« IndietroContinua »
narrative of a strange occurrence which not confess that I had a political object, or happened to him in April, 1854 :
wished to work against the Emperor, he could
not make the propositions he had designed, I have had a call from C-He behaved
and that the responsibility of the failure must very strangely, and whether he wanted to
rest upon Mr. Williams and myself. assassinate me, or to make some bona fide proposition from Henry V., I do not know, but
At length, however, after his last it was one or the other. He called about half
claim had been thrown out by Congress, past seven in the morning, stayed to breakfast, and remained some hours after. To keep the
when the unstable public, being palled door shut seemed his great anxiety, and he with the Bourbon question, had turned would come close up to me with hand be- to some fresher excitement, Mr. Wilhind his back, and something apparently liams retired, wearied out, to his lonely wrapped up in his pocket handkerchief, And
home at Hogansburgh. And, although though I repeatedly put the table, or the distance of the room between us, he would follow
he had yet other plans in view, it beme and come up as close as possible. So, came evident that his long and cheqfinding I could not avoid him, I improved upon uered career was drawing to a close. his example, moved still closer to him, and
For some weeks he lingered, at first in looked him in the eyes. The burden of his
severe need, at length made comforttalk was to try to induce me to confess that I had some political object in writing about Mr.
able by timely assistance; and so, Williams, and to urge the expediency of an
nursed by Indians, he died quietly on alliance with Henry V. I told him I had no the 28th of August, 1858. He was political object, although it was by no means buried near his house, and no stone improbable that political results might grow
marks his grave. out of it; but that, if I ever had such intentions, he might be very certain that I would
Was he Bourbon, or half-breed ? If not commit myself, nor would Mr. Williams, the first, as so many thought, were ever to any persons without knowing the bject of so many vicissitudes condensed into one the application, and secing credentials. IIe mortal life? If the last, what a trithen began to talk at random about affairs on the continent, as if to distract my attention, tility of invention marked this member
umph over disadvantages, what a ferplying me with questions; but I kept my eyes on him till I got him out of the door. As he
of what is generally considered an was going away, be said that since I would ignoble race !
A SEA-SIDE IDYL.
I WANDERED to the shore, nor knew I then
I wandered up and down the sands, I loitered
A VISIT TO YEDO.
BY A YOUNG NEW-YORKER.
YOKOHAMA, Feb. 15, 1868. in extinguishing a fire in which they had not I had been warned that earthquakes were the slightest personal interest. of frequent occurrence, and told to be ready By hard work and an unlimited amount of at any moment for a shock. I had the honor noise, the fire was at last subdued with the of staying in a building which, to say the loss of only the stable in which it originated, least, was somewhat shaky, and once or and I returned to my“ bunk " decidedly wet twice feeling the floor move in rather an and dirty, but otherwise none the worse for unpleasant manuer, I imagined that the wear. crisis was at hand, and had jumped up ready The following morning I witnessed the “ to take notes thereon," only to discover to proceedings of a Japanese Court of Justice. my disgust that the disturbance was occa- The owner of the burned stable, a gentleman sioned by my next door neighbor coming up- of color by the way, having strong suspicions stairs rather heavily. At last the wolf came that the fire was the work of an incendiary, at a rather unexpected time, and I was and having doubts about some of his bettoes, jostled out of bed one morning in a most examined them all, and also captured and unceremonious manner.
searched two whom he had discharged a few A few nights since, as I was returning days previous, and who had left him in rather home, I heard a cry of fire, and at the same an indignant mood. On these two he found moment saw a bright fame arising from a money and keys which had been taken from building a short distance in the rear of the a box over the stable, and immediately hotel. Situated as this town is, without any marched them off to the magistrate. The water facilities, and with but one engine of examination was conducted in the courtyard any size, a fire usually means a complete clean- of the Governor's house, and was an exceeding-out of every thing, and as the rickety hotel ingly simple matter. The complaint having was situated directly to leeward of the burn- been made and taken down in full by an ining building, I fully made up my mind to terpreter, one of the prisoners endeavored to be roofless before morning. Arriving at the make a few remarks in defence of himself, scene of action, I found that the fire had but was silenced in a most peremptory manner broken out in a livery stable, which was now by the magistrate. in a grand blaze. The engine was soon on Two officers were now sent for who fastthe ground, and all hands went to work with ened a cord about the waist of each prisoner, a will.
