The hard steaming from Nagasaki, against exceptionally heavy winds, had pretty well cleared us out of coal, and, as there was not enough in store here to supply us with, we were ordered off to Kobé to fill up. On our return, and just as we had cleared the strait of Simonoseki, we fell in with what sailors term nasty weather.
Further on we were halted in the night off the city of Kobe, to the sound of the firing of a cannon, for we had dropped there a passenger, Mr. Tilden, the Hongkong agent of the Pacific Mail line, and if our ship had been infected with plague he might have passed it on to Japan!
The civil war was raging, and the foreign Legations, warned by the flames of burning villages, no less than by the flight of the Shogun and his ministers, had left Osaka, to take shelter at Kôbé, where they were not, as at the former place, separated from their ships by more than twenty miles of road, occupied by armed troops in a high state of excitement, with the alternative of crossing in tempestuous weather a dangerous bar, which had already taken much valuable life.
The Japanese junks added their contribution to the novelty with their single huge bellying sail, adapted apparently only to sailing with a free wind, the fairer the better. Hiogo and Kobé, as I understood, are separate names of two continuous villages; Kobé, the more eastern, being the destined port of entry.
Like other people, they soon got into the habit of going to bed early in a country where there were no theatres playing in a comprehensible tongue, and no supper restaurants to turn night into day. Geoffrey lit his cigar and made his way to the smoking-room. Two elderly men, merchants from Kobe, were already sitting there over whiskies and sodas, discussing a mutual acquaintance.
Well, to-day I went to see some of the regiments return. Arches of greenery had been erected over the street they were to pass through, leading from Kobe station to Nanko-San, the great temple dedicated to the hero spirit of Kusunoki Masashige.
The working of the new system has given rise to no material complaints on the part of the American citizens or interests, a circumstance which attests the ripe consideration with which the change has been prepared. Valuable assistance was rendered by the Japanese authorities to the United States transport ship Morgan City while stranded at Kobe.
After the reception and investigation tour of Kobe, forty of the party boarded a train for Peking, under the direction of Hoover's representative, F. R. Eldridge. We had enjoyed Fujiyama by moonlight, but did not know that we were also to glide by the Inland Sea at sunset.
Their diet is stronger than that of the ordinary Japanese, who rarely touch meat. It will be long before those who were present at the newly opened port of Kôbé on the 4th of February, 1868, will forget that day.
The first of these was a sheltered bay with twin villages at its head, which I fancifully designated Kingsand and Cawsand the promontory forming one arm of the bay, looking not unlike Penlee point greatly adding to the conceit. June 14th. At noon we reached Kobé, or Hiogo, and let go our anchor far out in what appears to be an open roadstead.