The Parents' Review
A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture
"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
Seeds of Stories from Other Countries
Volume 3, 1892/93, pgs. 43-49
GOING WEST to find the East! How strange to find ourselves travelling so easily on the route that for 400 years kings, wise men, brave soldiers, and gallant discoverers had yearned to find!
In 1534, Jacques Cartier, a Breton seaman from St. Malo, sailed up to Anticosti, never doubting that the St. Lawrence River was the high road to "far Cathay."*
We passed through the Straits of Belle isle into the mighty Gulf of St. Lawrence, having the shores of Labrador on one side, and the Newfoundland coast on the other. Weird and mysterious Labrador looked in its fog mantle. It is one of the few countries remaining unexplored. Last winter the cold was so intense that even the Polar bears were "starved out," and wandered down into the coast villages to prey upon the half-starved fishermen. A story is told of an Atlantic captain who, wearied by the innumerable question of his passengers, gruffly replied to one who asked, "Is it always foggy here?" "How should I know! Do you suppose I live here?"
To us it was a glorious ever-to-be-remembered day of calm bright radiance. The Canadians were all in wild spirits as they breathed their native air. I ventured to ask: "Is it always like this?" and received the emphatic reply, "This is our weather." At Anticosti the river begins, or rather ends, about 900 miles from its source beyond Niagara Falls, in Lake Superior. I can hardly give you an idea of the vast breadth of that mighty river, and was not astonished to hear that some little Canadians on board had asked, when they first saw our English rivers: "Are those drains, mother?" On each side were forests arrayed in the gorgeous autumnal tints for which the "Fall" in Canada is so celebrated; the wonderous crimson hues of the maples, and the gold and silver leaves of oaks and birches, looking like tropical flowers amid the dark sobre pine-trees. This is the Indians idea of "Jack Frost"---
The fierce Kabibonakka
Mile after mile we steamed; at first the shores were so distant we could not discern trees or houses, but further on we saw the white cottages of the French settlers, and close under the cliffs in the deep water many whales spouting, whilst overheard numbers of seagulls encircled us.
A little discussion arose as to whether this was the "Indian summer," or, as we call the return of warm bright days in autumn, "St. Luke's summer"; or whether it was not rather at Martinmas (Nov. 9), for one lady said it arose from the beautiful legend of St. Martin of Tours, who, on a cold, wet, misty day in November, was seated by the wayside so wrapt in prayer and meditation that he was quite unconscious of the weather. A beggar passed by shivering, and asked for alms. St. Martin took off his own cloak and threw it round the man, who then disappeared. But instantly the sun broke forth with wonderous warmth and bathed all Nature in the lovely "goldeney haze" which characterises St. Martin's, or the Indian, summer. The beggar, I need hardly explain, was our Lord.
On the third day, at noon (Monday), we sighted Quebec, the "fortress0key of Canada," magnificently situated on a rock resembling Gibraltar. The glistening Falls of Montmorenci and the rapids above attracted our notice, and as we neared Quebec we distinguished the citadel and the heights of Abraham, in the storming of which both Generals Wolff and Montcalm fell when the French and British fought for empire in 1756-59.
Two thousand six hundred and sixty miles from Liverpool the steamer landed us at "the C.P.R. wharf," across which we walked to the cars of the Canadian Pacific Railway. It is an extraordinary feeling stepping ashore to a New World! Quebec is like a quaint Norman town. The first street we saw was named "Place d 'Orlean"; French is as much spoken as English. The waiting rooms are designated in French and English, and French caliches (primitive carriages) await the trains. The laws are written in French, and though the province belongs to England, the governor is a Frenchman.
The early settlers in Canada were French, many of them nobles from the Court of Louis XIV., and the story of their discoveries is like a fascinating romance. In 1642 Ville Marie de Mont-Royal (Montreal) was founded on the site of an Indian village by a company of noble men and women, who, fired with a missionary zeal for converting the Indians, ascended the river in three boats from Quebec. On landing all fell on their knees and joined in thanksgiving. An altar was raised and decorated by the ladies with shining festoons of fire-flies, and three tents were pitched, in which they bivouacked by the camp fires. Soon after leaving Quebec we passed Champlain, called after Samuel de Champlain (one of the founders of New France), who discovered it, and, passing on, gave to the rapids by Montreal the name of La Chine, believing them to be the starting-point of the western route to China! The church at Champlain has two golden (gilded) steeples, which looked so lovely in the afternoon sun, like golden fingers pointing up to God. Somehow they reminded us of a sunny Saturday afternoon, when, high up in the Alps, we heard bells ringing in the valley far below--"Because it is Sunday to-morrow!" the peasants said. In other villages we saw the silver trunks of the birches, with their goldening leaves, we wondered whether the idea of these gold and silver steeples could have been suggested by them?
Try and realise the length of the road we have to travel over in eight days from the Atlantic: In a ship 1000 miles up the St. Lawrence; in a train 1000 miles by the Great Lakes to Winnepeg. Another 1000 miles across the prairies and valleys of the Saskatchewan River, and nearly 1000 more through dense mountains and over giant mountain ranges to the coast of the Pacific; and think for a moment what the "Canadian Pacific Railway" means: of the 46,000 miles surveyed for a possible route, of which a quarter was measured yard by yard through mountain, forest, and prairie, so that the two ocean might be joined, the dream of the ages realised, and the land of the rising sun brought within twenty-one days of London. Oh! How many have desired--yes, and spent their heart's blood and treasure to see the things which we see and take as a matter of course, and never saw them; but they toiled and others entered into their labours, and both pioneer and settler shall yet rejoice together.
Can you grasp the wonderful fact that the Dominion of Canada embraces 3,519,000,000 miles? And that this broad, roomy, vast domain belongs to the British Crown. "Dominion Day" is held as a grand festival by every loyal Canadian, in commemoration of July 20, 1871, when the great North West Territory entered into federation with Canada under one Dominion--that of our Gracious Queen.
The train is starting, its gigantic locomotive has an enormous lamp on its forefront, and a "cow-catcher" at its base (to turn off straying cattle), and a huge bell on its back, which tolls like some cathedral bell. The guard sings out, "All-Aboard!" and we take our place in the Pullman--in American phrase, we "board the cars." I confess to a slight sinking of heart when we entered the car, in which we were to spend six days and nights, but after the first night we got quite used to it, and so interesting was every part of the way that we grew fresher and fresher, till when we pulled up at the "Terminal City," Vancouver, we would gladly have turned back to retrace that marvellous route, and fix its scenery more indelibly on our memory.
You can imagine how eagerly we looked for the first Indian wigwam, the first real canoe, the first log-cabin! At North Bay on lovely Lake Nipissing we saw the first Hudson's Bay store, with the letters H.B.C. (These stores, originating in the time of Charles II., extend right across the Continent and up to the Arctic Circle.) We heard delightful accounts of the Province of Ontario. Fancy fruits growing like weeds, and orchards with thousands of trees bearing enormous peaches! Winter is as charming as summer, with the clear still air, the brilliant sunshine, the toboganning and skating, the sleigh-bells and snowshoes, and the moonlights. One cannot transfer to paper the enthusiasm with which Canadians speak of their beloved land--nor describe their hearty loyalty to the "old country." If one speaks of "annexation" to the United States, they indignantly repudiate the idea. "It is the Americans who want it--not we; they have everything to gain and we have everything to lose by annexation." During breakfast on Wednesday we had our first glimpse of the "Gitchee Gumee," the Big Sea Water, as the Indians call Lake Superior. It is the largest fresh-water lake in the world, so crystal clear are its waters that ninety-five feet below the stones are visible, and so intensely cold that if a ship founders the passengers have little chance, for they are instantly benumbed. The storms are wilder and the waves higher than on the Atlantic. Steamers on this mighty lake are a whole day and a half out of sight of land.
We had been told that until we reached the Rockies the road would be most uninteresting, but
"Earth's crammed with heaven,
Canada is a veritable "land of brown heath and shaggy wood, land of the mountain and the flood." A curious feature of these "backwoods" is the unnumerable blackened trunks which strew the ground like matchwood. These are caused by the forest fires, the terrific roar of which can be heard for miles, and the sea of fire must be an awful scene. Another remarkable sight is seen in the broad rivers densely packed with logs of trees, which have been floated down from regions far beyond, and just lie in soak till wanted. Canadians call these logs "lumber," and "lumbering" is a great industry.
"For every silver ringing blow, cities and palaces shall grow! When ruddy rust hath gnawed the axe, a nation strong shall lift her head." Crawford.
The gigantic forests supply most valuable timber; the endless rivers provide immense water power for the saw mills, which are busily employed in cutting up the wood beyond on that thousand-mile reach of prairie where no trees grow, for firing and fences on the cattle ranches, the enormous bridges for the train, and the thousands of miles of sleepers. There are the settlers "log cabins," and the frame-houses," all of wood. The beavers build their curious two-storied "lodges" in the shallow water at the end of their lakes.
A fellow traveler informed us that there is "work, abundance of it, for anybody who will turn to and do anything." He had himself brought out 1400 of his countrymen to one of the industries he started. When he first came out he had taken ten days in a canoe to reach North Bay from Ottawa. He pointed out the beautiful blush on the rocks, and showed us those from which asbestos is procurred, which, being non-flammable, was used in the old days for dresses by those who passed through the fire in the "Greek Mysteries."
"Thunder Bay' is protected by a sleeping giant--a table mountain called Thunder Cape. Port Arthur is built upon it, and there are large docks and a lighthouse, and fine Clyde-built steamers. Here we first observed the presence of Chinamen in the signboard "Chinese laundry;" here, too, we observed the trains marked "Canadian Atlantic" and "Canadian Pacific," and at the windows of the former the jolly faces of several blue jackets from H.M.S. Warspite, the first instalment of those who will make this new highway to the Orient a military route.
Very early next morning we reached "Rat Portage." Our kind informant explained that the Indian gives natural names to everything, and that this place is so called from a colony of musk rats who crossed over a streak of land with their winter supplies to their home on the lake. A steep rock close by is named "The Rock that the Crow sits upon." The Indians are true children of nature, and believe in its forces as wise and good. It occurs to me that their belief in these natural forces is akin to the angelic ministries of our Scriptures. A poet has spoken of "angel hands offering cups of honey to tired-out bees." Indians worship God as Manitou, the Great Spirit, and have a myth of the Deluge to this effect. Only one man escaped from the flood on to the topmost summit of the Rocky Mountains. The Great Spirit turned his lower limbs to stone, and the waters abated. But being all alone, he felt very sad, and prayed to Manitou for a companion. He fell asleep, and found on waking a lovely squaw (wife) beside him, made out of the rock, and to his joy his own limbs we re-vivified.
To know the Indian name is to know the nature of the locality, whether mountain, lake, or woodland. Steamships, they say, are the "white man's war canoes, which move by fire and make their own thunder." "Mine-hah-hah" is their expressive name for a waterfall--"laughing water;" "Niagara," the "thunder of the waters;" "Ohio," the beautiful river; "Minnesota," the sky-coloured water; "Mississippi"--their largest river--the father of waters.
One depot (pronounced "dee-po"_ is called "Moosejaw," which is short for "the-creek-where-the-white-man-mended-the-cart-with-a-moose-jawbone!" The Indian race appears to have been destined by the Creator to prepare the land for more civilised peoples; they slew the wild beasts, their fires cleared the forests. They are splendid hunters, and know all about birds, animals, trapping, and forestry. The woman hoes and farms, but the man despises agriculture. He hunts and traps the wild animals and brings the furs of fox, beaver, bear, marten, and wolf, and the buffalo robes to the H.B.C. All the traders of this company treat the Indians with perfect courtesy; and this is the secret of their successful dealings, and of the C.P.R. meeting with no opposition from Indians in its construction, as the Union Pacific Railway did in the States--where each Indian scalp cost the country $100,000. The Missouri traders introduced small-pox into the unvaccinated Blackfoot tribes, which, with their horrible fire-water, a mixture of rum, tobacco, vitriol, and bluestone, has killed of thousands--a fiendish cruelty only equalled by the conduct of the Dutch in South Africa at the present day, who, to the entreaties of the natives to be protected against the introduction of these vile spirits into their "locations," reply that" as the Kaffirs multiply too fast, it is better to let the brandy bottle do its own work."
How thankful we were to hear that the Great White Queen, the "beloved Mother of the Red Man and his children, protects the poor Indians, and forbids the fire-water being introduced into the Indian Reserve. At the stations we saw members of the N.W. Mounted Police in Her Majesty's scarlet uniform, whose duty it is to board the trains and prevent the sale.
The squaw is the burden bearer; she carries the kettles, and the papoose, tightly bound to her back in its moss-lines cradle. VERA.
