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Perhaps some would say several of our party should have heeded the warnings of the blind astrologers, so plentiful in China, or stopped joking when we received number thirteen for dinner cards, hat checks and auto drivers' checks, but, strange as it may seem, on the very day that we were joking about the prevalence of "number 13" we had a very narrow escape. At any rate the most beloved member of the party, Mrs. Carrie Schwabacker (affectionately known as "Mother McCree"), nearly lost her life. Harry Dana, Cleve T. Shaffer and the writer, were with her in the small motor boat, returning from an entertainment given at a Chinese banker's home on the Pearl River (we were sure they referred to a black pearl when they named it, as the water looked like ink) and the craft became stuck in the mud and the propeller was impeded. The big river steamer, which we were due to catch, waited twenty minutes for us and when we finally got alongside the steamer, the Chinese boatman tied us to it as it was starting, in spite of our protests. Naturally, the little boat was dragged underneath the large rapidly moving steamer. One of the boatmen was thrown overboard. By desperate efforts we were saved from capsizing and the little boat broke loose from the steamer bearing her down, so we did not catch up with the party until a day later.
If Neptune Day was a huge success, then "Sanguinetti's Night" was a triumph. The old "Frisco Restaurant" reappeared on board ship, cartoons were on the walls (cleverly drawn by Miss Marion Doolan), the floor was sawdust covered. Red ties, stockings and skirts were in demand. Mrs. Evan's brilliant scarf made one costume for the borrower, everyone looked unbelievably tough in the costumes appropriate for this Italian affair. Candles gave a dim light. There were samples of "Apache Dancing." Spaghetti and ravioli were enjoyed along with the red wine that flowed freely, while the orchestra played only Italian and "Jazz" pieces. Will anyone ever forget Mrs. Schwartz's wonderful rendition of the "Lost Italian girl?" Miss Schlessinger won the prize for being the best "Vamp."
In the smoking room and on deck, Mah Gongg, for awhile, vied with bridge, but the old standby (enlivened with prizes) proved more popular on the homeward trip. If noise was any indication, then the last few days, when the deck sport prizes were being played for, were hugely enjoyed by all. Capt. E. Salisbury, C. J. Okell, S. N. Haslett, Jr. and H. S. Dana were among the star players. Dr. Woolsey and J. F. Geise were also "fans."
Christmas will always be another happy memory. The carols, the marching around the ship of the choristers Christmas Eve, the services and the story of Christmas by Mrs. Barton gave a contrast of seriousness that made us appreciate the frivolities all the more. How cheery the dining room was with its garlands of red berries and huge Christmas tree, swaying with the motion of the ship, and what fun when jovial and popular Captain Nelson, as Santa Claus gave a present to all. How surprised and happy the Captain, the officers and Mr. Grady were when Warren Shannon presented them with the beautiful gifts purchased by our party. Everyone was coaxed to display their "parlor tricks." Warren Shannon gave his masterpiece "Tiger Fat," Reese Lewellyn sang, followed by Mrs. Schwabacker's charming rendition of "What Irishmen Mean by McCree," Dr. Thomas Hill recited cleverly, Mrs. Brandeis read the farewell poem she had written, Mrs. Brown sang beautifully. Will we ever see a Korean costume without thinking of Louis Mooser and the excellent resolutions of thanks he drew and how he regretted the loss of his first diary? If it was half as clever as the second diary we can well understand his feelings. The laughter, singing and dancing kept up until way past midnight. No wonder everyone seemed in the best of health and spirits after this wonderful tour.
Last Few Days of Trip
The women of the party, led by Mrs. Frank Panter, gave a vote of thanks for being permitted to be a part of such an important tour penetrating an area where 900,000,000 souls are living, and wrote a resolution to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce to that effect. It was up to the women to send "the last word" from the party, as Ou Wee of Canton, said, "The women of America are the real dictators,' 'and since the days of Eve, every man knows that women must have the "last word." But after seeing the treatment of the Oriental women, all the party of the feminine gender, were doubly glad to be Americans and to be going home.
We all understand the meaning of the phrase, "The best part of going away is the coming back," and when we contemplated that the famous "Peace Ship" could only stand it for three days, we felt quite pleased with our three months' record of friendly relationship, not only with our associates on board ship, but also with all those of the Orient, on this, the First Commercial Relationship Tour that any Chamber of Commerce has ever attempted and successfully accomplished.