ROUND THE WORLD
BY ANDREW CARNEGIE
It seems almost unnecessary to say that "Round the World," like "An American Four-in-Hand in Britain," was originally printed for private circulation. My publishers having asked permission to give it to the public, I have been induced to undertake the slight revision, and to make some additions necessary to fit the original for general circulation, not so much by the favorable reception accorded to the "Four-in-Hand" in England as well as in America, nor even by the flattering words of the critics who have dealt so kindly with it, but chiefly because of many valued letters which entire strangers have been so extremely good as to take the trouble to write to me, and which indeed are still coming almost daily. Some of these are from invalids who thank me for making the days during which they read the book pass more brightly than before. Can any knowledge be sweeter to one than this? These letters are precious to me, and it is their writers who are mainly responsible for this second volume, especially since some who have thus written have asked where it could be obtained and I have no copies to send to them, which it would have given me a rare pleasure to be able to do.
I hope they will like it as they did the other. Some friends consider it better; others prefer the "Four-in-Hand." I think them different. While coaching I was more joyously happy; during the journey round the World I was gaining more knowledge; but if my readers like me half as well in the latter as in the former mood, I shall have only too much cause to subscribe myself with sincere thanks,
"Think on thy friends when thou haply see'st Some rare, noteworthy object in thy travels, Wish them partakers of thy happiness."
ROUND THE WORLD.
NEW YORK, Saturday, October 12, 1878.
Bang! click! the desk closes, the key turns, and good-bye for a year to my wards—that goodly cluster over which I have watched with parental solicitude for many a day; their several cribs full of records and labelled Union Iron Mills, Lucy Furnaces, Keystone Bridge Works, Union Forge, Cokevale Works, and last, but not least, that infant Hercules, the Edgar Thomson Steel Rail Works—good lusty bairns all, and well calculated to survive in The struggle for existence—great things are expected of them in The future, but for the present I bid them farewell; I'm off for a holiday, and the rise and fall of iron and steel "affecteth me not."
Years ago, Vandy, Harry, and I, standing in the very bottom of the crater of Mount Vesuvius, where we had roasted eggs and drank to the success of our next trip, resolved that some day, instead of turning back as we had then to do, we would make a tour round the Ball. My first return to Scotland and journey through Europe was an epoch in my life, I had so early in my days determined to do it; to-day another epoch comes—our tour fulfils another youthful aspiration. There is a sense of supreme satisfaction in carrying out these early dreams which I think nothing else can give, it is such a triumph to realize one's castles in the air. Other dreams remain, which in good time also must come to pass; for nothing can defeat these early inborn hopes, if one lives, and if death comes there is, until the latest day, the exaltation which comes from victory if one but continues true to his guiding star and manfully struggles on.
And now what to take for the long weary hours! for travellers know that sight-seeing is hard work, and that the ocean wave may become monotonous. I cannot carry a whole library with me. Yes, even this can be done; mother's thoughtfulness solves the problem, for she gives me Shakespeare, in thirteen small handy volumes. Come, then, my Shakespeare, you alone of all the mighty past shall be my sole companion. I seek none else; there is no want when you are near, no mood when you are not welcome—a library indeed, and I look forward with great pleasure to many hours' communion with you on lonely seas—a lover might as well sigh for more than his affianced as I for any but you. A twitch of conscience here. You ploughman bard, who are so much to me, are you then forgotten? No, no, Robin, no need of taking you in my trunk; I have you in my heart, from "A man's a man for a that" to "My Nannie's awa'."
* * * * *
PITTSBURGH, Thursday, October 17.
What is this? A telegram! "Belgic sails from San Francisco 24th instead of 28th." Can we make it? Yes, travelling direct and via Omaha, and not seeing Denver as intended. All right! through we go, and here we are at St. Louis Friday morning, and off for Omaha to catch the Saturday morning train for San Francisco. If we miss but one connection we shall reach San Francisco too late. But we sha'n't. Having courted the fickle goddess assiduously, and secured her smiles, we are not going to lose faith in her now, come what may. See if our good fortune doesn't carry us through!
* * * * *
OMAHA, Saturday, October 19.
All aboard for "Frisco!"
A train of three Pullmans, all well filled—but what is this shift made for, at the last moment, when we thought we were off? Another car to be attached, carrying to the Pacific coast Rarus and Sweetzer, the fastest trotter and pacer, respectively, in the world. How we advance! Shades of Flora Temple and "2.40 on the plank road!" That was the cry when first I took to horses—that is, to owning them. At a much earlier age I was stealing a ride on every thing within reach that had four legs and could go. One takes to horseflesh by inheritance. Rarus now goes in 2.13-1/4, and Ten Broeck beats Lexington's best time many seconds. I saw him do it. And so in this fast age, second by second, we gain upon old Father Time. Even since this was written more than another second has been knocked off. America leads the world in trotters, and will probable do so in running horses as well, when we begin to develop them in earnest. Our soft roads are favorable for speed; the English roads would ruin a fast horse.
We traverse all day a vast prairie watered by the Platte. Nothing could be finer: such fields of corn standing ungathered, such herds of cattle grazing at will! It is a superb day, and the russet-brown mantle in which Nature arrays herself in the autumn never showed to better advantage; but in all directions we see the prairies on fire. Farmers burn them over as the easiest mode of getting rid of the rank weeds and undergrowth; but it seems a dangerous practice. They plough a strip twenty to thirty feet in width around their houses, barns, hay-stacks, etc., and depend upon the flames not overleaping this barrier.
Third night out, and we are less fatigued than at the beginning. The first night upon a sleeping-car is the most fatiguing. Each successive one is less wearisome, and ere the fifth or sixth comes you really rest well. So much for custom!
* * * * *
SUNDAY, October 20.
All day long we have been passing through the grazing plains of Nebraska. Endless herds of cattle untrammelled by fences; the landscape a brown sea as far as the eye can reach; a rude hut now and then for a shelter to the shepherds. No wonder we export beef, for it is fed here for nothing. Horses and cattle thrive on the rich grasses as if fed on oats; no flies, no mosquitoes, nothing to disturb or annoy, while the pellucid streams which run through the ranches furnish the best of water. There can be no question that our export trade is still in its infancy. The business is now fully organized, and is subject to well-known rules. At Sherman we saw the large show-bills of the Wyoming County Cattle Raisers' Association, offering heavy rewards for offenders against these rules, and the Cheyenne Herald is filled with advertisements of the various "marks" adopted by different owners. Large profits have been made in the trade—the best assurance that it will grow—but from all I can gather it seems doubtful whether the experiment of exporting cattle alive will succeed.
We saw numerous herds of antelope to-day, but they graze among the cattle, and are altogether too finely civilized to meet our idea of "chasing the antelope over the plain;" one might as well chase a sheep. As night approaches we get higher and higher up the far-famed Rocky Mountains, and before dark reach the most elevated point, at Sherman, eight thousand feet above tide. But our preconceived notions of the Rocky Mountains, derived from pictures of Fremont a la Napoleon crossing the Alps, have received a rude shock; we only climb high plains—not a tree, nor a peak, nor a ravine; when at the top we are but on level ground—a brown prairie, "only this, and nothing more."
* * * * *
TUESDAY, October 22.
Desolation! In the great desert! It extends southward to Mexico and northward to British Columbia, and is five hundred miles in width. Rivers traverse it only to lose themselves in its sands, there being no known outlet for the waters of this vast basin. What caverns must exist below capable of receiving them! and whither do they finally go?
At the station we begin to meet a mixture of Chinese and Indians—Shoshones, Piutes, and Winnemuccas. The Chinamen are at work on the line, and appear to be very expert. At Ogden we get some honey grapes—the sweetest I ever tasted. It is midnight before we are out of the desert.
We are up early to see the Sierras. My first glimpse was of a ravine resembling very much the Alleghany Gap below Bennington—going to bed in a desert and awaking to such a view was a delightful surprise indeed. We are now running down the western slope two hundred and twenty-five miles from San Francisco, with mines on both sides, and numerous flumes which tell of busy times. Halloa! what's this? Dutch Flat. Shades of Bret Harte, true child of genius, what a pity you ever forsook these scenes to dwindle in the foreign air of the Atlantic coast! A whispering pine of the Sierras transplanted to Fifth Avenue! How could it grow? Although it shows some faint signs of life, how sickly are the leaves! As for fruit, there is none. America had in Bret Harte its most distinctively national poet. His reputation in Europe proved his originality. The fact is, American poets have been only English "with a difference." Tennyson might have written the "Psalm of Life," Browning "Thanatopsis," but who could have written "Her Letter," or "Flynn of Virginia," or "Jim," or "Chiquita"? An American, flesh and bone, and none other. If the East would only discard him, as Edinburgh society did his greater prototype, he might be forced to return to his "native heath" in poverty, and rise again as the first truly American poet. But poets, and indeed great artists as a class, seem to yield their best only under pressure. The grape must be crushed if we would have wine. Give a poet "society" at his feet and he sings no more, or sings as Tennyson has been singing of late years—fit strains to prepare us for the disgrace he has brought upon the poet's calling. Poor, weak, silly old man! Forgive him, however, for what he has done when truly the poet. He was noble then and didn't know it; now he is a sham noble and knows it. Punishment enough that he stands no more upon the mountain heights o'ertopping the petty ambitions of English life,
"With his garlands And his singing robes about him."
