If Jack really wanted trouble he could find it nearer home. Is n’t it like him, though, with his German education, to hunt a thing to its lair? I suppose when next I hear from him, he will have disappeared into some marmot hole at the foot of a tree in a Siberian forest.
Sada is here. A pale shadow of her former radiant self. She is in deadly fear of what Uncle has written he expects of her when she returns.
For the first few days of her visit, she was like an escaped prisoner. She played and sang with the girls. The joy of her laughter was contagious. Everybody fell a victim to her gaiety. We have been on picnics up the river in a sampan where we waded and fished, then landed on an island of bamboo and fern and cooked our dinner over a hibachi. We have had concerts, tableaux and charades, here at the school, with a big table for the stage and a silver moon and a green mosquito-net for the scenery.
In every pastime or pleasure, Sada San has been the moving spirit. Adorably girlish and winning in her innocent joy, I grow faint to think of the rude awakening.
She has talked much of Miss West and their life together; their work and simple pleasures.
To the older woman she poured out unmeasured affection, fresh and sweet. Susan made a flower garden of the girl’s heart, where, if even a tiny weed sprouted it was coaxed into a blossom. But she gave no warning of the savage storms that might come and lay the garden waste.
Well, I ’m holding a prayer-meeting a minute that the rosy ideals of the visionary teacher will hold fast when the wind begins to blow.
I found Sada one day on the bed, a crumpled heap of woe; white and shaking with tearless sobs. Anxious to shield her from the persistent friendliness of the girls, I persuaded her to come with me to the old Prince’s garden, just back of the school.
She had heard from Uncle. For the first time he definitely stated his plans. Hara, the rich man, had sent to him a proposal of marriage for Sada! Of course, said Uncle, such an offer from so prosperous and prominent a man must be accepted without hesitation. It was wonderful luck for any girl, said dear Mura, especially one of her birth. Nothing further would be done until she returned, and he wished that to be at once.
Not a suggestion of feeling or sentiment; not a word as to Sada’s wishes or rights. If these were mentioned to him, he would undoubtedly reply that the rights in the matter were all his. As to feelings, a young girl had no business with such things. His voice would be courteous, his manner of saying it would fairly puncture the air.
His letter was simply a cold business statement for the sale of the girl. When I looked at the misery in her young eyes, I could joyfully have throttled him and stamped upon him. I wished for a dentist’s grinding machine and the chance to bore a nice big hole into each one of his white, even teeth.