|Home -> Other California History Books -> The Log of the Empire State - Chapter IV|
On October 10, Dorothy Gee, the Chinese girl banker of San Francisco, presided over the ceremony celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Chinese independence Day, held in the steerage. Besides giving a clever address, she acted as interpreter for the speeches delivered by F. R. Eldridge, chief of the Far Eastern Division for the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, A. F. Morrison and A. I. Esberg.
Many of us felt a great curiosity to see the engine that had pushed us through the storm, so we descended countless iron stairs, down to the very bottom of the ship; above us towered a bewildering assortment of ladders, levers, pipes and valves. The heat was over-powering, so we rushed to the ventilator and cooled off quickly. The deafening noise prevented us from hearing all the engineer's explanations. Next we were taken singly (as the space between the two massive doors will not permit of more) through the two massive doors separating the boilers from the rest of the ship. In case of an accident all the doors of the ship, including these, could be automatically closed from the deck, dividing the ship into three compartments.
We saw how the thirty-seven cakes of ice, consumed daily, were made, inspected the laundry and peeked in where the precious, rapidly diminishing liquors were stored, and we all felt satisfied that we knew "What made the wheels go around."
With the regular meetings of the Executive committee, with Herbert Hoover's Trade Investigation committee (consisting of Lansing Hoyt, C. J. Mayer, Gordon Enders, E. Kehich, Paul Steindorff and headed by F. R. Eldridge), mingling with the party to assist in establishing friendly commercial relationship; with all those identified with certain businesses and professions divided into groups, and even with the women organized, we felt ready to meet any Oriental dignitaries, or delegations.
We remember well how often Warren Shannon, with his unfailing humor, sent us into gales of laughter, auctioning off the numbers that represented the possible run of the ship on the following day. Louis Mooser bid the first one hundred dollars on the number that won the pool. C. H. Matlage, William Muir, F. H. Speich, Louis Brown, Mrs. S. Schwartz and Mrs. Carrie Schwabacher were also heavy bidders.
Everyone started borrowing clothes from everyone else, right after breakfast, the day of the masquerade. P. J. Lyon made a very gay girl, C. R. Reed went as Woodrow Wilson, A. I. Esberg as a Chinese, C. B. Lastrete as a bandit, Margarete Rice as Cleopatra, Mrs. Bruce Foulkes as a beautiful Spanish senorita, Constant Meese, W. Levintritt, F. W. Boole and C. H. Matlage as "Four Dainty Kewpies," Edward C. Wagner as an oiler, and Carl Westerfeld was a regular devil.
Of course, Mrs. A. Gee, Mrs. A. B. Luther, Mrs. Washburn, Mrs. Wheeler, Mrs. Boole, Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Shannon and Mrs. Grady looked charming, as usual. The Misses Bridge, Miss Kinslow, Miss Neff and Miss Bell also looked attractive. Dr. Gates, Dr. Judell, Miss Simon, Mrs. Rothenberg, Mrs. Denson, Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Yates, the Misses Hunter, Mrs. Barnard, Miss James, Mrs. Ross, A. W. Morton, Jr., and Mrs. Krull went to such a lot of trouble to get up their interesting costumes. Henry S. Bridge had, "a fine make-up" and looked like a real Southern Negro. Pretty Miss Howlett and Miss Wood always made one think of the posters of "Sweet Sixteen."
Warren Shannon's Entertainment committee, assisted by Miss Moore, Miss Craig, Mrs. Bercovich and Mrs. Panter, certainly discovered the talent on board and we will always be grateful for the sweet singing of charming Mrs. Gale, Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Schwartz and Miss Reed and the playing of Miss Moore, Mrs. Alexander and of our talented "Mary."
If anyone felt a bit out of sorts all they had to do was to think of the courage and sweet, uncomplaining manner of Mrs. Morrison or what good sailors Mrs. Anna R. Luther and Miss Louise Elliott were trying to be.
Columbus never strained his eyes more eagerly to see land than the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce representatives did, when someone said that the dim outline of Fujiyama might be visible above the hazy shore that looked as much like clouds as land.
All the men of the party were so busy with their field glasses, admiring Yokohoma Harbor's wonderful fortifications, that they did not even hear the women question what sort of a dress would be suitable for the coming grand reception, and yet, at the same time withstand sight-seeing in the dust of the streets. Even Mary Garden on her opening night did not receive such rapt attention as did this harbor.
As we looked down over the huge side of the Empire State upon the turmoil of humanity, baggage and freight and the uneven street beyond, we gave thanks to the Baptist missionary, who is credited with making an old baby carriage into the first rickshaw, for the convenience of his sick wife. When we saw the little brown men actually run away with our most corpulent representatives, without any apparent effort, we forgot all about "Man's inhumanity to man" and no baby ever enjoyed its first perambulator outing more than our party.
First, we swooped down upon the banks to change our money, but the yen and sen counted out to us seemed as valueless as stage money. However, we grew to respect it, after visiting Benton Dori and departing with elaborate kimonos that the shrewd businessmen and women of the party would have passed by as being too expensive, at home.
It was great fun after being extravagant to figure out that a yen is only a little over half as much as one of our dollars and that one had only spent half as much as one thought.
Our party met the ladies (some of them American college graduates) and gentlemen of the Yokohama Chamber of Commerce at a big reception in a theatre. The governor, through his interpreter, said that our arrival was on the first sunny day they had had in some time, that the chrysanthemums were just blooming, and that this was a good omen, for the war clouds had vanished. Geisha girls danced while singing a specially composed chant of welcome, and an elaborate luncheon was served in an adjoining hall. A. I. Esberg and F. R. Eldridge answered the welcome saying, "That we hoped to establish much more friendly and permanent relationship with the people of Japan."
Most of the party had the inevitable tea in the foreign settlement, known as the Bluff. Most of these houses are of the vintage of fifty years ago and range in rental from $125 to $150, unfurnished, the tenant having to install his own plumbing if he wishes such a luxury. We wanted to know why some better arrangement was not made and were reminded of the law that does not permit of any foreign ownership of land.
Louis Mooser, former head of the San Francisco Real Estate Board, was much interested in the situation. It seems that about one-seventh of the small area available for foreigners was under perpetual lease to the Germans and we were told that when war broke out it was taken over by the Japanese, who only allowed their own race to buy, and all rents were immediately raised.
It was said that instead of complaining about how little land Japan was allowed in the United States, it would be fairer to give Americans in Japan the same privileges that she enjoys in some of our states.
Americans in Yokohoma say that the Japanese law drafted to relieve this situation and often proudly referred to by Japanese diplomats, has never really been passed and therefore has no value. They add that if old Marquis Okuma had more peace-craving followers and the lawmakers were responsible to the people instead of the Emperor, for whom they are said to act, differences between the United States and Japan could be more quickly and completely settled.