average height of the
Japanese soldier as I see him in Tokio on his way to the front.
Moreover, I am told that the height of Japanese school-children has
increased three inches within the last ten years in the schools where
the students sit in chairs instead of squatting on the floor. And, among
the new types one sees in Tokio to-day, the dapper men in European
clothes about the clubs and hotels, the statesmen in high hats and
frock-suits, the half-modernized class, who wear derby hats and
mackintoshes with fur collars and show their legs naked to the knee when
they step from a rickshaw--the most interesting and significant is the
Tokio University student you see lilting on his getas through the public
gardens. He has an intelligent face, looks you straight in the eye, is
agile as a panther, and as tall, I believe, as the average college
student. I suppose the emperor issued an edict that his people should
grow taller and if he did--they will. But these students--one can't help
wondering what, when they grow up, they will do for Japan and to the
rest of the East.

                   *       *       *       *       *

With bird-like cries the rickshaw men turn under an arched gateway into
a little court-yard paved with stones. The wheels rattle as in a hollow
vault and come to a sudden halt. Straightway there is an answering
bustle and the shuffling of many little feet along the polished floors
to the entrance of the tea-house, and many little brown maidens kneel
there and smile and gurgle a welcome. There the shoes of the visitor
come off, and if any man has forgotten the first instruction Kipling
gave, that the visitor to Japan should take with him at least one
beautiful pair of socks, there is considerable embarrassment for him.
You are led up a narrow stairway, each step of polished wood, and into a
big chamber covered with mats--the wall toward the interior made of
beautiful screens, the other wall opening on the outer air to a balcony.
At the other end of the room from the entrance a single beautiful vase
stands on a little platform, and in that vase is one single beautiful
flower. In front of that vase is the seat of honor, and the guests are
arranged in front of it seated on thin cushions on the floor.
Straightway little nesan--serving-girls--carry in little trays, a box
filled with ashes in which glow tiny bars of charcoal, a little
ash-receiver of bamboo, a bottle of _sake_, and dainty little bowls
without handles for drinking-cups. Now one by one the brilliant little
stars of the drama appear. A geisha girl glides in at the entrance,
another and another, and in a row sink to their knees and bow their
foreheads to the mat. Rising, they approach ten steps and kneel again.
Once more they approach shuffling along the floor in their socks of
spotless white (the big toe in a separate pocket) walking modestly
pigeon-toed that the flaps of their brilliant kimonos may part not at
all, and then they are bowing in front of the little trays where they
sit smiling and ready to serve you with food and drink.

There for the first time we saw Kamura--Kamura-san you must say, if you
would be polite. She was pretty, and dainty, and graceful, and her years
were only fourteen, which by our computation, would be thirteen only,
since the Japanese child is supposed to be a year old when born. She
spoke English very well, for she had lived in Shanghai once where she
had played with American children. She was an Eurasian--that is a
half-caste--but that was a secret which she told a few in confidence,
for you could not tell it from her face, and the fact would be no little
obstacle to the success of her career as a geisha girl. Straightway
little Kamura-san was the favorite of the dinner party, with the women
as well as with the men, and she acted as interpreter and said many
quaint, shrewd, unexpected things. The women petted and caressed her,
and the men doubtless would have liked to do the same, but that is not a
Japanese custom. She turned to one man of the party, and she spoke
slowly and with no shading of intonation whatever:

"Who was the very young gentleman with red cheeks who was here with you
the other night?"

The man told her.

"Why?" he asked.

"He came back to see me alone. He wanted to see me here alone, and he
wanted the nesan to leave the room, but I would not let the nesan leave
the room, and I did not understand."

That innocence aroused considerable interest in everybody and, later,
the young gentleman's cheeks got redder still, when the incident was
told him. Three days later I went to the tea-house again. Kamura-san,
baby that she was, was to be sold soon to a Japanese.

                   *       *       *       *       *

She already spoke such excellent English and was so very intelligent
that I wondered straightway if it might not be feasible to buy little
Kamura-san myself and send her to school. Her mother, I was told, wanted
her to go to school, and Kamura-san said that was what she wanted to
do--how sincerely I was soon to learn. That mother had sold her several
years before to the master of the tea-house and to get his money back
the master of the tea-house must sell her again. So the price of the
child, body and soul, was 750 yen or $375 in gold. For $50 a year she
could be sent to school in Tokio, and I doubtless could find people to
take care of her, though Kamura-san said that she would live with her
mother and go to school, which was better still. So I set about
negotiations, which were many and intricate. I had to see her own
mother, her house-mother, with whom she and other geisha girls lived in
Tokio, and who made engagements for her and them to dance at various
tea-houses (she would be a female manager of chorus-girls in this
country), and I would have to see the master of the tea-house. I saw
them all, and not one of them believed that my purpose was what I said
it was, though all of them, except Kamura-san herself, politely
pretended to believe. As Kamura-san had played with American children
and knew English well, I told her about America, and strove to explain.
She sat with her little face downcast, her eyes dreamy and apparently
taking in every word I uttered. When I got through she said simply:

"Yess, you will buy me out; you will give me a house; I will be your
Japanese wife and wear European clothes." With her next breath she would
be saying how much she wanted to go to school.

                   *       *       *       *       *

The mother of Kamura-san lives in Yokohama. Soon there was an amateur
theatrical performance there and I got the mistress of the tea-house to
let Kamura-san and a friend go down to see it. In the afternoon I went
to see the mother, who was young, pretty, and very lady-like. The little
girl acted as interpreter, and from her mother's lips told this story:

Kamura-san's father was an Austrian, and therefore she was a half-caste.
That, however, was told me in confidence, and the fact I must not
repeat, since it would interfere with her future. The mother had been
his Japanese wife, and she had loved him very much. After a time the
Austrian had been obliged to go home. He left the mother well provided
for--gave her a house and a good deal of money. But she was, she said,
young and foolish and extravagant, made bad investments, and lost it
all. It was then that she sold Kamura-san to the tea-house. She would be
very glad to have the little girl live with her at home, and wanted her
to go to school. Her father, her mother said, would be humiliated and
chagrined if he knew that Kamura-san was a geisha, and she wanted her
daughter to give the life up. Before the interview was over I could see
very plainly that the mother was still expecting the daughter to follow
in her own footsteps.

The three went to the amateur theatrical performance that night, and
from another part of the house I could see the little girl explaining it
to her friend and to her mother, and the next night at the tea-house she
rehearsed several features of it to her fellow-geishas, and her
imitation of a barytone soloist, the way he stood, lifted his shoulders,
opened his mouth and puffed out the volume of sound, was very funny, and
made her companions squeak with laughter.

Now, there was a young American officer who was going around with me on
these expeditions, who was having considerable fun over my
philanthropical purpose, and was scornfully sceptical of any success. He
was on hand that night and suddenly Kamura-san said:

"My mother says I must not love young and handsome gentleman."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because young and handsome gentleman changes his heart."

"Well, I suppose I fill the bill."

"Yess," she said, "you are a little handsome and a little old."

"But you aren't going to love anybody, you are going to school."

"Yess," said Kamura-san obediently.

Once more that night I tried to explain that we did not rob cradles in
America, and again she looked dreamy and seemed to understand, but when
I started to go, she beckoned me behind a screen:

"Did you bring the 750 yen?"

                   *       *       *       *       *

It was the interpreter of the tea-house that made me permanently
hopeless. The interpreter was soft-voiced, gentle, and spoke excellent
English. She had lived several years with an American missionary--a
woman whom she had loved, she said, very tenderly. The interpreter had
been a widow for several years, and had a little girl. She would never
marry again, she said, because she would have to give up her child. So
she spoke English in the tea-house and taught the children of the master
for a pitiful salary. I cannot recall ever having met such frankness in
Japan, and this is what she said:

"If you have 750 yen to spare, give it to the poor families of Tokio
whose sons have gone to war. You buy Kamura-san from the tea-house and
you go away to Manchuria; you will not know whether she goes to school.
Most likely her house-mother will sell her again. Anyhow it is useless.
She really does not want to go to school. She likes the tea-house, the
music, the lights and gossip, and the coming and going of strangers. You
cannot change her, and it is no use. Give your money to poor people in
Tokio."

                   *       *       *       *       *

After this Kamura-san's instincts told her that something was wrong, and
she began to take perceptibly more notice of the young officer. Once, as
I was told, she said to him:

"I always liked you best--you are so pretty."

I charged her with this statement.

"Who told you that?"

"Never mind."

"He is a liar," said Kamura-san calmly.

And once I caught her making eyes at him behind my back--something that
she had never done with me. With this, too, I charged her.

"No," she said in denial, "he is your brother. He will be my best
friend. He will be godfather to our child."

I staggered half-way across the room--that infant talking of a child!

"In heaven's good name," I said, "what do you want with a child?"

"That I may not be lonely when I old," said little Kamura-san.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Still, out of curiosity now, I went to see the house-mother of
Kamura-san. Her head was poised on her shoulders like a snake's, and her
eyes were the eyes of a snake--black, beady, and glittering. A face more
hard, cunning, cruel, and smilingly crafty I never saw, and it took her
but a little while to discover that I was an unsatisfactory customer,
and I couldn't help wondering what that Austrian father would have
thought and felt had he seen that snake-like hag trying to barter with
me for his own flesh and blood. I left the young officer there and
naturally the house-mother tried to sell the child to him.

Kamura-san I never saw again. When I came back from Manchuria I heard
that she was gone--whither I don't know, but I'm hoping that the
Austrian father by some chance may some day see these lines.

                   *       *       *       *       *

But no more now of temples, blossoms, pictures, _netsuke_, tea-houses,
wrestling-matches, theatres, and the what-not that everybody with a pen
has so wearisomely done to death. News of the battle of Nanshan has come
in. Next week we leave again.

An explanation has occurred to me. You know the Japanese does nearly
everything but his fighting--backward. Of course he reads and writes
backward. At the theatre you find the dressing-room in the lobby. Keys
turn from left to right, boring-tools and screws, I understand, turn
from right to left, and a Japanese carpenter draws his plane toward him
instead of pushing it away. Sometimes even the Japanese thinks and talks
backward. For instance, suppose he says:

"I think I will go wash my hands." That, in Japanese, is:

"Te-wo aratte kimasho." Now, what he really has said is literally:

"Hands having washed I think I will _come back_."

Perhaps then our trouble is that the Japanese tells the truth backward
and we can't understand. He might even be fighting that way--say, for an
alliance with Russia--and we still should not understand--at least, not
yet.



                                   IV

                          MAKING FOR MANCHURIA


It came at last--that order for the front. On the 18th day of July, the
Empress of China swung out of Yokohama Harbor, with eighteen men on
board, who had been waiting four months for that order, almost to the
very day. During those four months there was hardly a day that some one
of those men was not led to believe by the authorities in Tokio that in
the next ten days the order would come, and never would the authorities
say that during any ten days the order would not come; so that they had
perforce to stay waiting in Tokio from the freezing rains of March until
the sweltering days of midsummer. Many of those men had been in Japan
for five months and more, and yet knew absolutely nothing of the land
save of Tokio and Yokohama, which, tourists tell me, are not Japan at
all.

The matter has been passing strange. We did not come over here at the
invitation of the Japanese Government, but in simple kindness the
authorities might have said, with justice:

"This is the business of Japan and of Russia alone. Over here we do not
recognize the Occidental God-given right of the newspapers to divulge
the private purposes of anybody. We believe that War Correspondents are
harmful to the proper conduct of a war. Frankly, we don't want you, and
to the front you can never go."

No just complaint could have been made to this. We should have seen
beautiful Japan and, our occupation gone for this war, at least, we
could have struck the backward trail of the Saxon--the correspondent for
some trade of peace, the artist to "drawing fruits and flowers at home."
And all would have been well.

Or:

"You gentlemen came over here at your own risk. You create a new and
serious problem for us and we don't know how we are going to solve it.
If you wish to stay on at your own risk until we have made up our
minds--you are quite welcome."

For some this would have made an early homeward flight easy. Or again:

"Yes, we do mean to let you go to the front, but when we cannot say.
While you are here, however, we shall be glad to have you see our
country. Just now we are quite sure that you will not go for at least
ten days: so you can travel around and come back. If we are sure that
you can't go for another ten days, you may go away again and come
back--and so on until you do leave."

Even this they might have said:

"You English are our allies. We are in trouble, and we may draw you as
allies into it. We, therefore, grant your right to know how we behave on
the battle-field, where we may possibly have to fight, shoulder to
shoulder. Therefore, you English correspondents, you English attachés,
can go to the front, the rest of you cannot."

Nothing in all this could have given offence. All or any of it would
have had at least the combined merits of frankness, consideration,
honesty, and it is very hard for this Saxon to understand how any or all
could possibly have any bearing on anybody's advantage or disadvantage,
as far as this war is concerned.

The Japanese gave no open hint of unwillingness to have us go--no hint
that we were not to go very soon. We were urged to get passes for
ourselves, interpreters and servants at once. Most of the men obeyed at
once, bought horses, outfits, provisions and wrote farewell
letters--wrote them many times. This was the middle of March. Ever since
we have stayed at the Imperial Tomb in Tokio--the Imperial Hotel is the
name it calls itself--under heavy expense to ourselves here and to the
dear ones at home who sent us here; unable to go away; told every ten
days that in the next ten days we would most likely go, and told on no
day that within the next ten we should not go. Now it was soon--"very
soon"--in English, and then it was "tadaima"--in Japanese.