(To be continued.)
SEEDS OF STORY FROM OTHER COUNTRIES.
She makes frames of birch bark, embroidered with sweet-scented prairie grasses, and beads the deerskin mocassins, saddles, & e., for her lord. He is called the "Brave," and always goes in front, riding on the horse which draws the poles of the wigwam. (A friend reminds me that in English villages the old-fashioned husbands always precede the wives into church, and they speak of him as "Master.") The children and dogs are both loaded, and walk behind. A man becomes a "brave" in a very ordinary fashion.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
It is noteworthy that Herodotus mentions the ancient Scythians using the same kind of vapour-bath that the Indian delights in to-day. He shuts himself up in his "teepee" (wigwam), pour boiling water over red-hot stones, and steams himself.
The Indian legend of Hiawatha has been embodied in a beautiful poem by the American poet Longfellow, describing the Peace-Message (or Evangel) from the Gitche Manitou (the Great Spirit), and His promise to send them (who re so torn by war and strife) a prophet, a deliverer, a suffering Saviour, who should bring peace among them and heal their quarrels, and teach them to live as brethren; and how He came and gave them the maize (the bread of life), and how the corn had to fall into the ground and die, in order to bring forth fruit; and of His mighty conflict with Hahma, the King of Fishes. I must leave you to read for yourself that wonderful poem, and compare with it Our Lord's words in St. John xii. 24, and St. Matthew xii. 40; and I know you will love the verses which tell about the boyhood of the little Indian child.
Our Scotch friend inquired if we knew the story of the French missionaries who, more than two hundred and fifty years ago ventured up the river St. Lawrence in frail Indian, birch canoes, and made their way through "the wilderness," by the chain of great lakes, to the Red River, and found their way around to the head sources of the Mississippi, and traced the river to its outlet in the Gulf of Mexico. It was all new to us; and the story of the "Black Robes," as the Indians called them, is so thrilling and pathetic that I cannot resist giving you a sketch of their self-denying labours.
For nine hundred miles they travelled, wearing no shoes, for fear of injuring the frail vessels, carrying their canoes and baggage over thirty-five portages, round rapids, and though the gloom of savage forests, amid wild beasts and savage tribes. Over fifty times they had to wade through currents, dragging their canoes, or pushing them through dense thickets and over sharp cutting rocks and precipices. They had no time to read their Prayer-books, except by the dim light of the moon or wood fire, and although annoyed by the ill-humour, insolence, and snobberies of their Indian guides, displayed the most Christian charity and courtesy.
These were some of their rules: "Love the Indians like brothers, with whom you are to spend the rest of your lives. Never make them wait for you in embarking. Take a flint and sticks (there were no matches in those days) to light their pipes, and kindle their fires at night. For these little services win their hearts. Try to eat 'sagamite' as they cook it, bad and dirty as it is. Fasten up the skirts of your cassock, that you may not carry water or sand into the canoe. Do not make yourself troublesome to a single Indian. Do not ask too many questions. Bear their faults in silence, and appear always cheerful. Be very careful when in the canoe that the brim of your hat does not annoy them. Perhaps it would be better to wear a night-cap. Remember that it is Christ and His Cross you are seekingTo convert savages it does not so much need science as goodness and virtue tres solide. The four elements of the Apostolic man are affability, humility, patience, and a generous charity. Too zealous zeal burns more than it warms, and spoils everything. Savages do not understand our theology, but they do understand perfectly well out humility and our affability. Above all, it requires a sweetness unutterable, and a patience proof against everything."
* * * * * * * * * *
Such was the spirit which animated these holy men.
From Thunder Bay to Winnipeg is 600 miles, over lakes, swamp, rapids, and dense forests; and hence Capt. (?) Wolseley led his troops in 1869-1870. The "Red River Expedition" was looked upon in those days as the wonder of the age, and Fort Garry as the Ultima Thule of civilisation. For 600 miles, then, Wolseley had to convey 1200 men, carrying all their food supplies for three months, some twenty-seven times having actually to life their canoes between lake and lake, from Superior through the mazy intricacies of the Lake of the Woods, and bear them, with the stores and cannon, across long portages to the Red River. It took the expedition three weeks to reach Fort Garry, and our train twenty-four hours! In 1886 the Central Pacific Railroad reached Winnipeg, and so the dream of ages was realised, and the North-west Passage found--but by land, not by sea. I have taken you a very long journey through from Rat Portage into the past ages; but in reality a few minutes brought us on to Keewatin, the station for the fairy-like "Lake of the Woods." We longed to jump out and pitch our tent on one of its innumerable islands--rocky, heather-covered isles, valuable for their timber and gold-ore. Here is a "mammouth grain elevator," built of granite quarried on the spot. In English this means a gigantic lift, which turns out daily 2000 sacks of finest flour; lifting the corn out of the trucks, it weighs and pours it back, "milled," into the railway wagon without touch of man's hand. This being the nearest point to the great rolling prairies, where rocks, trees, and fresh water are to be found, it is likely to become the watering-place of the future, and I can imagine no more charming "Modern Venice" than these islands when crowned with picturesque frame houses, the only access being by canoe or bridge from isle to isle.
* * * * *
By degrees the country flattens out, the hills become smaller and smaller, the trees decrease in number and stature, till even the scrubby brushwood disappears. We cross the broad sky-blue Red River just before arriving at Winnipeg--the "Prairie City." As we were to spend an hour here, the negro porter insisted upon giving every lady, gentleman, and child a thorough good brushing, and when M. declined, he exclaimed: "But for the honour of my car, sir, please!" Was not that a comely spirit in a man whose colour was inky black--to feel that the credit of his car was at stake if travel-stained, unkempt passengers should be seen emerging from it?
Winnipeg is a specimen of the mushroom growth of the cities of the New World. Twenty years ago there were a hundred inhabitants, and it was literally "the other end of nowhere," or the "back of beyont"--simply a frontier trading-post. To-day it is five years old, and has a population of 36,000, with churches, colleges, banks, and a splendid City Hall. Electric tramcars whirr past, steamboats ply on its rivers for thousands of miles, north, south, and west, and railways radiate from it in all directions.
In winter the mails used to be sent every three weeks on sledges drawn by dogs to stations north of Winnipeg, and even for 2000 miles to the far outposts of the Mackenzie River twice a year.
This "Prairie City" is the capital of Mannitoba, and the centre for distributing the immigrants to the farming districts, and gold, silver, and coal mines.
Of child-emigrants (such as those emigrated by Miss Macpherson, Miss Rye, Dr. Barnardo, &e.), we were again and again assured any number would be welcomed, from eight years old and under, throughout the Dominion.
Till we saw the prodigious size of the country we could not conceive or realise that there is room for thousands upon thousands. Every ship brings over hundreds of people, who are absorbed like raindrops in the ocean. It takes one's breath away to hear of the distances, and see those boundless plains, these immense rivers. "Seeing is believing" in this case; and no pen can give a faint idea of what that unsealed land is, which has only been opened up to Great Britain, with its inexhaustible riches, during these last twenty years, just when commercial difficulties, agricultural distress, strikes, bad harvests, bad climate, depressed land-values, and the state of our over-populated, million-peopled cities have caused the deepest perplexities to thinking and practical people. Many who emigrate in the steerage return to England in two or three years' time and bring out their families, taking them first-class in the palace cars. Old maps of the sixteenth century represent Central America as a vast inland sea. A book was written by Major Butler, so recently as 1870, under the title of "The Great Lone Land," and the map bound with it is a picture of the very country lying between Lake Superior and the Rocky Mountains, the thousand miles which we are now traversing, and which is rightly called "the granary of the world." Manitoba alone is ten times as large as England. It contains nine millions of acres, and yet it is the smallest province of the Dominion--just as it were one square on the 300,000,000 of acres. Barley is at its best 1500 miles north-west of Winnipeg; and wheat and potatoes grown 600 miles north took the prize-medal at the Philadelphia Exhibition.
This autumn the harvest between it and Mineapolis could not be lifted for lack of human hands, and free transport was offered to all labourers, besides 2 dols. 50 c. a day, or 10s. 5d. of our money, wages. Not far from Winnipeg, on each side of "the track," the horizon was lined with stacks.
* * * * * *
I no longer wonder at Americans "talking tall," after only seeing a bit of that stupendous continent. It is told of a Yankee that he was afraid to go out of doors at night in little England for fear he should step overboard! The soil of the prairies is of richest vegetable mould, and so dark in colour that it vies with the blackness of wedding-cakes!
The prairies can be compared to nothing less than the ocean--a vast illimitable expanse. To be "lost on the prairies" is very easy, for trails are most difficult to find. The wagons are called "prairie schooners," and the drivers steer by the stars, as mariners did in the olden time, for the prairies are as trackless as the sea. Before the dawn of history the space now occupied by the prairies was covered by the ocean. * * * * * *
On the fourth evening the sunrise-like tints in the east were most remarkable; it seemed as though the prairies were on fire; more and more lurid the sky became, and at length the moon arose--the "hunters' moon;"--and we understood the wherefore of its Indian name, "The Night Sun." At the same time, the great blaze of glory had not died away in the western horizon of that "land of the sunset."
On, and on, and on we sped--"rolling along the track"--ever, Ever west, chasing the sun. In the morning, still nothing but the pathless prairie; the transparent "luisant" atmosphere mellowed the "land of far distances"; the light invigorating air was so tonic, so exhilarating, we were not travelling, but flying on the wings of the morning!
This was the home of the buffalo, of which Catlin's and Ballamtyne's books for boys tell such exciting stories. It is so sad to see the huge skulls of these noble beasts whitening the plains, and the immense stacks of their bones at stations waiting the exportation to sugar refineries, &e.
The names of the stations* will tell you the character of the country round us: Rush Lake, Swift Current, Goose Lake, Antelope, Gull Lake, Cypress, Side Wood, Crane Lake, Maple Creek, for her steamers recommence, and groves of timber. "Ferres" and "Dunmore" tell of Highland settlers. Coal underlies the plains in this district.
It was just growing dark as we reached "Medicine Hat," 18.45 o'clock (6.45 p.m.) Several stalwart Indians quite startled us in the gloaming by marching past in single file so stealthily we could not hear a footfall--they glided by like shadows. Their blankets gave them the appearance of Roman soldiers. Under the wall stood a silent motionless group, offering buffalo horns, war-clubs, and tomahawks for sale. A little English girl asked: "May I stroke them?" evidently thinking they were some strange wild animals.
The name "Medicine Hat" is derived from an old battle between the Crees and the Blackfoots, when the medicine-man's ht was lost; but we were in the middle of hearing the legend when the cathedral bell of the engine began to toll, and the "All-aboard" to sound; and so I can't tell you what did happen.
But the people at Medicine Hat, came anxiously to our train to see if a new doctor had arrived, and were disappointed to find that the only doctor on board was not destined for them. There are always two doctors at Medicine Hat. After this we crossed the South Saskatchewan, or "rapid-flowing river," which flows for 1300 miles from its glacier cradle down to Lake Winnipeg. The "fertile belt of the Saskatchewan" embraces 65,000 square miles, of which 45,000,000 acres are richest soil. In the clear sky above, the Great Bear, the Pole Star and the Evening Star shone brilliantly, "brightening all the pole" (Homer), and from time to time we saw natural gas burning.
During the night we passed Calgary, the centre of the ranching district; between this and Lethbridge the horses, sheep, and cows are numbered by millions. This is the home of the cow-boys, familiar to us through "Buffalo Bill and the Wild West." Numbers of young fellows who fail to pass "exams." In the old country, and will not work, fancy it be "awfully jolly" to come out and lead a life like Buffalo Bill's cowboys in the Wild West; they imagine it consists in hunting, shooting, and fishing--sport in general, and galloping around all day long on Indian ponies in particular. "Work?" Yes, they are willing to work.
"Eight hours a day?" "Well, perhaps." "What do you say to fourteen hours? For there is no 'eight hours' movement' on the prairies?"
*See Map, March number.
SEEDS OF STORY FROM OTHER COUNTRIES.
First, the log cabin must be built, and next comes the day's programme--to rise about 4:30 AM., light the fire, prepare the breakfast, go round and fodder the horses, afterwards breakfast, put the house in order (if two young men dwell together, then they divide the work); there is wood to be chopped, clothes to be washed, darned and mended, food to be cooked, bread to be made; to ride around and tend the flocks during the daylight hours, and then--the long, lonely evenings! Salt pork from barrels is the staple food, with potatoes. Bread is generally baked on Sunday to last four days; something else fills its place till next Sunday. A real cowboy told me this, and said he would thankfully take L100 to live at home; though he a brave noble fellow who does his duty manfully where his lot has fallen. He wished that English boys knew the reality of cowboy life, and would believe it, and put their hearts and minds into the preparations for examinations and the daily duties at home with half the zeal they are willing to expend in doing grooms' and herdsmen's work "Out West." They could then easily make their way, and earn sufficient to live as gentlemen in their own land. How strongly he urged that all boys from the age of twelve should be taught carpentry and farriery thoroughly, and serve an apprenticeship in their holidays to an experienced workman, for, he said, they can never know to what shifts they will be put. Sewing, cooking, bootmaking, all most valuable to be learned; it is easy to leave off, but hardship to begin in a strange land. The Princes of the German Imperial Family learn a trade.
