PLOTTING

The next morning had been a busy one for Kano. All the officers of the
clan, entitled to the privilege, had called to pay their respects.
It was eleven o’clock when the Commandant requested an audience. He
was admitted, and reported that the evening before one of the younger
samurai, returning home from a visit to a Tosa friend, had been grossly
insulted by two men; that he had drawn his sword and had killed one and
seriously wounded the other. The affair had taken place not far from
the yashiki, and the captain of the guard had despatched some men to
the scene. The wounded man was carried in and had since died. He bore
the Tokugawa crest, and a letter addressed to the Go rojiu was found
upon him. The Commandant delivered the letter, and asked what was to be
done.

Kano had listened with little interest, only ejaculating sometimes a
polite nara hudo![59] to show that he was listening. When he read the
inscription,–the name of the sender is always upon the address of a
letter,–there was no longer lack of interest. It was from Sawa! Was it
a trap or was it fate? His questions showed the importance of the case.

Had the samurai been placed under arrest?

Certainly.

Who is he? ’Hm! a man above reproach.

What are his habits? Regular? Very well, but let him be closely
investigated. Enjoin the strictest silence upon the guard. Let the body
be placed in a coffin, ready for funeral. Was the man’s comrade dead?
That was ascertained? Very well. The matter would be duly considered,
and instructions would follow in due time.

Kano was toying with the letter. What should he do? This was a business
that must be decided by the Council of the Clan. But who constituted
the council? Kano smiled, for he was alone. Hattori and himself.
Hattori had his own opinions–until he was made acquainted with those
of Kano. That was all true, but this was a matter of life and death,
and Kano hesitated. Suddenly a thought struck him. “Yes,” he thought,
“that young man has brains, and thinks for himself; he is the man I
need.” He clapped his hands, and when the attendant appeared, desired
him to invite Mr. Inouye to call at once, and that his friend Mr. Ito
should favor him with a visit after dinner.

He had not long to wait before Inouye appeared. Kano at once invited
him to enter, and at once told him of the fight and the difficulty it
involved. Inouye’s face was expressionless, but when Kano asked him
what he would do in this case, he inquired:

“Has your honor examined the samurai?”

Kano replied by requesting him to act as secretary, and together they
repaired to the Commandant’s quarters. Writing materials were brought,
and the prisoner entered.

He was a manly youth, twenty or twenty-two years old. He prostrated
himself before the councillor, and, upon being told to give an account
of the affair, he told simply that he had applied for and received a
pass from the Commandant to visit a friend in the Tosa yashiki. That he
had returned home by way of the inner castle wall, and, after crossing
the bridge, two samurai had purposely run against him, and called him
a lout. He had demanded an apology, whereupon one of them had ordered
him upon his knees. At that insult he had drawn his sword, and had
duly punished the insolent braggards. He had then returned home, and
reported the affair to the Commandant.

Kano had the prisoner removed, but when the Commandant reported that he
was of exemplary antecedents and conduct, he was brought in again, and,
after exhorting him to keep silence, he was commended for his courage
and discharged. The Councillor gave orders to have the body cremated,
and returned with Inouye to the Palace.

They had dinner together, and after the room had been cleared, and the
servants withdrawn, Kano deliberately opened the letter, and read it.
He then handed it over to Inouye, who also read it carefully, returning
it to Kano, who said:

“It seems that we must return to Nagato. Sawa’s conscience begins to
prick him unless the council has stopped his supply of money, or he has
been reproved by the Go rojiu. He says in his letter that it is said
that I am ill, but that he does not quite believe it. Well, as soon
as I get back, I shall invite him to call, and scold him roundly for
neglecting me so long. That, and a few hundred riyo, will appease his
tender conscience. I wish I could sweep the whole Tokugawa breed from
the soil of Dai Nippon! Ah! here is your friend Ito!”

