3rd December to 31st December 1871

Dec. 3rd
Exhausted all my skills last night to get relief from toothache but did not succeed till I gave myself a strong hypodermic injection of morphine. Consequently I am sick today and have done nothing but make a curio-hunting expedition with DeLong.

Dec. 4th.
Still have the face ache. Have done nothing but grunt all day.

Dec. 7th. Evening.
Have been quite sick since last entry. Fever, neuralgia, headache of a dull, stupid kind. Have been abed or in my armchair all the time.

Dec. 16th.
I managed to get well enough by the 10th (Page 154) to go to Yokohama, intending to have my teeth out, though I could ill spare them. Reached Yokohama too late to have anything done that night, so I had another night of misery. The morning of the 11th I went down to the dentist who assured me that he could kill the nerves and fill my teeth so that I could make them serviceable. He began by putting some strong carbolic which at once entirely relieved, although the teeth remained so tender that after waiting in Yokohama four days it was still impossible to put in the arsenic to kill the nerve. I returned to Yedo to wait until a future time, upon the 14th. While in Yokohama I stayed at Mr DeLong’s, and had I felt well would have enjoyed myself hugely. I am now, however, all right again, with the exception of an occasional twinge of neuralgia, and do not intend to allow my journal to get behind again.
Antisell and Warfield (Page 155) returned last night. Have had but little time to talk with them yet.

Dec. 17th. 1871. Evening.
A quiet day of official work. Today DeLong sent up his saddle pony to me, as I have undertaken to keep it until he returns for the use of him. . I rode him this evening and like him much. He is broken much better than most horses here and carries a lady splendidly. If DeLong don’t ask too much for him, I think I shall buy him for my wife, as he is easy, kind and quite pretty, and it is very likely that I might have trouble to find one in Yezo of the right kind.
Wrote today to Dr Billing, Surg. Genl.’s Office, also to Charles Warren, blowing him up for not answering my letter written on steamer.

Dec. 18th. Evening
Another day of quiet work. Warfield has come back more disagreeable and haggish, if possible, than when he went away. He has managed to disgust all of us and we let him severely alone. He will probably be dismissed when he completes (Page 156) his report of the late trip.
Herron sent me an invitation to spend Christmas with him today. I shall certainly go and as certainly enjoy myself. But how I would like to spend Christmas with a certain little family I know of.

Dec. 19th. Evening
DeLong come up today and brought his little daughter Lillie with him. She is eight years old, smart and independent, but affectionate and generous, and I have taken to her. I gave them up my room, which is more comfortable than the others and bunked as I could.
Mrs Frank, wife of the American consul at Kobe in the south of Japan sometime since, sent a box of (illegible word) for the Genl., Antisell and myself. We opened it tonight, and I send some of it.

Dec. 20th. Evening
Hard at official business all day. In the evening packed a box for home. I wish I were packed in it.

Dec. 21st. Evening
Came down to Yokohama this afternoon. (Page 156) I foolishly declined several invitations to take quarters and went to the hotel with Antisell to find it full.

Dec. 22nd
Nearly froze last night. Had face ache. Feel old this morning.

Have hunted up Longfellow and changed my quarters to his room.

Dec. 23rd. Morning
Mail goes in a few minutes. Good bye, good bye.

Dec. 23rd. Evening.
Remained in the America till ‘all ashore’ was signalled, and having bid DeLong and his family adieu and also shaken hands all round with the Embassy, charged DeLong with many messages for Washingtonians. I must say that in parting with DeLong I felt as though separating from an old and good friend, though I have known him so short a time. As we left the America, Capt. Watson, of the U.S. man of war Idaho, seized on me and carried me off in his barge to tiffin on board. We both felt sympathetically blue (Page 158) over the departure of the home mails, of the DeLongs, and the approach of that peculiarly home festival, Christmas. So we loafed in the Idaho’s comfortable till near dinner time when we went ashore, Watson to visit some children of his acquaintance, and I to dine at Dr Dove’s, where the Genl. is now stopping. Of course I had a pleasant time. Returned to Longfellow’s quarters and sat up nearly all night talking with him about home and our boyhood Xmases.