How important it is, as a part of education, the lives of General Gordon, Bishop Steere, Mackay of Uganda, all show.
We heard of a Kensington lady, who, on the prairies, has to work for her husband and twenty men, doing the sewing, washing, ironing, cooking, &c. No help is to be had at any price.
Canadian girls are brought up to be useful. They receive a splendid education at school, and at home a thorough training in housekeeping. When they go to the Wild West it is no hardship to rough it. An untrained English bride alighted from our car, at a desolate wayside station, for her new home, eighty miles off, to whom these facts came as a revelation, a rude awakening.
A Nova Scotian lady related to me her own experience of a mother's strictness in allowing no pleasure to be indulged until the homely duty was performed, and added, "I didn't think so then, but I see the beauty of it now." In Canadian families, if the cook falls ill, or walks off in a huff, the family is not "thrown on its beam ends," for all the girls know how to fill her place and so they can rise above, and be independent of, disagreeable circumstances. An officer told us that owing to his love for, and practical knowledge of, carpentry, he made all the furniture required in his colonial home, and when he was ordered away it was sold at a handsome profit. Another case came to our knowledge where the little daughter of twelve had, owing to a lurch, to bathe and dress the few-days'-old baby sister. So efficiently did she do it that her mother wisely entrusted her with money to supply its wardrobe, &c. and gave her the entire charge of the infant. That girl grew up, and her training was of the utmost value to her in the foreign land where her lot was cast in bringing up her own large family.
Our cowboy friend said that the truest kindness an English father can do his son when he starts West is to allow him no spending money, but let him work under a practical man, until, by his own economy, he has saved enough to buy a farm, and gained sufficient experience to manage it. To buy a farm without the experience means ruin.
Another point upon which he speaks most emphatically is, that whatever a young man does in England, out West he must make up his mind to foreswear drink in any form or quantity, and never to touch a card; and , this is not upon religious grounds, but as a common prudential safeguard.
On Saturday morning we reached the foot of the Rockies, which only a few years ago it had taken three months to reach in the cumbersome old ox-waggons, or six weeks by "express."
The Rocky Mountains! The "Kingdom of the West Wind," the "Bridge of the World," the "Mountains of the Setting Sun," such have been their various titles. They were discovered in 1742-3 by a Frenchman, Verandrye.
The Indian say that the Rockies were thrown up in order to drain off the water at the time of the Deluge; and that on the other side lie the glorious shores of Paradise. They have an amusing tradition about the Creation:
"In the beginning the Great Hare was on a raft surrounded by animals. No land could be seen. Anxious to create the world the Great Hare asked the beaver to dive for mud, but the adventurous diver floated to the top fainting. The otter also tried and failed. The musk-rat then offered himself for the perilous task. After remaining a day and a night beneath the water, he reappeared, floating on his back, to all appearances dead, with his paws fast closed. On opening night, a grain of sand was found in one, and of this Great Hare made the world." Some add that the tortoise offered his back as the foundation for the sand to be laid upon.
The Castelled Mountains first dawned upon us in the grey morning light amid the mists. Their towers and pinnacles, and exquisitely tender colourings of grey blue, red and green and yellow from the limestone, sandstone, and shale stratas were very striking. Then the huge moraines, which show how busily "Madam How" has worked with her ice-plough.
One is awestruck at the first sight of those giants, at the awful stillness of those solitudes, broken only by the roar of cataracts and the rushing of our own train.
Banff Hot Springs is passed: a very lovely place, with beautiful excursions round, one of which is to Lake Louise, where the glaciers are indescribably grand--finer than anything in Switzerland. The rain cleared off before we reached the summit of the Pass, 5296 feet high, the mountains towering 3000 to 4000 feet above that. Here is a large signboard, the stand and letters are formed of trunks in log-cabin style, the words are "THE GREAT DIVIDE>" It looks so like an hotel advertisement--so out of place there!
It means that this is the top of the great watershed which divides the continent into the Atlantic and the Pacific slopes. The Rockies are the backbone of North America, as the Andes are of South America. Close by there is a sweet, calm, clear tabelet, another of those wonderful small beginnings one loves to trace out in their grand developments. It sends forth two streams, one (the Kicking Horse) flows down the Pacific slope, and joins the Columbia River. The other becomes the Saskatchewan, whose waters find their way into Hudson's Bay, near the Arctic circle. "All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full," said the Wise Man. We, too, proceed, descending through the narrow precipitous gorge of the Kicking Horse Pass (so called from Dr. Hectors, the explorer's, accident), crossing its pawning chasms, while the river plunges madly far below, till it broadens out into the beautiful Wapta Lake. Our descent is to the base of a stupendous mountain, which has a glacier of shining green ice, 800 feet thick, hanging directly overhead. On the face of Mount Stephen is a giddy little tramway, apparently high up in the clouds, leading to silver mines. Now we note the dampness of the Pacific slope, from the rank vegetation and luxuriant mosses clinging to the rocks and to the gigantic trees.
At Field we alight for breakfast, and the resinous perfume of the pines is perfectly delicious. We sign our names in the visitor's book for the benefit of future friends who shall pass this way, and then get into the "Observation Car," which is provided for the sake of better views. The snowfields are entrancing in their dazzling whiteness, and the effect of the mists rising from the valleys, and nestling to the mountain-sides, is truly ethereal. We never saw anything like those mighty rock terraces, broad ledges on which the snow lies thickly where it finds no resting-place on the face of the steep rocky cliffs. We enjoyed tracing the "tree line" from the thin border line not far above as just below the everlasting snow, gradually increasing and developing into one vast sea of verdure, from all sides descending or ascending till the tress united in a dense billowy green ocean, embosoming the mountains, and hiding the bare rocks, yet themselves crowned with snow and ice, their feet bathed by the silver river.
Glaciers clung o the peaks, which towered on every side, while the sides of the hills were riddled by avalanch tracks. Swinging round the curves at a terrific rate, our engine looked like some fiery serpent, rushing us through the endless chains of mountains, raising the echoes by its horse whistle, and leaving legacies of cloud-wreaths from its steam. Could Watts, the inventor of the steam-engine, and Stephenson, the originator of that toy-like "Puffing Billy" (which is now in the South Kensington Museum), but have seen this fiery monster, this iron high-road through the inaccessible wilderness to the far East, how amazed they would have been. Oh! The omnipotence of "little"!
* * * * *
Then came the Otter-tail Mountains, stretching away and away, in twenty-eight peaks, to our left. Marvellous, everchanging views, baffling one by their superb beauty!--scenery each bit of which one would come leagues to see; and here every inch of hundreds of miles surpassed imagination.
And above all and through all the overwhelming truth made itself felt: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." "His hands prepared the dry land." The song of Moses: "Before ever the mountains were brought forth, or ever the earth or the sea were made, Thou art God from everlasting and world without end." The creed of the Catholic Church:
"I believe in God.
* * * * *
The Selkirk range is a most magnificent panorama--a fellow-traveler said it was "the Himalayas in miniature." (The Himalayas are more than twice as high, ranging from 23,000 to 29,000 feet high, and are more covered with snow, and stretch in a semicircle for 300 miles from Darjeeling to far Thibet.) Forward are fresh vistas of snow-clad Rockies as far as the eye can penetrate. This is a splendid country for all kinds of sport.
Some useful cures were mentioned: One, a match to take a cinder out of the eye; another, that to gargle when thirsty is better than drinking; a third, to paint the eyes round in a half-circle with a charred stick as a precaution against snow-blindness.
At Donald a notice-board proclaims that we are 2445 miles from Montreal and 4581 miles from Vancouver; also that "two girls are wanted at the hotel--wages, 20 to 25 dollars a month," L3 to L6.
Time again recedes one hour, and becomes "Pacific."
After this the train crosses the Columbia, and goes through the deep narrow gorge formed by the Selkirks and Rockies crowding down together and forcing the river through. It enters the Selkirks through "the Gate of the Beaver River." The colour of the Beaver is pea-green, from the glacier mud it brings down, boiling, eddying, surging,, tumbling, and rolling, like the wave of a stormy sea, in its frantic haste to join the Columbia River.
* * * * *
We got on to the platform of the last car at this point, Sambo thoughtfully providing a camp-stool, and for 138 miles rode outside, at the back of the train, amidst the most wondrous scenery imaginable. We enjoyed it through and through, and never expect to live out such another day! Every turn brought some fresh unthought-of development of beauty. As the train slowly mounted, climbing the mountain-side, the Beaver wound ever further below us, like a thread of silver amidst the dense forests of dark conifers. Blue smoke curled occasionally from some unseen wigwam. Decimated forests, with charred hollow trunks strewed the hillsides like split matches, the work of the forest fires which have been kindled by engine sparks, signal fires, or the lightning, which is sever in the mountains. Picture, if you can, the cypresses and cedars of immense height, Douglas firs measuring 300 feet by 10 feet, which furnish masts and spars to the largest vessels; the enormous roots of uprooted giants, trees hearty with dense fringes of grey lichens. One by one snow peaks appear, and, gradually unveiling, reveal their superb beauty. Magnificent trestle bridges (one containing 1,500,000 feet of timber) span the roaring torrents, which are fed by the seas of ice above. A spot beyond Cedar Creek so impressed the builders of the line with its loveliness that they named it "The Surprise."
We "roll along the track," turning up the Bear Creek next, and cross over Stony Creek "on the highest bridge in this world," at the dizzy height of 296 feet.
* * * * *
The way narrows, and there is barely room to pass between the two glorious Titans, Mount MacDonald, which rises perpendicularly one mile and a quarter sheer into the air above us, and the cathedral-spired Hermit Mountain. Still further on is an unmistakable pyramid called "Cheops." We feel, after seeing this pyramid of Nature, that the Cheops of man in Egypt will pale. Now we cross Roger's Pass, 4275 in altitude. It was discovered by a Major Rogers in 1883, previous to which no human foot had penetrated it. The silence of these vast solitudes can be felt.
After Selkirk Summit the train suddenly and swiftly descends at a terrifying rate, rushes outside the one mile shed overlooking the Illicelliwaet Valley, and pulls up opposite the great glacier of the Selkirks. The majesty of this ocean of silver ice is inconceivable. St. John must have had one such in mind when he wrote about the Great White Throne.
At Glacier House we were supposed o have 50 minutes; but suddenly the cry rang out, "All aboard." A thousand feet higher than the Peak of Teneriffe, and amid fertile fields, mammouth trees and giant ferns 6 to 8 feet high, we drew near with real regret to Vancouver (where close by the Empress steamship lay awaiting us in the Burrard Inlet), having crossed that immense New World from east to west in six days, and arrived at our destination "punctual to a minute," or rather seven minutes before the advertised time, 13:30 P.M., and within an hour the ship weighed anchor, and we had to start without three pieces of baggage, notwithstanding the check system! It reached us three weeks after our return to England. Crowds of Chinese were shouldering the baggage and the mail-bags; the cry, "Any more for the shore?" sounded, whilst pigtailed China boys rushed about furiously beating gongs, to strike terror into the evil spirits before putting to sea; the "siren" whistled in an excruciating unearthy manner, the inlet looked its calmest--most "pacific"; and we were off in search of Niphon, "the place where the sun comes from." The last shore-sight was typical of the fin-du-siecle days of this nineteenth century; as the cables were slipped a little girl on the quay unstrapped a "Kodak" from her shoulders, and photographed the Empress of India.
(To be continued.)
SEEDS OF STORY FROM OTHER COUNTRIES.
"The Morning Land."
In my last letters you read about the Sealed Land which has been so marvellously opened up during the past quarter of a century to the English race. Across the tempestuous Pacific Ocean (for the title Pacific is an utter misnomer) still more wonderful events, occurring during the same period, have revealed to the world at large not only a sealed land, but also a Sealed People.
Niphon, the Morning Land, or the Empire of the Sunrise; its monarch, Mikado, the Child of heaven, the Son of the Sun Goddess; the sixteen-petalled Chrysanthemum, or sun-flower, his badge; his dynasty the oldest upon earth, reigning in unbroken line for over two thousand five hundred years; and the people------? The quaintest, the smallest, the most cultured, amiable, gentle, polite, refined, clean, good-tempered, on the face of the earth.
