5th to 12th June 1872
June 5th 1872
My journal has been neglected of late, and all I can do now is to note the principal events since my last entry on the 28th April. I went to Yokohama in order, if possible, to have some dentistry done before the arrival of the steamer. By the invitation of Mr Shepard I was his guest, and all things were prepared by him for the reception of my wife and boy. The Yokohama spring races were just about to come off, and Shepard, feeling some interest in them, rose every morning about 5 a.m. and went to the track to see the preliminary training of the horses. On the morning of May 1 he routed me out and induced me to accompany him. We had hardly reached the track, about three miles from Yokohama, (Page 38) when I heard the gun fired from the Idaho, announcing that the U.S. mail was in sight. Knowing nothing of the distance at which the steamer could be seen I started post haste for the Yokohama landing and, though fat and out of training, I made the landing in 26 minutes, fully an hour and a half before the steamer dropped her anchor. I was among the first on board, and entering the cabin saw a figure which I recognised, hastily making for a state room. I called her, and Frank turned and showed me, instead of a face pale and ghastly with continued seasickness as I had often feared I should see it, a physiognomy of robust health and a clear, bright complexion that said plainly that the trip had been of benefit rather than otherwise. Just then Webb came trotting in, with a sailor cap much too big for him on his head, and grown so that I hardly realised that it was he. Soon Admiral Rodgers sent an officer with a boat with instructions to (Page 39) report to me for orders, and after liberally feeing the steward and stewardess, we landed. At the landing I found my jinriksha waiting with a couple of stout coolies, but in spite of the elegant finish and nice upholstery of my little coupé, I found it hard to induce Frank to enter it, her objection being the human team. At last I overruled her objection, however, and we were soon at Col. Shepards, although as we had a difficult hill to mount before getting there I found it somewhat difficult to prevent Frank from getting out and walking. Wasson was also a guest of Shepards, and our host soon put Frank perfectly at her ease. We remained at Shepards five days. Frank received many calls from Yokohama people and officers of the Navy, and apparently enjoying herself heartily. On the afternoon of the 5th May F., Webb, Wasson and myself drove up to Yedo in a comfortable American ?larouche belonging to a friend of mine. I was much amused at Franks consternation at various sights on the road, and (Page 40) we all wondered how Mrs Capron would take Japan, being both prudish and a fool. By the way, I beg Mrs Cs pardon for utterly forgetting to mention before that she arrived by the steamer rather to the consternation of the Genl. who neither expected her nor desired her arrival. I had telegraphed to Hariki to have dinner prepared for us and when we arrived at Yedo tired and hungry we found our rooms decorated with flowers, and dinner waiting.
In the course of the next few days most of my friends in Yedo called and we began a round of sight seeing which lasted till we again went to Yokohama on the 20th, to remain for Mr Shepards ball on the 22nd and to make preparations for our speedy departure for Yezo.
Mr Shepards ball was a brilliant success, and F. and Mrs Seward, wife of the Consul Genl. for China, were decidedly the belles of the evening. The day after the ball we returned to Yedo travelling as we came down, in jinrikshas. We (Page 41) remained in Yedo till the 27th, packing up and getting ready to emigrate to Yezo. On the 27th, per jinriksha, we went to Yokohama expecting to sail on the 29th at daylight. The steamer was, however, delayed till the morning of the 31st, we spending the time pleasantly at Mr Shepards meanwhile. Our Yezo party is as follows: Genl. and Mrs Capron not coming at present, Mr Wasson, one of our civil engineers, Mr Holt, steam engineer, Mr Clarke, his assistant, Mr Werva, a tanner, self, wife and Webb. We had quite pleasant weather during our voyage up the coast, although the swells were quite heavy, and the abrupt mountainous coast of Nippon was always in sight, as we often ran within two miles of it. Sunday morning, the 2nd, we came into Hakodate about 10 oclock, and after waiting the slow movements of the Japanese officers the greater part of the day, we were at length landed in the custom house boat and conducted to a house on the hill back of the town, which (Page 42) formerly belonged to an American family resident in Hakodate and was bought, furniture and all, by our office as a reception house for our party when arriving in Yezo. We were informed, on taking possession of the house, that the officers had been unable to secure a cook, and that for the present we must take our meals at a sort of hotel about a mile off. This was rather unpleasant and I informed the officers that a cook must be found without delay. For the two days immediately succeeding our arrival the gentlemen of our party went to the hotel for meals, while those of F. and W. were sent up to the house. Then, finding that there was no immediate prospect of a cook I enquired of my "boy" , an English speaking servant whom I brought from Yedo, whether he could cook or not, he said, very modestly, that he would try, and at dinner perfectly astonished us, he did so well. The next step was to have Messrs Holt, Clarke and Werva moved entirely to the hotel, and this was effected quietly and without ill feeling.
From all I can learn of Sappro I am convinced that both on personal and business grounds it will be much better that I remain here for the next year and establish the medical school at this point, and I have talked to Kuroda, who is here at present, to that effect. We are now anxiously awaiting an answer. Yesterday I inspected the hospital, which is under a purely Japanese management, and was agreeably disappointed. I have seen worse in the U.S.
Now a word as to Hakodate. The map shows its peculiar position on a point connected to the main island by a narrow neck. The point itself is a mountain of considerable height, at the foot of which nestles the town. From the higher part of the town the bay of Hakodate on one side and the Straits of Tsugar on the other being distinctly visible. The population is about 15,000 of whom, counting ourselves, 20 are foreigners. There are three ladies beside Frank.
Was notified today that I am to remain here for the next year and may unpack and go to work as soon as possible. I am heartily glad of it. Holt and Clarke are (Page 44) to go to Sappro at once and set up sawmills etc. Wasson joins Warfield and the Chief Engineer in the field about 25 miles from here.
Just as we were sitting down to tiffin today we noticed that the sunlight had a peculiar appearance, and I exclaimed that there must be an eclipse. Sure enough, on looking out, I saw the suns disk on right lower limb partially covered. We rushed for smoked glass and watched for half an hour till the eclipse was almost an annular one and the shadow began to pass off on the right upper limit.
The steamer is just about leaving. We are all well today. Wasson left this morning for the country to join Warfield, so our household is reduced to three, and Webbs pet rabbits.
(Page 45)June 8th 1872
Busy at the hospital and in trying to get our goods brought up from the warehouses.
Ditto. Called to see an English officer on board the Jap. steamer Thabor. He is insane. Ordered a watch kept on him.
Ditto. My insane patient jumped overboard this morning.
Succeeded in getting part of our goods up today, and will probably get the rest tomorrow, as in addition to household furniture etc., and my library, we have a six months supply of groceries etc. Our goods are numerous and bulky.
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