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Title:HungLouMeng,BookII
Author:CaoXueqin
PostingDate:November23,2011[EBook#9604]ReleaseDate:January,2006FirstPosted:October9,2003
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKHUNGLOUMENG,BOOKII***

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HUNGLOUMENG,BOOKII
OR,THEDREAMOFTHEREDCHAMBER,ACHINESENOVELINTWOBOOKS
BY
CAOXUEQIN

TranslatedbyH.BENCRAFTJOLY
H.B.M.CONSULARSERVICE,CHINA.

BOOKII

CHAPTERXXV.
Byademoniacalart,ajunioruncleandanelderbrother'swife
(PaoyandladyFeng)comeacrossfivedevils.
ThegemofSpiritualPerceptionmeets,inafitoftorpor,thetwo
perfectmen.
HsiaoHung,thestorycontinues,wasmuchunsettledinhermind.Herthoughtsrolledoninoneconnected
string.Butsuddenlyshebecamedrowsy,andfallingasleep,sheencounteredChiaYn,whotriedtocarryout
hisintentiontodraghernearhim.Shetwistedherselfround,andendeavouredtorunawaybutwastrippedover
bythedoorstep.Thisgavehersuchastartthatshewokeup.Then,atlength,sherealisedthatitwasonlya
dream.Butsorestlesslydidshe,inconsequenceofthisfright,keeponrollingandtossingthatshecouldnot
closehereyesduringthewholenight.Assoonasthelightofthenextdaydawned,shegotup.Severalwaiting
maidscameatoncetotellhertogoandsweeptheflooroftherooms,andtobringwatertowashthefacewith.
HsiaoHungdidnotevenwaittoarrangeherhairorperformherablutionsbut,turningtowardsthelooking
glass,shepinnedherchevelureupanyhowand,rinsingherhands,and,tyingasashroundherwaist,she
repaireddirectlytosweeptheapartments.
Whowouldhavethoughtit,Paoyalsohadsethisheartuponherthemomenthecaughtsightofherthe
previousday.Yethefeared,inthefirstplace,thatifhementionedherbynameandcalledheroverintohis
service,HsiJenandtheothergirlsmightfeelthepangsofjealousy.Hedidnot,eitherinthesecondplace,have
anyideawhatherdispositionwaslike.Theconsequencewasthathefeltdowncastsomuchso,thatwhenhe
gotupatanearlyhour,hedidnotevencombhishairorwash,butsimplyremainedseated,andbroodedina
stateofabstraction.Afterawhile,heloweredthewindow.Throughthegauzeframe,fromwhichhecould
distinctlydiscernwhatwasgoingonoutside,heespiedseveralservantgirls,engagedinsweepingthecourt.All
ofthemwererougedandpowderedtheyhadflowersinsertedintheirhair,andweregrandlygotup.Butthe
onlyone,ofwhomhefailedtogetaglimpse,wasthegirlhehadmetthedaybefore.
Paoyspeedilywalkedoutofthedoorwithslipshodshoes.Underthepretenceofadmiringtheflowers,he
glanced,nowtowardstheeastnowtowardsthewest.Butuponraisinghishead,hedescried,inthesouthwest

corner,someoneorotherleaningbythesideoftherailingunderthecoveredpassage.Acrabappletree,
however,obstructedtheviewandhecouldnotseedistinctlywhoitwas,soadvancingastepfurtherin,hestared
withintentgaze.Itwas,inpointoffact,thewaitingmaidofthedaybefore,tarryingaboutplungedinareverie.
Hiswishwastogoforwardandmeether,buthedidnot,ontheotherhand,seehowhecouldverywelldoso.
Justashewascogitatingwithinhimself,he,ofasudden,perceivedPiHencomeandaskhimtogoandwashhis
face.Thisreminderplacedhimunderthenecessityofbetakinghimselfintohisroom.Butwewillleavehim
there,withoutfurtherdetails,soastoreturntoHsiaoHung.
Shewascommuningwithherownthoughts.ButunawaresperceivingHsiJenwaveherhandandcallherby
name,shehadtowalkuptoher.
"Ourwateringpotisspoilt,"HsiJensmiledandsaid,"sogotoMiss
Lin'soverthereandfindoneforustouse."
HsiaoHunghastenedonherwaytowardstheHsiaoHsiangKuan.
WhenshegotasfarastheTs'uiYenbridge,shesaw,onraisingherheadandlookinground,themoundsand
loftyplacesentirelyshutinbyscreens,andshebethoughtherselfthatlabourerswerethatdaytoplanttreesin
thatparticularlocality.
Atagreatdistanceoff,abandofmenwere,inverydeed,engagedindiggingupthesoil,whileChiaYnwas
seatedonaboulderonthehill,superintendingtheworks.ThetimecameforHsiaoHungtopassby,butshe
couldnotmusterthecouragetodoso.NeverthelessshehadnoothercoursethantoquietlyproceedtotheHsiao
HsiangKuan.Thengettingthewateringpot,shespedonherwaybackagain.Butbeinginlowspirits,she
retiredaloneintoherroomandlayherselfdown.Oneandall,however,simplymaintainedthatshewasoutof
sorts,sotheydidnotpayanyheedtoher.
Adaywentby.Onthemorrowfell,infact,theanniversaryofthebirthofWangTzut'eng'sspouse,andsome
onewasdespatchedfromhisresidencetocomeandinvitedowagerladyChiaandMadameWang.Madame
WangfoundouthoweverthatdowagerladyChiawouldnotavailherselfoftheinvitation,andneitherwouldshe
go.SoMrs.HsehwentalongwithladyFeng,andthethreesistersoftheChiafamily,andPaoch'aiandPao
y,andonlyreturnedhomelateintheevening.
MadameWangwassittinginMrs.Hseh'sapartments,whithershehadjustcrossed,whensheperceivedChia
Huancomebackfromschool,andshebadehimtranscribeincantationsoutoftheChinKangCanonand
intonatethem.ChiaHuanaccordinglycameandseatedhimselfonthestovecouch,occupiedbyMadameWang,
and,directingaservanttolightthecandles,hestartedcopyinginanostentatiousanddashingmanner.Nowhe
calledTs'aiHsiatopouracupofteaforhim.NowheaskedYuCh'uantotakethescissorsandcutthesnuffof
thewick."ChinCh'uan!"henextcried,"you'reinthewayoftheraysofthelamp."
Theservantgirlshadallalongentertainedanantipathyforhim,andnotoneofthemthereforeworriedhermind
aboutwhathesaid.Ts'aiHsiawastheonlyonewhostillgotonwellwithhim,sopouringacupoftea,she
handedittohim.Butshefeltpromptedtowhispertohim:"Keepquietabit!what'stheuseofmakingpeople
dislikeyou?"
"Iknowmyselfhowmattersstand,"ChiaHuanrejoined,ashecastasteadyglanceather"sodon'tyoutryand
befoolme!NowthatyouareonintimatetermswithPaoy,youdon'tpaymuchheedtome.I'vealsoseen
throughitmyself."
Ts'aiHsiaosetherteethtogether,andgavehimafilliponthehead.
"Youheartlessfellow!"shecried."You'relikethedog,thatbitL
T'ungpin.Youhavenoideaofwhat'srightandwhat'swrong!"
Whilethesetwonaggedaway,theynoticedladyFengandMadameWangcrosstogetherovertothem.Madame
Wangatonceassailedhimwithquestions.Sheaskedhimhowmanyladieshadbeenpresentonthatday,

whethertheplayhadbeengoodorbad,andwhatthebanquethadbeenlike.
Butabriefintervalover,Paoytooappearedonthescene.AftersalutingMadameWang,healsomadeafew
remarks,withalldecorumandthenbiddingaservantremovehisfrontlet,divesthimofhislonggownandpull
offhisboots,herushedheadforemost,intohismother'slap.
MadameWangcaressedandpattedhim.ButwhilePaoyclungtohismother'sneck,hespoketoherofone
thingandthenanother.
"Mychild,"saidMadameWang,"you'veagainhadtoomuchtodrinkyourfaceisscaldinghot,andifyoustill
keeponrubbingandscrapingit,why,you'llbyandbyestirupthefumesofwine!Don'tyouyetgoandliedown
quietlyoverthereforalittle!"
Chidinghimthewhile,shedirectedaservanttofetchapillow.Paoythereforelayhimselfdownatthebackof
MadameWang,andcalledTs'aiHsiatocomeandstrokehim.
PaoythenbegantobandywordswithTs'aiHsia.ButperceivingthatTs'aiHsiawasreserved,and,thatinstead
ofpayinghimanyattention,shekepthereyesfixeduponChiaHuan,Paoyeagerlytookherhand."Mydear
girl!"hesaid"doalsoheedmealittle"andashegaveutterancetothisappeal,hekeptherhandclaspedinhis.
Ts'aiHsia,however,drewherhandawayandwouldnotlethimholdit."Ifyougooninthisway,"she
vehementlyexclaimed,"I'llshoutoutatonce."
Thesetwowereintheactofwrangling,whenverilyChiaHuanoverheardwhatwasgoingon.Hehad,infact,
allalonghatedPaoysowhenonthisoccasion,heespiedhimuptohislarkswithTs'aiHsia,hecouldmuch
lessthaneverstiflefeelingsofresentmentinhisheart.Aftersomereflection,therefore,anideasuggesteditself
tohismind,andpretendingthatitwasbyaslipofthehand,heshovedthecandle,overflowingwithtallow,into
Paoy'sface.
"Aiya!"Paoywasheardtoexclaim.Everyoneinthewholeroomwasplungedinconsternation.With
precipitatehaste,thelanterns,standingonthefloor,weremovedoverand,withthefirstrayoflight,they
discoveredthatPaoy'sfacewasonemassoftallow.
MadameWanggavewaytoangeraswellasanxiety.Atonetime,sheissueddirectionstotheservantstorub
andwashPaoyclean.Atanother,sheheapedabuseuponChiaHuan.
LadyFengjumpedontothestonecouchbyleapsandbounds.Butwhileintentuponremovingthestufffrom
Paoy'sface,shesimultaneouslyejaculated:"MasterTertius,areyoustillsuchatrickster!I'lltellyouwhat,
you'llneverturntoanygoodaccount!YetdameChaoshouldevercorrectandadmonishhim."
ThissingleremarksuggestedtheideatoMadameWang,andshelostnotimeinsendingforMrs.Chaotocome
round.
"Youbringup,"sheberatedher,"suchablackheartedoffspringlikethis,anddon'tyou,afterall,adviseand
reprovehim?TimeandagainIpaidnonoticewhatevertowhathappened,andyouandhehavebecomemore
audacious,andhavegonefromworsetoworse!"
Mrs.Chaohadnoalternativebuttosuppresseverysenseofinjury,silenceallgrumblings,andgoherselfand
lendahandtotheothersintidyingPaoy.Shethenperceivedthatawholerowofblistershadrisenontheleft
sideofPaoy'sface,butthatfortunatelynoinjuryhadbeendonetohiseyes.
WhenMadameWang'sattentionwasdrawntothemshefeltherheartsore.Itfellapreytofearsalsolestwhen
dowagerladyChiamadeanyinquiriesaboutthemsheshouldfinditdifficulttogiveheranysatisfactoryreply.
AndsodistresseddidshegetthatshegaveMrs.Chaoanotherscolding.ButwhileshetriedtocomfortPaoy,
she,atthesametime,fetchedsomepowderforcounteractingtheeffectsofthevirus,andapplieditonhisface.

"It'srathersore,"saidPaoy,"butit'snothingtospeakof.Tomorrowwhenmyoldgrandmotherasksaboutit,I
cansimplyexplainthatIscaldeditmyselfthatwillbequiteenoughtotellher."
"Ifyousaythatyouscaldedityourself,"ladyFengobserved,"why,she'llalsocallpeopletotaskfornotlooking
outandafitofragewill,beyonddoubt,betheoutcomeofitall."
MadameWangthenorderedtheservantstotakecareandescortPaoybacktohisroom.Ontheirarrival,Hsi
Jenandhisotherattendantssawhim,andtheywereallinagreatstateofflurry.
AsforLinTaiy,whenshefoundthatPaoyhadgoneoutofdoors,shecontinuedthewholedayapreyto
ennui.Intheevening,shedeputedmessengerstwoandthreetimestogoandinquireabouthim.Butwhenshe
cametoknowthathehadbeenscalded,shehurriedinpersontocomeandseehim.ShethendiscoveredPaoy
allalone,holdingaglassandscanninghisfeaturesinitwhiletheleftsideofhisfacewasplasteredalloverwith
somemedicine.
LinTaiyimaginedthattheburnwasofanextremelyseriousnature,andshehastenedtoapproachhimwitha
viewtoexamineit.Paoy,however,screenedhisface,and,wavinghishand,badeherleavetheroomfor
knowingherusualknackfortidinesshedidnotfeelinclinedtolethergetaglimpseofhisface.Taiythen
gaveuptheattempt,andconfinedherselftoaskinghim:"whetheritwasverypainful?"
"Itisn'tverysore,"repliedPaoy,"ifIlookafteritforadayortwo,itwillgetallright."
Butafteranothershortstay,LinTaiyrepairedbacktoherquarters.
ThenextdayPaoysawdowagerladyChia.Butinspiteofhisconfessionthathehimselfwasresponsiblefor
thescaldingofhisface,hisgrandmothercouldnotrefrainfromreadinganotherlecturetotheservantswhohad
beeninattendance.
Adayafter,Ma,aTaoistmatron,whosenamewasrecordedasPaoy'sgodmother,cameonavisittothe
mansion.UponperceivingPaoy,shewasverymuchtakenaback,andaskedallaboutthecircumstancesofthe
accident.Whenheexplainedthathehadbeenscalded,sheforthwithshookherheadandheavedasighthen
whilemakingwithherfingersafewpassesoverPaoy'sface,shewentontomutterincantationsforseveral
minutes."Icanguaranteethathe'llgetallright,"sheadded,"forthisissimplyasaddenandfleetingaccident!"
TurningtowardsdowagerladyChia:"Venerableancestor,"sheobserved,"VenerableBuddha!howcouldyou
everbeawareoftheexistenceoftheportentouspassageinthatBuddhisticclassic,'totheeffectthatasonof
everyperson,whoholdsthedignityofprince,dukeorhighfunctionary,hasnosoonercomeintotheworldand
reachedacertainagethannumerousevilspiritsatoncesecretlyhaunthim,andpinchhim,whentheyfindan
opportunityordigtheirnailsintohimorknockhisbowlofricedown,during,mealtimeorgivehimashove
andsendhimover,whileheisquietlyseated.'Sothisisthereasonwhythemajorityofthesonsandgrandsons
ofthosedistinguishedfamiliesdonotgrowuptoattainmanhood."
DowagerladyChia,uponhearingherspeakinthiswise,eagerlyasked:"IsthereanyBuddhisticspell,bymeans
ofwhichtochecktheirinfluenceornot?"
"Thisisaneasyjob!"rejoinedtheTaoistmatronMa,"alloneneeddoistoperformseveralmeritoriousdeedson
hisaccountsoastocounteracttheconsequencesofretributionandeverythingwillthenbeputright.Thatcanon
furtherexplains:'thatinthewesternpartoftheworldthereisamightyBuddha,whosegloryilluminesall
things,andwhosespecialchargeistocasthislustreontheevilspiritsindarkplacesthatifanybenevolentman
orvirtuouswomanoffershimoblationswithsincerityofheart,heisabletososuccessfullyperpetuatethepeace
andquietoftheirsonsandgrandsonsthatthesewillnomoremeetwithanycalamitiesarisingfrombeing
possessedbymalevolentdemons.'"
"Butwhat,Iwonder,"inquireddowagerladyChia,"couldbeofferedtothisgod?"

"Nothingofanygreatvalue,"answeredtheTaoistmatron,Ma."Exclusiveofofferingsofscentedcandles,
severalcattiesofscentedoilcanbeadded,eachday,tokeepthelanternoftheGreatSeaalight.This'GreatSea'
lanternisthevisibleembodimentandBuddhisticrepresentationofthisdivinity,sodayandnightwedon't
venturetoletitgoout!"
"Forawholedayandawholenight,"askeddowagerladyChia,"howmuchoilisneeded,sothatItooshould
accomplishagoodaction?"
"Thereisreallynolimitastoquantity.Itrestsuponthegoodwillofthedonor,"Ma,theTaoistmatron,putinby
wayofreply."Inmyquarters,forinstance,Ihaveseverallanterns,thegiftsoftheconsortsofprincesandthe
spousesofhighofficialslivinginvariouslocalities.TheconsortofthemansionofthePrinceofNanAuhas
beenpromptedinherbeneficencebyaliberalspiritsheallowseachdayfortyeightcattiesofoil,andacattyof
wicksothather'GreatSea'lampisonlyatriflesmallerthanawaterjar.ThespouseofthemarquisofChin
Hsiangcomesnext,withnomorethantwentycattiesaday.Besidesthese,thereareseveralotherfamiliessome
givingtencattiessomeeightcattiessomethreesomefivesubjecttonofixedruleandofcourseIfeelbound
tokeepthelanternsalightontheirbehalf."
DowagerladyChianoddedherheadandgavewaytoreflection.
"There'sstillanotherthing,"continuedtheTaoistmatron,Ma."Ifitbeonaccountoffatherormotherorseniors,
anyexcessivedonationwouldnotmatter.Butwereyou,venerableancestor,tobestowtoomuchinyouroffering
forPaoy,ouryoungmasterwon't,Ifear,beequaltothegiftandinsteadofbeingbenefited,hishappinesswill
besnapped.Ifyouthereforewanttomakealiberalgiftsevencattieswilldoifasmallone,thenfivecattieswill
evenbesufficient."
"Well,inthatcase,"respondeddowagerladyChia,"letusfixuponfivecattiesaday,andeverymonthcomeand
receivepaymentofthewholelumpsum!"
"Omitofu!"exclaimedMa,theTaoistmatron,"Ohmerciful,andmighty
P'uSa!"
DowagerladyChiathencalledtheservantsandimpressedontheirmindsthatwheneverPaoywentoutof
doorsinthefuture,theyshouldgiveseveralstringsofcashtothepagestobestowoncharityamongthebonzes
andTaoistpriests,andthepoorandneedytheymightmeetontheway.
Thesedirectionsconcluded,theTaoistmatrontrudgedintothevariousquarters,andpaidherrespects,andthen
strolledleisurelyabout.Presently,sheenteredMrs.Chao'sapartments.Afterthetwoladieshadexchanged
salutations,Mrs.Chaobadeayoungservantgirlhandherguestacupoftea.WhileMrs.Chaobusiedherself
pastingshoes,Ma,theTaoistmatron,espied,piledupinaheaponthestovecouch,sundrypiecesofsilksand
satins."Itjusthappens,"sheconsequentlyremarked,"thatIhavenofacingsforshoes,somyladydogivemea
fewoddcuttingsofsilkandsatin,ofnomatterwhatcolour,tomakemyselfapairofshoeswith."
Mrs.Chaoheavedasigh."Look,"shesaid,"whethertherebestillamongthemanypiecesgoodforanything.
Butanythingthat'sworthanythingdoesn'tfinditswayinhere.Ifyoudon'tdespisewhat'sworthless,you'reat
libertytoselectanytwopiecesandtotakethemaway,andhavedone."
TheTaoistmatron,Ma,chosewithalacrityseveralpiecesandshovedtheminherbreast.
"Theotherday,"Mrs.Chaowentontoinquire,"Isentaservantoverwithfivehundredcashhaveyoupresented
anyofferingsbeforethegodofmedicineornot?"
"I'veofferedthemlongagoforyou,"theTaoistmatronMarejoined.
"Omitofu!"ejaculatedMrs.Chaowithasigh,"wereIalittlebetteroff,I'dalsocomeoftenandoffergiftsbut
thoughmywillbeboundless,mymeansareinsufficient!"

"Don'ttroubleyourmindonthisscore,"suggestedMa,theTaoistmatron."Byandbye,whenMr.Huanhas
grownupintoamanandobtainedsomeofficialpostorother,willtherebethenanyfearofyournotbeingable
toaffordsuchofferingsasyoumightliketomake?"
AtthesewordsMrs.Chaogaveasmile."Enough,enough!"shecried."Don'tagainrefertosuchcontingencies!
thepresentisafaircriterion.ForuptowhominthishousecanmysonandIcome?Paoyisstillamerechild
butheissuchthathewinspeople'slove.Thosebigpeoplemaybepartialtohim,andlovehimagooddeal,I've
nothingtosaytoitbutIcan'teathumblepietothissortofmistress!"
Whileutteringthisremark,shestretchedouthertwofingers.
Ma,theTaoistmatron,understoodthemeaningshedesiredtoconvey.
"It'syourladySecunda,Lien,eh?"sheforthwithasked.
Mrs.Chaowasfilledwithtrepidation.Hastilywavingherhand,shegottoherfeet,raisedtheportiere,and
peepedoutside.Perceivingthattherewasnooneabout,sheatlengthretracedherfootsteps."Dreadful!"shethen
saidtotheTaoistmatron."Dreadful!Butspeakingofthissortofmistress,I'mnotsomuchasahumanbeing,if
shedoesn'tmanagetoshiftoverintohermother'shomethewholeofthisfamilyestate."
"Needyoutellmethis!"Ma,theTaoistmatron,atthesewords,remarkedwithaviewtoascertainwhatshe
implied."Haven'tI,forsooth,discovereditallformyself?Yetit'sfortunatethatyoudon'ttroubleyourminds
aboutherforit'sfarbetterthatyoushouldletherhaveherownway."
"Mydearwoman,"rejoinedMrs.Chao,"Notletherhaveherownway!why,isitlikelythatanyonewouldhave
thecouragetotellheranything?"
"Idon'tmeantoutteranywordsthatmaybringuponmeretribution,"addedMa,theTaoistmatron,"butyou
peoplehaven'tgotthewits.Butit'snomatterofsurprise.Yetifyoudaren'topenlydoanything,why,youcould
stealthilyhavedevisedsomeplan.Anddoyoustilltarryuptothisday?"
Mrs.Chaorealisedthattherelurkedsomethinginherinsinuation,andshefeltaninwardsecretjoy."Whatplan
couldIstealthilydevise?"sheasked."I'vegotthewillrightenough,butI'mnotapersongiftedwiththissortof
gumption.Sowereyoutoimparttomesomewayorother,Iwouldrewardyoumostliberally."
WhentheTaoistmatron,Ma,heardthis,shedrewneartoher.
"Omitofu!desistatoncefromaskingme!"shedesignedlyexclaimed.
"HowcanIknowanythingaboutsuchmatters,contraryastheyareto
whatisright?"
"Thereyouareagain!"Mrs.Chaoreplied."You'reoneevermostreadytosuccourthoseindistress,andtohelp
thoseindanger,andisitlikelythatyou'llquietlylookon,whilesomeonecomesandcompassesmydeathas
wellasthatofmyson?Areyou,pray,fearfullestIshouldn'tgiveyouanyreward?"
Ma,theTaoistmatron,greetedthisremarkwithasmile."You'rerightenoughinwhatyousay,"sheventured,
"ofmybeingunabletobearthesightofyourselfandsonreceivinginsultfromathirdpartybutasforyour
mentionofrewards,why,what'sthereofyoursthatIstillcovet?"
ThisanswerslightlyreassuredMrs.Chao'smind."Howisit,"shespeedilyurged,"thatanintelligentpersonlike
youshouldhavebecomesodense?If,indeed,thespellproveefficacious,andweexterminatethemboth,isthere
anyapprehensionthatthisfamilyestatewon'tbeours?andwhenthattimecomes,won'tyougetallyoumay
wish?"
Atthisdisclosure,Ma,theTaoistmatron,loweredherheadforalongtime."Wheneverything,"sheobserved,
"shallhavebeensettledsatisfactorily,andwhenthere'llbe,what'smore,noproofatall,willyoustillpayany
heedtome?"

"What'stherehardaboutthis?"remarkedMrs.Chao."I'vesavedseveraltaelsfrommyownpinmoney,and
havebesidesagoodnumberofclothesandheadornaments.Soyoucanfirsttakeseveraloftheseawaywith
you.AndI'llfurtherwriteanI.O.U.,andentrustittoyou,andwhenthattimedoescome,I'llpayyouinfull."
"Thatwilldo!"answeredtheTaoistmatron,Ma.
Mrs.Chaothereupondismissedevenayoungservantgirl,whohappenedtobeintheroom,andhastilyopening
atrunk,sheproducedseveralarticlesofclothingandjewelry,aswellasafewoddpiecesofsilverfromherown
pocketmoney.Thenalsowritingapromissorynoteforfiftytaels,shesurrenderedthelottoMa,theTaoist
matron."Takethese,"shesaid,"inadvanceforpresentsinyourtemple."
Atthesightofthevariousarticlesandofthepromissorynote,theTaoistmatronbecameatonceunmindfulof
whatwasrightandwhatwaswrongandwhilehermouthwasfullofassent,shestretchedoutherarm,andfirst
andforemostlaidholdofthehardcash,andnextclutchedtheI.O.U.TurningthentowardsMrs.Chao,sheasked
forasheetofpaperandtakingupapairofscissors,shecutouttwohumanbeingsandgavethemtoMrs.Chao,
enjoininghertowriteontheupperpartofthemtherespectiveagesofthetwopersonsinquestion.Looking
furtherforasheetofbluepaper,shecutoutfivebluefaceddevils,whichshebadeherplacetogethersideby
sidewiththepapermen,andtakingapinshemadethemfast."WhenIgethome,"sheremarked,"I'llhave
recoursetosomeart,whichwill,beyonddoubt,proveefficacious."
Whenshehoweverhaddonespeaking,shesuddenlysawMadameWang'swaitingmaidmakeherappearance
insidetheroom."What!mydame,areyouinhere!"thegirlexclaimed."Why,ourladyiswaitingforyou!"
Thetwodamesthenpartedcompany.
Butpassingthemover,wewillnowalludetoLinTaiy.AsPaoyhadscaldedhisface,anddidnotgooutof
doorsverymuch,sheoftencametohaveachatwithhim.Onthisparticulardayshetookup,afterhermeal,
somebookorotherandreadacoupleofpagesoutofit.Next,shebusiedherselfalittlewithneedlework,in
companywithTzuChuan.Shefelthoweverthoroughlydejectedandoutofsorts.Soshestrolledoutofdoors
alongwithher.Butcatchingsightofthenewlysproutedbambooshoots,infrontofthepavilion,they
involuntarilysteppedoutoftheentranceofthecourt,andpenetratedintothegarden.Theycasttheireyesonall
fourquartersbutnotasoulwasvisible.Whentheybecameconsciousofthesplendouroftheflowersandthe
chatterofthebirds,they,withlistlessstep,turnedtheircoursetowardstheIHungcourt.Theretheyfound
severalservantgirlsbalingoutwaterwhileabevyofthemstoodundertheverandah,watchingthethrushes
havingtheirbath.Theyheardalsothesoundoflaughterintherooms.
ThefactisthatLiKungts'ai,ladyFeng,andPaoch'aiwereassembledinside.Assoonastheysawthemwalk
in,theywithonevoiceshouted,smiling:"Now,arenotthesetwomore!"
"Weareafullcompanytoday,"laughedTaiy,"butwhohasissuedthecardsandinvitedushere?"
"Theotherday,"interposedladyFeng,"Isentservantswithapresentoftwocaddiesofteaforyou,MissLin
wasit,afterall,good?"
"Ihadjustforgottenallaboutit,"Taiyrejoined,"manythanksforyourkindattention!
"Itastedit,"observedPaoy."Ididnotthinkitanythinggood.ButIdon'tknowhowothers,who'vehadanyof
it,findit."
"Itsflavour,"saidTaiy,"isgoodtheonlythingis,ithasnocolour."
"It'stributeteafromtheLaosKingdom,"continuedladyFeng."WhenItriedit,Ididn'teitherfinditanything
veryfine.It'snotuptowhatweordinarilydrink."
"Tomytaste,it'sallright,"putinTaiy."Butwhatyourpalatesarelike,Ican'tmakeout."

"Asyousayit'sgood,"suggestedPaoy,"you'requiteatlibertytotakeallIhaveforyouruse."
"I'vegotagreatdealmoreofitoverthere,"ladyFengremarked.
"I'lltellaservantgirltogoandfetchit,"Taiyreplied.
"Noneed,"ladyFengwenton."I'llsenditoverwithsomeone.Ialsohaveafavourtoaskofyoutomorrow,so
Imayaswelltelltheservanttobringitalongatthesametime."
WhenLinTaiyheardthesewords,sheputonasmile."Youjustmarkthis,"sheobserved."I'vehadtodaya
littleteafromherplace,andsheatoncebeginsmakingatoolofme!"
"Sinceyou'vehadsomeofourtea,"ladyFenglaughed,"howisitthatyouhavenotyetbecomeawifeinour
household?"
Thewholepartyburstoutlaughingaloud.Somuchso,thattheyfounditdifficulttorepressthemselves.ButTai
y'sfacewassuffusedwithblushes.Sheturnedherheadtheotherway,andutterednotaword.
"OursisterinlawSecunda'sjibesarefirstrate!"Paoch'aichimedinwithalaugh.
"Whatjibes!"exclaimedTaiy"they'repurelyandsimplytheprattleofameanmouthandviletongue!They're
enoughtoevokepeople'sdispleasure!"
Sayingthis,shewentontosputterindisgust.
"Wereyou,"insinuatedladyFeng,"tobecomeawifeinmyfamily,whatistherethatyouwouldlack?"Pointing
thenatPaoy,"Lookhere!"shecried"Isnotthishumanbeingworthyofyou?Isnothisstationinlifegood
enoughforyou?Arenotourstockandestatesufficientforyou?andinwhatslightdegreecanhemakeyoulose
caste?"
Taiyrosetoherfeet,andretiredimmediately.ButPaoch'aishoutedout:"Here'sP'inErhinahuff!Don'tyou
yetcomeback?whenyou'vegone,therewillreallybenofun!"
Whilecallingouttoher,shejumpeduptopullherback.Assoon,however,asshereachedthedooroftheroom,
shebeheldMrs.Chao,accompaniedbyMrs.ChoubothcomingtolookupPaoy.Paoyandhiscompanions
gotupinabodyandpressedthemintoaseat.LadyFengwasthesolepersonwhodidnotheedthem.
ButjustasPaoch'aiwasabouttoopenherlips,sheperceivedaservantgirl,attachedtoMadameWang's
apartments,appearonthescene."Yourmaternaluncle'swifehascome,"shesaid,"andsherequestsyou,ladies
andyoungladies,tocomeoutandseeher."
LiKungts'aihurriedlywalkedawayincompanywithladyFeng.Thetwodames,Mrs.ChaoandMrs.Chou,in
likemannertooktheirleaveandquittedtheroom.
"Asforme,Ican'tgoout,"Paoyshouted."Butwhateveryoudo,pray,don'taskaunttocomeinhere."
"CousinLin,"hewentontosay,"dostayonawhileI'vegotsomethingtotellyou."
LadyFengoverheardhim.TurningherheadtowardsLinTaiy,"There'ssomeone,"shecried"whowantsto
speaktoyou."AndforthwithlayingholdofLinTaiy,shepushedherbackandthentrudgedaway,alongwith
LiKungts'ai.
Duringthistime,PaoyclaspedTaiy'shandinhis.Hedidnothingthansmile.Butnotaworddidheutter.
Taiynaturally,therefore,gotcrimsonintheface,andstruggledtoescapehisimportunities.
"Aiya!"exclaimedPaoy."Howmyheadissore!"

"Itshouldbe!"rejoinedTaiy."Omitofu."
Paoythengaveventtoaloudshout.Hisbodybouncedthreeorfourfeethighfromtheground.Hismouthwas
fullofconfusedshrieks.Butallhesaidwasramblingtalk.
Taiyandtheservantgirlswerefullofconsternation,and,withallpossiblehaste,theyranandapprised
MadameWanganddowagerladyChia.
WangTzut'eng'swifewas,atthistime,alsowiththem,sotheyallcameinabodytoseehim.Paoybehaved
moreandmoreasifdeterminedtoclutchaswordorseizeaspeartoputanendtohisexistence.Heragedina
mannersufficienttosubverttheheavensandupsettheearth.
AssoonasdowagerladyChiaandMadameWangcaughtsightofhim,theywerestruckwithterror.They
trembledwildlylikeapieceofclothingthatisbeingshaken.Utteringashoutof:"Myson,"andanotherof:"My
flesh,"theyburstoutintoaloudfitofcrying.Presently,alltheinmateswereseizedwithfright.EvenChiaShe,
MadameHsing,ChiaCheng,ChiaChen,ChiaLien,ChiaJung,ChiaYn,ChiaP'ing,Mrs.Hseh,HsehP'an,
ChouJui'swife,andthevariousmembersofthehousehold,whetherhighorlow,andtheservantgirlsand
marriedwomentoo,rushedintothegardentoseewhatwasup.
Theconfusionthatprevailedwas,atthemoment,likeentangledflax.Everyonewasatalosswhattodo,when
theyespiedladyFengdashintothegarden,aglisteningswordinhand,andtrytocutdowneverythingthatcame
inherway,oglevacantlywhomsoeverstruckhergaze,andmakeforthwithanattempttodespatchthem.A
greaterpanicthaneverbrokeoutamongthewholeassemblage.Butplacingherselfattheheadofahandfulof
sturdyfemaleservants,ChouJui'swifeprecipitatedherselfforward,andclaspinghertight,theysucceededin
snatchingtheswordfromhergrip,andcarryingherbackintoherroom.
P'ingErh,FengErh,andtheothergirlsbegantoweep.Theyinvokedtheheavensandappealedtotheearth.
EvenChiaChengwasdistressedatheart.Oneandallatthisstagestartedshouting,some,onethingsome,
another.Somesuggestedexorcists.Somecriedoutfortheposturemakerstoattractthedevils.Others
recommendedthatChang,theTaoistpriest,oftheYHuangtemple,shouldcatchtheevilspirits.Athorough
turmoilreignedsupremeforalongtime.Thegodswereimplored.Prayerswereoffered.Everykindofremedy
wastried,butnobenefitwhateverbecamevisible.
Aftersunset,thespouseofWangTzut'engsaidgoodbyeandtookherdeparture.Ontheensuingday,Wang
Tzut'enghimselfalsocametomakeinquiries.Followingcloselyuponhim,arrived,inabody,messengersfrom
theyoungmarquisShih,MadameHsing'syoungbrother,andtheirvariousrelativestoascertainforthemselves
how(ladyFengandPaoy)wereprogressing.Somebroughtcharmwater.Somerecommendedbonzesand
Taoistpriests.Othersspokehighlyofdoctors.Butthatyoungfellowandhiselderbrother'swifefellintosuch
greaterandgreaterstuporthattheylostallconsciousness.Theirbodieswerehotlikefire.Astheylayprostrate
ontheirbeds,theytalkeddeliriously.Withthefalloftheshadesofnighttheirconditionaggravated.Somuchso,
thatthematronsandservantgirlsdidnotventuretovolunteertheirattendance.Theyhad,therefore,tobeboth
movedintoMadameWang'squarters,whereservantsweretoldofftotaketheirturnandwatchthem.
DowagerladyChia,MadameWang,MadameHsingandMrs.Hsehdidnotbudgeaninchorastepfromtheir
side.Theysatroundthem,anddidnothingbutcry.ChiaSheandChiaChengtoowereaprey,atthisjuncture,to
misgivingslestweepingshouldupsetdowagerladyChia.Dayandnightoilwasburntandfireswere,mindless
ofexpense,keptalight.Thebustleandconfusionwassuchthatnoone,eithermasterorservant,gotanyrest.
ChiaShealsospedoneverysideinsearchofBuddhistandTaoistpriests.ButChiaChenghadwitnessedhow
littlereliefthesethingscouldafford,andhefeltconstrainedtodissuadeChiaShefromhisendeavours."The
destiny,"heargued,"ofoursonanddaughterisentirelydependentuponthewillofHeaven,andnohuman
strengthcanprevail.Themaladyofthesetwopersonswouldnotbehealed,evenwereeverykindoftreatment
tried,andasIfeelconfidentthatitisthedesignofheaventhatthingsshouldbeastheyare,allwecandoisto
allowittocarryoutitspurpose."

ChiaShe,however,paidnonoticetohisremonstrancesandcontinuedashithertotofussineveryimaginable
way.Innotimethreedayselapsed.LadyFengandPaoywerestillconfinedtotheirbeds.Theirverybreaths
hadgrownfainter.Thewholehousehold,therefore,unanimouslyarrivedattheconclusionthattherewasno
hope,andwithalldespatchtheymadeeverynecessarypreparationforthesubsequentrequirementsofboththeir
relatives.
DowagerladyChia,MadameWang,ChiaLien,P'ingErh,HsiJenandtheothersindulgedintearswithkeener
andkeeneranguish.Theyhungbetweenlifeanddeath.Mrs.Chaoalonewastheonewhoassumedanoutward
shamairofdistress,whileinherheartshefeltherwishesgratified.
Thefourthdayarrived.AtanearlyhourPaoysuddenlyopenedhiseyesandaddressedhimselftohis
grandmotherChia."Fromthisdayforward,"hesaid,"Imaynolongerabideinyourhouse,soyouhadbetter
sendmeoffatonce!"
ThesewordsmadedowagerladyChiafeelasifherveryhearthadbeenwrenchedoutofher.Mrs.Chao,who
stoodby,exhortedher."Youshouldn't,venerablelady,"shesaid,"indulgeinexcessivegrief.Thisyoungman
hasbeenlongagoofnogoodsowouldn'titbeaswelltodresshimupandlethimgobackamomentsooner
fromthisworld.You'llalsobethussparinghimconsiderablesuffering.But,ifyoupersist,innotreconciling
yourselftotheseparationandthisbreathofhisisnotcutoff,hewillliethereandsufferwithoutanyrespite."
Herargumentswerescarcelyended,whenshewasspatuponbydowagerladyChia."Yourottentongued,good
fornothinghag!"shecriedabusively."Whatmakesyoufancyhimofnogood!Youwishhimdeadandgone
butwhatbenefitwillyouthenderive?Don'tgivewaytoanydreamsfor,ifhedoesdie,I'lljustexactyourlives
fromyou!It'sallbecauseyou'vebeencontinuouslyathim,incitingandurginghimtoreadandwrite,thathis
spirithasbecomesointimidatedthat,atthesightofhisfather,hebehavesjustlikearattryingtogetoutofthe
wayofacat!Andisnotallthistheresultofthebullyingofsuchameanherdofwomenasyourselves!Could
younowdrivehimtodeath,yourwisheswouldimmediatelybefulfilledbutwhichofyouwillIletoff?"
Nowsheshedtearsnowshegaveventtoabuse.
ChiaCheng,whostoodby,heardtheseinvectivesandtheysoenhancedhisexasperationthathepromptly
shoutedoutandmadeMrs.Chaowithdraw.Hethenexertedhimselfforatimetoconsole(hissenior)byusing
kindlyaccents.Butsuddenlysomeonecametoannouncethatthetwocoffinshadbeencompleted.This
announcementpierced,likeadagger,dowagerladyChiatotheheartandwhileweepingwithdespairmore
intense,shebrokeforthinviolentupbraidings.
"Whoisit,"sheinquired"whogaveorderstomakethecoffins?Bringatoncethecoffinmakersandbeat
themtodeath!"
Astirensuedsufficienttoconvulsetheheavensandtosubverttheearth.Butatanunforeseenmoment
resoundedintheairthegentlerappingofa'woodenfish'bell.Avoicerecitedthesentence:"Ave!Buddhaable
tounravelretributionanddispelgrievances!Shouldanyhumanbeinglieinsickness,andhisfamilybe
solicitousonhisaccountorshouldanyonehavemetwithevilspiritsandcomeacrossanybalefulevils,we
havethemeanstoeffectacure."
DowagerladyChiaandMadameWangatoncedirectedservantstogooutintothestreetandfindoutwhoit
was.Itturnedouttobe,infact,amangyheadedbonzeandahobblingTaoistpriest.Whatwastheappearanceof
thebonze?
Hisnoselikeasuspendedgallhistwoeyebrowssolong,
Hiseyes,resemblingradiantstars,possessedapreciousglow,
Hiscoatintattersandhisshoesofstraw,withoutahome
Rollinginfilth,and,aworsefate,hisheadonemassofboils.
AndtheTaoistpriest,whatwashelike?

Withonelegperchdhighhecomes,withoneleglow
Hiswholeframedrenchingwet,bespatteredallwithmud.
Ifyouperchancemeethim,andaskhimwhere'shishome,
"Infairyland,westofthe'WeakWater,'he'llsay."
ChiaChengorderedtheservantstoinvitethemtowalkin."Onwhathill,"heaskedthosetwopersons,"doyou
cultivatetheprinciplesofreason?
"Worthyofficial!"thebonzesmiled,"youmustnotasktoomanyquestions!It'sbecausewe'velearntthatthere
areinmatesofyourhonourablemansioninapoorstateofhealththatwecomewiththeexpressdesignof
workingacure."
"Thereare,"explainedChiaCheng,"twoofourmembers,whohavebeenpossessedofevilspirits.But,isthere,
Iwonder,anyremedybymeansofwhichtheycouldhehealed?"
"Inyourfamily,"laughinglyobservedtheTaoistpriest,"youhavereadyathandapreciousthing,thelikeof
whichisraretofindintheworld.Itpossessesthevirtueofalleviatingtheailment,sowhyneedyouinquire
aboutremedies?"
ChiaCheng'smindwasforthwitharoused."It'strue,"heconsequentlyrejoined,"thatmysonbroughtalongwith
him,atthetimeofhisbirth,apieceofjade,onthesurfaceofwhichwasinscribedthatithadthevirtueof
dispellingevilinfluences,butwehaven'tseenanyefficacyinit."
"Thereis,worthyofficer,"saidthebonze,"somethinginitwhichyoudonotunderstand.Thatpreciousjadewas,
initsprimitivestate,efficacious,butconsequentuponitshavingbeenpollutedbymusic,lewdness,propertyand
gainithaslostitsspiritualproperties.ButproducenowthatvaluablethingandwaittillIhavetakenitintomy
handsandpronouncedincantationsoverit,whenitwillbecomeasfullofefficacyasofold!"
ChiaChengaccordinglyunclaspedthepieceofjadefromPaoy'sneck,andhandedittothetwodivines.The
Buddhistpriesthelditwithreverenceinthepalmofhishandandheavingadeepsigh,"Sinceourparting,"he
cried,"atthefootoftheCh'ingKengpeak,aboutthirteenyearshaveelapsed.Howtimefliesinthemortal
world!Thineearthlydestinyhasnotyetbeendetermined.Alas,alas!howadmirablewerethequalitiesthou
did'stpossessinthosedays!
"ByHeavenunrestrained,withoutconstraintfromEarth,
Nojoyslivedinthyheart,butsorrowsnoneaswell
Yetwhenperception,throughrefinement,thoudid'streach,
Thouwent'stamongmankindtotroubletogiverise.
Howsadthelotwhichthouoflatehasthadtohear!
Powderprintsandrougestainsthypreciouslustredim.
Housebarsbothdayandnightencagetheelikeaduck.
Deepwiltthousleep,butfromthydreamatlengththou'ltwake,
Thydebtofvengeance,oncedischarged,thouwiltdepart."
Attheconclusionofthisrecital,heagainrubbedthestoneforawhile,andgaveventtosomenonsensical
utterances,afterwhichhesurrenderedittoChiaCheng."Thisobject,"hesaid,"hasalreadyresumeditsefficacy
butyoushouldn'tdoanythingtodesecrateit.Hangitonthepostofthedoorinhisbedroom,andwiththe
exceptionofhisownrelatives,youmustnotletanyoutsidefemalepolluteit.Aftertheexpiryofthirtythree
days,hewill,Icanguarantee,beallright."
ChiaChengthengaveorderstopresentteabutthetwopriestshadalreadywalkedaway.Hehad,however,no
alternativebuttocomplywiththeirinjunctions,andladyFengandPaoy,inpointoffact,gotbetterfromday
today.Littlebylittletheyreturnedtotheirsensesandexperiencedhunger.DowagerladyChiaandMadame
Wang,atlength,feltcomposedintheirminds.Allthecousinsheardthenewsoutside.Taiy,previousto
anythingelse,mutteredaprayertoBuddhawhilePaoch'ailaughedandsaidnotaword.

"SisterPao,"inquiredHsiCh'un,"whatareyoulaughingfor?"
"Ilaugh,"repliedPaoch'ai,"becausethe'ThusCome'Josshasmoretodothananyhumanbeing.He'sgotto
seetotheconversionofallmankind,andtotakecareoftheailments,towhichallfleshisheirforherestores
everyoneofthematoncetohealthandhehasaswelltocontrolpeople'smarriagessoastobringthemabout
throughhisaidandwhatdoyousay,hasheampletodoornot?Now,isn'tthisenoughtomakeonelaugh,eh?"
LinTaiyblushed."Ts'ui!"sheexclaimed"noneofyouaregoodpeople.Insteadoffollowingtheexampleof
worthypersons,youtrytorivalthemeanmouthofthathusseyFeng."
Assheutteredthesewords,sheraisedtheportiereandmadeherexit.
But,reader,doyouwanttoknowanyfurthercircumstances?Ifso,thenextchapterwillexplainthemtoyou.

CHAPTERXXVI.
OntheFengYaobridge,HsiaoHungmakesknownsentimentalmattersin
equivocallanguage.
IntheHsiaoHsianglodge,Taiygives,whileundertheeffectsof
thespringlassitude,expressiontohersecretfeelings.
Afterthirtydays'carefulnursing,Paoy,wewillnownotice,notonlygotstrongandhaleinbody,butthescars
evenonhisfacecompletelyhealedupsohewasabletoshifthisquartersagainintothegardenofBroadVista.
Butwewillbanishthistopicasitdoesnotdeserveanyadditionalexplanations.Letusnowturnourattention
elsewhere.DuringthetimethatPaoywasoflatelaidupinbed,ChiaYnalongwiththeyoungpagesofthe
householdsatuponwatchtokeepaneyeoverhim,andbothdayandnight,theytarriedonthissideofthe
mansion.ButHsiaoHungaswellasalltheotherwaitingmaidsremainedinthesameparttonursePaoy,so
(ChiaYn)andshesawagooddealofeachotheronseveraloccasions,andgraduallyanintimacysprungup
betweenthem.
HsiaoHungobservedthatChiaYnheldinhishandahandkerchiefverymuchliketheonesheherselfhad
droppedsometimeagoandwasbentuponaskinghimforit,butshedid,ontheotherhand,notthinkshecould
dosowithpropriety.TheunexpectedvisitofthebonzeandTaoistpriestrendered,however,superfluousthe
servicesofthevariousmaleattendants,andChiaynhadthereforetogoagainandoverseethemenplantingthe
trees.Nowshehadamindtodropthewholequestion,butshecouldnotreconcileherselftoitandnowshe
longedtogoandaskhimaboutit,butfearsroseinhermindlestpeopleshouldentertainanysuspicionsastothe
relationsthatexistedbetweenthem.Butjustasshefaltered,quiteirresolute,andherheartwasthoroughly
unsettled,sheunawaresheardsomeoneoutsideinquire:"Sister,areyouintheroomornot?"
HsiaoHung,uponcatchingthisquestion,lookedoutthroughaholeinthewindowandperceivingataglance
thatitwasnooneelsethanayoungservantgirl,attachedtothesamecourtasherself,ChiaHuibyname,she
consequentlysaidbywayofreply:"Yes,Iamcomein!"
Whenthesewordsreachedherear,ChiaHuiranin,andtakingatonceaseatonthebed,sheobservedwitha
smile:"HowluckyI'vebeen!Iwasalittletimebackinthecourtwashingafewthings,whenPaoycriedout
thatsometeashouldbesentovertoMissLin,andsisterHuahandedittometogoontheerrand.Byastrange
coincidenceouroldladyhadpresentedsomemoneytoMissLinandshewasengagedatthemomentin

distributingitamongtheirservantgirls.Assoonthereforeasshesawmegetthere,MissLinforthwithgrasped
twohandfulsofcashandgavethemtomehowmanythereareIdon'tknow,butdokeepthemforme!"
Speedilythenopeningherhandkerchief,sheemptiedthecash.HsiaoHungcountedthemforherbyfivesand
tensatatime.Shewasbeginningtoputthemaway,whenChiaHuiremarked:"Howareyou,afterall,feelingof
lateinyourmind?I'lltellyouwhatyoushouldreallygoandstayathomeforacoupleofdays.Andwereyou
toaskadoctorroundandtohaveafewdosesofmedicineyou'llgetallrightatonce!"
"Whatareyoutalkingabout?"HsiaoHungreplied."WhatshallIgohomefor,whenthere'sneitherrhymenor
reasonforit!"
"MissLin,Iremember,isnaturallyofaweakphysique,andhasconstantlytotakemedicines,"ChiaHuiadded,
"sowereyoutoaskherforsomeandbringthemoverandtakethem,itwouldcometothesamething."
"Nonsense!"rejoinedHsiaoHung,"aremedicinesalsotoberecklesslytaken?"
"Youcan'tsoonforeverlikethis,"continuedChiaHui"you'rebesideslothtoeatandlothtodrink,andwhat
willyoubelikeinthelongrun?"
"What'stheretofear?"observedHsiaoHung"won'titanyhowbebettertodiealittleearlier?Itwouldbea
riddance!"
"Whydoyoudeliberatelycomeoutwithallthistalk?"ChiaHuidemurred.
"Howcouldyoueverknowanythingofthesecretsofmyheart?"Hsiao
Hunginquired.
ChiaHuinoddedherheadandgavewaytoreflection."Idon'tthinkitstrangeonyourpart,"shesaidaftera
time"foritisreallydifficulttoabideinthisplace!Yesterday,forinstance,ourdowagerladyremarkedthatthe
servantsinattendancehadhad,duringallthedaysthatPaoywasill,agooddealtoputupwith,andthatnow
thathehasrecovered,incenseshouldbeburnteverywhere,andthevowsfulfilledandsheexpressedawishthat
thoseinhisserviceshould,oneandall,berewardedaccordingtotheirgrade.Iandseveralotherscanbesafely
lookeduponasyounginyears,andunworthytopresumesohighsoIdon'tfeelinanywayaggrievedbuthow
isitthatonelikeyoucouldn'tbeincludedinthenumber?Myheartismuchannoyedatit!Hadtherebeenany
fearthatHsiJenwouldhavegottentimesmore,Icouldnoteventhenhavefeltsoreagainsther,forshereally
deservesit!I'lljusttellyouanhonesttruthwhoelseistherelikeher?Nottospeakofthediligenceand
carefulnessshehasdisplayedallalong,evenhadshenotbeensodiligentandcareful,shecouldn'thavebeenset
aside!Butwhatisprovokingisthatthatlot,likeCh'ingWenandCh'iHsia,shouldhavebeenincludedinthe
upperclass.Yetit'sbecauseeveryoneplacessuchrelianceonthefinereputationoftheirfatherandmotherthat
theyexaltthem.Now,dotellme,isthissufficienttoangeroneornot?"
"Itwon'tdotobeangrywiththem!"HsiaoHungobserved."Theproverbsays:'Youmayerectashedathousand
lilong,butthereisnoentertainmentfromwhichtheguestswillnotdisperse!'Andwhoisitthatwilltarryhere
forawholelifetime?Inanotherthreeyearsorfiveyearseverysingleoneofuswillhavegoneherownwayand
whowill,whenthattimecomes,worryhermindaboutanyoneelse?"
TheseallusionshadtheunexpectedeffectoftouchingChiaHuitotheheartandinspiteofherselftheveryballs
ofhereyesgotred.Butsouneasydidshefeelatcryingfornoreasonthatshehadtoexertherselftoforcea
smile."Whatyousayistrue,"sheventured."Andyet,Paoyevenyesterdayexplainedhowtheroomsshould
bearrangedbyandbyeandhowtheclothesshouldbemade,justasifhewasboundtohangontodearlifefor
severalhundredsofyears."
HsiaoHung,atthesewords,gaveacoupleofsardonicsmiles.Butwhenabouttopasssomeremark,she
perceivedayouthfulservantgirl,whohadnotasyetletherhairgrow,walkin,holdinginherhandsseveral
patternsandtwosheetsofpaper."Youareasked,"shesaid,"totracethesetwodesigns!"

Asshespoke,shethrewthematHsiaoHung,andtwistingherselfround,sheimmediatelyscamperedaway.
"Whosearethey,afterall?"HsiaoHunginquired,addressingherselfoutside."Couldn'tyouwaitevensomuch
astoconcludewhatyouhadtosay,butflewoffatonce?Whoissteamingbreadandwaitingforyou?Orareyou
afraid,forsooth,lestitshouldgetcold?"
"TheybelongtosisterCh'i,"theyoungservantgirlmerelyreturnedforanswerfromoutsidethewindowand
raisingherfeethigh,sherantramptramponherwaybackagain.
HsiaoHunglostcontroloverhertemper,andsnatchingthedesigns,sheflungthemononeside.Shethen
rummagedinadrawerforapencil,butfinding,afteraprolongedsearch,thattheywereallblunt"WheredidI,"
shethereuponejaculated,"putthatbrandnewpenciltheotherday?HowisitIcan'trememberwhereitis?"
Whileshesoliloquised,shebecamewraptinthought.Aftersomereflectionshe,atlength,gaveasmile."Of
course!"sheexclaimed,"theothereveningYingErhtookitaway."AndturningtowardsChiaHui,"Fetchitfor
me,"sheshouted.
"SisterHua,"ChiaHuirejoined,"iswaitingformetogetaboxforher,soyouhadbettergoforityourself!"
"What!"remarkedHsiaoHung,"she'swaitingforyou,andareyoustillsquattingherechattingleisurely?Hadn't
itbeenthatIaskedyoutogoandfetchit,shetoowouldn'thavebeenwaitingforyouyoumostperversevixen!"
Withthesewordsonherlips,sheherselfwalkedoutoftheroom,andleavingtheIHungcourt,shestraightway
proceededinthedirectionofPaoch'ai'scourt.Assoon,however,asshereachedtheHsinFangpavilion,she
sawdameLi,Paoy'snurse,appearinviewfromtheoppositesidesoHsiaoHunghaltedandputtingona
smile,"NurseLi,"sheasked,"whereareyou,olddame,boundfor?Howisityou'recomingthisway?"
NurseListoppedshort,andclappedherhands."Tellme,"shesaid,"hashedeliberatelyagaingoneandfallenin
lovewiththatMr.somethingorotherlikeYun(cloud),orY(rain)?Theynowinsistuponmybringinghim
inside,butiftheygetwindofitbyandbyeintheupperrooms,itwon'tagainbeanicething."
"Areyou,oldlady,"repliedHsiaoHungsmiling,"takingthingsinsuchrealearnestthatyoureadilybelieve
themandwanttogoandaskhiminhere?"
"WhatcanIdo?"rejoinednurseLi.
"Why,thatfellow,"addedHsiaoHunglaughingly,"will,ifhehasanyideaofdecency,dotherightthingandnot
come."
"Besides,he'snotafool!"pleadednurseLi"sowhyshouldn'thecomein?"
"Well,ifheistocome,"answeredHsiaoHung,"itwilldevolveuponyou,worthydame,toleadhimalongwith
youforwereyoubyandbyetolethimpenetrateinsideallaloneandknockrecklesslyabout,why,itwon'tdoat
all."
"HaveIgotallthatleisure,"retortednurseLi,"totrudgealongwithhim?I'llsimplytellhimtocomeandlater
onIcandespatchayoungservantgirlorsomeoldwomantobringhimin,andhavedone."
Sayingthis,shecontinuedherway,leaningonherstaff.
Afterlisteningtoherrejoinder,HsiaoHungstoodstillandplunginginabstraction,shedidnotgoandfetchthe
pencil.Butpresently,shecaughtsightofaservantgirlrunningthatway.EspyingHsiaoHunglingeringinthat
spot,"SisterHung,"shecried,"whatareyoudoinginhere?"
HsiaoHungraisedherhead,andrecognisedayoungwaitingmaidcalled
ChuiErh."Whereareyouofftoo?"HsiaoHungasked.

"I'vebeentoldtobringinmasterSecundus,Mr.Yn,"ChuiErhreplied.
Afterwhichanswer,shethereandthendepartedwithallspeed.
HsiaoHungreached,meanwhile,theFengYaobridge.Assoonassheapproachedthegateway,sheperceived
ChuiErhcomingalongwithChiaYnfromtheoppositedirection.WhileadvancingChiaYnogledHsiao
HungandHsiaoHungtoo,thoughpretendingtobeaddressingherselftoChuiErh,castaglanceatChiaYn
andtheirfoureyes,asluckwouldhaveit,met.HsiaoHunginvoluntarilyblushedalloverandturningherself
round,shewalkedofftowardstheHengWucourt.Butwewillleavehertherewithoutfurtherremarks.
Duringthistime,ChiaYnfollowedChuiErh,byacircuitousway,intotheIHungcourt.ChuiErhenteredfirst
andmadethenecessaryannouncement.ThensubsequentlysheusheredinChiaYn.WhenChiaYn
scrutinisedthesurroundings,heperceived,hereandthereinthecourt,severalblocksofrockery,amongwhich
wereplantedbananatrees.Ontheoppositesideweretwostorkspreeningtheirfeathersunderthefirtrees.
Underthecoveredpassageweresuspended,inarow,cagesofeverydescription,containingallsortsoffairylike,
rarebirds.Intheupperpartwerefivediminutiveanterooms,uniformlycarvedwith,uniquedesignsandabove
theframeworkofthedoorwashungatabletwiththeinscriptioninfourhugecharacters"IHungK'uaiL,the
happyredandjoyfulgreen."
"Ithoughtitstrange,"ChiaYnarguedmentally,"thatitshouldbecalledtheIHungcourtbutarethese,infact,
thefourcharactersinscribedonthetablet!"
Butwhilehewascommuningwithinhimself,heheardsomeonelaughandthenexclaimfromtheinnersideof
thegauzewindow:"Comeinatonce!HowisitthatI'veforgottenyouthesetwoorthreemonths?"
AssoonasChiaYnrecognisedPaoy'svoice,heenteredtheroomwithhurriedstep.Onraisinghishead,his
eyewasattractedbythebrilliantsplendouremittedbygoldandjadeandbythedazzlinglustreoftheelegant
arrangements.Hefailed,however,todetectwherePaoywasensconced.Themomentheturnedhishead
round,heespied,ontheleftside,alargechevalglassbehindwhichappearedtoview,standingsidebyside,two
servantgirlsoffifteenorsixteenyearsofage."MasterSecundus,"theyventured,"pleasetakeaseatintheinner
room."
ChiaYncouldnotevenmustercouragetolookatthemstraightinthefacebutpromptlyassenting,hewalked
intoagreengauzemosquitohouse,wherehesawasmalllacqueredbed,hungwithcurtainsofadeepred
colour,withclustersofflowersembroideredingold.Paoy,wearingahousedressandslipshodshoes,was
recliningonthebed,abookinhand.ThemomentheperceivedChiaYnwalkin,hediscardedhisbook,and
forthwithsmiledandraisedhimselfup.ChiaYnhurriedlypressedforwardandpaidhissalutation.Paoythen
offeredhimaseatbuthesimplychoseachairinthelowerpartoftheapartment.
"EversincethemooninwhichIcameacrossyou,"Paoyobservedsmilingly,"andtoldyoutocomeintothe
library,I'vehad,whowouldhavethoughtit,endlessthingstocontinuouslyattendto,sothatIforgotallabout
you."
"It'sI,indeed,wholackedgoodfortune!"rejoinedChiaYn,withalaugh"particularlyso,asitagainhappened
thatyou,uncle,fellill.Butareyouquiterightoncemore?"
"Allright!"answeredPaoy."Iheardthatyou'vebeenputtomuchtroubleandinconvenienceonagood
numberofdays!"
"HadIevenhadanytroubletobear,"addedChiaYn,"itwouldhavebeenmydutytobearit.Butyour
completerecovery,uncle,isreallyablessingtoourwholefamily."
Ashespoke,hediscernedacoupleofservantmaidscometohelphimtoacupoftea.Butwhileconversingwith
Paoy,ChiaYnwasintentuponscrutinisingthegirlwithslimfigure,andovalface,andcladinasilveryred
jacket,abluesatinwaistcoatandawhitesilkpetticoatwithnarrowpleats.

AtthetimeofPaoy'sillness,ChiaYnhadspentacoupleofdaysintheinnerapartments,sothathe
rememberedhalfoftheinmatesofnote,andthemomentheseteyesuponthisservantgirlheknewthatitwas
HsiJenandthatshewasinPaoy'sroomsonadifferentstandingtotherest.Nowthereforethatshebrought
theteainherselfandthatPaoywas,besides,sittingby,herosetohisfeetwithalacrityandputonasmile.
"Sister,"hesaid,"howisitthatyouarepouringteaforme?Icameheretopayuncleavisitwhat'smoreI'mno
stranger,soletmepouritwithmyownhands!"
"Justyousitdownandfinish!"Paoyinterposed"willyoualsobehaveinthisfashionwithservantgirls?"
"Inspiteofwhatyousay"remarkedChiaYnsmiling,"theyareyoungladiesattachedtoyourrooms,uncle,
andhowcouldIpresumetobedisorderlyinmyconduct?"
Sosaying,hetookaseatanddrankhistea.Paoythentalkedtohimabouttrivialandirrelevantmattersand
afterwardswentontotellhiminwhosehouseholdtheactresseswerebest,andwhosegardenswerepretty.He
furthermentionedtohiminwhosequarterstheservantgirlswerehandsome,whosebanquetsweresumptuous,
aswellasinwhosehomeweretobefoundstrangethings,andwhatfamilypossessedremarkableobjects.Chia
Ynwasconstrainedtohumourhiminhisconversationbutafterachat,whichlastedforsometime,henoticed
thatPaoywassomewhatlistless,andhepromptlystoodupandtookhisleave.AndPaoytoodidnotuse
muchpressuretodetainhim."Tomorrow,ifyouhavenothingtodo,docomeover!"hemerelyobservedafter
which,heagainbadetheyoungwaitingmaid,ChuiErh,seehimout.
HavinglefttheIHungcourt,ChiaYncastaglanceallroundand,realisingthattherewasnooneabout,he
slackenedhispaceatonce,andwhileproceedingleisurely,heconversed,inafriendlyway,withChuiErhon
onethingandanother.Firstandforemostheinquiredofherwhatwasherageandhername."Ofwhatstanding
areyourfatherandmother?"hesaid,"HowmanyyearshaveyoubeeninunclePao'sapartments?Howmuch
moneydoyougetamonth?InallhowmanygirlsarethereinunclePao'srooms?"
AsChuiErhheardthequestionssettoher,shereadilymadesuitablereplytoeach.
"Theone,whowasawhilebacktalkingtoyou,"continuedChiaYn,"iscalledHsiaoHung,isn'tshe?"
"Yes,hernameisHsiaoHung!"repliedChuiErhsmiling"butwhydoyouaskabouther?"
"Sheinquiredofyoujustnowaboutsomehandkerchieforother,"answeredChiaYn"well,I'vepickedone
up."
ChuiErhgreetedthisresponsewithasmile."Manyarethetimes,"shesaid"thatshehasaskedmewhetherI
hadseenherhandkerchiefbuthaveIgotallthatleisuretoworrymymindaboutsuchthings?Shespoketome
aboutitagaintodayandshesuggestedthatIshouldfinditforher,andthatshewouldalsorecompenseme.
ThisshetoldmewhenwewerejustnowattheentranceoftheHengWucourt,andyoutoo,Mr.Secundus,
overheardher,sothatI'mnotlying.But,dearMr.Secundus,sinceyou'vepickeditup,giveittome.Do!AndI'll
seewhatshewillgivemeasareward."
ThetruthisthatChiaYnhad,thepreviousmoonwhenhehadcomeintothegardentoattendtotheplantingof
trees,pickedupahandkerchief,whichheconjecturedmusthavebeendroppedbysomeinmateofthose
groundsbutashewasnotawarewhoseitwas,hedidnotconsequentlypresumetoactwithindiscretion.Buton
thisoccasion,heoverheardHsiaoHungmakeinquiriesofChuiErhonthesubjectandconcludingthatitmust
belongtoher,hefeltimmeasurablydelighted.Seeing,besides,howimportunateChuiErhwas,heatonce
devisedaplanwithinhimself,andvehementlyproducingfromhissleeveahandkerchiefofhisown,he
observed,asheturnedtowardsChuiErhwithasmile:"Asforgivingittoyou,I'lldosobutintheeventofyour
obtaininganypresentfromher,youmustn'timposeuponme."
ChuiErhassentedtohisproposalmostprofuselyand,takingthehandkerchief,shesawChiaYnoutandthen
camebackinsearchofHsiaoHung.Butwewillleaveherthereforthepresent.

WewillnowreturntoPaoy.AfterdismissingChiaYn,helayinsuchcompletelistlessnessonthebedthathe
betrayedeverysignofbeinghalfasleep.HsiJenwalkeduptohim,andseatedherselfontheedgeofthebed,
andpushinghim,"Whatareyouabouttogotosleepagain,"shesaid."Woulditnotdoyourlanguidspiritsgood
ifyouwentoutforabitofastroll?"
Uponhearinghervoice,Paoygraspedherhandinhis."Iwouldliketogoout,"hesmiled,"butIcan't
reconcilemyselftotheseparationfromyou!"
"Getupatonce!"laughedHsiJen.Andassheutteredthesewords,shepulledPaoyup.
"WherecanIgo?"exclaimedPaoy."I'mquitesurfeitedwitheverything."
"Onceoutyou'llbeallright,"HsiJenanswered,"butifyousimplygivewaytothislanguor,you'llbemorethan
eversickofeverythingatheart."
Paoycouldnotdootherwise,dullandoutofsortsthoughhewas,thanaccedetoherimportunities.Strolling
leisurelyoutofthedooroftheroom,heamusedhimselfalittlewiththebirdssuspendedundertheverandah
thenhewendedhisstepsoutsidethecourt,andfollowedthecourseoftheHsinFangstreambutafteradmiring
thegoldenfishforatime,heespied,ontheoppositehillock,twoyoungdeercomerushingdownasswiftasan
arrow.WhattheywereuptoPaoycouldnotdiscernbutwhileabandoninghimselftomelancholy,hecaught
sightofChiaLan,followingbehind,withasmallbowinhishand,andhurryingdownhillinpursuitofthem.
AssoonasherealisedthatPaoystoodaheadofhim,hespeedilyhalted."UncleSecundus,"hesmiled,"are
youathome?Iimaginedyouhadgoneoutofdoors!"
"Youareuptomischiefagain,eh?"Paoyrejoined."They'vedonenothingtoyou,andwhyshootatthemwith
yourarrows?"
"Ihadnostudiestoattendtojustnow,so,beingfreewithnothingtodo,"ChiaLanrepliedlaughingly,"Iwas
practisingridingandarchery."
"Shutup!"exclaimedPaoy."Whenareyounotengagedinpractising?"
Sayingthis,hecontinuedhiswayandstraightwayreachedtheentranceofacourt.Herethebamboofoliagewas
thick,andthebreezesighedgently.ThiswastheHsiaoHsianglodge.Paoylistlesslyrambledin.Hesawa
bambooportirehangingdowntotheground.Stillnessprevailed.Notahumanvoicefellontheear.He
advancedasfarasthewindow.Noticingthatawhiffofsubtlescentstolesoftlythroughthegreengauze
casement,Paoyappliedhisfacecloselyagainsttheframetopeepin,butsuddenlyhecaughtthefaintsoundof
adeepsighandthewords:"Dayafterdaymyfeelingsslumberdrowsily!"Uponoverhearingthisexclamation,
Paoyunconsciouslybegantofeelapreytoinwardlongingsbutcastingasecondglance,hesawTaiy
stretchingherselfonthebed.
"Whyisit,"smiledPaoy,fromoutsidethewindow,"thatyourfeelingsdayafterdayslumberdrowsily?"So
saying,heraisedtheportireandsteppedin.
TheconsciousnessthatshehadnotbeenreticentaboutherfeelingsmadeTaiyunwittinglyflushscarlet.
Takingholdofhersleeve,shescreenedherfaceand,turningherbodyroundtowardstheinside,shepretended
tobefastasleep.Paoydrewnearher.HewasabouttopullherroundwhenhesawTaiy'snurseenterthe
apartment,followedbytwomatrons.
"IsMissasleep?"theysaid."Ifso,we'llaskherover,whenshewakesup."
Asthesewordswerebeingspoken,Taiyeagerlytwistedherselfroundandsatup."Who'sasleep?"she
laughed.

"Wethoughtyouwerefastasleep,Miss,"smiledthetwoorthreematronsassoonastheyperceivedTaiyget
up.Thisgreetingover,theycalledTzuChan."Youryoungmistress,"theysaid,"hasawokecomeinandwait
onher!"
Whilecallingher,theyquittedtheroominabody.Taiyremainedseatedonthebed.Raisingherarms,she
adjustedherhair,andsmilinglysheobservedtoPaoy,"Whenpeopleareasleep,whatdoyouwalkinfor?"
Atthesightofherhalfclosedstarlikeeyesandofherfragrantcheeks,suffusedwithacrimsonblush,Paoy's
feelingswereofasuddenawakenedso,bendinghisbody,hetookaseatonachair,andaskedwithasmile:
"Whatwereyousayingashortwhileback?"
"Iwasn'tsayinganything,"Taiyreplied.
"Whatalieyou'retryingtoramdownmythroat!"laughedPaoy."Iheardall."
Butinthemiddleoftheircolloquy,theysawTzuChanenter.Paoythenputonasmilingface."TzuChan!"
hecried,"pourmeacupofyourgoodtea!"
"Where'sthegoodteatobehad?"TzuChananswered."Ifyouwantgoodtea,you'dbetterwaittillHsiJen
comes."
"Don'theedhim!"interposedTaiy."Justgofirstanddrawmesomewater."
"He'savisitor,"remonstratedTzuChan,"and,ofcourse,Ishouldfirstpourhimacupoftea,andthengoand
drawthewater."
Withthisanswer,shestartedtoservethetea.
"Mydeargirl,"Paoyexclaimedlaughingly,"IfIcouldonlysharethesamebridalcurtainwithyourlovable
youngmistress,wouldIeverbeable(totreatyouasaservant)bymakingyoufoldthecoversandmakethe
beds."
LinTaiyatoncedroopedherhead."Whatareyousaying?"sheremonstrated.
"What,didIsayanything?"smiledPaoy.
Taiyburstintotears."You'verecently,"sheobserved,"gotintoanewway.Whateverslangyouhappentohear
outsideyoucomeandtellme.Andwheneveryoureadanyimproperbook,youpokeyourfunatme.What!have
Ibecomealaughingstockforgentlemen!"
Asshebegantocry,shejumpeddownfrombed,andpromptlylefttheroom.Paoywasatalosshowtoact.So
agitatedwashethathehastilyranuptoher,"Mydearcousin,"hepleaded,"Idodeservedeathbutdon'tgoand
tellanyone!IfagainIventuretouttersuchkindoflanguage,mayblistersgrowonmymouthandmaymy
tonguewasteaway!"
Butwhileappealingtoherfeelings,hesawHsiJenapproachhim."Gobackatonce,"shecried,"andputon
yourclothesasmasterwantstoseeyou."
Attheverymentionofhisfather,Paoyfeltsuddenlyasifstruckbylightning.Regardlessofeverythingand
anything,herushed,asfastaspossible,backtohisroom,andchanginghisclothes,hecameoutintothegarden.
HerehediscoveredPeiMing,standingatthesecondgateway,waitingforhim.
"Doyouperchanceknowwhathewantsmefor?"Paoyinquired.
"Master,hurryoutatonce!"PeiMingreplied."Youmust,ofcourse,goandseehim.Whenyougetthere,you
aresuretofindoutwhatit'sallabout."

Thissaid,heurgedPaoyon,andtogethertheyturnedpastthelargepavilion.Paoywas,however,still
labouringundersuspicion,whenheheard,fromthecornerofthewall,aloudoutburstoflaughter.Uponturning
hisheadround,hecaughtsightofHsehP'anjumpout,clappinghishands."Hadn'tIsaidthatmyunclewanted
you?"helaughed."Wouldyoueverhaverushedoutwithsuchalacrity?"
PeiMingalsolaughed,andfellonhisknees.ButPaoyremainedforalongtimeunderthespellofutter
astonishment,beforehe,atlength,realisedthatitwasHsehP'auwhohadinveigledhimtocomeout.
HsehP'anhastilymadeasalutationandacurtsey,andconfessedhisfault.Henextgavewaytoentreaties,
saying:"Don'tpunishtheyoungservant,foritissimplyIwhobeggedhimgo."
Paoytoohadthennootheralternativebuttosmile."Idon'tmindyourplayingyourlarksonmebutwhy,"he
inquired,"didyoumentionmyfather?WereItogoandtellmyaunt,yourmother,toseetotherightsandthe
wrongsofthecase,howwouldyoulikeit?"
"Mydearcousin,"remarkedHsehP'anvehemently,"theprimaryideaIhadinviewwastoaskyoutocomeout
amomentsoonerandIforgottorespectfullyshuntheexpression.Butbyandbye,whenyouwishtochaffme,
justyoulikewisealludetomyfather,andwe'llthusbesquare."
"Aiya!"exclaimedPaoy."Youdomorethaneverdeservedeath!!"ThenturningagaintowardsPeiMing,
"Youruffian!"hesaid,"whatareyoustillkneelingfor?"
PeiMingbegantobumphisheadonthegroundwithvehemence.
"Haditbeenforanythingelse,"HsehP'anchimedin,"Iwouldn'thavemadeboldtodisturbyoubutit'ssimply
inconnectionwithmybirthdaywhichistomorrow,thethirddayofthefifthmoon.Ch'engJihhsing,whoisin
thatcurioshopofours,unexpectedlybroughtalong,goodnessknowswherehefishedthemfrom,freshlotusso
thickandsolong,somealyandsocrispmelonsofthissizeandaSiameseporpoise,thatlongandthatbig,
smokedwithcedar,suchasissentastributefromthekingdomofSiam.Arenotthesefourpresents,pray,rare
delicacies?Theporpoiseisnotonlyexpensive,butdifficulttoget,andthatkindoflotusandmelonmusthave
costhimnoendoftroubletogrow!Ilostnotimeinpresentingsometomymother,andatoncesentsometo
youroldgrandmother,andmyaunt.ButagoodmanyofthemstillremainnowandwereItoeatthemallalone,
itwould,Ifear,bemorethanIdeservesoIconcluded,afterthinkingrightandleft,thattherewas,besides
myself,onlyyougoodenoughtopartakeofsome.ThatiswhyIspeciallyinviteyoutotastethem.But,asluck
wouldhaveit,ayoungsingingboyhasalsocome,sowhatdoyousaytoyouandIhavingajollydayofit?"
Astheytalked,theywalkedand,astheywalked,theyreachedtheinteriorofthelibrary.Heretheydiscovereda
wholeassemblageconsistingofTanKuang,Ch'engJihhsing,HuCh'ilai,TanT'ingjenandothers,andthe
singingboyaswell.AssoonasthesesawPaoywalkin,somepaidtheirrespectstohimothersinquiredhow
hewasandaftertheinterchangeofsalutations,teawasdrunk.HsehP'anthengaveorderstoservethewine.
Scarcelywerethewordsoutofhismouththantheservantladsbustledandfussedforalongwhilelayingthe
table.Whenatlastthenecessaryarrangementshadbeencompleted,thecompanytooktheirseats.
Paoyverilyfoundthemelonsandlotusofanexceptionaldescription."Mybirthdaypresentshavenotasyet
beensentround,"hefeltimpelledtosay,asmileonhislips,"andhereIcome,aheadofthem,totrespasson
yourhospitality."
"Justso!"retortedHsehP'an,"butwhenyoucometomorrowtocongratulatemewe'llconsiderwhatnovel
kindofpresentyoucangiveme."
"I'vegotnothingthatIcangiveyou,"rejoinedPaoy."Asfarasmoney,clothes,eatablesandothersuch
articlesgo,theyarenotreallymine:allIcancallmyownaresuchpagesofcharactersthatImaywrite,or
picturesthatImaydraw."

"Yourreferencetopictures,"addedHsehP'ansmiling,"remindsmeofabookIsawyesterday,containing
immodestdrawingstheywere,truly,beautifullydone.Onthefrontpagetherefiguredalsoawholelotof
characters.ButIdidn'tcarefullylookatthemIsimplynoticedthenameoftheperson,whohadexecutedthem.
Itwas,infact,somethingorotherlikeKengHuang.Thepictureswere,actually,exceedinglygood!"
ThisallusionmadePaoyexercisehismindwithinnumerableconjectures.
"Ofpicturesdrawnfrompastyearstothepresent,Ihave,"hesaid,"seenagoodmany,butI'venevercome
acrossanyKengHuang."
Afterconsiderablethought,hecouldnotrepresshimselffromburstingoutlaughing.Thenaskingaservantto
fetchhimapencil,hewroteacoupleofwordsonthepalmofhishand.Thisdone,hewentontoinquireof
Hseh.P'an:"DidyouseecorrectlythatitreadKengHuang?"
"HowcouldInothaveseencorrectly?"ejaculatedHsehP'an.
Paoythereuponunclenchedhishandandallowedhimtoperuse,whatwaswritteninit."Weretheypossibly
thesetwocharacters?"heremarked."Theseare,inpointoffact,notverydissimilarfromwhatKengHuanglook
like?"
Onscrutinisingthem,thecompanynoticedthetwowordsT'angYin,andtheyalllaughed."Theymust,we
fancy,havebeenthesetwocharacters!"theycried."Youreyes,Sir,may,there'snosaying,havesuddenlygrown
dim!"
HsehP'anfeltutterlyabashed."Whocouldhavesaid,"hesmiled,"whethertheywereT'angYinorKuoYin,
(candiedsilverorfruitsilver)."
Ashecrackedthisjoke,however,ayoungpagecameandannouncedthat
Mr.Fenghadarrived.PaoyconcludedthatthenewcomermustbeFeng
Tzuying,thesonofFengT'ang,generalwiththeprefixofShenWu."
"Askhiminatonce,"HsehP'anandhiscompanionsshoutedwithonevoice.
Butbarelywerethesewordsoutoftheirmouths,thantheyrealisedthatFengTzuyinghadalreadysteppedin,
talkingandlaughingasheapproached.
Thecompanyspeedilyrosefromtableandofferedhimaseat.
"That'sright!"smiledFengTzuying."Youdon'tgooutofdoors,butremainathomeandgoinforhighfun!"
BothPaoyandHsehP'anputonasmile."Wehaven't,"theyremarked,"seenyouforeversolong.Isyour
venerablefatherstrongandhale?"
"Myfather,"rejoinedTzuying,"is,thankstoyou,strongandhalebutmymotherrecentlycontractedasudden
chillandhasbeenunwellforacoupleofdays."
HsehP'andiscernedonhisfaceaslightbluishwound."Withwhomhaveyouagainbeenboxing,"he
laughinglyinquired,"thatyou'vehungupthissignboard?"
"Sincetheoccasion,"laughedFengTzuying,"onwhichIwoundedlieutenantcolonelCh'ou'sson,I'veborne
thelessoninmind,andneverlostmytemper.SohowisityousaythatI'veagainbeenboxing?Thisthingonmy
facewascaused,whenIwasoutshootingtheotherdayontheT'iehWanghills,byaflapfromthewingofthe
falcon."
"Whenwasthat?"askedPaoy.

"Istarted,"explainedTzuying,"onthe28thofthethirdmoonandcamebackonlythedaybeforeyesterday."
"Itisn'ttobewonderedatthen,"observedPaoy,"thatwhenIwenttheotherday,onthethirdandfourth,toa
banquetatfriendShen'shouse,Ididn'tseeyouthere.YetImeanttohaveinquiredaboutyoubutIdon'tknow
howitslippedfrommymemory.Didyougoalone,ordidyourvenerablefatheraccompanyyou?"
"Ofcourse,myfatherwent,"Tzuyingreplied,"soIhadnohelpbuttogo.Forisitlikely,forsooth,thatI've
gonemadfromlackofanythingtodo!Don'twe,agoodlynumberasweare,deriveenoughpleasurefromour
wineboutsandplaysthatIshouldgoinquestofsuchkindoffatiguingrecreation!Butinthisinstanceagreat
pieceofgoodfortuneturnedupinevilfortune!"
HsehP'anandhiscompanionsnoticedthathehadfinishedhistea."Comealong,"theyoneandallproposed,
"andjointhebanquetyoucanthenquietlyrecounttousallyourexperiences."
AtthissuggestionFengTzuyingthereandthenrosetohisfeet."Accordingtoetiquette,"hesaid."Ishouldjoin
youindrinkingafewcupsbuttodayIhavestillaveryurgentmattertoseemyfatheraboutonmyreturnso
thatItrulycannotacceptyourinvitation."
HsehP'an,Paoyandtheotheryoungfellowswouldonnoaccountlistentohisexcuses.Theypulledhim
vigorouslyaboutandwouldnotlethimgo.
"Thisis,indeed,strange!"laughedFengTzuying."WhenhaveyouandIhad,duringalltheseyears,tohave
recoursetosuchproceedings!Ireallyamunabletocomplywithyourwishes.Butifyoudoinsistuponmaking
mehaveadrink,well,thenbringalargecupandI'lltaketwocupsfullandfinish."
Afterthisrejoinder,thepartycouldnotbutgivein.HsehP'antookholdofthekettle,whilePaoygraspedthe
cup,andtheypouredtwolargecupsfull.FengTzuyingstoodupandquaffedthemwithonedraught.
"Butdo,afterall,"urgedPaoy,"finishthisthingaboutapieceofgoodfortuneinthemidstofmisfortune
beforeyougo."
"Totellyouthistoday,"smiledFengTzuying,"willbenogreatfun.
ButforthispurposeIintendstandingaspecialentertainment,and
invitingyoualltocomeandhavealongchatand,inthesecondplace,
I'vealsogotafavourtoaskofyou."
Sayingthis,hepushedhiswayandwasgoingoffatonce,whenHsehP'aninterposed."Whatyou'vesaid,"he
observed,"hasputusmorethaneveronpinsandneedles.Wecannotbrookanydelay.Whoknowswhenyou
willaskusroundsobettertellus,andthusavoidkeepingpeopleinsuspense!"
"Thelatest,"rejoinedFengTzuying,"intendaystheearliestineight."Withthisanswerhewentoutofthe
door,mountedhishorse,andtookhisdeparture.
Thepartyresumedtheirseatsattable.Theyhadanotherbout,andtheneventuallydispersed.
PaoyreturnedintothegardenintimetofindHsiJenthinkingwithsolicitudethathehadgonetoseeChia
Chengandwonderingwhetheritforebodedgoodorevil.AssoonassheperceivedPaoycomebackina
drunkenstate,shefelturgedtoinquirethereasonofitall.Paoytoldheronebyonetheparticularsofwhat
happened.
"People,"addedHsiJen,"waitforyouwithlaceratedheartandanxiousmind,andthereyougoandmakemerry
yetyoucouldverywell,afterall,havesentsomeonewithamessage."
"Didn'tIpurposesendingamessage?"exclaimedPaoy."Ofcourse,Idid!ButIfailedtodoso,asonthe
arrivaloffriendFeng,Igotsomixedupthattheintentionvanishedentirelyfrommymind."

Whileexcusinghimself,hesawPaoch'aientertheapartment."Haveyoutastedanyofournewthings?"she
asked,asmilecurlingherlips.
"Cousin,"laughedPaoy,"youmusthavecertainlytastedwhatyou'vegotinyourhouselongbeforeus."
Paoch'aishookherheadandsmiled."Yesterday,"shesaid,"mybrotherdidactuallymakeitapointtoaskmeto
havesomebutIhadnoneItoldhimtokeepthemandsendthemtoothers,soconfidentamIthatwithmy
meanlotandscantyblessingsIlittledeservetotouchsuchdainties."
Asshespoke,aservantgirlpouredheracupofteaandbroughtittoher.Whileshesippedit,shecarriedona
conversationonirrelevantmatterswhichweneednotnotice,butturnourattentiontoLinTaiy.
TheinstantsheheardthatChiaChenghadsentforPaoy,andthathehadnotcomebackduringthewholeday,
shefeltverydistressedonhisaccount.Aftersupper,thenewsofPaoy'sreturnreachedher,andshekeenly
longedtoseehimandaskhimwhatwasup.Stepbystepshetrudgedalong,whenespyingPaoch'aigoinginto
Paoy'sgarden,sheherselffollowedcloseinhertrack.ButontheirarrivalattheHsinFangbridge,shecaught
sightofthevariouskindsofwaterfowl,bathingtogetherinthepond,andalthoughunabletodiscriminatethe
numerousspecies,hergazebecamesotransfixedbytheirrespectivevariegatedandbrightplumageandbytheir
exceptionalbeauty,thatshehalted.Anditwasaftershehadspentsomeconsiderabletimeinadmiringthemthat
sherepairedatlasttotheIHungcourt.Thegatewasalreadyclosed.Taiy,however,lostnotimeinknocking.
ButCh'ingWenandPiHenhad,whowouldhavethoughtit,beenhavingatiff,andwereinacaptiousmood,so
uponunawaresseeingPaoch'aisteponthescene,Ch'ingWenatoncevisitedherresentmentuponPaoch'ai.
Shewasjuststandinginthecourtgivingventtoherwrongs,shouting:"You'realwaysrunningoverandseating
yourselfhere,whetheryou'vegotgoodreasonfordoingsoornotandthere'snosleepforusatthethirdwatch,
themiddleofthenightthoughitbe,"when,allofasudden,sheheardsomeoneelsecallingatthedoor.Ch'ing
Wenwasthemoremovedtoanger.Withoutevenaskingwhoitwas,sherapidlybawledout:"They'veallgone
tosleepyou'dbettercometomorrow."
LinTaiywaswellawareofthenaturalpeculiaritiesofthewaitingmaids,andoftheirhabitofplaying
practicaljokesuponeachother,sofearingthatthegirlintheinnerroomhadfailedtorecognisehervoice,and
hadrefusedtoopenunderthemisconceptionthatitwassomeotherservantgirl,shegaveasecondshoutina
higherpitch."It'sI!"shecried,"don'tyouyetopenthegate?"
Ch'ingWen,asithappened,didnotstilldistinguishhervoiceandinanirritablestrain,sherejoined:"It'sno
matterwhoyoumaybeMr.Secundushasgivenordersthatnooneatallshouldbeallowedtocomein."
AsthesewordsreachedLinTaiy'sear,sheunwittinglywasovercomewithindignationatbeingleftstanding
outside.Butwhenonthepointofraisinghervoicetoaskheroneortwothings,andtostartaquarrelwithher
"albeit,"sheagainarguedmentally,"Icancallthismyaunt'shouse,anditshouldbejustasifitweremyown,
it's,afterall,astrangeplace,andnowthatmyfatherandmotherarebothdead,andthatIamleftwithnooneto
relyupon,Ihaveforthepresenttodependuponherfamilyforahome.WereInowthereforetogivewaytoa
regularfitofangerwithher,I'llreallygetnogoodoutofit."
Whileindulginginreflection,tearstrickledfromhereyes.Butjustasshewasfeelingunabletoretracehersteps,
andunabletoremainstandinganylonger,andquiteatalosswhattodo,sheoverheardthesoundofjocular
languageinside,andlisteningcarefully,shediscoveredthatitwas,indeed,PaoyandPaoch'ai.LinTaiy
waxedmorewroth.Aftermuchthoughtandcogitation,theincidentsofthemorningflashedunawaresthrough
hermemory."Itmust,infact,"shemused,"bebecausePaoyisangrywithmeforhavingexplainedtohimthe
truereasons.ButwhydidIevergoandtellyou?Youshould,however,havemadeinquiriesbeforeyoulostyour
tempertosuchanextentwithmeastorefusetoletmeintodaybutisitlikelythatweshallnotbyandbye
meetfacetofaceagain?"
Themoreshegavewaytothought,themoreshefeltwoundedandagitatedandwithoutheedingthemoss,laden
withcolddew,thepathcoveredwithvegetation,andthechillyblastsofwind,shelingeredallalone,underthe
shadowofthebushesatthecornerofthewall,sothoroughlysadanddejectedthatshebrokeforthintosobs.

LinTaiywas,indeed,endowedwithexceptionalbeautyandwithcharmsrarelymetwithintheworld.Assoon
thereforeasshesuddenlymeltedintotears,andthebirdsandrooksroostingontheneighbouringwillowboughs
andbranchesofshrubscaughtthesoundofherplaintivetones,theyoneandallfellintoamostterrificflutter,
and,takingtotheirwings,theyflewawaytodistantrecesses,solittleweretheyabletolistenwithequanimityto
suchaccents.Butthespiritsoftheflowerswere,atthetime,silentanddevoidoffeeling,thebirdswereplunged
indreamsandinastateofstupor,sowhydidtheystart?Astanzaappositelyassignsthereason:
P'inErh'smentaltalentsandlooksmustintheworldberare.
Alone,claspedinasubtlesmell,shequitshermaidenroom.
Thesoundofbutonesinglesobscarcelydiesaway,
Anddroopingflowerscoverthegroundandbirdsflyindismay.
LinTaiywassobbinginhersolitude,whenacreakingnoisestruckherearandthedoorofthecourtwasflung
open.Whocameout,isnotyetascertainedbut,reader,shouldyouwishtoknow,thenextchapterwillexplain.

CHAPTERXXVII
IntheTiTs'uipavilion,Paoch'aidivertsherselfwiththe
multicolouredbutterflies.
Overthemound,wheretheflowershadbeeninterred,Taiybewails
theirwitheredbloom.
LinTaiy,wemustexplainintakingupthethreadofournarrative,wasdisconsolatelybathedintears,when
herearwassuddenlyattractedbythecreakofthecourtgate,andhereyesbytheappearanceofPaoch'aibeyond
thethreshold.Paoy,HsiJenandawholeposseofinmatesthenwalkedout.ShefeltinclinedtogouptoPao
yandaskhimaquestionbutdreadingthatifshemadeanyinquiriesinthepresenceofsuchacompany,Pao
ywouldbeputtotheblushandplacedinanawkwardposition,sheslippedasideandallowedPaoch'aito
prosecuteherway.AnditwasonlyafterPaoyandtherestofthepartyhadenteredandclosedthegatebehind
themthatsheatlastissuedfromherretreat.Thenfixinghergazesteadfastlyonthegateway,shedroppedafew
tears.Butinwardlyconsciousoftheirutterfutilitysheretracedherfootstepsandwendedherwaybackintoher
apartment.Andwithheavyheartanddespondentspirits,shedivestedherselfoftheremainderofher
habiliments.
TzuChanandHsehYenwerewellaware,fromtheexperiencetheyhadreapedinpastdays,thatLinTaiy
was,intheabsenceofanythingtooccupyhermind,pronetositandmope,andthatifshedidnotfrownher
eyebrows,sheanywayheaveddeepsighsbuttheywerequiteatalosstodivinewhyshewas,withnorhymeor
reason,eversoreadytoindulge,toherself,ininexhaustiblegushesoftears.Atfirst,thereweresuchasstill
endeavouredtoaffordhersolaceorwho,suspectinglestshebroodedoverthememoryofherfatherandmother,
felthomesick,oraggrieved,throughsomeoffencegivenher,triedbyeverypersuasiontoconsoleandcheer
herbut,ascontrarytoallexpectations,shesubsequentlypersistedtimeandagaininthisdullmood,through
eachsucceedingmonthandyear,peoplegotaccustomedtohereccentricitiesanddidnotextendtohertheleast
sympathy.Henceitwasthatnoone(onthisoccasion)troubledhermindabouther,butlettinghersitandsulkto
herheart'scontent,theyoneandallturnedinandwenttosleep.
LinTaiyleanedagainsttherailingofthebed,claspingherkneeswithbothhands,hereyessuffusedwithtears.
Shelooked,inverytruth,likeacarvedwoodenimageoronefashionedofmud.Thereshesatstraightuptothe
secondwatch,evenlater,whensheeventuallyfellasleep.

Thewholenightnothingremarkabletranspired.Themorrowwasthe26thdayofthefourthmoon.Indeedon
thisday,atonep.m.,commencedtheseasonofthe'Sproutingseeds,'and,accordingtoanoldcustom,onthe
dayonwhichthisfeastof'Sproutingseeds'fell,everyonehadtolayallkindsofofferingsandsacrificialviands
onthealtarofthegodofflowers.Soonaftertheexpiryofthisseasonof'Sproutingseeds'followssummertide,
andusplantsingeneralthenwitherandthegodofflowersresignshisthrone,itiscompulsorytofeasthimat
someentertainment,previoustohisdeparture.
Intheladies'apartmentsthiscustomwasobservedwithstillmorerigourand,forthisreason,thevarious
inmatesOftheparkofBroadVistahad,withoutasingleexception,gotupatanearlyhour.Theyoungpeople
eithertwistedflowersandwillowtwigsinsuchawayastorepresentchairsandhorses,ormadetuftedbanners
withdamask,brocadedgauzeandsilk,andboundthemwithvariegatedthreads.Thesearticlesofdecoration
werealikeattachedoneverytreeandplantandthroughoutthewholeexpanseofthepark,embroideredsashes
wavedtoandfro,andornamentedbranchesnoddedtheirheadsabout.Inadditiontothis,themembersofthe
familywerecladinsuchfineriesthattheyputthepeachtreetoshame,madethealmondyieldthepalm,the
swallowenviousandthehawktoblush.Wecouldnotthereforeexhaustivelydescribethemwithinourlimited
spaceoftime.
Paoch'ai,YingCh'un,T'anCh'un,HsiCh'un,LiWan,ladyFengandothergirls,aswellasTaChiehErh,
HsiangLingandthewaitingmaidswere,oneandall,wewillnownotice,inthegardenenjoyingthemselves
theonlypersonwhocouldnotbeseenwasLinTaiy.
"Howisit,"consequentlyinquiredYingCh'un,"thatIdon'tseecousinLiu?Whatalazygirl!Issheforsoothfast
asleepevenatthislatehouroftheday?"
"Waitallofyouhere,"rejoinedPaoch'ai,"andI'llgoandshakeherupandbringher."
Withthesewords,shespeedilylefthercompanionsandrepairedstraightwayintotheHsiaoHsianglodge.
Whileshewasgoingonhererrand,shemetWenKuanandtherestofthegirls,twelveinall,ontheirwayto
seektheparty.Drawingnear,theyinquiredafterherhealth.Afterexchangingafewcommonplaceremarks,Pao
ch'aiturnedroundandpointing,said:"youwillfindthemallinthereyouhadbettergoandjointhem.Asfor
me,I'mgoingtofetchMissLin,butI'llbebacksoon."
Sayingthis,shefollowedthewindingpath,andcametotheHsiaoHsianglodge.Uponsuddenlyraisingher
eyes,shesawPaoywalkin.Paoch'aiimmediatelyhalted,and,loweringherhead,shegavewaytomeditation
foratime."PaoyandLinTaiy,"shereflected,"havegrownuptogetherfromtheirveryinfancy.Butcousins,
thoughtheybe,therearemanyinstancesinwhichtheycannotevadesuspicion,fortheyjokewithoutheeding
proprietyandatonetimetheyarefriendsandatanotheratdaggersdrawn.Taiyhas,moreover,alwaysbeen
fullofenvyandhaseverdisplayedapeevishdisposition,sowereItofollowhiminatthisjuncture,why,Pao
ywould,inthefirstplace,notfeelatease,and,inthesecond,Taiywouldgivewaytojealousy.Better
thereforeformetoturnback."
Atthecloseofthistrainofthought,sheretracedhersteps.Butjustasshewasstartingtojoinherothercousins,
sheunexpectedlydescried,aheadofher,apairofjadecolouredbutterflies,ofthesizeofacircularfan.Now
theysoaredhigh,nowtheymadeaswoopdown,intheirflightagainstthebreezemuchtoheramusement.
Paoch'aifeltawishtocatchthemformerefun'ssake,soproducingafanfrominsidehersleeve,shedescended
ontotheturfedgroundtoflapthemwithit.Thetwobutterfliessuddenlywereseentorisesuddenlytodrop:
sometimestocomeatotherstogo.Justastheywereonthepointofflyingacrossthestreamtotheotherside,
theenticementprovedtoomuchforPaoch'ai,andshepursuedthemontiptoestraightuptotheTiTs'ui
pavilion,nestlingonthebankofthepondwhilefragrantperspirationdrippeddropbydrop,andhersweet
breathpantedgently.ButPaoch'aiabandonedtheideaofcatchingthem,andwasabouttobeataretreat,when
allatoncesheoverheard,inthepavilion,thechatterofpeopleengagedinconversation.

Thispavilionhad,itmustbeadded,averandahandzigzagbalustradesrunningallround.Itwaserectedover
thewater,inthecentreofapond,andhadonthefoursideswindowframesofcarvedwoodwork,stuckwith
paper.SowhenPaoch'aicaught,fromwithoutthepavilion,thesoundofvoices,sheatoncestoodstillandlent
anattentiveeartowhatwasbeingsaid.
"Lookatthishandkerchief,"sheoverheard."Ifit'sreallytheoneyou'velost,wellthenkeepitbutifitisn'tyou
mustreturnittoMr.Yn."
"Tobesureitismyown,"anotherpartyobserved,"bringitalongandgiveittome."
"Whatrewardwillyougiveme?"shefurtherheard."Isitlikelythat
I'vesearchedallfornothing!"
"I'velongagopromisedtorecompenseyou,andofcourseIwon'tplayyoufalse,"someoneagainrejoined.
"Ifounditandbroughtitround,"alsoreachedherear,"andyounaturallywillrecompensemebutwon'tyou
giveanythingtothepersonwhopickeditup?"
"Don'ttalknonsense,"theotherpartyadded,"hebelongstoafamilyofgentlemen,andanythingofourshemay
pickupit'shisboundendutytorestoretous.Whatrewardcouldyouhavemegivehim?"
"Ifyoudon'trewardhim,"sheheardsomeonecontinue,"whatwillIbeabletotellhim?Besides,heenjoined
metimeaftertimethatiftherewastobenorecompense,Iwasnottogiveittoyou."
Ashortpauseensued."Nevermind!"thencameoutagaintoher,"takethisthingofmineandpresentittohim
andhavedone!Butdoyoumeantoletthecatoutofthebagwithanyoneelse?Youshouldtakesomeoath."
"IfItellanyone,"shelikewiseoverheard,"mayanulcergrowonmymouth,andmayI,incourseoftime,die
anunnaturaldeath!"
"Aiya!"wasthereplysheheard"ourmindsaremerelybentupontalking,butsomeonemightcomeand
quietlylistenfromoutsidewouldn'titbeaswelltopushallthevenetiansopen.Anyoneseeingusinherewill
thenimaginethatwearesimplychattingaboutnonsense.Besides,shouldtheyapproach,weshallbeableto
observethem,andatoncestopourconversation!"
Paoch'ailistenedtothesewordsfromoutside,withaheartfullofastonishment."Howcanonewonder,"she
arguedmentally,"ifallthoselewdanddishonestpeople,whohavelivedfromoldentimestothepresent,have
devisedsuchthoroughartifices!Butweretheynowtoopenandseemehere,won'ttheyfeelashamed.
Moreover,thevoiceinwhichthoseremarkswereutteredresemblesverymuchthatofHungErh,attachedto
Paoy'srooms,whohasallalongshownasharpeyeandashrewdmind.She'sanartfulandperversethingof
thefirstclass!AndasIhavenowoverheardherpeccadilloes,andapersonindespairrebelsassureasadogin
distressjumpsoverthewall,notonlywilltroublearise,butItooshallderivenobenefit.Itwouldbebetterat
presentthereforeformetolosenotimeinretiring.ButasIfearImayn'tbeintimetogetoutoftheway,the
onlyalternativeformeistomakeuseofsomeartlikethatofthecicada,whichcandivestitselfofitsexuviae."
Shehadscarcelybroughtherreflectionstoaclosebeforeasoundof'kochih'reachedherears.Paoch'ai
purposelyhastenedtotreadwithheavystep."P'inErh,Iseewhereyou'rehiding!"shecriedoutlaughinglyand
assheshouted,shepretendedtoberunningaheadinpursuitofher.
AssoonasHsiaoHungandChuiErhpushedthewindowsopenfrominsidethepavilion,theyheardPaoch'ai
screaming,whilerushingforwardandbothfellintoastateoftrepidationfromthefrighttheysustained.
Paoch'aiturnedroundandfacedthem."WherehaveyoubeenhidingMiss
Lin?"shesmiled.
"WhohasseenanythingofMissLin,"retortedChuiErh.

"Iwasjustnow,"proceededPaoch'ai,"onthatsideofthepool,anddiscernedMissLinsquattingdownover
thereandplayingwiththewater.Imeanttohavegentlygivenherastart,butscarcelyhadIwalkeduptoher,
whenshesawme,and,withadetourtowardstheEast,sheatoncevanishedfromsight.Somayn'tshebe
concealingherselfinthere?"
Asshespoke,shedesignedlysteppedinandsearchedaboutforher.Thisover,shebetookherselfaway,adding:
"she'scertaintohavegotagainintothatcaveinthehill,andcomeacrossasnake,whichmusthavebittenher
andputanendtoher."
Sosaying,shedistancedthem,feelingagainverymuchamused."Ihavemanaged,"shethought,"towardoff
thispieceofbusiness,butIwonderwhatthosetwothinkaboutit."
HsiaoHung,whowouldhaveanticipated,readilycreditedasgospeltheremarkssheheardPaoch'aimake.But
allowingjusttimeenoughtoPaoch'aitogottoacertaindistance,sheinstantlydrewChuiErhtoher.
"Dreadful!"sheobserved,"MissLinwassquattinginhereandmustforacertaintyhaveoverheardwhatwesaid
beforesheleft."
AlbeitChuiErhlistenedtoherwords,shekeptherowncounselforalongtime."What'stobedone?"Hsiao
Hungconsequentlyexclaimed.
"Evensupposingshedidoverhearwhatwesaid,"rejoinedChuiErhbywayofanswer,"whyshouldshemeddle
inwhatdoesnotconcernher?Everyoneshouldmindherownbusiness."
"HaditbeenMissPao,itwouldnothavemattered,"remarkedHsiaoHung,"butMissLindelightsintelling
meanthingsofpeopleandis,besides,sopettyminded.Shouldshehaveheardandanythingperchancecomesto
light,whatwillwedo?"
Duringtheircolloquy,theynoticedWenKuan,HsiangLing,SsuCh'i,ShihShuandtheothergirlsenterthe
pavilion,sotheywerecompelledtodroptheconversationandtoplayandlaughwiththem.Theythenespied
ladyFengstandingonthetopofthehillock,wavingherhand,beckoningtoHsiaoHung.Hurriedlytherefore
leavingthecompany,sheranuptoladyFengandwithsmileheapeduponsmile,"mylady,"sheinquired,"what
isitthatyouwant?"
LadyFengscrutinisedherforatime.Observinghowspruceandprettyshewasinlooks,andhowgenialinher
speech,shefeltpromptedtogiveherasmile."Myownwaitingmaid,"shesaid,"hasn'tfollowedmeinhereto
dayandasI'vejustthismomentbethoughtmyselfofsomethingandwouldliketosendsomeoneonanerrand,
Iwonderwhetheryou'refittoundertakethechargeanddeliveramessagefaithfully."
"Don'thesitateinentrustingmewithanymessageyoumayhavetosend,"repliedHsiaoHungwithalaugh."I'll
readilygoanddeliverit.ShouldInotdosofaithfully,andblunderinfulfillingyourbusiness,mylady,youmay
visitmewithanypunishmentyourladyshipmayplease,andI'llhavenothingtosay."
"Whatyounglady'sservantareyou,"smiledladyFeng?"Tellme,sothatwhenshecomesback,afterI'vesent
youout,andlooksforyou,Imaybeabletotellheraboutyou."
"I'mattachedtoourMasterSecundus,'Mr.Pao'srooms,"answeredHsiao
Hung.
"Aiya!"ejaculatedladyFeng,assoonassheheardthesewords."AreyoureallyinPaoy'srooms!How
strange!Yetitcomestothesamething.Well,ifheasksforyou,I'lltellhimwhereyouare.Gonowtoourhouse
andtellyoursisterP'ingthatshe'llfindonthetableintheouterapartmentandunderthestandwiththeplate
fromtheJukiln,abundleofsilverthatitcontainstheonehundredandtwentytaelsfortheembroiderers'
wagesandthatwhenChangTs'ai'swifecomes,themoneyshouldbehandedtohertotakeaway,afterhaving

beenweighedinherpresenceandbeengiventohertotally.AnotherthingtooIwant.Intheinnerapartmentand
attheheadofthebedyou'llfindasmallpurse,bringitalongtome."
HsiaoHunglistenedtoherordersandthenstartedtocarrythemout.Onherreturn,inashortwhile,she
discoveredthatladyFengwasnotonthehillock.ButperceivingSsuCh'iegressfromthecaveandstandstillto
tieherpetticoat,shewalkeduptoher."Sister,doyouknowwhereourladySecundaisgoneto?"sheasked.
"Ididn'tnotice,"rejoinedSsuCh'i.
Atthisreply,HsiaoHungturnedroundandcastaglanceonallfourquarters.SeeingT'anCh'unandPaoch'ai
standingbythebankofthepondontheoppositesideandlookingatthefish,HsiaoHungadvanceduptothem.
"Youngladies,"shesaid,strainingasmile,"doyouperchancehaveanyideawhereourladySecundaisgoneto
now?"
"Gointoyourseniorlady'scourtandlookforher!"T'anCh'unanswered.
Hearingthis,HsiaoHungwasproceedingimmediatelytowardstheTao
Hsiangvillage,whenshecaughtsight,justaheadofher,ofCh'ingWen,
Ch'iHsia,PiHen,Ch'iuWen,SheYeh,ShihShu,JuHua,YingErhand
someothergirlscomingtowardsherinagroup.
ThemomentCh'ingWensawHsiaoHung,shecalledouttoher."Areyougonecleanoffyourhead?"she
exclaimed."Youdon'twatertheflowers,norfeedthebirdsorpreparetheteastove,butgadaboutoutside!"
"Yesterday,"repliedHsiaoHung,"Mr.Secundustoldmethattherewasnoneedformetowatertheflowersto
daythatitwasenoughiftheywerewateredeveryotherday.Asforthebirds,you'restillinthearmsof
Morpheus,sister,whenIgivethemtheirfood."
"Andwhatabouttheteastove?"interposedPiHen.
"Today,"retortedHsiaoHung,"isnotmyturnonduty,sodon'taskmewhethertherebeanyteaornot!"
"Doyoulistentothatmouthofhers!"criedCh'iHsia,"butdon'tyougirlsspeaktoherletherstrollaboutand
havedone!"
"You'dbetterallgoandaskwhetherI'vebeengaddingaboutornot,"continuedHsiaoHung."OurladySecunda
hasjustbiddenmegoanddeliveramessage,andfetchsomething."
Sayingthis,sheraisedthepurseandletthemseeitandthey,findingtheycouldhituponnothingmoretotaunt
herwith,trudgedalongonwards.
Ch'ingWensmiledasarcasticsmile."Howfunny!"shecried."Lo,sheclimbsupahighbranchanddoesn't
condescendtolookatanyoneofus!Allshetoldhermusthavebeenjustsomewordortwo,whoknows!Butis
itlikelythatourladyhastheleastnotionofhernameorsurnamethatsheridessuchahighhorse,andbehaves
inthismanner!Whatcreditisitinhavingbeensentonatriflingerrandlikethis!Willwe,byandbye,pray,hear
anythingmoreaboutyou?Ifyou'vegotanygumption,you'dbetterskedaddleoutofthisgardenthisveryday.
For,mind,it'sonlyifyoumanagetoholdyourloftyperchforanylengthoftimethatyoucanbethought
somethingof!"
Asshederidedher,shecontinuedonherway.
Duringthiswhile,HsiaoHunglistenedtoher,butasshedidnotfinditasuitablemomenttoretaliate,shefelt
constrainedtosuppressherresentmentandgoinsearchofladyFeng.
OnherarrivalatwidowLi'squarters,she,inpointoffact,discoveredladyFengseatedinsidewithherhavinga
chat.HsiaoHungapproachedherandmadeherreport."SisterP'ingsays,"sheobserved,"thatassoonasyour

ladyshipleftthehouse,sheputthemoneyby,andthatwhenChangTs'ai'swifewentinalittletimetofetchit,
shehaditweighedinherpresence,afterwhichshegaveittohertotakeaway."
Withthesewords,sheproducedthepurseandpresentedittoher."SisterP'ingbademecomeandtellyour
ladyship,"sheadded,continuing,"thatWangErhcamejustnowtocraveyourorders,astowhoaretheparties
fromwhomhehastogoand(collectinterestonmoneydue)andsisterP'ingexplainedtohimwhatyourwishes
wereandsenthimoff."
"HowcouldshetellhimwhereIwantedhimtogo?"LadyFenglaughed.
"SisterP'ingsays,"HsiaoHungproceeded,"thatourladypresentshercomplimentstoyourladyship(widowLi)
here(ToladyFeng)thatourmasterSecundushasinfactnotcomehome,andthatalbeitadelayof(aday)or
twowilltakeplace(inthecollectionofthemoney),yourladyshipshould,shebegs,setyourmindatease.(ToLi
Wan).ThatwhenladyQuintaissomewhatbetter,ourladywillletladyQuintaknowandcomealongwithherto
seeyourladyship.(ToladyFeng).ThatladyQuintasentaservantthedaybeforeyesterdaytocomeoverandsay
thatourlady,yourworthymaternalaunt,haddespatchedalettertoinquireafteryourladyship'shealththatshe
alsowishedtoaskyou,mylady,herworthynieceinhere,foracoupleof'longlifegreatefficacyfullofevery
virtue'pillsandthatifyouhaveany,theyshould,whenourladybidsaservantcomeover,besimplygivenher
tobringtoourladyhere,andthatanyoneboundtomorrowforthatsidecouldthendeliverthemonherwayto
herladyship,yourauntyonder,totakealongwithher."
"Aiyoyo!"exclaimedwidowLi,beforethecloseofthemessage."It'simpossibleformetomakeoutwhat
you'redrivingat!Whataheapofladyshipsandmisters!"
"It'snottobewonderedatthatyoucan'tmakethemout,"interposedladyFenglaughing."Why,herremarks
refertofourorfivedistinctfamilies."
Whilespeaking,sheagainfacedHsiaoHung."Mydeargirl,"shesmiled,"whatatroubleyou'vebeenputto!
Butyouspeakdecently,andunliketheotherswhokeeponbuzzbuzzbuzz,likemosquitoes!You'renotaware,
sisterinlaw,thatIactuallydreadutteringawordtoanyofthegirlsoutsidethefewservantgirlsandmatronsin
myownimmediateservicefortheyinvariablyspinout,whatcouldbecondensedinasinglephrase,intoalong
interminableyarn,andtheymunchandchewtheirwordsandstickingtoapeculiardrawl,theygroanandmoan
somuchso,thattheyexasperatemetillIflyintoaregularrage.YethowaretheytoknowthatourP'ingErhtoo
wasoncelikethem.ButwhenIaskedher:'mustyouforsoothimitatethehummingofamosquito,inordertobe
accountedahandsomegirl?'andspoketoher,onseveraloccasions,sheatlengthimprovedconsiderably."
"Whatagoodthingitwouldbe,"laughedLiKungts'ai,"iftheycouldallbeassmartasyouare."
"Thisgirlisfirstrate!"rejoinedladyFeng,"shejustnowdeliveredtwomessages.Theydidn't,Iadmit,amount
tomuch,yettolistentoher,shespoketothepoint."
"Tomorrow,"shecontinued,addressingherselftoHsiaoHungsmilingly,"comeandwaitonme,andI'll
acknowledgeyouasmydaughterandthemomentyoucomeundermycontrol,you'llreadilyimprove."
Atthisnews,HsiaoHungspurtedoutlaughingaloud.
"Whatareyoulaughingfor?"LadyFenginquired."YoumustsaytoyourselfthatIamyounginyearsandthat
howmucholdercanIbethanyourselftobecomeyourmotherbutareyouundertheinfluenceofaspring
dream?Goandaskallthosepeopleolderthanyourself.Theywouldbeonlytooreadytocallmemother.But
snappingmyfingersatthem,Itodayexaltyou."
"Iwasn'tlaughingaboutthat,"HsiaoHungansweredwithasmilingface.
"Iwasamusedbythemistakeyourladyshipmadeaboutourgenerations.
Why,mymotherclaimstobeyourdaughter,mylady,andareyounow
goingtorecognisemetooasyourdaughter?"

"Who'syourmother?"LadyFengexclaimed.
"Don'tyouactuallyknowher?"putinLiKungts'aiwithasmile."She's
LinChihhsiao'schild."
ThisdisclosuregreatlysurprisedladyFeng."What!"sheconsequentlycried,"isshereallyhisdaughter?"
"WhyLinChihhsiaoandhiswife,"sheresumedsmilingly,"couldn'teitherofthemutterasoundifeventhey
wereprickedwithanawl.I'vealwaysmaintainedthatthey'reawellsuitedcoupleastheoneisasdeafasa
post,andtheotherasdumbasamute.Butwhowouldeverhaveexpectedthemtohavesuchaclevergirl!By
howmuchareyouinyourteens?"
"I'mseventeen,"repliedHsiaHung.
"Whatisyourname?"shewentontoask.
"MynamewasonceHungY."HsiaoHungrejoined."ButasitwasaduplicateofthatofMasterSecundus,Mr.
Paoy,I'mnowsimplycalledHsiaoHung."
Uponhearingthisexplanation,ladyFengraisedhereyebrowsintoafrown,andturningherheadround:"It's
mostdisgusting!"sheremarked,"ThosebearingthenameYwouldseemtobeverycheapforyournameis
Y,andsoisalsomineY.Sisterinlaw,"shethenobserved"Ineverletyouknowanythingaboutit,butI
mentionedtohermotherthatLaiTa'swifehasatpresentherhandsquitefull,andthatshehasn'teitherany
notionastowhoiswhointhismansion.'Youhadbetter,'(Isaid),'carefullyselectacoupleofgirlsformy
service.'Sheassentedunreservedly,butsheputitoffandneverchoseany.Onthecontrary,shesentthisgirlto
someotherplace.Butisitlikelythatshewouldn'thavebeenwelloffwithme?"
"Hereyouareagainfullofsuspicion!"LiWanlaughed."Shecameinherelongbeforeyoueverbreathedaword
toher!Sohowcouldyoubearagrudgeagainsthermother?"
"Well,inthatcase,"addedladyFeng,"I'llspeaktoPaoytomorrow,andinducehimtofindanotherone,and
toallowthisgirltocomealongwithme.Iwonder,however,whethersheherselfiswillingornot?"
"Whetherwillingornot,"interposedHsiaoHungsmiling,"suchaswecouldn'treallypresumetoraiseour
voicesandobject.Weshouldfeelitourprivilegetoservesuchaoneasyourladyship,andlearnalittlehowto
discriminatewhenpeopleraiseordroptheireyebrowsandeyes(withpleasureordispleasure),andreapaswell
someexperienceinsuchmattersasgooutorcomein,whetherhighorlow,greatandsmall."
Butduringherreply,sheperceivedMadameWang'swaitingmaidcomeandinviteladyFengtogoover.Lady
FengbadegoodbyeatoncetoLiKungts'aiandtookherdeparture.
HsiaoHungthenreturnedintotheIHungcourt,wherewewillleaveheranddevoteourattentionforthepresent
toLinTaiy.
Asshehadhadbutlittlesleepinthenight,shegotupthenextdayatalatehour.Whensheheardthatallher
cousinswerecollectedinthepark,givingafarewellentertainmentforthegodofflowers,shehastened,forfear
peopleshouldlaughatherforbeinglazy,tocombherhair,performherablutions,andgooutandjointhem.As
soonasshereachedtheinteriorofthecourt,shecaughtsightofPaoy,enteringthedoor,whospeedilygreeted
herwithasmile."Mydearcousin,"hesaid,"didyoulodgeacomplaintagainstmeyesterday?I'vebeenonpins
andneedlesthewholenightlong."
Taiyforthwithturnedherheadaway."Puttheroominorder,"sheshoutedtoTzuChan,"andloweroneofthe
gauzewindowframes.Andwhenyou'veseentheswallowscomeback,dropthecurtainkeepitdownthenby
placingtheliononit,andafteryouhaveburnttheincense,mindyoucoverthecenser."
Sosayingshesteppedoutside.

Paoyperceivinghermanner,concludedagainthatitmustbeonaccountoftheincidentofthepreviousnoon,
buthowcouldhehavehadanyideaaboutwhathadhappenedintheevening?Hekeptonstillbowingand
curtseyingbutLinTaiydidnotevensomuchaslookathimstraightintheface,butegressingaloneoutofthe
doorofthecourt,sheproceededthereandtheninsearchoftheothergirls.
Paoyfellintoadespondentmoodandgavewaytoconjectures.
"Judging,"hereflected,"fromthisbehaviourofhers,itwouldseemasifitcouldnotbeforwhattranspired
yesterday.YesterdaytooIcamebacklateintheevening,and,what'smore,Ididn'tseeher,sothattherewasno
occasiononwhichIcouldhavegivenheroffence."
Asheindulgedinthesereflections,heinvoluntarilyfollowedinherfootstepstotryandcatchherup,whenhe
descriedPaoch'aiandT'anch'unontheoppositesidewatchingthefrolicsofthestorks.
AssoonastheysawTaiyapproach,thetriostoodtogetherandstartedafriendlychat.ButnoticingPaoy
alsocomeup,T'anCh'unsmiled."BrotherPao,"shesaid,"areyouallright.It'sjustthreedaysthatIhaven't
seenanythingofyou?"
"Areyousisterquitewell?"Paoyrejoined,asmileonhislips."Theotherday,Iaskednewsofyouofour
seniorsisterinlaw."
"BrotherPao,"T'anCh'unremarked,"comeoverhereIwanttotellyousomething."
ThemomentPaoyheardthis,hequicklywentwithher.Distancing
Paoch'aiandTaiy,thetwoofthemcameunderapomegranatetree.
"Hasfathersentforyoutheselastfewdays?"T'anCh'unthenasked.
"Hehasn't,"Paoyansweredlaughinglybywayofreply.
"Yesterday,"proceededT'anCh'un,"Iheardvaguelysomethingorotheraboutfathersendingforyoutogoout."
"Ipresume,"Paoysmiled,"thatsomeonemusthaveheardwrong,forheneversentforme."
"I'veagainmanagedtosaveduringthelastfewmonths,"addedT'anCh'unwithanothersmile,"fullytentiaos,
sotakethemandbringme,whenatanytimeyoustrolloutofdoors,eithersomefinewritingsorsomeingenious
knicknack."
"MuchasIhaveroamedinsideandoutsidethecitywalls,"answeredPaoy,"andseengrandestablishments
andlargetemples,I'venevercomeacrossanythingnovelorpretty.Onesimplyseesarticlesmadeofgold,jade,
copperandporcelain,aswellassuchcuriosforwhichwecouldfindnoplacehere.Besidesthese,thereare
satins,eatables,andwearingapparel."
"Whocaresforsuchbaubles!"exclaimedT'anCh'un."Howcouldtheycomeuptowhatyoupurchasedthelast
timethatweebasket,madeofwillowtwigs,thatscentbox,scoopedoutofarootofrealbamboo,thatportable
stovefashionedofglutinousclaythesethingswere,oh,soverynice!IwasasfondofthemasIdon'tknow
whatbut,who'dhavethoughtit,theyfellinlovewiththemandbundledthemalloff,justasiftheywere
preciousthings."
"Isitthingsofthiskindthatyoureallywant?"laughedPaoy."Why,theseareworthnothing!Wereyoutotake
ahundredcashandgivethemtotheservantboys,theycould,I'msure,bringtwocartloadsofthem."
"Whatdotheservantboysknow?"T'anCh'unreplied."Thoseyouchoseformewereplainyetnot
commonplace.Neitherweretheyofcoarsemake.Sowereyoutoprocuremeasmanyasyoucangetofthem,
I'llworkyouapairofslipperslikethoseIgaveyoulasttime,andspendtwiceasmuchtroubleoverthemasI
didoverthatpairyouhave.Now,whatdoyousaytothisbargain?"