Tadaima! That, too, meant "soon," when I first put stumbling feet on the
tortuous path of Japanese thought and speech. The unwary stranger will
be told to-day that it does mean "soon," and as such in dictionaries he
shall find it. But I have tracked "tadaima" to its lair and dragged it,
naked and ashamed, into the white light of truth. And I know "tadaima"
at any time refers only to the season next to come. Early in March, for
instance, it means literally--"next summer about two o'clock."

All this was something of a strain in the way of expectation,
disappointment, worry, wasted energy--idleness. And so with a worried
conscience over the expense to the above-mentioned dear ones at home,
and the hope that some return might yet be made to them; through a good
deal of weakness and a good deal of reluctance to go home and get
"guyed," we stayed on and on. In May came the battle of Nanshan and the
advance on Port Arthur. In June followed Tehlitzu. Both battles any man
would have gladly risked his life to see, and I really think it would
have been well for the Japanese, granting their accounts of the two
battles as accurate--Russian atrocities in one, undoubted Japanese
gallantry in both--if impartial observers had been there to confirm. As
it stands, the Japanese say "you did"--the Russians say "we didn't"--and
there the matter will end.

But we swung out of Yokohama Harbor at last--the Tokio slate for the
time wiped clean and all forgiven. We were going to the front and that
was balm to any wound. O-kin-san of the Tea House of the Hundred
Steps--bless her!--had me turn my back while she struck sparks with
flint and steel behind me and made prayers for my safety, and from her
kind hand I carried away a little ideographed block of wood in a wicker
case which would preserve me from all bodily harm. Whither we were bound
we knew not for sure, since by the same token you know nothing in this
land for sure. But there were three men among us who had been
guaranteed, they said, by the word of a Major-General's mouth, that they
should see the fall of Port Arthur. So sure were they that they had made
less important representatives of their papers stay behind in Tokio to
await the going of the third column. Two others had got the same
assurance indirectly, but from high authority, and the rest of us knew
that where they went, there went we.

That day and that night and next day we had quiet seas and sunlight.
The second night we were dining in Kobbe at a hotel to which Kipling
once sang a just pæan of praise--Kobbe, which he knew at once, he
said, was Portland, Maine, though his feet had not then touched
American soil. He was quite right. Kobbe might be any town anywhere.
The next daybreak was of shattered silver, and it found us sailing
through a still sea of silver from which volcanic islands leaped
everywhere toward a silver sky. We were in the Inland Sea. To the eye,
it was an opal dream--that Inland Sea--and the memory of it now is the
memory of a dream--a dream of magic waters, silvery light and forlorn
islands--bleak and many-peaked above, and slashed with gloomy ravines
that race each other down to goblin-haunted water-caves, where the voice
of the sea is never still. This sea narrowed by and by into the
Shimonoseki Straits, which turn and twist through rocks, islands, and
high green hills. Through them we went into the open ocean once more. In
the middle of the next afternoon we passed for a while through other
mountain-bordered straits, and by and by there sat before the uplifted
eye Nagasaki, with its sleepy green terraces, rising from water-level to
low mountain-top--where the Madame Chrysanthème of Loti's fiction is a
living fact to-day. Who was it that said, after reading that book, he or
she would like to read Pierre Loti by Madame Chrysanthème? It must have
been a woman--and justly a woman--sure. There is an English colony at
Nagasaki and an American or two who cling together and talk about going
home some day--all exiles, all most hospitable to the stranger, and all
unconsciously touched with the pathos of the exile wherever on earth you
find him.

Between four and five o'clock these exiles take launches for a beach
five miles away, since the Japanese regulations now forbid bathing at
any nearer point. They carry out cakes and tea and other things to drink
and I took one trip with them through one beautifully radiant late
afternoon, but even in that way there was no evading the Japanese. Two
of them, whether fishermen, sailors, officers, or what not, calmly fixed
their boat-hooks to the launch and there they hung. The fact that the
ladies of the launch were undressing and dressing in one end did not
seem to disturb them at all, and to this day I am wondering what
possible harm a man or a woman in a bathing-dress among waves can do in
time of war in a place that is impregnable and five hundred miles from
the firing-line. I found the Japanese as different in Nagasaki as is
their speech. There they say "Nagasaki" with a hard g. In Tokio, where
the classics are supreme, they pronounce it "Nangasaki," almost--just as
the rickshaw men in the one place lose something of the samurai
haughtiness that characterizes them in the other. It is the difference
between the flat and the broad "a" in our own land, and between the
people who use the one and the people who use the other. Everybody left
next morning, but I clung to Nagasaki as long as I could, and in
consequence took an all-night ride on a wooden seat. Early next morning
I was crossing the Shimonoseki Straits from Moji in a sampan. It was
before sunrise. The mist on the sea was still asleep, but on the
mountains it was starting its upward flight. Through it fishing-boats
were slipping like ghosts, and here and there the dim shape of a
transport or a little torpedo-boat was visible. The flush in the East
was hardly as deep as a pale rose before I was noiselessly oared to the
stone quay of the little village whence we were to take transport at
last for the front. The foreign hotel was full. Richard Harding Davis
had gone to a Japanese hotel and had left word for me to follow. So in a
rickety rickshaw I rattled after him through the empty street. I found
him in a Japanese room as big as the dining-room of an American hotel,
covered with eighty mats, full of magic woodwork, and looking out where
there were no walls (the walls in a Japanese house are taken out by day)
for full fifty feet on mountain and sea and passing transports and
sampans. Davis was unpacking. Hanging over the balcony was a yellow moth
of a girl some fourteen years old, who smiled me welcome. On another
balcony at the other end of the hotel, three other sister moths were
lighted, and among them I saw a correspondent beating a typewriter
vigorously--they watching him with amazement and brushing him with their
wing-like sleeves as they hovered about. Others still were fluttering
fairy-like anywhere, everywhere. The latest occupant of our room had
been the Marquis Ito--we found it quite big enough for two of us. Li
Hung Chang had the same room when he came over to make peace terms after
the Japanese-Chinese War. We could see the corner of the street near by
where a Japanese tried then to assassinate that eminent Chinaman, and in
that very room the great Shimonoseki treaty was signed. We had it two
nights and a day, and we learned, when we went away, that we were not
told the history of that room for nothing. First, our interpreters
hinted that great men like Ito and Li Hung Chang and Our Honorable
Selves were always expected to make a present to the hotel. It was the
custom. We followed the custom to the extent of ten yen each, and an old
lady came in and prostrated herself before each of us in turn. Now, when
you are clothed only in pajamas, are seated in a chair, and have your
bare feet on a balcony in order to miss no vagrant wind, it is somewhat
embarrassing to have a woman steal in without warning, smite her
forehead to the mat several times, and make many signs and much speech
of gratitude. You won't smite yours in turn; you can't bow as you sit,
and if you rise, it looks as though you were going to put foot on the
neck of a slave. We looked very red and felt very foolish, but we did
not exchange confidences. If there was any slumbering supposition in our
minds that this was a polite Oriental method of dealing with guests who
have doubtful luggage, or a slumbering hope that the "present" might
have a dwindling effect on our bill, there needn't have been. We had to
pay in addition for that room and those eighty mats and that Fuji
landscape of delicate woodwork; we had to pay for all the brilliant
moths that fluttered incessantly about, for the chamber-maids and the
smiling bronze scullery-girl who looked in on us from the hallway; for
the bath-boy and the cook or cooks. Every junk and sampan that passed
had apparently sent a toll for collection to that hotel. The gold of the
one sunset and the silver of the one dawn were included in the
turkey-tracked, serpent-long bill that was unrolled before our wondering
eyes. In fact, if Marquis Ito's breakfast and the biggest dinner that Li
Hung Chang had there nine years before were not put down therein, it was
a strange oversight on the part of the all-seeing eye that had swept the
horizon of all creation during the itemization of that bill. That was
business--that bill. The present had been custom. I cheerfully recommend
the method to highway robbers that captain other palaces of extortion in
other parts of the world. Get the present first--it's a pretty
custom--and the rest is just as easy as it would have been anyway.

Next day we went back again to Moji, where a polite and dapper little
officer examined us and our passes and asked us many questions. Why he
did I know not, since he seemed to know about us in advance, and every
now and then he would look up from a pass and say: "Oh, you are
so-and-so"--whereat "so-and-so" would look a bit uneasy. At two o'clock
that day we set sail--correspondents, interpreters, servants, horses, a
few soldiers, and much ammunition--on the transport Heijo Maru. Every
ship has that "Maru" after its name, and I have never been able to find
out just what it means--except that literally it is "round in shape." We
steamed slowly past a long, bleak, hump-backed little island that had
been the funeral pyre for the Japanese dead in the war with China. For
ordinarily the Japanese, after taking a lock of hair, a finger-nail, or
the _inkobo_ (a bone in the throat), which they send back to relatives,
burn their dead. But this funeral pyre was for those who died in the
hospital, and the wounded and sick therein could see by the flames at
night where next day their own ashes might lie. Thence we turned
northward toward the goal of five months' hope on the part of those
hitherto unhappy but now most cheerful eighteen men.

Fuji was on board. Fuji is my horse, and he had come down by rail. He is
Japanese and a stallion--as most Japanese horses are. He has a bushy,
wayward mane, by the strands of which you can box the compass with great
accuracy, and a bushy forelock that is just as wayward. His head,
physiognomy, and general traits will come in better when later they get
an opportunity for display. All I knew then of Fuji was that he had
nearly pulled the arms out of the sockets of several men, and had broken
one man's leg back in Tokio. I was soon to learn that this was very
little to know about Fuji.

Takeuchi also was aboard. Takeuchi is my interpreter and servant. He is
tall and slender, and has a narrow, intelligent face and general
proportions that an American girl characterized as Greek. I call him the
ever-faithful or the ever-faithless--just as his mood for the day
happens to be. He keeps me guessing all the time. When I make up my mind
that I am going to say harsh things next day, I find Takeuchi tucking a
blanket around me at three o'clock in the morning. He knows they are
coming, and when I do say them Takeuchi answers, "I beg you my pardon,"
in a way that leads me to doubt which of us is the real offender after
all. Sometimes my watch and money disappear, but Takeuchi turns up with
them the next morning, shaking his head and with one wave of his hand
toward the table.

"Not safe," he says, smiting his waistband, where both were concealed.
"I keep him." He has both now all the time. His first account overran,
to be sure, the exact amount of his salary for one month and for that
amount I had him sign a receipt. Two hours later he said, in perplexity:

"I do not understand the receipt I give you."

I pointed out my willingness to be proven wrong. He worked for an hour
on the account and sighed:

"You are right," he said. "I mistake. I beg you my pardon."

He had overlooked among other things one item--the funeral expenses of
some relative, which he had charged to me. I made it clear that such an
item was hardly legitimate and since then we have had less trouble.
However, when he wishes anything, he says:

"I want you, etc., etc., etc.," and at the end of the sentence he will
say "please," with great humility; but until that "please" comes I am
not always sure which is servant and which is master. From Takeuchi I
have learned much about Japanese character, especially about the
Buschido spirit--the fealty of Samurai to Daimio, of retainer to
Samurai, of servant to master. It is useless to be harsh with or to
scold a Japanese servant. Just make your appeal to that traditional
spirit of loyalty and all will be better--if not well. He may rob you
himself in the way of traditional commissions, but you can be sure that
he will allow the same privilege to nobody else. But of Takeuchi--as of
Fuji--more anon.

We sailed along at slow speed until we came to the Elliott Group of
Islands. We paid a yen apiece for each meal, and the captain and the
purser--a nice little fellow who got autographs from all who could write
and pictures from all who could draw--were the only officers with whom
we came in contact. We had poker o' nights, and sometimes o' days, and
now and then we "played the horses." Thus we reached the Elliott Group
of Islands.

There we had company, transports coming in until there was a fleet of
ten; other transports going back to Japan, and an occasional gun-boat
hovering on the horizon. There we stayed three wearing days--told each
day that we should start on the next at daybreak. But there came one
matchless sunset as a comfort--a sunset that hung for a while over a low
jagged coast--a seething mass of flaming gold and vivid, quivering
green; that smote the sea into sympathy, lent its colors to the mists
that rose therefrom, and sank slowly to one luminous band of yellow,
above which one motionless cloud of silver was, by some miracle, the
last to deepen into ashes and darkness. And as it darkened in the West,
some white clouds in the East pushed tumbling crests of foam over
another range of hills, and above them the full moon soared. Thus, all
my life I had waited to see at last, on a heathen coast, Turner doing
the sunset, while Whistler was arranging colors in the place where the
next dawn was to come.

