July 12th 1872

(Page 48) July 12th 1872
I am almost ashamed to take up my journal again, but really, what with my professional labor, which has begun in good earnest, and the great trouble of getting settled in the house, I have not had much time for anything. Our house had to be re-papered and carpeted to a great extent and it began to seem as though the workmen never would get through. Then I had to look out for horses, make plans for hospitals, think over the best manner of running my little medical school etc., so my time has been fully occupied. Hakodate society is not extensive. When we arrived there were but three ladies here, a Mrs Howell, wife of an English merchant, who is also Portuguese Consul, Mrs Throop, wife of the English Consul, and Mrs Hawes, wife of the U.S. Consul. Mrs Howell is a charming woman, Mrs Throop so-so. Mrs Hawes is a fool, the wife of an old frump. There they are. All called soon (Page 49) as did most of the gentlemen worth knowing. Mrs Howell will soon, I think, be a good friend of Frank’s as she seems kind and hearty, and is about F’s own age.
    Now I cannot recall all that has taken place since my last entry, but will endeavour to note the principal things that have struck me. 1st impressions of Hakodate. It is a dirty town as would be inferred from the fact that it is a place largely trading in fish. The people differ much from those in Yedo. They are more robust, perhaps a shade darker, clothed to a great extent in a peculiar cloth made of bark which is manufactured by the Ainos in the interior, and speak a language which, while purely Japanese is so different from the pure soft dialect of Yedo that it sounds like a new tongue. The Yedo dialect is soft, full of vowels and sounds much like Italian. That of Yezo is nasal, harsh and unintelligible to a certain extent, even to the Japanese from Yedo. Luckily I shall have most to do with the latter (Page 50) so that my hardly acquired stock of Japanese will not be useless
    Wasson left us early in June and went on duty as an engineer on the new road which is being constructed from Hakodate to Volcano Bay. On the 22nd June, Frank, Webb and I started to pay a visit to Warfield and Wasson who are living in a tea house 20 miles from here. As there is only a bridle path through the mountains for a great portion of the distance it became a problem to get F. and Webb out there. I borrowed a couple of saddle horses, put the side saddle on one, got a pack horse to carry the valise and bedding which I balanced by hanging master Webb in a basket on the other side, put Frank in her jinriksha drawn by four coolies so that she could ride, as we fondly hoped, to the foot of the mountains, and at 11 a.m. we started. Frank rode a couple of miles in her jinriksha, and concluding that the jolting was worse than saddle would be, abandoned it and took the (Page 51) horse. Webb stood the basket pretty well, and then managed to coax my interpreter, Haruki, to take him on the saddle before him. As Frank had not been in the saddle since old Vicksburg days, six years ago, I was really alarmed as to her undertaking so severe a mountain ride, As, however, her horse was gentle and she seemed to feel no fatigue, we pushed on. Webb could not travel out of reach of the pack horse, which was under the care of the faithful Haruki, so as it was getting toward dinner time we gave Webb a lunch, directed Haruki to follow with him as fast as possible, and began our ascent of the mountain, 1000 ft. Imagine a rough bridle path which, where not covered by loose boulders, is trodden into the most singular cross ridges by the ever passing trains of pack horses, and in some places almost perpendicular, and you have a faint idea of the undertaking. I repented that I had left Webb behind, but as I (Page 52) have the fullest confidence in Haruki who knows the country too much better than I. For he has been here before, and as from the construction of my saddle it was impossible to take Webb on my horse I reasoned myself into a happy frame of mind just as the magnificent view of Komangadaki "the mountain of ponies", a volcano, at the foot of which our friends are located, burst upon us from the top of the ridge which we were crossing. This volcano is still sub-active, constantly emitting smoke and steam. 19 years ago it was in eruption and destroyed several villages and many lives. The traces of successive eruptions are visible through all the surrounding country, notably in a cluster of exquisite lakes which lie at the base of the mountain, and were formed within historic times by a subsidence of the land during an eruption. The stumps of trees which once grew on the submerged land are (Page 53) still visible throughout the lakes. We, that is Frank and I, reached our friends’ tea house camp at about ½ past six, in time for supper. Frank apparently not at all used up, I quite sore from the unwonted exertion and exceedingly careful to find soft places to sit on. Webb and Haruki arrived about 9 o’clock, all right. The next day we rambled though the beautiful lake country. I fished a little, bathed a little and rested a good deal, and