They nicknamed her rashamen (goat face), using an ugly slang word for a foreigner’s Japanese mistress; and they would pretend that she smelt like a European.
“Kusai! Kusai! (Stink! Stink!)” they would say.
The war even was used to bait Asako. Every German success was greeted with acclamation. The exploits of the Emden were loudly praised; and the tragedy of Coronel was gloated over with satisfaction.
“The Germans will win because they are brave,” said Sadako.
“The English lose too many prisoners; Japanese soldiers are never taken prisoner.”
“When the Japanese general ordered the attack on Tsingtao, the English regiment ran away!”
Cousin Sadako announced her intention of studying German.
“Nobody will speak English now,” she said. “The English are disgraced. They cannot fight.”
“I wish Japan would make war on the English,” Asako answered bitterly, “you would get such a beating that you would never boast again. Look at my husband,” she added proudly; “he is so big and strong and brave. He could pick up two or three Japanese generals like toys and knock their heads together.”
Even Mr. Fujinami Gentaro joined once or twice in these debates, and announced sententiously:
“Twenty years ago Japan defeated China and took Korea. Ten years ago we defeated Russia and took Manchuria. This year we defeat Germany and take Tsingtao. In ten years we shall defeat America and take Hawaii and the Philippines. In twenty years we shall defeat England and take India and Australia. Then we Japanese shall be the most powerful nation in the world. This is our divine mission.”
It was characteristic of the loyalty of Asako’s nature, that, although very ignorant of the war, of its causes and its vicissitudes, yet she remained fiercely true to England and the Allies, and could never accept the Japanese detachment. Above all, the thought of her husband’s danger haunted her. Waking and sleeping she could see him, sword in hand, leading his men to desperate hand-to-hand struggles, like those portrayed in the crude Japanese chromographs, which Sadako showed her to play upon her fears. Poor Asako! How she hated Japan now! How she loathed the cramped, draughty, uncomfortable life! How she feared the smiling faces and the watchful eyes, from which it seemed she never could escape!
Christmas was at hand, the season of pretty presents and good things to eat. Her last Christmas she had spent with Geoffrey on the Riviera. Lady Everington had been there. They had watched the pigeon shooting in the warm sunlight. They had gone to the opera in the evening—Madame Butterfly! Asako had imagined herself in the role of the heroine, so gentle, so faithful, waiting and waiting in her little wooden house for the big white husband—who never came. What was that? She heard the guns of his ship saluting the harbour. He was coming back to her at last—but not alone! A woman was with him, a white woman!