Puslapio vaizdai

some than the climb. Sunny fields, full of sum- About three o'clock the following morning mer scents and sounds, led us at length to we had our breakfast by the feeble light of Gotemba, a pretty village only five miles from candles. The Japanese appear to be up all Subashiri

, and where at the tea-house we found night under the best of circumstances, so it watermelons so delicious that the memory of seemed perfectly natural that the smiling little them haunts us yet. The road thereafter is maids should serve us apparently in the middle level and fine, overarched most of the way with of the night. The moon was just setting belarge trees. All the hotels in Subashiri, except hind Fuji, looming very near and black, when one, refuse to entertain foreigners. So to the we set forth upon our walk of twenty-two miles Yona-yama we repaired, well content to rest and to the summit. For seven miles we had the be waited upon after our day's walk. Jiu-hei, services of an obliging packhorse, through a as we understood the proprietor's name, saw level country, dreary and monotonous, partly that excellent rooms with chairs and a table wooded by scrub-pines. Volcanic remembrance were provided. Through a long passage where already began to turn smiling, genial Japan the wood shone from its repeated polishings, into a sullen land, thinking of woe. In the past the general bathing-tank, past a little gar- midst of this desolate region, a hopeful brightden where the sun could never penetrate to ening in the east soon became the oncoming the mossy stone lanterns and luxuriant ferns, glories of a superb sunrise, and soon after this up four steps, and the rooms were reached. we reached the first station of the real ascent. Through the long, low, sliding windows we Uma-gayeshi ("horse-turn-back") is 4400 feet

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looked out over a hundred gardens, thatched above the sea; and as nothing less than huand flowery roofs, and immense well-sweeps manity is allowed to proceed farther up the whereon the bucket was balanced by a stone, sacred slopes of the peerless mountain, and as may be seen occasionally on back-country even the kago is forbidden, twelve coolies apNew England farms. Beyond, the black sides portioned our load of instruments and luggage, of the kingly mountain brooded, though the and started ahead. Hundreds of pilgrim bancrown was still veiled.

ners hung upon the walls of the inn, and after

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a slight refreshment, chiefly in the form of nese maples, beeches, and ash joined the everpale yellow tea, we followed on. From here greens in making a shady canopy above; while the ascent is divided into stages, each marked maidenhair ferns, belated wild roses, yellow by small stations, or halting-places.

lilies, dwarf sunflowers, tall white serpentaria, Devout pilgrims, to the number of fifteen or and purple monk's-hood combined to hide twenty thousand, with banners in hand bearing the delicious wild strawberries lurking in the the name of their town, annually ascend Fuji- grass. At intervals through this lovely wood san as a religious obligation, and to propitiate were temples and shrines, many of them devarious deities. The prayer frequently made serted for the year,— and an occasional inupon these occasions runs thus: “ Purify me termediate station where tea and sweetmeats from my six roots of evil — the eyes, ears, nose, formed welcome greeting. The summer heat mouth, touch, and thoughts."

was slightly tempered with a brisk and cooler After leaving Uma-gayeshi, the walk for a air, making the sunshine friendly; and flowers long distance was thoroughly delightful. The bloomed not only all about us, but even in the sunshine sifted softly through greenest foliage picturesque thatched roofs of the miniature to a mass of wild-flowers and ferns. The path temples: the whole was idyllic. - a sort of gully, sunk at least two feet below But suddenly, emerging from the trees, anthe general level of the wood – was fringed other world appeared. Before, above, around, with ferns and delicate asters, while great roots lay miles of fire-baked lava, dull and hopeless protruded and overhung the edge like colossal in the sunshine — finished, dead. For a short petrified snakes. Airy white birches shook their distance now and then there were oases of verAuttering leaves in the soft breeze, the Japa- dure, where the hardiest of shrubs and flower

had gained a slight foothold; and here, again, Sweetmeats much more delicate and fresh the charming wild strawberries grew luxuri- than might have been expected were found at antly. But these wooded spots-smaller, fewer, each station. But the most genuinely sustainfarther apart—soon ceased altogether, and we ing of our comforts was chocolate, of which were left alone with the wind and the sky, Dr. Knipping had provided a generous supply. and a stupendous mountain-cone, — all but A mouthful or two, a bite now and then during overhanging us,-cold, lifeless, pitiless. For some particularly hard pull, refreshed lagging a time the sweeping wind was welcome; but energies and added greatly to our strength; it increased with every step. Straight down into while if angels are ever met in pith helmets and our faces it pelted, as if indeed some mighty gray suits, Dr. Knipping was certainly one of guardian of the mountain resented the invasion that kindly fraternity when, having climbed of impious feet. The difficulties of the climb ahead, he met us at one station with steaming had begun, and Dr. Knipping's oft-repeated cups of this same delightful chocolate ready for caution against a too-rapid pace became al- each nearly spent traveler. most unnecessary. Sharp lava in enormous And now, to add further novelty to the day, masses lay in the path, and, indeed, on every a soft white cloud drifted down and about, or side; very soon there was no path at all. The perhaps we climbed into its embrace, and its coolies with their burdens could be seen far moist caresses added immense discomfort to ahead, clambering up and over and around, every motion. If it hid the steep dangers beeach in his own way, with cat-like agility. The low, it also enveloped the mighty cone above, wind became a hurricane; it beat upon us, and removed even the questionable pleasure it pounded us; frequently we had to cling fast of seeing what remained to be done. So we to the lava-ledge with both hands until some climbed blindly onward, drenched and chilled, particularly fierce gust had passed. Verily, seeing only the next step ahead, knowing no hard-hearted is the god who would not be pro- path, but keeping instinctively upward. Each pitiated to the bestowal of any favor by a climb pilgrim is provided with several extra pairs of like this! And yet when some luckless pilgrim straw sandals to replace those constantly wom dies upon the summit,—and this occasionally through by the sharp lava. If, as is said, fifteen happens,— he becomes, not, as might be ex- thousand pilgrims ascend the mountain every pected, a martyr to his piety, but a being thereby summer, and each one discards half a dozen proved too wicked to live any longer! pairs of this foot-gear during his climb, it is evi

