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United States

Mention of the beautiful solicitude with which these treasures are surrounded, suggests the reflection that the old country has something to learn from the new in the matter of distinguished custodianship. We have no place of national pilgrimage in England that is so perfect a model as Washington's home at Mount Vernon. It is perhaps through lack of a figure of the Washington type that we have nothing to compare with it; for any parallel one must rather go to Fontainebleau; but certain shrines are ours and none of them discloses quite such pious thoroughness as this.

It is difficult for a stranger to India, especially when paying only a brief visit, to lose the impression that he is at an exhibition - in a section of a World's Fair. How long it takes for this delusion to wear off I cannot say. All I can say is that seven weeks are not enough. And never does one feel it more than in the bazaar, where movement is incessant and humanity is so packed and costumes are so diverse, and where the suggestion of the exhibition is of course heightened by the merchants and the stalls.

One of the first peculiarities of Bombay that I noticed and never lost sight of was the kites. The city by day is never without these spies, these sentries. From dawn to dusk the great unresting birds are sailing over it, silent and vigilant. Whenever you look up, there they are, criss-crossing in the sky, swooping and swerving and watching. After a while one begins to be nervous: it is disquieting to be so continually under inspection.

We had met Prohibition first at Honolulu, not a few of the passengers receiving the shock of their lives on learning at the hotel that only "soft drinks" were permitted. Our second reminder of the new regime came as we entered American waters off the Golden Gate and the ship's bar was formally closed. And then, in San Francisco, we found "dry" land indeed. In this connection let me say that in the hotel I made acquaintance with an official of great power who was new to me: the buttoned boy who rejoices in the proud title of Bell Captain.

It would have been pedantic, while in America, to have abstained from an effort at vers libre.

The Parsees have made Bombay their own, more surely even than the Scotch possess Calcutta. Numerically very weak, they are long-headed and far- sighted beyond any Indian and are better qualified to traffick and to control. All the cotton mills are theirs, and theirs the finest houses in the most beautiful sites. When that conflict begins between the Hindus and the Mohammedans which will render India a waste and a shambles, it is the Parsees who will occupy the high places - until a more powerful conqueror arrives.

I ought not to write about Japan at all, for I was there but three short weeks, and rain or snow fell almost all the time, and I sailed for America on the very day that the cherry blossom festivities began. But - well, there is only one Fujiyama, and it is surpassingly beautiful and satisfying - the perfect mountain - and I should feel contemptible if I did not add my eulogy of it - my gratitude - to all the others.

Since, then, I am to say something of Fuji, let the way be paved.

Coming by chance upon the Robert Louis Stevenson memorial at San Francisco, on the edge of Chinatown, I copied its inscription, and in case any reader of these notes may have forgotten its trend I copy it again here; for I do not suppose that its application was intended to cease with the Californian city. It is counsel addressed to the individual, but since nations are but individuals in quantity such ideals cannot be repeated amiss:

I had been to the Metropolitan Museum looking at beautiful things and rejoicing in them.

And then I had to catch a train and go far into the country, to Paul Smith's.

And as the light lessened and the brooding hour set in I looked out of the window and reconstructed some of the lovely things I had seen - the sculptures and the paintings, the jewels and the porcelain: all the fine flower of the arts through the ages.

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