The Project Gutenberg eBook of A Daughter of Japan

This ebook is for the use of anyone anywhere in the United States and most other parts of the world at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this ebook or online at If you are not located in the United States, you will have to check the laws of the country where you are located before using this eBook.

Title: A Daughter of Japan

Author: F. D. Bone

Release date: May 12, 2018 [eBook #57141]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Mary Glenn Krause, David E. Brown, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
available by The Internet Archive)





Copyright, 1914, by Samuel French, Ltd.

New York London
Publisher 26 Southampton Street



Lieut.-Commander Belson, R.N.
Lieutenant John Maitland, R.N.
Private Simpson, R.M.L.I.
Ometsu San.

Scene.A room in a Japanese house. It is tastefully furnished in a half-English, half-native style. A round table for meals. A sideboard with a tantalus. A piano, and one or two long bamboo chairs. A well-filled book-case. A verandah can be seen through the doorway.

Ometsu is dressed in native costume. Belson in flannels with broad felt hat. Maitland in riding breaches and blazer. Simpson in white drill, with white canvas shoes.

[Pg 7]


Simpson is laying the table for breakfast. He is looking very solemn. A bell rings. He starts and looks nervously over his shoulder at the door. Lieut.-Commander Belson appears in the doorway. Simpson takes a few steps towards him, salutes, and then stands at “attention.”

Belson (in a hard, quarterdeck voice). Is that you, Simpson?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Belson (coming into the room). Where is Mr. Maitland?

Simpson. Gone riding, sir.

Belson. When do you expect him back?

Simpson. To breakfast, sir. About half an hour.

Belson (looking Simpson up and down). You’re a bright beauty, aren’t you?

Simpson (moving his feet awkwardly). You don’t know what I’ve been through, sir. I did all a man——

Belson (sharply). Oh, yes, I know.... When you sent that letter to the Captain saying where we could find Mr. Maitland—and you, why didn’t you explain why he was hiding away?

Simpson. Well, sir, his business is no business of mine. I done all I could to get him back to the[Pg 8] ship, sir, but he wouldn’t listen to me, sir. He said he’d stop and marry her if the Navy went to the bottom for it.

Belson. Marry her! Marry whom?

Simpson. The little Japanese lady, sir.

Belson (startled, shouting). The what?

Simpson (very uncomfortably). The little Japanese lady, sir. Miss Ometsu.

Belson (more startled). And who the devil’s she?

Simpson. She’s the daughter of a Japanese naval officer, sir. He was killed in the war. Her brother’s in the service too, sir. She talks just like you and me, sir. She lives here with her mother, sir.

Belson (draws back and again looks Simpson up and down). The deuce she does! Then Mr. Maitland is a guest here!

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Belson. How long has this been going on?

Simpson. Oh, for a long time, sir; nearly a year.

Belson. And do you tell me that Mr. Maitland is going to marry this Japanese lady?

Simpson. Yes, sir. That’s why I wrote, sir. I didn’t want him to leave the Navy, sir.

Belson (grunts). And what about yourself?

Simpson. I don’t want to leave it neither, sir. I’ve got fifteen years’ service and I should like to earn a pension.

Belson. I should think you’re more likely to earn six months for desertion. Do you know that you are absent from the ship now?

Simpson (in agony). Not until to-night, sir, is it? I thought there’d be time——

Belson. I don’t want to know what you thought.[Pg 9] Why didn’t you write before—when you knew what he meant to do?

Simpson. I ’oped against ’ope, sir.

Belson. You hoped! And what were you stopping for? Were you to marry a Japanese, too?

Simpson (putting out his hands). No, sir, no. I don’t hold with it, sir. But she’s a sweet little thing, sir, and I know she’s very fond of him. It makes me real bad to think what’ll happen when they see you, sir. I think he’ll half-kill me. (Turning away.) I wish we’d never come to Japan!

Belson (looking round the room). And where are the ladies?

Simpson. They’ll be down to breakfast in a minute, sir!