At one of the poor little stations — all of dent that there must be some straw sandals on which, however, were inexpressibly welcome the mountain-side. In the prevailing mist these - soft rice-paper, India ink, and camel's-hair cast-off waraji were now the only reliable inbrushes were brought out for us to inscribe dication of the trail. Occasionally the tiny our names. The collecting of banners, kaki- tinkle of some pilgrim bell would steal softly mono, or scroll-pictures, and autographs seemed through the thick white mist, growing louder to have been a task dear to the heart of the pro- as its owner came swiftly downward by another prietor, and he proudly exhibited his treasures. path than ours, then becoming fainter and yet Among the hundreds of Japanese mementos more faint as the pilgrim, still unseen, strode were the names of a party of Europeans who quickly down toward the real world. Or perhad climbed Fuji two or three years before. chance, looming through the cloud, a human The sudden sense of companionship on this form was barely discernible, a great, impalpable lonely mountain, the instant leap of the heart shadow, passing with its little bell in unknown at seeing the familiar letters, were sensations nearness, to be speedily swallowed up in the as agreeable as they were curiously new. We encompassing gray. willingly painted our names for the old man, Each station was poorer than the last, who, with all our coolies, watched us, deeply many of them were closed, the pilgrim season interested.

practically ending with August, - but despite Farther than the sixth station, 9800 feet the increasing barrenness of those yet open, we above sea level, foreigners and women have not could hardly have dispensed with their rude been allowed to ascend until recently. Since shelter and rest. Patience now seemed the most the dawn of wider intelligence, and a receptive desirable virtue to add to strength of limb. Peropening of the national mind toward whatever severance was after a time rewarded, for we is better in other countries, these restrictions climbed out of the cloud, and reached sunshine have been removed. At five minutes after one once more, though in a barren world. But small o'clock in the afternoon we reached this station, ills were speedily forgotten as we reveled in and immediately upon sitting down the pulse the sunshine and blue sky. The huge sumwas counted, and found to be 144 in the first mit seemed overhanging, the effect was startminute. After a rest of fifteen minutes it re- ling,— while the path so lately traversed looked stered 100.

most precipitous. For an instant we seemed

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suspended in mid-air ; the impression was irre- without any chimney, bestowed its smoke imsistible and all-pervading. The black and red partially upon all. It would have been pleasdoleritic lava, dismal, fire-baked, monotonous, anter, after resting awhile, to complete the climb spread in countless acres around. Hundreds and to sleep at the tenth station – Chodjo; but of feet below it was merged in the drifting fog the majority of the party preferred to spend through which we had made our laborious way the night here— an impossible sort of thing, to this bright and sunny but indescribably deso- it seemed, with the circle of coolies crouched late region. The wind was still a hurricane, and about the fire, the painfully smoke-laden atmodirectly above stood the eighth station, nearly sphere, and the absence of all comfort and coneleven thousand feet from the sea-level, and the venience. But we unpacked the quilts and last available resting-place before the tenth, or baskets, and tried to turn one corner into a sesummit-station. Straw sandals still lay thickly ries of attractive sleeping-apartments. This to strewed upon the cinders, and after clambering a certain extent accomplished, we wrapped ourwith one great, final“ spurt” over the steepest selves in cloaks, and stepped outside. Flecks way we had yet come, the eighth station was of the great white cloud still hovered far below; reached about twelve hours after the early but the sky was clear, and the sun had almost morning start.

reached the vast mountain-shoulder behind us. “ An angle of forty-five degrees ” is an ex- The stupendous isolation of this vast peak now pression commonly used in conversation to in- became fully apparent. dicate any sort of path somewhat out of level. Rising from a level plain, undisturbed by As a matter of fact, a slope of even ten or fif- lesser peaks to share the glory, its whole giteen degrees is far from easy. Applying the gantic mass stands clearly cut, awful, unapclinometer to the path now and then, its lar- proached. Far to the right was a shimmering, gest reading showed an incline of 350 pale-blue sea with its curved beach; and north