His poet's robes, alas! are gone. Room, now, for the masquerader disguised as a British peer! Place, next the last great vulgar brewer or unprincipled political trimmer in that motley assembly, the House of Lords!
The weather is superb, the sky cloudless; the train stops to allow us to see the celebrated Cape Horn; the railroad skirts the edge of the mountain, and we stand upon a precipice two thousand feet high, smaller mountains enclosing the plain below, and the American River running at our feet. It is very fine, indeed, but the grandeur between Pack Saddle and San Francisco, with the exception of the entrance to Weber Canon and a few miles in the vicinity, is all here; as a whole, the scenery on the Pacific Railroad is disappointing to one familiar with the Alleghanies.
At Colfax, two hundred miles from San Francisco, we stop for breakfast and have our first experience of fresh California grapes and salmon; the former black Hamburgs not to be excelled by the best hot-house grapes of England; and what a bagful for a quarter! We tried the native white wine at dinner, and found it a fair Sauterne. With such grapes and climate, it must surely be only a question of a few years before the true American wine makes its appearance, and then what shall we have to import? Silks and woollens are going, watches and jewelry have already gone, and in this connection I think I may venture to say good-bye to foreign iron and steel; cotton goods went long ago. Now if wines, and especially champagne—that creature of fashion—should go, what shall we have to tax? What if America, which has given to mankind so many political lessons, should be destined to show a government living up to the very highest dictate of political economy, viz., supported by direct taxation! No, there remain our home products, whiskey and tobacco; let us be satisfied to do the next best thing and make these pay the entire cost of government. The day is not far distant when out of these two so-called luxuries we shall collect all our taxes; and those virtuous citizens who use neither shall escape scot-free. Although these sentences were written years ago, now since we approach the threshold of fulfilment I am not sure that upon the whole the total abolition of the internal revenue system is not preferable. We should thus dispense with four thousand officials. In government, the fewer the better.
No greater contrast can be imagined than that from the barren desert to the fertile plains below; oleanders and geraniums greet us with their welcome smiles; grapes, pears, peaches, all in profusion; we are indeed in the Italy of America at last, and Sacramento is reached by half-past ten. Since the great flood which almost ruined it some years ago, extensive dykes have been built, walling in the city, which so far have proved a sufficient barrier against the rapid swellings of the American River, that pours down its torrents from the mountains; but if Sacramento be now secure against flood, it is certainly vulnerable to the attacks of the not less terrible demon of fire. Such a mass of combustible material piled together and called a city I never saw before: it is a tinder-box, and we are to hear of its destruction some day. Prepare for an extra: "Great fire in Sacramento; the city in ashes;" but then, don't let us call it accidental.
What a valley we rush through for the hundred miles which separate Sacramento from San Francisco! It is about sixty miles wide, and as level as a billiard-table. Here are the famous wheat fields: as far as the eye can reach on either side we see nothing but the golden straw standing, minus the heads of wheat which have been cut off, the straw being left to be burned down as a fertilizer. Fancy a Western prairie, substitute golden grain for corn, and you have before you the California harvest; for four hundred miles this valley extends, and it is wheat from one end to the other—nothing but wheat. Granted sufficient rain in the rainy season—that is, from November till February—and the husbandman seeks nothing more; Nature does all the rest, and a bountiful harvest is a certainty. In some years there is a scarcity of rain, but to provide against even this sole remaining contingency the rivers have but to be properly used for irrigation; with this done, the wheat crop of the Pacific coast will outstrip in value, year after year, all the gold and silver that can be mined. Douglas Jerrold's famous saying applies to no other land so well as to this, for it indeed needs only "to be tickled with a hoe to smile with a harvest."
We reached Oakland, the Jersey City of San Francisco, on time to the minute; the ferry-boat starts, and there lies before us the New York of the Pacific: but instead of the bright sparkling city we had pictured, sinking to rest with its tall spires suffused by the glories of the setting sun, imagine our surprise when not even our own smoky Pittsburgh could boast a denser canopy of smoke. A friend who had kindly met us upon arrival at Oakland tried to explain that this was not all smoke; it was mostly fog, and a peculiar wind which sometimes had this effect; but we could scarcely be mistaken upon that point. No, no, Mr. O'B., you may know all about "Frisco," the Chinese, the mines, and the Yosemite, but do allow me to know something about smoke. We reached our hotel, from the seven days' trip, and, after a bath and a good dinner with agreeable company, were shown as much of the city as it was possible to see before the "wee short hour ayont the twal'."
* * * * *
PALACE HOTEL, SAN FRANCISCO, Wednesday Evening, October 23.
A palace truly! Where shall we find its equal? Windsor Hotel, good-bye! you must yield the palm to your great Western rival, as far as structure goes, though in all other respects you may keep the foremost place. There is no other hotel building in the world equal to this. The court of the Grand at Paris is poor compared to that of the Palace. Its general effect at night, when brilliantly lighted, is superb; its furniture, rooms and appointments are all fine, but then it tells you all over it was built to "whip all creation," and the millions of its lucky owner enabled him to triumph. It is as much in place in San Francisco as the Taj would be in Sligo; but then your California operator, when he has made a "pile," goes in for a hotel, just as in New York one takes to a marble palace or a grand railway depot, or in Cincinnati to a music hall, or in Pittsburgh to building a church or another rolling mill. Every community has its social idiosyncrasies, but it struck us as rather an amusing coincidence that while we had recently greeted no less a man than Potter Palmer, Esq., behind the counter in Chicago as "mine host of the Garter," we should so soon have found ourselves in the keeping of Senator Sharon, lessee of the Palace. These hotels do not impress one as being quite suitable monuments for one who naturally considers his labors about over when he builds, as they are apt apparently to prove rather lively for comfort to the owners, and we have decided when our building time comes that it shall not be in the hotel line. We got to bed at last, but who could sleep after such a day—after such a week! The ceaseless motion, with the click, click, click of the wheels—our sweet lullaby apparently this had become—was wanting; and then the telegrams from home, which bade us Godspeed, the warm, balmy air of Italy, when we had left winter behind—all this drove sleep away; and when drowsiness came, what apparitions of Japanese, Chinese, Indians, elephants, camels, josses! passed through our brain in endless procession. We were at the Golden Gate; we had just reached the edge of the Pacific Ocean, and before us lay
... "the wealth of Ormus and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East, with richest hand, Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold.
To every blink the livelong night there came this refrain, which seemed to close each scene of Oriental magnificence that haunted the imagination:
"And our gude ship sails ye morn, And our gude ship sails ye morn."
Do what I would, the words of the old Scotch ballad would not down. Sleep! who could sleep in such an hour? Dead must be the man whose pulse beats not quicker, and whose enthusiasm is not enkindled when for the first time he is privileged to whisper to himself, The East! the East!
"And our gude ship sails ye morn."
* * * * *
HARBOR OF SAN FRANCISCO, Thursday, October 24.
At last! noon, 24th, and there she lies—the Belgic at her dock! What a crowd! but not of us; eight hundred Chinamen are to return to the Flowery Land. One looks like another; but how quiet they are! Are they happy? overjoyed at being homeward bound? We cannot judge. Those sphinx-like, copper-colored faces tell us no tales. We had asked a question last night by telegraph, and here is the reply brought to us on the deck. It ends with a tender good-bye. How near and yet how far! but even if the message had sought us out at the Antipodes, its power to warm the heart with the sense of the near presence and companionship of those we love would only have been enhanced. In this we seem almost to have reached the dream of the Swedish seer, who tells us that thought brings presence, annihilating space in heaven.