Here we saw Chinamen for the first time on native heath. They came out
to us in sampans, always with one or two children in the bow, to get
scraps to eat at the port-holes aft, or empty bottles, which they much
prized; or drifted past us on the swift tide, watching like birds of
prey for anything that might be thrown overboard. And we saw the
attitude of Japanese toward Chinamen for the first time, as well, and
all the time one memory, incongruous and unjust though it was, hung in
my mind--the memory of a town-bred mulatto in a high hat with his thumbs
in the arm-holes of a white waistcoat, and loftily talking to a country
brother of deeper shade in the market-place of a certain Southern town.
One day a sampan, with a very old man and a young one aboard, made fast
to the gangway. They had fish to sell, and during the haggling that
followed, a Japanese sprang aboard, dropped a coin or two, picked up the
fish, and tried to cast the sampan away--the Chinamen sputtering voluble
but feeble protests meanwhile. In the confusion, the stern of the sampan
struck a ship's boat that was swinging on a long hawser from the same
gangway, the bow of it struck the ship's side, and the racing tide did
the rest. The boat was overturned, old man and young one disappeared and
all under water shot away. We thought they were gone, but there were two
lean, yellow arms fastened by yellow talons to the keel, and in a moment
the young man was dragging the old man to safety on the bottom of the
boat. The ship's boat was cast away, the Japanese who had caused the
trouble sprang aboard with the crew, gave chase to the bobbing wreck,
caught it several hundred yards away, righted it, and later we saw the
young Chinaman working it, half submerged, toward the distant shore, and
the shivering, bedraggled old one being brought back to the ship. We
were all indignant, for the officers of the ship, far from interfering,
laughed during the whole affair, and, laughing, watched the old man and
the young one sweep away. But no sooner was the old man aboard than the
servants and interpreters gave him rice, saki, empty bottles, and
clothes, and took up a subscription for him; and when the young one got
to the ship an hour later the old man climbed into the sampan, mellow
and happy. It seemed a heartless piece of cruelty at first, but it was
perhaps, after all, only the cruelty of children, for which they were at
once sorry and at once tried to make amends. To me, its significance was
in the loftily superior, contemptuously patronizing attitude of the
Japanese toward the yellow brother from whom he got civilization, art,
classical models, and a written speech. Later, I found the same bearing
raised to the ninth degree in Manchuria. Knowing the grotesque results
in the efforts of one imitative race to adopt another civilization in my
own country, the parallelism has struck me forcibly over here in dress,
Occidental manners, the love of interpreters for ponderous phraseology
and quotations, rigid insistence on form and red tape and the letter
thereof. Give a Japanese a rule and he knows no exception on his part,
understands no variation therefrom on yours. For instance, every
afternoon we went into the sea from that gangway, and Guy Scull diving
from the railing of the upper deck and Richard Harding Davis diving for
coins thrown from the same deck into the water (and getting them, too)
created no little diversion for everybody on board. On the third
afternoon, Davis, in his kimono and nothing else, was halted by the
first officer at the gangway. The captain had found a transport rule to
the effect that nobody should be allowed to go in bathing--the good
reason being, of course, that some of several hundred soldiers in
bathing might drown. Therefore, we eighteen men, though we were in a way
the guests of the captain's Government--in spite of the fact that we
were paying for our own meals--and though for this reason a distinction
might have been made, the rule was there, and, like Japanese soldiers,
we had to obey. It looked a trifle ominous.

We were only ten hours' sail now from Port Arthur, and one morning we
did get away just before sunrise. The start was mysterious, almost
majestic at that hour. For three days those transports had lain around
us--filled, I was told, with soldiers, and yet not one soldier had I
seen. Blacker and more mysterious than ever they looked in that dark
hour before dawn--only the first flush in the east showing sign of
something human in the column of black smoke that was drifting from the
funnel of each. It showed, too, a gray mass lying low on the water, and
near a big black rock that jutted from the sea. That gray mass gave
forth one unearthly shriek and that was all. Instantly thereafterward it
floated slowly around that jutting rock; one by one the silent black
ships moved ghostlike after it, and when the red sunburst came, that
gave birth, I suppose, to the flag of Japan, all in single file were
moving in a great circle out to sea--the prow of each ship turning
toward one red star that looked down with impartial eyes where the brown
children of the sun were in a death-struggle with the cubs of the Great
White Bear. By noon there was great cheer. The Japanese word was good at
last--we were bound for Port Arthur. The rocky shore of Manchuria was
close at hand. A Japanese torpedo-boat slipped by, its nose plunging
through every wave and playful as a dolphin, tossing green water and
white foam back over its whole black length. A signal-station became
visible on one gray peak, and then there was a thrill that took the
soreness of five months from the hearts of eighteen men. The sullen
thunder of a big gun moaned its way to us from Port Arthur. There was
not a man who had not long dreamed of that grim easternmost symbol of
Russian aggression, and each man knew that no matter what might happen
on land, Port Arthur held place and would hold place for dramatic
interest in the eyes of the world. Port Arthur we should see--stubborn
siege and fierce assaults--and gather stories by the handful when it
fell. Dalny was to our left, and it was rather curious that we did not
turn toward Dalny. But no matter--we were going into Talienwan Bay,
which was only a few miles farther away, and we could hear big guns: so
we were happy. Talienwan--a thin curve of low gray stone buildings,
hugging the sweep of the bay, spread the welcome that the officer of
that port came to speak in English--and we landed among carts, Chinese
coolies, Japanese soldiers, Chinese wagons, mules, donkeys, horses,
ponies, squealing stallions, ammunition, a medley of human cries. The
bustle was terrific. A man must look out for himself in that apparent
confusion. As it was an ever-faithful day for Takeuchi that day, I was
serene and trustful. Davis was not, and beckoned to a coolie with a
cart. The man came and Davis's baggage was piled on the cart. Along came
a Japanese officer who, without a word, threw the baggage to the
ground--including a camera and other things as fragile and hardly less
precious. Davis turned to the Post Officer:

"Can I have one of these carts?"

"Certainly," he said.

Davis got another, but while his interpreter was loading his things
again, the same officer came by and tossed them again to the ground. The
interpreter protested and tried to explain that he had permission to use
the carts, but he hadn't time. That officer turned on him. Now I had
been told that there are no oaths and vile epithets in the Japanese
tongue, but I know no English vile enough to report what the man said,
and if I did I couldn't use it without blistering my tongue and
blackening my soul more black than the hair of the blackguard who used
it. But let me do the Colonel in command justice to say that when the
outraged interpreter, taken to him by us afterward, repeated the insult,
the courteous old gentleman looked shocked and deeply hurt, and said he
would deal harshly with the man. I hope he did.

This was ominous, but we were still cheerful. Yokoyama appeared and
Yokoyama was ominous. He was to handle our canteen and charge us twice
the prices that we had known at the Imperial Hotel, on the ground that
he would transport our baggage for us. That meant that he was to charge
us for the transport service that the Government was to give us--not to
him--and furnish us chiefly with canned stuff that each man could have
bought for himself for a dollar per day. We did not know this just then,
but wily Yokoyama had gathered in 500 yen from each of us in Tokio, and
he was ominous before we left Japan. I am putting this in because
Yokoyama, too, is woven into the network that fate was casting about us
that day. Still we were cheerful. Cannon were making the music we had
waited five months to hear. Port Arthur would fall, doubtless, within
ten days, and then--Home! The dream was shattered before we went to
sleep. No officer came to tell us where we were bound--to explain the
shattered word of a Major-General of his own army. It was Yokoyama who
dealt the blow--Yokoyama who, in another land, would have been branded
as a traitor by his own people and could have been put behind the bars
in ours. The truth was that we were not to go to Port Arthur at all.
Next day we travelled--whither God only knew--with every boom of a big
gun at the Russian fortress behind us sounding the knell of a hope in
the heart of each and every man. But we were on the trail of Oku's army
into the heart of Manchuria, though nobody knew it for sure, and there
was yet before us another tragedy--Liao-Yang.



                                   V

                       ON THE WAR-DRAGON'S TRAIL


There was the dean of the corps, one Melton Prior, who, in spite of his
years--may they be many more--is still the first war artist in the
world. He was mounted on a white horse, seventeen hands high and with a
weak back that has a history. Prior sold him in the end to a canny
Englishman, who sold him to the Japanese--giving Prior the price asked.
"Why, didn't you know that he wasn't sound?" said a man of another race,
who wondered, perhaps, that in a horse-trade blood should so speak to
blood even in a strange land.

"Yes," said the Englishman, "but the Japanese won't know it." They
didn't. There was Richard Harding Davis, who, for two reasons--the power
to pick from any given incident the most details that will interest the
most people, and the good luck or good judgment to be always just where
the most interesting thing is taking place (with one natural exception,
that shall be told)--is also supreme. Mounted on another big horse was
he--one Devery by name--with a mule in the rear, of a name that must
equally appeal. Quite early, after purchase, Davis had laid whispering
lip to flapping ear.

"I'll call you Williams or I'll call you Walker, just as you choose," he
said.

There was no response.

"Then I'll call you both," said Davis, and that wayward animal was
Williams and Walker through the campaign. A double name was never more
appropriate, for a flagrant double life was his. There was Bill the
Brill of the gentle heart, on a nice chestnut; Burleigh, the veteran, on
a wretched beast that was equally dangerous at either end; Lionel James
with cart and coolies of his own, and the Italian on a handsome
iron-gray. There were the two Frenchmen--Reggie, the young, the
gigantic, the self-controlled and never complaining--so beloved, that
his very appearance always brought the Marseillaise from us all--and
Laguerié, the courteous, ever-vivacious, irascible--so typical that he
might have stepped into Manchuria from the stage. There was Whiting,
artist, on the littlest beast with the biggest ambition that I ever saw
vaulting on legs; lanky Wallace, whose legs, like Lincoln's, were long
enough to reach the ground--even when he was mounted--and there were the
two Smiths--English and American--and Lewis, gifted with many tongues
and a beautiful barytone, who, his much-boasted milky steed being lame,
struck Oku's trail on foot. On Pit-a-Pat, a pony that used to win and
lose money for us at the Yokohama races, was little Clarkin the
stubborn, the argumentative, who, at a glance, was plainly sponsor for
the highest ideals of the paper that, in somebody's words, made virtue a
thing to be shunned; and, finally and leastly, there were Fuji and his
unhappy attachment, who chronicles this.

These were the men who thought they were going to Port Arthur and who,
with the sound of the big guns at that fortress growing fainter behind
them, struck Oku's trail, up through a rolling valley that was bordered
by two blue volcanic mountain chains. The sky was cloudless and the sun
was hot. The roads were as bad as roads would likely be after 4,000
years of travel and 4,000 years of neglect, but the wonder was that,
after the Russian army had tramped them twice and the Japanese army had
tramped them once, they were not worse.

The tail of the War-Dragon, whose jaws were snapping at flying Russian
heels far on ahead, had been drawn on at dawn, and through dust and mire
and sand we followed its squirming wake. On the top of every little hill
we could see it painfully crawling ahead--length interminable, its
vertebræ carts, coolies, Chinese wagons, its body columns of soldiers,
its scales the flashes of sword-scabbard and wagon-tire--and whipping
the dust heavenward in clouds. The button on that tail was Lynch the
Irishman on a bicycle, and that button was rolling itself
headward--leading us all. Behind, Lewis was eating the road up with a
swinging English stride, and, drinking the dust of the world, we
followed. Fuji had side-stepped from barrack-yard into that road, sawing
on his bit, pawing the earth, and squealing challenges or boisterous
love-calls to anything and everything that walked. Sex, species, biped,
or quadruped--never knew I such indiscriminate buoyancy--all were one to
Fuji. With malediction on tongue and murder in heart, I sawed his
gutta-percha mouth until my fingers were blistered and my very jaws
ached, but I could hold him back only a while. We overtook the Italian,
a handsome boy with a wild intensity of eye--one puttee unwound and
flying after him. The iron-gray was giving trouble and he, too, was
unhappy. We passed Reggie--his great body stretched on a lumpy heap of
baggage--with a pipe in his mouth, that was halved with his perennial
smile of unshakable good-humor, and the other Frenchman squatting
between two humps of baggage on a jolting cart.

"Ah!" he cried with extended hands, "you see--you see--" his head was
tossed to one side just then, he clutched wildly first one way and then
the other and with palms upward again--"you see how com_fort_able I am.
It ees gr-reat--gr-reat!" From laughter I let Fuji go then and he
went--through coil after coil of that war-dragon's length, past the
creaking, straining vertebræ, taking a whack with teeth or heels at
something now and then and something now and then taking a similar whack
at him. The etiquette of the road Fuji either knew not, or cared nothing
for--nor cared he for distinctions of rank in his own world or mine. By
rights the led cavalry horses should have had precedence. But nay, Fuji
passed two regiments without so much as "by your leave"; but I was doing
that for him vigorously and, whenever he broke through the line, I said
two things, and I kept saying them that I might not be cut off with a
sword:

"Warui desu!" I said, which means "He's bad!" and "Gomen nasai," which
is Japanese for "Beg pardon." These two phrases never failed to bring a
smile instead of the curse that I might have got in any other army in
the world. We passed even an officer who seemed and was, no doubt, in a
great and just hurry, but even his eyes had to take the dust thrown from
Fuji's heels. I pulled the beast in at last on top of a little hill
whence I could see the battle-hills of Nanshan. But I cared no more for
that field than did Fuji, both of us being too much interested in life
to care much for post-mortem battle-fields, and when the rest came up,
we rode by Nanshan without turning up its green slopes and on to where
the first walled Chinese city I had ever seen lifted its gate-towers and
high notched walls in glaring sunlight and a mist of strangling dust. We
passed in through the city gates and stopped where I know not. It was
some bad-smelling spot under a hot sun, and being off Fuji and in that
sun, I cared not. I have vague memories of white men coming by and
telling me to come out of the sun and of not coming out of the sun; of
horses kicking and stamping near by and an occasional neigh from Fuji
hitched in the shade of the city wall and guarded by a Chinaman; of a
yellow man asleep on a cart, his unguarded face stark to that sun and a
hundred flies crawling about his open mouth; and of an altercation going
on between two white men. One said:

"Your horse has kicked mine--remove him!"

"Move your own," said another, and his tone was that of some Lord Cyril
in a melodrama. "Mine was there first."

The other took off his coat:

"I'm sorry, but I've got to fight you."

"Very well, then," said Lord Cyril, stripping, too, and then the voice
of a peace-maker that I knew well broke in and in a moment all was
still. Takeuchi rode in on a mule. No hitting the dust for the proud
feet of Takeuchi then, as I learned, nor afterward, when there were any
other four feet that could be made to travel for hire.

