curtains, it reminded the Americans at a distance of
a splendid river-steamer, such as at home plied on
the Hudson. In the pavilion on the upper deck on
camp-chairs sat the Japanese treaty commissioners,
appointed to meet Commodore M. C. Perry, brother
of the hero of Lake Erie. On the silken curtains,
the bunting flags, and the horse-hair plume-banners
could be seen a variety of the coats-of-arms belong-
ing to the feudal lords on board. There was the
trefoil of mallow or asarum leaves in a circle ; that
224 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
was Tokugawa's. Then there was one of five balls
set around a central disk; another had three lady's
hats also in a circle ; another looked like a windmill ;
still another, a triangle with a square at each line,
suggested a problem in trigonometry ; the last of all
being nothing else than the design of a pair of spec-
tacles. The flags, streamers, pennants, tufted poles,
horse-hair banners, ensigns and standards of all sorts
numbered thousands, yet a true national flag Japan
did not yet possess, despite the official permission to
the daimios to use the red ball or sun-flag. The
truth was the nation was cut up into hundreds of
petty feudal factions, and when a Japanese said
" my country " he meant merely his province or
local neighborhood. The country needed pressure
from without to give it unity. As the stately barge
moved through the cordon of boats, all hands and
all heads of sailors and officers were laid prostrate
to do homage to envoys of the Yedo government.
On land there had been a sudden concentration of
population at the little village " across the strand "
from Kanagawa. Probably twenty thousand people
who had never seen Yokohama before looked upon
it now. First there were soldiers. These had been
called out of their homes in the raw days of early
winter and spring to live in the camps which lined
the bluffs and lowlands, though the Americans saw
but few of these men of war. Nobody knew but
that the American barbarians might begin rapine,
and hence the presence of the military armed with
old matchlocks and Brown Bess and Dutch muskets.
AN OBJECT LESSON. 225
Most of the soldiers, in hideous-looking armor and
helmets with flaring fronts, which made the men
look like beetles walking on their hind legs, were
posted on the line of bluffs which overlooked the
plain. In the center of the flat foreground stood
the imposing treaty-house. Farther back and roped
off was a space making a hollow square, along
which were picked troops ; the fourth line closing
the square being the water. The troops on the
plain were under arms to keep back the crowds
and allow no one inside the ropes except the officers
chosen to receive the Americans and attendants.
The Japanese made a scene of glittering display,
for the variety of colors in the silken robes, the
dazzle of lacquered helmets, and gorgeousness of
feudal insignia were positively trying to the eyes.
On the part of the Americans, twenty -seven boats
filled with five hundred men sailors, marines, and
musicians were already on the blue waters. At a
signal, bows abreast in line, they were pulled to the
shore. The officers landed first. Then the marines
formed a hollow square, and the three bands of the
musicians played lively tunes. The sailors formed
lines of blue nearly up to the treaty-tent. When
all was ready Perry stepped into a white barge and
was rowed to the shore, as the hills echoed with the
thunders which the fire and flame of the seventeen
guns of the Powhatan evoked by their salute to
Perry. As he and his officers were received by the
embassadors near the door of the treaty-house, the
boat howitzers fired two salutes of twenty-one and
226 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
of seventeen guns respectively in honor of the Ty-
coon and of his envoy, Professor Hayashi.
" There are the men whom our people call barba-
rians," said Okuma Ei, the teacher whom we met in
Yedo, to his pupil Noge" Toro.
Both were standing in the crowd on a little swell
of land at the foot of the bluffs.
" Yes, teacher," respectfully answered Noge". " Do
you think it a strange name to give them ? "
" Why, yes ; we may live to see the day when our
rulers and people will be ashamed to apply the term
i-jin to men who can build ships and cannon like
" Yet, teacher, are they not barbarous, who, igno-
rant of the doctrines of the sages, know nothing of
the ambition and ideals of a Japanese ? "
" Well, their religion is very different from ours ;
yet I imagine they must be men of study and moral
culture, or they never could do what they have
"Are not the Americans inferior to the Euro-
peans? Have I not read that the country of the
United States of America was once used by Great
Britain as a penal settlement and place of exile like
our Hachijo Island?"
The teacher laughed and said :
"No; that idea, I think, is not correct, though
some of our people believe it. The Americans are
much like the English, speaking the same language.