We start promptly at noon. Our ship is deeply laden with flour, which China needs in consequence of the famine prevailing in its northern provinces, not owing to a failure of the rice, as I had understood, but of the millet, which is used by the poor instead of rice. Some writers estimate that five millions of people must die from starvation before the next crop can be gathered; but this seems incredible. And now America comes to the rescue, so that at this moment, while from its Eastern shores it pours forth its inexhaustible stores to feed Europe, it sends from the West of its surplus to the older races of the far East. Thus from all sides, fabled Ceres as she is, she scatters to all peoples from the horn of plenty. Favored land, may you prove worthy of all your blessings and show to the world that after ages of wars and conquests there comes at last to the troubled earth the glorious reign of peace. But no new steel cruisers, no standing army. These are the devil's tools in monarchies; the Republic's weapons are the ploughshare and the pruning hook.
For three hundred miles the Pacific is never pacific. Coast winds create a swell, and our first two nights at sea were trying to bad sailors, but the motion was to me so soft after our long railway ride that I seemed to be resting on air cushions. It was more delightful to be awake and enjoy the sense of perfect rest than to sleep, tired as we were; so we lay literally
"Rocked in the cradle of the rude imperious surge,"
and enjoyed it.
To some of my talented New York friends who are touched with Buddhism just now and much puzzled to describe, and I judge even to imagine, their heaven, I confidently recommend a week's continuous jar upon a rough railway as the surest preparation for attaining a just conception of Nirvana, where perfect rest is held the greatest possible bliss. Lying, as I did apparently, upon air cushions, and rocked so softly on the waves, I had not a wish; desire was gone; I was content; every particle of my weary body seemed bathed in delight. Here was the delicious sense of rest we are promised in Nirvana. The third day out we are beyond the influence of the coast, and begin our first experience of the Pacific Ocean. So far it is simply perfect; we are on the ideal summer sea. What hours for lovers, these superb nights! they would develop rapidly, I'm sure, under such skyey influences. The temperature is genial, balmy breezes blow, there is no feeling of chilliness; the sea, bathed in silver, glistens in the moonlight; we sit under awnings and glide through the water. The loneliness of this great ocean I find very impressive—so different from the Atlantic pathway—we are so terribly alone, a speck in the universe; the sky seems to enclose us in a huge inverted bowl, and we are only groping about, as it were, to find a way out; it is equidistant all around us; nothing but clouds and water. But as we sail westward we have every night a magnificent picture. I have never seen such resplendent sunsets as these: we seem nightly to be just approaching the gates of Enchanted Land; through the clouds, in beautiful perspective, shine the gardens of the Hesperides, and imagination readily creates fairy lands beyond, peopled with spirits and fays. It is not so much the gorgeousness of the colors as their variety which gives these sunsets a character of their own; one can find anything he chooses in their infinite depths. Turner must have seen such in his mind's eye. "I never saw such sunsets as these you paint," said the critic of his style. "No; don't you wish you could?" was the reply. But I think even a prosaic critic would feel that these Pacific pictures have a spiritual sense beyond the letter, unless, indeed, he were Wordsworth's friend, to whom
"A primrose by a river's brim A yellow primrose was to him, And it was nothing more."
He, of course, is hopeless.
* * * * *
THURSDAY, October 31.
We have been a week at sea. Can it be only seven days since we waved adieu to bright eyes on the pier? We begin to feel at home on the ship. The passengers are now known to each other, and hereafter the days, will slip by faster. I went down with the doctor and Vandy to see the Chinamen to-day. What a sight! Piled in narrow cots three tiers deep, with passages between the rows scarcely wide enough for one to walk, from end to end of the ship these poor wretches lie in an atmosphere so stifling that I had to rush up to the deck for air. So far three have died, and two have become crazy. My foolish curiosity has made the voyage less satisfactory, for I cannot forget the danger of disease breaking out among this horde, nor can I drive the yellow, stupid-looking faces out of mind. The night of the day in which I had gone below we were playing a rubber of whist in the cabin when the port-hole at my head was pushed open, and a voice in broken English shouted, "Crazee manee; he makee firee, firee!" I jumped round and saw a Chinaman. Such an expression—Shakespeare alone has described it—
"And with a look so piteous in purport, As if he had been loosed out of hell To speak of horrors."
Fire! that epitome of all that is appalling at sea, the danger each one instinctively dreads, but no one mentions. One ran one way and one another. The doctor (a real canny Scot, who sings "My Nannie's awa'" like Wilson) was over the rail and down the hold in a moment. I ran to Captain Meyer's room on the upper deck and roused him. He too was down and in the hold like a flash—brave fellows that they are, these "true British sailors." I waited the result, knowing that if fire had really started, a general stampede of Chinamen would soon come from the hatches; but all was still. How long those few moments seemed! In a short time the captain returned, looking, in his night-clothes, like a ghost. One of the crazy men had broken loose from his chains, and the Chinamen were panic-stricken. The watchman wanted the most startling alarm, and found it, undoubtedly, in that word fire. It is all over; but when he next has to sound an alarm let him "take any form but that."
We have a reverend missionary and wife, with two young lady missionaries in embryo, who are on their way to begin their labors among the Chinese. They are busily engaged learning the language. Poor girls! what a life they have before them! But apart from all question of its true usefulness, they have the grand thought to sustain them, and ennoble their lives, that they go at the call of what seems to them their duty. We watch the Chinese eating and laugh at their chopsticks, but we forget that one reason why John Chinaman prides himself upon being at the pinnacle of civilization is that he uses these very chopsticks. (None of the races of Asia, and until recently he knew no other, have ever got beyond chopsticks, the use of which was first taught China, while most of them don't even have them yet.) Let us not forget that our ancestors were using their fingers—barbarians that they were—when the Chinese had risen, centuries before, to the refinement of these sticks, for the fork is only about three hundred years old. Shakespeare probably, Spenser certainly, had only a knife at his girdle to carve the meat he ate, the fingers being important auxiliaries. We must be modest upon this chopstick question. It costs the ship eleven cents (5-1/2 d.) per day a head to feed these people, and this pays for a wholesome diet in great abundance, much beyond what they are accustomed to.
While on the subject of the Chinaman I may note that of course we did not get through California without hearing the Chinese problem warmly discussed. It is the burning question just now upon the Pacific coast, but it seems to me our Californians' fears are, as Colonel Diehl would put it, "slightly previous." There are only about 130,000 Chinese in America, and great numbers are returning as the result of hard times, and I fear harder treatment. There is no indication that we are to be overrun by them, and until they change their religious ideas and come to California to marry, settle, die, and be buried there, it is preposterous to believe there is any thing in the agitation against them beyond the usual prejudice of the ignorant races next to them in the social scale.
I met the owner of a quicksilver mine, whose remarks shed a flood of light upon the matter. The mine yields a lean ore, and did not pay when worked by white labor costing $2 to $2.50 per day. He contracted with a Chinaman to furnish 170 men at one-half these rates. They work well, doing as much per man as the white man can do in this climate. He has no trouble with them—no fights, no sprees, no strikes. The difference in the cost enables him to work at a profit a mine which otherwise would be idle; and to such as talk against Chinese labor in the neighborhood, he replies, "Very well, drive it off if you please, but the mine stops if you do." The benefit to the district of having a mine actively at work has so far insured protection. This is the whole story. Our free American citizen from Tipperary and the restless rowdy of home growth find a rival beating them in the race, and instead of taking the lesson to heart and practising the virtues which cause the Chinaman to excel, they mount the rostrum and proclaim that this is a "white man's country," and "down with the nigger and the Heathen Chinee," and "three cheers for whiskey and a free fight!" The Chinese question has not reached a stage requiring legislation, nor, if let alone, will it do so for centuries to come—and not then unless the Chinese change their religious ideas, which they have not done for thousands of years, and are not likely to do in our time.
* * * * *
FRIDAY, November 1
We saw flying-fishes to-day for the first time. The captain had been telling us as we approached the 3Oth degree of latitude that we should see these curiosities, and, sure enough, while standing on the bridge this morning, looking toward the bow, I saw three objects rise out of the water and fly from us. One seemed as large as a herring, the others were like humming-birds. They have much larger wings than I had supposed, and shine brightly in the sun as they fly. We have on board a gentleman connected with the Dutch Government, who visits their out-of-the-way possessions in the Malay Archipelago. He has been where a white man never was before—in the interior of New Guinea—and has seen strange things. He tells us that the birds of paradise take seven years to develop. The first year male and female are alike, but year after year the male acquires brighter feathers, until it becomes the superb bird we know. Some one remarked that it is just the reverse with the birds of paradise in man's creation. Here our Eve puts on gayer plumage year after year until finally she develops into a still more superb bird, while the male remains the same sober-suited fowl he was at first; but this was from a bachelor, I think.
