Gentlemen

The 1st of July, 1859, had come and gone, and the barbarians had been
admitted into the Country of the Gods. They were only a handful; so
few that Choshiu’s samurai could have pushed them into the bay by
sheer force of numbers. While the Japanese people continued to toil,
and cared nothing if there were any barbarians in the country or not,
the samurai were getting more and more angry. Still, there was much
curiosity mixed with this anger. The barbarians were so few in number;
how could the Tokugawa, able to call an army of 80,000 men under arms,
be afraid of them.

That puzzled Choshiu’s councillors. They had not succeeded in their
attempts to obtain books and a teacher at Nagasaki, and it had been
decided that another effort should be made at Yokohama. This time the
enterprise was thought so important, that it was determined to send
one of the councillors, and the choice fell upon Kano. He accepted the
commission.

When the councillors separated, Kano requested his friend Hattori to
call that evening, as he wished to consult him. Hattori agreed to do
so, and punctually to the time appeared at the Kano yashiki.

When the two friends were seated, Kano said, “I have been thinking how
I shall go. At first I thought of asking a Go rojiu passport through
our _honest_ friend Sawa, who will do anything we ask of him, as soon
as he sees our gold. But I am afraid it will not do. The Go rojiu must,
by this time, have grown suspicious at the excellent reports furnished
by their metsuke, and I should certainly be shadowed as soon as they
heard that one of Choshiu’s councillors was visiting the Kwantô.[43]
With spies constantly at my heels, I could not do anything; therefore,
nobody except you, must know of my absence. I must, of course, trust
my household, but I know that I can do that, I have decided to fall
suddenly ill and call for a physician who will tell me that it is a
slow fever. So I shall not want him again, since he cannot cure me
anyhow. You must call two or three times a week, and spread the report
that I am neither better nor worse. If our fellow-councillors ask for
me, tell them that I intend to start at an early day.”

“But how will you pass the barriers on the Tokaido and the
Nakasendo[44]?”

“I shall probably go by sea from Hyogo. I know that this journey is one
of danger, but I must not risk the clan. I have, therefore, written to
My Lord that I am no longer one of his samurai, but a _rônin_.[45] You
must keep this paper and deliver it to the Council only in case I am
arrested.”

Hattori bowed in assent, took the paper and hid it within the folds of
his kimono. He then asked: “Are you going alone?”

“No. I must take a trusty young fellow with me, if something should
happen to me. First I thought of Ito, but he is in Tokyo, and may be
watched. I have sent for his friend Inouye, who, I am sure, has his
wits about him.”

“I hardly think that a man like Inouye, who is more given to studying
than to tramping about, will like such an adventure,” said Hattori,
smiling. “But if he consents, you could have no better man.”

“That is what I thought. He has, moreover, this advantage, that he can
not be known to any Tokugawa officer, since he has never been at Yedo.”

“When will you leave?”

“The sooner the better, to-night, if I can induce my intended companion
to leave his books so soon. Ah! here he is!”

A servant had announced the visitor by opening a sho ji, and permitting
him to enter. The customary salutations passed, and Inouye was
requested to join the two friends. Kano scanned him closely, and,
evidently pleased with the result, said:

“Mr. Inouye, you can serve the clan; are you willing to do so, even
though it involves considerable danger?”

“With all my heart,” replied Inouye simply.

“Thank you, in name of the clan. How long will it take you to get ready
for a long journey?”

“I can go now.”

Both Kano and Hattori smiled with pleasure at the young man’s brief
replies, and the former explained his scheme in all its bearings. When
he had finished Inouye said:

“I thank you, Mr. Councillor, very much for having thought me worthy of
this honor, and I shall try not to disappoint you. If you permit me,
I shall now write a similar letter to My Lord Mori, and perhaps Mr.
Hattori will do me the favor to keep it with that of your honor.”

Hattori bowed, and Kano, begging to be excused, withdrew while Inouye
was writing his letter. Kano went directly to the room where his wife
was. He entered, and, without forgetting to pay her due respects, he
said:

“I am leaving on a long journey, but I want people to think that I am
ill. I shall, therefore, lie down, and do you send for a physician.
Before he comes, send for Mr. Fujii,[46] I shall tell him what to do in
my absence.”

