“Oh Geoffrey, you angel, you are so good to me.”
She clung to his neck; and he, seeing the hotel deserted and nobody about, raised her in his arms and carried her bodily upstairs to the interest and amusement of the chorus of boy sans, who had just been discussing why danna san had left okusan for so many hours that afternoon, and who and what was the Japanese gentleman who had been talking to okusan in the hall.
THE YOSHIWARA WOMEN
Kyushu dai-ichi no ume Kon-ya kimi ga tame ni hiraku. Hana no shingi wo shiran to hosseba, San-ko tsuki wo funde kitare.
The finest plum-blossom of Kyushu
This night is opening for thee.
If thou wishes to know the true character of this flower,
Come at the third hour singing in the moonlight.
Yoshiwara Popular Song.
As the result of an affecting scene with his wife, Geoffrey’s opposition to the Yoshiwara project collapsed. If everybody went to see the place, then it could not be such very Bad Form to do so.
Asako rang up Reggie; and on the next afternoon the young diplomat called for the Barringtons in a motor-car, where Miss Yae Smith was already installed. They drove through Tokyo. It was like crossing London for the space of distance covered; an immense city—yet is it a city, or merely a village preposterously overgrown?
There is no dignity in the Japanese capital, nothing secular or permanent, except that mysterious forest-land in the midst of the moats and the grey walls, where dwell the Emperor and the Spirit of the Race. It is a mongrel city, a vast congeries of native wooden huts, hastily equipped with a few modern conveniences. Drunken poles stagger down the streets, waving their cobwebs of electric wires. Rickety trams jolt past, crowded to overflowing, so crowded that humanity clings to the steps and platforms in clots, like flies clinging to some sweet surface. Thousands of little shops glitter, wink or frown at the passer-by. Many of them have western plate-glass windows and stucco fronts, hiding their savagery, like a native woman tricked out in ridiculous pomp. Some, still grimly conservative, receive the customer in their cavernous interior, and cheat his eyes in their perpetual twilight. Many of these little shops are so small that their stock-in-trade flows over on to the pavement. The toy shops, the china shops, the cake shops, the shops for women’s ribbons and hairpins seem to be trying to turn themselves inside out. Others are so reticent that nothing appears save a stretch of clean straw mats, where sulky clerks sit smoking round the hibachi (fireboxes). Then, when the eye gets accustomed to the darkness, one can see behind them the ranks of the tea-jars of Uji, or layers of dark kimono stuff.