Some Interesting Sights From San Francisco To Japan
( Originally Published 1915 )
The contract made with Mr. Castleton, under which they were making a tour of the world, provided that they should not remain longer than two weeks in any place, nor could they accumulate more than twenty dollars at any point.
At the end of a week the boys took a stock of their possessions, and found that they still had the sixty dollars which they accumulated in their previous adventures from Salt Lake to the coast. In addition they had some odd change, amounting to three dollars, and during the week had made a little over nineteen dollars.
It was with a shock that the boys recollected the tenor of the agreement.. "We can't work another day," said Winfield, regretfully. "We have gotten to the limit now, almost."
Sorrowfully the information was imparted to Mr. Dion, who was, really, shocked at the announcement that Winfield's business with him must terminate, as the contract was explicit on that point. Mr. Dion became interested in the recital, which stated their purpose in making the trip around the world.
"If you have no objections I would like to see the contract," he said.
Winfield was quick to produce it, and the shrewd manager glanced over it. He smiled as the various provisions were examined. "Very peculiar, indeed!" he remarked. "And how much money have you made while here?"
"About nineteen dollars," said Stanwood. "How about your keep? That is your board?" "Well, we haven't taken that out yet."
"Then, of course, when you have paid that how much will you have left?"
"It cost us seven dollars for the week, so we have twelve dollars."
"Then the fact is that you have accumulated twelve dollars, and not nineteen, as you sup-pose."
"Then do you think we are entitled to takeout of what we make the cost of living?"
"Why, certainly. If you need clothing, go and buy it. The point is that you must not have an accumulation of money at any point which is over twenty dollars. Always look at the exact words used in a contract."
"Then we are in for another week," said Win-field. "I need a pair of shoes, and I think Stan-wood could stand that also," he said, glancing at the well-worn footwear that the latter ruefully examined.
Mr. Dion laughed and left them, expressing, first, his regret that Winfield would be compelled to leave him so soon, and the latter returned the compliment by thanking the genial man for the interest he had taken in their behalf.
It would be a difficult task to attempt any description of an Exposition, because there were so many things to see and to talk about that the mind becomes confused and we have time and room only for a few of the things that attracted the boys, in their first day's attempt to see the show.
They finally selected Monday as the most fitting time for the rambles around the grounds to see the sights. As they intended to go around the world, they concluded that it might be well to learn something about people generally, so their steps were directed toward the Avenue of All Nations, there to study the characteristics of the different nationalities.
Their first visit was to the Esquimaux building which formed an Annex to the Alaska exhibit. There the quaint costumes were examined, and also the articles constructed by the natives; but what interested them most was the order, arrangement and equipment of a model Arctic home.
Lying on the table, and hanging around the walls, were short sticks with handles, and some of them were labeled "Throwing Sticks."
The . boys eyed them curiously, and the interpreter noticing their inquiring glances, said: "Do the throwing sticks interest you?"
"Yes," said Stanwood.
These sticks, or, rather, sticks of this kind, haVe a very peculiar history. They are found in the region directly north of Asia, to the north of Greenland, and also north of Alaska. Now, the curious thing is, that the sticks found in Alaska, while used for the same purpose as those to the north of Asia and in Greenland, are so different as to indicate that they were not made by the same people."
"What are they for?" asked Winfield.
"They are used for the purpose of throwing their spears or javelins. Let me show you how they do this." Taking down one of them the interpreter continued :
"These are made of different lengths, as you see, none of them longer than this one which is about a foot, including the handle. Notice this groove in one side, which runs down to the handle. In order to use the throwing stick, the butt end of the javelin is laid in the groove, and the handle of the stick is grasped just the same as a man holds a sword."
But," queried Stanwood, "how is the spear held in the groove?"
"I forgot to say that the thrower holds it in with the forefinger of the hand that holds the handle."
"That is very queer; I can't see how he can throw it with a thing like that," remarked Win-field.
"You would be convinced to the contrary if you saw the boys at their exhibitions. The stick with the spear held in it, as I have stated, is swung around, something like a base ball batter swings the bat, and at a suitable point in the swing, the finger releases the javelin, and it is thus thrown forward with a terrific force and accuracy."