"I want a 'betto,'" he said--which is Japanese for hostler--"for Fuji."

"Whatever need there be for Fuji, the accursed," said I, lapsing into
such Oriental phraseology as I had read in books, "buy, and buy
quickly--my money is in thy belt." He bought then and kept on buying
afterward.

Straightway I fell again into sun-dreams with the yellow man near by
whose mouth was wide, for it was my first experience with the God of
Fire in his hell-hot Eastern home, and I strayed in them until I was
shaken into consciousness by a white man with a beer-bottle in his hand.
I remember a garden and trees next, a Chinese room with mats, a Chinese
woman--the first I had seen--with a sad, pretty face, who rose, when I
came to the door, and stalked into a house as though she were walking on
deer-hoofs (every step she took on her tiny, misshapen feet made me
shudder), and then the sound of Davis's guitar and Lewis's voice on the
soft night air and under a Manchurian moon soaring starward above the
Eastern city-wall.

... It is noon of the second day now and we sit in the shade of
willow-trees. We left that first Chinese town of Kinchau and its dirty
natives this morning at eight. The dragon's tail again had been drawn
ahead through a narrow valley, rich in fields of millet and corn, from
which on either side a bleak, hilly, treeless desert ran desolately to a
blue mountain chain. Now, still on its trail, we sit in a green oasis,
on real grass and under sheltering willows. A lot of little Chinese boys
are around us, all naked except for a little embroidered varicolored
stomacher which hangs by a cord from the neck of each--for what purpose
I know not--and their elders are bringing water for us and sheaves of
millet-blades for the menagerie of beasts we ride. They seem a
good-natured race--these Manchurian farmers--genuine, submissive,
kindly, but genuine and human in contrast, if I must say it, with the
Japanese. Who was it that said the Chinese were the Saxons of the East
and the Japanese the Gauls? I know now what he meant.

Lewis, in a big white helmet, has just ridden in on a diminutive white
jackass. I envy the peace and content of both of them, for Fuji was
particularly bad this morning. Again he passed everything on the road,
and as we swept the length of a cavalry column, I saw a soldier leading
a puny stallion a hundred yards ahead. When he heard us, he shouted a
warning:

"Warui desu!"

At the same time the beast he was leading turned, with ears laid back
and teeth showing, and made for us, dragging the soldier along. I was
greatly pleased.

"Here, Fuji," I said, "is where my revenge comes in. You are going to
get it now and, if I mistake not, literally in the neck."

But the brute attacked me instead--_me_. He got my right forearm between
his teeth and held on until I shifted a stick from right hand to left
and beat him off--the soldier spouting Japanese with French vivacity
meanwhile and tugging ineffectively. I got away only after the vicious
brute had pasted Fuji with both heels first on one side of my right leg
and then similarly on the other, missing me about three inches each
time. Fuji now shows blood but I am little hurt. Somehow in the
scrimmage O-kin-san's charm--the little block of wood--was broken in its
wicker case and whether the heels reached it that high I don't know. But
it was a good omen--that it should be broken and its owner still come
out unhurt--and it means that I am to be safe in this campaign. The puny
brute had not strength enough to break an Anglo-Saxon arm--and it is his
kind that make impossible for the Japanese certain big guns that the
Russians use.

... It is 6 P.M. of the third day now and we are at Wa-fang-tien. We
left Pa-lien-tan this morning and made thirty-two miles. We took lunch
in a stinking Chinese village, and the chicken--well, it was a question
which was the more disturbing conjecture--how long it had lived or how
long it had been dead. Oh, Yokoyama! Fuji has not improved. He kicked
the Italian on the leg today and I've just helped to bandage it. Again
to-day I had to let him go. I tried to tire him out by riding him
through mud-holes and see-sawing him across deep wagon-ruts. But it was
no use. If a horse, bullock, man, woman, child, cat, or dog is visible
500 yards away, Fuji with a squeal makes for it. When the object is
overtaken, Fuji pays no attention to it, but looks for something else
toward which he can start his squealing way. For brutal, insensate
curiosity give me Fuji, or rather give him to anybody but me. 'Tis an
Eveless land for Fuji, but hope springs eternal for him. Dinner is just
over--tinned soup, half-cooked tinned sausages, prunes and rice from
Yokoyama's larder--which we are stocking at 12 yen per day. Hundreds of
coolies are squatting along the railroad track. In front of us a group
of Japanese soldiers has stood for five minutes staring at us with the
frank curiosity of children. They began to move away when I pulled this
note-book. Leaning against the tallest telegraph-pole, with hands bound
behind him, his pigtail tied to a thick wire twice twisted, stands a
miserable Chinese coolie. An hour ago I saw him on his knees across the
track, held down by four men, while the littlest Japanese soldier in the
group beat him heavily with a stick much thicker than the thumb. Then
they led him praying, howling, and limping to the telegraph-pole, where
he stands as an awful example to his fellows. He had stolen some coal
and it was his second offence. It was all right, of course, but it was
strange to see the apparent joy with which the Japanese did it and
stranger still to see the other coolies grinning, chatting, and making
fun of the culprit. I wonder whether they were crooking the pregnant
hinges of the knee or what on earth it did mean. We were hung up here at
3 P.M., and allowed to go no farther. There is no order for us to
remain--only a "strong desire" that we should--which is the Japanese
way. Davis and I had a great bath to-day in a pool which somebody had
dammed up--for what purpose I know not. What I do know is that it was
not meant for us.

... Sitting on the sand, we are this August 5th under birch saplings and
by the side of a running stream. Davis and Lewis are asleep in the sand.
Fifteen miles only is our _métier_ to-day and Brill is anxious to go on.
The roads are bad farther on, say the Japanese, and transportation
difficult: the only satisfactory reason yet given for this hideous
delay, and this, I'm afraid, not the true one. They simply don't trust
us--that's all. The body of the dragon is naturally getting bigger and
his vertebræ are distinctly more lumpy. For instance, he gathered in a
train of thirty freight-cars this morning and he had six hundred coolies
pulling it for him. The button of him dropped back to-day toward the tip
o' tail that is his anatomical place. Brill passed him on the road. His
bicycle-tire was punctured and he was trying to mend it, Brill says,
with 25-cent postage-stamps. He evidently succeeded, for he has just
arrived. He seems to have had a high old time on the way. At the last
Chinese village he halted long enough to offer a prize--what I don't
know--to the Chinese child that could display the prettiest embroidered
stomacher. He had them lined up in a shy, smiling row, and was about to
deliver the prize when the winner was suddenly thrust forward with a
wonderful piece on his chubby tum-tum. The wild Irishman gave him the
prize, hoisted him on the bicycle and circled the compound swiftly to
the delight of the village. I asked him how he communicated with these
isolated heathens and he said he talked Irish to them. I'm quite sure he
does and he seems to make himself understood.

It's sunset now at North Wa-fang-tien and all of us are out in a
hard-packed, sand-floor yard under little birch trees. It was a hot ride
to-day--the last mile being over a glaring white road and through
glaring white sand. That glare of a fierce sun made the head ache and
the very eyeballs burn. I almost reeled from Fuji, who for that mile
was, for the first time, almost docile.

We had a shock and a thrill to-day--Brill, Lewis, Davis, and I. It was
noon, and while we sat on a low stone wall in a grassy grove, a few
carts filled with wounded Japanese passed slowly by. In one cart sat a
man in a red shirt, with a white handkerchief tied over his head and
under his chin. Facing him was a bearded Japanese with a musket between
his knees. The man in the red shirt wearily turned his face. It was
young, smooth-shaven, and _white_. The thrill was that the man was the
first Russian prisoner we had seen--the shock that among those yellow
faces was a captive with a skin like ours. I couldn't help feeling pity
and shame--pity for him and a shame for myself that I needn't explain. I
wondered how I should have felt had I been in his place and suddenly
found four white men staring at me. It's no use. Blood is thicker than
water--or anything else--in the end.

This is distinctly a human country--a country of cornfields, beans and
potatoes, horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, goats, and no freaks in
tree-trunk, branch, or foliage. But I can't get over seeing a Chinaman
in a cornfield. It is always a shock. He doesn't seem to have any right
there--somehow nobody does except a white man or a darky. There are
tumble-bugs in the dusty road and gray, flying grasshopper-like things
that rise from the dust, flutter a few feet from the earth and drop back
again, just as they do at home. And the dragon-flies--why, they are
nothing in the world but the "snake-doctors" that I used to throw stones
at when I was a boy in the Bluegrass. The mountains are treeless and
volcanic, but it's a human country and I don't feel as far from home as
I did in Japan. Brill says it all looks like a lot of Montana hills
around Ohio cornfields: only the corn is millet that grows twelve feet
high. The people eat the top, they feed the blades to live-stock, and
the stalk serves almost every purpose of bamboo and for firewood as
well. You can ride for hours between two solid walls of it, and you
wonder how there can be people enough in the scattering villages to
plant and till, or even to cut it. A richer land I never saw. It looks
as though it would feed both armies, and yet there was no sign--no
burned house or robbed field or even a cast-off bit of the soldier's
equipment to show that an army had ever passed that way. One fact only
spoke significantly of war. No woman--except a child or a crone--was
ever visible. This struck me--when I recalled the trail of the
Massachusetts volunteers from Siboney to Santiago and the thousands of
women refugees straggling into Caney--as very remarkable. I suppose both
Japanese and Russians are trying to keep the good-will of the Chinaman
as well as of the rest of the world. I don't wonder that the Russians
are fighting for that land, nor shall I wonder should the Japanese, if
they win, try to keep it. But how it should belong to anybody but the
Chinaman who has tilled it in peace and with no harm to anybody for
thousands of years--I can't for the life of me see.

Next morning there was a sign of war. At daybreak some red flecks from
the dragon's jaws drifted back from the mist and dust through which he
was writhing forward. It looked, some man said, like the procession of
the damned who filed past Dante in hell. Each man had a red roll around
him. They uttered no sound--they looked not at one another, but stared
vacantly and mildly at us as they shuffled silently from the mist and
shuffled silently on. The expression of each was so like the expression
of the rest that they looked like brothers. A more creepy, ghost-like
thing I never saw. I knew not what they were, but they fascinated me and
made me shudder, and I found myself drawing toward them, step by step,
hardly conscious that I was moving. I do not recall that any one of us
uttered a word. Yet they were only sick men coming back from the
front--soldiers sick with the _kakke_, the "beriberi," the sleeping
sickness. It was hard to believe that the face of any one of them had
ever belonged to a soldier---hard to believe that sickness could make a
soldier's face so gentle. That man in the red shirt and those gray
ghosts that shuffled so silently out of one mist and so silently into
another are the high lights in the two most vivid pictures I've seen
thus far.

The beriberi comes from a diet of too much fish and rice, I understand.
It numbs the extremities and has a paralyzing effect on body and mind.
Summer is its time and snow checks its course. A man may have it a dozen
times and sometimes he dies. The young and able-bodied are its favorite
victims, old men its rare ones, and women and foreigners it wholly
spares. It made great havoc among Japanese soldiers in Korea, but the
Japanese now conquer beriberi as though it were a Russian metamorphosis.

Shung-yo-hing is the place now and the time is 2 P.M. The heat was awful
and the dust from thousands of carts, coolies, and beasts of burden
choked the very lungs. I have the bulge on Fuji now. I knot the reins
and draw them over the pommel of a McClellan saddle, thus holding his
muzzle close to his chest. It seemed to puzzle Fuji a good deal.

"He can't even neigh," I said to Brill in triumph, and Brill cackled
scorn. Fuji neighed five times in the next ten yards. I should say that
his record in six hours to-day was about this: stumbling with right
forefoot--300 times; stumbling with left hind-foot--200 times;
neighs--1,000.

There are about twenty miles more to Kaiping. Haicheng has been taken by
the Japanese. Somebody has just come in with cheering news--we can get
back to Yokohama by water. Gently we all said:

"Hooray!" The parting from Fuji will not be sad.

... This morning I found in one pocket some strange pieces of paper with
strange ideographs thereon in Japanese.

"What are these, Takeuchi?"

Takeuchi looked really embarrassed.

"Prayers," he said. "I got them at a temple. If you carry them, you will
get back safe." Well, that made Takeuchi immune for days.

At Kaiping we are now and we go to Haicheng to-morrow. At least we think
we do. We got here last night: Fuji being lame, I left him for Takeuchi
to lead (he rode him, of course); went on afoot and later climbed aboard
a freight-train drawn by 600 coolies. I told the Japanese in my
smattering best of their language that my horse had gone lame, and they
were very polite. The train went slowly along the dragon's length and I
had a chance to observe minutely those vertebræ--heavy Chinese wagons,
the wheels with two thick huge spokes cross-barred, the hoops of wood
and studded with big, shining rivets, and the axles turning with the
wheels; between the shafts, a horse, bullock, or a mule; in front, three
leaders, usually donkeys, mules (the best I've seen out of America), or
bullocks, in all possible combinations of donkey, mule, or bullock.
Sometimes an ass colt trotted alongside. The drivers were Chinese
coolies, each with a long whip--the butt of bamboo, the shaft spliced
with four cane reeds, the lash of leather and the cracker as it is all
over the rural world. The two or three leaders of the four- or
five-in-hand, pulled by ropes attached to the cart at either side of the
cart to one side of each shaft. The hames were two flat pieces of wood,
lashed to a straw collar that was sometimes canvas-covered. The cries of
the drivers, strange as they sounded to the foreigner near by, were at a
distance strangely like the cries of drivers everywhere:

"Atta! Atta! Atta-atta-atta!"

"Usui! Usui!--u-u-u-su-u-i!"