"Yourreferencetothis,"smiledPaoy,"remindsmeofanoldincident.OnedayIhadthemon,andbya
strangecoincidence,Imetfather,whosefancytheydidnottake,andheinquiredwhohadworkedthem.But
howcouldImusterupcouragetoalludetothethreewords:mysisterTertia,soIansweredthatmymaternal
aunthadgiventhemtomeontherecentoccasionofmybirthday.Whenfatherheardthattheyhadbeengivento
mebymyaunt,hecouldnotverywellsayanything.Butafterawhile,'whyuselesslywaste,'heobserved,
'humanlabour,andthrowawaysilkstomakethingsofthissort!'Onmyreturn,ItoldHsiJenaboutit.'Never
mind,'saidHsiJenbutMrs.Chaogotangry.'Herownbrother,'shemurmuredindignantly,'wearsslipshod
shoesandsocksinholes,andthere'snoonetolookafterhim,anddoesshegoandworkallthesethings!'"
T'anCh'un,hearingthis,immediatelyloweredherface."Nowtellme,aren'tthesewordsutterrot!"sheshouted.
"WhatamIthatIhavetomakeshoes?AndisitlikelythatHuanErhhasn'thisownshareofthings!Clothesare
clothes,andshoesandsocksareshoesandsocksandhowisitthatanygrudgesariseintheroomofamere
servantgirlandoldmatron?Forwhosebenefitdoesshecomeoutwithallthesethings!Isimplyworkapairor
partofapairwhenIamatleisure,withtimeonmyhands.AndIcangivethemtoanybrother,elderoryounger,
Ifancyandwhohasarighttointerferewithme?Thisisjustanotherbitofblindanger!"
Afterlisteningtoher,Paoynoddedhisheadandsmiled."Yet,"hesaid,"youdon'tknowwhathermotivesmay
be.It'sbutnaturalthatsheshouldalsocherishsomeexpectations."
ThisapologyincensedT'anCh'unmorethanever,andtwistingherheadround,"Evenyouhavegrowndull!"
shecried."Shedoes,ofcourse,indulgeinexpectations,buttheyareactuatedbysomeunderhandandpaltry
notion!Shemaygoongivingwaytotheseideas,butI,formypart,willonlycareforMr.ChiaChengand
MadameWang.Iwon'tcarearapforanyoneelse.Infact,I'llbenicewithsuchofmysistersandbrothers,as
arenicetomeandwon'tevendrawanydistinctionbetweenthosebornofprimarywivesandthoseofsecondary
ones.Properlyspeaking,Ishouldn'tsaythesethingsabouther,butshe'snarrowmindedtoadegree,andunlike
whatsheshouldbe.There'sbesidesanotherridiculousthing.ThistookplacethelasttimeIgaveyouthemoney
togetmethosetrifles.Well,twodaysafterthat,shesawme,andshebeganagaintorepresentthatshehadno
moneyandthatshewashardup.Nevertheless,Ididnotworrymybrainwithhergoingson.Butasithappened,
theservantgirlssubsequentlyquittedtheroom,andsheatoncestartedfindingfaultwithme.'Why,'sheasked,
'doIgiveyoumysavingstospendanddon't,afterall,letHuanErhhavethemandenjoythem?'WhenIheard
thesereproaches,Ifeltbothinclinedtolaugh,andalsodisposedtolosemytemperbutIthereandthen
skedaddledoutofherquarters,andwentovertoourMadameWang."
Asshewasrecountingthisincident,"Well,"sheoverheardPaoch'aisarcasticallyobservefromtheopposite
direction,"haveyoudonespinningyouryarns?Ifyouhave,comealong!It'squiteevidentthatyouarebrother
andsister,forhereyouleaveeveryoneelseandgoanddiscussyourownprivatematters.Couldn'twetoolisten
toasinglesentenceofwhatyouhavetosay?"
Whileshetauntedthem,T'anCh'unandPaoyeventuallydrewnearherwithsmilingfaces.
Paoy,however,failedtoseeLinTaiyandheconcludedthatshehaddodgedoutofthewayandgone
elsewhere."Itwouldbebetter,"hemuttered,aftersomethought,"thatIshouldlettwodayselapse,andgiveher
tempertimetoevaporatebeforeIgotoher."Butashedroopedhishead,hiseyewasattractedbyaheapof
touchmenots,pomegranateblossomandvariouskindsoffallenflowers,whichcoveredthegroundthickas
tapestry,andheheavedasigh."It'sbecause,"hepondered,"she'sangrythatshedidnotremovetheseflowers
butI'lltakethemovertotheplace,andbyandbyeaskheraboutthem."
Ashearguedtohimself,heheardPaoch'aibidthemgoout."I'lljoinyouinamoment,"Paoyrepliedand
waitingtillhistwocousinshadgonesomedistance,hebundledtheflowersintohiscoat,andascendingthehill,
hecrossedthestream,penetratedintothearbour,passedthroughtheavenueswithflowersandwendedhisway
straightforthespot,wherehehad,onapreviousoccasion,interredthepeachblossomswiththeassistanceof
LinTaiy.Butscarcelyhadhereachedthemoundcontainingtheflowers,andbeforehehad,asyet,rounded
thebrowofthehill,thanhecaught,emanatingfromtheoffside,thesoundofsomeonesobbing,whowhile
givingwaytoinvective,weptinamostheartrendingway.

"Iwonder,"soliloquisedPaoy,"whoseservantgirlthisis,whohasbeensoaggrievedastorunoverhereto
haveagoodcry!"
Whilespeculatingwithinhimself,hehalted.Hethenheard,mingledwithwails:
Flowerswitheranddecayandflowersdofleettheyflyallo'erthe
skies
Theirbloomwanestheirsmelldiesbutwhoistherewiththemto
sympathise?
Whilevagrantgossamersoftdothonflutteringspringbowersbindits
coils,
Anddroopingcatkinslightlystrikeandclingontheembroidered
screens,
Amaidenintheinnerrooms,Isoredeplorethecloseofspring.
Suchceaselesssorrowfillsmybreast,thatsolacenowherecanIfind.
PasttheembroideredscreenIissueforth,takingwithmeahoe,
AndonthefadedflowerstotreadIneedsmust,asIcomeandgo.
Thewillowfibresandelmseedshaveeachafragranceoftheirown.
WhatcareI,peachblossomsmayfall,pearflowersawaybeblown
Yetpeachandpearwill,whennextyearreturns,burstoutagainin
bloom,
Butcanite'erbetoldwhowillnextyeardwellintheinnerroom?
Whattimethethirdmooncomes,thescentednestshavebeenalready
built.
Andonthebeamstheswallowsperch,excessivespiritlessandstaid
Nextyear,whentheflowersbud,theymay,it'strue,haveampleto
feedon:
ButtheyknownotthatwhenI'mgonebeamswillbevacantandnests
fall!
Inawholeyear,whichdothconsistofthreehundredandsixtydays,
Windssharpasswordsandfrostlikeuntospearseachotherrigorous
press,
Sothathowlongcanlasttheirbeautybrighttheirfreshcharmhow
longstays?
Suddentheydroopandflyandwhithertheyhaveflown,'tishardto
guess.
Flowers,whileinbloom,easytheeyeattractbut,whentheywither,
hardtheyaretofind.
Nowbythefootsteps,Iburytheflowers,butsorrowwillslayme.
AloneIstand,andasIclutchthehoe,silenttearstrickledown,
Anddriponthebaretwigs,leavingbehindthemthetracesofblood.
Thegoatsuckerhathsunghissong,theshadeslowerofeventide,
SowiththelotushoeIreturnhomeandshutthedoubledoors.
UponthewallthegreenlampshedsitsraysjustasIgotosleep.
Thecoverisyetcoldagainstthewindowpattersthebleakrain.
Howstrange!WhycaniteverbethatIfeelsowoundedatheart!
Partly,becausespringIregretpartly,becausewithspringI'm
vexed!
Regretforspring,becauseitsuddencomesvexed,foritsuddengoes.
Forwithoutwarning,lo!itcomesandwithoutaskingitdothfleet.
Yesterdaynight,outsidethehallsorrowfulsongsburstfrommymouth,
ForIfoundoutthatflowersdecay,andthatbirdsalsopassaway.
Thesoulofflowers,andthespiritofbirdsarebothhardto
restrain.

Birds,tothemselveswhenleft,insilenceplungeandflowers,alone,
theyblush.
Oh!wouldthatonmysidesapairofwingscouldgrow,
ThattotheendofheavenImayflyinthewakeofflowers!
Yeatotheveryendofheaven,
WhereIcouldfindafragrantgrave!
Forbetter,isitnot,thatanembroideredbagshouldholdmy
wellshapedbones,
Andthataheapofstainlessearthshouldinitsfoldsmywinsome
charmsenshroud.
Forspotlessoncemyframedidcome,andspotlessagainitwillgo!
FarbetterthanthatI,likefilthymire,shouldsinkintosomedrain!
Yeflowersarenowfadedandgone,and,lo,Icometoburyyou.
Butasforme,whatdayIshallseedeathisnotasyetdivined!
HereIamfaintheseflowerstointerbuthumankindwilllaughmeas
afool.
Whoknows,whowill,inyearstocome,commitmetomygrave!
Mark,andyou'llfindthecloseofspring,andthegradualdecayof
flowers,
Resemblefaithfullythetimeofdeathofmaidensripeinyears!
Inatwinkle,springtimedrawstoaclose,andmaidenswaxinage.
Flowersfadeandmaidensdieandofeithernoughtanymoreisknown.
Afterlisteningtotheseeffusions,Paoyunconsciouslythrewhimselfdowninawanderingframeofmind.
But,reader,doyoufeelanyinterestinhim?Ifyoudo,thesubsequentchaptercontainsfurtherdetailsabouthim.

CHAPTERXXVIII.
ChiangYhanlovinglypresentsarubiascentedsilksash.
HsehPaoch'aiblushinglycovershermuskperfumedstringofred
beads.
LinTaiy,thestorygoes,dwelt,afterCh'ingWen'srefusal,thepreviousnight,toopenthedoor,underthe
impressionthattheblamelaywithPaoy.Thefollowingday,whichbyanotherremarkablecoincidence,
happenedtocorrespondwiththeseason,whenthegodofflowershadtobefeasted,hertotalignoranceofthe
truecircumstances,andherresentment,asyetunspent,arousedagaininherdespondentthoughts,suggestedby
thedeclineofspringtime.Sheconsequentlygatheredaquantityoffadedflowersandfallenpetals,andwentand
interredthem.Unabletochecktheemotion,causedbythedecayoftheflowers,shespontaneouslyrecited,after
givingwaytoseveralloudlamentations,thoseverseswhichPaoy,shelittlethought,overheardfromhis
positiononthemound.Atfirst,hedidnomorethannodhisheadandheavesighs,fulloffeeling.Butwhen
subsequentlyhisearcaught:
"HereIamfaintheseflowerstointer,buthumankindwilllaughmeas
afool
Whoknowswhowill,inyearstocome,commitmetomygrave!
Inatwinklespringtimedrawstoanend,andmaidenswaxinage.
Flowersfadeandmaidensdieandofeithernaughtanymoreisknown."

heunconsciouslywassooverpoweredwithgriefthathethrewhimselfonthemound,bestrewingthewhole
groundwiththefallenflowershecarriedinhiscoat,closetohischest."WhenTaiy'sflowerlikecharmsand
moonlikebeauty,"hereflected,"byandbyelikewisereachatimewhentheywillvanishbeyondanyhopeof
recovery,won'tmyheartbelaceratedandmyfeelingsbemangled!Andextending,sinceTaiymustatlength
somedayreverttoastatewhenitwillbedifficulttofindher,thisreasoningtootherpersons,likePaoch'ai,
HsiangLing,HsiJenandtheothergirls,theytooareequallyliabletoattainastatebeyondthereachofhuman
search.ButwhenPaoch'aiandalltheresthaveultimatelyreachedthatstagewhennotracewillbevisibleof
them,whereshallImyselfbethen?Andwhenmyownhumanformwillhavevanishedandgone,whitherI
knownotyet,towhatperson,Iwonder,willthisplace,thisgardenandtheseplants,revert?"
Fromonetoasecond,andfromasecondtoathird,hethuspursuedhisreflections,backwardsandforwards,
untilhereallydidnotknowhowhecouldbest,atthistimeandatsuchajuncture,dispelhisfitofanguish.His
stateisadequatelydescribedby:
Theshadowofaflowercannoterrfromthefloweritselftotheleft
ortheright.
Thesongofbirdscanonlypenetrateintotheearfromtheeastorthe
west.
LinTaiywasherselfapreytoemotionandagitation,whenunawaressorrowfulaccentsalsostruckherear,
fromthedirectionofthemound."Everyone,"shecogitated,"laughsatmeforlabouringunderafoolishmania,
butistherelikelyanotherfoolbesidesmyself?"Shethenraisedherhead,and,castingaglanceabouther,she
discoveredthatitwasPaoy."Ts'ui!"eagerlycriedTaiy,"Iwaswonderingwhoitwasbutisittrulythis
ruthlessheartedandshortlivedfellow!"
Butthemomentthetwowords"shortlived"droppedfromhermouth,shesealedherlipsand,heavingadeep
sigh,sheturnedherselfroundandhurriedlywalkedoff.
Paoy,meanwhile,remainedforatimeapreytomelancholy.ButperceivingthatTaiyhadretired,heatonce
realisedthatshemusthavecaughtsightofhimandgotoutofhiswayand,ashisowncompanyaffordedhim
nopleasure,heshookthedustoffhisclothes,rosetohisfeetanddescendingthehill,hestartedfortheIHung
courtbythepathbywhichhehadcome.ButheespiedTaiywalkinginadvanceofhim,andwithrapidstride,
heovertookher."Stopalittle!"hecried."Iknowyoudon'tcarearapformebutI'lljustmakeonesingle
remark,andfromthisdayforwardwe'llpartcompany."
Taiylookedround.ObservingthatitwasPaoy,shewasabouttoignorehimhearinghimhowevermention
thathehadonlyonethingtosay,"Pleasetellmewhatitis,"sheforthwithrejoined.
Paoysmiledather."IfIpasstworemarkswillyoulistentomeyesorno?"heasked.
Atthesewords,Taiytwistedherselfroundandbeataretreat.Paoyhoweverfollowedbehind.
"Sincethisiswhatwe'vecometonow,"hesighed,"whatwastheuseofwhatexistedbetweenusindaysgone
by?"
AssoonasTaiyheardhisexclamation,shestoppedshortimpulsively.Turningherfacetowardshim,"what
aboutdaysgoneby,"sheremarked,"andwhataboutnow?"
"Ai!"ejaculatedPaoy,"whenyougothereindaysgoneby,wasn'tIyourplaymateinallyourrompsandinall
yourfun?Myheartmayhavebeensetuponanything,butifyouwantedityoucouldtakeitawayatonce.Imay
havebeenfondofanyeatable,butifIcametolearnthatyoutoofanciedit,Ithereandthenputawaywhatcould
beputaway,inacleanplace,towait,Miss,foryourreturn.Wehadourmealsatonetablewesleptinoneand
thesamebedwhatevertheservantgirlscouldnotremember,Iremindedthemof,forfearlestyourtemper,
Miss,shouldgetruffled.Iflatteredmyselfthatcousins,whohavegrownuptogetherfromtheirinfancy,asyou
andIhave,wouldhavecontinued,throughintimacyorfriendship,eitherwouldhavedone,inpeaceand

harmonyuntiltheend,soastomakeitpalpablethatweareabovetherest.But,contrarytoallmyexpectations,
nowthatyou,Miss,havedevelopedinbodyaswellasinmind,youdon'ttaketheleastheedofme.Youlayhold
insteadofsomecousinPaoorcousinFengorotherfromhere,thereandeverywhereandgivethemaplacein
youraffectionswhileonthecontraryyoudisregardmeforthreedaysatastretchanddeclinetoseeanythingof
meforfour!Ihavebesidesnobrotherorsisterofthesamemotherasmyself.It'struethereareacoupleofthem,
butthese,areyounotforsoothaware,arebyanothermother!YouandIareonlychildren,soIventuredtohope
thatyouwouldhavereciprocatedmyfeelings.But,who'dhavethoughtit,I'vesimplythrownawaythisheartof
mine,andhereIamwithplentyofwoestobear,butwithnowheretogoandutterthem!"
Whileexpressingthesesentiments,tears,unexpectedly,trickledfromhiseyes.
WhenLinTaiycaught,withherears,hisprotestations,andnoticedwithhereyeshisstateofmind,she
unconsciouslyexperiencedaninwardpang,and,muchagainstherwill,tearstoobesprinkledhercheeksso,
droopingherhead,shekeptsilent.
HermannerdidnotescapePaoy'snotice."Imyselfamaware,"hespeedilyresumed,"thatI'mworthnothing
nowbut,howeverimperfectImaybe,Icouldonnoaccountpresumetobecomeguiltyofanyshortcomingwith
youcousin.WereItoevercommittheslightestfault,yourtaskshouldbeeithertotendermeadviceandwarn
menottodoitagain,ortoblowmeupalittle,orgivemeafewwhacksandallthisreproofIwouldn'ttake
amiss.Butnoonewouldhaveeveranticipatedthatyouwouldn'tbotheryourheadintheleastaboutme,andthat
youwouldbethemeansofdrivingmetomywits'ends,andsomuchoutofmymindandoffmyhead,astobe
quiteatalosshowtoactforthebest.Infact,weredeathtocomeuponme,Iwouldbeaspiritdriventomy
gravebygrievances.HowevermuchexaltedbonzesandeminentTaoistpriestsmightdopenance,theywouldn't
succeedinreleasingmysoulfromsufferingforitwouldstillbeneedfulforyoutoclearlyexplainthefacts,so
thatImightatlastbeabletocometolife."
Afterlendinghimapatientear,Taiysuddenlybanishedfromhermemoryallrecollectionoftheoccurrences
ofthepreviousnight."Well,inthatcase,"shesaid,"whydidyounotletaservantgirlopenthedoorwhenI
cameover?"
ThisquestiontookPaoybysurprise."Whatpromptsyoutosaythis?"heexclaimed."IfIhavedoneanything
ofthekind,mayIdieatonce."
"Psha!"criedTaiy,"it'snotrightthatyoushouldrecklesslybroachthesubjectoflivingordyingatthisearly
morn!Ifyousayyea,it'syeaandnay,it'snaywhatuseistheretouttersuchoaths!"
"Ididn'treallyseeyoucomeover,"protestedPaoy."CousinPaoch'aiitwas,whocameandsatforawhile
andthenleft."
Aftersomereflection,LinTaiysmiled."Yes,"sheobserved,"yourservantgirlsmust,Ifancy,havebeentoo
lazytobudge,grumpyandinacrossgrainedmoodthisisprobableenough."
"Thisis,Ifeelsure,thereason,"answeredPaoy,"sowhenIgoback,
I'llfindoutwhoitwas,callthemtotaskandputthingsright."
"Thosegirlsofyours"continuedTaiy,"shouldbegivenalesson,butproperlyspeakingitisn'tformeto
mentionanythingaboutit.TheirpresentinsulttomeisameretriflebutweretomorrowsomeMissPao
(precious)orsomeMissPei(jewel)orothertocome,andwereshetobesubjectedtoinsult,won'titbeagrave
matter?"
Whileshetauntedhim,shepressedherlips,andlaughedsarcastically.
Paoyheardherremarksandfeltbothdisposedtognashhisteethwithrage,andtotreatthemasajokebutin
themidstoftheircolloquy,theyperceivedawaitingmaidapproachandinvitethemtohavetheirmeal.

Presently,thewholebodyofinmatescrossedovertothefront.
"Miss,"inquiredMadameWangatthesightofTaiy,"haveyoutakenanyofDr.Pao'smedicines?Doyoufeel
anybetter?"
"Isimplyfeelsoso,"repliedLinTaiy,"butgrandmotherChiarecommendedmetogoontakingDr.Wang's
medicines."
"Mother,"Paoyinterposed,"you'venoideathatcousinLin'sisaninternalderangementit'sbecauseshewas
bornwithadelicatephysiquethatshecan'tstandtheslightestcold.Allsheneeddoistotakeacoupleofcloses
ofsomedecoctiontodispelthechillyetit'spreferablethatsheshouldhavemedicineinpills."
"Theotherday,"saidMadameWang,"thedoctormentionedthenameofsomepills,butI'veforgottenwhatit
is."
"Iknowsomethingaboutpills,"putinPaoy"hemerelytoldhertotakesomepillsorothercalled'ginsengas
arestorativeofthesystem.'"
"Thatisn'tit,"MadameWangdemurred.
"The'Eightpreciouswholesometomother'pills,"Paoyproceeded,"orthe'Leftangelica'or'Rightangelica'
ifthesealsoaren'ttheones,theymustbethe'EightflavourRehmanniaglutinosa'pills."
"Noneofthese,"rejoinedMadameWang,"forIrememberwellthattherewerethetwowordschinkang
(guardiansinBuddhistictemples)."
"I'veneverbefore,"observedPaoy,clappinghishands,"heardoftheexistenceofchinkangpillsbutinthe
eventoftherebeinganychinkangpills,theremust,foracertainty,besuchathingasP'uSa(Buddha)powder."
Atthisjoke,everyoneinthewholeroomburstoutlaughing.Paoch'aicompressedherlipsandgaveasmile."It
must,I'minclinedtothink,"shesuggested,"bethe'lordofheavenstrengthentheheart'pills!"
"Yes,that'sthename,"MadameWanglaughed,"why,now,Itoohavebecomemuddleheaded."
"You'renotmuddleheaded,mother,"saidPaoy,"it'sthementionof
ChinkangsandBuddhaswhichconfusedyou."
"Stuffandnonsense!"ejaculatedMadameWang."Whatyouwantagainisyourfathertowhipyou!"
"Myfather,"Paoylaughed,"wouldn'twhipmeforathinglikethis."
"Well,thisbeingtheirname,"resumedMadameWang,"youhadbettertellsomeonetomorrowtobuyyoua
few."
"Allthesedrugs,"expostulatedPaoy,"areofnoearthlyuse.Wereyou,mother,togivemethreehundredand
sixtytaels,I'llconcoctasupplyofpillsformycousin,whichIcancertifywillmakeherfeelquiteherselfagain
beforeshehasfinishedasinglesupply."
"Whattrash!"criedMadameWang."Whatkindofmedicineistheresocostly!"
"It'sapositivefact,"smiledPaoy."Thisprescriptionofmineisunlikeallothers.Besides,theverynamesof
thosedrugsarequaint,andcouldn'tbeenumeratedinamomentsufficeittomentiontheplacentaofthefirst
childthreehundredandsixtyginsengroots,shapedlikehumanbeingsandstuddedwithleavesfourfat
tortoisesfullgrownpolygonummultiflorumthecoreofthePachymacocos,foundontherootsofafirtreeofa
thousandyearsoldandothersuchspeciesofmedicines.They'renot,Iadmit,outofthewaythingsbutthey
arethemostexcellentamongthatwholecrowdofmedicinesandwereItobegintogiveyoualistofthem,

why,they'dtakeyouallquiteaback.Theyearbeforelast,IatlengthletHsehP'anhavethisrecipe,afterhehad
madeeversomanyentreatiesduringoneortwoyears.When,however,hegottheprescription,hehadtosearch
foranothertwoorthreeyearsandtospendoverandaboveathousandtaelsbeforehesucceededinhavingit
prepared.Ifyoudon'tbelieveme,mother,youareatlibertytoaskcousinPaoch'aiaboutit."
Atthementionofhername,Paoch'ailaughinglywavedherhand."Iknownothingaboutit,"sheobserved."Nor
haveIheardanythingaboutit,sodon'ttellyourmothertoaskmeanyquestions."
"Really,"saidMadameWangsmiling,"Paoch'aiisagoodgirlshedoesnottelllies."
Paoywasstandinginthecentreoftheroom.Uponhearingthesewords,heturnedroundsharplyandclapped
hishands."WhatIstatedjustnow,"heexplained,"wasthetruthyetyoumaintainthatitwasalllies."
Ashedefendedhimself,hecasuallylookedround,andcaughtsightofLinTaiyatthebackofPaoch'ai
laughingwithtightsetlips,andapplyingherfingerstoherfacetoputhimtoshame.
ButLadyFeng,whohadbeenintheinnerroomsoverseeingtheservantslayingthetable,cameoutatonce,as
soonassheoverheardtheconversation."BrotherPaotellsnolies,"shesmilinglychimedin,"thisisreallyafact.
SometimeagocousinHsehP'ancameoverinpersonandaskedmeforpearls,andwhenIinquiredofhim
whathewantedthemfor,heexplainedthattheywereintendedtocompoundsomemedicinewithadding,inan
aggrievedway,thatitwouldhavebeenbetterhadn'thetakenitinhandforheneverhadanyideathatitwould
involvesuchalotoftrouble!WhenIquestionedhimwhatthemedicinewas,hereturnedforanswerthatitwasa
prescriptionofbrotherPao'sandhementionedeversomanyingredients,whichIdon'tevenremember.'Under
othercircumstances,'hewentontosay,'Iwouldhavepurchasedafewpearls,butwhatareabsolutelywanted
aresuchpearlsashavebeenwornontheheadandthat'swhyIcometoaskyou,cousin,forsome.If,cousin,
you'vegotnobrokenornamentsathand,intheshapeofflowers,why,thosethatyouhaveonyourheadwilldo
aswellandbyandbyeI'llchooseafewgoodonesandgivethemtoyou,towear.'Ihadnoothercourse
thereforethantosnapacoupleoftwigsfromsomeflowersIhave,madeofpearls,andtolethimtakethem
away.Onealsorequiresapieceofdeepredgauze,threefeetinlengthofthebestqualityandthepearlsmustbe
trituratedtopowderinamortar."
AftereachsentenceexpressedbyladyFeng,PaoymutteredaninvocationtoBuddha."Thethingisasclearas
sunlightnow,"heremarked.
ThemomentladyFenghaddonespeaking,Paoyputinhisword."Mother,"headded,"youshouldknowthat
thisisameremakeshift,forreally,accordingtotheletteroftheprescription,thesepearlsandpreciousstones
should,properlyspeaking,consistofsuchashadbeenobtainedfrom,someoldgraveandbeenwornashead
ornamentsbysomewealthyandhonourablepersonofbygonedays.Buthowcouldonegonowonthisaccount
anddigupgraves,andopentombs!Henceitisthatsuchasaresimplyinuseamonglivingpersonscanequally
wellbesubstituted."
"Omitofu!"exclaimedMadameWang,afterlisteningtohimthroughout."Thatwillneverdo,andwhatan
arduousjobtouselesslysaddleone'sselfwithforeventhoughtherebeinterredinsomegravespeople,who've
beendeadforseveralhundredsofyears,itwouldn'tbeapropitiousthingweretheircorpsesturnedtopsyturvey
nowandthebonesabstractedjustforthesakeofpreparingsomemedicineorother."
PaoythereuponaddressedhimselftoTaiy."Haveyouheardwhatwassaidornot?"heasked."Andisthere,
pray,anylikelihoodthatcousinSecundawouldalsofollowinmyleadandtelllies?"
Whilesayingthis,hiseyeswere,albeithisfacewasturnedtowardsLin
Taiy,fixeduponPaoch'ai.
LinTaiypulledMadameWang."Youjustlistentohim,aunt,"sheobserved."AllbecausecousinPaoch'ai
wouldnotaccommodatehimbylying,heappealstome."

"Paoyhasagreatknack,"MadameWangsaid,"ofdealingcontemptuouslywithyou,hiscousin."
"Mother,"Paoysmilinglyprotested,"youarenotawarehowthecasestands.WhencousinPaoch'ailivedat
home,sheknewnothingwhateveraboutmyeldercousinHsehP'an'saffairs,andhowmuchlessnowthatshe
hastakenupherquartersinsidethegarden?She,ofcourse,knowslessthaneveraboutthem!Yet,cousinLin
justnowstealthilytreatedmystatementsaslies,andputmetotheblush."
Thesewordswerestillonhislips,whentheyperceivedawaitingmaid,fromdowagerladyChia'sapartments,
comeinquestofPaoyandLinTaiytogoandhavetheirmeal.LinTaiy,however,didnotevencallPao
y,butforthwithrisingtoherfeet,shewentalong,draggingthewaitingmaidbythehand.
"Let'swaitformasterSecundus,Mr.Pao,togoalongwithus,"demurredthegirl.
"Hedoesn'twantanythingtoeat,"LinTaiyreplied"hewon'tcomewithus,soI'llgoahead."Sosayingshe
promptlylefttheroom.
"I'llhavemyrepastwithmymothertoday,"Paoysaid.
"Notatall,"MadameWangremarked,"notatall.I'mgoingtofasttoday,soit'sonlyrightandproperthatyou
shouldgoandhaveyourown."
"I'llalsofastwithyouthen,"Paoyretorted.
Ashespoke,hecalledouttotheservanttogoback,andrushinguptothetable,hetookaseat.
MadameWangfacedPaoch'aiandhercompanions."You,girls,"sheobserved,"hadbetterhaveyourmeal,and
lethimhavehisownway!"
"It'sonlyrightthatyoushouldgo,"Paoch'aismiled."Whetheryouhaveanythingtoeatornot,youshouldgo
overforawhiletokeepcompanytocousinLin,asshewillbequitedistressedandoutofspirits."
"Whocaresabouther!"Paoyrejoined,"she'llgetallrightagainafteratime."
Shortly,theyfinishedtheirrepast.ButPaoyapprehended,inthefirstplace,thathisgrandmotherChia,would
besolicitousonhisaccount,andlonged,inthesecond,tobewithLinTaiy,sohehurriedlyaskedforsometea
torinsehismouthwith.
"CousinSecundus,"T'anCh'unandHsiCh'uninterposedwithanironiclaugh,"what'stheuseofthehurry
scurryyou'reinthewholedaylong!Evenwhenyou'rehavingyourmeals,oryourtea,you'reinthissortof
fussyhelterskelter!"
"Makehimhurryupandhavehistea,"Paoch'aichimedinsmiling,"sothathemaygoandlookuphiscousin
Lin.He'llbeuptoallkindsofmischiefifyoukeephimhere!"
Paoydrankhistea.Thenhastilyleavingtheapartment,heproceededstraightwaytowardstheeasterncourt.As
luckwouldhaveit,themomenthegotnearladyFeng'scourt,hedescriedladyFengstandingatthegateway.
Whilestandingonthestep,andpickingherteethwithanearcleaner,shesuperintendedabouttenyoung
servantboysremovingtheflowerpotsfromplacetoplace.AssoonasshecaughtsightofPaoyapproaching,
sheputonasmilingface."Youcomequiteopportunely,"shesaid"walkin,walkin,andwriteafewcharacters
forme."
Paoyhadnooptionbuttofollowherin.Whentheyreachedtheinteriorofherrooms,ladyFenggaveordersto
aservanttofetchapen,inkslabandpaper.
"Fortyrollsofdeepredornamentedsatin,"shebegan,addressingherselftoPaoy,"fortyrollsofsatinwith
dragonsahundredrollsofgauzesofeverycolour,ofthefinestqualityfourgoldnecklaces."

"What'sthis?"Paoyshouted,"itisneitherabillnorisitalistofpresents,andinwhatstyleshallIwriteit?"
LadyFengremonstratedwithhim."Justyougoonwriting,"shesaid,"for,infact,aslongasIcanmakeout
whatitmeans,it'sallthatisneeded."
Paoyatthisresponsefeltconstrainedtoproceedwiththewriting.
ThisoverladyFengputthepaperby.Asshedidso,"I'vestillsomethingmoretotellyou,"shesmilingly
pursued,"butIwonderwhetheryouwillaccedetoitornot.Thereisinyourroomsaservantmaid,HsiaoHung
byname,whomIwouldliketobringoverintomyservice,andI'llselectseveralgirlstomorrowtowaitonyou
willthisdo?"
"Theservantsinmyquarters,"answeredPaoy,"musteralargecrowd,sothat,cousin,youareatperfectliberty
tosendforanyoneofthem,whomighttakeyourfancywhat'stheneedthereforeofaskingmeaboutit?"
"Ifthatbeso,"continuedladyFenglaughingly,"I'lltellsomeoneatoncetogoandbringherover."
"Yes,shecangoandfetchher,"acquiescedPaoy.
Whilereplying,hemadeanattempttotakehisleave."Comeback,"shoutedladyFeng,"I'vegotsomething
moretotellyou."
"Ourvenerableseniorhassentforme,"Paoyrejoined"ifyouhaveanythingtotellmeyoumustwaittillmy
return."
Afterthisexplanation,hethereandthencameovertohisgrandmotherChia'sonthisside,wherehefoundthat
theyhadalreadygotthroughtheirmeal.
"Haveyouhadanythingnicetoeatwithyourmother?"oldladyChiaasked.
"Therewasreallynothingnice,"Paoysmiled."YetImanagedtohaveabowlofricemorethanusual."
"Where'scousinLin?"hetheninquired.
"She'sintheinnerrooms,"answeredhisgrandmother.
Paoysteppedin.Hecaughtsightofawaitingmaid,standingbelow,blowingintoaniron,andtwoservant
girlsseatedonthestovecouchmakingachalkline.Taiywithstoopingheadwascuttingoutsomethingor
otherwithapairofscissorssheheldinherhand.
Paoyadvancedfurtherin."O!what'sthisthatyouareupto!"hesmiled."Youhavejusthadyourriceanddo
youbobyourheaddowninthisway!Why,inashortwhileyou'llbehavingaheadacheagain!"
Taiy,however,didnotheedhimintheleast,butbusiedherselfcuttingoutwhatshehadtodo.
"Thecornerofthatpieceofsatinisnotyetright,"aservantgirlputin."Youhadbetterironitagain!"
Taiythrewdownthescissors."Whyworryyourselfaboutit?"shesaid"itwillgetquiterightafteratime."
ButwhilePaoywaslisteningtowhatwasbeingsaid,andwasinwardlyfeelinginlowspirits,hebecame
awarethatPaoch'ai,T'anCh'unandtheothergirlshadalsoarrived.AfterashortchatwithdowagerladyChia,
Paoch'ailikewiseenteredtheapartmenttofindoutwhathercousinLinwasupto.ThemomentsheespiedLin
Taiyengagedincuttingoutsomething:"Youhave,"shecried,"attainedmoreskillthaneverforthereyoucan
evencutoutclothes!"
"Thistoo,"laughedTaiysarcastically,"isamerefalsehood,tohoodwinkpeoplewith,nothingmore."

"I'lltellyouajoke,"repliedPaoch'aismiling,"whenIjustnowsaidthatIdidnotknowanythingaboutthat
medicine,cousinPaoyfeltdispleased.""Whocares!"shoutedLinTaiy."He'llgetallrightshortly."
"Ourworthygrandmotherwishestoplayatdominoes,"Paoythereuponinterposeddirectinghisremarksto
Paoch'ai"andthere'snoonethereatpresenttohaveagamewithhersoyou'dbettergoandplaywithher."
"HaveIcomeovernowtoplaydominoes!"promptlysmiledPaoch'aiwhensheheardhissuggestion.Withthis
remark,sheneverthelessatoncequittedtheroom.
"Itwouldbewellforyoutogo,"urgedLinTaiy,"forthere'satigerinhereand,lookout,hemighteatyou
up."
Asshespoke,shewentonwithhercutting.
Paoyperceivedhowbothshewastogivehimanyofherattention,andhehadnoalternativebuttoforcea
smileandtoobserve:"Youshouldalsogoforastroll!Itwillbetimeenoughbyandbyetocontinueyour
cutting."
ButTaiywouldpaynoheedwhatevertohim.Paoyaddressedhimselfthereforetotheservantgirls."Who
hastaughtherhowtocutoutthesethings?"heasked.
"Whatdoesitmatterwhotaughtmehowtocut?"Taiyvehementlyexclaimed,whensherealisedthathewas
speakingtothemaids."It'snobusinessofyours,Mr.Secundus."
Paoywasthenabouttosaysomethinginhisdefencewhenhesawaservantcomeinandreportthattherewas
someoneoutsidewhowishedtoseehim.Atthisannouncement,Paoybetookhimselfwithalacrityoutofthe
room.
"Omitofu!"observedTaiy,turningoutwards,"itwouldn'tmattertoyouifyoufoundmedeadonyour
return!"
Onhisarrivaloutside,PaoydiscoveredPeiMing."Youareinvited,"hesaid,"togotoMr.Feng'shouse."
Uponhearingthismessage,Paoyknewwellenoughthatitwasabouttheprojectmootedthepreviousday,and
accordinglyhetoldhimtogoandaskforhisclothes,whilehehimselfwendedhisstepsintothelibrary.
PeiMingcameforthwithtothesecondgateandwaitedforsomeonetoappear.Seeinganoldwomanwalkout,
PeiMingwentuptoher."OurMasterSecundus,Mr.Pao,"hetoldher,"isinthestudywaitingforhisoutdoor
clothessodogoin,worthydame,anddeliverthemessage."
"Itwouldbebetter,"repliedtheoldwoman,"ifyoudidnotechoyourmother'sabsurdities!OurMaster
Secundus,Mr.Pao,nowlivesinthegarden,andalltheservants,whoattendonhim,stayinthegardenanddo
youagaincomeandbringthemessagehere?"
Atthesewords,PeiMingsmiled."You'requiteright,"herejoined,"inreprovingme,forI'vebecomequite
idiotic."
Sosaying,herepairedwithquicksteptothesecondgateontheeastside,where,byaluckyhit,theyoung
servantboysonduty,werekickingmarblesontheraisedroad.PeiMingexplainedtothemtheobjectofhis
coming.Ayoungboythereuponranin.Afteralonginterval,he,atlength,madehisappearance,holding,
enfoldedinhisarms,abundleofclothes,whichhehandedtoPeiMing,whothenreturnedtothelibrary.Paoy
effectedachangeinhiscostume,andgivingdirectionstosaddlehishorse,heonlytookalongwithhimthefour
servantboys,PeiMing,ChuLo,ShuangJuiandShouErh,andstartedonhisway.HereachedFengTzuying's
doorwaybyashortcut.Aservantannouncedhisarrival,andFengTzuyingcameoutandusheredhimin.Here
hediscoveredHsehP'an,whohadalreadybeenwaitingalongtime,andseveralsingingboysbesidesaswell
asChiangYhan,whoplayedfemaleroles,andYnErh,acourtesanintheChinHsiangcourt.Thewhole

companyexchangedsalutations.Theynexthadtea."Whatyousaidtheotherday,"smiledPaoy,raisinghis
cup,"aboutgoodfortunecomingoutofevilfortunehaspreyedsomuchuponmymind,bothbydayandnight,
thatthemomentIreceivedyoursummonsIhurriedtocomeimmediately."
"Myworthycousins,"rejoinedFengTzuyingsmiling."You'reallfartoocredulous!It'samerehoaxthatImade
useoftheotherday.ForsomuchdidIfearthatyouwouldbesuretorefuseifIopenlyaskedyoutoadrinking
bout,thatIthoughtitfittosaywhatIdid.Butyourattendancetoday,sosoonaftermyinvitation,makesit
clear,littlethoughonewouldhavethoughtit,thatyou'vealltakenitaspuregospeltruth."
Thisadmissionevokedlaughterfromthewholecompany.Thewineswereafterwardsplacedonthetable,and
theytooktheseatsconsistentwiththeirgrades.FengTzuyingfirstandforemostcalledthesingingboysand
offeredthemadrink.NexthetoldYnErhtoalsoapproachandhaveacupofwine.
Bythetime,however,thatHsehP'anhadhadhisthirdcup,heofasuddenlostcontroloverhisfeelings,and
claspingYnErh'shandinhis:"Dosingme,"hesmiled,"thatnovelballadofyourowncompositionandI'll
drinkawholejarfull.Eh,willyou?"
ThisappealcompelledYnErhtotakeuptheguitar.Shethensang:
LovershaveItwo.
TosetasideeitherIcannotbear.
Whenmyheartlongsfortheetocome,
Italsoyearnsforhim.
Bothareinformhandsomeandfair.
Theirbeautytodescribeitwouldbehard.
Justthink,lastnight,whenatasilenthour,wemetinsecret,by
thetrellis
frameladenwithroseswhite,
Onetohisfeelingsstealthilywasgivingvent,
Whenlo,theothercaughtusintheact,
Andlayinghandsonustherewethreestoodlikelitigantsbeforethe
bar.
AndIhad,verily,nowordinanswerformyselftogive.
Atthecloseofhersong,shelaughed."Wellnow,"shecried,"downwiththatwholejar!"
"Why,itisn'tworthajarful,"smiledHsehP'anatthesewords.
"Favouruswithsomeothergoodsong!"
"ListentowhatIhavetosuggest,"Paoyinterposed,asmileonhislips."Ifyougoondrinkinginthisreckless
manner,wewilleasilygetdrunkandtherewillbenofuninit.I'lltaketheleadandswallowalargecupfuland
putinforceanewpenaltyandanyoneofyouwhodoesn'tcomplywithit,willbemulctedintenlargecupfuls,
inquicksuccession!"
Speedilyrisingfromthebanquet,hepouredthewineforthecompany.FengTzuyingandtherestmeanwhile
exclaimedwithonevoice:"Quiteright!quiteright!"
Paoythenliftedalargecupanddraineditwithonedraught."Wewillnow,"heproposed,"dilateonthefour
characters,'sad,wounded,gladandjoyful.'Butwhilediscoursingaboutyoungladies,we'llhavetoillustratethe
fourstatesaswell.Attheendofthisrecitation,we'llhavetodrinkthe'doorcup'overthewine,tosingan
originalandseasonableballad,whileovertheheeltaps,tomakeallusiontosomeobjectonthetable,anddevise
somethingwithsomeoldpoeticallinesorancientscrolls,fromtheFourBooksortheFiveClassics,orwith
somesetphrases."

HsehP'angavehimnotimetofinish.Hewasthefirsttostandupandpreventhimfromproceeding."Iwon't
joinyou,sodon'tcountmethisis,infact,doneinordertoplaytricksuponme."
YnErh,however,alsorosetoherfeetandshovedhimdownintohisseat.
"Whatareyouinsuchafunkfor?"shelaughed."You'refortunateenoughtobeabletodrinkwinedaily,and
can'tyou,forsooth,evencomeuptome?YetImeantorecite,byandbye,myownshare.Ifyousaywhat'sright,
wellandgoodifyoudon't,youwillsimplyhavetoswallowseveralcupsofwineasaforfeit,andisitlikely
you'lldiefromdrunkenness?Areyou,pray,goingnowtodisregardthisruleandtodrink,instead,tenlarge
cupsbesidesgoingdowntopourthewine?"
Oneandallclappedinapplause."Wellsaid!"theyshouted.
Afterthis,HehP'anhadnowayoutofitandfeltcompelledtoresumehisseat.
TheythenheardPaoyrecite:
Agirlissad,
Whenherspringtimeoflifeisfaradvancedandshestilloccupiesa
vacantinnerroom.
Agirlfeelswoundedinherheart,
Whensheregretshavingallowedherbetterhalftogoabroadandwina
marquisdom.
Agirlisglad,
Whenlookinginthemirror,atthetimeofhermorningtoilette,she
findshercolourfair.
Agirlisjoyful,
Whattimeshesitsontheframeofagallowsswing,cladinathin
springgown.
Havinglistenedtohim,"Capital!"oneandallcriedoutinachorus.HsehP'analoneraisedhisface,shookhis
headandremarked:"Itisn'tgood,hemustbefined."
"Whyshouldhebefined?"demurredtheparty.
"Because,"retortedHsehP'an,"whathesaysisentirelyunintelligibletome.Sohowcanhenotbefined?"
YnErhgavehimapinch."Justyouquietlythinkofyours,"shelaughed"forifbyandbyeyouarenotready
you'llalsohavetobearafine."
InduecoursePaoytookuptheguitar.Hewasheardtosing:
"Whenmutualthoughtsarise,tears,bloodstained,endlessdrop,like
lentilessownbroadcast.
Inspring,inceaselessbloomnourishwillowsandflowersaroundthe
paintedtower.
Insidethegauzelatticepeacefulsleepflies,when,afterdark,come
windandrain.
Bothnewbornsorrowsandlongstandinggriefscannotfrommemoryever
die!
E'enjadefinerice,andgoldlikedrinkstheymakehardtogodown
theychokethethroat.
Thelasshasnotthehearttodesistgazingintheglassatherwan
face.
Nothingcanfromthatknittedbrowofhersthosefrownsdispel

Forhardshefindsitpatienttoabidetilltheclepsydrawillhave
runitscourse.
Alas!howfitlylikethefaintoutlineofagreenhillwhichnought
canscreen
Orlikeagreentingedstream,whicheverceaselessflowethonwardfar
andwide!"
Whenthesongdrewtoanend,hiscompanionswithonevoicecriedout:
"Excellent!"
HsehP'anwastheonlyonetofindfault."There'snometreinthem,"hesaid.
Paoyquaffedthe"openingcup,"thenseizingapear,headded:
"WhiletherainstrikesthepearblossomIfirmlyclosethedoor,"
andthusaccomplishedtherequirementsoftherule.
FengTzuying'sturncamenext.
"Amaidisglad."
hecommenced:
Whenatherfirstconfinementshegivesbirthtotwins,bothsons.
Amaidisjoyful,
Whenontheslyshetothegardencreepscricketstocatch.
Amaidissad,
Whenherhusbandsomesicknessgetsandliesinabadstate.
Amaideniswoundedatheart,
Whenafiercewindblowsdownthetower,whereshemakeshertoilette.
Concludingthisrecitation,heraisedthecupandsang:
"Thouartwhatonecouldaptlycallaman.
Butthou'rtendowedwithsomewhattoomuchheart!
Howqueerthouart,crossgrainedandimpishshrewd!
Aspirittoo,thoucouldstnotbemoreshrewd.
IfallIsaythoudostnotthinkistrue,
Insecretjustaminutesearchpursue
Forthenthou'ltknowifIlovetheeornot."
Hissongover,hedrankthe"openingcup"andthenobserved:
"Thecockcrowswhenthemoon'sraysshineuponthethatchdinn."
AfterhisobservanceoftherulefollowedYnErh'sturn.
Agirlissad,
YnErhbegan,
Whenshetriestodivineonwhomshewilldependtowardstheendof
life.

"Mydearchild!"laughinglyexclaimedHsehP'an,"yourworthyMr.Hsehstilllives,andwhydoyougive
waytofears?"
"Don'tconfuseher!"remonstratedeveryoneoftheparty,"don'tmuddleher!"
"Amaideniswoundedatheart."
YnErhproceeded:
"Whenhermotherbeatsandscoldsherandneverforaninstantdoth
desist."
"Itwasonlytheotherday,"interposedHsehP'an,"thatIsawyourmotherandthatItoldherthatIwouldnot
haveherbeatyou."
"Ifyoustillgoonbabbling,"putinthecompanywithoneconsent,"you'llbefinedtencups."
HsehP'anpromptlyadministeredhimselfaslaponthemouth."Howyoulackthefacultyofhearing!"he
exclaimed."Youarenottosayawordmore!"
"Agirlisglad,"
YnErhthenresumed:
Whenherlovercannotbrooktoleaveherandreturnhome.
Amaidenisjoyful,
Whenhushingthepanpipeanddoublepipe,astringedinstrumentshe
thrums.
Attheendofhereffusion,sheatoncebegantosing:
"T'isthethirddayofthethirdmoon,thenutmegsbloom
Amaggot,lo,workshardtopierceintoaflower
Butthoughitceaselessboresitcannotpenetrate.
Socrouchingonthebuds,itswinglikerocksitself.
Mypreciouspet,myowndearlittledarling,
IfIdon'tchoosetoopenhowcanyoustealin?"
Finishinghersong,shedrankthe"openingcup,"afterwhichsheadded:"thedelicatepeachblossom,"andthus
compliedwiththeexigenciesoftherule.
NextcameHsehP'an."Isitformetospeaknow?"HsehP'anasked.
"Amaidenissad"
Butalongtimeelapsedafterthesewordswereutteredandyetnothingfurtherwasheard.
"Sadforwhat?"FengTzuyinglaughinglyasked."Goonandtellusatonce!"
HsehP'anwasmuchperplexed.Hiseyesrolledaboutlikeabell.
"Agirlissad"
hehastilyrepeated.Buthereagainhecoughedtwicebeforeheproceeded.
"Agirlissad."

hesaid:
"Whenshemarriesaspousewhoisalibertine."
Thissentencesotickledthefancyofthecompanythattheyburstoutintoaloudfitoflaughter.
"Whatamusesyouso?"shoutedHsehP'an,"isitlikelythatwhatIsayisnotcorrect?Ifagirlmarriesaman,
whochoosestoforgetallvirtue,howcanshenotfeelsoreatheart?"
Butsoheartilydidtheyalllaughthattheirbodieswerebentintwo."Whatyousayisquiteright,"theyeagerly
replied."Soproceedatoncewiththerest."
HsehP'anthereuponstaredwithvacantgaze.
"Agirlisgrieved."
headded:
Butafterthesefewwordsheoncemorecouldfindnothingtosay.
"Whatisshegrievedabout?"theyasked.
"Whenahugemonkeyfindsitswayintotheinnerroom."
HsehP'anretorted.
Thisreplyseteveryonelaughing."Hemustbemulcted,"theycried,"hemustbemulcted.Thefirstonecould
anyhowbeoverlookedbutthislineismoreunintelligible."
Astheysaidthis,theywereabouttopourthewine,whenPaoysmilinglyinterfered."Therhymeisallright,"
heobserved.
"Themasteroftherules,"HsehP'anremarked,"approvesitineveryway,sowhatareyoupeoplefussing
about?"
Hearingthis,thecompanyeventuallyletthematterdrop.
"Thetwolines,thatfollow,arestillmoredifficult,"suggestedYn
Erhwithasmile,"soyouhadbetterletmereciteforyou."
"Fiddlesticks!"exclaimedHsehP'an,"doyoureallyfancythatIhavenogoodones!JustyoulistentowhatI
shallsay.
"Agirlisglad,
Wheninthebridalroomshelies,withflowerycandlesburning,and
sheislothtoriseatmorn."
Thissentimentfilledoneandallwithamazement."Howsupremelyexcellentthislineis!"theyejaculated.
"Agirlisjoyful,"
HsehP'anresumed,
"Duringtheconsummationofwedlock."

Uponcatchingthisremark,thepartyturnedtheirheadsaway,andshouted:"Dreadful!Dreadful!Butquicksing
yoursongandhavedone."
ForthwithHsehP'ansang:
"Amosquitobuzzesheng,heng,heng!"
Everyonewastakenbysurprise."Whatkindofsongisthis?"theyinquired.
ButHsehP'anwentonsinging:
"Twofliesbuzzweng,weng,weng."
"Enough,"shoutedhiscompanions,"thatwilldo,thatwilldo!"
"Doyouwanttohearitornot?"askedHsehP'an,"thisisanewkindofsong,calledthe'Heng,hengair,'butif
youpeoplearenotdisposedtolisten,letmeoffalsofromsayingwhatIhavetosayovertheheeltapsandI
won'tthensing."
"We'llletyouoff!We'llletyouoff,"answeredoneandall,"sodon'tbehinderingothers."
"Amaidenissad,"
ChiangYhanatoncebegan,
Whenherhusbandleaveshomeandneverdoesreturn.
Amaidenisdisconsolate,
Whenshehasnomoneytogoandbuysomeoleafrangransoil.
Amaidenisglad,
Whenthewickofthelanternformstwoheadsliketwinflowersonone
stem.
Amaidenisjoyful,
Whentrueconjugalpeaceprevailsbetweenherandhermate.
Hisrecitalover,hewentontosing:
"HowIlovetheewiththoseseductivecharmsofthine,heavenborn!
Intruththou'rtlikealivingfairyfromtheazureskies!
Thespringoflifewenowenjoyweareyetyounginyears.
Ourunionis,indeed,ahappymatch!
But.lo!themilkywaydothatitszenithsoar
Harktothedrumswhichbeataroundinthewatchtowers
Soraisethesilverlampandletussoftunderthenuptialcurtain
steal."
Finishingthesong,hedrankthe"openingcup.""Iknow,"hesmiled,"fewpoeticalquotationsbearingonthis
sortofthing.Byastrokeofgoodfortune,however,IyesterdayconnedapairofantitheticalscrollsoftheseI
canonlyrememberjustoneline,butluckyenoughformetheobjectitreferstofiguresaswellonthisfestive
board."
Thissaidheforthwithdrainedthewine,and,pickingupabudofadiminutivevarietyofoleafragrans,he
recited:
"Whentheperfumeofflowerswafts(hsijen)itselfintoaman,he
knowsthedayiswarm."

Thecompanyunanimouslyconcededthattherulehadbeenadheredto.ButHsehP'anonceagainjumpedup.
"It'sawful,awful!"hebawledoutboisterously"heshouldbefined,heshouldbemadetopayaforfeitthere's
nopreciousarticlewhateveronthistablehowisitthenthatyouintroducepreciousthings?"
"Therewasnothingaboutpreciousthings!"ChiangYhanvehementlyexplained.
"WhatIareyoustillprevaricating?"HsehP'ancried,"Well,repeatitagain!"
ChiangYhanhadnoothercoursebuttorecitethelineasecondtime."NowisnotHsiJenapreciousthing?"
HsehP'anasked."Ifsheisn't,whatisshe?Andifyoudon'tbelieveme,youaskhimaboutit,"pointing,atthe
conclusionofthisremark,atPaoy.
Paoyfeltveryuncomfortable.Risingtohisfeet,"Cousin,"heobserved,"youshouldbefinedheavily."
"Ishouldbe!Ishouldbe!"HsehP'anshouted,andsayingthis,hetookupthewineandpoureditdownhis
throatwithonegulp.
FengTzuying,ChiangYhanandtheircompanionsthereuponaskedhimtoexplaintheallusion.YnErh
readilytoldthem,andChiangYhanhastilygotupandpleadedguilty.
"Ignorance,"thepartysaidwithoneconsent,"doesnotamounttoguilt."
ButpresentlyPaoyquittedthebanquettogoandsatisfyanaturalwantandChiangYhanfollowedhimout.
Thetwoyoungfellowshaltedundertheeavesoftheverandah,andChiangYhanthenrecommencedtomake
ampleapologies.Paoy,however,wassoattractedbyhishandsomeandgenialappearance,thathetookquitea
violentfancytohimandsqueezinghishandinafirmgrip."Ifyouhavenothingtodo,"heurged,"doletusgo
overtoourplace.I'vegotsomethingmoretoaskyou.It'sthis,there'sinyourworthycompanysomeonecalled
Ch'iKuan,withareputationextendingatpresentthroughouttheworldbut,unfortunately,Ialonehavenothad
thegoodluckofseeinghimevenonce."
"Thisisreally,"rejoinedChiangYhanwithasmile,"myowninfantname."
ThisdisclosureatoncemadePaoyquiteexuberant,andstampinghisfeethesmiled."Howlucky!I'minluck's
way!"heexclaimed."Inverytruthyourreputationisnoidlereport.Buttodayisourfirstmeeting,andwhat
shallIdo?"
Aftersomethought,heproducedafanfromhissleeve,and,unlooseningoneofthejadependants,hehandedit
toCh'iKuan."Thisisameretrifle,"hesaid."Itdoesnotdeserveyouracceptance,yetitwillbeasmallsouvenir
ofouracquaintancetoday."
Ch'iKuanreceiveditwithasmile."Idonotdeserve,"hereplied,"suchapresent.HowamIworthyofsuchan
honour!Butnevermind,I'vealsogotaboutmehereastrangething,whichIputonthismorningitisbrand
newyet,andwill,Ihope,sufficetoprovetoyoualittleofthefeelingofesteemwhichIentertainforyou."
Withtheseprotestations,heraisedhisgarment,and,untyingadeepredsash,withwhichhisnetherclotheswere
fastened,hepresentedittoPaoy."Thissash,"heremarked,"isanarticlebroughtastributefromtheQueenof
theHsiHsiangKingdom.Ifyouattachthisroundyouinsummer,yourpersonwillemitafragrantperfume,and
itwillnotperspire.ItwasgiventomeyesterdaybythePrinceofPeiChing,anditisonlytodaythatIputiton.
Toanyoneelse,Iwouldcertainlynotbewillingtopresentit.But,Mr.Secundus,pleasedounfastentheoneyou
haveonandgiveittometobindroundme."
ThisproposalextremelydelightedPaoy.Withprecipitatehaste,heacceptedhisgift,and,undoingthedark
brownsashhewore,hesurrenderedittoCh'iKuan.Butbothhadjusthadtimetoadjusttheirrespectivesashes
whentheyheardaloudvoicesay:"Oh!I'vecaughtyou!"AndtheyperceivedHsehP'ancomeoutbyleapsand

bounds.Clutchingthetwoyoungfellows,"Whatdoyou,"heexclaimed,"leaveyourwineforandwithdraw
fromthebanquet.Bequickandproducethosethings,andletmeseethem!"
"There'snothingtosee!"rejoinedthetwoyoungfellowswithonevoice.
HsehP'an,however,wouldbynomeansfallinwiththeirviews.AnditwasonlyFengTzuying,whomadehis
appearanceonthescene,whosucceededindissuadinghim.Soresumingtheirseats,theydrankuntildark,when
thecompanybrokeup.
Paoy,onhisreturnintothegarden,loosenedhisclothes,andhadtea.ButHsiJennoticedthatthependanthad
disappearedfromhisfanandsheinquiredofhimwhathadbecomeofit.
"Imusthavelostitthisverymoment,"Paoyreplied.
Atbedtime,however,descryingadeepredsash,withspotslikespecksofblood,attachedroundhiswaist,Hsi
Jenguessedmoreorlessthetruthofwhatmusthavetranspired."Asyouhavesuchanicesashtofastenyour
trouserswith,"HsiJenconsequentlysaid,"you'dbetterreturnthatoneofmine."
ThisremindermadethefactdawnuponPaoythatthesashhadoriginallybeenthepropertyofHsiJen,and
thatheshouldbyrightsnothavepartedwithitbuthowevermuchhefelthisconsciencesmittenbyremorse,he
failedtoseehowhecouldverywelldisclosethetruthtoher.Hecouldthereforeonlyputonasmiling
expressionandadd,"I'llgiveyouanotheroneinstead."
HsiJenwaspromptedbyhisrejoindertonodherheadandsigh."Ifeltsure"sheobserved"thatyou'dgoagain
anddothesethings!Yetyoushouldn'ttakemybelongingsandbestowthemonthatlowbredsortofpeople.Can
itbethatnoconsiderationfindsaplaceinyourheart?"
Shethenfeltdisposedtotenderhimafewmorewordsofadmonition,butdreading,ontheotherhand,lestshe
should,byirritatinghim,bringthefumesofthewinetohishead,shethoughtitbesttoalsoretiretobed.
Nothingworthnoticingoccurredduringthatnight.Thenextday,whenshewokeupatthebreakofday,she
heardPaoycalloutlaughingly:"Robbershavebeenhereinthenightareyounotawareofit?Justyoulookat
mytrousers."
HsiJenloweredherheadandlooked.Shesawataglancethatthesash,whichPaoyhadworntheprevious
day,wasboundroundherownwaist,andsheatoncerealisedthatPaoymusthaveeffectedthechangeduring
thenightbutpromptlyunbindingit,"Idon'tcareforsuchthings!"shecried,"quick,takeitaway!"
Atthesightofhermanner,Paoyhadtocoaxherwithgentleterms.ThissodisarmedHsiJen,thatshefelt
underthenecessityofputtingonthesashbut,subsequentlywhenPaoysteppedoutoftheapartment,sheat
lastpulleditoff,and,throwingitawayinanemptybox,shefoundoneofhersandfasteneditroundherwaist.
Paoy,however,didnotintheleastnoticewhatshedid,butinquiredwhetheranythinghadhappenedtheday
before.
"LadySecunda,"HsiJenexplained,"dispatchedsomeoneandfetchedHsiaoHungaway.Herwishwastohave
waitedforyourreturnbutasIthoughtthatitwasofnoconsequence,Itookuponmyselftodecide,andsenther
off."
"That'sallright!"rejoinedPaoy."Iknewallaboutit,therewasnoneedforhertowait."
"Yesterday,"resumedHsiJen,"theImperialConsortdeputedtheEunuchHsiatobringahundredandtwenty
ouncesofsilverandtoconveyhercommandsthatfromthefirsttothethird,thereshouldbeoffered,inthe
Ch'ingHsutemple,thanksgivingservicestolastforthreedaysandthattheatricalperformancesshouldbegiven,
andoblationspresented:andtotellourseniormaster,Mr.ChiaChen,totakeallthegentlemen,andgoandburn
incenseandworshipBuddha.Besidesthis,shealsosentpresentsforthedragonfestival."

Continuing,shebadeayoungservantmaidproducethepresents,whichhadbeenreceivedthepreviousday.
Thenhesawtwopalacefansofthebestquality,twostringsofmuskscentedbeads,tworollsofsilk,asfineas
thephoenixtail,andasuperiormatworkedwithhibiscus.Atthesightofthesethings,Paoywasfilledwith
immeasurablepleasure,andheaskedwhetherthearticlesbroughttoalltheothersweresimilartohis.
"Theonlythingsinexcessofyoursthatourvenerablemistresshas,"HsiJenexplained,"consistofascented
jadesceptreandapillowmadeofagate.Thoseofyourworthyfatherandmother,ourmasterandmistress,and
ofyourauntexceedyoursbyascentedsceptreofjade.YoursarethesameasMissPao's.MissLin'sarelike
thoseofMissesSecunda,TertiaandQuarta,whoreceivednothingbeyondafanandseveralpearlsandnoneof
alltheotherthings.Asforourseniorlady,Mrs.ChiaChu,andladySecunda,thesetwogoteachtworollsof
gauze,tworollsofsilk,twoscentedbags,andtwosticksofmedicine."
Afterlisteningtoherenumeration,"What'sthereasonofthis?"hesmiled."HowisitthatMissLin'sarenotthe
sameasmine,butthatMissPao'sinsteadarelikemyown?Maynotthemessagehavebeenwronglydelivered?"
"Whentheywerebroughtoutofthepalaceyesterday,"HsiJenrejoined,"theywerealreadydividedin
respectiveshares,andslipswerealsoplacedonthem,sothathowcouldanymistakehavebeenmade?Yours
wereamongthoseforourdowagerlady'sapartments.WhenIwentandfetchedthem,hervenerableladyship
saidthatIshouldtellyoutogotheretomorrowatthefifthwatchtoreturnthanks.
"Ofcourse,it'smydutytogoover,"Paoycriedatthesewords,butforthwithcallingTzuChan:"Takethese
toyourMissLin,"hetoldher,"andsaythatIgotthem,yesterday,andthatsheisatlibertytokeepoutofthem
anythattakeherfancy."
TzuChanexpressedherobedienceandtookthethingsaway.Afterashorttimeshereturned."MissLinsays,"
sheexplained,"thatshealsogotsomeyesterday,andthatyou,MasterSecundus,shouldkeepyours."
Hearingthisreply,Paoyquicklydirectedaservanttoputthemaway.Butwhenhehadwashedhisfaceand
steppedoutofdoors,bentupongoingtohisgrandmother'sontheotherside,inordertopayhisobeisance,he
caughtsightofLinTaiycomingalongtowardshim,fromtheoppositedirection.Paoyhurriedlywalkedup
toher,"Itoldyou,"hesmiled,"toselectthoseyoulikedfrommythingshowisityoudidn'tchooseany?"
LinTaiyhadlongbeforebanishedfromherrecollectiontheincidentofthepreviousday,whichhadmadeher
angrywithPaoy,andwasonlyexercisedabouttheoccurrenceofthispresentoccasion."I'mnotgiftedwith
suchextremegoodfortune,"sheconsequentlyanswered,"astobeabletoacceptthem.Ican'tcompetewith
MissPao,inconnectionwithwhomsomethingorotheraboutgoldoraboutjadeismentioned.Wearesimply
beingsconnectedwiththevegetablekingdom."
Theallusiontothetwowords"goldandjade,"aroused,ofasudden,muchemotionintheheartofPaoy."If
beyondwhatpeoplesayaboutgoldorjade,"heprotested,"theideaofanysuchthingsevercrossesmymind,
maytheheavensannihilateme,andmaytheearthextinguishme,andmayIfortenthousandgenerationsnever
assumehumanform!"
TheseprotestationsconvincedLinTaiythatsuspicionhadbeenarousedinhim.Withallpromptitude,she
smiledandobserved,"They'realltonouse!Whyuttersuchoaths,whenthere'snorhymeorreason!Whocares
aboutanygoldoranyjadeofyours!"
"Itwouldbedifficultformetotellyou,toyourface,allthesecretsofmyheart,"Paoyresumed,"butbyand
byeyou'llsurelycometoknowallaboutthem!Afterthethreemyoldgrandmother,myfatherandmymother
you,mycousin,holdthefourthplaceand,iftherebeafifth,I'mreadytoswearanotheroath."
"Youneedn'tswearanymore,"LinTaiyreplied,"I'mwellawarethatI,youryoungercousin,haveaplacein
yourheartbutthethingisthatatthesightofyoureldercousin,youatonceforgetallaboutyouryounger
cousin."

"Thiscomesagainfromoversuspicion!"ejaculatedPao"forI'mnotatalldisposedthatway."
"Well,"resumedLinTaiy,"whydidyouyesterdayappealtomewhenthathusseyPaoch'aiwouldnothelp
youbytellingastory?HaditbeenI,whohadbeenguiltyofanysuchthing,Idon'tknowwhatyouwouldn't
havedoneagain."
Butduringtheirtteatte,theyespiedPaoch'aiapproachfromtheoppositedirection,soreadilytheybeata
retreat.Paoch'aihaddistinctlycaughtsightofthem,butpretendingshehadnotseenthem,shetrudgedonher
way,withloweredhead,andrepairedintoMadameWang'sapartments.Afterashortstay,shecametothisside
topaydowagerladyChiaavisit.WithhershealsofoundPaoy.
Paoch'aievermadeitapointtoholdPaoyaloofashermotherhadindaysgonebymentionedtoMadame
Wangandherotherrelativesthatthegoldlockethadbeenthegiftofabonze,thatshehadtowaituntilsuch
timeassomesuitorwithjadeturnedupbeforeshecouldbegiveninmarriage,andothersimilarconfidences.
ButondiscoverythepreviousdaythatYanCh'un'spresentstoheraloneresembledthoseofPaoy,shebegan
tofeelallthemoreembarrassed.Luckily,however,PaoywassoentangledinLinTaiy'smeshesandso
absorbedinheartandmindwithfondthoughtsofhisLinTaiythathedidnotpaytheleastattentiontothis
circumstance.ButsheunawaresnowheardPaoyremarkwithasmile:"CousinPao,letmeseethatstringof
scentedbeadsofyours!"
Byastrangecoincidence,Paoch'aiworethestringofbeadsroundherleftwristsoshehadnoalternative,when
Paoyaskedherforit,thantotakeitoff.Paoch'ai,however,wasnaturallyinclinedtoembonpoint,andit
provedthereforenoeasymatterforhertogetthebeadsoffandwhilePaoystoodbywatchinghersnowwhite
arm,feelingsofadmirationwerequicklystirredupinhisheart."WerethisarmattachedtoMissLin'sperson,"
hesecretlypondered,"Imight,possiblyhavebeenabletocaressit!Butitis,asithappens,partandparcelofher
bodyhowIreallydodeplorethislackofgoodfortune."
Suddenlyhebethoughthimselfofthesecretofgoldandjade,andheagainscannedPaoch'ai'sappearance.At
thesightofhercountenance,resemblingasilverbowl,hereyeslimpidlikewaterandalmondlikeinshape,her
lipscrimson,thoughnotrouged,hereyebrowsjetblack,thoughnotpencilled,alsoofthatfascinationandgrace
whichpresentedsuchacontrasttoLinTaiy'sstyleofbeauty,hecouldnotrefrainfromfallingintosucha
stupidreverie,thatthoughPaoch'aihadgotthestringofbeadsoffherwrist,andwashandingthemtohim,he
forgotallaboutthemandmadenoefforttotakethem.Paoch'airealisedthathewasplungedinabstraction,and
consciousoftheawkwardpositioninwhichshewasplaced,sheputdownthestringofbeads,andturninground
wasonthepointofbetakingherselfaway,whensheperceivedLinTaiy,standingonthedoorstep,laughing
significantlywhilebitingahandkerchiefsheheldinhermouth."Youcan'tresist,"Paoch'aisaid,"asinglepuff
ofwindandwhydoyoustandthereandexposeyourselftotheveryteethofit?"
"Wasn'tIinsidetheroom?"rejoinedLinTaiy,withacynicalsmile."ButIcameouttohavealookasIhearda
shriekintheheavensitturnedout,infact,tobeastupidwildgoose!"
"Astupidwildgoose!"repeatedPaoch'ai."Whereisit,letmealsoseeit!"
"AssoonasIgotout,"answeredLinTaiy,"itflewawaywitha't'erh'sortofnoise."
Whilereplying,shethrewthehandkerchief,shewasholding,straightintoPaoy'sface.Paoywasquitetaken
bysurprise.Hewashitontheeye."Aiyah!"heexclaimed.
But,reader,doyouwanttohearthesequel?Inthatcase,listentothecircumstances,whichwillbedisclosedin
thenextchapter.

CHAPTERXXIX.
Ahappymanenjoysafullmeasureofhappiness,butstillpraysfor
happiness.
Abelovedgirlisverymuchloved,butyetcravesformorelove.
Paoy,soourstoryruns,wasgazingvacantly,whenTaiy,atamomentleastexpected,flungherhandkerchief
athim,whichjusthithimontheeyes,andfrightenedhimoutofhiswits."Whowasit?"hecried.
LinTaiynoddedherheadandsmiled."Iwouldnotventuretodosuchathing,"shesaid,"itwasamereslipof
myhand.AscousinPaoch'aiwishedtoseethesillywildgoose,Iwaspointingitouttoher,whenthe
handkerchiefinadvertentlyflewoutofmygrip."
Paoykeptonrubbinghiseyes.Theideasuggesteditselftohimtomakesomeremonstrance,buthecouldnot
againverywellopenhislips.
Presently,ladyFengarrived.Shethenalluded,inthecourseofconversation,tothethanksgivingservice,which
wastobeofferedonthefirst,intheCh'ingHstemple,andinvitedPaoch'ai,Paoy,Taiyandtheother
inmateswiththemtobepresentatthetheatricals.
"Nevermind,"smiledPaoch'ai,"it'stoohotbesides,whatplayshaven'tIseen?Idon'tmeantocome."
"It'scoolenoughoverattheirplace,"answeredladyFeng."Therearealsotwostoriedbuildingsoneitherside
sowemustallgo!I'llsendservantsafewdaysbeforetodriveallthatherdofTaoistpriestsout,tosweepthe
upperstories,hangupcurtains,andtokeepouteverysingleloaferfromtheinteriorofthetemplesoitwillbe
allrightlikethat.I'vealreadytoldourMadameWangthatifyoupeopledon'tgo,Imeantogoallalone,asI've
beenagaininverylowspiritstheselastfewdays,andaswhentheatricalscomeoffathome,it'soutofthe
questionformetolookonwithanypeaceandquiet."
WhendowagerladyChiaheardwhatshesaid,shesmiled."Well,inthatcase,"sheremarked,"I'llgoalongwith
you."
LadyFeng,atthesewords,gaveasmile."Venerableancestor,"shereplied,"wereyoualsotogo,itwouldbe
eversomuchbetteryetIwon'tfeelquiteatmyease!"
"Tomorrow,"dowagerladyChiacontinued,"Icanstayinthetwostoriedbuilding,situatedontheprincipal
site,whileyoucangototheoneontheside.YoucanthenlikewisedispensewithcomingovertowhereIshall
betostandonanyceremonies.Willthissuityouornot?"
"Thisisindeed,"ladyFengsmiled,"aproofofyourregardforme,myworthysenior."
OldladyChiaatthisstagefacedPaoch'ai."Youtooshouldgo,"shesaid,"soshouldyourmotherforifyou
remainthewholedaylongathome,youwillagainsleepyourheadoff."
Paoch'aifeltconstrainedtosignifyherassent.DowagerladyChiathenalsodespatcheddomesticstoinviteMrs.
Hsehand,ontheirway,theynotifiedMadameWangthatshewastotaketheyoungladiesalongwithher.But
MadameWangfelt,inthefirstplace,inapoorstateofhealth,andwas,inthesecond,engagedinmaking
preparationsforthereceptionofanyarrivalsfromYanCh'un,sothatshe,atanearlyhour,sentwordthatit
wasimpossibleforhertoleavethehouse.YetwhenshereceivedoldladyChia'sbehest,shesmiledand
exclaimed:"Areherspiritsstillsobuoyant!"andtransmittedthemessageintothegardenthatany,whohadany
wishtoavailthemselvesoftheopportunity,wereatlibertytogoonthefirst,withtheirvenerableseniorastheir
chaperonne.Assoonasthesetidingswerespreadabroad,everyoneelsewasindifferentastowhethertheywent
ornotbutofthosegirlswho,dayafterday,neverputtheirfootoutsidethedoorstep,whichofthemwasnot
keenupongoing,themomenttheyheardthepermissionconcededtothem?Evenifanyoftheirrespective

mistressesweretoolazytomove,theyemployedeveryexpedienttoinducethemtogo.HenceitwasthatLi
Kungts'aiandtheotherinmatessignifiedtheirunanimousintentiontobepresent.DowagerladyChia,atthis,
grewmoreexultantthanever,andsheissuedimmediatedirectionsforservantstogoandsweepandputthings
inproperorder.Buttoallthesepreparations,thereisnonecessityofmakingdetailedreferencesufficientto
relatethatonthefirstdayofthemoon,carriagesstoodinathickmaze,andmenandhorsesincloseconcourse,
attheentranceoftheJungKuomansion.
Whentheservants,thevariousmanagersandotherdomesticscametolearnthattheImperialConsortwasto
performgooddeedsandthatdowagerladyChiawastogoinpersonandofferincense,theyarranged,asit
happenedthatthefirstofthemoon,whichwastheprincipaldayoftheceremonies,was,inaddition,theseason
ofthedragonboatfestival,allthenecessaryarticlesinperfectreadinessandwithunusualsplendour.Shortly,
oldladyChiaandtheotherinmatesstartedontheirway.Theoldladysatinanofficialchair,carriedbyeight
bearers:widowLi,ladyFengandMrs.Hseh,eachinafourbearerchair.Paoch'aiandTaiymounted
togetheracurriclewithgreencoverandpearltassels,bearingtheeightpreciousthings.Thethreesisters,Ying
Ch'un,T'anCh'un,andHsiCh'ungotinacarriagewithredwheelsandornamentedhood.Nextinorder,
followeddowagerladyChia'swaitingmaids,YanYang,YingWu,HuPo,ChenChuLinTaiy'swaiting
maidsTzuChan,HsehYen,andCh'unCh'ienPaoch'ai'swaitingmaidsYingErhandWenHsingYing
Ch'un'sservantgirlsSsuCh'iandHsiuChT'anCh'un'swaitingmaidsShihShuandTs'uiMoHsiCh'un's
servantgirlsJuHuaandTs'aiP'ingandMrs.Hseh'swaitingmaidsT'ungHsi,andT'ungKuei.Besidesthese,
werejoinedtotheirretinue:HsiangLingandHsiangLing'sservantgirlCh'inErhMrs.Li'swaitingmaidsSu
YnandPiYehladyFeng'sservantgirlsP'ingErh,FengErhandHsiaoHung,aswellasMadameWang'stwo
waitingmaidsChinCh'uanandTs'aiYn.AlongwithladyFeng,cameanursecarryingTaChiehErh.She
droveinaseparatecarriage,togetherwithacoupleofservantgirls.Addedalsotothenumberofthesuitewere
matronsandnurses,attachedtothevariousestablishments,andthewivesoftheservantsofthehousehold,who
wereinattendanceoutofdoors.Theircarriages,formingoneblacksolidmass,therefore,crammedthewhole
extentofthestreet.
DowagerladyChiaandothermembersofthepartyhadalreadyproceededaconsiderabledistanceintheir
chairs,andyettheinmatesatthegatehadnotfinishedmountingtheirvehicles.Thisoneshouted:"Iwon'tsit
withyou."Thatonecried:"You'vecrushedourmistress'bundle."Inthecarriagesyonder,onescreamed:
"You'vepulledmyflowersoff."Anotheronenearerexclaimed:"You'vebrokenmyfan."Andtheychattedand
chatted,andtalkedandlaughedwithsuchincessantvolubility,thatChouJui'swifehadtogobackwardand
forwardcallingthemtotask."Girls,"shesaid,"thisisthestreet.Theonlookerswilllaughatyou!"Butitwas
onlyaftershehadexpostulatedwiththemseveraltimesthatanysignofimprovementbecameatlastvisible.
ThevanoftheprocessionhadlongagoreachedtheentranceoftheCh'ingHsTemple.Paoyrodeon
horseback.HeprecededthechairoccupiedbyhisgrandmotherChia.Thethrongsthatfilledthestreetsranged
themselvesoneitherside.
Ontheirarrivalatthetemple,thesoundofbellsandtherattleofdrumsstrucktheirear.Forthwithappearedthe
headbonzeChang,astickofincenseinhandhiscloakthrownoverhisshoulders.Hetookhisstandbythe
waysideattheheadofacompanyofTaoistprieststopresenthisgreetings.ThemomentdowagerladyChia
reached,inherchair,theinteriorofthemaingate,shedescriedthelaresandpenates,thelordpresidingoverthat
particulardistrict,andtheclayimagesofthevariousgods,andsheatoncegaveorderstohalt.ChiaChen
advancedtoreceiveheractingasleadertothemalemembersofthefamily.LadyFengwaswellawarethat
YanYangandtheotherattendantswereatthebackandcouldnotovertaketheiroldmistress,sosheherself
alightedfromherchairtovolunteerherservices.Shewasabouttohastilypressforwardandsupporther,when,
byastrangeaccident,ayoungTaoistneophyte,oftwelveorthirteenyearsofage,whoheldacasecontaining
scissors,withwhichhehadbeensnuffingthecandlesburninginthevariousplaces,justseizedtheopportunity
torunoutandhidehimself,whenheunawaresrushed,headforemost,intoladyFeng'sarms.LadyFeng
speedilyraisedherhandandgavehimsuchaslaponthefacethatshemadetheyoungfellowreeloverand
performasomersault."Youboorishyoungbastard!"sheshouted,"whereareyourunningto?"

TheyoungTaoistdidnotevengiveathoughttopickingupthescissors,butcrawlingupontohisfeetagain,he
triedtoscamperoutside.ButjustatthatverymomentPaoch'aiandtherestoftheyoungladieswere
dismountingfromtheirvehicles,andthematronsandwomenservantswereclosingtheminsothoroughlyonall
sidesthatnotapuffofwindoradropofraincouldpenetrate,andwhentheyperceivedaTaoistneophytecome
rushingheadlongoutoftheplace,they,withonevoice,exclaimed:"Catchhim,catchhim!Beathim,beathim!"
OldladyChiaoverheardtheircries.Sheaskedwithalacritywhatthefusswasallabout.ChiaChenimmediately
steppedoutsidetomakeinquiries.LadyFengthenadvancedand,proppingupheroldsenior,shewentonto
explaintoherthatayoungTaoistpriest,whosedutiesweretosnuffthecandles,hadnotpreviouslyretiredoutof
thecompound,andthathewasnowendeavouringtorecklesslyforcehiswayout."
"Bequickandbringtheladhere,"shouteddowagerladyChia,assoonassheheardherexplanation,"but,mind,
don'tfrightenhim.Childrenofmeanfamiliesinvariablygetintothewayofbeingspoiltbyoverindulgence.
Howevercouldhehaveseteyesbeforeuponsuchdisplayasthis!Wereyoutofrightenhim,hewillreallybe
muchtobepitiedandwon'thisfatherandmotherbeexceedinglycutup?"
Asshespoke,sheaskedChiaChentogoanddohisbesttobringhimround.ChiaChenfeltunderthenecessity
ofgoing,andhemanagedtodragtheladintoherpresence.Withthescissorsstillclaspedinhishand,theladfell
onhisknees,andtrembledviolently.
DowagerladyChiabadeChiaChenraisehimup."There'snothingtofear!"shesaidreassuringly.Thenshe
askedhimhowoldhewas.
Theboy,however,couldonnoaccountgiveventtospeech.
"Poorboy!"oncemoreexclaimedtheoldlady.Andcontinuing:"BrotherChen,"sheadded,addressingherself
toChiaChen,"takehimaway,andgivehimafewcashtobuyhimselffruitwithanddoimpressuponeveryone
thattheyarenottobullyhim."
ChiaChensignifiedhisassentandledhimoff.
Duringthistime,oldladyChia,takingalongwithherthewholefamilyparty,paidherdevotionsinstoreyafter
storey,andvisitedeveryplace.
Theyoungpages,whostoodoutside,watchedtheiroldmistressandtheotherinmatesenterthesecondrowof
gates.ButofasuddentheyespiedChiaChenwendhiswayoutwards,leadingayoungTaoistpriest,andcalling
theservantstocome,say"Takehimandgivehimseveralhundredsofcashandabstainfromilltreatinghim."
Attheseorders,thedomesticsapproachedwithhurriedstepandledhimoff.
ChiaChentheninquiredfromtheterracestepswherethemajordomowas.
Atthisinquiry,thepagesstandingbelow,calledoutinchorus,
"Majordomo!"
LinChihhsiaoranoveratonce,whileadjustinghishatwithonehand,andappearedinthepresenceofChia
Chen.
"Albeitthisisaspaciousplace,"ChiaChenbegan,"wemusteragoodconcoursetoday,soyou'dbetterbring
intothiscourtthoseservants,who'llbeofanyusetoyou,andsendoverintothatonethosewhowon't.And
chooseafewfromamongthoseyoungpagestoremainonduty,atthesecondgateandatthetwosideentrances,
soastoaskforthingsanddelivermessages.Doyouunderstandme,yesorno?Theyoungladiesandladieshave
allcomeoutoftowntoday,andnotasingleoutsidermustbepermittedtoputhisfootinhere."
"Iunderstand,"repliedLinChihhsiaohurriedlysignifyinghisobedience.Nextheutteredseveralyes's.

"Now,"proceededChiaChen"youcangoonyourway.Buthowisit,Idon'tseeanythingofJungErh?"he
wentontoask.
Thisquestionwasbarelyoutofhislips,whenhecaughtsightofJungErhrunningoutofthebelfry."Lookat
him,"shoutedChiaChen."Lookathim!Idon'tfeelhotinhere,andyethemustgoinsearchofacoolplace.
Spitathim!"hecriedtothefamilyservants.
TheyoungpageswerefullyawarethatChiaChen'sordinarydispositionwassuchthathecouldnotbrook
contradiction,andoneoftheladsspeedilycameforwardandsputteredinChiaJung'sface.ButChiaChenstill
kepthisgazefixedonhim,sotheyoungpagehadtoinquireofChiaJung:"Masterdoesn'tfeelhothere,and
howisitthatyou,Sir,havebeenthefirsttogoandgetcool?"
ChiaJunghoweverdroppedhisarms,anddidnotventuretoutterasinglesound.ChiaYn,ChiaP'ing,Chia
Ch'inandtheotheryoungpeopleoverheardwhatwasgoingonandnotonlyweretheyscaredoutoftheirwits,
butevenChiaLien,ChiaPin,ChiaCh'ungandtheircompanionswerestrickenwithintensefrightandoneby
onetheyquietlyslippeddownalongthefootofthewall.
"Whatareyoustandingtherefor?"ChiaChenshoutedtoChiaJung."Don'tyouyetgetonyourhorseandgallop
homeandtellyourmotherthatourvenerableseniorisherewithalltheyoungladies,andbidthemcomeatonce
andwaituponthem?"
AssoonasChiaJungheardthesewords,heranoutwithhurriedstrideandcalledoutrepeatedlyforhishorse.
Nowhefeltresentment,arguingwithinhimself:"Whoknowswhathehasbeenuptothewholemorning,thathe
nowfindsfaultwithme!"Nowhewentontoabusetheyoungservants,crying:"Areyourhandsmadefast,that
youcan'tleadthehorseround?"Andhefeltinclinedtobidaservantboygoontheerrand,butfearingagainlest
heshouldsubsequentlybefoundout,andbeatalosshowtoaccountforhisconducthefeltcompelledto
proceedinpersonsomountinghissteed,hestartedonhisway.
ButtoreturntoChiaChen.Justashewasabouttobetakehimselfinside,henoticedtheTaoistChang,who
stoodnexttohim,forceasmile."I'mnotproperlyspeaking,"heremarked,"onthesamefootingastheothers
andshouldbeinattendanceinside,butasonaccountoftheintenseheat,theyoungladieshavecomeoutof
doors,Icouldn'tpresumetotakeuponmyselftointrudeandaskwhatyourorders,Sir,are.Butthedowagerlady
maypossiblyinquireaboutme,ormayliketovisitanypartofthetemple,soIshallwaitinhere."
ChiaChenwasfullycognisantthatthisTaoistpriest,Chang,had,itistrue,inpastdays,stoodasasubstitutefor
theDukeoftheJungKuomansion,butthattheformerEmperorhad,withhisownlips,conferreduponhimthe
appellationofthe'ImmortalbeingoftheGreatUnreal,'thatheheldatpresentthesealof'TaoistSuperior,'that
thereigningEmperorhadraisedhimtotherankofthe'Pureman,'thattheprinces,nowadays,dukes,andhigh
officialsstyledhimthe"Supernaturalbeing,"andhedidnotthereforeventuretotreathimwithanydisrespect.
Inthesecondplace,(heknewthat)hehadpaidfrequentvisitstothemansions,andthathehadmadethe
acquaintanceoftheladiesandyoungladies,sowhenheheardhispresentremarkhesmilinglyrejoined."Doyou
againmakeuseofsuchlanguageamongstourselves?Onewordmore,andI'lltakethatbeardofyours,and
outrootit!Don'tyouyetcomealongwithmeinside?"
"Hah,hah,"laughedtheTaoistChangaloud,ashefollowedChiaChenin.ChiaChenapproacheddowagerlady
Chia.Bendinghisbodyhestrainedalaugh."GrandfatherChang,"hesaid,"hascomeintopayhisrespects."
"Raisehimup!"oldladyChiavehementlycalledout.
ChiaChenlostnotimeinpullinghimtohisfeetandbringinghimover.
TheTaoistChangfirstindulgedinloudlaughter."OhBuddhaofunlimitedyears!"hethenobserved."Haveyou
keptallrightandingoodhealth,throughout,venerableSenior?Havealltheladiesandyoungladiescontinued
well?Ihaven'tbeenforsometimetoyourmansiontopaymyobeisance,butyou,mydowagerlady,have
improvedmoreandmore."

"VenerableImmortalBeing!"smiledoldladyChia,"howareyouquitewell?"
"Thankstothetenthousandblessingshehasenjoyedfromyourhands,"rejoinedChangtheTaoist,"your
servanttoocontinuesprettystrongandhale.Ineveryotherrespect,I've,afterall,beenallrightbutIhavefelt
muchconcernaboutMr.Paoy.Hashebeenallrightallthetime?Theotherday,onthe26thofthefourth
moon,Icelebratedthebirthdayofthe'HeavenPervadingMightyKing'fewpeoplecameandeverythingwent
offrightandproper.ItoldthemtoinviteMr.Paotocomeforastrollbuthowwasittheysaidthathewasn'tat
home?"
"Itwasindeedtruethathewasawayfromhome,"remarkeddowagerlady
Chia.Asshespoke,sheturnedherheadroundandcalledPaoy.
Paoyhad,asithappened,justreturnedfromoutsidewherehehadbeentomakehimselfcomfortable,andwith
speedystep,hecameforward."Myrespectstoyou,grandfatherChang,"hesaid.
TheTaoistChangeagerlyclaspedhiminhisarmsandinquiredhowhewasgettingon.Turningtowardsoldlady
Chia,"Mr.Pao,"heobserved,"hasgrownfatterthanever."
"Outwardly,hislooks,"replieddowagerladyChia,"maybeallright,but,inwardly,heisweak.Inadditionto
this,hisfatherpresseshimsomuchtostudythathehasagainandagainmanaged,allthroughthisbullying,to
makehischildfallsick."
"Theotherday,"continuedChangtheTaoist,"Iwenttoseveralplacesonavisit,andsawcharacterswrittenby
Mr.Paoandversescomposedbyhim,allofwhichwereexceedinglygoodsohowisitthathisworthyfather
stillfeelsdispleasedwithhim,andmaintainsthatMr.Paoisnotveryfondofhisbooks?Accordingtomy
humbleidea,heknowsquiteenough.AsIconsiderMr.Pao'sface,hisbearing,hisspeechandhisdeportment,"
heproceeded,heavingasigh,"whatastrikingresemblanceIfindinhimtotheformerdukeoftheJung
mansion!"Asheutteredthesewords,tearsrolleddownhischeeks.
Atthesewords,oldladyChiaherselffoundithardtocontrolherfeelings.Herfacebecamecoveredwiththe
tracesoftears."Quiteso,"sheassented,"I'vehadeversomanysonsandgrandsons,andnotoneofthem
betrayedtheslightestresemblancetohisgrandfatherandthisPaoyturnsouttobetheveryimageofhim!"
"WhattheformerdukeofJungKuowaslikeinappearance,"Chang,theTaoistwentontoremark,addressing
himselftoChiaChen,"yougentlemen,andyourgeneration,were,ofcourse,needlesstosay,notintimetosee
foryourselvesbutIfancythatevenourSeniormasterandourMasterSecundushavebutafaintrecollectionof
it."
Thissaid,heburstintoanotherloudfitoflaughter."Theotherday,"heresumed,"Iwasatsomeone'shouseand
thereImetayounggirl,whoisthisyearinherfifteenthyear,andverilygiftedwithabeautifulface,andI
bethoughtmyselfthatMr.Paomustalsohaveawifefoundforhim.Asfaraslooks,intelligenceandmental
talents,extractionandfamilystandinggo,thismaidenisasuitablematchforhim.ButasIdidn'tknowwhat
yourvenerableladyshipwouldhavetosayaboutit,yourservantdidnotpresumetoactrecklessly,butwaited
untilIcouldascertainyourwishesbeforeItookuponmyselftoopenmymouthwiththepartiesconcerned."
"Sometimeago,"respondeddowagerladyChia,"abonzeexplainedthatitwasordainedbydestinythatthis
childshouldn'tbemarriedatanearlyage,andthatweshouldputthingsoffuntilhegrewsomewhatinyears
beforeanythingwassettled.Butmarkmywordsnow.Paynoregardastowhethershebeofwealthyand
honourablestockornot,theessentialthingistofindonewhoselooksmakeherafitmatchforhimandthen
comeatonceandtellme.Forevenadmittingthatthegirlispoor,allIshallhavetodowillbetobestowonhera
fewouncesofsilverbutfinelooksandasweettemperamentarenoteasythingstocomeacross."
Whenshehaddonespeaking,ladyFengwasheardtosmilinglyinterpose:"GrandfatherChang,aren'tyougoing
tochangethetalismanof'RecordedName'ofourdaughter?Theotherday,luckyenoughforyou,youhadagain

thegreatcheektosendsomeonetoaskmeforsomesatinofgoslingyellowcolour.Igaveittoyou,forhadI
not,Iwasafraidlestyouroldfaceshouldhavebeenmadetofeeluneasy."
"Hah,hah,"roaredtheTaoistChang,"justseehowmyeyesmusthavegrowndim!Ididn'tnoticethatyou,my
lady,wereinherenordidIexpressonewordofthankstoyou!Thetalismanof'RecordedName'isreadylong
ago.Imeanttohavesentitoverthedaybeforeyesterday,buttheunforeseenvisitoftheEmpresstoperform
meritoriousdeedsupsetmyequilibrium,andmademequiteforgetit.Butit'sstillplacedbeforethegods,andif
youwillwaitI'llgoandfetchit."
Sayingthis,herushedintothemainhall.Presently,hereturnedwithateatrayinhand,onwhichwasspreada
deepredsatincover,brocadedwithdragons.Inthis,hepresentedthecharm.TaChieherh'snursetookitfrom
him.
ButjustastheTaoistwasonthepointoftakingTaChieherhinhisembrace,ladyFengremarkedwithasmile:
"Itwouldhavebeensufficientifyou'dcarrieditinyourhand!Andwhyuseatraytolayiton?"
"Myhandsaren'tclean,"repliedtheTaoistChang,"sohowcouldIverywellhavetakenholdofit?Atray
thereforemadethingsmuchcleaner!"
"Whenyouproducedthattrayjustnow,"laughedladyFeng,"yougavemequiteastartIdidn'timaginethatit
wasforthepurposeofbringingthecharmin.Itreallylookedasifyouweredisposedtobegdonationsofus."
Thisobservationsentthewholecompanyintoaviolentfitoflaughter.
EvenChiaChencouldnotsuppressasmile.
"Whatamonkey!"dowagerladyChiaexclaimed,turningherheadround."Whatamonkeyyouare!Aren'tyou
afraidofgoingdowntothatHell,wheretonguesarecutoff?"
"I'vegotnothingtodowithanymenwhatever,"rejoinedladyFenglaughing,"andwhydoeshetimeandagain
tellmethatit'smyboundendutytolayupastoreofmeritoriousdeedsandthatifI'mremiss,mylifewillbe
short?"
Chang,theTaoist,indulgedinfurtherlaughter."Ibroughtout,"heexplained,"thetraysoastokilltwobirds
withonestone.Itwasn't,however,tobegfordonations.Onthecontrary,itwasinordertoputinitthejade,
whichImeanttoaskMr.Paototakeoff,soastocarryitoutsideandletallthoseTaoistfriendsofmine,who
comefromfaraway,aswellasmyneophytesandtheyoungapprentices,seewhatit'slike."
"Well,sincethatbethecase,"addedoldladyChia,"whydoyou,atyourage,tryyourstrengthbyrunningabout
thewholedaylong?Takehimatoncealongandletthemseeit!Butwereyoutohavecalledhiminthere,
wouldn'tithavesavedalotoftrouble?"
"Yourvenerableladyship,"resumedChang,theTaoist,"isn'tawarethatthoughIbe,tolookat,amanofeighty,
I,afterall,continue,thankstoyourprotection,mydowagerlady,quitehaleandstrong.Inthesecondplace,
therearecrowdsofpeopleintheouterroomsandthesmellsarenotagreeable.Besidesit'saveryhotdayand
Mr.Paocouldn'tstandtheheatasheisnotaccustomedtoit.Sowerehetocatchanydiseasefromthefilthy
odours,itwouldbeagravething!"
AftertheseforebodingsoldladyChiaaccordinglydesiredPaoytounclaspthejadeofSpiritualPerception,
andtodeposititinthetray.TheTaoist,Chang,carefullyensconceditinthefoldsofthewrapper,embroidered
withdragons,andlefttheroom,supportingthetraywithbothhishands.
Duringthiswhile,dowagerladyChiaandtheotherinmatesdevotedmoreoftheirtimeinvisitingthevarious
places.Butjustastheywereonthepointofgoingupthetwostoriedbuilding,theyheardChiaChenshout:
"GrandfatherChanghasbroughtbackthejade."

Ashespoke,theTaoistChangwasseenadvancinguptothem,thetrayinhand."Thewholecompany,"he
smiled,"weremuchobligedtome.TheythinkMr.Pao'sjadereallylovely!Noneofthemhave,however,any
suitablegiftstobestow.Thesearereligiousarticles,usedbyeachoftheminpropagatingthedoctrinesof
Reason,butthey'reallonlytooreadytogivethemascongratulatorypresents.If,Mr.Pao,youdon'tfancythem
foranythingelse,justkeepthemtoplaywithortogiveawaytoothers."
DowagerladyChia,atthesewords,lookedintothetray.Shediscoveredthatitscontentsconsistedofgold
signets,andjaderings,orsceptres,implying:"mayyouhaveyourwishesaccomplishedineverything,"or"may
youenjoypeaceandhealthfromyeartoyear"thatthevariousarticleswerestrungwithpearlsorinlaidwith
preciousstones,workedinjadeormountedingoldandthattheywereinallfromthirtytofifty.
"Whatnonsenseyou'retalking!"shethenexclaimed."Thosepeoplearealldivines,andwherecouldtheyhave
rummagedupthesethings?Butwhatneedisthereforanysuchpresents?Hemay,onnoaccount,acceptthem."
"Theseareintendedasasmalltokenoftheiresteem,"respondedChang,theTaoist,smiling,"yourservant
cannotthereforeventuretointerferewiththem.Ifyourvenerableladyshipwillnotkeepthem,won'tyoumakeit
patenttothemthatI'mtreatedcontemptuously,andunlikewhatoneshouldbe,whohasjoinedtheorderthrough
yourhousehold?"
OnlywhenoldladyChiaheardtheseargumentsdidshedirectaservanttoreceivethepresents.
"Venerablesenior,"Paoysmilinglychimedin."AfterthereasonsadvancedbygrandfatherChang,wecannot
possiblyrefusethem.ButalbeitIfeeldisposedtokeepthesethings,theyareofnoavailtomesowoulditnot
bewellwereaservanttoldtocarrythetrayandtofollowmeoutofdoors,thatImaydistributethemtothe
poor?
"Youareperfectlyrightinwhatyousay!"smileddowagerladyChia.
TheTaoistChang,however,wentonspeedilytousevariousargumentstodissuadehim."Mr.Pao,"heobserved,
"yourintentionis,itistrue,toperformcharitableactsbutthoughyoumayaverthatthesethingsareoflittle
value,you'llneverthelessfindamongthemseveralarticlesyoumightturntosomeaccount.Wereyoutoletthe
beggarshavethem,whytheywill,firstofall,benonethebetterforthemand,next,itwillcontrariwisebe
tantamounttothrowingthemaway!Ifyouwanttodistributeanythingamongthepoor,whydon'tyoudoleout
cashtothem?"
"Putthemby!"promptlyshoutedPaoy,afterthisrejoinder,"andwheneveningcomes,takeafewcashand
distributethem."
Thesedirectionsgiven,Chang,theTaoist,retiredoutoftheplace.
DowagerladyChiaandhercompanionsthereuponwalkedupstairsandsatinthemainpartofthebuilding.Lady
Fengandherfriendsadjournedintotheeasternpart,whilethewaitingmaidsandservantsremainedinthe
westernportion,andtooktheirturnsinwaitingontheirmistresses.
Beforelong,ChiaChencameback."Theplays,"heannounced,"havebeenchosenbymeansofslipspickedout
beforethegod.Thefirstoneonthelististhe'RecordoftheWhiteSnake.'"
"Ofwhatkindofoldstorydoes'therecordofthewhitesnake,'treat?"oldladyChiainquired.
"ThestoryaboutHanKaotsu,"repliedChiaChen,"killingasnakeandthenascendingthethrone.Thesecond
playis,'theBedcoveredwithivorytablets.'"
"Hasthisbeenassignedthesecondplace?"askeddowagerladyChia."Yetnevermindforasthegodswillit
thus,thereisnohelpthannottodemur.Butwhataboutthethirdplay?"shewentontoinquire.
"TheNanKodreamisthethird,"ChiaChenanswered.

ThisresponseelicitednocommentfromdowagerladyChia.ChiaChenthereforewithdrewdownstairs,and
betookhimselfoutsidetomakearrangementsfortheofferingstothegods,forthepapermoneyandeatablesthat
hadtobeburnt,andforthetheatricalsabouttobegin.Sowewillleavehimwithoutanyfurtherallusion,and
takeupournarrativewithPaoy.
SeatinghimselfupstairsnexttooldladyChia,hecalledtoaservantgirltofetchthetrayofpresentsgivento
himashortwhileback,andputtingonhisowntrinketofjade,hefumbledaboutwiththethingsforabit,and
pickinguponebyone,hehandedthemtohisgrandmothertoadmire.ButoldladyChiaespiedamongthema
unicorn,madeofpurplishgold,withkingfisherfeathersinserted,andeagerlyextendingherarm,shetookitup.
"Thisobject,"shesmiled,"seemstometoresembleverymuchoneI'veseenwornalsobytheyoungladyof
somehouseholdorotherofours."
"Seniorcousin,ShihHsiangyn,"chimedinPaoch'ai,asmileplayingonherlips,"hasone,butit'satrifle
smallerthanthis."
"IsitindeedYnerhwhohasit?"exclaimedoldladyChia.
"Nowthatshelivesinourhouse,"remarkedPaoy,"howisitthateven
Ihaven'tseenanythingofit?"
"CousinPaoch'ai,"rejoinedT'anCh'unlaughingly,"hasthepowerofobservationnomatterwhatshesees,she
remembers."
LinTaiygaveasardonicsmile."Asfarasothermattersareconcerned,"sheinsinuated,"herobservationisn't
worthspeakingofwhereshe'sextraobservantisinarticlespeoplemaywearabouttheirpersons."
Paochai,uponcatchingthissneeringremark,atonceturnedherheadround,andpretendedshehadnotheard.
ButassoonasPaoylearntthatShihHsiangynpossessedasimilartrinket,hespeedilypickeduptheunicorn,
andhiditinhisbreast,indulging,atthesametime,infurtherreflection.Yet,fearinglestpeoplemighthave
noticedthathekeptbackthatparticularthingthemomenthediscoveredthatShihHsiangynhadoneidentical
withit,hefixedhiseyesintentlyuponallaroundwhileclutchingit.Hefoundhoweverthatnotoneofthemwas
payinganyheedtohismovementsexceptLinTaiy,who,whilegazingathimwas,noddingherhead,asif
withtheideaofexpressingheradmiration.Paoy,therefore,atoncefeltinwardlyillatease,andpullingouthis
hand,heobserved,addressinghimselftoTaiywithanassumedsmile,"Thisisreallyafinethingtoplaywith
I'llkeepitforyou,andwhenwegetbackhome,I'llpassaribbonthroughitforyoutowear.""Idon'tcareabout
it,"saidLinTaiy,givingherheadasuddentwist.
"Well,"continuedPaoylaughingly,"ifyoudon'tlikeit,Ican'tdootherwisethankeepitmyself."
Sayingthis,heonceagainthrustitaway.Butjustashewasabouttoopenhislipstomakesomeother
observation,hesawMrs.Yu,thespouseofChiaChen,arrivealongwiththesecondwiferecentlymarriedby
ChiaJung,thatis,hismotherandherdaughterinlaw,topaytheirobeisancetodowagerladyChia.
"Whatdoyoupeoplerushoverhereforagain?"oldladyChiainquired.
"Icamehereforaturn,simplybecauseIhadnothingtodo."
Butnosoonerwasthisinquiryconcludedthantheyheardamessengerannounce:"thatsomeonehadcomefrom
thehouseofgeneralFeng."
ThefamilyofFengTzuyinghad,itmustbeexplained,cometolearnthenewsthattheinmatesoftheChia
mansionwereofferingathanksgivingserviceinthetemple,and,withoutlossoftime,theygottogetherpresents
ofpigs,sheep,candles,teaandeatablesandsentthemover.ThemomentladyFengheardaboutitshehastily
crossedtothemainpartofthetwostoriedbuilding."Aiya"sheejaculated,clappingherhandsandlaughing."I

neverexpectedanythingofthesortwemerelysaidthatweladieswerecomingforaleisurelystrollandpeople
imaginedthatwewerespreadingasumptuousaltarwithlentenviandsandcametobringusofferings!Butit'sall
ouroldlady'sfaultforbruitingitabout!Why,wehaven'tevengotanyslipsofpaperwithtipsready."
Shehadjustfinishedspeaking,whensheperceivedtwomatrons,whoactedashousekeepersintheFeng
family,walkupstairs.ButbeforetheFengservantscouldtaketheirleave,presentslikewisearrived,inquick
succession,fromChao,theVicePresidentoftheBoard.Induecourse,onelotofvisitorsfollowedanother.For
aseveryonegotwindofthefactthattheChiafamilywashavingthanksgivingservices,andthattheladieswere
inthetemple,distantandcloserelatives,friends,oldfriendsandacquaintancesallcametopresenttheir
contributions.Somuchso,thatdowagerladyChiabeganatthisjuncturetofeelsorrythatshehadeverletthe
catoutofthebag."Thisisnoregularfasting,"shesaid,"wesimplyhavecomeforalittlechangeandweshould
nothaveputanyonetoanyinconvenience!"Althoughthereforeshewastohaveremainedpresentalldayatthe
theatricalperformance,shepromptlyreturnedhomesoonafternoon,andthenextdayshefeltverylothtogoout
ofdoorsagain.
"Bystrikingthewall,we'vealsostirredupdust,"ladyFengargued."Whywe'vealreadyputthosepeopletothe
troublesoweshouldonlybetoogladtodaytohaveanotherouting."
ButaswhendowagerladyChiainterviewedtheTaoistChang,thepreviousday,hemadeallusiontoPaoyand
canvassedhisengagement,Paoyexperienced,littleasonewouldhavethoughtit,muchsecretdispleasure
duringthewholeofthatday,andonhisreturnhomeheflewintoarageandabusedChang,therationalistic
priest,forharbouringdesignstotryandsettleamatchforhim.Ateverybreathandateverywordheresolved
thathenceforwardhewouldnotseteyesagainupontheTaoistChang.Butnoonebuthimselfhadanyideaof
thereasonthatactuatedhimtoabsenthimself.Inthenextplace,LinTaiybeganalso,onherreturntheday
before,toailfromatouchofthesun,sotheirgrandmotherwasinducedbythesetwoconsiderationstoremain
firminherdecisionnottogo.WhenladyFeng,however,foundthatshewouldnotjointhem,sheherselftook
chargeofthefamilypartyandsetoutontheexcursion.
Butwithoutdescendingtoparticulars,letusadverttoPaoy.SeeingthatLinTaiyhadfallenill,hewasso
fullofsolicitudeonheraccountthatheevenhadlittlethoughtforanyofhismeals,andnotlongelapsedbefore
hecametoinquirehowshewas.
Taiy,onherpart,gavewaytofearlestanythingshouldhappentohim,(andshetriedtoreassurehim)."Just
goandlookattheplays,"shethereforereplied,"what'stheuseofboxingyourselfupathome?"
Paoywas,however,notinaveryhappyframeofmindonaccountofthereferencetohismarriagemadeby
Chang,theTaoist,thedaybefore,sowhenheheardLinTaiy'sutterances:"Ifothersdon'tunderstandme"he
mused,"it'sanyhowexcusablebuthasshetoobeguntomakefunofme?"Hisheartsmartedinconsequence
underthestingofamortificationahundredtimeskeenerthanhehadexperienceduptothatoccasion.Hadhe
beenwithanyoneelse,itwouldhavebeenutterlyimpossibleforhertohavebroughtintoplayfeelingsofsuch
resentment,butasitwasnootherthanTaiywhospokethewords,theimpressionproduceduponhimwas
indeeddifferentfromthatleftindaysgoneby,whenothersemployedsimilarlanguage.Unabletocurbhis
feelings,heinstantaneouslyloweredhisface."Myfriendshipwithyouhasbeenofnoavail"herejoined."But,
nevermind,patience!"
ThisinsinuationinducedLinTaiytosmileacoupleofsarcasticsmiles."Yes,yourfriendshipwithmehas
beenofnoavail,"sherepeated"forhowcanIcomparewiththosewhosemanifoldqualitiesmakethemfit
matchesforyou?"
AssoonasthissneerfellonPaoy'searhedrewneartoher."Areyoubytellingmethis,"heaskedstraightto
herface,"deliberatelybentuponinvokingimprecationsuponmethatIshouldbeannihilatedbyheavenand
extinguishedbyearth?"
LinTaiycouldnotforatimefathomtheimportofhisremarks."Itwas,"Paoythenresumed,"onaccountof
thisveryconversationthatIyesterdaysworeseveraloaths,andnowwouldyoureallymakemerepeatanother

one?Butweretheheavenstoannihilatemeandtheearthtoextinguishme,whatbenefitwouldyouderive?"
ThisrejoinderremindedTaiyofthedriftoftheirconversationonthepreviousday.Andasindeedshehadon
thisoccasionframedinwordsthosesentiments,whichshouldnothavedroppedfromherlips,sheexperienced
bothannoyanceandshame,andshetremulouslyobserved:"IfIentertainanydeliberateintentiontobringany
harmuponyou,mayItoobedestroyedbyheavenandexterminatedbyearth!Butwhat'stheuseofallthis!I
knowverywellthattheallusiontomarriagemadeyesterdaybyChang,theTaoist,fillsyouwithdreadlesthe
mightinterferewithyourchoice.Youareinwardlysoiratethatyoucomeandtreatmeasyourmalignant
influence."
Paoy,thefactis,hadeversincehisyouthdevelopedapeculiarkindofmeanandsillypropensity.Having
moreoverfromtenderinfancygrownupsidebysidewithTaiY,theirheartsandtheirfeelingswereinperfect
harmony.More,hehadrecentlycometoknowtoagreatextentwhatwaswhat,andhadalsofilledhisheadwith
thecontentsofanumberofcorruptbooksandlicentiousstories.Ofalltheeminentandbeautifulgirlsthathe
hadmettoointhefamiliesofeitherdistantorcloserelativesoroffriends,notonecouldreachthestandardof
LinTaiy.Henceitwasthathecommenced,fromanearlyperiodofhislife,tofostersentimentsoflovefor
herbutashecouldnotverywellgiveutterancetothem,hefelttimeandagainsometimeselated,sometimes
vexed,andwonttoexhausteverymeanstosecretlysubjectherhearttoatest.
LinTaiyhappened,ontheotherhand,topossessinlikemannerasomewhatsillydispositionandshetoo
frequentlyhadrecoursetofeignedsentimentstofeelherway.Andasshebegantoconcealhertruefeelingsand
inclinationsandtosimplydissimulate,andhetoconcealhistruesentimentsandwishesandtodissemble,the
twounrealitiesthusblendingtogetherconstitutedeventuallyonereality.Butitwashardlytobeexpectedthat
trifleswouldnotbethecauseoftiffsbetweenthem.ThusitwasthatinPaoy'smindatthistimeprevailedthe
reflection:"thatwereothersunabletoreadmyfeelings,itwouldanyhowbeexcusablebutisitlikelythatyou
cannotrealisethatinmyheartandinmyeyesthereisnooneelsebesidesyourself.Butasyouwerenotableto
doanythingtodispelmyannoyance,butmadeuse,instead,ofthelanguageyoudidtolaughatme,andtogag
mymouth,it'sevidentthatthoughyouhold,ateverysecondandateverymoment,aplaceinmyheart,Idon't,
infact,occupyaplaceinyours."SuchwastheconstructionattachedtoherconductbyPaoy,yethedidnot
havethecouragetotaxherwithit.
"If,really,Iholdaplaceinyourheart,"LinTaiyagainreflected,"whydoyou,albeitwhat'ssaidaboutgold
andjadebeingafitmatch,attachmoreimportancetothisperversereportandthinknothingofwhatIsay?Did
you,whenIsooftenbroachthesubjectofthisgoldandjade,behaveasifyou,verily,hadneverheardanything
aboutit,Iwouldthenhaveseenthatyoutreatmewithpreferenceandthatyoudon'tharbourtheleastparticleof
asecretdesign.ButhowisitthatthemomentIalludetothetopicofgoldandjade,youatonceloseall
patience?Thisisproofenoughthatyouarecontinuouslyponderingoverthatgoldandjade,andthatassoonas
youhearmespeaktoyouaboutthem,youapprehendthatIshalloncemoregivewaytoconjectures,and
intentionallypretendtobequiteoutoftemper,withthedeliberateideaofcajolingme!"
Thesetwocousinshad,toallappearances,oncebeenofoneandthesamemind,butthemanyissues,whichhad
sprungupbetweenthem,broughtaboutacontraryresultandmadethemoftwodistinctminds.
"Idon'tcarewhatyoudo,everythingiswell,"Paoyfurtherargued,"solongasyouactuptoyourfeelings
andifyoudo,Ishallbeeveronlytoowillingtoevensufferimmediatedeathforyoursake.Whetheryouknow
thisornot,doesn'tmatterit'sallthesame.Yetwereyoutojustdoasmyheartwouldhaveyou,you'llaffordme
aclearproofthatyouandIareunitedbyclosetiesandthatyouarenostrangertome!"
"Justyoumindyourownbusiness,"LinTaiyonhersidecogitated."Ifyouwilltreatmewell,I'lltreatyou
well.Andwhatneedistheretoputanendtoyourselfformysake?Areyounotawarethatifyoukillyourself,
I'llalsokillmyself?Butthisdemonstratesthatyoudon'twishmetobeneartoyou,andthatyoureallywantthat
Ishouldbedistanttoyou."
Itwillthusbeseenthatthedesire,bywhichtheywerebothactuated,tostriveanddraweachothercloseand
evercloserbecamecontrariwisetransformedintoawishtobecomemoredistant.Butasitisnoeasytaskto

frameintowordsthemanifoldsecretthoughtsentertainedbyeither,wewillnowconfineourselvestoa
considerationoftheirexternalmanner.
Thethreewords"afinematch,"whichPaoyheardagainLinTaiypronounceprovedsorevoltingtohimthat
hisheartgotfullofdisgustandhewasunabletogiveutterancetoasinglesyllable.Losingallcontroloverhis
temper,hesnatchedfromhisneckthejadeofSpiritualPerceptionand,clenchinghisteeth,hespitefullydashed
itdownonthefloor."Whatrubbishytrash!"hecried."I'llsmashyoutoatomsandputanendtothewhole
question!"
Thejade,however,happenedtobeofextraordinaryhardness,anddidnot,afterall,sustaintheslightestinjury
fromthissinglefall.WhenPaoyrealisedthatithadnotbroken,heforthwithturnedhimselfroundtogetthe
trinketwiththeideaofcarryingouthisdesignofsmashingit,butTaiydivinedhisintention,andsoonstarted
crying."What'stheuseofallthis!"shedemurred,"andwhy,pray,doyoubatterthatdumbthingabout?Instead
ofsmashingit,wouldn'titbebetterforyoutocomeandsmashme!"
Butinthemiddleoftheirdispute,TzuChan,HsehYenandtheothermaidspromptlyinterferedandquieted
them.Subsequently,however,theysawhowdeliberatelybentPaoywasuponbreakingthejade,andthey
vehementlyrusheduptohimtosnatchitfromhishands.Buttheyfailedintheirendeavours,andperceivingthat
hewasgettingmoretroublesomethanhehadeverbeenbefore,theyhadnoalternativebuttogoandcallHsi
Jen.HsiJenlostnotimeinrunningoverandsucceeded,atlength,ingettingholdofthetrinket.
"I'msmashingwhatbelongstome,"remarkedPaoywithacynicalsmile,"andwhathasthattodowithyou
people?"
HsiJennoticedthathisfacehadgrownquitesallowfromanger,thathiseyeshadassumedatotallyunusual
expression,andthathehadneverhithertohadsuchafitofilltemperandshehastenedtotakehishandinhers
andtosmilinglyexpostulatewithhim."Ifyou'vehadatiffwithyourcousin,"shesaid,"itisn'tworthwhile
flingingthisdown!Hadyoubrokenit,howwouldherheartandfacehavebeenabletobearthemortification?"
LinTaiyshedtearsandlistenedthewhiletoherremonstrances.Yetthesewords,whichsocorrespondedwith
herownfeelings,madeitcleartoherthatPaoycouldnotevencomparewithHsiJenandwoundedherheart
somuchmoretothequickthatshebegantoweepaloud.Butthemomentshegotsovexedshefoundithardto
keepdownthepotionofboletusandthedecoction,forcounteractingtheeffectsofthesun,shehadtakenonlya
fewminutesback,andwitharetchshebroughteverythingup.TzuChanimmediatelypressedtohersideand
usedherhandkerchieftostophermouthwith.Butmouthfulsucceededmouthful,andinnotimethe
handkerchiefwassoakedthroughandthrough.
HsehYenthenapproachedinahurryandtappedherontheback.
"Youmay,ofcourse,givewaytodispleasure,"TzuChanargued"butyoushould,afterall,takegoodcareof
yourselfMiss.Youhadjusttakenthemedicinesandfeltthebetterforthemandhereyounowbeginvomitting
againandallbecauseyou'vehadafewwordswithourmasterSecundus.Butshouldyourcomplaintbreakout
afreshhowwillMr.Paobeartheblow?"
ThemomentPaoycaughtthisadvice,whichaccordedsothoroughlywithhisownideas,hefoundhowlittle
TaiycouldholdherownwithTzuChan.AndperceivinghowflushedTaiy'sfacewas,howhertemples
wereswollen,how,whilesobbing,shepantedandhow,whilecrying,shewassuffusedwithperspiration,and
betrayedsignsofextremeweakness,hebegan,atthesightofhercondition,toreproachhimself."Ishouldn't,"
hereflected,"havebandiedwordswithherfornowthatshe'sgotintothisframeofmind,Imayn'tevensuffer
inherstead!"
Theselfreproaches,however,whichgnawedhisheartmadeitimpossibleforhimtorefrainfromtears,muchas
hefoughtagainstthem.HsiJensawthembothcrying,andwhileattendingtoPaoy,shetoounavoidably
experiencedmuchsorenessofheart.SheneverthelesswentonrubbingPaoy'shands,whichwereicycold.She
feltinclinedtoadvisePaoynottoweep,butfearingagainlest,inthefirstplace,Paoymightbeinwardly

aggrieved,andnervous,inthenext,lestsheshouldnotbedealingrightlybyTaiy,shethoughtitadvisablethat
theyshouldallhaveagoodcry,astheymightthenbeabletoleaveoff.Sheherselfthereforealsomeltedinto
tears.AsforTzuChan,atonetime,shecleanedtheexpectoratedmedicineatanother,shetookupafanand
gentlyfannedTaiy.Butatthesightofthetrioplungedinperfectsilence,andofoneandallsobbingfor
reasonsoftheirown,grief,muchthoughshedidtostruggleagainstit,masteredherfeelingstoo,andproducing
ahandkerchief,shedriedthetearsthatcametohereyes.Sotherestoodfourinmates,facetoface,utteringnota
wordandindulginginweeping.
Shortly,HsiJenmadeasupremeeffort,andsmilinglysaidtoPaoy:"Ifyoudon'tcareforanythingelse,you
shouldatleasthaveshownsomeregardforthosetassels,strungonthejade,andnothavewrangledwithMiss
Lin."
Taiyheardthesewords,and,mindlessofherindisposition,sherushedover,andsnatchingthetrinket,she
pickedupapairofscissors,lyingcloseathand,bentuponcuttingthetassels.HsiJenandTzuChanwereon
thepointofwrestingitfromher,butshehadalreadymanagedtomanglethemintoseveralpieces.
"Ihave,"sobbedTaiy,"wastedmyenergiesonthemfornothingforhedoesn'tprizethem.He'scertaintofind
otherstostringsomemorefinetasselsforhim."
HsiJenpromptlytookthejade."Isitworthwhilegoingoninthisway!"shecried."Butthisisallmyfaultfor
havingblabberedjustnowwhatshouldhavebeenleftunsaid."
"Cutit,ifyoulike!"chimedinPaoy,addressinghimselftoTaiy.
"Iwillonnoaccountwearit,soitdoesn'tmatterarap."
Butwhilealltheymindedinsidewastocreatethiscommotion,theylittledreamtthattheoldmatronshad
descriedTaiyweepbitterlyandvomitcopiously,andPaoyagaindashhisjadeontheground,andthatnot
knowinghowfartheexcitementmightnotgo,andwhethertheythemselvesmightnotbecomeinvolved,they
hadrepairedinabodytothefront,andreportedtheoccurrencetodowagerladyChiaandMadameWang,their
objectbeingtotryandavoidbeingthemselvesimplicatedinthematter.TheiroldmistressandMadameWang,
seeingthemmakesomuchoftheoccurrenceastorushwithprecipitatehastetobringittotheirnotice,couldnot
intheleastimaginewhatgreatdisastermightnothavebefallenthem,andwithoutlossoftimetheybetook
themselvestogetherintothegardenandcametoseewhatthetwocousinswereupto.
HsiJenfeltirritatedandharbouredresentmentagainstTzuChan,unabletoconceivewhatbusinessshehadto
goanddisturbtheiroldmistressandMadameWang.ButTzuChan,ontheotherhand,presumedthatitwas
HsiJen,whohadgoneandreportedthemattertothem,andshetoocherishedangryfeelingstowardsHsiJen.
DowagerladyChiaandMadameWangwalkedintotheapartment.TheyfoundPaoyononesidesayingnota
word.LinTaiyontheotherutteringnotasound."What'supagain?"theyasked.Butthrowingthewhole
blameupontheshouldersofHsiJenandTzuChan,"whyisit,"theyinquired,"thatyouwerenotdiligentin
yourattendanceonthem.Theynowstartaquarrel,anddon'tyouexertyourselvesintheleasttorestrainthem?"
Thereforewithobloquyandhardwordstheyratedthetwogirlsforatimeinsuchawaythatneitherofthem
couldputinawordbywayofreply,butfeltcompelledtolistenpatiently.Anditwasonlyafterdowagerlady
ChiahadtakenPaoyawaywithherthatthingsquieteddownagain.
Onedaypassed.Thencamethethirdofthemoon.ThiswasHsehPan'sbirthday,sointheirhouseabanquet
wasspreadandpreparationsmadeforaperformanceandtothesethevariousinmatesoftheChiamansion
went.ButasPaoyhadsohurtTaiy'sfeelings,thetwocousinssawnothingwhateverofeachother,and
consciencestricken,despondentandunhappy,ashewasatthistimecouldhehavehadanyinclinationtobe
presentattheplays?Henceitwasthatherefusedtogoonthepretextofindisposition.
LinTaiyhadgot,acoupleofdaysback,butaslighttouchofthesunandnaturallytherewasnothingmuchthe
matterwithher.Whenthenewshoweverreachedherthathedidnotintendtojointheparty,"Ifwithhis

weaknessforwineandfortheatricals,"sheponderedwithinherself,"henowchoosestostayaway,insteadof
going,why,thatquarrelwithmeyesterdaymustbeatthebottomofitall.Ifthisisn'tthereason,wellthenit
mustbethathehasnowishtoattend,asheseesthatI'mnotgoingeither.ButIshouldonnoaccounthavecut
thetasselsfromthatjade,forIfeelsurehewon'twearitagain.Ishallthereforehavetostringsomemoreonto
it,beforeheputsiton."
Onthisaccountthekeenestremorsegnawedherheart.
DowagerladyChiasawwellenoughthattheywerebothundertheinfluenceoftemper."Weshouldavail
ourselvesofthisoccasion,"shesaidtoherself,"togooverandlookattheplays,andassoonasthetwoyoung
peoplecomefacetoface,everythingwillbesquared."Contrarytoherexpectationsneitherofthemwould
volunteertogo.Thissoexasperatedtheiroldgrandmotherthatshefeltvexedwiththem."Inwhatpartofmy
previousexistencecouldanoldsuffererlikemyself,"sheexclaimed,"haveincurredsuchretributionthatmy
destinyistocomeacrossthesetwotroublesomenewfledgedfoes!Why,notasingledaygoesbywithouttheir
beinginstrumentalinworryingmymind!Theproverbisindeedcorrectwhichsays:'thatpeoplewhoarenot
enemiesarenotbroughttogether!'Butshortlymyeyesshallbeclosed,thisbreathofmineshallbesnapped,and
thosetwoenemieswillbefreetocausetroubleevenuptotheveryskiesforasmyeyeswillthenloosetheir
powerofvision,andmyheartwillbevoidofconcern,itwillreallybenothingtome.ButIcouldn'tverywell
stiflethisbreathoflifeofmine!"
Whileinwardlyapreytoresentment,shealsomeltedintotears.
ThesewordswerebroughttotheearsofPaoyandTaiy.Neitherofthemhadhithertoheardtheadage:
"peoplewhoarenotenemiesarenotbroughttogether,"sowhentheysuddenlygottoknowtheline,itseemedas
iftheyhadapprehendedabstraction.Bothloweredtheirheadsandmeditatedonthesubtlesenseofthesaying.
Butunconsciouslyastreamoftearsrolleddowntheircheeks.Theycouldnot,itistrue,getaglimpseofeach
otheryetastheonewasintheHsiaoHsianglodge,standinginthebreeze,bedewedwithtears,andtheotherin
theIHungcourt,facingthemoonandheavingdeepsighs,wasitnot,infact,acaseoftwopersonslivingintwo
distinctplaces,yetwithfeelingsemanatingfromoneandthesameheart?
HsiJenconsequentlytenderedadvicetoPaoy."You'reamilliontimestoblame,"shesaid,"it'syouwhoare
entirelyatfault!Forwhensometimeagothepagesintheestablishment,wrangledwiththeirsisters,orwhen
husbandandwifefellout,andyoucametohearanythingaboutit,youblewupthelads,andcalledthemfools
fornothavingthehearttoshowsomeregardtogirlsandnowhereyougoandfollowtheirlead.Buttomorrow
isthefifthdayofthemoon,agreatfestival,andwillyoutwostillcontinuelikethis,asifyouwerevery
enemies?Ifso,ourvenerablemistresswillbethemoreangry,andshecertainlywillbedrivensick!Iadviseyou
thereforetodowhat'srightbysuppressingyourspiteandconfessingyourfault,sothatweshouldallbeonthe
sametermsashitherto.Youherewillthenbeallright,andsowillsheoverthere."
Paoylistenedtowhatshehadtosaybutwhetherhefellinwithherviewsornotisnotyetascertainedyetif
you,reader,choosetoknow,wewillexplaininthenextchapter.