Kano’s instructions were followed. The physician went home very proud
at having discovered at once the councillor’s sickness. He was sorry
that he had been dismissed, but felt that Kano was right. All his
medicines could not cure such a fever. And when he thought of the fee
in his pocket, his heart almost leaped for joy. It was more than he had
received in six months.

The following morning, long before sunrise and while everybody in the
Yashiki was fast asleep, Mr. Fujii cautiously opened the little gate,
and two samurai, with their faces half hidden in a cloth wrapped around
their heads, stepped briskly out. They wore straw sandals, so that
their footsteps were inaudible. Fujii bowed deeply, and received a
parting bow in return, but not a word was spoken. After passing across
the moat, they came to the great highway and turned eastward. When the
sun rose they had covered ten miles, and decided to stop for breakfast
at the first yadoya[47] they should see.

After six days’ traveling without meeting any adventure, although they
had met several ruffian-looking rônin, they approached Hyogo. They had
carefully discussed their plans and decided to take passage in some
trading junk, bound for Yedo or Kanagawa. If they could not do so,
they would hire a boat. Kano had been many times along this road, in
charge of Mori’s procession, and knew Hyogo well. But as he knew that
passports were demanded from every traveler stopping at an inn, they
decided to pass the night at a village yadoya, and proceed to Hyogo on
the following morning.

They found what they wanted two miles west of Hyogo. After securing
their rooms, they had their bath, and ordered dinner. Presently they
heard the shrill voice of the landlady scolding somebody roundly.

“You little lout” (hyakusho[48]), she shouted, “I sent you for fresh
fish, and you come back to tell me that there was none. No fresh fish
in Hyogo! Just think of it! And here are two honorable gentlemen, who
have ordered their supper! You shall go right back, you blockhead, and
bring me fish, fresh fish, do you hear?”

Kano was amused, but Inouye whispered to him, “Suppose we ask that
little hyakusho to find out if there is any ship sailing for Yedo.
Those little fellows who look so stupid, are often keen enough, if they
know that there is some cash for them. Shall I see him?”

Kano nodded assent, and Inouye descended to the ground floor. The
boy, a strong built lad of fifteen or sixteen, was receiving the last
instructions, and Inouye strolled slowly on the road toward Hyogo.
He had not gone a hundred yards, when he heard steps behind him, and
turning round saw the boy coming at a great pace. As the boy was about
to pass him, Inouye said:

“Wait a moment.”

The boy stopped and bowed. Inouye continued:

“You are going to Hyogo, are you not?”

The boy bowed again and muttered:–“I am, your honor.”

“Very well. My brother and myself are stopping at yonder hotel. We have
had a long march and are tired, but we must go to Yedo as soon as we
can. Can you find out if any ships are leaving, and if they take any
passengers? You are a sharp boy, and can find out if you try. If you do
your errand well, slip up-stairs so that the landlady does not see it,
and I shall pay you well.”

The boy looked up when he heard himself called a sharp boy, and Inouye
felt that he had struck the right chord. He returned to the yadoya,
where he found Kano fast asleep. He, too, stretched himself out upon
the soft mats, and closed his eyes.

They awoke at the shuffling of feet, and the noise of dishes being
brought in. Both enjoyed their supper. It was dark and the rain doors
had been closed; but they opened them to enjoy the soft sea breeze.
Neither of them spoke, when a whisper came from under the balcony:
“Sir, sir, I have brought him.”

Inouye recognized the boy’s voice. Quietly measuring the height, he
took one of the comforters serving as bed, and fastening one end to the
railing swung himself over, holding the other end in his hand. A man
was standing near the boy, and Inouye asked who he was. The boy told
him that he was a sendo. He had found a ship that would leave for Tokyo
at dawn, and told her master that two gentlemen at his inn wished to
take passage. This sailor had been ordered to show them the way, and to
carry their baggage.

