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sential, a trifling incision in a horizon hour, but each individual one after antal line 6 or 7 inches, or rarely in two other, in specially erected pavilions lines crossing each other—the more provided in the gardens of the Yedo superficial the better, as proof of a residences of the three barons. The light and skilful touch-being ordina. tale so often retailed in popular storyrily made, followed by a deep cut in the books, that they all committed seppuku throat. As a rule, however, imme. around the tomb of their avenged lord, diately after making the incision in the is fictitious, though it is true that they abdomen the condemned made a slight all were buried there. movement of his disengaged left hand, Perhaps the most notable instance of and stretched his neck forward, as seppuku was that which occurred at signs to the kai-shaku-nin to do his Sakai, near Osaka, just after the esoffice; perceiving which, the latter, who tablishment of the new régime in stood by with his sword ready poised, Japan, when a number of young instantly struck off his principal's head. samurai, some twenty in all, if I re
In Japan there is no need to speak member rightly, who had attacked the directly of either hara-kiri or seppuku, French, were ordered by the Governas the euphemism "ku-sun-go-bu” is ment to expiate their crime in this often employed-literally nine inches fashion, in the presence of the French and a half, which was the proper Minister, whose rage it was necessary length of the dagger to be used on to appease. He begged that the carthese occasions. The weapon was al- nage might stop when eleven had thus ways wrapped in some sheets of pure closed their careers. white paper, only the extreme point be- I need scarcely add that this form ing exposed, and it was correct to hold of punishment has totally disappeared it, when making an incision, in the from our laws, as the abandonment of right hand, not by the handle, but by the distinctive privileges of samurai, the middle of the paper-wrapped and the assimilation of all classes of blade. How to sit, how to bow to the the Emperor's subjects in regard to spectators when about to commence civil rights and punishments, were de the awful task, how to unfold reverent creed. But the practice did not wholly ly the part of the clothing which covers cease for some years after the Restorathe upper part of the body, how to tion in 1867, and I well remember that wrap up the dagger, and how to make there was a case in 1871, when a noblethe requisite signal to the kai-shaku-nin, man who was indicted for high treason were all matters on which the utmost was sentenced to ji-jin-literally selfnicety was enjoined, and were part of ending-which was the same thing as the instruction which every samurai seppuku. was obliged to receive from the When seppuku was purely a volunmaster of military ceremonies. Hara tary act the formalities were neceskiri, indeed, was to the samurai a mat sarily much curtailed, and very often ter involving an appalling amount of the person who thus conceived himself ceremony. The end of the world- condemned by fate's decree retired to famed "Forty-eight Ro-nins" was some secluded spot, and there slew reached by seppuku in the same way; himself in orthodox fashion, without each died by his own hand. They were making known his intention beforegiven in charge of three daimios, in hand, and merely announcing his reathree separate groups, and on the ap- sons by letters which he left by his pointed day each group killed them- side for all to read. The principle, selves simultaneously at an appointed however, was always the same, and it was the samurai's main endeavor at the to the Prince of Chosiu at the time last to observe due decorum and to of the American advent to the Far conform to the rules in every way that East, the present Marquis Ito, then a was possible.
boy of fourteen, was his subordinate, There were numerous instances in and when, a few years afterwards, he which men of truly noble soul chose was despatched to Nagasaki at the this manner of death. Watanabe head of a group of young samurai of Kwazan was one of them. He was Chosiu for the purpose of studying the councillor to a small daimio, a genuine Dutch system of artillery, young Ito patriot, and a pioneer advocate of the was one of them. Ito was in those opening of Japan to foreign intercourse. days a special favorite of Kuruhara, As a painter, though an amateur only, and knew him well. Ito was almost he stood very high. In 1850, seeing the first person to rush into the room that through his views on the subject when Kuruhara died. I have often of Western civilization bis feudal chief- heard the marquis talking with admiratain was bound to be implicated, and tion of Kuruhara, saying what a fine that his own self-extermination would chivalrous character he possessed, and be requisite if his lord was to be pre- how nobly and with what studied observed from the stigma which then at servance of formality he died. To tached to any predilection for Occideno preserve a perfect self-possession at tal methods, Watanabé hesitated not any dread hour is the essence of the to commit seppuku, and thereby saved samurai doctrine. By the bye, Nagai, his master from any such imputations. just mentioned above, was himself one
Takano Choyei, a sympathizer and of those who committed seppuku. He active co-operator with Watanabe, be- died thereby at the command of his ing a well-known physician and Dutch prince, as a consequence of a political scholar, and Koseki Sanyei, who was dissension. I may perhaps remark also a Dutch scholar and assisted here parenthetically that Japan's evoluWatanabé by translating Dutch books tion of Western civilization was not atfor him, both died by seppuku for the tained without it costing her much in same cause.
