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Title: From Job to Job around the World

Author: Alfred C. B. Fletcher

Release date: August 11, 2017 [eBook #55336]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by MFR, Graeme Mackreth and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive)





The Author









Copyright, 1916,
By Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc.





The pages that follow are an account of a three-year trip I made around the world, starting from San Francisco with only a five-dollar gold piece and earning my way. My wanderings took me to Hawaii, Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Ceylon, India, Egypt, Palestine, Turkey, Europe, England, Norway, Spitzbergen, Sweden, and finally across the Atlantic to America. I think the book covers a new field in travel narrative in that it shows that it is possible to work one's way around the world and do so with a considerable degree of comfort. In most instances I held good positions, met the representative people of each country and travelled in moderate style. I, of course, had numerous hardships and adventures, which I relate.

I wish to extend my thanks to Mr. Ralph J. Richardson, my travelling companion on part of the trip, for the photographs which illustrate the edition and to Mr. Stanley Richardson for many valuable suggestions in connection with the manuscript of the volume. I also wish to express my gratitude to The Wide World Magazine for the courtesy of permitting me to republish the narrative from its pages.



I Two World-Beaters 1
II Hawaii by Steerage 13
III Government Inspectors at Pearl Harbor 26
IV Living as Japanese in Japan 42
V Arrested as Spies in Japan 59
VI A Professor in a Chinese College 74
VII Adrift in the Chinese Empire 89
VIII Rural China by Cart 109
IX Assorted Jobs in the Philippines 120
X A Port-hole View of Southern Asia 135
XI Two Tramps in India 150
XII A Sailor to Suez 171
XIII An American Christmas in Jerusalem 186
XIV Wandering in the Near East 204
XV Greece and Rome from a Third-class Coach 218
XVI Europe on a Vanishing Bank-roll 241
XVII From Luxury to Hunger 257
XVIII A Resident of the Arctic Zone 269
XIX Mining Under the Midnight Sun 284
XX To America as an Immigrant 304


The author

On the beach at Waikiki

Our Kaneohe cottage

"Grub is ready; get your gang together"

The Steerage Trio

The Gaylord, the only drag-bucket dredger in existence

A restaurant where nothing but "grub" is served

Bound for Japan

Taisuke Murakami, our host at Nagoya

The picture that caused our arrest

A group of our Korean friends

Every day is wash-day in Korea

Provincial officials attending China's first track meet

The author in Chinese garb

A pagoda bridge in the Forbidden City

Country boys of North China

Sample of an irrigation system

Crossing a Chinese country bridge

The inn where Richardson put up for a night

An old church in Manila

The house in which Richardson lived during his employ at the prison

The foreign business section of Singapore

The village drummer summoning the people on our arrival

A jutka or "jitney" used in Central India

Washing clothes in the Ganges

A single tree—a banyan

The Sphinx

The Mount of Olives

Our start for Nazareth

The port of Dedeagatch

A market in Constantinople

The Temple of Theseus

The Roman Forum—a "vacant lot" of Rome

St. John's Church, Needham Market

The author's home in Tromso

Tromso in summer-time

Pack ice in Ice Fjord

Twenty miles from land

The first load for shore

The ice pack from the crow's nest

The Munroe alongside the ice—60 miles from land

Longyear City, Spitzenbergen—700 miles from the North Pole

Norwegian wireless station in Ice Fjord

[Pg 1]




"What's the trouble? Are you seasick or homesick?" cordially inquired Richardson, approaching a stranger who was hanging over the side of a ship bound for Honolulu.

"Neither, my friend," I replied with a smile.

These were the initial sentences of a dialogue which was happily destined to continue for three years.

It was about an hour after the S.S. Alameda had left San Francisco for Honolulu, while leaning against the rail of the ship gazing at the receding city and turning over in my pocket a five-dollar gold piece, that I was hailed by Richardson. This gold piece was all the money I had in the world and I soon learned that the few loose coins my new friend possessed fell a little short of this amount.

After exchanging a few ideas each of us discov[Pg 2]ered that we were starting out on a similar expedition—a trip around the world. Richardson had made arrangements with another fellow for such a tour and he had backed out. I also had planned for a companion—who disappointed me at the last moment. With our partners failing us we both set out alone and by a happy coincidence took the same boat and met the first morning out of port. We liked one another's looks and decided to hook up, then and there.

A combined wealth of less than ten dollars and the wide, wide world in front of us! We agreed not to make any definite plans; we mapped out no itinerary, except the general one of around the world; we had no elaborate scheme of travel nor ideas of how we were to make our way, but decided to resign ourselves to chance and bang around, taking whatever came along. My idea was to explore the earth before I was anchored by matrimony, and Richardson wanted to see all of this world before he went to the next. We set out not as tourists—that familiar species of humanity—but as two refined American tramps.

As a young boy I had vague notions of how I was some day going to "beat" my way around the world. I always pictured myself going as a vagrant. My career as a world-beater had now begun.

To make the break was the difficult thing. To leave a good position against the advice of friends and start out on an expedition which seemed the[Pg 3] height of folly to many people was not an easy step. I had heard of men beating their way amid a continual round of hardships. I thought it possible to travel in such a manner and do so with a fair degree of comfort. It was our plan to look for good jobs and to get around in the middle course between the wealthy tourist on one hand and the ignorant, homeless tramp on the other.

With our fares paid to Honolulu, by money we had saved, we had no cares, and mingled with the miscellaneous types of passengers on the ship. Forty school teachers, ranging in age from twenty to sixty, were returning to their insular positions; pious missionaries were on their way to their posts after a sojourn in the States; sugar planters and pineapple growers spent hours on the promenade deck boosting the islands to the handful of tourists and others on the water for the first time. Seated at our table in the saloon was a Roman Catholic priest, a lean, kindly old man who was only able to eat about one meal in ten. Accompanying him were two monks, a fat one and a thin one, going to the islands to resume their labours. The amount of food the fat one could surround was not only a source of amazement and anxiety to his fellow-eaters but was the cause for great alarm on the part of the ship's commissary—for fear the supply of provisions would be exhausted before port was reached. If he had taken vows to deny himself many of the pleasures of this[Pg 4] world he more than squared himself by the quantity of food he would devour at one sitting.

The six days it takes to go to Honolulu from San Francisco were spent as such days are usually spent at sea, talking and reading in the morning, shuffle-board and other games in the afternoon, singing and spooning in the evening—on the whole a civilised trip. On the morning of the seventh day we arrived in the harbour of Honolulu. After being amused by a group of native boys diving for coins thrown by all passengers except ourselves—who felt inclined to strip and join the divers—the ship was soon alongside and in a short time we were mingling with the cosmopolitan inhabitants on the streets of Honolulu.

The next day found each of us enrolled on the teaching staff of two different schools. We became school teachers! There is something rather distasteful about a man teaching in the grammar grades. It is too ladylike. I would rather be caught operating an electric runabout. But when one realises that his last meal is not far away, any occupation is acceptable, and school teaching proved to be one of the most attractive vocations which we pursued during the trip.

Richardson affiliated himself with Mills Institute, a school under the control of the Hawaiian Board of the Congregational Church Missionary organisation. The total enrolment of this institution was about two hundred students, three-fourths of whom were Chinese and the rest Japanese and Koreans. It[Pg 5] graduated pupils of high school standing and it was in the upper division that Richardson was to work. He was instructor in algebra, geometry, Latin and English at sixty dollars a month and board. His work consisted of the routine duties of any ordinary teacher and, except that the school was quarantined for three weeks on account of diphtheria, nothing eventful occurred during his connection with the place.


On the beach at Waikiki

I assumed the duties of teacher of the fourth and fifth grades in Iolani School, a parochial institution connected with Saint Andrew's Cathedral, at the mere pittance of thirty dollars a month and board. Hawaiian schools are in many respects similar to those on the mainland and differ chiefly in the fact that the personnel of the pupils is much more cosmopolitan. In these two grades there were about sixty boys made up of Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Portuguese and but two Americans. At the end of two months under my instruction one of the American boys ran away and the other poor chap went insane—a tough commentary on the pedagogic ability of their teacher.

One of the masterpieces of literature that came to my attention is too good to let fade into obscurity. It is a letter from a number of Chinese and Japanese pupils asking me for their report cards. It follows:

"Dear Mr. A.C.B. Fletcher:

Our objection in writing this letter to you that we don't want our report cards on last examination[Pg 6] and you promise to us that you will sent out the cards on Monday, but the cards has not yet reached us. We shall be obliged if you will sent us the report cards when you have accept this letter.

Hoping to receive the cards early,

Your disobedient pupils,
H. Ah Chau,
Instead of pupil."

Mr. Ah Chew
Mr. Ah Soy
Mr. Jay Yet
Mr. Jock Chay
Mr. T. Murakami
Mr. Lo Lee

No one could resist this touching plea, so I spent one whole night correcting papers and had the report cards ready to deliver the following day.

"The loveliest fleet of islands that lie anchored in any ocean," were the words in which Mark Twain once described the Hawaiian group, and the time we spent in the "Paradise of the Pacific" proved to be one of the most enjoyable periods of the trip.

I have been surprised on many occasions at the ignorance displayed by people in the United States, and especially in the East, concerning the Territory of Hawaii. They imagine that the natives are a half-clad race recently descended from cannibals, that Honolulu is a semi-civilised village of Hawaiian huts and that modern conveniences have not yet found their way to the islands. Honolulu is a city of fifty thousand people, of whom a large number are Orientals and but a few thousand are Americans. The Americans, although in the minority, dominate[Pg 7] the city. Honolulu is one of the most beautiful and up-to-date cities of its size under the American flag. It has a good electric car service, hundreds of paved streets, first-class shops, three modern hotels and countless beautiful homes. There were one hundred and fifty automobiles lined up on the water front to meet the S.S. Cleveland when she docked at Honolulu with seven hundred passengers on her around-the-world trip. There are hundreds of miles of excellent roads for motoring throughout the islands and the number of automobiles, per capita of Americans, greatly exceeds the ratio of any city on the mainland. Honolulu is a park from one end to the other. It combines all the attractive features of the tropics with the climate of the temperate zone and possesses a charm all its own.

It was in this paradise that Richardson and I began our wanderings. During the recesses we had from our school duties we explored the island of Oahu, upon which Honolulu is situated, and became as familiar with it as the average man is with his own back yard. We learned to ride the surf at Waikiki—the finest bathing beach in all the world. We climbed all the hills in the vicinity of Honolulu. We visited Diamond Head and its fortifications. We took a dip in the Kalihi swimming hole, and we explored the island from one end to the other.

Through the kindness of an American friend, we had at our disposal a summer cottage at Kaneohe, about twelve miles from Honolulu on the northern[Pg 8] shore of the island. This little house was completely equipped with cooking and eating appliances, beds and provisions. It was situated on the beach of Kaneohe Bay. We had the use of a sail boat, two row boats and fishing tackle. At this ideal spot we spent many week-ends and, the whole time, we would go about clad in only a pair of trunks and devote the pleasant hours under the semi-tropical sun to swimming, boating and fishing. Many a time since, I have longed for another few days' stay at this little resort—to bathe in its sunshine and enjoy its outdoor pleasures undisturbed by the noise and bustle of civilisation.

We concluded that teaching stipends would never get us around the world. Especially true was this in my case, for I was making an effort to pay twenty dollars a month to a California real estate firm for several lots I had purchased some years before. We therefore decided to give up our schools and to rustle a more remunerative line of labour. Hearing that the United States Navy Department needed inspectors for its operations in connection with the construction of the naval base at Pearl Harbour, about twelve miles from Honolulu, I wandered into the navy headquarters one morning and bluntly addressed the first man I saw.

"My name is Fletcher and I am looking for a job." The lieutenant in charge, who was dressed precisely in the white uniform of the tropics, resent[Pg 9]ing my abrupt manner, replied by asking sarcastically:

"Have you been to high school?"

"Yes," I said.

"Are you a university graduate?" the officer continued, beginning to realise that he had somewhat misjudged the applicant.

"I was graduated from the University of California in 1907."

"Well, then," said the lieutenant, assuming a dignified attitude, "an examination is to be held on Wednesday of next week for several positions as sub-inspectors of dredging, and if you will fill out an application you can take it." I filled out the document, which contained the regular useless and characteristic red tape required to get within approaching distance of a government position.

"What does the examination cover?" I enquired.

"It is contrary to the rules to answer such a question," was the navy man's reply.

"But a man ought to have some line on what he is going up against. For all I know the questions may be on theology," I said with a smile. "Can't you give me a general idea what the test will cover?"

The officer then informed me that the examination would include several questions on dredges, blasting and explosives and the use of a sextant and a protractor, and would test the applicant's knowledge of geometry and arithmetic. After expressing my gratitude for the information I wandered out into the[Pg 10] street with my hopes somewhat shattered. As I aimlessly sauntered along the water front leading from the Naval Station, I began to ponder over the various items to be included in the examination. The more I reflected the lower my hopes descended. I couldn't tell a sextant from a churn, a protractor was as strange a device to me as a doctor's forceps, and I knew no more about a stick of dynamite than a turtle does about music.

But in spite of this apparently insurmountable wall of ignorance, we both agreed to take a chance at the examination, and I was designated to gather the information. I borrowed a sextant from the skipper of a ship lying in the harbour and practised with the instrument in the vacant lots of the city. I made several trips to Pearl Harbour and studied the different types of dredges at work in the channel, drawing diagrams and taking notes on each. I obtained a book on explosives and among other volumes I came across a publication entitled "Inspector's Handbook," which contained most of the information we desired in concise form.

While I was busy gathering data for the approaching examination, Richardson was earning two dollars a day on a job he had picked up from the Honolulu Telephone Company. His tedious duties consisted of installing a switch-board in the company's new building, and he spent his ten long hours a day in the monotonous task of connecting an endless num[Pg 11]ber of small metallic fibres. At the close of his second day on the job he struck his boss for a lay-off.


Our Kaneohe Cottage


"Grub is Ready. Get Your Gang Together"

"You have only worked two days and now you ask for time off. What do you want it for?" asked the oily-looking foreman.

"I am scheduled to take a civil service examination to-morrow," was Richardson's reply.

"A civil service examination! Going to quit me, Eh? Not if I know anything about it. You're fired. Come and get your time right now," exclaimed the enraged telephone boss.

"That suits me all right," said Richardson in an indifferent tone. He received his four dollars and walked unconcernedly out of the place.

That evening Richardson, four dollars richer, spent several hours under my instruction, and I made an effort to prime him full of the information I had collected for the examination. Promptly at nine o'clock the next morning we were both on hand at the Naval Station, equipped with a banana each for lunch, to take the six-hour test. There were seven other aspirants representing seven types of the human species, from a shabbily dressed stevedore to a foppishly attired bank clerk, and each had little or no knowledge of the nature of the test which was about to begin. After the examination had been in progress about an hour, Richardson and I were the only ones left—the other poor beggars had given up in despair. With our coats off, we answered the nine questions in the required time and afterwards[Pg 12] retired to the lawn, where we were asked to demonstrate our practical knowledge of a sextant. We were instructed to measure off four red flags, which were so arranged that they formed a circle with the point on which we stood as a pivot. We were given ten minutes to perform this feat. Richardson handled the instrument like a veteran. I was unable to locate the final flag through the lense of the sextant on account of a multitude of red banners flying from a man-of-war lying alongside of a dock near-by. After fumbling around in a vain effort to find the right red flag in the maze of the ship's signals, and realising that my ten minutes were fast fading away, I decided to take a long shot and do a little guess work. I took my vernier reading from the biggest flag I could see. It turned out to be a good guess, for I learned afterwards that my entire circle read three hundred and sixty degrees, one second.

The next day we were both notified that we had passed the examination—Richardson, the student, receiving a mark of eighty-six per cent.—and myself, the instructor, eighty-five per cent. We were now in line for appointments as sub-inspectors of dredging on the Pearl Harbour Naval Base, in the employ of the United States Navy Department at $3.60 a day and board—with double pay on Sunday. This made an average of one hundred and ten dollars clear money a month.

[Pg 13]



Passing the examination was only part of the procedure through which we had to go to obtain positions as sub-inspectors of dredging on the construction of the Pearl Harbour Naval Base. The next step was to get an appointment from Washington which was not to be had until there was a vacancy at the harbour. The naval authorities in Honolulu could give us no assurance when an opening would occur, so we decided to visit some of the other islands while awaiting developments. We wished to see Kilauea, the only active volcano in the Hawaiian archipelago, on the island of Hawaii, about one hundred and twenty-five miles south of Honolulu. We also wished to see Haleakala, the largest extinct crater in the world on the island of Maui.

We sailed on the S.S. Wilhelmina for Hawaii, accompanied by a fellow school teacher by the name of Hammond. Richardson went as a member of the crew while Hammond and I were steerage passengers at three dollars a head—as we supposed. No one came to collect our fares, so I reluctantly offered the money to the purser who refused it—for[Pg 14] he knew we were poor men. We returned under similar good fortune, making a total of two hundred and fifty miles of travel, including meals, for nothing. Richardson's duties consisted of bucking around one-hundred-and-fifty-pound sugar sacks, and he received little sympathy from his two travelling companions who sat leisurely by and made fun of him. He proved to be a very poor workman, for after the ship was well under way he shirked his duties to such an extent that he enjoyed all the comforts and leisure of steerage travel.

We were the most aristocratic steerage passengers that this ship or any other ever had. Instead of conducting ourselves like cattle, as fourth-class passengers sometimes do, we mingled with the pretty girls of the first-class, took deck chairs which usually retail at a dollar a trip, explored the boat beyond the steerage line and when the steward emerged from the lower deck and in the presence of all the passengers shouted, "Grub is ready, get your gang together," the three of us dropped down the hole and lined up alongside of the trough and proceeded to place away the food which was served in wholesale quantities on tinware. Our iron-piped bunks were free from bed-bugs and other inhabitants, but the hairy blankets were tormentors all night long. It was a rough trip and it was fortunate that none of us was seasick. It would have been extremely awkward, for no provision was made for receptacles of any kind which are necessary under such cir[Pg 15]cumstances. Our bunks were ten feet from the port holes, which were twelve feet from the deck, and in order to do the usual thing through one of these apertures it would have been necessary to procure a ladder, and even then we should have run the risk of getting our heads caught in the port holes and of being unable to draw them out. One's imagination can picture the steerage steward being greeted in the morning by three bums hanging lifelessly by their heads from three successive port holes, with their legs dangling in the air.

Richardson was determined to break in on two attractive girls on the first-class promenade deck. One of them was seated in front of her stateroom looking like an unlaundered towel and doing her best to hold down a recently devoured meal. Richardson prinked before the steerage mirror and walked briskly along the deck to the point where the young lady was sitting. He stopped short and bluntly asked,

"Are you seasick?"

"Don't I look it?" she replied with a smile.

This was the entering wedge and soon Richardson introduced his fellow travellers. The steerage quarters were immediately deserted and we spent the rest of the trip on the promenade deck with the women. One of them proved to be the daughter of an high official of the Oceanic Steamship Company, which at that time was contemplating placing on a line of steamers from San Francisco to Australia.[Pg 16] We met her father who, on hearing of the plans of our trip, which we enthusiastically related, said that in the event the new line was put on he would see that we got to Australia for nothing. Unfortunately for us, our time to depart came before this line was inaugurated.

We landed at Hilo on the island of Hawaii early in the morning, and bought a third-class round-trip ticket for $1.60 to Glenwood, twenty-two miles distant. From Glenwood we walked the remaining nine miles to the Volcano House in two hours and fifteen minutes, rising two thousand feet and beating the stage by twenty minutes. The road was a good thoroughfare through tropical forests of tree ferns, twenty feet in height; of ohia lehua, a tree belonging to the same family as the eucalyptus; koa or Hawaiian mahogany; wild bananas; papaia, water lemons, palms and wild roses. On arriving at the Volcano House we had something to eat and then set out across the lava beds for three miles to Halemaumau—the active pit of the volcano—where we spent the night in a shack perched on its edge.

Kilauea is one of the "seven wonders" of America. It is situated on the slopes of Mauna Loa, a barren mountain rising gradually from the sea to a height of thirteen thousand five hundred feet. The Volcano House, or tourist hotel on the hillside, commands an excellent view of the crater with its desert of lava, of the swirling smoke of the pit and of[Pg 17] Mauna Loa, rising majestically in the distance to its dome-like summit.

Vesuvius is a large broken cone on the top of a mountain. Kilauea is an enormous cavity about seven miles in circumference and several hundred feet deep on the side of a mountain. The crater is a large lava bed cooled in peculiar and fantastic formations and it is about four miles in diameter. Across this dreary desert is a winding trail which leads from the Volcano House to the pit. Along this path there are immense fissures in the lava from which constantly rise volumes of sulphur smoke oozing out from the very bowels of the earth. As one approaches the pit the enormous column of smoke, which rises from it, is always present as a guide to his destination and at night it is a tower of light which spreads its rays for miles.

Halemaumau, the pit where the molten lava is raging, is about four hundred feet in diameter and at the time of our visit the level of the liquid fire was about six hundred feet below the floor of the crater. There is a pit within a pit, the top of the inner forming a shelf within the outer; and it was on this ledge that Mark Twain had the thrilling experience of rescuing a companion who had fallen through the lava. His account of this adventure is given in "Roughing It," and he relates in detail the difficulty with which he emerged from his perilous situation after wandering blindly about amidst the fumes of sulphur in search of a path to safety.[Pg 18] To-day none but the fool-hardy venture below, as it is very dangerous. Richardson, Hammond and I explored the whole region, and we sat for hours on the edge of the precipice and watched this lake of molten lava—splashing, surging, tossing, gurgling, flowing—ever restless and ever beautiful.

This mass of writhing fluid looks like hell as pictured by the old-time fire and brimstone preachers. It appears to be flowing in a continuous current, coming from one side and disappearing at another. As floating pieces of lava cool and crack, a series of red hot fountains bursts through them, rising to a height of twenty or thirty feet. In the midst of this restless mass of Satanic fluid is a large stationary rock which reposes in its infernal position as peacefully as a cow in a pasture. Out of this awful chasm there arise clouds of sulphur smoke which conceal the bed to a great extent, but as there is always a strong constantly changing wind we were able to get good views of the whole scene.

It is extremely fascinating to sit on the edge of this pit and watch the incessant dashing and splashing of the glowing lava. It impressed even such homeless tramps as ourselves. One's thoughts drift back to the time, a century ago, when Mrs. Pele—the Hawaiian Goddess of volcanoes—was misbehaving to her full capacity, when the present outer crater with its cold and peaceful lava beds was one living mass of furious fire, when its rays were so brilliant at night that it illuminated the sky and[Pg 19] sea for a radius of four hundred miles and the lava flowed at will down the mountain-side to the sea and extended the coast of this volcanic island.


The Steerage Trio

An interesting story is told by the natives. Several years ago when Kilauea was unusually active there was great fear that the lava would flow down the mountain-side and bury the town of Hilo. The Hawaiians in their frenzied fright appealed to Princess Ruth for help. She, accompanied by the ladies and gentlemen of the court, proceeded to the volcano and with great ceremony, this portly and corpulent woman (it is said that she weighed three hundred pounds) stood on the edge of the pit and threw a live and disgusted pig into the midst of the burning cauldron, whereupon the boiling lava immediately subsided and the village of Hilo was saved.

The regular tourist rate from Honolulu to Kilauea is $59.50, which includes round-trip by boat, railroad fare from Hilo to Glenwood, stage charges to the Volcano House and board and room while there. Admitting that we missed a considerable degree of comfort, nevertheless, we saw all that the average tourist sees and at a cash outlay of only $2.10 each.

Huddled in the steerage of the Mauna Kea (one of the small steamers of the Inter-Island Steam Navigation Company) with a score of Chinese, Japanese and Hawaiians, we left Honolulu for McGregor's Landing on the island of Maui to see the extinct volcano Haleakala. The trip was a night's[Pg 20] journey and, as no sleeping accommodations are provided in the third-class of Hawaiian steamers, we bunked on the soft side of a coil of rope.

The ship arrived at McGregor's Landing about five o'clock in the morning and we went ashore feeling anything but rested after a most wearisome night. We made a bargain with a Chinese hack driver to carry us to Kahului, eight miles across the island. After breakfast we boarded a little narrow gauge train for Paia, a sugar plantation village a short distance up the coast on the slopes of Haleakala. We purchased a supply of provisions at the plantation store and were soon started on the twenty-mile climb to the top of the mountain. Haleakala is just over ten thousand feet in elevation and the trail to the summit ascends on an average of five hundred feet to the mile. A trip up Haleakala proved to be far from a pleasure jaunt.

The first part of our walk from Paia past the huge sugar factory lay through the great cane fields of the Maui Agricultural Company, the second largest plantation in the Hawaiian Islands. The cane was being harvested and the Japanese cutters were as busy as bees all about us.

About ten o'clock we reached the four-thousand-foot level. The cane fields began to disappear and our path wound its way among banana farms and taro patches. We helped ourselves to mangoes, papaias and guavas along the way. We ate our lunch at a Chinese store. The real climb began after[Pg 21] midday. We left fertile fields and were soon following the trail across the middle slopes of the mountain. There were few trees and the sun shone down from a cloudless sky. Our gait was easily under the speed limit, only about two miles an hour. It was a hard stony road over which we had to travel.

As we ascended the view began to widen out on every side. We could look back over the cane fields to the Pacific and see the breakers rolling ashore. Above us towered the mountain, the summit now and again lost in a fleecy cloud. We almost forgot the hardships of the climb with such a picture before us.

Although the ascent from Paia to the top can be made in a single day, we decided to break the journey about half way, spend the night and start out refreshed for the last stretch. We stopped at Idlewilde and put up in the summer home of a Kahului friend. We made an early start. The trail was plainly marked with guide posts, each tenth of a mile. Idlewilde is eight miles by trail from the summit and the ascent from this point is over five thousand feet—seven hundred to the mile. The first three or four miles were comparatively easy, for we were fresh and the footing was good. About the fifth mile the real work began. The trail became steeper and steeper until it seemed straight up. We began to strike loose, volcanic dirt and sand. We passed the timber line and the stubby bushes with[Pg 22] which the side of the mountain is covered afforded no protection from the sun. It was real mountain climbing—or just plain unadulterated work. The high altitude made frequent stops necessary for breathing spells. Our progress was slow. The last three miles took over three hours.

The view was magnificent. Forty miles of the Maui coast were spread out at our feet. To the south the island of Molokai loomed out of the sea. Two or three steamers were making their way through the Maui-Molokai channel towards Honolulu. The air was clear, almost Rocky Mountain clearness—an unusual condition for Hawaii.

A mile from the top we collected a large bunch of fire wood for use during the night. The wood probably weighed one hundred pounds—fifty pounds each. In a half an hour it had increased to four hundred pounds. We began to lighten our packs. We reached the summit with five pounds each. The last half mile took one hour. The air was rarefied and we had to stop every few hundred feet for breath. The trail, beside being much steeper than heretofore—if such a thing were possible—was covered with sand, causing us to slip back a foot for nearly every step we took.

Suddenly the view of the great crater burst upon us. It is a sight I shall never forget. We had reached the top of the trail and were walking along a low wall of rock towards the mountain house. We[Pg 23] came to a break in the rock and in an instant Haleakala appeared before us.

Imagine a hole in the top of a mountain. Let this hole be twenty-seven miles around and from two to three thousand feet deep, the sides abruptly sloping. Scattered over the level floor of this hole, picture twenty extinct volcanic cones or craters, the smallest forty feet in height, the largest about a thousand. This, in brief, is Haleakala. The sight is a grand one to-day, with all the craters extinct. What must it have been a thousand years ago when, according to geologists, Haleakala was active and the great crater was one mass of flame and liquid rock?

We spent the night in the mountain rest house. This small stone cabin is provided for visitors to the summit. We curled up in our blankets—but not to sleep. The fireplace balked and the smoke went everywhere but up the chimney. We stood it as long as we could and then concluded that we would rather freeze than be smoked to death. We threw the fire outdoors and spent the rest of the night in a cold but smokeless cabin. A bucket of water in the room was frozen over with ice a half inch thick. We didn't sleep a wink.

In the morning we saw the greatest of all sunrises—a Haleakala Sunrise. The great crater had filled with clouds during the night. In the grey morning light one could imagine that he was looking over an immense body of water. Clouds had[Pg 24] settled around the mountain so that the view of the ocean was shut off. We seemed to be standing on an island with clouds all about us. The first rays of the sun were caught up by the mass of mist in the crater. In an instant the great pit was turned into a sea of fire. Back and forth flashed the light as it was reflected through the abyss of fog. In three minutes it was all over. As the sun rose the clouds began to take flight, like giant birds, and in a few minutes the crater was empty.

We rolled rocks over the edge and watched them go bounding down the two thousand foot slope to the floor of the crater. When a boulder in its flight struck another, imbedded in the side of the mountain, pieces dashed up like a fountain and the noise was like the muffled discharge of a cannon.

It only took us a little over four hours to make the twenty miles back to Paia. We scarcely felt tired that evening, but the following morning I thought I was a hundred years old. The constant pounding of our heels on the hard trail affected the muscles in the back of our legs and for two or three days we could hardly walk. If human beings ever have springhalt, we surely had it.

We returned to Honolulu by the Mauna Kea. All went well in the steerage and we arrived in the morning. Instead of going to the wharf, the ship anchored at the quarantine station. We thought this was something unusual and one of us asked an officer the cause. Bubonic plague, one of the most[Pg 25] feared of all diseases, had appeared on Maui—only two cases—and all the steerage passengers were to be landed at quarantine and inspected by the port doctor before being allowed to go ashore.

We were steerage by environment but not by heredity. Within two minutes we had business in the engine room. We tarried there a brief moment and went on deck—the first-class deck. Every one was in a rush and our appearance was not even noticed. We knew several of the passengers and at once entered into conversation with them.

Soon the ship's boats were lowered and the first-class passengers—and two steerage—were landed at the wharf. In ten minutes we were on shore, two travel-stained, tired and lame, but cheerful looking tramps. Haleakala was a wonder. It was worth travelling steerage to see—even worth taking a chance on the plague.

[Pg 26]



On our return to Honolulu there still was no word from the Naval authorities as to appointments at Pearl Harbour. We decided to stand by a few weeks longer in the hope that an opening would soon occur. As our money was running low it was necessary for us to obtain temporary jobs to insure that we would get food each day and have a place to rest our heads at night. Richardson soon fell into the berth of sales-clerk in a photograph shop on the main street of Honolulu, selling kodak supplies and fixtures at twelve dollars a week. I was not so fortunate. I scoured the town for days for something that paid a living wage. I applied to the City Health Department, hoping to get a position as mosquito inspector, ambling about town with a can of oil on my back, pouring the liquid on the various duck ponds which are operated by Chinese and Japanese and which are prolific incubators for this tropical pest. I sought work as a checker of sugar as it is loaded on ships in the harbour. I made application to the three newspapers in the hope of being taken on as a reporter and I canvassed all the houses in the whole[Pg 27]sale district. No one would have me. However, I knew one job I could get but I was standing it off as long as there might be prospects of obtaining something else. But finally I had to take it. A re-enforced concrete jail was under construction on the water front and one afternoon, after several hours of searching in vain for work, I sauntered around to this structure. I found the Irish foreman, assumed an empty appearance and said, "I am hungry." The good man immediately agreed to take me on as a labourer at $1.50 a day.

I appeared the next morning attired in suitable raiment for the work I was about to take up and was assigned to my post. The building had been in course of construction several months and had reached the point where the concrete had set and the forms were ready to be dismantled. Equipped with a pinch bar, I worked on a scaffolding with a dozen native Hawaiians and a score of Portuguese, removing the forms from the walls and ceilings. After several days of this fascinating pastime I was placed on the end of a shovel mixing concrete on the roof and propelling a wheelbarrow laden with cement. Pushing two hundred pounds of concrete in a primitive wheelbarrow on the top of an Hawaiian jail under the glaring and penetrating rays of the tropical sun with school teacher's hands was no joke. Blisters the size of nickels arose on my hands; my back became lame, my feet swollen and every muscle in my body as tender as a baby's. To[Pg 28] reach the apex of misfortune I ran a rusty nail through the sole of my shoe into my foot. This was a fat load of discomfort to carry for a meagre $1.50 a day. But I had to eat.

In the meantime a vacancy occurred at Pearl Harbour and Richardson received an appointment. After swearing that he would support the Constitution of the United States, the laws of the territory of Hawaii, the Ten Commandments and what not, he was duly authorised to exercise the duties of sub-inspector of dredging. Richardson's one per cent. better mark in the examination put him on the dredging job three weeks in advance of myself and during this period he earned seventy-five dollars—a costly one per cent. for me.

After several weeks as a hod-carrier, I also received my Pearl Harbour appointment, which had been cabled from Washington, and I at once abandoned the concrete business and—from hard labour—joined Richardson in a life of leisure as a government inspector.

The United States Government was spending several million dollars in developing Pearl Harbour, a beautiful land-locked bay on the island of Oahu about ten miles from Honolulu. Under the supervision of the United States Navy Department a dry dock was being constructed, a naval station was to be built with shops, barracks, parade grounds, marine hospital, etc. In order to make this natural harbour accessible the government was having the[Pg 29] channel dredged to a width of six hundred feet and to a depth of thirty-five feet. The work was under contract to the Hawaiian Dredging Company, who employed, at this time, about six hundred men. The task was being performed by six dredgers, each of a different type,—a clam-shell, a dipper, a converted schooner, an electric hydraulic, a steam hydraulic and a drag-bucket. These machines were superintended by experienced men from America, but the general run of their crews was recruited from the riff-raff of the earth. Drunken sailors, bums and tramps, good-for-nothing Europeans, worthless hulks, swearing Britishers and high sea wanderers blew into the camp and were taken on—to remain but a few days—when new recruits would come along or men would be enlisted from the patrons of the waterfront saloons of Honolulu. As deck hands, launch men and any sort of unskilled labour they were set to work, only to be replaced in a few days by a bunch equally as worthless and degraded. It was common occurrence for the whole outfit on a dredge to quit at midnight and be replaced in a few hours by a crowd obtained from the drunken ranks of the low-down dives of Honolulu. They would arrive at the dredge, laden to the shoulders with booze, howling drunk, some of them fighting mad, and before they were all landed from the launch it was an unusual thing if two or three had not fallen overboard and had to be fished out. However, beneath the uncouth externals of[Pg 30] many of these men was a heart as big as a fortune, an unselfishness one would hardly surmise and a disposition which it would be difficult to duplicate.

The headquarters for the camp were located in Watertown, a little settlement at the mouth of the harbour, whose inhabitants, numbering about five hundred souls, were made up of Hawaiians, Japanese, Russians, Chinese, Portuguese and a score of Americans. This small camp contained one store and fifty or more houses where the employés of the dry-dock, machinists, launch hands, labourers and native fishermen lived.

According to its regular custom, the Government employed inspectors to see that the work was done properly. Call them what you will—spies, loafers or parasites—each name characterises some phase of the job. Such appellations are no reflection on the personnel of the force, however. There were fifteen of them and it would be hard to find a more interesting set of men grouped together in one spot. The several epithets by which they have just been designated are not due to any failing of theirs, but to the nature of the job, whose chief demands on the inspectors were to look intelligent, maintain the dignity of the Government, and draw pay. There were among these fifteen inspectors an ex-dentist of Honolulu, one of the finest fellows on this earth; an ex-lawyer, a brilliant and sterling man; an ex-doctor, whose Irish wit was of the rare and clever variety; an ex-professor of Whittier Col[Pg 31]lege, California; an ex-sailor and several nondescripts. Besides upholding the dignity of the Government each inspector was supposed to have a thorough knowledge of the channel, its width and depth, to inspect the dredging, to supervise the dumping of the dredged material and to submit a daily report to the head inspector.


The Gaylord, the only Drag-bucket Dredger in Existence


A Restaurant Where Nothing but "Grub" is Served

This was the lay-out with which Richardson and I had decided to cast our lot for several months. With our wages averaging one hundred and ten dollars a month, we figured that in a short time we would have a fair amount of coin laid aside which would enable us to go on to the Orient and bring us safely to another point where we could search for work.

When off duty the inspectors lived at Watertown in quarters provided for them by the Hawaiian Dredging Company and ate their meals at a restaurant conducted by Chinese. While on duty they slept and ate on the dredges which were located from one-half to two miles from shore in the channel. On each dredge there was set aside a room for inspectors' quarters. These compartments on most of the dredges were furnished with two iron bunks for beds, several dynamite boxes for chairs and a greasy deck of cards for amusement. The occupant was never lonesome nor idle, for when he had nothing to do, which was most of the time, he could spend the weary hours reducing the number of rapidly multiplying bed-bugs. These[Pg 32] dredges were literally alive with this human pest and as soon as we would reduce the flock to the point of comfort a new bunch of recruits would be ushered in with the arrival of a new crew of men from the waterfront of Honolulu. The mess rooms with crude tables covered with oilcloth, with tin ware and lack of service, could exhibit at meal time the most unappetising display of food ever placed before any man. Stewed tripe—weeks old—lamb stew, clam-chowder, bread apparently made of cement, butter with a stench so strong that it outclassed the odours of the other provisions, fermented tomato catsup and hot cakes with the consistency of horse pads, greeted the unwashed eaters three times a day. The eaters themselves were a curious exhibition of mankind. The men employed on the dredges slept and ate their meals aboard and when they gathered in the mess room, as well as at all other times, the language and stories that wafted across the board were fit to hypnotise the devil.

One morning as Richardson, somewhat late, was seating himself for breakfast the Chinese waiter, approaching the table, inquired automatically and in an interrogative tone,


"Yes," said Richardson.

"No mush," was the Chink's reply.

This is a sample of the mental capacity of the Oriental servants on the dredges. How could indi[Pg 33]viduals with such brains cook anything fit for a white man to eat? These Chinese cooks and flunkeys were a greasy, unsanitary set and always wore aprons which looked more like those of a blacksmith than those of a kitchen artisan.

The inspectors' time was so arranged that every second day we had thirty-two hours off and these we used to devote to various forms of recreation. In addition to renovating an old sail boat which we resurrected out of the mud flats of the harbour of Honolulu, we went swimming off the pontoon lines of the dredges, hunted on the Government reserve or attended native luaus on the beach. The most interesting diversion was shark fishing. We always had a line out from each dredge in quest of both the hammer-head and man-eating sharks. On one occasion one of the crew observing that one of our lines was being jerked uttered a cry of "shark!" and in a moment we were all on deck pulling in the rope to land our catch. On the end of the line was a ten-foot man-eating shark and as we got the monster alongside the dredge one of the Hawaiians, an expert swimmer, dived off the deck and proceeded to tie a rope around the body of the fish to enable us to hoist him aboard. The shark struggled and whipped about with his tail to such an extent that the native was unable to manipulate the rope with one hand, his other being employed in an effort to restrain the movements of the big creature. After several vain attempts to tie[Pg 34] on the rope, the Hawaiian held the tail of the shark between his teeth and thus, with the use of both hands, placed the line around the shark's belly and he was raised on deck. We at once set to and stripped the fish of all its flesh and in the course of a few hours the captain of the dredge was the proud possessor of a walking stick made from the circular bones of the spinal column of the shark. Such a cane is a novelty and a beauty.

My roommate was an inspector who had originally come from the back country of the State of Oregon. Each time as he returned from Honolulu I observed, as Smith—for that was his name—removed his coat, a revolver strapped over his left shoulder.

"What is the pistol for?" I asked him one day.

"I need it in my business," was Smith's reply.

"What business are you in?" I enquired, a little curious.

"I am travelling with another man's wife," said Smith.

"That's rather dangerous business, isn't it?" I ventured, refraining from offering any advice to a man older than myself and one whom I knew but slightly.

"The man is on my trail and I am ready for him," said Smith. I dismissed the incident as the boasting prank of a youth. Some months afterwards, however, the city of Honolulu was awakened from its daily routine by a shooting scrape[Pg 35] which took place on one of the main streets at nine o'clock in the morning. Smith's talk was not mere youthful boasting. His assailant fired five shots at him, one catching him in the hip, and Smith replied with a generous bestowal of lead, firing several shots, one of which lodged in his opponent's lung. The first report was that Smith had killed his man. This was not true, however, and the two were taken to the hospital for treatment.

Sentiment in Honolulu ebbed high against Smith and, when he recovered sufficiently to leave the hospital, it was impossible for him to obtain the three thousand dollars' bail for the charge of "assault with a deadly weapon with the intent to commit murder" which was lodged against him. He spent one night in jail and his fellow inspectors finally came to his rescue. Although not approving of his actions, we felt that now was the time to help the man when he was down and especially as Smith appeared very regretful. Richardson and I put up two hundred and fifty dollars each of the bail. The case dragged on for months and was not settled until after our departure from the Islands. Sometime later we learned that Smith was fined one thousand dollars and dismissed from the service of the Government. Such was my roommate. He may have been foolish, but no one could accuse him of being a coward. He was a likeable fellow and had a world of good qualities.

After a couple of months on the job as inspectors[Pg 36] Richardson and I had a few dollars in our pockets and, feeling rather reckless one day, decided to purchase some sugar stock in the hope of making a stake and thus being enabled to continue the trip in comparative luxury. We each bought ten shares of the Oahu Sugar Company's stock at thirty dollars a share. In order to do this we had to borrow one hundred and fifty dollars each from a Honolulu bank. While we were building castles in the air concerning the big pile we were going to make, the slump in the market, usual when amateurs begin meddling with stocks, occurred and our shares dropped six points. With the drop of our stocks came a drop in our hopes and we could picture our earnings of the past months vanishing as we stood helplessly by. We concluded that if there was no other way out of our financial difficulties we could at least stay on the job and earn what we had lost. In addition to our bail money for Smith and our loss on our high finance I had, either out of the goodness of my heart or because I was an easy mark, loaned out over two hundred dollars to acquaintances of mine who had put up tales of hard luck. With our finances in this state our trip for the present began to look somewhat dubious. However, everything turned out all right and we climbed out of our financial tangle with profit. The last week of our stay in Hawaii we were both released from Smith's bail, our sugar stocks had gradually risen to two points higher than the figure at which[Pg 37] we purchased them and I collected every cent of my loans.