Belson (immediately uneasy). Well, I’ll go and meet Mr. Maitland, and you’d better get ready to come back at once. We’ve no time to lose if we’re to catch the ship. (Turns to go out.)

Simpson. When does she sail, sir?

Belson. To-morrow morning.

Simpson (gasping). For home, sir?

Belson (going out). Yes.

(Simpson shows signs of perturbation, and wipes his face with his handkerchief. He looks in a half-dazed way round the room, and then goes to the table to complete preparations for breakfast. Through the curtained doorway on right, Ometsu appears, dressed in a charming Japanese costume, with satin slippers to match her robe.)

Ometsu. Good-morning, Simpson.

Simpson. Good-morning, miss.

[Pg 10]Ometsu (going to table). Mother is not coming down to breakfast, Simpson. So there’ll only be Mr. Maitland and me. (Skips.) Isn’t it lovely. Has he gone riding?

Simpson (still fooling about the table). Yes, miss.

Ometsu. And he will be back quite soon, won’t he, Simpson? It always seems so long when he’s away. (She runs to the door and looks out.) It’s heavenly, and to-day! I am so happy to-day. (Goes to table and looks up at Simpson.) Do you know what to-day is, Simpson? It’s my birthday! I’m seventeen—quite a woman now, and next week at this time I shall be Mrs. Maitland, and you’ll be calling me mam! (She gives a happy little laugh.) Aren’t you going to wish me many happy returns, Simpson?

Simpson (turns to her sadly, tries to speak, shakes his head and turns away).

Ometsu (in a tone of anxiety). Why, what’s the matter? Are you not well?

Simpson (pulls himself together). Yes, miss.... No, I don’t think I am, miss. I don’t know. Something’s come over me which makes me feel quite bad. I don’t think this climate quite suits me, miss.

Ometsu. Not suit you? Why, you’ve always been quite well until now. It can’t be the climate. (Anxiously.) Would you like a little brandy?

Simpson (eagerly). Yes, yes, please, miss. (He sinks into a chair while she runs to the sideboard and pours him out a peg.)

Ometsu (brings the brandy). There! I am so sorry, I wonder what’s brought this on?

Simpson (gulps down the brandy). Thank ye, miss. I shall be better now. (He gets up and takes[Pg 11] the glass to the sideboard and then turns.) Do you know, miss——Your father was a sailor, wasn’t he?

Ometsu (wonderingly). Yes.

Simpson. In your Navy?

Ometsu. Yes.

Simpson. And he was an officer, wasn’t he?

Ometsu. Yes, a commander—but why——?

Simpson. And he was killed in the war, wasn’t he?

Ometsu (nods her head).

Simpson. Well, wouldn’t you like Mr. Maitland to go and do that?

Ometsu (eyes wide with terror). Mr. Maitland ... killed.... Has something happened?... Oh, what is it?

Simpson (alarmed at her being alarmed). No, no, I don’t mean that, miss; I don’t mean that. I mean—— (Blows his cheeks out.) I don’t know what I mean?

Ometsu (coming to him). Simpson, what do you mean?

Simpson (with supreme effort). Well, miss, I mean Once a Sailor always a Sailor! (He draws back as if he had explained everything.)

Ometsu. Oh, is that all?

Simpson. All? Why, miss, it’s everything. Mr. Maitland can never help being a sailor now.

Ometsu (laughs with relief). You funny man, Simpson. You make such a lot out of nothing. Of course Mr. Maitland’s a sailor. Isn’t he going to take me—and you—for a long cruise among the South Sea Islands? We shall be perfectly happy[Pg 12] down there, Simpson. You will get rid of all your troubles then.

Simpson (groans, looks at her and shakes his head). I don’t think he ought to leave the Navy, miss. Think what——

Ometsu (walks away towards piano). Simpson! Mr. Maitland has told you that you are not to speak to me about this. He has quite made up his mind, and you have promised to leave the service too and come with us. Surely Mr. Maitland has offered you sufficient——

Simpson. Yes, miss, yes, but it isn’t that. It isn’t my pension I’m thinking about ... but I’d like to finish my time with him.

