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DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She did not speak to the attendant while she dined, but
continued to stare before her through the open shoji "
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
A ROMANCE OF JAPAN
AUTHOR OF "A JAPANESE NIGHTINGALE," "THE WOOING OF
WISTARIA," "THE HEART OF HYACINTH," ETa
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND DECORATIONS
BY KlYOKICHI SANO
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., Ltd.
All rights reserved
and published April, 1904. Reprinted
J. S. CoBhing & Co. — Berwick & Smith Co.
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.
Before the Story* s Action
The Child of the Sun .
An Emperor's Promise
Gossip of the Court .
The Princess Sado-ko .
The Picture by the Artist-mai
A Sentimental Princess
A Mirror and a Photograph
Mists of Kamakura
Daughters of Nijo
Solution of the Gods .
A Family Council
The New Masago
A Mother Blind .
Within the Palace Nijo
An Evil Omen .
" You are not Sado-ko ! " .
The Coming Home of Junzo
A Royal Proclamation .
The Eve of a Wedding
A Gracious Princess at Last . •
"The Gods knewr Best !»' .
** 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 un-
certain " ....... 365
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Daughters of Nijo
BEFORE THE STORY'S ACTION
IN the early part of the year of the Restora-
tion there lived within the Province of
Echizen a young farmer named Yamada
Kwacho. Although he belonged only to the
agricultural class, he was known and honored
throughout the entire province, for at one time
he had saved the life of the Daimio of the
province, the powerful Lord of Echizen, pre-
mier to the shogunate.
In spite of the favor of the Daimio of the
province, Yamada Kwacho made no effort to
rise above the class to which he had been born.
Satisfied with his estate, he was proud of his
simple and honest caUing. So the Lord of
Echizen, having no opportunity of repaying the
young farmer for his service, contented himself
perforce with a promise that if at any time
14 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Yamada Kwacho should require his aid, he
would not fail him.
Kwacho, therefore, lived happily in the
knowledge of his prince's favor; and since he
possessed an excellent little farm which yielded
him a comfortable living, he had few cares.
He had reached the age of twenty-five years
before he began to cast about him for a wife.
Because of his renown in the province, Kwacho
might have chosen a maiden of much higher
rank than his own ; but, being of a sensible
mind and nature, he sought a bride within his
own class. He found her in the person of little
Ohano, the daughter of a neighboring farmer.
She was as plump, rosy, and pretty as is pos-
sible for a Japanese maiden. Moreover, she
was docile and gentle by temperament, and had
all the admirable domestic virtues attractive to
the eye of a youth of the character of Yamada
Though their courtship was brief, their wed-
ding was splendid, for the Prince of Echizen
himself bestowed upon them gifts with all
good wishes and congratulations. Life seemed
BEFORE THE STORY'S ACTION 15
to bear a more joyous aspect to Kwacho. He
went about his work whistling and singing.
All his field-hands and coolies knew him for
the kindest of masters.
The young couple had not been married a
month, when a great prince, a member of the
reigning house, visited the Lord of Echizen in
his province. Report had it that this royal
prince was in reality an emissary from the
Emperor, for at this time the country was
torn with the dissensions of Imperialist and
Bakufu. It was well known that the Daimio
of Echizen owed his office of shogunate pre-
mier to the Mikado himself, and that he was
secretly in sympathy with the Imperialists.
Consequently there were great banquets and
entertainments given in the Province of Echi-
zen v/hen a prince of the royal family con-
descended to visit the Mikado's vassal, the
Daimio of Echizen. The whole province
wore a gala aspect, and the streets of the
principal cities were constantly enhvened by
the passing parades and corteges of the re-
tainers of the visiting prince.
i6 DAUGHTERS OP^ NIJO
Owing to the presence of his august guest,
the Lord of Echizen was obliged to send a
courier to Yedo with proper apologies for not
presenting himself before the Shogun at this
time. He showed his confidence in Kwacho
by bestowing upon him the honor of this
The young farmer, while naturally loath
to leave his young bride of a month, yet,
mindful of the great honor, started at once
for the Shogun*s capital. Thus Ohano was
left at home alone.
Being but fifteen years old, she was fond
of gayety, of music and dancing, and it was
her dearest wish to visit the capital city of
the province, that she might see the gorgeous
parade of the nobles. With her husband
gone, however, she was forced to deny her-
self this pleasure, and had to remain at home
in seclusion under the charge of an elderly
but foolish maid. Ohano became lonely and
restless. She wearied of sitting in the house,
thinking of Kwacho; and it was tiresome,
too, to wander about the farm fields and
BEFORE THE STORY'S ACTION 17
watch the cooHes and laborers. Ohano pined
for a little of that excitement so precious to
her butterfly heart. Much thought of the
capital gayeties, and much conversation with
the foolish maid, finally wrought a result.
Ohano would put on her prettiest and
gayest of gowns to visit the capital alone,
just as though she were a maiden and not a
matron who should have had the company
of her husband.
As the city was not a great distance away,
they could use a comfortable kurumma which
would hold them both. Four of the field
coolies could be spared as kurumma carriers.
In delight the foolish maid dressed her mis-
tress, by this time all rosy with pleasurable
excitement and anticipation. The adventure
pleased them both, though the foolish mis-
tress assured the foolish maid repeatedly that
they would go but to the edge of the city.
Thus they could see the great parade of the
royal prince pass out of the city gates, for
this was the day on which the prince was to
leave Echizen and return to Kyoto. All his
i8 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
splendid retinue would accompany him. It
was only once in a lifetime one was afforded
the opportunity of such a sight, Ohano
They started from the farm gleefully. All
the way mistress and maid chatted and laughed
in enjoyment. Before they had reached the
edge of the city a countryman told them the
royal cortege was even then passing through
the city gates, and that they must leave the
road in haste, for the parade would reach their
portion of the highway in a few minutes.
The foolish maid suggested that they
alight from the kurumma, that they might
have a still better view of the parade. So
after the maid the rosy-cheeked little bride,
with her eyes dancing and shining, her red
lips apart, her childish face all gleaming with
pleased curiosity, swung lightly to the ground
They were just in time, for the royal parade
had taken the road, and the outriders were
already in view, so that the kurumma carriers
were forced to drag their vehicle aside and
BEFORE THE STORY'S ACTION 19
fall upon their faces in the dust. The foolish
maid, following their example, hid her face on
the ground so that she lost sight of that
she had come far to see. Ghano, however,
less agitated than her servants, instead of pros-
trating herself at the side of the road, retired
to a little bluff near the roadside. She
thought she was far enough from the high-
way to be unseen; but as she happened to be
standing on a sloping elevation, and her gay
dress made a bright spot of color against the
landscape, she was perfectly visible to such of
the cortege as chanced to look in her direction.
Very slowly and leisurely the train pro-
ceeded. Nobles, samurai, vassals, retainers,
attendants, the personal train of each principal
samurai, prancing horses, lacquered litters, nori-
monos, bearing the wives and concubines of
the princely staff, banners and streamers and
glittering breastplates, all these filed slowly by
and dazzled the eyes of the little rustic Ohano.
Then suddenly she felt her knees become
weak, hands trembled, while a great flame
rushed to her giddy little head. She became
20 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
conscious of the fact that the train had sud-
denly halted, and that the bamboo hangings
of a gilded norimon had parted. As the cur-
tains of the norimon were slowly lifted, the six
stout-legged retainers carrying the vehicle came
to a standstill, while one of them, apparently
receiving an order, deftly drew the hangings
from side to side, revealing the personage
within. The norimon*s occupant had raised
himself lazily on his elbow and turned about
sidewise in his carriage. His eyes were lan-
guorous and sleepy, slow and sensuous in their
glance. They looked out now over the heads
of the retainers, upward toward the small bluff
upon which stood Ohano.
For some reason, perhaps because she saw
something warmer than menace in the eyes of
this indolent individual, Ohano smiled half
unconsciously. Her little white teeth gleamed
between her rosy lips. She appeared very
bewitching as she stood there in her flowered
gown in the sunlight.
A moment later something extraordinary
happened to Ohano. She knew that stout
BEFORE THE STORY'S ACTION 21
arms had seized her, that her eyes were sud-
denly bound with linen, and then that she was
lifted from her feet. Her giddy senses reeled
to a dizzy unconsciousness.
When next she opened her eyes, she found
that all was darkness about her. Conscious-
ness came to her very slowly. She knew from
the swaying movement of what seemed the
soft couch upon which she lay that she was
being carried somewhere. Ohano put out a
fearful little hand, and it touched — a face !
At that she sat up crying out in fright. Then
the person who lay beside her stretched out
hands toward her, and she was suddenly drawn
down into his arms. He whispered in her
ear, and his voice was like that of one speak-
ing to her in a dream.
" Fear nothing, little dove. You are safe
with me in my norimon. But to see you was
to desire you. Do not tremble so. You will
appreciate the honor I have done you, when
you realize it. You shall be the favorite con-
cubine of the Prince of Nijo, and never a wish
of your heart or eyes shall be denied by me."
22 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She could not stir, so close he held her.
" It is so dark/' she cried breathlessly, " and
I am afraid. O-O-most h-h-honorable prince.'*
"It is night, pretty dove ; but if I part the
curtains of my norimon, the august moon will
lend us joyful light. Will you then cease to
tremble and to fear me ? "
She began to sob weakly, and through her
childish brain just then filtered the vague
thought of Kwacho. She was like one en-
meshed in a dream nightmare. He who lay
beside her laughed softly, and sought to wipe
away her tears with his sensuous lips.
" Tears are for the sad and homely. Never
for the Jewel of Nijo ! Well, with his own
august lips he wipes them away from the pretty
dove's face. So and so ! "
Yamada Kwacho returned to Echizen one
week later. As became a bridegroom, the
young husband had gone first to his home,
intending to report to his prince immediately
afterward. He entered the little farm-house
with a joyous step and an eager, expectant face.
He left the house like one shot from a cannon.
BEFORE THE STORY'S ACTION 23
on a mad run for the city. His brain whirled.
He could not see. He could not think. He
had a dim memory of having rushed upon the
fooHsh maid like one demented, of listening
with gaping mouth to the tale she told ; then
of thrusting her from him with such force that
she fell to the floor in a heap.
Forgetting the respect due his lordship, the
young farmer burst into the Daimio of
Echizen*s presence. He had none of the
samurai calm, and his whole form fairly shook
and swayed with the strength of his emotions.
The Lord of Echizen thrust forward a
" News from the shogunate, Yamada
Kwacho ? " he cried, fearing from the aspect
of the youth that some treachery had been
done his political party. In disjointed sen-
tences, words coming through his teeth with
efibrt because of his heavy breathing, the
young farmer told his lord of the kidnapping
of his bride, and recalled to him that promise
of aid when necessity should demand it.
The young husband pleaded not in vain.
24 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Grieved, insulted, and incensed, the Daimio of
Echizen journeyed in person to the Mikado's
city of Kyoto, and straight to his August
Majesty himself went the story of the farmer
of Echizen. After this there was a great
search made through the palaces and harems
of the Prince of Nijo. Five months later
Ohano was found and returned to her husband,
Three months had scarcely passed before
the bells of the Imperial City rang out a joyous
chime. The consort of the Prince of Nijo
had given birth to a royal princess. On that
same day, in the little farm-house of Yamada
Kwacho, one more female citizen was added to
the Province of Echizen, and Ohano became a
THE CHILD OF THE SUN
THE CHILD OF THE SUN
ON the shore of Hayama, in a little
village two hours' ride by train from
Tokyo, there stood a sumptuous villa,
the summer residence of the Prince of Nijo,
though Nijo himself was seldom seen there.
Dissolute and dissipated by nature and cultiva-
tion, he preferred the gayeties and excitements
of the Imperial Court. Here, however, had
resided ever since the year of the Restoration
his mother, the Empress Dowager, a noble
and high-souled woman, who preferred the
old-fashioned conservatism and beauty of her
country palace to the modern and garish court.
The decorations of her palace, the style of
her robes, and those of her attendants, were
entirely of the old time. This was in pleasing
contrast to the customs of the new Empress,
28 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
who had adopted the foreign style. In the
Imperial Court in its new Tokyo home, there
was the heavy perfume of the choicest roses
and violets, but in the palace of the old
Empress Dowager there was the subtle, faint
aroma of sweet umegaku and tambo.
Fuji, the queenly mountain, wrapped about
in its glorious garment of snow, mellowed by
the touch of the sun, could be seen from her
seat. On all sides of the palace grounds there
were valleys and sloping hills. Within the
stone walls which encircled the palace like a
fortress there were gardens of wondrous
The palace itself was of simple and old-fash-
ioned architecture. It faced to the east, and its
towers and turrets were of gold. Its shojis
were large and so clear that the sunlight
pierced through them, flooding the interior.
The floors were covered with soft sweet tata-
mis — rush mats ; the decorations on the screens
and panels of the sliding doors were subdued
and refined though works of art.
It was in this palace that the daughter of the
THE CHILD OF THE SUN 29
Prince of Nijo spent her childhood. She was
called Sado-ko, after her mother, who had died
in giving her birth. Her father after his pres-
ence at a perfunctory feast given in honor of
the birth of the princess had returned imme-
diately to his pleasures in the capital, and
Sado-ko was left in the charge of her grand-
mother, the Dowager Empress.
Great was the love existing between these
two. All that was noblest in the character and
nature of the young princess was fostered by
the old Empress. The qualities for which she
became noted in after years were the chilling
work of those who, after the death of her
grandmother, were given charge of Sado-ko.
In early childhood Sado-ko was wont to
run with fleet feet about the castle gardens,
chasing the gloriously hued butterflies. They
flew about her in great numbers, for they were
importations to the palace as tame as home
birds. They knew the little princess would
do them no harm, and so they fluttered lightly
to her finger, her head, her shoulder, even to
her red lips. Sado-ko loved them dearly, just
30 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
as she adored the gardens and the goddess-like
Fuji, — her first sight upon arising in the morn-
ing. She loved, too, the quiet, retired beauty
of her life, with its freedom inside the dark
stone walls. But more than these things she
loved the Empress Dowager.
Until she was twelve years of age, she knew
no other life than that encompassed by the
walls of the palace grounds. Beyond them she
had been told there was another life, turbulent,
restless, troublous. The walls looked forbid-
ding. How much worse must be the world
outside them, and beyond the wide stretch of
land and water that faded into misty outline !
Within were sunshine, birds, flowers, gentle
words, and soft caressing smiles. Without, a
cruel, cold world waiting to snufF out the
warmth and sunshine of her nature. All this
was taught to Sado-ko by the old Empress
Dowager, who in her old age had become sel-
fish. This was the way in which she sought
to keep with her the heart and soul of the
companion of her old age, — the child she
loved. Even after she had passed away, she
THE CHILD OF THE SUN 31
knew that the thoughts of the princess would
remain with her though her soul should have
flown. Thus she paved the way for a compan-
ionship in death as in life, as was the custom
with her ancient ancestors.
The children of the Empress Dowager had
disappointed her. The Emperor was occupied
with the cares of the nation and the strenuous
conditions of the times, Nijo was almost imbe-
cile from dissipation, her only daughter had
been married into the Tokugawa family, and
was practically separated from her own kin.
There was none left to share companionship
with the old Empress, until the little Sado-ko
had come. She was the sole princess of the
Nijo family recognized by the Empress, for
Western moraHty having sifted its way into the
Japanese court, the children of Nijo by his
concubines were regarded as illegitimate by the
heads of the royal family, although they were
treated with the honor due their blood and
rank. Sado-ko was motherless. The Em-
press Dowager was her natural and legal guar-
dian, and to her grandmother she was given.
32 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
For ten years, then, these two — the very old
Empress and the very young princess — lived
together. Because she was not at all of an in-
quisitive mind, and believed implicitly all that
her grandmother told her, the child was per-
fectly contented with the simple companionship
of the Empress, her butterflies, flowers, and
birds. But her grandmother was too old to
run with her about the gardens, and ofttimes
the birds, and the butterflies too, flew over the
stone wall and disappeared, to the tearful
anxiety of the little princess, who was sure they
would meet great harm.
As the children of the retainers of the Em-
press Dowager were not permitted to visit the
private gardens of the palace, Sado-ko had
grown up without playmates of her own age.
She was being reared in that seclusion befitting
a descendant of the sun-goddess, and in quite
the ancient style to which her grandmother still
clung. So it was only those attendants who
waited upon the person of the Dowager Em-
press who saw the little princess herself. She
could have counted upon her ten pink fingers
THE CHILD OF THE SUN 33
the number of personages with whom she was
acquainted. There were the four grim samurai
guards of the palace gates, the three elderly
m^aids of honor to the Empress, and her own
personal maid and nurse Onatsu-no, in addition
to the palace servants and the gardener.
But one eventful day in the month of June,
a new personage suddenly introduced himself to
Sado-ko. She had been listening drowsily for
a long time on the wide balcony of the palace
to her grandmother's reading aloud of ancient
Chinese poems, when suddenly a swarm of her
own butterflies flew by, all seemingly following
the lead of a purple-hued stranger. Instantly
Sado-ko left her guardian's side in pursuit, her
net swinging in her hand. She had seldom
experienced any trouble in catching her own
butterflies, but the stranger flew in an entirely
new direction. Through a field of iris and
across an orchard Sado-ko followed the flight
of the butterflies, until she came to a wall, over
which the purple visitor flew.
Flushed and disappointed the princess sat
down breathlessly on the grass beneath a
34 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
cherry tree. She had been seated but a mo-
ment, when the tree above her began to
shake and a score of ripe cherries descended
upon her head. She sprang to her feet, and
looking upward saw a roguish face peering
down at her from the cherry tree. The face
belonged to a boy of possibly fourteen years.
He v/as laughing with delight at the amazed
and frightened face of the little princess, and
he kept pelting her with cherries, some of
which actually broke on her small Imperial
person. As, however, Sado-ko continued to
gaze up at him in that frightened manner,
he sprang to the ground, rolled himself about
on the grass for a spell, and then turned
several somersaults so grotesque that Sado-ko
forgot her fear and burst into childish
laughter, clapping her hands delightedly as
he came to his feet before her. They were
both laughing heartily now, as they surveyed
each other. The boy's sleeves and the front
of his obi were filled with cherries, so that
his figure was a succession of grotesque
bunches. There were cherry stains, too, on
A score of ripe cherries descended upon her head."
THE CHILD OF THE SUN 37
his face, particularly in the region of his
laughing mouth, through which Sado-ko saw
the whitest of teeth gleaming. He had
brown eyes, and soft silky hair, unshaven in
the centre of his head, as was the case with
the palace attendants. Gradually as the prin-
cess surveyed him she became grave.
"Who are you?'* she said at last. "What
is your honorable name, and where do you
live ? "
" I am Kamura Junzo," said the boy, " and
I live over yonder." He waved his hand
toward the wall.
" On the other side P " inquired Sado-ko in
an awed voice. He nodded.
" I know who you are," he continued.
" I am the Princess Sado-ko," said the
" Yes," said the boy, " and the august Sun
was your ancestor. You live shut up in
this place all alone, and no one plays with
" I have my honorable dear birds and
butterflies," she said.
38 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
He looked at her curiously.
"Yes, I have heard you singing to them."
" And you wished also to see me ? " she
" Yes." He flushed boyishly, and then
added with Spartan honesty, "Also I wanted
some of your cherries."
" They are very good," said the princess.
" Oh, yes, there are none so good without."
" Did the guards deign to let you pass
through the gates ? "
" No." A pause, then : " I deigned to
cHmb over the wall."
" Some day," said Sado-ko, wistfully, " her
Majesty says a prince will fly over the walls
and carry me away. Perhaps you are that
" Oh, no ; I am not a prince, but if you
wish, I will play that I am one."
"How is that?" she asked, bewildered.
"This cherry tree will be your august castle.
I will come over the wall, and you must run
around the castle to escape me. I will pursue
you, and then I will carry you off from this
THE CHILD OF THE SUN 39
dark and lonesome prison over the walls to
the beautiful world outside."
" But it is not a lonesome prison here," said
the princess, " and outside it is very cold and
miserable, for her Majesty has told m_e so."
" Oh, well, let us play it is so."
And so they played together until past
noon, when the maid and gardener were both
sent to seek the Princess Sado-ko, who was
chasing butterflies. They rescued her just as
the " prince " was about to carry her over the
walls, upon the top of which he had placed
her, by climbing up in the cherry tree and
across a bough which sloped to the wall.
The rescued princess stamped her foot an-
grily at the gardener when he threatened the
boy, who laughed jeeringly from the top of
the wall ; and she scolded the maid when that
menial drew her by the hand from the scene.
She would not leave the vicinity of the wall
until the boy had disappeared completely,
which he did by jumping off to the other
side. Then she burst into tears for fear he
had come to harm in the wicked world without.
