“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,Read More →

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 finishedRead More →

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 fa?ade 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 sittingRead More →

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,Read More →

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 MissRead More →

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 expressedRead More →

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,Read More →

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 herRead More →

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 ofRead More →

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 aRead More →