Ometsu. Oh, Simpson, don’t be silly.... You will finish it with him. He’s going to do ever so much more for you than your Navy can. And didn’t he say you should come to our wedding and be his best man and sign the register? And when we go away you will be in charge of everything. Why, you will be quite a big man; and Jack—Mr. Maitland, says we may go pearl-fishing, and you will make your fortune then.... (Simpson still looks dully at her.) Oh, you are grumpy this morning. I don’t like you a bit. I wish I hadn’t given you the brandy now. (Shakes an accusing finger at him.) I think you’ve been drinking. (She goes to the piano and plays a snatch of Mandalay. Almost immediately Maitland’s voice joins in the song. As he reaches the doorway she gives a little scream of delight, jumps off the stool and runs to meet him. He catches her in his arms. Simpson quickly leaves by the door on left.)

Jack. Sweetheart!

[Pg 13]Ometsu (holding her face to his). Dear—dear!

Jack (leading her down and then stopping to kiss her forehead). Many happy returns, sweetheart Quite a grown-up, now, aren’t you?

Ometsu (standing on tiptoe). Yes, quite a woman—look! (He catches her to him.)

Jack (leading her to chair at table and sits himself). And what do you think I’ve got for you? One of them is wonderful—I shall give only that one in my whole lifetime.

Ometsu (looking eagerly at him). Sweetheart! Tell me! (He takes two packets from his pocket, one of them is an envelope. He unfolds the small packet and holds up a bracelet. She gives a little gurgle of delight and holds out her left wrist. He clasps it, and then touches a spring. A lid flies open like a watch. She gives a little scream.) Oh, oh, it’s your portrait. Isn’t it lovely! (She looks at it, and then says, curiously, as she closes it down.) You darling! And what’s the other? I am a lucky girl! (He takes a document from an envelope, unfolds it and offers it to her.)

Jack. Our marriage license! (Laughs joyously as she stares at it.) So we can be married next Thursday, if mother says yes. By the way, where is she?

Ometsu. She said she wouldn’t come down this morning. She said she knew I’d like to have breakfast alone with you to-day. Isn’t she a dear!

Jack. She’s a clinker. Well, we’ll ask her when she comes down. But what about some breakfast? I’m famished! (Shouts.) Simpson! (Bangs a bell on the table.) Simpson! (Turns to Ometsu.) You can’t make love properly when you’re starving, you know pettling. Wait till I’ve had some breakfast,[Pg 14] and then——I’ll tell you! (Bangs the bell again and shouts.) Simpson! Confound the man, what’s up with him this morning?

Ometsu. Well, he is funny, dear! He’s been on again about your leaving the Navy.

Jack (jumps up and bangs the table). I won’t have it. I won’t have it! I’ll kick him out. He can go back alone. How dare he talk to you about it when I told him not to. (Turns to door on left.) I’ll let him know if he’s going to defy orders. (At the door he meets Simpson with breakfast on tray.) Here, you blackguard, what do you mean by it? Didn’t I tell you that I wouldn’t have you talking to mam’zelle about my leaving the Navy?

Simpson (going towards table and looking straight to his front). Yes, sir. (Goes on with his work.)

Jack (following behind and shouting). Haven’t I sent in my papers?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Jack. Haven’t I sent in the money for your discharge?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Jack. Didn’t I say that the Navy could go to the devil?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Jack. And didn’t I say that I’d break your neck if I heard any more about it?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Jack. And aren’t you satisfied with my terms?