Kano and Inouye were highly pleased. They left enough money to pay
their bill handsomely, and, after Kano had joined his friend, rewarded
the boy. Preceded by the sendo, they made their way to Hyogo and
reached the junk in safety. They secured sleeping accommodations, and
when they awoke the following morning, and went on deck, they saw that
they had left Hyogo far behind.

The junk had a fair voyage. The passengers who had not been on the
ocean before, had suffered from seasickness, but, since the junk
generally followed the coast, and often passed through smooth water,
they had quickly recovered. The voyage up Yedo Bay had been very
pleasant. But they met the tide when they were off Kanagawa, and as
there was but little wind, the master had anchored.

If they had known it, they would have looked behind them with some
interest, for there was the spot where Commodore Perry had anchored,
and with his fire ships, had battered down the door of Japan’s
isolation. That was five years ago. These five years had brought
serious trouble upon their country, and there promised to be graver
disturbances; for, as there was restlessness in their clan, so there
was restlessness everywhere.

As Kano stood thinking thus, he heard Inouye ask the master of the junk
how long it would be before they reached Yedo. The answer was that they
must wait six hours before the tide turned, and that then it would take
many hours unless the breeze freshened. “But,” he continued, “if your
honor is in a hurry, I can call a sampan (row boat) and you may be set
ashore at Kanagawa. Then you can follow the Tokaido, and reach Yedo
to-night.”

Kano turned toward the master, and said briefly: “Do so!” A little
while after a sampan passed within hailing distance, and soon the two
rônin were speeding toward the shore.

Kano and his friend made their way to a quiet yadoya at Noge hill,
where they could be sure not to be disturbed by the trains of daimiyo
passing to and from the capital, and would be free from impertinent
questions. After they had secured accommodations and refreshed
themselves with a bath, they took their dinner. Neither spoke of the
subject uppermost in his mind, their future plan of action. They were
now in the Tokugawa country, and every man might be a spy. Besides,
there was no privacy in a house where the walls consisted of sho ji,
and even a whisper could be plainly heard in the next room. Therefore,
when they had finished their dinner, Kano proposed a stroll. They
set forth, and walked in the direction of Yedo. They were sure to
be unobserved, since the Tokaido was crowded with travelers of all
classes, and samurai were not likely to be questioned after they had
passed the barrier.

When they had reached a part of the road where they could talk without
danger of being overheard, Kano said:

“We have arrived at the first stage of our journey. Have you thought of
any plan to attain our end?”

“I have been thinking, of course,” replied Inouye, “but I have no
doubt that you have conceived an excellent scheme.”

“No, I have not. Every plan I thought of, when I came to work it out,
offered some very serious obstacle. I feel as if I am running my head
against a stone wall. We may go into Yokohama, and if we are asked who
we are, we may answer that we are rônin. But if they ask what we are
doing, and we reply that we are curious to see the barbarians, they
will say: Very well, you have seen them now, so you had better go about
your business. From that time we shall be beset with spies, or we must
leave. This is a difficulty which I had not foreseen.”

“Your idea is to study the barbarians, is it not?” said Inouye
thoughtfully.

“Yes. Our clan must not act blindly. We must know what is the purpose
of those men in coming here; but that is not all. We must also know
their strength and their weakness.”

“There is but one way in which that may be done,” muttered Inouye, as
if speaking to himself.

“Then that way must be chosen,” said Kano. “What is it? You do not
hesitate on account of the danger, I hope?”

“No; but I do hesitate on account of the humiliation. Look here, Mr.
Kano, I will give you my views frankly. If I were alone, that is, if I
had been commissioned by you, I would have left my swords behind, and
offered my services to these barbarians in any capacity. I would have
entered into such employment as promised the best opportunity to watch
them when they were among themselves and off their guard.”

“But how would you understand their speech. You do not suppose that
they converse in our language, do you?”

“No,” replied Inouye, smiling, “but our Japanese interpreters at
Nagasaki tell me that it does not take long to learn that tongue, and I
do not suppose that there is much difference in the languages spoken by
these barbarians.”