We are in a new world, and the talk is all of people and islands and animals we never heard of. Do you know, for instance, that such a potentate as the Sultan of Terantor exists? and, ambitious ruler that he is, that he now claims tribute from the whole of New Guinea? Then, again, let me tell you that the Sultan of Burnei gets $6,000 per year tribute from Setwanak, and, like a grasping tyrant, demands more; hence the wars which rage in that quarter of the globe. The Setwanaks have appealed to the "God of Battles," and are no doubt shouting on all hands that "Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God;" and "Millions for defence; not a cent for tribute." Look out for their forthcoming declaration of independence; and why shouldn't they have their "Whereases" as well as your even Christian? The only trouble is that when monarchs fight nothing is settled as a rule; what one loses to-day, he tries to win back to-morrow, and so the masses are kept in a state of perpetual war, or preparation for war, equally expensive. If Herbert Spencer had never formulated anything but the law underlying these sad contentions between man and man, he would have deserved to rank as one of our greatest benefactors. "When power is arbitrarily held by chief or king, the military spirit is developed, and wars of conquest and dynasties ensue; and just in proportion as power is obtained by the people, the industrial type is developed and peace ensues." Therefore the greatest thinker of the age is a republican. I quote from memory, but the substance is there, and it is because this law is true that there is hope for the future of the world, for everywhere the people are marching to political power. England is yet the world's greatest offender, because she is still ruled by the few, her boasted representative system being only a sham. When the masses do really govern, England will be pacific and make friends throughout the world instead of enemies, "and sing the songs of peace to all her neighbors."
The Dutch have 35,000,000 under their sway in Java and the other Malay Islands; as many as Great Britain has within her borders. The world gets most of its spices and its coffee from these people. So the Dutch are not to be credited only with having taken Holland, you see.
Another Chinaman is reported gone to-day: all have to be embalmed, of course, and the doctor gets as his fee $12.50 for each corpse. He complained to me the other day that these people would not take his medicines, and, Scotchman—like, didn't see the point I made—that they might naturally hesitate to swallow the potions of one whose highest reward arose from a fatal result. The Heathen Chinee is not a fool. The coffins of the dead on the wheel-house begin to make quite a show; they are covered with canvas, but one will sometimes see the pile. Not one of these men could ever have been induced to leave his home without satisfactory assurance that in case of death his remains would be carried back and carefully buried in the spot where he first drew breath. I remember reading in MacLeod's "Highland Parish" that so strongly implanted is this sentiment in the Highlanders that even a wife who marries out of her clan is brought home at her death and buried among her own kith and kin. I confess to a strange sympathy with this feeling myself. It seems to agree with the eternal fitness of things, that where we first saw day we should rest after the race is run. Yes, the old song is right:
"Wherever we wander in life's stormy ways May our paths lead to home ere the close of our days, And our evening of life in serenity close In the Isle where the bones of our Fathers repose."
One of our company has kindly shown me "some things in waves" which I have always passed over before. Hereafter they will have a new interest and a new beauty for me. I now watch by the hour for some rare effect and colors to which I was before stone-blind. Some of the rarest jewels are rated by comparison with the emerald and aqua-marine tints shown by the pure waves of the ocean. Thanks, my fellow-traveller, for a new sense awakened.
The albatrosses, which follow us in large numbers, are a source of pleasure. These are not the sacred birds of the Ancient Mariner, but are of the same species. They excel all other birds, I think, in power and gracefulness of flight. It is rather a glide than a fly, as they appear scarcely ever to flap their wings, but sail on as it were "by the sole act of their unlorded will." No wonder such woe befell the Ancient Mariner through killing one. They are too grand to destroy. Last evening I had a treat in seeing these birds gathering for the night on the waters in the hollow of a deep wave. A dozen were already in the nest as our ship swept past, and others were coming every moment from all directions to the fold; probably thirty birds would thus nestle together through the long night in the middle of this waste of waters. I was glad for their sakes, poor wanderers, that their lonely lives were brightened at night by the companionship of their fellows.
Our second Sunday at sea. As I write, the bell tolls for church. Our missionary will have a small congregation, for there are only twenty-two passengers. I trust he will be moved to speak to us, away in mid-ocean, of the great works of the Unknown, the mighty deep, the universe, the stars, at which we nightly wonder, and not drag us down to the level of dogmas we can know nothing of, and about which we care less. The sermon is over. Pshaw! He spent the morning attempting to prove to us that the wine Christ made at the marriage feast was not fermented, as if it mattered, or as if this could ever be known! and I was in the mood to preach such a magnificent sermon myself, too, if I had had his place. No; I shall never forgive him—never!
It is an even chance that this missionary will one day inflict such frivolous stuff upon the heathen as part of the divine message; for of the majesty, the sweetness, and the reforming power of Christ's teaching and character, he seems to have not the faintest conception. To the enquiry one constantly hears in the East, why churches send forth as missionaries such inferior men as they generally do, whose task is to eradicate error and plant truth—there is this to be said: churches must take the best material at their disposal, and men who have the ability to influence their fellows through the pulpit find their best and highest work at home. This leaves the incapables for foreign service. The other class from which missionaries must be drawn are the over-zealous, who have plenty of enthusiastic emotional fervor, but combined in most cases with narrow, dogmatic views—the very kind of men to irritate the people to whom they are sent, and the least likely to win their hearts or reach their understanding. There are notable exceptions, able men who still go at duty's call; but such generally see that they can be ill spared from more pressing home work.
* * * * *
MONDAY, November 4.
Our course is the southerly one, 5,120 miles to Yokohama, some five hundred miles farther than that of the great circle; but for the increased distance we have full compensation in the delightful weather and calm seas we experience. The water is about 72 deg., the air 73 deg., so that it is genial on deck. We are really in summer weather—something so different from Atlantic sailing that I get accustomed to it with difficulty. Last night at ten o'clock we passed the half-way point ten days and eight hours out. The captain showed us his chart to-day, and it was reassuring to see that to-morrow we shall pass within 120 miles of land—the Midway Islands. Upon one of this coral group the Pacific Mail Company has deposited 3,000 tons of coal and a large amount of mess pork as a reserve supply in case any steamer should be disabled. We passed the Sandwich Islands, not more than 450 miles to the southward, when one quarter of the way over, and the Bonin Islands occupy about the same relative position in our course to the eastward, so that the immense distance between San Francisco and Yokohama is finely provided for in case of accident. You have but to sail southward and find a port of refuge. Indeed, there is along this entire parallel of latitude a new strip of land under process of manufacture. A good chart shows islands dotting the South Pacific Ocean, all of coral formation; these millions of toilers are hard at work, and it is only a question of time when our posterity will run by rail from the Sandwich to the Philippine Islands, always provided that the work of these little builders is not interfered with by forces which destroy. Thus the grand, never-ending work of creation goes on, cycle upon cycle, revealing new wonders at every turn and knowing no rest or pause.
Gone, November 5th, 1878, a dies non, which never was born. Lost, strayed, or stolen—a rare diadem, composed of twenty-four precious gems—some diamonds bright, some rubies rare, some jet as black as night. It was to have been displayed at midnight to an admiring few who nightly gaze upon the stars, but when looked for it was nowhere to be found. A well-known party, familiarly known as Old Sol, is thought to be concerned in the matter, but chiefly is suspected a notorious thief who has stolen many precious jewels—Old Father Time. Oh! many an hour has that thief stolen, but this gobbling up of a whole day and night at one fell swoop seems out of all reason. Yet he has done it! We have no 5th of November. An amusing story is told of some clergymen returning to America, in which case a day is gained, and it is necessary to have two days of the same date instead of omitting one, as in our case. The line was crossed on Sunday, and the captain, never thinking, called out to the chief officer to make another Sunday to-morrow. One of the clergymen was Scotch, and Presbyterian at that. "Mak a Sawbath—mak the holy Sawbath; ma conscience!" The order had been given, however, and two Sundays were observed; but our scandalized friend could never be reconciled to the captain who had presumed to have a holy Sabbath of his "ain making."
* * * * *
THURSDAY, November 7.
These nights were not made for sleep, nor these days either, for that matter; but of all the nights I have ever seen I think this one excels. The moon is overhead and at the full, casting her mellow light around, suffusing with a soft glory the heavens above, and lending to the dancing, foaming waves a silvery shimmer. Jupiter is on the western horizon, fading out of sight, but how lustrous! Lyra, Arcturus, Aldebaran, seem of gigantic size. All sails are set, and a fair, balmy wind from the sweet south makes the Belgic glide through the rushing waters. We are only twenty miles from the Morrell Islands. How I long for a deckful of my friends to exult with me in this delight! Nothing but Byron's lines will do it justice. They are too long to quote here, but here are a few lines, which I must repeat:
.... "for the night Hath been to me a more familiar face Than that of man; and in her starry shade Of dim and solitary loveliness I learned the language of another world."