CHAPTERXXX.
Paoch'aiavailsherselfoftheexcuseaffordedherbyafanto
administeracoupleofraps.
WhileCh'unLingtraces,inaabsentframeofmind,theoutlinesof
thecharacterCh'iang,alookeronappearsonthescene.

LinTaiyherself,forwewillnowresumeournarrative,wasalso,eversincehertiffwithPaoy,fullofself
condemnation,yetasshedidnotseewhysheshouldrunafterhim,shecontinued,dayandnight,asdespondent
asshewouldhavebeenhadshelostsomethingorotherbelongingtoher.
TzuChansurmisedhersentiments."Asregardswhathappenedtheotherday,"sheadvisedher,"youwere,after
all,Miss,alittletoohastyforifothersdon'tunderstandthattemperamentofPaoy's,haveyouandI,surely,
alsonoideaaboutit?Besides,haven'ttherebeenalreadyoneortworowsonaccountofthatveryjade?"
"Ts'ui!"exclaimedTaiy."Haveyoucome,onbehalfofothers,tofindfaultwithme?ButhoweverwasI
hasty?"
"Whydidyou,"smiledTzuChan,"takethescissorsandcutthattasselwhentherewasnogoodreasonforit?
Soisn'tPaoylesstoblamethanyourself,Miss?I'vealwaysfoundhisbehaviourtowardsyou,Miss,withouta
fault.It'sallthattouchydispositionofyours,whichmakesyousooftenperverse,thatinduceshimtoactashe
does."
LinTaiyhadeverywishtomakesomesuitablereply,whensheheardsomeonecallingatthedoor.TzuChan
discernedthetoneofvoice."ThissoundslikePaoy'svoice,"shesmiled."Iexpecthe'scometomakehis
apologies."
"Iwon'thaveanyoneopenthedoor,"Taiycriedatthesewords.
"Hereyouareinthewrongagain,Miss,"TzuChanobserved."Howwilliteverdotolethimgetasunstroke
andcometosomeharmonadaylikethis,andundersuchascorchingsun?"
Sayingthis,shespeedilywalkedoutandopenedthedoor.Itwasindeed
Paoy.Whileusheringhimin,shegavehimasmile."Iimagined,"she
said,"thatyouwouldneveragainputyourfootinsideourdoor,Master
Secundus.Buthereyouareoncemoreandquiteunexpectedly!"
"Youhavebydintoftalking,"Paoylaughed,"mademuchadoofnothingandwhyshouldn'tIcome,when
there'snoreasonformetokeepaway?WereIeventodie,myspirittoowillcomeahundredtimesaday!Butis
cousinquitewell?"
"Sheis,"repliedTzuChan,"physicallyallrightbut,mentally,herresentmentisnotquiteover."
"Iunderstand,"continuedPaoywithasmile."Butresentment,forwhat?"
Withthisinquiry,hewendedhisstepsinsidetheapartment.HethencaughtsightofLinTaiyrecliningonthe
bedintheactofcrying.Taiyhadnotinfactshedatear,buthearingPaoybreakinuponher,shecouldnot
helpfeelingupset.Shefounditimpossiblethereforetopreventhertearsfromrollingdownhercheeks.
Paoyassumedasmilingexpressionanddrewnearthebed."Cousin,areyouquitewellagain?"heinquired.
Taiysimplywentondryinghertears,andmadenoreplyofanykind.
Paoyapproachedthebed,andsatontheedgeofit."Iknow,"hesmiled,"thatyou'renotvexedwithme.But
hadInotcome,thirdpartieswouldhavebeenallowedtonoticemyabsence,anditwouldhaveappearedtothem
asifwehadhadanotherquarrel.AndhadItowaituntiltheycametoreconcileus,wouldwenotbythattime
becomeperfectstrangers?Itwouldbebetter,supposingyouwishtobeatmeorblowmeup,thatyoushould
pleaseyourselfanddosonowbutwhateveryoudo,don'tgivemethecoldshoulder!"
Continuing,heproceededtocallher"mydearcousin"forseveraltensoftimes.
TaiyhadresolvednottopayanymoreheedtoPaoy.Whenshe,however,nowheardPaoyurge:"don'tlet
usallowotherstoknowanythingaboutourhavinghadaquarrel,asitwilllookasifwehadbecomethorough

strangers,"itoncemorebecameevidenttoher,fromthissingleremark,thatshewasreallydearerandnearerto
himthananyoftheothergirls,soshecouldnotrefrainfromsayingsobbingly:"Youneedn'thavecometochaff
me!Icouldn'tpresumehenceforwardtobeonfriendlytermswithyou,MasterSecundus!Youshouldtreatmeas
ifIweregone!"
Atthesewords,Paoygavewaytolaughter."Whereareyouoffto?"heinquired.
"I'mgoingbackhome,"answeredTaiy.
"I'llgoalongwithyouthen,"smiledPaoy.
"ButifIdie?"askedTaiy.
"Well,ifyoudie,"rejoinedPaoy,"I'llbecomeabonze."
ThemomentTaiycaughtthisreply,shehungdownherhead."Youmust,Ipresume,bebentupondying?"she
cried."Butwhatstuffandnonsenseisthisyou'retalking?You'vegotsomanybelovedelderandyounger
cousinsinyourfamily,andhowmanybodieswillyouhavetogoandbecomebonzes,whenbyandbyetheyall
passaway!ButtomorrowI'lltellthemaboutthistojudgeforthemselveswhatyourmotivesare!"
Paoywashimselfawareofthefactthatthisrejoinderhadbeenrecklesslyspoken,andhewasseizedwith
regret.Hisfaceimmediatelybecamesuffusedwithblushes.Heloweredhisheadandhadnotthecouragetoutter
onewordmore.Fortunately,however,therewasnoonepresentintheroom.
Taiystaredathimforeversolongwitheyesfixedstraightonhim,butlosingcontroloverhertemper,"Ai!"
sheshouted,"can'tyouspeak?"ThenwhensheperceivedPaoyreducedtosuchstraitsastoturnpurple,she
clenchedherteethandspitefullygavehim,ontheforehead,afillipwithherfinger."Heug!"shecriedgnashing
herteeth,"you,this"Butjustasshehadpronouncedthesetwowords,sheheavedanothersigh,andpicking
upherhandkerchief,shewipedhertears.
Paoytreasuredatonetimenumberlesstenderthingsinhismind,whichhemeanttotellher,butfeelingalso,
whilehesmartedunderthestingofselfreproach(fortheindiscretionhehadcommitted),Taiygivehimarap,
hewasutterlypowerlesstoopenhislips,muchthoughhemayhavelikedtospeak,sohekeptonsighingand
snivellingtohimself.Withallthesethingsthereforetoworkuponhisfeelings,heunwillinglymeltedintotears.
Hetriedtofindhishandkerchieftodryhisfacewith,butunexpectedlydiscoveringthathehadagainforgotten
tobringonewithhim,hewasabouttomakehiscoatsleeveanswerthepurpose,whenTaiy,albeithereyes
werewatery,noticedataglancethathewasgoingtousethebrandnewcoatofgreycolouredgauzehewore,
andwhilewipingherown,sheturnedherselfround,andseizedasilkkerchiefthrownoverthepillow,andthrust
itintoPaoy'slap.Butwithoutsayingaword,shescreenedherfaceandcontinuedsobbing.
Paoysawthehandkerchiefshethrew,andhastilysnatchingit,hewipedhistears.Thendrawingnearertoher,
heputouthishandandclaspedherhandinhis,andsmilinglysaidtoher:"You'vecompletelylaceratedmy
heart,anddoyoustillcry?Butlet'sgoI'llcomealongwithyouandseeourvenerablegrandmother."
Taiythrusthishandaside."Whowantstogohandinhandwithyou?"shecried."Herewegrowolderday
afterday,butwe'restillsofullofbrazenfacedeffronterythatwedon'tevenknowwhatrightmeans?"
Butscarcelyhadsheconcludedbeforesheheardavoicesayaloud:
"They'reallright!"
PaoyandTaiywerelittlepreparedforthissurprise,andtheywerestartledoutoftheirsenses.Turninground
toseewhoitwas,theycaughtsightofladyFengrunningin,laughingandshouting."Ouroldlady,"shesaid,"is
overthere,givingwaytoangeragainstheavenandearth.Shewouldinsistuponmycomingtofindoutwhether
youwerereconciledornot.'There'snoneedformetogoandsee,'Itoldher,'theywillbeforetheexpiryofthree
days,befriendsagainoftheirownaccord.'Ourvenerableancestor,however,calledmetoaccount,and

maintainedthatIwaslazysohereIcome!Butmywordshaveinverydeedturnedouttrue.Idon'tseewhyyou
twoshouldalwaysbewrangling!Forthreedaysyou'reongoodtermsandfortwoonbad.Youbecomemore
andmorelikechildren.Andhereyouarenowhandinhandblubbering!Butwhydidyouagainyesterday
becomelikeblackeyedfightingcocks?Don'tyouyetcomewithmetoseeyourgrandmotherandmakeanold
ladylikehersethermindateaseabit?"
Whilereproachingthem,sheclutchedTaiy'shandandwastrudgingaway,whenTaiyturnedherheadround
andcalledoutforherservantgirls.Butnotoneofthemwasinattendance.
"Whatdoyouwantthemforagain?"ladyFengasked."Iamheretowaitonyou!"
Stillspeaking,shepulledheralongontheirway,withPaoyfollowingintheirfootsteps.Thenmakingtheir
exitoutofthegardengate,theyentereddowagerladyChia'ssuiteofrooms."Isaidthatitwassuperfluousfor
anyonetotrouble,"ladyFengsmiled,"astheyweresureofthemselvestobecomereconciledbutyou,dear
ancestor,solittlebelieveditthatyouinsisteduponmygoingtoactthepartofmediator.YetwhenIgotthere,
withtheintentionofinducingthemtomakeitup,Ifoundthem,thoughonedidnotexpectit,ineachother's
company,confessingtheirfaults,andlaughingandchatting.Justlikeayelloweagleclutchingthefeetofakite
werethosetwohangingontoeachother.Sowherewasthenecessityforanyonetogo?"
Thesewordsevokedlaughterfromeveryoneintheroom.Paoch'ai,however,waspresentatthetimesoLin
Taiydidnotretort,butwentandensconcedherselfinaseatnearhergrandmother.
WhenPaoynoticedthatnoonehadanythingtosay,hesmilinglyaddressedhimselftoPaoch'ai."Oncousin
HsehP'an'sbirthday,"heremarked,"Ihappenedagaintobeunwell,sonotonlydidInotsendhimany
presents,butIfailedtogoandknockmyheadbeforehim.Yetcousinknowsnothingaboutmyhavingbeenill,
anditwillseemtohimthatIhadnowishtogo,andthatIbroughtforwardexcusessoastoavoidpayinghima
visit.Iftomorrowyoufindanyleisure,cousin,dothereforeexplainmattersformetohim."
"Thisistoomuchpunctiliousness!"smiledPaoch'ai."Evenhadyouinsistedupongoing,wewouldn'thave
beensoarrogantastoletyouputyourselftothetrouble,andhowmuchlesswhenyouwerenotfeelingwell?
Youtwoarecousinsandarealwaystobefoundtogetherthewholedayifyouencouragesuchideas,some
estrangementwill,afterall,arisebetweenyou."
"Cousin,"continuedPaoysmilingly,"youknowwhattosayandsolongasyou'relenientwithmeallwillbe
allright.Buthowisit,"hewentontoask,"thatyouhaven'tgoneovertoseethetheatricals?"
"Icouldn'tstandtheheat"rejoinedPaoch'ai."Ilookedonwhiletwoplayswerebeingsung,butIfounditso
intenselyhot,thatIfeltanxioustoretire.Butthevisitorsnothavingdispersed,IhadtogiveasanexcusethatI
wasn'tfeelinguptothemark,andsocameawayatonce."
Paoy,atthesewords,couldnotbutfeelillatease.Allhecoulddowastofeignanothersmile."It'sno
wonder,"heobserved,"thattheycompareyou,cousin,toYangKueifeiforshetoowasfatandafraidofhot
weather."
Hearingthis,Paoch'aiinvoluntarilyflewintoaviolentrage.Yetwhenabouttocallhimtotask,shefoundthatit
wouldnotbeniceforhertodoso.Aftersomereflection,thecolourrushedtohercheeks.Smilingironically
twice,"Imayresemble,"shesaid,"YangKueifei,butthere'snotoneofyouyoungmen,whethersenioror
junior,goodenoughtoplaythepartofYangKuochung."
Whiletheywerebandyingwords,aservantgirlCh'ingErh,lostsightofherfanandlaughinglyremarkedto
Paoch'ai:"Itmustbeyou,MissPao,whohaveputmyfanawaysomewhereorotherdearmistress,doletme
haveit!"
"You'dbetterbemindful!"rejoinedPaoch'ai,shakingherfingerather."WithwhomhaveIeverbeenupto
jokes,thatyoucomeandsuspectme?HaveIhithertolaughedandsmirkedwithyou?There'sthatwholelotof

girls,goandaskthemaboutit!"
Atthissuggestion,Ch'ingErhmadeherescape.
TheconsciousnessthenburstuponPaoy,thathehadagainbeeninconsiderateinhisspeech,inthepresenceof
somanypersons,andhewasovercomebyagreatersenseofshamethanwhen,ashortwhileback,hehadbeen
speakingwithLinTaiy.Precipitatelyturninghimselfround,hewent,therefore,andtalkedtotheothersas
well.
ThesightofPaoypokingfunatPaoch'aigratifiedTaiyimmensely.Shewasjustabouttoputinherword
andalsoseizetheopportunityofchaffingher,butasCh'ingErhunawaresaskedforherfanandPaoch'aiadded
afewmoreremarks,sheatoncechangedherpurpose."CousinPaoch'ai,"sheinquired,"whattwoplaysdidyou
hear?"
Paoch'aicaughttheexpressionofgratificationinTaiy'scountenance,andconcludedthatshehadfora
certaintyheardtherailleryrecentlyindulgedinbyPaoyandthatithadfalleninwithherownwishesand
hearingheralsosuddenlyaskthequestionshedid,sheansweredwithasignificantlaugh:"WhatIsawwas:'Li
KueiblowsupSungChiangandsubsequentlyagaintendershisapologies'."
Paoysmiled."Howisit,"hesaid,"thatwithsuchwideknowledgeofthingsnewaswellasoldandsuch
generalinformationasyoupossess,youaren'tevenuptothenameofaplay,andthatyou'vecomeoutwithsuch
awholestringofwords.Why,therealnameoftheplayis:'Carryingabirchandbeggingforpunishment'".
"Isittrulycalled:'Carryingabirchandbeggingforpunishment'"?Paoch'aiaskedwithlaugh."Butyoupeople
knowallthingsnewandoldsoareabletounderstandtheimportof'carryingabirchandbeggingfor
punishment.'AsformeI'venoideawhateverwhat'carryingabirchandbeggingforpunishment'implies."
OnesentencewasscarcelyendedwhenPaoyandTaiyfeltguiltyintheirconsciencesandbythetimethey
heardallshesaid,theywerequiteflushedfromshame.LadyFengdidnot,itistrue,fathomthegistofwhathad
beensaid,butatthesightoftheexpressionbetrayedonthefacesofthethreecousins,shereadilygotaninkling
ofit."Onthisbroilinghotday,"sheinquiredlaughingalso"whostilleatsrawginger?"
Noneofthepartycouldmakeouttheimportofherinsinuation."There'snooneeatingrawginger,"theysaid.
LadyFengintentionallythenbroughtherhandstohercheeks,andrubbingthem,sheremarkedwithanairof
utterastonishment,"Sincethere'snooneeatingrawginger,howisitthatyouareallsofieryintheface?"
Hearingthis,PaoyandTaiywaxedmoreuncomfortablethanever.Somuchso,thatPaoch'ai,whomeantto
continuetheconversation,didnotthinkitnicetosayanythingmorewhenshesawhowutterlyabashedPaoy
wasandhowchangedhismanner.Heronlycoursewasthereforetosmileandholdherpeace.Andastherestof
theinmateshadnotthefaintestnotionofthedriftoftheremarksexchangedbetweenthefourofthem,they
consequentlyfollowedherleadandputonasmile.
Inashortwhile,however,Paoch'aiandladyFengtooktheirleave.
"You'vealsotriedyourstrengthwiththem,"TaiysaidtoPaoylaughingly."Butthey'refarworsethanI.Is
everyoneassimpleinmindanddulloftongueasIamastoallowpeopletosaywhatevertheylike."
Paoywasinwardlygivingwaytothatunhappiness,whichhadbeenoccasionedbyPaoch'ai'stouchiness,so
whenhealsosawTaiyapproachhimandtaunthim,displeasurekeenerthaneverwasarousedinhim.Adesire
thenasserteditselftospeakouthismindtoher,butdreadinglestTaiyshouldheinoneofhersensitivemoods,
he,needlesstosay,stifledhisangerandstraightwaylefttheapartmentinastateofmentaldepression.
Ithappenedtobetheseasonofthegreatestheat.Breakfasttimetoowasalreadypast,andmastersaswellas
servantswere,forthemostpart,undertheinfluenceofthelassitudefeltonlengthydays.AsPaoytherefore

strolled,fromplacetoplace,hishandsbehindhisbackheheardnotsomuchasthecawofacrow.Issuingoutof
hisgrandmother'scompoundonthenearside,hewendedhisstepswestwards,andcrossedthepassage,on
whichladyFeng'squartersgave.Assoonashereachedtheentranceofhercourt,heperceivedthedoorajar.But
awareofladyFeng'shabitoftaking,duringthehotweather,acoupleofhours'siestaatnoon,hedidnotfeelita
convenientmomenttointrude.Walkingaccordinglythroughthecornerdoor,hesteppedintoMadameWang's
apartment.Herehediscoveredseveralwaitingmaids,dosingwiththeirneedleworkclaspedintheirhands.
MadameWangwasasleeponthecoolcouchintheinnerrooms.ChinCh'uanerhwassittingnexttoher
massagingherlegs.Butshetoowasquitedrowsy,andhereyesworeallawry.Paoydrewuptoherwithgentle
tread.Themoment,however,thatheunfastenedthependantsfromtheearringsshewore,ChinCh'uanopened
hereyes,andrealisedthatitwasnoonethanPaoy.
"Areyoufeelingsowornout!"hesmilinglyremarkedinalowtoneofvoice.
ChinCh'uanpursedupherlipsandgavehimasmile.Thenwavingherhandsoastobidhimquittheroom,she
againclosedhereyes.
Paoy,atthesightofher,feltconsiderableaffectionforherandunabletotearhimselfaway,soquietly
stretchinghisheadforward,andnoticingthatMadameWang'seyeswereshut,heextractedfromapurse,
suspendedabouthisperson,oneofthe'scentedsnowformoisteningmouthpills,'withwhichitwasfull,and
placeditonChinCh'uanerh'slips.ChinCh'uanerh,however,didnotopenhereyes,butsimplyheld(thepill)
inhermouth.Paoythenapproachedherandtookherhandinhis."I'llaskyouofyourmistress,"hegently
observedsmiling,"andyouandIwilllivetogether."
TothisChinCh'uanerhsaidnotaword.
"Ifthatwon'tdo,"Paoycontinued,"I'llwaitforyourmistresstowakeandappealtoheratonce."
ChinCh'uanerhdistendedhereyeswide,andpushedPaoyoff."What'sthehurry?"shelaughed."'Agold
hairpinmayfallintothewellbutifit'syoursitwillremainyoursonly.'Isitpossiblethatyoudon'tevenseethe
spiritofthisproverb?ButI'lltellyouasmartthing.Justyougointothesmallcourt,ontheeastside,andyou'll
findforyourselfwhatMr.ChiaHuauandTs'aiYunareupto!"
"Letthembeuptowhatevertheylike,"smiledPaoy,"Ishallsimplysticktoyourside!"
ButhethensawMadameWangtwistherselfround,getup,andgiveaslaptoChinCh'uanerhonhermouth.
"Youmeanwench!"sheexclaimed,abusingher,whileshepointedherfingerather,"it'syou,andthelikeof
you,whocorruptthesefineyoungfellowswithallthenicethingsyouteachthem!"
ThemomentPaoyperceivedMadameWangrise,heboltedlikeastreakofsmoke.ChinCh'uanerh,
meanwhile,felthalfofherfaceashotasfire,yetshedidnotdareutteronewordofcomplaint.Thevarious
waitingmaidssooncametohearthatMadameWanghadawokeandtheyrushedininabody.
"Goandtellyourmother,"MadameWangthereuponsaidtoYCh'uanerh,"tofetchyoureldersisteraway."
ChinCh'uanerh,atthesewords,speedilyfellonherknees.Withtearsinhereyes:"Iwon'tventuretodoit
again,"shepleaded."Ifyou,Madame,wishtoflogme,ortoscoldmedosoatonce,andasmuchasyoulikebut
don'tsendmeaway.Youwillthusaccomplishanactofheavenlygrace!I'vebeeninattendanceonyourladyship
forabouttenyears,andifyounowdrivemeaway,willIbeabletolookatanyoneintheface?"
ThoughMadameWangwasagenerous,tenderheartedperson,andhadatnotimeraisedherhandtogivea
singleblowtoanyservantgirl,she,however,whensheaccidentallydiscoveredChinCh'uanerhbehaveonthis
occasioninthisbarefacedmanner,amannerwhichhadallherlifetimebeenmostreprehensibletoher,wasso
overcomebypassionthatshegaveChinCh'uanerhjustoneslapandspoketoherafewsharpwords.Andalbeit
ChinCh'uanerhindulgedinsolicitousentreaties,shewouldnotonanyaccountkeepherinherservice.At

length,ChinCh'uanerh'smother,DamePao,wassentfortotakeheraway.ChinCh'uanerhthereforehadto
concealherdisgrace,suppressherresentment,andquitthemansion.
Butwithoutanyfurtherreferencetoher,wewillnowtakeupourstorywithPaoy.AssoonashesawMadame
Wangawake,hisspiritswerecrushed.AllalonehehastilymadehiswayintotheTaKuangarden.Herehis
attentionwasattractedbytheruddysun,shininginthezenith,theshadeofthetreesextendingfarandwide,the
songofthecicadas,fillingtheearandbyaperfectstillness,notevenbrokenbytheechoofahumanvoice.But
theinstanthegotnearthetrellis,withthecinnamonroses,thesoundofsobsfellonhisear.Doubtsandsurmises
creptintoPaoy'smind,sohaltingatonce,helistenedwithintentness.Thenactuallyhediscernedsomeoneon
theoffsideofthetrellis.Thiswasthefifthmoon,theseasonwhentheflowersandfoliageofthecinnamon
roseswereinfullbloom.Furtivelypeepingthroughanapertureinthefence,Paoysawayounggirlsquatting
undertheflowersanddiggingthegroundwithahairpinsheheldinherhand.Asshedug,shesilentlygaveway
totears.
"Canitbepossible,"musedPaoy,"thatthisgirltooisstupid?CanshealsobefollowingP'inErh'sexample
andcometointerflowers?Whyifshe'slikewisereallyburyingflowers,"heafterwardswentontosmilingly
reflect,"thiscanaptlybetermed:'TungShihtriestoimitateafrown.'Butnotonlyiswhatshedoesnotoriginal,
butitisdespicabletoboot.Youneedn't,"hemeanttoshoutouttothegirl,attheconclusionofthistrainof
thought,"tryandcopyMissLin'sexample."Butbeforethewordshadissuedfromhismouth,heluckily
scrutinisedherasecondtime,andfoundthatthegirl'sfeatureswerequiteunfamiliartohim,thatshewasno
menial,andthatshelookedlikeoneofthetwelvesingingmaids,whoweregettinguptheplays.Hecouldnot,
however,makeoutwhatrlesshefilled:scholars,girls,oldmen,women,orbuffoons.Paoyquicklyputout
histongueandstoppedhismouthwithhishand."Howfortunate,"heinwardlysoliloquised,"thatIdidn'tmake
anyrecklessremark!Itwasallbecauseofmyinconsideratetalkonthelasttwooccasions,thatP'inErhgot
angrywithme,andthatPaoch'aifelthurt.AndhadInowgiventhemoffencealso,Iwouldhavebeeninastill
moreawkwardfix!"
Whilewraptinthesethoughts,hefeltmuchannoyanceatnotbeingabletorecognisewhoshewas.Buton
furtherminuteinspection,henoticedthatthismaiden,withcontractedeyebrows,asbeautifulasthehillsin
spring,frowningeyesasclearasthestreamsinautumn,aface,withtransparentskin,andaslimwaist,was
elegantandbeautifulandalmosttheveryimageofLinTaiy.Paoycouldnot,fromtheveryfirst,makeup
hismindtowrenchhimselfaway.Butashestoodgazingatherinadoltishmood,herealisedthat,althoughshe
wastracingonthegroundwiththegoldhairpin,shewasnotdiggingaholetoburyflowersin,butwasmerely
delineatingcharactersonthesurfaceofthesoil.Paoy'seyesfollowedthehairpinfromfirsttolast,asitwent
upandasitcamedown.Hewatchedeachdash,eachdotandeachhook.Hecountedthestrokes.Theynumbered
eighteen.Hehimselfthensettoworkandsketchedwithhisfingeronthepalmofhishand,thelines,intheir
variousdirections,andintheordertheyhadbeentracedafewminutesback,soastoendeavourtoguesswhat
thecharacterwas.Oncompletingthesketch,hediscovered,themomenthecametoreflect,thatitwasthe
character"Ch'iang,"inthecombination,'Ch'iangWei,'representingcinnamonroses.
"Shetoo,"ponderedPaoy,"musthavebeenbentuponwritingverses,orsupplyingsomelineorother,andat
thesightnowoftheflowers,theideamusthavesuggesteditselftohermind.Oritmayverylikelybethat
havingspontaneouslydevisedacouplet,shegotsuddenlyelatedandbegan,forfearitshouldslipfromher
memory,totraceitonthegroundsoastotonetherhythm.Yetthere'snosaying.Letmesee,however,what
she'sgoingtowritenext."
Whilecogitating,helookedoncemore.Lo,thegirlwasstilltracing.
Buttracinguportracingdown,itwaseverthecharacter"Ch'iang."
Whenhegazedagain,itwasstilltheselfsameCh'iang.
Theoneinsidethefencefell,infact,fromanearlystage,intoafoolishmood,andnosoonerwasone'Ch'iang,'
finishedthanshestartedwithanothersothatshehadalreadywrittenseveraltensofthem.Theoneoutside
gazedandgazed,untilheunwittinglyalsogotintothesamefoolishmood.Intentwithhiseyesuponfollowing
themovementsofthepin,inhismind,hecommunedthuswithhisownthoughts:"Thisgirlmust,foracertainty,
havesomethingtosay,orsomeunspeakablemomentoussecretthatshegoesonlikethis.Butifoutwardlyshe

behavesinthiswise,whoknowswhatanguishshemayn'tsufferatheart?Andyet,withaframetoall
appearancessoverydelicate,howcouldsheeverresistmuchinwardanxiety!WoeismethatI'munableto
transfersomepartofherburdenontomyownshoulders!"
Inmidsummer,cloudyandbrightweatherareuncertain.Afewspecksofcloudssufficetobringaboutrain.Ofa
sudden,acoldblastsweptby,andtossedaboutbythewindfellashowerofrain.Paoyperceivedthatthe
watertricklingdownthegirl'sheadsaturatedhergauzeattireinnotime."It'spouring,"Paoydebatedwithin
himself,"andhowcanaframelikehersresistthebruntofsuchasquall."Unablethereforetorestrainhimself,
hevehementlyshouted:"Leaveoffwriting!See,it'spouringyou'rewetthrough!"
Thegirlcaughtthesewords,andwasfrightenedoutofherwits.Raisingherhead,sheatoncedescriedsomeone
orotherstandingbeyondtheflowersandcallingouttoher:"Leaveoffwriting.It'spouring!"ButasPaoywas,
firstly,ofhandsomeappearance,andassecondlytheluxuriantabundanceofflowersandfoliagescreenedwith
theirboughs,thickladenwithleaves,theupperandlowerpartofhisperson,justleavinghalfofhiscountenance
exposedtoview,themaidensimplyjumpedattheconclusionthathemustbeaservantgirl,andneverfora
momentdreamtthatitmightbePaoy."Manythanks,sister,forrecallingmetomysenses,"sheconsequently
smiled."Yetisthereforsoothanythingoutsidetheretoprotectyoufromtherain?"
ThissingleremarkprovedsufficienttorecallPaoytohimself.Withanexclamationof"Aiyah,"heatlength
becameconsciousthathiswholebodywascoldasice.Thendroopinghishead,herealisedthathisownperson
toowasdrenched."Thiswillneverdo,"hecried,andwithonebreathhehadtorunbackintotheIHungcourt.
Hismind,however,continuedmuchexercisedaboutthegirlasshehadnothingtoshelterherfromtherain.
Asthenextdaywasthedragonboatfestival,WenKuanandtheothersinginggirls,twelveinall,weregivena
holiday,sotheycameintothegardenandamusedthemselvesbyroamingeverywhereandanywhere.Asluck
wouldhaveit,thetwogirlsPaoKuan,whofilledtherleofyoungmenandYKuan,whorepresentedyoung
women,wereintheIHungcourtenjoyingthemselveswithHsiJen,whenrainsetinandtheywereprevented
fromgoingback,soinabodytheystoppedupthedraintoallowthewatertoaccumulateintheyard.Then
catchingthosethatcouldbecaught,anddrivingthosethathadtobedriven,theylaidholdofafewofthegreen
headedducks,variegatedmarshbirdsandcolouredmandarinducks,andtyingtheirwingstheyletthemloosein
thecourttodisportthemselves.ClosingthecourtHsiJenandherplaymatesstoodtogetherundertheverandah
andenjoyedthefun.Paoythereforefoundtheentranceshut.Hegavearapatthedoor.Butaseveryoneinside
wasbentuponlaughing,theynaturallydidnotcatchthesoundanditwasonlyafterhehadcalledandcalled,
andmadeanoisebythumpingatthedoor,thattheyatlastheard.Imagining,however,thatPaoycouldnotbe
comingbackatthathour,HsiJenshoutedlaughing:"who'sitnowknockingatthedoor?There'snoonetogo
andopen."
"It'sI,"rejoinedPaoy.
"It'sMissPaoch'ai'stoneofvoice,"addedSheYeh.
"Nonsense!"criedCh'ingWen."WhatwouldMissPaoch'aicomeovertodoatsuchanhour?"
"Letmego,"chimedinHsiJen,"andseethroughthefissureinthedoor,andifwecanopen,we'llopenforwe
mustn'tlethergoback,wetthrough."
Withthesewords,shecamealongthepassagetothedoorway.Onlookingout,sheespiedPaoydrippinglikea
chickendrenchedwithrain.
Seeinghiminthisplight,HsiJenfeltsolicitousaswellasamused.Withalacrity,sheflungthedoorwideopen,
laughingsoheartilythatshewasdoubledintwo."HowcouldIeverhaveknown,"shesaid,clappingherhands,
"thatyouhadreturned,Sir!Yethowisitthatyou'verunbackinthisheavyrain?"
Paoyhad,however,beenfeelinginnohappyframeofmind.Hehadfullyresolvedwithinhimselfto
administerafewkickstotheperson,whocametoopenthedoor,soassoonasitwasunbarred,hedidnottryto

makesurewhoitwas,butunderthepresumptionthatitwasoneoftheservantgirls,heraisedhislegandgive
herakickontheside.
"Aiyah!"ejaculatedHsiJen.
Paoyneverthelesswentontoabuse."Youmeanthings!"heshouted."It'sbecauseI'vealwaystreatedyouso
consideratelythatyoudon'trespectmeintheleast!Andyounowgotothelengthofmakingalaughingstockof
me!"
Ashespoke,heloweredhishead.ThencatchingsightofHsiJen,intears,herealisedthathehadkickedthe
wrongperson."Hallo!"hesaid,promptlysmiling,"isityouwho'vecome?WheredidIkickyou?"
HsiJenhadnever,previoustothis,receivedevenaharshwordfromhim.Whenthereforesheonthisoccasion
unexpectedlysawPaoygaveherakickinafitofangerand,whatmadeitworse,inthepresenceofsomany
people,shame,resentment,andbodilypainoverpoweredherandshedidnot,infact,foratimeknowwhereto
goandhideherself.Shewasthenabouttogivereintoherdispleasure,butthereflectionthatPaoycouldnot
havekickedherintentionallyobligedhertosuppressherindignation."Insteadofkicking,"sheremarked,"don't
youyetgoandchangeyourclothes?"
Paoywalkedintotheroom.Ashedidso,hesmiled."UptotheageI'vereached,"heobserved,"thisisthefirst
instanceonwhichI'veeversothoroughlylostcontrolovermytemperastostrikeanyoneand,contrarytoall
mythoughts,it'syouthathappenedtocomeinmyway?"
HsiJen,whilepatientlyenduringthepain,effectedthenecessarychangeinhisattire."I'vebeenherefromthe
veryfirst,"shesimultaneouslyadded,smilingly,"soinallthings,whetherlargeorsmall,goodorbad,ithas
naturallyfallentomysharetobearthebrunt.Butnottosayanotherwordaboutyourassaultonme,why,to
morrowyou'llindulgeyourhandandstarbeatingothers!"
"Ididnotstrikeyouintentionallyjustnow,"retortedPaoy.
"Whoeversaid,"rejoinedHsiJen,"thatyoudiditintentionally!Ithaseverbeenthedutyofthattribeof
servantgirlstoopenandshutthedoors,yetthey'vegotintothewayofbeingobstinate,andhavelongago
becomesuchanabominationthatpeople'steethitchtorevengethemselvesonthem.Theydon'tknow,besides,
whatfearmeans.Sohadyoufirstassuredyourselfthatitwastheyandgiventhemakick,alittleintimidating
wouldhavedonethemgood.ButI'matthebottomofthemischiefthathappenedjustnow,fornotcallingthose,
uponwhomitdevolves,tocomeandopenforyou."
Duringthecourseoftheirconversation,therainceased,andPaoKuanandYKuanhadbeenabletotaketheir
leave.HsiJen,however,experiencedsuchintensepaininherside,andfeltsuchinwardvexation,thatatsupper
shecouldnotputamorselofanythinginhermouth.Whenintheevening,thetimecameforhertohaveher
bath,shediscovered,ondivestingherselfofherclothes,abluishbruiseonhersideofthesizeofasaucerand
shewasverymuchfrightened.Butasshecouldnotverywellsayanythingaboutittoanyone,shepresently
retiredtorest.Buttwitchesofpainmadeherinvoluntarilymoaninherdreamsandgroaninhersleep.
Paoydid,itistrue,nothurtherwithanymalice,butwhenhesawHsiJensolistlessandrestless,andsuddenly
heardhergroaninthecourseofthenight,herealisedhowseverelyhemusthavekickedher.Sogettingoutof
bed,hegentlyseizedthelanternandcameovertolookather.Butassoonashereachedthesideofherbed,he
perceivedHsiJenexpectorate,witharetch,awholemouthfulofphlegm."Ohme!"shegasped,assheopened
hereyes.ThepresenceofPaoystartledheroutofherwits."Whatareyouupto?"sheasked.
"Yougroanedinyourdreams,"answeredPaoy,"soImusthavekickedyouhard.Doletmesee!"
"Myheadfeelsgiddy,"saidHsiJen."Mythroatfoulandsweetthrowthelightonthefloor!"

Atthesewords,Paoyactuallyraisedthelantern.Themomenthecastthelightbelow,hediscernedaquantity
offreshbloodonthefloor.
Paoywasseizedwithconsternation."Dreadful!"wasallhecouldsay.
Atthesightoftheblood,HsiJen'shearttoopartlywaxedcold.
But,reader,thenextchapterwillrevealthesequel,ifyoureallyhaveanywishtoknowmoreaboutthem.

CHAPTERXXXI.
PaoyallowsthegirlCh'ingWentotearhisfansoastoaffordher
amusement.
Aweddingprovestobetheresultofthedescentofaunicorn.
Buttoproceed.Whenshesawonthefloortheblood,shehadbroughtup,HsiJenimmediatelygrewpartlycold.
Whatshehadoftenheardpeoplementioninpastdays'thatthelivesofyoungpeople,whoexpectorateblood,
areuncertain,andthatalthoughtheymaylivelong,theyare,afterall,merewrecks,'flashedthroughhermind.
Theremembranceofthissayingatoncecompletelyscatteredtothewindsthewish,shehadallalongcherished,
ofstrivingforhonourandofbeingabletoboastofgloryandfromhereyesunwittinglyrandownstreamsof
tears.
WhenPaoysawhercrying,hisheartwasseizedwithanguish."What'sitthatpreysonyourmind?"he
consequentlyaskedher.
HsiJenstrainedeverynervetosmile."There'snorhymeorreasonforanything,"shereplied,"sowhatcanit
be?"
Paoy'sintentionwastothereandthengiveorderstotheservanttowarmsomewhitewineandtoaskthemfor
afew'LiT'ung'pillscompoundedwithgoat'sblood,butHsiJenclaspedhishandtight."Mytroublingyouisof
nomatter,"shesmiled,"butwereItoputeversomanypeopletoinconvenience,they'llbearmeagrudgeformy
impudence.Notasoul,it'sclearenough,knowsanythingaboutitnow,butwereyoutomakesuchabustleasto
bringittopeople'snotice,you'llbeinanawkwardfix,andsowillI.Theproperthing,therefore,isforyouto
sendapagetomorrowtorequestDr.Wangtopreparesomemedicineforme.WhenItakethisIshallbeall
right.Andasneitheranyhumanbeingnorspiritwillthusgetwindofit,won'titbebetter?"
Paoyfoundhersuggestionsofullofreasonthathethoughthimselfobligedtoabandonhispurposeso
approachingthetable,hepouredacupoftea,andcameoverandgaveittoHsiJentorinsehermouthwith.
Aware,however,asHsiJenwasthatPaoyhimselfwasnotfeelingateaseinhismind,shewasonthepointof
biddinghimnotwaituponherbutconvincedthathewouldoncemorebecertainnottoaccedetoherwishes,
andthattheotherswould,inthesecondplace,havetobedisturbed,shedeemeditexpedienttohumourhim.
Leaningonthecouch,sheconsequentlyallowedPaoytocomeandattendtoher.
Assoonasthefifthwatchstruck,Paoy,unmindfulofcombingorwashing,hastilyputonhisclothesandleft
theroomandsendingforWangChijen,hepersonallyquestionedhimwithallminutenessaboutherailment.
WangChijenaskedhowithadcomeabout."It'ssimplyabruisenothingmore,"(hesaid),andforthwithhe
gavehimthenamesofsomepillsandmedicines,andtoldhimhowtheyweretobetaken,andhowtheywereto
beapplied.

Paoycommittedeverydetailtomemory,andonhisreturnintothegarden,thetreatmentwas,needlessforus
toexplain,takeninhandinstrictcompliancewiththedirections.
Thiswasthedayofthedragonboatfestival.Cattailandartemisiawereputoverthedoors.Tigercharmswere
suspendedoneveryback.Atnoon,MadameWanggotabanquetready,andtothismiddayfeast,sheinvitedthe
mother,daughterandtherestofthemembersoftheHsehhousehold.
PaoynoticedthatPaoch'aiwasinsuchlowspiritsthatshewouldnotevenspeaktohim,andconcludedthat
thereasonwastobesoughtintheincidentofthepreviousday.MadameWangseeingPaoyinasullenhumour
jumpedatthesurmisethatitmustbeduetoChinCh'uan'saffairofthedaybeforeandsoillateasedidshefeel
thatsheheededhimlessthanever.LinTaiy,detectedPaoy'sapathy,andpresumedthathewasoutofsorts
forhavinggivenumbragetoPaoch'ai,andhermannerlikewiseassumedalistlessair.LadyFenghad,inthe
courseofthepreviousevening,beentoldbyMadameWangwhathadtakenplacebetweenPaoyandChin
Ch'uan,andwhenshecametoknowthatMadameWangwasinanunhappyframeofmindsheherselfdidnot
venturetochatorlaugh,butatonceregulatedherbehaviourtosuitMadameWang'smood.Sothelackof
animationbecamemorethaneverperceptibleforthegoodcheerofYingCh'unandhersisterswasalsodamped
bythesightofallofthemdowninthemouth.Thenaturalconsequencethereforewasthattheyallleftaftera
veryshortstay.
LinTaiyhadanaturalpredilectionforretirement.Shedidnotcareforsocialgatherings.Hernotions,however,
werenotentirelydevoidofreason.Shemaintainedthatpeoplewhogatheredtogethermustsoonpartthatwhen
theycametogether,theywerefullofrejoicing,butdidtheynotfeellonelywhentheybrokeup?Thatsincethis
senseoflonelinessgaverisetochagrin,itwasconsequentlypreferablenottohaveanygatherings.Thatflowers
affordedanaptexample.Whentheyopened,theywonpeople'sadmirationbutwhentheyfaded,theyaddedto
thefeelingofvexationsothatbetterwereitiftheydidnotblossomatall!Tothiscausethereforemustbe
assignedthefactthatwhenotherpeoplewereglad,she,onthecontrary,feltunhappy.
Paoy'sdispositionwassuchthathesimplyyearnedforfrequentgatherings,andlookedforwardwithsorrowto
thebreakingupwhichmusttoosooncomeround.Asforflowers,hewishedthemtobloomrepeatedlyandwas
hauntedwiththedreadoftheirdyinginalittletime.Yetalbeitmanifoldanguishfelltohissharewhenbanquets
drewtoacloseandflowersbegantofade,hehadnoalternativebuttopracticeresignation.
Onthisaccountwasitthat,whenthecompanycheerlesslybrokeupfromthepresentfeast,LinTaiydidnot
mindtheseparationandthatPaoyexperiencedsuchmelancholyanddepression,that,onhisreturntohis
apartments,hegavewaytodeepgroansandfrequentsighs.
Ch'ingWen,asithappened,cametotheupperquarterstochangehercostume.Inanunguardedmoment,shelet
herfanslipoutofherhandanddropontheground.Asitfell,thebonesweresnapped."Youstupidthing!"Pao
yexclaimed,sighing,"whatadunce!whatnextwillyoubeuptobyandbye?When,inalittletime,youget
marriedandhaveahomeofyourown,willyou,forsooth,stillgooninthishappygoluckycarelesssortof
way?"
"MasterSecundus,"repliedCh'ingWenwithasardonicsmile,"yourtemperisoflatedreadfullyfiery,andtime
andagainitleaksoutonyourveryface!TheotherdayyouevenbeatHsiJenandhereyouareagainnow
findingfaultwithus!Ifyoufeeldisposedtokickorstrikeus,youareatliberty,Sir,todosoatyourpleasure
butforafantosliponthegroundisaneverydayoccurrence!Howmanyofthosecrystaljarsandcornelian
bowlsweresmashedtheothertime,Idon'tremember,andyetyouwerenotseentoflyintoatantrumandnow,
forafandoyoudistressyourselfso?What'stheuseofit?Ifyoudislikeus,wellpackusoffandselectsome
goodgirlstoserveyou,andwewillquietlygoaway.Won'tthisbebetter?"
ThisrejoindersoexasperatedPaoythathiswholeframetrembledviolently."Youneedn'tbeinahurry!"he
thenshouted."Therewillbeadayofpartingbyandbye."
HsiJenwasontheotherside,andfromanearlyperiodshelistenedtotheconversationbetweenthem.Hurriedly
crossingover,"whatareyouuptoagain?"shesaidtoPaoy,"why,there'snothingtoputyourmonkeyup!I'm

perfectlyrightinmyassertionthatwhenI'mawayforanylengthoftime,somethingissuretohappen."
Ch'ingWenheardtheseremarks."Sister,"sheinterposedsmilingironically,"sinceyou'vegotthegiftofthegab,
youshouldhavecomeatonceyouwouldthenhavesparedyourmasterhisfitofanger.It'syouwhohavefrom
bygonedaysuptothepresentwaiteduponmasterwe'veneverhadanythingtodowithattendingonhimand
it'sbecauseyou'veservedhimsofaithfullythatherepaidyouyesterdaywithakickonthestomach.Butwho
knowswhatpunishmentmayn'tbeinstoreforus,whoaren'tfittowaituponhimdecently!"
Attheseinsinuations,HsiJenfeltbothincensedandashamed.ShewasabouttomakesomeresponsebutPaoy
hadworkedhimselfintosuchanotherpassionastogetquiteyellowintheface,andshewasobligedtoreinin
hertemper.PushingCh'ingWen,"Dearsister,"shecried,"youhadbetterbeoffforastroll!it'sreallywe,who
aretoblame!"
Theverymentionoftheword"we"madeitcertaintoCh'ingWenthatsheimpliedherselfandPaoy,andthus
unawaresmorefuelwasaddedagaintoherjealousnotions.Givingwaytoseveralloudsmiles,fullofirony:"I
can'tmakeout,"sheinsinuated,"whoyoumaymean.Butdon'tmakemeblushonyouraccount!Eventhose
devilishpranksofyourscan'thoodwinkme!Howandwhyisitthatyou'vestartedstylingyourselfas'we?'
Properlyspeaking,youhaven'tasyetsomuchasattainedthedesignationof'Miss!'You'resimplynobetterthan
Iam,andhowisitthenthatyoupresumesohighastocallyourself'we.'"
HsiJen'sfacegrewpurplefromshame."Thefactis,"shereflected,"thatI'vesaidmorethanIshould."
"Asoneandallofyouareeverbearinghermalice,"Paoysimultaneouslyobserved,"I'llactuallyraiseherto
morrowtoahigherstatus!"
HsiJenquicklysnatchedPaoy'shand."She'sastupidgirl,"shesaid,"what'stheuseofarguingwithher?
What'smore,you'vesofarbornewiththemandoverlookedever,somanyotherthingsmoregrievousthanthis
andwhatareyouuptotoday?"
"IfI'mreallyastupidgirl,"repeatedCh'ingWen,smilingsarcastically,"amIafitpersonforyoutohold
conversewith?Why,I'mpurelyandsimplyaslavegirlthat'sall."
"Areyou,afterall,"criedHsiJen,atthesewords,"bickeringwithme,orwithMasterSecundus?Ifyoubearme
agrudge,you'dbetterthenaddressyourremarkstomealonealbeititisn'trightthatyoushouldkickupsucha
hullaballoointhepresenceofMr.Secundus.ButifyouhaveaspiteagainstMr.Secundus,youshouldn'tbe
shoutingsoboisterouslyastomakethousandsofpeopleknowallaboutit!Icamein,afewminutesback,
merelyforthepurposeofsettingmattersright,andofurgingyoutomakeupyourquarrelssothatweshouldall
beonthesafesideandhereIhavetheunluckyfateofbeingsetuponbyyou,Miss!Yetyouneitherseemtobe
angrywithme,norwithMr.Secundus!Butarmedcappieasyouappeartobe,whatisyourultimatedesign?I
won'tutteranotherword,butletyouhaveyoursay!"
Whileshespoke,shewashurriedlywendingherwayout.
"Youneedn'traiseyourdander."PaoyremarkedtoCh'ingWen."I'veguessedthesecretofyourheart,soI'll
goandtellmotherthatasyou'vealsoattainedacertainage,sheshouldsendyouaway.Willthispleaseyou,yes
orno?"
ThisallusionmadeCh'ingWenunwittinglyfeelagainwoundedatheart.Shetriedtoconcealhertears."Why
shouldIgoaway?"sheasked."Ifevenyoubesoprejudicedagainstmeastotryanddevisemeanstopackme
off,youwon'tsucceed."
"Ineversawsuchbrawling!"Paoyexclaimed."You'recertainlybentupongoing!Imightaswellthereforelet
motherknowsoastobundleyouoff!"

Whileaddressingher,herosetohisfeetandwasintentupontrudgingoffatonce.HsiJenlostnotimeinturning
roundandimpedinghisprogress."Whereareyouoffto?"shecried.
"I'mgoingtotellmother,"answeredPaoy.
"It'snousewhatever!"HsiJensmiled,"youmaybeinrealearnesttogoandtellher,butaren'tyouafraidof
puttinghertoshame?Ifevenshepositivelymeanstoleave,youcanverywellwaituntilyoutwohavegotover
thisbadblood.Andwheneverythingispastandgone,itwon'tbeanytoolateforyoutoexplain,inthecourseof
conversation,thewholecasetoourlady,yourmother.Butifyounowgoinhothasteandtellher,asifthe
matterwereanurgentone,won'tyoubethemeansofmakingourmistressgivewaytosuspicion?"
"Mymother,"demurredPaoy,"issurenottoentertainanysuspicions,asallIwillexplaintoheristhatshe
insistsuponleaving."
"WhendidIeverinsistupongoing?"sobbedCh'ingWen."Youflyintoarage,andthenyouhaverecourseto
threatstointimidateme.Butyou'reatlibertytogoandsayanythingyoulikeforasI'llknockmybrainsout
againstthewall,Iwon'tgetaliveoutofthisdoor."
"Thisis,indeed,strange!"exclaimedPaoy."Ifyouwon'tgo,what'sthegoodofallthisfuss?Ican'tstandthis
bawling,soitwillbeariddanceifyouwouldgetoutoftheway!"
Sayingthis,hewasresolvedupongoingtoreportthematter.HsiJenfoundherselfpowerlesstodissuadehim.
Shehadinconsequencenootherresourcebuttofallonherknees.
PiHen,Ch'iuWen,SheYehandtherestofthewaitingmaidshadrealisedwhataseriousaspectthedispute
hadassumed,andnotasoundwastobeheardtofallfromtheirlips.Theyremainedstandingoutsidelisteningto
whatwasgoingon.WhentheynowoverheardHsiJenmakingsolicitousentreatiesonherknees,theyrushed
intotheapartmentinabodyandwithoneconsenttheyprostratedthemselvesonthefloor.
PaoyatoncepulledHsiJenup.Thenwithasigh,hetookaseatonthebed."Getup,"heshoutedtothebody
ofgirls,"andclearout!Whatwouldyouhavemedo?"heasked,addressinghimselftoHsiJen."Thisheartof
minehasbeenrenttopieces,andnoonehasanyideaaboutit!"
Whilespeaking,tearsofasuddenrolleddownhischeek.AtthesightofPaoyweeping,HsiJenalsomelted
intoafitofcrying.Ch'ingWenwasstandingbythem,withwateryeyes.Shewasonthepointofreasoningwith
them,whenespyingLinTaiystepintotheroom,shespeedilywalkedout.
"Onagrandholidaylikethis,"remonstratedLinTaiysmiling,"howisitthatyou'resnivellingaway,andall
fornothing?Isitlikelythathighwordshaveresultedallthroughthat'dumpling'contest?"
PaoyandLinTaiyblurtedoutlaughing.
"Youdon'ttellme,cousinSecundus,"LinTaiyputin,"butIknowallaboutit,eventhoughIhaveaskedno
questions."
Nowshespoke,andnowshepattedHsiJenontheshoulder."Mydearsisterinlaw,"shesmiled,"justyoutell
me!Itmustsurelybethatyoutwohavehadaquarrel.Confideinme,yourcousin,sothatImightreconcile
you."
"MissLin,"rejoinedHsiJen,pushingheroff,"whatareyoufussingabout?Iamsimplyoneofourservantgirls
you'rethereforerathererraticinyourtalk!"
"Yousaythatyou'reonlyaservantgirl,"smilinglyrepliedTaiy,"andyetItreatyoulikeasisterinlaw."
"Whydoyou,"Paoychimedin,"giveherthisabusiveepithet?Buthowevermuchshemaymakeallowance
forthis,canshe,whentherearesomanyotherswhotellidletalesonheraccount,putupwithyourcomingand

tellingherallyou'vesaid?"
"MissLin,"smiledHsiJen,"you'renotawareofthepurposeofmyheart.UnlessmybreathfailsandIdie,I
shallcontinueinhisservice."
"Ifyoudie,"remarkedLinTaiysmiling,"whatwillothersdo,Iwonder?Asforme,Ishallbethefirsttodie
fromcrying."
"Wereyoutodie,"addedPaoylaughingly,"Ishallbecomeabonze."
"You'dbetterbealittlemoresoberminded!"laughedHsiJen."What'sthegoodofcomingoutwithallthese
things?"
LinTaiyputouttwoofherfingers,andpuckeredupherlips."Uptothis,"shelaughed,"he'sbecomeabonze
twice.Henceforward,I'lltryandrememberhowmanytimesyoumakeupyourmindtobecomeaBuddhist
priest!"
ThisremindedPaoythatshewasreferringtoaremarkhehadmadeonapreviousoccasion,butsmilingto
himself,heallowedthemattertodrop.
Afterashortinterval,LinTaiywentaway.AservantthencametoannouncethatMr.Hsehwantedtosee
him,andPaoyhadtogo.Thepurposeofthisvisitwasinfacttoinvitehimtoabanquet,andashecouldnot
verywellputforwardanyexcusetorefuse,hehadtoremaintilltheendofthefeastbeforehewasabletotake
hisleave.Theresultwasthat,onhisreturn,intheevening,hewastoagreatextentundertheeffectofwine.
Withbustlingstep,hewendedhiswayintohisowncourt.Hereheperceivedthatthecoolcouchwithabackto
it,hadalreadybeenplacedintheyard,andthattherewassomeoneasleeponit.Promptedbytheconvictionthat
itmustbeHsiJen,Paoyseatedhimselfontheedgeofthecouch.Ashedidso,hegaveherapush,and
inquiredwhetherhersoreplacewasanybetter.Butthereuponhesawtheoccupantturnherselfround,and
exclaim:"Whatdoyoucomeagaintoirritatemefor?"
Paoy,ataglance,realisedthatitwasnotHsiJen,butCh'ingWen.Paoythenclutchedherandcompelledher
tositnexttohim."Yourdisposition,"hesmiled,"hasbeenmoreandmorespoiltthroughindulgence.Whenyou
letthefandropthismorning,Isimplymadeoneortworemarks,andoutyoucamewiththatlongrigmarole.
Hadyougoneformeitwouldn'thavematteredbutyoualsodraggedinHsiJen,whoonlyinterferedwithevery
goodintentionofinducingustomakeitupagain.But,pondernow,oughtyoutohavedoneityesorno?"
"Withthisintenseheat,"remonstratedCh'ingWen,"whydoyoupullmeandtossmeabout?Shouldanypeople
seeyou,whatwilltheythink?Butthispersonofmineisn'tmeettobeseatedinhere."
"Sinceyouyourselfknowthatitisn'tmeet,"repliedPaoywithasmile,"whythenwereyousleepinghere?"
TothistauntCh'ingWenhadnothingtosay.Butshespurtedoutintofreshlaughter."Itwasallright,"she
retorted,"duringyourabsencebutthemomentyoucome,itisn'tmeetformetostay!Getupandletmegoand
havemybath.HsiJenandSheYehhavebothhadtheirs,soI'llcallthemhere!"
"I'vejusthadagainagooddealofwine,"remarkedPaoy,laughingly"soawashwillbegoodforme.And
sinceyou'venothadyourbath,youhadbetterbringthewaterandlet'sbothhaveittogether."
"No,no!"smiledCh'ingWen,wavingherhand,"Icannotpresumetoputyoutoanytrouble,Sir.Istill
rememberhowwhenPiHenusedtolookafteryourbathyouoccupiedfullytwoorthreehours.Whatyouwere
uptoduringthattimeweneverknew.Wecouldnotverywellwalkin.Whenyouhadhoweverdonewashing,
andweenteredyourroom,wefoundthefloorsocoveredwithwaterthatthelegsofthebedweresoakingand
themattingitselfaregularpool.Norcouldwemakeoutwhatkindofwashingyou'dbeenhavingandfordays
afterwardswehadalaughoverit.ButI'veneitheranytimetogetthewaterreadynordoIseetheneedforyou
tohaveawashalongwithme.Besides,todayit'schilly,andasyou'vehadabathonlyalittlewhileback,you

canverywelljustnowdispensewithone.ButI'lldrawabasinofwaterforyoutowashyourface,andto
shampooyourheadwith.Notlongago,YanYangsentyouafewfruitstheywereputinthatcrystalbowl,so
you'dbettertellthemtobringthemtoyoutotaste."
"Well,inthatcase."laughedPaoy,"youneedn'talsohaveabath.Justsimplywashyourhands,andbringthe
fruitandlet'shavesometogether."
"I'msoshaky,"smiledCh'ingWen"thatevenfansslipoutofmyhands,andhowcouldIfetchthefruitforyou.
WereIalsotobreakthedish,itwillbestillmoredreadful!"
"Ifyouwanttobreakit,breakit!"smiledPaoy."Thesethingsareonlyintendedforgeneraluse.Youlikethis
thingIfancythatourrespectivetastesarenotidentical.Theoriginaluseofthatfan,forinstance,wastofan
one'sselfwithbutifyouchosetobreakitforfun,youwerequiteatlibertytodoso.Theonlythingis,when
yougetangrydon'tmakeitthemeansofgivingventtoyourtemper!Justlikethosesalvers.Theyarereally
meantforservingthingsin.Butifyoufancythatkindofsound,thendeliberatelysmashthem,thatwillbeall
right.Butdon't,whenyouareinhighdudgeonavailyourselfofthemtoairyourresentment!That'swhatone
wouldcallhavingafancyforathing!"
Ch'ingWengreetedhiswordswithasmile.
"Sincethatbeso,"shesaid,"bringmeyourfanandletmetearit.
Whatmosttakesmyfancyistearing!"
UponhearingthisPaoysmilinglyhandedittoher.Ch'ingWen,inpointoffact,tookitover,andwithacrash
sherentitintwo.Closeuponthis,thesoundofcrashuponcrashbecameaudible.
Paoywasstandingnexttoher."Hownicethenoiseis!"helaughed.
"Tearitagainandmakeitsoundalittlemore!"
Butwhilehespoke,SheYehwasseentowalkin."Don't,"shesmiled,"beuptosomuchmischief!"Paoy,
however,wentuptoherandsnatchingherfanalsofromherhand,hegaveittoCh'ingWen.Ch'ingWentookit
andthereandthenlikewisebrokeitintwo.Bothheandshethenhadaheartylaugh.
"Whatdoyoucallthis?"SheYehexpostulated."Doyoutakemypropertyandmakeitthemeansofdistracting
yourselves!"
"Openthefanbox,"shoutedPaoy,"andchooseoneandtakeitaway!
What,aretheysuchfinethings!"
"Inthatcase,"venturedSheYeh,"fetchthefansandletherbreakasmanyasshecan.Won'tthatbenice!"
"Goandbringthematonce!"Paoylaughed.
"Iwon'tbeuptoanysuchtomfoolery!"SheYehdemurred."Shehasn'tsnappedherhands,sobidhergo
herselfandfetchthem!"
"I'mfeelingtired,"interposedCh'ingWen,asshelaughinglyleantonthebed."I'llthereforetearsomemoreto
morrowagain."
"Anoldwritersays,"addedPaoywithasmile,"'thatathousandouncesofgoldcannotpurchaseasingle
laugh'!Whatcanafewfanscost?"
Aftermoralising,hewentontocallHsiJen.HsiJenhadjustfinishedthenecessarychangeinherdresssoshe
steppedinandayoungservantgirl,ChiaoHui,crossedoverandpickedupthebrokenfans.Thentheyallsat
andenjoyedthecoolbreeze.Butwecanwelldispensewithlaunchingintoanyminutedetails.

Onthemorrow,noonfoundMadameWang,HsehPaoch'ai,LinTaiy,andtherestoftheyoungladies
congregatedindowagerladyChia'ssuiteofrooms.Someonethenbroughtthenewsthat:"MissShihhad
arrived."InalittletimetheyperceivedShihHsiangyunmakeherappearanceinthecourt,attheheadofabevy
ofwaitingmaidsandmarriedwomen.Paoch'ai,Taiyuandherothercousins,quicklyrandownthestepsto
meetherandexchangegreetings.Butwithwhatfervourgirlsoftenderyearsreunitesomedayaftera
separationofmonthsneednot,ofcourse,beexplained.Presently,sheenteredtheapartments,paidherrespects
andinquiredhowtheyallwere.Butafterthisconventionalinterchangeofsalutations,oldladyChiapressedher
totakeoffheroutergarmentsastheweatherwassoclose.ShihHsiangynlostnotimeinrisingtoherfeetand
looseningherclothes."Idon'tseewhy,"MadameWangthereuponsmiled,"youwearallthesethings!'
"It'sentirelyatauntSecunda'sbidding,"retortedShihHsiangyn,"thatIputthemon.Why,wouldanyoneof
herownaccordwearsomanythings!"
"Aunt,"interposedPaoch'ai,whostoodby,withasmile,"you'renotawarethatwhatmostdelightsherinthe
matterofdressistodonotherpeople'sclothes!Yes,Irememberhow,duringherstayhereinthethirdandfourth
moonsoflastyear,sheusedtowearcousinPao'spelisses.Sheevenputonhisshoes,andattachedhisfrontlets
aswellroundherhead.Atacasualglance,shelookedtheveryimageofcousinPaowhatwassuperfluouswas
thatpairofearringsofhers.Asshestoodatthebackofthatchairshesothoroughlytookinourvenerable
ancestorthatshekeptonshouting:'Paoy,comeover!Mindthetasselssuspendedonthatlampforifyou
shakethedustoff,itmaygetintoyoureyes!'Butallshedidwastolaughshedidnotbudgeanditwasonly
aftereveryonefoundithardtokeeptheircountenancethatourworthysenioralsostartedlaughing.'Youdolook
wellinmalehabiliments!'shesaidtoher."
"Whataboutthat!"criedLinTaiy,"why,shehadscarcelybeenherewithusacoupleofdaysinthefirstmoon
oflastyear,whenwesentandfetchedher,thatwehadafallofsnow.You,venerablesenior,andhermaternal
aunthadonthatday,Iremembersowell,justreturnedfromworshippingtheimagesofourancestors,anda
brandnewdeepredfeltwrapperofyours,deargrandmother,hadbeenlyingoverthere,whensuddenlyit
disappeared.But,lo,sheitwaswhohadputiton!Being,however,toolargeandtoolongforher,shetooka
coupleofhandkerchiefs,andfastenedthemroundherwaist.Shewasthentrudgingintothebackcourtwiththe
servantgirlstomakesnowmenwhenshetrippedandfellflatinfrontofthedrain,andgotcoveredalloverwith
mud."
Asshenarratedthisincident,everyonerecalledthecircumstancestomind,andhadagoodlaugh.
"DameChou,"Paoch'aismilinglyinquiredofnurseChou,"isyouryoungladyalwaysasfondofpranksasever
ornot?"
NurseChouthenalsogavealaugh.
"Pranksarenothing,"YingCh'unsmiled."WhatIdodetestisherfondnessfortittletattle!I'veneverseenany
onewho,evenwhenasleep,goesonchatterchatternowlaughing,andnowtalking,asshedoes.NorcanImake
outwhereshegetsallthoseidleyarnsofhers."
"Ithinkshe'sbetteroflate,"interposedMadameWang."Theotherdaysomepartyorothercameandtheymet
soshe'stohaveamotherinlawverysoonandcanshestillbecomportingherselflikethat!"
"Areyougoingtostaytoday,"dowagerladyChiathenasked,"orgoingbackhome?"
NurseChousmiled."Yourvenerableladyshiphasnotseenwhatanamountofclotheswe'vebrought,"she
replied."Wemean,ofcourse,tostayacoupleofdays."
"IscousinPaoynotathome?"inquiredHsiangyn."
"Thereshe'sagain!Shedoesn'tthinkofothers,"remarkedPaoch'aismilingsignificantly."Sheonlythinksof
hercousinPaoy.They'rebothsofondoflarks!Thisprovesthatshehasn'tyetgotridofthatspiritof

mischief."
"You'reallnowgrownup,"observedoldladyChia"andyoushouldn'talludetoinfantnames."
Butwhileshewaschidingthem,theynoticedPaoyarrive.
"CousinYn,haveyoucome?"hesmiled."Howisitthatyouwouldn'tcometheotherdaywhensomeonewas
despatchedtofetchyou?"
"It'sonlyafewminutes,"MadameWangsaid,"sinceourvenerableseniorcalledthatonetotask,andnowhere
hecomesandreferstonamesandsurnames!"
"YourcousinPao,"venturedLinTaiy,"hassomethinggood,whichhehasbeenwaitingtogiveyou."
"Whatgoodthingisit?"askedHsiangyn.
"Doyoubelievewhatshesays?"observedPaoylaughingly."ButhowmanydaysisitthatIhavenotseenyou,
andyou'vegrownsomuchtaller!"
"IscousinHsiJenallright?"inquiredHsiangyn.
"She'sallright,"answeredPaoy."Manythanksforyourkindthoughtofher."
"I'vebroughtsomethingniceforher,"resumedHsiangyn.
Sayingthis,sheproducedherhandkerchief,tiedintoaknot.
"What'sthissomethingnice?"askedPaoy."Wouldn'tithavebeenbetterifyou'dbroughtheracoupleofthose
ringswithstreakedstonesofthekindyousenttheotherday?"
"Why,what'sthis?"exclaimedHsiangynlaughing,opening,asshespoke,thehandkerchief.
Onclosescrutiny,theyactuallyfoundfourstreakedrings,similartothoseshehadpreviouslysent,tiedupinthe
samepacket.
"Lookhere!"LinTaiysmiled,"whatagirlsheis!Hadyou,whensendingthatfellowtheotherdaytobring
ours,givenhimthesealsotobringalongwithhim,wouldn'tithavesavedtrouble?Insteadofthat,hereyou
fussilybringthemyourselftoday!Ipresumedthatitwassomethingoutofthewayagainbutisitreallyonly
thesethings?Inverytruth,you'reameredunce!"
"It'syouwhobehavelikeaduncenow!"ShihHsiangynsmiled.
"I'llspeakouthereandleteveryonejudgeforthemselveswhoisthedunce.Theservant,deputedtobringthe
thingstoyou,hadnoneedtoopenhismouthandsayanythingfor,assoonastheywerebroughtin,itwasof
courseevident,ataglance,thattheyweretobepresentedtoyouyoungladies.Buthadhebeenthebearerof
thesethingsforthem,Iwouldhavebeenunderthenecessityofexplainingtohimwhichwasintendedforthis
servantgirl,andwhichforthat.Hadthemessengerhadhiswitsabouthim,wellandgoodbuthadhebeenatall
stupidhewouldn'thavebeenabletoremembersomuchasthenamesofthegirls!Hewouldhavemadean
awfulmessofit,andtalkedalotofnonsense.Soinsteadofbeingofanyusehewouldhaveevenmuddled,
hickledypickledy,yourthings.Hadafemaleservantbeendespatched,itwouldhavebeenallright.Butasit
happened,aservantboywasagainsenttheotherday,sohowcouldhehavementionedthenamesofthe
waitinggirls?Andbymybringingtheminpersontogivethemtothem,doesn'titmakethingsclearer?"
Asshesaidthis,sheputdownthefourrings."OneisforsisterHsiJen,"shecontinued,"oneisforsisterYan
Yang.OneforsisterChinCh'uanerh,andoneforsisterP'ingErh.Theyareonlyforthesefourgirlsbutwould
theservantboystooforsoothhaverememberedthemsoclearly!"

Atthesewords,thewholecompanysmiled."Howreallyclear!"theycried.
"Thisiswhatitistobeabletospeak!"Paoyputin."Shedoesn'tspareanyone!"
Hearingthis,LinTaiygaveasardonicsmile."Ifshedidn'tknowhowtousehertongue,"sheobserved,
"wouldshedeservetowearthatunicornofgold!"
Whilespeaking,sheroseandwalkedoff.
Luckily,everyonedidnothearwhatshesaid.OnlyHsehPaoch'aipursedupherlipsandlaughed.Paoy,
however,hadoverheardherremark,andheblamedhimselfforhavingoncemoretalkedinaheedlessmanner.
UnawareshiseyeespiedPaoch'aimuchamused,andhetoocouldnotsuppressasmile.ButatthesightofPao
yinlaughter,Paoch'aihastilyrosetoherfeetandwithdrew.ShewentinsearchofTaiy,tohaveachatand
laughwithher.
"Afteryou'vehadtea,"oldladyChiathereuponsaidtoHsiangyn,"you'dbetterrestawhileandthengoand
seeyoursistersinlaw.Besides,it'scoolinthegarden,soyoucanwalkaboutwithyourcousins."
Hsiangynexpressedherassent,and,collectingthethreerings,shewrappedthemup,andwentandlaydown
torest.Presently,shegotupwiththeideaofpayingvisitstoladyFengandherotherrelatives.Followedbya
wholebevyofnursesandwaitingmaids,sherepairedintoladyFeng'squartersontheoffside.Shebandied
wordswithherforawhileandthencomingoutshebetookherselfintothegardenofBroadVista,andcalledon
LiKungts'ai.Butafterashortvisit,sheturnedherstepstowardstheIHungcourttolookupHsiJen."You
peopleneedn't,"shesaid,turningherheadround,"comealongwithme!Youmaygoandseeyourfriendsand
relatives.ItwillbequiteenoughifyousimplyleaveTs'uiLtowaituponme."
Hearingherwishes,eachwentherownwayinquestofaunts,orsistersinlaw.ThereonlyremainedbutHsiang
ynandTs'uiL.
"Howisit,"inquiredTs'uiL,"thattheselotusflowershavenotyetopened?"
"Theproperseasonhasn'tyetarrived,"rejoinedShihHsiangyn.
"Theytoo,"continuedTs'uiL,"resemblethoseinourpondtheyaredoubleflowers."
"Thesehere,"remarkedHsiangyn,"arenothoweveruptoours."
"Theyhaveoverthere,"observedTs'uiL,"apomegranatetree,withfourorfivebranchesjoinedoneto
another,justlikeonestoreyraisedaboveanotherstorey.Whattroubleitmusthavecostthemtorear!"
"Flowersandplants,"suggestedShihHsiangyn,"arepreciselylikethehumanrace.Withsufficientvitality,
theygrowupinahealthycondition."
"Ican'tcreditthesewords,"repliedTs'uiL,twistingherfaceround."Ifyoumaintainthattheyarelikehuman
beings,howisitthatIhaven'tseenanyperson,withoneheadgrowingoveranother."
ThisrejoinderevokedasmilefromHsiangyn."Itellyounottotalk,"shecried,"butyouwillinsistupon
talking!Howdoyouexpectpeopletobeabletoanswereverythingyousay!Allthings,whetherinheavenoron
earthcomeintoexistencebythecooperationofthedualpowers,themaleandfemale.Soallthings,whether
goodorbad,novelorstrange,andallthosemanifoldchangesandtransformationsariseentirelyfromthe
favourableoradverseinfluenceexercisedbythemaleandfemalepowers.Andthoughsomethingsseldomseen
bymankindmightcometolife,theprincipleatworkis,afterall,thesame."
"Inthefaceofthesearguments,"laughedTs'uiL,"everything,fromoldtillnow,fromtheverycreationitself,
embodiesacertainproportionoftheYinandYangprinciples."

"Youstupidthing!"exclaimedHsiangynsmiling,"themoreyoutalk,themorestuffandnonsensefallsfrom
yourlips!WhatabouteverythingembodyingacertainproportionoftheprinciplesYinandYang!Besides,the
twowordsYinandYangarereallyonewordforwhentheYangprincipleisexhausted,itbecomestheYinand
whentheYinisexhausted,itbecomesYang.Anditisn'tthat,attheexhaustionoftheYin,anotherYangcomes
intoexistenceandthat,attheexhaustionoftheYang,asecondYinarises."
"Thistrashissufficienttokillme!"ejaculatedTs'uiL."WhataretheYinandYang?Why,theyarewithout
substanceorform!Butpray,Miss,tellmewhatsortofthingstheseYinandYangcanbe!"
"TheYinandYang,"explainedHsiangyn,"arenomorethanspirits,butanythingaffectedbytheirinfluenceat
onceassumesform.Theheavens,forinstance,areYang,andtheearthisYinwaterisYinandfireisYangthe
sunisYangandthemoonYin."
"Quiteso!quiteso!"criedoutTs'uiL,muchamusedbytheseexplanations,"I'veatlengthattainedperception!
Itisn'tstrangethenthatpeopleinvariablycallthesun'T'aiyang.'Whileastrologerskeeponspeakingofthe
moonas'T'aiyinhsing,'orsomethinglikeit.Itmustbeonaccountofthisprinciple."
"Omitofu!"laughedHsiangyn,"youhaveatlastunderstood!"
"AllthesethingspossesstheYinandYangthat'sallright."T'suiLputin."Butisthereanylikelihoodthatall
thosemosquitoes,fleesandworms,flowers,herbs,bricksandtileshave,inlikemanner,anythingtodowiththe
YinandYang?"
"Howdon'tthey!"exclaimedHsiangyn."Forexample,eventheleavesofthattreearedistinguishedbyYin
andYang.Theside,whichlooksupandfacesthesun,iscalledYangwhilethatintheshadeandlooking
downwards,iscalledYin."
"Isitreallyso!"ejaculatedT'suiL,uponhearingthiswhileshesmiledandnoddedherhead."NowIknowall
aboutit!ButwhichisYangandwhichYininthesefanswe'reholding."
"Thisside,thefront,isYang,"answeredHsiangyn"andthat,thereverse,isYin."
Ts'uiLwentontonodherhead,andtolaugh.Shefeltinclinedtoapplyherquestionstoseveralotherthings,
butasshecouldnotfixherminduponanythinginparticular,she,allofasudden,droopedherhead.Catching
sightofthependantingold,representingaunicorn,whichHsiangynhadaboutherperson,sheforthwithmade
allusiontoit."This,Miss,"shesaidsmiling,"cannotlikelyalsohaveanyYinandYang!"
"Thebeastsofthefieldandthebirdsoftheair,"proceededHsiangyn,"are,thecockbirds,Yang,andthehen
birds,Yin.ThefemalesofbeastsareYinandthemales,Yangsohowistherenone?"
"Isthismale,oristhisfemale?"inquiredTs'uiL.
"Ts'ui!"exclaimedHsiangyn,"whataboutmaleandfemale!Hereyouarewithyournonsenseagain."
"Well,nevermindaboutthat,"addedTs'uiL,"ButhowisitthatallthingshaveYinandYang,andthatwe
humanbeingshavenoYinandnoYang?"
Hsiangynthenloweredherface."Youlowbredthing!"sheexclaimed."Butit'sbetterforustoproceedonour
way,forthemorequestionsyouask,thenicertheyget."
"What'sthereinthisthatyoucan'ttellme?"askedTs'uiL,"ButIknowallaboutit,sothere'snoneedforyou
tokeepmeonpinsandneedles."
Hsiangynblurtedoutlaughing."Whatdoyouknow?"shesaid.
"Thatyou,Miss,areYang,andthatI'mYin,"answeredTs'uiL.

Hsiangynproducedherhandkerchief,and,whilescreeninghermouthwithit,burstoutintoaloudfitof
laughter.
"WhatIsaymustberightforyoutolaughinthisway,"Ts'uiLobserved.
"Perfectlyright,perfectlyright!"acquiescedHsiangyn.
"Peoplesay,"continuedTs'uiL,"thatmastersareYang,andthatservantgirlsareYindon'tIevenapprehend
thisprimaryprinciple?"
"Youapprehenditthoroughly,"respondedHsiangynlaughingly.Butwhileshewasspeaking,sheespied,
underthetrelliswiththecinnamonroses,somethingglisteninglikegold."Doyouseethat?Whatisit?"Hsiang
ynaskedpointingatit.
Hearingthis,Ts'uiLhastilywentoverandpickeduptheobject.Whilescrutinisingit,sheobservedwitha
smile,"Letusfindoutwhetherit'sYinorYang!"
Sosaying,shefirstlaidholdoftheunicorn,belongingtoShih
Hsiangyn,andpasseditunderinspection.
ShihHsiangynlongedtobeshownwhatshehadpickedup,butTs'uiLwouldnotopenherhand.
"It'sapreciousgem,"shesmiled."Youmayn'tseeit,Miss.Wherecanitbefrom?Howverystrangeitis!I've
neverseenanyoneinherewithanythingofthekind."
"Giveittomeandletmelookatit,"retortedHsiangyn.
Ts'uiLstretchedoutherhandwithadash."Yes,Miss,pleaselookatit!"shelaughed.
Hsiangynraisedhereyes.Sheperceived,ataglance,thatitwasagoldenunicorn,sobeautifulandsobright
andsomuchlargerandhandsomerthantheoneshehadon.Hsiangynputoutherarmand,takingthegemin
thepalmofherhand,shefellintoasilentreverieandutterednotaword.Shewasquiteabsentmindedwhen
suddenlyPaoyappearedintheoppositedirection.
"Whatareyoutwo,"heaskedsmiling,"doinghereinthesun?Howisityoudon'tgoandfindHsiJen?"
ShihHsiangynprecipitatelyconcealedtheunicorn."Wewerejustgoing,"shereplied,"soletusallgo
together."
Conversing,they,inacompany,wendedtheirstepsintotheIHungcourt.HsiJenwasleaningonthebalustrade
atthebottomofthesteps,herfaceturnedtothebreeze.UponunexpectedlyseeingHsiangynarriveshewith
alacrityrusheddowntogreetherandtakingherhandinhers,theycheerfullycanvassedtheeventsthathad
transpiredduringtheirseparation,whiletheyenteredtheroomandtookaseat.
"Youshouldhavecomeearlier,"Paoysaid."I'vegotsomethingniceandwasonlywaitingforyou."
Sayingthis,hesearchedandsearchedabouthisperson.Afteralonginterval,"Aiya!"heejaculated."Haveyou
perchanceputthatthingaway?"heeagerlyaskedHsiJen.
"Whatthing?"inquiredHsiJen.
"Theunicorn,"explainedPaoy,"Igottheotherday."
"You'vedailywornitaboutyou,andhowisityouaskme?"remarkedHsi
Jen.

Assoonasheranswerfellonhisear,Paoyclappedhishands."I'velostit!"hecried."WherecanIgoandlook
forit!"Thereandthen,hemeanttogoandsearchinpersonbutShihHsiangynheardhisinquiries,and
concludedthatitmustbehewhohadlostthegem."Whendidyoutoo,"shepromptlysmiled,"getaunicorn?"
"Igotittheotherday,aftereversomuchtrouble"rejoinedPaoy,"butIcan'tmakeoutwhenIcanhavelostit!
I'vealsobecomequiteaddleheaded."
"Fortunately,"smiledShihHsiangyn,"it'sonlyasortofatoy!
Still,areyousocareless?"Whilespeaking,sheflungopenherhand.
"Justsee,"shelaughed,"isitthisornot?"
Assoonashesawit,Paoywasseizedwithunwonteddelight.But,reader,ifyoucaretoknowthecauseofhis
delight,perusetheexplanationcontainedinthenextchapter.

CHAPTERXXXII.
HsiJenandHsiangyntelltheirsecretthoughts.
TaiyisinfatuatedwiththelivingPaoy.
WhiletryingtoconcealhersenseofshameandinjuryChinCh'uanisdrivenbyherimpetuousfeelingstoseek
death.
Buttoresumeournarrative.Atthesightoftheunicorn,Paoywasfilledwithintensedelight.Somuchso,that
heforthwithputouthishandandmadeagrabforit."Luckyenoughitwasyouwhopickeditup!"hesaid,with
afacebeamingwithsmiles."Butwhendidyoufindit?"
"Fortunatelyitwasonlythis!"rejoinedShihHsiangynlaughing."Ifyoubyandbyealsoloseyourseal,will
youlikelybanishitatoncefromyourmind,andnevermakeanefforttodiscoverit?"
"Afterall,"smiledPaoy,"thelossofasealisanordinaryoccurrence.ButhadIlostthis,Iwouldhave
deservedtodie."
HsiJenthenpouredacupofteaandhandedittoShihHsiangyn."MissSenior,"sheremarkedsmilingly,"I
heardthatyouhadoccasiontheotherdaytobehighlypleased."
ShihHsiangynflushedcrimson.Shewentondrinkingherteaanddidnotutterasingleword.
"Hereyouareagainfullofshame!"HsiJensmiled."Butdoyourememberwhenwewereliving,aboutten
yearsback,inthosewarmroomsonthewestsideandyouconfidedinmeoneevening,youdidn'tfeelany
shamethenandhowisityoublushlikethisnow?"
"Doyoustillspeakaboutthat!"exclaimedShihHsiangynlaughingly."YouandIwerethengreatfriends.But
whenourmothersubsequentlydiedandIwenthomeforawhile,howisityouwereatoncesenttobewithmy
cousinSecundus,andthatnowthatI'vecomebackyoudon'ttreatmeasyoudidonce?"
"Areyouyetharpingonthis!"retortedHsiJen,puttingonasmile."Why,atfirst,youusedtocoaxmewithalot
ofendearingtermstocombyourhairandtowashyourface,todothisandthatforyou.Butnowthatyou've
becomeabiggirl,youassumethemannerofayoungmistresstowardsme,andasyouputontheseairsofa
youngmistress,howcanIeverpresumetobeonafamiliarfootingwithyou?"

"Omitofu,"criedShihHsiangyn."Whatafalseaccusation!IfIbeguiltyofanythingofthekind,mayIat
oncedie!Justseewhatabroilinghotdaythisis,andyetassoonasIarrivedIfeltboundtocomeandlookyou
upfirst.Ifyoudon'tbelieveme,well,askLErh!Andwhileathome,whendidInotateveryinstantsay
somethingaboutyou?"
ScarcelyhadsheconcludedthanHsiJenandPaoytriedtosootheher."Wewereonlyjoking,"theysaid,"but
you'vetakeneverythingagainasgospel.What!areyoustillsoimpetuousinyourtemperament!"
"Youdon'tsay,"arguedShihHsiangyn,"thatyourwordsarehardthingstoswallow,butcontrariwise,call
people'stemperamentsimpetuous!"
Asshespoke,sheunfoldedherhandkerchiefand,producingaring,shegaveittoHsiJen.
HsiJendidnotknowhowtothankherenough."When"sheconsequentlysmiled,"yousentthosetoyour
cousintheotherday,Igotonealsoandhereyouyourselfbringmeanothertoday!It'sclearenoughtherefore
thatyouhaven'tforgottenme.Thisalonehasbeenquiteenoughtotestyou.Asfortheringitself,whatisits
worth?butit'satokenofthesincerityofyourheart!"
"Whogaveittoyou?"inquiredShihHsiangyn.
"MissPaoletmehaveit."repliedHsiJen.
"Iwasundertheimpression,"remarkedHsiangynwithasigh,"thatitwasapresentfromcousinLin.Butisit
reallycousinPao,thatgaveittoyou!WhenIwasathome,Idayafterdayfoundmyselfreflectingthatamong
allthesecousinsofmine,therewasn'toneabletocomparewithcousinPao,soexcellentisshe.HowIdoregret
thatwearenottheoffspringofonemother!ForcouldIboastofsuchasisterofthesamefleshandbloodas
myself,itwouldn'tmatterthoughIhadlostbothfatherandmother!"
Whileindulgingintheseregrets,hereyesgotquitered.
"Nevermind!nevermind!"interposedPaoy."Whyneedyouspeakofthesethings!"
"IfIdoalludetothis,"answeredShihHsiangyn,"whatdoesitmatter?Iknowthatweakpointofyours.You're
infearandtremblinglestyourcousinLinshouldcometohearwhatIsay,andgetangrywithmeagainfor
eulogisingcousinPao!Nowisn'titthis,eh!"
"Ch'ih!"laughedHsiJen,whowasstandingbyher."MissYn,"shesaid,"nowthatyou'vegrownuptobeabig
girlyou'vebecomemorethaneveropenheartedandoutspoken."
"WhenIcontend"smiledPaoy,"thatitisdifficulttosayawordtoanyoneofyouI'mindeedperfectly
correct!"
"Mydearcousin,"observedShihHsiangynlaughingly,"don'tgooninthatstrain!You'llprovokemeto
displeasure.Whenyouarewithmeallyouaregoodforistotalkandtalkawaybutwereyoutocatchaglimpse
ofcousinLin,youwouldoncemorebequiteatalosstoknowwhatbesttodo!"
"Now,enoughofyourjokes!"urgedHsiJen."Ihaveafavourtocraveofyou."
"Whatisit?"vehementlyinquiredShihHsiangyn.
"I'vegotapairofshoes,"answeredHsiJen,"forwhichI'vestuckthepaddingtogetherbutI'mnotfeelingupto
themarktheselastfewdays,soIhaven'tbeenabletoworkatthem.Ifyouhaveanyleisure,dofinishthemfor
me."
"Thisisindeedstrange!"exclaimedShihHsiangyn."Puttingasidealltheskilfulworkersengagedinyour
household,youhavebesidessomepeoplefordoingneedleworkandothersfortailoringandcuttingandhowis

ityouappealtometotakeyourshoesinhand?Wereyoutoaskanyoneofthosementoexecuteyourwork,
whocouldverywellrefusetodoit?"
"Hereyouareinanotherstupidmood!"laughedHsiJen."Canitbethatyoudon'tknowthatoursewinginthese
quartersmayn'tbedonebytheseneedleworkers."
Atthisreply,itatoncedawneduponShihHsiangynthattheshoesmustbeintendedforPaoy."Sincethatbe
thecase,"sheinconsequencesmiled"I'llworkthemforyou.There'showeveronething.I'llreadilyattendto
anyofyours,butIwillhavenothingtodowithanyforotherpeople."
"Thereyouareagain!"laughedHsiJen."WhoamItoventuretotroubleyoutomakeshoesforme?I'lltellyou
plainly,however,thattheyarenotmine.Butnomatterwhosetheyare,itisanyhowIwho'llbetherecipientof
yourfavourthatissufficient."
"Tospeakthetruth,"rejoinedShihHsiangyn,"you'veputmetothetroubleofworking,Idon'tknowhow
manythingsforyou.ThereasonwhyIrefuseonthisoccasionshouldbequiteevidenttoyou!"
"Ican'tneverthelessmakeitout!"answeredHsiJen.
"Iheardtheotherday,"continuedShihHsiangyn,asardonicsmileonherlip,"thatwhilethefancase,Ihad
worked,wasbeingheldandcomparedwiththatofsomeoneelse,ittoowasslashedawayinafitofhigh
dudgeon.Thisreachedmyearslongago,anddoyoustilltrytodupemebyaskingmeagainnowtomake
somethingmoreforyou?HaveIreallybecomeaslavetoyoupeople?
"Astowhatoccurredtheotherday,"hastilyexplainedPaoysmiling,
"Ipositivelyhadnoideathatthatthingwasyourhandiwork."
"Heneverknewthatyou'ddoneit,"HsiJenalsolaughed."Ideceivedhimbytellinghimthattherehadbeenof
latesomecapitalhandsatneedleworkoutside,whocouldexecuteanyembroiderywithsurpassingbeauty,and
thatIhadaskedthemtobringafancasesoastotrythemandtoseewhethertheycouldactuallyworkwellor
not.HeatoncebelievedwhatIsaid.Butasheproducedthecaseandgaveittothisoneandthatonetolookat,
hesomehoworother,Idon'tknowhow,managedagaintoputsomeone'sbackup,andshecutitintotwo.On
hisreturn,however,hebademehurrythementomakeanotherandwhenatlengthIexplainedtohimthatit
hadbeenworkedbyyou,hefelt,Ican'ttellyou,whatkeenregret!"
"Thisisgettingstrangerandstranger!"saidShihHsiangyn."Itwasn'tworththewhileforMissLintoloseher
temperaboutit.Butasshepliesthescissorssoadmirably,why,youmightaswelltellhertofinishtheshoesfor
you."
"Shecouldn't,"repliedHsiJen,"forbesidesotherthingsourvenerableladyisstillinfearandtremblinglestshe
shouldtireherselfinanyway.Thedoctorlikewisesaysthatshewillcontinuetoenjoygoodhealth,solongas
sheiscarefullylookedaftersowhowouldwishtoaskhertotaketheminhand?Lastyearshemanagedtojust
getthroughascentedbag,afterawholeyear'swork.Butherewe'vealreadyreachedthemiddleofthepresent
year,andshehasn'tyettakenupanyneedleorthread!"
Inthecourseoftheirconversation,aservantcameandannounced'thatthegentlemanwholivedintheHsing
LungStreethadcome.'"Ourmaster,"headded,"bidsyou,Mr.Secundus,comeoutandgreethim."
AssoonasPaoyheardthisannouncement,heknewthatChiaYts'unmusthavearrived.Buthefeltvery
unhappyatheart.HsiJenhurriedtogoandbringhisclothes.Paoy,meanwhile,putonhisboots,butashedid
so,hegavewaytoresentment."Whythere'sfather,"hesoliloquised,"tositwithhimthatshouldbeenough
andmusthe,oneveryvisithepays,insistuponseeingme!"
"Itis,ofcourse,becauseyouhavesuchaknackforreceivingandentertainingvisitorsthatMr.ChiaChengwill
haveyougoout,"laughinglyinterposedShihHsiangynfromoneside,asshewavedherfan.

"Isitfather'sdoing?"Paoyrejoined."Why,it'shehimselfwhoasksthatIshouldbesentfortoseehim."
"'Whenahostiscourteous,visitorscomeoften,'"smiledHsiangyn,"soit'ssurelybecauseyoupossesscertain
qualities,whichhavewonhisregard,thatheinsistsuponseeingyou."
"ButIamnotwhatonewouldcallcourteous,"demurredPaoy."Iam,ofallcoarsepeople,thecoarsest.
Besides,Idonotchoosetohaveanyrelationswithsuchpeopleashimself."
"Here'sagainthatunchangeabletemperamentofyours!"laughedHsiangyn."Butyou'reabigfellownow,and
youshouldatleast,ifyoubelothtostudyandgoandpassyourexaminationsforaprovincialgraduateora
metropolitangraduate,havefrequentintercoursewithofficersandministersofstateanddiscussthosevaried
attainments,whichoneacquiresinanofficialcareer,sothatyoualsomaybeableintimetohavesomeidea
aboutmattersingeneralandthatwhenbyandbyeyou'vemadefriends,theymaynotseeyouspendingthe
wholedaylongindoingnothingthanloafinginourmidst,uptoeveryimaginablemischief."
"Miss,"exclaimedPaoy,afterthisharangue,"praygoandsitinsomeothergirl'sroom,formindonelike
myselfmaycontaminateapersonwhoknowssomuchofattainmentsandexperienceasyoudo."
"Miss,"venturedHsiJen,"dropthisatonce!LasttimeMissPaotootenderedhimthisadvice,butwithout
troublinghimselfastowhetherpeoplewouldfeeluneasyornot,hesimplycameoutwithanejaculationof'hai,'
andrushedoutoftheplace.MissPaohadn'tmeanwhileconcludedhersay,sowhenshesawhimfly,shegotso
fullofshamethat,flushingscarlet,shecouldneitheropenherlips,norholdherowncounsel.Butluckyforhim
itwasonlyMissPao.HaditbeenMissLin,there'snosayingwhatrowtheremaynothavebeenagain,andwhat
tearsmaynothavebeenshed!Yettheverymentionofallshehadtotellhimisenoughtomakepeoplelookup
toMissPaowithrespect.Butafteratime,shealsobetookherselfaway.IthenfeltveryunhappyasIimagined
thatshewasangrybutcontrarytoallmyexpectations,shewasbyandbyejustthesameasever.Sheis,invery
truth,longsufferingandindulgent!Thisotherpartycontrariwisebecamequitedistanttoher,littlethoughone
wouldhavethoughtitofhimandasMissPaoperceivedthathehadlosthistemper,anddidn'tchoosetoheed
her,shesubsequentlymadeIdon'tknowhowmanyapologiestohim."
"DidMissLinevertalksuchtrash!"exclaimedPaoy."Hadsheevertalkedsuchstuffandnonsense,Iwould
havelongagobecomechilledtowardsher."
"Whatyousayisalltrash!"HsiJenandHsiangynremarkedwithonevoice,whiletheyshooktheirheadsto
andfroandsmiled.
LinTaiy,thefactis,waswellawarethatnowthatShihHsiangynwasstayinginthemansion,Paoytoo
wascertaintohastentocomeandtellherallabouttheunicornhehadgot,soshethoughttoherself:"Inthe
foreigntraditionsandwildstories,introducedhereoflatebyPaoy,literarypersonsandprettygirlsare,forthe
mostpart,broughttogetherinmarriage,throughtheagencyofsometriflingbutingeniousnicknack.These
peopleeitherhaveminiatureducks,orphoenixes,jadeneckletsorgoldpendants,finehandkerchiefsorelegant
sashesandtheyhave,throughtheinstrumentalityofsuchtrivialobjects,invariablysucceededinaccomplishing
thewishestheyentertainedthroughouttheirlives."Whensherecentlydiscovered,bysomeunforeseenway,that
Paoyhadlikewiseaunicornshebegantoapprehendlestheshouldmakethiscircumstanceapretexttocreate
anestrangementwithher,andindulgewithShihHsiangynaswellinvariousfreeandeasyflirtationsandfine
doings.Shethereforequietlycrossedovertowatchheropportunityandtakesuchactionaswouldenableherto
getaninsightintohisandhersentiments.Contrary,however,toallhercalculations,nosoonerdidshereachher
destination,thansheoverheardShihHsiangyndilateonthetopicofexperience,andPaoygoontoobserve:
"CousinLinhasneverindulgedinsuchstuffandnonsense.Hadsheeverutteredanysuchtrash,Iwouldhave
becomechilledeventowardsher!"Thislanguagesuddenlyproduced,inLinTaiy'smind,bothsurpriseaswell
asdelightsadnessaswellasregret.Delight,athavingindeedbeensocorrectinherperceptionthathewhom
shehadeverconsideredinthelightofatruefriendhadactuallyturnedouttobeatruefriend.Surprise,
"because,"shesaidtoherself:"hehas,inthepresenceofsomanywitnesses,displayedsuchpartialityasto
speakinmypraise,andhasshownsuchaffectionandfriendlinessformeastomakenoattemptwhateverto
shirksuspicion."Regret,"forsince,"(shepondered),"youaremyintimatefriend,youcouldcertainlywelllook

uponmetooasyourintimatefriendandifyouandIberealfriends,whyneedtherebeanymoretalkabout
goldandjade?Butsincetherebethatquestionofgoldandjade,youandIshouldhavesuchthingsinour
possession.Yet,whyshouldthisPaoch'aistepinagainbetweenus?"Sad,"because,"(shereflected),"myfather
andmotherdepartedlifeatanearlyperiodandbecauseIhave,inspiteofthesecretengravenonmyheartand
imprintedonmybones,notasoultoactasamentortome.Besides,oflate,Icontinuouslyfeelconfusioncreep
overmymind,somydiseasemustalreadyhavegraduallydevelopeditself.Thedoctorsfurtherstatethatmy
breathisweakandmybloodpoor,andthattheydreadlestconsumptionshoulddeclareitself,sodespitethat
sincerefriendshipIfosterforyou,Icannot,Ifear,lastforverylong.Youare,Iadmit,atruefriendtome,but
whatcanyoudoformyunfortunatedestiny!"
Uponreachingthispointinherreflections,shecouldnotcontrolhertears,andtheyrolledfreelydownher
cheeks.Somuchso,thatwhenabouttoenterandmeethercousins,sheexperiencedsuchutterlackofzest,that,
whiledryinghertearssheturnedround,andwendedherstepsbackinthedirectionofherapartments.
Paoy,meanwhile,hadhurriedlygotintohisnewcostume.Uponcomingoutofdoors,hecaughtsightofLin
Taiy,walkingquietlyaheadofhimengaged,toallappearances,inwipingtearsfromhereyes.Withrapid
stride,heovertookher.
"CousinLin,"hesmiled,"whereareyouoffto?Howisitthatyou'recryingagain?Whohasoncemorehurt
yourfeelings?"
LinTaiyturnedherheadroundtolookandseeingthatitwasPaoy,sheatonceforcedasmile."Whyshould
Ibecrying,"shereplied,"whenthereisnoreasontodoso?"
"Lookhere!"observedPaoysmilingly."Thetearsinyoureyesarenotdryyetanddoyoustilltellmeafib?"
Sayingthis,hecouldnotcheckanimpulsetoraisehisarmandwipehereyes,butLinTaiyspeedilywithdrew
severalstepsbackwards."Areyouagainbent,"shesaid,"uponcompassingyourowndeath!Thenwhydoyou
knockyourhandsandkickyourfeetaboutinthiswise?"
"Whileintentuponspeaking,Iforgot,"smiledPaoy,"allaboutproprietyandgesticulated,yetquite
inadvertently.ButwhatcareIwhetherIdieorlive!"
"Todiewould,afterall"addedLinTaiy,"beforyouofnomatterbutyou'llleavebehindsomegoldorother,
andaunicorntooorotherandwhatwouldtheydo?"
ThisinsinuationwasenoughtoplungePaoyintoafreshfitofexasperation.Hasteninguptoher:"Doyoustill
giveventtosuchlanguage?"heasked."Why,it'sreallytantamounttoinvokingimprecationsonme!What,are
youyetangrywithme!"
ThisquestionrecalledtoLinTaiy'smindtheincidentsofafewdaysback,andapangofremorseimmediately
gnawedherheartforhavingbeenagainsoindiscreetinherspeech."Nowdon'tyoudistressyourmind!"she
observedhastily,smiling."IverilysaidwhatIshouldn't!Yetwhatisthereinthistomakeyourveinsprotrude,
andtosoprovokeyouastobedewyourwholefacewithperspiration?"
Whilereasoningwithhim,shefeltunabletorepressherself,and,approachinghim,sheextendedherhand,and
wipedtheperspirationfromhisface.
Paoygazedintentlyatherforalongtime."Dosetyourmindatease!"heatlengthobserved.
Atthisremark,LinTaiyfeltquitenervous."What'stheretomakemyminduneasy?"sheaskedaftera
protractedinterval."Ican'tmakeoutwhatyou'redrivingattellmewhat'sthisaboutmakingmeeasyor
uneasy?"

Paoyheavedasigh."Don'tyoutrulyfathomthedepthofmywords?"heinquired."Why,doyoumeantosay
thatI'vethroughoutmadesuchpooruseofmyloveforyouasnottobeabletoevendivineyourfeelings?Well,
ifso,it'snowonderthatyoudailyloseyourtemperonmyaccount!"
"Iactuallydon'tunderstandwhatyoumeanbyeasyoruneasy,"Lin
Taiyreplied.
"Mydeargirl,"urgedPaoy,noddingandsighing."Don'tbemakingafoolofme!Forifyoucan'tmakeout
thesewords,notonlyhaveIeveruselesslylavishedaffectionuponyou,buttheregard,withwhichyouhave
alwaystreatedme,haslikewisebeenentirelyofnoavail!Andit'smostlybecauseyouwon'tsetyourmindat
easethatyourwholeframeisriddledwithdisease.Hadyoutakenthingseasierabit,thisailmentofyourstoo
wouldn'thavegrownworsefromdaytoday!"
ThesewordsmadeLinTaiyfeelasifshehadbeenblastedbythunder,orstruckbylightning.Butafter
carefullyweighingthemwithinherself,theyseemedtoherfarmoreferventthananythatmighthaveemanated
fromthedepthsofherownheart,andthousandsofsentiments,infact,throngedtogetherinhermindbut
thoughshehadeverywishtoframethemintolanguage,shefounditahardtasktopronouncesomuchashalfa
word.Allshethereforedidwastogazeathimwithvacantstare.
Paoyfosteredinnumerablethoughtswithinhimself,butunableinamomenttoresolvefromwhichparticular
onetobegin,hetooabsentlylookedatTaiy.Thusitwasthatthetwocousinsremainedforalongtimeunder
thespellofadeepreverie.
Anejaculationof"Hai!"wastheonlysoundthatissuedfromLinTaiy'slipsandwhiletearsstreamed
suddenlyfromhereyes,sheturnedherselfroundandstartedonherwayhomeward.
Paoyjumpedforward,withalacrity,anddraggedherback."Mydearcousin,"hepleaded,"dostopabit!Let
metellyoujustonethingafterthat,youmaygo."
"Whatcanyouhavetotellme?"exclaimedLinTaiy,whowhilewipinghertears,extricatedherhandfromhis
grasp."Iknow."shecried,"allyouhavetosay."
Asshespoke,shewentaway,withouteventurningherheadtocastaglancebehindher.
AsPaoygazedatherrecedingfigure,hefellintoabstraction.
Hehad,infact,quittedhisapartmentsafewmomentsbackinsuchprecipitatehurrythathehadomittedtotake
afanwithhim:andHsiJen,fearinglesthemightsufferfromtheheat,promptlyseizedoneandrantofindhim
andgiveittohim.Butuponcasuallyraisingherhead,sheespiedLinTaiystandingwithhim.Afteratime,
Taiywalkedawayandashestillremainedwherehewaswithoutbudging,sheapproachedhim.
"Youleft,"shesaid,"withouteventakingafanwithyou.HappilyInoticedit,andsohurriedtocatchyouupand
bringittoyou."
ButPaoywassolostinthoughtthatassoonashecaughtHsiJen'svoice,hemadeadashandclaspedherin
hisembrace,withoutsomuchastryingtomakesurewhoshewas.
"Mydearcousin,"hecried,"Icouldn'thithertomusterenoughcouragetodisclosethesecretsofmyheartbut
onthisoccasionIshallmakeboldandgiveutterancetothem.ForyouI'mquitereadytoevenpaythepenaltyof
death.Ihavetooforyoursakebroughtailmentsuponmywholeframe.It'sinhere!ButIhaven'tventuredto
breatheittoanyone.Myonlyalternativehasbeentobearitpatiently,inthehopethatwhenyougotallright,I
mightthenperchancealsorecover.ButwhetherIsleep,orwhetherIdream,Inever,neverforgetyou."
ThesedeclarationsquitedumfounderedHsiJen.Shegavewaytoincessantapprehensions.Allshecoulddowas
toshoutout:"Ohspirits,ohheaven,ohBuddha,he'scompassingmydeath!"Thenpushinghimawayfromher,

"whatisityou'resaying?"sheasked."Mayitbethatyouarepossessedbysomeevilspirit!Don'tyouquickget
yourselfoff?"
ThisbroughtPaoytohissensesatonce.HethenbecameawarethatitwasHsiJen,andthatshehadcometo
bringhimafan.Paoywasoverpoweredwithshamehiswholefacewassuffusedwithscarletand,snatching
thefanoutofherhands,heboltedawaywithrapidstride.
WhenHsiJenmeanwhilesawPaoyeffecthisescape,"LinTaiy,"shepondered,"mustsurelybeatthe
bottomofallhesaidjustnow.Butfromwhatonecansee,itwillbedifficult,inthefuture,toobviatethe
occurrenceofsomeunpleasantmishap.It'ssufficienttofillonewithfearandtrembling!"
Atthispointinhercogitations,sheinvoluntarilymeltedintotears,soagitatedwasshewhileshesecretly
exercisedhermindhowbesttoactsoastopreventthisdreadfulcalamity.
Butwhileshewaslostinthismazeofsurmisesanddoubts,Paoch'aiunexpectedlyappearedfromtheoffside.
"What!"shesmilinglyexclaimed,"areyoudreamingawayinahotbroilingsunlikethis?"
HsiJen,atthisquestion,hastilyreturnedhersmiles."Thosetwobirds,"sheanswered,"werehavingafight,and
suchfunwasitthatIstoppedtowatchthem."
"WhereiscousinPaoofftonowinsuchahurry,gotupinthatfineattire?"askedPaoch'ai,"Ijustcaughtsight
ofhim,ashewentby.Imeanttohavecalledoutandstoppedhim,butashe,oflate,talksgreaterrubbishthan
ever,Ididn'tchallengehim,butlethimgopast."
"Ourmaster,"rejoinedHsiJen,"sentforhimtogoout."
"Aiyah!"hastilyexclaimedPaoch'ai,assoonasthisremarkreachedherears."Whatdoeshewanthimfor,ona
scaldingdaylikethis?Mighthenothavethoughtofsomethingandgotsoangryaboutitastosendforhimto
givehimalecture!"
"Ifitisn'tthis,"addedHsiJenlaughing,"somevisitormust,Ipresume,havecomeandhewisheshimtomeet
him."
"Withweatherlikethis,"smiledPaoch'ai,"evenvisitorsaffordnoamusement!Whydon'tthey,whilethisfiery
temperaturelasts,stayathome,whereit'smuchcooler,insteadofgaddingaboutallovertheplace?"
"Couldyoutellthemso?"smiledHsiJen.
"WhatwasthatgirlHsiangyndoinginyourquarters?"Paoch'aithenasked.
"Sheonlycametochatwithusonirrelevantmatters."HsiJenrepliedsmiling."Butdidyouseethepairofshoes
Iwaspastingtheotherday?Well,Imeanttoaskhertomorrowtofinishthemforme."
Paochai,atthesewords,turnedherheadround,firstonthisside,andthenontheother.Seeingthattherewasno
onecomingorgoing:"Howisit,"shesmiled,"thatyou,whohavesomuchgumption,don'tevershowany
respectforpeople'sfeelings?I'vebeenoflatekeepinganeyeonMissYn'smanner,and,fromwhatIcanglean
fromthevariousrumoursafloat,shecan'tbe,intheslightestdegree,herownmistressathome!Inthatfamilyof
theirs,solittlecantheystandtheburdenofanyheavyexpensesthattheydon'temployanyneedleworkpeople,
andordinaryeverydaythingsaremostlyattendedtobytheirladiesthemselves.(Ifnot),whyisitthateverytime
shehascometousonavisit,andsheandIhavehadachat,sheatoncebroachedthesubjectoftheirbeingin
greatdifficultiesathome,themomentsheperceivedthattherewasnoonepresent?Yet,wheneverIwentonto
askherafewquestionsabouttheirusualwayofliving,herveryeyesgrewred,whileshemadesomeindistinct
replybutasforspeakingout,shewouldn't.ButwhenIconsiderthecircumstancesinwhichsheisplaced,for
shehascertainlyhadthemisfortuneofbeingleft,fromherveryinfancy,withoutfatherandmother,thevery
sightofheristoomuchforme,andmyheartbeginstobleedwithinme."

"Quiteso!Quiteso!"observedHsiJen,clappingherhands,afterlisteningtoherthroughout."Itisn'tstrange
thenifsheletmehavethetenbutterflyknotsIaskedhertotieformeonlyaftereversomanydays,andifshe
saidthattheywerecoarselydone,butthatIshouldmakethebestofthemandusethemelsewhere,andthatifI
wantedanyniceones,Ishouldwaituntilbyandbyewhenshecametostayhere,whenshewouldworksome
neatlyforme.Whatyou'vetoldmenowremindsmethat,asshehadfounditdifficulttofindanexcusewhenwe
appealedtoher,shemusthavehadtoslaveaway,whoknowshowmuch,tillthethirdwatchinthemiddleofthe
night.WhatastupidthingIwas!HadIknownthissooner,Iwouldneverhavetoldherawordaboutit."
"Lasttime"continuedPaoch'ai,"shetoldmethatwhenshewasathomeshehadampletodo,thatshekept
busyaslateasthethirdwatch,andthat,ifshedidtheslighteststitchofworkforanyotherpeople,thevarious
ladies,belongingtoherfamily,didnotlikeit."
"Butasithappens,"explainedHsiJen,"thatmulishmindedandperversetemperedyoungmasterofourswon't
allowtheleastbitofneedlework,nomatterwhethersmallorlarge,tobemadebythosepersonsemployedtodo
sewinginthehousehold.Andasforme,Ihavenotimetoturnmyattentiontoallthesethings."
"Whymindhim?"laughedPaoch'ai."Simplyasksomeonetodotheworkandfinish."
"Howcouldonebamboozlehim?"resumedHsiJen."Why,he'llpromptlyfindouteverything.Suchathingcan't
evenbesuggested.TheonlythingIcandoistoquietlyslaveaway,that'sall."
"Youshouldn'tworksohard,"smiledPaoch'ai."Whatdoyousaytomydoingafewthingsforyou?"
"Areyouinrealearnest!"venturedHsiJensmiling."Well,inthatcase,itisindeedapieceofgoodfortunefor
me!I'llcomeovermyselfintheevening."
Butbeforeshecouldconcludeherreply,sheofasuddennoticedanoldmatroncomeuptoherwithprecipitate
step."Wheredoesthereportcomefrom,"sheinterposed,"thatMissChinCh'uanerhhasgone,fornorhymeor
reason,andcommittedsuicidebyjumpingintothewell?"
ThisbitofnewsstartledHsiJen."WhichChinCh'uanerhisit,"shespeedilyinquired.
"WherearetwoChinCh'uanerhstobefound!"rejoinedtheoldmatron."It'stheoneinourMistress,'Madame
Wang's,apartments,whowastheotherdaysentawayforsomethingorother,Idon'tknowwhat.Onherreturn
home,sheraisedhergroanstotheskiesandshedprofusetears,butnoneofthemworriedtheirmindsabouther,
until,who'dhavethoughtit,theycouldseenothingofher.Aservant,however,wentjustnowtodrawwaterand
hesaysthat'whilehewasgettingitfromthewellinthesoutheastcorner,hecaughtsightofadeadbody,that
hehurriedlycalledmentohishelp,andthatwhentheyfisheditout,theyunexpectedlyfoundthatitwasshe,but
thatthoughtheybustledabouttryingtobringherround,everythingprovedofnoavail'"
"Thisisodd!"Paoch'aiexclaimed.
ThemomentHsiJenheardthetidings,sheshookherheadandmoaned.Attheremembranceofthefriendship,
whichhadeverexistedbetweenthem,tearssuddenlytrickleddownhercheeks.AndasforPaoch'ai,she
listenedtotheaccountoftheaccidentandthenhastenedtoMadameWang'squarterstotryandaffordher
consolation.
HsiJen,duringthisinterval,returnedtoherroom.Butwewillleaveherwithoutfurthernotice,andexplainthat
whenPaoch'aireachedtheinteriorofMadameWang'shome,shefoundeverythingplungedinperfectstillness.
MadameWangwasseatedallaloneintheinnerchamberindulginghersorrow.ButsuchdifficultiesdidPao
ch'aiexperiencetoalludetotheoccurrence,thatheronlyalternativewastotakeaseatnexttoher.
"Wheredoyoucomefrom?"askedMadameWang.
"Icomefrominsidethegarden,"answeredPaoch'ai.

"Asyoucomefromthegarden,"MadameWanginquired,"didyouseeanythingofyourcousinPaoy?"
"Isawhimjustnow,"Paoch'aireplied,"goout,dressedupinhisfineries.Butwhereheisgoneto,Idon't
know."
"Haveyouperchanceheardofanystrangeoccurrence?"askedMadameWang,whileshenoddedherheadand
sighed."Why,ChinCh'uanErhjumpedintothewellandcommittedsuicide."
"Howisitthatshejumpedintothewellwhentherewasnothingtomakeherdoso?"Paoch'aiinquired."Thisis
indeedaremarkablething!"
"Thefactis,"proceededMadameWang,"thatshespoiltsomethingtheotherday,andinasuddenfitoftemper,I
gaveheraslapandsentheraway,simplymeaningtobeangrywithherforafewdaysandthenbringherin
again.But,whocouldhaveeverimaginedthatshehadsucharesentfultemperamentastogoanddrownherself
inawell!Andisnotthisallmyfault?"
"It'sbecauseyouaresuchakindheartedperson,aunt,"smiledPaoch'ai,"thatsuchideascrossyourmind!But
shedidn'tjumpintothewellwhenshewasinatantrumsowhatmusthavemadeherdosowasthatshehadto
goandliveinthelowerquarters.Or,shemighthavebeenstandinginfrontofthewell,andherfootslipped,and
shefellintoit.Whileintheupperrooms,sheusedtobekeptunderrestraint,sowhenthistimeshefoundherself
outside,shemust,ofcourse,havefeltthewishtogostrollingallovertheplaceinsearchoffun.Howcouldshe
haveeverhadsuchafierydisposition?Butevenadmittingthatshehadsuchatemper,shewas,afterall,astupid
girltodoasshedidandshedoesn'tdeserveanypity."
"Inspiteofwhatyousay,"sighedMadameWang,shakingherheadtoandfro,"Ireallyfeelunhappyatheart."
"Youshouldn't,aunt,distressyourmindaboutit!"Paoch'aismiled."Yet,ifyoufeelverymuchexercised,just
giveherafewmoretaelsthanyouwouldotherwisehavedone,andletherbeburied.You'llthuscarryouttothe
fullthefeelingsofamistresstowardsherservant."
"Ijustnowgavethemfiftytaelsforher,"pursuedMadameWang."Ialsomeanttoletthemhavesomeofyour
cousin'snewclothestoenshroudherin.But,who'dhavethoughtit,noneofthegirlshad,strangecoincidence,
anynewlymadearticlesofclothingandtherewereonlythatcoupleofbirthdaysuitsofyourcousinLin's.But
asyourcousinLinhaseverbeensuchasensitivechildandhasalwaystoosufferedandailed,Ithoughtitwould
beunpropitiousforher,ifherclotheswerealsonowhandedtopeopletowraptheirdeadin,aftershehadbeen
toldthattheyweregivenherforherbirthday.SoIorderedatailortogetasuitforherassoonaspossible.Hadit
beenanyotherservantgirl,Icouldhavegivenherafewtaelsandhavefinished.ButChinCh'uanerhwas,
albeitaservantmaid,nearlyasdeartomeasifshehadbeenadaughterofmine."
Sayingthis,tearsunwittinglyrandownfromhereyes.
"Aunt!"vehementlyexclaimedPaoch'ai."Whatearthlyuseisitofhurryingatailorjustnowtoprepareclothes
forher?IhaveacoupleofsuitsImadetheotherdayandwon'titsavetroublewereItogoandbringthemfor
her?Besides,whenshewasalive,sheusedtowearmyoldclothes.Andwhat'smoreourfiguresaremuch
alike."
"Whatyousayisallverywell,"rejoinedMadameWang"butcanitbethatitisn'tdistastefultoyou?"
"Composeyourmind,"urgedPaoch'aiwithasmile."Ihaveneverpaidanyheedtosuchthings."
Asshespoke,sherosetoherfeetandwalkedaway.
MadameWangthenpromptlycalledtwoservants."GoandaccompanyMiss
Pao!"shesaid.

Inabriefspaceoftime,Paoch'aicamebackwiththeclothes,anddiscoveredPaoyseatednexttoMadame
Wang,allmeltedintears.MadameWangwasreasoningwithhim.AtthesightofPaoch'ai,she,atonce,
desisted.WhenPaoch'aisawthemgooninthisway,andcametoweightheirconversationandtoscanthe
expressionontheircountenances,sheimmediatelygotaprettycorrectinsightintotheirfeelings.Butpresently
shehandedovertheclothes,andMadameWangsentforChinCh'uanerh'smother,totakethemaway.
But,reader,youwillhavetoperusethenextchapterforfurtherdetails.

