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outposts, galloping headlong, bullet-cut in three different places, and with blood on its saddle and withers. It was too late to send out men that night, and the commandant refused to let the doctor go out alone under the red cross.
They found the body, next morning, on the edge of the road, just where he would disappear from sight of the house in dipping down into the sluit. He was shot through the heart, and had two other wounds in the body, but none in the head to disfigure his face. Yet on his face was a woman's handkerchief, with initials, and his hands were crossed on his breast, his limbs straightened. There was no lock of hair on his breast, however; the doctor found that an hour afterwards, all bloodstained still, twisted tightly in the girl's hand, for she was lying on her bed in a state between collapse and crazed brain when they came to burn the house and sweep off everything. She seemed to recognize the doctor as a friend. "I heard the shots," she muttered, in a monotone. "I heard the shots, and I ran, but he was dead, and they were going."
The doctor put her into the wagonette
himself, and saw to it that most of her clothing was saved and brought in with her. In time he pulled her through to a sort of melancholy state of joyless health before he was ordered to a field hospital further on. When he went he gave her the handkerchief she had laid on her lover's face before her father dragged her from the body, and every night after that she covered her own face with it when she lay down to sleep. She never troubled to contradict the accusation which went from tongue to tongue that she had trapped Morgan to his death; and she remained in the town where she could see his grave every day.
Later, when the brother was captured, he could only be sent to Ceylon. To ambush the enemy is perfectly good tactics in war. He had done nothing contrary to the laws of war. The murder of his sister's heart was not a thing that could come under either law, martial or civil; and she thanked me most earnestly because I had not shot him out of hand at the moment of capture, as so many had vowed to do. It was I who captured him and his men.
A. O. Yaughan.
HARA-KIRI: ITS REAL SIGNIFICANCE.
Hara-kiri 1 The word has been before us, of late, at every turn. In translating it the English equivalent is often given as "disembowelling"—a ghastly term, and, moreover, inappropriate. "Happy despatch" was formerly the phrase employed; it is, as it seems to me, a far better term, though how that expression originated no one seems to know. The matter itself, to the Western notion, is already not an agreeable one to talk about, but the recent translation of the term makes it worse. It
may not be wholly without interest for the reader if I try to explain, though with some diffidence from the very nature of the subject, the true signification of the act, and at the same time endeavor in some degree to account for the sensitiveness displayed by my own country-people at the misapprehensions produced by a wrong translation.
Literally, of course, hara-kiri is "belly-cutting," and this is the expression in common use, but kappuku, or more usually seppuku, is the word employed by persons of refinement, the actual meaning, however, being the same as hara-kiri. Seppuku and kappuku are expressions coined from Chinese. There are vigorous Anglo-Saxon terms in use in Great Britain which people of taste often prefer to replace —at afternoon tea, for example—by something, perhaps equally forcible, derived from the Latin. The instance is similar.
Seppuku was, in the feudal period, an honorable mode of committing suicide. It was unknown to the Japanese of ancient days, and was a custom which grew with the age of chivalry. With us, in the Far East, to hang oneself is looked upon as the most cowardly of all methods of self-destruction, and drowning oneself or taking poison was deemed to be no better. Even to shoot himself was, in a samurai, regarded as a base and ignoble way of shuttling oft this mortal coil; it was vulgarly spoken of as teppo-bara, [A is changed into 6 for euphony], an abbreviation of teppohara-kiri, in other words hara-kiri by means of a gun, though in reality the throat, and not the hara, was the usual spot assailed in this case.
There was never an instance, so far as can be traced, of seppuku by a female, and the honorable equivalent thereof for a samurai lady was death by a stab in the throat from her own dirk, a weapon she generally carried in her girdle to be used in time of need. Where a Roman dame would in ancient times have plunged her dagger into her own heart, a Japanese heroine preferred to thrust the weapon into her neck, and there is no record of either male or female in Japan ending existence in the fashion that is so often depicted in Western novels, and less frequently, perhaps, in real life.
Seppuku was not only a mode of self-despatch, but was prescribed as a form of capital punishment for all of samurai rank. Beheading, and still
more hanging, were forms of execution that might not be employed in cases of offenders of the military classes, whose position, even to the last of their existence, merited respect; and when, in very extreme cases, the crime of which a samurai had been convicted was heinous enough to deserve exemplary punishment by condemnation to an ignominious death, the culprit was first stripped of his rank and privileges as one of the samurai class. No samurai was ever to be beheaded; still less to be hanged.
