Daughters of Nijo_ A Romance of Japan
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
“She did not speak to the attendant while she dined, but continued to stare before her through the open shoji”
|Before the Story’s Action||13|
|I.||The Child of the Sun||25|
|II.||An Emperor’s Promise||41|
|V.||Gossip of the Court||77|
|VI.||The Princess Sado-ko||87|
|VII.||The Picture by the Artist-man||101|
|VIII.||A Sentimental Princess||113|
|XI.||A Mirror and a Photograph||163|
|XII.||Mists of Kamakura||175|
|XIII.||Daughters of Nijo||189|
|XIV.||Solution of the Gods||199|
|XVI.||A Family Council||229|
|XVII.||The New Masago||243|
|XVIII.||A Mother Blind||255|
|XIX.||Within the Palace Nijo||267|
|XX.||An Evil Omen||281|
|XXI.||“You are not Sado-ko!”||295|
|XXII.||The Coming Home of Junzo||309|
|XXIV.||A Royal Proclamation||335|
|XXV.||The Eve of a Wedding||347|
|XXVII.||A Gracious Princess at Last||377|
|XXVIII||“THE GODS KNEW BEST!”||389|
|“She did not speak to the attendant while she dined, but continued to stare before her through the open shoji”||Frontispiece|
|“A score of ripe cherries descended upon her head”||35|
|“‘Look,’ cried Sado-ko, clutching his sleeve”||143|
|Mists of Kamakura||183|
|“Then up and down the room in the long, trailing robe of Princess Sado-ko, walked, peacock-like, the maiden Masago”||217|
|“Then soft alighted on a cherry tree, and filled the air with its sweet song”||223|
|“She met his eyes, then flushed and trembled”||331|
|“Between the parted shoji, she stood like one uncertain”||365|
BEFORE THE STORY’S ACTION
IN the early part of the year of the Restorationthere lived within the Province ofEchizen a young farmer named YamadaKwacho. Although he belonged only to theagricultural class, he was known and honoredthroughout the entire province, for at one timehe had saved the life of the Daimio of theprovince, the powerful Lord of Echizen, premierto the shogunate.
In spite of the favor of the Daimio of theprovince, Yamada Kwacho made no effort torise above the class to which he had been born.Satisfied with his estate, he was proud of hissimple and honest calling. So the Lord ofEchizen, having no opportunity of repaying theyoung farmer for his service, contented himselfperforce with a promise that if at any timeYamada Kwacho should require his aid, hewould not fail him.
Kwacho, therefore, lived happily in theknowledge of his prince’s favor; and since hepossessed an excellent little farm which yieldedhim a comfortable living, he had few cares.
He had reached the age of twenty-five yearsbefore he began to cast about him for a wife.Because of his renown in the province, Kwachomight have chosen a maiden of much higherrank than his own; but, being of a sensiblemind and nature, he sought a bride within hisown class. He found her in the person of littleOhano, the daughter of a neighboring farmer.She was as plump, rosy, and pretty as is possiblefor a Japanese maiden. Moreover, shewas docile and gentle by temperament, and hadall the admirable domestic virtues attractive tothe eye of a youth of the character of YamadaKwacho.
Though their courtship was brief, their weddingwas splendid, for the Prince of Echizenhimself bestowed upon them gifts with allgood wishes and congratulations. Life seemedto bear a more joyous aspect to Kwacho. Hewent about his work whistling and singing.All his field-hands and coolies knew him forthe kindest of masters.
The young couple had not been married amonth, when a great prince, a member of thereigning house, visited the Lord of Echizen inhis province. Report had it that this royalprince was in reality an emissary from theEmperor, for at this time the country wastorn with the dissensions of Imperialist andBakufu. It was well known that the Daimioof Echizen owed his office of shogunate premierto the Mikado himself, and that he wassecretly in sympathy with the Imperialists.Consequently there were great banquets andentertainments given in the Province of Echizenwhen a prince of the royal family condescendedto visit the Mikado’s vassal, theDaimio of Echizen. The whole provincewore a gala aspect, and the streets of theprincipal cities were constantly enlivened bythe passing parades and cortèges of the retainersof the visiting prince.
Owing to the presence of his august guest,the Lord of Echizen was obliged to send acourier to Yedo with proper apologies for notpresenting himself before the Shogun at thistime. He showed his confidence in Kwachoby bestowing upon him the honor of thisimportant mission.
The young farmer, while naturally loathto leave his young bride of a month, yet,mindful of the great honor, started at oncefor the Shogun’s capital. Thus Ohano wasleft at home alone.
Being but fifteen years old, she was fondof gayety, of music and dancing, and it washer dearest wish to visit the capital city ofthe province, that she might see the gorgeousparade of the nobles. With her husbandgone, however, she was forced to deny herselfthis pleasure, and had to remain at homein seclusion under the charge of an elderlybut foolish maid. Ohano became lonely andrestless. She wearied of sitting in the house,thinking of Kwacho; and it was tiresome,too, to wander about the farm fields andwatch the coolies and laborers. Ohano pinedfor a little of that excitement so precious toher butterfly heart. Much thought of thecapital gayeties, and much conversation withthe foolish maid, finally wrought a result.
Ohano would put on her prettiest andgayest of gowns to visit the capital alone,just as though she were a maiden and not amatron who should have had the companyof her husband.
As the city was not a great distance away,they could use a comfortable kurumma whichwould hold them both. Four of the fieldcoolies could be spared as kurumma carriers.In delight the foolish maid dressed her mistress,by this time all rosy with pleasurableexcitement and anticipation. The adventurepleased them both, though the foolish mistressassured the foolish maid repeatedly thatthey would go but to the edge of the city.Thus they could see the great parade of theroyal prince pass out of the city gates, forthis was the day on which the prince was toleave Echizen and return to Kyoto. All hissplendid retinue would accompany him. Itwas only once in a lifetime one was affordedthe opportunity of such a sight, Ohanodeclared.
They started from the farm gleefully. Allthe way mistress and maid chatted and laughedin enjoyment. Before they had reached theedge of the city a countryman told them theroyal cortège was even then passing throughthe city gates, and that they must leave theroad in haste, for the parade would reach theirportion