2021-04-17 02:36:51

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ENGLISH A PARTY ON THE TOKAIDO. A PARTY ON THE TOKAIDO.Village after village was passed by our young adventurers and their[Pg 163] older companion, and many scenes of Japanese domestic life were unfolded to their eyes. At one place some men were engaged in removing the hulls from freshly gathered rice. The grain was in large tubs, made of a section of a tree hollowed out, and the labor was performed by beating the grain with huge mallets. The process was necessarily slow, and required a great deal of patience. This mode of hulling rice has been in use in Japan for hundreds of years, and will probably continue for hundreds of years to come in spite of the improved machinery that is being introduced by foreigners. Rice is the principal article of food used in Japan, and many people have hardly tasted anything else in the whole course of their lives. The opening of the foreign market has largely increased the cost of rice; and in this way the entrance of Japan into the family of nations has brought great hardships upon the laboring classes. It costs three times as much for a poor man to support his family as it did before the advent of the strangers, and there has not been a corresponding advance in wages. Life for the coolie was bad enough under the old form of government, and he had much to complain of. His condition has not been bettered by the new order of things, according to the observation of impartial foreigners who reside in Yokohama and other of the open ports.

"Well, it seems that some Chinese pirates determined to capture this boat, murder all the foreigners on board, rob the Chinese passengers, and then get away on a junk that was to be ready to receive them. They made their plans, and on a certain day fifty of them took passage from Canton to Hong-kong. When about half way, they were to meet a junk with more men; and as the junk hung out her signal and came near, the fellows were to fall upon us with their knives, and capture the boat. They intended to kill us all, but their scheme failed, as there were four ships at anchor that day close by the spot where the junk was to meet them, and so the junk took the alarm and left. There was no disturbance, and we did not have a suspicion of anything wrong. Finding they had failed with us, they went the next day and captured the steamer Spark, which runs between Canton and Macao. They killed the captain and officers and the only European passenger who happened to be on board,[Pg 404] plundered all the native passengers, and got away. Some of them were afterwards captured, and confessed to their part in the affair, and then the whole story came out that they had intended to rob this boat. Since then we always have the gratings down, so that the third-class passengers cannot come on deck; and we keep plenty of rifles and revolvers in the pilot-house and captain's cabin ready for use. They may never try it on us again, and we don't intend to give them a chance to do so."LADIES AT THEIR TOILET. LADIES AT THEIR TOILET.

"The birds dive off from the raft, and can swim under water with great rapidity. Sometimes they are not inclined to fish, and require to be pushed off, and, perhaps, beaten a little by their master. If they have been well trained, they swim directly towards the raft, when they rise to the surface; but sometimes a cormorant will go off the other way, in the hope of being able to swallow the fish he holds in his mouth. In such case the fisherman[Pg 348] follows and captures the runaway, punishing him soundly for his misconduct. Whenever a bird catches a fish and brings it to the raft, he is rewarded with a mouthful of food. In this way he soon learns to associate his success with something to eat; and a cormorant that has been well trained has a good deal of fidelity in his composition. I am uncertain which to admire most, the dexterity of the fisherman in handling his raft, or the perseverance and celerity of the cormorants."The Doctor listened to him, and was not long in arriving at a conclusion.

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IMPERIAL CREST ON THE NEW COINS. IMPERIAL CREST ON THE NEW COINS.

"It is not altogether a pleasant subject," remarked the Doctor, with a slight shudder; "but as we want to learn all we can of the manners and customs of the people we are among, and as we are now among the Japanese, I suppose we must give some attention to hari-kari."If you have any desire to study the subject fully, I advise you to get 'Piddington's Law of Storms;' you will find it treated very fully and intelligently, both from the scientific and the popular point of view."I say we can't give it to you now," Miss Harper persisted, with a motherly smile; "we're wearing it ourselves. We've had no time to take it off. I couldn't get the boots off me last night. And even if you had the boots, the other things--"

ATTACK ON THE PEI-HO FORTS. ATTACK ON THE PEI-HO FORTS.

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"Has he a taste for fiction?" I asked, with a depreciative smirk.Lake Biwa is a beautiful sheet of water, surrounded by picturesque mountains and smiling valleys. Steamers ply upon it, so that an excursion may be made on its waters with the utmost ease; and all around it there are picnic booths where parties may sit and enjoy the view. The time of our friends was limited, and so they had only a glimpse of the lake from one of those pleasure resorts, if a couple of hours spent there may be called a glimpse.From their own observations and the notes and accounts of travellers who had preceded them, the boys made the following description of Pekin:

Take care t'hat ice, must go man-man."

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Apr-17 02:36:51