Your Assignment:

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Write an essay of at least 1000 words, drawing upon what you learned in Unit 2 and Unit 3. Address one (1) of the following topics:

1. Select one (1) work from Unit 2 (Literature of the Enlightenment) and one (1) work from Unit 3 (Early Modern Near East and Asia), and compare them on the topics of class, social hierarchy, or inequality. As you develop your argument, consider the specific historical and cultural contexts and backgrounds of each literary work.

2.  Select any two (2) works from Unit 2 and/or Unit 3, and compare them through the selected works’ genre(s), such as travel literature, essay, drama, novel, and/or satire. Consider how the form and the content inform each other in each work. (You are only selecting 2 works.)


· Please utilize MLA style when citing sources.  For information on citing using MLA, access the 

Purdue OWL MLA Formatting and Style guide

.  Here is an 


 of a well-written paper using MLA citations.

· Typed/printed, double-spaced, 1″ margins. Change them in “Page Setup” on the “File” menu.

· Paragraphs indented ½ inch at left; do not separate paragraphs by extra blank lines.

· Quotations of four lines or less (approximately 50 words) should be integrated into the text; longer quotations should be formatted as block quotations.

· All sources must be cited. Avoid USING Wikipedia and other online study guide websites, such as Shmoop; however, if you use them, be sure to cite them appropriately. Instead, use eCore textbook materials, lecture notes, introductions, discussion postings, and any sources accessed from GALILEO for outside reference.

· Your essay should have a specific title – one that suggests what is the most interesting or important about what you have to say.

License: Public Domain

Jonathan Swift

For Preventing the Children of poor People in Ireland, from being a Burden on
their Parents or Country; and for making them beneficial to the Publick.

Written in the year 1729

It is a melancholy object to those who walk through this great town,
or travel in the country, when they see the streets, the roads and cabin-
doors crowded with beggars of the female sex, followed by three, four,
or six children, all in rags, and importuning every passenger for an
alms. These mothers instead of being able to work for their honest
livelihood, are forced to employ all their time in strolling to beg
sustenance for their helpless infants who, as they grow up, either turn
thieves for want of work, or leave their dear native country, to fight for
the Pretender in Spain, or sell themselves to the Barbadoes.

I think it is agreed by all parties, that this prodigious number of
children in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers,
and frequently of their fathers, is in the present deplorable state of the
kingdom, a very great additional grievance; and therefore whoever
could find out a fair, cheap and easy method of making these children
sound and useful members of the common-wealth, would deserve so
well of the public, as to have his statue set up for a preserver of the

But my intention is very far from being confined to provide only for
the children of professed beggars: it is of a much greater extent, and
shall take in the whole number of infants at a certain age, who are born
of parents in effect as little able to support them, as those who demand
our charity in the streets.

As to my own part, having turned my thoughts for many years,
upon this important subject, and maturely weighed the several schemes
of our projectors, I have always found them grossly mistaken in their
computation. It is true, a child just dropped from its dam, may be
supported by her milk, for a solar year, with little other nourishment: at
most not above the value of two shillings, which the mother may
certainly get, or the value in scraps, by her lawful occupation of
begging; and it is exactly at one year old that I propose to provide for
them in such a manner, as, instead of being a charge upon their


parents, or the parish, or wanting food and raiment for the rest of their
lives, they shall, on the contrary, contribute to the feeding, and partly
to the clothing of many thousands.

There is likewise another great advantage in my scheme, that it will
prevent those voluntary abortions, and that horrid practice of women
murdering their bastard children, alas! too frequent among us,
sacrificing the poor innocent babes, I doubt, more to avoid the expense
than the shame, which would move tears and pity in the most savage
and inhuman breast.

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one
million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred
thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I
subtract thirty thousand couple, who are able to maintain their own
children, (although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the
present distresses of the kingdom) but this being granted, there will
remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract
fifty thousand, for those women who miscarry, or whose children die
by accident or disease within the year. There only remain an hundred
and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The
question therefore is, How this number shall be reared, and provided
for? which, as I have already said, under the present situation of
affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For
we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither
build houses, (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very
seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing till they arrive at six years old;
except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn
the rudiments much earlier; during which time they can however be
properly looked upon only as probationers: As I have been informed
by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me,
that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six,
even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency
in that art.

I am assured by our merchants that a boy or a girl before twelve
years old, is no saleable commodity, and even when they come to this
age, they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half a
crown at most, on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to
the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriments and rags having been
at least four times that value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I


hope will not be liable to the least objection.
I have been assured by a very knowing American of my

acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed, is, at a
year old, a most delicious nourishing and wholesome food, whether
stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will
equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration, that of the
hundred and twenty thousand children, already computed, twenty
thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one fourth part to
be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle, or swine,
and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage,
a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore, one male
will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred
thousand may, at a year old, be offered in sale to the persons of quality
and fortune, through the kingdom, always advising the mother to let
them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump,
and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an
entertainment for friends, and when the family dines alone, the fore or
hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little
pepper or salt, will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in

I have reckoned upon a medium, that a child just born will weigh
12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper
for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents,
seem to have the best title to the children.

Infant’s flesh will be in season throughout the year, but more
plentiful in March, and a little before and after; for we are told by a
grave author, an eminent French physician, that fish being a prolific
diet, there are more children born in Roman Catholic countries about
nine months after Lent, the markets will be more glutted than usual,
because the number of Popish infants, is at least three to one in this
kingdom, and therefore it will have one other collateral advantage, by
lessening the number of Papists among us.

I have already computed the charge of nursing a beggar’s child (in
which list I reckon all cottagers, labourers, and four-fifths of the
farmers) to be about two shillings per annum, rags included; and I
believe no gentleman would repine to give ten shillings for the carcass


of a good fat child, which, as I have said, will make four dishes of
excellent nutritive meat, when he hath only some particular friend, or
his own family to dine with him. Thus the squire will learn to be a
good landlord, and grow popular among his tenants, the mother will
have eight shillings neat profit, and be fit for work till she produces
another child.

Those who are more thrifty (as I must confess the times require)
may flea the carcass; the skin of which, artificially dressed, will make
admirable gloves for ladies, and summer boots for fine gentlemen.

As to our city of Dublin, shambles may be appointed for this
purpose, in the most convenient parts of it, and butchers we may be
assured will not be wanting; although I rather recommend buying the
children alive, and dressing them hot from the knife, as we do roasting

A very worthy person, a true lover of his country, and whose virtues
I highly esteem, was lately pleased, in discoursing on this matter, to
offer a refinement upon my scheme. He said, that many gentlemen of
this kingdom, having of late destroyed their deer, he conceived that the
want of venison might be well supplied by the bodies of young lads
and maidens, not exceeding fourteen years of age, nor under twelve; so
great a number of both sexes in every country being now ready to
starve for want of work and service: And these to be disposed of by
their parents if alive, or otherwise by their nearest relations. But with
due deference to so excellent a friend, and so deserving a patriot, I
cannot be altogether in his sentiments; for as to the males, my
American acquaintance assured me from frequent experience, that
their flesh was generally tough and lean, like that of our school-boys,
by continual exercise, and their taste disagreeable, and to fatten them
would not answer the charge. Then as to the females, it would, I think,
with humble submission, be a loss to the public, because they soon
would become breeders themselves: And besides, it is not improbable
that some scrupulous people might be apt to censure such a practice,
(although indeed very unjustly) as a little bordering upon cruelty,
which, I confess, hath always been with me the strongest objection
against any project, how well soever intended.

But in order to justify my friend, he confessed that this expedient
was put into his head by the famous Psalmanazar, a native of the island
Formosa, who came from thence to London, above twenty years ago,
and in conversation told my friend, that in his country, when any


young person happened to be put to death, the executioner sold the
carcass to persons of quality, as a prime dainty; and that, in his time,
the body of a plump girl of fifteen, who was crucified for an attempt to
poison the Emperor, was sold to his imperial majesty’s prime minister
of state, and other great mandarins of the court in joints from the
gibbet, at four hundred crowns. Neither indeed can I deny, that if the
same use were made of several plump young girls in this town, who,
without one single groat to their fortunes, cannot stir abroad without a
chair, and appear at a play-house and assemblies in foreign fineries
which they never will pay for; the kingdom would not be the worse.

Some persons of a desponding spirit are in great concern about that
vast number of poor people who are aged, diseased, or maimed; and I
have been desired to employ my thoughts what course may be taken,
to ease the nation of so grievous an encumbrance. But I am not in the
least pain upon that matter, because it is very well known, that they are
every day dying, and rotting, by cold and famine, and filth, and
vermin, as fast as can be reasonably expected. And as to the young
labourers, they are now in almost as hopeful a condition. They cannot
get work, and consequently pine away from want of nourishment, to a
degree, that if at any time they are accidentally hired to common
labour, they have not strength to perform it, and thus the country and
themselves are happily delivered from the evils to come.

I have too long digressed, and therefore shall return to my subject. I
think the advantages by the proposal which I have made are obvious
and many, as well as of the highest importance.

For first, as I have already observed, it would greatly lessen the
number of Papists, with whom we are yearly over-run, being the
principal breeders of the nation, as well as our most dangerous
enemies, and who stay at home on purpose with a design to deliver the
kingdom to the Pretender, hoping to take their advantage by the
absence of so many good Protestants, who have chosen rather to leave
their country, than stay at home and pay tithes against their conscience
to an Episcopal curate.

Secondly, the poorer tenants will have something valuable of their
own, which by law may be made liable to a distress, and help to pay
their landlord’s rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and
money a thing unknown.

Thirdly, whereas the maintenance of an hundred thousand children,
from two years old, and upwards, cannot be computed at less than ten


shillings a piece per annum, the nation’s stock will be thereby
increased fifty thousand pounds per annum, besides the profit of a new
dish, introduced to the tables of all gentlemen of fortune in the
kingdom who have any refinement in taste. And the money will
circulate among ourselves, the goods being entirely of our own growth
and manufacture.

Fourthly, the constant breeders, besides the gain of eight shillings
sterling per annum by the sale of their children, will be rid of the
charge of maintaining them after the first year.

Fifthly, this food would likewise bring great custom to taverns,
where the vintners will certainly be so prudent as to procure the best
receipts for dressing it to perfection; and consequently have their
houses frequented by all the fine gentlemen, who justly value
themselves upon their knowledge in good eating; and a skilful cook,
who understands how to oblige his guests, will contrive to make it as
expensive as they please.

Sixthly, this would be a great inducement to marriage, which all
wise nations have either encouraged by rewards, or enforced by laws
and penalties. It would increase the care and tenderness of mothers
towards their children, when they were sure of a settlement for life to
the poor babes, provided in some sort by the public, to their annual
profit instead of expense. We should soon see an honest emulation
among the married women, which of them could bring the fattest child
to the market. Men would become as fond of their wives, during the
time of their pregnancy, as they are now of their mares in foal, their
cows in calf, or sow when they are ready to farrow; nor offer to beat or
kick them (as is too frequent a practice) for fear of a miscarriage.

Many other advantages might be enumerated. For instance, the
addition of some thousand carcasses in our exportation of barrelled
beef: the propagation of swine’s flesh, and improvement in the art of
making good bacon, so much wanted among us by the great
destruction of pigs, too frequent at our tables; which are no way
comparable in taste or magnificence to a well grown, fat yearly child,
which roasted whole will make a considerable figure at a Lord Mayor’s
feast, or any other public entertainment. But this, and many others, I
omit, being studious of brevity.

Supposing that one thousand families in this city, would be constant
customers for infants flesh, besides others who might have it at merry
meetings, particularly at weddings and christenings, I compute that


Dublin would take off annually about twenty thousand carcasses; and
the rest of the kingdom (where probably they will be sold somewhat
cheaper) the remaining eighty thousand.

I can think of no one objection that will possibly be raised against
this proposal, unless it should be urged, that the number of people will
be thereby much lessened in the kingdom. This I freely own, and ’twas
indeed one principal design in offering it to the world. I desire the
reader will observe that I calculate my remedy for this one individual
Kingdom of Ireland, and for no other that ever was, is, or, I think, ever
can be upon earth. Therefore let no man talk to me of other expedients:
of taxing our absentees at five shillings a pound: of using neither
clothes, nor household-furniture, except what is of our own growth and
manufacture: of utterly rejecting the materials and instruments that
promote foreign luxury: of curing the expensiveness of pride, vanity,
idleness, and gaming in our women: of introducing a vein of
parsimony, prudence and temperance: of learning to love our country,
wherein we differ even from Laplanders, and the inhabitants of
Topinamboo: of quitting our animosities and factions, nor acting any
longer like the Jews, who were murdering one another at the very
moment their city was taken: of being a little cautious not to sell our
country and consciences for nothing: of teaching landlords to have at
least one degree of mercy towards their tenants. Lastly, of putting a
spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers; who, if a
resolution could now be taken to buy only our native goods, would
immediately unite to cheat and exact upon us in the price, the measure,
and the goodness, nor could ever yet be brought to make one fair
proposal of just dealing, though often and earnestly invited to it.

Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these and the like
expedients, ’till he hath at least some glimpse of hope that there will
ever be some hearty and sincere attempt to put them into practice.

But, as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with
offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing
of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal, which, as it is wholly
new, so it hath something solid and real, of no expense and little
trouble, full in our own power, and whereby we can incur no danger in
disobliging England. For this kind of commodity will not bear
exportation, and flesh being of too tender a consistence, to admit a
long continuance in salt, although perhaps I could name a country,
which would be glad to eat up our whole nation without it.

After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion, as to
reject any offer, proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally
innocent, cheap, easy, and effectual. But before something of that kind
shall be advanced in contradiction to my scheme, and offering a better,
I desire the author or authors will be pleased maturely to consider two
points. First, As things now stand, how they will be able to find food
and raiment for a hundred thousand useless mouths and backs. And
secondly, There being a round million of creatures in humane figure
throughout this kingdom, whose whole subsistence put into a common
stock, would leave them in debt two million of pounds sterling, adding
those who are beggars by profession, to the bulk of farmers, cottagers
and labourers, with their wives and children who are beggars in effect;
I desire those politicians who dislike my overture, and may perhaps be
so bold to attempt an answer, that they will first ask the parents of
these mortals, whether they would not at this day think it a great
happiness to have been sold for food at a year old, in the manner I
prescribe, and thereby have avoided such a perpetual scene of
misfortunes, as they have since gone through, by the oppression of
landlords, the impossibility of paying rent without money or trade, the
want of common sustenance, with neither house nor clothes to cover
them from the inclemencies of the weather, and the most inevitable
prospect of entailing the like, or greater miseries, upon their breed for

I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least
personal interest in endeavouring to promote this necessary work,
having no other motive than the public good of my country, by
advancing our trade, providing for infants, relieving the poor, and
giving some pleasure to the rich. I have no children, by which I can
propose to get a single penny; the youngest being nine years old, and
my wife past child-bearing.

Compact Anthology of

L i t e r a t u r e

The 17th and 18th Centuries


Publication and Design Editor:



Compact Anthology of World Literature: The 17th and 18th Centuries is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA 4.0) International License.

This license allows you to remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as you credit
this original source for the creation and license the new creation under identical terms.

If you reuse this content elsewhere, in order to comply with the attribution requirements of the license,
please attribute the original source to the University System of Georgia.

NOTE: The above copyright license which University System of Georgia uses for their original content
does not extend to or include content which was accessed and incorporated, and which is licensed under
various other CC Licenses, such as ND licenses. Nor does it extend to or include any Special Permissions
which were granted to us by the rightsholders for our use of their content. To determine copyright status of
any content, please refer to the bibliographies and appendices for original source information to further
research specific copyright licenses.

Image Disclaimer: All images and figures in this book are believed to be (after a reasonable investigation)
either public domain or carry a compatible Creative Commons license. If you are the copyright owner of
images in this book and you have not authorized the use of your work under these terms, please contact
Corey Parson at corey.parson@ung.edu to have the content removed.

Production of this textbook was funded by a grant from Affordable Learning Georgia.


The editors of this text would like to acknowledge the invaluable
contributions, professionalism, and unfailing good humor of Corey Parson,
Managing Editor of the University of North Georgia Press. Corey patiently
provided advice on all copyright concerns, responded promptly to our questions,
verified sources for the texts included here, and managed the peer review

We would also like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Joyce Stavick, Head,
UNG English Department, and Dr. Shannon Gilstrap, Associate Head.

  • World Literature – Part 4
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Age of Reason
    Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622-1673)
    Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672)
    Before the Birth of One of Her Children
    By Night When Others Soundly Slept
    A Dialogue between Old England and New
    Aphra Behn (1640-1689)
    Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
    A Modest Proposal
    Gulliver’s Travels
    Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
    Rape of the Lock
    Eliza Haywood (1693–1756)
    François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778)
    Candide, or Optimism
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
    The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
    Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
    What Is Enlightenment?
    Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745-1797)
    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
    Unit 2: Near East and Asia
    Korean Pansori
    The Song of Chunhyang
    Evliya Çelebi (1611-1682)
    Book of Travels
    Cáo Xueqín (1715 or 1724 – 1763 or 1764)
    The Story of the Stone
    Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694)
    from The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • World Literature – Part 5
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Romanticism
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
    William Blake (1757-1827)
    Songs of Innocence: The Lamb
    Songs of Innocence: The Chimney Sweeper
    Songs of Innocence: Holy Thursday
    Songs of Experience: Holy Thursday
    Songs of Experience: The Chimney Sweeper
    Songs of Experience: The Tyger
    Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
    from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    Olympe De Gouges (1748-1793)
    The Rights of Woman
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
    Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey
    from Preface to Lyrical Ballads
    Michael, a Pastoral Poem
    I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
    Ode: Intimations of Immortality
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    Kubla Khan
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
    To Wordsworth
    Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
    A Song: “Men of England”
    Ode to the West Wind
    from A Defence of Poetry
    John Keats (1795-1821)
    When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be
    Ode to a Nightingale
    Ode on a Grecian Urn
    Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
    Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus
    The Last Man
    Unit 2: Realism
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
    from Sonnets from the Portuguese
    The Cry of the Children
    Lord Walter’s Wife
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
    The Lotos-Eaters
    Robert Browning (1812-1889)
    Porphyria’s Lover
    My Last Duchess
    “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”
    Frederick Douglass (c.1818-1895)
    The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
    Song of Myself
    Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
    Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
    O Captain! My Captain!
    Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)
    A Simple Soul
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)
    Notes from Underground
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
    The Corpse
    Hymn to Beauty
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
    The Death of Ivan Ilych
    Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)
    A Doll’s House
    An Enemy of the People
    Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
    Because I could not stop for Death
    A bird came down the walk
    The brain is wider than the sky
    Hope is the thing with feathers
    I died for beauty, but was scarce
    I heard a fly buzz when I died
    If I can stop one heart from breaking
    My life closed twice before its close
    The soul selects her own society
    Success is counted sweetest
    There’s a certain slant of light
    Wild nights! Wild nights!
    Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
    After Death
    Goblin Market
    “No, Thank You, John”
    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-1894)
    The Poison Tree
    Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)
    Boule de Suif
    The Diamond Necklace
    Olive Schreiner (1855-1920)
    The Story of an African Farm
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
    The Yellow Wall-Paper
    Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
    The Lady with the Dog
    The Cherry Orchard
    A Doctor’s Visit
    W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
    The Lake Isle of Innisfree
    When You Are Old
    Easter 1916
    The Second Coming
    H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
    The Invisible Man
    The Island of Doctor Moreau
    The War of the Worlds

  • World Literature – Part 6
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Modernism (1900-1945)
    Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
    The Cabuliwallah
    Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
    Six Characters in Search of an Author
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
    Swann’s Way
    Violetta Thurstan (1879-1978)
    Field Hospital and Flying Column
    Lu Xun (1881-1936)
    Diary of a Madman
    Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)
    A Room of One’s Own
    James Joyce (1882-1941)
    The Dead
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
    The Metamorphosis
    Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
    The Garden Party
    T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
    The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
    Tradition and the Individual Talent
    The Waste Land
    Anna Akhmatova (1889-1996)
    Lot’s Wife
    Why Is This Century Worse…
    Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)
    In a Grove
    Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
    Strange Meeting
    Anthem for Doomed Youth
    Dulce et Decorum est
    Parable of the Old Men and the Young
    William Faulkner (1897-1962)
    Barn Burning
    A Rose for Emily
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)
    Mother Courage and Her Children
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
    The Garden of Forking Paths
    Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers
    Theme for English B
    The Weary Blues
    Yi Sang (1910-1937)
    Phantom Illusion
    Unit 2: Postcolonial Literature
    Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)
    The Golden Threshold
    Aimé Fernand David Césaire (1913-2008)
    from Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
    The Woman and the Flame
    Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)
    Things Fall Apart
    Cho Se-hui (1942- )
    A Little Ball Launched by a Dwarf
    The Möbius Strip
    Joy Harjo (1951- )
    Eagle Poem
    An American Sunrise
    My House Is the Red Earth
    A Poem to Get Rid of Fear
    When the World as We Knew It Ended
    Unit 3: Contemporary Literature (1955-present)
    Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006)
    from Midaq Alley
    Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000)
    An Arab Shepherd is Searching for His Goat on Mt. Zion
    Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014)
    A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
    Derek Walcott (1930-2017)
    The Bounty
    from Omeros
    Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)
    The Haw Lantern
    The Tollund Man
    Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008)
    Identity Card
    Victim Number 18
    Hanan al-Shaykh (1945- )
    The Women’s Swimming Pool
    Salman Rushdie (1947- )
    The Perforated Sheet
    Leslie Marmon Silko (1948- )
    Yellow Woman
    Haruki Murakami (1949- )
    The Second Bakery Attack
    Jamaica Kincaid (1949- )
    Francisco X. Alarcón (1954-2016)
    “Mexican” Is Not a Noun
    To Those Who Have Lost Everything
    Yasmina Reza (1959- )
    God of Carnage

Please only read the following stations on this site:

• Stations 1-5
• Stations 13 – 17
• Stations 23 – 24
• Station 30 – 36


  • From The Narrow Road to the Deep North Reading
  • part 4 copyright info

Copyright Paul Halsall

Immanuel Kant

Enlightenment is man’s release from his self-incurred tutelage.
Tutelage s man’s inability to make use of his understanding without
direction from another. Self-incurred is this tutelage when its cause lies
not in lack of reason but in lack of resolution and courage to use it
without direction from another. Sapere aude! “Have courage to use
your own reason!”- that is the motto of enlightenment.

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a portion of
mankind, after nature has long since discharged them from external
direction (naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless remains under lifelong
tutelage, and why it is so easy for others to set themselves up as their
guardians. It is so easy not to be of age. If I have a book which
understands for me, a pastor who has a conscience for me, a physician
who decides my diet, and so forth, I need not trouble myself. I need
not think, if I can only pay – others will easily undertake the irksome
work for me.

That the step to competence is held to be very dangerous by the far
greater portion of mankind (and by the entire fair sex) – quite apart
from its being arduous is seen to by those guardians who have so
kindly assumed superintendence over them. After the guardians have
first made their domestic cattle dumb and have made sure that these
placid creatures will not dare take a single step without the harness of
the cart to which they are tethered, the guardians then show them the
danger which threatens if they try to go alone. Actually, however, this
danger is not so great, for by falling a few times they would finally
learn to walk alone. But an example of this failure makes them timid
and ordinarily frightens them away from all further trials.

For any single individua1 to work himself out of the life under
tutelage which has become almost his nature is very difficult. He has
come to be fond of his state, and he is for the present really incapable
of making use of his reason, for no one has ever let him try it out.
Statutes and formulas, those mechanical tools of the rational
employment or rather misemployment of his natural gifts, are the
fetters of an everlasting tutelage. Whoever throws them off makes only
an uncertain leap over the narrowest ditch because he is not
accustomed to that kind of free motion. Therefore, there are few who


have succeeded by their own exercise of mind both in freeing
themselves from incompetence and in achieving a steady pace.

But that the public should enlighten itself is more possible; indeed,
if only freedom is granted enlightenment is almost sure to follow. For
there will always be some independent thinkers, even among the
established guardians of the great masses, who, after throwing off the
yoke of tutelage from their own shoulders, will disseminate the spirit
of the rational appreciation of both their own worth and every man’s
vocation for thinking for himself. But be it noted that the public, which
has first been brought under this yoke by their guardians, forces the
guardians themselves to renain bound when it is incited to do so by
some of the guardians who are themselves capable of some
enlightenment – so harmful is it to implant prejudices, for they later
take vengeance on their cultivators or on their descendants. Thus the
public can only slowly attain enlightenment. Perhaps a fall of personal
despotism or of avaricious or tyrannical oppression may be
accomplished by revolution, but never a true reform in ways of
thinking. Farther, new prejudices will serve as well as old ones to
harness the great unthinking masses.

For this enlightenment, however, nothing is required but freedom,
and indeed the most harmless among all the things to which this term
can properly be applied. It is the freedom to make public use of one’s
reason at every point. But I hear on all sides, “Do not argue!” The
Officer says: “Do not argue but drill!” The tax collector: “Do not argue
but pay!” The cleric: “Do not argue but believe!” Only one prince in
the world says, “Argue as much as you will, and about what you will,
but obey!” Everywhere there is restriction on freedom.

Which restriction is an obstacle to enlightenment, and which is not
an obstacle but a promoter of it? I answer: The public use of one’s
reason must always be free, and it alone can bring about enlightenment
among men. The private use of reason, on the other hand, may often be
very narrowly restricted without particularly hindering the progress of
enlightenment. By the public use of one’s reason I understand the use
which a person makes of it as a scholar before the reading public.
Private use I call that which one may make of it in a particular civil
post or office which is entrusted to him. Many affairs which are
conducted in the interest of the community require a certain
mechanism through which some members of the community must
passively conduct themselves with an artificial unanimity, so that the

government may direct them to public ends, or at least prevent them
from destroying those ends. Here argument is certainly not allowed –
one must obey. But so far as a part of the mechanism regards himself
at the same time as a member of the whole community or of a society
of world citizens, and thus in the role of a scholar who addresses the
public (in the proper sense of the word) through his writings, he
certainly can argue without hurting the affairs for which he is in part
responsible as a passive member. Thus it would be ruinous for an
officer in service to debate about the suitability or utility of a
command given to him by his superior; he must obey. But the right to
make remarks on errors in the military service and to lay them before
the public for judgment cannot equitably be refused him as a scholar.
The citizen cannot refuse to pay the taxes imposed on him; indeed, an
impudent complaint at those levied on him can be punished as a
scandal (as it could occasion general refractoriness). But the same
person nevertheless does not act contrary to his duty as a citizen,
when, as a scholar, he publicly expresses his thoughts on the
inappropriateness or even the injustices of these levies, Similarly a
clergyman is obligated to make his sermon to his pupils in catechism
and his congregation conform to the symbol of the church which he
serves, for he has been accepted on this condition. But as a scholar he
has complete freedom, even the calling, to communicate to the public
all his carefully tested and well meaning thoughts on that which is
erroneous in the symbol and to make suggestions for the better
organization of the religious body and church. In doing this there is
nothing that could be laid as a burden on his conscience. For what he
teaches as a consequence of his office as a representative of the
church, this he considers something about which he has not freedom to
teach according to his own lights; it is something which he is
appointed to propound at the dictation of and in the name of another.
He will say, “Our church teaches this or that; those are the proofs
which it adduces.” He thus extracts all practical uses for his
congregation from statutes to which he himself would not subscribe
with full conviction but to the enunciation of which he can very well
pledge himself because it is not impossible that truth lies hidden in
them, and, in any case, there is at least nothing in them contradictory
to inner religion. For if he believed he had found such in them, he
could not conscientiously discharge the duties of his office; he would
have to give it up. The use, therefore, which an appointed teacher

makes of his reason before his congregation is merely private, because
this congregation is only a domestic one (even if it be a large
gathering); with respect to it, as a priest, he is not free, nor can he be
free, because he carries out the orders of another. But as a scholar,
whose writings speak to his public, the world, the clergyman in the
public use of his reason enjoys an unlimited freedom to use his own
reason to speak in his own person. That the guardian of the people (in
spiritual things) should themselves be incompetent is an absurdity
which amounts to the eternalization of absurdities.

But would not a society of clergymen, perhaps a church conference
or a venerable classis (as they call themselves among the Dutch) , be
justified in obligating itself by oath to a certain unchangeable symbol
inorder to enjoy an unceasing guardianship over each of its numbers
and thereby over the people as a whole , and even to make it eternal? I
answer that this is altogether impossible. Such contract, made to shut
off all further enlightenment from the human race, is absolutely null
and void even if confirmed by the supreme power , by parliaments,
and by the most ceremonious of peace treaties. An age cannot bind
itself and ordain to put the succeeding one into such a condition that it
cannot extend its (at best very occasional) knowledge , purify itself of
errors, and progress in general enlightenment. That would be a crime
against human nature, the proper destination of which lies precisely in
this progress and the descendants would be fully justified in rejecting
those decrees as having been made in an unwarranted and malicious

The touchstone of everything that can be concluded as a law for a
people lies in the question whether the people could have imposed
such a law on itself. Now such religious compact might be possible for
a short and definitely limited time, as it were, in expectation of a
better. One might let every citizen, and especially the clergyman, in the
role of scholar, make his comments freely and publicly, i.e. through
writing, on the erroneous aspects of the present institution. The newly
introduced order might last until insight into the nature of these things
had become so general and widely approved that through uniting their
voices (even if not unanimously) they could bring a proposal to the
throne to take those congregations under protection which had united
into a changed religious organization according to their better ideas,
without, however hindering others who wish to remain in the order.
But to unite in a permanent religious institution which is not to be


subject to doubt before the public even in the lifetime of one man, and
thereby to make a period of time fruitless in the progress of mankind
toward improvement, thus working to the disadvantage of posterity –
that is absolutely forbidden. For himself (and only for a short time) a
man may postpone enlightenment in what he ought to know, but to
renounce it for posterity is to injure and trample on the rights of
mankind. And what a people may not decree for itself can even less be
decreed for them by a monarch, for his lawgiving authority rests on his
uniting the general public will in his own. If he only sees to it that all
true or alleged improvement stands together with civil order, he can
leave it to his subjects to do what they find necessary for their spiritual
welfare. This is not his concern, though it is incumbent on him to
prevent one of them from violently hindering another in determining
and promoting this welfare to the best of his ability. To meddle in these
matters lowers his own majesty, since by the writings in which his own
subjects seek to present their views he may evaluate his own
governance. He can do this when, with deepest understanding, he lays
upon himself the reproach, Caesar non est supra grammaticos. Far
more does he injure his own majesty when he degrades his supreme
power by supporting the ecclesiastical despotism of some tyrants in his
state over his other subjects.

If we are asked , “Do we now live in an enlightened age?” the
answer is, “No ,” but we do live in an age of enlightenment. As things
now stand, much is lacking which prevents men from being, or easily
becoming, capable of correctly using their own reason in religious
matters with assurance and free from outside direction. But on the
other hand, we have clear indications that the field has now been
opened wherein men may freely dea1 with these things and that the
obstacles to general enlightenment or the release from self-imposed
tutelage are gradually being reduced. In this respect, this is the age of
enlightenment, or the century of Frederick.

A prince who does not find it unworthy of himself to say that he
holds it to be his duty to prescribe nothing to men in religious matters
but to give them complete freedom while renouncing the haughty
name of tolerance, is himself enlightened and deserves to be esteemed
by the grateful world and posterity as the first, at least from the side of
government , who divested the human race of its tutelage and left each
man free to make use of his reason in matters of conscience. Under
him venerable ecclesiastics are allowed, in the role of scholar, and

without infringing on their official duties, freely to submit for public
testing their judgments and views which here and there diverge from
the established symbol. And an even greater freedom is enjoyed by
those who are restricted by no official duties. This spirit of freedom
spreads beyond this land, even to those in which it must struggle with
external obstacles erected by a government which misunderstands its
own interest. For an example gives evidence to such a government that
in freedom there is not the least cause for concern about public peace
and the stability of the community. Men work themselves gradually
out of barbarity if only intentional artifices are not made to hold them
in it.

I have placed the main point of enlightenment – the escape of men
from their self-incurred tutelage – chiefly in matters of religion because
our rulers have no interest in playing guardian with respect to the arts
and sciences and also because religious incompetence is not only the
most harmful but also the most degrading of all. But the manner of
thinking of the head of a state who favors religious enlightenment goes
further, and he sees that there is no danger to his lawgiving in allowing
his subjects to make public use of their reason and to publish their
thoughts on a better formulation of his legislation and even their open-
minded criticisms of the laws already made. Of this we have a shining
example wherein no monarch is superior to him we honor.

But only one who is himself enlightened, is not afraid of shadows,
and has a numerous and well-disciplined army to assure public peace,
can say: “Argue as much as you will , and about what you will , only
obey!” A republic could not dare say such a thing. Here is shown a
strange and unexpected trend in human affairs in which almost
everything, looked at in the large , is paradoxical. A greater degree of
civil freedom appears advantageous to the freedom of mind of the
people, and yet it places inescapable limitations upon it. A lower
degree of civil freedom, on the contrary, provides the mind with room
for each man to extend himself to his full capacity. As nature has
uncovered from under this hard shell the seed for which she most
tenderly cares – the propensity and vocation to free thinking – this
gradually works back upon the character of the people, who thereby
gradually become capable of managing freedom; finally, it affects the
principles of government, which finds it to its advantage to treat men,
who are now more than machines, in accordance with their dignity.

Source: Internet Modern History Sourcebook


Compact Anthology of

L i t e r a t u r e

The 17th and 18th Centuries


Publication and Design Editor:



Compact Anthology of World Literature: The 17th and 18th Centuries is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA 4.0) International License.

This license allows you to remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as you credit
this original source for the creation and license the new creation under identical terms.

If you reuse this content elsewhere, in order to comply with the attribution requirements of the license,
please attribute the original source to the University System of Georgia.

NOTE: The above copyright license which University System of Georgia uses for their original content
does not extend to or include content which was accessed and incorporated, and which is licensed under
various other CC Licenses, such as ND licenses. Nor does it extend to or include any Special Permissions
which were granted to us by the rightsholders for our use of their content. To determine copyright status of
any content, please refer to the bibliographies and appendices for original source information to further
research specific copyright licenses.

Image Disclaimer: All images and figures in this book are believed to be (after a reasonable investigation)
either public domain or carry a compatible Creative Commons license. If you are the copyright owner of
images in this book and you have not authorized the use of your work under these terms, please contact
Corey Parson at corey.parson@ung.edu to have the content removed.

Production of this textbook was funded by a grant from Affordable Learning Georgia.


The editors of this text would like to acknowledge the invaluable
contributions, professionalism, and unfailing good humor of Corey Parson,
Managing Editor of the University of North Georgia Press. Corey patiently
provided advice on all copyright concerns, responded promptly to our questions,
verified sources for the texts included here, and managed the peer review

We would also like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Joyce Stavick, Head,
UNG English Department, and Dr. Shannon Gilstrap, Associate Head.

  • World Literature – Part 4
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Age of Reason
    Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622-1673)
    Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672)
    Before the Birth of One of Her Children
    By Night When Others Soundly Slept
    A Dialogue between Old England and New
    Aphra Behn (1640-1689)
    Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
    A Modest Proposal
    Gulliver’s Travels
    Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
    Rape of the Lock
    Eliza Haywood (1693–1756)
    François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778)
    Candide, or Optimism
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
    The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
    Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
    What Is Enlightenment?
    Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745-1797)
    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
    Unit 2: Near East and Asia
    Korean Pansori
    The Song of Chunhyang
    Evliya Çelebi (1611-1682)
    Book of Travels
    Cáo Xueqín (1715 or 1724 – 1763 or 1764)
    The Story of the Stone
    Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694)
    from The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • World Literature – Part 5
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Romanticism
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
    William Blake (1757-1827)
    Songs of Innocence: The Lamb
    Songs of Innocence: The Chimney Sweeper
    Songs of Innocence: Holy Thursday
    Songs of Experience: Holy Thursday
    Songs of Experience: The Chimney Sweeper
    Songs of Experience: The Tyger
    Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
    from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    Olympe De Gouges (1748-1793)
    The Rights of Woman
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
    Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey
    from Preface to Lyrical Ballads
    Michael, a Pastoral Poem
    I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
    Ode: Intimations of Immortality
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    Kubla Khan
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
    To Wordsworth
    Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
    A Song: “Men of England”
    Ode to the West Wind
    from A Defence of Poetry
    John Keats (1795-1821)
    When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be
    Ode to a Nightingale
    Ode on a Grecian Urn
    Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
    Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus
    The Last Man
    Unit 2: Realism
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
    from Sonnets from the Portuguese
    The Cry of the Children
    Lord Walter’s Wife
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
    The Lotos-Eaters
    Robert Browning (1812-1889)
    Porphyria’s Lover
    My Last Duchess
    “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”
    Frederick Douglass (c.1818-1895)
    The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
    Song of Myself
    Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
    Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
    O Captain! My Captain!
    Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)
    A Simple Soul
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)
    Notes from Underground
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
    The Corpse
    Hymn to Beauty
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
    The Death of Ivan Ilych
    Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)
    A Doll’s House
    An Enemy of the People
    Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
    Because I could not stop for Death
    A bird came down the walk
    The brain is wider than the sky
    Hope is the thing with feathers
    I died for beauty, but was scarce
    I heard a fly buzz when I died
    If I can stop one heart from breaking
    My life closed twice before its close
    The soul selects her own society
    Success is counted sweetest
    There’s a certain slant of light
    Wild nights! Wild nights!
    Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
    After Death
    Goblin Market
    “No, Thank You, John”
    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-1894)
    The Poison Tree
    Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)
    Boule de Suif
    The Diamond Necklace
    Olive Schreiner (1855-1920)
    The Story of an African Farm
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
    The Yellow Wall-Paper
    Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
    The Lady with the Dog
    The Cherry Orchard
    A Doctor’s Visit
    W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
    The Lake Isle of Innisfree
    When You Are Old
    Easter 1916
    The Second Coming
    H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
    The Invisible Man
    The Island of Doctor Moreau
    The War of the Worlds

  • World Literature – Part 6
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Modernism (1900-1945)
    Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
    The Cabuliwallah
    Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
    Six Characters in Search of an Author
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
    Swann’s Way
    Violetta Thurstan (1879-1978)
    Field Hospital and Flying Column
    Lu Xun (1881-1936)
    Diary of a Madman
    Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)
    A Room of One’s Own
    James Joyce (1882-1941)
    The Dead
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
    The Metamorphosis
    Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
    The Garden Party
    T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
    The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
    Tradition and the Individual Talent
    The Waste Land
    Anna Akhmatova (1889-1996)
    Lot’s Wife
    Why Is This Century Worse…
    Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)
    In a Grove
    Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
    Strange Meeting
    Anthem for Doomed Youth
    Dulce et Decorum est
    Parable of the Old Men and the Young
    William Faulkner (1897-1962)
    Barn Burning
    A Rose for Emily
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)
    Mother Courage and Her Children
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
    The Garden of Forking Paths
    Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers
    Theme for English B
    The Weary Blues
    Yi Sang (1910-1937)
    Phantom Illusion
    Unit 2: Postcolonial Literature
    Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)
    The Golden Threshold
    Aimé Fernand David Césaire (1913-2008)
    from Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
    The Woman and the Flame
    Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)
    Things Fall Apart
    Cho Se-hui (1942- )
    A Little Ball Launched by a Dwarf
    The Möbius Strip
    Joy Harjo (1951- )
    Eagle Poem
    An American Sunrise
    My House Is the Red Earth
    A Poem to Get Rid of Fear
    When the World as We Knew It Ended
    Unit 3: Contemporary Literature (1955-present)
    Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006)
    from Midaq Alley
    Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000)
    An Arab Shepherd is Searching for His Goat on Mt. Zion
    Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014)
    A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
    Derek Walcott (1930-2017)
    The Bounty
    from Omeros
    Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)
    The Haw Lantern
    The Tollund Man
    Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008)
    Identity Card
    Victim Number 18
    Hanan al-Shaykh (1945- )
    The Women’s Swimming Pool
    Salman Rushdie (1947- )
    The Perforated Sheet
    Leslie Marmon Silko (1948- )
    Yellow Woman
    Haruki Murakami (1949- )
    The Second Bakery Attack
    Jamaica Kincaid (1949- )
    Francisco X. Alarcón (1954-2016)
    “Mexican” Is Not a Noun
    To Those Who Have Lost Everything
    Yasmina Reza (1959- )
    God of Carnage


License: Public Domain
Cáo Xueqín

Translated by H. Bencraft Joly

Book I

Chapter I

Chen Shih-yin, in a vision, apprehends perception and spirituality.
Chia Yü-ts’un, in the (windy and dusty) world, cherishes fond thoughts of a

beautiful maiden.

This is the opening section; this the first chapter. Subsequent to the
visions of a dream which he had, on some previous occasion,
experienced, the writer personally relates, he designedly concealed the
true circumstances, and borrowed the attributes of perception and
spirituality to relate this story of the Record of the Stone. With this
purpose, he made use of such designations as Chen Shih-yin (truth
under the garb of fiction) and the like. What are, however, the events
recorded in this work? Who are the dramatis personae?

Wearied with the drudgery experienced of late in the world, the
author speaking for himself, goes on to explain, with the lack of
success which attended every single concern, I suddenly bethought
myself of the womankind of past ages. Passing one by one under a
minute scrutiny, I felt that in action and in lore, one and all were far
above me; that in spite of the majesty of my manliness, I could not, in
point of fact, compare with these characters of the gentle sex. And my
shame forsooth then knew no bounds; while regret, on the other hand,
was of no avail, as there was not even a remote possibility of a day of

On this very day it was that I became desirous to compile, in a
connected form, for publication throughout the world, with a view to
(universal) information, how that I bear inexorable and manifold
retribution; inasmuch as what time, by the sustenance of the
benevolence of Heaven, and the virtue of my ancestors, my apparel
was rich and fine, and as what days my fare was savory and


sumptuous, I disregarded the bounty of education and nurture of father
and mother, and paid no heed to the virtue of precept and injunction of
teachers and friends, with the result that I incurred the punishment, of
failure recently in the least trifle, and the reckless waste of half my
lifetime. There have been meanwhile, generation after generation,
those in the inner chambers, the whole mass of whom could not, on
any account, be, through my influence, allowed to fall into extinction,
in order that I, unfilial as I have been, may have the means to screen
my own shortcomings.

Hence it is that the thatched shed, with bamboo mat windows, the
bed of tow and the stove of brick, which are at present my share, are
not sufficient to deter me from carrying out the fixed purpose of my
mind. And could I, furthermore, confront the morning breeze, the
evening moon, the willows by the steps and the flowers in the
courtyard, methinks these would moisten to a greater degree my
mortal pen with ink; but though I lack culture and erudition, what
harm is there, however, in employing fiction and unrecondite language
to give utterance to the merits of these characters? And were I also
able to induce the inmates of the inner chamber to understand and
diffuse them, could I besides break the weariness of even so much as a
single moment, or could I open the eyes of my contemporaries, will it
not forsooth prove a boon?

This consideration has led to the usage of such names as Chia Yü-
ts’un and other similar appellations.

More than any in these pages have been employed such words as
dreams and visions; but these dreams constitute the main argument of
this work, and combine, furthermore, the design of giving a word of
warning to my readers.

Reader, can you suggest whence the story begins?
The narration may border on the limits of incoherency and triviality,

but it possesses considerable zest. But to begin.
The Empress Nü Wo, (the goddess of works,) in fashioning blocks

of stones, for the repair of the heavens, prepared, at the Ta Huang Hills
and Wu Ch’i cave, 36,501 blocks of rough stone, each twelve chang in
height, and twenty-four chang square. Of these stones, the Empress
Wo only used 36,500; so that one single block remained over and
above, without being turned to any account. This was cast down the
Ch’ing Keng peak. This stone, strange to say, after having undergone a
process of refinement, attained a nature of efficiency, and could, by its


innate powers, set itself into motion and was able to expand and to

When it became aware that the whole number of blocks had been
made use of to repair the heavens, that it alone had been destitute of
the necessary properties and had been unfit to attain selection, it
forthwith felt within itself vexation and shame, and day and night, it
gave way to anguish and sorrow.

One day, while it lamented its lot, it suddenly caught sight, at a
great distance, of a Buddhist bonze and of a Taoist priest coming
towards that direction. Their appearance was uncommon, their easy
manner remarkable. When they drew near this Ch’ing Keng peak, they
sat on the ground to rest, and began to converse. But on noticing the
block newly-polished and brilliantly clear, which had moreover
contracted in dimensions, and become no larger than the pendant of a
fan, they were greatly filled with admiration. The Buddhist priest
picked it up, and laid it in the palm of his hand.

“Your appearance,” he said laughingly, “may well declare you to be
a supernatural object, but as you lack any inherent quality it is
necessary to inscribe a few characters on you, so that every one who
shall see you may at once recognise you to be a remarkable thing. And
subsequently, when you will be taken into a country where honour and
affluence will reign, into a family cultured in mind and of official
status, in a land where flowers and trees shall flourish with luxuriance,
in a town of refinement, renown and glory; when you once will have
been there…”

The stone listened with intense delight.
“What characters may I ask,” it consequently inquired, “will you

inscribe? and what place will I be taken to? pray, pray explain to me in
lucid terms.” “You mustn’t be inquisitive,” the bonze replied, with a
smile, “in days to come you’ll certainly understand everything.”
Having concluded these words, he forthwith put the stone in his
sleeve, and proceeded leisurely on his journey, in company with the
Taoist priest. Whither, however, he took the stone, is not divulged. Nor
can it be known how many centuries and ages elapsed, before a Taoist
priest, K’ung K’ung by name, passed, during his researches after the
eternal reason and his quest after immortality, by these Ta Huang Hills,
Wu Ch’i cave and Ch’ing Keng Peak. Suddenly perceiving a large
block of stone, on the surface of which the traces of characters giving,
in a connected form, the various incidents of its fate, could be clearly


deciphered, K’ung K’ung examined them from first to last. They, in
fact, explained how that this block of worthless stone had originally
been devoid of the properties essential for the repairs to the heavens,
how it would be transmuted into human form and introduced by Mang
Mang the High Lord, and Miao Miao, the Divine, into the world of
mortals, and how it would be led over the other bank (across the San
Sara). On the surface, the record of the spot where it would fall, the
place of its birth, as well as various family trifles and trivial love
affairs of young ladies, verses, odes, speeches and enigmas was still
complete; but the name of the dynasty and the year of the reign were
obliterated, and could not be ascertained.

On the obverse, were also the following enigmatical verses:

Lacking in virtues meet the azure skies to mend,
In vain the mortal world full many a year I wend,
Of a former and after life these facts that be,
Who will for a tradition strange record for me?

K’ung K’ung, the Taoist, having pondered over these lines for a
while, became aware that this stone had a history of some kind.

“Brother stone,” he forthwith said, addressing the stone, “the
concerns of past days recorded on you possess, according to your own
account, a considerable amount of interest, and have been for this
reason inscribed, with the intent of soliciting generations to hand them
down as remarkable occurrences. But in my own opinion, they lack, in
the first place, any data by means of which to establish the name of the
Emperor and the year of his reign; and, in the second place, these
constitute no record of any excellent policy, adopted by any high
worthies or high loyal statesmen, in the government of the state, or in
the rule of public morals. The contents simply treat of a certain
number of maidens, of exceptional character; either of their love
affairs or infatuations, or of their small deserts or insignificant talents;
and were I to transcribe the whole collection of them, they would,
nevertheless, not be estimated as a book of any exceptional worth.”

“Sir Priest,” the stone replied with assurance, “why are you so
excessively dull? The dynasties recorded in the rustic histories, which
have been written from age to age, have, I am fain to think, invariably
assumed, under false pretences, the mere nomenclature of the Han and
T’ang dynasties. They differ from the events inscribed on my block,


which do not borrow this customary practice, but, being based on my
own experiences and natural feelings, present, on the contrary, a novel
and unique character. Besides, in the pages of these rustic histories,
either the aspersions upon sovereigns and statesmen, or the strictures
upon individuals, their wives, and their daughters, or the deeds of
licentiousness and violence are too numerous to be computed. Indeed,
there is one more kind of loose literature, the wantonness and pollution
in which work most easy havoc upon youth.

“As regards the works, in which the characters of scholars and
beauties is delineated their allusions are again repeatedly of Wen
Chün, their theme in every page of Tzu Chien; a thousand volumes
present no diversity; and a thousand characters are but a counterpart of
each other. What is more, these works, throughout all their pages,
cannot help bordering on extreme licence. The authors, however, had
no other object in view than to give utterance to a few sentimental
odes and elegant ballads of their own, and for this reason they have
fictitiously invented the names and surnames of both men and women,
and necessarily introduced, in addition, some low characters, who
should, like a buffoon in a play, create some excitement in the plot.

“Still more loathsome is a kind of pedantic and profligate literature,
perfectly devoid of all natural sentiment, full of self-contradictions;
and, in fact, the contrast to those maidens in my work, whom I have,
during half my lifetime, seen with my own eyes and heard with my
own ears. And though I will not presume to estimate them as superior
to the heroes and heroines in the works of former ages, yet the perusal
of the motives and issues of their experiences, may likewise afford
matter sufficient to banish dulness, and to break the spell of

“As regards the several stanzas of doggerel verse, they may too
evoke such laughter as to compel the reader to blurt out the rice, and to
spurt out the wine.

“In these pages, the scenes depicting the anguish of separation, the
bliss of reunion, and the fortunes of prosperity and of adversity are all,
in every detail, true to human nature, and I have not taken upon myself
to make the slightest addition, or alteration, which might lead to the
perversion of the truth.

“My only object has been that men may, after a drinking bout, or
after they wake from sleep or when in need of relaxation from the
pressure of business, take up this light literature, and not only expunge


the traces of antiquated books, and obtain a new kind of distraction,
but that they may also lay by a long life as well as energy and strength;
for it bears no point of similarity to those works, whose designs are
false, whose course is immoral. Now, Sir Priest, what are your views
on the subject?”

K’ung K’ung having pondered for a while over the words, to which
he had listened intently, re-perused, throughout, this record of the
stone; and finding that the general purport consisted of nought else
than a treatise on love, and likewise of an accurate transcription of
facts, without the least taint of profligacy injurious to the times, he
thereupon copied the contents, from beginning to end, to the intent of
charging the world to hand them down as a strange story.

Hence it was that K’ung K’ung, the Taoist, in consequence of his
perception, (in his state of) abstraction, of passion, the generation,
from this passion, of voluptuousness, the transmission of this
voluptuousness into passion, and the apprehension, by means of
passion, of its unreality, forthwith altered his name for that of “Ch’ing
Tseng” (the Voluptuous Bonze), and changed the title of “the Memoir
of a Stone” (Shih-t’ou-chi,) for that of “Ch’ing Tseng Lu,” The Record
of the Voluptuous Bonze; while K’ung Mei-chi of Tung Lu gave it the
name of “Feng Yüeh Pao Chien,” “The Precious Mirror of
Voluptuousness.” In later years, owing to the devotion by Tsao Hsüeh-
ch’in in the Tao Hung study, of ten years to the perusal and revision of
the work, the additions and modifications effected by him five times,
the affix of an index and the division into periods and chapters, the
book was again entitled “Chin Ling Shih Erh Ch’ai,” “The Twelve
Maidens of Chin Ling.” A stanza was furthermore composed for the
purpose. This then, and no other, is the origin of the Record of the
Stone. The poet says appositely:—

Pages full of silly litter,
Tears a handful sour and bitter;
All a fool the author hold,
But their zest who can unfold?

You have now understood the causes which brought about the
Record of the Stone, but as you are not, as yet, aware what characters
are depicted, and what circumstances are related on the surface of the
block, reader, please lend an ear to the narrative on the stone, which

runs as follows:—
In old days, the land in the South East lay low. In this South-East

part of the world, was situated a walled town, Ku Su by name. Within
the walls a locality, called the Ch’ang Men, was more than all others
throughout the mortal world, the centre, which held the second, if not
the first place for fashion and life. Beyond this Ch’ang Men was a
street called Shih-li-chieh (Ten Li street); in this street a lane, the Jen
Ch’ing lane (Humanity and Purity); and in this lane stood an old
temple, which on account of its diminutive dimensions, was called, by
general consent, the Gourd temple. Next door to this temple lived the
family of a district official, Chen by surname, Fei by name, and Shih-
yin by style. His wife, née Feng, possessed a worthy and virtuous
disposition, and had a clear perception of moral propriety and good
conduct. This family, though not in actual possession of excessive
affluence and honours, was, nevertheless, in their district, conceded to
be a clan of well-to-do standing. As this Chen Shih-yin was of a
contented and unambitious frame of mind, and entertained no
hankering after any official distinction, but day after day of his life
took delight in gazing at flowers, planting bamboos, sipping his wine
and conning poetical works, he was in fact, in the indulgence of these
pursuits, as happy as a supernatural being.

One thing alone marred his happiness. He had lived over half a
century and had, as yet, no male offspring around his knees. He had
one only child, a daughter, whose infant name was Ying Lien. She was
just three years of age. On a long summer day, on which the heat had
been intense, Shih-yin sat leisurely in his library. Feeling his hand
tired, he dropped the book he held, leant his head on a teapoy, and fell

Of a sudden, while in this state of unconsciousness, it seemed as if
he had betaken himself on foot to some spot or other whither he could
not discriminate. Unexpectedly he espied, in the opposite direction,
two priests coming towards him: the one a Buddhist, the other a Taoist.
As they advanced they kept up the conversation in which they were
engaged. “Whither do you purpose taking the object you have brought
away?” he heard the Taoist inquire. To this question the Buddhist
replied with a smile: “Set your mind at ease,” he said; “there’s now in
maturity a plot of a general character involving mundane pleasures,
which will presently come to a denouement. The whole number of the
votaries of voluptuousness have, as yet, not been quickened or entered


the world, and I mean to avail myself of this occasion to introduce this
object among their number, so as to give it a chance to go through the
span of human existence.” “The votaries of voluptuousness of these
days will naturally have again to endure the ills of life during their
course through the mortal world,” the Taoist remarked; “but when, I
wonder, will they spring into existence? and in what place will they

“The account of these circumstances,” the bonze ventured to reply,
“is enough to make you laugh! They amount to this: there existed in
the west, on the bank of the Ling (spiritual) river, by the side of the
San Sheng (thrice-born) stone, a blade of the Chiang Chu (purple
pearl) grass. At about the same time it was that the block of stone was,
consequent upon its rejection by the goddess of works, also left to
ramble and wander to its own gratification, and to roam about at
pleasure to every and any place. One day it came within the precincts
of the Ching Huan (Monitory Vision) Fairy; and this Fairy, cognizant
of the fact that this stone had a history, detained it, therefore, to reside
at the Ch’ih Hsia (purple clouds) palace, and apportioned to it the
duties of attendant on Shen Ying, a fairy of the Ch’ih Hsia palace.

“This stone would, however, often stroll along the banks of the Ling
river, and having at the sight of the blade of spiritual grass been filled
with admiration, it, day by day, moistened its roots with sweet dew.
This purple pearl grass, at the outset, tarried for months and years; but
being at a later period imbued with the essence and luxuriance of
heaven and earth, and having incessantly received the moisture and
nurture of the sweet dew, divested itself, in course of time, of the form
of a grass; assuming, in lieu, a human nature, which gradually became
perfected into the person of a girl.

“Every day she was wont to wander beyond the confines of the Li
Hen (divested animosities) heavens. When hungry she fed on the Pi
Ch’ing (hidden love) fruit—when thirsty she drank the Kuan ch’ou
(discharged sorrows,) water. Having, however, up to this time, not
shewn her gratitude for the virtue of nurture lavished upon her, the
result was but natural that she should resolve in her heart upon a
constant and incessant purpose to make suitable acknowledgment.

“I have been,” she would often commune within herself, “the
recipient of the gracious bounty of rain and dew, but I possess no such
water as was lavished upon me to repay it! But should it ever descend
into the world in the form of a human being, I will also betake myself


thither, along with it; and if I can only have the means of making
restitution to it, with the tears of a whole lifetime, I may be able to
make adequate return.”

“This resolution it is that will evolve the descent into the world of
so many pleasure-bound spirits of retribution and the experience of
fantastic destinies; and this crimson pearl blade will also be among the
number. The stone still lies in its original place, and why should not
you and I take it along before the tribunal of the Monitory Vision
Fairy, and place on its behalf its name on record, so that it should
descend into the world, in company with these spirits of passion, and
bring this plot to an issue?”

“It is indeed ridiculous,” interposed the Taoist. “Never before have I
heard even the very mention of restitution by means of tears! Why
should not you and I avail ourselves of this opportunity to likewise go
down into the world? and if successful in effecting the salvation of a
few of them, will it not be a work meritorious and virtuous?”

“This proposal,” remarked the Buddhist, “is quite in harmony with
my own views. Come along then with me to the palace of the
Monitory Vision Fairy, and let us deliver up this good-for-nothing
object, and have done with it! And when the company of pleasure-
bound spirits of wrath descend into human existence, you and I can
then enter the world. Half of them have already fallen into the dusty
universe, but the whole number of them have not, as yet, come

“Such being the case,” the Taoist acquiesced, “I am ready to follow
you, whenever you please to go.”

But to return to Chen Shih-yin. Having heard every one of these
words distinctly, he could not refrain from forthwith stepping forward
and paying homage. “My spiritual lords,” he said, as he smiled,
“accept my obeisance.” The Buddhist and Taoist priests lost no time in
responding to the compliment, and they exchanged the usual
salutations. “My spiritual lords,” Shih-yin continued; “I have just heard
the conversation that passed between you, on causes and effects, a
conversation the like of which few mortals have forsooth listened to;
but your younger brother is sluggish of intellect, and cannot lucidly
fathom the import! Yet could this dulness and simplicity be graciously
dispelled, your younger brother may, by listening minutely, with
undefiled ear and careful attention, to a certain degree be aroused to a
sense of understanding; and what is more, possibly find the means of



escaping the anguish of sinking down into Hades.”
The two spirits smiled, “The conversation,” they added, “refers to

the primordial scheme and cannot be divulged before the proper
season; but, when the time comes, mind do not forget us two, and you
will readily be able to escape from the fiery furnace.”

Shih-yin, after this reply, felt it difficult to make any further
inquiries. “The primordial scheme,” he however remarked smiling,
“cannot, of course, be divulged; but what manner of thing, I wonder, is
the good-for-nothing object you alluded to a short while back? May I
not be allowed to judge for myself?”

“This object about which you ask,” the Buddhist Bonze responded,
“is intended, I may tell you, by fate to be just glanced at by you.” With
these words he produced it, and handed it over to Shih-yin.

Shih-yin received it. On scrutiny he found it, in fact, to be a
beautiful gem, so lustrous and so clear that the traces of characters on
the surface were distinctly visible. The characters inscribed consisted
of the four “T’ung Ling Pao Yü,” “Precious Gem of Spiritual
Perception.” On the obverse, were also several columns of minute
words, which he was just in the act of looking at intently, when the
Buddhist at once expostulated.

“We have already reached,” he exclaimed, “the confines of vision.”
Snatching it violently out of his hands, he walked away with the
Taoist, under a lofty stone portal, on the face of which appeared in
large type the four characters: “T’ai Hsü Huan Ching,” “The Visionary
limits of the Great Void.” On each side was a scroll with the lines:

When falsehood stands for truth, truth likewise becomes false,
Where naught be made to aught, aught changes into naught.

Shih-yin meant also to follow them on the other side, but, as he was
about to make one step forward, he suddenly heard a crash, just as if
the mountains had fallen into ruins, and the earth sunk into destruction.
As Shih-yin uttered a loud shout, he looked with strained eye; but all
he could see was the fiery sun shining, with glowing rays, while the
banana leaves drooped their heads. By that time, half of the
circumstances connected with the dream he had had, had already
slipped from his memory.

He also noticed a nurse coming towards him with Ying Lien in her
arms. To Shih-yin’s eyes his daughter appeared even more beautiful,



such a bright gem, so precious, and so lovable. Forthwith stretching
out his arms, he took her over, and, as he held her in his embrace, he
coaxed her to play with him for a while; after which he brought her up
to the street to see the great stir occasioned by the procession that was
going past.

He was about to come in, when he caught sight of two priests, one a
Taoist, the other a Buddhist, coming hither from the opposite direction.
The Buddhist had a head covered with mange, and went barefooted.
The Taoist had a limping foot, and his hair was all dishevelled.

Like maniacs, they jostled along, chattering and laughing as they
drew near.

As soon as they reached Shih-yin’s door, and they perceived him
with Ying Lien in his arms, the Bonze began to weep aloud.

Turning towards Shih-yin, he said to him: “My good Sir, why need
you carry in your embrace this living but luckless thing, which will
involve father and mother in trouble?”

These words did not escape Shih-yin’s ear; but persuaded that they
amounted to raving talk, he paid no heed whatever to the bonze.

“Part with her and give her to me,” the Buddhist still went on to say.
Shih-yin could not restrain his annoyance; and hastily pressing his

daughter closer to him, he was intent upon going in, when the bonze
pointed his hand at him, and burst out in a loud fit of laughter.

He then gave utterance to the four lines that follow:

You indulge your tender daughter and are laughed at as inane;
Vain you face the snow, oh mirror! for it will evanescent wane,
When the festival of lanterns is gone by, guard ‘gainst your doom,
‘Tis what time the flames will kindle, and the fire will consume.

Shih-yin understood distinctly the full import of what he heard; but
his heart was still full of conjectures. He was about to inquire who and
what they were, when he heard the Taoist remark,—”You and I cannot
speed together; let us now part company, and each of us will be then
able to go after his own business. After the lapse of three ages, I shall
be at the Pei Mang mount, waiting for you; and we can, after our
reunion, betake ourselves to the Visionary Confines of the Great Void,
there to cancel the name of the stone from the records.”

“Excellent! first rate!” exclaimed the Bonze. And at the conclusion
of these words, the two men parted, each going his own way, and no


trace was again seen of them.
“These two men,” Shih-yin then pondered within his heart, “must

have had many experiences, and I ought really to have made more
inquiries of them; but at this juncture to indulge in regret is anyhow
too late.”

While Shih-yin gave way to these foolish reflections, he suddenly
noticed the arrival of a penniless scholar, Chia by surname, Hua by
name, Shih-fei by style and Yü-ts’un by nickname, who had taken up
his quarters in the Gourd temple next door. This Chia Yü-ts’un was
originally a denizen of Hu-Chow, and was also of literary and official
parentage, but as he was born of the youngest stock, and the
possessions of his paternal and maternal ancestors were completely
exhausted, and his parents and relatives were dead, he remained the
sole and only survivor; and, as he found his residence in his native
place of no avail, he therefore entered the capital in search of that
reputation, which would enable him to put the family estate on a
proper standing. He had arrived at this place since the year before last,
and had, what is more, lived all along in very straitened circumstances.
He had made the temple his temporary quarters, and earned a living by
daily occupying himself in composing documents and writing letters
for customers. Thus it was that Shih-yin had been in constant relations
with him.

