|Donald D. Smythe, Professor of Geology|
Peiyang University, Dept. of Geology
May 4, 1924
Dear little wife:-
At last I am able to make arrangements with a knowledge of when I can meet you in Kobe etc. Think the best thing to do is to tell you exactly what arrangements you will have to make. The first thing is to get your passport. Get half a dozen photographs about three or four inches square, taken full face, without any hat, and against a light background such as mine which I enclose. Take these and your marriage certificate, in the safe deposit box I believe, to the county clerk. He will collect $10.00 and make out your application. My passport is No. 408 Seattle and you will probably have to give him the number. Tell him you are sailing on the Empress of Asia from Vancouver July 31. They always want to know the boat but if it is changed later it doesn't make any difference. Better get your passport pretty soon as it must be made out in Washington and takes some time to get it back. My passport was made out in Seattle Oct. 1st to Donald de Cou Smythe. Have it made out to all countries or failing that for China and Japan. Object travel. I was born Mar. 24, 1895 at Madison, Lake Co., S. Dak.
I have looked up boats and think it will be best for you to sail from Vancouver. The Empress boats of the Canadian Pacific are amoung the best and are the only ones which have a second class. It is foolishness to make the trip first class as it costs much more. The added cost is for a little more room but is not worth the difference. I think that you will feel more at home in the second class, the people traveling there are mainly missionaries. The Empress of Asia is the boat I came over on and is not bad. Make your reservation through the American Express Co. in Eugene. Ask for an outside cabin. You will probably be put in with one or two other women unless the boat is without many passengers. Buy your ticket to Kobe where I will meet you and bring you across. The ticket will cost about $175.00 gold with a tax of $5.00.
You will have to get your passport vised for China and Japan. That is done at the respective consulates and will cost about $2.00 at each. If you stop in Seattle it can be done there or in Vancouver if you do not. Don't go to the Chinese consulate in Seattle by yourself as it is not in a good section of the town, don't know about Vancouver. I think that it would be easier for you to go direct to Vancouver, you won't need a visa for Canada, and stop at the hotel Vancouver. Check your baggage to the C.P. peir for the Empress of Asia. Have your steamer ticket before you leave Eugene and ask them to send you pasters for your luggage. You will get two sets which you will fill in with your name, destination, Kobe. and cabin no. The luggage that you want on the boat you will mark with the paster WANTED and the rest will be marked NOT WANTED and placed in the hold. You cna take one steamer trunk and your hand luggage in the cabin while the rest will have to go in the the hold. Luggage marked wanted will be placed in your cabin. The Canadian customs will look at the luggage you carry with you but not that which is sent directly to the peir unless you take it away from the pier. Tell the inspector that you are sailing for China and he won't bother you about your hand luggage except to look at it. You will probably have to go to the pier in Vancouver to claim your luggage before you get on the boat but it is not far from the Hotel. If you stop in Seatlle you will have to recheck your baggage. Allow a day in which to get your visas. The American Express will give you any information you need and if you get in trouble go to them. You can get help if you like at the Hotel Vancouver as it is run by the Canadian Pacific.
The boats usually sail from Vancouver about 3 P.M. but you can find out exactly in Vancouver, plan to get there the morning of the preceeding day. Get on board the boat an hour or two before it sails and get fixed in your cabin.
Better be vaccinated before you start and have a vaccination certificate as they may ask for it.
On the boat you will be given a seat at the dining table and will keep it all the time. The stewards are all Chinese but talk English. There will also be a white stewardess for the cabins but the cleaning up is done by a Chinese boy. Don't leave anything laying around your cabin as it may be stolen, keep them locked up. When you are in port keep the porthole closed as they have a habit of stealing things out with a stick. through the porthole.
Keep up on deck as much as you can, you will feel better. Take a lot of reading matter as you will want to do a lot of that. Rent a deck chair from the deck steward. If you want to know anything ask the dining room steward, He is a good sort, or the stewardess. (I mean the head dining room steward who is a white man.)
You will tip your room steward, your dining room steward, the bath steward and the stewardess. About $2.00 U.S. each is enough for the first two, $1.00 for the bath steward and $2.00 or $3.00 for the stewardess unless you have been sick and made her a lot of trouble when you will give her more. Better give the deck steward a dollar too. You can have laundry done on the boat but it and your wines ? will be extra. Don't get any Jap. money on the boat. U.S. money is O.K. in Canada but don't get too much Canadian change as it is worth a few cents on the dollar less than U.S.