As soon as the expected guest was seated Kano said:

“It is now my turn, gentlemen, to go over my experiences with the
foreign devils. Mr. Inouye will remember how I went to Yokohama in
search of work. When I arrived, I entered a tea house, and after
taking a cup or two, inquired where I might get work. I was directed
to the hatoba,[60] where I found a number of ninzoku, moving cases
and bales. I asked of one of them who was their employer. He rudely
pointed to a man of about my own height, who was scribbling in a book.
I went to this person, and offered my services. The rude dog said
curtly:–‘Wait!’ I tell you, gentlemen, it was well that I had left
my swords behind, for I came very near forgetting myself; as it was,
my palms itched. The people close by seemed accustomed to this sort
of treatment, for no one paid attention, except one who looked at me
curiously for a moment. After about five minutes, the fellow came up
to me, looked me over as you would look over a horse you wished to
buy, and then said curtly: ‘Come to-morrow at seven. If you are late,
you need not come at all,’ I said nothing, but promised to teach that
fellow manners, before we parted finally. Nevertheless, I was on hand
in time the next morning and enjoyed some very wholesome muscular
exercise. It was then that I had occasion to notice the first foreign
devil. He was a tall and well-built man with reddish hair and beard,
and walked as if the earth belonged to him. A small coolie was in his
way, and he lifted his foot, and kicked, actually kicked, that poor
fellow out of his way. I jumped up as if I had been struck myself, when
the same man who had looked so oddly at me the day before, seized me
by the girdle, and without looking up, whispered:–‘You are forgetting
your purpose!’ He was right, and brought me to my senses. Well,
gentlemen, that day I saw Japanese wantonly struck and knocked down,
without any provocation whatever, by several of those foreign devils.
At noon most of the coolies ate their lunch where they worked, but the
man who had spoken to me came up and said: ‘There is a small yadoya
close by, shall I show you the way?’ I thanked him, and followed. I
secured a room and was back in time to train my muscles into whipcord.

“When evening came, I went back to the yadoya, and after taking my
bath, had supper. I must say that I enjoyed both more than I ever had
before. I was about to lie down, when I remembered that I had not
thanked my unknown friend, who decidedly was not what he seemed. I was
going down to ask the landlord if he knew him, when I saw him standing
in the door. He motioned to follow him; so, securing a lantern from the
landlord, I did so. He led the way past many houses built of stone, to
a creek. There was a rude bridge, leading to a path ascending to the
hills. At the crest he stopped and waited. We were at a point where
nobody could approach us unobserved, and he bowed as only gentlemen do.
Of course, I returned the salute in the same manner. He then said:–

“‘Disguise between you and me is useless. Down below there, I am
Eto,[61] a ninzoku; here I am Teraji,[62] a Satsuma samurai, at your
service.’

“I have not yet decided what I am down below,” I replied, “but at this
moment I am Kano of Choshiu, very glad to acknowledge the service
rendered to me by the Honorable Teraji of Satsuma.”

“‘Oh! that is nothing. The situation _is_ sometimes a little awkward. I
understood your feeling, and was on the lookout. These foreign devils
_are_ brutal, but it is their nature, I suppose, and they can not
help it. But I grieve to notice that this sort of conduct renders our
people, who come in contact with them, brutish. They lose all respect
for authority and the Tokugawa, or whoever succeeds them in power, is
going to have trouble with this class of people.’

“You do not mean to say that the ninzoku are deficient in respect to
our authorities?”

“‘If they are not yet, they are rapidly growing so. You will notice
it yourself. At the same time, you will observe that there is a very
great difference among the foreigners. While none of them possess the
breeding of a gentleman, there are some naturally wicked, while others
have a kindlier disposition. I do not believe that there are many who
like to inflict pain. It is easy to perceive that none of them have
learned self-restraint, but that they are all under the influence of
the passion of the moment. The brute who kicked that poor ninzoku for
instance. He was in a hurry, and it was less trouble for him to reach
his destination by making room for himself in this manner, than to wait
until the coolie could make room for him.’

“What astonished me is that the ninzoku took the attack without
resenting it.”