As soon as Yü-ts’un perceived Shih-yin, he lost no time in saluting
him. “My worthy Sir,” he observed with a forced smile; “how is it you
are leaning against the door and looking out? Is there perchance any
news astir in the streets, or in the public places?”

“None whatever,” replied Shih-yin, as he returned the smile. “Just a
while back, my young daughter was in sobs, and I coaxed her out here
to amuse her. I am just now without anything whatever to attend to, so
that, dear brother Chia, you come just in the nick of time. Please walk
into my mean abode, and let us endeavour, in each other’s company, to
while away this long summer day.”

After he had made this remark, he bade a servant take his daughter
in, while he, hand-in-hand with Yü-ts’un, walked into the library,
where a young page served tea. They had hardly exchanged a few
sentences, when one of the household came in, in flying haste, to
announce that Mr. Yen had come to pay a visit.

Shih-yin at once stood up. “Pray excuse my rudeness,” he remarked
apologetically, “but do sit down; I shall shortly rejoin you, and enjoy


the pleasure of your society.” “My dear Sir,” answered Yü-ts’un, as he
got up, also in a conceding way, “suit your own convenience. I’ve often
had the honour of being your guest, and what will it matter if I wait a
little?” While these apologies were yet being spoken, Shih-yin had
already walked out into the front parlour. During his absence, Yü-ts’un
occupied himself in turning over the pages of some poetical work to
dispel ennui, when suddenly he heard, outside the window, a woman’s
cough. Yü-ts’un hurriedly got up and looked out. He saw at a glance
that it was a servant girl engaged in picking flowers. Her deportment
was out of the common; her eyes so bright, her eyebrows so well
defined. Though not a perfect beauty, she possessed nevertheless
charms sufficient to arouse the feelings. Yü-ts’un unwittingly gazed at
her with fixed eye. This waiting-maid, belonging to the Chen family,
had done picking flowers, and was on the point of going in, when she
of a sudden raised her eyes and became aware of the presence of some
person inside the window, whose head-gear consisted of a turban in
tatters, while his clothes were the worse for wear. But in spite of his
poverty, he was naturally endowed with a round waist, a broad back, a
fat face, a square mouth; added to this, his eyebrows were swordlike,
his eyes resembled stars, his nose was straight, his cheeks square.

This servant girl turned away in a hurry and made her escape.
“This man so burly and strong,” she communed within herself, “yet

at the same time got up in such poor attire, must, I expect, be no one
else than the man, whose name is Chia Yü-ts’un or such like, time after
time referred to by my master, and to whom he has repeatedly wished
to give a helping hand, but has failed to find a favourable opportunity.
And as related to our family there is no connexion or friend in such
straits, I feel certain it cannot be any other person than he. Strange to
say, my master has further remarked that this man will, for a certainty,
not always continue in such a state of destitution.”

As she indulged in this train of thought, she could not restrain
herself from turning her head round once or twice.

When Yü-ts’un perceived that she had looked back, he readily
interpreted it as a sign that in her heart her thoughts had been of him,
and he was frantic with irrepressible joy.

“This girl,” he mused, “is, no doubt, keen-eyed and eminently
shrewd, and one in this world who has seen through me.”

The servant youth, after a short time, came into the room; and when
Yü-ts’un made inquiries and found out from him that the guests in the


front parlour had been detained to dinner, he could not very well wait
any longer, and promptly walked away down a side passage and out of
a back door.

When the guests had taken their leave, Shih-yin did not go back to
rejoin Yü-ts’un, as he had come to know that he had already left.

In time the mid-autumn festivities drew near; and Shih-yin, after the
family banquet was over, had a separate table laid in the library, and
crossed over, in the moonlight, as far as the temple and invited Yü-
ts’un to come round.

The fact is that Yü-ts’un, ever since the day on which he had seen
the girl of the Chen family turn twice round to glance at him, flattered
himself that she was friendly disposed towards him, and incessantly
fostered fond thoughts of her in his heart. And on this day, which
happened to be the mid-autumn feast, he could not, as he gazed at the
moon, refrain from cherishing her remembrance. Hence it was that he
gave vent to these pentameter verses:

Alas! not yet divined my lifelong wish,
And anguish ceaseless comes upon anguish
I came, and sad at heart, my brow I frowned;
She went, and oft her head to look turned round.
Facing the breeze, her shadow she doth watch,
Who’s meet this moonlight night with her to match?
The lustrous rays if they my wish but read
Would soon alight upon her beauteous head!

Yü-ts’un having, after this recitation, recalled again to mind how
that throughout his lifetime his literary attainments had had an adverse
fate and not met with an opportunity (of reaping distinction), went on
to rub his brow, and as he raised his eyes to the skies, he heaved a deep
sigh and once more intoned a couplet aloud:

The gem in the cask a high price it seeks,
The pin in the case to take wing it waits.

As luck would have it, Shih-yin was at the moment approaching,
and upon hearing the lines, he said with a smile: “My dear Yü-ts’un,
really your attainments are of no ordinary capacity.”

Yü-ts’un lost no time in smiling and replying. “It would be
presumption in my part to think so,” he observed. “I was simply at


random humming a few verses composed by former writers, and what
reason is there to laud me to such an excessive degree? To what, my
dear Sir, do I owe the pleasure of your visit?” he went on to inquire.
“Tonight,” replied Shih-yin, “is the mid-autumn feast, generally known
as the full-moon festival; and as I could not help thinking that living,
as you my worthy brother are, as a mere stranger in this Buddhist
temple, you could not but experience the feeling of loneliness. I have,
for the express purpose, prepared a small entertainment, and will be
pleased if you will come to my mean abode to have a glass of wine.
But I wonder whether you will entertain favourably my modest
invitation?” Yü-ts’un, after listening to the proposal, put forward no
refusal of any sort; but remarked complacently: “Being the recipient of
such marked attention, how can I presume to repel your generous

As he gave expression to these words, he walked off there and then,
in company with Shih-yin, and came over once again into the court in
front of the library. In a few minutes, tea was over.

The cups and dishes had been laid from an early hour, and needless
to say the wines were luscious; the fare sumptuous.

The two friends took their seats. At first they leisurely replenished
their glasses, and quietly sipped their wine; but as, little by little, they
entered into conversation, their good cheer grew more genial, and
unawares the glasses began to fly round, and the cups to be exchanged.

At this very hour, in every house of the neighbourhood, sounded the
fife and lute, while the inmates indulged in music and singing. Above
head, the orb of the radiant moon shone with an all-pervading
splendour, and with a steady lustrous light, while the two friends, as
their exuberance increased, drained their cups dry so soon as they
reached their lips.

Yü-ts’un, at this stage of the collation, was considerably under the
influence of wine, and the vehemence of his high spirits was
irrepressible. As he gazed at the moon, he fostered thoughts, to which
he gave vent by the recital of a double couplet.

‘Tis what time three meets five, Selene is a globe!
Her pure rays fill the court, the jadelike rails enrobe!
Lo! in the heavens her disk to view doth now arise,
And in the earth below to gaze men lift their eyes.


“Excellent!” cried Shih-yin with a loud voice, after he had heard
these lines; “I have repeatedly maintained that it was impossible for
you to remain long inferior to any, and now the verses you have recited
are a prognostic of your rapid advancement. Already it is evident that,
before long, you will extend your footsteps far above the clouds! I
must congratulate you! I must congratulate you! Let me, with my own
hands, pour a glass of wine to pay you my compliments.”

Yü-ts’un drained the cup. “What I am about to say,” he explained as
he suddenly heaved a sigh, “is not the maudlin talk of a man under the
effects of wine. As far as the subjects at present set in the examinations
go, I could, perchance, also have well been able to enter the list, and to
send in my name as a candidate; but I have, just now, no means
whatever to make provision for luggage and for travelling expenses.
The distance too to Shen Ching is a long one, and I could not depend
upon the sale of papers or the composition of essays to find the means
of getting there.”

Shih-yin gave him no time to conclude. “Why did you not speak
about this sooner?” he interposed with haste. “I have long entertained
this suspicion; but as, whenever I met you, this conversation was never
broached, I did not presume to make myself officious. But if such be
the state of affairs just now, I lack, I admit, literary qualification, but
on the two subjects of friendly spirit and pecuniary means, I have,
nevertheless, some experience. Moreover, I rejoice that next year is
just the season for the triennial examinations, and you should start for
the capital with all despatch; and in the tripos next spring, you will, by
carrying the prize, be able to do justice to the proficiency you can
boast of. As regards the travelling expenses and the other items, the
provision of everything necessary for you by my own self will again
not render nugatory your mean acquaintance with me.”

Forthwith, he directed a servant lad to go and pack up at once fifty
taels of pure silver and two suits of winter clothes.

“The nineteenth,” he continued, “is a propitious day, and you should
lose no time in hiring a boat and starting on your journey westwards.
And when, by your eminent talents, you shall have soared high to a
lofty position, and we meet again next winter, will not the occasion be
extremely felicitous?”

Yü-ts’un accepted the money and clothes with but scanty expression
of gratitude. In fact, he paid no thought whatever to the gifts, but went
on, again drinking his wine, as he chattered and laughed.



It was only when the third watch of that day had already struck that
the two friends parted company; and Shih-yin, after seeing Yü-ts’un
off, retired to his room and slept, with one sleep all through, never
waking until the sun was well up in the skies.

Remembering the occurrence of the previous night, he meant to
write a couple of letters of recommendation for Yü-ts’un to take along
with him to the capital, to enable him, after handing them over at the
mansions of certain officials, to find some place as a temporary home.
He accordingly despatched a servant to ask him to come round, but the
man returned and reported that from what the bonze said, “Mr. Chia
had started on his journey to the capital, at the fifth watch of that very
morning, that he had also left a message with the bonze to deliver to
you, Sir, to the effect that men of letters paid no heed to lucky or
unlucky days, that the sole consideration with them was the nature of
the matter in hand, and that he could find no time to come round in
person and bid good-bye.”

Shih-yin after hearing this message had no alternative but to banish
the subject from his thoughts.

In comfortable circumstances, time indeed goes by with easy stride.
Soon drew near also the happy festival of the 15th of the 1st moon,
and Shih-yin told a servant Huo Ch’i to take Ying Lien to see the
sacrificial fires and flowery lanterns.

About the middle of the night, Huo Ch’i was hard pressed, and he
forthwith set Ying Lien down on the doorstep of a certain house. When
he felt relieved, he came back to take her up, but failed to find
anywhere any trace of Ying Lien. In a terrible plight, Huo Ch’i
prosecuted his search throughout half the night; but even by the dawn
of day, he had not discovered any clue of her whereabouts. Huo Ch’i,
lacking, on the other hand, the courage to go back and face his master,
promptly made his escape to his native village.

Shih-yin—in fact, the husband as well as the wife—seeing that their
child had not come home during the whole night, readily concluded
that some mishap must have befallen her. Hastily they despatched
several servants to go in search of her, but one and all returned to
report that there was neither vestige nor tidings of her.

This couple had only had this child, and this at the meridian of their
life, so that her sudden disappearance plunged them in such great
distress that day and night they mourned her loss to such a point as to
well nigh pay no heed to their very lives.


A month in no time went by. Shih-yin was the first to fall ill, and his
wife, Dame Feng, likewise, by dint of fretting for her daughter, was
also prostrated with sickness. The doctor was, day after day, sent for,
and the oracle consulted by means of divination.

Little did any one think that on this day, being the 15th of the 3rd
moon, while the sacrificial oblations were being prepared in the Hu Lu
temple, a pan with oil would have caught fire, through the want of care
on the part of the bonze, and that in a short time the flames would have
consumed the paper pasted on the windows.

Among the natives of this district bamboo fences and wooden
partitions were in general use, and these too proved a source of
calamity so ordained by fate (to consummate this decree).

With promptness (the fire) extended to two buildings, then
enveloped three, then dragged four (into ruin), and then spread to five
houses, until the whole street was in a blaze, resembling the flames of
a volcano. Though both the military and the people at once ran to the
rescue, the fire had already assumed a serious hold, so that it was
impossible for them to afford any effective assistance for its

It blazed away straight through the night, before it was
extinguished, and consumed, there is in fact no saying how many
dwelling houses. Anyhow, pitiful to relate, the Chen house, situated as
it was next door to the temple, was, at an early part of the evening,
reduced to a heap of tiles and bricks; and nothing but the lives of that
couple and several inmates of the family did not sustain any injuries.

Shih-yin was in despair, but all he could do was to stamp his feet
and heave deep sighs. After consulting with his wife, they betook
themselves to a farm of theirs, where they took up their quarters
temporarily. But as it happened that water had of late years been
scarce, and no crops been reaped, robbers and thieves had sprung up
like bees, and though the Government troops were bent upon their
capture, it was anyhow difficult to settle down quietly on the farm. He
therefore had no other resource than to convert, at a loss, the whole of
his property into money, and to take his wife and two servant girls and
come over for shelter to the house of his father-in-law.

His father-in-law, Feng Su, by name, was a native of Ta Ju Chou.
Although only a labourer, he was nevertheless in easy circumstances at
home. When he on this occasion saw his son-in-law come to him in
such distress, he forthwith felt at heart considerable displeasure.


Fortunately Shih-yin had still in his possession the money derived
from the unprofitable realization of his property, so that he produced
and handed it to his father-in-law, commissioning him to purchase,
whenever a suitable opportunity presented itself, a house and land as a
provision for food and raiment against days to come. This Feng Su,
however, only expended the half of the sum, and pocketed the other
half, merely acquiring for him some fallow land and a dilapidated

Shih-yin being, on the other hand, a man of books and with no
experience in matters connected with business and with sowing and
reaping, subsisted, by hook and by crook, for about a year or two,
when he became more impoverished.

In his presence, Feng Su would readily give vent to specious
utterances, while, with others, and behind his back, he on the contrary
expressed his indignation against his improvidence in his mode of
living, and against his sole delight of eating and playing the lazy.

Shih-yin, aware of the want of harmony with his father-in-law,
could not help giving way, in his own heart, to feelings of regret and
pain. In addition to this, the fright and vexation which he had
undergone the year before, the anguish and suffering (he had had to
endure), had already worked havoc (on his constitution); and being a
man advanced in years, and assailed by the joint attack of poverty and
disease, he at length gradually began to display symptoms of decline.

Strange coincidence, as he, on this day, came leaning on his staff
and with considerable strain, as far as the street for a little relaxation,
he suddenly caught sight, approaching from the off side, of a Taoist
priest with a crippled foot; his maniac appearance so repulsive, his
shoes of straw, his dress all in tatters, muttering several sentiments to
this effect:


All men spiritual life know to be good,
But fame to disregard they ne’er succeed!
From old till now the statesmen where are they?
Waste lie their graves, a heap of grass, extinct.
All men spiritual life know to be good,
But to forget gold, silver, ill succeed!
Through life they grudge their hoardings to be scant,
And when plenty has come, their eyelids close.
All men spiritual life hold to be good,
Yet to forget wives, maids, they ne’er succeed!
Who speak of grateful love while lives their lord,
And dead their lord, another they pursue.
All men spiritual life know to be good,
But sons and grandsons to forget never succeed!
From old till now of parents soft many,
But filial sons and grandsons who have seen?

Shih-yin upon hearing these words, hastily came up to the priest,
“What were you so glibly holding forth?” he inquired. “All I could
hear were a lot of hao liao (excellent, finality.”)

“You may well have heard the two words ‘hao liao,'” answered the
Taoist with a smile, “but can you be said to have fathomed their
meaning? You should know that all things in this world are excellent,
when they have attained finality; when they have attained finality, they
are excellent; but when they have not attained finality, they are not
excellent; if they would be excellent, they should attain finality. My
song is entitled Excellent-finality (hao liao).”

Shih-yin was gifted with a natural perspicacity that enabled him, as
soon as he heard these remarks, to grasp their spirit.

“Wait a while,” he therefore said smilingly; “let me unravel this
excellent-finality song of yours; do you mind?”

“Please by all means go on with the interpretation,” urged the
Taoist; whereupon Shih-yin proceeded in this strain:


Sordid rooms and vacant courts,
Replete in years gone by with beds where statesmen lay;
Parched grass and withered banian trees,
Where once were halls for song and dance!
Spiders’ webs the carved pillars intertwine,
The green gauze now is also pasted on the straw windows!
What about the cosmetic fresh concocted or the powder just scented;
Why has the hair too on each temple become white like hoarfrost!
Yesterday the tumulus of yellow earth buried the bleached bones,
To-night under the red silk curtain reclines the couple!
Gold fills the coffers, silver fills the boxes,
But in a twinkle, the beggars will all abuse you!
While you deplore that the life of others is not long,
You forget that you yourself are approaching death!
You educate your sons with all propriety,
But they may some day, ’tis hard to say become thieves;
Though you choose (your fare and home) the fatted beam,
You may, who can say, fall into some place of easy virtue!
Through your dislike of the gauze hat as mean,
You have come to be locked in a cangue;
Yesterday, poor fellow, you felt cold in a tattered coat,
To-day, you despise the purple embroidered dress as long!
Confusion reigns far and wide! you have just sung your part, I come on the

Instead of yours, you recognise another as your native land;
What utter perversion!
In one word, it comes to this we make wedding clothes for others!
(We sow for others to reap.)

The crazy limping Taoist clapped his hands. “Your interpretation is
explicit,” he remarked with a hearty laugh, “your interpretation is

Shih-yin promptly said nothing more than,—”Walk on;” and seizing
the stole from the Taoist’s shoulder, he flung it over his own. He did
not, however, return home, but leisurely walked away, in company
with the eccentric priest.

The report of his disappearance was at once bruited abroad, and
plunged the whole neighbourhood in commotion; and converted into a
piece of news, it was circulated from mouth to mouth.

Dame Feng, Shih-yin’s wife, upon hearing the tidings, had such a fit
of weeping that she hung between life and death; but her only
alternative was to consult with her father, and to despatch servants on
all sides to institute inquiries. No news was however received of him,
and she had nothing else to do but to practise resignation, and to



remain dependent upon the support of her parents for her subsistence.
She had fortunately still by her side, to wait upon her, two servant
girls, who had been with her in days gone by; and the three of them,
mistress as well as servants, occupied themselves day and night with
needlework, to assist her father in his daily expenses.

This Feng Su had after all, in spite of his daily murmurings against
his bad luck, no help but to submit to the inevitable.

On a certain day, the elder servant girl of the Chen family was at the
door purchasing thread, and while there, she of a sudden heard in the
street shouts of runners clearing the way, and every one explain that
the new magistrate had come to take up his office.

The girl, as she peeped out from inside the door, perceived the
lictors and policemen go by two by two; and when unexpectedly in a
state chair, was carried past an official, in black hat and red coat, she
was indeed quite taken aback.

“The face of this officer would seem familiar,” she argued within
herself; “just as if I had seen him somewhere or other ere this.”

Shortly she entered the house, and banishing at once the occurrence
from her mind, she did not give it a second thought. At night, however,
while she was waiting to go to bed, she suddenly heard a sound like a
rap at the door. A band of men boisterously cried out: “We are
messengers, deputed by the worthy magistrate of this district, and
come to summon one of you to an enquiry.”

Feng Su, upon hearing these words, fell into such a terrible
consternation that his eyes stared wide and his mouth gaped.

What calamity was impending is not as yet ascertained, but, reader,
listen to the explanation contained in the next chapter.

Chapter II

The spirit of Mrs. Chia Shih-yin departs from the town of Yang Chou.
Leng Tzu-hsing dilates upon the Jung Kuo Mansion.

To continue. Feng Su, upon hearing the shouts of the public
messengers, came out in a flurry and forcing a smile, he asked them to
explain (their errand); but all these people did was to continue bawling
out: “Be quick, and ask Mr. Chen to come out.”

“My surname is Feng,” said Feng Su, as he promptly forced himself


to smile; “It is’nt Chen at all: I had once a son-in-law whose surname
was Chen, but he has left home, it is now already a year or two back.
Is it perchance about him that you are inquiring?”

To which the public servants remarked: “We know nothing about
Chen or Chia (true or false); but as he is your son-in-law, we’ll take
you at once along with us to make verbal answer to our master and
have done with it.”

And forthwith the whole bevy of public servants hustled Feng Su
on, as they went on their way back; while every one in the Feng family
was seized with consternation, and could not imagine what it was all

It was no earlier than the second watch, when Feng Su returned
home; and they, one and all, pressed him with questions as to what had

“The fact is,” he explained, “the newly-appointed Magistrate, whose
surname is Chia, whose name is Huo and who is a native of Hu-chow,
has been on intimate terms, in years gone by, with our son-in-law; that
at the sight of the girl Chiao Hsing, standing at the door, in the act of
buying thread, he concluded that he must have shifted his quarters over
here, and hence it was that his messengers came to fetch him. I gave
him a clear account of the various circumstances (of his misfortunes),
and the Magistrate was for a time much distressed and expressed his
regret. He then went on to make inquiries about my grand-daughter,
and I explained that she had been lost, while looking at the
illuminations. ‘No matter,’ put in the Magistrate, ‘I will by and by order
my men to make search, and I feel certain that they will find her and
bring her back.’ Then ensued a short conversation, after which I was
about to go, when he presented me with the sum of two taels.”

The mistress of the Chen family (Mrs. Chen Shih-yin) could not but
feel very much affected by what she heard, and the whole evening she
uttered not a word.

The next day, at an early hour, Yü-ts’un sent some of his men to
bring over to Chen’s wife presents, consisting of two packets of silver,
and four pieces of brocaded silk, as a token of gratitude, and to Feng
Su also a confidential letter, requesting him to ask of Mrs. Chen her
maid Chiao Hsing to become his second wife.

Feng Su was so intensely delighted that his eyebrows expanded, his
eyes smiled, and he felt eager to toady to the Magistrate (by presenting
the girl to him). He hastened to employ all his persuasive powers with


his daughter (to further his purpose), and on the same evening he
forthwith escorted Chiao Hsing in a small chair to the Yamên.

The joy experienced by Yü-ts’un need not be dilated upon. He also
presented Feng Su with a packet containing one hundred ounces of
gold; and sent numerous valuable presents to Mrs. Chen, enjoining her
“to live cheerfully in the anticipation of finding out the whereabouts of
her daughter.”

It must be explained, however, that the maid Chi’ao Hsing was the
very person, who, a few years ago, had looked round at Yü-ts’un and
who, by one simple, unpremeditated glance, evolved, in fact, this
extraordinary destiny which was indeed an event beyond conception.

Who would ever have foreseen that fate and fortune would both
have so favoured her that she should, contrary to all anticipation, give
birth to a son, after living with Yü-ts’un barely a year, that in addition
to this, after the lapse of another half year, Yü-ts’un’s wife should have
contracted a sudden illness and departed this life, and that Yü-ts’un
should have at once raised her to the rank of first wife. Her destiny is
adequately expressed by the lines:

Through but one single, casual look
Soon an exalted place she took.

The fact is that after Yü-ts’un had been presented with the money
by Shih-yin, he promptly started on the 16th day for the capital, and at
the triennial great tripos, his wishes were gratified to the full. Having
successfully carried off his degree of graduate of the third rank, his
name was put by selection on the list for provincial appointments. By
this time, he had been raised to the rank of Magistrate in this district;
but, in spite of the excellence and sufficiency of his accomplishments
and abilities, he could not escape being ambitious and overbearing. He
failed besides, confident as he was in his own merits, in respect toward
his superiors, with the result that these officials looked upon him
scornfully with the corner of the eye.

A year had hardly elapsed, when he was readily denounced in a
memorial to the Throne by the High Provincial authorities, who
represented that he was of a haughty disposition, that he had taken
upon himself to introduce innovations in the rites and ceremonies, that
overtly, while he endeavoured to enjoy the reputation of probity and
uprightness, he, secretly, combined the nature of the tiger and wolf;


with the consequence that he had been the cause of much trouble in the
district, and that he had made life intolerable for the people, &c. &c.

The Dragon countenance of the Emperor was considerably
incensed. His Majesty lost no time in issuing commands, in reply to
the Memorial, that he should be deprived of his official status.

On the arrival of the despatch from the Board, great was the joy felt
by every officer, without exception, of the prefecture in which he had
held office. Yü-ts’un, though at heart intensely mortified and incensed,
betrayed not the least outward symptom of annoyance, but still
preserved, as of old, a smiling and cheerful countenance.

He handed over charge of all official business and removed the
savings which he had accumulated during the several years he had
been in office, his family and all his chattels to his original home;
where, after having put everything in proper order, he himself travelled
(carried the winds and sleeved the moon) far and wide, visiting every
relic of note in the whole Empire.

As luck would have it, on a certain day while making a second
journey through the Wei Yang district, he heard the news that the Salt
Commissioner appointed this year was Lin Ju-hai. This Lin Ju-hai’s
family name was Lin, his name Hai and his style Ju-hai. He had
obtained the third place in the previous triennial examination, and had,
by this time, already risen to the rank of Director of the Court of
Censors. He was a native of Kú Su. He had been recently named by
Imperial appointment a Censor attached to the Salt Inspectorate, and
had arrived at his post only a short while back.

In fact, the ancestors of Lin Ju-hai had, from years back,
successively inherited the title of Marquis, which rank, by its present
descent to Ju-hai, had already been enjoyed by five generations. When
first conferred, the hereditary right to the title had been limited to three
generations; but of late years, by an act of magnanimous favour and
generous beneficence, extraordinary bounty had been superadded; and
on the arrival of the succession to the father of Ju-hai, the right had
been extended to another degree. It had now descended to Ju-hai, who
had, besides this title of nobility, begun his career as a successful
graduate. But though his family had been through uninterrupted ages
the recipient of imperial bounties, his kindred had all been anyhow
men of culture.

The only misfortune had been that the several branches of the Lin
family had not been prolific, so that the numbers of its members


continued limited; and though there existed several households, they
were all however to Ju-hai no closer relatives than first cousins.
Neither were there any connections of the same lineage, or of the same

Ju-hai was at this date past forty; and had only had a son, who had
died the previous year, in the third year of his age. Though he had
several handmaids, he had not had the good fortune of having another
son; but this was too a matter that could not be remedied.

By his wife, née Chia, he had a daughter, to whom the infant name
of Tai Yü was given. She was, at this time, in her fifth year. Upon her
the parents doated as much as if she were a brilliant pearl in the palm
of their hand. Seeing that she was endowed with natural gifts of
intelligence and good looks, they also felt solicitous to bestow upon
her a certain knowledge of books, with no other purpose than that of
satisfying, by this illusory way, their wishes of having a son to nurture
and of dispelling the anguish felt by them, on account of the desolation
and void in their family circle (round their knees).

But to proceed. Yü-ts’un, while sojourning at an inn, was
unexpectedly laid up with a violent chill. Finding on his recovery, that
his funds were not sufficient to pay his expenses, he was thinking of
looking out for some house where he could find a resting place when
he suddenly came across two friends acquainted with the new Salt
Commissioner. Knowing that this official was desirous to find a tutor
to instruct his daughter, they lost no time in recommending Yü-ts’un,
who moved into the Yamên.

His female pupil was youthful in years and delicate in physique, so
that her lessons were irregular. Besides herself, there were only two
waiting girls, who remained in attendance during the hours of study, so
that Yü-ts’un was spared considerable trouble and had a suitable
opportunity to attend to the improvement of his health.

In a twinkle, another year and more slipped by, and when least
expected, the mother of his ward, née Chia, was carried away after a
short illness. His pupil (during her mother’s sickness) was dutiful in
her attendance, and prepared the medicines for her use. (And after her
death,) she went into the deepest mourning prescribed by the rites, and
gave way to such excess of grief that, naturally delicate as she was, her
old complaint, on this account, broke out anew.

Being unable for a considerable time to prosecute her studies, Yü-
ts’un lived at leisure and had no duties to attend to. Whenever therefore



the wind was genial and the sun mild, he was wont to stroll at random,
after he had done with his meals.

On this particular day, he, by some accident, extended his walk
beyond the suburbs, and desirous to contemplate the nature of the
rustic scenery, he, with listless step, came up to a spot encircled by
hills and streaming pools, by luxuriant clumps of trees and thick
groves of bamboos. Nestling in the dense foliage stood a temple. The
doors and courts were in ruins. The walls, inner and outer, in disrepair.
An inscription on a tablet testified that this was the temple of Spiritual
Perception. On the sides of the door was also a pair of old and
dilapidated scrolls with the following enigmatical verses.

Behind ample there is, yet to retract the hand, the mind heeds not, until.
Before the mortal vision lies no path, when comes to turn the will.

“These two sentences,” Yü-ts’un pondered after perusal, “although
simple in language, are profound in signification. I have previous to
this visited many a spacious temple, located on hills of note, but never
have I beheld an inscription referring to anything of the kind. The
meaning contained in these words must, I feel certain, owe their origin
to the experiences of some person or other; but there’s no saying. But
why should I not go in and inquire for myself?”

Upon walking in, he at a glance caught sight of no one else, but of a
very aged bonze, of unkempt appearance, cooking his rice. When Yü-
ts’un perceived that he paid no notice, he went up to him and asked
him one or two questions, but as the old priest was dull of hearing and
a dotard, and as he had lost his teeth, and his tongue was blunt, he
made most irrelevant replies.

Yü-ts’un lost all patience with him, and withdrew again from the
compound with the intention of going as far as the village public house
to have a drink or two, so as to enhance the enjoyment of the rustic
scenery. With easy stride, he accordingly walked up to the place.
Scarcely had he passed the threshold of the public house, when he
perceived some one or other among the visitors who had been sitting
sipping their wine on the divan, jump up and come up to greet him,
with a face beaming with laughter.

“What a strange meeting! What a strange meeting!” he exclaimed

Yü-ts’un speedily looked at him, (and remembered) that this person



had, in past days, carried on business in a curio establishment in the
capital, and that his surname was Leng and his style Tzu-hsing.

A mutual friendship had existed between them during their sojourn,
in days of yore, in the capital; and as Yü-ts’un had entertained the
highest opinion of Leng Tzu-hsing, as being a man of action and of
great abilities, while this Leng Tzu-hsing, on the other hand, borrowed
of the reputation of refinement enjoyed by Yü-ts’un, the two had
consequently all along lived in perfect harmony and companionship.

“When did you get here?” Yü-ts’un eagerly inquired also smilingly.
“I wasn’t in the least aware of your arrival. This unexpected meeting is
positively a strange piece of good fortune.”

“I went home,” Tzu-hsing replied, “about the close of last year, but
now as I am again bound to the capital, I passed through here on my
way to look up a friend of mine and talk some matters over. He had the
kindness to press me to stay with him for a couple of days longer, and
as I after all have no urgent business to attend to, I am tarrying a few
days, but purpose starting about the middle of the moon. My friend is
busy to-day, so I roamed listlessly as far as here, never dreaming of
such a fortunate meeting.”

While speaking, he made Yü-ts’un sit down at the same table, and
ordered a fresh supply of wine and eatables; and as the two friends
chatted of one thing and another, they slowly sipped their wine.

The conversation ran on what had occurred after the separation, and
Yü-ts’un inquired, “Is there any news of any kind in the capital?”

“There’s nothing new whatever,” answered Tzu-hsing. “There is one
thing however: in the family of one of your worthy kinsmen, of the
same name as yourself, a trifling, but yet remarkable, occurrence has
taken place.”

“None of my kindred reside in the capital,” rejoined Yü-ts’un with a
smile. “To what can you be alluding?”

“How can it be that you people who have the same surname do not
belong to one clan?” remarked Tzu-hsing, sarcastically.

“In whose family?” inquired Yü-ts’un.
“The Chia family,” replied Tzu-hsing smiling, “whose quarters are

in the Jung Kuo Mansion, does not after all reflect discredit upon the
lintel of your door, my venerable friend.”

“What!” exclaimed Yü-ts’un, “did this affair take place in that
family? Were we to begin reckoning, we would find the members of
my clan to be anything but limited in number. Since the time of our


ancestor Chia Fu, who lived while the Eastern Han dynasty occupied
the Throne, the branches of our family have been numerous and
flourishing; they are now to be found in every single province, and
who could, with any accuracy, ascertain their whereabouts? As regards
the Jung-kuo branch in particular, their names are in fact inscribed on
the same register as our own, but rich and exalted as they are, we have
never presumed to claim them as our relatives, so that we have become
more and more estranged.”

“Don’t make any such assertions,” Tzu-hsing remarked with a sigh,
“the present two mansions of Jung and Ning have both alike also
suffered reverses, and they cannot come up to their state of days of

“Up to this day, these two households of Ning and of Jung,” Yü-
ts’un suggested, “still maintain a very large retinue of people, and how
can it be that they have met with reverses?”

“To explain this would be indeed a long story,” said Leng Tzu-
hsing. “Last year,” continued Yü-ts’un, “I arrived at Chin Ling, as I
entertained a wish to visit the remains of interest of the six dynasties,
and as I on that day entered the walled town of Shih T’ou, I passed by
the entrance of that old residence. On the east side of the street, stood
the Ning Kuo mansion; on the west the Jung Kuo mansion; and these
two, adjoining each other as they do, cover in fact well-nigh half of the
whole length of the street. Outside the front gate everything was, it is
true, lonely and deserted; but at a glance into the interior over the
enclosing wall, I perceived that the halls, pavilions, two-storied
structures and porches presented still a majestic and lofty appearance.
Even the flower garden, which extends over the whole area of the back
grounds, with its trees and rockeries, also possessed to that day an air
of luxuriance and freshness, which betrayed no signs of a ruined or
decrepid establishment.”

“You have had the good fortune of starting in life as a graduate,”
explained Tzu-tsing as he smiled, “and yet are not aware of the saying
uttered by some one of old: that a centipede even when dead does not
lie stiff. (These families) may, according to your version, not be up to
the prosperity of former years, but, compared with the family of an
ordinary official, their condition anyhow presents a difference. Of late
the number of the inmates has, day by day, been on the increase; their
affairs have become daily more numerous; of masters and servants,
high and low, who live in ease and respectability very many there are;

but of those who exercise any forethought, or make any provision,
there is not even one. In their daily wants, their extravagances, and
their expenditure, they are also unable to adapt themselves to
circumstances and practise economy; (so that though) the present
external framework may not have suffered any considerable collapse,
their purses have anyhow begun to feel an exhausting process! But this
is a mere trifle. There is another more serious matter. Would any one
ever believe that in such families of official status, in a clan of
education and culture, the sons and grandsons of the present age would
after all be each (succeeding) generation below the standard of the

Yü-ts’un, having listened to these remarks, observed: “How ever
can it be possible that families of such education and refinement can
observe any system of training and nurture which is not excellent?
Concerning the other branches, I am not in a position to say anything;
but restricting myself to the two mansions of Jung and Ning, they are
those in which, above all others, the education of their children is

“I was just now alluding to none other than these two
establishments,” Tzu-hsing observed with a sigh; “but let me tell you
all. In days of yore, the duke of Ning Kuo and the duke of Jung Kuo
were two uterine brothers. The Ning duke was the elder; he had four
sons. After the death of the duke of Ning Kuo, his eldest son, Chia Tai-
hua, came into the title. He also had two sons; but the eldest, whose
name was Hu, died at the age of eight or nine; and the only survivor,
the second son, Chia Ching, inherited the title. His whole mind is at
this time set upon Taoist doctrines; his sole delight is to burn the pill
and refine the dual powers; while every other thought finds no place in
his mind. Happily, he had, at an early age, left a son, Chia Chen,
behind in the lay world, and his father, engrossed as his whole heart
was with the idea of attaining spiritual life, ceded the succession of the
official title to him. His parent is, besides, not willing to return to the
original family seat, but lives outside the walls of the capital, foolishly
hobnobbing with all the Taoist priests. This Mr. Chen had also a son,
Chia Jung, who is, at this period, just in his sixteenth year. Mr. Ching
gives at present no attention to anything at all, so that Mr. Chen
naturally devotes no time to his studies, but being bent upon nought
else but incessant high pleasure, he has subversed the order of things
in the Ning Kuo mansion, and yet no one can summon the courage to

come and hold him in check. But I’ll now tell you about the Jung
mansion for your edification. The strange occurrence, to which I
alluded just now, came about in this manner. After the demise of the
Jung duke, the eldest son, Chia Tai-shan, inherited the rank. He took to
himself as wife, the daughter of Marquis Shih, a noble family of Chin
Ling, by whom he had two sons; the elder being Chia She, the younger
Chia Cheng. This Tai Shan is now dead long ago; but his wife is still
alive, and the elder son, Chia She, succeeded to the degree. He is a
man of amiable and genial disposition, but he likewise gives no
thought to the direction of any domestic concern. The second son Chia
Cheng displayed, from his early childhood, a great liking for books,
and grew up to be correct and upright in character. His grandfather
doated upon him, and would have had him start in life through the
arena of public examinations, but, when least expected, Tai-shan,
being on the point of death, bequeathed a petition, which was laid
before the Emperor. His Majesty, out of regard for his former minister,
issued immediate commands that the elder son should inherit the
estate, and further inquired how many sons there were besides him, all
of whom he at once expressed a wish to be introduced in his imperial
presence. His Majesty, moreover, displayed exceptional favour, and
conferred upon Mr. Cheng the brevet rank of second class Assistant
Secretary (of a Board), and commanded him to enter the Board to
acquire the necessary experience. He has already now been promoted
to the office of second class Secretary. This Mr. Cheng’s wife, nèe
Wang, first gave birth to a son called Chia Chu, who became a
Licentiate in his fourteenth year. At barely twenty, he married, but fell
ill and died soon after the birth of a son. Her (Mrs. Cheng’s) second
child was a daughter, who came into the world, by a strange
coincidence, on the first day of the year. She had an unexpected
(pleasure) in the birth, the succeeding year, of another son, who, still
more remarkable to say, had, at the time of his birth, a piece of
variegated and crystal-like brilliant jade in his mouth, on which were
yet visible the outlines of several characters. Now, tell me, was not this
a novel and strange occurrence? eh?”

“Strange indeed!” exclaimed Yü-ts’un with a smile; “but I presume
the coming experiences of this being will not be mean.”

Tzu-hsing gave a faint smile. “One and all,” he remarked, “entertain
the same idea. Hence it is that his mother doats upon him like upon a
precious jewel. On the day of his first birthday, Mr. Cheng readily


entertained a wish to put the bent of his inclinations to the test, and
placed before the child all kinds of things, without number, for him to
grasp from. Contrary to every expectation, he scorned every other
object, and, stretching forth his hand, he simply took hold of rouge,
powder and a few hair-pins, with which he began to play. Mr. Cheng
experienced at once displeasure, as he maintained that this youth
would, by and bye, grow up into a sybarite, devoted to wine and
women, and for this reason it is, that he soon began to feel not much
attachment for him. But his grandmother is the one who, in spite of
everything, prizes him like the breath of her own life. The very
mention of what happened is even strange! He is now grown up to be
seven or eight years old, and, although exceptionally wilful, in
intelligence and precocity, however, not one in a hundred could come
up to him! And as for the utterances of this child, they are no less
remarkable. The bones and flesh of woman, he argues, are made of
water, while those of man of mud. ‘Women to my eyes are pure and
pleasing,’ he says, ‘while at the sight of man, I readily feel how corrupt,
foul and repelling they are!’ Now tell me, are not these words
ridiculous? There can be no doubt whatever that he will by and bye
turn out to be a licentious roué.”

Yü-ts’un, whose countenance suddenly assumed a stern air,
promptly interrupted the conversation. “It doesn’t quite follow,” he
suggested. “You people don’t, I regret to say, understand the destiny of
this child. The fact is that even the old Hanlin scholar Mr. Cheng was
erroneously looked upon as a loose rake and dissolute debauchee! But
unless a person, through much study of books and knowledge of
letters, so increases (in lore) as to attain the talent of discerning the
nature of things, and the vigour of mind to fathom the Taoist reason as
well as to comprehend the first principle, he is not in a position to form
any judgment.”

Tzu-hsing upon perceiving the weighty import of what he
propounded, “Please explain,” he asked hastily, “the drift (of your
argument).” To which Yü-ts’un responded: “Of the human beings
created by the operation of heaven and earth, if we exclude those who
are gifted with extreme benevolence and extreme viciousness, the rest,
for the most part, present no striking diversity. If they be extremely
benevolent, they fall in, at the time of their birth, with an era of
propitious fortune; while those extremely vicious correspond, at the
time of their existence, with an era of calamity. When those who

coexist with propitious fortune come into life, the world is in order;
when those who coexist with unpropitious fortune come into life, the
world is in danger. Yao, Shun, Yü, Ch’eng T’ang, Wen Wang, Wu
Wang, Chou Kung, Chao Kung, Confucius, Mencius, T’ung Hu, Han
Hsin, Chou Tzu, Ch’eng Tzu, Chu Tzu and Chang Tzu were ordained
to see light in an auspicious era. Whereas Ch’i Yu, Kung Kung, Chieh
Wang, Chou Wang, Shih Huang, Wang Mang, Tsao Ts’ao, Wen Wen,
An Hu-shan, Ch’in Kuei and others were one and all destined to come
into the world during a calamitous age. Those endowed with extreme
benevolence set the world in order; those possessed of extreme
maliciousness turn the world into disorder. Purity, intelligence,
spirituality and subtlety constitute the vital spirit of right which
pervades heaven and earth, and the persons gifted with benevolence
are its natural fruit. Malignity and perversity constitute the spirit of
evil, which permeates heaven and earth, and malicious persons are
affected by its influence. The days of perpetual happiness and eminent
good fortune, and the era of perfect peace and tranquility, which now
prevail, are the offspring of the pure, intelligent, divine and subtle
spirit which ascends above, to the very Emperor, and below reaches
the rustic and uncultured classes. Every one is without exception under
its influence. The superfluity of the subtle spirit expands far and wide,
and finding nowhere to betake itself to, becomes, in due course,
transformed into dew, or gentle breeze; and, by a process of diffusion,
it pervades the whole world.

“The spirit of malignity and perversity, unable to expand under the
brilliant sky and transmuting sun, eventually coagulates, pervades and
stops up the deep gutters and extensive caverns; and when of a sudden
the wind agitates it or it be impelled by the clouds, and any slight
disposition, on its part, supervenes to set itself in motion, or to break
its bounds, and so little as even the minutest fraction does
unexpectedly find an outlet, and happens to come across any spirit of
perception and subtlety which may be at the time passing by, the spirit
of right does not yield to the spirit of evil, and the spirit of evil is again
envious of the spirit of right, so that the two do not harmonize. Just
like wind, water, thunder and lightning, which, when they meet in the
bowels of the earth, must necessarily, as they are both to dissolve and
are likewise unable to yield, clash and explode to the end that they
may at length exhaust themselves. Hence it is that these spirits have
also forcibly to diffuse themselves into the human race to find an


outlet, so that they may then completely disperse, with the result that
men and women are suddenly imbued with these spirits and spring into
existence. At best, (these human beings) cannot be generated into
philanthropists or perfect men; at worst, they cannot also embody
extreme perversity or extreme wickedness. Yet placed among one
million beings, the spirit of intelligence, refinement, perception and
subtlety will be above these one million beings; while, on the other
hand, the perverse, depraved and inhuman embodiment will likewise
be below the million of men. Born in a noble and wealthy family, these
men will be a salacious, lustful lot; born of literary, virtuous or poor
parentage, they will turn out retired scholars or men of mark; though
they may by some accident be born in a destitute and poverty-stricken
home, they cannot possibly, in fact, ever sink so low as to become
runners or menials, or contentedly brook to be of the common herd or
to be driven and curbed like a horse in harness. They will become, for
a certainty, either actors of note or courtesans of notoriety; as instanced
in former years by Hsü Yu, T’ao Ch’ien, Yuan Chi, Chi Kang, Liu
Ling, the two families of Wang and Hsieh, Ku Hu-t’ou, Ch’en Hou-
chu, T’ang Ming-huang, Sung Hui-tsung, Liu T’ing-chih, Wen Fei-
ching, Mei Nan-kung, Shih Man-ch’ing, Lui C’hih-ch’ing and Chin
Shao-yu, and exemplified now-a-days by Ni Yün-lin, T’ang Po-hu,
Chu Chih-shan, and also by Li Kuei-men, Huang P’an-cho, Ching
Hsin-mo, Cho Wen-chün; and the women Hung Fu, Hsieh T’ao, Ch’ü
Ying, Ch’ao Yün and others; all of whom were and are of the same
stamp, though placed in different scenes of action.”

“From what you say,” observed Tzu-hsing, “success makes (a man)
a duke or a marquis; ruin, a thief!”

“Quite so; that’s just my idea!” replied Yü-ts’un; “I’ve not as yet let
you know that after my degradation from office, I spent the last couple
of years in travelling for pleasure all over each province, and that I
also myself came across two extraordinary youths. This is why, when a
short while back you alluded to this Pao-yü, I at once conjectured, with
a good deal of certainty, that he must be a human being of the same
stamp. There’s no need for me to speak of any farther than the walled
city of Chin Ling. This Mr. Chen was, by imperial appointment,
named Principal of the Government Public College of the Chin Ling
province. Do you perhaps know him?”

“Who doesn’t know him?” remarked Tzu-hsing. “This Chen family
is an old connection of the Chia family. These two families were on

terms of great intimacy, and I myself likewise enjoyed the pleasure of
their friendship for many a day.”

“Last year, when at Chin Ling,” Yü-ts’un continued with a smile,
“some one recommended me as resident tutor to the school in the Chen
mansion; and when I moved into it I saw for myself the state of things.
Who would ever think that that household was grand and luxurious to
such a degree! But they are an affluent family, and withal full of
propriety, so that a school like this was of course not one easy to
obtain. The pupil, however, was, it is true, a young tyro, but far more
troublesome to teach than a candidate for the examination of graduate
of the second degree. Were I to enter into details, you would indeed
have a laugh. ‘I must needs,’ he explained, ‘have the company of two
girls in my studies to enable me to read at all, and to keep likewise my
brain clear. Otherwise, if left to myself, my head gets all in a muddle.’
Time after time, he further expounded to his young attendants, how
extremely honourable and extremely pure were the two words
representing woman, that they are more valuable and precious than the
auspicious animal, the felicitous bird, rare flowers and uncommon
plants. ‘You may not’ (he was wont to say), ‘on any account heedlessly
utter them, you set of foul mouths and filthy tongues! these two words
are of the utmost import! Whenever you have occasion to allude to
them, you must, before you can do so with impunity, take pure water
and scented tea and rinse your mouths. In the event of any slip of the
tongue, I shall at once have your teeth extracted, and your eyes gouged
out.’ His obstinacy and waywardness are, in every respect, out of the
common. After he was allowed to leave school, and to return home, he
became, at the sight of the young ladies, so tractable, gentle, sharp, and
polite, transformed, in fact, like one of them. And though, for this
reason, his father has punished him on more than one occasion, by
giving him a sound thrashing, such as brought him to the verge of
death, he cannot however change. Whenever he was being beaten, and
could no more endure the pain, he was wont to promptly break forth in
promiscuous loud shouts, ‘Girls! girls!’ The young ladies, who heard
him from the inner chambers, subsequently made fun of him. ‘Why,’
they said, ‘when you are being thrashed, and you are in pain, your only
thought is to bawl out girls! Is it perchance that you expect us young
ladies to go and intercede for you? How is that you have no sense of
shame?’ To their taunts he gave a most plausible explanation. ‘Once,’
he replied, ‘when in the agony of pain, I gave vent to shouting girls, in


the hope, perchance, I did not then know, of its being able to alleviate
the soreness. After I had, with this purpose, given one cry, I really felt
the pain considerably better; and now that I have obtained this secret
spell, I have recourse, at once, when I am in the height of anguish, to
shouts of girls, one shout after another. Now what do you say to this?
Isn’t this absurd, eh?”

“The grandmother is so infatuated by her extreme tenderness for
this youth, that, time after time, she has, on her grandson’s account,
found fault with the tutor, and called her son to task, with the result
that I resigned my post and took my leave. A youth, with a disposition
such as his, cannot assuredly either perpetuate intact the estate of his
father and grandfather, or follow the injunctions of teacher or advice of
friends. The pity is, however, that there are, in that family, several
excellent female cousins, the like of all of whom it would be difficult
to discover.”

“Quite so!” remarked Tzu-hsing; “there are now three young ladies
in the Chia family who are simply perfection itself. The eldest is a
daughter of Mr. Cheng, Yuan Ch’un by name, who, on account of her
excellence, filial piety, talents, and virtue, has been selected as a
governess in the palace. The second is the daughter of Mr. She’s
handmaid, and is called Ying Ch’un; the third is T’an Ch’un, the child
of Mr. Cheng’s handmaid; while the fourth is the uterine sister of Mr.
Chen of the Ning Mansion. Her name is Hsi Ch’un. As dowager lady
Shih is so fondly attached to her granddaughters, they come, for the
most part, over to their grandmother’s place to prosecute their studies
together, and each one of these girls is, I hear, without a fault.”

“More admirable,” observed Yü-ts’un, “is the régime (adhered to) in
the Chen family, where the names of the female children have all been
selected from the list of male names, and are unlike all those out-of-
the-way names, such as Spring Blossom, Scented Gem, and the like
flowery terms in vogue in other families. But how is it that the Chia
family have likewise fallen into this common practice?”

“Not so!” ventured Tzu-h’sing. “It is simply because the eldest
daughter was born on the first of the first moon, that the name of Yuan
Ch’un was given to her; while with the rest this character Ch’un
(spring) was then followed. The names of the senior generation are, in
like manner, adopted from those of their brothers; and there is at
present an instance in support of this. The wife of your present worthy
master, Mr. Lin, is the uterine sister of Mr. Chia. She and Mr. Chia

Cheng, and she went, while at home, under the name of Chia Min.
Should you question the truth of what I say, you are at liberty, on your
return, to make minute inquiries and you’ll be convinced.”

Yü-ts’un clapped his hands and said smiling, “It’s so, I know! for
this female pupil of mine, whose name is Tai-yü, invariably
pronounces the character min as mi, whenever she comes across it in
the course of her reading; while, in writing, when she comes to the
character ‘min,’ she likewise reduces the strokes by one, sometimes by
two. Often have I speculated in my mind (as to the cause), but the
remarks I’ve heard you mention, convince me, without doubt, that it is
no other reason (than that of reverence to her mother’s name). Strange
enough, this pupil of mine is unique in her speech and deportment, and
in no way like any ordinary young lady. But considering that her
mother was no commonplace woman herself, it is natural that she
should have given birth to such a child. Besides, knowing, as I do now,
that she is the granddaughter of the Jung family, it is no matter of
surprise to me that she is what she is. Poor girl, her mother, after all,
died in the course of the last month.”

Tzu-hsing heaved a sigh. “Of three elderly sisters,” he explained,
“this one was the youngest, and she too is gone! Of the sisters of the
senior generation not one even survives! But now we’ll see what the
husbands of this younger generation will be like by and bye!”

“Yes,” replied Yü-ts’un. “But some while back you mentioned that
Mr. Cheng has had a son, born with a piece of jade in his mouth, and
that he has besides a tender-aged grandson left by his eldest son; but is
it likely that this Mr. She has not, himself, as yet, had any male issue?”

“After Mr. Cheng had this son with the jade,” Tzu-hsing added, “his
handmaid gave birth to another son, who whether he be good or bad, I
don’t at all know. At all events, he has by his side two sons and a
grandson, but what these will grow up to be by and bye, I cannot tell.
As regards Mr. Chia She, he too has had two sons; the second of
whom, Chia Lien, is by this time about twenty. He took to wife a
relative of his, a niece of Mr. Cheng’s wife, a Miss Wang, and has now
been married for the last two years. This Mr. Lien has lately obtained
by purchase the rank of sub-prefect. He too takes little pleasure in
books, but as far as worldly affairs go, he is so versatile and glib of
tongue, that he has recently taken up his quarters with his uncle Mr.
Cheng, to whom he gives a helping hand in the management of
domestic matters. Who would have thought it, however, ever since his



marriage with his worthy wife, not a single person, whether high or
low, has there been who has not looked up to her with regard: with the
result that Mr. Lien himself has, in fact, had to take a back seat (lit.
withdrew 35 li). In looks, she is also so extremely beautiful, in speech
so extremely quick and fluent, in ingenuity so deep and astute, that
even a man could, in no way, come up to her mark.”

After hearing these remarks Yü-ts’un smiled. “You now perceive,”
he said, “that my argument is no fallacy, and that the several persons
about whom you and I have just been talking are, we may presume,
human beings, who, one and all, have been generated by the spirit of
right, and the spirit of evil, and come to life by the same royal road;
but of course there’s no saying.”

“Enough,” cried Tzu-hsing, “of right and enough of evil; we’ve been
doing nothing but settling other people’s accounts; come now, have
another glass, and you’ll be the better for it!”

“While bent upon talking,” Yü-ts’un explained, “I’ve had more
glasses than is good for me.”

“Speaking of irrelevant matters about other people,” Tzu-hsing
rejoined complacently, “is quite the thing to help us swallow our wine;
so come now; what harm will happen, if we do have a few glasses

Yü-ts’un thereupon looked out of the window.
“The day is also far advanced,” he remarked, “and if we don’t take

care, the gates will be closing; let us leisurely enter the city, and as we
go along, there will be nothing to prevent us from continuing our

Forthwith the two friends rose from their seats, settled and paid
their wine bill, and were just going, when they unexpectedly heard
some one from behind say with a loud voice:

“Accept my congratulations, Brother Yü-ts’un; I’ve now come, with
the express purpose of giving you the welcome news!”

Yü-ts’un lost no time in turning his head round to look at the
speaker. But reader, if you wish to learn who the man was, listen to the
details given in the following chapter.

Chapter III



Lin Ju-hai appeals to his brother-in-law, Chia Cheng, recommending Yü-ts’un,
his daughter’s tutor, to his consideration.

Dowager lady Chia sends to fetch her granddaughter, out of commiseration for
her being a motherless child.

But to proceed with our narrative.
Yü-ts’un, on speedily turning round, perceived that the speaker was

no other than a certain Chang Ju-kuei, an old colleague of his, who had
been denounced and deprived of office, on account of some case or
other; a native of that district, who had, since his degradation, resided
in his family home.

Having lately come to hear the news that a memorial, presented in
the capital, that the former officers (who had been cashiered) should be
reinstated, had received the imperial consent, he had promptly done all
he could, in every nook and corner, to obtain influence, and to find the
means (of righting his position,) when he, unexpectedly, came across
Yü-ts’un, to whom he therefore lost no time in offering his
congratulations. The two friends exchanged the conventional
salutations, and Chang Ju-kuei forthwith communicated the tidings to

Yü-ts’un was delighted, but after he had made a few remarks, in a
great hurry, each took his leave and sped on his own way homewards.

Leng Tzu-hsing, upon hearing this conversation, hastened at once to
propose a plan, advising Yü-ts’un to request Lin Ju-hai, in his turn, to
appeal in the capital to Mr. Chia Cheng for support.

Yü-ts’un accepted the suggestion, and parted from his companion.
On his return to his quarters, he made all haste to lay his hand on

the Metropolitan Gazette, and having ascertained that the news was
authentic, he had on the next day a personal consultation with Ju-hai.

“Providence and good fortune are both alike propitious!” exclaimed
Ju-hai. “After the death of my wife, my mother-in-law, whose
residence is in the capital, was so very solicitous on my daughter’s
account, for having no one to depend upon, that she despatched, at an
early period, boats with men and women servants to come and fetch
her. But my child was at the time not quite over her illness, and that is
why she has not yet started. I was, this very moment, cogitating to
send my daughter to the capital. And in view of the obligation, under
which I am to you for the instruction you have heretofore conferred


upon her, remaining as yet unrequited, there is no reason why, when
such an opportunity as this presents itself, I should not do my utmost
to find means to make proper acknowledgment. I have already, in
anticipation, given the matter my attention, and written a letter of
recommendation to my brother-in-law, urging him to put everything
right for you, in order that I may, to a certain extent, be able to give
effect to my modest wishes. As for any outlay that may prove
necessary, I have given proper explanation, in the letter to my brother-
in-law, so that you, my brother, need not trouble yourself by giving
way to much anxiety.”

As Yü-ts’un bowed and expressed his appreciation in most profuse

“Pray,” he asked, “where does your honoured brother-in-law reside?
and what is his official capacity? But I fear I’m too coarse in my
manner, and could not presume to obtrude myself in his presence.”

Ju-hai smiled. “And yet,” he remarked, “this brother-in-law of mine
is after all of one and the same family as your worthy self, for he is the
grandson of the Duke Jung. My elder brother-in-law has now inherited
the status of Captain-General of the first grade. His name is She, his
style Ngen-hou. My second brother-in-law’s name is Cheng, his style
is Tzu-chou. His present post is that of a Second class Secretary in the
Board of Works. He is modest and kindhearted, and has much in him
of the habits of his grandfather; not one of that purse-proud and
haughty kind of men. That is why I have written to him and made the
request on your behalf. Were he different to what he really is, not only
would he cast a slur upon your honest purpose, honourable brother, but
I myself likewise would not have been as prompt in taking action.”

When Yü-ts’un heard these remarks, he at length credited what had
been told him by Tzu-hsing the day before, and he lost no time in
again expressing his sense of gratitude to Lin Ju-hai.

Ju-hai resumed the conversation.
“I have fixed,” (he explained,) “upon the second of next month, for

my young daughter’s departure for the capital, and, if you, brother
mine, were to travel along with her, would it not be an advantage to
herself, as well as to yourself?”

Yü-ts’un signified his acquiescence as he listened to his proposal;
feeling in his inner self extremely elated.

Ju-hai availed himself of the earliest opportunity to get ready the
presents (for the capital) and all the requirements for the journey,



which (when completed,) Yü-ts’un took over one by one. His pupil
could not, at first, brook the idea, of a separation from her father, but
the pressing wishes of her grandmother left her no course (but to

“Your father,” Ju-hai furthermore argued with her, “is already fifty;
and I entertain no wish to marry again; and then you are always ailing;
besides, with your extreme youth, you have, above, no mother of your
own to take care of you, and below, no sisters to attend to you. If you
now go and have your maternal grandmother, as well as your mother’s
brothers and your cousins to depend upon, you will be doing the best
thing to reduce the anxiety which I feel in my heart on your behalf.
Why then should you not go?”

Tai-yü, after listening to what her father had to say, parted from him
in a flood of tears and followed her nurse and several old matrons from
the Jung mansion on board her boat, and set out on her journey.

Yü-ts’un had a boat to himself, and with two youths to wait on him,
he prosecuted his voyage in the wake of Tai-yü.

By a certain day, they reached Ching Tu; and Yü-ts’un, after first
adjusting his hat and clothes, came, attended by a youth, to the door of
the Jung mansion, and sent in a card, which showed his lineage.

Chia Cheng had, by this time, perused his brother-in-law’s letter,
and he speedily asked him to walk in. When they met, he found in Yü-
ts’un an imposing manner and polite address.

This Chia Cheng had, in fact, a great penchant above all things for
men of education, men courteous to the talented, respectful to the
learned, ready to lend a helping hand to the needy and to succour the
distressed, and was, to a great extent, like his grandfather. As it was
besides a wish intimated by his brother-in-law, he therefore treated Yü-
ts’un with a consideration still more unusual, and readily strained all
his resources to assist him.

On the very day on which the memorial was submitted to the
Throne, he obtained by his efforts, a reinstatement to office, and before
the expiry of two months, Yü-t’sun was forthwith selected to fill the
appointment of prefect of Ying T’ien in Chin Ling. Taking leave of
Chia Cheng, he chose a propitious day, and proceeded to his post,
where we will leave him without further notice for the present.

But to return to Tai-yü. On the day on which she left the boat, and
the moment she put her foot on shore, there were forthwith at her
disposal chairs for her own use, and carts for the luggage, sent over



from the Jung mansion.
Lin Tai-yü had often heard her mother recount how different was

her grandmother’s house from that of other people’s; and having seen
for herself how above the common run were already the attendants of
the three grades, (sent to wait upon her,) in attire, in their fare, in all
their articles of use, “how much more,” (she thought to herself) “now
that I am going to her home, must I be careful at every step, and
circumspect at every moment! Nor must I utter one word too many,
nor make one step more than is proper, for fear lest I should be
ridiculed by any of them!”

From the moment she got into the chair, and they had entered
within the city walls, she found, as she looked around, through the
gauze window, at the bustle in the streets and public places and at the
immense concourse of people, everything naturally so unlike what she
had seen elsewhere.

After they had also been a considerable time on the way, she
suddenly caught sight, at the northern end of the street, of two huge
squatting lions of marble and of three lofty gates with (knockers
representing) the heads of animals. In front of these gates, sat, in a row,
about ten men in coloured hats and fine attire. The main gate was not
open. It was only through the side gates, on the east and west, that
people went in and came out. Above the centre gate was a tablet. On
this tablet were inscribed in five large characters—”The Ning Kuo
mansion erected by imperial command.”

“This must be grandmother’s eldest son’s residence,” reflected Tai-

Towards the east, again, at no great distance, were three more high
gateways, likewise of the same kind as those she had just seen. This
was the Jung Kuo mansion.

They did not however go in by the main gate; but simply made their
entrance through the east side door.

With the sedans on their shoulders, (the bearers) proceeded about
the distance of the throw of an arrow, when upon turning a corner, they
hastily put down the chairs. The matrons, who came behind, one and
all also dismounted. (The bearers) were changed for four youths of
seventeen or eighteen, with hats and clothes without a blemish, and
while they carried the chair, the whole bevy of matrons followed on

When they reached a creeper-laden gate, the sedan was put down,


and all the youths stepped back and retired. The matrons came
forward, raised the screen, and supported Tai-yü to descend from the

Lin Tai-yü entered the door with the creepers, resting on the hand of
a matron.

On both sides was a verandah, like two outstretched arms. An
Entrance Hall stood in the centre, in the middle of which was a door-
screen of Ta Li marble, set in an ebony frame. On the other side of this
screen were three very small halls. At the back of these came at once
an extensive courtyard, belonging to the main building.

In the front part were five parlours, the frieze of the ceiling of
which was all carved, and the pillars ornamented. On either side, were
covered avenues, resembling passages through a rock. In the side-
rooms were suspended cages, full of parrots of every colour, thrushes,
and birds of every description.