CHAPTERXXXIII.
Abrotherispromptedbyillfeelingtowaghistongueabit.
Adepravedsonreceivesheavyblowswitharattancane.
MadameWang,forweshallnowcontinueourstory,sentforChinCh'uanerh'smother.Onherarrival,shegave
herseveralhairpinsandrings,andthentoldherthatshecouldinviteseveralBuddhistpriestsaswelltoreadthe
prayersnecessarytoreleasethespiritfrompurgatory.Themotherprostratedherselfandexpressedhergratitude
afterwhich,shetookherleave.
Indeed,Paoy,onhisreturnfromentertainingYts'un,heardthetidingsthatChinCh'uanerhhadbeen
instigatedbyasenseofshametotakeherownlifeandheatoncefellapreytogrief.Somuchso,that,whenhe
cameinside,andwasagainspokentoandadmonishedbyMadameWang,hecouldnotutterasinglewordinhis
justification.ButassoonasheperceivedPaoch'aimakeherappearanceintheroom,heseizedtheopportunity
toscamperoutinprecipitatehaste.Whitherhewastrudging,hehimselfhadnottheleastidea.Butthrowinghis
handsbehindhisbackanddroopinghisheadagainsthischest,hegavewaytosighs,whilewithslowandlistless
stepheturnedtowardsthehall.Scarcely,however,hadheroundedthescreenwall,whichstoodinfrontofthe
doorway,when,byastrangecoincidence,heranstraightintothearmsofsomeone,whowasunawares
approachingfromtheoppositedirection,andwasjustabouttogotowardstheinnerportionofthecompound.
"Hallo!"thatpersonwasheardtocryout,ashestoodstill.
Paoysustainedadreadfulstart.Raisinghisfacetosee,hediscoveredthatitwasnootherthanhisfather.At
once,heunconsciouslydrewalongbreathandadoptedtheonlysafecourseofdroppinghisarmsagainsthis
bodyandstandingononeside.
"Whyareyou,"exclaimedChiaCheng,"droopingyourheadinsuchamelancholymood,andindulginginall
thesemoans?WhenYts'uncamejustnowandheaskedtoseeyou,youonlyputinyourappearanceaftera
longwhile.Butthoughyoudidcome,youwerenotintheleastdisposedtochatwithanythinglikecheerfulness
andanimationyoubehaved,asyoueverdo,likearegularfool.Idetectedtheninyourcountenanceacertain
expressionofsomehiddenhankeringandsadnessandnowagainhereyouaregroaningandsighing!Doesall
youhavenotsufficetopleaseyou?Areyoustilldissatisfied?You'venoreasontobelikethis,sowhyisitthat
yougooninthisway?"
Paoyhadever,itistrue,shownaglibtongue,butonthepresentoccasionhewassodeeplyaffectedbyChin
Ch'uanerh'sfate,andvexedatnotbeingabletodiethatveryinstantandfollowinherfootstepsthatalthoughhe
wasnowfullyconsciousthathisfatherwasspeakingtohimhecouldnot,infact,lendhimanear,butsimply
stoodinatimidandnervousmood.ChiaChengnoticedthathewasinastateoftremblingandfear,notasready
withananswerasheusuallywas,andhissorryplightsomewhatincensedhim,muchthoughhehadnotatfirst
bornehimanyillfeeling.Butjustashewasabouttochidehim,amessengerapproachedandannouncedtohim:
"SomeonehascomefromthemansionoftheimperialPrinceChungShun,andwishestoseeyou,Sir."Atthis

announcement,surmisessprungupinChiaCheng'smind."Hitherto,"hesecretlymused,"I'veneverhadany
dealingswiththeChungShunmansion,andwhyisitthatsomeoneisdespatchedheretoday?"Ashegaveway
tothesereflections."Bequick,"heshouted,"andaskhimtotakeaseatinthepavilion,"whilehehimself
precipitatelyenteredtheinnerroomandchangedhiscostume.Whenhecameouttogreetthevisitor,he
discoveredthatitwastheseniorofficeroftheChungShunmansion.Aftertheexchangeofthesalutations
prescribedbytherites,theysatdownandteawaspresented.Butbefore(ChiaCheng)hadhadtimetostarta
topicofconversation,theseniorofficeranticipatedhim,andspeedilyobserved:"Yourhumbleservantdoesnot
paythisvisittodaytoyourworthymansiononhisownauthority,butentirelyincompliancewithinstructions
received,asthereisafavourthatIhavetobegofyou.Imakeboldtotroubleyou,esteemedSir,onbehalfofhis
highness,totakeanystepsyoumightdeemsuitable,andifyoudo,notonlywillhishighnessrememberyour
kindness,butevenI,yourhumbleservant,andmycolleagueswillfeelextremelygratefultoyou."
ChiaChenglistenedtohim,buthecouldnotneverthelessgetaclueofwhathewasdrivingat.Promptly
returninghissmile,herosetohisfeet."Youcome,Sir,"heinquired,"attheinstanceofhisroyalhighness,but
what,Iwonder,arethecommandsyouhavetogiveme?Ihopeyouwillexplainthemtoyourhumbleservant,
worthySir,inordertoenablehimtocarrythemouteffectively."
Theseniorofficergaveasardonicsmile.
"There'snothingtocarryout,"hesaid."Allyou,venerableSir,havetodoistoutteronesinglewordandthe
wholethingwillbeeffected.ThereisinourmansionacertainCh'iKuan,whoplaysthepartofyoungladies.He
hithertostayedquietlyinthemansionbutforthelastthreeorfivedaysorsonoonehasseenhimreturnhome.
Searchhasbeeninstitutedineverylocality,yethiswhereaboutscannotbediscovered.Butthroughoutthese
variousinquiries,eightoutofthetententhsoftheinhabitantsofthecityhave,withoneconsent,assertedthathe
hasoflatebeenonveryfriendlytermswiththathonourablesonofyours,whowasbornwiththejadeinhis
mouth.Thisreportwastoldyourservantandhiscolleagues,butasyourworthymansionisunlikesuch
residencesaswecantakeuponourselvestoenterandsearchwithimpunity,wefeltunderthenecessityoflaying
thematterbeforeourimperialmaster.'Haditbeenanyoftheotheractors,'hishighnessalsosays,'Iwouldn't
havemindedifevenonehundredofthemhaddisappearedbutthisCh'iKuanhasalwaysbeensoreadywithpat
repartee,sorespectfulandtrustworthythathehasthoroughlywonmyagedheart,andIcouldneverdowithout
him.'Heentreatsyou,therefore,worthySir,to,inyourturn,pleadwithyourillustriousscion,andrequesthimto
letCh'iKuangoback,inorderthatthefeelings,whichpromptthePrincetomakesuchearnestsupplications,
may,inthefirstplace,besatisfied:andthat,inthenext,yourmeanservantandhisassociatesmaybesparedthe
fatigueoftoilingandsearching."
Attheconclusionofthisappeal,hepromptlymadealowbow.AssoonasChiaChengfoundouttheobjectof
hiserrand,hefeltbothastonishmentanddispleasure.Withallpromptitude,heissueddirectionsthatPaoy
shouldbetoldtocomeoutofthegarden.Paoyhadnonotionwhateverwhyhewaswanted.Sospeedilyhe
hurriedtoappearbeforehisfather.
"Whataregularscoundrelyouare!"ChiaChengexclaimed."Itisenoughthatyouwon'treadyourbooksat
homebutwillyoualsogoinforalltheselawlessandwrongfulacts?ThatCh'iKuanisapersonwhosepresent
honourabledutiesaretoactasanattendantonhishighnessthePrinceofChungShun,andhowextremely
heedlessofproprietymustyoubetohaveenticedhim,withoutgoodcause,tocomeaway,andthushavenow
broughtcalamityuponme?"
ThesereproachesplungedPaoyinadreadfulstateofconsternation.
Withalacrityhesaidbywayofreply:"Ireallydon'tknowanything
aboutthematter!Towhatdo,afterall,thetwowordsCh'iKuanrefer,
Iwonder!Stillless,besides,amIawarewhatenticecanimply!"
Ashespoke,hestartedcrying.
ButbeforeChiaChengcouldopenhismonthtopassanyfurtherremarks,"Younggentleman,"heheardthe
seniorofficerinterposewithasardonicsmile:"youshouldn'tconcealanything!ifhebeeitherhiddeninyour

home,orifyouknowhiswhereabouts,divulgethetruthatoncesothatlesstroubleshouldfalltoourlotthan
otherwisewould.Andwillwenotthenbearinmindyourvirtue,worthyscion!"
"Ipositivelydon'tknow."Paoytimeaftertimemaintained."Theremust,Ifear,besomefalserumourabroad
forIhaven'tsomuchasseenanythingofhim."
Theseniorofficergavetwoloudsmiles,fullofderision."There'sevidenceathand,"herejoined,"soifyou
compelmetospeakoutbeforeyourvenerablefather,won'tyou,youngman,havetosuffertheconsequences?
Butasyouassertthatyoudon'tknowwhothispersonis,howisitthatthatredsashhascometobeattachedto
yourwaist?"
WhenPaoycaughtthisallusion,hesuddenlyfeltquiteoutofhissenses.Hestaredandgapedwhilewithin
himself,heargued:"Howhashecometohearanythingaboutthis!Butsinceheknowsallthesesecret
particulars,Icannot,Iexpect,puthimoffinotherpointssowouldn'titbebetterformetopackhimoff,in
ordertoobviatehisblubberinganythingmore?""Sir,"heconsequentlyremarkedaloud,"howisitthatdespite
youracquaintancewithalltheseminutedetails,youhavenoinklingofhishavingpurchasedahouse?Areyou
ignorantofanessentialpointlikethis?I'veheardpeoplesaythathe's,atpresent,stayingintheeasternsuburbs
atadistanceoftwentylifromthecitywallsatsomeplaceorothercalledTzuT'anPao,andthathehasbought
thereseveralacresoflandandafewhouses.SoIpresumehe'stobefoundinthatlocalitybutofcoursethere's
nosaying."
"Accordingtoyourversion,"smiledtheseniorofficer,assoonasheheardhisexplanation,"hemustfora
certaintybethere.Ishallthereforegoandlookforhim.Ifhe'sthere,wellandgoodbutifnot,Ishallcome
againandrequestyoutogivemefurtherdirections."
Thesewordswerestillonhislips,whenhetookhisleaveandwalkedoffwithhurriedstep.
ChiaChengwasbythistimestirreduptosuchapitchofindignationthathiseyesstaredaghast,andhismouth
openedinbewildermentandasheescortedtheofficerout,heturnedhisheadandbadePaoynotbudge."I
have,"(hesaid),"toaskyousomethingonmyreturn."Straightwayhethenwenttoseetheofficeroff.Butjust
ashewasturningback,hecasuallycameacrossChiaHuanandseveralservantboysrunningwildlyaboutina
body."Quick,bringhimheretome!"shoutedChiaChengtotheyoungboys."Iwanttobeathim."
ChiaHuan,atthesightofhisfather,wassoterrifiedthathisbonesmollifiedandhistendonsgrewweak,and,
promptlyloweringhishead,hestoodstill."
"Whatareyourunningaboutfor?"ChiaChengasked."Thesemenialsofyoursdonotmindyou,butgowho
knowswhere,andletyouroamaboutlikeawildhorse!Wherearetheattendantswhowaitonyouatschool?"
hecried.
WhenChiaHuansawhisfatherinsuchadreadfulrage,heavailedhimselfofthefirstopportunitytotryand
clearhimself."Iwasn'trunningaboutjustnow"hesaid."ButasIwaspassingbythesideofthatwell,Icaught
sight,forinthatwellaservantgirlwasdrowned,ofahumanheadthatlarge,abodythatswollen,floatingabout
inreallyafrightfulwayandIthereforehastilyrushedpast."
ChiaChengwasthunderstruckbythisdisclosure."There'sbeennothingup,sowhohasgoneandjumpedinto
thewell?"heinquired."Neverhastherebeenanythingofthekindinmyhousebefore!Eversincethetimeof
ourancestors,servantshaveinvariablybeentreatedwithclemencyandconsideration.ButIexpectthatImustof
latehavebecomeremissinmydomesticaffairs,andthatthemanagersmusthavearrogatedtothemselvesthe
rightofdomineeringandsobeenthecauseofbringingaboutsuchcalamitiesasviolentdeathsanddisregardof
life.Werethesethingstoreachtheearsofpeopleoutside,whatwillbecomeofthereputationofourseniors?
CallChiaLienandLaiTahere!"heshouted.
Theservantladssignifiedtheirobedience,withonevoice.Theywereabouttogoandsummonthem,whenChia
Huanhastenedtopressforward.GraspingthelapelofChiaCheng'scoat,andclingingtohisknees,heknelt

down."Father,whyneedyoubeangry?"hesaid."ExcludingthepeopleinMadameWang'srooms,this
occurrenceisentirelyunknowntoanyoftherestandIhaveheardmymothermention."Atthispoint,he
turnedhishead,andcastaglanceinallfourquarters.
ChiaChengguessedhismeaning,andmadeasignwithhiseyes.Theyoungboysgraspedhispurposeanddrew
farbackoneitherside.
ChiaHuanresumedhisconfidencesinalowtoneofvoice."Mymother,"heresumed,"toldmethatwhen
brotherPaoywas,theotherday,inMadameWang'sapartments,heseizedherservantmaidChinCh'uanerh
withtheintentofdishonouringher.Thatashefailedtocarryouthisdesign,hegaveherathrashing,whichso
exasperatedChinCh'uanerhthatshethrewherselfintothewellandcommittedsuicide."
Beforehoweverhecouldconcludehisaccount,ChiaChenghadbeenincensedtosuchadegreethathisface
assumedthecolourofsilverpaper."BringPaoyhere,"hecried.Whileutteringtheseorders,hewalkedinto
thestudy."Ifanyonedoesagaintodaycometodissuademe,"hevociferated,"Ishalltakethisofficialhat,and
sash,myhomeandprivatepropertyandsurrendereverythingatoncetohimtogoandbestowthemuponPao
yforifIcannotescapeblame(withasonliketheoneIhave),Imeantoshavethisscantytroubleladenhair
aboutmytemplesandgoinsearchofsomeunsulliedplacewhereIcanspendtherestofmydaysalone!Ishall
thusalsoavoidthecrimeofheaping,above,insultuponmypredecessors,and,below,ofhavinggivenbirthto
sucharebelliousson."
AtthesightofChiaChenginthisexasperation,thefamilycompanionsandattendantsspeedilyrealisedthat
Paoymustoncemorebethecauseofit,andthewholepossehastenedtowithdrawfromthestudy,bitingtheir
fingersandputtingtheirtonguesout.
ChiaChengpantedwithexcitement.Hestretchedhischestoutandsatboltuprightonachair.Hiswholeface
wascoveredwiththetracesoftears."BringPaoy!BringPaoy!"heshoutedconsecutively."Fetchabig
stickbringaropeandtiehimupcloseallthedoors!Ifanyonedoescommunicateanythingaboutitinthe
innerrooms,why,I'llimmediatelybeathimtodeath."
Theservantboysfeltcompelledtoexpresstheirobediencewithoneconsent,andsomeofthemcametolook
afterPaoy.
AsforPaoy,whenheheardChiaChengenjoinhimnottomove,heforthwithbecameawarethatthechances
ofanunpropitiousissueoutnumberedthoseofapropitiousone,buthowcouldhehavehadanyideathatChia
Huanaswellhadputinhisword?Therehestillstoodinthepavilion,revolvinginhismindhowhecouldget
someonetospeedinsideanddeliveramessageforhim.But,asithappened,notasoulappeared.Hewasquite
atalosstoknowwhereevenPeiMingcouldbe.Hislongingwasatitsheight,whenheperceivedanoldnurse
comeonthescene.ThesightofherexultedPaoy,justasmuchasifhehadobtainedpearlsorgemsand
hurriedlyapproachingher,hedraggedherandforcedhertohalt."Goin,"heurged,"atonceandtellthemthat
myfatherwishestobeatmetodeath.Bequick,bequick,forit'surgent,there'snotimetobelost."
But,firstandforemost,Paoy'sexcitementwassointensethathespokewithindistinctness.Inthesecond
place,theoldnursewas,asluckwouldhaveit,dullofhearing,sothatshedidnotcatchthedriftofwhathesaid,
andshemisconstruedthetwowords:"it'surgent,"forthetworepresentingjumpedintothewell.Readily
smilingtherefore:"Ifshewantstojumpintothewell,letherdoso,"shesaid."What'stheretomakeyoufear,
MasterSecundus?"
"Goout,"pursuedPaoy,indespair,ondiscoveringthatshewasdeaf,"andtellmypagetocome."
"What'sthereleftunsettled?"rejoinedtheoldnurse."Everythinghasbeenfinishedlongago!Atiphasalsobeen
giventhemsohowisitthingsarenotsettled?"
Paoyfidgettedwithhishandsandfeet.Hewasjustathiswits'ends,whenheespiedChiaCheng'sservant
boyscomeupandpresshimtogoout.

AssoonasChiaChengcaughtsightofhim,hiseyesgotquitered.Withoutevenallowinghimselfanytimeto
questionhimabouthisgaddingaboutwithactors,andthepresentshegavethemonthesly,duringhisabsence
fromhomeorabouthisplayingthetruantfromschoolandlewdlyimportuninghismother'smaid,duringhis
stayathome,hesimplyshouted:"Gaghismouthandpositivelybeathimtillhedies!"
Theservantboysdidnothavetheboldnesstodisobeyhim.TheywereunderthenecessityofseizingPaoy,of
stretchinghimonabench,andoftakingaheavyrattanandgivinghimabouttenblows.
Paoyknewwellenoughthathecouldnotpleadformercy,andallhecoulddowastowhimperandcry.
ChiaChenghoweverfoundfaultwiththelightblowstheyadministeredtohim.Withonekickheshovedthe
castigatoraside,andsnatchingtherattanintohisownhands,hespitefullylet(Paoy)havetenblowsandmore.
Paoyhadnot,fromhisverybirth,experiencedsuchanguish.Fromtheoutset,hefoundthepainunbearable
yethecouldshoutandweepasboisterouslyaseverhepleasedbutsoweaksubsequentlydidhisbreath,littleby
little,become,sohoarsehisvoice,andsochokedhisthroatthathecouldnotbringoutanysound.
Thefamilycompanionsnoticedthathewasbeateninawaythatmightleadtoanunpropitiousend,andthey
drewnearwithalldespatchandmadeearnestentreatiesandexhortations.ButwouldChiaChenglistentothem?
"Youpeople,"heanswered,"hadbetteraskhimwhetherthetrickshehasbeenuptodeservetobeoverlookedor
not!It'syouwhohaveallalongsothoroughlyspoilthimastomakehimreachthisdegreeofdepravity!Anddo
youyetcometoadvisemetosparehim?Whenbyandbyeyou'veincitedhimtocommitparricideorregicide,
youwillatlength,then,giveuptryingtodissuademe,eh?"
Thislanguagejarredontheearsofthewholepartyandknowingonlytoowellthathewasinanexasperated
mood,theyfussedaboutendeavouringtofindsomeonetogoinandconveythenews.
ButMadameWangdidnotpresumetobethefirsttoinformdowagerladyChiaaboutit.Seeingnoothercourse
opentoher,shehastilydressedherselfandissuedoutofthegarden.Withoutsomuchasworryinghermindas
towhethertherewereanymaleinmatesaboutornot,shestraightwayleantonawaitingmaidandhurriedly
betookherselfintothelibrary,totheintenseconsternationofthecompanions,pagesandallthemenpresent,
whocouldnotmanagetoclearoutofthewayintime.
ChiaChengwasonthepointoffurtherbelabouringhisson,whenatthesightofMadameWangwalkingin,his
temperflaredupwithsuchincreasedviolence,justasfireonwhichoilispoured,thattherodfellwithgreater
spiteandcelerity.Thetwoservantboys,whoheldPaoydown,precipitatelyloosenedtheirgripandbeata
retreat.Paoyhadlongagolostallpowerofmovement.ChiaCheng,however,wasagainpreparingtoassail
him,whentherattanwasimmediatelylockedtightlybyMadameWang,inbothherarms.
"Ofcourse,ofcourse,"ChiaChengexclaimed,"whatyouwanttodotodayistomakemesuccumbtoanger!"
"Paoydoes,Iadmit,merittobebeaten,"sobbedMadameWang"butyoushouldalso,mylord,takegoodcare
ofyourself!Theweather,besides,isextremelyhot,andouroldladyisnotfeelingquiteuptothemark.Were
youtoknockPaoyaboutandkillhim,itwouldnotmattermuchbutwereperchanceourvenerableseniorto
suddenlyfallill,wouldn'titbeagravething?"
"Betternottalkaboutsuchthings!"observedChiaChengwithalistlesssmile."Bymybringingupsucha
degeneratechildofretributionIhavemyselfbecomeunfilial!WheneverI'vehadtocallhimtoaccount,there
hasalwaysbeenawholecrowdofyoutoscreenhimsoisn'titaswellformetoavailmyselfoftodaytoputan
endtohiscurlikeexistenceandthuspreventfuturemisfortune?"
Ashespoke,heaskedforaropetostranglehimbutMadameWanglostnotimeinclaspinghiminherembrace,
andreasoningwithhimasshewept."Mylordandmaster,"shesaid,"itisyourduty,ofcourse,tokeepyourson
inproperorder,butyoushouldalsoregardtherelationshipofhusbandandwife.I'malreadyawomanoffifty

andI'veonlygotthisscapegrace.Wasthereanyneedforyoutogivehimsuchabitterlesson?Iwouldn't
presumetouseanystrongdissuasionbuthaving,onthisoccasion,gonesofarastoharbourthedesignof
killinghim,isn'tthisafixedpurposeonyourparttocutshortmyownexistence?Butasyouarebentupon
stranglinghim,bequickandfirststranglemebeforeyoustranglehim!Itwillbeaswellthatwe,motherand
son,shoulddietogether,sothatifevenwegotohell,wemaybeabletorelyuponeachother!"
Attheconclusionofthesewords,sheenfoldedPaoyinherembraceandraisedhervoiceinloudsobs.
Afterlisteningtoherappeal,ChiaChengcouldnotrestrainadeepsighandtakingaseatononeofthechairs,
thetearsrandownhischeekslikedropsofrain.
ButwhileMadameWangheldPaoyinherarms,shenoticedthathisfacewassallowandhisbreathfaint,and
thathisgreengauzenethergarmentswereallspeckledwithstainsofblood,soshecouldnotcheckherfingers
fromunlooseninghisgirdle.Andrealisingthatfromthethighstothebuttocks,hispersonwasheregreen,there
purple,herewhole,therebroken,andthattherewas,infact,nottheleastbit,whichhadnotsustainedsome
injury,sheofasuddenburstoutinbitterlamentationsforheroffspring'swretchedlotinlife.Butwhile
bemoaningherunfortunateson,sheagainrecalledtomindthememoryofChiaChu,andvehementlycallingout
"ChiaChu,"shesobbed:"ifbutyouwerealive,Iwouldnotcareifevenonehundreddied!"
Butbythistime,theinmatesoftheinnerroomsdiscoveredthatMadameWanghadgoneout,andLiKungts'ai,
WangHsifengandTingCh'unandhersisterspromptlyrushedoutofthegardenandcametojoinher.
WhileMadameWangmentioned,witheyesbathedintears,thenameofChiaChu,everyonelistenedwith
composure,withtheexceptionofLiKungts'ai,whounabletocurbherfeelingsalsoraisedhervoiceinsobs.As
soonasChiaChengheardherplaints,histearstrickleddownwithgreaterprofusion,likepearlsscatteredabout.
Butjustasthereseemednoprospectoftheirbeingconsoled,aservantgirlwasunawaresheardtoannounce:
"Ourdowagerladyhascome!"Beforethisannouncementwasended,hertremulousaccentsreachedtheirears
fromoutsidethewindow."Ifyouweretobeatmetodeathandthendespatchhim,"shecried,"won'tyoube
clearofus!"
ChiaCheng,uponseeingthathismotherwascoming,feltdistressedandpained.Withallpromptitude,hewent
outtomeether.Heperceivedhisoldparent,toddlingalong,leaningonthearmofaservantgirl,waggingher
headandgaspingforbreath.
ChiaChengdrewforwardandmadeacurtsey."Onahotbroilingdaylikethis,"heventured,forcingasmile,
"whatmadeyou,mother,getsoangryastorushoverinperson?Hadyouanythingtoenjoinme,youcouldhave
sentforme,yourson,andgivenmeyourorders."
OldladyChia,atthesewords,haltedandpanted."Areyoureallychidingme?"sheatthesametimesaidina
sterntone."It'sIwhoshouldcallyoutotask!Butastheson,I'vebroughtup,isn'tworthastraw,towhomcanI
goandaddressaword?"
WhenChiaChengheardlanguagesounlikethatgenerallyusedbyher,heimmediatelyfellonhisknees.While
doingallinhispowertocontainhistears:"Thereasonwhy,"heexplained,"yoursoncorrectshisoffspringisa
desiretoreflectlustreonhisancestorsandsplendouronhisseniorssohowcanI,yourson,deservetherebuke
withwhichyougreetme,mother?"
Atthisreply,oldladyChiaspurtedcontemptuously."Imadejustoneremark,"sheadded,"andyoucouldn't
standit,andcanPaoylikelyputupwiththatdeathworkingcane?Yousaythatyourobjectincorrectingyour
sonistoreflectlustreonyourancestorsandsplendouronyourseniors,butinwhatmannerdidyourfather
correctyouindaysgoneby?"
Sayingthis,tearssuddenlyrolleddownfromhereyesalso.

ChiaChengforcedanothersmile."Mother"heproceeded,"youshouldn'tdistressyourself!Yoursondiditina
suddenfitofrage,butfromthistimeforthIwon'ttouchhimagain."
DowagerladyChiasmiledseveralloudsneeringsmiles."Butyoushouldn'tgetintoahuffwithme!"sheurged.
"He'syourson,soifyouchoosetofloghim,youcannaturallydoso,butIcannothelpthinkingthatyou'resick
andtiredofme,yourmother,ofyourwifeandofyourson,sowouldn'titbeaswellthatweshouldgetoutof
yourway,thesoonerthebetter,asweshallthenbeabletoenjoypeaceandquiet?"
Sospeaking,"Goandlookafterthechairs."shespeedilycriedtoaservant."IandyourladyaswellasPaoy
will,withoutdelay,returntoNanking."
Theservanthadnohelpbuttoassent.
OldladyChiathereuponcalledMadameWangovertoher."Youneedn'tindulgeinsorrow!"sheexhortedher.
"Paoyisnowyoung,andyoucherishhimfondlybutdoesitfollowthatwheninyearstocomehebecomesan
official,he'llrememberthatyouarehismother?Youmustn'tthereforeatpresentlavishtoomuchofyour
affectionuponhim,sothatyoumaybyandbye,spareyourself,atleast,somedispleasure."
WhentheseexhortationsfellonChiaCheng'sear,heinstantlyprostratedhimselfbeforeher."Yourremarks
mother,"heobserved,"cutthegroundunderyourson'sveryfeet."
"Youdistinctlyactinaway,"cynicallysmiledoldladyChia,"sufficienttodeprivemeofanygroundtostand
upon,andthenyou,onthecontrary,goandspeakaboutyourself!Butwhenweshallhavegoneback,yourmind
willbefreeofalltrouble.We'llseethenwho'llinterfereanddissuadeyoufrombeatingpeople!"
Afterthisreply,shewentontogiveorderstodirectlygetreadythebaggage,carriages,chairsandhorses
necessaryfortheirreturn.
ChiaChengstifflyandrigidlyfellonhisknees,andknockedhisheadbeforeher,andpleadedguilty.Dowager
ladyChiathenaddressedhimsomewords,andasshedidso,shecametohavealookatPaoy.Upon
perceivingthatthethrashinghehadgotthistimewasunlikethoseofpastoccasions,sheexperiencedbothpain
andresentment.Soclaspinghiminherarms,sheweptandweptincessantly.ItwasonlyafterMadameWang,
ladyFengandtheotherladieshadreasonedwithherforatimethattheyatlengthgraduallysucceededin
consolingher.
Butwaitingmaids,marriedwomen,andotherattendantssooncametosupportPaoyandtakehimaway.Lady
Fenghoweveratonceexpostulatedwiththem."Youstupidthings,"sheexclaimed,won'tyouopenyoureyes
andsee!Howevercouldheberaisedandmadetowalkinthestatehe'sin!Don'tyouyetinstantlyruninside
andfetchsomerattanslingsandabenchtocarryhimoutofthison?
Atthissuggestion,theservantsrushedhurryscurryinsideandactuallybroughtabenchand,liftingPaoy,
theyplacedhimonit.ThenfollowingdowagerladyChia,MadameWangandtheotherinmatesintotheinner
partofthebuilding,theycarriedhimintohisgrandmother'sapartments.ButChiaChengdidnotfailtonotice
thathisoldmother'spassionhadnotbythistimeyetabated,sowithoutpresumingtoconsulthisown
convenience,hetoocameinsideafterthem.HerehediscoveredhowheavilyhehadinrealitycastigatedPaoy.
UponperceivingMadameWangalsocrying,withonebreath,"Myflesh"and,withanother,sayingwithtears:
"Myson,ifyouhaddiedsooner,insteadofChuErh,andleftChuErhbehindyou,youwouldhavesavedyour
fatherthesefitsofanger,andevenIwouldnothavehadtofruitlesslyworryandfretforhalfofmyexistence!
Wereanythingtohappennowtomakeyouforsakeme,uponwhomwillyouhavemedepend?"Andthenafter
heapingreproachesuponherselfforatime,breakoutafreshinlamentationsforher,unavailingoffspring,Chia
Chengwasmuchcutupandfeltconsciousthatheshouldnotwithhisownhandhavestruckhissonso
ruthlesslyastobringhimtothisstate,andhefirstandforemostdirectedhisattentiontoconsolingdowagerlady
Chia.

"Ifyoursonisn'tgood,"rejoinedtheoldlady,repressinghertears,"itisnaturallyforyoutoexercisecontrol
overhim.Butyoushouldn'tbeathimtosuchapitch!Don'tyouyetbundleyourselfaway?Whatareyou
dallyinginherefor?Isitlikely,pray,thatyourheartisnotyetsatisfied,andthatyouwishtofeastyoureyesby
seeinghimdiebeforeyougo?"
ThesetauntsinducedChiaChengtoeventuallywithdrawoutoftheroom.Bythistime,Mrs.Hsehtogether
withPaoch'ai,HsiangLing,HsiJen,ShihHsiangynandhisothercousinshadalsocongregatedinthe
apartments.HsiJen'sheartwasoverflowingwithgriefbutshecouldnotverywellgiveexpressiontoit.When
shesawthatawholecompanyofpeopleshuthimin,somepouringwateroverhim,othersfanninghimandthat
sheherselfcouldnotlendahandinanyway,sheavailedherselfofafavourablemomenttomakeherexit.
Proceedingthenasfarasthesecondgate,shebadetheservantboysgoandfetchPeiMing.Onhisarrival,she
submittedhimtoasearchinginquiry."Whyisit,"sheasked,"thathewasbeatenjustnowwithouttheleast
provocationandthatyoudidn'trunoversoontotellmeawordaboutit?"
"Ithappened,"answeredPeiMingingreatperplexity,"thatIwasn'tpresent.Itwasonlyafterhehadgivenhim
halfthefloggingthatIheardwhatwasgoingon,andlostnotimeinascertainingwhatitwasallabout.It'son
accountofthoseaffairsconnectedwithCh'iKuanandthatgirlChinCh'uan."
"Howdidthesethingscometomaster'sknowledge?"inquiredHsiJen.
"AsforthataffairwithCh'iKuan,"continuedPeiMing,"itisverylikelyMr.HsehP'anwhohasletitoutfor
ashehaseverbeenjealous,hemay,intheabsenceofanyotherwayofquenchinghisresentment,have
instigatedsomeoneorotheroutside,whoknows,tocomeandseemasterandaddfueltohisanger.AsforChin
Ch'uanerh'saffairithaspresumablybeentoldhimbyMasterTertius.ThisIheardfromthelipsofsomeperson,
whowasinattendanceuponmaster."
HsiJensawhowmuchhistwoversionstalliedwiththetruecircumstances,soshereadilycreditedthegreater
portionofwhatwastoldher.Subsequently,shereturnedinside.Hereshefoundawholecrowdofpeopletrying
todothebesttobenefitPaoy.Butaftertheyhadcompletedeveryarrangement,dowagerladyChiaimpressed
ontheirmindsthatitwouldbebetterweretheytocarefullymovehimintohisownquarters.Withonevoice
theyallsignifiedtheirapproval,andwithagooddealofbustlingandfussing,theyspeedilytransferredPaoy
intotheIHungcourt,wheretheystretchedhimoutcomfortablyonhisownbed.Thenaftersomefurther
excitement,themembersofthefamilybegangraduallytodisperse.HsiJenatlastenteredhisroom,andwaited
uponhimwithsinglenessofheart.
But,reader,ifyoufeelanycuriositytohearwhatfollows,listentowhatyouwillfinddivulgedinthenext
chapter.

CHAPTERXXXIV.
TaiylovesPaoywithextremeaffectionbut,onaccountofthis
affection,herfemalecousingetsindignant.
HsehP'ancommitsagravemistakebutPaoch'aimakesthismistakea
pretexttotenderadvicetoherbrother.
WhenHsiJensawdowagerladyChia,MadameWangandtheothermembersofthefamilytaketheirleave,our
narrativesays,sheenteredtheroom.and,takingaseatnexttoPaoy,sheaskedhim,whileshedidallshe
couldtohidehertears:"Howwasitthathebeatyoutosuchextremes?"

Paoyheavedasigh."Itwassimply,"hereplied,"aboutthosetrifles.Butwhat'stheuseofyouraskingme
aboutthem?Thelowerpartofmybodyissoverysore!DolookandseewhereI'mbruised!"
Atthesewords,HsiJenputoutherhand,andinsertingitgentlyunderhisclothes,shebegantopulldownthe
middlegarments.Shehadbutslightlymovedthem,however,whenPaoygroundhisteethandgroaned"ai
ya."HsiJenatoncestayedherhand.Itwasafterthreeorfoursimilarattemptsthatshe,atlength,succeededin
drawingthemdown.Thenlookingclosely,HsiJendiscoveredthattheupperpartofhislegswasallgreenand
purple,onemassofscarsfourfingerswide,andcoveredwithhugeblisters.
HsiJengnashedherteeth."Mymother!"sheejaculated,"howisitthathestruckyouwithsucharuthlesshand!
Hadyoumindedtheleastbitofmyadvicetoyou,thingswouldn'thavecometosuchapass!Luckily,noharm
wasdonetoanytendonorboneforhadyoubeencrippledbythethrashingyougot,whatcouldwedo?"
Inthemiddleoftheseremarks,shesawtheservantgirlscome,andtheytoldherthatMissPaoch'aihadarrived.
Hearingthis,HsiJensawwellenoughthatshehadnotimetoputhimonhismiddlegarments,soforthwith
snatchingadoublegauzecoverlet,shethrewitoverPaoy.Thisdone,sheperceivedPaoch'aiwalkin,her
handsladenwithpillsandmedicines.
"Atnight,"shesaidtoHsiJen,"takethesemedicinesanddissolvetheminwineandthenapplythemonhim,
and,whenthefieryvirusfromthatstagnantbloodhasbeendispelled,he'llbeallrightagain."
Afterthesedirections,shehandedthemedicinestoHsiJen."Ishefeelinganybetternow?"sheproceededto
inquired.
"Thanks!"rejoinedPaoy."I'mfeelingbetter,"heatthesametimewentontosayafterwhich,hepressedher
totakeaseat.
Paoch'ainoticedthathecouldopenhiseyeswide,thathecouldspeakandthathewasnotasbadashehad
been,andshefeltconsiderableinwardrelief.Butnoddingherhead,shesighed."Ifyouhadlongagolistenedto
theleastbitoftheadvicetenderedtoyoubypeoplethingswouldnothavereachedthisclimaxtoday,"shesaid.
"NottospeakofthepainexperiencedbyourdearancestorandauntWang,thesightofyouinthisstatemakes
evenusfeelatheart."
Justasshehadutteredhalfoftheremarkshemeanttopass,shequicklysuppressedtherestandsmittenby
remorseforhavingspokentoohastily,shecouldnothelpgettingredinthefaceandloweringherhead.
Paoywasrealisinghowaffectionate,howfriendlyandhowrepletewithdeepmeaningwerethesentiments
thatdroppedfromhermonth,when,ofasudden,hesawhersealherlipsand,flashingcrimson,droopherhead,
andsimplyfumblewithhergirdle.Yetsofascinatingwassheinthosetimidblushes,whichcompletelybaffle
description,thathisfeelingswererousedwithinhimtosuchadegree,thatallsenseofpainflewatoncebeyond
theempyrean."I'veonlyhadtobearafewblows,"hereflected,"andyeteveryoneofthemputsonthosepitiful
lookssufficienttoevokeloveandregardsowere,afterall,anymishaporuntimelyendtounexpectedlybefall
me,whocantellhowmuchmoreafflictedtheywon'tbe!Andastheygooninthisway,Ishallhavethem,were
Ieventodieinamoment,tofeelsomuchformesotherewillindeedbenoreasonforregret,albeitthe
concernsofawholelifetimewillbethusflungentirelytothewinds!"
Whileindulginginthesemeditations,haoverheardPaoch'aiaskHsiJen:"Howisitthathegotangry,without
rhymeorreason,andstartedbeatinghim?"andHsiJentellher,inreply,theversiongiventoherbyPeiMing.
Paoyhad,infact,noideaasyetofwhathadbeensaidbyChiaHuan,and,whenheheardHsiJen's
disclosures,heeventuallygottoknowwhatitwasbutasitalsocriminatedHsehP'an,hefearedlestPaoch'ai
mightfeelunhappy,sohelostnotimeininterruptingHsiJen.
"CousinHseh,"heinterposed,"hasneverbeenlikethatyoupeoplemustn'tthereforegivewaytoidle
surmises!"

ThesewordswereenoughtomakePaoch'aiseethatPaoyhadthoughtitexpedienttosaysomethingtostop
HsiJen'smouth,apprehendingthathersuspicionsmightgetrousedandsheconsequentlysecretlymusedwithin
herself:"Hehasbeenbeatentosuchapitch,andyet,heedlessofhisownpainsandaches,he'sstillsocareful
nottohurtpeople'sfeelings.Butsinceyoucanbesoconsiderate,whydon'tyoutakealittlemorecareingreater
concernsoutside,sothatyourfathershouldfeelalittlehappier,andthatyoualsoshouldnothavetosuffersuch
bitterordeals!ButnotwithstandingthatthedreadofmyfeelinghurthaspromptedyoutointerruptHsiJenin
whatshehadtotellme,isitlikelythatIamblindtothefactthatmybrotherhaseverfollowedhisfancies,
allowedhispassionstorunriot,andneverdoneathingtoexerciseanycheckoverhimself?Histemperamentis
suchthathesometimebackcreated,allonaccountofthatfellowCh'inChung,arumpusthatturnedheavenand
earthtopsyturvyand,asamatterofcourse,he'snowfarworsethanhewaseverbefore!"
"Youpeople,"shethenobservedaloud,atthecloseofthesecogitations,"shouldn'tbearthisoneorthatonea
grudge.Ican'thelpthinkingthatit's,afterall,becauseofyourusualreadiness,cousinPaoy,tohobnobwith
thatsetthatyourfatherrecentlylostcontroloverhistemper.Butassumingthatmybrotherdidspeakina
carelessmanneranddidcasuallyalludetoyoucousinPaoy,itwaswithnodesigntoinstigateanyone!Inthe
firstplace,theremarkshemadewerereallyfoundedonactualfactsandsecondly,he'snotonetoevertrouble
himselfaboutsuchpettytriflesastryingtoguardagainstanimosities.Eversinceyouryouthup,MissHsi,
you'vesimplyhadbeforeyoureyesapersonsopunctiliousascousinPaoy,buthaveyoueverhadany
experienceofonelikethatbrotherofmine,whoneitherfearsthepowersinheavenorinearth,andwhoreadily
blurtsoutallhethinks?"
HsiJen,seeingPaoyinterrupther,atthebarementionofHsehP'an,understoodatoncethatshemusthave
spokenrecklesslyandgavewaytomisgivingslestPaoch'aimightnothavebeenplacedinafalseposition,but
whensheheardthelanguageusedbyPaoch'ai,shewasfilledwithakeenersenseofshameandcouldnotutter
aword.Paoytoo,afterlisteningtothesentiments,whichPaoch'aiexpressed,felt,partlybecausetheywereso
magnanimousandnoble,andpartlybecausetheybanishedallmisconceptionfromhismind,hisheartandsoul
throbwithgreateremotiontheneverbefore.When,however,abouttoputinhisword,henoticedPaoch'airise
toherfeet.
"I'llcomeagaintoseeyoutomorrow,"shesaid,"buttakegoodcareofyourself!IgavethemedicinesIbrought
justnowtoHsiJenletherrubyouwiththematnightandIfeelsureyou'llgetallright."
Withtheserecommendations,shewalkedoutofthedoor.
HsiJenhastenedtocatchherupandescortedherbeyondthecourt.
"Miss,"sheremarked,"we'vereallyputyoutothetroubleofcoming.
Someotherday,whenMr.Secundusiswell,Ishallcomeinpersonto
thankyou."
"What'stheretothankmefor?"repliedPaoch'ai,turningherheadroundandsmiling."Butmind,youadvise
himtocarefullytendhishealth,andnottogivewaytoidlethoughtsandrecklessideas,andhe'llrecover.If
there'sanythinghefanciestoeatortoamusehimselfwith,comequietlyovertomeandfetchitforhim.There
willbenousetodisturbeitherouroldlady,orMadameWang,oranyoftheothersforintheeventofits
reachingMr.ChiaCheng'sear,nothingmay,atthetime,comeofitbutifbyandbyehefindsittobetrue,we'll,
doubtless,sufferforit!"
Whiletenderingthisadvice,shewentonherway.
HsiJenretracedherstepsandreturnedintotheroom,fosteringgenuinefeelingsofgratitudeforPaoch'ai.But
onentering,sheespiedPaoysilentlylostindeepthought,andlookingasifhewereasleep,andyetnotquite
asleep,soshewithdrewintotheouterquarterstocombherhairandwash.
Paoymeanwhilelaymotionlessinbed.Hisbuttockstingledwithpain,asiftheywereprickedwithneedles,or
dugwithknivesgivinghimtobootafierysensationjustasiffirewereeatingintothem.Hetriedtochangehis
positionabit,butunabletobeartheanguish,heburstintogroans.Theshadesofeveningwerebythistime

falling.PerceivingthatthoughHsiJenhadlefthissidethereremainedstilltwoorthreewaitingmaidsin
attendance,hesaidtothem,ashecouldfindnothingforthemtodojustthen,"Youmightaswellgoandcomb
yourhairandperformyourablutionscomein,whenIcallyou."
Hearingthis,theylikewiseretired.Duringthiswhile,Paoyfellintoadrowsystate.ChiangYhanthenrose
beforehisvisionandtoldhimallabouthiscapturebymenfromtheChungShunmansion.Presently,Chin
Ch'uanerhtooappearedinhisroombathedintears,andexplainedtohimthecircumstanceswhichdroveherto
leapintothewell.ButPaoy,whowashalfdreamingandhalfawake,wasnotabletogivehismindtoanything
thatwastoldhim.Unawares,hebecameconsciousofsomeonehavinggivenhimapushandfaintlyfellonhis
eartheplaintivetonesofsomepersonindistress.Paoywasstartledoutofhisdreams.Onopeninghiseyes,he
foundittobenootherthanLinTaiy.Butstillfearingthatitwasonlyadream,hepromptlyraisedhimself,and
drawingnearherfacehepassedherfeaturesunderaminutescrutiny.Seeinghertwoeyessoswollen,astolook
asbigaspeaches,andherfaceglisteningalloverwithtears:"IfitisnotTaiy,"(hethought),"whoelsecanit
be?"
Paoymeanttocontinuehisscrutiny,butthelowerpartofhispersongavehimsuchunbearablesharptwitches
thatfindingitahardtasktokeepup,he,withashoutof"Aiyo,"layhimselfdownagain,asheheavedasigh.
"Whatdoyouoncemorecomeherefor?"heasked."Thesun,itistrue,hassetbuttheheatremainingonthe
groundhasn'tyetgone,soyoumay,bycomingover,getanothersunstroke.Ofcourse,I'vehadathrashingbutI
don'tfeelanypainsoraches.IfIbehaveinthisfashion,it'sallputontoworkupontheircredulity,sothatthey
maygoandspreadthereportsoutsideinsuchawayastoreachmyfather'sear.Reallyit'sallshamsoyou
mustn'ttreatitasafact!"
ThoughLinTaiywasnotgivingwayatthetimetoanywailsorloudsobs,yetthemoresheindulgedinthose
suppressedplaintsofhers,theworseshefeltherbreathgetchokedandherthroatobstructedsothatwhenPao
y'sassurancesfellonherear,shecouldnotexpressasinglesentiment,thoughshetreasuredthousandsinher
mind.Itwasonlyafteralongpausethatsheatlastcouldobserve,withagitatedvoice:"Youmustafterthisturn
overanewleaf."
Atthesewords,Paoyheavedadeepsigh."Composeyourmind,"heurged."Don'tspeaktomelikethisforI
amquitepreparedtoevenlaydownmylifeforallthosepersons!"
Butscarcelyhadheconcludedthisremarkthansomeoneoutsidethecourtwasheardtosay:"OurladySecunda
hasarrived."
LinTaiyreadilyconcludedthatitwasladyFengcoming,sospringingtoherfeetatonce,"I'moff,"shesaid
"outbythebackcourt.I'lllookyouupagainbyandbye."
"Thisisindeedstrange!"exclaimedPaoyashelaidholdofherandtriedtodetainher."Howisitthatyou've
deliberatelystartedlivinginfearandtremblingofher!"
LinTaiygrewimpatientandstampedherfeet."Lookatmyeyes!"sheaddedinanundertone."Mustthose
peopleamusethemselvesagainbypokingfunatme?"
Afterthisresponse,Paoyspeedilylethergo.
LinTaiywithhurriedstepwithdrewbehindthebedandnosoonerhadsheissuedintothebackcourt,than
ladyFengmadeherappearanceintheroombythefrontentrance.
"Areyoubetter?"sheaskedPaoy."Ifyoufancyanythingtoeat,mindyousendsomeoneovertomyplaceto
fetchitforyou."
ThereuponMrs.Hsehalsocametopayhimavisit.Shortlyafter,amessengerlikewisearrivedfromoldlady
Chia(toinquireafterhim).

Whenthetimecametopreparethelights,Paoyhadacoupleofmouthfulsofsouptoeat,buthefeltsodrowsy
andheavythathefellasleep.
Presently,ChouJui'swife,WuHsinteng'swifeandChengHaoshih'swife,allofwhomwereolddameswho
frequentlywenttoandfro,heardthatPaoyhadbeenfloggedandtheytoohurriedintohisquarters.
HsiJenpromptlywentouttogreetthem."Aunts,"shewhispered,smiling,"you'vecomealittletoolateMaster
Secundusissleeping."Sayingthis,sheledthemintotheroomontheoppositeside,and,pressingthentosit
down,shepouredthemsometea.
Aftersittingperfectlystillforatime,"WhenMasterSecundusawakes"thedamesobserved,"dosendusword!"
HsiJenassuredthemthatshewould,andescortedthemout.Just,however,asshewasabouttoretraceher
footsteps,shemetanoldmatron,sentoverbyMadameWang,whosaidtoher:"Ourmistresswantsoneof
MasterSecundusattendantstogoandseeher."
Uponhearingthismessage,HsiJencommunedwithherownthoughts.Thenturninground,shewhisperedto
Ch'ingWen,SheYeh,Ch'iuWen,andtheothermaids:"Ourladywishestoseeoneofus,sobecarefuland
remainintheroomwhileIgo.I'llbebacksoon."
Atthecloseofherinjunctions,sheandthematronmadetheirexitoutofthegardenbyashortcut,andrepaired
intothedrawingroom.
MadameWangwasseatedonthecoolcouch,wavingabananaleaffan.Whenshebecameconsciousofher
arrival:"Itdidn'tmatterwhomyousent,"sheremarked,"anyonewouldhavedone.Buthaveyoulefthim
again?Who'stheretowaitonhim?"
Atthisquestion,HsiJenlostnotimeinforcingasmile."MasterSecundus,"shereplied,"justnowfellintoa
soundsleep.Thosefourorfivegirlsareallrightnow,theyarewellabletoattendtotheirmaster,soplease,
Madame,dispelallanxiousthoughts!Iwasafraidthatyourladyshipmighthavesomeorderstogive,andthatif
Isentanyofthem,theymightprobablynotheardistinctly,andthusoccasiondelayinwhattherewastobe
done."
"There'snothingmuchtotellyou,"addedMadameWang."Ionlywishtoaskhowhispainsandachesare
gettingonnow?"
"IappliedonMr.Secundus,"answeredHsiJen,"themedicine,whichMissPaoch'aibroughtoverandhe's
betterthanhewas.Hewassosoreatonetimethathecouldn'tliecomfortablybutthedeepsleep,inwhichheis
plungednow,isaclearsignofhishavingimproved."
"Hashehadanythingtoeat?"furtherinquiredMadameWang.
"Ourdowagermistresssenthimabowlofsoup,"HsiJencontinued,"andofthishehashadafewmouthfuls.He
shoutedandshoutedthathismouthwasparchedandfanciedadecoctionofsourplums,butrememberingthat
sourplumsareastringentthings,thathehadbeenthrashedonlyashorttimebefore,andthatnothavingbeen
allowedtogroan,hemust,ofcourse,havebeensohardpressedthatfieryvirusandheatedbloodmust
unavoidablyhaveaccumulatedintheheart,andthatwerehetoputanythingofthekindwithinhislips,itmight
bedrivenintothecardiacregionsandgiverisetosomeseriousillnessandwhatthenwouldwedo?Itherefore
reasonedwithhimforeversolongandatlastsucceededindeterringhimfromtouchingany.Sosimplytaking
thatsyrupofroses,preparedwithsugar,Imixedsomewithwaterandhehadhalfasmallcupofit.Buthedrank
itwithdistastefor,beingsurfeitedwithit,hefounditneitherscentednorsweet."
"Aiyah!"ejaculatedMadameWang."Whydidn'tyoucomeearlierandtellme?Someonesentmetheotherday
severalbottlesofscentedwater.Imeantatonetimetohavegivenhimsome,butasIfearedthatitwouldbe
merewaste,Ididn'tlethimhaveany.Butsinceheissosickandtiredofthatpreparationofroses,thatheturns

uphisnoseatit,takethosetwobottleswithyou.Ifyoujustmixateaspoonfulofitinacupofwater,itwill
imparttoitaverystrongperfume."
Sosaying,shehastenedtotellTs'aiYntofetchthebottlesofscentedwater,whichshehadreceivedasa
presentafewdaysbefore.
"Letheronlybringacoupleofthem,they'llbeenough!"HsiJenchimedin."Ifyougiveusmore,itwillbea
uselesswaste!Ifitisn'tenough,Icancomeandfetchafreshsupply.Itwillcometothesamething!"
Havinglistenedtoalltheyhadtosay,Ts'aiYnlefttheroom.Aftersomeconsiderabletime,she,inpointof
fact,returnedwithonlyacoupleofbottles,whichshedeliveredtoHsiJen.
Onexamination,HsiJensawtwosmallglassbottles,nomorethanthreeinchesinsize,withscrewingsilver
stoppersatthetop.Onthegoslingyellowlabelswaswritten,onone:"Pureextractofoleafragrans,"onthe
other,"Pureextractofroses."
"Whatfinethingstheseare!"HsiJensmiled."Howmanysmallbottlesthelikeofthiscantherebe?"
"Theyareofthekindsenttothepalace,"rejoinedMadameWang."Didn'tyounoticethatgoslingyellowslip?
Butmind,takegoodcareofthemforhimdon'tfritterthemaway!"
HsiJenassented.ShewasabouttodepartwhenMadameWangcalledherback."I'vethoughtofsomething,"she
said,"thatIwanttoaskyou."
HsiJenhastilycameback.
MadameWangmadesurethattherewasnooneintheroom."I'veheardafaintrumour,"shetheninquired,"to
theeffectthatPaoygotathrashingonthisoccasiononaccountofsomethingorotherwhichHuanErhtoldmy
husband.Haveyouperchanceheardwhatitwasthathesaid?Ifyouhappentolearnanythingaboutit,do
confideinme,andIwon'tmakeanyfussandletpeopleknowthatitwasyouwhotoldme."
"Ihaven'theardanythingofthekind,"answeredHsiJen."ItwasbecauseMr.Secundusforciblydetainedan
actor,andthatpeoplecameandaskedmastertorestorehimtothemthathegotflogged."
"Itwasalsoforthis,"continuedMadameWangasshenoddedherhead,"butthere'sanotherreasonbesides."
"Asfortheotherreason,Ihonestlyhaven'ttheleastideaaboutit,"explainedHsiJen."ButI'llmakeboldtoday,
andsaysomethinginyourpresence,Madame,aboutwhichIdon'tknowwhetherIamrightorwrongin
speaking.Accordingtowhat'sproper."
Shehadonlyspokenhalfasentence,whenhastilysheclosedhermouthagain.
"Youareatlibertytoproceed,"urgedMadameWang.
"Ifyourladyshipwillnotgetangry,I'llspeakout,"remarkedHsiJen.
"WhyshouldIgetangry?"observedMadameWang."Proceed!"
"Accordingtowhat'sproper,"resumedHsiJen,"ourMr.Secundusshouldreceiveourmaster'sadmonition,for
ifmasterdoesn'tholdhimincheck,there'snosayingwhathemightn'tdointhefuture."
AssoonasMadameWangheardthis,sheclaspedherhandsandutteredtheinvocation,"Omitofu!"Unableto
resisttheimpulse,shedrewnearHsiJen."Mydearchild,"sheadded,"youhavealsoluckilyunderstoodthereal
stateofthings.Whatyoutoldmeisinperfectharmonywithmyownviews!IsitlikelythatIdon'tknowhowto
lookafterason?Informerdays,whenyoureldermaster,Chu,wasalive,howdidIsucceedinkeepinghimin
order?AndcanitbethatIdon't,afterall,nowunderstandhowtomanageason?Butthere'sawhyanda

whereforeinit.Thethoughtiseverpresentinmymindnow,thatI'malreadyawomanpastfifty,thatofmy
childrenthereonlyremainsthissingleone,thathetooisdevelopingadelicatephysique,andthat,what'smore,
ourdearseniorprizeshimasmuchasshewouldajewel,thatwerehekeptunderstrictcontrol,andanything
perchancetohappentohim,shemight,anoldladyassheis,sustainsomeharmfromresentment,andthatasthe
highaswellasthelowwillthenhavenopeaceorquiet,won'tthingsgetinabadway?SoIfeelpromptedto
spoilhimbyoverindulgence.TimeandagainIreasonwithhim.Sometimes,Italktohimsometimes,Iadvise
himsometimes,Icrywithhim.Butthough,forthetimebeing,he'sallright,hedoesn't,lateron,worryhismind
inanywayaboutwhatIsay,untilhepositivelygetsintosomeothermess,whenhesettlesdownagain.But
shouldanyharmbefallhim,throughthesefloggings,uponwhomwillIdependbyandbye?"
Asshespoke,shecouldnothelpmeltingintotears.
AtthesightofMadameWanginthisdisconsolatemood,HsiJenherselfunconsciouslygrewwoundedatheart,
andassheweptalongwithher,"Mr.Secundus,"sheventured,"isyourladyship'sownchild,sohowcouldyou
notlovehim?Evenwe,whoaremereservants,thinkitapieceofgoodfortunewhenwecanwaitonhimfora
time,andallpartiescanenjoypeaceandquiet.Butifhebeginstobehaveinthismanner,evenpeaceandquiet
willbecompletelyoutofthequestionforus.Onwhatday,andatwhathour,don'tIadviseMr.SecundusyetI
can'tmanagetostirhimupbyanyadvice!Butithappensthatallthatcrewareeverreadytocourthisfriendship,
soitisn'ttobewonderedthatheiswhatheis!Thetruthisthathethinkstheadvicewegivehimisnotrightand
proper!Asyouhavetoday,Madame,alludedtothissubject,I'vegotsomethingtotellyouwhichhasweighed
heavyonmymind.I'vebeenanxioustocomeandconfideittoyourladyshipandtosolicityourguidance,but
I'vebeeninfearanddreadlestyoushouldgivewaytosuspicion.Fornotonlywouldthenallmydisclosures
havebeeninvain,butIwouldhavedeprivedmyselfofevenapieceofgroundwhereinmyremainscouldbe
laid."
MadameWangperceivedthatherremarkswerepromptedbysomepurpose."Mydearchild,"sheeagerlyurged
"goon,speakout!WhenIrecentlyheardoneandallpraiseyousecretlybehindyourback,Isimplyfanciedthat
itwasbecauseyouwerecarefulinyourattendanceonPaoyorpossiblybecauseyougotonwellwithevery
oneallonaccountofminorconsiderationslikethese(butIneverthoughtitwasonaccountofyourgood
qualities).Asithappens,whatyoutoldmejustnowconcerns,inallitsbearings,agreatprinciple,andisin
perfectaccordwithmyideas,sospeakoutfreely,ifyouhaveaughttosay!Onlyletnooneelseknowanything
aboutit,thatisallthatisneeded."
"I'vegotnothingmoretosay,"proceededHsiJen."Mysoleideawastosolicityouradvice,Madame,astohow
todeviseaplantoinduceMr.Secundustomovehisquartersoutofthegardenbyandbye,asthingswillgetall
rightthen."
ThisallusionmuchalarmedMadameWang.SpeedilytakingHsiJen'shandinhers:"Isitlikely,"sheinquired,
"thatPaoyhasbeenuptoanymischiefwithanyone?"
"Don'tbetoosuspicious!"precipitatelyrepliedHsiJen."Itwasn'tatanythingofthekindthatIwashinting.I
merelyexpressedmyhumbleopinion.Mr.Secundusisayoungmannow,andtheyoungladiesinsideareno
morechildren.Morethanthat,MissLinandMissPaomaybetwofemalematernalfirstcousinsofhis,butalbeit
hiscousins,thereisneverthelessthedistinctionofmaleandfemalebetweenthemanddayandnight,astheyare
together,itisn'talwaysconvenient,whentheyhavetoriseandwhentheyhavetositsothiscannothelpmaking
onegivewaytomisgivings.Were,infact,anyoutsidertoseewhat'sgoingon,itwouldnotlooklikethe
propriety,whichshouldexistingreatfamilies.Theproverbappositelysaysthat:'whenthere'snotrouble,one
shouldmakeprovisionforthetimeoftrouble.'Howmanyconcernsthereareintheworld,ofwhichthere'sno
makingheadortail,mostlybecausewhatpersonsdowithoutanydesignisconstruedbysuchdesigningpeople,
aschancetohavetheirnoticeattractedtoit,ashavingbeendesignedlyaccomplished,andgoontalkingand
talkingtill,insteadofmendingmatters,theymakethemworse!Butifprecautionsbenottakenbeforehand,
somethingimproperwillsurelyhappen,foryourladyshipiswellawareofthetemperamentMr.Secundushas
shownallalong!Besides,hisgreatweaknessistofussinourmidst,soifnocautionbeexercised,andthe
slightestmistakebesoonerorlatercommitted,there'llbethennoquestionoftrueorfalse:forwhenpeopleare
manyonesaysonethingandanother,andwhatistherethatthemonthsofthatmeanlotwillshunwithanysign

ofrespect?Why,iftheirheartsbewelldisposed,theywillmaintainthatheisfarsuperiortoBuddhahimself.
Butiftheirheartsbebadlydisposed,theywillatonceknitatissueofliestoshowthathecannotevenreachthe
standardofabeast!Now,ifpeoplebyandbyespeakwellofMr.Secundus,we'llallgoonsmoothlywithour
lives.Butshouldheperchancegivereasontoanyonetobreathetheslightestdisparagingremark,won'this
body,needlessforustosay,besmashedtopieces,hisbonesgroundtopowder,andtheblame,whichhemight
incur,bemadetenthousandtimesmoreseriousthanitis?Thesethingsareallcommonplacetriflesbutwon't
Mr.Secundus'nameandreputationbesubsequentlydoneforforlife?Secondly,it'snoeasythingforyour
ladyshiptoseeanythingofourmaster.Aproverbalsosays:'Theperfectmanmakesprovisionbeforehand'so
wouldn'titbebetterthatweshould,thisveryminute,adoptsuchstepsaswillenableustoguardagainstsuch
things?Yourladyshiphasmuchtoattendto,andyoucouldn't,ofcourse,thinkofthesethingsinamoment.And
asforus,itwouldhavebeenwellandgood,hadtheyneversuggestedthemselvestoourmindsbutsincethey
have,weshouldbethemoretoblamedidwenottellyouanythingaboutthem,Madame.Oflate,Ihaveracked
mymind,bothdayandnightonthisscoreandthoughIcouldn'tverywellconfidetoanyone,mylampalone
knowseverything!"
Afterlisteningtothesewords,MadameWangfeltasifshehadbeenblastedbythunderandstruckbylightning
and,astheyfittedsoappositelywiththeincidentconnectedwithChinCh'uanerh,herheartwasmorethanever
firedwithboundlessaffectionforHsiJen."Mydeargirl,"shepromptlysmiled,"it'syou,whoaregiftedwith
enoughforesighttobeabletothinkofthesethingssothoroughly.Yet,didInotalsothinkofthem?Butsobusy
haveIbeentheseseveraltimesthattheyslippedfrommymemory.Whatyou'vetoldmetoday,however,has
broughtmetomysenses!It's,thankstoyou,thatthereputationofme,hismother,andofhim,myson,is
preservedintact!Ireallyneverhadthefaintestideathatyouweresoexcellent!ButyouhadbettergonowI
knowofaway.Yet,justanotherword.Afteryourremarkstome,I'llhandhimovertoyourchargepleasebe
carefulofhim.Ifyoupreservehimfromharm,itwillbetantamounttopreservingmefromharm,andIshall
certainlynotbeungratefultoyouforit."
HsiJensaidseveralconsecutiveyes's,andwentonherway.ShegotbackjustintimetoseePaoyawake.Hsi
Jenexplainedallaboutthescentedwaterand,sointenselydelightedwasPaoy,thatheatonceaskedthat
someshouldbemixedandbroughttohimtotaste.Inverydeed,hefounditunusuallyfragrantandgood.Butas
hisheartwasapreytoanxietyonTaiy'sbehalf,hewasfulloflongingstodespatchsomeonetolookherup.
Hewas,however,afraidofHsiJen.ReadilythereforehedevisedaplantofirstgetHsiJenoutoftheway,by
despatchinghertoPaoch'ai's,toborrowabook.AfterHsiJen'sdeparture,heforthwithcalledCh'ingWen.
"Go,"hesaid,"overtoMissLin'sandseewhatshe'supto.Shouldsheinquireaboutme,allyouneedtellheris
thatI'mallright."
"WhatshallIgoemptyhandedfor?"rejoinedCh'ingWen."IfIwere,atleast,togiveheramessage,itwould
lookasifIhadgoneforsomething."
"Ihavenomessagethatyoucangiveher,"addedPaoy.
"Ifitcan'tbethat,"suggestedCh'ingWen"Imighteithertakesomethingoverorfetchsomething.Otherwise,
whenIgetthere,whatexcusewillIbeabletofind?"
Aftersomecogitation,Paoystretchedouthishandand,layingholdofacoupleofhandkerchiefs,hethrew
themtoCh'ingWen."Thesewilldo,"hesmiled."JusttellherthatIbadeyoutakethemtoher."
"Thisisstrange!"exclaimedCh'ingWen."Willsheacceptthesetwohalfwornouthandkerchiefs!She'llbesides
getangryandsaythatyouweremakingfunofher."
"Don'tworryyourselfaboutthat"laughedPaoy."ShewillcertainlyknowwhatImean."
Ch'ingWen,atthisrejoinder,hadnohelpbuttotakethehandkerchiefsandtogototheHsiaoHsianglodge,
whereshediscoveredCh'unHsienintheactofhangingouthandkerchiefsontherailingstodry.Assoonasshe
sawherwalkin,shevehementlywavedherhand."She'sgonetosleep!"shesaid.Ch'ingWen,however,entered

theroom.Itwasinperfectdarkness.Therewasnotevensomuchasalanternburning,andTaiywasalready
ensconcedinbed."Whoisthere?"sheshouted.
"It'sCh'ingWen!"promptlyrepliedCh'ingWen.
"Whatareyouupto?"Taiyinquired.
"Mr.Secundus,"explainedCh'ingWen,"sendsyousomehandkerchiefs,
Miss."
Taiy'sspiritssunkassoonasshecaughtherreply."Whatcanhehavesentmehandkerchiefsfor?"shesecretly
reasonedwithinherself."Whogavehimthesehandkerchiefs?"shethenaskedaloud."Theymustbefineones,
sotellhimtokeepthemandgivethemtosomeoneelseforIdon'tneedsuchthingsatpresent."
"They'renotnew,"smiledCh'ingWen."Theyareofanordinarykind,andold."
Hearingthis,LinTaiyfeltdowncast.Butafterminutelysearchingherheart,sheatlastsuddenlygraspedhis
meaningandshehastilyobserved:"Leavethemandgoyourway."
Ch'ingWenwascompelledtoputthemdownandturninground,shebetookherselfbackagain.Butmuch
thoughsheturnedthingsoverinhermindduringthewholeofherwayhomewards,shedidnotsucceedin
solvingtheirimport.
WhenTaiyguessedtheobjectofthehandkerchief,herverysoulunawaresflittedfromher."AsPaoyhas
gonetosuchpains,"shepondered,"totryandprobethisdejectionofmine,Ihave,ononehand,sufficientcause
tofeelgratifiedbutasthere'snoknowingwhatmydejectionwillcometointhefuturethereis,ontheother,
enoughtomakemesad.Hereheabruptlyanddeliberatelysendsmeacoupleofhandkerchiefsand,wereitnot
thathehasdivinedmyinmostfeelings,themeresightofthesehandkerchiefswouldbeenoughtomakemetreat
thewholethingasridiculous.Thesecretexchangeofpresentsbetweenus,"shewentontomuse,"fillsmealso
withfearsandthethoughtthatthosetears,whichIameversofondofsheddingtomyself,areofnoavail,
drivesmelikewisetoblushwithshame."
Andbydintofmusingandreflecting,herheartbegan,inamoment,tobubbleoverwithsuchexcitementthat,
muchagainstherwill,herthoughtsintheirsuperabundancerolledonincessantly.Sospeedilydirectingthata
lampshouldbelighted,shelittleconcernedherselfaboutavoidingsuspicion,shunningtheuseofnames,orany
othersuchthings,andsettoworkandrubbedtheink,soakedthepen,andthenwrotethefollowingstanzason
thetwooldhandkerchiefs:
Vaininmyeyesthetearscollectthosetearsinvaintheyflow,
WhichIinsecretshedtheyslowlydropbutforwhomthough?
Thesilkkerchiefs,whichhesokindlytroubledtogiveme,
Howevercouldtheynotwithanguishanddistressfillme?
Thesecondranthus:
Likefallingpearlsorrollinggems,theytrickleonthesly.
DailyIhavenoheartforaughtlistlessalldayamI.
Asonmypilloworsleeves'edgeImaynotwipethemdry,
Iletthemdotbydot,anddropbydroptorunfreely.
Andthethird:
Thecolouredthreadcannotcontainthepearlscov'ringmyface.
TearswereofoldatHsiangChiangshed,butfainthaswaxedeach
trace.

Outsidemywindowthousandsofbamboos,lo,alsogrow,
Butwhethertheybestainedwithtearsornot,Idonotknow.
LinTaiywasstillbentupongoingonwriting,butfeelingherwholebodyburnlikefire,andherfacescalding
hot,sheadvancedtowardsthechevalglass,and,raisingtheembroideredcover,shelookedin.Shesawata
glancethathercheeksworesoredthatthey,inverytruth,puteventhepeachblossomtotheshade.Yetlittledid
shedreamthatfromthisdateherillnesswouldassumeamoreseriousphase.Shortly,shethrewherselfonthe
bed,and,withthehandkerchiefsstillgraspedinherhand,shewaslostinareverie.
Puttingheraside,wewillnowtakeupourstorywithHsiJen.ShewenttopayavisittoPaoch'ai,butasit
happened,Paoch'aiwasnotinthegarden,buthadgonetolookuphermother.HsiJen,however,couldnotvery
wellcomebackwithemptyhandssoshewaiteduntilthesecondwatch,whenPaoch'aieventuallyreturnedto
herquarters.
Indeed,socorrectanestimateofHsehP'an'snaturaldispositiondidPaoch'aieverhave,thatfromanearly
momentsheentertainedwithinherselfsomefaintsuspicionthatitmusthavebeenHsehP'an,whohad
instigatedsomepersonorothertocomeandlodgeacomplaintagainstPaoy.Andwhenshealsounexpectedly
heardHsiJen'sdisclosuresonthesubject,shebecamemorepositiveinhersurmises.Theone,whohad,infact,
toldHsiJenwasPeiMing.ButPeiMingtoohadarrivedattheconjectureinhisownmind,andcouldnot
adduceanydefiniteproof,sothateveryonetreatedhisstatementsasfoundedpartlyonmeresuppositions,and
partlyonactualfactsbut,despitethis,theyfeltquitecertainthatitwas(HsehP'an)whohadintrigued.
HsehP'anhadalwaysenjoyedthisreputationbutonthisparticularinstancetheharmwasnot,actually,his
owndoingyetaseveryone,withoneconsent,tenaciouslyaffirmedthatitwashe,itwasnoeasymatterfor
him,muchthoughhemightargue,toclearhimselfofblame.
Soonafterhisreturn,onthisday,fromadrinkingboutoutofdoors,hecametoseehismotherbutfindingPao
ch'aiinherrooms,theyexchangedafewirrelevantremarks."Ihear,"heconsequentlyasked,"thatcousinPao
yhasgotintotroublewhyisit?"
Mrs.Hsehwasatthetimemuchdistressedonthisscore.Assoonthereforeasshecaughtthisquestion,she
gnashedherteethwithrage,andshouted:"Yougoodfornothingspitefulfellow!It'sallyouwhoareatthe
bottomofthistroubleanddoyoustillhavethefacetocomeandplymewithquestions?"
ThesewordsmadeHsehP'anwince."WhendidIstirupanytrouble?"hequicklyasked.
"Doyoustillgoonshamming!"criedMrs.Hseh."Everyoneknowsfullwellthatitwasyou,whosaidthose
things,anddoyouyetprevaricate?"
"Wereeveryone,"insinuatedHsehP'an,"toassertthatIhadcommittedmurder,wouldyoubelieveeventhat?"
"Yourverysisteriswellawarethattheyweresaidbyyou."Mrs.Hsehcontinued,"andisitlikelythatshe
wouldaccuseyoufalsely,pray?"
"Mother,"promptlyinterposedPaoch'ai,"youshouldn'tbebrawlingwithbrotherjustnow!Ifyouwaitquietly,
we'llfindouttheplainandhonesttruth."ThenturningtowardsHsehP'an:"Whetherit'syou,whosaidthose
thingsornot,"sheadded,"it'sofnoconsequence.Thewholeaffair,besides,isamatterofthepast,sowhatneed
isthereforanyargumentstheywillonlybemakingamountainofamolehill!Ihavejustonewordofadviceto
giveyoudon't,fromhenceforward,beuptosomuchrecklessmischiefoutsideandconcernyourselfalittle
lesswithotherpeople'saffairs!Allyoudoisdayafterdaytoassociatewithyourfriendsandfoolishlygad
about!Youareahappygoluckysortofcreature!Ifnothinghappenswellandgoodbutshouldbyandbye
anythingturnup,everyonewill,thoughitbenoneofyourdoing,imagineagainthatyouareatthebottomofit!
Nottospeakofothers,whyImyselfwillbethefirsttosuspectyou!"

HsehP'anwasnaturallyopenheartedandplainspoken,andcouldnotbrookanythinginthewayof
innuendoes,so,whenontheoneside,Paoch'aiadvisedhimnottofoolishlygadabout,andhismother,onthe
other,hintedthathehadafoultongue,andthathewasthecausethatPaoyhadbeenflogged,heatoncegotso
exasperatedthathejumpedaboutinanerraticmanneranddidallinhispower,byvowingandswearing,to
explainmatters."Whohas,"heejaculated,heapingabuseuponeveryone,"laidsuchatissueofliestomy
charge!I'dliketotaketheteethofthatfelonandpullthemout!It'sclearasdaythattheyshovemeforwardasa
targetfornowthatPaoyhasbeenfloggedtheyfindnomeansofmakingadisplayoftheirzeal.But,isPaoy
forsooththelordoftheheavensthatbecausehehashadathrashingfromhisfather,thewholehouseholdshould
befussingfordays?Theothertime,hebehavedimproperly,andmyunclegavehimtwowhacks.Butour
venerableancestorcame,afteratime,somehoworother,Idon'tknowhow,tohearaboutit,and,maintaining
thatitwasallduetoMr.ChiaChen,shecalledhimbeforeher,andgavehimagoodblowingup.Andhereto
day,theyhavegonefurther,andinvolvedme.Theymaydragmeinasmuchastheylike,Idon'tfeararap!But
won'titbebetterformetogointothegarden,andtakePaoyandgivehimabitofmymindandkillhim?I
canthenpaythepenaltybylayingdownmylifeforhis,andoneandallwillenjoypeaceandquiet!"
Whileheclamouredandshouted,helookedabouthimforthebarofthedoor,and,snatchingitup,hethereand
thenwasrunningoff,totheconsternationofMrs.Hseh,whoclutchedhiminherarms."Youmurderouschild
ofretribution!"shecried."Whomwouldyougoandbeat?comefirstandassailme?"
FromexcitementHsehP'an'seyesprotrudedlikecopperbells."Whatareyouupto,"hevociferated,"thatyou
won'tletmegowhereIplease,andthatyoudeliberatelygooncalumniatingme?ButeverydaythatPaoy
lives,thelongerbythatdayIhavetobearafalsecharge,soit'saswellthatweshouldbothdiethatthingsbe
clearedup?"
Paoch'aitoohurriedlyrushedforward."Bepatientabit!"sheexhortedhim."Here'smammainanawfulstateof
despair.Nottomentionthatitshouldbeforyoutocomeandpacifyher,youcontrariwisekickupallthis
rumpus!Why,sayingnothingaboutherwhoisyourparent,wereevenaperfectstrangertoadviseyou,itwould
bemeantforyourgood!Butthegoodcounselshegaveyouhasstirredupyourmonkeyinstead."
"Fromthewayyou'renowspeaking,"HsehP'anrejoined,"itmustbeyou,whosaidthatitwasInooneelse
butyou!"
"Yousimplyknowhowtofeeldispleasedwithmeforspeaking,"arguedPaoch'ai,"butyoudon'tfeel
displeasedwithyourselfforthatrecklesswayofyoursoflookingaheadandnotmindingwhatisbehind!"
"Younowbearmeagrudge,"HsehP'anadded,"forlookingtowhatisaheadandnottowhatisbehindbut
howisityoudon'tfeelindignantwithPaoyforstirringupstrifeandprovokingtroubleoutside?Leavingaside
everythingelse,I'llmerelytakethataffairofCh'iKuanerh's,whichoccurredtheotherday,andrecountittoyou
asaninstance.MyfriendsandIcameacrossthisCh'iKuanerh,tentimesatleast,butneverhashemadea
singleintimateremarktome,andhowisitthat,assoonashemetPaoytheotherday,heatonceproducedhis
sash,andgaveittohim,thoughhedidnotsomuchasknowwhathissurnameandnamewere?Nowisitlikely,
forsooth,thatthistoowassomethingthatIstarted?"
"Doyoustillrefertothis?"exclaimedMrs.HsehandPaoch'ai,outofpatience."Wasn'titaboutthisthathe
wasbeaten?Thismakesitclearenoughthatit'syouwhogavethethingout."
"Really,you'reenoughtoexasperateonetodeath!"HsehP'anexclaimed."Hadyouconfinedyourselvesto
sayingthatIhadstartedtheyarn,Iwouldn'thavelostmytemperbutwhatirritatesmeisthatsuchafussshould
bemadeforasinglePaoy,astosubvertheavenandearth!"
"Whofusses?"shoutedPaoch'ai."Youarethefirsttoarmyourselftotheteethandstartarow,andthenyousay
thatit'sotherswhoareuptomischief!"
HsehP'an,seeingthateveryremark,madebyPaoch'ai,containedsomuchreasonablenessthathecouldwith
difficultyrefuteit,andthatherwordswereevenharderforhimtoreplytothanwerethoseutteredbyhis

mother,hewasconsequentlybentuponcontrivingaplantomakeuseofsuchlanguageascouldsilenceherand
compelhertoreturntoherroom,soastohavenooneboldenoughtointerferewithhisspeakingbut,his
temperbeingup,hewasnotinapositiontoweighhisspeech."DearSister!"hereadilythereforesaid,"you
needn'tbeflyingintoahuffwithme!I'velongagodivinedyourfeelings.Mothertoldmesometimebackthat
foryouwiththatgoldtrinket,mustbeselectedsomesuitorprovidedwithajadeoneassuchaonewillbea
suitablematchforyou.Andhavingtreasuredthisinyourmind,andseenthatPaoyhasthatrubbishythingof
his,younaturallynowseizeeveryoccasiontoscreenhim."
However,beforehecouldfinish,Paoch'aitrembledwithanger,andclingingtoMrs.Hseh,shemeltedinto
tears."Mother,"sheobserved,"haveyouheardwhatbrothersays,whatisitallabout?"
HsehP'an,atthesightofhissisterbathedintears,becamealivetothefactthathehadspokeninconsiderately,
and,flyingintoarage,hewalkedawaytohisownquartersandretiredtorest.Butwecanwelldispensewith
anyfurthercommentonthesubject.
Paoch'aiwas,atheart,fullofvexationanddispleasure.Shemeanttogiveventtoherfeelingsinsomeway,but
thefearagainofupsettinghermothercompelledhertoconcealhertears.Shethereforetookleaveofherparent,
andwentbackallalone.Onherreturntoherchamber,shesobbedandsobbedthroughoutthewholenight.The
nextday,shegotoutofbed,assoonasitdawnedbutfeelingevennoinclinationtocombherchevelureor
performherablutions,shecarelesslyadjustedherclothesandcameoutofthegardentoseehermother.
Asluckwouldhaveit,sheencounteredTaiystandingaloneundertheshadeofthetrees,whoinquiredofher:
"Whereshewasoffto?"
"I'mgoinghome,"HsehPaoch'aireplied.Andassheutteredthesewords,shekeptonherway.
ButTaiyperceivedthatshewasgoingoffinadisconsolatemoodand,noticingthathereyesbetrayedsignsof
crying,andthathermannerwasunlikethatofotherdays,shesmilinglycalledouttoherfrombehind:"Sister,
youshouldtakecareofyourselfabit.Wereyoueventocrysomuchastofilltwowaterjarswithtears,you
wouldn'thealthewoundsinflictedbythecane."
ButaswhatreplyHsehPaoch'aigaveisnotyetknowntoyou,reader,lendaneartotheexplanationcontained
inthenextchapter.

CHAPTERXXXV.
PaiYch'uantastestoothelotusleafsoup.
HuangChinyingskilfullyplaitstheplumblossomknottednets.
Paoch'aihad,ourstorygoes,distinctlyheardLinTaiy'ssneer,butinhereagernesstoseehermotherand
brother,shedidnotsomuchasturnherheadround,butcontinuedstraightonherway.
Duringthistime,LinTaiyhaltedundertheshadowofthetrees.Uponcastingaglance,inthedistancetowards
theIHungYan,sheobservedLiKungts'ai,YingCh'un,T'anCh'un,HsiCh'unandvariousinmateswending
theirstepsinabodyinthedirectionoftheIHungcourtbutaftertheyhadgonepast,andcompanyafter
companyofthemhaddispersed,sheonlyfailedtoseeladyFengcome."Howisit,"shecogitatedwithinherself,
"thatshedoesn'tcometoseePaoy?Evensupposingthattherewassomebusinesstodetainher,sheshould
alsohaveputinanappearance,soastocurryfavourwithourvenerableseniorandMadameWang.Butifshe
hasn'tshownherselfatthishouroftheday,theremustcertainlybesomecauseorother."

Whilepreoccupiedwithconjectures,sheraisedherhead.Atasecondglance,shediscernedacrowdofpeople,
asthickasflowersinabouquet,pursuingtheirwayalsointotheIHungcourt.Onlookingfixedly,she
recogniseddowagerladyChia,leaningonladyFeng'sarm,followedbyMesdamesHsingandWang,Mrs.Chou
andservantgirls,marriedwomenandotherdomestics.Inabodytheywalkedintothecourt.Atthesightof
them,Taiyunwittinglynoddedherhead,andreflectedonthebenefitofhavingafatherandmotherandtears
forthwithagainbedewedherface.Inawhile,shebeheldPaoch'ai,Mrs.Hsehandtherestlikewisegoin.
ButatquiteanunexpectedmomentshebecameawarethatTzuChanwasapproachingherfrombehind.
"Miss,"shesaid,"youhadbettergoandtakeyourmedicine!Thehotwatertoohasgotcold."
"Whatdoyou,afterall,meanbykeepingonpressingmeso?"inquired
Taiy."WhetherIhaveitornot,what'sthattoyou?"
"Yourcough,"smiledTzuChan,"hasrecentlygotatriflebetter,andwon'tyouagaintakeyourmedicine?This
is,it'strue,thefifthmoon,andtheweatherishot,butyoushould,nevertheless,takegoodcareofyourselfabit!
Hereyou'vebeenatthisearlyhourofthemorningstandingforeversolonginthisdampplacesoyoushould
gobackandhavesomerest!"
ThissinglehintrecalledTaiytohersenses.Sheatlengthrealisedthatherlegsfeltrathertired.Afterlingering
aboutabstractedlyforalongwhile,shequietlyreturnedintotheHsiaoHsianglodge,supportingherselfonTzu
Chan.Assoonastheysteppedinsidetheentranceofthecourt,hergazewasattractedbytheconfusedshadows
ofthebamboos,whichcoveredtheground,andthetracesofmoss,herethick,therethin,andshecouldnothelp
recallingtomindthosetwolinesofthepassageintheHsiHsiangChi:
"Inthatlonenooksomeonesauntersabout,
Whitedewcoldlybespeckstheverdantmoss."
"ShuangWen,"sheconsequentlysecretlycommunedwithinherself,asshesighed,"hadofcourseapoorfate
butsheneverthelesshadawidowedmotherandayoungbrotherbutintheunhappydestiny,towhichI,Taiy,
amatpresentdoomed,Ihaveneitherawidowedmothernorayoungbrother."
Atthispointinherreflections,shewasabouttomeltintoanotherfitofcrying,whenofasudden,theparrot
undertheverandahcaughtsightofTaiyapproaching,and,withashriek,hejumpeddownfromhisperch,and
madeherstartwithfright.
"Areyoubentuponcompassingyourowndeath!"sheexclaimed."You'vecoveredmyheadalloverwithdust
again!"
Theparrotflewbacktohisperch."HsehYen,"hekeptonshouting,"quick,raisetheportiere!Missiscome!"
Taiystoppedshortandrappedontheframewithherhand."Havehisfoodandwaterbeenreplenished?"she
asked.
Theparrotforthwithheavedadeepsigh,closelyresembling,insound,thegroansusuallyindulgedinbyTaiy,
andthenwentontorecite:
"HereIamfaintheseflowerstointer,buthumankindwilllaughmeas
afool."
Whoknowswhowillinyearstocomecommitmetomygrave.
AssoonastheselinesfellontheearofTaiyandTzuChan,theyblurtedoutlaughing.
"Thisiswhatyouwererepeatingsometimeback,Miss."TzuChanlaughed,"Howdidheevermanageto
commitittomemory?"

Taiythendirectedsomeonetotakedowntheframeandsuspenditinsteadonahook,outsidethecircular
window,andpresentlyenteringherroom,sheseatedherselfinsidethecircularwindow.Shehadjustdone
drinkinghermedicine,whensheperceivedthattheshadecastbytheclusterofbamboos,plantedoutsidethe
window,wasreflectedsofaronthegauzelatticeastofilltheroomwithafaintlight,sogreenandmellow,and
toimpartacertaincoolnesstotheteapoysandmats.ButTaiyhadnomeansathandtodispelherennui,so
frominsidethegauzelattice,sheinstigatedtheparrottoperformhispranksandselectingsomeverses,which
hadeverfoundfavourwithher,shetriedtoteachthemtohim.
Butwithoutdescendingtoparticulars,letusnowadverttoHsehPaoch'ai.Onherreturnhome,shefoundher
motheralonecombingherhairandhavingawash."Whydoyourunoveratthisearlyhourofthemorning?"she
speedilyinquiredwhenshesawherenter.
"Tosee,"repliedPaoch'ai,"whetheryouwereallrightornot,mother.Didhecomeagain,Iwonder,afterIleft
yesterdayandmakeanymoretroubleornot?"
Asshespoke,shesatbyhermother'sside,butunabletocurbhertears,shebegantoweep.
Seeinghersobbing,Mrs.Hsehherselfcouldnotcheckherfeelings,andshe,too,burstoutintoafitofcrying.
"Mychild,"shesimultaneouslyexhortedher,"don'tfeelaggrieved!Wait,andI'llcallthatchildofwrathto
orderforwereanythingtohappentoyou,fromwhomwillIhaveanythingtohope?"
HsehP'anwasoutsideandhappenedtooverheartheirconversation,sowithalacrityheranover,andfacing
Paoch'aihemadeabow,nowtotheleftandnowtotheright,observingthewhile:"Mydearsister,forgiveme
thistime.ThefactisthatItooksomewineyesterdayIcamebacklate,asImetafewfriendsontheway.On
myreturnhome,Ihadn'tasyetgotoverthefumes,soIunintentionallytalkedalotofnonsense.ButIdon'tso
muchasrememberanythingaboutallIsaid.Itisn'tworthyourwhile,however,losingyourtemperoversucha
thing!"
Paoch'aiwas,infact,weeping,asshecoveredherface,butthemomentthislanguagefellonherear,shecould
scarcelyagainrefrainfromlaughing.Forthwithraisingherhead,shesputteredcontemptuouslyontheground.
"Youcanwelldispensewithallthissham!"sheexclaimed,"I'mwellawarethatyousodislikeusboth,that
you'reanxioustodevisesomewayofinducingustopartcompanywithyou,sothatyoumaybeatliberty."
HsehP'an,atthesewords,hastenedtosmile."Sister,"heargued,"whatmakesyousayso?onceuponatime,
youweren'tsosuspiciousandgiventoutteringanythingsoperverse!"
Mrs.Hsehhurriedlytookupthethreadoftheconversation."Allyouknow,"sheinterposed,"istofindfault
withyoursister'sremarksasbeingperversebutcanitbethatwhatyousaidlastnightwastheproperthingto
say?Inverytruth,youweredrunk!"
"There'snoneedforyoutogetangry,mother!"HsehP'anrejoined,"norforyousistereitherforfromthisday,
Ishan'tanymoremakecommoncausewiththemnordrinkwineorgadabout.Whatdoyousaytothat?"
"That'sequaltoanacknowledgmentofyourfailings,"Paoch'ailaughed.
"Couldyouexercisesuchstrengthofwill,"addedMrs.Hseh,"why,thedragontoowouldlayeggs."
"IfIagaingoandgadaboutwiththem,"HsehP'anreplied,"andyou,sister,cometohearofit,youcanfreely
spitinmyfaceandcallmeabeastandnohumanbeing.Doyouagreetothat?Butwhyshouldyoutwobedaily
worriedandallthroughmealone?Foryou,mother,tobeangryonmyaccountisanyhowexcusablebutforme
tokeeponworryingyou,sister,makesmelesstheneverworthyofthenameofahumanbeing!Ifnowthat
fatherisnomore,Imanage,insteadofshowingyouplentyoffilialpiety,mamma,andyou,sister,plentyof
love,toprovokemymothertoanger,andannoymysister,whyIcan'tcomparemyselftoevenafourfooted
creature!"

Whilefromhismouthissuedthesewords,tearsrolleddownfromhiseyesforhetoofoundithardtocontain
them.
Mrs.Hsehhadnotatfirstbeenovercomebyherfeelingsbutthemomenthisutterancesreachedherear,she
oncemorebegantoexperiencetheanguish,whichtheystirredinherheart.
Paoch'aimadeanefforttoforceasmile."You'vealready,"shesaid,"beenthecauseofquiteenoughtrouble,
anddoyounowprovokemothertohaveanothercry?"
Hearingthis,HsehP'anpromptlycheckedhistears.Asheputonasmilingexpression,"WhendidI,"heasked,
"makemothercry?Butnevermindenoughofthis!let'sdropthematter,andnotalludetoitanymore!Call
HsiangLingtocomeandgiveyouacupoftea,sister!"
"Idon'twantanytea."Paoch'aianswered."I'llwaituntilmotherhasfinishedwashingherhandsandthengo
withherintothegarden."
"Letmeseeyournecklet,sister,"HsehP'ancontinued."Ithinkitrequirescleaning."
"Itissoyellowandbright,"rejoinedPaoch'ai,"andwhat'stheuseofcleaningitagain?"
"Sister,"proceededHsehP'an,"youmustnowaddafewmoreclothestoyourwardrobe,sotellmewhatcolour
andwhatdesignyoulikebest."
"Ihaven'tyetwornoutalltheclothesIhave,"Paoch'aiexplained,"andwhyshouldIhavemoremade?"
But,inalittletime,Mrs.Hseheffectedthechangeinhercostume,andhandinhandwithPaoch'ai,shestarted
onherwaytothegarden.
HsehP'anthereupontookhisdeparture.Duringthiswhile,Mrs.HsehandPaoch'aitrudgedinthedirectionof
thegardentolookupPaoy.AssoonastheyreachedtheinterioroftheIHungcourt,theysawalarge
concourseofwaitingmaidsandmatronsstandinginsideaswellasoutsidetheantechambersandtheyreadily
concludedthatoldladyChiaandtheotherladieswereassembledinhisrooms.Mrs.Hsehandherdaughter
steppedin.Afterexchangingsalutationswitheveryonepresent,theynoticedthatPaoywasrecliningonthe
couchandMrs.Hsehinquiredofhimwhetherhefeltanybetter.
Paoyhastilyattemptedtobow."I'mconsiderablybetter"hesaid."AllIdo,"hewenton,"istodisturbyou,
aunt,andyou,mycousin,butIdon'tdeservesuchattentions."
Mrs.Hsehlostnotimeinsupportingandlayinghimdown."Mindyoutellmewhatevermaytakeyourfancy!"
sheproceeded.
"IfIdofancyanything,"retortedPaoysmilingly,"Ishallcertainlysendtoyou,aunt,forit."
"Whatwouldyouliketoeat,"likewiseinquiredMadameWang,"sothatImay,onmyreturn,senditroundto
you?"
"There'snothingthatIcarefor,"smiledPaoy,"thoughthesoupmadeformetheotherday,withyounglotus
leaves,andsmalllotuscoreswas,Ithought,somewhatnice."
"FromwhatIhear,itsflavourisnothingverygrand,"ladyFengchimedinlaughingly,fromwhereshestoodon
oneside."Itinvolves,however,agooddealoftroubletoconcoctandhereyoudeliberatelygoandfancythis
verything."
"Goandgetitready!"crieddowagerladyChiaseveralsuccessivetimes.

"Venerableancestor,"urgedladyFengwithasmile,"don'tyoubotheryourselfaboutit!Letmetryand
rememberwhocanhaveputthemouldsaway!"Thenturningherheadround,"Goandbid,"sheenjoinedanold
matron,"thechiefinthecookhousegoandapplyforthem!"
Afteraconsiderablelapseoftime,thematronreturned."Thechiefinthecookhouse,"sheexplained,"saysthat
thefoursetsofmouldsforsoupshaveallbeenhandedup."
Uponhearingthis,ladyFengthoughtagainforawhile."Yes,Iremember,"sheafterwardsremarked,"theywere
handedup,butIcan'trecollecttowhomtheyweregiven.Possiblythey'reinthetearoom."
Thereupon,shealsodespatchedaservanttogoandinquireofthekeeperofthetearoomaboutthembuthetoo
hadnotgotthemanditwassubsequentlythebutler,entrustedwiththecareofthegoldandsilverarticles,who
broughtthemround.
Mrs.Hsehwasthefirsttotakethemandexaminethem.What,infact,struckhergazewasasmallbox,the
contentsofwhichwerefoursetsofsilvermoulds.Eachofthesewasoverafootlong,andonesquareinch(in
breadth).Onthetop,holeswereboredofthesizeofbeans.Someresembledchrysanthemums,othersplum
blossom.Somewereintheshapeoflotusseedcases,otherslikewaterchestnuts.Theynumberedinallthirtyor
fortykinds,andwereingeniouslyexecuted.
"Inyourmansion,"shefeltimpelledtoobservesmilinglytooldladyChiaandMadameWang,"everythinghas
beenamplyprovidedfor!Haveyougotallthesethingstoprepareaplateofsoupwith!Hadn'tyoutoldme,and
Ihappenedtoseethem,Iwouldn'thavebeenabletomakeoutwhattheywereintendedfor!"
LadyFengdidnotallowtimetoanyonetoputinherword."Aunt,"shesaid,"howcouldyoueverhavedivined
thatthesewereusedlastyearfortheimperialviands!Theythoughtofawaybywhichtheydevised,somehow
orother,Ican'ttellhow,somedoughshapes,whichborrowalittleofthepurefragranceofthenewlotusleaves.
Butasallmainlydependsuponthequalityofthesoup,they'renot,afterall,ofmuchuse!Yetwhooftengoesin
forsuchsoup!Itwasmadeonceonly,andthatatthetimewhenthemouldswerebroughtandhowisitthathe
hascometothinkofittoday?"Sospeaking,shetook(themoulds),andhandedthemtoamarriedwoman,togo
andissuedirectionstothepeopleinthecookhousetoprocureatonceseveralfowls,andtoaddother
ingredientsbesidesandpreparetenbowlsofsoup.
"Whatdoyouwantallthatlotfor?"observedMadameWang.
"There'sgoodreasonforit,"answeredladyFeng."Adishofthiskindisn't,atordinarytimes,veryoftenmade,
andwere,nowthatbrotherPaoyhasalludedtoit,onlysufficientpreparedforhim,andnoneforyou,dear
senior,you,aunt,andyou,MadameWang,itwon'tbequitethething!Soisn'titbetterthatthisopportunity
shouldbeavailedoftogetreadyawholesupplysothateveryoneshouldpartakeofsome,andthatevenI
should,throughmyrelianceonyourkindfavour,tastethisnovelkindofrelish."
"Youaresharperthanamonkey!"DowagerladyChialaughinglyexclaimedinreplytoherproposal."Youmake
useofpublicmoneytoconferboonsuponpeople."
Thisremarkevokedgenerallaughter.
"Thisisamerebagatelle!"eagerlylaughedladyFeng."EvenIcanaffordtostandyousuchasmalltreat!"Then
turningherheadround,"Telltheminthecookhouse,"shesaidtoamarriedwoman,"topleasemakeanextra
supply,andthatthey'llgetthemoneyfromme."
Thematronassentedandwentoutoftheroom.
Paoch'ai,whowasstandingnear,thereuponinterposedwithasmile."Duringthefewyearsthathavegoneby
sinceI'vecomehere,I'vecarefullynoticedthatsisterinlawSecunda,cannot,withallheracumen,outwitour
venerableancestor."

"Mydearchild!"forthwithrepliedoldladyChiaatthesewords."I'mnowquiteanoldwoman,andhowcan
therestillremainanywitinme!WhenIwas,longago,ofyourmanlikecousinFeng'sage,Ihadfarmorewits
aboutmethanshehas!Albeitshenowaversthatshecan'treachourstandard,she'sgoodenoughandcompared
withyourauntWang,why,she'sinfinitelysuperior.Youraunt,poorthing,won'tspeakmuch!She'slikeablock
ofwoodandwhenwithherfatherandmotherinlaw,shewon'tshowherselfofftoadvantage.Butthatgirl
Fenghasasharptongue,soisitawonderifpeopletaketoher."
"Fromwhatyousay,"insinuatedPaoywithasmile,"thosewhodon'ttalkmucharenotloved."
"Thosewhodon'tspeakmuch,"resumeddowagerladyChia,"possesstheendearingqualityofreserve.But
amongthose,withglibtongues,there'salsoacertaindespicablelotthusit'sbetter,inaword,nottohavetoo
muchtosayforone'sself."
"Quiteso,"smiledPaoy,"yetthoughseniorsisterinlawChiaChudoesn't,Imustconfess,talkmuch,you,
venerableancestor,treatherjustasyoudocousinFeng.Butifyoumaintainthatthosealone,whocantalk,are
worthyoflove,thenamongalltheseyoungladies,sisterFengandcousinLinaretheonlyonesgoodenoughto
beloved."
"Withregardtotheyoungladies,"remarkeddowagerladyChia,"itisn'tthatIhaveanywishtoflatteryouraunt
Hsehinherpresence,butitisapositiveandincontestablefactthatthereisn't,beginningfromthefourgirlsin
ourhousehold,asingleoneabletoholdacandletothatgirlPaoch'ai."
Atthesewords,Mrs.Hsehpromptlysmiled."Dearvenerablesenior!"shesaid,"you'reratherpartialinyour
verdict."
"Ourdearsenior,"vehementlyputinMadameWang,alsosmiling,"hasoftentoldmeinprivatehowniceyour
daughterPaoch'aiissothisisnolie."
PaoyhadtriedtoleadoldladyChiaon,originallywiththeideaofinducinghertospeakhighlyofLinTaiy,
butwhenunawaresshebegantoeulogisePaoch'aiinsteadtheresultexceededallhisthoughtsandwentfar
beyondhisexpectations.ForthwithhecastaglanceatPaochai,andgaveherasmile,butPaochaiatonce
twistedherheadroundandwentandchattedwithHsiJen.Butofasudden,someonecametoaskthemtogo
andhavetheirmeal.DowagerladyChiarosetoherfeet,andenjoinedPaoytobecarefulofhimself.Shethen
gaveafewdirectionstothewaitingmaids,andrestingherweightonladyFeng'sarm,andpressingMrs.Hseh
togooutfirst,she,andallwithher,lefttheapartmentinabody.Butstillshekeptoninquiringwhetherthesoup
wasreadyornot."Ifthere'sanythingyoumightfancytoeat,"shealsosaidtoMrs.Hsehandtheothers,"mind
you,comeandtellme,andIknowhowtocoaxthathusseyFengtogetitforyouaswellasme."
"Myvenerablesenior!"rejoinedMrs.Hseh,"youdohavethehappyknackofputtingheronhermettlebut
thoughshehasoftengotthingsreadyforyou,you've,afterall,noteatenverymuchofthem."
"Aunt,"smiledladyFeng,"don'tmakesuchstatements!Ifourworthyseniorhasn'teatenmeupit'spurelyand
simplybecauseshedislikeshumanfleshasbeingsour.Didshenotlookdownuponitassour,why,shewould
longagohavegobbledmeup!"
Thisjokewasscarcelyended,whenitsotickledthefancyofoldladyChiaandalltheinmatesthattheybroke
outwithonevoiceinaboisterousfitoflaughter.EvenPaoy,whowasinsidetheroom,couldnotkeepquiet.
"Really,"HsiJenlaughed,"themouthofourmistressSecundaisenoughtoterrifypeopletodeath!"
PaoyputouthisarmandpulledHsiJen."You'vebeenstandingforsolong,"hesmiled,"thatyoumustbe
feelingtired."
Sayingthis,hedraggedherdownandmadehertakeaseatnexttohim.

"Hereyou'veagainforgotten!"laughinglyexclaimedHsiJen."AvailyourselfnowthatMissPaoch'aiisinthe
courttotellhertokindlybidtheirYingErhcomeandplaitafewgirdleswithtwistedcords."
"Howluckyitisyou'veremindedme?"Paoyobservedwithasmile.Andputting,whilehespoke,hisheadout
ofthewindow:"CousinPaoch'ai,"hecried,"whenyou'vehadyourrepast,dotellYingErhtocomeover.I
wouldliketoaskhertoplaitafewgirdlesforme.Hasshegotthetimetospare?"
Paoch'aiheardhimspeakandturninground:"Howaboutnotime?"sheanswered."I'lltellherbyandbyeto
comeitwillbeallright."
DowagerladyChiaandtheothers,however,failedtocatchdistinctlythedriftoftheirtalkandtheyhaltedand
madeinquiriesofPaoch'aiwhatitwasabout.Paoch'aigavethemthenecessaryexplanations.
"Mydearchild,"remarkedoldladyChia,"dolethercomeandtwistafewgirdlesforyourcousin!Andshould
youbeinneedofanyoneforanything,Ihaveoveratmyplaceawholenumberofservantgirlsdoingnothing!
Outofthem,youareatlibertytosendforanyyouliketowaitonyou!"
"We'llsendhertoplaitthem!"Mrs.HsehandPaoch'aiobservedsmilinglywithoneconsent."Whatcanwe
wantherfor?shealsodailyidleshertimewayandisuptoeverymischief!"
Butchattingthewhile,theywereabouttoproceedontheirwaywhentheyunexpectedlycaughtsightofHsiang
yn,P'ingErh,HsiangLinandothergirlspickingbalsamflowersneartherockswho,assoonastheysawthe
companyapproaching,advancedtowelcomethem.
Shortly,theyallsalliedoutofthegarden.MadameWangwasworryinglestdowagerladyChia'sstrengthmight
beexhausted,andshedidherutmosttoinducehertoenterthedrawingroomandsitdown.OldladyChia
herselfwasfeelingherlegsquitetiredout,sosheatoncenoddedherheadandexpressedherassent.Madame
Wangthendirectedawaitingmaidtohurriedlyprecedethem,andgetreadytheseats.ButasMrs.Chaohad,
aboutthistime,pleadedindisposition,therewasonlythereforeMrs.Chou,withthematronsandservantgirlsat
hand,sotheyhadampletodotoraisetheportires,toputthebackcushionsintheirplaces,andtospreadout
therugs.
DowagerladyChiasteppedintotheroom,leaningonladyFeng'sarm.SheandMrs.Hsehtooktheirplaces,
withdueregardtothedistinctionbetweenhostessandvisitorsandHsehPaoch'aiandShihHsiangynseated
themselvesbelow.MadameWangthencameforward,andpresentedwithherownhandsteatooldladyChia,
whileLiKungts'aihandedacuptoMrs.Hseh.
"You'dbetterletthoseyoungsistersinlawdothehonours,"remonstratedoldladyChia,"andsitoverthereso
thatwemaybeabletohaveachat."
MadameWangatlengthsatonasmallbench."Letourworthysenior'sviands,"shecried,addressingherselfto
ladyFeng,"beservedhere.Andletafewmorethingsbebrought!"
LadyFengacquiescedwithoutdelay,andshetoldaservanttocrossovertotheiroldmistress'quartersandtobid
thematrons,employedinthatpartofthehousehold,promptlygooutandsummonthewaitinggirls.Thevarious
waitingmaidsarrivedwithalldespatch.MadameWangdirectedthemtoasktheiryoungladiesround.Butafter
aprotractedabsenceontheerrand,onlytwoofthegirlsturnedup:T'anCh'unandHsiCh'un.YingCh'un,was
not,inherstateofhealth,equaltothefatigue,orabletoputanythinginhermouth,andLinTaiy,superfluous
toadd,couldonlysafelypartakeoffiveoutoftenmeals,sonoonethoughtanythingoftheirnonappearance.
Presentlytheeatableswerebrought,andtheservantsarrangedthemintheirproperplacesonthetable.
LadyFengtookanapkinandwrappedabundleofchopsticksinit."Venerableancestorandyou,Mrs.Hseh,"
shesmiled,standingthewhilebelow,"there'snoneedofanyyielding!JustyoulistentomeandI'llmakethings
allright."

"Let'sdoasshewills!"oldladyChiaremarkedtoMrs.Hsehlaughingly.
Mrs.HsehsignifiedherapprovalwithasmilesoladyFengplaced,induecourse,fourpairsofchopstickson
thetablethetwopairsontheupperendfordowagerladyChiaandMrs.Hsehthoseonthetwosidesfor
HsehPaoch'aiandShihHsiangyn.MadameWang,LiKungts'aiandafewothers,stoodtogetherbelowand
watchedtheattendantsservetheviands.LadyFengfirstandforemosthastilyaskedforcleanutensils,anddrew
nearthetabletoselectsomeeatablesforPaoy.Presently,thesouplalotusleavesarrived.Afteroldlady
Chiahadwellscrutinisedit,MadameWangturnedherhead,andcatchingsightofYCh'uanerh,she
immediatelycommissionedhertotakesomeovertoPaoy.
"Shecan'tcarryitsinglehanded,"demurredladyFeng.
Butbyastrangecoincidence,YingErhthenwalkedintotheroomalongwithHsiErh,andPaoch'aiknowing
verywellthattheyhadalreadyhadtheirmealforthwithsaidtoYingErh:"YourMasterSecundus,Mr.Paoy,
justaskedthatyoushouldgoandtwistafewgirdlesforhimsoyoutwomightaswellproceedtogether!"
YingErhexpressedherreadinessandlefttheapartment,incompanywith
YCh'uanerh.
"Howcanyoucarryit,soveryhotasitis,thewholewaythere?"observedYingErh.
"Don'tdistressyourself!"rejoinedYCh'uansmiling."Iknowhowtodoit."
Sayingthis,shedirectedamatrontocomeandplacethesoup,riceandtherestoftheeatablesinapresentbox
andbiddingherlayholdofitandfollowthem,thetwogirlsspedontheirwaywithemptyhands,andmade
straightfortheentranceoftheIHungcourt.HereYCh'uanerhatlengthtookthethingsherself,andentered
theroomincompanywithYingErh.Thetrio,HsiJen,SheYehandCh'iuWenwereatthetimechattingand
laughingwithPaoybutthemomenttheysawtheirtwofriendsarrivetheyspeedilyjumpedtotheirfeet."How
isit,"theyexclaimedlaughingly,"thatyoutwodropinjustthenickoftime?Haveyoucometogether?"
Withthesewordsontheirlips,theydescendedtogreetthem.YCh'uantookatonceaseatonasmallstool.
YingErh,however,didnotpresumetoseatherselfandthoughHsiJenwasquickenoughinmovingafootstool
forher,YingErhdidnotstillventuretositdown.
YingErh'sarrivalfilledPaoywithintensedelight.ButassoonashenoticedYCh'uanerh,herecalledto
memoryhersisterChinCh'uanerh,andhefeltwoundedtotheveryheart,andoverpoweredwithshame.And,
withouttroublinghismindaboutYingErh,headdressedhisremarkstoYCh'uanerh.
HsiJensawverywellthatYingErhfailedtoattracthisattentionandshebegantofearlestshefelt
uncomfortableandwhenshefurtherrealisedthatYingErhherselfwouldnottakeaseat,shedrewheroutofthe
roomandrepairedwithherintotheouterapartment,wheretheyhadachatovertheirtea.
SheYehandhercompanionshad,inthemeantime,gotthebowlsandchopsticksreadyandcametowaitupon
(Paoy)duringhismeal.ButPaoywouldnothaveanythingtoeat."Isyourmotherallright,"heforthwith
inquiredofYCh'uanerh.
AnangryscowlcreptoverYCh'uanerh'sface.ShedidnotevenlookstraightatPaoy.Andonlyafteralong
pausewasitthatsheatlastutteredmerelythewords,"allright,"bywayofreply.Paoy,therefore,found
talkingtoheroflittlezest.Butafteraprotractedsilencehefeltimpelledtoagainforceasmile,andtoask:"Who
toldyoutobringthesethingsovertome?"
"Theladies,"answeredYChuanerh.
Paoydiscernedthemournfulexpression,whichstillbecloudedhercountenanceandhereadilyjumpedatthe
conclusionthatitmustbeentirelyoccasionedbythefatewhichhadbefallenChinCh'uanerh,butwhenfainto

putonameekandunassumingmanner,andendeavourtocheerher,hesawhowlittlehecoulddemeanhimself
inthepresenceofsomanypeople,andconsequentlyhedidhisbestanddiscoveredthemeansofgettingevery
oneoutoftheway.Afterwards,straininganothersmile,hepliedherwithallsortsofquestions.
YCh'uanerh,itistrue,didnotatfirstchoosetoheedhisadvances,yetwhensheobservedthatPaoydidnot
putonanyairs,and,thatinspiteofallherquerulousreproaches,hestillcontinuedpleasantandagreeable,she
feltdisconcertedandherfeaturesatlastassumedacertainexpressionofcheerfulness.Paoythereuponsmiled.
"Mydeargirl,"hesaid,ashegavewaytoentreaties,"bringthatsoupandletmetasteit!"
"I'veneverbeeninthehabitoffeedingpeople,"YCh'uanerhreplied.
"You'dbetterwaittilltheothersreturnyoucanhavesomethen."
"Idon'twantyoutofeedme,"laughedPaoy."It'sbecauseIcan'tmoveaboutthatIappealtoyou.Doletme
haveit!You'llthengetbackearlyandbeable,whenyou'vehandedoverthethings,tohaveyourmeal.Butwere
Itogoonwastingyourtime,won'tyoufeelupsetfromhunger?Shouldyoubelazytobudge,wellthen,I'll
endurethepainandgetdownandfetchitmyself."
Ashespoke,hetriedtoalightfrombed.Hestrainedeverynerve,andraisedhimself,butunabletostandthe
exertion,heburstoutintogroans.Atthesightofhisanguish,YCh'uanerhhadnotthehearttorefuseherhelp.
Springingup,"Liedown!"shecried."Inwhatformerexistencedidyoucommitsuchevilthatyourretributionin
thepresentoneissoapparent?Whichofmyeyeshowevercanbrooklookingatyougoingoninthatway?"
Whiletauntinghim,sheagainblurtedoutlaughing,andbroughtthesoupovertohim.
"Mydeargirl"smiledPaoy,"ifyouwanttoshowtemper,betterdosohere!Whenyouseeourvenerable
seniorandmadame,mymother,youshouldbealittlemoreeventempered,forifyoustillbehavelikethis,
you'llatoncegetascolding!"
"Eataway,eataway!"urgedYCh'uanerh."There'snoneedforyoutobesosweetmouthedandhoney
tonguedwithme.Idon'tputanyfaithinsuchtalk!"
Sospeaking,shepressedPaoyuntilhehadtwomouthfulsofsoup."Itisn'tnice,itisn'tnice!"Paoy
purposelyexclaimed.
"Omitofu!"ejaculatedYCh'uanerh."Ifthisisn'tnice,what'snice?"
"There'snoflavouraboutitatall,"resumedPaoy."Ifyoudon'tbelievemetasteit,andyou'llfindoutfor
yourself."
YCh'uanerhinatantrumactuallyputsomeofittoherlips.
"Well,"laughedPaoy,"itisnice!"
ThisexclamationeventuallyenabledYCh'uantoseewhatPaoywasdrivingat,forPaoyhadinfactbeen
tryingtobeguilehertohaveamouthful.
"As,atonemoment,yousayyoudon'twantany,"sheforthwithobserved,"andnowyousayitisnice,Iwon't
giveyouany."
WhilePaoyreturnedhersmiles,hekeptonearnestlyentreatinghertolethimhavesome.
YCh'uanerhhoweverwouldstillnotgivehimanyandshe,atthesametime,calledtotheservantstofetch
whattherewasforhimtoeat.Buttheinstantthewaitingmaidputherfootintotheroom,servantscamequite
unexpectedlytodeliveramessage.

"Twonurses,"theysaid,"havearrivedfromthehouseholdofMr.Fu,
Secundus,topresenthiscompliments.Theyhavenowcometoseeyou,Mr.
Secundus."AssoonasPaoyheardthisreport,hefeltsurethatthey
mustbenursessentoverfromthehouseholdofDeputySubPrefect,Fu
Shih.
ThisFuShihhadoriginallybeenapupilofChiaCheng,andhad,indeed,hadtorelyentirelyuponthereputation
enjoyedbytheChiafamilyfortherealisationofhiswishes.ChiaChenghad,likewise,treatedhimwithsuch
genuineregard,andsounlikeanyofhisotherpupils,thathe(FuShih)everandanondespatchedinmatesfrom
hismansiontocomeandseehimsoastokeepupfriendlyrelations.
Paoyhadatalltimesentertainedanaversionforboldfacedmenandunsophisticatedwomen,sowhydidhe
oncemore,onthisoccasion,issuedirectionsthatthetwomatronsshouldbeintroducedintohispresence?There
was,infact,areasonforhisaction.ItwassimplythatPaoyhadcometolearnthatFuShihhadasister,Ch'iu
fangbyname,agirlascomelyasamagnificentgem,andperfectionitself,thereportofoutsidepeoplewent,as
muchinintellectasinbeauty.Hehad,itistrue,notyetseenanythingofherwithhisowneyes,butthe
sentiments,whichmadehimthinkofherandcherishher,fromadistance,werecharacterisedbysuchextreme
sincerity,thatdreadinglestheshould,byrefusingtoadmitthematrons,reflectdiscredituponFuCh'iufang,he
waspromptedtolosenotimeinexpressingawishthattheyshouldbeusheredin.
ThisFuShihhadreallyrisenfromthevulgarherd,soseeingthatCh'iufangpossessedseveraltraitsofbeauty
andexceptionalintellectualtalents,FuShiharrivedattheresolutionofmakinghissisterthemeansofjoining
relationshipwiththeinfluentialfamilyofsomehonourableclan.Andsounwillingwashetopromiseherlightly
toanysuitorthatthingsweredelayeduptothistime.ThereforeFuCh'iufang,thoughatpresentpasther
twentiethbirthday,wasnotasyetengaged.Butthevariouswelltodofamilies,belongingtohonourableclans,
lookeddown,ontheotherhand,onherpoorandmeanextraction,holdingherinsuchlightesteem,asnotto
relishtheideaofmakinganyofferforherhand.SoifFuShihcultivatedintimatetermswiththeChia
household,he,needlesstoadd,didsowithaninterestedmotive.
Thetwomatrons,deputedonthepresenterrand,completelylacked,asithappened,allknowledgeoftheworld,
andthemomenttheyheardthatPaoywishedtoseethem,theywendedtheirstepsinside.Butnosoonerhad
theyinquiredhowhewas,andpassedafewremarksthanYCh'uanerh,becomingconsciousofthearrivalof
strangers,didnotbandywordswithPaoy,butstoodwiththeplateofsoupinherhands,engrossedinlistening
totheconversation.Paoy,again,wasabsorbedinspeakingtothematronsand,whileeatingsomerice,he
stretchedouthisarmtogetatthesoupbutbothhisandher(YCh'uanerh's)eyeswererivettedonthewomen,
andashethoughtlesslyjerkedouthishandwithsomeviolence,hestruckthebowlandturneditcleanover.The
soupfelloverPaoy'shand.ButitdidnothurtYCh'uanerh.Shesustained,however,suchafrightthatshe
gaveastart.
"Howdidthishappen!"shesmilinglyshoutedwithvehemencetotheintenseconsternationofthewaiting
maids,whorushedupandclaspedthebowl.ButnotwithstandingthatPaoyhadscaldedhisownhand,hewas
quiteunconsciousoftheaccidentsomuchso,thatheassailedYCh'uanerhwithaheapofquestions,asto
whereshehadbeenburnt,andwhetheritwassoreornot.
YCh'uanerhandeveryonepresentwerehighlyamused.
"Youyourself,"observedYCh'uanerh,"havebeenscalded,anddoyoukeeponaskingaboutmyself?"
Atthesewords,Paoybecameatlastawareoftheinjuryhehadreceived.Theservantsrushedwithall
promptitudeandclearedthemess.ButPaoywasnotinclinedtotouchanymorefood.Hewashedhishands,
drankacupoftea,andthenexchangedafewfurthersentenceswiththetwomatrons.Butsubsequently,thetwo
womensaidgoodbyeandquittedtheroom.Ch'ingWenandsomeothergirlssawthemasfarasthebridge,after
which,theyretracedtheirsteps.

Thetwomatronsperceived,thattherewasnooneabout,andwhileproceedingontheirway,theystarteda
conversation.
"Itisn'tstrange,"smiledtheone,"ifpeoplesaythatthisPaoyoftheirsishandsomeinappearance,butstupid
asfarasbrainsgo.Niceenoughathingtolookatbutnottoputtoone'slipsratheridioticinfactforheburns
hisownhand,andthenheaskssomeoneelsewhethershe'ssoreornot.Now,isn'tthisbeingaregularfool?"
"ThelasttimeIcame,"theotherremarked,alsosmiling,"Iheardthatmanyinmatesofhisfamilyfeelillwill
againsthim.Inrealtruthheisafool!Fortherehedripsintheheavydownpourlikeawaterfowl,andinsteadof
runningtoshelterhimself,heremindsotherpeopleoftherain,andurgesthemtogetquickoutofthewet.Now,
tellme,isn'tthisridiculous,eh?Timeandagain,whennooneispresent,hecriestohimself,thenlaughsto
himself.Whenheseesaswallow,heinstantlytalkstoitwhenheespiesafish,intheriver,heforthwithspeaks
toit.Atthesightofstarsorthemoon,ifhedoesn'tgroanandsigh,hemuttersandmutters.Indeed,hehasn'tthe
leastbitofcharactersomuchso,thatheevenputsupwiththetempershownbythoselowbredmaids.Ifhe
takesafancytoathing,it'sniceenougheventhoughitbeabitofthread.Butasforwaste,whatdoeshemind?
Athingmaybeworthathousandortenthousandpiecesofmoney,hedoesn'tworryhismindintheleastabout
it."
Whiletheytalked,theyreachedtheexteriorofthegarden,andtheybetookthemselvesbacktotheirhome
wherewewillleavethem.
AssoonasHsiJen,forwewillreturntoher,sawthewomenleavetheroom,shetookYingErhbythehandand
ledherin,andtheyaskedPaoywhatkindofgirdlehewantedmade.
"Iwasjustnowsobentupontalking,"PaoysmiledtoYingErh,"thatIforgotallaboutyou.Iputyoutothe
troubleofcoming,notforanythingelse,butthatyoushouldalsomakemeafewnets."
"Nets!Toputwhatin?"YingErhinquired.
Paoy,atthisquestion,putonasmile."Don'tconcernyourselfaboutwhattheyarefor!"hereplied."Justmake
meafewofeachkind!"
YingErhclappedherhandandlaughed."Couldthiseverbedone!"shecried,"Ifyouwantallthatlot,why,they
couldn'tbefinishedintenyearstime."
"Mydeargirl,"smiledPaoy,"workatthemformethenwheneveryouareatleisure,andhavenothingbetter
todo."
"Howcouldyougetthroughthemallinalittletime?"HsiJeninterposedsmilingly."Firstchoosenowtherefore
suchasaremosturgentlyneededandmakeacoupleofthem."
"Whatabouturgentlyneeded?"YingErhexclaimed,"Theyaremerelyusedforfans,scentedpendantsand
handkerchiefs."
"Netsforhandkerchiefswilldoallright."Paoyanswered.
"What'sthecolourofyourhandkerchief?"inquiredYingErh.
"It'sadeepredone."Paoyrejoined.
"Foradeepredone,"continuedYingErh,"ablacknetwilldoverynicely,oroneofdarkgreen.Boththese
agreewiththecolour."
"Whatgoeswellwithbrown?"Paoyasked.
"Peachredgoeswellwithbrown."YingErhadded.

