LIFE AND LETTERS OF JOSEPH HARDY NEESIMA
36 EARLY LIFE. his house for his summer vacation, and had left it entirely to my charge. Having stayed there nearly two months, I had formed a number of acquaintances, some of whom were high officers of the local govern~ ment, but to only a few of them did I reveal my plans. 'Vhen I was almost ready to emhark in an American vessel, I made a pretense of being called back to my home, lest my sudden disappearance from Hakodate might rouse suspicion in some of the officers that I was to take refuge in a foreign vessel, and a government ship would be sent to chase after me. At this time any one attempting to leave the country without permission of the government, if retaken, suf~ fered death penalty. " 'Vhile I was making a hasty preparation I found a little spare hour to get my photograph taken by a Russian artist, to be sent to my parents with my far~ well letter. Thereby I gave them notice of my departure for a far-off land, having America in view.1 "At the appointed hour I called on my Japanese friend at the foreign concession, who agreed to take me over to the American vessel, which was ready to sail on the following morning for Shanghai. He was there waiting for me, and gave me a warm welcome. He made some hot lemonade for us to drink before we started together on that midnight adventure, and told me I must not be nervous about my hazardous risk. But to my remembrance I was not nervous at all. Before I reached his place I heard a dog barking in the distance, and perceived at once that my Japanese 1 This letter was not delivered, lest the friend to whose care it was committed, and the father also, might be subjected' to severe punishment by the government; and three years elapsed bHfore the fathe~ of N eesima heard from his aon.