40 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Thereafter a close watch was kept upon her
movements, and she was not permitted to go
near that portion of the walls where stood the
cherry-tree castle. Often she heard the boy
whistling from that direction, and once she
awoke in the night, because she had dreamed
that he was calling her name, " Sado-ko 1
Sado-ko ! " After that life was a little more
lonesome for the Child of the Sun.
AN EMPEROR'S PROMISE
AN emperor's promise
ON a cold morning in the month of
January the Empress Dowager died.
She had returned from a ceremony
of the thirtieth anniversary of the death of her
late consort. Exhausted, broken, and ill, she
had come back to her country-seat, her visit
to Kyoto having been too much for her
That night messengers went in haste to the
capital, and the following morning brought to
the bedside of the dying Empress her son, the
Emperor, and his consort.
All night long the little Princess Sado-ko
crouched in the darkness of her room alone.
Wide-eyed and tearless, she looked out from
her shoji at the ghostly snow which shrouded
44 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
her beloved trees and flowers in so cold and
chilly a garment, eerily touched by the moon-
rays. She heard, without heeding, the move-
ment and stir within the palace ; the muffled
beat of a drum without quickly hushed.
Early in the gray morning the royal visitors
arrived. Sado-ko knew that some catastro-
phe was about to fall upon the palace and
her beloved grandmother, and so she waited
through the night for the end.
She did not know that below in the sick
chamber the heartbroken Emperor knelt on his
knees by the side of his mother and besought
her, like any ordinary man, to speak but one
word to him, to express but one wish ere she
must leave him. The Dowager Empress
opened her tired eyes, attempting to speak.
She could only murmur in the faintest of
voices, so that her son scarcely caught the
words : —
"Sado-ko — Pray thee to care for —
Sado-ko ! "
Then her eyes closed as though the effort
at speech had been too much for her, but
AN EMPEROR'S PROMISE 45
the Emperor knew that she heard the words
he spoke into her ears.
" Divine mother, the Princess Sado-ko shall
have my personal care. She shall be nur-
tured and cared for as the highest princess
in Japan, and when she has attained to a fit-
ting age the greatest honor in my power shall
be given to her."
There was no further sign from the Dowa-
" Princess ! ** called a voice penetrating the
darkened room, by the shoji of which the
child crouched dully. " Noble princess ! "
Sado-ko did not stir, though she looked
with wide eyes toward the sliding door through
which came her maiden Natsu, holding care-
fully above her head a lighted andon. She
had not seen the little figure by the shoji, and
she shuffled toward the couch. A startled
exclamation escaped her when she discovered
that the couch was empty. At that the prin-
cess called to her in a strange voice, which
seemed somehow unlike her own.
" I am here, honorable maid."
46 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
The woman hastened forward, the light still
swinging over her head. She stopped aghast
before the still little figure of the princess,
who was, she could see, fully dressed. It was
plain that the child had robed herself with her
own hands, after she had left her for the night.
The maid set the andon down, then touched
the floor with her head. After her obeisance
she went nearer to Sado-ko, and spoke with
the famiharity which years in the child's ser-
vice had allowed her.
" Thou art not unrobed, noble princess ! "
" I have not slept," said the child, quietly.
The maid seized her hands with an exclama-
tion of pity.
" The hands are like ice ! " she exclaimed
immediately. " Exalted princess, you are ill ! "
" No," said Sado-ko, shaking her head, " I
am not ill, Natsu-no. But tell me your
mission. Why do you come so early to my
chamber ? "
There was nothing childlike now in the
grave glance of Sado-ko's eyes. She seemed
to have aged over night. At her words the
AN EMPEROR^S PROMISE 47
maid burst into tears, beat her hands against
her breast, and finally bent her head to the
floor. The princess waited in silence until
the maid had regained somewhat of her com-
posure. Then she said severely, quite in the
manner of her august grandparent : —
" Maiden, such emotion is unseemly. Speak
your mission, if you please."
" Oh, august princess, her Imperial Maj-
esty — " She fell to weeping again.
Sado-ko leaned forward, and placing her
hand on the maid's shoulder, peered into
" — is dead ? " she said in a whisper.
The maid's head bowed forward mutely.
After that there was a long silence. Then
Sado-ko arose to her feet, her hands pressed
to her face on either side. Her eyes, between
her little parted fingers, were staring out in
shocked horror. Her strange silence stilled
the sobbing maid, who tremulously arose.
"And if it please thee, noble princess,"
she said, " his August Majesty is below and
commands thy immediate presence."
48 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Sado-ko did not speak or move. The
maid falteringly touched one of the drooping
" Nay, do not look so, sweet mistress," she
implored ; " the gods will not desert you.
His Majesty himself has deigned to adopt
thee, and to-morrow thou wilt go to the great
capital as his ward."
Sado-ko*s hands fell from her face. Her
voice was not childlike, and quite hoarse.
" Pray thee, lead me below, honorable
It was lighter now in the palace, for a wan
sun was creeping upward in the pale heavens.
There were signs of a dreary day about to
dawn. Through the winding corridors of the
palace the princess and the maid moved tow-
ard the august chamber of death. At its
door they paused and the princess's hand
dropped from that of the maid. Having
permitted her attendant to push the sliding
doors apart, she entered the chamber alone.
Without, the maid bent her face to the mats.
AN EMPEROR'S PROMISE 49
stifling her sobs in her sleeves. Within, the
little princess hesitated a moment in doubt,
then rushed to the death couch, threw her-
self down by the still form there, and un-
mindful of those within, encircled it with her
arms. But no cry escaped her lips, for well
had she been bred as a Daughter of the Sun-
god by the old Empress Dowager.
The days that followed were hazy and un-
real to Sado-ko. Strange women and men,
with cold impassive faces, were about her at
all times. She could scarcely tell one from
the other, and it wearied her to be forced to
listen to their words of caution and counsel.
Then she made a journey. Strangely enough,
when she was lifted into the covered palan-
quin and the curtains drawn about her, she
knew that now she was to be carried beyond
the gray palace walls. The journey was made
at night, and the tired little princess slept
throughout it, so that she was spared the
tediousness of time.
In the morning her eyes opened upon a
new world. As the day streamed through
50 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
the bamboo curtains of her norimon, she
pushed them aside, to see that they were
passing along what seemed to be a stone
road, upon either side of which were endless
buildings unlike anything she had ever seen
before. Although there were throngs of peo-
ple everywhere, a strange and solemn silence
prevailed, as the norimon and parade of the
princess passed along, and the people bent
their heads to the earth. Sado-ko could see
that many of the women and some of the
men wept. She did not know that the whole
nation had gone into mourning for the one
she had loved so well.
Sado-ko, passive and unquestioning, saw the
great funeral of the Empress Dowager; a
dumb little shadow, she lingered with other
relatives in the hall for the mourners, and still,
with little understanding, she was carried in her
norimon under the escort given only to a royal
princess, through a bamboo grove and over the
Yumento Ukibashi — " The Bridge of
Dreams." The mortuary hall was reached.
The Empress Dowager, whose dearest wish
AN EMPEROR'S PROMISE 51
had been to be buried close to her summer
palace, where she had spent her declining
years, was interred far away from it among
the tombs of her thousand ancestors.
FROM a poor but honored farmer of
Echizen, Yamada Kwacho had grown
to be a rich and prominent merchant of
Tokyo. At the advice of the Lord of Echi-
zen, Kwacho had gone to Tokyo soon after
the Restoration, where, taking advantage of the
modern craze for Western things then raging
in the capital, he had invested the price of his
little farm in one of the first " European "
stores in Tokyo. His business had prospered
and grown rapidly to huge dimensions. Now,
while Kwacho was still in the prime of life, he
found himself richer in worldly wealth than his
former master the Lord of Echizen even in his
The young farmer of Echizen had been
content to remain in his humble class, though
56 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
honors were offered him by his lord. The
rich and prominent merchant of Tokyo was
still at heart the conservative and independent
young farmer of Echizen. Despite the fact
that his great wealth would have purchased for
him an entree to a high society, Kwacho made
no effort to emerge from his life of quiet and
obscure ease. Possibly, too, an experience of
his early married life caused him to look
askance and with disfavor upon the lives of
the society people. At all events a pretty
home in a suburb of Tokyo, and the society
of a few simple neighbors, quite contented him.
Whether the ambitions of Ohano kept the
level of those of her husband, was not a matter
of any determination. The mistress of a com-
fortable home, the comely wife of a respected
citizen, and the mother of five sons and one
daughter, she appeared contented with her lot.
There had always been a weak and soft ele-
ment in the character of Ohano, however. In
youth it had come near to being the cause of
her complete ruin. But for the sturdy nature
of her husband, Ohano might never have re-
covered morally. In latter years this weak-
ness of disposition took the form of an almost
childish delight in dwelling secretly in her own
mind upon experiences in her life which she
would not have breathed aloud even to her
favorite god, much less to her sombre hus-
band. Strangely enough, too, Ohano had far
more affection for her daughter than for her
sons, — a most uncommon thing in a Japanese
As a little girl, Masago had been remarkable
chiefly for her docile and quiet ways. This
apathy of nature, peculiar in a child of her
class, had been variously regarded by the
teachers in the public school she had attended.
Some had pronounced her dull and even sullen,
while others insisted that her impassiveness
showed an innate refinement and delicacy of
birth and caste. Masago was very pretty after
a delicate Yamato fashion. Unlike her sturdy
young brothers, round-faced, rugged, and brim-
ming over with health and spirits, Masago was
oval-faced, her eyes were long and dreamy, her
mouth small, the lips thin and prettily curved.
58 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Her skin was of a fine texture, and her little
hands were quite as beautiful as those of the
princesses who attended the Peeresses* school.
Masago's schoolmates thought her quiet dis-
position indicative of secretiveness and even
slyness. She had never been known to express
herself on any question, though no one gave
closer attention to any matter under controversy
than she. The consequence was that as she
grew older her girl friends, at first sceptical and
dubious of her quiet, unexpressive face, finally
ended in confiding to her their various secrets ;
for well they knew that while they might
expect no exchange of confidences, their secrets
were well guarded within Masago's silent Kttle
head and as safe as if unspoken.
Ohano, too, was quick to take advantage of
the child's listening talent and receptive mind.
In spite of the fact that Masago was coming
to an age when all such confidences should
have been strictly kept from her, Ohano found
herself gradually pouring out to her daughter
those fascinating and forbidden secrets which
still remained in her mind. She would sit
opposite her daughter for hours at a time and
describe graphically the palaces of Kyoto. It
would have occurred to one older than Masago
that, for one in her caste, Ohano's knowledge of
these places was unusual. But the child asked
few questions and appeared to be absorbed in
her mother's glowing narrative. Only once
she said, hfting her strange long eyes- to her
mother's face : —
" It is in the palace I belong, mother, is it
not ? " And before Ohano was conscious of
her words she had replied : —
"There, indeed, you belong of right,
When Masago had reached her seventeenth
year, she expressed her first independent wish
to her family. It was that she be sent to a
finishing school in Kyoto.
At her suggestion, made directly to him,
Kwacho was disgruntled. She had had suffi-
cient education for a maiden of her class, he
insisted. What was more, he desired her to
make an early marriage and had already begun
negotiations for her betrothal.
6o DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Masago listened to her father's words with-
out replying, beyond a wordless bow of sub-
mission to his will. She did not argue the
matter with him, since she knew that Ohano,
without diplomacy and craft, had yet great
influence with Kwacho. So the young girl
went quietly to her mother, whom she found
happily employed in washing a small barking
chin on the rear veranda of the house. She
looked back smilingly at her daughter over her
shoulder as she rubbed the dog's twitching
"He is white enough," said Masago, quietly,
indicating the chin with a slight movement
of her head. At this verdict Ohano released
the dog. He darted about the veranda for
a moment, shaking his still wet little body,
then rushed through the shoji indoors, dis-
appearing under a mat over a warm hibachi,
where he shivered in comfort.
Ohano emptied out the water across a
flower bed, and unrolled her sleeves. She
was flushed with her exercise, and the water
had splashed her gown. Her hair, too, was
dishevelled, but she was the picture of the
healthy housewife, as she turned to her
The latter, in her perfect neatness, made
a contrast to the mother, who surveyed her
with fond approval.
" Well, Masago, have you finished your
embroidery ^ " she asked pleasantly.
The girl shook her head silently.
" Go, then ; get your frame now," said
Ohano, " and we will work together.**
" No,** said Masago, seating herself on a
veranda mat, and leaning back against the
railing, " I don*t want to work. I want to
talk to you.**
Ohano*s plump body quickly seated itself
opposite Masago. The opportunity for a
morning gossip with Masago was something
she never denied herself.
She had just opened her mouth to begin,
when Masago quietly put her hand over the
" No ; do not speak for a moment, mother,
but listen to me.**
62 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Masago smiled faintly at the expression in
her mother's eyes and continued rapidly : —
" Listen. I am seventeen years now, — old
enough, almost, my father says, to be married.
But I do not wish to marry."
" But — " began Ohano.
" No ; do not interrupt me. I want to go
away to school, — a private school in Kyoto,
where other rich men send their daughters,
and where I, too, can sometimes see those
palaces and maybe the noble ladies and
gentlemen you have told me so much about."
" But, Masago, every maiden of your age
wishes to marry ; and your father has
chosen — "
" Let me finish, if you please, or I will
not talk to you at all. I do not know why
it is, but I have no desire to marry ; and
sometimes I feel like one who is stifling in
this miserable little town. Why should we,
who have more wealth than many of those
in Tokyo who live in palaces, be caged up
here, like birds with clipped wings ? What
is the use of having that wealth if we may
not use it? Oh, there are so many joyful
happenings in the capital every day and every
night. I read about it in those papers which
father brings home sometimes from Tokyo.
The city is so gay and brilliant, mother, and
there are so many peculiar foreigners to see.
I was made for such a place — not for this
dull, quiet town. Why, I would even be
content to see all this as an outsider, but to
have to remain here when — Oh!"
She struck her hands together with an elo-
quent motion. Ohano stared at her aghast,
regarding her flushing face and snapping eyes.
" Oh, mother," she continued, " many people
say I do not belong here. They recognize
my difference from themselves, — everybody
here. You know it is so. Ever since I was
a little girl when you would tell me the fairy
tales of those palaces in Kyoto — "
"They were not fairy tales," said Ohano,
"No, but I thought them so — then. And
I imagined that some day the gods would
befriend me, and that I would belong to that
64 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
joyful world of which you spoke. And now
to come to seventeen years and to be given
right away in marriage to some foolish youth
before I have had any chance to see — "
Her voice broke, and her emotion was so
unusual a thing that Ohano could not bear
to see it. Both her heart and tongue were
" You have a right to see it/* she said.
"You belong to it — are a part of it, Masago.
Your own father is — "
She clapped her hands over her mouth in
consternation and sudden fright at what she
was about to divulge.
Masago became very white, her eyes dilated,
her thin nostrils quivered. She fixed her
strange, long eyes full on those of her mother.
Then she seized her by the shoulders. She
spoke in a whisper : —
"You have something to tell me. Now —
speak at once."
Half an hour later Masago was alone on
the veranda of her home. She sat in an
attitude of intense absorption. Her downcast
eyes were looking at the slender fingers of her
hands, spread out in her lap. They were
thin, shapely Httle fingers, the nails rosy and
perfect in shape. Masago had been studying
them absently for some time. Suddenly she
held up one little hand, then slowly brought
it to her face.
" That was the reason they were so beauti-
ful — my hands!'' she said softly.
That night Ohano would not let her hus-
band sleep until he had made her a promise.
They lay on their respective mattresses under
the same mosquito netting. It was quite in
vain for Kwacho to sleep while the voice of
Ohano droned on. After listening for fully
two hours to a steady stream of childish elo-
quence and reproach, and answering only in
gruff monosyllables, he sprang up in bed and
demanded of his better half whether she in-
tended to remain awake all night. Whereat
that small but stubborn individual raised her-
self also, and, propping her elbows on her
knees, informed the irate Kwacho that such
was her intention, and that, in fact, she did
66 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
not expect to sleep any night again until he
had made some concession to the ambition
of their only daughter, which, after all, was a
most praiseworthy one, — a desire for more
Kwacho*s answer was not the result of a
sudden appreciation of Masago*s virtues, but
he was sleepy and tired, too. There was
much to be done at the store on the mor-
row, and Ohano's suggestion that she intended
to keep awake for other nights was not a rel-
" She shall go on one condition," he said.
" Yes ? " eagerly inquired his wife.
"That she is first betrothed to Kamura
" There will be no trouble as to that," said
Ohano, with conviction, and lying down drew
the quilt over her. A few m.inutes later the
twain were at rest.
THE following morning an early mes-
senger brought a letter to the Kamura
residence. The family were at break-
fast, but as the messenger came from the elder
Kamura's old Echizen friend, Yamada Kwacho,
it was opened and read at once. Its contents,
while surprising, were most pleasing to the
family. Kwacho made an overture to con-
tract a betrothal between their eldest son,
Junzo, and his only daughter, Masago.
Junzo at this time was in Tokyo, where
he had been living ever since he had returned
from abroad. He was winning fame for him-
self as a sculptor, — an art quite new to Japan
in its Western form, — and the family were
proud of his achievements. This new mark
of compliment from their esteemed friend,
70 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
the wealthy Mr. Yamada, naturally flattered
the Kamura family immensely. The mes-
senger was sent back to the Yamada house
with as gracious letter as the one received,
and gifts of flowers and tea. The invitation
of Mr. Yamada for a conference at his house
the day following, in which the young couple
might also have an opportunity of seeing
each other and becoming acquainted, was ac-
cepted. Another messenger was despatched
at once to Junzo in Tokyo, and the family
congratulated themselves upon what they con-
sidered their good fortune.
Junzo read his father*s letter with a degree
of irritation altogether out of keeping with the
pride in the proposal manifested by the rest of
his family. An extraordinary piece of fortune
had recently come to Junzo, and the subject of
his marriage seemed a matter of trivial impor-
tance beside it. He had, in fact, been commis-
sioned to make a statue of the Prince Komatzu,
the war hero of the time, who had distinguished
himself by his brave conduct in the Formosa
aflFair. Junzo knew that upon this work his
A BETROTHAL 71
future career would depend, and that should he
please his illustrious patron he would doubtless
have an opportunity of doing more work for
the court ; for at this time the nobility of Japan
emulated everything modern and Western, and
it had become the fashion for the gentlemen of
the court to sit for their portraits in oil, though
as yet none of the ladies had gone quite so far.
Junzo's impatience, therefore, at his father's
summons to return home for the consumma-
tion of his betrothal to a young lady whom he
had never seen, may be surmised. Being a well-
bred and obedient son, however, he departed at
once for his home, breaking a number of en-
gagements in so doing.
As the train from Tokyo carried Junzo to
Kamakura, the young man, while watching the
flying landscape from his window, thought with
some natural curiosity of his bride to be. Her
father and mother he had met. Upon two or
three occasions he had seen her little brothers
playing in the fields. His active imagination
soon pictured Masago. She would, of course,
be plump and rosy-cheeked like her mother.
72 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
pretty perhaps, thought Junzo, but lacking in
that grace and spirituality that to him was the
ideal of true beauty.
When his own grandsires had been samurai
in the service of the Lords of Echizen, this girl's
ancestors had tilled the soil. Still, times were
changed. The samurai had fallen, and the
tradesman and farmer had risen. Now the
descendants of the samurai drew the jinrikisha
containing the fat merchant, or policed the
streets of big cities for the glory of still wear-
ing a sword. Moreover, the elder Kamura
was in sympathy with the modern spirit of the
times, and had accepted favors from the hand
of Yamada Kwacho. Besides, the latter had not
been without honor in Echizen ; and, after all,
his own family — the once proud samurai family
of Kamura — were now but simple citizens,
"The Restoration was right and just,*' said
Junzo, and smoothed out the frown from his
patrician face. "And after all," he added to
his thought, " this girl of the people will be a
more fitting wife than a woman of modern
A BETROTHAL 73
fancies, such as have become the ladies of
Masago's aspect pleased, surprised — ^nay,
quite bewildered Junzo. When at the look-at
meeting she had raised her head finally from
its low obeisance, Junzo had been startled at
its delicate beauty. It shocked him to see a
flower so exquisitely lovely and delicate sur-
rounded by relatives so completely plebeian.
During the entire visit Junzo found his eyes
constantly straying toward his betrothed.
When she moved about the room, and with
her own hands served him tea, he noted with
delight her grace of movement, and the symme-
try of her figure.
