Yü-ts’un drooped his head for a considerable time.
“What is there in your idea to be done?” he at length inquired.
“What is there in your idea to be done?” he at length inquired.
“And yet,” remarked the Retainer, as he laughed coldly, “this is a person to whom you are indebted for great obligations; for she is no one else than the daughter of Mr. Chen, who lived next door to the Hu Lu temple. Her infant name is ‘Ying Lien.’”
without any explanation. You have to bear suspense only for two or three days,
honour all. For support and protection, they all have those to take care of their interests! Now this Hsüeh, who is charged with homicide, is indeed the Hsüeh
implied by ‘in a plenteous year, (Hsüeh,) snow, is very plentiful.’ In fact, not only has he these three families to rely upon, but his (father’s) old friends, and his own
relatives and friends are both to be found in the capital, as well as abroad in the provinces; and they are, what is more, not few in number. Who is it then that your Worship purposes having arrested?”
When Yü-ts’un had heard these remarks, he forthwith put on a smile and inquired of the Retainer, “If what you say be true, how is then this lawsuit to be settled?
Are you also perchance well aware of the place of retreat of this homicide?”
“I don’t deceive your Worship,” the Retainer ventured smiling, “when I say that not only do I know the hiding-place of this homicide, but that I also am acquainted with the man who kidnapped and sold the girl; I likewise knew full well the poor
devil and buyer, now deceased. But wait, and I’ll tell your worship all, with full details. This person, who succumbed to the assault, was the son of a minor gentry. His name was Feng Yüan. His father and mother are both deceased, and he has likewise no brothers. He looked after some scanty property in order to eke
“Friendships,” Yü-ts’un remarked, putting on a smiling expression, “contracted in poor circumstances should not be forgotten! This is a private room; so that if you sat down, what would it matter?”
The Retainer thereupon craved permission to take a seat, and sat down gingerly, all awry.
“Why did you, a short while back,” Yü-ts’un inquired, “not allow me to issue the warrants?”
“Your illustrious office,” replied the Retainer, “has brought your worship here, and is it likely you have not transcribed some philactery of your post in this province!”
“What is an office-philactery?” asked Yü-ts’un with alacrity.
As he uttered these words, he produced, from inside a purse which he had handy, a transcribed office-philactery, which he handed over to Yü-ts’un; who upon perusal, found it full of trite and unpolished expressions of public opinion, with regard to the leading clans and notable official families in that particular district. They ran as follows:
The “Chia” family is not “chia,” a myth; white jade form the Halls; gold compose their horses! The “A Fang” Palace is three hundred li in extent, but is no fit residence for a “Shih” of Chin Ling. The eastern seas lack white jade beds, and the “Lung Wang,” king of the Dragons, has come to ask for one of the Chin Ling Wang, (Mr. Wang of Chin Ling.) In a plenteous year, snow, (Hsüeh,) is very plentiful; their pearls and gems are like sand, their gold like iron.
Scarcely had Yü-ts’un done reading, when suddenly was heard the announcement, communicated by the beating of a gong,
“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
Addled his brain that nothing he could see;
A dunce! to read essays so loth to be!
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?”
Her gait resembled a frail willow,
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
“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;
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?”
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,
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
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
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.
Yü-ts’un accepted the suggestion, and parted from his companion.