2021-04-17 12:35:53

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ENGLISH "When we went into the court-room, a man had just been sentenced to receive twenty blows of the bamboo, and the sentence was immediately carried out. He was ordered to lie down with his face to the floor; his back was then stripped, and while his legs and arms were held by attendants, the executioner laid on the twenty blows with a bamboo stick about six[Pg 370] feet long and two inches wide. One side of the stick was rounded and the other was flat; the flesh was blistered at every stroke, or raised in a great puff, and it is certain that the man must be some time in getting well. He did not scream or make the least outcry, but took his punishment patiently, and was raised to his feet at its end. He bowed to the judge, and, perhaps, thanked him for the attention he had received, and was then led away to make room for some one else.The morning after their departure from Nagasaki, Frank went on deck soon after daylight. The wind was so strong that it almost took him from his feet, and he was compelled to grasp something to make sure of remaining upright. The sky was overcast, and every few minutes there came a sprinkling of rain that intimated that the cabin was the better place for any one who was particular about keeping dry. Fred joined him in a few minutes, and soon after Fred's arrival the Doctor made his appearance.

"The abandonment of the custom began in the open ports, and is spreading through the country. It will spread in exactly the same ratio as Japan adopts other customs and ways of the rest of the world; and as fast as she takes on our Western civilization, just so fast will she drop such of her forms as are antagonistic to it."FLYING KITES. FLYING KITES.

Mary's list included some carvings in ivory and some lacquered boxes to keep her gloves in. These were not at all difficult to find, as they were everywhere in the shops, and it would have been much harder to avoid them if he had wanted to do so. There were chessmen of ivory, and representations of the divinities of the country; and then there were little statues of the kings and high dignitaries from ancient times down to the present. As it was a matter of some perplexity, Frank sought the advice of Doctor Bronson; the latter told him it would be just as well to restrain himself in the purchase of ivory carvings, as there was better work of the kind in China, and a few samples of the products of Japan would[Pg 248] be sufficient. Frank acted upon this hint, and did not make any extensive investments in Japanese ivory. He found a great variety of what the Japanese call "nitschkis," which are small pieces of ivory carved in various shapes more or less fanciful. They were pretty, and had the merit of not being at all dear; and as they would make nice little souvenirs of Japan, he bought a good many of them. They are intended as ornaments to be worn at a gentleman's girdle, and in the olden times no gentleman considered his dress complete without one or more of these at his waist, just as most of the fashionable youths of America think that a scarf-pin is necessary to make life endurable. A large number of carvers made a living by working in ivory, and they displayed a wonderful amount of patience in completing their designs. One of these little carvings with which Frank was fascinated was a representation of a man mounting a horse with the assistance of a groom, who was holding the animal. The piece was less than two inches in length, and yet the carver had managed to put in this contracted space the figures of two men and a horse, with the dress of the men and the trappings of the horse as carefully shown as in a painting. There[Pg 249] was a hole in the pedestal on which the group stood, and Frank found, on inquiry, that this hole was intended for the passage of a cord to attach the ornament to the waist of the wearer. And then he observed that all the carvings had a similar provision for rendering them useful."When we came in sight of Canton, we saw some buildings that rose far above all others, and very naturally we asked what they were. We were somewhat taken aback when told that they were pawnbrokers' establishments, and of course they were among the things we went to look at. They were filled from top to bottom with clothing and other things, and our guide explained to us that the Chinese are in the habit of pawning everything they are not using, for the double reason that they get money which they can use, and at the same time they save the trouble of taking care of the property. At the beginning of winter they pawn their summer clothes, and at the beginning of summer they pawn their winter clothes. All other things on which they can borrow money they take to the pawn-shop, even when they are not obliged to have the cash. It saves the trouble of storing the goods themselves, and running the risk of having them stolen.

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"You are wrong there," answered the Doctor; "there is probably as large a proportion of married women in the one region as in the other. The difference is that the custom is rapidly falling off."From the temple they proceeded to a garden, where they had an opportunity of seeing some of the curious productions of the Chinese gardeners in the way of dwarfing trees and plants. There were small bushes in the shape of animals, boats, houses, and other things, and the resemblance was in many cases quite good. They do this by tying the limbs of the plants to little sticks of bamboo, or around wire frames shaped like the objects they wish to represent; and by tightening the bandages every[Pg 407] morning, and carefully watching the development of the work, they eventually accomplish their purpose. If they represent a dog or other animal, they generally give it a pair of great staring eyes of porcelain, and sometimes they equip its mouth with teeth of the same material. Many of the Chinese gardens are very prettily laid out, and there are some famous ones near Canton, belonging to wealthy merchants.

It was cold that night in the upper air, and there was a strong wind blowing that chilled our young friends to the bone. The sleeping accommodations were not of the best, as there were no beds, and they had nothing but the rugs and shawls they had brought along from the foot of the mountain. Fred asked if there was any danger of their being[Pg 212] disturbed by tigers or snakes, and was speedily reassured by Frank, who thought that any well-educated beast or serpent would never undertake a pilgrimage to the top of Fusiyama; and if one should have strayed as far as their resting-place, he would be too much played out to attend to any business. But though large game did not abound, there was plenty of a smaller kind, as they found before they had been ten minutes in the huts. Previous visitors had left a large and well-selected assortment of fleas, for which they had no further use, and their activity indicated that they had been for some time without food. They made things lively for the strangers, and what with chilling winds, hard beds, cramped quarters, and the voracity of the permanent inhabitants of the place, there was little sleep in that hut during the time of their stay.FATHER AND CHILDREN. FATHER AND CHILDREN."After the herald had given the names of the wrestlers who were to make the first round, the fellows came in. They were dressed without any clothes to speak of, or rather they were quite undressed, with the exception of a cloth around their loins. They came in on opposite sides of the ring, and stood there about five feet apart, each man resting his hands on his knees, and glaring at the other like a wild beast. They[Pg 231] looked more like a pair of tigers than human beings, and for a moment I thought it was not at all unlike what a bull-fight in Spain might be.

The letters were devoted to descriptions of what the party had seen in their visit to Tokio, and they had a goodly number of comments to make on the manners and customs of the Japanese. Frank declared that he had never seen a more polite people than the Japanese, and then he added that he had never seen any other people outside of his own country, and therefore his judgment might not be worth much. Fred had been greatly impressed with his discovery that the babies of Japan do not cry, and he suggested that the American babies would do well to follow the example of the barbarian children. Then, too, he was much pleased with the respect the children showed for their parents, and he thought the parents were very fond of their children, if he were to judge by the great number of games that were provided for the amusement of the little folks. He described what he had seen in the temple at Asakusa, and in other parts of Tokio, and enclosed a picture of a Japanese father seated with his children, the one in his arms, and the other clinging to his knee, and forming an interesting scene.CHAPTER XI.

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Frank was looking through the captain's glass at the persons who were moving about the deck of the bark. Suddenly he observed something and called out to his companions:

Conversation ran on various topics for an hour or more, and then Doctor Bronson announced that he would go out for a while, and hoped to give them some interesting information on his return. The boys busied themselves with their journals, and in this way a couple of hours slipped along without their suspecting how rapidly the time was flying. They were still occupied when the Doctor returned.

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Apr-17 12:35:53