2021-04-17 12:25:38

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ENGLISH

"We can travel by rail almost anywhere," said he, "and needn't come away from America to do so. Now, instead of going to Osaka by rail, which wouldn't be anything remarkable, suppose we go by a Japanese junk. I have been asking the hotel-keeper about it, and he says it is perfectly easy to do so, and that we can sail there with a fair wind in a few hours."

The walls were high, and there was nothing to be seen inside of them, as none of the buildings in that quarter were equally lofty. But the effect of the walls was imposing; there were towers at regular intervals, and the most of them were two stories above the level of the surrounding structure. For nearly a mile they rode along the base of one of the walls till they came to a gate that led them into the principal street. Once inside, they found themselves transferred very suddenly from the stillness of the country to the bustling life of the great city.

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"In China and some other countries it is not considered necessary to give the girls any education; but in Japan it is not so. The girls are educated here, though not so much as the boys; and of late years they have established schools where they receive what we call the higher branches of instruction. Every year new schools for girls are opened; and a great many of the Japanese who formerly would not be seen in public with their wives have adopted the Western idea, and bring their wives into society. The marriage laws have been arranged so as to allow the different classes to marry among[Pg 258] each other, and the government is doing all it can to improve the condition of the women. They were better off before than the women of any other Eastern country; and if things go on as they are now going, they will be still better in a few years. The world moves.

"The first things we looked at in our shopping tour were silks, and we found them of all kinds and descriptions that you could name. There were silks for dresses and silks for shawls, and they were of all colors, from snowy white to jet-black. Some people say that white and black are not colors at all; but if they were turned loose among the silks of Canton, perhaps they might change their minds. It is said that there are fifty thousand people in Canton engaged in making silk and other fabrics, and these include the embroiderers, of whom there are several thousands. Chinese[Pg 418] embroidery on silk is famous all over the world, and it has the advantage over the embroidery of most other countries in being the same on one side that it is on the other. We have selected some shawls that we think will be very pretty when they are at home. They are pretty enough now, but there are so many nice things all around that the articles we have selected look just a little common.IV THREE DAYS' RATIONSAnd then he told me about himself. He was a graduate of West Point, the only one on the brigade staff; was a widower, with a widowed brother, a maiden sister, two daughters, and a niece, all of one New Orleans household. The brothers and sister were Charlestonians, but the two men had married in New Orleans, twin sisters in a noted Creole family. The brother's daughter, I was told, spoke French better than English; the Major's elder daughter spoke English as perfectly as her father; and the younger, left in her aunt's care from infancy, knew no French at all. I wondered if they were as handsome as their white-haired father, and when I asked their names I learned that the niece, Ccile, was a year the junior of Estelle and as much the senior of Camille; but of the days of the years of the pilgrimage of any of the three "children" he gave me no slightest hint; they might be seven years older, or seven years younger, than his new clerk.

The party went to Lake Biwa as they had proposed, and certainly no one should omit it from his excursions in the vicinity of Kioto. The distance is only seven miles, and an excellent road leads there from the city. Along the route they met a dense crowd of people coming and going, for there is a vast amount of business between the city and the lake. There were men on foot and in jin-riki-shas, there were porters with loads and porters without loads, there were pack-horses in great number, and there were wagons with merchandise bound for the interior or for the seaboard. Some of the pack-horses had burdens the reverse of savory, and the boys learned on inquiry that they were transporting liquid manure to the farms near the borders of the lake. Along the roadside[Pg 301] they saw little family groups that were always more or less picturesque; fathers were caring for their children, and seemed to take great delight in playing the part of nurse. It is very common in all the Japanese cities to see men thus occupied, and they never appear to be weary of their tasks. In summer both parent and child will be thinly clad, while in winter they will be wrapped against the cold. The summer garments are not always so thick as the rules of polite society require, and even the winter costume is not very heavy.

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COOLIES EMBARKING AT MACAO. COOLIES EMBARKING AT MACAO.

After their sight-seeing in the grove of Dai-Boots was over, the party proceeded to Enoshima. When they arrived at the sea-shore opposite the island, they found, to their dismay, that the tide was up; and they were obliged to hire a boat to take them to their destination. At low tide one can walk upon a sand-bar the entire distance; but when the sea is at its highest, the bar is covered, and walking is not practicable. The beach slopes very gradually, and consequently the boats were at some distance out, and the travellers were compelled to wade to them or be carried on men's shoulders. The boys tried the wading, and were successful; the Doctor, more dignified, was carried on the shoulders of a stout Japanese, who was very glad of the opportunity to earn a few pennies. But he came near having a misadventure, as his bearer stumbled when close to the edge of the boat, and pitched the Doctor headlong into the craft. He was landed among a lot of baskets and other baggage, and his hat came in unpleasant contact with a bucket containing some freshly caught fish. Luckily he suffered no injury, and was able to join the others in laughing over the incident.It is a voyage of two days, more or less, according to the speed of the steamer, from Nagasaki to Shanghai. Our friends had hoped to be in Shanghai on the afternoon of the second day from the former port; but their hopes were not destined to be realized. The Japanese gods of Rain, Wind, and Thunder interfered.

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Apr-17 12:25:38