The amiable discussion that followed, conducted with discriminating dignity by Shen Heng and conscientious humility on the part of Cheng Lin, extended from one gong-stroke before noon until close upon the time for the evening rice. The details arrived at were that Shen Heng should deliver to Lin eight-hundred and seventy-five taels against the return of the robe. He would also press upon that person a silk purse with an onyx clasp, containing twenty-five taels, as a deliberate mark of his individual appreciation and quite apart from anything to do with the transaction on hand. All suggestions of anything other than the strictest high-mindedness were withdrawn from both sides. In order that the day should not be wholly destitute of sunshine at the Golden Abacus, Lin declared his intention of purchasing, at a price not exceeding three taels and a half, the oldest and most unattractive burial robe that the stock contained. So moved was Shen Heng by this delicate consideration that he refused to accept more than two taels and three-quarters. Moreover, he added for Lin’s acceptance a small jar of crystallized limpets.
To those short-sighted ones who profess to discover in the conduct of Cheng Lin (now an official of the seventeenth grade and drawing his quarterly sufficiency of taels in a distant province) something not absolutely honourably arranged, it is only necessary to display the ultimate end as it affected those persons in any way connected.
Wang Ho thus obtained a burial robe in which he was able to repose absolute confidence. Doubtless it would have sustained him to an advanced age had he not committed self-ending, in the ordinary way of business, a few years later.
Shen Heng soon disposed of the returned garment for two thousand taels to a person who had become prematurely wealthy owing to the distressed state of the Empire. In addition he had sold, for more than two taels, a robe which he had no real expectation of ever selling at all.
Min, made welcome at the house of Mean and Lin, removed with them to that distant province. There she found that the remuneration for burial robe embroidery was greater than she had ever obtained before. With the money thus amassed she was able to marry an official of noble rank.
The father of Cheng Lin had passed into the Upper Air many years before the incidents with which this related narrative concerns itself. He is thus in no way affected. But Lin did not neglect, in the time of his prosperity, to transmit to him frequent sacrifices of seasonable delicacies suited to his condition.