Charles Frederick Holder.

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been sojourning: in the house of
Naka-San for three weeks, never
before had he encountered the
maid of the sam/sen, and he
determined to discover who she
was. At all events he could try
the persuasive power of gold
upon old Naka. So, when that
toothless dame came to serve his
tea that evening as usual, he
met her with an affable and
friendly manner that surprised

He asked many questions con-
cerning the neighborhood and
neighbors, which Naka answered '
cheerfully but carefully. She
an?" was also diplomatic. Yes, she
knew every one thereabouts, but
mentioned no young lady that cor-
responded in description to the one in
whom Jack was interested. As she
was about to remove the little tray
containing the teacup, she discovered
a piece of gold therein. Naka started
and looked interestedly round about
the room ; her gaze rested upon the
little pot of chrysanthemums, upon
the bracket in the wall, upon the little
wooden god that posed upon the
stand in the corner, and finally set-
tled upon Jack, who had patiently
watched the workings of the charm
upon the untutored Naka-San. Then
lifting the piece of gold from the tea-
cup, Naka, after gazing for some time
upon the coin, slowly handed it to
Jack. But Jack pushed her hand



"It is yours, Naka-San ; yours
for a keepsake. When I go away
you will buy lots of pretty things
with it."

Naka's face relaxed into a grim
smile, and she made a courtesy to
the very floor. "Oh excellency,"
she broke in, "my memory so bad.
Never can I remember some things.
Let me think ; yes, there is another —
there is one more. She arrived day
before yesterday ; the little Yono-San,
I mean. She and her aunt, who is a
far off cousin of mine, live there — in
the little cottage. She has lived for
two years at Tokio. There she went
to school and learned everything,
everything." Naka-San's tongue was
now loosened, and it ran as a mill
race. Behold the power of gold !

Jack learned too that Yono-San was
descended from an illustrious race ;
her grandfather was a daimic of the
province of Yamashiro. She was even
distantly connected with a Shogttn.
No, there was no plebianism in pretty
Yono's blood, no indeed ! Another
gold piece concluded the recital, and
Naka even promised to effect a proper
introduction to the granddaughter of
the daimic.

The next day Yono-San failed to
appear in the garden, whereat Jack
was much cast down, but in the even-
ing he was gratified to learn from
Naka-San that the fair Yono's Aunt
Shorisha would be pleased to meet the
young American stranger.

Two hours later found Jack com-
fortably seated in the pretty little
drawing-room of Aunt Shorisha, a
stiff and formal old lady who smiled
at stated intervals and sipped tea con-
tinuously. But Jack did not mind
this ; his attention was chiefly de-
voted to the little Yono. ' ' Youo is
demure and beautiful, sweet and
charming, " thought he, as he noted
her pretty dimples and graceful mo-
tions. Her eyes glowed with interest
as he described his country, its cities
and the thousand and one things here-
tofore considered by him so common-
place. The diffidence with which she at

first met him wore off, and the English
she had learned at the school at Tokio
now proved useful to her. Then she
played at his request upon her beloved
samzsen, and sang ever so many pretty
little airs of her country in her own
native tongue. The soft, spicy breeze
that blew gently through the open case-
ments came from tropical gardens like
a sensuous caress. The half-lighted
interior, with its grotesque bronzes
and its old lacquer decorations, the
striking, stately figure of Aunt Shor-
isha, and the pretty little figure that
played upon the stringed instrument
and sang those wild, quaint songs,
seemed to Jack a dream of orientalism,
and he thought long about it that
night ere he fell asleep. And this was
the beginning.

After that Jack came often ; and
often he and Yono sat in the garden
in the cool summer-like afternoons
and evenings, listening while Yono
sang, or else bringing out his own
favorite guitar, and playing thereon
the old songs that had been silent to
him for many years. And thus passed
many weeks ; weeks of listless pleasure
to Jack, who had by this time ceased
to remember the unpleasant past, or
merely thought of it as a vexatious
episode. He almost forgot San Fran-
cisco and every one there, and became
imbued to the soul with the soft and
dreamy atmosphere of this lotus land,
ever redolent with perfume — the land
of never-care. And he welcomed its
ensnaring sensuousness with eager-
ness, and delighted in a life that car-
ried with it no trouble, no exertion,
no pain. And Yono — who could
tell ? Jack himself could not analyze
the changeful but always charming
humors that animated her, as many
and as pleasing as the prismatic col-
ors that broke from the sunbeams
falling upon the snowy summit of
Fuji-San, yonder. At one time play-
ful, bubbling over with merry wilful-
ness ; again, sedate in her studied
decorum and conventional stateliness,
and then melting into grave and
changeful moods. Sometimes her dark




eyes softened into a fascinating inti-
mation of fondness that made Jack's
heart beat with keen pleasure, only to
change suddenly to pain and anxiety
as he studied upon the future.