Naturally under such conditions the act of seppuku came to be invested with much formality, and cases in which the most elaborate etiquette had to be strictly observed were those when a daimio, i.e. a feudal baron, or samurai of particularly high standing, was called upon by the proper authorities to despatch himself in this way in expiation of some political offence. A special commissioner was then sent from the proper quarters to witness the due execution of the sentence, and a kai-shaku-nin was chosen to assist the principal in ridding himself of the burden of life. This person was selected by the condemned from the circle of his own immediate relatives, friends, or retainers, and the kai-shaku-nin's office was an honorable one, inasmuch as he was thereby privileged to render a last service to his comrade or chief.
There was always a special apartment or pavilion prepared in which the ceremony had to take place; a particular dress, designed for use only on these melancholy occasions, had to be worn; and the dagger, or short sword, was invariably placed before the seat of the condemned on a clean white tray, raised on legs, termed sambo, which in the ordinary way is a kind of wooden stand used for keeping sacrifices offered to the gods, or for some similar solemn purpose. The actual cutting open of the body was not ossential, a trifling incision in a horizontal line 6 or 7 inches, or rarely in two lines crossing each other—the more superficial the better, as proof of a light and skilful touch—being ordinarily made, followed by a deep cut in the throat. As a rule, however, immediately after making the incision in the abdomen the condemned made a slight movement of his disengaged left hand, and stretched his neck forward, as signs to the kai-sJiakit-nin to do his office; perceiving which, the latter, who stood by with his sword ready poised, instantly struck off his principal's head. In Japan there is no need to speak directly of either hara-kiri or seppuku, as the euphemism "ku-sun-go-bu" is often employed—literally nine inches and a half, which was the proper length of the dagger to be used on these occasions. The weapon was always wrapped in some sheets of pure white paper, only the extreme point being exposed, and it was correct to hold it, when making an Incision, In the right hand, not by the handle, but by the middle of the paper-wrapped blade. How to sit, how to bow to the spectators when about to commence the awful task, how to unfold reverently the part of the clothing which covers the upper part of the body, how to wrap up the dagger, and how to make the requisite signal to the kai-shaku-nin, were all matters on which the utmost nicety was enjoined, and were part of the instruction which every samurai was obliged to receive from the master of military ceremonies. Harakiri, indeed, was to the samurai a matter involving an appalling amount of ceremony. The end of the worldfamed "Forty-eight Ro-nins" was reached by seppuku in the same way; each died by his own hand. They were given in charge of three dalmlos, In three separate groups, and on the appointed day each group killed themselves simultaneously at an appointed
hour, but each individual one after another, in specially erected pavilions provided in the gardens of the Yedo residences of the three barons. The tale so often retailed in popular storybooks, that they all committed seppuku around the tomb of their avenged lord, is fictitious, though it is true that they all were buried there.
Perhaps the most notable instance of seppuku was that which occurred at Sakal, near Osaka, just after the establishment of the new regime in Japan, when a number of young samurai, some twenty In all. If I remember rightly, who had attacked the French, were ordered by the Government to expiate their crime in this fashion, in the presence of the French Minister, whose rage it was necessary to appease. He begged that the carnage might stop when eleven had thus closed their careers.
I need scarcely add that this form of punishment has totally disappeared from our laws, as the abandonment of the distinctive privileges of samurai, and the assimilation of all classes of the Emperor's subjects in regard to civil rights and punishments, were decreed. But the practice did not wholly cease for some years after the Restoration in 1867, and I well remember that there was a case in 1871, when a nobleman who was indicted for high treason was sentenced to ji-jin—literally selfending—which was the same thing as seppuku.
When seppuku was purely a voluntary act the formalities were necessarily much curtailed, and very often the person who thus conceived himself condemned by fate's decree retired to some secluded spot, and there slew himself in orthodox fashion, without making known his intention beforehand, and merely announcing his reasons by letters which he left by his side for all to read. The principle, however, was always the same, and it was the samurai's main endeavor at the last to observe due decorum and to conform to the rules in every way that was possible.
There were numerous instances in which men of truly noble soul chose this manner of death. Watanabe Kwazan was one of them. He was councillor to a small dalmlo, a genuine patriot, and a pioneer advocate of the opening of Japan to foreign intercourse. As a painter, though an amateur only, he stood very high. In 1850, seeing that through his views on the subject of Western civilization his feudal chieftain was bound to be implicated, and that his own self-extermination would be requisite if his lord was to be preserved from the stigma which then attached to any predilection for Occidental methods, Watanabe hesitated not to commit seppuku, and thereby saved his master from any such imputations.
Takano Ghoyei, a sympathizer and active co-operator with Watanabe, being a well-known physician and Dutch scholar, and Koseki Sanyei, who was also a Dutch scholar and assisted Watanabe by translating Dutch books for him, both died by seppuku for the same cause.