“Well,” said Kano, “I admire your scheme and like it. But such a step
requires consideration. Let us return to our yadoya and think it over.
To-morrow morning we can decide upon our future action.”

When they arrived in their room, the two friends sat down before the
hibachi, smoking and sipping their tea. After some time Kano stretched
himself on the mats, and was soon sound asleep. Inouye noiselessly
opened a sho ji and slipped through, closing it in the same manner.
He then went down to the lower floor, and entered the front part of
the house which serves as office, kitchen, and as refreshment hall for
transient wayfarers of the poorer class.

Here he found the landlord, squatting behind his tiny desk. As Inouye
approached, the landlord bowed low, since, although the guest was
now dressed in kimono only, and had left his swords up-stairs, he
remembered having seen him enter as a samurai. Inouye sat down within
easy reach of the landlord, and asked: “How far is it from here to
Yokohama?”

“That depends, your honor, upon the way you may choose. Across the new
causeway it is about two miles, but it is further by sampan.”

“Are there any guards?”

“There were, your honor, but the barbarians made so much fuss about
them, that they were withdrawn.”

“Then anybody may go in there without any impertinent questions being
asked?”

“Oh yes, your honor. The barbarians do not seem to care as to who
comes.”

“Have you been there?”

“Yes, I have been there twice. When the first barbarians landed I
thought that I would go and see how they looked. I was disgusted! Not
one of them possessed any manners. They shouted at the top of their
voices, pushed and crowded each other, and acted as if they were
possessed of demons. It was horrible.”

“Then why did you go again?”

“My little son was very sick, and some traveler told me that these
barbarians possessed powerful charms. Every physician said that the
boy must die, and I thought that I would try to obtain a charm that
would save the child’s life. So I went to the gate at the causeway and
asked where I could purchase those charms. He told me that he did not
know, but when he knew what I wanted them for, he advised me to go
to an American physician who lives in Kanagawa near the causeway. I
did so, and found him at home. He was a tall, powerful man, but very
kind. There was a Japanese in his house who could understand me, and
when the physician knew what was wanted, he and the Japanese gentleman
went with me. When we came home, he asked some questions, examined the
child tenderly, and gave it some medicine. He and his friend remained
three hours, and only when the child was sleeping peacefully, did he
leave. The next day he came again, and the next, and the next, and now
the child is as well as ever. And he would not accept any money. All
barbarians are not bad men, that is sure, but most of them are very
rude.”

“Do you know how they live in their homes?”

“No. I have heard some young good-for-nothings of this place who had
served them as kodz’kai[49] (attendant, servant) speak about them, but you
can not believe what they say. Decent men will not enter their service.
Only a few days ago the good physician asked me to get him an honest
man, but, although I have tried hard and the wages are high, nobody
cares to take the risk.”

“Is there any chance to secure work from them in Yokohama?”

“Oh! there is plenty of work, and the pay is good. But our people do
not like it much. They have to work too hard. They are not allowed to
rest a minute, and when one of them should smoke a pipe for a moment,
and he is seen, he receives his pay up to that time, and is sent about
his business. If they treat our people in that manner, it will not be
long before they will have to do the work themselves.”

Inouye agreed with the landlord, and, while that worthy was giving
change to a servant girl, he slipped up-stairs. He found Kano still
asleep, and sat down before his hibachi thinking deeply. There was
absolute silence in the room, save when he knocked the ashes out of his
pipe.

It was quite dark when Kano awoke. “What, is it so late!” he said as he
looked out on the balcony, and saw the lights of the ships in Yokohama
harbor. “I thought I would sleep for an hour or so, and here I have
taken a whole afternoon!”

“I am glad of it,” replied Inouye. “After supper we must stroll to the
beach, for I have much to tell you. I do not think that there will be
so very much difficulty in carrying out our plans. But it is best not
to speak of them here.”

Kano nodded, and clapped his hands as a signal to serve up supper.
They spoke about the food, and joked with the servants. After having
satisfied their appetites, they strolled to the beach.

