offer the proverbial "warmest welcome at an inn"; so does his young wife, spotlessly clean, up at five, the life and brain of the house, never sarcastic or "put out," the long day through alert and cheerful, and always on the spot, in spite of six young children to whom she is court of appeal at each tiniest contretemps. from every nationality, and can do anything except speak English-and that she probably can, but Japanese women, unlike men, shrink from a foreign language unless they can talk it properly. Her penultimate offspring, Goro, a boy of two, was sitting on the dais, noting the new imports with a satisfied air, and he now accosted me in an imperious tone, "kochi oide nasai" (please come here), extending his fat arm, and repeating the request, "kochi ye o kake nasai" (please sit here). Wishing to respond to the friendliness of his reception, I unlaced my shoeswhich he knew I should have to doand stepped up in my socks to sit beside him on the clean matting. Like a lark he rose, and sweetly shouting, "Goo-de moning, Goo-de bai!" he scuttled away to the kitchen as quick as his legs could carry him. His mother made contrite apology, and Goro became my fast friend.

She commands respect

Dinner at seven: what long-to-be-remembered mortals have we come across at these tables d'hôte in Japan, sometimes sitting next an angel unannounced, and now and then the opposite. Such chance encounters are never forgotten in China or Japan: years afterwards, and thousands of miles away, they may meet again, but they are always old friends in a kind of immortal way, for they "hear the East a-callin'." The picture fascinates; each familiar detail of a white man's meal stands out with tenfold definition here, because of the utterly contrasting background which throws it up in high relief: the metallic clatter of knives and

forks, while the children in the lobby eat their supper of rice with noiseless wooden hashi (chop-sticks); the assertive entry of strident boots amongst the silent footfall of the nésan flitting to and fro (a Japanese waitress rarely fails to break into a trot when serving you); the extraordinary variety of facial feature and color in our little party of twenty, as compared with the uniformity of black hair and black eyes in the population passing up and down the street; the more or less complaining expressions of the white folk lapped in every creature comfort, against the divine indifference (due to a coarse-grained nervous system, so the tipplers say in the Treaty Ports) of the sallow race who bear always a sunny countenance, whether the palate be tickled or no,-while, most conspicuous of all, at the white-skinned meal the woman comes not to minister, but to be ministered unto.

At this juncture, inspired by the excellent trout on my plate, I ventured to address again a lady on my right. who had met my advances with an irresponsive blank. She was an unmarried Englishwoman of about forty, hair almost white, a calm and kindly face, but an expression of such genuine unconcern as to arrest attention. She seemed to have weathered storms, and the ripples of a table d'hôte did not count in her calendar. Remarking to her on the merits of the fish, she replied, "Yes, I only came yesterday." She was exceedingly deaf, and I asked the twelve-year-old son of the house to look after her. As the meal proceeded she grew accustomed to the phrasing of my voice, and began to talk on her own account. "Do you know the country round here?" she asked. I said it was my first visit. Ah! she had been once before, last year, and to-morrow she must walk over to Kose to see if she could find the spot where she lost herself last summer.

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"Lost yourself?" I inquired; for the hills had appeared so much more open and free from forest than is usually the case in a landscape in Japan. I forgot the tall grass, dense and-when tall enough-more bewildering than any forest.

"Four days and nights absolutely lost, entirely alone for many miles; not a voice came near me, though I walked on and on the whole time: not a crumb to eat, but plenty of water, above and below."

She spoke in a quiet unimpassioned way, as if she were plotting out some needlework for a friend: whatever her narrative would be, it would not be of the Rougemont type.

The white people began to rise from their ample meal-a strenuous campaign in the eyes of the little handmaids and filed away with Chinese solemnity, the men to smoke in the only public room, the ladies to chat in each other's rooms. This is doubtless a moving sight to a nation so steeped in convention as the Japanese, and, though the withdrawal of the sex may indicate some glimmer of propriety in Western female minds, it probably seems odd to them that the separation should occur at this particular stage, for Japanese women enjoy their pipe as much as men. (But what a pipe! as dainty as jewellery, with its tiny bowl and mouthpiece chased and polished bright.)

I went to sit in the entrance-hall, talking to a missionary from southern Formosa-for Karuizawa is in summer a cool magnetic spot, which draws the Protestant clergy from all over Japan and even China. Goro stepped down from the domestic dais, slipped on his sandals, and came to watch us sip our coffee. He accepted a lump of sugar that I tendered in token of forgiveness, and was moving off with it-barely held between finger and thumb-to show his mother, but that observant

slender matron promptly called, "o jigi nasai-nán da?" ("make your bowwhat are you thinking of?"): wherefore Black-Eyes returned and offered due acknowledgment, placing his two palms on the floor, and ducking his round head till it lay between them. Then he flew to his mother, who made much of him.