They took many walks together
amidst the magnificent old groves of
cryptomeria that abounded. They
inspected parks and gardens and drank
sakS from tiny cups served by pretty

He gathered blossoms and mosses and
strung them into garlands which he
wound about Yono-San's neck.

Presently Jack espied a gorgeous
cluster of a rarely beautiful flower
hanging high from a moss-grown
cryptomeria's projecting limb. Yono
wanted it of course, and of course, too,
she must have it, although it was
with no little difficulty that Jack


damsels. They visited Kori shops
and drank tea, and sometimes Yono
herself officiated in the brewing of it.
Jack declared it nectar — although he
had ever hated tea before — and drank
many cupfuls. They visited the little
shops and bazaars that beset his way,
and he purchased all manner of pretty
and interesting things for Yono.

On a certain day — the Feast of the
Cherry Blossoms — they started with
light hearts to a bower at the foot
of Fuji, where some of the exer-
cises of the day were to be held.
Aunt Shorisha also went, but being
fat and elderly elected to travel in a
kuruma, but Jack and Yono would
travel afoot, albeit it was no more
than a ri distant. The morning was
beautiful, the air soft and fragrant,
and the birds melodious on the way-
side. Yono was as a child on a holi-
day from school. She chased the
great blue and gold butterflies and
when she at last caught one, tied it by
its struggling wings to Jack's hat.

climbed the great trunk to the depend-
ing blossoms. He was about to pluck
the coveted flower when the slender
bough upon which he stood, snapped
short and he fell heavily to the ground
below. The distance was not great,
but the shock was sufficient to stun
his senses. Yono screamed with true
femininity as he fell, and seeing him
lying upon the ground, his white face
upturned and his eyes closed, went at
once into a spasm of wailing, believing
him dead or at least fatally injured
Tenderly she drew his head upon her
lap and fell to caressing his face with
her hands, while tears fell from her
pretty eyes. And thus it happened,
when Jack's scattered senses presently
returned, he found his head reposing
softly and comfortably, and Yono's
eyes looking into his with a mixture
of tenderness and grief. And was he
correct in the surmise that he had felt
the warm pressure of a kiss upon his
forehead ? At all events he closed his
eyes again, quite unnecessarily, and



felt quite comfortable and contented,
albeit he was aware of a sharp pain in
his ankle. He almost forgot to rise
until Yono inquired with affectionate
solicitude whether he was hurt ; then
he discovered that he was unable to
move without pain. Yono aided him
to a reclining position against the
offending tree, and presently Aunt
Shorisha came along and also soon
a jinrikisha that was empty. Into this
latter Jack was carefully placed with
the help of its attendants and they
started homeward, Yono-San walking
mournfully at the side of the jinrikisha
and constantly adjuring the carriers
to select the smoothest part of the

It might have been a hardship for
Jack to be laid up in his room thus
disabled, but he found that there was
a compensation in being the object of
solicitude from the whole household,
and particularly that Yono had con-
stituted herself his almost sole nurse
and attendant. A native physician
felt of the injured member and assured
him*that only rest, together with fre-
quent applications of a magical lotion
he himself prepared, were required
for a speedy recovery. And it was
Yono's fair hands that deftly applied
the medicament and tenderly wound
the bandages, and there seemed to be
so much hypnotism about her soft
hands that Jack was ever asking for
repeated treatment ! Then she at-
tended his many other wants, filled
his pipe and even lit it for him. She
sang in her sweet way many songs,
and wrote invocations in verse to the
gods upon fragile bits of rice paper,
asking for his speedy recovery. These
she threw from the w r indow from time
to time, where they were taken up by
the breeze and wafted far away on
their missions of mercy. 'Twas thus
the season wore on in happy abandon-
ment. Aunt Shorisha came from time
to time upon the scene and seemed
quite happy at the condition of affairs.