Chinese civilisation first came into Japan in B.C. 660, through the Japanese warrior-empress, Jingo, who made a peaceful conquest of Korea, "the Land of Morning Calm." But the knowledge of the existence of Japan first reached European ears in A.D. 1295, when Marco Polo, the Venetian traveler, standing on the shores of the Yellow Sea, was pointed eastwards and told that the Sun-rising there was a great island-kingdom named Zipangu, peopled by a highly-civilised and wealthy race, who had bravely rolled back the tide of tartar invasion, when the Mongol Emperor, Kublai Khan (the great conqueror), came with his army of 150,000 Tartars and Chinese to crush out little Japan, and was beaten back from her shores in 1259. The story is similar to our own of the Spanish Armada. Much prayer was offered all over the island, and the Japanese fought desperately, but an awful typhoon arose and destroyed the vast fleet of junks, and the Japanese were filled with gratitude to the Great God who had interposed so signally on their behalf. (You recollect our Queen Elizabeth had a medal struck with the inscription "He blew with His winds, and they were scattered.")
It was in order to discover Zipangu that Columbus, and the other explorers of whom you have lately heard, yearned to find the route across the Western Seas; for this same Marco Polo wrote such a wonderfully interesting and minutely accurate account of his travels that it became of inestimable value in stimulating others to geographical research, and led the Portuguese to discover the route to India round by the Cape of Good Hope, and kindled the passion for discovery of the fur-traders in the Land of Darkness fired Prince Rupert with the ideas which resulted in the formation of the Hudson's Bay Company. Pinto, a Portuguese, first heard of Zipangu when in China, and actually sailed to it in the year 1542, and was the means of introducing Christianity (the story of which will take a letter to itself). It is said that when Pinto sailed up to the coast in a junk the Japanese traced in large Chinese characters on the sand the question, "Wherefore dost thou come?" and received the reply from a Chinese on board, "To trade with you."
Pinto published such marvellous accounts that his name, "Mendez", was considered by those at home as synonymous for "Mendez," a liar!
In 11624, under the usurping Shoguns (or Mayors of the Palace), all foreigners (except the Dutch and Chinese) were banished from Japan, and an edict was promulgated ordering the destruction of every ship larger than a junk, to prevent the Nipponese sailing in the open seas and coming in contact with other nations; these, they called the "foreign barbarians" (as the ancient Greeks designated all foreigners, vide the opening words of Herodotus).
For 250 years the country remained sealed, but at length, the providence of God, the Sperm-whale was the means of opening up Japan.
* * * * *
In 1853 warships appeared in Yedo Bay, and Commodore Perry delivered a letter from the President of the United States demanding that the country be thrown open to commerce, and announced that he would come again next year for the reply. A curiously prophetic ballad had been sung up and down the country for a few years previously, of which the following verses are quoted:
"Through a black night of cloud and rain,
Down in her hold there labour men
With cheeks half hid in shaggy beards,
Frightened by the Commodore's "black ships," Japan at last opened her doors and permitted foreigners to settle at certain ports (such as Yokohama), although for years after their condition was one of peril.
Captain Perry returned, bringing with him many valuable gifts, including a telegraph, a train, for which was constructed a miniature circular railroad (on which the train rushed round at the rate of twenty miles an hour, to the intense delight of the Japanese), and sewing-machine.
Nineteen years later, in 1862, the second Japanese Embassy to Europe left in an English man-of-war, its object being to induce the Powers to postpone the opening of other ports. In 1864 this Embassy returned, delighted with all they had seen, and one of them exclaimed: "Not the foreigners, but we are the barbarians." This displeased the authorities, and they were dismissed from their office. One Daimio urged that "as there were five great powerful continents, all the Japanese together could not drive out the foreigners."
Civil war broke out, the Shogunate was overthrown, and Mikado, the true sovereign, restored to the rights of his ancestral throne in 1868. In 1871 he showed himself to his subjects having hitherto always been invisible, and considered as a deity. Japanese time dates from his accession, "Meiji," the Era of
Enlightened Rule. In the same year feudalism was abolished. In 1876 all the edicts against Christianity were revoked, and Sunday adopted as the official holiday; schools were opened, railways, telegraphs, electric lighting introduced; the postal service, the army and navy re-organised, vaccination made compulsory, and the coast encircled by lighthouses; embassies and consulates established in Europe and America; a Constitution was given to the country, an Imperial Diet opened in 1890 (answering to our Houses of Parliament). Fourteen of its 300 members are Christians, and out of the three names submitted to the Emperor as Speaker of the House of Commons he selected the one at the head of the list, who is a Presbyterian* [Written prior to the Dissolution, December 29, 1891.]
To this strange land we drew near, full of expectation, one lovely Sunday morning; the sun seemed long in rising as we watched the golden clouds around his birthplace, and on our right arose the white cliffs of Nippon, crowned with green forests or emerald rice-fields, which reminded us strangely of Old England 's southern coasts--the "England of the Pacific," we heard later, it is called. Between us and the land were quaint boats--"junks" or "sampans"--filled with yellow-tinted fishermen, naked but for the blue short tunic and kerchief round their brows, who stood to scull their boats.
Further on the horizon was covered by a lovely cloud of snow-white wings---
:Pointed up to heaven, fanning the air with eternal pinions" (Dante),
which proved to be the square sails of the junks. F. thought that Isaiah's words, "Ho! To the land shadowing with wings," might apply to this Land of the Sunrise. As we passed, they kept on the other side of the Japan Current, [The Gulf Stream of the Pacific.] which showed very distinctly, flowing like a dark river between us. Arrived off Yokohama, we landed in a steam-launch. As we gazed our farewells upon the gallant ship, and marked the damage wrought on her by the cruel storms, an American lady remarked "Why, he's quite a boat!" and proceeded to tell us how little she had ever expected to see dry land again, and that when things were at the worst she "just thought of her hired servant John, working quietly around at home, and wished that she were John!" The Custom House was at the end of the wharf, and during the examination of baggage we had abundant time to look about us. All was so strange, so unlike anything we had ever imagined. First, the men sitting crouched upon their heels; next, the women and children, the exact facsimiles of the pictures on the fans and screens and porcelain, each with a living burden on her back in the form of a placid, contented, moon-faced, almond-eyed baby; then the coolies, trundling immense American trunks as easily as bandboxes, piling them upon light trollies to the number of twelve and fourteen, and finally drawing them off single-handed. As each passenger was "through," he or she mounted into the queerest carriages imaginable. Picture something between an enlarged perambulator, a diminutive hansom, and an etherealised Bath chair, and you have a "djin-rishi-cha," or "man-power carriage," the veritable "pull-man-car," to which a bare-legged brown man harnesses himself, by getting in between the shafts, and rushes off like the wind, whisking his fare round corners, through crowds without collisions, and apparently quite indifferent to the weight-- whether it be a young lady or a stout old gentleman; the only apparent difference is that Europeans have a "rickshaw' apiece, and the natives ride two and even three at a time, their vegetarian diet being supposed to make them lighter than the carnivorous occidentals! One fairly screams with laughter to see them racing along in long lines, for in Japan, "rickshaws," people, cattle, and horses, all go in Indian file, and are rarely seen abreast. [Djin-rishi-cha were invented by an American sailor, who was on Commodore Perry's ship, and introduced at the Paris Exhibition, 1867.]
Our turn came to be whisked off with our baggage to Yokohama station. It is a fine building, and we were struck by two things--first, the book-stall, with its supply of handkerchiefs, towels and hats for travellers' needs; and next the waiting-room table, which had no less than twenty files of Japanese and English newspapers lying on it--a great advance on European stations. As we had to wait a considerable time for a train, we were interested in looking these over, and reading about the great earthquake, which had recently occurred in the south of the empire. You will like to read the description from a Japanese paper under the date October 30:
"The most mournful and horrible informations reached us with reference to the earthquakes.The Naniwa Spinning Mills were nearly broken into pieces; fourteen lives being pressed to death, and twenty-five wounded..In Ogald fifty houses were brought down.and in Nagoya City 9495 houses were crushed down, 2560 persons hurt, and 1018 souls departed, and in Gifu and Ogaki almost all houses were shook down, then took fire, and numberless people perished, thousands being left homeless, calling for help!" "This earthquake is the heaviest since 1834; 10,000 lives were lost, and the accounts of the intense sufferings of the poor people and their shattered homes are very terrible. The shocks continued for weeks; between October 28 and November 4 there were 610 strong shocks of earthquake; and up to November 23, 831. Fearful sounds were heard in the sea, and the roaring boom of cannon or prolonged thunder from underground, unaccompanied by shaking. The hot springs became unbearably hot. Hills were depressed and valleys re cast up, and springs threw out boiling mud; huge fissures opened in the earth and people were swallowed up alive. The fires broke out, and pursued them, and in their anguish they threw their dead into the flames. Notices were fixed to the houses stating how many had been crushed to death inside. Three hundred were at a Temple in the early morning for a harvest thanksgiving service; the roof fell in and not one escaped. Four thousand feet subsided on the side of the great mountain Fuji-yama. A new lake was formed, 3000 feet, and strange to say, a Tai (a sea-fish) was caught in its fresh waters. This earthquake is said to have originated in the Pacific Ocean."
Japan is a new country, and has not yet cooled down. Al, its hills and mountains are volcanic formations; no remains are found of the Glacial or ice-age.
We also read how the preceeding Empress had experienced even worse weather than ourselves, having to put in at Hakodate (a northern port in Japan) to coal, as instead of 135 tons a day, she had consumed 200 tons.
The dusk prevented our seeing much of the landscape between Yokohama and Tokyo; the train ran between rice-fields, and the straw looked so odd tied in sheaves and strung along fences, on hedge-tops, and up the trunks of trees. The names of the stations are in Japanese and English. At Tokyo the clatter of the clogs, as the innumerable passengers slighted and trod along the platforms, seemed the most curious, half-musical noise we had ever heard. Every one wore spotless white socks or tabi (foot mittens) coming above the ankle, digitated like pigeons' feet; four toes go into one part of the stocking, the great toe, or "foot thumb," has a place to itself. Between these a string passes to hold in place the wooden clog, geta, which is supported on two rests, of varying size, and helps to add from one to three inches to the stature of the diminutive people whom the Chinese call the "dwarf nation," and some Westerns have aptly christened "the diamond edition of humanity," whose average height is five feet.*
Tokyo covers an area as large as London. Its streets were lighted with coloured Chinese lanterns and the electric light; tram-cars, with tooty-tooty whistles, and ominbuses surprised us in the midst of the "other-world" surroundings; one half the population was engaged in carrying the other half; either in "rickshas" or on their backs. "Great fleas have lesser fleas upon their back, and so ad infinitum." It is ludicrous to see these Celestials stalking about in sky-blue costumes, with pigtails down to their heels, and an air of such vast superiority to the little Japs, just like Gulliver among the Lilliputs. It is said that one never laughs so much in one's life as in Japan, and I quite endorse it.
Reaching the Teikoku (Imperial Hotel), we found its lofty hall and dining-saloons exquisitely decked with festoons of chrysanthemums and the flags of many nations, including the Union Jack and the Star-spangled Banner, blending with that of Japan--a huge red ball, the rising sun upon a white ground. The decorations had been left up for a week after the ball given by the Prime Minister in honour of the Mikado's birthday, and were perfectly fresh, having been arranged in long bamboo-stems full of water, notched at intervals. I counted forty-five blooms, the size of a large orange, on one kiku plant, and heard of some in the Mikado's garden that had 328 blooms, all differing in kind and colour; and at Naguya a jinrishka was seen made of immense kiku blossoms. It is impossible to describe the beautiful varieties of the chrysanthemums. There are about 200 species, and each florist has different specimens. They grow to an immense height, some almost touching the ceiling, and their circumference is in proportion. We visited a florist's, and for some minutes before reaching his garden we passed cart after cart laden with lovely plants, all drawn by coolies. The garden, as large as an ordinary backyard, was filled with plants, each having a long paper label attached with its name in Japanese characters. Their names are very picturesque--e.g., "Fisher's Lantern." The buds were tied round with paper, choice specimens being supported in a frame on which was a ruff of paper, while others were protected by a paper bell hanging over them. The Japanese are great gardeners, and give such individual attention to each blossom that they obtain wonderful results. I asked if it were true they helped the buds of delicate flowers to open by gently fanning them, and was assured that they do so with choice flowers. We ordered several plants to send to England, and in a few days received an ark-like case made of wooden laths, which contained the roots securely packed in mud; the blossoms were also brought to assure us that those we had selected were in the package. Sometimes the entire plant is brought and the flowers cut off in the purchaser's presence. [We bought sixteen, but eighteen arrived in England.] Quite a number of poor people were gently touching and fondling the flowers.
