The Doctor explained that at sea the time is divided into watches, or periods, of four hours each. The bell strikes once for each half-hour, until four hours, or eight bells, are reached, and then they begin again. One o'clock is designated as "two bells," half-past one is "three bells," and[Pg 54] four o'clock is "eight bells." Eight o'clock, noon, and midnight are also signalled by eight strokes on the bell, and after a little while a traveller accustoms himself to the new mode of keeping time.
Frank asked the Doctor if this execution was anything like the "hari-kari" of which he had read, where a Japanese was said to commit suicide by cutting open his stomach.
"There is quite a history connected with them," the Doctor answered.[Pg 354] "They were the scene of the repulse of the British fleet in 1859, when an American commander came to its relief, with the remark, which has become historic, 'Blood is thicker than water!' In the following year the English returned, and had better success; they captured the forts and entered the river in spite of all that the Chinese could do to stop them. Do you see that low bank there, in front of a mud-wall to the left of the fort?"
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"Certainly you could do so," Fred responded, "or you might go next week or last summer."
Another ramble on shore the following morning, and they left the soil[Pg 311] of Japan for the deck of the steamer. At noon they were slowly moving down the bay; they passed the island of Pappenberg, and, as they did so, Frank read from a book he had picked up in the ship's cabin the following paragraph:.
"When I build a house," said Fred, "I will have a roof on it after the Japanese style, or, at any rate, something suggestive of it. The Japanese roof is pretty and graceful, and would look well in our landscape, I am sure. I don't see why we shouldn't have it in our country, and I'll take home some photographs so that I can have something to work from."
Various industrial processes were visible as our party rode along. Some women were weaving cotton at a native loom, and they halted the jin-riki-shas a few moments to look at the process. The loom was a very primitive affair, and the operator sat on the floor in front of it. A man who appeared to be the chief of the establishment was calmly smoking a pipe close by, and on the other side of the weaver a woman was winding some cotton thread on a spool by means of a simple reel. After looking a few moments at the loom, and the mode of weaving in Japan, the party moved on. The boys had learned to say "Sayonara" on bidding farewell to the Japanese, and they pronounced it on this occasion in the most approved style. The Japanese salutation on meeting is "Ohio," and it is pronounced exactly like the name of our Western state of which Columbus is the capital. Everywhere the Japanese greet you with "Ohio," and a stranger does not need to be long in the country to know how exceedingly polite are the people we were accustomed only a few years ago to consider as barbarians.
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Just as they were rising from table they were suddenly called on deck by the announcement of a wreck. An American bark had been dismasted by the gale and lay helpless on the water; her captain wished to be taken in tow to the mouth of the Yang-tse-kiang, and after some minutes spent in making a bargain, the matter was arranged and a line passed out.. "And before the words had done echoing he called out 'There she blows' again, and a moment after again. That meant that he had seen two more whales.
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