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Japan

As we were leaving the Kutb after a late afternoon visit, my host and I were hailed excitedly by an elderly man whose speech was incomprehensible, but whose gestures indicated plainly enough that there was something important up the hill. The line of least resistance being the natural one in India, we allowed him to guide us, and came after a few minutes, among the ruins of the citadel of Lal Kot, to one of those deep wells gained by long flights of steps whither the ladies of the palaces used to resort in the hottest weather.

Yokohama is industrial and dirty everywhere but on the drive beside the harbour, and on the Bluff, where the rich foreigners live. I visited one house on this pleasant eminence and there was nothing in it to suggest that it was in Japan any more than in, say, Cheltenham. The form was English, the furniture was English, the pictures and books were English; photographs of school and college cricket elevens gave it the final home touch. Only in the garden were there exotic indications. The English certainly have the knack of carrying their atmosphere with them.

Perhaps it is one of the travellers' illusions (and we are very susceptible to them), but I have the impression that American men are more alike than the English are. It may be because there are fewer idiosyncrasies in male attire, for in America every one wears the same kind of hat; but I think not. In spite of the mixed origin of most Americans, a national type of face has been evolved to which they seem satisfied almost universally to pay allegiance.

The returning traveller from India is besieged by questioners who want to know all about the most famous of the jugglers' performances. In this trick the magician flings a rope into the air, retaining one end in his hand, and his boy climbs up it and disappears. I did not see it.

I left Japan, as I have said, just before the cherry-blossom festivities began, but I was able to see a number of the dances - which never change but are passed with exactitude, step for step, gesture for gesture and expression for expression, from one geisha to another - as performed by a child who was being educated for the profession. Although so young she knew accurately upwards of sixty dances, and the pick of these she executed for a few spectators, in a little fragile paper-walled house outside Yokohama, while her adoring aunt played the wistful repetitive accompaniments.

I can best indicate, without the mechanical assistance of dates, the time of my sojourn in New York by saying that, during those few weeks, Woodrow Wilson's successor was being sought, the possibility of the repeal of the Prohibition Act was a matter of excited interest, and "Babe" Ruth was the national hero.

All the Indian cities that I saw seemed to cover an immense acreage, partly because every modern house has its garden and compound. In a country where land is cheap and servants are legion there need be no congestion, and, so far, the Anglo-Indian knows little or nothing of the embarrassments of dwellers in New York or London.

The public manners of the Japanese are not good. In all my solitary walks about Myanoshita I met with no single peasant who passed the time of day, and in the streets of Tokio English people were being jostled and stared at and treated without respect. It was a moment when Americans were unpopular, and the theory was broached that for fear of missing the chance to be rude to an American the Japanese became rude to all outlanders indiscriminately. One indeed gathered the impression that, except in Kyoto, which is a backwater, foreigners are no longer wanted.

After seeing my first ball game or so I was inclined to suggest improvements; but now that I have attended more I am disposed to think that those in authority know more about it than I do, and that such blemishes as it appears to have are probably inevitable. For one thing, I thought that the outfield had too great an advantage. For another, not unassociated with that objection, I thought that the home-run hit was not sufficiently rewarded above the quite ordinary hit - "bunch-hit," is it? - that brings in a man or men.

The Ridge at Delhi is a sufficiently moving reminder of the Indian Mutiny; but it is at Lucknow that the most poignant phases are re-enacted. At Delhi may be seen, preserved for ever, the famous buildings which the British succeeded in keeping - Hindu Rao's house, and the Observatory, and Flagstaff Tower, the holding of which gave them victory; while in the walls of the Kashmir Gate our cannon balls are still visibly imbedded. There is also the statue of John Nicholson in the Kudsia Garden, and in the little Museum of the Fort are countless souvenirs.

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