13th to 31st March 1972
March 13th. 7Learned today that several more
Americans are to be engaged by our office, among them a doctor who is to assist me, I
suppose in teaching. I am to have a talk with Kuroda about it tomorrow. A slight
earthquake shock about two oclock today.
For fear I should not get a chance to sketch or photograph the remarkable curio mentioned just above, I make the outline which is tolerably correct. (Here S.E. includes a small sketch on the page of the journal).
March 14th. Evening
Had a talk with Kuroda this afternoon but got little information beyond the fact that they are going to import some more Americans, but all at much lower salaries than (Page 21) now probably. It is difficult to do business with these people, especially through an interpreter, for our ideas are so widely different from theirs that it is almost impossible, sometimes, to secure an understanding. I am to go with the Genl. to Yezo some time in May, and at once establish two hospitals, one at Hakodate and one at Sappro, and as soon as assistants arrive am to organise a medical school. I hope I may be able to choose my own assistants, but will have hard work to keep Caprons fingers out of the pie.
March. 16th. Evening
The first outrage upon a foreigner which has occurred for a long time took place a night or two ago. The victim, who suffered nothing worse than a beating, being an Englishman as usual. I think he probably brought it on himself from what I know of the man. The culprits were soldiers, a class of whom Yedo is full, and they seemed to be an undisciplined mob. They are frequently drunk and the danger arising from their presence is no more than would exist from a similar class as badly disciplined elsewhere.
(Page 22)March 17th. Evening
March 18th. Evening.
A quiet day. The Govt. has issued an order to the troops enforcing civility and good behaviour to all Japs and foreigners alike. Today Mr Porooks, the Editor of the Japan Herald, came up and this evening insisted that Antisell and myself should go to a tea house with him. We went, taking one of our interpreters with us. The house we visited is not far from us and is the most exquisite I have yet seen. It is very rarely visited by foreigners, and as the girls are not demoralised I took a great fancy to one of the singers because she reminded me much of Lucy Weber, especially when she boxed my ears for some joking remark, not that her American prototype ever did box my ears, but that I thought the Jap lady executed the feat just (Page 24) as Lucy would if she took the contract to do so. We had a Japanese dinner of very good style. I propose to give Frank a specimen of Jap entertainment at this house when she arrives.
March 19th. Evening
No wonders during the day. Dr Elliot, an American dentist from Yokohama, came up today to spend a week with me. He is an excellent amateur photographer and will my native one while he is here. I shall try to get a portrait to show my full beard which gives my face the fuzzy appearance of a newly hatched chicken.
A headache today, the result of my native dinner last night.
March 20th, Evening.
A quiet day. Shepard came up this afternoon and this evening we al went to call on Gen;. Williams and the Kaisejo people. Four jinriksas, with two men to each, rattled us in the moonlight by the frowning walls of the castle, and as the evening was warm and the moon nearly full the ride was delightful.
March 21st. Evening
Another quiet day spent in preparing the (Page 25) official mail. This evening Genl. Williams and several others to dinner. Williams, who only arrived by the last steamer, leaves for America by this to transact some financial business for the Japs.
March 22nd, Evening.
I close my journal as the mail goes to Yokohama tomorrow morning. Have been busy all day at official work.
On this point in the journal there is a slip of paper that has clearly been placed between the leaves at some time. On it is written, in black pen and dated "Mar 22", in Eldridges writing, the following: "Today noticed a slight one sidedness to my face, and on projecting tongue found rather to my disgust that it went away over to one side. I stop smoking at once and forever, for I believe that the disturbance is purely functional and the result of tobacco. Still, it may be but the beginning of the end". What Eldridge is describing is a Transient Ischaemic Attack - a form of stroke but on a small scale and which resolves often within minutes. It is usually associated with a cardiac irregularity, atrial fibrillation, and is indeed commoner in smokers. If it did occur when he was only 29 years old, then he was remarkably young for such an event. The rather ominous final sentence to this addition might not, then, have been without justification. But he lived for almost 30 more years - and the cause of his death was recorded as having been heart disease. I have further reason to believe that there was, and is, a genetic predisposition to this form of heart irregularity in that line of our family. At that time the risks associated with smoking were not as well known as they are now - HT.
March 26th. Evening
I have been at Yokohama since the 23rd, staying at the U.S. Legation. Nothing of mark occurred except the arrival of the mail this morning. I had a fair share of letters and learned something of my wifes movements.
March 27th. Evening
Came up last night from Yokohama. Were met by the rather startling rumour of an attempt to assassinate the Mikado. The story as we have it is that ten armed men endeavoured to force their way through the castle gates, and that five were shot down by the guards while the others were captured and speedily decapitated.
(Page 26)March 28th. Evening
A quiet day. No news.
Sunday and a lovely day. Went with Wilson and his wife up the rive to the tea gardens of Mukojima which I have before described.
Return to Home Page