Simpson. Yes, sir, of course——

Jack. Then, what do you mean by it? Look here, Simpson, if you’re not very careful I’ll not let you speak to mam’zelle at all. (He says this as if[Pg 15] he had ordered Simpson out to instant execution.) I’m trying to make everything as nice and comfortable as I can for you. I’ve said a lot of nice things to mam’zelle about you, and tried to make her like you too, and this is how you serve me. (Putting down his fist impressively on the table.) I won’t have another word said about the Navy. We’ve done with it. Mam’zelle and I are to be married on Thursday. (He puts out one hand towards her and she takes it.) We shall sail for Singapore a day or two after. At Singapore I shall charter a small vessel, and we shall go for a long cruise—and I don’t know when we are coming back. Now, Simpson, did you grasp all that?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Jack. You’re quite sure you understand about the Navy?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Jack. No more whining about it?

Simpson. No, sir.

Jack. No more lamentations about your fifteen years’ service?

Simpson. No, sir.

Jack (sitting). Then serve the breakfast! (During the conversation at the table, Simpson makes two or three attempts to break in and explain the real cause of his distress—but his courage fails each time. He shows by his manner, also, that the discussion of their plans causes him acute suffering.)

Jack (turning to Ometsu). Well, little woman, what shall we do to-day? Something beautiful, something delightful, wonderful—because—you can’t have another seventeenth birthday. Shall we go to[Pg 16] the lake and have a little picnic all by our two selves? (She smiles and nods delightedly.) And we’ll draw up plans for the wedding. (Turns to Simpson, who is waiting on them.) You know, Simpson, I’d half made up my mind to let you come and be a witness at the wedding, but I feel very angry with you just now. I don’t think you ought to be near her at present. I think you’d better keep out of the way until after the wedding. (Turns to Ometsu.) Would you like me to keep him out of sight, darling?

Ometsu. Oh, no, dear. I’m sure he didn’t mean to make me unhappy.

Jack. Yes, I know, sweetheart, but he mustn’t make these mistakes. Well, I’ll think about it. Make up a nice tiffin for us Simpson. Everything of the best. Put in a small bottle of champagne for me. (Pause.) D’ye hear, Simpson?

Simpson (who is standing behind, chokingly). Yes, sir.

Jack. Shall I drive Darling in the trap? We can take Simpson with us, and he can bring it back and then fetch us about four or five, eh, sweetheart?

Ometsu (smiles and nods). Lovely!

Jack (still going on with his breakfast). Did you hear that, Simpson? Go out and tell the boy to have the trap ready by—— (Looks at his watch, and then turns to Ometsu.) Shall we say eleven o’clock, sweetheart? It’s ten now.

Ometsu. Yes, dear, that will do beautifully.

Jack. Eleven o’clock, Simpson. Tell him to be here at eleven; and I shall want you to come with us and bring the trap back. (Pause; Simpson shows signs of distress.) Simpson, did you hear what I said?[Pg 17] (Turns round and sees Simpson’s face.) What’s the matter, man? Aren’t you well?

Simpson (licks his lips). Well, sir— (swallows) the fact is, sir, I don’t feel up to much this morning, sir. (Wipes his face.)

Ometsu. Jack, dear, I don’t think he can be well. He was like that when I came down, and I had to give him some brandy——

Jack (wheeling round in his chair). Brandy! Simpson, what do you want brandy for?

Simpson. It’s just a touch of faintness, sir, I think—I think——

Jack. You think? Are you sure you’ve not been drinking?

Simpson. No, sir, no, really.... I’m all right, now, sir.

Jack. Well, you don’t look it. But the drive will put you right. You run out and tell the boy to bring the trap here by eleven.

Simpson. Yes, sir. (Simpson goes out half-dazed, and Jack sits down again.)

Jack (in a tone of sympathy to Ometsu). I know what it is, darling. He’s fretting about me and the ship. Of course I know he thinks I’m a wonderful sailor and that I’m cut out for an admiral, and that nobody’s worth knowing who isn’t in the Navy; but he’ll soon get over that once we’re at Singapore and get to work on our little schooner. By Jove, pettling, we shall have to show what we can do as sailors then!

Ometsu. But I shall be with you, and we shall be so happy, and I am so proud of you, Jack—my Jack!