Outside in the village street a vertical summer rain was falling, too heavy for English taste. The villagers strode up and down on their high géta, the light from many-colored lanterns scattered in twinkling points across the steaming road; each man, woman or child walked demurely beneath his wide umbrella-a heavy structure of thick oiled paper, not the toy variety that travels West-with a cylindrical pendent halo dripping round him as he went. They stop and chat in the downpour rattling like hard peas on the stretched paper, talking with that good-humored indifference to discomfort which so astounds a man of Western birth. Higher up the street were sounds of revelry, where a few cronies were tossing off their saké after the drudgery of the day; and round the corner, as in model Christian lands, a little vice was having its innings. One thing we missed, for the voice of the Hooligan is not heard in Japan.

Within our wooden hostelry there was a rustle of skirts again, as the ladies came back to the lords. My deaf neighbor sat down with a missionary group in the porch, who begged her to tell how she lost herself last year on the hills. She began forthwith, in a contented unobtrusive tone.

"Yes, it was very curious. I had gone up to sleep at Kose (a tiny spa four miles to the north on higher ground), and in the morning, as I walked alone on the path that leads to Kusatsu, there were such splendid wild-flowers growing near that I could not help turning off to pick them. You

know how tall the grass becomes in summer, and how it looks like ordinary turf a mile away, because the top is all one height. Well, I strayed a few yards from the path, picking here and there, not noticing the grass was deeper every step, and when I had my arms full I turned to get back to the path. Of course I could not see it, for the grass rose above my head; but I felt certain I was retracing my steps the way I came, and in any case it was only a matter of a hundred yards or so. However, no path came, so I pushed through the tangle in another direction. Almost instantly I felt sick, as you do at the beginning of an earthquake, for, though I must be quite near to the path, yet with grass all round above my eyes there was no knowing what would happen: I might be going right away at that very moment, and the possibilities came like a shock. I believe I lost my head at once; I could not think, so I kept moving one way, then another. But simply pushing through this tall tough grass is very tiring work, even if you are on sloping ground and can judge where you will come out; and when it is level all round you, the heart is taken out of you, from the feeling that every step is probably burying you deeper. It is like being in a maze, with no one to show the way out; only this maze lasted miles, for all I knew."

"Could you not attract any one's notice by shouting?" the audience wished to know.

"I did shout, several times, but you see there are no cottages near, nor cultivated fields, so that it is not often any one would be going along the path; besides, buried in that grass, it would be difficult to judge where a voice came from; and then, if they heard, they would not pay much attention, as I could not speak Japanese. The heat was so stifling too, that the more effort I made the more suffocated

I felt; and, since whichever way I faced I could see no view but the forest of grass stems shutting me in, and could get no fresh air on my face, I soon burnt like a fever. Though it was blazing sunshine overhead, I was more helpless than an infant in a dark room, for there were no sights or sounds to steer me out."

"But," we persisted, "surely some one at Kose, Japanese or foreigner, must have heard if you had kept on calling."

"I thought so too, but no reply came to my shouts, and my voice is not a very powerful one: besides, each fresh time that I shouted and there was no answer, I grew more scared, and thought I should go mad. I looked at my watch, and only half an hour ago I was on the open path, quite at home, -now I was caught in a trap, cut off from help; for in which direction did it lie? and without any clue to guide my struggles. It was like being drowned, only not in nice clear water, but drowning choked by miles of hideous overlapping grass: it closed in tight behind me as I pushed my way, and there was no chance of an outlook with it up above my head. (By setting to work to tear up armfuls of the grass, and making a mound to stand upon, she might perhaps have gained a view and sighted some landmark that would set her a course; but the stems are so stiff and serrated that they easily make the hands bleed.) If I had been a foot taller I should have laughed and been out in a minute or two; but those few inches buried me alive."

She smiled and added, "You think I was very foolish to be done so quickly; but I had lost my presence of mind, it was so sudden and preposterous-just to pick a few flowers, and be snatched from my surroundings in that creepy way. I had never had such an experience in China, and Japan was a new

world to me: I lost my wits, and moved madly here and there as if I were a caged animal. But what would you have done?"

We thought that, if there was nothing to indicate where Kose lay, the best thing would have been simply to choose one line and plod straight on till she emerged from the jungle; for it would not extend more than two or three miles without a break.

And this, it appeared, was what she laid herself out to do, though with no such quick deliverance: after an hour or two of stifling labor, without food or drink, she probably began to circle round instead of making bee-line progress. She had but a murky memory left of that excruciating day; it was one great volume of scare with no relieving incident: perpetual untiring grass, and her perpetual toil inside it.


The hours passed by, and there she was still laboring like a squirrel in a cage; grass against civilization, and fool's-mate to the heir of all the ages. Her head was buzzing horribly, and her whole body was painfully tense from the everlasting pressure of wiry stems. . . . At last the sun was low in the sky, . . . and as it began to set -she quietly walked out on to open ground, and instantaneously fell down in a heap.