We had now been at Pearl Harbour several months and were anxious to be moving, so we started a vigorous campaign to make a getaway. Honolulu is simply a port of call and crews are not made up there and for this reason it is a poor place in which to be stranded, for it is next to impossible to sign on as a sailor on any ship. When off duty at Pearl Harbour we went to Honolulu and canvassed all the likely looking vessels for passage to either Australia or the Orient. The reception we received at the hands of the captains and stewards varied from the painfully courteous to the hardest of treatment. The skipper of a United States Army transport took us into his cabin, told us stories, gave us a drink but, true to his duty, refused to give us a lift across the Pacific. The steward of a Pacific Mail liner, whom we unfortunately caught ten minutes before the boat sailed—a busy time for a commissary chief,—disposed of us in short order. Seeing a man who filled the description given us, I hailed a greasy looking fellow as he was hurriedly ascending the gangway and asked him,

"Are you the steward?"

"Yep; what do you want?"

"May I have a minute of your time?"

"No, sir, only a half a minute." Our case looked hopeless.

[Pg 38]

"What are the chances for two of us to get a job?"

"None. I have had enough of fellows like you. Get off the gangway before I have you kicked off," shouted the chief cook as he beckoned to several deck hands to enforce his threat. There being nothing else to do, the two of us withdrew amid the laughter of the people on the pier who witnessed the dialogue. We retired to the opposite side of the wharf where we sat down, smoked a cigarette and talked the matter over. We felt pretty much subdued.

We were novices at the game of procuring maritime jobs and the old sea dogs with whom we had to deal knew it, but we concluded that the only way to get experience was to persevere. We started the trip as tramps and now, for the first time, we realised that we actually were tramps; but we always clung to the idea that we were of the refined variety.

Our next attempt towards obtaining passage was on a British tramp coal steamer plying between Honolulu and Australia. I was especially eager to go to Sydney because a friend of mine, touring the southern continent, had procured a job for me with a draying company in that city. The British tramp was to be painted on her return to Australia and as men were needed Richardson and I were signed on and our duties outlined. They consisted of knocking off the old paint on the side of the ship[Pg 39] for twenty-one days. The skipper informed us that the boat was to get under way the following afternoon and that we ought to report for duty in the morning. We were on hand the next day but only to be disappointed, for there was no ship to be found. We learned that it had received orders to sail at once for Seattle and had left at midnight.

We were now left in the lurch. We had tendered our resignations to the Secretary of the Navy and had severed our connections with the Pearl Harbour operations. To diminish our chances for passage to the Orient there was nothing going our way upon which there was the remotest chance of getting a job. Although we felt rather opulent after several months' work as inspectors we were reluctant to look up the rates to Yokohama on the regular liners—but decided to do so. We found that on the following day the Asia, an intermediate steamer of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company, was due from San Francisco en route to Japan and that the fare was seventy-five dollars. This was a huge sum to part with at one blow, but when compared with the regular first class fare of one hundred and fifty dollars on the larger boats looked like a saving. We also figured that by the time we had spent several months floundering around Australia, in spite of the money saved getting there, we should arrive in Manila several hundred dollars out. With these considerations we decided to take the Asia to Yokohama.

[Pg 40]

We had spent a number of weeks in getting our baggage together and had reduced it to a scientific minimum. We agreed only to take a suit case and a small hand bag each. In addition to these Richardson was to bring his camera. Our baggage consisted of the following wearing apparel and fixtures: two suits of clothes each (one on our backs), one pair of heavy shoes, a cap, six soft shirts, two flannel shirts, a pair of overalls, a dozen socks, six sets of underwear, a dozen handkerchiefs, a rain coat, a few toilet articles, diaries and some stationery. The trip was not to be a dress affair and all hard-boiled shirts, linen collars and evening clothes were dismissed from the start. Even with our wardrobes reduced to this half civilised minimum, it required systematic packing and almost superhuman strength to close our suit cases.

We closed up our affairs in Honolulu, put our money into American Bankers' Travelers' checks, ate a few farewell meals, drank a few final toasts and were in readiness to depart. The Asia was scheduled to leave at five in the afternoon. I was on the pier a few minutes before the appointed time, but there was no sign of Richardson. Five minutes to five—and Richardson had not arrived; four, three, two and one minute to five—and Richardson was nowhere to be found. Five o'clock—and no Richardson. The lines of the ship were being loosened from the pier. I was on board; after having made arrangements with some navy men to have[Pg 41] the government launch bring Richardson out to the Asia while she was turning in the stream or to tell him to meet me in Yokohama. At two minutes after five o'clock—just as the ship was getting under way—Richardson came running down the wharf armed with a suit case, a small leather bag, a camera, a rain coat, a hair brush extending from one pocket, a bottle of tooth powder from another and a half a dozen small bundles hanging from any place where they could stick. The gangplank was lowered and he came aboard, while a handful of friends placed several Hawaiian leis about his perspiring neck.

The Royal Hawaiian Band played Aloha Oe, the ship got under way and we began the second leg of our trip with seven hundred dollars each in our pockets.

[Pg 42]



The Asia proved to be a good ship and lazily ploughed her way across the Pacific in a manner to indicate that this trip was simply one in the cycle of many more to come. But this was her last, for on her return from Manila, she encountered a heavy fog off the coast of China and went head on into a large rock and anchored herself securely with her nose in the air and her stern submerged in the sea. Her passengers and crew were all saved and, after being pillaged by Chinese pirates, she was whipped off by the waves and sank into the water, a total wreck.

Ten days of ocean travel spent with educated Japanese returning home, with United States Government employés bound for Manila and other human beings of assorted sizes and miscellaneous occupations, and we reached the shores of Japan.

From one of the Japanese on board we obtained a prospective itinerary. We made arrangements with Mr. A. Miyawaki, a young American-educated Japanese, who was returning to his native land after an absence of eight years, to accompany us for ten days. Miyawaki was a charming little fellow and[Pg 43] had been assistant in dairying at the Kansas State Agricultural Experiment Station. We figured that with him as a travelling companion we had acquired a valuable guide. Although Japan was nearly as strange to him as it was to us—for he left when a boy—he knew the language, the lack of which knowledge we soon found to be a great obstacle.

There are two ways to travel—one in luxury as a tourist, the other in discomfort as a tramp. What on earth is there so vulgar as the affluent, loud-voiced, inquisitive, lazy, coin-displaying American tourist? He splashes through Europe or the Orient with a Baedeker in one hand and a ten dollar bill or its equivalent in the other, glances at the cathedrals and temples, eats a near-native meal especially arranged by Thomas Cook and Son, puts up at the expensive European or American hotels and flits from country to country—and imagines that he has seen all there is to see. Nearly every tourist on arriving in Japan goes directly to an Occidental hotel where he lives in Western fashion and luxury at Western prices and seldom, if ever, comes in contact with the natives.

Richardson and I were not tourists but refined tramps. We decided to religiously avoid the American and European hotels for two reasons—first, for economy, and second, for the interesting things we would see and learn. The man is fortunate who can get off without paying eight yen (four dollars) a day at the average Western hotel in an Oriental[Pg 44] city, while around the corner at a Japanese inn it is possible to get a room and two meals for from one to three yen a day. There is not the same amount of comfort and luxury as is offered by the Occidental hotel, but there is a thousand times more interest.

The Asia arrived in Tokyo Bay and the city of Yokohama loomed up before us. After a short customs examination, through which I managed to smuggle some American tobacco—for I had learned something of the inferior qualities of this commodity in Japan—we took a rickshaw each, from among the hundred or more that were waiting at the pier, and were off up the street.

Miyawaki, our Japanese friend, accompanied us. Our rickshaws drew up to a Japanese inn and Miyawaki soon made arrangements for our rooms. We sat down on the little porch and took off our shoes, leaving them on the sidewalk along with a score of others, and put on a pair of slippers. After we were robed in kimonos, a dainty little maid pattered in with a tray load of provisions. She knelt down and spread before us the evening meal. Rice represented the bulk of the food and there were raw fish, a bowl of soup with one egg in it, a dish of boiled bamboo shoots, a plate of sweetened beans and a little receptacle containing some black flavouring sauce. The meal was concluded with several small bowls of tea. Richardson and I flew to this assortment almost like animals, we were so hun[Pg 45]gry. The little maid was much amused at our awkward efforts to manipulate the chop sticks. Rice was especially hard to handle with these two strips of wood.

Richardson and I became so fond of rice before we had lived long on that staple that we thought we could never again eat a meal without it. The Japanese understand how to prepare it and cook it in such a way that each grain is dry and separate from the others. The average dish of rice in America tastes and looks like a mass of Library paste.

Life in a Japanese hotel is a continual round of novelties and interesting experiences to the uninitiated Western traveller. Before entering the guest must remove his shoes—a more sensible custom than that of the Occident of removing the hat—for which tracks in the dirt? With a pair of house slippers to replace his shoes, the guest is ushered into his room, a compartment without any furniture except a Japanese screen and a picture or two. In winter there may be a stove, which consists of a small circular receptacle resembling a jardinière and containing ashes—in the centre of which are a few live pieces of charcoal. As soon as the guest is in his room the proprietor enters with a blank form which is to be filled out and which gives a complete record of the new arrival—his age, occupation, home, reasons for being away from home, destination, etc. This information is[Pg 46] turned over by the inn-keeper to the chief of police and thus a close tab is kept on every visitor to a Japanese city. After this formality, the maid enters the room with a kimono and if you give her a chance will completely disrobe you. There are no chairs; nothing but a little mat upon which you coil in tailor fashion. There are no beds; retiring appliances consisting of a thin mattress and quilts which are spread out on the floor at bed-time each night and taken up again in the morning to be placed in compartments in the wall of the room. There is no dining table but in its place is a little tray, sometimes elevated on legs, brought in from the kitchen at meal times. There are no knives, forks and spoons, nor plates. In fact, everything that one would expect to find in an hotel is missing and some other device is in its place. Probably the most unusual feature to the western traveller is the accommodation for taking a bath. This generally consists of a fair-sized room in which are a dozen or more little round wooden tubs where men, women and children all gather at the same time and perform their daily ablutions.

This, briefly, is the lay-out which a traveller finds when he stays at a Japanese hotel. As much of a novelty as it was for Richardson and me to experience the sensations of this kind of inn, it was an equal novelty for the Japanese to have us as guests. We often encountered considerable difficulty in convincing the proprietor that we really wished to stay[Pg 47] at his hotel. In addition to the handicap of carrying on a conversation without the use of a language, for we knew nothing of Japanese, we frequently had to overcome the hotel man's notion that we were trying to play a joke on him. Once in the hotel we were constantly the centre of attraction and source of interest not only to those employed about the place but also to the other guests.

In our first Japanese hotel we acted as awkwardly as a cow on a polished floor. When it came time to go to bed Richardson became greatly embarrassed as the pretty little Jap maid in a conscientious effort to perform her duty began to disrobe him. She first removed his coat, at which he gave no indications of disapproval. She then began releasing his shirt and, as she proceeded, Rich's brow began to colour. He didn't murmur until she commenced to separate him from his trousers, which so startled the modest young man that he exploded with such a blast-like tone, "Whoa, Bill," that the poor girl, frightened nearly to death, took refuge in flight. Richardson continued the remainder of his disrobing without assistance.

Privacy is unknown in Japan. Everybody knows every other person's business and little or no attempt is made towards secrecy. The walls of a Japanese house are built of heavy paper or very thin wood and the intimate conversation in one room can be heard in the next. From an American point of view the Japanese are immodest. In some[Pg 48] ways they are more modest than we are. They think no more of exposing their bodies entirely nude than Europeans do of displaying their ungloved hands to a crowd. But this is not necessarily immodesty. Modesty is a mental attitude and not the conforming to a certain code of rules.

The bath-room in a Japanese hotel is often the most public part of the building. Especially is this the case in the country districts where western influence has had little or no effect. Although it is now a national regulation that the opposite sexes are not allowed to bathe together, this law is not enforced in the country towns and even in some of the cities. Japan is a nation of bathers. There are said to be thirty thousand public bath-houses in the city of Tokyo alone and at five o'clock each evening thousands of people can be seen with towels over their arms wending their way for their daily wash. It is at this time that all the guests—men, women and children in the hotel—gather in the bath-room and splash about like a lot of youngsters, laughing and enjoying themselves.

If we wanted to be clean we had to cast aside our provincial American ways and bathe in Japanese fashion. Richardson rather objected to this. On one occasion he went to the bath-room and returned almost immediately.

"Have you finished your bath already?" I asked.

"No, there are a lot of women in the tub," he replied, disgusted.


Bound for Japan


Taisuke Murakami, our Host at Nagoya

[Pg 49]

"Why let them bother you? If they stand in your way you will not get a bath as long as you are in Japan. If the women don't object I am sure I don't," and, saying this, I went down stairs to the bath-room, where I performed my toilet with half a dozen men and women, in true Japanese style.

Yokohama is the seaport of Tokyo and possesses little of interest except the novelty of being the first Japanese city in which the traveller lands. We spent a day in Kamakura, a sea-side resort about twenty miles away, where we saw the Daibutsu, a bronze statue of the Great Buddha.

Tokyo is but a few hours' ride from Yokohama. We arrived at the busy Shimbashi station and in a few moments were lodged in our second Japanese hotel. It was in this hotel that I upset all the social regulations by using soap in the bath-tub. As the same tub of water is often used by all the guests in the hotel, it is considered a great breach of etiquette to climb into the bath and soap one's body in a civilised manner. This soaping process is supposed to be carried on before getting into the tub and the body is to be thoroughly rinsed off by means of dippers or basins before entering the bath for a final soak. I was not aware of these minute details of Japanese bath procedure and went at this cleansing operation in the Saturday night fashion customary in rural America. The result was that all the succeeding bathers had to wash in soap-suddy water. I was completely ostracised.

[Pg 50]

We were fortunate to visit Japan during the season of the year when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Ueno Park, probably the most popular resort in Tokyo, was a forest of these trees, laden with millions of sweet-scented flowers. Thousands of people gathered each afternoon in this public park to rest and enjoy the beauty of the blossoms for which Japan is famous.

It was in this park that I decided to give up smoking. I had paused on one of the walks and was rolling a cigarette with some "Bull Durham" I had smuggled in the country, when a Japanese policeman came up to me and, with a few words which I did not understand, unceremoniously took the "makings" from me. I stood half stunned with surprise. I soon realised that I had exposed my tobacco to confiscation, disregarding a warning given me by a Japanese passenger on our steamer across the Pacific. I had previously tried the cigarettes sold in the native shops but couldn't become accustomed to them. Relieved of my American supply I decided to give up smoking altogether—for a time. Tobacco is a government monopoly in Japan and there is a prohibitive duty on all foreign importations of it.

One evening we visited the Yoshiwara, described in the guide books as the most famous tenderloin section in the world. It is a considerable distance from the business portion of the city and consists of about one hundred houses. There are nearly[Pg 51] two thousand women in the district and during the evening they sit behind iron barred windows, similar to an American dry goods display window. Seated in a row, in front of several elaborately decorated screens, eight or more tastily dressed women of each establishment spend their time smoking or painting their faces, while the curious crowds flock by and look them over. What struck me more forcibly than anything else was the character of the sightseers. I saw a middle-aged man with his eighteen-year-old daughter leisurely spending an hour in this section. Two mothers with infants on their backs were interestedly going the rounds and a young married couple was a pair that came to my notice. Thousands of people flowed to and fro on the narrow streets and for a moment I thought the whole of Tokyo had congregated in this place for the evening. I was told that the Yoshiwara was at one time operated by the municipal government of Tokyo but that now, due to the influence of the British and American Salvation Army representatives, it is carried on independently but is closely watched and regulated by city officials.

Japan is a land of beautiful memorials to her dead heroes. At Nikko to the north of Tokyo we spent a delightful week, where, resting among the cryptomeria on the hill side, are the bodies of Ieyasu and Iyemitsu, two Shoguns of the Tokugawa Dynasty. These two tombs are the objective points for thousands of pilgrims each year. In addition[Pg 52] to the natural beauty of the spot and the mausoleums of these rulers of mediæval Japan, there are a dozen or more interesting buildings and temples dedicated to various saints and containing collections of relics and Buddhist scriptures. These edifices represent the best in Japanese art.

Richardson and I walked to Lake Chuzenji, which lies in the hills, about ten miles beyond Nikko. We started early on a bitterly cold morning and ascended the beautiful mountain side by a wandering and picturesque path. The lake was nearly entirely frozen over. There was, however, an open space near the shore and prompted by a notion to do something to startle the simple people who lived in the village on the bank of the lake, we disrobed and took a dip in the icy water. It was impossible for two human beings to take such a cold plunge and do so in silence. The temperature of the water was indicated by the shrieks we made as we splashed about. These calls attracted the attention of the people near-by and in a few moments two score or more of men, women and children assembled to see two insane foreigners dabbling about like idiots in water that was several degrees below.

Japanese trains are very similar to those of America. If I were asked to state the most striking difference between them I would say—the politeness of the officials and the train crews. We were on our way from Tokyo to Nagoya and were seated on one of the two long benches which run[Pg 53] lengthwise in the car. I had made the acquaintance of the native passenger next to me. Presently there appeared at one end of the coach a man in uniform whom I recognised as the conductor. He called out and then made three deep bows, at the same time making the sucking sound of etiquette common in Japan. All the passengers responded to the conductor's courtesy by bending their heads, and making this peculiar hissing noise. I thought everybody had suddenly begun to eat soup. This painful and rather disgusting performance continued for nearly two minutes. Finally, every one sat at attention. The conductor in a clear and reverent voice said something, bowed and departed. My curiosity was aroused and I asked my native acquaintance what had happened. He informed me that the conductor had announced that the next station was Toyohashi. What a contrast, I thought, to the American brakeman who brushes his way through a crowded day coach, shoving people aside and treading on their feet, and with a rasping voice announces the next station in such a way that no one can understand him.

At first we found the language a big obstacle and it required much patience and often over an hour to make our hotel arrangements. On account of our association with the natives, however, we soon picked up a small vocabulary and this we acquired scientifically. Richardson had about one hundred words in his head and I had an equal number, and[Pg 54] in neither set were there duplications. This is a case of applying the principles of efficiency. Richardson learned to count to one hundred and was the financial conversationalist, while I confined my knowledge to brief and snappy literary efforts. We would enter a shop and select an article, and I would then inquire the price of it in Japanese and Richardson would interpret the shop-keeper's reply. By this team work we were able to navigate in a language which takes years to master.

A characteristic impracticability of most Oriental languages, and as much so of the Japanese as any, is the large number of words and phrases necessary to make a brief statement or convey a simple idea. There is a great deal of formality, set phrases and polite sayings, which must be complied with, before the speaker gets down to the point. What an American can say in half a dozen words will require as many sentences in Japan. We were continually confronted with this. On one occasion we wished to ascertain where a certain street was and Mikawaki inquired of a passer-by. After talking to him for nearly ten minutes, only stopping when Richardson suggested that he knock off, he translated the conversation to mean "The next street."

At Nagoya I looked up Taisuke Murakami, a young Japanese who had been one of my pupils in Iolani School in Honolulu and who had since returned to Japan. He was attending a military academy in Nagoya. Richardson and I visited this[Pg 55] institution and were received with much consideration and respect. Through Murakami we were given a good entrée and were curiously inspected as samples of American pedagogues.

We spent the evening at a motion picture theatre where an American reel illustrated the uninteresting details of an American love story. When it came time to settle our hotel bill I found that my friend Murakami had paid for both Richardson and myself. I didn't like him to do this, for I knew he couldn't afford it. It was a sample of Japanese hospitality.

This trait of the Oriental compels me to sermonise. Occidentals, and especially Americans, consider that they are superior to the rest of the world. We often feel that our ways are the only ways, that our customs are right and that those of other peoples are wrong. After one has visited many Oriental countries and has had time to get their point of view and to understand their ways he begins to doubt the reasonableness and feasibility of many of our American customs. He certainly gets over that feeble notion that our way of doing things is the only way.

The Japanese have their faults, but no one can accuse them of being prudes, of having false modesty. They are a more modest race of people than Americans. They have no foolish notions about concealing the human body, but their average of morals is every whit as high as that in America.[Pg 56] We talk a great deal among ourselves of our wonderful hospitality, but when compared to this quality in the Japanese we don't possess the first principles of this virtue. Our hospitality is of a collective variety. Our cities will entertain most lavishly and we will give them our support as long as we don't have to come in contact with the recipients. In our homes we only entertain our friends or persons with worthless pedigrees. But the supreme test of hospitality is when one is willing and glad to take in the total stranger, a foreigner perhaps, and house and feed him as a member of the family. Imagine an American family taking into their household a pair of strange Japanese who were travelling through their city. It is futile to consider it. But this is exactly what the Japanese did to Richardson and myself in many instances. Absolute strangers to us—and we to them—they extended to us the most cordial invitations to come to their homes and enjoy their hospitality indefinitely. Many of these we accepted and always departed full of amazement at the wonderful exhibitions of kindness and hospitality.

Kyoto is the prize of Japan. It is a city of six hundred thousand inhabitants, only fifty of whom are foreigners and these mostly missionaries. The result of this small number of Occidentals is that Kyoto still retains its Japanese charm and has very few of the vulgar and commercialised features of the West.

[Pg 57]

The city was celebrating the seven hundredth anniversary of the Jodo sect of the Buddhist religion and its streets were crowded with thousands of people from the surrounding small towns and country districts. All the places of worship were thronged with pilgrims and the huge Hongwanji Temple, the largest in Kyoto, was a bee-hive of peasants who flowed in and out to bestow their gifts and offer up a prayer.

Kissing seems to be largely a western custom, for such a means of showing affection is not used in the Orient except by a mother to her child. It was in Kyoto that Richardson and I thought it would be a good idea to introduce the practice into Japan. While buying provisions each day in the bakery, grocery and fruit shops, we would slyly creep up and place our lips to the rosy cheek of the shop-keeper's wife or daughter. They hardly knew how to take us. None of them was offended. Some looked at us with pity, thinking that we must have some affliction like the St. Vitus' dance, which took the form of flying towards women's faces every few minutes. Even the husbands of these women took our advances in a matter-of-fact way and considered our osculations simply one of our many idiosyncrasies.

While in Kyoto Richardson and I put up at the native Y.M.C.A. building which had just been completed. We occupied an unfurnished room which was placed at our disposal, free of charge,[Pg 58] by the advisory secretary, an American. We slept on the floor and were well used to the absence of furniture.

One morning Richardson casually remarked that the American secretary had offered him a teaching job in China and that he had turned it down.

"Why did you do that?" I enquired.

"Because I did not want to separate from you," was Richardson's reply.

"Nonsense," I said, "we are not married, and if we wait until we get comfortable berths together in the same town we shall never get anywhere. Open up the matter again and land the job if you can."

Although we each still had plenty of the money which we had accumulated in Hawaii, we were willing to stop off and work for a short time and become better acquainted with a city and its people. So Richardson took up the matter again with the Y.M. C.A. secretary and received the position. It was to teach in a middle or high school in Tientsin at a salary of seventy dollars a month.

I agreed to accompany him to Tientsin and from there go on through China alone and meet him several months later in Manila. Before leaving Japan we got into serious trouble.

[Pg 59]



For two weeks we led an indolent life in Kyoto. Then the craving for the trail struck us again and with the help of an American, who had long resided in Japan, we mapped out an itinerary that would carry us into a remote country, penetrated by less than half a dozen foreigners. In the early morning we set out from Kyoto on foot, and we did not know that we were plunging headlong into an adventure which would reverberate clear into the Department of State at Washington before we again mingled in the bustling crowds of Kyoto.

On the shore of Lake Biwa we boarded a steamer and sailed fifty miles to the village of Imasu. A night in a Japanese inn, and we walked twenty-five miles, the following day, to Obama on the Sea of Japan. We passed through an endless chain of picturesque villages. Our entrance to these small towns was a great source of interest to the inhabitants, who rushed to the doors or windows of their shops and houses, or poured into the streets to look us over. They scanned our clothes with the frankest sort of curiosity. They were especially impressed with our heavy leather shoes which they examined[Pg 60] carefully, usually turning away to hide their smiles. In village after village we caused a cessation of business and household duties until we were out of sight. Our advent and departure were probably the main topic of discussion the rest of the day.

At Obama we devoted a full hour to vigorous gesticulation with our hands before we could convey the idea into the head of an inn proprietor that we wanted a bed.

That night we slept on the footstool of adventure.

At dawn we sailed out of the narrow cove into the Sea of Japan. The coast on this run is a beautiful panorama of bays and inlets supported in the background by richly wooded hills. Green and pretty villages stud the shore.

Richardson was taken with the beauty of these villages. He unslung his camera and snapped a picture of one of them from the steamer deck. The kodak was barely back in its case before a deck hand skipped to the captain's cabin and made a report. The captain summoned Richardson posthaste. The whole ship bristled with excitement.

It developed that we were in Maisuru Bay, the chief naval base of Japan, and therefore one of the zones in which it is unlawful to take pictures. Richardson refused to get excited. He gave the captain the roll of films, together with his Kyoto address, requested him to have it developed, destroy the illegal picture and return the others. The captain said he would. We thought the incident was closed.

[Pg 61]

But it wasn't. It had just begun. In a few minutes our steamer was at the dock and we went down the gangway to board a train for our return trip to Kyoto. I had sunk comfortably down into my seat and opened a book when a Japanese in uniform rushed up waving his hands and shouting at me in his native language.

"Beat it," I said. I thought he was crazy. The excited officer stood moving his hands in a manner which would indicate in a western country that he wanted me to remain where I was. The impatient man finally left the car. Richardson came in.

"What in blazes is the matter with that Jap? He must be drunk," I said.

"He's a cop. We are both under arrest for that picture," said Richardson. "The captain reported it to the police."

The officer in uniform came back twisting his hands in the air like an insane man. I didn't realise that these movements were equivalent to the American beckoning sign, so I remained seated. He lurched over and gripped my shoulder. Richardson had gone out. I got up and in three seconds found myself with him in the midst of two hundred incensed natives.

Other police and a couple of military officers had come up. Richardson's camera had been taken from him. We stood in the midst of this gathering while the uniformed officers held a conference. We couldn't understand a word. They finally led us[Pg 62] away. For an hour Richardson and I, accompanied by two policemen, marched abreast. We concluded that they had decided to walk us to death. At last we arrived at an edifice from which a Japanese flag was flying, and in front of which two sentinels stood on duty. This was the military police court and prison. We were ushered in and were greeted by half-a-dozen officers in uniforms who bowed and bobbed around with as much ceremony as though we were two caliphs of Bagdad. They were the politest lot of policemen we ever saw.

The military judge was on the bench and we were taken into his presence with many smiles and salaams. We tried to tell the judge that we loved the Japanese people very dearly and we wanted to go back to Kyoto. He couldn't understand a word. No one else could. We had nothing to do but wait for an interpreter, whom one of the clerks of the court was sent out to obtain. The Japanese were very serious. We were not impressed and made irreverent remarks about the judge and the court officials.

We waited until noon and as we were hungry we made this fact known by means of writing, for one of the clerks could read English, after a fashion, but could not speak it. Permission was granted us to dine. Richardson asked the court to pay the bill. The request, after an half-hour conference, was refused. We set out with two policemen to a Japanese hotel where we ate a fifteen-minute meal in an[Pg 63] hour and a half while the two officers remained on guard at the door.

In the afternoon the "interpreter" came. We expected to see an American or, at least, some one who understood the English language. Instead there stood before us a little Jap who looked like a miniature pugilist and knew about as much English as a two-year-old child. He started his cross-examination by the regular preliminary bows and genuflections and kept at this performance for so long a time that when he began to speak we expected a masterpiece. His first utterance was,

"I am sorry the e-vent has happened."

"So are we, old top," put in Richardson. "But cut out this nonsense. We have a date in Kyoto." Richardson might as well have been talking to a parsnip.

The cross-examination finally got under way and proceeded laboriously. We were asked every conceivable question,—our names, ages, nationalities, occupations, parents' names and their occupations, our reasons for being away from home, the length of time we had been away from the United States, where were we going and why, had we ever been convicted of any crime in America, our reason for taking the picture, our domicile and acquaintances in Kyoto. These and many more questions were asked us extending over a period of six hours.

Under the heading of occupation, we stated that we were school teachers, being the first and most[Pg 64] harmless vocation we could think of. Right here, the court found a huge inconsistency. This vocation did not compare with the records received from the hotel registers. Every guest, on arrival at an hotel, is required to give his occupation when registering and this is turned over to the police with the other information. Richardson and I, not having any definite vocation, signed up under different callings in each hotel. We dug up all the antiquated and unusual means of earning a living that our imaginations could muster. The list included ventriloquist, crutch-maker, chiropodist, clairvoyant, boilermaker, hypnotist and wig-maker. The judge confronted us with this array of honourable vocations, which he had obtained from the police records, and demanded an explanation. Richardson rose to the occasion. In a short time he had us out of the trap. He explained that English was very flexible; that it was a language replete with synonyms; and that it contained numerous words which meant the same thing. He went into a lengthy dissertation in which he thoroughly convinced the judge that crutch-maker, chiropodist, etc., all meant school teacher and that each simply emphasised a different phase of the vocation.

The questioning convinced the court that it had little hold on me except as an accomplice of Richardson. The latter was the man caught in the act. On my suggestion they allowed me to return to[Pg 65] Kyoto accompanied by an officer. Richardson was held all night for further examination.

I arrived in Kyoto about midnight and immediately retired. In the morning I met the advisory secretary of the Y.M.C.A. who had heard of our trouble by telegraph, as the Maisuru authorities had referred our story to him for verification. The news of the incident had spread throughout Japan. Great crowds gathered in front of the Kyoto newspaper offices where bulletins announced that two American spies had been arrested at Maisuru and that in their possession were found pictures of battleships, sketches of harbours and plans of forts. The newspaper accounts described us as poor men, due to the fact that Richardson, expecting he would have to put up a bond, said he had but twelve yen, when asked the amount of money he had. The report that we were poverty stricken was also due to the fact that we wore blue flannel shirts, the proper attire for walking—but not one in which the Japanese are accustomed to see Americans. The press reports also referred to us as suspicious looking characters and stated that we did not take the matter seriously, as we jested in the courtroom.

The following account under the heading, "The Spy Scare—American Photographers Arrested," was taken from an English paper in Kobe and is a translation of an article which appeared in a Japanese journal:

"We learn from a Maisuru despatch to the Asahi[Pg 66] that two foreign passengers of the Daiichi Hashidate-maru, which arrived at Maisuru at 9:20 A.M. on the 21st from Obama, photographed the first section of the Maisuru Naval Station when the steamer approached the entrance to the harbour of Shin-Maisuru. They took over ten pictures, which distinctly showed even the warships in the harbour. The action was observed by some members of the crew of the steamer and, upon arrival at Maisuru, they reported the matter to the Maisuru gendarmerie station through the Maisuru Water Police. Gendarmes immediately appeared on board the steamer and arrested the foreigners and conducted them to the gendarmerie station. Upon examination they were found to be two Americans from California named Richardson (aged 24) and Fletcher (aged 26). Mr. Richardson, continues the despatch, is the son of a doctor, and was teaching at a school in Honolulu. In October he left Honolulu with Mr. Fletcher for a tour around the world, and they arrived at Yokohama on the 1st instant. Proceeding to Kyoto, they took up their quarters at the Christian Institute at Sanjo-dori, and on the 19th instant left Kyoto for a tour in the interior. They took a steamer at Otsu and proceeded to Imasu and Obama. They spent two days at the latter place and left there on the morning of the 21st by the Hashidate-maru for Maisuru. They stated that they had no ulterior motives in photographing the Naval Station, but, concludes the despatch, their[Pg 67] behaviour when they took the photographs was suspicious. The fact that the two foreigners were not very well dressed, and had no more than twelve yen in their possession, appears to have aroused suspicion. Eventually they were handed over to the Procurator's office, where they are now being examined by Procurator Ogata."


The Picture that Caused our Arrest

On the morning after my arrival in Kyoto I was interviewed by the Chief of Police of that city, assisted by an interpreter. During the examination the door opened and outside stood Richardson who had been escorted from Maisuru by an officer. We, however, were not allowed to get together and discuss the matter for fear we would frame up a story. The Chief of Police first finished with me and then called Richardson in for a session.

We were advised by the American secretary of the Y.M.C.A. not to volunteer the statement that we had been in the employ of the United States Navy Department in Hawaii. He said if the Japanese authorities got this information, it would be very difficult for us to prove that we were not spies and in that event the case would have to be handled by the American Embassy. This, he thought, would mean our detention in the country for a couple of months. Fortunately, a question of this nature was not asked us.

Accounts of the affair were printed in all the leading papers of the Far East, including Japan, Korea, China and the Philippines. The Associated Press[Pg 68] obtained the news and the dailies of the Pacific Coast in America displayed several columns of distorted accounts. A Honolulu journal considered it of sufficient importance to give it the following full front page headline: "Honolulu Men Languish in a Japanese Jail."

This was not all. The news had found its way to Washington, and our little incident of Maisuru Bay set the wheels of diplomacy of two nations in motion. My brother, reading the Associated Press reports in the San Francisco papers and imagining that we were being subjected to Oriental tortures in a Japanese jail, telegraphed the State Department at Washington. He received the following reply from Mr. Huntington Wilson, Acting Secretary of State at that time, under President Taft: "Department telegraphed Embassy at Tokyo to-day to ascertain facts and endeavour to secure your brother's release." The ambassador in Tokyo got in touch with the situation and replied that Richardson and I were being well treated and that as soon as proved innocent would be liberated. This information was sent to my brother by the State Department.

In the meantime we were battling with the Japanese authorities in Kyoto. We wanted to get back our camera. It was a regulation to confiscate all cameras which had been used in taking illegal pictures. We finally convinced the police that we had no ulterior motives and, after promising to leave Japan at once and giving an itinerary of our route[Pg 69] out of the country, we were released. The Kyoto Chief of Police returned the camera, with an impressive speech, and the two of us retired from the courtroom without ceremony, while the numerous officials nearly broke their backs bowing. By a mistake the objectionable picture was left in the camera and we departed with the film of the little Maisuru Bay village in our possession.

Nor did the incident end here. We left immediately for Kobe, and from there took the Inland Sea trip as far south as Miajima. We had supposed that all the nonsense over our arrest had ended and that we were free from the pest of Japanese police. But there was more to come. We spent a day at Miajima, undisturbed by officials, the first time in several days, for the reason that we omitted to put this place on the itinerary. From Miajima we went by train to Chimeneseki and thence across by boat to Fusan in Korea. Being still in Japanese territory we were greeted by two policemen, who had received a cable to watch out for a couple of Americans and keep them moving. After a few hours in Fusan, under competent guards, we went on to Seoul.

We arrived after dark, and as our train was pulling into the station we saw two policemen on the right hand side of the track. We stole a march on these officers of the law by getting out on the left side. We scrambled around the rear of the train and were soon in rickshaws and in a few minutes were registered guests of a Japanese hotel. The[Pg 70] proprietor sent the usual records to the police station, but before the officers were detailed on our trail we were up and out at an early hour the next morning. We went to the Y.M.C.A. where we were the guests of two young Koreans.

The police spent the day looking for us and did not locate us until evening, when they found us dining at an American private home. They had evidently been given instructions to watch every movement we made, for during the rest of our week's stay in Seoul we were each accompanied by an officer.

To add to our reputation as undesirable citizens, a Japanese guide, travelling with a Thomas Cook and Son party on our train into Seoul, reported to the police that there were two suspicious looking characters on board. This information, coupled with our already unsavoury reputation, made the officers exceptionally vigilant. What we could do to harm the innocent inhabitants of Seoul or damage their meagre possessions is a mystery.

Day and night these little fellows kept watch. They marched by our side as we took in the sights of the city and at night two of them were stationed on the steps of the Y.M.C.A. building to see that we didn't make a midnight getaway and shoot up the town. They went so far as to regulate our engagements. We were invited to be guests of a prominent Japanese family during our stay in Seoul but the police issued an order that we could not accept.[Pg 71] They gave as their reasons that we were moving about too much and that it would be embarrassing for a respected household to entertain two criminals.

I had received an invitation to dine with some English friends and had accepted, determined to keep this engagement even if doing so caused international complications. While the policemen were at their posts on the front steps of the Y.M.C.A. I left the house by the back door, climbed over the fence, jumped into a rickshaw and was on my way. After a good meal and a pleasant evening I returned to the Y.M.C.A. about eleven o'clock and walked up the front steps between the two officers. From a semi-doze they were instantly transformed into two of the most excited and enraged men I have ever seen. The characteristic etiquette of the Far East was forgotten and they bestowed upon me numerous epithets which, if translated, would probably have taught me all the profanity in the Japanese language. I left them on the steps and went to bed.

This incident made the police especially watchful next day, but in spite of their precautions we played horse with them. We had had enough of this nonsense and decided to leave Seoul without notifying our escorts. We framed up a scheme for our escape which we carried out in such a manner that it appeared as though we were experienced crooks.

Through an American we made arrangements to ship our baggage to Chemulpo and, relieved of our belongings, we thought we could make short work[Pg 72] of the police. It was about ten o'clock on a dark night. We were in a native shop buying fruit. The police stood at the entrance engrossed in conversation.

"Now is the time to make our getaway," I said.

"I am ready," said Richardson. "What's your plan?"

Our train would not leave for an hour. In a few hurried words I suggested that we slip out the back door, light out separately for the station and meet as soon as we could.

"All right," said Richardson, "if we can't outrun these short-legged pests we are no good."

We stole out into the alley and made a dash, each in an opposite direction. The shop-keeper called to the police but our flight had been too sudden for them. They stood petrified. The moment's hesitation was all we needed. By the time they had come to a conclusion that they should pursue us, we were out of sight. We ran down alleys, hurdling fences and seeking the dark streets. Richardson plunged through some one's private yard, mutilating the flower beds, tearing his trousers on the garden fence and before long was at the station. I completed the home-stretch of my escape by grabbing a rickshaw, placing the coolie in the seat, giving him my hat and playing the part of horse myself. It took ten minutes' persuasion and five yen to induce the man to agree to such an arrangement. A coolie will do anything for money. In this way I sauntered[Pg 73] down the street, unnoticed, pulling an Oriental overcome with amazement. Two blocks from the station I discharged the rickshaw and walked towards the freight yards. In three-quarters of an hour we found one another and crawled into a box-car to wait for the departure of our train.

The police had lost the scent and we were free. We spent a few hours in Chemulpo, the first real freedom we had enjoyed for weeks. From Chemulpo we took a steamer and after a day at Dairen in Southern Manchuria, en route, we turned our attentions to China and forgot our Japanese troubles.

[Pg 74]



China proved to be a land of surprise. As we began our travels in this vast empire we little realised that we were on the eve of an interesting chain of experiences. I intended to press on and, as a simple tourist, see the country. I had no idea of searching for a job. My tentative plans were to be upset and I didn't have the remotest notion what the next few months had in store for me.

We landed at Taku, a small seacoast town and port of Tientsin. We were soon passed through the customs officials and started for the railroad station a half-mile distant.

Several Chinese coolies solicited the job of carrying our two suitcases. We turned them over to an old fellow who tied them together with a rope and swung them over his shoulder and walked along a few paces behind us. When we reached the station we purchased two third-class tickets to Tientsin. This expenditure took all our loose money except a small Korean coin, an American ten-dollar gold piece and our bankers' checks. The coolie turned over our bags with his hand extended for his compensation. We did the best we could and offered[Pg 75] him the Korean coin, worth about two American cents. He refused it. The only other coin we had, the American ten-dollar gold piece, was too much for two tramps to separate themselves from for such a small service. However, we offered the coolie this money. The coin was strange to him and he refused it also. We then made an effort to exchange the gold piece for Chinese currency but there were no money changers about. Our coolie friend could not understand our failure to pay our debts. We had done everything we could think of in the line of money, so we opened our bags and offered him pieces of wearing apparel, articles from our limited toilet sets and steamship time-tables. He refused them all. There was nothing for us to do now but to stand by and wait for our train which was due in about an hour. The patience of the coolie became exhausted and he exploded in an unintelligible wrangle of Chinese. We could not understand him nor could we explain matters to the poor fellow. He finally called a policeman. This gentleman arrived and began quietly and deliberately pouring out the musical chatter of his native tongue, and seeing no response from us in the way of coin he, too, blossomed into an excited oration. The station master came out and joined the chorus and in a short time we were surrounded by a score or more celestials whose denunciations became more and more frantic. We were helpless. The climax was rapidly approaching when our train pulled into[Pg 76] the station. We hurried aboard our car and started off for Tientsin, leaving the poor coolie unpaid with his madly shouting compatriots who collectively made such a disturbance as the little village of Taku has probably never witnessed before or since.

At Tientsin we went directly to the Y.M.C.A. where Richardson reported for his school teaching position. We met the man in charge who informed Richardson of his duties, which were to begin in a few days and which consisted of teaching physics at seventy dollars a month in a middle or high school.

While at lunch we met a clean-cut, jovial Chinese by the name of Samuel Sung Young. He spoke excellent English and I soon learned from him that he was a graduate of the University of California with the class of 1904, I having graduated in 1907. This placed us on an intimate footing at once. Young was curious to know what we were doing so far away from home. I explained that we were out seeing the earth and in a joking way asked him if he knew of any loose jobs. He replied in the negative but asked for my address in Peking where I expected to be the next two weeks. I little thought that my question was the beginning of one of the most interesting experiences of the trip.

Young was in Tientsin on business from Tangshan, a small town about two hundred miles to the north, where he was president of the Tangshan Engineering College, one of the Chinese Imperial Government's Schools.


A Group of our Korean Friends


Every Day is Wash-day in Korea

[Pg 77]

The Tientsin Middle School, in which Richardson was to teach, proved to be a large modern brick building, its class rooms and laboratories fairly well equipped with the latest western appliances. One of the requirements for entrance into this school was a speaking knowledge of the English language. Otherwise Richardson would have been more useless than he was. Physics was an almost unknown science to him, but he concluded that if he could not bluff it out that he was an authority on the subject he was willing to take the consequences.

During the time that Richardson was connected with this institution the first annual track meet of the schools of North China was held on its athletic grounds. The contest was planned and supervised largely by Americans and the Chinese took a great interest in it. Many schools in the northern part of the Empire sent teams, and several thousand people attended the meet. Among the distinguished spectators, who occupied a box, was the Viceroy of Chili Province with a score of attendants. Richardson worried the old fellow almost to death by taking several pictures of him and his cortége. Richardson was ordered to stop. The Viceroy was more worried, however, by the report of the starter's pistol and when the first shot was fired all his attendants gathered closely about him. Even after it had been explained to him that the cartridges were blank he issued instructions forbidding the use of the weapon altogether. The poor old gentleman was[Pg 78] afraid that some one was going to take a shot at him. The following week he sent an order to all the schools in his province prohibiting track meets in the future. Imagine the Governor of New York issuing such an order. He would be hooted out of the state.