blood and treasure. Kurubara Riozo, father of the pres- In former days, sometimes, one coment Marquis Kido who succeeded to mitted Hara-kiri by an over-zeal for the heritage of the house of Kido after some cause which he advocated, merely the death of his renowned uncle on the to demonstrate his sincerity. Earnest maternal side, and received the honor as they may be, such cases are, of of a marquisate in memory of his rela- course, more especially discouraged in tive's splendid services to the nation, our own days and gone out of fashion. was another instance. Kuruhara was The basis on which seppuku was prea brave samurai. When Nagai Uta, an scribed as a mode of capital punishofficer of high rank of Chosiu province, ment for samurai was that it was unabout 1862, advocated the definite open- becoming the dignity and status of one ing of the country, Kuruhara sided of the warrior rank that he should be with him. Circumstances compelled subjected under any circumstances to him to show that he had not adopted the rough handling of the common that view from any base motive, and executioner, and therefore, when the in the furtherance of this attitude he deed of seppuku was a voluntary one, committed seppuku. When he was sta- the root idea was the same, for it was tioned with the garrison of Uraga, the undertaken in order to avoid ignominy, guarding of which place was entrusted 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 Cæsar 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
Winchester or at any other school wholesome restraint of school discipline where there is a fixed rule of superan and packs him off abroad without nuation. However, I have discussed minute preliminary inquiries, is emthe peril of superannuation in a pre- barking upon a very dangerous ex. vious letter, and see no necessity for periment. There are, unfortunately, a further piling up the agony. Let us good many other things which may be make up our minds, then, on the spot, learnt abroad apart from the lanthat Boy is standing in no danger of guages. Even that eminently respectaearly superannuation, but has at least ble lady, Sir Thomas Kicklebury's four or five years of Public School life widow, in her travels on the Rhine, to look forward to.
found some questionable pursuits and "Too much by a long chalk, in my made some undesirable acquaintances. opinion," says the business man of the But as you have told me, Cornelia, world. "What good does a great hulk that in this case Boy's ambition is cening fellow of seventeen expect to get tred upon one day becoming Lord by muddling on at school? Quite time Chancellor, or at the very least a K.C., at his age that he began to learn some- it is to be supposed that you wisb thing useful. Pack him off to France him to remain his full time at Eton, or Germany, and let him learn to and then proceed to a university. The parlez-vous and write an intelligible silk gown is a long way off at present, letter in German."
and meantime we seem to have wanI wonder whether you have ever dered too far afield, and left him standstudied Dickens with attention, Cor. ing on the bottom of the ladder. nelia. Probably not. But if you have, Boy was homesick and nervous, Coryou may remember a chapter headed nelia, when you first planted him down “A pleasant day with an unpleasant in the Preparatory School. But he has ending."
quite got over the more disagreeable "Where shall I wheel him to, sir?" of those sensations. The home-sickinquired Wilkins.
dess is a thing of the past, only the "Wheel him to the Devil,” replied nervousness incidental to a young aniCaptain Boldwig.
mal which finds itself in totally strange “Very well, sir."