and they were led or rather driven to prison. The native machines soon began to arrive, From here they are taken daily and “lashed " and the place in a few moments was com- until they are willing to confess their crime, pletely blocked up by a crowd of yelling, when in aggravated cases they are burned jabbering Japs, each of whom carried a alive. bright-colored lantern, which article they Much has been written about the absence never venture out at night without. We of poverty and distress in Japan, and it had been at work a short time, and were appears to me that the Japanese coolie has beginning to make some little beadway on been entirely overlooked. The condition of the flames when we heard a cry from the these poor creatures, and there is a fearful natives, and, looking in the direction of the number of them, is far worse than slavery. noise, saw the Governor of Kanagawa ap- The amount that they can earn in tea houses proaching on horseback, attended by his and at other work is little enough, at the best, bettoes or grooms. It certainly showed a to keep body and soul together, but when commendable zeal in the old gentleman, and the greater portion of this is consumed by it strikes me that there are not many men the monthly purchase of a custom-house with his title who would turn out at eleven license, it is simply a wonder how they man. o'clock at night and ride three miles to assist age to keep alive. I have seen them by
hundreds going through the streets at dusk, United States steamer “Monocacy” were in this freezing weather, with nothing but sent to assist in subduing it, but they were nature's covering, with the addition of a informed in the most emphatic manner that thick coat of native soil, and a cloth thrown their assistance was entirely superfluous, and around their loins. After seeing a few of that they might return to their vessel. But these poor shivering wretches, crouching now look at an instance of Japanese enteralong by the side of buildings, in order, if prise. The fire took place on Thursday possible, to avoid the cutting wind, one can- night; instead of sitting down to bemoan not but think that even Japan is not entirely their loss, or waiting a single day for matters free from misery. Even in death these poor to become settled, they start to work the creatures are not allowed their six feet of next morning, while the ashes of their old carth, but are thrown by hundreds into a pit, homes are still hot to rebuild the town. Not or more properly, cesspool.
a moment is lost, but men, women, and chilAfter many tedious delays, finding that dren, with tremendous energy, collect materials there was little chance of baving any com- for their new roof, and when I passed through pany, I concluded to make the trip to Yedo the place on the following Sunday, not only alone. I had been very kindly invited “to were there a large number of houses framed, make myself at home" at the Legation, and but dozens had roofs nearly completed. having procured through the United States Every thing had been cleaned out with the Consul a guard of Yaconins, I started out one exception of a few mud “godowns,” into morning in February, mounted on a splendid which the owners had thrust their valuables, little pony, and followed in single file by the and the mud appeared to have withstood the two-sworded gentlemen. The dress of these fire very well. That was two weeks preYaconins is peculiar and unique. A pair of vious, and now the houses bad risen on both huge pantaloons, or rather bags, a tight vest, sides of us in a most surprising manner; not and a coat made with immense sleeves. On palatial residences to be sure, but answering foot their head is generally uncovered, but to keep out wind and rain. when riding they wear either a skull cap or a We were now on the Tacaido or main road neatly made straw hat. In rainy weather of the empire, a fine macadamized thorough. they envelop themselves in a straw cloak, fare (ubiquitous McAdam) extending from which, from its peculiar construction, appears Yedo to the most southern part of the island. to shed water to a great extent. The swords We now began to meet large bodies of troops are not carried by the side as in European followed by coolies carrying baggage, and nations, but are thrust through a belt, “fore officers who were being conveyed in baskets and aft," so as to be in a convenient position or cangoes. They were all in rapid motion, for use.
and I subsequently discovered that they were After a ride of about three miles, prin- some of the Tycoon's army en route for the cipally through the upper portion of Yoko- pass in the Hakoni mountains which they hama, we arrived at what remained of the were about to fortify. We rode on, keeping burnt town of Kanagawa. All along the to the left as is the custom here, when, as road the guard kept up a continual “Hey, we turned a bend in the road, I noticed just hey, hey," to clear the road, and the rapidity ahead of us an officer in a cango of rather with which the lower classes made way proved better material than the others, surrounded that they stood in some awe of the military by a guard who spread themselves across the gentlemen ; indeed, one or two individuals road, and putting on a forbidding expression, who did not keep at a sufficient distance appeared to have doubts about allowing us to from the horses, were gently taught better pass. I was beginning to think that dismanners by a sharp cut from a whip.