About three weeks after the acci-
dent, and when Jack had recovered
sufficiently to walk about with the

slight assistance of a cane, he sat one
afternoon upon the little trellised
piazza, looking in content and com fort
upon the beautiful scene surrounding
him and watching the graceful figure
of Yono-San as she flitted about the
garden, engaged in the pleasing pur-
suit of manufacturing a bouquet of
japonicas and roses— for himself as he
well knew. He had almost forgotten
the other world from whence he came,
nor indeed did he desire to recall it.
Why not take up his permanent abode
here, in this quiet paradise ? The
world would not miss him, neither
cared he for it. This part of it was
strange in its paradoxes — a kingdom
of opposites— but a happy, don'l rare
life suited his temper now. And then
with Yono-San he might be truly con-
tent and happy — who could say ?

His meditations were interrupted
by a footstep. It was the little bare-
legged man who ran errands, did
chores, and occasionally served as a
carrier of letters. This time he came
trotting up to the piazza where Jack
sat, and suddenly dropping upon all
fours before him, dipped so low that
his forehead touched the ground, and
the little bald spot upon the top of his
head came prominently into view.
Then he quickly arose and handing
Jack a buff envelope, nimbly ran
away. Jack knew it was a telegram,
and hesitated to open it for he knew
its portent could hardly be less than an
interruption to his pleasant summer.
He looked at Yono coming up the
path, waving a great bouquet over
her head, then slowly opened the mis-
sive. As he feared, it was important,
for it announced that a rich aunt in
San Francisco was ill and besought
his presence, as she feared her days
were numbered. Poor Aunt Fanny !
Jack had more than ordinary affection
for his Aunt Fanny ; besides he ex-
pected to be the chief heir to her great

He looked again at Yono-San who
was coming to him, her eyes bright
and sparkling, her cherry lips parted
with a smile that disclosed her pearly



teeth. His heart grew tender, and
he wondered what she would say when
he told her. But it must be done and
at once. As Yono tripped lightly up
the steps she noticed the little slip of
paper in his hand, and glancing up at
his sober face instantly divined

"What is it, Sir Jack?" she in-
quired anxiously.

"Bad news, Yono; bad news indeed.
I must go home."

Yono grew white and let fall
the bouquet.

' ' You go awa}' ? Home — to leave
me — us? Oh, you cannot mean it,

Leaning heavily upon him poor
Yono closed her eyes and sighed
deeply, her bosom heaving convul-
sively in her pain.

Jack hardly knowing what else to
do, kissed her tenderly upon her
cherry lips. Half opening her eyes
she endeavored to stand unaided.
"Don't go, Jack," she murmured,
" don't leave me."

" But Yono," said Jack, and there
was self-reproach within him — "Yono,
I will come back. Yes, in the spring,
when the cherry trees bloom again
I'll be here." And he meant it, too.

This revived Yono-San, and she
tried to look happy. Then Jack went
on to explain his connection with
Aunt Fanny, financially and other-

What Jack meant to do when he
"came back" he could just then
have hardly explained to himself.
He tried to define his future relation-
ship to Yono late that night, as he
sat outside his room smoking, as was
his habit when a problem was to be
solved. The garden below was in
obscurity, the remittent lightning of
June bugs appearing in that dark
space like a rapidly moving con-
stellation. The soft perfume floated
dreamily about him with its semi-in-
toxicating influence, and as he gazed
pensively upon the thin crescent moon
that hung like a silver scimeter above
Fuji-San, he thought that nowhere

else could he live so contentedly.
Yes, he would return.

Next day Jack was ready to go.
As a keepsake at parting he gave
Yono a fine diamond brooch, and
fastened it himself at her pretty throat.
Then he jumped into the waiting
jinrikisha, and with a last kiss and
word of promise, was off. Yono stood
a long time at the wicket, watching
the disappearing vehicle as it sped
down the road among the low-boughed
plum trees. At the bend of the road,
leaning far out of the conveyance, he
threw her a farewell kiss, to which
she responded by a sad waving of her
hand, and, as he was lost to view, she
burst into tears, and going within the
house consecrated gifts to Jizo, the
travelers' deity.