"Whoa-a-ah!"

At noon, Lionel James and little Clarkin rode by and shouted that the
Japanese Commandant there had a lunch ready near by. We found half a
dozen tables set in the walled yard of a Chinese farmhouse. All of us
were expected, but the others (except the Japanese correspondents who
were on hand) had gone on. There was a nice sergeant there and a grave
major with medals, and there were soldiers with fans to keep off the
flies, while we sat in an arbor, under white Malaga-like clusters of
grapes, and had tea and beer and tinned Kobbe beef and army crackers.
The rain started when we started on--and when it rains in Manchuria, it
really seems to rain. I was on foot in a light flannel shirt, and had no
coat or poncho. In ten minutes the road had a slippery coating of mud, I
was wet to the skin and, as my boots had very low heels, I was slipping
right, left, and backward with every step. Clarkin and James overtook me
and we took turns walking. In an hour the road was a very swift river,
belly-deep and with big waves--dangerous to cross. Miles and miles we
went through muddy cornfields for four hours, until we could see, across
a yellow river, the high, thick walls of Kaiping through the drizzling
mist. I waded the river, waist-high, and on the other side an
interpreter gave me a white mule, which I took in order not to get my
boots muddy again. We wound into a city gate, were stopped by a sentry
and sent on again around the city walls and three or four miles across a
muddy, slushy flat, full of deep wagon-ruts and holes. After much
floundering through mud, and the fording of many streams, we found the
Commandant with his shoes under his chair and his naked feet on the
rungs. James clicked his heels and saluted. We all took off our hats,
but as he neither rose nor moved naked foot toward yawning shoe, we put
them back on again. We must go to Kaiping, he said, and he was very
indifferent and smiled blandly when we told him that we had just waded
and swum from Kaiping. Just the same we had to wade and swim back--by
the same floundering way and through gathering darkness. We missed the
way, of course, rode entirely around the city walls, rode through
Kaiping and back again, and finally struck an interpreter who piloted us
to this Chinese temple where I write. I was cold, muddy, hungry, and
tired to the bone. But the button on the dragon's tail was there, and
Brill the gentle; and, mother of mercies! they had things to eat and to
drink. An hour later, Davis came in half-dead--leading Prior on Williams
and Walker. He had struck the same gentleman of the naked foot and
yawning shoe, had been sent on, and had gone into a stream over his head
and crawled on hands and knees most of the way through pitch dark. He
didn't mind himself, but Prior was elderly and was ill. Davis wanted the
Commandant to take him in, but he refused and Davis was indignant:

"I wouldn't turn a water-snake out of doors on a night like this."

But those two same Samaritans saved him straightway, and we sit now in
Chinese clothes in front of a temple and under a great spreading,
full-leafed tree, with two horses champing millet before the altar and
thousands of buzzing flies around. To-morrow we go on!



                                   VI

                      THE WHITE SLAVES OF HAICHENG


Haicheng at last! The Russians are only five miles away and they can
drop shells on us, but they don't. The attachés were taken out on a
reconnaissance yesterday, and we, too, if we are very good, will be
allowed to see a Japanese soldier in a real ante-mortem trench.

We left Yoka-tong this morning at seven and in three hours reached
dirty, fly-ridden Ta-shi-kao. The valley has broadened as we have come
north. The Chinese houses are better and the millet-fields (kow-liang)
stretch away like a sea on each side of the road. Soldiers were bathing
in the river that we crossed to get to the gate of Haicheng, and the
stretch of sand was dotted with naked men. Every grove was, in color,
mingled black, brown, and dirty white from the carts, horses, and
soldiers packed under the trees. We found the courteous Captain of
Gendarmes, by accident, straightway, and we had to take tea hot, tea
cold, and tea with condensed milk before he would lead us to our
quarters in this mud compound. Lewis, Reggie, and Scull greeted us with
a shout and produced beer and Tansan and a bottle of champagne cider.
Heavens, what nectar each was! The rest are coming, but the button on
the dragon's tail--the Irishman on the bicycle--has come off. Nobody
knows where it dropped. Reggie the big Frenchman is newly mounted on a
savage yellow beast that can be approached, like a cow, only on the
right side--and Lewis told the story of the two. Davis answered with the
story of our tribulations--his, Brill's and mine. He told it so well
that Brill and I wished we had been there....

We slept in our riding-clothes for the third time last night and to-day
we know our fate. We are to play a week's engagement here in a drama of
still life--the title of which heads these lines. With a sleeve-badge of
identification on--the Red Badge of Shame we call it--we can wander more
or less freely within the city walls. We can even climb on them and walk
around the town--about two miles--but we cannot go outside without a
written application from the entire company, and then only under a
guard. We are to have three guards, by the way, and our letters--even
private ones--are to go to the censor and not come back to us. Thus no
man will know what has gone, and what hasn't, or whether what went was
worth sending. Later this restriction was removed.

Our Three Guardsmen came to us last night and told these things. One was
thick-set, bearded, and a son of Chicago University; one was
smooth-shaven, thin-faced--and an authority on international law--both,
of course, speaking English. The third carried a small mustache and
talked very good French--so said Reggie. After the usual apologies, the
bearded one said in partial excuse for shackling us:

"Some of our common soldiers, never having seen a foreigner before, are
not able to distinguish between you and Russians. We wish to provide
against accidents." And he laughed.

An incident on the way here, yesterday afternoon, made this sound
plausible. I was riding alone, and hearing a noise behind me I turned in
my saddle, to see a Japanese slipping upon me with his bayonet
half-drawn from his scabbard. I stopped Fuji and said: "Nan desuka?"
(What is it?) and he, too, stopped, and turned back. Whether this was a
case in point or whether he was drunk and showing off before his
companions, or whether my Tokio accent paralyzed him, I don't know, but
later, the men who broke away from our guards and got among the
soldiers, testified that they received nothing but courtesy, kindness,
and childlike curiosity from the Japanese Tommy always.

"You saw Nanshan?" asked the bearded one.

"No," I said. "We want to see fighting, not battle-fields." He laughed
again.

"You have had a very hard time, but I think the fight at Liao-Yang will
recompense you."

"Have you heard anything from Port Arthur?"

"Nothing."

"We heard the guns as we came by and it was very exasperating." He
laughed again.

"We do not think much about Port Arthur. That is only a question of
time. Liao-Yang will be decisive. The sooner the Russians give up at
Port Arthur, the better it will be for them."

"But they not only lose their own ships, but free the Japanese fleet for
operations elsewhere."

"That's true."

"And they free the investing army for operations up here."

"That's true." He shook his head. "But Liao-Yang will be decisive."

They got up to go then and the bearded one simply bowed. The other two
shook hands all around, and when they were through, the third said:
"Well, I will shake hands, too," and he went the round.

Lewis has just come in--his face luminous with joyful news. General Oku
has sent us over:

    1 doz. bottles of champagne.
    4 doz. bottles of beer.
    1 package of fly-paper.
    1 live sheep.

Liao-Yang is only about twenty-nine miles away, and the Three Guardsmen
say we are not to be here very long. If the Russians can drop a shell on
us here, I wish they would--just one, anyhow. Even one would save the
faces of us a little.

... That poor Manchuria lamb of General Oku's died voluntarily this
morning before the canteen-man could kill it--but the champagne, the
beer, and the fly-paper are all the heart could desire. This day has
been interesting. The Three Guardsmen rounded us up this afternoon and
took us to see General Oku.

We burnished up riding-gear and riding-clothes and at three o'clock the
compound was filled with squealing stallions and braying jackasses. It
took three men to saddle Reggie's savage Mongolian. The Irishman, as
usual, was not to be found--he and Scull had gone afoot, to the worry of
the Three Guardsmen; but we rode out finally, single-file, a brave but
strangely assorted company--Brill on his chestnut, Lewis on a milk-white
charger, the Italian on an iron-gray, Davis on Devery, Laguerié on a
little white donkey, Prior on his seventeen-hand, weak-backed white
horse, and big Burleigh on a tiny savage pony that pasted Prior's horse,
as we marched, with both heels.

"Why don't you go to the rear, Burleigh?" said Prior. "That beast of
yours kicks."

"No, he doesn't," said Burleigh indignantly. "He only bites."

These two veterans and Davis wore ribbons on the left breast. Dean
Prior, indeed, seemed to have his color-box there. I had a volunteer
policeman's badge that came from the mountains of old Virginia. I was
proud of it, and it meant campaigns, too, but I couldn't pull it amidst
the glory of those three. Lieutenant Satake, the authority on
international law, led. The bearded one guarded our centre and the third
watched our rear. At the city gate a sergeant sprang to his feet:

"Hoo--!" he said, and I thought he was going to give us a whole cheer,
but it was only a half. Still all the sentries sprang to attention and
the soldiers at the gate stood rigid as their muskets. Over the stretch
of white sand, across the yellow river, and up a sandy road we went,
past staring sentries, and then into a little Chinese village, where we
dismounted. No servants were allowed, so soldiers came forward to hold
our horses. Fuji was curvetting no little.

"Warui desu!" I said, which still means, "He's bad," and the soldier
smiled and led Fuji far to one side.

We followed Satake into a court-yard. He seemed rather nervous and
presently motioned us to halt. Presently he came back, called the roll,
and each man, after answering his name, stepped to one side and stood in
line where there were two tables under grape arbors and covered with
cigars and cigarettes. Satake looked relieved--not one of us had
escaped; even the Irishman was there. Several officers stood expectantly
about, and, after a long pause, a tired-looking, slender man appeared,
accompanied by a rather stout, sleek-looking young one, and followed by
an officer with a beard and a rather big nose that in color bespoke
considerable cheer. When they got near, a sad-faced interpreter stepped
forward and in a sad, uneasy voice said:

"I have the honor to present you to His Imperial Highness, Prince
Nashimoto."

The sleek young man bowed and thrust out his hand. We all advanced,
spoke each his own name, and shook. Prior said, "Melton Prior."

Burleigh, bending low, said, almost confidentially:

"Burleigh." Davis came last----

"Mr. Davis." Then the tired-looking man, General Oku, and his aide with
the nose of good cheer, shook hands: only it was they who went around
the circle this time. The Prince retired behind one of the tables and
General Oku stepped forward with his back to the Prince, and through the
sad interpreter said things:

We had come thousands of miles and had endured many hardships getting to
the front, and he welcomed us. He was sorry that on the battle-field he
could give us so few comforts, but he was glad to see us and would do
all he could for us, etc., etc.

Such solemnity as there was! Aide stood behind General--staff behind the
aide. Most of them kept their faces bent till chin touched breast, and
never looked up at all. If a high priest had been making a prayer for
the soul of a dead monarch while other priests listened, the scene could
not have been more solemn. Straight through, it was stiff, formal,
uneasy--due, of course, to the absence of a common tongue and the
uneasiness on the part of the Japanese in receiving us after the
Occidental way; and I wondered if the scene would not have been the same
had Occidentals been receiving the Japanese after the way of Japan. But
I think not--American humor and adaptability would have lightened the
gloom a little. I watched Oku keenly. Though I had seen him coming for
twenty yards, I recalled suddenly that I saw nothing but his face until
he got quite near. It was sad with something of Lincoln's sadness. In
profile, it was kindly, especially when he smiled; full-faced there were
proofs that he could be iron and relentless. But his eyes! Big, black,
glittering, fanatical, ever-moving they were, and you caught them never
but for a moment, but when you did, they made you think of lightning and
thunder-storms. He was dressed simply in olive-green serge, with one
star on his cap and three stars and three stripes on his sleeve. His
boots were good. His sword hung in his left hand--unclinched. His other
hand looked nerveless. Not once did he shift his weight from his right
foot--only the sole of his left ever touching the stone flagging. He is
the most remarkable looking man I've seen thus far among the Japanese,
and I think we shall hear from him.

Then the aide with the cheerful nose spoke the same welcome and hoped we
would obey the regulations. Dean Prior answered, thanking the General
for the champagne, the beer, the fly-paper, and the lamb, whose untoward
demise he gracefully skipped, and said he had always been trusted by
generals in the field and hoped he would be trusted now. Then we smoked
and the Irishman spoke halting French with the Prince, who (he looked
it) had been educated in Paris. General Oku asked questions and we asked
questions.

"How long have you been in Japan?"

"More than five months." He laughed and his teeth were not good.

"You must know Tokio well."

"I know every stone in Tokio," somebody said.

The General did not smile this time.

"Have you been to Nikko?" This was a malicious chance.

"We were afraid to leave Tokio for fear of not getting to the front."

"Shall we see much fighting?"

"I think so--from a high place. You cannot see in the valleys--the
kow-liang is too high to see over even on horseback. Yes, you will see
the fight."

Then we shook hands again, saluted the staff and departed.

The Japanese soldier had Fuji behind a tree--and he was smiling.

"Warui desu!" he said, and he looked at me with approval that I dared
ride him; for Fuji was Japanese and bad, and Japanese are not good
horsemen. At any rate, he followed me to the gate and held Fuji twice
more before we finally got away. On the way back to captivity Laguerié
turned a somersault over his white donkey's head. He rose, spluttering,
between the donkey's forelegs. It looked for a moment as though the
donkey were riding Laguerié.

                   *       *       *       *       *

At sunset, next day, the Irishman said:

"Come with me," and I followed unquestioning, because questioning was
useless. Out the compound we went, through narrow streets and up a rocky
little hill in the centre of the village, where we could look over the
low tiled roofs--here and there a tree was growing up through them--over
the mud-enclosures, the high-notched city walls, the stretch of white
sand beyond, a broader stretch of green still farther on, slit with the
one flashing cimeter-like sweep of the river--and then over the low
misty hills to the tender after-glow, above which wisp-like, darkening
clouds hung motionless.