Richardson's duties started on a Monday and I took my leave, intending to spend a couple of months travelling through China and meet my side-partner in Manila. I went to Peking where I put up at the Y.M.C.A. for one dollar a day. I spent two weeks in this very fascinating city doing the rounds in a most tourist-like fashion. While sitting one afternoon on the great altar of the Temple of Heaven, reflecting on the fact that I was a lonely tramp wandering aimlessly through a land of strange people, I was approached by a slight male figure with a missionary caste of countenance. The man sat down and began to talk to me. He had one of those piping voices which always excite in me the desire to fight. This person, with the unfortunate and aggravating voice, was a Baptist preacher of the hardest shell variety. We spent the rest of the day together sight-seeing and at evening we agreed to meet the following day. For two weeks the Baptist and I trudged about the interesting city of Peking, visiting the Temple of Heaven, the Temple of Confucius, the Legation quarters and all the places of importance in the Tartar, Imperial and Chinese cities. The old fellow proved to be an in[Pg 79]teresting character in spite of his voice and my inclination to swing on him changed to a feeling of respect and admiration.

From Peking to Hankow but one fast train runs a week. This train makes the trip in a day and a half, running both day and night. The other trains travel only in the daytime, stopping on a siding at night, and require three days for the journey. I was at the station ready to leave in a few minutes on the fast train when I heard what I thought was my name being shouted about the depot. This startled me for, outside of the Baptist preacher and a few men I met at the Y.M.C.A., I knew no one. The name was shouted again and, seeing that a Chinese boy was the source from which it was emerging, I went to the lad to ascertain what it was all about. The boy handed me a telegram which read, "Chance for teaching till summer can you stay over wire reply." This message was from Samuel Sung Young, the President of the Tangshan Engineering College, whom I had met in Tientsin. The telegram didn't mean very much and I had only five minutes in which to make up my mind before the train departed. "Chance for teaching"—teaching what? I came to the conclusion that if I could not teach Chinese youths Hebrew or anatomy or anything else, I was no good. "Till summer"—what did that mean? Summer in China might not begin for six months. I decided to take a chance on that. The most serious difficulty, however, was that there was[Pg 80] no mention in the telegram about pay. While I was reflecting on these matters the train whistle blew and it was time to act. I decided to wait over and investigate the position. I wired Young, "Teach what and how much?" The next day I received a reply which read, "Taels two hundred reply." I was as much at sea as ever. How much was two hundred taels? I soon learned on inquiring that it was the equivalent to one hundred and twenty-five dollars gold. But was that amount to be paid monthly or for the period lasting "till summer"? No mention was made of the subject I was to teach and the whole affair was an uncertain proposition. I rather liked this uncertain feature, so wired my acceptance and took the next train for Tangshan.

Shortly after night-fall I swung off my car at Tangshan and was greeted by President Young and Professor Shen Yen Jee, one of the instructors in the college. Jee, a Cantonese, was a graduate of the University of California in my class and we had been good friends. To meet him was a great surprise. It was nearly like coming home.

The welcome I received was as enthusiastic and cordial as any one ever had and the hospitality extended has never been surpassed and seldom equalled on this earth. We hopped into rickshaws and were off to the college grounds. President Young's mansion was a fine two-story brick building. I was introduced to Mrs. Young, a charming little Chinese woman, who spoke good English which she had[Pg 81] learned at a Church of England school in Hongkong. I was also introduced to Miss May Wu, Mrs. Young's sister and a bright young girl of fifteen. Miss Young, the president's sister, and a very fine woman, was also present. But probably the finest of all were Mrs. Young's two dear little boys—one two years old and the other a three-months' old baby.


Provincial Officials Attending China's First Track Meet

The situation was a great novelty to me and such enjoyable and interesting things came in such rapid succession that it all seemed like a beautiful dream. We soon sat down to dinner and the many good but odd dishes which were served nearly baffled me. The chop-sticks, the sole appliances for conveying the food to one's mouth, unless one employed one's hands—which would be a greater breach of etiquette in China than in America—were handled by me with a certain degree of facility, for I had acquired considerable dexterity with these implements in Japan. Jee and I talked of old acquaintances at college and we all had an enjoyable evening before retiring.

The Tangshan Engineering College is the leading Imperial Government scientific school in China. Its ten or more buildings are of red brick and are thoroughly equipped with the latest classroom fixtures and laboratory supplies. There was an undergraduate enrolment of two hundred and fifty boys and a cleaner or finer set of young fellows cannot be found anywhere. The faculty number thirty, one-half of[Pg 82] whom were Chinese and the other English or Scotch. President Young's house, which was part of the college plan, was enclosed in a compound of its own. In front were a pretty garden and a first-class tennis court. The interior was furnished in Chinese fashion with a strong American tinge to it, for Young had been educated in America. There were a half dozen servants and the household was conducted in a manner in keeping with the dignity of the president of a college. My bedroom was a large well-ventilated apartment containing a Chinese bed, upon which had been thoughtfully placed a pillow and bed clothes common to the West.

All the members of the household were dressed in Chinese costume. This Oriental apparel is very picturesque and demands the utmost care and taste on the part of those who wear it, both men and women, to be in style. The intricacies of Chinese dress are more complicated and require more attention, time and skill to be in accordance with the dictates of fashion than do those of the American woman with her manifold garments and her ornate headgear.

The meals were purely Chinese and I soon became accustomed to rice as the main food-stuff and almost forgot that such articles as bread or butter ever existed. The most monotonous meal of the day was breakfast. This repast consisted of rice and meat—a sort of stew, one day, and the next we would sit down to bowls containing endless strings of a[Pg 83] substance somewhat similar to macaroni. This alternating diet was a poor substitute for the usual fresh eggs, coffee and pancakes of the day's initial meal in the West. The noon and evening meals furnished a much larger variety and there was a more favourable chance for an American to hook nourishing food out of the assortment. Such delicacies as fish eyes, shark fins, bird's nest soup, lime-cured eggs, finely chopped and highly-seasoned chicken, vegetables and rice—in numerous forms—comprised the bulk of the menu. Novel and interesting as all this was to me, I was quite ready, after a month's stay in Tangshan, for a porterhouse steak, some bread and butter and a piece of pie.

I learned my duties the day after my arrival. I was to be substitute professor in English, History and Economics, have charge of the college gymnasium and assist in the library, in place of one of the regular teachers who was absent on leave for a month. No new light was thrown on the subject of salary and this matter remained obscure until the time came for my departure. The classroom work was interesting and Chinese pupils are about the same as the general run of such creatures in any American city. One of the requirements for admission to the college was that each student should have a speaking knowledge of English. This knowledge on their part was not very profound, however, and I would talk along at times with such rapidity that the poor chaps could not understand a word.

[Pg 84]

When off duty I spent many an interesting hour talking to Mrs. Young about (to me) the peculiar ways of the Chinese—their marriage customs, their family life and social ideas. I frequently made visits to the village of Tangshan where I wandered in and out of the quaint markets, ate in Chinese restaurants or attended a religious ceremony at one of the many temples. I occasionally dropped into a theatre where the custom prevailed of entering without paying admission, the cost of the show being collected after one had been present a few minutes making up his mind whether the performance was worth seeing or not.

A Chinese play sometimes lasts for weeks and its claim to a continuous performance beats that of the American picture show. Some of the audience sit on the stage. The orchestra is also on the stage and produces the most unearthly collection of discordant sounds conceivable. The actors, dressed in the most hideous combination of colours, shriek and yelp in tones ranging in variety from the mellow voice of a female Quaker to the gruesome calls of a coyote. Most interesting among the features of the theatres were the conveniences furnished by the proprietors for their patrons. There was a continual shower of wet towels hurled through the air over the heads of the people—by a man on the stage—to boys stationed in various parts of the theatre. One of these moistened rags was passed along each row of seats and the perspiring occu[Pg 85]pants swabbed off their faces and naked bodies. The facility and skill with which these towels were thrown and caught and the utter disregard of all rules of hygiene on the part of the crowd in the common use of the fabric were marvellous.


The Author in Chinese Garb

Many of the Chinese instructors connected with the college had had their queues amputated. Mo—one of the proctors, however, took pride in his greasy pig-tail and refused to part with it. I suggested to him one time that if he did not cut it off I would do so myself. One evening when Mo was playing Chinese dominoes at President Young's house I determined to tie a tin can to his queue. It required some patience and a little time to carry this out so as not to give Mo any idea as to what was taking place. The rest of the Chinese were in on the joke and gave me what assistance they could, while continuing to play their game. After an hour's work the feat was accomplished and on the end of a heavy cord attached to the proctor's queue was a rusty old Standard Oil can. The Chinese usually play at their games until very late and as I wished to go to bed early I had to hasten the climax. I did this by having a servant announce a hurry call for Mo. The proctor, thinking there was trouble in the boys' dormitory, made a dash towards the door with the oil can dangling behind him. The instant he discovered the can he realised that the servant's call was a sham and in a rage turned on me whom he at once suspected of the mischief. I[Pg 86] thought my last day had come and that I was to be mauled to pieces by the frantic handling of an enraged Oriental. He plunged towards me like a huge tiger. Fortunately for me the rest of the company appreciated the joke and came to my rescue. The angry man was calmed and a tragedy was prevented.

It was about this time that I received the following letter from Richardson in Peking: "The job in Tientsin has gone up in a balloon. Particulars later. Let it suffice to say that my Honolulu discipline got the boys on their ear and in the absence of the principal they struck. To avoid complications I beat it. No tears." This is the only information that I received concerning Richardson's sudden flight from Tientsin until I reached Manila some time later. I then forced him into the admission that he was virtually fired. Chinese students have the habit, when their teachers do not suit them, of going on a strike. It seems that Richardson tried to inaugurate a civilised system of discipline which proved to be such a sudden and revolutionary change to the laxity that had prevailed in the class room, up to the time of his advent, that the students rose up in a body and rebelled. They all went on a strike and proceeded to the acting principal of the institution and issued an ultimatum that either Richardson had to leave or they themselves would quit the school. Their decision was final and the acting head of the school informed Richardson that under the circumstances he would have to go. Richardson said that such an[Pg 87] arrangement suited him, and that afternoon he resumed his journey.

One of the most delightful Chinese that I met during my stay in Tangshan was Mr. Sze Ping Tze, who was a graduate of Cornell University and at this time Locomotive Superintendent of the Imperial Railways of North China. He was also an high official of the Kaiping Coal Mines. Several years ago he was private secretary to Yuan Shi-Kai, later President of the Chinese Republic. I spent many pleasant evenings with Mr. Sze and became well acquainted with him. On one occasion I said to him,

"Give me a job as conductor on one of your trains running from Peking to Hankow."

"Why do you want it?" he asked.

"When I get to Hankow I will quit and I shall then be several hundred miles farther along on my trip—at your expense," I replied with a smile.

Sze thought this was a great joke and, laughing, said, "Why, I can do better than that for you; I will give you a pass."

"All right," I said, "I won't forget that and when the time comes for me to leave Tangshan I will remind you of it."

"What's more," continued Sze, "I will give you a letter of introduction to my brother in Hankow. He is vice-president of the Chinese Steamship and Navigation Company and I am sure he will give you a pass on the Yangtsze River from Hankow to Shanghai."

[Pg 88]

"Fine business; and maybe I will be able to get a lift there from some one that will shoot me through to Manila," I concluded, feeling that the conversation had been a very profitable one.

When the time came for my departure from Tangshan Sze was true to his word. President Young gave me a railroad pass from Tangshan to Peking, distance of two hundred miles; Sze's pass from Peking to Hankow was over nine hundred miles and the letter to his brother brought the third pass down the Yangtsze River to Shanghai, a distance of nine hundred miles more. As a result I obtained free passage for two thousand miles in China—and all first-class. If all the circumstances were reversed, what chance would a young Chinese, working his way in America, have of teaching in the University of California, living with the president of the college, getting a pass from an high official of the Southern Pacific from San Francisco to St. Louis and thence down the Mississippi to New Orleans?

For my services as substitute professor in the college I received one hundred and twenty-five dollars (gold) plus my room and board and this, together with the railway and steamship passes I obtained, made the month I spent in Tangshan a very profitable one. I prized more highly, however, the unique experience of living with a high-class Chinese family and the insight I had of Chinese home life. But above all I value the good and loyal Chinese friends I made.

[Pg 89]



President Young accompanied me from Tangshan to Peking, to which latter city he made frequent trips in connection with his position as member of the Imperial Government Boards of Education and Transportation. I had planned to take the slow train from Peking to Hankow, which runs only in the day time and goes on a siding for the night. This train would leave at eight the following morning and, as we arrived in Peking in the afternoon, I had the evening to spend there.

All American-educated Chinese are known as "returned students" and about a dozen of these fellows were guests of President Young at dinner at the Wagon Lits Hotel to meet me. As they were all graduates of American colleges and spoke English they employed this language exclusively, when they were together, in order to keep in practice and also to cement this common bond which existed amongst them. Mr. Ponson Chu, one of the number, displayed a Psi Upsilon Fraternity pin on the breast of his Oriental costume and this emblem immediately attracted my attention, for I was a member of the same society. Chu was from the Yale chapter with[Pg 90] the class of 1909 and he and I became brothers at once.

After dinner we rented rickshaws for the evening and the Chinese started out to "show me the town." This was a rare opportunity; for it gave me access to places of which, alone, I should not have known the existence. We hopped into our rickshaws and were on our way. We passed the Legation compounds, went through the massive and imposing Chien-Mien Gate and in a few minutes were lost in the swarms of roving humanity in the Chinese City. We found our way through the narrow streets crowded with vendors, wrangling merchants, camels and what not. Finally we came to our first stop, a bohemian café—to describe the place in western parlance. This café, which represented the best thing of its kind in the capital, was a quaint old building composed of several rooms in each of which were a few tables. We seated ourselves at three of these tables and ordered refreshments—which consisted of tea and dried watermelon seeds. Shortly, a bevy of young Chinese girls, employed by the institution, came in and sat with us, partook of the food and engaged in the conversation so far as their limited mentalities would permit. These dainty little creatures, ranging in age from twelve to sixteen years, were neatly dressed in tight pajama-like garments. Their hair was greased and cut in such fantastic designs and they were so mentally deficient and so bashful that it was hard for[Pg 91] me to realise they were human beings. One of our number put in an order for a Chinese orchestra and in a few minutes an old fellow appeared with an instrument somewhat similar to a violin. This musical contrivance had but one string. The sounds it emitted, after its operator got into action, were enough to drive the most placid man insane. To complete the musical bedlam a confusion of discordant tones was added by the voices of several female singers who rendered a number of selections at the request of one of our party.

We visited several establishments of this sort and in one of them I was treated to the sight of seeing two Manchu Princesses accompanied by their eunuchs. These women entered with their male attendants, hanging languidly on their arms. The women were tall, graceful creatures—each smoking a cigarette, and were dressed in beautiful one-piece robes of rich blue colour. Their hair was done up in the characteristic Manchu fashion on a framework extending from the rear of the head. They were beautiful women.

The following morning I was at the station ready to board the slow train through China to Hankow. As there were no dining arrangements on these trains I came fully provided with provisions. Extending from each coat pocket was a loaf of French bread; canned goods disfigured the symmetry of my trousers in front and two bottles of beer added to my unshapely appearance in the rear. Foreigners[Pg 92] very seldom take this slow train and the passenger list consists exclusively of natives who are making short trips.

I had just seated myself in my compartment when an Englishman entered and asked if I would mind if a Russian shared quarters with me. I had no objections and the Russian came in. The train pulled out and as soon as my new travelling companion had his luggage adjusted I attempted to engage him in conversation. The man could not speak a word of English and I knew nothing of Russian. I was in for three days of silence, I thought. We resorted to gestures and drawing pictures. In this way, I learned that my new friend was an artist and, I informed him by the same means, of my purposes in life.

To confine myself to the truth it must be stated that the Russian knew two words of the English language and these were, "President Taft." I discovered this when he took from his little travelling trunk two small glasses and a bottle of Benedictine. He poured out the liquor, handed a glass to me and, drinking a toast, said, "President Taft." I would not be outdone so I returned the compliment by toasting a name which I thought ought to be the Russian for Nicholas. The artist recognised it and his face was one radiant smile as he drank his glass. These were the only words which passed between us during our three days together and they were[Pg 93] made coherent with the bottle as a welcome interpreter.

The painter had, among his belongings, a large pamphlet with Russian phrases on one page and the English equivalent on the other. By means of this booklet we were able to exchange ideas. Sometimes, however, it would require almost an hour to put across a simple thought.

The first night we stopped at Tchang Te Fou and I made arrangements with the station master for the Russian and myself to sleep in the car. Most of the interior cities of China are surrounded by a wall and the railway stations are usually outside of this wall and often a couple of miles away. Before retiring the Russian and I had agreed, by means of the English-Russian pamphlet, to enter the walls of Tchang Te Fou and see the town and at the same time get something to drink, as the water on the train was very poor. We walked the two miles from the station to the city, entered the big gate and were soon wandering up the main street. We were at once a source of curiosity as our advent was, no doubt, the chief event of the year.

This city is seldom, if ever, visited by foreigners and we learned afterwards that there were only two in residence, these being missionaries. Consequently we were the main feature of interest to the simple but treacherous-looking inhabitants. As we proceeded up the street in the hope of finding a soda fountain or a saloon we accumulated a long train[Pg 94] of curious citizens, beggars, naked children and nondescripts, who followed us and examined us with child-like simplicity. We finally came to a shop which had the appearance of a drug store. We looked over its stock for some thirst-quenching liquid. By this time our train of natives had increased to two hundred and they stood at the entrance of the shop while the proprietor restrained them from coming in. I spied two bottles of some unknown make of American beer perched on a shelf amidst Chinese medical concoctions and bought them. The Russian and I then made our way through the crowd at the door and started down the street to the train. The gang of Chinese tacked on and a solid procession of half the population of China, so it seemed to us, marched behind us. It was beginning to get dark and, as it was no uncommon thing for foreigners to enter some Chinese cities and never be heard of again, I became somewhat alarmed when several of the hangers-on began to beg for money and, when none was forthcoming, to pull at our coats and molest us. Two of the Chinese were especially persistent, one jerking the Russian's coat and the other making an effort to get his hands in my pockets. What a situation! It looked as though two speechless companions in danger would have to clean out the whole crowd of several hundred Chinese. The Russian gave me a look which I interpreted to mean that there was nothing to do but fight. The mere suggestion of[Pg 95] such a thing unconsciously made me act and in a flash I swung on one of my assailants. I connected with his chin and floored him. Ideas go in and out of a man's brain in rapid succession in such moments, and I thought that the Russian and I would now have to fight the whole mob. I was mistaken. I didn't know my men, for the blow that ruined my opponent dispersed the entire crowd and they fled in all directions like chaff before the wind. A crisis had been passed and the Russian and I made haste to the station where we safely spent the night in the train.

The next day we had more trouble. This time it was with the railway police. I was showing a number of photographs of Chinese to my Russian friend when a policeman came along and asked in French if he could see them. I acquiesced, thinking the officer was simply interested. He wanted to show them to some of his friends in another car. I gave my consent with a nod of my head. As he had not returned at the end of an hour, I went through the train to find him. He was showing them to a score of his countrymen and said that he would bring them back in a few minutes. I returned to my car. Shortly the policeman appeared and gave me all the pictures except two. These he said he wanted to keep. I protested with him in French, for this was the language used by the employés of this railroad. He became so angry that he attempted to take back the photographs he had returned. The Russian came to my[Pg 96] assistance and we threw the policeman out of our compartment into the aisle of the car. I took his number and told him that I would report him to Mr. Tze, the official of the railroad company who had given me my pass. The policeman recognised Tze's name and at once calmed down and said that he would return the missing pictures immediately. He did not return and I went after him again only to learn that he had got off the train at the last station. The man was now beyond reach and I was out two of my photographs. Why he wanted them, I don't know. It is hard to diagnose the workings of some people's brains and this policeman was one of them.

The second night our train went on a siding at Tchu Me Tien, a small isolated village. The station master would not grant us permission to sleep in the car, so we had to put up at a Chinese inn. A Japanese hotel is a model of cleanliness. A Chinese hotel is usually the reverse. This inn at Tchu Me Tien was the essence of filth, discomfort and heat. It is a safe statement to make that it was one of the most unsanitary, dilapidated and uncomfortable domiciles on this earth. The building was alive with naked and unwashed Chinese; our bedroom was occupied by a dozen hop-head coolies; the beds were made from the hardest wood obtainable; the unsanitary toilet was only a few feet away; the thermometer was hovering about the boiling point; and mosquitoes were as numerous as raindrops in Ore[Pg 97]gon and as large as bats. With all these inconveniences and pests, coupled with the fear of being robbed during the night by the proprietor of the hotel assisted by his guests, neither the Russian nor myself—who rested on the same plank together—got a wink of sleep.


A Pagoda Bridge in the Forbidden City
(Photograph taken by Mr. Sze Ping Tze)

I left the Russian at Hankow and began rambling again by myself. I found an hotel in the Japanese concession of the city and there I put up during my week's stay in Hankow. I deteriorated into a simple tourist. I "did" Hankow, and I "did" Wu-Chang and Han Yang, the cities on the opposite banks of the Yangtsze River. Before leaving Hankow I presented my letter of introduction to Mr. Tze and obtained my steamship passage down the river. I sailed on the steamer Hsin Chang.

Three days and three nights on the picturesque Yangtsze as a first-class passenger, and the Hsin Chang pulled into Nanking. Although my pass was good to Shanghai I concluded to leave the ship at Nanking and go on to the coast by train. I therefore landed, hailed a rickshaw and gave instructions to the coolie to haul me to a Japanese hotel.

American and European hotels were impossible for me on account of their high rates and the Chinese hotels were out of the question because of their filth. There are many Japanese in China and each large city has at least one of their hotels, which are always clean and cheap.

The Nanking Japanese hotel proved to be a dif[Pg 98]ficult institution to find for, after dragging me about two-thirds of the streets of the town, the coolie admitted that he didn't know where it was. At last I saw the Japanese consul's house and directed my rickshaw man to it. From the consul I learned where the Japanese hotel was. In five minutes I was a properly registered guest of the place.

I retained the service of the rickshaw coolie and with a map set out to see Nanking. I passed through the ruins of the old Imperial City where a few Manchus still reside and out of the walls to the Ming tombs. The rickshaw slowly conveyed me along the avenue of hideous monuments erected over the graves of the late members of the Ming dynasty. When I came to the end I alighted and ascended to the summit of the huge structure built over the supposed remains of Woo Hung, the first emperor of the Ming line, who died some six hundred years ago. I sat down and gazed over the distant walls to the city of Nanking nestled in the mist. There I remained in deep reflection. My thoughts had floated across the Pacific to places where I had friends and relatives. Just at this lonesome moment a neatly dressed Scotchman came along and sat down beside me.

"What are you doing, old chap?" he enquired.

"Just knocking about the country," I replied.

"Are you going to Shanghai?"

"Yes, I shall probably go down to-morrow afternoon."

[Pg 99]

"Where do you intend to stay while there?"

"Oh, I suppose that I shall put up at some hotel."

"I live in Shanghai and am going there in the morning. Can't you come and stay with me?"

I thanked him but declined, giving as an excuse the fact that I had some friends whom I expected to meet. The Scotchman persisted.

"I should be very pleased to entertain you. If you are unable to find your friends be sure and look me up," he said.

I am not of a suspicious nature but, when the Scotchman extended such an urgent invitation on so short acquaintance, I immediately thought that he was a bunko man of some sort and that he intended to "shanghai" me.

"Thanks," I concluded, "if I can't find my friends I shall look you up." Shanghai is a city of a million and a half people and, as the Scotchman—who didn't give his name—left, I dismissed the incident from my mind, never expecting to see him again.

I returned to my rickshaw and was soon again within the city walls where I spent the remainder of the afternoon visiting the Gung Yuam or old Examination Hall.

This hall was one of the most interesting institutions in my Chinese travels. It was the place where the students from many provinces came to take the government examinations in the Chinese classics. It consisted of rows of cells where the students were sealed in for several days to write their essays.[Pg 100] There were twenty-five thousand of these cells, sufficient to accommodate that many students at one time, and the whole institution covered several acres. In addition to the cells there were many buildings which were used by the government officials and examiners. The place was last used in 1904 and since that time has rapidly decayed and through neglect, characteristic of the Chinese, was in a poor state of preservation. It was the only one still remaining in China and it is a pity that it is soon to be destroyed.

My companion on the train to Shanghai was a Japanese. With the smattering of English he knew, coupled with the fragments of the Japanese language I had picked up in Japan, we carried on a fairly intelligent conversation. From him I learned the address of a Japanese hotel in Shanghai and he kindly offered to accompany me to it. We arrived in the big city and in a moment were lost in the tremendous tides of humanity. I thought I had never seen so many people before. The Japanese conducted me to the hotel. The proprietor consigned us to the same room. I didn't object. I was only surprised.

Shanghai was in holiday attire and throngs of people were celebrating the coronation of King George V of Great Britain. I walked the streets and watched the happy crowds. A feeling came over me that I was out of it, that my stay in the city would be a wearisome one and that while every one else would be enjoying the celebration I could[Pg 101] not take part in it. As I was thus musing, I heard a shout from the street.

"Did you find your friends?" It was the Scotchman whom I had met in Nanking.

"No," I shouted back, at once making up my mind to accept the stranger's invitation. I concluded that I had never been drugged or "shanghaied" and I was willing to take the chance. If any one made a suspicious move I would swing on him first and put up a good fight while the affair lasted.

"Come on with me, then," said the Scotchman.

"All right," I replied.

I returned to the Japanese hotel, checked out and immediately moved into the Scotchman's apartments.

This mysterious man whom I held in such suspicion and to whom I attributed such unworthy motives was Mr. John E. Hall, a prominent importer of steel rails, and one of the most respected citizens of Shanghai. I entered Hall's spacious apartments, was introduced to several of his friends and was soon seated at the dinner table putting away one of the finest meals any mortal ever ate. Everything in the line of good food and good liquor graced Hall's table, and every convenience and comfort from bath-room to billiard table was to be found in his residence.

I was given a guest card to the Shanghai Club, the finest in the Far East. I had a ticket to the Coronation service at the Cathedral. I sat in a reserved[Pg 102] seat and viewed the parade. I was taken to all the points of interest in the city, both by day and by night, and if there was anything on the map too good for me, I didn't know it. This was a sample of hospitality hard to beat.

During my wanderings about Shanghai with Hall, I was taken, in the early hours of the morning, after the electrical parade which took place as a part of the coronation celebration, to the Carlton Café—a bohemian resort. As I entered this café, in company with a dozen of Hall's friends, I was startled to hear my name called out from the midst of the huge throng of midnight merrymakers. Here I was five thousand miles from home, and, so far as I was aware, there was not a soul I knew in the city. My name rang through the air again. I looked about and at last recognised a woman, who was standing on a table, as the source of the call. I soon discovered that she was inebriated and in a second I recalled that I had met her on the steamer Asia crossing the Pacific. I immediately went over to her, shook hands with her and exchanged the usual platitudes which are employed when people meet.

My friends wanted to know where I had met the lady, and informed me that she was one of the most notorious women of the Shanghai underworld. On the steamer she had given her name as Mrs. Davis and there was nothing in her demeanour during the voyage to indicate that she was not a respectable woman. It was on this basis that I had met her.[Pg 103] Presently she came over to our table and asked if I would come and have tiffin with her the next day. I accepted.

"Where shall I come?" I enquired.

"Sixteen Soo Chow Road," she said. "Are you surprised?"

Either way I might have answered this question would have given offence, so I evaded it with an assurance that I would be on hand for tiffin the next day.

Sixteen Soo Chow Road was guarded by two policemen. They took no notice of me and I walked straight in and asked for Mrs. Davis. No one in the house knew her by that name. In a few minutes I found her and was cordially received. The place was in a great state of excitement, for one of the women had taken four shots at a prominent merchant of Shanghai early in the morning in one of the city's cafés. The woman was under arrest and this accounted for the presence of the policemen at the entrance. I did not like the idea of being about for fear I would be called as a witness and become mixed up in a nasty scrape which I knew nothing about. However, I decided to be a man and see the meal out. Tiffin was brought in and Mrs. Davis, for she was still Mrs. Davis to me, entertained me as would the hostess of the most respectable home in the world. After a good meal and a pleasant call I took my leave. I was somewhat wiser from my study[Pg 104] of human nature. I also had made another friend in this world.

I made arrangements with the skipper of a British tramp steamer to take me to Hongkong and before long I found myself on the shores of this beautiful island ready for new experiences. Hongkong proved to be a poor field for adventure and after seeing the sights I went up the river to Canton. In both places I put up at Japanese hotels where I thrived on Japanese diet at Japanese prices. I returned to Hongkong and after a few days along the waterfront I sailed for Manila on a British tramp.

Before the ship got under way a United States Quarantine officer made a cursory examination of the crew before she would be allowed to leave for the Philippines. As he passed me he said, without stopping, that I had malaria. This was cheerful news, for a Hankow doctor had told me that I had a touch of dry pleurisy and a Canton physician had prescribed a mixture for dysentery. I said to myself when the American Quarantine doctor made his lightning-speed diagnosis, "That is a delightful thought; I must have all the diseases under the sun." I hadn't been feeling very well, which I attributed to the long period I had lived on Japanese and Chinese food and the irregular life I had been leading, so I discounted the contradictory statements of all my physicians and concluded that with good food and regular hours in Manila I would soon be in normal shape.


Country Boys of North China


Sample of an Irrigation System

[Pg 105]

However, I had no time to think of ailments, for the second day out found the ship in the roughest sea I had ever experienced. The captain informed me that we were on the outskirts of a typhoon and that he had changed the course of the ship in order to run away from it. Typhoons, which are common to the China Sea during the fall of the year, are tremendous whirlwinds which are often several hundred miles in circumference and, when the weather prophets know of their existence, all ships are not allowed to leave port. Our ship, however, got under way before any indications of the typhoon were evident. If a boat encounters one of these terrific storms its chances for getting out are about one in a hundred.

I was sitting on the deck talking to the ship's doctor when the boat gave a lurch which threw us both headlong against the railing. Before we could find something to hold to the ship pitched in the opposite direction and we were thrown like rag dolls through the open hatchway upon a pile of cargo. From this point we gradually found our way to the mess-room. This was the first indication that we were in the vicinity of a typhoon. The boat was a freighter and did not carry regular passengers and, besides the crew, the extra travellers consisted of a dozen Chinese coolies, a United States cable ship officer and myself.

The sea became rougher and rougher and if this was only the rim of a typhoon what on earth would[Pg 106] the centre of it be? All night the ship pounded, swayed and lurched and the wind blew at a terrific rate. The skipper remained on the bridge and had what little he ate served to him there. In the morning the sea, instead of being calmer, as we had all hoped, was ten-fold worse and the captain announced that we were in the middle of the typhoon, and when asked what our chances were he simply shook his head. When the experienced skipper looked worried and considered that our prospects for reaching shore were small, unless something extraordinary occurred, I philosophically—as did all the others on board—resigned myself to the fact that I only had a day or two at most to live. We were as helpless as babes.

The waves ran thirty and forty feet high and constantly broke over the ship at the two hatchways. Fifteen feet of water dashed and redashed across the deck in a mad torrent. Occasionally a wave would break over the top of the mess-room, which was perched high upon the stem of the boat, and the force of its blow seem to promise that one more would cave in the sides of the ship and end it all. It was impossible to serve meals and we all munched at pieces of bread or chunks of meat—or any food we could get our hands on.

I had never imagined that the ocean could become so terrific and a ship so helpless. Each time I saw the tremendous mountains of water rush towards the vessel I would think it was all over. The[Pg 107] ship would cringe, dip and twist and in some mysterious way, half submerged, ride the treacherous monster and, having got safely by, would instantly be confronted with another equally as treacherous and terrible. To survive these waves was a miracle.

With the heavy sea and the fearful wind the ship's engines were powerless and the boat was swept about like a cork. To add to our perilous situation the engine room was becoming flooded, although four pumps were frantically sucking out the water. Thus we battled with the sea for three days, not knowing when the end would come, but always living in the hope that the extraordinary thing would occur which the captain longed for.

Thank God, it did occur. During the third night the wind changed and it began to rain. I never saw rain in such quantities before nor do I ever expect to see it again. But every drop was a blessing, for it did its share to quiet the waves, and it was only a few hours before the sea had abated to a point where comparative safety was reached and the ship was able to make some headway. A more thankful and happy crowd could not be found at that moment on land or sea than the few men on that ship. The first meal after the subsiding of the waves was as happy a reunion and joyous occasion as any Christmas gathering I ever attended.

The next day the sea had calmed down to almost normal and the captain discovered that we had been driven five hundred miles out of our course. He[Pg 108] headed the bow of his ship towards Manila and, on the morning of the sixth day, we pulled into port. We were all intact, but the faithful ship was a dismantled wreck. The Manila authorities had given us up as lost and our experiences took up a column on the front page of each of the daily papers.

[Pg 109]



Richardson was en route to Peking as a third-class passenger. He had just been discharged—with thanks—from his position of physics teacher at the Tientsin Middle School. After his dismissal it took him about ten minutes to gather his meagre belongings together and get out of town.

In the Chinese capital he stayed at the native Y.M.C.A. which was conducted by Americans and where his travelling comrade had put up a few weeks before. His bill was one dollar, Chinese money, a day. The Young Men's Christian Association is found in nearly every large city in the Orient. Many of its plants are housed in substantial and well-equipped buildings and it does a most valuable work. The men in charge of these institutions are a fine lot and are representative of the best type of Americans. Without exception, they received us with the greatest cordiality possible and the recollection of their hospitality will long remain with us. The many secretaries we met were often invaluable to us for the advice they gave us, their suggestions and the courtesies they extended to us,[Pg 110] and we were always welcomed to their accommodations at very reasonable prices.

In many ways Peking was the most interesting and fascinating city of our travels. It is different from any other place in the world. Richardson circled this oriental capital on foot. He walked along the top of the twelve miles of huge walls which surround it. Peking has a population of over a million people and is divided into four cities, viz.: The Tartar City, inhabited by the middle classes; the Imperial City, within the Tartar City, where reside most of the government officials; the Forbidden City, in the centre of the Imperial City, in which the Emperors lived and where the President of the Republic of China now has his residence; and the Chinese City where the lower classes live. Surrounding the entire metropolis is a great wall forty feet high and sixty-two feet wide at the base.

The Imperial City occupies a space of nearly two square miles and is enclosed by a wall twenty feet high. There are four spacious entrances, each with three gateways, the middle one being opened only for the Emperor or President. The Forbidden City is laid out on a grand scale and is surrounded by massive pink-tinted walls thirty feet high and thirty feet thick. Within are many palaces, private residences, apartments for visitors and government officials and the necessary quarters for an enormous retinue of domestics of various rank. Foreigners with[Pg 111]out permits or the Chinese, except high officials, are not allowed in this city.

Connecting the Tartar and Chinese cities is the immense and imposing Chien-Mien Gate with its four oriental towers. The view from the top of this gate is one of the most wonderful metropolitan pictures in the world. Directly before one's eyes are the yellow-tiled palaces of the Forbidden City, whose roofs look like sheets of glittering gold under the rays of the oriental sun. To the right are the costly and substantial houses of the Legation Quarter. Far to the left the Bell and Drum Towers loom up like western skyscrapers. In a remote corner of the Chinese City the stately Temple of Heaven with its rich blue roof rests in the haze of the oriental atmosphere. Beneath one is a bee-hive of human beings. Tens of thousands pass through the Chien-Mien Gate each day. Nearly every means of conveyance that one can imagine, except roller skates and submarines, can be seen creeping through the arched openings of the huge gate. Camels, donkeys, rickshaws, the elaborate equipages of officials, carts, men, women and children on foot, form an endless stream from the time the gates are opened at six in the morning until they close at midnight. A touch of the West is added by the roar of trains whose tracks pierce the walls of the Chinese capital with their numerous tunnels.

Travelling at the third-class mountain rate of two-thirds of a cent a mile, Richardson was sharing his[Pg 112] small compartment on a Chinese train with a dozen coolies—on his way to Tai Yuam Fu. From Peking he had made a trip to the Ming tombs and had also visited the Great Wall with a party of American tourists. He was now on his way into the interior of Shansi Province to visit some college friends who were missionaries at a small town called Fen Chow Fu. The mission station was conducted by the American Board of the Congregational Church. Richardson went from Peking to Tchang Te Fou, a distance of one hundred and seventy miles, by train. This city was where the Russian artist and I had our trouble with the Chinese beggars. From this place Richardson took a branch line to Tai Yuan Fu, about two hundred miles west, where he spent the night as the guest of a young Britisher who was a Cambridge University graduate and was then doing medical missionary work. Tai Yuan Fu was the terminal of the railroad and Richardson had to complete his journey to the mission station by cart. This Chinese vehicle had been sent to meet him by his missionary friends.

In giving me an account of this eighty-mile Chinese cart trip, which required three days, Richardson told me that in order to appreciate his experiences I must keep in mind four facts. These were: first, a Chinese cart has neither springs nor cushions; second, Chinese country roads are simply two deep parallel ruts or grooves, made by the wheels of carts (these roads are never graded and in places the ruts[Pg 113] are two or three feet deep); third, the portion of the road between the ruts was lined with rocks and boulders of every description and size; and fourth, it rained steadily the three days of his journey. He stated that, by putting these facts together and adding a liberal allowance of imagination, I could get some idea of a cart trip in China.


Crossing a Chinese Country Bridge


The Inn Where Richardson Put up for a Night

This uncomfortable vehicle was drawn by two mules, hitched tandem, and not once during the eighty miles did they get off a walk. An Arkansas train was a comet in comparison. Richardson's attendants were a driver and a servant, whom the mission station had sent. They could not speak English. For three days my friend was slowly hauled over hills and valleys in this primitive conveyance. At times he thought his insides would be shaken to a hopeless mass; his head was snapped about until there was grave doubt in his mind as to whether it would stay on throughout the journey and he was so roughly tossed about that he thought he would be lame for the rest of his life. He would ride a couple of hours, about as long as he could stand it at one time, and then get out and walk in the rain for an equal period.

At night and at noon-time he stopped at Chinese inns. "Inn" is a misnomer, however. The Chinese country inn is a stable-yard filled with mules, donkeys, dogs, pigs, chickens, babies and smells. This yard is surrounded by a long one-story building in which are the sleeping rooms, kitchens and eating[Pg 114] compartments. All the rooms in an inn open on the yard and with their doorless entrances extend a hearty welcome to the numerous odours. Chinese hotels can be located by their characteristic odour.

A bedroom in one of these inns has no conveniences. There is a "thing" to sit on and a "thing" upon which to place food, but it requires a great deal of intuition to know that they are respectively a chair and a table. There is a brick platform in one corner of the room for a bed. This is called a kong in Shansi Province. Beneath these kongs a fire is built on cold nights. It was at Tai Yuam Hsien, where he spent the second night, that Richardson, while sleeping soundly on a kong, was awakened about two A.M. by being nearly baked. The coolie who was acting as stoker, had replenished the oven so generously with fuel that the bed resembled a crematory.

For two and a half days he didn't see a foreigner or meet a Chinese who could speak English. He communicated with his servant by means of signs. As he entered each village he at once became the chief object of interest. At the inns the scene on his arrival resembled a circus procession. All the youngsters, beggars and cripples followed him into the yard and watched the "animal" eat. At Tai Yuam Hsien they became so numerous and so persistent in their pleas for cash that Richardson had to flash his pistol to instil some fear into them and[Pg 115] impress them with the fact that he was a dangerous man.

This three days' journey was filled with inconveniences, but gave Richardson an excellent opportunity to get a glimpse of Chinese rural life. The country through which he passed was green and the farms along the way gave a Mississippi Valley aspect to the scenery. The methods of farming were somewhat different, however. To see hundreds of acres of wheat planted in rows like radishes and hoed by hand was hardly American. There were no cows or horses but, instead, thousands of goats and sheep flocked the hills and valleys while mules and camels were the beasts of burden. The country was largely agricultural and there were but few walled cities, his course taking him through scores of little villages.

In each of the first two days the Chinese cart made thirty miles and the third day twenty. Richardson drove into Fen Chow Fu about six o'clock on the third evening and received a very cordial welcome from the members of the American mission station. Fen Chow Fu proved to be a walled town of about fifty thousand people and the score or more missionaries were the only foreigners. They entertained Richardson in real American fashion. The members of this little far away colony were mostly graduates of Carlton College, Minnesota, where Richardson had taken his freshman and sophomore years before going to Dartmouth.

[Pg 116]

After ten days as a guest of his friends, Richardson returned to the railroad at Tai Yuan Fu by Chinese cart. Three more uncomfortable days over the eighty-mile course with the same experiences as the inward trip and he arrived at the railroad without mishap. He took the first train and the following day was in Hankow. In this city he spent a comfortable week at the native Y.M.C.A.

It was at this time that one of the dreadful Chinese famines was ravaging the country a few miles distant from Hankow and thousands of people were dying of starvation. Large numbers of these homeless, naked and wretched creatures flocked to the city and roamed its narrow streets as beggars. They hardly had the strength to walk and they presented a sad sight with their fleshless bones, visible ribs and sunken faces. Real poverty was more in evidence in this section than in any part of the world we visited. Human beings were huddled in tiny huts built of rusty Standard Oil cans and located in a swamp. A whole family of six or eight would crawl in on their hands and knees to get a night's shelter from the cold and rain. During the day they would beg or attempt to sell some worthless trinkets or pieces of junk. I have seen a stock of goods spread out on the sidewalk which contained nothing but what would be consigned to the ash barrel in an American community. Rusty nails, pieces of glass, old newspapers, rags and wornout soles of shoes were on[Pg 117] display. In some unaccountable way the vendor frequently found a purchaser.

It was in this poverty-stricken district that Richardson played the rôle of philanthropist. He bought an American dollar's worth of cash—small Chinese coins with a square hole in the centre which are sold on long strings. As soon as he began giving these away a hundred or more of these poor unfortunates gathered about him and piteously begged for some of the money. Starved creatures—ragged women, half-clad and shivering children, blind boys, men on all fours, paralytics and lepers—thronged about him and pleaded for some of his charity. He divided the money equally among the multitude, counting out the coins as he gave them away. He found that for his American dollar he had received twenty-seven hundred pieces of cash.