On the terrace-steps, sat several waiting maids, dressed in red and
green, and the whole company of them advanced, with beaming faces,
to greet them, when they saw the party approach. “Her venerable
ladyship,” they said, “was at this very moment thinking of you, miss,
and, by a strange coincidence, here you are.”

Three or four of them forthwith vied with each other in raising the
door curtain, while at the same time was heard some one announce:
“Miss Lin has arrived.”

No sooner had she entered the room, than she espied two servants
supporting a venerable lady, with silver-white hair, coming forward to
greet her. Convinced that this lady must be her grandmother, she was
about to prostrate herself and pay her obeisance, when she was quickly
clasped in the arms of her grandmother, who held her close against her
bosom; and as she called her “my liver! my flesh!” (my love! my
darling!) she began to sob aloud.

The bystanders too, at once, without one exception, melted into
tears; and Tai-yü herself found some difficulty in restraining her sobs.
Little by little the whole party succeeded in consoling her, and Tai-yü
at length paid her obeisance to her grandmother. Her ladyship
thereupon pointed them out one by one to Tai-yü. “This,” she said, “is
the wife of your uncle, your mother’s elder brother; this is the wife of
your uncle, her second brother; and this is your eldest sister-in-law
Chu, the wife of your senior cousin Chu.”

Tai-yü bowed to each one of them (with folded arms).



“Ask the young ladies in,” dowager lady Chia went on to say; “tell
them a guest from afar has just arrived, one who comes for the first
time; and that they may not go to their lessons.”

The servants with one voice signified their obedience, and two of
them speedily went to carry out her orders.

Not long after three nurses and five or six waiting-maids were seen
ushering in three young ladies. The first was somewhat plump in
figure and of medium height; her cheeks had a congealed appearance,
like a fresh lichee; her nose was glossy like goose fat. She was
gracious, demure, and lovable to look at.

The second had sloping shoulders, and a slim waist. Tall and
slender was she in stature, with a face like the egg of a goose. Her eyes
so beautiful, with their well-curved eyebrows, possessed in their gaze a
bewitching flash. At the very sight of her refined and elegant manners
all idea of vulgarity was forgotten.

The third was below the medium size, and her mien was, as yet,

In their head ornaments, jewelry, and dress, the get-up of the three
young ladies was identical.

Tai-yü speedily rose to greet them and to exchange salutations.
After they had made each other’s acquaintance, they all took a seat,
whereupon the servants brought the tea. Their conversation was
confined to Tai-yü’s mother,—how she had fallen ill, what doctors had
attended her, what medicines had been given her, and how she had
been buried and mourned; and dowager lady Chia was naturally again
in great anguish.

“Of all my daughters,” she remarked, “your mother was the one I
loved best, and now in a twinkle, she has passed away, before me too,
and I’ve not been able to so much as see her face. How can this not
make my heart sore-stricken?”

And as she gave vent to these feelings, she took Tai-yü’s hand in
hers, and again gave way to sobs; and it was only after the members of
the family had quickly made use of much exhortation and coaxing, that
they succeeded, little by little, in stopping her tears.

They all perceived that Tai-yü, despite her youthful years and
appearance, was lady-like in her deportment and address, and that
though with her delicate figure and countenance, (she seemed as if)
unable to bear the very weight of her clothes, she possessed, however,
a certain captivating air. And as they readily noticed the symptoms of a


weak constitution, they went on in consequence to make inquiries as to
what medicines she ordinarily took, and how it was that her complaint
had not been cured.

“I have,” explained Tai-yü, “been in this state ever since I was born;
though I’ve taken medicines from the very time I was able to eat rice,
up to the present, and have been treated by ever so many doctors of
note, I’ve not derived any benefit. In the year when I was yet only
three, I remember a mangy-headed bonze coming to our house, and
saying that he would take me along, and make a nun of me; but my
father and mother would, on no account, give their consent. ‘As you
cannot bear to part from her and to give her up,’ he then remarked, ‘her
ailment will, I fear, never, throughout her life, be cured. If you wish to
see her all right, it is only to be done by not letting her, from this day
forward, on any account, listen to the sound of weeping, or see, with
the exception of her parents, any relatives outside the family circle.
Then alone will she be able to go through this existence in peace and
in quiet.’ No one heeded the nonsensical talk of this raving priest; but
here am I, up to this very day, dosing myself with ginseng pills as a

“What a lucky coincidence!” interposed dowager lady Chia; “some
of these pills are being compounded here, and I’ll simply tell them to
have an extra supply made; that’s all.”

Hardly had she finished these words, when a sound of laughter was
heard from the back courtyard. “Here I am too late!” the voice said,
“and not in time to receive the distant visitor!”

“Every one of all these people,” reflected Tai-yü, “holds her peace
and suppresses the very breath of her mouth; and who, I wonder, is this
coming in this reckless and rude manner?”

While, as yet, preoccupied with these thoughts, she caught sight of
a crowd of married women and waiting-maids enter from the back
room, pressing round a regular beauty.

The attire of this person bore no similarity to that of the young
ladies. In all her splendour and lustre, she looked like a fairy or a
goddess. In her coiffure, she had a band of gold filigree work,
representing the eight precious things, inlaid with pearls; and wore
pins, at the head of each of which were five phoenixes in a rampant
position, with pendants of pearls. On her neck, she had a reddish gold
necklet, like coiled dragons, with a fringe of tassels. On her person,
she wore a tight-sleeved jacket, of dark red flowered satin, covered



with hundreds of butterflies, embroidered in gold, interspersed with
flowers. Over all, she had a variegated stiff-silk pelisse, lined with
slate-blue ermine; while her nether garments consisted of a jupe of
kingfisher-colour foreign crepe, brocaded with flowers.

She had a pair of eyes, triangular in shape like those of the red
phoenix, two eyebrows, curved upwards at each temple, like willow
leaves. Her stature was elegant; her figure graceful; her powdered face
like dawning spring, majestic, yet not haughty. Her carnation lips, long
before they parted, betrayed a smile.

Tai-yü eagerly rose and greeted her.
Old lady Chia then smiled. “You don’t know her,” she observed.

“This is a cunning vixen, who has made quite a name in this
establishment! In Nanking, she went by the appellation of vixen, and if
you simply call her Feng Vixen, it will do.”

Tai-yü was just at a loss how to address her, when all her cousins
informed Tai-yü, that this was her sister-in-law Lien.

Tai-yü had not, it is true, made her acquaintance before, but she had
heard her mother mention that her eldest maternal uncle Chia She’s
son, Chia Lien, had married the niece of Madame Wang, her second
brother’s wife, a girl who had, from her infancy, purposely been
nurtured to supply the place of a son, and to whom the school name of
Wang Hsi-feng had been given.

Tai-yü lost no time in returning her smile and saluting her with all
propriety, addressing her as my sister-in-law. This Hsi-feng laid hold
of Tai-yü’s hand, and minutely scrutinised her, for a while, from head
to foot; after which she led her back next to dowager lady Chia, where
they both took a seat.

“If really there be a being of such beauty in the world,” she
consequently observed with a smile, “I may well consider as having
set eyes upon it to-day! Besides, in the air of her whole person, she
doesn’t in fact look like your granddaughter-in-law, our worthy
ancestor, but in every way like your ladyship’s own kindred-
granddaughter! It’s no wonder then that your venerable ladyship
should have, day after day, had her unforgotten, even for a second, in
your lips and heart. It’s a pity, however, that this cousin of mine should
have such a hard lot! How did it happen that our aunt died at such an
early period?”

As she uttered these words, she hastily took her handkerchief and
wiped the tears from her eyes.



“I’ve only just recovered from a fit of crying,” dowager lady Chia
observed, as she smiled, “and have you again come to start me? Your
cousin has only now arrived from a distant journey, and she is so
delicate to boot! Besides, we have a few minutes back succeeded in
coaxing her to restrain her sobs, so drop at once making any allusion to
your former remarks!”

This Hsi-feng, upon hearing these words, lost no time in converting
her sorrow into joy.

“Quite right,” she remarked. “But at the sight of my cousin, my
whole heart was absorbed in her, and I felt happy, and yet wounded at
heart: but having disregarded my venerable ancestor’s presence, I
deserve to be beaten, I do indeed!”

And hastily taking once more Tai-yü’s hand in her own: “How old
are you, cousin?” she inquired; “Have you been to school? What
medicines are you taking? while you live here, you mustn’t feel
homesick; and if there’s anything you would like to eat, or to play
with, mind you come and tell me! or should the waiting maids or the
matrons fail in their duties, don’t forget also to report them to me.”

Addressing at the same time the matrons, she went on to ask, “Have
Miss Lin’s luggage and effects been brought in? How many servants
has she brought along with her? Go, as soon as you can, and sweep
two lower rooms and ask them to go and rest.”

As she spake, tea and refreshments had already been served, and
Hsi-feng herself handed round the cups and offered the fruits.

Upon hearing the question further put by her maternal aunt
Secunda, “Whether the issue of the monthly allowances of money had
been finished or not yet?” Hsi-feng replied: “The issue of the money
has also been completed; but a few moments back, when I went along
with several servants to the back upper-loft, in search of the satins, we
looked for ever so long, but we saw nothing of the kind of satins
alluded to by you, madame, yesterday; so may it not be that your
memory misgives you?”

“Whether there be any or not, of that special kind, is of no
consequence,” observed madame Wang. “You should take out,” she
therefore went on to add, “any two pieces which first come under your
hand, for this cousin of yours to make herself dresses with; and in the
evening, if I don’t forget, I’ll send some one to fetch them.”

“I’ve in fact already made every provision,” rejoined Hsi-feng;
“knowing very well that my cousin would be arriving within these two



days, I have had everything got ready for her. And when you, madame,
go back, if you will pass an eye over everything, I shall be able to send
them round.”

Madame Wang gave a smile, nodded her head assentingly, but
uttered not a word by way of reply.

The tea and fruit had by this time been cleared, and dowager lady
Chia directed two old nurses to take Tai-yü to go and see her two
maternal uncles; whereupon Chia She’s wife, madame Hsing, hastily
stood up and with a smiling face suggested, “I’ll take my niece over;
for it will after all be considerably better if I go!”

“Quite so!” answered dowager lady Chia, smiling; “you can go
home too, and there will be no need for you to come over again!”

Madame Hsing expressed her assent, and forthwith led Tai-yü to
take leave of madame Wang. The whole party escorted them as far as
the door of the Entrance Hall, hung with creepers, where several
youths had drawn a carriage, painted light blue, with a kingfisher-
coloured hood.

Madame Hsing led Tai-yü by the hand and they got up into their
seats. The whole company of matrons put the curtain down, and then
bade the youths raise the carriage; who dragged it along, until they
came to an open space, where they at length put the mules into

Going out again by the eastern side gate, they proceeded in an
easterly direction, passed the main entrance of the Jung mansion, and
entered a lofty doorway painted black. On the arrival in front of the
ceremonial gate, they at once dismounted from the curricle, and
madame Hsing, hand-in-hand with Tai-yü, walked into the court.

“These grounds,” surmised Tai-yü to herself, “must have been
originally converted from a piece partitioned from the garden of the
Jung mansion.”

Having entered three rows of ceremonial gates they actually caught
sight of the main structure, with its vestibules and porches, all of
which, though on a small scale, were full of artistic and unique beauty.
They were nothing like the lofty, imposing, massive and luxurious
style of architecture on the other side, yet the avenues and rockeries, in
the various places in the court, were all in perfect taste.

When they reached the interior of the principal pavilion, a large
concourse of handmaids and waiting maids, got up in gala dress, were
already there to greet them. Madame Hsing pressed Tai-yü into a seat,

while she bade some one go into the outer library and request Mr. Chia
She to come over.

In a few minutes the servant returned. “Master,” she explained,
“says: ‘that he has not felt quite well for several days, that as the
meeting with Miss Lin will affect both her as well as himself, he does
not for the present feel equal to seeing each other, that he advises Miss
Lin not to feel despondent or homesick; that she ought to feel quite at
home with her venerable ladyship, (her grandmother,) as well as her
maternal aunts; that her cousins are, it is true, blunt, but that if all the
young ladies associated together in one place, they may also perchance
dispel some dulness; that if ever (Miss Lin) has any grievance, she
should at once speak out, and on no account feel a stranger; and
everything will then be right.”

Tai-yü lost no time in respectfully standing up, resuming her seat
after she had listened to every sentence of the message to her. After a
while, she said goodbye, and though madame Hsing used every
argument to induce her to stay for the repast and then leave, Tai-yü
smiled and said, “I shouldn’t under ordinary circumstances refuse the
invitation to dinner, which you, aunt, in your love kindly extend to me,
but I have still to cross over and pay my respects to my maternal uncle
Secundus; if I went too late, it would, I fear, be a lack of respect on my
part; but I shall accept on another occasion. I hope therefore that you
will, dear aunt, kindly excuse me.”

“If such be the case,” madame Hsing replied, “it’s all right.” And
presently directing two nurses to take her niece over, in the carriage, in
which they had come a while back, Tai-yü thereupon took her leave;
madame Hsing escorting her as far as the ceremonial gate, where she
gave some further directions to all the company of servants. She
followed the curricle with her eyes so long as it remained in sight, and
at length retraced her footsteps.

Tai-yü shortly entered the Jung Mansion, descended from the
carriage, and preceded by all the nurses, she at once proceeded
towards the east, turned a corner, passed through an Entrance Hall,
running east and west, and walked in a southern direction, at the back
of the Large Hall. On the inner side of a ceremonial gate, and at the
upper end of a spacious court, stood a large main building, with five
apartments, flanked on both sides by out-houses (stretching out) like
the antlers on the head of deer; side-gates, resembling passages
through a hill, establishing a thorough communication all round; (a



main building) lofty, majestic, solid and grand, and unlike those in the
compound of dowager lady Chia.

Tai-yü readily concluded that this at last was the main inner suite of
apartments. A raised broad road led in a straight line to the large gate.
Upon entering the Hall, and raising her head, she first of all perceived
before her a large tablet with blue ground, upon which figured nine
dragons of reddish gold. The inscription on this tablet consisted of
three characters as large as a peck-measure, and declared that this was
the Hall of Glorious Felicity.

At the end, was a row of characters of minute size, denoting the
year, month and day, upon which His Majesty had been pleased to
confer the tablet upon Chia Yuan, Duke of Jung Kuo. Besides this
tablet, were numberless costly articles bearing the autograph of the
Emperor. On the large black ebony table, engraved with dragons, were
placed three antique blue and green bronze tripods, about three feet in
height. On the wall hung a large picture representing black dragons,
such as were seen in waiting chambers of the Sui dynasty. On one side
stood a gold cup of chased work, while on the other, a crystal casket.
On the ground were placed, in two rows, sixteen chairs, made of hard-
grained cedar.

There was also a pair of scrolls consisting of black-wood
antithetical tablets, inlaid with the strokes of words in chased gold.
Their burden was this:

On the platform shine resplendent pearls like sun or moon,
And the sheen of the Hall façade gleams like russet sky.

Below, was a row of small characters, denoting that the scroll had
been written by the hand of Mu Shih, a fellow-countryman and old
friend of the family, who, for his meritorious services, had the
hereditary title of Prince of Tung Ngan conferred upon him.

The fact is that madame Wang was also not in the habit of sitting
and resting, in this main apartment, but in three side-rooms on the east,
so that the nurses at once led Tai-yü through the door of the eastern

On a stove-couch, near the window, was spread a foreign red
carpet. On the side of honour, were laid deep red reclining-cushions,
with dragons, with gold cash (for scales), and an oblong brown-
coloured sitting-cushion with gold-cash-spotted dragons. On the two


sides, stood one of a pair of small teapoys of foreign lacquer of peach-
blossom pattern. On the teapoy on the left, were spread out Wen Wang
tripods, spoons, chopsticks and scent-bottles. On the teapoy on the
right, were vases from the Ju Kiln, painted with girls of great beauty,
in which were placed seasonable flowers; (on it were) also teacups, a
tea service and the like articles.

On the floor on the west side of the room, were four chairs in a row,
all of which were covered with antimacassars, embroidered with
silverish-red flowers, while below, at the feet of these chairs, stood
four footstools. On either side, was also one of a pair of high teapoys,
and these teapoys were covered with teacups and flower vases.

The other nick-nacks need not be minutely described.
The old nurses pressed Tai-yü to sit down on the stove-couch; but,

on perceiving near the edge of the couch two embroidered cushions,
placed one opposite the other, she thought of the gradation of seats,
and did not therefore place herself on the couch, but on a chair on the
eastern side of the room; whereupon the waiting maids, in attendance
in these quarters, hastened to serve the tea.

While Tai-yü was sipping her tea, she observed the headgear, dress,
deportment and manners of the several waiting maids, which she really
found so unlike what she had seen in other households. She had hardly
finished her tea, when she noticed a waiting maid approach, dressed in
a red satin jacket, and a waistcoat of blue satin with scollops.

“My lady requests Miss Lin to come over and sit with her,” she
remarked as she put on a smile.

The old nurses, upon hearing this message, speedily ushered Tai-yü
again out of this apartment, into the three-roomed small main building
by the eastern porch.

On the stove-couch, situated at the principal part of the room, was
placed, in a transverse position, a low couch-table, at the upper end of
which were laid out, in a heap, books and a tea service. Against the
partition-wall, on the east side, facing the west, was a reclining pillow,
made of blue satin, neither old nor new.

Madame Wang, however, occupied the lower seat, on the west side,
on which was likewise placed a rather shabby blue satin sitting-rug,
with a back-cushion; and upon perceiving Tai-yü come in she urged
her at once to sit on the east side.

Tai-yü concluded, in her mind, that this seat must certainly belong
to Chia Cheng, and espying, next to the couch, a row of three chairs,


covered with antimacassars, strewn with embroidered flowers,
somewhat also the worse for use, Tai-yü sat down on one of these

But as madame Wang pressed her again and again to sit on the
couch, Tai-yü had at length to take a seat next to her.

“Your uncle,” madame Wang explained, “is gone to observe this
day as a fast day, but you’ll see him by and bye. There’s, however, one
thing I want to talk to you about. Your three female cousins are all, it is
true, everything that is nice; and you will, when later on you come
together for study, or to learn how to do needlework, or whenever, at
any time, you romp and laugh together, find them all most obliging;
but there’s one thing that causes me very much concern. I have here
one, who is the very root of retribution, the incarnation of all mischief,
one who is a ne’er-do-well, a prince of malignant spirits in this family.
He is gone to-day to pay his vows in the temple, and is not back yet,
but you will see him in the evening, when you will readily be able to
judge for yourself. One thing you must do, and that is, from this time
forth, not to pay any notice to him. All these cousins of yours don’t
venture to bring any taint upon themselves by provoking him.”

Tai-yü had in days gone by heard her mother explain that she had a
nephew, born into the world, holding a piece of jade in his mouth, who
was perverse beyond measure, who took no pleasure in his books, and
whose sole great delight was to play the giddy dog in the inner
apartments; that her maternal grandmother, on the other hand, loved
him so fondly that no one ever presumed to call him to account, so that
when, in this instance, she heard madame Wang’s advice, she at once
felt certain that it must be this very cousin.

“Isn’t it to the cousin born with jade in his mouth, that you are
alluding to, aunt?” she inquired as she returned her smile. “When I was
at home, I remember my mother telling me more than once of this very
cousin, who (she said) was a year older than I, and whose infant name
was Pao-yü. She added that his disposition was really wayward, but
that he treats all his cousins with the utmost consideration. Besides,
now that I have come here, I shall, of course, be always together with
my female cousins, while the boys will have their own court, and
separate quarters; and how ever will there be any cause of bringing any
slur upon myself by provoking him?”

“You don’t know the reasons (that prompt me to warn you),” replied
madame Wang laughingly. “He is so unlike all the rest, all because he



has, since his youth up, been doated upon by our old lady! The fact is
that he has been spoilt, through over-indulgence, by being always in
the company of his female cousins! If his female cousins pay no heed
to him, he is, at any rate, somewhat orderly, but the day his cousins say
one word more to him than usual, much trouble forthwith arises, at the
outburst of delight in his heart. That’s why I enjoin upon you not to
heed him. From his mouth, at one time, issue sugared words and
mellifluous phrases; and at another, like the heavens devoid of the sun,
he becomes a raving fool; so whatever you do, don’t believe all he

Tai-yü was assenting to every bit of advice as it was uttered, when
unexpectedly she beheld a waiting-maid walk in. “Her venerable
ladyship over there,” she said, “has sent word about the evening meal.”

Madame Wang hastily took Tai-yü by the hand, and emerging by
the door of the back-room, they went eastwards by the verandah at the
back. Past the side gate, was a roadway, running north and south. On
the southern side were a pavilion with three divisions and a Reception
Hall with a colonnade. On the north, stood a large screen wall, painted
white; behind it was a very small building, with a door of half the
ordinary size.

“These are your cousin Feng’s rooms,” explained madame Wang to
Tai-yü, as she pointed to them smiling. “You’ll know in future your
way to come and find her; and if you ever lack anything, mind you
mention it to her, and she’ll make it all right.”

At the door of this court, were also several youths, who had
recently had the tufts of their hair tied together, who all dropped their
hands against their sides, and stood in a respectful posture. Madame
Wang then led Tai-yü by the hand through a corridor, running east and
west, into what was dowager lady Chia’s back-court. Forthwith they
entered the door of the back suite of rooms, where stood, already in
attendance, a large number of servants, who, when they saw madame
Wang arrive, set to work setting the tables and chairs in order.

Chia Chu’s wife, née Li, served the eatables, while Hsi-feng placed
the chopsticks, and madame Wang brought the soup in. Dowager lady
Chia was seated all alone on the divan, in the main part of the
apartment, on the two sides of which stood four vacant chairs.

Hsi-feng at once drew Tai-yü, meaning to make her sit in the
foremost chair on the left side, but Tai-yü steadily and concedingly


“Your aunts and sisters-in-law, standing on the right and left,”
dowager lady Chia smilingly explained, “won’t have their repast in
here, and as you’re a guest, it’s but proper that you should take that

Then alone it was that Tai-yü asked for permission to sit down,
seating herself on the chair.

Madame Wang likewise took a seat at old lady Chia’s instance; and
the three cousins, Ying Ch’un and the others, having craved for leave
to sit down, at length came forward, and Ying Ch’un took the first
chair on the right, T’an Ch’un the second, and Hsi Ch’un the second on
the left. Waiting maids stood by holding in their hands, flips and
finger-bowls and napkins, while Mrs. Li and lady Feng, the two of
them, kept near the table advising them what to eat, and pressing them
to help themselves.

In the outer apartments, the married women and waiting-maids in
attendance, were, it is true, very numerous; but not even so much as
the sound of the cawing of a crow could be heard.

The repast over, each one was presented by a waiting-maid, with
tea in a small tea tray; but the Lin family had all along impressed upon
the mind of their daughter that in order to show due regard to
happiness, and to preserve good health, it was essential, after every
meal, to wait a while, before drinking any tea, so that it should not do
any harm to the intestines. When, therefore, Tai-yü perceived how
many habits there were in this establishment unlike those which
prevailed in her home, she too had no alternative but to conform
herself to a certain extent with them. Upon taking over the cup of tea,
servants came once more and presented finger-bowls for them to rinse
their mouths, and Tai-yü also rinsed hers; and after they had all again
finished washing their hands, tea was eventually served a second time,
and this was, at length, the tea that was intended to be drunk.

“You can all go,” observed dowager lady Chia, “and let us alone to
have a chat.”

Madame Wang rose as soon as she heard these words, and having
made a few irrelevant remarks, she led the way and left the room along
with the two ladies, Mrs. Li and lady Feng.

Dowager lady Chia, having inquired of Tai-yü what books she was
reading, “I have just begun reading the Four Books,” Tai-yü replied.
“What books are my cousins reading?” Tai-yü went on to ask.

“Books, you say!” exclaimed dowager lady Chia; “why all they



know are a few characters, that’s all.”
The sentence was barely out of her lips, when a continuous

sounding of footsteps was heard outside, and a waiting maid entered
and announced that Pao-yü was coming. Tai-yü was speculating in her
mind how it was that this Pao-yü had turned out such a good-for-
nothing fellow, when he happened to walk in.

He was, in fact, a young man of tender years, wearing on his head,
to hold his hair together, a cap of gold of purplish tinge, inlaid with
precious gems. Parallel with his eyebrows was attached a circlet,
embroidered with gold, and representing two dragons snatching a
pearl. He wore an archery-sleeved deep red jacket, with hundreds of
butterflies worked in gold of two different shades, interspersed with
flowers; and was girded with a sash of variegated silk, with clusters of
designs, to which was attached long tassels; a kind of sash worn in the
palace. Over all, he had a slate-blue fringed coat of Japanese brocaded
satin, with eight bunches of flowers in relief; and wore a pair of light
blue satin white-soled, half-dress court-shoes.

His face was like the full moon at mid-autumn; his complexion, like
morning flowers in spring; the hair along his temples, as if chiselled
with a knife; his eyebrows, as if pencilled with ink; his nose like a
suspended gallbladder (a well-cut and shapely nose); his eyes like
vernal waves; his angry look even resembled a smile; his glance, even
when stern, was full of sentiment.

Round his neck he had a gold dragon necklet with a fringe; also a
cord of variegated silk, to which was attached a piece of beautiful jade.

As soon as Tai-yü became conscious of his presence, she was quite
taken aback. “How very strange!” she was reflecting in her mind; “it
would seem as if I had seen him somewhere or other, for his face
appears extremely familiar to my eyes;” when she noticed Pao-yü face
dowager lady Chia and make his obeisance. “Go and see your mother
and then come back,” remarked her venerable ladyship; and at once he
turned round and quitted the room.

On his return, he had already changed his hat and suit. All round his
head, he had a fringe of short hair, plaited into small queues, and
bound with red silk. The queues were gathered up at the crown, and all
the hair, which had been allowed to grow since his birth, was plaited
into a thick queue, which looked as black and as glossy as lacquer.
Between the crown of the head and the extremity of the queue, hung a
string of four large pearls, with pendants of gold, representing the eight


precious things. On his person, he wore a long silvery-red coat, more
or less old, bestrewn with embroidery of flowers. He had still round
his neck the necklet, precious gem, amulet of Recorded Name,
philacteries, and other ornaments. Below were partly visible a fir-cone
coloured brocaded silk pair of trousers, socks spotted with black
designs, with ornamented edges, and a pair of deep red, thick-soled

(Got up as he was now,) his face displayed a still whiter
appearance, as if painted, and his eyes as if they were set off with
carnation. As he rolled his eyes, they brimmed with love. When he
gave utterance to speech, he seemed to smile. But the chief natural
pleasing feature was mainly centred in the curve of his eyebrows. The
ten thousand and one fond sentiments, fostered by him during the
whole of his existence, were all amassed in the corner of his eyes.

His outward appearance may have been pleasing to the highest
degree, but yet it was no easy matter to fathom what lay beneath it.

There are a couple of roundelays, composed by a later poet, (after
the excellent rhythm of the) Hsi Chiang Yueh, which depict Pao-yü in
a most adequate manner.

The roundelays run as follows:

To gloom and passion prone, without a rhyme,
Inane and madlike was he many a time,
His outer self, forsooth, fine may have been,
But one wild, howling waste his mind within:
Addled his brain that nothing he could see;
A dunce! to read essays so loth to be!
Perverse in bearing, in temper wayward;
For human censure he had no regard.
When rich, wealth to enjoy he knew not how;
When poor, to poverty he could not bow.
Alas! what utter waste of lustrous grace!
To state, to family what a disgrace!
Of ne’er-do-wells below he was the prime,
Unfilial like him none up to this time.
Ye lads, pampered with sumptuous fare and dress,
Beware! In this youth’s footsteps do not press!

But to proceed with our story.
“You have gone and changed your clothes,” observed dowager lady

Chia, “before being introduced to the distant guest. Why don’t you yet
salute your cousin?”



Pao-yü had long ago become aware of the presence of a most
beautiful young lady, who, he readily concluded, must be no other than
the daughter of his aunt Lin. He hastened to advance up to her, and
make his bow; and after their introduction, he resumed his seat,
whence he minutely scrutinised her features, (which he thought) so
unlike those of all other girls.

Her two arched eyebrows, thick as clustered smoke, bore a certain
not very pronounced frowning wrinkle. She had a pair of eyes, which
possessed a cheerful, and yet one would say, a sad expression,
overflowing with sentiment. Her face showed the prints of sorrow
stamped on her two dimpled cheeks. She was beautiful, but her whole
frame was the prey of a hereditary disease. The tears in her eyes
glistened like small specks. Her balmy breath was so gentle. She was
as demure as a lovely flower reflected in the water. Her gait resembled
a frail willow, agitated by the wind. Her heart, compared with that of
Pi Kan, had one more aperture of intelligence; while her ailment
exceeded (in intensity) by three degrees the ailment of Hsi-Tzu.

Pao-yü, having concluded his scrutiny of her, put on a smile and
said, “This cousin I have already seen in days gone by.”

“There you are again with your nonsense,” exclaimed lady Chia,
sneeringly; “how could you have seen her before?”

“Though I may not have seen her, ere this,” observed Pao-yü with a
smirk, “yet when I look at her face, it seems so familiar, and to my
mind, it would appear as if we had been old acquaintances; just as if,
in fact, we were now meeting after a long separation.”

“That will do! that will do!” remarked dowager lady Chia; “such
being the case, you will be the more intimate.”

Pao-yü, thereupon, went up to Tai-yü, and taking a seat next to her,
continued to look at her again with all intentness for a good long

“Have you read any books, cousin?” he asked.
“I haven’t as yet,” replied Tai-yü, “read any books, as I have only

been to school for a year; all I know are simply a few characters.”
“What is your worthy name, cousin?” Pao-yü went on to ask;

whereupon Tai-yü speedily told him her name.
“Your style?” inquired Pao-yü; to which question Tai-yü replied, “I

have no style.”
“I’ll give you a style,” suggested Pao-yü smilingly; “won’t the

double style ‘P’in P’in,’ ‘knitting brows,’ do very well?”



“From what part of the standard books does that come?” T’an Ch’un
hastily interposed.

“It is stated in the Thorough Research into the state of Creation
from remote ages to the present day,” Pao-yü went on to explain, “that,
in the western quarter, there exists a stone, called Tai, (black,) which
can be used, in lieu of ink, to blacken the eyebrows with. Besides the
eyebrows of this cousin taper in a way, as if they were contracted, so
that the selection of these two characters is most appropriate, isn’t it?”

“This is just another plagiarism, I fear,” observed T’an Ch’un, with
an ironic smirk.

“Exclusive of the Four Books,” Pao-yü remarked smilingly, “the
majority of works are plagiarised; and is it only I, perchance, who
plagiarise? Have you got any jade or not?” he went on to inquire,
addressing Tai-yü, (to the discomfiture) of all who could not make out
what he meant.

“It’s because he has a jade himself,” Tai-yü forthwith reasoned
within her mind, “that he asks me whether I have one or not.—No; I
haven’t one,” she replied. “That jade of yours is besides a rare object,
and how could every one have one?”

As soon as Pao-yü heard this remark, he at once burst out in a fit of
his raving complaint, and unclasping the gem, he dashed it disdainfully
on the floor. “Rare object, indeed!” he shouted, as he heaped invective
on it; “it has no idea how to discriminate the excellent from the mean,
among human beings; and do tell me, has it any perception or not? I
too can do without this rubbish!”

All those, who stood below, were startled; and in a body they
pressed forward, vying with each other as to who should pick up the

Dowager lady Chia was so distressed that she clasped Pao-yü in her
embrace. “You child of wrath,” she exclaimed. “When you get into a
passion, it’s easy enough for you to beat and abuse people; but what
makes you fling away that stem of life?”

Pao-yü’s face was covered with the traces of tears. “All my cousins
here, senior as well as junior,” he rejoined, as he sobbed, “have no
gem, and if it’s only I to have one, there’s no fun in it, I maintain! and
now comes this angelic sort of cousin, and she too has none, so that it’s
clear enough that it is no profitable thing.”

Dowager lady Chia hastened to coax him. “This cousin of yours,”
she explained, “would, under former circumstances, have come here



with a jade; and it’s because your aunt felt unable, as she lay on her
death-bed, to reconcile herself to the separation from your cousin, that
in the absence of any remedy, she forthwith took the gem belonging to
her (daughter), along with her (in the grave); so that, in the first place,
by the fulfilment of the rites of burying the living with the dead might
be accomplished the filial piety of your cousin; and in the second
place, that the spirit of your aunt might also, for the time being, use it
to gratify the wish of gazing on your cousin. That’s why she simply
told you that she had no jade; for she couldn’t very well have had any
desire to give vent to self-praise. Now, how can you ever compare
yourself with her? and don’t you yet carefully and circumspectly put it
on? Mind, your mother may come to know what you have done!”

As she uttered these words, she speedily took the jade over from the
hand of the waiting-maid, and she herself fastened it on for him.

When Pao-yü heard this explanation, he indulged in reflection, but
could not even then advance any further arguments.

A nurse came at the moment and inquired about Tai-yü’s quarters,
and dowager lady Chia at once added, “Shift Pao-yü along with me,
into the warm room of my suite of apartments, and put your mistress,
Miss Lin, temporarily in the green gauze house; and when the rest of
the winter is over, and repairs are taken in hand in spring in their
rooms, an additional wing can be put up for her to take up her quarters

“My dear ancestor,” ventured Pao-yü; “the bed I occupy outside the
green gauze house is very comfortable; and what need is there again
for me to leave it and come and disturb your old ladyship’s peace and

“Well, all right,” observed dowager lady Chia, after some
consideration; “but let each one of you have a nurse, as well as a
waiting-maid to attend on you; the other servants can remain in the
outside rooms and keep night watch and be ready to answer any call.”

At an early hour, besides, Hsi-feng had sent a servant round with a
grey flowered curtain, embroidered coverlets and satin quilts and other
such articles.

Tai-yü had brought along with her only two servants; the one was
her own nurse, dame Wang, and the other was a young waiting-maid
of sixteen, whose name was called Hsüeh Yen. Dowager lady Chia,
perceiving that Hsüeh Yen was too youthful and quite a child in her
manner, while nurse Wang was, on the other hand, too aged,


conjectured that Tai-yü would, in all her wants, not have things as she
liked, so she detached two waiting-maids, who were her own personal
attendants, named Tzu Chüan and Ying Ko, and attached them to Tai-
yü’s service. Just as had Ying Ch’un and the other girls, each one of
whom had besides the wet nurses of their youth, four other nurses to
advise and direct them, and exclusive of two personal maids to look
after their dress and toilette, four or five additional young maids to do
the washing and sweeping of the rooms and the running about
backwards and forwards on errands.

Nurse Wang, Tzu Chüan and other girls entered at once upon their
attendance on Tai-yü in the green gauze rooms, while Pao-yü’s wet-
nurse, dame Li, together with an elderly waiting-maid, called Hsi Jen,
were on duty in the room with the large bed.

This Hsi Jen had also been, originally, one of dowager lady Chia’s
servant-girls. Her name was in days gone by, Chen Chu. As her
venerable ladyship, in her tender love for Pao-yü, had feared that Pao-
yü’s servant girls were not equal to their duties, she readily handed her
to Pao-yü, as she had hitherto had experience of how sincere and
considerate she was at heart.

Pao-yü, knowing that her surname was at one time Hua, and having
once seen in some verses of an ancient poet, the line “the fragrance of
flowers wafts itself into man,” lost no time in explaining the fact to
dowager lady Chia, who at once changed her name into Hsi Jen.

This Hsi Jen had several simple traits. While in attendance upon
dowager lady Chia, in her heart and her eyes there was no one but her
venerable ladyship, and her alone; and now in her attendance upon
Pao-yü, her heart and her eyes were again full of Pao-yü, and him
alone. But as Pao-yü was of a perverse temperament and did not heed
her repeated injunctions, she felt at heart exceedingly grieved.

At night, after nurse Li had fallen asleep, seeing that in the inner
chambers, Tai-yü, Ying Ko and the others had not as yet retired to rest,
she disrobed herself, and with gentle step walked in.

“How is it, miss,” she inquired smiling, “that you have not turned in
as yet?”

Tai-yü at once put on a smile. “Sit down, sister,” she rejoined,
pressing her to take a seat. Hsi Jen sat on the edge of the bed.

“Miss Lin,” interposed Ying Ko smirkingly, “has been here in an
awful state of mind! She has cried so to herself, that her eyes were
flooded, as soon as she dried her tears. ‘It’s only to-day that I’ve come,’


she said, ‘and I’ve already been the cause of the outbreak of your
young master’s failing. Now had he broken that jade, as he hurled it on
the ground, wouldn’t it have been my fault? Hence it was that she was
so wounded at heart, that I had all the trouble in the world, before I
could appease her.”

“Desist at once, Miss! Don’t go on like this,” Hsi Jen advised her;
“there will, I fear, in the future, happen things far more strange and
ridiculous than this; and if you allow yourself to be wounded and
affected to such a degree by a conduct such as his, you will, I
apprehend, suffer endless wounds and anguish; so be quick and dispel
this over-sensitive nature!”

“What you sisters advise me,” replied Tai-yü, “I shall bear in mind,
and it will be all right.”

They had another chat, which lasted for some time, before they at
length retired to rest for the night.

The next day, (she and her cousins) got up at an early hour and went
over to pay their respects to dowager lady Chia, after which upon
coming to madame Wang’s apartments, they happened to find madame
Wang and Hsi-feng together, opening the letters which had arrived
from Chin Ling. There were also in the room two married women,
who had been sent from madame Wang’s elder brother’s wife’s house
to deliver a message.

Tai-yü was, it is true, not aware of what was up, but T’an Ch’un and
the others knew that they were discussing the son of her mother’s
sister, married in the Hsüeh family, in the city of Chin Ling, a cousin
of theirs, Hsüeh P’an, who relying upon his wealth and influence had,
by assaulting a man, committed homicide, and who was now to be
tried in the court of the Ying T’ien Prefecture.

Her maternal uncle, Wang Tzu-t’eng, had now, on the receipt of the
tidings, despatched messengers to bring over the news to the Chia
family. But the next chapter will explain what was the ultimate issue of
the wish entertained in this mansion to send for the Hsüeh family to
come to the capital.


invite Ch’in Chung to come to school for his studies.”
While yet this conversation was going on, they arrived at the Jung

Reader, do you wish to know what follows? if you do, the next

chapter will unfold it.

Chapter VIII

By a strange coincidence, Chia Pao-yü becomes acquainted with the golden

In an unexpected meeting, Hsüeh Pao-ch’ai sees the jade of spiritual perception.

Pao-yü and lady Feng, we will now explain, paid, on their return
home, their respects to all the inmates, and Pao-yü availed himself of
the first occasion to tell dowager lady Chia of his wish that Ch’in
Chung should come over to the family school. “The presence for
himself of a friend as schoolmate would,” he argued, “be fitly excellent
to stir him to zeal,” and he went on to speak in terms of high praise of
Ch’in Chung, his character and his manners, which most of all made
people esteem him.

Lady Feng besides stood by him and backed his request. “In a day
or two,” she added, “Ch’in Chung will be coming to pay his obeisance
to your venerable ladyship.”

This bit of news greatly rejoiced the heart of dowager lady Chia,
and lady Feng likewise did not let the opportunity slip, without
inviting the old lady to attend the theatrical performance to come off
the day after the morrow. Dowager lady Chia was, it is true, well on in
years, but was, nevertheless, very fond of enjoyment, so that when the
day arrived and Mrs. Yu came over to invite her round, she forthwith
took madame Wang, Lin Tai-yü, Pao-yü and others along and went to
the play.

It was about noon, when dowager lady Chia returned to her
apartments for her siesta; and madame Wang, who was habitually
partial to a quiet life, also took her departure after she had seen the old
lady retire. Lady Feng subsequently took the seat of honour; and the
party enjoyed themselves immensely till the evening, when they broke

But to return to Pao-yü. Having accompanied his grandmother Chia


back home, and waited till her ladyship was in her midday sleep, he
had in fact an inclination to return to the performance, but he was
afraid lest he should be a burden to Mrs. Ch’in and the rest and lest
they should not feel at ease. Remembering therefore that Pao Ch’ai had
been at home unwell for the last few days, and that he had not been to
see her, he was anxious to go and look her up, but he dreaded that if he
went by the side gate, at the back of the drawing-room, he would be
prevented by something or other, and fearing, what would be making
matters worse, lest he should come across his father, he consequently
thought it better to go on his way by a detour. The nurses and waiting-
maids thereupon came to help him to change his clothes; but they saw
him not change, but go out again by the second door. These nurses and
maids could not help following him out; but they were still under the
impression that he was going over to the other mansion to see the
theatricals. Contrary to their speculations, upon reaching the entrance
hall, he forthwith went to the east, then turned to the north, and
walking round by the rear of the hall, he happened to come face to face
with two of the family companions, Mr. Ch’an Kuang, and Mr. Tan
T’ing-jen. As soon as they caught sight of Pao-yü, they both readily
drew up to him, and as they smiled, the one put his arm round his
waist, while the other grasped him by the hand.

“Oh divine brother!” they both exclaimed, “this we call dreaming a
pleasant dream, for it’s no easy thing to come across you!”

While continuing their remarks they paid their salutations, and
inquired after his health; and it was only after they had chatted for ever
so long, that they went on their way. The nurse called out to them and
stopped them, “Have you two gentlemen,” she said, “come out from
seeing master?”

They both nodded assent. “Your master,” they explained, “is in the
Meng P’o Chai small library having his siesta; so that you can go
through there with no fear.”

As they uttered these words, they walked away.
This remark also evoked a smile from Pao-yü, but without further

delay he turned a corner, went towards the north, and came into the
Pear Fragrance Court, where, as luck would have it, he met the head
manager of the Household Treasury, Wu Hsin-teng, who, in company
with the head of the granary, Tai Liang, and several other head
stewards, seven persons in all, was issuing out of the Account Room.

On seeing Pao-yü approaching, they, in a body, stood still, and hung




down their arms against their sides. One of them alone, a certain
butler, called Ch’ien Hua, promptly came forward, as he had not seen
Pao-yü for many a day, and bending on one knee, paid his respects to
Pao-yü. Pao-yü at once gave a smile and pulled him up.

“The day before yesterday,” smiled all the bystanders, “we were
somewhere together and saw some characters written by you, master
Secundus, in the composite style. The writing is certainly better than it
was before! When will you give us a few sheets to stick on the wall?”

“Where did you see them?” inquired Pao-yü, with a grin.
“They are to be found in more than one place,” they replied, “and

every one praises them very much, and what’s more, asks us for a

“They are not worth having,” observed Pao-yü smilingly; “but if
you do want any, tell my young servants and it will be all right.”

As he said these words, he moved onwards. The whole party waited
till he had gone by, before they separated, each one to go his own way.

But we need not dilate upon matters of no moment, but return to

On coming to the Pear Fragrance Court, he entered, first, into
“aunt” Hsüeh’s room, where he found her getting some needlework
ready to give to the waiting-maids to work at. Pao-yü forthwith paid
his respects to her, and “aunt” Hsüeh, taking him by the hand, drew
him towards her and clasped him in her embrace.

“With this cold weather,” she smilingly urged, “it’s too kind of you,
my dear child, to think of coming to see me; come along on the stove-
couch at once!—Bring some tea,” she continued, addressing the
servants, “and make it as hot as it can be!”

“Isn’t Hsüeh P’an at home?” Pao-yü having inquired: “He’s like a
horse without a halter,” Mrs. Hsüeh remarked with a sigh; “he’s daily
running here and there and everywhere, and nothing can induce him to
stay at home one single day.”

“Is sister (Pao Ch’ai) all right again?” asked Pao-yü. “Yes,” replied
Mrs. Hsüeh, “she’s well again. It was very kind of you two days ago to
again think of her, and send round to inquire after her. She’s now in
there, and you can go and see her. It’s warmer there than it’s here; go
and sit with her inside, and, as soon as I’ve put everything away, I’ll
come and join you and have a chat.”

Pao-yü, upon hearing this, jumped down with alacrity from the
stove-couch, and walked up to the door of the inner room, where he


saw hanging a portière somewhat the worse for use, made of red silk.
Pao-yü raised the portière and making one step towards the interior, he
found Pao Ch’ai seated on the couch, busy over some needlework. On
the top of her head was gathered, and made into a knot, her chevelure,
black as lacquer, and glossy like pomade. She wore a honey-coloured
wadded robe, a rose-brown short-sleeved jacket, lined with the fur of
the squirrel of two colours: the “gold and silver;” and a jupe of leek-
yellow silk. Her whole costume was neither too new, neither too old,
and displayed no sign of extravagance.

Her lips, though not rouged, were naturally red; her eyebrows,
though not pencilled, were yet blue black; her face resembled a silver
basin, and her eyes, juicy plums. She was sparing in her words, chary
in her talk, so much so that people said that she posed as a simpleton.
She was quiet in the acquittal of her duties and scrupulous as to the
proper season for everything. “I practise simplicity,” she would say of

“How are you? are you quite well again, sister?” inquired Pao-yü,
as he gazed at her; whereupon Pao Ch’ai raised her head, and
perceiving Pao-yü walk in, she got up at once and replied with a smile,
“I’m all right again; many thanks for your kindness in thinking of me.”

While uttering this, she pressed him to take a seat on the stove-
couch, and as he sat down on the very edge of the couch, she told Ying
Erh to bring tea and asked likewise after dowager lady Chia and lady
Feng. “And are all the rest of the young ladies quite well?” she

Saying this she scrutinised Pao-yü, who she saw had a head-dress
of purplish-gold twisted threads, studded with precious stones. His
forehead was bound with a gold circlet, representing two dragons,
clasping a pearl. On his person he wore a light yellow, archery-sleeved
jacket, ornamented with rampant dragons, and lined with fur from the
ribs of the silver fox; and was clasped with a dark sash, embroidered
with different-coloured butterflies and birds. Round his neck was hung
an amulet, consisting of a clasp of longevity, a talisman of recorded
name, and, in addition to these, the precious jade which he had had in
his mouth at the time of his birth.

“I’ve daily heard every one speak of this jade,” said Pao Ch’ai with a
smile, “but haven’t, after all, had an opportunity of looking at it
closely, but anyhow to-day I must see it.”

As she spoke, she drew near. Pao-yü himself approached, and


taking it from his neck, he placed it in Pao Ch’ai’s hand. Pao Ch’ai held
it in her palm. It appeared to her very much like the egg of a bird,
resplendent as it was like a bright russet cloud; shiny and smooth like
variegated curd and covered with a net for the sake of protection.

Readers, you should know that this was the very block of useless
stone which had been on the Ta Huang Hills, and which had dropped
into the Ch’ing Keng cave, in a state of metamorphosis. A later writer
expresses his feelings in a satirical way as follows:

Nü Wo’s fusion of stones was e’er a myth inane,
But from this myth hath sprung fiction still more insane!
Lost is the subtle life, divine, and real!—gone!
Assumed, mean subterfuge! foul bags of skin and bone!
Fortune, when once adverse, how true! gold glows no more!
In evil days, alas! the jade’s splendour is o’er!
Bones, white and bleached, in nameless hill-like mounds are flung,
Bones once of youths renowned and maidens fair and young.

The rejected stone has in fact already given a record of the
circumstances of its transformation, and the inscription in seal
characters, engraved upon it by the bald-headed bonze, and below will
now be also appended a faithful representation of it; but its real size is
so very diminutive, as to allow of its being held by a child in his mouth
while yet unborn, that were it to have been drawn in its exact
proportions, the characters would, it is feared, have been so
insignificant in size, that the beholder would have had to waste much
of his eyesight, and it would besides have been no pleasant thing.

While therefore its shape has been adhered to, its size has
unavoidably been slightly enlarged, to admit of the reader being able,
conveniently, to peruse the inscription, even by very lamplight, and
though he may be under the influence of wine.

These explanations have been given to obviate any such sneering
remarks as: “What could be, pray, the size of the mouth of a child in
his mother’s womb, and how could it grasp such a large and clumsy

On the face of the jade was written:

Precious Gem of Spiritual Perception.
If thou wilt lose me not and never forget me,
Eternal life and constant luck will be with thee!



On the reverse was written:

1 To exorcise evil spirits and the accessory visitations;
2 To cure predestined sickness;
3 To prognosticate weal and woe.

Pao Ch’ai having looked at the amulet, twisted it again to the face,
and scrutinising it closely, read aloud:

If thou wilt lose me not and never forget me,
Eternal life and constant luck will be with thee!

She perused these lines twice, and, turning round, she asked Ying
Erh laughingly: “Why don’t you go and pour the tea? what are you
standing here like an idiot!”

“These two lines which I’ve heard,” smiled Ying Erh, “would
appear to pair with the two lines on your necklet, miss!”

“What!” eagerly observed Pao-yü with a grin, when he caught these
words, “are there really eight characters too on your necklet, cousin?
do let me too see it.”

“Don’t listen to what she says,” remarked Pao Ch’ai, “there are no
characters on it.”

“My dear cousin,” pleaded Pao-yü entreatingly, “how is it you’ve
seen mine?”

Pao Ch’ai was brought quite at bay by this remark of his, and she
consequently added, “There are also two propitious phrases engraved
on this charm, and that’s why I wear it every day. Otherwise, what
pleasure would there be in carrying a clumsy thing.”

As she spoke, she unfastened the button, and produced from inside
her crimson robe, a crystal-like locket, set with pearls and gems, and
with a brilliant golden fringe. Pao-yü promptly received it from her,
and upon minute examination, found that there were in fact four
characters on each side; the eight characters on both sides forming two
sentences of good omen. The similitude of the locket is likewise then
given below. On the face of the locket is written:

“Part not from me and cast me not away;”



And on the reverse:

“And youth, perennial freshness will display!”

Pao-yü examined the charm, and having also read the inscription
twice over aloud, and then twice again to himself, he said as he smiled,
“Dear cousin, these eight characters of yours form together with mine
an antithetical verse.”

“They were presented to her,” ventured Ying Erh, “by a mangy-
pated bonze, who explained that they should be engraved on a golden

Pao Ch’ai left her no time to finish what she wished to say, but
speedily called her to task for not going to bring the tea, and then
inquired of Pao-yü “Where he had come from?”

Pao-yü had, by this time, drawn quite close to Pao Ch’ai, and
perceived whiff after whiff of some perfume or other, of what kind he
could not tell. “What perfume have you used, my cousin,” he forthwith
asked, “to fumigate your dresses with? I really don’t remember
smelling any perfumery of the kind before.”

“I’m very averse,” replied Pao Ch’ai blandly, “to the odour of
fumigation; good clothes become impregnated with the smell of

“In that case,” observed Pao-yü, “what scent is it?”
“Yes, I remember,” Pao Ch’ai answered, after some reflection; “it’s

the scent of the ‘cold fragrance’ pills which I took this morning.”
“What are these cold fragrance pills,” remarked Pao-yü smiling,

“that they have such a fine smell? Give me, cousin, a pill to try.”
“Here you are with your nonsense again,” Pao Ch’ai rejoined

laughingly; “is a pill a thing to be taken recklessly?”
She had scarcely finished speaking, when she heard suddenly some

one outside say, “Miss Lin is come;” and shortly Lin Tai-yü walked in
in a jaunty manner.

“Oh, I come at a wrong moment!” she exclaimed forthwith,
smirking significantly when she caught sight of Pao-yü.

Pao-yü and the rest lost no time in rising and offering her a seat,
whereupon Pao Ch’ai added with a smile, “How can you say such

“Had I known sooner,” continued Tai-yü, “that he was here, I would



have kept away.”
“I can’t fathom this meaning of yours,” protested Pao Ch’ai.
“If one comes,” Tai-yü urged smiling, “then all come, and when one

doesn’t come, then no one comes. Now were he to come to-day, and I
to come to-morrow, wouldn’t there be, by a division of this kind,
always some one with you every day? and in this way, you wouldn’t
feel too lonely, nor too crowded. How is it, cousin, that you didn’t
understand what I meant to imply?”

“Is it snowing?” inquired Pao-yü, upon noticing that she wore a
cloak made of crimson camlet, buttoning in front.

“It has been snowing for some time,” ventured the matrons, who
were standing below. “Fetch my wrapper!” Pao-yü remarked, and Tai-
yü readily laughed. “Am I not right? I come, and, of course, he must
go at once.”

“Did I ever mention that I was going?” questioned Pao-yü; “I only
wish it brought to have it ready when I want it.”

“It’s a snowy day,” consequently remarked Pao-yü’s nurse, dame Li,
“and we must also look to the time, but you had better remain here and
amuse yourself with your cousin. Your aunt has, in there, got ready tea
and fruits. I’ll tell the waiting-maid to go and fetch your wrapper and
the boys to return home.” Pao-yü assented, and nurse Li left the room
and told the boys that they were at liberty to go.

By this time Mrs. Hsüeh had prepared tea and several kinds of nice
things and kept them all to partake of those delicacies. Pao-yü, having
spoken highly of some goose feet and ducks’ tongues he had tasted
some days before, at his eldest sister-in-law’s, Mrs. Yu’s, “aunt” Hsüeh
promptly produced several dishes of the same kind, made by herself,
and gave them to Pao-yü to try. “With a little wine,” added Pao-yü with
a smile, “they would be first rate.”

Mrs. Hsüeh thereupon bade the servants fetch some wine of the best
quality; but dame Li came forward and remonstrated. “My lady,” she
said, “never mind the wine.”

Pao-yü smilingly pleaded: “My nurse, I’ll take just one cup and no

“It’s no use,” nurse Li replied, “were your grandmother and mother
present, I wouldn’t care if you drank a whole jar. I remember the day
when I turned my eyes away but for a moment, and some ignorant fool
or other, merely with the view of pandering for your favour, gave you
only a drop of wine to drink, and how this brought reproaches upon me




for a couple of days. You don’t know, my lady, you have no idea of his
disposition! it’s really dreadful; and when he has had a little wine he
shows far more temper. On days when her venerable ladyship is in
high spirits, she allows him to have his own way about drinking, but
he’s not allowed to have wine on any and every day; and why should I
have to suffer inside and all for nothing at all?”

“You antiquated thing!” replied Mrs. Hsüeh laughing, “set your
mind at ease, and go and drink your own wine! I won’t let him have
too much, and should even the old lady say anything, let the fault be

Saying this, she asked a waiting-maid to take nurse Li along with
her and give her also a glass of wine so as to keep out the cold air.

When nurse Li heard these words, she had no alternative but to go
for a time with all the others and have some wine to drink.

“The wine need not be warmed: I prefer it cold!” Pao-yü went on to
suggest meanwhile.

“That won’t do,” remonstrated Mrs. Hsüeh; “cold wine will make
your hand tremble when you write.”

“You have,” interposed Pao Ch’ai smiling, “the good fortune, cousin
Pao-yü, of having daily opportunities of acquiring a knowledge of
every kind of subject, and yet don’t you know that the properties of
wine are mostly heating? If you drink wine warm, its effects soon
dispel, but if you drink it cold, it at once congeals in you; and as upon
your intestines devolves the warming of it, how can you not derive any
harm? and won’t you yet from this time change this habit of yours?
leave off at once drinking that cold wine.”

Pao-yü finding that the words he had heard contained a good deal
of sense, speedily put down the cold wine, and having asked them to
warm it, he at length drank it.

Tai-yü was bent upon cracking melon seeds, saying nothing but
simply pursing up her lips and smiling, when, strange coincidence,
Hsüeh Yen, Tai-yü’s waiting-maid, walked in and handed her mistress
a small hand-stove.

“Who told you to bring it?” ascertained Tai-yü grinningly. “I’m
sorry to have given whoever it is the trouble; I’m obliged to her. But
did she ever imagine that I would freeze to death?”

“Tzu Chuan was afraid,” replied Hsüeh Yen, “that you would, miss,
feel cold, and she asked me to bring it over.”

Tai-yü took it over and held it in her lap. “How is it,” she smiled,


“that you listen to what she tells you, but that you treat what I say, day
after day, as so much wind blowing past your ears! How is it that you
at once do what she bids you, with even greater alacrity than you
would an imperial edict?”

When Pao-yü heard this, he felt sure in his mind that Tai-yü was
availing herself of this opportunity to make fun of him, but he made no
remark, merely laughing to himself and paying no further notice. Pao
Ch’ai, again, knew full well that this habit was a weak point with Tai-
yü, so she too did not go out of her way to heed what she said.

“You’ve always been delicate and unable to stand the cold,”
interposed “aunt” Hsüeh, “and is it not a kind attention on their part to
have thought of you?”

“You don’t know, aunt, how it really stands,” responded Tai-yü
smilingly; “fortunately enough, it was sent to me here at your quarters;
for had it been in any one else’s house, wouldn’t it have been a slight
upon them? Is it forsooth nice to think that people haven’t so much as a
hand-stove, and that one has fussily to be sent over from home? People
won’t say that the waiting-maids are too officious, but will imagine
that I’m in the habit of behaving in this offensive fashion.”

“You’re far too punctilious,” remarked Mrs. Hsüeh, “as to entertain
such notions! No such ideas as these crossed my mind just now.”

While they were conversing, Pao-yü had taken so much as three
cups of wine, and nurse Li came forward again to prevent him from
having any more. Pao-yü was just then in a state of exultation and
excitement, (a state) enhanced by the conversation and laughter of his
cousins, so that was he ready to agree to having no more! But he was
constrained in a humble spirit to entreat for permission. “My dear
nurse,” he implored, “I’ll just take two more cups and then have no

“You’d better be careful,” added nurse Li, “your father is at home
to-day, and see that you’re ready to be examined in your lessons.”

When Pao-yü heard this mention, his spirits at once sank within
him, and gently putting the wine aside, he dropped his head upon his

Tai-yü promptly remonstrated. “You’ve thrown cold water,” she
said, “over the spirits of the whole company; why, if uncle should ask
to see you, well, say that aunt Hsüeh detained you. This old nurse of
yours has been drinking, and again makes us the means of clearing her
muddled head!”



While saying this, she gave Pao-yü a big nudge with the intent of
stirring up his spirits, adding, as she addressed him in a low tone of
voice: “Don’t let us heed that old thing, but mind our own enjoyment.”

Dame Li also knew very well Tai-yü’s disposition, and therefore
remarked: “Now, Miss Lin, don’t you urge him on; you should after all,
give him good advice, as he may, I think, listen to a good deal of what
you say to him.”

“Why should I urge him on?” rejoined Lin Tai-yü, with a sarcastic
smile, “nor will I trouble myself to give him advice. You, old lady, are
far too scrupulous! Old lady Chia has also time after time given him
wine, and if he now takes a cup or two more here, at his aunt’s, lady
Hsüeh’s house, there’s no harm that I can see. Is it perhaps, who
knows, that aunt is a stranger in this establishment, and that we have in
fact no right to come over here to see her?”

Nurse Li was both vexed and amused by the words she had just
heard. “Really,” she observed, “every remark this girl Lin utters is
sharper than a razor! I didn’t say anything much!”

Pao Ch’ai too could not suppress a smile, and as she pinched Tai-
yü’s cheek, she exclaimed, “Oh the tongue of this frowning girl! one
can neither resent what it says, nor yet listen to it with any

“Don’t be afraid!” Mrs. Hsüeh went on to say, “don’t be afraid; my
son, you’ve come to see me, and although I’ve nothing good to give
you, you mustn’t, through fright, let the trifle you’ve taken lie heavy on
your stomach, and thus make me uneasy; but just drink at your
pleasure, and as much as you like, and let the blame fall on my
shoulders. What’s more, you can stay to dinner with me, and then go
home; or if you do get tipsy, you can sleep with me, that’s all.”

She thereupon told the servants to heat some more wine. “I’ll
come,” she continued, “and keep you company while you have two or
three cups, after which we’ll have something to eat!”

It was only after these assurances that Pao-yü’s spirits began at
length, once more to revive, and dame Li then directed the waiting-
maids what to do. “You remain here,” she enjoined, “and mind, be
diligent while I go home and change; when I’ll come back again. Don’t
allow him,” she also whispered to “aunt” Hsüeh, “to have all his own
way and drink too much.”

Having said this, she betook herself back to her quarters; and during
this while, though there were two or three nurses in attendance, they



did not concern themselves with what was going on. As soon as they
saw that nurse Li had left, they likewise all quietly slipped out, at the
first opportunity they found, while there remained but two waiting-
maids, who were only too glad to curry favour with Pao-yü. But
fortunately “aunt” Hsüeh, by much coaxing and persuading, only let
him have a few cups, and the wine being then promptly cleared away,
pickled bamboo shoots and chicken-skin soup were prepared, of which
Pao-yü drank with relish several bowls full, eating besides more than
half a bowl of finest rice congee.

By this time, Hsüeh Pao Ch’ai and Lin Tai-yü had also finished their
repast; and when Pao-yü had drunk a few cups of strong tea, Mrs.
Hsüeh felt more easy in her mind. Hsüeh Yen and the others, three or
four of them in all, had also had their meal, and came in to wait upon

“Are you now going or not?” inquired Tai-yü of Pao-yü.
Pao-yü looked askance with his drowsy eyes. “If you want to go,”

he observed, “I’ll go with you.”
Tai-yü hearing this, speedily rose. “We’ve been here nearly the

whole day,” she said, “and ought to be going back.”
As she spoke the two of them bade good-bye, and the waiting-

maids at once presented a hood to each of them.
Pao-yü readily lowered his head slightly and told a waiting-maid to

put it on. The girl promptly took the hood, made of deep red cloth, and
shaking it out of its folds, she put it on Pao-yü’s head.

“That will do,” hastily exclaimed Pao-yü. “You stupid thing! gently
a bit; is it likely you’ve never seen any one put one on before? let me
do it myself.”

“Come over here, and I’ll put it on for you,” suggested Tai-yü, as
she stood on the edge of the couch. Pao-yü eagerly approached her,
and Tai-yü carefully kept the cap, to which his hair was bound, fast
down, and taking the hood she rested its edge on the circlet round his
forehead. She then raised the ball of crimson velvet, which was as
large as a walnut, and put it in such a way that, as it waved
tremulously, it should appear outside the hood. These arrangements
completed she cast a look for a while at what she had done. “That’s
right now,” she added, “throw your wrapper over you!”

When Pao-yü caught these words, he eventually took the wrapper
and threw it over his shoulders.

“None of your nurses,” hurriedly interposed aunt Hsüeh, “are yet



come, so you had better wait a while.”
“Why should we wait for them?” observed Pao-yü. “We have the

waiting-maids to escort us, and surely they should be enough.”
Mrs. Hsüeh finding it difficult to set her mind at ease deputed two

married women to accompany the two cousins; and after they had both
expressed (to these women) their regret at having troubled them, they
came straightway to dowager lady Chia’s suite of apartments.