"Greatest people in the world," said the Irishman with an
all-encompassing sweep of his right arm. "All happy--all peaceful. The
soldier lowest here in the social scale--in Japan, the highest. Home the
unit. Tilled the same soil for countless generations--always plenty to
eat. We forced opium on 'em with war in '52. To think they've got to be
cursed with our blasted, blasting materialism."

I had been through all that with the Irishman many times before, so we
went on. From a gateway a cur barked viciously at us. An old man came
out to call him in and the Irishman took the Chinaman by the arm and
pointed to a walled enclosure on the extreme summit.

"I want to get in there." How, on sight, he wins the confidence of these
people--men, women, and children--how he makes himself understood, not
knowing a word of Chinese, I don't know. Straightway the old fellow went
with us, the Irishman clinging to his arm, pounded on the heavy door and
left us.

"What is it?"

"A monastery," said the Irishman.

An ancient opened the portal, by and by, and we went in--through an
alley-way to a court-yard, stone-flagged--and I almost gasped. Temples
age-worn, old gardens tangled and unkempt and trees unpruned, dropped in
terraces below us; and with them in terraces dropped, too, the notched
gray walls that shut in the hushed silence of the spot from the noise of
the outside world. Black-and-white magpies flew noiselessly about among
the trees. Somewhere pigeons cooed and butterflies were fluttering
everywhere. It was a deserted Confucian monastery--gone to wreck and
ruin with only one priest to guard it, but untouched by the hand of
Russian or Japanese. Both use temples only when they must, and it seems
that Occidentals have much to learn from Tartar and heathen in reverence
for the things that concern the universal soul. To escape that compound,
we should have pitched our tents there, I suppose, had we been allowed.
But it was a place of peaceful refuge open to us all. An Irishman had
found it, and sharing the discovery we sat there and dreamed in silence
until the after-glow was gone.

... It is pretty mournful this morning--rainy, muddy, dreary, dark. We
have established a policing system--each man taking turn; but the mud in
the court-yard deepens and the smells fade not at all. We have flies,
mosquitoes, night-bugs that are homelike in species and scorpions that
are not. Every man shakes his shoes in the morning for a hiding
scorpion. A soldier brought in a dead one to-day, that yesterday had
bitten him on the hand. He was bandaged to the shoulder, and but for
quick treatment might have lost his arm. It can't be healthy in here,
but only Dean Prior and two others have been ill. What a game Dean it
is, by the way! He laughs at his sickness, laughs when that big white
horse with the weak back goes down in a river or mud-hole with him, and
never complains at all. I have never seen such forbearance and patience
and good-humor among any set of men. If a man wakes up cross and in an
ill-humor--that day is his. He may kick somebody's water-pail over the
wall, storm at his servant, curse out the food, and be a general
irritable nuisance; but the rest forbear, look down at their plates, and
nobody says a word, for each knows that the next day may be his. This
forbearance is one benefit anyhow that we are getting out of this
campaign, which is a sad, sad waste thus far. But Reggie appears at the
door. As he marches past us we rise and sing the Marseillaise; when he
marches back, we sing it again, and that smile of his is reward enough.
There is good news--_we_ are to go out on a reconnaissance to-morrow,
ourselves.

                   *       *       *       *       *

Holy Moses! but that reconnaissance was a terrifying experience. We went
out past the station where the last fight was, along a dusty road and up
a little hill, left our horses under its protecting bulk, sneaked over
the top, and boldly stood upright on the slant of the other side. Below
us was a big rude cross over a Russian grave. Things were pointed out to
us.

"You see that big camel-backed mountain there," said one of the Three
Guardsmen. We levelled glasses. "Well, that's where the main body of the
Russians are."

"How far away is that camel-back?" somebody asked innocently. The
Guardsman had turned and was beckoning violently to the Italian (who was
on top of the little hill, some thirty feet above us) to come down. Then
he said:

"About ten miles."

"So desuka!" (truly) said the same voice, lapsing with awe into
Japanese.

"So desu!"--which is "truly" in response,--said the Guardsman with
satisfaction, and we had a thrill. The Italian now had blithely drawn
near. He seemed unafraid, but perhaps he had been unaware of his peril
on the skyline only ten miles from a Russian gun.

Then we cautiously advanced along the road for another half a mile to an
empty trench in a little camp near which there must have been all of
twenty Japanese soldiers. One correspondent stepped across the trench
and was gesticulated back with some warmth. Davis sat down on the trench
and was politely asked to get up and move back--not that he would hurt
the trench, but because he was sitting on the half of it that was next
the ten-mile-away enemy--and apparently the Guardsman had orders that we
must not cross a carefully marked line. Davis got up like a shot and
hurriedly went away back to sit down.

The major of the post there gave us tea and beer at his quarters near
by. He was a big fellow and was most kind and courteous. He had been a
professor in a war-college and had asked the privilege of death at the
front. He got it, poor fellow, and later I saw a picture of his body
being burned after the fight at Liao-Yang.

We are getting pretty restless now. The Irishman and I were denied
admittance at the monastery yesterday by the order of the Imperial
Highness whom we met the other day. However, he relaxed it in our favor.
Dean Prior started to go up on the city wall to-day to sketch, and was
stopped by a sentry, who put a naked bayonet within two feet of his
breast. He came back raging, and wrote a scathing letter which I don't
think he will send.

                   *       *       *       *       *

This morning _Wong_ came.

At ten o'clock the Irishman appeared at the entrance of the compound,
leading by the hand a little Chinese boy some eight or ten years old. He
was the dirtiest little wretch I ever saw, but he smiled--and never saw
I such teeth or such a winsome smile. The Irishman said simply and
gravely:

"This is Wong," and no more. He led the boy behind the paling that
enclosed our bathing-quarters, plucking, as he walked, a sponge and a
cake of soap, which happened to be mine. Then I heard:

"Take it off!" And again: "Take it off, I say!"

Apparently he was obeyed. Then:

"Take that off, too; yes, that, too!" Evidently the boy had but two
garments on, for considerable splashing took the place of peremptory
commands. By and by they came out together and, still hand in hand,
passed out of the compound. In half an hour the Irishman came back.

"I've just taken Wong down to Poole's," he said, still gravely, "to get
him a new suit of clothes."

"The trousers were too long, and Wong objected. Poole told him that
trousers were worn long this season, and Wong compromised by rolling
them up. He'll be here by and by."

By and by Wong came back resplendent in new blouse, new trousers, new
shoes and socks. On his breast was sewed a big white piece of cotton in
the shape of a shamrock, and on the shamrock was printed this:

                                  WONG
                    _Cup-bearer and Page in Waiting_
                                   to
                         ---- ----, _Esquire_.

Straightway was Wong an habitué of the compound and straightway his
education began. Wong was quick to learn.

"Attention, Wong!" the Irishman would say, and Wong would spring to his
feet and dash for a bottle of--Tansan.

"Make ready!" Wong would poise the bottle. "Aim--fire!" Wong would fire,
and then would come the command, "When!" which meant "cease firing!" and
Wong, perfect little soldier that he was, would cease, though his genial
hospitality and genuine concern for the happiness of everybody made
ceasing very hard. If his master ordered a bottle of wine at the table,
Wong would pass it to every man. He was equally hospitable in the matter
of cigarettes--anybody's; for he could never see that what belonged to
one man did not belong to all. Essentially, in that crowd, he was right.
But it was rather expensive for the Irishman, until one day he told Wong
always to take the chits to "that fat man"--who was not Reggie--and
thereafter the fat man got them.

Wong had caught the military salute from the Japanese soldiers, and
every morning, when he came in, he would go around to each of us in
turn, clicking his heels, hand at his forehead, and always with that
radiant smile flashing from his gentle eyes and his beautiful teeth. The
Irishman always slept late. One morning he was awakened by an insistent
little voice outside his mosquito-net, saying, over and over:

"Hello, George; wake up! Hello, George; wake up!" Somebody had taught
him that; but he saw straightway that it was not respectful, and we
could never get him to do it again.

After his second bath he went around pulling his shirt open to show how
clean his yellow little body was. Indeed, he got such a passion for
cleanliness that one morning he näively held out his exquisite hands to
Lewis to be manicured--Lewis did it. Again, when Tansan spouted into his
face, he reached out, pulled a silk handkerchief from a man's pocket and
mopped his face. All of us got to love that boy, and when we went away
there was a consultation. We would make up a fund and educate him. His
father was called in and an interpreter explained our design. Wong burst
into tears and wept bitterly. There were answering drops in the
Irishman's eyes.

"I tell you, all the blood shed in this miserable war is not worth those
few precious tears. Greatest people on earth! Why should he want to
leave them?"

Lovable little Wong! The first word the Irishman said when he came back
through that town on our way home was spoken to a group of boys on the
street.

"Wong!" he said simply, and they raised a shout of comprehension and
dashed away, the Irishman after them. Half an hour later he joined me in
a restaurant. Wong was not in town, he said gravely; he had bought a
place outside of town with the money we had given him, and had taken his
family into the country for the hot season. Anyhow, we saw Wong the
gentle, Wong the winning, no more.

                   *       *       *       *       *

A major came this morning to give us a lecture on the battle of
Tehlitzu--to while away the tedium, said one of the Guardsmen. The Major
is smooth-shaven and very broad between the cheek-bones. His hair is
clipped short, his eyes are large, and his face is strong. He must have
been a professor in a war-college, for he stood up and drew mountains,
hills, valleys, positions, trenches, trees, and made figures--all with
wonderful rapidity and skill--backward. That is, he made them for us
standing in front of him to look at. A certain division, he said, of a
certain regiment, at a certain time had done a certain thing. It was a
perfect lecture except that all the really essential facts were
skilfully suppressed.

The Major had been present only as an observer--a student--but at one
hot place on which he put his finger, he had "lost many friends there,"
he said impassively.

At that place a young Russian officer led a charge, and his men refused
to follow him. The officer drew a dagger and smilingly killed himself.

"We all speak much of that man," said the Major.

At another place the ammunition gave out on both sides, and Japanese and
Russians fought with stones--men on both sides being severely wounded.
While this was going on some Russian officers advanced, sword in hand,
from another point, but they had no followers. One of them started
forward and gave challenge. A Japanese officer sprang to meet him, and a
duel was fought while soldiers of both armies looked on. "The Japanese
was fortunate enough to despatch the Russian," said the Major modestly
and dispassionately, "and we buried him with much ceremony and put a
barrier over him. It was an interesting study--this battle--as to
whether it is better to fight a defensive or an offensive enemy."

"Well, I'd rather have seen that rock-fight," said a correspondent, "and
that duel than the whole battle."

The Major looked puzzled and shocked, and went on to tell how they had
captured a fat Russian colonel--whose horse was wounded and whose coat
was gone.

"He said our artillery fire was--" the Major paused, used a Russian
word, and turned to the interpreter helplessly--and the interpreter
said:

"Ungodly."

"Yes," said the Major, and he smiled. "The first thing the Russian asked
for was a bottle of soda-water, which made us laugh. We do not carry
such things in the fields. I gave him ten cigarettes."

"How many men did the Japanese have in that fight?" asked a
correspondent.

"Just as many as they have now," was the illuminating answer.

I wonder if anybody but the Japanese knows how many men they have really
had in any fight, and whether in consequence their victories have been
due to astonishing skill or overwhelming numbers. There is rumor of one
lost Japanese division, the whereabouts of which nobody--but the
Japanese--knows. It could have been in every fight thus far and
nobody--but the Japanese--could know.

We are getting mighty tired now. Several of us concluded up at the
monastery to-day that we would go home pretty soon unless there was a
change. There we took pictures of temples, monoliths, stone-turtles. The
Irishman appeared suddenly--coming down the long steps above us, leading
a Chinese child by the hand and carrying a younger one in his arms. How
or where he gathers in children the way he does, is a mystery to all of
us. Then we took more pictures and four officers came in. We
communicated in a Babel of French, German, English, Chinese, and
Japanese. They got tea for us from the priest, and were very polite.
Later two more came in. Davis and I were writing, and they stood around
and looked at us for a while. One approached.

"What are you doing there?"

"Writing," I said.

"Drawing?" he asked suspiciously.

"Yes, drawing," said Davis. "Why do you want to know what we are doing?"
I don't think the officer understood--but he understood that something
was wrong, and he stood a moment in some awkwardness.

"Good-a-by!" he said.

"Sayonara," we answered.

"I don't think it is anything but curiosity," I said.

"A good deal of it is--because they don't know that they oughtn't to
show it. He put us at once in the attitude of being spies. I can't
imagine what he thought we were drawing."

"We didn't have our badges on. He might have arrested us."

"That would have been some diversion."

The day has been warm, brilliant--the sky crystalline, deep, and flecked
with streamers of wool. At sunset now the rain is sweeping the west like
a giant broom, the rush of wind and river is indistinguishable, the
silent magpies are flying about, but there is still a mighty peace
within these walls. Back now to mud, flies, and fleas.