Richardson was the guest of some friends who were on the faculty of Boone's College in Wu Chang on the opposite bank of the Yangtsze River from Hankow. This school is under the auspices of the American Episcopal Church Mission and is one of the leading institutions of learning in the Empire. Here he spent several days in luxury, sleeping in a warm and comfortable room and enjoying American meals.

Riding below the water line on an oriental steamer with Chinese coolies as fellow passengers is the antithesis of the comfort of an American Mission school. This was the sort of transportation Rich[Pg 118]ardson enjoyed down the Yangtsze to Shanghai. Three days in the midst of unsanitary surroundings and curious and simple coolies were enough to make the ordinary American quit the trip and buy a first-class ticket home. Richardson was not that kind. He was anything but a quitter and although he enjoyed a good bed, clean food and intelligent companions as well as any one I ever knew, he could stand hardship and discomfort without a murmur. He often appeared to like them. In the face of the most discouraging environment he would simply smile and play the part of a philosopher.

He trooped down the gangway at Shanghai with his fellow passengers and in a few days trooped up another gangway on his way south. This time, however, he had obtained a rather luxurious berth. For ten dollars he was to be landed in the city of Victoria, on the island of Hongkong, by the Scotch captain of a British tramp steamer. He occupied a cabin on the upper deck, had the freedom of the ship and dined with the skipper in the main saloon. The voyage was a quiet one and he had plenty of time for reading undisturbed.

Richardson had tried Chinese steerage travel and found it very rough. He decided to make a change. From Hongkong he sailed in the hold of a Japanese steamer for Manila. According to his own statement it was the lowest stratum he had ever reached. The Japanese in the third-class quarters were an unintelligent and inferior lot. They acted like animals;[Pg 119] the food was coarse and half cooked; the bunks were hard and full of vermin; the quarters were poorly ventilated; toilet conveniences did not exist; the sea was rough and nearly all the passengers were sick. Aside from this, the boat was very comfortable and it was a pleasant trip.

[Pg 120]



The Philippines proved to be a prolific field for jobs. It was our plan to settle in the Islands for several months and add to our exchequers before going on to India and Europe. Richardson held down three jobs during our three months' stay and for a few days drew pay from them all at the same time. I filled one position and declined two others. The American who couldn't get work in Manila at the time of our visit deserved to starve to death.

Many of the old Spanish laws are still in force and, before I could transact any business, I had to comply with the insular regulations and get a cedular or license. This certificate costs two pesos and must be held before carrying on any financial negotiations.

I was now ready to look for a job. The first day I had a chance to sign on as a government teamster caring for and driving a pair of mules at sixty dollars a month. I did not accept this position, but held it in reserve in case I couldn't land anything better. The second day, the city editor of the Cable-News American said that he had an opening as a reporter at eighty dollars a month. At last I got in touch with the Bureau of Education which[Pg 121] I learned wanted a man in its industrial department. Four others had been under consideration for several days for the position when I arrived on the scene. I interviewed the director, Mr. Frank E. White, a charming man who has since died and, as I made a favourable impression, he asked me to call again.

My application was considered for a week and I conversed with several of the authorities of the Bureau. I didn't like the long time employed in coming to a conclusion on my case, for I expected to remain in Manila only a few months—a fact which I had to keep a secret to have any one hire me.

One afternoon during these negotiations I was on the Luneta attending the daily concert of the Philippine Constabulary Band, when I was startled by a war-whoop. I looked up to see a sturdy figure dressed in the white of the tropics bounding towards me. It was Richardson who had just arrived in Manila from China. It was the first we had seen or heard of one another for three months. That evening we spent several hours relating our experiences since we separated.

The next interview with the Bureau of Education was the final one. My qualifications evidently satisfied the authorities for Mr. White opened the conversation by saying:

"Well, we have decided to take you on, Mr. Fletcher—on one condition."

[Pg 122]

"What is that?" I asked.

"That you will remain permanently," responded Mr. White.

After all the days of negotiation the job now hung in the balance, for I intended to stay only three months at most and I wanted to be free to leave at any time. I couldn't afford to let this information loose or all would be lost.

"I can't agree to anything like that, Mr. White. I assume that you reserve the right to discharge me if my services are not satisfactory and I want the same privilege to quit if I find that I don't like the work or can't get along with you or your assistants," I said.

"Of course we take such matters into consideration," replied Mr. White. "You may go to work at once if you wish."

"There is one little matter which has not been mentioned yet," I added.

"What is that?" enquired the director.

"Compensation," I smiled.

"Two hundred pesos a month," said Mr. White with a laugh. This amount is equivalent to one hundred dollars.

"That is satisfactory," I concluded and was conducted into the department where I was to work. Now that I had the job I at once began to figure out how to get rid of it when the time came. A few minutes before I had been wondering how I was going to get it.


An Old Church in Manila

[Pg 123]

The Bureau of Education is one of the main divisions of the Insular Government and employs nearly two thousand men and women, the large majority of whom are scattered throughout the Islands as teachers. The head office in Manila has about one hundred and twenty on its staff, and these are divided among several departments. The Division of Publications and Industrial Information was the title of the department in which I was to work and my duties consisted of issuing bulletins, editing text-books, publishing the Philippine Craftsman (a monthly magazine of the Bureau) and preparing the annual report. This last embodied about fifty financial and statistical tables and twenty or more graphic charts showing the work accomplished by the Bureau during the year. This annual report turned out to be the main part of my duties and I was assisted by eight Filipinos who compiled most of the tables under my supervision. As the Governor-General of the Islands put in a rush order for this report my assistants and I were compelled to work until eleven o'clock each evening for about a month.

Immediately on his arrival in Manila Richardson started to look for a job. The first day, he met a friend from the Hawaiian Islands who was in the Philippines representing the Honolulu Planters' Association in obtaining Filipino labourers for the sugar plantations in Hawaii. This man said he would have a position open in a few weeks. Rich[Pg 124]ardson informed him that he could not wait and would have to get something at once. The Hawaiian planter then agreed to take an option on his time at thirty dollars a week until a vacancy occurred. Richardson accepted this and remained in Manila to await developments.

The duties of the job for which Richardson was slated consisted of visiting several of the islands in a small steamer, manned by a Spanish captain and crew, and gathering labourers who would be taken to Manila and thence shipped to Honolulu. He was to have a motion picture apparatus, with an operator and lecturer who would accompany him in his visits to the small villages and towns and after showing the natives the wonders and advantages of life in Hawaii sign them on and ship them out.

During his wait in Manila Richardson was afflicted with the common tropical malady of dengue and was confined to his bed for ten days. Dengue is a sort of tropical grippe which is conveyed by mosquitoes and attacks its victims by means of a fever, rash and sore bones in every part of the body. Probably its most aggravating features are its after-effects, for a severe case often leaves the patient in such shape that it requires several months to recover normal health. Fortunately Richardson, due to his rugged constitution and to the fact that his attack was comparatively light, was soon con[Pg 125]valescent and recovered without the usual lingering after effects.

Richardson soon received word from his Honolulu planter friend that he was to report in Cebu, a town on the island of the same name about five hundred miles south of Manila. He took an inter-island steamer and in a few days reached his destination and was ready for duty. He expected to go to work at once. But the man in charge at Cebu informed him that he was not needed and instructed him to return to Manila. There was a hitch some place. After some difficulty about expense money, which the Cebu man refused to pay and which was adjusted satisfactorily to Richardson by wiring to the Honolulu representative in Manila, he returned north, arriving on a Wednesday morning. He was paid off until the end of the week, which made a total period of one month at thirty dollars a week with no work and an interesting trip with all expenses to Cebu and back.

He began, Wednesday afternoon, to look for another job and by evening he had obtained a position as shipping clerk for a wholesale grocery house at one hundred dollars a month. He went to work the next morning—Thursday. That evening, after dinner, he received a letter from the Bureau of Public Works, to which he had made application the afternoon before, which stated that he was wanted to go to the island of Mindanao, a thousand miles south of Manila, and take charge of[Pg 126] the construction of several concrete bridges at a salary of one hundred and twenty dollars a month and expenses. This offer was especially tempting, not only for the increase in salary but for the opportunity it offered him to see more of the Islands—the motive for which he was travelling. The position called—so the man at the Bureau of Public Works stated—for a knowledge of structural engineering, cement work and drafting. Richardson was not an engineer and knew nothing about such subjects.

"What, do you think of my accepting this job?" asked Richardson of his travelling companion when he had finished reading his letter aloud.

"Take it," I said.

"But I don't know anything about structural engineering," he replied.

"What difference does that make? All jobs sound harder than they really are. Suppose you accept it and they find in a couple of weeks that you are no good and fire you, what do you care? You will be a thousand miles farther along on the trip at their expense," I said rather emphatically.

"All right," said Richardson. "To-morrow I will notify the grocery people that I intend to quit in the evening and I will sail for Mindanao on Saturday."

Richardson severed his connections with the wholesale grocery house the following night and began making preparations for his departure south.[Pg 127] It will be remembered that the salary from his first position continued until the end of the week. He received pay from the grocery store for Thursday and Friday and his wages from the Bureau of Public Works began on Friday morning. He therefore drew pay from all three jobs on Friday.

Richardson didn't know a transit from a trombone and he knew no more about cement than a hair-dresser but, provided with a technical hand-book, he sailed, certain that he would be a competent engineer by the time he arrived at Zamboango on the island of Mindanao—in about a week. I saw him off and interestedly awaited word from him as to how matters would turn out.

I had rented a large room in the Imperial Hotel, one of the quaint old adobe Spanish buildings with iron-barred windows and folding doors, in the Intramuros or walled city. I had been living in this room for a few weeks when the proprietor, evidently thinking that it was too large for one person to occupy, placed another man in it without consulting me. As the new arrival appeared a good fellow, and also because I received a reduction in my rental, I made no objection. My new roommate was a man about thirty years of age by the name of Edwards. He had been a second-class yeoman in the United States Navy and, after serving several years, had bought his way out. According to his own statement he had enjoyed the reputation of having been the biggest drunkard in the Asiatic[Pg 128] Squadron and in this contention he was upheld by members of the navy who knew him. He now, however, had been on the water wagon for six months and intended to remain there.

It was only a few days after the advent of Edwards that the proprietor, evidently still considering that the room was too large to be wasted on two persons, intruded a third. This man's name was Lakebank, and since (as in the first case) he appeared to be a decent sort of chap and the proprietor again reduced the rental, we concluded to allow him to remain. We all, however, agreed that he was to be the last. Lakebank was a rough, uncouth fellow with one of the finest dispositions in the universe and a heart as big as the ocean. He was chauffeur for one of the high officials of the Insular Government. The three of us got along very well together.

One evening as Edwards and I were eating the eternal chicken dinner of Manila, Lakebank arrived with a most disturbed look in his face. His eyes were nearly popping out of his head. I at once saw that something was wrong and enquired what the trouble was but received only a wink in reply. I took the hint and put the matter off until after dinner. Lakebank, who was very nervous and excited, then informed me that he had seen a man on the street, that afternoon, whom he recognised as his sister's husband and who, nine years ago in the United States, had left her on the night of the[Pg 129] birth of their little girl. Later it was discovered that he had gambled away all her savings. He had never been seen or heard from, and was supposed to be dead, until Lakebank came face to face with him on a calle of Manila. Lakebank learned that his brother-in-law was going under the assumed name of Polly.

We discussed the matter for some time and I offered a number of suggestions as to how to handle the situation. The next day, Lakebank, acting on our conclusions, went to the office of Mr. Polly, who had a good position with the Insular Government, and stated that he wished to speak to him alone.

"Go right ahead. Everything my stenographer hears is confidential," said Mr. Polly.

"No, I want her out of the room," insisted Lakebank, "for I have something of a very serious nature to say to you."

"Don't mind her," repeated the man, "I assure you that everything you say will be kept a secret."

"All right then," and looking him squarely in the face Lakebank said, "I am James Lakebank, your brother-in-law. Your name is Ham, not Polly."

"Yes, yes, you are right; no one should be present," muttered Ham nervously and, as he staggered towards the door, he added, "Come with me." The two men left the office and wandered out on the street, both in silence, until they came to a secluded spot in an adjacent lumber yard where, sheltered from view, they sat speechless.

[Pg 130]

"What are you going to do about it?" Lakebank finally asked. Ham then opened his heart and in tears stated that he had never spent such remorseful years in his life as those which had elapsed since the night he left his wife. He explained that he went directly to Chicago, enlisted in the army and was detailed to Manila, where he had been ever since. He said that if his wife were willing he would join her again and to show his good faith, would give Lakebank five hundred dollars to send her so that she could come to San Francisco and meet him there. If she did not want to see him, she could keep the money for whatever purpose she wished. He enquired affectionately about the little girl who was born the night he deserted and whom he had never seen. He stated that he had saved several thousand dollars and that, if it was his wife's wish, he would return to America, resume his right name, join her and begin life all over again.

Lakebank did not know whether his sister would forgive Ham, or not, but informed him that he would write her of their meeting. The case interested me and I was eager to know the outcome. It would take several months for letters to be exchanged between Lakebank and his sister and the matter would not be settled until nearly a year after my departure from the Islands. Many months afterwards I heard from Lakebank. Ham returned to America, met his wife and little girl in San Fran[Pg 131]cisco, were reunited and were happily situated in the States.


The House in Which Richardson Lived During His Employ at the Prison

One evening I was much surprised to see Richardson come bounding into my room.

"Where did you drop from?" I enquired, astonished.

"Just blew in from Zamboango," said Richardson. "I have had enough of these islands. Are you ready to beat it to-morrow?"

"Any old time suits me. To-morrow if you say so."

"All right, to-morrow we go."

Richardson then related his Mindanao experiences. On his way south on the steamer he did all he could to prime himself full of engineering knowledge. He discovered among the passengers an engineer whom he put through a severe cross-examination. After seven days he arrived in Zamboango and, reporting to headquarters, was instructed to go to the Insular Penitentiary about twenty miles down the coast. At the prison his duties were outlined to him. What a drop from structural engineering they were! His "bridge building" consisted of acting as foreman in charge of one hundred and twenty convicts who were hauling wheelbarrow loads of sand and filling in a gulch near the prison buildings.

The penitentiary was situated on the shore of the island of Mindanao and was one of the Insular Government prisons. The institution consisted of several one-story, cement-walled and thatch-roofed[Pg 132] houses which, in addition to containing the cells for the convicts, had rooms and accommodations for the guards and officers. The prisoners were largely recruited from the Moro tribe, nominal Mohammedans, with whom the United States has had much trouble. There were also a few Filipinos and a number of Chinese.

Richardson was comfortably situated in one of the cottages which were provided for the officials of the prison. The entire group of buildings was within a few hundred feet of the ocean and was buried in a luxuriant jungle of palms and evergreen trees of the tropics.

Each morning at six o'clock the convicts, attired in their striped uniforms, were conducted by a number of armed guards to a ravine across which the prison authorities had planned to build a bridge. The preliminary work of filling and grading was being done and it was to oversee this work that Richardson was assigned. All day long, under the tropical sun, he supervised the hauling, filling and levelling. It was a position a ten-year-old boy could have held. As the work progressed he, no doubt, would have had to use his knowledge of bridge construction. Fortunately, for those of posterity who are destined to use this bridge, he did not remain to complete the work.

Ten days on the job and he was notified that he was to be transferred to another part of the Islands. He was instructed to report to Manila for orders.[Pg 133] His removal was due to the fact that the Manila office had sent six men to Mindanao when only four were needed and as he was the last to arrive he was naturally the first to go. He took a boat and reached Manila after an absence of one month during which he received one hundred and twenty dollars and expenses and two thousand miles travel, visiting many of the island ports en route.

As the Bureau of Education authorities had assumed that unless something extraordinary happened I was a fixture in my position, I expected to be thrown out when I notified them of my intention to leave. It also would look as though I were afraid that I could not pass the civil service examination which was scheduled for the next day and which I had to take to become a regular employé—for I was only a temporary man up to this time. The shortness of the notice might also cause trouble for, as we were to leave the Islands that day, I could give only a few hours' notice. On second thought I concluded that the Bureau could not justly object for I had come at a time when it was badly in need of a man to issue the annual report and I had finished this volume, having put in much overtime on it without extra remuneration.

However, everything passed off smoothly and, instead of being forced to stay or being kicked out, I was treated with the greatest kindness and consideration by every one from Director White down. I never before left a position with so much good[Pg 134] will on the part of my employers. Mr. White expressed his regret and stated that he had planned to soon promote me and give me an increase in salary. He added that if at any time he could be of service to me I should not hesitate to call on him.

That evening Richardson and I sailed in the hold of a ship for Hongkong. After travelling through Japan, Korea, China and the Philippine Islands we left Manila with more coin than we had when we departed from Honolulu eight months before. We each were now worth about eight hundred dollars.

[Pg 135]



With our eight hundred dollars each we felt somewhat flush. We realised, however, that it would probably be a long time before we could obtain positions that would pay us as well as those we had left in Hawaii, China and the Philippines, and we foresaw that we might have difficulty about getting work in Europe that would even pay our expenses. For these reasons, although now comparatively opulent, we decided to continue the steerage route.

We sailed from Hongkong in the forward part of the French Mail liner Caledonien for Saigon, Indo-China. Our only companions in the steerage on this three-day trip were thirty Japanese women of the underworld going to settle in the La Petite Paris, as Saigon is frequently called. The meals on this steamer were not bad in quality for steerage fare but were not numerous enough. The first meal of each day took place at nine o'clock in the morning and the second and last was served at eight in the evening. Each eater was allotted a piece of bread—the sturdy production of some French cook—a bottle of wine, meat and potatoes, and in the evening[Pg 136] a pudding of some sort. We spent the long hours between meals reading or conversing to the best of our ability with the Japanese prostitutes.

The Caledonien began winding her way up the Mekong River to Saigon, about fifty miles inland. French Indo-China is a beautiful spot and Saigon with its fifty thousand inhabitants, many of whom are French, is indeed a miniature Paris. It is a gay little town with many substantial buildings, numerous cafés and ornate theatres. Scores of quaint tables, at many of the restaurants, are placed on the sidewalks and sometimes out into the street, completely closing it for traffic. At these tables hundreds of pleasure-loving French people sit during the afternoons and evenings, tranquilly sipping their wine. They chat and laugh as though they didn't have a care in the world. The natives of Cochin-China are Annanese, a similar people to the Chinese. Both the men and the women dress their hair in a knot on the top of their heads, and as they both wear trousers it is difficult for the new arrival to distinguish the sexes.

The steerage quarters of the Caledonien were crowded to their capacity by the large number of Frenchmen and women who came aboard at Saigon. In order to make room for his countrymen, the steward moved Richardson and me from our stateroom, in the forward part of the ship, to a cabin between the engines and the kitchen. We did not realise what sort of a place it was until it came time[Pg 137] to retire. It was hotter than Hades and there was no more chance for a breath of fresh air to get into this dingy compartment than for light to penetrate a photographer's dark room. One glance was enough. We made our beds on the bow of the ship. We were rudely and suddenly awakened by the French steward, who was as mad as a man could be when he saw his clean bed-clothes on the dirty deck, covering two crusty Americans. He grabbed the sheets and blankets, uncovered us with one jerk and left us clad in only our night clothes to scramble nearly the length of the ship, through the steerage crowds, to our stateroom.

This French steward was a most irritable being and was continually worried at the actions of Richardson and myself. He would fly off into a fearful tirade of French when he found us taking a bath in the first-class passengers' tub, or when he saw us steal food from the breakfast table to sustain us until the evening meal, or when he discovered us asleep in a different part of the deck each night with the clean bed-spreads. He became so cranky that he even called us down when we spotted the coarse cloth on the table in the mess-room. He became so needlessly exasperated at whatever we did that Richardson and I devised means by which we could provoke the old fellow.

The Caledonien spent a day at Singapore. This was the hottest day I ever experienced and the sun's rays seemed to have more penetrating powers than[Pg 138] usual. I thought I should liquefy from the way in which I perspired and only for my thick pith hat, which protected my head and neck from the sun, I surely should have been a victim of sunstroke.

Richardson and I had planned a trip to Java but gave up the idea and went directly to Ceylon. The Caledonien dropped anchor in the harbour of Colombo and we were taken ashore in a small boat propelled by one oar at the stern. We obtained rooms at the Y.M.C.A. at sixteen cents a day. This rate did not include bed-clothes, which all travellers in Ceylon and India have to furnish themselves. We each bought a blanket which we carried strapped to the outside of our suit cases.

If it were not for the intense heat, I would agree with Mark Twain that Ceylon is the most beautiful island in the world. Eliminating its temperature, it is Paradise on earth. With it, it is Hell. Colombo is built about several small lakes whose shores are a very jungle of graceful palms and other dense tropical plants. There is a beautiful driveway along the beach which is the promenade for the wealthy of the place and, during the afternoon, one can almost imagine that he is on some fashionable European thoroughfare from the numerous grand carriages and well-groomed horses which pass. Richardson and I swept back and forth on this lengthy boulevard in our rickshaws. We continued into Cinnamon Park, where most of the Europeans live. We had foolishly agreed to pay our rickshaw coolies[Pg 139] by the hour. My man became so apparent in his efforts to loaf that I remarked to Richardson that he was the slowest and laziest horse I had ever driven.

"Mister, I'm a man, not a horse," said my coolie angrily and in excellent English, stopping and dropping the shafts of the vehicle.

I never was so startled in my life. This was the first horse that I had ever had speak to me. I had become so accustomed to rickshaw men with whom I could not communicate that this man's clear and to-the-point remark completely confused me for a minute.

"Then you are the poorest man I ever saw," I finally said, "and if you don't show some signs of a horse very soon, you will find yourself out of a job."

My threat to discharge him had no effect in increasing his momentum. Richardson and I dismissed both men, paid them off and returned to town on foot.

After a short trip to Kandy in the interior of Ceylon, we sailed for India. It was a night's journey to the little seaport town of Tuticorin and we took second-class passage.

The two hundred or more naked coolies of the steerage were walking down the pier towards the shore. Richardson and I were following close behind. Presently a man in uniform uttered a shrill call. The two hundred coolies stopped and sep[Pg 140]arated into two columns. The uniformed man beckoned to us to come on. "Gangway for two white men," had evidently been the nature of the call. We were not used to such treatment. We were generally included in those swept aside. We were now in a land where the native, if he doesn't respect the white man, at least pretends that he does. This ceremonious entrance into India struck us as funny and we giggled our way down the double line of salaaming Tamils and Singhalese.

"It's too bad you're not a Christian," remarked a strange and simple looking man as I, smoking a cigarette, was waiting for my train at the Tuticorin station.

"Why?" I asked, blowing a cloud of smoke in his face.

"Just think of all the good you could do while travelling around the world."

"How do you know that I am not a Christian?"

"I was simply putting out a feeler," he said, somewhat embarrassed.

"I think I am a Christian but, probably, not according to your ideas."


"What is a Christian?" I asked, interested to know what the man's ideas were.

"When a man is saved he is a Christian."

"Isn't it rather difficult to know when such a happy state of affairs exists?" My train drew into the station at this moment and the theological dia[Pg 141]logue was brought to a sudden conclusion. I left this simple but well-meaning person, my pocket full of his pamphlets. He was a member of the sect of "Plymouth Brethren" working by himself converting the heathen. If he uses no more tact on the natives than he did on me his efforts should be flat failures. I was told by a prominent missionary that there are many such persons in India who are labouring independently of an ecclesiastical organisation, the results of whose work are not very substantial.

Leaving our baggage at the station at Madura, Richardson and I rode in a springless cart to Pasumalai—a distance of about three miles. This cart was pulled by two bulls who were spurred on to greater speed by their naked driver who sat on the shafts and cruelly twisted their tails. We were going to call on the Rev. Dr. J.P. Jones, a prominent Congregational missionary and author of books on India, and have him outline an itinerary for us.

Dr. Jones was leaving on an inspection tour of several of the mission schools in a near-by jungle, as we arrived at his house. He asked us to accompany him and also invited us to spend a couple of days at his home. We explained that we had left our baggage in Madura and that, although we appreciated his kindness, we did not want to impose on him. He insisted and sent a coolie to Madura for our bags.

It was about noon when we left with Dr. Jones[Pg 142] to visit the schools. The three of us rode in another seatless and springless cart drawn by two bulls. We passed through several small native settlements and towards evening came to one of about two hundred inhabitants. It was a thief caste village. Stealing was the sole trade of all the men. They made no pretence at doing anything else. Although closely guarded by the British police they were successful in robbing and looting the neighbouring villages. Each night at twelve o'clock there was a roll call but, even after this hour, they would grease their bodies in order to slip from the grasp of their pursuers, get away and carry on their work.

A number of shirtless women were threshing shocks of wheat as we entered the little settlement of mud huts, each with its thatched roof. Naked children were playing in the streets. Our advent soon became known and the village drummer, squatted by the school house, announced our arrival and summoned the people to come and meet us. It was hardly a minute before we were surrounded by two hundred or more odd and inquisitive-looking people. If I had not known where I was I should have thought myself in the wilds of Africa. The black bodies of the naked men glistened in the sunlight; the young boys and girls, clad in nothing but the happy smile of youth, hovered about us like a swarm of butterflies, and the almost nude women, remaining a little aloof, stared at us with eyes of intense curiosity.

Every man in this interesting group was a thief.[Pg 143] I began to get worried for fear one of them might steal my watch or the few coins I had in my purse. Dr. Jones allayed my fears when he informed me that there wasn't a pick-pocket among them. A hundred thieves and not one of them a pick-pocket! This was strange. I couldn't understand it. I had thought that this means of appropriating another man's possessions was fundamental and indispensable to the profession. I discovered also that these robbers never used pass keys, pistols, flash lights or gas pipes as means to hold up their neighbours. They didn't have such things. Now the mystery of a hundred thieves with no pick-pockets was solved. There were no pockets to pick. Their victims wore no clothes and they had had no training along this line. They didn't know a pocket when they saw one.


The Foreign Business Section of Singapore


The Village Drummer Summoning the People on Our Arrival

Dr. Jones led the way into the small mud-walled school house. The room was full of naked boys and girls. The fathers and mothers crowded in at the rear of the little hall. They were an interesting and simple lot of savages. Richardson and I were given seats of honour near the teacher's desk and a wreath was placed about our necks. Dr. Jones asked for a report from the native teacher and also questioned several of the pupils on their lessons. He then explained to his audience that Richardson and I were Americans travelling around the world. He went into detail defining an American. He asked[Pg 144] the chief of the village, a much whiskered and hairy-chested man, if he had any message to give us.

"Tell them to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and they will get around all right," were the chief's words of greeting as interpreted by Dr. Jones.

"Why don't you believe in Him yourself?" asked the doctor.

"Don't waste your time on us old fellows. We are past saving. We have been thieves all our lives and you can't change us now. Do all you can to help the children and you will be doing a good work," was the chief's reply.

All the natives gathered in the street in front of the school for the customary foot races which Dr. Jones held on each of his visits. There were four races: one for the boys; one for the girls; one for the women and one for the men. They were all eager to take part for the doctor distributed a few coins as prizes to the winners. The rivalry was intense and, at the conclusion of each race, there was much confusion with many disputes as to who finished first. Dr. Jones insisted on being the judge and all were informed that they must abide by his decision or all the games would be called off.

That evening we enjoyed the hospitality of Dr. Jones. I slept in a comfortable bed, protected by a fine mosquito net and cooled by the breeze of a huge punka—which was operated by a coolie woman who sat on the porch all night and pulled the rope.

In the cities of India foreigners use electric fans[Pg 145] and in the rural districts a native-propelled punka. It is so intensely hot in some parts of the country that if the coolie goes to sleep on the job the foreigner immediately awakens.

Twenty thousand people die each year from snake bite in India. I awoke to find a small reptile in my room. The floors of the houses are built close to the ground and the doors and windows are often left open for ventilation. Snakes are so numerous that they frequently find their way into the huts of the natives and occasionally into the houses of the foreigners.

Railroad travel in India is the cheapest I have ever known. From Madura to Trichinopoly is a distance of about one hundred miles. We rode native third-class and our tickets cost us but eight annas (sixteen cents) each.

There are five classes of travel on Indian trains: first-class, second-class, intermediate, European third-class and native third-class. The trains are divided into compartments with a capacity of from twelve to twenty-four passengers. The first-class seats are covered with leather cushions and the seats of the other classes decrease in softness to the hard and cold benches of the native third-class. The first-class accommodations are used exclusively by British officials, missionaries, resident Europeans and tourists. The native third-class is a cattle train. These bare stall-like compartments are crowded with naked coolies—men, women and children—who are[Pg 146] jammed in by the train guards like dried prunes. I have seen coolie after coolie slammed into one of these compartments, already full to the roof, until I thought the poor beggars would all die of suffocation.

The first-class fare is usually twelve or fifteen times greater than the native third-class. Our tickets from Madura to Trichinopoly would have cost us about $2.50 each for first-class.

The cheapest possible fare from Calcutta to Bombay, a distance of over fifteen hundred miles and a three-day trip, is about $2.80. This rate is for native third-class accommodations. The first-class fare would be about fifty dollars and the intermediate classes would be proportionately graduated in price.

Richardson and I usually travelled native third-class. We were always able to get an empty compartment, which we would monopolise to the exclusion of the natives. We ordered the poor chaps away as though they had no right in their own country. Conductors do not stay on the trains but remain at the stations where they take up the tickets as the trains arrive. They proved to be a negligent lot and frequently failed to collect our tickets. Richardson saved his uncollected fares and found that they totalled two thousand miles. We were in India two and a half months, travelled over five thousand miles and our railroad fares were only $24.40 each.

[Pg 147]

We rented bicycles in Trichinopoly. These vehicles were the most decrepit and ancient pieces of machinery in active service on this earth. Richardson's wheel had lost its back pedal feature. In other words, it was impossible to put on the brakes. He could not stop himself unless he fell off or came to a hill. We rode through the crowded streets of Trichinopoly. Rich was a reckless rider. I thought he was trying to kill a native child. With his uncontrollable bicycle it is a mystery to me how he avoided running down several of the thousands of naked little babies who played in the dust of the street. Every moment one of them would dash in front of him. I expected that we should land in jail charged with manslaughter.

Neither Trichinopoly or Tanjore has European hotels and the caste system excludes the unclean foreigner from the native inns. For twelve annas (twenty-four cents) we obtained a clean room on the second floor of the station. It contained a large bed, an electric fan and a private bath. We ate our meals in the station restaurant. Such prices and arrangements are hard to beat.

Life seems to be a battle for coin. I could write a volume on the number of street lights I have seen in different parts of the world over the matter of a few cents. A Japanese coolie will wrangle for an hour over a sen. I have seen a score of Chinese grapple for a cash piece. It is hard to tell what a Filipino wouldn't do for a centavo. However, I[Pg 148] think a native of India can kick up more fuss over a two-cent piece than any man alive.

Richardson and I had returned from the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Madras where Saint Thomas is said to be buried. We had made the trip in a double-seated rickshaw drawn by one man. By arrangement in advance the coolie had agreed to make the journey for ten annas. This, we were told, was a generous amount for the distance. I felt that he had had a hard time pulling two heavy men so I gave him a rupee, over-paying him six annas. He wasn't satisfied and bellowed for more. Richardson and I ignored him and went to our room on the third floor of the Y.M.C.A. building. The coolie followed us up the three flights of stairs. He had worked himself into a genuine state of anger. At first it was a pretence. We locked him out in the hall, where he remained at our door for twenty minutes pleading and begging for more money. I made up my mind that he could pursue me to America or haunt me the rest of my life, but I would not pay him any more. I could be stubborn myself. He realised that I had made a mistake in over-paying him in the first place and he now thought that I was a tenderfoot and that I should sooner or later yield. The Y.M.C.A. authorities finally put him out of the building.

The incident did not end here. It became the main topic for discussion among the coolies of Madras. Each time we ventured on the streets a dozen[Pg 149] of them would molest us and trail after us jeering and shouting a lot of jargon which we did not understand. They became regular pests and life in Madras grew almost unbearable. We stood firm and resolved not to give an anna more even if we had to fight every coolie in Southern India.

In a few days we left for Calcutta. We rode from the Y.M.C.A. to the railroad station in a bus. As we alighted at the entrance of the station, we were sighted by a group of coolies who made a mad rush at us from across the court. Others dropped their rickshaws and came plunging towards us from all directions like a huge flying wedge. We scrambled into the station, forced our way through the ticket gates, climbed aboard the first car and in two minutes were speeding towards Calcutta. That angry mob would have annihilated us in about five seconds.

[Pg 150]



At Calcutta we lived in comfort. We were the guests of college friends of Richardson's. In Japan and China we stayed in native hotels and were constantly in contact with the people. The caste system of India barred us from mingling with the Hindus, even if we had desired to do so. It was impossible for us to eat at their restaurants and the nearest approach we could make to it was to buy our food at the native shops. We often ate at the foreign hotels and cafés when these institutions were to be found. There was usually a restaurant connected with the station.

Harrison Road in Calcutta is one of the most interesting streets in the world. Thousands of people rove its sidewalks and scores of races are represented among them. Hundreds of moving or reclining bulls block the traffic. The natives pass around these sacred beasts and are careful not to disturb them. They belong to no one and wander aimlessly about, fed by the people.


A jutka or "Jitney" Used in Central India

Richardson and I moved along this bustling street. We had been out seeing the sights for several hours and were hungry. In a native shop before us was[Pg 151] a show-case of cakes. We stepped in to purchase a couple. The merchant was putting the first cake in a paper bag when Richardson put out his hand to take one from the pile. The proprietor dropped the sack and dashed towards him. His wife threw her hands in the air and screamed, and two natives standing by shouted at the top of their voices. They were too late, Richardson had grabbed the cake and had part of it in his mouth. I thought the Hindus had gone insane. What they were saying I didn't know but it was something very important if one could judge from their numerous excited gestures. They gave us both a thorough scathing. One would have thought we had insulted the shop-keeper's wife or had set fire to his place. No, it was more serious. Richardson had contaminated every cake in the shop. By touching the top one he had charged them all with uncleanness. We were out-casts. Several hundred cakes—or about one-half the poor shop-keeper's stock—were ruined and could never be used.

This disastrous result of our little transaction caused no end of excitement and twenty or more natives gathered to see what we had done. The shop-keeper and his wife immediately set about to throw away the cakes and with long sharp-pointed sticks like hoe handles began casting the food into the street.

"Hold on!" I shouted, "I will buy the whole bunch for a rupee." We had contaminated the out[Pg 152]fit and I thought this was an opportunity to get a bargain.

"Good idea," exclaimed Richardson. "I will get a cart. Let's haul away every biscuit the poor beggar has."

The word rupee sounded good to the ears of the shop-keeper who had looked upon the cakes as a total loss, and he accepted my offer at once. The next minute, Richardson and I were in the bakery business. A two-wheeled cart had backed up to the shop and we were loading on cakes as though we had done nothing else all our lives. Scores of Hindus congregated to see us buy out the shop-keeper. The cart was soon heaped high with cakes. They packed like bricks, being more substantial than the same variety of food in America. Richardson and I climbed on the seat with the driver and pursued our way down Harrison Road. Our little bread wagon excited more comment and caused more commotion than a circus in an American country town. Every one was speculating on what we were going to do with all the cakes. We did not know ourselves. We couldn't give them to the poor, for the poor wouldn't eat them. I threw a couple at a group of natives on the street corner. They scattered like birds at the shot of a gun. We drove on. We came to our host's house. He thought we were crazy. We unloaded the cargo of cakes and placed them all in our bedroom. There they remained. We tried to eat them up but the[Pg 153] job was too large. They finally found their way to the rubbish barrel.

Darjeerling is a beautiful settlement at an elevation of seven thousand feet. Here we had come to view the Himalaya Mountains. On a strange little train, which was as elastic as a snake, we wound in and out among the valleys, scaled the sides of the mountains and arrived at this little town among the clouds. The scenery was stupendous. The world's greatest peaks were about us like tremendous church spires.

Everything out of doors was wonderful and beautiful. Everything inside was wonderfully inconvenient, uncomfortable and unhealthful. We stayed at the "Rockhouse"—appropriately named—and it was one of the worst shelters I have ever occupied. The place was run by a woman with a dirty apron. I doubt if she had ever done up her hair since childhood. Her children were the most untidy white youngsters in the Indian Empire. That's a safe statement. The carpets were filthy with spots and dust; a couple of mangy dogs hung listlessly about; the guests of the house looked like a bunch of cripples; the food was poorly cooked and tasteless and the atmosphere of the place was stale and musty from lack of ventilation. If there is any other affliction a boarding house can have, I should like to know it.

With the "Rockhouse" as a background for comparison, the beauty of the Himalayas stood forth[Pg 154] stronger than ever. We arose one morning at 2:30 o'clock and went on horseback to Tiger Hill to see the sunrise. It was a sight that no one can describe and one that I shall never forget. The world's greatest peaks, white with snow and tinged with the glistening gold of the sun, appeared one by one above the clouds at the break of dawn. First, Kinchenjanga with its 28,156 feet arose like a monster iceberg, and then, in turn, appeared Kaby (24,015 feet), Jannu (25,304), Pandim (22,017), and Jabanu (19,450). Last of all, far away, Mount Everest (29,002)—the giant of them all—thrust its gold-tipped summit into view. The sea of clouds shone like a vast sheet of light, and the rugged snowy peaks, aglow with the rays of the sun, stood like mighty towers of marble. It is one of the most beautiful scenes the world has to offer.

The native population of Darjeerling is a mixture of Paharis, Nepalese, Tibetans and Bhutians, people from the small kingdoms of the mountains. They look like a cross between a North American Indian and a Chinese—with their almond eyes and red skin. They are very fond of colours and jewelry. Some of them wore earrings two inches in diameter and others had ear ornaments six inches long which were so heavy that they had to be supported by a band over the head. The people of India adorn every part of their bodies with trinkets. I have seen women with rings on their toes, anklets all the way to their knees, bracelets up to their el[Pg 155]bows, ear ornaments, rings in their noses and beads pinned to their foreheads. The whole outfit would hardly be worth a dollar.

At Benares, the Holy City of the Hindus, we put up at a Dak Bungalow, a small house with bedrooms, sitting room and kitchen, provided by the government for travellers. We were charged only eight annas (sixteen cents) a day for our accommodations.

We met a British missionary in the station and asked him to outline an itinerary for us to aid us in seeing Benares.

"Have you any business to attend to here?" he asked.

"No, why?" I said.

"There is an epidemic of cholera in Benares and twenty British soldiers in the cantonment within three hundred yards of us died last night. My advice to you is to leave town as soon as you can."

The missionary's warning had no effect on us for we had heard it before and expected to hear it again. Every Indian city generally has a number of cases of cholera and other contagious diseases. If we had taken the advice of every man who told us to move on because of an epidemic we should have been advised out of the country in a very short time. It was our custom to reduce our chances of getting cholera by drinking only bottled liquids and eating only thoroughly cooked food.

We drove about Benares in a jutka. This is one of the most picturesque vehicles in the world. If[Pg 156] anybody had the courage to ride in one on Broadway he would at once be arrested. It is a two-wheeled cart drawn by a horse that seldom gets a chance to eat. There is no place for the driver or passenger to sit and they stick on as best they can, letting their feet drag in the street. Richardson and I mounted one of these carriages and took in the sights of the city.

Benares seemed to be the focal point for all the feeble-minded, crippled and destitute persons of India. Ascetics, beggars and religious fanatics were as numerous as were the flies. The temples were thronged with pilgrims from all parts of the empire and the Ganges was crowded with natives bathing in the muddy water and even drinking the filthy liquid. The Jal Sain Ghat was a gruesome place. Here the dead bodies of the high caste Hindus are cremated. They are burned on piles of wood and the ashes are dumped into the river, adding to the pleasant character of the water.

Why is it that religion and filth so often travel together in this world? We visited the Kalighat, a temple in honour of the goddess Kali, the wife of Shiva. We were fortunate or unfortunate, I don't know which, to be present at the celebration of the chief annual festival held in this temple. Many thousands of half-clad people were making pilgrimages to the place. Bullocks and goats were being offered as sacrifices to the numerous Hindu gods. We came to the court where the animals were killed.[Pg 157] The place looked more like a slaughter-house than a temple of worship. The dead bodies of a dozen bulls and goats were lying on the stone floor, reeking blood and filth, with their entrails exposed and protruding. This scene might have interested a butcher. To me it was revolting. We picked our way among these carcasses to another part of the temple. Here we saw a green, scummy, unsanitary pool of water. Several hundred people were bathing in it and drinking the putrid stuff. At the entrances to the temple hordes of deformed beggars—many half-eaten with leprosy—extended their partially decayed limbs, soliciting funds. It was a disgusting and depressing scene. I prefer an autopsy.

Our train arrived in Lucknow at two o'clock in the morning. We finished our night's sleep on the stone floor of the men's waiting room in the station. A man who looked like a missionary advised us to leave the city on account of an epidemic of cholera. We smiled at him.

Both Lucknow and Cawnpore are chiefly of interest on account of their connection with the sad events of the Indian Mutiny. These cities are full of monuments and memorials which are kept in excellent condition by the British Government.

My chief recollection of Lucknow is an intense thirst. It is the most difficult city in the world in which to get a drink of any kind. We rented bicycles and toured about the thirty-six square miles[Pg 158] of the city. We had visited a number of places and ridden about ten miles when, hot and dusty, we were seized with an intolerable thirst. We were in the midst of the native shops. A sanitary glass of water was as rare as in the middle of the desert. We rode on, hoping to find a better part of the city. We went on for miles. The narrow streets were six inches in dust; the sun was so hot that we fairly simmered in perspiration and the odours from the native shops were enough to make a man faint. A naked ascetic, rolling over and over on the dusty road, would get in our way. In each block a dozen beggars would plead for funds and the rays of the sun would nearly burn us up. We got out of the native quarter into the British section. My throat was parched and Richardson said his tongue felt like a sharp stick in his mouth. We found an oasis. We had been in search of water for two hours.

At Cawnpore we made our beds in an empty box-car on a side track in the freight yards.

"What's up?" asked Richardson, awakening about midnight by a sudden jolt to the car.

"I suppose they're going to take this empty away," I said.

"Let's get out of here," suggested Richardson.