No matter how poor the little home, one sees a vase with at least one flower or spray of maple leaves, & c.; the arrangement of the flowers is always lovely, such harmonies of form and colour. There is no stiffness, for they try to imitate Nature, and, believing that even green leaves and flowers have souls, they consider it right to study their idiosyncrasies, and give to each its own honourable place. Even in their shop-fronts flowers are visible in some corner, so that the seller, the goods, and the flowers look as if they were posing for a picture. I read of a young girl who was observed tending a few chrysanthemums in a vase in the midst of the desolate ruins of the earthquake; whence she came no one could tell. And we saw a country lass coming into town with her bundle charmingly poised on her head, resting on a straw or grass crown and surmounted by a small branch covered with mandarin oranges. The Japanese delight in dwarfing pines into odd fantastic shapes. We saw ancient trees, which, as they are centuries old, should have been monarchs of the forest, dwarfed into pots one could carry in one's hand. It is marvellous what man can do if he has the mind for it! I examined a tree in process of development; almost every twig was tied with fine thread, and "bent in the way it should go, illustrating forcibly the old saying, "Bend the twig and shape the tree." What infinite patience this must need!
There were many sweet little plants, such as a single daisy, a bit of moss or tiny fern, in china pots no bigger than one's finger-joint. At Nikko we saw a gigantic cryptomeria which Iyemidzu used to carry about in his palanquin. At Dangozaki there was a chrysanthemum show where a live bird was pointed out to us as the "original crane," as well as a realistic tiger composed of chrysanthemums of all sizes, his striped
tail, which stood angrily on end, was formed of various coloured twigs; and representations of all kinds of historic scenes; tableaux of life-size men and women, with waxen masks, formed of growing chrysanthemums trained over a framework of bamboo. Before the Gregorian Calendar was adopted the Japanese reckoned the months by the flowers. Their first month was called "Spring or Insect-Awakening Month;" because in February not only Nature awakes, but outdoor games and festivals recommence. Then come the plum, the peach, and the wild cherry, but the trees bear no eatable cherries, and are only cultivated for the sake of their flowers. The population turn out to do honour to these flowers, and write poems, and tie them to the branches. Next comes the wistera; this flower grows to such perfection that the clusters often measure from four to six feet in length. After this the iris; you may recollect that the Greeks gave this name to the "rainbow," and when I saw a picture of a bed of Japanese iris I felt how appropriate it was; such a radiancy of exquisite colours. The American Indians had a lovely idea that heaven exists for animals and flowers, as well as for mankind. Besides the Milky Way, [*The Japanese name for the Milky Way is the Celestial River. And of the scenes described in the Apocalypse, and which Bunyan's Pilgrim saw as he "drew nigh to the City?"] which, they say, is the path for souls, there is a "Ways of Dogs" in the sky.
"In the eastern sky the rainbow
Iris, among the Greeks, was the messenger of the gods, and her emblem the rainbow, and Buddhists believe that there is a pure land in the west called Amitabha, a paradise where the loveliest gardens, flowers, and birds are to be found; where hunger and thirst are removed by the pure, cold, tranquillising ad nourishing waters which flow over its golden sands. The pavements are of precious stones; the pavillions of jewels; the very trees sing in chorus. Does not that remind you of the old Latin hymn in its English dress?
"Jerusalem the Golden, where sunset's in the west, It seems thy golden portal, thou city of the blest,"
Then follows the Lotus month. All the images of Arrivida, the great Buddha, rest upon the lotus: it is the symbol of perfect purity, for its roots are in the mud, and its pink flowers, coming up at different heights in unsullied purity, represent the different stages of the soul-life. With us the white water lily is a like emblem of holy baptism: "buried with Christ and rising to newness of life."
November is dedicated to the chrysanthemum, and in its honour (as well as in that of the cherry blossom in May) the Empress gives a garden-party. Unfortunately, owing to the storms, we arrived just too late for this. The maple has also a festival in its honour. It is said that the Japanese do not care for red camellias, as their heads tumble off in a way that brings the old beheading days too painfully to mind!
The flower-seller's baskets are a perfect picture. He slings a pole across his shoulder, from which are suspended "what-nots" (for want of a better name) covered with plants; and to each of the four corner-sticks are attached vases (made of a joint of bamboo-trunk) filled with water and branches of flowers and leaves. The lamp-seller, with his baskets full of cheap modern lamps, is also quite a sight, recalling "Aladdin and the wonderful lamp." The huge blue crows flying overhead seem as if they must indeed be Indian "Kah-gah-gees, King of Ravens"; I never heard such sepuchural-toned caws!
Houses vary in height, but are chiefly one-storied. They differ from all our ideas of architecture: built of wood, of an ashy colour, their entire fronts, open to the road during the day, are closed in at night by wooden shutters, or in cold weather by lattice-work covered with transparent rice paper, which lets in all light required; so there are no windows. Here and there panes of glass are seen, and often these are glazed to give the effect of paper. Such tiny dolls' houses they appear--they have been likened to match-boxes--and one has always to stoop low in passing through a door, for fear of knocking one's head. We went to a bookseller's; the coolies whisked the kurumas half-way round, and laid the shafts down on the threshold. One step and we were inside the store. To our surprise we found Murray's "Guide to Japan," which we had tried in vain to obtain in London, and had been told that the new edition would not be out till Christmas. Here it was in Japan! The mystery was soon unravelled: the book was written, printed, and published in Yokohama, and had not yet reached England. We dined in a Japanese house, and wished--as how often we did wish--that we had the gift of shrinking which "Alice" possessed in Wonderland! We felt so gigantic, so huge, so clumsy! Our fair hair and large attached noses terrified the children. Some Japanese ladies thought that, being so tall and pale, we must find them very small and their colour strange. We replied that, compared with other English people, we were very medium height, but that our gracious Queen, who is also the Empress of India, and rules over millions of people, was much smaller than I. With a quiet sigh of relief one observed, "Then it is no disgrace to be small!" F. said, "No, indeed. We have a proverb in England which said that the bet goods are made up into the smallest parcels." So they remarked, through the interpreter, that that was a very nice proverb, and that F. seemed always to know how to say the right thing.
On entering we exchanged our shoes for sandals, and walked along a passage to the steep railless ladder (which serves as a staircase in Japanese houses), and with difficulty succeeded in mounting it at the same time keeping on our sandals.
THE STORY OF NIJIMA.
In old Japan the Samurai were the military class, and the retainers of the Daimio (princes). They were distinguished above all others by their loyalty to their masters and intense patriotism. They loved the Right and hated Wrong. The celebrated tale of "forty-seven Ronins" affords proof of this. It was the privilege of the Samurai to carry two swords; a long one for fighting, and a short one to kill themselves in cases where honour was dearer to them than life. . It was a certificate of noble birth. "The girded sword is the soul of the Samurai." ["Yet in one day, obedient to Mikado's word, they laid down for ever their two trusty swords."--Sir E. Arnold. And "as the sword was the soul of the Samurai, so the Samurai were the soul of Japan."--Griffin.]
Of one of these Samurai, who had doubtless inherited these characteristics, I have a remarkable story to tell you, in which the Hand of God can be distinctly traced during the wonderful period of Japan's awakening.
When Commodore Perry entered Yedo Bay, a little boy, aged ten years, named Nijima, was living at Tokyo. His family were Sintoists, but at fifteen he refused to worship the gods in his household-shrine, as he said that they were only "whittled ones," for they never touch[ed] the food and drink which he offered them. Soon after a portion of a Chinese geography-book about the United States fell into his hands, which he read many times, and "I was wondered so much as my brain would melted out of my head, because I liked it very much;" and "from that time I wish to learn American knowledge, but alas! I could not got any teacher to learn it. Although I would not like to learn Holland I was obliged to learn it, because so many of my countrymen understood to read it." He would steal away to a Dutch teacher, and on one occasion his Daimio (prince) caught him and flogged him for running off from his work, and asked:
"Why you run you from here again?"
Nijima replied: "I wish to learn foreign knowledge, and I hope to understand very quickly; therefore, though I know I must stay here and reverence your law, my soul went to me teacher's house to learn it, and my body was obliged to go thither too."
Then the Prince said very kindly:
"You can write Japan very well; and you can learn yourself enough with it; if you don't run away any more, I will give you more wages. With what reason will you like foreign knowledge?"
Nijima's thirst for knowledge brought him ridicule and blows, and he became ill with his thwarted purpose and unsatisfied longings.
He went to an arithmetic school to enable him to understand a "Book of Nature" which came into his possession. One day he saw off the shore at Yedo, "largest man-of-war of Dutch lying there, and she seemed to me as castle, or as a battery, and I thought, too, that she would be strong enough to fight with enemy. While I look upon her one reflection came into my head, that we must open Navy, because my country is surrounded by water, and if foreigners fight to my country we must fight with them at sea; since foreigners trade, price of everything get high, the country get poor; therefore because the countrymen don' t understand to do trade, we must learn foreign knowledge."
So when he could get away from work he went to a Government marine school to learn navigation; but studying at night so injured his eyes that for eighteen months he had to leave his books, and after this an attack of measles further "spoiled" them.
Then an abridged version of the Bible in Chinese came into his hands, which he studied by night for fear of "the savage country's law to cross (crucify) my whole family." When he read the opening sentence, "In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth," he put down the book and looked around saying, "I! Who made me? My parents? No; my God. God made my parents, and let them make me. Who made my table? A carpenter? No; my God. God let trees grow upon the earth, although a carpenter made up this table it indeed came from trees; then I must be thankful to God. I must believe Him, and I must be upright against Him;" and he prayed to his Maker: "Oh! If You have eyes, look upon me; if You have ears, listen to me." He longed to read the English Bible, but could find no teacher. At last he made up his mind to leave Japan in search of the truth; but death was the penalty if he returned, and probable danger to his family.
Disguised as a servant of a Samurai he was put by friends into the bottom of a boat and covered up, and at midnight, with muffled oars and hushed voice, the true-hearted young patriot, who went to seek light and blessing for his country, stole away from the shores of Japan as a culprit and was put on board an American schooner bound for Shanghai, on which an English speaking friend had engaged his passage.
The good captain concealed him in his own cabin under a heap of clothes, while early next morning the Japanese officials searched the ship to ensure that no Japanese was secreted on board. Picture the penniless youth venturing among unknown tongues into the vast mysterious world beyond, where everything was so utterly unlike "things Japanese"; and seeing his beloved native land receding from his view! To add to this anguish he was expected to do menial work on board; having always had servants to wait upon him, his Samurai blood rebelled, and once or twice, when the sailors rudely ordered him about, he thought of seizing his sword and cutting down the men who insulted him; but, when he reflected that he could not thus realised his great purpose, he calmed his passions, and meekly submitted to the indignity.
He had only four dollars in the world, and at Shanghai was still in danger of being betrayed, ad taken back to Japan. But he found another American vessel bound for Boston, and begged the captain to let him work his passage there. "I begged him if I get to America, please let me go to a school and take good education." The captain kindly took him as his own servant, called him Joe, and taught him English and navigation on the voyage, which lasted a twelvemonth.
At Hong Kong he found a Chinese New Testament, but how could he get it? Having promised the captain to ask for no money. He thought of his two swords, and he finally exchanged his short sword for the New Testament. This action, to a Samurai, was the depth of humiliation; it meant his costliest possession, the badge of his nobility; but to gain the pearl of great price Nijima sold his "all." [See "Pilgrim's Progress': "We buy the truth," and Christian and Faithful as they passed through Vanity Fair.] He spelled out the first three Gospels, and at last came to S. John iii. 16: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." This impressed him very deeply, and he felt that this was the Saviour he needed. "When such thoughts pressed around my brain I could not read book very cheerfully and I could not work very well, and I only looked around myself a long time as a lunatic."
At Boston he bought a second-hand "Robinson Crusoe," and this book first taught him that he might pray to God as his heavenly Father, a present real Friend. The shipwrecked Crusoe prayed in his distress, and why not he? So every night he prayed to God: "Please don't cast me away into miserable condition."
For ten weeks during the captain's furlough, Nijima was left alone "with rough and Godless men who kept the ship," doing hard, heavy work, such as he had never done before. Everybody he met frightened him, saying, "Nobody on shore will relieve you, because since the war the price of everything got high. Ah! You must go to sea again." He thought too, "I must work pretty well for my eating and dressing, and I could not get in any schools before I could earn money to pay a school."
On his return the captain told the story of this bright young Japanese seeker after truth to the owner of the ship, who sent for Nijima, and asked his name. "The sailors call me Joe," he replied.
