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dwelt beside Lake Biwa. Of all sorts of waves and undulations and flutterings she had to produce with them I recollect one:—it is to shake one scarf right and left horizontally overhead, and the other up and down longitudinally in front. Try it with your hands and see, reader; you will find it no easy task. In the stage dances the dancers must dress true to the conceptions of the characters they un. dertake to represent. This necessitates a large wardrobe, though the gorgeous costumes are generally made of cheap materials, and the aid of artificial lights is expected to finish off the effects. The face of the dancer is usually painted, but not so much so as that of a professional actress. The whole affair, however, savors strongly of stage-play. Several persons sometimes dance together, carry on dialogues and, indeed, dance part of a play or drama.

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CHAPTER VI.

OUR best friends were not limited to ladies, but comprised several select gentlemen. In Japan we have more social freedom than people are apt to think. Many of the young gentlemen entertained us well. Some were beautiful singers, others fine musicians, and still others elegant dancers. One among them, a person of fine appearance who fell in love with the dancing teacher's pretty daughter and who afterward married her, was quite highly accomplished. He possessed artistic tastes, probably inherited from his father, who was an art connoisseur-art, as it appeared in china wares, scrolls, kakemonoes (wall hangings), old bric-âbrac, etc. The young man could sketch, talk brilliantly, render gentlemen's dances creditably, and was handsome to look at. He used to pay us respects, for his parents, particularly his cheery bright-eyed little mother, was a dear friend of ours, and his sisters were great friends of my sisters. The girls went to sewing school together. You know, as we do not have the sewing machine and as we are to a certain extent our own tailors and dressmakers, Japanese girls must take lessons in sewing, as American young ladies take lessons in painting and on the piano. They do “ crazy'

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work and fancy work, too, and talk over their
notions extravagantly, rashly confide everything
to each other, and exclaim “lovely!” in Japanese.

This young man felt from his childhood a passion
for the stage. As he grew up his dramatic taste
became irresistible; at last, escaping the vigilance
of his family, he ran away to the neighboring prov-
ince of Tosa (ours is Iyo), and committed himself
to the care of a noted actor named Hanshirõ. The
young man told us how he had been launched in
the work; the actor-apprentice, when admitted to
the stage, is obliged to put on rags and help make
up the mob or a gang of thieves. In order to make
a hero's power appear greater by contrast, it is a
stage trick in Japan that the mob, thieves, and
characters of that sort should turn somersaults at
the hero's simple lifting of his hand. It is a sight
to be seen when a swarm of them around one brave
person turn in the air and light safely upon their
feet; they do it so very deftly that they must prac-
tice a great deal. Our friend first practiced the acro-
batic feat on a thick quilt for fear that he might
break his neck. In time, however, he could do it
on the hard wooden stage floor. After filling this
gymnastic rôle for some time, he was promoted by
degrees to more important posts. By reason of his
personal attractions he was at his best as a gallant
youth. I have observed many a fair spectator
flush visibly, heave gentle sighs and watch him in
absorption while he delivered a love soliloquy in a
clear voice.

He did become an actor in the fullest sense of the term and a creditable one, too; but having satisfied

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his long cherished desire for once (a space of several years), he obeyed the paternal summons and returned home. He then went into business and fairly settled down to earnest life. Nevertheless, at times his roving nature got the better of him, and the young man would be missed from home. Soon the news arrives from somewhere that he is displaying his dramatic talents with a theatrical company to the utmost delight of the people, and that the showers of favors and tokens of their appreciation visit him constantly. But the manner in which his aged parents take the affair is by itself a bit of good comedy. They bemoan themselves over their son's unsteady life, and often in their visit to us seek our condolence. Notwithstanding the apparent sorrow, whenever their boy has been heard to make decided hit more pleased than they. The old couple, being themselves fond of gayety, extended a helping, willing hand to the dancing society wherein their son moved actively. It was, indeed, under the supervision of the good old gentleman that the huge curtain was completed; I think he designed and painted it mostly by himself.

Our young friend's presence in town naturally gave rise to a race of amateur actors. One of them particularly I recall with great interest on account of his diverse accomplishments; he tried his hand at almost every trade. I believe certain peculiarities in his childhood induced his parents to put him in a monastery. He grew up a studious boy, but indulged not infrequently in pranks. Suddenly in his early manhood it dawned upon him that he

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was richly endowed with the stage gift; accordingly, he left the temple behind, and, after clerking a while in his brother's store across the street from us, appeared on the stage. His versatile nature did not keep him long in that vocation; he soon sobered down to a shoemaker, discovering that the bread earned by the sweat of the brow was more to his satisfaction. That is, I concluded so in his case; he may have found, for aught I know, that by acting (such as his) he could not make a decent living and therefore had better quit playing. He was not long in making another discovery, and that was that the drudgery of the shop did not exactly suit his refined tastes. At all events, he must take a little air sometimes; he would go about the streets selling greens; yes, that was a splendid plan, combining trade and exercise. And so he turned a vegetable vender this time, nobody regarding it a too humble occupation in such a small community as ours. Later he became an amazaké

The amazaké (sweet liquor) is prepared by subjecting soft boiled rice to saccharine fermentation and checking the process just at the point where the sugar gives up its alcohol. Hence it is sweet, palatable and very popular with children. We brewed some at home-the home-brewed ! My mother had hard work to satisfy the large family of thirsty mouths.

Our man of all trades went about asking the public in all the notes of the gamut, if they would not tickle their palates with his honest sweet liquor.” To be always on foot as an itinerant tradesman, however, proved too mạch for his con

man.

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