Her venerable ladyship had not, as yet, had her evening repast.
Hearing that they had been at Mrs. Hsüeh’s, she was extremely
pleased; but noticing that Pao-yü had had some wine, she gave orders
that he should be taken to his room, and put to bed, and not be allowed
to come out again.

“Do take good care of him,” she therefore enjoined the servants,
and when suddenly she bethought herself of Pao-yü’s attendants, “How
is it,” she at once inquired of them all, “that I don’t see nurse Li here?”

They did not venture to tell her the truth, that she had gone home,
but simply explained that she had come in a few moments back, and
that they thought she must have again gone out on some business or

“She’s better off than your venerable ladyship,” remarked Pao-yü,
turning round and swaying from side to side. “Why then ask after her?
Were I rid of her, I believe I might live a little longer.”

While uttering these words, he reached the door of his bedroom,
where he saw pen and ink laid out on the writing table.

“That’s nice,” exclaimed Ch’ing Wen, as she came to meet him with
a smile on her face, “you tell me to prepare the ink for you, but though
when you get up, you were full of the idea of writing, you only wrote
three characters, when you discarded the pencil, and ran away, fooling
me, by making me wait the whole day! Come now at once and exhaust
all this ink before you’re let off.”

Pao-yü then remembered what had taken place in the morning.
“Where are the three characters I wrote?” he consequently inquired,

“Why this man is tipsy,” remarked Ch’ing Wen sneeringly. “As you
were going to the other mansion, you told me to stick them over the
door. I was afraid lest any one else should spoil them, as they were
being pasted, so I climbed up a high ladder and was ever so long in
putting them up myself; my hands are even now numb with cold.”

“Oh I forgot all about it,” replied Pao-yü grinning, “if your hands



are cold, come and I’ll rub them warm for you.”
Promptly stretching out his hand, he took those of Ch’ing Wen in

his, and the two of them looked at the three characters, which he
recently had written, and which were pasted above the door. In a short
while, Tai-yü came.

“My dear cousin,” Pao-yü said to her smilingly, “tell me without
any prevarication which of the three characters is the best written?”

Tai-yü raised her head and perceived the three characters: Red, Rue,
Hall. “They’re all well done,” she rejoined, with a smirk, “How is it
you’ve written them so well? By and bye you must also write a tablet
for me.”

“Are you again making fun of me?” asked Pao-yü smiling; “what
about sister Hsi Jen?” he went on to inquire.

Ch’ing Wen pouted her lips, pointing towards the stove-couch in the
inner room, and, on looking in, Pao-yü espied Hsi Jen fast asleep in
her daily costume.

“Well,” Pao-yü observed laughing, “there’s no harm in it, but its
rather early to sleep. When I was having my early meal, on the other
side,” he proceeded, speaking to Ch’ing Wen, “there was a small dish
of dumplings, with bean-curd outside; and as I thought you would like
to have some, I asked Mrs. Yu for them, telling her that I would keep
them, and eat them in the evening; I told some one to bring them over,
but have you perchance seen them?”

“Be quick and drop that subject,” suggested Ch’ing Wen; “as soon
as they were brought over, I at once knew they were intended for me;
as I had just finished my meal, I put them by in there, but when nurse
Li came she saw them. ‘Pao-yü,’ she said, ‘is not likely to eat them, so
I’ll take them and give them to my grandson.’ And forthwith she bade
some one take them over to her home.”

While she was speaking, Hsi Hsüeh brought in tea, and Pao-yü
pressed his cousin Lin to have a cup.

“Miss Lin has gone long ago,” observed all of them, as they burst
out laughing, “and do you offer her tea?”

Pao-yü drank about half a cup, when he also suddenly bethought
himself of some tea, which had been brewed in the morning. “This
morning,” he therefore inquired of Hsi Hsüeh, “when you made a cup
of maple-dew tea, I told you that that kind of tea requires brewing
three or four times before its colour appears; and how is that you now
again bring me this tea?”



“I did really put it by,” answered Hsi Hsüeh, “but nurse Li came and
drank it, and then went off.”

Pao-yü upon hearing this, dashed the cup he held in his hand on the
ground, and as it broke into small fragments, with a crash, it spattered
Hsi Hsüeh’s petticoat all over.

“Of whose family is she the mistress?” inquired Pao-yü of Hsi
Hsüeh, as he jumped up, “that you all pay such deference to her. I just
simply had a little of her milk, when I was a brat, and that’s all; and
now she has got into the way of thinking herself more high and mighty
than even the heads of the family! She should be packed off, and then
we shall all have peace and quiet.”

Saying this, he was bent upon going, there and then, to tell dowager
lady Chia to have his nurse driven away.

Hsi Jen was really not asleep, but simply feigning, with the idea,
when Pao-yü came, to startle him in play. At first, when she heard him
speak of writing, and inquire after the dumplings, she did not think it
necessary to get up, but when he flung the tea-cup on the floor, and got
into a temper, she promptly jumped up and tried to appease him, and to
prevent him by coaxing from carrying out his threat.

A waiting-maid sent by dowager lady Chia came in, meanwhile, to
ask what was the matter.

“I had just gone to pour tea,” replied Hsi Jen, without the least
hesitation, “and I slipped on the snow and fell, while the cup dropped
from my hand and broke. Your decision to send her away is good,” she
went on to advise Pao-yü, “and we are all willing to go also; and why
not avail yourself of this opportunity to dismiss us in a body? It will be
for our good, and you too on the other hand, needn’t perplex yourself
about not getting better people to come and wait on you!”

When Pao-yü heard this taunt, he had at length not a word to say,
and supported by Hsi Jen and the other attendants on to the couch, they
divested him of his clothes. But they failed to understand the drift of
what Pao-yü kept on still muttering, and all they could make out was
an endless string of words; but his eyes grew heavier and drowsier, and
they forthwith waited upon him until he went to sleep; when Hsi Jen
unclasped the jade of spiritual perception, and rolling it up in a
handkerchief, she lay it under the mattress, with the idea that when he
put it on the next day it should not chill his neck.

Pao-yü fell sound asleep the moment he lay his head on the pillow.
By this time nurse Li and the others had come in, but when they heard



that Pao-yü was tipsy, they too did not venture to approach, but gently
made inquiries as to whether he was asleep or not. On hearing that he
was, they took their departure with their minds more at ease.

The next morning the moment Pao-yü awoke, some one came in to
tell him that young Mr. Jung, living in the mansion on the other side,
had brought Ch’in Chung to pay him a visit.

Pao-yü speedily went out to greet them and to take them over to pay
their respects to dowager lady Chia. Her venerable ladyship upon
perceiving that Ch’in Chung, with his handsome countenance, and his
refined manners, would be a fit companion for Pao-yü in his studies,
felt extremely delighted at heart; and having readily detained him to
tea, and kept him to dinner, she went further and directed a servant to
escort him to see madame Wang and the rest of the family.

With the fond regard of the whole household for Mrs. Ch’in, they
were, when they saw what a kind of person Ch’in Chung was, so
enchanted with him, that at the time of his departure, they all had
presents to give him; even dowager lady Chia herself presented him
with a purse and a golden image of the God of Learning, with a view
that it should incite him to study and harmony.

“Your house,” she further advised him, “is far off, and when it’s cold
or hot, it would be inconvenient for you to come all that way, so you
had better come and live over here with me. You’ll then be always with
your cousin Pao-yü, and you won’t be together, in your studies, with
those fellow-pupils of yours who have no idea what progress means.”

Ch’in Chung made a suitable answer to each one of her remarks,
and on his return home he told everything to his father.

His father, Ch’in Pang-yeh, held at present the post of Secretary in
the Peking Field Force, and was well-nigh seventy. His wife had died
at an early period, and as she left no issue, he adopted a son and a
daughter from a foundling asylum.

But who would have thought it, the boy also died, and there only
remained the girl, known as Kó Ch’ing in her infancy, who when she
grew up, was beautiful in face and graceful in manners, and who by
reason of some relationship with the Chia family, was consequently
united by the ties of marriage (to one of the household).

Ch’in Pang-yeh was in his fiftieth year when he at length got this
son. As his tutor had the previous year left to go south, he remained at
home keeping up his former lessons; and (his father) had been just
thinking of talking over the matter with his relatives of the Chia

family, and sending his son to the private school, when, as luck would
have it, this opportunity of meeting Pao-yü presented itself.

Knowing besides that the family school was under the direction of
the venerable scholar Chia Tai-ju, and hoping that by joining his class,
(his son) might advance in knowledge and by these means reap
reputation, he was therefore intensely gratified. The only drawbacks
were that his official emoluments were scanty, and that both the eyes
of everyone in the other establishment were set upon riches and
honours, so that he could not contribute anything short of the amount
(given by others); but his son’s welfare throughout life was a serious
consideration, and he, needless to say, had to scrape together from the
East and to collect from the West; and making a parcel, with all
deference, of twenty-four taels for an introduction present, he came
along with Ch’in Chung to Tai-ju’s house to pay their respects. But he
had to wait subsequently until Pao-yü could fix on an auspicious date
on which they could together enter the school.

As for what happened after they came to school, the next chapter
will divulge.

Chapter IX

Chia Cheng gives good advice to his wayward son.
Li Kuei receives a reprimand.
Chia Jui and Li Kuei rebuke the obstinate youths!
Ming Yen causes trouble in the school-room.

But to return to our story. Mr. Ch’in, the father, and Ch’in Chung,
his son, only waited until the receipt, by the hands of a servant, of a
letter from the Chia family about the date on which they were to go to
school. Indeed, Pao-yü was only too impatient that he and Ch’in Chung
should come together, and, without loss of time, he fixed upon two
days later as the day upon which they were definitely to begin their
studies, and he despatched a servant with a letter to this effect.

On the day appointed, as soon as it was daylight, Pao-yü turned out
of bed. Hsi Jen had already by that time got books, pencils and all
writing necessaries in perfect readiness, and was sitting on the edge of
the bed in a moping mood; but as soon as she saw Pao-yü approach,
she was constrained to wait upon him in his toilette and ablutions.



Pao-yü, noticing how despondent she was, made it a point to
address her. “My dear sister,” he said, “how is it you aren’t again
yourself? Is it likely that you bear me a grudge for being about to go to
school, because when I leave you, you’ll all feel dull?”

Hsi Jen smiled. “What an ideal” she replied. “Study is a most
excellent thing, and without it a whole lifetime is a mere waste, and
what good comes in the long run? There’s only one thing, which is
simply that when engaged in reading your books, you should set your
mind on your books; and that you should think of home when not
engaged in reading. Whatever you do, don’t romp together with them,
for were you to meet our master, your father, it will be no joke!
Although it’s asserted that a scholar must strain every nerve to excel,
yet it’s preferable that the tasks should be somewhat fewer, as, in the
first place, when one eats too much, one cannot digest it; and, in the
second place, good health must also be carefully attended to. This is
my view on the subject, and you should at all times consider it in

While Hsi Jen gave utterance to a sentence, Pao-yü nodded his head
in sign of approval of that sentence. Hsi Jen then went on to speak.
“I’ve also packed up,” she continued, “your long pelisse, and handed it
to the pages to take it over; so mind, when it’s cold in the school-room,
please remember to put on this extra clothing, for it’s not like home,
where you have people to look after you. The foot-stove and hand-
stove, I’ve also sent over; and urge that pack of lazy-bones to attend to
their work, for if you say nothing, they will be so engrossed in their
frolics, that they’ll be loth to move, and let you, all for nothing, take a
chill and ruin your constitution.”

“Compose your mind,” replied Pao-yü; “when I go out, I know well
enough how to attend to everything my own self. But you people
shouldn’t remain in this room, and mope yourselves to death; and it
would be well if you would often go over to cousin Lin’s for a romp.”

While saying this, he had completed his toilette, and Hsi Jen
pressed him to go and wish good morning to dowager lady Chia, Chia
Cheng, madame Wang, and the other members of the family.

Pao-yü, after having gone on to give a few orders to Ch’ing Wen
and She Yueh, at length left his apartments, and coming over, paid his
obeisance to dowager lady Chia. Her venerable Ladyship had likewise,
as a matter of course, a few recommendations to make to him, which
ended, he next went and greeted madame Wang; and leaving again her


quarters, he came into the library to wish Chia Cheng good morning.
As it happened, Chia Cheng had on this day returned home at an

early hour, and was, at this moment, in the library, engaged in a
friendly chat with a few gentlemen, who were family companions.
Suddenly perceiving Pao-yü come in to pay his respects, and report
that he was about to go to school, Chia Cheng gave a sardonic smile.
“If you do again,” he remarked, “make allusions to the words going to
school, you’ll make even me blush to death with shame! My advice to
you is that you should after all go your own way and play; that’s the
best thing for you; and mind you don’t pollute with dirt this floor by
standing here, and soil this door of mine by leaning against it!”

The family companions stood up and smilingly expostulated.
“Venerable Sir,” they pleaded, “why need you be so down upon

him? Our worthy brother is this day going to school, and may in two
or three years be able to display his abilities and establish his
reputation. He will, beyond doubt, not behave like a child, as he did in
years gone past. But as the time for breakfast is also drawing nigh, you
should, worthy brother, go at once.”

When these words had been spoken, two among them, who were
advanced in years, readily took Pao-yü by the hand, and led him out of
the library.

“Who are in attendance upon Pao-yü?” Chia Cheng having
inquired, he heard a suitable reply, “We, Sir!” given from outside; and
three or four sturdy fellows entered at an early period and fell on one
knee, and bowed and paid their obeisance.

When Chia Cheng came to scrutinise who they were, and he
recognised Li Kuei, the son of Pao-yü’s nurse, he addressed himself to
him. “You people,” he said, “remain waiting upon him the whole day
long at school, but what books has he after all read? Books indeed!
why, he has read and filled his brains with a lot of trashy words and
nonsensical phrases, and learnt some ingenious way of waywardness.
Wait till I have a little leisure, and I’ll set to work, first and foremost,
and flay your skin off, and then settle accounts with that good-for-

This threat so terrified Li Kuei that he hastily fell on both his knees,
pulled off his hat, knocked his head on the ground, and gave vent to
repeated assenting utterances: “Oh, quite so, Sir! Our elder brother Mr.
Pao has,” he continued, “already read up to the third book of the Book
of Odes, up to where there’s something or other like: ‘Yiu, Yiu, the



deer bleat; the lotus leaves and duckweed.’ Your servant wouldn’t
presume to tell a lie!”

As he said this, the whole company burst out into a boisterous fit of
laughter, and Chia Cheng himself could not also contain his
countenance and had to laugh. “Were he even,” he observed, “to read
thirty books of the Book of Odes, it would be as much an imposition
upon people and no more, as (when the thief) who, in order to steal the
bell, stops up his own ears! You go and present my compliments to the
gentleman in the schoolroom, and tell him, from my part, that the
whole lot of Odes and old writings are of no use, as they are subjects
for empty show; and that he should, above all things, take the Four
Books, and explain them to him, from first to last, and make him know
them all thoroughly by heart,—that this is the most important thing!”

Li Kuei signified his obedience with all promptitude, and
perceiving that Chia Cheng had nothing more to say, he retired out of
the room.

During this while, Pao-yü had been standing all alone outside in the
court, waiting quietly with suppressed voice, and when they came out
he at once walked away in their company.

Li Kuei and his companions observed as they shook their clothes,
“Did you, worthy brother, hear what he said that he would first of all
flay our skins off! People’s servants acquire some respectability from
the master whom they serve, but we poor fellows fruitlessly wait upon
you, and are beaten and blown up in the bargain. It would be well if we
were, from henceforward, to be treated with a certain amount of

Pao-yü smiled, “Dear Brother,” he added, “don’t feel aggrieved; I’ll
invite you to come round to-morrow!”

“My young ancestor,” replied Li Kuei, “who presumes to look
forward to an invitation? all I entreat you is to listen to one or two
words I have to say, that’s all.”

As they talked they came over once more to dowager lady Chia’s on
this side.

Ch’in Chung had already arrived, and the old lady was first having a
chat with him. Forthwith the two of them exchanged salutations, and
took leave of her ladyship; but Pao-yü, suddenly remembering that he
had not said good-bye to Tai-yü, promptly betook himself again to Tai-
yü’s quarters to do so.

Tai-yü was, at this time, below the window, facing the mirror, and


adjusting her toilette. Upon hearing Pao-yü mention that he was on his
way to school, she smiled and remarked, “That’s right! you’re now
going to school and you’ll be sure to reach the lunar palace and pluck
the olea fragrans; but I can’t go along with you.”

“My dear cousin,” rejoined Pao-yü, “wait for me to come out from
school, before you have your evening meal; wait also until I come to
prepare the cosmetic of rouge.”

After a protracted chat, he at length tore himself away and took his

“How is it,” interposed Tai-yü, as she once again called out to him
and stopped him, “that you don’t go and bid farewell to your cousin
Pao Ch’ai?”

Pao-yü smiled, and saying not a word by way of reply he
straightway walked to school, accompanied by Ch’in Chung.

This public school, which it must be noticed was also not far from
his quarters, had been originally instituted by the founder of the
establishment, with the idea that should there be among the young
fellows of his clan any who had not the means to engage a tutor, they
should readily be able to enter this class for the prosecution of their
studies; that all those of the family who held official position should
all give (the institution) pecuniary assistance, with a view to meet the
expenses necessary for allowances to the students; and that they were
to select men advanced in years and possessed of virtue to act as tutors
of the family school.

The two of them, Ch’in Chung and Pao-yü, had now entered the
class, and after they and the whole number of their schoolmates had
made each other’s acquaintance, their studies were commenced. Ever
since this time, these two were wont to come together, go together, get
up together, and sit together, till they became more intimate and close.
Besides, dowager lady Chia got very fond of Ch’in Chung, and would
again and again keep him to stay with them for three and five days at a
time, treating him as if he were one of her own great-grandsons.
Perceiving that in Ch’in Chung’s home there was not much in the way
of sufficiency, she also helped him in clothes and other necessaries;
and scarcely had one or two months elapsed before Ch’in Chung got on
friendly terms with every one in the Jung mansion.

Pao-yü was, however, a human being who could not practise
contentment and observe propriety; and as his sole delight was to have
every caprice gratified, he naturally developed a craving disposition.


“We two, you and I, are,” he was also wont secretly to tell Ch’in
Chung, “of the same age, and fellow-scholars besides, so that there’s
no need in the future to pay any regard to our relationship of uncle and
nephew; and we should treat each other as brothers or friends, that’s

Ch’in Chung at first (explained that) he could not be so
presumptuous; but as Pao-yü would not listen to any such thing, but
went on to address him as brother and to call him by his style Ch’ing
Ch’ing, he had likewise himself no help, but to begin calling him, at
random, anything and anyhow.

There were, it is true, a large number of pupils in this school, but
these consisted of the sons and younger brothers of that same clan, and
of several sons and nephews of family connections. The proverb
appositely describes that there are nine species of dragons, and that
each species differs; and it goes of course without saying that in a large
number of human beings there were dragons and snakes, confusedly
admixed, and that creatures of a low standing were included.

Ever since the arrival of the two young fellows, Ch’in Chung and
Pao-yü, both of whom were in appearance as handsome as budding
flowers, and they, on the one hand, saw how modest and genial Ch’in
Chung was, how he blushed before he uttered a word, how he was
timid and demure like a girl, and on the other hand, how that Pao-yü
was naturally proficient in abasing and demeaning himself, how he
was so affable and good-natured, considerate in his temperament and
so full of conversation, and how that these two were, in consequence,
on such terms of intimate friendship, it was, in fact, no matter of
surprise that the whole company of fellow-students began to foster
envious thoughts, that they, behind their backs, passed on their
account, this one one disparaging remark and that one another, and that
they insinuated slanderous lies against them, which extended inside as
well as outside the school-room.

Indeed, after Hsüeh P’an had come over to take up his quarters in
madame Wang’s suite of apartments, he shortly came to hear of the
existence of a family school, and that this school was mainly attended
by young fellows of tender years, and inordinate ideas were suddenly
aroused in him. While he therefore fictitiously gave out that he went to
school, [he was as irregular in his attendance as the fisherman] who
catches fish for three days, and suns his nets for the next two; simply
presenting his school-fee gift to Chia Tai-jui and making not the least


progress in his studies; his sole dream being to knit a number of
familiar friendships. Who would have thought it, there were in this
school young pupils, who, in their greed to obtain money, clothes and
eatables from Hsüeh P’an, allowed themselves to be cajoled by him,
and played tricks upon; but on this topic, it is likewise superfluous to
dilate at any length.

There were also two lovable young scholars, relatives of what
branch of the family is not known, and whose real surnames and
names have also not been ascertained, who, by reason of their good
and winsome looks, were, by the pupils in the whole class, given two
nicknames, to one that of “Hsiang Lin,” “Fragrant Love,” and to the
other “Yü Ai,” “Precious Affection.” But although every one
entertained feelings of secret admiration for them, and had the wish to
take liberties with the young fellows, they lived, nevertheless, one and
all, in such terror of Hsüeh P’an’s imperious influence, that they had
not the courage to come forward and interfere with them.

As soon as Ch’in Chung and Pao-yü had, at this time, come to
school, and they had made the acquaintance of these two fellow-
pupils, they too could not help becoming attached to them and
admiring them, but as they also came to know that they were great
friends of Hsüeh P’an, they did not, in consequence, venture to treat
them lightly, or to be unseemly in their behaviour towards them.
Hsiang Lin and Yü Ai both kept to themselves the same feelings,
which they fostered for Ch’in Chung and Pao-yü, and to this reason is
to be assigned the fact that though these four persons nurtured fond
thoughts in their hearts there was however no visible sign of them.
Day after day, each one of them would, during school hours, sit in four
distinct places: but their eight eyes were secretly linked together; and,
while indulging either in innuendoes or in double entendres, their
hearts, in spite of the distance between them, reflected the whole
number of their thoughts.

But though their outward attempts were devoted to evade the
detection of other people’s eyes, it happened again that, while least
expected, several sly lads discovered the real state of affairs, with the
result that the whole school stealthily frowned their eyebrows at them,
winked their eyes at them, or coughed at them, or raised their voices at
them; and these proceedings were, in fact, not restricted to one single

As luck would have it, on this day Tai-jui was, on account of


business, compelled to go home; and having left them as a task no
more than a heptameter line for an antithetical couplet, explaining that
they should find a sentence to rhyme, and that the following day when
he came back, he would set them their lessons, he went on to hand the
affairs connected with the class to his elder grandson, Chia Jui, whom
he asked to take charge.

Wonderful to say Hsüeh P’an had of late not frequented school very
often, not even so much as to answer the roll, so that Ch’in Chung
availed himself of his absence to ogle and smirk with Hsiang Lin; and
these two pretending that they had to go out, came into the back court
for a chat.

“Does your worthy father at home mind your having any friends?”
Ch’in Chung was the first to ask. But this sentence was scarcely ended,
when they heard a sound of coughing coming from behind. Both were
taken much aback, and, speedily turning their heads round to see, they
found that it was a fellow-scholar of theirs, called Chin Jung.

Hsiang Lin was naturally of somewhat hasty temperament, so that
with shame and anger mutually impelling each other, he inquired of
him, “What’s there to cough at? Is it likely you wouldn’t have us speak
to each other?”

“I don’t mind your speaking,” Chin Jung observed laughing; “but
would you perchance not have me cough? I’ll tell you what, however;
if you have anything to say, why not utter it in intelligible language?
Were you allowed to go on in this mysterious manner, what strange
doings would you be up to? But I have sure enough found you out, so
what’s the need of still prevaricating? But if you will, first of all, let me
partake of a share in your little game, you and I can hold our tongue
and utter not a word. If not, why the whole school will begin to turn
the matter over.”

At these words, Ch’in Chung and Hsiang Lin were so exasperated
that their blood rushed up to their faces. “What have you found out?”
they hastily asked.

“What I have now detected,” replied Chin Jung smiling, “is the
plain truth!” and saying this he went on to clap his hands and to call
out with a loud voice as he laughed: “They have moulded some nice
well-baked cakes, won’t you fellows come and buy one to eat!” (These
two have been up to larks, won’t you come and have some fun!)

Both Ch’in Chung and Hsiang Lin felt resentful as well as fuming
with rage, and with hurried step they went in, in search of Chia Jui, to


whom they reported Chin Jung, explaining that Chin Jung had insulted
them both, without any rhyme or reason.

The fact is that this Chia Jui was, in an extraordinary degree, a man
with an eye to the main chance, and devoid of any sense of propriety.
His wont was at school to take advantage of public matters to serve his
private interest, and to bring pressure upon his pupils with the intent
that they should regale him. While subsequently he also lent his
countenance to Hsüeh P’an, scheming to get some money or eatables
out of him, he left him entirely free to indulge in disorderly behaviour;
and not only did he not go out of his way to hold him in check, but, on
the contrary, he encouraged him, infamous though he was already, to
become a bully, so as to curry favour with him.

But this Hsüeh P’an was, by nature, gifted with a fickle disposition;
to-day, he would incline to the east, and to-morrow to the west, so that
having recently obtained new friends, he put Hsiang Lin and Yü Ai
aside. Chin Jung too was at one time an intimate friend of his, but ever
since he had acquired the friendship of the two lads, Hsiang Lin and
Yü Ai, he forthwith deposed Chin Jung. Of late, he had already come
to look down upon even Hsiang Lin and Yü Ai, with the result that
Chia Jui as well was deprived of those who could lend him support, or
stand by him; but he bore Hsüeh P’an no grudge, for wearying with old
friends, as soon as he found new ones, but felt angry that Hsiang Lin
and Yü Ai had not put in a word on his behalf with Hsüeh P’an. Chia
Jui, Chin Jung and in fact the whole crowd of them were, for this
reason, just harbouring a jealous grudge against these two, so that
when he saw Ch’in Chung and Hsiang Lin come on this occasion and
lodge a complaint against Chin Jung, Chia Jui readily felt displeasure
creep into his heart; and, although he did not venture to call Ch’in
Chung to account, he nevertheless made an example of Hsiang Lin.
And instead (of taking his part), he called him a busybody and
denounced him in much abusive language, with the result that Hsiang
Lin did not, contrariwise, profit in any way, but brought displeasure
upon himself. Even Ch’in Chung grumbled against the treatment, as
each of them resumed their places.

Chin Jung became still more haughty, and wagging his head and
smacking his lips, he gave vent to many more abusive epithets; but as
it happened that they also reached Yü Ai’s ears, the two of them,
though seated apart, began an altercation in a loud tone of voice.

Chin Jung, with obstinate pertinacity, clung to his version. “Just a


short while back,” he said, “I actually came upon them, as they were
indulging in demonstrations of intimate friendship in the back court.
These two had resolved to be one in close friendship, and were
eloquent in their protestations, mindful only in persistently talking
their trash, but they were not aware of the presence of another person.”

But his language had, contrary to all expectations, given, from the
very first, umbrage to another person, and who do you, (gentle reader,)
imagine this person to have been?

This person was, in fact, one whose name was Chia Se; a grandson
likewise of a main branch of the Ning mansion. His parents had died at
an early period, and he had, ever since his youth, lived with Chia
Chen. He had at this time grown to be sixteen years of age, and was, as
compared with Chia Jung, still more handsome and good looking.
These two cousins were united by ties of the closest intimacy, and
were always together, whether they went out or stayed at home.

The inmates of the Ning mansion were many in number, and their
opinions of a mixed kind; and that whole bevy of servants, devoid as
they were of all sense of right, solely excelled in the practice of
inventing stories to backbite their masters; and this is how some mean
person or other again, who it was is not known, insinuated slanderous
and opprobrious reports (against Chia Se). Chia Chen had, presumably,
also come to hear some unfavourable criticisms (on his account), and
having, of course, to save himself from odium and suspicion, he had,
at this juncture, after all, to apportion him separate quarters, and to bid
Chia Se move outside the Ning mansion, where he went and
established a home of his own to live in.

This Chia Se was handsome as far as external appearances went,
and intelligent withal in his inward natural gifts, but, though he
nominally came to school, it was simply however as a mere blind; for
he treated, as he had ever done, as legitimate occupations, such things
as cock fighting, dog-racing and visiting places of easy virtue. And as,
above, he had Chia Chen to spoil him by over-indulgence; and below,
there was Chia Jung to stand by him, who of the clan could
consequently presume to run counter to him?

Seeing that he was on the closest terms of friendship with Chia
Jung, how could he reconcile himself to the harsh treatment which he
now saw Ch’in Chung receive from some persons? Being now bent
upon pushing himself forward to revenge the injustice, he was, for the
time, giving himself up to communing with his own heart. “Chin Jung,



Chia Jui and the rest are,” he pondered, “friends of uncle Hsüeh, but I
too am on friendly terms with him, and he with me, and if I do come
forward and they tell old Hsüeh, won’t we impair the harmony which
exists between us? and if I don’t concern myself, such idle tales make,
when spoken, every one feel uncomfortable; and why shouldn’t I now
devise some means to hold them in check, so as to stop their mouths,
and prevent any loss of face!”

Having concluded this train of thought, he also pretended that he
had to go out, and, walking as far as the back, he, with low voice,
called to his side Ming Yen, the page attending upon Pao-yü in his
studies, and in one way and another, he made use of several remarks to
egg him on.

This Ming Yen was the smartest of Pao-yü’s attendants, but he was
also young in years and lacked experience, so that he lent a patient ear
to what Chia Se had to say about the way Chin Jung had insulted Ch’in
Chung. “Even your own master, Pao-yü,” (Chia Se added), “is
involved, and if you don’t let him know a bit of your mind, he will next
time be still more arrogant.”

This Ming Yen was always ready, even with no valid excuse, to be
insolent and overbearing to people, so that after hearing the news and
being furthermore instigated by Chia Se, he speedily rushed into the
schoolroom and cried out “Chin Jung;” nor did he address him as Mr.
Chin, but merely shouted “What kind of fellow is this called Chin?”

Chia Se presently shuffled his feet, while he designedly adjusted his
dress and looked at the rays of the sun. “It’s time,” he observed and
walking forthwith, first up to Chia Jui, he explained to him that he had
something to attend to and would like to get away a little early; and as
Chia Jui did not venture to stop him, he had no alternative but to let
him have his way and go.

During this while, Ming Yen had entered the room and promptly
seizing Chin Jung in a grip: “What we do, whether proper or
improper,” he said, “doesn’t concern you! It’s enough anyway that we
don’t defile your father! A fine brat you are indeed, to come out and
meddle with your Mr. Ming!”

These words plunged the scholars of the whole class in such
consternation that they all wistfully and absently looked at him.

“Ming Yen,” hastily shouted out Chia Jui, “you’re not to kick up a

Chin Jung was so full of anger that his face was quite yellow.

“What a subversion of propriety! a slave and a menial to venture to
behave in this manner! I’ll just simply speak to your master,” he
exclaimed as he readily pushed his hands off and was about to go and
lay hold of Pao-yü to beat him.

Ch’in Chung was on the point of turning round to leave the room,
when with a sound of ‘whiff’ which reached him from behind, he at
once caught sight of a square inkslab come flying that way. Who had
thrown it he could not say, but it struck the desk where Chia Lan and
Chia Chün were seated.

These two, Chia Lan and Chia Chün, were also the great-grandsons
of a close branch of the Jung mansion. This Chia Chün had been left
fatherless at an early age, and his mother doated upon him in an
unusual manner, and it was because at school he was on most friendly
terms with Chia Lan, that these two sat together at the same desk. Who
would have believed that Chia Chün would, in spite of being young in
years, have had an extremely strong mind, and that he would be mostly
up to mischief without the least fear of any one. He watched with
listless eye from his seat Chin Jung’s friends stealthily assist Chin
Jung, as they flung an inkslab to strike Ming Yen, but when, as luck
would have it, it hit the wrong mark, and fell just in front of him,
smashing to atoms the porcelain inkslab and water bottle, and
smudging his whole book with ink, Chia Chün was, of course, much
incensed, and hastily gave way to abuse. “You consummate
pugnacious criminal rowdies! why, doesn’t this amount to all of you
taking a share in the fight!” And as he uttered this abuse, he too
forthwith seized an inkslab, which he was bent upon flinging.

Chia Lan was one who always tried to avoid trouble, so that he lost
no time in pressing down the inkslab, while with all the words his
mouth could express, he tried to pacify him, adding “My dear brother,
it’s no business of yours and mine.”

Chia Chün could not repress his resentment; and perceiving that the
inkslab was held down, he at once laid hold of a box containing books,
which he flung in this direction; but being, after all, short of stature,
and weak of strength, he was unable to send it anywhere near the
mark; so that it dropped instead when it got as far as the desk
belonging to Pao-yü and Ch’in Chung, while a dreadful crash became
audible as it fell smash on the table. The books, papers, pencils,
inkslabs, and other writing materials were all scattered over the whole
table; and Pao-yü’s cup besides containing tea was itself broken to



pieces and the tea spilt.
Chia Chün forthwith jumped forward with the intent of assailing the

person who had flung the inkslab at the very moment that Chin Jung
took hold of a long bamboo pole which was near by; but as the space
was limited, and the pupils many, how could he very well brandish a
long stick? Ming Yen at an early period received a whack, and he
shouted wildly, “Don’t you fellows yet come to start a fight.”

Pao-yü had, besides, along with him several pages, one of whom
was called Sao Hung, another Ch’u Yo, another Mo Yü. These three
were naturally up to every mischief, so that with one voice, bawling
boisterously, “You children of doubtful mothers, have you taken up
arms?” Mo Yü promptly took up the bar of a door; while Sao Hung
and Ch’u Yo both laid hold of horsewhips, and they all rushed forward
like a hive of bees.

Chia Jui was driven to a state of exasperation; now he kept this one
in check, and the next moment he reasoned with another, but who
would listen to his words? They followed the bent of their inclinations
and stirred up a serious disturbance.

Of the whole company of wayward young fellows, some there were
who gave sly blows for fun’s sake; others there were who were not
gifted with much pluck and hid themselves on one side; there were
those too who stood on the tables, clapping their hands and laughing
immoderately, shouting out: “Go at it.”

The row was, at this stage, like water bubbling over in a cauldron,
when several elderly servants, like Li Kuei and others, who stood
outside, heard the uproar commence inside, and one and all came in
with all haste and united in their efforts to pacify them. Upon asking
“What’s the matter?” the whole bevy of voices shouted out different
versions; this one giving this account, while another again another
story. But Li Kuei temporised by rebuking Ming Yen and others, four
in all, and packing them off.

Ch’in Chung’s head had, at an early period, come into contact with
Chin Jung’s pole and had had the skin grazed off. Pao-yü was in the act
of rubbing it for him, with the overlap of his coat, but realising that the
whole lot of them had been hushed up, he forthwith bade Li Kuei
collect his books.

“Bring my horse round,” he cried; “I’m going to tell Mr. Chia Tai-ju
that we have been insulted. I won’t venture to tell him anything else,
but (tell him I will) that having come with all propriety and made our


report to Mr. Chia Jui, Mr. Chia Jui instead (of helping us) threw the
fault upon our shoulders. That while he heard people abuse us, he went
so far as to instigate them to beat us; that Ming Yen seeing others
insult us, did naturally take our part; but that they, instead (of
desisting,) combined together and struck Ming Yen and even broke
open Ch’in Chung’s head. And that how is it possible for us to continue
our studies in here?”

“My dear sir,” replied Li Kuei coaxingly, “don’t be so impatient! As
Mr. Chia Tai-ju has had something to attend to and gone home, were
you now, for a trifle like this, to go and disturb that aged gentleman, it
will make us, indeed, appear as if we had no sense of propriety: my
idea is that wherever a thing takes place, there should it be settled; and
what’s the need of going and troubling an old man like him. This is all
you, Mr. Chia Jui, who is to blame; for in the absence of Mr. Chia Tai-
ju, you, sir, are the head in this school, and every one looks to you to
take action. Had all the pupils been at fault, those who deserved a
beating should have been beaten, and those who merited punishment
should have been punished! and why did you wait until things came to
such a pass, and didn’t even exercise any check?”

“I blew them up,” pleaded Chia Jui, “but not one of them would

“I’ll speak out, whether you, worthy sir, resent what I’m going to say
or not,” ventured Li Kuei. “It’s you, sir, who all along have after all had
considerable blame attached to your name; that’s why all these young
men wouldn’t hear you! Now if this affair is bruited, until it reaches
Mr. Chia Tai-ju’s ears, why even you, sir, will not be able to escape
condemnation; and why don’t you at once make up your mind to
disentangle the ravelled mess and dispel all trouble and have done with

“Disentangle what?” inquired Pao-yü; “I shall certainly go and
make my report.”

“If Chin Jung stays here,” interposed Ch’in Chung sobbing, “I mean
to go back home.”

“Why that?” asked Pao-yü. “Is it likely that others can safely come
and that you and I can’t? I feel it my bounden duty to tell every one
everything at home so as to expel Chin Jung. This Chin Jung,” he went
on to inquire as he turned towards Lei Kuei, “is the relative or friend of
what branch of the family?”

Li Kuei gave way to reflection and then said by way of reply:


“There’s no need whatever for you to raise this question; for were you
to go and report the matter to the branch of the family to which he
belongs, the harmony which should exist between cousins will be still
more impaired.”

“He’s the nephew of Mrs. Huang, of the Eastern mansion,”
interposed Ming Yen from outside the window. “What a determined
and self-confident fellow he must be to even come and bully us; Mrs.
Huang is his paternal aunt! That mother of yours is only good for
tossing about like a millstone, for kneeling before our lady Lien, and
begging for something to pawn. I’ve no eye for such a specimen of

“What!” speedily shouted Li Kuei, “does this son of a dog happen
to know of the existence of all these gnawing maggots?” (these
disparaging facts).

Pao-yü gave a sardonic smile. “I was wondering whose relative he
was,” he remarked; “is he really sister-in-law Huang’s nephew? well,
I’ll go at once and speak to her.”

As he uttered these words, his purpose was to start there and then,
and he called Ming Yen in, to come and pack up his books. Ming Yen
walked in and put the books away. “Master,” he went on to suggest, in
an exultant manner, “there’s no need for you to go yourself to see her;
I’ll go to her house and tell her that our old lady has something to ask
of her. I can hire a carriage to bring her over, and then, in the presence
of her venerable ladyship, she can be spoken to; and won’t this way
save a lot of trouble?”

“Do you want to die?” speedily shouted Li Kuei; “mind, when you
go back, whether right or wrong, I’ll first give you a good bumping,
and then go and report you to our master and mistress, and just tell
them that it’s you, and only you, who instigated Mr. Pao-yü! I’ve
succeeded, after ever so much trouble, in coaxing them, and mending
matters to a certain extent, and now you come again to continue a new
plan. It’s you who stirred up this row in the school-room; and not to
speak of your finding, as would have been the proper course, some
way of suppressing it, there you are instead still jumping into the fire.”

Ming Yen, at this juncture, could not muster the courage to utter a
sound. By this time Chia Jui had also apprehended that if the row came
to be beyond clearing up, he himself would likewise not be clear of
blame, so that circumstances compelled him to pocket his grievances
and to come and entreat Ch’in Chung as well as to make apologies to


Pao-yü. These two young fellows would not at first listen to his
advances, but Pao-yü at length explained that he would not go and
report the occurrence, provided only Chin Jung admitted his being in
the wrong. Chin Jung refused, at the outset, to agree to this, but he
ultimately could find no way out of it, as Chia Jui himself urged him to
make some temporising apology.

Li Kuei and the others felt compelled to tender Chin Jung some
good advice: “It’s you,” they said, “who have given rise to the
disturbance, and if you don’t act in this manner, how will the matter
ever be brought to an end?” so that Chin Jung found it difficult to
persist in his obstinacy, and was constrained to make a bow to Ch’in

Pao-yü was, however, not yet satisfied, but would insist upon his
knocking his head on the ground, and Chia Jui, whose sole aim was to
temporarily smother the affair, quietly again urged Chin Jung, adding
that the proverb has it: “That if you keep down the anger of a minute,
you will for a whole life-time feel no remorse.”

Whether Chin Jung complied or not to his advice is not known, but
the following chapter will explain.

Chapter X

Widow Chin, prompted by a desire to reap advantage, puts up temporarily with
an insult.

Dr. Chang in discussing Mrs. Chin’s illness minutely exhausts its origin.

We will now resume our story. As the persons against Chin Jung
were so many and their pressure so great, and as, what was more, Chia
Jui urged him to make amends, he had to knock his head on the ground
before Ch’in Chung. Pao-yü then gave up his clamorous remonstrances
and the whole crowd dispersed from school.

Chin Jung himself returned home all alone, but the more he
pondered on the occurrence, the more incensed he felt. “Ch’in Chung,”
he argued, “is simply Chia Jung’s young brother-in-law, and is no son
or grandson of the Chia family, and he too joins the class and
prosecutes his studies on no other footing than that of mine; but it’s
because he relies upon Pao-yü’s friendship for him that he has no eye
for any one. This being the case, he should be somewhat proper in his


behaviour, and there would be then not a word to say about it! He has
besides all along been very mystical with Pao-yü, imagining that we
are all blind, and have no eyes to see what’s up! Here he goes again to-
day and mixes with people in illicit intrigues; and it’s all because they
happened to obtrude themselves before my very eyes that this rumpus
has broken out; but of what need I fear?”

His mother, née Hu, hearing him mutter; “Why meddle again,” she
explained, “in things that don’t concern you? I had endless trouble in
getting to speak to your paternal aunt; and your aunt had, on the other
hand, a thousand and one ways and means to devise, before she could
appeal to lady Secunda, of the Western mansion; and then only it was
that you got this place to study in. Had we not others to depend upon
for your studies, would we have in our house the means sufficient to
engage a teacher? Besides, in other people’s school, tea and eatables
are all ready and found; and these two years that you’ve been there for
your lessons, we’ve likewise effected at home a great saving in what
would otherwise have been necessary for your eating and use.
Something has been, it’s true, economised; but you have further a
liking for spick and span clothes. Besides, it’s only through your being
there to study, that you’ve come to know Mr. Hsüeh! that Mr. Hsüeh,
who has even in one year given us so much pecuniary assistance as
seventy and eighty taels! And now you would go and raise a row in
this school-room! why, if we were bent upon finding such another
place, I tell you plainly, and once for all, that we would find it more
difficult than if we tried to scale the heavens! Now do quietly play for
a while, and then go to sleep, and you’ll be ever so much better for it

Chin Jung thereupon stifled his anger and held his tongue; and,
after a short while, he in fact went to sleep of his own accord.

The next day he again went to school, and no further comment need
be made about it; but we will go on to explain that a young lady
related to her had at one time been given in marriage to a descendant
(of the eldest branch) of the Chia family, (whose names were written)
with the jade radical, Chia Huang by name; but how could the whole
number of members of the clan equal in affluence and power the two
mansions of Ning and Jung? This fact goes, as a matter of course,
without saying. The Chia Huang couple enjoyed some small income;
but they also went, on frequent occasions, to the mansions of Ning and
Jung to pay their respects; and they knew likewise so well how to


adulate lady Feng and Mrs. Yu, that lady Feng and Mrs. Yu would
often grant them that assistance and support which afforded them the
means of meeting their daily expenses.

It just occurred on this occasion that the weather was clear and fine,
and that there happened, on the other hand, to be nothing to attend to at
home, so forthwith taking along with her a matron, (Mrs. Chia Huang)
got into a carriage and came over to see widow Chin and her nephew.
While engaged in a chat, Chin Jung’s mother accidentally broached the
subject of the affair, which had transpired in the school-room of the
Chia mansion on the previous day, and she gave, for the benefit of her
young sister-in-law, a detailed account of the whole occurrence from
beginning to end.

This Mrs. Huang would not have had her temper ruffled had she not
come to hear what had happened; but having heard about it, anger
sprung from the very depths of her heart. “This fellow, Ch’in Chung,”
she exclaimed, “is a relative of the Chia family, but is it likely that
Jung Erh isn’t, in like manner, a relative of the Chia family; and when
relatives are many, there’s no need to put on airs! Besides, does his
conduct consist, for the most part, of anything that would make one get
any face? In fact, Pao-yü himself shouldn’t do injury to himself by
condescending to look at him. But, as things have come to this pass,
give me time and I’ll go to the Eastern mansion and see our lady Chen
and then have a chat with Ch’in Chung’s sister, and ask her to decide
who’s right and who’s wrong!”

Chin Jung’s mother upon hearing these words was terribly
distressed. “It’s all through my hasty tongue,” she observed with
vehemence, “that I’ve told you all, sister-in-law: but please, sister, give
up at once the idea of going over to say anything about it! Don’t
trouble yourself as to who is in the right, and who is in the wrong; for
were any unpleasantness to come out of it, how could we here stand on
our legs? and were we not to stand on our legs, not only would we
never be able to engage a tutor, but the result will be, on the contrary,
that for his own person will be superadded many an expense for
eatables and necessaries.”

“What do I care about how many?” replied Mrs. Huang; “wait till
I’ve spoken about it, and we’ll see what will be the result.” Nor would
she accede to her sister-in-law’s entreaties, but bidding, at the same
time, the matron look after the carriage, she got into it, and came over
to the Ning Mansion.

On her arrival at the Ning Mansion, she entered by the eastern side
gate, and dismounting from the carriage, she went in to call on Mrs.
Yu, the spouse of Chia Chen, with whom she had not the courage to
put on any high airs; but gently and quietly she made inquiries after
her health, and after passing some irrelevant remarks, she ascertained:
“How is it I don’t see lady Jung to-day?”

“I don’t know,” replied Mrs. Yu, “what’s the matter with her these
last few days; but she hasn’t been herself for two months and more;
and the doctor who was asked to see her declares that it is nothing
connected with any happy event. A couple of days back, she felt, as
soon as the afternoon came, both to move, and both even to utter a
word; while the brightness of her eyes was all dimmed; and I told her,
‘You needn’t stick to etiquette, for there’s no use for you to come in the
forenoon and evening, as required by conventionalities; but what you
must do is, to look after your own health. Should any relative come
over, there’s also myself to receive them; and should any of the senior
generation think your absence strange, I’ll explain things for you, if
you’ll let me.’

“I also advised brother Jung on the subject: ‘You shouldn’t,’ I said,
‘allow any one to trouble her; nor let her be put out of temper, but let
her quietly attend to her health, and she’ll get all right. Should she
fancy anything to eat, just come over here and fetch it; for, in the event
of anything happening to her, were you to try and find another such a
wife to wed, with such a face and such a disposition, why, I fear, were
you even to seek with a lantern in hand, there would really be no place
where you could discover her. And with such a temperament and
deportment as hers, which of our relatives and which of our elders
don’t love her?’ That’s why my heart has been very distressed these two
days! As luck would have it early this morning her brother turned up
to see her, but who would have fancied him to be such a child, and so
ignorant of what is proper and not proper to do? He saw well enough
that his sister was not well; and what’s more all these matters shouldn’t
have been recounted to her; for even supposing he had received the
gravest offences imaginable, it behoved him anyhow not to have
broached the subject to her! Yesterday, one would scarcely believe it, a
fight occurred in the school-room, and some pupil or other who attends
that class, somehow insulted him; besides, in this business, there were
a good many indecent and improper utterances, but all these he went
and told his sister! Now, sister-in-law, you are well aware that though


(our son Jung’s) wife talks and laughs when she sees people, that she is
nevertheless imaginative and withal too sensitive, so that no matter
what she hears, she’s for the most part bound to brood over it for three
days and five nights, before she loses sight of it, and it’s from this
excessive sensitiveness that this complaint of hers arises. Today, when
she heard that some one had insulted her brother, she felt both vexed
and angry; vexed that those fox-like, cur-like friends of his had moved
right and wrong, and intrigued with this one and deluded that one;
angry that her brother had, by not learning anything profitable, and not
having his mind set upon study, been the means of bringing about a
row at school; and on account of this affair, she was so upset that she
did not even have her early meal. I went over a short while back and
consoled her for a time, and likewise gave her brother a few words of
advice; and after having packed off that brother of hers to the mansion
on the other side, in search of Pao-yü, and having stood by and seen
her have half a bowl of birds’ nests soup, I at length came over. Now,
sister-in-law, tell me, is my heart sore or not? Besides, as there’s
nowadays no good doctor, the mere thought of her complaint makes
my heart feel as if it were actually pricked with needles! But do you
and yours, perchance, know of any good practitioner?”

Mrs. Chin had, while listening to these words, been, at an early
period, so filled with concern that she cast away to distant lands the
reckless rage she had been in recently while at her sister-in-law’s
house, when she had determined to go and discuss matters over with
Mrs. Ch’in. Upon hearing Mrs. Yu inquire of her about a good doctor,
she lost no time in saying by way of reply: “Neither have we heard of
any one speak of a good doctor; but from the account I’ve just heard of
Mrs. Ch’in’s illness, it may still, there’s no saying, be some felicitous
ailment; so, sister-in-law, don’t let any one treat her recklessly, for
were she to be treated for the wrong thing, the result may be dreadful!”

“Quite so!” replied Mrs. Yu.
But while they were talking, Chia Chen came in from out of doors,

and upon catching sight of Mrs. Chin; “Isn’t this Mrs. Huang?” he
inquired of Mrs. Yu; whereupon Mrs. Chin came forward and paid her
respects to Chia Chen.

“Invite this lady to have her repast here before she goes,” observed
Chia Chen to Mrs. Yu; and as he uttered these words he forthwith
walked into the room on the off side.

The object of Mrs. Chin’s present visit had originally been to talk to


Mrs. Ch’in about the insult which her brother had received from the
hands of Ch’in Chung, but when she heard that Mrs. Ch’in was ill, she
did not have the courage to even so much as make mention of the
object of her errand. Besides, as Chia Chen and Mrs. Yu had given her
a most cordial reception, her resentment was transformed into
pleasure, so that after a while spent in a further chat about one thing
and another, she at length returned to her home.

It was only after the departure of Mrs. Chin that Chia Chen came
over and took a seat. “What did she have to say for herself during this
visit to-day?” he asked of Mrs. Yu.

“She said nothing much,” replied Mrs. Yu. “When she first entered
the room, her face bore somewhat of an angry look, but, after a lengthy
chat and as soon as mention of our son’s wife’s illness was made, this
angered look after all gradually abated. You also asked me to keep her
for the repast, but, having heard that our son’s wife was so ill she could
not very well stay, so that all she did was to sit down, and after making
a few more irrelevant remarks, she took her departure. But she had no
request to make. To return however now to the illness of Jung’s wife,
it’s urgent that you should find somewhere a good doctor to diagnose it
for her; and whatever you do, you should lose no time. The whole
body of doctors who at present go in and out of our household, are
they worth having? Each one of them listens to what the patient has to
say of the ailment, and then, adding a string of flowery sentences, out
he comes with a long rigmarole; but they are exceedingly diligent in
paying us visits; and in one day, three or four of them are here at least
four and five times in rotation! They come and feel her pulse, they
hold consultation together, and write their prescriptions, but, though
she has taken their medicines, she has seen no improvement; on the
contrary, she’s compelled to change her clothes three and five times
each day, and to sit up to see the doctor; a thing which, in fact, does
the patient no good.”

“This child too is somewhat simple,” observed Chia Chen; “for
what need has she to be taking off her clothes, and changing them for
others? And were she again to catch a chill, she would add something
more to her illness; and won’t it be dreadful! The clothes may be no
matter how fine, but what is their worth, after all? The health of our
child is what is important to look to! and were she even to wear out a
suit of new clothes a-day, what would that too amount to? I was about
to tell you that a short while back, Feng Tzu-ying came to see me, and,


perceiving that I had somewhat of a worried look, he asked me what
was up; and I told him that our son’s wife was not well at all, that as
we couldn’t get any good doctor, we couldn’t determine with any
certainty, whether she was in an interesting condition, or whether she
was suffering from some disease; that as we could neither tell whether
there was any danger or not, my heart was, for this reason, really very
much distressed. Feng Tzu-ying then explained that he knew a young
doctor who had made a study of his profession, Chang by surname,
and Yu-shih by name, whose learning was profound to a degree; who
was besides most proficient in the principles of medicine, and had the
knack of discriminating whether a patient would live or die; that this
year he had come to the capital to purchase an official rank for his son,
and that he was now living with him in his house. In view of these
circumstances, not knowing but that if, perchance, the case of our
daughter-in-law were placed in his hands, he couldn’t avert the danger,
I readily despatched a servant, with a card of mine, to invite him to
come; but the hour to-day being rather late, he probably won’t be
round, but I believe he’s sure to be here to-morrow. Besides, Feng-Tzu-
ying was also on his return home, to personally entreat him on my
behalf, so that he’s bound, when he has asked him, to come and see
her. Let’s therefore wait till Dr. Chang has been here and seen her,
when we can talk matters over!”

Mrs. Yu was very much cheered when she heard what was said.
“The day after to-morrow,” she felt obliged to add, “is again our
senior’s, Mr. Chia Ching’s birthday, and how are we to celebrate it after

“I’ve just been over to our Senior’s and paid my respects,” replied
Chia Chen, “and further invited the old gentleman to come home, and
receive the congratulations of the whole family.

“‘I’m accustomed,’ our Senior explained, ‘to peace and quiet, and
have no wish to go over to that worldly place of yours; for you people
are certain to have published that it’s my birthday, and to entertain the
design to ask me to go round to receive the bows of the whole lot of
you. But won’t it be better if you were to give the “Record of
Meritorious Acts,” which I annotated some time ago, to some one to
copy out clean for me, and have it printed? Compared with asking me
to come, and uselessly receive the obeisances of you all, this will be
yea even a hundred times more profitable! In the event of the whole
family wishing to pay me a visit on any of the two days, to-morrow or

the day after to-morrow, if you were to stay at home and entertain
them in proper style, that will be all that is wanted; nor will there be
any need to send me anything! Even you needn’t come two days from
this; and should you not feel contented at heart, well, you had better
bow your head before me to-day before you go. But if you do come
again the day after to-morrow, with a lot of people to disturb me, I
shall certainly be angry with you.’ After what he said, I will not
venture to go and see him two days hence; but you had better send for
Lai Sheng, and bid him get ready a banquet to continue for a couple of

Mrs. Yu, having asked Chia Jung to come round, told him to direct
Lai Sheng to make the usual necessary preparations for a banquet to
last for a couple of days, with due regard to a profuse and sumptuous

“You go by-and-by,” (she advised him), “in person to the Western
Mansion and invite dowager lady Chia, mesdames Hsing and Wang,
and your sister-in-law Secunda lady Lien to come over for a stroll.
Your father has also heard of a good doctor, and having already sent
some one to ask him round, I think that by to-morrow he’s sure to
come; and you had better tell him, in a minute manner, the serious
symptoms of her ailment during these few days.”

Chia Jung having signified his obedience to each of her
recommendations, and taken his leave, was just in time to meet the
youth coming back from Feng Tzu-ying’s house, whither he had gone a
short while back to invite the doctor round.

“Your slave,” he consequently reported, “has just been with a card
of master’s to Mr. Feng’s house and asked the doctor to come. ‘The
gentleman here,’ replied the doctor, ‘has just told me about it; but to-
day, I’ve had to call on people the whole day, and I’ve only this
moment come home; and I feel now my strength (so worn out), that I
couldn’t really stand any exertion. In fact were I even to get as far as
the mansion, I shouldn’t be in a fit state to diagnose the pulses! I must
therefore have a night’s rest, but, to-morrow for certain, I shall come to
the mansion. My medical knowledge,’ he went on to observe, ‘is very
shallow, and I don’t deserve the honour of such eminent
recommendation; but as Mr. Feng has already thus spoken of me in
your mansion, I can’t but present myself. It will be all right if in
anticipation you deliver this message for me to your honourable
master; but as for your worthy master’s card, I cannot really presume



to keep it.’ It was again at his instance that I’ve brought it back; but,
Sir, please mention this result for me (to master).”

Chia Jung turned back again, and entering the house delivered the
message to Chia Chen and Mrs. Yu; whereupon he walked out, and,
calling Lai Sheng before him, he transmitted to him the orders to
prepare the banquet for a couple of days.

After Lai Sheng had listened to the directions, he went off, of
course, to get ready the customary preparations; but upon these we
shall not dilate, but confine ourselves to the next day.

At noon, a servant on duty at the gate announced that the Doctor
Chang, who had been sent for, had come, and Chia Chen conducted
him along the Court into the large reception Hall, where they sat down;
and after they had partaken of tea, he broached the subject.

“Yesterday,” he explained, “the estimable Mr. Feng did me the
honour to speak to me of your character and proficiency, venerable
doctor, as well as of your thorough knowledge of medicine, and I, your
mean brother, was filled with an immeasurable sense of admiration!”

“Your Junior,” remonstrated Dr. Chang, “is a coarse, despicable and
mean scholar and my knowledge is shallow and vile! but as worthy
Mr. Feng did me the honour yesterday of telling me that your family,
sir, had condescended to look upon me, a low scholar, and to favour
me too with an invitation, could I presume not to obey your
commands? But as I cannot boast of the least particle of real learning, I
feel overburdened with shame!”

“Why need you be so modest?” observed Chia Chen; “Doctor, do
please walk in at once to see our son’s wife, for I look up, with full
reliance, to your lofty intelligence to dispel my solicitude!”

Chia Jung forthwith walked in with him. When they reached the
inner apartment, and he caught sight of Mrs. Ch’in, he turned round
and asked Chia Jung, “This is your honourable spouse, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is,” assented Chia Jung; “but please, Doctor, take a seat, and
let me tell you the symptoms of my humble wife’s ailment, before her
pulse be felt. Will this do?”

“My mean idea is,” remarked the Doctor, “that it would, after all, be
better that I should begin by feeling her pulse, before I ask you to
inform me what the source of the ailment is. This is the first visit I pay
to your honourable mansion; besides, I possess no knowledge of
anything; but as our worthy Mr. Feng would insist upon my coming
over to see you, I had in consequence no alternative but to come. After


I have now made a diagnosis, you can judge whether what I say is
right or not, before you explain to me the phases of the complaint
during the last few days, and we can deliberate together upon some
prescription; as to the suitableness or unsuitableness of which your
honourable father will then have to decide, and what is necessary will
have been done.”

“Doctor,” rejoined Chia Jung, “you are indeed eminently clear
sighted; all I regret at present is that we have met so late! But please,
Doctor, diagnose the state of the pulse, so as to find out whether there
be hope of a cure or not; if a cure can be effected, it will be the means
of allaying the solicitude of my father and mother.”

The married women attached to that menage forthwith presented a
pillow; and as it was being put down for Mrs. Ch’in to rest her arm on,
they raised the lower part of her sleeve so as to leave her wrist
exposed. The Doctor thereupon put out his hand and pressed it on the
pulse of the right hand. Regulating his breath (to the pulsation) so as to
be able to count the beatings, he with due care and minuteness felt the
action for a considerable time, when, substituting the left hand, he
again went through the same operation.

“Let us go and sit outside,” he suggested, after he had concluded
feeling her pulses. Chia Jung readily adjourned, in company with the
Doctor, to the outer apartment, where they seated themselves on the
stove-couch. A matron having served tea; “Please take a cup of tea,
doctor,” Chia Jung observed. When tea was over, “Judging,” he
inquired, “Doctor, from the present action of the pulses, is there any
remedy or not?”

“The action of the pulse, under the forefinger, on the left hand of
your honorable spouse,” proceeded the Doctor, “is deep and agitated;
the left hand pulse, under the second finger, is deep and faint. The
pulse, under the forefinger, of the right hand, is gentle and lacks
vitality. The right hand pulse, under my second finger, is superficial,
and has lost all energy. The deep and agitated beating of the forepulse
of the left hand arises from the febrile state, due to the weak action of
the heart. The deep and delicate condition of the second part of the
pulse of the left wrist, emanates from the sluggishness of the liver, and
the scarcity of the blood in that organ. The action of the forefinger
pulse, of the right wrist, is faint and lacks strength, as the breathing of
the lungs is too weak. The second finger pulse of the right wrist is
superficial and devoid of vigour, as the spleen must be affected

injuriously by the liver. The weak action of the heart, and its febrile
state, should be the natural causes which conduce to the present
irregularity in the catamenia, and insomnia at night; the poverty of
blood in the liver, and the sluggish condition of that organ must
necessarily produce pain in the ribs; while the overdue of the
catamenia, the cardiac fever, and debility of the respiration of the
lungs, should occasion frequent giddiness in the head, and swimming
of the eyes, the certain recurrence of perspiration between the periods
of 3 to 5 and 5 to 7, and the sensation of being seated on board ship.
The obstruction of the spleen by the liver should naturally create
distaste for liquid or food, debility of the vital energies and prostration
of the four limbs. From my diagnosis of these pulses, there should
exist these various symptoms, before (the pulses and the symptoms
can be said) to harmonise. But should perchance (any doctor maintain)
that this state of the pulses imports a felicitous event, your servant will
not presume to give an ear to such an opinion!”

A matron, who was attached as a personal attendant (to Mrs. Ch’in,)
and who happened to be standing by interposed: “How could it be
otherwise?” she ventured. “In real truth, Doctor, you speak like a
supernatural being, and there’s verily no need for us to say anything!
We have now, ready at hand, in our household, a good number of
medical gentlemen, who are in attendance upon her, but none of these
are proficient enough to speak in this positive manner. Some there are
who say that it’s a genital complaint; others maintain that it’s an
organic disease. This doctor explains that there is no danger: while
another, again, holds that there’s fear of a crisis either before or after
the winter solstice; but there is, in one word, nothing certain said by
them. May it please you, sir, now to favour us with your clear

“This complaint of your lady’s,” observed the Doctor, “has certainly
been neglected by the whole number of doctors; for had a treatment
with certain medicines been initiated at the time of the first occurrence
of her habitual sickness, I cannot but opine that, by this time, a perfect
cure would have been effected. But seeing that the organic complaint
has now been, through neglect, allowed to reach this phase, this
calamity was, in truth, inevitable. My ideas are that this illness stands,
as yet, a certain chance of recovery, (three chances out of ten); but we
will see how she gets on, after she has had these medicines of mine.
Should they prove productive of sleep at night, then there will be


added furthermore two more chances in the grip of our hands. From
my diagnosis, your lady is a person, gifted with a preëminently
excellent, and intelligent disposition; but an excessive degree of
intelligence is the cause of frequent contrarieties; and frequent
contrarieties give origin to an excessive amount of anxious cares. This
illness arises from the injury done, by worrying and fretting, to the
spleen, and from the inordinate vigour of the liver; hence it is that the
relief cannot come at the proper time and season. Has not your lady,
may I ask, heretofore at the period of the catamenia, suffered, if indeed
not from anaemia, then necessarily from plethora? Am I right in
assuming this or not?”

