Yü-ts’un had had no idea that it was he. Hastily taking his

Yü-ts’un had had no idea that it was he. Hastily taking his hand in his, he smilingly observed, “You are, indeed, an old acquaintance!” and then pressed him to take a seat, so as to have a chat with more ease, but the Retainer would not presume to sit down.

“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.

“Now-a-days,” explained the Retainer, “those who become local officers provide themselves invariably with a secret list, in which are entered the names and surnames of the most influential and affluent gentry of note in the province.

This is in vogue in every province. Should inadvertently, at any moment, one give umbrage to persons of this status, why, not only office, but I fear even one’s life,

it would be difficult to preserve. That’s why these lists are called office-philacteries. This Hsüeh family, just a while back spoken of, how could your worship presume to provoke? This case in question affords no difficulties whatever in the way of a settlement; but the prefects, who have held office before you, have all,

by doing violence to the feelings and good name of these people, come to the end they did.”

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,

that Mr. Wang had come to pay his respects.

Yü-ts’un hastily adjusted his official clothes and hat,

and went out of the room to greet and receive the visitor.

Returning after a short while he proceeded to question the Retainer (about what he had been perusing.)

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An ill-fated girl happens to meet an ill-fated young man

An ill-fated girl happens to meet an ill-fated young man — The Hu Lu Bonze adjudicates the Hu Lu case.

Tai-yü, for we shall now return to our story, having come, along with her cousin to madame Wang’s apartments, found madame Wang discussing certain domestic occurrences with the messengers, who had arrived from her elder brother’s wife’s home, and conversing also about the case of homicide, in which the family of her mother’s sister had become involved, and other such relevant topics. Perceiving how pressing and perplexing were the matters in which madame Wang was engaged, the young ladies promptly left her apartments, and came over to the rooms of their widow sister-in-law, Mrs. Li.

This Mrs. Li had originally been the spouse of Chia Chu. Although Chu had died at an early age, he had the good fortune of leaving behind him a son, to whom the name of Chia Lan was given. He was, at this period, just in his fifth year, and had already entered school, and applied himself to books.

This Mrs. Li was also the daughter of an official of note in Chin Ling. Her father’s name was Li Shou-chung, who had, at one time, been Imperial Libationer. Among his kindred, men as well as women had all devoted themselves to poetry and letters; but ever since Li Shou-chung continued the line of succession, he readily asserted that the absence of literary attainments in his daughter was indeed a virtue, so that it soon came about that she did not apply herself in real earnest to learning; with the result that all she studied were some parts of the “Four Books for women,” and the “Memoirs of excellent women,” that all she read did not extend beyond a limited number of characters, and that all she committed to memory were the examples of these few worthy female characters of dynasties of yore;

while she attached special importance to spinning and female handiwork.

To this reason is to be assigned the name selected for her,

of Li Wan (Li, the weaver),

and the style of Kung Ts’ai (Palace Sempstress).

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As she uttered these words, she speedily took the jade over

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 in.”

“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 quiet?”

“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.

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Pao-yü, having concluded his scrutiny of her, put on a smile and

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 while.
“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,

On his return, he had already changed his hat and suit

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 shoes.

(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,

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

“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 hisobeisance.

“Go and see your mother and then come back,”

remarked her venerable ladyship;

and at once he turned round and quitted the room.

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“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 says.”

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 declined.

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The old nurses pressed Tai-yü to sit down on the stove-couch

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 chairs.

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.

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Madame Wang gave a smile, nodded her head assentingly

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 harness.

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.

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Madame Wang gave a smile, nodded her head assentingly

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 harness.

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.

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