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Charles Appleton Longfellow - Twenty Months in Japan, 1871-1873 - SIGNED COPY

Laidlaw, Christine Wallace [edited by]

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ISBN 10: 0966220005 / ISBN 13: 9780966220001
Published by Friends of the Longfellow House, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Condition: FINE Soft cover
From Monroe Bridge Books, SNEAB Member (Shelburne Falls, MA, U.S.A.)

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IN FINE CONDITION. Charles was the son of the famous poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Travels and adventures in Japan, taken from his journals and letters home. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 004344

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Title: Charles Appleton Longfellow - Twenty Months ...

Publisher: Friends of the Longfellow House, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Binding: Soft Cover

Book Condition:FINE

Signed: Signed By the Editor

About this title


"Charley" Longfellow, the elder son of the famous poet, Henry W. Longfellow, arrived in Japan on June 25, 1871, three years after the restoration of imperial rule. He originally planned to stay for only a few months, but he became so fascinated by the country that he remained for twenty months instead. He accompanied the United States Minister to Japan to audiences with the young Emperor Meiji and on expeditions through the Ainu country to Hokkaido and from Hakodate to Tokyo. They were the first Americans to travel much of this route. Charles described these and other adventures in his letters home and in his journals. His lively descriptions show the impressions early modern Japan made on a largely sympathetic observer. His writings remained virtually unknown for over a century, stored with other family papers at the Longfellow House in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They have been edited for this book and an excellent introduction provided by Christine Wallace Laidlaw. The photographs Charles Longfellow brought back, including many by the famous photographer Felice Beato, are a valuable record of Japan from Hokkaido to Kyushu at this critical point in history. This book includes some 50 photographs, many published here for the first time.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Yedo, August 3, 1871. The second or third evening I was here, Iwasaki [Yataro] asked us to go up the river with him in his boat....

We landed at one of the teahouses near the second bridge and were ushered upstairs to a large corner room overlooking the river and the animated scene upon it. Here our friends took off their swords and clothes and put on loose dressing gowns to be more at their ease, while the teahouse girls placed in front of each of us beautifully lacquered trays filled with sweetmeats, cakes and a lot of queer things, which I couldn't make out--but several kinds of fish were apparent and strips of cold whale--and everything served in the neatest and most appetizing way. We each of us squatted on the mats, each one behind his own collection of little trays.

And then was heard a great tittering and laughing, and in trotted twenty-five singing girls, their bright eyes sparkling and white teeth shining as they came forward, knelt down, and bent down until their foreheads touched the ground. They knelt in front of us while we ate, helping us in the most graceful way, and going into fits at my bungling way of handling the chopsticks. But one took my education in charge, and I soon got the hang of it and (ate) my raw whale like a man. Then a girl would present you with a tiny tea cup and fill it with sake, a very mild spirit made from rice and drunk warm. After which if you like the girl and want to be gallant, you dip your cup in a bowl of cold water to clean it and hand it back to her. When she touches it to her forehead with a low bow, you fill it for her, and she drinks. This is the correct thing, and we did it at intervals throughout the evening.

While we were thus engaged, some eight or ten of the girls ranged themselves in a row on the other side of the room, tuned their samisens and soon began to play and sing....

Mr. De Long asked me the other day if I would go with him to Hakodate by sea, into the interior of Yesso a little and then cross over to the northern shore of Nippon and march across the country to Yedo. No Westerner has ever done this, and you can bet I said yes....

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