November 14th to 21st, 1871
Nov. 14th. Evening
Another Quiet day. Admiral and DeLong here for dinner, as well as Longfellow, whom I like much. DeLong brought news to the West Pointers that they were to have an interview with the War Department tomorrow, and would probably be employed. Another sign that American interests are looking up.
Nov. 15th. Evening
Went with DeLong this morning to show him where to my curiosities. He purchased a very elegant set of lacquer, some fifty pieces, which he intends to send home in separate lots as presents.
West pointers had their interview with the War Dept. Nothing settled yet. They have gone to Yokohama tonight. Are to have an interview with the Commander in Chief of the Japanese army in a day or two.
Since the Colorado has been here there has been a perfect stream of visitors and no time for work (Page 138). I like the old Admiral better and better. He is perfectly loveable. I like DeLong much too. The latter and I are cronies already, which is no small advantage for the writer. I think DeLong tells the best story I have ever listened to. Tonight he rattled on till 11 oclock without our having any idea of the lapse of time. I cannot tell his stories with the inimitable grace that he does, but here are two of them. I will call the first:
"Tom Walshs Presentation"
Tom Walsh is a very wealthy Yokohama merchant. Tom Walsh married a daughter of General Dix. Mrs Tom was a belle in Paris and London and is ambitious and stylish. Tom and his wife live in superb style in Yokohama, and when W.H. Seward and his party arrived there, the ministers wife being ill, and he unable to entertain them, Mr Seward accepted the hospitality of the Walshs. Seward was very anxious to be received by the Mikado, a feeling which was not in the least reciprocated by His Majesty. Nevertheless, by urgent pleading, Mr DeLong, the minister, succeeded in obtaining an audience for Mr Seward and "suite". The interview was duly appointed and, one morning, after being up(Page 139) all night at a party in Yokohama, Mr Seward, Mr DeLong, the American Consul, and one or two other officials started by steamer for Yedo. Much to the surprise of DeLong, Tom Walsh appeared on the boat in full ?fig. , blue swallow tail, white neck tie etc. Nothing was said to him and he accompanied the party to Yedo. Arrived at Yedo the party stopped at the hotel and were met by Ishibashi, the Court Interpreter. Now Tom Walsh has had several transactions with the Japanese government and has not come out with the cleanest of reputations, to say the least, and moreover, the Japanese utterly despise a merchant, be he poor or wealthy. Ishibashi knew him well, and as soon as he saw him in the room, beckoned quietly to DeLong and asked him whether it was intended that Mr Walsh should be included in the suite. DeLong said that he had no such intention but would speak to Mr Seward. Seward said that he had no intention that Mr Walsh should go. Ishibashi, speaking very peremptorily said "Mr DeLong, it is impossible. No merchant can see our Mikado". DeLong spoke with some embarrassment to Walsh (Page 140), told him that there had been objections made to his accompanying the party. Tom said that that was all right but that he would like to ride up to the gate of the castle grounds with them. Of course no objections was made to this and the party started. Now Seward had a Negro servant y clept William, and this able satellite was dressed exactly like Walsh. Well, the party arrived at the gate of the castle. Ishibashi, DeLong and Seward dismounted as well as Shepard and walked forward. DeLong, on looking back, caught sight of Tom Walsh and William coming along behind. Thinking "Hang the fellow! If he chooses to try it on his cheek, let him". Now it is the style, in cases of presentation, that the advancing party shall be met by officers at different point on the path from the gate to the castle, the rank of the officers increasing as the castle is approached. Several of these officers were reached and fell in to the procession. Tom and William still trotting on in the rear. At length they met Terasima, an old fox and a minister of the Mikado. Greeting DeLong and Seward he started on with them, and after they had (Page 141) started on far enough to fully commit Tom and William to following, old Terasima, who speaks English, turned suddenly and said sharply to Seward, "Mr Seward, your servants will remain here", looking at William and Tom. Poor Walsh and the darky had to stop. The party went on, were recd at a summer house, and a collation served. Meanwhile, a hard rain came up and the "servants" tried to return to the carriage. Alas, the gates were shut, and after being thoroughly drenched, they were at length, by the pity of a guard, directed to a small arbour from which they could see all the fun going on close by - could see the procession move to a neighbouring enclosure within which was the house that held the Mikado. Could see the return after the ceremony and could see the whole of a second entertainment, which lasted two hours. DeLong, looking out, saw poor Tom leaning against a pillar on one side, and William acting as caryatid on the other. At length the thing was over, and on the way back Tom and the darky joined the procession. Seward, being under the impression that he ought to say (Page 142) something, addressed poor Tom with the courteous enquiry "Well, Mr Walsh, how have you enjoyed yourself?". Poor Tom could say nothing, his party toilet dripping, his stove pipe hat a jelly, his patent leather boots all bursted. The story leaked out, though Mrs Walsh everywhere announced that Tom had been presented, and not long after, Tom and wife deemed travel advisable, and have not yet returned. So much for Toms presentation.