They revolted against Great Britain about seventy-
five years ago, and became a separate nation. They
AN OBJECT LESSON. 227
have recently had a war with Mexico, a country near
by ; but though they won many battles, they did not
subjugate the country."
"Are these the same ships, soldiers, and cannon
that were used in Mexico ? "
"Yes; the Admiral Perry and many of his offi-
cers and men were there, and some of the very can-
non on that big paddle-wheel steamer formed a
battery at Vera Cruz, which in a few hours battered
the walls to rubbish. Our castle walls would not be
of much avail against such artillery, and besides the
shells could set all Yedo on fire in a few hours."
" I have heard, too, that the Americans are great
in invention and have made many wonderful dis-
coveries. ' Is it not so ? "
" Yes ; and I hope Perry has brought some ma-
chines and will show them. To see how they talk
at the end of a wire would be the delight of my
Each of the two friends had a secret purpose,
which neither communicated to the other. Okuraa
fortunately knew one of the servants, named Kichi-
bi, employed in the gang about the treaty-house.
In figure, face, and tint of skin* weight, and walk,
this man resembled him, and with him Okuma had
made a bargain while in Yedo. On the second night
after Perry's landing Okuma met him back of a
shrine just across the canal, below the slope on
which is now the foreign cemetery, and there bor-
rowed the servant's clothes, kitte", and pass-word.
He put on the tight trowsers shortened above the
228 HONDA THE SAMU&A1.
ankles, the coat marked by the dyer with the owner's
name, Kichibe"!, in white mordant, the straw sandals,
and the knotted blue handkerchief over the forehead.
In case of Okuma's getting into trouble, or on Ki-
chibeTs desire to communicate with him, the latter
was to sing or chant like a push-cart man. No for-
eigner who hears this cry for the first time can ever
forget it, but among natives it would attract little
attention, especially when uttered in a low voice.
For nearly ten days Okuma, acting as an assistant
in the gang of servants, doing menial and laborer's
service, was able each day by due prostration and
use of commonplace speech to spend much time
unchallenged in the house erected near the treaty-
pavilion. In this house the American 1 presents,
arms, tools, maps, books, daguerreotype and electri-
cal apparatus, and machinery for the little railroad,
with the preparation of chemicals and equipment,
were exhibited and prepared. He not only assisted
in planting the telegraph-poles and in laying the
ties of the little railroad, but was present all day
long when the preliminary messages were sent in
Japanese, English, and Dutch, over a mile line of
wire, and when the little Philadelphia locomotive
made its trial trip with a mimic train of cars. All
the machinery and apparatus were at length put
together and set in working order, while the orna-
mental and useful articles were ranged in imposing
display. Then the Japanese officers from Yedo, the
embassador, envoys, secretaries, and interpreters,
came in a body to visit the curiosities and receive
AN OBJECT LESSON. 229
their presents. There were gifts from the head of
the Tokugawa family the person whom the Amer-
icans call " The Emperor." By this phrase the
Americans did not mean the Mikado, but his lieu-
tenant in Yedo, the Tycoon.
Okuma, who easily read many of the labels in
English, had a quiet little laugh all to himself, but
it was wholly inward and not visible in his counte-
nance, as he thought of the Americans calling the
head of the bakufu " Emperor," just like the bar-
barians who named him " Great Prince." When,
however, the Yedo officers were around he kept his
face down, and squatted or kneeled so low on the
ground as almost to scrape the tip of his nose, lest
he should be recognized by some of the officers or
interpreters. How he did envy one of the latter
whom he saw carrying away a copy of Webster's
Dictionary which he had received as a gift !
Most of the presents for " The Emperor," that is,
the Tycoon, were rifles, swords, or military equip-
ments; but there were also boxes of books, and
maps, dressing-cases, perfumery, telescopes, samples
of the measures, weights, and coins of the United
States, seeds, agricultural implements, various kinds
of machinery and inventions, clocks, stones, etc.,
with all the telegraph, railway, and daguerreotype
Each of the treaty commissioners and the secre-
taries and interpreters were also well remembered.
The uses of each article were explained both by
verbal description and by pictures, and the little
230 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
temporary buildings of Yokohama became for the
time an industrial exhibition. Nearly all the Jap-
anese visitors, except those of high rank, took notes
or made sketches of what they saw, while the artists
were delighted with the superb colored plates of
Audubon's Birds and Quadrupeds of America, in
splendid folio volumes.
