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


Page 94

PART I - CHAPTER VIII

When she heard of my joy she sent for me to come to her. Hitherto when I had visited her I had been received formally in the guest-hall, for she had been a little haughty towards us since we moved away. This time, however, she had evidently commanded the servant to lead me to the family room behind the third court.
There I found my mother-in-law seated by the table, drinking tea and waiting for me. She is a majestic old lady, very fat, with tiny feet long since inadequate for her great weight. Now if she walks so much as a single step she leans heavily on two stout slave-girls, who stand ever ready behind her chair. Her hands are small and covered with gold rings and so plump that the fingers stick out stiffly from the mound of dimpled flesh. She holds always a long pipe of polished silver, which her slaves keep filled for her and light from a twist of paper, smouldering and ready to be blown into a flame in an instant for her use.
I went to her immediately and bowed before her. She smiled so that her narrow lips disappeared into the fullness of her heavy cheeks, and then she took my hand and patted it.
" Good daughter-good daughter," she said in her husky voice. Long since her neck has disappeared in rolls of flesh, and her voice is always asthmatic.

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