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A Daughter of Japan

A Daughter of Japan
Author: Bone F. D.
Title: A Daughter of Japan
Release Date: 2018-05-12
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
Count views: 116
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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 tastefullyfurnished in a half-English, half-native style. A round tablefor meals. A sideboard with a tantalus. A piano, and oneor two long bamboo chairs. A well-filled book-case. A verandahcan be seen through the doorway.

Ometsu is dressed in native costume. Belson in flannelswith 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 lookingvery solemn. A bell rings. He starts and looksnervously over his shoulder at the door. Lieut.-CommanderBelson appears in the doorway.Simpson takes a few steps towards him, salutes, andthen 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’rea bright beauty, aren’t you?

Simpson (moving his feet awkwardly). You don’tknow what I’ve been through, sir. I did all a man——

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

Simpson. Well, sir, his business is no businessof 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 saidhe’d stop and marry her if the Navy went to thebottom for it.

Belson. Marry her! Marry whom?

Simpson. The little Japanese lady, sir.

Belson (startled, shouting). The what?

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

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

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

Belson (draws back and again looks Simpson upand down). The deuce she does! Then Mr. Maitlandis 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. Maitlandis 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 toearn a pension.

Belson. I should think you’re more likely toearn six months for desertion. Do you know thatyou 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 whathe meant to do?

Simpson. I ’oped against ’ope, sir.

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

Simpson (putting out his hands). No, sir, no. Idon’t hold with it, sir. But she’s a sweet little thing,sir, and I know she’s very fond of him. It makesme real bad to think what’ll happen when they seeyou, 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 arethe ladies?

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

Belson (immediately uneasy). Well, I’ll go andmeet Mr. Maitland, and you’d better get ready tocome back at once. We’ve no time to lose if we’reto 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 hisface with his handkerchief. He looks in a half-dazedway round the room, and then goes to the tableto complete preparations for breakfast. Throughthe curtained doorway on right, Ometsu appears,dressed in a charming Japanese costume, withsatin slippers to match her robe.)

Ometsu. Good-morning, Simpson.

Simpson. Good-morning, miss.

[Pg 10]Ometsu (going to table). Mother is not comingdown to breakfast, Simpson. So there’ll only beMr. 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’the, Simpson? It always seems so long when he’saway. (She runs to the door and looks out.) It’sheavenly, and to-day! I am so happy to-day.(Goes to table and looks up at Simpson.) Do you knowwhat to-day is, Simpson? It’s my birthday! I’mseventeen—quite a woman now, and next week at thistime I shall be Mrs. Maitland, and you’ll be callingme mam! (She gives a happy little laugh.) Aren’tyou going to wish me many happy returns, Simpson?

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

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

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

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

Simpson (eagerly). Yes, yes, please, miss. (Hesinks into a chair while she runs to the sideboard andpours him out a peg.)

Ometsu (brings the brandy). There! I am sosorry, 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 youknow, miss——Your father was a sailor, wasn’the?

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’the?

Ometsu (nods her head).

Simpson. Well, wouldn’t you like Mr. Maitlandto 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. Imean—— (Blows his cheeks out.) I don’t know whatI mean?

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

Simpson (with supreme effort). Well, miss, I meanOnce a Sailor always a Sailor! (He draws backas 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. Ofcourse Mr. Maitland’s a sailor. Isn’t he going totake me—and you—for a long cruise among theSouth Sea Islands? We shall be perfectly happy[Pg 12]down there, Simpson. You will get rid of all yourtroubles then.

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

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

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

Ometsu. Oh, Simpson, don’t be silly.... You willfinish it with him. He’s going to do ever so muchmore for you than your Navy can. And didn’t hesay you should come to our wedding and be hisbest man and sign the register? And when we goaway you will be in charge of everything. Why, youwill be quite a big man; and Jack—Mr. Maitland,says we may go pearl-fishing, and you will makeyour fortune then.... (Simpson still looks dully ather.) Oh, you are grumpy this morning. I don’tlike you a bit. I wish I hadn’t given you the brandynow. (Shakes an accusing finger at him.) I thinkyou’ve been drinking. (She goes to the piano andplays a snatch of Mandalay. Almost immediatelyMaitland’s voice joins in the song. As he reachesthe doorway she gives a little scream of delight, jumpsoff the stool and runs to meet him. He catches her inhis 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 kissher forehead). Many happy returns, sweetheartQuite 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 ofthem is wonderful—I shall give only that one inmy whole lifetime.

Ometsu (looking eagerly at him). Sweetheart!Tell me! (He takes two packets from his pocket, oneof them is an envelope. He unfolds the small packetand holds up a bracelet. She gives a little gurgle ofdelight 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’sthe other? I am a lucky girl! (He takes a documentfrom an envelope, unfolds it and offers it to her.)

Jack. Our marriage license! (Laughs joyouslyas 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 thismorning. She said she knew I’d like to have breakfastalone with you to-day. Isn’t she a dear!

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

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

Jack (jumps up and bangs the table). I won’t haveit. I won’t have it! I’ll kick him out. He cango back alone. How dare he talk to you about itwhen I told him not to. (Turns to door on left.)I’ll let him know if he’s going to defy orders. (Atthe 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 tomam’zelle about my leaving the Navy?

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

Jack (following behind and shouting). Haven’t Isent 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 thedevil?

Simpson. Yes, sir.

Jack. And didn’t I say that I’d break yourneck if I heard

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