"You are well named, Joseph," said Mr. Hardy; "God has sent you to be a saviour to your people."
Mr. and Mrs. Hardy thought the opportunity of giving this youth a thorough education was a sacred trust from God, and well they filled it. Nijima was sent to academy, college, and theological seminary, where he too faithfully used his opportunities.
The third Japanese Embassy to the West arrived in Washington in the winter of 1871, bent on inquiring into foreign institutions, especially education. Requiring an
Interpreter, and having heard of Nijima, they commanded him to appear before them. Being an outlaw, he was greatly troubled at this message, and declined to meet them except as a friend; or to serve them except on condition of their granting him a formal pardon for having left his country, and also the privilege of teaching Christianity when he returned to Japan. As they were desperately in need of his services, these two papers were sealed with the Imperial signet and given to him. He was thus enabled, after seven long years of absence and silence "as of the tomb," to write to his home, where he had been given up for dead. The next year was spent with the Embassy, visiting all the capitals of Europe; by his faithfulness and conscientiousness he gained the confidence of these gentlemen, so that on his return to Japan, three years later, they, being at the head of the Government, gave him the greatest help in establishing his College. The one great purpose of his life was to found a Christian College.
His careful habit o looking into every minute detail, and taking minute notes of whatever came his way, and especially his great interest in education, had prepared him to be an invaluable aid to the Embassy and to his country; his examination of the various school systems in the States was the basis of the Embassy's report on education; and was later on introduced in a modified form into Japan, and became the foundation of the existing system of education. Before leaving America he was, in 1874, ordained as the first Evangelist; on his return to his native land Nijima was the means of bringing the Gospel into the very heart of Japan. The story of the fulfilment of his life-dream, the College, is too long to tell here; but despite overwhelming difficulties, the opposition of Buddhist priests, the deep-rooted prejudices of the people, the College was founded in September 1876, under the shadow of Mikado's palace, in the sacred city of Kyoto, the age-long centre of Buddhism, where foreigners had never been permitted to reside, under the name of Doshisha--the "one-endeavour, or one-purpose company."
Amongst the first students were a band of fifteen young men who had been prepared, unknown to Nijima, in no less remarkable a way for the College. Early in 1871, a prince belonging to the "Foreigners-expelling party" in the island of Kinushu, started a school to train men to oppose all Western ideas, and in especial Christianity. In answer to their application for a foreign teacher, the Government at Tokyo sent an American captain (who was in their employ) with his family alone into the old castle-town of Kumamoto. So great was the hatred to Christianity that for six months after he began his work he did nor dare let it be known that he was a Christian. After a year of two's patient waiting, Captain Janes invited some of his advanced pupils to study the New Testament with him in English. The young men's patrons held a long consultation, and finally gave permission for them to attend, on the ground that as the school was started to prepare men to oppose Western ideas and specially Christianity, it was necessary, in order to effectually oppose, that they should know something about it; hence they might learn the Bible with that object.
For over two years the captain laboured without apparent result; but at length men were converted, and on January 30th, 1876, nearly forty went into a wood on a mountain-side and signed a solemn covenant pledging themselves to follow Christ the Truth, to love each other as brethren, to live pure lives, and to devote themselves for Japan.
This step caused persecution and imprisonment to overtake them; the school was broken up, and parents even threatened as a last resort to commit suicide (harakiri) if their sons did not renounce their faith. As the ties between children and parents are nowhere stronger than Japan, it can be guessed what a terrible threat this was. Yet they stood firm. Hence Captain Janes sought an entrance for them into the Christian college. One of those noble confessors is now the Principle of Doshisha University, having succeeded the Founder at his death two years ago. Four others hold professorships in it; and the rest are scattered up and down the Empire in positions of eminent usefulness. The following are some of Nijima's reflections:
"What is the true end of education? The full and symmetrical development of all our faculties; not a one-sided culture. However much students may advance in the arts and sciences, if they are not stable and persevering in character can we trust them with the future of our country? .We seek and send out into the world not only men versed in literature and science, but young men of strong and noble character, by which they can use their learning for he good of their fellow-men. This can never be accomplished by abstract, speculative teaching, nor by strict and complicated rules, but only by Christian principles; the living and powerful principles of Christianity; and therefore we adopt these principles as the unchangeable foundation of our educational work.
Don't be Jack-of-all-trades. It is well to be widely informed on many subjects. We ought to be well posted at least in one subject of the professional studies. It will be a rich treat to us. Success in our life will chiefly hang upon it. Let this be our offense or defensive weapon on the battle-field of truth. Though our talent may be small, yet it is solid and weighty. Be single-minded for a single purpose. We shall sooner or later reach a mark. Never shoot arrows into the air; aim at an object.I never knew a single case of a talented, puffed-up, yet unsettled-minded man, having accomplished anything."
It is delightful to know that now numbers of young Japanese for love of their country willingly expatriate themselves and live in America or England for five, six, or seven years to ""earn foreign knowledge," so that they may return and be a blessing to her; and that the rich Daimios provide as much as L1000 in order to pay the expenses of a promising young student abroad. And this is not all: the Emperor himself takes leave of them and speeds them on their noble errand, among his last words being the injunction, "Mind you be a credit to your country." And hitherto no Japanese has proved himself unworthy of this trust! [If any of our reader are sufficiently interested in Japan to wish to know more of the hero's life, they can obtain a delightful "Sketch of the Life of Rev. Dr. Nemima," by the Rev. Professor Davis, Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan, which gives a full account of his undaunted struggles for The Light and Truth.]
VI. (Note--this is not a typo; the original Parents Review had VI listed twice!)
The houses consist of four corner posts in a framework of wood, surmounted by a thatched roof. The rooms can be shut off at pleasure, or thrown into one large hall, simply by sliding along paper panels which serve for walls. When these are thick (as in the best houses) it is a very comfortable plan, and superior to our hinged doors. The floors are covered with mats, delightfully soft to tread upon, as they are laid over a deep later of straw and fit quite closely. The size of a room is reckoned by the number of mats it contains. In an alcove there is a slightly raised shelf, with one flower-vase; on the wall above, a single "kakemono" hangs; this is a long scroll, on which is sketched either a picture, poem, or proverb, such : "Buddha does not like you to be bad," or "Human eyes look down from Heaven; do nothing sinful," and is changed according to the season, dress and all being made to harmonise. Large thin square velvet cushions are laid on the ground, and every one goes down "in sections like a camel" (as an American remarked), first kneeling on their knees, then sitting back on their heels, which are crossed behind. At the door, the maidens, hands reaching to knees, bow low, touching the ground with their foreheads, before advancing with the "hibatchi" (a brazier, or fire-box, filled with hot ashes), and placing it beside each guest. Over it we warm our hands, or light the elegant pipe-tube, of which never more than a whiff or two is taken. With the same ceremony the several dishes of the repast are brought in and laid before each guest; while we eat, the maids kneel before us, anticipating every want. A paper napkin is provided, and also a piece of paper in which to wrap any sweetmeats for the children at home (or whatever one can't eat), and this is slipped into the pocket in the sleeve of the kimono. Two soups are served at intervals; a plate of raw and one of cooked fish, vegetables, pickles, bamboo, seaweed, soy--most picturesquely arranged; stewed eels and rice is the favorite dish of Japanese gourmets; the leg of a stuffed snipe poised in air above the other delicacies; and "sake"--a weak spirit made from rice--is served in tiny cups, oranges and persimmons concluded the banquet. We feel as if we were in the nursery playing at a make-believe dinner party. Instead of breakfast plates and dishes, lacquer-trays or boxes of every shape are used; and the porcelain cups hold just three dainty, ranged in a circle on the floor--for nothing is cleared away. When we rise we fear to stand up lest we should smash the fairy-like arrangement. Of the food, let me say, it was lovely to look at, but impossible to swallow! The chopsticks were not so unmanageable as might be supposed, but the lowly posture became something akin to torture before the banquet closed, and in pity chairs were produced for the foreign ladies, pieces of wood being nailed between the legs to prevent them from tearing the fine matting. The room looked out on to a miniature garden (as all the best rooms do) at the back, with stone lanterns, without which no Japanese garden is complete.
After dinner, singing and dancing girls came in to amuse us; the music was very weird, the singing still more odd, accompanying the twang-twang of a stringed "samisen." The "geishas," we think, ought to be imported to England to teach the "physical Culture" classes: it is useless to attempt to describe their graceful dancing, hardly moving from one spot; the way in which they manage their fans is quite wonderful, ever movement is so full of grace. A few days later we were presented with a Japanese newspaper containing an account of this party. We visited the theatre twice. All the parts were taken by men, as it is not considered right for women to act; we saw the famous actor Danjiro, who is called "the Henry Irving of Japan." The play, being an historical one, was a living picture of the days of old Japan, illustrating the manner of Court life, the courtships, battles, &c. Very marvellous were the costumes, the rich brocades and gold embroideries being extremely costly. We were amused to see that, however angry the actors were, they were never surprised into springing to their feet with indignation as we should do, but remained calmly squatting on their heels. On remarking this to a Japanese, he said that it was the result of the teaching of Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, who advised people to "calm down when irritated--to sit down and think over it."
Madame--showed me a quaint bit of carved ivory representing a man caught in a wedge. As he cried for help he consciously kept on hammering at the screw, and so made matters worse; the Japanese moral attached thereto being: "Don't tighten the screw"--i.e., don't aggravate your condition by impatience. To return to the theatre. The people make quite a day of it; the play begins early in the morning and goes on until eleven o'clock at night, and continues for a week. The matted floor is on a gentle slope; no chairs, but the space is chequered out into spaces like sheep-pens, to hold four persons; on the dividing boards the attendants are constantly passing with "hibachi" and pipes, refreshment trays, boxes full of steaming rice, and teapots, with cups attached under the bamboo handles. Between acts the children in the audience run about and play hide-and-seek under the curtain, at the imminent risk of setting the whole place on fire, for though made of flimsiest cotton, it is whisked to and from within an ace of the footlights. Clothed in black, they present nothing to the audience but a sight of their heels, and most deftly steal in amongst the actors and remove the scenes, whilst almost keeping invisible.
One scene represented a man in the condemned cell receiving a farewell visit from his wife and child. They were overwhelmed with grief, and gave vent to the strangest cries; sobs came out with slate-pencil-like grates through the back of the throat and nose. (When the Japs wish to be very civil and pleased, after every few words they suck in their breath with a peculiar low whistle, say "Hai, Hai!" and rub their knees up and down.) The tiny child could only wail out to "Papa" in a shrill treble voice, and wiping each eye alternately with the sleeves of its kimono--(I noticed this is the mode in Japan, to silently weep and wipe)--clutch hold of its father's kimono to prevent their being parted. The men in the audience were visibly affected, and frequently wiped their own eyes with paper handkerchiefs.
Another scene represented a mother who, with her little girl had been turned out of doors and left to starve. A cruel man was seen roughly beating both with a broomstick, and felling them to the ground. A tight cord bound the mother to a tree, but the child was free, and it was very pretty to see her tender devotion in brushing off the snow-flakes as they fell, and trying to hold up an umbrella over her mother; being too small, she appeared to be quite distressed, but, a bright thought striking her, she ran into a house close by, and brought out a stool, on which she stood, looking quite triumphant at her success, and held up the shade until, overcome by fatigue, she fell faintly off her stool into the deep snow.
The snow-storm was very well done, square bits of torn paper being let fall from above. At each side of the stage sat the "chorus", or band, singing and playing, in a very pretty little box about the size of a Punch show. Danjiro rode onto the stage through the audience on a large white horse made of men. He mounted it on the right side.
The emperor's palace is surrounded by wide moats, the walls are made of enormous stones placed together without mortar. Fantastically twisted "pine trees of Japan" overhang the walls. Diminutive soldiers, both on horse and on foot, guard the entrance; they look exactly like tin soldiers, and the horses are so small they might also be toys.
The soldiers dress in a kind of Prussian uniform. They are a very brave, plucky set of men, but I read in Choya (a Japanese newspaper) that "one must eat beef and drink milk in order to make a strong body; vegetables, leaves, and salt are inefficient. The Japanese patriotism will not suffice for their weakness and small stature . . .The Western guns are too big and the American horses too large for Japanese soldiers. The (East) Indians, though fighting desperately and determined to die for their country, were forced to surrender to the English, who were strong enough in body to combat even with demons." One great reason for their small stature is that, owing to their being constantly carried, when babies, tucked on to an elder child's back, their lower limbs cannot develop, and the nerves and muscles shrink, so that although their bodies are long, their extremities are small, and their legs often badly bowed.
