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;
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.”
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,
“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.
“Of all my daughters,” she remarked,
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 foot.
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
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.”
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,
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.