When tea had been served and drunk, he
found her close beside him. She had moved
dutifully there at a signal from her father ; and
now, as his betrothed, she quietly filled the
long-stemmed pipe for him, and lighted it at
the hibachi. As he took it from her hands,
their eyes met for the first time. Junzo,
though thrilled by the glance of her eyes, felt
curiously enough repulsed. There was some-
74 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
thing forbidding, almost menacing, in their
glance. A moment later the long lashes were
shielding them. Then the young man noted
that she had not as much as changed color, but
still was calmly white and unmoved. A feel-
ing of uneasiness possessed him. His delight
in her beauty was chilled.
Once only throughout the afternoon did she
show interest in the conversation. This was
when Junzo had told his father-in-law to be, of
a prospective visit to court to make a statue of
a national hero. Then she had raised her
head suddenly, and Junzo had stumbled over
his words in the glow of artistic appreciation he
felt of the beautiful pink color flooding her face.
The elder Kamura thought his son*s mod-
esty in not mentioning the fact of the commis-
sion he had already received unnecessary in a
family soon to become his own ; and so he said,
as he tapped the ashes from his pipe on the
hibachi : —
" My son has been commanded to make a
statue of his Imperial Highness the Prirvce
A BETROTHAL 75
The little cup which Masago had lifted
toward her lips fell suddenly from her hand,
its contents spilling on the tray. She seemed
scarcely conscious of its fall, as she turned
an eaorer and flushed face toward Kamura.
She spoke for the first time, repeating half
mechanically his words : —
" The Prince Komatzu — "
" Yes," said Kamura, affably, " a cousin of
his Imperial Majesty," and he bowed his
head to the mats in old-fashioned deference
to the name of the Mikado.
"Why," spoke up the simple Ohano, her
eyes wide and bright, "we have his august
Her husband looked at her in astonishment.
"You have a picture of his Highness?"
he inquired incredulously. " How is that pos-
sible, Ohano .? "
" Masago cut it from a Chinese magazine
you brought home last month," said the
wife, "and it was such a beautiful picture
she has put it away among her treasures, have
you not, Masago ? "
76 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
The girFs eyes were downcast, and she did
not raise them. She knew by the silence in
the room that her answer was awaited by
the company, but she could not move her
lips to speak. Then she heard Junzo an-
swering quietly for her : —
" He is certainly the most admirable hero
we have, and one that it honors our nation
His words were rewarded by a glance from
the eyes she raised in timid gratitude. It
was but for a moment ; then her head was
For a week Junzo saw his fiancee daily. At
the end of that time he accompanied her
with her family a portion of the way to Kyoto,
whither she went to attend school for a year.
Junzo then proceeded alone to Tokyo, and
on his journey back his musings of his future
bride were as vague and unsatisfactory as
when he had come.
GOSSIP OF THE COURT
GOSSIP OF THE COURT
IT was early afternoon. The ladies in the
Komatzu palace were taking their noon-
day siesta, and idly discussing the work
of the artist, Kamura Junzo. Since he had
become a favorite among them, many of the
ladies wished that he could be retained in
the palace a Httle longer.
As they sipped their amber tea indolently
in one of the chambers of the palace, they
gossiped with the freedom common to the
women of the West rather than the East.
" Now," said the little Countess Matsuka,
handing her cup to a page, " if we were only
so fortunate as to have two Imperial heroes
instead of one ! "
A languorous beauty, swinging lazily in a
Dutch hammock, raised herself upon an elbov/.
8o DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" But the heroes nowadays are all heimins **
(commoners), she said with soft scorn.
" Oh, Duchess Aoi," laughed a pretty young
woman, who, more industrious, was working
at an embroidery frame, " how can you say
so? There are no heimins to-day."
" Oh, true," responded the other, crossly,
" there is no caste to-day. The heimin has
become the politician."
"Yes," said the pretty one at the frame,
"and the politician rules and owns Nippon."
The Duchess Aoi sat up aggressively.
" You appear to have the confidence of the
diplomats, O Lady Fuji-no," said she.
Fuji tossed her head in malicious silence.
" Noble ladies ! " came the warning voice of
the elderly mentor-chaperon. " It is too
warm to engage the august voice in argument.
Let us have music."
The Duchess Aoi shrugged her shapely
"The court geishas are busy in the male quar-
ters," she said, " and the foreign band has
broken our ear-drums."
GOSSIP OF THE COURT 8i
One of the ladies laughed.
" Besides," she added to Aoi*s speech, " we
don't want the foreign music in our private
halls. It is enough for state occasions."
" I enjoy it augustly well/' said a stiff little
lady sitting uncomfortably in her Paris gown
on an English chair, who bore the euphonious
name of Yu-giri (Evening Mist). She was the
only one of the company who wore European
costume. The others were glad enough to
revel in the comfortable enjoyment of the
" If her Royal Highness were not so augustly
eccentric, she might set the example," said the
Countess Matsuka, thoughtfully.
" Which Highness, countess ? "
" There is only one Royal Highness in the
palace now," said Lady Fuji, smiling up from
her frame, — " the Princess Sado-ko."
Aoi tossed her head angrily. Her mother
had been a concubine of one of the Imperial
princes, and she was of the blood. Yet she
was maid of honor to the Princess Sado-ko,
for whom she had no love.
82 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
"And what example might she set?" Aoi
inquired with evident disdain.
"That of sitting for her portrait to be
painted," explained the Countess Matsuka.
All of the ladies now showed extreme in-
terest in the subject, and several began to speak
" Oh, but she would never countenance it ! "
" She fairly despises the ways of us
"Just to think, it is in her power to keep
our charming artist at court indefinitely."
" But how lovely to have all our pictures
painted. We, of course, would all follow
" — if she would only set the fashion."
"Well, ladies," said the Lady Fuji, "the
princess is not our fashion-plate, surely. We
do not follow her, it would seem. If we
did — "
"We should live like cloistered priestesses,"
said the one in the hammock.
"Yes, seclude ourselves from the sight of
the whole court," said she of the Paris gown.
GOSSIP OF THE COURT 83
"Then why need we await her august ex-
ample ? " asked the Lady Fuji.
" Because we are cowards — all," said the
Countess Matsuka. "To sit for our pictures
just like any of the barbarians is too much of
an innovation for any of the humble ones to
start at court."
"Well, then," said Fuji, "who is brave
enough to suggest it to the princess ? She is
both conservative and unconventional, and who
knows she might take a fancy to the idea and
" Well, suppose you suggest it to her."
" I ? Oh, indeed, I am too honorably insig-
"Then you, countess."
" Oh no, indeed ; I am still smarting under
the sting of her little royal tongue."
" Ah, you are too fulsome in your flattery
to her, countess," said Lady Fuji-no. " Diplo-
macy and tact with her Highness should
take the form of frankness, even brusque-
Yes," said the one in the hammock, sarcas-
84 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
tically, " I noted the effect of your diplomacy
the other morning."
Lady Fuji-no colored, and bent her head
above her work.
" Oh, these days, these days ! " groaned the
elderly lady, who was both chaperon and
mentor to the others. " Now, in my insignifi-
cant youth it would have been a crime of
treason to speak with disrespect of a royal
" But you see," was the quick retort, " what
happened to your august days, Madame Bara.
They are quite, quite snuffed out. To-day is —
to-day ! We are modern — Western — if it
please you ! "
" Yes," assented the Paris gown, " that is it
" While the Princess Sado-ko remains —
Lady Fuji, at the frame, had found her voice
again. The Duchess Aoi in the hammock
closed her eyes contemptuously.
" The day is long," she said, " and our con-
versation most dull."
GOSSIP OF THE COURT 85
" Well, we have not solved the question yet,"
said the anxious little Countess Matsuka.
" Oh, let the artist go," yawned one of the
company, who had not yet spoken.
There was a hubbub of dissent to this.
" And leave us to the mercies of Komatzu's
dandies ? "
" The artist fellow is entertaining. He is
preferable to a geisha."
" Oh, what a comparison ! "
" Well, ladies," said Madame Bara, sooth-
ingly, " you will soon be back in Tokyo."
" Yes, thank Shaka ! "
" Summer creeps."
" The Prince Komatzu would not be flattered,
ladies, at your boredom in his summer home,"
said Madame Bara.
" Then the prince should choose more
entertaining gentlemen for his household,"
retorted Lady Fuji-no. " Now, in the palace
Nijo — "
" Oh, it is well, well, to be in favor at the
palace Nijo," said the Duchess Aoi, meaningly ;
and instantly the several eyes of the company
86 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
were focussed on the flushing face of Fuji, for
it was quite well known that Nijo had shown
her marked favor of late.
" For my part," said the chaperon didacti-
cally, "I should be honored to be the exalted
guest of his Imperial Highness. Why surely,
ladies, you will confess that without a doubt he
is the most brilliant and noble gentleman of
The Duchess Aoi turned her face away. A
feverish color flushed her cheeks. She could
"He is just exactly like the statue that the
artist has made of him," said Lady Fuji-no.
" But the statue is sublime," said Madame
" Yes. But it is marble, madame."
There was silence a moment, while the Lady
Fuji carefully folded her work, then the
Duchess Aoi turned her flushing face : —
" Is it any wonder that he is marble ? " she
said. " He is betrothed to the Princess
" Poor prince ! " said Lady Fuji.
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO
WHILE the ladies of the household
of the Princess Sado-ko, and guests
of her cousin the Prince Komatzu,
were gossiping ov^er their noonday tea, Kamura
Junzo, alone, was wandering aimlessly about
the palace gardens. He was melancholy and
restless. Instead of being satisfied with his
success, Junzo was disappointed. He could
not have explained why this was so. His
patron had been pleased with his work, he
had received marked attention and favor from
those in power at court, and finally was actu-
ally being petted by the ladies. Perhaps it
was this latter enervating thing that rendered
the young man disappointed and disgusted.
Court life had not proved, after all, what he
had fancied and pictured. Nobility, such as
90 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
he had anticipated, was there only in name.
Here in this small court of the noblest prince
of the blood, gossip and scandal buzzed like
the swarming of bees.
Junzo did not wonder that the Princess
Sado-ko kept herself in seclusion in her pri-
vate wing of the palace. In spite of the curi-
ous tales he had heard of her eccentricities, he
felt a glow of sympathy for her. Plainly she
disapproved of the life about her.
As he strolled about the castle gardens,
Junzo's memory carried him back into the
days of his childhood. A picture grew up
in his mind of a great stone wall and a cherry
tree which drooped above it, and underneath
the cherry tree a small, bewitching creature in
a miniature kimono and the royal kanzashi
in her hair.
He was smiling to himself in a tender, un-
conscious way, when he came to a bamboo
gate, which served as entrance through the
hedge of boxwood which divided the portion
of the gardens in which he was from those
Junzo knew were always reserved for the royal
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO 91
ladies of the family. Now he knew also that
Komatzu was an orphan without sisters, and
that his cousin Sado-ko was the only lady
who ever occupied this portion of the palace.
Pausing before the gate, Junzo thought that
as a boy he would not have hesitated to push
it open and penetrate into the forbidden terri-
tory beyond. He would like now to take
a peep into this garden of Sado-ko. If he
should chance to meet her, might he not crave
mercy in the name of that game they had
played as children together in the gardens of
the palace Aoyama? She might be gracious
still. So far it had not been his fortune to
see her in the palace Komatzu, for she was
seldom in the public places of the palace. He
had an insatiable curiosity to see how she
had changed since childhood.
So he stepped across into the private gar-
dens, making his way toward the bamboo grove,
through which he passed on toward the little
river which he could see in a valley beyond,
twisting and babbling like a brook. But when
he came to the other end of the grove he per-
92 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
ceived that the garden was unlike those of the
palace Aoyama, which was softly enclosed on
all sides with trees and bushes. Here the
walks were sanded and the landscape scenery
was in miniature. There were flower beds
and clumps of bamboo. Stately white jars
containing rare ferns were placed at intervals
in the centre of the rounded lawns, while the
walks were lined with pretty sea-shells and
Junzo soon realized that this was not a
garden in which he could remain for long
unobserved. He was about to retrace his
steps when he perceived coming toward him
along the path a young girl, whose arms were
so full of blossoms that her face was partially
hidden. As it was too late for him now to
retreat, he stood where he was, respectfully
waiting for her to approach.
She hastened up the path toward him, and
as she appeared to be absorbed in her own
meditations and had not so far glanced in his
direction, Junzo stepped backward toward the
grove, hoping she would pass by without
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO 93
seeing him. This she doubtless would have
done had not the young man, as she came
opposite, made an odd exclamation, and then
stepped before her path. What he said was: —
" Masago ! "
She raised a startled face to his and stood
perfectly still before him in the path, the blos-
soms slowly dropping from her arms. That
strange expression of mingled fear and amaze-
ment awoke chaotic memories in the mind of
Junzo. It was Masago who stood before him,
he felt sure ; but some one other than Masago
had once looked up Into his face in the same
startled fashion. It must have been a dream
or fancy. He repeated her name : —
" Masago ! " And then, " What do you
here ? "
*' Who are you ?" she asked in a low voice,
her eyes travelling over his face, " What is
your honorable name, and where do you come
from ? "
The very words had a ring of familiarity to
the ears of Junzo. He felt Hke one in a
dream, and answered almost mechanically: —
94 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" I am Kamura Junzo. 1 come from — "
He made a slight motion toward the adjoining
A slow pink glow grew up into her face and
spread even to her little ears and whitest neck.
Her eyes were shining, almost as if there were
tears within them.
" Ah," she said softly, " I do remember
"We are betrothed," he said, passing his
hand bewilderedly across his eyes.
" Betrothed ? " she repeated in that sweet,
"Yes, Masago. Do you not remember
" But my name is not Masago," she said
" Not Masago ! " he repeated.
" No. I am the Princess Sado-ko."
After that there was a long silence between
them. They looked into each other's faces
without speaking. Then the young man
found his voice.
" I thought the august sun had touched
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO 95
my brain," he said. " I knew that your face
was familiar to me, and because you are the
image of one to v/hom — "
He broke oif, flushing under the glance
of her soft, searching eyes.
" To whom you are betrothed," she finished
" Yes," he said.
" And her name is Masago ? " she asked
" And she looks like me ? " She raised
her face, and looked at him somewhat wist-
" Sweet princess," he said, carried away by
the expression within her eyes, " her beauty
is like unto the moon's — cold, far, and dis-
tant, but yours — yours warms me like the
glow of the sun. You are indeed the child of
She smiled faintly.
" Are you the artist-man of whom they
speak ? " she asked.
He bowed slightly, and she continued : —
96 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" I have admired tha very beautiful statue
you have made of Prince Komatzu."
" I trust that it will please the people," he
" Nay, he has presented it as a gift to me,"
Junzo recalled the report of her betrothal to
the Prince Komatzu, and he turned a triiie pale.
Possibly she divined his thoughts, for she said :
" We are cousins."
"And will be — " He did not finish the
She changed the subject abruptly.
" You will be at the palace long ? "
" Two more days."
« And then ? "
" I will return home."
"Home?" She repeated the word in such
a wistful, lingering tone. " You will go back
to Kamakura?" she asked.
" My dear old home 1 " she said. And then,
" You do not know what memories your pres-
ence recalls to me."
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO 97
He could not take his eyes from her ex-
" I have not seen it since I was a child,"
she said. " Why do you go so soon ? "
" My honorable commission ends."
" There may be others."
" I have no other," he replied simply.
"The ladies of the court would honorably
like their pictures painted ? " she essayed almost
" I do not paint," he said. " I am but a
They walked slowly up the pebbled path,
and through the bamboo grove, until they
came to the little gate over which he had
" Now we have reached the wall," she said
with childish lightness. " You are not so
brave nowadays, I fancy, as to carry me across
He vaulted to the other side without speak-
ing, then stood a moment, looking back at her.
"Yet," she said, almost tremulously, "the
wall is not so high or stone."
98 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" It has the power to divide, O princess," he
replied in a husky voice.
" Now you are at the other side, you are no
longer Kamura Junzo," she said. " You have
become changed from the little boy I once
knew. You are cruel now — and — and —
"And you," he said, "as far away and un-
attainable as the stars, O princess."
" Yet you are betrothed to one whom you
called Masago," she said suddenly, and raised
an almost appealing face to his. He looked
into her eyes and did not speak.
"And am I not like this Masago?" she
" You are like no one in all the world," he
said, "save that sweet, lovely princess that
even as a boy I sought to capture for — my
" Yoii have not tried again," she said.
" The sun is in my eyes, O princess. I am
He turned abruptly from her and walked
swiftly away toward the front of the palace.
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO 99
" I have been dreaming," he said, passing
his hand across his eyes, "and living in my
dreams. O gods ! "
Sado-ko looked after him, leaning over the
railing of the gate watching until he disap-
peared. Then she turned and walked with
dreamy step back through the bamboo grove.
She turned her toward a slender, pebbled
path which she followed to a small lawn,
in whose centre a stately statue, white and
pure, was set. She stood in silence looking
upon it, — a statue of the Prince Komatzu
wrought by the hands of the artist-man. Sud-
denly she placed her arms about the statue's
form and pressed her face against it. Her
words were strangely like to his : —
" I have been dreaming, dreaming," she
said, "and, O sweet Kuonnon, let me not
THE PICTURE BY THE ARTIST-MAN
THE PICTUP.E BY THE ARTIST-MAN
THE ladies persisted, though the artist
was obdurate. He stood in their path
directly before the covered picture on
the foreign easel. His eyes wandered gravely
over the various faces of his fair besiegers.
Said the Duchess Aoi, with her small chin
raised and her long eyes at disdainful level : —
" Sir Artist, you invest a picture with the
attributes of the original. Yet even the prin-
cess's most celestial person is not so sacred to
our insignificant eyes. Why, then, her august
picture ? "
Junzo bowed only slightly to his interlocu-
tor, and repHed briefly : —
" The portrait is unfinished. Duchess Aoi."
" Unfinished ! Well, and did we not gaze
upon the statue of his Imperial Highness
while yet it was unfinished ? "
104 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
The artist did not move from his position.
" Ah, it is the honorable whim of the artist,
ladies," said the little Countess Matsuka.
" Sir Artist, you are most cruel to the kind,"
chided a roguish young lady, who leaned against
the Duchess Aoi.
" Yes, indeed," added another, " to permit a
whim — an artist's foolish whim — to prevent
our enjoyment of her Highnesses picture."
" Confess," said Lady Fuji-no, who hitherto
had remained quietly in the background, " that
this is not the whim of an artist, but of — "
" The portrait is unfinished," repeated the
artist, raising his voice.
" Shaka ! You have been most painstak-
ing. Sir Artist. The statue of the Prince
Komatzu was completed in just half the space
of time." It was the Duchess Aoi who spoke.
To her the artist turned.
" Lady, bid me not again repeat, the por-
trait is unfinished," he said with a low, grace-
Lady Fuji burst into merry laughter.
" Artist," she said, " the foreigners whom
PICTURE BY THE ARTIST-MAN 105
we emulate in some things declare that all
women, royal or otherwise, have the preroga-
tive to command, to insist."
Junzo's brows were slightly drawn together.
He bowed without answering the smiling Fuji.
"And so," she continued, taking a step
nearer to him, " I am going to look upon
the picture, since you will not heed command,
and even though — "
Her hand was upon the silken covering,
which she had partly lifted. Junzo's hand
fell upon hers like a vice. She did not, how-
ever, release the covering, but clutched at it
beneath his fingers, her half-defiant, half-smil-
ing eyes upon his face.
" Lady Fuji-no 1 " he cried, breathing heavily,
" I must command — "
" Command ! " she repeated haughtily; " and
when. Sir Artist, did you acquire authority at
court? By what right do you, a hired artist,
dare to command a lady of the household of
her Imperial Highness ? "
She wrenched at the covering, and it began
to slip from the top of the picture.
io6 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" In the name of Princess Sado-ko ! " he
The covering had slipped to the floor, and
even the most impassive of the ladies had
started back with little gasps of consternation.
The canvas that faced them now was blank.
There was complete silence in the salon of
the visiting artist. Then almost simultane-
ously all eyes were turned from that blank
canvas to the face of the artist-man.
He stood there like one overtaken by a
sudden tragedy. His face was white and
drawn, his eyes, always large and dark, were
widened now. His nostrils quivered, and his
lips were dry. The very sight of his despair
had a moving effect upon all, save the Lady
Fuji-no, who began to laugh very softly.
Thus she broke the silence. Her words were
slow and cruel : —
" Of a truth, Sir Artist, the picture of her
Imperial Highness is unfinished."
He did not speak. The lady leaned toward
him, thrusting her face within the range of
PICTURE BY THE ARTIST-MAN 107
" Is this the honorable portrait of our Prin-
cess Sado-ko, which she will make as exchange
gift to her affianced. Prince Komatzu ? " she
The artist turned his face painfully aside.