When she regained consciousness it was already dark, and stars kept watch over the wild uplands of Shinano. (She was 4000 or 5000 feet above the sea.) There were no trees around, only occasional patches of scrub, and the open area seemed to extend some miles: it was exceedingly still, and she could not hear any sounds of living things; worst of all, there was no longimagined music of water,-for she was above the slopes. Considering that it was only the fourth day since she landed in Japan, she was certainly well inside: and now in this utter solitude, weak from want of food, those inde

scribable faint tastes and odors in the air, which distinguish every land from others (we never notice them unless we are alone), streamed through and saturated her; she felt Japan, as if she had known the country ever since its cosmic birth. She grew light-headed, no longer scared or tense with feverish strain; and as she walked to and fro in the dark, the concrete facts of tiny Kose nestling in its trees, and Karuizawa with its cosmopolitan picnic far below, faded off into oblivion: texts from "the Bible"-records of old Asiatic experience-took their place, and she repeated them aloud again and again while she paced her lonely beat on Far Eastern hills. "A very present help in trouble"-she spoke it quite clearly, so that she might be sure some one had said it: well, she was certainly in trouble, and it was bound to come right. Was she not even now extricated from that sickening grass, breathing easily and unafraid? In dreamy content with the open breeze, she sat down on some peat, and sleep covered up her utter exhaustion.

She slept soundly, because the nightmare of the grass was left behind: had she not escaped from it before dark she must have gone out of her mind that night. The coming of the tranquil dawn awoke her, and she found she was dripping with dew, but this was welcome to her long-parched lips. Nerveless and aching though she was, she could not remain sitting in such a plight, so she rose and went forward with the gentle drop of the watershed. She was too empty and footsore (for she had started in thin shoes) to think out any programme: but presently she caught that sound which is never forgotten, the melody of a watercourse when one is past all effort. She stopped a full hour by the bubbling brook, till strength returned and gave her some mental grip of the situation. On every side of her for empty miles lay the up


land undulations, beautiful in the morning sun, but to her an unbefriending blank. She would cling to this stream, follow it with a single eye, and before the day is done it will bring her surely to some human outpost. she walk so far? it was all downhill, beside a sparkling brook whose cadences will soothe her blistered brain. . . . So the whole day long she carried out this plan, picturing nothing but the human voices at the end. The sun blazed hotter and hotter as she toiled through weary hours by the splashing stream, ever dropping to lower levels: she had sunk out of sight of the farspread, echoless moorland view that met her eyes at dawn, and the deepening valley wound interminably on in a narrower silence. She knew there would be no cows or sheep to make the shaggy slopes companionable; not once did she hear or see any sign of man or the works of man.' Even birds were few and far between, and when they flitted across her path it was with a noiseless beating of the wing, like decorous servants in a spacious house. (Footsteps in a Japanese house are nearly inaudible, dogs are rarely noisy, and the birds in like manner seem to live on tiptoe as they circle and dive through the brilliant air—stealing runs, as it were-in furtive flights.) Once she thought she really heard a laborer call; but she turned the next bend, and the voice flew away: it was only a peewit telephoning home.

As she grew weaker with each passing hour, the stream at her side grew stronger; its note had changed from the dancing treble of the heights to a weighty undertone, as it swept in deeper volume under overshadowing hills. It was less companionable now that it was more masterful; the journey beside it hourly became more pain

1 In Japan less than a fourth of the whole surface is cultivated; thus there are many wide areas of forbidding solitude. Sheep can


ful, for the edge of the river was getting strewn with the débris of last June. Stumbling hard against one of these great stones that littered her path, she suddenly discovered that her shoes were altogether gone; some time ago they had deserted her,— and again the iron entered deep into her soul. Both feet were bruised and bleeding, swollen from buyu bites (a small sandfly that leaves a poisonous wound), burning and aching, rigid if she stopped for rest; and yet there was no sign of the goal. . . . The yellowing light reminded her it was now two days since she tasted a grain of food; but what was that in front, on which its level rays struck full with such a callous glare? Before she could actually distinguish the details she stopped dead, as if stunned, for she discerned a culminating cruel blow: from the valleyslopes on her right-she had taken the right bank of the stream-there surged abruptly vertical out of the moorland grass a wall of naked rock, which thrust itself into the swirling flood a precipitous headland bar. The stream swung sharply round the polished base to the left,-but she was once more fool's-mated. One glance at that depth of rushing water, and she knew she was marooned for another night, the winding clue turned traitor, after she had followed its weary bends (and with what torture) all that silent summer day. Each minute the dear light lessened in this far-away hollow of the vast unwitting world; she looked for some way of escape by mounting up on the right and rounding the protuberance in its rear; but the slopes that darkened over her were a chaos of rough, steep, marshy ground, without a trace of human track to give her heart for the climb. If she could climb, it might be into that tall grass

not graze, because the serrated grass causes hemorrhage internally, and cattle for the same reason are mostly fed indoors.

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