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


Page 35

PART I - CHAPTER II

I see myself walking slowly beside my mother into the great temple. I watch her place the incense in the urn. I kneel reverently with her before the god, and fear is cold within me.

§
I ask you, My Sister, with years like this to shape me, how have I been prepared for such a man as my husband? All my accomplishments are of no avail. I plan in secret that I will wear the blue silk coat with black buttons cunningly wrought in silver. I will place jasmine in my hair, and upon my feet the pointed black satin shoes embroidered in blue. I will greet him when he enters. But when it has all come to pass his eyes escape hastily to other things-his letters upon the table, his book. I am forgotten.
Within my heart is a writhing fear. I remember a day before my marriage. It was the day on which my mother wrote two letters swiftly with her own hand, one to my father and one to my future mother-in-law, and dispatched them in great haste by the old gate-keeper. I had never seen her so perturbed. On that day I heard the servants whisper that my betrothed wished to break our engagement because I was uneducated

Page 36

PART I - CHAPTER II

and had bound feet. I burst into tears, and the servants were frightened and swore that it was not I of whom they spoke, but of Lady Tao's fat second daughter.
Now I remember this and ponder it in great agitation. Could it have been I? Servants are ever liars! Yet I am not untaught. I have been carefully trained in all household matters and in the care of my person. As for my feet, surely no one could prefer huge, coarse ones like those of a farmer's daughter. It was not I-it cannot be I-of whom they spoke !

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