One does feel in such moments, when beauty and sublimity are so overpoweringly displayed, that there are worlds and life beyond our ken, or should be such, for this short day on earth surely should be but the foretaste of a sublime existence which such moods indicate as our congenial home.
* * * * *
FRIDAY, November 8.
I know I went to bed some time early this morning, but after reading last night's effusion in the cold, sober light of day, it strikes me I must have been rather enthusiastic. However, as I intend these notes to be an honest record of my feelings, I shall not attempt to modify the outburst. I know I recited poetry all the evening as I trod the deck, and therefore was in the mood for anything. The captain told me to-night that in all his voyages at this season he had never had one so fine as this. Of course he hadn't. Just our luck, you see. He never had one who enjoyed a trip more—that he is free to confess. I fairly revel in the sea, and pity poor Vandy, who is never quite up to the mark on shipboard. Some far-away ancestor, some good Scotch "deil ma care," who took to smuggling instead of the more fashionable occupation of cattle-stealing, for most of the carles
"Found the meat that made their broth In England and in Scotland both,"
must have implanted in the Carnegies the instinct of the salmon for the sea. I should have been a sailor bold, and sailed the "sawt, sawt faeme," a pirate with a pirate's bride captured vi et armis, and all the rest of it.
I am up late again to-night, but, fortunately, there wasn't a soul on deck to hear me trying to sing
"Up, up with the flag; let it wave o'er the sea, I'm afloat, I'm afloat, and the Rover is free!"
The officer on the bridge halloaed to me once, and asked if I wanted any thing; but I forgave him. He could only hear my roaring at his distance; had I been nearer, the melody would no doubt have reached his ears, and he would have known I was singing a tune. Still I thought it politic to affect not having heard him, and quietly stepped down to bed. I shall avoid friend Ryan in the morning, as it would be embarrassing to be asked, especially before the young ladies, who or what I was howling at last night. Some people have no tact, and he might be one of these and fail to comprehend. With the exception of the officers, our crew, sailors, stewards, and all, are Chinese, and in all and each of these capacities they excel. They stand the heat of the furnaces better than any other people, and as stewards are models.
* * * * *
SUNDAY, November 10.
Our third Sunday at sea. The past week has been unbroken sunshine, moonlight, and smooth seas. So far not a ship has been seen. I have read carefully eleven of Shakespeare's plays during the spare hours of the voyage, and have enjoyed those most with which I was least familiar, while some passages in even the best known I wonder greatly at not having long ere this committed to memory, to live there with the rest, and come at my call to minister to me. They are such gems. I have them now, and feel as if I have made new friends, whose angel visits will do me good in days and nights to come. Byron affected to disparage the master, but I note two other gems, beside many I knew of before, for which he stands indebted. The idea in his celebrated lines in "Mazeppa"—
"Methought that mist of dawning gray Would never dapple into day"—
is from Two Gentlemen of Verona, and the "Bright, particular star" from All's Well that Ends Well. But of course I do not intend any reflection upon Byron. Such was, and is, the all-pervading, transcendent nature of Shakespeare's genius; it was, and is, and shall be for ages yet to come, simply impossible for any writer to avoid drawing from that fountain, for every thing has its "environment," and Shakespeare is the environment of all English-speaking men.
* * * * *
WEDNESDAY, November 13.
Four hundred and fifty miles from land! To-day we have had the only taste of Neptune's power he has favored us with: it began to blow at midnight, and today we have a grand sea. I have just come from the deck after witnessing the Pacific in its fury, and no one would believe that one ocean could differ as much from another as this does from the Atlantic. The waves here move in immense masses. It is an acre of water in motion, as one solid lump, instead of a few feet square dashed into foam. One says instinctively,
"What care these roarers for the name of king?"
I have noticed that even in the smallest waves cast aside by the ship formations are different from those of other seas. It is midnight, and we are only 125 miles from Japan. Not a passenger except myself on deck, but I cannot sleep. Vandy would be with me, I know, poor fellow, were he able to crawl, but the storm has settled him for the present. How strange that none feel sufficient interest to stay awake and watch with me! They would be amply repaid. The phosphorescent sea shows forth its wonders now—not alone in the myriads of small stars of light, which please you in the Atlantic, but at every turn of the foam dashed from the bow and sides of the ship masses of glittering phosphorescence as large as my travelling cap. What creatures these must be which can emit light in such clusters! I leave the deck with the cheery "All's well!" ringing in my ears as the ship dances before the wind which brings to a close our long flight across the Pacific. How we have longed for this last night, and yet how often in after life are we to sigh for a return to the glorious nights we have lived at sea! Where we have
"Mingled with the universe to feel What we can ne'er express, Nor cannot all conceal."
Good-night, my band of dear, dear friends, now in the midst of your daily toil—for it is yet day with you—racking your brains that the holiday wanderer may revel as he is now doing. In the earnest hope that the day may not be far distant when to you may come similar enjoyment when he is the toiler, he goes at last to bed.
* * * * *
FRIDAY, November 15.
Land ahoy! The islands of Japan are in sight, and the entrance to the bay is reached at 4 P.M. The sail up this bay is never to be forgotten. The sun set as we entered, and then came such a sky as Italy cannot rival. I have seen it pictured as deluging Egypt with its glory, but this we have yet to see. Fusiyama itself shone forth under its rays, its very summit clear, more than 14,000 feet above us. The clouds in large masses lay east and west of the peak, but cowering far below, as if not one speck dared to rise to its crown. It stood alone in solitary grandeur, by far the most impressive mountain I have yet seen; for mountains, as a rule, are disappointing, the height being generally attained by gradations. It is only to Fusiyama, and such as it, that rise alone in one unbroken pyramid, that one can apply Schiller's grand line,
"Ye are the things which tower,"
Fusiyama towers beyond any crag or peak I know of; and I do not wonder that in early days the Japanese made the home of their gods upon its crest.
It was nine o'clock when the anchor dropped, and in a few minutes after small boats crowded alongside to take us ashore. Until you are rowed in a sampan in style, never flatter yourself you have known the grotesque in the way of transportation. Fancy a large, wide canoe, with a small cabin in the stern, the deck in front lower than the sides, and on this four creatures, resembling nothing on earth so much as the demons in the Black Crook, minus most of the covering. They stand two on each side, but not in a line, and each works a long oar scull-fashion, accompanying each stroke with shouts such as we never heard before; the last one steers as well as sculls with his oar, and thus we go propelled by these yelling devils, who apparently work themselves into a state of fearful excitement. We land finally, pass the Custom House without examination, and with sea-legs which are far from steady reach our hotel. A bite of supper—but what fearful creatures again to bow and wait on us! More demons. We laugh every minute at some funny performance, and wonder where we can be; but how surprisingly good every thing is which we eat or drink on land after twenty-two days at sea!
* * * * *
TUESDAY, November 19.
