Are all women ugly? The query flashed through Geoffrey’s brain. Is the vision of Aphrodite Anadyomene an artist’s lie? Then he thought of Asako. Stripped of her gauzy nightdresses, was she like this? A shame on such imagining!
Patterson was hugging a girl on his knee. Wigram had caught hold of another. Geoffrey said—but nobody heard him,—
“It’s getting too hot for me here. I’m going.”
So he went.
His little wife was awake, and disposed to be tearful.
“Where have you been?” she asked, “You said you would only be half an hour.”
“I met Wigram,” said Geoffrey, “and I went with him to see some geisha dancing.”
“You might have taken me. Was it very pretty?”
“No, it was very ugly; you would not have cared for it at all.”
He had a hot bath, before he lay down by her side.
Momo-shiki no Omiya-bito wa Okaredo Kokoro ni norite Omoyuru imo!
Though the people of the
With its hundred towers
Riding on my heart—
(Only) my beloved Sister!
The traveller in Japan is restricted to a hard-worn road, dictated to him by Messrs. Thos. Cook and Son, and by the Tourists’ Information Bureau. This via sacra is marked by European-style hotels of varying quality, by insidious curio-shops, and by native guides, serious and profane, who classify foreigners under the two headings of Temples and Tea-houses. The lonely men-travellers are naturally supposed to have a penchant for the spurious geisha, who haunt the native restaurants; the married couples are taken to the temples, and to those merchants of antiquities, who offer the highest commission to the guides. There is always an air of petty conspiracy in the wake of every foreigner who visits the country. If he is a Japan enthusiast, he is amused by the naive ways, and accepts the conventional smile as the reflection of the heart of “the happy, little Japs.” If he hates the country, he takes it for granted that extortion and villainy will accompany his steps.
Geoffrey and Asako enjoyed immensely their introduction to Japan. The unpleasant experiences of Nagasaki were soon forgotten after their arrival at Kyoto, the ancient capital of the Mikado, where the charm of old Japan still lingers. They were happy, innocent people, devoted to each other, easily pleased, and having heaps of money to spend. They were amused with everything, with the people, with the houses, with the shops, with being stared at, with being cheated, with being dragged to the ends of the vast city only to see flowerless gardens and temples in decay.
Asako especially was entranced. The feel of the Japanese silk and the sight of bright colours and pretty patterns awoke in her a kind of ancestral memory, the craving of generations of Japanese women. She bought kimonos by the dozen, and spent hours trying them on amid a chorus of admiring chambermaids and waitresses, a chorus specially trained by the hotel management in the difficult art of admiring foreigners’ purchases.