At the outdoor exhibitions of the little railway
thousands of people looked on with delight. The
tiny locomotive and tender were only four or five
feet high, but every part of the machinery was per-
fect. The passenger-cars were hardly big enough
to hold a child, but what the train lost in size it
made up hi speed, for the little engine, once started,
moved at the rate of twenty miles an hour. This
first train of cars in Japan was for passengers, not
for freight ; but in order to get a ride the Japanese
commissioner had to sit on the roof, holding on to
the edges as he was swung round the circle, his
loose robes streaming and flapping in the March
wind. As for the telegraph, officers and people
never tired of hearing the click of the armature
and of getting instantaneous messages in Japanese,
Dutch, or Chinese ; and these feats of the far-off
writers acted like belladonna in enlarging the eyes,
if not the pupils, of the delighted folk.
As for "getting his picture taken," however, the
average native was more shy, since it was the firm
belief of many that a part of one's soul went into
the silvered plate of the camera. According to their
theory, after one has been " taken " a few score or
AN OBJECT LESSON. 231
hundred of times no spirit would be left the body
and the oft-bepictured man would be good only for
the cremator or the grave-digger. It might be a new
form of transmigration, but it was not very popular.
Thus did the Americans, with ammunition of good
things to eat and drink, gifts to please the fancy, and
the results of thought to awaken thought, bombard
the ignorance and storm the prejudices of the her-
mits of Japan. They had so long shut themselves
up in their heaven-high walls of seclusion that their
pride and self-conceit seemed invulnerable. Instead
of artillery and powder Perry, who had studied them
through books for years, now reaped the fruits of
study as surely as did Yoshi-iye*. He himself, while
in the United States, had gathered the materials to
impress their minds. He had long before planned his
method of campaign. Apparently as useless as an
attack with ram's horns, these peaceful tactics issued
in making the walls of this oriental Jericho fall flat.
The Japanese called their isolated land the "Cliff-
island Fortress ; " but instead of reducing it with his
heavy navy guns as he breached the walls of Vera
Cruz, Perry tickled the stomach, dazzled the eyes,
stimulated the curiosity, and fired the ambition of
the people over whom he won the victory of brains.
" We thought the Americans were coming to make
war on us, but they have taken a strange way to do
it," said one bakufu officer to another.
" Yes ; it 's the most delightful kind of warfare to
be in," said a hata-moto, who was a captain of cav-
alry. He had not enjoyed being summoned into
232 HONDA THE SAMUEAL
camp in the changeable March weather, and was
in ecstasies over the entertainments provided both
on shore and at the dining-table on board the ship.
" This is only the beginning of what the United
States of America is likely to do for Japan. As
for me, I am an out-and-out changed man. I came
to see savages, and I find men civilized beyond
ourselves," said a naval officer, then in low rank,
but in later years a helmsman of the ship of state
These remarks were but a very few of the hun-
dreds overheard by Okuma, though they were
usually spoken in almost a whisper, and when no
government spies were near. Yet with amazing
self-control Okuma played the part of a menial
servant, rarely, if ever, looking up squarely into any
one's face. Indeed he was exactly like some of the
subjects of the daimios who never actually looked
upon their lord's face, because out of fear or polite-
ness they always kept their eyes on the earth and
saw only his feet or clothing.
So excited with the wonderful sights that he
could scarcely sleep at night, Okuma also kept a
level head and restrained his tongue. Notwith-
standing that he heard, in addition to the covert
remarks of progressive natives, English and Dutch
spoken daily, understanding some of the former and
much of the latter, he held his peace, silencing him-
self from asking any questions or from talking in
a foreign language. He used only common people's
talk. He even refrained from taking any notes, but
AN OBJECT LESSON. 233
trusted to his memory alone, lest he should be de-
tected in using pencil and paper.
It is difficult to exaggerate the impression made
upon the Japanese by the peaceful diplomacy of
Perry, even though it was backed by an imposing
display of great war-ships. Notwithstanding the
events of later years, the idea of the United States
as "the Great Pacific Power," then photographed
upon the Japanese mind, remained as a permanent
To the majority of the Mikado's subjects the
United States of America is still the land of inven-
tion, comforts, schools, colleges, teachers, mission-
aries, hospitals, physicians and of the forces of peace
and Christianity, rather than of war and aggression.