Then the Duchess Aoi spoke : —
" Artist," she said, " we most humble and
insignificant ones copy the august fashions
from her Highness. Pray you, paint my
picture in just so fine a style.'*
There were hysterical tears in the voice of
the little Countess Matsuka. She sought in
vain to divert her more heartless companions.
" I," she said, " would desire to be painted
in a most gorgeous foreign gown."
" With the body showing ? " inquired
"Yes, the neck and the long arms. Why
" Oh, ah, it is indecent ! "
The artist stooped to the covering on the
floor. He stood holding it in his hand, as
though he knew not what to do.
" Oh, pray do not cover up the august like-
io8 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
ness, artist/* pleaded the Lady Fuji-no, with
The Countess Matsuka raised her voice al-
most shrilly : —
" Ladies, do let us take a vote as to the
decency of the barbarian gown."
But her suggestion was drowned in the hub-
bub of gossip. The countess was met only
with this reply : —
" Countess, upon what work was this artist-
man engaged when he was closeted with Prin-
cess Sado-ko ? "
The group about the picture grew closer still
together. The question grew in size, and
found a hundred answers.
" It is one that only the artist himself can
solve," said Aoi, looking toward him ob-
" Oh, oh, was only the artist present .'* " pro-
tested Lady Fuji.
"And her Highness," said the Duchess
Aoi, and bowed in mocking reverence at the
name. " Do you not recall she said she would
not have her ladies present at the sittings ?
PICTURE BY THE ARTIST-MAN 109
When we dared to protest, in most humble
wise, she frowned and commanded us to go,
which we were forced to do."
The artist suddenly took a step forward and
faced the ladies fairly. The color had returned
to his face, and his eyes sparkled in defiant
scorn at his small tormentors. His voice was
raised to a clear pitch : —
"You make mistake, most noble ladies.
You do injustice to the humble artist, to his
work, and to her most exalted Highness."
Here he bowed deeply and with reverence.
" It is very true you do not now behold on
this blank canvas the work of the many days
of the artist. Yet that is not an unsolvable
mystery. Shall the humble but honorable
artist allow his work upon the portrait of her
Serene Highness, the daughter of the sun-god,
to remain in his most public salon for the
chance and vulgar observation of the spiteful
curious ? Permit me to observe with proper
respect and humility that no explanation of the
substitution of the blank canvas is due. Fur-
ther, ladies, you make a treasonable mistake
no DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
when you declare the august sittings were un-
attended. Her Highness, upon all occasions
when she deigned to permit me to paint her
august picture, was both chaperoned and at-
tended by the honorable maid, Onatsu-no."
A sudden little shriek broke from one of
the ladies, at which all turned toward her and
then followed the direction of her startled eyes.
The next instant all this company of clattering-
tongued ladies, whether in European dress or
kimono, had fallen to their knees, and were
touching the mats with their heads.
The Princess Sado-ko, attended by her
maiden, Natsu-no, stepped slowly down from
the slight eminence of the adjoining room, the
shojis of which the pages drev/ behind her.
There was no expression in the face of Sado-ko
as she crossed the room, bowing her head with
grace in response to the servile courtesies of her
maids of honor. She made a slight motion
with her hands, and there was a quick move-
ment and rustling of the obedient ladies, mov-
ing toward the shoji that led without. One of
them, more daring than the others, the Lady
PICTURE BY THE ARTIST-MAN iii
Fuji-no, paused by the veranda doors, and
spoke with affected timidity : —
" May it please your Highness that we be
permitted to remain to-day for this sitting ? "
Sado-ko*s eyes were above the head of her
father's new favorite and her own maid of
" Lady Fuji-no,** she said, " I have spoken.**
Fuji bowed herself down to the mats, then
quietly joined those without.
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS
JUNZO turned his head from Sado-ko.
He stood still as a statue, his head droop-
ing, his hands clinched. She broke the
strained silence with a command to her attend-
"Natsu-no, pray draw apart the door at
once. The atmosphere is thick with odor of
our ladies. It has sickened the honorable
He raised his head sharply. She had not
heard, then ! The maid pushed the shojis to
either side, thus exposing the apartment to the
full view of any without. This was a daily
custom and precaution. No spying maid of
honor might lurk about the balcony.
While the sliding doors remained open,
neither the artist nor the princess spoke, but
when a sufficient interval had elapsed and the
ii6 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
doors had been drawn together again, the maid
whispered a word of command to the guard
outside, who silently took his station on the
balcony. Then Sado-ko, turning slowly tow-
ard the artist, began to laugh in a strangely
quivering, and subdued fashion. The sound
of the soft laughter hurt the artist. He
scarcely could command his words.
" Guileless princess, I pray you do not
laugh ! "
" Not laugh ? " she repeated. " You arc to-
day a most unflattering artist. Was it only
yesterday you said my laughter was as sweet as
sweetest music of the sweetest birds ? "
She passed her fan over her shoulder to the
maid Natsu-no, who, whirling it open, fanned
her gently. Sado-ko smiled reproachfully at
Junzo, as she sat by a golden screen, near to
a shoji through which the sinking sun pierced
and slanted just above her head.
Junzo knelt on one knee a short distance
from her. His face was sad and serious.
"Princess Sado-ko," he said, "you have not
heard of a most lamentable happening.**
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS 117
"If," said she, still smiling, "you allude to
the noisy chatter of my ladies, you are mis-
taken. I have heard."
He looked half unconsciously toward the
now covered canvas. She followed his glance,
and still she smiled.
" I have seen, too," she said.
He regarded her dumbly, marvelling at the
trembling happiness which seemed to lurk
within her eyes and about her small red lips.
" Come a pace nearer to me, if you please,"
she urged. His obedience brought him so
close that he could have touched her. She
put out a little hand toward him, and spoke
" Junzo ! " she said.
He scarcely dared to look at her. She
said : —
" I pray you, look at me a space."
Their eyes met fully now, and then he saw
that despite the smile within them, hers were
shining with undropped tears. In an agony
of feeling he turned from her. He heard her
tremulous voice, thrilling now with that strange
ii8 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
laughing quality but accentuating the pleading
" Do not even the birds chatter ? Permit
my ladies the same pastime."
" It is of you I think," he said huskily.
" That is all very well. I — I would not
have you think of — of another," she replied.
" Princess, the gossip of the ladies does in-
jury to your sweet name."
" If that were so," she said, " there would
be no such name as Sado-ko left in the world.
Do you not know that I am the most un-
popular princess in Japan ? "
" But this late matter, princess, is not
merely female resentment at your refusal to
accept the Western mode of life within your
household. But this new slan — "
" Do not speak the word," she said quietly.
She took her fan from Natsu-no, and aris-
ing crossed the room until she stood before
the easel. Pensively she looked at the cov-
ered canvas. Junzo had followed her and
now stood by her side. There was deep
emotion in his voice : —
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS 119
" Princess, will it please you to sit to-day ? "
She turned to raise her eyes to his.
" But," she said, " you do not paint upon
the canvas. You have told me so."
" I am a sculptor, but I have also attempted
the other — "
She interrupted him.
"It would hurt your fame," she said. " It
" And what does it matter whether 1 have
fame or not ? "
" Artist, it was not for that work I bade
you stay," she said.
" But it was thought so by the others,
"I — I had a desire to learn more of —
of Kamakura — of people there — and so I
begged you to remain."
"You did command," he said in a low
" No," raising her eyes appealingly, " say
that I did beseech you."
" You did command," he repeated.
" Well, have it so. I commanded and you
120 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
obeyed. It was the reason of your staying.
Why suggest employment now ? "
" To spare the name of the most noble
princess in the realm."
She held her Httle head proudly.
" Who is it that slanders Sado-ko," she
asked scornfully, and then quickly answered
herself. " A few small biting insects, who but
sting, not kill. Sir Artist."
He turned away from her and stood by
the garden shoji, from whence he stared
moodily without. She followed him with
" I pray you, do not look without. The
sky is gray. The sun is fading."
She put her hand upon his arm with timid
touch. He turned with sudden impulse,
and seized it in both his own.
" The sun, O princess, is within," he cried,
" and, O sweet Sado-ko, it is too dazzHng
bright for such as I to gaze upon."
When he would have dropped her hand,
she held it within his own. Her face filled
him with a vague longing. He trembled at
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS 121
her touch. He felt the wavering of her
head toward him, then its touch against his
arm, where now it rested. A remnant of rea-
son remaining within him, he sought to draw
apart from her.
"Do not — do not so," she cried, clinging
" My touch profanes you, Sado-ko," he
" It does not," she denied, with tears in
her appealing voice. " Pray you, do not
draw your arm away."
" Princess ! "
" I do command again," she said. After
that he did not speak.
Suddenly the silent, immovable figure of the
maid seemed to take upon itself the first signs
of life. She arose and moved toward her mis-
tress. At a respectful distance she spoke.
" Noble princess ! " she said.
Sado-ko, still holding the arm of her lover
close about her, turned toward the maid.
" What Is your honorable desire, maiden ? "
" The chamber darkens, O princess. Will
122 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
your Highness deign to permit the honorable
light ? "
" I am quite satisfied/* said Sado-ko, and
rested her head contentedly against the artist's
arm. The maid did not move.
" Will not the noble princess permit her
evening meal ? *' she asked in trembling
" I am not hungry," said the Princess Sado-
ko. She smiled up at her lover's now adoring
" Princess, the hour of — "
Sado-ko turned toward the maid with the
first show of impatience.
*' Pray return to your seat, Natsu-no," she
said, " and when I need your service, I will so
Without replying, Natsu-no slowly moved
to her seat ; but she kept her face toward those
two figures now silhouetted in the twilight of
" You still are uneasy ? " asked the Princess
Sado-ko. " Do you not like the touch of
me ? "
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS 123
" It makes me faint with ecstasy/* he said.
" Yet, Sado-ko, I am fearful."
" Oh, be not fearful,*' she said.
"On my knees I could adore you, but — "
" But .? You do not finish."
" Princess ! "
" Do not call me princess. Forget for but
a little while that I am such. I, too, would
forget, my Junzo."
" I must remember for us both," he said.
" My honor — O sweet Sado-ko — thy
honor — "
" Sado-ko is ill with honor," she replied.
" Give me for a change a little of that simple
love I have not had since my august grand-
" O innocent princess !"
She laughed softly.
"Junzo, they say that I was born without
a heart, that because I was the child of gods
I could not love as mortals do. Could you
not tell them otherwise, my Junzo ? "
The maid was weeping in the darkened
room, her sobs clearly audible. They heard
124 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
her crawling on her knees across the room,
and then the soft thud of her prostration be-
fore the little shrine. Then came the mum-
bling words of her prayers —
" Hear thou the prayer of the most humble
one, O mighty Kuonnon. Save thou the soul
of thy innocent descendant, she who — "
Sado-ko dropped the arm of her lover
and started toward the maid.
" Natsu-no ! " she cried out sharply, as the
drone of the woman's prayer ended, "for
whom do you pray ? "
The maid put her head at the princess's
" For you, O beloved mistress. I pray
that the gods will save you from this artist-
The princess spurned her with her little
" If you make such foolish prayers, the gods
may hear you," she cried. " If they should
grant your prayers and take him from me,
why, I should be bereft of — Oh-h — '*
She made a passionate movement toward
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS 125
the shrine, as though she would destroy it, but
strong hands drew her away.
" Do not, Sado-ko, offend the gods ! Do
not, for my sake ! "
She put her hands upon his shoulders and
wept against his breast.
LIKE a large lighted lantern the palace
Komatzu appeared in the night. Its
transparent shojis revealed the lights
within. The sound of soft tinkUng music was
constantly heard, an accompaniment to the
ceaseless murmuring of voices. Ever and
anon there was the sound of silvery laughter,
and also the soft glide and patter of moving
From the garden without one could see the
strange flitting and moving of the figures
within, for the court of Japan was enjoying
the latest of Western novelties, — the dance.
A square-bearded German had found a place
as leader of the Japanese orchestra, and now
a strange medley of dance music was being
wrung from the instruments. The weird
130 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
tinkling of the geishas' instruments floating out
from a garden booth close at hand, added dis-
cord to the odd orchestra of the palace. Yet
the gentlemen and ladies of the court glided
and tripped back and forth within, and thought
that they were dancing quite in the style of the
But while all was gay and brilliant in the
new ball-room of the palace Komatzu, that
wing of the palace reserved for the Princess
Sado-ko was in blackness.
Sado-ko stood alone in her darkened
chamber. She had dismissed her personal
attendant, Natsu-no, though the latter crouched
by the inner shoji, her eye peering into the
adjoining room, watching and guarding her
It had not been difficult for Sado-ko to
retire from the ball, when the dancing had
begun, for her aversion to all such modern
pastimes was well known. She done of all
that company had appeared in the simple
though exquisite garb of her country. In a
robe of ancient style, soft flowing, Sado-ko had
MOON TRYST 131
never appeared to better advantage among the
ladies of the court, all of whom affected the
European style of gown, which ill became
Now in her chamber alone, Sado-ko watched
by her shoji. When first she took her stand,
all was black without. No moon had yet
arisen to silver her own gardens and tell her
that it was time. It was a long interval while
she stood there, a statue of patience.
Gradually the darkness without became
mellowed, and slowly and softly the tall bam-
boos and pines became silhouetted against the
sky. One small hand hidden in the folds of
her kimono was Hfted. She pushed the shoji
a small way apart, — only enough room for her
straining eyes to see clearer without.
It was a white and wistful face she turned
appealingly to the skies. Then that first soft
light reflected in her eyes, and sighing with
relief that her waiting now was over, she pushed
the sliding doors still farther apart and then
stepped outside. She paused upon her bal-
cony, to look about her with some fear.
132 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
There was no sound or stir. Very distant and
far away sounded the music of the palace
With another glance of assurance at the
moon floating up from the hills and trees, she
lifted her gown. Down into the garden the
Almost at the same instant the maiden
Natsu-no cautiously pushed back the shoji the
princess had forgotten to close, and keeping
some distance behind, followed her mistress
with stealing step.
Meanwhile the Lady Fuji-no had slipped
breathlessly from the arms of her partner, and
condemning the atmosphere of the room had
sought the wide verandas. Save for the silent
and melancholy figure of the artist the verandas
were deserted. He stood by the steps leading
to the gardens, his arms folded across his
breast, his head partly upraised as though he
watched the skies. At the light touch of the
Lady Fuji's hand he started violently, forget-
ting his manners in so far as to draw his sleeve
quickly away from her clasp. Her face was in
MOON TRYST 133
shadow, for it was dark about them. Only the
first glimmer of the moon had yet appeared.
Junzo knew that she was smiling mock-
" You watch the stars, Sir Artist ? " she
" Yes," he replied, without moving.
" So ! They are very beautiful to-night."
" Honorably so," he replied simply.
"Yet how insignificant will they appear
shortly when their august queen shall arise to
dim their little lustre."
"It is so," he agreed gravely ; " the august
moon is queen of the night."
" You watch for the queen. Sir Artist ? "
He turned and looked at her curiously.
" And you, my lady ? "
" I, too," she rejoined.
He moved restlessly, and even in the dim
light her watching eyes saw the uneasiness in
" Let us watch for her together, artist."
" I would not take you from your pleasures
within, my lady."
134 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Nay, the pleasures without overshadow
Again she saw the anxious glance upward
toward the hills, and in the darkness the Lady
Fuji smiled behind her opened fan. Junzo
moved downward a few steps ; he paused
" The garden is fragrant. Lady Fuji-no. I
would enjoy it for a little while."
" And I," said she, and went a step down-
" But the air is chill, my lady."
" Balmy sweet, Sir Artist."
" Lady, your august neck and arms are bare
to the night," he said.
She drew herself up slightly, and looked
down a space at her low gown.
" The musicians and the geishas in the
booths," he said, " would dishonor you with
their rude glances."
Without replying she clapped her hands.
A page came at the signal.
"A wrap, if you please," she ordered.
Junzo, now at the foot of the steps, stirred
MOON TRYST 135
uneasily. The moon was in full view. The
sight for which he had watched so anxiously-
filled him now only with agitation and despair.
He thought of one waiting in the darkness
of the private gardens beyond. Anxiety ren-
dered him reckless. He bowed deeply to the
Lady Fuji- no.
" Lady, I implore your august pardon, but
the night has claims upon my desires. I wish
to wander with it alone."
She stooped down toward him. Her words,
though whispered, were perfectly clear.
"You have a moon tryst. Sir Artist. Oh,
beware ! "
He turned about sharply and faced her.
"The Moon," she said, — "you will be-
come her plaything, artist. Be cautioned ! "
Uncertain and irresolute he stood a moment,
then turned upon his heel and swiftly strode
down along the path, disappearing into the
shadows of the trees.
Sado-ko wandered through the dewy gardens,
beneath the drooping bamboos and the tower-
136 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
ing pines. Her little feet were swift and will-
ing, as she hastened along with beating heart ;
but when she approached the end of the grove,
though there was light beyond, she could not
see even the shadow of that one who was to
have kept the tryst with her. Her steps
faltered ; she went less swiftly.
" The moon is late," she said. And then,
"It was the light of the stars I saw."
She walked so slowly now, that her little
feet became entangled in her flowing gown,
which she had absently let fall to the ground.
The end of the grove was now reached. She
could see the bright silver light without.
In the shadow of the last bamboo the
princess stood and trembled. She did not
need to peer into the distance, for all was clear
outside the bamboo grove, as far oflF as the
dividing line of the boxwood shrub and the
small white gate. How long she stood in
silent waiting she could not have told. Every
passing summer breeze made her shiver.
Once she raised her hand to her face, and
something wet was wiped away.
MOON TRYST 137
" 'Tis but the dew upon my face," she said,
but her own trembling voice broke the spell of
anguished waiting. At the foot of the droop-
ing bamboo she slipped to the earth, and
crouched beneath the shadow, deaf now to all
sounds, save her own inward heart cries and
the tears which even she could not command
Yet after only a little while, one appeared at
the bamboo gate, vaulted quickly over it, and
came with running feet on toward the grove.
A moment later, Sado-ko was in the arms of
" Oh, IS it you — you ! " she said through
her sighs, " at last. Oh, at last you have
come ! "
" It is I, sweet Sado-ko."
" So late ! " she said, her breath caught by
" Yes, late," he said, " but it was not the
fault of Junzo."
"I kept the tryst," she said, "and waited
long for the moon to rise — and then — then
you did not come, and I — and then I wept"
138 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She turned her face toward a moonbeam
streaming through the grove that he might see
the gUstening tears.
" Sado-ko ! " he cried in an agony, " oh,
that I should cause you pain — I who would
sell my very soul to save you from a tear."
She had recovered somewhat of her natural
calm, and for a moment her old bright self
" Nay, then, and what is a little tear ^ So
slight a thing — see, I will wipe it away with
the sleeve of my Junzo."
" My lotos maiden ! O Sado-ko, I have
made enemies for you here in this very palace."
" But I am stronger than the enemies, my
Junzo. Indeed, I can afford to laugh at them."
" One — the Lady Fuji, do not trust her, I
beseech you, Sado-ko."
" She would become wife to my father," said
Sado-ko, with quiet scorn, " yet her power is
small and her hope vain."
"She tried to prevent my coming here to-
night. I fear she has suspected our tryst."
" Lady Fuji-no is wise. Were I to marry
MOON TRYST 139
soon the Prince Komatzu, her fortunes would
change. She would possibly be out of service,
and knows or thinks my father would befriend
" There are still others. I fear the Duchess
Aoi has no love for you or me."
" She has love for only one besides herself, —
the Prince Komatzu. She could much better
herself in his graces, could she betray Sado-ko
in some base act."
" And baseness is not possible in Sado-ko,"
Her little hands moved softly across his
breast and upon his arms.
" You are truly here, my Junzo," she said,
" I do not dream."
" Hark, something is stirring close by ! "
" The wind," she said. " Pray you, be not
fearful of the wind."
" It seemed a sound more human-like, as
of one who crept along the grove."
" Perchance a deer. The parks are fully
stocked, and many wander hither to my own
140 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
He raised her face upward between his
hands, within which he framed it.
" Listen, Sado-ko. Do you forget that we
made this tryst to-night for a sad purpose ? '*
" I have forgotten," she murmured ; and
added in so soft a voice, " I would forget,
" O Sado-ko, it is sweet to be together, but
sadder still than sweet, for this must be the
She shook her head.
" No, no," she said. " I will not let you
" I must go," he said sadly.
" I will command you to stay," she said.
" I cannot longer stay. To-morrow — "
" I will implore you, then. Go not away
from me, dear Junzo ! "
" Have you forgotten that our tryst to-night
was made to say our most sad sayonaras ? "
She lifted his sleeve, and held it close
against her face.