A New Order of Knighthood
Harry Parker, British minister in Japan, was complimented by his Govt. with the rank of K.C.B. (Knight Commander of the Bath). The Japanese Government was duly notified and courteously addressed the next dispatch to "Sir Harry Parker, Knight Commander of Her Britannic Majestys Bath Tub"
Nov. 16th. Evening.
Wrote this morning. Had a visit from many of the Colorado officers at tiffin, and the photographer of the fleet. The latter took several pictures of our home and a group of the Genl., Kuroda, Ishibashi (Court interpreter) and myself
(Page 143)Nov. 17th. Evening.
Nov. 18th. Evening.
Mr Pillsbury, an officer of the Colorado who has charge of the ships photographic apparatus, came off today and will stay for a few days to give me instructions in the art, as we have a fine apparatus. He and I, with an assistant, spent the greater part of the day in the grounds of the Mikado, taking photographs of it. These are the first ever taken, and it was by special favor that we got permission. If they can be printed in time I shall send you some by this mail, otherwise by the next.
Nov. 19th. Evening.
Kuroda and Tigashi gave a grand entertainment today to Admiral Rodgers. The dinner was in European style, got up by the French hotel here, and was very elegant. During the meal we were, however, waited on by pretty tea house girls, brought to our house for the purpose. Half a dozen naval officers, DeLong, half a dozen Japs and the Genl. and self composed the party. While we were at table (Page 144) a wind instrument band of Japs, concealed behind a screen, discoursed most singular mild and sad music. After dinner we had an exhibition by a troupe of jugglers in the parlor, full as good as that we have seen in America, in some things better. Meanwhile the pretty tea house girls did their best to entertain us, and the whole wound up with a dance by some of their dancing girls.
Nov. 20th. Evening.
Busy all day at official business, as I go to Yokohama in the morning, and must carry the mail with me.
Nov. 21st. Evening.
Came down on the Colorado with DeLong and the Admiral. It was very rough in getting aboard with the steam launch, and both the Minister and myself would have got very wet jackets had we not been well wrapped up in overcoats of rubber. I was the Admirals guest on board. I never dreamed that anyone could be so comfortably established on ship board as the old gentleman is. He has a large saloon a snug little study, two handsomely furnished bedrooms, and an office. In short, a complete house.
(Page 145) On arriving at Yokohama in a pelting storm I went to Dr Doves. Mrs DeLong was to have a reception in the evening to which everybody, myself included, had cards. So I started out to get a pair of dress shoes and another of white kids. Owing the the lack of carriages calculated to convey ladies in full ball costume through a heavy storm there were few ladies at the party, but a large number of gentlemen of all nationalities. Dancing was kept up till 3 oclock, and I was glad to see that my little friend, Mrs Dove, was the belle. I think, from what I saw, that Yokohama society will compare favourably with our small cities at home. The dressing and supper were fine. I did not dance. I must close till next steamer.
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