“To be sure she did,” replied the matron; “but she has never been
subject to anaemia, but to a plethora, varying from either two to three
days, and extending, with much irregularity, to even ten days.”

“Quite so!” observed the Doctor, after hearing what she had to say,
“and this is the source of this organic illness! Had it in past days been
treated with such medicine as could strengthen the heart, and improve
the respiration, would it have reached this stage? This has now overtly
made itself manifest in an ailment originating from the paucity of
water and the vigour of fire; but let me make use of some medicines,
and we’ll see how she gets on!”

There and then he set to work and wrote a prescription, which he
handed to Chia Jung, the purpose of which was: Decoction for the
improvement of respiration, the betterment of the blood, and the
restoration of the spleen. Ginseng, Atractylodes Lancea; Yunnan root;
Prepared Ti root; Aralia edulis; Peony roots; Levisticum from Sze
Ch’uan; Sophora tormentosa; Cyperus rotundus, prepared with rice;
Gentian, soaked in vinegar; Huai Shan Yao root; Real “O” glue;
Carydalis Ambigua; and Dried liquorice. Seven Fukien lotus seeds,
(the cores of which should be extracted,) and two large zizyphi to be
used as a preparative.

“What exalted intelligence!” Chia Jung, after perusing it,
exclaimed. “But I would also ask you, Doctor, to be good enough to
tell me whether this illness will, in the long run, endanger her life or

The Doctor smiled. “You, sir, who are endowed with most eminent
intelligence (are certain to know) that when a human illness has
reached this phase, it is not a derangement of a day or of a single night;
but after these medicines have been taken, we shall also have to watch



the effect of the treatment! My humble opinion is that, as far as the
winter of this year goes, there is no fear; in fact, after the spring
equinox, I entertain hopes of a complete cure.”

Chia Jung was likewise a person with all his wits about him, so that
he did not press any further minute questions.

Chia Jung forthwith escorted the Doctor and saw him off, and
taking the prescription and the diagnosis, he handed them both to Chia
Chen for his perusal, and in like manner recounted to Chia Chen and
Mrs. Yu all that had been said on the subject.

“The other doctors have hitherto not expressed any opinions as
positive as this one has done,” observed Mrs. Yu, addressing herself to
Chia Chen, “so that the medicines to be used are, I think, surely the
right ones!”

“He really isn’t a man,” rejoined Chia Chen, “accustomed to give
much of his time to the practice of medicine, in order to earn rice for
his support: and it’s Feng Tzu-ying, who is so friendly with us, who is
mainly to be thanked for succeeding, after ever so much trouble, in
inducing him to come. But now that we have this man, the illness of
our son’s wife may, there is no saying, stand a chance of being cured.
But on that prescription of his there is ginseng mentioned, so you had
better make use of that catty of good quality which was bought the
other day.”

Chia Jung listened until the conversation came to a close, after
which he left the room, and bade a servant go and buy the medicines,
in order that they should be prepared and administered to Mrs. Ch’in.

What was the state of Mrs. Ch’in’s illness, after she partook of these
medicines, we do not know; but, reader, listen to the explanation given
in the chapter which follows.

Chapter XI

In honour of Chia Ching’s birthday, a family banquet is spread in the Ning

At the sight of Hsi-feng, Chia Jui entertains feelings of licentious love.

We will now explain, in continuation of our story, that on the day of
Chia Ching’s birthday, Chia Chen began by getting ready luscious
delicacies and rare fruits, which he packed in sixteen spacious present


boxes, and bade Chia Jung take them, along with the servants
belonging to the household, over to Chia Ching.

Turning round towards Chia Jung: “Mind,” he said, “that you
observe whether your grandfather be agreeable or not, before you set
to work and pay your obeisance! ‘My father,’ tell him, ‘has complied
with your directions, venerable senior, and not presumed to come over;
but he has at home ushered the whole company of the members of the
family (into your apartments), where they all paid their homage facing
the side of honour.'”

After Chia Jung had listened to these injunctions, he speedily led
off the family domestics, and took his departure. During this interval,
one by one arrived the guests. First came Chia Lien and Chia Se, who
went to see whether the seats in the various places (were sufficient).
“Is there to be any entertainment or not?” they also inquired.

“Our master,” replied the servants, “had, at one time, intended to
invite the venerable Mr. Chia Ching to come and spend this day at
home, and hadn’t for this reason presumed to get up any entertainment.
But when the other day he came to hear that the old gentleman was not
coming, he at once gave us orders to go in search of a troupe of young
actors, as well as a band of musicians, and all these people are now
engaged making their preparations on the stage in the garden.”

Next came, in a group, mesdames Hsing and Wang, lady Feng and
Pao-yü, followed immediately after by Chia Chen and Mrs. Yu; Mrs.
Yu’s mother having already arrived and being in there in advance of
her. Salutations were exchanged between the whole company, and they
pressed one another to take a seat. Chia Chen and Mrs. Yu both handed
the tea round.

“Our venerable lady,” they explained, as they smiled, “is a worthy
senior; while our father is, on the other hand, only her nephew; so that
on a birthday of a man of his age, we should really not have had the
audacity to invite her ladyship; but as the weather, at this time, is cool,
and the chrysanthemums, in the whole garden, are in luxuriant
blossom, we have requested our venerable ancestor to come for a little
distraction, and to see the whole number of her children and grand-
children amuse themselves. This was the object we had in view, but,
contrary to our expectations, our worthy senior has not again conferred
upon us the lustre of her countenance.”

Lady Feng did not wait until madame Wang could open her mouth,
but took the initiative to reply. “Our venerable lady,” she urged, “had,


even so late as yesterday, said that she meant to come; but, in the
evening, upon seeing brother Pao eating peaches, the mouth of the old
lady once again began to water, and after partaking of a little more
than the half of one, she had, about the fifth watch, to get out of bed
two consecutive times, with the result that all the forenoon to-day, she
felt her body considerably worn out. She therefore bade me inform our
worthy senior that it was utterly impossible for her to come to-day;
adding however that, if there were any delicacies, she fancied a few
kinds, but that they should be very tender.”

When Chia Chen heard these words, he smiled. “Our dowager
lady,” he replied, “is, I argued, so fond of amusement that, if she
doesn’t come to-day, there must, for a certainty, be some valid reason;
and that’s exactly what happens to be the case.”

“The other day I heard your eldest sister explain,” interposed
madame Wang, “that Chia Jung’s wife was anything but well; but
what’s after all the matter with her?”

“She has,” observed Mrs. Yu, “contracted this illness verily in a
strange manner! Last moon at the time of the mid-autumn festival, she
was still well enough to be able to enjoy herself, during half the night,
in company with our dowager lady and madame Wang. On her return,
she continued in good health, until after the twentieth, when she began
to feel more and more languid every day, and loth, likewise, to eat
anything; and this has been going on for well-nigh half a month and
more; she hasn’t besides been anything like her old self for two

“May she not,” remarked madame Hsing, taking up the thread of
the conversation, “be ailing for some happy event?”

But while she was uttering these words, some one from outside
announced: “Our senior master, second master and all the gentlemen of
the family have come, and are standing in the Reception Hall!”
Whereupon Chia Chen and Chia Lien quitted the apartment with
hurried step; and during this while, Mrs. Yu reiterated how that some
time ago a doctor had also expressed the opinion that she was ailing
for a happy event, but that the previous day, had come a doctor,
recommended by Feng Tzu-ying—a doctor, who had from his youth
up made medicine his study, and was very proficient in the treatment
of diseases,—who asserted, after he had seen her, that it was no
felicitous ailment, but that it was some grave complaint. “It was only
yesterday,” (she explained,) “that he wrote his prescription; and all she


has had is but one dose, and already to-day the giddiness in the head is
considerably better; as regards the other symptoms they have as yet
shown no marked improvement.”

“I maintain,” remarked lady Feng, “that, were she not quite unfit to
stand the exertion, would she in fact, on a day like this, be unwilling to
strain every nerve and come round.”

“You saw her,” observed Mrs. Yu, “on the third in here; how that
she bore up with a violent effort for ever so long, but it was all because
of the friendship that exists between you two, that she still longed for
your society, and couldn’t brook the idea of tearing herself away.”

When lady Feng heard these words, her eyes got quite red, and after
a time she at length exclaimed: “In the Heavens of a sudden come
wind and rain; while with man, in a day and in a night, woe and weal
survene! But with her tender years, if for a complaint like this she were
to run any risk, what pleasure is there for any human being to be born
and to sojourn in the world?”

She was just speaking, when Chia Jung walked into the apartment;
and after paying his respects to madame Hsing, madame Wang, and
lady Feng, he then observed to Mrs. Yu: “I have just taken over the
eatables to our venerable ancestor; and, at the same time, I told him
that my father was at home waiting upon the senior, and entertaining
the junior gentlemen of the whole family, and that in compliance with
grandfather’s orders, he did not presume to go over. The old gentleman
was much delighted by what he heard me say, and having signified
that that was all in order, bade me tell father and you, mother, to do all
you can in your attendance upon the senior gentlemen and ladies,
enjoining me to entertain, with all propriety, my uncles, aunts, and my
cousins. He also went on to urge me to press the men to cut, with all
despatch, the blocks for the Record of Meritorious Deeds, and to print
ten thousand copies for distribution. All these messages I have duly
delivered to my father, but I must now be quick and go out, so as to
send the eatables for the elder as well as for the younger gentlemen of
the entire household.”

“Brother Jung Erh,” exclaimed lady Feng, “wait a moment. How is
your wife getting on? how is she, after all, to-day?”

“Not well,” replied Chia Jung. “But were you, aunt, on your return
to go in and see her, you will find out for yourself.”

Chia Jung forthwith left the room. During this interval, Mrs. Yu
addressed herself to mesdames Hsing and Wang; “My ladies,” she



asked, “will you have your repast in here, or will you go into the
garden for it? There are now in the garden some young actors engaged
in making their preparations?”

“It’s better in here,” madame Wang remarked, as she turned towards
madame Hsing.

Mrs. Yu thereupon issued directions to the married women and
matrons to be quick in serving the eatables. The servants, in waiting
outside the door, with one voice signified their obedience; and each of
them went off to fetch what fell to her share. In a short while, the
courses were all laid out, and Mrs. Yu pressed mesdames Hsing and
Wang, as well as her mother, into the upper seats; while she, together
with lady Feng and Pao-yü, sat at a side table.

“We’ve come,” observed mesdames Hsing and Wang, “with the
original idea of paying our congratulations to our venerable senior on
the occasion of his birthday; and isn’t this as if we had come for our
own birthdays?”

“The old gentleman,” answered lady Feng, “is a man fond of a quiet
life; and as he has already consummated a process of purification, he
may well be looked upon as a supernatural being, so that the purpose
to which your ladyships have given expression may be considered as
manifest to his spirit, upon the very advent of the intention.”

As this sentence was uttered the whole company in the room burst
out laughing. Mrs. Yu’s mother, mesdames Hsing and Wang, and lady
Feng having one and all partaken of the banquet, rinsed their mouths
and washed their hands, which over, they expressed a wish to go into
the garden.

Chia Jung entered the room. “The senior gentlemen,” he said to
Mrs. Yu, “as well as all my uncles and cousins, have finished their
repast; but the elder gentleman Mr. Chia She, who excused himself on
the score of having at home something to attend to, and Mr. Secundus
(Chia Cheng), who is not partial to theatrical performances and is
always afraid that people will be too boisterous in their entertainments,
have both of them taken their departure. The rest of the family
gentlemen have been taken over by uncle Secundus Mr. Lien, and Mr.
Se, to the other side to listen to the play. A few moments back Prince
Nan An, Prince Tung P’ing, Prince Hsi Ning, Prince Pei Ching, these
four Princes, with Niu, Duke of Chen Kuo, and five other dukes, six in
all, and Shih, Marquis of Chung Ching, and other seven, in all eight
marquises, sent their messengers with their cards and presents. I have


already told father all about it; but before I did so, the presents were
put away in the counting room, the lists of presents were all entered in
the book, and the ‘received with thanks’ cards were handed to the
respective messengers of the various mansions; the men themselves
were also tipped in the customary manner, and all of them were kept to
have something to eat before they went on their way. But, mother, you
should invite the two ladies, your mother and my aunt, to go over and
sit in the garden.”

“Just so!” observed Mrs. Yu, “but we’ve only now finished our
repast, and were about to go over.”

“I wish to tell you, madame,” interposed lady Feng, “that I shall go
first and see brother Jung’s wife and then come and join you.”

“All right,” replied madame Wang; “we should all have been fain to
have paid her a visit, did we not fear lest she should look upon our
disturbing her with displeasure, but just tell her that we would like to
know how she is getting on!”

“My dear sister,” remarked Mrs. Yu, “as our son’s wife has a ready
ear for all you say, do go and cheer her up, (and if you do so,) it will
besides set my own mind at ease; but be quick and come as soon as
you can into the garden.”

Pao-yü being likewise desirous to go along with lady Feng to see
lady Ch’in, madame Wang remarked, “Go and see her just for a while,
and then come over at once into the garden; (for remember) she is your
nephew’s wife, (and you couldn’t sit in there long).”

Mrs. Yu forthwith invited mesdames Wang and Hsing, as well as
her own mother, to adjourn to the other side, and they all in a body
walked into the garden of Concentrated Fragrance; while lady Feng
and Pao-yü betook themselves, in company with Chia Jung, over to
this side.

Having entered the door, they with quiet step walked as far as the
entrance of the inner chamber. Mrs. Ch’in, upon catching sight of
them, was bent upon getting up; but “Be quick,” remonstrated lady
Feng, “and give up all idea of standing up; for take care your head will
feel dizzy.”

Lady Feng hastened to make a few hurried steps forward and to
grasp Mrs. Ch’in’s hand in hers. “My dear girl!” she exclaimed; “How
is it that during the few days I’ve not seen you, you have grown so

Readily she then took a seat on the rug, on which Mrs. Ch’in was


seated, while Pao-yü, after inquiring too about her health, sat in the
chair on the opposite side.

“Bring the tea in at once,” called out Chia Jung, “for aunt and uncle
Secundus have not had any tea in the drawing room.”

Mrs. Ch’in took lady Feng’s hand in her own and forced a smile.
“This is all due to my lack of good fortune; for in such a family as this,
my father and mother-in-law treat me just as if I were a daughter of
their own flesh and blood! Besides, your nephew, (my husband,) may,
it is true, my dear aunt, be young in years, but he is full of regard for
me, as I have regard for him, and we have had so far no
misunderstanding between us! In fact, among the senior generation, as
well as that of the same age as myself, in the whole clan, putting you
aside, aunt, about whom no mention need be made, there is not one
who has not ever had anything but love for me, and not one who has
not ever shown me anything but kindness! But since I’ve fallen ill with
this complaint, all my energy has even every bit of it been taken out of
me, so that I’ve been unable to show to my father and mother-in-law
any mark of filial attention, yea so much as for one single day and to
you, my dear aunt, with all this affection of yours for me, I have every
wish to be dutiful to the utmost degree, but, in my present state, I’m
really not equal to it; my own idea is, that it isn’t likely that I shall last
through this year.”

Pao-yü kept, while (she spoke,) his eyes fixed intently upon a
picture on the opposite side, representing some begonias drooping in
the spring time, and upon a pair of scrolls, with this inscription written
by Ch’in Tai-hsü:

A gentle chill doth circumscribe the dreaming man because the spring is cold!
The fragrant whiff which wafts itself into man’s nose, is the perfume of wine!

And he could not help recalling to mind his experiences at the time
when he had fallen asleep in this apartment, and had, in his dream,
visited the confines of the Great Void. He was just plunged in a state of
abstraction, when he heard Mrs. Ch’in give utterance to these
sentiments, which pierced his heart as if they were ten thousand
arrows, (with the result that) tears unwittingly trickled from his eyes.

Lady Feng perceiving him in tears felt it extremely painful within
herself to bear the sight; but she was on pins and needles lest the
patient should detect their frame of mind, and feel, instead (of benefit),



still more sore at heart, which would not, after all, be quite the purpose
of her visit; which was to afford her distraction and consolation. “Pao-
yü,” she therefore exclaimed, “you are like an old woman! Ill, as she
is, simply makes her speak in this wise, and how ever could things
come to such a pass! Besides, she is young in years, so that after a
short indisposition, her illness will get all right!” “Don’t,” she said as
she turned towards Mrs. Ch’in, “give way to silly thoughts and idle
ideas! for by so doing won’t you yourself be aggravating your

“All that her sickness in fact needs,” observed Chia Jung, “is, that
she should be able to take something to eat, and then there will be
nothing to fear.”

“Brother Pao,” urged lady Feng, “your mother told you to go over,
as soon as you could, so that don’t stay here, and go on in the way
you’re doing, for you after all incite this lady also to feel uneasy at
heart. Besides, your mother over there is solicitous on your account.”
“You had better go ahead with your uncle Pao,” she consequently
continued, addressing herself to Chia Jung, “while I sit here a little

When Chia Jung heard this remark, he promptly crossed over with
Pao-yü into the garden of Concentrated Fragrance, while lady Feng
went on both to cheer her up for a time, and to impart to her, in an
undertone, a good deal of confidential advice.

Mrs. Yu had despatched servants, on two or three occasions, to
hurry lady Feng, before she said to Mrs. Ch’in: “Do all you can to take
good care of yourself, and I’ll come and see you again. You’re bound to
get over this illness; and now, in fact, that you’ve come across that
renowned doctor, you have really nothing more to fear.”

“He might,” observed Mrs. Ch’in as she smiled, “even be a
supernatural being and succeed in healing my disease, but he won’t be
able to remedy my destiny; for, my dear aunt, I feel sure that with this
complaint of mine, I can do no more than drag on from day to day.”

“If you encourage such ideas,” remonstrated lady Feng, “how can
this illness ever get all right? What you absolutely need is to cast away
all these notions, and then you’ll improve. I hear moreover that the
doctor asserts that if no cure be effected, the fear is of a change for the
worse in spring, and not till then. Did you and I moreover belong to a
family that hadn’t the means to afford any ginseng, it would be difficult
to say how we could manage to get it; but were your father and


mother-in-law to hear that it’s good for your recovery, why not to
speak of two mace of ginseng a day, but even two catties will be also
within their means! So mind you do take every care of your health! I’m
now off on my way into the garden.”

“Excuse me, my dear aunt,” added Mrs. Ch’in, “that I can’t go with
you; but when you have nothing to do, I entreat you do come over and
see me! and you and I can sit and have a long chat.”

After lady Feng had heard these words, her eyes unwillingly got
quite red again. “When I’m at leisure I shall, of course,” she rejoined,
“come often to see you;” and forthwith leading off the matrons and
married women, who had come over with her, as well as the women
and matrons of the Ning mansion, she passed through the inner part of
the house, and entered, by a circuitous way, the side gate of the park,
when she perceived: yellow flowers covering the ground; white
willows flanking the slopes; diminutive bridges spanning streams,
resembling the Jo Yeh; zigzag pathways (looking as if) they led to the
steps of Heaven; limpid springs dripping from among the rocks;
flowers hanging from hedges emitting their fragrance, as they were
flapped by the winds; red leaves on the tree tops swaying to and fro;
groves picture-like, half stripped of foliage; the western breeze coming
with sudden gusts, and the wail of the oriole still audible; the warm
sun shining with genial rays, and the cicada also adding its chirp:
structures, visible to the gaze at a distance in the South-east, soaring
high on various sites and resting against the hills; three halls, visible
near by on the North-west, stretching in one connected line, on the
bank of the stream; strains of music filling the pavilion, imbued with
an unwonted subtle charm; and maidens in fine attire penetrating the
groves, lending an additional spell to the scene.

Lady Feng, while engaged in contemplating the beauties of the
spot, advanced onwards step by step. She was plunged in a state of
ecstasy, when suddenly, from the rear of the artificial rockery, egressed
a person, who approached her and facing her said, “My respects to
you, sister-in-law.”

Lady Feng was so startled by this unexpected appearance that she
drew back. “Isn’t this Mr. Jui?” she ventured.

“What! sister-in-law,” exclaimed Chia Jui, “don’t you recognise
even me?”

“It isn’t that I didn’t recognise you,” explained lady Feng, “but at the
sudden sight of you, I couldn’t conceive that it would possibly be you,


sir, in this place!”
“This was in fact bound to be,” replied Chia Jui; “for there’s some

subtle sympathy between me and you, sister-in-law. Here I just
stealthily leave the entertainment, in order to revel for a while in this
solitary place when, against every expectation, I come across you,
sister-in-law; and isn’t this a subtle sympathy?”

As he spoke, he kept his gaze fixed on lady Feng, who being an
intelligent person, could not but arrive, at the sight of his manner, at
the whole truth in her surmises. “It isn’t to be wondered at,” she
consequently observed, as she smiled hypocritically, “that your eldest
brother should make frequent allusion to your qualities! for after
seeing you on this occasion, and hearing you utter these few remarks, I
have readily discovered what an intelligent and genial person you are!
I am just now on my way to join the ladies on the other side, and have
no leisure to converse with you; but wait until I’ve nothing to attend to,
when we can meet again.”

“I meant to have gone over to your place and paid my respects to
you, sister-in-law,” pleaded Chia Jui, “but I was afraid lest a person of
tender years like yourself mightn’t lightly receive any visitors!”

Lady Feng gave another sardonic smile. “Relatives,” she continued,
“of one family, as we are, what need is there to say anything of tender

After Chia Jui had heard these words, he felt his heart swell within
him with such secret joy that he was urged to reflect: “I have at length
to-day, when least I expected it, obtained this remarkable encounter
with her!”

But as the display of his passion became still more repulsive, lady
Feng urged him to go. “Be off at once,” she remarked, “and join the
entertainment; for mind, if they find you out, they will mulct you in so
many glasses of wine!”

By the time this suggestion had reached Chia Jui’s ears, half of his
body had become stiff like a log of wood; and as he betook himself
away, with lothful step, he turned his head round to cast glances at her.
Lady Feng purposely slackened her pace; and when she perceived that
he had gone a certain distance, she gave way to reflection. “This is
indeed,” she thought, “knowing a person, as far as face goes, and not
as heart! Can there be another such a beast as he! If he really continues
to behave in this manner, I shall soon enough compass his death, with
my own hands, and he’ll then know what stuff I’m made of.”



Lady Feng, at this juncture moved onward, and after turning round
a chain of hillocks, she caught sight of two or three matrons coming
along with all speed. As soon as they espied lady Feng they put on a
smile. “Our mistress,” they said, “perceiving that your ladyship was
not forthcoming, has been in a great state of anxiety, and bade your
servants come again to request you to come over.

“Is your mistress,” observed lady Feng, “so like a quick-footed

While lady Feng advanced leisurely, she inquired, “How many
plays have been recited?” to which question one of the matrons
replied, “They have gone through eight or nine.” But while engaged in
conversation, they had already reached the back door of the Tower of
Celestial Fragrance, where she caught sight of Pao-yü playing with a
company of waiting-maids and pages. “Brother Pao,” lady Feng
exclaimed, “don’t be up to too much mischief!” “The ladies are all
sitting upstairs,” interposed one of the maids. “Please, my lady, this is
the way up.”

At these words lady Feng slackened her pace, raised her dress, and
walked up the stairs, where Mrs. Yu was already at the top of the
landing waiting for her.

“You two,” remarked Mrs. Yu, smiling, “are so friendly, that having
met you couldn’t possibly tear yourself away to come. You had better
to-morrow move over there and take up your quarters with her and
have done; but sit down and let me, first of all, present you a glass of

Lady Feng speedily drew near mesdames Hsing and Wang, and
begged permission to take a seat; while Mrs. Yu brought the
programme, and pressed lady Feng to mark some plays.

“The senior ladies occupy the seats of honour,” remonstrated lady
Feng, “and how can I presume to choose?”

“We, and our relative by marriage, have selected several plays,”
explained mesdames Hsing and Wang, “and it’s for you now to choose
some good ones for us to listen to.”

Standing up, lady Feng signified her obedience; and taking over the
programme, and perusing it from top to bottom, she marked off one
entitled, the “Return of the Spirit,” and another called “Thrumming and
Singing;” after which she handed back the programme, observing,
“When they have done with the ‘Ennoblement of two Officers,’ which
they are singing just at present, it will be time enough to sing these



“Of course it will,” retorted madame Wang, “but they should get it

over as soon as they can, so as to allow your elder Brother and your
Sister-in-law to have rest; besides, their hearts are not at ease.”

“You senior ladies don’t come often,” expostulated Mrs. Yu, “and
you and I will derive more enjoyment were we to stay a little longer;
it’s as yet early in the day!”

Lady Feng stood up and looked downstairs. “Where have all the
gentlemen gone to?” she inquired.

“The gentlemen have just gone over to the Pavilion of Plenteous
Effulgence,” replied a matron, who stood by; “they have taken along
with them ten musicians and gone in there to drink their wine.”

“It wasn’t convenient for them,” remarked lady Feng, “to be over
here; but who knows what they have again gone to do behind our

“Could every one,” interposed Mrs. Yu, “resemble you, a person of
such propriety!”

While they indulged in chatting and laughing, the plays they had
chosen were all finished; whereupon the tables were cleared of the
wines, and the repast was served. The meal over, the whole company
adjourned into the garden, and came and sat in the drawing-room.
After tea, they at length gave orders to get ready the carriages, and
they took their leave of Mrs. Yu’s mother. Mrs. Yu, attended by all the
secondary wives, servants, and married women, escorted them out,
while Chia Chen, along with the whole bevy of young men, stood by
the vehicles, waiting in a group for their arrival.

After saluting mesdames Hsing and Wang, “Aunts,” they said, “you
must come over again to-morrow for a stroll.”

“We must be excused,” observed madame Wang, “we’ve sat here the
whole day to-day, and are, after all, feeling quite tired; besides, we
shall need to have some rest to-morrow.”

Both of them thereupon got into their carriages and took their
departure, while Chia Jui still kept a fixed gaze upon lady Feng; and it
was after Chia Chen had gone in that Li Kuei led round the horse, and
that Pao-yü mounted and went off, following in the track of mesdames
Hsing and Wang.

Chia Chen and the whole number of brothers and nephews
belonging to the family had, during this interval, partaken of their
meal, and the whole party at length broke up. But in like manner, all


the inmates of the clan and the guests spent on the morrow another
festive day, but we need not advert to it with any minuteness.

After this occasion, lady Feng came in person and paid frequent
visits to Mrs. Ch’in; but as there were some days on which her ailment
was considerably better, and others on which it was considerably
worse, Chia Chen, Mrs. Yu, and Chia Jung were in an awful state of

Chia Jui, it must moreover be noticed, came over, on several
instances, on a visit to the Jung mansion; but it invariably happened
that he found that lady Feng had gone over to the Ning mansion.

This was just the thirtieth of the eleventh moon, the day on which
the winter solstice fell; and the few days preceding that season,
dowager lady Chia, madame Wang and lady Feng did not let one day
go by without sending some one to inquire about Mrs. Ch’in; and as
the servants, on their return, repeatedly reported that, during the last
few days, neither had her ailment aggravated, nor had it undergone any
marked improvement, madame Wang explained to dowager lady Chia,
that as a complaint of this nature had reached this kind of season
without getting any worse, there was some hope of recovery.

“Of course there is!” observed the old lady; “what a dear child she
is! should anything happen to her, won’t it be enough to make people
die from grief!” and as she spake she felt for a time quite sore at heart.
“You and she,” continuing, she said to lady Feng, “have been friends
for ever so long; to-morrow is the glorious first (and you can’t go), but
after to-morrow you should pay her a visit and minutely scrutinise her
appearance: and should you find her any better, come and tell me on
your return! Whatever things that dear child has all along a fancy for,
do send her round a few even as often as you can by some one or

Lady Feng assented to each of her recommendations; and when the
second arrived, she came, after breakfast, to the Ning mansion to see
how Mrs. Ch’in was getting on; and though she found her none the
worse, the flesh all over her face and person had however become
emaciated and parched up. She readily sat with Mrs. Ch’in for a long
while, and after they had chatted on one thing and another, she again
reiterated the assurances that this illness involved no danger, and
distracted her for ever so long.

“Whether I get well or not,” observed Mrs. Ch’in, “we’ll know in
spring; now winter is just over, and I’m anyhow no worse, so that




possibly I may get all right; and yet there’s no saying; but, my dear
sister-in-law, do press our old lady to compose her mind! yesterday,
her ladyship sent me some potato dumplings, with minced dates in
them, and though I had two, they seem after all to be very easily

“I’ll send you round some more to-morrow,” lady Feng suggested;
“I’m now going to look up your mother-in-law, and will then hurry
back to give my report to our dowager lady.”

“Please, sister-in-law,” Mrs. Ch’in said, “present my best respects to
her venerable ladyship, as well as to madame Wang.”

Lady Feng signified that she would comply with her wishes, and,
forthwith leaving the apartment, she came over and sat in Mrs. Yu’s
suite of rooms.

“How do you, who don’t see our son’s wife very often, happen to
find her?” inquired Mrs. Yu.

Lady Feng drooped her head for some time. “There’s no help,” she
ventured, “for this illness! but you should likewise make every
subsequent preparation, for it would also be well if you could scour it

“I’ve done so much as to secretly give orders,” replied Mrs. Yu, “to
get things ready; but for that thing (the coffin), there’s no good timber
to be found, so that it will have to be looked after by and by.”

Lady Feng swallowed hastily a cup of tea, and after a short chat, “I
must be hurrying back,” she remarked, “to deliver my message to our
dowager lady!”

“You should,” urged Mrs. Yu, “be sparse in what you tell her lady
ship so as not to frighten an old person like her!”

“I know well enough what to say,” replied lady Feng.
Without any further delay, lady Feng then sped back. On her arrival

at home she looked up the old lady. “Brother Jung’s wife,” she
explained, “presents her compliments, and pays obeisance to your
venerable ladyship; she says that she’s much better, and entreats you,
her worthy senior, to set your mind at ease! That as soon as she’s a
little better she will come and prostrate herself before your ladyship.”

“How do you find her?” inquired dowager lady Chia.
“For the present there’s nothing to fear,” continued lady Feng; “for

her mien is still good.”
After the old lady had heard these words, she was plunged for a

long while in deep reflection; and as she turned towards lady Feng,



“Go and divest yourself of your toilette,” she said, “and have some

Lady Feng in consequence signified her obedience, and walked
away, returning home after paying madame Wang a visit. P’ing Erh
helped lady Feng to put on the house costume, which she had warmed
by the fire, and lady Feng eventually took a seat and asked “whether
there was anything doing at home?”

P’ing Erh then brought the tea, and after going over to hand the cup:
“There’s nothing doing,” she replied; “as regards the interest on the
three hundred taels, Wang Erh’s wife has brought it in, and I’ve put it
away. Besides this, Mr. Jui sent round to inquire if your ladyship was
at home or not, as he meant to come and pay his respects and to have a

“Heng!” exclaimed lady Feng at these words. “Why should this
beast compass his own death? we’ll see when he comes what is to be

“Why is this Mr. Jui so bent upon coming?’ P’ing Erh having
inquired, lady Feng readily gave her an account of how she had met
him in the course of the ninth moon in the Ning mansion, and of what
had been said by him.

“What a mangy frog to be bent upon eating the flesh of a heavenly
goose!” ejaculated P’ing Erh. “A stupid and disorderly fellow with no
conception of relationship, to harbour such a thought! but we’ll make
him find an unnatural death!”

“Wait till he comes,” added lady Feng, “when I feel certain I shall
find some way.”

What happened, however, when Chia Jui came has not, as yet, been
ascertained, but listen, reader, to the explanation given in the next

Chapter XII

Wang Hsi-feng maliciously lays a trap for Chia Jui, under pretence that his
affection is reciprocated.

Chia T’ien-hsiang gazes at the face of the mirror of Voluptuousness.

Lady Feng, it must be noticed in continuation of our narrative, was
just engaged in talking with P’ing Erh, when they heard some one



announce that Mr. Jui had come. Lady Feng gave orders that he should
be invited to step in, and Chia Jui perceiving that he had been asked to
walk in was at heart elated at the prospect of seeing her.

With a face beaming with smiles, Lady Feng inquired again and
again how he was; and, with simulated tenderness she further pressed
him to take a seat and urged him to have a cup of tea.

Chia Jui noticed how still more voluptuous lady Feng looked in her
present costume, and, as his eyes burnt with love, “How is it,” he
inquired, “that my elder brother Secundus is not yet back?”

“What the reason is I cannot tell,” lady Feng said by way of reply.
“May it not be,” Chia Jui smilingly insinuated, “that some fair

damsel has got hold of him on the way, and that he cannot brook to
tear himself from her to come home?”

“That makes it plain that there are those among men who fall in
love with any girl they cast their eyes on,” hinted lady Feng.

“Your remarks are, sister-in-law, incorrect, for I’m none of this
kind!” Chia Jui explained smirkingly.

“How many like you can there be!” rejoined lady Feng with a
sarcastic smile; “in ten, not one even could be picked out!”

When Chia Jui heard these words, he felt in such high glee that he
rubbed his ears and smoothed his cheeks. “My sister-in-law,” he
continued, “you must of course be extremely lonely day after day.”

“Indeed I am,” observed lady Feng, “and I only wish some one
would come and have a chat with me to break my dull monotony.”

“I daily have ample leisure,” Chia Jui ventured with a simper, “and
wouldn’t it be well if I came every day to dispel your dulness, sister-in-

“You are simply fooling me,” exclaimed lady Feng laughing. “It
isn’t likely you would wish to come over here to me?”

“If in your presence, sister-in-law, I utter a single word of
falsehood, may the thunder from heaven blast me!” protested Chia Jui.
“It’s only because I had all along heard people say that you were a
dreadful person, and that you cannot condone even the slightest
shortcoming committed in your presence, that I was induced to keep
back by fear; but after seeing you, on this occasion, so chatty, so full of
fun and most considerate to others, how can I not come? were it to be
the cause of my death, I would be even willing to come!”

“You’re really a clever person,” lady Feng observed sarcastically.
“And oh so much superior to both Chia Jung and his brother!



Handsome as their presence was to look at, I imagined their minds to
be full of intelligence, but who would have thought that they would,
after all, be a couple of stupid worms, without the least notion of
human affection!”

The words which Chia Jui heard, fell in so much the more with his
own sentiments, that he could not restrain himself from again pressing
forward nearer to her; and as with eyes strained to give intentness to
his view, he gazed at lady Feng’s purse: “What rings have you got on?”
he went on to ask.

“You should be a little more deferential,” remonstrated lady Feng in
a low tone of voice, “so as not to let the waiting-maids detect us.”

Chia Jui withdrew backward with as much alacrity as if he had
received an Imperial decree or a mandate from Buddha.

“You ought to be going!” lady Feng suggested, as she gave him a

“Do let me stay a while longer,” entreated Chia Jui, “you are indeed
ruthless, my sister-in-law.”

But with gentle voice did lady Feng again expostulate. “In broad
daylight,” she said, “with people coming and going, it is not really
convenient that you should abide in here; so you had better go, and
when it’s dark and the watch is set, you can come over, and quietly
wait for me in the corridor on the Eastern side!”

At these words, Chia Jui felt as if he had received some jewel or
precious thing. “Don’t make fun of me!” he remarked with vehemence.
“The only thing is that crowds of people are ever passing from there,
and how will it be possible for me to evade detection?”

“Set your mind at ease!” lady Feng advised; “I shall dismiss on
leave all the youths on duty at night; and when the doors, on both
sides, are closed, there will be no one else to come in!”

Chia Jui was delighted beyond measure by the assurance, and with
impetuous haste, he took his leave and went off; convinced at heart of
the gratification of his wishes. He continued, up to the time of dusk, a
prey to keen expectation; and, when indeed darkness fell, he felt his
way into the Jung mansion, availing himself of the moment, when the
doors were being closed, to slip into the corridor, where everything
was actually pitch dark, and not a soul to be seen going backwards or

The door leading over to dowager lady Chia’s apartments had
already been put under key, and there was but one gate, the one on the


East, which had not as yet been locked. Chia Jui lent his ear, and
listened for ever so long, but he saw no one appear. Suddenly,
however, was heard a sound like “lo teng,” and the east gate was also
bolted; but though Chia Jui was in a great state of impatience, he none
the less did not venture to utter a sound. All that necessity compelled
him to do was to issue, with quiet steps, from his corner, and to try the
gates by pushing; but they were closed as firmly as if they had been
made fast with iron bolts; and much though he may, at this juncture,
have wished to find his way out, escape was, in fact, out of the
question; on the south and north was one continuous dead wall, which,
even had he wished to scale, there was nothing which he could clutch
and pull himself up by.

This room, besides, was one the interior (of which was exposed) to
the wind, which entered through (the fissure) of the door; and was
perfectly empty and bare; and the weather being, at this time, that of
December, and the night too very long, the northerly wind, with its
biting gusts, was sufficient to penetrate the flesh and to cleave the
bones, so that the whole night long he had a narrow escape from being
frozen to death; and he was yearning, with intolerable anxiety for the
break of day, when he espied an old matron go first and open the door
on the East side, and then come in and knock at the western gate.

Chia Jui seeing that she had turned her face away, bolted out, like a
streak of smoke, as he hugged his shoulders with his hands (from
intense cold.) As luck would have it, the hour was as yet early, so that
the inmates of the house had not all got out of bed; and making his
escape from the postern door, he straightaway betook himself home,
running back the whole way.

Chia Jui’s parents had, it must be explained, departed life at an early
period, and he had no one else, besides his grandfather Tai-ju, to take
charge of his support and education. This Tai-ju had, all along,
exercised a very strict control, and would not allow Chia Jui to even
make one step too many, in the apprehension that he might gad about
out of doors drinking and gambling, to the neglect of his studies.

Seeing, on this unexpected occasion, that he had not come home the
whole night, he simply felt positive, in his own mind, that he was
certain to have run about, if not drinking, at least gambling, and
dissipating in houses of the demi-monde up to the small hours; but he
never even gave so much as a thought to the possibility of a public
scandal, as that in which he was involved. The consequence was that



during the whole length of the night he boiled with wrath.
Chia Jui himself, on the other hand, was (in such a state of

trepidation) that he could wipe the perspiration (off his face) by
handfuls; and he felt constrained on his return home, to have recourse
to deceitful excuses, simply explaining that he had been at his eldest
maternal uncle’s house, and that when it got dark, they kept him to
spend the night there.

“Hitherto,” remonstrated Tai-ju, “when about to go out of doors,
you never ventured to go, on your own hook, without first telling me
about it, and how is it that yesterday you surreptitiously left the house?
for this offence alone you deserve a beating, and how much more for
the lie imposed upon me.”

Into such a violent fit of anger did he consequently fly that laying
hands on him, he pulled him over and administered to him thirty or
forty blows with a cane. Nor would he allow him to have anything to
eat, but bade him remain on his knees in the court conning essays;
impressing on his mind that he would not let him off, before he had
made up for the last ten days’ lessons.

Chia Jui had in the first instance, frozen the whole night, and, in the
next place, came in for a flogging. With a stomach, besides, gnawed by
the pangs of hunger, he had to kneel in a place exposed to drafts
reading the while literary compositions, so that the hardships he had to
endure were of manifold kinds.

Chia Jui’s infamous intentions had at this junction undergone no
change; but far from his thoughts being even then any idea that lady
Feng was humbugging him, he seized, after the lapse of a couple of
days, the first leisure moments to come again in search of that lady.

Lady Feng pretended to bear him a grudge for his breach of faith,
and Chia Jui was so distressed that he tried by vows and oaths (to
establish his innocence.) Lady Feng perceiving that he had, of his own
accord, fallen into the meshes of the net laid for him, could not but
devise another plot to give him a lesson and make him know what was
right and mend his ways.

With this purpose, she gave him another assignation. “Don’t go over
there,” she said, “to-night, but wait for me in the empty rooms giving
on to a small passage at the back of these apartments of mine. But
whatever you do, mind don’t be reckless.”

“Are you in real earnest?” Chia Jui inquired.
“Why, who wants to play with you?” replied lady Feng; “if you


don’t believe what I say, well then don’t come!”
“I’ll come, I’ll come, yea I’ll come, were I even to die!” protested

Chia Jui.
“You should first at this very moment get away!” lady Feng having

suggested, Chia Jui, who felt sanguine that when evening came,
success would for a certainty crown his visit, took at once his
departure in anticipation (of his pleasure.)

During this interval lady Feng hastily set to work to dispose of her
resources, and to add to her stratagems, and she laid a trap for her
victim; while Chia Jui, on the other hand, was until the shades of
darkness fell, a prey to incessant expectation.

As luck would have it a relative of his happened to likewise come
on that very night to their house and to only leave after he had dinner
with them, and at an hour of the day when the lamps had already been
lit; but he had still to wait until his grandfather had retired to rest
before he could, at length with precipitate step, betake himself into the
Jung mansion.

Straightway he came into the rooms in the narrow passage, and
waited with as much trepidation as if he had been an ant in a hot pan.
He however waited and waited, but he saw no one arrive; he listened
but not even the sound of a voice reached his ear. His heart was full of
intense fear, and he could not restrain giving way to surmises and
suspicion. “May it not be,” he thought, “that she is not coming again;
and that I may have once more to freeze for another whole night?”

While indulging in these erratic reflections, he discerned some one
coming, looking like a black apparition, who Chia Jui readily
concluded, in his mind, must be lady Feng; so that, unmindful of
distinguishing black from white, he as soon as that person arrived in
front of him, speedily clasped her in his embrace, like a ravenous tiger
pouncing upon its prey, or a cat clawing a rat, and cried: “My darling
sister, you have made me wait till I’m ready to die.”

As he uttered these words, he dragged the comer, in his arms, on to
the couch in the room; and while indulging in kisses and protestations
of warm love, he began to cry out at random epithets of endearment.

Not a sound, however, came from the lips of the other person; and
Chia Jui had in the fulness of his passion, exceeded the bounds of
timid love and was in the act of becoming still more affectionate in his
protestations, when a sudden flash of a light struck his eye, by the rays
of which he espied Chia Se with a candle in hand, casting the light



round the place, “Who’s in this room?” he exclaimed.
“Uncle Jui,” he heard some one on the couch explain, laughing,

“was trying to take liberties with me!”
Chia Jui at one glance became aware that it was no other than Chia

Jung; and a sense of shame at once so overpowered him that he could
find nowhere to hide himself; nor did he know how best to extricate
himself from the dilemma. Turning himself round, he made an attempt
to make good his escape, when Chia Se with one grip clutched him in
his hold.

“Don’t run away,” he said; “sister-in-law Lien has already reported
your conduct to madame Wang; and explained that you had tried to
make her carry on an improper flirtation with you; that she had
temporised by having recourse to a scheme to escape your
importunities, and that she had imposed upon you in such a way as to
make you wait for her in this place. Our lady was so terribly incensed,
that she well-nigh succumbed; and hence it is that she bade me come
and catch you! Be quick now and follow me, and let us go and see

After Chia Jui had heard these words, his very soul could not be
contained within his body.

“My dear nephew,” he entreated, “do tell her that it wasn’t I; and I’ll
show you my gratitude to-morrow in a substantial manner.”

“Letting you off,” rejoined Chia Se, “is no difficult thing; but how
much, I wonder, are you likely to give? Besides, what you now utter
with your lips, there will be no proof to establish; so you had better
write a promissory note.”

“How could I put what happened in black and white on paper?”
observed Chia Jui.

“There’s no difficulty about that either!” replied Chia Se; “just write
an account of a debt due, for losses in gambling, to some one outside;
for payment of which you had to raise funds, by a loan of a stated
number of taels, from the head of the house; and that will be all that is

“This is, in fact, easy enough!” Chia Jui having added by way of
answer; Chia Se turned round and left the room; and returning with
paper and pencils, which had been got ready beforehand for the
purpose, he bade Chia Jui write. The two of them (Chia Jung and Chia
Se) tried, the one to do a good turn, and the other to be perverse in his
insistence; but (Chia Jui) put down no more than fifty taels, and


appended his signature.
Chia Se pocketed the note, and endeavoured subsequently to induce

Chia Jung to come away; but Chia Jung was, at the outset, obdurate
and unwilling to give in, and kept on repeating; “To-morrow, I’ll tell
the members of our clan to look into your nice conduct!”

These words plunged Chia Jui in such a state of dismay, that he
even went so far as to knock his head on the ground; but, as Chia Se
was trying to get unfair advantage of him though he had at first done
him a good turn, he had to write another promissory note for fifty
taels, before the matter was dropped.

Taking up again the thread of the conversation, Chia Se remarked,
“Now when I let you go, I’m quite ready to bear the blame! But the
gate at our old lady’s over there is already bolted, and Mr. Chia Cheng
is just now engaged in the Hall, looking at the things which have
arrived from Nanking, so that it would certainly be difficult for you to
pass through that way. The only safe course at present is by the back
gate; but if you do go by there, and perchance meet any one, even I
will be in for a mess; so you might as well wait until I go first and
have a peep, when I’ll come and fetch you! You couldn’t anyhow
conceal yourself in this room; for in a short time they’ll be coming to
stow the things away, and you had better let me find a safe place for

These words ended, he took hold of Chia Jui, and, extinguishing
again the lantern, he brought him out into the court, feeling his way up
to the bottom of the steps of the large terrace. “It’s safe enough in this
nest,” he observed, “but just squat down quietly and don’t utter a
sound; wait until I come back before you venture out.”

Having concluded this remark, the two of them (Chia Se and Chia
Jung) walked away; while Chia Jui was, all this time, out of his senses,
and felt constrained to remain squatting at the bottom of the terrace
stairs. He was about to consider what course was open for him to
adopt, when he heard a noise just over his head; and, with a splash, the
contents of a bucket, consisting entirely of filthy water, was emptied
straight down over him from above, drenching, as luck would have it,
his whole person and head.

Chia Jui could not suppress an exclamation. “Ai ya!” he cried, but
he hastily stopped his mouth with his hands, and did not venture to
give vent to another sound. His whole head and face were a mass of
filth, and his body felt icy cold. But as he shivered and shook, he


espied Chia Se come running. “Get off,” he shouted, “with all speed!
off with you at once!”

As soon as Chia Jui returned to life again, he bolted with hasty
strides, out of the back gate, and ran the whole way home. The night
had already reached the third watch, so that he had to knock at the
door for it to be opened.

“What’s the matter?” inquired the servants, when they saw him in
this sorry plight; (an inquiry) which placed him in the necessity of
making some false excuse. “The night was dark,” he explained, “and
my foot slipped and I fell into a gutter.”

Saying this, he betook himself speedily to his own apartment; and it
was only after he had changed his clothes and performed his ablutions,
that he began to realise that lady Feng had made a fool of him. He
consequently gave way to a fit of wrath; but upon recalling to mind the
charms of lady Feng’s face, he felt again extremely aggrieved that he
could not there and then clasp her in his embrace, and as he indulged
in these wild thoughts and fanciful ideas, he could not the whole night
long close his eyes.

From this time forward his mind was, it is true, still with lady Feng,
but he did not have the courage to put his foot into the Jung mansion;
and with Chia Jung and Chia Se both coming time and again to dun
him for the money, he was likewise full of fears lest his grandfather
should come to know everything.

His passion for lady Feng was, in fact, already a burden hard to
bear, and when, moreover, the troubles of debts were superadded to his
tasks, which were also during the whole day arduous, he, a young man
of about twenty, as yet unmarried, and a prey to constant cravings for
lady Feng, which were difficult to gratify, could not avoid giving way,
to a great extent, to such evil habits as exhausted his energies. His lot
had, what is more, been on two occasions to be frozen, angered and to
endure much hardship, so that with the attacks received time and again
from all sides, he unconsciously soon contracted an organic disease. In
his heart inflammation set in; his mouth lost the sense of taste; his feet
got as soft as cotton from weakness; his eyes stung, as if there were
vinegar in them. At night, he burnt with fever. During the day, he was
repeatedly under the effects of lassitude. Perspiration was profuse,
while with his expectorations of phlegm, he brought up blood. The
whole number of these several ailments came upon him, before the
expiry of a year, (with the result that) in course of time, he had not the



strength to bear himself up. Of a sudden, he would fall down, and with
his eyes, albeit closed, his spirit would be still plunged in confused
dreams, while his mouth would be full of nonsense and he would be
subject to strange starts.

Every kind of doctor was asked to come in, and every treatment had
recourse to; and, though of such medicines as cinnamon, aconitum
seeds, turtle shell, ophiopogon, Yü-chü herb, and the like, he took
several tens of catties, he nevertheless experienced no change for the
better; so that by the time the twelfth moon drew once again to an end,
and spring returned, this illness had become still more serious.

Tai-ju was very much concerned, and invited doctors from all parts
to attend to him, but none of them could do him any good. And as later
on, he had to take nothing else but decoctions of pure ginseng, Tai-ju
could not of course afford it. Having no other help but to come over to
the Jung mansion, and make requisition for some, Madame Wang
asked lady Feng to weigh two taels of it and give it to him. “The other
day,” rejoined lady Feng, “not long ago, when we concocted some
medicine for our dowager lady, you told us, madame, to keep the
pieces that were whole, to present to the spouse of General Yang to
make physic with, and as it happens it was only yesterday that I sent
some one round with them.”

“If there’s none over here in our place,” suggested madame Wang,
“just send a servant to your mother-in-law’s, on the other side, to
inquire whether they have any. Or it may possibly be that your elder
brother-in-law Chen, over there, might have a little. If so, put all you
get together, and give it to them; and when he shall have taken it, and
got well and you shall have saved the life of a human being, it will
really be to the benefit of you all.”

Lady Feng acquiesced; but without directing a single person to
institute any search, she simply took some refuse twigs, and making up
a few mace, she despatched them with the meagre message that they
had been sent by madame Wang, and that there was, in fact, no more;
subsequently reporting to madame Wang that she had asked for and
obtained all there was and that she had collected as much as two taels,
and forwarded it to them.

Chia Jui was, meanwhile, very anxious to recover his health, so that
there was no medicine that he would not take, but the outlay of money
was of no avail, for he derived no benefit.

On a certain day and at an unexpected moment, a lame Taoist priest


came to beg for alms, and he averred that he had the special gift of
healing diseases arising from grievances received, and as Chia Jui
happened, from inside, to hear what he said, he forthwith shouted out:
“Go at once, and bid that divine come in and save my life!” while he
reverentially knocked his head on the pillow.

The whole bevy of servants felt constrained to usher the Taoist in;
and Chia Jui, taking hold of him with a dash, “My Buddha!” he
repeatedly cried out, “save my life!”

The Taoist heaved a sigh. “This ailment of yours,” he remarked, “is
not one that could be healed with any medicine; I have a precious
thing here which I’ll give you, and if you gaze at it every day, your life
can be saved!”

When he had done talking, he produced from his pouch a looking-
glass which could reflect a person’s face on the front and back as well.
On the upper part of the back were engraved the four characters:
“Precious Mirror of Voluptuousness.” Handing it over to Chia Jui:
“This object,” he proceeded, “emanates from the primordial confines
of the Great Void and has been wrought by the Monitory Dream Fairy
in the Palace of Unreality and Spirituality, with the sole intent of
healing the illnesses which originate from evil thoughts and improper
designs. Possessing, as it does, the virtue of relieving mankind and
preserving life, I have consequently brought it along with me into the
world, but I only give it to those intelligent preëminent and refined
princely men to set their eyes on. On no account must you look at the
front side; and you should only gaze at the back of it; this is urgent,
this is expedient! After three days, I shall come and fetch it away; by
which time, I’m sure, it will have made him all right.”

These words finished, he walked away with leisurely step, and
though all tried to detain him, they could not succeed.

Chia Jui received the mirror. “This Taoist,” he thought, “would
seem to speak sensibly, and why should I not look at it and try its
effect?” At the conclusion of these thoughts, he took up the Mirror of
Voluptuousness, and cast his eyes on the obverse side; but upon
perceiving nought else than a skeleton standing in it, Chia Jui
sustained such a fright that he lost no time in covering it with his hands
and in abusing the Taoist. “You good-for-nothing!” he exclaimed,
“why should you frighten me so? but I’ll go further and look at the
front and see what it’s like.”

While he reflected in this manner, he readily looked into the face of


the mirror, wherein he caught sight of lady Feng standing, nodding her
head and beckoning to him. With one gush of joy, Chia Jui felt
himself, in a vague and mysterious manner, transported into the mirror,
where he held an affectionate tête-à-tête with lady Feng. Lady Feng
escorted him out again. On his return to bed, he gave vent to an
exclamation of “Ai yah!” and opening his eyes, he turned the glass
over once more; but still, as hitherto, stood the skeleton in the back

Chia Jui had, it is true, experienced all the pleasant sensations of a
tête-à-tête, but his heart nevertheless did not feel gratified; so that he
again turned the front round, and gazed at lady Feng, as she still waved
her hand and beckoned to him to go. Once more entering the mirror, he
went on in the same way for three or four times, until this occasion,
when just as he was about to issue from the mirror, he espied two
persons come up to him, who made him fast with chains round the
neck, and hauled him away. Chia Jui shouted. “Let me take the mirror
and I’ll come along.” But only this remark could he utter, for it was
forthwith beyond his power to say one word more. The servants, who
stood by in attendance, saw him at first still holding the glass in his
hand and looking in, and then, when it fell from his grasp, open his
eyes again to pick it up, but when at length the mirror dropped, and he
at once ceased to move, they in a body came forward to ascertain what
had happened to him. He had already breathed his last. The lower part
of his body was icy-cold; his clothes moist from profuse perspiration.
With all promptitude they changed him there and then, and carried him
to another bed.

Tai-ju and his wife wept bitterly for him, to the utter disregard of
their own lives, while in violent terms they abused the Taoist priest.
“What kind of magical mirror is it?” they asked. “If we don’t destroy
this glass, it will do harm to not a few men in the world!”

Having forthwith given directions to bring fire and burn it, a voice
was heard in the air to say, “Who told you to look into the face of it?
You yourselves have mistaken what is false for what is true, and why
burn this glass of mine?”

Suddenly the mirror was seen to fly away into the air; and when
Tai-ju went out of doors to see, he found no one else than the limping
Taoist, shouting, “Who is he who wishes to destroy the Mirror of
Voluptuousness?” While uttering these words, he snatched the glass,
and, as all eyes were fixed upon him, he moved away lissomely, as if


swayed by the wind.
Tai-ju at once made preparations for the funeral and went

everywhere to give notice that on the third day the obsequies would
commence, that on the seventh the procession would start to escort the
coffin to the Iron Fence Temple, and that on the subsequent day, it
would be taken to his original home.

Not much time elapsed before all the members of the Chia family
came, in a body, to express their condolences. Chia She, of the Jung
Mansion, presented twenty taels, and Chia Cheng also gave twenty
taels. Of the Ning Mansion, Chia Chen likewise contributed twenty
taels. The remainder of the members of the clan, of whom some were
poor and some rich, and not equally well off, gave either one or two
taels, or three or four, some more, some less. Among strangers, there
were also contributions, respectively presented by the families of his
fellow-scholars, amounting, likewise, collectively to twenty or thirty

The private means of Tai-ju were, it is true, precarious, but with the
monetary assistance he obtained, he anyhow performed the funeral
rites with all splendour and éclat.

But who would have thought it, at the close of winter of this year,
Lin Ju-hai contracted a serious illness, and forwarded a letter, by some
one, with the express purpose of fetching Lin Tai-yü back. These
tidings, when they reached dowager lady Chia, naturally added to the
grief and distress (she already suffered), but she felt compelled to
make speedy preparations for Tai-yü’s departure. Pao-yü too was
intensely cut up, but he had no alternative but to defer to the affection
of father and daughter; nor could he very well place any hindrance in
the way.

Old lady Chia, in due course, made up her mind that she would like
Chia Lien to accompany her, and she also asked him to bring her back
again along with him. But no minute particulars need be given of the
manifold local presents and of the preparations, which were, of course,
everything that could be wished for in excellence and perfectness.
Forthwith the day for starting was selected, and Chia Lien, along with
Lin Tai-yü, said good-bye to all the members of the family, and,
followed by their attendants, they went on board their boats, and set
out on their journey for Yang Chou.

But, Reader, should you have any wish to know fuller details, listen
to the account given in the subsequent Chapter.


Chapter XIII

Ch’in K’o-ch’ing dies, and Chia Jung is invested with the rank of military officer
to the Imperial Body-guard.

Wang Hsi-feng lends her help in the management of the Jung Kuo Mansion.

Lady Feng, it must be added, in prosecuting our narrative, was ever
since Chia Lien’s departure to accompany Tai-yü to Yang Chou, really
very dejected at heart; and every day, when evening came, she would,
after simply indulging in a chat and a laugh with P’ing Erh, turn in, in a
heedless frame of mind, for the night.

In the course of the night of this day, she had been sitting with P’ing
Erh by lamp-light clasping the hand-stove; and weary of doing her
work of embroidery, she had at an early hour, given orders to warm the
embroidered quilt, and both had gone to bed; and as she was bending
her fingers, counting the progress of the journey, and when they should
be arriving, unexpectedly, the third watch struck.

P’ing Erh had already fallen fast asleep; and lady Feng was feeling
at length her sleepy eyes slightly dose, when she faintly discerned Mrs.
Ch’in walk in from outside.

“My dear sister-in-law,” she said as she smiled, “sleep in peace; I’m
on my way back to-day, and won’t even you accompany me just one
stage? But as you and I have been great friends all along, I cannot part
from you, sister-in-law, and have therefore come to take my leave of
you. There is, besides, a wish of mine, which isn’t yet accomplished;
and if I don’t impart it to you, it isn’t likely that telling any one else
will be of any use.”

Lady Feng could not make out the sense of the words she heard.
“What wish is it you have?” she inquired, “do tell me, and it will be
safe enough with me.”

“You are, my dear sister-in-law, a heroine among women,” observed
Mrs. Ch’in, “so much so that those famous men, with sashes and
official hats, cannot excel you; how is it that you’re not aware of even
a couple of lines of common adages, of that trite saying, ‘when the
moon is full, it begins to wane; when the waters are high, they must
overflow?’ and of that other which says that ‘if you ascend high, heavy
must be your fall.’ Our family has now enjoyed splendour and
prosperity for already well-nigh a century, but a day comes when at the


height of good fortune, calamity arises; and if the proverb that ‘when
the tree falls, the monkeys scatter,’ be fulfilled, will not futile have
been the reputation of culture and old standing of a whole generation?”

Lady Feng at these words felt her heart heavy, and overpowered by
intense awe and veneration.

“The fears you express are well founded,” she urgently remarked,
“but what plan is there adequate to preserve it from future injury?”

“My dear sister-in-law,” rejoined Mrs. Ch’in with a sardonic smile,
“you’re very simple indeed! When woe has reached its climax, weal
supervenes. Prosperity and adversity, from days of yore up to the
present time, now pass away, and now again revive, and how can
(prosperity) be perpetuated by any human exertion? But if now, we
could in the time of good fortune, make provision against any worldly
concerns, which might arise at any season of future adversity, we
might in fact prolong and preserve it. Everything, for instance, is at
present well-regulated; but there are two matters which are not on a
sure footing, and if such and such suitable action could be adopted
with regard to these concerns, it will, in subsequent days, be found
easy to perpetuate the family welfare in its entity.”

“What matters are these?” inquired lady Feng.
“Though at the graves of our ancestors,” explained Mrs. Ch’in,

“sacrifices and oblations be offered at the four seasons, there’s
nevertheless no fixed source of income. In the second place, the family
school is, it is true, in existence; but it has no definite grants-in-aid.
According to my views, now that the times are prosperous, there’s, as a
matter of course, no lack of offerings and contributions; but by and
bye, when reverses set in, whence will these two outlays be met from?
Would it not be as well, and my ideas are positive on this score, to
avail ourselves of the present time, when riches and honours still reign,
to establish in the immediate vicinity of our ancestral tombs, a large
number of farms, cottages, and estates, in order to enable the
expenditure for offerings and grants to entirely emanate from this
source? And if the household school were also established on this
principle, the old and young in the whole clan can, after they have, by
common consent, determined upon rules, exercise in days to come
control, in the order of the branches, over the affairs connected with
the landed property, revenue, ancestral worship and school
maintenance for the year (of their respective term.) Under this rotatory
system, there will likewise be no animosities; neither will there be any


mortgages, or sales, or any of these numerous malpractices; and should
any one happen to incur blame, his personal effects can be confiscated
by Government. But the properties, from which will be derived the
funds for ancestral worship, even the officials should not be able to
appropriate, so that when reverses do supervene, the sons and
grandsons of the family may be able to return to their homes, and
prosecute their studies, or go in for farming. Thus, while they will
have something to fall back upon, the ancestral worship will, in like
manner, be continued in perpetuity. But, if the present affluence and
splendour be looked upon as bound to go on without intermission, and
with no thought for the day to come, no enduring plan be after all
devised, presently, in a little while, there will, once again, transpire a
felicitous occurrence of exceptional kind, which, in point of fact, will
resemble the splendour of oil scorched on a violent fire, or fresh
flowers decorated with brocades. You should bear in mind that it will
also be nothing more real than a transient pageant, nothing but a short-
lived pleasure! Whatever you do, don’t forget the proverb, that ‘there’s
no banquet, however sumptuous, from which the guests do not
disperse;’ and unless you do, at an early date, take precautions against
later evils, regret will, I apprehend, be of no avail.”

“What felicitous occurrence will take place?” lady Feng inquired
with alacrity.

“The decrees of Heaven cannot be divulged; but as I have been very
friendly with you, sister-in-law, for so long, I will present you, before I
take my leave, with two lines, which it behoves you to keep in mind,”
rejoined Mrs. Ch’in, as she consequently proceeded to recite what

The three springs, when over, all radiance will wane;
The inmates to seek each a home will be fain.

Lady Feng was bent upon making further inquiries, when she heard
a messenger at the second gate strike the “cloudy board” four
consecutive blows. It was indeed the announcement of a death; and it
woke up lady Feng with a start. A servant reported that lady Jung of
the eastern mansion was no more.

Lady Feng was so taken aback that a cold perspiration broke out all
over her person, and she fell for a while into vacant abstraction. But
she had to change her costume, with all possible haste, and to come


over to madame Wang’s apartments.
By this time, all the members of the family were aware of the

tidings, and there was not one of them who did not feel disconsolate;
one and all of them were much wounded at heart. The elder generation
bethought themselves of the dutiful submission which she had all
along displayed; those of the same age as herself reflected upon the
friendship and intimacy which had ever existed with her; those
younger than her remembered her past benevolence. Even the servants
of the household, whether old or young, looked back upon her
qualities of sympathy with the poor, pity of the destitute, affection for
the old, and consideration for the young; and not one of them all was
there who did not mourn her loss, and give way to intense grief.