" No, no — leave me not I "
His voice was husky.
MOON TRYST 141
" Why, Sado-ko, to-morrow there will be an
exodus from the palace. I could not stay,
even if I would. Does not the Prince Ko-
matzu journey back to Tokyo ? '*
"And you — you, too, will go with us,"
" I have myself asked this favor of my
"You asked his Highness — "
"Yes. I bade him ask you to accompany
us, so you might have the honorable commis-
sion to paint the pictures of the ladies of the
"Paint the pictures — " repeated Junzo,
"Yes, that will be the good excuse. Yet
you must not do so. No, I would not have
you work upon another's beauty."
" I cannot go," he said, raising his voice.
"It is impossible. I must return."
She started back, her hands above her heart.
"I understand," she said. "You will return
142 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
He seized her hands with impulsive passion.
" My father bids me return. Can I re-
fuse?'* he cried.
" Oh, go not back ! " she said, with tears in
her pleading voice.
" I must return. I am but a son. Does not a
son owe his first obedience in life to his father?"
" It is an ancient fancy," she said, " and
these moderns are more wise. They say a
man must give his first thought to" — her voice
dropped and broke — " his wife ! *
She drew her hands from his, and covered
her face with them. While yet her face was
hidden in them she spoke : —
" You will make her — your wife ? "
He could not answer. Her hands dropped
from her face to clinch now at her sides.
* Answer, if you please ! " she said.
"It is my father's com.mand," he said in a
"Your father's command is greater, then,
than mine ? " she demanded with fierceness.
"O Sado-ko, do you not perceive my
despair ? "
Look ! ' cried Sado-ko, clutching his sleeve.
MOON TRYST 145
" But why should you despair ? — you who
are to marry Masago ! "
" Sado-ko ! " he cried with piercing reproach,
" all the gods of heaven have forbidden me
union with you. Tell me what other course is
" Oh, leave me not ! " said Sado-ko.
" Even if I would, I could not stay. Your
august relatives would hastily learn the truth,
and then — "
They heard a slight cry within the darkness
of the grove. Then something white flashed
by them into the open.
" Look ! " cried Sado-ko, clutching his
sleeve. " Oh, see ! "
By the white bamboo gate two figures were
outlined, — a man and woman. And in the clear
moonlight the lovers recognized them as the
Prince Komatzu and the Duchess Aoi. But
the maid Onatsu-no, who had rushed by them
so swiftly through the grove, came up toward
these two by the gate, and prostrated herself
" Quick ! " cried Sado-ko, ** They have
146 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
not seen us yet. Natsu-no will speak to them.
Meanwhile run with all the speed your love
for me can lend, back through the grove.
Hide among the shadows of the trees until the
prince and I shall pass. Then return along
He lingered, seeming averse to hiding ; but
she urged him, pushing him with her own
" There — go — for my sake — my sake —
do this thing for me ! '* she urged disjointedly.
He stooped and drew her hands close to his
face, and for a moment looked deep into her
" Sayonara ! " he whispered. " It is for-
" Sayonara ! '* she repeated, and sobbed over
the word, " for a little time," she said.
SADO-KO stepped from out the shadow
of the bamboo grove Into the moon-
lit path, and seemingly pensive, made
her way toward the two at the gate. She
paused before them silently for a moment,
then made a gesture of dismissal to the maid
Natsu-no, who ceased her excited apologies for
having interrupted them, through sudden fright
at their appearance.
" Cousin," said the princess to Komatzu,
Ignoring altogether the Duchess Aoi, "your
sudden appearance at my gate has frightened
both my maid and me, who In our solitary
evening rambles not often meet with visitors."
Komatzu answered : —
" The Duchess Aoi and the Lady Moon
both beguiled me into a like garden wandering.
We came but by chance to your august gate."
150 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" But will you not step inside ? " asked
Sado-ko. " Pray, cousin, will you not walk
with me ? " she sweetly urged.
Glad to accompany his cousin, the prince,
softly clapping his hands, ordered an attend-
ant to unfasten the gate. Aoi was about to
follow him to the other side, when stopped
by the voice of the princess. " We do
not need your further service to-night," she
The mortified duchess bowed to the earth,
and slowly moved away.
When she was gone and the Princess
Sado-ko should have breathed more freely,
a reaction came. She clung with sudden
faintness to the waiting-maid, Natsu-no.
" Cousin, you are ill ! " cried the dismayed
She tried to laugh, but her voice was shak-
ing and her words piteous.
" I but stumbled on my gown. Sir Cousin."
She raised herself, lifting the kimono a little
upward from the ground.
" It is the punishment of vanity," she con-
COUSIN KOMATZU 151
tinued in a somewhat weary voice. " I was
not ready to part with my fair gown, Komatzu.
It is of ancient style and very long and
" But the embodiment of grace and beauty,"
said Komatzu, gallantly.
She pursued this light conversation, in hope
of diverting him as they passed on their way
through the grove.
"What, Cousin Komatzu, you praise an
Oriental gown, — you who are so much a
modern ! "
He glanced down smilingly at his evening
dress, black, immaculate, and foreign.
"The honorable gown, fair cousin, is truly
exquisite ; still, I confess I do prefer the for-
eign style, and would that you did also."
" But I should suffocate did I enclose my
little frame in so honorably tight a garb,"
she protested, and at the same moment she
glanced about fearfully. Komatzu seemed
to perceive something of her uneasiness, for
he, too, cast a keen look about them.
In nervousness she began to speak again,
152 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
for somewhere close at hand she heard a stir
which set her heart to violent beating.
"My ladies beg permission to deck your statue
with august flowers, cousin, and — Ah-h!"
She paused. Was it fancy only, or did she
see a face staring out at her from the dense
foliage hard by ?
" I protest," said Komatzu, stopping short
in his walk, " that you, fair cousin, are ill.
You are not your familiar self to-night."
Her fingers clutched his arm as she drew
him again along the path.
" No, no, no," she denied, " I am quite
well ! Do not linger here, I pray you.
He frowned, glancing out with brows drawn.
" I was thinking it an ideal spot for loiter-
" 'Tis dark," said Sado-ko, still hastening
" The moonlight is on all sides, cousin, and
pierces through the thin bamboos. And look
upward — see how clear and beautiful the star-
lit sky above us."
COUSIN KOMATZU 153
Again he paused In admiring contempla-
tion of the night.
"The night is chill, Sir Cousin, and the
grove is damp," she said.
"Why, no — ** he began again in protest,
when the maid behind interrupted. She
wrapped a cape about the shoulders of her
mistress, and spoke in soothing tones : —
" Noble princess, the humble one was wit-
ness of your shivering just now. Permit me
then to serve you."
Still the Prince Komatzu hesitated. Sud-
denly Sado-ko thrust into his her own small
" Cousin, feel how cold my hands are.
Will you not warm them with yours ? " she
He held them doubtfully a moment, then
chafed them with his own, while she moved
Once outside the grove, a great breath, a
sigh, escaped the agitated Sado-ko. Then
suddenly she began to laugh in a strange,
mirthless fashion, as one who laughs through
154 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
tears. Her cousin stood in silence, sombrely
regarding her. When she had ceased, he
asked : —
" Why did you laugh so suddenly just now,
princess ? '*
"A thought came to my honorable little
brain, Komatzu. I fancied that you had
learned that I would keep a tryst to-night."
He did not move, and she continued with
" And by your face I know my thought was
true. Did not the Duchess Aoi bring you to
my gate for the purpose of — a spy ? "
" We came by chance," he answered gravely.
" Yes, chance dictated by your beguiling
guide, good cousin. Is it not so ? **
" The Duchess Aoi spoke with indignation
of the tales of others, Sado-ko."
Again the princess laughed in that weird
" It is a habit of my sex, Komatzu, to
slander one in just that wise, veiling beneath
choice, soft, indignant words against others their
own subtle design of defamation."
COUSIN KOMATZU 155
" Cousin, who would dare defame your name
to me ? "
" Oh, any fair and clever lady of the court,
Komatzu. Come, cousin, were you not in-
formed that I would keep a tryst to-night ? "
" With whom could Princess Sado-ko keep
tryst ? " he asked.
She shrugged her shoulders recklessly.
" With whom, Komatzu ? The stars, the
moon, the night, — perchance, a lover."
"You laugh at me, fair cousin."
" Permit me, then, to weep." She clasped
her face with both her hands, but she did not
feign tears : they came too readily.
"Cousin," said Komatzu, solemnly, "will
you make an exchange gift with me for my
august statue ? "
She raised her face defiantly.
" And why should you and I make exchange
gifts, Komatzu ? We are not afiianced."
" Are we not ? " he asked sternly.
" No, save for the gossip of the court and
popular fancy. Yet his Majesty has not be-
trothed us, and I am both his niece and ward."
156 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" He will betroth us/' said Komatzu, with
gloomy assurance, " for all his ministers are in
favor of the union."
" We will abide the time, Komatzu, when
his Majesty sanctions it. Meanwhile we are
"Sado-ko, give me that picture of you
painted by the artist."
She turned her face away. Her nervous
hands were clasped.
" When we are betrothed," she said.
" Sado-ko, you know I am your lover."
" So it is said."
" Who but a lover should possess this like-
ness of your Highness ? "
"You are not my lover — yet."
"I will be so," said Kom.atzu. "Give me,
I repeat, the portrait of your Highness."
She turned toward him, like one brought
suddenly to desperate bay.
" Why require this of me ? You have
already learned there is no such picture."
" What, you admit it ! "
" I admit it," she returned quietly now.
COUSIN KOMATZU 157
He changed his haughty tone to one
wherein there was more sorrow than anger.
"Tell me this, Cousin Sado-ko, why did
the artist remain, and upon what work was
he engaged when closeted with you ? "
" He did not work, Komatzu. He but
spoke to me — and I to him. He v/ould
have gone, but I commanded him to stay.
There was no option for the man. He could
not paint. I knew this all the time — yet —
still — I bade him stay."
"Why, Princess Sado-ko?"
" For many reasons. I wished to know of
other lives. The shallow, shameless ones of
those about me enervated my body and my
soul. I wished to learn of others in the world,
fresh, cleaner, cousin."
" Sado-ko, I fear you were misjudged. I
fathom now your reasons. Just one more bit
of eccentricity so natural to our cousin."
" And so he stayed," she said, her voice
now slow and almost absent in its tone, as
though she were recalling incidents in some
far past. " He stayed, as I commanded. He
158 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
told me of his world, — the great world with-
out, Komatzu, where men were men, not pup-
pets. He had travelled much, Komatzu, —
fairly round the world, it seems ; and though
he dressed not in the garb of the barbarian,
he knew more of them than the whole of this
"He spoke of the foreign world?"
" That and of other things."
" Other things ? "
Her voice dragged slowly over the word as
she spoke in answer.
" Masago ! " she murmured in a low voice.
" And who, I pray, is this Masago ? "
" Masago," she repeated ; and then again,
" Masago. Do you like the sound of the
name, cousin ? "
" It has a fair but common sound. The
* morning glory * is esteemed. It is, in truth,
a pretty name."
" But not so sweet as — Sado-ko. Pray you,
say so, cousin."
" Why, no ; not so sweet, so rare, so royal.
Who but a princess might carry such a name
COUSIN KOMATZU 159
as that ? Does not the ' ko ' mean ^ royar and
' Sado/ sweetest name for maiden, * chastity ' ? "
Her restless hands unclasped. She raised a
" Komatzu, I would exchange that royal
name for the simple one — Masago."
" Princess ! "
" I weary of that title, cousin."
" Who is this Masago ? "
" A simple, happy maid, Komatzu. She is
the daughter of a late countryman of Echizen,
and now a famous merchant of Tokyo."
"What is his name?"
"Yamada Kwacho. Ah, I see you start,
Komatzu. You, too, it seems, have heard the
story ? "
« And you ? "
" And I. But not until he came to
" He ? — this artist-fellow told you of your
father ? "
" No. His coming simply widened the lips
of the ever open mouths of my sweet maids
of honor. By a female chance of listening, a
i6o DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
weakness common to our race and sex,
Komatzu, 1 heard the tale retold."
Komatzu made a gesture of impatience.
" Cousin, I apologize for the vile gossip
with which my palace seems infected."
" Oh, spare your august tongue, Komatzu.
'Twas my own maids who spoke."
"And this Masago? I do not altogether
understand. She is a daughter of Yamada
Kwacho ? "
" A daughter of his wife, Komatzu."
The subtle meaning of her words was not
lost upon the prince. He frowned.
"What relation does this Masago bear to
this artist-man ? " he asked.
Sado-ko looked up at him in the now fading
moonlight, but did not answer. The expres-
sion of her face was strange. She turned
suddenly, and moved with slow and almost
dreamy step toward her rooms, Komatzu fol-
lowing at her side, awaiting her reply.
Sado-ko paused on the steps, and then
she answered in the faintest voice : —
" Masago is his bride to be, Komatzu.*'
COUSIN KOMATZU i6i
In the opening of the shoji she paused a
space, looking up at the sky.
" The moon is gone," she said. Her
cousin did not know whether to him she
breathed farewell, or to the moon, for she
said : —
" Sayonara ! " and then, " O moon ! "
A MIRROR AND A PHOTOGRAPH
A MIRROR AND A PHOTOGRAPH
WHY do you weep?" asked Sado-ko.
" O noble princess/* stam-
mered Natsu-no, " I would that
you could weep with me."
" Maiden, I have shed all the tears that I
The princess arose, to stand for a moment
in indecisive silence. For the space of an
hour, princess and maid had sat in silence in
the darkened chamber.
" Bring a light, maiden," said the princess,
" but do not awaken the pages. Serve me
The maid bowed obediently. From the
adjoining room she brought a lighted andon,
and hesitatingly set it on the floor, looking
Wistfully meanwhile at her mistress.
i66 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Go now to your deserved sleep, good
maid," said Sado-ko, indicating the chamber
" And you, sweet mistress ? "
" I will not need your further offices to-night."
" Pray you, dear princess, permit the hum-
ble one to robe you for the night."
" I have spoken, Natsu-no."
The maid turned unwillingly, and push-
ing slowly aside the sliding doors, disappeared
Sado-ko lifted the andon and carried it
across the room. Holding it in her hand on
a level with her eyes, she examined the wall,
and found a sliding panel. This she pushed
aside, drew from out the recess an ancient
rounded mirror. She set the andon on the
floor, and then lay down beside it. Thus,
lying sidewise, the light at her head, she
could hold the mirror before her face, and
see the reflection within.
For a long time she seemed to study the
features in silence. Then sitting up again
she drew from her sleeve a piece of modern
A MIRROR AND A PHOTOGRAPH 167
cardboard, such as foreign photographers use.
This she also held to the andon light.
The face which had looked at her from
the mirror now stared up at her with cold,
inscrutable eyes from the photograph in her
hand. Yet there was a subtle difference in
the expression of the face of the mirror, and
that of the card, for the one was wistful,
soul-eyed, and appealing, while the other was
of that perfect waxen type of woman whose
soul one dreams of but seldom sees. The
one was the face of the statue, the other that
of the statue come to life.
Suddenly Sado-ko set picture and mirror
aside, and arising, crossed to the sliding doors.
These she pushed apart.
" Maiden ! " she called into the room,
The tired waiting-woman was asleep by the
dividing shoji. She awoke with a start and
hastened to her mistress, murmuring her
" Come hither," said the princess. " I have
something here to show you."
i68 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She led the maid by the sleeve to the andon
upon the floor. Together they crouched be-
side it, while Sado-ko gave the picture into
the hands of Natsu-no. The maid stared at it
in some bewilderment, then held it further in
" Tell me, maiden, who is this ? "
Still the maid held it in the light. Her
eyes widened, then suddenly she bent her
head before the pictured face, next to the
" Who is this ? *' repeated Sado-ko.
"You, sweet mistress," said the maid, — "a
most bewitching honorable likeness of your
" You are sure ? " asked Sado-ko, smiling
" As sure as that the night is night,"
declared the maid, again regarding the picture.
" Maiden, does a princess wear flowers in
her hair ? See, there is the bara (rose) to either
side on this girrs head."
" No, no, exalted one."
A MIRROR AND A PHOTOGRAPH 169
" Did ever princess wear such a gown as
this, my maiden ? "
" Oh, princess ! " The woman appeared
shaken with a sudden terror.
" Do not drop the picture, if you please,"-
said Sado-ko, " but look at it again. Observe
the knotted fashion of the obi, Natsu-no.
Quite in the style of a geisha, is it not ? — or
rather the poor imitation of some simple maid
who would copy the style from the pleasure
The maid dropped the picture as though a
thing unclean. At that motion the princess
still smiled, but more inscrutably.
" Oh, noble princess, what evil one did dare
to put your Highnesses face upon such a pic-
ture ? It is a national disgrace."
Reflectively Sado-ko looked at the picture.
"Perhaps it was the gods, O Natsu-no,"
she said, as silently sh« put the picture in her
She arose, regarding her maid's emotion.
" Come," she ordered, " undress me for the
^ight, good maiden, for I am very tired, and
170 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
to-morrow — to-morrow we must go upon a
" To Tokyo," said Natsu, " with the noble
Prince Komatzu's suite, and oh, sweet mistress,
life will have a happier aspect when we leave
this melancholy place."
Lifting her hands to her head, Sado-ko
withdrew the long jewelled pins. Her hair
fell in midnight glory to her knees.
Kneeling by her, the maid tied her hair
back, a very old-fashioned mode which the
ladies in her grandmother's youth were fond of
following when retiring, and to which the
Princess Sado-ko had faithfully adhered.
" Does the honorable cortege leave before
noon ? " asked the maid.
"And all the kuge (court nobles) and the
ladies, also, go ? "
" Then I must haste. The sky already
lightens. The night is past. When will my
mistress sleep ? "
"There is much time for us to sleep to-
A MIRROR AND A PHOTOGRAPH 171
morrow. We do not accompany Prince
Komatzu's train," said Sado-ko in a low
voice, as though she spoke half to herself.
The maid paused in her arrangement of
her mistress's couch, and, kneeling, stared at
" Noble princess, did you not just now
speak of a journey ? " she asked, with evident
" Yes," said the princess, wearily ; " to-mor-
row we also will make a journey, but — we
go alone ! Pray you, hurry with my bed,
Without speaking the maid drew the robe
about the princess, now upon the couch.
Then she spread her own quilt-mattress at
the feet of her mistress.
"Good night, kind maid," said Sado-ko,
and closed her eyes.
" Princess ! " cried the maid, in a choked
voice, " forgive the insignificant one, but
whither do we journey to-morrow ? "
" To Kamakura," said the princess, in a
dragging voice ; she was tired now. " Wq
172 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
will go for a little while — just a little while,
Natsu-no, to the castle Aoyama."
The maid was speechless. When she found
her tongue, its faltering sentences betrayed her
" Princess — the artist-man — "
" Has gone to-night Take peace, restless
maid. Good night."
" But whither. Lady Princess, whither went
the artist-man ? "
" I bid you speak no more. Good night.**
The house party of the Prince Komatzu
ended the following day. A special train car-
ried the exalted ones back to Tokyo, whither
they went at once to the palace Nijo, for there
Komatzu always made his home in Tokyo,
with his cousin, the Prince of Nijo.
There was much gossip and idle conjecture
in the party as to the caprice of the Princess
Sado-ko. At the last moment she had de-
spatched word to Komatzu, saying that she
would not travel in the unholy barbarian train,
but preferred to proceed leisurely to Tokyo
A MIRROR AND A PHOTOGRAPH 173
in the old-fashioned but honorable mode of
travel, — by kago or norimono. Should the
journey prove too tiresome for her strength,
she would stop a little while in Kamakura, at
the castle Aoyama, and there it was possible
she might spend a day or two in maidenly
retirement. She desired, however, that her
suite should not await her, but proceed with
the train to Tokyo. She did not wish to
deprive them of the enjoyment (to them) of
the peculiar foreign method of travel, and
would need only her personal attendants, —
eight men retainers, whom she still termed
"samurai," the chaperon, old Madame Bara,
and her waiting-woman, Natsu-no.
MISTS OF KAMAKURA
MISTS OF KAMAKURA
THERE were marsh lands and boggy
rice-fields in the valley country along
the Hayama, and during the season
of White Dew (end of August) the river was
low and scarcely seemed to stir.
In the early morning a white mist arose from
it, eerily enshrouding the land like a veil of
gauze, evaporating, and disappearing slowly.
Sometimes, too, at night heavy fogs rose up
even to the hills and obscured all sight of
land. Oftentimes the traveller, even the
native, lost his way. Tales were told of the
smiling, languorous river, whose beauty, siren-
like, lured her victims to destruction.