Dec. 24th. Evening.
We rose late, breakfasted at a French restaurant where I bought an elegant box of bonbons and sent them to Mrs Dove with my compliments, getting a pleasant note of acknowledgement from her, and then read till dinner which we took at the club. After dinner, while we sat over our coffee and cigars, Longfellow’s overcoat with a pair of pistols in the pocket and the overcoat of another of our party, Paymaster Talbot of the Idaho, were stolen from the cloak room. Luckily for me I had felt a little chilly while at dinner and had gone and put mine on, or I should also have been a loser.

Dec. 25th. Evening.
Longfellow, ?Irvin Lothrop and myself came up (Page 159) to Yedo this afternoon, on the private steamer of the last gentleman, arriving just in time for the Xmas dinner at Herron’s. We had a pleasant evening. The party was largely American but there were both Germans and English present. Imagine a house extensively decorated with large branches of camellia and relieved by boughs loaded with golden oranges! The grounds were illuminated by lanterns, with which the side of the house toward the lake was perfectly covered. Add to this picture a dozen or more really beautiful girls (Jap) in crimson crepe robes, flitting here and there with all the luxuries one could wish (except that of home) while some of them performed their graceful dances to the sound of the (illegible) and you can form some idea of our Xmas night. I have just returned (2 a.m.)

Dec. 26th. Evening
A quiet day. Tiffined with Jondon. The mail should arrive tonight, but as the weather is thick and raining the ship, perhaps, is fated to be delayed.

Dec. 27th. Evening
A great Japanese festival is now in progress which as nearly as I can make out is as follows: once in the reign of every Mikado, at a time chosen by himself, a great four days feast takes place in celebration of his reign (and so often, but wrongly, called a ‘coronation’) Various ceremonies (Page 160) are gone through with, among others. The Mikado ascends his throne in state and tastes the new rice of the crop of the year. Upon one day during the festival, every government official in the Empire is dined handsomely at the Emperor’s expense. The Kaitakushi accordingly has its dinner in which we take part, upon the 29th of the month. The whole city was illuminated tonight, but as it poured rain all day and evening, I did not go out to see it. The illumination will be repeated tomorrow and for the three following.
Steamer not yet in.

Dec. 28th. Evening.
Still pouring rain, notwithstanding which Antisell and I donned our waterproofs and went down on the Tokaido where we found everything wearing an appearance as gala as is possible in such weather. Business seemed suspended in the shops, the goods as far as is possible put out of the way, and the stores decorated with screens giving the effect of a scene on the stage of a theatre. We met an occasional reveller in fancy costume, strolling along under an umbrella, and saw many of those tall buildings on carts which I made a sketch of some weeks ago. These are to take part in a grand procession or "Retsu" tomorrow and next day.
The steamer is not yet in. All of us blue for want of our mail.

De. 29th. Evening
Still stormy. Antisell and I made another excursion today and saw some feeble attempts at a procession which varied little from that I formerly described, save in the presence of several hundred "Gaishas", or dancing and singing girls who were dressed in male costume and had their hair arranged, save the shaven forehead like that of the lower class of Jap. (Page 161) I am sorry to say that some of these young ladies had partaken rather too freely of saki and were cutting up wild capers. Our dinner took place tonight and went off as usual. Steamer not yet in.

Dec. 30th. Evening
A lovely day, and so the grand procession was at last organised and moved along the tokaido, the disguised gaishas taking a prominent part and an additional element in appearing in the person of many strapping coolies who were dressed in the ordinary feminine costume of the gaishas. I spent the day wandering about the streets, now stopping to look at one of the many wayside theatres where pantomimes of the most extravagant characters were performed, now studying the motley and good natured crowd, and again stepping to one side to avoid one of the many small processions which were in motion on the lesser streets.
Heard this evening, which has at least some comfort in it, that the December passage has never yet been made on time, one year the steamer having been delayed to the 4th of Jan. From March to June the Pacific is like a mill pond.
Dined with Longfellow. He has set up housekeeping.

Dec. 31st. Evening
The event today has been the arrival of the long looked for mail. Nothing has been done but to talk over home news and to read letters and papers. I am waiting for midnight - the fancy took me to see the old year out, and the wind is at the moment is sighing the last breath of the old year through the grand old trees of Shiba (Page 162). Where will the next new year find me, I wonder?

Part 24

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