But these irrelevant details need not be dilated upon; suffice it to
confine ourselves to Pao-yü.

Consequent upon Lin Tai-yü’s return home, he was left to his own
self and felt very lonely. Neither would he go and disport himself with
others; but with the daily return of dusk, he was wont to retire quietly
to sleep.

On this day, while he was yet under the influence of a dream, he
heard the announcement of Mrs. Ch’in’s death, and turning himself
round quickly he crept out of bed, when he felt as if his heart had been
stabbed with a sword. With a sudden retch, he straightway
expectorated a mouthful of blood, which so frightened Hsi Jen and the
rest that they rushed forward and supported him.

“What is the matter?” they inquired, and they meant also to go and
let dowager lady Chia know, so as to send for a doctor, but Pao-yü
dissuaded them.

“There’s no need of any flurry; it’s nothing at all,” he said, “it’s
simply that the fire of grief has attacked the heart, and that the blood
did not circulate through the arteries.”

As he spoke, he speedily raised himself up, and, after asking for his
clothes and changing, he came over to see dowager lady Chia. His
wish was to go at once to the other side; and Hsi Jen, though feeling
uneasy at heart, seeing the state of mind he was in, did not again
hinder him, as she felt constrained to let him please himself.

When old lady Chia saw that he was bent upon going: “The breath
is just gone out of the body,” she consequently remonstrated, “and that
side is still sullied. In the second place it’s now dark, and the wind is
high; so you had better wait until to-morrow morning, when you will



be in ample time.”
Pao-yü would not agree to this, and dowager lady Chia gave orders

to get the carriage ready, and to depute a few more attendants and
followers to go with him. Under this escort he went forward and
straightway arrived in front of the Ning mansion, where they saw the
main entrance wide open, the lamps on the two sides giving out a light
as bright as day, and people coming and going in confused and large
numbers; while the sound of weeping inside was sufficient to shake the
mountains and to move the hills.

Pao-yü dismounted from the carriage; and with hurried step, walked
into the apartment, where the coffin was laid. He gave vent to bitter
tears for a few minutes, and subsequently paid his salutations to Mrs.
Yu. Mrs. Yu, as it happened, had just had a relapse of her old
complaint of pains in the stomach and was lying on her bed.

He eventually came out again from her chamber to salute Chia
Chen, just at the very moment that Chia Tai-ju, Chia Tai-hsiu, Chia
Ch’ih, Chiao Hsiao, Chia Tun, Chia She, Chia Cheng, Chia Tsung,
Chia Pin, Chia Hsing, Chia Kuang, Chia Shen, Chia Ch’iung, Chia Lin,
Chia Se, Chia Ch’ang, Chia Ling, Chia Yün, Chia Ch’in, Chia Chen,
Chia P’ing, Chia Tsao, Chia Heng, Chia Fen, Chia Fang, Chia Lan,
Chia Chun, Chia Chih and the other relatives of the families had
likewise arrived in a body.

Chia Chen wept so bitterly that he was like a man of tears. “Of the
whole family, whether young or old, distant relatives or close friends,”
he was just explaining to Chia Tai-ju and the rest, “who did not know
that this girl was a hundred times better than even our son? but now
that her spirit has retired, it’s evident that this elder branch of the
family will be cut off and that there will be no survivor.”

While he gave vent to these words, he again burst into tears, and the
whole company of relatives set to work at once to pacify him. “She has
already departed this life,” they argued, “and tears are also of no avail,
besides the pressing thing now is to consult as to what kind of
arrangements are to be made.”

Chia Chen clapped his hands. “What arrangements are to be made!”
he exclaimed; “nothing is to be done, but what is within my means.”

As they conversed, they perceived Ch’in Yeh and Ch’in Chung, as
well as several relations of Mrs. Yu, arrive, together with Mrs. Yu’s
sisters; and Chia Chen forthwith bade Chia Ch’ung, Chia Shen, Chia
Lin and Chia Se, the four of them, to go and entertain the guests; while

he, at the same time, issued directions to go and ask the Astrologer of
the Imperial Observatory to come and choose the days for the

(This Astrologer) decided that the coffin should remain in the house
for seven times seven days, that is forty-nine days; that after the third
day, the mourning rites should be begun and the formal cards should
be distributed; that all that was to be done during these forty-nine days
was to invite one hundred and eight Buddhist bonzes to perform, in the
main Hall, the High Confession Mass, in order to ford the souls of
departed relatives across the abyss of suffering, and afterwards to
transmute the spirit (of Mrs. Ch’in); that, in addition, an altar should be
erected in the Tower of Heavenly Fragrance, where nine times nine
virtuous Taoist priests should, for nineteen days, offer up prayers for
absolution from punishment, and purification from retribution. That
after these services, the tablet should be moved into the Garden of
Concentrated Fragrance, and that in the presence of the tablet, fifteen
additional eminent bonzes and fifteen renowned Taoist Priests should
confront the altar and perform meritorious deeds every seven days.

The news of the death of the wife of his eldest grandson reached
Chia Ching; but as he himself felt sure that, at no distant date, he
would ascend to the regions above, he was loth to return again to his
home, and so expose himself to the contamination of the world, as to
completely waste the meritorious excellence acquired in past days. For
this reason, he paid no heed to the event, but allowed Chia Chen a free
hand to accomplish the necessary preparations.

Chia Chen, to whom we again revert, was fond of display and
extravagance, so that he found, on inspection of coffins, those few
made of pine-wood unsuitable to his taste; when, strange coincidence,
Hsüeh P’an came to pay his visit of condolence, and perceiving that
Chia Chen was in quest of a good coffin: “In our establishment,” he
readily suggested, “we have a lot of timber of some kind or other
called Ch’iang wood, which comes from the T’ieh Wang Mount, in
Huang Hai; and which made into coffins will not rot, not for ten
thousand years. This lot was, in fact, brought down, some years back,
by my late father; and had at one time been required by His Highness I
Chung, a Prince of the royal blood; but as he became guilty of some
mismanagement, it was, in consequence, not used, and is still lying
stored up in our establishment; and another thing besides is that there’s
no one with the means to purchase it. But if you do want it, you should



come and have a look at it.”
Chia Chen, upon hearing this, was extremely delighted, and gave

orders that the planks should be there and then brought over. When the
whole family came to inspect them, they found those for the sides and
the bottom to be all eight inches thick, the grain like betel-nut, the
smell like sandal-wood or musk, while, when tapped with the hand, the
sound emitted was like that of precious stones; so that one and all
agreed in praising the timber for its remarkable quality.

“What is their price?” Chia Chen inquired with a smile.
“Even with one thousand taels in hand,” explained Hsüeh P’an

laughingly, “I feel sure you wouldn’t find any place, where you could
buy the like. Why ask about price? if you just give the workmen a few
taels for their labour, it will be quite sufficient.”

Chia Chen, at these words, lost no time in giving expression to
profuse assurances of gratitude, and was forthwith issuing directions
that the timber should be split, sawn and made up, when Chia Cheng
proffered his advice. “Such articles shouldn’t,” he said, “be, in my idea,
enjoyed by persons of the common run; it would be quite ample if the
body were placed in a coffin made of pine of the best quality.”

But Chia Chen would not listen to any suggestion.
Suddenly he further heard that Mrs. Ch’in’s waiting-maid, Jui Chu

by name, had, after she had become alive to the fact that her mistress
had died, knocked her head against a post, and likewise succumbed to
the blows. This unusual occurrence the whole clan extolled in high
terms; and Chia Chen promptly directed that, with regard to
ceremonies, she should be treated as a granddaughter, and that the
body should, after it had been placed in the coffin, be also deposited in
the Hall of Attained Immortality, in the Garden of Concentrated

There was likewise a young waiting-maid, called Pao Chu, who, as
Mrs. Ch’in left no issue, was willing to become an adopted child, and
begged to be allowed to undertake the charge of dashing the mourning
bowl, and accompanying the coffin; which pleased Chia Chen so much
that he speedily transmitted orders that from that time forth Pao Chu
should be addressed by all as ‘young miss.’

Pao Chu, after the rites of an unmarried daughter, mourned before
the coffin to such an unwonted degree, as if bent upon snapping her
own life; while the members of the entire clan, as well as the inmates
of the Mansions, each and all, readily observed, in their conduct, the


established mourning usages, without of course any transgression or

“Chia Jung,” pondered Chia Chen, “has no higher status than that of
graduate by purchase, and were this designation written on the funeral
streamer, it will not be imposing, and, in point of fact, the retinue will
likewise be small.” He therefore was exceedingly unhappy, in his own
mind, when, as luck would have it, on this day, which was the fourth
day of the first seven, Tai Ch’üan, a eunuch of the Palace of High
Renown, whose office was that of Palace Overseer, first prepared
sacrificial presents, which he sent round by messengers, and next came
himself in an official chair, preceded by criers beating the gong, to
offer sacrificial oblations.

Chia Chen promptly received him, and pressed him into a seat; and
when they adjourned into the Hall of the Loitering Bees, tea was

Chia Chen had already arrived at a fixed purpose, so that he seized
an opportunity to tell him of his wish to purchase an office for Chia
Jung’s advancement.

Tai Ch’üan understood the purport of his remark. “It is, I presume,”
he added smilingly, “that the funeral rites should be a little more

“My worthy sir,” eagerly rejoined Chia Chen, “your surmise on that
score is perfectly correct.”

“The question,” explained Tai Ch’üan, “comes up at an opportune
moment; for there is just at present a good vacancy. Of the three
hundred officers who at present constitute the Imperial Body Guard,
there are two wanting. Yesterday marquis Hsiang Yang’s third brother
came to appeal to me with one thousand five hundred taels of ready
money, which he brought over to my house. You know the friendship
of old standing which exists between him and me, so that, placing
other considerations aside, I without a second thought, assented for his
father’s sake. But there still remains another vacancy, which, who
would have thought it, fat general Feng, of Yung Hsing, asked to
purchase for his son; but I have had no time to give him an answer.
Besides, as our child wants to purchase it, you had better at once write
a statement of his antecedents.”

Chia Chen lost no time in bidding some one write the statement on
red paper, which Tai Ch’üan found, on perusal, to record that Chia
Jung was a graduate, by purchase, of the District of Chiang Ning, of



the Ying T’ien Prefecture, in Chiang Nan; that Chia Tai-hua, his great
grandfather, had been Commander-in-Chief of the Metropolitan Camp,
and an hereditary general of the first class, with the prefix of Spiritual
Majesty; that his grandfather Chia Ching was a metropolitan graduate
of the tripos in the Ping Ch’en year; and that his father Chia Chen had
inherited a rank of nobility of the third degree, and was a general, with
the prefix of Majestic Intrepidity.

Tai Ch’üan, after perusal, turned his hand behind him and passed
(the statement) to a constant attendant of his, to put away: “Go back,”
he enjoined him, “and give it to His Excellency Mr. Chao, at the head
of the Board of Revenue, and tell him, that I present him my
compliments, and would like him to draw up a warrant for subaltern of
the Imperial Body Guard of the fifth grade, and to also issue a
commission; that he should take the particulars from this statement and
fill them up; and that to-morrow I’ll come and have the money
weighed and sent over.”

The young attendant signified his obedience, and Tai Ch’üan
thereupon took his leave. Chia Chen did all he could to detain him, but
with no success; so that he had no alternative but to escort him as far
as the entrance of the Mansion. As he was about to mount into his
chair, Chia Chen inquired, “As regards the money, shall I go and pay it
into the Board, or am I to send it to the Board of Eunuchs?”

“If you were to go and pay it at the Board,” observed Tai Ch’üan;
“you are sure to suffer loss; so that it would be better if you just
weighed exactly one thousand taels and sent them over to my place;
for then an end will be put to all trouble.”

Chia Chen was incessant in his expression of gratitude. “When the
period of mourning has expired,” he consequently added, “I shall lead
in person, my despicable eldest son to your mansion, to pay our
obeisance, and express our thanks.”

They then parted company, but close upon this, were heard again
the voices of runners. It was, in fact, the spouse of Shih Ting, the
marquis of Chung Ching, who was just arriving. Shih Hsiang-yun,
mesdames Wang, and Hsing, lady Feng and the rest came out at once,
to greet her, and lead her into the Main Building; when they further
saw the sacrificial presents of the three families, of the marquis of
Chin Hsiang, the marquis of Ch’uan Ning, and the earl of Shou Shan,
likewise spread out in front of the tablet.

In a short while, these three noblemen descended from their chairs,

and Chia Chen received them in the Large Hall. In like manner all the
relatives and friends arrived in such quick succession, one coming,
another going, that it is impossible to remember even so much as their
number. One thing need be said that during these forty-nine days the
street on which the Ning Kuo mansion stood, was covered with a sheet
of white, formed by the people, coming and going; and thronged with
clusters of flowers, as the officials came and went.

At the instance of Chia Chen, Chia Jung, the next day donned his
gala dress and went over for his papers; and on his return the articles in
use in front of the coffin, as well as those belonging to the cortege and
other such things, were all regulated by the rules prescribed for an
official status of the fifth degree; while, on the tablet and notice alike
the inscription consisted of: Spirit of lady Ch’in, (by marriage) of the
Chia mansion, and by patent a lady of the fifth rank (of the titles of

The main entrance of the Garden of Concentrated Fragrance,
adjoining the street, was opened wide; and on both sides were raised
sheds for the musicians, and two companies of players, dressed in
blue, discoursed music at the proper times; while one pair after another
of the paraphernalia was drawn out so straight as if cut by a knife or
slit by an axe. There were also two large carmine boards, carved with
gilt inscriptions, erected outside the gate; the designations in bold
characters on the upper sides being: Guard of the Imperial
Antechamber, charged with the protection of the Inner Palace and
Roads, in the Red Prohibited City.

On the opposite side, facing each other, rose, high above the
ground, two altars for the services of the Buddhist and Taoist priests,
while a placard bore the inscription in bold type: Funeral Obsequies of
lady Ch’in, (by marriage) of the Chia mansion, by patent a lady of the
fifth rank, consort of the eldest grandson of the hereditary duke of
Ning Kuo, and guard of the Imperial Antechamber, charged with the
protection of the Inner Palace and Roads in the Red Prohibited City.
We, Wan Hsü, by Heaven’s commands charged with the perennial
preservation of perfect peace in the Kingdom of the Four Continents,
as well as of the lands contained therein, Head Controller of the
School of Void and Asceticism, and Superior in Chief (of the Buddhist
hierarchy); and Yeh Sheng, Principal Controller, since the creation, of
the Disciples of Perfect Excellence and Superior in Chief (of the Taoist
priesthood), and others, having in a reverent spirit purified ourselves


by abstinence, now raise our eyes up to Heaven, prostrate ourselves
humbly before Buddha, and devoutly pray all the Chia Lans, Chieh
Tis, Kung Ts’aos and other divinities to extend their sacred bounties,
and from afar to display their spiritual majesty, during the forty-nine
days (of the funeral rites), for the deliverance from judgment and the
absolution from retribution (of the spirit of lady Ch’in), so that it may
enjoy a peaceful and safe passage, whether by sea or by land; and
other such prayers to this effect, which are in fact not worth the trouble
of putting on record.

Chia Chen had, it is true, all his wishes gratified; but, as his wife
was laid up in the inner chambers, with a relapse of her old complaint,
and was not in a fit state to undertake the direction of the ceremonies,
he was very much distressed lest, when the high officials (and their
wives) came and went, there should occur any breach of the prescribed
conventionalities, which he was afraid would evoke ridicule. Hence it
was that he felt in low spirits; but while he was plunged in solicitude
Pao-yü, who happened to be close by, readily inquired, “Everything
may be safely looked upon as being satisfactorily settled, and why
need you, elder brother, still be so full of concern?”

Chia Chen forthwith explained to him how it was that in the ladies’
apartments there was no one (to do the honours), but Pao-yü at these
words smiled: “What difficulty is there about it?” he remarked; “I’ll
recommend some one to take temporary charge of the direction of
things for you during the month, and I can guarantee that everything
will be properly carried out.”

“Who is it?” Chia Chen was quick to ask; but as Pao-yü perceived
that there were still too many relatives and friends seated around, he
did not feel as if he could very well speak out; so that he went up to
Chia Chen and whispered a couple of remarks in his ear.

Chia Chen’s joy knew no bounds when he heard this suggestion.
“Everything will indeed be properly carried out,” he added laughingly;
“but I must now be going at once.”

With these words, he drew Pao-yü along, and taking leave of the
whole number of visitors, they forthwith came into the drawing rooms.

This day was luckily not a grand occasion, so that few relatives and
friends had come. In the inner apartments there were only a small
number of ladies of close kinship. Mesdames Hsing and Wang, and
lady Feng, and the women of the whole household, were entertaining
the guests, when they heard a servant announce that Mr. Chia Chen



had come. (This announcement) took the whole body of ladies and
young ladies so much by surprise, that, with a rushing sound, they
tried to hide in the back rooms; but they were not quick enough (to
effect their escape).

Lady Feng alone composedly stood up. Chia Chen was himself at
this time rather unwell, and being also very much cut up, he entered
the room shuffling along, propping himself up with a staff.

“You are not well?” therefore remarked madame Hsing and the
others, “and you’ve had besides so much to attend to during these
consecutive days, that what you require is rest to get all right; and why
do you again come over?”

Chia Chen was, as he leant on his staff, straining every nerve to
bend his body so as to fall on his knees and pay his respects to them,
and express his sense of obligation for the trouble they had taken,
when madame Hsing and the other ladies hastily called Pao-yü to raise
him up, bidding a servant move a chair for him to sit on. Chia Chen
would not take a seat; but making an effort to return a smile, “Your
nephew,” he urged, “has come over, as there’s a favour that I want to
ask of my two aunts as well as of my eldest cousin.”

“What is it?” promptly inquired madame Hsing and the rest.
“My aunts,” Chia Chen replied with all haste, “you surely are aware

that your grandson’s wife is now no more; your nephew’s wife is also
laid up unwell, and, as I see that things in the inner apartments are
really not what they should properly be, I would trouble my worthy
eldest cousin to undertake in here the direction of affairs for a month;
and if she does, my mind will be set at ease.”

Madame Hsing smiled. “Is it really about this that you’ve come?”
she asked; “your eldest cousin is at present staying with your aunt
Secunda, and all you have to do is to speak to her and it will be all

“How ever could a mere child like her,” speedily remonstrated
madame Wang, “carry out all these matters? and shouldn’t she manage
things properly, she will, on the contrary, make people laugh, so it
would therefore be better that you should trouble some one else.”

“What your ideas are, aunt,” rejoined Chia Chen smiling, “your
nephew has guessed; you’re afraid lest my eldest cousin should have to
bear fatigue and annoyance; for as to what you say, that she cannot
manage things, why my eldest cousin has, from her youth up, ever
been in her romping and playing so firm and decided; and now that she


has entered the married estate, and has the run of affairs in that
mansion, she must have reaped so much the more experience, and
have become quite an old hand! I’ve been thinking these last few days
that outside my eldest cousin, there’s no one else who could come to
my help; and, aunt, if you don’t do it for the face of your nephew and
your nephew’s wife, do it, at least, for the affection you bore to her
who is no more.”

While he uttered these words tears trickled down his face. The fears
that madame Wang inwardly entertained were that lady Feng had no
experience in funeral matters, and she apprehended, that if she was not
equal to managing them, she would incur the ridicule of others; but
when she now heard Chia Chen make the appeal in such a disconsolate
mood, she relented considerably in her resolution. But as she turned
her eyes towards lady Feng (to ascertain her wishes), she saw that she
was plunged in abstraction.

Lady Feng had all along found the greatest zest in taking the
initiative in everything, with the idea of making a display of her
abilities, so that when she perceived how earnest Chia Chen was in his
entreaties, she had, at an early period, made up her mind to give a
favourable reply. Seeing besides madame Wang show signs of
relenting, she readily turned round and said to her, “My elder cousin
has made his appeal in such a solicitous way that your ladyship should
give your consent and have done with it.”

“Do you think you are equal to the task?” inquired madame Wang
in a whisper.

“What’s there that I couldn’t be equal to?” replied lady Feng; “for
urgent matters outside, my cousin may be said to have already made
full provision; and all there is to be done is to keep an eye over things
inside. But should there occur anything that I don’t know, I can ask
you, madame, and it will be right.”

Madame Wang perceiving the reasonableness of what she heard her
say, uttered not a word, and when Chia Chen saw that lady Feng had
assented; “How much you do attend to I don’t mind,” he observed,
forcing another smile, “but I must, in any case, entreat you, cousin, to
assume the onerous charge. As a first step I’ll pay my obeisance to you
in here, and when everything has been finished, I shall then come over
into that mansion to express my thanks.”

With these words still on his lips, he made a low bow, but lady Feng
had scarcely had time to return the compliment, before Chia Chen had



directed a servant to fetch the warrant of the Ning mansion, which he
bade Pao-yü hand over to lady Feng.

“Cousin,” he added, “take whatever steps you think best; and if you
want anything, all you have to do is to simply send for it with this, and
there will even be no use to consult me. The only thing I must ask you
is, not to be too careful in order to save me expense, for the main
consideration is that things should be handsomely done. In the second
place, it will be well if you were also to treat servants here in the same
way as in the other mansion, and not be too scrupulous in the fear that
any one might take offence. Outside these two concerns, there’s
nothing else to disturb my mind.”

Lady Feng did not venture to take over the warrant at once, but
merely turned round to ascertain what were madame Wang’s wishes.

“In view of the reason brother Chen advances,” madame Wang
rejoined, “you had better assume the charge at once and finish with it;
don’t, however, act on your own ideas; but when there’s aught to be
done, be careful and send some one to consult your cousin’s wife, ever
so little though it be on the subject.”

Pao-yü had already taken over the warrant from Chia Chen’s grasp,
and forcibly handed it to lady Feng, “Will you, cousin,” he went on to
question, “take up your quarters here or will you come every day?
should you cross over, day after day, it will be ever so much more
fatiguing for you, so that I shall speedily have a separate court got
ready for you in here, where you, cousin, can put up for these several
days and be more comfortable.”

“There’s no need,” replied lady Feng smiling; “for on that side they
can’t do without me; and it will be better if I were to come daily.”

“Do as you like,” Chia Chen observed; and after subsequently
passing a few more irrelevant remarks, he at length left the room.

After a time, the lady relatives dispersed, and madame Wang seized
the opportunity to inquire of lady Feng, “What do you purpose doing

“You had better, please madame, go back,” urged lady Feng, “for I
must first of all find out some clue before I can go home.”

Madame Wang, upon hearing these words, returned to her quarters,
in advance, in company with madame Hsing, where we will leave

Lady Feng meanwhile came into a colonnade, which enclosed a
suite of three apartments, and taking a seat, she gave way to reflection.


“The first consideration,” she communed within herself, “is that the
household is made up of mixed elements, and things might be lost; the
second is that the preparations are under no particular control, with the
result that, when the time comes, the servants might shirk their duties;
the third is that the necessary expenditure being great, there will be
reckless disbursements and counterfeit receipts; the fourth, that with
the absence of any distinction in the matter of duties, whether large or
small, hardship and ease will be unequally shared; and the fifth, that
the servants being arrogant, through leniency, those with any self-
respect will not brook control, while those devoid of ‘face’ will not be
able to improve their ways.”

These five were, in point of fact, usages in vogue in the Ning
mansion. But as you are unable, reader, to ascertain here how lady
Feng set things right, listen to the explanations given in the following

Chapter XIV

Lin Ju-hai dies in the City of Yang Chou.
Chia Pao-yü meets the Prince of Pei Ching on the way.

When Lai Sheng, be it noticed in continuing our story, the major-
domo in the Ning Kuo mansion, came to hear that from inside an
invitation had been extended to lady Feng to act as deputy, he
summoned together his co-workers and other servants. “Lady Secunda,
of the western mansion,” he harangued them, “has now been asked to
take over the control of internal affairs; and should she come we must,
when we apply for anything, or have anything to say, be circumspect
in our service; we should all every day come early and leave late; and
it’s better that we should exert ourselves during this one month and
take rest after it’s over. We mustn’t throw away our old ‘face,’ for she’s
well known to be an impetuous thing, with a soured face and a hard
heart, who, when angry, knows no distinction of persons.”

The whole company unanimously admitted that he was right; and
one of their number too observed smilingly, “It’s but right that for the
inner apartments, we should, in fact, get her to come and put things in
proper order, as everything is very much what it should not be.”

But while he uttered these words, they saw Lai Wang’s wife


coming, with an indent in hand, to fetch paper for the supplications
and prayers, the amount of which was mentioned on the order; and
they one and all hastened to press her into a seat, and to help her to a
cup of tea; while a servant was told to fetch the quantity of paper
required. (When it was brought,) Lai Wang carried it in his arms and
came, the whole way with his wife, as far as the ceremonial gate; when
he, at length, delivered it over to her and she clasped it, and walked
into the room all alone.

Lady Feng issued prompt directions to Ts’ai Ming to prepare a
register; and sending, there and then, for Lai Sheng’s wife, she asked
her to submit, for her perusal, the roll with the servants’ names. She
furthermore fixed upon an early hour of the following day to convene
the domestics and their wives in the mansion, in order that they should
receive their orders; but, after cursorily glancing over the number of
entries in the list, and making a few inquiries of Lai Sheng’s wife, she
soon got into her curricle, and went home.

On the next day, at six and two quarters, she speedily came over.
The matrons and married women of the Ning Kuo mansion assembled
together, as soon as they heard of her arrival; but, perceiving lady
Feng, assisted by Lai Sheng’s wife, engaged in apportioning the duties
of each servant, they could not presume to intrude, but remained
outside the window listening to what was going on.

“As I’ve been asked to take over the charge,” they heard lady Feng
explain to Lai Sheng’s wife, “I’m, needless to say, sure to incur the
displeasure of you all, for I can’t compare with your mistress, who has
such a sweet temper, and allows you to have your own way. But saying
nothing more of those ways, which prevailed hitherto among your
people in this mansion, you must now do as I tell you; for on the
slightest disregard of my orders, I shall, with no discrimination
between those who may be respectable and those who may not be,
clearly and distinctly call all alike to account.”

Having concluded these remarks, she went on to order Ts’ai Ming to
read the roll; and, as their names were uttered, one by one was called
in, and passed under inspection. After this inspection, which was got
over in a short time, she continued giving further directions. “These
twenty,” she said “should be divided into two companies; ten in each
company, whose sole daily duties should be to attend inside to the
guests, coming and going, and to serve tea for them; while with any
other matters, they needn’t have anything to do. These other twenty

should also be divided into two companies, whose exclusive duties
will be, day after day, to look after the tea and eatables of the relatives
of our family; and these too will have no business to concern
themselves with outside matters. These forty will again be divided into
two companies, who will have nothing else to look to than to remain in
front of the coffin and offer incense, renew the oil, hang up the
streamers, watch the coffin, offer sacrifices of rice, and oblations of
tea, and mourn with the mourners; and neither need they mind
anything outside these duties. These four servants will be specially
attached to the inner tea-rooms to look after cups, saucers and the tea
articles generally; and in the event of the loss of any single thing, the
four of them will have to make it good between them. These other four
servants will have the sole charge of the articles required for eatables
and wine; and should any get mislaid compensation will have likewise
to be made by them. These eight servants will only have to attend to
taking over the sacrificial offerings; while these eight will have
nothing more to see to beyond keeping an eye over the lamps, oil,
candles and paper wanted everywhere. I’ll have a whole supply served
out and handed to you eight to by and by apportion to the various
places, in quantities which I will determine. These thirty servants are
each day, by rotation, to keep watch everywhere during the night,
looking after the gates and windows, taking care of the fires and
candles, and sweeping the grounds; while the servants, who remain,
are to be divided for duty in the houses and rooms, each one having
charge of a particular spot. And beginning from the tables, chairs and
curios in each place, up to the very cuspidors and brooms, yea even to
each blade of grass or sprout of herb, which may be there, the servants
looking after this part will be called upon to make good anything that
may be either mislaid or damaged. You, Lai Sheng’s wife, will every
day have to exercise general supervision and inspection; and should
there be those who be lazy, any who may gamble, drink, fight or
wrangle, come at once and report the matter to me; and you mustn’t
show any leniency, for if I come to find it out, I shall have no regard to
the good old name of three or four generations, which you may enjoy.
You now all have your fixed duties, so that whatever batch of you after
this acts contrary to these orders, I shall simply have something to say
to that batch and to no one else. The servants, who have all along been
in my service, carry watches on their persons, and things, whether
large or small, are invariably done at a fixed time. But, in any case,


you also have clocks in your master’s rooms, so that at 6.30, I shall
come and read the roll, and at ten you’ll have breakfast. Whenever
there is any indent of any permits to be made or any report to be
submitted, it should be done at 11.30 a.m. and no later. At 7 p.m., after
the evening paper has been burnt, I shall come to each place in person
to hold an inspection; and on my return, the servants on watch for the
night will hand over the keys. The next day, I shall again come over at
6.30 in the morning; and needless to say we must all do the best we
can for these few days; and when the work has been finished your
master is sure to recompense you.”

When she had done speaking, she went on to give orders that tea,
oil, candles, feather dusters, brooms and other necessaries should be
issued, according to the fixed quantities. She also had furniture, such
as table-covers, antimacassars, cushions, rugs, cuspidors, stools and
the like brought over and distributed; while, at the same time, she took
up the pencil and made a note of the names of the persons in charge of
the various departments, and of the articles taken over by the
respective servants, in entries remarkable for the utmost perspicacity.

The whole body of servants received their charge and left; but they
all had work to go and attend to; not as in former times, when they
were at liberty to select for themselves what was convenient to do,
while the arduous work, which remained over, no one could be found
to take in hand. Neither was it possible for them in the various
establishments to any longer avail themselves of the confusion to
carelessly mislay things. In fact, visitors came and guests left, but
everything after all went off quietly, unlike the disorderly way which
prevailed hitherto, when there was no clue to the ravel; and all such
abuses as indolence, and losses, and the like were completely

Lady Feng, on her part, (perceiving) the weight her influence had in
enjoining the observance of her directions, was in her heart
exceedingly delighted. But as she saw, that Chia Chen was, in
consequence of Mrs. Yu’s indisposition, even so much the more
grieved as to take very little to drink or to eat, she daily, with her own
hands, prepared, in the other mansion, every kind of fine congee and
luscious small dishes, which she sent over, in order that he might be
tempted to eat.

And Chia Lien had likewise given additional directions that every
day the finest delicacies should be taken into the ante-chamber, for the

exclusive use of lady Feng.
Lady Feng was not one to shirk exertion and fatigue, so that, day

after day, she came over at the proper time, called the roll, and
managed business, sitting all alone in the ante-chamber, and not
congregating with the whole bevy of sisters-in-law. Indeed, even when
relatives or visitors came or went, she did not go to receive them, or
see them off.

This day was the thirty-fifth day, the very day of the fifth seven, and
the whole company of bonzes had just (commenced the services) for
unclosing the earth, and breaking Hell open; for sending a light to
show the way to the departed spirit; for its being admitted to an
audience by the king of Hell; for arresting all the malicious devils, as
well as for soliciting the soul-saving Buddha to open the golden bridge
and to lead the way with streamers. The Taoist priests were engaged in
reverently reading the prayers; in worshipping the Three Pure Ones
and in prostrating themselves before the Gemmy Lord. The disciples
of abstraction were burning incense, in order to release the hungered
spirits, and were reading the water regrets manual. There was also a
company of twelve nuns of tender years, got up in embroidered
dresses, and wearing red shoes, who stood before the coffin, silently
reading all the incantations for the reception of the spirit (from the
lower regions,) with the result that the utmost bustle and stir prevailed.

Lady Feng, well aware that not a few guests would call on this day,
was quick to get out of bed at four sharp, to dress her hair and perform
her ablutions. After having completed every arrangement for the day,
she changed her costume, washed her hands, and swallowed a couple
of mouthfuls of milk. By the time she had rinsed her mouth, it was
exactly 6.30; and Lai Wang’s wife, at the head of a company of
servants, had been waiting a good long while, when lady Feng
appeared in front of the Entrance Hall, mounted her carriage and
betook herself, preceded by a pair of transparent horn lanterns, on
which were written, in large type, the three characters, Jung Kuo
mansion, to the main entrance gate of the Ning Household. The door
lanterns shed brilliant rays from where they were suspended; while on
either side the lanterns, of uniform colours, propped upright, emitted a
lustrous light as bright as day.

The servants of the family, got up in their mourning clothes,
covered the ground far and wide like a white sheet. They stood drawn
in two rows, and requested that the carriage should drive up to the


main entrance. The youths retired, and all the married women came
forward, and raising the curtain of the carriage, lady Feng alighted;
and as with one arm she supported herself on Feng Erh, two married
women, with lanterns in their hands, lighted the way. Pressed round by
the servants, lady Feng made her entry. The married women of the
Ning mansion advanced to greet her, and to pay their respects; and this
over, lady Feng, with graceful bearing, entered the Garden of
Concentrated Fragrance. Ascending the Spirit Hall, where the tablet
was laid, the tears, as soon as she caught sight of the coffin, trickled
down her eyes like pearls whose string had snapped; while the youths
in the court, and their number was not small, stood in a reverent
posture, with their arms against their sides, waiting to burn the paper.
Lady Feng uttered one remark, by way of command: “Offer the tea and
burn the paper!” when the sound of two blows on the gong was heard
and the whole band struck up together. A servant had at an early period
placed a large armchair in front of the tablet, and lady Feng sat down,
and gave way to loud lamentations. Promptly all those, who stood
inside or outside, whether high or low, male or female, took up the
note, and kept on wailing and weeping until Chia Chen and Mrs. Yu,
after a time, sent a message to advise her to withhold her tears; when
at length lady Feng desisted.

Lai Wang’s wife served the tea; and when she had finished rinsing
her mouth, lady Feng got up; and, taking leave of all the members of
the clan, she walked all alone into the ante-chamber, where she
ascertained, in the order of their names, the number of the servants of
every denomination in there. They were all found to be present, with
the exception of one, who had failed to appear, whose duties consisted
in receiving and escorting the relatives and visitors. Orders were
promptly given to summon him, and the man appeared in a dreadful
fright. “What!” exclaimed lady Feng, as she forced a smile, “is it you
who have been remiss? Is it because you’re more respectable than they
that you don’t choose to listen to my words?”

“Your servant,” he pleaded, “has come at an early hour every day;
and it’s only to-day that I come late by one step; and I entreat your
ladyship to forgive this my first offence.”

While yet he spoke, she perceived the wife of Wang Hsing, of the
Jung Kuo mansion, come forward and pop her head in to see what was
going on; but lady Feng did not let this man go, but went on to inquire
of Wang Hsing’s wife what she had come for.


Wang Hsing’s wife drew near. “I’ve come,” she explained, “to get an
order, so as to obtain some thread to make tassels for the carriages and
chairs.” Saying this, she produced the permit and handed it up,
whereupon lady Feng directed Ts’ai Ming to read the contents aloud.
“For two large, sedan chairs,” he said, “four small sedan chairs and
four carriages, are needed in all so many large and small tassels, each
tassel requiring so many catties of beads and thread.”

Lady Feng finding, after she had heard what was read, that the
numbers (and quantities) corresponded, forthwith bade Ts’ai Ming
make the proper entry; and when the order from the Jung Kuo mansion
had been fetched, and thrown at her, Wang Hsing’s wife took her

Lady Feng was on the very point of saying something, when she
espied four managers of the Jung Kuo mansion walk in; all of whom
wanted permits to indent for stores. Having asked them to read out the
list of what they required, she ascertained that they wanted four kinds
of articles in all. Drawing attention to two items: “These entries,” she
remarked, “are wrong; and you had better go again and make out the
account clearly, and then come and fetch a permit.”

With these words, she flung down the requisitions, and the two men
went their way in lower spirits than when they had come.

Lady Feng then caught sight of the wife of Chang Ts’ai standing by,
and asked her what was her business, whereupon Chang Ts’ai’s wife
promptly produced an indent. “The covers of the carriages and sedan
chairs,” she reported, “have just been completed, and I’ve come to
fetch the amount due to the tailors for wages.”

Lady Feng, upon hearing her explanation, took over the indent, and
directed Ts’ai Ming to enter the items in the book. After Wang Hsing
had handed over the money, and obtained the receipt of the accountant,
duly signed, which tallied with the payment, he subsequently walked
away in company with Chang Ts’ai’s wife. Lady Feng simultaneously
proceeded to give orders that another indent should be read, which was
for money to purchase paper with to paste on the windows of Pao-yü’s
outer school-room, the repairs to which had been brought to
completion, and as soon as lady Feng heard the nature of the
application, she there and then gave directions that the permit should
be taken over and an entry made, and that the money should be issued
after Chang Ts’ai’s wife had delivered everything clearly.

“If to-morrow he were to come late,” lady Feng then remarked,



“and if the day after, I were to come late; why by and by there’ll be no
one here at all! I should have liked to have let you off, but if I be
lenient with you on this first instance, it will be hard for me, on the
occurrence of another offence, to exercise any control over the rest. It’s
much better therefore that I should settle accounts with you.”

The moment she uttered these words, she put on a serious look, and
gave orders that he should be taken out and administered twenty blows
with the bamboo. When the servants perceived that lady Feng was in
an angry mood, they did not venture to dilly-dally, but dragged him
out, and gave him the full number of blows; which done, they came in
to report that the punishment had been inflicted.

Lady Feng likewise threw down the Ning Mansion order and
exclaimed, addressing herself to Lai Sheng: “Cut him a month’s wages
and rice! and tell them all to disperse, and have done with it!”

All the servants at length withdrew to attend to their respective
duties, while the man too, who had been flogged, walked away, as he
did all he could to conceal his shame and stifle his tears. About this
time arrived and went, in an incessant stream, servants from both the
Jung and Ning mansions, bent upon applying for permits and returning
permits, and with one by one again did lady Feng settle accounts. And,
as in due course, the inmates of the Ning mansion came to know how
terrible lady Feng was, each and all were ever since so wary and
dutiful that they did not venture to be lazy.

But without going into further details on this subject, we shall now
return to Pao-yü. Seeing that there were a lot of people about and
fearing lest Ch’in Chung might receive some offence, he lost no time
in coming along with him to sit over at lady Feng’s. Lady Feng was
just having her repast, and upon seeing them arrive: “Your legs are
long enough, and couldn’t you have come somewhat quicker!” she
laughingly observed.

“We’ve had our rice, thanks,” replied Pao-yü.
“Have you had it,” inquired lady Feng, “outside here, or over on the

other side?”
“Would we eat anything with all that riff-raff?” exclaimed Pao-yü;

“we’ve really had it over there; in fact, I now come after having had
mine with dowager lady Chia.”

As he uttered these words, they took their seats. Lady Feng had just
finished her meal, when a married woman from the Ning mansion
came to get an order to obtain an advance of money to purchase



incense and lanterns with.
“I calculated,” observed lady Feng, “that you would come to-day to

make requisition, but I was under the impression that you had
forgotten; had you really done so you would certainly have had to get
them on your own account, and I would have been the one to benefit.”

“Didn’t I forget? I did,” rejoined the married woman as she smiled;
“and it’s only a few minutes back that it came to my mind; had I been
one second later I wouldn’t have been in time to get the things.”

These words ended, she took over the order and went off. Entries
had, at the time to be made in the books, and orders to be issued, and
Ch’in Chung was induced to interpose with a smirk, “In both these
mansions of yours, such orders are alike in use; but were any outsider
stealthily to counterfeit one and to abscond, after getting the money,
what could ever be done?”

“In what you say,” replied lady Feng, “you take no account of the
laws of the land.”

“How is it that from our house, no one comes to get any orders or to
obtain anything?” Pao-yü having inquired: “At the time they come to
fetch them,” rejoined lady Feng, “you’re still dreaming; but let me ask
you one thing, when will you two at last begin your evening course of

“Oh, I wish we were able to begin our studies this very day,” Pao-
yü added; “that would be the best thing, but they’re very slow in
putting the school-room in order, so that there’s no help for it!”

Lady Feng laughed. “Had you asked me,” she remarked, “I can
assure you it would have been ready quick enough.”

“You too would have been of no use,” observed Pao-yü, “for it will
certainly be ready by the time they ought to finish it in.”

“But in order that they should do the work,” suggested lady Feng,
“it’s also necessary that they should have the material, they can’t do
without them; and if I don’t give them any permits, it will be difficult
to obtain them.”

Pao-yü at these words readily drew near to lady Feng, and there and
then applied for the permits. “My dear sister,” he added, “do give them
the permits to enable them to obtain the material and effect the

“I feel quite sore from fatigue,” ventured lady Feng, “and how can I
stand your rubbing against me? but compose your mind. They have
this very day got the paper, and gone to paste it; and would they, for



whatever they need, have still waited until they had been sent for? they
are not such fools after all!”

Pao-yü would not believe it, and lady Feng at once called Ts’ai
Ming to look up the list, which she handed for Pao-yü’s inspection; but
while they were arguing a servant came in to announce that Chao Erh,
who had gone to Su Chow, had returned, and lady Feng all in a flurry
directed that he should be asked to walk in. Chao Erh bent one knee
and paid his obeisance.

“Why have you come back?” lady Feng readily inquired.
“Mr. Secundus (Chia Lien),” he reported, “sent me back to tell you

that Mr. Lin (our dowager lady’s) son-in-law, died on the third of the
ninth moon; that Master Secundus is taking Miss Lin along with him
to escort the coffin of Mr. Lin as far as Su Chow; and that they hope to
be back some time about the end of the year. Master despatched me to
come and announce the news, to bring his compliments, and to crave
our old lady’s instructions as well as to see how you are getting on in
my lady’s home. He also bade me take back to him a few long fur

“Have you seen any one else besides me?” lady Feng inquired.
“I’ve seen every one,” rejoined Chao Erh; and withdrew hastily at

the conclusion of this remark, out of the apartment, while lady Feng
turned towards Pao-yü with a smile and said, “Your cousin Lin can
now live in our house for ever.”

“Poor thing!” exclaimed Pao-yü. “I presume that during all these
days she has wept who knows how much;” and saying this he wrinkled
his brow and heaved a deep sigh.

Lady Feng saw Chao Erh on his return, but as she could not very
well, in the presence of third persons, make minute inquiries after Chia
Lien, she had to continue a prey to inward solicitude till it was time to
go home, for, not having got through what she had to do, she was
compelled to wait patiently until she went back in the evening, when
she again sent word for Chao Erh to come in, and asked him with all
minuteness whether the journey had been pleasant throughout, and for
full particulars. That very night, she got in readiness the long pelisses,
which she herself, with the assistance of P’ing Erh, packed up in a
bundle; and after careful thought as to what things he would require,
she put them in the same bundle and committed them to Chao Erh’s
care. She went on to solicitously impress upon Chao Erh to be careful
in his attendance abroad. “Don’t provoke your master to wrath,” she

said, “and from time to time do advise him not to drink too much wine;
and don’t entice him to make the acquaintance of any low people; for if
you do, when you come back I will cut your leg off.”

The preparations were hurriedly and confusedly completed; and it
was already the fourth watch of the night when she went to sleep. But
soon again the day dawned, and after hastily performing her toilette
and ablutions, she came over to the Ning Mansion.

As Chia Chen realised that the day for escorting the body away was
drawing nigh, he in person went out in a curricle, along with
geomancers, to the Temple of the Iron Fence to inspect a suitable place
for depositing the coffin. He also, point by point, enjoined the resident
managing-bonze, Se K’ung, to mind and get ready brand-new articles
of decoration and furniture, and to invite a considerable number of
bonzes of note to be at hand to lend their services for the reception of
the coffin.

Se K’ung lost no time in getting ready the evening meal, but Chia
Chen had, in fact, no wish for any tea or rice; and, as the day was far
advanced and he was not in time to enter the city, he had, after all, to
rest during that night as best he could in a “chaste” room in the temple.
The next morning, as soon as it was day, he hastened to come into the
city and to make every preparation for the funeral. He likewise
deputed messengers to proceed ahead to the Temple of the Iron Fence
to give, that very night, additional decorative touches to the place
where the coffin was to be deposited, and to get ready tea and all the
other necessaries, for the use of the persons who would be present at
the reception of the coffin.

Lady Feng, seeing that the day was not far distant, also apportioned
duties and made provision for everything beforehand with circumspect
care; while at the same time she chose in the Jung mansion, such
carriages, sedan chairs and retinue as were to accompany the cortege,
in attendance upon madame Wang, and gave her mind furthermore to
finding a place where she herself could put up in at the time of the
funeral. About this very time, it happened that the consort of the Duke
Shan Kuo departed this life, and that mesdames Wang and Hsing had
likewise to go and offer sacrifices, and to follow the burial procession;
that the birthday occurred of the consort of Prince Hsi An; that
presents had to be forwarded on the occasion of this anniversary; and
that the consort of the Duke of Chen Kuo gave birth to a first child, a
son, and congratulatory gifts had, in like manner, to be provided.


Besides, her uterine brother Wang Jen was about to return south, with
all his family, and she had too to write her home letters, to send her
reverent compliments to her father and mother, as well as to get the
things ready that were to be taken along. There was also Ying Ch’un,
who had contracted some illness, and the doctor had every day to be
sent for, and medicines to be administered, the notes of the doctor to
be looked after, consisting of the bulletins of the diagnosis and the
prescriptions, with the result that the various things that had to be
attended to by lady Feng were so manifold that it would, indeed, be
difficult to give an exhaustive idea of them.

In addition to all this, the day for taking the coffin away was close
at hand, so that lady Feng was so hard pressed for time that she had
even no desire for any tea to drink or anything to eat, and that she
could not sit or rest in peace. As soon as she put her foot into the Ning
mansion, the inmates of the Jung mansion would follow close upon her
heels; and the moment she got back into the Jung mansion, the
servants again of the Ning mansion would follow her about. In spite
however of this great pressure, lady Feng, whose natural disposition
had ever been to try and excel, was urged to strain the least of her
energies, as her sole dread was lest she should incur unfavourable
criticism from any one; and so excellent were the plans she devised,
that every one in the clan, whether high or low, readily conceded her
unlimited praise.

On the night of this day, the body had to be watched, and in the
inner suite of apartments two companies of young players as well as
jugglers entertained the relatives, friends and other visitors during the
whole of the night. Mrs. Yu was still laid up in the inside room, so that
the whole task of attending to and entertaining the company devolved
upon lady Feng alone, who had to look after everything; for though
there were, in the whole clan, many sisters-in-law, some there were too
bashful to speak, others too timid to stand on their feet; while there
were also those who were not accustomed to meeting company; and
those likewise who were afraid of people of high estate and shy of
officials. Of every kind there were, but the whole number of them
could not come up to lady Feng’s standard, whose deportment was
correct and whose speech was according to rule. Hence it was that she
did not even so much as heed any of that large company, but gave
directions and issued orders, adopting any course of action which she
fancied, just as if there were no bystander.


The whole night, the lanterns emitted a bright light and the fires
brilliant rays; while guests were escorted on their way out and officials
greeted on their way in; but of this hundredfold bustle and stir nothing
need, of course, be said.

The next morning at the dawn of day, and at a propitious moment,
sixty-four persons, dressed all alike in blue, carried the coffin,
preceded by a streamer with the record in large characters: Coffin of
lady Ch’in, a lady of the fifth degree, (by marriage) of the Chia
mansion, deceased at middle age, consort of the grandson of the Ning
Kuo Duke with the first rank title of honour, (whose status is) a guard
of the Imperial antechamber, charged with the protection of the Inner
Palace and Roads in the Red Prohibited City.

The various paraphernalia and ornaments were all brand-new,
hurriedly made for the present occasion, and the uniform lustrous
brilliancy they shed was sufficient to dazzle the eyes.

Pao-chu, of course, observed the rites prescribed for unmarried
daughters, and dashed the bowl and walked by the coffin, as she gave
way to most bitter lamentations.

At that time, among the officials who escorted the funeral
procession, were Niu Chi-tsung, the grandson of the Chen Kuo duke,
who had now inherited the status of earl of the first degree; Liu Fang,
the grandson of Liu Piao, duke of Li Kuo, who had recently inherited
the rank of viscount of the first class; Ch’en Jui-wen, a grandson of
Ch’en Yi, duke of Ch’i Kuo, who held the hereditary rank of general of
the third degree, with the prefix of majestic authority; Ma Shang, the
grandson of Ma K’uei, duke of Chih Kuo, by inheritance general of the
third rank with the prefix of majesty afar; Hou Hsiao-keng, an
hereditary viscount of the first degree, grandson of the duke of Hsiu
Kuo, Hou Hsiao-ming by name; while the death of the consort of the
duke of Shan Kuo had obliged his grandson Shih Kuang-chu to go into
mourning so that he could not be present. These were the six families
which had, along with the two households of Jung and Ning, been, at
one time, designated the eight dukes.

Among the rest, there were besides the grandson of the Prince of
Nan An; the grandson of the Prince of Hsi An; Shih Ting, marquis of
Chung Ching; Chiang Tzu-ning, an hereditary baron of the second
grade, grandson of the earl of P’ing Yuan; Hsieh K’un, an hereditary
baron of the second order and Captain of the Metropolitan camp,
grandson of the marquis of Ting Ch’ang: Hsi Chien-hui, an hereditary


baron of the second rank, a grandson of the marquis of Nang Yang;
Ch’in Liang, in command of the Five Cities, grandson of the marquis
of Ching T’ien. The remainder were Wei Chi, the son of the earl of
Chin Hsiang; Feng Tzu-ying, the son of a general, whose prefix was
supernatural martial spirit; Ch’en Yeh-chün, Wei Jo-lan and others,
grandsons and sons of princes who could not be enumerated.

In the way of ladies, there were also in all about ten large official
sedan chairs full of them, thirty or forty private chairs, and including
the official and non-official chairs, and carriages containing inmates of
the household, there must have been over a hundred and ten; so that
with the various kinds of paraphernalia, articles of decoration and
hundreds of nick-nacks, which preceded, the vast expanse of the
cortege covered a continuous line extending over three or four li.

They had not been very long on their way, when they reached
variegated sheds soaring high by the roadside, in which banquets were
spread, feasts laid out, and music discoursed in unison. These were the
viatory sacrificial offerings contributed by the respective families. The
first shed contained the sacrificial donations of the mansion of the
Prince of Tung P’ing; the second shed those of the Prince of Nan An;
the third those of the Prince of Hsi Ning, and the fourth those of the
Prince of Pei Ching.

Indeed of these four Princes, the reputation enjoyed in former days
by the Prince of Pei Ching had been the most exalted, and to this day
his sons and grandsons still succeeded to the inheritance of the
princely dignity. The present incumbent of the Princedom of Pei
Ching, Shih Jung, had not as yet come of age, but he was gifted with a
presence of exceptional beauty, and with a disposition condescending
and genial. At the demise, recently, of the consort of the eldest
grandson of the mansion of Ning Kuo, he, in consideration of the
friendship which had formerly existed between the two grandfathers,
by virtue of which they had been inseparable, both in adversity as well
as in prosperity, treating each other as if they had not been of different
surnames, was consequently induced to pay no regard to princely
dignity or to his importance, but having like the others paid, on the
previous day, his condolences and presented sacrificial offerings, he
had further now raised a shed wherein to offer libations. Having
directed every one of his subordinate officers to remain in this spot in
attendance, he himself went at the fifth watch to court, and when he
acquitted himself of his public duties he forthwith changed his attire


for a mourning costume, and came along, in an official sedan chair,
preceded by gongs and umbrellas. Upon reaching the front of the shed
the chair was deposited on the ground, and as his subordinate officers
pressed on either side and waited upon him, neither the military nor
the populace, which composed the mass of people, ventured to make
any commotion. In a short while, the long procession of the Ning
mansion became visible, spreading far and wide, covering in its course
from the north, the whole ground like a silver mountain. At an early
hour, the forerunners, messengers and other attendants on the staff of
the Ning mansion apprised Chia Chen (of the presence of the sheds),
and Chia Chen with all alacrity gave orders that the foremost part of
the cortege should halt. Attended by Chia She and Chia Chen, the
three of them came with hurried step to greet (the Prince of Pei Ching),
whom they saluted with due ceremony. Shih Jung, who was seated in
his sedan chair, made a bow and returned their salutations with a smile,
proceeding to address them and to treat them, as he had done hitherto,
as old friends, without any airs of self-importance.

“My daughter’s funeral has,” observed Chia Chen, “put your
Highness to the trouble of coming, an honour which we, though noble
by birth, do not deserve.”

Shih Jung smiled. “With the terms of friendship,” he added, “which
have existed for so many generations (between our families), is there
any need for such apologies?”

Turning his head round there and then, he gave directions to the
senior officer of his household to preside at the sacrifices and to offer
libations in his stead; and Chia She and the others stood together on
one side and made obeisance in return, and then came in person again
and gave expression to their gratitude for his bounty.

Shih Jung was most affable and complaisant. “Which is the
gentleman,” he inquired of Chia Chen, “who was born with a piece of
jade in his mouth? I’ve long had a wish to have the pleasure of seeing
him, and as he’s sure to be on the spot on an occasion like this, why
shouldn’t you invite him to come round?”

Chia Chen speedily drew back, and bidding Pao-yü change his
mourning clothes, he led him forward and presented him.

Pao-yü had all along heard that Shih Jung was a worthy Prince,
perfect in ability as well as in appearance, pleasant and courteous, not
bound down by any official custom or state rite, so that he had
repeatedly felt a keen desire to meet him. With the sharp control,


however, which his father exercised over him, he had not been able to
gratify his wish. But on this occasion, he saw on the contrary that he
came to call him, and it was but natural that he should be delighted.
Whilst advancing, he scrutinised Shih Jung with the corner of his eye,
who, seated as he was in the sedan chair, presented an imposing sight.

But, reader, what occurred on his approach is not yet known, but
listen to the next chapter, which will divulge it.

Chapter XV

Lady Peng, née Wang, exercises her authority in the Iron Fence Temple.
Ch’in Ching-ch’ing (Ch’ing Chung) amuses himself in the Man-t’ou (Bread)


But we shall now resume our story. When Pao-yü raised his eyes,
he noticed that Shih Jung, Prince of Pei Ching, wore on his head a
princely cap with pure white tassels and silvery feathers, that he was
appareled in a white ceremonial robe, (with a pattern representing) the
toothlike ripple of a river and the waters of the sea, embroidered with
five-clawed dragons; and that he was girded with a red leather belt,
inlaid with white jade. That his face was like a beauteous gem; that his
eyes were like sparkling stars; and that he was, in very truth, a human
being full of graceful charms.

Pao-yü hastily pressed forward and made a reverent obeisance, and
Shih Jung lost no time in extending his arms from inside the sedan-
chair, and embracing him. At a glance, he saw that Pao-yü had on his
head a silver cap, to which the hair was attached, that he had, round his
forehead, a flap on which were embroidered a couple of dragons
issuing from the sea, that he wore a white archery-sleeved robe,
ornamented with dragons, and that his waist was encircled by a silver
belt, inlaid with pearls; that his face resembled vernal flowers and that
his eyes were like drops of lacquer.

Shih Jung smiled. “Your name is,” he said, “no trumped-up story;
for you, verily, resemble a precious gem; but where’s the valuable
trinket you had in your mouth?” he inquired.

As soon as Pao-yü heard this inquiry, he hastened to produce the
jade from inside his clothes and to hand it over to Shih Jung. Shih Jung
minutely examined it; and having also read the motto on it, he


consequently ascertained whether it was really efficacious or not.
“It’s true that it’s said to be,” Pao-yü promptly explained, “but it

hasn’t yet been put to the test.”
Shih Jung extolled it with unbounded praise, and, as he did so, he

set the variegated tassels in proper order, and, with his own hands,
attached it on to Pao-yü’s neck. Taking also his hand in his, he inquired
of Pao-yü what was his age? and what books he was reading at
present, to each of which questions Pao-yü gave suitable answer.

Shih Jung perceiving the perspicacity of his speech and the
propriety of his utterances, simultaneously turned towards Chia Chen
and observed with a smile on his face: “Your worthy son is, in very
truth, like the young of a dragon or like the nestling of a phoenix! and
this isn’t an idle compliment which I, a despicable prince, utter in your
venerable presence! But how much more glorious will be, in the
future, the voice of the young phoenix than that of the old phoenix, it
isn’t easy to ascertain.”

Chia Chen forced a smile: “My cur-like son,” he replied, “cannot
presume to such bountiful praise and golden commendation; but if, by
the virtue of your Highness’ excess of happiness, he does indeed
realise your words, he will be a source of joy to us all!”

“There’s one thing, however,” continued Shih Jung; “with the
excellent abilities which your worthy scion possesses, he’s sure, I
presume, to be extremely loved by her dowager ladyship, (his
grandmother), and by all classes. But for young men of our age it’s a
great drawback to be doated upon, for with over-fondness, we cannot
help utterly frustrating the benefits of education. When I, a despicable
prince, was young, I walked in this very track, and I presume that your
honourable son cannot likewise but do the same. By remaining at
home, your worthy scion will find it difficult to devote his attention to
study; and he will not reap any harm, were he to come, at frequent
intervals, to my humble home; for though my deserts be small, I
nevertheless enjoy the great honour of the acquaintance of all the
scholars of note in the Empire, so that, whenever any of them visit the
capital, not one of them is there who does not lower his blue eyes upon
me. Hence it is that in my mean abode, eminent worthies rendezvous;
and were your esteemed son to come, as often as he can, and converse
with them and meet them, his knowledge would, in that case, have
every opportunity of making daily strides towards improvement.”

Chia Chen speedily bent his body and expressed his acquiescence,


by way of reply; whereupon Shih Jung went further, and taking off
from his wrist a chaplet of pearls, he presented it to Pao-yü.

“This is the first time we meet,” he observed. “Our meeting was so
unexpected that I have no suitable congratulatory present to offer you.
This was conferred upon me by His Majesty, and is a string of chaplet-
pearls, scented with Ling Ling, which will serve as a temporary token
of respectful congratulations.”

Pao-yü hastened to receive it from his hands, and turning round, he
reverently presented it to Chia Chen. Chia Chen and Pao-yü jointly
returned thanks; and forthwith Chia She, Chia Chen and the rest came
forward in a body, and requested the Prince to turn his chair

“The departed,” expostulated Shih Jung, “has already ascended the
spiritual regions, and is no more a mortal being in this dusty world
exposed to vicissitude like you and I. Although a mean prince like me
has been the recipient of the favour of the Emperor, and has
undeservedly been called to the princely inheritance, how could I
presume to go before the spiritual hearse and return home?”

Chia She and the others, perceiving how persistent he was in his
refusal had no course but to take their leave, express their sense of
gratitude and to rejoin the cortege. They issued orders to their servants
to stop the band, and to hush the music, and making the procession go
by, they at length left the way clear for Shih Jung to prosecute his way.

But we will now leave him and resume our account of the funeral of
the Ning mansion. All along its course the road was plunged in
unusual commotion. As soon as they reached the city gates Chia She,
Chia Cheng, Chia Chen, and the others again received donations from
all their fellow officers and subordinates, in sacrificial sheds erected by
their respective families, and after they returned thanks to one after
another, they eventually issued from the city walls, and proceeded
eventually along the highway, in the direction of the Temple of the
Iron Fence.

Chia Chen, at this time, went, together with Chia Jung, up to all
their seniors, and pressed them to get into their sedan chairs, and to
ride their horses; and Chia She and all of the same age as himself were
consequently induced to mount into their respective carriages or
chairs. Chia Chen and those of the same generation were likewise
about to ride their horses, when lady Feng, through her solicitude on
Pao-yü’s account, gave way to fears lest now that they had reached the



open country, he should do as he pleased, and not listen to the words of
any of the household, and lest Chia Chen should not be able to keep
him in check; and, as she dreaded that he might go astray, she felt
compelled to bid a youth call him to her; and Pao-yü had no help but
to appear before her curricle.

“My dear brother,” lady Feng remarked smiling, “you are a
respectable person, and like a girl in your ways, and shouldn’t imitate
those monkeys on horseback! do get down and let both you and I sit
together in this carriage; and won’t that be nice?”

At these words, Pao-yü readily dismounted and climbed up into the
carriage occupied by lady Feng; and they both talked and laughed, as
they continued their way.

But not a long time elapsed before two men, on horseback, were
seen approaching from the opposite direction. Coming straight up to
lady Feng’s vehicle they dismounted, and said, as they leaned on the
sides of her carriage, “There’s a halting place here, and will it not
please your ladyship to have a rest and change?”

Lady Feng directed them to ask the two ladies Hsing and Wang
what they would like to do, and the two men explained: “These ladies
have signified that they had no desire to rest, and they wish your
ladyship to suit your convenience.”

Lady Feng speedily issued orders that they should have a rest,
before they prosecuted their way, and the servant youth led the
harnessed horses through the crowd of people and came towards the
north, while Pao-yü, from inside the carriage, urgently asked that Mr.
Ch’in should be requested to come.

Ch’in Chung was at this moment on horseback following in the
track of his father’s carriage, when unexpectedly he caught sight of
Pao-yü’s page, come at a running pace and invite him to have some
refreshment. Ch’in Chung perceived from a distance that the horse,
which Pao-yü had been riding, walked behind lady Feng’s vehicle, as it
went towards the north, with its saddle and bridles all piled up, and
readily concluding that Pao-yü must be in the same carriage with that
lady, he too turned his horse and came over in haste and entered, in
their company, the door of a farm-house.

This dwelling of the farmer’s did not contain many rooms so that
the women and girls had nowhere to get out of the way; and when the
village lasses and country women perceived the bearing and costumes
of lady Feng, Pao-yü, and Ch’in Chung, they were inclined to suspect


that celestial beings had descended into the world.
Lady Feng entered a thatched house, and, in the first place, asked

Pao-yü and the rest to go out and play. Pao-yü took the hint, and, along
with Ch’in Chung, he led off the servant boys and went to romp all
over the place.

