by unknown hand, top center in graphite: 19B 09; upper center in graphite: 40; lower right in graphite: 91.4418; lower right in graphite: B; on verso, by unknown hand, upper center in graphite: 41; center in typeset print on paper label: OUT FOR A WALK. / In all countries, the most interesting objects in the eyes of a stranger are the female population. In the East / especially, this is so; the status accorded to them, and their treatment by the 'lords of creation' differing so / widely from what is seen in western lands. In some eastern countries hardly any females are to be seen out of / doors; and of those who are visible the majority are only of the poorer class. In few of them is the freedom allowed equal to that enjoyed by the sterner sex. / But in Japan, although the wives and daughters of the aristocracy are rarely seen, all other classes enjoy perfect / liberty. Women and girls are met with - shopping, walking, or visiting - in numbers hardly inferior to the men; and their nice, / tidy, modest demeanour is remarkable. / When first seen, their dress strikes one as stiff and unbecoming; and the peculiar gait - produced not only by the / wooden pattens on which they are raised out of the dirt of the streets, but by the 'fashion of the country' - is anything but graceful. / But as the eye becomes accustomed to them, their [sic] is no country in the world where females convey a more pleasing impression, both in appearances and manners. / The two girls portrayed in the picture are of the respectable middle class, such as are most commonly seen. / The umbrella, large or small, is their almost constant companion, and, as with ladies at home, used as a sunshade fully as much as a protection against rain.
Michael and Jane Wilson, Wilson Centre for Photography, London, acquired 1991; gift to NGA, 2012.