The regent's house was spacious. While Perry and his assistances sat at the highest table on the right side, the regent and his colleagues sat at the left. In total there were seven tables, each with a pair of chopsticks at the corner. At the center was a pot of sake, surrounded by cups. Each table had about 20 dishes of food, including sliced boiled eggs, fish made into rolls and boiled in fat, cold baked fish, slices of hog's liver, fragments of fried lean pork etc. The feast started with cups of tea handed around, followed by small cups of sake. In total there were 12 courses, soup constituted seven of them. After finishing the 12th course, the American respectfully took leave, though they were assured that 12 more would come. During the feast, Perry rose and proposed a toast to the health of the queen mother and the young viceroy. Later he also proposed the health of the regent and his colleagues. The interpreter of the regent was a young native who had been educated in Peiping for 3 years. He could speak some English although Chinese was the language of communication between the two sides. When the feast was over, the Americans took their departure in the procession as before.1 The whole procession returned to the ships by 2.30 pm. During the stay at Lew Chew, naval drills were regularly performed in the Napha harbor. There was a boat inspection with 17 boats, all fully manned and equipped, and five of them carried 12 and 24 pounders. Later there was a death incident on board the Susquehanna. When Mr. Williams came from China to join the squadron, he brought along an old Chinese who was his former teacher. He smoked opium but was trying to abandon such a habit. But this effort and his seasickness made him sank into a state of nervelessness and semi madness and he eventually died.2 On June 28, the regent and treasurer aboard the Susquehanna at the invitation of Perry (this is a new regent at the age of about 45, the one whom Perry had met in the palace was said to have been deposed). At dinner time the guests were guided into Perry's cabin where the table was set. Perry was accompanied by Mr. Williams and Dr. Bettelheim, they were both guests and interpreters. The regent also had his interpreter Ichirajichi who stood behind him during the dinner.3 (to be continued)
1. Perry, Matthew Calbraith ed. by Sidney Wallach. Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan. NY: Coward-McCann, 1952, page 33.
2. Ibid., page 36.
3. Ibid., page 39.