The various articles in use among the farmers they had not seen
before, with the result that after Pao-yü had inspected them, he thought
them all very strange; but he could neither make out their names nor
their uses. But among the servant boys, there were those who knew,
and they explained to them, one after another, what they were called,
as well as what they were for. As Pao-yü, after this explanation,
nodded his head; “It isn’t strange,” he said, “that an old writer has this
line in his poetical works, ‘Who can realise that the food in a bowl is,
grain by grain, all the fruit of labour.’ This is indeed so!” As he spoke,
they had come into another house; and at the sight of a spinning wheel
on a stove-bed, they thought it still more strange and wonderful, but
the servant boys again told them that it was used for spinning the yarn
to weave cloth with, and Pao-yü speedily jumping on to the stove-bed,
set to work turning the wheel for the sake of fun, when a village lass of
about seventeen or eighteen years of age came forward, and asked
them not to meddle with it and spoil it.

The servant boys promptly stopped her interference; but Pao-yü
himself desisted, as he added: “It’s because I hadn’t seen one before
that I came to try it for fun.”

“You people can’t do it,” rejoined the lass, “let me turn it for you to

Ch’in Chung secretly pulled Pao-yü and remarked, “It’s great fun in
this village!” but Pao-yü gave him a nudge and observed, “If you talk
nonsense again, I’ll beat you.” Watching intently, as he uttered these
words, the village girl who started reeling the thread, and presented, in
very truth, a pretty sight. But suddenly an old woman from the other
side gave a shout. “My girl Secunda, come over at once;” and the lass
discarded the spinning-wheel and hastily went on her way.

Pao-yü was the while feeling disappointed and unhappy, when he
espied a servant, whom lady Feng had sent, come and call them both
in. Lady Feng had washed her hands and changed her costume; and
asked him whether he would change or not, and Pao-yü, having replied
“No! it doesn’t matter after all if I don’t change,” the female attendants
served tea, cakes and fruits and also poured the scented tea. Lady Feng


and the others drank their tea, and waiting until they had put the
various articles by, and made all the preparations, they promptly
started to get into their carriages. Outside, Wang Erh had got ready tips
and gave them to the people of the farm, and the farm women and all
the inmates went up to them to express their gratitude; but when Pao-
yü came to look carefully, he failed to see anything of the lass who had
reeled the thread. But they had not gone far before they caught sight of
this girl Secunda coming along with a small child in her arms, who,
they concluded, was her young brother, laughing and chatting, in
company with a few young girls.

Pao-yü could not suppress the voice of love, but being seated in the
carriage, he was compelled to satisfy himself by following her with his
eyes. Soon however the vehicle sped on as rapidly as a cloud impelled
by the wind, so that when he turned his head round, there was already
no vestige to be seen of her; but, while they were bandying words,
they had unexpectedly overtaken the great concourse of the cortege.

Likewise, at an early stage men were stationed ahead, with
Buddhist drums and gold cymbals, with streamers, and jewelled
coverings; and the whole company of bonzes, belonging to the Iron
Fence Temple, had already been drawn out in a line by the sides of the
road. In a short while, they reached the interior of the temple, where
additional sacrifices were offered and Buddhistic services performed;
and where altars had again been erected to burn incense on. The coffin
was deposited in a side room of the inner court; and Pao Chu got ready
a bed-room in which she could keep her watch.

In the outer apartments, Chia Chen did the honours among the
whole party of relatives and friends, some of whom asked to be
allowed to stay for their meals, while others at this stage took their
leave. And after they had one by one returned thanks, the dukes,
marquises, earls, viscounts and barons, each in respective batches, (got
up to go,) and they kept on leaving from between 1 and 3 p.m. before
they had finally all dispersed.

In the inner Chambers, the ladies were solely entertained and
attended to by lady Feng. First to make a move were the consorts of
officials; and noon had also come, by the time the whole party of them
had taken their departure. Those that remained were simply a few
relatives of the same clan and others like them, who eventually left
after the completion of the three days’ rationalistic liturgies.

The two ladies Hsing and Wang, well aware at this time that lady


Feng could on no account return home, desired to enter the city at
once; and madame Wang wanted to take Pao-yü home; but Pao-yü,
who had, on an unexpected occasion, come out into the country,
entertained, of course, no wish to go back; and he would agree to
nothing else than to stay behind with lady Feng, so that madame Wang
had no alternative but to hand him over to her charge and to start.

This Temple of the Iron Fence had, in fact, been erected in days
gone by, at the expense of the two dukes Ning and Jung; and there still
remained up to these days, acres of land, from which were derived the
funds for incense and lights for such occasions, on which the coffins of
any members, old or young, (who died) in the capital, had to be
deposited in this temple; and the inner and outer houses, in this
compound were all kept in readiness and good order, for the
accommodation of those who formed part of the cortège.

At this time, as it happened, the descendants mustered an immense
crowd, and among them were poor and rich of various degrees, or with
likes and dislikes diametrically opposed. There were those, who, being
in straitened circumstances at home, and easily contented, readily took
up their quarters in the temple. And there were those with money and
position, and with extravagant ideas, who maintained that the
accommodation in the temple was not suitable, and, of course, went in
search of additional quarters, either in country houses, or in convents,
where they could have their meals and retire, after the ceremonies
were over.

On the occasion of Mrs. Ch’in’s funeral, all the members of the clan
put up temporarily in the Iron Fence Temple; lady Feng alone looked
down upon it as inconvenient, and consequently despatched a servant
to go and tell Ch’ing Hsü, a nun in the Bread Convent, to empty two
rooms for her to go and live in.

This Bread Convent had at one time been styled the Shui Yueh
nunnery (water moon); but as good bread was made in that temple, it
gave rise to this nickname.

This convent was not very distant from the Temple of the Iron
Fence, so that as soon as the bonzes brought their functions to a close,
and the sacrifice of evening was offered, Chia Chen asked Chia Jung
to request lady Feng to retire to rest; and as lady Feng perceived that
there still remained several sisters-in-law to keep company to the
female relatives, she readily, of her own accord, took leave of the
whole party, and, along with Pao-yü and Ch’in Chung, came to the



Water Moon Convent.
Ch’in Yeh, it must be noticed, was advanced in years and a victim to

many ailments, so that he was unable to remain in the temple long, and
he bade Ch’in Chung tarry until the coffin had been set in its resting
place, with the result that Ch’in Chung came along, at the same time as
lady Feng and Pao-yü, to the Water Moon Convent, where Ch’ing Hsü
appeared, together with two neophytes, Chih Shan and Chih Neng, to
receive them. After they had exchanged greetings, lady Feng and the
others entered the “chaste” apartments to change their clothes and
wash their hands; and when they had done, as she perceived how much
taller in stature Chih Neng had grown and how much handsomer were
her features, she felt prompted to inquire, “How is it that your prioress
and yourselves haven’t been all these days as far as our place?”

“It’s because during these days we haven’t had any time which we
could call our own,” explained Ch’ing Hsü. “Owing to the birth of a
son in Mr. Hu’s mansion, dame Hu sent over about ten taels and asked
that we should invite several head-nuns to read during three days the
service for the churching of women, with the result that we’ve been so
very busy and had so little leisure, that we couldn’t come over to pay
our respects to your ladyship.”

But leaving aside the old nun, who kept lady Feng company, we
will now return to the two lads Pao-yü and Ch’in Chung. They were up
to their pranks in the main building of the convent, when seeing Chih
Neng come over: “Here’s Neng Erh,” Pao-yü exclaimed with a smile.

“Why notice a creature like her?” remarked Ch’in Chung; to which
Pao-yü rejoined laughingly: “Don’t be sly! why then did you the other
day, when you were in the old lady’s rooms, and there was not a soul
present, hold her in your arms? and do you want to fool me now ?”

“There was nothing of the kind,” observed Ch’in Chung smiling.
“Whether there was or not,” replied Pao-yü, “doesn’t concern me;

but if you will stop her and tell her to pour a cup of tea and bring it to
me to drink, I’ll then keep hands off.”

“This is indeed very strange!” Ch’in Chung answered laughing; “do
you fear that if you told her to pour you one, that she wouldn’t; and
what need is there that I should tell her?”

“If I ask her,” Pao-yü observed, “to pour it, she wouldn’t be as ready
as she would were you to tell her about it.”

Ch’in Chung had no help but to speak. “Neng Erh!” he said, “bring
a cup of tea.”


This Neng Erh had, since her youth, been in and out of the Jung
mansion, so that there was no one that she did not know; and she had
also, time after time, romped and laughed with Pao-yü and Ch’in
Chung. Being now grown up she gradually came to know the import
of love, and she readily took a fancy to Ch’in Chung, who was an
amorous being. Ch’in Chung too returned her affection, on account of
her good looks; and, although he and she had not had any very
affectionate tête-à-têtes, they had, however, long ago come to
understand each other’s feelings and wishes.

Chih Neng walked away and returned after having poured the tea.
“Give it to me,” Ch’in Chung cried out smirkingly; while Pao-yü

likewise shouted: “Give it to me.”
Chih Neng compressed her lips and sneeringly rejoined, “Are you

going to have a fight even over a cup of tea? Is it forsooth likely that
there’s honey in my hand?”

Pao-yü was the first to grasp and take over the cup, but while
drinking it, he was about to make some inquiry, when he caught sight
of Chih Shan, who came and called Chih Neng away to go and lay the
plates with fruit on the table. Not much time elapsed before she came
round to request the two lads to go and have tea and refreshments; but
would they eat such things as were laid before them? They simply sat
for a while and came out again and resumed their play.

Lady Feng too stayed for a few moments, and then returned, with
the old nun as her escort, into the “unsullied” rooms to lie down. By
this time, all the matrons and married women discovered that there
was nothing else to be done, and they dispersed in succession, retiring
each to rest. There only remained in attendance several young girls
who enjoyed her confidence, and the old nun speedily availed herself
of the opportunity to speak. “I’ve got something,” she said, “about
which I mean to go to your mansion to beg of madame Wang; but I’ll
first request you, my lady, to tell me how to set to work.”

“What’s it?” ascertained lady Feng.
“O-mi-to-fu!” exclaimed the old nun, “It’s this; in days gone by, I

first lived in the Ch’ang An district. When I became a nun and entered
the monastery of Excellent Merit, there lived, at that time, a subscriber,
Chang by surname, a very wealthy man. He had a daughter, whose
infant name was Chin Ko; the whole family came in the course of that
year to the convent I was in, to offer incense, and as luck would have it
they met Li Ya-nei, a brother of a secondary wife of the Prefect of the


Ch’ang An Prefecture. This Li Ya-nei fell in love at first sight with her,
and would wed Chin Ko as his wife. He sent go-betweens to ask her in
marriage, but, contrary to his expectations, Chin Ko had already
received the engagement presents of the son of the ex-Major of the
Ch’ang An Prefecture. The Chang family, on the other hand, were
afraid that if they withdrew from the match, the Major would not give
up his claim, and they therefore replied that she was already promised
to another. But, who would have thought it, this Mr. Li was seriously
bent upon marrying the young lady. But while the Chang family were
at a loss what plan to devise, and both parties were in a dilemma, the
family of the Major came unexpectedly to hear of the news; and
without even looking thoroughly into the matter, they there and then
had recourse to insult and abuse. ‘Is a girl,’ they insinuated, ‘to be
promised to the sons of several families!’ And obstinately refusing to
allow the restitution of the betrothal presents, they at once had
recourse to litigation and brought an action (against the girl’s people.)
That family was at their wits’ end, and had no alternative but to find
some one to go to the capital to obtain means of assistance; and, losing
all patience, they insisted upon the return of the presents. I believe that
the present commander of the troops at Ch’ang An, Mr. Yün, is on
friendly terms with your honourable family, and could one solicit
madame Wang to put in a word with Mr. Chia Cheng to send a letter
and ask Mr. Yün to speak to that Major, I have no fear that he will not
agree. Should (your ladyship) be willing to take action, the Chang
family are even ready to present all they have, though it may entail the
ruin of their estate.”

“This affair is, it’s true, of no great moment,” lady Feng replied
smiling, after hearing this appeal; “but the only thing is that madame
Wang does no longer attend to matters of this nature.”

“If madame doesn’t heed them,” suggested the old nun, “you, my
lady, can safely assume the direction.”

“I’m neither in need of any money to spend,” added lady Feng with
a smirk, “nor do I undertake such matters!”

These words did not escape Ching Hsü’s ear; they scattered to the
winds her vain hopes. After a minute or so she heaved a sigh.

“What you say may be true enough,” she remarked; “but the Chang
family are also aware that I mean to come and make my appeal to your
mansion; and were you now not to manage this affair, the Chang
family having no idea that the lack of time prevents any steps being



taken and that no importance is attached to their presents, it will
appear, on the contrary, as if there were not even this little particle of
skill in your household.”

At these words lady Feng felt at once inspirited. “You’ve known of
old,” she added, “that I’ve never had any faith in anything concerning
retribution in the Court of Judgment in the unseen or in hell; and that
whatever I say that I shall do, that I do; tell them therefore to bring
three thousand taels; and I shall then remedy this grievance of theirs.”

The old nun upon hearing this remark was so exceedingly
delighted, that she precipitately exclaimed, “They’ve got it, they’ve got
it! there will be no difficulty about it.”

“I’m not,” lady Feng went on to add, “like those people, who afford
help and render assistance with an eye to money; these three thousand
taels will be exclusively devoted for the travelling expenses of those
youths, who will be sent to deliver messages and for them to make a
few cash for their trouble; but as for me I don’t want even so much as a
cash. In fact I’m able at this very moment to produce as much as thirty
thousand taels.”

The old nun assented with alacrity, and said by way of reply, “If that
be so, my lady, do display your charitable bounty at once to-morrow
and bring things to an end.”

“Just see,” remarked lady Feng, “how hard pressed I am; which
place can do without me? but since I’ve given you my word, I shall,
needless to say, speedily bring the matter to a close.”

“A small trifle like this,” hinted the old nun, “would, if placed in the
hands of any one else, flurry her to such an extent that she would be
quite at a loss what to do; but in your hands, my lady, even if much
more were superadded, it wouldn’t require as much exertion as a wave
of your hand. But the proverb well says: ‘that those who are able have
much to do;’ for madame Wang, seeing that your ladyship manages all
concerns, whether large or small, properly, has still more shoved the
burden of everything on your shoulders, my lady; but you should, it’s
but right, also take good care of your precious health.”

This string of flattery pleased lady Feng more and more, so that
heedless of fatigue she went on to chat with still greater zest.

But, thing unthought of, Ch’in Chung availed himself of the
darkness, as well as of the absence of any one about, to come in quest
of Chih Neng. As soon as he reached the room at the back, he espied
Chih Neng all alone inside washing the tea cups; and Ch’in Chung


forthwith seized her in his arms and implanted kisses on her cheek.
Chih Neng got in a dreadful state, and stamping her feet, cried, “What
are you up to?” and she was just on the point of shouting out, when
Ch’in Chung rejoined: “My dear girl! I’m nearly dead from impatience,
and if you don’t again to-day accept my advances, I shall this very
moment die on this spot.”

“What you’re bent upon,” added Chih Neng, “can’t be effected; not
unless you wait until I’ve left this den and parted company from these
people, when it will be safe enough.”

“This is of course easy enough!” remonstrated Ch’in Chung; “but
the distant water cannot extinguish the close fire!”

As he spoke, with one puff, he put out the light, plunging the whole
room in pitch darkness; and seizing Chih Neng, he pushed her on to
the stove-couch and started a violent love affair. Chih Neng could not,
though she strained every nerve, escape his importunities; nor could
she very well shout, so that she felt compelled to humour him; but
while he was in the midst of his ecstatic joy, they perceived a person
walk in, who pressed both of them down, without uttering even so
much as a sound, and plunged them both in such a fright that their very
souls flew away and their spirits wandered from their bodies; and it
was after the third party had burst out laughing with a spurting sound
that they eventually became aware that it was Pao-yü; when, springing
to his feet impetuously, Ch’in Chung exclaimed full of resentment,
“What’s this that you’re up to!”

“If you get your monkey up,” retorted Pao-yü, “why, then let you
and I start bawling out;” which so abashed Chih Neng that she availed
herself of the gloomy light to make her escape; while Pao-yü had
dragged Ch’in Chung out of the room and asked, “Now then, do you
still want to play the bully!”

“My dear fellow,” pleaded Ch’in Chung smilingly, “whatever you
do don’t shout out and let every one know; and all you want, I’ll agree

“We needn’t argue just now,” Pao-yü observed with a grin; “wait a
while, and when all have gone to sleep, we can minutely settle
accounts together.”

Soon it was time to ease their clothes, and go to bed; and lady Feng
occupied the inner room; Ch’in Chung and Pao-yü the outer; while the
whole ground was covered with matrons of the household, who had
spread their bedding, and sat watching. As lady Feng entertained fears


that the jade of Spiritual Perception might be lost, she waited until
Pao-yü fell asleep, when having directed a servant to bring it to her,
she placed it under the side of her own pillow.

What accounts Pao-yü settled with Ch’in Chung cannot be
ascertained; and as in the absence of any positive proof what is known
is based upon surmises, we shall not venture to place it on record.

Nothing worth noticing occurred the whole night; but the next day,
as soon as the morning dawned, dowager lady Chia and madame Wang
promptly despatched servants to come and see how Pao-yü was getting
on; and to tell him likewise to put on two pieces of extra clothing, and
that if there was nothing to be done it would be better for him to go

But was it likely that Pao-yü would be willing to go back? Besides
Ch’in Chung, in his inordinate passion for Chih Neng, instigated Pao-
yü to entreat lady Feng to remain another day. Lady Feng pondered in
her own mind that, although the most important matters connected
with the funeral ceremonies had been settled satisfactorily, there were
still a few minor details, for which no provision had been made, so that
could she avail herself of this excuse to remain another day would she
not win from Chia Chen a greater degree of approbation, in the second
place, would she not be able further to bring Ch’ing Hsü’s business to
an issue, and, in the third place, to humour Pao-yü’s wish? In view of
these three advantages, which would accrue, “All that I had to do, I
have done,” she readily signified to Pao-yü, “and if you be bent upon
running about in here, you’ll unavoidably place me in still greater
trouble; so that we must for certain start homewards to-morrow.”

“My dear cousin, my own dear cousin,” urgently entreated Pao-yü,
when he heard these words, “let’s stay only this one day, and to-
morrow we can go back without fail.”

They actually spent another night there, and lady Feng availed
herself of their stay to give directions that the case which had been
entrusted to her the previous day by the old nun should be secretly
communicated to Lai Wang Erh. Lai Wang’s mind grasped the import
of all that was said to him, and, having entered the city with all
despatch, he went in search of the gentleman, who acted as secretary
(in Mr. Yün’s office), pretending that he had been directed by Mr. Chia
Lien to come and ask him to write a letter and to send it that very night
to the Ch’ang An magistrate. The distance amounted to no more than
one hundred li, so that in the space of two days everything was brought


to a satisfactory settlement. The general, whose name was Yün Kuang,
had been for a long time under obligations to the Chia family, so that
he naturally could not refuse his co-operation in such small trifles.
When he had handed his reply, Wang Erh started on his way back;
where we shall leave him and return to lady Feng.

Having spent another day, she on the morrow took leave of the old
nun, whom she advised to come to the mansion after the expiry of
three days to fetch a reply.

Ch’in Chung and Chih Neng could not, by any means, brook the
separation, and they secretly agreed to a clandestine assignation; but to
these details we need not allude with any minuteness; sufficient to say
that they had no alternative but to bear the anguish and to part.

Lady Feng crossed over again to the temple of the Iron Fence and
ascertained how things were progressing. But as Pao Chu was
obstinate in her refusal to return home, Chia Chen found himself under
the necessity of selecting a few servants to act as her companions. But
the reader must listen to what is said in the next chapter by way of

Chapter XVI

Chia Yuan-ch’un is, on account of her talents, selected to enter the Feng Ts’ao

Ch’in Ching-ch’ing departs, in the prime of life, by the yellow spring road.

But we must now return to the two lads, Ch’in Chung and Pao-yü.
After they had passed, along with lady Feng from the Temple of the
Iron Fence, whither she had gone to see how things were getting on,
they entered the city in their carriages. On their arrival at home, they
paid their obeisance to dowager lady Chia, madame Wang and the
other members of the family, whence they returned to their own
quarters, where nothing worth mentioning transpired during the night.

On the next day, Pao-yü perceiving that the repairs to the outer
schoolroom had been completed, settled with Ch’in Chung that they
should have evening classes. But as it happened that Ch’in Chung, who
was naturally of an extremely delicate physique, caught somewhat of a
chill in the country and clandestinely indulged, besides, in an intimacy
with Chih Neng, which unavoidably made him fail to take good care


of himself, he was, shortly after his return, troubled with a cough and a
feverish cold, with nausea for drink and food, and fell into such an
extremely poor state of health that he simply kept indoors and nursed
himself, and was not in a fit condition to go to school. Pao-yü’s spirits
were readily damped, but as there was likewise no remedy he had no
other course than to wait until his complete recovery, before he could
make any arrangements.

Lady Feng had meanwhile received a reply from Yün Kuang, in
which he informed her that everything had been satisfactorily settled,
and the old nun apprised the Chang family that the major had actually
suppressed his indignation, hushed his complaints, and taken back the
presents of the previous engagement. But who would have ever
anticipated that a father and mother, whose hearts were set upon
position and their ambition upon wealth, could have brought up a
daughter so conscious of propriety and so full of feeling as to seize the
first opportunity, after she had heard that she had been withdrawn from
her former intended, and been promised to the Li family, to stealthily
devise a way to commit suicide, by means of a handkerchief. The son
of the Major, upon learning that Chin Ko had strangled herself, there
and then jumped into the river and drowned himself, as he too was a
being full of love. The Chang and Li families were, sad to relate, very
much cut up, and, in very truth, two lives and money had been
sacrificed all to no use.

Lady Feng, however, during this while, quietly enjoyed the three
thousand taels, and madame Wang did not have even so much as the
faintest idea of the whole matter. But ever since this occasion, lady
Feng’s audacity acquired more and more strength; and the actions of
this kind, which she, in after days, performed, defy enumeration.

One day, the very day on which Chia Cheng’s birthday fell, while
the members of the two households of Ning and Jung were assembled
together offering their congratulations, and unusual bustle and stir
prevailed, a gatekeeper came in, at quite an unexpected moment, to
announce that Mr. Hsia, Metropolitan Head Eunuch of the six palaces,
had come with the special purpose of presenting an edict from his
Majesty; a bit of news which plunged Chia She, Chia Cheng and the
whole company into great consternation, as they could not make out
what was up. Speedily interrupting the theatrical performance, they
had the banquet cleared, and the altar laid out with incense, and
opening the centre gate they fell on their knees to receive the edict.


Soon they caught sight of the head eunuch, Hsia Ping-chung,
advancing on horseback, and besides himself, a considerable retinue of
eunuchs. The eunuch Hsia did not, in fact, carry any mandate or
present any decree; but straightway advancing as far as the main hall,
he dismounted, and, with a face beaming with smiles, he walked into
the Hall and took his stand on the southern side.

“I have had the honour,” he said, “of receiving a special order to at
once summon Chia Cheng to present himself at Court and be admitted
in His Majesty’s presence in the Lin Ching Hall.”

When he had delivered this message, he did not so much as take
any tea, but forthwith mounted his horse and took his leave.

Chia Cheng and the others could not even conceive what omen this
summons implied, but he had no alternative but to change his clothes
with all haste and to present himself at Court, while dowager lady Chia
and the inmates of the whole household were, in their hearts, a prey to
such perplexity and uncertainty that they incessantly despatched
messengers on flying steeds to go and bring the news.

After the expiry of four hours, they suddenly perceived Lai Ta and
three or four other butlers run in, quite out of breath, through the
ceremonial gate and report the glad tidings. “We have received,” they
added, “our master’s commands, to hurriedly request her venerable
ladyship to take madame Wang and the other ladies into the Palace, to
return thanks for His Majesty’s bounty;” and other words to the same

Dowager lady Chia was, at this time, standing, with agitated heart,
under the verandah of the Large Hall waiting for tidings, whilst the
two ladies, mesdames Hsing and Wang, Mrs. Yu, Li Wan, lady Feng,
Ying Ch’un and her sisters, even up to Mrs. Hsüeh and the rest, were
congregated in one place ascertaining what was the news. Old lady
Chia likewise called Lai Ta in and minutely questioned him as to what
had happened. “Your servants,” replied Lai Ta, “simply stood waiting
outside the Lin Chuang gate, so that we were in total ignorance of
what was going on inside, when presently the Eunuch Hsia came out
and imparted to us the glad tidings; telling us that the eldest of the
young ladies in our household had been raised, by His Majesty, to be
an overseer in the Feng Ts’ao Palace, and that he had, in addition,
conferred upon her the rank of worthy and virtuous secondary consort.
By and by, Mr. Chia Cheng came out and also told us the same thing.
Master is now gone back again to the Eastern Palace, whither he


requests your venerable ladyship to go at once and offer thanks for the
Imperial favour.”

When old lady Chia and the other members of the family heard
these tidings they were at length reassured in their minds, and so elated
were they all in one moment that joy was visible in their very faces.
Without loss of time, they commenced to don the gala dresses suitable
to their rank; which done, old lady Chia led the way for the two ladies,
mesdames Hsing and Wang, as well as for Mrs. Yu; and their official
chairs, four of them in all, entered the palace like a trail of fish; while
Chia She and Chia Chen, who had likewise changed their clothes for
their court dress, took Chia Se and Chia Jung along and proceeded in
attendance upon dowager lady Chia.

Indeed, of the two households of Ning and Jung, there was not one,
whether high or low, woman or man, who was not in a high state of
exultation, with the exception of Pao-yü, who behaved just as if the
news had not reached his ears; and can you, reader, guess why? The
fact is that Chih Neng, of the Water Moon Convent, had recently
entered the city in a surreptitious manner in search of Ch’in Chung;
but, contrary to expectation, her visit came to be known by Ch’in Yeh,
who drove Chih Neng away and laid hold of Ch’in Chung and gave
him a flogging. But this outburst of temper of his brought about a
relapse of his old complaint, with the result that in three or five days,
he, sad to say, succumbed. Ch’in Chung had himself ever been in a
delicate state of health and had besides received a caning before he had
got over his sickness, so that when he now saw his aged father pass
away from the consequences of a fit of anger, he felt, at this stage, so
full of penitence and distress that the symptoms of his illness were
again considerably aggravated. Hence it was that Pao-yü was downcast
and unhappy at heart, and that nothing could, in spite of the promotion
of Yuan Ch’un by imperial favour, dispel the depression of his spirits.

Dowager lady Chia and the rest in due course offered thanks and
returned home, the relatives and friends came to present their
congratulations, great stir and excitement prevailed during these few
days in the two mansions of Ning and Jung, and every one was in high
glee; but he alone looked upon everything as if it were nothing; taking
not the least interest in anything; and as this reason led the whole
family to sneer at him, the result was that he got more and more

Luckily, however, Chia Lien and Tai-yü were on their way back,

and had despatched messengers, in advance, to announce the news that
they would be able to reach home the following day, so that when Pao-
yü heard the tidings, he was at length somewhat cheered. And when he
came to institute minute inquiries, he eventually found out: “that Chia
Yü-ts’un was also coming to the capital to have an audience with His
Majesty, that it was entirely because Wang Tzu-t’eng had repeatedly
laid before the Throne memorials recommending him that he was
coming on this occasion to wait in the metropolis for a vacancy which
he could fill up; that as he was a kinsman of Chia Lien’s,
acknowledging the same ancestors as he did, and he stood, on the other
hand, with Tai-yü, in the relationship of tutor and pupil, he was in
consequence following the same road and coming as their companion;
that Lin Ju-hai had already been buried in the ancestral vault, and that
every requirement had been attended to with propriety; that Chia Lien,
on this voyage to the capital, would, had he progressed by the ordinary
stages, have been over a month before he could reach home, but that
when he came to hear the good news about Yuan Ch’un, he pressed on
day and night to enter the capital; and that the whole journey had been
throughout, in every respect, both pleasant and propitious.”

But Pao-yü merely ascertained whether Tai-yü was all right, and did
not even so much as trouble his mind with the rest of what he heard;
and he remained on the tiptoe of expectation, till noon of the morrow;
when, in point of fact, it was announced that Mr. Lien, together with
Miss Lin, had made their entrance into the mansion. When they came
face to face, grief and joy vied with each other; and they could not
help having a good cry for a while; after which followed again
expressions of sympathy and congratulations; while Pao-yü pondered
within himself that Tai-yü had become still more surpassingly

Tai-yü had also brought along with her a good number of books,
and she promptly gave orders that the sleeping rooms should be swept,
and that the various nicknacks should be put in their proper places. She
further produced a certain quantity of paper, pencils and other such
things, and distributed them among Pao Ch’ai, Ying Ch’un, Pao-yü and
the rest; and Pao-yü also brought out, with extreme care, the string of
Ling-ling scented beads, which had been given to him by the Prince of
Pei Ching, and handed them, in his turn, to Tai-yü as a present.

“What foul man has taken hold of them?” exclaimed Tai-yü. “I don’t
want any such things;” and as she forthwith dashed them down, and


would not accept them, Pao-yü was under the necessity of taking them
back. But for the time being we will not allude to them, but devote our
attention to Chia Lien.

Having, after his arrival home, paid his salutations to all the
inmates, he retired to his own quarters at the very moment that lady
Feng had multifarious duties to attend to, and had not even a minute to
spare; but, considering that Chia Lien had returned from a distant
journey, she could not do otherwise than put by what she had to do,
and to greet him and wait on him.

“Imperial uncle,” she said, in a jocose manner, when she realised
that there was no outsider present in the room, “I congratulate you!
What fatigue and hardship you, Imperial uncle, have had to bear
throughout the whole journey, your humble servant heard yesterday,
when the courier sent ahead came and announced that Your Highness
would this day reach this mansion. I have merely got ready a glass of
mean wine for you to wipe down the dust with, but I wonder, whether
Your Highness will deign to bestow upon it the lustre of your
countenance, and accept it.”

Chia Lien smiled. “How dare I presume to such an honour,” he
added by way of rejoinder; “I’m unworthy of such attention! Many
thanks, many thanks.”

P’ing Erh and the whole company of waiting-maids simultaneously
paid their obeisance to him, and this ceremony concluded, they
presented tea. Chia Lien thereupon made inquiries about the various
matters, which had transpired in their home after his departure, and
went on to thank lady Feng for all the trouble she had taken in the
management of them.

“How could I control all these manifold matters,” remarked lady
Feng; “my experience is so shallow, my speech so dull and my mind so
simple, that if any one showed me a club, I would mistake it for a pin.
Besides, I’m so tender-hearted that were any one to utter a couple of
glib remarks, I couldn’t help feeling my heart give way to compassion
and sympathy. I’ve had, in addition, no experience in any weighty
questions; my pluck is likewise so very small that when madame Wang
has felt in the least displeased, I have not been able to close my eyes
and sleep. Urgently did I more than once resign the charge, but her
ladyship wouldn’t again agree to it; maintaining, on the contrary, that
my object was to be at ease, and that I was not willing to reap
experience. Leaving aside that she doesn’t know that I take things so


much to heart, that I can scoop the perspiration in handfuls, that I
daren’t utter one word more than is proper, nor venture to recklessly
take one step more than I ought to, you know very well which of the
women servants, in charge of the menage in our household, is easy to
manage! If ever I make the slightest mistake, they laugh at me and
poke fun at me; and if I incline a little one way, they show their
displeasure by innuendoes; they sit by and look on, they use every
means to do harm, they stir up trouble, they stand by on safe ground
and look on and don’t give a helping hand to lift any one they have
thrown over, and they are, one and all of them, old hands in such
tricks. I’m moreover young in years and not able to keep people in
check, so that they naturally don’t show any regard for me! What is
still more ridiculous is that after the death of Jung Erh’s wife in that
mansion, brother Chen, time and again, begged madame Wang, on his
very knees, to do him the favour to ask me to lend him a hand for
several days. I repeatedly signified my refusal, but her ladyship gave
her consent in order to oblige him, so that I had no help but to carry
out her wish; putting, as is my wont, everything topsy-turvey, and
making matters worse than they were; with the result that brother Chen
up to this day bears me a grudge and regrets having asked for my
assistance. When you see him to-morrow, do what you can to excuse
me by him. ‘Young as she is,’ tell him, ‘and without experience of the
world, who ever could have instigated Mr. Chia Cheng to make such a
mistake as to choose her.'”

While they were still chatting, they heard people talking in the outer
apartments, and lady Feng speedily inquired who it was. P’ing Erh
entered the room to reply. “Lady Hsüeh,” she said, “has sent sister
Hsiang Ling over to ask me something; but I’ve already given her my
answer and sent her back.”

“Quite so,” interposed Chia Lien with a smile. “A short while ago I
went to look up Mrs. Hsüeh and came face to face with a young girl,
whose features were supremely perfect, and as I suspected that, in our
household, there was no such person, I asked in the course of
conversation, Mrs. Hsüeh about her, and found out eventually that this
was the young waiting-maid they had purchased on their way to the
capital, Hsiang Ling by name, and that she had after all become an
inmate of the household of that big fool Hsüeh. Since she’s had her
hair dressed as a married woman she does look so much more pre-
eminently beautiful! But that big fool Hsüeh has really brought

contamination upon her.”
“Ai!” exclaimed lady Feng, “here you are back from a trip to

Suchow and Hang Chow, where you should have seen something of
the world! and have you still an eye as envious and a heart so
covetous? Well, if you wish to bestow your love on her, there’s no
difficulty worth speaking of. I’ll take P’ing Erh over and exchange her
for her; what do you say to that? that old brother Hsüeh is also one of
those men, who, while eating what there is in the bowl, keeps an eye
on what there is in the pan! For the last year or so, as he couldn’t get
Hsiang Ling to be his, he made ever so many distressing appeals to
Mrs. Hsüeh; and Mrs. Hsüeh while esteeming Hsiang Ling’s looks,
though fine, as after all a small matter, (thought) her deportment and
conduct so far unlike those of other girls, so gentle and so demure that
almost the very daughters of masters and mistresses couldn’t attain her
standard, that she therefore went to the trouble of spreading a banquet,
and of inviting guests, and in open court, and in the legitimate course,
she gave her to him for a secondary wife. But half a month had
scarcely elapsed before he looked upon her also as a good-for-nothing
person as he did upon a large number of them! I can’t however help
feeling pity for her in my heart.”

Scarcely had she time to conclude what she had to say when a
youth, on duty at the second gate, transmitted the announcement that
Mr. Chia Cheng was in the Library waiting for Mr. Secundus. At these
words, Chia Lien speedily adjusted his clothes, and left the apartment;
and during his absence, lady Feng inquired of P’ing Erh what Mrs.
Hsüeh wanted a few minutes back, that she sent Hsiang Ling round in
such a hurry.

“What Hsiang Ling ever came?” replied P’ing Erh. “I simply made
use of her name to tell a lie for the occasion. Tell me, my lady, (what’s
come to) Wang Erh’s wife? why she’s got so bad that there’s even no
common sense left in her!” Saying this she again drew near lady
Feng’s side, and in a soft tone of voice, she continued: “That interest of
yours, my lady, she doesn’t send later, nor does she send it sooner; but
she must send it round the very moment when master Secundus is at
home! But as luck would have it, I was in the hall, so that I came
across her; otherwise, she would have walked in and told your
ladyship, and Mr. Secundus would naturally have come to know about
it! And our master would, with that frame of mind of his, have fished it
out and spent it, had the money even been at the bottom of a pan full


of oil! and were he to have heard that my lady had private means,
would he not have been still more reckless in spending? Hence it was
that, losing no time in taking the money over, I had to tell her a few
words which, who would have thought, happened to be overheard by
your ladyship; that’s why, in the presence of master Secundus, I simply
explained that Hsiang Ling had come!”

These words evoked a smile from lady Feng. “Mrs. Hsueh, I
thought to myself,” she observed, “knows very well that your Mr.
Secundus has come, and yet, regardless of propriety, she, instead (of
keeping her at home), sends some one over from her inner rooms! and
it was you after all, you vixen, playing these pranks!”

As she uttered this remark, Chia Lien walked in, and lady Feng
issued orders to serve the wine and the eatables, and husband and wife
took their seats opposite to each other; but notwithstanding that lady
Feng was very partial to drink, she nevertheless did not have the
courage to indulge her weakness, but merely partook of some to keep
him company. Chia Lien’s nurse, dame Chao, entered the room, and
Chia Lien and lady Feng promptly pressed her to have a glass of wine,
and bade her sit on the stove-couch, but dame Chao was obstinate in
her refusal. P’ing Erh and the other waiting-maids had at an early hour
placed a square stool next to the edge of the couch, where was likewise
a small footstool, and on this footstool dame Chao took a seat,
whereupon Chia Lien chose two dishes of delicacies from the table,
which he handed her to place on the square stool for her own use.

“Dame Chao,” lady Feng remarked, “couldn’t very well bite through
that, for mind it might make her teeth drop! This morning,” she
therefore asked of P’ing Erh, “I suggested that that shoulder of pork
stewed with ham was so tender as to be quite the thing to be given to
dame Chao to eat; and how is it you haven’t taken it over to her? But
go at once and tell them to warm it and bring it in! Dame Chao,” she
went on, “just you taste this Hui Ch’üan wine brought by your foster-

“I’ll drink it,” replied dame Chao, “but you, my lady, must also have
a cup: what’s there to fear? the one thing to guard against is any
excess, that’s all! But I’ve now come over, not for any wine or eatables;
on the contrary, there’s a serious matter, which I would ask your
ladyship to impress on your mind, and to show me some regard, for
this master of ours is only good to utter fine words, but when the time
(to act) does come, he forgets all about us! As I have had the good


fortune to nurse him in his infancy and to bring him up to this age, ‘I
too have grown old in years,’ I said to him, ‘and all that belong to me
are those two sons, and do look upon them with some particular
favour!’ With any one else I shouldn’t have ventured to open my
mouth, but him I anyway entreated time and again on several
occasions. His assent was of course well and good, but up to this very
moment he still withholds his help. Now besides from the heavens has
dropped such a mighty piece of good luck; and in what place will there
be no need of servants? that’s why I come to tell you, my lady, as is but
right, for were I to depend upon our master, I fear I shall even die of

Lady Feng laughed. “You’d better,” she suggested, “put those two
elder foster brothers of his both under my charge! But you’ve nursed
that foster-son from his babyhood, and don’t you yet know that
disposition of his, how that he takes his skin and flesh and sticks it,
(not on the body of a relative), but, on the contrary, on that of an
outsider and stranger? (to Chia Lien.) Which of those foster brothers
whom you have now discarded, isn’t clearly better than others? and
were you to have shown them some favour and consideration, who
would have ventured to have said ‘don’t?’ Instead of that, you confer
benefits upon thorough strangers, and all to no purpose whatever! But
these words of mine are also incorrect, eh? for those whom we regard
as strangers you, contrariwise, will treat just as if they were relatives!”

At these words every one present in the room burst out laughing;
even nurse Chao could not repress herself; and as she invoked Buddha,
—”In very truth,” she exclaimed, “in this room has sprung up a kind-
hearted person! as regards relatives and strangers, such foolish
distinctions aren’t drawn by our master; and it’s simply because he’s
full of pity and is tenderhearted that he can’t put off any one who gives
vent to a few words of entreaty, and nothing else!”

“That’s quite it!” rejoined lady Feng smiling sarcastically, “to those
whom he looks upon as relatives, he’s kindhearted, but with me and his
mother he’s as hard as steel.”

“What you say, my lady, is very considerate,” remarked nurse Chao,
“and I’m really so full of delight that I’ll have another glass of good
wine! and, if from this time forward, your ladyship will act as you
think best, I’ll have then nothing to be sorry for!”

Chia Lien did not at this juncture feel quite at his ease, but he could
do no more than feign a smile. “You people,” he said, “should leave off



talking nonsense, and bring the eatables at once and let us have our
meal, as I have still to go on the other side and see Mr. Chia Chen, to
consult with him about business.”

“To be sure you have,” ventured lady Feng, “and you shouldn’t
neglect your legitimate affairs; but what did Mr. Chia Chen tell you
when he sent for you just a while back?”

“It was about the visit (of Yuan Ch’un) to her parents,” Chia Lien

“Has after all permission for the visit been granted?” lady Feng
inquired with alacrity.

“Though not quite granted,” Chia Lien replied joyously, “it’s
nevertheless more or less an accomplished fact.”

“This is indeed evidence of the great bounty of the present
Emperor!” lady Feng observed smirkingly; “one doesn’t hear in books,
or see in plays, written from time to time, any mention of such an
instance, even so far back as the days of old!”

Dame Chao took up again the thread of the conversation. “Indeed
it’s so!” she interposed; “But I’m in very truth quite stupid from old
age, for I’ve heard every one, high and low, clamouring during these
few days, something or other about ‘Hsing Ch’in’ or no ‘Hsing Ch’in,’
but I didn’t really pay any heed to it; and now again, here’s something
more about this ‘Hsing Ch’in,’ but what’s it all about, I wonder?”

“The Emperor at present on the Throne,” explained Chia Lien,
“takes into consideration the feelings of his people. In the whole
world, there is (in his opinion), no more essential thing than filial
piety; maintaining that the feelings of father, mother, son and daughter
are indiscriminately subject to one principle, without any distinction
between honorable and mean. The present Emperor himself day and
night waits upon their majesties his Father and the Empress Dowager,
and yet cannot, in the least degree, carry out to the full his ideal of
filial piety. The secondary consorts, meritorious persons and other
inmates of the Palace, he remembered, had entered within its precincts
many years back, casting aside fathers and mothers, so how could they
not help thinking of them? Besides, the fathers and mothers, who
remain at home must long for their daughters, of whom they cannot
get even so much as a glimpse, and if, through this solicitude, they
were to contract any illness, the harmony of heaven would also be
seriously impaired, so for this reason, he memorialised the Emperor,
his father, and the Empress Dowager that every month, on the

recurrence of the second and sixth days, permission should be
accorded to the relatives of the imperial consorts to enter the palace
and make application to see their daughters. The Emperor, his father,
and Empress Dowager were, forthwith, much delighted by this
representation, and eulogised, in high terms, the piety and generosity
of the present Emperor, his regard for the will of heaven and his
research into the nature of things. Both their sacred Majesties
consequently also issued a decree to the effect: that the entrance of the
relatives of the imperial consorts into the Palace could not but interfere
with the dignity of the state, and the rules of conventional rites, but
that as the mothers and daughters could not gratify the wishes of their
hearts, Their Majesties would, after all, show a high proof of expedient
grace, and issue a special command that: ‘exclusive of the generous
bounty, by virtue of which the worthy relations of the imperial
consorts could enter the palace on the second and sixth days, any
family, having extensive accommodation and separate courts suitable
for the cantonment of the imperial body-guard, could, without any
detriment, make application to the Inner Palace, for the entrance of the
imperial chair into the private residences, to the end that the personal
feelings of relations might be gratified, and that they should
collectively enjoy the bliss of a family reunion.’ After the issue of this
decree, who did not leap from grateful joy! The father of the
honourable secondary consort Chou has now already initiated works,
in his residence, for the repairs to the separate courts necessary for the
visiting party. Wu T’ien-yu too, the father of Wu, the distinguished
consort, has likewise gone outside the city walls in search of a suitable
plot of ground; and don’t these amount to well-nigh accomplished

“O-mi-to-fu!” exclaimed dame Chao. “Is it really so? but from what
you say, our family will also be making preparations for the reception
of the eldest young lady!”

“That goes without saying,” added Chia Lien, “otherwise, for what
purpose could we be in such a stir just now?”

“It’s of course so!” interposed lady Feng smiling, “and I shall now
have an opportunity of seeing something great of the world. My
misfortune is that I’m young by several years; for had I been born
twenty or thirty years sooner, all these old people wouldn’t really be
now treating me contemptuously for not having seen the world! To
begin with, the Emperor Tai Tsu, in years gone by, imitated the old


policy of Shun, and went on a tour, giving rise to more stir than any
book could have ever produced; but I happen to be devoid of that good
fortune which could have enabled me to come in time.”

“Ai ya, ya!” ejaculated dame Chao, “such a thing is rarely met with
in a thousand years! I was old enough at that time to remember the
occurrence! Our Chia family was then at Ku Su, Yangchow and all
along that line, superintending the construction of ocean vessels, and
the repairs to the seaboard. This was the only time in which
preparations were made for the reception of the Emperor, and money
was lavished in quantities as great as the billowing waters of the sea!”

This subject once introduced, lady Feng took up the thread of the
conversation with vehemence. “Our Wang family,” she said, “did also
make preparations on one occasion. At that time my grandfather was
in sole charge of all matters connected with tribute from various states,
as well as with general levées, so that whenever any foreigners arrived,
they all came to our house to be entertained, while the whole of the
goods, brought by foreign vessels from the two Kuang provinces, from
Fukien, Yunnan and Chekiang, were the property of our family.”

“Who isn’t aware of these facts?” ventured dame Chao; “there is up
to this day a saying that, ‘in the eastern sea, there was a white jade bed
required, and the dragon prince came to request Mr. Wang of Chin
Ling (to give it to him)!’ This saying relates to your family, my lady,
and remains even now in vogue. The Chen family of Chiang Nan has
recently held, oh such a fine old standing! it alone has entertained the
Emperor on four occasions! Had we not seen these things with our
own eyes, were we to tell no matter whom, they wouldn’t surely ever
believe them! Not to speak of the money, which was as plentiful as
mud, all things, whether they were to be found in the world or not,
were they not heaped up like hills, and collected like the waters of the
sea? But with the four characters representing sin and pity they didn’t
however trouble their minds.”

“I’ve often heard,” continued lady Feng, “my eldest uncle say that
things were in such a state, and how couldn’t I believe? but what
surprises me is how it ever happened that this family attained such
opulence and honour!”

“I’ll tell your ladyship and all in one sentence,” replied nurse Chao.
“Why they simply took the Emperor’s money and spent it for the
Emperor’s person, that’s all! for what family has such a lot of money as
to indulge in this useless extravagance?”


While they were engaged in this conversation, a servant came a
second time, at the instance of madame Wang, to see whether lady
Feng had finished her meal or not; and lady Feng forthwith concluding
that there must be something waiting for her to attend to, hurriedly
rushed through her repast. She had just rinsed her mouth and was
about to start when the youths, on duty at the second gate, also
reported that the two gentlemen, Mr. Chia Jung and Mr. Chia Se,
belonging to the Eastern mansion, had arrived.

Chia Lien had, at length, rinsed his mouth; but while P’ing Erh
presented a basin for him to wash his hands, he perceived the two
young men walk in, and readily inquired of them what they had to say.

Lady Feng was, on account (of their arrival), likewise compelled to
stay, and she heard Chia Jung take the lead and observe: “My father
has sent me to tell you, uncle, that the gentlemen, have already decided
that the whole extent of ground, starting from the East side, borrowing
(for the occasion) the flower garden of the Eastern mansion, straight
up to the North West, had been measured and found to amount in all to
three and a half li; that it will be suitable for the erection of extra
accommodation for the visiting party; that they have already
commissioned an architect to draw a plan, which will be ready by to-
morrow; that as you, uncle, have just returned home, and must
unavoidably feel fatigued, you need not go over to our house, but that
if you have anything to say you should please come tomorrow
morning, as early as you can, and consult verbally with him.”

“Thank uncle warmly,” Chia Lien rejoined smilingly, “for the
trouble he has taken in thinking of me; I shall, in that case, comply
with his wishes and not go over. This plan is certainly the proper one,
for while trouble will thus be saved, the erection of the quarters will
likewise be an easy matter; for had a distinct plot to be selected and to
be purchased, it would involve far greater difficulties. What’s more,
things wouldn’t, after all, be what they properly should be. When you
get back, tell your father that this decision is the right one, and that
should the gentlemen have any further wish to introduce any change in
their proposals, it will rest entirely with my uncle to prevent them, as
it’s on no account advisable to go and cast one’s choice on some other
plot; that to-morrow as soon as it’s daylight, I’ll come and pay my
respects to uncle, when we can enter into further details in our

Chia Jung hastily signified his assent by several yes’s, and Chia Se


also came forward to deliver his message. “The mission to Ku Su,” he
explained, “to find tutors, to purchase servant girls, and to obtain
musical instruments, and theatrical properties and the like, my uncle
has confided to me; and as I’m to take along with me the two sons of a
couple of majordomos, and two companions of the family, besides,
Tan P’ing-jen and Pei Ku-hsiu, he has, for this reason, enjoined me to
come and see you, uncle.”

Upon hearing this, Chia Lien scrutinised Chia Se. “What!” he
asked, “are you able to undertake these commissions? These matters
are, it’s true, of no great moment; but there’s something more hidden in

Chia Se smiled. “The best thing I can do,” he remarked, “will be to
execute them in my novice sort of way, that’s all.”

Chia Jung was standing next to lady Feng, out of the light of the
lamp, and stealthily pulled the lapel of her dress. Lady Feng
understood the hint, and putting on a smiling expression, “You are too
full of fears!” she interposed. “Is it likely that our uncle Chen doesn’t,
after all, know better than we do what men to employ, that you again
give way to apprehensions that he isn’t up to the mark! but who are
those who are, in every respect, up to the mark? These young fellows
have grown up already to this age, and if they haven’t eaten any pork,
they have nevertheless seen a pig run. If Mr. Chen has deputed him to
go, he is simply meant to sit under the general’s standard; and do you
imagine, forsooth, that he has, in real earnest, told him to go and
bargain about the purchase money, and to interview the brokers
himself? My own idea is that (the choice) is a very good one.”

“Of course it is!” observed Chia Lien; “but it isn’t that I entertain
any wish to be factious; my only object is to devise some plan or other
for him. Whence will,” he therefore went on to ask, “the money
required for this purpose come from?”

“A little while ago the deliberations reached this point,” rejoined
Chia Se; “and Mr. Lai suggested that there was no necessity at all to
take any funds from the capital, as the Chen family, in Chiang Nan,
had still in their possession Tls. 50,000 of our money. That he would
to-morrow write a letter of advice and a draft for us to take along, and
that we should, first of all, obtain cash to the amount of Tls. 30,000,
and let the balance of Tls. 20,000 remain over, for the purchase of
painted lanterns, and coloured candles, as well as for the outlay for
every kind of portieres, banners, curtains and streamers.”




Chia Lien nodded his head. “This plan is first-rate!” he added.
“Since that be so,” observed lady Feng, as she addressed herself to

Chia Se, “I’ve two able and reliable men; and if you would take them
with you, to attend to these matters, won’t it be to your convenience?”

Chia Se forced a smile. “I was just on the point,” he rejoined, “of
asking you, aunt, for the loan of two men, so that this suggestion is a
strange coincidence.”

As he went on to ascertain what were their names, lady Feng
inquired what they were of nurse Chao. But nurse Chao had, by this
time, become quite dazed from listening to the conversation, and P’ing
Erh had to give her a push, as she smiled, before she returned to
consciousness. “The one,” she hastened to reply, “is called Chao T’ien-
liang and the other Chao T’ien-tung.”

“Whatever you do,” suggested lady Feng, “don’t forget them; but
now I’m off to look after my duties.”

With these words, she left the room, and Chia Jung promptly
followed her out, and with gentle voice he said to her: “Of whatever
you want, aunt, issue orders that a list be drawn up, and I’ll give it to
my brother to take with him, and he’ll carry out your commissions
according to the list.”

“Don’t talk nonsense!” replied lady Feng laughing; “I’ve found no
place, as yet, where I could put away all my own things; and do the
stealthy practices of you people take my fancy?”

As she uttered these words she straightway went her way.
Chia Se, at this time, likewise, asked Chia Lien: “If you want

anything (in the way of curtains), I can conveniently have them woven
for you, along with the rest, and bring them as a present to you.”

“Don’t be in such high glee!” Chia Lien urged with a grin, “you’ve
but recently been learning how to do business, and have you come first
and foremost to excel in tricks of this kind? If I require anything, I’ll of
course write and tell you, but we needn’t talk about it.”

Having finished speaking, he dismissed the two young men; and, in
quick succession, servants came to make their business reports, not
limited to three and five companies, but as Chia Lien felt exhausted, he
forthwith sent word to those on duty at the second gate not to allow
any one at all to communicate any reports, and that the whole crowd
should wait till the next day, when he would give his mind to what had
to be done.

Lady Feng did not come to retire to rest till the third watch; but

nothing need be said about the whole night.
The next morning, at an early hour, Chia Lien got up and called on

Chia She and Chia Cheng; after which, he came over to the Ning Kuo
mansion; when, in company with the old major-domos and other
servants, as well as with several old family friends and companions, he
inspected the grounds of the two mansions, and drew plans of the
palatial buildings (for the accommodation of the Imperial consort and
her escort) on her visit to her parents; deliberating at the same time, on
the subject of the works and workmen.

From this day the masons and workmen of every trade were
collected to the full number; and the articles of gold, silver, copper,
and pewter, as well as the earth, timber, tiles, and bricks, were brought
over, and carried in, in incessant supplies. In the first place, orders
were issued to the workmen to demolish the wall and towers of the
garden of Concentrated Fragrance, and extend a passage to connect in
a straight line with the large court in the East of the Jung mansion; for
the whole extent of servants’ quarters on the Eastern side of the Jung
mansion had previously been pulled down.

The two residences of Ning and Jung were, in these days, it is true,
divided by a small street, which served as a boundary line, and there
was no communication between them, but this narrow passage was
also private property, and not in any way a government street, so that
they could easily be connected, and as in the garden of Concentrated
Fragrance, there was already a stream of running water, which had
been introduced through the corner of the Northern wall, there was no
further need now of going to the trouble of bringing in another.
Although the rockeries and trees were not sufficient, the place where
Chia She lived, was an old garden of the Jung mansion, so that the
bamboos, trees, and rockeries in that compound, as well as the arbours,
railings and other such things could all be very well removed to the
front; and by these means, these two grounds, situated as they were
besides so very near to each other, could, by being thrown into one,
conduce to the saving of considerable capital and labour; for, in spite
of some deficiency, what had to be supplied did not amount to much.
And it devolved entirely upon a certain old Hu, a man of note, styled
Shan Tzu-yeh, to deliberate upon one thing after another, and to
initiate its construction.

Chia Cheng was not up to these ordinary matters, so that it fell to
Chia She, Chia Chen, Chia Lien, Lai Ta, Lai Sheng, Lin Chih-hsiao,


Wu Hsin-teng, Chan Kuang, Ch’eng Jih-hsing and several others to
allot the sites, to set things in order, (and to look after) the heaping up
of rockeries, the digging of ponds, the construction of two-storied
buildings, the erection of halls, the plantation of bamboos and the
cultivation of flowers, everything connected with the improvement of
the scenery devolving, on the other hand, upon Shan Tzu-yeh to make
provision for, and after leaving Court, he would devote such leisure
moments as he had to merely going everywhere to give a look at the
most important spots, and to consult with Chia She and the others;
after which he troubled his mind no more with anything. And as Chia
She did nothing else than stay at home and lie off, whenever any
matter turned up, trifling though it may have been as a grain of
mustard seed or a bean, Chia Chen and his associates had either to go
and report it in person or to write a memorandum of it. Or if he had
anything to say, he sent for Chia Lien, Lai Ta and others to come and
receive his instructions. Chia Jung had the sole direction of the
manufacture of the articles in gold and silver; and as for Chia Se, he
had already set out on his journey to Ku Su. Chia Chen, Lai Ta and the
rest had also to call out the roll with the names of the workmen, to
superintend the works and other duties relative thereto, which could
not be recorded by one pen alone; sufficient to say that a great bustle
and stir prevailed, but to this subject we shall not refer for a time, but
allude to Pao-yü.

As of late there were in the household concerns of this magnitude to
attend to, Chia Cheng did not come to examine him in his lessons, so
that he was, of course, in high spirits, but, as unfortunately Ch’in
Chung’s complaint became, day by day, more serious, he was at the
same time really so very distressed at heart on his account, that
enjoyment was for him out of the question.

On this day, he got up as soon as it was dawn, and having just
combed his hair and washed his face and hands, he was bent upon
going to ask dowager lady Chia to allow him to pay a visit to Ch’in
Chung, when he suddenly espied Ming Yen peep round the curtain-
wall at the second gate, and then withdraw his head. Pao-yü promptly
walked out and inquired what he was up to.

“Mr. Ch’in Chung,” observed Ming Yen, “is not well at all.”
Pao-yü at these words was quite taken aback. “It was only

yesterday,” he hastily added, “that I saw him, and he was still bright
and cheery; and how is it that he’s anything but well now?”



“I myself can’t explain,” replied Ming Yen; “but just a few minutes
ago an old man belonging to his family came over with the express
purpose of giving me the tidings.”

Upon hearing this news, Pao-yü there and then turned round and
told dowager lady Chia; and the old lady issued directions to depute
some trustworthy persons to accompany him. “Let him go,” (she said),
“and satisfy his feelings towards his fellow-scholar; but as soon as he
has done, he must come back; and don’t let him tarry too long.”

Pao-yü with hurried step left the room and came and changed his
clothes. But as on his arrival outside, the carriage had not as yet been
got ready, he fell into such a state of excitement, that he went round
and round all over the hall in quite an erratic manner. In a short while,
after pressure had been brought to bear, the carriage arrived, and
speedily mounting the vehicle, he drove up to the door of Ch’in
Chung’s house, followed by Li Kuei, Ming Yen and the other servants.
Everything was quiet. Not a soul was about. Like a hive of bees they
flocked into the house, to the astonishment of two distant aunts, and of
several male cousins of Ch’in Chung, all of whom had no time to effect
their retreat.

Ch’in Chung had, by this time, had two or three fainting fits, and
had already long ago been changed his mat. As soon as Pao-yü
realised the situation, he felt unable to repress himself from bursting
forth aloud. Li Kuei promptly reasoned with him. “You shouldn’t go on
in this way,” he urged, “you shouldn’t. It’s because Mr. Ch’in is so
weak that lying flat on the stove-couch naturally made his bones feel
uncomfortable; and that’s why he has temporarily been removed down
here to ease him a little. But if you, sir, go on in this way, will you not,
instead of doing him any good, aggravate his illness?”

At these words, Pao-yü accordingly restrained himself, and held his
tongue; and drawing near, he gazed at Ch’in Chung’s face, which was
as white as wax, while with closed eyes, he gasped for breath, rolling
about on his pillow.

“Brother Ching,” speedily exclaimed Pao-yü, “Pao-yü is here!” But
though he shouted out two or three consecutive times, Ch’in Chung did
not heed him.

“Pao-yü has come!” Pao-yü went on again to cry. But Ch’in Chung’s
spirit had already departed from his body, leaving behind only a faint
breath of superfluous air in his lungs.

He had just caught sight of a number of recording devils, holding a


warrant and carrying chains, coming to seize him, but Ch’in Chung’s
soul would on no account go along with them; and remembering how
that there was in his home no one to assume the direction of domestic
affairs, and feeling concerned that Chih Neng had as yet no home, he
consequently used hundreds of arguments in his entreaties to the
recording devils; but alas! these devils would, none of them, show him
any favour. On the contrary, they heaped invectives upon Ch’in Chung.

“You’re fortunate enough to be a man of letters,” they insinuated,
“and don’t you know the common saying that: ‘if the Prince of Hell call
upon you to die at the third watch, who can presume to retain you, a
human being, up to the fifth watch?’ In our abode, in the unseen, high
as well as low, have all alike a face made of iron, and heed not selfish
motives; unlike the mortal world, where favouritism and partiality
prevail. There exist therefore many difficulties in the way (to our
yielding to your wishes).”

While this fuss was going on, Ch’in Chung’s spirit suddenly grasped
the four words, “Pao-yü has come,” and without loss of time, it went
on again to make further urgent appeals. “Gentlemen, spiritual
deputies,” it exclaimed; “show me a little mercy and allow me to return
to make just one remark to an intimate friend of mine, and I’ll be back

“What intimate friend is this again?” the devils observed with one

“I’m not deceiving you, gentlemen,” rejoined Ch’in Chung; “it’s the
grandson of the duke of Jung Kuo, whose infant name is Pao-yü.”

The Decider of life was, at first, upon hearing these words, so
seized with dismay that he vehemently abused the devils sent on the

“I told you,” he shouted, “to let him go back for a turn; but you
would by no means comply with my words! and now do you wait until
he has summoned a man of glorious fortune and prosperous standing
to at last desist?”

When the company of devils perceived the manner of the Decider
of life, they were all likewise so seized with consternation that they
bustled with hand and feet; while with hearts also full of resentment:
“You, sir,” they replied, “were at one time such a terror, formidable as
lightning; and are you not forsooth able to listen with equanimity to
the two sounds of ‘Pao-yü?’ our humble idea is that mortal as he is, and
immortal as we are, it wouldn’t be to our credit if we feared him!”


Chapter XVII

In the Ta Kuan Garden, (Broad Vista,) the merits of Pao-yü are put to the test, by

his being told to write devices for scrolls and tablets.
Yuan Ch’un returns to the Jung Kuo mansion, on a visit to her parents, and offers

her congratulations to them on the feast of lanterns, on the fifteenth of the first

Ch’in Chung, to resume our story, departed this life, and Pao-yü
went on so unceasingly in his bitter lamentations, that Li Kuei and the
other servants had, for ever so long, an arduous task in trying to
comfort him before he desisted; but on his return home he was still
exceedingly disconsolate.

Dowager lady Chia afforded monetary assistance to the amount of
several tens of taels; and exclusive of this, she had sacrificial presents
likewise got ready. Pao-yü went and paid a visit of condolence to the
family, and after seven days the funeral and burial took place, but there
are no particulars about them which could be put on record.

Pao-yü, however, continued to mourn (his friend) from day to day,
and was incessant in his remembrance of him, but there was likewise
no help for it. Neither is it known after how many days he got over his

On this day, Chia Chen and the others came to tell Chia Cheng that
the works in the garden had all been reported as completed, and that
Mr. Chia She had already inspected them. “It only remains,” (they
said), “for you, sir, to see them; and should there possibly be anything
which is not proper, steps will be at once taken to effect the alterations,
so that the tablets and scrolls may conveniently be written.”

After Chia Cheng had listened to these words, he pondered for a
while. “These tablets and scrolls,” he remarked, “present however a
difficult task. According to the rites, we should, in order to obviate any
shortcoming, request the imperial consort to deign and compose them;
but if the honourable consort does not gaze upon the scenery with her
own eyes, it will also be difficult for her to conceive its nature and
indite upon it! And were we to wait until the arrival of her highness, to
request her to honour the grounds with a visit, before she composes the



inscriptions, such a wide landscape, with so many pavilions and
arbours, will, without one character in the way of a motto, albeit it may
abound with flowers, willows, rockeries, and streams, nevertheless in
no way be able to show off its points of beauty to advantage.”

