The contents of this book are primarily personal experiences of a seven years' stay in the house of a Japanese nobleman, having been gleaned from jottings in my diary and such reminiscences as my memory recalls. In writing of a country so steeped in centuryold traditions and of a people so loath, in many ways, to adopt Western culture, it is necessary to introduce a little history at the outset.
irstly, because I had discovered at the last moment that, although I had been told there were three pupils to be educated, two others had been added to my charge, which was alarming, as I did not know if such an addition might be only a preliminary. Secondly, because there seemed to be some difficulty as to what I should be called. Guardian was suggested, but not approved of; Governess was apparently not sufficient, as the children were orphans, and I had to take the place of a parent; Head of the House seemed still less satisfactory. So I set out in some trepidation, with no definite official status and no proper legal settlement. It is, however, interesting to note that in an old diary, kept by a steward of the Prince's household, in which my engagement is entered, Home Instructor is the name assigned to me in the translation.
My voyage out was a long one, taking in all forty-nine days. Owing to the Chinese New Year, which is kept some weeks later than our own, we were delayed in Hong- Kong, waiting