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A RIDE ON THE TOKAIDO.

A frosty morning. Air keen, bracing, razor-like. Sky stainlessly clear. The Bay of Yedo glinting with unnumbered sunbeams. Blue sky, blue water, blue mountains, white Fuji. Our driver whips up the horses for sheer warmth, and we dash over the “iron bridge.” A trifling bit of iron to our foreign eyes, but a triumph of engineering to the natives, who build of wood. We pass it, and then we are on the causeway that connects Yokohama with the great main road of the empire, the Tokaido. The causeway passed, and with foreign sights behind, real Japan appears. I am in a New World, not the Old. Everything is novel. I should like to be Argus : not less than a hundred eyes can take in all the sights. I should like to be a poet to express, and an artist to paint all I see. I wish I knew the language, to ask questions.

What a wonderful picture-book! A line of villages are strung along the road, like a great illuminated scroll full of gay, brilliant, merry, sad, disgusting, horrible, curious, funny, delightful pictures. What pretty children! Chubby, rosy, sparkling-eyed. The cold only made their feet pink and their cheeks red. How curiously dressed, with coats like long wrappers, and long, wide, square sleeves, which I know serve for pockets, for I just saw a boy buy some rice cracknels, hot from the toasting-coals, and put them in his sleeves. A girdle three inches wide binds the coat tight to the waist. The children's heads are shaved in all curious fashions. The way the babies are carried is an improvement upon the Indian fashion. The Japanese ko is the papoose reversed. He rides eyes front, and sees the world over his mother's shoulder. Japanese babies are lugged pickaback. Baby Gohachi is laid on mamma's back and strapped on, or else he is inclosed in her garment, and only his little shaven noddle protrudes behind his mother's neck. His own neck never gets wrenched off, and often neither head nor tiny toes are covered, though water is freezing. Here are adults and children running around barefoot. Nobody wears any hat. As for bonnets, a Japanese woman might study a life-time, and go crazy in trying to find out their use. Every one wears cotton clothes, and these of only one or two thicknesses.

None of the front doors are shut. All the shops are open. We can see some of the people eating their breakfast-beefsteak, hot coffee, and hot rolls for warmth ? No: cold rice, pickled radishes, and vegetable messes of all unknown sorts. These we see.

They make their rice hot by pouring tea almost boiling over it. A few can afford only hot water. Some eat millet instead of rice. Do they not understand dietetics or hygiene better? Or is it poverty? Strange people, these Japanese! Here are large round ovens full of sweet potatoes being steamed or roasted. A group of urchins are waiting around one shop, grown men around another, for the luxury. Twenty cash (one-fifth of a cent) in iron or copper coin, is the price of a good one. Many of the children, just more than able to walk themselves, are saddled with babies. They look like two-headed children. The fathers of these youngsters are coolies, or burden bearers, who wear a cotton coat of a special pattern, and knot their handkerchiefs over their foreheads. These heads of families receive wages of ten cents a day when work is steady. Here stands one with his shoulder-stick (tembimbo) with pendant baskets of plaited rope, like a scale-beam and pans. His shoulder is to be the fulcrum. On his daily string of copper cash he supports a family. The poor man's blessings and the rich man's grief are the same in every clime. In Japan the quiver of poverty is full, while the man of wealth mourns for an heir. The mother bears the bairns, but the children carry them. Each preceding child, as it grows older, must lug the succeeding baby on its back till able to stand. The rearing of a Japanese poor family is a perpetual game of leap-frog.

The houses are small, mostly one story, all of them of wood, except the fire-proof, mud-walled store-houses of the merchants. Most are clean inside. The floors are raised a foot above the ground, covered with mats. The wood-work is clean, as if often scrubbed. Yet the Japanese have no word for soap, and have never until

these late days used it. Nevertheless they lead all the Asiatics in cleanliness of person and dwellings. Does not an ancient stanza of theirs declare that “when the houses of a people are kept clean, be certain that the government is respected and will endure?” Hot water is the detergent, and the normal Japanese gets under it at least once a day. For scrubbing the floor or clothes, alkali, obtained by leaching ashes, is put in the water.

The shop-keeper sits on his hams and heels, and hugs his hibachi (fire-bowl). What shivering memories I have of it! Every Japanese house has one or more. It is a box of brass, wood, or delf. In a bed of ashes are a handful of coals. Ordinarily it holds the ghost of a fire, and radiates heat for a distance of six inches. A thermo-multiplier might detect its influence further on a cold day. With this the Japanese warm their houses, toast their fingers for incredibly long spaces of time, and even have the hardihood to ask you to sit down by it and warm yourself! Nevertheless, when the coals are piled up regardless of expense, a genial warmth may be obtained. The shop-keepers seem to pay much more attention to their braziers than to their customers. What strikes one with the greatest surprise is the baby. house style and dimensions of everything. The rice. bowls are tea-cups, the tea-cups are thimbles, the teapot is a joke. The family sit in a circle at meals. The daughter or house-maid presides at the rice-bucket, and paddles out cupfuls of rice.