One wonders what spinal troubles this burden-bearing brings to the ever-patient, sweet-tempered little girls. As soon as they can walk alone a doll is strapped to their back, and when a little bigger a living baby mounts pick-a-back, and rides all day long. In a hospital garden I saw a little girl carrying a big doll on her back. The doctor said the little convalescent would not be content till it was strapped on. I noticed a child carrying another who could only have been the next in age younger, as the little one's legs hung almost down to the elder's heels. Another girl, knocked down in a crowd, could not get up under her burden, and when a gentleman raised her up the poor little creature's eyes were full of tears. When baby is restless "Sissie" patiently moves from one foot to another, hushing by a movement from the waist, and when he feels sleepy he closes his eyes, and, laying his fat little cheek against her shoulder, takes a nap. Should the weather be cold, he is tucked inside her kimono, or a large square of wadded material is put on as a cape round the neck, a quilted pad tied on to the outside of his hand, and fastened by a ribbon between the fingers to serve as a glove. More often the mothers carry the tiniest baby; "grandpapa's" services are sometimes requisitioned, but seldom a father's or brother's. I rarely heard a baby cry, and never saw one with a "baby comforter," teething pad, "bottle," or any other such atrocity, in its mouth to suck; yet they seem perfectly happy and content, allowing their mother or sister to work around the house or field, while they cling on like young monkeys, and need no attention. The sisters run about gaily, paling battledore, ball, or other games; and when nursed baby does not compel his mother to sit down, but he moves round and rides in front. The mother works in the field, and he stands to scull the boat, with baby strapped on; and one wonders that his neck is not dislocated by her sudden, jerky movements. Their dear bright little brown eyes seem to take such intelligent interest in all that happens. To my mind a Jap baby, with its grave face and merry eyes, is the most kissable of beings. It is dressed in bright clothes, just the same shape as those of its parents. These clothes are made much too large, and, being of good durable material, last for years, the child grows into them, and come rain or shine, it has no cover on its little bald head, or parasol to shade it from the sun's fierce rays. This is said to be one great cause of the so-prevalent ophthalmic disease, and of the large number of blind throughout Japan. Certainly the quantity of cross-eyed, squinting people is remarkable. Modern fashion is introducing woollen birettas, such as are worn in Italy; they are knitted in the gaudiest Berlin wools. On one I counted seven colours: yellow, peacock blue, rose, brown, scarlet, green and violet. Under the chin a large square coloured bib is worn. On Sunday's children 's cheeks are rouged. Babies' heads are shaved in many patterns; three tufts of hair may be left, like those on a French poodle' perhaps a top-knot only, tied with coloured paper; a half-moon fringe of hair turned either to the back or front; a circular hole in the centre, and the hair drooping all around. It struck me that this later mode (being the most general, is probably the most popular) was perhaps taken from the beautiful Fujiyama, the beloved sacred mountain of the Japanese, for the snow lies upon it in exactly the same form. Babies and little children have metal tickets attached to them in case of being lost. The older girls' and women's hair is arranged so elaborately that they can never do it themselves. One sees poor women coiffing each other, but the ladies have a hair dresser twice or thrice a week, and sleep on a lacquered wood pillow (an elegant edition of a Kaffir pillow), to prevent disarrangement. The fantastic bows of hair are quite stiff with a camellia oil cosmetique, and fastened with artistic pins, a sprig of flower fixed in daintiest style above.
Many of the old married women have blackened teeth, which gives an extremely ugly appearance to the mouth; when they laugh it looks like a black, yawning chasm. Fortunately the custom is dying out. Nothing offends the Japanese more than to praise any of their old arts and habits, most of which are so intimately preferable to those of New Japan. If you wish to please them go into raptures over a tall smoky chimney. No one looks more hideous than a Japanese arrayed in European attire; and yet in eight seconds you will notice as many different kinds of hats surmounting and spoiling the effect of their own charming costumes. The men are very fond of wearing billycock hats, wide-awakes, and deer-stalkers, Inverness coats over their kimonos, and a Turkish bath towel tied round the neck in place of a comforter. Parisian dresses make the ladies absolutely insignificant, whereas a lady in her own quiet dove--or puce-coloured kimono, tied up with the rich, beautiful, broad-bowed satin "obi" (sash), has a dignity all her own, and looks quite fascinating. We were not sorry to hear that the craze for European clothes is dying out a little, and that merchants at Nagoya, who three years ago (when the craze was at its height) laid in large stores from America, have been ruined owing to the decreasing demand leaving the stock on their hands. Personally we thought that European ladies might do worse than adopt the simple, comfortable, durable, and most artistic dress of the Japanese. (We commend the idea to the Dress Reform Society.)
On a wet day, the yellow, oiled, or varnished paper umbrellas give quite a cheerful aspect to the landscape, as if the sun were shining; they are very large and circular, and have the effect of a golden auriole round the had. Fans are carried as sun-shades, and I saw a man driving in a jin-ricksha holing up his pot-hat between himself and the sun, his own head being bare!
Very early hours are kept in Japan. The Emperor gives audience from 7 A.M. It was lately proposed that Parliament should meet in the morning. At the hotels one can always obtain breakfast from 7 o'clock without ordering it beforehand-- a most convenient arrangement for travellers. One morning, when breakfasting, we were asked to come at once and see the Empress pass to open the Charity Hospital Bazaar at 9:30. We had to dismount from our jin-rickshas, and an officer requested that when the cortege came in sight we should put down our umbrellas. It was a very quiet affair; the Imperial landau was not half as grand as many an English nobleman's coach. The Empress was in European dress, and is a pretty little woman. She takes the warmest interest in her subjects' welfare; visits the school and hospitals, and presides over the Red Cross Association. The funds from this bazaar were, by her request, applied to the earthquake fund, instead of to the charity hospital, which she herself founded.
The ladies who held stalls belonged to the haute noblesse. A few years ago this would not have been permitted, for merchants ("heimi") were looked down upon as being of the same class as farmers, and beneath the doctors, artists, or workers in cloisonne. Some dear little children were buying toys; the girls wore pretty bright kimonos coming down to their heels, and were attended by their nurses; and a tiny brother, in an Inverness coat and French cadet's gold braided cap, looked a perfect little fright.
After this we drove to see the Shiba (Pronounced Siba: A is silent) temples, the burial-places of the ancient Shoguns, or generals. They are situated in beautiful groves of cedar trees, called Cryptomeria, and the sort of green twilight in these woods is very lovely. There are also camellias growing as tall as birches, and of similar graceful appearance; their flowers are both pink and white, and resemble wild roses. The temples are very massive structures, with immensely large wooden roofs, the same form as the primitive Japanese hut, only enlarged. Even the palaces follow the same pattern. Within are floors of red and black lacquer, polished as a mirror, exquisitely fine sot matting, golden pillars, bronze tables, and vases and ornaments of priceless worth; but no altar or idol is to be seen. In these temples the deceased great men are adored, for the Japanese are hero as well as ancestor worshippers; e.g., the man who reclaimed the land from the sea and made the harbour of Hiogo is worshipped as a saint.
From here we went into the Shiba Park Bazaar (Kankobar), where every sort of toy and necessary of Japanese daily life can be bought. These kankobars are made like "a maze", and one wanders endlessly through the labyrinth of books, porcelain, toys, clothes, household utensils, pictures, screens, & c., but finds no egress except by continuing right on to the end. There is a good bazaar at Ueno Park, and others at Yokohama and Nagasaki, and they are always worth visiting; the goods being offered at "fixed prices," one is saved all troublesome bargaining in an unknown tongue. Every tradesman and school child has a "soroban" (a frame of beads such as we use in infant-schools), which is their ready-reckoner. The Japanese count up to ten, and ten say ten-one, ten-two, up to twenty, which is two-tens, two-tens-one, &c. To us this sounds slightly confusing. They have no idea of reckoning by their fingers; in France or Italy a peasant will instantly put up so many fingers to tell one the price, but only once could we make a Japanese understand this mode of counting. We next went to Shinto (pronounced Sinto) temple. It contained an immense circular looking-glass, and a chair in front, where the worshipper sits and contemplates himself, and reviews his life. It is said to be a reminder that his heart is as visible to the god as his face is to himself in the mirror. Over the entry was a rope with straw tassels and strips of paper, representing cloth offerings, to keep out evil spirits. These ropes are put before all houses at the New Year. The entrance is through an immense archway of three wooden beams, called torii, in appearance like a double cross. It was the perch for the sacred fowls, who in olden days used to give notice of the dawn by crowing.
"This is the cock that crowed in the morn,
Others say it means "to pass through." The word is certainly not unlike our "door" and the German "thur," and I could never see one without thinking of those words of the Christ: "I am the door." Close by the torii stands the mitarashi, a large tank of water protected by a roof. Here the worshipper washes his hands and rinses his mouth before praying, and hangs up a blue towel, with his name and address inscribed, as an offering, if he is a pilgrim. Prayer is not accepted from a dirty worshipper. This reminds one of the Greek "lustrations," of the laver at the door of the Jewish Tabernacle, and of the font in Christian churches. There are two enclosed fences, which again resemble the Tabernacle, and the wall mentioned in the parables of the Good Shepherd.* Then there is an immense coffer for alms, measuring four feet wide by four feet deep, standing at the foot of the stairs which ascend to the temple.
It was touching to see a very poor man and woman each throw in a copper coin (ten of which make a cent, equal to our halfpenny) reverently close their eyes, clap their hands, then fold them in prayer for a few minutes--while they "stood afar off"--and then walked away. We thought of the publican commended by our Lord, who did not dare to lift his eyes up to heaven, but " went down to his house justified"; and of that woman who, casting her "two mites into the treasury," "cast in more than they all."
Near Kamakura we saw a hill surmounted with shrines, with flag-staffs, growing taller and taller; the flags are paper stripes inscribed with prayers, & c. The temples, too, are usually approached by long flights of steps, like Solomon's temple or Jacob's ladder. I remember Mrs. Booth (of the Salvation Army) telling a congregation about a poor, ignorant countryman, who being very anxious about his soul's condition, climbed a steep hill, and having heaped up a pile of stones, stood upon it, and stretching himself to his full height, cried at the top of his voice" "O God, hear me!" The speaker observed that, though we might smile at the man's ignorance in thinking he could thus get nearer to God, God himself has said it is the heart that He looks at. How often in England and the Continent one sees churches perched on hill-tops. Many Japanese temples are built amid magnificent pine groves. Are not our Gothic cathedral aisles a copy of the German forests wherein our ancestors worshipped God? And I cannot help thinking there is some far-away connection, some dim memory, of that evergreen tree of life which was lost in Eden, but is restored to man in the last verses of the Revelation.
The Sintoists, being Nature worshippers, have many gods. They deify the elements--fire, air, water, trees, stones; the fisherfolk pray to the North Star, as those at Naples do to Mary, Star of the Sea. (By the way, there is a similar church at Hastings used by the fishers.)
Their principle goddess is the sun, from whom the Mikado is descended. The sun is the symbol of light fighting with darkness; health versus corruption; and a promise was made to the Jews that the "Sun of Righteousness should arise with healing in His winds." When He came he said, "I AM the Light of :Light." So that in the twilight we feel these souls are groping and feeling after God; and that those myths are memories of the promises once given to mankind, on which the dust and forgetfulness of centuries have gathered:
"An infant crying in the night,
Think we that the Father of Spirits does not hear? Dr. George Macdonald has beautifully said: "You know it takes a long time for a child to know its mother. It takes everything as a matter of course, till suddenly one day it lifts up its eyes and knows that a Face is looking at it." Long before the Pentateuch was written, Job, the Arabian patriarch, said: "Though worms destroy my body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for myself, and not a stranger."
"Yea, mine own God is He." (Psalm xlii., Scotch version.)
We believe that
"In all ages
[*An old Saxon word for God.]
Dr. S. said to us: "When I was a little boy on the southern shores of Japan, very early In the morning I used to take a little bamboo pail on the end of a pole down to the sea, and fill it full of salt water. Then I would turn to the rising sun and say a prayer, and, muttering prayers all the way home, I would sprinkle the salt water in the house to keep off evil spirits. In towns they sprinkle salt instead."
He also informed us that Japanese children look out for the hare in the moon standing on his little hind legs, and stirring Japanese rice-cakes. We had great fun in looking for the hare in the great golden moon which shone down into Mikado's moat, and saw him distinctly; but our friend said it was very curious he could always see the hare when he was in Japan, but hen he was in America somehow it was the man in the moon!