[Pg 18]

(She slides off her chair and turns towards him; he pushes his chair back and holds out his arms and takes her on his knees.)

Jack. And I am proud of you.... Why—you’ve got a new dress?

Ometsu (nods her head, and looks at him quizzically). And you hadn’t noticed it before? Mother gave it to me for my birthday. Do you like it? (She slips off his knee and struts in front of him.)

Jack. It’s a vision, darling, a vision of delight. But I want to hold you; come here.

Ometsu (she trips back to him, and leaning her face against his shoulder, says dreamily). I am so happy!

Jack. So am I. So happy that it seems like a beautiful dream. I sometimes have to stop and shake myself to make sure that I’m not lying in that stuffy old bunk of mine on the Leviathon. But it’s no dream. It’s a wonderful, beautiful reality——

Ometsu. Yes, it is wonderful. I am a lucky girl.

Jack. And I’m a lucky boy, and we’ll say that every day for years and years and——

Ometsu. We’ll never get tired?

Jack. Never, never! (With emphasis.) Never!

(Belson appears in the doorway. After a pause, Ometsu lifting up her face to kiss Jack’s cheek, sees him over Jack’s shoulder. She gives a little scream and breaks away. Jack turns in his seat and looks in the direction of Belson. For a moment he stares at him, and then rises slowly, gripping the rail of his chair. Ometsu sidles up and lays a hand on his arm, and looks up at his face with[Pg 19] apprehension. The two men face each other for several seconds without speaking.)

Belson (in a hard voice). Mr. Maitland! (Jack makes no reply, and Belson comes half way towards them.)

Jack (hoarsely). What do you want—sir?

Belson (sternly). I want you. (Ometsu clutches at Jack’s arm.)

Jack. I’m not going back! I’ve sent in my resignation. I’m going to stay here—with my wife.

Belson. Then you’re already married?

Jack. No, but we shall be—on Thursday.

Belson. Maitland, the Captain’s orders are that you come back with me to the ship.

Jack. I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t do it. I’ve made up my mind to leave the Navy. (Suddenly.) But how did you know I was here? How could you know? (Sees Simpson standing just inside the door with a hang-dog look.) (Pointing at him.) By heaven, a traitor! (Shakes off Ometsu and strides towards Simpson, but Belson gets between them.)

Belson. Maitland, don’t forget that you are still a naval officer!

Jack. Traitor! This is what you call loyalty to a master who gave you his confidence, was ready to make a friend of you, and would make you independent of everything and everybody! In return you play the low-down sneak. You betray me and try to wreck my happiness and my life. But you’ve failed! Get out, you filthy viper——

Simpson (holding out his hands imploringly). I did it for your sake, sir. I thought——

[Pg 20]Jack (furiously). Get out, or by——

Belson (stepping forward and holding up a hand to stop him). The man did quite right——

Jack. He didn’t. He promised to stand by me, and he’s sold me. But I won’t come back. You can’t make me. I refuse. I’m my own master. I’ve sent in my resignation and they can take it or be damned to them! (Turns towards Ometsu who nestles up to him. He turns to Belson.) Mr. Belson, is there any need to prolong——

Belson. Will you introduce me?

Jack (hesitates, and then presents Ometsu). Madamoiselle Ometsu San—Lieut.-Commander Belson. (They bow stiffly.)

Belson (gravely). Mam’zelle, would you permit me to have a few minutes with Mr. Maitland alone?

Jack (quickly). No—no—I refuse. Don’t go, sweetheart! I’m very sorry, sir, but I can’t go. I have finished with the Navy——

Belson (to Ometsu). Mam’zelle, do you know that Mr. Maitland has been ten years in the British Navy? (She bows.) Do you know that if he resigns his commission he will never be able to get back? (She remains silent.) Do you know—pardon me—but do you know that if you marry him he will not be able to go back to England?