It was a calm, bright night; the only noises disturbing the almost
oppressive silence, came from the ships in harbor, or from the shrill
whistle of the blind shampooer, as he offered his services in the way
peculiar to that trade. Kano led the way until they came to a little
hillock where they could notice the approach of strangers. He sat down,
and courteously motioned Inouye to take a seat by his side. Inouye did
so, and at Kano’s request related his conversation with their landlord.

He then suggested that Kano should apply for the position of house
servant of the barbarian physician, while he, Inouye, would try to
secure work at Yokohama. But Kano would not hear of this. “No!” he
said. “This physician seems to be a good man; you must go there, and
I shall mingle with those rude people at Yokohama. But on ichi-roku
nichi[50] we must meet here at eight o’clock, and communicate each
other’s experiences. But what shall we do with our swords? They would
betray us at once?”

“That, certainly, is a difficulty, but not a serious one. Let us think
it over, we are sure to find some way out of it.”

The two samurai then returned to their inn and retired.

IX

NEW EXPERIENCE

After eating their breakfast at an early hour on the following morning,
Inouye went down stairs in search of the landlord. He found him sitting
at his desk, as if he had not left it since their last conversation. He
called for the bill, and gave such a generous tip that the landlord was
highly pleased, and showed it by his repeated and humble bows. Inouye
made a suitable reply, and then said:

“Landlord, I have spoken with my elder brother about what you told me
yesterday. The Go rojiu is anxious that some of our young men should
learn the barbarian language, and we came here to look for the best
ways and means, for it was decided in our family that I should try.
It seems to me that the easiest way would be to live with them, and
after what you have told me about the physician, I think I would like
to serve him, and my brother agrees with me. Now, it does not matter
who we are, but I am no good-for-nothing, and shall do my duty. For the
present my name is Tomori, and I ask you if you will direct me to this
physician?”

“I shall do better than that,” replied the landlord. He clapped his
hands, and when a servant appeared, he told him to bring OKichi[51]
San. Soon after the Honorable Master Kichi appeared. “Honorable Master
Kichi,” said his father to the eight year old urchin, “take this
gentleman to the house of the American physician.” Kichi bowed, and
leading the way, brought Inouye to a private house, off the Tokaido
and near the causeway leading to Yokohama. There was a small but well
kept garden in front. It was a house which had evidently been built for
a well-to-do samurai, but Inouye noticed that the sho ji, instead of
being of paper, were of a transparent substance, probably glass.

Kichi pulled the rope of a gong, the sound of which brought a pleasant
looking Japanese gentleman to the door.

Inouye bowed, and his salute was returned in the same ceremonious
manner. He then asked if he could see the barbarian physician. “I am
sorry,” said the other, “but he is out. He will be back very soon, I
think; be pleased to enter.” He showed Inouye the way to a back room,
with tatami[52] on the floor, and, after repeating the salutations,
said:

“I hope that it is not on account of illness that you wish to see the
physician?”

“No,” replied Inouye. “I shall tell you frankly what brings me here,
for I hope to secure your valuable assistance. I have always had a
love for books and knowledge, and am very anxious to study foreign
languages. I consulted my elder brother, and we came to Kanagawa
together. At the inn we heard how kindly this physician had treated
our host, and also that he is in need of a servant. My brother and I
thought that if my services were acceptable, I should offer them such
as they are.”

“You are not a Tokugawa man, I fancy.”

“Why should I not be?”

“Because your speech savors from the south,” was the answer. “I did
not ask you that question from motives of curiosity, but because most
of the men who enter into the service of foreigners, are such as are
bound to find their way to jail. Every foreigner prefers any servant to
one from this neighborhood. What name do you wish to go by? I hear the
physician’s footstep, and will speak to him at once.”

He left the room, but returned quickly, preceded by a bearded man in
the full vigor of life. Inouye prostrated himself before the stranger,
who said in Japanese which sounded quaint although quite intelligible:

“Mr. Tanaka tells me that you wish to enter my service, and I am
willing to try you. You are expected to be here from seven in the
morning until nine in the evening, and will receive a salary of five
riyo.[53] You shall have a room, which Mr. Tanaka will show you, and
you can share the meals with the other servants. If you need anything,
ask Mr. Tanaka; or if you want to speak to me, come to my room. I shall
expect you to-morrow morning; you can now go and bring here what you
may have as baggage.”

