September 7th, 8th 1871
Sept. 7th 1871
I dont know that I can give you a better idea of how luxuriously we are living here in "Caprons Luck", as we have nicknamed our little palace, than by giving you our (Page 30) dinner bill of fare today. It was as follows, and is no better than usual: soup, vermicelli, roast beef, woodcock on toast, capon boiled (not Capron!), slices of chicken with mushrooms, shrimp salad, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus, string beans, baked beans, cabinet pudding, champagne sauce. Confectionery. Wines - sherry, claret, sauternes, champagne. How is that for high! and cost us not one cent. fact is, I cant spend a cent, everything is paid for, even to our exquisite manila cigars.
Some of the lady passengers who came over with us in the steamer arrived at the Yedo hotel today in company with several friends (American) from Yokohama. We have invited them to Tiffin tomorrow (12 oclock lunch, which is here a square meal) and we will, accordingly, entertain 12 guests tomorrow. I sent for the cook this evening to know what he could give us. He made many apologies to the effect that there was not time to do his best if we could put up with 24 dishes! I told him I thought we could. Anyhow, we would (Page 31) try to. I dont know all the party who are coming but will tell you all about it tomorrow evening. This morning we received an invitation to dine with all the highest officials of the Government the day after tomorrow. I expect it will be worth writing about if I dont have to post my letter that day. If so it will go into the next. We are, I believe, to present ourselves before the Mikado himself the coming week. It will be an almost unprecedented thing. Nothing has been done today except continue writing, at least by me, so I have no new observations to make, only that my respect and admiration for this wonderful people is increasing daily. But Hariki has come to give me my lesson, and I must to work.
Sept. 8th, evening.
Are we in Japan? in the unknown, semi-barbarous country the books (written all at least 10 years ago) speak of? I can hardly believe it. Our party came off duly today, and was superb. It could not have been more exquisitely done at Delmonicos. In the morning I unpacked our silver which we have so far (Page 32) had no occasion to use, and our table was really superb. As for the cookery, that was perfect and fully appreciated by our guests. And now for the latter, who were all pleasant people. First there was Mr Hitchcock and wife, from Honk Kong, up here to avoid the fearfully hot weather there. Mr H. is one of the firm of Oliphant and Co. who are among the great merchant princes of the East. They are delightful people. Mrs H. is charming. They had their only child with them, a dear little girl about 18 months. Next was Mrs Hs mother, a pleasant old lady from St. Louis, named Collier, then Captain Lane from Yokohama, captain of the steam ship between there and San Francisco. Then Mrs ?Corning, wife of the Supt. of Central Pacific R.R. and her friend Miss Davis, an old maid, both fellow passengers on the America. Then Captain Dearborn and wife from Yokohama, Captain D. commanding one of the large steamers between that port and Shanghai. They had their two little girls, about 7 and 10 with (Page 33) them. Mr Rice, American Consul here, was also present, but he is a coarse, unpleasant fellow. The ladies fairly screamed with delight when they entered our house, and indeed, Hariki had made it beautiful. Superb porcelain pots of the most exquisite flowers decorated it. Bouquets were on all the tables and the perfect finish of the house itself seemed more striking than ever. I showed the ladies in to my room to take their things off, and while they were engaged there, mixed a genuine American cocktail for the gentlemen, which was highly appreciated, for, strange to say, god American whiskey is almost unknown here. When Tiffin was served we found that our cook had outdone himself and served up about 40 dishes instead of the promised 24. The wine was cooled in fresh well water, was good and plenty in variety. Altogether it was a perfect collation and was served in the best style without a single necessity for directions from us. After Tiffin which took just 3 hours to eat we joined our visitors (Page 34) on a trip to "Hamago Ten" the summer palace of the Tycoons. This is where our grand dinner is to take place tomorrow, and as we made a very hurried trip through it today, I will defer any description until tomorrow evening.
(end of this section of the Journal)
Part 5 September 9th, 10th 1871
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