Letter from Henry S. Davids to Mrs. Calvin Brown
Preserved by William and Sherry Jandt
digital transcription by Tom L. McFarland in August 2001

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U.S.S. "Monongahela"
Yokohama, May 21st. 1879

To the "dear ones at home".

The "City of Pekin" came in yesterday and brought your kind letter and the papers ; for all of which I feel most thankful. I was absent some ten miles down the bay at a Japanese Navy Yard when the "Pekin" came in sight ; I immediately jumped on board the boat that was then about to leave and reached the ship just as the mail came on board. Let me say here, that this Navy Yard is larger and better prepared to do more and larger work than any yard we have had in the country.

My suprise at my little Charlotte's great improvement can not

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be expressed. She must be really fat. Coghlan's boy, who is over five years, only weighs thirty-five pounds, and and is not considered either thin or small - How I would like to see that little girl ! My impatience does not diminish one particle. She is never from my mind. The last picture you sent was very acceptable, although I had received those sent by the "Alaska". We had been thinking that the "Pekin" would have brought some confirmation of the report that the U.S.S. "Alaska" is coming out here to relieve us, but not a word came either pro or con. I judge it is only a report, and we have heard the last of it, or until our cruise is up. We are making temporary repairs on the hull, but the boilers are the worse of the two and will be the first to take her home.

I dropped in to see Mrs. Coghlan this afternoon and remainded two

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hours. She seems to be very nice and I like her. I treated myself to a new summer suit today in which I think I look very fine. The cheapness of clothing out here makes it very tempting to continually buy. Addie used to talk a great deal of things she intended taking home, but I dare not write of the Castles that have vanished and left the gulf behind.. 'Tis sad enough to think of without the pain of seeking words to tell it. I long to hear of the completion of our darling's grave and receive the photographs you have promised, not that I will be satisfied, for I have yet to see the spot and do something myself for her last home.

I can easily see how delighted my little girl was with the tea-party and regret that I was not there to enjoy the happiness of those little hearts. I trust she may

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have many and even happier. I should liked to have seen the parrot mocking her. I remember just how she used to look when scolding. I don't think I ever heard her laugh aloud, in fact I don't think she ever did unless it is very recent. She has some singular Characteristics for one of her age. Doubtless she is fast forgetting Shanghai and her little playmates? I never hear or I would write to you about them and try to keep her little memory fresh. I have often wondered if she ever grew into the shoes she brought out with her ? The prospect looked very unfavorable when she left here. Since you mention strawberries I will say that we are having them most plentifully, but have to do without the cream and use milk instead which is better than doing without both ~
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May 26th.         2

Yesterday (Sunday) Mr. Loring and I went to Tokio to visit the Exhibition of home, otherwise, Japan Manufactures. The day being fine we could but enjoy the trip. These people are certainly most expert imitators of our industries. They try to imitate our trade-marks and names on various articles. Some toilet-soap had marked upon it in English : "Sopebiler", in the fanciest kind of letters. We called upon the American Minister and a Mr. Clarage : a ChiefEngineer in the English Navy, who is on leave to instruct some Japanese Cadet Engineers with a pay of $800.oo a month. I was thinking how quickly I would accept such an offer for a few years, but there is no danger, these people are beginning to think they can do without foreign assistance and are sending them away as fast as they can substitute their own people. We had a very pleasant call at the Legation :

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detaining ourselves about two hours. I met a lady there who came up to me and apologized for not speaking to me on the street some days ago, I have no idea who she is, or that I ever met her before. To mend matters she invited me to make one of a party of six people to go out in the country some fifteen or twenty miles and remain a day or two. I have yet to consider it. I am getting quite enthusiastic over these little excursions, and provided I can get some person who can speak the language to go with me, I shall make many of them this summer. We have already commenced to have very hot weather which may interfere with these trips. I would much prefer similar trips in California. Some of these days my little daughter will be big enough to go with me. I wonder if you think I will be happy under those circumstances?

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I saw near Tokio the house which General Grant is to occupy. "Tis a plain villa situated in a beautiful grove of large trees well away from the bustle of the city : a thing which I should think he would enjoy after so much continued excitement and attention. 'Tis said he looks tired and worn and wants to get home. He made short enough stay in Shanghai : only three days. He left there on the 24th for Pekin where he has probably arrived by this time. The "Richmond" has not caught him yet, at which he is very much disgusted. The most amusing part of it : is, that the "Richmond" people say, they "have been hurried to death". If this is the biggest hurry they can get up, they are to be pitied. 'Tis to be hoped he will try the "Monongahela" next. Still I don't think there is any such intention in view ~

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We have now been in Yokohama nearly six months and as yet no prospect of leaving even for a short cruise among the islands of Japan and China. I suppose if I were to go about more with the people I would be better satisfied, but under the circumstances it is a very hard thing to commence and much harder to continue. The people are kindly disposed and there is but little doubt of considerable pleasure in mingling with them. What surprises me most, is, that there should be so few San Francisco ladies. I think I have met but two. A greater part of them come from New York. When Addie came to this country she brought letters of introduction. I have never found out to whom she brought them. Can you tell me in your next letter. I wish to call upon those people? As it is getting pretty warm I will close for now, and write more in a day or two.

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