Books > Old Books > East Wind: West Wind (1939)


Page 34

PART I - CHAPTER II

pass tiny cakes in red lacquered sweetmeat trays. My mother presides over it all with grave courtesy. The old beams have looked down upon the same scene for hundreds of years-black heads and dark eyes, rainbow silks and satins, jade and pearl and ruby hair ornaments, and turquoise and gold flashing upon slender ivory hands.
O my beloved home-O dearly beloved !
I see myself, a little solemn figure clinging to my brother's hand, standing beside the fire in the court, where the kitchen-gods are about to be burned. They have had honey put on their paper lips so that they may ascend to heaven with sweet words and forget thus to tell of the times when the servants quarrelled, and when they stole food from the bowls. We are filled with awe at the thought of the messengers to the distant unknown. We do not speak.
I see myself on the Dragon Festival, with my best feast-day gown of pink silk embroidered with plum blossoms, scarce able to wait until evening when my brother will take me to see the dragon boat upon the river.
I see the bobbling lotus lantern that my old nurse brings me at the Feast of Lanterns, laughing at my excitement when night comes, and I may light the smoky red candle within.

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