It's 1 A.M. The fleas won't sleep, and for that reason I can't. Even the
drone of school-children chanting Chinese classics--as our little
mountaineers chant the alphabet in a "blab-school"--and the barking of
dogs have ceased. Somewhere out in the darkness picket-fires are shining
where the Sun-children and the White Cubs are soon to lock in a fierce
embrace. I like this Manchurian land and I like the Chinaman. Both are
human and the country is homelike--with its cornfields, horses, mules,
cattle, and sheep and dogs. The striking difference is here, you see no
women except very old ones or little girls. Here is the absence of that
insistent plague--human manure--that disgusts the sensitive nose in
Japan. The "fragrant summer-time" would have been a satire if it had
been written in Japan. But there is no charm here as there is everywhere
in Nature and Man in Japan. Besides the Chinese, here at least, are
filthy in person and in their homes--the smell of the Chinaman is
positively acrid--while the Japanese are beyond doubt the very
cleanliest people in the world. I wish I could see for myself what they
really are in battle. As far as I can make out at long distance, the
Japanese army and the individual Japanese soldier seem the best in the
world: the soldier for the reason that he cares no more for death than
the average Occidental for an afternoon nap--the army for the reason
that the Buschido spirit--feudal fealty--having been transferred from
Daimio and Samurai to Colonel and General--gives it a discipline that
seems perfect. Imagine an army without stragglers or camp-followers, in
which one man is as good as another and all boast of but one thing--a
willingness to die. It looks as though for the first time in history the
fanatical spirit of the Mussulman who believed that he would step, at
death, from the battle-field into Paradise, was directed by an acute and
world-trained intelligence. As to the soldier, the pivotal point of
effectiveness seems to be this: an Occidental and a Japanese quarrel,
and they step outside to settle matters. The Occidental thinks not only
of killing the Japanese, but of getting out alive. His energies are
divided, his concentration of purpose suffers. The Japanese has no such
division--he is concerned only with killing his opponent, and he doesn't
seem to care whether or not he comes out alive or dead. I'm wondering,
though, whether he would fight this way for England--whether he will
ever fight again this way for himself.

It has been cold the last two days. The flies have almost disappeared
and the fleas are less active--in numbers, anyhow. Two officers came to
see us last night and it's the first time we have been honored in this
way. One had a long sword 400 years old--the other a short one 500 years
old, and both were wonderful blades. Now, the sword of a Samurai was his
soul, and the man who even stepped over it did it at the peril of his
life. I was rather surprised that they let us handle them so freely.

"We are to leave here very soon," they said.

To-morrow we do leave--toward Liao-Yang.



                                  VII

                    THE BACKWARD TRAIL OF THE SAXON


Out at the gate of the compound, last night, a barytone voice lifted a
pæan of praise to the very stars. We were to leave that wretched
enclosure next day, the Three Guardsmen said, and that night the White
Slaves listened to the barking of dogs, the droning chorus of
school-children chanting Chinese classics and the medley of small noises
in streets and compound, and sank to sleep for the last time in
Haicheng. As usual, the raucous cries of Dean Prior and Burleigh ushered
in the dawn, and the usual awakening and bustle of servants and masters
followed. For the last time Little Wong, Cup-bearer and Page-in-Waiting,
with his hand at his forehead, clicked his heels before each of us in
turn, stirred his master, the Irishman, from slumber deep, and, with a
radiant smile and flashing teeth, fired volleys of Tansan right and
left. Within half an hour we were gathered under Yokoyama's tent for our
last breakfast. For the last time Big Reggie, the Frenchman, marched
past us, and for the last time we made him keep step to a ringing
Marseillaise. Half an hour later, the compound was full of squealing
horses, and soon carts, coolies, the White Slaves of Haicheng, and the
Three Guardsmen wound out of the gate, through the narrow streets and
under the city wall--on the way to see a battle at last. Two hours we
marched, climbed then a little hill, left our horses on the hither side,
crawled over the top to where that battle was raging--some ten miles
away. Up in the mountains somebody was evidently letting loose giant
puffs of cigarette-smoke high in the air. No sound was perceptible, but
they were shells, a Guardsman said.

"Whose shells?"

"I don't know," said the Guardsman. As a matter of fact, those shells
were so far away that we could not tell whether they were Russian or
Japanese, whether they were coming toward us or going away. But we could
count them, and, of course, that was great profit and fun. So, while
that battle raged, we fearlessly strolled around the hill-side or sat in
groups and told stories, and one daredevil of a correspondent, made
reckless by the perils we had passed, deliberately turned his back to
the fight and calmly read a newspaper.

The Three Guardsmen were justly pained by such a neglect of such an
opportunity to study strategy and tactics in a great war, and they did
not look happy. Thus for two hours did we not see the battle of
Anshantien.

Toward noon the shell-smoke waned and we moved on to another compound,
where we were to spend the night. At dusk a Guardsman came in radiant
and filled our hearts with fatuous cheer. We were to see another fierce
engagement next morning. But we must rise early and travel fast or we
should be too late, as the attack would be made before dawn. The Three
Guardsmen would come themselves to awaken us at three o'clock so that
there could be no mistake. He was so earnest and so sure that we went to
bed greatly excited, and nobody slept except the Irishman, who lifted
his head from sound slumber, however, when one vagrant beer-bottle was
popped to decide a wager, at midnight.

"Don't you think I don't hear you," he said.

"I win the bet," said Brill.

Three hours later, the Guardsmen found us awake. We arose and stumbled
in the mud and darkness for a cup of coffee, and started single file
through raining blackness toward that ever-vanishing front. Nobody said
a word, and the silence and mystery of the march was oppressive as we
waded streams and ploughed through mud between walls of dripping corn.
Every now and then the Authority on International Law, who led us, would
halt the column and get off his horse to look for the trail that had
been left for us the day before. At least he did the looking, but it was
always Captain James, the Englishman, who found the trail; a more
stealing, mysterious, conspirator-like expedition I have never known. It
was hard to believe that we were not creeping up to make an attack on
something ourselves, or that the Russians might not burst from the corn
on either side at any minute.

On we went until another hill loomed before us, and at the foot of this
hill we waited for the dawn. By and by another cavalcade approached, the
military attachés, equally impressive, equally mysterious, equally
solemn and expectant. And on that little hill we waited, in the cold
wind and drifting sleet and rain, the correspondents huddled on top, the
cloaked attachés stalking along on a little terrace some thirty feet
below, everybody straining his eyes through the darkness to see the
first flash of a gun. Morning came and we were still straining--big
Reggie nibbling a hard-boiled egg on the very summit of the hill, a
Lieutenant-General of the English Army patrolling the terrace like some
"knight-at-arms alone and palely loitering," because no shells sang, and
the rest of us dotting the muddy mound with miserable, shivering shapes,
while wind, rain, and cold made merry over the plight of all. The Three
Guardsmen moved restlessly about, speaking words of good cheer; but
something was happening to that battle and we got tired of straining and
began to walk recklessly around that hill and borrow chocolate and
tobacco and bread from one another for breakfast. Even the Guardsmen got
uneasy--hopeless--and once I found myself on the other side of the hill,
where one of them lay huddled in his army coat. For a little while we
talked inter-continental differences.

"We do not understand, we Occidentals, why the Japanese prefers to
commit hara-kiri rather than be captured, and we argue this way: If I
allow myself to be captured, I may be exchanged or escape, and thus have
a chance to fight another day; if not, my enemy has to take care of me
and feed me, so that I reduce his force and resources just that much. If
I kill myself I make a gap in my own ranks that I can't fill again. If I
accept capture, I am worrying and exhausting you all the time. The only
good I can see in hara-kiri is the effect that it might have on the
fighting capacity of the men who are left. Is there any economic
consideration of that sort under the Japanese idea?"

The Guardsman shook his head. "No," he said, "it is instinct with us;
but," he added presently, "I think we are coming around to your point of
view, and I think we will come around to it more and more. You see, we
have transferred the Buschido spirit of feudalism into the army. The
loyalty of Samurai to Daimio has been transferred to soldier and
officer, and this instinct for hara-kiri is so great an element in the
Buschido spirit that I think our officers are a little fearful about
trying to change it too rapidly." But a Japanese will not talk long
about such matters with a foreigner.

The Guardsman pulled a little brass check covered with Chinese
characters from his pocket.

"This is how we identify our dead," he said. "Every soldier carries one
of these, and every officer."

"That's a good idea," I said, but I couldn't help thinking how little
use he could ever have for that check as long as he was guarding us. It
is said that just about this time the wife of a correspondent back in
Tokio went trembling to the War-Office. "I have heard nothing from my
husband," she said. "Tell me if he has been killed." The official was
startled.

"Impossible!" he said.

I climbed the hill again to see how that battle was going on. The first
line of "The Burial of Sir John Moore" will do for that battle. It
wasn't going on, so one of the Guardsmen galloped ahead to learn what
the trouble was with the Schedule, and for two long, chilly hours we
huddled on that windy mole-hill, with no flash of gun in the distance,
no puff of smoke high in the air. The Guardsman came back then.
Kuropatkin had quietly sneaked away while we were sneaking for that
hill, and the Japanese were after him. Thus passed the second day of the
battle of Anshantien.

At noon we were hitting the muddy trail again for another Chinese
compound. Evidently we were getting nearer the front; the flies and
fleas were thicker here, a dead pig protruded from a puddle of water in
the centre of the compound, and there were odors about of man and horse,
that suggested a recent occupation by troops. We policed the filthy
enclosure that afternoon, and quite late the thunder of big guns began
far away, while a yellow flame darted from the unseen sun, spread two
mighty saffron wings through the heavens, fitted them together from
earth and sky, and left them poised motionless, while from them stole
slowly out the rich green-and-gold radiance that comes only after
rain--drenching wet earth and still trees and quiet seas of corn. By and
by crickets chirped, quiet stars shone out above the yellow, and the
dusk came with a great calm--but it was the calm that presaged the storm
of Liao-Yang.

We had a serious consultation that night. The artists couldn't very well
draw what they couldn't see. Some of us, not being military experts, and
therefore dependent on mental pictures and incident for material, were
equally helpless. Thus far the spoils of war had been battle-fields,
empty trenches, a few wounded Japanese soldiers, and one Russian
prisoner in a red shirt. So, hearing that General Oku feared for our
safety, we sent him a round-robin relieving him of any responsibility on
our account, and praying that we should be allowed to go closer to the
fighting, or our occupation would be gone. Then we went to sleep.

The straw that broke the camel's back was added to the burden of the
beast next morning. The final word came from General Oku, through a
Guardsman, that the Russians were in flight, that there would probably
be no decisive battle for some time and that if there should be, we were
to be allowed no closer than four miles from the firing-line. Well, you
cannot see, that far away, how men behave when they fight, are wounded,
and die--and as all battles look alike at a long distance, there was
nothing for some of us to do but go home. So, on a bright sunny morning,
Richard Harding Davis, Melton Prior, the wild Irishman, and I sat alone
in the last dirty compound, with the opening guns of Liao-Yang booming
in the distance. I had sold Fuji to Guy Scull, and I wondered at the
nerve of the man, for the price, though small, was big for Fuji. I
pulled that vicious stallion's wayward forelock with malicious affection
several times, and watched Scull curvet out on him to a more dangerous
fate than any danger that war could hang over him. Away we went, then,
Davis, Prior, and the Irishman on horseback--what became of his bicycle,
I don't know to this day--on the backward trail of the war-dragon--for
home. We went back through Haicheng, and spent a few hours in the same
deserted compound that we had left only a few days before. Its silence
was eloquent of the clash and clatter and storm of our ten days'
imprisonment there. There we went to see General Fukushima, who with
great alacrity gave us a pass back to Japan. He could not understand why
all of us would have preferred to be at Port Arthur. It mystified him a
good deal.

"General," said Dean Prior, "you promised me that I should go to Port
Arthur." The General laughed.

"I tried to get you to stay for the third column," he said, and Prior
was silent, whether from conviction or disgust, I don't know.

He wanted us to take a roundabout way to Newchwang, so that we would be
always under Japanese protection. There were Chinese bandits, he said,
along the short cut that we wanted to take, and there had been many
murders and robberies along that road. Just the same, we took that road.
So away we went, with carts, coolies, interpreters, and servants--they
in the road and I stepping the ties of the Siberian Railway. One hundred
yards ahead I saw two Japanese soldiers coming toward me on the track.
When they saw me--they mistook me for a Russian, I suppose--they jumped
from the track and ran back along the edge of a cornfield--disappearing
every now and then. I was a little nervous, for I thought they might
take a pot shot at me from a covert somewhere, but they were only
dashing back to announce my coming to a squad of soldiers, and as I
passed them on the track the major in command grinned slightly when he
answered my salute.

We had a terrible pull that day through the mud, and we reached a
Chinese village at dusk. The Irishman, with the subtle divination that
is his only, found by instinct the best house in the town for us to
stay. It had around it a garden full of flowers, clean mats and antique
chairs within, and there was plenty of good cold water and nice fresh
eggs. My last memory that night, as I lay on a cot under a mosquito-net,
was of the Irishman and our aged host promenading up and down the
garden-path. The Chinaman had never heard a word of English before in
his life, but the Irishman was talking to him with perfect gravity and
fluency about the war and about us, giving our histories, what we had
done and what we had failed to do, and all the time the old Chinaman was
bowing with equal gravity, and smiling as though not one word escaped
his full comprehension. How the Irishman kept it up for so long, and why
he kept it up for so long, I do not know, but they were strolling up and
down when I went to sleep.