the next day, starting back at 8 a.m., we reached Hakodate at 4 p.m., having done the whole distance on horse back, for Webb declined the basket and I managed to borrow a small and gentle Japanese pony for him. A 20 mile horse ride was of course comparatively a trifle for me, though I really believe I was the sorest of the party, but for a lady utterly out of practice and for a child not yet six years old it was quite a feat. The next day, after our return, I purchased a fine large pony for myself and a small English donkey (Page 54) for Webb, and now Webb is taking a riding lesson almost every day. I had to make a saddle for him, for I could neither buy one or find anybody who could make one. I succeeded very well, however, and Webb says "It don’t look one bit home made". As we returned from our long ride we saw from the mountain, 15 miles from Hakodate, a huge ship riding at anchor in the harbour, which I recognised as the Colorado, and on arriving at home we found that Genl. and Mrs Capron had, as we expected they would come up by her, and as we also expected they would, disgusted every officer on board. The Colorado remained but five days and during that time, of course, our house was full of the officers who are all warm and intimate friends of mine. Of course we dined our special friends among them, especially Admiral Jenkins and staff, and did it to the best of our ability, though it was hard work to find the materials for a dinner. In fact, after inviting a (Page 55) party of six the first day, I came home from the hospital to find my cook almost desperate, F. almost crying and to hear the dismal report that the "big ‘Merican ship and the big Prussian ship" had bought everything edible in Hakodate, save some fish and 5 quails and one small chicken which, at an enormous price, my boy had secured. I rose superior to the occasion, found some canned à la mode beef in the provision closet, as well as some mulligatawny soup, ordered a stew made of quail and chicken, ham and eggs as the "piéce de resistance", and we had a jolly dinner. I have been so intimate with the noble fellows of the Colorado that when she left Hakodate it seemed as though I were farther from home than ever. The Caprons, of course, were dissatisfied with the assignment of houses, as they would have been had the case been exactly reverse, but I was a little amused to find that the spiteful old goose (Page 56) Mrs Capron had duly inspected our house before we returned, in company with a tanner who is employed in connection with her husband’s business! Thank Providence I am independent of them now and receive no orders from the imbecile old ass who signs himself H.C.
    I have had several most interesting cases in the hospital. Among them a high aneurysm of the femoral, which I believe I have cured by flexing the leg strongly on the body and maintaining it in that position for 7 days.
    On the 4th of July we had intended to celebrate by a dinner of which the materials were to come from Yokohama by the steamer Ariel, which was due on the 3rd, and the Capt. and Purser of which were to help us eat it. Much against my inclination I invited Capron and wife. Alas, the steamer did not arrive till 9 at night of the 4th. Our party nevertheless came (Page 57) off. Present Wasson, Clarke (an American engaged as one of our interpreters, and a good fellow of whom I shall often make mention) and the Caprons. All went well, though the General who lives anyhow the Japanese choose to feed him was evidently surprised and jealous at our neat home like table. The fact is that I have a jewel of a "boy", finding that cooks could not be had in Hakodate. He suddenly developed a surprising talent as a cuisinier, and now is noted as the best Jap. cook in town. It is here as it was in Vicksburg - it takes 3 servants to do the work of one. My establishment, a very small one for Japan, is far too large for either convenience or economy. 1st, my "boy" Gingiro, a sort of steward and, at present, cook also, though he is instructing 2nd his wife Hama who will shortly take his place in the kitchen. 3rd, my coolie, water carrier and dirty work man Taro, 4th Mrs Taro who devotes her attention to the washing (Page 58) and ironing, it being cheaper to have her by the month than to have the work done outside even at $3.00 pr 100. 5th the Betto, who at present takes care of my horse and Webb’s "Usagiuma" - "Rabbit-horse" alias donkey, and will also care for Frank’s pony when that animal is found. A heavy establishment for 3 people, indeed, but owing to the division of labor here and the fact that each one will only do certain things, it is absolutely necessary. It is fortunate that all Japanese servants board themselves and do not eat our food.
    I returned today from a second trip to Shikenape where Warfield and Wasson are, having gone out to see Warfield about plans for a hospital to be erected there.
    Steamer sails tomorrow so must close. Recd. this evening notice from General that he starts for Sappro to day after tomorrow. I shall not go with him, but later.

Part 34

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