The Indians have this funny thought about it: Little Hiawatha
"Saw the moon rise from the water,
In the Uemo Museum we saw Mikado's throne. It is like an immense four-post bedstead; the platform is covered with matting, and on a pile of cushions in the centre Mikado sat. Blinds of fine bamboo were drawn closely down on the four sides, and when rolled up disclosed the monarch to his prostrate courtiers. We can imagine what a halo of mystery enveloped him in the old days, when he was regarded as too holy to be seen by mortal eyes, and his name is even now uttered with bated breath. Up to the year A.D. 3 his devoted retainers used to be buried alive in a ring round his grave, to avoid being separated from their loved master, and in order that he might be well served in the other world. But this custom became so cruel that on the death of an empress the emperor called together the potters from near Kioto, and consulted with them how it could be abolished. A number of extraordinary shaped horses and men were made in clay, and henceforth these images were placed in a circle, standing around the grave, instead.
It is interesting to find Herodotus describing the same custom amongst the Scythians. He said that a year after the king had been buried with his cup-bearer, cook, groom, page, courtier, horses, firstlings of every thing, and golden goblets, they killed fifty of his best servants and fifty finest horses, and mounting the servants upon the horses, they placed them round the monument. Another strange custom Herodotus mentioned as prevailing amongst all the nomads, or wandering tribes, in Africa; they buried the dead in sitting posture. To this day the Japanese place their dead, seated, with their hands clasping their knees, in a kind of box, and carry it slung between two bearers to the crematorium.
[In Scotland there is yet a custom called "fencing the table," observed on Communion Sundays, & c.]
Our intention was to stay at Mianoshita, and visit Hakone, a lovely mountain retreat, but the cold being intense there, we went on to Atami, a favourite watering-place of the Mikado's. In the tram-car, rugs were neatly spread over the seats by the conductor, which certainly added to the comfort. We were dropped at Odawara, where a crowd of villagers and coolies surrounded us, and tea, as a matter of course, was offered, whilst the men settled amongst themselves who was to draw us. At length we started, and went for eighteen miles up hill and down dale, now along the level of the sea-shore, then hundreds of feet above, through bamboo thickets and pine groves, in narrow Devonshire lanes between high banks covered with Osmundas and other ferns; then through beautiful woods of maple, beech, birch, and oak, over hills terraced from the shore up to the summits, and planted sometimes with orange trees, covered with millions of mandarins (one village was given up to packaging the oranges in barrels, the hoops being made of bamboo), and at others with rice, millet, buckwheat, tobacco. The views of the Vries island opposite, with its smoking volcano, the distant bays, the lovely mountains, the foliage-crowned hills, the deep chines between the hills, the villages clinging to the hill sides or nestling on the strand; palms, tamarisks, lepedestras, myrtles, camellias, all combined to form a picture worthy of the Corniche road, in some respects more lovely.
We rested for "chow" at a tea-house on the edge of a wooded cliff high above the sea. Delicious rice-cakes and large golden persimmons, with Japanese tea, made a charming lunch. Tea is offered in a miniature tea pot, and taken in tiny cups, without milk or sugar. It is of a pale golden colour, and tastes like fragrant flowers. The water is only poured over the leaves and immediately drunk--it never stands. It is a very delicate green tea, and largely appreciated in America. Love of beauty for its own sake surprises one at every turn, in the artistic way they arrange the simplest dish of fruits or sweetmeats, or place a berried spray to adorn some village cart, showing an inborn refined taste. Europeans are naturally as much objects of curiosity to the natives as they are to us. In driving through a village. F------'s taking out his pocket-handkerchief was the signal for the whole school to come rushing after us. (The Japanese handkerchief consists of a folded paper.) At another place, my glove-button falling on the floor, a woman picked it up, and was most interested in watching the operation of fastening up six-buttoned gloves, and then in comparing m boots with her sandals. English hair-pins are a great curiosity to them, for theirs are long ornamental ones, more like bonnet-pins, and Miss O---- gave much amusement by showing her pills. Pills were quite a puzzle to them, and so Miss O----had to put her hand to her head, and appear to be ailing until she had swallowed a pill, when she revived and became quite well and cheerful. At one of the temples I felt the priest gently fingering and stroking the steel beads at my mantle. We were lost in admiration of the costly treasures he had to show us, but he was absorbed in the passementerie; he did it so quietly and unobtrusively, that I could not help standing still to let him go on unobserved till he had satisfied his curiosity. There is absolutely no vulgarity about these people. It is true that women smoke, but they do it so daintily, whiffing at little bamboo tubes, that it does not strike one as unfeminine. Even among the lowest class there is no bad language or drunkenness. Some foreigners say that one gets very tired of the unalterable sweetness of the Japanese temper, and extremely irritated by their habit of never contradicting but always cheerfully assenting to one's remarks. So also some people complain of the weariness occasioned by the ever blue sky in the Riviera, and the constant sunshine!--and "some folks" are proverbially "hard to please."
The Japanese language is extremely difficult to learn; but its sound is very rich and musical. There is no imperative mood, and consequently no dictatorialness! And it is most remarkable that "a very large proportion of the best writings of the best age of Japanese literature was the work of women. (W.G. Aston) "Moses established the Hebrew, Alfred the Saxon, and Luther the German tongue in permanent form; but in Japan, mobile forms of speech crystallised into perennial beauty under the touch of woman's hand." (Griffs.) The Japanese are such a noiseless people, there is "no strife in their streets," or clamour of tongue,-- "sunny-hearted, droll, quaint, ludicrous, diverting, dainty, finnky mannikins," are terms which exactly describe them. They are absolutely charming, and the further one goes away from them, and the more Japan and its dear people, so unlike any other country or people. They are always laughing, always good tempered. Nothing seems a trouble to them--the poorest coolie is on the qui vive, anticipating one's wants and striving to make one comfortable. Half-naked himself, streaming with perspiration and wet with rain, he stops to tuck his own little red blanket or fasten the coiled curtains more securely around his passenger, and then, untying the kerchief from his brows, mops his own face with a cheerful smile, gets into a fresh pair of rice sandals (holding up the shafts of the ricksha with his passenger the while he stoops), and off he spins like the wind.
"No idleness" is a characteristic of Japan. There a country-woman will carry three trusses of straw on her back, or as many bundles of faggots or charcoal sacks. Earth is carried about in mats, where should use wheelbarrows. Very occasionally we met a horse or a bullock-cart. Cattle, sheep, and goats seem practically unknown. The peculiar grass cuts the mouths of the sheep. Horses we saw employed at Nikko for bringing down the copper-ore from the mines. This scarcity of animal labour was oddly illustrated to us at the Doshisha University. In a class on Political Economy a student was asked whether a farmer has any other capital besides iron stools for labour? He was fairly at a loss for some time, and when the Professor suggested, "Cows and horses," started as if an entirely new idea had struck him. It is curious to see the grain spread out on the roadway to dry. The people sift out the rice through their fingers, sometimes shake it to and fro in a mat or sieve, or hold it high over their heads, and let it drop down to a mat at their feet. Buckwheat is rubbed between the hands, the worker kneeling on a mat. Here a man pours the grain into a straw sack; there two or three girls are wielding heavy wood hammers, and pounding the grain; while not far off a man stands with a bamboo handle, to which two fans are attached, and while a girl pours the rice from a height above, he gently with his fan blows away the chaff. (Compare "Whose fan is in His hand. "Rice-bran is used to stuff pillows and fill little bags with which to scour themselves. Loofahs procured from gourds are used for the same purpose. The number of loofahs is extraordinary. There is neither soap in Japan nor any word for it in the language! But it is difficult to convey an idea of their extreme cleanliness. Where we speak of pure air, they say "clean air." They do not paint their houses or boats, because they "prefer to keep the wood clean." The floors are rubbed daily with cloth wrung out of hot water, so that in time even the common deal wood takes a polish. In one hotel noticed that long bags were hung on to the bath-taps, and were told "it was to keep the water clean!" The hands, nails, hair, teeth, of the poorest peasant who comes and stands beside one are scrupulously clean. There are stalls on which the chief article for sale is tooth-brushes, a stick, with fimbricated ends, dipped in salt. The people's underclothing is chiefly of silk, and though it is objected that they lie down and sleep in their clothes, yet the practice is not uncleanly, for they bathe many times a day, immersing themselves in hottest water up to the necks in high wooden casks.
This hot bathing keeps off rheumatism, to which standing knee-deep in the wet rice-fields, renders the farmers liable; children for warmth in winter pop in and out of the hot baths whenever they feel cold, and the heat of the water prevents the sensibility to cold that bathing in warm induces; there is no fear of reaction or catching cold. At Atami it is amusing to see people of all ages sitting in the public baths, enjoying their gossip just as the old Romans, or even the English did at Bath half a century ago.
By the roadside the family tub may also be seen; the person of oldest age or highest honour goes in first, the rest of the family taking their turn. They dry themselves with wet towels. Women and girls are always dusting and sweeping their homes, as if they could not endure a speck of dirt. Even on the canal-boats, this was most noticeable, to see them, not content with the inside kept clean, washing the outside of their boats. A Japanese proverb says, "Hell is full of dirty housewives." Atami possesses a wonderful geyser, which breaks out with great regularity every four hours, its streams supply all the baths in the village. In olden days "the spring boiled out in the sea , and was a suffering to aquatic families." The geyser is enclosed in a large space by iron railings; at first there is nothing to see but seam issuing from the centre; birds are happily picking up the grains of salt around. Then a gentle noise begins, which quickly changes into a roar, this again becomes an awful infernal sound, as if the whole place were about to be blown up; the water rushes out, boiling fast and furious, steam rises up in volumes, and you think nothing short of an explosion will take place. Just as matters are at their worst the geyser as suddenly subsides, and all is quiet. The steam is used for inhalations. All baths being of scalding water have to be cooled several degrees before one can venture in to bathe. It did strike us as slightly comical that in this village of baths, hot water should be brought to our room in tea-pots, but it was Japanese. We found in the best hotels one set of toilet ware was considered ample for two people. It was delicious to sit on the verandah, overlooking a terraced amphitheatre, like that of Alassio, and while listening to the splash of the Pacific waves below, the chirping of the cicalas, and the deep tones of a temple gong, inhale the fragrant incense wafted on the evening breeze; seeing the buzzards hovering overhead, a palm tree and a lemon bush close beside us, and below on the stony beach seven venerable pines, and boats hauled up stern first. To the right the bay is terminated by a promontory. On its summit is a watch-tower, from which a watcher gazes into the clear deep waters below and signals to the fishermen of the approaching shoals. From that point we counted 117 fishing boats.
In the evening the "Amma's" plaintive piping notes were heard. "Ammas" are blind men who gain their living by massage. They carry a long stick and a little flute, and always go about after dark crying "Amma." In Yokohama we saw a woman in broad daylight groping her way with sightless eyeballs--a painful sight. But as there are an enormous number of blind in Japan, and the Japanese are very fond of being rubbed, a useful occupation is thus opened to these poor people, who perform massage in the most skillful way for about half a farthing. What a field of industry this might prove in England if the blind were trained to massage amongst the poor for a small sum! Their delicacy of touch is very great and their kneading from top to toe is said to be peculiarly invigorating. They massage downwards with their elbows, contrary to the received Western notion that it "Should be practised upwards, as downwards neutralises the good, the object being to help back the blood to the centre which lingers in the veins." Autres hommes, autres moeurs in this as in most other things.
At night the verandah was closed in by heavy wooden shutters which rolled back into their grooves with a great noise in the morning; this shut out all air.
Although we had two window-doors and four windows to our rooms, there was no access to the open air. A watchman "Monban" walked round every hour rattling castanets, as a protection against fire and thieves; but also as the destroyer of sleep. To this one must accustom oneself, as the "Monban" is ubiquitous in the East. Atami is celebrated for its camphor-trees, the measure of one such is described as being "of about ten arm-fulls." It is also noted for paper made from the bark of the mulberry, and from another paper shrub. The mulberry furnishes leaves for silkworms, and in turn the silkworm cocoons are highly esteemed as manure for tennis lawns. Hair is also utilised for fertilising.
Paper is largely used in Japan; from the delicate rice paper windows through which the light gleams so prettily and softly in the evenings, to the writing-papers of every kind, oiled paper for waterproof coats, aprons, hoods, curtains, umbrellas, to fans, boxes, cases, twine, and the splendid embossed leather wall-papers, which are so much valued for art-decoration in England.
The whitest paper is made from mulberry branches. The bark is boiled down and strained through a sieve, then mixed, and water gradually drawn off. The paper-like substance is then carefully spread out into sheets and pressed between boards, and laid out in the sun to harden and dry. It is impossible to tear it against the grain; it makes very tough string. Japanese paper makes excellent plasters, bandages, tourniquets, cords, and towels, being wonderfully adhesive, absorbing, and healing. It is soft, tough, and easily becomes hard or pliable when wetted, and so it is valuable in the dressing of wounds. (Griffs)
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