Jack was petulant and cheerless
during the whole journey. Ere he
reached his destination his Aunt
Fanny had died, leaving him a hand-
some legacy, together with an unfin-
ished lawsuit that seemed boundless
in its harassing tardiness. Worse
than all, it demanded his personal
attendance, and what with this and
other business necessary in the final
adjustment of Aunt Fanny's estate,
the whole winter was consumed.

The glitter and blaze of the city,
the artificiality of the drawing room,
as he designated it, palled upon him.
The smirking young men and the
frivolous young women made him
sigh for the gardens and freedom of
Omiya again. And then Milly Ben-
son was married, and although he
was glad of it, he felt grieved and in-
jured because she seemed happy and
almost forgetful of their past mutual
tenderness. At last, there seemed a
prospect of getting through with it
all, and just when he was congratu-
lating himself upon this prospect, he
fell ill of fever, and lay for many long
weeks unable to think consecutively
upon any subject.

When convalescence came at last,
the summer had almost passed. Many
hours he had spent dreaming of the
flower-land across the Pacific. His



thoughts dwelt with pleasure upon
the green fields, the water-falls, the
gardens of Omiya, and upon Yono-
San. "Poor Yono," thought he,
" what would she think of him and
his promise now ! ' ' More than a
year had passed since that day he left
her, and he had promised to return
in the spring. But at last he was

met by old Naka-San, or perhaps by
Yono herself, was displeased. The
strange servant knew no English, but
he understood that Jack was inquir-
ing for Yono. But Jack, in his im-
patience making no progress with
that name (for his inquiries were met
with a blank stare) asked for Naka-
San. A look of happy intelligence

i mmWNS

'jjdp' .


* -Tat-



able to travel. The swift speeding
steamer was none too fast for his
thoughts, that dwelt in the gardens at
the foot of Fuji -San.

One afternoon he found himself
ascending the road amid the rows of
plum trees that ended at Yono-San's
dwelling. He had come for a pur-
pose, and Yono-San was a part of
that — the whole of it — for he would
remain here always. That he had de-
cided at last. He knocked impa-
tiently upon the door, once, twice, ere
his knock was answered by a pictur-
esque looking kato, a stranger to him,
who with abject prostrations desired
to know what the honorable stranger
wanted. Jack, who expected to be

overspread the kato's face, who made
a low obeisance and hastily departed.
Presently the panel slid back and old
Naka dropped upon her knees before
him, and tapped the polished floor
with her head.

"Rise, Nako," said Jack, "I've
come back to see Yono-San — to stay
here forever ! Where is Yono-San,

A troubled look overspread old
Nako's face.

" Alas, poor Nako, Angel of light,"
Nako moaned sadly ; "Yono gone —
Yono dead ! Ah these many moons ! "
The words came to Jack with a rude
shock. Dead ! he never had dreamed
of anything like that ! She might

4 6 4


have gone away ; she might even
have been given in marriage — but to
die ! Instead of the shy, smiling face
of Yono, the old beldame stood there,
telling him that Yono was dead, and
beating her shrunken breast as if that
would appease him. The sun seemed
clouded, the sweetly perfumed air
grew rank and unpleasant to him as
he sat there desolate and shocked at
the sudden termination to his dreams
of the past months. At last, the
exuberance of her grief being ex-
hausted, Nako-San was induced to
tell the story.

Iyong after his excellency had gone,
Yono had pined like a wilted flower.
Daily she had picked the choicest of
Jack's favorite flowers and decorated
his old room. In the spring she had
brightened much, she sang gaily, and
stood often at the wicket by the road
looking in the distance. Summer
came, and her eyes became more wist-

ful ; she grew pale and thin, but she
still watched down the road. Then
at the end of the summer some dread-
ful fever came and she lay very ill for
a long while, pining slowly, uncom-
plainingly away. At last she died,
clasping in her thin little hands the
precious brooch she had worn con-
stantly since Jack had given it her —
she even begged that it might be buried
with her and her wish was granted.

