Mary Swift Jones

Letters home

Mary Swift Jones wrote on November 4, 1859, just after she had arrived in Japan, "I have taken a great notice to go on shore lately...but were it not for the fine China handsome lacquered & cheap silks to be got I should hardly think it would pay to go on shore & be followed by 200 or 300 people on wooden shoes clattering after you they all acted afraid of me none would touch my clothes unless I gave them permission & while some examined my dress hat mantilla & gloves, one or two would commence fanning me they thought I must be almost roasted with so much clothes on."

Mary wrote from Kanagawa, Japan to her sister Ellen in October 1860 that "my carriage is a bamboo sedan chair, very much like a wheelbarrow with the wheel off & shafts behind as well as front, this I fill with cushions, send for coolies & as I am a foreigner I must have three, one a government man, to receive the money, steady the chair, pick flowers or grass, & try to make me talk Japanese...I think the country the most beautiful I ever saw."