Jack. Oh, yes, I can! But I shan’t want to. We are going away to live our own lives——

Belson. You mean——

Jack. Yes, I mean——

Belson.—that you’re going to be a voluntary outcast—a vagabond——

[Pg 21]Jack. Well, it doesn’t matter to you what I do so long as I——

Belson. Yes, it does. You belong to an honourable profession and you are trying to leave it dishonourably.

Jack (hotly). No, I’m not. I’ve sent in my papers——

Belson. Which will not be accepted. Mam’zelle, do you think that your father would have treated the Japanese Navy as Mr. Maitland proposes to treat the British?

Jack. That’s nothing to do with it. There’s no war on. You only want to take me home to England. I don’t want to go—I won’t go.

Belson. Mam’zelle, do you think that your brother would act like this? Would you respect him if he did? And believe me—I say it with all deference—“East is East and West is West.”

Jack (hoarsely). No, it is not so! And if it is, Ometsu and I will run the risk. (He looks down at her, but she stands like a statue.)

Belson. You wouldn’t like your brother to marry Maitland’s sister in England, and then sail away out of your lives. His mother is a widow. Who is going to look after her and her affairs when she grows old? (Pause.) Apart from that, do you think that he will be happy knowing that he has deserted the Navy?

Jack. Grrrrrrrrh! There are plenty more without me!

Belson. No country can afford to lose good men. And you will be lost, Maitland—lost—if you carry out this mad project——

[Pg 22]Jack. Very well, let me be mad!

Ometsu (to Belson in a strained voice). Do you really believe that if I married Jack I should spoil his life?

Jack (in agony). Ometsu! Don’t think of such a thing!

Ometsu (looks at Belson, and he bows in the affirmative. She continues, in the same strained voice). I remember now that during the war the women were called on to sacrifice themselves. Jack, if you don’t go back your country will lose one man—one good man. Who knows, dear, that one day, years to come, you may be the one man who might save your country! Ought we to run that risk?

Jack. But, darling, that is too preposterous——

Ometsu. No, dear, it isn’t. No one can tell who will be the saviour of his country. Jack, darling, we must think of that. We must—I must—think of what ought to be done for love of country.... You will have to go—Jack.

Jack. Ometsu! You are not—you are not afraid?

Belson. Afraid! Maitland, she is a daughter of Japan! You are a son of England! She sees—she knows——

Jack. She doesn’t! Ometsu!

Ometsu. Yes, I do, Jack; dear Jack! You must go back—it was a mistake. (She tries to draw away from him, but he holds her by her wrists.) You must go, Jack. And if you come back—I’ll wait. I—I shan’t forget—dear heart!

Jack. But—Ometsu!

Ometsu. Jack, dear, we had forgotten—there[Pg 23] are greater claims than that of love. Your country wants you. It has a greater claim on you than I.... Don’t make it too hard for me.... You know that you ought to go.

Belson (almost sharply). Maitland, show her that you are a man!

Jack (holds out his arms, she comes to him). You believe it the right thing to do, Ometsu?

Ometsu. Yes, dear—and I will wait—and wait.

Jack. And I will come back—you shall be my wife! (He bends down and kisses her. Belson comes forward and takes his arm, and gently draws him away. Belson turns quickly to Ometsu, takes her hand and kisses it almost reverently. Then he leads Jack almost dazed from the room.)

(Ometsu stands and watches them go through the door. Simpson stands rigidly to attention as they pass.)

Belson (to Simpson as they pass). Pack up and follow!

Simpson. Yes, sir.

(As Belson and Jack disappear, Ometsu staggers to a chair by the table and with a little sob drops her head on her arms.)

Simpson (goes to her and bends over her; speaks brokenly). He said he’d come back—I’ll bring him back! (He waits for a moment but she takes no notice. He then picks up the corner of the sleeve of her kimono, presses it to his lips, and then goes out slowly. As he reaches the door the curtain falls.)

Printed by Butler & Tanner, Frome and London.


Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Archaic or alternate spelling which may have been in use at the time of publication has been retained.

The cover image for this eBook was created by the transcriber from the title page of the original and is entered into the public domain.