ENGLISH 优希麻琴本能生中出21"No," I rejoined, "the first step would be the last."Their journey brought them to Hakone, which has long been a favorite summer resort of the Japanese, and of late years is much patronized by foreigners. Those who can afford the time go there from Yokohama, Tokio, and other open ports of Japan; and during July and August there is quite a collection of English and Americans, and of other foreign nationalities. The missionaries, who have been worn down and broken in health by their exhaustive labors in the seaports during the winter, find relief and recuperation at Hakone as the summer comes on. There they gather new strength for their toils by breathing the pure air of the mountains and climbing the rugged paths, and they have abundant opportunities for doing good among the natives that reside there. "Kioto is famous in the rest of the world for its manufactures of porcelain of various kinds, and also for its bronzes and silk goods. There is a large trade in Kioto ware, and everybody says that it is increasing. At any rate, the prices they ask here are as high as in Yokohama for the same kind of articles, and some things are really dearer here than there. Some of the work in bronze is very fine, and I can tell you a funny story about the way the merchants prepare goods for the market. The incident happened yesterday, when we were in a shop with a gentleman from Kobe whom we had met at the hotel.
Fred admitted the force of the argument, but thought there would be an advantage in writing while the subject was fresh in their minds. While they were debating the pros and cons of the case, the Doctor came into the room, and the question was appealed to him. After careful deliberation, he rendered a decision that covered the case to the perfect satisfaction of both the disputants.They descended the river to the sea, and then turned to the northward. Nothing of moment occurred as the steamer moved along on her course, and on the morning of the third day from Shanghai they were entering the mouth of the Pei-ho River. The Doctor pointed out the famous Taku forts through the thin mist that overhung the water, and the boys naturally asked what the Taku forts had done to make themselves famous.
JUST BEFORE DECAPITATION. JUST BEFORE DECAPITATION."I shall send you," Frank added, "several specimens of this kind of work, and I am sure that all of you will be delighted with them. In addition to the Japanese enamel, I have been able to pick up a few from China by the help of a gentleman who has been a long time in the country, and knows where to get the best things. And as I can't get all I want, I shall send you some pictures of very rare specimens, and you can judge by them of the quality of what you have. It is very difficult to find some of the varieties, as there have been a good many men out here making purchases for the New York and London markets, and they gather up everything that is curious. The demand is so great that the Japanese makers have all they can do to supply it; but I suppose that in a few years the taste of the public will change, and then you can buy all you want. But you can't get tired all at once of the pretty things that I have found; and I think that the more you look at the pictures on the bowls and plates, the more you will admire them. You are fond of birds and flowers, and you will find them on the porcelain; and there is one piece that has a river and some mountains on it, as well defined as if it were a painting on a sheet of paper. Look at the bridge over the river,[Pg 247] and the trees on the side of the mountain, and then say if you ever saw anything nicer. I am in love with the Japanese art work, and sorry I can't buy more of it. And I think that is the case with most people who come to Japan, and take the trouble to look at the nice things it contains."
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"The Nan-kow Pass is about thirteen miles long, and the road through it is very rough. The mountains are steep, and we saw here and there ruins of forts that were built long ago to keep out the Tartar invaders of China. Our animals had several falls, but they got through without accident, and, what was more, they brought us to a village where there was an inn with something good to eat.
CHAPTER XXVI."Oh, hang the uniform!"The dinner consisted of stewed fish for the first course, and it was so thoroughly stewed that it resembled a thick soup. Then they had cold fish with grated radishes, and, finally, a composite dish of hard-boiled eggs, cut in two, and mixed with shrimps and seaweed. The table was cleared after each course before the next was brought, and the food was served in shallow bowls, which were covered to retain the heat. At the side of each person at table there were two cups. One of these contained soy, a sort of vinegar flavored with spices of different kinds, and in which each mouthful of food was dipped before it was swallowed. It is said that our word "sauce" comes from the Japanese (or Chinese) word which has just been quoted. The other cup was for sa-kee, a beverage which has been already mentioned in the pages of this book. They were not inclined to sa-kee; but the soy was to their taste, and Frank was especially warm in its praise.