“‘Well, there are two reasons. Some did resent it at first, but these
foreigners are trained to use their fists, and, man for man, our people
have no chance. But wait until the coolies grow acquainted. At present
they are from the poorest and most thriftless classes of all parts of
Japan. Soon, however, they will all be residents of Yokohama, and then
they will form into a union. When that time comes I will venture to say
that there will be few foreigners who will dare use either fists or
feet. But it is getting late. To-morrow we do not work. Every seventh
day, the foreigners have a holiday, and we shall be able to take a long
walk.’

“We returned to the inn, and parted at the door with a boorish bow.
That was the extent of my experience on the first day. It was enough to
supply me with food for thought.”

Kano rose slowly and left the room. When he returned after a brief
absence, he was in kamishimo,[63] a white or hemp-colored dress used
only upon the most solemn occasions. He sat down between the two
friends, who, astonished as they felt, maintained the same impressive
countenance. After thinking for a few minutes, which to Ito and Inouye
seemed an age, he resumed:–

[Illustration: “HE WAS IN KAMISHIMO.”]

“Gentlemen, Mr. Teraji and myself have given the barbarians a fair
trial, and we have come to the conclusion that they are not wanted in
this fair land of ours. We do not believe that they have any other
object in view except trade, but whether they have or not, it is
immaterial: they must be expelled. It is the duty of the Shogun to do
this, and, were Iyeyasu or Iyemitsu living, I have no doubt the
Tokugawa clan would be quite able to accomplish the work in such a
manner that the barbarians would think twice before they returned to
these shores. Unfortunately, the long peace we have had, has exercised
a bad influence upon the Shogun and the clan. Gentlemen, I must trust
you entirely. There can be no doubt of the loyalty of Kano to the house
of Mori, and yet I dare not repeat, even to my old friend Hattori, what
I am about to say to you now. You notice my dress? I put it on because,
unless you agree with me, I shall commit seppuku.[64] But pray, give me
your close attention.

“It is said, at Nagato, that Kano governs the Choshiu clan, and, in the
main it is true, although the other councillors are always consulted.
But our Lord Mori is not. He does not know any more about the affairs
of the clan, than the ordinary samurai. He is a brave, kind gentleman,
who would lead his clan into battle, or commit seppuku, as well as the
bravest among us. But he has been trained to have others think for
him, and provide for all his wants. That is all very well, so long as
peace reigns, and in a small territory like Choshiu. But the same rule
prevails in every clan, and not only there, but in the Yedo government.
The last Shogun were children, and died young. Iyesáda,[65] the present
Shogun, is only a boy. The government is, therefore, conducted by the
Go rojiu, and the regent. Ii Naosuke occupies the same position which I
hold in our clan.

“I do not know him, but from what I hear, he has brains and courage. He
is entitled to those qualities, for his ancestor was one of Iyeyasu’s
most trusted captains. Yet he has granted all that the barbarians
demanded. It has puzzled me, and is puzzling me still, why he did so.
Teraji told me that these barbarians had defeated the flower of China’s
army, and were ready to throw their hosts upon these shores. But the
80,000 samurai of the Tokugawa clans should be strong enough to prevent
any army from landing.

“I remember, however, what Mr. Ito told me about the Tokugawa samurai,
and my own observation has confirmed his opinion. They are worthless,
and a disgrace to us. Why, look at that fellow whose body was cremated
yesterday but which should have been thrown to the dogs. He was
intrusted with a dispatch, yet engaged in a brawl before executing his
commission. Such a man is unworthy of being a samurai. Ii Naosuke must
have known this, and submitted out of loyalty to the descendant of
Iyeyasu. He, too, labors under great difficulties. The Tokugawa family
is divided. Mito,[66] notwithstanding his ancestor’s will, hopes to see
one of his sons succeed as Shogun. If, then, the barbarians must be
expelled, it is not the Tokugawa who are able to do it, and therefore
that family must be deprived of their power.

