Transcribed by Gary Carroll -
William Ayers, Japan [8 Mar, 1862-28 Jan, 1937] to his sister Emily Ayers [28 Mar, 1872-20 Sept, 1960]
Nippo Aug 20th/ 90
Dear Sister Emily
Since I started this letter of Aug. 14th I received your letter written from home with Sister Beckies & Aunts. I am very glad to receive these but I think that they are not very fond of writing at Cardigan & yet I must be charitable. For I am sure that you at home would have had the leisure for writing that I have had this summer. I had your letter addressed to Clifton & now before I forget it, I wish that you would mention the Lot for if you you don't know you ought to that there are more Cliftons than one in P.E.I.. And so you are going to have a good long summer vacation. Well, make the most of it I say. See here, I want to say to you that your English is not at all times what it ought to be when we consider that you undertake to teach the "young idea how to shoot. For example "We got those two letters that you find enclosed on Saturday evening" Your adverbial phrase of time is in a bad relation to the rest of the sentence & I think that it would have been much better for you to use a future tense"You will find enclosed" I am very much pleased with your letter all the same for it contains quite a lot of news but you ought always to endeavour to classify & put into the best shape what you have to write & in every letter attempt some improvement on the last. Let Progress be your Watchword in everything.
I am sorry for my old playmate & cousin Orma? but it may be that God is going to bring good out of this affliction. Let us look for it at any rate.
And so you are going to have a parlour at last. Well, that will be nice but it would have been nicer if we all could have enjoyed it. And yet i wonder if we would have enjoyed it any more than the hours spent in the sitting room. Most of folks make a very poor & some a very bad use of parlours. They put in costly furniture & carpetings & then lest the sunlight should steal some of the colouring they blind the windows. I hope my mother won't enact any such laws. By the prices quoted I do not think the furnishings costly. But a parlour should not be kept for occasions & occasional people.
Yesterday afternoon I went out for a tramp alone. I followed the course of the river Inangawa for I expect about 6 or 7 mlles. I took an old pair of boots that were not decent to wear anywhere else. I saw some wild places some mighty precipitous cliffs. The rocks in some places seemed ready to tumble at any time & some that I passed over looked like they had descended from their resting place hundreds of feet above the same morning. They were broken up some of them to within ? I felt a little bit scared lest some of them might tumble down upon me as I passed coming home. I kept all the way along the bed of the stream jumping from rock to rock & from stone to stone. A little shower had fallen & as my path up lay through dense undergrowth I did not wish to get more than my feet wet coming home. I might say that the volume of water is not more than half that which passes through, well perhaps it is as much as passes Uncle Chris's bridge. I left house about 20 minutes after three in the afternoon & as we have little or no twilight, darkness overtook me before I got home & I came the last mile or so under difficulties. I got home about quarter eight. My boots gave out entirely & would not stay on my feet & I had to come a short distance in my sock feet. But I enjoyed it immensely. It is a great place to use up old clothes. In fact my old clothes are about all used up & I do not intend to go on any more tramps. I go back from here next Monday the 25th. The crowd got a photograph taken & I shall send you one I expect, that is the folks at home. Of course you will have to get it mounted after you get it. You will find me among the crowd & you will see some Japanese & the on left hand one of the pilgrims whom we invited to stand in the party. He is a typical pilgrim with his staff & white dress & piece of matting.
Of the washouts along the railways. Those fierce mountain torrents of which you can have no idea until you have seen some mountains are exceedingly destructive. I came home to Tokyo part of the way by rail & the rest on a Japanese junk. We had a beautiful day & the 10 hours spent in the Japanese craft did not pass altogether unpleasantly. I could write you a great deal but time does not permit. My love to you all & I hope you are all well
From your loving brother