Kuruhara Riozo, father of the present Marquis Kldo who succeeded to the heritage of the house of Kldo after the death of his renowned uncle on the maternal side, and received the honor of a marqulsate In memory of his relative's splendid services to the nation, was another instance. Kuruhara was a brave samurai. When Nagai Ufa, an officer of high rank of Chosiu province, about 1862, advocated the definite opening of the country, Kuruhara sided with him. Circumstances compelled him to show that he had not adopted that view from any base motive, and in the furtherance of this attitude he committed seppuku. When he was stationed with the garrison of Uraga, the guarding of which place was entrusted
to the Prince of Chosiu at the time of the American advent to the Far East, the present Marquis Ito, then a boy of fourteen, was his subordinate, and when, a few years afterwards, he was despatched to Nagasaki at the head of a group of young samurai of Chosiu for the purpose of studying the Dutch system of artillery, young Ito was one of them. Ito was in those days a special favorite of Kuruhara, and knew him well. Ito was almost the first person to rush into the room when Kuruhara died. I have often heard the marquis talking with admiration of Kuruhara, saying what a fine chivalrous character he possessed, and how nobly and with what studied observance of formality he died. To preserve a perfect self-possession at any dread hour is the essence of the samurai doctrine. By the bye, Nagai, just mentioned above, was himself one of those who committed seppuku. He died thereby at the command of his prince, as a consequence of a political dissension. I may perhaps remark here parenthetically that Japan's evolution of Western civilization was not attained without it costing her much in blood and treasure.
In former days, sometimes, one committed Hara-kiri by an over-zeal for some cause which he advocated, merely to demonstrate his sincerity. Earnest as they may be, such cases are, of course, more especially discouraged in our own days and gone out of fashion.
The basis on which seppuku was prescribed as a mode of capital punishment for samurai was that it was unbecoming the dignity and status of one of the warrior rank that he should be subjected under any circumstances to the rough handling of the common executioner, and therefore, when the deed of seppuku was a voluntary one, the root idea was the same, for it was undertaken in order to avoid ignominy, and to prevent the family escutcheon being stained by any act towards which the scornful might afterwards point a finger of derision. All that the samurai might ask of his proud race— like Don Caesar de Bazan in Maritana —was "to die . . . and not disgrace its ancient chivalry," and as the chivalric spirit is still, I am glad to think, ardently cherished in Japan, there are occasions, as the readers of "war news" of the day must have discovered, when it yet seems to some to be appropriate to end their days in the fashion of feudal times, though among private individuals this course is now but very rarely resorted to.
To the Chinese and Koreans seppuku is unknown. At the capitulation of Wei-hai-Wei, nine years ago, the Chinese Admiral Ting destroyed himself by smoking an immense quantity of opium. He did this, in accordance with Chinese ideas, to save his men from punishment, and in the eyes of his countrymen it was altogether the act of a hero, and so it was. A Japanese, under like conditions, however, would have died, not by poison, but by seppuku. The three Chinese of high rank who had been implicated in the Boxer troubles of 1900, and committed suicide at the command of the Emperor in consequence of the joint demand of the Powers, died either by taking poison or by hanging. If the event had taken place in the former days of Japan, the death would have been also by seppuku.
The Nineteenth Century and After.
Terrible as it unquestionably was to witness, the act of self-sacrifice was so bound up with the revered traditions of our race that it was shorn in great part of the horrors with which it must seem to readers in the twentieth century to have been invested. Exaggerated and loathsome accounts are even to be met with in popular story-books in Japan, scenes in which the victim is depicted as hurling, in a last effort, his intestines at his enemy, who is supposed to have been looking on—a thing in itself quite impossible under ordinary circumstances—and certainly, if it occurred, altogether exceptional. The incision usually made, as I have shown, was quite superficial, a mere flesh wound; and death was due to the injury inflicted in the throat by the suicide's own hand, or to the good offices of the kai-shaku-nin, whose duty as assistant—the idea is perhaps better conveyed by the term "second" in the case of a duel—it was to remove his principal's head with the utmost expedition. Thus to translate hara-kiri as disembowelling, or embowelling, is both ghastly and inaccurate in the impression that it leaves on the mind.
Suicide in any form is incompatible with Western notions of right and wrong, and it certainly ought not to be encouraged, though there may be conditions, it would seem to us in the East, when it may be wholly or partially excused.
BOY AT THE PUBLIC SCHOOL.
Your little fellow, Cornelia, may now in the matter of education be described as having his foot planted on the bottom round of the third of four ladders which are tied one upon the top of the other. Firmly planted only that foot if Boy
has taken a fairly good place in the Entrance Examination; inclined to be distinctly shaky if he is at thirteen and a half placed low down in Block F at Eton, or in whatever "Book" or "Form" corresponds to that position at