“That is the first step. It will take, however, the united efforts of
several clans to accomplish it, and the question is: Can a sufficient
number of clans be brought to do the work without jealousy. I think
not, unless we can secure the person of Tenshi Sama and thereby use his
seal.”

Both Ito and Inouye, trained in self-control as they were, could not
help giving a start. Kano did not seem to notice it, and continued:

“The seal of Tenshi Sama will be obeyed by every clan. The Regent
knows that, and has applied to Kyoto to have the treaties confirmed.
Happily, there are some among the Kugé,[67] who do not want Tenshi Sama
to be mixed up in this matter. They have replied that ‘if there must
be treaties with the barbarians, the Go rojiu must see to it that they
are admitted into the vicinity of Kyoto.’ Therefore, the Regent is
sorely disappointed. No doubt, he will make further efforts. But some
of us must enter into communication with some Kugé, and prevent his
success; and, if there is any possibility of securing possession of the
Gosho,[68] it must be done.

“We can not confide our plans to other clans. They would think at once
that Choshiu wishes to succeed Tokugawa. Perhaps it does. All we do
know is that Iyeyasu, who humbled the proudest clan, humbly begged
Tenshi Sama to appoint him as Shogun. If he had not possessed the
imperial authority, not even he could have prevented constant revolts.
But he did possess it, and that is why my ancestor advised his lord
not to join the insurgents. It may be, however, that the time has come
to wipe out the clan’s disgrace, and my ancestor’s death. If so, let
Tokugawa look to it! That proud clan shall feel what it is when the
hand of the despoiler wields a conqueror’s magic wand. Now, gentlemen,
I have given you my opinion, and if I have spoken treason, I shall
expiate my sin at once and in your presence, that no taint may rest
upon my son. If, on the contrary, you agree with me, I need all the
help that your devotion to the clan can offer. But perhaps you would
like to ask any questions?”

Inouye waited for Ito to speak, but when he perceived his friend to be
buried in thought, he said:–

“Perhaps your honor may be willing to explain what caused your hurried
departure from Yokohama, and why I was ordered to resign at a minute’s
notice.”

“Teraji was to blame for it,” replied Kano, “although I share in the
blame. A boy committed an error in piling up cases to be loaded in a
ship, and was brutally maltreated by the master. Sorely hurt, he was
unable to go on with his work, when the Japanese who engaged me, after
ridiculing the lad, gave him such a push that the lad fell and broke
his leg. It happened just before the time when we were dismissed for
the day, and I found Teraji waiting for me. He told me that he wished
to speak to me right after supper, and I knew at once that my sword
would be required. So I hastened to Kanagawa, and had no difficulty in
securing speech with you. After you had given me my swords, I told you
to be at our yashiki here the next day, and returned to the yadoya,
where I found Teraji, standing motionless in the shadow of a house. He
too, had buckled on his swords, and I scarcely recognized the former
ninzoku. We saluted as became gentlemen, and he told me that he was
waiting for a messenger. It was almost midnight when a boy appeared,
and after looking first at me and then at him, beckoned us to follow.
In one of the new streets we saw the master of the ship staggering
home. Teraji followed him as a cat steals up to a mouse, crouching,
ready for the spring. And as he did leap, out flashed his sword.
Satsuma has lost neither nerve nor muscle. There was one barbarian
less, gentlemen, and as Teraji wiped his sword upon the clothes of the
dog, he said: ‘Now let us begone.’ ‘No, not yet,’ said I. This time I
took the lead to the house of the Japanese brute. I disliked to soil
my dagger in the scoundrel’s dirty blood, but I desired to avoid an
outcry. When we came to his house, I called him and told him he was
wanted at the hatoba. He did not hesitate. We took him through the
street where the master still lay, and when he bent over to see who it
was, I took care that he did not get up again. When we examined him
to see if he was dead, Teraji exclaimed at the likeness with me. To
make it appear more so, he helped me to exchange kimono, then I gave
a few cuts in his face, and we left him. We made our way unobserved
into Kanagawa, and from there to Yedo. Teraji went to Satsuma’s yashiki
and I arrived here, wholly unobserved, I am sure. I had some little
difficulty in convincing our worthy commandant of my identity.”

“Then your honor thinks that there is no suspicion among the metsuke of
your being here?”

“I think not.”

“What orders does it please your honor to give us?”

“Then you agree with me that I am right. That is well. Now, gentlemen,
this may cost your lives. The clan must not be compromised. Mr.
Inouye has written his resignation, you Mr. Ito must do the same.
Inouye must go to Kyoto, and enter into communication with the Gosho.
I shall join him there, after I have shown myself to the clan, and
given the necessary instructions to my friend Hattori. You, Ito, must
visit the clans, as a rônin. Do not spare money. Entertain freely.
Tell every samurai who is willing to listen of how the barbarians are
desecrating the land of the gods. Be prudent, but raise the battle-cry
of Sonno-Joï[69]; Revere the Emperor, Expel the Barbarian! That cry
must be heard from Hokaido to Kiu-siu. Yours will not be a difficult
task. Our young samurai, except those Tokugawa she-monkeys,[70] are
anxious enough to test their blades. You will find many of them willing
to provoke a war. Direct them to Kyoto. It will need a very strong cry
to awaken the court to action, after its centuries of sleep. But do not
supply them with money. We do not want any hirelings within our ranks,
we need patriots.”

Ito bowed, and said thoughtfully: “Your honor is right in saying
that mine is an easy task. There will be no difficulty in raising the
cry of Sonno-Joï, nor in getting brawny arms to clasp the hilt of the
sword. But who shall stifle the cry or sheath the blades, after they
have served the purpose? I have heard of little boys, in the mountains
of the north, starting a snowball down the hill; and when it did come
down, a whole village lay buried.”

“That is so,” replied Kano. “But our country has never in vain called
for men to guide it in time of danger, nor will it now. One or two
clans are powerless to preserve it from the barbarians, but all the
clans united, are invincible. Here is an order upon the treasurer. Take
an ample supply of money, for you will need it. When will you be ready
to start?”

“As soon as your honor commands,” replied Ito bowing.

“Do so, then, as soon as possible. Mr. Inouye will keep me company as
far as Hyogo. I have a passage engaged by a ship leaving to-morrow. In
all our actions let us never forget our motto: Sonno-Joï, Revere the
Emperor, Expel the Foreigner!”

Two men, dressed in kimono, haori, and hakama were sitting in one
of the numerous temples which add to the natural beauty of the old
imperial capital of Japan. The noon meal was over, but neither had an
eye for the glorious landscape spread out before them. To the right and
left a wave of mountains seemed to roll up in ever increasing height,
until those in the background pierced the deep-blue sky. The hills
about the city were clad in a mantle of green of every shade, from the
dark needles of the fir to the light shoots of the bamboo. Crag and
cliff bore the crimson torii, the unique indication of the proximity of
temple or shrine. Yonder, at their feet, lay the holy of holiest, the
Gosho, the residence of Tenshi Sama, the representative of the Yamato
Damashii,[71] the fierce Spirit of Old Japan. A fierce spirit! Men
trained to consider duty the sole motive, reckless of pain, and inured
to the sight of blood, are not sparing of that precious fluid when they
are bent upon the execution of a purpose. Yet the recluse yonder, the
very incarnation of that spirit, dwelling in the temple-like building
surrounded by enchanted gardens, seemed unconscious of his power to
stir millions of brave men into action, by a mere use of his seal.

“Then his lordship thinks that it can be done?” asked Inouye, for he
was one of the occupants of the room.

The man thus addressed, bowed low, and said:–“My master has sent
your honor a haori with his crest. I passed through the gate, and left
my name ticket; then pretending that I had forgotten something, went
in again, and when I came out I deposited the ticket of Mr. Kida, a
distant relative, who was admitted in the service of my master. It is
time that we should go. If your honor will put on this haori, and, upon
entering the gate, demand Kida’s ticket, there will be no difficulty.”

Inouye dressed, and the two descended toward the city. The road passed
by one of the Gosho gates, and the guide entered, exclaiming his
name, whereupon he received a wooden ticket with his name in large
characters, and passed through. Inouye followed his example, and
received a similar ticket bearing the name of Kida. The two then walked
up a broad gravel path toward one of the enclosures.

Notwithstanding all his self control, Inouye experienced great
difficulty in not betraying his intense curiosity. He, as every
Japanese of his class, thought with intense reverence of Tenshi Sama.
His heart would have leaped for joy if he had received orders to die
that moment for the man he had never seen. We can not understand that
feeling. Loyalty is a meaningless sound compared to it. Yet it was that
feeling which metamorphosed a federacy of some three hundred autonomous
oligarchies, poverty stricken and at war with one another, into a
powerful empire which bids Russia defiance. This marvel, too, was
accomplished in less than three decades!

Inouye’s curiosity was, therefore, blended with awe. The guide
stopped before a house of modest dimensions, but of light and
elegant construction, and, bowing, preceded his companion. Stopping
on the verandah, he uttered his name in a low but distinct voice.
An answer was returned, and he beckoned Inouye to enter. The latter
did so, and, prostrating himself, ejaculated rapidly such phrases of
self-depreciation as the high rank of a Kugé demanded.

Karassu Maru,[72] the master of the house, was a young man of about
Inouye’s age, dressed in haori, hakama, and kimono all of fine silk. He
scanned Ito’s features keenly, and appeared satisfied with the result.
He was evidently of a quick, impulsive temper, but used the courtly
language, and strictly observed his own dignity.

“I am informed that you have a proposition to place before me on behalf
of Mori.[73]”

“I am but the messenger, My Lord, and my authority extends only to
requesting an audience of your lordship for the first councillor and
friend of my Lord Mori.”

“But, you know, there is some danger in coming to and going from the
Gosho. Our friends of the Aidzu Clan, whom the Go rojiu has kindly
deputed to guard us here, seem to scent danger, for they have drawn the
lines tighter and tighter. It would be better if I knew something of
what Mori wishes, so that both time and risk could be saved.”

“I will tell you, my lord, what I know.”

Inouye then gave a comprehensive but concise review of Kido’s
intentions, reserving, of course, the conclusions of his leader, and
the share he intended to assign to the Gosho. Karassu Maru listened
attentively, and when Inouye concluded, he said:

“When do you expect the councillor of your clan?”

“He will come, your Lordship, as soon as I let him know that he may
have an audience.”

“I am willing to hear him, but he will need great powers of persuasion.
Of my personal friends, one is an idiot, and the other a fool. No; I
can’t do a thing, although I would like to try. The affair ought to
be begun by one of the Miya,[74] but that is altogether out of the
question. Ni-jo?[75] bah! he would not stir. Sanjo? Yes, he might. Aye,
I think that he would. Hold on! There is Tomomi. He is the man!”

This was evidently not destined for the ears of Inouye, who was
listening but without any expression in his features. Karassu Maru
looked up, and said:–

“See that Mori’s councillor is here on the tenth day from now. The same
retainer who brought you here will call for him, and I shall arrange
a meeting. Now about getting out. He clapped his hands, and when the
attendant appeared, he said: ‘Get the football ready, and invite
Honami and Gojo with their retainers to join me in a game. You, sir,
come along. When we come to the wall near the gate the guard will be
watching us. See to it that you do not kick it over the wall, for I am
a good hand at scolding, and you would not care to be called clumsy,
would you? If, however, you should send it flying over the wall, run
after it, and throw it back. We shall entertain the guard.’”

It was dark when Inouye returned to the temple, but he wrote at once to
Kano. The letter was foolish, and made the writer appear to live only
for amusement. It described the magnificence of the temples and urged
Kano to be present at a festival to take place on the tenth day. There
was nothing in it of the slightest interest to any spy.