Even the villagers, whose homes nestled so
cosily in the fragrant valleys, did not venture
out on foggy nights in the direction of the
178 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
river, unless attended by the Hayama guide,
Oka, who boasted he could find his way blind-
folded among the familiar paths of Kamakura,
even to the very water^s edge.
Almost beyond sight of the village, above
the heads of the sloping hills, the lordly castle
Aoyama looked over the mists of the valley at
Fuji in the sky distance.
It was five o'clock in the afternoon. A
young girl sat by an open shoji, motionless
and silent, staring up at the ghost-like hills.
The descending mists told her that long before
the darkness came all sight of the spot upon
which she gazed would be obliterated. She
lingered on in melancholy discontent, her chin
upon her hand, her embroidery frame idle at
Beyond a few servants of the household no
one was at home save Masago. She knew
that her thoughts and meditations would be
free from interruption, and so she gave her-
self up to them unreservedly, with inward
The Yamada house was situated on a rising
MISTS OF KAMAKURA 179
eminence. From the maiden Masago's case-
ment the golden peaks of the palace Aoyama
were visible. It was upon these points that
the young girl fixed her eyes with a vague
expression of suffering, wistfulness, and yearn-
What were the thoughts of Masago, fresh
from the training of a modern and fashionable
school in the old capital of Kyoto ? The
dreams that had stirred the apathetic mind of
Ohano's daughter into vague discontent had
not been removed by the months of schooling,
but were more definite, and therefore more
In Masago's hands was the same picture of
the martial prince-hero which she had once cut
from a Chinese magazine, and which since then
she had never ceased to adore. Always this
shining prince was entangled in her other
dreams. Hands and eyes now both were fixed
upon her heart's desire.
To her the stately palace Aoyama bespoke
that other world, intoxicating, ecstatic, desirable,
upon the very edge of which she might not even
i8o DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
cling, — she who had been born to it. The
innate craving of the Prince of Nijo for the
sensations of the upper world ate at the very
heart of the daughter of Ohano. To her, life
in this world was the most desirable thing on
earth ; it must satisfy every craving of the
mind and heart, and in it, Masago knew,
belonged her hero-prince. She was not
the only humble maiden of Japan who
secretly worshipped the nation's martial
hero, but possibly her love for him was a more
personal thing, because deep in the girl's
consciousness always was the knowledge that
she might have been worthy of him, had
not the irony of fate willed it otherwise, and
set her here, a thing apart from him, caged
and guarded by such surroundings, — she,
a daughter of the Prince of Nijo and blood
niece to the Emperor of Japan.
Only three days before the royal fiancee
of her hero had arrived at the palace Aoyama.
There, sheltered, nurtured, and watched over,
the favored daughter of the gods, report had
said, had gone into maiden retirement pend-
MISTS OF KAMAKURA i8i
ing her nuptials. Masago thought of her
with feelings akin to hatred, impotent and
desperate, but ceaseless. She knew that on
the morrow this Princess Sado-ko would re-
sume her journey to the city of Tokyo. Soon
she would have joined her lover, her future
husband, in the capital.
"To-night," said Masago, moistening her
dry lips, " she will think of him, and all night
long, — it is her privilege. While I — I, too,
will think of him — "
She hid her miserable face within her hands
and rocked herself to and fro, thinking of
what the morrow must do for her. She knew
that Kamura Junzo, her affianced, had returned
to Kamakura. Had not her parents gone this
very day to attend a family council ? Masago
had been glad of the creeping fog which slowly
spread across the land, as she knew this would
prevent her parents* return that night. She
had craved for these moments of maiden
privacy. Soon they must cease when she
had been given to this man for wife.
A servant brought Masago her evening
i82 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
tea, which the girl mechanically drank as she
nibbled at the crisp rice cakes. She did not
speak to the attendant while she dined, but
continued to stare before her through the
opened shoji. When she had finished, she
clapped her hands, at which signal the tray
w^as carried away.
The shadow and the fog intermingled, dark-
ening the sky without and deepening the twi-
light gloom of the room. A little later the
servant returned, bringing a lighted andon,
which she set significantly by the silent girl.
Then Masago stirred from her abstraction.
She saw the eyes of the servant upon the
picture in her hand. On a sudden, savage
impulse she leaped to her feet and fairly
sprung upon the woman, clutching her by the
" Always look ! Always see ! Foolwoman ! "
she said in a whisper which was yet a cry.
The woman shook the hands from her
shoulders by simply shrugging the latter an-
grily. Then she replied ; —
" Eyes are made to look, and when one
MISTS OF KAMAKURA 185
looks one sees ; yet eyes have not the tongue
to tell what they see, Masago."
Turning her back upon the servant, the
girl walked away.
The woman glided soundlessly across the
room and disappeared into the narrow hall
outside. Silent as was her going, yet Ma-
sago knew she was gone. She turned about
with a sudden movement of passionate feel-
" The woman knows ! " she said, and clasped
her hands spasmodically.
Then up and down she paced with unquiet
feet, to stand still a moment, beating her hands
softly together and biting the nails, and then
again to pace the room. She threw herself
upon the floor. Once again she drew the
picture from her sleeve, to press it to her
lips. After a while she sat up stiffly, as
though she listened.
" Some one is without my shoji ! *' she said,
She heard dim voices whispering in the
corridor; then suddenly the loud, shrill cry
i86 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
of a runner outside the house and the sing-
song, mellow answer of the guide Oka.
"Heu! Heu! This way ! Ah-ho ! So!"
Her parents had returned home she thought,
as she ran to the balcony. She leaned over
the railing, forgetting the murmured voices she
had already heard within the house itself.
" Mother ! Father ! You have returned ! **
The cry of the runner floated up to her
through the dark mist. Then the loud,
hoarse cry of Oka, the guide, proclaiming : —
" August guests for the maid Masago-san."
The girFs eyes expressed astonishment.
Guests for her ! and at such an hour !
Surely that stupid m.aid would not admit
them till she had learned their names and
mission. She, Masago, was but a m.aiden and
little used to receiving guests unchaperoned
within her father's house. Masago had for-
gotten her vague thoughts of but a moment
since. Now she was the simple daughter of
a respectable household, agitated at the unex-
pected advent of evening guests.
" No doubt," she thought, " they come to
MISTS OF KAMAKURA 187
see my father, who is not at home. I must
descend and beseech them to remain and ven-
ture not out again into the fog, though Shaka
knows I little wished for guests to-night."
Sighing, she turned back to her room.
Within the light was soft but clear, for an
officious one had brought in other andons,
and by the hall sliding doors, which were
opened, Masago saw a bright Takahiri (lan-
tern) flickering without. By this light she
saw a kneeling form, crouching with head to
mats. Over her the servant who had brought
Masago her evening meal stretched a hand to
close the shoji.
Then Masago's eyes turned to that other one
within her chamber, and coming to her face,
were fixed. She started back a pace, her lips
apart. Her visitor did not move or speak.
In silent, strange absorption her eyes were
fixed upon Masago's face. Thus for a long
moment these two stood and looked upon
each other, neither speaking, neither moving.
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
MASAGO spoke, her words strangely
" Lady — you — you desired to
speak with me?"
Her voice broke the spell of silencCc The
visitor bowed her head simply but eloquently.
Masago went a nervous s;;ep toward her.
There was fear in both her face and voice as
she began deprecatingly : —
" It was an honorable mistake, lady, that you
were not shown within the ozashishi (guest
room). I beg you, lady, will you not
speak ? "
Her fears overcame her politeness. There
was something unreal, strange, almost spiritual,
in this woman who looked at her with her
own eyes. For Masago almost thought she
192 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
dreamed, and that she stood before a magic
mirror wherein she saw reflected her own
beauteous image, clad as only in dreams.
But the vision spoke, and Masago's fright
" It was my wish," she said in a low voice,
" to see you in your chamber. I begged this
" Then, pray you, please be seated," urged
the girl. She brought a mat and set it for the
The visitor stooped, but not to the mat.
She lifted up an andon, and carrying it in her
hand went closer to Masago.
"A moment and I will be seated, but first I
wish to see your face — quite close."
She held the light near to the countenance
of Masago and scanned her startled features.
Then, swinging it before her own, she said :
" Look you at mine also."
Masago started, with a thrill of wondering
"Now," said the other, "I will be seated,
and pray you also, sit by me, Masago."
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 193
" I do not know you, lady," said Masago,
with sudden brusqueness. " I pray you, speak
your mission in my father's house."
The other smiled.
" Your father's house ! " she repeated.
" Why do you repeat my words ? " said
"I was told the Prince of Nijo — "
Masago started toward her with a little cry,
and that same savage movement with which
she had sprung upon the servant. Though
inwardly she cherished thought of Nijo, she
could not bear that others should speak of it.
" You come here to insult me ! " she cried,
her bosom heaving with suppressed excitement.
" Be not angry," said the other, softly. " I
came but to speak the truth, and — and to
gaze upon — my sister ! "
" Sister ! " The word escaped the lips of
Masago like a cry of pain. "You — you are — "
" Sado-ko," she answered, smiling still, yet
A moment Masago stared at her dumbly,
then with an indescribable movement she
194 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
knelt down at the princess's feet and put her
head upon the mats. Sado-ko bent over her,
stooped, touching her head.
" I pray you, kneel not thus to me," she
Slowly Masago arose, the color flowing back
into her pale face in a flood. Her eyes were
bright and wide and feverish. That moment's
servile impulse, when she had fallen down
upon her knees, was past. She looked the
Princess Sado-ko in the eyes, with conscious
" Now," said the princess, simply, *^ will you
not be seated ? "
Silently the two sought the mats. Opposite
each other they sat, each with her eyes upon
the other. Each spoke at once, and each the
same words : —
" You know then — "
" You know then — "
They bowed their heads. Thus both con-
fessed their knowledge of the fact that not one
of them, but both, were daughters of the Prince
of Nijo, and hence sisters. Then Masago: —
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 195
" Why do you come to me, exalted princess ?
I am but a lowly maiden, who cannot even
touch the hem of your kimono."
" There is a bitter tone within your voice,"
said Sado-ko. " Why is it so ? "
Masago did not answer, and the princess
continued : —
" Of your history I had learned, Masago.
It matters not how or where or when. One
spoke of you with — love — "
She broke off sharply to wring her hands
** And so I came to — to look upon you —
"You came from curiosity," said Masago,
in that same bitter tone. "It was the pass-
ing whim of a languid princess, bored with
"You misjudge me," said the Princess
Sado-ko, with a sigh.
" Not so," replied Masago, the color flam-
ing in her face ; " I can but recognize that
same idle fancy that also once possessed your
father when he — *'
196 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She bit her lips and turned her face away.
Angry tears clouded her eyes. She could
not speak for her proud emotion.
" There was another reason/* said the prin-
cess, softly. " Masago, pray turn not your
head in pride from me. I came not out of
condescension, nor yet from idle curiosity, but
because of a strange hunger of my heart, which
I could not resist.'*
" How can you have heart-hunger ? " asked
" And why not I ? *' Her very voice was
thrilling with its sadness. Masago would not
look upon her face. She was conscious only
of that raging jealousy and pain swelling up
in her breast.
" And why not I ? " repeated Sado-ko.
"You, who are a princess of the royal
family ! " cried Masago, with a sudden fierce-
ness. "You, of whom all the poets in the
realm have sung and raved ! You, at whose feet
the whole bright, glittering world is strewn !
You, the cherished Daughter of the Sun — the
bride-to-be of the — the Prince Komatzu ! "
DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 197
" But still a sad and wretched woman,"
said the Princess Sado-ko.
Masago turned upon her fiercely.
" And if you are so sad, as you say," she
cried, " who can have pity for your sorrow ?
Are you, then, a statue that you do not
appreciate these priceless gifts of all the
" Masago, gifts unsought are oftentimes not
desired, and sometimes those which glitter in
the sun do but reflect its light. What are
the gilded outward wrappings of the gods to
me, if inwardly still my heart breaks ? " /,
" Your heart breaks ! " Masago laughed in
scorn. " What, you — who are about to marry
the noblest, bravest, the most divine — " She
broke off, holding her hands to her throat.
With a sudden movement the Princess
Sado-ko bent forward and looked into the
averted face of the maid Masago.
"You!" she cried, "you love this — "
She could not finish her words.
Masago dropped her face within her
198 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
"I/* she said. "Yes, I — so humble —
the daughter of — "
"The Prince of Nijo ! '' whispered Sado-ko.
Slowly the hands fell from the girrs face.
Her eyes met those of Sado-ko*s.
SOLUTION OF THE GODS
SOLUTION OF THE GODS
A WILD flush of color rushed to the
face of Sado-ko ; a light so clear as
at first to dazzle her, flashed through
" Masago — sister ! " she cried. " Oh, the
gods give me solution of both our griefs ! "
" There is, alas ! none for mine," said
Masago, and sullenly wiped away the tears.
" Listen ! "
The Princess Sado-ko leaned over and
spoke in a lowered voice.
" You are aflianced to the artist, Kamuro
Junzo. Is it not so, Masago ? "
A motion of impatient assent was the girl's
" And you do not joyfully anticipate the
union ? "
202 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" I loathe the very thought," returned
The princess paused a moment as though to
master her amazement.
" Loathe thought of union with Junzo ! **
she repeated, then laughed with almost childish
joy. "It is not strange — in you, perhaps.
Now listen once again, and pray you, answer
" I am listening," said Masago, with sullen
impatience. " I will also answer, princess."
" Call me sister. Name me Sado-ko, I
" I will call you princess."
" Perhaps you will not do so, Masago, when
I have completed. But hear me. You love
your home, of course, and also your good
parents ? "
" It is said I am of an honorably dutiful and
filial temperament," replied Masago, coldly.
" But," continued Sado-ko, " there are other
things you love still more than your dear
home ? It is possible ? "
" It is so," replied Masago, briefly. " Do
SOLUTION OF THE GODS 203
not look surprised, O princess. Homes are
not all palaces, nor yet are parents all royal."
" Masago,'* said the princess gently, "a
palace never makes a home, nor royalty a
parent. Your home," she looked about her
with approving eyes, — " it is most sweet and
" The simple cottage of a merchant," said
" Your parents — they are kind ? "
" They are kind," said Masago, and for the
first time flushed with some evident feeUng.
" And you have little brothers — yes ? "
Sado-ko's voice was wistful.
" Five brothers. They are noisy, and
sometimes, princess, rough and most uncouth,
and therefore tiresome."
"But loving. You will grant that?"
"You were unhappy — you missed them,
did you not, when you left them for the
school, Masago ? "
" I was free," said the girl, slowly.
" Free ! Free from loving home, from
204 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
parents — Junzo — all who loved you. Free !
You prize such freedom, Masago ? "
The girl remained silent, her head drooping,
her brows drawn. Suddenly she raised her
" I am not unappreciative of their good
qualities. It was not my fault that I was
fashioned — so ! " She smote her hands
against her breast with an eloquent gesture.
" Yet, I confess, since I was but a little
child, I have felt like one oppressed — caged
— stifled ! Still I was deemed submissive !
My lips were sealed in silence. I was patient,
for only once did I protest against the dull
monotony of my lot. I asked Yamada
Kwacho for just one year of freedom. I did
not name it such, but such it v/as. For this
small respite, Sado-ko, 1 tied my life to an-
other's'and aflianced myself to Junzo. It was
a bitter moment."
" You did not love him ? " asked the prin-
cess, in a timid, most beseeching voice.
" I did not even look upon him," returned
Masago, impatiently. "He was my father's
SOLUTION OF THE GODS 205
choice, not mine. I — - see, look here, O prin-
cess ! '* She held before the eyes of Sado-ko
the printed picture of the Prince Komatzu,
then continued swiftly, with passionate vehe-
mence : —
" This was my hero ! I went up to Kyoto
not to study."
She arose and began to walk across the
chamber, clasping and unclasping her hands
as she spoke.
" I saw the noble palaces of my ancestors,
— yes, mine! I lingered, wandered in the
streets outside — think of it ! — outside the
walls ! I watched at every gate, and saw
the corteges and the trains of the nobles and
the princes pass and repass back and forth ;
and oh ! while I must fall upon my face — I 1
And once, just once, I touched the august
sword of Prince Komatzu. Thus ! It was
thus I did so."
She swung her long sleeve till it barely
grazed the head of Sado-ko, in illustration.
" *Twas in a public place he spoke. They
set him up like any common man ! He was
2o6 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
so noble, so great. O princess ! he spoke
to all that gaping herd like man to man,
with less of condescension than the lordly
politicians of the capital, — he whose august
feet should not have deigned to touch the
" Nay," interposed the princess, smiling
quietly, " Komatzu is a modern. The times
have changed, Masago. No longer are the
royal ones called gods.*'
" Yet like unto a god he was," declared
the girl, " for I saw with these eyes."
" Which love had sweetly blinded," smiled
the princess, sympathetically. She, also, arose,
and put her hand upon Masago's arm, leaning
" Masago," she said, in her low, winning
voice, " if you could do so, would you change
your simple home foT the royal court and all
its glamour ? "
" Ask the birds if they prefer the wide, free
sky to the dark sea."
" Would you, then, exchange your state for
— mine, Masago ? "
SOLUTION OF THE GODS 207
Slowly the girl turned her face and looked
into the pleading eyes of Sado-ko. Her voice
was hoarse. She said : —
" You give me wilful pain, O princess.
Why? You know full well that could not
"Why not?" asked Sado-ko, whisperingly.
*' No, no ! " Masago recoiled, her incredu-
lous eyes fixed as if fascinated on the face of
Sado-ko. The princess placed her hands on
the shoulders of Masago, and brought her face
close to hers.
"Look into the mirror — Sado-ko," said
" Sado-ko ! You call me by your name ! "
"And pray you, call me — Masago."
" Oh, no ! Oh, no ! "
" You will not change with me ? "
" Oh, oh ! " Masago had become white
as death, as though she were about to faint.
"Will you not do so?" still pleaded the
now almost despairing voice of Sado-ko.
" I dare not — dare not," she murmured.
There was silence now in the room. The
2o8 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
dim sounds of the world about them did not
reach the ears of these two. Masago had
reached out a trembling hand to support her-
self against the framework of the wall. Sado-ko
watched her with a yearning, melancholy ex-
pression in her face. Suddenly she turned
" You were right, Masago," she said slowly.
" It could not be." She paused, then, sigh-
ing, moved with drooping head toward the
doors of the corridor.
" Sayonara — sister," she softly breathed.
That word of farewell broke the tension
of the dazed Masago. She sprang with a
cry after the departing one. Both of the
princess's sleeves were in her grasp.
" Go not yet ! " she cried. " Do not go ! "
She fell grovelling upon her knees, still
clinging to the long sleeves of the princess,
and hid her face in the folds of Sado-ko's
kimono. Then, with her face muffled in the
gown, she spoke : —
" I could not grasp the meaning of your
words — My heart leaped up and burst —
SOLUTION OF THE GODS 209
I could not think. I pray you, do not take
my joy away while yet I barely grasp it in
my hands, Princess Sado-ko ! '*
" You do consent ! " said Sado-ko, bending
over her, while a strange light of excitement
came into her eyes.
" Consent ! On my knees I could pray to
you, as to a god, to grant this thing you sug-
gest for a caprice."
" T y USH ! Do not speak so loudly,
I I Masago ! "
" How you tremble, Sado-ko."
"We have once more mistaken our names,"
said she who was the Princess Sado-ko.
"Oh, true. Now call me Sado-ko! No,
call me noble princess, most divine, exalted,
august, royal princess ! Call me so ! "
"A princess is net so addressed," replied
the other, smiling, " save sometimes by a
servile, ignorant one."
" I fear I will be sure to make the most
" So ! Then the whole court will call it
* A new caprice of the foolish Princess
"Again, if you please — call me Sado-ko."
" Princess Sado-ko ! "
214 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Nay, call me simply ' sister,* *' said the
other, in a trembling voice.
"Sister — there! Does not this beauteous
robe become me well P "
" As though it were made alone for you,
" No, no, — Princess Sado-ko ! "
" I bow my humble head unto the dust,
most royal Princess Sado-ko ! "
In mock humility the new Masago bowed
before the old Masago.
" Yet," said the latter, with her red lips
pursed in thought, " they say it is the latest
fashion of the court to wear the foreign style
of dress. Is it not so ? "
"Yes. It is so."
" Oh, joyful ! Such beautiful and gorgeous
gowns as I shall wear. I will send at once
to all the most famous foreign cities. Let me
see, — to Holland, and to — "
" The Princess Sado-ko never liked the for-
eign gown," interrupted the other, shaking her
head a trifle sadly.
THE CHANGE 215
" But you spoke just now of the caprices
of that same Princess Sado-ko. She has
already another one."
