THE DAUGHTERS OF A TAOIST
TRAGEDY IN THE GARDEN
THE SoNG 0F AUTUMN
SOME CHINESE TERMS oF ADDRESS
WADQE-GILES T0 PINYIN
WoRKS OF ENGLISH BY
One morning in 1905, or the 31th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu ofQing Dynasty, two brothers set out by boat from their hometown Boa-ah, amountain hamlet in Fujian Province on the southern coast of China, for theport city of Xiamen, some sixty miles away. The boys were full of excitementand chatter, especially the younger one. Yutang was ten years old, and today, hewas taking leave of his hometown and going with his brother to study in Xiamen.They were sons of Pastor Lin Zhicheng, who was born in the poor village ofWulisha. Pastor Lin was sending his sons to free missionary schools in Xiamen.
The Pastor was not a follower of convention, so the boys did not wearqueues. Yutang was a little guy, deeply tanned, with a prominent forehead, apair of sparkling eyes, and a narrow chin. Six miles later, when the skiff cameto Xiaoxi, the boys changed to a five-sail junk, and sailed toward Zhangzhouon West River. There were paddy fields and farmhouses on either side ofthe river, and tall mountains stood behind them, clad in grey-purplishhues. Yutang thought it inexpressibly beautiful. After a day's journey, the junkwas tied up against the bank under some bamboo trees. Yutang was told to liedown, cover himself with a blanket and go to sleep.
But sleep was the last thing on the boy's mind. The boatman sitting at thejunk's stern was sucking at his pipe, and between gulps of bitter tea, tellingstories about the Empress Dowager Cixi, who ruled the court today, havingput the Emperor Guangxu under house arrest for supporting the reformersat the palace. Another junk was tied up on the opposite bank, brightly lit bylanterns. A soft breeze wafted sounds of merrymaking and music from a luteacross the water. Oh, what a beautiful scene！
When Feng came in and told of the arrangements, Mrs. Yao said the pricewas unheard-of, but there was nothing else to do. The children were excitedto learn that there were five carts to go in, and began to talk of how theywere going to pair off. Tijen wanted to ride with Silverscreen, the maid, whileboth Mulan and Mochow claimed Coral. For the children it was all fun andexcitement; and for Mulan and Mochow it was their first journey either in cartsor in canal boats, and they yearned to see Hangchow, about which they hadheard their mother and Coral speak so much.
Feng went to call on the Imperial Physician, who was a great friend of theYao family, and the Imperial Physician promised to bring him the safe conductand whatever escort he could obtain. An order from Prince Tuan would beprotection for them against both soldiers and Boxers on the way.
The business of packing seemed so much lighter after Mr. Yao said theywere to take only the summer clothing, but there was enough to keep theentire household busy the whole day, except Tijen, who continued to play inthe eastern garden with his hawk, interrupting Silverscreen at her other duties.
That evening there was a brilliant sunset, promising a hot day for themorrow. After supper the family sat in council and decided how they weregoing to divide up for the riding in the different carts.
To each one Mrs. Yao explained clearly that they were going to Tehchow totake a boat, and gave the address of their home at Hangchow-just in case any-one should get lost. Then all were told to go to bed early as they were to get upat dawn.