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JAPANESE THEATRES.

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his time from sunrise to sunset in watching a play; and if we look round from the box into which we have found our way, and on the chairless floor of which we are squatting, we can see several parties making an extempore lunch off some provisions they have brought with them. The performance which is being given is not of a regular kind; it partakes of the nature of a puppet-show. Several large dolls, about half the size of life, dressed to represent the characters of the play, are brought on to the stage by as many mutes. These mutes, dressed all in black, and supposed to be invisible, stand behind the puppets, whose heads and limbs they move so as to suit the dialogue of the play.

The dialogue is chanted by two musicians seated on the floor of a recess at one side of the stage.

Of course the play is totally unintelligible to us, though by the expressions on the faces of the audience, and their occasional laughter, we can see when a good hit is made, or a popular maxim stated.

After sitting half an hour at the theatre, we find our way back to the Foreign Settlement; and after lunching at the house of one of the twenty or thirty English who reside there, we go out for a walk along the southeastern side of the bay. A path that winds up among the lower spurs of the hills, which here slope down almost to the water's edge, brings us, after a walk of a couple of miles, to the summit of a prominent ridge, from which we get a most perfect coup d'ail of the whole of the beautiful bay.

To the right of us are the upper waters of the bay, with the town of Nagasaki stretching away from them into the recesses of the surrounding hills; to the left we look southwestwards through the entrance to the bay, and on to some of the wooded islands outside. Conspicuous among these islands is the small conical isle of Takoboko, or, as it is better known among foreigners, Papenberg, memorable

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as the island from the summit of whose precipitous side were thrown a large number of Japanese Christians in the exterminating persecution that was carried out against them 250 years ago.

The scene around us, with its combination of water and wood, hill and valley, is of no mean beauty, nor have the natives been insensible to its charms; for, with that fond regard for the dead which seems to be one of the pleasant traits in their character, they have chosen this as the site for a burial-ground. Wherever a Japanese burial-ground is fixed, it is sure either to be on a spot commanding as pretty a view as can be had in the neighbourhood, or to be shaded with trees, and withdrawn into some quiet and peaceful nook. A small and plain stone pillar, with a few characters inscribed upon it, or a simple stone monument cut in the form of a lantern, marks each grave; all is neat and carefully kept, and in small recesses in front of many of the

often be found, left recently by fond relatives or friends.

Making our way back to the Foreign Settlement, we reach it not long before dark, and the same evening we re-embark on the Golden Age' to pursue our voyage to Kobé, in the Inland Sea. During the succeeding forenoon we are coasting up the western side of the island of Kiu-Siu, and admiring the varied forms which its coastline takes-now composed of bold and high cliffs, now of sloping wooded hills, and anon of a flat strip of sandy or marshy land. Many islands lie off the coast; one, which we pass at a distance of not more than half a mile, is noticeable from its looking like an eastern imitation of the celebrated Isle of Staffa. It is rather smaller than its Scotch prototype, but there are the same basaltic pillars-some vertical, like the pipes of an organ, some curved, like the ribs of a vessel- that have rendered the latter so famous.

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Early in the afternoon our course is altered from nearly due north to almost due east, and we run in to what appears to be a deep bay, but which gradually discloses the tortuous and narrow entrance to the Inland Sea.' This entrance is sometimes called the Strait of Van der Capellan, and is not more than a mile in breadth, the actual channel navigable by mercantile vessels being scarcely half the whole width. High hills, clothed with a beautiful diversity of wood and pasturage, slope steeply down on either side; the coastline is broken up into bays and headlands, which, as our vessel winds from one side of the passage to the other, overlap each other and shut in the view out to sea, giving the strait the appearance of a small lake.

This portal to the great land-locked sea of Japan seems to be a favourite trap-door for the entrance and exit of the stormy elements, and as we pass through we have to face heavy squalls of wind and rain which render remaining on deck both difficult and unpleasant, and of course mar the effect of the scenery. The straits are not more than four miles in length, and once through them we pass into the rapidly broadening expanse of the Inland Sea, here called by the natives the Suwo Nada. Though called by foreigners the Inland Sea, from the straits of Van der Capellan on the west to those of Linschoter on the east-a distance of about 250 miles—this Mediterranean of Japan has various names among the natives, according to the different provinces on either side of it. Suwo Nada, Missima Nada, Bingo Nada, and Arima Nada, seem to be the most important of these.

Early on the morning after passing into the Suwo Nada, our vessel is threading her way through the narrow waters, beset with small islands, which divide the mainland of Niphon from the island of Sikok. As the morning advances the weather, which since our entrance through the straits has been thick and rainy, clears up; the sky assumes a rich blue colour, flecked here and there with white and fleecy clouds, and the sun brings out all the hues of sea and land to perfection.

We have thus a good opportunity of judging of the scenery of the Inland Sea, about which so much has been said, and which we have even heard described as the finest scenery in the world. That it is beautiful there is no doubt, for the outlines of hill and island are remarkably graceful; every view is broken up into water and land, wood and rock, all combining and contrasting with each other; the hues in the sparkling sea, the rich tints on the vegetation, and the colours in the sky above, are as bright and deep as those of Sicily or Greece: and there are not wanting traces of human life in the brown villages which here and there line the shores of the islands, and in the white sails of the native junks that move slowly across the blue water.

Each kind of scenery has its special beauties, so we will not bring into the same field with the Inland Sea some grand and well-known lake view in the Alps ; suffice it to say, that in some parts of the Bingo Nada the traveller might easily, without doing violence to the scene before him, imagine himself sailing on the Lago Maggiore with more than one Isola Bella on either side of him.

One island which we pass among the many in this Japanese Archipelago is especially beautiful. Rising from the water with a most graceful slope on every side, to the height of 500 or 600 feet, its perfectely conical shape evidently marks it as having once been a small volcano. But it must be many centuries since fire issued from its summit, or lava poured down its sides, for now its head is wreathed in a harmless misty cloud, and its slopes are

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bright with many hues of green, save at one spot where a village lies half hidden among the trees, while another stretches out its thin brown line along the margin of the water.

Passing from the Bingo Nada we emerge into a more open portion of the Inland Sea, called the Arima Nada ; and crossing this in about three hours, we steer through the narrow strait of Akasi, on one side of which is a small Japanese fortress mounted with European guns. We then enter the Idsoumi Nada, or, as foreigners call it, the Bay of Osaca. This bay is about thirty miles in extreme length by twenty in breadth ; near the head of it stands the city which has given it its foreign name. On the western side is the treaty port of Côbi, or Kôbé, in front of which, among a score of foreign vessels, we cast anchor.

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