“’This person has observed every variety of practical humility in the course of his life,’ replied Quen with commendable dignity, ’yet he now finds himself totally unable to overcome an inward repugnance to the thought of perpetuating his honoured name and race through the medium of any low-priced maiden. To this end has he decided.’
“Those who were well acquainted with Ah-Ping in matters of commerce did not hesitate to declare that his great wealth had been acquired by his consistent habit of forming an opinion quickly while others hesitated. On the occasion in question he only engaged his mind with the opposing circumstances for a few moments before he definitely fixed upon the course which he should pursue.
“‘Quen-Ki-Tong,’ he said, with an evident intermingling of many very conflicting emotions, ’retain to the end this well-merited reputation for unaffected honourableness which you have so fittingly earned. Few in the entire Empire, with powers so versatilely pointing to an eminent position in any chosen direction, would have been content to pass their lives in an unremunerative existence devoted to actions of charity. Had you selected an entirely different manner of living, this person has every confidence that he, and many others in Lu-kwo, would by this time be experiencing a very ignoble poverty. For this reason he will make it his most prominent ambition to hasten the realization of the amiable hopes expressed both by Liao and by Ts’ain, concerning their future relationship. In this, indeed, he himself will be more than exceptionally fortunate should the former one prove to possess even a portion of the clear-sighted sagaciousness exhibited by his engaging father.’
by A musician of Lu-kwo, on
occasion of the wedding ceremony of
Liao and Ts’ain
“Bright hued is the morning, the dark clouds have fallen;
At the mere waving of Quen’s virtuous hands they melted away.
Happy is Liao in the possession of so accomplished a parent,
Happy also is Quen to have so discriminating a son.
“The two persons in question
sit, side by side, upon an
Listening to the well-expressed compliments of those who pass to
From time to time their eyes meet, and glances of a very
significant amusement pass between them;
Can it be that on so ceremonious an occasion they are recalling
events of a gravity-removing nature?
“The gentle and rainbow-like Ts’ain
has already arrived,
With the graceful motion of a silver carp gliding through a screen
of rushes, she moves among those who are assembled.
On the brow of her somewhat contentious father there rests the
shadow of an ill-repressed sorrow;
Doubtless the frequently-misjudged Ah-Ping is thinking of his
lonely hearth, now that he is for ever parted from that which
he holds most precious.