"The streets are not at all dirty, and in this respect are vastly different from those of any other city we have seen in China. The authorities evidently pay some attention to keeping them clean and preventing the accumulation of dirt. The fronts of many shops are fully open to the street, and the merchants know how to arrange their wares in the most tempting manner. You see lots of pretty things, and are constantly tempted to buy, and it was very well for us that we agreed not to buy anything till the last day, which we were to devote to shopping.
The Doctor listened to him, and was not long in arriving at a conclusion.
PAPPENBERG ISLAND. PAPPENBERG ISLAND.
The return to Yokohama was accomplished without any incident of consequence. Fred was a little disappointed to think that their lives had not been in peril. "Just a little danger for the fun of the thing," he remarked to Frank; and at one time on the way he was almost inclined to gloominess when he reflected on the situation. "There hasn't been any attack upon us," he said to himself, "when there might have been something of the kind just as well as not. Not that I wanted any real killing, or anything of the sort, but just a little risk of it to make things lively. It's really too bad.""There is a story in Pidgin-English verse of how a Chinese student befriended an American, who was a photographer by profession. The American believed that one good turn deserved another, and so, when the[Pg 416] examination time came round, he photographed 'The Classics' on the finger-nails of his Oriental friend. The student was allowed to wear spectacles during his examination, and so he bought a pair of magnifying-glasses that enabled him to read every word that he wanted. He came out at the head of his class, and was no doubt very thankful that he had done a kindly action towards a stranger.
The Japanese are great lovers of fish, and, fortunately for them, the coasts and bays which indent the country are well provided with finny life. The markets of Yokohama, Tokio, Osaka, and all the other great cities of Japan are well supplied with fish, and the business of catching them gives occupation to thousands of men. Many of the Japanese are fond of raw fish which has been killed at the table, and is to be eaten immediately. The fish is brought alive to the table; its eyes are then gouged out, and strong vinegar is poured into the sockets. The epicures say that this process gives a delicate flavor that can be obtained in no other way; and they argue that the fish does not suffer any more in this form of death than by the ordinary process of taking him out of the water. But since the advent of foreigners in Japan, the custom has somewhat fallen off, as the Japanese are quite sensitive to the comments that have been made concerning their cruelty.In a little while all was arranged to the satisfaction of everybody concerned, and our friends were installed in a Japanese inn. What they did there, and what they saw, will be made known in the next chapter.
Frank thought it would be proper to have his sister understand the process by which the articles she desired were prepared, and, with the assistance of Doctor Bronson, he was able to write her an account of it that she could study, and, if she chose, could read or tell to her friends. Here is what he produced on the subject:"Then we found how lucky it was we had brought along a mule litter, as Fred rode in it the rest of the day. Next morning he made our guide change ponies with him. In half an hour the guide was in a mud puddle, and saying something in Chinese that had a very bad sound, but it didn't help dry his clothes in the least. On the whole, we got along very well with the ponies in the north of China, when we remember the bad reputation they have and the things that most travellers say about them."In China the women pinch their feet, so that they look like doubled fists, but nothing of the kind is done in Japan. Every woman here has[Pg 257] her feet of the natural shape and size; and as to the size, I can say that there are women in Japan that have very pretty feet, almost as pretty as those of two young ladies I know of in America. They do not have shoes like those you wear, but instead they have sandals for staying in the house, and high clogs for going out of doors. The clogs are funny-looking things, as they are four or five inches high, and make you think of pieces of board with a couple of narrow pieces nailed to the upper edges. They can't walk fast in them, but they can keep their feet out of the mud, unless it is very deep, and in that case they ought not to go out at all. I wish you could see a Japanese woman walking in her clogs. I know you would laugh, at least the first time you saw one; but you would soon get used to it, as it is a very common sight.
Fred asked if the statue was cast in a single piece. But after asking the question, he looked up and saw that the work was evidently done in sections, as the lines where the plates or sections were joined were plainly visible. But the plates were large, and the operation of making the statue was one that required the handling of some very heavy pieces. In many[Pg 167] places the statue was covered with inscriptions, which are said to be of a religious character.FAC-SIMILE OF A HONG-KONG CENT. Obverse. Reverse.The carts, or cabs, are quite light in construction, and in summer they have shelters over the horses to protect them from the heat of the sun.[Pg 362] The driver walks at the side of his team; and when the pace of the horse quickens to a run, he runs with it. No matter how rapidly the horse may go, the man does not seem troubled to keep alongside. The carts take the place of sedan-chairs, of which very few are to be seen in Pekin.
"We found the streets narrow and dirty compared with Japan, or with any city I ever saw in America. The shops are small, and the shopkeepers are not so polite as those of Tokio or other places in Japan. In one shop,[Pg 323] when I told the guide to ask the man to show his goods, they had a long talk in Chinese, and the guide said that the man refused to show anything unless we should agree to buy. Of course we would not agree to this, and we did nothing more than to ask the price of something we could see in a show-case. He wanted about ten times the value of the article; and then we saw why it was he wanted us to agree beforehand to buy what we looked at. Every time we stopped at a shop the people gathered around us, and they were not half so polite as the Japanese under the same circumstances. They made remarks about us, which of course we did not understand; but from the way they laughed when the remarks were made, we could see that they were the reverse of complimentary.The boys went on a round of shopping, and kept it up, at irregular intervals, during their stay in Japan. And in their shopping excursions they learned much about the country and people that they would not have been likely to know of in any other way.详情
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