"Thatwillmakethemlookgaudy!"Paoyobserved."Yetwithalltheirplainness,theyshouldbesomewhat
gaudy."
"Leekgreenandwillowyellowarewhataremosttomytaste,"YingErhpursued.
"Yes,they'llalsodo!"Paoyretorted."Butmakeoneofpeachredtooandthenoneofleekgreen."
"Ofwhatdesign?"YingErhremarked.
"Howmanykindsofdesignsarethere?"Paoysaid.
"Thereare'thestickofincense,''stoolsupsettowardsheaven,''partofelephant'seyes,''squares,''chains,''plum
blossom,'and'willowleaves."YingErhanswered.
"WhatwasthekindofdesignyoumadeforMissTertiatheotherday?"
Paoyinquired.
"Itwasthe'plumblossomwithpiledcores,'"YingErhexplainedinreply.
"Yes,that'snice."Paoyrejoined.
Asheutteredthisremark,HsiJenarrivedwiththecords.Butnosoonerweretheybroughtthanamatroncried,
fromoutsidethewindow:"Girls,yourviandsareready!"
"Goandhaveyourmeal,"urgedPaoy,"andcomebackquickafteryou'vehadit."
"Therearevisitorshere,"HsiJensmiled,"andhowcanIverywellgo?"
"Whatmakesyousayso?"YingErhlaughed,whileadjustingthecords."It'sonlyrightandproperthatyou
shouldgoandhaveyourfoodatonceandthenreturn."
Hearingthis,HsiJenandhercompanionswentoff,leavingbehindonlytwoyouthfulservantgirlstoanswerthe
calls.
PaoywatchedYingErhmakethenets.But,whilekeepinghiseyesintentonher,hetalkedatthesametimeof
onethingandthenanother,andnextwentontoaskherhowfarshewasinherteens.
YingErhcontinuedplaiting."I'msixteen,"shesimultaneouslyrejoined.
"Whatwasyouroriginalsurname?"Paoyadded.
"ItwasHuang"answeredYingErh.
"That'sjustthething,"Paoysmiled"forinrealtruththere'sthe
'HuangYingerh'(oriole)."
"Myname,atonetime,consistedoftwocharacters,"continuedYingErh."IwascalledChinYingbutMiss
Paoch'aididn'tlikeit,asitwasdifficulttopronounce,andonlycalledmeYingErhsonowI'vecometobe
knownunderthatname."
"OnecanverywellsaythatcousinPaoch'aiisfondofyou!"Paoypursued."Byandbye,whenshegets
married,she'ssuretotakeyoualongwithher."
YingErhpuckeredupherlips,andgaveasignificantsmile.

"I'veoftentoldHsiJen,"Paoysmiled,"thatIcan'thelpwonderingwho'llshortlybetheluckyonestowin
yourmistressandyourself."
"Youaren'taware,"laughedYingErh,"thatouryoungmistresspossessesseveralqualitiesnottobefoundina
singlepersoninthisworldherfaceisasecondconsideration."
PaoynoticedhowcaptivatingYingErh'stoneofvoicewas,howcomplaisantshewas,andhowsimpletonlike
unaffectedinherlanguageandsmiles,andhesoonfeltthewarmestaffectionforherandparticularlyso,when
shestartedtheconversationaboutPaoch'ai."Wheredoherqualitieslie?"hereadilyinquired."Mydeargirl,
pleasetellme!"
"IfItellyou,"saidYingErh,"youmust,onnoaccount,letherknowanythingaboutitagain."
"Thisgoeswithoutsaying,"smiledPaoy.
Butthisanswerwasstillonhislips,whentheyoverheardsomeoneoutsideremark:"Howisitthateverythingis
soquiet?"
Bothgazedroundtoseewhopossiblyitcouldbe.Theydiscovered,strangeenough,nooneelsethanPaoch'ai
herself.
Paoyhastilyofferedheraseat.Paoch'aiseatedherself,andthenwantedtoknowwhatYingErhwasbusy
plaiting.Inquiringthewhile,sheapproachedherandscrutinisedwhatsheheldinherhands,halfofwhichhad
bythistimebeendone."What'sthefunofathinglikethis?"shesaid."Wouldn'titbepreferabletoplaitanet,
andputthejadeinit?"
ThisallusionsuggestedtheideatoPaoy.Speedilyclappinghishands,hesmiledandexclaimed:"Yourideais
splendid,cousin.I'dforgottenallaboutit!Theonlythingiswhatcolourwillsuititbest?"
"Itwillneverdotousemixedcolours,"Paoch'airejoined."Deepredwill,ononehand,clashwiththecolour
whileyellowisnotpleasingtotheeyeandblack,ontheotherhand,istoosombre.Butwait,I'lltryanddevise
something.Bringthatgoldcordanduseitwiththeblackbeadedcordandifyoutwistoneofeachtogether,and
makeanetwiththem,itwilllookverypretty!"
Uponhearingthis,Paoywasimmeasurablydelighted,andtimeaftertimeheshoutedtotheservantstofetch
thegoldcord.ButjustatthatmomentHsiJensteppedin,withtwobowlsofeatables."Howverystrangethisis
today!"shesaidtoPaoy."Why,afewminutesback,mymistress,yourmother,sentsomeonetobringme
twobowlsofviands."
"Thesupply,"repliedPaoysmiling,"musthavebeensoplentifultoday,thatthey'vesentsometoeveryoneof
you."
"Itisn'tthat,"continuedHsiJen,"fortheyweredistinctlygiventomebyname.What'smore,Iwasn'tbiddengo
andknockmyheadsothisisindeedremarkable!"
"Ifthey'regiventoyou,"Paoysmiled,"why,youhadbettergoandeatthem.What'sthereinthistofillyou
withconjectures?"
"There'sneverbeenanythinglikethisbefore,"HsiJenadded,"so,itmakesmefeeluneasy."
Paoch'aicompressedherlips."Ifthis,"shelaughed"makesyoufelluneasy,therewillbebyandbyeother
thingstomakeyoufarmoreuneasy."
HsiJenrealisedthatsheimpliedsomethingbyherinsinuations,assheknewfrompastexperiencethatPaoch'ai
wasnotonegiventolightlyandcontemptuouslypokingfunatpeopleand,rememberingthenotionsentertained
byMadameWangonthelastoccasionshehadseenher,shedroppedatonceanyfurtherallusionstothesubject

andbroughttheeatablesuptoPaoyforhisinspection."Ishallcomeandholdthecords,"sheobserved,"as
soonasI'verinsedmyhands."
Thissaid,sheimmediatelyquittedtheapartment.Afterhermeal,shewashedherhandsandcameinsidetohold
thegoldcordsforYingErhtoplaitthenetwith.
Bythistime,Paoch'aihadbeencalledawaybyaservant,despatchedbyHsehP'an.ButwhilePaoywas
watchingthenetthatwasbeingmadehecaughtsight,atamomentleastexpected,oftwoservantgirls,who
camefromthepartofMadameHsingoftheothermansion,tobringhimafewkindsoffruits,andtoinquire
whetherhewasabletowalk."Ifyoucangoabout,"theytoldhim,"(ourmistress)desiresyou,Mr.Paoy,to
crossovertomorrowandhavealittledistraction.Herladyshipreallylongstoseeyou."
"WereIabletowalk,"Paoyansweredwithalacrity,"Iwouldfeelitmydutytogoandpaymyrespectstoyour
mistress!Anyhow,thepainisbetterthanbefore,sorequestyourladytoallayhersolicitude."
Ashebadethembothsitdown,he,atthesametime,calledCh'iuWen."Take,"hesaidtoher,"halfofthefruits,
justreceived,toMissLinasapresent."
Ch'iuWensignifiedherobedience,andwasabouttostartonhererrand,whensheheardTaiytalkinginthe
court,andPaoyeagerlyshoutout:"Requesthertowalkinatonce!"
Butshouldtherebeanyfurtherparticulars,whichyou,reader,mightfeeldisposedtoknow,perusethedetails
giveninthefollowingchapter.

CHAPTERXXXVI.
WhileHsiJenisbusyembroideringmandarinducks,Paoyreceives,in
theChiangYnPavilion,anomenfromadream.
Paoyapprehendsthatthereisadestinyinaffections,whenhis
feelingsarearousedtoasenseofthesituationinthePear
Fragrancecourt.
EversincedowagerladyChia'sreturnfromMadameWang'squarters,forwewillnowtakeupthestringofour
narrative,shenaturallyfelthappierinhermindasshesawthatPaoyimprovedfromdaytodaybutnervous
lestChiaChengshouldagaininthefuturesendforhim,shelostnotimeinbiddingaservantsummonahead
page,aconstantattendantuponChiaCheng,tocometoher,andinimpressinguponhimvariousorders.
"Should,"sheenjoinedhim,"anythingturnuphenceforwardconnectedwithmeetingguests,entertaining
visitorsandothersuchmatters,andyourmastermeantosendforPaoy,youcandispensewithgoingtodeliver
themessage.JustyoutellhimthatIsaythataftertheseverethrashinghehashad,greatcaremustbefirsttaken
ofhimduringseveralmonthsbeforehecanbeallowedtowalkandthat,secondly,hisconstellationis
unpropitiousandthathecouldnotseeanyoutsider,whilesacrificesarebeingofferedtothestarsthatIwon't
havehimthereforeputhisfootbeyondthesecondgatebeforetheexpiryoftheeighthmoon."
Theheadpagelistenedpatientlytoherinstructions,and,assentingtoallshehadtosay,hetookhisleave.
OldladyChiathereuponalsosentfornurseLi,HsiJenandtheotherwaitingmaidsandrecommendedthemto
tellPaoyaboutherinjunctionssothathemightbeabletoquiethismind.

Paoyhadalwayshadarepugnanceforentertaininghighofficialsandmeningeneral,andthegreatesthorror
ofgoinginofficialhatandceremonialdress,tooffercongratulations,orexpresscondolences,topaycalls,
returnvisits,orperformothersimilarconventionalities,butuponreceiptonthepresentoccasionofthis
message,hebecamesomuchthemoreconfirmedinhisdislikesthatnotonlydidhesuspendallintercoursewith
everysinglerelativeandfriend,butevenwentsofarastostudymorethanhehadeverdonebefore,hisown
capricesinthefulfilmentofthosemorningandeveningsalutationsduetotheseniormembersofhisfamily.Day
afterdayhespentinthegarden,doingnothingelsethanloafingabout,sittingdownhere,orrecliningthere.Ofa
morning,hewould,assoonasitwasday,strollasfarasthequartersofdowagerladyChiaandMadameWang,
torepairback,however,innotime.Yeteverreadywasheeverydaythatwentbytoperformmenialservicesfor
anyofthewaitingmaids.He,infact,wastedawayinthemostcompletedolcefarnientedaysaswellasmonths.
IfperchancePaoch'aioranyothergirlofthesameageasherselffoundatanytimeanopportunitytogivehim
advice,hewould,insteadoftakingitingoodpart,flyintoahuff."Apureandspotlessmaiden,"hewouldsay,
"haslikewisegoneanddeliberatelyimitatedthosepersons,whoseaimistofishforreputationandtoseek
praisethatsetofgovernmentthievesandsalarieddevils.Thisresultentirelyarisesfromthefactthattherehave
beenpeopleinformertimes,whohaveuselesslystirreduptroubleandpurposelyfabricatedstorieswiththe
primaryobjectofenticingthefilthymalecreatures,whowouldspringupinfutureages,tofollowintheirsteps!
Andwhowouldhavethoughtit,Ihavehadthemisfortuneofbeingbornamasculinebeing!But,eventhose
beautifulgirls,inthefemaleapartments,havebeensocontaminatedbythispracticethatverilytheyshow
themselvesungratefulforthevirtueofHeavenandEarth,inendowingthemwithperception,andinrearing
themwithsomuchcomeliness."
Seeingthereforewhataninsanemaniapossessedhim,notoneofhiscousinscameforwardtotenderhimone
properwordofcounsel.LinTaiywastheonlyoneofthem,who,fromhisveryinfancy,hadneveronce
admonishedhimtostriveandmakeapositionandattainfame,sothusitwasthatheentertainedforTaiy
profoundconsideration.Butenoughofminordetails.
WewillnowturnourattentiontoladyFeng.SoonafterthenewsofChinCh'uanerh'sdeathreachedher,she
sawthatdomesticsfromvariousbranchesofthefamilypaidherfrequentvisitsatmostunexpectedhours,and
presentedheralotofthings,andthattheycourtedherpresenceatmostunseasonablemoments,topaytheir
complimentsandadulateher,andshebeguntoharboursuspicions,inherownmind,asshelittleknewwhat
theirobjectcouldpossiblybe.Onthisdate,sheagainnoticedthatsomeofthemhadbroughttheirgifts,so,
wheneveningarrived,andnoonewaspresent,shefeltcompelledtoinquirejocoselyofP'ingErhwhattheiraim
couldbe.
"Can'tyourladyshipfathomeventhis?"P'ingErhansweredwithasardonicsmile."Why,theirdaughtersmust,I
fancy,beservantgirlsinMadameWang'sapartments!Forherladyship'sroomsfourelderlygirlsareatpresent
allottedwithamonthlyallowanceofonetaeltherestsimplyreceivingseveralhundredsofcasheachmonthso
nowthatChinCh'uanerhisdeadandgone,thesepeoplemust,ofcourse,beanxioustotrytheirtricksandget
thisonetaeljob!"
Hearingthis,ladyFengsmiledasignificantsmile."That'sit.Yes,that'sit!"sheexclaimed."You'vereally
suggestedtheideatomymind!Fromallappearances,thesepeopleareamostinsatiablelotfortheymakequite
enoughinthewayofmoney!Andasforanybusinessthatrequiresalittleexertion,whytheyareneverreadyto
bearashareofit!Theymakeuseoftheirgirlsassomanytoolstoshovetheirowndutiesupon.Yetone
overlooksthat.Butmusttheytoohavedesignsuponthisjob?Nevermind!Thesepeoplecannoteasilyaffordto
spenduponmethemoneytheydo.Buttheybringthisupontheirownselves,soI'llkeepeverybitofthingthey
send.I've,afterall,resolvedhowtoactinthematter!"
Havingarrivedatthisdecision,ladyFengpurelyandsimplyprotractedthedelayuntilallthewomenhadsent
herenoughtosatisfyher,whensheatlastsuitedherownconvenienceandspoketoMadameWang(onthe
subjectofthevacantpost).
Mrs.Hsehandherdaughterweresittingoneday,atnoon,inMadameWang'squarters,togetherwithLinTai
yandtheothergirls,whenladyFengfoundanopportunityandbroachedthetopicwithMadameWang."Ever
since,"shesaid,"sisterChinCh'uanerh'sdeath,therehasbeenoneservantlessinyourladyship'sservice.But

youmaypossiblyhavesetyourchoiceuponsomegirlifso,doletmeknowwhoitis,sothatImaybeableto
payherhermonthlywages."
ThisremindermadeMadameWangcommunewithherownself."Ifancy,"sheremarked"thatthecustomis
thatthereshouldbefourorfiveofthembutaslongasthereareenoughtowaituponme,Idon'tmind,sowe
canreallydispensewithanother."
"Whatyousayis,properlyspeaking,perfectlycorrect,"smiledladyFeng"butit'sanoldestablishedcustom.
Therearestillacoupletobefoundinotherpeople'sroomsandwon'tyou,Madame,conformwiththerule?
Besides,thesavingofataelisasmallmatter."
Afterthisargument,MadameWangindulgedinfurtherthought."Nevermind,"shethenobserved,"justyou
bringoverthisallowanceandpayittome.Andtherewillbenoneedtosupplyanothergirl.I'llhandoverthis
taeltoheryoungersister,YCh'uanerh,andfinishwithit.Hereldersistercametoanunpleasantend,aftera
longtermofservicewithmesoiftheyoungersister,sheleavesbehindinmyemploy,receivesadoubleshare,
itwon'tbeanytooexcessive."
LadyFengexpressedherapprovalandturningroundshesaidsmilinglyto
YCh'uanerh:"Icongratulateyou,Icongratulateyou!"
YCh'uanerhthereuponcrossedoverandprostratedherself.
"Ijustwanttoaskyou,"MadameWangwentontoinquire,"howmuchMrs.
ChaoandMrs.Chouareallowedmonthly?"
"Theyhaveafixedallowance,"answeredladyFeng,"eachofthemdrawstwotaels.ButMrs.Chaogetstwo
taelsforcousinChiaHuan,sohersamountsinalltofourtaelsbesidesthese,fourstringsofcash."
"Aretheypaidinfullmonthaftermonth?"MadameWanginquired.
LadyFengthoughtthequestionsoverystrangethatshehastenedtoexclaimbywayofreply:"Howaretheynot
paidinfull?"
"Theotherday,"MadameWangproceeded,"Iheardafaintrumourthattherewassomeone,whocomplainedin
anaggrievedwaythatshehadgotastringshort.Howandwhyisthis?"
"Themonthlyallowancesoftheservantgirls,attachedtothesecondarywives,"ladyFenghurriedlyaddedwith
asmile,"amountedoriginallytoatiaoeach,buteversincelastyear,itwasdecided,bythosepeopleoutside,that
thesharesofeachofthoseladies'girlsshouldbereducedbyhalf,thatis,eachtofivehundredcashand,aseach
ladyhasacoupleofservantgirls,theyreceivethereforeatiaoshort.Butforthis,theycan'tbearmeagrudge.
AsfarasI'mconcerned,Iwouldonlybetoogladtoletthemhaveitbutourpeopleoutsidewillagaindisallow
itsoisitlikelythatIcanauthoriseanyincrease,pray?InthismatterofpaymentsImerelyreceivethemoney,
andI'venothingtodowithhowitcomesandhowitgoes.Ineverthelessrecommended,ontwoorthree
occasions,thatitwouldbebetterifthesetwoshareswereagainraisedtotheoldamountbuttheysaidthat
there'sonlythatmuchmoney,sothatIcan'tverywellvolunteeranyfurthersuggestions!Nowthatthefundsare
paidintomyhands,Igivethemtothemeverymonth,withoutanyirregularityofevensomuchasaday.When
paymentshithertowereeffectedoutside,whatmonthweretheynotshortofmoney?Anddidtheyever,onany
singleinstance,obtaintheirpayatthepropertimeanddate?"
Havingheardthisexplanation,MadameWangkeptsilentforawhile.
Next,sheproceededtoask,howmanygirlstherewerewithdowagerlady
Chiadrawingonetael.
"Eightofthem,"rejoinedladyFeng,"butthereareatpresentonlyseventheotheroneisHsiJen."

"Quiteright,"assentedMadameWang."ButyourcousinPaoyhasn'tanymaidatonetaelforHsiJenisstilla
servantbelongingtooldladyChia'shousehold."
"HsiJen,"ladyFengsmiled,"isstillourdearancestor'sservantshe'sonlylenttocousinPaoysothatshestill
receivesthistaelinhercapacityofmaidtoourworthysenior.Anyproposal,therefore,thatmightnowbemade,
thatthistaelshould,asHsiJenisPaoy'sservant,becurtailed,can,onnoaccount,beentertained.Yet,wereit
suggestedthatanotherservantshouldbeaddedtooursenior'sstaff,theninthiswayonecouldreducethetael
shegets.Butifthisbenotcurtailed,itwillbenecessarytoalsoaddaservantincousinChiaHuan'srooms,in
orderthatthereshouldbeafairapportionment.Infact,Ch'ingWen,SheYehandtheothers,numberingseven
seniormaids,receiveeachatiaoamonthandChiaoHuiandtherestofthejuniormaids,eightinall,geteach
fivehundredcashpermensemandthiswasrecommendedbyourvenerableancestorherselfsohowcanany
onebeangryandfeeldispleasure?"
"Justlisten,"laughedMrs.Hseh,"tothatgirlFeng'smouth!Itrattlesandrattleslikeacartladenwithwalnuts,
whichhasturnedtopsyturvy!Yet,heraccountsare,fromwhatonecangather,clearenough,andherarguments
fullofreason."
"Aunt,"rejoinedladyFengsmiling,"wasIlikely,pray,wronginwhatIsaid?"
"Whoeversaidyouwerewrong?"Mrs.Hsehsmiled."Butwereyoutotalkalittleslower,wouldn'titbea
savingofexertionforyou?"
LadyFengwasabouttolaugh,buthastilycheckingherself,shelentaneartowhatMadameWangmighthaveto
tellher.
MadameWangindulgedinthoughtforaconsiderabletime.Afterwards,facingladyFeng,"You'dbetter,"she
said,"selectawaitingmaidtomorrowandsendherovertoourworthyseniortofillupHsiJen'splace.Then,
discontinuethatallowance,whichHsiJendraws,andkeepoutofthesumoftwentytaels,allottedtome
monthly,twotaelsandatiao,andgivethemtoHsiJen.SohenceforwardwhatMrs.ChaoandMrs.Chouwill
get,HsiJenwilllikewiseget,withtheonlydifferencethatthesharegrantedtoHsiJen,willbeentirely
apportionedoutofmyownallowance.Mind,therefore,therewillbenonecessitytotouchthepublicfunds!"
LadyFengacquiescedtoeachoneofherrecommendations,and,pushingMrs.Hseh,"Aunt,"sheinquired,
"haveyouheardherproposal?WhathaveIallalongmaintained?Well,mywordshaveactuallycomeouttrue
today!"
"Thisshouldhavebeenaccomplishedlongago,"Mrs.Hsehanswered."Forwithout,ofcourse,makingany
allusiontoherlooks,herwayofdoingbusinessisliberalherspeechandherrelationswithpeoplearealways
promptedbyaneventemper,whileinwardlyshehasplentyofsinglenessofheartandeagernesstoholdher
own.Indeed,suchagirlisnoteasytocomeacross!"
MadameWangmadeeveryefforttoconcealhertears."HowcouldyoupeopleeverrightlyestimateHsiJen's
qualities?"sheobserved."Why,she'sahundredtimesbetterthanmyownPaoy.Howfortunate,inreality,
Paoyis!Wellwoulditbeifhecouldhaveherwaituponhimforthewholelengthofhislife!"
"Inthatcase,"ladyFengsuggested,"why,haveherfaceshavedatonce,andopenlyplaceherinhisroomasa
secondarywife.Won'tthisbeagoodplan?"
"Thiswon'tdo!"MadameWangretorted."Forfirstandforemosthe'softenderyears.Inthesecondplace,my
husbandwon'tcountenanceanysuchthing!Inthethird,solongasPaoyseesthatHsiJenishiswaitingmaid,
hemay,intheeventofanythingoccurringfromhishavingbeenallowedtorunwild,listentoanygoodcounsel
shemightgivehim.Butwereshenowtobemadehissecondarywife,HsiJenwouldnotventuretotenderhim
anyextremeadvice,evenwhenit'snecessarytodoso.It'sbetter,therefore,toletthingsstandastheyareforthe
present,andtalkaboutthemagain,afterthelapseofanothertwoorthreeyears."

Atthecloseofthesearguments,ladyFengcouldnotputinaword,bywayofreply,torefutethem,soturning
round,shelefttheroom.Shehadnosooner,however,gotundertheverandah,thanshediscernedthewivesofa
numberofbutlers,waitingforhertoreportvariousmatterstoher.Seeingherissueoutoftheroom,theywith
oneconsentsmiled."WhathasyourladyshiphadtolaybeforeMadameWang,"theyremarked,"thatyou've
beentalkingawaythislengthoftime?Didn'tyoufindithotwork?"
LadyFengtuckeduphersleevesseveraltimes.Thenrestingherfootonthestepofthesidedoor,shelaughed
andrejoined:"Thedraftinthispassageissocool,thatI'llstop,andletitplayonmeabitbeforeIgoon.You
people,"sheproceededtotellthem,"saythatI'vebeentalkingtoherallthiswhile,butMadameWangconjured
upallthathasoccurredforthelasttwohundredyearsandquestionedmeaboutitsocouldIverywellnothave
anythingtosayinreply?Butfromthisdayforth,"sheaddedwithasarcasticsmile,"Ishalldoseveralmean
things,andshouldeven(Mrs.ChaoandMrs.Chou)go,outofanyillwill,andtellMadameWang,Iwon'tknow
whatfearisforsuchstupid,glibtongued,foulmouthedcreaturesasthey,whoareboundnottoseeagoodend!
Itisn'tforthemtoindulgeinthosefancifuldreamsofbecomingprimarywives,forthere,willcomesoonaday
whenthewholelumpsumoftheirallowancewillbecutoff!Theygrumbleagainstusforhavingnowreduced
theperquisitesoftheservantmaids,buttheydon'tconsiderwhethertheydeservetohavesomanyasthreegirls
todanceattendanceonthem!"
Whileheapingabuseontheirheads,shestartedhomewards,andwentallaloneinsearchofsomedomestictogo
anddeliveramessagetooldladyChia.
Butwithoutanyfurtherreferencetoher,wewilltakeupthethreadofournarrativewithMrs.Hseh,andthe
othersalongwithher.Duringthisintervaltheyfinishedfeastingonmelons.Aftersomemoregossip,eachwent
herownwayandPaoch'ai,Taiyandtherestofthecousinsreturnedintothegarden.Paoch'aithenaskedTai
ytorepairwithhertotheOHsiangArbour.ButTaiysaidthatshewasjustgoingtohaveherbath,sothey
partedcompany,andPaoch'aiwalkedbackallbyherself.Onherway,shesteppedintotheIHungYan,to
lookupPaoyandhaveafriendlyhobnobwithhim,withtheideaofdispellinghermiddaylassitudebut,
contrarytoherexpectations,themomentsheputherfootintothecourt,shedidnotsomuchascatchthecawof
acrow.Eventhetwostorksstoodunderthebananatrees,plungedinsleep.Paoch'aiproceededalongthe
coveredpassageandenteredtherooms.Hereshediscoveredtheservantgirlssleepingsoundlyonthebedofthe
outerapartmentsomelyingoneway,someanothersoturningroundthedecoratedscreen,shewendedhersteps
intoPaoy'schamber.Paoywasasleepinbed.HsiJenwasseatedbyhisside,busyplyingherneedle.Nextto
her,layayaktail.Paoch'aiadvanceduptoher."You'rereallyfartooscrupulous,"shesaidsmilinglyinan
undertone."Aretherestillfliesormosquitosinhere?andwhydoyetusethatflyflapfor,todrivewhataway?"
HsiJenwasquitetakenbysurprise.Buthastilyraisingherhead,andrealisingthatitwasPaoch'ai,she
hurriedlyputdownherneedlework."Miss,"shewhisperedwithasmile,"youcameuponmesounawaresthat
yougavemequiteastart!Youdon'tknow,Miss,thatthoughtherebenofliesormosquitoesthereis,noone
wouldbelieveit,akindofsmallinsect,whichpenetratesthroughtheholesofthisgauzeitisscarcelytobe
detected,butwhenoneisasleep,itbitesjustlikeantsdo!"
"Itisn'ttobewonderedat,"Paoch'aisuggested,"forthebackoftheseroomsadjoinsthewaterthewholeplace
isalsoonemassoffragrantflowers,andtheinteriorofthisroomis,too,fulloftheiraroma.Theseinsectsgrow
mostlyinthecoreofflowers,sonosoonerdotheyscentthesmellofanythantheyatoncerushin."
Sayingthis,shecastalookontheneedleworkshe(HsiJen)heldinherhands.Itconsisted,infact,ofabeltof
whitesilk,linedwithred,andembroideredontheupperpartwithdesignsrepresentingmandarinducks,
disportingthemselvesamongsomelotus.Thelotusflowerswerered,theleavesgreen,theducksofvariegated
colours.
"Aiyah!"ejaculatedPaoch'ai,"whatverybeautifulwork!Forwhomisthis,thatit'sworthyourwhilewasting
somuchlabouronit?"
HsiJenpoutedherlipstowardsthebed.

"Doesabigstrappingfellowlikethis,"Paoch'ailaughed,"stillwearsuchthings?"
"Hewouldneverwearanybefore,"HsiJensmiled,"that'swhysuchaniceonewasspeciallyworkedforhim,in
orderthatwhenhewasallowedtoseeit,heshouldnotbeabletodootherwisethanuseit.Withthepresenthot
weather,hegoestosleepanyhow,butashehasbeencoaxedtowearit,itdoesn'tmatterifevenhedoesn'tcover
himselfwellatnight.YousaythatIbestowmuchlabouruponthis,butyouhaven'tyetseentheonehehason!"
"Itisaluckything,"Paoch'aiobserved,smiling,"thatyou'regiftedwithsuchpatience."
"I'vedonesomuchofittoday,"remarkedHsiJen,"thatmyneckisquitesorefrombendingoverit.Mydear
Miss,"shethenurgedwithabeamingcountenance,"dositherealittle.I'llgooutforaturn.I'llbebackshortly."
Withthesewords,shesalliedoutoftheroom.
Paoch'aiwasintentuponexaminingtheembroidery,soinherabsentmindedness,she,withonebendofher
body,settledherselfontheverysamespot,whichHsiJenhadrecentlyoccupied.Butshefound,onsecond
scrutiny,theworksoreallyadmirable,thatimpulsivelypickinguptheneedle,shecontinueditforher.Atquite
anunforeseenmomentforLinTaiyhadmetShihHsiangynandaskedhertocomealongwithherand
presenthercongratulationstoHsiJenthesetwogirlsmadetheirappearanceinthecourt.Findingthewhole
placeplungedinsilence,HsiangynturnedroundandbetookherselffirstintothesideroomsinsearchofHsi
Jen.LinTaiy,meanwhile,walkeduptothewindowfromoutside,andpeepedinthroughthegauzeframe.Ata
glance,sheespiedPaoy,cladinasilveryredcoat,lyingcarelesslyonthebed,andPaoch'ai,seatedbyhis
side,busyatsomeneedlework,withaflybrushrestingbyherside.
AssoonasLinTaiybecameconsciousofthesituation,sheimmediatelyslippedoutofsight,andstoppingher
mouthwithonehand,asshedidnotventuretolaughaloud,shewavedherotherhandandbeckonedtoHsiang
yn.ThemomentHsiangynsawthewayshewenton,sheconcludedthatshemusthavesomethingnewto
imparttoher,andsheapproachedherwithallpromptitude.Atthesight,whichopeneditselfbeforehereyes,she
alsofeltinclinedtolaugh.Yetthesuddenrecollectionofthekindness,withwhichPaoch'aihadalwaysdealt
towardsher,inducedhertoquicklysealherlips.AndknowingwellenoughthatTaiyneversparedanyone
withhermouth,shewasseizedwithsuchfearlestsheshouldjeeratthem,thatsheimmediatelydraggedher
pastthewindow."Comealong!"sheobserved."HsiJen,Iremember,saidthatshewouldbegoingatnoonto
washsomeclothesatthepond.Ipresumeshe'stherealreadysolet'sgoandjoinher."
Taiyinwardlygraspedhermeaning,but,afterindulginginacoupleofsardonicsmiles,shehadnoalternative
buttofollowinherfootsteps.
Paoch'aihad,duringthiswhile,managedtoembroidertwoorthreepetals,whensheheardPaoybeginto
shoutabusinglyinhisdreams."Howcan,"hecried,"oneeverbelievewhatbonzesandTaoistpriestssay?What
aboutamatchbetweengoldandjade?Myimpressionisthatit'stobeaunionbetweenashrubandastone!"
HsehPaoch'aicaughteverysinglewordutteredbyhimandfellunconsciouslyinastateofexcitement.Ofa
sudden,however,HsiJenappearedonthescene."Hasn'theyetwokeup?"sheinquired.
Paoch'ainoddedherheadbywayofreply.
"Ijustcameacross,"HsiJensmiled,"MissLinandMissShih.Didtheyhappentocomein?"
"Ididn'tseethemcomein,"Paoch'aianswered."Didtheytellyouanything?"shenextsmilinglyaskedofHsi
Jen.
HsiJenblushedandlaughedsignificantly."Theysimplycameoutwithsomeofthosejokesoftheirs,"she
explained."Whatdecentthingscouldsuchastheyhavehadtotellme?"

"Theymadeinsinuationstoday,"Paoch'ailaughed,"whichareanythingbutajoke!Iwasonthepointoftelling
youthem,whenyourushedawayinanawfulhurry."
Butnosoonerhadsheconcluded,thansheperceivedaservant,comeoverfromladyFeng'sparttofetchHsi
Jen."Itmustbeonaccountofwhattheyhinted,"Paoch'aismilinglyadded.
HsiJencouldnotthereforedootherwisethanarousetwoservantmaidsandgo.Sheproceeded,withPaoch'ai,
outoftheIHungcourt,andthenrepairedallalonetoladyFeng'sonthisside.Itwasindeedtocommunicateto
herwhathadbeendecidedabouther,andtoexplaintoher,aswell,thatthoughshecouldgoandprostrate
herselfbeforeMadameWang,shecoulddispensewithseeingdowagerladyChia.ThisnewsmadeHsiJenfeel
veryawkwardtosuchanextent,thatnosoonerhadshegotthroughhervisittoMadameWang,thanshe
returnedinahurrytoherrooms.
Paoyhadalreadyawoke.Heaskedthereasonwhyshehadbeencalledaway,butHsiJentemporisedbygiving
himanevasiveanswer.Andonlyatnight,wheneveryonewasquiet,didHsiJenatlengthgivehimafull
accountofthewholematter.Paoywasdelightedbeyondmeasure."I'llseenow,"hesaid,withafacebeaming
withsmiles,"whetheryou'llgobackhomeornot.Onyourreturn,afteryourlastvisittoyourpeople,youstated
thatyourbrotherwishedtoredeemyou,addingthatthisplacewasnohomeforyou,andthatyoudidn'tknow
whatwouldbecomeofyouinthelongrun.Youfreelyutteredallthatlanguagedevoidoffeelingandreason,and
enoughtootoproduceanestrangementbetweenus,inordertofrightenmebutI'dliketoseewho'll
henceforwardhavetheaudacitytocomeandaskyoutoleave!"
HsiJen,uponhearingthis,smiledasmilefullofirony."Youshouldn'tsaysuchthings!"shereplied."From
henceforwardIshallbeourMadameWang'sservant,sothat,ifIchoosetogoIneedn'tevenbreatheawordto
you.AllI'llhavetodowillbetotellher,andthenIshallbefreetodoasIlike."
"ButsupposingthatIbehavedimproperly,"demurredPaoylaughingly,"andthatyoutookyourleaveafter
lettingmotherknow,youyourselfwillbeplacedinnonicefix,whenpeoplegetwindthatyouleftonaccountof
myhavingbeenimproper."
"Whatnonicefix!"smiledHsiJen."IsitlikelythatIamboundtoserveevenhighwayrobbers?Well,failing
anythingelse,Icandieforhumanbeingsmayliveahundredyears,butthey'rebound,inthelongrun,tofalla
victimtodeath!Andwhenthisbreathshallhavedeparted,andIshallhavelostthesenseofhearingandof
seeing,allwillthenbewell!"
Whenherrejoinderfellonhisear,Paoypromptlystoppedhermouthwithbothhishands."Enough!enough!
thatwilldo,"heshouted."There'snonecessityforyoutoutterlanguageofthiskind."
HsiJenwaswellawarethatPaoywasgiftedwithsuchapeculiartemperament,thatheevenlookedupon
flatteringorauspiciousphraseswithutteraversion,treatingthemasmeaninglessandconsequentlyinsincere,so
when,afterlisteningtothosetruths,shehadspokenwithsuchpathos,he,lapsedintoanotherofhismelancholy
moods,sheblamedherselfforthewantofconsiderationshehadbetrayed.Hastilythereforeputtingonasmile,
shetriedtohituponsomesuitableremarks,withwhichtointerrupttheconversation.Herchoicefelluponthose
licentiousandimmodesttopics,whichhadeverbeenarelishtothetasteofPaoyandfromthesethe
conversationdriftedtothesubjectofwomankind.Butwhen,subsequently,referencewasmadetotheexcellency
oftheweaksex,theysomehoworotheralsocametotouchuponthemortalnatureofwomen,andHsiJen
promptlyclosedherlipsinsilence.
Noticinghoweverthatnowthattheconversationhadreachedapointsofullofzestforhim,shehadnothingto
sayforherself,Paoysmilinglyremarked:"Whathumanbeingistherethatcanescapedeath?Butthemain
thingistocometoaproperend!Allthatthoseabjectmalecreaturesexcelinis,thecivilofficers,tosacrifice
theirlivesbyremonstratingwiththeEmperorand,themilitary,toleavetheirbonesonthebattlefield.Both
thesedeathsdoconfer,afterlifeisextinct,thefameofgreatmenuponthembutisn'tit,infact,betterforthem
nottodie?ForasitisabsolutelynecessarythatthereshouldbeadisorderlyEmperorbeforetheycanaffordany
admonition,towhatfuturefatedotheythusexposetheirsovereign,iftheyrashlythrowawaytheirlives,with

thesoleaimofreapingafairnameforthemselves?Wartoomustsupervenebeforetheycanfightbutiftheygo
andrecklesslylaydowntheirlives,withtheexclusiveideaofgainingthereputationofintrepidwarriors,towhat
destinywilltheyabandontheircountrybyandbye?Henceitisthatneitherofthesedeathscanbelookedupon
asalegitimatedeath."
"Loyalministers,"HsiJenargued,"andexcellentgeneralssimplydiebecauseitisn'tintheirpowertodo
otherwise."
"Militaryofficers,"Paoyexplained,"placesuchentirerelianceuponbruteforcethattheybecomelaxintheir
stratagemsandfaultyintheirplans.It'sbecausetheydon'tpossessanyinherentabilitiesthattheylosetheir
lives.Couldonetherefore,pray,saythattheyhadnootheralternative?Civilofficials,ontheotherhand,canstill
lesscomparewithmilitaryofficers.Theyreadafewpassagesfrombooks,andcommitthemtomemoryand,on
theslightestmistakemadebytheEmperor,they'reatoncerashenoughtoremonstratewithhim,promptedby
thesoleideaofattainingthefameofloyaltyanddevotion.But,assoonastheirstupidnotionshavebubbled
over,theyforfeittheirlives,andisitlikelythatitdoesn'tliewithintheirpowertodootherwise?Why,they
shouldalsobearinmindthattheEmperorreceiveshisdecreesfromHeavenand,thatwerehenotaperfect
man,Heavenitselfwould,onnoaccountwhatever,conferuponhimachargesoextremelyonerous.Thismakes
itevidentthereforethatthewholepackandparcelofthoseofficers,whoaredeadandgone,haveinvariably
fallenvictimstotheirendeavourstoattainahighreputation,andthattheyhadnoknowledgewhateverofthe
importofthegreatprincipleofright!Takemeasaninstancenow.Werereallyminethegoodfortuneof
departinglifeatafittime,I'davailmyselfofthepresentwhenallyougirlsarealive,topassaway.AndcouldI
getyoutoshedsuchprofusetearsformeastoswelloutintoastreamlargeenoughtoraisemycorpseandcarry
ittosomesecludedplace,whithernobirdevenhaseverwendeditsflight,andcouldIbecomeinvisiblelikethe
wind,andnevermorefromthistime,comeintoexistenceasahumanbeing,Ishallthenhavediedataproper
season."
HsiJensuddenlyawoketothefactthathewasbeginningtogiveventtoalotoftwaddle,andspeedily,pleading
fatigue,shepaidnofurthernoticetohim.ThiscompelledPaoytoatlastbequietandgotosleep.Bythe
morrow,allrecollectionofthediscussionhadvanishedfromhismind.
Oneday,Paoywasfeelingwearyatheart,afterstrollingallovertheplace,whenrememberingthesongofthe
"PeonyPavilion,"hereaditovertwicetohimselfbutstillhisspiritscontinuedanythingbutjoyous.Having
heard,however,thatamongthetwelvegirlsinthePearFragranceCourttherewasonecalledLingKuan,who
excelledinsinging,hepurposelyissuedforthbyasidegateandcameinsearchofher.Butthemomenthegot
there,hediscoveredPaoKuan,andYKuaninthecourt.AssoonastheycaughtsightofPaoy,they,withone
consent,smiledandurgedhimtotakeaseat.PaoytheninquiredwhereLingKuanwas.Bothgirlsexplained
thatshewasinherroom,soPaoyhastenedin.HerehefoundLingKuanalone,recliningagainstapillow.
Thoughperfectlyconsciousofhisarrival,shedidnotmoveamuscle.Paoyensconcedhimselfnexttoher.He
hadalwaysbeeninthehabitofplayingwiththerestofthegirls,sothinkingthatLingKuanwasliketheothers,
hefeltimpelledtodrawnearherandtoentreather,withaforcedsmile,togetupandsingpartofthe"Niao
Ch'ingSsu."ButhishopeswerebaffledforassoonasLingKuanperceivedhimsitdown,sheimpetuously
raisedherselfandwithdrewfromhisside."I'mhoarse,"sherejoinedwithasternexpressiononherface."The
EmpresstheotherdaycalledusintothepalacebutIcouldn'tsingeventhen."
Seeinghersitboltupright,Paoywentontopassherunderaminutesurvey.Hediscoveredthatitwasthegirl,
whomhehad,sometimeagobeheldunderthecinnamonroses,drawingthecharacter"Ch'iang."Butseeingthe
receptionsheaccordedhim,whohadneversofarknownwhatitwastobetreatedcontemptuouslybyanyone,
heblushedcrimson,whilemutteringsomeabusetohimself,andfeltconstrainedtoquittheroom.
PaoKuanandhercompanioncouldnotfathomwhyhewassoredandinquiredofhimthereason.Paoytold
them."Waitawhile,"PaoKuansaid,"untilMr.Ch'iangSecunduscomesandwhenheaskshertosing,sheis
boundtosing."
Paoyatthesewordsfeltverysadwithinhimself."Where'sbrother
Ch'ianggoneto?"heasked.

"He'sjustgoneout,"PaoKuananswered."Ofcourse,LingKuanmusthavewantedsomethingorother,andhe's
gonetodevisewaysandmeanstobringittoher."
Paoythoughtthisremarkveryextraordinary.Butafterstandingaboutforawhile,heactuallysawChia
Ch'iangarrivefromoutside,carryingacage,withatinystageinsertedatthetop,andabirdaswellandwend
hissteps,inagleefulmood,towardstheinteriortojoinLingKuan.Themoment,however,henoticedPaoy,
hefeltunderthenecessityofhalting.
"Whatkindofbirdisthat?"Paoyasked."Canitholdaflaginitsbeak,ordoanytricks?"
"It'sthe'jadecrestedandgoldheadedbird,'"smiledChiaCh'iang.
"Howmuchdidyougiveforit?"Paoycontinued.
"Ataelandeightmace,"repliedChiaCh'iang.
Butwhilereplyingtohisinquiries,hemotionedtoPaoytotakeaseat,andthenwenthimselfintoLingKuan's
apartment.
Paoyhad,bythistime,losteverywishofhearingasong.Hissole
desirewastofindwhatrelationsexistedbetweenhiscousinandLing
Kuan,whenheperceivedChiaCh'iangwalkinandlaughinglysaytoher,
"Comeandseethisthing."
"What'sit?"LingKuanasked,rising.
"I'veboughtabirdforyoutoamuseyourselfwith,"ChiaCh'iangadded,"sothatyoumayn'tdailyfeeldulland
havenothingtodistractyourselfwith.ButI'llfirstplaywithitandletyousee."
Withthisprelude,hetookafewseedsandbegantocoaxthebird,untilit,inpointoffact,performedvarious
tricks,onthestage,claspinginitsbeakamaskandaflag.
Allthegirlsshoutedout:"Hownice"withthesoleexceptionofLingKuan,whogaveacoupleofapathetic
smirks,andwentinahufftoliedown.AgainChiaCh'iang,however,keptonforcingsmiles,andinquiringof
herwhethershelikeditornot.
"Isn'titenough,"LingKuanobserved,"thatyourfamilyentrapsafinelotofhumanbeingslikeusandcoopsus
upinthisholetostudythisstuffandnonsense,butdoyoualsonowgoandgetabird,whichlikewiseis,asit
happens,uptothissortofthing?Youdistinctlyfetchittomakefunofus,andmimickus,anddoyoustillask
mewhetherIlikeitornot?"
Hearingthisreproach,ChiaCh'iangofasuddensprangtohisfeetwithalacrityandvehementlyendeavouredby
vowingandswearingtoestablishhisinnocence."HowevercouldIhavebeensuchafooltoday,"heproceeded,
"astogoandthrowawayataelortwotopurchasethisbird?Ireallydiditinthehopethatitwouldaffordyou
amusement.Ineverforamomententertainedsuchthoughtsasthoseyoucreditmewith.ButnevermindI'lllet
itgo,andsaveyouallthismisery!"
Sosaying,heverilygavethebirditslibertyand,withoneblow,hesmashedthecagetoatoms.
"Thisbird,"stillarguedLingKuan,"differs,it'strue,fromahumanbeingbutittoohasamotherandfatherin
itsnest,andcouldyouhavehadthehearttobringitheretoperformthesesillypranks?Incoughingtoday,I
expectoratedtwomouthfulsofblood,andMadameWangsentsomeoneheretofindyousoastotellyoutoask
thedoctorroundtominutelydiagnosemycomplaint,andhaveyouinsteadbroughtthistomockmewith?Butit
sohappensthatI,whohavenotasoultolookafterme,ortocareforme,alsohavethefatetofallill!"

ChiaCh'ianglistenedtoher."Yesterdayevening,"heeagerlyexplained,"Iaskedthedoctoraboutit.Hesaidthat
itwasnothingatall,thatyoushouldtakeafewdosesofmedicine,andthathewouldbecomingagaininaday
ortwotoseehowyouweregettingon.Butwho'dhavethoughtit,youhaveagaintodayexpectoratedblood.I'll
goatonceandinvitehimtocomeround."
Speakingthewhile,hewasabouttogoimmediatelywhenLingKuancriedoutandstoppedhim."Doyougooff
inatantruminthishotbroilingsun?"shesaid."Youmayaskhimtocome,butIwon'tseehim."
Whenheheardherresolution,ChiaCh'ianghadperforcetostandstill.
Paoy,perceivingwhattranspiredbetweenthem,fellunwittinglyinadullreverie.Hethenatlengthgotan
insightintothedeepimportofthetracingofthecharacter"Ch'iang."Butunabletobeartheordealanylonger,
heforthwithtookhimselfoutoftheway.Soabsorbed,however,wasChiaCh'iang'swholemindwithLingKuan
thathecouldnotevengiveathoughttoescortinganyoneanditwas,infact,therestofthesinginggirlswho
saw(Paoy)out.
Paoy'sheartwasgnawedwithdoubtsandconjectures.Inanimbecileframeofmind,hecametotheIHung
court.LinTaiywas,atthemoment,sittingwithHsiJen,andchattingwithher.AssoonasPaoyenteredhis
quarters,headdressedhimselftoHsiJen,withalongsigh."IwasverywronginwhatIsaidyesterdayevening,"
heremarked."It'snomatterofsurprisethatfathersaysthatIamsonarrowmindedthatIlookatthingsthrough
atubeandmeasurethemwithaclamshell.Imentionedsomethinglastnightabouthavingnothingbuttears,
shedbyallofyougirls,tobeburiedin.Butthiswasameredelusion!SoasIcan'tgetthetearsofthewholelot
ofyou,eachoneofyoucanhenceforwardkeepherownforherself,andhavedone."
HsiJenhadflatteredherselfthatthewordshehadutteredthepreviouseveningamountedtoidletalk,andshe
hadlongagodispelledallthoughtofthemfromhermind,butwhenPaoyunawaresmadefurtherallusionto
them,shesmilinglyrejoined:"Youareverilysomewhatcracked!"
Paoykeptsilent,andattemptedtomakenoreply.Yetfromthistimehefullyapprehendedthatthelotof
humanaffectionsis,ineveryinstance,subjecttopredestination,andtimeandagainhewaswonttosecretly
muse,withmuchanguish:"Who,Iwonder,willshedtearsforme,atmyburial?"
LinTaiy,forwewillnowalludetoher,noticedPaoy'sbehaviour,butreadilyconcludingthathemusthave
been,somewhereorother,oncemorepossessedbysomemalignantspirit,shedidnotfeelitadvisabletoask
manyquestions."Ijustsaw,"sheconsequentlyobserved,"mymaternalaunt,whohearingthattomorrowis
MissHseh'sbirthday,bademecomeatmyconveniencetoaskyouwhetheryou'llgoornot,(andtotellyou)to
sendsomeoneaheadtoletthemknowwhatyoumeantodo."
"Ididn'tgotheotherday,whenitwasMr.ChiaShe'sbirthday,soIwon'tgonow."Paoyanswered."Ifitisa
matterofmeetinganyone,Iwon'tgoanywhere.Onahotdaylikethistoagaindonmyceremonialdress!No,I
won'tgo.Auntisnotlikelytofeeldispleasedwithme!"
"Whatareyoudrivingat?"HsiJenspeedilyventured."Shecouldn'tbeputonthesamefootingasoursenior
master!Shelivesclosebyhere.Besidesshe'sarelative.Why,ifyoudon'tgo,won'tyoumakeherimagine
things?Well,ifyoudreadtheheat,justgetupatanearlyhourandgooverandprostrateyourselfbeforeher,and
comebackagain,afteryou'vehadacupoftea.Won'tthislookwell?"
BeforePaoyhadtimetosayanythingbywayofresponse,Taiyanticipatedhim."Youshould,"shesmiled,
"goasfarasthereforthesakeofher,whodrivesthemosquitoesawayfromyou."
Paoycouldnotmakeoutthedriftofherinsinuation."Whataboutdrivingmosquitoesaway?"hevehemently
inquired.
HsiJenthenexplainedtohimhowwhilehewasfastasleepthepreviousdayandnoonewasabouttokeephim
company,MissPaoch'aihadsatwithhimforawhile.

"Itshouldn'thavebeendone!"Paoypromptlyexclaimed,afterhearingherexplanations."ButhowdidI
managetogotosleepandshowsuchutterdiscourtesytoher?Imustgotomorrow!"hethenwentontoadd.
Butwhilethesewordswerestillonhislips,heunexpectedlycaughtsightofShihHsianynwalkininfull
dress,tobidthemadieu,asshesaidthatsomeonehadbeensentfromherhometofetchheraway.
ThemomentPaoyandTaiyheardwhatwastheobjectofhervisit,theyquicklyrosetotheirfeetandpressed
hertotakeaseat.ButShihHsiangynwouldnotsitdown,soPaoyandTaiywerecompelledtoescorther
asfarasthefrontpartofthemansion.
ShihHsiangyn'seyeswerebrimmingwithtearsbutrealisingthatseveralpeoplefromherhomewerepresent,
shedidnothavethecouragetogivefullventtoherfeelings.ButwhenshortlyPaoch'airanovertofindher,she
feltsomuchthemoredrawntowardsthem,thatshecouldnotbrooktopartfromthem.Paoch'ai,however,
inwardlyunderstoodthatifherpeopletoldherauntanythingontheirreturn,therewouldagainbeeveryfearof
herbeingblownup,assoonasshegotbackhome,andshethereforeurgedhertostartonherway.Oneandall
thenwalkedwithheruptothesecondgate,andPaoywishedtoaccompanyherstillfurtheroutside,butShih
Hsiangyndeterredhim.Presently,theyturnedtogoback.Butoncemore,shecalledPaoytoher,and
whisperedtohiminasofttoneofvoice:"Shouldourvenerableseniornotthinkofmedooftenalludetome,so
thatsheshoulddeputesomeonetofetchme."
Paoytimeaftertimeassuredherthathewouldcomplywithherwishes.Andhavingfollowedherwiththeir
eyes,whileshegotintohercurricleandstarted,theyeventuallyretracedtheirstepstowardstheinner
compound.But,reader,ifyouliketofollowupthestory,perusethedetailscontainedinthechapterbelow.

CHAPTERXXXVII.
IntheStudyofAutumnalCheerfulnessisaccidentallyformedthe
CydoniaJaponicaSociety.
IntheHengWuCourt,thechrysanthemumis,onacertainnight,
proposedasasubjectforverses.
Buttocontinue.AfterShihHsiangyn'sreturnhome,Paoyandtheotherinmatesspenttheirtime,asofold,
inramblingaboutinthegardeninsearchofpleasure,andinhummingpoeticalcompositions.Butwithout
furtherreferencetotheirdoings,letustakeupournarrativewithChiaCheng.
Eversincethevisitpaidtoherhomebytheimperialconsort,hefulfilledhisofficialdutieswithadditionalzeal,
forthepurposeofreverentlymakingrequitalforthegraceshownhimbytheEmperor.Hiscorrectbearingand
hisspotlessreputationdidnotescapeHisMajesty'snotice,andheconferreduponhimthespecialappointment
ofLiteraryChancellor,withthesoleobjectofsinglingouthistruemeritforthoughhehadnotcommencedhis
careerthroughthearenaofpublicexaminations,hebelongedneverthelesstoafamilyaddictedtolettersduring
successivegenerations.ChiaChenghad,therefore,onthereceiptoftheimperialdecree,toselectthetwentieth
dayoftheeighthmoontosetoutonhisjourney.Whentheappointeddaycame,heworshippedattheshrinesof
hisancestors,tookleaveofthemandofdowagerladyChia,andstartedforhispost.Itwouldbeaneedlesstask,
however,torecountwithanyfullparticularshowPaoyandalltheinmatessawhimoff,howChiaChengwent
totakeuphisofficialduties,andwhatoccurredabroad,sufficeitforustonoticethatPaoy,eversinceChia
Cheng'sdeparture,indulgedhiscaprices,allowedhisfeelingstorunriot,andgaddedwildlyabout.Infact,he
wastedhistime,andaddedfruitlessdaysandmonthstohisage.
Onthisspecialoccasion,heexperiencedmorethaneverasenseofhislackofresources,andcametolookuphis
grandmotherChiaandMadameWang.Withthem,hewhiledawaysomeofhistime,afterwhichhereturned

intothegarden.Assoonashechangedhiscostume,heperceivedTs'uiMoenter,withacoupleofsheetsof
fancynotepaper,inherhand,whichshedeliveredtohim.
"Itquiteslippedfrommymind,"Paoyremarked."ImeanttohavegoneandseenmycousinTertiaisshe
betterthatyoucome?"
"Missisallright,"Ts'uiMoanswered."Shehasn'tevenhadanymedicinetoday.It'sonlyaslightchill."
WhenPaoyheardthisreply,heunfoldedthefancynotepaper.Onperusal,hefoundthecontentstobe:"Your
cousin,T'anCh'un,respectfullylaysthisonhercousinSecundus'studytable.Whentheothernightthebluesky
newlyopenedouttoview,themoonshoneasifithadbeenwashedclean!Suchadmirationdidthispureand
rarepanoramaevokeinmethatIcouldnotreconcilemyselftotheideaofgoingtobed.Theclepsydrahad
alreadyaccomplishedthreeturns,andyetIroamedbytherailingunderthedryandratrees.Butsuchpoor
treatmentdidIreceivefromwindanddew(thatIcaughtachill),whichbroughtaboutanailmentassevere(as
thatwhichpreventedthemanofoldfrom)pickingupsticks.Youtookthetroubleyesterdaytocomeinperson
andcheermeup.Timeaftertimealsodidyousendyourattendantsroundtomakeaffectionateinquiriesabout
me.YoulikewisepresentedmewithfreshlicheesandrelicsofwritingsofChenCh'ing.Howdeepisreallyyour
graciouslove!AsIleanttodayonmytableplungedinsilence,Isuddenlyrememberedthattheancientsof
successiveageswereplacedincircumstances,inwhichtheyhadtostruggleforreputationandtofightforgain,
butthattheyneverthelessacquiredspotswithhillsanddrippingstreams,and,invitingpeopletocomefromfar
andnear,theydidalltheycouldtodetainthem,bythrowingthelinchpinsoftheirchariotsintowellsorby
holdingontotheirshaftsandthattheyinvariablyjoinedfriendshipwithtwoorthreeofthesamemindas
themselves,withwhomtheystrolledaboutinthesegrounds,eithererectingaltarsforsong,orestablishing
societiesforscanningpoeticalworks.Theirmeetingswere,itistrue,prompted,onthespurofthemoment,bya
suddenfitofgoodcheer,butthesehaveagainandagainproved,duringmanyyears,apleasanttopicof
conversation.I,yourcousin,may,Iadmit,bedevoidoftalent,yetIhavebeenfortunateenoughtoenjoyyour
companyamidststreamsandrockeries,andtofurthermoreadmiretheelegantversescomposedbyHsehPao
ch'aiandLinTaiy.Whenwewereinthebreezyhallandthemoonlitpavilion,whatapitywenevertalked
aboutpoets!Butnearthealmondtreewiththesignandthepeachtreebythestream,wemayperhaps,when
underthefumesofwine,beabletoflingroundthecups,usedforhummingverses!Whoisitwhoopinesthat
societieswithanyclaimtoexcellentabilitiescanonlybeformedbymen?Mayitnotbethatthepleasant
meetingsontheTungShanmightyieldinmerittothose,suchasourselves,oftheweakersex?Shouldyounot
thinkittoomuchtowalkonthesnow,Ishallmakeboldtoaskyouround,andsweepthewaycleanofflowers
andwaitforyou.Respectfullywritten."
TheperusalofthisnotefilledPaoyunawareswithexultation.Clappinghishands"Mythirdcousin,"he
laughed,"istheoneeminentlypolishedI'llgoatoncetodayandtalkmattersoverwithher."
Ashespoke,hestartedimmediately,followedbyTs'uiMo.AssoonastheyreachedtheHsinFangpavilion,
theyespiedthematron,ondutythatdayatthebackdoorofthegarden,advancingtowardsthemwithanotein
herhand.ThemomentsheperceivedPaoysheforthwithcameuptomeethim."Mr.Yn,"shesaid,"presents
hiscomplimentstoyou.Heiswaitingforyouatthebackgate.Thisisanotehebademebringyou."
Uponopeningthenote,Paoyfoundittoreadasfollows:"Anunfilialson,Yn,reverentlyinquiresabouthis
worthyfather'sboundlesshappinessandprecioushealth.Rememberingthehonourconferreduponmebyyour
recognisingme,inyourheavenlybounty,asyourson,Itriedbothdayaswellasnighttodosomethingin
evidenceofmypiousobedience,butnoopportunitycouldIfindtoperformanythingfilial.WhenIhad,some
timeback,topurchaseflowersandplants,Isucceeded,thankstoyourvastinfluence,venerablesenior,infinally
makingfriendswithseveralgardenersandinseeingagoodnumberofgardens.AstheotherdayIunexpectedly
cameacrossawhitebegonia,ofararespecies,Iexhaustedeverypossiblemeanstogetsomeandmanagedto
obtainjusttwopots.Ifyou,worthysenior,regardyoursonasyourownveryson,dokeepthemtofeastyour
eyesupon!Butwiththishotweathertoday,theyoungladiesinthegardenwill,Ifear,notbeattheirease.Ido
notconsequentlypresumetocomeandseeyouinperson,soIpresentyouthisletter,writtenwithduerespect,
whileknockingmyheadbeforeyourtable.Yourson,Yn,onhisknees,laysthisepistleatyourfeet.Ajoke!"

Afterreadingthisnote,Paoylaughed."Hashecomealone?"heasked.
"Orhasheanyoneelsewithhim?"
"He'sgottwoflowerpotsaswell,"rejoinedthematron.
"Yougoandtellhim,"Paoyurged,"thatI'veinformedmyselfofthecontentsofhisnote,andthatthereare
fewwhothinkofmeashedoes!Ifyoualsotaketheflowersand,puttheminmyroom,itwillbeallright."
Sosaying,hecamewithTs'uiMointotheCh'iuShuangstudy,wherehediscoveredPaoch'ai,Taiy,Ying
Ch'unandHsiCh'unalreadyassembled.Whentheysawhimdropinuponthem,theyallburstoutlaughing.
"Herecomesstillanother!"theyexclaimed.
"I'mnotaboor,"smiledT'anCh'un,"sowhentheideacasuallycrossedmymind,Iwroteafewnotestotryand
seewhowouldcome.Butwho'dhavethoughtthat,assoonasIaskedyou,youwouldallcome."
"It'sunfortunatelylate,"Paoysmilinglyobserved."Weshouldhavestartedthissocietylongago."
"Youcan'tcallthislate!"Taiyinterposed,"sowhygivewaytoregret!Theonlythingis,youmustformyour
society,withoutincludingmeinthenumberforIdaren'tbeoneofyou."
"Ifyoudaren't,"YingCh'unsmiled,"whocanpresumetodoso?"
"Thisis,"suggestedPaoy,"alegitimateandgreatpurposeandweshouldallexertourenergies.Youshouldn't
bemodest,andIyieldingbuteveryoneofus,whothinksofanything,shouldfreelyexpressitforgeneral
discussion.SoseniorcousinPaoch'aidomakesomesuggestionandyoujuniorcousinLinTaiysay
something."
"Whatareyouinthishurryfor?"Paoch'aiexclaimed."Wearenotallhereyet."
Thisremarkwasbarelyconcluded,whenLiWanalsoarrived.Assoonasshecrossedthethreshold,"It'san
excellentproposal,"shelaughinglycried,"thisofstartingapoeticalsociety.Irecommendmyselfascontroller.
Sometimeagoinspring,Ithoughtofthis,'but,'Imused,'Iamunabletocomposeverses,sowhat'stheuseof
makingamessofthings?'ThisiswhyIdispelledtheideafrommymind,andmadenomentionaboutit.But
sinceit'syourgoodpleasure,cousinTertia,tostartit,I'llhelpyoutosetitonfoot."
"Asyou'vemadeupyourminds,"Taiyputin,"toinitiateapoeticalsociety,everyoneofuswillbepoets,so
weshould,asafirststep,doawaywiththosevariousappellationsofcousinanduncleandaunt,andthusavoid
everythingthatbearsasemblanceofvulgarity."
"Firstrate,"exclaimedLiWan,"andwhyshouldwenotfixuponsomenewdesignationsbywhichtoaddress
ourselves?Thiswillbeafarmorerefinedway!Asformyown,I'veselectedthatofthe'OldfarmerofTao
Hsiang'soletnoneofyouencroachonit."
"I'llthencallmyselfthe'residentscholaroftheCh'iuShuang,'andhavedone,"T'anCh'unobservedwitha
smile.
"'Residentscholarormaster'is,infact,nottothepoint.It'sclumsy,besides,"Paoyinterposed."Theplacehere
isfullofdryandraandbananatrees,andifonecouldpossiblyhituponsomenamebearinguponthedryandra
andbanana,itwouldbepreferable."
"I'vegotone,"shoutedT'anCh'unsmilingly."I'llstylemyself'theguestunderthebananatrees.'"
"Howuncommon!"theyunanimouslycried."It'saniceone!"
"Youhadbetter,"laughedTaiy,"bequickanddragherawayandstewsomeslicesofherflesh,forpeopleto
eatwiththeirwine."

Noonegraspedhermeaning,"Ch'uangtzu,"Taiyproceededtoexplain,smiling,"says:'Thebananaleaves
shelterthedeer,'andasshestylesherselftheguestunderthebananatree,isshenotadeer?Sobequickand
makepiecesofdriedvenisonofher."
Atthesewords,thewholecompanylaughed.
"Don'tbeinahurry!"T'anCh'unremarked,asshelaughed."Youmakeuseofspeciouslanguagetoabuse
peoplebutI'vethoughtofafineandmostappositenameforyou!"Whereuponaddressingherselftotheparty,
"Indaysgoneby,"sheadded,"animperialconcubine,NYing,sprinkledhertearsonthebamboo,andthey
becamespots,sofromoldentimestothepresentspottedbambooshavebeenknownasthe'Hsiangimperial
concubinebamboo.'NowshelivesintheHsiaoHsianglodge,andhasaweaknesstoofortears,sothebamboos
overtherewillbyandbye,Ipresume,likewisebecometransformedintospeckledbambooseveryonetherefore
musthenceforwardcallherthe'HsiaoHsiangimperialconcubine'andfinishwithit."
Afterlisteningtoher,theyoneandallclappedtheirhands,andcriedout:"Capital!"LinTaiyhowever
droopedherheadanddidnotsomuchasutterasingleword.
"I'vealso,"LiWansmiled,"devisedasuitablenameforseniorcousin,
HsehPaochai.Ittooisoneofthreecharacters."
"What'sit?"eagerlyinquiredtheparty.
"I'llraisehertotherankof'PrincessofHengWu,'"LiWanrejoined.
"Iwonderwhatyouallthinkaboutthis."
"Thistitleofhonour,"T'anCh'unobserved,"ismostapposite."
"Whataboutmine?"Paoyasked."Youshouldtryandthinkofoneformealso!"
"Yourstylehaslongagobeendecidedupon,"Paoch'aismiled."Itconsistsofthreewords:'fussingfornothing!'
It'smostpat!"
"Youshould,afterall,retainyouroldnameof'masteroftheflowersinthepurplecave,'"LiWansuggested.
"Thatwilldoverywell."
"Thoseweresomeofthedoingsofmyyouthwhyrakethemupagain?"
Paoylaughed.
"Yourstylesareverymany,"T'anCh'unobserved,"andwhatdoyouwanttochooseanotherfor?Allyou'vegot
todoistomakesuitablereplywhenwecallyouwhatevertakesourfancy."
"Imusthowevergiveyouaname,"Paoch'airemarked."There'saveryvulgarname,butit'sjusttheverything
foryou.Whatisdifficulttoobtainintheworldarerichesandhonourswhatisnoteasytocombinewiththemis
leisure.Thesetwoblessingscannotbeenjoyedtogether,but,asithappens,youholdonealongwiththeother,so
thatwemightaswelldubyouthe'richandhonourableidler.'"
"Itwon'tdoitisn'tsuitable,"Paoylaughed."It'sbetterthatyoushouldcallme,atrandom,whateveryou
like."
"WhatnamesaretobechosenforMissSecundaandMissQuarta?"LiWaninquired.
"Wealsodon'texcelinversifyingwhat'stheuseconsequentlyofgivingusnames,allfornoavail?"YingCh'un
said.
"Inspiteofthis,"arguedT'anCh'un,"itwouldbewelltolikewisefindsomethingforyou!"

"ShelivesintheTzuLingChou,(purplecaltropIsle),soletuscallher'LingChou,'"Paoch'aisuggested."As
forthatgirlQuarta,shelivesintheOnHsiangHsieh,(lotusfragrancepavilion)sheshouldthusbecalledOn
Hsiehandhavedone!"
"Thesewilldoverywell!"LiWancried."Butasfarasagegoes,Iamthesenior,andyoushouldalldefertomy
wishesbutIfeelcertainthatwhenI'vetoldyouwhattheyare,youwillunanimouslyagreetothem.Weare
sevenheretoformthesociety,butneitherI,norMissSecunda,norMissQuartacanwriteversessoifyouwill
excludeusthree,we'lleachsharesomespecialduties."
"Theirnameshavealreadybeenchosen,"T'anCh'unsmilinglydemurred"anddoyoustillkeeponaddressing
themlikethis?Well,inthatcase,won'titbeaswellforthemtohavenonames?Butwemustalsodecideupon
somescaleoffines,forfutureguidance,intheeventofanymistakes."
"Therewillbeampletimetofixuponascaleoffinesafterthesocietyhasbeendefinitelyestablished."LiWan
replied."There'splentyofroomoverinmyplacesolet'sholdourmeetingsthere.I'mnot,itistrue,agoodhand
atverses,butifyoupoetswon'ttreatmedisdainfullyasarusticboor,andifyouwillallowmetoplaythe
hostess,Imaycertainlyalsograduallybecomemoreandmorerefined.Asforconcedingtomethepresidentship
ofthesociety,itwon'tbeenough,ofcourse,formealonetopresideitwillbenecessarytoinvitetwoothersto
serveasvicepresidentsyoumightthenenlistLingChouandOuHsieh,bothofwhomareculturedpersons.
Theonetochoosethethemesandassignthemetre,theothertoactascopyistandsupervisor.Wethreecannot,
however,definitelysaythatwewon'twriteverses,for,ifwecomeacrossanycomparativelyeasysubjectand
metre,wetoowillinditeastanzaifwefeelsodisposed.Butyoufourwillpositivelyhavetodoso.Ifyouagree
tothis,well,wecanproceedwiththesocietybut,ifyoudon'tfallinwithmywishes,Ican'tpresumetojoin
you."
YingCh'unandHsiCh'unhadanaturalaversionforverses.Whatismore,HsehPaoch'aiandLinTaiywere
present.Assoonthereforeastheyheardtheseproposals,whichharmonisedsothoroughlywiththeirownviews,
theyboth,withonevoice,approvedthemasexcellent.T'anCh'unandtheotherswerelikewisewellawareof
theirobject,buttheycouldnot,whentheysawwithwhatwillingnesstheyacceptedthechargeinsist,withany
propriety,upontheirwritingverses,andtheyfeltobligedtosayyes.
"Yourproposals,"sheconsequentlysaid,"mayberightenoughbutinmyviewstheyareridiculous.Forhere
I'vehadthetroubleofinitiatingthisideaofasociety,and,insteadofmyhavinganythingtosayinthematter,
I'vebeenthemeansofmakingyouthreecomeandexercisecontroloverme."
"Wellthen,"Paoysuggested,"let'sgototheTaoHsiangvillage."
"You'realwaysinahurry!"LiWanremarked."We'reheretodaytosimplydeliberate.SowaituntilI'vesentfor
youagain."
"Itwouldbewell,"Paoch'aiinterposed,"thatweshouldalsodecideeveryhowmanydayswearetomeet."
"Ifwemeettoooften,"arguedT'anCh'un,"therewon'tbefuninit.Weshouldsimplycometogethertwoor
threetimesinamonth."
"Itwillbeampleifwemeettwiceorthriceamonth,"Paoch'aiadded."Butwhenthedateshavebeensettled
neitherwindnorrainshouldpreventus.Exclusive,however,ofthesetwodays,anyoneinhighspiritsand
disposedtohaveanextrameetingcaneitheraskustogoovertoherplace,oryoucanallcometouseitherwill
dowellenough!Butwon'titbemorepleasantifnohardandfastdateswerelaiddown?"
"Thissuggestionisexcellent,"theyallexclaimed.
"Thisideawasprimarilyoriginatedbyme,"T'anCh'unobserved,"andIshouldbethefirsttoplaythehostess,
sothatthesegoodspiritsofmineshouldn'tallgofornothing."

"Well,afterthisremark,"LiWanproceeded,"whatdoyousaytoyourbeingthefirsttoconveneameetingto
morrow?"
"Tomorrow,"T'anCh'undemurred,"isnotasgoodastodaythebestthingistohaveitatonce!You'dbetter
thereforechoosethesubjects,whileLingChoucanfixthemetre,andOuHsiehactassupervisor."
"Accordingtomyideas,"YingCh'unchimedin,"weshouldn'tyieldtothewishesofanysinglepersoninthe
choiceofthemesandthesettlementoftherhythm.Whatwouldreallybefairandrightwouldbetodrawlots."
"WhenIcamejustnow,"LiWanpursued,"Inoticedthembringintwopotsofwhitebegonias,whichwere
simplybeautifulandwhyshouldyounotwritesomeversesonthem?"
"Canwewriteverses,"YingCh'unretorted,"beforewehaveasyetseenanythingoftheflowers?"
"They'repurelyandsimplywhitebegonias,"Paochaianswered,"andisthereagainanyneedtoseethembefore
youputtogetheryourverses?Menofoldmerelyinditedpoeticalcompositionstoexpresstheirgoodcheerand
concealtheirsentimentshadtheywaitedtowriteonthingstheyhadseen,why,thewholenumberoftheir
workswouldnotbeinexistenceatpresent!"
"Inthatcase,"YingCh'unsaid,"letmefixthemetre."
Withthesewords,shewalkeduptothebookcase,and,extractingavolume,sheopenedit,atrandom,atsome
verseswhichturnedouttobeaheptameterstanza.Thenhandingitroundforgeneralperusal,everybodyhadto
composelineswithsevenwordsineach.YingCh'unnextclosedthebookofversesandaddressedherselftoa
youngwaitingmaid."Justutter,"shebadeher,"thefirstcharacterthatcomestoyourmouth."
Thewaitingmaidwasstanding,leaningagainstthedoor,soreadilyshesuggestedtheword"door."
"Therhymethenwillbetheword'door,'"YingCh'unsmiled,"underthethirteenthcharacter'Yuan.'Thefinal
wordofthefirstlineistherefore'door'."
Sayingthis,sheaskedfortheboxwiththerhymeslips,and,pullingoutthethirteenthdrawerwiththecharacter
"Yuan,"shedirectedayoungwaitingmaidtotakefourwordsastheycameunderherhand.Thewaitingmaid
compliedwithherdirections,andpickedoutfourslips,onwhichwerewritten"p'en,hun,henandhun,"pot,
spirit,tracesanddusk.
"Thetwocharacterspotanddoor,"observedPaoy,"arenotveryeasytorhymewith."
ButShihShuthengotreadyfourlotsofpaperandpens,shareandsharealike,andoneandallquietlysetto
work,rackingtheirbrainstoperformtheirtask,withtheexceptionofTaiy,whoeitherkeptonrubbingthe
dryandraflowers,orlookingattheautumnalweather,orbandyingjokesaswellwiththeservantgirlswhile
YingCh'unorderedawaitingmaidtolighta"dreamsweet"incensestick.
This"dreamsweet"stickwas,itmustbeexplained,madeonlyaboutthreeincheslongandaboutthethickness
ofalampwick,inordertoeasilyburndown.Settingthereforeherchoiceupononeoftheseasalimitoftime,
anyonewhofailedtoaccomplishtheallottedtask,bythetimethestickwasconsumed,hadtopayapenalty.
Presently,T'anCh'unwasthefirsttothinkofsomeverses,and,takingupherpen,shewrotethemdownand,
aftersubmittingthemtoseveralalterations,shehandedthemuptoYingCh'un.
"PrincessofHengWu,"shetheninquiredofPaoch'ai,"haveyoufinished?"
"Asforfinishing,Ihavefinished,"Paoch'airejoined"butthey'reworthnothing."
Paoypacedupanddowntheverandahwithhishandsbehindhisback.
"Haveyouheard?"hethereuponsaidtoTaiy,"they'vealldone!"

"Don'tconcernyourselfaboutme!"Taiyreturnedforanswer.
PaoyalsoperceivedthatPaoch'aihadalreadycopiedhersout."Dreadful!"heexclaimed."Thereonly
remainsaninchofthestickandI'veonlyjustcomposedfourlines.Theincensestickisnearlyburntout,"he
continued,speakingtoTaiy,"andwhatdoyoukeepsquattingonthatdampgroundlikethatfor?"
ButTaiydidnotagainworryhermindaboutwhathesaid.
"Well,"Paoyadded,"Ican'tbelookingafteryou!Whethergoodorbad,I'llwritemineouttooandhave
done."
Ashespoke,helikewisedrewuptothetableandbeganputtinghislinesdown.
"We'llnowperusetheverses,"LiWaninterposed,"andifbythetimewe'vedone,youhaven'tasyethandedup
yourpapers,you'llhavetobefined."
"OldfarmerofTaoHsiang,"Paoyremarked,"you'renot,itistrue,agoodhandatwritingverses,butyoucan
readwell,and,what'smore,you'rethefairestofthelotsoyou'dbetteradjudgethegoodandbad,andwe'll
submittoyourjudgment."
"Ofcourse!"respondedthepartywithonevoice.
Induecourse,therefore,shefirstreadT'anCh'un'sdraft.Itranasfollows:
VersesontheBegonia.
Whattimethesun'sraysslant,andthegrasswaxethcold,closethe
doubledoors.
Afterashowerofrain,greenmossplenteouslycoversthewholepot.
Beauteousisjade,butyetwiththeeinpurityitcannotevervie.
Thyframe,spotlessassnow,fromadmirationeasyrobsmeofmywits
Thyfragrantcoreislikeuntoadot,sofullofgrace,sodelicate!
Whenthemoonreacheththethirdwatch,thycomelyshadebeginsto
showitself.
Donottellmethatachastefairyliketheecantakewingsandpass
away.
Howlovelyarethycharms,wheninthycompanyatduskIsingmylay!
Aftershehadreadthemaloud,oneandallsangtheirpraiseforatime.
ShethentookupPaoch'ai's,whichconsistedof:
Ifthouwould'stcarefultendthosefragrantlovelyflowers,closeof
adaythedoors,
Andwiththineownhandstakethecanandsprinklewatero'erthe
mossypots.
Red,asifwithcosmeticwashed,aretheshadowsinautumnonthe
steps.
Theircrystalsnowybloominvitesthedewontheirspiritstoheap
itself.
Theirextremewhitenessmostlyshowsthatthey'remorecomelythanall
otherflowers.
Whenmuchtheygrieve,howcantheirjadelikeformlackthetracesof
tears?
Would'stthouthegodofthosewhiteflowersrepay?thenpurity
need'stthouobserve.

Insilenceplungestheirfinebloom,nowthatoncemoredayyieldsto
dusk.
"Afterall,"observedLiWan,"it'sthePrincessofHengWu,whoexpressesherselftothepoint."
Nexttheybestowedtheirattentiononthefollowinglines,composedby
Paoy:
Thyforminautumnfaintreflectsagainstthedoubledoors.
Soheapsthesnowintheseventhfeastthatitfilleththypots.
ThyshadeisspotlessasTaiChen,whenfromherbathshehails.
LikeHsiTzu's,whosehandeverpressedherheart,jadelikethysoul.
Whenthemornusheringbreezefallsnot,thythousandblossomsgrieve.
Toallthytearstheeveningshoweraddethanothertrace.
Alonethoulean'stagainstthecolouredrailsasifwithsenseimbued.
Asheavyheartedasthefondwife,beatingclothes,orherthatsadly
listenstotheflute,thoumark'stthefallofdusk.
Whentheyhadperusedhisverses,PaoyopinedthatT'anCh'un'scarriedthepalm.LiWanwas,however,
inclinedtoconcedetothestanza,inditedbyPaoch'ai,thecreditofpossessingmuchmerit.Butshethenwenton
totellTaiytolooksharp.
"Haveyoualldone?"Taiyasked.
Sosaying,shepickedupapenandcompletinghertask,withafewdashes,shethrewittothemtolookover.On
perusal,LiWanandhercompanionsfoundherversestoruninthisstrain:
Halfrolledthespeckledportierehangs,halfclosedthedoor.
Thymouldlikebrokeniceitlooks,jadelikethypot.
Thiscoupletover,Paoytooktheinitiativeandshouted:"Capital."Buthehadjusthadtimetoinquirewhere
shehadrecalledthemtomindfrom,whentheyturnedtheirmindtothesucceedinglines:
Threepointsofwhitenessfromthepearpetalsthousteal'st
Andfromtheplumbloomitsspiritthouborrowest.
"Splendid!"everyone(whoheard)themconnedover,feltimpelledtocry."Itisapositivefact,"theysaid,"that
herimaginationis,comparedwiththatofothers,quiteunique."
Buttherestofthecompositionwasnextconsidered.Itstextwas:
ThefairyinSelene'scavitydonnethaplainattire.
Themaiden,plungedinautumngrief,driesinherroomtheprintsof
tears.
Winsomesheblushes,insilenceshe'splunged,withnoneawordshe
breathes
Butwearilysheleansagainsttheeasternbreeze,thoughduskhaslong
sincefall'n.
"Thisstanzaranksaboveall!"theyunanimouslyremarked,afterithadbeenreadfortheirbenefit.
"Asregardsbeautyofthoughtandoriginality,thisstanzacertainlydeservescredit,"LiWanasserted"butas
regardspregnancyandsimplicityoflanguage,it,afterall,yieldstothatofHengWu."
"Thiscriticismisright."T'anCh'unputin."ThatoftheHsiaoHsiangconsortmusttakesecondplace."

"Yours,gentlemanofIHung,"LiWanpursued,"isthelastofthelot.
Doyouagreeablysubmittothisverdict?"
"Mystanza,"Paoyventured,"isn'treallyworthastraw.Yourcriticismisexceedinglyfair.But,"hesmilingly
added,"thetwopoems,writtenbyHengWuandHsiaoHsiang,havestilltobediscussed."
"Youshould,"arguedLiWan,"fallinwithmyjudgmentthisisnobusinessofanyofyou,sowhoeversays
anythingmorewillhavetopayapenalty."
Paoyatthisreplyfoundthathehadnoalternativebuttodropthesubject.
"Idecidethatfromhenceforward,"LiWanproceeded,"weshouldholdmeetingstwiceeverymonth,onthe
secondandsixteenth.Intheselectionofthemesandthesettlementoftherhymes,you'llallhavethentodoasI
wish.Butanypersonwhomay,duringtheintervals,feelsodisposed,willbeatperfectlibertytochooseanother
dayforanextrameeting.WhatwillIcareifthere'sameetingeverydayofthemoon?Itwillbenoconcernof
mine,solongaswhenthesecondandsixteentharrive,youdo,asyou'reboundto,andcomeovertomyplace."
"Weshould,asisbutright,"Paoysuggested,"choosesomenameorotherforoursociety."
"Wereanordinaryonechosen,itwouldn'tbenice,"T'anCh'unexplained,"andanythingtoonewfangled,
eccentricorstrangewon'talsobequitethething!Asluckwouldhaveit,we'vejuststartedwiththepoemsonthe
begonia,soletuscallitthe'BegoniaPoeticalSociety.'Thistitleis,it'strue,somewhatcommonplacebutasit's
positivelybasedonfact,itshouldn'tmatter."
Afterthisproposalofhers,theyheldfurtherconsultationandpartakingofsomeslightrefreshments,eachof
themeventuallyretired.Somerepairedtotheirquarters.OtherswenttodowagerladyChia'sorMadameWang's
apartments.Butwewillleavethemwithoutfurthercomment.
WhenHsiJen,forwewillnowcometoher,perceivedPaoyperusethenoteandwalkoffinagreatflurry,
alongwithTs'uiMo,shewasquiteatalosswhattomakeofit.Subsequently,shealsosawthematrons,onduty
atthebackgate,bringtwopotsofbegonias.HsiJeninquiredofthemwheretheycamefrom.Thewomen
explainedtoherallaboutthem.AssoonasHsiJenheardtheirreply,sheatoncedesiredthemtoputtheflowers
intheirproperplaces,andaskedthemtositdowninthelowerrooms.Shethenenteredthehouse,and,weighing
sixmaceofsilver,shewrappeditupproperly,andfetchingbesidesthreehundredcash,shecameoverand
handedboththeamountstothetwomatrons."Thissilver,"shesaid,"isapresentfortheboys,whocarriedthe
flowersandthesecashareforyoutobuyyourselvesacupofteawith."
Thewomenrosetotheirfeetinsuchhighgleethattheireyebrowsdilatedandtheireyessmiledbut,though
theywaxedeloquentintheexpressionoftheirdeepgratitude,theywouldnotacceptthemoney.Itwasonlyafter
theyhadperceivedhowobstinateHsiJenwasinnottakingitbackthattheyatlastvolunteeredtokeepit.
"Arethere,"HsiJentheninquired,"anyservantboysondutyoutsidethebackgate?"
"Therearefourofthemeveryday,"answeredoneofthematrons."They'reputtherewiththesoleideaof
attendingtoanyordersthatmightbegiventhemfrominside.But,Miss,ifyou'veanythingtoorderthemtodo,
we'llgoanddeliveryourmessage."
"WhatorderscanIhavetogivethem?"HsiJenlaughed."Mr.Pao,ourmasterSecundus,waspurposingtosend
someonetodaytotheyoungmarquis'housetotakesomethingovertoMissShih.Butyoucomeatan
opportunemomentsoyoumight,onyourwayout,telltheservantboysatthebackgatetohireacarriageand
onitsreturnyoucancomehereandgetthemoney.Butdon'tletthemrushrecklesslyagainstpeopleinthefront
partofthecompound!"
Thematronssignifiedtheirobedienceandtooktheirleave.HsiJenretracedherstepsintothehousetofetcha
trayinwhichtoplacethepresentsintendedforShihHsiangyn,butshediscoveredtheshelffortraysempty.

Uponturninground,however,shecaughtsightofCh'ingWen,Ch'iuWen,SheYehandtheothergirls,seated
together,busywiththeirneedlework."Whereisthewhitecorneliantraywithtwistedthreadsgoneto?"HsiJen
asked.
Atthisquestion,onelookedattheone,andtheotherstaredattheother,butnoneofthemcouldremember
anythingaboutit.Afteraprotractedlapseoftime,Ch'ingWensmiled."ItwastakentoMissTertia'switha
presentoflichees,"sherejoined,"andithasn'tasyetbeenreturned."
"Thereareplentyofarticles,"HsiJenremarked,"forsendingoverthingsonordinaryoccasionsanddoyou
deliberatelygoandcarrythisoff?"
"Didn'tImaintainthesamething?"Ch'ingWenretorted."Butsowelldidthistraymatchwiththefreshlichees
itcontained,thatwhenItookitover,MissT'anCh'unherselfnoticedthefact.'Howsplendid,'shesaid,andlo,
puttingeventhetrayby,sheneverhaditbroughtover.But,look!hasn'tthepairofbeadedvases,whichstoodon
theverytopofthatshelf,beenfetchedasyet?"
"Thementionofthesevases,"Ch'iuWenlaughed,"remindsmeagainofafunnyincident.WheneverourMr.
Paoy'sfilialpietyisaroused,heshowshimselffilialoverandabovethehighestdegree!Theotherday,he
espiedtheoleaflowersinthepark,andhepluckedtwotwigs.Hisoriginalideawastoplacetheminavasefor
himself,butasuddenthoughtstruckhim.'Theseareflowers,'hemused,'whichhavenewlyopenedinour
garden,sohowcanIpresumetobethefirsttoenjoythem?'Andactuallytakingdownthatpairofvases,he
filledthemwithwaterwithhisownhands,puttheflowersin,and,callingaservanttocarrythem,heinperson
tookoneofthevasesintodowagerladyChia's,andthentooktheothertoMadameWang's.But,asithappens,
evenhisattendantsreapsomebenefit,whenoncehisfilialfeelingsarestirredup!Asluckwouldhaveit,theone
whocarriedthevasesoveronthatdaywasmyself.Thesightoftheseflowerssoenchantedourvenerablelady
thattherewasnothingthatshewouldn'tdo.'Paoy,'shesaidtoeveryoneshemet,'istheone,afterall,who
showsmemuchattention.Somuchso,thathehaseventhoughtofbringingmeatwigofflowers!Andyet,the
othersbearmeagrudgeonaccountofthelovethatIlavishonhim!'Ourvenerablemistress,youallknowvery
well,hasneverhadmuchtosaytome.Ihaveallalongnotbeenmuchofafavouriteintheoldlady'seyes.But
onthatoccasionsheverilydirectedsomeonetogivemeseveralhundredsofcash.'Iwastobepitied,'she
observed,'forbeingbornwithaweakphysique!'Thiswas,indeed,anunforeseenpieceofgoodluck!The
severalhundredsofcashareameretriflebutwhat'snoteasytogetisthissortofhonour!Afterthat,wewent
overintoMadameWang's.MadameWangwas,atthetime,withourladySecunda,Mrs.Chao,andawholelot
ofpeopleturningtheboxestopsyturvey,tryingtofindsomecolouredclothesherladyshiphadwornlongago
inheryouth,soastogivethemtosomeoneorother.Whoitwas,Idon'tknow.Butthemomentshesawus,she
didnoteventhinkofsearchingforanyclothes,butgotlostinadmirationfortheflowers.OurladySecundawas
alsostandingby,andshemadesportofthematter.SheextolledourmasterPao,forhisfilialpietyandforhis
knowledgeofrightandwrongandwhatwithwhatwastrueandwhatwasn't,shecameoutwithtwocartloads
ofcompliments.ThesethingsspokeninthepresenceofthewholecompanysoaddedtoMadameWang'slustre
andsealedeveryone'smouth,thatherladyshipwasmoreandmorefilledwithgratification,andshegaveme
tworeadymadeclothesasapresent.Thesetooareofnoconsequenceonewayoranother,wegetsomeevery
yearbutnothingcancomeuptothissortofluckychance!"
"Psha!"Ch'ingWenejaculatedwithasignificantsmile,"youareindeedameanthing,whohasseennothingof
theworld!Shegavethegoodonestoothersandtherefusetoyouanddoyoustillpatonallthisside?"
"Nomatterwhetherwhatshegavemewasrefuseornot,"Ch'iuWenprotested,"it's,afterall,anactofbounty
onthepartofherladyship."
"Haditbeenmyself,"Ch'ingWenpursued,"Iwouldatoncehaverefusedthem!Itwouldn'thavematteredifshe
hadgivenmewhathadbeenleftbysomeoneelsebutweallstandonanequalfootingintheserooms,andis
thereanyone,forsooth,somuchthemoreexaltedorhonorablethantheotherastojustifyhertakingwhatis
goodandbestowingituponherandgivingmewhatisleft?Ihadrathernottakethem!Imighthavehadtogive
offencetoMadameWang,butIwouldn'thaveputupwithsuchaslight!"

"Towhomdidshegiveanyintheserooms?"Ch'iuWenvehementlyinquired."Iwasunwellandwenthomefor
severaldays,sothatIamnotawaretowhomanyweregiven.Dearsister,dotellmewhoitissothatImay
know."
"WereItotellyou,"Ch'ingWenrejoined,"isitlikelythatyouwouldreturnthematthishourtoMadame
Wang?"
"Whatnonsense,"Ch'iuWenlaughed."EversinceI'veheardaboutit,I'vebeendelightedandhappy.Nomatter
ifsheevenbestoweduponmewhatremainedfromanythinggiventoadogintheserooms,Iwouldhavebeen
thankfulforherladyship'skindness.Iwouldn'thaveworriedmymindwithanythingelse!"
Afterlisteningtoher,everybodylaughed."Doesn'tsheknowhowtojeerinfinestyle!"theyejaculated
unanimously"forweren'ttheygiventothatforeignspottedpugdog?"
"Youlotoffilthytonguedcreatures!"HsiJenlaughed,"whenyou'vegotnothingtodo,youmakemethe
scapegoattocrackyourjokes,andpokeyourfunat!Butwhatkindofdeathwill,Iwonder,eachofyouhave!"
"Wasitverilyyou,sister,whogotthem?"Ch'iuWenaskedwithasmile.
"IassureyouIhadnoideaaboutit!Itenderyoumyapologies."
"Youmightbealittlelessdomineering!"HsiJenremarkedsmilingly.
"Thethingnowis,whoofyouwillgoandfetchthetray."
"Thevasestoo,"ShihYehsuggested,"mustbegotbackwhenthere'sanytimetospareforthere'snothingto
sayaboutourvenerablemistress'quarters,butMadameWang'sapartmentsteemwithpeopleandmanyhands.
TherestareallrightbutMrs.Chaoandallthatcompanywill,whentheyseethatthevasehailsfromthese
rooms,surelyagainfosterevildesigns,andtheywon'tfeelhappyuntilthey'vedonealltheycantospoilit!
Besides,MadameWangdoesn'ttroubleherselfaboutsuchthings.Sohadwenotaswellbringitoveramoment
sooner?"
Hearingthis,Ch'ingWenthrewdownherneedlework."Whatyousayisperfectlyright,"sheassented,"soyou'd
betterletmegoandfetchit."
"I'll,afterall,goforit."Ch'iuWencried."Youcangoandgetthattrayofyours!"
"Youshouldletmeoncegoforsomething!"Ch'ingWenpleaded."Wheneveranyluckychancehasturnedup,
you'veinvariablygrabbeditandcanitbethatyouwon'tletmehaveasingleturn?"
"Altogether,"SheYehsaidlaughingly,"thatgirlCh'iuWengotafewclothesjustoncecansuchalucky
coincidencepresentitselfagaintodaythatyoutooshouldfindthemengagedinsearchingforclothes?"
"AlbeitImayn'tcomeacrossanyclothes,"Ch'ingWenrejoinedwithasardonicsmile,"ourMadameWangmay
noticehowdiligentIam,andapportionmeacoupleoftaelsoutofherpublicexpensesthere'snosaying."
Continuing,"Don'tyoupeople,"shelaughed,"tryandplayyourprankswithmeforisthereanythingthatI
don'ttwig?"
Asshespoke,sheranoutside.Ch'iuWentoolefttheroominhercompanybutsherepairedtoT'anCh'un's
quartersandfetchedthetray.
HsiJenthengoteverythingready.Callinganoldnurseattachedtothesameplaceasherself,Sungbyname,
"Justgofirstandwash,combyourhairandputonyouroutofdoorclothes,"shesaidtoher,"andthencome
backasIwanttosendyouatoncewithapresenttoMissShih."
"Miss,"urgedthenurseSung,"justgivemewhatyouhaveand,ifyouhaveanymessage,tellitmesothat
whenI'vetidiedmyselfImaygostraightway."

HsiJen,atthisproposal,broughttwosmalltwistedwireboxesand,openingfirsttheoneinwhichweretwo
kindsoffreshfruits,consistingofcaltropsand"chickenhead"fruit,andafterwardsuncoveringtheother,
containingatraywithnewcakes,madeofchestnutpowder,andsteamedinsugar,scentedwiththeolea,"All
thesefreshfruitsarenewlypluckedthisyearfromourowngarden,"sheobserved"ourMr.Secundussends
themtoMissShihtotaste.Theotherday,too,shewasquitetakenwiththiscorneliantraysoletherkeepitfor
heruse.Inthissilkbagshe'llfindthework,whichsheaskedmesometimeagotodoforher.(Tellher)thatshe
mustn'tdespiseitforitscoarseness,butmakethebestofitandturnittosomeaccount.Presentrespectstoher
fromourpartandinquireafterherhealthonbehalfofMr.Paoythatwillbeallthere'stosay."
"HasMr.Pao,Iwonder,anythingmoreformetotellher?"thenurseSungadded,"Miss,dogoandinquire,so
thatonmyreturn,hemayn'tagainsaythatIforgot."
"Hewasjustnow,"HsiJenconsequentlyaskedCh'iuWen,"overtherein
MissTertia'srooms,wasn'the?"
"Theywereallassembledthere,deliberatingaboutstartingsomepoeticalsocietyorother,"Ch'iuWen
explained,"andtheyallwroteversestoo.ButIfancyhe'sgotnomessagetogiveyousoyoumightaswell
start."
Afterthisassurance,nurseSungforthwithtookthethings,andquittedtheapartment.Whenshehadchangedher
clothesandarrangedherhair,HsiJenfurtherenjoinedthemtogobythebackdoor,wheretherewasaservant
boy,waitingwithacurricle.NurseSungthereuponsetoutonhererrand.Butwewillleaveherforthepresent.
InalittletimePaoycameback.Afterfirstcursorilyglancingatthebegoniasforatime,hewalkedintohis
rooms,andexplainedtoHsiJenallaboutthepoeticalsocietytheyhadmanagedtoestablish,HsiJenthentold
himthatshehadsentthenurseSungalongwithsomethings,toShihHsiangyn.AssoonasPaoyheardthis,
heclappedhishands."Iforgotallabouther!"hecried."IknewverywellthatIhadsomethingtoattendtobutI
couldn'trememberwhatitwas!Luckily,you'vealludedtoher!Iwasjustmeaningtoaskhertocome,forwhat
funwilltherebeinthispoeticalsocietywithouther?"
"Isthisofanyseriousimport?"HsiJenreasonedwithhim."It'sall,forthemeresakeofrecreation!She'snot
howeverabletogoaboutatherownfreewillasyoupeopledo.Norcansheathomehaveherownway.When
youthereforeletherknow,itwon'tagainrestwithher,howeverwillingshemaybetoavailherselfofyour
invitation.Andifshecan'tcome,shewilllongandcravetobewithyouall,soisn'titbetterthatyoushouldn't
bethemeansofmakingherunhappy?"
"Nevermind!"respondedPaoy."I'lltellourvenerableseniortodespatchsomeonetobringherover."
Butinthemiddleoftheirconversation,nurseSungreturnedalreadyfromhermission,andexpressedtohim,
(Hsiangyn's)acknowledgmentandtoHsiJenherthanksforthetrouble."Shealsoinquired,"thenurse
proceeded,"whatyou,masterSecundus,wereupto,andItoldherthatyouhadstartedsomepoeticalclubor
otherwiththeyoungladiesandthatyouwereengagedinwritingverses.MissShihwonderedwhyitwas,ifyou
werewritingverses,thatyoudidn'tevenmentionanythingtoherandshewasextremelydistressedaboutit."
Paoy,atthesewords,turnedhimselfroundandbetookhimselfimmediatelyintohisgrandmother'sapartments,
wherehedidallthatlayinhispowertourgehertodeputeservantstogoandfetchher.
"It'stoolatetoday,"dowagerladyChiaanswered"they'llgotomorrow,assoonasit'sdaylight."
Paoyhadnoothercoursebuttoaccedetoherwishes.He,however,retracedhisstepsbacktohisroomwitha
heavyheart.Onthemorrow,atearlydawn,hepaidanothervisittooldladyChiaandbroughtpressuretobear
onheruntilshesentsomeoneforher.Soonaftermidday,ShihHsiangynarrived.Paoyfeltatlengthmuch
relievedinhismind.Uponmeetingher,herecountedtoherallthathadtakenplacefrombeginningtoend.His
purposewaslikewisetoletherseethepoeticalcomposition,butLiWanandtheothersremonstrated."Don't,"
theysaid,"allowhertoseethem!Firsttellhertherhymesandnumberoffeetand,asshecomeslate,she

should,asafirststep,payapenaltybyconformingtothetaskwehadtodo.Shouldwhatshewritesbegood,
thenshecanreadilybeadmittedasamemberofthesocietybutifnotgood,sheshouldbefurtherpunishedby
beingmadetostandatreatafterwhich,wecandecidewhat'stobedone."
"You'veforgottentoaskmeround,"Hsiangynlaughed,"andIshould,afterall,fineyoupeople!Butproduce
themetreforthoughIdon'texcelinversifying,IshallexertmyselftodothebestIcan,soastogetridofevery
slur.Ifyouwilladmitmeintotheclub,Ishallbeevenwillingtosweepthefloorsandburntheincense."
Whentheyallsawhowfulloffunshewas,theyfeltmorethaneverdelightedwithherandtheyreproached
themselves,forhavingsomehoworothermanagedtoforgetheronthepreviousday.Buttheylostnotimein
tellingherthemetreoftheverses.
ShihHsiangynwasinwardlyinecstasies.Somuchso,thatshecouldnotwaittobeatthetattooandeffectany
alterations.Buthavingsucceeded,whileconversingwithhercousins,indevisingastanzainhermind,she
promptlyinscribeditonthefirstpieceofpaperthatcametohand."Ihave,"sheremarked,withaprecursory
smile,"stucktothemetreandwrittentwostanzas.Whethertheybegoodorbad,IcannotsayallI'vekeptin
viewwastosimplycomplywithyourwishes."
Sospeaking,shehandedherpapertothecompany.
"Wethoughtourfourstanzas,"theyobserved,"hadsothoroughlyexhaustedeverythingthatcouldbeimagined
onthesubjectthatanotherstanzawasoutofthequestion,andthereyou'vedevisedacouplemore!Howcould
therebesomuchtosay?Thesemustbemererepetitionsofourownsentiments."
Whilebandyingwords,theyperusedhertwostanzas.Theyfoundthistobetheirburden:
No.1.
Thefairiesyesterdaycamedownwithinthecitygates,
Andlikethosegems,sowninthegrassyfield,plantedonepot.
Howclearitisthatthegoddessoffrostisfondofcold!
Itisnoquestionofaprettygirlbentupondeath!
Wheredoesthesnow,whichcomesingloomyweather,issuefrom?
Thedropsofrainincreasetheprints,leftfromthepreviousnight.
Howtheflowersrejoicethatbardsarenotwearyofsong!
Butaretheyeverlefttospendinpeaceadayornight?
No.2.
The"hengchih"coveredstepsleadtothecreeperladendoor.
Howfittoplantbythecornerofwallshowfitforpots?
Theflowerssorelishpuritythattheycan'tfindamate.
Easyinautumnsnapsthesoulofsorrowwastedman.
Thetears,whichfromthejadelikecandledrip,dryinthewind.
ThecrystallikeportiereasunderrendsSelene'srays.
Theirprivatefeelingstothemoongoddesstheylongedtotell,
Butgone,alas!isthelustresheshedontheemptycourt!
Everylinefilledthemwithwonderandadmiration.Whattheyread,theypraised."This,"theyexclaimed,with
oneconsent,"isnotwritingversesonthebegoniafornopurpose!WemustreallystartaBegoniaSociety!"
"Tomorrow,"ShihHsiangynproposed,"firstfinemebymakingmestandatreat,andlettingmebethefirstto
conveneameetingmayI?"

"Thiswouldbefarbetter!"theyallassented.Soproducingalsotheverses,composedthepreviousday,they
submittedthemtoherforcriticism.
Intheevening,HsiangyncameattheinvitationofPaoch'ai,totheHengWuYantoputupwithherforthe
night.Bylamplight,Hsiangynconsultedwithherhowshewastoplaythehostessandfixuponthethemes
but,afterlendingapatienteartoallherproposalsforalongtime,Paoch'aithoughtthemsounsuitableforthe
occasion,thatturningtowardsher,sheraisedobjections."Ifyouwant,"shesaid,"toholdameeting,youhaveto
paythepiper.Andalbeitit'sformerefun,youhavetomakeeverypossibleprovisionforwhileconsultingyour
owninterests,youmustguardagainstgivingumbragetopeople.Inthatcaseeveryonewillafterwardsbehappy
andcontented.Youcountfornothingtooinyourownhomeandthewholelumpsumofthosefewtiaos,you
draweachmonth,arenotsufficientforyourownwants,anddoyounowalsowishtoburdenyourselfwiththis
uselesssortofthing?Why,ifyourauntgetswindofit,won'tshebemoreincensedwithyouthanever!What's
more,eventhoughyoumightforkoutallthemoneyyoucancallyourowntobeartheoutlayofthis
entertainmentwith,itwon'tbeanythinglikeenough,andcanitpossiblybe,pray,thatyouwouldgohomefor
theexpresspurposeofrequisitioningthenecessaryfunds?Orwillyouperchanceaskforsomefrominhere?"
ThislongtiradehadtheeffectofbringingthetruefactsofthecasetoHsiangyn'snotice,andshebeganto
waverinastateofuncertainty.
"Ihavealreadyfixeduponaplaninmymind,"Paoch'airesumed."There'sanassistantinourpawnshopfrom
whosefamilyfarmcomesomesplendidcrabs.Sometimeback,hesentusafewasapresent,andnow,starting
fromourvenerableseniorandincludingtheinmatesoftheupperquarters,mostofthemarequiteinlovewith
crabs.Itwasonlytheotherdaythatmymothermentionedthatsheintendedinvitingourworthyancestorinto
thegardentolookattheoleaflowersandpartakeofcrabs,butshehashadherhandssofullthatshehasn'tasyet
askedherround.Sojustyounowdropthepoeticalmeeting,andinvitethewholecrowdtoashowandifwe
waituntiltheygo,won'twebeabletoinditeasmanypoemsaswelike?Butletmespeaktomybrotherandask
himtoletushaveseveralbasketsofthefattestandlargestcrabshecanget,andtoalsogotosomeshopand
fetchseveraljarsoflusciouswine.Andifwethenlayoutfourorfivetableswithplatesfullofrefreshments,
won'twesavetroubleandallhaveajollytimeaswell?"
AssoonasHsiangynheard(thealternativeproposedbyPaoch'ai,)shefeltherheartthrobwithgratitudeand
inmostprofusetermsshepraisedherforherforethought.
"TheproposalI'vemade."Paoch'aipursuedsmilingly"ispromptedentirelybymysincerefeelingsforyouso
whateveryoudodon'tbetouchyandimaginethatIlookdownuponyouforinthatcasewetwowillhavebeen
goodfriendsallinvain.Butifyouwon'tgivewaytosuspicion,I'llbeabletotellthematoncetogoandget
thingsready."
"Mydearcousin,"eagerlyrejoinedHsiangyn,asmileonherlips,"ifyousaythesethingsit'syouwhotreat
mewithsuspicionfornomatterhowfoolishapersonImaybe,asnottoevenknowwhat'sgoodandbad,I'm
stillahumanbeing!DidInotregardyou,cousin,inthesamelightasmyownverysister,Iwouldn'tlasttime
havehadanywishorinclinationtodisclosetoyoueverybitofthosetroubles,whichordinarilyfalltomyshare
athome."
Afterlisteningtotheseassurances,Paoch'aisummonedamatronandbadehergooutandtellhermaster,Hseh
P'an,toprocureafewhampersofcrabsofthesamekindasthosewhichweresentonthepreviousoccasion.
"Ourvenerablesenior,"(shesaid,)"andauntWangareaskedtocometomorrowaftertheirmealandadmirethe
oleaflowers,somind,impressuponyourmastertopleasenotforget,asI'vealreadytodayissuedthe
invitations."
Thematronwalkedoutofthegardenanddistinctlydeliveredthemessage.But,onherreturn,shebroughtno
reply.
Duringthiswhile,Paoch'aicontinuedherconversationwithHsiangyn."Thethemesfortheverses,"she
advisedher,"mustn'talsobetoooutoftheway.Justsearchtheworksofoldwriters,andwherewillyoufind

anyeccentricandpeculiarsubjects,oranyextradifficultmetre!Ifthesubjectbetoomuchoutofthewayand
themetretoodifficult,onecannotgetgoodverses.Inaword,weareameanlotandourversesarecertain,I
fear,toconsistofmererepetitions.Norisitadvisableforustoaimatexcessiveoriginality.Thefirstthingforus
todoistohaveourideasclear,asourlanguagewillthennotbecommonplace.Infact,thissortofthingisno
vitalmatterspinningandneedleworkare,inaword,thelegitimatedutiesofyouandme.Yet,ifwecanatany
timeaffordtheleisure,it'sonlyrightandproperthatweshouldtakesomebook,thatwillbenefitbothbodyand
mind,andreadafewchaptersoutofit."
Hsiangynsimplysignifiedherassent."I'mnowcogitatinginmymind,"shethenlaughinglyremarked,"thatas
theverseswewroteyesterdaytreatedofbegonias,weshould,Ithink,composeonthisoccasionsomeon
chrysanthemums,eh?Whatdoyousay?"
"Chrysanthemumsareinseason,"Paoch'aireplied."Theonlyobjectiontothemisthattoomanywritersofold
havemadethemthesubjectoftheirpoems."
"Ialsothinkso,"Hsiangynadded,"sothat,Ifear,weshallonlybefollowingintheirfootsteps."
Aftersomereflection,Paoch'aiexclaimed,"I'vehituponsomething!Ifwetake,forthepresentinstance,the
chrysanthemumsasasecondaryterm,andmanastheprimary,wecan,afterall,selectseveralthemes.Butthey
mustallconsistoftwocharacters:theone,anemptywordtheother,afullone.Thefullwordmightbe
chrysanthemumswhilefortheemptyone,wemightemploysomewordingeneraluse.Inthismanner,weshall,
ononehand,singthechrysanthemumand,ontheother,composeversesonthetheme.Andasoldwritershave
notwrittenmuchinthisstyle,itwillbeimpossibleforustodriftintothegrooveoftheirideas.Thusin
versifyingonthesceneryandinsingingtheobjects,wewill,inbothrespects,combineoriginalitywithliberality
ofthought."
"Thisisallverywell,"smiledHsiangyn."Theonlythingiswhatkindofemptywordswill,Iwonder,bebest
touse?Justyoufirstthinkofoneandletmesee."
Paoch'aiplungedinthoughtforatime,afterwhichshelaughinglyremarked:"Dreamofchrysanthemumsis
good."
"It'spositivelygood!"Hsiangynsmiled."I'vealsogotone:'the
Chrysanthemumshadow,'willthatdo?"
"Wellenough,"Paoch'aianswered,"theonlyobjectionisthatpeoplehavewrittenonityetifthethemesareto
bemany,wemightthrowthisin.I'vegotanotheronetoo!"
"Bequick,andtellit!"Hsiangynurged.
"Whatdoyousayto'asktheChrysanthemums?'"Paoch'aiobserved.
Hsiangynclappedherhandonthetable."Capital,"shecried."I'vethoughtofonealso."Shethenquickly
continued,"Itis,searchforchrysanthemumswhat'syourideaaboutit?"
Paoch'aithoughtthattoowoulddoverywell."Let'schoosetenofthemfirst,"shenextproposed"and
afterwardsnotethemdown!"
Whiletalking,theyrubbedtheinkandmoistenedthepens.Thesepreparationsover,Hsiangynbegantowrite,
whilePaoch'aienumeratedthethemes.Inashorttime,theygottenofthem.
"Tendon'tformaset,"Hsiangynwentontosmilinglysuggest,afterreadingthemover."We'dbettercomplete
thembyraisingtheirnumbertotwelvethey'llthenalsobeonthesamefootingaspeople'spicturesandbooks."
Hearingthisproposal,Paoch'aidevisedanothercoupleofthemes,thusbringingthemtoadozen."Well,since
we'vegotsofar,"shepursued,"let'sgoonestepfurtherandcopythemoutintheirproperorder,puttingthose

thatarefirst,firstandthosethatcomelast,last."
"Itwouldbestillbetterlikethat,"Hsiangynacquiesced,"aswe'llbeabletomakeupa'chrysanthemum
book.'"
"Thefirststanzashouldbe:'Longingforchrysanthemums,'"Paochaisaid,"andasonecannotgetthemby
wishing,andhas,inconsequence,tosearchforthem,thesecondshouldbe'searchingforchrysanthemums.'
Afterduesearch,onefindsthem,andplantsthem,sothethirdmustbe:'plantingchrysanthemums.'Afterthey've
beenplanted,they,blossom,andonefacesthemandenjoysthem,sothefourthshouldbe'facingthe
chrysanthemums.'Byfacingthem,onederivessuchexcessivedelightthatoneplucksthemandbringsthemin
andputstheminvasesforone'sowndelectation,sothefifthmustbe'placingchrysanthemumsinvases.'Ifno
versesaresungintheirpraise,afterthey'vebeenplacedinvases,it'stantamounttoseeingnopointofbeautyin
chrysanthemums,sothesixthmustbe'singaboutchrysanthemums.'Aftermakingthemtheburdenofone's
song,onecan'thelprepresentingtheminpictures.Theseventhplaceshouldthereforebeconcededto'drawing
chrysanthemums.'Seeingthatinspiteofallthelabourbestowedonthedrawingofchrysanthemums,thefine
traitstheremaybeaboutthemarenotyet,infact,apparent,oneimpulsivelytriestofindthemoutbyinquiries,
sotheeighthshouldbe'askingthechrysanthemums.'Asanyperception,whichthechrysanthemumsmight
displayinfathomingthequestionssetwouldhelptomaketheinquirerimmoderatelyhappy,theninthmustbe
'pinningthechrysanthemumsinthehair.'Andasaftereverythinghasbeenaccomplished,thatcomeswithinthe
sphereofman,therewillremainstillsomechrysanthemumsaboutwhichsomethingcouldbewritten,two
stanzasonthe'shadowofthechrysanthemums,'andthe'dreamaboutchrysanthemums'mustbetaggedonas
numberstenandeleven.Whilethelastsectionshouldbe'thewitheringofthechrysanthemums'soastobringto
aclosethesentimentsexpressedintheforegoingsubjects.Inthiswisethefinesceneryandfinedoingsofthe
thirdpartofautumn,willbothalikebeincludedinourthemes."
Hsiangynsignifiedherapproval,andtakingthelistshecopieditoutclean.Butafteroncemorepassingher
eyeoverit,shewentontoinquirewhatrhymesshouldbedeterminedupon.
"Idonot,asarule,likehardandfastrhymes,"Paoch'airetorted."It'sevidentenoughthatwecanhavegood
verseswithoutthem,sowhat'stheuseofanyrhymestoshackleus?Don'tletusimitatethatmeanlotofpeople.
Let'ssimplychooseoursubjectandpaynonoticetorhymes.Ourmainobjectistoseewhetherwecannotby
chancehituponsomewellwrittenlinesforthesakeoffun.Itisn'ttomakethisthemeansofsubjectingpeople
toperplexities."
"Whatyousayisperfectlyright,"Hsiangynobserved."Inthismannerourpoeticalcompositionwillimprove
onestephigher.Butweonlymusterfivemembers,andthereareheretwelvethemes.Isitlikelythateachoneof
uswillhavetoinditeversesonalltwelve?"
"Thatwouldbefartoohardonthemembers!"Paoch'airejoined."Butlet'scopyoutthethemesclean,forlines
withsevenwordswillhavetobewrittenoneveryone,andstickthemtomorrowonthewallforgeneral
perusal.Eachmembercanwriteonthesubjectwhichmaybemostinhisorherline.Those,withanyability,
maychoosealltwelve.Whilethose,withnone,mayonlylimitthemselvestoonestanza.Bothwilldo.Those,
however,whowillshowhighmentalcapacity,combinedwithquickness,willbeheldthebest.Butanyone,who
shallhavecompletedalltwelvethemes,won'tbepermittedtohastenandbeginoveragainwe'llhavetofine
suchaone,andfinish."
"Yes,thatwilldo,"assentedHsiangyn.Butaftersettlingeverythingsatisfactorily,theyextinguishedthelamp
andwenttobed.
Reader,doyouwanttoknowwhatsubsequentlytookplace?Ifyoudo,thenlistentowhatiscontainedinthe
wayofexplanationinthefollowingchapter.

CHAPTERXXXVIII.
LinHsiaoHsiangcarriesthefirstprizeinthepoemson
chrysanthemums.
HsuehHengwuchaffsPaoybycomposingversesinthesamestyleas
hisonthecrabs.
AfterPaoch'aiandHsiangyn,wewillnowexplain,settledeverythingintheirdeliberations,nothing
memorableoccurred,thewholenight,whichdeservestobeputonrecord.
Thenextday,HsiangyninviteddowagerladyChiaandherotherrelativestocomeandlookattheolea
flowers.OldladyChiaandeveryoneelseansweredthatasshehadhadthekindattentiontoaskthem,theyfelt
ittheirdutytoavailthemselvesofhergraciousinvitation,muchthoughtheywouldbeputtinghertotroubleand
inconvenience.Attwelveo'clock,therefore,oldladyChiaactuallytookwithherMadameWangandladyFeng,
aswellasMrs.Hsehandothermembersofherfamilywhomshehadaskedtojointhem,andrepairedintothe
garden.
"Whichisthebestspot?"oldladyChiainquired.
"Wearereadytogowhereveryoumaylike,dearsenior,"MadameWangventuredinresponse.
"AcollationhasalreadybeenspreadintheLotusFragranceArbour,"ladyFenginterposed."Besides,thetwo
oleaplants,onthathill,yonder,arenowlovelyintheirfullblossom,andthewaterofthatstreamisjadelikeand
pellucid,soifwesitinthepavilioninthemiddleofit,won'tweenjoyanopenandbrightview?Itwillbe
refreshingtootooureyestowatchthepool."
"Quiteright!"assenteddowagerladyChiaatthissuggestionandwhileexpressingherapprobation,sheushered
hertrainoffollowersintotheArbourofLotusFragrance.
ThisArbourofLotusFragrancehad,infact,beenerectedinthecentreofthepool.Ithadwindowsonallfour
sides.Ontheleftandontheright,stoodcoveredpassages,whichspannedthestreamandconnectedwiththe
hills.Attheback,figuredawindingbridge.
Asthepartyascendedthebamboobridge,ladyFengpromptlyadvancedandsupporteddowagerladyChia.
"Venerableancestor,"shesaid,"justwalkboldlyandwithconfidentstepthere'snothingtofearit'sthewayof
thesebamboobridgestogooncreakinglikethis."
Presently,theyenteredthearbour.Heretheysawtwoadditionalbambootables,placedbeyondthebalustrade.
Ontheone,werearrangedcups,chopsticksandeveryarticlenecessaryfordrinkingwine.Ontheother,were
laidbambooutensilsfortea,ateaserviceandvariouscupsandsaucers.Ontheoffside,twoorthreewaiting
maidswereengagedinfanningthestovetoboilthewaterfortea.Onthenearsidewerevisibleseveralother
girls,whoweretryingwiththeirfanstogetafiretolightinthestovesoastowarmthewines.
"Itwasacapitalidea,"dowagerladyChiahastilyexclaimedlaughinglywithvehemence,"tobringteahere.
What'smore,thespotandtheappurtenancesarealikesospickandspan!"
"ThesethingswerebroughtbycousinPaoch'ai,"Hsiangynsmilinglyexplained,"soIgotthemready."
"Thischildis,Isay,soscrupulouslyparticular,"oldladyChiaobserved,"thateverythingshedoesisthoroughly
devised."
Asshegaveutterancetoherfeelings,herattentionwasattractedbyapairofscrollsofblacklacquer,inlaidwith
motherofpearl,suspendedonthepillars,andsheaskedHsiangyntotellherwhatthemottoeswere.

Thetextshereadwas:
Snappedistheshadeofthehibiscusbythefragrantoarofaboat
homewardbound.
Deepflowstheperfumeofthelilyandthelotusunderneaththebamboo
bridge.
Afterlisteningtothemotto,oldladyChiaraisedherheadandcastaglanceuponthetabletthenturninground:
"Longago,whenIwasyoung,"sheobserved,addressingherselftoMrs.Hseh,"welikewisehadathomea
pavilionlikethiscalled'theHallrecliningontherussetclouds,'orsomeothersuchname.Atthattime,Iwasof
thesameageasthegirls,andmywontwastogodayafterdayandplaywithmysistersthere.Oneday,I,
unexpectedly,slippedandfellintothewater,andIhadanarrowescapefrombeingdrownedforitwasafter
greatdifficulty,thattheymanagedtodragmeoutsafeandsound.Butmyheadwas,afterall,bumpedabout
againstthewoodennailssomuchso,thatthisholeofthelengthofafinger,whichyoucanseeuptothisdayon
mytemple,comesfromthebruisesIsustained.AllmypeoplewereinafunkthatI'dbetheworseforthis
duckingandcontinuedinfearandtremblinglestIshouldcatchachill.'Itwasdreadful,dreadful!'theyopined,
butImanaged,littlethougheveryonethoughtit,tokeepinsplendidhealth."
LadyFengallowednotimetoanyoneelsetoputinawordbutanticipatingthem:"Hadyouthennotsurvived,
whowouldnowbeenjoyingtheseimmenseblessings!"shesmiled."Thismakesitevidentthatnosmallamount
ofhappinessandlonglifewereinstoreforyou,venerableancestor,fromyourveryyouthup!Itwasbythe
agencyofthespiritsthatthisholewasknockedopensothattheymightfillitupwithhappinessandlongevity!
TheoldmanShouHsinghad,infact,aholeinhishead,whichwassofullofeverykindofblessingconducive
tohappinessandlonglifethatitbulgedupeversohigh!"
Before,however,shecouldconclude,dowagerladyChiaandtherestwereconvulsedwithsuchlaughterthat
theirbodiesdoubledintwo.
"Thismonkeyisgiventodreadfultricks!"laughedoldladyChia."She'salwaysreadytomakeascapegoatof
metoevokeamusement.ButwouldthatIcouldtakethatglibmouthofyoursandrenditinpieces."
"It'sbecauseIfearedthatthecoldmight,whenyoubyandbyehavesomecrabstoeat,accumulateinyour
intestines,"ladyFengpleaded,"thatItriedtoinduceyou,dearsenior,tohavealaugh,soastomakeyougay
andmerry.Foronecan,wheninhighspirits,indulgeinacoupleofthemmorewithimpunity."
"Byandbye,"smiledoldladyChia,"I'llmakeyoufollowmedayandnight,sothatImayconstantlybeamused
andfeelmyminddivertedIwon'tletyougobacktoyourhome."
"It'sthatweaknessofyoursforher,venerablesenior,"MadameWangobservedwithasmile,"thathasgother
intothewayofbehavinginthismanner,and,ifyougoonspeakingtoherasyoudo,she'llsoonbecomeeverso
muchthemoreunreasonable."
"Ilikehersuchassheis,"dowagerladyChialaughed."Besides,she'strulynochild,ignorantofthedistinction
betweenhighandlow.Whenweareathome,withnostrangerspresent,weladiesshouldbeontermslikethese,
andaslong,infact,aswedon'toversteppropriety,it'sallright.Ifnot,whatwouldhetheearthlyuseofmaking
thembehavelikesomanysaints?"
Whilebandyingwords,theyenteredthepavilioninabody.Aftertea,ladyFenghastenedtolayoutthecupsand
chopsticks.AttheuppertablethenseatedherselfoldladyChia,Mrs.Hseh,Paoch'ai,TaiyandPaoy.
Roundthetable,ontheeast,satShihHsiangyn,MadameWang,YingCh'un,T'anCh'unandHsiCh'un.Atthe
smalltable,leaningagainstthedooronthewestside,LiWanandladyFengassignedthemselvesplaces.Butit
wasforthemeresakeofappearances,asneitherofthemventuredtositdown,butremainedinattendanceatthe
twotables,occupiedbyoldladyChiaandMadameWang.

