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      "Poor boy!" said the aunt. "It's the first line you've had for months. Your sweet mother wrote, but her letters were all intercepted, and the last time she was warned that next time she'd be dealt with according to military usage! I'm glad we could give you this one at once. We can't give you the uniform, for we--why, girls, what--why, what nonsense!"


      The characters in "The Boy Travellers" are fictitious; but the scenes that passed before their eyes, the people they met, and the incidents and accidents that befell them are real. The routes they travelled, the cities they visited, the excursions they made, the observations they recordedin fact, nearly all that goes to make up this volumewere the actual experiences of the author at a very recent date. In a few instances I have used information obtained from others, but only after careful investigation has convinced me of its entire correctness. I have aimed to give a faithful picture of Japan and China as they appear to-day, and to make such comparisons with the past that the reader can easily comprehend the changes that have occurred in the last twenty years. And I have also endeavored to convey the information in such a way that the story shall not be considered tedious. Miss Effie and "The Mystery" may seem superfluous to some readers, but I am of opinion that the majority of those who peruse the book will not consider them unnecessary to the narrative."We can see him yet if you--"


      Our travellers were not obliged to bargain for their conveyance, as they went ashore in the boat belonging to the hotel where they intended to stay. The runner of the hotel took charge of their baggage and placed it in the boat; and when all was ready, they shook hands with the captain and purser of the steamer, and wished them prosperous voyages in future. Several other passengers went ashore at the same time. Among them was Captain Spofford, who was anxious to compare the Yokohama of to-day with the one he had visited twenty years before.It could be proved beyond a shadow of doubt, and by reference to all known laws of anatomy, that he did not exist.

      III


      Here, however, the discussion came to an abrupt conclusion, for something was happening to the Clockwork man.Alice had the sense not to conceal a perfectly ordinary and innocent event, which if concealed and subsequently detected would make the concealment of it significant.

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      "Evidently not," replied the Doctor, carelessly, "but it is not of the slightest importance. As I have said, the honour"The boys were all anxiety to take a walk through the streets of Yokohama, and could hardly wait for the Doctor to arrange matters with the hotel-keeper. In a little while everything was determined, and the party went out for a stroll. The Doctor led the way, and took them to the Japanese portion of the city, where they were soon in the midst of sights that were very curious to them. They stopped at several shops, and looked at a great variety of Japanese goods, but followed the advice of the Doctor in deferring their purchases to another time. Frank thought of the things he was to buy for his sister Mary, and also for Miss Effie; but as they were not to do any shopping on their first day in Japan, he did not see any occasion for opening the precious paper that Mary had confided to him previous to his departure.

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      "The streets are almost of chess-board regularity, and generally so clean that you might go out to walk in satin slippers without much danger of soiling them. The people are finer-looking than those of Tokio, and you meet more stalwart men than in the eastern capital. Kioto prides itself on the beauty of its women, and some of the Japanese writers say that they cause the women of all other parts of the country to despair. They are very proud of their head-dresses, and they have a great many ornaments for the hair; in fact, there are so many of these things, and the trade is so extensive, that you find whole shops devoted to their manufacture and sale.

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      There was a laugh all around at Fred's ingenious defence of the author of the verse in question, and then the attention of the party was turned to the scenery along the route. Although living near the line of[Pg 33] the Erie Railway, neither of the boys had ever been west of his station. Everything was therefore new to the youths, and they took great interest in the panorama that unrolled to their eyes as the train moved on.


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