"No, stay in and see where they take us. We may get a free ride to some place."

We were banged back and forth on switches for nearly an hour. There was no chance to sleep. We[Pg 159] sat up and smoked. At last the engine whistled and we started for some place: we didn't know or care where it was. With the even motion of going in one direction we were able to sleep. I never slept more comfortably in an American Pullman, when I knew my destination, than I did in that empty Indian freight car bound for I didn't know where.

When we awoke the old box-car was at a stand-still. I opened the door and peered out. We were in a freight yard and appeared to be on a siding. There were trains on both sides of us and I could see nothing but box-cars, flat-cars and engines. We grabbed our bags and in a minute were walking towards one end of our train. We came to the station.

"What are you doing in the yards?" a Britisher in uniform called out.

"Just walked in from Cawnpore," I replied, not knowing how far we had travelled. "That's a pretty good hike, isn't it?" I continued.

"Indeed, it is," said the Englishman. "When did you start?"

"Last night," I answered. "How far is it?"

"One hundred and sixty miles."

"What's the name of this town, anyway?" asked Richardson, changing the subject.

"Agra," said the Britisher, who appeared to take our story without doubting a word of it.

We got by him and in ten minutes were housed in a Dak Bungalow where we cooked our own meals[Pg 160] and lived a life of leisure at about fifty cents a day, each.

We were hardly settled in our new home when a missionary knocked at our door and advised us to leave the city on account of an epidemic of cholera. We smiled at him.

Agra is the home of the most beautiful building in the world—the Taj Mahal. Most of the magnificent structures which make Agra so interesting are in the Fort. The Taj Mahal stands by itself about a mile away on the banks of the Junna River and its solitude prevents anything impairing its beauty.

Commenced in 1630 by Emperor Shah Jahan, as a tomb for his favourite wife, it is to-day as fresh and new looking as though it had just been taken out of the band-box. Surrounded by magnificent gardens and fountains, approached by imposing red sandstone gates, it is the perfection of beauty and symmetry. It is built of white marble and, with its huge dome and four stately minarets resting against the azure sky, presents a picture of wonderful colour and perfect harmony. I have never seen a more beautiful edifice.

The whole of India was talking Durbar. We had been told a dozen times that it would be impossible to obtain hotel accommodations in Delhi for less than ten dollars a day. We were advised to eliminate this city from our itinerary as only the[Pg 161] rich could afford to stay there during the Coronation festivities.

We arrived in Delhi late in the evening and had a good meal at the station restaurant. This meal cost us only one-half the rate listed on the menu card. This pleasing reduction had happened several times before, during our travels in India, but we did not know the reason until the waiter in the Delhi restaurant asked what regiment we belonged to. We had been taken for British soldiers. It seems that in certain cities Tommy Atkins gets a discount of fifty per cent. in all eating places. India is no place for a woollen suit. White linen or duck are the clothes usually worn by foreigners. Richardson and I didn't have the time or the money to have white suits laundered. We solved the problem by wearing khaki with white suits for special occasions. With our khaki suits and brown pith helmets we looked like British soldiers.

In the Delhi restaurant we got a thirty cent meal for fifteen cents. This wasn't a bad beginning for a city in which ten dollars a day was the minimum expense for living. We went out of the station into the darkness of a large park near-by.

"Can you speak English?" said Richardson to the first passer-by. There was no response.

"Hey, there, do you understand English?" I shouted to a group of natives. They looked at me as though I were crazy.

[Pg 162]

A lone man strutted towards us. He looked like he might know something.

"Where can we find a good cheap hotel?" Richardson asked.

"The Coronation Hotel," the man replied in good English.

"What kind of a joint is it?" I interrupted.

"A good place. Just built for the Durbar."

"Lead us to it," said Richardson.

The native accompanied us to the hotel which was but a short distance away in the business section of Delhi. It was conducted by a Mohammedan and consisted of about twenty rooms on the roof of a large brick building. We were given a compartment which we had to share with two Moslems. We furnished our own bed-clothes, as is the custom in India. The common wash-basin was at the other end of the roof. The hotel's rates were one rupee (thirty-three cents) a day each! The expensiveness of Delhi was a myth.

The city was busy making preparations for the Durbar. Public buildings were being painted; flags were being hung; grand stands erected and streets paved. The Durbar grounds, about five miles from the city, covered hundreds of acres and consisted of thousands of tents which had been pitched to house the various maharajas, rajas and their retinue of attendants. Richardson and I explored the grounds. We visited the large amphitheatre, where King George was to be crowned emperor. It was[Pg 163] a large semi-circular wooden building with a throne in the centre. The circle was completed by a mound of earth on which were placed seats. The structure would accommodate about twenty thousand people and the earthen mound would hold about eighty thousand more.


Washing Clothes in the Ganges


A Single Tree—a Banyan

Preparations were being made on a large scale. A special Durbar Post Office of brick was erected. A new and imposing station, called "Kingsway," especially designed for King George, had been built. It was here we met the youthful Maharaja of Cooch Behar with his attractive little wife. They were wandering about the newly constructed station as naturally as though they were ordinary persons.

"You're afraid to break in on them," I said to Richardson.

"I beg your pardon, but would you kindly direct us to the amphitheatre where King George is to be crowned?" said Richardson, addressing his question to the Maharaja as he would to any other prospective informant. He answered at once. Our intrusion was so easy that it was a joke. The Maharaja was not a snob and with a clear voice and in good English, for he was a Cambridge man, told us how to find the theatre. He was a tall, rather slight fellow with a shady complexion and was dressed in a black European suit. His wife had on an ordinary dark dress and over her hat she wore a heavy black veil. They looked and acted like human beings.

[Pg 164]

Richardson and I were asleep in a third-class compartment of a train with four British soldiers. We were on our way to Lahore, nearly four hundred miles north of Delhi. Our train had been at a stand-still for a few minutes and when it started up I was awakened. I heard some one say "Lahore."

"Rich, this is Lahore. Get up." I shouted and gave him a punch in the ribs. The train was slowly pulling out of the station.

"Get out and catch our luggage as I throw it to you," I said.

We awakened the soldiers. Richardson jumped off the car. I scrambled about the compartment to collect our belongings. The train was increasing its speed. I threw out one suit case. Richardson didn't catch it. I threw out the other. Richardson missed it. I hurled the two hand bags out. I never moved so fast in my life. The soldiers helped me throw. Like a whirlwind we threw trousers, shoes, coats, shirts, hair-brushes, tooth-brushes, socks and toilet articles out through the compartment door. The train was now going about twenty miles an hour. I made a jump and landed on my face. There I was in my underclothes and bare feet. The passengers, looking out of the car windows, thought we were drunk. The train swept by and left us.

What a scene greeted us! Richardson and I stood in our underwear—with all our personal belongings scattered for a hundred yards along the cement platform of the station. A hundred or more natives[Pg 165] looked on in profound silence. I surveyed the scene and began to laugh. Dozens of things from shoes, coats and hats to toilet articles stretched from the station for nearly a block and two foreigners arrayed in B.V.D's! Surely it was a rare situation to be in at seven o'clock in the morning. We sat down on the cement platform and laughed ourselves out.

We finally gathered ourselves together and dressed. The station master came out to give us assistance.

"Why doesn't some one announce the stations on these trains?" I enquired. "This is a fine way to land in Lahore."

"This isn't Lahore," said the station master.

"What?" cried Richardson and I together.

"No, Lahore is five miles farther."

"What in hell is the name of this place?"

"Lahore Cantonment."

All our scramble was for nothing. We had landed in the quarters of the British soldiers. There was no passenger train until evening. That was too long to wait, so we rode into Lahore proper on a freight which went by an hour later.

Lahore was not worth all the trouble it took to get there. I have a hazy recollection of thousands of native shops, many temples and a large museum. I remember, rather distinctly, a large cannon in front of this museum. It was called "Kim's Gun," as it was on this weapon that Kim was supposed to[Pg 166] have been sitting when the Llama came along, as recorded by Kipling.

I do remember one other thing in Lahore. We met a shabbily dressed American who related a sad tale to us about being discharged from a theatrical company and how badly he had been treated. He said that he was broke and his appearance certainly indicated that he spoke the truth. The fellow being a countryman of ours, his speech moved us to the extent of ten rupees. One hour later our down-and-out American friend was reeling about the station so intoxicated that he didn't recognise me when I spoke to him. He was drunk at our expense.

We didn't know one soul among Bombay's million inhabitants when we arrived in that city. There were about twenty Americans living there and I think we met them all before we had been there a week. We lived at the Y.M.C.A. and received our board and room—for both of us—for five rupees ($1.65) a day. We met the acting American Consul and through him the American dentist, the Standard Oil crowd and a number of other young business men. They all entertained us royally. We went to their homes for dinner, had the privileges of their clubs and attended a number of social functions at their invitation.

We went to Poona and spent a night in the National Hotel. I will never forget that night if I live a thousand years. We retired at ten o'clock. By eleven I had killed forty-two bed-bugs. This[Pg 167] is not an estimate: it is actual count. I didn't ask the proprietor for another bed for I thought all of them would be alike and I estimated that I had killed off nearly all the bugs in my present bed. At midnight I had slaughtered sixty-seven. This is not a parlour subject, I know. But we are not in a parlour. We are in an Indian bedroom. I would raise up the bed-clothes, light the lamp and they would flock in all directions, like the ribs of a fan, to get under cover. At one o'clock I had killed eighty-one. There seemed to be no end. I couldn't stand it any longer. I tried to rout out the proprietor but he was asleep and couldn't be found. I returned to my room and made my couch on the floor. The mosquitoes nearly finished me during the rest of the night. I venture the guess that this hotel entertains only transients. One night is enough.

We drove in a tonga, a two-wheeled cart, to the Karli Cave. This excavation is made out of a solid rock and is said to have been done two hundred years before Christ. It resembles an early Christian church in its arrangement and all the dimensions are similar to those of the choir of Norwich Cathedral.

It was our plan to catch the mail train for Bombay. On our return from the cave one of the shafts of the tonga broke. The driver was unable to mend it. We had six miles to go to the station and we had but little time. We estimated what the tonga had been worth, paid the driver and left him in[Pg 168] the road. We ran the entire six miles through a heavy tropical rain. The heat was intense and the atmosphere was sultry and close. Drenched to the skin we arrived at the station only to see the rear-end of the train pulling out of the yards. Two hours later we took a slow train for Bombay.

Driving a bargain in India takes time, if nothing else. All merchants charge what the traffic will bear. Richardson and I wanted two deck chairs and made up our minds that we were going to get them at a fair price. One evening I dropped into a native shop to look over the stock.

"How much is this steamer chair?" I asked the shop-keeper.

"Twelve rupees." I started to walk out.

"How much will you give?" the native called out.

"Two rupees," I said emphatically.

"No. I will let you have it for eight."

"Two rupees are all I will give you," I said as I continued to walk towards the door.

"Six rupees." The native reduced his price. I took a few steps nearer the door.

"Four rupees," he uttered reluctantly. This figure began to interest me so I lingered to continue the negotiations.

"I will give you only two rupees," I said again. "That chair isn't worth an anna more."

"No. Four rupees or no sale." The old fellow had reached his rock bottom price.

[Pg 169]

"I will meet you half way and give you three rupees," I said.

"No, four rupees." He stood pat.

I finally left the shop telling the native that I had to consult a friend before making any purchase and that I would come again in the morning. I informed Richardson of the negotiations. I explained that I had worked the native from twelve rupees down to four and I suggested that he continue to beat down the price from that point.

That same evening we went to the shop and I waited on the sidewalk while Richardson entered to resume the battle with the poor shop-keeper.

"I will give you three rupees for that chair," he said to the native, pointing to the piece of furniture which was the subject of all the wrangle.

"No. I have a man coming in the morning who is going to buy it for four rupees." I was the man. I had made no promises.

Richardson struck a dead-lock at once. As he came out of the shop I went in. It seemed a heartless thing to brow-beat the poor native, but we were out for a record.

"Well, I have decided that I can't pay any more than three rupees for the chair," I said.

"All right, no sale then."

I walked out of the shop, joined Richardson on the sidewalk and started up the street. We hadn't gone half a block when the native came running after us.

[Pg 170]

"Three rupees, eight annas," he shouted.

"All right," I said. "I have some heart left. We have beaten the poor chap down far enough," I added to Richardson.

We returned and bought two chairs. Three rupees, eight annas, seems a big reduction from twelve rupees but even this figure was exorbitant. Both chairs collapsed before they ever saw the deck of a ship.

[Pg 171]



The first-class fare on the large liners from Bombay to the Suez Canal was two hundred and twenty dollars. The cheapest that Richardson and I could find was one hundred and eighty-five dollars. We had the money to pay this price but considered that it would make a large and unnecessary hole in our coin. We agreed not to pay a cent more than twenty dollars each, even if it meant spending the rest of our lives in Bombay. We shook hands on this.

Bombay is a large shipping port and it appeared, on first impression, to be a fertile field from which two semi-stranded roamers could obtain passage. We made a thorough canvass of the water front in search of a job. Richardson would strike the skipper of one ship while I tried my luck with another, or we would board the same boat together, one of us interview the captain while the other placed the case before the steward. We hung out at the Seamen's Institute, skippers' clubs, water front saloons, sailors' rest houses and about the docks. It was uphill work for we received little encouragement and, often, short and rough treat[Pg 172]ment at the hands of the hardened old seamen. We didn't give up our search until we had visited all the vessels in the harbour—which took up the greater part of three days. We could find nothing. It was impossible for us to compete with Oriental, South African and Hindu labour on these ships, not to mention the practical impossibility of living on their diet and in their unsanitary quarters. We finally and reluctantly gave up hope of getting out as toilers and decided to do the next best thing. We began our campaign over again and visited all the freighters, asking the captains how much they wanted in money to take us to the Canal. Many of them were insulted at such a proposal. Some regretfully said that their owners had rigid rules against taking any one. Others wanted more than our twenty-dollar limit.

Our luck had been pretty tough and was due to change. We boarded the steamer Levanzo, an old-time Italian freighter, which had ploughed the sea for centuries, if her looks indicated anything. We marched straight up to the bridge where the old skipper was standing, smoking a pipe with an odour strong enough to kill a hog.

"Do you speak English?" I enquired.

"A little," was the reply.

"Which way are you going?" was my second question.

"To Napoli," said the Italian.

"When do you get under way?"

[Pg 173]

"To-morrow afternoon at one o'clock."

"What do you want to take the two of us through the Canal?"

"I will take you for sixty rupees (twenty dollars) each, I think," he said after a minute's reflection.

"All right."

The captain explained that we must sign on as members of the crew, for he was not allowed to take passengers and we should have to be accounted for both at departure and arrival. We signed up without delay; Richardson as assistant cook and I as deck hand.

Although the boat was not scheduled to leave until one o'clock the following afternoon we were instructed to be on hand at ten in the morning for a quarantine inspection. It is a regulation that the crews of all ships leaving Indian ports have to be examined before the authorities will issue clearing papers, thus insuring that no Indian disease will be transmitted to Europe. Richardson and I lined up at the appointed hour the next day with the rest of the crew and filed by the doctors while they gave us a farcical examination.

This proceeding lasted only a few minutes and at its completion we were driven through the quarantine sheds to the wharf. It was then two hours before our ship was to leave and Richardson returned to town to bid farewell to our friends who had entertained us. I took all the luggage and went to the boat.

[Pg 174]

At one o'clock, the hour that the Levanzo was to get under way, Richardson had not returned. The British quarantine doctor issued an order for the crew to come off the ship and line up so as to file on one at a time. He beckoned to me and I came down the gangway and fell in at the rear.

"Where's your friend?" the doctor asked, abruptly, addressing me.

"He's not here," I replied with an attempted evasion of the question, not wishing to divulge the fact that my partner had broken quarantine.

"He has broken quarantine and can't go on this ship," the officer said, angrily. "Do you want to go without him?"

I said nothing.

"You must make up your mind at once," added the doctor.

"All right, I will go." I thought that the officer didn't mean every word and that Richardson would arrive in a few minutes and have no difficulty in getting aboard.

The motley Italian crew ascended the gangway and, as I was the last one to go aboard, the plank was removed and several sailors began loosening the lines. I went up on the stern to look across the wharf to see if Richardson was in sight. He was not. The ship was pulling away from the pier. Ideas flew through my mind like water through a sieve. I had all Richardson's baggage and what was worse I had all his money. From Bombay to[Pg 175] Suez was three thousand miles. It took at least ten days to make the trip. To leave Richardson stranded on the shores of India would be nothing short of murder. I was provoked at him for not appearing but my conscience vibrated with the guilty pangs of deserting my friend and leaving him probably to starve in a strange land. As these alternating emotions were flashing in and out of my mind, the bow of the ship was swinging away from the pier. At last I saw Richardson's head bobbing in the distance. I shouted, whistled and waved. My frantic efforts finally instilled in him the necessity for speed. He came bounding down the wharf like a big calf and attempted to board the ship. He was abruptly stopped by the captain, who ordered him to stay off. The marine doctor had left and there was nothing for me to do but to go on without my companion. The Levanzo was now making her final swing and I threw Richardson's luggage onto the wharf, hurled him his money wallet and bade him farewell.

"I will wait for you in Cairo," I shouted as the boat was getting under way. Richardson stood on the pier with a philosophic smile.

"All right. I will try and make a getaway to-night. So long."

The old Italian "battleship" was soon out in the channel and in a few hours had her nose pointed towards the west and began her lengthy journey to the Canal. I wondered how Richardson would[Pg 176] fare but had no doubt that he would get out some way. I therefore dismissed all conjectures from my mind and decided to wait for the news until we met some time in the future.

The Levanzo was a hardened, rusty old tramp. Her crew was entirely composed of Italians who knew little of this world beyond the range of their ship and the water fronts of the ports to which they had sailed. I was consigned to the hold where my iron, hay-mattressed bunk was sandwiched in amongst those of the Italians, who huddled about like a bunch of gypsies. The dark, foul-smelling atmosphere, the wambling fumes of the ship's kitchen, the greasy and treacherous appearance of the crew—none of whom spoke a word of English—promised a trip whose equal I should never experience. However, I had done sufficient travelling of this sort to feel at home in such surroundings and I played the part to a perfection hard to imagine in one who had seen most of the good things of this life. Attired in a blue flannel shirt and khaki trousers, I went barefooted, grew a beard—such as it was—and chewed quantities of the crew's black tobacco.

At four bells the chief steward appeared on deck and called out, "mangiare." From the empty feeling of my stomach, coupled with the revolting odours emanating from the galley, I recognised the equivalent of the word dinner. I followed the crew in the hope of getting a square meal. We formed a line[Pg 177] at the kitchen window, where we were given our eating implements for the voyage. They consisted of a tin cup, a tin sauce-pan, a knife, fork and spoon. We then marched in a body to the forecastle where we were given a piece of hard bread each and a pint of red wine. As we trooped back by the kitchen, the steward placed some macaroni in our sauce-pans and gave us some milkless and sugarless coffee. With this assortment of food we retired to the lower deck, sat on a winch or a coil of rope and proceeded to devour it.

The second day out I lost my knife and, when I made an appeal for another I was so severely snubbed by the steward that I made no more requests during the rest of the voyage. I had to resort to my pocket knife to take the place of the lost article.

Macaroni! Macaroni! I thought my stomach would become paralysed on the greasy stuff before the journey would end. I vowed that, if I ever reached shore, I would never allow the word macaroni to be mentioned in my presence. The bread was actually so hard that each member of the crew was compelled to soften it in a tub of water—provided for the purpose—before it was possible to sink his teeth in it. When a man is hungry enough he will eat anything. Stew that almost turned my stomach one day and which I refused to eat, I would consider delicious the next.

From Bombay to Suez is something over three[Pg 178] thousand miles and at the rate our ship was travelling it would require sixteen days to make the trip. How these days did drag—on a macaroni diet! The long, hot, foodless days and the dark, stuffy nights in vermin-infested and unsanitary quarters made these sixteen days seem like sixteen years. Between meals I was supposed to assist the crew. Because I was paying the captain a small sum for my passage I was let down rather easily on the work. However, I had to appear busy. Each morning I scrubbed the stern deck and gave the place a general clean-up. In the afternoon I washed clothes in a ship-bucket or painted the iron railings and life boats.

The days dragged slowly on, and three times between sunrise and sunset the red wine and macaroni diet stared me in the face. We entered the Red Sea, our journey only half completed; and the thought rose in my mind that I had eight days more of macaroni. However, all good things come to an end and, thank God, the bad ones are not exempt in this respect. On the sixteenth day at midnight the Levanzo pulled into Suez, the eastern entrance of the Canal.

As soon as the old tub dropped anchor I gave the captain twenty dollars for my passage and, with the speed of a fly, was on my way to shore in a small boat propelled by an Arab, leaving the Levanzo to sink in her tracks for all I cared. I was taken to the Customs House where I was subjected[Pg 179] to the most rigid examination to be found anywhere in the world, at the hands and mercy of impudent, coarse and treacherous Arabs. These heavy featured, horse-sized human beings—if such they can be called—were the worst type of men I had seen in a long time—and I had seen some tough specimens in the past few months. Fortunately my belongings made up such a meagre collection that I proved of little interest to these huge parasites who prey upon innocent travellers who wend their way through the Canal.


The Sphinx

After an ordeal that lasted two hours, in spite of the size of my luggage, I was liberated. I wandered up the track to the station where I learned that a train for Cairo was to leave at six o'clock in the morning. There was an hotel at Suez but I did not care to pay four dollars of my precious coin for an equal number of hours in bed. I stood in front of the deserted station for something, or anything, to happen. Presently a lean-looking Englishman ambled along. This man, who had a face like a dried prune, entered into conversation with me and I learned that he was a travelling acrobat who, with his wife and little daughter, had just come in from the Far East after a theatrical tour of several months.

"Where are you going to put up?" he asked.

"I don't know. I can't see the hotel for only four hours. I thought I would crawl in one of those[Pg 180] passenger coaches on the siding over there," I said, pointing to several cars on an adjacent track.

"All right, old chap, I will go with you. Wait until I get my wife and daughter," said the acrobat as he stepped around the corner of the station for his family.

In a minute he returned with his wife, a London cockney type, whose general appearance indicated that she had seen chiefly the rough spots of this earth. She wore a dress of many colours and a hat which looked like a vegetable salad. Clinging to her skirt was a frail little girl who showed the effects of her wandering life. The four of us, with our luggage, crossed the tracks and tried the doors of several cars but all were locked. At this moment, a large greedy-looking Arab appeared out of the darkness and asked what we wanted.

"A place to sleep," I replied.

"Come with me," blurted the man.

We were so tired that if the devil himself had appeared on the scene and offered us a bed and shelter we would have eagerly accepted. We followed this burly human being and he led us to a small shed about ten by twelve feet. He opened the door and ushered us in and immediately left, stating that he would call us at six o'clock. This shack was certainly a beautiful bedroom for our homeless little band—nothing but a barren wooden house with the earth for the floor and cracks in the walls through which the cold wind rushed in torrents.

[Pg 181]

The acrobat's wife coiled up in one corner with the little girl on her lap, the man nestled in another and I stretched myself diagonally across a third. Sleep was impossible. We all were nearly petrified with the cold. The Englishman took to his feet and began walking the floor in silence. I soon followed his example. We paced and repaced that ten by twelve compartment for an hour, as speechless as two ghosts. Finally, into the tomb-like silence, the Englishman thrust these words, "Feed the animals." A few seconds' laughter at this remark and silence reigned again. At the end of the second hour the woman, whom we supposed had dozed off to sleep, murmured, "If my mother could see me now." In this way the night crept on and we ignored our hardships.

The Arab appeared at six o'clock and after paying him an exorbitant fee, which he exacted, we boarded a third-class coach of an Egyptian train and, surrounded by a curious lot of natives, started towards Cairo. I have been told that Egypt was the most expensive country in the world in which to travel and that it would be impossible for me to live on less than several dollars a day. Such information had been given me about so many countries and cities that it was a joke. Egypt turned out to be one of the cheapest sections of the globe I ever encountered.

After nearly a day's journey across the desert the train drew into the huge station at Cairo and in a few minutes I was flowing with the crowds[Pg 182] towards the street. I stood for an instant on the sidewalk and surveyed the swarms of people who roamed the large plaza in front of the station. I pulled my hat down securely on my head and dived into this sea of humanity and in a second was lost in the million or more inhabitants of that city—of whom I knew not a single soul.

I was on my way to the Hotel Des Princes, a hostelry recommended to me by my English acrobat friend. By enquiring of every person who gave any indication that he might speak English, I found the hotel. It was a two-story structure operated by a middle-class native. I soon made a deal with him by which I got a room with a double bed for twenty-five cents a day, with the promise of a rate of forty cents for two when Richardson arrived. This was surely cheap enough and I thought it was ridiculously so when I recalled the statements made to me concerning the high cost of living in Cairo.

This hotel had no dining room and it was necessary to rustle a cheap but sanitary eating place. Perhaps this was where Cairo deserved its reputation for being an expensive city. I left the hotel determined to be the first man to live on a reasonable amount in the Egyptian capital. I had hardly walked a block when I saw in an alley a sign which read, "Soldiers' Club." I directed my steps toward it, entered the place and in a minute was studiously reading the daily menu, which was posted on a bulletin board in the hallway. Steak, potatoes, vege[Pg 183]tables and tea for three piastres (fifteen cents); tarts and pudding—one piastre, and other eatables were listed at equally low prices. As I stood gazing at the bill of fare, almost paralysed with delight over such a fortunate discovery, an Englishman approached.

"What are you looking for?" he asked.

"For something to eat," I replied. "I am making a sort of tramp trip around the world and expect to be in Cairo a few days. Money is rather a scarce article with me and I would like to know what my chances are of eating here."

"Are you a British soldier?" enquired the Englishman.

"No, sir."

"Are you an ex-soldier?" asked the man, sizing up the hungry-looking traveller.

"No, sir," was my honest reply.

"All right," said the club man with a smile. "You may eat here."

"Thanks," I added and immediately sat down and ate one of the finest meals ever served anywhere for fifteen cents. The Soldiers' Club, an institution of the British soldiers in Cairo, served as a sort of home for me during my stay in the city. I had just left the club when two blocks farther up the street I came across a sign with the inscription "Soldiers' Home" and in this place I found a similar reception and similar prices. To accuse Cairo of being ex[Pg 184]pensive was slander. I labelled it one of the most inexpensive places I had visited.

It was now eighteen days since I had left Richardson on the wharf in Bombay and during this time I had not heard a word from him. Shortly after my arrival in Cairo I called at the office of the American Consul, the Y.M.C.A. and Thomas Cook and Son and left in each place my address with instructions to direct Richardson to me in the event that he came in and enquired. I also met an occasional train coming in from Port Said. It was on one of these that I found him.

As soon as my steamer got under way from Bombay, Richardson walked across the wharf and boarded the British tramp Farington. He went up on the bridge and asked the captain for passage to the Canal. The pleasant-looking skipper stated that he was sorry that he could not take him, as his ship had received her papers and was to leave that night at eight o'clock. Richardson graciously withdrew and descended from the bridge but, instead of leaving the vessel, he threw his luggage down an open hatchway and climbed down himself. Here he crawled off to a crevice in the cargo and remained there until the following morning when the ship was about two hundred miles out to sea. He appeared on deck shortly before breakfast and immediately informed the captain what he had done. The skipper took it very kindly. Instead of putting Richardson to work he greeted him cordially and said[Pg 185] if it had been proper he would have suggested that he stow away.

Richardson's trip on the Farington was in strong contrast to mine on the Levanzo. He travelled like a civilised person. The captain was a fine type of Englishman and was very hospitable. The first officer was a thoroughly good chap and was very friendly.

Richardson had a cabin on the main deck adjoining the officers; he ate with the second mate and he had the freedom of the entire ship. He spent many hours on the bridge where the officers answered his questions. At the end of the journey he was almost a past-master at navigation. He understood the use of the log; he could locate a ship at sea by use of the sextant and he was able to handle the wheel and give signals to the engine room.

The Farington arrived at Suez and steamed through the Canal to Port Said. As Richardson was not listed on the ship's papers he had to hide down the hold while the port officials came on board for the inspection. As soon as she was received he slid over the side of the ship, jumped into a native boat and was rowed ashore.

[Pg 186]



Bakshish is the call of the Near East. Nearly every man, woman and child in Egypt must say this word a thousand times a day. At Memphis two hundred people greeted us a mile from the town with a chorus of bakshish. They trailed along with us for an hour with their hands extended, begging for coins. This group of people was one of the most forlorn I have ever seen. There were all ages of both sexes represented among them. The little children tripped along in front of us, the old men made earnest appeals for money and the women, attired in what appeared to be simply an assortment of rags, tottered along behind us calling bakshish incessantly.

The greatest act of kindness that any one could do these people would be to travel through the little villages with several tons of boracic acid and bathe the eyes of every inhabitant. Seventy-five per cent. of these poor creatures seem to be either blind or suffering from eye infection. It is all due to filth. The children are the most forlorn lot I ever saw. Their faces looked as though they had never been washed. I saw babies with a dozen flies[Pg 187] on each eye and a score on their mouths, and their mothers made no effort to brush them off. Every child's face was speckled with flies. It was enough to make a person sick to look at them. The youngsters with flies on their eyes and two-thirds of the aged blind! Why don't these people realise that there is a connection between these two conditions and do something?

At Sakara, where we saw eleven pyramids, including the famous step-pyramid, we negotiated with some native labourers for a camel ride. It was a couple of miles to the railroad and we arranged to travel the distance on these oriental beasts of burden. We were in the rural districts and the camels were carrying loads of dirt. My man agreed to a piastre (five cents) for the trip. When I was mounted he demanded a shilling. I paid no attention to him. He started the beast on the run in the hope of frightening me. It was simply fun. Then he urged the animal into a gallop. I didn't know a camel was capable of such a thing. I know it now. A scenic railway is as mild as a baby carriage when compared to the up and down movements of a galloping camel. There isn't much speed about it. Two-thirds of the energy of the beast is devoted to vertical motions. I hung on to the canvas bag on the camel's back with the grip of a bull-dog. My insides were nearly shaken out. The native continued to shout for a shilling and jab the camel in the belly with a sharp stick. The animal leaped[Pg 188] and bounded about like a bronco. By a miracle I managed to hang on.

Fifteen minutes of such a shaking process was enough for me. I swung my feet over to one side and jumped from the camel's back to the ploughed ground. My ride only cost me a piastre. It was well worth it.

A man at the American Presbyterian Mission in Cairo told us that there was a crowd of American "free-lovers" in Jerusalem who frequently entertained travellers, and he thought we could get accommodations there. The free-love feature had an attractive sound to Richardson and myself and we concluded that if there was any of that sort of thing loose we would round it up. We therefore decided to go to Jerusalem at once. Our destination was the "American Colony," the name by which this group of people was known.

We scrambled out of bed, packed, paid our hotel bills, rode a mile to the station—all in thirty minutes—and left Cairo for Palestine. At Port Said we boarded the Maria Teresa of the Austrian Lloyd Company and took up our quarters in the steerage, along with a dozen French monks and others making a pilgrimage to the Holy City. There was one Austrian priest on board. He had a long brilliant red beard which looked as though it was the growth of centuries. When he saw me shaving before the common mirror in the steerage he was suddenly seized with the desire to part with the fearful brush[Pg 189] he had on his face. He wanted to buy my razor. I, of course, wouldn't sell it. Then he asked to borrow it. I didn't very much like the idea of lending my razor to chop off the beards on strangers' faces. However, I passed over the weapon.

The priest asked me to assist him. My part of the work was trimming his beard with scissors down to the point where the razor would be of service. I refused to do more. He did the shaving himself. It took him half an hour to ruin a good razor.

It is but a night's journey to Jaffa and in the morning we were off the shore of that little town. The sea was very rough and we were unable to land. Jaffa hasn't any wharves and the captain considered it dangerous for the passengers to be taken ashore in the small native boats. We stood by all day, hoping that the sea would subside. Evening came and there was no change.

There were a number of Americans among the first-class passengers. A California judge and his wife, a Chicago gas merchant and his wife, an English clergyman and a Pentecost preacher proved the most interesting. Richardson and I paid no attention to the steerage limits. We mingled with the first-class passengers and made several lasting friendships among them.

We all wanted to be in Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Christmas Day. It was now the 22nd of December and unless we landed somewhere soon we couldn't[Pg 190] make it. The captain decided to sail for Haifa, whence we could go to Jerusalem by land.

In the morning we arrived at Haifa. The purser presented us with a bill for two dollars for extra fare and food from Jaffa. All the passengers paid it. Richardson and I refused.

"But you have to pay it," said the purser.

"Pay nothing," I said, "we bought tickets to Jaffa and you didn't land us there."

"All the passengers have paid it."

"We don't care if they have," said Richardson.

"I insist on your paying the money," the purser added in a most dignified manner.

"No money from us. What are you going to do about it?" I said.

"Well, if you persist in refusing to pay, I must have you write a letter to the Austrian Lloyd Company stating that you declined to do so. I want something to show the officials of the company."

"Sure, we will do that."

Richardson and I framed up the following brief epistle which we gladly gave the Austrian purser. He couldn't read English and didn't know what was in it.

"To the Austrian Lloyd Company:

We are a pair of religious fanatics making our monthly pilgrimage to Jerusalem. For the first time in our many trips on your company's boats we are charged an extra fare. We bought tickets to Jaffa—not to Haifa. The purser demands two dollars[Pg 191] more and says the high sea is the cause of it. We refuse to pay for rough weather. If the captain took it into his head to go to Siam, we suppose that your purser would render us a bill. No, the gentleman is wrong.

R.J. Richardson,

Alfred C.B. Fletcher."

All the passengers went ashore at Haifa in small boats provided by the Thomas Cook and Son tourist agency. They paid five shillings each. Richardson and I stood on the deck and bargained with the native boatmen. We got them bidding against one another. One of them finally rowed the two of us to land for one shilling.

There is no railroad from Haifa to Jerusalem and the only means of getting to the Holy City is to drive to Jaffa, a distance of about seventy miles. From Jaffa we could go by train to Jerusalem. Richardson and I had always made it a point to keep out of the hands of Thomas Cook and Son. This concern, which is in all parts of the world, is a great convenience to travellers and their rates are moderate in most cases. However, we had no time for them and they had no time for us. We could travel cheaper without their assistance. They are not interested in tramps or steerage passengers.

Haifa was one place where we were forced into the hands of Thomas Cook. It was a case of go in one of his stages to Jaffa at ten dollars each, or not go at all. It would have been a source of regret[Pg 192] to us for many years if we had abandoned the trip. The Americans were full of enthusiasm about it. Richardson and I caught the spirit and agreed to go.

There were ten stages in the party with about thirty passengers from the Austrian Lloyd steamer, including our newly-acquired American friends. This little caravan left Haifa about noon. It wound its way around the base of Mount Carmel, on whose summit is a monastery—said to be erected over the cave in which Elijah sought shelter from Ahab. In an hour we were on the coastal plains of Palestine. There are no modern highways in the Holy Land. I don't recall seeing anything that looked like a road all the way from Haifa to Jaffa. We rode over fields, up hills and through valleys. We simply started in the right direction and went straight across the country.

That evening we came to a small Jewish village called Zamarine. This settlement was nothing more than a dozen little houses on the top of a hill. The whole party put up at the Hotel Graff. The proprietor of this place knew nothing of our coming and hadn't prepared any food for us. We were a tired lot and had to go to bed hungry, with only the promise of a good breakfast in the morning.

Every one was up at two o'clock to get an early start for the fifty-mile run into Jaffa. The good breakfast consisted of weak creamless coffee, unbuttered bread and a few sardines or small canned fish.[Pg 193] This repast was a keen disappointment. It was an amusing sight to see the millionaire Chicago gas merchant and the California judge munching a dry piece of bread for a two A.M. breakfast. They expected more. Richardson and I took the meal as a matter of course. We had seen the time when such a menu would have been a luxury.

We left Zamarine when it was still dark and in a heavy down-pour of rain. This down-pour continued all day. The plains were soaked with water. When we were not pulling through the sticky mud of the fields we were bumping over the rocks and boulders of the hillsides. It was the worst stage trip I ever took.

The Pentecost preacher rode in the stage with Richardson and myself. He prayed for the rain to cease. The harder he prayed the harder it rained. We passed the hours in religious discussions. The old fellow was the most rigid Puritan on earth. He objected to cards, dancing and the theatre. We asked a hundred questions to draw him out and amuse ourselves.

"What chance has a man who drinks?" Richardson asked the preacher.

"None; booze is the devil in liquid form."

"Won't you have a cigarette?" I said, offering him a sack of Bull Durham and papers. I insulted the old man. He refused to answer.

"What do you think of Shakespeare?" enquired Richardson.

[Pg 194]

"I haven't time to waste on him. The Bible is good enough for me."

"Do you approve of football?" I asked.

"No, athletics are the work of the devil."

"This fellow is what I call a real broad-minded man. He's a relic of the last century. I didn't know that people of his sort still existed," I said to Richardson.

"Do you ever use the word 'damn'?" Richardson asked him.

"No man with the spirit of Christ would ever use such a word. I refuse to talk to you boys any longer," he concluded, perceiving that we were making fun of him. He sat in silence the rest of the trip and pouted like a five-year-old child.

The rain continued. The wagon wheels became heavy with mud. The horses had hard work pulling the heavy coaches over the roadless fields. The front wheels of one of the wagons sank several feet in the mud and the vehicle was securely anchored. The horses were unable to pull it out. Another team was hitched on. The four horses struggled with the stage while their drivers whipped them up. One horse after another fell in the slippery mud. Not until a third team was hitched on was the wagon extricated from the mud-hole.


The Mount of Olives

We came to a mad rushing stream which seemed impossible to ford. One of the Bedouin drivers stripped off his clothes and waded through to sound the depth and pick a way. The water came up to[Pg 195] his shoulders. After a half-hour's deliberation we all agreed to take the chance of crossing. Our stage was the first to go through. The horses at first refused to start. The driver finally urged them in. The water covered their backs and only their heads were above the surface. The stream came in the bed of the high wagon which bounded back and forth over the boulders on the bottom of the river like a rocking cradle. We landed safely. The second stage made the crossing. In mid-stream one of the horses of the third stage lost his footing and fell. He was completely submerged for a moment. He regained his feet and the stage landed safely on the other side. At last all the ten teams came across without mishap. The women of the party were a brave band in the way they tackled the crossing without a murmur. It was a treacherous stream and our safe passage was almost miraculous. Two Englishmen were drowned at this same place the next day.

This was an unusual way to pass Christmas Eve. We continued on over ploughed fields and rocky hills. We forded several little streams. About nine in the evening the lights of Jaffa could be seen in the distance, and we were soon on the road which led into the town and at nearly midnight we arrived. It was a tired crowd that blew into Jaffa that night and I doubt if the little Kamitz Hotel ever lodged a sounder set of sleepers.

The train from Jaffa to Jerusalem is an ancient[Pg 196] sample of rolling stock. It winds its way through hillside orange groves and soft plains sprinkled with grazing sheep. The country about Jaffa is the only beautiful portion of Palestine that we saw. We crossed the Plain of Sharon, where the Crusaders fought; we passed Timnath, where Samson set fire to the Philistines' corn and we saw the valley of Ajalon where Joshua commanded the moon to stand still. We arrived in the Holy City at one o'clock in the afternoon of Christmas Day.

"Drive us to the American Colony," said Richardson to a cabman. We drove outside the walls of Jerusalem and in ten minutes we were at the entrance of a large two-story stone building. The door opened and before we had a chance to say a word we were greeted most cordially by a middle-aged man. He at once recognised us as Americans and invited us in.

Fifteen minutes after our arrival in Jerusalem Richardson and I sat down, with one hundred and twenty Americans, to one of the finest Christmas dinners any two human beings ever ate. There was everything served that ever graced a Christmas table. Turkey, cranberry sauce, plum pudding, mince and pumpkin pies, nuts, raisins and candy were placed before us in quantities that bewildered us. Everything was so deliciously cooked that we thought we were in America,—or Heaven. Richardson and I were so hungry that we flew to this grand feast like two men that had never seen food before. We had[Pg 197] to put on the brakes to keep from disgracing ourselves at the first meal.

The free-love talk by the American Presbyterian missionary in Cairo was malicious gossip. This rumour probably originated from the fact that the American Colony consisted of a number of people who came to Jerusalem to be present at the second coming of Christ. They thought that this event was soon to take place and they concluded that marriage was not necessary. It was back in the eighties that a score of people from a Chicago Protestant Church, thinking that the second Advent was soon due, came to Jerusalem to be on hand for the event. As time went on the little colony expanded and their plans became more settled. The idea of the second coming was given up and they intermarried in the usual manner. They resolved to live the life of the original Christians at the seat of the foundation of Christianity. Through the years the colony grew by the birth of children and additions from the outside until it numbered at the time of our visit about one hundred and twenty people.

There is not a finer group of people in the world. They are among the most hospitable we have ever met. Every one of them, from the several babes in arms to the fine old men, was an excellent type of American manhood and womanhood. They are known far and wide in the Near East and are spoken of everywhere in the highest terms.

The entire colony lives as one community in a[Pg 198] group of substantial stone buildings. There is a common purse, a common table and sitting room. The whole institution is thoroughly systematised and is very efficient. Each member of the household has his or her duties to perform. Some of the women look after the kitchen and dining room; others work in the bakery and a number take care of the bed rooms. There is a school to which all the children are sent for daily instruction. The men devote most of their time to a curio store conducted by the colony in the business section of Jerusalem. This is a well-known store and the best pictures of Palestine, Syria, Egypt and even India are the work of the photographers of the American Colony.

This was the home Richardson and I found and where we spent two of the most interesting and enjoyable weeks of our lives. The hospitality of some people is marvellous. The kindness of the members of the American Colony will stay in our memories forever.

Christmas afternoon Richardson and I walked to Bethlehem, a distance of six miles. It was bitterly cold and a hard wind was blowing. On leaving Jerusalem we descended into the valley of Gihon. We saw the tomb of Rachel which was erected over the place of her death and which is revered by Christians and Moslems as well as Jews.

