28th to 30th September 1871
Sept. 28th Evening
A quiet day. As it is now fully decided that we remain in our present quarters this winter got some more furniture out of the packing cases this morning, such as bureaux etc. Genl. Frank and wife came again to tiffin and afterwards I guided them through the temple of which I saw much more than I had done before as a jolly old priest allowed us, on taking off our shoes, to wander at our own will through the interior of the temple. Neither description or drawing can do justice to the wonderful work and beauty of these pagan temples (Page 76) and as you will see them yourself before long, I shall not undertake it. On returning, sat down to write a regular letter to you, not my journal, and worked at this to me delightful occupation till five oclock when Wasson and I got our ponies and took a gallop of an hour.
I recd today from Yokohama some clothes I ordered while there. I like them much and they were every cheap. I shall now return to my letter and close my journal till tomorrow.
Sept. 29th Evening
Mr Kuroda here this morning, quite unwell. Has dyspepsia severely. I prescribed for him. Fixed up my room. Unpacked my trunk and transferred contents to bureau. Went with Capron and Wasson to tiffin with Mr Frank at the hotel and then to call on Dr Verbeck who is principal of the university here. He is from America, a splendid scholar and has 1100 pupils in the school having, of course, many assistants. Had a long conversation with him about education in Japan, past and present. This is to be resumed at some future day and I expect with (Page 77) the help of Dr Verbeck and others to be able to get up an article for Eatons next annual which he requested me to furnish and which will bring in a little pocket money.
After our seven oclock dinner Wasson and I went with Hariki and a couple of our good natured guards to see some sort of a celebration at a neighbouring temple. The temple and the streets all about it were decorated with flags and lanterns and there were several platforms on which (see sketch) decorated with life size and wonderfully natural figures of horses and demigods, the one I have drawn being crowned by Binki, a hero renowned for his great size, strength and feats of arms. The figure of this gentleman is contrasted with two representing ordinary men. We took quite a stroll through the illuminated streets which were crowded with people and lined with little stands for the sale of toys and other small articles. We stopped at an open air tea stand and drank some tea and an infusion of cherry blossoms, slightly salted, which is much liked by the people, and by me. Here I convulsed the attendant by calling her a "Chezai Moosmi" - "pretty, very small girl" and we came home.
(Page 78) While I have been writing this our interpreter has come in and told me more of Mr Binki of Hachiman, a Sintoo god, not a Buddhist one, and Binki was a Sintoo priest and warrior six hundred years ago. That such a man, equivalent to a hundred ordinary men, did his fighting to a great extent with the tools of a carpenter is believed and he is accordingly represented with them upon his back. Like all heroes and demigods he undoubtedly was a real personage, his valor and size having been much exaggerated by tradition. At one time he presented himself before the gate of a hostile city and demanded entrance. The guard desired his name and business. He replied that he was a priest of Sintoo books, which were easily read and explained by Binki, and he was admitted into the city which he opened to his soldiers and so captured. (Included in Eldridges journal is a water colour of the effigy of Binki - HT)
Sept. 30th. Evening
Rain all the morning. Read and studied. After tiffin went with Wasson to the steamboat (Page 79) and saw him off for Yokohama from whence he will return the day after tomorrow when the General is going down. Reaching home about four oclock found the Genl. booted and spurred for a ride, and joined him. We had a lovely one through the suburbs, and our guard conducted us in such a manner that when we supposed ourselves at least two miles from home we suddenly emerged from a grove at our very gate. I now go to "muse" the Genl. who cant read at night, by playing euchre with him, which you know bores me. I believe I would even prefer backgammon with you!
10 oclock. A coolie has this moment arrived from Yokohama bringing letters from the steamer Alaska which arrived about 5 oclock. Consul Shepard kindly sent them up at once. Among them are two for me. As we did not expect the Alaska for ten days yet it is a joyful surprise. The letters are dated ?Enfield July 28 and Slaterville July 2. I shall answer them on the sheet (illegible) answer to the last ones.
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