Page images
PDF
EPUB

FAREWELL TO JAPAN.

611

the Admiralty wharf. The road was decorated with Japanese and American flags, and when we came to the Admiralty there was a display of day fireworks, an exquisite combination of gray and blue, of colors that do not war with the sun, spreading over the sky gossamer shapes, delicate tints, showers of pearllike spray. There in waiting we found the Consul-General, Admiral Patterson, Captain Benham, Captain Fitzhugh, Commander Boyd, and Commander Johnson, who had come to escort the General on board his steamer. We remained at the Admiralty several minutes while light refreshments were served. The General then went on the Admiralty barge, Mrs. Grant being escorted by Admiral Kawamura, and amid the noise of the exploding fireworks and strains of the naval band we pushed off.

We came alongside of the steamer and were received by Commodore Maury, who began at once to prepare for sea. During the few minutes that were left for farewells the deck of the “City of Tokio” formed a brilliant sight. Boats from the four men-of-war came laden with our naval officers, in their full uniforms, to say good-by. All of them were friends, many of them had been shipmates and companions, and the hour of separation brought so many memories of the country, the kindness, the consideration, the good-fellowship they had shown us, that we felt as if we were leaving friends. Steam-tugs brought from Yokohama other friends.

In saying farewell to our Japanese friends, to those who had been our special hosts, General Grant expressed his gratitude and his friendship. But mere words, however warmly spoken, could only give faint expression to the feelings with which we took leave of many of those who had come to the steamer to pay us parting courtesy. These gentlemen were not alone princes-rulers of an empire, noblemen of rank and lineage, ministers of a sovereign whose guests we had been—but friends. And in saying farewell to them we said farewell to so many and so much, to a country where every hour of our stay had a special value, to a civilization which had profoundly impressed us, and which awakened new ideas of what Japan had been, of her real place in the world, and of what her place might be if stronger nations shared her generosity or justice. We had been strangely won by Japan, and our last view of it was a scene of beauty. Yokohama nestled on her shore, against which the waters of the sea were idly rolling. Her hills were dowered with foliage, and here and there were houses and groves and flagstaffs, sentinels

[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

of the outside world which had made this city their encampment. In the far distance, breaking through the clouds, so faint at first that you had to look closely to make sure that you were not deceived by the mists, Fusiyama towered into the blue and bending skies. Around us were men-of-war shimmering in the sunshine, so it seemed, with their multitudinous flags. There was the hurry, the nervous bustle and excitement, the glow of energy

FAREWELL 10 JAPAN.

613

and feeling which always mark the last moments of a steamer about to sail. Our naval friends went back to their ships. Our Yokohama friends went off in their tugs, and the last we saw of General Van Buren was a distant and vanishing figure in a state of pantomime, as though he were delivering a Fourth of July oration. I

presume

he was cheering. Then our Japanese friends took leave, and went on board their steam-launch to accompany us a part of our journey. The Japanese man-of-war has her anchor up, slowly steaming, ready to convoy us out to sea. The last line that binds us to our anchorage is thrown off, and the huge steamer moves slowly through the shipping. We pass the “Richmond” near enough to recognize our friends on the quarter-deck—the Admiral and his officers. You hear a shrill word of command, and seamen go scampering up the rigging to man the yards. The guns roll out a salute. We pass the "Ashuelot," and her guns take up the iron chorus. We pass the “ Monongahela,” so close almost that we could converse with Captain Fitzhugh and the gentlemen who are waving us farewell. Her guns thunder good-by, and over the bay the smoke floats in wavesfloats on toward Fusiyama. We hear the cheers from the

Ranger." Very soon all that we see of our vessels are faint and distant phantoms, and all that we see of Yokohama are lines of gray and green. We are fast speeding on toward California. For an hour or so the Japanese man-of-war, the same which met us at Nagasaki and came with us through the Inland Sea, keeps us company. The Japanese cabinet are on board. We see the smoke break from her ports and we hurry to the side of our vessel to wave farewell—farewell to so many friends, so many friends kind and true. This is farewell at last, our final token of good will from Japan. The man-of-war fires twenty-one guns. The Japanese sailors swarm on the rigging and give hearty cheers. Our steamer answers by blowing her steam-whistle.

The manof-war turns slowly around and steams back to Yokohama. Very soon she also becomes a phantom, vanishing over the horizon. Then, gathering herself like one who knows of a long and stern task to do, our steamer breasts the sea with an earnest will—for California and for home.

[graphic][merged small][merged small][merged small]

E steamed across the Pacific over a gentle, easy sea. There was a hope that we might bend the “Tokio" from her course so far as to allow us to visit the

Sandwich Islands. But commercial reasons were paramount, and so we kept our way direct to San Francisco. We had pleasant, idle days on the “Tokio," General Grant spending most of his time in reading. But we talked of home

« PreviousContinue »