"You'dbetter,"ladyFengsaid,"notbringintoomanycrabsatatime.Throwtheseagainintothesteaming
basket!Onlyservetenandwhenthey'reeaten,afreshsupplycanbefetched!"
Asking,atthesametime,forwater,shewashedherhands,and,takingherpositionneardowagerladyChia,she
scoopedoutthemeatfromacrab,andofferedthefirsthelptoMrs.Hseh.
"They'llbesweeterwereItoopenthemwithmyownhands,"Mrs.Hsehremarked,"there'snoneedforany
onetoserveme."
LadyFeng,therefore,presentedittooldladyChiaandhandedasecondportiontoPaoy.
"Makethewineaswarmaspossibleandbringitin!"shethenwentontocry."Go,"sheadded,directingthe
servantgirls,"andfetchthepowder,madeofgreenbeans,andscentedwiththeleavesofchrysanthemumsand
thestamensoftheoleafragransandkeepitreadytorinseourhandswith."
ShihHsiangynhadacrabtobeartheotherscompany,butnosoonerhadshedonethansheretiredtoalower
seat,fromwhereshehelpedherguests.Whenshe,however,walkedoutasecondtimetogiveorderstofilltwo
dishesandsendthemovertoMrs.Chao,sheperceivedladyFengcomeuptoheragain."You'renotaccustomed
toentertaining,"shesaid,"sogoandhaveyoursharetoeat.I'llattendtothepeopleforyoufirst,and,when
they'vegone,I'llhaveallIwant."
Hsiangynwouldnotagreetoherproposal.Butgivingfurtherdirectionstotheservantstospreadtwotables
undertheverandahontheoffside,shepressedYanYang,HuPo,Ts'aiHsia,Ts'aiYnandP'ingErhtogoand
seatthemselves.
"LadySecunda,"consequentlyventuredYanYang,"you'reinheredoingthehonours,somayIgoandhave
somethingtoeat?"
"Youcanallgo,"repliedladyFeng"leaveeverythinginmycharge,anditwillbeallright."
Whilethesewordswerebeingspoken,ShihHsiangynresumedherplaceatthebanquet.LadyFengandLi
WanthentookhurryscurrysomethingtoeatasamatterofformbutladyFengcamedownoncemoretolook
afterthings.Afteratime,shesteppedoutontheverandahwhereYanYangandtheothergirlswerehaving
theirrefreshmentsinhighglee.Assoonastheycaughtsightofher,YuanYangandhercompanionsstoodup.
"Whathasyourladyshipcomeoutagainfor?"theyinquired."Doletusalsoenjoyalittlepeaceandquiet!"
"ThischitYanYangisworsethanever!"ladyFenglaughed."HereI'mslavingawayforyou,and,insteadof
feelinggratefultome,youbearmeagrudge!Butdon'tyouyetquickpourmeacupofwine?"
YanYangimmediatelysmiled,andfillingacup,sheappliedittoladyFeng'slips.LadyFengstretchedouther
neckandemptiedit.ButHuPoandTs'aiHsiathereuponlikewisereplenishedacupandputittoladyFeng's
mouth.LadyFengswallowedthecontentsofthataswell.P'ingErhhad,bythistime,broughthersomeyellow
meatwhichshehadpickedoutfromtheshell."Pourplentyofgingerandvinegar!"shoutedladyFeng,and,ina
moment,shemadeshortworkofthattoo."Youpeople,"shesmiled,"hadbettersitdownandhavesomethingto
eat,forI'moffnow."
"Youbrazenfacedthing,"exclaimedYanYanglaughingly,"toeatwhatwasintendedforus!"
"Don'tbesocaptiouswithme!"smiledladyFeng."AreyouawarethatyourmasterSecundus,Mr.Lien,has
takensuchaviolentfancytoyouthathemeanstospeaktoouroldladytoletyoubehissecondarywife!"
YanYangblushedcrimson."Ts'ui!"sheshouted."Arethesereallywordstoissuefromthemouthofalady!
ButifIdon'tdaubyourfacealloverwithmyfilthyhands,Iwon'tfeelhappy!"
Sayingthis,sherusheduptoher.Shewasabouttobesmearherface,whenladyFengpleaded:"Mydearchild,
doletmeoffthistime!"

"Lo,thatgirlYan,"laughedHuPo,"wishestosmearher,andthathusseyP'ingstillsparesher!Lookhere,she
hasscarcelyhadtwocrabs,andshehasdrunkawholesaucerfulofvinegar!"
P'ingErhwasholdingacrabfullofyellowmeat,whichshewasintheactofcleaning.Assoonthereforeasshe
heardthistaunt,shecame,crabinhand,tospatterHuPo'sface,asshelaughinglyreviledher."I'lltakeyouminx
withthatcajolingtongueofyours"shecried,"and."
But,HuPo,whilealsoindulginginlaughter,drewasidesoP'ingErhbeattheair,andfellforward,daubing,by
astrangecoincidence,thecheekofladyFeng.LadyFengwasatthemomenthavingalittlegoodhumoured
raillerywithYanYang,andwastakensomuchoffherguard,thatshewasquitestartledoutofhersenses."Ai
yah!"sheejaculated.Thebystandersfounditdifficulttokeeptheircountenance,and,withonevoice,they
explodedintoaboisterousfitoflaughter.LadyFengaswellcouldnothelpfeelingamused,andsmilinglyshe
upbraidedher."Youstupidwench!"shesaid"Haveyoubygorginglostyoureyesightthatyourecklessly
smudgeyourmistress'face?"
P'ingErhhastilycrossedoverandwipedherfaceforher,andthenwentinpersontofetchsomewater.
"Omitofu,"ejaculatedYanYang,"thisisadistinctretribution!"
DowagerladyChia,thoughseatedontheotherside,overheardtheirshouts,andsheconsecutivelymade
inquiriesastowhattheyhadseentotickledtheirfancyso."Tellus,"(sheurged),"whatitissothatwetoo
shouldhavealaugh."
"OurladySecunda,"YanYangandtheothermaidsforthwithlaughinglycried,"cametostealourcrabsandeat
them,andP'ingErhgotangryanddaubedhermistress'facealloverwithyellowmeat.Soourmistressandthat
slavegirlarenowhavingascuffleoverit."
ThisreportfilleddowagerladyChia,MadameWangandtheotherinmateswiththemwithmuchmerriment.
"Dohavepityonher,"dowagerladyChialaughed,"andletherhavesomeofthosesmalllegsandentrailstoeat,
andhavedone!"
YuanYangandhercompanionsassented,muchamused."MistressSecunda,"theyshoutedinaloudtoneof
voice,"you'reatlibertytoeatthiswholetablefuloflegs!"
Buthavingwashedherfaceclean,ladyFengapproachedoldladyChiaandtheotherguestsandwaitedupon
themforatime,whiletheypartookofrefreshments.
Taiydidnot,withherweakphysique,venturetooverloadherstomach,sopartakingofalittlemeatfromthe
claws,sheleftthetable.Presently,however,dowagerladyChiatooabandonedallideaofhavinganythingmore
toeat.Thecompanythereforequittedthebanquetand,whentheyhadrinsedtheirhands,someadmiredthe
flowers,someplayedwiththewater,otherslookedatthefish.
Afterashortstroll,MadameWangturnedroundandremarkedtooldlady
Chia:"There'splentyofwindhere.Besides,you'vejusthadcrabsso
itwouldbeprudentforyou,venerablesenior,toreturnhomeandrest.
Andifyoufeelinthehumour,wecancomeagainforaturntomorrow."
"Quitetrue!"acquiesceddowagerladyChia,inreplytothissuggestion."IwasafraidthatifIleft,nowthat
you'reallinexuberantspirits,Imightn'tagainbespoilingyourfun,(soIdidn'tbudge).Butastheideaoriginates
fromyourselvesdogoasyouplease,(whileIretire).But,"shesaidtoHsiangyn,"don'tallowyourcousin
Secundus,Paoy,andyourcousinLintohavetoomuchtoeat."ThenwhenHsiangynhadsignifiedher
obedience,"Youtwogirls,"continuing,sherecommendedHsiangynandPaoch'ai,"mustnotalsohavemore
thanisgoodforyou.Thosethingsare,it'strue,luscious,butthey'renotverywholesomeandifyoueat
immoderatelyofthem,why,you'llgetstomachaches."

Bothgirlspromisedwithalacritytobecarefuland,havingescortedherbeyondtheconfinesofthegarden,they
retracedtheirstepsandorderedtheservantstocleartheremnantsofthebanquetandtolayoutanewsupplyof
refreshments.
"There'snouseofanyregularspreadout!"Paoyinterposed."Whenyouareabouttowriteverses,thatbig
roundtablecanbeputinthecentreandthewinesandeatableslaidonit.Neitherwilltherebeanyneedto
ceremoniouslyhaveanyfixedseats.Letthosewhomaywantanythingtoeat,gouptoitandtakewhattheylike
andifweseatourselves,scatteredallovertheplace,won'titbefarmoreconvenientforus?"
"Yourideaisexcellent!"Paoch'aianswered.
"Thisisallverywell,"Hsiangynobserved,"butthereareotherstobestudiedbesidesourselves!"
Issuingconsequentlyfurtherdirectionsforanothertabletobelaid,andpickingoutsomehotcrabs,sheasked
HsiJen,TzuChan,SsuCh'i,ShihShu,JuHua,YingErh,Ts'uiMoandtheothergirlstosittogetherandforma
party.Thenhavingacoupleoffloweredrugsspreadundertheoleatreesonthehills,shebadethematronson
duty,thewaitingmaidsandotherservantstolikewisemakethemselvescomfortableandtoeatanddrinkattheir
pleasureuntiltheywerewanted,whentheycouldcomeandanswerthecalls.
Hsiangynnextfetchedthethemesfortheversesandpinnedthemwithaneedleonthewall."They'refullof
originality,"oneandallexclaimedafterperusal,"wefearwecouldn'twriteanythingonthem."
Hsiangynthenwentontoexplaintothemthereasonsthathadpromptedhernottodetermineuponany
particularrhymes.
"Yes,quiteright!"putinPaoy."Imyselfdon'tfancyhardandfastrhymes!"
ButLinTaiy,beingunabletostandmuchwineandtotakeanycrabs,told,onherownaccount,aservantto
fetchanembroideredcushionand,seatingherselfinsuchawayastoleanagainsttherailing,shetookupa
fishingrodandbegantofish.Paoch'aiplayedforatimewithatwigofoleasheheldinherhand,thenresting
onthewindowsill,shepluckedthepetals,andthrewthemintothewater,attractingthefish,whichwentby,to
risetothesurfaceandnibbleatthem.Hsiangyn,afterafewmomentsofabstraction,urgedHsiJenandthe
othergirlstohelpthemselvestoanythingtheywanted,andbeckonedtotheservants,seatedatthefootofthe
hill,toeattotheirheart'scontent.TanCh'un,incompanywithLiWanandHsiCh'un,stoodmeanwhileunder
theshadeoftheweepingwillows,andlookedatthewidgeonsandegrets.YingCh'un,ontheotherhand,wasall
aloneundertheshadeofsometrees,threadingdoublejasmineflowers,withaneedlespeciallyadaptedforthe
purpose.PaoytoowatchedTaiyfishingforawhile.AtonetimeheleantnexttoPaoch'aiandcrackedafew
jokeswithher.Andatanother,hedrank,whenhenoticedHsiJenfeastingoncrabswithhercompanions,afew
mouthfulsofwinetokeephercompany.Atthis,HsiJencleanedthemeatoutofashell,andgaveittohimto
eat.
Taiythenputdownthefishingrod,and,approachingtheseats,shelaidholdofasmallblacktankard,
ornamentedwithsilverplumflowers,andselectedatinycup,madeoftransparentstone,redlikeabegonia,and
intheshapeofabananaleaf.Aservantgirlobservedhermovements,and,concludingthatshefeltinclinedto
haveadrink,shedrewnearwithhurriedsteptopoursomewineforher.
"Yougirlshadbettergooneating,"Taiyremonstrated,"andletmehelpmyselfthere'llbesomefuninit
then!"
Sospeaking,shefilledforherselfacuphalffullbutdiscoveringthatitwasyellowwine,"I'veeatenonlyalittle
bitofcrab,"shesaid,"andyetIfeelmymouthslightlysoresowhatwoulddoformenowisamouthfulofvery
hotdistilledspirit."
Paoyhastenedtotakeupherremark."There'ssomedistilledspirit,"hechimedin."Takesomeofthatwine,"
hethereandthenshoutedouttoaservant,"scentedwithacaciaflowers,andwarmatankardofit."

WhenhoweveritwasbroughtTaiysimplytookasipandputitdownagain.
Paoch'aitoothencameforward,andpickedupadoublecupbut,afterdrinkingamouthfulofit,shelayit
aside,and,moisteningherpen,shewalkeduptothewall,andmarkedoffthefirsttheme:"longingfor
chrysanthemums,"belowwhichsheappendedacharacter"Heng."
"Mydearcousin,"promptlyremarkedPaoy."I'vealreadygotfourlinesofthesecondthemesoletmewriteon
it!"
"Imanaged,aftereversomuchdifficulty,toputastanzatogether,"
Paoch'aismiled,"andareyounowinsuchahurrytodeprivemeofit?"
Withoutsomuchasaword,Taiytookapenandputadistinctivesignoppositetheeighth,consistingof:"ask
thechrysanthemums"and,singlingout,inquicksuccession,theeleventh:"dreamofchrysanthemums,"aswell,
shetooaffixedforherselftheword"Hsiao"below.ButPaoylikewisegotapen,andmarkedhischoice,the
twelfthonthelist:"seekforchrysanthemums,"bythesideofwhichhewrotethecharacter"Chiang."
T'anCh'unthereuponrosetoherfeet."Ifthere'snoonetowriteon'Pinningthechrysanthemums'"sheobserved,
whilescrutinisingthethemes,"doletmehaveit!Ithasjustbeenruled,"shecontinued,pointingatPaoywith
asignificantsmile,"thatitisonnoaccountpermissibletointroduceanyexpressions,bearingreferencetothe
innerchambers,soyou'dbetterbeonyourguard!"
Butasshespoke,sheperceivedHsiangyncomeforward,andjointlymarkthefourthandfifth,thatis:"facing
thechrysanthemums,"and"puttingchrysanthemumsinvases,"towhichshe,liketheothers,appendedaword,
Hsiang."
"Youtooshouldgetastyleorother!"T'anCh'unsuggested.
"Inourhome,"smiledHsiangyn,"thereexist,itistrue,atpresentseveralhallsandstructures,butasIdon't
liveineither,there'llbenofuninitwereItoborrowthenameofanyoneofthem!"
"Ourvenerableseniorjustsaid,"Paoch'aiobservedlaughingly,"thattherewasalsoinyourhomeawater
pavilioncalled'leaningonrussetcloudshall,'andisitlikelythatitwasn'tyours?Butalbeititdoesn'texistnow
adays,youwereanyhowitsmistressofold."
"She'sright!"oneandallexclaimed.
PaoythereforeallowedHsiangynnotimetomakeamove,butforthwithrubbedoffthecharacter"Hsiang,"
forherandsubstitutedthatof"Hsia"(russet).
Ashorttimeonlyelapsedbeforethecompositionsonthetwelvethemeshadallbeencompleted.Aftertheyhad
eachcopiedouttheirrespectiveverses,theyhandedthemtoYingCh'un,whotookaseparatesheetofsnow
whitefancypaper,andtranscribedthemtogether,affixingdistinctlyundereachstanzathestyleofthecomposer.
LiWanandherassistantsthenbegantoread,startingfromthefirstonthelist,theverseswhichfollow:
"Longingforchrysanthemums,"bythe"PrincessofHengWu."
WithanguishsoreIfacethewesternbreeze,andwraptingrief,I
pineforyou!
Whattimethesmartweedrussetturns,andthereedswhite,myheart
isrentintwo.
Wheninautumnthehedgesthin,andgardenswaste,alltraceofyouis
gone.
Whenthemoonwaxethcold,andthedewpure,mydreamsthenknow
somethingofyou.

Withconstantyearningsmyheartfollowsyouasfaraswildgeese
homewardfly.
LonesomeIsitandlendanear,tillalatehourtothesoundofthe
block!
Foryou,yeyellowflowers,I'vegrownhaggardandworn,butwhodoth
pityme,
AndbreatheonewordofcheerthatintheninthmoonIwillsoonmeet
youagain?
"Searchforchrysanthemums,"bythe"GentlemanofIHung:"
WhenIhavenaughttodo,I'llseizethefirstfinedaytotryand
strollabout.
Neitherwinecupsnorcupsofmedicinewillthendetermefrommy
wish.
Whoplantstheflowersinallthosespots,facingthedewandunder
themoon'srays?
Outsidetherailstheygrowandbythehedgebutinautumnwheredo
theygo?
WithsandalswaxedIcomefromdistantshoresmyfeelingsall
exuberant
ButasonthiscolddayIcan'texhaustmysong,myspiritsget
depressed.
Theyellowflowers,iftheybutknewhowcomforttoapoettoafford,
Wouldnotletmethisearlymorntrudgeoutinvainwithmycashladen
staff.
"Plantingchrysanthemums,"bytheGentlemanof"IHung:"
Whenautumnbreaks,Itakemyhoe,andmovingthemmyselfoutofthe
park,
Iplantthemeverywherenearthehedgesandintheforegroundofthe
halls.
Lastnight,whenleastexpected,theygotagoodshower,whichmade
themallrevive.
Thismornmyspiritsstillrisehigh,asthebudsburstinbloom
bedeckedwithfrost.
Nowthatit'scool,athousandstanzasontheautumnsceneryIsing.
Inecstasiesfromdrink,Itoasttheirblossominacupofcold,and
fragrantwine.
Withspringwater.Isprinklethem,covertherootswithmouldand
welltendthem,
Sothattheymay,likethepathnearthewell,befreeofeverygrain
ofdirt.
"Facingthechrysanthemums,"bythe"OldfriendoftheHallrecliningontherussetclouds."
FromothergardensItransplantthem,andItreasurethemlikegold.
Oneclusterbearslightcolouredbloomanotherbearsdarkshades.
Isitwithheaduncoveredbythesparseleavedartemesiahedge,
Andintheirpureandcoolfragrance,claspingmyknees,Ihummy
lays.
Inthewholeworld,methinks,noneseethelightaspeerlessasthese
flowers.
FromallIseeyouhavenootherfriendmoreintimatethanme.

Suchautumnsplendour,Imustnotmisuse,assteadilyitfleets.
MygazeIfixonyouasIamfaineachmomenttoenjoy!
"Puttingchrysanthemumsinvases,"bythe"OldFriendofthehallrecliningontherussetclouds."
TheluteIthrum,andquaffmywine,joyfulatheartthatyearemeet
tobemymates.
Thevarioustables,onwhichyearelaid,adornwithbeauteousgrace
thisquietnook.
Thefragrantdew,nexttothespotIsit,isfarapartfromthatby
thethreepaths.
Iflingmybookasideandturnmygazeuponatwigfullofyourautumn
(bloom).
Whattimethefrostispure,anewdreamstealso'erme,asbythe
paperscreenIrest.
Whencoldholdeththepark,andthesun'sraysdoslant,Ilongand
yearnforyou,oldfriends.
Itoodifferfromothersinthisworld,formyowntastesresemble
thoseofyours.
Thevernalwindsdonothinderthepeachtreeandthepearfrom
burstingforthinbloom.
"Singingchrysanthemums,"bythe"HsiaoHsiangconsort."
Eatingthebreadofidleness,thefrenzyofpoetrycreepsovermeboth
nightandday.
RoundpastthehedgeIwend,and,leaningontherock,Iintoneverses
gentlytomyself.
Fromthepointofmypencilemanatelinesofreconditegrace,sonear
thefrostIwrite.
SomescentIholdbythesideofmymouth,and,turningtothemoon,I
singmysentiments.
WithselfpityinglinespagesIfill,soasutterancetogivetoall
mycaresandwoes.
Fromthesefewscantywords,whocouldfathomthesecretsofmyheart
abouttheautumntide?
BeginningfromthetimewhenT'ao,themagistrate,didcriticisethe
beautyofyourbloom,
Yea,fromthatdateremoteuptothisveryday,yourhighrenownhas
everbeenextolled.
"Drawingchrysanthemums,"bythe"PrincessofHengWu."
VersesI'vehadenough,sowithmypensIplaywithnoideathatIam
mad.
DoImakeuseofpigmentsredorgreenastoinvolveataskof
toilsomework?
Toformclustersofleaves,Isprinklesimplyhereandtherea
thousandspecksofink.
AndwhenI'vedrawnthesemblanceoftheflowers,somespotsImaketo
representthefrost.
Thelightanddarksolifelikeharmonisewiththefigureofthose
thereinthewind,
ThatwhenI'vedonetracingtheirautumngrowth,afragrantsmell
issuesundermywrist.

Doyounotmarkhowtheyresemblethose,bytheeasthedge,whichyou
leisurelypluck?
UponthescreenstheirimageIaffixtosolacemeforthoseofthe
ninthmoon.
"Askingthechrysanthemums,"bythe"HsiaoHsiangconsort."
Yourheart,inautumn,Iwouldliketoread,butknowitnoonecould!
Whilehummingwithmyarmsbehindmyback,ontheeasthedgeIrap.
Sopeerlessanduniqueareyethatwhoismeetwithyoutostay?
Whyareyouofallflowerstheonlyonestoburstthelastinbloom?
Whyinsuchsilenceplungethegardendewandthefrostinthehall?
Whenwildgeesehomewardflyandcricketssicken,doyouthinkofme?
Donottellmethatintheworldnoneofyougrowwithpowerof
speech?
ButifyefathomwhatIsay,whynotconversewithmeawhile?
"Pinningthechrysanthemumsinthehair,"bythe"Visitorunderthebananatrees."
Iputsomeinavase,andplantsomebythehedge,sodaybydayI
haveampletodo.
Ipluckthem,yetdon'tfancytheyaremeantforgirlstopinbefore
theglassintheircoiffure.
Mymaniafortheseflowersisjustaskeenaswasthatofthesquire,
whooncelivedinCh'angAn.
IraveasmuchforthemasravedMr.P'engTs,whenhewasunderthe
effectsofwine.
Coldistheshorthaironhistemplesandmoistenedwithdew,whichon
itdrippedfromthethreepaths.
Hisflaxenturbanissuffusedwiththesweetfragranceoftheautumn
frostintheninthmoon.
Thatstrongweaknessofminetopintheminmyhairisviewedwith
sneersbymycontemporaries.
Theyclaptheirhands,buttheyarefreetolaughatmebythe
roadsideasmuchuse'ertheylist.
"Theshadowofthechrysanthemums,"bythe"OldFriendofthehallrecliningontherussetclouds."
Inlayersuponlayerstheirautumnsplendourgrowsande'erthickand
thicker.
Imakeofffurtively,andstealthilytransplantthemfromthethree
crossways.
Thedistantlamp,insidethewindowframe,depictstheirshadeboth
farandnear.
Thehedgeriddlesthemoon'srays,likeuntoasieve,buttheflowers
stoptheholes.
Astheirreflectioncoldandfragranttarrieshere,theirsoulmust
tooabide.
Thedewdryspotbeneaththeflowersissolikethemthatwhatissaid
ofdreamsistrash.
Theirpreciousshadows,fullofsubtlescent,aretroddendownto
pieceshereandthere.
Couldanyonewitheyeshalfclosedfromdrinking,notmistakethe
shadowfortheflowers.

"Dreamingofchrysanthemums,"bythe"HsiaoHsiangconsort."
WhatvividdreamsariseasIdosebythehedgeamidstthoseautumn
scenes!
Whethercloudsbearmecompanyorthemoonbemymate,Ican't
discern.
InfairylandIsoar,notthatIwouldbecomeabutterflylikeChang.
SolongIformyoldfriendT'ao,themagistrate,thatIagainseek
him.
InasoundsleepIfellbutsosoonasthewildgeesecried,they
brokemyrest.
ThechirpofthecicadasgavemesuchastartthatIbearthema
grudge.
MysecretwrongstowhomcanIgoanddivulge,whenIwakeupfrom
sleep?
Thefadedflowersandthecoldmistmakemyfeelingsofanguishknow
nobounds.
"Fadingofthechrysanthemums,"bythe"Visitorunderthebananatrees."
Thedewcongealsthefrostwaxesinweightandgraduallydwindles
theirbloom.
Afterthefeast,withtheflowershow,followstheseasonofthe
'littlesnow.'
Thestalksretainstillsomeredundantsmell,buttheflowers'golden
tingeisfaint.
Thestemsdonotbearsignofevenonewholeleaftheirverdureis
allpast.
Naughtbutthechirpofcricketsstrikesmyear,whilethemoonshines
onhalfmybed.
Nearthecoldclouds,distantathousandli,aflockofwildgeese
slowlyfly.
Whenautumnbreaksagainnextyear,Ifeelcertainthatwewillmeet
oncemore.
Wepart,butonlyforatime,sodon'tletusindulgeinanxious
thoughts.
Eachstanzatheyreadtheypraisedandtheyheapeduponeachotherincessanteulogiums.
"LetmenowcriticisethemI'lldosowithallfairness!"LiWansmiled."AsIglanceoverthepage,"shesaid,"I
findthateachofyouhassomedistinctadmirablesentimentsbutinordertobeimpartialinmycriticismtoday,
Imustconcedethefirstplaceto:'Singingthechrysanthemums'thesecondto:'Askingthechrysanthemums'
andthethirdto:'Dreamingofchrysanthemums.'Theoriginalnatureofthethemesmakestheversesfullof
originality,andtheirconceptionstillmoreoriginal.Butwemustallowtothe'HsiaoHsiangconsort'thecreditof
beingthebestnextinorderfollowing:'Pinningchrysanthemumsinthehair,''Facingthechrysanthemums,'
'Puttingthechrysanthemums,invases,''Drawingthechrysanthemums,'and'Longingforchrysanthemums,'as
secondbest."
ThisdecisionfilledPaoywithintensegratification.Clappinghishands,"Quiteright!it'smostjust,"he
shouted.
"Myversesareworthnothing!"Taiyremarked."Theirfault,afterall,isthattheyarealittletoominutely
subtile."
"Theyaresubtilebutgood,"LiWanrejoined"forthere'snoartificialnessorstiffnessaboutthem."

"Accordingtomyviews,"Taiyobserved,"thebestlineis:
"'Whencoldholdeththeparkandthesun'sraysdoslant,Ilongandyearnforyou,oldfriends.'
"Themetonomy:
"'Iflingmybookasideandturnmygazeuponatwigofautumn.'
isalreadyadmirable!Shehasdealtsoexhaustivelywith'puttingchrysanthemumsinavase'thatshehasleft
nothingunsaidthatcouldbesaid,andhashadinconsequencetoturnherthoughtbackandconsiderthetime
anteriortotheirbeingpluckedandplacedinvases.Hersentimentsareprofound!"
"Whatyousayiscertainlyso,"explainedLiWansmiling"butthatlineofyours:
"'SomescentIholdbythesideofmymouth,.'
"beatsthat."
"Afterall,"saidT'anCh'un,"wemustadmitthatthere'sdepthofthoughtinthoseofthe'PrincessofHengWu'
with:
"'inautumnalltraceofyouisgone'
"and
"'mydreamsthenknowsomethingofyou!'
"Theyreallymakethemeaningimpliedbythewords'longfor'standoutclearly."
"Thosepassagesofyours:
"'Coldistheshorthaironhistemplesandmoistened.'
"and
"'Hisflaxenturbanissuffusedwiththesweetfragrance.'"
laughinglyobservedPuoch'ai,"likewisebringouttheideaof'pinningthechrysanthemumsinthehair'so
thoroughlythatonecouldn'tgetaloopholeforfaultfinding."
Hsiangynthensmiled.
"'whoismeetwithyoutostay'"
shesaid,"and
"'burstthelastinbloom.'
"arequestionssostraighttothepointsettothechrysanthemums,thattheyarequiteatalosswhatanswerto
give."
"Werewhatyousay:
"'Isitwithheaduncovered.'
"and

"'claspingmyknees,Ihummylays.'
"asifyoucouldn't,infact,tearyourselfawayforevenamomentfromthem,"LiWanlaughed,"tocometothe
knowledgeofthechrysanthemums,why,theywouldcertainlybesickandtiredofyou."
Thisjokemadeeveryonelaugh.
"I'mlastagain!"smiledPaoy."Isitlikelythat:
"'Whoplantstheflowers?.inautumnwheredotheygo?WithsandalswaxedIcomefromdistantshores
.andasonthiscolddayIcan'texhaustmysong.'
"donotallforsoothamounttosearchingforchrysanthemums?Andthat
"'Lastnighttheygotashower.
Andthismornbedeckedwithfrost,'
"don'tbothbearonplantingthem?Butunfortunatelytheycan'tcomeuptotheselines:
"'SomescentIholdbythesideofmymouthandturningtothemoonIsingmysentiments.''Intheirpureand
coolfragrance,claspingmykneesIhummylays.''shorthaironhistemples.''Hisflaxenturban.
goldentingeisfaint.verdureisallpast.inautumnalltraceofyouisgone.mydreamsthenknow
somethingofyou.'
"Buttomorrow,"heproceeded,"ifIhavegotnothingtodo,I'llwritetwelvestanzasmyself."
"Yoursarealsogood,"LiWanpursued,"theonlythingisthattheyaren'tasfulloforiginalconceptionasthose
otherlines,that'sall."
Butafterafewfurthercriticisms,theyaskedforsomemorewarmcrabsand,helpingthemselves,assoonas
theywerebrought,fromthelargecirculartable,theyregaledthemselvesforatime.
"Withthecrabstodayinone'shandandtheoleabeforeone'seyes,onecannothelpinditingverses,"Paoy
smiled."I'vealreadythoughtofafewbutwillanyofyouagainhavetheplucktodeviseany?"
Withthischallenge,hethereandthenhastilywashedhishandsandpickingupapenhewroteoutwhat,his
companionsfoundonperusal,toruninthisstrain:
WheninmyhandsIclaspacrabwhatmostenchantsmyheartisthe
cassia'scoolshade.
WhileIpourvinegarandgroundginger,IfeelfromjoyasifIwould
gomad.
Withsomuchgluttonytheprince'sgrandsoneatshiscrabsthathe
shouldhavesomewine.
Thesidewalkingyounggentlemanhasnointestinesinhisframeat
all.
Ilosesightinmygreedinessthatinmystomachcoldaccumulates.
TomyfingersastrongsmelldothadhereandthoughIwashthemyet
thesmellclingsfast.
Themainsecretofthisisthatmeninthisworldmakemuchoffood.
TheP'oSpirithaslaughedatthemthatalltheirlivestheyonlyseek
toeat.
"Icouldreadilycomposeahundredstanzaswithsuchversesinnotime,"
Taiyobservedwithasarcasticsmile.

"Yourmentalenergiesarenowlongagoexhausted,"Paoyrejoinedlaughingly,"andinsteadofconfessingyour
inabilitytodeviseany,youstillgoonheapinginvectiveuponpeople!"
Taiy,uponcatchingthisinsinuation,madenoreplyofanykindbutslightlyraisingherheadshehummed
somethingtoherselfforawhile,andthentakingupapenshecompletedawholestanzawithafewdashes.
Thecompanythenreadherlines.Theyconsistedof
E'enafterdeath,theirarmourandtheirlengthyspearsarenevercast
away.
Sonicetheylook,piledintheplate,thatfirsttotastethemI'd
fainbe.
Ineverypairoflegstheyhave,thecrabsarefulloftender
jadelikemeat.
Eachpieceofruddyfat,whichintheirshellbumpsup,emitsa
fragrantsmell.
Besidesmuchmeat,theyhaveagreaterrelishformestill,eightfeet
aswell.
Whobidsmedrinkathousandcupsofwineinordertoenhancemyjoy?
WhattimeIcanbeholdtheirlusciousfood,withthefineseasondoth
accord
Whencassiaswavewithfragrancepure,andthechrysanthemumsare
deckedwithfrost.
Paoyhadjustfinishedconningitoverandwasbeginningtosingitspraise,whenTaiy,withonesnatch,tore
ittopiecesandbadeaservantgoandburnit.
"Asmycompositionscan'tcomeuptoyours,"shethenobserved,"I'llburnit.Yoursiscapital,muchbetterthan
thelinesyouwrotealittletimebackonthechrysanthemums,sokeepitforthebenefitofothers."
"I'velikewisesucceeded,aftermucheffort,inputtingtogetherastanza,"Paoch'ailaughinglyremarked."It
cannot,ofcourse,beworthmuch,butI'llputitdownforfun'ssake."
Asshespoke,shetoowrotedownherlines.Whentheycametolookatthem,theyread
Onthisbrightbeauteousday,Ibaskinthedryandrashade,withacup
inmyhand.
WhenIwasatCh'angAn,withdrivellingmouth,Ilongedfortheninth
dayoftheninthmoon.
Theroadstretchesbeforetheirveryeyes,buttheycan'ttellbetween
straightandtransverse.
Undertheirshellsinspringandautumnonlyreignsavacuum,yellow
andblack.
Atthispoint,theyfeltunabletorefrainfromshouting:"Excellent!""Sheabusesinfinestyle!"Paoyshouted.
"Butmylinesshouldalsobecommittedtotheflames."
Thecompanythereuponscannedtheremainderofthestanza,whichwascouchedinthiswise:
Whenallthestockofwineisgone,chrysanthemumsthenusetoscour
awaythesmell.
Soastocounteracttheirpropertiesofgath'ringcold,freshginger
youshouldtake.
Alas!nowthattheyhavebeendroppedintotheboilingpot,whatgood
dotheyderive?

Aboutthemoonlitriverbankstherebutremainsthefragrantaromaof
corn.
Atthecloseoftheirperusal,theywithonevoice,explainedthatthiswasafirstratesongoncrabeatingthat
minorthemesofthiskindshouldreallyconcealloftythoughts,beforetheycouldbeheldtobeofanygreat
merit,andthattheonlythingwasthatitchaffedpeoplerathertoovirulently.
Butwhiletheywereengagedinconversation,P'ingErhwasagainseencomingintothegarden.Whatshe
wantedisnot,however,yetknownso,reader,perusethedetailsgiveninthesubsequentchapter.

CHAPTERXXXIX.
Thetongueofthevillageolddamefindsasfreeventasariverthat
hasbrokenitsbanks.
Theaffectionatecousinmakesuphismindtosifttotheverybottom
thestorytoldbyoldgoodyLiu.
Uponseeing,thestoryexplains,P'ingErharrive,theyunanimouslyinquired,"Whatisyourmistressupto?How
isitshehasn'tcome?"
"Howevercouldshesparethetimetogetasfarashere?"P'ingErhsmiledandreplied."But,shesaid,shehasn't
anythinggoodtoeat,soshebademe,asshecouldn'tpossiblyrunover,comeandfindoutwhethertherebeany
morecrabsornot(iftherebe),sheenjoinedmetoaskforafewtotaketohertoeatathome."
"Thereareplenty!"Hsiangynrejoinedanddirecting,withalacrity,aservanttofetchapresentbox,sheputin
ittenofthelargestcrabs.
"I'lltakeafewmoreofthefemaleones,"P'ingErhremarked.
OneandallthenlaidhandsuponP'ingErhandtriedtodragherintoaseat,butP'ingErhwouldnotaccedeto
theirimportunities.
"Iinsistuponyoursittingdown,"LiWanlaughinglyexclaimed,andasshekeptpullingherabout,andforcing
hertositnexttoher,shefilledacupofwineandputittoherlips.P'ingErhhastilyswallowedasipand
endeavouredimmediatelytobeataretreat.
"Iwon'tletyougo,"shoutedLiWan."It'ssoevidentthatyou'reonlygotthatwomanFenginyourthoughtsas
youdon'tlistentoanyofmywords!"
Sayingthis,shewentontobidthenursesgoahead,andtaketheboxover."Tellher,"sheadded,"thatI'vekept
P'ingErhhere."
Amatronpresentlyreturnedwithabox."LadySecunda,"shereported,"saysthatyou,ladyChu,andouryoung
mistressesmustnotmakefunofherforhavingaskedforsomethingtoeatandthatinthisboxyou'llfindcakes
madeofwaterlilypowder,androllspreparedwithchickenfat,whichyourmaternalaunt,ontheotherside,just
sentforyourladyshipandforyou,youngladies,totaste.Thatshebidsyou,"(thematron)continued,turning
towardsP'ingErh,"comeoveronduty,butyourmindissosetuponpleasurethatyouloiterbehindanddon'tgo
back.Sheadvisesyou,however,nottohavetoomanycupsofwine."

"WereIeventohavetoomuch,"P'ingErhsmiled,"whatcouldshedotome?"
Utteringthesewords,shewentonwithherdrinkafterwhichshepartookofsomemorecrab.
"Whatapityitis,"interposedLiWan,caressingher,"thatagirlwithsuchgoodlooksasyoushouldhaveso
ordinaryafortuneastosimplyfallintothatroomasamenial!Butwouldn'tanyone,whoisnotacquaintedwith
actualfacts,takeyouforaladyandamistress?"
WhileshewentoneatinganddrinkingwithPaoch'ai,Hsiangynandtheothergirls,P'ingErhturnedherhead
round."Don'trubmelikethat!"shelaughed,"Itmakesmefeelquiteticklish."
"Aiyo!"shoutedLiWan."What'sthishardthing?"
"It'sakey,"P'ingErhanswered.
"Whatfinethingshaveyougotthatthefearlestpeopleshouldtakeitaway,promptsyoutocarrythisabout
you?Ikeepon,justforalaugh,tellingpeoplethewholedaylongthatwhenthebonzeT'angwasfetchingthe
canons,awhitehorsecameandcarriedhim!ThatwhenLiuChihyanwasattackingtheempire,amelonspirit
appearedandbroughthimacoatofmail,andthatinthesameway,whereourvixenFengis,thereyouaretobe
found!Youareyourmistress'generalkeyandwhatdoyouwantthisotherkeyfor?"
"You'veprimedyourselfwithwine,mylady,"P'ingErhsmiled,"andhereyouoncemorechaffmeandmakea
laughingstockofme."
"Thisisreallyquitetrue,"Paoch'ailaughed."Wheneverwe'vegotnothingtodo,andwetalkmattersover,
(we'requiteunanimous)thatnotoneinahundredcouldbepickedouttoequalyougirlsinhere.Thebeautyis
thateachoneofyoupossessesherowngoodqualities!"
"Ineverything,whetherlargeorsmall,aheavenlyprinciplerulesalike,"LiWanexplained."Werethere,for
instance,noYanYanginourvenerablesenior'sapartments,howwoulditeverdo?CommencingwithMadame
Wangherself,whoisitwhocouldmustersufficientcouragetoexpostulatewiththeoldlady?Yetsheplainlyhas
theplucktoputinherremonstranceswithherand,asithappens,ourworthyancestorlendsapatienteartoonly
whatshesaysandnooneelse.Noneoftheotherscanrememberwhatouroldseniorhasinthewayofclothes
andheadornaments,butshecanremembereverythingand,wereshenottheretolookafterthings,thereisno
knowinghowmanywouldnotbeswindledaway.Thatchildbesidesissostraightforwardatheart,that,despite
allthis,sheoftenputsinagoodwordforothers,anddoesn'trelyuponherinfluencetolookdowndisdainfully
uponanyone!"
"Itwasonlyyesterday,"HsiCh'unobservedwithasmile,"thatourdearancestorsaidthatshewaseversomuch
betterthanthewholelotofus!"
"She'scertainlysplendid!"P'ingErhventured."Howcouldweriseuptoherstandard?"
"Ts'aiHsia,"Paoyputin,"whoisinmother'srooms,isagoodsortofgirl!"
"Ofcoursesheis!"T'anCh'unassented."Butshe'sgoodenoughasfarasexternalappearancesgo,butinwardly
she'saslyone!MadameWangisjustlikeajossshedoesnotgivehermindtoanysortofbusinessbutthisgirl
isuptoeverythinganditisshewhoinallmannerofthingsremindshermistresswhatthereistobedone.She
evenknowseverything,whetherlargeorsmall,connectedwithMr.ChiaCheng'sstayingathomeorgoingout
ofdoorsandwhenatanytimeMadameWangforgets,she,frombehindthescenes,promptsherhowtoact."
"Well,nevermindabouther!"LiWansuggested."Butwere,"shepursued,pointingatPaoy,"noHsiJenin
thisyounggentleman'squarters,justyouimaginewhatapitchthingswouldreach!ThatvixenFengmaytruly
resembletheprincePaoftheCh'ukingdomandshemayhavetwoarmsstrongenoughtoraiseatripod

weighingathousandcatties,buthadshenotthismaid(P'ingErh),wouldshebeabletoaccomplisheverything
sothoroughly?"
"Indaysgoneby,"P'ingErhinterposed,"fourservantgirlscamealongwithher,butwhatwiththosewho've
diedandthosewho'vegone,onlyIremainlikeasolitaryspirit."
"You're,afterall,thefortunateone!"LiWanretorted,"butourhusseyFengtooisluckyinhavingyou!HadInot
alsoonce,justremember,twogirls,whenyourseniormasterChuwasalive?AmInot,you'veseenfor
yourselves,apersontobearwithpeople?ButinsuchasurlyframeofminddidIfindthembothdayafterday
that,assoonasyourseniormasterdepartedthislife,Iavailedmyselfoftheiryouth(togivetheminmarriage)
andtopackbothofthemoutofmyplace.Buthadeitherofthembeengoodforanythingandworthytobekept,
Iwould,infact,havenowhadsomeonetogivemeahelpinghand!"
Asshespoke,theveryballsofhereyessuddenlybecamequitered.
"Whyneedyouagaindistressyourmind?"theywithonevoice,exclaimed.
"Isn'titbetterthatweshouldbreakup?"
Whileconversing,theyrinsedtheirhandsand,whentheyhadagreedtogoinacompanytodowagerlady
Chia'sandMadameWang'sandinquireaftertheirhealth,thematronsandservantmaidssweptthepavilionand
collectedandwashedthecupsandsaucers.
HsiJenproceededonherwayalongwithP'ingErh."Comeintomyroom,"saidHsiJentoP'ingErh,"andsit
downandhaveanothercupoftea."
"Iwon'thaveanyteajustnow,"P'ingErhanswered."I'llcomesomeothertime."
Sosaying,shewasabouttogooffwhenHsiJencalledouttoherandstoppedher.
"Thismonth'sallowances,"sheasked,"haven'tyetbeenissued,noteventoouroldmistressandMadameWang
whyisit?"
Uponcatchingthisinquiry,P'ingErhhastilyretracedherstepsanddrewnearHsiJen.Afterlookingabouttosee
thatnoonewasintheneighbourhood,sherejoinedinalowtoneofvoice,"Dropthesequestionsatonce!
They'resure,anyhow,tobeissuedinacoupleofdays."
"Whyisit,"smiledHsiJen,"thatthisgivesyousuchastart?"
"Thismonth'sallowances,"P'ingErhexplainedtoherinawhisper,"havelongagobeenobtainedinadvanceby
ourmistressSecundaandgiventopeoplefortheirownpurposesandit'swhentheinteresthasbeenbrought
fromhereandtherethatthevarioussumswillbelumpedtogetherandpaymentbeeffected.Iconfidethisto
you,but,mind,youmustn'tgoandtellanyotherpersonaboutit."
"Isitlikelythatshehasn'tyetenoughmoneyforherownrequirements?"HsiJensmiled."Orisitthatshe'sstill
notsatisfied?Andwhat'stheuseofherstillgoingonbotheringherselfinthisway?"
"Isn'titso!"laughedP'ingErh."Fromjusthandlingthefundsforthisparticularitem,shehas,duringthesefew
years,somanipulatedthemastoturnupseveralhundredsoftaelsprofitoutofthem.Nordoesshespendthat
monthlyallowanceofhersforpublicexpenses.Butthemomentsheaccumulatesanythinglikeeightortentaels
odd,shegivesthemouttoo.Thustheinterestonherownmoneyalonecomesuptonearlyathousandtaelsa
year."
"Youandyourmistresstakeourmoney,"HsiJenobservedlaughingly,"andgetinterestonitfoolingusasifwe
werenobetterthanidiots."

"Hereyouareagainwithyouruncharitablewords!"P'ingErhremonstrated."Canitbethatyouhaven'tyet
enoughtomeetyourownexpenseswith?"
"Iam,it'strue,notshortofmoney,"HsiJenreplied,"asIhavenowheretogoandspenditbutthethingisthat
I'mmakingprovisionforthatfellowofours,(Paoy)."
"Ifyoueverfindyourselfinanygreatstraitsandneedmoney,"P'ingErhresumed,"you'reatlibertytotakefirst
thosefewtaelsI'vegotovertheretosuityourownconveniencewith,andbyandbyeIcanreducethemfrom
whatisduetoyouandwe'llbesquare."
"I'mnotinneedofanyjustnow,"retortedHsiJen."ButshouldInothaveenough,whenIwantsome,I'llsend
someonetofetchthem,andfinish."
P'ingErhpromisedthatshewouldletherhavethemoneyatanytimeshesentforit,and,andtakingtheshortest
cut,sheissuedoutofthegardengate.Heresheencounteredaservantdespatchedfromtheothersidebylady
Feng.ShecameinsearchofP'ingErh."Ourlady,"shesaid,"hassomethingforyoutodo,andiswaitingfor
you."
"What'supthatit'ssopressing?"P'ingErhinquired."Ourseniormistressdetainedmebyforcetohaveachat,so
Icouldn'tmanagetogetaway.Buthereshetimeaftertimesendspeopleaftermeinthismanner!"
"Whetheryougoornotisyourownlookout,"themaidreplied."Itisn'tworthyourwhilegettingangrywith
me!Ifyoudare,goandtellthesethingstoourmistress!"
P'ingErhspatathercontemptuously,andrushedbackinanxioushaste.Shediscovered,however,thatladyFeng
wasnotathome.ButunexpectedlysheperceivedthattheoldgoodyLiu,whohadpaidthemavisitona
previousoccasionforthepurposeofobtainingpecuniaryassistance,hadcomeagainwithPanErh,andwas
seatedintheoppositeroom,alongwithChangTs'ai'swifeandChouJui'swife,whokepthercompany.Buttwo
orthreeservantmaidswereinsideaswellemptyingonthefloorbagscontainingdates,squashandvariouswild
greens.
Assoonastheysawherappearintheroom,theypromptlystoodupinabody.OldgoodyLiuhad,onherlast
visit,learntwhatP'ingErh'sstatusintheestablishmentwas,sovehementlyjumpingdown,sheenquired,"Miss,
howdoyoudo?Allathome,"shepursued,"sendyoutheircompliments.Imeanttohavecomeearlierandpaid
myrespectstomyladyandtolookyouup,missbutwe'vebeenverybusyonthefarm.Wemanagedthisyear
toreap,aftergreatlabour,afewmorepiculsofgrainthanusual.Butmelons,fruitsandvegetableshavealso
beenplentiful.Thesethings,youseehere,arewhatwepickedduringthefirstcropandaswedidn'tpresumeto
sellthem,wekeptthebesttopresenttoourladyandtheyoungladiestotaste.Theyoungladiesmust,ofcourse,
besurfeitedwithallthedelicaciesandfinethingstheydailyget,butbyhavingsomeofourwildgreenstoeat,
theywillshowsomeregardforourpoorattention."
"Manythanksforallthetroubleyouhavetaken!"PingErheagerlyrejoined.Thenpressinghertoresumeher
place,shesatdownherselfand,urgingMrs.ChangandMrs.Choutotaketheirseats,shebadeayoung
waitingmaidgoandservethetea.
"There'sajoyousairaboutyourfacetoday,Miss,andyoureyeballsareallred,"thewifeofChouJuiandthe
wifeofChangTs'aithereuponsmilinglyventured.
"Naturally!"P'ingErhlaughed."Igenerallydon'ttakeanywine,butourseniormistress,andouryoungladies
caughtholdofmeandinsisteduponpouringitdownmythroat.Ihadnoalternativethereforebuttoswallow
twocupsfullsomyfaceatonceflushedcrimson."
"Ihavealongingforwine,"ChangTs'ai'swifesmiled"butthere'snoonetooffermeany.Butwhenanyoneby
andbyinvitesyou,Miss,dotakemealongwithyou!"

Atthesewords,oneandallburstoutlaughing.
"Earlythismorning,"ChouJui'swifeinterposed,"Icaughtaglimpseofthosecrabs.Onlytwoorthreeofthem
wouldweighacattysointhosetwoorthreehugehampers,theremusthavebeen,Ipresume,seventytoeighty
catties!"
"Ifsomewereintendedforthoseaboveaswellasforthosebelow"ChouJui'swifeadded,"theycouldn't,
nevertheless,Ifear,havebeenenough."
"Howcouldeveryonehavehadany?"P'ingErhobserved."Thosesimplywithanynamemayhavetasteda
coupleofthembut,asfortherest,somemayhavetouchedthemwiththetipsoftheirhands,butmanymay
evennothavedoneasmuch."
"Crabsofthiskind!"putinoldgoodyLiu,"costthisyearfivecandareensacattytencattiesforfivemacefive
timesfivemaketwotaelsfive,andthreetimesfivemakefifteenandaddingwhatwaswantedforwinesand
eatables,thetotalmusthavecometosomethingovertwentytaels.Omitofu!why,thisheapofmoneyisample
foruscountrypeopletoliveonthroughawholeyear!"
"Iexpectyouhaveseenourlady?"P'ingErhthenasked.
"Yes,Ihaveseenher,"assentedoldgoodyLiu."Shebadeuswait."Asshespoke,sheagainlookedoutofthe
windowtoseewhatthetimeofthedaycouldbe."It'sgettingquitelate,"sheafterwardsproceeded."Wemustbe
going,orelsewemayn'tbeintimetogetoutofthecitygatesandthenwe'llbeinanicefix."
"Quiteright,"ChouJui'swifeobserved."I'llgoandseewhatshe'suptoforyou."
Withthesewords,shestraightwaylefttheroom.Afteralongabsence,shereturned."Goodfortunehas,indeed,
descendeduponyou,olddame!"shesmiled."Why,you'vewontheconsiderationofthosetwoladies!"
"Whataboutit?"laughinglyinquiredP'ingErhandtheothers.
"LadySecunda,"ChouJui'swifeexplainedwithasmile,"waswithourvenerablelady,soIgentlywhisperedto
her:'oldgoodyLiuwishestogohomeit'sgettinglateandshefearsshemightn'tbeintimetogooutofthe
gates!''It'ssuchalongwayoff!'OurladySecundarejoined,'andshehadallthetroubleandfatigueofcarrying
thatloadofthingssoifit'stoolate,why,letherspendthenighthereandstartonthemorrow!'Nowisn'tthis
havingenlistedourmistress'sympathies?Butnottospeakofthis!Ouroldladyalsohappenedtooverhearwhat
wesaid,andsheinquired:'whoisoldgoodyLiu?'OurladySecundaforthwithtoldherall.'Iwasjustlonging,'
hervenerableladyshippursued,'forsomeonewellupinyearstohaveachatwithaskherin,andletmesee
her!'Soisn'tthiscominginforconsideration,whenleastunexpected?"
Sospeaking,shewentontourgeoldgoodyLiutogetdownandbetakeherselftothefront.
"Withafigurelikethisofmine,"oldgoodyLiudemurred,"howcouldIverywellappearbeforeher?Mydear
sisterinlaw,dotellherthatI'vegone!"
"Geton!Bequick!"P'ingErhspeedilycried."Whatdoesitmatter?Ouroldladyhasthehighestregardforold
peopleandthegreatestpityfortheneedy!She'snotoneyoucouldcomparewiththosehaughtyandoverbearing
people!ButIfancyyou'realittletootimid,soI'llaccompanyyouasfarasthere,alongwithMrs.Chou."
Whiletenderingherservices,sheandChouJui'swifeledoffoldgoodyLiuandcrossedovertodowagerlady
Chia'sapartmentsonthissideofthemansion.Theboyservantsondutyatthesecondgatestoodupwhenthey
sawP'ingErhapproach.Buttwoofthemalsoranuptoher,and,keepingclosetoherheels:"Miss!"they
shoutedout."Miss!"
"Whathaveyouagaingottosay?"P'ingErhasked.

"It'sprettylatejustnow,"oneoftheboyssmilinglyremarked"andmotherisillandwantsmetogoandcallthe
doctor,soIwould,dearMiss,liketohavehalfaday'sleavemayI?"
"Yourdoingsarereallyfine!"P'ingErhexclaimed."You'veagreedamongyourselvesthateachdayoneofyou
shouldapplyforfurloughbutinsteadofspeakingtoyourlady,youcomeandbotherme!Theotherdaythat
ChuErhwent,Mr.Secundushappenednottowanthim,soIassented,thoughIalsoaddedthatIwasdoingitas
afavourbuthereyoutoocometoday!"
"It'squitetruethathismotherissick,"ChouJui'swifeinterceded"so,Miss,dosayyestohimalso,andlethim
go!"
"Bebackassoonasitdawnstomorrow!"P'ingErhenjoined."Wait,I'vegotsomethingforyoutodo,foryou'll
againsleepaway,andonlyturnupafterthesunhasblazedawayonyourbuttocks.Asyougonow,givea
messagetoWangErh!Tellhimthatourladybadeyouwarnhimthatifhedoesnothandoverthebalanceofthe
interestduebytomorrow,shewon'thaveanythingtodowithhim.Sohe'dbetterletherhaveittomeether
requirementsandfinish."
Theservantladfeltinhighgleeandexuberantspirits.Expressinghisobedience,hewalkedoff.
P'ingErhandhercompanionsrepairedthentooldladyChia'sapartments.Herethevariousyoungladiesfrom
theGardenofBroadVistawereatthetimeassembledpayingtheirrespectstotheirgrandmother.Assoonasold
goodyLiuputherfootinside,shesawtheroomthrongedwithgirls(asseductive)astwigsofflowerswavingto
andfro,andsorichlydressed,astolookenvelopedinpearls,andencircledwithkingfisherornaments.Butshe
couldnotmakeoutwhotheyallwere.Hergazewas,however,attractedbyanolddame,recliningaloneona
divan.Behindhersatagirl,aregularbeauty,clothedingauze,engagedinpattingherlegs.LadyFengwason
herfeetintheactofcrackingsomejoke.
OldgoodyLiureadilyconcludedthatitmustbedowagerladyChia,sopromptlypressingforward,sheputona
forcedsmileandmadeseveralcurtseys."Myobeisancetoyou,staroflongevity!"shesaid.
OldladyChiahastened,onherpart,tobowandtoinquireafterherhealth.ThensheaskedChouJui'swifeto
bringachairoverforhertotakeaseat.ButPanErhwasstillsoveryshythathedidnotknowhowtomakehis
obeisance.
"Venerablerelative,"dowagerladyChiaasked,"howoldareyouthisyear?"
OldgoodyLiuimmediatelyrosetoherfeet."I'mseventyfivethisyear,"sherejoined.
"Sooldandyetsohardy!"OldladyChiaremarked,addressingherselftotheparty."Whyshe'solderthan
myselfbyseveralyears!WhenIreachthatage,IwonderwhetherIshallbeabletomove!"
"Wepeoplehave,"oldgoodyLiusmilinglyresumed,"toputup,fromthemomentwecomeintotheworld,with
eversomanyhardshipswhileyourvenerableladyshipenjoys,fromyourbirth,everykindofblessing!Werewe
alsolikethis,there'dbenoonetocarryonthatfarmingwork."
"Areyoureyesandteethstillgood?"DowagerladyChiawentontoinquire.
"They'rebothstillallright,"oldgoodyLiureplied."Theleftmolars,however,havegotrathershakythisyear."
"Asforme,I'mquiteanoldfossil,"dowagerladyChiaobserved."I'mnogoodwhatever.Myeyesightisdim
myearsaredeaf,mymemoryisgone.Ican'tevenrecollectanyofyou,oldfamilyconnections.Whentherefore
anyofourrelationscomeonavisit,Idon'tseethemforfearlestIshouldberidiculed.AllIcanmanagetoeat
areafewmouthfulsofanythingtenderenoughformyteethandIcanjustdoseabitor,whenIfeelinlow
spirits,Idistractmyselfalittlewiththesegrandsonsandgranddaughtersofminethat'sallI'mgoodfor."

"Thisisindeedyourvenerableladyship'sgoodfortune!"oldgoodyLiusmiled."Wecouldn'tenjoyanythingof
thekind,muchthoughwemaylongforit."
"Whatgoodfortune!"dowagerladyChiaexclaimed."I'mauselessoldthing,nomore."
Thisremarkmadeeveryoneexplodeintolaughter.
DowagerladyChiaalsolaughed."IheardourladyFengsayalittlewhileback,"sheadded,"thatyouhad
broughtalotofsquashandvegetables,andItoldhertoputthembyatonce.Ihadjustbeencravingtohave
newlygrownmelonsandvegetablesbutthoseonebuysoutsidearenotaslusciousasthoseproducedinyour
farms."
"Thisistherusticnotion,"oldgoodyLiulaughed,"toentirelysubsistonfreshthings!Yet,welongtohavefish
andmeatforourfare,butwecan'taffordit."
"I'vefoundarelativeinyoutoday,"dowagerladyChiasaid,"soyoushouldn'tgoemptyhanded!Ifyoudon't
despisethisplaceastoomean,dostayadayortwobeforeyoustart!We'vealsogotagardenhereandthis
gardenproducesfruitstooyoucantastesomeofthemtomorrowandtakeafewalongwithyouhome,inorder
tomakeitlooklikeavisittorelatives."
WhenladyFengsawhowdelightedoldladyChiawaswiththeprospectsoftheolddame'sstay,shetoolostno
timeindoingallshecouldtoinducehertoremain."Ourplacehere,"sheurged,"isn't,it'strue,asspaciousas
yourthreshingfloorbutaswe'vegottwovacantrooms,you'dbetterputupinthemforacoupleofdays,and
choosesomeofyourvillagenewsandoldstoriesandrecountthemtoourworthysenior."
"Nowyou,vixenFeng,"smileddowagerladyChia,"don'traisealaughatherexpense!She'sonlyacountry
womanandwillanolddamelikeherstandanychafffromyou?"
Whileremonstratingwithher,shebadeaservantgo,beforeattendingtoanythingelse,andpluckafewfruits.
TheseshehandedtoPanErhtoeat.ButPanErhdidnotventuretotouchthem,consciousashewasofthe
presenceofsuchanumberofbystanders.SooldladyChiagaveordersthatafewcashshouldbegivenhim,and
thendirectedthepagestotakehimoutsidetoplay.
Aftersippingacupoftea,oldgoodyLiubegantorelate,forthebenefitofdowagerladyChia,afewofthe
occurrencesshehadseenorheardofinthecountry.ThesehadtheeffectofputtingoldladyChiainamore
exuberantframeofmind.Butinthemidstofhernarration,aservant,atladyFeng'sinstance,askedgoodyLiuto
goandhavehereveningmeal.DowagerladyChiathenpickedout,aswell,severalkindsofeatablesfromher
ownrepast,andchargedsomeonetotakethemtogoodyLiutofeaston.
Buttheconsciousnessthattheolddamehadtakenhersenior'sfancyinducedladyFengtosendherbackagain
assoonasshehadtakensomerefreshments.Onherarrival,YanYanghastilydeputedamatrontotakegoody
Liutohaveabath.Sheherselfthenwentandselectedtwopiecesofordinaryclothes,andthesesheentrustedto
aservanttohandtotheolddametochange.GoodyLiuhadhithertonotseteyesuponanysuchgrandthings,so
witheagernesssheeffectedthenecessaryalterationsinhercostume.Thisover,shemadeherappearance
outside,and,sittinginfrontofthedivanoccupiedbydowagerladyChia,shewentontonarrateasmanystories
asshecouldrecalltomind.Paoyandhiscousinstoowere,atthetime,assembledintheroom,andastheyhad
neverbeforeheardanythingthelikeofwhatshesaid,they,ofcourse,thoughthertalesmorefullofzestthan
thoserelatedbyitinerantblindstorytellers.
OldgoodyLiuwas,albeitarusticperson,giftedbynaturewithagooddealofdiscrimination.Shewasbesides
advancedinyearsandhadgonethroughmanyexperiencesinherlifetime,sowhenshe,inthefirstplace,saw
howextremelydelightedoldladyChiawaswithher,and,inthesecond,howeagerthewholecrowdofyoung
ladsandlassesweretolistentowhatfellfromhermouth,sheeveninvented,whenshefoundherownstock
exhausted,agoodmanyyarnstorecounttothem.

"Whatwithallthesowingwehavetodoinourfieldsandthevegetableswehavetoplant,"sheconsequently
proceeded,"haveweeverinourvillageanyleisuretositwithlazyhandsfromyeartoyearanddaytodayno
matterwhetherit'sspring,summer,autumnorwinter,whetheritblowsorwhetheritrains?Yea,dayafterdayall
thatwecandoistoturnthebareroadintoakindofpaviliontorestandcoolourselveson!Butwhatstrange
thingsdon'twesee!Lastwinter,forinstance,snowfellforseveralconsecutivedays,anditpileduponthe
groundthreeorfourfeetdeep.Oneday,Igotupearly,butIhadn'tasyetgoneoutofthedoorofourhousewhen
Iheardoutsidethenoiseoffirewood(beingmoved).Ifanciedthatsomeonemusthavecometostealit,soI
creptuptoaholeinthewindowbut,lo,Idiscoveredthatitwasnoonefromourownvillage."
"Itmusthavebeen,"interposeddowagerladyChia,"somewayfarers,whobeingsmittenwiththecold,took
someofthefirewood,theysawreadyathand,togoandmakeafireandwarmthemselveswith!That'shighly
probable!"
"Itwasnowayfarersatall,"oldgoodyLiuretortedsmiling,"andthat'swhatmakesthestorysostrange.Whodo
youthinkitwas,venerablestaroflongevity?Itwasreallyamosthandsomegirlofseventeenoreighteen,whose
hairwascombedassmoothasifoilhadbeenpouredoverit.Shewasdressedinadeepredjacket,awhitesilk
petticoat."
Whenshereachedthispartofhernarrative,suddenlybecameaudiblethevoicesofpeoplebawlingoutside."It's
nothingmuch,"theyshouted,"don'tfrightenouroldmistress!"DowagerladyChiaandtheotherinmates
caught,however,theircriesandhurriedlyinquiredwhathadhappened.Aservantmaidexplainedinreplythata
firehadbrokenoutinthestablesinthesoutherncourt,butthattherewasnodanger,astheflameshadbeen
suppressed.
Theiroldgrandmotherwasapersonwithverylittlenerve.Themoment,therefore,thereportfellonhercar,she
jumpedupwithalldespatch,andleaningononeofthefamily,sherushedontotheverandahtoascertainthe
stateofthings.Atthesightofthestillbrilliantlight,shedbytheflames,onthesoutheastpartofthecompound,
oldladyChiawasplungedinconsternation,andinvokingBuddha,shewentontoshouttotheservantstogoand
burnincensebeforethegodoffire.
MadameWangandtherestofthemembersofthehouseholdlostnotimeincrossingoverinabodytoseehow
shewasgettingon."Thefirehasbeenalreadyextinguished,"theytooassuredher,"please,dearancestor,repair
intoyourrooms!"
ButitwasonlyafteroldladyChiahadseenthelightoftheflamesentirelysubsidethatsheatlengthledthe
wholecompanyindoors."Whatwasthatgirlupto,takingthefirewoodinthatheavyfallofsnow?"Paoy
thereuponvehementlyinquiredofgoodyLiu."What,ifshehadgotfrostbittenandfallenill?"
"Itwasthereferencemaderecentlytothefirewoodthatwasbeingabstracted,"hisgrandmotherChiasaid,"that
broughtaboutthisfireanddoyoustillgoonaskingmoreaboutit?Leavethisstoryalone,andtellussomething
else!"
Hearingthisreminder,Paoyfeltconstrainedtodropthesubject,muchagainsthiswishes,andoldgoodyLiu
forthwiththoughtofsomethingelsetotellthem.
"Inourvillage,"sheresumed,"andontheeasternsideofourfarmstead,therelivesanolddame,whoseageis
thisyear,overninety.Shegoesindailyforfasting,andworshippingBuddha.Who'dhavethoughtit,sheso
movedthepityofthegoddessofmercythatshegaveherthismessageinadream:'Itwasatonetimeordained
thatyoushouldhavenoposterity,butasyouhaveprovedsodevout,IhavenowmemorialisedthePearly
Emperortograntyouagrandson!'Thefactis,thisolddamehadoneson.Thissonhadhadtooanonlysonbut
hediedaftertheyhadwithgreatdifficultymanagedtorearhimtotheageofseventeenoreighteen.Andwhat
tearsdidn'ttheyshedforhim!But,incourseoftime,anothersonwasactuallyborntohim.Heisthisyearjust
thirteenorfourteen,resemblesaveryballofflower,(soplumpishe),andiscleverandsharptoanexceptional
degree!Sothisisindeedaclearproofthatthosespiritsandgodsdoexist!"

ThislongtiradeprovedtobeinharmonywithdowagerladyChia'sandMadameWang'ssecretconvictionson
thesubject.EvenMadameWangthereforelistenedtoeverywordwithallprofoundattention.Paoy,however,
wassopreoccupiedwiththestoryaboutthestolenfirewoodthathefellinabrownstudyandgavewayto
conjectures.
"Yesterday,"T'anCh'unatthispointremarked,"WeputcousinShihtoalotoftroubleandinconvenience,so,
whenwegetback,wemustconsultaboutconveningameeting,and,whilereturningherentertainment,wecan
alsoinviteourvenerableancestortocomeandadmirethechrysanthemumswhatdoyouthinkofthis?"
"Ourworthysenior,"smiledPaoy,"hasintimatedthatshemeanstogiveabanquettoreturncousinShih's
hospitality,andtoaskustodothehonours.Let'swaitthereforeuntilwepartakeofgrandmother'scollation,
beforeweissueourowninvitationstherewillbeampletimethentodoso."
"Thelateritgets,thecoolertheweatherbecomes,"T'anCh'unobserved,"andourdearseniorisnotlikelyto
enjoyherself."
"Grandmother,"addedPaoy,"isalsofondofrainandsnow,sowouldn'titbeaswelltowaituntilthefirstfall,
andthenaskhertocomeandlookatthesnow.Thiswillbebetter,won'tit?Andwerewetoreciteourverses
withsnowaboutus,itwillbeeversomuchmorefun!"
"Tohumversesinthesnow,"LinTaiyspeedilydemurredwithasmile,"won't,inmyidea,behalfasniceas
buildingupaheapoffirewoodandthenstealingit,withtheflakesplayingaboutus.Thiswillbebyfarmore
enjoyable!"
ThisproposalmadePaoch'aiandtheotherslaugh.Paoycastaglanceatherbutmadenoreply.
But,inashorttime,thecompanybrokeup.PaoyeventuallygaveoldgoodyLiuatugontheslyandpliedher
withminutequestionsastowhothegirlwas.Theolddamewasplacedunderthenecessityoffabricating
somethingforhisbenefit."Thetruthis,"shesaid,"thattherestandsonthenorthbankoftheditchinourvillage
asmallancestralhall,inwhichofferingsaremade,butnottospiritsorgods.Therewasinformerdayssome
officialorother"
"Whilespeaking,shewentontotryandrecollecthisnameandsurname.
"Nomatteraboutnamesorsurnames!"Paoyexpostulated."There'snoneedforyoutorecallthemtomemory!
Justmentionthefactsthey'llbeenough."
"Thisofficial,"oldgoodyLiuresumed,"hadnoson.Hisoffspringconsistedofoneyoungdaughter,whowent
underthenameofJoY,(likeJade).Shecouldreadandwrite,andwasdoateduponbythisofficialandhis
consort,justasifshewereapreciousjewel.But,unfortunately,whenthisyounglady,JoY,grewuptobe
seventeen,shecontractedsomediseaseanddied."
WhenthesewordsfellonPaoy'sears,hestampedhisfootandheavedasigh."Whathappenedafterthat?"he
thenasked.
OldgoodyLiupursuedherstory.
"Soincessantly,"shecontinued,"didthisofficialandhisconsortthinkoftheirchildthattheyraisedthis
ancestralhall,erectedaclayimageoftheiryoungdaughterJoYinit,andappointedsomeonetoburnincense
andtrimthefires.Butsomanydaysandyearshavenowelapsedthatthepeoplethemselvesarenomorealive,
thetempleisindecay,andtheimageitselfisbecomeaspirit."
"Ithasn'tbecomeaspirit,"remonstratedPaoywithvehemence."Humanbeingsofthiskindmay,theruleis,
die,yettheyarenotdead."

"Omitofu!"ejaculatedoldgoodyLiu"isitreallyso!Hadyou,sir,notenlightenedus,wewouldhave
remainedundertheimpressionthatshehadbecomeaspirit!Butsherepeatedlytransformsherselfintoahuman
being,andtheresheroamsaboutineveryvillage,farmstead,innandroadside.AndtheoneImentionedjust
nowashavingtakenthefirewoodisthatverygirl!Thevillagersinourplacearestillconsultingwiththeideaof
breakingthisclayimageandrazingthetempletotheground."
"Bequickanddissuadethem!"eagerlyexclaimedPaoy."Weretheytorazethetempletotheground,their
crimewon'tbesmall."
"It'sluckythatyoutoldme,Sir,"oldgoodyLiuadded."WhenIgetbacktomorrow,I'llmakethemrelinquish
theideaandfinish!"
"Ourvenerableseniorandmymother,"Paoypursued,"arebothcharitablepersons.Infact,alltheinmatesof
ourfamily,whetheroldoryoung,do,inlikemanner,delightingooddeeds,andtakepleasureindistributing
alms.Theirgreatestrelishistorepairtemples,andtoputupimagestothespiritssotomorrow,I'llmakea
subscriptionandcollectafewdonationsforyou,andyoucanthenactasincenseburner.Whensufficientmoney
hasbeenraised,thisfanecanberepaired,andanotherclayimageputupandmonthbymonthI'llgiveyou
incenseandfiremoneytoenableyoutoburnjossstickswon'tthisbeAgoodthingforyou?"
"Inthatcase,"oldgoodyLiurejoined,"Ishall,thankstothatyounglady'sgoodfortune,havealsoafewcashto
spend."
Paoythereuponlikewisewantedtoknowwhatthenameoftheplacewas,thenameofthevillage,howfarit
wasthereandback,andwhereaboutthetemplewassituated.
OldgoodyLiurepliedtohisquestions,bytellinghimeveryidlethoughtthatcamefirsttoherlips.Paoy,
however,creditedtheinformationshegavehimand,onhisreturntohisrooms,heexercised,thewholenight,
hismindwithbuildingcastlesintheair.
Onthemorrow,assoonasdaylightdawned,hespeedilysteppedoutofhisroom,and,handingPeiMingseveral
hundredsofcash,hebadehimproceedfirstinthedirectionandtotheplacespecifiedbyoldgoodyLiu,and
clearlyascertaineverydetail,soastoenablehim,onhisreturnfromhiserrand,toarriveatasuitabledecisionto
carryouthispurpose.AfterPeiMing'sdeparture,Paoycontinuedonpinsonneedlesandonthetiptoeof
expectation.Intosuchapitchofexcitementdidheworkhimself,thathefeltlikeanantinaburningpan.With
suppressedimpatience,hewaitedandwaiteduntilsunset.AtlastthenheperceivedPeiMingwalkin,inhigh
glee.
"Haveyoudiscoveredtheplace?"hastilyinquiredPaoy.
"Master,"PeiMinglaughed,"youdidn'tcatchdistinctlythedirectionsgivenyou,andyoumademesearchina
niceway!Thenameoftheplaceandthebearingscan'tbethoseyougaveme,SirthatiswhyI'vehadtohunt
aboutthewholedaylong!Iprosecutedmyinquiriesuptotheveryditchonthenortheastside,beforeI
eventuallyfoundaruinedtemple."
Uponhearingtheresultofhisresearches,Paoywasmuchgratified.Hisveryeyebrowsdistended.Hiseyes
laughed."OldgoodyLiu,"hesaidwitheagerness,"isapersonwellupinyears,andshemayatthemoment
haverememberedwrongit'sverylikelyshedid.Butrecounttomewhatyousaw."
"Thedoorofthattemple,"PeiMingexplained,"reallyfacessouth,andisallinatumbledowncondition.I
searchedandsearchedtillIwasdriventoutterdespair.Assoon,however,asIcaughtsightofit,'that'sright,'I
shouted,andpromptlywalkedin.ButIatoncediscoveredaclayfigure,whichgavemesuchafearfulstart,that
Iscamperedoutagainforitlookedasmuchaliveasifitwereareallivingbeing."
Paoysmiledfullofjoy."Itcanmetamorphoseitselfintoahumanbeing,"heobserved,"so,ofcourse,ithas
moreorlessalifelikeappearance."

"Wasiteveragirl?"PeiMingrejoinedclappinghishands."Whyitwas,infact,nomorethanagreenfacedand
redhairedgodofplagues."
Paoy,atthisanswer,spatathimcontemptuously."Youare,inverytruth,auselessfool!"hecried."Haven't
youevenenoughgumptionforsuchatriflingjobasthis?"
"Whatbook,Iwonder,haveyouagainbeenreading,master?"PeiMingcontinued."Oryoumay,perhaps,have
heardsomeoneprattlealotoftrashandbelieveditastrue!Yousendmeonthissortofwildgoosechaseand
makemegoandknockmyheadabout,andhowcanyoueversaythatI'mgoodfornothing?"
Paoydidnotfailtonoticethathewasinastateofexasperationsohelostnotimeintryingtocalmhim.
"Don'tbeimpatient!"heurged."Youcangoagainsomeotherday,whenyou'vegotnothingtoattendto,and
institutefurtherinquiries!Ifitturnsoutthatshehashoodwinkedus,why,therewill,naturally,benosuchthing.
Butif,verily,thereis,won'tyoualsolayupforyourselfastoreofgooddeeds?Ishallfeelitmydutytoreward
youinamosthandsomemanner."
Ashespoke,heespiedaservantlad,onserviceatthesecondgate,approachandreporttohim:"Theyoung
ladiesinourvenerableladyship'sapartmentsarestandingatthethresholdofthesecondgateandlookingoutfor
you,Mr.Secundus."
Butas,reader,youarenotawarewhattheywereonthelookouttotellhim,thesubsequentchapterwillexplain
itforyou.

CHAPTERXL.
ThevenerableladyShihattendsasecondbanquetinthegardenof
BroadVista.
ChinYanyangthreetimespromulgates,bymeansofdominoes,the
ordertoquotepassagesfromoldwriters.
AssoonasPaoy,wewillnowexplain,heardwhattheladtoldhim,herushedwitheagernessinside.Whenhe
cametolookabouthim,hediscoveredHuPostandinginfrontofthescreen."Bequickandgo,"sheurged.
"They'rewaitingtospeaktoyou."
Paoywendedhiswayintothedrawingrooms.HerehefounddowagerladyChia,consultingwithMadame
Wangandthewholebodyofyoungladies,aboutthereturnfeasttobegiventoShihHsiangyn.
"I'vegotaplantosuggest,"heconsequentlyinterposed."Astherearetobenooutsideguests,theeatablestoo
shouldnotbelimitedtoanykindornumber.Afewofsuchdishes,ashaveeverbeentothelikingofanyofus,
shouldbefixeduponandpreparedfortheoccasion.Neithershouldanybanquetbespread,butahighteapoycan
beplacedinfrontofeach,withoneortwothingstosuitourparticulartastes.Besides,apaintedboxwith
partitionsandadecanter.Won'tthisbeanoriginalway?"
"Capital!"shoutedoldladyChia."Goandtellthepeopleinthecookhouse,"sheforthwithorderedaservant,"to
getreadytomorrowsuchdishesaswerelish,andtoputtheminasmanyboxesastherewillbepeople,and
bringthemover.Wecanhavebreakfasttoointhegarden."
Butwhiletheyweredeliberating,thetimecametolightthelamps.Nothingofanynotetranspiredthewhole
night.Thenextday,theygotupatearlydawn.Theweather,fortunately,wasbeautifullyclear.LiWanturnedout

ofbedatdaybreak.Shewasengagedinwatchingtheoldmatronsandservantgirlssweepingthefallenleaves,
rubbingthetablesandchairs,andpreparingtheteaandwinevessels,whensheperceivedFengErhusherinold
goodyLiuandPanErh."You'reverybusy,ourseniorlady!"theysaid.
"Itoldyouthatyouwouldn'tmanagetostartyesterday,"LiWansmiled,"butyouwereinahurrytogetaway."
"Yourworthyoldlady,"goodyLiurepliedlaughingly,"wouldn'tletmego.Shewantedmetoenjoymyselftoo
foradaybeforeIwent."
FengErhthenproducedseverallargeandsmallkeys."OurmistressLiensays,"sheremarked,"thatshefears
thatthehighteapoyswhichareoutarenotenough,andshethinksitwouldbeaswelltoopentheloftandtake
outthosethatareputawayandusethemforaday.Ourladyshouldreallyhavecomeandseentoitinperson,
butasshehassomethingtotellMadameWang,shebegsyourladyshiptoopentheplace,andgetafewservants
tobringthemout."
LiWanthereandthentoldSuYntotakethekeys.Shealsobadeamatrongooutandcallafewservantboys
fromthoseondutyatthesecondgate.Whentheycame,LiWanremainedinthelowerstoryoftheTaKuanloft,
andlookingup,sheorderedtheservantstogoandopentheChoChinhallandtobringtheteapoysonebyone.
Theyoungservantlads,matronsandservantmaidsthensettowork,inabody,andcarrieddownovertwentyof
them.
"Becarefulwiththem,"shoutedLiWan."Don'tbebustlingaboutjustasifyouwerebeingpursuedbyghosts!
Mindyoudon'tbreakthetenons!"Turningherheadround,"olddame,"sheobserved,addressingherself
smilinglytogoodyLiu,"goupstairstooandhavealook!"
OldgoodyLiuwaslongingtosatisfyhercuriosity,soatthebarementionofthepermission,sheutteredjustone
word("come")and,draggingPanErhalong,shetrudgedupthestairs.Onherarrivalinside,sheespied,pile
uponpile,awholeheapofscreens,tablesandchairs,paintedlanternsofdifferentsizes,andothersimilar
articles.Shecouldnot,itistrue,makeouttheuseofthevariousthings,but,atthesightofsomanycolours,of
suchfineryandoftheunusualbeautyofeacharticle,shemutteredtimeaftertimethenameofBuddha,andthen
forthwithwendedherwaydownstairs.Subsequently(theservants)lockedthedoorsandeveryoneofthemcame
down.
"Ifancy,"criedLiWan,"thatourdowagerladywillfeeldisposed(togoonthewater),soyou'dbetteralsoget
thepoles,oarsandawningsfortheboatsandkeeptheminreadiness."
Theservantsexpressedtheirobedience.Oncemoretheyunlockedthedoors,andcarrieddowneverything
required.Shethenbadealadnotifytheboatwomengotothedockandpuntouttwoboats.Butwhileallthis
bustlewasgoingon,theydiscoveredthatdowagerladyChiahadalreadyarrivedattheheadofawhole
companyofpeople.LiWanpromptlywentuptogreetthem.
"Dearvenerablesenior,"shesmiled,"youmustbeingoodspiritstohavecomeinhere!Imaginingthatyou
hadn'tasyetcombedyourhair,Ijustpluckedafewchrysanthemums,meaningtosendthemtoyou."
Whileshespoke,PiYehatoncepresentedtoherajaditetray,ofthesizeofalotusleaf,containingtwigscut
fromeveryspeciesofchrysanthemum.OldladyChiaselectedaclusterofdeepredandpinneditinherhair
abouthertemples.Butturninground,shenoticedoldgoodyLiu."Comeoverhere,"shevehementlycriedwitha
smile"andputonafewflowers."
Scarcelywasthisremarkconcluded,thanladyFengdraggedgoodyLiuforward."Letmedeckyouup!"she
laughed.Withthesewords,sheseizedawholeplatefulofflowersandstuckthemthreethisway,fourthatway,
alloverherhead.OldladyChia,andthewholepartyweregreatlyamusedsomuchso,thattheycouldnot
checkthemselves.

"Iwonder,"shoutedgoodyLiusmiling,"whatblessingsIhavebroughtuponmyheadthatsuchhonoursare
conferreduponittoday!"
"Don'tyouyetpullthemaway,"theyalllaughed,"andchucktheminherface!Shehasgotyouupinsuchaway
astomakearegularoldelfofyou!"
"I'manoldhag,Iadmit,"goodyLiupursuedwithalaugh"butwhenIwasyoung,Itoowasprettyandfondof
flowersandpowder!ButthebestthingIcandonowistokeeptosuchfineriesasbefitmyadvancedage!"
Whiletheybandiedwords,theyreachedtheHsinFangpavilion.Thewaitingmaidsbroughtalargeembroidered
rugandspreaditovertheplanksofthedivannearthebalustrade.OnthisrugdowagerladyChiasat,withher
backleaningagainsttherailingand,invitinggoodyLiutoalsotakeaseatnexttoher,"Isthisgardenniceor
not?"sheaskedher.
OldgoodyLiuinvokedBuddhaseveraltimes."Wecountrypeople,"sherejoined,"doinvariablycome,atthe
closeofeachyear,intothecityandbuypicturesandstickthemabout.Andfrequentlydowefindourselvesin
ourleisuremomentswonderinghowwetoocouldmanagetogetintothepictures,andwalkaboutthescenes
theyrepresent.Ipresumedthatthosepictureswerepurelyandsimplyfictitious,forhowcouldtherebeanysuch
placesinreality?But,contrarytomyexpectations,Ifound,assoonasIenteredthisgardentodayandhada
lookaboutit,thatitwas,afterall,ahundredtimesbetterthantheseverypictures.ButifonlyIcouldgetsome
onetomakemeasketchofthisgarden,totakehomewithmeandletthemseeit,sothatwhenwediewemay
havereapedsomebenefit!"
Uponcatchingthewishsheexpressed,dowagerladyChiapointedatHsiCh'un."Lookatthatyoung
granddaughterofmine!"shesmiled."She'sgottheknackofdrawing.Sowhatdoyousaytomyaskingherto
morrowtomakeapictureforyou?"
ThissuggestionfilledgoodyLiuwithenthusiasmandspeedilycrossingover,sheclaspedHsiCh'uninherarms.
"MydearMiss!"shecried,"soyounginyears,andyetsopretty,andsoaccomplishedtoo!Mightn'tyoubea
spiritcometolife!"
AfteroldladyChiahadhadalittlerest,sheinpersontookgoodyLiuandshowedhereverythingtherewastobe
seen.First,theyvisitedtheHsiaoHsianglodge.Themomenttheysteppedintotheentrance,anarrowavenue,
flankedoneithersidewithkingfisherlikegreenbamboos,mettheirgaze.Theearthbelowwasturfedallover
withmoss.Inthecentre,extendedatortuousroad,pavedwithpebbles.GoodyLiuleftdowagerladyChiaand
thepartywalkontheraisedroad,whilesheherselfsteppedontheearth.ButHuPotuggedather."Comeup,old
dame,andwalkhere!"sheexclaimed."Mindthefreshmossisslipperyandyoumightfall."
"Idon'tmindit!"answeredgoodyLiu."Wepeopleareaccustomedtowalking(onsuchslipperythings)!So,
youngladies,pleaseproceed.Anddolookafteryourembroideredshoes!Don'tsplashthemwithmud."
Butwhilebentupontalkingwiththosewhokeptontheraisedroad,sheunawaresreachedaspot,whichwas
actuallyslippery,andwithasoundof"kutang"shetumbledover.
Thewholecompanyclappedtheirhandsandlaughedboisterously.
"Youyoungwenches,"shoutedoutdowagerladyChia,"don'tyouyetraiseherup,butstandbygiggling?"
ThisreprimandwasstillbeingutteredwhengoodyLiuhadalreadycrawledup.Shetoowashighlyamused.
"Justasmymouthwasbragging,"sheobserved,"Igotawhackonthelips!"
"Haveyouperchancetwistedyourwaist?"inquiredoldladyChia."Telltheservantgirlstopatitforyou!"
"Whatanidea!"retortedgoodyLiu,"amIsodelicate?Whatdayevergoesbywithoutmytumblingdowna
coupleoftimes?AndifIhadtobepattedeverytimewouldn'titbedreadful!"

TzuChuanhadatanearlyperiodraisedthespeckledbambooportiere.
DowagerladyChiaandhercompanionsenteredandseatedthemselves.Lin
Taiywithherownhandstookasmalltrayandcametopresenta
coveredcupofteatohergrandmother.
"Wewon'thaveanytea!"MadameWanginterposed,"so,miss,youneedn'tpourany."
LinTaiy,hearingthis,badeawaitingmaidfetchthechairfromunderthewindowwheresheherselfoftensat,
andmovingittothelowerside,shepressedMadameWangintoit.ButgoodyLiucaughtsightofthepencils
andinkslabs,lyingonthetableplacednexttothewindow,andespiedthebookcasepileduptotheutmostwith
books."Thismustsurely,"theolddameejaculated,"besomeyounggentleman'sstudy!"
"Thisistheroomofthisgranddaughterinlawofmine,"dowagerlady
Chiaexplained,smilinglypointingtoTaiy.
GoodyLiuscrutinisedLinTaiywithintentnessforawhile."Isthisanythinglikeayounglady'sprivate
room?"shethenobservedwithasmile."Why,inverydeed,it'ssuperiortoanyfirstclasslibrary!"
"HowisitIdon'tseePaoy?"hisgrandmotherChiawentontoinquire.
"He'sintheboat,onthepond,"thewaitingmaids,withonevoice,returnedforanswer.
"Whoalsogottheboatsready?"oldladyChiaasked.
"Theloftwasopenjustnowsotheyweretakenout,"LiWansaid,"andasIthoughtthatyoumight,venerable
senior,feelinclinedtohavearow,Igoteverythingready."
Afterlisteningtothisexplanation,dowagerladyChiawasabouttopasssomeremark,butsomeonecameand
reportedtoherthatMrs.Hsehhadarrived.NosoonerhadoldladyChiaandtheotherssprungtotheirfeetthan
theynoticedthatMrs.Hsehhadalreadymadeherappearance.Whiletakingaseat:"Yourvenerableladyship,"
shesmiled,"mustbeincapitalspiritstodaytohavecomeatthisearlyhour!"
"It'sonlythisveryminutethatIproposedthatanyonewhocamelate,shouldbefined,"dowagerladyChia
laughed,"and,who'dhavethoughtit,hereyou,Mrs.Hseh,arrivelate!"
Aftertheyhadindulgedingoodhumouredrailleryforatime,oldladyChia'sattentionwasattractedbythe
fadedcolourofthegauzeonthewindows,andsheaddressedherselftoMadameWang."Thisgauze,"shesaid,
"mayhavebeenniceenoughwhenitwasnewlypasted,butafteratimenothingremainedofkingfishergreen.In
thiscourttootherearenopeachorapricottreesandthesebamboosalreadyaregreeninthemselves,sowerethis
shadeofgreengauzetobeputupagain,itwould,insteadofimprovingmatters,notharmonisewiththe
surroundings.Irememberthatwehadatonetimefourorfivekindsofcolouredgauzesforstickingonwindows,
sogivehersometomorrowtochangethatonthere."
"WhenIopenedthestoreyesterday,"hastilyputinLadyFeng,"Inoticedthattherewerestillinthoseboxes,
madeoflargeplanks,severalrollsof'cicadawing'gauzeofsilveryredcolour.Therewerealsoseveralrollswith
designsoftwigsofflowersofeverykind,severalwith'therollingcloudsandbats'pattern,andseveralwith
figuresrepresentinghundredsofbutterflies,interspersedamongflowers.Thecoloursofallthesewerefresh,and
thegauzesupple.ButIfailedtoseeanythingofthekindyouspeakof.Weretworollstaken(fromthoseI
referredto),andacoupleofbedcoversofembroideredgauzemadeoutofthem,theywould,Ifancy,beapretty
sight!"
"Pshaw!"laughedoldladyChia,"everyonesaysthatthere'snothingyouhaven'tgonethroughandnothingyou
haven'tseen,anddon'tyouevenknowwhatthisgauzeis?Willyouagainbragbyandbye,afterthis?"

Mrs.Hsehandalltheotherssmiled."Shemayhavegonethroughagooddeal,"theyremarked,"buthowcan
sheeverpresumetopitherselfagainstanoldladylikeyou?Sowhydon'tyou,venerablesenior,tellherwhatit
issothatwetoomaybeedified."
LadyFengtoogaveasmile."Mydearancestor,"shepleaded,"dotellmewhatitislike."
DowagerladyChiathereuponproceededtoenlightenMrs.Hsehandthewholecompany."Thatgauzeisolder
inyearsthananyoneofyou,"shesaid."Itisn'tthereforetobewondered,ifyoumakeamistakeandtakeitfor
'cicadawing'gauze.Butitreallybearssomeresemblancetoitsomuchso,indeed,thatanyone,notknowing
thedifference,wouldimagineittobethe'cicadawing'gauze.Itstruename,however,is'softsmoke'silk."
"Thisisalsoanicesoundingname,"ladyFengagreed."ButuptotheageI'vereached,Ihaveneverheardof
anysuchdesignation,inspiteofthemanyhundredsofspecimensofgauzesandsilks,I'veseen."
"Howlongcanyouhavelived?"oldladyChiaaddedsmilingly,"andhowmanykindsofthingscanyouhave
met,thatyouindulgeinthistalltalk?Ofthis'softsmoke'silk,thereonlyexistfourkindsofcolours.Theoneis
redbluetheotherisrussettheotherpinegreentheothersilveryredandit'sbecause,whenmadeintocurtains
orstuckonwindowframes,itlooksfromfarlikesmokeormist,thatitiscalled'softsmoke'silk.Thesilvery
redisalsocalled'russetshadow'gauze.Amongthegauzesusedinthepresentday,inthepalaceabove,thereare
nonesosuppleandrich,lightandcloselywovenasthis!"
"NottospeakofthatgirlFengnothavingseenit,"Mrs.Hsehlaughed,"why,evenIhaveneversomuchas
heardanythingofit."
Whiletheconversationproceededinthisstrain,ladyFengsoondirectedaservanttofetcharoll."Nowisn'tthis
thekind!"dowagerladyChiaexclaimed."Atfirst,wesimplyhaditstuckonthewindowframes,butwe
subsequentlyuseditforcoversandcurtains,justforatrial,andreallytheyweresplendid!Soyouhadbetterto
morrowtryandfindseveralrolls,andtakesomeofthesilveryredoneandhaveitfixedonthewindowsfor
her."
WhileladyFengpromisedtoattendtohercommission,thepartyscrutinisedit,andunanimouslyextolleditwith
effusion.OldgoodyLiutoostrainedhereyesandexaminedit,andherlipsincessantlymutteredBuddha'sname.
"Wecouldn't,"sheventured,"affordtomakeclothesofsuchstuff,muchthoughwemaylongtodosoand
won'titbeapitytouseitforstickingonwindows?"
"Butitdoesn't,afterall,lookwell,whenmadeintoclothes,"oldlady
Chiaexplained.
LadyFenghastilypulledoutthelapelofthedeepredbrocadedgauzejacketshehadon,and,facingdowager
ladyChiaandMrs.Hseh,"Lookatthisjacketofmine,"sheremarked.
"Thisisalsooffirstratequality!"oldladyChiaandMrs.Hsehrejoined."Thisisnowadaysmadeinthepalace
forimperialuse,butitcan'tpossiblycomeuptothis!"
"It'ssuchthinstuff,"ladyFengobserved,"anddoyoustillsaythatitwasmadeinthepalaceforimperialuse?
Why,itdoesn't,infact,comparefavourablywitheventhis,whichiswornbyofficials!"
"You'dbettersearchagain!"oldladyChiaurged"Ibelievetheremustbemoreofit!Iftherebe,bringitallout,
andgivethisoldrelativeLiuacoupleofrolls!Shouldtherebeanyredblue,I'llmakeacurtaintohangup.
Whatremainscanbematchedwithsomelining,andcutintoafewdoublewaistcoatsforthewaitingmaidsto
wear.Itwouldbesheerwastetokeepthesethings,astheywillbespoiltbythedamp."
LadyFengvehementlyacquiescedafterwhich,shetoldaservanttotakethegauzeaway.

"Theseroomsaresosmall!"dowagerladyChiathenobserved,smiling.
"Wehadbettergoelsewhereforastroll."
"Everyonesays,"oldgoodyLiuputin,"thatbigpeopleliveinbighouses!WhenIsawyesterdayyourmain
apartments,dowagerlady,withallthoselargeboxes,immensepresses,bigtables,andspaciousbedstomatch,
theydid,indeed,presentanimposingsight!Thosepressesarelargerthanourwholehouseyealoftiertoo!But
strangetosaytherewereladdersinthebackcourt.'Theydon'talso,'Ithought,'gouptothehousetopstosun
things,sowhatcantheykeepthoseladdersinreadinessfor?'Well,afterthat,Irememberedthattheymustbe
requiredforopeningthepressestotakeoutorputinthings.Andthatwithoutthoseladders,howcouldoneever
reachthatheight?ButnowthatI'vealsoseenthesesmallrooms,moreluxuriouslygotupthanthelargeones,
andfullofvariousarticles,allsofascinatingandhardlyevenknowntomebyname,Ifeel,themoreIfeastmy
eyesonthem,themoreunabletotearmyselfawayfromthem."
"Thereareotherthingsstillbetterthanthis,"ladyFengadded."I'lltakeyoutoseethemall!"
Sayingthis,theystraightwaylefttheHsiaoHsianglodge.Fromadistance,theyspiedawholecrowdofpeople
puntingtheboatsinthelake.
"Asthey'vegottheboatsready,"oldladyChiaproposed,"wemayaswellgoandhavearowinthem!"
Assheutteredthissuggestion,theywendedtheirstepsalongthepersicarycoveredbankofthePurpleLilyIsle.
Butbeforereachingthelake,theyperceivedseveralmatronsadvancingthatwaywithlargemulticoloured
boxesintheirhands,madeallalikeoftwistedwireandinlaidwithgold.LadyFenghastenedtoinquireof
MadameWangwherebreakfastwastobeserved.
"Askourvenerablesenior,"MadameWangreplied,"andletthemlayitwherevershepleases."
OldladyChiaoverheardheranswer,andturningherheadround:"MissTertia,"shesaid,"taketheservants,and
makethemlaybreakfastwhereveryouthinkbest!We'llgetintotheboatsfromhere."
Uponcatchinghersenior'swishes,ladyFengretracedherfootsteps,andaccompaniedbyLiWan,T'anCh'un,
YanYangandHuPo,sheledofftheservants,carryingtheeatables,andotherdomestics,andcamebythe
nearestway,totheCh'iuShuanglibrary,wheretheyarrangedthetablesintheHsiaoTs'uihall.
"Wedailysaythatwheneverthegentlemenoutsidehaveanythingtodrinkoreat,theyinvariablyhavesomeone
whocanraisealaughandwhomtheycanchaffforfun'ssake,"YuanYangsmiled,"solet'salsotodaygeta
femalefamilycompanion."
LiWan,beingapersonfullofkindlyfeelings,didnotfathomtheinsinuation,thoughitdidnotescapeherear.
LadyFeng,however,thoroughlyunderstoodthatshealludedtooldgoodyLiu."Letustootoday,"shesmilingly
remarked,"chaffherforabitoffun!"
Thesetwothenbegantomaturetheirplans.
LiWanchidedthemwithasmile."Youpeople,"shesaid,"don'tknowevenhowtoperformtheleastgoodact!
Butyou'renotsmallchildrenanymore,andareyoustilluptothesepranks?Mind,ourvenerableancestormight
callyoutotask!"
"Thathasnothingwhatevertodowithyou,seniorlady,"YanYanglaughed,"it'smyownlookout!"
Thesewordswerestillonherlips,whenshesawdowagerladyChiaandtherestofthecompanyarrive.They
eachsatwhereandhowtheypleased.Firstandforemost,awaitingmaidbroughttwotraysoftea.Aftertea,lady
Fenglaidholdofanapkin,madeofforeigncloth,inwhichwerewrappedahandfulofblackwoodchopsticks,
encircledwiththreerings,ofinlaidsilver,anddistributedthemonthetables,intheorderinwhichtheywere
placed.

"Bringthatsmallhardwoodtableover,"oldladyChiathenexclaimed"andletourrelativeLiusitnexttome
here!"
Nosoonerdidtheservantshearherorderthantheyhurriedtomovethetabletowhereshewantedit.LadyFeng,
duringthisinterval,madeasignwithhereyetoYanYang.YanYangthereandthendraggedgoodyLiuout
ofthehallandbegantoimpressinalowtoneofvoicevariousthingsonhermind."Thisisthecustomwhich
prevailsinourhousehold,"sheproceeded,"andifyoudisregarditwe'llhavealaughatyourexpense!"
Havingarrangedeverythingshehadinview,theyatlengthreturnedtotheirplaces.Mrs.Hsehhadcomeover,
afterhermeal,soshesimplyseatedherselfononesideandsippedhertea.DowagerladyChiawithPaoy,
Hsiangyn,TaiyandPaoch'aisatatonetable.MadameWangtookthegirls,YingCh'un,andhersisters,and
occupiedonetable.OldgoodyLiutookaseatatatablenexttodowagerladyChia.Heretofore,whiletheirold
mistresshadherrepast,ayoungservantmaidusuallystoodbyhertoholdthefingerbowl,yakbrush,napkin
andothersuchnecessaries,butYanYangdidnotoflatefulfilanyoftheseduties,sowhen,onthisoccasion,
shedeliberatelyseizedtheyakbrushandcameoverandflappeditabout,theservantgirlsconcludedthatshe
wasbentuponplayingsometricksupongoodyLiu,andtheyreadilywithdrewandletherhaveherway.
WhileYanYangattendedtoherselfimposedduties,shewinkedattheolddame.
"Miss,"goodyLiuexclaimed,"setyourmindatease!"GoodyLiusatdownatthetableandtookupthe
chopsticks,butsoheavyandclumsydidshefindthemthatshecouldnothandlethemconveniently.Thefactis
thatladyFengandYanYanghadputtheirheadstogetheranddecidedtoonlyassigntogoodyLiuapairof
antiquatedfourcorneredivorychopsticks,inlaidwithgold.
"Theseforks,"shoutedgoodyLiu,afterscrutinisingthem,"areheavierthantheveryironleveroveratmyplace.
HowevercanImovethemabout?"
Thisremarkhadtheeffectofmakingeveryoneexplodeintoafitoflaughter.Butamarriedwomanstandingin
thecentreoftheroom,withaboxinherhands,attractedtheirgaze.Awaitingmaidwentuptoherandremoved
thecoverofthebox.Itscontentsweretwobowlsofeatables.LiWantookoneoftheseandplaceditondowager
ladyChia'stable,whileladyFengchosethebowlwithpigeon'seggsandputitongoodyLiu'stable.
"Please(commence),"DowagerladyChiautteredfromthenearside,whereshesat.
GoodyLiuatthisspeedilysprungtoherfeet."OldLiu,oldLiu,"sheroaredwithaloudvoice,"youreating
capacityisasbigasthatofabuffalo!You'vegorgedlikeanoldsowandcan'traiseyourheadup!"Thenpuffing
outhercheeks,sheaddednotaword.
Thewholepartywasatfirsttakenquiteaback.But,assoonastheyheardthedriftofherremarks,everyone,
bothhighaswellaslow,begantolaughboisterously.Hsiangynfounditsodifficulttorestrainherselfthatshe
spurtedouttheteashehadinhermouth.LinTaiyindulgedinsuchlaughterthatshewasquiteoutofbreath,
andproppingherselfuponthetable,shekeptonejaculating'Aiyo.'Paoyrolledintohisgrandmother'slap.
TheoldladyherselfwassoamusedthatsheclaspedPaoyinherembrace,andgavewaytoendearingepithets.
MadameWanglaughed,andpointedatladyFengwithherfingerbutasforsayingaword,shecouldnot.Mrs.
Hsehhadmuchdifficultyincurbinghermirth,andshesputteredthetea,withwhichhermouthwasfull,all
overT'anCh'un'spetticoat.T'anCh'unthrewthecontentsoftheteacup,sheheldinherhand,overYingCh'un
whileHsiCh'unquittedherseat,and,pullinghernurseaway,badeherrubherstomachforher.
Below,amongthelowerseats,therewasnotonewhowasnotwithbentwaistanddoubledupback.Some
retiredtoacornerand,squattingdown,laughedaway.Otherssuppressedtheirlaughterandcameupand
changedtheclothesoftheiryoungmistresses.LadyFengandYuanYangweretheonlyones,whokepttheir
countenance.StilltheycontinuedhelpingoldgoodyLiutofood.
OldgoodyLiutookupthechopsticks."Eventhechickensinthisplacearefine,"shewentontoadd,pretending,
shedidnothearwhatwasgoingon"theeggstheylayaresmall,butsodainty!Howveryprettytheyare!Let

mehelpmyselftoone!"
Thecompanyhadjustmanagedtocheckthemselves,but,themomentthesewordsfellontheirears,theystarted
againwiththeirlaughter.OldladyChialaughedtosuchanextentthattearsstreamedfromhereyes.Andsolittle
couldshebearthestrainanylongerthatHuPostoodbehindherandpattedher.
"ThismustbetheworkofthatvixenFeng!"oldladyChialaughed."Shehaseverbeenuptotrickslikeavery
imp,sobequickanddisbelieveallheryarns!"
GoodyLiuwasintheactofpraisingtheeggsassmallyetdainty,whenladyFenginterposedwithasmile.
"They'reonetaeleach,bequick,andtastethem"shesaid"they'renotnicewhentheygetcold!"
GoodyLiuforthwithstretchedoutthechopstickswiththeintentofcatchingonebuthowcouldshemanageto
doso?Theyrolledandrolledinthebowlforeversolongand,itwasonlyafterextremedifficultythatshe
succeededinshovingoneup.Extendingherneckforward,shewasabouttoputitinhermouth,whenitslipped
downagain,androlledontothefloor.Shehastilybangeddownthechopsticks,andwasgoingherselftopickit
up,whenaservant,whostoodbelow,gotholdofitandtookitoutoftheroom.
OldgoodyLiuheavedasigh."Atael!"shesoliloquised,"andhereitgoeswithoutasound!"
Everyonehadlongagoabandonedallideaofeating,and,gazingather,theyenjoyedthefun.
"Whohasnowbroughtoutthesechopsticksagain?"oldladyChiawentontoask."Wehaven'tinvitedany
strangersorspreadanylargebanquet!ItmustbethatvixenFengwhogavethemout!Butdon'tyouyetchange
them!"
Theservants,standingonthefloorbelow,hadindeedhadnohandingettingthoseivorychopstickstheyhad,in
fact,beenbroughtbyladyFengandYanYangbutwhentheyheardtheseremarks,theyhurriedtoputthem
awayandtochangethemforapairsimilartothoseusedbytheothers,madeofblackwoodinlaidwithsilver.
"They'vetakenawaythegoldones,"oldgoodyLiushouted,"andherecomesilverones!But,afterall,they're
notashandyasthoseweuse!"
"Shouldtherebeanypoisonintheviands,"ladyFengobserved,"youcandetectit,assoonasthissilveris
dippedintothem!"
"Ifthere'spoisoninsuchviandsasthese,"oldgoodyLiuadded,"whythoseofoursmustbeallarsenic!But
thoughitbethedeathofme,I'llswalloweverymorsel!"
Seeinghowamusingtheoldwomanwasandwithwhatrelishshedevouredherfood,dowagerladyChiatook
herowndishesandpassedthemovertoher.
ShethenlikewisebadeanoldmatrontakevariousviandsandputtheminabowlforPanErh.Butpresently,the
repastwasconcluded,andoldladyChiaandalltheotherinmatesadjoinedintoT'anCh'un'sbedroomforachat.
Theremnantswere,meanwhile,clearedaway,andfreshtableswerelaid.
OldgoodyLiuwatchedLiWanandladyFengsitoppositeeachotherandeat."Puttingeverythingelseaside,"
shesighed,"whatmosttakesmyfancyisthewaythingsaredoneinyourmansion.Itisn'ttobewonderedatthat
theadagehasitthat:'proprietyoriginatesfromgreatfamilies.'"
"Don'tbetootouchy,"ladyFenghastilysmiled,"weallmadefunofyoujustnow."
Butbarelyhadshedonespeaking,whenYanYangtoowalkedin."OldgoodyLiu,"shesaidlaughingly,"don't
beangry!Itenderyoumyapologies,venerabledame!"

"Whatareyousaying,Miss?"oldgoodyLiurejoinedsmiling."We'vecoaxedourdowagerladytogetalittle
distractionandwhatreasonistheretobeangry?Fromtheveryfirstmomentyouspoketome,Iknewatonce
thatitwasintendedtoaffordmerrimenttoyouall!HadIbeenangryatheart,Iwouldn'thavegonesofarasto
saywhatIdid!"
YanYangthenblewuptheservants."Why,"sheshouted,"don'tyoupouracupofteafortheolddame?"
"Thatsisterinlaw,"promptlyexplainedoldgoodyLiu,"gavemeacupalittlewhileback.I'vehaditalready.
Butyou,Miss,mustalsohavesomethingtoeat."
LadyFengdraggedYanYangintoaseat."Haveyourmealwithus!"shesaid."You'llthussaveanotherfussby
andbye."
YanYangreadilyseatedherself.Thematronscameupandaddedtothenumberofbowlsandchopsticks,and
thetriowentthroughtheirmeal.
"FromallIsee,"smiledgoodyLiu,"youpeopleeatjustalittleandfinish.It'sluckyyoudon'tfeelthepangsof
hunger!Butitisn'tastonishingifawhiffofwindcanpuffyouover!"
"Agoodmanyeatablesremainedovertoday.Wherearetheyallgoneto?"
YanYanginquired.
"Theyhaven'tasyetbeenapportioned!"thematronsresponded."They'rekeptinhereuntiltheycanbegivenin
alumptothemtoeat!"
"Theycan'tgetthroughsomanythings!"YanYangresumed."Youhadaswellthereforechoosetwobowlsand
sendthemovertothatgirlP'ing,inyourmistressSecundus'rooms."
"Shehashadherrepastlongago."ladyFengputin."There'snoneedtogiveherany!"
"Withwhatshecan'teat,herself,"YanYangcontinued,"shecanfeedthecats."
Atthesewords,amatronlostnotimeinselectingtwosortsofeatables,and,takingthebox,shewenttotake
themover.
"Where'sSuYungoneto?"YanYangasked.
"They'reallinherehavingtheirmealtogether."LiWanreplied."Whatdoyouwantherforagain?"
"Well,inthatcase,nevermind,"YanYanganswered.
"HsiJenisn'there,"ladyFengobserved,"sotellsomeonetotakeherafewthings!"
YuanYang,hearingthis,directedaservanttosendheralsoafeweatables."Havethepartitionboxesbeenfilled
withwineforbyandbye?"YanYangwentontoaskthematrons.
"They'llbeready,Ithink,inalittlewhile,"amatronexplained.
"Hurrythemupabit!"YanYangadded.
Thematronsignifiedherassent.
LadyFengandherfriendsthencameintoT'anCh'un'sapartments,wheretheyfoundtheladieschattingand
laughing.

T'anCh'unhadevershownaninclinationforplentyofroom.Hencethatsuiteofthreeapartmentshadnever
beenpartitioned.InthecentrewasplacedalargetableofrosewoodandTalimarble.Onthistable,werelaidin
aheapeverykindofcopyslipswrittenbypersonsofnote.Severaltensofvaluableinkslabsandvarious
specimensoftubesandreceptaclesforpensfiguredalsoaboutthepensinwhichwereasthicklypackedastrees
inaforest.Ontheoffside,stoodaflowerbowlfromthe'Ju'kiln,aslargeasabushelmeasure.Initwasplaced,
tillitwasquitefull,abunchofwhitechrysanthemums,inappearancelikecrystalballs.Inthemiddleofthewest
wall,wassuspendedalargepicturerepresentingvaporandrainthehandiworkofMiNangyang.Ontheleft
andrightofthispicturewashungapairofantitheticalscrollstheautographofYenL.Thelinesonthese
scrollswere:
Wildscenesaretothetasteofthosewholeisurelove,
Andspringsandrookeriesaretheirrusticresort.
Onthetable,figuredalargetripod.Ontheleft,stoodonablackwoodcabinet,ahugebowlfromarenowned
governmentkiln.Thisbowlcontainedaboutten"Buddha'shands"ofbeautifulyellowandfineproportions.On
theright,wassuspended,onaJapaneselacqueredframe,awhitejadesonorousplate.Itsshaperesembledtwo
eyes,onebythesideoftheother.Nexttoithungasmallhammer.
PanErhhadbecomealittlemoreconfidentandwasabouttoseizethehammerandbeattheplate,whenthe
waitingmaidshastenedtopreventhim.Next,hewanteda"Buddha'shand"toeat.T'anCh'unchoseoneandlet
himhaveit."Youmayplaywithit,"shesaid,"butyoucan'teatit."
Ontheeastsidestoodasleepingdivan.Onamovablebedwashungaleekgreengauzecurtain,ornamented
withdoubleembroideries,representingflowers,plantsandinsects.PanErhranuptohavealook."Thisisa
greencicada,"heshouted"thisagrasshopper!"
ButoldgoodyLiupromptlygavehimaslap."Youmeanscamp!"shecried."Whatanawfulrumpusyou're
kickingup!Isimplybroughtyoualongwithmetolookatthingsandlo,youputonairs"andshebeatPanErh
untilheburstoutcrying.Itwasonlyaftereveryonequicklycombinedinusingtheireffortstosolacehimthathe
atlengthdesisted.
OldladyChiathenlookedthroughthegauzecasementintothebackcourtforsometime."Thedryandratreesby
theeavesofthecoveredpassagearegrowingallright,"sheremarked."Theonlythingisthattheirfoliageis
rathersparse."
Butwhileshepassedthisremark,asuddengustofwindsweptby,andfaintlyonherearfellthestrainsofmusic.
"Inwhosehouseisthereawedding?"oldladyChiainquired."Thisplacemustbeverynearthestreet!"
"Howcouldonehearwhat'sgoingoninthestreet?"MadameWangandtheotherssmiled."It'sourtwelvegirls
practisingontheirwindandstringinstruments!"
"Asthey'repractising,"dowagerladyChiaeagerlycried,smilingly,"whynotaskthemtocomeinhereand
practise?They'llbeabletohaveastrollalso,whilewe,onourpart,willderivesomeenjoyment."
Uponhearingthissuggestion,ladyFengimmediatelydirectedaservanttogooutandcallthemin.Shefurther
issuedorderstobringatableandspreadaredcoveroverit.
"Letitbeput,"oldladyChiachimedin,"inthewaterpavilionoftheLotusFragranceArbour,for(themusic)
willborrowtherippleofthestreamandsoundeversomuchmorepleasanttotheear.Wecanbyandbyedrink
ourwineintheChoChinHallwe'llthushaveampleroom,andbeabletolistenfromclose!"
Everyoneadmittedthatthespotwaswelladapted.DowagerladyChiaturnedherselftowardsMrs.Hseh.
"Let'sgetahead!"shelaughed."Theyoungladiesdon'tlikeanyonetocomeinhere,forfearlesttheirquarters
shouldgetcontaminatedsodon'tletusshowourselvesdisregardfuloftheirwishes!Therightthingwouldbeto
goandhaveourwineaboardoneofthoseboats!"

Asshespoke,oneandallrosetotheirfeet.TheyweremakingtheirwayoutwhenT'anCh'uninterposed.
"What'sthisthatyou'resaying?"shesmiled."Pleasedoseatyourselves,venerablesenior,andyou,Mrs.Hseh,
andMadameWang!Youcan'tbegoingyet?"
"Thesethreegirlsofminearereallynice!Thereareonlytwomistressesthataresimplydreadful."Dowagerlady
Chiasaidsmilingly."Whenwegetdrunkshortly,we'llgoandsitintheirroomsandhavealark!"
Thesewordsevokedlaughterfromeveryone.Inabodytheyquittedtheplace.Buttheyhadnotproceededfar
beforetheyreachedthebankcoveredwithaquaticplants,towhichplacetheboatwomen,whohadbeen
broughtfromKuSu,hadalreadypuntedtwocrabwoodboats.Intooneoftheseboats,theyhelpedoldlady
Chia,MadameWang,Mrs.Hseh,oldgoodyLiu,YanYang,andYCh'uanErh.LastinorderLiWan
followedonboard.ButladyFengtoosteppedin,andstandinguponthebow,sheinsisteduponpunting.
DowagerladyChia,however,remonstratedfromherseatinthebottomoftheboat."Thisisn'tajoke,"shecried,
"we'renotontheriver,it'strue,buttherearesomeverydeepplacesabout,sobequickandcomein.Doitfor
mysake."
"What'stheretobeafraidof?"ladyFenglaughed."Composeyourmind,worthyancestor."
Sayingthis,theboatwaspushedoffwithoneshove.Whenitreachedthemiddleofthelake,ladyFengbecame
nervous,forthecraftwassmallandtheoccupantsmany,andhastilyhandingthepoletoaboatwoman,she
squatteddownatlast.
YingCh'un,hersisters,theircousins,aswellasPaoysubsequentlygotonboardthesecondboat,andfollowed
intheirtrackwhiletherestofthecompany,consistingofoldnursesandabevyofwaitingmaids,keptpace
withthemalongthebankofthestream.
"Allthesebrokenlotusleavesaredreadful!"Paoyshouted."Whydon'tyouyettelltheservantstopullthem
off?"
"Whenwasthisgardenleftquietduringallthedaysofthisyear?"Paoch'aismiled."Why,peoplehavecome,
dayafterday,tovisitit,sowasthereeveranytimetotelltheservantstocomeandcleanit?"
"Ihavethegreatestabhorrence,"LinTaiychimedin,"forLiI'spoeticalworks,butthere'sonlythislinein
themwhichIlike:
"'Leavethedrylotusleavessoastohearthepatteroftherain.'
"andhereyoupeopledeliberatelymeanagainnottoleavethedrylotusstaywheretheyare."
"Thisisindeedafineline!"Paoyexclaimed."Wemustn'thereafterletthempullthemaway!"
Whilethisconversationcontinued,theyreachedtheshoalyinletundertheflowerladenbeech.Theyfelta
coolnessfromtheshadyovergrowthpenetratetheirverybones.Thedecayingvegetationandthewithered
aquaticchestnutplantsonthesandbankenhanced,toagreaterdegree,thebeautyoftheautumnscenery.
DowagerladyChiaatthispointobservedsomespotlessroomsonthebank,sospickandsospan."Arenotthese
MissHseh'squarters,"sheasked."Eh?"
"Yes,theyare!"everybodyanswered.
OldladyChiapromptlybadethemgoalongside,andwendingtheirwayupthemarblesteps,whichseemedto
leadtotheclouds,theyinabodyenteredtheHengWucourt.Heretheyfeltapeculiarperfumecomewafting
intotheirnostrils,forthecoldertheseasongotthegreenergrewthatstrangevegetation,andthosefairylike
creepers.Thevariousplantswereladenwithseeds,whichcloselyresembledredcoralbeans,astheydroopedin
lovelyclusters.

Thehouse,assoonastheyputtheirfootintoit,presentedtheaspectofasnowcave.Therewasatotalabsence
ofeveryobjectofornament.Onthetablefiguredmerelyanearthenwarevase,inwhichwereplacedseveral
chrysanthemums.Afewbooksandteacupswerealsoconspicuous,butnofurtherknicknacks.Onthebedwas
suspendedagreengauzecurtain,andofequallyextremeplainnesswerethecoverletsandmattressesbelonging
toit.
"Thischild,"dowagerladyChiasighed,"istoosimple!Ifyou'vegotnothingtolayabout,whynotaskyouraunt
forafewarticles?Iwouldneverraiseanyobjection.Ineverthoughtaboutthem.Yourthings,ofcourse,have
beenleftathome,andhavenotbeenbroughtover."
Sosaying,shetoldYuanYangtogoandfetchseveralbricabrac.ShenextwentontocallladyFengtotask.
"Sheherselfwouldn'thavethem,"(ladyFeng)rejoined."Wereallysentoverafew,butsherefusedeveryoneof
themandreturnedthem."
"Inherhomealso,"smiledMrs.Hseh,"shedoesnotgoinverymuchforsuchsortofthings."
OldladyChianoddedherhead."Itwillneverdo!"sheadded."Itdoes,it'strue,savetroublebutweresome
relativetocomeonavisit,she'llfindthingsinanimpossibleway.Inthesecondplace,suchsimplicityinthe
apartmentsofyoungladiesoftenderageisquiteunpropitious!Why,ifyouyoungpeoplegooninthisway,we
oldfogiesshouldgofurtherandliveinstables!You'veallheardwhatissaidinthosebooksandplaysaboutthe
dreadfulluxury,withwhichyoungladies'quartersaregotup.Andthoughthesegirlsofourscouldnotpresume
toplacethemselvesonthesamefootingasthoseyoungladies,theyshouldn'tneverthelessexceedtoomuchthe
boundsofwhatconstitutestherightthing.Iftheyhaveanyobjectsreadyathand,whyshouldn'ttheylaythem
out?Andiftheyhaveanystrongpredilectionforsimplicity,afewthingslesswilldoquiteaswell.I'vealways
hadthegreatestknackfortitifyingaroom,butbeinganoldwomannowIhaven'ttheeaseandinclinationto
attendtosuchthings!Thesegirlsare,however,learninghowtodothingsverynicely.Iwasafraidthatthere
wouldbeanappearanceofvulgarityinwhattheydid,andthat,evenhadtheyanythingworthhaving,they'dso
placethemaboutastospoilthembutfromwhatIcanseethere'snothingvulgaraboutthem.Butletmenowput
thingsrightforyou,andI'llwagerthateverythingwilllookgrandaswellasplain.I'vegotacoupleofmyown
knicknacks,whichI'vemanagedtokeeptothisday,bynotallowingPaoytogetaglimpseofthemforhadhe
everseenthem,theytoowouldhavelongagodisappeared!"Continuing,shecalledYanYang."Fetchthat
marblepotwithsceneryonit,"shesaidtoher"thatgauzescreen,andthattripodoftransparentstonewithblack
streaks,whichyou'llfindinthere,andlayoutallthreeonthistable.They'llbeample!Bringlikewisethoseink
picturesandwhitesilkcurtains,andchangethesecurtains."
YanYangexpressedherobedience."Allthesearticleshavebeenputawayintheeasternloft,"shesmiled."In
whatboxesthey'vebeenput,Icouldn'ttellImustthereforegoandfindthemquietlyandifIbringthemover
tomorrow,itwillbetimeenough."
"Tomorroworthedayafterwilldoverywellbutdon'tforget,that'sall,"dowagerladyChiaurged.
Whileconversing,theysatforawhile.Presently,theylefttheroomsandrepairedstraightwayintotheChoChin
hall.WenKuanandtheothergirlscameupandpaidtheirobeisance.Theynextinquiredwhatsongstheywere
topractise.
"You'dbetterchooseafewpiecestorehearseoutofthoseyouknowbest,"oldladyChiarejoined.
WenKuanandhercompanionsthenwithdrewandbetookthemselvestotheLotusFragrancePavilion.Butwe
willleavethemtherewithoutfurtherallusiontothem.
Duringthiswhile,ladyFenghadalready,withthehelpofservants,goteverythinginperfectorder.Ontheleft
andrightofthesideofhonourwereplacedtwodivans.Thesedivanswerecompletelycoveredwith
embroideredcoversandfinevariegatedmats.Infrontofeachdivanstoodtwolacquerteapoys,inlaid,some
withdesignsofcrabappleflowersothersofplumblossom,someoflotusleaves,othersofsunflowers.Some

oftheseteapoysweresquare,othersround.Theirshapeswerealldifferent.Oneachwasplacedasetconsisting
ofastoveandabottle,alsoaboxwithpartitions.Thetwodivansandfourteapoys,intheplaceofhonour,were
usedbydowagerladyChiaandMrs.Hseh.Thechairandtwoteapoysinthenextbestplace,byMadame
Wang.Therestoftheinmateshad,allalike,achairandateapoy.OntheeastsidesatoldgoodyLiu.Belowold
goodyLiucameMadameWang.OnthewestwasseatedShihHsiangyn.Thesecondplacewasoccupiedby
Paoch'aithethirdbyTaiythefourthbyYingCh'un.T'anCh'unandHsiCh'unfilledthelowerseats,intheir
properorderPaoysatinthelastplace.ThetwoteapoysassignedtoLiWanandladyFengstoodwithinthe
thirdlineofrailings,andbeyondthesecondrowofgauzeframes.Thepatternofthepartitionboxes
correspondedlikewisewiththepatternontheteapoys.Eachinmatehadablackdecanter,withsilver,inlaidin
foreigndesignsaswellasanornamented,enamelledcup.
Aftertheyhadalloccupiedtheseatsassignedtothem,dowagerladyChiatooktheinitiativeandsmilingly
suggested:"Let'sbeginbydrinkingacoupleofcupsofwine.Butweshouldalsohaveagameofforfeitstoday,
we'llhaveplentyoffunthen."
"You,venerablesenior,mustcertainlyhaveagoodwineordertoimpose,"Mrs.Hsehlaughinglyobserved,
"buthowcouldweevercomplywithit?Butifyouraimbetointoxicateus,why,we'llallstraightwaydrinkone
ortwocupsmorethanisgoodforusandfinish!"
"Here'sMrs.Hsehbeginningtobemodestagaintoday!"oldladyChiasmiled."ButIexpectit'sbecauseshe
looksdownuponmeasbeinganoldhag!"
"Itisn'tmodesty!"Mrs.Hsehrepliedsmiling."It'salladreadlestIshouldn'tbeabletoobservetheorderand
thusincurridicule."
"Ifyoudon'tgivetherightanswer,"MadameWangpromptlyinterposedwithasmile,"you'llonlyhavetodrink
acuportwomoreofwine,andshouldwegetdrunk,wecangotosleepandwho'll,praylaughatus?"
Mrs.Hsehnoddedherhead."I'llagreetotheorder,"shelaughed,"but,dearsenior,youmust,afterall,dothe
rightthingandhaveacupofwinetostartit."
"Thisisquitenatural!"oldladyChiaansweredlaughinglyandwiththesewords,sheforthwithemptiedacup.
LadyFengwithhurriedstepsadvancedtothecentreoftheroom."Ifwearetoplayatforfeits,"shesmilingly
proposed,"we'dbetterinvitesisterYanYangtocomeandjoinus."
ThewholecompanywasperfectlyawarethatifdowagerladyChiahadtogiveouttheruleofforfeits,Yan
Yangwouldnecessarilyhavetosuggestit,sothemomenttheyheardtheproposalthey,withcommonconsent,
approveditasexcellent.LadyFengthereforethereandthendraggedYanYangover.
"Asyou'retotakeapartinthegameofforfeits,"MadameWangsmilinglyobserved,"there'snoreasonwhyyou
shouldstandup."Andturningherheadround,"Bringover,"shebadeayoungwaitingmaid,"achairandplace
itatyourMistressSecunda'stable."
YanYang,halfrefusingandhalfassenting,expressedherthanks,andtooktheseat.Afterpartakingalsoofa
cupofwine,"Drinkingrules,"shesmiled,"resembleverymuchmartiallawsoirrespectiveofhighorlow,I
alonewillpreside.Anyonethereforewhodisobeysmywordswillhavetosufferapenalty."
"Ofcourse,itshouldbeso!"MadameWangandtheotherslaughed,"sobequickandgiveouttherule!"
ButbeforeYanYanghadasyetopenedherlipstospeak,oldgoodyLiuleftthetable,andwavingherhand:
"Don't,"shesaid,"makefunofpeopleinthisway,forI'llgohome."
"Thiswillneverdo!"Oneandallsmilinglyprotested.

