Navy Quartermaster (from Japan)
Under the classic cap, prerogative of sailors in navies worldwide, a suggestion of mystery in his inscrutable mask, bronze with flashes of gold, from where, alone, seem to live two bright eyes under the half open eyelids. What is he dreaming of? What mirage of the East? Is he thinking of the glorious old warfare of the Samurai? Is he recollecting the beguiling land of cherry trees in flower, paper houses, young women in vivid kimonos, that in our eyes is the vision of Japan? Does he see rather in his dream, an army ceaselessly alert, military staff on the look out, monstrous canons, shells piling up, and the grey waters of the ocean, the long armour-plated battleships whose ensigns shone with the rising sun? Perhaps he was at Tsing-Tao (see in Wikipedia), the German eastern bastion: he has seen the walls collapse under the storm of bombardment and under the big sun, at the summit of the citadel, the fall of the Kaiser's flag. Perhaps on one of these ships, gleaming with steel, copper and mahogany, whose name is inscribed in gold letters on the the ribbon on his cap, perhaps he has chased enemy pirates, escorted merchant ships from France, from England, the fervent missions of officers? He has fulfilled his task like all the others, given a new bright aura to the old feudal shield of Japan, for whom there is no glory purer than military glory.