Despite all their fear of the religion of the Ameri-
cans, a fear nourished and diligently fostered by
the government, a new meaning was in many
minds given to Christianity.
AERESTED AND IN PRISON.
HAD nothing extraordinary happened to disturb
Okuma Ei's enjoyment of new-found knowl-
edge, he might have remained in laborer's clothes
until the American squadron sailed away. An in-
cident, not altogether surprising, however, inter-
rupted his pleasure, and made him at once long for
his double, Kichibei, to change garments.
One day, early in April, the treaty having been
concluded, one of the American ships having sailed
away to America with a copy for ratification, the
American commodore came ashore for a walk in the
country, which was then glorious with camellia- trees
in full bloom, their masses of red flowers often ris-
ing thirty and forty feet in air. On the same morn-
ing a brass boat's-howitzer and several chests of
Chinese tea had been presented by the commodore.
The former was labeled, " To the Emperor " (the
Americans meaning the Tycoon). The tea was for
certain Japanese officers. Two of these latter, hav-
ing finished their duties as secretaries and being
ordered to return to Yedo, wished their tea at once
carried there. Okuma, of all men, was ordered to
carrv two of the chests and deliver them at a cer-
ARRESTED AND IN PRISON. 235
tain street and house named in ink on a label of
cedar-wood stuck in the rattan binding.
Here was a quandary. A gentleman unused to
bearing the shoulder-yoke or burden-pole to be a
tea-carrier ! He could indeed have hired more stal-
wart legs and shoulders to transport the burden, but
in Yedo, not to say the guard-house at Kanagawa,
would he not be recognized and detected if he
accompanied the porters ?
There was nothing, however, to be done but to
obey, and so along with three laborers he was put
into a boat and rowed over to Kanagawa, where they
rested for the night in one of the cheap inns.
Fortunately the three other men with Okuma were
not of his gang, and were strangers to him as well
as he to them.
Lying awake that night even after the heavy
boom of the midnight-proclaiming temple-bell had
been followed by the far-off tinkle of eight bells,
from amid the twinkling lights of the American
squadron Okuma imagined he heard, above the noise
of the snoring of the sleepers, the low crooning of
the peculiar song of the push-cart men as they drive
the untired wooden wheels of their heavily loaded
carts. He listened, and at the end of every line
heard the name Kichibe'i, which was his humble
friend's own name.
'Hai, hai, hai, da, ho, hoi Hai, hai, ho, Kichib6il"
Going out into the garden near the hedge, whence
the sound proceeded, a figure rose and a low voice
236 HONDA THE SAMURAI.
" Master Okuma, is that you ? "
" Yes ; is that you, Kichibe*i ? "
"Yes, master; I have brought you your clothes
and shall take my place again. I heard that you,
with others, were ordered to carry something to
Yedo, and I walked over from Yokohama and have
been fortunate in finding you here. I have a friend
in one of the back streets near here, and if you will
come with me to his hut you can dress yourself
while I tell you the news."
Moving off to the little house of an oil-paper
shop, where water-proof coats, leggings, hats, um-
brellas, and such like articles were made, the owner
admitted the two men, and left them alone in the
front room which served both as factory and place
" Now for the news, Kichibe'i ! "
" Well, to come at once to the matter, there are
two samurai imprisoned in a cage here in Kanagawa,
this evening, who have got into trouble because of
" Why ? how ? and who are they ? "
" One is named Honda Jiro."
" Honda Jiro ! What of him ? "
" Well, to-day the American Admiral Perry came
ashore and took a long walk in the country. In
short, he went on a flower-viewing. This Honda, it
seems, had sworn by the gods to take Perry's life.
He had stationed himself behind the closed gate of
the yard of the little inn of the village where he
had put up in the morning. The inn-keeper noted
ARRESTED AND IN PRISON. 237
that he seemed excited, and watched him. When
the American party was coming into the village, the
inn-keeper noticed Honda standing behind the gate
which would open on the street. He had slipped
back the wooden bolt, and holding the leaves of the
gate shut with his foot, he turned his sword in his
belt and spat upon his sword-hilt."
" Spat upon it ? You mean he moistened with his
tongue the bamboo pin which held the blade firmly
to the hilt. That was to avoid all danger of the
blade slipping out."