YanYangshoutedtotheyoungwaitingmaidstodragherbacktohertableandthemaids,whilealso
indulginginlaughter,actuallypulledherandcompelledhertorejointhebanquet.
"Spareme!"oldgoodyLiukeptoncrying,"spareme!"
"Anyonewhosaysonewordmore,"YanYangexclaimed,"willbefinedawholedecanterfull."
OldgoodyLiuthenatlengthobservedsilence.
"I'llnowgiveoutthesetofdominoes."YanYangproceeded."I'llbeginfromourvenerablemistressand
followdowninproperorderuntilIcometooldgoodyLiu,whenIshallstop.SoastoillustratewhatImeant
justnowbygivingoutaset,I'lltakethesethreedominoesandplacethemapartyouhavetobeginbysaying
somethingonthefirst,next,toalludetothesecond,and,afterfinishingwithallthree,totakethenameofthe
wholesetandmatchitwithaline,nomatterwhetheritbefromsomestanzaorroundelay,songoridyl,set
phrasesorproverbs.Buttheymustrhyme.Andanyonemakingamistakewillbemulctedinonecup."
"Thisruleissplendidbeginatonce!"theyallexclaimed.
"I'vegotaset,"YanYangpursued"ontheleft,isthepiece'heaven,'(twelvedots)."
"Aboveheadstretchestheblueheaven,"
dowagerladyChiasaid.
"Good!"shoutedeveryone.
"Inthecentreisafiveandsix,"YanYangresumed.
Thefragranceoftheplumblossompiercesthebonesonthebridge
"Six,"
oldladyChiaadded.
"Therenowremains,"YanYangexplained,"onepiece,thesixandone."
"Fromamongthefleecycloudsissuesthewheellikerussetsun."
dowagerladyChiacontinued.
"Thewholecombined,"YuanYangobserved"forms'thedevilwithdishevelledhair.'"
"Thisdevilclaspsthelegofthe'ChungPa'devil,"
oldladyChiaobserved.
Attheconclusionofherrecitation,theyallburstoutlaughing."Capital!"theyshouted.OldladyChiadraineda
cup.YanYangthenwentontoremark,"I'vegotanothersettheoneontheleftisadoublefive."
"Budafterbudoftheplumbloomdancesinthewind,"
Mrs.Hsehreplied.
"Theoneontherightisatenspot,"YanYangpursued.
"Inthetenthmoontheplumbloomonthehillsemitsitsfragrantsmell,"

Mrs.Hsehadded.
"Themiddlepieceisthetwoandfive,makingthe'unlikeseven'"Yan
Yangobserved.
"The'spinningdamsel'starmeetsthe'cowherd'ontheeveofthe
seventhdayoftheseventhmoon,"
MissHsehsaid.
"Togethertheyform:'ErhLangstrollsonthefivemounds'"YanYangcontinued.
"Mortalscannotbehappyasimmortals,"
Mrs.Hsehrejoined.
Heranswersover,thewholecompanyextolledthemandhadadrink."I'vegotanotherset!"YanYangonce
moreexclaimed."Ontheleft,aredistinctlythedistantdotsofthedoubleace."
"Bothsunandmoonaresosuspendedastoshineonheavenandearth,"
Hsiangynventured.
"Ontheright,areacoupleofspots,farapart,whichclearlyformaoneandone."YanYangpursued.
"Whattimealonesomeflowerfallstotheground,nosoundis
audible,"
Hsiangynrejoined.
"Inthemiddle,thereistheoneandfour,"YanYangadded.
"Theredapricottreeisplantedbythesun,andleansagainsttheclouds"
Hsiangynanswered.
"Togethertheyformthe'cherryfruitripensfortheninthtime,'"Yan
Yangsaid.
"Intheimperialgardenitispeckedbybirds."
Hsiangynreplied.
Whenshehaddonewithherpart,shedrankacupofwine."I'vegotanotherset,"YanYangbegan,"theoneon
theleftisadoublethree."
"Theswallows,pairbypair,chatteronthebeams"
Paoch'airemarked.
"Therightpieceisasix,"YanYangadded.
"Themarshflowerisstretchedbythebreezee'entothelengthofagreensash,"
Paoch'aireturned.
"Thecentrepieceisathreeandsix,makinganinespot,"YanYangpursued.

"Thethreehillstowerhalfbeyondtheazureskies"
Paoch'airejoined.
"Lumpedtogethertheyform:a'chainboundsolitaryboat,'"YanYangresumed.
"Wheretherearewindandwaves,thereIfeelsad"
Paoch'aianswered.
Whenshehadfinishedherturnanddrainedhercup,YanYangwentonagain."Ontheleft,"shesaid,"there'sa
'heaven.'"
"Amorningfineandbeauteousscenery,but,alas,whatadayforme!"
Taiyreplied.
WhenthislinefellonPaochai'sear,sheturnedherheadroundandcastaglanceather,butTaiywasso
nervouslestsheshouldhavetopayaforfeitthatshedidnotsomuchasnoticeher.
"Inthemiddlethere'sthe'colouroftheembroideredscreen,(tenspots,fourandsix),isbeautiful,'"YanYang
proceeded.
"Note'enHungNiangtothegauzewindowcomes,anymessagetobring."
Taiyresponded.
"Therenowremainsatwoandsix,eightinall,"YanYangresumed.
"Twiceseethejadythronewhenledintoperformthecourtritual,"
Taiyreplied.
"Togethertheyform'abasketsuitableforputtingpluckedflowersin,'"
YanYangcontinued.
"Thefairywandsmellsniceasonithangsapeony."
Taiyretorted.
Atthecloseofherreplies,shetookasipofwine.YanYangthenresumed."Ontheleft,"shesaid,"there'sa
fourandfive,makinga'differentcombinednine.'"
"Thepeachblossomsbearheavydropsofrain"
YingCh'unremarked.
Thecompanylaughed."Shemustbefined!"theyexclaimed."Shehasmadeamistakeintherhyme.Besides,it
isn'tright!"
YingCh'unsmiledanddrankasip.ThefactisthatbothladyFengandYanYangweresoeagertohearthe
funnythingsthatwouldbeutteredbyoldgoodyLiu,thattheywithonevoicepurposelyruledthateveryone
answeredwrongandfinedthem.WhenitcametoMadameWang'sturn,YanYangrecitedsomethingforher.
NextfollowedoldgoodyLiu.

"Whenwecountrypeoplehavegotnothingtodo,"oldgoodyLiusaid,"afewofustoooftencometogetherand
playthissortofgamebuttheanswerswegivearenotsohighflownyet,asIcan'tgetoutofit,I'lllikewise
makeatry!"
"It'seasyenoughtosaywhatthereis,"oneandalllaughed,"sojustyougoonanddon'tmind!"
"Ontheleft,"YanYangsmiled,"there'sadoublefour,i.e.'man.'"
GoodyLiulistenedintently.Afterconsiderablereflection,
"It'sapeasant!"
shecried.
Oneandallintheroomblurtedoutlaughing.
"Wellsaid!"dowagerladyChiaobservedwithalaugh,"that'stheway."
"Allwecountrypeopleknow,"oldgoodyLiuproceeded,alsolaughing,"isjustwhatcomeswithinourown
roughandreadywits,soyoungladiesandladiespraydon'tpokefunatme!"
"Inthecentrethere'sthethreeandfour,greenmatchedwithred,"Yan
Yangpursued.
"Thelargefireburntthehairycaterpillar"
oldgoodyLiuventured.
"Thiswilldoverywell!",thepartylaughed,"goonwithwhatisinyourline."
"Ontheright,"YanYangsmilinglycontinued,"there'saoneandfour,andisreallypretty."
"Aturnipandaheadofgarlic."
oldgoodyLiuanswered.
Thisreplyevokedfurtherlaughterfromthewholecompany.
"Altogether,it'satwigofflowers,"YanYangaddedlaughing.
"Theflowerdropped,andahugemelonformed."
oldgoodyLiuobserved,whilegesticulatingwithbothherhandsbywayofillustration.
Thepartyoncemoreexplodedinloudmerriment.
But,reader,ifyouentertainanycuriositytohearwhatelsewassaidduringthebanquet,listentotheexplanation
giveninthenextchapter.

CHAPTERXLI.

ChiaPaoytastesteaintheLungTs'uimonastery.
OldgoodyLiugetsdrunkandfallsasleepintheIHungcourt.
OldgoodyLiu,sothestorygoes,exclaimed,whilemakingsignswithbothhands,
"Theflowerdroppedandahugemelonformed"
totheintenseamusementofalltheinmates,whoburstintoaboisterousfitoflaughter.Induecourse,however,
shedranktheclosingcup.Thenshemadeanotherefforttoevokemerriment."Tospeakthetruthtoday,"she
smilinglyobserved,"myhandsandmyfeetaresorough,andI'vehadsomuchwinethatImustbecarefulor
elseImight,byaslipofthehand,breaktheporcelaincups.Ifyouhavegotanywoodencups,you'dbetter
producethem.Itwouldn'tmatterthenifeventheyweretoslipoutofmyhandsanddropontheground!"
Thisjokeexcitedsomemoremirth.ButladyFeng,uponhearingthisspeedilyputonasmile."Well,"shesaid,
"ifyoureallywantawoodenone,I'llfetchyouoneatonce!Butthere'sjustonewordI'dliketotellyou
beforehand.Woodencupsarenotlikeporcelainones.Theygoinsetssoyou'llhavetodotherightthingand
drinkfromeverycupoftheset."
"Ijustnowsimplyspokeinjestaboutthosecupsinordertoinducethemtolaugh,"oldgoodyLiuatthese
words,musedwithinherself,"but,whowouldhavethoughtthatsheactuallyhassomeofthekind.I'veoften
beentothelargehouseholdsofvillagegentryonavisit,andevenbeentobanquetsthereandseenbothgold
cupsandsilvercupsbutneverhaveIbeheldanywoodenonesabout!Ah,ofcourse!Theymust,Iexpect,bethe
woodenbowlsusedbytheyoungchildren.Theirobjectmustbetoinveiglemetohaveacoupleofbowlfuls
morethanisgoodforme!ButIdon'tmindit.Thiswineis,verily,likehoney,soifIdrinkalittlemore,itwon't
domeanyharm."
Bringingthistrainofthoughttoaclose,"Fetchthem!"shesaidaloud.
"We'lltalkaboutthembyandbye."
LadyFengthendirectedFengErhtogoandbringthesetoftencups,madeofbambooroots,fromthebookcase
inthefrontinnerroom.Uponhearingherorders,FengErhwasabouttogoandexecutethem,whenYanYang
smilinglyinterposed."Iknowthosetencupsofyours,"sheremarked,"they'resmall.What'smore,awhileback
youmentionedwoodenones,andifyouhavebambooonesbroughtnow,itwon'tlookwellsowe'dbetterget
fromourplacethatsetoftenlargecups,scoopedoutofwholeblocksofaspenroots,andpourthecontentsofall
tenofthemdownherthroat?"
"Yes,thatwouldbemuchbetter,"ladyFengsmiled.
Thecupswerethenactuallybroughtbyaservant,atthedirectionofYanYang.Atthesightofthem,oldgoody
Liuwasfilledwithsurpriseaswellaswithadmiration.Surprise,asthetenformedonesetgoingingradation
fromlargetosmallthelargestbeingamplyofthesizeofasmallbasin,thesmallestevenmeasuringtwoof
thosesheheldinherhand.Admiration,astheywereallalike,engraved,inperfectstyle,withscenery,trees,and
humanbeings,andboreinscriptionsinthe'grass'characteraswellasthesealofthewriter.
"Itwillbeenough,"sheconsequentlyshoutedwithalacrity,"ifyougivemethatsmallone."
"There'snoone,"ladyFenglaughinglyinsinuated,"withthecapacitytotacklethese!Henceitisthatnotasoul
canpluckupcourageenoughtousethem!Butasyou,olddame,askedforthem,andtheywerefishedout,after
eversomuchtrouble,you'reboundtodotheproperthinganddrinkoutofeach,oneaftertheother."
OldgoodyLiuwasquitetakenaback."Idaren't!"shepromptlydemurred.
"Mydearlady,doletmeoff!"

DowagerladyChia,Mrs.HsehandMadameWangwerequitealivetothefactthatapersonadvancedinyears
asshewascouldnotbegiftedwithsuchpowersofendurance,andtheyhastenedtosmilinglyexpostulate."To
speakistospeak,andajokeisajoke,butshemayn'ttaketoomuch,"theysaid"letherjustemptythisfirstcup,
andhavedone."
"Omitofu!"ejaculatedoldgoodyLiu."I'llonlyhaveasmallcupful,andputthishugefellowaway,andtakeit
homeanddrinkatmyleisure."
Atthisremark,thewholecompanyoncemoregavewaytolaughter.YanYanghadnoalternativebuttogivein
andshehadtobidaservantfillalargecupfullofwine.OldgoodyLiulaidholdofitwithbothhandsandraised
ittohermouth.
"Gentlyabit!"oldladyChiaandMrs.Hsehshouted."Mindyoudon'tchoke!"
Mrs.HsehthentoldladyFengtoputsomeviandsbeforeher."Goody
Liu!"smiledladyFeng,"tellmethenameofanythingyoufancy,and
I'llbringitandfeedyou."
"WhatnamescanIknow?"oldgoodyLiurejoined."Everythingisgood!"
"Bringsomeeggplantandsaltfishforher!"dowagerladyChiasuggestedwithasmile.
LadyFeng,uponhearingthissuggestion,compliedwithitbycatchingsomeeggplantandsaltfishwithtwo
chopsticksandputtingthemintooldgoodyLiu'smouth."Youpeople,"shesmiled,"dailyfeedoneggplantsso
tastetheseofoursandseewhetherthey'vebeennicelypreparedornot."
"Don'tbemakingafoolofme!"oldgoodyLiuansweredsmilingly."Ifeggplantscanhavesuchflavour,we
ourselvesneedn'tsowanycereals,butconfineourselvestogrowingnothingbuteggplants!"
"They'rereallyeggplants!"oneandallprotested."She'snotpullingyourleg!"
OldgoodyLiuwasamazed."Ifthesebeactuallyeggplants,"shesaid,
"I'veuselesslyeatenthemsolong!But,mylady,dogivemeafewmore
I'dliketotastethenextmouthfulcarefully!"
LadyFengbroughther,inverydeed,anotherlot,andputitinhermouth.OldgoodyLiumunchedforlongwith
particularcare."Thereis,it'strue,somethingaboutthemoftheflavourofeggplant,"shelaughinglyremarked,
"yettheydon'tquitetastelikeeggplants.Buttellmehowthey'recooked,sothatImaypreparetheminthe
samewayformyself."
"There'snothinghardaboutit!"ladyFengansweredsmiling."Youtakethenewlycuteggplantsandparethe
skinoff.Allyouwantthenissomefreshmeat.Youhashitintofinemince,andfryitinchickenfat.Thenyou
takesomedrychickenmeat,andmixitwithmushrooms,newbambooshoots,sweetmushrooms,drybeancurd
paste,flavouredwithfivespices,andeverykindofdryfruits,andyouchopthewholelotintofinepieces.You
thenbakeallthesethingsinchickenbroth,untilit'sabsorbed,whenyoufrythem,tofinish,insweetoil,and
addingsomeoil,madeofthegrainsofwine,youplacetheminaporcelainjar,andcloseithermetically.Atany
timethatyouwantanytoeat,allyouhavetodoistotakeoutsome,andmixitwithsomeroastedchicken,and
thereitisallready."
OldgoodyLiuashookherheadandputouthertongue."MyBuddha'sancestor!"sheshouted."Onewants
abouttenchickenstopreparethisdish!Itisn'tstrangethenthatithasthisflavour!"
Sayingthis,shequietlyfinishedherwine.Butstillshekeptonminutelyscrutinizingthecup.
"Haven'tyouyethadenoughtosatisfyyou?"ladyFengsmiled."Ifyouhaven't,well,thendrinkanothercup."

"Dreadful!"eagerlyexclaimedoldgoodyLiu."Ishallbesoongettingsodrunkthatitwillbetheverydeathof
me.IwasonlylookingatitasIadmireprettythingslikethis!Butwhatatroubleitmusthavecosttoturnout!"
"Haveyoudonewithyourwine?"YuanYanglaughinglyinquired."But,afterall,whatkindofwoodisthiscup
madeof?"
"Itisn'ttobewonderedat,"oldgoodyLiusmiled,"thatyoucan'tmakeitoutMiss!Howevercouldyoupeople,
wholiveinsidegoldendoorsandembroideredapartments,knowanythingofwood!Wehavethewholedaylong
thetreesinthewoodsasourneighbours.Whenweary,weusethemasourpillowsandgotosleeponthem.
Whenexhausted,wesitwithourbacksleaningagainstthem.When,inyearsofdearth,wefeelthepangsof
hunger,wealsofeedonthem.Dayafterday,weseethemwithoureyesdayafterdaywelistentothemwithour
earsdayafterday,wetalkofthemwithourmouths.Iamthereforewellabletotellwhetheranywoodbegood
orbad,genuineorfalse.Doletmethenseewhatitis!"
Asshespoke,sheintentlyscannedthecupforaconsiderablelengthoftime."Suchafamilyasyours,"shethen
said,"couldonnoaccountownmeanthings!Anywoodthatiseasilyprocured,wouldn'tevenfindaplacein
here.Thisfeelssoheavy,asIweighitinmyhands,thatifitisn'taspen,itmust,foracertainty,beyellow
cedar."
Herrejoinderamusedeveryoneintheroom.Buttheythenperceivedanoldmatroncomeup.Afterasking
permissionofdowagerladyChiatospeak:"Theyoungladies,"shesaid,"havegottotheLotusFragrance
pavilion,andtheyrequestyourcommands,astowhethertheyshouldstartwiththerehearsalatonceortarrya
while."
"Iforgotallaboutthem!"oldladyChiapromptlycriedwithasmile.
"Tellthemtobeginrehearsingatonce!"
Thematronexpressedherobedienceandwalkedaway.Presently,becameaudiblethenotesofthepanpipeand
doubleflute,nowsoft,nowloud,andtheblendedaccentsofthepipeandfife.Sobalmydidthebreezehappen
tobeandtheweathersofinethatthestrainsofmusiccamewaftedacrossthearboursandoverthestream,and,
needlesstosay,conducedtoexhilaratetheirspiritsandtocheertheirhearts.Unabletoresistthetemptation,
Paoywasthefirsttosnatchadecanterandtofillacupforhimself.Hequaffeditwithonebreath.Then
pouringanothercup,hewasabouttodrainit,whenhenoticedthatMadameWangtoowasanxiousforadrink,
andthatshebadeaservantbringawarmsupplyofwine."Withalacrity,Paoycrossedovertoher,and,
presentinghisowncup,heappliedittoMadameWang'slips.Hismotherdranktwosipswhilehehelditinhis
hands,butonthearrivalofthewarmwine,Paoyresumedhisseat.MadameWanglaidholdofthewarm
decanter,andleftthetable,whilethewholepartyquittedtheirplacesatthebanquetandMrs.Hsehtooroseto
herfeet.
"Takeoverthatdecanterfromher,"dowagerladyChiapromptlyshoutedtoLiWanandladyFeng,"andpress
yourauntintoaseat.Weshallallthenfeelatease!"
Hearingthis,MadameWangsurrenderedthedecantertoladyFengandreturnedtoherseat.
"Let'sallhaveacoupleofcupsofwine!"oldladyChialaughinglycried."It'scapitalfuntoday!"
Withthisproposal,shelaidholdofacupandofferedittoMrs.Hseh.TurningalsotowardsHsiangynand
Paoch'ai:"Youtwocousins!"sheadded,"mustalsohaveacup.YourcousinLincan'ttakemuchwine,buteven
shemustn'tbeletoff."
Whilepressingthem,shedrainedhercup.Hsiangyn,Paoch'aiandTaiythenhadtheirdrink.Butaboutthis
timeoldgoodyLiucaughtthestrainsofmusic,and,beingalreadyundertheinfluenceofliquor,herspirits
becamemoreandmoreexuberant,andshebegantogesticulateandskipabout.HerpranksamusedPaoyto
suchadegreethatleavingthetable,hecrossedovertowhereTaiywasseatedandobservedlaughingly:"Just
youlookatthewayoldgoodyLiuisgoingon!"

"Indaysofyore,"Taiysmiled,"everyspeciesofanimalcommencedtodancethemomentthesoundsofmusic
brokeforth.She'slikeabuffalonow."
Thissimilemadehercousinslaugh.Butshortlythemusicceased."We'veallhadourwine,"Mrs.Hseh
smilinglyproposed,"solet'sgoandstrollaboutforatimewecanafterthatsitdownagain!"
DowagerladyChiaherselfwasatthemomentfeelingastronginclinationtohavearamble.Induecourse,
therefore,theyallleftthebanquetandwentwiththeiroldsenior,forawalk.DowagerladyChia,however,
longedtotakegoodyLiualongwithhertohelpherdispelherennui,sopromptlyseizingtheolddame'shandin
hers,theythreadedtheirwayasfarasthetrees,whichstoodfacingthehill.Afterlollingaboutwithherfora
fewminutes,"Whatkindoftreeisthis?"shewentontoinquireofher."Whatkindofstoneisthis?Whatspecies
offloweristhat?"
OldgoodyLiugavesuitablereplytoeachofherquestions."Who'deverhaveimaginedit,"sheproceededtotell
dowagerladyChia"notonlyarethehumanbeingsinthecitygrand,buteventhebirdsaregrand.Why,the
momentthesebirdsflyintoyourmansion,theyalsobecomebeautifulthings,andacquirethegiftofspeechas
well!"
Thecompanycouldnotmakeoutthedriftofherobservations."Whatbirdsgettransformedintobeautifulthings
andbecomeabletospeak?"theyfeltimpelledtoask.
"Thoseperchedonthosegoldstands,undertheverandah,withgreenplumageandredbeaksareparrots.Iknow
themwellenough!"GoodyLiureplied."Butthoseoldblackcrowsinthecagestherehavecrestslikephoenixes!
Theycantalktoo!"
Oneandalllaughed.Butnotlongelapsedbeforetheycaughtsightofseveralwaitingmaids,whocametoinvite
themtoacollation.
"AfterthenumberofcupsofwineI'vehad,"oldladyChiasaid,"Idon'tfeelhungry.Butnevermind,bringthe
thingshere.Wecannibblesomethingatourleisure."
Themaidsspeedilywentoffandfetchedtwoteapoysbuttheyalsobroughtacoupleofsmallboxeswith
partitions.Whentheycametobeopenedandtobeexamined,thecontentsofeachwerefoundtoconsistoftwo
kindsofviands.Intheone,weretwosortsofsteamedeatables.Oneofthesewasasweetcake,madeoflotus
powder,scentedwithsunflower.Theotherbeingrollswithgoosefatandfirconeseeds.Thesecondbox
containedtwokindsoffriedeatablesoneofwhichwassmalldumplings,aboutaninchinsize.
"Whatstuffinghavetheyputinthem?"dowagerladyChiaasked.
"They'rewithcrabsinside,"'hastilyrejoinedthematrons.
Theiroldmistress,atthisreply,knittedhereyebrows."Thesefat,greasyviandsforsuchatime!"sheobserved.
"Who'llevereatthesethings?"
Butfinding,whenshecametoinspecttheotherkind,thatitconsistedofsmallfruitsofflour,fashionedinevery
shape,andfriedinbutter,shedidnotfancytheseeither.ShethenhoweverpressedMrs.Hsehtohave
somethingtoeat,butMrs.Hsehmerelytookapieceofcake,whiledowagerladyChiahelpedherselftoaroll
butaftertastingabit,shegavetheremaininghalftoaservantgirl.
GoodyLiusawhowbeautifullyworkedthosesmallflourfruitswere,madeastheywereinvariouscoloursand
designs,andshetook,afterpickingandchoosing,onewhichlookedlikeapeony."Themostingeniousgirlsin
ourvillagecouldnot,evenwithapairofscissors,cutoutanythinglikethisinpaper!"sheexclaimed."Iwould
liketoeatit,butIcan'tmakeupmymindto!Ihadbetterpackupafewandtakethemhomeandgivethemto
themasspecimens!"

Herremarksamusedeveryone.
"Whenyoustartforhome,"dowagerladyChiasaid,"I'llgiveyouawholeporcelainjarfullofthemsoyou
mayaswelleatthesefirst,whiletheyarehot!"
Therestoftheinmatesselectedsuchofthefruitsastooktheirfancy,butaftertheyhadhelpedthemselvestoone
ortwo,theyfeltsatisfied.GoodyLiu,however,hadneverbeforetouchedsuchdelicacies.Thesewere,in
addition,madesmall,dainty,andwithouttheleastsemblanceofclumsiness,sowhensheandPanErhhad
servedthemselvestoafewofeachsort,halfthecontentsofthedishvanished.Butwhatremainedofthemwere
then,attheinstanceofladyFeng,putintotwoplates,andsent,togetherwithapartitionbox,toWenKuanand
theothersinginggirlsastheirshare.
Atanunexpectedmoment,theyperceivedthenursecomeinwithTaChieherhinherarms,andtheyallinduced
hertohavearompwiththemforatime.ButwhileTaChieherhwasholdingalargepumeloandamusing
herselfwithit,shecasuallycaughtsightofPanErhwitha'Buddha'shand.'TaChiehwouldhaveit.Aservant
girlendeavouredtocoax(PanErh)tosurrenderittoher,butTaChieherh,unabletocurbherimpatience,burst
outcrying.ItwasonlyafterthepumelohadbeengiventoPanErh,andthatthe'Buddha'shand'had,bydintof
muchhumouring,beengotfromPanErhandgiventoher,thatshestoppedcrying.
PanErhhadplayedquitelongenoughwiththe'Buddha'shand,'andhad,atthemoment,histwohandsladen
withfruits,whichhewasinthecourseofeating.Whenhesuddenlybesidessawhowscentedandroundthe
pumelowas,theideadawnedonhimthatitwasmorehandyforplay,and,usingitasaball,hekickeditalong
andwentofftohavesomefun,relinquishingatonceeverythoughtofthe'Buddha'shand.'
BythistimedowagerladyChiaandtheothermembershadhadtea,soleadingoffagaingoodyLiu,they
threadedtheirwaytotheLungTs'uimonastery.MiaoYhastenedtousherthemin.Ontheirarrivalinthe
interiorofthecourt,theysawtheflowersandtreesinluxuriantblossom.
"Really,"smiledoldladyChia,"it'sthosepeople,whodevotethemselvestoanasceticlifeandhavenothingto
do,whomanage,byconstantrepairs,tomaketheirplacesmuchnicerthanthoseofothers!"
Asshespoke,shewendedherstepstowardstheEasternhall.MiaoY,withafacebeamingwithsmiles,made
wayforhertowalkin."We'vejustbeenfillingourselveswithwinesandmeats,"dowagerladyChiaobserved,
"andwiththejossesyou'vegotinhere,weshallbeguiltyofprofanity.We'dbetterthereforesithere!Butgiveus
someofthatgoodteaofyoursandwe'llgetoffsosoonaswehavehadacupofit."
PaoywatchedMiaoY'smovementsintently,whenhenoticedherlayholdofasmallteatray,fashionedin
theshapeofapeony,madeofredcarvedlacquer,andinlaidwithdesignsingoldrepresentingadragon
ensconcedinthecloudswiththecharacter'longevity'claspedinitsjaws,atray,whichcontainedasmall
multicolouredcupwithcover,fabricatedatthe'Ch'eng'Kiln,andpresentittohisgrandmother.
"Idon'tcarefor'LiuAn'tea!"oldladyChiaexclaimed.
"Iknowitbutthisisold'ChnMei,'"MiaoYansweredwithasmile.
DowagerladyChiareceivedthecup."Whatwateristhis?"shewentontoinquire.
"It'srainwatercollectedlastyear"MiaoYaddedbywayofreply.
OldladyChiareadilydrankhalfacupoftheteaandsmiling,sheprofferedittogoodyLiu."Justyoutastethis
tea!"shesaid.
GoodyLiudrainedtheremainderwithonedraught."It'sgood,ofcourse,"sheremarkedlaughingly,"butit's
ratherweak!Itwouldbefarbetterwereitbrewedalittlestronger!"

DowagerladyChiaandalltheinmateslaughed.Butsubsequently,eachofthemwashandedathin,purewhite
coveredcup,allofthesamemake,originatingfromthe'Kuan'kiln.MiaoY,however,soongaveatugatPao
ch'ai'sandTaiy'slapels,andbothquittedtheapartmentalongwithher.ButPaoytooquietlyfollowedat
theirheels.SpyingMiaoYshowhistwocousinsintoasideroom,Paoch'aitakeaseatinthecourt,Taiyseat
herselfonMiaoY'srushmat,andMiaoYherselfapproachastove,fanthefireandboilsomewater,with
whichshebrewedanotherpotoftea,Paoywalkedin."Areyoubentupondrinkingyourownprivatetea?"he
smiled.
"Hereyourushagaintostealourtea,"thetwogirlslaughedwithoneaccord."There'snoneforyou!"
ButjustasMiaoYwasgoingtofetchacup,sheperceivedanoldtaoistmatronbringawaytheteathings,
whichhadbeenusedintheupperrooms."Don'tputthat'Ch'eng'kilnteacupby!"MiaoYhastilyshouted."Go
andputitoutside!"
PaoyunderstoodthatitmustbebecauseoldgoodyLiuhaddrunkoutofitthatsheconsideredittoodirtyto
keep.HethensawMiaoYproducetwoothercups.Theonehadanearontheside.Onthebowlitselfwere
engravedinthreecharacters:'calabashcup,'intheplain'square'writing.Afterthese,followedarowofsmall
charactersinthe'true'style,totheeffectthatthecuphadbeenanarticlemuchtreasuredbyWangK'ai.Next
cameasecondrowofsmallcharactersstating:'thatinthecourseofthefourthmoonofthefifthyearofYuan
Feng,oftheSungdynasty,SuShihofMeiShanhadseenitinthe'Secret'palace.
Thiscup,MiaoYfilled,andhandedtoPaoch'ai.
Theothercupwas,inappearance,asclumsyasitwassmallyetonitfiguredanengravedinscription,consisting
of'spottedrhinoceroscup,'inthree'seal'characters,whichborethesemblanceofpendentpearls.MiaoY
replenishedthiscupandgaveittoTaiyandtakingthegreenjadecup,whichshehad,onpreviousoccasions,
oftenusedforherowntea,shefilleditandpresentedittoPaoy.
"'Therulesobservedintheworld,'theadagesays,'mustbeimpartial,'"Paoysmiled."Butwhilemytwo
cousinsarehandlingthoseantiqueandraregems,hereamIwiththiscoarseobject!"
"Isthisacoarsething?"MiaoYexclaimed."Why,I'mmakingnooutrageousstatementwhenIsaythatI'm
inclinedtothinkthatitisbynomeanscertainthatyoucouldlayyourhanduponanysuchcoarsethingasthisin
yourhome!"
"'Dointhecountryascountrypeopledo,'theproverbsays,"Paoylaughinglyrejoined."Sowhenonegetsina
placelikethisofyours,onemustnaturallylookdownuponeverythinginthewayofgold,pearls,jadeand
preciousstones,ascoarserubbish!"
ThissentimenthighlydelightedMiaoY.Somuchso,thatproducinganothercapaciouscup,carvedoutofa
wholebambooroot,whichwithitsninecurvesandtenrings,withtwentyknotsineachring,resembledacoiled
dragon,"Here,"shesaidwithafacebeamingwithsmiles,"thereonlyremainsthisone!Canyoumanagethis
largecup?"
"Ican!"Paoyvehementlyreplied,withhighglee.
"Albeityouhavethestomachtotackleallitholds,"MiaoYlaughed,"Ihaven'tgotsomuchteaforyouto
waste!Haveyounotheardhowthatthefirstcupisthe'taste'cupthesecond'thestupidthingforquenching
one'sthirst,'andthethird'thedrinkmule'cup?Butwereyounowtogoinforthishugecup,whywhatmore
wouldn'tthatbe?"
Atthesewords,Paoch'ai,TaiyandPaoysimultaneouslyindulgedinlaughter.ButMiaoyseizedthe
teapot,andpouredwellnighawholecupfulofteaintothebigcup.Paoytastedsomecarefully,andfoundit,
inrealtruth,soexceptionallysoftandpurethatheextolleditwithincessantpraise.

"Ifyou'vehadanyteathistime,"MiaoYpursuedwithaseriousexpressionaboutherface,"it'sthankstothese
twoyoungladiesforhadyoucomealone,Iwouldn'thavegivenyouany."
"I'mwellawareofthis,"Paoylaughinglyrejoined,"soItoowillreceivenofavourfromyourhands,but
simplyexpressmythankstothesetwocousinsofmine,andhavedone!"
"Whatyousaymakesyourmeaningclearenough!"Miaoysaid,whensheheardhisreply.
"Isthisrainwaterfromlastyear?"Taiytheninquired.
"Howisit,"smiledMiaoYsardonically,"thatapersonlikeyoucanbesuchaboorasnottobeableto
discriminatewater,whenyoutasteit?Thisissnowcollectedfromtheplumblossom,fiveyearsback,whenI
wasintheP'anHsiangtempleatHsanMu.AllIgotwasthatflowerjar,greenasthedevil'sface,full,andasI
couldn'tmakeupmymindtopartwithitanddrinkit,Iinterreditintheground,andonlyopeneditthissummer.
I'vehadsomeofitoncebefore,andthisisthesecondtime.Buthowisityoudidn'tdetectit,whenyouputitto
yourlips?Hasrainwater,obtainedayearback,evergotsuchasoftandpureflavour?andhowpossiblycouldit
bedrunkatall?"
Taiyknewperfectlywhatacuriousdispositionshenaturallyhad,andshedidnotthinkitadvisabletostartany
lengthydiscussionwithher.Nordidshefeeljustifiedtoprotractherstay,soaftersippinghertea,sheintimated
toPaoch'aiherintentiontogo,andtheyquittedtheapartment.
PaoygaveaforcedsmiletoMiaoY."Thatcup,"hesaid,"is,ofcourse,dirtybutisitnotapitytoputit
awayfornovalidreason?Tomyideaitwouldbepreferable,wouldn'tit?togiveittothatpooroldwomanfor
wereshetosellit,shecouldhavethemeansofsubsistence!Whatdoyousay,willitdo?"
MiaoYlistenedtohissuggestion,andthennoddedherhead,aftersomereflection."Yes,thatwillbeallright!"
sheanswered."LuckyforherI'veneverdrunkadropoutofthatcup,forhadI,Iwouldratherhavesmasheditto
atomsthanhaveletherhaveit!Ifyouwanttogiveittoher,Idon'tmindabitaboutitbutyouyourselfmust
handittoher!Now,bequickandclearitawayatonce!"
"Ofcoursequiteso!"Paoycontinued."Howcouldyouevergoandspeaktoher?Thingswouldthencometo
aworsepass.Youtoowouldbecontaminated!Ifyougiveittome,itwillbeallright."
MiaoYthereandthendirectedsomeonetofetchitandtogiveittoPaoy.Whenitwasbrought,Paoytook
chargeofit."Waituntilwe'vegoneout,"heproceeded,"andI'llcallafewservantboysandbidthemcarry
severalbucketsofwaterfromthestreamandwashthefloorseh,shallI?"
"Yes,thatwouldbebetter!"MiaoYsmiled."Theonlythingisthatyoumusttellthemtobringthewater,and
placeitoutsidetheentrancedoorbythefootofthewallfortheymustn'tcomein."
"Thisgoeswithoutsaying!"Paoysaidand,whilereplying,heproducedthecupfrominsidehissleeve,and
handedittoayoungwaitingmaidfromdowagerladyChia'sapartmentstohold."Tomorrow,"hetoldher,"give
thistogoodyLiutotakewithher,whenshestartsonherwayhomewards!"
Bythetimehemade(thegirl)understandthechargeheentrustedherwith,hisoldgrandmotherissuedoutand
wasanxioustoreturnhome.MiaoYdidnotexertherselfverymuchtoinducehertoprolonghervisitbut
seeingherasfarthemaingate,sheturnedroundandboltedthedoors.Butwithoutdevotinganyfurtherattention
toher,wewillnowalludetodowagerladyChia.
Shefeltthoroughlytiredandexhausted.Tosuchadegree,thatshedesiredMadameWang,YingCh'unandher
sisterstoseethatMrs.Hsehhadsomewine,whilesheherselfretiredtotheTaoHsiangvillagetorest.Lady
Fengimmediatelybadesomeservantsfetchabamboochair.Onitsarrival,dowagerladyChiaseatedherselfin
it,andtwomatronscarriedheroffhemmedinbyladyFeng,LiWanandabevyofservantgirls,andmatrons.
Butletusnowleavehertoherself,withoutanyadditionalexplanations.

Duringthiswhile,Mrs.Hsehtoosaidgoodbyeanddeparted.MadameWangthendismissedWenKuanand
theothergirls,and,distributingtheeatables,thathadbeencollectedinthepartitionboxes,totheservantmaids
togoandfeaston,sheavailedherselfoftheleisuremomentstolieoffsorecliningasshewas,onthecouch,
whichhadbeenoccupiedbyheroldrelativeafewminutesback,shebadeayoungmaidlowertheportireafter
which,sheaskedhertomassageherlegs.
"Shouldouroldladyyondersendanymessage,mindyoucallmeatonce,"sheproceededtoimpressonher
mind,and,layingherselfdown,shewenttosleep.
Paoy,Hsiangynandtherestwatchedtheservantgirlstakethepartitionboxesandplacethemamongthe
rocks,andseatthemselvessomeonboulders,othersontheturfcoveredground,someleanagainstthetrees,
otherssquatdownbesidesthepool,andthoroughlyenjoythemselves.Butinalittletime,theyalsoperceived
YanYangarrive.HerobjectincomingwastocarryoffgoodyLiuforastroll,soinabodytheyfollowedin
theirtrack,withaviewofderivingsomefun.Shortly,theygotunderthehonorarygatewayputupinthe
additionalgrounds,reservedfortheimperialconsort'svisitstoherparents,andoldgoodyLiushoutedaloud:
"Aiyoh!What!Isthereanotherbigtemplehere!"
Whilespeaking,sheprostratedherselfandknockedherhead,totheintenseamusementofthecompany,who
werequitedoubledupwithlaughter.
"Whatareyoulaughingat?"goodyLiuinquired."Icandecipherthecharactersonthishonorarygateway.Over
atourplacetemplesofthiskindareexceedinglyplentifulandthey'veallgotarchwayslikethis!These
charactersgivethenameofthetemple."
"Canyoumakeoutfromthosecharacterswhattemplethisis?"theylaughinglyasked.
GoodyLiuquicklyraisedherhead,and,pointingattheinscription,
"Are'ntthese,"shesaid,"thefourcharacters'PearlyEmperor's
PreciousHall?'"
Everybodylaughed.Theyclappedtheirhandsandapplauded.Butwhenabouttochaffheragain,goodyLiu
experiencedarumblingnoiseinherstomach,andvehementlypullingayoungservantgirl,andaskingherfora
coupleofsheetsofpaper,shebeganimmediatelytoloosenhergarments."Itwon'tdoinhere!"oneandall
laughinglyshoutedouttoher,andquicklytheydirectedamatrontoleadheraway.Whentheygotatthenorth
eastcorner,thematronpointedtheproperplaceouttoher,andinhighspiritsshewalkedoffandwenttohave
somerest.
GoodyLiuhadtakenplentyofwineshecouldnottootouchyellowwineshehad,whatismore,drunkand
eatensomanyfatthingsthatinthethirst,whichsupervened,shehademptiedseveralcupsofteatheresultwas
thatsheunavoidablygotloosenessofthebowels.Shethereforesquattedforeversolongbeforeshefeltany
relief.Butonherexitfromtheprivatechamber,thewindblewthewinetoherhead.Besides,beingawoman
wellupinyears,shefelt,uponsuddenlyrisingfromalongsquattingposition,hereyesgrowsodimandher
headsogiddythatshecouldnotmakeouttheway.Shegazedonallfourquarters,butthewholeplacebeing
coveredwithtrees,rockeries,towers,terraces,andhouses,shewasquiteatalosshowtodetermineher
whereabouts,andwhereeachroadledto.Shehadnoalternativebuttofollowastoneroad,andtotoddleonher
waywithleisurelystep.Butwhenshedrewnearabuilding,shecouldnotmakeoutwherethedoorcouldbe.
Aftersearchingandsearching,sheaccidentallycaughtsightofabamboofence."Here'sanothertrelliswithflat
beanplantscreepingonit!"GoodyLiucommunedwithinherself.Whilegivingwaytoreflection,sheskirtedthe
flowerladenhedge,anddiscoveringamoonlike,cavelike,entrance,shesteppedin.Hereshediscerned,
stretchingbeforehereyesasheetofwater,formingapond,whichmeasurednomorethansevenoreightfeetin
breadth.Itsbankswerepavedwithslabsofstone.Itsjadelikewavesflowedinalimpidstreamtowardsthe
oppositedirection.Attheupperend,figuredaslabofwhitemarble,laidhorizontallyoverthesurface.Goody
Liuwendedherstepsovertheslabandfollowedtheraisedstoneroadthenturningtwobends,inthelake,an
entranceintoahousestruckhergaze.Forthwith,shecrossedthedoorway,buthereyesweresoonattractedbya
younggirl,whoadvancedtogreetherwithasmileplayinguponherlips.

"Theyoungladies,"goodyLiuspeedilyremarkedlaughing,"havecastmeadrifttheymademeknockabout,
untilIfoundmywayinhere."
Butseeing,afteraddressingher,thatthegirlsaidnothingbywayofreply,goodyLiuapproachedherandseized
herbythehand,when,withacrash,shefellagainstthewoodenpartitionwallandbumpedherheadsothatit
feltquitesore.Uponcloseexamination,shediscoveredthatitwasapicture."Dopicturesreallysobulgeout!"
GoodyLiumusedwithinherself,and,assheexercisedhermindwiththesecogitations,shescanneditand
rubbedherhandoverit.Itwasperfectlyevenallover.Shenoddedherhead,andheavedacoupleofsighs.But
themomentsheturnedround,sheespiedasmalldooroverwhichhungasoftportire,ofleekgreencolour,
bestrewnwithembroideredflowers.GoodyLiuliftedtheportireandwalkedin.Uponraisingherhead,and
castingaglanceround,shesawthewalls,artisticallycarvedinfretwork.Onallfoursides,lutes,doubleedged
swords,vasesandcenserswerestuckeverywhereoverthewallsandembroideredcoversandgauzenets,
glistenedasbrightlyasgold,andshedalustrevyingwiththatofpearls.Eventhebricks,ontheground,on
whichshetrod,werejadelikegreen,inlaidwithdesigns,sothathereyesgotmoreandmoredazzled.Shetried
todiscoveranexit,butwherecouldshefindadoorway?Ontheleft,wasabookcase.Ontheright,ascreen.As
soonassherepairedbehindthescreen,shefacedadoorbut,shethencaughtsightofanotherolddamestepping
infromoutside,andadvancingtowardsher.GoodyLiuwaswonderstruck.Hermindwasfullofuncertaintyas
towhetheritmightnotbehersoninlaw'smother."Iexpect,"shefeltpromptedtoaskwithvehemence,"you
wenttothetroubleofcomingtohuntforme,asyoudidn'tseemeturnupathomeforseveraldays,eh?But
whatyoungladyintroducedyouinhere?"Thennoticingthatherwholeheadwasbedeckedwithflowers,old
goodyLiulaughed."Howignorantofthewaysoftheworldyouare!"shesaid."Seeingtheniceflowersinthis
garden,youatoncesettowork,forgetfulofallconsequences,andloadedyourpatewiththem!"
However,whileshederidedher,theotherolddamesimplylaughed,withoutmakinganyrejoinder.Butthe
recollectionsuddenlyflashedtohermemorythatshehadoftenheardofsomekindofchevalglasses,foundin
wealthyandwelltodofamilies,and,"Mayitnotbe,"(shewondered),"myownselfreflectedinthisglass!"
Afterconcludingthistrainofthoughts,sheputoutherhands,andfeelingitandthenminutelyscrutinisingit,she
realisedthatthefourwoodenpartitionwallsweremadeofcarvedblackwood,intowhichmirrorshadbeen
inserted."Thesehavesofarimpededmyprogress,"sheconsequentlyexclaimed,"andhowamItomanageto
getout?"
Asshesoliloquised,shekeptonrubbingthemirror.Thismirrorwas,infact,providedwithsomewestern
mechanism,whichenabledittoopenandshut,sowhilegoodyLiuinadvertentlypassedherhands,quiteat
randomoveritssurface,thepressurehappilyfellontherightspot,andopeningthecontrivance,themirrorflung
round,exposingadoortoview.OldgoodyLiuwasfullofamazementaswellasofadmiration.Withhastystep,
sheegressed.Hereyesunexpectedlyfellonamosthandsomesetofbedcurtains.Butbeingatthetimestill
sevenoreighttenthsinthewind,andquitetiredoutfromhertramp,shewithonejumpsquatteddownonthe
bed,sayingtoherself:"I'lljusthavealittlerest."Solittle,however,didshe,contrarytoherexpectations,have
anycontroloverherself,that,asshereeledbackwardsandforwards,hereyesgotquitedrowsy,andthenthe
momentshethrewherselfinarecumbentposition,shedroppedintoasoundsleep.
Butletusnowseewhattheotherswereupto.Theywaitedforherandwaitedbuttheysawnothingofher.Pan
Erhgot,intheabsenceofhisgrandmother,sodistressedthathemeltedintotears."Mayshenothavefalleninto
theplace?"oneandalllaughinglyobserved."Bequickandtellsomeonetogoandhavealook!"
Twomatronsweredirectedtogoinsearchofherbuttheyreturnedandreportedthatshewasnottobefound.
Thewholepartyinstitutedasearchineverynookandcorner,butnothingcouldbeseenofher.
"Shewassodrunk,"HsiJensuggested,"thatshe'ssuretohavelostherway,andfollowingthisroad,gotinto
ourbackrooms.Shouldshehavecrossedtotheinnersideofthehedge,shemusthavecometothedoorofthe
backhouseandgotin.Nevertheless,theyoungmaids,shemusthavecomeacross,mustknowsomethingabout
her.Ifshedidnotgetinsidethehedge,butcontinuedinasouthwesterlydirection,she'sallright,ifshemadea
detourandwalkedout.Butifshehasn'tdoneso,why,she'llhaveenoughofroamingforagoodlongwhile!I
hadbetterthereforegoandseewhatshe'supto."

Withthesewordsstillonherlips,sheretracedherfootstepsandrepairedintotheIHungcourt.Shecalledoutto
theservants,but,whowouldhavethoughtit,thewholebevyofyoungmaids,attachedtothoserooms,had
seizedtheopportunitytogoandhavearomp,soHsiJenstraightwayenteredthedoorofthehouse.Assoonas
sheturnedthemulticolouredembroideredscreen,thesoundofsnoringasloudaspealsofthunder,fellonher
ear.Hastilyshebetookherselfinside,buthernostrilswereoverpoweredbythefoulairofwineandw..d,which
infectedtheapartment.Ataglance,shediscoveredoldgoodyLiulyingonthebed,facedownwards,withhands
sprawledoutandfeetknockingaboutallovertheplace.HsiJensustainednosmallshock.Withprecipitate
hurry,sherusheduptoher,and,layingholdofher,lyingasshewasmoredeadthanalive,shepushedherabout
untilshesucceededinrousinghertohersenses.OldgoodyLiuwasstartledoutofhersleep.Sheopenedwide
hereyes,and,realisingthatHsiJenstoodbeforeher,shespeedilycrawledup."Miss!"shepleaded."Ido
deservedeath!IhavedonewhatIshouldn'tbutIhaven'tinanywaysoiledthebed."
Sosaying,shesweptherhandsoverit.ButHsiJenwasinfearandtremblinglestthesuspicionsofanyinmate
shouldbearoused,andlestPaoyshouldcometoknowofit,soallshedidwastowaveherhandtowardsher,
biddinghernotutteraword.Thenwithalacritygraspingthreeorfourhandfulsof'PaiHo'incense,sheheapedit
onthelargetripod,whichstoodinthecentreoftheroom,andputthelidbackagaindelightedattheideathat
shehadnotbeensoupsetastobesick.
"Itdoesn'tmatter!"shequicklyrejoinedinalowtoneofvoicewithasmile,"I'mheretoanswerforthis.Come
alongwithme!"
WhileoldgoodyLiuexpressedherreadinesstocomplywithherwishes,shefollowedHsiJenoutintothe
quartersoccupiedbytheyoungmaids.Here(HsiJen)desiredhertotakeaseat."Mindyousay,"sheenjoined
her,"thatyouweresodrunkthatyoustretchedonaboulderandhadasnooze!"
"Allright!Iwill!"oldgoodyLiupromised.
HsiJenafterwardshelpedhertotwocupsoftea,whenshe,atlength,gotovertheeffectsofthewine."What
younglady'sroomisthisthatitissobeautiful?"shetheninquired."ItseemedtomejustasifIhadgonetothe
veryheavenlypalace."
HsiJengaveafaintsmile."Thisone?"sheasked."Why,it'sourmaster
Secundus',Mr.Pao'sbedroom."
OldgoodyLiuwasquitetakenaback,andcouldnotevenpresumetoutterasound.ButHsiJenledherout
acrossthefrontcompoundand,whentheymettheinmatesofthefamily,shesimplyexplainedtothemthatshe
hadfoundherfastasleeponthegrass,andbroughtheralong.Noonepaidanyheedtotheexcuseshegave,and
thesubjectwasdropped.
Presently,dowagerladyChiaawoke,andtheeveningmealwasatonceservedintheTaoHsiangTs'un.
DowagerladyChiawashoweverquitelistless,andfeltsolittleinclinedtoeatanythingthatsheforthwithgot
intoasmallopenchair,withbambooseat,andreturnedtohersuiteofroomstorest.Butsheinsistedthatlady
Fengandhercompanionsshouldgoandhavetheirrepast,sotheyoungladieseventuallyadjournedoncemore
intothegarden.
But,reader,youdonotknowthesequel,soperusethecircumstancesgivenindetailinthenextchapter.

CHAPTERXLII.

ThePrincessofHengWudispels,withsweetwords,someinsane
suspicions.
TheinmateofHsiaoHsiangputs,withexcellentrepartee,thefinal
touchtothejokesmadeaboutgoodyLiu.
Wewillnowresumeourstorybyaddingthat,onthereturnoftheyoungladiesintothegarden,theyhadtheir
meal.Thisover,theypartedcompany,andnothingmoreneedbesaidaboutthem.Wewillnotice,however,that
oldgoodyLiutookPanErhalongwithher,andcamefirstandpaidavisittoladyFeng."Wemustcertainlystart
forhometomorrow,assoonasitisdaylight,"shesaid."I'vestayedhere,it'strue,onlytwoorthreedays,butin
thesefewdaysIhavereapedexperienceineverythingthatIhadnotseenfromoldtillnow.Itwouldbedifficult
tofindanyoneascompassionateofthepoorandconsideratetotheoldasyourvenerabledame,yourMadame
Wang,youryoungladies,andthegirlstooattachedtothevariousrooms,haveallshownthemselvesintheir
treatmentofme!WhenIgethomenow,IshallhavenoothermeansofshowinghowgratefulIamtoyouthan
bypurchasingalotofhugejosssticksandsayingdailyprayerstoBuddhaonyourbehalfandifhesparesyou
alltoenjoyalonglifeofahundredyearsmywisheswillbeaccomplished."
"Don'tbesoexultant!"ladyFengsmilinglyreplied."It'sallonaccountofyouthatouroldancestorhasfallenill,
byexposingherselftodraughtsandthatshesuffersfromdisturbedsleepalsothatourTaChieherhhascaughta
chillandislaidupathomewithfever."
GoodyLiu,atthesewords,speedilyheavedasigh."Hervenerableladyship,"shesaid,"isapersonadvancedin
yearsandnotaccustomedtoanyintensefatigue!"
"Shehasneverbeforebeeninsuchhighspiritsasyesterday!"ladyFengobserved."Asyouwerehere,so
anxiouswasshetoletyouseeeverything,thatshetrudgedoverthegreaterpartofthegarden.AndTaChieherh
wasgivenapieceofcakebyMadameWang,whenIcametohuntyouup,andsheateit,whoknowsinwhat
windyplace,andbeganatoncetogetfeverish."
"TaChieherh,"goodyLiuremarked,"hasn't,Ifancy,oftenputherfootintothegardenandyoungpeoplelike
hermustn'treallygointostrangeplaces,forshe'snotlikeourchildren,whoareabletousetheirlegs!Inwhat
graveyardsdon'ttheyrambleabout!Apuffofwindmay,ontheonehand,havestruckher,it'snotatallunlikely
orbeing,ontheother,sochasteinbody,andhereyesalsosopureshemay,itistobefeared,havecomeacross
somespiritorother.Ican'thelpthinkingthereforethatyoushouldconsultsomebookofexorcismsonher
behalfformindshemayhaverunupagainstsomeevilinfluence."
ThisremarksuggestedtheideatoladyFeng.ThereandthenshecalledP'ingErhtofetchthe'JadeBoxRecord.'
Whenbrought,shedesiredTs'aiMingtolookoveritforher.Ts'aiMingturnedoverthepagesforatime,and
thenread:'Thosewhofallillonthe25thdayofthe8thmoonhavecomeacross,inaduewesterlyquarter,of
someflowerspirittheyfeelheavy,withnoinclinationfordrinkorfood.Takesevensheetsofwhitepaper
money,and,advancingfortystepsduewest,burnthemandexorcisethespiritrecoverywillfollowatonce!'"
"There'sreallynomistakeaboutthat!"ladyFengsmiled."Aretherenotflowerspiritsinthegarden?ButwhatI
dreadisthatouroldladymayn'thavecomeacrossonetoo."
Sayingthis,shebadeaservantpurchasetwolotsofpapermoney.Ontheirarrival,shesentfortwoproper
persons,theonetoexorcisethespiritsfordowagerladyChiaandtheothertoexpelthemfromTaChieherh
andtheseobservancesover,TaChieherhdid,ineffect,dropquietlytosleep.
"It'sverilypeopleadvancedinyearslikeyou,"ladyFengsmilinglyexclaimed"who'vegonethroughmany
experiences!ThisTaChieherhofminehasoftenbeeninclinedtoail,andithasquitepuzzledmetomakeout
howandwhyitwas."
"Thisisn'tanythingoutoftheway!"goodyLiusaid."Affluentandhonourablepeoplebringuptheiroffspringto
bedelicate.Sonaturally,theyarenotabletoenduretheleasthardship!Moreover,thatyoungchildofyoursisso

excessivelycuddledthatshecan'tstandit.Wereyou,therefore,mylady,topamperherlessfromhenceforth,
she'llsteadilyimprove."
"There'splentyofreasoninthattoo!"ladyFengobserved."Butitstrikesmethatshehasn'tasyetgotaname,so
dogiveheroneinorderthatshemayborrowyourlonglife!Inthenextplace,youarecountrypeople,andare,
afterall,Idon'texpectyou'llgetangrywhenImentionit,somewhatinpoorcircumstances.Wereaperson
thenaspoorasyouaretosuggestanameforher,youmay,Itrust,havetheeffectofcounteractingthisinfluence
forher."
WhenoldgoodyLiuheardthisproposal,sheimmediatelygaveherselfuptoreflection."I'venoideaofthedate
ofherbirth!"shesmiledafteratime.
"Shereallywasbornonnopropitiousdate!"ladyFengreplied."Byaremarkablecoincidenceshecameintothe
worldontheseventhdayoftheseventhmoon!"
"Thisiscertainlysplendid!"oldgoodyLinlaughedwithalacrity."YouhadbetternameheratonceCh'iao
Chieherh(seventhmoonandingenuity).Thisiswhat'sgenerallycalled:combatingpoisonbypoisonand
attackingfirebyfire.Ifthereforeyourladyshipfixesuponthisnameofmine,shewill,forasurety,attainalong
lifeofahundredyearsandwhenshebyandbyegrowsuptobeabiggirl,everyoneofyouwillbeabletohave
ahomeandgetapatrimony!Orif,atanytime,thereoccuranythinginauspiciousandshehastofaceadversity,
whyitwillinevitablychangeintoprosperityandifshecomesacrossanyevilfortune,itwillturnintogood
fortune.Andthiswillallarisefromthisoneword,'Ch'iao'(ingenuity.)"
LadyFengwas,needlesstosay,delightedbywhatsheheard,andshelostnotimeinexpressinghergratitude.
"Ifshebepreserved,"sheexclaimed,"toaccomplishyourgoodwishes,itwillbesuchagoodthing!"Saying
this,shecalledP'ingErh."AsyouandIareboundtobebusytomorrow,"shesaid,"andwon't,Ifear,beableto
spareanyleisuremoments,you'dbetter,ifyouhavenothingtodonow,getreadythepresentsforoldgoodyLiu,
soastoenablehertoconvenientlystartatearlydawntomorrow."
"HowcouldIpresumetobethecauseofsuchrecklesswaste?"goodyLiuinterposed."I'vealreadydisturbed
yourpeaceandquietforseveraldays,andwereItoalsotakeyourthingsaway,I'dfeelstilllessateaseinmy
heart!"
"There'snothingmuch!"ladyFengprotested."Theyconsistsimplyofafewordinarythings.But,whethergood
orbad,dotakethemalong,sothatthepeopleinthesamestreetasyourselvesandyournextdoorneighbours
mayhavesomelittleexcitement,andthatitmaylookasifyouhadbeenonavisittothecity!"
Butwhilesheendeavouredtoinducetheolddametoacceptthepresents,shenoticedP'ingErhapproach.
"GoodyLiu,"sheremarked,"comeoverhereandsee!"
OldgoodyLiuprecipitatelyfollowedP'ingErhintotheroomontheoffside.Hereshesawthestovecouchhalf
fullwithpilesofthings.P'ingErhtooktheseuponebyoneandletherhavealookatthem."This,"she
explained,"isarollofthatgreengauzeyouaskedforyesterday.Besidesthis,ourladyFenggivesyouapieceof
thickbluishwhitegauzetouseaslining.Thesearetwopiecesofpongee,whichwilldoforwaddedcoatsand
jupesaswell.Inthisbundlearetwopiecesofsilk,foryoutomakeclotheswith,fortheendoftheyear.Thisisa
boxcontainingvarioushomemadecakes.Amongthemaresomeyou'vealreadytastedandsomeyouhaven'tso
takethemalong,andputtheminplatesandinviteyourfriendsthey'llbeeversomuchbetterthananythatyou
couldbuy!Thesetwobagsarethoseinwhichthemelonsandfruitwerepackedupyesterday.Thisonehasbeen
filledwithtwobushelsoffinerice,grownintheimperialfields,thelikeofwhichforcongee,itwouldnotbe
easytoget.Thisonecontainsfruitsfromourgardenandallkindsofdryfruits.Inthispacket,you'llfindeight
taelsofsilver.ThesevariousthingsarepresentsforyoufromourMistressSecunda.Eachofthesepackets
containsfiftytaelssothatthereareinallahundredtaelsthey'rethegiftofMadameWang.Shebidsyouaccept
themsoastoeithercarryonanytrade,forwhichnobigcapitalisrequired,ortopurchaseseveralacresofland,
inorderthatyoumayn'thenceforwardhaveanymoretobegfavoursofrelatives,ortodependuponfriends."
Continuing,sheaddedsmilingly,inalowtoneofvoice,"Thesetwojackets,twojupes,fourheadbands,anda

bundleofvelvetandthreadarewhatIgiveyou,worthydame,asmyshare.Theseclothesare,itistrue,the
worseforuse,yetIhaven'twornthemverymuch.Butifyoudisdainthem,Iwon'tbesopresumingastosay
anything."
AftermentionofeacharticlebyP'ingErh,goodyLiumutteredthenameofBuddha,soalreadyshehadrepeated
Buddha'snameseveralthousandsoftimes.ButwhenshesawtheheapofpresentswhichP'ingErhtoobestowed
onher,andthelittleostentationwithwhichshedidit,shepromptlysmiled."Miss!"shesaid,"whatareyou
saying?CouldIeverdisdainsuchnicegiftsasthese!HadIeventhemoney,Icouldn'tbuythemanywhere.The
onlythingisthatIfeeloverpoweredwithshame.IfIkeepthem,itwon'tbenice,andifIdon'tacceptthem,I
shallbeshowingmyselfungratefulforyourkindattention."
"Don'tutterallthisirrelevanttalk!"P'ingErhlaughed."YouandIarefriendssocomposeyourmindandtake
thethingsIgaveyoujustnow!Besides,Ihave,onmypart,somethingtoaskofyou.Whenthecloseoftheyear
comes,selectafewofyourcabbages,dippedinlime,anddriedinthesun,aswellassomelentils,flatbeans,
tomatoesandpumpkinstrips,andvarioussortsofdryvegetablesandbringthemover.We'reall,bothhighor
low,fondofsuchthings.Thesewillbequiteenough!Wedon'twantanythingelse,sodon'tgotoanyuseless
trouble!"
GoodyLiugaveutterancetoprofuseexpressionsofgratitudeandsignifiedherreadinesstocomplywithher
wishes.
"Justyougotosleep,"P'ingErhurged,"andI'llgetthethingsreadyforyouandputtheminhere.Assoonasthe
daybreakstomorrow,I'llsendtheservantladstohireacartandpackthemindon'tyouthereforeworry
yourselfintheleastonthatscore!"
GoodyLiufeltmoreandmoreineffablygrateful.Socrossingover,sheagainsaid,withwarmprotestationsof
thankfulness,goodbyetoladyFengafterwhich,sherepairedtodowagerladyChia'squartersonthisside,
wheresheslept,withonesleep,duringthewholenight.Earlythenextday,assoonasshehadcombedherhair
andperformedherablutions,sheaskedtogoandpayheradieustoladyChia.ButasoldladyChiawasunwell,
thevariousmembersofthefamilycametoseehowshewasgettingon.Ontheirreappearanceoutside,they
transmittedordersthatthedoctorshouldbesentfor.Inalittletime,amatronreportedthatthedoctorhad
arrived,andanoldnurseinviteddowagerladyChiatoensconceherselfunderthecurtain.
"I'manoldwoman!"ladyChiaremonstrated."AmInotagedenoughtobeamothertothatfellow?andamI,
pray,tostillstandonanyceremonieswithhim?There'snoneedtodropthecurtainI'llseehimasIam,and
havedone."
Hearingherobjections,thematronsfetchedasmalltable,and,layingasmallpillowonit,theydirecteda
servanttoaskthedoctorin.
Presently,theyperceivedthetrioChiaChen,ChiaLien,andChiaJung,bringingDr.Wang.Dr.Wangdidnot
presumetousetheraisedroad,butconfininghimselftothesidesteps,hekeptpacewithChiaChenuntilthey
reachedtheplatform.Twomatrons,whohadbeenstanding,oneoneithersidefromanearlyhour,raisedthe
portire.Acoupleofoldwomenservantsthentooktheleadandshowedthewayin.ButPaoytooappearedon
thescenetomeetthem.
TheyfoundoldladyChiaseatedboltuprightonthecouch,dressedinabluecrapejacket,linedwithsheepskin,
everycurlofwhichresembledapearl.Ontherightandleftstoodfouryoungmaids,whosehairhadnotasyet
beenallowedtogrow,withflybrushes,fingerbowls,andothersucharticlesintheirhands.Fiveorsixold
nurseswerealsodrawnuponbothsideslikewings.Atthebackofthejadegreengauzemosquitohousewere
faintlyvisibleseveralpersonsinredandgreenhabiliments,withgemsontheirheads,andgoldtrinketsintheir
coiffures.
Dr.Wangcouldnotmusterthecouragetoraisehishead.Withspeedystep,headvancedandpaidhisobeisance.
DowagerladyChianoticedthatheworetheofficialdressofthesixthgrade,andsheaccordinglyconcludedthat

hemustbeanimperialphysician."Howareyounobledoctor?"sheinquired,forcingasmile."Whatisthe
worthysurnameofthisnobledoctor?"shethenaskedChiaChen.
ChiaChenandhiscompanionsmadepromptreply."HissurnameisWang,"theysaid.
"TherewasonceacertainWangChnhsiaowhofilledthechairofPresidentoftheCollegeofImperial
Physicians,"dowagerladysmilinglyproceeded."Heexcelledinfeelingthepulse."
Dr.Wangbenthisbody,andwithalacrityheloweredhisheadandreturnedhersmile."Thatwas,"heexplained,
"mygranduncle."
"Isitreallyso!"laughinglypursueddowagerladyChia,uponcatchingthisreply."Wecanthencallourselves
oldfriends!"
Sospeaking,shequietlyputoutherhandandresteditonthesmallpillow.Anurselaidholdofasmallstooland
placeditbeforethesmalltable,slightlytothesideofit.Dr.Wangbentonekneeandtookaseatonthestool.
Droopinghishead,hefeltthepulseoftheonehandforalongwhilenext,heexaminedthatoftheotherafter
which,hastilymakingacurtsey,hebenthisheadandstartedonhiswayoutoftheapartment.
"ExcusemeforthetroubleI'veputyouto!"dowagerladyChiasmiled.
"ChenErh,escorthimoutside,anddoseethathehasacupoftea."
ChiaChen,ChiaLienandtherestoftheircompanionsimmediatelyacquiescedbyutteringseveralyes's,and
oncemoretheyledDr.Wangintotheouterstudy.
"Yourworthysenior,"Dr.Wangexplained,"hasnothingelsethematterwithherthanaslightchill,whichshe
musthaveinadvertentlycontracted.Sheneedn't,afterall,takeanymedicinesallsheneeddoistodietherself
andkeepwarmalittleandshe'llgetallright.ButI'llnowwriteaprescription,inhere.Shouldhervenerable
ladyshipcaretotakeanyofthemedicine,thenprepareadose,accordingtotheprescription,andletherhaveit.
Butshouldshebelothtohaveany,well,nevermind,itwon'tbeofanyconsequence."
Sayingthis,hewrotetheprescription,ashesippedhistea.Butwhenabouttotakehisleave,hesawanurse
bringTaChieherhintotheroom."Mr.Wang,"shesaid,"doalsohavealookatourChiehErh!"
Uponhearingherappeal,Dr.Wangimmediatelyrosetohisfeet.Whileshewasclaspedinhernurse'sarms,he
restedTaChieherh'shandonhislefthandandfeltherpulsewithhisright,andrubbingherforehead,heasked
hertoputouthertongueandlethimseeit."WereItoexpressmyviewsaboutChiehErh,youwouldagain
abuseme!Ifshe's,however,keptquietandallowedtogohungryforacoupleofmeals,she'llgetoverthis.
There'snonecessityforhertotakeanydecoctedmedicines.I'lljustsendhersomepills,whichyou'llhaveto
dissolveinapreparationofginger,andgivethemtoherbeforeshegoestosleepwhenshehashadthese,there
willbenothingmorethematterwithher."
Attheconclusionoftheserecommendations,hebadethemgoodbyeandtookhisdeparture.ChiaChenandhis
companionsthentooktheprescriptionandcameandexplainedtooldladyChiathenatureofherindisposition,
and,depositingonthetable,thepapergiventothembythedoctor,theyquittedherpresence.Butnothingmore
needbesaidaboutthem.
MadameWangandLiWan,ladyFeng,PaoCh'aiandtheotheryoungladiesnoticed,meanwhile,thatthedoctor
hadgone,andtheyeventuallyegressedfromthebackofthemosquitohouse.Afterashortstay,MadameWang
returnedtoherquarters.GoodyLiurepaired,whensheperceivedeverythingquietagain,intotheupperrooms
andmadeheradieustodowagerladyChia.
"Whenyou'vegotanyleisure,dopayusanothervisit,"oldladyChiaurged,andbiddingYuanYangcometo
her,"Dobecareful,"sheadded,"andseedameLiusafelyonherwayoutfornotbeingwellIcan'tescortyou
myself."

GoodyLiuexpressedherthanks,andsayinggoodbyeasecondtime,shebetookherself,alongwithYanYang,
intotheservants'quarters.HereYanYangpointedatabundleonthestovecouch."Theseare,"shesaid,
"severalarticlesofclothing,belongingtoouroldmistresstheywerepresentedtoherinyearsgoneby,by
membersofourfamilyonherbirthdaysandvariousfestivalsherladyshipneverwearsanythingmadeby
peopleoutsideyettohoardthesewouldbeadownrightpity!Indeed,shehasn'twornthemevenonce.Itwas
yesterdaythatshetoldmetogetouttwocostumesandhandthemtoyoutotakealongwithyou,eithertogiveas
presents,ortobewornbysomeoneinyourhomebutdon'tmakefunofus!Intheboxyou'llfindtheflour
fruits,forwhichyouasked.Thisbundlecontainsthemedicinestowhichyoualludedtheotherday.Thereare
'plumblossomspottedtonguepills,'and'purplegoldingotpills,'also'vivifyingbloodvesselspills,'aswellas
'drivingoffspringandpreservinglifepills'eachkindbeingrolledupinasheetbearingtheprescriptionandthe
wholelotofthemarepackedupinhere.Whilethesetwoarepursesforyoutowearinthewayofornaments."
Sosaying,sheforthwithloosenedthecord,and,producingtwoingotsrepresentingpencils,andwith'jui'on
them,implying'yourwisheswillsurelybefulfilled,'shedrewnearandshowedthemtoher,"Takethepurses,"
shepursuedsmiling,"butdoleavethesebehindandgivethemtome."
GoodyLiuwassooverjoyedthatshehad,fromanearlyperiod,comeoutafreshwithseveralthousandsof
invocationsofBuddha'snames.WhenshethereforeheardYanYang'ssuggestion,"Miss,"shequicklyrejoined,
"you'reatperfectlibertytokeepthem!"
YanYangperceivedthatherwordswerebelievedbyhersosmilingsheoncemoredroppedtheingotsintothe
purse."Iwasonlyjokingwithyouforfun!"sheobserved."I'vegotagoodmanylikethesekeepthemtherefore
andgivethem,atthecloseoftheyear,toyouryoungchildren."
Speakingthewhile,sheespiedayoungmaidwalkinwithacupfromthe'Ch'eng'kiln,andhandittooldgoody
Liu."This,"(shesaid,)"ourmasterSecundus,Mr.Pao,givesyou."
"WhencecouldIbeginenumeratingthethingsIgot!"GoodyLiuexclaimed."InwhatpreviousexistencedidI
accomplishanythingsomeritoriousastobringtodaythisheapofblessingsuponme!"
Withthesewords,sheeagerlytookpossessionofthecup.
"TheclothesIgaveyoutheotherday,whenIaskedyoutohaveabath,weremyown,"YanYangresumed,
"andifyoudon'tthinkthemtoomean,I'vegotafewmore,whichIwouldalsoliketoletyouhave."
GoodyLiuthankedherwithvehemence,soYanYang,inpointoffact,producedseveralmorearticlesof
clothing,andtheseshepackedupforher.GoodyLiuthereuponexpressedadesiretoalsogointothegardenand
takeleaveofPaoyandtheyoungladies,MadameWangandtheotherinmatesandtothankthemforallthey
didforher,butYanYangraisedobjections."Youcandispensewithgoing!"sheremarked."Theydon'tseeany
onejustnow!ButI'lldeliverthemessageforyoubyandbye!Whenyou'vegotanyleisure,docomeagain.Go
tothesecondgate,"shewentontodirectanoldmatron,"andcalltwoservantladstocomehere,andhelpthis
olddametotakeherthingsaway!"
Afterthematronhadsignifiedherobedience,YanYangreturnedwithgoodyLiutoladyFeng'squarters,onthe
offpartofthemansion,and,takingthepresentsasfarasthesidegate,shebadetheservantladscarrythemout.
SheherselfthensawgoodyLiuintohercurricleandstartonherjourneyhomewards.
Butwithoutcommentingfurtheronthistopic,letusreverttoPaoch'aiandtheothergirls.Afterbreakfast,they
recrossedintotheirgrandmother'sroomsandmadeinquiriesaboutherhealth.Ontheirwaybacktothegarden,
theyreachedapointwheretheyhadtotakedifferentroads.Paoch'aithencalledouttoTaiy."P'inErh!"she
observed,"comewithmeI'vegotaquestiontoaskyou."
TaiywendedherstepsthereforewithPaoch'aiintotheHengWucourt.
Assoonastheyenteredthehouse,Paoch'aithrewherselfintoaseat.
"Kneeldown!"shesmiled."Iwanttoexamineyouaboutsomething!"

Taiycouldnotfathomherobject,andconsequentlylaughed."Lookhere."shecried,"thischitPaohasgone
cleanoffhersenses!Whatdoyouwanttoexaminemeabout?"
Paoch'aigaveasardonicsmile."Mydear,preciousgirl,mydearmaiden,"sheexclaimed,"whatuttertrashfills
yourmouth!Justspeakthehonestandcandidtruth,andfinish!"
Taiycouldsolittleguesshermeaningthathersoleresourcewastosmile.Inwardly,however,shecouldnot
helpbeginningtoexperiencecertainmisgivings."WhatdidIsay?"sheremarked."You'rebentuponpickingout
myfaults!Speakoutandletmehearwhatit'sallabout!"
"Doyoustillpretendtobeafool?"Paoch'ailaughed."Whenweplayedyesterdaythatgameofwineforfeits,
whatdidyousay?Ireallycouldn'tmakeoutanyheadortail."
Taiy,afteramoment'sreflection,rememberedeventuallythatshehadthepreviousdaybeenguiltyofaslipof
thetongueandcomeoutwithacoupleofpassagesfromthe'PeonyPavilion,'andthe'RecordoftheWestSide
house,'and,ofasudden,herfacegotscarletwithblushes.DrawingnearPaoch'aishethrewherarmsroundher.
"Mydearcousin!"shesmiled,"Ireallywasn'tconsciousofwhatIwassaying!Itjustblurtedoutofmymouth!
Butnowthatyou'vecalledmetotask,Iwon'tsaysuchthingsagain."
"I'venoideaofwhatyouweredrivingat,"Paoch'ailaughinglyrejoined."WhatIheardyourecitesoundsso
thoroughlyunfamiliartome,thatIbegyoutoenlightenme!"
"Dearcousin,"pleadedTaiy,"don'ttellanyoneelse!Iwon't,inthefuture,breathesuchthingsagain."
Paoch'ainoticedhowfromshamethebloodrushedtoherface,andhowvehementshewasinherentreaties,
andshefeltbothtopressherwithquestionssopullingherintoaseattomakeherhaveacupoftea,shesaidto
herinagentletone,"Whomdoyoutakemefor?Itooamwaywardfrommyyouthup,yeaeversinceIwas
sevenoreight,I'vebeenenoughtroubletopeople!Ourfamilywasalsowhatonewouldtermliterary.My
grandfather'sextremedelightwastobeeverwithabookinhishand.Atonetime,wenumberedmanymembers,
andsistersandbrothersalllivedtogetherbutwehadadistasteforwholesomebooks.Amongmybrothers,
somewerepartialtoversesothershadaweaknessforblankpoeticalcompositionsandtherewerenoneofsuch
worksasthe'WesternsideHouse,'and'theGuitar,'evenuptothehundredandonebooksofthe'Yan'authors,
whichtheyhadn'tmanagedtoget.Thesebookstheystealthilyreadbehindourbacksbutwe,onourpart,
devouredthem,onthesly,withouttheirknowingit.Subsequently,ourfathercametogetwindofitandsomeof
ushebeat,whileothershescoldedburningsomeofthebooks,andthrowingawayothers.Itisthereforeaswell
thatwegirlsshouldn'tknowanythingofletters.Men,whostudybooksanddon'tunderstandtherightprinciple,
can't,moreover,reachthestandardofthose,whodon'tgoinforbookssohowmuchmoresuchasourselves?
Evenversifying,writingandthelikepursuitsaren'tinthelineofsuchasyouandme.Indeed,neitherarethey
withintheportionofmen.Men,whogoinforstudyandfathomtherightprinciples,shouldcooperateinthe
governmentoftheempire,andshouldrulethenationthiswouldbeanoblerpurposebutonedoesn'tnowa
dayshearoftheveryexistenceofsuchpersons!Hence,thestudyofbooksmakesthemworsethantheyever
werebefore.Butitisn'tthebooksthatruinthemthemisfortuneisthattheymakeimproperuseofbooks!That
iswhystudydoesn'tcomeuptoploughingandsowingandtradingasthesepursuitsexercisenoserious
perniciousinfluences.Asfar,however,asyouandIgo,weshoulddevoteourmindssimplytomatters
connectedwithneedleworkandspinningforwewillthenbefulfillingourlegitimateduties.Yet,itsohappens
thatwetooknowafewcharacters.But,aswecanread,itbehovesustochoosenootherthanwholesomeworks
forthesewilldousnoharm!Whataremosttobeshirkedarethoselowbooks,as,whenoncetheypervertthe
disposition,thereremainsnoremedywhatever!"
Whilesheindulgedinthislongrigmarole,Taiyloweredherheadandsippedhertea.Andthoughshesecretly
sharedthesameviewsonthesubject,alltheanswershegaveherinassentwaslimitedtoonesingleword'yes.'
Butatanunexpectedmoment,SuYnappearedintheroom."OurladyLien,"shesaid,"requeststhepresence
ofbothofyou,youngladies,toconsultwithyouinanimportantmatter.MissSecunda,MissTertia,Miss
Quarta,MissShihandMr.Pao,ourmasterSecundus,aretherewaitingforyou."

"What'supagain?"Paoch'aiinquired.
"YouandIwillknowwhatitiswhenwegetthere,"Taiyexplained.
Sosaying,shecame,withPaoch'ai,intotheTaoHsiangvillage.Herethey,infact,discoveredeveryone
assembled.AssoonasLiWancaughtsightofthetwocousins,shesmiled."Thesocietyhasbarelybeen
started,"sheobserved,"andhere'sonewhowantstogiveustheslipthatgirlQuartawishestoapplyforawhole
year'sleave."
"It'sthatsingleremarkofourworthysenior'syesterdaythatisatthebottomofit!"Taiylaughed."Forby
biddingherexecutesomepaintingorotherofthegarden,shehasputherinsuchhighfeatherthatsheappliesfor
leave!"
"Don'tbesoharduponourdearancestor!"PaoCh'airejoined,asmileplayingonherlips."It'sentirelydueto
thatallusionofgrandmotherLiu's."
Taiyspeedilytookupthethreadoftheconversation."Quiteso!"shesmiled."It'sallthroughthatremarkof
hers!Butofwhatbranchofthefamilyissheagrandmother?Weshouldmerelyaddressherasthe'female
locust'that'sall."
Asshespoke,oneandallwerehighlyamused.
"WhenanymortallanguagefindsitswayintothatgirlFeng'smouth,"Paoch'ailaughed,"sheknowshowto
turnittothebestaccount!WhatafortunatethingitisthatthatvixenFenghasnoideaoflettersandcan'tboast
ofmuchculture!Herforteissimplysuchvulgarthingsassufficetoraisealaugh!WorsethanheristhatP'inErh
withthatcoarsetongue!Shehasrecoursetothedevicesofthe'Ch'unCh'iu'!Byselecting,fromthevulgar
expressionsusedinlowslang,themostnoteworthypoints,sheeliminateswhat'scommonplace,andmakes,with
theadditionofalittleeleganceandfinish,herstylesomuchlikethatofthetextthateachsentencehasapeculiar
characterofitsown!Thethreewordsrepresenting'femalelocust'bringoutclearlythevariouscircumstances
connectedwithyesterday!Thewonderisthatshehasbeensoquickindevisingthem!"
Afterlendinganeartoherarguments,theyalllaughed."Thoseexplanationsofyours,"theycried,"showwell
enoughthatyouarenotbelowthosetwo!"
"Pray,let'sconsultastohowmanydays'leavetogranther!"LiWanproposed."Igaveheramonth,butshe
thinksittoolittle.Whatdoyousayaboutit?"
"Properlyspeaking,"Taiyputin,"oneyearisn'tmuch!Thelayingoutofthisgardenoccupiedawholeyear
andtopaintapictureofitnowwillcertainlyneedtwoyears'time.She'llhavetorubtheink,tomoistenthe
pencils,tostretchthepaper,tomixthepigments,andto."
Whenshehadreachedthispoint,evenTaiycouldnotrestrainherselffromlaughing."Ifshegoesonso
leisurelytowork,"sheexclaimed,"won'tsherequiretwoyears'time?"
Those,whocaughtthisinsinuation,clappedtheirhandsandindulgedinincessantmerriment.
"Herinnuendoesarefullofzest!"Paoch'aiventuredlaughingly."Butwhattakesthecakeisthatlastremark
aboutleisurelygoingtowork,forifsheweren'ttopaintatall,howcouldsheeverfinishhertask?Hencethose
jokescrackedyesterdaywere,sufficient,ofcourse,toevokelaughter,but,onsecondthought,they'redevoidof
anyfun!JustyoucarefullyponderoverP'inErh'swords!Albeittheydon'tamounttomuch,you'llnevertheless
find,whenyoucometoreflectonthem,thatthere'splentyofgustoaboutthem.I'vereallyhadsuchalaughover
themthatIcanscarcelymove!
"It'sthewaythatcousinPaoch'aipuffsherup,"HsiCh'unobserved"thatmakeshersomuchthemorearrogant
thatsheturnsmealsointoalaughingstocknow!"

Taiyhastilysmiledandpulledhertowardsher."Letmeaskyou,"shesaid,"areyouonlygoingtopaintthe
garden,orwillyouinsertusinitaswell?"
"Myoriginalideawastohavesimplypaintedthegarden,"HsiCh'unexplained"butourworthyseniortoldme
againyesterdaythatamerepictureofthegroundswouldresembletheplanofahouse,andrecommendedthatI
shouldintroducesomeinmatestoosoastomakeitlooklikewhatapaintingshould.I'veneithertheknackfor
thefineworknecessaryfortowersandterraces,norhaveItheskilltodrawrepresentationsofhumanbeingsbut
asIcouldn'tverywellraiseanyobjections,Ifindmyselfatpresentonthehornsofadilemmaaboutit!"
"Humanbeingsareaneasymatter!"Taiysaid."Whatbeatsyouareinsects."
"Hereyouareagainwithyourtrash!"LiWanexclaimed."Willtherebeanyneedtoalsointroduceinsectsinit?
Asfar,however,asbirdsgo,itmayprobablybeadvisabletointroduceoneortwokinds!"
"Ifanyotherinsectsarenotputinthepicture,"Taiysmiled,"itwon'tmatterbutwithoutyesterday'sfemale
locustinit,itwillfallshortoftheoriginal?"
Thisretortevokedfurthergeneralamusement.WhileTaiylaughed,shebeatherchestwithbothhands."Begin
paintingatonce!"shecried."I'veevengotthetitleallready.ThenameI'vechosenis,'Pictureofalocust
broughtintohaveagoodfeed.'"
Atthesewords,theylaughedsomuchthemoreheartilythatatatimetheybentforward,andatanotherthey
leantback.Butasoundof"Kutung"thenfellontheirears,andunabletomakeoutwhatcouldhavedropped,
theyanxiouslyandprecipitatelylookedabout.Itwas,theyfound,ShihHsiangyn,whohadbeenrecliningon
thebackofthechair.Thechairhad,fromtheveryoutset,notbeenputinasureplace,andwhileindulgingin
heartymerrimentshethrewherwholeweightontheback.Shedidnot,besides,noticethatthedovetailsoneach
sidehadcomeout,sowithatilttowardstheeast,sheaswellasthechairtoppledoverinaheap.Luckily,the
woodenpartitionwallwascloseenoughtoarrestherfall,andshedidnotsprawlontheground.Thesightofher
createdmoreamusementthaneveramongallherrelativessomuchso,thattheycouldscarcelyregaintheir
equilibrium.ItwasonlyafterPaoyhadrusheduptoher,andgivenherahandandraisedhertoherfeetagain
thattheyatlastmanagedtograduallystoplaughing.
PaoythenwinkedatTaiy.Taiygraspedhismeaning,and,forthwithwithdrawingintotheinnerroom,she
liftedthecoverofthemirror,andlookedatherface.Shefoundthehairabouthertemplesslightlydishevelled,
so,promptlyopeningLiWan'stoiletcase,andextractinganarrowbrush,shestoodinfrontofthemirror,and
smootheditdownwithafewtouches.Afterwards,layingthebrushinitsplaceshesteppedintotheoutersuite.
"Isthis,"shesaidpointingatLiWan,"doingwhatyou'retoldandshowingushowtodoneedleworkand
teachingusmanners?Why,insteadofthat,youpressustocomehereandhaveagoodrompandahearty
laugh!"
"Justyoulistentoherperversetalk,"LiWanlaughed."Shetakestheleadandkicksuparumpus,andincites
peopletolaugh,andthenshethrowstheblameuponme!Inrealtruth,she'sadespicablething!WhatIwishis
thatyoushouldsoongetsomedreadfulmotherinlaw,andseveralcrotchetyandabominableolderandyounger
sistersinlaw,andwe'llseethenwhetheryou'llstillbeasperverseornot!"
Taiyatoncebecamequitescarletintheface,andpullingPaoch'ai,
"Letus,"sheadded,"giveherawholeyear'sleave!"
"I'vegotanimpartialremarktomake.Listentomeallofyou!"Paoch'aichimedin."Albeitthegirl,Ou,may
havesomeideaaboutpainting,allshecanmanagearejustafewoutlinesketches,sothatunless,nowthatshe
hastoaccomplishthepictureofthisgarden,shecanlayaclaimtosomeingenuity,willsheeverbeableto
succeedineffectingapainting?Thisgardenresemblesaregularpicture.Therockeriesandtrees,towersand
pavilions,hallsandhousesare,asfarasdistancesanddensitygo,neithertoonumerous,nortoofew.Suchasit
is,itisfitlylaidoutbutwereyoutoputitonpaperinstrictcompliancewiththeoriginal,why,itwillsurelynot
elicitadmiration.Inathinglikethis,it'snecessarytopayduecaretothevariouspositionsanddistanceson

paper,whethertheyshouldbelargeorwhethersmallandtodiscriminatebetweenmainandsecondaryadding
whatisneedfultoadd,concealingandreducingwhatshouldbeconcealedandreduced,andexposingtoview
whatshouldremainvisible.Assoonasaroughcopyisexecuted,itshouldagainbeconsideredinallitsdetails,
forthenalonewillitassumethesemblanceofapicture.Inthesecondplace,allthesetowers,terracesand
structuresmustbedistinctlydelineatedforwithjustatrifleofinattention,therailingswillslant,thepillarswill
betopsyturvy,doorsandwindowswillreclineinahorizontalposition,stepswillseparate,leavingclefts
betweenthem,andeventableswillbecrowdedintothewalls,andflowerpotspiledonportiresandwon'tit,
insteadofturningoutintoapicture,beamerecaricature?Thirdly,propercaremustalsobedevoted,inthe
insertionofhumanbeings,todensityandheight,tothecreasesofclothing,tojupesandsashes,tofingers,
hands,andfeet,asthesearemostimportantdetailsforifevenonestrokebenotthoroughlyexecuted,then,if
thehandsbenotswollen,thefeetwillbemadetolookasiftheywerelame.Thecolouringoffacesandthe
drawingofthehairareminorpointsbut,inmyownestimation,theyreallyinvolveintensedifficulty.Nowa
year'sleaveis,ononehand,tooexcessive,andamonth'sis,ontheother,toolittlesojustgiveherhalfayear's
leave.Depute,besides,cousinPaoytolendherahandinhertask.NotthatcousinPaoknowshowtogiveany
hintsaboutpaintingthatinitselfwouldbemoreofadrawbackbutinorderthat,intheeventoftherebeing
anythingthatshedoesn'tcomprehend,orofanythingperplexingherastohowbesttoinsertit,cousinPaomay
takethepictureoutsideandmakethenecessaryinquiriesofthosegentlemen,whoexcelinpainting.Matterswill
thusbefacilitatedforher."
AtthissuggestionPaoywasthefirsttofeelquiteenchanted."Thisproposalisfirstrate!"heexclaimed."The
towersandterracesminutelyexecutedbyChanTzuliangaresoperfect,andthebeautiespaintedbyCh'engJih
hsingsoextremelyfinethatI'llgoatonceandaskthemofthem!"
"I'vealwayssaidthatyoufussfornothing!"Paoch'aiinterposed."Imerelypassedacursoryremark,andthere
youwanttogoimmediatelyandaskforthings.Dowaituntilwearriveatsomedecisioninourdeliberations,
andthenyoucango!Butlet'sconsidernowwhatwouldbebesttousetopaintthepictureon?"
"I'vegot,inmyquarters,"Paoyanswered,"somesnowwhite,wavypaper,whichisbothlargeinsize,and
proofagainstinkaswell."
Paoch'aigaveasarcasticsmile."Idomaintain,"shecried,"thatyouareaperfectlyuselesscreature!Thatsnow
white,wavypaperisgoodforpicturesconsistingofcharactersandforoutlinedrawings.Orelse,thosewhohave
theknackofmakinglandscapes,useitfordepictingsceneryofthesouthernSungera,asitresistsinkandis
strongenoughtobearcoarsepainting.Butwereyoutoemploythissortofpapertomakeapictureofthisgarden
on,itwillneitherstandthecolours,norwillitbeeasytodrythepaintingbythefire.Sonotonlywon'titbe
suitable,butitwillbeapitytootowastethepaper.I'lltellyouawayhowtogetoutofthis.Whenthisgarden
wasfirstlaidout,somedetailedplanwasused,whichalthoughexecutedbyamerehousedecorator,wasperfect
withregardtositesandbearings.You'dbetterthereforeaskforitofyourworthymother,andapplyaswellto
ladyFengforapieceofthickglazedlustringofthesizeofthatpaper,andhandthemtothegentlemenoutside,
andrequestthemtopreparearoughcopyforyou,withanyalterationsoradditionsasmightbenecessaryto
makesoastoaccordwiththestyleofthesegrounds.Allthatwillremaintobedonewillbetointroduceafew
humanbeingsnomore.Thenwhenyouhavetomatchtheazureandgreenpigmentsaswellasthegroundgold
andgroundsilver,youcangetthosepeopleagaintodosoforyou.Butyou'llalsohavetobringanextraportable
stove,soastohaveithandyformeltingtheglue,andforwashingyourpencils,afteryou'vetakentheglueoff.
Youfurtherrequirealargetable,paintedwhiteandcoveredwithacloth.Thatlotofsmalldishesyouhavearen't
sufficientyourpencilstooarenotenough.Itwillbewellconsequentlyforyoutopurchaseanewsetofeach."
"DoIownsuchalotofpaintingmaterials!"HsiCh'unexclaimed."Why,Isimplyuseanypencilthatfirstcomes
undermyhandtopaintwiththat'sall.Andasforpigments,I'veonlygotfourkinds,ochreystone,'Kuang'
flowerpaint,rattanyellowandrouge.Besidesthese,allIhaveamounttoacoupleofpencilsforapplying
coloursnomore."
"Whydidn'tyousaysoearlier?"Paoch'airemarked."I'vestillgotsomeofthesethingsremaining.Butyou
don'tneedthem,sowereItogiveyouany,they'dlieuselesslyabout.I'llputthemawayforyounowforatime,
and,whenyouwantthem,I'llletyouhavesome.Youshould,however,keepthemfortheexclusivepurposeof

paintingfansforwereyoutopaintsuchbigthingswiththemitwouldbeapity!I'lldrawoutalistforyouto
daytoenableyoutogoandapplytoourworthyseniorfortheitemsasitisn'tlikelythatyoupeoplecan
possiblyknowallthat'srequired.I'lldictatethem,andcousinPaocanwritethemdown!"
Paoyhadalreadygotapencilandinkslabready,for,fearinglesthemightnotrememberclearlythevarious
necessaries,hehadmadeuphismindtowriteamemorandumofthemsothemomentheheardPaoch'ai's
suggestion,hecheerfullytookuphispencil,andlistenedquietly.
"Fourpencilsofthelargestsize,"Paoch'aicommenced,"fourofthethirdsizefourofthesecondsizefour
pencilsforapplyingcoloursonbiggroundfouronmediumgroundfourforsmallgroundtenclawsoflarge
southerncrabstenclawsofsmallcrabstenpencilsforpaintingsidehairandeyebrowstwentyforlaying
heavycolourstwentyforlightcolourstenforpaintingfacestwentywillowtwigsfourouncesof'arrowhead'
pearlsfourouncesofsouthernochrefourouncesofstoneyellowfourouncesofdarkgreenfourouncesof
malachitefourouncesoftubeyelloweightouncesof'kuang'flowerfourboxesofleadpowdertensheetsof
rougetwohundredsheetsofthinredgoldleavestwohundredsheetsofleadfourouncesofsmoothglue,from
thetwoKuangandfourouncesofpurealum.Theglueandalumforsizingthelustringarenotincluded,so
don'tbotheryourselvesaboutthem,butjusttakethelustringandgiveittothemoutsidetosizeitwithalumfor
you.YouandIcanscourandclarifyallthesepigments,andthusamuseourselves,andpreparethemforuseas
well.Ifeelsureyou'llhaveanamplesupplytolastyouawholelifetime.Butyoumustalsogetreadyfoursieves
offinelustringapairofcoarseonesfourbrushpencilsfourbowls,somelarge,somesmalltwentylarge,
coarsesaucerstenfiveinchplatestwentythreeinchcoarse,whiteplatestwostovesfourlargeandsmall
earthenwarepanstwonewporcelainjarsfournewwaterbucketsfouronefootlongbags,madeofwhite
clothtwocattiesoflightcharcoaloneortwocattiesofwillowwoodcharcoalawoodenboxwiththree
drawersayardofthickgauze,twoouncesoffreshgingerhalfacattyofsoy"
"Anironkettleandanironshovel,"hastilychimedinTaiywithasmilefullofirony.
"Todowhatwiththem?"Paoch'aiinquired.
"Youaskforfreshginger,soyandallthesecondiments,soIindentforanironkettleforyoutocookthepaints
andeatthem."Taiyanswered,totheintensemerrimentofoneandall,whogavewaytolaughter.
"Whatdoyou,P'inErh,knowaboutthesethings?"Paoch'ailaughed."Iamnotcertaininmymindthatyou
won'tputthosecoarsecolouredplatesstraightwayonthefire.Butunlessyoutaketheprecautionbeforehandof
rubbingthebottomwithgingerjuice,mixedwithsoy,andofwarmingthemdry,they'reboundtocrack,the
momenttheyexperiencetheleastheat."
"It'sreallyso,"theyexclaimedwithonevoice,afterthisexplanation.
Taiyperusedthelistforawhile.ShethensmiledandgaveT'anCh'unatug."Justsee,"shewhispered,"we
wanttopaintapicture,andshegoesonindentingforanumberofwaterjarsandboxes!But,Ipresume,she's
gotsomuddled,thatsheinsertsalistofarticlesneededforhertrousseau."
T'anCh'un,atherremark,laughedwithsuchheartiness,thatitwasallshecoulddotocheckherself."Cousin
Pao,"sheobserved,"don'tyouwringhermouth?Justaskherwhatdisparagingthingsshesaidaboutyou."
"WhyneedIask?"Paoch'aismiled."Isitlikely,pray,thatyoucangetivoryoutofacur'smouth?"
Speakingthewhile,shedrewnear,and,seizingTaiy,shepressedherdownonthestovecouchwiththe
intentionofpinchingherface.Taiysmilinglyhastenedtoimploreforgrace."Mydearcousin,"shecried,
"spareme!P'inErhisyounginyearsallsheknowsistotalkatrandomshehasnoideaofwhat'sproperand
what'simproper.Butyouaremyeldercousin,soteachmehowtobehave.Ifyou,cousin,don'tletmeoff,to
whomcanIgoandaddressmyentreaties?"

Littledid,however,allwhoheardherapprehendthattherelurkedsomehiddenpurposeinherinsinuations.
"She'srightthere,"theyconsequentlypleadedsmilingly."Somuchisshetobepitiedthatevenwehavebeen
mollifieddospareherandfinish!"
Paoch'aihad,atfirst,meanttoplaywithher,butwhensheunawaresheardherdraginagaintheadviceshehad
tenderedhertheotherday,withregardtotherecklessperusalofunwholesomebooks,sheatoncefeltasifshe
couldnothaveanyfartherfusswithher,andsheletherrisetoherfeet.
"It'syou,afterall,eldercousin,"Taiylaughed."HaditbeenI,Iwouldn'thaveletanyoneoff."
Paoch'aismiledandpointedather."Itisnowonder,"shesaid,"thatourdearancestordoatsonyouandthat
everyonelovesyou.EvenIhavetodayfeltmyheartwarmtowardsyou!Butcomehereandletmeputyour
hairupforyou!"
Taiythen,inverydeed,swungherselfroundandcrossedovertoher.Paoch'aiarrangedhercoiffurewithher
hands.Paoy,whostoodbyandlookedon,thoughtthestyle,inwhichherhairwasbeingmadeup,betterthan
itwasbefore.But,ofasudden,hefeltsorryatwhathadhappened,ashefanciedthatsheshouldnothavelether
brushhersidehair,butleftitaloneforthetimebeingandaskedhimtodoitforher.While,however,hegave
waytotheseerraticthoughts,heheardPaoch'aispeak."We'vedonewithwhattherewastowrite,"shesaid,"so
you'dbettertomorrowgoandtellgrandmotheraboutthethings.Iftherebeanyathome,wellandgoodbutif
not,getsomemoneytobuythemwith.I'llthenhelpyoubothinyourpreparations."
Paoyvehementlyputthelistawayafterwhich,theyalljoinedinafurtherchatonirrelevantmattersand,
theireveningmealover,theyoncemorerepairedintooldladyChia'sapartmentstowishhergoodnight.Their
grandmotherhad,indeed,hadnothingseriousthematterwithher.Herailmenthadamountedmainlytofatigue,
towhichaslightchillhadbeensuperadded,sothathavingkeptinthewarmroomforthedayandtakenadose
ortwoofmedicine,sheentirelygotovertheeffects,andfelt,intheevening,quitelikeownselfagain.
But,reader,theoccurrencesofthenextdayareasyetamysterytoyou,butthenestchapterwilldivulgethem.

CHAPTERXLIII.
Havingtimetoamusethemselves,theChiainmatesraise,whenleast
expected,fundstocelebrateladyFeng'sbirthday.
InhisceaselessaffectionforChinCh'uen,Paoyuses,forthe
occasion,apinchofearthasincenseandburnsit.
WhenMadameWangsaw,forwewillnowproceedwithournarrative,thattheextentofdowagerladyChia's
indisposition,contractedonthedayshehadbeenintothegardenofBroadVista,amountedtoasimplechill,that
noseriousailmenthadsupervened,andthatherhealthhadimprovedsoonafterthedoctorhadbeensentforand
shehadtakenacoupleofdosesofmedicine,shecalledladyFengtoherandaskedhertogetreadyapresentof
somekindforhertotaketoherhusband,ChiaCheng.Butwhiletheywereengagedindeliberation,they
perceivedawaitingmaidarrive.Shecamefromtheiroldsenior'sparttoinvitethemtogotoher.So,with
speedystep,MadameWangledthewayforladyFeng,andtheycameoverintoherquarters.
"Pray,mayIask,"MadameWangtheninquired,"whetheryou'refeelingnearlywellagainnow?"
"I'mquiteallrighttoday,"oldladyChiareplied."I'vetastedtheyoungpheasantsoupyousentmealittletime
backandfinditfullofrelish.I'vealsohadtwopiecesofmeat,soIfeelquitecomfortablewithinme."

"Thesedaintieswerepresentedtoyou,dearancestor,bythatgirlFeng,"MadameWangsmiled."Itonlyshows
howsincereherfilialpietyis.Shedoesnotrenderfutilethelove,whichyou,venerablesenior,everlavishon
her."
DowagerladyChianoddedherheadassentingly."She'stookindtothinkofme!"sheansweredsmiling."But
shouldtherebeanymoreuncooked,letthemfryacoupleofpiecesand,ifthesebethoroughlyimmersedin
wine,thecongeewilltastewellwiththem.Thesoupis,it'strue,good,butitshouldn't,properlyspeaking,be
preparedwithfinerice."
Afterlisteningtoherwishes,ladyFengexpressedwithalacrityherreadinesstoseethemexecuted,anddirected
aservanttogoanddeliverthemessageinthecookhouse.
"Isenttheservantforyou,"dowagerladyChiameanwhilesaidtoMadameWangwithasmile,"notforanything
else,butforthebirthdayofthatgirlFeng,whichfallsonthesecond.Ihadmadeupmymindtwoyearsagoto
celebrateherbirthdayinproperstyle,butwhenthetimecame,therehappenedtobeagainsomethingimportant
toattendto,anditwentbywithoutanythingbeingdone.Butthisyear,theinmatesare,ononehand,allhere,
andtherewon't,Ifancy,be,ontheother,anythingtopreventus,soweshouldalldoourbesttoenjoyourselves
thoroughlyforaday."
"Iwasthinkingthesamething,"MadameWangrejoined,laughingly,"and,sinceit'syourgoodpleasure,
venerablesenior,why,shouldn'twedeliberateatonceanddecideuponsomething?"
"Tothebestofmyrecollection,"dowagerladyChiaresumedsmiling,"wheneverinpastyearsI'vehadany
birthdaycelebrationsforanyoneofus,nomatterwhoitwas,wehaveeverindividuallysentourrespective
presentsbutthismethodiscommonandisalsoapt,Ithink,tolookverymuchasifthereweresomedisunion.
ButI'llnowdeviseanewwayaway,whichwon'thavetheeffectofcreatinganydiscord,andwillbe
productiveofgoodcheer."
"Letwhateverwayyoumaythinkbest,dearancestor,beadopted."Madame
Wangeagerlyrejoined.
"Myideais,"oldladyChialaughinglycontinued,"thatwetooshouldfollowtheexampleofthosepoorfamilies
andraiseasubscriptionamongourselves,anddevotethewholeofwhateverwemaycollecttomeettheoutlay
forthenecessarypreparations.Whatdoyousay,willthisdoornot?"
"Thisisasplendididea!"MadameWangacquiesced."Butwhatwill,Iwonder,bethewayadoptedforraising
contributions?"
OldladyChiawasthemoreinspiritedbyherreply.ThereandthenshedespatchedservantstogoandinviteMrs.
Hseh,MadameHsingandtherestoftheladies,andbadeotherssummontheyoungladiesandPaoy.But
fromtheothermansion,ChiaChen'sspouse,LaiTa'swife,evenuptothewivesofsuchstewardsasenjoyeda
certainamountofrespectability,werelikewisetobeaskedtocomeround.
Thesightoftheiroldmistress'delightfilledthewaitingmaidsandmarriedwomenwithhighgleeaswelland
eachhurriedwithvehemencetoexecuteherrespectiveerrand.Thosethatweretobeinvitedwereinvited,and
thosethathadtobesentforweresentforand,beforethelapseofsuchtimeascouldsufficetohaveamealin,
theoldaswellasyoung,thehighaswellaslow,crammed,inablackmass,everybitoftheavailablespacein
therooms.
OnlyMrs.HsehanddowagerladyChiasatoppositetoeachother.MesdamesHsingandWangsimplyseated
themselvesontwochairs,whichfacedthedooroftheapartment.Paoch'aiandherfiveorsixcousinsoccupied
thestovecouch.Paoysatonhisgrandmother'slap.Below,thewholeextentofthefloorwascrowdedwith
inmatesontheirfeet.ButoldladyChiaforthwithdesiredthatafewsmallstoolsshouldbefetched.When
brought,thesewereprofferedtoLaiTa'smotherandsomeothernurses,whowereadvancedinyearsandheldin
respectforitwasthecustomintheChiamansionthatthefamilyservants,whohadwaiteduponanyofthe

fathersormothers,shouldenjoyahigherstatusthanevenyoungmastersandmistresses.Henceitwasthatwhile
Mrs.Yu,ladyFengandotherladiesremainedstandingbelow,LaiTa'smotherandthreeorfourotheroldnurses
had,afterexcusingthemselvesfortheirrudeness,seatedthemselvesonsmallstools.
DowagerladyChiarecounted,withafacebeamingwithsmiles,thesuggestionsshehadshortlymade,forthe
benefitofthevariousinmatespresentandoneandall,ofcourse,wereonlytooreadytocontributeforthe
entertainment.More,someofthem,wereonfriendlytermswithladyFeng,sothey,oftheirownfreewill,
adoptedtheproposalotherslivedinfearandtremblingofladyFeng,andthesewereonlytooanxioustomake
uptoher.Everyone,besides,couldwellaffordthemeans,sothat,assoonastheyheardoftheproposed
subscriptions,they,withoneconsent,signifiedtheiracquiescence.
"I'llgivetwentytaels!"oldladyChiawasthefirsttosaywithasmileplayingroundherlips.
"I'llfollowyourlead,dearsenior,"Mrs.Hsehsmiled,"andalsosubscribetwentytaels."
"Wedon'tpresumetoplaceourselvesonanequalfootingwithyourladyship,"MesdamesHsingandWang
pleaded."We,ofcourse,comeonedegreelowereachofusthereforewillcontributesixteentaels."
"Wetoonaturallyrankonesteplower,"Mrs.YuandLiWanalsosmiled,"sowe'lleachgivetwelvetaels."
"You'reawidow,"dowagerladyChiaeagerlydemurred,addressingherselftoLiWan,"andhavelostallyour
estate,sohowcouldwedragyouintoallthisoutlay!I'llcontributeforyou!"
"Don'tbeinsuchhighfeatherdearsenior,"ladyFenghastilyobservedlaughing,"butjustlooktoyouraccounts
beforeyousaddleyourselfwiththisburden!You'vealreadytakenuponyourselftwoportionsanddoyounow
alsovolunteersixteentaelsonbehalfofmyeldersisterinlaw?Youmaywillinglydoso,whileyouspeakinthe
abundanceofyourspirits,butwhenyou,byandbye,cometoponderoverwhatyou'vedone,you'llfeelsoreat
heartagain!'It'sallthatgirlFengthat'sdrivenmetospendthemoney,'you'llsayinalittletimeandyou'll
devisesomeingeniouswaytoinveiglemetoforkoutthreeorfourtimesasmuchasyourshareandthusmake
upyourdeficitinanunderhandwaywhileIwillstillbeasmuchinthecloudsasifIwereinadream!"
Thesewordsmadeeveryonelaugh.
"Accordingtoyou,whatshouldbedone?"dowagerladyChialaughinglyinquired.
"Mybirthdayhasn'tyetcome,"ladyFengsmiled"andalreadynowI'vebeentherecipientofsomuchmorethan
IdeservethatIamquiteunhappy.ButifIdon'tcontributeasinglecash,Ishallfeelreallyillateaseforthe
troubleIshallbegivingsuchalotofpeople.Itwouldbeaswell,therefore,thatIshouldbearthisshareofmy
seniorsisterinlawand,whenthedaycomes,Icaneatafewmorethings,andthusbeabletoenjoysome
happiness."
"Quiteright!"criedMadameHsingandtheothersatthissuggestion.SooldladyChiathensignifiedher
approval.
"There'ssomethingmoreI'dliketoadd,"ladyFengpursuedsmiling."Ithinkthatit'sfairenoughthatyou,
worthyancestor,should,besidesyourowntwentytaels,havetostandtwosharesaswell,theoneforcousinLiu,
theotherforcousinPaoy,andthatMrs.Hsehshould,beyondherowntwentytaels,likewisebearcousinPao
ch'ai'sportion.Butit'ssomewhatunfairthatthetwoladiesMesdamesHsingandWangshouldeachonlygive
sixteentaels,whentheirshareissmall,andwhentheydon'tsubscribeanythingforanyoneelse.It'syou,
venerablesenior,who'llbethesuffererbythisarrangement."
DowagerladyChia,atthesewords,burstoutintoaboisterousfitoflaughter."It'sthishusseyFeng,"she
observed,"who,afterall,takesmyside!Whatyousayisquiteright.Hadn'titbeenforyou,Iwouldagainhave
beendupedbythem!"

"Dearsenior!"ladyFengsmiled.Justhandoverourtwocousinstothosetwoladiesandleteachtakeoneunder
herchargeandfinish.Ifyoumakeeachcontributeoneshare,itwillbesquareenough."
"Thisisperfectlyfair,"eagerlyrejoinedoldladyChia."Letthissuggestionbecarriedout!"
LaiTa'smotherhastilystoodup."Thisissuchasubversionofright,"shesmiled,"thatI'llputmybackupon
accountofthetwoladies.She'sason'swife,ontheotherside,and,inhere,onlyawife'sbrother'schildandyet
shedoesn'tinclinetowardshermotherinlawandheraunt,buttakesotherpeople'spart.Thisson'swifehas
thereforebecomeaperfectstrangerandacloseniecehas,infact,becomeadistantniece!"
Asshesaidthis,dowagerladyChiaandeveryonepresentbegantolaugh."Ifthejuniorladiessubscribetwelve
taelseach,"LaiTa'smotherwentontoask,"wemust,asamatterofcourse,alsocomeonedegreelowereh?"
Uponhearingthis,oldladyChiaremonstrated."Thiswon'tdo!"sheobserved."Younaturallyshouldrankone
degreelower,butyou'reall,Iamwellaware,wealthypeopleand,inspiteofyourstatusbeingsomewhatlower,
yourfundsaremoreflourishingthantheirs.It'sonlyjustthenthatyoushouldbeplacedonthesamestandingas
thosepeople!"
Theposseofnursesexpressedwithpromptnesstheiracceptanceoftheproposaltheiroldmistressmade.
"Theyoungladies,"dowagerladyChiaresumed,"shouldmerelygivesomethingforthesakeofappearances!If
eachonecontributesasumproportionatetohermonthlyallowance,itwillbeample!"Turningherhead,"Yan
Yang!"shecried,"afewofyoushouldassembleinlikemanner,andconsultastowhatshareyoushouldtakein
thematter.Sobringthemalong!"
YanYangassuredherthatherdesireswouldbedulyattendedtoandwalkedaway.Butshehadnotbeenabsent
foranylengthoftime,whensheappearedonthescenealongwithP'ingErh,HsiJen,Ts'aiHsiaandothergirls,
andanumberofwaitingmaidsaswell.Ofthese,somesubscribedtwotaelsotherscontributedonetael.
"Canitbe,"dowagerladyChiathensaidtoP'ingErh,"thatyoudon'twantanybirthdaycelebratedforyour
mistress,thatyoudon'trangeyourselfalsoamongthem?"
"TheothermoneyIgave,"P'ingErhsmiled,"Igaveprivately,andisextra.""ThisiswhatIampubliclybound
tocontributealongwiththelot."
"That'sagoodchild!"ladyChialaughinglyrejoined.
"Thoseaboveaswellasthosebelowhaveallalikegiventheirshare,"ladyFengwentontoobservewitha
smile."Buttherearestillthosetwosecondarywivesaretheytogiveanythingornot?Dogoandaskthem!It's
butrightthatweshouldgototheextremelengthandincludethem.Otherwise,they'llimaginethatwe'velooked
downuponthem!"
"Justso!"eagerlyansweredladyChia,atthesewords."Howisitthatweforgotallaboutthem?Theonlything
is,Ifear,they'vegotnotimetospareyet,tellaservantgirltogoandaskthemwhatthey'lldo!"
Whileshespoke,aservantgirlwentoff.Afteralongabsence,shereturned."Eachofthem,"shereported,"will
likewisecontributetwotaels."
DowagerladyChiawasdelightedwiththeresult."Fetchapenandinkslab,"shecried,"andlet'scalculatehow
muchtheyamountto,alltogether."
Mrs.YuabusedladyFenginalowtoneofvoice."I'lltakeyou,youmeancovetouscreature,and!Allthese
mothersinlawandsistersinlawhavecomeforwardandraisedmoneytocelebrateyourbirthday,andareyou
yetnotsatisfiedthatyoumustalsodraginthosetwomiserablebeings!Butwhatdoyoudoitfor?"

"Tryandtalklesstrash!"ladyFengsmiledalsoinanundertone."We'llbeleavingthisplaceinalittletimeand
thenI'llsquareupaccountswithyou!Butwhyeverarethosetwomiserable?Whentheyhavemoney,they
uselesslygiveittootherpeopleandisn'titbetterthatweshouldgetholdofit,andenjoyourselveswithit?"
Whilesheutteredthesetaunts,theycomputedthatthecollectionswouldreachasumoverandaboveone
hundredandfiftytaels.
"Wecouldn'tpossiblyrunthroughallthisforaday'stheatricalsandbanquet!"oldladyChiaexclaimed.
"Asnooutsideguestsaretobeinvited,"Mrs.Yuinterposed,"andthenumberoftableswon'talsobemany,there
willbeenoughtocovertwoorthreedays'outlay!Firstofall,therewon'tbeanythingtospendfortheatricals,so
we'lleffectasavingonthatitem."
"JustcallwhatevertroupethatgirlFengmaysayshelikesbest,"dowagerladyChiasuggested.
"We'veheardquiteenoughoftheperformancesofthatcompanyofours,"ladyFengsaid"let'sthereforespenda
littlemoneyandsendforanother,andseewhattheycando."
"Ileavethattoyou,brotherChen'swife,"oldladyChiapursued,"inorderthatourgirlFengshouldhave
occasiontotroublehermindwithaslittleaspossible,andbeabletoenjoyaday'speaceandquiet.It'sonlyright
thatsheshould."
Mrs.Yurepliedthatshewouldbeonlytoogladtodowhatshecould.Theythenprolongedtheirchatforalittle
longer,untiloneandallrealisedthattheiroldseniormustbequitefaggedout,andtheygraduallydispersed.
AfterseeingMesdamesHsingandWangoff,Mrs.YuandtheotherladiesadjournedintoladyFeng'sroomsto
consultwithheraboutthebirthdayfestivities.
"Don'taskme!"ladyFengurged."Dowhateverwillpleaseourworthyancestor."
"Whatafinethingyouaretocomeacrosssuchamightypieceofluck!"Mrs.Yusmiled."Iwaswonderingwhat
hadhappenedthatshesummonedusall!Why,wasitsimplyonthisaccount?Nottobreatheawordaboutthe
moneythatI'llhavetocontribute,mustIhavetroubleandannoyancetobearaswell?Howwillyoushowme
anythanks?"
"Don'tbringshameuponyourself!"ladyFenglaughed."Ididn'tsendforyousowhyshouldIbethankfulto
you!Ifyoufunktheexertion,goatonceandletourvenerableseniorknow,andshe'lldeputesomeoneelseand
havedone."
"Yougoonlikethisasyouseeherinsuchexcellentspirits,that'swhy!"Mrs.Yusmilinglyanswered."Itwould
bewell,Iadviseyou,topullinabitforifyoubetoofullofyourself,you'llgetyourduereward!"
Aftersomefurthercolloquy,thesetwoladieseventuallypartedcompany.
Onthenextday,themoneywassentovertotheNingKuoMansionattheverymomentthatMrs.Yuhadgotup,
andwasperforminghertoiletteandablutions."Whobroughtit?"sheasked.
"NurseLin,"theservantgirlsaidbywayofresponse.
"Callherin,"Mrs.Yusaid.
TheservantgirlswalkedasfarasthelowerroomsandcalledLinChihhsiao'swifetocomein.Mrs.Yubade
herseatherselfonthefootstool.Whileshehurriedlycombedherhairandwashedherfaceandhands,she
wantedtoknowhowmuchthebundlecontainedinall.