cretion is the better part of valor when one The town of Kanagawa extends, or rather of my Yaconins shouted “anata ! " and rushextended for three miles along the bay of ing up, they turned my pony to one side, and Yedo directly opposite Yokoharna, but one forming themselves into a hollow square, afternoon a fire broke out at the windward prepared to resist all aggression. In the end of it, and in a few hours it was a heap of meantime I had laid my hand on my revolver, ashes. At night the view of the fire was a and was ready for all sorts of sanguinary beautiful one, the flames extending for a league along the shore, and lighting up the
These Yaconins have to be careful of for. entire bay and shipping. As soon as the eigners under their care, if only in self-de. fire was discovered, sixty men from the fence as their heads are made directly re
sponsible for any injury which the “tojans” gaping women and children who, although may receive. At our grand military display they have seen foreigners several times, appear the Tycoon's men drew in their horns, and to be able at each new exhibition to discover passed on their way in the most peaceable new and interesting points in the manner, we doing likewise.
peculiar biped. We rode on without meeting with any Having delivered my note to the butler other obstruction, with the exception of the (which note looked to the uninitiated eye ag continued petitions of beggars, who line the if a playful fly had run through a puddle of Tacaido for miles.
ink, and then proceeded on a drunken spree Every description of suffering humanity over the paper), the gates were thrown open, were here; some poor creatures that it was and I entered the Legation grounds. My perfectly sickening to look at, gather on this bettoe bad followed us on foot all the way, road from every part of the island, and hav- and now stood ready to take charge of the ing managed to set up a few sticks covered pony as soon as I dismounted. with straw to keep out a portion of the rain, These bettoes are a wonderful set of felthey bow their heads to the ground to all lows. Generally small but finely formed, passers by, calling out in the most piteous they are dressed in winter in tights, with a tones, " Anata, tempo sinjo," “ Tempo sinjo." loose covering thrown over their shoulders ; It must not be supposed that there is a large in summer they content themselves with amount of pauperism in Japan, for it strikes Dame Nature's covering, but in order to make me that the proportion is small, but it is the some slight improvement on the old lady's lame and deformed who collect from all parts work, they tattoo themselves in the most of the country on these few miles of road. grotesque and fanciful manner. On the run In the towns and cities but few beggars are they are indeed marvellous, being able to seen, I noticed that these creatures seldom hold their own with any horse. The one I ask in vain, nearly all the passers by having had kept right after us all the way up, and a supply of “cash” which, though of small we went at no snail's pace, and appeared to value, is dealt out to all of them by the be as fresh as ever on arriving at the end of piece; but when it is remembered that a our journey. "cash ” is equal to but one sixteenth of a I found the Legation a fine, large house, cent, it will be seen that the beggars do not built in Japanese style on a single floor, and become rich from their spoils.
with paper doors and windows. Mine fost At eleven o'clock, having partaken of a the butler, went straightway to work, and had cup of the weakest tea imaginable at the chow-chow" prepared for me at short ferry inn, we prepared to cross a stream notice, which I devoured with a relish. I about seventy five yards wide.
had sent for an interpreter, and shortly after Their method of preparing tea is peculiar. he arrived. He was dressed in European They serve one with an almost colorless in- clothes, and had discarded the sword for the fusion of the leaves, and although it may be more useful if not more ornamental pistol. extremely “ delicate," the taste of tea is so I soon discovered that he was a good deal of infinitesimally homeopathic that I would as a traveller, having been to the United States soon drink the unadulterated hot water. with the Commissioners in 1867, and also to
The ferry boats are large scows, and as no England and France. He said that he found payment was required from us, I imagine English easy to learn, and he spoke very that they are provided at government ex- fluently, but that he could not succeed with pense. We spent about half an hour en- French, the pronunciation was " one too deavoring to persuade my pony that it was many for him.” Not supposing that he would his duty to embark, but be evidently had care to be seen in the streets with a foreigner, conscientious scruples, and we finally com- I asked him to direct the guard to take me promised matters by taking him up bodily, to the foreign Concession, and was surprised and depositing him in the scow.
at his saying that he would walk over there We now began to enter the limits of the with me if I liked. I was very glad to acgreat city, and the houses and population be- cept this offer, as my knowledge of the lan. came thicker at every mile. We arrived at guage extends to about a dozen words, which last at the Legation at half past twelve, after I fling out on all occasions, " regardless of . a ride of twenty-two miles. While we were cost” and in a promiscuous manner, in hopes waiting at the gate for the appearance of the that I may strike something that will convey head man, I was surrounded by a crowd of my meaning. The result, however, is not