The next day we had another long pull through deeper mud. For hours and
hours we went through solid walls of ten-foot corn; sometimes we were in
mud and water above the knees. Once we got lost--anybody who followed
that Irishman always got lost--and an old Chinaman led him and Davis and
me for miles through marshy cornfields. Sometimes we would meet Chinamen
bringing their wives and children back home--now that both armies had
gone on ahead--the women in carts, their faces always averted, and the
children dangling in baskets swung to either end of a bamboo pole, and
carried by father or brother over one shoulder. By noon the kind old
Chinaman connected us with our caravansary in another Chinese town.
There the Irishman got eggs by laying a pebble and cackling like a hen,
and the entire village gathered around us to watch us eat our lunch.
They were all children from octogenarian down--simple, kindly, humorous,
and with a spirit of accommodation and regard for the stranger that I
have never seen outside of our Southern mountains. After lunch we took
photographs of them, and of ourselves in turn with them, and the village
policeman--he did not carry even a stick--was a wag and actor, and made
beautiful poses while the village laughed _in toto_. This would not have
been possible in a Japanese town. Nearly all of them followed us out of
the village, and they seemed sorry to have us go.

Soon I tried a Chinese cart for a while, and in spite of its jolting I
almost went to sleep. As I drowsed I heard a voice say:

"You'd better tell him to keep awake." Another voice answered:

"I will take care of him," and I lifted my hat, to see the ever-faithful
Takeuchi stalking along through the deep mud by me, with a big stick in
his hand. But we saw no bandits. It was the middle of the afternoon now,
and we began to meet column after column of Japanese troops moving
toward the front from the new point of disembarkation--Newchwang.
Somehow, on the wind, a rumor was borne to us that there was a foreign
hotel in Newchwang which had bath-tubs and beer and tansan; even a
wilder rumor came that the Russians had left champagne there. We held a
consultation. If all those things were there, it were just as well that
some one of us should engage them for the four as quickly as possible.
The happy lot fell to me, and I mounted Dean Prior's great white horse
and went ahead at a gallop. That horse was all right loping in a
straight line, but if there was a curve to be turned or a slippery bank
to descend, his weak back drew mortality for the rider very near. Then
he had an ungovernable passion for lying down in mud-holes and streams,
which held distinct possibilities for discomfort. Twice he went down
with me on the road, though he walked over a stream on a stone arch that
was not two feet wide in perfect safety. In one river, too, he went
down, and we rolled together for a little while in the yellow mud and
water; but I ploughed a way through columns of troops, and, led by a
Chinese guide, reached Newchwang at sunset. I went to the Japanese
headquarters, but could learn nothing about that hotel. I asked
directions of everybody, and when, going down the street, I saw coming
toward me through the dust a boy with a tennis-racquet over his shoulder
and a real white girl in a white dress, with black hair hanging down her
back, I asked directions again, merely that I might look a little longer
upon that girl's face. It seemed a thousand years since I had seen a
woman who looked like her. I found the hotel, and I got rooms for
ourselves and quarters for our servants and horses. Looking for a stable
in the dark, I turned a corner, to see a Japanese naked bayonet thrust
within a foot of my breast. Naturally, I stopped, but as it came no
nearer, I went on, and not a word was said by the sentinel nor by me.
None of my companions came in, and I ate dinner in lonely magnificence,
put beer, champagne, and tansan on ice, gave orders that the servants
should wait until midnight, and sent guides out to wait for Davis and
Prior and the Irishman at the city gates. Then I went to bed. About two
o'clock there was a pounding on my door, and a little Japanese officer
with a two-handed sword some five feet long came in and arrested me as a
Russian spy. He said I would have to leave Newchwang by the earliest
train the next morning. Now, if I had had wings I should have been
cleaving the Manchurian darkness at that very minute for home, and with
a little more self-control I should have hung out the window and laughed
when he made that direful threat. But I had ridden into that town on the
biggest white horse I ever saw, and I looked like an English
field-marshal without his blouse. I had gone to the Japanese
headquarters. I had registered my name and the names of my three friends
on the hotel-book. I had filled out the blank that is usual for the
passing stranger in time of war. I had added information that was not
asked for on that blank. I had engaged four rooms, had ordered dinner
for four people, and had things to eat and things to drink awaiting for
the other three whenever they should come. I had my war-pass in my
pocket, which I displayed, and yet this Japanese officer, the second in
command at Newchwang and a graduate of Yale, as I learned afterward,
woke me up at two o'clock in the morning, and in excellent English put
me under arrest as a Russian spy. I was robed only in a blue flannel
shirt and a pair of "Bonnie Maginns," but I sprang shamelessly from out
that mosquito-netting, and I said things that I am not yet sorry for.
Over that scene I will draw the curtain quickly--but just the same, a
Japanese soldier sat at my door all through the night. The next morning
I heard a great noise, and I saw our entire train in the street below. I
called my sentinel to the window and pointed out to him four carts,
twelve horses and mules, eight coolies, and eight interpreters and
servants, and I asked him if Russian spies were accustomed to travel
that way--if they did business with a circus procession and a brass
band? He grinned slightly.

Half an hour later Davis and I went down to see the Yale graduate, and
he apologized. He said graciously that he would remove the guard from my
door, and I did not tell him that that intelligent soldier had
voluntarily removed himself an hour before. We told him we were very
anxious to get back to Yokohama to catch a steamer for home. He said
that we probably would not be allowed to go home on a transport, and
that even if we had permission we could not, for the reason that no
transports were going.

"There is none going to-day?"

"No."

"Nor to-morrow?"

"No."

"Nor the day after?"

"No."

We said good-by. Just outside the door we met another Japanese
officer who had been sent into Manchuria with a special message from
the Emperor, and had been told incidentally to look in on the
correspondents. He had looked in on us above Haicheng, and he was
apparently trying to do all he could for us. He was quite sure if we saw
the Major in Command there, that we should be allowed to go. "Is there a
transport going to-day?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, "I am taking it myself." I kept my face grave.

"And to-morrow?"

"Yes."

"And the next day?"

"Yes."

Three of them--all useless--nailed within five minutes from the lips of
a brother-officer and within ten steps of the Yale graduate's door! It
was to laugh.

I took a Chinese sampan, and with sail and oar beat up that yellow river
for an hour to find the Major in Command. When I got to his office, he
had gone to tiffin. Where did he tiffin? The answer was a shake of the
head. Nobody could disturb the gallant major while he was tiffining, no
matter how urgent the caller's business was. When would he return?
Within one hour and a half. Well, we would have just a little more than
another hour in which to catch that transport, even if we got permission
to take it. And somehow cooling heels in the ante-chamber of the Major
while he tiffined had no particular charm for me just then, so I decided
very quickly to start back by Chefoo and Shanghai, even if it did take
five extra days and perhaps cause us to lose the steamer for home.

So we gathered our things together and took passage on a British steamer
for China. A Chinese sampan took the ever-faithful Takeuchi and me with
our luggage to the ship. I handed Takeuchi two purple fifty-sen bills
that the army issues in Manchuria as scrip--to give to the Chinaman--and
started up the gangway toward the Captain's cabin. Takeuchi thought I
had gone, but I looked around just in time to see him thrust one of the
bills in his own pocket, give the Chinaman the other, put his right foot
against the Chinaman's breast, and joyously kick him down the gangway
into the sampan. Selah!

The joy of being on a British ship with the Union Jack over you and no
Japanese to say you nay! Never shall I forget that England liberated the
slave. She freed some of the White Slaves of Haicheng.

To avoid floating mines we anchored that night outside the bar, but next
morning we struck the wide, free, blue seas, with an English captain,
whose tales made Gulliver's Travels sound like the story of a Summer in
a Garden. Without flies, fleas, mosquitoes, or scorpions, we slept when
and where we pleased and as long as we pleased. Once more we wore the
white man's clothes and ate his food and drank his drink, and were
happy. In the afternoon we passed for miles through the scattered
cargoes of Chinese junks that had been destroyed by the Japanese while
on their way to supply the Russians at Port Arthur, and that night we
saw the flash of big guns as once more we swept near the fortress we had
hoped to see. A sunny, still day once again and we were at Chefoo, where
in the harbor we saw--glory of glories!--an American Man-of-War. Ashore
Chefoo was distinctly shorn of the activities that lately had made the
town hum. There were only a Russian or two there from a destroyed
torpedo-boat, a few missionaries in rickshaws and dressed like Chinese,
a few queer-looking foreign women in the streets, and a lonely,
smooth-shaven young man from Chicago, who ran a roulette-wheel and took
in more kinds of Oriental currency than I knew to exist.

"I am sorry the Russians have gone," he said; "they were great
gamblers."

There we learned that fighting was going on at Liao-Yang--real,
continuous fighting; and a melancholy of which no man spoke set in
strong with all of us. But there was that American Man-of-War out in the
harbor, and Davis and I went out to her and climbed aboard. We saw nice,
clean American boys again, and pictures of their sisters and
sweethearts, and we had dinner and wine, and we made that good ship
shake from stem to stern with song.

Two days later we were threading a way through a wilderness of ships of
all the nations of the earth into Shanghai. Shanghai--that "Paris of the
East"--with its stone buildings and hotels and floating flags; its
beautiful Bund bordered with trees and parks and paths, its streets
thronged with a medley of races and full of modern equipages, rattling
cabs, rattling rickshaws, and ancient Chinese wheelbarrows each with one
big wooden wheel, pushed by a single Chinaman with a strap over his
shoulder, and weighted, sometimes, with six Chinese factory-girls, their
tiny feet dangling down--and all this confusion handled and guarded by
giant, red-turbaned Sikh policemen--each bearing himself with the
dignity of a god. There was gay life in Shanghai--good and bad; town
clubs and country clubs, with tennis, cricket, and golf. There were
beautiful roads, filled with handsome carriages and smart men and women
on smart horses, and there were road-houses with men and women who were
not so smart seated around little tables all over the verandas, with
much music coming from within. Along that Bund at night were house-boats
anchored, on the decks of which people dined among red candles to the
music of a brass band in a park near by--brilliantly lit. And there was
a Chinese quarter not far away, thronged with strange faces, with
narrow, twisting streets, some murky and some gay with lanterns that
hung from restaurants, theatres, opium dens, singing and gambling halls,
while through those streets coolies bore high on their shoulders gayly
dressed Chinese singing-girls from one hall to another.

On the ship for Nagasaki were many young Chinese boys and girls going to
other lands to be educated, and I was given two significant bits of
information: "Ten years ago," said a man, "a foreign education was a
complete bar to political preferment over here. Things have so changed
and a foreign education is now such an advantage that rich Chinamen who
have political aspirations for their sons purposely send them abroad to
be educated."

"On this ship," said another, "and the two ships that follow her, many
hundred young Chinamen are going over to Japan to get a military
training. And yet, according to some observers, there is nothing doing
in China--even on the part of Japan."

We landed at Nagasaki and had a three nights' ride to Yokohama in a
crowded car in which it was possible to sleep only when sitting upright.
On the third day the long train came to a stop at daybreak and every
Japanese soul in it--man, woman, and child--poured out, each with a
towel, scrubbed vigorously at a water-trough and came back, each sawing
on his teeth with a wooden tooth-brush. Such a scene could be paralleled
nowhere else. I suppose the Japanese are the cleanliest people in the
world.

Tokio at last--and a request from the Japanese: Would we consider going
back to Port Arthur? We would not.

"Please consider the question." We considered.

"Yes," we said, "we will go."

"You can't," said the Japanese.

Right gladly then we struck the backward trail of the Saxon. The Happy
Exile went aboard with me, and so did Takeuchi, who brought his pretty
young wife along to say, "How d'ye do?" and "Good-by." Takeuchi brought
a present, too--a little gold mask of a fox, which he thought most
humorously fitting--a scarf-pin for Inari-sama, which is the honorific
deistical form of my honorable name in Japanese. Later, in this country,
I got Takeuchi's photograph and this card: "I wish you please send me
your recommondation which is necessary to have in my business." He shall
have it.

All my life Japan had been one of the two countries on earth I most
wanted to see. No more enthusiastic pro-Japanese ever put foot on the
shore of that little island than I was when I swung into Yokohama Harbor
nearly seven months before. I had lost much--but I was carrying away in
heart and mind the nameless charm of the land and of the people--for the
charm of neither has much succumbed to the horrors imported from us;
Fujiyama, whose gray head lies close under the Hand of Benediction;
among the foot-hills below the Maid of Miyanoshita--may Fuji keep her
ever safe from harm; O-kin-san the kind, who helps the poor and welcomes
the stranger--her little home at the head of the House of the Hundred
Steps I could see from the deck of the ship; the great Daibutsu at
Kamakura, whose majestic calm stills all the world while you look upon
his face and--the babies, in streets and doorways--the babies that rule
the land as kings. I did have, too, for a memory, Shin--my rickshaw
man--but Shin failed me at the last minute on the dock. Yes, even at
that last minute on the dock, Shin tried to fool me. But I forgive him.

Of this war in detail I knew no more than I should have known had I
stayed at home--and it had taken me seven months to learn that it was
meant that I should not know more. There can be no quarrel with what was
done--only with the way it was done--which was not pretty. Somehow, as
Japan sank closer to the horizon, I found myself wondering whether the
Goddess of Truth couldn't travel the breadth of that land incog.--even
if she played the leading part in a melodrama with a star in her
forehead and her own name emblazoned in Japanese ideographs around her
breast. I think so. I wondered, too, if in shedding the wrinkled skin
of Orientalism, Japan might not have found it even better than winning
a battle--to shed with it polite duplicity and bring in the blunt
telling of the truth; for if the arch on which a civilization
rests be character, the key-stone of that arch, I suppose, must be
honesty--simple honesty.

Right gladly we struck the backward Trail of the Saxon.



                           Transcriber Notes:

Passages in italics were indicated by _underscores_.

Small caps were replaced with ALL CAPS.

Throughout the dialogues, there were words used to mimic accents of the
speakers. Those words were retained as-is.

Errors in punctuations and inconsistent hyphenation were not corrected
unless otherwise noted.

On page ix, "Liaoyang" was replaced with "Liao-Yang".





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