"I never heard of such a thing before," said Stanwood.
"I dare say it is something not generally known, although the natives of Australia and also some of the South American tribes use similar weapons."
" But you said the stick had a peculiar history," suggested Winfield.
"So I did," he answered. "It was owing to these sticks that Nanssen, the Norwegian explorer, conceived the idea that there was a great north polar stream which swept directly past the pole from the east to the west, and that the peculiar Alaskan sticks went across the top of the earth and finally were thrown up on the coast of Green-land, where the throwing sticks are absolutely unlike those from Alaska."
In their wanderings they came across a Temple of Buddha, and were intensely interested in seeing a dozen or more children attending a native school in the interior.
An inscription above the door had the single word "Cambodia." The boys eyed it, and then cautiously entered. A man with dark, piercing eyes, a peculiar mustache and pointed goatee, ad-dressed them with a smile, while his language and intonation were perfect.
"Our country," he said, "is a dependency of France, and adjoins Siam, of which country you may have heard."
"We were interested, because we are now on a tour around the world, and we want to learn about the different people," said Stanwood, as he thanked the man.
"Ah! then you may pass through my country," he said. "You will find a welcome there, and there is also a large English population in the different Provinces."
The boys glanced at the pupils and noticed that some of them had no hair, or wore closely fitting caps. Their informant noticed the glances of the boys, and said : "This is our primary school, and it illustrates the manner in which we teach the youth."
"What funny caps some of the boys have," said Winfield.
"Those are not caps," he responded. "The ones with the shaven heads are called 'bonzes,' that is the ones dedicated to the priesthood. With us when a pupil is installed he is required to choose whether he will become a teacher or a priest, or give up his life to some other occupation."
"Are those slates which they use?" asked Stanwood.
"We call them tablets, and they are usually two feet long, by one foot in width; they are blackened with black lacquer, and each pupil has a crayon stick, as you see, and a long bamboo ruler for making lines. These, with a cloth for erasing the writing, are all the implements and articles used."
"Don't you have any books?" asked Winfield.
"No everything taught in this grade must be committed to memory,"
"That must be hard work," said Stanwood, reflectively.
"We do not think so; all our primary schools require that the pupil must commit everything to memory, and after five or six months he is given a manual, a book, which must be committed. to memory, and then another, and so on."
At a given signal the pupils in the school all commenced to recite, each in his own time and manner, and as loudly as he could, and without paying the least attention to any of the others. It was actually comical to the boys, as they stood there, while their informant remained quiet during this performance. At its close he said :
"That exercise may seem curious to you, as I know it seems peculiar to all who hear it for the first time. The object of the exercise is to teach concentration, and to prevent the mind from being diverted. You can imagine what a din it would make where there are two or three hundred en-gaged at the same time, and I have often heard them at a distance of more than a thousand feet from the monastery."
"We thank you for your trouble," said Stan-wood. "When we reach your country, if we should go that way, we want to visit the schools and learn more about your customs."
Many of the foreign countries, which exhibited at the Fair, were investigated, but none of them seemed to interest them unless there was some-thing unusual. Passing little pyramidal structures at one side of the main avenue, they read the sign "Berbers."
"I wonder what the Berbers are," said Win-field. Glancing in they saw a number of little fellows busily engaged in playing with dark-colored mud. A group surrounded them, and a little closer inspection showed the "Berbers" engaged in modeling all sorts of objects in the dark clay.
The announcer said: "The Berbers, the peculiar people who live at the base of the Atlas Mountains, in Lower Egypt, possess a native talent for sculpture. These boys, who have never had any training whatsoever, in some way have a natural instinct to imitate objects. Here is one who has just completed a model of a horse and rider, so perefct that even the lines are shown. Another here has shown a group of four figures, each with a characteristic pose."
Thus they passed on from one to the next in order, gathering the oddest bits of information, indeed, too much to grasp in one day, and when night came they were too tired to think of further rambling.
Four days more passed, and in that time they took occasion to lay in an additional stock of clothing, and they now had but two days more in which to prepare for their departure, as the third day would complete the two weeks' stay.