That was all. It was enough for poor
Jack. After a time old Nako sorrow-
fully led him out through the garden
where he had spent so many happy,
careless days. Through a long lane run-
ning therefrom, and over a little moun-
tain path, within an enclosure of
bamboo bushes where the shadow of
Fuji-San fell at twilight, they came to a
little mound on which loving hands
had planted lotus flowers in abundance.
Here Jack found the grave of Yono-



WE suspected that our trout stream
was born in the high Sierras.
Its waters were icy cool, clear
as crystal, and its flashes of color, its
flecks of snow-white foam were sug-
gestive of great glaciers on the high-
lands that were fast disappearing
under the summer sun. The stream
came from a deep-wooded canon in
the main range, bounding into the
open like a living thing. Now, it
dashed merrily over smooth pebbles,
beneath trailing willows, toying with
the green leaves and piling in foaming
masses over the huge rocks ; now it
was burdened with masses of verdure
— pine cones from the uplands or
leaves of the fragrant bay — while ever
and anon great limbs and branches of
trees came sweeping down to lodge in
the boulders and obstruct the plung-
ing waters.

The stream has its moods and fan-
cies — of that we were certain. We first
knew it in the deep cailon, where it
rushed among big rocks and leaped
over moss-covered precipices — a mu-
sical, exultant thing. Now it was
deep in the gloom of big sycamores,
foaming capriciously out into the warm
sunshine that there flooded the canon.
For some distance it flowed quick lv
over gravel beds, hurrying around little
islands of stranded brush, but soon
cut its way into the rich mesa, where
it broadened and developed, and amid
green fields and nodding flowers,
flowed on to the sea.

For miles the stream, which we fol-
lowed from the mountain down, ran
silently, reflecting myriad flowers
and rich grasses : then it darted be-
neath green cottonwoods and away
into a broad laguna, where cat-tails




flourished, and the black bird reigned

We took our first fish among- the
big trees that covered the range.
There deep pools were frequent at the
base of big boulders, and creeping
gently up to one and glancing through
the big ferns that formed a barrier, I
saw a trout of heroic proportions dimly
outlined against the bottom. A rift
of sunlight poured down through the
big sycamores and illumined a spot ten
or more inches in length, and in this
the giant lay, taking a veritable sun
bath. The question was, what would
he take ? I had been using worms and
a speckled fly with some success, but
it occurred to me that this magnificent
fellow would be capricious. His game


was different from the fish of the
lowlands, where sun-burned grass-
hoppers missed their objective blades
of grass upon the bank, and went
sprawling into the stream to be snapped
up. The trout of the deep pool and
woods depended more upon flies, or
the speckled black-and-white tree-
toads that crouched upon the rocks of
the stream, mimicking them in tone
and color.

I had a peacock blue fly (a St. Pat-
rick), and this I managed to land a
foot or more in front of the fish — a
dainty, delicious object it was, a
delight to the eye, and as it rose and
attempted to fly away at the bidding
of the tip of the split bamboo, there
were few trout that would have re-
fused it. This monarch
of the pool, however, was
not to be tempted. A
few inches forward he
moved, rising slowly,
then sank back, gently
vibrating tail and fins,
eyeing the fly with evi-
dent scorn. The trout
must be caught, but
how ? I used a lighter
fly, then a brown
speckled beauty, and
finally in desperation
decided to try a frog,
one of the little tree or
rock varieties that were
jumping about the rocks.
One was soon found and
sent sprawling into the
pool. A blaze of light,
a quick, sharp, splash-
ing report told that this
was indeed the lure to
his taste. The pool was
not over ten feet in
width, and formed an
artificial basin leading
by a gentle fall to the
stream below. The first
rush took the line be-
neath the ledge, where
the fish had evidently
lived for seasons undis-
turbed. Then out he




came, and tailing to rid himself of the
torturing hook, took a magnificent
leap over the falls to the music of the
reel. How it sang, and how nobly the
great creature tried every manoeuver
known to the gamey tribe ! That the
line was not cut a score of times
was something of a miracle, but I fol-
lowed down stream, and finally landed
the beauty among the brakes and
ferns of the bank — the "bonniest

fish," as my Scotch companion said,
ever taken from these waters.

Fishing here cannot be compared to
like sport in the East. The mountain
streams are often hard to follow, ami
the fisherman must often lower himself
from rock to rock ; now finding pools
six or eight feet deep, and anon walk-
ing over rocks that form the stepping-
stones of a shallow. How the trout
obtain a footing in some of these high





basins is a mystery. In some of the
streams they are found in pools that
are entirely isolated from the stream
so far as fish migration is concerned,
and the only explanation is that the
trout have forced their way up during
floods, when a great mass of water
was pouring down, forming a contin-
uous stream.

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 60 of 120)