Bethlehem is a hillside town of eight thousand people. Its houses are built of stone and mud and are huddled close together. Its cobblestoned streets[Pg 199] are narrow and steep and are the picturesque scenes of many small markets. We went to the Church of the Nativity, the most interesting place in the village. It is a fine building, but poorly kept. It contains four rows of marble columns, some of the stones of which are said to have once formed a part of the Temple of Jerusalem. The roof is of beams of rough cedar from Lebanon. The nave is the oldest monument of Christian architecture in the world—the sole remaining portion of the grand Basilica erected by the Empress Helena in 327 A.D. In the grotto, or chapel of the Nativity, a silver star in the pavement marks the spot where Christ was born. Fifteen silver lamps are perpetually burning in this chapel.

The Church of the Nativity is under the control of the Turkish government. The edifice has been turned over to the Greek Church which has the main altar, to the Armenians and Copts who have a side altar and to the Latins—as the Roman Catholics are known—who have built an addition to the church for their several altars. This is a unique arrangement—three churches in the same building. The grotto or Nativity chapel is also divided among them. This unity in one building has a sensible sound. It is only apparent unity, however. There were several Turkish soldiers on hand and I was told that they were stationed there day and night throughout the year. They stood within a few feet of the altars with their guns over their shoulders to[Pg 200] see that the priests of the various churches do not fight and kill one another as they have done on previous occasions. Christ came as the Prince of Peace—and His representatives stand fighting at His very birthplace!

That evening Richardson and I spent in the living room of the American Colony. These good people were having their Christmas tree celebration. There was an elaborate programme arranged which took place before the distribution of presents. The young women gave a very pretty colonial dance; the little children delivered recitations and there were a number of good vocal and instrumental selections. One of the old men read a portion of the Bible and explained to the children the significance of the Christmas festival. Then the gifts were distributed. The gathering was like a huge family. The five-year-old girl called the white-haired man of eighty "brother" and he called her "sister." It was a very joyous occasion.

Many people are disappointed in Jerusalem. They expect to find a modern city with large hotels, electric lights, telephones and every convenience. Their ideals are harshly shattered when they find themselves in an unsanitary, backward and poorly kept city. It has a population of about eighty thousand people made up of Jews, Bedouins and peasants from the countries that border on the Mediterranean. The city is thronged with lazy priests, who hang about the sacred spots. These shrines are[Pg 201] based on tradition and many of them are so far from reason that they are ridiculous. The holy places are not kept clean, the interior decorations of the churches are tawdry and Turkish soldiers are stationed in the buildings to preserve order among the various sects of Christians. These are not attractive features.

Our Chicago gas merchant friend was one of the disappointed ones. He went to Jerusalem expecting too much. I suppose that he thought he would find streets of gold studded with jewels and every human being in it an angel or a saint. He confused the old Jerusalem with the new. He was a staunch Roman Catholic. His disappointment was so keen that his faith in Christianity was nearly shaken.

The American Colony sent one of their number with us to act as our guide in the city. We entered Saint Stephen's Gate and walked along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is a large impressive building, but all the sacred association is at once killed in a person's mind by the ridiculous and petty things under its roof. When an intelligent man is shown the tomb in which Adam is buried and where his skull was discovered he can do nothing but smile. Where is evolution? To point out a spot about six inches in diameter as the centre of the earth may be appropriate information for an ignorant peasant but it is folly to tell such rubbish to an educated man. If this church was simply over the tomb of Christ that would be suffi[Pg 202]cient, but when so many varied and silly events are commemorated under the same roof an enlightened person naturally shrinks from the whole thing. He is impressed by the ignorance and superstition of the poor pilgrims who crowd in and out of the sacred places by the thousands. He thinks that all these things may be all right for them but he with his knowledge has to reject them.

Richardson and I made the rounds of the many sacred spots and shrines. But these were not of so much interest to us. The city itself, the people, their customs and daily round of life took up our attention. There are no wheeled vehicles in the walled city of Jerusalem. In fact there are none in the whole of Palestine, with the exception of a few cabs about the station in Jerusalem. All freight is carried on the backs of camels or donkeys. The narrow streets of the city, often roofed over like tunnels, are sometimes an endless chain of donkeys carrying heavy loads of grain or other provisions. These thoroughfares are so narrow that we often had to step into the cave-like shops to let a donkey pass. These tunneled streets look like large cement water pipes. At intervals of a few yards there are openings or sky lights through which the sun casts its rays and fresh air circulates.

The Kubbet-es-Sakhra, popularly known as the Mosque of Omar, is the most conspicuous building in Jerusalem. It was erected in the seventh century and is said to stand on the site of Solomon's Temple.[Pg 203] Under the dome of the Mosque is the sacred rock upon which a thousand things have happened, if one believes all he hears about it. It contains a foot-print of Mohammed. Beneath this ordinary cobblestone, the like of which Arizona has by the thousands, the waters of the Flood are supposed to roar. Abraham attempted to sacrifice Isaac here. Numerous other things happened in, on and under this boulder—but I didn't have time to listen to them.

Richardson and I were hemmed in at Jerusalem. The sea was so rough at Jaffa that it was impossible for passengers to get to the steamers. The wind and the rain made an overland trip very disagreeable. These conditions delayed us a couple of days. We asked for our bill at the American Colony for our two-weeks' stay. They said we owed them nothing. We wouldn't hear of such a thing, and insisted on making a payment. They suggested that we make a donation, as that was the custom. Richardson gave an amount which was the equivalent of seventy-five cents each a day. It was the finest board and room we ever received for such a price.

Early one morning we set out with a pack mule and a guide to see Palestine by horseback. We were bound for Nazareth.

[Pg 204]



Palestine is the most barren, desolate and forsaken country—outside of a desert—that I have ever seen. Many people, in their religious enthusiasm, work themselves into a state where they imagine that its stony hills are thickly wooded; that its arid valleys are spots of beauty and its dull plains are fertile fields. I have heard tourists indulge in a series of platitudes in praise of some dreary hillside and vale which, in America, would not be fit for even post-holes. To speak in such a way about the Holy Land may seem sacrilegious. However, I would rather write the truth and run the chance of profaning this sacred country.

With our pack-mule and guide Richardson and I slowly crawled away from Jerusalem and our horses picked their course over the dismal plains towards the north. We drew near to the little village of Sha'fat, the ancient Nob. Not a soul was stirring. The place looked like a group of deserted and decrepit tombs. Bethel, the scene of many events recorded in the Old Testament, stood before us on a hill. Every village stands on a hill, is surrounded by cactus and stones and is inhabited by a lot of poor[Pg 205] unfortunates who have sore eyes and are filthy and ignorant. A dozen loathsome and mangy dogs usually received us with their sickly-sounding barks. The simple people congregated and shouted bakshish. We rode through the rubbish-ridden streets, along the vile-smelling alleys and out into the open again. We didn't stop.

Along the road-side we saw occasional olive trees, two thousand years old,—if one was to believe what was said about them and if their appearance indicated anything. Sometimes a number of women and children would be gathering the fruit. In the plains a flock of sheep would be grazing. What they found to eat—unless it was the cobble stones—was a puzzle to me. We would pass a man on a donkey with his wife strutting along a few paces behind on foot. Or again we would be startled by actually seeing a live tree on the hillside.

Our destination for the first night was Nablus, the ancient Shechem and at one time the capital of Palestine. We came to Jacob's well, one of the most venerated spots in the Holy Land, and in a few minutes were in the town, an enterprising community of Jews, Moslems and a handful of Christians. Richardson, with grim inversion, described the place as the town where the dogs throw stones at you and the boys bite you in the leg. We were met at the city's gates by the usual reception committee of barking and snapping dogs and a score of Moslem youngsters who greeted the vile Christians by pelting us with[Pg 206] rocks. To be the recipient of a cloud of precious stones from the skilful arms of youths who daily indulge in such a pastime was anything but comfortable. One lad planted a huge board with all his might across the tail of my horse. This sudden and violent stroke, together with the hailstorm of boulders, put a streak of life into an animal which had been practically dead ever since I had made his acquaintance.

We rode up to a French monastery, conducted by the Latin Church, and there we put up for the night. Richardson and I sat at the long dining table with a dozen monks and ate a simple but good meal and drank our share of wine. It was almost impossible to incite these old fellows to speech and our dinner was as silent as a religious retreat. Our bedroom was as well furnished and as comfortable as in an American home.

We made an early start in the morning. We soon came to Samaria, which is now nothing but a small unsanitary village surrounded by a cactus hedge and half in ruins. We reached the summit of a hill and, before us, stretched the Plain of Esdraelon, and the mountains of Tabor and Carmel stood in the distance like huge monuments. There was nothing beautiful about the scene.

Riding along quietly we were startled by the sudden appearance over a hill of two Bedouins on horseback. These men, with their head-dress of white cloth and a double coil of goat's hair, their hard[Pg 207] faces and guns over their shoulders, were a treacherous-looking pair. They stared at us, exchanged a few words with our guide and passed on. Many a Christian has been robbed and killed by Bedouins in the vicinity of the River Jordan. Our guide must have told them that we were poor men, for we were never disturbed.

Our stopping place for the second night was a small settlement called Jenin. We obtained accommodations in a tiny hotel. On leaving we had a row with the proprietor who demanded more money than he had agreed upon the evening before. We refused to pay and he followed us for a mile out of the town, wrangling with us over the matter.

We spent the morning crawling across the Plain of Esdraelon and, about noon, began ascending the hill to Nazareth. It was a long winding climb over a road which had never seen a grader. Nazareth is situated on a sort of plateau. It is a town of about ten thousand people and has several substantial school buildings and hospitals erected by various churches. Here are found many places venerated for their Biblical associations. The Church of the Annunciation is supposed to be erected on the site of Mary's house and the scene of the annunciation. In the Moslem quarter of the town the Latin Church has possession of the "Workshop of Joseph" and the "Table of Christ" upon which he dined with his disciples before and after the resurrection. The Mount of Precipitation, where the people sought to[Pg 208] cast Christ down, is plainly visible from Nazareth and on its summit is a Latin church.

We left Nazareth at four o'clock in the morning. We recrossed the Plain of Esdraelon and arrived at Afuleh where we missed our train—the only one that day—for Damascus. Turkish trains run on peculiar schedules. This train is supposed to leave Haifa for Damascus each day at sun rise. Occasionally the conductor—or some one—decides to start an hour or more earlier. This is done without any notice to the public. Such was evidently the case on the morning we tried to catch the train, for we arrived on time at Afuleh only to find that we were too late.

We dismissed our guide, who returned to Jerusalem with the two horses and pack-mule. It looked as though we were doomed to spend a day and a night at Afuleh, a station and a native shop—and nothing more. A Syrian lace merchant and a young New York Jew, a commercial traveller, were also left behind. We telegraphed the director of the railroad and obtained his permission to go by freight train to Damascus. We declined this route, however, when the freight conductor consigned us to an open car exposed to a steady down-pour of rain.


Our Start for Nazareth

We spent the day walking the ties in front of the station and went to Haifa for the night on the train from Damascus late in the afternoon. We had landed in Haifa when we first arrived in Palestine, and our second coming completed a small circuit. The next day we took the train that leaves at sun rise[Pg 209] for Damascus. The only thing a Turkish train has in the way of accommodation is plenty of time. It hasn't a single convenience I can think of. I actually saw one train stop to allow two ducks to cross the track. One conductor threatened to beat me up because I made fun of his little engine and cars by running backwards beside his train and winning the race into the station.

The Sea of Galilee is a glassy, stagnant-looking body of water, and when we saw it was as calm as a plate of soup. It was so peaceful that one could hardly realise that it was capable of the storms described in the Bible. I was told that these storms take place on it to-day. Tiberias, the most vermin-ridden settlement in the world, stands on its shores. The River Jordan, which looks like a Southern California "wash" in winter, has its source in the sea. Richardson and I walked down to the banks of this mad-rushing little stream and filled a bottle with a sample of its water. This fluid looks and tastes like that of any water company in America. I have done nothing but give portions of my sample away ever since.

Beyond the Jordan the railroad crosses a vast plain which produces nothing but rocks. I don't think I ever saw so many boulders before. I didn't see a suggestion of vegetation or a sign of life in the entire distance from the Jordan to Damascus. We travelled across this weary expanse of nothing with a Greek priest, who spoke English, and a female mis[Pg 210]sionary of the Church of England who had spent many years of her life converting natives in a village east of the Jordan.

Damascus is the oldest city in the world. It is the city in which Saint Paul became a Christian. It is larger than Pittsburgh, having over half a million inhabitants. It is famous for its picturesque markets and bazaars, which are the focal point for all the products of the interior of Syria.

Richardson and I took in the sights of this city without a guide, as was our custom. The Reverend Mr. Hanamar, of the English Church, told us how to get about most profitably. He is an authority on the Holy Land and Syria and had the task of revising Thomas Cook and Son's Handbook on Palestine and Syria. We walked the length of the "Street Called Straight." If it were not for the fact that every one who sees this street makes the same remark, I would here state that it is not straight. However, it is an interesting thoroughfare. With its wooden roof, its hundreds of picturesque shops and its hordes of humanity it is unique among the streets of the world.

The Great Mosque, which at one time was a Christian Church, is said to contain the head of Saint John the Baptist. I understand that a half dozen churches throughout Europe also claim this distinction. At any rate, it is interesting to note—and strange to think—that the Moslems have allowed the following inscription on the walls of the Great Mosque to remain: "Thy Kingdom, O Christ, is a kingdom of[Pg 211] all ages, and Thy dominion lasts throughout all generations."

Our train from Damascus to Beirut travelled at the rate of six miles an hour. A man can nearly beat this walking. But out of justice to this train I should say that in a distance of eighty miles we had to rise three thousand feet to the ridge of the Lebanon Mountains. From the summit of these mountains a beautiful picture was suddenly spread before us. Directly beneath us was Beirut—its houses crowded in among the jungle of trees—and stretching out beyond to the horizon was the expanse of the blue and white-capped Mediterranean. Bobbing up and down on the waves was a small steamer flying the Stars and Stripes. It was the first American flag Richardson and I had seen since we left Manila. We decided to investigate it on our arrival in Beirut.

We were the guests of Professor and Mrs. Brown, who were connected with the Syrian Protestant College, one of the leading institutions of learning in the Near East. Beirut is a great educational centre, having forty schools for boys and twenty-five for girls.

The Syrian lace merchant, whom we met at Afuleh while waiting for our train, entertained us at dinner. After the meal we drank several cups of muddy-looking Turkish coffee with its inch of sediment in the bottom of the cup, and smoked a narghile, or hubble-bubble pipe. From our Syrian friend we learned that the little steamer with the American flag[Pg 212] was the Virginia of the Archipelago-American Steamship Company. This concern was incorporated under the laws of the United States and carried the Stars and Stripes, although its capital and management were largely Greek. This arrangement was to serve as a means of protection against Turkey.

Richardson and I concluded that here was our chance for a free ride. We would go to the steamship company's office, announce that we were Americans, act important and demand passage to Constantinople.

"When does the Virginia leave for Constantinople?" I asked a man in the company's office after introducing Richardson and myself.

"In a few days, as soon as her cargo is loaded. She doesn't run on any schedule," was his reply.

"Mr. Richardson and I are studying conditions in Syria for an American newspaper syndicate and we want to get passage on your boat to Constantinople. We are paying special attention to the commerce and shipping of this section of the world and we wish to make a favourable report. We noticed that your steamer flies the American flag." There had been considerable criticism of the policy of permitting foreign concerns such as the Archipelago-American Steamship Company to fly American colours on their ships. The officials of this company were aware of this and when we gave the newspaper talk they imagined that we might make it a point to use their company as an example in our write-ups.

[Pg 213]

"But the Virginia is only a freight boat. She hasn't any accommodations for passengers. But——"

"We can put up with the crew," interrupted Richardson. "In fact we would rather travel in that way. We can get the sailor's point of view."

"Can you drop in again this afternoon? I will see what I can do," the man concluded after a moment's reflection.

"Rich, if we don't land that boat to Constantinople I will walk there," I said, as we sauntered along the waterfront from the steamship office.

Two nights later we were nicely settled in a stateroom on the Virginia adjoining the captain's. It was one of the most comfortable cabins we had been in. Across the way was a young Greek governess, a friend of the skipper's. She was also getting a free ride to Constantinople.

The scheduled time for the regular passenger steamers from Beirut to Constantinople is three days. The little Virginia see-sawed up and down the coast of Asia Minor, discharging and taking on freight, for two weeks. Richardson and I didn't care if it took six months for the journey or if she went to South America for a cargo.

We anchored off the shore of Tripoli but were unable to land on account of the city's being under quarantine for cholera. The little steamer continued on to Alexandretta. Richardson and I went ashore here and wandered in and out among the markets. It is a town of thirty thousand people and possesses noth[Pg 214]ing of extraordinary interest. The Virginia received orders to go to Bayas, a small port to the north, for several thousand boxes of oranges to be brought to Alexandretta.

Morning found us off the coast of Bayas. During the day a number of Greeks with their wives and daughters came on board. They were orange growers of Syria. Their presence meant jam for breakfast, a delicacy we didn't otherwise get. Richardson nearly disgraced America by the amount he ate. The steamer returned to Alexandretta that evening and discharged her cargo of fruit.

Mersina, a city of about fifty thousand people, was the next place on our itinerary. The night's trip proved a rough one. A strong wind stirred up a very heavy sea. The little boat was tossed about as though it had no weight. The waves broke over the ship and water mysteriously came in our cabin in spite of the fact that the portholes were securely closed. It was one of the wettest nights of my life. It seemed as though some one was emptying a tub of water in our room every minute. Everything was literally swimming in water. It was foot deep in our stateroom in the morning. Richardson and I waded out of the cabin as wet as two oysters and dressed in the saloon.


The Port of Dedeagatch

The night had been a wet one and a long one to us. But to the poor Greek governess in the adjoining stateroom it was one of continual distress. The gruesome and appalling shrieks and groans which[Pg 215] emanated from this unfortunate creature indicated that she was in the last stages of sea-sickness. I have seen thousands of people suffering with this ailment but I never heard one perform as this young Greek did. All night she gasped for breath, coughed and choked. She gave vent to the most heart-rending whoops which penetrated to all parts of the ship. We thought the poor girl would strangle to death.

During the following night the steamer put into Rhodes. Much to our regret we were off before morning and there was no opportunity to land. A short stop was made at Khios, a small town on an island of the same name off the coast of Asia Minor.

We steamed into the beautiful bay of Smyrna with the city clinging snugly to a hundred hills clothed in a garment of evergreen. Every section of the world seems to have its Paris, and Smyrna has this distinction for the Near East. There are many French people among its half million inhabitants and the city is gay with cafés, theatres and places of amusement. We only had a short time to go about while the steamer discharged a small consignment of freight.

Two hundred Turks were driven up the gangway to go as deck passengers to Dedeagatch, a little seaport in Southern Bulgaria. It was a motley crowd of human freight that huddled in bunches on the forward deck. The men with red fezzes or soiled turbans and unkempt straggly beards were an unattractive lot. The women with their black dresses cov[Pg 216]ering shapeless figures and with their veiled faces didn't look like human beings. They had the appearance of walking pyramids.

As Richardson and I wandered about the deck to look them over, the women would turn their faces or quickly veil themselves. It was immodest to expose this part of their anatomy to a man and especially to a foreigner. What a strange thing custom is! The women of America go clothed to the limit except in the ballroom, on the stage or in the water. The women of Japan are indifferent as to when or where they disrobe. The women of Turkey hide their faces on the approach of man. I was told that when Milady of Turkey is caught unaware in the bath she makes haste to cover only her face. Some of the faces I chanced to see look better behind their black curtains. It might be wise to introduce such facial disguises in America. I know instances where they would serve a laudable purpose.

Life on the Virginia was getting monotonous. The food had taken a slump from its fairly good beginning. We had little to do and time began to drag. We had read all the books on board. The steamer didn't remain at the various ports long enough for us to acquaint ourselves with the towns and cities—still less with the commerce and shipping interests of the country. We looked forward to Constantinople and some diversity.

We only remained at Dedeagatch a sufficient time[Pg 217] to dump the human cargo of Turks, and then set out for Constantinople. We sailed through the Hellespont, passed the small town of Dardanelles, steamed across the Sea of Marmora and entered the Bosporus.

[Pg 218]



Two weeks of the Greek freighter were enough, and Richardson and I rejoiced to see the picturesque sky-line of Constantinople come into view. We made short work of getting ashore as soon as the anchor was dropped and in a few minutes were on a local steamer going up the Bosporus on our way to Roberts College, the famous American institution of the Near East, where we were to be the guests of friends of Richardson's. Here we received a real welcome and once more began living the civilised life—as true Americans can when given a chance.

It had now been many months since we had left Manila and a job; and our exchequers, in spite of the economical methods of travel we had pursued, were being slowly depleted. However, as near as can be recalled, we had about two hundred and fifty dollars each and, although this sum is a mere joke when compared with the distance we were from home, still a man is not broke until he is broke. We concluded that if it was possible we would get jobs in Constantinople and at least break even financially during our stay there.

Looking for work in Europe is a very different[Pg 219] thing from such a quest in the Orient. Indeed, we soon found that as a whole travel in Europe was far different and in many ways less interesting than in the Far East. Europe is the beaten path where the inhabitants of each country are organised and lie in wait to separate the American tourist from his coin. The paths are all cut and dried and everything is carried on along the lines of the personally-conducted sight-seeing tours. Jobs are scarce, and the few obtainable pay very small wages. The thrifty native can do the work as well as, and oftentimes better than, the transient American. The conventional character of European travel strips this pastime of two-thirds of its charm. Experiences, which one is daily encountering in the more or less primitive countries of the Orient, are not to be found in Europe. Civilisation, with its comforts and conveniences, eliminates the possibilities of adventure and the traveller, whether rich or poor, usually deteriorates into a bored and bleary-eyed sight-seeing machine.

After a couple of days' rest we set out to find jobs. We invaded Stamboul, Galata, Pera and Scutari, the three sections of Constantinople, and called on the American Consul, several large foreign mercantile houses, and a number of educational institutions. In nearly every instance we were dismissed with a laugh. Roberts College came to our rescue. Richardson received a position, if it could be elevated to such dignity by the appellation, which consisted of[Pg 220] doing electric wiring in one of the college buildings at two dollars a day. Out of this he was to board and room himself. The best I could do was to become assistant instructor in physical culture in the gymnasium at thirty-five dollars a month and from this princely sum I was to pay for my board and clothe and shelter myself—in addition to providing for the many and sundry wants of an American in a strange land.

Richardson decided to accept and I to reject the respective posts. I concluded that I would rather starve moving than while stationary. We agreed to separate—Richardson to remain in Constantinople for a couple of months and I to continue on alone,—to meet later in London. Before our separation we made a systematic and tourist-like conquest of beautiful Constantinople. We went up the Bosporus and travelled in circles on the Black Sea. We explained the interesting but backward city itself. We made our way among the quaint bazaars and finally came to the Mosque of San Sophia. Here I took leave of Richardson and we planned to meet in London in a few months to cross the Atlantic to America together.

I did not have any itinerary. My plan was simply to go through Europe. I decided to go from Constantinople to Greece. The first-class fare to Athens was eighty francs. At this rate my supply of coin would not last long. I knew I could beat that. I[Pg 221] visited several steamship offices along the waterfront in search of cheap passage.

Accompanied by a Greek, as an interpreter, I entered a dingy little office.

"When does the next boat leave for Piræus?" I inquired of a moon-faced man in uniform behind a counter.

"To-morrow morning at nine o'clock," was the reply by way of the interpreter.

"What is the fare?" I asked.

"Thirty francs," was the response.

"That's too much," I said, starting to walk away.

"What will you give?" asked the steamship company official.

"Five francs," I uttered, smothering a smile at the smallness of the amount.

"All right," agreed the officer—and I bought my ticket at once. I was so astonished that I could hardly dig up the money fast enough. As I left the little office I concluded that my luck had not left me on setting foot in Europe. I shipped my suit case direct to England, deciding to travel with only a small hand bag.

As my boat did not leave until morning, I now had the evening in which to stir up some excitement. I wandered along the streets of Constantinople ready to welcome any one or anything that came my way. Presently a sign "American Bar" greeted my eyes and in I immediately went, thinking that there the English or American language would be spoken and[Pg 222] I might find a companion of some sort. I found that French was the only means of communication. Shortly, however, a man entered the place who knew a little English.

"Where can I find a bit of excitement this evening?" I asked.

"There is nothing going on to-night except at the Paris Café," replied the man.

"What takes place there?"

"Music, theatre, pretty women and plenty to eat and drink."

"Where is this café and how do I get there?" I asked, determined to investigate the establishment.

"The proprietor will be here in a moment and you can go with him."

In a few minutes a sleek-looking Frenchman arrived and was introduced, and in a second I was off with him in a closed carriage for the Paris Café. We rode on for an hour. It was nine o'clock in the evening. The Frenchman didn't speak a word of English. I began to think that I was up against a knockdown and drag-out game. I decided to stick, however, and see what this Paris Café was. We rode on. Finally, the carriage came to a stop and we alighted in front of a small house, brightly illuminated, from which was emanating the maudlin laughter of male and female voices. There was not another house to be seen. We might have been in the midst of an American prairie from the appearance of the darkened landscape. My French companion[Pg 223] and I entered the house. I reluctantly paid the equivalent of one dollar admittance. On entering, the Frenchman was lost in the crowd and I was left to find my own way. An inebriated gathering of French life greeted my vision. I seated myself at a table in one end of the large room, ordered a drink and in a careless manner took in what was about me. A dozen or more tables with six or eight people at each occupied half of the hall, a highly-polished floor for dancing took up the other half and at one end was a stage on which a succession of scantily-clad French women of tender age executed a series of sensuous dances while the maudlin crowd cheered and applauded.

I sat at my table unnoticed for fully an hour. At last, an ill-shapen feminine individual advanced and, in broken English supplemented with portions of French, asked me to join her crowd in an adjacent room in some refreshments. I accepted. I considered that I was not a fool and could take care of myself, and decided that I would investigate the place to the limit. I joined this select party of eight. Liquid began to flow freely and all were very solicitous that I should drink my fill. Being suspicious of the whole proceeding I decided to drink nothing. I had fears of being drugged, robbed and thrown out in an alley to spend the night. My fears were well founded. The gang became more and more intoxicated. They reached the point where they evidently thought that I was ripe to pluck, and two of them[Pg 224] ventured to separate me from my money. It would have been a fruitless effort, if it had been allowed to proceed to its consummation, for I had left all my coin, with the exception of a small amount, in my hand bag at the steamship office. My assailants plunged towards me like huge tigers. They were so drunk that they were helpless. I handled them like a pair of twin punching bags and left the room and the Paris Café with one man stretched out so flat that he looked like an inlaid design on the floor, while his co-partner was so completely pasted against the side of the room as to be hardly distinguishable from a figure on the wall paper. After this clean-up I calmly walked out of the joint, ordered a hack, drove to town, put up at a little Greek hotel and had a good night's sleep.

In the morning I boarded the Greek steamer ΙΣΜΗΝΗ. My bunk consisted of nothing more than a niche in the side of the ship—similar bunks being occupied by a score of Greeks—and my food was a supply of tinned goods I had purchased in Constantinople. The next day at sunrise we were off the shore of the Dardanelles, and here we spent most of the morning waiting for the sea to subside in order to land a herd of cattle and a small flock of unhealthy-looking sheep. The sea continued to rage and it was not long before our common sleeping compartment presented a most distressing scene, with a Greek chorus which so affected me that I nearly joined the regurgitating throng myself.


A Market in Constantinople

[Pg 225]

Early the third day the Greek ship arrived at Piræus, the port of Athens, and without stopping I betook myself by electric car to the capital. I went directly to the "American School of Classical Studies" where I presented a letter of introduction to Dr. Clyde Phaar. This gentleman—for he surely was one—conducted me about the city of Athens and I spent two most interesting days visiting the Acropolis, the Olympieion, the Theatre of Dionysis and many other ancient structures.

On leaving Dr. Phaar I returned to my old level and picked up a couple of Greek peasants who led me to their various haunts. One evening, after a seven-cent meal (consisting of stewed liver, kidney and other entrails) in the most unsanitary restaurant I ever saw, I left Athens for Patras, laden with many introductory letters from my Athenian friends to Grecian fruit vendors and candy fabricants in New York City.

After travelling all day, with an hour's delay at Corinth, due to a defective engine—which time I utilised by sight-seeing—I arrived at Patras in the evening. I was besieged by an army of hotel men as I was leaving the station and nearly landed in jail, instead of an hotel, for beating up an especially persistent hawker. However, I managed to find an hotel and I spread myself to the extent of eating a first-class dinner, the first food for the day. With this meal safely placed away I strolled up the street. I was ambling aimlessly along; my thoughts had[Pg 226] drifted to America, when I was attracted by a Greek of about thirty years, who called to me from across the street, addressing me as "Charlie." As there was nothing on the calendar, I responded to my new name and crossed over to see what the native wanted.

"Where are you going, Charlie?" he asked.

"No place," answered Charlie.

"Come along with me then," said the Greek in good English.

"Where are you going?" I enquired, preferring to know something of my destination.

"To call on some of my relatives and friends." My boat for Brindisi did not leave until midnight and I had plenty of time to learn something.

We strolled along a winding road lined on each side with little native houses. Our first call was on the Greek's aged aunt, a peasant woman, whose husband had been killed, a few days before, in a duel with a neighbour. The house in which this simple and grief-stricken woman lived was a low thatch-roofed adobe structure with the earth for its floors. It was a near-to-nature residence and I was impressed by its almost spotless cleanliness and neatness. We remained in this little home for nearly an hour while the poor woman poured out her troubles to her nephew, who later informed me that he had assumed the responsibility of her support since her husband's death. We next called on the Greek's older sister. This Grecian peasant home was also an interesting place and was as immaculate as its predecessor. With[Pg 227] this second visit completed, my companion evidently had performed all his obligations and he now felt at liberty to call on some of his girls. Our last visit was at the home of a travelling butcher, who saunters about the town pushing a one-wheeled vehicle, resembling a wheelbarrow, laden with carcasses of cows and sheep, from which he hacks off a chunk whenever he finds a customer. The walls of this modest mud house were literally plastered with calendars, newspaper pictures and display advertisements. It was inhabited by a most interesting set of human beings. There was the mother with her three youngest huddling around her skirt like little chicks around the proud old hen; there were twin girls of about twelve years, who spent their energies giggling at the idiosyncrasies of the American guest and there were two young women of some twenty-one summers. There was also a boy of about sixteen and from the accounts of his mother he must have been the tough lad of the neighbourhood.

The two young ladies, whose names were Miss Vaseleki Caetina and Miss Caraperpara Caetina, were bright, healthy creatures in spite of the fact that they worked fourteen hours a day, one in a stocking factory and the other as a dressmaker.

My visit was considered a great distinction and my presence was soon noised about the neighbourhood and an endless file of proud mothers came to exhibit their offsprings to me as I handed out compliments and passed comments on them by means of my Greek[Pg 228] companion. The Misses Caetina became so infatuated with the sample American, in spite of my travel-worn and trampish appearance, that they insisted on their mother's inviting me to dinner. What they would have done to a regular American one can only surmise. I was enjoying the affair to the limit of my capacity and if I had been invited to a suicide I would have accepted.

The meal was served in the most informal way in what might be termed the parlour. Informal is hardly the word. Jam came straight from the jar to the eater's mouth. One spoon did service for the entire gathering, each one using it in turn without any cleansing process intervening. Still having some ideas of hygiene in spite of my unsanitary experiences, I considered myself fortunate in being the guest and, therefore, getting the first fling at the much-worked spoon. Greek wine was poured out in lavish quantities and, not being acquainted with the inebriating efficiency of this liquid, I partook of it cautiously. Strips of dried meat, squares of bread and walnuts completed the repast.

The evening was an entertaining one and I took my leave while the young Grecian maidens danced with joy as I wrote down their names and promised I would drop them post cards from Italy. This promise I fulfilled.

I now turned my thoughts towards Italy. A much-travelled man once advised me that if I had but six months in which to tour Europe to spend four of[Pg 229] them in Italy. Although I do not agree with his ratio, I do thoroughly believe that four months is much too short a time to even get a start in this wonderful land, rich in everything that interests an intelligent human being. But lack of funds haunted me with the necessity for speed and, much as I regretted it, I had to keep moving on.

A sea trip of two nights and one day brought me to Brindisi. I took the first train to Naples where I arrived after a delightful route through green fields, prosperous farms and orchards and a country radiant with the bloom of youth, for it was the early spring-time. I put up at a small rooming house with eating arrangements connected, which I discovered near the station.

Italy proved to be a land of little adventure. The traveller has nothing to do but go sight-seeing and about the only way in which to encounter an unusual experience would be to go out in the street and deliberately insult some one. Not having any desire to do this I became a simple and ordinary tourist, and the following sample from my diary concerning my activities in Naples very clearly illustrates this:

"Saturday:—I nearly walked my crimson head off to-day. Armed with a Baedeker, I went after Naples with the persistence and energy of an American book agent. I managed to get about very satisfactorily without a guide or even the disbursing of a single tip.

"In the morning early, after carefully studying the Baedeker map, I went to the Villa Nazionale, a pub[Pg 230]lic garden next the sea, with many trees and marble statues. The 'fashionable' world flit to and fro in their automobiles on the broad Via Caracciolo along the water, while the scum and tramps, like myself, get out of their way in the best manner we can or are run down and trampled into eternity. In the Villa Nazionale is the famous Aquarium, which I will visit to-morrow—as on Sundays the admission is one franc instead of two.

"From this park I went to the English church, a fine large building, with a tasteful interior, quite in contrast to the churches of the Papal obedience which I have seen. I wandered through busy, noisy streets,—the inhabitants of Naples are the noisiest people I think I ever heard—and came to the large church of San Francesco di Paola—a modern edifice—having been constructed in 1817-31. In the interior are superb marble columns, modern statues and pictures and a high altar inlaid with jasper. It impressed me more favourably than other churches of Naples because time had not filled it with a lot of gaudy fixtures.

"Passing the Plazzo Real and the Theatre of San Carlo, I went in the Galleria Umberto Primo, a beautiful arcade containing many high-class shops. I walked by the Municipio, a large square structure used for city offices, as its name suggests, and came into the Via Roma or Toledo, the main street of Naples. Jostling along this thoroughfare for awhile, I turned off on a side street and spent some little[Pg 231] time in the Jesuit church of Gesu Nuovo. Near-by I visited the Church of Santa Chiara, built in the fourteenth century and richly but tastelessly decorated. It contains numerous altars and many paintings, and the ceiling is a solid mass of gilding. Referring to the map in Baedeker I directed my course to the Church of San Domenico Maggiore, erected in 1289 and restored several times. My guide book states that some of the great families (great because of inherited wealth, I suppose!) of Naples have their chapels here.

"I next found my way in some mysterious manner through the narrow foul-smelling alleys of the slums to the Cathedral of San Gennaro. This church is in the French-Gothic style and is not especially attractive. It contains a shrine called the Chapel of Saint Januarius. In the tabernacle of the chief altar of this chapel there are two vessels containing the blood of Saint Januarius, Bishop of Benevento, who suffered martyrdom in the fourth century. The liquefaction of the blood, which, according to the legend, took place for the first time when the body was brought to Naples, occurs three times a year on several successive days. On the occasion of this liquefaction thousands of the faithful make pilgrimages to this shrine for prayers and offerings, for by means of this liquefying a forecast can be made of the prosperity of the land.

"From the Cathedral I went to the Castel Capuano, once the residence of the Hohenstaufen, later of[Pg 232] the Angevin kings and, since 1540, the seat of the law-courts. Close by is the Porta Capuano, one of the finest existing Renaissance gateways.

"In the afternoon I walked along the Via Tossa, a winding street which ascends the hill behind Naples and which passes many beautiful buildings and from which good views of the city and bay of Naples may be had. I took a cable car lift and went up to and around the Castel Sant' Elmo, fortified with huge walls and now used as a military prison. Near this castle I visited the Church of San Martino. This church seems to be deserted so far as religious purposes are concerned, and has been turned into a money-making institution. In the Tesoro, a room beyond a sacristy, is a "DESCENT FROM THE CROSS" by Ribera and on the ceiling "JUDITH" by Luca Giordana—who is said to have painted it in forty-eight hours, when in his seventy-second year. This sounds like a California fish story.

"Adjoining the church is the museum, which contains many sculptures, paintings and ecclesiastical vestments. From the Belvedere, a spacious balcony, is an excellent view of the city and of Vesuvius beyond.

"Sunday:—I spent two hours this morning (admission free on Sundays) in the Museo Nationale. It contains a fine collection of marble and bronze sculptures, most of them from Herculaneum and a few from Pompeii—the bronze exhibition consisting mostly of household utensils and affording an admir[Pg 233]able insight into the domestic life of antiquity. The museum also contains a gallery with many beautiful and masterful pictures and also an unrivalled collection of vases.

"Later in the day I visited the Aquarium, which was very interesting, although not so large as the one in Honolulu. The sea life it contains is of a different species, being from other waters, but there are not so many varieties as in Hawaii.

"The shops, streets, and tenement sections of Naples are unique. Noise, congestion and colour are their most predominant features. Every man who is not a priest is engaged in ravenously devouring a greasy string of macaroni, while the women are shouting inhuman shrieks in the effort to sell a bottle of red wine."

The feeling of loneliness, which seizes us all at one time or another, is probably more acute, when—travelling alone—one enters a large city in a foreign land where he doesn't understand the language and doesn't know a single soul. Especially is this the case when the traveller is making his way on a sum which is so small that rigid economy has to be practised every minute of the day.

Never was I more impressed with this feeling of loneliness than when I arrived in Rome at midnight. It is a simple thing for the opulent traveller to alight from his first-class train and take a carriage to the leading hotel, but it is a very different matter for the lone and coin-depleted tramp to find board and lodg[Pg 234]ing commensurate with his meagre funds and, especially so, during the middle of the night. The greatness of Rome, its magnificent history and its position in the world to-day made me feel as insignificant as when one gazes into the heavens on a moonless night and beholds the stars. I swung off a third-class coach, made my way through the crowds in the station, elbowed the hotel hawkers aside and reached a street corner, where I stood for a moment's reflection. I might as well have been in a jungle so far as knowing where to go next. I finally set out in search of an hotel, and for two hours I hunted in vain. I inquired for a room at every establishment over the door of which was printed the word "portier." My hotel in Naples had displayed this sign and I concluded that all places with such a label were hotels. Working under this delusion I canvassed every building which bore the inscription. No one would take me in and I couldn't make any one understand me. I began to wonder if there was something about my appearance which made me an outcast and caused the portiers to regard me with suspicion. Some of the supposed hotel-keepers laughed at me, others nearly threw me out, while still others seemed to regard me with pity. I became discouraged. It was now two o'clock in the morning. Was I to pace streets all night, luggage in hand, in search of a place to sleep? Tired and disgusted I decided to retire in the first vacant lot I came to, if Rome had such things. Presently I came across a large open space which ap[Pg 235]peared in the darkness to be some sort of an ancient excavation or ruin. This was good enough, I thought, and I scrambled down the decomposed steps and in a few minutes was sound asleep in a secluded corner of this deserted square.


The Temple of Theseus

I awakened early to recognise that my bedroom was no less than the Roman Forum. A smile rippled over my unshaven face and my thoughts were shifted years back to the time when I studied in school of the ruined Roman Forum and how at that time I little realised that the day was coming when I would wake up, like a tramp, and find myself surrounded by its huge and stately old columns.

I explored the venerable place at once and, although it was six o'clock in the morning and I had not eaten, I opened my Baedeker and spent two hours reading and becoming familiar with this ancient seat of oratory and modern domicile for hoboes.

Later in the day I found a modest little hotel whose proprietor spoke English quite fluently. He explained to me that the reason I was unable to get a room on the preceding night was that I probably did not inquire at a single hotel. He informed me that many buildings in Rome had a porter or caretaker and usually had the sign "portier" over the door. I had been trying, in the early hours of the morning, to force myself into wholesale houses, department stores, private homes and what not. In each instance I had, unknowingly, applied to the watchman whose duty it was to keep off all intruders[Pg 236] and burglars. It is a wonder that I wasn't shot down.

Probably the first point to which the traveller in Rome directs his steps is Saint Peter's and I was no exception. I took a car to this wonderful church and spent the entire day drinking in its marvels. From the lantern on the dome (where I poked my crimson head—five hundred and eighty-three feet above the ground—and took in the amazing panorama of the Eternal City) to the main floor, I left little unseen. I was quite content to be a spectator and took no active part in the customary devotions of the average pilgrim. As I watched the long line of the faithful file by the large bronze statue of Saint Peter and osculate his big toe—which has been worn down, through the centuries, nearly half an inch by this unsanitary process—I decided to give these poor peasants a lesson in hygiene, but the play was taken away from me by a high dignitary of the Church. A well-fed clean-shaven man, dressed in a red cassock, was approaching the statue, accompanied by another ecclesiastic in purple. At once I recognised them as a cardinal and a bishop. They were going to kiss the toe of the saint. I forced my way through the crowd to see how they would act. The cardinal drew a white handkerchief from his cassock and diligently set to work to give the toe of the huge figure of Saint Peter a vigorous scrubbing. He was so adept at these menial movements that I concluded he must be one of the peasant prelates of whom we[Pg 237] hear so frequently in America. The respectful pilgrims were much interested in the cleansing which the cardinal was giving Saint Peter's toe, but the example was of no avail. When he was satisfied that the member was sufficiently sterilised, the church official stooped and brushed it with his lips. He was followed by the bishop. Then the thousand or more ignorant pilgrims passed by and performed this act of devotion without a thought of a microbe. I can image the activity that would be exhibited on this toe under the lens of a microscope after such an army of the unwashed had filed by.

The next day I returned to Saint Peter's and took up as companions an American Methodist preacher and his wife, who were en route to India to resume their missionary duties. This unrefined and prejudiced pair of representatives of our Great Middle West performed their sight-seeing obligations in a thoroughly bigoted Protestant manner. The Pope and all his adherents were denounced every time a new picture came to their notice and as they watched the priests of Rome chanting the ancient liturgy. They were not very pleasant companions but I concluded that they were better than none at all.

Each day during my stay in Rome the three of us would meet in the morning, map out our itinerary and follow it closely. We visited the Vatican—that atrocious piece of architecture; we spent some time in the Sistine Chapel with the usual horde of tour[Pg 238]ists; we drove to the Coliseum and the Pantheon and saw hundreds of churches in all parts of the city.