We have been three days in Japan, and all we can tell you is that we are powerless to convey more than the faintest idea of that which meets us at every turn. Had we to return to-morrow, we should still feel that we had been fully compensated for our journey. Though we have seen most of the strange and novel which Europe has to show, a few hours' stroll in Yokohama or Tokio has revealed to us more of the unexpected than all we ever saw elsewhere. No country I have visited till now has proved as strange as I had imagined it; the contrary obtains here. All is so far beyond what I had pictured it that I am constantly regretting so few of my friends will probably ever visit Japan to see and enjoy for themselves. Let me try to describe a walk. We are at the hotel door, having received the repeated bows, almost to the ground, of numerous demons. A dozen big fellows rush up, each between the shafts of his "ginrikshaw" like a cab-horse, and invite us to enter, just as cabmen do elsewhere. But look at their costume, or shall I rather say want of costume? No shoes, unless a mat of straw secured with straw strings twisted around and between the big toe and the next one may be called a shoe; legs and body bare, except a narrow strip of rag around the loins; and such a hat! it is either of some dark material, as big as the head of a barrel (I do not exaggerate), to shelter them from sun and rain, or a light straw flat of equal size. These are the Bettoes, who will run and draw you eighteen miles in three hours and a quarter, this being the distance and time by "ginrikshaw" to Tokio. We decline their proffers and walk on. What is this? A man on stilts! His shoes are composed of a flat wooden sole about a quarter of an inch thick, on which the foot rests, elevated upon two similar pieces of board, about four inches high, placed crosswise. about three inches apart. On the edges of these cross-pieces he struts along. A second has solid wooden pieces of equal height, a third has flat straw shoes, a fourth has none. Look out behind! What is this noise? "Hulda, hulda, hulda!" shouted in our ears. We look around, and four coolies, as naked as Adam, one at each corner of a four-wheel truck, pushing a load of iron and relieving themselves at every step by those unearthly groans. Never have we seen that indispensable commodity transported in that fashion before. But look there! A fishmonger comes with a basket swinging on each end of a bamboo pole carried over the shoulder—all single loads are so carried—and yonder goes a water-carrier, carrying his stoups in the same manner, while over his shoulders he has flung a coat that would make the reputation of a clown in the circus. The dress of the women is not so varied, but their painted lips and whitened necks, and, in the case of the married women, their blackened teeth, afford us much cause for staring, although I cannot bear to look upon these hideous-looking wretches when they smile; I have to turn my eyes away. How women can be induced to make such disgusting frights of themselves I cannot conceive, but Fashion—Fashion does anything. The appearance of the children is comical in the extreme. They are so thickly padded with dress upon dress as to give them the look of little fat Esquimaux. The women invariably carry them on their backs, Indian fashion. Here are two Japs meeting in the middle of the street. They bow three times, each inclination lower and more profound than the preceding one, infinite care being taken to drop the proper number of inches befitting their respective ranks, and then shake their own hands in token of their joy. We soon reach the region of the shops. These are small booths, and squat on the floor sit four or five men and women around a brazier, warming their hands while they smoke. All the shops are of wood, but a small part is constructed of mud, and is said to be fire-proof. In this the valuables are instantly thrown when one of the very frequent fires occurs. The floors are matted, and kept scrupulously clean. No one thinks of entering without first taking his shoes off. The shop floors are raised about eighteen inches above the street, and on the edges purchasers sit sidewise and make their bargains. The entire street is a pavement, as no horses are to be provided for. We visited the tea factories at Yokohama. Japan has become of late years an exporter of tea to America, no less than five thousand tons being shipped last year. Tea when first gathered is tasteless, but after being exposed to the sun it ferments like hay. It is then curled, twisted, baked, and brought to the dealers, who again pick it over carefully and roll it into the form in which it reaches us. We saw many hundreds of women and girls in the establishment of Messrs. Walsh, Hall & Co. rolling rapidly about with their hands a quantity of the leaves in large round pots under which a small charcoal fire was burning. And now, for the benefit of my lady friends, let me explain that the difference between black and green tea is simply this: the former is allowed to cure or ferment in the sun about fifty minutes longer than the latter, and during this extra fifty minutes certain elements pass off which are thought to affect the nervous system; hence green tea has a greater effect upon weak nerves than the black, but you see the same leaf makes either kind, as the owner elects. But here comes in a strange prejudice. Green tea of the natural color could not be sold in the American market. No, we insist upon having a "prettier green," and we are accommodated, of course. What can a dealer do but meet the imperious demands of his patrons? The required color is obtained by adulterating the pure tea with a mixture of indigo and gypsum, which the most conscientious dealers are compelled to do. But we saw used in one case Prussian blue, which is poisonous—this, however, was not in Messrs. Walsh, Hall & Co.'s—and I was told that ultramarine is sometimes resorted to. These more pernicious substances produce even a "prettier green" than the indigo and gypsum, and secure the preference of ignorant people. Moral—Stick to black tea and escape poison. For all of which information, and many kind attentions, I have to thank Mr. Walsh, our banker.
One hears very often in Japan during the night a long, plaintive kind of whistle, which, upon inquiry, I found proceeded from blind men or women, called shampooers, who are employed to rub or pinch those suffering from pain, and who cure restlessness by the same means. It is a favorite cure of the Japanese, and some foreigners tell us they have employed it with success. I suppose, this climate being productive of rheumatism and kindred pains, the people are prone to fly to anything that secures temporary relief; but it is a new idea, this, of being pinched to sleep.
We live well at the hotels here. Japan abounds in fish and game in great variety. Woodcock, snipe, hares, and venison are cheap, and all of excellent quality. The beef and mutton are also good, as are the vegetables. Turnips, radishes and carrots are enormous, owing, I suppose to the depth and fineness of the soil. Vandy measured some of each, and reports: "Radishes, eighteen inches, and beautifully white; carrots, twenty inches, and splendid."
* * * * *
WEDNESDAY, November 20.
We started this morning from Yokohama for Tokio, the great city of the Empire, which contains 1,030,000 inhabitants, according to a census taken last year. Until within a few years past Japan had two rulers—the Mikado, or spiritual, and the Tycoon, or secular ruler, although, strictly speaking, the former was theoretically the supreme ruler, the latter obtaining his power through marriage with the family of the former. The seat of the Mikado was at Kioto, a fine city near the centre of the island, while the Tycoon resided at Tokio, or Yeddo, as it was then called. The Mikado was invisible, being the veritable veiled prophet, none but a privileged few being ever permitted to gaze upon his divine person. A few years ago it was decided to combine the two powers, and make Yeddo the only capital. The Mikado was carried to Yeddo closely veiled, in triumphal procession, and the vast crowds, assembled at every point to see the cavalcade, prostrated themselves, and remained with eyes bent upon the ground as the sacred car approached. An eye-witness describing the entry into Tokio says that few dared to look up as the Presence passed. Lately, the same Mikado has made a royal progress through the country, meeting the principal men in each district, and travelling in view of the entire population, so rapidly have manners changed in Japan. When the Mikado was elevated to supreme power, the feudal system, which had existed up to that time, was abolished, and we now see no more of the Samuri, or two-sworded men, or of the Daimios, the petty princes who formerly promenaded the streets in gorgeous dresses, accompanied by their military retainers. The soldiers, sailors, policemen, and all the official classes are dressed in European style. It is the reigning fashion to be European, and even furniture after our patterns is coming into use. It is the same with food. The hotel where we are rejoices in a French cook, expressly imported, and every night we have parties of wealthy Japanese dining at this Tokio Delmonico's. Last night we had a party of the most celebrated actors enjoying a dinner to commemorate the successful completion of a new piece which had enjoyed a great run. I amused myself trying to select the Montagu, Gilbert, Becket, and Booth of the party, and succeeded well, as I afterward heard. Actors are held in estimation in Tokio, and these attracted great attention as they dined. Matters are much as with us, I fancy. Our interpreter, in his broken English, told us in regard to the two young lovers, "Very high thought by much high ladies—oh, very high!" I do not think European dress improves the appearance of the Japanese gentlemen; they are very short, and—I regret to report it—generally quite crooked in the legs, and their own flowing costumes render them dignified and graceful. Indeed, after a residence in the East for a while one agrees with the opinion he hears often expressed there that our costume is the most unpicturesque dress in the world.
We were fortunate in having as shipmates Captain Totaki, of the navy, and a young lady, Mlle. Rio, who had been in America several years, and had acquired an English education. They were excessively kind to us during our entire stay, and much of the pleasure derived is due to them. The captain gave us one evening an entertainment at a fashionable tea-house, and introduced us to the celebrated singing and dancing girls of Japan, of whom all have heard. We were shown into a large room, the floor of which was covered with bamboo matting laid upon some soft substance. Of course our shoes were laid aside at the door of the house. There were neither chairs nor furniture of any kind, but subsequently chairs were found for us. The salutations on the part of the numerous women servants were most profound, each prostrating herself to the floor, and touching the mat with her forehead every time she entered or left the apartment. Velvet mats were carried into the room by a servant and placed around a brazier of charcoal. In a few minutes servant after servant entered, prostrating herself to the ground, and placing before us some Japanese delicacy. One served soup in small lacquer bowls, another fish, a third cakes, a fourth tea in very tiny cups, and others various things, and finally saki, the wine of the country, was produced, served in small cups like the tea. Then came the girls. Seven approached, each carrying a musical instrument of queer construction. They bowed profoundly, but I noticed did not touch the mat with their foreheads, their rank being much superior to that of the servants, and began to play and sing.
No entertainment is complete without a troop of these Gahazi girls, and such entertainments form about the only social amusement of the Japanese. And now for the music. Please understand that the Japanese scale is not like ours, and nothing like melody to our ears can be produced by it. They have a full tone between each first and second note, and a semitone between each third and fourth, and yet the same feelings are awakened in them by their music as in us by ours, so that harmony itself is simply a matter of education after all, and the glorious Fifth Symphony itself, "Lohengrin," or "Scots wha hae," played or sung as I have heard them, would convey no more meaning to these people than so much rattling of cross-bones; but imagine the Fifth Symphony on any scale but ours! I cannot reconcile myself to the idea that we have not the only scale for such a theme; but one has to learn that there are different ways for every thing, and no one who knows much will assume that he has the best. Owing to the change of the scale, I suppose I missed the sentiment of every piece performed. When I thought they were giving us a wail for the dead it turned out to be a warm welcome, and an assurance on the part of those pretty maidens of their happiness in being permitted the great honor of performing before such illustrious visitors. Our companion, Mile. Rio, took one of the instruments and played and sang a piece for us, but I was not more fortunate in my guess with her. It was a wedding chorus, which I was willing to wager was the Japanese "Miserere"; but this error may have its significance after all. To us, in short, the music was execrable. A falsetto, and a grinding, singsong falsetto at that—the most disagreeable sound I ever heard in music—is very common, and highly esteemed. The instruments resemble banjos, and there is a harsh kind of drum accompaniment; but there is one larger string instrument, the Japanese piano, upon which much older women play, the younger girls not being sufficiently skilled to perform upon it.