We pass through Kanagawa, a flourishing town, and the real treaty-port, from which Yokohama has usurped foreign fame and future history. We pass many shops, and learn in a half-hour the staple articles of sale, which we afterward find repeated with little variation in the shops all over the country. They are not groceries, or boots, or jewellery, nor lacquer, bronze, or silk. They are straw sandals, paper umbrellas, rush hats, bamboowork of all kinds, matting for coats ; flint, steel, and tinder, sulphur splints for matches, oiled-paper coats, and grass cloaks, paper for all purposes, wooden clogs for shoes; fish and radish knives, grass-hooks, hoes, scissors with two blades but only one handle, and axes, all of a strange pattern, compose the stock of cutlery.

Vegetable and fish shops are plentiful, but there is neither butcher nor baker. Copper and brass articles are numerous in the braziers' shops. In the cooper shops, the dazzling array of wood-work, so neat, fresh, clean, and fragrant, carries temptation into housekeepers' pockets. I know an American lady who never can pass one without buying some useful utensil. There are two coopers pounding lustily away at a great raintank, or saké-vat, or soy-tub. They are more intent on their bamboo hoops, beetles, and wedges than on their clothing, which they have half thrown off. One has his kerchief over his shoulder.

In Japan the carpenter is the shoemaker, for the foot-gear is of wood. The basket-maker weaves the head-dress Hats and boots are not. The head-covering is called a “roof” or “shed.” I remember how in America I read of gaudily advertised “Japanese bootblacking," and "Japanese corn-files." I now see that the Japanese wear no boots or shoes, hence blacking is not in demand ; and as such plagues as corns are next to unknown, there is no need for files for such a purpose. The total value of the stock in many of the shops appears to be about five dollars. Many look as if one clean Mexican” would buy their stock, goodwill, and fixtures. I thought, in my ignorance, that I should find more splendid stores elsewhere. I kept on for a year or more thinking so, but was finally satisfied of the truth that, if the Japanese are wealthy, they do not show it in their shops. The prosaic truth is that the people are very poor.

Tugging up the steep hill and past Kanagawa, we dash over the splendid road beneath an arch of pines, some grandly venerable, some augustly tall, some like a tottering empire, glorious in decay, but many more scraggy and crooked. We pass all kinds of dress and character on the road. The priest in his robes, brocade collar, and shaven head; the merchant in his tight breeches; the laborer with his bare legs; the samurai, with his two swords and loose trousers; the pilgrim, in his white dress, are all easily recognized. As for the beggars, we cannot understand their Chabu chabu komarimasu tempo dauna san dozo,” “Please, master, a penny;

we are in great trouble for our grub;" but we comprehend the object of their importunity. They are loathsome, dirty, ragged, sore. Now, I wish I were a physician, to heal such vileness and suffering. Who would care to do an artist's or a poet's work when the noblest art of healing needs to be practised? The children run after us. The old beggars live in straw kennels by the roadside. Some are naked, except dirty mats bound round them. The law of Japan does not recognize them as human : they are beasts. The man who kills them will be neither prosecuted nor punished. There lies one dead in the road. No! Can it be? Yes, there is a dead beggar, and he will be unburied, perhaps for days.

The driver reins up, and the horses come to a halt. We have stopped before a tea-house of whose fame we have heard, and man and beast are refreshed. The driver takes brandy, the betto tea, and the horses water. The first drinks from a tumbler, the second from a cup; the four-footed drinkers must wait. Pretty girls come out to wish us good-morning. One, with a pair of eyes not to be forgotten, brings a tray of tiny cups full of green tea, and a plate of red sweetmeats, begging us to partake. I want neither, though a bit of paper money is placed on the tray for beauty's sake. The maid is about seventeen, graceful in figure, and her neat dress is bound round with a wide girdle tied into a huge bow behind. Her neck is powdered. Her laugh displays a row of superb white teeth, and her jet-black hair is rolled in a maidenly style. The fairest sights in Japan are Japan's fair daughters.

The betto is watering the horses. He gives them drink out of a dipper ! A cupful of water at a time to a thirsty horse! The animal himself would surely laugh if he were not a Japanese horse and used to it. “Sayonara- Farewell ! ” cry the pretty girls, as they bow profoundly and gracefully, and the stage rolls on. We pass through the villages of thatched houses, on which, along the ridge, grow beds of the iris. Far and wide are the fallow fields covered with shallow water, and studded with rice-stubble. All that fat land is one universal rice-ditch. - The Mikado's Empire.

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