Hills are heaped upon hills
And the pavilions on the pavilions.
The songs and dances are never ceasing
On the West Lake.
The warm breeze fans the drunkenness
Of the pleasure walkers.
Heaven is above,
But here we have Hang-chow and Su-chow Lakes.
But Chang carried the picture of that young girl in his soul, and had no heart for pleasure.
His companions offered him cups of wine, wondering at his melancholy; but he was far from them.
At twilight they returned, and Chang re-entered by the Ch’ien-t’ang gate, passing before the girl’s house. The window was shut. He stopped, and forced a cough; but there was no sign. He went to the end of the street, and came back again, but all was silent. Therefore he had no choice but to go away.
He returned next morning, and stayed at a shop near by to learn what he could. He was told:
“They are people called P’an. Their only daughter is sixteen years of age, and is named Eternal Life. The father has some connection with a certain powerful family which affords him protection. He lives by swindling, and everyone fears him. He is a veritable skin-pinker and bravo.”
This news made Chang a little thoughtful, but he walked on by the house nevertheless. The young girl was again at her window. They looked at each other; but there were people about, and he had to go away.
That evening, as soon as night fell, he went back. The moon was shining as brightly as the sun, and the street was empty. The youthful beauty leaned at her window, wrapped in thought and bathed in the white light. She smiled at him, and he drew from his sleeve his scarlet muslin handkerchief. He made the knot known as “union of hearts gives victory.” Rolling it in a ball, he threw it, and she adroitly caught it in two hands. Then she stooped and took off one of her little embroidered slippers. She dropped it into Chang’s waiting fingers. Enraptured with this gift, which was a pledge of love and faith, he carried it to his lips and said softly:
“Thank you; Thank you, with all my heart!”
In tones of maddening sweetness, she replied:
“Ten thousand happinesses!”
Just then a rough voice was heard within the house. She made another sign to him and closed the window. And he went home drunk through silent streets made silver by the moon. Once in his library, he examined the slipper. It was a golden lotus, so small and so light that a thousand thoughts troubled the lover. He said:
“I must find someone to arrange our meeting, or else die from an over-stressing of desire.”
Early in the morning, he put some pieces of silver in his sleeve and hastened to a little wine booth, not far from the house of P’an. He knew that he would find an old woman there, whom he often met in pleasurable places. In fact, he saw her and called to her. She at once saluted him, saying: