Travel Letters: On The Steamship Wakamoma-Maru (1889)

DEAR GERTlE, — The Parthia sails this week for Vancouver, so there seems to be one more chance to send a letter from Japan before we leave, and it shall go to you. We are sailing along the southern coast, between Kobe and Yokohama, with the pretty, hilly shore in clear sight. We should see Fujiyama itself if it were not quite so hazy. This afternoon we shall be in Yokohama, then we shall probably go off into the country to Kamakara and Enoshima, and a few other pretty places, for the one short week that remains before the ” Rio ” comes along to carry us away from this delightful land.

Since I wrote the other day, we have been from Kobe to Nagasaki and back, sailing twice through the Inland Sea. It was very lovely, almost as pretty as Lake George itself. The days were warm and breezy, the nights had glorious moonlight, and I only wished you were all here to see the pretty sights. Queer junks were lounging on the water about us, and funny little villages were on the shore, and curious Japanese people went pattering about the steamer’s deck. None of them were as nice or well dressed as the little girl I send you, seated between her cherry-trees, but they were her poorer sisters, and she will give you some idea of what looking folk they are. I am quite sure I have seen her a dozen times, as I have gone in and out of their ridiculous little houses.

And so this fun is almost over ! In three weeks we shall be in San Francisco. . . . It will be hard to realize that this life, which we have been seeing so constantly for these five weeks, will be still going on. The priests praying in the temples, the girls chattering over their tea, the jinrikishas running round the streets, the jugglers performing in their booths, the missionaries preaching in their churches, the merchants squatting in their shops, the women toddling with their babies, the boys swimming in the streams, and everybody as merry and good-natured as in a world of dolls. It will be quite as good to remember as it has been to see.

When you get this, begin to look out for our arrival at the Golden Gate, and have the corn barn ready for a pleasant little smoke soon after. My best of love to everybody. How pretty the piazza at North Andover must look this pleasant morning ! Good-by, dear Gertie. Your affectionate uncle, P.