Kano was at home when the letter was delivered to him. He saw, after
a close examination, that it had been opened, but smiled after he had
read its contents. He knew the spy. Why had Sawa so earnestly requested
him to admit among his retainers a young friend who had some slight
trouble in his own clan? Kano had demurred to keep up appearances,
but finally he had agreed, and he knew that there was no longer any
privacy in his house. It was immaterial to him. He did not know of one
member of his clan in whom he could trust. Not that there was any doubt
whatever of their loyalty, but one thoughtless word or action would
upset all his plans. He was glad that he had two such friends as Ito
and Inouye. Sonno-Joï! Why he had heard that cry in his own clan, here
at the confines of Hondo. There had been no communication from him, and
this was the first that he received from Inouye. Truly, there was a
chance for Choshiu when the clan numbered among its members such men.
O! if Ekichi might only grow up to such a standard.

He clapped his hands and ordered the child to be called. The boy came,
knelt at the threshold, and saluted his father with the reverence due
to him, and the gravity of a man. Kano bowed in return, and said:–

“Come here.”

The boy came, bowed, and squatted down.

“Are you doing well at school?”

Ekichi bowed.

“Read that to me,” he continued, taking up a book. The boy began to
read in the sing-song tone necessary to render ideographic writing
intelligible to the reader. His father then inquired after his progress
in athletic exercises, and finally said: “Come, we shall go into the
garden!”

They walked together to an artificial hillock, found in every Japanese
garden of any pretensions, and ascended to the top. Here, safe from
spies, Kano turned to his son:

“Listen, Ekichi,” he said. “You know the new attendant who came here
some months ago?” The child bowed. “Very well; I want you to be the
shadow of that man. He must not be anywhere, or you must see him; he
may not say a word, or you must hear what it is. I am going away for
a few weeks, and when I am back, you must read on this hillock every
afternoon, until I come up, and then you must tell me what this man has
done, whom he has seen and what he has said. Can you do that do you
think?”

The little fellow felt overjoyed at this token of his father’s
confidence, but not a look betrayed that feeling. He accepted the
charge with a simple bow, and went with his father back to the house.

Kano dressed, and ordered his chair. When he entered it, he said
briefly: “To the castle!” Alighting at the inner entrance, he
distinctly ejaculated his name; a servant appeared and bade him enter.

The room was almost the same as his sitting-room in his own house.
There was no furniture, but a kakemono,[76] of priceless value in
Japanese eyes, hung from the wall so that the light fell upon it. A few
bronze pieces, masterworks of art, stood where they appeared to demand
admiration. In the middle of the room sat the owner of the estate,
an estimable gentleman of middle age, dressed in magnificent silk.
Kano saluted dutifully and was bidden to approach. He sat down at the
prescribed distance, and waited for his master to address him.

“I am glad you called,” said Mori. “I want the garden changed, and my
cousin told me that the council had appropriated too much money for
the fortifications at Shimonoseki. What fad is this? Those works were
constructed under my grandfather, and could not be made better. It is
more important by far that the garden be altered. Come here! Do you not
see that if I sit here and look out, that hillock yonder interrupts the
view? It must be changed.”

Kano bowed low and said: “It shall be done, my lord. I am going to
Kyoto on business for the clan. Is there anything I can do for you?”

“Why, certainly. If you can pick up any fine antiquities, do so. And
you must order new haori for the retainers. They will need them on our
next journey to Yedo.”

Kano promised to attend to these matters, and took his leave. Closing
the sho ji behind him, he went to a distant part of the palace, and
called an attendant. “Request Mr. Hattori to come here,” he said.
Hattori came, and his friend told him that he was called to Kyoto
on private business, and would be absent for two or three weeks. He
requested him to see that the garden was altered according to the
wishes of the Lord of the Manor. Hattori promised to comply. Kano then
proceeded to Sawa’s yashiki, and told him that he had come to bid him
good-bye, as he was going to Kyoto under orders from my lord to buy
some new ornaments. He asked for a letter to the commandant of the
castle at Kyoto, a request which was willingly granted. When Kano left,
a small bag of gold remained on the cushion which he had occupied.