By a certain day, they reached Ching Tu; and Yü-ts’un

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

y 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!”

When Yü-ts’un heard these remarks, he at length credited

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 comply).

“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.

“Providence and good fortune are both alike propitious!”

“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 language,—

“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.”

Lin Ju-hai appeals to his brother-in-law, Chia Cheng,

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.

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.

After hearing these remarks Yü-ts’un smiled

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 more.”

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 chat.”

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.

Tzu-hsing heaved a sigh. “Of three elderly sisters

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.”

“Quite so!” remarked Tzu-hsing; “there are now three young

“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.”

to them, you must, before you can do so with impunity

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; that’s just my idea!” replied Yü-ts’un

“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 youn

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

Through but one single, casual look Soon an exalted

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.