Inouye prostrated himself again. Tanaka then showed him his room,
which was in one of the outhouses, but far more pleasant than his own
quarters in Choshiu. Everything was clean. He was then taken to the
room where the servants took their meals, and to the bathroom reserved
for them. At last Tanaka told him that he could take possession at any
time during that day, so as to feel more at home when his duties should
commence.

When he had left the physician’s house, Inouye hastened back to the
inn. He was dazed and did not know what to think. He would tell his new
experience to Kano and consult with him. He entered the yadoya, and,
answering the smiling landlord’s humble welcome with a slight bow, he
hurried up-stairs. Kano was evidently expecting him, but showed not
the least sign of curiosity. Both saluted as became samurai, and upon
Kano’s invitation, Inouye sat down and lit his pipe, waiting for Kano
to speak first.

“Have you succeeded?”

“I have.”

“When will you enter?”

“I have agreed to begin to-morrow morning, but I can occupy my room
to-day, and bring in my baggage.”

“Then you had better make some purchases. Here are a hundred riyo. Nay,
do not hesitate,” for Inouye was surprised at such a large sum being
offered to him, “for your work is of great value to the clan, and you
may need it; something may occur, or you may be suspected, and Choshiu
can not afford to lose so worthy a samurai as my young friend Inouye
has proved to be.” Inouye bowed low, to hide his confusion. It was
so rare that a samurai of Kano’s rank bestowed praise that Inouye was
deeply moved. Kano pretended not to notice the emotion, and continued:
“While you are making your purchases after dinner, I shall go to
Yokohama and see what success I may achieve. But what shall we do with
our swords?”

“I could take them with me to the physician’s house.”

“Very well. You will wait here for me until I return?”

Inouye bowed assent. Dinner was ordered and brought up; after it was
eaten, the two left the house, barefooted and in simple cotton kimono.
They went together as far as the Tokaido, where Inouye pointed out
the physician’s residence. Kano noticed it closely. They then parted,
Inouye turning to the left to visit the stores, while Kano descended to
the causeway, and followed it toward Yokohama.

It was six o’clock before he returned. Inouye had noticed that Kano
had avoided asking for particulars. He, as younger in years, and less
high in rank, would have committed a severe breach of good breeding
amounting to a crime, if he had asked a question except in explanation.
The same ceremonious salutations took place, and supper was ordered.
After it was over, Kano said:

“We are now about to part. I am to begin to work to-morrow as a
ninzoku.[54] I have been engaged by a fellow, a Japanese, who will have
a taste of the lash before I am entirely through with him.” The false
smile and suppressed emotion with which this was hissed out between his
lips, proved how pitilessly in earnest he was. “But we shall reserve
our observations for a month from now. We meet every fifth day, as we
agreed yesterday. Here are my swords,” saluting reverently as he handed
them to his companion, who received them with marks of even greater
reverence.

Inouye concealed the swords, with his own, among his clothes. He then
took the bundle to the door. Here he turned round, and prostrating
himself, bent his head three times upon his outstretched hands. Then,
rising, he bowed once more, drawing in his breath. Kano replied in the
same manner. Not another word was said, and Inouye carried his bundle
to the scene of a new life.

Kano remained alone, deeply buried in thought. Not the slightest
token of emotion was visible, yet the man was terribly wroth. His
long-practised self control enabled him to conceal the passion he
felt by that stolid look of contemplation which completely veils the
thoughts. He sat motionless, regardless of the time, mechanically
answering the servant who arranged the comforters for his couch. The
streets were silent, the yadoya had closed up for the night, and still
Kano was sitting there motionless as a statue. Midnight was past,
when he felt for his tobacco pouch. Stirring up the few sparks in the
hibachi with the chopstick-like brass tongs, he took a few whiffs at
his pipe, and then, confident that he had schooled himself for the
coming ordeal, he lay down upon his couch.