" Certainly, master. Upon seeing this, the inn-
keeper suspected his intention, and knowing that if
harm came to the Americans he himself would have
to suffer and the reputation of his house be dam-
aged, went over to the temporary government office
and gave information. Upon that, three two-sworded
men, each one armed with a long pole armed at the
end with twisted iron hooks, entered stealthily the
rear of the inn, The American admiral was just
then within a rod of the house, and Honda was just
about to rush out at Perry and draw his sword and
strike, when the three guards charged on Honda.
One twisted up his clothes with the ball of hooks,
one got his iron rake of spikes between his legs and
pulled him flat on the ground, and the third pinned
his head down to the earth with his iron yoke,
making him helpless, in spite of his sword ; they
disarmed and gagged him ; and it was all done so
quickly that the Americans probably never knew
there had been any disturbance, especially as two
238 HONDA THE SAMUEAL
other guards outside stood in front of the gate,
covering it by their figures. Clapped into a cage,
Honda was brought to Kanagawa \\tis, evening."
" Well, well ; and who is the other samurai in the
" His name is Noge* Toro."
" What ? " cried Okunia, almost losing his presence
" Yes, master ; you know him, and I am sorry to
tell it. I am acquainted with a fisherman who sold
him a boat yesterday at Ne*gishi, who wondered what
such a gentlemanly person wanted with a boat, and
at his insisting that he should row it himself," said
Kichibe'i, laughing lightly.
" The rest of the story," he continued, " I heard
from an interpreter, who was telling it to a com-
panion. Mr. Noge* Toro rowed his boat over towards
the big steamer on which the admiral lives. He
actually succeeded at first in passing the cordon of
government guard-boats, but was pursued and over-
taken. His hands were all blistered with hard row-
ing, and the sleeves and breast of his coat and the
inside of his trowsers were lined and packed with
rolls of paper and pencils. What do you suppose
he had such a supply of paper for ? "
" Poor fellow ! his idea was to get to America and
take notes on everything he saw. Was anything
else found with him money or baggage ? "
" Yes ; his two swords, a basket-trunk with some
clothing, and several blank-books and more writing
materials, and about a hundred rid [dollars] in
AMUESTED AND IN PSISON. 239
" Anything else ? "
" Yes, master; but I am afraid to tell you."
" Never fear ; let me know all."
" Well, the interpreter said that there was also a
bundle of letters and private papers, and that one
of them was a poem of yours ; they mentioned your
name, Okuma, as composer."
" Did they say anything else about me ? "
" Pardon me, master."
" Speak on, Kichibe'i."
"They said you were an accomplice of Mr. Noge"'s,
and that you would be arrested. Now, master, hide
yourself in the house ; my friend is trusty and true,
and will aid you to escape. Don't go to Yedo."
" Never fear for me," said Okuma ; " nor will I
long endanger your friend. Take these five rios for
your trouble, go back to the inn and to your old
place, and think no more of me unless I send for
you ; then be faithful as you have been."
" Thanks, master. Let me serve you if I can."
Two weeks later, and Yokohama returned tem-
porarily to its former insignificance, except for the
treaty-house still standing. The Americans' great
black ships had vanished. Little children came out
from the village to seek relics of the foreigners'
visit. The bay was once more clear of boats, save
junks and fishers' punts, and all went on as before.
But in Yedo three new men were in prison who had
never before known prison bars or prison fare. Their
names were Okuma Ei, Honda Jiro, and Noge" Toro.
On their life, during many months, we draw the veil.
A TALK OVER THE CHRYSANTHEMUMS.
"TpRONTING the swift Ashiwa River, and opposite
J- the peach-orchards on the flats at the base of
the hills, stood the house of Doctor Sano. It was
a pretty two-story dwelling of wood. It was not
roofed with black velvet, though it seemed so. It
was covered with those thin shingles, a span long
and four fingers wide, which the Japanese carpen-
ter uses by the thousands for one house, tacking
them on with wooden pins which he supplies from
his mouth, though he holds a reserve supply in his
wallet. A railed veranda ran along the front of
both . stories, somewhat like that of a tea-house, for
the doctor liked to view the scenery by day and
night. Being a physician, he could act independently
and with more freedom than other folks in building
a house, in growing a beard, in not shaving his head