5th, 6th September 1871
Sept. 5th 1871
Tonight I fear my notes must be rather short, for I have been very busy all day in the prosaic employment of opening boxes and arranging their contents for repacking. It has rained, too, all day and I havent been able to exercise my horse as I had intended. I must therefore fill my evenings notes with any thoughts that happen to come uppermost. First of these is (Page 25) the unpleasant reflection that Japan is almost entirely controlled by English diplomacy at present and that our own government, thanks to our peculiar foreign policy, keeping no troops of any kind permanently here to enforce respect of its representatives, as do all other first class governments stands always at some disadvantage. Of the four foreign papers published in Yokohama the English control 3, the French one, the Americans having no organ in Japan. Still, the children of John Bull have carried things with such a high hand that there are strong symptoms of a reaction against them. The very fact of our appointment is one indication of this, the unprecedented honours shown us on our arrival here is another. The latter has already aroused the bile of the leading Yokohama paper, the Japanese Mail, and they gave us a column of abuse yesterday. A more unpleasant thing even than this English supremacy is the want of harmony among Americans here. There is a party for the Minister, another against the Minister and a third which chimes in with the English party completely (Page 26) . All these rings are disturbed by our sudden advent anticipating interference with cherished plans of profit or plunder. We keep our own counsel, however, and shall do.
We still hear nothing of our trip to Yesso but after our interview with the Mikado which will probably be soon, we will hold ourselves as under marching orders.
By the way, I found my writing desk today, which was in one of the big boxes, and in it are the missing photographs of yourself and the children. You cant tell how much good it did me to see them. As several officials happened to be by when I took them out they had to be passed round from hand to hand and I must say, even if it flatters you, that yours, poor as it is of you, was greatly admired. Apropos of this, dont fail to have Mr Ritchie take your portrait this fall. You dont know how I have set my heart on it.
Today I have put my room in some sort of order, what with the large office desk I brought from San Francisco, two or three easy chairs of green rep. from the same place, and some rough shelves I put up on which stands my little medical (Page 27) den assuming quite a home like aspect. As I sit here talking to you I could almost look for you to answer and Webb to put in his word. But ah no! 8000 miles intervene! Just think, I havent heard one word from you since I left San Francisco nearly five weeks, and what is worse I can hear nothing for three weeks more. But if I write in this strain I shall get blue and I will quit for tonight.
Sept. 6th 1871
I write this before breakfast, not knowing what else to fill the time with till that important meal appears. What induced me to get up I cant say, but I woke about 5 oclock and as breakfast doesnt take place till 8 ½. After bathing and shaving and dressing I have time to dispose of. As I write the sound of the great bell of the temple of Dzo Jorge steals sweetly into the room. It is an enormous bell, large enough for me to stand upright under, yet its tones even (Page 28) to those as near as we are, is as sweet as a low tone of the finest organ. This bell was made about 800 years ago and is supposed to have much gold in its composition. At least to this the Japanese ascribe its peculiar sweetness of tone.
This morning is lovely and as I sit here looking out on the grand old trees of which the sun is just gilding the tips. With this exquisite house around me I feel that if I had but you and Webb here I could be content to serve His Majesty, the Mikado (at a handsome salary!) for any length of time.
I have just been out to instruct our cook in the art of making toast, although this important functionary has graduated under a French Maitre de Cuisine, and in most respects he cooks wonderfully. He has the usual French style of toast making which reduces bread to saw dust, but I hear breakfast going on the table, so I will break off until this evening.
Evening Sept. 6th
Morning spent in unpacking goods again, and afternoon in rambling among shops and (Page 29) studying Japanese. At the first chance I have I shall send Webb a full suit of Japanese clothing for a young gentleman of rank of his age. It costs but a trifle and will tickle the vain young man beyond measure. Tonight I began bottling specimens for Glover. Insects, except fleas and mosquitoes, are scarce, however, at least here. As for those insect pests, we are scratching from morning to night. Perhaps we may get used to them bye and bye.
The officials on their visit today gave, as usual, no information as to when we start for Yesso. I trust they will not keep us here all winter with nothing to do, although our quarters and food are so satisfactory. We are all longing to get into the field. Tomorrow we talk of visiting a theatre, and if we do I shall have something to write about.
Part 4 September 7th, 8th 1871
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