The air by this time was too rare to breathe ward, filling the distance, lay mountain-ranges with entire ease, and the cold was intense. With and lakes in superb association : Hakone, the no real window, and a sliding door generally Otomi-toge, Nikko, and the rest, while Subaclosed against the tearing wind, the eighth sta- shiri showed only as an elongated gray thatch. tion now held at least twenty-five persons; while But the whole thing was too immense and ima fire, smoldering in a hole in the floor and pressive. Details vanished. As the sun sank

VOL. XLIV.- 64.


farther behind Fuji,— while yet the day was which crouched the proprietor of all this luxbright away from his dark influence,-an im- ury. The time of our host was chiefly occupied mense black triangle of shadow gradually crept in blowing his weak-minded fire through a outward and eastward from his base, until it bamboo tube, to keep in it even the semblance covered leagues of smiling field and forest. The of life; in the intervals he smoked a tiny Japacold, the smoke, the strangeness of the air, min- nese pipe. His stolidity and uninterested though gle with all the grandeur in the memory of that persistent watching of our small efforts to pronight's passing. A shower of fine, wind-swept mote order in our corners outwardly expressed lava beat an incessant tattoo upon the roof, and our inner feeling. We ourselves were utterly when morning looked faintly in through the stolid and heavy-dull, edgeless. We wanted crevices of the hut, it was shrouded in another to be warm, we wished for sunshine, to see thick, wet, heavy cloud, which soaked even the one green, growing thing, to have the heart lava to a sharper blackness than usual. slow down its tempestuous beating; but every

From the eighth station upward a toilsome thing was far away, and very much in general. climb of an hour over the slippery masses The air seemed made of lead. In the afternoon brought us to the artificial ledge, or narrow the fog began to blow off, and we were soon pathway along the front of the twelve huts con- in clear air, with the clouds dispersing in shreds stituting the tenth and final station. Testing far below. The same wide-reaching panorama the pulse at once, it was found to be 160 dur- which filled all the world from the eighth staing the first minute, and must have greatly tion now began slowly to unfold again. Here exceeded this during the actual exertion of and there a distant mountain-top emerged from climbing. After an hour's rest it was reduced the whiteness; later, the cool green lakes were to 100. Thoroughly drenched as we were, and gradually uncovered, and the ocean, silvery in hardly able to see a yard ahead for the fog, a the soft atmosphere, began to shimmer in the warm room and dry garments seemed the acme east. of personal luxury. But it was found that a The summit shrine was at a point slightly number of the houses had been closed for the above our hut, and we went to it, walking winter, so that choice was even more limited over lava literally covered with rusty rin' left than appeared at first. Each hut was a single by the devout. An occasional pilgrim arrived room, each room too low to stand upright in, while we stood there, deposited his rin, and while lava blocks and rough boards proved made straight for the lower regions with envismall protection against the fierce wind and able alacrity. From this point the immensity penetrating mist. Moreover, a strange heavi- of the desolate region became appallingly apness of limb weighted every motion, and the parent. To the west, straight down 500 feet, rapidity of the pulse was most fatiguing. lay the mighty crater, cold and dead, whose

It would almost seem that there must be gloomy recesses were shaped by a power too something peculiar about this mountain. It is terrible to conceive. One must walk about two more than 12,400 feet high ; but while travelers miles to encircle the crater. Tons of grimy sometimes speak of entire absence of disagree-snow-masses filled the ravines of its southern able sensation on other mountains of fifteen and slope. The immensity of the mountain appears even seventeen thousand feet of elevation, the nowhere more impressive than when looking usual testimony as to Fuji is of great discom- upward from the bottom of the crater. There fort. Of “ mountain-sickness” proper, in its is no trail down the interior walls, but the de

; usual manifestations, we had none; neither any scent into the cavern may be made in less than special lung-oppression, nor increase of respira- an hour, and is well worth the making. In tion above the normal. But the heart beat tu- large part the walls are very steep, and bits of multuously, and even slight muscular exertion lava now and then rattle down the slopes. A sent the pulse well up to 120 or 130.

pool of green snow-water stands here a considAfter much preliminary conversation the erable portion of the year. owner of the least repulsive hut agreed to let Too grand for words, too strange and fearus have the use of it. Just why we should pre- ful for enjoyment, too desolate and dreary for fer to have it to ourselves, and what possible endurance, night at last covered this solitary objection there could be to his allowing any mountain-top, seemingly forgotten even by number of stray pilgrims to sleep there also, God. Through the chinks and crevices in the he failed co see. But persuasion won the day, lava hut the wind howled with an indescriband he finally consented to our exclusive oc- ably bitter and hopeless moan. Colder and cupation, though in surprise and disapproval. colder grew the night. Water standing in the His entire outfit for living was comprised in room was covered nearly an inch thick with ice three or four plates and cups upon a shelf, a (which in the morning the proprietor calmly kettle making a feeble attempt to boil over the broke for us to wash our faces!), yet the exer

oke in one corner, and a small skin upon 1 A small coin, worth about to of a cent.

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