The road wound among the fields where the rice was growing luxuriantly, and where now and then they found beans and millet, and other[Pg 165] products of Japanese agriculture. The cultivation was evidently of the most careful character, as the fields were cut here and there with little channels for irrigation; and there were frequent deposits of fertilizing materials, whose character was apparent to the nose before it was to the eye. In some places, where the laborers were stooping to weed the plants, there was little more of them visible than their broad sun-hats; and it did not require a great stretch of the imagination to believe they were a new kind of mushroom from Brobdingnagian gardens. Hills like sharply rounded cones rose from each side of the narrow valley they were descending; and the dense growth of wood with which the most of them were covered made a marked contrast to the thoroughly cleared fields. The boys saw over, and over, and over again the pictures they had often seen on Japanese fans and boxes and wondered if they were realities. They had already learned that the apparently impossible pictures we find in Japanese art are not only possible, but actual; but they had not yet seen so thorough a confirmation of it as on this day's ride.
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Of lacquer-ware, of all kinds and prices, there was literally no end. There were trays and little boxes which could be had for a shilling or two, and there were cabinets and work-stands with numerous drawers and sliding panels curiously contrived, that a hundred dollars, or even five hundred, would not buy. Between these two figures there was a wide range, so that the most modest purse could be gratified as well as the most plethoric one. Frank found that the dealers did not put their best goods where they could be most readily seen. The front of a shop contained only the most ordinary things; and if you wanted to look at the better articles, it was necessary to say so. When the merchant knew what his customer wanted, he led the way to the rear store, or perhaps to an upper floor, where the best goods were kept. It was necessary to walk very carefully in these shops, as they were very densely crowded with goods, and the least incaution might result in overthrowing some of the brittle articles. A clumsy visitor in one of these establishments a few days before Frank called there had broken a vase valued at fifty dollars, and while stooping to pick up the fragments he knocked down another worth nearly half that amount. He paid for the damage, and in future declined to go around loosely in a Japanese store.For three or four hours the wind continued to increase, and the waters to assume the shapes we have seen. The barometer had fallen steadily, and everything indicated that the arrival of the steamer at Shanghai, or at any other port, was by no means a matter of certainty. The order was issued for the passengers to go below, and our friends descended to the cabin. Just as they did so the decks were swept by a mass of water that seemed to have been lifted bodily from the sea by a gust of wind. The order to go below was not issued a moment too soon.
They were up before daylight, and, while the coffee was boiling, the boys watched the approach of morning. They looked far out over the waters of the Pacific, to where a thin line of light was curving around the rim of the horizon. At first it was so faint that it took a sharp eye to discover it, but as they watched and as the day advanced it grew more and more distinct, till it rounded out like a segment of the great circle engirdling the globe. The gleam of light became a glow that seemed to warm the waters of the shimmering ocean and flash a message of friendship from their home in another land; the heavens became purple, then scarlet, then golden, and gradually changed to the whiteness of silver. Far beneath them floated the fleecy clouds, and far beneath these were the hills of Hakone and the surrounding plain. Land and sea were spread as in a picture, and the world seemed to be lying at their feet. The boys stood spellbound and silent as they watched the opening day from the heights of Fusiyama, and finally exclaimed in a breath that they were doubly paid for all the fatigue they had passed through in their journey thus far.From the tea-house at the top of the hill, Doctor Bronson led the way down a steep path to the sea. At the end of the path, and opening upon the sea, there is a cavern which the Japanese consider sacred. Formerly they would not allow a stranger to enter the cavern for fear of polluting it; but at present they make no opposition, for the double reason that they have found the cave remains as if nothing had happened, and, moreover, the stranger is so willing to pay for the privilege of[Pg 179] exploration that a considerable sum is annually obtained from him. When the tide is in, the cave can only be entered by means of a boat; but at low-water one can creep along a narrow ledge of rock where a pathway has been cut, which he can follow to the terminus. Our party engaged a guide with torches, and were taken to the end of the cave, where they found a hideous-looking idol that was the presiding divinity of the place. A shrine had been erected here, and when it was lighted up the appearance was fairly imposing. The pilgrims consider it a pious duty to visit this shrine whenever they come to the island, and it has become quite famous throughout Japan.
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