After a few songs had been sung, several of the girls laid down their banjos, and after obeisance prepared to dance. Instead of being a sprightly performance to, lively music, "first ae caper syne anither," Japanese dancing is a very stately and measured performance, the body instead of the feet being most brought into requisition. With the aid of the indispensable fan the girls succeed in depicting many different emotions, and all with exquisite grace. It is the very poetry of motion. Each dance illustrates a story, and is as well known by name as is the "Highland Fling" or the "Sailor's Hornpipe." Here there was no difficulty in following the story. Unlike music, acting is a universal language, and in its domain "one touch of nature makes the whole world kin." There are no different scales for the expression of feeling. Love, in some of its manifold forms, as was to have been expected, is the theme of most of these dances. I redeemed my reputation here as a guesser, I think. I could give a very fair report to Mlle. Rio of most that took place in the dances, and we enjoyed this portion of the entertainment highly. To a Japanese, how stupid our people must appear whirling round a room until fatigued or dizzy, all for the fun of the thing!
The dresses of the girls were of the richest and most fashionable description, the quietness of the colors surprising us, and their manners those of high-born women. Indeed, they set the fashions, and are the best educated and most accomplished of their sex. These girls are sent for to furnish entertainment for an evening just as we would engage a band for a party. They are said to be highly respectable as a class, invariably reside with their parents, who educate them at great expense, and often make, we were told, very favorable marriages. The contrast between them and their less accomplished sisters is so great as to strike even us, who have been here only a few days, and must be held ignorant of style.
The most wonderful sights of Tokio are the temples and the famous tombs of the Tycoons. There is much similarity in the latter, but that of the sixth Tycoon, at Shibba, is by far the most magnificent. It has been rendered familiar by photographs and engravings, and at any rate no description would convey a just idea of it. It is gorgeous in color, and the extreme delicacy of the gold is surprising; upon it, too, are found the finest known specimens of the old lacquer. But these tombs totally failed to impress me with any feeling akin to reverence; indeed, nothing in Japan seems calculated to do so—the odor of the toyshop pervades everything, even their temples. As for their religious belief, it is hard to tell what it is, or whether they have any. One thing is sure, the educated classes have discarded the faith of the multitude, if they ever really entertained it, and no longer worship the gods of old. The ignorant classes, however, are seen pouring into the temples with their modest offerings, and asking for prayers in their behalf. It is in Japan as it was in Greece—one religion for the masses, and another, or rather none in the ordinary sense, for the educated few.
As in Catholic countries, some shrines are esteemed more than others. The Temple of the Foxes is the most popular in the Empire. It is adorned with statues of Master Reynard in various postures. His votaries are numerous, for the sagacity of the fox has passed into a proverb, and these people hope by prayers and gifts to move the fox-god to bestow upon them the shrewdness of the symbol. The fox may be justly rated as the most successful preacher in Japan: he draws better than any other, and his congregation is the largest; but he has a rival not without pretensions in the favorite goddess "Emma." We found her to be a large, very fat woman, sitting in Japanese style, and surrounded by images of children. Babies cluster like cherubs around the principal figure, while an attendant sells for a cent apiece ugly painted ones made out of clay, many of which have been placed by worshippers before the goddess. As we approached, a young woman—married, for her teeth were black, and respectably but not richly dressed—was on her knees before the goddess so earnestly engaged in prayer that she appeared wholly unconscious of our presence. There was no mistaking that this was sincere devotion—a lifting up of the soul to some power considered higher than itself. I became most anxious to know what sorrow could so move her, and our interpreter afterward told us that she asked but one gift from the goddess. It was the prayer of old that a man-child should be born to her; and, poor woman! when one knows what her life must be in this country should this prayer remain unanswered, it saddens one to think of it. A living death; another installed in her place; all that woman holds dear trembling in the balance. How I pitied her! I also saw men praying before other idols and working themselves into a state of frenzy. Indeed I saw so much in the temples to make me unhappy that I wished I had never visited any of them. It gives one such desponding hopes of our race, of its present and of its future, when so many are so bound down to the lowest form of superstition.
At one of the principal Shinto temples I saw the sacred dance with which that great god is propitiated. In a booth two stories high, in front of the temple, was a small stage upon which sat three old priests. One beat a drum, the second played a flute, while the third fingered a guitar. To this music a very pretty young daughter of a priest, gorgeously arrayed in sacred robes, postured with a fan, keeping time to the music. This was all. But, like the tom-tom beating of the Buddhist which we heard at the same moment from an opposite temple, the dance is thought to dispose the gods to receive favorably the gifts and prayers of the devotees. We saw at the same temple a large wooden figure which is reputed able to cure all manner of diseases. So much and so hard had this figure been rubbed by the poor sufferers that the nose is no longer there; the face is literally rubbed smooth. The ears are gone, and it is only a question of time when all traces of human form will have vanished. It reminded us of the toe of St. Peter, in the cathedral at Rome, which has been worn smooth by the osculations of devout Christians.
Japan is rapidly adopting the manners and customs of European civilization. There is at present a cry for representative government, and one need not be surprised to hear by and by of the Parliament of Japan. War-ships are building at the arsenal, which are not only constructed but designed by native genius. A standing army of about 50,000 men is maintained. Gas has been introduced in some places, and railroads and telegraphs are in operation; and, not to be behind their neighbors, a public debt and irredeemable currency (based upon the property of the nation, of course,) have been created. The currency is now at 22 per cent. discount as compared with gold, and further depreciation is apprehended. (It has since reached 50 per cent. discount.) It is modelled on our American paper money, and is actually printed in New York. Let us hope that Japan may soon be able to follow the Republic farther by making it convertible—as good as gold. Notwithstanding its wide "base"—in short, our greenbackers' "base"—it doesn't seem to work here any better than at home.
Art in Japan is utilitarian; in no other country are articles of common use so artistic. The furniture of a Japanese house is scanty. We see no walls hung with pictures with showy gilt frames, no portieres or curtains, none of the sofas, chairs, tables, brackets, chandeliers, etc., which give our rooms so crowded an appearance. The bareness of the rooms strikes one at once upon entering, but when one examines the utensils in daily use even by the poorer classes he sees that they are of uncommon beauty. Surely this is of more moment than to have art confined to the few, both as to articles and to persons. In Japan, art may be said to be democratic; all classes are brought under its sway.
One thing must be said, however, about art throughout the East, in China and in India as well as in Japan: up to this time it has been content to remain solely decorative. The higher creative and imaginative power has yet to be reached. Why this should be so is an interesting question, and I resolve to read up the authorities when opportunity offers and see how they account for it. May not the poverty of the East have much to do with it? So very few are rich; indeed, scarcely any are opulent in our sense, six thousand dollars (L1,200) a year being considered a fortune in Japan, I am told, and very few, even of the higher classes, possess as much. In China and India it is much the same, a few rajahs in the latter country excepted.
The start which religion gave to art in Europe is wanting in the East, for the temples are mean and destitute of costly works. Rich commercial and manufacturing classes do not exist in the East—as wealth does not run into "pockets" as it does in Europe—especially in England—and in America. I fear, therefore, that art in the East will not advance much beyond the decorative stage for centuries to come.
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SATURDAY, November 23.
Vandy and I walked to-day through the principal street of Tokio from end to end, a distance of three miles. It is a fine, broad avenue, crowded with people and vehicles drawn or pushed by men. There is also a line of small one-horse wagons running as omnibuses on the street—novel feature, unknown anywhere else in the Empire. Our appearance attracted such crowds whenever we stopped at a shop, that the police had to drive the gazers away. The city is built upon a plain, and supplied with water by wells only. Fires are of frequent occurrence. Japanese cities are such piles of combustible material that I wonder they exist at all. But fires are little used—only a brazier of charcoal now and then for cooking purposes; and as most of the people eat at cook-shops, there is never any fire at all in many of the houses. Long ladders are erected as fire-towers, and upon these watchmen sit through the night to give the alarm. It is only by tearing down or blowing up surrounding houses that the progress of a fire can generally be stayed. There is no such thing as insurance in Japan, the risks being much too great.
