November 22nd to 2nd December 1871

Nov. 22nd. Evening
I am a little used up today owing to my unwonted dissipation. Have been busy all day making purchase of some chemicals required to complete my photographic outfit, and also in writing business letters till the mail actually closed.

No. 23rd. 12 p.m.
Have just returned from Yokohama in jinriksha accompanied by Poillon, one of the West Pointers. The day was spent as yesterday, save that I made a party call on Mrs DeLong. DeLong and family sail for the U.S. by next steamer and will go at once to Washington.

Nov. 24th Evening
Found work waiting for me and today pitched into it though it is one of the innumerable Jap holidays, and I am not required to work.

Nov. 25th. Evening
Called on Minister of War this morning to deliver a message from DeLong urging that a decision be made at once in reference to the employment of the West Pointers. I secured an interview for them with the Minister tomorrow morning. Poillon has gone down after Dunwoodie and will return tonight per jinriksha.

(Page 147) Nov. 26th. Evening
Hariki is a great boy. Today I noticed him cutting up some very nice looking meat. After a while he came into my room and asked me if I know what it was he was cutting. I gave it up and he answered as follows "You know that big white howly dog? I kill him last night. You know dem guards? I foolish dem fellers." Some questions elicited the fact that he had slaughtered a dog the night before which had disturbed us much by its howling, and had fed part of its flesh to the guards, telling them that it was veal. Apropos of dogs, we have two which are a constant source of amusement to the General and myself. One is a shaggy little Scotch terrier, a waif who adopted us and has been especially patronised by the General. The other is one of the dearest little pets you ever saw, not quite as large as a half grown kitten with long silky hair, and great solemn eyes forming a large proportion of his head. The terrier has been christened "Sáne" by the Jap boys, mine I call "Chesai", which means "Little One". The two have the run of the house, and their gambols are many. (Page 148) Chesai is never happy when not romping, unless he is on someone’s lap or bosom. He sleeps with my servant, or "boy" as all servants are called here, and rides around much of the time with his little head peeping out of the capacious folds of the boy’s robe. He is to be Webb’s when that young gentleman comes, if he will be gentle with him. The other night I thought I would try having him sleep with me, but just as I was losing myself, master Chesai thought he would take a promenade, and I was startled by a splash and a melancholy yelp. The little scamp had fallen from the bed into the slop bowl, and would have drowned had I been sound asleep.
Today the War Dept. decided against the employment of my friends the West Pointers, so they return home by next steamer.

Nov. 27th. Evening
Was roused this morning by the glad announcement "Here’s the mail". Two letters from my wife, one from my mother, and one from Russell. The Genl. and Poillon went to Yokohama this morning. The fact that the news that our arrival had not reached my family (Page 149), the sad news of the Chicago disaster, and poor Hawley’s loss, all conspired to give me a dreadful fit of the blues, which I in vain endeavoured to shake off, so I sat all day gloomy and fretting. In the evening I walked up to Jondon’s and tried to shake it off, but no use. So here I am, blue still.

Nov. 28th. Evening.
Rain all day, so as it was a holiday (Jap) I have studied Japanese, played with Chesai, and worked hard to get rid of my depression of spirits. Wrote to Capt. Morse of the America, which sails tomorrow for Hong Kong, to bring me up a set of Hong Kong dining chairs which are handsome and strong. The Jap chairs, specially lacking the latter qualification. Also sent the mail for Antisell and Warfield off to Hakodate. It made me a little envious to see the half dozen great thick letters Antisell had, post marked Washington.

Nov. 29th. Evening
A day of quiet work and study. Jondon came up to dinner and we passed the evening chatting and smoking. Horé (Page 150) called today and announced that he is going to Hakodate. Gov. Tigashi also called in and announced that he has left the Kaitakushi and is going with the new embassy to America and Europe. This leaves our friend Kuroda as senior officer, of which we are not sorry.

Nov. 30th. Evening.
Genl. returned this evening with DeLong and a Mr Irioni from Yokohama. The day was spent by me very quietly.

Dec. 1st
Today a Japanese gentleman named Iwasaki, a relative and agent of the rich Prince Toza called and invited all of us to an entertainment this evening. We went by carriage and boat in the evening about five o’clock. On arriving at the tea house, where the entertainment was to take place, we found that Iwasaki had chartered the whole tea house. We were ushered into a room about seventy feet long and forty wide, made by taking down all the partitions which usually divide it. Iwasaki said that he had intended (Page 151) to have one hundred girls to dance and sing, but had only been able get forty nine, for which he apologised. Pretty soon after we arrived the old round of soup, fish etc. began, and after eating was fairly under way the girls made their appearance and began their pranks and dances. Except that there were more girls than ever were brought out before, the thing was about the same that I have before described. After the girls had danced several pieces we got into the spirit of the thing, and DeLong and I got up and showed them the waltz, ?chottisch etc., winding up with my old favourite the Danish dance. This last tickled the girls mightily and they all insisted on learning it, and pretty nearly tired us out in teaching them. Finally our host Iwasaki, a decidedly corpulent man, caught the contagion and insisted on trying it with me. When we came to the quick whirling polka step he seemed to like it and we whirled furiously, when he (Page 152) suddenly let go, and I nearly fell while he struck on his shoulders and turned a complete back somersault, not hurting himself however. We broke up about 12 o’clock.

Dec 2nd
Longfellow was at the entertainment last night, and persuaded me to accompany him to Yokohama, whither he was going after a dress suit to be presented in today. We left Yedo at two o’clock and were driven furiously to Yokohama by a Japanese driver who kept his horses on a full run when we were going, but insisted on stopping at all the tea houses on the way, so we did not get to Yokohama till 6 o’clock in the morning, having knocked the top off our carriage and been nearly upset half a dozen times. We slept for two hours in Longfellow’s room and then started back in another carriage in a driving rain, reaching Yedo just as the Minister was ready to start for the palace, whither no one (Page 153) but Longfellow and Shepard accompanied him. I spent the rest of the day studying, and in the evening Longfellow and myself dined with Jondon, I returning home to spend a miserable night with toothache.

Part 23

Return to Home page