surroundings remains. Yet because the I do not mean for a minute to imply letters of the new Boy at the Public that either France or Germany is the School do not teem with the lamentaDevil's sole residential abode. Unfor ble longings for the old livme-life and tunately the gentleman in question is the plaintive inquiries into the well. nothing if not ubiquitous. Yet I have being of the old hume-pets, sisters inbeen told by those wbo ought to know cluded, which you looked for as a mat. that Paris has eveu more attractions ter of course in the quaintly spelt and for him than our own metropolis, much-liesmudged epistles of the new which is wicked enough in all con- Boy at the Preparatory School, you are science sake. A short period of resi. not to imagine that Boy under the new dence abroad for the Englishman who régime is one degree less fond of his wishes to master Foreign Languages home and his mother than he was may be almost-I doubt if it is quite- wont to be in times past. It is only indispensable. In the case of the that he is perhaps rather less fond of youug patient it is a prescription to be himself-in a word, less self-centred. taken with an unusual amount of pre- The give-and-take of life even at the caution; and he who removes his son little school has knocked much of the at a highly susceptible age from the original egoism and selfishness out of
LIVING AGE. VOL. XXVI. 1371
him. “We,” you may remember, in- Spouncer, than as cock of the walk stead of “I” had become the subject with a solitary companion at Mr. of most of the paragraphs in last Stelling's Rectory. Most praiseworthy, year's letters. When he talked to you to do Tom Tulliver justice, his efforts in the holidays, the circumstance that to rehabilitate the good name of the “We had a jolly good season this year, family, highly commendable the resoand won nearly all our matches," had lution to approve himself the honest grown to be of far more importance son of an honest father. But it is in his eyes than the record of his own "self" throughout that he is really personal successes.
thinking of; he has no sympathy to ex"But I want to know what my own tend to his infinitely more attractive boy did," you remarked.
sister, because he feels that she has “Oh, I got some runs sometimes. I disgraced the name, not so much of think I was fifth-no, bracketed fourth Maggie, as of Tom Tulliver. in the averages.”
“I have found comfort,” he tells her, He had begun to regard himself not "in doing my duty. ...I feel the difso much as an individual hero as a ference between right and wrong; ... part and parcel of a community, dis- it is enough that I have to bear the appointed for a moment, inclined per burden of your disgrace.” haps to go and have a quiet cry in a It is different, you see, with Boy, corner when he was caught out first Cornelia. With him in the last year ball in the Hillstree match the match or so it was The School first, self compar excellence of the season-but for- paratively nowhere. From to-day the getting the personal failure, and cheer- order will run School, House, Self. But ing as lustily as any one when the it by no means follows that loyalty to winning hit was made by his school- School and House will supersede love captain. That was the dawning, dear for Home and its occupants. You have Cornelia, of the feeling that will some simply exchanged the small acquisitive day prompt him to throw up the snug and self-seeking animal which you little billet and comfortable club-life packed off to school four years ago for at home, and rush off to shoulder the a larger creature with wider symmusket and starve on muddy rations pathies. cheek-by-jowl with swearing, perspir- It is natural that you yourself should ing Tommy Atkins-where? Perhaps be feeling a little nervous as you on the Indian frontier. This was the watch Boy standing on the foot of the feeling so conspicuously wanting in new ladder. For you must be realTom Tulliver, the Dorlcote miller's son, izing that for the first time in his life -to my mind one of the most truly he is fairly out of the reach of the drawn, and yet, except in his very leading strings. To be sure, in one early days, one of the least attractive sense there are still a few leadingcharacters in fiction. That Tom did strings in the form of School Regulanot happen to be a gentleman either tions, with sundry pains and penalties by birth or breeding was a mere mat menacing him who pays no heed to ter of detail. But he suffered by being them. removed from his school-life before his For instance. “Sileatur in Dormiconspicuous and irritating egoism had torio" is or used to be written up at been to any extent knocked out of him. the entrance of the large dormitory in He was far better off under Jacobs at a school that I wot of, and any in•4h' academy,” swopping his “marls” fringement of this maxim ranked as and exchanging black eyes with a capital offence. If after the age of