TRAVEL MANUSCRIPT~ From Far East to Far West ~ CHINA, JAPAN AND THE WILD WEST For Sale


TRAVEL MANUSCRIPT~ From Far East to Far West ~  CHINA, JAPAN AND THE WILD WEST

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TRAVEL MANUSCRIPT~ From Far East to Far West ~ CHINA, JAPAN AND THE WILD WEST:
$1,200

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AN EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURY TRAVEL ACCOUNT COVERING THE PACIFIC, THE AMERICAN WEST AND THE FAR EAST ON THE GLENN LINE ~ THE MAIN LONDON-CHINA STEAMSHIP COMPANY ~ INCLUDING AN ACCOUNT OF JACK THE COWGIRL

Strictly Private. From Far East to Far West. A Further Diary of A voyage to the Orient & Across the Pacific. A rough incomplete record of some of the things seen and heard. NEC TARDE NEC TIMIDE. March 1902.

By R. B. P.

A neat quarto manuscript notebook on lined paper, with an account of a journey from Algiers, to Penang, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Annam, Philippines, back to Hong Kong, Japan, the Pacific, USA (Seattle), the Wild West, Tacoma, and back to Hong Kong, then to Europe via Italy and Brittany. The description of the US wild west is particularly evocative. The writer appears to be a general practitioner of 13 years (page 5), apparently has signed up as the ship’s doctor. Though headed private, the author has drawn up the account carefully with corrections throughout, and experimented with two title pages.


Details: Dimensions: 25cm x 21cm x 3.2 cm. Lined notebook, with bookseller label; J. H. Bishop, Heraldic & Art Stationer, 18 & 19 The Arcade, Bournemouth [UK]. Original half leather with cloth boards, hinged started, somewhat rubbed, internally clean. Some 220 written pages in all, mostly on the rectos, with some notes to verso in a clear hand, with occasionally later corrections or additions, some in red. A neat log of the ship’s voyage is folded and loosely inserted; an account of an Irishman in a barfight tucked into the pages on Seattle.


Contents run: Title page; Strictly private From Far East to Far West A voyage to the Orient & Across the Pacific; A rough incomplete record of some of the things seen and heard. RBP, there follows a similar title page; then Index (3 sides); a postscript at the beginning (two sides), and the account begins: 1. [The voyage; start]. 2 Algiers to Penang. 3. Penang. 4. Singapore. 5. Hong Kong. 6. Shanghai. 7. Saigon. 8 The Philippines. 9. Hon Kong. 10. Japan. 11. Kobe. 12. Pacific Ocean. 13. Uncle Sam’s Territory: Seattle. 14. Tacoma. 15. Homeward Bound. 16. Old Countries Again: Kobe. 17. Italy. 18. [Voyage Home] Hatred is stronger than emotion. Extract from the Ship’s Log showing places and distances travelled. 12 pages blank. Rough notes on Malta (two pages). 4 pages blank. FOLLOWED BY ‘Five and a half months in Brittany (France). 18 leaves, with some notes also on versos. Then 44 blank pages. Four pages ‘Notes on Japan’ followed by GLOSSARY; Hindistani word list (two sides); Chinese word list (three sides); Zulu word list (two sides), three pages notes on the American cowboy, timber (one side), ending with a few lines on American gold diggings.

The voyages begin on June 22nd, 1901, and he spends the initial pages speculating on what a man needs to be successful in life, industry, chance or cheating reflecting the long nights that give one time to think going across the sea. His thoughts also go back to his time in South Africa. The ship then arrives in Algiers, then on to Port Said.

They appear to have rested in Singapore, arriving in Hong Kong on August 18th, where they stayed four days before going onto Shanghai with the mails. He describes Shanghai for some nine pages, before they arrive in Saigon on September 12th, and then to the Philippines, which he discusses in some detail, before returning to Hong Kong, and then to Japan, and Kobe. After Kobe, they set sail across the Pacific, and land in Vancouver on Nov 1st, and then onto Seattle by November 3rd, upon which he writes extensive notes, including an account of Tacoma.

From there, they return retrace their steps via Hong Kong gradually to Europe, to Italy, landing in Naples, where he writes extensively on Pompei. There follow twelve blank pages, and the author takes up his travels again talking of Brittany, there follow further blank pages until there are endnotes on Japan, and vocabulary drawn from his travels, with a note on the American cowboy, the Hobo, The Den or Dive, Timber (in Washington State), and American gold diggers.

The author is an intelligent thoughtful man who takes a systematic interest in the places where he visits, particularly the US West, Japan, China, Philippines, Hong Kong, Italy and France. Interesting in themselves, the account also gives a fascinating insight into a complete voyage by one of the most important of the links between China and Britain at the height of a golden period of maritime trade before the Great War.

Example extracts from his writings on the US, which total approximately 30 pages:

Within a decent tramp of Seattle is a place springing up as rapidly as mushrooms & called Ballard & the house at present are all of wood some resembling the Malay by being perched up on piles or uprights from the ground. Everything seems labour saving particularly noticeable at the saw mills where huge trees are stripped of their bark & cut into planks in no time, the electric-elevators for unloading ships is an example...During our preambles & searchings curious characters dropped in our way, but one of the most noticeable was Jack a true daughter of the Wild West (see note at end, the American Cowboy).

Now Jack was a natural girl if ever there was one, moving in the early days in Texas, Mexico & down California & gradually migrating farther north until the present finds her in a wild up country ranch surrounded by her father’s cattle, horses, & cowpunchers or more commonly known as cowboys …This Jack a bronzed-face girl of 28 or 30 with ruffled hair under a large hat & short, evidently divided skirt…she wore over her well-developed calves the American high lace-up boot & small spurs on both feet. A loaded riding whip in hand, a gun (revolver) in a holster at her side…on further acquaintance, she could ride, shoot, take a peg, & [?]form swear words common to the country like any trooper…She was not illiterate far from it & I can only remember her as a good hearted generous lass who could be true blue if occasion arose….I commented on her wearing two spurs as a woman, she replying with Yankee Drawl & emphasis something about never yet meeting an Englishman who understood or could ride a horse….more roaring on her part & more indignation on mine but when she leaped into her saddle & rode cross-legged like a man my ire turned into admiration when I watched the many feats of horsemanship.

He describes further their banter, including a remark she makes,

No, said she, America only recognises two men: Je-sus Christ and General Jackson.

He avoids falling in love, though clearly admires her greatly, concluding: Upon hearing more about Bobtails, which meant a two-wheeled waggon, & the references to Nickels (5 cent piece), shacks (log-cabin), the sticks, whisky joints (an up country inn) I deemed it time to clear as I had a long journey before me & what with Plainsmen of the prairie, Frontier Boys, & tricks with the [?] lauriat ?lassoo had sufficient to think about the whole way back.

He goes on to describe Tacoma, nearby to Seattle, before eventually starting his return journey through stormy waters to Japan, Hong Kong and Europe.

Genuine manuscript material describing the Wild West is extremely rare, and all the more on Cowgirls. ‘Jack’ appears to be unknown, so will need to be added to the list of known cowgirls.

As well as the US material, there are also good close descriptions of Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan (where he appears to have become smitten by a Geisha girl), China, and so on.

~ POST FREE ~

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