The whole party of family companions, who stood by, smiled.
“Your views, remarkable sir,” they ventured, “are excellent; but we
have now a proposal to make. Tablets and scrolls for every locality
cannot, on any account, be dispensed with, but they could not likewise,
by any means, be determined upon for good! Were now, for the time
being, two, three or four characters fixed upon, harmonising with the
scenery, to carry out, for form’s sake, the idea, and were they
provisionally utilised as mottoes for the lanterns, tablets and scrolls,
and hung up, pending the arrival of her highness, and her visit through
the grounds, when she could be requested to decide upon the devices,
would not two exigencies be met with satisfactorily?”

“Your views are perfectly correct,” observed Chia Cheng, after he
had heard their suggestion; “and we should go to-day and have a look
at the place so as then to set to work to write the inscriptions; which, if
suitable, can readily be used; and, if unsuitable, Yü-ts’un can then be
sent for, and asked to compose fresh ones.”

The whole company smiled. “If you, sir, were to compose them to-
day,” they ventured, “they are sure to be excellent; and what need will
there be again to wait for Yü-ts’un!”

“You people are not aware,” Chia Cheng added with a smiling
countenance, “that I’ve been, even in my young days, very mediocre in
the composition of stanzas on flowers, birds, rockeries and streams;
and that now that I’m well up in years and have moreover the fatigue
and trouble of my official duties, I’ve become in literary compositions
like these, which require a light heart and gladsome mood, still more
inapt. Were I even to succeed in composing any, they will unavoidably
be so doltish and forced that they would contrariwise be instrumental
in making the flowers, trees, garden and pavilions, through their
demerits, lose in beauty, and present instead no pleasing feature.”

“This wouldn’t anyhow matter,” remonstrated all the family
companions, “for after perusing them we can all decide upon them
together, each one of us recommending those he thinks best; which if
excellent can be kept, and if faulty can be discarded; and there’s
nothing unfeasible about this!”

“This proposal is most apposite,” rejoined Chia Cheng. “What’s


more, the weather is, I rejoice, fine to-day; so let’s all go in a company
and have a look.”

Saying this, he stood up and went forward, at the head of the whole
party; while Chia Chen betook himself in advance into the garden to
let every one know of their coming. As luck would have it, Pao-yü—
for he had been these last few days thinking of Ch’in Chung and so
ceaselessly sad and wounded at heart, that dowager lady Chia had
frequently directed the servants to take him into the new garden to play
—made his entrance just at this very time, and suddenly became aware
of the arrival of Chia Chen, who said to him with a smile, “Don’t you
yet run away as fast as you can? Mr. Chia Cheng will be coming in a

At these words, Pao-yü led off his nurse and the youths, and rushed
at once out of the garden, like a streak of smoke; but as he turned a
corner, he came face to face with Chia Cheng, who was advancing
towards that direction, at the head of all the visitors; and as he had no
time to get out of the way, the only course open to him was to stand on
one side.

Chia Cheng had, of late, heard the tutor extol him by saying that he
displayed special ability in rhyming antithetical lines, and that
although he did not like to read his books, he nevertheless possessed
some depraved talents, and hence it was that he was induced at this
moment to promptly bid him follow him into the garden, with the
intent of putting him to the test.

Pao-yü could not make out what his object was, but he was
compelled to follow. As soon as they reached the garden gate, and he
caught sight of Chia Chen, standing on one side, along with several
managers: “See that the garden gate is closed for a time,” Chia Cheng
exclaimed, “for we’ll first see the outside and then go in.”

Chia Chen directed a servant to close the gate, and Chia Cheng first
looked straight ahead of him towards the gate and espied on the same
side as the main entrance a suite of five apartments. Above, the
cylindrical tiles resembled the backs of mud eels. The doors, railings,
windows, and frames were all finely carved with designs of the new
fashion, and were painted neither in vermilion nor in white colours.
The whole extent of the walls was of polished bricks of uniform
colour; while below, the white marble on the terrace and steps was
engraved with western foreign designs; and when he came to look to
the right and to the left, everything was white as snow. At the foot of


the white-washed walls, tiger-skin pebbles were, without regard to
pattern, promiscuously inserted in the earth in such a way as of their
own selves to form streaks. Nothing fell in with the custom of
gaudiness and display so much in vogue, so that he naturally felt full
of delight; and, when he forthwith asked that the gate should be
thrown open, all that met their eyes was a long stretch of verdant hills,
which shut in the view in front of them.

“What a fine hill, what a pretty hill!” exclaimed all the companions
with one voice.

“Were it not for this one hill,” Chia Cheng explained, “whatever
scenery is contained in it would clearly strike the eye, as soon as one
entered into the garden, and what pleasure would that have been?”

“Quite so,” rejoined all of them. “But without large hills and ravines
in one’s breast (liberal capacities), how could one attain such

After the conclusion of this remark, they cast a glance ahead of
them, and perceived white rugged rocks looking, either like goblins, or
resembling savage beasts, lying either crossways, or in horizontal or
upright positions; on the surface of which grew moss and lichen with
mottled hues, or parasitic plants, which screened off the light; while,
slightly visible, wound, among the rocks, a narrow pathway like the
intestines of a sheep.

“If we were now to go and stroll along by this narrow path,” Chia
Cheng suggested, “and to come out from over there on our return, we
shall have been able to see the whole grounds.”

Having finished speaking, he asked Chia Chen to lead the way; and
he himself, leaning on Pao-yü, walked into the gorge with leisurely
step. Raising his head, he suddenly beheld on the hill a block of stone,
as white as the surface of a looking-glass, in a site which was, in very
deed, suitable to be left for an inscription, as it was bound to meet the

“Gentlemen,” Chia Cheng observed, as he turned his head round
and smiled, “please look at this spot. What name will it be fit to give

When the company heard his remark, some maintained that the two
words “Heaped verdure” should be written; and others upheld that the
device should be “Embroidered Hill.” Others again suggested: “Vying
with the Hsiang Lu;” and others recommended “the small Chung Nan.”
And various kinds of names were proposed, which did not fall short of


several tens.
All the visitors had been, it must be explained, aware at an early

period of the fact that Chia Cheng meant to put Pao-yü’s ability to the
test, and for this reason they merely proposed a few combinations in
common use. But of this intention, Pao-yü himself was likewise

After listening to the suggestions, Chia Cheng forthwith turned his
head round and bade Pao-yü think of some motto.

“I’ve often heard,” Pao-yü replied, “that writers of old opine that it’s
better to quote an old saying than to compose a new one; and that an
old engraving excels in every respect an engraving of the present day.
What’s more, this place doesn’t constitute the main hill or the chief
feature of the scenery, and is really no site where any inscription
should be put, as it no more than constitutes the first step in the
inspection of the landscape. Won’t it be well to employ the exact text
of an old writer consisting of ‘a tortuous path leading to a secluded
(nook).’ This line of past days would, if inscribed, be, in fact, liberal to

After listening to the proposed line, they all sang its praise. “First-
rate! excellent!” they cried, “the natural talents of your second son,
dear friend, are lofty; his mental capacity is astute; he is unlike
ourselves, who have read books but are simple fools.”

“You shouldn’t,” urged Chia Cheng smilingly, “heap upon him
excessive praise; he’s young in years, and merely knows one thing
which he turns to the use of ten purposes; you should laugh at him,
that’s all; but we can by and by choose some device.”

As he spoke, he entered the cave, where he perceived beautiful trees
with thick foliage, quaint flowers in lustrous bloom, while a line of
limpid stream emanated out of a deep recess among the flowers and
trees, and oozed down through the crevice of the rock. Progressing
several steps further in, they gradually faced the northern side, where a
stretch of level ground extended far and wide, on each side of which
soared lofty buildings, intruding themselves into the skies, whose
carved rafters and engraved balustrades nestled entirely among the
depressions of the hills and the tops of the trees. They lowered their
eyes and looked, and beheld a pure stream flowing like jade, stone
steps traversing the clouds, a balustrade of white marble encircling the
pond in its embrace, and a stone bridge with three archways, the
animals upon which had faces disgorging water from their mouths. A



pavilion stood on the bridge, and in this pavilion Chia Chen and the
whole party went and sat.

“Gentlemen,” he inquired, “what shall we write about this?”
“In the record,” they all replied, “of the ‘Drunken Old Man’s

Pavilion,’ written in days of old by Ou Yang, appears this line: ‘There
is a pavilion pinioned-like,’ so let us call this ‘the pinioned-like
pavilion,’ and finish.”

“Pinioned-like,” observed Chia Cheng smiling, “is indeed excellent;
but this pavilion is constructed over the water, and there should, after
all, be some allusion to the water in the designation. My humble
opinion is that of the line in Ou Yang’s work, ‘(the water) drips from
between the two peaks,’ we should only make use of that single word

“First-rate!” rejoined one of the visitors, “capital! but what would
really be appropriate are the two characters ‘dripping jadelike.'”

Chia Chen pulled at his moustache, as he gave way to reflection;
after which, he asked Pao-yü to also propose one himself.

“What you, sir, suggested a while back,” replied Pao-yü, “will do
very well; but if we were now to sift the matter thoroughly, the use of
the single word ‘drip’ by Ou Yang, in his composition about the Niang
spring, would appear quite apposite; while the application, also on this
occasion, to this spring, of the character ‘drip’ would be found not quite
suitable. Moreover, seeing that this place is intended as a separate
residence (for the imperial consort), on her visit to her parents, it is
likewise imperative that we should comply with all the principles of
etiquette, so that were words of this kind to be used, they would
besides be coarse and inappropriate; and may it please you to fix upon
something else more recondite and abstruse.”

“What do you, gentlemen, think of this argument?” Chia Cheng
remarked sneeringly. “A little while ago, when the whole company
devised something original, you observed that it would be better to
quote an old device; and now that we have quoted an old motto, you
again maintain that it’s coarse and inappropriate! But you had better
give us one of yours.”

“If two characters like ‘dripping jadelike’ are to be used,” Pao-yü
explained, “it would be better then to employ the two words
‘Penetrating Fragrance,’ which would be unique and excellent,
wouldn’t they?”

Chia Cheng pulled his moustache, nodded his head and did not utter


a word; whereupon the whole party hastily pressed forward with one
voice to eulogize Pao-yü’s acquirements as extraordinary.

“The selection of two characters for the tablet is an easy matter,”
suggested Chia Cheng, “but now go on and compose a pair of
antithetical phrases with seven words in each.”

Pao-yü cast a glance round the four quarters, when an idea came
into his head, and he went on to recite:

The willows, which enclose the shore, the green borrow from three bamboos;
On banks apart, the flowers asunder grow, yet one perfume they give.

Upon hearing these lines, Chia Cheng gave a faint smile, as he
nodded his head, whilst the whole party went on again to be effusive in
their praise. But forthwith they issued from the pavilions, and crossed
the pond, contemplating with close attention each elevation, each
stone, each flower, or each tree. And as suddenly they raised their
heads, they caught sight, in front of them, of a line of white wall, of
numbers of columns, and beautiful cottages, where flourished
hundreds and thousands of verdant bamboos, which screened off the
rays of the sun.

“What a lovely place!” they one and all exclaimed.
Speedily the whole company penetrated inside, perceiving, as soon

as they had entered the gate, a zigzag arcade, below the steps of which
was a raised pathway, laid promiscuously with stones, and on the
furthest part stood a diminutive cottage with three rooms, two with
doors leading into them and one without. Everything in the interior, in
the shape of beds, teapoys, chairs and tables, were made to harmonise
with the space available. Leading out of the inner room of the cottage
was a small door from which, as they egressed, they found a back-
court with lofty pear trees in blossom and banana trees, as well as two
very small retiring back-courts. At the foot of the wall, unexpectedly
became visible an aperture where was a spring, for which a channel
had been opened scarcely a foot or so wide, to enable it to run inside
the wall. Winding round the steps, it skirted the buildings until it
reached the front court, where it coiled and curved, flowing out under
the bamboos.

“This spot,” observed Chia Cheng full of smiles, “is indeed
pleasant! and could one, on a moonlight night, sit under the window
and study, one would not spend a whole lifetime in vain!”





As he said this, he quickly cast a glance at Pao-yü, and so terrified
did Pao-yü feel that he hastily drooped his head. The whole company
lost no time in choosing some irrelevant talk to turn the conversation,
and two of the visitors prosecuted their remarks by adding that on the
tablet, in this spot, four characters should be inscribed.

“Which four characters?” Chia Cheng inquired, laughingly.
“The bequeathed aspect of the river Ch’i!” suggested one of them.
“It’s commonplace,” observed Chia Cheng.
Another person recommended “the remaining vestiges of the Chü

“This too is commonplace!” replied Chia Cheng.
“Let brother Pao-yü again propound one!” interposed Chia Chen,

who stood by.
“Before he composes any himself,” Chia Cheng continued, “his

wont is to first discuss the pros and cons of those of others; so it’s
evident that he’s an impudent fellow!”

“He’s most reasonable in his arguments,” all the visitors protested,
“and why should he be called to task?”

“Don’t humour him so much!” Chia Cheng expostulated. “I’ll put up
for to-day,” he however felt constrained to tell Pao-yü, “with your
haughty manner, and your rubbishy speech, so that after you have, to
begin with, given us your opinion, you may next compose a device.
But tell me, are there any that will do among the mottoes suggested
just now by all the gentlemen?”

“They all seem to me unsuitable!” Pao-yü did not hesitate to say by
way of reply to this question.

Chia Cheng gave a sardonic smile. “How all unsuitable?” he

“This,” continued Pao-yü, “is the first spot which her highness will
honour on her way, and there should be inscribed, so that it should be
appropriate, something commending her sacred majesty. But if a tablet
with four characters has to be used, there are likewise devices ready at
hand, written by poets of old; and what need is there to compose any

“Are forsooth the devices ‘the river Ch’i and the Chu Garden’ not
those of old authors?” insinuated Chia Cheng.

“They are too stiff,” replied Pao-yü. “Would not the four characters:
‘a phoenix comes with dignified air,’ be better?”

With clamorous unanimity the whole party shouted: “Excellent:”


and Chia Cheng nodding his head; “You beast, you beast!” he
ejaculated, “it may well be said about you that you see through a thin
tube and have no more judgment than an insect! Compose another
stanza,” he consequently bade him; and Pao-yü recited:

In the precious tripod kettle, tea is brewed, but green is still the smoke!
O’er is the game of chess by the still window, but the fingers are yet cold.

Chia Cheng shook his head. “Neither does this seem to me good!”
he said; and having concluded this remark he was leading the company
out, when just as he was about to proceed, he suddenly bethought
himself of something.

“The several courts and buildings and the teapoys, sideboards,
tables and chairs,” he added, “may be said to be provided for. But there
are still all those curtains, screens and portieres, as well as the
furniture, nicknacks and curios; and have they too all been matched to
suit the requirements of each place?”

“Of the things that have to be placed about,” Chia Chen explained, a
good number have, at an early period, been added, and of course when
the time comes everything will be suitably arranged. As for the
curtains, screens, and portieres, which have to be hung up, I heard
yesterday brother Lien say that they are not as yet complete, that when
the works were first taken in hand, the plan of each place was drawn,
the measurements accurately calculated and some one despatched to
attend to the things, and that he thought that yesterday half of them
were bound to come in.

Chia Cheng, upon hearing this explanation, readily remembered
that with all these concerns Chia Chen had nothing to do; so that he
speedily sent some one to go and call Chia Lien.

Having arrived in a short while, “How many sorts of things are
there in all?” Chia Cheng inquired of him. “Of these how many kinds
have by this time been got ready? and how many more are short?”

At this question, Chia Lien hastily produced, from the flaps of his
boot, a paper pocket-book, containing a list, which he kept inside the
tops of his boot. After perusing it and reperusing it, he made suitable
reply. “Of the hundred and twenty curtains,” he proceeded, “of stiff
spotted silks, embroidered with dragons in relief, and of the curtains
large and small, of every kind of damask silk, eighty were got
yesterday, so that there still remain forty of them to come. The two


portieres were both received yesterday; and besides these, there are the
two hundred red woollen portieres, two hundred portieres of Hsiang
Fei bamboo; two hundred door-screens of rattan, with gold streaks,
and of red lacquered bamboo; two hundred portieres of black
lacquered rattan; two hundred door-screens of variegated thread-
netting with clusters of flowers. Of each of these kinds, half have come
in, but the whole lot of them will be complete no later than autumn.
Antimacassars, table-cloths, flounces for the beds, and cushions for the
stools, there are a thousand two hundred of each, but these likewise are
ready and at hand.”

As he spoke, they proceeded outwards, but suddenly they perceived
a hill extending obliquely in such a way as to intercept the passage;
and as they wound round the curve of the hill faintly came to view a
line of yellow mud walls, the whole length of which was covered with
paddy stalks for the sake of protection, and there were several
hundreds of apricot trees in bloom, which presented the appearance of
being fire, spurted from the mouth, or russet clouds, rising in the air.
Inside this enclosure, stood several thatched cottages. Outside grew, on
the other hand, mulberry trees, elms, mallows, and silkworm oaks,
whose tender shoots and new twigs, of every hue, were allowed to
bend and to intertwine in such a way as to form two rows of green
fence. Beyond this fence and below the white mound, was a well, by
the side of which stood a well-sweep, windlass and such like articles;
the ground further down being divided into parcels, and apportioned
into fields, which, with the fine vegetables and cabbages in flower,
presented, at the first glance, the aspect of being illimitable.

“This is,” Chia Cheng observed chuckling, “the place really imbued
with a certain amount of the right principle; and laid out, though it has
been by human labour, yet when it strikes my eye, it so moves my
heart, that it cannot help arousing in me the wish to return to my native
place and become a farmer. But let us enter and rest a while.”

As he concluded these words, they were on the point of walking in,
when they unexpectedly discerned a stone, outside the trellis gate, by
the roadside, which had also been left as a place on which to inscribe a

“Were a tablet,” argued the whole company smilingly, “put up high
in a spot like this, to be filled up by and by, the rustic aspect of a farm
would in that case be completely done away with; and it will be better,
yea far better to erect this slab on the ground, as it will further make


manifest many points of beauty. But unless a motto could be composed
of the same excellence as that in Fan Shih-hu’s song on farms, it will
not be adequate to express its charms!”

“Gentlemen,” observed Chia Cheng, “please suggest something.”
“A short while back,” replied the whole company, “your son,

venerable brother, remarked that devising a new motto was not equal
to quoting an old one, and as sites of this kind have been already
exhausted by writers of days of old, wouldn’t it be as well that we
should straightway call it the ‘apricot blossom village?’ and this will do

When Chia Cheng heard this remark, he smiled and said,
addressing himself to Chia Chen: “This just reminds me that although
this place is perfect in every respect, there’s still one thing wanting in
the shape of a wine board; and you had better then have one made to-
morrow on the very same pattern as those used outside in villages; and
it needn’t be anything gaudy, but hung above the top of a tree by means
of bamboos.”

Chia Chen assented. “There’s no necessity,” he went on to explain,
“to keep any other birds in here, but only to rear a few geese, ducks,
fowls and such like; as in that case they will be in perfect keeping with
the place.”

“A splendid idea!” Chia Cheng rejoined, along with all the party.
“‘Apricot blossom village’ is really first-rate,” continued Chia

Cheng as he again addressed himself to the company; “but the only
thing is that it encroaches on the real designation of the village; and it
will be as well to wait (until her highness comes), when we can request
her to give it a name.”

“Certainly!” answered the visitors with one voice; “but now as far
as a name goes, for mere form, let us all consider what expressions
will be suitable to employ.”

Pao-yü did not however give them time to think; nor did he wait for
Chia Cheng’s permission, but suggested there and then: “In old
poetical works there’s this passage: ‘At the top of the red apricot tree
hangs the flag of an inn,’ and wouldn’t it be advisable, on this occasion,
to temporarily adopt the four words: ‘the sign on the apricot tree is

“‘Is visible’ is excellent,” suggested the whole number of them, “and
what’s more it secretly accords with the meaning implied by ‘apricot
blossom village.'”



“Were the two words ‘apricot blossom’ used for the name of the
village, they would be too commonplace and unsuitable;” added Pao-
yü with a sardonic grin, “but there’s another passage in the works of a
poet of the T’ang era: ‘By the wooden gate near the water the corn-
flower emits its fragrance;’ and why not make use of the motto ‘corn
fragrance village,’ which will be excellent?”

When the company heard his proposal, they, with still greater
vigour, unanimously combined in crying out “Capital!” as they clapped
their hands.

Chia Cheng, with one shout, interrupted their cries, “You ignorant
child of wrath!” he ejaculated; “how many old writers can you know,
and how many stanzas of ancient poetical works can you remember,
that you will have the boldness to show off in the presence of all these
experienced gentlemen? (In allowing you to give vent to) all the
nonsense you uttered my object was no other than to see whether your
brain was clear or muddled; and all for fun’s sake, that’s all; and lo,
you’ve taken things in real earnest!”

Saying this, he led the company into the interior of the hall with the
mallows. The windows were pasted with paper, and the bedsteads
made of wood, and all appearance of finery had been expunged, and
Chia Cheng’s heart was naturally much gratified; but nevertheless,
scowling angrily at Pao-yü, “What do you think of this place?” he

When the party heard this question, they all hastened to stealthily
give a nudge to Pao-yü, with the express purpose of inducing him to
say it was nice; but Pao-yü gave no ear to what they all urged. “It’s by
far below the spot,” he readily replied, “designated ‘a phoenix comes
with dignified air.'”

“You ignorant stupid thing!” exclaimed Chia Cheng at these words;
“what you simply fancy as exquisite, with that despicable reliance of
yours upon luxury and display, are two-storied buildings and painted
pillars! But how can you know anything about this aspect so pure and
unobtrusive, and this is all because of that failing of not studying your

“Sir,” hastily answered Pao-yü, “your injunctions are certainly
correct; but men of old have often made allusion to ‘natural;’ and what
is, I wonder, the import of these two characters?”

The company had perceived what a perverse mind Pao yü
possessed, and they one and all were much surprised that he should be


so silly beyond the possibility of any change; and when now they
heard the question he asked, about the two characters representing
“natural,” they, with one accord, speedily remarked, “Everything else
you understand, and how is it that on the contrary you don’t know what
‘natural’ implies? The word ‘natural’ means effected by heaven itself
and not made by human labour.”

“Well, just so,” rejoined Pao-yü; “but the farm, which is laid out in
this locality, is distinctly the handiwork of human labour; in the
distance, there are no neighbouring hamlets; near it, adjoin no wastes;
though it bears a hill, the hill is destitute of streaks; though it be close
to water, this water has no spring; above, there is no pagoda nestling in
a temple; below, there is no bridge leading to a market; it rises abrupt
and solitary, and presents no grand sight! The palm would seem to be
carried by the former spot, which is imbued with the natural principle,
and possesses the charms of nature; for, though bamboos have been
planted in it, and streams introduced, they nevertheless do no violence
to the works executed. ‘A natural landscape,’ says, an ancient author in
four words; and why? Simply because he apprehended that what was
not land, would, by forcible ways, be converted into land; and that
what was no hill would, by unnatural means, be raised into a hill. And
ingenious though these works might be in a hundred and one ways,
they cannot, after all, be in harmony.”…

But he had no time to conclude, as Chia Cheng flew into a rage.
“Drive him off,” he shouted; (but as Pao-yü) was on the point of going
out, he again cried out: “Come back! make up,” he added, “another
couplet, and if it isn’t clear, I’ll for all this give you a slap on your

Pao-yü had no alternative but to recite as follows:

A spot in which the “Ko” fibre to bleach, as the fresh tide doth swell the waters

A beauteous halo and a fragrant smell the man encompass who the cress did

Chia Cheng, after this recital, nodded his head. “This is still worse!”
he remarked, but as he reproved him, he led the company outside, and
winding past the mound, they penetrated among flowers, and wending
their steps by the willows, they touched the rocks and lingered by the
stream. Passing under the trellis with yellow roses, they went into the



shed with white roses; they crossed by the pavilion with peonies, and
walked through the garden, where the white peony grew; and entering
the court with the cinnamon roses, they reached the island of bananas.
As they meandered and zigzagged, suddenly they heard the rustling
sound of the water, as it came out from a stone cave, from the top of
which grew parasitic plants drooping downwards, while at its bottom
floated the fallen flowers.

“What a fine sight!” they all exclaimed; “what beautiful scenery!”
“Gentlemen,” observed Chia Cheng, “what name do you propose

for this place?”
“There’s no further need for deliberation,” the company rejoined;

“for this is just the very spot fit for the three words ‘Wu Ling Spring.'”
“This too is matter-of-fact!” Chia Cheng objected laughingly, “and

likewise antiquated.”
“If that won’t do,” the party smiled, “well then what about the four

characters implying ‘An old cottage of a man of the Ch’in dynasty?'”
“This is still more exceedingly plain!” interposed Pao-yü. “‘The old

cottage of a man of the Ch’in dynasty’ is meant to imply a retreat from
revolution, and how will it suit this place? Wouldn’t the four characters
be better denoting ‘an isthmus with smart weed, and a stream with

When Chia Cheng heard these words, he exclaimed: “You’re talking
still more stuff and nonsense?” and forthwith entering the grotto, Chia
Cheng went on to ask of Chia Chen, “Are there any boats or not?”

“There are to be,” replied Chia Chen, “four boats in all from which
to pick the lotus, and one boat for sitting in; but they haven’t now as
yet been completed.”

“What a pity!” Chia Cheng answered smilingly, “that we cannot go

“But we could also get into it by the tortuous path up the hill,” Chia
Chen ventured; and after finishing this remark, he walked ahead to
show the way, and the whole party went over, holding on to the
creepers, and supporting themselves by the trees, when they saw a still
larger quantity of fallen leaves on the surface of the water, and the
stream itself, still more limpid, gently and idly meandering along on its
circuitous course. By the bank of the pond were two rows of weeping
willows, which, intermingling with peach and apricot trees, screened
the heavens from view, and kept off the rays of the sun from this spot,
which was in real truth devoid of even a grain of dust.


Suddenly, they espied in the shade of the willows, an arched
wooden bridge also reveal itself to the eye, with bannisters of
vermilion colour. They crossed the bridge, and lo, all the paths lay
open before them; but their gaze was readily attracted by a brick
cottage spotless and cool-looking; whose walls were constructed of
polished bricks, of uniform colour; (whose roof was laid) with
speckless tiles; and whose enclosing walls were painted; while the
minor slopes, which branched off from the main hill, all passed along
under the walls on to the other side.

“This house, in a site like this, is perfectly destitute of any charm!”
added Chia Cheng.

And as they entered the door, abruptly appeared facing them, a
large boulder studded with holes and soaring high in the skies, which
was surrounded on all four sides by rocks of every description, and
completely, in fact, hid from view the rooms situated in the compound.
But of flowers or trees, there was not even one about; and all that was
visible were a few strange kinds of vegetation; some being of the
creeper genus, others parasitic plants, either hanging from the apex of
the hill, or inserting themselves into the base of the rocks; drooping
down even from the eaves of the house, entwining the pillars, and
closing round the stone steps. Or like green bands, they waved and
flapped; or like gold thread, they coiled and bent, either with seeds
resembling cinnabar, or with blossoms like golden olea; whose
fragrance and aroma could not be equalled by those emitted by flowers
of ordinary species.

“This is pleasant!” Chia Cheng could not refrain from saying; “the
only thing is that I don’t know very much about flowers.”

“What are here are lianas and ficus pumila!” some of the company

“How ever can the liana and the ficus have such unusual scent?”
questioned Chia Cheng.

“Indeed they aren’t!” interposed Pao-yü. “Among all these flowers,
there are also ficus and liana, but those scented ones are iris, ligularia,
and ‘Wu’ flowers; that kind consist, for the most part, of ‘Ch’ih’ flowers
and orchids; while this mostly of gold-coloured dolichos. That species
is the hypericum plant, this the ‘Yü Lu’ creeper. The red ones are, of
course, the purple rue; the green ones consist for certain, of the green
‘Chih’ plant; and, to the best of my belief, these various plants are
mentioned in the ‘Li Sao’ and ‘Wen Hsuan.’ These rare plants are, some


of them called something or other like ‘Huo Na’ and ‘Chiang Hui;’
others again are designated something like ‘Lun Tsu’ and ‘Tz’u Feng;’
while others there are whose names sound like ‘Shih Fan,’ ‘Shui Sung’
and ‘Fu Liu,’ which together with other species are to be found in the
‘Treatise about the Wu city’ by Tso T’ai-chung. There are also those
which go under the appellation of ‘Lu T’i,’ or something like that; while
there are others that are called something or other like ‘Tan Chiao,’ ‘Mi
Wu’ and ‘Feng Lien;’ reference to which is made in the ‘Treatise on the
Shu city.’ But so many years have now elapsed, and the times have so
changed (since these treatises were written), that people, being unable
to discriminate (the real names) may consequently have had to
appropriate in every case such names as suited the external aspect, so
that they may, it is quite possible, have gradually come to be called by
wrong designations.”

But he had no time to conclude; for Chia Cheng interrupted him.
“Who has ever asked you about it?” he shouted; which plunged Pao-yü
into such a fright, that he drew back, and did not venture to utter
another word.

Chia Cheng perceiving that on both sides alike were covered
passages resembling outstretched arms, forthwith continued his steps
and entered the covered way, when he caught sight, at the upper end,
of a five-roomed building, without spot or blemish, with folding blinds
extending in a connected line, and with corridors on all four sides; (a
building) which with its windows so green, and its painted walls,
excelled, in spotless elegance, the other buildings they had seen
before, to which it presented such a contrast.

Chia Cheng heaved a sigh. “If one were able,” he observed, “to boil
his tea and thrum his lyre in here, there wouldn’t even be any need for
him to burn any more incense. But the execution of this structure is so
beyond conception that you must, gentlemen, compose something nice
and original to embellish the tablet with, so as not to render such a
place of no effect!”

“There’s nothing so really pat,” suggested the company smiling; “as
‘the orchid-smell-laden breeze’ and ‘the dew-bedecked epidendrum!”

“These are indeed the only four characters,” rejoined Chia Cheng,
“that could be suitably used; but what’s to be said as far as the scroll

“I’ve thought of a couplet,” interposed one of the party, “which
you’ll all have to criticise, and put into ship-shape; its burden is this:



“The musk-like epidendrum smell enshrouds the court, where shines the sun with
oblique beams;

The iris fragrance is wafted over the isle illumined by the moon’s clear rays.”

“As far as excellence is concerned, it’s excellent,” observed the
whole party, “but the two words representing ‘with oblique beams’ are
not felicitous.”

And as some one quoted the line from an old poem:

The angelica fills the court with tears, what time the sun doth slant.

“Lugubrious, lugubrious!” expostulated the company with one

Another person then interposed. “I also have a couplet, whose
merits you, gentlemen, can weigh; it runs as follows:

“Along the three pathways doth float the Yü Hui scented breeze!
The radiant moon in the whole hall shines on the gold orchid!”

Chia Cheng tugged at his moustache and gave way to meditation.
He was just about also to suggest a stanza, when, upon suddenly
raising his head, he espied Pao-yü standing by his side, too timid to
give vent to a single sound.

“How is it,” he purposely exclaimed, “that when you should speak,
you contrariwise don’t? Is it likely that you expect some one to request
you to confer upon us the favour of your instruction?”

“In this place,” Pao-yü rejoined at these words, “there are no such
things as orchids, musk, resplendent moon or islands; and were one to
begin quoting such specimens of allusions, to scenery, two hundred
couplets could be readily given without, even then, having been able to
exhaust the supply!”

“Who presses your head down,” Chia Cheng urged, “and uses force
that you must come out with all these remarks?”

“Well, in that case,” added Pao-yü, “there are no fitter words to put
on the tablet than the four representing: ‘The fragrance pure of the
ligularia and iris.’ While the device on the scroll might be:



“Sung is the nutmeg song, but beauteous still is the sonnet!
Near the T’u Mei to sleep, makes e’en a dream with fragrance full!”

“This is,” laughed Chia Cheng sneeringly, “an imitation of the line:

“A book when it is made of plaintain leaves, the writing green is also bound to

“So that there’s nothing remarkable about it.”
“Li T’ai-po, in his work on the Phoenix Terrace,” protested the

whole party, “copied, in every point, the Huang Hua Lou. But what’s
essential is a faultless imitation. Now were we to begin to criticise
minutely the couplet just cited, we would indeed find it to be, as
compared with the line ‘A book when it is made of plantain leaves,’
still more elegant and of wider application!”

“What an idea?” observed Chia Cheng derisively.
But as he spoke, the whole party walked out; but they had not gone

very far before they caught sight of a majestic summer house, towering
high peak-like, and of a structure rising loftily with storey upon storey;
and completely locked in as they were on every side they were as
beautiful as the Jade palace. Far and wide, road upon road coiled and
wound; while the green pines swept the eaves, the jady epidendrum
encompassed the steps, the animals’ faces glistened like gold, and the
dragons’ heads shone resplendent in their variegated hues.

“This is the Main Hall,” remarked Chia Cheng; “the only word
against it is that there’s a little too much finery.”

“It should be so,” rejoined one and all, “so as to be what it’s
intended to be! The imperial consort has, it is true, an exalted
preference for economy and frugality, but her present honourable
position requires the observance of such courtesies, so that (finery) is
no fault.”

As they made these remarks and advanced on their way the while,
they perceived, just in front of them, an archway project to view,
constructed of jadelike stone; at the top of which the coils of large
dragons and the scales of small dragons were executed in perforated

“What’s the device to be for this spot?” inquired Chia Cheng.



“It should be ‘fairy land,'” suggested all of them, “so as to be

Chia Cheng nodded his head and said nothing. But as soon as Pao-
yü caught sight of this spot something was suddenly aroused in his
heart and he began to ponder within himself. “This place really
resembles something that I’ve seen somewhere or other.” But he could
not at the moment recall to mind what year, moon, or day this had

Chia Cheng bade him again propose a motto; but Pao-yü was bent
upon thinking over the details of the scenery he had seen on a former
occasion, and gave no thought whatever to this place, so that the whole
company were at a loss what construction to give to his silence, and
came simply to the conclusion that, after the bullying he had had to put
up with for ever so long, his spirits had completely vanished, his
talents become exhausted and his speech impoverished; and that if he
were harassed and pressed, he might perchance, as the result of
anxiety, contract some ailment or other, which would of course not be
a suitable issue, and they lost no time in combining together to
dissuade Chia Cheng.

“Never mind,” they said, “to-morrow will do to compose some
device; let’s drop it now.”

Chia Cheng himself was inwardly afraid lest dowager lady Chia
should be anxious, so that he hastily remarked as he forced a smile.
“You beast, there are, after all, also occasions on which you are no
good! but never mind! I’ll give you one day to do it in, and if by to-
morrow you haven’t been able to compose anything, I shall certainly
not let you off. This is the first and foremost place and you must
exercise due care in what you write.”

Saying this, he sallied out, at the head of the company, and cast
another glance at the scenery.

Indeed from the time they had entered the gate up to this stage, they
had just gone over five or six tenths of the whole ground, when it
happened again that a servant came and reported that some one had
arrived from Mr. Yü-‘ts’un’s to deliver a message. “These several
places (which remain),” Chia Cheng observed with a smile, “we have
no time to pass under inspection; but we might as well nevertheless go
out at least by that way, as we shall be able, to a certain degree, to have
a look at the general aspect.”

With these words, he showed the way for the family companions


until they reached a large bridge, with water entering under it, looking
like a curtain made of crystal. This bridge, the fact is, was the dam,
which communicated with the river outside, and from which the
stream was introduced into the grounds.

“What’s the name of this water-gate?” Chia Cheng inquired.
“This is,” replied Pao-yü, “the main stream of the Hsin Fang river,

and is therefore called the Hsin Fang water-gate.”
“Nonsense!” exclaimed Chia Cheng. “The two words Hsin Fang

must on no account be used!”
And as they speedily advanced on their way, they either came

across elegant halls, or thatched cottages; walls made of piled-up
stone, or gates fashioned of twisted plants; either a secluded nunnery
or Buddhist fane, at the foot of some hill; or some unsullied houses,
hidden in a grove, tenanted by rationalistic priestesses; either extensive
corridors and winding grottoes; or square buildings, and circular
pavilions. But Chia Cheng had not the energy to enter any of these
places, for as he had not had any rest for ever so long, his legs felt
shaky and his feet weak.

Suddenly they also discerned ahead of them a court disclose itself
to view.

“When we get there,” Chia Cheng suggested, “we must have a little
rest.” Straightway as he uttered the remark, he led them in, and
winding round the jade-green peach-trees, covered with blossom, they
passed through the bamboo fence and flower-laden hedge, which were
twisted in such a way as to form a circular, cavelike gateway, when
unexpectedly appeared before their eyes an enclosure with
whitewashed walls, in which verdant willows drooped in every

Chia Cheng entered the gateway in company with the whole party.
Along the whole length of both sides extended covered passages,
connected with each other; while in the court were laid out several
rockeries. In one quarter were planted a number of banana trees; on the
opposite stood a plant of begonia from Hsi Fu. Its appearance was like
an open umbrella. The gossamer hanging (from its branches)
resembled golden threads. The corollas (seemed) to spurt out cinnabar.

“What a beautiful flower! what a beautiful flower!” ejaculated the
whole party with one voice; “begonias are verily to be found; but
never before have we seen anything the like of this in beauty.”

“This is called the maiden begonia and is, in fact, a foreign



species,” Chia Cheng observed. “There’s a homely tradition that it is
because it emanates from the maiden kingdom that its flowers are most
prolific; but this is likewise erratic talk and devoid of common sense.”

“They are, after all,” rejoined the whole company, “so unlike others
(we have seen), that what’s said about the maiden kingdom is, we are
inclined to believe, possibly a fact.”

“I presume,” interposed Pao-yü, “that some clever bard or poet,
(perceiving) that this flower was red like cosmetic, delicate as if
propped up in sickness, and that it closely resembled the nature of a
young lady, gave it, consequently, the name of maiden! People in the
world will propagate idle tales, all of which are unavoidably treated as

“We receive (with thanks) your instructions; what excellent
explanation!” they all remarked unanimously, and as they expressed
these words, the whole company took their seats on the sofas under the

“Let’s think of some original text or other for a motto,” Chia Cheng
having suggested, one of the companions opined that the two
characters: “Banana and stork” would be felicitous; while another one
was of the idea that what would be faultless would be: “Collected
splendour and waving elegance!”

“‘Collected splendour and waving elegance’ is excellent,” Chia
Cheng observed addressing himself to the party; and Pao-yü himself,
while also extolling it as beautiful, went on to say: “There’s only one
thing however to be regretted!”

“What about regret?” the company inquired.
“In this place,” Pao-yü explained, “are set out both bananas as well

as begonias, with the intent of secretly combining in them the two
properties of red and green; and if mention of one of them be made,
and the other be omitted, (the device) won’t be good enough for

“What would you then suggest?” Chia Cheng asked.
“I would submit the four words, ‘the red (flowers) are fragrant, the

green (banana leaves) like jade,’ which would render complete the
beauties of both (the begonias and bananas).”

“It isn’t good! it isn’t good!” Chia Cheng remonstrated as he shook
his head; and while passing this remark, he conducted the party into
the house, where they noticed that the internal arrangements effected
differed from those in other places, as no partitions could, in fact, be


discerned. Indeed, the four sides were all alike covered with boards
carved hollow with fretwork, (in designs consisting) either of rolling
clouds and hundreds of bats; or of the three friends of the cold season
of the year, (fir, bamboo and almond); of scenery and human beings, or
of birds or flowers; either of clusters of decoration, or of relics of
olden times; either of ten thousand characters of happiness or of ten
thousand characters of longevity. The various kinds of designs had
been all carved by renowned hands, in variegated colours, inlaid with
gold, and studded with precious gems; while on shelf upon shelf were
either arranged collections of books, or tripods were laid out; either
pens and inkslabs were distributed about, or vases with flowers set out,
or figured pots were placed about; the designs of the shelves being
either round or square; or similar to sunflowers or banana leaves; or
like links, half overlapping each other. And in very truth they
resembled bouquets of flowers or clusters of tapestry, with all their
fretwork so transparent. Suddenly (the eye was struck) by variegated
gauzes pasted (on the wood-work), actually forming small windows;
and of a sudden by fine thin silks lightly overshadowing (the fretwork)
just as if there were, after all, secret doors. The whole walls were in
addition traced, with no regard to symmetry, with outlines of the
shapes of curios and nick-nacks in imitation of lutes, double-edged
swords, hanging bottles and the like, the whole number of which,
though (apparently) suspended on the walls, were all however on a
same level with the surface of the partition walls.

“What fine ingenuity!” they all exclaimed extollingly; “what a
labour they must have been to carry out!”

Chia Cheng had actually stepped in; but scarcely had they reached
the second stage, before the whole party readily lost sight of the way
by which they had come in. They glanced on the left, and there stood a
door, through which they could go. They cast their eyes on the right,
and there was a window which suddenly impeded their progress. They
went forward, but there again they were obstructed by a bookcase.
They turned their heads round, and there too stood windows pasted
with transparent gauze and available door-ways: but the moment they
came face to face with the door, they unexpectedly perceived that a
whole company of people had likewise walked in, just in front of
them, whose appearance resembled their own in every respect. But it
was only a mirror. And when they rounded the mirror, they detected a
still larger number of doors.


“Sir,” Chia Chen remarked with a grin; “if you’ll follow me out
through this door, we’ll forthwith get into the back-court; and once out
of the back-court, we shall be, at all events, nearer than we were

Taking the lead, he conducted Chia Cheng and the whole party
round two gauze mosquito houses, when they verily espied a door
through which they made their exit, into a court, replete with stands of
cinnamon roses. Passing round the flower-laden hedge, the only thing
that spread before their view was a pure stream impeding their
advance. The whole company was lost in admiration. “Where does this
water again issue from?” they cried.

Chia Chen pointed to a spot at a distance. “Starting originally,” he
explained, “from that water-gate, it runs as far as the mouth of that
cave, when from among the hills on the north-east side, it is introduced
into that village, where again a diverging channel has been opened and
it is made to flow in a south-westerly direction; the whole volume of
water then runs to this spot, where collecting once more in one place,
it issues, on its outward course, from beneath that wall.”

“It’s most ingenious!” they one and all exclaimed, after they had
listened to him; but, as they uttered these words, they unawares
realised that a lofty hill obstructed any further progress. The whole
party felt very hazy about the right road. But “Come along after me,”
Chia Chen smilingly urged, as he at once went ahead and showed the
way, whereupon the company followed in his steps, and as soon as
they turned round the foot of the hill, a level place and broad road lay
before them; and wide before their faces appeared the main entrance.

“This is charming! this is delightful!” the party unanimously
exclaimed, “what wits must have been ransacked, and ingenuity
attained, so as to bring things to this extreme degree of excellence!”

Forthwith the party egressed from the garden, and Pao-yü’s heart
anxiously longed for the society of the young ladies in the inner
quarters, but as he did not hear Chia Cheng bid him go, he had no help
but to follow him into the library. But suddenly Chia Cheng bethought
himself of him. “What,” he said, “you haven’t gone yet! the old lady
will I fear be anxious on your account; and is it pray that you haven’t
as yet had enough walking?”

Pao-yü at length withdrew out of the library. On his arrival in the
court, a page, who had been in attendance on Chia Cheng, at once
pressed forward, and took hold of him fast in his arms. “You’ve been



lucky enough,” he said, “to-day to have been in master’s good graces!
just a while back when our old mistress despatched servants to come
on several occasions and ask after you, we replied that master was
pleased with you; for had we given any other answer, her ladyship
would have sent to fetch you to go in, and you wouldn’t have had an
opportunity of displaying your talents. Every one admits that the
several stanzas you recently composed were superior to those of the
whole company put together; but you must, after the good luck you’ve
had to-day, give us a tip!”

“I’ll give each one of you a tiao,” Pao-yü rejoined smirkingly.
“Who of us hasn’t seen a tiao?” they all exclaimed, “let’s have that

purse of yours, and have done with it!”
Saying this, one by one advanced and proceeded to unloosen the

purse, and to unclasp the fan-case; and allowing Pao-yü no time to
make any remonstrance, they stripped him of every ornament in the
way of appendage which he carried about on his person. “Whatever we
do let’s escort him home!” they shouted, and one after another hustled
round him and accompanied him as far as dowager lady Chia’s door.

Her ladyship was at this moment awaiting his arrival, so that when
she saw him walk in, and she found out that (Chia Cheng) had not
bullied him, she felt, of course, extremely delighted. But not a long
interval elapsed before Hsi Jen came to serve the tea; and when she
perceived that on his person not one of the ornaments remained, she
consequently smiled and inquired: “Have all the things that you had on
you been again taken away by these barefaced rascals?”

As soon as Lin Tai-yü heard this remark, she crossed over to him
and saw at a glance that not one single trinket was, in fact, left. “Have
you also given them,” she felt constrained to ask, “the purse that I gave
you? Well, by and by, when you again covet anything of mine, I shan’t
let you have it.”

After uttering these words, she returned into her apartment in high
dudgeon, and taking the scented bag, which Pao-yü had asked her to
make for him, and which she had not as yet finished, she picked up a
pair of scissors, and instantly cut it to pieces.

Pao-yü noticing that she had lost her temper, came after her with
hurried step, but the bag had already been cut with the scissors; and as
Pao-yü observed how extremely fine and artistic this scented bag was,
in spite of its unfinished state, he verily deplored that it should have
been rent to pieces for no rhyme or reason. Promptly therefore


unbuttoning his coat, he produced from inside the lapel the purse,
which had been fastened there. “Look at this!” he remarked as he
handed it to Tai-yü; “what kind of thing is this! have I given away to
any one what was yours?” Lin Tai-yü, upon seeing how much he
prized it as to wear it within his clothes, became alive to the fact that it
was done with intent, as he feared lest any one should take it away;
and as this conviction made her sorry that she had been so impetuous
as to have cut the scented bag, she lowered her head and uttered not a

“There was really no need for you to have cut it,” Pao-yü observed;
“but as I know that you’re loth to give me anything, what do you say to
my returning even this purse?”

With these words, he threw the purse in her lap and walked off;
which vexed Tai-yü so much the more that, after giving way to tears,
she took up the purse in her hands to also destroy it with the scissors,
when Pao-yü precipitately turned round and snatched it from her

“My dear cousin,” he smilingly pleaded, “do spare it!” and as Tai-yü
dashed down the scissors and wiped her tears: “You needn’t,” she
urged, “be kind to me at one moment, and unkind at another; if you
wish to have a tiff, why then let’s part company!” But as she spoke, she
lost control over her temper, and, jumping on her bed, she lay with her
face turned towards the inside, and set to work drying her eyes.

Pao-yü could not refrain from approaching her. “My dear cousin,
my own cousin,” he added, “I confess my fault!”

“Go and find Pao-yü!” dowager lady Chia thereupon gave a shout
from where she was in the front apartment, and all the attendants
explained that he was in Miss Lin’s room.

“All right, that will do! that will do!” her ladyship rejoined, when
she heard this reply; “let the two cousins play together; his father kept
him a short while back under check, for ever so long, so let him have
some distraction. But the only thing is that you mustn’t allow them to
have any quarrels.” To which the servants in a body expressed their

Tai-yü, unable to put up with Pao-yü’s importunity, felt compelled
to rise. “Your object seems to be,” she remarked, “not to let me have
any rest. If it is, I’ll run away from you.” Saying which, she there and
then was making her way out, when Pao-yü protested with a face full
of smiles: “Wherever you go, I’ll follow!” and as he, at the same time,


took the purse and began to fasten it on him, Tai-yü stretched out her
hand, and snatching it away, “You say you don’t want it,” she observed,
“and now you put it on again! I’m really much ashamed on your
account!” And these words were still on her lips when with a sound of
Ch’ih, she burst out laughing.

“My dear cousin,” Pao-yü added, “to-morrow do work another
scented bag for me!”

“That too will rest upon my good pleasure,” Tai-yü rejoined.
As they conversed, they both left the room together and walked into

madame Wang’s suite of apartments, where, as luck would have it,
Pao-ch’ai was also seated.

Unusual commotion prevailed, at this time, over at madame
Wang’s, for the fact is that Chia Se had already come back from Ku Su,
where he had selected twelve young girls, and settled about an
instructor, as well as about the theatrical properties and the other
necessaries. And as Mrs. Hsüeh had by this date moved her quarters
into a separate place on the northeast side, and taken up her abode in a
secluded and quiet house, (madame Wang) had had repairs of a distinct
character executed in the Pear Fragrance Court, and then issued
directions that the instructor should train the young actresses in this
place; and casting her choice upon all the women, who had, in days of
old, received a training in singing, and who were now old matrons
with white hair, she bade them have an eye over them and keep them
in order. Which done, she enjoined Chia Se to assume the chief control
of all matters connected with the daily and monthly income and outlay,
as well as of the accounts of all articles in use of every kind and size.

Lin Chih-hsiao also came to report: “that the twelve young nuns
and Taoist girls, who had been purchased after proper selection, had all
arrived, and that the twenty newly-made Taoist coats had also been
received. That there was besides a maiden, who though devoted to
asceticism, kept her chevelure unshaved; that she was originally a
denizen of Suchow, of a family whose ancestors were also people of
letters and official status; that as from her youth up she had been
stricken with much sickness, (her parents) had purchased a good
number of substitutes (to enter the convent), but all with no relief to
her, until at last this girl herself entered the gate of abstraction when
she at once recovered. That hence it was that she grew her hair, while
she devoted herself to an ascetic life; that she was this year eighteen
years of age, and that the name given to her was Miao Yü; that her


father and mother were, at this time, already dead; that she had only by
her side, two old nurses and a young servant girl to wait upon her; that
she was most proficient in literature, and exceedingly well versed in
the classics and canons; and that she was likewise very attractive as far
as looks went; that having heard that in the city of Ch’ang-an, there
were vestiges of Kuan Yin and relics of the canons inscribed on leaves,
she followed, last year, her teacher (to the capital). She now lives,” he
said, “in the Lao Ni nunnery, outside the western gate; her teacher was
a great expert in prophetic divination, but she died in the winter of last
year, and her dying words were that as it was not suitable for (Miao
Yü) to return to her native place, she should await here, as something
in the way of a denouement was certain to turn up; and this is the
reason why she hasn’t as yet borne the coffin back to her home!”

“If such be the case,” madame Wang readily suggested, “why
shouldn’t we bring her here?”

“If we are to ask her,” Lin Chih-hsiao’s wife replied, “she’ll say that
a marquis’ family and a duke’s household are sure, in their honourable
position, to be overbearing to people; and I had rather not go.”

“As she’s the daughter of an official family,” madame Wang
continued, “she’s bound to be inclined to be somewhat proud; but what
harm is there to our sending her a written invitation to ask her to

Lin Chih-hsiao’s wife assented; and leaving the room, she made the
secretary write an invitation and then went to ask Miao Yü. The next
day servants were despatched, and carriages and sedan chairs were got
ready to go and bring her over.

What subsequently transpired is not as yet known, but, reader, listen
to the account given in the following chapter.

Chapter XVIII

His Majesty shows magnanimous bounty.
The Imperial consort Yuan pays a visit to her parents.
The happiness of a family gathering.
Pao-yü displays his polished talents.

But let us resume our story. A servant came, at this moment, to
report that for the works in course of execution, they were waiting for

Compact Anthology of

L i t e r a t u r e

The 17th and 18th Centuries


Publication and Design Editor:



Compact Anthology of World Literature: The 17th and 18th Centuries is licensed under a Creative
Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-SA 4.0) International License.

This license allows you to remix, tweak, and build upon this work, even commercially, as long as you credit
this original source for the creation and license the new creation under identical terms.

If you reuse this content elsewhere, in order to comply with the attribution requirements of the license,
please attribute the original source to the University System of Georgia.

NOTE: The above copyright license which University System of Georgia uses for their original content
does not extend to or include content which was accessed and incorporated, and which is licensed under
various other CC Licenses, such as ND licenses. Nor does it extend to or include any Special Permissions
which were granted to us by the rightsholders for our use of their content. To determine copyright status of
any content, please refer to the bibliographies and appendices for original source information to further
research specific copyright licenses.

Image Disclaimer: All images and figures in this book are believed to be (after a reasonable investigation)
either public domain or carry a compatible Creative Commons license. If you are the copyright owner of
images in this book and you have not authorized the use of your work under these terms, please contact
Corey Parson at corey.parson@ung.edu to have the content removed.

Production of this textbook was funded by a grant from Affordable Learning Georgia.


The editors of this text would like to acknowledge the invaluable
contributions, professionalism, and unfailing good humor of Corey Parson,
Managing Editor of the University of North Georgia Press. Corey patiently
provided advice on all copyright concerns, responded promptly to our questions,
verified sources for the texts included here, and managed the peer review

We would also like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Joyce Stavick, Head,
UNG English Department, and Dr. Shannon Gilstrap, Associate Head.

  • World Literature – Part 4
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Age of Reason
    Jean Baptiste Poquelin Molière (1622-1673)
    Anne Bradstreet (c.1612-1672)
    Before the Birth of One of Her Children
    By Night When Others Soundly Slept
    A Dialogue between Old England and New
    Aphra Behn (1640-1689)
    Oroonoko, or The Royal Slave
    Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)
    A Modest Proposal
    Gulliver’s Travels
    Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
    Rape of the Lock
    Eliza Haywood (1693–1756)
    François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778)
    Candide, or Optimism
    Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
    The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
    Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
    What Is Enlightenment?
    Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745-1797)
    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano
    Unit 2: Near East and Asia
    Korean Pansori
    The Song of Chunhyang
    Evliya Çelebi (1611-1682)
    Book of Travels
    Cáo Xueqín (1715 or 1724 – 1763 or 1764)
    The Story of the Stone
    Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694)
    from The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • World Literature – Part 5
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Romanticism
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
    William Blake (1757-1827)
    Songs of Innocence: The Lamb
    Songs of Innocence: The Chimney Sweeper
    Songs of Innocence: Holy Thursday
    Songs of Experience: Holy Thursday
    Songs of Experience: The Chimney Sweeper
    Songs of Experience: The Tyger
    Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
    from A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
    Olympe De Gouges (1748-1793)
    The Rights of Woman
    William Wordsworth (1770-1850)
    Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey
    from Preface to Lyrical Ballads
    Michael, a Pastoral Poem
    I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud
    Ode: Intimations of Immortality
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
    Kubla Khan
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
    To Wordsworth
    Hymn to Intellectual Beauty
    A Song: “Men of England”
    Ode to the West Wind
    from A Defence of Poetry
    John Keats (1795-1821)
    When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be
    Ode to a Nightingale
    Ode on a Grecian Urn
    Mary Shelley (1797-1851)
    Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus
    The Last Man
    Unit 2: Realism
    Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
    from Sonnets from the Portuguese
    The Cry of the Children
    Lord Walter’s Wife
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
    The Lotos-Eaters
    Robert Browning (1812-1889)
    Porphyria’s Lover
    My Last Duchess
    “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”
    Frederick Douglass (c.1818-1895)
    The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
    Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
    Song of Myself
    Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
    Crossing Brooklyn Ferry
    O Captain! My Captain!
    Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)
    A Simple Soul
    Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)
    Notes from Underground
    Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867)
    The Corpse
    Hymn to Beauty
    Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910)
    The Death of Ivan Ilych
    Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)
    A Doll’s House
    An Enemy of the People
    Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
    Because I could not stop for Death
    A bird came down the walk
    The brain is wider than the sky
    Hope is the thing with feathers
    I died for beauty, but was scarce
    I heard a fly buzz when I died
    If I can stop one heart from breaking
    My life closed twice before its close
    The soul selects her own society
    Success is counted sweetest
    There’s a certain slant of light
    Wild nights! Wild nights!
    Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)
    After Death
    Goblin Market
    “No, Thank You, John”
    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-1894)
    The Poison Tree
    Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893)
    Boule de Suif
    The Diamond Necklace
    Olive Schreiner (1855-1920)
    The Story of an African Farm
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935)
    The Yellow Wall-Paper
    Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
    The Lady with the Dog
    The Cherry Orchard
    A Doctor’s Visit
    W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
    The Lake Isle of Innisfree
    When You Are Old
    Easter 1916
    The Second Coming
    H.G. Wells (1866-1946)
    The Invisible Man
    The Island of Doctor Moreau
    The War of the Worlds

  • World Literature – Part 6
  • Introduction: How to Use this Textbook
    Unit 1: Modernism (1900-1945)
    Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
    The Cabuliwallah
    Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936)
    Six Characters in Search of an Author
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922)
    Swann’s Way
    Violetta Thurstan (1879-1978)
    Field Hospital and Flying Column
    Lu Xun (1881-1936)
    Diary of a Madman
    Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)
    A Room of One’s Own
    James Joyce (1882-1941)
    The Dead
    Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
    The Metamorphosis
    Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923)
    The Garden Party
    T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)
    The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
    Tradition and the Individual Talent
    The Waste Land
    Anna Akhmatova (1889-1996)
    Lot’s Wife
    Why Is This Century Worse…
    Ryūnosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927)
    In a Grove
    Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)
    Strange Meeting
    Anthem for Doomed Youth
    Dulce et Decorum est
    Parable of the Old Men and the Young
    William Faulkner (1897-1962)
    Barn Burning
    A Rose for Emily
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)
    Mother Courage and Her Children
    Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986)
    The Garden of Forking Paths
    Langston Hughes (1902-1967)
    The Negro Speaks of Rivers
    Theme for English B
    The Weary Blues
    Yi Sang (1910-1937)
    Phantom Illusion
    Unit 2: Postcolonial Literature
    Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949)
    The Golden Threshold
    Aimé Fernand David Césaire (1913-2008)
    from Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
    The Woman and the Flame
    Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)
    Things Fall Apart
    Cho Se-hui (1942- )
    A Little Ball Launched by a Dwarf
    The Möbius Strip
    Joy Harjo (1951- )
    Eagle Poem
    An American Sunrise
    My House Is the Red Earth
    A Poem to Get Rid of Fear
    When the World as We Knew It Ended
    Unit 3: Contemporary Literature (1955-present)
    Naguib Mahfouz (1911-2006)
    from Midaq Alley
    Yehuda Amichai (1924-2000)
    An Arab Shepherd is Searching for His Goat on Mt. Zion
    Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014)
    A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
    Derek Walcott (1930-2017)
    The Bounty
    from Omeros
    Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)
    The Haw Lantern
    The Tollund Man
    Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008)
    Identity Card
    Victim Number 18
    Hanan al-Shaykh (1945- )
    The Women’s Swimming Pool
    Salman Rushdie (1947- )
    The Perforated Sheet
    Leslie Marmon Silko (1948- )
    Yellow Woman
    Haruki Murakami (1949- )
    The Second Bakery Attack
    Jamaica Kincaid (1949- )
    Francisco X. Alarcón (1954-2016)
    “Mexican” Is Not a Noun
    To Those Who Have Lost Everything
    Yasmina Reza (1959- )
    God of Carnage

What Will You Get?

We provide professional writing services to help you score straight A’s by submitting custom written assignments that mirror your guidelines.

Premium Quality

Get result-oriented writing and never worry about grades anymore. We follow the highest quality standards to make sure that you get perfect assignments.

Experienced Writers

Our writers have experience in dealing with papers of every educational level. You can surely rely on the expertise of our qualified professionals.

On-Time Delivery

Your deadline is our threshold for success and we take it very seriously. We make sure you receive your papers before your predefined time.

24/7 Customer Support

Someone from our customer support team is always here to respond to your questions. So, hit us up if you have got any ambiguity or concern.

Complete Confidentiality

Sit back and relax while we help you out with writing your papers. We have an ultimate policy for keeping your personal and order-related details a secret.

Authentic Sources

We assure you that your document will be thoroughly checked for plagiarism and grammatical errors as we use highly authentic and licit sources.

Moneyback Guarantee

Still reluctant about placing an order? Our 100% Moneyback Guarantee backs you up on rare occasions where you aren’t satisfied with the writing.

Order Tracking

You don’t have to wait for an update for hours; you can track the progress of your order any time you want. We share the status after each step.


Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.

Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.


Trusted Partner of 9650+ Students for Writing

From brainstorming your paper's outline to perfecting its grammar, we perform every step carefully to make your paper worthy of A grade.

Preferred Writer

Hire your preferred writer anytime. Simply specify if you want your preferred expert to write your paper and we’ll make that happen.

Grammar Check Report

Get an elaborate and authentic grammar check report with your work to have the grammar goodness sealed in your document.

One Page Summary

You can purchase this feature if you want our writers to sum up your paper in the form of a concise and well-articulated summary.

Plagiarism Report

You don’t have to worry about plagiarism anymore. Get a plagiarism report to certify the uniqueness of your work.

Free Features $66FREE

  • Most Qualified Writer $10FREE
  • Plagiarism Scan Report $10FREE
  • Unlimited Revisions $08FREE
  • Paper Formatting $05FREE
  • Cover Page $05FREE
  • Referencing & Bibliography $10FREE
  • Dedicated User Area $08FREE
  • 24/7 Order Tracking $05FREE
  • Periodic Email Alerts $05FREE

Our Services

Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.

  • On-time Delivery
  • 24/7 Order Tracking
  • Access to Authentic Sources
Academic Writing

We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.

Professional Editing

We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.

Thorough Proofreading

We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.


Delegate Your Challenging Writing Tasks to Experienced Professionals

Work with ultimate peace of mind because we ensure that your academic work is our responsibility and your grades are a top concern for us!

Check Out Our Sample Work

Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality

All samples
Essay (any type)
Essay (any type)
The Value of a Nursing Degree
Undergrad. (yrs 3-4)
View this sample

It May Not Be Much, but It’s Honest Work!

Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.


Happy Clients


Words Written This Week


Ongoing Orders


Customer Satisfaction Rate

Process as Fine as Brewed Coffee

We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.

See How We Helped 9000+ Students Achieve Success


We Analyze Your Problem and Offer Customized Writing

We understand your guidelines first before delivering any writing service. You can discuss your writing needs and we will have them evaluated by our dedicated team.

  • Clear elicitation of your requirements.
  • Customized writing as per your needs.

We Mirror Your Guidelines to Deliver Quality Services

We write your papers in a standardized way. We complete your work in such a way that it turns out to be a perfect description of your guidelines.

  • Proactive analysis of your writing.
  • Active communication to understand requirements.

We Handle Your Writing Tasks to Ensure Excellent Grades

We promise you excellent grades and academic excellence that you always longed for. Our writers stay in touch with you via email.

  • Thorough research and analysis for every order.
  • Deliverance of reliable writing service to improve your grades.
Place an Order Start Chat Now

Order your essay today and save 30% with the discount code Happy