"Thisiswhat'ssubscribedbyusservants."LinChihhsiao'swifereplied,"andsoIcollecteditandbroughtit
overfirst.Asforthecontributionsofourvenerablemistress,andthoseoftheladies,theyaren'treadyyet."
Butsimultaneouslywiththisreply,thewaitingmaidsannounced:"OurladyoftheothermansionandMrs.
Hsehhavesentoversomeonewiththeirportions."
"Youmeanwenches!"Mrs.Yucried,scoldingthemwithasmile."Allthegumptionyou'vegotistosimplybear
inmindthissortofnonsense!Inafitofgoodcheer,youroldmistressyesterdaypurposelyexpressedawishto
imitatethosepoorpeople,andraiseasubscription.Butyouatoncetreasureditupinyourmemory,and,when
thethingcametobecanvassedbyyou,youtreateditinrealearnest!Don'tyouyetquickbundleyourselvesout,
andbringthemoneyin!Becarefulandgivethemsometeabeforeyouseethemoff."
Thewaitingmaidssmilinglyhastenedtogoandtakedeliveryofthemoneyandbringitin.Itconsisted,inall,of
twobundles,andcontainedPaoch'ai'sandTaiy'ssharesaswell.
"Whosesharesarewanting?"Mrs.Yuasked.
"Thoseofouroldlady,ofMadameWang,theyoungladies,andofourgirlsbelowarestillmissing,"LinChih
hsiao'swifeexplained.
"There'salsothatofyourseniorlady,"Mrs.Yuproceeded.
"You'dbetterhurryover,mylady,"LinChihhsiao'swifesaid"forasthismoneywillbeissuedthroughour
mistressSecunda,she'llnobblethewholeofit."
Whileconversing,Mrs.Yufinishedarranginghercoiffureandperformingherablutionsand,givingordersto
seethatthecarriagewasgotready,sheshortlyarrivedattheJungmansion.Firstandforemostshecalledonlady
Feng.LadyFeng,shediscovered,hadalreadyputthemoneyintoapacket,andwasonthepointofsendingit
over.
"Isitallthere?"Mrs.Yuasked.
"Yes,itis,"ladyFengsmiled,"soyoumightaswelltakeitawayatonceforifitgetsmislaid,I'venothingtodo
withit."
"I'msomewhatdistrustful,"Mrs.Yulaughed,"soI'dliketocheckitinyourpresence."
Thesewordsover,sheverilycheckedsumaftersum.ShefoundLiWan'ssharealonewanting."Isaidthatyou
wereuptotricks!"laughinglyobservedMrs.Yu."Howisitthatyoureldersisterinlaw'sisn'there?"
"There'sallthatmoneyandisn'tityetenough?"ladyFengsmiled."Ifthere'smerelyaportionshortitshouldn't
matter!Shouldthemoneyproveinsufficient,Icanthenlookyouup,andgiveittoyou."
"Whentheotherswerepresentyesterday,"Mrs.Yupursued,"youwerereadyenoughtoactasanyhumanbeing
wouldbuthereyou'reagaintodayprevaricatingwithme!Iwon't,byanymannerofmeans,agreetothis
proposalofyours!I'llsimplygoandaskforthemoneyofourvenerablesenior."
"Iseehowdreadfulyouare!"ladyFenglaughed."Butwhensomethingturnsupbyandbye,I'llalsobevery
punctilioussodon'tyouthenbearmeagrudge!"
"Well,nevermindifyoudon'tgiveyourquota!"Mrs.Yusmilinglyrejoined."WereitnotthatIconsiderthe
dutifulattentionsyou'veallalongshownmewouldIeverbereadytohumouryou?"
Sorejoining,sheproducedP'ingErh'sshare."P'ingErh,comehere,"shecried,"takethisshareofyoursandput
itaway!Shouldthemoneycollectedturnouttobebelowwhat'sabsolutelyrequired,I'llmakeupthesumfor
you."

P'ingErhapprehendedhermeaning."Mylady,"sheanswered,withacheerfulcountenance,"itwouldcometo
thesamethingifyouweretofirstspendwhatyouwantandtogivemeafterwardsanybalancethatmayremain
ofit."
"Isyourmistressalonetobeallowedtododishonestacts,"Mrs.Yulaughed,"andamInottobefreetobestow
afavour?"
P'ingErhhadnooption,buttoretainherportion.
"Iwanttosee,"Mrs.Yuadded,"whereyourmistress,whoissoextremelycareful,willrunthroughallthe
money,we'veraised!Ifshecan'tspendit,whyshe'lltakeitalongwithherinhercoffin,andmakeuseofit
there."
Whilestillspeaking,shestartedonherwaytodowagerladyChia'ssuiteofrooms.Afterfirstpayingher
respectstoher,shemadeafewgeneralremarks,andthenbetookherselfintoYanYang'squarterswhereshe
heldaconsultationwithYanYang.LendingapatienteartoallthatYanYanghadtorecommendintheway
ofaprogramme,andastohowbesttogivepleasuretooldladyChia,shedeliberatedwithheruntiltheyarrived
atasatisfactorydecision.WhenthetimecameforMrs.Yutogo,shetookthetwotaels,contributedbyYan
Yang,andgavethembacktoher."There'snouseforthese!"shesaid,andwiththesewordsstillonherlips,she
straightwayquittedherpresenceandwentinsearchofMadameWang.
Afterashortchat,MadameWangsteppedintothefamilyshrinereservedfortheworshipofBuddha,soshe
likewiserestoredTs'aiYn'ssharetoherand,availingherselfofladyFeng'sabsence,shepresentlyreimbursed
toMrs.ChuandMrs.Chaotheamountoftheirrespectivecontributions.
Thesetwodameswouldnothoweverpresumetotaketheirmoneyback."Yourlot,ladies,isapitifulone!"Mrs.
Yuthenexpostulated."Howcanyouaffordallthissparemoney!ThathusseyFengiswellawareofthefact.I'm
heretoanswerforyou!"
Attheseassurances,bothputthemoneyaway,withprofuseexpressionsofgratitude.
Inatwinkle,theseconddayoftheninthmoonarrived.TheinmatesofthegardencametofindoutthatMrs.Yu
wasmakingpreparationsonanextremelygrandscalefornotonlywastheretobeatheatricalperformance,but
jugglersandwomenstorytellersaswellandtheycombinedingettingeverythingreadythatcouldconduceto
affordamusementandenjoyment.
"Thisis,"LiWanwentontosaytotheyoungladies,"theproperdayforourliterarygathering,sodon'tforgetit.
IfPaoyhasn'tappeared,itmust,Ipresume,bethathismindissopreoccupiedwiththefussthat'sgoingonthat
hehaslostsightofallpureandrefinedthings."
Speaking,"Goandseewhatheisupto!"sheenjoinedawaitingmaid"andbequickandtellhimtocome."
Thewaitingmaidreturnedafteralongabsence."SisterHuasays,"shereported,"thathewentoutofdoors,soon
afterdaylightthismorning."
Theresultoftheinquiriesfilledeveryonewithsurprise."Hecan'thavegoneout!"theysaid."Thisgirlisstupid,
anddoesn'tknowhowtospeak."TheyconsequentlyalsodirectedTs'uiMotogoandascertainthetruth.Ina
littletime,Ts'uiMoreturned."It'sreallytrue,"sheexplained,"thathehasgoneoutofdoors.Hegaveoutthata
friendofhiswasdead,andthathewasgoingtopayavisitofcondolence."
"There'scertainlynothingofthekind,"T'anCh'uninterposed."Butwhatevertheremighthavebeentocallhim
away,itwasn'trightofhimtogooutonanoccasionlikethepresentone!JustcallHsiJenhere,andletmeask
her!"

Butjustasshewasissuingthesedirections,sheperceivedHsiJenappearonthescene."Nomatterwhathemay
havehadtoattendtotoday,"LiWanandtherestremarked,"heshouldn'thavegoneout!Inthefirstplace,it's
yourmistressSecunda'sbirthday,andourdowagerladyisinsuchbuoyantspiritsthatthevariousinmates,
whetherhighorlow,arecomingfromeithermansiontojoininthefunandlo,hegoesoff!Secondly,thisisthe
properdayaswellforholdingourfirstliterarygathering,andhedoesn'tsoasapplyforleave,butstealthily
sneaksaway."
HsiJenheaveditsigh."Hesaidlastnight,"sheexplained,"thathehadsomethingveryimportanttodothis
morningthathewasgoingasfarasPrincePeiChing'smansion,butthathewouldhurryback.Iadvisedhim
nottogobut,ofcourse,hewouldn'tlistentome.Whenhegotoutofbed,atdaybreakthismorning,heasked
forhisplainclothesandputthemon,so,Isuppose,someladyofnotebelongingtothehouseholdofPrincePei
Chingmusthavedepartedthislifebutwhocantell?"
"Ifsuchbetrulythecase,"LiWanandhercompanionsexclaimed,"it'squiterightthatheshouldhavegoneover
forawhilebutheshouldhavetakencaretobebackintime!"
Thisremarkover,theyresumedtheirdeliberations."Let'swriteourverses,"theysaid,"andwecanfinehimon
hisreturn."
Asthesewordswerebeingspoken,theyespiedamessengerdespatchedbydowagerladyChiatoaskthemover,
sotheyatonceadjournedtothefrontpartofthecompound.
HsiJenthenreportedtohisgrandmotherwhatPaoyhaddone.OldladyChiawasupsetbythenewssomuch
so,thatsheissuedimmediateorderstoafewservantstogoandfetchhim.
Paoyhad,infact,beenbroodingoversomeaffairoftheheart.Adayinadvancehethereforegaveproper
injunctionstoPeiMing."AsIshallbegoingoutofdoorstomorrowatdaybreak,"hesaid,"you'dbetterget
readytwohorsesandwaitatthebackdoor!Nooneelseneedfollowasanescort!TellLiKueithatI'vegoneto
thePeimansion.Intheeventofanyonewishingtostartinsearchofme,bidhimplaceeveryobstacleinthe
way,asallinquiriescanwellbedispensedwith!LethimsimplyexplainthatI'vebeendetainedinthePei
mansion,butthatIshallsurelybebackshortly."
PeiMingcouldnotmakeoutheadortailofwhathewasdrivingatbuthehadnoalternativethantodeliverhis
messagewordforword.Atthefirstblushofmorningofthedayappointed,heactuallygotreadytwohorsesand
remainedinwaitingatthebackgate.Whendaylightsetin,heperceivedPaoymakehisappearancefromthe
sidedoorgotup,fromheadtofoot,inaplainsuitofclothes.Withoututteringaword,hemountedhissteed
andstoopinghisbodyforward,heproceededataquicksteponhiswaydowntheroad.PeiMinghadnohelp
buttofollowsuitand,springingonhishorse,hesmackeditwithhiswhip,andovertookhismaster."Whereare
weoffto?"heeagerlyinquired,frombehind.
"Wheredoesthisroadleadto?"Paoyasked.
"Thisisthemainroadleadingoutofthenortherngate."PeiMingreplied."Onceoutofit,everythingissodull
anddrearythatthere'snothingworthseeing!"
Paoycaughtthisanswerandnoddedhishead."Iwasjustthinkingthatadullanddrearyplacewouldbejust
thething!"heobserved.Whilespeaking,headministeredhissteedtwomorewhacks.Thehorsequicklyturneda
coupleofcorners,andtrottedoutofthecitygate.PeiMingwasmoreandmoreatalosswhattothinkofthe
wholeaffairyethisonlycoursewastokeeppacecloselyinhismaster'strack.Withonegallop,theycovereda
distanceofoversevenoreightlis.Butitwasonlywhenhumanhabitationsbecamegraduallyfewandfar
betweenthatPaoyultimatelydrewuphishorse.Turninghisheadround:"Isthereanyplacehere,"heasked,
"whereincenseissold?"
"Incense!"PeiMingshouted,"yes,thereisbutwhatkindofincenseitisIdon'tknow."

"Allotherincenseisworthnothing,"Paoyresumed,afteramoment'sreflection."Weshouldgetsandalwood,
coniferandcedar,thesethree."
"Thesethreesortsareverydifficulttoget,"PeiMingsmiled.
Paoywasdriventohiswits'ends.ButPeiMingnoticinghisdilemma,"Whatdoyouwantincensefor?"he
feltimpelledtoask."MasterSecundus,I'veoftenseenyouwearasmallpurse,aboutyourperson,fulloftiny
piecesofincenseandwhydon'tyouseewhetheryou'vegotitwithyou?"
ThisallusionwassufficienttosuggesttheideatoPaoy'smind.Forthwith,hedrewbackhishandandfeltthe
pursesuspendedonthelapelofhiscoat.Itreallycontainedtwobitsof'Ch'enSu.'Atthisdiscovery,hisheart
expandedwithdelight.Theonlythingthat(dampedhisspirits)wasthenotionthattherewasacertainwantof
reverenceinhisproceedingsbut,onsecondconsideration,heconcludedthatwhathehadabouthimwas,after
all,considerablysuperiortoanyhecouldpurchase,and,withalacrity,hewentontoinquireaboutacenserand
charcoal.
"Don'tthinkofsuchthings!"PeiMingurged."Wherecouldtheybeprocuredinadesertedandlonelyplacelike
this?Ifyouneededthem,whydidn'tyouspeaksomewhatsooner,andwecouldhavebroughtthemalongwith
us?Wouldnotthishavebeenmoreconvenient?"
"Youstupidthing!"exclaimedPaoy."Hadwebeenabletobringthemalong,wewouldn'thavehadtorunin
thiswayasifforlife!"
PeiMingindulgedinaprotractedreverie,afterwhich,hegaveasmile."I'vethoughtofsomething,"hecried,
"butIwonderwhatyou'llthinkaboutit,MasterSecundus!Youdon't,Iexpect,onlyrequirethesethingsyou'll
needotherstoo,Ipresume.Butthisisn'ttheplaceforthemsolet'smoveonatonceanothercoupleoflis,when
we'llgettothe'WaterSpirit'monastery."
"Isthe'WaterSpirit'monasteryinthisneighbourhood?"Paoyeagerlyinquired,uponhearinghisproposal.
"Yes,thatwouldbebetterlet'spressforward."
Withthisreply,hetouchedhishorsewithhiswhip.Whileadvancingontheirway,heturnedround."Thenunin
this'WaterSpirit'monastery,"heshoutedtoPeiMing,"frequentlycomesonavisittoourhouse,sothatwhen
wenowgetthereandaskherfortheloanofacenser,she'scertaintoletushaveit."
"Nottomentionthatthat'saplacewhereourfamilyburnsincense,"PeiMinganswered,"shecouldnotdareto
raiseanyobjections,toanyappealfromusforaloan,weresheeveninatemplequiteunknowntous.There's
onlyonething,I'veoftenbeenstruckwiththestrongdislikeyouhaveforthis'WaterSpirit'monastery,master,
andhowisthatyou'renow,sodelightedwiththeideaofgoingtoit?"
"I'veallalonghadthekeenestcontemptforthoselowbredpersons,"Paoyrejoined,"who,withoutknowing
whyorwherefore,foolishlyoffersacrificestothespirits,andneedlesslyhavetempleserected.Thereasonofit
allis,thatthosericholdgentlemenandunsophisticatedwealthywomen,wholivedinpastdays,wereonlytoo
ready,themomenttheyheardofthepresenceofaspiritanywhere,totakeinhandtheerectionoftemplesto
offertheirsacrificesin,withoutevenhavingthefaintestnotionwhosespiritstheywere.Thiswasbecausethey
readilycreditedasgospeltruthsuchrusticstoriesandidletalesaschancedtoreachtheirears.Takethisplaceas
anexample.Offeringsarepresentedinthis'WaterSpirit'nunnerytothespiritofthe'Lo'streamhencethename
of'WaterSpirit'monasteryhasbeengiventoit.Butpeoplereallydon'tknowthatinpastdays,therewasnosuch
thingasa'Lo'spirit!Theseare,indeed,nobetterthanlegendaryyarnsinventedbyTs'aoTzuchien,andwho
wouldhavethoughtit,thissortofstupidpeoplehaveputupimagesofit,towhichtheyofferoblations.Itserves,
however,mypurposetoday,soI'llborrowofherwhateverIneedtouse."
Whileengagedintalking,theyreachedtheentrance.TheoldnunsawPaoyarrive,andwasthoroughlytaken
aback.Sofarwasthisvisitbeyondherexpectations,thatwelldiditseemtoherasifalivedragonhaddropped

fromtheheavens.Withalacrity,sherusheduptohimandmakinginquiriesafterhishealth,shegaveordersto
anoldTaoisttocomeandtakehishorse.
Paoysteppedintothetemple.Butwithoutpayingtheleasthomagetotheimageofthe'Lo'spirit,hesimply
kepthiseyesfixedintentlyonitforalbeitmadeofclay,itactuallyseemed,nevertheless,toflutterasdoesa
terrorstrickenswan,andtowriggleasadragoninmotion.Itlookedlikealotus,peepingitsheadoutofthe
greenstream,orlikethesun,pouringitsraysupontherussetcloudsintheearlymorn.Paoy'stears
unwittinglytrickleddownhischeeks.
Theoldnunpresentedtea.Paoythenaskedherfortheloanofacensertoburnincensein.Afteraprotracted
absence,theoldnunreturnedwithsomeincenseaswellasseveralpaperhorses,whichshehadgotreadyfor
himtooffer.ButPaoywouldnotuseanyofthethingsshebrought."Takethecenser,"hesaidtoPeiMing,
"andgooutintothebackgardenandfindacleanspot!"
Buthavingbeenunabletodiscoverone"Whatabout,theplatformroundthatwell?"PeiMinginquired.
Paoynoddedhisheadassentingly.Thenalongwithhim,herepairedtotheplatformofthewell.Hedeposited
thecenserontheground,whilePeiMingstoodononeside.Paoyproducedtheincense,andthrewitonthe
fire.Withsuppressedtears,heperformedhalfoftheceremony,and,turninghimselfround,hebadePeiMing
clearthethingsaway.PeiMingacquiescedbut,insteadofremovingthethings,hespeedilyfellonhisface,and
madeseveralprostrations,ashislipsutteredthisprayer:"I,PeiMing,havebeenintheserviceofMaster
Secundusforseveralyears.OfthesecretsofMr.Secundus'hearttherearenone,whichIhavenotknown,save
thatwithregardtothissacrificetodaytheobjectofwhich,hehasneithertoldmenorhaveIhadthe
presumptiontoask.Butthou,ohspirit!whoarttherecipientofthesesacrificialofferings,must,Iexpect,
unknownthoughthysurnameandnamebetome,beamostintelligentandsupremelybeautifulelderoryounger
sister,uniqueamongmankind,withoutapeereveninheaven!AsmyMasterSecunduscannotgiveventtothe
sentiments,whichfillhisheart,allowmetoprayonhisbehalf!Shouldthoupossessspirituality,andholinessbe
thyshare,dothouoftencomeandlookupourMr.Secundus,forpersistentlydohisthoughtsdwellwiththee!
Andthereisnoreasonwhythoushould'stnotcome!Butshould'stthoubeintheabodeofthedead,grantthat
ourMr.Secundustoomay,inhiscomingexistence,betransformedintoagirl,sothathemaybeabletoamuse
himselfwithyouall!Andwillnotthisproveasourceofpleasuretobothsides?"
Atthecloseofhisinvocation,heagainknockedhisheadseveraltimesontheground,and,eventually,roseto
hisfeet.
Paoylentaneartohisutterances,but,beforetheyhadbeenbroughttoanend,hefeltitdifficulttorepress
himselffromlaughing.Givinghimakick,"Don'ttalksuchstuffandnonsense!"heshouted."Wereanylooker
ontooverhearwhatyousay,he'djeeratyou!"
PeiMinggotupandputthecenseraway.WhilehewalkedalongwithPaoy,"I'vealready,"hesaid,"toldthe
nunthatyouhadn'tasyethadanythingtoeat,MasterSecundus,andIbadehergetafewthingsreadyforyou,
soyoumustforceyourselftotakesomething.Iknowverywellthatagrandbanquetwillbespreadinour
mansiontoday,thatexceptionalbustlewillprevail,andthatyouhave,onaccountofthis,Sir,comeheretoget
outoftheway.Butasyou're,afterall,goingtospendawholedayinpeaceandquietinhere,youshouldtryand
divertyourselfasbestyoucan.Itwon't,therefore,byanymannerofmeansdoforyoutohavenothingtoeat."
"Iwon'tbeatthetheatricalperformancetohaveanywine,"Paoyremarked,"sowhatharmwilltherebeinmy
havingadrinkhere,asthefancytakesme?"
"Quiteso!"rejoinedPeiMing."Butthere'sanotherconsideration.YouandIhaverunoverherebuttheremust
besomewhosemindsareillatease.Weretherenooneuneasyaboutus,well,whatwoulditmatterifwegot
backintotownaslateaswepossiblycould?Butiftherebeanysolicitousonyouraccount,it'sbutright,Master
Secundus,thatyoushouldenterthecityandreturnhome.Inthefirstplace,ourworthyoldmistressand
MadameWang,willthuscomposetheirmindsandsecondly,you'llobservetheproperformalities,ifyou
succeedindoingnothingelse.Butevensupposingthat,whenonceyougethome,youfeelnoinclinationtolook

attheplaysandhaveanythingtodrink,youcanmerelywaituponyourfatherandmother,andacquityourselfof
yourfilialpiety!Well,ifit'sonlyamatteroffulfillingthisobligation,andyoudon'tcarewhetherourold
mistressandourlady,yourmother,experienceconcernornot,why,thespirititself,whichhasjustbeenthe
recipientofyouroblations,won'tfeelinahappyframeofmind!You'dbettertherefore,master,ponderandsee
whatyouthinkofmywords!"
"Iseewhatyou'redrivingat!"Paoysmiled."Youkeepbeforeyourmindthethoughtthatyou'retheonly
servant,whohasfollowedmeasanattendantoutoftown,andyougivewaytofearthatyouwill,onyour
return,havetobeartheconsequences.Youhencehaverecoursetothesegrandiloquentargumentstoshove
wordsofcounseldownmythroat!I'vecomeherenowwiththesoleobjectofsatisfyingcertainrites,andthen
goingtopartakeofthebanquetandbeaspectatoroftheplaysandInevermentionedonesinglewordaboutany
intentiononmypartnottogobacktotownforawholeday!I've,however,alreadyaccomplishedthewishI
fosteredinmyheart,soifwehurrybacktotown,soastoenableeveryonetosettheirsolicitudeatrest,won't
therightprinciplebecarriedouttothefullinonerespectaswellasanother?"
"Yes,thatwouldbebetter!"exclaimedPeiMing.
Conversingthewhile,theywendedtheirwayintotheBuddhistichall.Herethenunhad,inpointoffact,got
readyatablewithlentenviands.PaoyhurriedlyswallowedsomerefreshmentandsodidPeiMingafter
which,theymountedtheirsteedsandretracedtheirstepshomewards,bytheroadtheyhadcome.
PeiMingfollowedbehind."MasterSecundus!"hekeptonshouting,"becarefulhowyouride!Thathorsehasn't
beenriddenverymuch,soholdhimintightabit."
Asheurgedhimtobecareful,theyreachedtheinteriorofthecitywalls,and,makingtheirentranceoncemore
intothemansionbythebackgate,theybetookthemselves,withallpossibledespatch,intotheIHungcourt.Hsi
Jenandtheothermaidswerenotathome.Onlyafewoldwomenweretheretolookaftertherooms.Assoonas
theysawhimarrive,theyweresofilledwithgratificationthattheireyebrowsdilatedandtheireyessmiled."O
mitofu!"theysaidlaughingly,"you'vecome!You'veallbutdrivenMissHuamadfromdespair!Intheupper
quarters,they'rejustseatedatthefeast,sobequick,Mr.Secundus,andgoandjointhem."
Atthesewords,Paoyspeedilydivestedhimselfofhisplainclothesandputonacolouredcostume,reserved
forfestiveoccasions,whichhehuntedupwithhisownhands.Thisdone,"Wherearetheyholdingthebanquet?"
heinquired.
"They'reinthenewlyerectedlargereceptionpavilion,"theoldwomenresponded.
Uponcatchingtheirreply,Paoystraightwaystartedforthereceptionpavilion.Fromanearlymoment,the
strainsofflageoletsandpipes,ofsongandofwindinstrumentsfaintlyfellonhisear.Themomenthereached
thepassageontheoppositeside,hediscernedYCh'uanerhseatedallaloneundertheeavesoftheverandah
givingwaytotears.AssoonasshebecameconsciousofPaoy'sarrival,shedrewalong,longbreath.
Smackingherlips,"Ai!"shecried,"thephoenixhasalighted!goinatonce!Hadn'tyoucomeforanother
minute,everyonewouldhavebeenquiteupset!"
Paoyforcedasmile."JusttryandguesswhereI'vebeen?"heobserved.
YCh'uanerhtwistedherselfround,and,payingnonoticetohim,shecontinueddryinghertears.Paoyhad,
therefore,nooptionbuttoenterwithhastystep.Onhisarrivalinthereceptionhall,hepaidhisgreetingstohis
grandmotherChia,toMadameWang,andtheotherinmates,andoneandallfelt,infact,ashappytoseehim
backasiftheyhadcomeintothepossessionofaphoenix.
"Wherehaveyoubeen,"dowagerladyChiawasthefirsttoask,"thatyoucomebackatthishour?Don'tyouyet
goandpayyourcongratulationstoyourcousin?"Andsmilingsheproceeded,addressingherselftoladyFeng,
"Yourcousinhasnoideaofwhat'srightandwhat'swrong.Eventhoughhemayhavehadsomethingpressingto
do,whydidn'theutterjustoneword,butstealthilyboltedawayonhisownhook?Willthissortofthingever

do?Butshouldyoubehaveagaininthisfashionbyandbye,Ishall,whenyourfathercomeshome,feel
compelledtotellhimtochastiseyou."
LadyFengsmiled."Congratulationsareasmallmatter?"sheobserved."But,cousinPao,youmust,onno
account,sneakawayanymorewithoutbreathingawordtoanyone,andnotsendingforsomepeopletoescort
you,forcarriagesandhorsesthrongthestreets.Firstandforemost,you'rethemeansofmakingpeopleuneasyat
heartand,what'smore,thatisn'tthewayinwhichmembersofafamilysuchasoursshouldgooutofdoors!"
DowagerladyChiameanwhilewentonreprimandingtheservants,whowaitedonhim."Why,"shesaid,"do
youalllistentohimandreadilygowhereverhepleaseswithoutevenreportingasingleword?Butwheredid
youreallygo?"Continuing,sheasked,"Didyouhaveanythingtoeat?Ordidyougetanysortoffright,eh?"
"AbelovedwifeofthedukeofPeiChingdepartedthislife,"Paoymerelyreturnedforanswer,"andIwentto
daytoexpressmycondolencestohim.IfoundhiminsuchbitteranguishthatIcouldn'tverywellleavehimand
comebackimmediately.That'sthereasonwhyItarriedwithhimalittlelonger."
"Ifhereafteryoudoagaingooutofdoorsslylyandonyourownhook,"dowagerladyChiaimpressedonhis
mind,"withoutfirsttellingme,Ishallcertainlybidyourfathergiveyouacaning!"
Paoysignifiedhisobediencewithallpromptitude.HisgrandmotherChiawasthenbentuponhavingthe
servants,whowereonattendanceonhim,beaten,butthevariousinmatesdidtheirbesttodissuadeher.
"Venerablesenior!"theysaid,"youcanwelldispensewithflyingintoarage!Hehasalreadypromisedthathe
won'tventuretogooutagain.Besides,hehascomebackwithoutanymisadventure,soweshouldallcompose
ourmindsandenjoyourselvesabit!"
OldladyChiahad,atfirst,beenfullofsolicitude.Shehad,asamatterofcourse,beeninastateofdespairand
displeasurebut,seeingPaoyreturninsafety,shefeltimmoderatelydelighted,tosuchadegree,thatshecould
notreconcileherselftovisitherresentmentuponhim.Shethereforedroppedallmentionofhisescapadeat
once.Andassheentertainedfearslesthemayhavebeenunhappyorhavehad,whenhewasaway,nothingto
eat,orgotastartontheroad,shedidnotpunishhim,buthad,contrariwise,recoursetoeverysortofinducement
tocoaxhimtofeelatease.ButHsiJensooncameoverandattendedtohiswants,sothecompanyoncemore
turnedtheirattentiontothetheatricals.Theplayactedonthatoccasionwas,"Therecordoftheboxwoodhair
pin."DowagerladyChia,Mrs.Hsehandtheothersweredeeplyimpressedbywhattheysawandgavewayto
tears.Some,however,oftheinmateswereamusedotherswereprovokedtoangerothersgaveventtoabuse.
But,reader,doyouwishtoknowthesequel?Ifso,thenextchapterwillexplainit.

CHAPTERXLIV.
Bysomeinscrutableturnofaffairs,ladyFengbeginstofeelthe
pangsofjealousy.
Paoyexperiencesjoy,beyondallhisexpectations,whenP'ingErh
(receivesaslapfromladyFeng)andhastoadjustherhair.
Buttoresumeournarrative.Attheperformanceofthe'Recordoftheboxwoodhairpin,'atwhichalltheinmates
ofthehouseholdwerepresent,Paoyandhisfemalecousinssattogether.WhenLinTaiynoticedthattheact
called,'Themanoffersasacrifice'hadbeenreached,"ThisWangShihp'eng,"shesaidtoPaoch'ai,"isvery
stupid!Itwouldbequiteimmaterialwhereheofferedhissacrifices,andwhymustherepairtotheriverside?'At
thesightofanobject,'theproverbhasit,'onethinksofaperson.Allwatersundertheheavensrevertbuttoone

source.'Sohadhebaledabowlfulfromanystream,andgivenwaytohislamentations,whilegazingonit,he
couldverywellhavesatisfiedhisfeelings."
Paoch'aihowevermadenoreply.
PaoythenturnedhisheadroundandaskedforsomewarmwinetodrinktoladyFeng'shealth.Thefactis,that
dowagerladyChiahadenjoinedonthemthatthisoccasionwasunlikeothers,andthatitwasabsolutely
necessaryforthemtodothebesttoinduceladyFengtoheartilyenjoyherselffortheday.Sheherself,
nevertheless,felttoolistlesstojointhebanquet,sosimplyrecliningonasofaoftheinnerroom,shelookedat
theplaysincompanywithMrs.Hsehandchoosingseveralkindsofsucheatablesasweretohertaste,she
placedthemonasmallteapoy,andnowhelpedherselftosome,andnowtalked,asthefancytookher.Then
allottingwhatviandswereservedonthetwotablesassignedtohertotheelderandyoungerwaitingmaids,for
whomnocoverswerelaid,andtothosefemaleservantsandotherdomestics,whowereondutyandhadto
answercalls,sheurgedthemnottomindbuttoseatthemselvesoutsidethewindows,undertheeavesofthe
verandahs,andtoeatanddrinkattheirpleasure,withoutanyregardtoconventionalities.MadameWangand
MadameHsingoccupiedplacesatthehightablebelowwhileroundseveraltablesoutsidesattheposseof
youngladies.
"DoletthatgirlFenghavetheseatofhonour,"oldladyChiashortlytoldMrs.Yuandhercontemporaries,"and
mindbecarefulindoingthehonoursforme,forsheissubjectedtoendlesstroublefromoneyear'sendto
another!"
"Verywell,"saidMrs.Yu."Ifancy,"shewentontosmile,"thatlittleusedassheistofillingtheplaceofhonour,
she'sbound,ifshetakesthehighseat,tobesomuchatalosshowtobehave,astobelotheventohaveany
wine!"
DowagerladyChiawasmuchamusedbyherreply."Well,ifyoucan'tsucceed,"shesaid,"waitandI'llcome
andofferittoher."
LadyFengwithhastystepwalkedintotheinnerroom."Venerableancestor!"shesmiled,"don'tbelieveallthey
tellyou!I'vealreadyhadseveralcups!"
"Quick,pullherout,"oldladyChialaughinglycriedtoMrs.Yu,"andshoveherintoachair,andletallofyou
drinkbyturnstoherhealth!Ifshethendoesn'tdrink,I'llcomemyselfinrealearnestandmakeherhavesome!"
Atthesewords,Mrs.Yuspeedilydraggedherout,laughingthewhile,andforcedherintoaseat,and,directinga
servanttofetchacup,shefilleditwithwine."You'vegotfromoneyear'sendtoanother,"shesmiled,"the
troubleandannoyanceofconferringdutifulattentionsuponourvenerablesenior,uponMadameWangandupon
myself,so,asI'venothingtoday,withwhichtoprovemyaffectionforyou,haveasip,frommyhand,myown
dear,ofthiscupofwineIpouredforyoumyself!"
"Ifyoudeliberatelywishtopresentmeaglass,"ladyFenglaughed,"fallonyourkneesandI'lldrinkatonce!"
"What'sthisyousay?"Mrs.Yurepliedwithalaugh."Andwhoareyou,Iwonder?Butletmetellyouthisonce
forallandfinishthatthoughwe'vesucceeded,aftereversomanydifficulties,ingettingupthisentertainmentto
day,there'snosayingwhetherweshallinthefuturebeabletohaveanythingmorethelikeofthisornot.Let's
availourselvesthenofthepresenttoputourcapacitytothestrainanddrinkacoupleofcups!"
LadyFengsawverywellthatshecouldnotadvanceanyexcuses,andnecessityobligedhertoswallowthe
contentsoftwocups.Inquicksuccession,however,thevariousyoungladiesalsodrewnearher,andladyFeng
wasconstrainedagaintotakeasipfromthecupeachheld.ButnurseLaiTatoofeltcompelled,atthesightof
dowagerladyChiastillinbuoyantspirits,tocomeforwardandjoininthemerriment,soputtingherselfatthe
headofanumberofnurses,sheapproachedandprofferedwinetoladyFengwhofounditoncemoresodifficult
torefusethatshehadtoswallowafewmouthfuls.ButYanYangandhercompanionsnextappeared,likewise,
onthescenetohandhertheirshareofwinebutladyFengfelt,infact,solittleabletocomplywiththeirwishes,

thatshepromptlyappealedtothementreatingly."Dearsisters,"shepleaded,"dospareme!I'lldrinksomemore
tomorrow!"
"Quiteso!we'reameanlot,"YanYanglaughed."Butnowthatwestandinthepresenceofyourladyship,do
condescendtolookuponusfavourably!We'vealwaysenjoyedsomelittleconsideration,anddoyouputonthe
airsofamistressonanoccasionlikethepresent,whenthere'ssuchacrowdofpeoplestandingby?Really,I
shouldn'thavecome.But,asyouwon'ttouchourwine,wemightaswellbequickandretire!"
Whileshespoke,shewasactuallywalkingaway,whenladyFenghastenedtolayholdofherandtodetainher.
"Dearsister,"shecried,"I'lldrinksomeandhavedone!"
Sosaying,shetookthewineandfilledacuptotheverybrim,anddrainedit.YanYangthenatlengthgaveher
asmile,(andsheandherfriends)dispersed.
Subsequently,thecompanyresumedtheirplacesatthebanquet.ButladyFengwasconsciousthatthewineshe
hadprimedherselfwithwasmountingtoherhead,soabruptlystaggeringtotheupperend,shemeanttobetake
herselfhometoliedown,whenseeingthejugglersarrive,"Getthetipsready!"sheshoutedtoMrs.Yu."I'moff
towashmyfaceabit."
Mrs.YunoddedherheadassentinglyandladyFeng,noticingthattheinmateswereofftheirguard,leftthe
banquet,andwendedherstepsbeneaththeeavestowardsthebackentranceofthehouse.P'ingErhhad,
however,beenkeepinghereyeonher,sohastilyshefollowedinherfootsteps.LadyFengatoncepropped
herselfonherarm.Butnosoonerdidtheyreachthecoveredpassagethanshediscernedayoungmaid,attached
toherquarters,standingunderit.(Thegirl),themomentsheperceivedthem,twistedherselfroundandbeata
retreat.LadyFengforthwithbegantogivewaytosuspicionandsheimmediatelyshoutedouttohertohalt.The
maidpretendedatfirstnottohear,but,as,whilefollowinghertheycalledouttohertimeaftertime,shefound
herselfcompelledtoturnround.LadyFengwasseizedwithgreaterdoubtsthanever.Quicklythereforeentering
thecoveredpassagewithP'ingErh,shebadethemaidgoalongwiththem.Thenopeningafoldingscreen,lady
Fengstatedherselfonthestepsleadingtothesmallcourtyard,andmadethegirlfallonherknees."Calltwo
boyservantsfromamongthoseondutyatthesecondgate,"shecriedouttoP'ingErh,"tobringawhipof
twistedcords,andtotakethisyoungwench,whohasnoregardforhermistress,andbeathertoshreds."
Theservantmaidfellintoastateofconsternation,andwasscaredoutofherverywits.Sobbingthewhile,she
keptonbumpingherheadonthegroundandsolicitingforgrace.
"I'mreallynoghost!Soyoumusthaveseenme!Don'tyouknowwhatgoodmannersmeanandstandstill?"
ladyFengasked."Whydidyouinsteadpersistinrunningon?"
"Itrulydidnotseeyourladyshipcoming,"themaidrepliedwithtearsinhereyes."Iwas,besides,much
concernedastherewasnooneintheroomsthat'swhyIwasrunningon."
"Ifthere'snooneintherooms,whotoldyoutocomeoutagain?"ladyFenginquired."Anddidn'tyouseeme,
togetherwithP'ingErh,atyourheels,stretchingoutournecksandcallingouttoyouabouttentimes?Butthe
moreweshouted,thefasteryouran!Youweren'tfarofffromuseither,soisitlikelythatyougotdeaf?Andare
youstillbentuponbandyingwordswithme?"
Sospeaking,sheraisedherhandandadministeredheraslapontheface.But,whilethegirlstaggeredfromthe
blow,shegaveherasecondslapontheothersideoftheface,sobothcheeksofthemaidquicklybegantoget
purpleandtoswell.
P'ingErhhastenedtoreasonwithhermistress."Mylady!"shesaid,"becarefulyou'llbehurtingyourhand!"
"Goon,pommelher,"urgedladyFeng,"andaskherwhatmadeherrun!and,ifshedoesn'ttellyou,justyou
takehermouthandtearittopiecesforher!"

Attheoutset,thegirlobstinatelyprevaricated,butwhensheeventuallyheardthatladyFengintendedtotakea
redhotbrandingironandburnhermouthwith,sheatlastsobbinglyspokeout."OurMasterSecundus,Mr.
Lien,isathome,"sheremarked,"andhesentmeheretowatchyourmovements,myladybiddingmegoahead,
whenIsawyouleavethebanquet,andconveythemessagetohim.But,contrarytohishopes,yourladyship
camebackjustnow!"
LadyFengsawverywellthattherelurkedsomethingbehindallshesaid."Whatdidheaskyoutowatchme
for?"shethereforeeagerlyasked."Canitbe,pray,thathedreadedtoseemereturnhome?Theremustbesome
otherreasonsobequickandtellittomeandIshallhenceforwardtreatyouwithregard.Ifyoudon'tminutely
confessalltome,Ishallthisverymomenttakeaknifeandpareoffyourflesh!"
Threateningherthewhile,sheturnedherheadround,and,extractingahairpinfromhercoiffure,shestuckit
promiscuouslyaboutthemaid'smouth.Thissofrightenedthegirlthat,asshemadeeveryefforttogetoutofher
way,sheburstoutintotearsandentreaties."I'lltellyourladyshipeverything,"shecried,"butyoumustn'tsay
thatitwasIwhotoldyou."
PingErh,whostoodby,exhortedhertoobeybutsheatthesametimeimpressedonhermindtospeakout
withoutdelay.
"Mr.Secundushimselfarrivedonlyafewminutesback,"themaidbegan."Themoment,however,hecame,he
openedabog,and,takingtwopiecesofsilver,twohairpins,andacoupleofrollsofsilk,hebademestealthily
takethemtoPaoErh'swifeandtellhertocomein.Assoonassheputthethingsaway,shehurriedtoourhouse,
andMasterSecundusorderedmetokeepaneyeonyourladyshipbutofwhathappenedafterthat,I'venoidea
whatever."
WhenthesedisclosuresfellonladyFeng'sears,sheflewintosucharagethatherwholepersonfeltquiteweak
and,risingimmediately,shestraightwayrepairedhome.Theinstantshereachedthegateofthecourtyard,she
espiedawaitingmaidpeepoutoftheentrance.SeeingladyFeng,shetoodrewinherhead,andtriedatonceto
effectherescape.ButladyFengcalledherbyname,andmadeherstandstill.Thisgirlhadeverbeenverysharp,
sowhensherealisedthatshecouldnotmanagetobeataretreat,shewentsofarastorunouttoher."Iwasjust
goingtotellyourladyship,"shesmiled,"andhereyoucome!Whatastrangecoincidence!"
"Tellmewhat?"ladyFengexclaimed.
"ThatMr.Secundusisathome,"thegirlreplied,"andhasdonesoandso."Shethenrecountedtoherallthe
incidentsrecordedafewminutesback.
"Ts'ui!"ejaculatedladyFeng."Whatwereyouuptobefore?Now,that
I'veseenyou,youcomeandtrytoclearyourself!"
Asshespoke,sheraisedherarmandadministeredthemaidaslap,whichupsetherequilibrium.Sowithhurried
step,shebetookherselfaway.LadyFengthendrewnearthewindow.Lendinganeartowhatwasgoingon
inside,sheheardsomeoneintheroomlaughinglyobserve:"Whenthatqueenofhellsortofwifeofyoursdies,
itwillbeagoodriddance!"
"Whenshe'sgone,"ChiaLienrejoined,"andImarryanother,thelikeofher,whatwillIagaindo?"
"Whenshe'sdeadandgone,"thewomanresumed,"justraiseP'ingErhtotherankofprimarywife.Ithinkshe'll
turnoutconsiderablybetterthanshehas."
"Atpresent,"ChiaLienputin,"shewon'tevenletmeenjoyP'ingErh'ssociety!P'ingErhherselfisfullof
displeasureyetshedaresnotspeak.Howisitthatithasbeenmyfatetobringuponmyselftheinfluenceofthis
evilstar?"

LadyFengoverheardthesecriticismsandflewintoafitofanger,whichmadehertrembleviolently.Whenshe,
however,alsocaughtthepraiseheapedbybothofthemuponP'ingErh,sheharbouredthesuspicionthatP'ing
Erhtoomust,asamatterofcourse,haveallalongemployedtheslyresentfullanguageagainsther.And,asthe
winebubbledupmoreandmoreintoherhead,shedidnotsomuchasgivethematterasecondthought,but,
twistinground,shefirstandforemostgaveP'ingErhacoupleofwhacks,and,withonekick,shebangedthe
dooropen,andwalkedin.Then,withoutallowingheranytimetogiveanyexplanationinherowndefence,she
clutchedPaoErh'swife,and,tearingherabout,shebelabouredherwithblows.ButthedreadlestChiaLien
shouldslipoutoftheroom,inducedhertopostherselfinsuchawayastoobstructthedoorway."Whatafine
wench!"sheshoutedoutabusingly."Youmakeaparamourofyourmistress'husband,andthenyouwishto
compassyourmaster'swife'sdeath,forP'ingErhtotransferherquartersinhere!Youbasehirelings!You'reall
ofthesamestamp,thoroughlyjealousofmeyoutrytocajolemebyyouroutwarddisplay!"
Whileabusingthem,sheoncemorelaidholdofP'ingErhandbeatherseveraltimes.P'ingErhwaspummelled
awaytillherheartthrilledwithasenseofinjury,butshehadnowheretogo,andbreatheherwoes.Such
resentmentoverpoweredherfeelingsthatshesobbedwithoutasignofatear."Youpeople,"sherailingly
shouted,"goanddoalotofshamefulthings,andthenyoualsodeliberatelyinvolvemebutwhy?"
Soshouting,shetooclutchedPaoErh'swifeandbegantoassailher.ChiaLienhadfreelyprimedhimselfwith
wine,so,onhisreturnhome,hewasinsuchexuberanceofspiritsthatheobservednosecresyinhisdoings.The
moment,however,heperceivedladyFengappearonthescene,hegottohiswits'end.YetwhenhesawP'ing
Erhalsostartarumpus,theliquorhehadhadarousedhisire.ThesightoftheassaultcommittedbyladyFeng
onPaoErh'swifehadalreadyincensedhimandputhimtoshame,buthehadnotbeenablewithany
consistencytointerferebuttheinstantheespiedP'ingErhherselflayhandsonher,hevehementlyjumped
forwardandgaveherakick."Whatavixen!"hecried."Areyoulikewisegoingtostartknockingpeopleabout?"
P'ingErhwasofatimiddisposition.Atonce,therefore,shewithheldherhands,andmeltedintotears."Whydo
youimplicateme,"shesaid,"inthingsyousaybehindmyback?"
WhenladyFengdescriedinwhatfearanddreadP'ingErhwasofChiaLien,shelostmorethanevercontrol
overhertemper,and,startingagaininpursuitofher,shestruckP'ingErh,whileurginghertogoforPaoErh's
wife.
P'ingErhwasdriventoexasperationandforthwithrushingoutoftheapartment,shewentinsearchofaknifeto
commitsuicidewith.Butthecompanyofoldmatrons,whostoodoutside,hastenedtoplaceimpedimentsinher
way,andtoarguewithher.
LadyFeng,meanwhile,realisedthatP'ingErhhadgonetotakeherlife,androlling,headforemost,intoChia
Lien'sembrace,"Youputyourheadstogethertodomeharm,"shesaid,"and,whenIoverhearyourdesigns,you
peopleconspiretofrightenme!Butstranglemeandhavedone."
ChiaLienwasdriventodespairtosuchadegreethatunsheathingaswordsuspendedonthewall,"There'sno
needforanyoneofyoutocommitsuicide!"hescreamed."Itooamthoroughlyexasperated,soI'llkillthe
wholelotofyouandpaythepenaltywithmyownlife!We'llallthenbefreefromfurthertrouble!"
Thebustlehadjustreachedaclimaxbeyondthechanceofasettlement,whentheyperceivedMrs.Yuanda
crowdofinmatesmaketheirappearanceintheroom."What'sthematter?"theyasked."Therewasnothingup
justnow,sowhyisallthisrowfor?"
Atthesightofthenewarrivals,ChiaLienmorethanevermadethethreepartsofintoxication,underwhichhe
laboured,anexcusetoassumeanaircalculatedtointimidatethem,andtopretend,inordertofurtherhisown
ends,thathewasbentupondespatchingladyFeng.
ButladyFeng,uponseeingherrelativesappear,gotintoamoodlessperversethantheoneshehadbeenin
previoustotheirarrivaland,leavingthewholecompanyofthem,shescampered,allintears,overtotheoff
side,intodowagerladyChia'squarters.

Bythistime,theplaywasover.LadyFengrushedconsequentlyintotheoldlady'spresenceandfellintoherlap.
"Venerableancestor!helpme!"sheexclaimed."Mr.ChiaLienwishestokillme."
"What'sup?"precipitatelyinquireddowagerladyChia,MesdamesHsingandWangandtherest.
"Iwasjustgoingtomyroomstochangemydress,"ladyFengwept,"whenIunexpectedlyfoundMr.ChiaLien
athome,talkingwithsomeone.Fancyingthatvisitorshadcome,Iwasquitetakenaback,andnotpresumingto
enter,Iremainedoutsidethewindowandlistened.Itturnedout,infact,tobePaoErh'swifeholdingcouncil
withhim.ShesaidthatIwasdreadful,andthatshemeanttopoisonmesoastogetmeoutofthewayand
enableP'ingErhtobepromotedtobefirstwife.Atthis,Ilostmytemper.Butnotventuring,nonetheless,to
havearowwithhim,IsimplygaveP'ingErhtwoslapsandthenIaskedhimwhyhewishedtodomeharm.
Butsostrickendidhegetwithshamethathetriedthereandthentodespatchme."
DowagerladyChiatreatedeverywordthatfellonherearastruth."Dreadful!"sheejaculated."Bringhereat
oncethatlowbredoffspring!"
Barelywas,however,thisexclamationoutofherlips,thantheyperceivedChiaLien,aswordinhand,enterin
pursuitofhiswife,followedcloselybyabevyofinmates.ChiaLienevidentlyplacedsuchthoroughreliance
uponthelove,whicholdladyChiahadallalonglavisheduponthem,thatheentertainedlittleregardevenfor
hismotherorhisaunt,sohecame,withperfecteffrontery,tostirupadisturbanceintheirpresence.When
MesdamesHsingandWangsawhim,theygotintoapassion,and,withalldespatch,theyendeavouredtodeter
himfromhispurpose."Youmeanthing!"theyshouted,abusinghim."Yourcrimeismoreheinous,forour
venerableseniorisinhere!"
"It'sallbecauseourworthyancestorspoilsher,"criedChiaLien,witheyesawry,"thatshebehavedasshedid
andtookuponherselftorateevenme!"
MadameHsingwasfullofresentment.Snatchingtheswordfromhisgrasp,shekeptontellinghimtoquitthe
roomatonce.ButChiaLiencontinuedtoprattlefoolishnonsenseinadrivellingandmaudlinway.Hismanner
exasperateddowagerladyChia."I'mwellaware,"sheobserved,"thatyouhaven'ttheleastconsiderationforany
oneofus.Tellsomeonetogoandcallhisfatherhereandwe'llseewhetherhedoesn'tclearout."
WhenChiaLiencaughtthesewords,heeventuallytotteredoutoftheapartment.Butinsuchastateoffrenzy
washethathedidnotreturntohisquarters,butbetookhimselfintotheouterstudy.
Duringthiswhile,MesdamesHsingandWangalsocalledladyFengtotask.
"Why,whatseriousmattercoulditeverhavebeen?"oldladyChiaremarked."Butchildrenoftenderyearsare
likegreedykittens,andhowcanonesayforcertainthattheywon'tdosuchthings?Humanbeingshave,from
theirveryinfancy,togothroughexperiencesofthiskind!It'sallmyfault,however,forpressingyoutohavea
littlemorewinethanwasgoodforyou.Butyou'vealsogoneanddrunkthevinegarofjealousy!"
Thisinsinuationmadeeveryonelaugh.
"Composeyourmind!"proceededdowagerladyChia."TomorrowI'llsendforhimtoapologisetoyoubut,
you'dbettertodaynotgoover,asyoumightputhimtoshame!"Continuing,shealsowentontoabuseP'ing
Erh."I'vealwaysthoughthighlyofthatwench,"shesaid,"andhowisitthatshe'sturnedouttobesecretlyso
bad?"
"P'ingErhisn'ttoblame!"Mrs.Yuandtheotherssmiled."It'sladyFengwhomakespeoplehertoolstogive
venttoherspite!Husbandandwifecouldnotverywellcometoblowsfacetoface,sotheycombinedinusing
P'ingErhastheirscapegoat!Whatinjurieshaven'tfallentoP'ingErh'slot!Anddoyou,venerablesenior,stillgo
onblowingherup?"

"Isitreallyso!"exclaimedoldladyChia."Ialwayssaidthatthatgirlwasn'tanythinglikethatartfulshrew!
Well,inthatcase,sheistobepitied,forshehashadtobearthebruntofheranger,andallthroughnofaultof
hers!"CallingHuPotoher,"Go,"sheadded,"andtellP'ingErhallIenjoinyou'thatIknowthatshehasbeen
insultedandthattomorrowI'llsendforhermistresstomakeamends,butthatbeinghermistress'birthdayto
day,Iwon'thavehergiverisetoanyrecklessfuss'!"
P'ingErhhad,wemayexplain,fromanearlyhour,beendraggedbyLiWanintothegardenofBroadVista.
HereP'ingErhgavewaytobittertears.Somuchso,thatherthroatchokedwithsobs,andcouldnotgive
utterancetospeech.
"Youareanintelligentperson,"exhortedherPaoch'ai,"andhowconsideratelyhasyourladytreatedyouall
along!Itwassimplybecauseshehashadalittletoomuchwinethatshebehavedasshedidtoday!Buthadshe
notmadeyouthemeansofgivingventtoherspite,isitlikelythatshecouldverywellhaveairedhergrievances
uponanyoneelse?Besides,anyoneelsewouldhavelaughedatherforactinginashamway!"
Whileshereasonedwithher,shesawHuPoapproach,anddeliverdowagerladyChia'smessage.P'ingErhthen
feltinherselfthatshehadcomeoutofthewholeaffairwithsomecredit,andshe,littlebylittle,resumedher
equilibrium.Shedidnot,nevertheless,putherfootanywherenearthefrontpartofthecompound.
Afteralittlerest,PaoCh'aiandhercompanionscameandpaidavisittooldladyChiaandladyFeng,while
PaoypressedP'ingErhtocometotheIHungcourt.HsiJenreceivedherwithalacrity."Imeant,"shesaid,"to
bethefirsttoaskyou,butasourseniorlady,ChiaChu,andtheyoungladiesinvitedyou,Icouldn'tverywelldo
somyself."
P'ingErhreturnedhersmile."Manythanks!"sherejoined."Howwordsevercommencedbetweenus"shethen
wenton,"whentherewasnoprovocation,Ican'ttell!Butwithoutrhymeorreason,Icameinforaspellof
resentment."
"OurladySecundahasalwaysbeenverygoodtoyou,"laughinglyremarked
HsiJen,"soshemusthavedonethisinasuddenfitofexasperation!"
"OurladySecundadidnot,afterall,sayanythingtome,"P'ingErhexplained."Itwasthatwenchthatblewme
up.Andshedeliberatelymadealaughingstockofme.Butthatfoolalsoofamasterofoursstruckme!"
Whilerecountingherexperiences,shefeltakeenersenseofinjusticethanbefore,andshefoundithardto
restrainhertearsfromtricklingdownhercheeks.
"Mydearsister,"Paoyhastilyadvisedher,"don'twoundyourheart!
I'mquitereadytoexpressmyapologiesonbehalfofthatpair!"
"Whatbusinessisthatofyours?"P'ingErhsmiled.
"Wecousins,whethermaleorfemale,areallalike."Paoysmilinglyargued."Sowhentheyhurtanyone's
feelings,Iapologiseforthemit'sonlyrightthatIshoulddoso.Whatapity"hecontinued,"thesenewclothes
toohavebeenstained!Butyou'llfindyoursisterHua'scostumesinhere,andwhydon'tyouputoneon,andtake
somehotwineandspurtitoveryoursandironthemout?Youmightalsoremakeyourcoiffure."
Speaking,hedirectedtheyoungmaidstodrawsomewaterforwashingthefaceandtoheatanironandbringit.
P'ingErhhadeverheardpeoplemaintainthatallthatPaoyexcelledinwasinknittingfriendshipswithgirls.
ButPaoyhadsofarbeenloth,seeingthatP'ingErhwasChiaLien'sbelovedsecondarywife,andladyFeng's
confidante,toindulgeinanyfamiliaritieswithher.Andbeingprecludedfromaccomplishingthedesireupon
whichhisheartwasset,hetimeandagaingavewaytovexation.WhenP'ingErh,however,remarkedhis
conducttowardsheronthisoccasion,shesecretlyresolvedwithinherselfthatwhatwassaidofhimwasindeed
noidlerumour.Butashehadanticipatedeveryoneofherwants,andshesawmoreoverthatHsiJenhad,forher

specialbenefit,openedaboxandproducedtwoarticlesofclothing,notmuchwornbyher,shespeedilydrew
nearandwashedherface.
Paoystoodbyherside."Youmust,deargirl,alsoapplyalittlecosmeticandpowder,"shesmiled"otherwise
you'lllookasifyouwereangrywithladyFeng.It'sherbirthday,besidesandouroldancestorhassentsome
oneagaintocomeandcheeryouup."
Hearinghowreasonablehissuggestionswere,P'ingErhreadilywentinsearchofpowderbutshefailedto
noticeanyabout,soPaoyhurriedlydrewuptothetoilettable,and,removingthelidofaporcelainboxmade
atthe"Hsan"kiln,whichcontainedasetoftensmallladles,tuberoselikeinshape,(forhelpingone'sselfto
powderwith),hedrewoutoneofthemandhandedittoP'ingErh."Thisisn'tleadpowder,"hesmiled."Thisis
madeoftheseedsofredjasmine,welltriturated,andcompoundedwithsuitablefirstclassingredients."
P'ingErhemptiedsomeonthepalmofherhand.Onexamination,shereallyfoundthatitwaslight,clear,red
andscentedperfectinallfourpropertiesthatitwaseasytoapplyevenlytotheface,thatitkeptmoist,andthat
itdifferedfromotherkindsofpowder,ordinarilysorough.Shesubsequentlynoticedthatthecosmetictoowas
notspreadonasheet,butthatitwascontainedinatinyboxofwhitejade,thecontentsofwhichborethe
semblanceofrosepaste.
"Thecosmeticonebuysinthemarketisn'tclean"Paoyremarkedsmilingly."Itscolourisfaintaswell.But
thisiscosmeticofsuperiorquality.Thejuicewassqueezedout,strainedclear,mixedwithperfumeofflowers
anddecocted.Allyouneeddoistotakesomewiththathairpinandrubitonyourlips,thatwillbeenoughand
ifyoudissolvesomeinalittlewater,andrubitonthepalmofyourhand,itwillbeampleforyoutocoveryour
wholefacewith."
P'ingErhfollowedhisdirectionsandperformedhertoilette.Shelookedexceptionallyfreshandbeautiful.A
sweetfragrancepervadedhercheeks.Paoythencut,withapairofbambooscissors,astalk,withtwoautumn
orchids,whichhadblossomedinaflowerpot,andhepinneditinhersidehair.Butamaidwasunexpectedly
seentoentertheroom,sentbyLiWantocomeandcallher,soshequittedhisquarterswithallpossible
despatch.
PaoyhadnotsofarbeenabletohavehiswishestorevelinP'ingErh'ssocietygratified.P'ingErhwas
furthermoreagirlofahighgrade,mostintelligent,mostwinsome,andunlikethatsortofvulgaranddull
mindedbeings,sothathecherishedintensedisgustagainsthisfate.
ThepresentoccasionhadbeentheanniversaryofChinCh'uanerh'sbirth,andhehadremained,inconsequence,
plungedinadisconsolateframeofmindthroughoutthewholeday.But,contrarytohisexpectations,the
incidenteventuallyoccurred,whichaffordedhim,afterall,anopportunitytodangleinP'ingErh'ssocietyandto
gratifytosomesmalldegreeaparticleofhiswish.Thishadbeenapieceofgoodfortunehesolittleexpected
wouldfalltohisshareduringthecourseofhispresentexistence,thatashereclinedonhisbed,hisheartswelled
withhappinessandcontentment.Suddenly,hereflectedthatChiaLien'ssolethoughtwastomakelicentious
pleasuresthemeansofgratifyinghispassions,andthathehadnoideahowtoshowtheleastregardtothefair
sexandhemusedthatP'ingErhwaswithoutfatherormother,brothersorsisters,asolitarybeingdestinedto
danceattendanceuponacouplesuchasChiaLienandhiswifethatChiaLienwasvulgar,andladyFeng
haughty,butthatshewasgiftedneverthelesswiththeknackofsplendidlymanagingthingsandthat(P'ingErh)
hadagaintodaycomeacrossbittersorrow,andthatherdestinywasextremelyunfortunate.
Atthisstageofhisreverie,hebegantofeelwoundedanddistressed.Whenheroseoncemoretohisfeet,he
noticedthatthewine,whichshehadspurtedontheclothes,shehadafewminutesbackdivestedherselfof,had
alreadyhalfdried,and,takinguptheiron,hesmoothedthemandfoldedthemnicelyforher.Hethendiscovered
thatshehadleftherhandkerchiefbehind,andthatitstillboretracesoftears,sothrowingitintothebasin,he
rinseditandhungituptodry,withfeelingsborderingonjoyaswellassadness.Butafterashorttimespentina
brownstudy,hetoobetookhimselftotheTaoHsiangvillageforachatanditwasonlywhenthelampshad
beenlitthathegotuptotakehisleave.

P'ingErhputupinLiWan'squartersforthenight.LadyFengsleptwithdowagerladyChia,whileChiaLien
returnedatalatehourtohishome.Hefoundithoweververylonely.Yetunabletogoandcallhiswifeover,he
hadnoalternativebuttosleepasbesthecouldforthatnight.Onthemorrow,heremembered,assoonashe
openedhiseyes,theoccurrenceofthepreviousday,andhefellapreytosuchextremeunhappinessthathe
couldnotbeconsciencestrickenenough.
MadameHsingponderedwithsolicitudeonChiaLien'sdrunkenfitthedaybefore.Themomentthereforeitwas
light,shehastilycrossedover,andsentforChiaLientorepairtodowagerladyChia'sapartments.ChiaLienwas
thuscompelledtosuppressalltimidityandtorepairtothefrontpartofthemansionandfallonhiskneesatthe
feetofhisoldsenior.
"Whatwasthematter?"inquiredoldladyChia.
"Ireallyhadtoomuchwineyesterday,"ChiaLienpromptlyansweredwithaforcedsmile."Imusthavegiven
youafright,worthyancestor,soIcometodaytoreceivecondignpunishment."
"Youmeanfellow!"shouteddowagerladyChia,spittingathimdisdainfully."Yougoandglutyourselfwith
spirits,and,nottospeakofyournotgoingtostretchyourselflikeacorpseandsleepitoff,youcontrariwisestart
beatingyourwife!ButthatvixenFengbragsawaythewholedaylong,asifshewereahumanbeingasvaliant
asanytyrant,andyetyesterdayshegotintosuchafunkthatshepresentedawoefulsight!Haditnotbeenfor
me,youwouldhavedoneherbodilyharmandwhatwouldyoufeellikenow?"
ChiaLienwasatheartfullofasenseofinjury,buthecouldnotmastersufficientcouragetosayanythinginhis
owndefence.Theonlycourseopentohimwasthereforetomakeaconfessionoffault.
"Don'tladyFengandP'ingErhpossessthecharmsofhandsomewomen?"dowagerladyChiaresumed."And
aren'tyouyetsatisfiedwiththemthatyoumust,ofaday,goslylyprowlingandgallavantingabout,dragging
indiscriminatelyintoyourroomsfrowsyandfilthypeople?Isitforthesakeofthissortofwenchesthatyoubeat
yourwifeandbelabourtheinmatesofyourquarters?You'veneverthelesshadthegoodfortuneofstartinginlife
asthescionofagreatfamilyanddoyou,witheyeswideopen,bringdisgraceuponyourownhead?Ifyouhave
anyregardforme,well,thengetupandI'llspareyou!Andifyoumakeyourapologiesinapropermannerto
yourwifeandtakeherhome,I'llbesatisfied.Butifyoudon't,justyouclearoutofthis,forIwon'teven
presumetohaveanyofyourgenuflexions!"
ChiaLientooktohearttheinjunctionsthatfellonhisear.EspyingbesidesladyFengstandingoppositetohimin
undress,hereyesswollenfromcrying,andherfacequitesallow,withoutcosmeticorpowder,hethoughther
morelovableandcharmingthanever."Wouldn'titbewell,"hethereforemused,"thatIshouldmakeamends,so
thatsheandImaybeonfriendlytermsagainandthatIshouldwinthegoodpleasureofmyoldancestor?"
Attheconclusionofhisreflections,heforthwithputonasmile."Afteryouradvice,venerablesenior,"hesaid,
"Icouldn'tbesoboldasnottoaccedetoyourwishes!Butthisisshewinghermoreindulgencethanever!"
"Whatnonsense!"exclaimeddowagerladyChialaughingly."Iamwellawarethatwithherextremedecorum
shecouldn'thurtanyone'ssusceptibilities.Butshouldshe,inthefuture,wrongyouinanyway,Ishall,of
course,takethelawintomyownhandsandbidyoumakehersubmittoyourauthorityandfinish."
ChiaLien,atthisassurance,crawledupandmadeabowtoladyFeng.
"Itwasreallymyfault,sodon'tbeangry,ladySecunda,"hesaid.
Everyoneintheroomlaughed.
"Now,mygirlFeng,"ladyChialaughinglyobserved,"youarenottoloseyourtemperforifyoudo,I'lllose
minetoo!"

Continuing,shedirectedaservanttogoandcallP'ingErhand,onherarrival,sheadvisedladyFengandChia
Lientodoalltheycouldtoreconcileher.AtthesightofP'ingErh,ChiaLienshowedlessregardthaneverfor
thesayingthat'aprimarywifediffersfromasecondarywife,'andtheinstantheheardoldladyChia's
exhortationhedrewnearher."Theinjuries,"heremarked,"towhichyouweresubjectedyesterday,Miss,were
entirelyduetomyshortcoming.Ifyourladyhurtyourfeelings,itwaslikewiseallthroughmethatthething
began.SoIexpressmyregretbut,besidesthis,Itendermyapologiesaswellonbehalfofyourmistress."
Sayingthis,hemadeanotherbow.ThisevokedasmilefromdowagerladyChia.LadyFeng,however,also
laughed.TheiroldancestorthendesiredladyFengtocomeandconsoleP'ingErh,butP'ingErhhastily
advancedandknockedherheadbeforeladyFeng."Idodeservedeath,"sheurged,"forprovokingyourladyship
towrathonthedayofyourbirthday!"
LadyFengwasatthemomentprickedbyshameandremorseforhavingsofreelyindulgedinwinetheprevious
dayastocompletelyhavelostsightoflongstandingfriendships,andforallowinghertempertosothoroughly
flareupastolendapatienteartothegossipofoutsiders,andunjustlyputP'ingErhoutofcountenance,sowhen
shecontrariwisenowsawhermakeadvances,shefeltbothabashedandgrieved,and,promptlyextendingher
arms,shedraggedherupandgavewaytotears.
"I'vewaiteduponyourladyshipforalltheseyears,"P'ingErhpleaded,"andyou'veneversomuchasgivenmea
singlefillipandyet,youbeatmeyesterday.ButIdon'tbearyouanygrudge,mylady,foritwasthatwench,
whowasatthebottomofitall.NordoIwonderthatyourladyshiplostcontroloveryourtemper."
Asshespoke,tearstrickleddownhercheekstoo.
"Escortthosethreehome!"dowagerladyChiashoutedtotheservants."Ifanyoneofthemmakestheleast
allusiontothesubject,comeatonceandtellmeofitforwithoutanyregardastowhoitmaybe,Ishalltakemy
staffandgivehimorherasoundflogging."
ThetriothenprostratedthemselvesbeforedowagerladyChiaandthetwoladies,MesdamesHsingandWang.
Andassentingtoheroldmistress'injunctions,anoldnurseaccompaniedthethreeinmatestotheirquarters.
Whentheygothome,ladyFengassuredherselfthattherewasnooneabout."Howisit,"shenextasked,"that
I'mlikeaqueenofhell,orlikea'Yakcha'demon?Thatcourtesansworeatmeandwishedmedeadanddidyou
toohelphertocurseme?IfI'mnotniceathousanddays,why,Imustbeniceonsomeoneday!Butif,poorme,
I'msobadasnoteventocomparewithadisorderlywoman,howcanIhavethefacetocomeandspendmylife
withyouhere?"
Sospeaking,shemeltedintotears.
"Aren'tyouyetgratified?"criedChiaLien."Justreflectcarefullywhowasmosttoblameyesterday!Andyet,in
thepresenceofsomanypeople,itwasIwho,afterall,felltodayonmykneesandmadeapologiesaswell.You
cameinforplentyofcredit,anddoyounowgoonjabber,jabber?Canitbethatyou'dliketomakemekneelat
yourfeetbeforeyouletmattersrest?Ifyoutryandplaythebullybeyondbounds,itwon'tbeagoodthingfor
you!"
Tothesearguments,ladyFengcouldfindnosuitableresponse.
P'ingErhthenblurtedoutlaughing.
"She'sallrightagain!"ChiaLiensmiled."ButI'mreallyquiteatalosswhattodowiththisone."
Thesewordswerestillonhislips,whentheysawamarriedwomanwalkin."PaoErh'swifehascommitted
suicidebyhangingherself,"shesaid.

ThisannouncementplungedbothChiaLienandladyFengintogreatconsternation.LadyFeng,however,lostno
timeinputtingawayeverysignofexcitement."Dead,eh?Whatariddance!"sheshoutedinstead."What'sthe
useofmakingsuchafussaboutameretrifle?"
ButnotlongelapsedbeforesheperceivedLinChihhsiao'swifemakeherappearanceintheroom."PaoErh's
wifehashungherself,"shewhisperedtoladyFenginalowtoneofvoice,"andhermother'srelativeswantto
takelegalproceedings."
LadyFenggaveasardonicsmile."That'sallright!"sheobserved."Imyselfwasjustthinkingaboutlodginga
complaint!"
"Iandtheotherstriedtodissuadethem,"LinChihhsiao'swifecontinued."Andbyhavingrecourseto
intimidationaswellastopromisesofmoney,they,atlast,agreedtoourterms."
"Ihaven'tgotacash,"ladyFengreplied."HadIevenanymoney,Iwouldn'tletthemhaveitsojustletthemgo
andlodgeanychargetheyfancy.Youneedn'teitherdissuadethemorintimidatethem.Letthemgoand
complainasmuchastheylike.Butiftheyfailtoestablishacaseagainstme,they'll,afterall,bepunishedfor
tryingtomakethecorpsethemeansofextortingmoneyoutofme!"
LinChihhsiao'swifewasinadilemma,whensheespiedChiaLienwinkather.Comprehendinghispurpose,
shereadilyquittedtheapartmentandwaitedforhimoutside.
"I'llgooutandseewhatthey'reupto!"ChiaLienremarked.
"Mind,Iwon'thaveyougivethemanymoney!"shoutedladyFeng.
ChiaLienstraightwaymadehisexit.HecameandheldconsultationwithLinChihhsiao,andthendirectedthe
servantstogoandusesomefairmeans,othersharsh.Thematterwas,however,notbroughttoanysatisfactory
arrangementuntilheengagedtopaytwohundredtaelsforburialexpenses.ButsoapprehensivewasChiaLien
lestsomethingmightoccurtomaketherelativeschangetheirideas,thathealsodespatchedamessengertolay
theaffairbeforeWangTzut'eng,whobadeafewconstables,coronersandotherofficialservantscomeandhelp
himtoeffectthenecessarypreparationsforthefuneral.Thepartiesconcerneddidnotventure,whentheysaw
theprecautionshehadadopted,toraiseanyobjections,disposedthoughtheymayhavebeentotryandbring
forwardotherarguments.Theirsolealternativethereforewastosuppresstheirresentment,torefrainfrom
furtherimportunitiesandletthematterdropintooblivion.
ChiaLienthenimpresseduponLinChihhsiaotoinsertthetwohundredtaelsintheaccountsforthecurrent
year,bymakingsuchadditionstovariousitemshereandthereaswouldsufficetoclearthemoff,andpresented
PaoErhwithmoneyoutofhisownpocketasacrumbofcomfort,adding,"Byandbye,I'llchooseanicewife
foryou."WhenPaoErh,therefore,cameinforashareofcreditaswellasofhardcash,hecouldnotpossiblydo
otherwisethanpractisecontentmentandforthwith,needlesstodilateonthistopic,hebegantopaycourtto
ChiaLienasmuchasever.
Intheinnerrooms,ladyFengwas,itistrue,muchcutupatheartbutshestrainedeverynervetopreservean
exterioroftotalindifference.Noticingthattherewasnoonepresentintheapartment,shedrewP'ingErhtoher.
"Idrankyesterday,"shesmiled,"alittlemorewinethanwasgoodforme,sodon'tbearmeagrudge.Wheredid
Istrikeyou,letmesee?"
"Youdidn'treallystrikemehard!"P'ingErhsaidbywayofreply.
Butatthisstagetheyheardsomeoneremarkthattheladiesandyoungladieshadcomein.
Ifyoudesire,reader,toknowanyofthesubsequentcircumstances,perusetheaccountgiveninthefollowing
chapter.

CHAPTERXLV.
Friendsinterchangewordsoffriendship.
Taiyfeelsdullonawindyandrainyevening,andinditesverseson
windandrain.
LadyFeng,wewillnowgoontoexplain,wasengagedincomfortingP'ingErh,whenuponunawares
perceivingtheyoungladiesentertheroom,shehastenedtomakethemsitdownwhileP'ingErhpouredthetea.
"Somanyofyoucometoday,"ladyFengsmiled,"thatitlooksasifyou'dbeenaskedtocomebyinvitation."
T'anCh'unwasthefirsttospeak."Wehave,"shesmilinglyrejoined,"twoobjectsinview,theoneconcernsme
theothercousinQuartabutamongtheseare,besides,certainthingssaidbyourvenerablesenior."
"What'sup?"inquiredladyFengwithalaugh."Isitsourgent?"
"Sometimeago,"T'anCh'unproceededlaughingly,"westartedarhymingclubbutthefirstmeetingwasnot
quiteasuccess.Everyoneofusprovedsosofthearted!Therulesthereforeweresetatnaught.SoIcan'thelp
thinkingthatwemustenlistyourservicesaspresidentofthesocietyandsuperintendentforwhatisneededto
makethethingturnoutwellisfirmnessandnofavour.Thenextmatteris:cousinQuartaexplainedtoour
worthyancestorthattherequisitesforpaintingthepictureofthegardenwereshortofonethingandanother,and
shesaid:'thattheremuststillbe,'shefancied,'inthelowerstoryofthebackloftsomearticles,remainingover
frompreviousyears,andthatweshouldgoandlookforthem.Thatiftherebeany,theyshouldbetakenout,but
thatintheeventoftheirbeingnone,someoneshouldbecommissionedtogoandpurchaseasupplyofthem.'"
"I'mnotuptodoinganythingwetordry,(playonword'shih,'verses),"ladyFenglaughed,"andwouldyouhave
me,pray,comeandgorge?"
"Youmay,it'spossible,notbeuptoanyofthesethings,"T'anCh'unreplied,"butwedon'texpectyoutodo
anything!Allwewantyouforistoseewhethertherebeamongusanyremissorlazy,andtodecidehowthey
shouldbepunished,that'sall."
"Youshouldn'ttryandplayyourtricksuponme!"ladyFengsmiled,"Icanseethroughyourlittlegame!Isit
thatyouwishmetoactaspresidentandsuperintendent?No!it'sasclearasdaythatyourobjectisthatIshould
playthepartofthatcoppermerchant,whoputincontributionsinhardcash.Youhave,ateverymeetingyou
hold,toeachtaketurnandpaythepiperbut,asyourfundsarenotsufficient,you'veinventedthisplantocome
andinveiglemeintoyourclub,inordertowheedlemoneyoutofme!Thismustbeyourlittleconspiracy!"
Thesewordsevokedgenerallaughter."You'veguessedright!"theyexclaimed.
"Inverytruth,"LiWansmiled,"you'reacreaturewithanintellectastransparentascrystal,andwithwitsas
clearasglass!"
"You'vegotthegoodfortuneofbeingtheireldersisterinlaw,"ladyFengsmilinglyremarked,"sotheyoung
ladiesaskedyoutotaketheminhand,andteachthemhowtoread,andmakethemlearngoodmannersand
needleworkandit'sforyoutoguideanddirectthemineverything!Butheretheystartarhymingsociety,for
whichnotmuchcanbeneeded,anddon'tyouconcernyourselfaboutthem?We'llleaveourworthyancestorand
ourMadameWangasidetheyareoldpeople,butyoureceiveeachmoonanallowanceoftentaels,whichis
twiceasmuchaswhatanyoneofusgets.More,ourworthyancestorandMadameWangmaintainthatbeinga
widow,andhavinglostyourhome,youhaven't,poorthing,enoughtoliveupon,andthatyouhaveayoung
childaswelltobringupsotheyaddedwithextremeliberalityanothertentaelstoyouroriginalshare.Your
allowancethereforeisonaparwiththatofourdearsenior.Buttheylikewisegaveyouapieceoflandinthe
garden,andyoualsocomeinforthelion'sshareofrents,collectedfromvariousquarters,andoftheannual
allowances,apportionedatthecloseofeachyear.Yet,youandyoursondon'tmuster,mastersandservants,ten

personsinall.Whatyoueatandwhatyourwearcomes,justasever,outofthegeneralpublicfund,sothat,
computingeverythingtogether,yougetasmuchasfourtofivehundredtaels.Wereyouthentocontributeeach
yearahundredortwohundredtaels,tohelpthemtohavesomefun,howmanyyearscouldthisoutlaycontinue?
They'llverysoonbegettingmarried,and,aretheylikelythentostillexpectyoutomakeanycontributions?So
lothareyou,however,atpresenttoforkoutanycashthatyou'veeggedthemontocomeandworryme!I'm
quitepreparedtospendawayuntilwe'vedrainedourchestdry!Don'tIknowthatthemoneyisn'tmine?"
"Justyoulistentoher,"LiWanlaughed."Isimplymadeonesingleremark,andoutshecamewithtwocartloads
ofnonsensicaltrash!You'reasroughadiamondasalegmadeofclay!Allyou'regoodforistoworkthesmall
abacus,todivideacattyandtofractionanounce,sofinickingareyou!Anicethingyouare,andyet,you've
beenluckyenoughtocometolifeasthechildofafamilyoflearnedandhighofficials.You'vealsomadesucha
splendidmatchanddoyoustillbehaveinthewayyoudo?Hadyoubeenasonordaughterborninsome
povertystricken,humbleandlowhousehold,there'snosayingwhatameanthingyouwouldn'thavebeen!
EveryoneinthisworldhasbeengulledbyyouandyesterdayyouwentsofarastostrikeP'ingErh!Butit
wasn'ttheproperthingforyoutostretchoutyourhandonher!Wasallthatliquor,forsooth,poureddownacur's
stomach?Mymonkeywasup,andImeanttohavetakenuponmyselftoavengeP'ingErh'sgrievancebut,after
matureconsideration,Ithoughttomyself,'herbirthdayisasslowtocomeroundasadog'stailgrowstoapoint.'
IalsofearedlestourvenerableseniormightbemadetofeelunhappysoIdidnotcomeforward.Anyhow,my
resentmentisn'tyetspentanddoyoucometodaytotryandirritateme?Youaren'tfittoevenpickupshoesfor
P'ingErh!Youtwoshouldthereforechangeyourrespectiveplaces!"
Thesetauntscreatedmerrimentamongthewholeparty.
"Oh!"hastilyexclaimedladyFeng,laughingly,"Iknoweverything!Youdon'tatallcometolookmeupon
accountofversesorpaintings,butsimplytotakerevengeonP'ingErh'sbehalf!IneverhadanyideathatP'ing
Erhhadsuchabackerasyourselftobolsterherup!HadIknownit,Iwouldn'thaveventuredtostrikeher,even
thoughaspirithadbeentuggingmyarm!MissP'ingcomeoverandletmetendermyapologiestoyou,inthe
presenceofyourseniorladyandtheyoungladies.Dobearwithmeforhavingprovedsoutterlywantingin
virtue,afterIhadhadafewdrinks!"
Everyonefeltamusedbyherinsinuations.
"Whatdoyousay?"LiWanaskedP'ingErhsmiling."Asforme,Ithinkitmyboundendutytovindicateyour
wrongs,beforeweletthematterdrop!"
"Yourremarks,ladies,maybespokeninjest,"P'ingErhsmiled,"butIamnotworthyofsuchafuss!"
"Whataboutworthyandunworthy?"LiWanobserved."I'mhereforyou!Quick,getthekey,andletyour
mistressgoandopenthedoorsandhuntupthethings!"
"Dearsisterinlaw,"ladyFengsaidwithasmile,"you'dbettergoalongwiththemintothegarden.I'maboutto
takethericeaccountsinhandandsquarethemupwiththem.Ourseniorlady,MadameHsing,hasalsosent
someonetocallmewhatshewantstotellmeagain,Ican'tmakeoutbutImustneedgooverforaturn.There
are,besides,allthoseextraclothesforyoupeopletowearattheendoftheyear,andImustgetthemreadyand
givethemtobemade!"
"Thesemattersarenoneofmybusiness!"LiWanlaughinglyanswered."Firstsettlemyconcernssoastoenable
metoretiretorest,andescapethebotherofhavingallthesegirlsatme!"
"Dearsisterinlaw,"vehementlysmiledladyFeng,"begoodenoughtogivemealittletime!You'veeverbeen
theonetolovemebest,andhowisitthatyouhave,onP'ingErh'saccount,ceasedtocareforme?Timeand
againhaveyouimpressedonmymindthatIshould,despitemymanifoldduties,takegoodcareofmyhealth,
andmanagethingsinsuchawayastofindalittleleisureforrest,anddoyounowcontrariwisecometopress
theverylifeoutofme?There'sanotherthingbesides.Shouldsuchclothesaswillberequiredattheendofthe
yearbyanyotherpersonsbedelayed,itwon'tmatterbut,shouldthoseoftheyoungladiesbebehindtime,let

theresponsibilityrestuponyourshoulders!Andwon'touroldladybearyouagrudge,ifyoudon'tmindthese
smallthings?Butasforme,Iwon'tutterasinglewordagainstyou,for,asIhadratherbeartheblamemyself,I
won'tventure,toinvolveyou!"
"Listentoher!"LiWansmiled."Hasn'tshegotthegiftofthegab?Butletmeaskyou.Willyou,afterall,
assumethecontrolofthisrhymingsocietyornot?"
"What'sthisnonsenseyou'retalking?"ladyFenglaughed."WereInottoenterthesociety,andspendalittle
money,won'tIbetreatedasarebelinthisgardenofBroadVista?AndwillIthenstillthinkoftarryinghereto
eatmyheadoff?Sosoonasthedaydawnstomorrow,I'llarriveatmypost,dismountfrommyhorse,and,after
kneelingbeforetheseals,myfirstactwillbetogivefiftytaelsforyoutoquietlycovertheexpensesofyour
meetings.Yetafterafewdays,Ishallneitherinditeanyverses,norwriteanycompositions,asIamsimplya
rusticboor,nothingmore!ButitwillbejustthesamewhetherIassumethedirectionornotforafteryoupocket
mymoney,there'snofearofyournotdrivingmeoutoftheplace!"
Asthesewordsdroppedfromherlips,oneandalllaughedagain.
"I'llnowopentheloft,"proceededladyFeng."Shouldtherebeanyofthearticlesyouwant,youcantellthe
servantstobringthemoutforyoutolookatthem!Ifanywillserveyourpurpose,keepthemandusethem.If
anybeshort,I'llbidaservantgoandpurchasethemaccordingtoyourlist.I'llgoatonceandcutthesatinforthe
painting.Asfortheplan,itisn'twithMadameWangit'sstilloverthere,atMr.ChiaChen's.Itellyouallthisso
thatyoushouldavoidgoingovertoMadameWang'sandgettingintotrouble!ButI'llgoanddeputesomeoneto
fetchit.I'lldirectalsoaservanttotakethesatinandgiveittothegentlementosizewithalumwillthisbeall
right?"
LiWannoddedherheadbywayofassentandsmiled."Thiswillbeputtingyoutomuchtroubleand
inconvenience,"shesaid."Butwemustreallyactasyousuggest.Wellinthatcase,gohomeallofyou,and,if
afteratime,shedoesn'tsendthethinground,youcancomeagainandbullyher."
Sosaying,shethereandthenledofftheyoungladies,andwasmakingherwayout,whenladyFengexclaimed:
"It'sPaoyandhealone,whohasgivenrisetoallthisfuss."
LiWanoverheardherremarkandhastilyturnedherselfround."Wedid,infact,comeover,"shesmiled,"on
accountofPaoy,andweforgot,insteadallabouthim!Thefirstmeetingwasdeferredthroughhimbutweare
toosofthearted,sotelluswhatpenaltytoinflictonhim!"
LadyFenggaveherselftoreflection."There'sonlyonethingtodo,"shethenremarked."Justpunishhimby
makinghimsweepthefloorofeachofyourrooms.Thiswilldo!"
"Yourverdictisfaultless!"theylaughedwithoneaccord.
Whiletheyconversedtheywereonthepointofstartingontheirwayback,whentheycaughtsightofayoung
maidwalkin,supportingnurseLai.LadyFengandhercompanionsimmediatelyrosetotheirfeet,theirfaces
beamingwithsmiles."Venerablemother!"theysaid,"dotakeaseat!"Theytheninabodypresentedtheir
congratulationstoher.
NurseLaiseatedherselfontheedgeofthestovecouchandreturnedtheirsmiles."I'mtobecongratulated,"she
rejoined,"butyou,mistresses,aretobecongratulatedaswellforhadithadnotbeenforthebountifulgrace
displacedbyyou,mistresses,whencewouldthisjoyofminehavecome?YourladyshipsentTs'aiKoagain
yesterdaytobringmepresents,butmygrandsonkotowedatthedoor,withhisfaceturnedtowardstheupper
quarters."
"Whenishegoingtohispost?"LiWaninquired,withasmile.

NurseLaiheavedasigh."HowcanIinterferewiththem?"sheanswered."Why,Iletthemhavetheirownway
andstartwhentheylike!Theotherday,theywereatmyhouse,andtheyprostratedthemselvesbeforemebutI
couldfindnocomplimentaryremarktomaketohim,so,'Sir!'Isaid,'puttingasidethatyou'reanofficial,you've
livedinarecklessanddissoluteway,fornowthirtyyears.Youshould,it'strue,havebeenpeople'sbondservant,
butfromthemomentyoucameoutofyourmother'swomb,yourmastergraciouslyaccordedyouyourliberty.
Thanks,above,totheboundlessblessingsshowereduponyoubyyourlord,and,below,tothefavourofyour
fatherandmother,you'relikeanoblescionandagentleman,abletoreadandtowriteandyouhavebeen
carriedaboutbymaids,oldmatrons,andnurses,justasifyouhadbeenaveryphoenix!Butnowthatyou've
grownupandreachedthisage,doyouhavethefaintestnotionofwhatthetwowords'bondservant'imply?All
youthinkofistoenjoyyourbenefits.Butwhathardshipsyourgrandfatherandfatherhadtobear,inslaving
awayfortwoorthreegenerations,beforetheysucceeded,aftereversomanyupsanddowns,inraisingupa
thinglikeyou,youdon'tatallknow!Fromyourveryinfancy,youeverailedfromthis,orsickenedforthat,so
thatthemoneythatwasexpendedonyourbehalf,wouldsufficetofuseintoalifelikesilverimageofyou!At
theageoftwenty,youagainreceivedthebountyofyourmasterintheshapeofapromisetopurchaseofficial
statusforyou.Butjustmark,howmanyinmatesoftheprincipalbranchandmainoffspringhavetoendure
privation,andsufferthepangsofhunger!Sobewareyou,whoaretheoffshootofabondservant,lestyousnap
yourhappiness!Afterenjoyingsomanygoodthingsforadecade,bythehelpofwhatspirits,andtheagencyof
whatdevilshaveyou,Iwonder,managedtososuccessfullyentreatyourmasterastoinducehimtobringyouto
theforeagainandselectyouforoffice?Magistratesmaybeminorofficials,buttheirfunctionsarenonetheless
onerous.Inwhateverdistricttheyobtainapost,theybecomethefatherandmotherofthatparticularlocality.If
youthereforedon'tmindyourbusiness,andlookafteryourdutiesinsuchawayastoacquityourselfofyour
loyalobligations,toproveyourgratitudetothestateandtoshowobedienceandreverencetoyourlord,heaven,
Ifear,willnotevenbearwithyou!'"
LiWanandladyFenglaughed."You'retoofullofmisgivings!"theyobserved."Fromwhatwecanseeofhim,
he'sallright!Someyearsback,hepaidusavisitortwobutit'smanyyearsnowthathehasn'tputhisfoothere.
Atthecloseofeachyear,andonbirthdays,we'vesimplyseenhisnamebroughtin,that'sall.Theotherday,that
hecametoknockhisheadbeforeourvenerableseniorandMadameWang,wecaughtsightofhiminher
courtyardyonderand,gotupintheuniformofhisnewoffice,helookedsodignified,andstoutertoothan
before.Nowthathehasgotthispost,youshouldbequitehappyinsteadofthatyouworryandfretaboutthis
andthat!Ifhedoesgetbad,why,hehashisfatherandmotheryettotakecareofhim,soallyouneeddoistobe
cheerfulandcontent!Whenyou'vegottimetospare,dogetintoachairandcomeinandhaveagameofcards
andachatwithourworthyseniorandwhoeverwillhavethefacetohurtyourfeelings?Why,wereyougoto
yourhome,you'dalsohavetherehousesandhalls,andwhoistherewhowouldnotholdyouinhighrespect?
You'recertainly,whatonewouldcall,avenerableolddame!"
P'ingErhpouredacupofteaandbroughtittoher.NurseLaispeedilystoodup."Youcouldhaveaskedanygirl
todothisformeitwouldn'thavemattered!ButhereI'mtroublingyouagain!"
Apologising,sheresumed,sippingherteathewhile:"Myladyyou'renotawarethatyounggirlsofthisagemust
beineverythingkeptstrictlyinhand.Intheeventofanylicense,they'resuretofindtimetokickuptrouble,and
annoytheirelders.Those,whoknow(howwelltheyaresupervised),willthensaythatchildrenarealwaysupto
mischief.Butthose,whodon't,willmaintainthattheytakeadvantageoftheirwealthypositiontodespise
peopletothedetrimentaswelloftheirmistresses'reputation.HowIregretthatthere'snothingthatIcando
withhim.Timeaftertime,haveIhadtosendforhisfatherandhehasbeenthebetter,afterascoldingfrom
him."PointingatPaoy,"Idon'tmindwhetheryoufeelangrywithmeforwhatI'mgoingtosay,"she
proceeded,"butifyourfatherweretoattemptnowtoexerciseeversolittlecontroloveryou,yourvenerable
grandmotherissuretotryandscreenyou.Yet,whenindaysgonebyyourworthyfatherwasyoung,heusedto
bebeatenbyyourgrandfather.Whohasn'tseenhimdoit?Butdidyourfather,inhisyouthresembleyou,who
haveneitherfearforGodorman?Therewasalsoourseniormaster,ontheotherside,Mr.ChiaShe.Hewas,I
admit,wildbutneversuchacrossgrainedfellowasyourselfandyethetoohadhisdailydoseofthewhip.
TherewasbesidesthefatherofyoureldercousinChen,oftheeasternmansion.Hehadadispositionthatflared
uplikeafireoverwhichoilispoured.Ifanythingwassaid,andheflewintoarage,why,talkaboutason,itwas
reallyasifhetorturedarobber.FromallIcannowseeandhear,Mr.Chenkeepshissonincheckjustasmuch

aswasthecustominolddaysamonghisancestorstheonlythingisthatheabidesbyitinsomerespects,but
notinothers.Besides,hedoesn'texercisetheleastrestraintoverhisownself,soisittobewonderedatifallhis
cousinsandniecesdon'trespecthim?Ifyou'vegotanysenseaboutyou,you'llonlybetoogladthatIspeakto
youinthiswisebutifyouhaven't,youmayn'tbeverywellabletosayanythingopenlytome,butyou'll
inwardlyabuseme,whoknowstowhatextent!"
Asshereprovedhim,theysawLaiTa'swifearrive.InclosesuccessioncameChouJui'swifealongwithChang
Ts'ai'swifetoreportvariousmatters.
"Awife,"laughedladyFeng,"hascometofetchhermotherinlaw!"
"Ihaven'tcometofetchourolddame,"LaiTa'swifesmilinglyrejoined,"buttoinquirewhetheryou,mylady
andtheyoungladies,willconferuponusthehonourofyourcompany?"
WhennurseLaicaughtthisremark,shesmiled."I'vereallygrownquiteidiotic!""What,"sheexclaimed,"was
rightandproperformetosay,Ididn'tsay,butIwentontalkinginsteadalotofrotandrubbish!Asourrelatives
andfriendsarepresentingtheircongratulationstoourgrandsonforhavingbeenselectedtofillupthatofficeof
his,wefindourselvesunderthenecessityofgivingabanquetathome.ButIwasthinkingthatitwouldn'tdo,if
wekeptafeastgoingthewholeday,andweinvitedthisone,andnotthatone.Reflectingalsothatitwasthanks
toourmaster'svastbountythatwe'vecomeinforthisunforeseengloryandsplendour,Ifeltquiteagreeableto
doanything,eventhoughitmayentailthecollapseofourhousehold.Ithereforeadvisedhisfathertogive
banquetsonthreeconsecutivedays.Thatheshould,onthefirst,putupseveraltables,andastageinourmean
garden,andinviteyourvenerabledowagerlady,theseniorladies,juniorladies,andyoungladiestocomeand
havesomedistractionduringtheday,andthatheshouldhaveseveraltableslaidonthestageinthemain
pavilionoutside,andrequesttheseniorandjuniorgentlementoconferuponusthelustreoftheirpresence.That
forthesecondday,weshouldaskourrelativesandfriendsandthatforthethird,weshouldinviteour
companionsfromthetwomansions.Inthisway,we'llhavethreedays'excitement,and,bytheboundlessfavour
ofourmaster,we'llhavethebenefitofenjoyingthehonourofyoursociety."
"Whenisittobe?"LiWanandladyFenginquired,smilingly."Asfarasweareconcerned,we'llfeelitourduty
tocome.Andwehopethatourworthyseniormayfeelinthehumourtogo.Butthere'snosayingforcertain!"
"Thedaychosenisthefourteenth,"LaiTa'swifeeagerlyreplied."Justcomeforthesakeofouroldmotherin
law!"
"Ican'ttellabouttheothers,"ladyFengexplainedwithalaugh,"butasformeIshallpositivelycome.Imust
howevertellyoubeforehandthatI'venocongratulatorypresentstogiveyou.NordoIknowanythingabouttips
toplayersorothers.AssoonasIshallhavedoneeating,Ishallbolt,sodon'tlaughatme."
"Fiddlesticks!"LaiTa'swifelaughed."Wereyourladyshipdisposed,youcouldwellaffordtogiveustwenty
andthirtythousandtaels."
"I'moffnowtoinviteourvenerablemistress,"nurseLaismilinglyremarked."Andifherladyshipalsoagreesto
come,Ishalldeemitagreaterhonourthaneverconferreduponme."
Havingsaidthis,shewentontoissuesomeinjunctionsafterwhich,shegotuptogo,whenthesightofChou
Jui'swiferemindedherofsomething.
"Ofcourse!"sheconsequentlyobserved."I'vegotonemorequestiontoaskyou,mylady.Whatdidsisterinlaw
Chou'ssondotoincurblame,thathewaspackedoff,andhisservicesdispensedwith?"
"Iwasjustabouttotellyourdaughterinlaw,"ladyFengansweredsmilingly,afterlisteningtoherquestion,"but
withsomanythingstopreoccupyme,itslippedfrommymemory!Whenyougethome,sisterinlawLai,
explaintothatoldhusbandofyoursthatwewon'thavehis,(ChouJui's),sonkeptineitherofthemansionsand
thathecantellhimtogoabouthisownbusiness!"

LaiTa'swifehadnooptionbuttoexpressheracquiescence.ChouJui'swifehoweverspeedilyfellonherknees
andgavewaytourgententreaties.
"Whatisitallabout?"nurseLaishouted."Tellmeandletmedeterminetherightandwrongofthequestion."
"Theotherday,"ladyFengobserved,"thatmybirthdaywascelebrated,thatyoungfellowofhisgotdrunk,
beforethewineeverwentroundandwhentheolddame,overthere,sentpresents,hedidn'tgooutsidetogivea
helpinghand,butsquatteddown,instead,andupbraidedpeople.Eventhepresentshewouldn'tcarryinside.And
itwasonlyafterthetwogirlshadcomeindoorsthatheeventuallygottheservantladsandbroughtthemin.
Thoseladswerehowevercarefulenoughinwhattheydid,butasforhim,heletthebox,heheld,slipfromhis
hands,andbestrewedthewholecourtyardwithcakes.Wheneveryonehadleft,IdeputedTs'aiMingtogoand
talktohimbuthethenturnedroundandgaveTs'aiMingaregularscolding.Sowhat'stheuseofnotbundling
offadisorderlyrascallikehim,whoneithershowsanyregardfordisciplineorheaven?"
"Iwaswonderingwhatitcouldbe!"nurseLaiventured."Wasitreallyaboutthis?Mylady,listentome!Ifhe
hasdoneanythingwrong,thrashhimandscoldhim,untilyoumakehimmendhisways,andfinishwithit!But
todrivehimoutoftheplace,willnever,byanymannerofmeans,do.Heisn't,besides,tobetreatedlikeachild
borninourhousehold.HeisatpresentemployedasMadameWang'sattendant,soifyoucarryoutyourpurpose
ofexpellinghim,herladyship'sfacewillbeputtotheblush.Myideaisthatyoushould,mylady,givehima
lessonbylettinghimhaveseveralwhackswithacanesoastoinducehimtoabstainfromwineinthefuture.If
youthenretainhiminyourserviceashithertohe'llbeallright!Ifyoudon'tdoitforhismother'ssakedoitat
leastforthatofMadameWang!"
Afterlendinganeartoherarguments,ladyFengaddressedherselftoLaiTa'swife."Well,inthatcase,"shesaid,
"callhimovertomorrowandgivehimfortyblowsanddon'tlethimafterthistouchanymorewine!"
LaiTa'swifepromisedtoexecuteherdirections.ChouJui'swifethenkotowedandrosetoherfeet.Butshealso
persisteduponprostratingherselfbeforenurseLaiandonlydesistedwhenLaiTa'swifepulledherup.But
presentlythetriotooktheirdeparture,andLiWanandhercompanionsspedbackintothegarden.
Wheneveningcame,ladyFengactuallybadetheservantsgoandlook(intotheloft),andwhentheydiscovered
alotofpaintingmaterials,whichhadbeenputawaylongago,theybroughtthemintothegarden.Paoch'aiand
herfriendsthenselectedsuchastheydeemedsuitable.Butastheyonlyhadasyethalfthenecessariesthey
required,theydrewoutalistoftheotherhalfandsentittoladyFeng,who,needlessforustoparticularise,had
thedifferentarticlespurchased,accordingtothespecimenssupplied.
Byacertainday,thesilkhadbeensizedoutside,aroughsketchdrawn,andbothreturnedintothegarden.Pao
ythereforewasdayafterdaytobefoundoveratHsiCh'un's,doinghisbesttohelpherinherhardwork.But
T'anCh'un,LiWan,YingCh'un,Paoch'aiandtheothergirlslikewisecongregatedinherquarters,andsatwith
herwhentheywereatleisure,astheycould,inthefirstplace,watchtheprogressofthepainting,andas
secondlytheywereabletoconvenientlyseesomethingofeachother.
WhenPaoch'aiperceivedhowcoolandpleasanttheweatherwasgetting,andhowthenightswerebeginning
againtograduallydrawout,shecameandfoundhermother,andconsultedwithher,untiltheygotsome
needleworkready.Ofaday,shewouldcrossovertothequartersofdowagerladyChiaandMadameWang,and
twicepayhersalutations,but,shecouldnothelpaswellamusingthemandsittingwiththemtokeepthem
company.Whenfree,shewouldcomeandseehercousinsinthegarden,andhave,atoddtimes,achatwith
them,sohaving,duringdaylightnoleisuretospeakof,shewaswont,ofanight,toplyherneedlebylamplight,
andonlyretiretosleepafterthethirdwatchhadcomeandgone.
AsforTaiy,shehad,asamatterofcourse,arelapseofhercomplaintregularlyeveryyear,soonafterthe
springequinoxandautumnsolstice.Butshehad,duringthelastautumn,alsofoundhergrandmotherChiain
suchbuoyantspirits,thatshehadwalkedalittletoomuchontwodistinctoccasions,andnaturallyfatigued
herselfmorethanwasgoodforher.Recently,too,shehadbeguntocoughandtofeelheavierthanshehaddone
atordinarytimes,sosheneverbyanychanceputherfootoutofdoors,butremainedathomeandlookedafter

herhealth.Whenattimes,dullnesscreptoverher,shelongedforhercousinstocomeandchatwithherand
dispelherdespondentfeelings.ButwheneverPaoch'aioranyofhercousinspaidheravisit,shebarelyuttered
halfadozen,words,beforeshefeltquiteaversetoanysociety.Yetoneandallmadeeveryallowanceforher
illness.Andasshehadeverbeeninpoorhealthandnotstrongenoughtoresistanyannoyance,theydidnotfind
theleastfaultwithher,despiteevenanylackofproprietysheshowedinplayingthehostesswiththem,orany
remissnessonherpartinobservingtheprescribedrulesofetiquette.
Paoch'aicame,onthisoccasiontocallonher.Theconversationstartedonthesymptomsofherailment."The
variousdoctors,whovisitthisplace,"Paoch'aiconsequentlyremarked,"may,it'strue,beallveryable
practitionersbutyoutaketheirmedicinesanddon'treaptheleastbenefit!Wouldn'titbeaswellthereforetoask
someotherpersonofnotetocomeandseeyou?Andcouldhesucceedingettingyouallright,wouldn'titbe
nice?Hereyouyearbyyearailawaythroughoutthewholelengthofspringandsummerbutyou'reneitherso
oldnorsoyoung,sowhatwillbetheendofit?Besides,itcan'tgoonforever."
"It'snouse,"Taiyrejoined."Iknowwellenoughthatthere'snocureforthiscomplaintofmine!Nottospeak
ofwhenI'munwell,whyevenwhenI'mnot,mystateissuchthatonecanseeverywellthatthere'snohope!"
Paoch'aishookherhead."Quiteso!"sheventured."Anoldwritersays:'Thosewhoeat,live.'Butwhatyou've
allalongeatenhasn'tbeenenoughtostrengthenyourenergiesandphysique.Thisisn'tagoodthing!"
Taiyheavedasigh."WhetherI'mtoliveordieisalldestiny!"shesaid."Richesandhonoursareinthehands
ofheavenandhumanstrengthcannotsufficetoforciblygeteventhem!Butmycomplaintthisyearseemstobe
farworsethaninpastyears,insteadofanybetter."
Whiledeploringherlot,shecoughedtwoorthreetimes."Itstruckme,"Paoch'aisaid,"thatinthatprescription
ofyoursIsawyesterdaytherewasfartoomuchginsengandcinnamon.Theyaresplendidtonics,ofcourse,but
toomanyheatingthingsarenotgood.Ithinkthatthefirsturgentthingtodoistoeasetheliverandgivetoneto
thestomach.Whenoncethefireintheliverisreduced,itwillnotbeabletoovercomethestomachand,when
oncethedigestiveorgansarefreeofailment,drinkandfoodwillbeabletogivenutrimenttothehumanframe.
Assoonasyougetoutofbed,everymorning,takeoneounceofbirds'nests,ofsuperiorquality,andfivemace
ofsugarcandyandpreparecongeewiththeminasilverkettle.Whenonceyougetintothewayoftakingthis
decoction,you'llfinditfarmoreefficaciousthanmedicinesforitpossessesthehighestvirtueforinvigorating
thevaginaandbracingupthephysique."
"You'vecertainlyalwaystreatedpeoplewithextremeconsideration,"sighedTaiy,"butsuchasupremely
suspiciouspersonamIthatIimaginedthatyouinwardlyconcealedsomeevildesign!Yeteversincethedayon
whichyourepresentedtomehowunwholesomeitwastoreadobscenebooks,andyougavemeallthatgood
advice,I'vefeltmostgratefultoyou!I'vehitherto,infact,beenmistakeninmyopinionandthetruthofthe
matteristhatIremainedunderthismisconceptionuptotheverypresent.Butyoumustcarefullyconsiderthat
whenmymotherdied,Ihadn'tevenanysistersorbrothersandthatuptothismyfifteenthyeartherehasnever
beenasinglepersontoadmonishmeasyoudidtheotherday.LittlewonderisitifthatgirlYnspeakswellof
you!Whenever,informerdays,Iheardherheappraiseuponyou,Ifeltuneasyinmymind,but,aftermy
experiencesofyesterday,Iseehowrightshewas.Whenyou,forinstance,begantotellmeallthosethings,I
didn'tforgiveyouatthetime,but,withoutworryingyourselfintheleastaboutityouwenton,contrariwise,to
tendermetheadviceyoudid.ThismakesitevidentthatIhavelabouredunderamistakenidea!HadInotmade
thisdiscoverytheotherday,Iwouldn'tbespeakinglikethistoyourveryfacetoday.Youtoldmeafewminutes
backtotakebird'snestcongeebutbirds'nestsare,Iadmit,easilyprocuredyetallonaccountofmysickly
constitutionandoftherelapsesIhaveeveryyearofthiscomplaintofmine,whichamountstonothing,doctors
havehadtobesentfor,medicines,withginsengandcinnamon,havehadtobeconcocted,andI'vegivenalready
suchtroubleastoturnheavenandearthtopsyturveysowereInowtostartagainanewfad,byhavingsome
birds'nestscongeeorotherprepared,ourworthysenior,MadameWang,andladyFeng,will,allthreeofthem,
havenoobjectiontoraisebutthatposseofmatronsandmaidsbelowwillunavoidablydespisemeformy
excessivefussiness!Justnoticehoweveryoneinhereogleswildlyliketigerstheirpreyandstealthilysaysone
thingandanother,simplybecausetheyseehowfondourworthyancestorisofbothPaoyandladyFeng,and
howmuchmorewon'ttheydothesethingswithme?What'smore,I'mnotapuckermistress.I'vereallycome

hereasamererefugee,forIhadnoonetosustainmeandnoonetodependupon.Theyalreadybearme
considerabledislikesomuchso,thatI'mstillquiteatalosswhetherIshouldstayorgoandwhyshouldImake
themheapexecrationsuponme?"
"Well,inthatcase,"Paoch'aiobserved,"I'mtoointhesameplightasyourself!"
"Howcanyoucompareyourselfwithme?"Taiyexclaimed."Youhaveamotherandabrotheraswell!You've
alsogotsomebusinessandlandinhere,and,athome,youcancallhouses'andfieldsyourown.It'sonly
thereforethetiesofrelationship,whichmakeyoustayhereatall.Neitherareyouinanythingwhetherlargeor
small,intheirdebtforonesinglecashorevenhalfaoneandwhenyouwanttogo,you'reatlibertytogo.ButI,
havenothingwhateverthatIcancallmyown.Yet,inwhatIeat,wear,anduse,Iam,ineverytrifle,entirelyon
thesamefootingastheyoungladiesintheirhousehold,sohowevercanthatmeanlotnotdespisemeoutand
out?"
"Theonlyextraexpensethey'llhavetogotobyandbye,"Paoch'ailaughed,"willbetogetonemoretrousseau,
that'sall.Andforthepresent,it'stoosoonyettoworryyourselfaboutthat!"
Atthisinsinuation,Taiyunconsciouslyblushedscarlet."Onetreatsyou,"shesmiled,"asadecentsortof
person,andconfidesinyouthewoesofone'sheart,and,insteadofsympathisingwithme,youmakemethe
meansofraisingalaugh!"
"AlbeitIraisealaughatyourexpense,"Paoch'airejoined,asmilecurlingherlips,"whatIsayisnonetheless
true!Butcomposeyourmind!I'lltryeverydaythatI'mheretocheeryouupsocometomewithevery
grievanceortrouble,forIshall,needlesstosay,dispelthosethatarewithinmypower.NotwithstandingthatI
haveabrother,youyourselfknowwellenoughwhathe'slike!AllIhaveisamother,soI'mjustatriflebetter
offthanyou!Wecanthereforewelllookuponourselvesasbeinginthesameboat,andsympathisewitheach
other.Youhave,besides,plentyofwitsaboutyou,sowhyneedyougivewaytogroans,asdidSsuManiu?
Whatyousaidjustnowisquiterightbut,youshouldworryandfretaboutaslittleandnotasmuchasyoucan.
Onmyreturnhome,tomorrow,I'lltellmymotherand,asIthinktheremustbestillsomebirds'nestsinour
house,we'llsendyouseveralouncesofthem.Youcanthentelltheservantmaidstopreparesomeforyouat
whatevertimeyouwanteverydayandyou'llthusbesuitingyourownconvenienceandbegivingnotroubleor
annoyancetoanyone."
"Thethingsare,ofthemselves,oflittleaccount,"eagerlyrespondedTaiylaughingly."What'sdifficulttofind
isonewithasmuchfeelingasyourself."
"What'sthereinthisworthspeakingabout?"Paoch'aisaid."WhatgrievesmeisthatIfailtobeasniceasI
shouldbewiththoseIcomeacross.But,Ipresume,youfeelquitedoneupnow,soI'llbeoff!"
"Comeintheeveningagain,"Taiypressedher,"andhaveachatwithme."
Whileassuringherthatshewouldcome,Paoch'aiwalkedout,soletusleaveheraloneforthepresent.
Taiy,meanwhile,drankafewsipsofthincongee,andthenoncemorelayherselfdownonherbed.Butbefore
thesunset,theweatherunexpectedlychanged,andafinedrizzlingrainsetin.Sogentlycometheautumn
showersthatdullandfinearesubjecttouncertainalternations.Theshadesoftwilightgraduallyfellonthis
occasion.Theheavenstoogotsoovercastastolookdeepblack.Besidestheeffectofthischangeonhermind,
thepatteroftherainonthebambootopsintensifiedherdespondency,and,concludingthatPaoch'aiwouldbe
deterredfromcoming,shetookup,inthelamplight,thefirstbookwithinherreach,whichturnedouttobethe
'TreasuryofMiscellaneousLyrics.'Findingamongthese'thePiningsofamaideninautumn,''theAnguishof
Separation,'andothersimilarpoems,Taiyfeltunawaresmuchaffectedand,unabletorestrainherselffrom
givingventtoherfeelingsinwriting,she,thereandthen,improvisedthefollowingstanza,inthesamestrainas
theoneonseparationcomplyingwiththerulesobservedinthe'SpringRiverFlower'and'MoonlightNight.'

Theseverses,shethenentitled'thePoemontheAutumnevening,whenwindandrainragedoutsidethe
window.'Theirburdenwas:
Inautumn,flowersdecayherbage,whenautumncomes,dothyellow
turn.
Onlongautumnalnights,theautumnlanternswithbrightradiance
burn.
AsfrommywindowautumnscenesIscan,autumnendlessdothseem.
ThismoodhowcanIbear,whenwindandraindespondencyenhance?
Howsuddenbreakforthwindandrain,andhelptomaketheautumntide!
Frightsnapsmyautumndreams,thosedreamswhichundermylatticeI
dreamt.
Asadautumnalgloomenclaspsmyheart,anddrivesallsleepaway!
InpersonIapproachtheautumnscreentosnufftheweepingwick.
Thetearfulcandleswithaflickeringflameconsumeontheirshort
stands.
Theystirupgrief,dazzlemyeyes,andasenseofpartingarouse.
Inwhatfamily'scourtsdonottheblastsofautumnwindsintrude?
Andwhereinautumndoesnotrainpatteragainstthewindowframes?
Thesilkenquiltcannotwardoffthenippingforceofautumnwinds.
Thedripofthehalfdrainedwaterclockimpelstheautumnrains.
Alullforfewnightsreigned,butthewindhasagainrisenin
strength.
BythelanternIweep,asifIsatwithsomeonewhomustgo.
Thesmallcourtyard,fullofbleakmist,isnowbecomequitedesolate.
Withquickdripdropstherainonthedistantbamboosandvacant
sills.
Whattime,Iwonder,willthewindandraintheirhowlandpatter
cease?
ThetearsalreadyIhaveshedhavesoakdthroughthewindowgauze.
Afterscanningherverses,sheflungthepenaside,andwasjustonthepointofretiringtorest,whenawaiting
maidannouncedthat'masterSecundus,Mr.Paoy,hadcome.'Barelywastheannouncementoutofherlips,
thanPaoyappearedonthescenewithalargebamboohatonhishead,andawrapperthrownoverhis
shoulders.Ofasudden,asmilebetrayeditselfonTaiy'slips."Wheredoesthisfishermancomefrom?"she
exclaimed.
"Areyoubettertoday?"Paoyinquiredwithalacrity."Haveyouhadanymedicines?Howmuchricehaveyou
hadtoeattoday?"
Whileplyingherwithquestions,hetookoffthehatanddivestedhimselfofthewrapperand,promptlyraising
thelampwithonehand,hescreeneditwiththeotherandthrewitsraysuponTaiy'sface.Thenstraininghis
eyes,hescrutinisedherforawhile."Youlookbettertoday,"hesmiled.
Assoonashethrewoffhiswrapper,Taiynoticedthathewascladinashortredsilkjacket,theworsefor
wearthathewasgirdedwithagreensash,andthat,abouthisknees,hisnethergarmentswerevisible,madeof
greenthinsilk,brocadedwithflowers.Belowthese,heworeembroideredgauzesocks,workedalloverwith
twistedgoldthread,andapairofshoesornamentedwithbutterfliesandclustersoffallenflowers.
"Above,youfightshyoftherain,"Taiyremarked,"butaren'ttheseshoesandsocksbelowafraidofrain?Yet
they'requiteclean!"
"Thissuitiscomplete!"Paoysmiled."I'vegotapairofcrabwoodclogs,IputontocomeoverbutItook
themoffundertheeavesoftheverandah."

Taiy'sattentionwasthenattractedbytheextremefinenessandlightnessofthetextureofhiswrapperandhat,
whichwereunlikethosesoldinthemarketplaces."Withwhatgrassaretheyplaited?"sheconsequentlyasked.
"Itwouldbestrangeifyoudidn't,withthissortofthingson,looklikeaveryhedgehog!"
"ThesethreearticlesareagiftfromthePrinceofPeiChing,"Paoyanswered."Ordinarily,whenitrains,hetoo
wearsthiskindofoutfitathome.Butifithastakenyourfancy,I'llhaveasuitmadeforyou.There'snothing
peculiarabouttheotherthings,butthishatisfunny!Thecrownatthetopismovablesoifyouwanttoweara
hat,duringsnowyweatherinwintertime,youpulloffthebamboopegs,andremovethecrown,andthereyou
onlyhavethecircularbrim.Thisisworn,whenitsnows,bymenandwomenalike.I'llgiveyouonethereforeto
wearinthewintrysnowymonths."
"Idon'twantit!"laughedTaiy."WereItowearthissortofthing,I'dlooklikeoneofthosefisherwomen,one
seesdepictedinpicturesorrepresentedonthestage!"
Uponreachingthispoint,sherememberedthattherewassomeconnectionbetweenherpresentremarksandthe
comparisonshehadsometimebackmadewithregardtoPaoy,and,beforeshehadtimetoindulgeinregrets,
asenseofshamesointenseoverpoweredherthatthecolourrushedtoherface,and,leaningherheadonthe
table,shecoughedandcoughedtillshecouldnotstop.Paoy,however,didnotdetectherembarrassmentbut
catchingsightofsomeverseslyingonthetable,heeagerlysnatchedthemupandconnedthemfrombeginning
toend."Splendid!"hecouldnothelpcrying.ButthemomentTaiyheardhisexclamation,shespeedilyjumped
toherfeet,andclutchedtheversesandburntthemoverthelamp.
"I'vealreadycommittedthemsufficientlytomemory!"Paoylaughed.
"Iwanttohavealittlerest,"Taiysaid,"sopleasegetawaycomebackagaintomorrow."
Atthesewords,Paoydrewbackhishand,andproducingfromhisbreastagoldwatchaboutthesizeofa
walnut,helookedatthetime.Thehandpointedbetweeneightandninep.m.sohastilyputtingitaway,"You
shouldcertainlyretiretorest!"hereplied."Myvisithasupsetyou.I'vequitetiredyououtthislongwhile."With
theseapologies,hethrewthewrapperoverhim,putontherainhatandquittedtheroom.Butturninground,he
retracedhisstepsinside."Isthereanythingyoufancytoeat?"heasked."Iftherebe,tellme,andI'llletour
venerableancestorknowofittomorrowassoonasit'sday.Won'tIexplainthingsclearerthananyoftheold
matronscould?"
"Letme,"rejoinedTaiysmiling,"thinkinthenight.I'llletyouknowearlytomorrow.Butharken,it'sraining
harderthanitdidsobeoffatonce!Haveyougotanyattendants,orno?"
"Yes!"interposedthetwomatrons."Thereareservantstowaitonhim.
They'reoutsideholdinghisumbrellaandlightingthelanterns."
"Aretheylightinglanternswiththisweather?"laughedTaiy.
"Itwon'thurtthem!"Paoyanswered."They'remadeofsheep'shorn,sotheydon'tmindtherain."
Hearingthis,Taiyputbackherhand,and,takingdownanornamentedglasslanternintheshapeofaballfrom
thebookcase,sheaskedtheservantstolightasmallcandleandbringittoherafterwhich,shehandedthe
lanterntoPaoy."This,"shesaid,"givesoutmorelightthantheothersandisjustthethingforrainyweather."
"I'vealsogotonelikeit."Paoyreplied."Butfearinglesttheymightslip,falldownandbreakit,Ididnothave
itlightedandbroughtround."
"What'sofmoreaccount,"Taiyinquired,"harmtoalanternortoahumanbeing?You'renotbesides
accustomedtowearingclogs,sotellthemtowalkaheadwiththoselanterns.Thisoneisaslightandhandyasit
islightgivingandisreallyadaptedforrainyweather,sowouldn'titbewellifyoucarriedityourself?Youcan
senditovertometomorrow!But,wereiteventoslipfromyourhand,itwouldn'tmattermuch.Howisitthat

you'vealsosuddenlydevelopedthismoneygrabbingsortoftemperament?It'sasbadasifyourippedyour
intestinestosecretepearlsin."
Afterthesewords,Paoyapproachedherandtookthelanternfromher.Aheadthenadvancedtwomatrons,
withumbrellasandsheephornlanterns,andbehindfollowedacoupleofwaitingmaidsalsowithumbrellas.
Paoyhandedtheglasslanterntoayoungmaidtocarry,and,supportinghimselfonhershoulder,he
straightwaywendedhisstepsonhiswayback.
ButpresentlyarrivedanoldservantfromtheHengWucourt,providedaswellwithanumbrellaandalantern,to
bringoveralargebundleofbirds'nests,andapacketofforeignsugar,pureaspowder,andwhiteaspetalsof
plumblossomandflakesofsnow."These,"shesaid,"aremuchbetterthanwhatyoucanbuy.Ouryounglady
sendsyouword,miss,tofirstgoonwiththese.Whenyou'vedonewiththem,she'llletyouhavesomemore."
"Manythanksforthetroubleyou'vetaken!"Taiyreturnedforanswerandthenaskedhertogoandsitoutside
andhaveacupoftea.
"Iwon'thaveanytea,"theoldservantsmiled."I'vegotsomethingelsetoattendto."
"I'mwellawarethatyou'veallgotplentyinhand,"Taiyresumedwithasmilingcountenance."Butthe
weatherbeingcoolnowandthenightslong,it'smoreexpedientthanevertoestablishtwothings:anightclub
andagamblingplace."
"Iwon'tdisguisethefactfromyou,miss,"theoldservantlaughinglyobserved,"thatI'vemanagedthisyearto
winplentyofmoney.Severalservantshave,underanycircumstances,todonightdutyand,asanyneglectin
keepingwatchwouldn'tbetherightthing,isn'titaswelltohaveanightclub,asonecansitonthelookoutand
dispeldullnessaswell?Butit'sagainmyturntoplaythecroupiertoday,soImustbegettingalongtotheplace,
asthegardengate,will,bythistime,benearlyclosing!"
ThisrejoinderevokedalaughfromTaiy."I'vegivenyouallthisbother,"sheremarked,"andmadeyoulose
yourchancesofgettingmoney,justtobringthesethingsintherain."Andcallingaservantshebadeherpresent
herwithseveralhundredsofcashtobuysomewinewith,todrivethedampaway.
"I'veuselesslyputyouagain,miss,totheexpenseofgivingmeatipforwine,"theoldservantsmiled.But
sayingthissheknockedherforeheadbeforeherandissuingoutside,shereceivedthemoney,afterwhich,she
openedherumbrella,andtrudgedback.
TzuChanmeanwhileputthebirds'nestsawayandremovingafterwardsthelamps,sheloweredtheportires
andwaiteduponTaiyuntilshelayherselfdowntosleep.
Whileshereclinedallaloneonherpillow,TaiythoughtgratefullyofPaoch'ai.Atonemoment,sheenvied
herforhavingamotherandabrotherandatanother,shemusedthatwiththefriendlinessPaoyhadever
shownhertheywereboundtobethevictimsofsuspicion.Butthepitterpatteroftherain,drippingonthe
bambootopsandbananaleaves,fellonherearand,asafreshcoolnesspenetratedthecurtain,tearsoncemore
unconsciouslytrickleddownhercheeks.Inthisframeofmind,shecontinuedstraightuptothefourthwatch,
whensheatlastgraduallydroppedintoasoundsleep.
Forthetime,however,thereisnothingthatwecanadd.Soshouldyou,reader,desiretoknowanysubsequent
details,perusewhatiswritteninthenextchapter.

CHAPTERXLVI.

Animpropermanwithdifficultykeepsfromimproprieties