Up to this time they had not even considered the route to be taken, and had only vaguely made up their minds as to the next possible stopping point. From the best information attainable it was judged best to go by the way of the Sandwich Islands, which would afford a half way stop-pin place.
Mr. Dion was greatly interested in the adventures of the boys, and when they informed him the next morning that they would have to leave his employ and prepare for the trip over the Paciflo he was kind enough to request them to meet him that evening, as he had some information for their benefit.
During the day they wandered from one steam-ship office to the next, inquiring as to the cost of transportation, and to their surprise the cheapest fare was entirely beyond their means. They assumed that the funds at hand, totaling seventy dollars, would take them to Japan, at the least, but they had not counted on their board during the ten days' trip, and found that the third-class fare did not include full meals.
In the evening they called at the Menagerie, and we -e surprised to see Mr. Gabriel, the owner of the camel caravan. "I told you to call this evening because I knew Mr. Gabriel was well acquainted with the people on the Oriental line, and he might be able to suggest something that would help you in the trip," said Mr. Dion.
"That was very kind of you," said Winfield. "Yes, I told Mr. Dion, when he spoke to me about it yesterday, that it would be no trick at all for capable, fellows like yourselves to work your ways across, and as I know Mr. Sieman very well, I will give you a letter that may secure you just the kind of employment that will get you there without expense."
The boys were profuse in their acknowledgments, and Mr. Gabriel prepared a letter in which he briefly set forth the purpose of the boys' trip, their industry and integrity, and suggested that if the recipient could find any employment on board which would remunerate .the company for the transportation it would be greatly appreciated. Then turning to the boys, he added:
"If this doesn't help you come back, and I will try another tack."
The boys left the room, and stood near by ruminating on this piece of good luck. "I think they are the nicest fellows I ever met," said Stanwood, as he drew the letter out of the envelope.
"Yes," responded Winfield; "I wonder why every one is so kind to us and tries to help us along?"
At that moment Mr. Dion and Mr. Gabriel emerged from the door, and hearing the remark, the latter said, smiling: "That is easily answered. The fellows who help themselves are the ones who are bound to get a lift. Always remember that."
"I will add that when Winfield applied to me for a job I had some doubts, but the earnest way he applied himself, and the success which he merited, was due to his determination to succeed in a direction where, I am sure ninety-nine out of a hnndred would have failed. Success is always popular," said Mr. Dion, as he held out his hand for the second good-by.
Early in the morning they called at the office indicated in the address. The letter was sent in to Mr. Sieman, who admitted them immediately.
"So you are the `Boy Globe Trotters'?" he inquired.
The boys opened their eyes. Had he too heard about their enterprise? He glanced at both, in turn, and continued: "I had the pleasure of seeing you about two weeks ago when you arrived in the city."
This information was still more perplexing. "You saw us?" asked Winfield. "Where was that?"
"When you had that little incident on the ferryboat Oakland."
The boys had forgotten the affair. "Yes," he continued, "that was rather a risky job, but it was neatly done. Now, let me see! You want to go to Japan?"
"Yes," said Stanwood. "We made a contract which says we must not make more than a certaia amount of money at one place, so we must get something to do on the way. Mr. Gabriel was kind enough to suggest that we might be able to get a job on the ship ;—enough to pay our way."
"I will think over the matter today, and you may call this afternoon at three. In the mean time you might go down to the Shinyo Maru, which is now lying at the dock, and look over the vessel. I think I can secure a berth for you."
The boys could scarcely restrain their delight when they reached the street. "And now what shall we do in the meantime?" queried Stanwood.
"Go down to the boat, of course," said Winfield.
Securing the proper information they were soon at the dock, and had no trouble in gaining admission to the great steamer. This was one of three steamers, identical in construction, each of 14,000 tons displacement, and driven by triple screws, driven by powerful turbines.
They roamed from one end to the other, visited the palatial dining room, the lounge, library and smoking rooms, and then went down to the Asiatic quarters, where the emigrants were housed. Here accommodations were found for eight hundred, all in the best condition, as to comfort and cleanliness, and they were interested in this portion because it had looked as though they might be compelled to resort to this part of the ship for transportation, until Mr. Gabriel offered a better solution.