But the countryside was the thing that made us open our eyes. Imagine a land of rich black soil, very heavily manured, and worked by the spade and hoe almost exclusively, and if you split your field (of vision) into half-acre plots, you will get a notion of the oakley gascan sunglasses raw material the cultivator works on. But all I can write will give you no notion of the wantonness of neatness visible in the fields; of the elaborate system of irrigation, and the mathematical precision of the planting. There was no mixing of crops, no waste of boundary in footpath, and no difference of value in the land. The water stood everywhere within ten feet of the surface, as the well-sweeps attested. On the slopes of the foothills each drop between the levels was neatly riveted with unmortared stones, and the edges of the water-cuts were faced in like manner. The young rice was transplanted very much as draughts are laid on the board; the tea might have been cropped garden box; and between the lines of the mustard the water lay in the drills as in a wooden trough, while the purple of the beans ran up to the mustard and stopped as though cut with a rule. On the seaboard we saw an almost continuous line of towns variegated with factory chimneys; inland, the crazy-quilt of green, dark-green and gold. Even in the rain the view was lovely, and exactly as Japanese pictures had led me to hope for. Only one drawback occurred to the Professor and myself at the same time. Crops don’t grow to the full limit of the seed on heavily worked ground I felt that I was friends with the cultivators at once. These broad-hatted, blue-clad gentlemen who tilled their fields by handexcept when they borrowed the village buffalo to drive the share through the rice-sloughknew what the Scourge meant. ‘How much do you think the Government takes in revenue from vegetable gardens of that kind?’ I demanded. ‘Bosh,’ said he quietly, ‘you aren’t going to describe the land-tenure of Japan. Look at the yellow of the mustard!’ It lay in sheets round the line. It ran up the hills to the dark pines. It rioted over the brown sandbars of the swollen rivers, and faded away by mile after mile to the shores of the leaden sea. The high-peaked houses of brown thatch stood knee-deep in it, and it surged up to the factory chimneys of Osaka. ‘Great place, Osaka,’ said the guide. ‘All sorts oakley fuel cell sunglasses of manufactures there.’ Osaka is built into and over and among one thousand eight hundred and ninety-four canals, rivers, dams, and watercuts. What the multitudinous chimneys mean I cannot tell. They have something to do with rice and cotton; but it is not good that the Japs should indulge in trade. and I will not call Osaka a ‘great commercial entrep?t.’ ‘People who live in paper houses should never sell goods,’ as the proverb says. Because of his many wants there is but one hotel for the Englishman in Osaka, and they call it Juter’s. Here the views of two civilisations collide and the result is awful. The building is altogether Japanese; wood and tile and sliding screen from top to bottom; but the fitments are mixed. My room, for instance, held a tokonoma, made of the polished black stem of a palm and delicate woodwork, framing a scroll picture representing storks. But on the floor over the white mats lay a Brussels carpet that made the indignant toes tingle. From the back verandah one overhung the river which ran straight as an arrow between two lines of houses. They have cabinet-makers in Japan to fit the rivers to the towns. From my verandah I could see three bridgesone a hideous lattice-girder arrangementand part of a fourth. We were on an island and owned a water-gate if we wanted to take a boat. Apropos of water, be pleased to listen to a Shocking Story. It is written in all the books that the Japanese though cleanly are somewhat casual in their customs. They bathe often with nothing on and together. This notion my experience of the country, gathered in the seclusion of the Oriental at Kobé, made me scoff at. I demanded a tub at Juter’s. The infinitesimal man led me down verandahs and upstairs to a beautiful bath-house full of hot and cold water and fitted with cabinet-work, somewhere in a lonely out-gallery. There was naturally no bolt to the door any more than there would be a bolt to a dining-room. Had I been sheltered by the walls of a big Europe bath, I should not have cared, but I was preparing to wash when a pretty maiden opened the door, and indicated that she also would tub in the deep, oakley sunglasses outlet uk sunken Japanese bath at my side. When one is dressed only in one’s virtue and a pair of spectacles it is difficult to shut the door in the face of a girl. She gathered that I was not happy, and withdrew giggling, while I thanked heaven, blushing profusely the while, that I had been brought up in a society which unfits a man to bathe à deux. Even an experience of the Paddington Swimming Baths would have helped me; but coming straight from India, Lady Godiva was a ballet-girl in sentiment compared to this Act?on. It rained monsoonishly, and the Professor discovered a castle which he needs must see. ‘It’s Osaka Castle,’ he said, ‘and it has been fought over for hundreds of years. Come along.’ ‘I’ve seen castles in India. Raighur, Jodhpurall sorts of places. Let’s have some more boiled salmon. It’s good in this station.’ ‘Pig,’ said the Professor. We threaded our way over the four thousand and fifty-two canals, etc., where the little children played with the swiftly running water, and never a mother said ‘don’t,’ till our ’rickshaw stopped outside a fort ditch thirty feet deep, and faced with gigantic granite slabs. On the far side uprose the walls of a fort. But such a fort! Fifty feet was the height of the wall, and never a pinch of mortar in the whole. Nor was the face perpendicular, but curved like the ram of a man-of-war. They know the curve in China, and I have seen French artists introduce it into books describing a devil-besieged city of Tartary. Possibly everybody else knows it too, but that is not my affair; life as I have said being altogether new to me. The stone was granite, and the men of old time had used it like mud. The dressed blocks that made the profile of the angles were from twenty feet long, ten or twelve feet high, and as many in thickness. There was no attempt at binding, but there was no fault in the jointing. ‘And the little Japs built this!’ I cried, awe-stricken at the quarries that rose round me. ‘Cyclopean masonry,’ grunted the Professor, punching with a stick a monolith of seventeen feet cube. ‘Not only did they build it, but they took it. Look at this. Fire!’ The stones had been split and bronzed in places, and the cleavage was the cleavage of fire. Evil must it have been for the armies that led the assault on these monstrous walls. Castles in India I know, and the forts of great Emperors I had seen, but neither Akbar in the north, nor Scindia in the south, had built after this fashionwithout ornament, without colour, but with a single eye to savage strength and the utmost purity of line. Perhaps the fort would have looked less forbidding in sunlight. The grey, rain-laden atmosphere through which I saw it suited its spirit. The barracks of the garrison, the commandant’s oakley sunglasses outlet very dainty house, a peach-garden, and two deer were foreign to the place. They should have peopled it with giants from the mountains, instead ofGurkhas! A Jap infantryman is not a Gurkha, though he might be mistaken for one as long as he stood still. The sentry at the quarter-guard belonged, I fancy, to the 4th Regiment. His uniform was black or blue, with red facings, and shoulder-straps carrying the number of the regiment in cloth. The rain necessitated an overcoat, but why he should have carried knapsack, blanket, boots, and binoculars I could not fathom. The knapsack was of cowskin with the hair on, the boots were strapped soles, cut on each side, while a heavy country blanket was rolled U-shape over the head of the knapsack, fitting close to the back. In the place usually occupied by the messtin was a black leather case shaped like a field-glass. This must be a mistake of mine, but I can only record as I see. The rifle was a side-bolt weapon of some kind, and the bayonet an uncommonly good sword one, locked to the muzzle, English fashion. The ammunition-pouches, as far as I could see under the greatcoat, ran on the belt in front, and were double-strapped down. White spatter-dashesvery dirtyand peaked cap completed the outfit. I surveyed the man with interest, and would have made further examination of him but for fear of the big bayonet. His arms were well kept,— not speckless by any means, but his uniform would have made an English colonel swear. There was no portion of his body except the neck that it pretended to fit. I peeped into the quarter-guard. Fans and dainty tea-sets do not go with one’s notions of a barrack. One drunken defaulter of certain faraway regiments that I could name would not only have cleared out that quarter-guard, but brought away all its fittings except the rifle-racks. Yet the little men, who were always gentle, and never got drunk, were mounting guard over a pile that, with a blue fire on the bastions, might have served for the guard-gates of Hell.
Zaloguj się, aby oddać głos