X

FRIENDSHIP OR HATRED?

Six weeks had passed. It was in the evening after supper, when three
samurai were sitting in the room overlooking the garden of Choshiu’s
yashiki in Yedo. Guards were stationed within easy distance, so as
to encircle the principal building, one room of which was occupied
by Kano, in virtue of his influence within the clan. It was known
that the Go rojiu had scattered more spies about the yashiki of the
great southern clans. Kano, who, had arrived only that morning, had
immediately ordered the captain of the guard, to produce a list of
every person living within the yashiki or its grounds. Together they
had scanned every name, and those who were not personally known to the
Councillor or the Captain, were served with a notice to depart, and had
been escorted to the gate. Kano had also given orders that a report
should be prepared at once, explaining who was responsible for their
presence. Until this had been sifted to the bottom, a number of young
samurai of known loyalty had been selected to guard the palace, in
turn, and they had received orders to cut down any one found prowling
in the grounds. A search was made under the palace, and it was only
when satisfied that floor nor ceiling had been tampered with, that Kano
felt he could speak without fear of being reported.

After he was satisfied of his privacy, he had sent word to the guard
at the gate that, when Mr. Inouye should arrive, he was to proceed
immediately to the palace. The answer was that Inouye was in the
yashiki, and in the apartments of Mr. Ito. Kano had then sent a request
to the two friends to visit him in his room. They had returned with the
messenger, and had taken supper together. The servants had brought tea
and tobacco, and had been dismissed.

“Gentlemen,” said Kano, “we shall now proceed to business. Mr. Ito,
your friend has probably informed you of what has brought him to Yedo?”

“Beyond mentioning incidentally that his visit was connected with
business of the clan, he has not done so, your honor.”

“That is entirely like _my friend_ Inouye. It was like a true samurai,
although, in this case, so much caution was superfluous. I am, however,
pleased, because I shall have the satisfaction of enlarging upon the
merits of our friend.”

Inouye bowed to the ground, and protested that he had only acted as
every samurai of Choshiu would have done. Kano then proceeded to unfold
the events leading to their mission, and their adventures, until
the time when they entered upon their novel experiences, while Ito,
although deeply interested and astonished, preserved the same placid
countenance. Kano continued:–

“We met, as agreed upon, every fifth day. It was, I confess, a relief
to me to see a face I could trust, but I would not permit our friend
to tell me his experience. It was because I desired facts, and not
mere impressions. The investigation regarded the welfare of the clan,
hence, of course, no sacrifice could be too great. Above all, the
council desired impartial accounts; justice, full justice, must be done
to the barbarians and to the Tokugawa, and that the judgment might be
unbiassed, time nor expense should be taken into account. I am, even
now, sorry that an accident drew the attention of the Tokugawa spies
upon me, and compelled me to leave suddenly. It was not difficult to
baffle those dogs, and I am quite sure that they lost all traces of
me. They are probably burying my body now. It was owing to my supposed
death that I could warn our friend here, who will now, I am sure,
entertain us with his experience.”

Inouye bowed and said: “If I had been permitted to give your honor my
impressions, when I was first engaged by that _good_ man, the American
physician, they would not vary materially from what I can now state
as my knowledge. From first to last, he and his family treated me with
the greatest kindness. I was known to him as Tomori, the kodz’kai; yet
when he _requested_ me to do something, it was always with a ‘please!’
and he invariably thanked me. He observed that I was anxious to acquire
his language, perhaps Mr. Tanaka, his interpreter, had told him so. The
first day, when the work was done, he sent for me, and, taking a book
from his shelves, began to teach me. Thanks to his patience, I can now
fairly read and speak his language.

“The work was light; to be sure, it was not the work of a samurai, but
I was not made to feel that I was a menial. At first I was shocked
when I saw that his wife was really the master in the house, and that
he paid her marked deference whenever they met. They ate together and
walked out together. But I found out very quickly that, while she
directed the affairs of the household, and looked after the children,
she did not interfere with his work, except to help him. She looked
after all of us, to see that we were made comfortable, and often, when
my morning’s work was finished, she would say: ‘Tomori San, bring your
books; perhaps I may be able to help you.’ Truly, she is a good woman,
as her husband is a good man.