The Japanese go to the theatre early in the morning and remain until five o'clock in the evening. Doors open at five A.M., but the rich classes do not appear before six or seven o'clock, at which hour the performance begins. Breakfast is served in the theatre about noon. The audience smoke, eat, sip tea, and enjoy themselves as they choose. No seats are provided, but a small mat is put down for each person as he enters, and beside it a box filled with sand, in the middle of which are two pieces of glowing charcoal, at which pipes are lighted. Ladies, as well as gentlemen, be it remembered, invariably smoke in Japan. Every one carries a small pipe with a long stem, and a tobacco-pouch attached to it. At short intervals a little tobacco is put into the pipe—just enough to give two whirls of smoke—after which the tobacco is knocked out and the pipe again replenished. In no case have I ever seen more than two very small whiffs taken at one time. Even young ladies smoke in this manner, and to one who detests tobacco, as I instinctively do, it may be imagined this habit did not add to their attractiveness. A sweetheart who defiled her lips with tobacco! "Phew!" Neither is it considered disrespectful in any degree to begin smoking in the presence of others. Deferential as the singing girls were, when at leisure they lighted their pipes as a matter of course, wholly unconscious that they were taking a liberty.
The marriage ceremony differs greatly from ours. The priests have nothing to do with it, nor is there any religious ceremony. The parents of a young man select a proper wife for him when he is about twenty years of age, and manage the whole affair. They consult the young lady's parents, and if the match is a satisfactory one to them, writings are exchanged between the parents of the young couple, the day is appointed, and the bride and groom drink saki from the same cup; feasting and rejoicings follow, sometimes continued for several days if the parents are wealthy, and the marriage is consummated. In all cases the bride goes to reside with the husband's parents, to whom, much more than to the husband, it is necessary she should continue to be satisfactory. Very often three generations live together, and an amount of deference is paid to the oldest such as we have no conception of.
The custom of blacking the teeth by married women, is the most revolting practice I have yet seen. I have been in the houses of fine people of Japan, and seen women, otherwise good-looking, who had only to open their lips to convert themselves into objects of disgust. I rejoice, therefore, to hear that fashion is setting in against this abomination, and that some of the more recent brides have refused to conform to the custom.
One readily gets used to anything, earthquakes included, and Japan has many of these unruly visitors. One night we had three shocks at Tokio, one sufficiently strong to wake me from sleep. My bed shook violently, and the house threatened to fall upon us. The same night we had a large fire in the city, and a hundred shrill, tinkling bells, like so many cows in the woods, were rung to give the alarm. The clapping of the night watchmen about our street assured me, however, that it was all right with us, and I lay still. The night watchmen here use two small square pieces of hard wood which they strike frequently against each other as they go the rounds as their "All's well" signal; but I think strangers, as a rule, fail to appreciate the point in being awakened every now and then simply to be assured that there is not the slightest occasion for their being awake at all.
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MONDAY, November 25.
To-day we took a small steamer and visited the arsenal upon the invitation of our friend Captain Totaki, Mlle. Rio being of the party. It is finely situated on the bay about fifteen miles below Yokohama, and is quite extensive, having good shops filled with modern tools. Several ships have already been built here, and two men-of-war are now upon the stocks—another evidence of so-called civilization. Japan, you see, is ambitious. All the officials, foremen, and mechanics, are natives, and these have proved their ability in every department. The wages paid surprise us. All branches are about upon an equality. Painters, moulders, blacksmiths, carpenters, machinists, all get the same compensation—from 25 to 40 cents per day, according to their respective value as workmen; common labor, outside, 18 cents; shop labor, inside, 25 cents; foreman of department, $80 per month. Work, nine hours per day, every tenth day being a day of rest corresponding to our Sunday. In addition to the two men-of-war under construction, the machinery for which is all designed and manufactured here, the Emperor is having built for his private use a large side-wheel yacht, which promises to be magnificent. However poor a nation may be, or however depreciated its currency, if it set up an emperor, king, or queen, improper personal expenditure inevitably follows. Even as good a woman as Queen Victoria, probably the most respectable woman who ever occupied a throne—such a character as one would not hesitate to introduce to his family circle, which is saying much for a monarch—will squander thirty thousand pounds per annum of the people's money on a private yacht which she has used but a few times, and which is one of three she insists upon keeping at the State's expense. It is the old story: make any human being believe he is born to position and he becomes arbitrary and inconsiderate of those who have exalted him. Serves the foolish ones right, I suppose is the proper verdict. But one is not indignant at the worship of their emperor by the Japanese: he is a real ruler, has power, and stands firmly upon divine right. The Japanese are yet children politically; but the English should be out of their swaddling-clothes, surely.
The captain being high in command, and this being his first visit to the arsenal since his return from a tour round the world, he was received by the officials with manifestations of delight. We had another opportunity of seeing the bowing practice in its fullest development. The various foremen as they approached bowed three times almost to the ground, and in some cases they went first upon their knees and struck the floor three times with their foreheads. We were afterward informed that only a few years ago these would have added to the obeisance by extending the arms to their full length and placing the palms of the hands flat upon the ground; now this is omitted, and I have no doubt, as intelligence spreads, less and less of this deference will be exacted. But up to this date it may safely be said Japan is in the condition of Sir Pertinax MacSycophant, who, it will be remembered, admitted that his success came from "booing." He "never could stand strecht in the presence of a great man;" no more can a Japanese.
My writing has just been interrupted by another earthquake shock. My chair began to tremble, then the house; I could not write, and looking up I saw Vandy standing in amazement. For a few moments it seemed as if we were rocking to pieces, and that the end of all things had come. I shall never forget the sensation. The motion of a ship rolling at sea transferred to land, where you have the solid earth and heavy stone walls surrounding and threatening to fall upon you, is far from agreeable; but it passed away, and old Mother Earth became steady once more.
The way to buy in Japan is not by visiting the shops, for there nothing is displayed, and a stranger has infinite difficulty in learning where certain articles are to be found; but just intimate to your "boy" what you wish, and at your door in a few minutes stand not one or two merchants, but five or six, all bowing as you pass in or out, and awaiting master's pleasure to examine their wares. They leave any articles you may wish to decide upon, and the result is that one's rooms become perfect bazaars. The most unpleasant feature connected with purchasing is that everything is a matter of bargain. A price is named, and you are expected to make an offer. Vandy is a great success at this game, and seems to enjoy it. I am strictly prohibited from interfering, and so escape all trouble. It is always comforting to know that one's interests are in much abler hands than his own, and I always have this pleasure when Vandy is about.
Wherever we go, Fusiyama looks down upon us. What a beautiful cone it is, and how grandly it pierces the heavens, its summit clad with perpetual snow! No wonder that the Japanese represent it on so many of their articles. Thousands of pilgrims flock to it annually from all parts of the Empire, for it is their sacred mount and the gods reward such as worship at this shrine. It was once an active volcano; but there has been no eruption since about 1700, when ashes were thrown from it into Yeddo, sixty miles away. The crater is nearly five hundred feet deep. Fusiyama stands alone among mountains, a vast pyramid rising as Cheops does from the plain, no "rascally comparative" near to dispute its sway.
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WEDNESDAY, November 27.
We sail to-day for Shanghai, leaving Yokohama with sincere regret; nor shall we soon forget the good, kind faces of those who have done so much to make our visit to Japan an agreeable one. Had it been possible to remain until Saturday I should have been greatly tempted to do so to accept an invitation received to respond to a toast at St. Andrew's banquet. It would surely have stirred me to hold forth on Scotland's glory to my fellow-countrymen in Japan; but this had to be foregone. At Kiobe the steamer lay for twenty-four hours, and this enabled us to run up by rail to Kioto, the former residence of the Mikado, reputed to be the Paris of Japan. The city itself deserves this reputation about as well as Cincinnati does that of our American Paris, which I see some one has called it. Kioto is only a mass of poor one-story buildings, but its situation is beautiful, and cannot probably be equalled elsewhere in the Empire, and this one can justly say of Cincinnati as well, while the beauty of Paris is of the city and not at all rural. There are more pretty toy villas embowered in trees upon the little hills about Kioto than we saw in all other parts of Japan. The temples at Kioto are much inferior to those at Shibba. Our journey enabled us to see about seventy miles of the interior, and we were again impressed by the evidences on every hand of a teeming population. Gangs of men and women were everywhere at work upon small patches of ground, six or seven persons being busily engaged sometimes on less than one acre. It is not farming; there is in Japan scarcely such a thing as farming in our sense; it is a system of gardening such as we see in the neighborhood of large cities. Compared with that prevalent throughout the whole country, I have seen nothing equal to it in thoroughness, not even in Belgium.