We hired a carriage, with meter and driver, and rode, along the Appian Way to the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus. As we alighted at our destination I took down, in my note-book, the figure that the meter registered, having a suspicion that the cab driver might cheat us. My suspicion was well-founded for, on our return, the gauge indicated that an additional six miles had been rung up. The fare was cheap enough and we had little objection to the amount our bill was approaching. However, I remonstrated with the driver to let him know that our eyes were open and that he had not tricked us without our knowledge. The climax of this incident was reached at the end of our journey when, in exacting our bill, the driver with a sudden jerk of the meter forced it up five points more and then insisted on money for the last dishonestly acquired mileage. We, of course, refused and paid him only for the distance we had travelled, plus the increase registered while visiting the Catacombs. As we walked down the street he followed with his carriage loudly demanding more money. Finally an Italian policeman intervened and we were brought to the first police station. Here the magistrate heard both sides of the tale and on giving the matter a few minutes' consideration told us to go on our way and placed the poor cab driver under arrest for fraud.

For a city with a distinctive atmosphere I recom[Pg 239]mend Florence. To walk its various streets is a rest for the weary. After the teeming millions of oriental cities, the repose and quietness of this attractive town is most restful. Florence is worth a visit if one only sits in its beautiful cathedral and thinks. Its identity as the birthplace of Dante, of Petrarch, of Boccaccio, of Galileo, of Michael Angelo, of Leonardo da Vinci, of Andrea del Sarto and a host of other great minds is sufficient to stamp it with a character which none but the dumb brute would fail to discern.

With the contents of my pocketbook approaching the vanishing point I could only visit the large cities of Italy and had to give up all idea of seeing the countless small towns and villages with their wealth of historical association and present-day charm. However, even a tramp would not think of touring Italy without spending a few days in Venice. Its unique situation, if not its rich past, would be sufficient incentive to have it included in the itinerary of the most humble traveller.

Venice is a city without a wheeled vehicle, without trees, without sidewalks and without many of the ordinary appliances found in a modern community. Situated as it is on a cluster of seventy-two small islands, each inch of space is utilised and there is no subdividing of large tracts of land into fifty-foot lots. Its streets are a regular maze and the only way to get about, in the event one does not hire a guide, is to follow the crowd and trust to luck. This was my method, which at times proved very interesting. In[Pg 240] this manner I wandered aimlessly along and, after a couple of hours' walking, the beautiful Piazzo of San Marco burst upon me. It was a scene I shall never forget. Several thousand people were assembled for a band concert and I was shortly lost in the crowd and had nothing to do but take in the many interesting things about me. The stately and oriental-looking church of Saint Mark at one end; the imposing Campanile, the ornate Palace of the Doges and the old government buildings now converted into stores and cafés, presented a picture for beauty and symmetry of design which is probably unequalled.

In the middle of the square a man drove a donkey hitched to a small cart, and the novelty of the conveyance aroused the curiosity of not only the children but of the grown people as well.

Midnight seemed to be the hour at which I was destined to make my advent into nearly all European cities. It was at this hour that my train pulled into Milan. Finding cheap hotels had almost become second nature to me and, with little difficulty, I located a comfortable domicile and was soon enjoying the rest which no one but a weary traveller can truly appreciate. Most of my brief stay in this city was devoted to the famous cathedral. This church, the second largest in Europe, stands alone from an architectural standpoint. It is richly decorated with statues and sculptured pinnacles—more than two thousand in number—which from the street look like countless inverted icicles.

[Pg 241]



My journey through Europe was a foot-race. I was trying to beat a bank-roll which was rapidly diminishing and which I feared would be totally exhausted before I reached England, where I hoped to get work. If my money had been rubber I could not have stretched it over a greater distance.

From Milan to Zurich is a big jump in Europe and especially is this true when one considers the perfect Paradise of things there are to see. But with my depleted financial condition always confronting me I had to press on and to content myself with a train-window view of the beautiful Italian "lake country" and the rugged scenery of Switzerland.

Why I went to Zurich, I don't exactly know, but I suppose it must have been the cheapest trip open to me. Aside from scenery Zurich possesses little of interest. After a few hours there, during which I visited the Ton-halle, the cathedral in which Zwingli—the Swiss reformer—set forth his peculiar doctrines and made an excursion of the town, I went on my way to Munich.

My train journey was broken by a trip on a little[Pg 242] steamer across Lake Constance. This small body of water is on the boundary line between Switzerland and Germany and, on landing, I was received by a German policeman who evidently sized me up for a spy. I took him for a baggageman and when he spoke to me told him to "beat it." He resented my tone and manner and pressed his solicitations with a little more severity. At last it dawned on me that he was an officer and I decided that for my general welfare it would be well to treat him more courteously. I soon learned from him that he wanted my passport. I had that document in my possession but knew that it was not necessary for an American citizen to present such an instrument in Germany so I declined to produce it. I was able to satisfy the inquisitiveness of the gentleman by answering a few questions, and he allowed me to go on my way.

In my diary I find the following entry concerning Munich:—"Munich is celebrated for two things, its art and its beer. I spent little time on the art but confined myself to the beer. I sampled it thoroughly and can say that it is a high-class liquid. For the equivalent of two cents one gets a large glass, and for five cents a toilet pitcher sufficiently large to drown a ten-pound baby.

"There are no saloons in Germany or on the continent of Europe, liquor being sold in restaurants and cafés, all respectable places frequented by women as well as men. I once knew a good American Baptist woman who was as strict an abstainer as ever lived,[Pg 243] but she could not withstand the temptation to partake of beer in Munich during her sojourn there. I understand that many staunch prohibitionists temporarily fall off the wagon in this manner.

"In Italy every one drinks vino, but in Germany men, women and children drink beer. For an Italian to eat a meal without wine or a German without beer would be considered in these countries as extraordinary as if a man should bathe his feet with his shoes on. It is a common enough thing to see a pretty German girl of eighteen calmly drinking a schooner of beer instead of the afternoon cup of tea of her American sister. Absolute prohibition has no more chance in Europe than the snowball of the classic simile, and one might as well talk to a turtle on the subject as to these liquor-drinking but temperate peoples."

From Munich to Vienna is about a day's journey and the third-class accommodations are the poorest I encountered in Europe. I sat in one of these compartments with three Austrians for the entire distance without saying a word, assuming that none of them spoke English. As our train was drawing into Vienna I unthinkingly enquired the time of the man opposite me. He replied in excellent English and we both smiled to think that all day we had sat in silence although communication would have been possible if we had only known it.

"You are an American, are you not?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied.

[Pg 244]

"What are you doing away over here?"

"Just knocking around the country," I informed him. "Do you know where I can find a cheap hotel in Vienna?"

He said that he did and, when we arrived at the station, very kindly conducted me to a clean and modest hostelry.

"What are your plans for the evening?" he enquired.

"I have none," I said.

"I expect to meet a couple of my friends and should be very glad to have you come along," he added cordially.

I cheerfully accepted this opportunity of making some acquaintances in a city the size of Vienna. We boarded a street car, received a transfer about the dimensions of an American Sunday newspaper, changed to another line and were soon at a café, where I was introduced to his two friends.

These three Austrians were clean-cut chaps of the middle class. During the evening I learned that their occupations were respectively piano-tuner, barber and window-trimmer. To add an American tramp to this trio made, I thought, a rather extraordinary assortment of vocations. The prospects for a lively evening looked very gloomy, for the combined wealth of such an aggregation was naturally small. We dined at a big restaurant and then set out to see the town.

First we lodged ourselves in one of Vienna's large[Pg 245] cafés, where we remained for two hours watching the fascinating crowds and listening to the music. During this time we had but one glass each of the delicious Vienna coffee and when I suggested that it was only right that we should continue to buy while sitting at a table and enjoying ourselves my companions assured me that it was all right to spend a whole evening in a café with the purchase of but one drink, for every one did it. As an American this seemed strange to me, to say the least. I confess that I felt rather sheepish about it.

The barber and the piano-tuner bade us farewell and the window-trimmer and I started out to see Vienna by moonlight. I shortly discovered that the party was to be at my expense for, as poor as I was, I was a rich man compared to my Austrian companion who from his vocation received a salary of twenty dollars a month. However, I was willing to carry him for a while as he was not only good company but served as an excellent guide.

The places we left unseen in the night life of Vienna do not exist. My window-trimmer friend certainly knew the town and led me into all the cafés and joints he could find. We were ready for anything and after a general round of the more respectable places we heard of a large public ball which was being held in the opposite side of the city, and thither we decided to go. The late Hinky Dink's dances in Chicago or the "Chickens' Ball" given in honour of an ex-pugilist in San Francisco might be considered[Pg 246] the last word in refinement compared with this Vienna function. It would be indiscreet to go into a detailed description of this "social" affair for fear of infringing on the American postal laws. The immense hall was crowded with representatives of Vienna's underworld. The women were attired in short skirts, tights and one-piece bathing suits. Liquor was so plentiful that it rose and fell like the ocean tide. The rag, the turkey trot and other modern dances of America, which are the subject of so much criticism, would look like devotional exercises alongside of the steps that were executed at this four-in-the-morning function.

The daytime I spent by myself seeing the more ennobling sights of the city, while my Viennese pal arranged neckties, collars, shirts and pajamas in the windows of a large clothing store. With the aid of Baedeker I made as thorough an investigation of the daylight sights of the city as I had made of those of the night.

Each evening I met my native friend. One night we went for dinner to a quiet little restaurant, where we made the acquaintance of a floorwalker in one of the large department stores of the metropolis and his elderly fiancée, who were seated at the same table with us. They were an interesting pair. It was a mystery to the woman why I should have wanted to come to Austria when America was such a fine country. "You must be very rich to be able to travel around the world," was a remark she made—a re[Pg 247]mark I had heard probably five hundred times during my trip.

On the way to the café the window-trimmer and I were approached by a street vendor who was selling plaster of paris busts of the famous men of Austria.

"How much are they?" I enquired.

"Two dollars each," he replied.

"I will give you a nickel for one," I said as a joke.

"All right, sir," he exclaimed in an instant, and half dazed with the sudden reduction in his price I bought two of the images, giving one to my friend. The other I purposely let fall on the cement sidewalk and the bust of Francis Joseph, whose likeness it was, went into a thousand pieces at the feet of the vendor—who was much disgusted at my wilful extravagance. The Austrian drew the bust of a two-year-old baby, purporting to represent one of Austria's illustrious sons at that tender age, and this ungainly toy he presented very formally to the café keeper's wife, who presided at the till. She received the piece of bric-a-brac in a most gracious manner and with much amusement. The baby was perched on the top of the till and there remained the rest of the evening.

Late that night I was the guest of the window-trimmer in the room in which he lived. He had prepared a supper of rye bread, cheese and beer. The repast consumed, he entertained me by playing a few simple tunes on his cheap and shabby-looking violin.[Pg 248] About midnight we separated and as I was leaving Vienna in the morning we said our last farewell—among the most touching of my trip.

On my way to Budapest I made the acquaintance of a Serbian fisherman, an Hungarian blacksmith and a plumber. They all spoke English, for they had lived in America, and when they were not talking to me they were expounding the fine points of that nation to their countrymen in the third-class coach of the train. A Roumanian who was aboard, becoming interested in my travels, invited me to be his guest on a three weeks' horseback trip through the mountains of the Balkan States. He said that we could put up at farmhouses for nothing and that my only expense would be the hire of the saddle and the horse. This was a very alluring invitation but the state of my finances made it impossible for me to accept.

Baedeker states that only the "lower orders," whatever that means, use third-class coaches in Europe. He should travel in this manner for a while and he would change his mind. The German third-class is good enough for any human being, and the passengers whom I met looked very civilised and had all the appearance of taking at least a weekly bath and of wearing underclothes. The Austrian third-class is an exception and carries a lower grade of humanity, representatives of the Great Unwashed, who comprise about eighty per cent. of this earth's inhabitants.


The Roman Forum—A "Vacant Lot" of Rome

[Pg 249]

I mingled with the bustling crowds on the streets of Budapest for three days and then became a second-class passenger en route to Paris, there being no through third-class coach. This journey through the beautiful Austrian and Swiss Alps was uneventful. I was only entertained by a German, who had returned from America where he held a position as cook in a short-order restaurant in Butte, and a French couple who fed their two-year-old baby large quantities of beer. This infant had a capacity that would make many an American undergraduate envious.

Alighting from my train at midnight I walked through the crowded station and in a minute was making my way along a deserted street of Paris. I intended to locate an hotel as soon as possible. I had hardly gone a block when a heavy down-pour of rain set in and I foresaw that I was in for a thorough drenching unless I sought shelter at once. At that moment a man appeared out of the darkness and enquired if I wanted an hotel. It had been my custom to decline all street hotel hawkers but, in view of the heavy rain, I decided to accept the services of the man and to find out what kind of an establishment he had. He took my hand bag and started back towards the station with me close behind him. We turned to the right and walked along the railroad tracks while the rain continued to come down in torrents. Three blocks in this direction and my guide crossed the tracks and proceeded down a dark street. Suspicions began to arise within me as to where the[Pg 250] Frenchman was leading me. My knowledge of French was so limited that I could not find out anything but that I was going to an hotel. I decided to continue. I had heard stories of how innocent travellers are sometimes trapped by the thugs of European cities, drugged and robbed. This thought came to my mind but did not weaken my determination to go ahead and get under cover as soon as possible. We continued along this dark thoroughfare. We seemed to be in the wholesale district and there was not a human being in sight. Finally we turned down a narrow alley, at the end of which was a decrepit stairway. Up this rickety flight we ascended and at the top turned into a room dimly lighted by the intermittent flicker of a candle, which was resting on a high desk. Behind this desk I could see a bearded Frenchman who peered over his spectacles as the two of us entered. My guide and the old fellow exchanged a few words and I was conducted down the hall to my room. This compartment contained a wash-stand and a heavy wooden bed. Inside, my suspicions began to increase as to the safety of my place of abode. There seemed to be an atmosphere of mystery and I thought that I might expect anything. I listened at the door for strange sounds but heard nothing but a creaking noise which seemed to come from the back end of the building. Before retiring I decided to take every precaution and made up my mind that if any Frenchman attempted to disturb my rest with the intention of relieving me of my[Pg 251] money he was going to be welcomed with at least the best fight he ever encountered. I first locked the door with a pass key I had in my possession. Then I placed the back of the bed against the door and wedged the wash-stand in between it and the wall. The room was so small that the stand made a tight fit in the space left for it. Armed with a piece of pipe I found in one of the drawers of the wash-stand I threw myself on the bed, clothes and all, and shortly was as sound asleep as if guarded by a regiment.

My suspicions may have been nothing but a bubble to explode in the morning. However, I am sure that I was in the proper place to be stripped of my coin by any means necessary. I evidently was not worth plucking. I was awakened in the morning by the moving trains in the yards near-by and without any delay grabbed my bag and in a minute was out of the joint on my way to a more civilised part of the city. I learned from a French shop-keeper a few days later that in this very lodging house in which I feared foul play, two Englishmen had been gagged, robbed and dumped into an alley for the rest of the night.

My experience in this hotel netted me two things: scabies and influenza. The bed clothes were so filthy that I was infected by a germ which penetrates the skin and causes no end of trouble. It was fully three months later that I mastered this disease, known by the euphonious name of scabies, and only after pro[Pg 252]longed treatment by a doctor. My exposure to the rain and cold gave me an attack of influenza which, with its accompanying fever, pains and aches, was poor equipment with which to see Paris.

In spite of this malady I kept moving and succeeded in finding a clean and comfortable room at one franc a day on the fifth floor of a small hotel. The main objection to this place was the absence of an elevator and it was a most fatiguing effort for a sick man to climb these five flights several times a day. Later I learned that I had not much improved upon my neighbourhood of the first night, for I was now located in Monte Mart.

To spend a few days in Paris without company except a case of influenza was anything but a cheerful outlook. I went to a drug store and told one of the clerks my symptoms. He put up a prescription which I took conscientiously, at the same time exerting my will power not to let the disease get sufficient hold on my constitution to force me to bed and make me a public charge of the municipal authorities. Each day I arose, hoping that my fever would subside, and dragged myself about the city. On the Rue de Turbigo in the vicinity of the Halles Centrales, I fainted away and fell to the sidewalk. When I recovered consciousness I was speeding at a rapid rate in an ambulance for the municipal hospital. A glass of water was being choked down my throat. This resuscitated me. Accompanied by one of the ambulance attendants I returned to my hotel.

[Pg 253]

The average visitor to Paris places himself in the hands of a guide connected with one of the large hotels and is thus relieved of all the routine and detail of systematically and profitably seeing the city. A guide is a luxury never meant for a poor man. I never entertained the thought of hiring such an individual. A map of the streets, a Baedeker and some intelligence was all I had. With this outfit I explored Paris. Sometimes I would go about sight-seeing methodically, and again I would simply drift. To drift is the more interesting. Down the Boulevard Magneta I found my way to the Halles Centralles, the central and largest market of Paris. I wandered through the interesting pavillons which cover twenty-two acres. I jostled along the narrow streets, covered with hay, decayed vegetables and other refuse, and mingled with the natives. I little realised what was in store for me. I crossed the Seine and visited the Hotel des Invalides, under the dome of which repose the ashes of Napoleon I. I moved on to the Pantheon where I attached myself to a group of American tourists conducted by a Cook's guide. This harmless gathering surely could not lead me into any trouble. I stood in their midst and listened to the mumbling speech of the guide as though I were a regular member of the party and had paid my fee. We were taken to the vaults in which are located the tombs of Victor Hugo, Mirabeau, Rousseau, Voltaire and others. An attendant of the Pantheon went in advance of our little procession and unlocked[Pg 254] the heavy doors which led into the various tombs and the curious looking crowd would draw together while the guide grew eloquent on the life of some reclining corpse. When we surrounded the tomb of Voltaire I became so engrossed by the fact that I was in the presence of the remains of this master mind of the past that I failed to leave with the party and remained a minute, rather stupefied. When I returned to my senses I found that the porter had locked the door of the vault and I was incarcerated in the gruesome abode of a dead man. The Thomas Cook and Son party had returned to the main floor and I was the sole living creature in the crypt of the building. To add to my ghastly situation the lights were turned off, for it was nearly night-fall. My prospects for immediate freedom were rapidly diminishing. I decided to call out in the hope that I would attract the attention of one of the porters on the main floor. I gave a shriek which sent shivers down my spine and nearly frightened me to death. I at once saw that it was useless to shout as a means of being rescued, for the echoes of my call resounded in such confusion from the walls of the small vault that they sounded like a bedlam of bass drums turned loose. If I shrieked again I was afraid that I might awake Voltaire. I had heard ghost stories in which the main character, on a dare, voluntarily entered the tomb of a dead man; but I never thought that I should play this rôle against my will in the heart of Paris. There was nothing left for me to do but wait until[Pg 255] some one came to liberate me. The prospect of this event's happening before morning was very remote. I therefore resigned myself to my confinement and concluded to spend the night communing with the spirit of Voltaire. I hope that the august gentleman enjoyed my company. I know that I didn't enjoy his. On previous occasions in my life I have, under trying circumstances, spent lengthy and wearisome nights, but as I recall them, they were mere flashes of time compared to the long, ghostly and dark hours I slept with Voltaire. It was about six o'clock in the evening and I estimated that it would be at least nine in the morning before another party of travellers would be conducted into the vaults of the Pantheon. I made up my mind to spend most of this time in sleep, if such a thing were possible. I stretched out on the cold pavement, alongside of my bed-mate, closed my eyes and tried to imagine that I was in a warm couch and thus hypnotise myself into sleep. My mind refused to transform the hard slab under me into a comfortable mattress. The corpse of Voltaire was haunting my brain and the stillness of the tomb nearly drove me insane. The long hours wore away while I lay awake, my mind full of hideous thoughts and imaginations. About midnight I dozed off from pure mental exhaustion and spent the rest of the night the victim of the most gruesome and ghastly dreams any man ever had. I awoke at six o'clock, only to spend three more hours in this fearful prison cell. I was literally buried alive. Shortly[Pg 256] after nine I heard the clump of feet and chatter of voices and I knew a group of tourists was approaching. My spirits were immediately transformed. In a minute the tourists stood before my tomb. The door was unlocked and I rushed out like a wild beast. The attendant stood speechless. The sightseers drew away in fright. A living man leaping from a tomb of the dead! I did not wait to give any explanation or receive congratulations on obtaining my freedom, but bounded down the crypt to the stairs, up to the main floor and out of the Pantheon into the fresh air. Those fifteen hours with Voltaire seemed like a century, and I sauntered down the street with the feeling that Rip van Winkle had nothing on me.

[Pg 257]



Recollections of a jail sentence in the Pantheon were enough to make any man leave town. The next morning I was riding through northern France gazing at the beautiful fields and gently rolling hills from the window of a third-class coach. I was bound for London. At Calais I filed by the immigration officials with the rest of the third-class passengers before I was allowed on board the ship sailing for Dover. This is an indignity which the American tourist who travels first- or second-class does not have to undergo.

The soft outline of England's shore appeared through the mist of the channel, and as I stood on the deck of the steamer I turned over in my mind the fact that my trip would soon be over. A few weeks' roaming in the British Isles and I thought I would be on my way across the Atlantic. But with a foot-loose traveller anything is likely to happen—and England proved no exception in having a surprise for me which upset my vague plans and entirely changed my course.

It is only a few hours from Dover to London and the road passes through picturesque country scenery.[Pg 258] The green fields and meadows, the fat, wholesome sheep, peaceably grazing, the quaint windmills and zig-zag fences and the substantial village houses all made me fall in love with England at once. At dusk I was one of London's seven million. I was now in a land where the people speak a language I had not used very much for some time, and where I would be able to make myself understood without using my hands. I could also eat in almost true American style. England is the only country in Europe where one can get a real breakfast. It was certainly a pleasure to sit down to a bowl of porridge, bacon and eggs and even pancakes after the monotonous rolls and coffee, and occasional jam, of the continent.

That evening I sat in a comfortable arm-chair before a cheerful fire, in a cozy dormitory study of Lincoln College, Oxford. I was the guest of a California friend, an undergraduate of the University. It was a bit of luxury that I thought I had well earned and I looked forward with pleasure to a week of rest and comfort, which I badly needed after my illness in Paris. I felt that such a rest would put me in proper physical trim for resuming my travels.

For seven days I led the life of a plutocrat. I could hardly believe it. I arose each morning at nine o'clock and climbed into a tub of hot water, prepared by a servant; then (among other articles) into a pair of shoes polished by the same individual. After breakfast, served in my room, I would take a stroll about the college grounds with an English cap on my[Pg 259] head, a brier pipe in my mouth and a walking stick in my hand.

Oxford is an ideal place in which to take the rest cure. Beside its academic atmosphere, which one feels immediately, the historic buildings of the several colleges with their graceful spires and sacred associations, the miles of green turf fields for sport and the winding river languidly pursuing its course among the drooping elms, made a scene to which it is easy to become passionately attached, and one in which I lost myself, or rather found myself, completely. Such environment would cure the most helpless invalid. It made a new being of me.

In the afternoon I would watch a game of football, hockey or tennis. I was much impressed by the universality of sport in England, and especially at Oxford. All the students take part in some form of athletics, and the University has provided dozens of hockey, cricket and football fields in addition to many boat houses and facilities for rowing and water sports. I attended the four hundredth meeting of the Davenant Society, a literary organisation of Lincoln College undergraduates, and heard a paper read by the Rev. Dr. Carlyle on William Morris. The members of the society took part in a free discussion of the subject afterwards and many admirable impromptu speeches were made. I heard a debate on Socialism in the Oxford Union, one of the speakers for the negative being a Hindu student. It was the close of the University term and several of the stu[Pg 260]dents were giving celebrations in their rooms. I was a guest at one of these at which the most striking feature was—to me—the large number of empty bottles that were lined up in rows on the centre-table at the close of the function. I was told that this room had been occupied by John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Society, when he was an Oxford undergraduate!

In the chapel of Magdalen College I heard the famous male choir, probably the best in England. I called, one afternoon, on the Cowley fathers—or Society of Saint John the Evangelist, a monastic order of the Church of England—at their mother house in Cowley, a suburb of Oxford. I visited the village of Iffley and saw the ancient church of Saint Mary the Virgin. This edifice is one of the few Norman churches in England, and is a typical example of the twelfth-century village church. I got an insight into English home life by making a trip to Shipton-under-Wychwood to visit relatives of a friend in America. Shipton-under-Wychwood is a representative English village of about eight hundred souls, with an ancient parish church, squire's court and park, and many quaint old English homes. My host lived in a substantial old house with the proper quota of servants. Everything was carried on with, what seemed to an American, an undue amount of ceremony. These good people shunned all modern conveniences, such as telephones, electric[Pg 261] lights, and up-to-date plumbing appliances, considering them vulgar and commonplace.

My high living continued. My Oxford friend accompanied me to London and we both registered at the Inns of Court on Holborn street. This hotel, facing Lincoln Inn Fields, was a pleasant, moderate-priced establishment, and was the only hostelry in which I had stayed which could be ranked as first-class. Of course, I was living beyond my means, but it was out of the question for me to drag my Oxford friend down to my usual plane of living.

I once came across an American from the Middle West travelling in Europe and asked him if he had been to London. He replied that he had, and when I enquired how he liked the National Gallery he looked at me with the intelligence of a cow. I then ventured a query about Saint Paul's Cathedral—and he told me that he had not seen it. I thought I was on a safe footing when I asked for his impressions of Westminster Abbey and Houses of Parliament. He had missed these also.

"What did you see?" I asked.

"Oh, I spent about an hour walking up and down the main street, looking in the store windows."

If this was all there is to "seeing" a European city, why not stay at home on the farm?

My collegiate friend and I had our hands full with the many places we mapped out, and we were far from satisfied when we had leisurely taken them all in. The National, Tate and Wallace Galleries[Pg 262] were on our list. We spent hours in the British Museum. We visited both the Abbey and Saint Paul's several times, as well as countless other churches. We saw the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Cathedral, Hyde Park and so forth. At night we visited the various halls and theatres and on Sundays went to church in the morning and evening, and in the afternoon attended the concerts given under the auspices of the Sunday Concert Society by the Queen's Hall Orchestra.

My money was getting low. Something had to happen—and happen soon. My Oxonian friend left for St. Malo, in northern France, to spend a month studying French. I decided to take stock and find how much money I had. Counting all my cash I found that I had but thirty-five dollars. Over five thousand miles from home, out of work, with no friends and only thirty-five dollars—it meant I was broke. Work in England under normal conditions would be hardly profitable, for I could at best earn only about twenty shillings a week. At this time work was impossible. A great coal strike was on and every line of business was in a very disorganised state, due to the consequent fuel famine. Trains were running intermittently. Factories were closed and the country was full of the starving and the unemployed. I had in mind purchasing a steerage ticket for America or obtaining a job as waiter or deckhand on a trans-Atlantic liner.


St. John's Church, Needham Market

I drifted with the crowds along the Strand. I[Pg 263] continued down Holborn Street and came to Ludgate Circus, where I went into the office of Thomas Cook and Son. There I found a letter from Norway. It was from Mr. Scott Turner, manager of the Arctic Coal Company, offering me a position in Tromso, Norway, and on the island of West Spitzbergen, at one hundred dollars a month and expenses.

This letter was the opening sentence in a volume of adventure.

I had foreseen that my funds would soon run out, and, while in Italy, had written several letters to a number of business concerns asking for work. One of these was to Mr. Scott Turner, whom I had known years ago in Seattle and of whose whereabouts I had lost track. On receipt of Turner's address from my brother in America, I wrote him for a job, telling him that I was working my way around the world, and that being a poor man there was little luxury in it. In his reply he said that he thought he could make use of a man of about my size and shape, and he outlined a most bewildering list of duties. I was to spend two months in Tromso arranging the company's files, running errands and doing general office work. On the first of June I was to sail for Spitzbergen at the expense of the company, where I was to have charge of the mine office, operate the store, look after the supplies in four warehouses and have charge of the commissary department, which fed two hundred and fifty men.[Pg 264] Turner stated that these duties would take up about fifteen hours each day, and that if I was not needed in the mine I could have the rest of the time to myself.

After reading Turner's letter I at once looked up Tromso and Spitzbergen on a map. Tromso I found to be three hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, or four hundred miles farther north than Nome; while Spitzbergen was about one thousand miles from the North Pole. The Arctic Coal Company was an American corporation mining coal on the island of West Spitzbergen and its purchasing office was in Tromso.

Fifteen minutes after reading this letter I was on my way to the Arctic Circle—in a third-class coach going to Newcastle. En route I stopped off for a few days' visit with an uncle of mine, the vicar of the English church in a small village called Needham Market. He had not seen me since I was an infant in Canada, and I suppose that he was curious to see what sort of a specimen his tramp nephew would prove to be. I was, at the same time, anxious to make a good impression on the old gentleman, whom I knew to be full of aristocratic British ideas.

England turned out to be a land in which I was destined to live in luxury. That evening I sat at the vicarage dining table and put away a thoroughly good meal, which included wine and which was served with all the ceremony that an English household could muster. I had no evening clothes. My[Pg 265] uncle thoughtfully dispensed with such garments himself out of consideration for me. I found him to be a high Churchman, a staunch Conservative and a man who gave the impression that he disliked everything American. He considered us a crude lot, with a few virtues but somewhat vulgar and best tolerated at a distance. The Monroe Doctrine was to him like a red rag to a bull. He argued that the population of America was made up of half castes through inter-marriage with negroes, and that our climate was so hot that it produced a lazy race of people. I laughed at such statements and tried to accept his hospitality in as gracious a manner as I could.

He lent me his bicycle and I rode to the neighbouring village of Stowmarket. Here I visited the parish church, obtaining the key of the edifice from the bar-keeper across the road. This obliging person was very courteous and kindly. He conducted me through the church, discoursing on its points of interest and displaying great pride in the building. On the walls of his saloon, behind the bar, were pictures of the church choir and building. He gave me a notice with a list of Lenten services. I bought a drink.

Upon leaving my uncle's he very kindly offered me some money to help defray the expenses of my trip. I did not, however, accept this well-intended assistance.

The road passes through many interesting places[Pg 266] from Needham to Newcastle, and I regretted very much that I was compelled to get nothing but a train-window glimpse of the great cathedrals at Ely, Lincoln, York and Durham. After lodging at Newcastle in a cheap hotel I sailed for Norway as a steerage passenger on the Jupiter, a small steamer belonging to a Norwegian company with the overpowering name of Det Nordenfjeldske Dampskilsselskab. My steerage ticket cost me twenty-five dollars, which left but three dollars to see me through to my destination. I soon discovered that the price of this ticket did not include meals. The journey from Newcastle to Tromso requires seven days, and I was therefore confronted with the problem of stretching three dollars over a period of one week. With this sum I had to buy food from the steerage steward. When it gave out I had to fast.

There are few attractive features connected with Norwegian steerage accommodations, which rival those of Italian ships in their lack of conveniences. But ups and downs were a part of the game, and I recalled with pleasure—and regret—the good meals and beds I had enjoyed during my sojourn in England.

The first morning out, Stavenger, on the coast of southern Norway, hove in sight amid a cluster of snow-clad hills. We had little time for this small town, and after an hour's stop the Jupiter turned her nose towards the north and resumed her journey. At Bergen I tramped down the gangway with my[Pg 267] fellow passengers of the steerage and spent a few hours, during the time our ship was in the harbour, roaming the streets. I found my way in and out among the alleys of the fishy-smelling fish markets and ate some food which I bought, taking advantage of land prices. In Trondhjem I made my way through a snow storm to the Cathedral, returning to the ship by way of the main street, where I laid in a supply of cheese and bread.

The trip along the Norwegian coast is a beautiful one, and our boat slowly wound through the maze of narrow channels and picturesque fjords. For a few hours we would be hemmed in by an endless number of little snow-covered isles on one side, with the abrupt and rugged cliffs of the Norwegian mainland on the other. In a short time we would steam out into the open ocean. The first morning out from Trondhjem we crossed the Arctic Circle. A feeling of intense loneliness came over me and I almost imagined that I was going to another world. The snow-covered mountains and islands, the sharpness of the cold, the absence of any habitations along the coast, the incessant and silent plunging of the ship, the dreary surroundings of the steerage and the emptiness of my stomach, all filled me with the most lonely and forlorn thoughts. Where was I going and what put it into my head to wander to this out-of-the-way corner of the earth?

The problem of food had become a serious one. My money had given out and the supply of pro[Pg 268]visions I had laid in at Trondhjem had all been eaten. The steerage steward had taken a dislike to me, for I had rebelled at the small portions he dealt out in the beginning of the trip, when I had money with which to pay. I tried to make up to him in the hope of a "handout," but instead I nearly got a "kick-out." There was nothing to do but fast until I reached my journey's end.

Late one afternoon, couched in the centre of a vast desert of snow, a small village appeared. Our boat directed her nose towards this dreary and lonesome-looking settlement, and in a short time was alongside the pier. It was Tromso. How glad I was! As soon as the lines were tied and the ship made fast I descended the gangway and set out to find my friend Turner. I didn't have a cent of money and hadn't eaten for two days.

[Pg 269]



On alighting from the ship I took a deep breath of the fishy atmosphere and proceeded up the street lugging my two bags. I was now three hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, and the island town of Tromso was buried in eight feet of snow. I had walked barely ten yards when my feet flew out from under me and I came down with a fearful thud. My two grips fell from my hands and slid about on the slippery snow of the packed street like drops of quicksilver. I gathered my meagre belongings together and started again. Ten yards more—and I fell in the same undignified manner. I thought the eight thousand inhabitants of Tromso were gazing at me, as the crowds on the sidewalks congregated to see the drunken foreigner perform. I tried again to make some progress, but it seemed impossible for me to keep my equilibrium. I nearly became discouraged. A waxed floor is a ploughed field compared to the winter smoothness of a Tromso street.

I found Turner in his room at the Grand Hotel and we were very glad to see one another, for we had not seen each other for four years. To meet up[Pg 270] here in the frozen north made a reunion of two Americans especially cordial.

A Mr. Gilson of Pennsylvania, superintendent of the Arctic Coal Company, was Turner's roommate, and, with my advent, the foreign population of Tromso was raised to three. This scarcity of aliens made us conspicuous members of the community and a great source of curiosity. We three comprised the American staff of the company; and we all lived at the Grand Hotel. The hotel was a three-story frame building buried up to the window sills of the first floor in snow. It was conducted on purely Norwegian lines.

The average inhabitant of Tromso lives on an incessant diet of fish and boiled potatoes, with an occasional piece of cheese or canned "salt horse." Breakfast is almost an unknown meal, and when it does take place it is seldom held earlier than ten o'clock. Dinner follows at two-thirty in the afternoon and supper at nine in the evening. This is a most distressing schedule when one wishes to keep office hours and accomplish some work during the day. By a special arrangement with the proprietor of the hotel we were able to have our breakfast served in our rooms each morning at half-past eight. Cheese and bread being the usual diet, we could not expect any great variety of food at this meal. On their arrival several months ago, Turner had expressed a wish for soft boiled eggs and Gilson for fried eggs, and these, accompanied with bread and[Pg 271] coffee, had been the menu of the initial meal of the day ever since. When I arrived there must have been great confusion in the kitchen among the cooks and waiters to determine what odd notions I might have about eating. However, without consulting me, the maid appeared on my first morning with one soft boiled egg and one fried egg, and this was my assortment for breakfast every day of my month's stay in the hotel.

Bath-tubs seem to be a rarity in Norway, and the town of Tromso had the distinction of possessing one bath house. Our hotel and all private houses, with few exceptions, did not contain a tub. To add to this scarcity, the one bath house only opened its doors to bathers on one day of the week. We American residents were three of its most regular patrons. Bathing in a wash-basin is an unsatisfactory process as well as an extremely awkward one. However, we were forced to this means of cleansing ourselves during the interval that the bath-tubs of the village reposed behind closed doors.

The morning after my arrival I reported for work at the company's office. I was at first assigned to arranging and card indexing a tangled pile of machinery catalogues and supply hand-books. I next prepared a systematic card index of all the articles of merchandise that the company had purchased during the previous years of its existence. I finally became sufficiently familiar with the business to assist in the[Pg 272] buying of the food and mining supplies for the summer season at the mine.

The office was a crowded little space on the ground floor of a frame building on the main street of Tromso, and consisted of three small rooms. In addition to the three Americans the staff included a chief clerk and an office boy. The chief clerk was a Norwegian who had served as an American soldier in the Philippines and who spoke excellent English. He was an invaluable man and acted as the channel through which all business of the office was transacted, for the Americans, not knowing Norwegian, had to have him translate all letters and contracts and interpret all conversations. The office boy was a young native who had acquired a fair smattering of English. Although an industrious lad he was frequently drawn from his work in amazement at what he considered the outlandish and freakish mannerisms of the Americans.

The office was busy buying supplies for the summer and coming winter seasons at the mine on Spitzbergen, making contracts for the sale of coal, chartering ships and hiring men as miners and labourers.

Spitzbergen is entirely frozen in eight months of the year, and the mine had an open season, or time when the coal could be shipped out, of four months. It was necessary to have a winter crew and a summer crew. The winter men, who numbered about one hundred, were now on the island and were out of touch with the world, with the exception of com[Pg 273]munication by means of a wireless station operated by the Norwegian government. This crew did nothing but mine, and the coal was placed in a stock pile alongside of the wharf. A new force of two hundred men was taken to the mine at the opening of the summer season and the huge task of shipping out the coal mined during the winter was undertaken.

The company chartered all its eight boats with the exception of one, the William D. Munroe, which it owned. This ship was in dry-dock undergoing a thorough and expensive overhauling under the numerous and many unnecessary instructions from officials and inspectors of the Norwegian government. The company chartered the other seven tramp steamers at the rate of one hundred and twenty-five dollars a day, procuring them through ship brokers in London and Newcastle.

The coal mined was bituminous with a low percentage of ash and was considered exceptionally good fuel for steamers. The demand for it much exceeded the supply, the production at this time being only twenty-five thousand tons a year, and there was a good market for it at five and six dollars a ton delivered. The larger part of the output was sold to Norwegian steamship companies, most of it being consigned to Christiania, Christiansund, Bergen and Trondhjem. Several cargoes were despatched to Archangel, on the White Sea, for a Russian concern.

Aside from business I found much time to devote[Pg 274] to the social life of Tromso. On the second evening after my arrival I received an invitation to attend a ski-ing party of young men and women. It was the plan to ski over the hills of the island back of Tromso to a small cabin about five miles distant, and there cook a meal over a log fire. I knew nothing about ski-ing and had never seen a pair of ski. When one of my Norwegian acquaintances offered to lend me a pair I was puzzled to know how any one could get over the snow with such fence rails strapped to his feet. I was perfectly willing to learn. I donned the two unfamiliar slats and, assisted by two pretty Norwegian women, who did not understand English, started out on the five-mile trip to the cabin. Ten miles was a long distance for a novice. The party numbered about twenty boys and girls, and they were soon far in the lead while my two female aides tussled with me in the rear. We proceeded smoothly enough (the arms of the two girls around my waist and mine, of course, around theirs) until we came to the first hill. This incline looked about a thousand miles long and almost vertically steep. My escorts were expert at the sport, but they did not have sufficient strength to prevent my causing a catastrophe. We started down the hill and in a few seconds were going at the speed of an express train. I never expected to reach the bottom in anything approaching a dignified position. About fifty yards of such travelling was all I could stand, and then the spill took place. I wasn't man enough to fall by myself,[Pg 275] but had to drag the poor girls down with me. The three of us rolled down the hill together and landed, half buried in the snow, in the most undignified pile I ever was in. The party ahead returned to untangle and dig us out. It was a most intimate affair. One young woman was almost completely concealed, being half submerged in the snow, while I was so irregularly sprawled out on top of her that she had no possible means of being resurrected until I was removed. I, in turn, was pinned down—for the other young woman had one of her nether limbs so securely entwined around my neck that I felt roped to the earth. She, at the same time, was struggling in a vain effort to dislodge one of her ski from the snow where it had penetrated several feet. The three of us were securely anchored, and if we had tried to attain our relative positions by a deliberate plan we could not have been so successful.


The Author's Home in Tromso


Tromso in Summer-time

With the assistance of the rest of the party we were finally unravelled. I arose only to repeat the performance, not with the same resultant intimacy and proximity as in my first experience, however, for the young women arranged to keep at a certain distance and I was allowed to navigate by myself. My courage was not much slackened by the first unhappy incident, for I tackled each hill as it came, although I knew that I should come to grief in the shape of a tangled mass at the bottom. I made a jolly good fool of myself, I know, and at each attempt swept everything before me, dragging down Norwegian[Pg 276] widows, massage artists, fishermen's daughters—and all within arms' reach as I swooped by. This performance continued until we arrived at the cabin.

Soon we were all refreshed by coffee and sandwiches which the girls prepared and we sat around the big log fire singing and smoking. Everybody smoked, women and all, for it is a common thing for the fair sex to use cigarettes in Norway. I dreaded to see the time approach for us to depart, for I knew that our return home would be a repetition of our eventful journey to the cabin. It was two o'clock in the morning and the sun was rising on the distant horizon—and I thought I might show signs of improvement when assisted by daylight. We started back, the leaders of the party very judiciously selecting a course which was not so hilly and which portended a more peaceful journey. It is a rather simple matter to glide along on the level, and the way we returned didn't prove nearly so disastrous as the way we came. I managed to conduct myself fairly well, for the time being.

When we reached the edge of the town, where the hard packed road which led down hill to the main street begins, we all took off our ski and converted them into small sleds by sitting on them and riding into the village. I decided to try this new method. We all strung out at intervals of about twenty feet and started from the summit on a mile shoot into the heart of the town. I managed to begin all right. I had only gone a few yards, how[Pg 277]ever, when the ski beneath me became unmanageable and I could not steer them. We had all acquired a terrific speed. I was sandwiched in between two young women, one sliding a few feet in front of me and the other several paces in the rear, I reached a curve in the road! I lost my ski and continued sliding down the cold and hard road on the seat of my trousers. The next minute over I turned and grabbed the first object with which I came in contact. It was the girl behind me who had overtaken me. I clung to her like a leech and the two of us rolled over for several yards and finally landed in a heap on the side of the road. Another intimate pile. She had lost her ski; her skirts were clustered around her neck; my hat had disappeared—and we lay in the gutter like two pairs of scissors. My feminine associate had her feet extended towards the summit of the hill and mine were pointing towards the town below. We unwound. I got up and assisted her to her feet. We walked the rest of the way to the village.