“Everybody in the house was required to come in the dining-room, in the
morning before breakfast, and in the evening after supper. When Tanaka
came for me the first morning, and I asked him what this meant, he only
smiled, and told me to ask again, in about two weeks. I thought it was
part of my duty, and, of course, I went. I watched Tanaka, and did as
he did. We sat down, and the physician read to us in his own language;
what it was, I could not understand. Then they all fell on their knees,
while he spoke aloud; at last, he and his family sang, and then we were
dismissed. I saw that Tanaka was unwilling to explain, and did not
press him. In about two weeks I began to understand some of the words,
and then it dawned upon me with horror, that this physician belonged
to the jashui mono,[55] the corrupt sect. Then I remembered the edict
of Iyeyasu[56]:–‘The Christians have come to Japan to disseminate an
evil law, to overthrow right doctrine, so that they may change the
government of the country and obtain possession of the land. If they
are not prohibited, the safety of the state will surely be imperiled;
and if those charged with the government of the nation do not extirpate
the evil, they will expose themselves to Heaven’s rebuke.’ I was
horror-struck, and felt that, indeed, I was running in danger for the
sake of the clan. But that same thought calmed me. What was the danger
compared to the clan. And as I grew calmer, I remembered that I did
not see any crosses, and that the priests of Iyeyasu’s time were not
permitted to marry. Still, as my duty permitted me to go into any room,
at any time of the day or evening, I watched the physician, his wife
and children so closely that they could do nothing without it being
known to me. I had my pains for my trouble. I discovered nothing,
because there was nothing concealed. I kept watching, I never relaxed
until the time I left, because it was my duty to the clan. I have since
discovered that the physician and his wife are Christians, but surely
there has been either a terrible mistake made, or there are two sorts
of Christians. At any rate, they do not belong to any corrupt sect.

“I will now sum up my experience. I have learned their language to
a considerable extent. I have learned that there are many foreign
nations, differing in language, habits, customs, as much as we differ
from those of China and Korea. I have also received from the physician
a book which gives the size of each country, the population, the army,
navy, and a great many other interesting facts; but I would doubt its
accuracy, only the physician tells me that it is very nearly correct.
What made me doubt is that, in referring to Dai Nippon, which they
called Japan, it is stated that we have two emperors, one spiritual and
one temporal, whom they name Tai Kun.[57] When I showed this to the
physician, he smiled, and said that it was our fault that foreigners
knew so little of our country, because we had never permitted them to
come and enjoy its beauty.”

Inouye then produced one of the large geographies used in our schools.
He showed them the map of the world, and the size of Japan compared
with that of other nations. The map of the United States was closely
examined, as well as that of the ocean which separates it from Japan.
All this was new to Kano and Ito, and both were absorbed in the
subject. Inouye explained as much as his limited knowledge of English
would permit; although his progress in that language, considering the
time he had been able to devote to its study, was simply marvelous.
At last Kano requested Inouye to put the book up until some other
opportunity. The geography was then carefully wrapped up in cotton,
and again in embroidered silk, showing the great value attached to it.
Both Kano and Ito asked minutely about the daily life of the physician,
whom they did no longer mention as “barbarian,” but Oisha-san,[58]
Honorable Mr. Physician, a token of the favorable impression made upon
them by Inouye’s simple account. All these questions were answered
promptly, and it was past midnight when Kano broke up the meeting with
the words:–

“Gentlemen, this has been a very pleasant evening to me, none the less
because I am surprised. My experience is very different from that of
Mr. Inouye. I intended to give it to you this evening, but he has
beguiled us with his interesting account. The clan will appreciate what
he has done: the knowledge he has acquired will be of great usefulness,
and his loyalty to the clan deserves recognition.”

Kano called a guard to conduct the two friends to their quarters, and
all retired to rest.