Then up and down the room, in the long,
trailing robe of Princess Sado-ko, walked,
peacock-like, the maiden Masago ; while close
at hand, with dreamy face and dewy eyes,
clad in a simple crepe kimono, and with
flowers — no longer jewels — in her hair, stood
" Tell me," said the vain and eager Masago,
"when the noble Prince Komatzu shall greet
me so," — she bowed with assumed gallantry
— " will I bow thus ? " Down to the mat
she bent her head.
" Why, no ; but thus." Gracefully, simply
she illustrated. " A low, but not too low,
obeisance. You are of equal rank, Masa —
princess ! "
" So — like this ? "
" No ; this way."
" Well, it will take me twenty hours to prac-
tise thus. I will not sleep till I accomplish it."
" Oh, you will learn. Bow as you will.
2i6 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Masago. Komatzu will declare your mood
has changed, and still insist that you are fair."
Stooping in her posing, Masago stared a
moment at the other.
" Perhaps already he has whispered words
of love to you, then ? " Her voice was
" No, my cousin does not know me quite
as yet. You will make him better acquainted
with Princess Sado-ko."
"Ah, that I will!"
She raised her long, slim arms from out the
graceful sleeves. Her hands she clasped be-
hind her head.
" Oh, what a glorious dream it is ! " she
said ; then, in quick alarm, " A dream ? Say
that it is not all a dream."
But Sado-ko sat staring quietly into the
future. When she raised her eyes, they softly
" A dream it is — a dream, and yet — Oh,
Kuonnon, let us not awake ! "
"Ah, how can you be so glad — -you who
are to stay here only Masago ? "
Then up and down the room, in the long, trailing robe of
Princess Sado-ko, walked, peacock-like, the maiden
THE CHANGE 219
" Masago," repeated the other, softly.
"That is well." She raised a flushing face.
" I am like a bird set free, Masago. My very
voice is sore to sing."
Masago threw herself upon the floor beside
"That is how I feel, also," she said.
They smiled into each other's faces, then
drew closer together, their sympathy for each
" Here is some homely counsel," said Ma-
sago. " Confide small matters to my mother,
and lead her on to gossip much with you.
She will tell you everything there is to know.
She is so simple — so foolish. A little wit
upon your part will quickly disarm any sus-
picion she might have. But be not free in
speech with Yamada Kwacho, your new father.
A cold and constrained space has always been
between us. Do not let the children disturb
you with their prattle, and oh, also, pray you
show some pride to certain neighbors, for
none in all the town have had the same
up-bringing as Masago."
220 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
"And is that all, — these simple facts that
I must heed to be Masago ? "
"All. It is a dull and simple life."
"And you. Pray trust not the ladies of
my suite. They do most heartily detest the
Princess Sado-ko, who is given to seclusion,
which has often deprived them of much gay
pleasures of the new court."
" But I will change all that," said Masago.
" That is true." She sighed. " Well, then,
there is nothing else to say. But stay ! My
maiden, Natsu-no. Oh, pray you, dear Ma-
sago, treat her with the greatest kindness,
will you not ? "
" She is even now without this room, wait-
ing for me, with that dear patience with which
she watches and guards me at all times. You
know, Masago, she has been with me since I
was but a baby. Alas, I shall suffer for her
loss ! "
Tears for a moment dimmed the eyes of
" What more ? " asked Masago, surveying
THE CHANGE 221
with delight the width and beauty of her
" What else ? Well, Masago, there is one
other matter. In the garden of the Palace
Nijo there hangs an open cage, just without
my chamber. It is the home of my dear
" A bird ? "
"A little bird. Listen, there is a pretty
story you would like to hear. Once in the
spring, while I was yet a little girl, and griev-
ing for my most beloved grandmother, his
Majesty, the Emperor, sent me as a gift of
consolation a nightingale within a golden cage.
It sang so sweetly to me that I was entranced
with delight, and when the days were warm
would hang the cage upon my balcony. The
garden close at hand was fragrant with the
odor of the cherry and the plum, and allured
many other nightingales to make their home
there. The little birds noticed their play-
mate in the cage, and when, at evening, they
saw no one in sight — for I was hidden be-
hind my shoji screen — they would approach
222 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
the cage, and sing all merrily together. These
honorably sweet serenades gave me double
joy, as you may imagine, and I soon learned
to distinguish the voices without and that one
within the cage. At first I thought the song
of my own bird within the cage sounded
sweeter even than those without. Then in a
little while it became hard to distinguish them,
and at last I could not hear the voice of my
small nightingale at all."
She paused a moment, as though in thought,
then resumed, her eyes sweet with moisture.
" I pondered over this odd change, Masago,
and then I thought that it must be because
those without enjoyed their freedom in the
open air, while my poor little bird was shut
within the narrow limits of its cage."
Her eyes became more tender still as she
" So I opened wide the door, Masago, and
let my little bird go free."
" Why, then," spoke the other, " it is gone.
How foolish you were, Sado-ko."
The princess shook her head.
Then soft alighted on a cherry tree and filled the air with
its sweet song.* *'
THE CHANGE 225
" I thought, like you, that it would fly far,
far away, but no ! It only flew above my
head a space, then soft alighted on a cherry tree
close by, and filled the air with its sweet song."
" But since ? "
" Since then, Masago, the cage is always
opened wide. Yet still the nightingale makes
its home within."
" It is a pretty tale," said Masago, thought-
fully, " but I should fear to lose the bird."
She arose and began once more to survey
the long folds of her silken gown.
Sado-ko looked at her in silence, an expres-
sion of wistfulness about her eyes.
" It must be late," said Masago. "The fog
is thick without. Should I not go now ? "
Silently the princess arose.
" You are eager to try the new life," she
said, smiling sadly, then sighing.
" Yes, I am eager," said Masago. " Who
would not be ? "
" Oka, the guide, is without, Masago. He
is safe, is he not ? "
" Oh, surely."
226 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Then there will be no peril in your return
to Aoyama ? "
"Oh, none," said Masago, then hesitated
a moment. " But I do not think I will go
there to-night." She appeared to be turning
something over in her mind. The princess
watched her doubtful face.
" I would much rather go to Tokyo
straightway," said Masago.
"That is well, then," the other assented.
" But first you will need to go up to the
palace, for there your attendants still remain.
Then I would advise that you leave to-night
by norimono. Speak little to the maiden,
Natsu-no, who is keen-eared and keener eyed ;
but if you so desire, make inquiries of the
Madame Bara, the chaperone. She is absent-
minded and stupid."
" I do not wish to travel by norimon,"
said Masago. Then clasping her hands, she
said, " Oh, I have long desired to travel in
great royal state in a private train, such as it
is said the Prince Komatzu uses."
" Very well, then. But give your orders
THE CHANGE 227
at the palace. You will be obeyed. And
now — you are going ? "
" Shaka ! I begin to tremble.'*
" And I," said Sado-ko, tremulously.
"Will not the maid discover — "
" Masago, bear in mind, the maid is but a
maid. Treat her so."
" Ah, true ! Yet you bade me be most
kind to her."
" Kind, but not familiar."
"Oh, I will try. Now, what must I do
to call her?"
" Why, clap your hands."
" So simple a signal for a princess ? "
"Yes. Just so. I will illustrate."
Her little signal sounded sharp and clear.
Masago started and trembled at its sound.
Then she turned toward the opening doors.
She heard the low voice of the princess
v/hispering close beside her.
" Speak to her. Say, ' Maid, take up the
Masago walked with faltering steps toward
the doors. Her voice shook a moment.
228 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
then raised in nervousness, it sounded oddly-
" Take up the light ! " she said.
But at her voice the sleepy Natsu-no
started, turned, and looked up at her face in
wide-eyed surprise and growing fear ; then her
eyes went slowly to that other one, now v/ith
her back toward her near the shadow of the
shoji, the bright outline of her huge obi bow
alone in the light. Natsu-no, shaking and
trembling, advanced a pace toward her, glanc-
ing fearfully meanwhile at that object standing
there in her mistress's habiliments, yet in so
strange and unfamiliar aspect.
Masago moved to cover her intense ner-
vousness. The maid's voice quavered.
" Exalted princess, I — I — " She stam-
mered over her words. Self-confidence as-
serted itself in Masago. She raised her
" Take up the light and follow me ! "
Trembling, dumb, and horror-stricken, the
maid obeyed, for she had caught one quick,
clear glimpse of that sweet other face.
A FAMILY COUNCIL
A FAMILY COUNCIL
THE Kamura house was built on a hill
slope. Of all the houses of the
suburb, it was nearest to the palace
Aoyama. Shortly after the Restoration the
elder Kamura had been a retainer of a kuge
in the service of his late Majesty. Thus he
received permission to build his house near
to the summer chariot (throne) of the Sons of
Heaven (Imperial family).
It was a restful dwelling, its lower story sur-
rounded by verandas, while small, flower-
laden balconies were upon the upper story.
The gardens were artistic' in their arrangement,
showing the youthful labors of Junzo and his
younger brothers. In his earlier years Junzo
had been ambitious to become an artist gar-
dener, — a most honorable calling in Japan, —
232 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
and so upon the few acres of land belonging to
his father he had spent the first passion of
With the aid of his brothers he had carried
from the river heaps of white pebbles, which
were placed at angles of the flower beds ; while
between the pebbles the fine embroidered ferns
pushed up their fresh green heads. A trellis-
work arched the garden gate, weighted down
by vines and wistaria. The arms of the pine
v/ere trimmed ; a stately camphor tree shaded
the house verandas. At intervals through
the garden, cherry, plum, peach, and quince
trees contributed their share of blossoms, fruit,
From the upper story the outlook was pic-
turesque. To the eastward were the Aoyama
parks and the white walls of the palace gar-
dens ; on the north, beyond the wooded parks,
were mountain ranges ; on the west the village,
Kamakura, close to the shore of the playful
yet mist-dangerous Hayama ; while to the
southward, over the hills and through the
valleys, the great white highway led to Tokyo.
A FAMILY COUNCIL 233
On the afternoon of the family council the
guests were ushered upstairs, where all the
shojis had been removed, thus making a cool
pavilion of the story. Every male relative of
the Kamura family had dutifully accepted the
invitation, since they were old-fashioned and
most punctilious in the observance of family
and social etiquette.
After the usual exchange of salutations,
Madame Kamura and her young daughter,
Haru-no, brought tea and tobacco for the
men. Then with graceful prostrations they
made their excuses, and, taking Ohano with
them, retired to another portion of the house.
The women's retirement was the signal for the
Kamura, the first to speak, showed apparent
reluctance, while at the same time he nervously
tapped his pipe upon the hibachi.
" Honorable relatives," he said, bowing to
the company, and then turning toward Yamada
Kwacho, " and most esteemed friend and neigh-
bor, it gives me pain to be forced to make
apology for the absence of my son Junzo."
234 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
He paused, and, to cover his discomposure,
solemnly filled and lighted his pipe again,
while the relatives masked their surprise with
polite, impassive expressions.
" My son," continued Kamura, " arrived last
night from Tokyo. I doubt not for a moment,
but that it was his honorable purpose and in-
tention to attend our council, which you all
know was called to arrange the preliminaries
of the wedding ceremony of my son, Kamura
Junzo, and the most virtuous and estimable
Again the old man paused to glance in a
half-appealing way at his son Okido, the next
in age to Junzo, who sat at his left side. On
Kamura's right the seat was vacant. This was
" Last night," continued Kamura, " my son
was certainly ill in health ; he was pale of face
and absent in both look and speech. I set it
down to the most natural mood of youth about
to wed. We all, good sirs, have felt that happy
sense of melancholy peculiar to this stage of
A FAMILY COUNCIL
Some of the guests smiled, and nodded their
heads, assenting to this fact; others looked at
one another somewhat dubiously.
"And so," continued their host, "we
thought it wisdom not to broach the subject
of our council. When morning came Junzo
was still pale and constrained. His mother
spoke in delicate terms of the council planned,
and he mildly acquiesced in all she said. At
noon he barely touched his meal. He ap-
peared so listless, that no member of the
family had the heart to break upon his medi-
tations. Hence, when he walked in seeming
moodiness about the gardens, then suddenly
turned and wandered toward the hills, I sim-
ply bade my son Okido follow him at respect-
ful distance. To be more brief, good friends,
it seems that Junzo followed a straight course
along the hills, and, coming to the palace walls
of Aoyama, ventured beyond the gates.
Okido, being an obedient and filial son, has-
tened home to acquaint his father with the
facts. Since then my son has not returned."
" He ventured beyond the palace gates ! "
236 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
exclaimed Yamada Kwacho. " Had he a pass,
Kamura ? "
" I do not know," said the old man, simply.
"You have already heard my son has fame
at court. I have accounted for his abs&nt
state of mind by the fact that, being young
and new to favor, his mind is filled with
thought of his art and work."
" And he has not returned ? " queried
sharply an uncle.
" Not yet," said Kamura, bowing cour-
" I trust he has not come to harm," said
another relative, with concern. " It is said the
palace once again is opened, and that the noble
Princess Sado-ko is there in maiden retire-
" There is time for his return," declared
Kamura, with dignity. " I trust you all will
stay with me. What say you, my good friend
" Assuredly, I will stay," assented the gruff
and honest Kwacho.
" And I."
A FAMILY COUNCIL 237
Thus from all the guests.
They sat late into the afternoon, beguiled
by sake, tea, and the dreamy day. The mel-
low light of the sun was softly dulled by the
white haze which crept up to the sky from out
the river. The white mist deepened, turning
softly gray, then darkened imperceptibly. A
breeze sprang up from the west, sweeping with
briskness through the opened story of the
Yamada Kv/acho contracted his brows, as
he looked uneasily at the darkened sky.
As though he read his thoughts, the patient
voice of his host said simply : —
" It is but the hour of four."
" Yet see how strangely, weirdly dark,** said
a young cousin, pointing out toward the river.
" There seems a cloud upon the Hayama,
" A habit of this country hereabouts," said
Kwacho, answering for his host. " Sometimes
the mists arise while it is yet noon, and, creep-
ing across the skies, darken and thicken in a
238 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
fog so dense that even a tailless cat might lose
The young Kamura cousin shuddered, and
looked with apprehension at the ever clouding
Yet time slipped quickly by for these
easeful, somewhat indolent Japanese, who
lounged, smoked, and sipped their sake, un-
mindful of the mist.
" The fog is spreading," said the youth
Okido. " Shall we not close the shoji walls
and bring andons for our honored guests ? "
" My son has not returned," said the gentle
voice of the father ; " yet — " He glanced
about uneasily, in the deepening shadow,
scarcely able to distinguish one guest from
another. He arose, and shook the skirt of
his hakama. In a moment he recalled that,
father though he was, yet he was still a host.
He clapped his hands, and bade the answering
servant close the shoji walls, and bring lights.
It was not five o'clock in the afternoon,
yet the gray world without told of close
A FAMILY COUNCIL 239
At six the ladies of the house came to the
upper story. Madame Kamura was pale ;
her daughter, a young girl of seventeen,
showed a somewhat frightened countenance,
while Ohano alone was placid, and seemingly
contented of mind.
The fog grew thicker every moment,
Madame Kamura told her husband, and as
she feared it was not possible their guests
could leave the house that night, she had
ordered dinner served, and would prepare the
sleeping chambers. She spoke only of the
comfort of her guests. Although Junzo had
not returned, no words escaped her careful
lips of that which wrenched her mother-heart.
Her husband thanked her for her thought-
fulness, and said that they would be ready for
the honorable meal, but begged her not to
speak of rest. They would keep the council
until the midnight hour.
And so the evening meal was served. The
night was spent in quiet sake sipping, and
dreamy introspection by the guests, while the
heart of the genial host was heavy.
240 DAUGHTERS OP^ NIJO
In a chamber of the lower story Ohano
snored in healthy forgetfulness of all the
little ills of life. The maiden Haru-no
drowsed by the shoji of the Ozashiki ; and
by her side, immovable and silent, but with
wide, wakeful eyes, the mother of Kamura
Junzo kept the night watch.
" It is the fate of the humble female," she
had protested, when the young Haru-no had
begged her to sleep. " Bear this precept,
daughter, always in your mind : The mother,
wife, the sister, daughter, must ever watch
and wait upon the comfort of the male. It
is the law ; it is our duty ; it is our fate.
We bow to it with submissive philoso-
At twelve there was a stir upon the upper
floor. Madame Kamura heard the shuffling
movement of the breaking of the council.
By the drowsy footfalls she knew the guests
were anxious for their beds. She bade a
servant attend the guests. Then she returned
to her station. She did not turn her head
when the sound of footsteps passed along
A FAMILY COUNCIL 241
the hall. Her husband quietly took his
place by her side, without speaking. Thus
all night long these two kept watch for
THE NEW MASAGO
THE NEW MASAGO
TKE following morning dawned clear
and bright, not a remnant of mist or
fog remaining to recall the previous
night. A bright yellow sun arose from behind
the hills and beat away every vista of gloom
from the skies. It poised above the river
Hayama, as though to look upon its own re-
flected light ; then swept along its early course,
flooding the land with new light, and piercing
the shoji walls of the chamber of the maid
The Princess Sado-ko opened her eyes,
looked half dazedly, half wonderingly, a mo-
ment at the unfamiliar ceiling overhead, then sat
up on the mattress. Her eyes wandered about
the room in a helpless, bewildered fashion for
a moment, then suddenly a Httie flickering
246 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
smile of recollection came. She slipped from
the mosquito netting.
She was in pale blue linen. Below her
gown her little bare feet twinkled over the
matting as she hastily crossed the room,
pushed the casement a small way open, and
peeped without. A breath of delight escaped
her, for from Masago's chamber her eyes
looked out upon the old delightful scenes of
her childhood, the far-reaching meadows, slop-
ing hills, and Fuji-Yama smiling in the morn-
For some time she remained by the case-
ment, enjoying simply the morning and its
gentle breezes. Almost unconsciously she
found herself waiting for the attendance of her
maiden, Natsu-no. Then recalling Masago's
words that henceforth she must robe herself,
She had no difficulty in dressing. Masago's
wardrobe was of the simplest, Yamada Kwacho
limiting her in dress expenditure. Sado-ko
donned a pretty plum-colored crepe kimono
and a dark, gold-figured obi. Her hands flut-
THE NEW MASAGO 247
tered delightedly over Masago's clothes ; they
were so simple and comfortable, she thought.
When she was quite dressed, she forgot to
put away the bed, — a duty Masago always per-
formed, — but stepping out upon the balcony
loitered for a moment in the sun. Then the
garden's fragrance captivating her, she ran
down the Httle flight of stairs into the garden.
Flowers grew abundantly there, — simple and
common flowers they were, but preferred by
Kwacho because of their very lack of cultiva-
tion, and hence their naturalness.
Almost recklessly Sado-ko plucked them,
filling her arms with blossoms. She had an
inclination to sing and laugh and pick flowers
all the day, she felt so strangely free and
When a servant came and watched her from
the kitchen door, the girl smiled toward her.
The woman appeared taken aback at the good
will in the girl's face. Masago had been over-
bearing toward her father's servants, which had
made her generally unpopular among them.
The servant's voice was not so sharp as she
248 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
had intended it to be. Would Masago have
her morning meal ?
The young girl in the sunny garden nodded
cheerfully, then hastened toward the house,
her flowers in her arms. She drank her morn-
ing tea in happy silence, but smiled so often at
the waiting maid, that the latter marvelled at
her amiability of mood. When Sado-ko had
finished, the woman said, almost in a deprecat-
ing tone : —
" I did not mean to give offence last night,
" Offence ? " repeated Sado-ko. " Did you
give offence — to me ? "
" Why, yes. Do you not recall my looking
at the picture in your hands ? "
" What picture ? Oh, yes, yes. Did you
do so ? Now I do recall it."
She moved toward the door to cover her
confusion, then turned her head backward,
smihng sweetly at the servant.
" Do not worry, maid. I am not offended."
A moment the woman stared at her in be-
wilderment. Then she said with some hesitancy :
THE NEW MASAGO 249
" Before you went to Kyoto, Masago, I
always took the liberties with you, which since
your late return you appeared not to desire.
I, being long in your family service, as you
know, was hurt."
Sado-ko paused in the doorway.
"When — when did I return ?" she asked,
in a curious tone, as though she could not
recall the exact date. " I have been away it
seems — yes — I have been away ; but when
did I return ? '*
^^ Why, only two days since," declared the
maid, in astonishment.
" How absent is my little mind," she
laughed. " Two days ago. Why, yes, of
course — and let me see, I have been gone — "
She appeared to calculate the time.
" But half a year," said the servant. "You
were to have stayed one year, but your affi-
anced, having acquired such great fame at
court, your father wished to hasten on your
" Oh," said the girl, and then repeated in
a low, happy voice, " hasten on my marriage."
250 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She turned suddenly toward the maid.