To be the cause of so much human wreckage was enough to discourage me. However, I made up my mind to persist, for ski-ing was the only outdoor sport in this part of the world. One of the young women condoled with me when she learned that ski-ing was not in vogue in my country, for she thought it was a pity that we had no outdoor sports. During two-thirds of the year there is not a wheeled vehicle to be seen in Tromso, all transportation being con[Pg 278]ducted on sleds and the majority of the inhabitants spending much of their time on ski. Even the five-year-olds are expert at this method of locomotion. I, therefore, decided to learn, in spite of all my reverses, and in a few weeks became so proficient that I welcomed hills and often complained because they were not steep enough.

The company bought a house on the hill and we three Americans moved out of the hotel into a home of our own. Norwegian houses are often arranged in a most inconvenient manner. The second floor seldom contains a hallway, and in order to go from one bed room to another, it is necessary to pass through the private apartment of another member of the household. Very frequently the maid's room is situated in one end of the house, and in order to reach her bed-chamber she has to walk through all the bedrooms. Between all rooms there is a sort of sill about two inches high running the width of the opening upon which the door swings. One would think that the occupants of such houses would become accustomed to these obstructions and learn to step over them. But this is not the case, for Norwegians are continually falling over the sills. On one occasion an officer in the Norwegian army, who had just completed a call on us, was making his ceremonious and prolonged farewell. With each deep bow he would step back towards the door. He receded until he toppled over backwards on one of these senseless sills. The poor chap gathered him[Pg 279]self together and left without saying a word. He was the most embarrassed man I ever saw.

Our house was destitute of furniture, and, as there was not much of a line of this commodity in town, we spent many evenings as carpenters and painters, making tables, beds and chairs with lumber we purchased from a local merchant. Now that we were in our own home we re-arranged our mode of living by changing our hours of eating and sleeping. We adopted a menu which conformed more nearly to what Americans usually eat. We also did a little entertaining. We decorated the walls of our house with pictures we cut from the covers of American magazines and hung up curtains which we imported from England.

The most elaborate social function I had the pleasure of attending was a house dance given at the home of one of the doctors of the town. My two American friends and I arrived at the party at about nine o'clock. The other guests were all present. As we entered the host and hostess were introducing each one in turn to the others who were lined up in a row at one end of the room. It is the custom to address a man by prefixing his vocation to his name, and this manner of designating each one was used during the introductions. Engineer Hansen, Coppersmith Johnsen and Fisherman Olsen were all introduced in this way. The three Americans were simply addressed as "Mister."

It was remarkable to notice the number of people[Pg 280] who could speak good English in Tromso. A few of them had acquired their knowledge by visits to England, but the majority had learned the language in the schools of the town. I met one woman who had never been south of the Arctic Circle who spoke English almost perfectly. There were a number at the doctor's dance who spoke the language fluently.

After every one was thoroughly introduced, folding doors were opened, and on tables in the adjoining room stood the most sumptuous supper any man ever saw. The food was served in buffet fashion, and each one was requested to help himself to the endless variety of eatables spread before us. Chicken, fish, sandwiches, salads, cakes and fruits were piled on this table in such abundance that it looked like the assemblage of a dozen Christmas dinners. Liquid cheer was so plentiful that one almost believed all the booze in town was concentrated in this one room. Every conceivable form of liquor was on exhibition, and it would be a most fastidious drinker who could not find something to suit his taste. Beer, several kinds of wine, punch, whiskey and even gin were arrayed before us like the choice liquors in a millionaire brewer's cellar.

The sight of this bountiful feast nearly paralysed me. I at first thought it was a dream, and it took several minutes before I was aware that it was real food and drink. To come up from the steerage to such a grand meal as this was nothing short of a[Pg 281] miracle. I dived in and—with the rest of the guests—ate heartily.

The Norwegians confine themselves to square dances, somewhat similar to the Lancers, and to the waltz. This last dance is very much like the American step, with much more of a hop to it and a larger interval between the man and his partner. I insisted on teaching several of the women to two-step. They were very pleased with it, but had difficulty in becoming accustomed to such proximity to their partner. One woman became very fond of this near feature, but insisted on my resuming a distant position as we passed her husband, who was seated at one end of the room. Those who didn't care to dance played cards and smoked. The dainty way in which the women handled their cigarettes killed any prejudice I had nourished about the feminine use of tobacco.

One meal during an evening is evidently not considered sufficient in Norway, for at four in the morning the same folding doors were opened and another array of refreshments lay spread before us. The second assortment was by no means the scraps of the previous meal. It was an entirely new lot of a different variety, and consisted of pudding, cake and coffee. All the participants had danced so diligently that they had acquired new appetites, and the food was all consumed as though it were the only lot of refreshments served at the party. This second feast was the customary conclusion of Tromso social func[Pg 282]tions. Farewells followed, and the guests departed. We Americans arrived home at six o'clock, changed our clothes, concluded that it was useless to go to bed and went directly to the office for the day's work. The dancing party was a great success, and I could easily have imagined it a New York affair instead of an Arctic Zone function.

It was now only a couple of weeks before the company's boat, Munroe, was scheduled to make its initial trip to the mine on Spitzbergen. The office staff had an immense amount of work to dispose of in this time. Men from all parts of Norway were slowly drifting into Tromso to sign contracts for summer employment. Supplies were being rushed in. A new propeller shaft for the Munroe was en route from England. Cabin fixtures were being installed and many matters were being adjusted to comply with the maritime regulations of the Norwegian government before the ship would be permitted to leave port.

The last week several American engineers and their wives began to arrive. Turner had made arrangements for these experienced men, and they had signed contracts with the company for a period of two years. A score of English miners, who had been engaged through a British labour bureau, also arrived.

With the influx of Norwegian miners and labourers the streets of Tromso were thronged with drunken, fishy and rough-looking men, and the sail[Pg 283]ing of the Munroe for the far North was the most discussed topic in town.

Two days before the scheduled time for her departure the Munroe was launched from the dry-dock and crews were kept busy loading her with supplies of provisions and other merchandise. Twenty men were put to work building bunks in the hatchways for the miners, and the final touches were rushed to completion.

At midnight on the 25th of May everything was ready. About one hundred Norwegian peasants filed up the gangway and boarded the ship. They were the most forlorn set of adults I ever saw. I should have said one hundred drunks—for I don't believe that there was one entirely sober man among them. Some were completely out as the result of a week's intoxication and had to be packed aboard like sacks of bran. Fifty were conducted from the town jail by several policemen, assisted by Superintendent Gilson and myself. They had been locked up on account of disorderly conduct and had been in prison awaiting the departure of the Munroe.

At four o'clock in the morning every one was aboard, and the little ship, loaded to her water line and carrying a hundred helpless inebriates, turned her bow towards the North Pole and started on her way.

[Pg 284]



The steamer Munroe was the first boat this year to penetrate the frozen north, and her departure was looked upon as an event of great importance, for an early season trip was one full of uncertainties. The condition of the sea in the vicinity of North Cape and Spitzbergen was unknown until reported by the first vessel in. A severe winter would mean a difficult voyage, while a mild season would render the passage comparatively easy. The trip from Tromso to Advent Bay, where the company's mines are located, had varied in length, in past years, from three days to five weeks, depending on the amount of ice surrounding the island of West Spitzbergen. We had sailed, therefore, fully provided with supplies for the limit of the time required to make the journey. The Munroe was completely equipped for Arctic Ocean travel, and had been built to meet all conditions encountered in the seas of the Far North. She was a small steamer, being only about two hundred feet long, and resting very low in the water—her stern deck being but four feet above the surface when loaded to her full capacity. She had been especially designed for navigation in the icy seas of[Pg 285] this region. Attached to her main mast was a "crow's nest," a sort of barrel-shaped device which looked like a preacher's pulpit. From this point one of the crew constantly kept watch for icebergs and pieces of float ice. Her bow was re-enforced with a solid mass of hard oak, fourteen feet thick, which was covered with a heavy band of steel. By reason of this solid bow she was equipped so that she could ram the ice and loosen large chunks which would float away. Her crew comprised experienced Arctic sailors and her captain was a kind-hearted old Norwegian who had served as skipper on ships of the northern seas for twenty years. In addition the steamer was well provided with sixteen large life-saving boats, each with a capacity of fifteen passengers.

It was bitterly cold the morning we left Tromso, and the trip through the narrow fjords leading to the open sea was calm and peaceful. The early morning hours seemed to lend a stillness to our departure which made one feel as though he were attending a funeral. At noon we were well out to sea, travelling directly north, and, with the exception of the intense cold, there was nothing to indicate that we were not on an ordinary ocean voyage in the temperate zone.

Towards evening the drunken miners down the forward hatch began to sober up and gradually come on deck. With their appearance there was a demand for heavy socks, boots, underwear, shirts, wind-proof[Pg 286] coats and trousers. As the handling of these articles belonged to my department I was kept busy for several hours, assisted by my Norwegian clerks, dealing out wearing apparel to the men. The upper deck of the ship was transformed into a temporary store, and as each man filed by he was given what articles he needed, together with a store tag, a duplicate of which was retained in order to charge the amount of the purchase against his account—to be deducted from his first pay-check.

The second morning we sighted Bear Island, a lonely, uninhabited piece of land rising abruptly out of the ocean about midway between Norway and Spitzbergen. We saw an occasional chunk of float ice which had broken loose from the ice pack farther north and was drifting carelessly towards the south only to melt away when it came in contact with the Gulf Stream. We were awakened the next morning by the crashing of the bow of the ship against the ice. I went up on the bridge and as far as my eye could reach I could see nothing but countless pieces of float ice, varying in area from a few feet to the size of an acre lot. It was an inspiring sight—both fore and aft an endless expanse of white broken here and there by the irregular streaks of the blue water. For two days the patient ship ploughed her way through this creaking and cracking mass. Occasionally she would sail into a space of open sea, and in a few minutes would again be completely surrounded by an ocean of ice which rubbed and knocked[Pg 287] against her sides with the wheezing sound of the ice-man's saw.


Pack Ice in Ice Fjord


Twenty Miles from Land

The captain said that we were making fine progress, and if nothing unforeseen occurred should arrive in Ice Fjord in the morning. All on board were aroused early by the fearful charging of the ship. We were now well within the fjord alongside of the fast ice. The boat would get up steam, proceed ahead at full speed, plunge into the ice, draw back and plunge again at a little distance away. By this process a large piece of ice would be loosened and would slowly drift off. All the morning the Munroe battered the ice in this manner. Finally we reached a point where the captain considered that the ice was secure enough to tie to. Stakes were driven, lines extended and the ship made fast.

We were now about twenty miles from shore. The little black ship was nestled in a bed of snowy down. Ice Fjord was a solid mass of ice. The steep and snow-clad mountains of Spitzbergen surrounded us like a cluster of marble cathedral spires, and the glacier-choked valleys looked like frozen and motionless rivers. It was a dream in snow. At first there appeared to be no signs of life, and the death-like silence made one sure that it was a new world. In the midst of this dreary expanse of ice and snow the little veteran ship of the Arctic, hugging its frozen wharf, stood like a messenger from another planet, bearing greetings to the bleak and uninhabited land around us. The first signs of life shortly[Pg 288] came into sight. Here and there, at irregular intervals, we saw seals and sea lions dotting the ice like flies on a white ceiling. A flock of geese flew overhead and as soon as our advent had been heralded to the inhabitants of the air, droves of reaper hovered about the ship to welcome us to their frigid home. Thousands of these fearless birds, to whom the report of a gun was unknown, gathered about us and formed a sea of blackness in the open space at the stern of the ship.

There was no time to lose, and once the ship was made fast two men were detailed to proceed to the mine and notify the winter superintendent of our arrival. The hundred and fifty men were getting their belongings together for their march to the camp. In a short time one could see this small army of men creeping like a huge caterpillar over the twenty-mile stretch of ice to the mine. Superintendent Gilson and I remained with the ship, making preparations for the unloading of the cargo and awaiting the arrival of the sleds from the camp.

We couldn't resist the temptation, and towards evening we went hunting. From the deck of the ship we landed a goodly bag of reaper for our evening meal. We would shoot into the black mass of these trim little ducks that clustered about the boat, and with each shot the innocent creatures would momentarily flutter and then close up the gap. Every time we fired we killed half-a-dozen birds and shortly we had a sufficient number to feed the ship's crew. It[Pg 289] was like slaying little babes, and as soon as we had enough for dinner we stopped the heartless slaughter.

There are no barbers on Spitzbergen. Seated on a stool on the stern of the ship I allowed Superintendent Gilson to shingle my rustry locks with a pair of clippers provided by the company. I didn't realise how intensely cold it was until the sharp currents of the Arctic began to circulate around my ears in the paths made by the moving hand of the superintendent. One complete run of the clippers up the back of my head was all I could stand at one time, and in I would run to warm myself by the stove in the mess-room. In a minute I would return to let the work continue, only to speed back to the stove again. Dinner was on the table and the little mess-room could not be turned into a barber-shop. After half an hour the job was finished. It was Gilson's first attempt at anything in the tonsorial line. On gazing into the mirror to inspect the work I concluded that he should have been a winding stair-maker. The most skilled mechanic could not have made a more perfect set of steps.

In the morning half-a-dozen sleds drawn by horses could be seen making their way towards the ship. Occasionally one of the horses would step on a soft or melted spot in the ice and sink in for several feet. Finally one of the poor animals disappeared beneath the ice and was completely submerged in the freezing water. After a twenty-minute struggle, aided[Pg 290] by its team-mate which had been hitched in such a manner as to render assistance, the brave beast was brought to the surface of the ice.

The sleds reached the ship and the place became a scene of great activity, discharging the cargo and loading it again for transportation across the ice to the mine.

Gilson and I left the work in charge of the captain and about noon set out across the ice to the camp. Gilson went in the lead a few paces to select the way and avoid the soft and treacherous-looking water holes. Distance on the ice was very deceiving. We had walked for two hours, and the mountains seemed to be as far away as ever. We proceeded on for two hours more and still our destination seemed no nearer. However, we knew we were making progress, for the Munroe, in the rear, looked like a small row boat and became smaller and smaller as we continued until she disappeared from view. We tramped on over this vast expanse of ice. At eight o'clock in the evening we reached the shore. We walked over the hill about a mile, and in a few minutes were in the little camp. Turner and the other members of the American staff had arrived the day before and had prepared a big dinner for us. Gilson and I sat down at the table in the little cottage which served as headquarters for the Americans, and ate one of the finest meals of our lives. Roast reindeer, killed by a member of the camp the day before, made a great filling for two hungry and frozen men.

[Pg 291]

The Spitzbergen archipelago is another "No-Man's Land." It belongs to no country. The Arctic Coal Company, incorporated under the laws of Massachusetts, owns about forty-five thousand acres on the island of West Spitzbergen, which it acquired by staking out claims and which it holds by the moral protection of the United States. A British company has several thousand acres of coal lands on the same island which it abandoned a number of years ago. There is a marble quarry on the east coast operated by an English concern. At Green Harbour, near the entrance of Ice Fjord, the Norwegian government conducts a wireless plant, and near by there is a Swedish whaling station. There are no native inhabitants of Spitzbergen, and its population, numbering about three hundred and fifty in the summer season and two hundred in the winter, is made up of those engaged at the several places I have enumerated.

The islands of Spitzbergen are coveted by the three Scandinavian countries of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Russia is also desirous of adding them to her vast domain. Each year a council, made up of representatives from each of these nations, meets in Stockholm, Christiania or Copenhagen and discusses ways and means to settle the question of their disposal. Nothing definite has ever been accomplished, and without the approval of Great Britain and America, whose properties make them big factors, the problem bids fair to remain undecided for[Pg 292] some time. As a result of this situation Spitzbergen does not possess a local government of any kind. It is a land where might is right. There are no laws, no police and no means to enforce order. Manager Turner was the ruler and executive in our part of the island, and any regulations that existed had been instituted by him.

Eight months of the year the islands are entirely frozen in; their steep mountains are covered with snow, their valleys filled with immense glaciers and their interior is one endless waste of ice. During the summer months the fjords and bays of the southern part are freed of ice, the mountains shed their white mantles and the hillsides burst forth with the bloom of millions of little wild flowers of many varieties, which, with the abundant fresh green grass, present a most beautiful picture. I once read a booklet descriptive of Spitzbergen in which the trees were stated to be only two inches high. This is literally true. None of the vegetation attains a greater height than two inches, but it is doubtful whether these miniature plants should be dignified to the extent of being called trees.


The First Load for Shore

Advent Bay, on whose shores the camp of the company is situated, is a small body of water and is on the northeastern side of Ice Fjord, of which it is a part. The company has a wharf with coal bunkers which is not accessible for steamers until the ice breaks and flows out—about the first of July each year. The camp consists of a store, a mess pavilion,[Pg 293] a power plant, four warehouses, the manager's cottage and about a dozen bunk-houses for the men. This little settlement is called Longyear City, being named after the president of the company, and its inhabitants proudly boast that it is the most northerly city in the world, thus cold-heartedly snatching this distinction from Hammerfest, on the northern coast of Norway. Hammerfest is a town of five thousand people and is described in tourist literature as being the nearest municipality to the North Pole. Longyear City is seven hundred and twenty-five miles from the Pole, and therefore has Hammerfest beaten for the honour by nearly a thousand miles!

Twenty small frame buildings comprised the total number of dwellings that the little snow-clad village could muster, and these were all the property of the Arctic Coal Company. On the sides of the small houses were nailed the hides of polar bears, killed by the miners during the winter, and the walls inside were decorated with the skins of the white fox, an animal whose fur is as white as snow and as soft as a baby's cheek. The mine was about fifteen hundred feet above the camp on the side of a hill and was connected from below by a zig-zag trail. The coal was conveyed to the stock pile on the shore of the bay by means of an aerial tramway about one mile in length. Supplies were transported from the store to the mine by an incline. The mine was simply a horizontal hole in the ground, about two thousand seven hundred feet long, and an elevator was an un[Pg 294]known device to this dark tunnel. The roofs of the drifts were frozen and numerous icicles hung down in such a manner that the huge cavern looked like a grotto in fairy land.

On the arrival of the summer crew the winter superintendent turned the direction of the camp over to Manager Turner. The one hundred men who had spent the eight months of the winter at the mine immediately started across the ice to the Munroe, which, the following day, was to take them back to Norway. There was no end of work to be done. I organised the office, instructed the German bookkeeper to open a set of accounts and started the "Mulligan" to feed the two hundred and fifty men. My biggest job was taking an inventory of all supplies in the camp. The stock in the store had to be listed first, and this task was begun and completed the night of my arrival; in the morning we were open for business. This little mercantile establishment was a grocery store, hardware store, butcher shop, dry goods store, boot shop and haberdashery all in one. Everything was displayed on its shelves, from a needle to a miner's drill. Hairpins and cheese, socks and salmon, nails and raisins, boots and bacon, leather vests and condensed milk, shovels and cold storage eggs, were all piled together like an assortment in an American junk shop. The morning its doors opened nearly the whole camp of two hundred and fifty men made a run on the place, crowding before its counter and scrambling to be waited on[Pg 295] by the two Norwegian clerks. Each man wanted to outfit himself so that he could go to work the next day. Much confusion resulted because of the many duplications of names, and many accounts were charged to the wrong man. There were a score of Ole Olesens, a dozen Johan Jensens, a half-dozen Johan Johnsens and several each of Johnsons, Johannesens and what not. We finally had to rename each man whose customary designation caused confusion with those of his fellow workers.

The inventory of the supplies in the four warehouses was the big task. Before we could even get possession of the articles to tabulate and price them we were compelled to dig them out of the ice with picks and shovels. I had a crew working for nearly a week excavating dynamos, engines, barrels of oil, mine implements and so forth, before it was possible to know what we had in stock. Then there were supplies in the mine, transformer houses with electrical appliances, powder sheds and three dynamite houses, which all had to be listed and priced. The new supplies, as they arrived from Tromso, had to be inventoried and placed away. With the fresh fish and meat which the company's boats brought from Norway, the fifty mine cars from America, the hundreds of steel rails for new tracks about the camp, the thousands of feet of lumber for construction of buildings, the fixtures for the wireless plant the company was to install, the hundreds of packages of cheese, sacks of flour, beans, potatoes, canned goods[Pg 296] and other provisions—my assistants and I were kept busy from six o'clock in the morning until eleven each evening. We were installing a new warehouse card system, and each article in the camp had to be entered and priced. We took no time off at noon except to eat; we worked Sundays, and only laid off for a half hour on the Fourth of July to play baseball.

The miners were paid six kroner a day, and from this amount a krone and a half was deducted for their board. One krone is equal to twenty-seven cents of American money. These wages were nearly double what they were accustomed to receiving in Norway for the same sort of work. However, this comparatively generous pay did not satisfy them, and at the end of the first week they all went on a strike. A walk-out was a serious thing. The company was under contract to deliver coal to several concerns in Norway, and it was paying one hundred and twenty-five dollars a day rental for each of its seven ships and could not afford to permit any of them to be idle. Advent Bay was now clear of ice, and there were three chartered steamers at anchor taking on coal for transportation to Norwegian ports.

The miners demanded that they be paid six kroner a day and free board. After a day's conference with two representatives from the men, the management agreed to the raise on the condition that they would[Pg 297] be satisfied for the rest of the summer season. The men accepted these terms and returned to work.

The Munroe arrived on her second trip from Tromso, bringing the remainder of the summer crew. This lot of men consisted of about seventy-five Norwegians, several Russians, Laplanders and Finns. Among the Finns were three labour agitators. These men immediately set to work to stir up trouble and in a short time were successful in again causing dissatisfaction among the miners. The result was a second strike, in which the men demanded a raise of two kroner a day. This would bring their wages up to eight kroner and board. Such an advance was out of the question. The management absolutely refused the demands and discharged every striker in the camp. A complete walk-out followed.

The next three days were exciting ones. The manager instructed me to have the office prepare the accounts of all the men and issue them pay checks which they were to present to the Tromso office for their money. It was his plan to ship the whole crowd back to Norway. There was not a ship in the harbour, and it would be several days before one returned from Norway. In the meantime the work of the accounts went on. The German bookkeeper and I, assisted by two Americans, worked forty-eight hours without a wink of sleep.

Manager Turner expected violence, and each one of the eight Americans was provided with a pistol. There being no policemen on the island, each man[Pg 298] had to become an officer. Watches were formed and two men remained up all night to see that no trouble was started. One man was assigned to guard a batch of supplies down the coast about five miles, where they had been unloaded from the Munroe, and another was delegated to keep an eye on the several dynamite houses. The two hundred and fifty Norwegians, Swedes, Russians, Laplanders and Finns gathered in groups about the camp or paraded up and down the main road carrying red flags, shouting and jeering. The little camp was in a state of high tension, and we eight Americans didn't know when the minute might arrive that would force us to battle for our lives.

The company each year took precautions for such an uprising, and it was a regulation that no firearms be allowed on the island. The men were searched as they boarded the steamer at Tromso. But in spite of this inspection a number of pistols were always smuggled in by the miners. It was not the fear of the guns that caused the Americans so much apprehension, but the thought that the strikers might storm the dynamite sheds. With each man armed with a twenty-five pound box of nitro-glycerine, they could attack the staff house and blow us all into eternity in one minute, swear themselves to secrecy and the world would never know a thing about it.

The strikers would gather about the manager's cottage, and it would seem that the crisis was about to take place. From a staff on the cottage an Amer[Pg 299]ican flag was flying, and this was a continual source of temptation to the miners. Turner had decided, in case they pulled down the Stars and Stripes, to go quietly out in their midst and calmly hoist it up again. In the event of their insulting it the second time he would instruct the Americans to fight—and it would have been a fight to the death.

Three days under such circumstances seemed like three years. All day the demonstrations on the part of the men kept our little band ready for any emergency. The wives of two of the Americans were in camp on a short visit from Tromso, and they confined themselves to the staff house, where they no doubt served as an element restraining the strikers from violence.

One night I stood at the door of the office along towards twelve o'clock, and by the misty light of the midnight sun I could see several pairs of the miners skulking up the valley towards the giant glacier; others were sneaking quietly along in the vicinity of the mine, and still others were walking slowly along the docks. The strikers were organised and had their night watches as well as the Americans.

The third morning of the strike the accounts were completed. Each man came into the office for his pay-check. In this way we had an opportunity to talk to them apart from their fellow workmen. Fully two-thirds of them stated that they were not in sympathy with the strike, but were afraid to rebel for fear of being injured or killed by the leaders. The[Pg 300] strikers kept two men at the office door checking each man as he went in and out. Several of the miners had not worked long enough for their wages to offset their purchases at the store and owed the company money. This, of course, was lost.

Late in the afternoon of the third day of the strike two of the chartered ships arrived in the bay from Norway. Orders were issued for them to get in readiness to transport the whole gang of miners back to Tromso that evening. The crews built bunks in the hatchways and supplies were put on board. By dusk the ships were ready for their unruly passengers.

Before going aboard the strikers paraded about the camp, scouring the place for deserters. They were determined to make a clean-up of every labourer of any kind, and in this way tie us up completely. They threatened to kill one man who attempted to hide himself in the power house. To save this man's life the captain of one of the ships locked him up in a cabin. The strikers finally boarded the two boats. The whistles blew and they were off for Tromso. The camp was almost deserted. Under my instructions the cooks had hidden up the valley in the vicinity of the glacier, and thus the culinary department was kept intact—which was something.

With the strikers shipped out, a feeling of relief descended upon us. The manager had a tremendous burden taken from his shoulders and each man displayed a tired but smiling face instead of the wor[Pg 301]ried expression of the three past days. All the office hands turned to and became miners, rushing the work to load the incoming ships.


The Ice Pack from the Crow's Nest

If the management had complied with the demands of the strikers the report would have circulated through Norway that the Arctic Coal Company was an easy mark, and the mine would have become the rendezvous for all the labour agitators and riff-raff miners in the country. The day after the departure of the strikers Turner sent a wireless message to the Tromso office advising the Norwegian in charge of the strike and informing him that the whole crew was on its way to Norway to be paid off. Turner anticipated that the advent of this gang might cause a disturbance in Tromso, and that they might raid the company's office. He therefore made arrangements with the government to close the samlag, or federal liquor house, and to have the militia in readiness for trouble. He cabled a list of the names of the men who owed the company money for store purchases with instructions to attach their personal possessions and place them under arrest.

The Norwegian in charge of the Tromso office had a difficult situation to handle. However, he carried out Turner's instructions to the letter. The two ships with the strikers arrived in Tromso; twenty of the men were immediately arrested; the militia was on hand to maintain order and the samlag was closed and there was no booze.

Two Norwegian clerks were despatched to Nor[Pg 302]way to go into the country villages and engage another crew of miners. In two weeks a new set of men began to arrive at the mine, and at the end of a month a complete force was on hand and the work was proceeding as though nothing had happened.

The company's little store occasionally had distinguished customers. I found the Norwegian clerk selling a large consignment of goods one afternoon to two Englishmen. They engaged me in conversation and asked me many questions about the mine and the camp. They were curious to know what brought me to this far-away land, and our talk naturally drifted around to my world trip. They became interested at once.

They were out on a hunting expedition in the vicinity of Spitzbergen. One of the blades of the propeller of their steam yacht had been broken on a piece of float ice and they had come into Advent Bay to get it repaired at the company's machine shop. I invited them to dinner at the staff house. They declined, as the repairs to their boat were nearly complete and they wanted to get under way as soon as possible. They valued my invitation, and as they took their leave asked me to be their guest in England on my return trip to America. They presented me with their cards. "Sir Philip L. Brocklehurst, Swythamley Park, Macclesfield, The Bath Club," was the inscription on one and Sir Something Mitford on the other. I was mingling with two of England's noblemen, young fellows who had acquired[Pg 303] their titles by inheritance. The rest of my stay on the island I was known as the "King."

I had now been with the Arctic Coal Company four months and had four hundred dollars saved. I hoped to meet my father in Toronto, Canada, in a few weeks and go with him to California. One morning about four o'clock I boarded one of the company's coal freighters and started for Norway.

[Pg 304]



The company's coal steamer brought me safely to Tromso. What a wonderful transformation had taken place during my two months' absence. Tromso had discarded her dreary winter garments and was now arrayed in a mantle of summer gladness. Her gentle slopes were covered with green grass and myriads of little wild flowers literally danced as they thrust their tiny faces towards the deep blue sky. Trees were in leaf, the air was crisp and clear and birds were singing. The atmosphere rang with the joy of summer time and the snow-bound village of the winter was a glorious symphony of beauty and happiness. I wanted to remain there the rest of my life.

But I was now homeward bound. My whole object was to reach Toronto, where I was to meet my father, by the quickest and cheapest route.

It was my plan to go by train through Sweden to Stockholm. My steamer for Narvik, the beginning of the railroad, did not leave for a day, during which I remained in Tromso. That evening I spent with several of my Norwegian friends at the Grand Hotel eating, drinking and making merry. In the midst of[Pg 305] our good time, about ten o'clock, one of the bell boys presented me with a note. This little communication was from one of Norway's many Mr. Ole Olesens. This particular Ole Olesen was one of Tromso's butchers, from whom the company had purchased most of the meat for the mine. He was showing me a courtesy by asking me to go fishing with him about midnight. To engage in such a pastime at such an hour struck me as an odd thing to do. With the assistance of one of my native friends I wrote Mr. Olesen a cordial note—declining.

Anyway, I had another engagement for the rest of the evening. I called on the wife of a Norwegian army captain and a woman companion of hers. Her husband was in Christiania, two thousands miles away. On a previous occasion the captain's wife had told me through an interpreter that I was the finest man she ever knew. This sort of flummery was new stuff to me. Making love through an interpreter is a very unsatisfactory process, even if it is to another man's wife.

Whatever admiration this woman may have had for me was completely dispelled, I thought, by the displeasure she manifested on the occasion of this call. I had some difficulty in ascertaining what her grievance was, but finally learned that she was provoked at the method I had pursued in entering her house. I couldn't find the gate in front of her residence, so I climbed over the fence. My object was[Pg 306] to get in and I had no time to spend searching for gates if such entrances were not in the places they should be. To climb over a fence at eleven o'clock at night in the light of the midnight sun was a fearful breach of Norwegian good form. What would the neighbours say to see a man entering her house in this strange manner at such an hour, when her husband was away? I left her house, disgraced.

I was on board the steamer for Narvik. The boat was swinging away from the Tromso pier. My displeased friend of the night before came running down the street to bid me farewell. By the time she reached the wharf I was beyond speaking distance—my boat was out in the stream. We could do nothing but wave handkerchiefs. I waved until my arms were tired and the lady was out of sight. I borrowed a pair of field glasses, and as long as I could see the poor woman continued waving. She may be waving yet. She had forgiven me for the fence episode. Hers was the first broken heart I had left behind me on the whole trip.

A dreary journey in a third-class compartment of a Swedish train brought me from Narvik to Stockholm. I saw this beautiful city as a real tourist. I was a comparatively rich man with the money I had earned in Tromso and Spitzbergen, and I lavished it rather extravagantly in an effort to crowd the interesting points of Stockholm into a short time.


The Munroe Alongside the Ice—60 Miles from Land


Longyear City, Spitzenbergen—700 Miles from the North Pole

I sailed from Gottenborg for Hull as an honest passenger of the steerage. My fellow travellers[Pg 307] were Swedish, Danish and Norwegian immigrants bound for America. Being the only member of the steerage without a through ticket to New York, I was called before the captain of the ship, the second day out, for a cross-examination. He asked me several personal questions. I feigned that I was not used to such humiliation, and the generous-looking skipper said that he would leave my case to the English authorities.

When the ship docked at Hull, the cattle of the steerage were instructed to congregate in the mess-room for inspection. Presently a group of five British immigration officials entered the room. They were all dressed in blue uniforms with brass buttons, and these brass buttons seemed the biggest thing about them to me.

"Where is the tramp from Sweden?" gruffly asked one of them, directing his question to the captain of the ship.

"I presume I am the man for whom you are looking," I volunteered in as excellent English as I could command. I was standing beside the officer and he seemed somewhat perplexed when a response to his question came in the words of his own language from an unshaved tramp. The Swedish authorities had cabled to the immigration headquarters at Hull that I was on the boat, and I was thus assured of a reception.

"Are you a Swede?" was the officer's next question as he turned his eyes on me.

[Pg 308]

"Do I look like one?" was my flippant reply.

"What nationality are you, then?" he enquired sternly.

"I am an American."

"Where are you going?"

"I am going to America as fast as I can get there."

"How much money have you in your possession?"

"I have enough."

"I want to know the actual amount," said the officer impatiently.

"About sixty pounds."

The officer conducted me into an adjoining cabin and there I had to dig into my pockets, pull out my money (which I had converted into English coin in Stockholm) and prove to his satisfaction that I had some real wealth in my possession.

"I think this thing has gone about far enough," I said. "I am not a pauper and am well able to take care of myself. There is no need to suspect that I will become a public charge. This sixty pounds is as much as any one of you makes in a whole year. I realise that you are simply carrying out the immigration regulations and doing your duty, but why can't you exercise a little discretion and let a man, who is well able to take care of himself, go on his way without all this nonsense?" This complaint of mine seemed to bring the Britisher to his senses and with a few remarks in conclusion I was allowed to land; not, however, until I had promised to go di[Pg 309]rectly across to Liverpool and take the first steamer for America.

In five minutes I was going towards London at sixty miles an hour. The first boat from Liverpool to Quebec did not leave for a couple of days, and I decided to spend this time in the metropolis in spite of the instructions of the immigration officials.

Nearly three years of travel had reduced my wardrobe to a shabby lot of garments, and I was afraid of being arrested for vagrancy. I wandered into a men's furnishing store on Holborn Street and purchased a complete new outfit, including a Scotch tweed suit and two English caps. I was now equipped to travel to California with my father properly dressed.

That evening I put on all my new clothes, hopped into a taxicab and was off to make a call. I alighted at Fulham Palace and presented to the servant at the door a card of introduction to the Bishop of London, which I had received from the chaplain of the British legation in Peking. In a minute the servant informed me that Bishop Ingram was absent from the city and was not expected for two weeks. I was sorry. I wished to end up by interviewing a Lord Bishop.

I cabled my father in California that I would meet him in Toronto on August 17th, and left from Paddington station for Liverpool. I bought a through ticket from London to Liverpool by rail, thence to[Pg 310] Quebec by steamer and finally to Toronto on a colonial train—all for six pounds.

At Liverpool I boarded the Tunisian of the Allan line and in a few minutes was lost in the hold of the ship among the two thousand English and Irish emigrants. My three cabin-mates were East End cockneys and they might as well have been Comanche Indians—for I was unable to understand their peculiar twang for a couple of days. The food was a substantial sort of stuff but was served as though the eaters were animals. And, as a matter of fact, the eaters were quite capable of playing the rôle of any trough-fed beast. "Pass the bloody jam" and "shoot the bleeding bread" were the customary phrases employed in asking for food. Profane and obscene expressions, which are not fit for print, although considered proper for the ears of the women of the steerage, were used at the table as so many platitudes. Seamstresses, Irish mill hands, English servants, cobblers, mechanics, barbers and an endless assortment of skilled and unskilled labourers of Great Britain were on their way to Canada to begin life over again.

After the first two days of sea-sickness were over, the fun on board ship began. Restraint and feminine modesty were cast to the winds, and the man who wasn't good enough to get a lover wasn't worth taking along. The women "fell" for anybody. "Down the bloody hatches" and on the "bleeding deck" and in every nook and corner were lovers. It was prob[Pg 311]ably the most brazen exhibition of spooning I ever saw. It was a case of wrestle and osculate from morning until night regardless of how many curious and amused spectators were in the audience. The jesting and jeering of the onlookers seemed to act only as an incentive to the love-sick sea-farers, who were bent on having a big fling now that they were free from the restraint of home surroundings.

I spent most of the time as a spectator, frequently engaging in conversation with my fellow passengers to learn their ideas of this world and the next. I occasionally dropped into the first-class kitchen and made a friend of the chief cook, a good man to know when travelling steerage and living on its dessertless menu. I soon was the daily recipient of hand-outs and I very gratefully devoured the samples of cake, pudding and tarts which were prepared for the first-class passengers of the ship.

The Tunisian's schedule from Liverpool to Quebec was nine days but, owing to the dense fogs, we were compelled to anchor for three days off the Newfoundland coast to avoid any chance of colliding with an iceberg. When the fog lifted there was no end of these huge monsters of ice in our immediate vicinity. On one side of the ship I counted sixty-five icebergs, and there were as many on the other side.

The twelfth day we pulled into Quebec and the two thousand steerage passengers were quartered in the immigration sheds awaiting inspection by the[Pg 312] Canadian officials. I again encountered difficulty in proving that I was not a Norwegian cut-throat or a Swedish crook but finally obtained my inspection card which permitted me to go on my way.

I took a colonist train to Toronto, where I met my father, who had come from California to meet me. He had wished me Godspeed three years before from San Francisco, and he was now to cross the continent with me and help me complete the circuit. Our meeting was a joyful one. He didn't shy at my travel-worn appearance. I was dressed in an old suit which was spotted and covered with dust; I had a two-weeks' growth on my face and I needed a hair-cut and a bath. While my father waited in the station I sought the first barber shop I could find, and after an hour of cleansing at an expense of $1.55, I was ready to travel with civilised people.

Toronto was my native city and I had not visited it since I was an infant. My father and I, therefore, spent several weeks looking up friends and relatives before starting west. En route to St. Louis, I took leave of my dad, and went to visit Richardson at his home in Fairmont, Minnesota. He had returned to America four months before and we had not seen one another for nearly nine months—since we separated in Constantinople.

During my two days' visit we each outlined where we had been since parting and related to one another our different experiences. Richardson re[Pg 313]mained in Constantinople two months holding down his job of electric wiring for Roberts College. In that time he made many trips about Constantinople and its environs and became very familiar with the Turkish capital. He made a journey into the country districts and got a glimpse of village life in Turkey.

His course through Europe was somewhat similar to mine and included Greece, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, England and Scotland. He did not visit Austria-Hungary but spent several weeks in Germany, stopping at Munich, Nürnberg, Dresden, Leipsic and Berlin. From London he took a trip to Edinburgh, returning to Liverpool whence he crossed the Atlantic steerage to Boston. He arrived in America without a cent. Fortunately there was a letter for him at Thomas Cook and Son's office from his mother, in which was enclosed a money order for twenty-four dollars with which to buy tableclothes. He cashed the order and with the money bought a cheap ticket to Fairmont. Again broke, he arrived home after being away two years and eight months. At the time of my visit he had a position with the New York Life Insurance Company.

I joined my father in St. Louis, where I spent three days visiting a married sister, and we then continued our journey to California. My return to San Francisco was the occasion of the following article in the Examiner:

[Pg 314]


Alfred C.B. Fletcher Travels Three Years as Teacher, Sailor and Adventurer

"Three years of adventure and 30,000 miles of travel through the seven seas ended yesterday when Alfred C.B. Fletcher, university graduate, journalist, school teacher, Government official, sailor and miner, returned to California with a Kiplingesque stock of personal experiences and jingling a silver surplus over the $3.85 with which he left San Francisco.

Fletcher was arrested as a spy in Japan, battled with pirates on a Chinese junk in the Chinese sea, visited Bethlehem on Christmas Day, attended the Durbar in India, toiled in a mine of Norway and has returned from the rough and tumble of world adventure to study theology for Orders in the Episcopal Church.


In 1907 Fletcher graduated from the University of California, where he was a leading figure on the campus. He was editor of the Daily Californian, prominent in other affairs, and a member of the Golden Bear and Winged Helmet honour societies and the Psi Upsilon fraternity.


Norwegian Wireless Station in Ice Fjord

Three years ago he decided to take a graduate course in the school of hard knocks and see the world on his nerve and native hardihood. He bought a steamer ticket to Honolulu and waved good-bye to his friends at the pier with a promise that he would not return until he had swung around the belt of the Globe.

[Pg 315]

At Honolulu he halted for lack of funds to get him further transportation and entered the business of school teaching. Between school periods he took examinations for work as a Government official on the Pearl Harbour project, more from curiosity than a desire to quit school teaching. His examination marks were high and he was appointed.


Several months of Pearl Harbour work got him money enough to go on, and he travelled for several months on the earnings. On this leg of the journey he was accompanied by a young Dartmouth graduate whose method of travel was akin to his own.

While in Japan they snapshotted pictures of Japanese fortifications and were arrested and thrown into prison. The services of the Secretary of State were secured before the two young college travellers were liberated. For the rest of their visit in Japan they were shadowed by agents of the Japanese Government, and they found the pursuit so uncomfortable that they shortened their stay.

In China Fletcher became instructor in a Peking school of engineering. He travelled leisurely down the coast to Hongkong, making inland trips and long stays in all the great ports of China.

By the time he reached Hongkong his finances were low and a trip across the China sea to Manila was made in a junk. On the voyage a typhoon struck the rickety craft, and the Chinese, believing they were lost, flocked around the images of their gods with shrieks of terror. Fletcher rushed to the deck, saw the danger to the unmanned ship, and compelled the Oriental sailors to return to their posts.

[Pg 316]


For several months he remained in Manila, serving most of the time as an official of the Territorial Government in its department of education. From there he journeyed on to India and witnessed the Durbar spectacle.

His travel was broken by spells of work on land. Frequently he signed on steamers as sailor or deckhand. A long stay was made in Palestine. From the eastern Mediterranean he went up into France and England and, for the first time in years, looked into familiar faces. Many of his former college friends were travelling in Paris, London and studying at Oxford.

The experience in Europe took his last cent and he worked his way to Spitzbergen, Norway, where a friend of college days is superintendent of a mine. There he spent several months and gathered sufficient funds to insure his return to California.

Fletcher is visiting his brother, John D. Fletcher, at 2320 Le Conte Street, Berkeley. For a few days he will renew old associations around the university and after a visit to his home at Covina in the southern part of the state he will leave for New York to enter a theological seminary."

Three days in the vicinity of San Francisco, and I went to my home in Southern California. When in Toronto I had bought a ticket to Los Angeles and return, for I had planned to go to New York City to enter a theological seminary. I might state parenthetically that after six months of study for the ministry, I came to the conclusion I was in the wrong[Pg 317] pew and gave it up. The change from a tramp to an embryo parson was too sudden, I suppose. The price of the round-trip ticket from Toronto and my expenses to California had taken the last of my Norwegian earnings and I arrived home broke. I had been away three years, had circled the globe and had travelled over sixty thousand miles.