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"Certainly," was the reply.
From the tea-house at the top of the hill, Doctor Bronson led the way down a steep path to the sea. At the end of the path, and opening upon the sea, there is a cavern which the Japanese consider sacred. Formerly they would not allow a stranger to enter the cavern for fear of polluting it; but at present they make no opposition, for the double reason that they have found the cave remains as if nothing had happened, and, moreover, the stranger is so willing to pay for the privilege of[Pg 179] exploration that a considerable sum is annually obtained from him. When the tide is in, the cave can only be entered by means of a boat; but at low-water one can creep along a narrow ledge of rock where a pathway has been cut, which he can follow to the terminus. Our party engaged a guide with torches, and were taken to the end of the cave, where they found a hideous-looking idol that was the presiding divinity of the place. A shrine had been erected here, and when it was lighted up the appearance was fairly imposing. The pilgrims consider it a pious duty to visit this shrine whenever they come to the island, and it has become quite famous throughout Japan.
IMPERIAL CREST ON THE NEW COINS. IMPERIAL CREST ON THE NEW COINS.
He hand b'long coldee, all same like ice,
SMOKING OPIUM. SMOKING OPIUM.
"As I have before stated," the Doctor continued, "the Japanese have made great progress in military and naval matters. They have ship-yards at several places, and have built ships of their own after the European models; in addition to these, they have ships that they bought from foreigners, but they are entirely commanded and managed by their own officers, and equipped with crews entirely Japanese. The old war-junks of the country have been discarded for the modern ships, and the young Japanese are trained in the Western mode of warfare; their schools for naval instruction have made remarkable advancement, and the teachers who were brought from other countries repeatedly declared that they never had seen anywhere a more intelligent assemblage of pupils than they found here. The Japanese naval officer of to-day is uniformed very much like his fellow-officer in Europe or America, and his manners are as polished as the most fastidious among us could wish. The Japanese ships have made long cruises, and visited the principal ports of Europe and America, and their commanders have shown that they understand the theory and practice of navigation, and are able to take their ships wherever they may be ordered to go. The picture of a Japanese war-junk of the olden time, and that of the war-steamer of to-day do not show many points of resemblance. They illustrate the difference between the old and the new, very much as do the cango and the railway car when placed side by side."