The publication of a new volume of Lafcadio Hearn's exquisite studiesof Japan happens, by a delicate irony, to fall in the very month whenthe world is waiting with tense expectation for news of the latestexploits of Japanese battleships. Whatever the outcome of the presentstruggle between Russia and Japan, its significance lies in the factthat a nation of the East, equipped with Western weapons and girdingitself with Western energy of will, is deliberately measuring strengthagainst one of the great powers of the Occident.
ee to go back to your temple."
After Hoichi had duly expressed his thanks, a woman's hand conducted him to the entrance of the house, where the same retainer, who had before guided him, was waiting to take him home. The retainer led him to the verandah at the rear of the temple, and there bade him farewell.
It was almost dawn when Hoichi returned; but his absence from the temple had not been observed,--as the priest, coming back at a very late hour, had supposed him asleep. During the day Hoichi was able to take some rest; and he said nothing about his strange adventure. In the middle of the following night the samurai again came for him, and led him to the august assembly, where he gave another recitation with the same success that had attended his previous performance. But during this second visit his absence from the temple was accidentally discovered; and after his return in the morning he was summoned to the presence of the priest, who said to him, in a tone of kindly reproach:--
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