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United States

The selective processes of the memory are very curious. It has been decreed that one of my most vivid recollections of Bombay should be that of the embarrassment and half-amused self-consciousness of an American business man on the platform of the railway station for Delhi. Having completed his negotiatory visit he was being speeded on his way by the native staff of the firm, who had hung him with garlands like a sacrificial bull.

One is immediately struck, on landing at Kobe - and continually after - by the littleness of Japan. The little flimsy houses, the little flimsy shops, the small men, the toylike women, the tiny children, as numerous and like unto each other as the pebbles on the shore - these are everywhere. But although small of stature the Japanese men are often very powerfully built and many of them suggest great strength. They are taking to games, too. While I was in the country baseball was a craze, and boys were practising pitching and catching everywhere, even in the streets of the cities.

I heard many stories in America, where every one is a raconteur, but none was better than this, which my San Francisco host narrated, from his own experience, as the most perfect example of an honest answer ever given. When a boy, he said, he was much in the company of an old trapper in the Californian mountains. During one of their expeditions together he noticed that a camp meeting was to be held, and out of curiosity he persuaded Reuben to attend it with him.

I believe that few statements about America would so surprise English people as that it has beautiful architecture. I was prepared to find Boston and Cambridge old-fashioned and homelike - Oliver Wendell Holmes had initiated me; I had a distinct notion of the cool spaciousness of the White House and the imposing proportions of the Capitol and, of course, I knew that one had but to see the skyscrapers of New York to experience the traditional repulsion! But of the church of St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue I had heard nothing, nor of Mr.

"If you can be in India only so short a time as seven weeks," said an artist friend of mine - and among his pictures is a sombre representation of the big sacred bull that grazes under the walls of Delhi Fort - "why not stay in Delhi all the while? You will then learn far more of India than by rushing about." I think he was right, although it was not feasible to accept the advice.

My first experience of Japanese scenery of any wildness was gained while shooting the rapids of the Katsuragava, an exciting voyage among boulders in a shallow and often very turbulent stream in a steep and craggy valley a few miles from Kyoto. Previous to this expedition I had seen, from the train, only the trim rice fields, - each a tiny parallelogram with its irrigation channels as a boundary, so carefully tended that there is not a weed in the whole country. Japan is cut up into these absurd little squares, of which twenty and more would go into an ordinary English field.

The journey from San Francisco to Chicago, once the fruit country is passed, is drearily tedious, and I was never so tired of a train.

Once the lay-out of New York has been mastered - its avenues and numbered cross streets - it is the most difficult city in the world in which to lose one's way. But Boston is different. I found Boston hard to learn, although it was a pleasant task to acquire knowledge, for I was led into some of the quietest little Georgian streets I have ever been in, steep though some of them were, and along one of the fairest of green walks - that between the back of Beacon Street and the placid Charles.

One of my best Indian days was that on which Colonel Sir Umar Hayat Khan took us out a-hawking. Sir Umar is himself something of a hawk - an impressive figure in his great turban with long streamers, his keen aquiline features and blackest of hair. All sport comes naturally to him, whether hunting or shooting, pig-sticking, coursing or falconry; and the Great War found him with a sportsman's eagerness to rush into the fray, where he distinguished himself notably.

In spite of Kyoto's eight hundred temples I could not get any but a materialistic concept of its inhabitants; and elsewhere this impression was emphasised. A stranger cannot, of course, know; he can but record his feelings, without claiming any authority for them. But I am sure I was never in a country where I perceived fewer indications of any spiritual life. Every one is busy; every one seems to be happy or at any rate not discontented; every one chatters and laughs and is, one feels, a fatalist. Sufficient unto the day!

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