There will be deck games on the boat, shuffelboard, bull board etc. but you will probably do a lot of reading. You should arrive in Kobe Aug. 12. I will try to meet you but don't know about the boats from here yet. If I am not there will send a letter to Kobe telling you what to do. Let me know when you have your reservation and cable me if your sailing is held up for any reason.
I am sending you $50.00 U.S. in this letter, will try to send $150.00 about the first of June and cable as much more about July first. I am afraid that it will run rather close but if you chan't do it by the boat I mentioned you can come by a later one, the suit I got in Seattle did not turn out well so that I have had to get another, hence no more money. From Kobe I will have enough to get us over. I figure the trip from Eugene to Kobe will cost your about $260.00 so that it doesn't leave much for clothes. Guess we can fix you up over here though. Have just had tiffin and have been thinking that I can arrange to send you some more in June or July, $50.00 more anyhow, guess that will see you through allright.
Below is a tentative list of some of the expenses you will have. Passport 10.00, visas 5.00 R.R. 22.00 steamer 180.00 tips 10.00 hotel 10.00 meals 10.00 or $247.00 allowing 13.00 leeway, guess you can make it on $260.00 for the actual trip to Kobe. Judge from your last letter of Apr. 14 that you are down to bedrock, I didn't want to know how you had spent the money but just what you had left. Let me know if you can make it if I sen $50.00 now, $150.00 June first and Cable $200.00 July first. Maybet if some one wants you to buy them something here they can give you the money and we can send the things after you arrive getting the use of the money on the trip.
School will be over here June 15th and then we start on a field trip to Manchuria, will be gone about three or four weeks. When I return am going on a trip to Wu tai shan but that won't cost any more than staying here the same time. Expect to get back from that in time to meet you in Kobe.
The strike broken but we have only a little over 100 students. things are pretty quiet.
I got a grass linin tea cloth and mapkins for Harvey and his wife, sent them off about a week ago. Don't know if you sent them anything or not.
The letter I wrote Adventure was published a couple of months ago, I got one reply. A man up in B.C. wanted me to find his wife, he said she ran off with a man named Austin about eight years ago and went to Montana, as I lived in Neihart I might know about them he supposed.
Things are quite pretty here now, lots of flowers and greenery. The weather is getting hot too.
Guess I better not write much more or you won't be able to digest it all. Think I will recapitulate though: First get passport at County Clerk's office. Then get reservation at American Express, don't think they will want any money till you take the ticket. When you get ready to go lable your baggage and check it to the Canadian Pacific pier at Vancouver for the Empress of Asia. Take the train to Vancouver. The G.N. has a train leaving Portland at 1 P.M. that gets you to Vancouver at 7:55 the next morning. Your boat sails July 31 so plan to get to Vancouver the morning of July 30. Stay at the Hotel Vancouver run by the C.P. It is so big that there is not much chance of it being full but if it is you can go to the Hotel Grosvenor. Then get your visas at the Jap and Chinese consulates. Claim your baggage from the baggage master at the pier and tell him to have it put aboard the Empress of Asia. After that you can see the town till an hour or two before sailing time when you should be aboard. They can tell you the pier and time of sailing at the Hotel. Any information you want and I have not given you you can get in the hotel or at the American Express. The more I think of it the better it seems for you to go straight through to Vancouver. You could take a boat from Seattle to Vancouver but it is a lot of bother and you will have enough sailing before your reach Tientsin any how. I will meet the boat in Kobe or make arrangements for you through the American Express if for any reason I can't. You will arrive in Kobe Aug 12. We will stay there a few days and then take a Jap boat across to Tientsin. It is about five days from Kobe to Tientsin.
Can't think of anything more to tell you now but probably will later. Once you are on the boat there is not much to bother with as there are others to tell you what to do. Don't think you will have any trouble if you don't lose your passport or ticket. They will look at your passport when you arrive at Vancouver, when you get on the boat, when you go to the consulates and before you get off at Kobe so have it handy.
With lots of love, Donald
P.S. School starts Sept 1, next fall so that the Asia is the last Empress boat you can take and still have me meet you in Japan.
Played three set of tennis this afternoon, it was uncomfortably hot. The Wistaria is out and is beautiful, the warm weather brings out the color.
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