" Do you find me changed ? " she asked.
The woman regarded her dubiously.
"Ye-es — no. Last night I thought you
more than usually impatient, Masago."
"Ah — was I so ? I did not mean it."
" But to-day you seem more kind than even
as a child, though you were the most gentle,
passive, and best of little ones.**
"And so I am just now," said Sado-ko,
merrily. " I am not changed one little bit.
Think of me, if you please, as a child."
" Perhaps the fault was mine last night,*'
pursued the woman, glad to prolong the con-
versation with Masago.
" Look ! ** exclaimed the girl, pointing to
the garden. " See, some little children ! '*
"Your brothers, Masago. Can you not
" Brothers — mine ! Oh-h ! *'
Dropping her flowers on the veranda, she
ran lightly down the path, as though to meet
the little boys. Halfway down the path a
sense of panic seized upon the princess. She
THE NEW MASAGO 251
paused in painful hesitancy, scarce knowing
which way to turn.
Would not these little brothers of Masago
recognize the deception ? Could the Ukeness
be so strong as to deceive Masago's own
family ? A maid's judgment was but a poor
She stood quite still, waiting, yet dreading
their approach. Her first impulse had been
to run in loving fashion to meet the little
boys. Her sudden fear of these individuals
saved her from doing that which Masago
never had done, caress or fondle her small
While Sado-ko possessed an innate love
of nature and of children, these things but
irritated poor Masago, who called the country
dull, the town enchanting, children wearisome,
and fashion fascinating. Though each feature
of the faces of these two sisters was identically
ahke, their natures vastly differed. Sado-ko
was all her mother in nature, and even the
cold harshness of her life had frozen but her
exterior self. Masago was the complement
252 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
of Prince Nijo. Her previous environment,
association with Ohano, and possibly a little
portion of the latter*s nature made her what
she was, — a girl of weak and vain ambi-
Now the princess stood hesitating, fearfully,
before the little army of Masago's brothers,
five in all. The older ones spoke her name
respectfully, as they had been taught to do.
The smaller ones pulled her sleeves and obi
mischievously, as though they sought to tease
her; but when she laughed, they seemed
abashed, and ran to hide behind a tree from
whence they peered at her.
The maid who brought them from the
neighbor's bade the girl an apathetic good
morning, and seemed surprised at the cor-
diality of the other's greeting.
Sado-ko breathed with some relief as the
children disappeared within the house. Then
for the first time she sighed wistfully.
" If they had loved Masago," she said,
*'' surely they would miss her. But no, a
stranger steps into her clothes, takes her
THE NEW MASAGO 253
place within the house, and fickle childhood
In gentle depression she moved toward
the house, then slowly up the steps to
Masago's balcony, from which she watched
the children take their morning bath in the
family pond. It was a pretty sight, she
thought, to see their little bare, brown bodies
shining in the sun. A little later the elder
children went whistling down the path to
school while the nurse disappeared with the
" Strange," said Princess Sado-ko, " that
none of them seemed glad to see their sister.
Was not Masago loved, then ? "
She pushed the doors open and thought-
fully entered the chamber.
" Perhaps," she said, " the foreigners speak
truth. What is that pretty proverb of their
honorable religion ? Is it not, ' The love
begets the love ' ? Masago plainly did not
love her little brothers. Hence they have
but indifference for her."
Again she sighed.
254 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Ah," she said, " what kind of maiden,
then, is this I have exchanged for me ? "
She saw the tumbled couch upon which
she had slept. She recalled the fact that
Masago had told her she would be required
to make her own bed and attend her own
chamber, for Kwacho deemed such household
tasks desirable and admirable in a woman.
Therefore the exalted Princess Sado-ko,
the daughter of the sun-god, as she was
called by all loyal Japanese, fell to work
upon the homely employment of rolling up
a mattress bed, beating the little rocking
pillow, folding the quilts and the netting.
Suddenly she sat down breathlessly among
the simple paraphernalia which constituted
Masago's bed. She had forgotten where the
maid Masago had told her the clothes were
kept ! The little thought perplexed and
troubled the Princess Sado-ko.
A MOTHER BLIND
A MOTHER BLIND
WHILE the Princess Sado-ko was
sitting ruefully among the folded
bed things, and pondering upon
the weighty question of their disposal, Kwacho
and Ohano arrived home in jinrikishas. The
former hastened to the kitchen for a cup of
tea before departing on a mission to Tokyo,
while Ohano hurried up the stairs to her
daughter. Ohano was so eager to pour out
recent confidences to her daughter, that she
labored at every step in her ascent.
When she entered Masago*s room without
knocking, as was her custom, she was aston-
ished at the sudden start the girl gave. How-
ever, Ohano had such a story to pour out that
she did not pause, but said in almost one
breath : —
258 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" MasagOj I have the greatest news for you
— it will make you the happiest of maidens in
Kamakura — What! your bedclothes not put
away yet ? Well — but I must tell you all
that happened, at once."
She broke off breathlessly, her eyes upon
the young girl's face. Something unfamiliar
and strange about it stopped her flying tongue.
She stared at her in stupefied perplexity, her
mouth wide open.
Sado-ko averted her face. With her head
slightly turned, she stood in a listening atti-
tude, as though waiting for Ohano to proceed.
^* How strangely you looked at me just
now ! " gasped Ohano, and, leaning over,
pulled her sleeve. " Masago ! You have not
spoken to me yet ! **
" I have not had the chance," said Sado-ko,
in a stifled voice.
" Why — your voice is strange ! What has
happened, daughter ? "
Sado-ko attempted to recover her compos-
ure, fighting against a sense of weakness that
overpowered her at the thought that Ohano
A MOTHER BLIND 259
would penetrate the disguise. What mother
would not have done so ? she thought with
fear. With some bravado she turned and
" Nothing is the matter/' she declared.
" You — you said you had some news to tell
me, mother." She bit her lip at the last word,
as the thought came to her that this woman
might not be the mother. The words of
Ohano reassured her.
" Well, come and sit here," she said. " I
have much to tell."
When Sado-ko was seated at her side with
averted face, the words of the mother became
"Your mother always was so stupid," said
poor Ohano, " but, Masago, you really are
much changed since your return from school.
Yet truly — why, I never noticed it before."
She stopped as though to give the giri a chance
to speak, but the latter remained silent.
" Now let me see," said Ohano, " 1 will tell
you from the first of all that happened^ I
know, Masago, you will be happy at my news.
26o DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
You see, we waited all the day and all the night
for him to come and — "
" For him ? " said Sado-ko, in a low voice.
"Yes — for Junzo.'*
" Junzo ! " She turned toward Ohano with
a sudden swiftness. Her eyes were dilated
with trembling excitement, "Yes, yes — pray
Pausing, Ohano looked in astonishment at
the girl's flushing face.
" Ah, now I know why you seem changed,
Masago," she said finally. " It was thinking
all night long upon your wedding. Well, who
could blame a maiden for feeling and for act-
ing somewhat — changed ? "
" But tell me," said the girl, pleadingly, " of
— of Junzo. Why do you not proceed ? "
' "Well, we waited for him all the day,
Masago, and all the — "
" You have already said that. Do proceed."
" He did not come."
" Not come ! Why, where—-"
"You hardly give me breath to speak to-
day, Masago. Do not hasten my words so.
A MOTHER BLIND 261
I told you that 1 had good news for you. Be
patient, as a maiden should be, and hear my
" Yes, yes, yes."
" Well, your affianced did not come. Is
not that welcome news for you ? "
Sado-ko smote her hands together. She
had become white, and her lips were quivering.
" Why did he not come ? "
Ohano shrugged her plump shoulders.
" The gods alone know why, Masago. It
seems he went out early in the day before the
fog arose, and — Why, how you startle me
to-day ! "
With a half-stifled cry the princess sprang
to her feet, and stood before Ohano trembling
"You do not mean that he has met with
harm ? " she cried in a horrified tone. " Oh,
you sit there smiling when my heart is burst-
ing with its fear. Why do you not explain- — "
Her breath came in gasps. She could
scarcely enunciate her words. Ohano stared
up at her aghast.
262 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Shaka, Masago ! You are beside yourself
with most incomprehensible agitation."
With an eloquent, piteous gesture the girl
threw out her hands.
" Oh, will you not tell me what has hap-
pened to him ? " she cried.
" Happened to whom ? You do not mean
to Junzo ? "
Sado-ko nodded her head and clasped her
" Who else could I mean ? " she asked.
" Well, nothing that we know has happened
to the man,'* said Ohano. " He simply would
not come to his own marriage council. The
reason is most plain, I think."
"But the fog — you spoke of it — " The
girl was now upon the verge of tears.
" The fog was good excuse for his absence,
Masago. Yet no one of the guests believed
it was the reason he did not come ; and when
this morning brought a guard from Aoyama,
why, even the most stupid of us all — your
simple mother — knew the cause of your fiance's
absence, and why he went to Tokyo."
A MOTHER BLIND 263
The girl repeated the words da^zedly. " To
Tokyo ! "
"So the guard declared. He said that Junzo
followed the norimon of the Princess Sado-ko
down to the railway station- — then — '*
Ohano paused at the odd exclamation which
escaped the girl.
" Sado-ko ! '* she said in a soft voice, then
began to laugh in a strange fashion.
" Do not mind my silly laughter. I — I
am not well to-day. Continue, if you please.
Do not stop."
Ohano looked concerned, but continued
"The guard informed us that when they
reached the station Junzo, acting like one
crazed, sought passage on the royal train.
This being denied him, he followed on the
next, while his parents and relations, and
good Kwacho and myself, were waiting for
his coming at his father's house. There is
only one solution."
The girl was laughing softly, yet in a
strangely tearful way. She said : —
264 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" He followed Sado-ko ! "
"Just so, Masago. She is his patroness,
and I have heard — But never mind, you
look so pale this morning I will not gossip of
that other matter. His parents say the honor
paid him at the court has turned his head,
but I am of another thought." She shook
her head knowingly. "It is my firm belief,
Masago, despite the smooth words of his
family and the rough ones of your father,
that Junzo went away because he dreaded
thought of wedding you. He has another
Sado-ko smiled through her tears.
" It is true," she said, " I do not doubt
it. He dreaded thought of union with
"Just as you, Masago," said Ohano, bri-
dling, " dreaded the thought of marrying him.
You were ill suited to each other. The gods
"Yes," said the princess, softly, "the gods
She looked out through the casement
A MOTHER BLIND 265
toward the hills of Aoyama. As though she
spoke to herself, she said : —
" He will return. He will understand."
Then, in a lower voice, " He loves me.'*
Ohano, engaged in putting away the bed-
ding, had not heard the latter words. As she
set them, neatly folded, in a little cupboard,
she said in tones of conviction : —
" Do not worry, daughter. He will not
return. The gods have given you the
freedom that you wished so much. Be
thankful — "
Sado-ko did not hear her words. She
went to the balcony, and looked with wistful
eyes toward her former castle home.
" He will return," she whispered to her
questioning heart, " I am not stranded here
A thrill of apprehension smote her. Had
the change she had effected with Masago
been in vain ? Would Junzo follow the new
Sado-ko ? Could it be that his eyes were no
keener than those of Masago's relatives.'^
All about her the yellow sunlight smiled.
266 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
The hills were warm. The skies were blue.
The air was still and sweet. Peace and
silence were everywhere in Kamakura.
" The gods are good," said Sado-ko, with
divine faith ; " he must return to me."
WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO
WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO
THE palace Nijo, the resort of West-
desiring nobility and court, was pos-
sibly the oddest if most expensive
residence in Tokyo. Originally it had been
a Yashiki of the Daimio of Mito. Time and
the impulsive treatment of the Imperialists
had demolished portions of the place. With
each persistent rebuilding, strangely enough,
the palace took on a more modern, foreign
aspect, until this time, when, in spite of its
ancient moat, quite dry and overgrown with
trees, its lodges, and its few melancholy turrets,
it bore a strong resemblance to those houses
built upon the bluffs of Yokohama by the
The Nijo palace in itself was a monument
to the country's change. Bit by bit its
270 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
ancient Eastern aspect was disappearing, so
that now, except for the rambling character
of portions of its yashiki-like walls, and its
enormous size, it was as Western in outward
looks as the Japanese modern himself appeared
when clad in Western dress.
Even its grounds were typical of the new
era, for close-clipped lawns replaced the
gardens, groves, shrines, fish-ponds, hillocks,
and artificial landscapes, once the rule within
the walls of this yashiki.
No longer at the palace gates the lordly,
haughty man of swords scowled upon the
passer-by. The days of the samurai and
ancient chivalry were dead, — since but a
score of years. So rapid was the sweeping
" progress " of the new Japan ! Now stiff
guards, in heavy foreign uniform., patrolled
the grounds ; while within the house itself
the very servants wore the buttoned livery
of the West. Fashion shook her foolish
hand over the city of Tokyo, and her sub-
jects, adoring and submissive as ever, named
her guilelessly, " Progression.''
WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO 271
Within the palace Nijo all wore the garb
of Europe, — the thick, sticking, heavy cloth
of man, and the tight, suffocating dress of
woman. The gentleman of fashion and
means, at this time, possessed two residences,
a town and country place, — sometimes several
of the latter.
In Tokyo foreign life and foreign dress
ruled supreme at court, save, possibly, within
the secret privacy of chambers, when heated
men and panting women flung aside their
Western garb, and, sighing breaths of eased
relief, slipped on the soft and cool hakama
Junzo, the artist of Kamakura, had no
difficulty in gaining ingress to the palace, for
the guards, some of them late from Komatzu,
recognized him, and thought him possibly
still a member of the household. It was
late afternoon when he walked with down-bent
head along the broad and gravelled pathway
which led to the green lawn of the palace
It was two months since Junzo had left
272 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
his home in Kamakura, and, following the
cortege of Princess Sado-ko, had come to
Tokyo. There, during this time, he had
wandered aimlessly about the city, trying to
conquer the mad longing v/ithin him_ to see
once again this princess. But his passion
was stronger than himself, and now it had
A servant, clad in modern livery, smiled
behind his hand as the artist slipped his
shoes off at the door; but Junzo, usually so
quick to take offence at insolence, did not
notice this new disdain of an old and honor-
able habit. He handed a letter and his card
to the attendant, who, becoming more respect-
ful, bowed his head to the level of Junzo's
knees and ushered him with ceremony into a
The artist did not see the odd furnishing of
the room, the plush upholstered chairs, the
cabinets, the pictures in heavy gilt frames
nailed to the light frame of shoji walls. His
head bowed, his hands clasped behind him,
Junzo walked up and down the apartment.
WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO 273
while through his soul coursed the longing of
" Sado-ko ! I will not call you princess, for
this you have commanded me I must not do.
I will call you Sado-ko — sweet Sado-ko ! I
come a mendicant to your august father's house,
hungering for the sight of your dear face. I
famish for the touch of your beloved hands,
and cannot live for longing for your voice.
And so, in beggar-wise, I come, beseeching
you to see me for the space of one short hour
again, to speak to me, to let me touch the hem
of your kimono. Or if I ask too much, my
Sado-ko, then let me once but look upon your
face again, even though I may not speak to you,
nor hear your voice. That night when, in the
bamboo grove, we kept the tryst, I watched
you pass from out my life with one whose
name I cannot even write. The blackness of
my fate closed down upon me then, bhnding
me to all light of earth or sky. For days, for
nights, I wandered about the streets of Tokyo.
I could not eat, nor sleep, nor think. I barely
lived. My brain was scorched with but one
274 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
name — my Sado-ko, my lotos maiden, my god-
dess of the sun ! My father sent to seek me in
the capital. But I was waiting there for you.
Then rumor somehow pierced the gloom of
my dark mind. It was said that you had gone
to Kamakura, and would not come to Tokyo.
It was my own dear home as well, and there
I hastened, Sado-ko. They thought — my
parents — that I came home at their solicita-
tion. But no ! I wandered by your palace
walls. My fevered mind dreamed only of the
time when chance might give me passing sight
of you. Then one black night I heard you
journeying from out the gate. I touched your
norimono, and in the night I cried your name
aloud ; but, oh, alas ! though I would have
heard a whisper from your lips, you did not
answer me — you made no sign, O Princess !
Since then, in bitterness of spirit, I have lin-
gered here in Tokyo, sometimes with harsh
thoughts upon our love, but longing all the
time for sight of you — for one small glimpse !
'As beat the restless waves on Biwa*s strand,*
so does my heart break for Sado-ko ! "
WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO 275
A maid of honor, holding her long silken
train across her arm, came down the wide stair-
way (a modern importation) of the Nijo palace,
trailed her noisy skirt of taffeta across the hall,
and paused within the doorway of the recep-
She stood a moment without speaking, star-
ing with baleful eyes at the bent head of the
artist. Then she spoke softly, and with clear-
" Good day, Sir Artist. It is an unexpected
pleasure to see once more your august counte-
Junzo turned his melancholy eyes upon her
mocking face. Painfully he bowed, feeling in
small mood to perform the courtesies of
" You are in excellent health, I trust ? " she
He bowed in answer. She smiled, and went
a step nearer to him.
" I also hope you are still painting pictures
just so fine as — "
She laughed derisively, and slowly, languidly
276 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
unfurled her fan, a monstrous pinky thing of
A slow, dull flush grew upward in the face
of Junzo. He did not deign to answer the
taunting of the Lady Fuji-no.
" How is it, may I ask," she continued,
" that you so cruelly deserted us upon our
journey to the capital ? It was declared about
the court that you had been engaged by Prince
Komatzu to execute a speaking likeness —
such as was the one of Princess Sado-ko — of
all the ladies of our court."
" Lady," said Junzo, with a certain scorn
within his voice, which caused his tormentor
to blush with angry shame, " I am not here to
visit you. You do me honor in your unsought
speech with me. Yet, I pray you, do not
waste your wise and witty words upon a simple
" Your words are rough. Sir Artist," she re-
plied, her small eyes flashing, "yet though you
state you did not come to visit me, you are
perhaps mistaken. I am a maid of honor to
her Highness Princess Sado-ko, and in my
WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO 277
keeping she has condescended to intrust an
answer to your letter."
He stared at her in shocked amazement.
" Through youl " he cried. " The Princess
Sado-ko sent word by you ? '*
"Just so/* she answered haughtily; "and so
I trust you will guard your tongue in your
words to one who is the august messenger of
"Give me her letter then/* the artist said
in a husky voice.
She laughed lightly.
" It is within my head, not hands, Sir Artist.
The princess bade me state that she will con-
descend to grant your wish this evening.
There will be a special ball within the palace,
for his Majesty has sent his son, the young
Crown Prince, but lately come of age, as guest
to Nijo. The Princess Sado-ko bade me state
you are invited."
She paused, watching with narrowed eyes the
paling face of Junzo.
" For my part/* she said, " I do not know
the tenor of your letter, nor the request you
278 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
dared to make of her Highness ; but this I
know, Sir Artist : to-night, if you accept this
invitation, though you look at her with the
keen eyes of love, you scarce will recognize
your Princess Sado-ko."
" She is so changed ? "
" So changed ? Well, no and yes. Changed
not in looks, artist, for beauty such as hers
fades only with old age, but changed in ways,
in action, speech, in very thought. You
sighed. Sir Artist."
" You have keen ears," he said bitterly.
" Perhaps," she said, " your sighs will be
much louder, artist, after you have seen her
Highness. You will note the folly of illusions.
You will not trace the change in Sado-ko to
yourself, but to a master hand more royal."
" Lady, your words are veiled. I do not
" You will to-night. Had I more pity in
my nature than the gods have given me, I
could almost counsel just now : Stay in that
dull world to which you rightfully belong and
trust not all the words of Sado-ko. Nay, do
WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO 279
not scowl. Your ancestors, I learn, were
samurai. To-day you are a citizen — an artist-
man. I am a lady of the court, cynical and
little apt to trust my kind. Yet, artist, I
think you will recall the words of Fuji when
you are able to see with your own eyes the
actions of her Highness with her new lover,
the noble Prince Komatzu."
He spoke with sneering, cutting scorn : —
" Lady, your ambition ever trips before you.
It is said you would gladly bring about the
marriage of some noble persons for your own
small ends. That union, I doubt not, will soon
be consummated." He paled perceptibly even
while he spoke the words, but continued with
defiant bravery : " Yet do not waste your
efforts in defaming to a poor artist one he
She brought her beaded slipper sharply
down upon the floor.
" You speak the truth. Sir Artist. I would
encompass such a union, and the gods favor
my ambition. The Princess Sado-ko is kind
to her affianced lord."
28o DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" They are not publicly betrothed," he said
" Not yet, but the very coming of the
Crown Prince indicates that the time is near.
I will confess another weakness, artist. I do
dislike your presence, and I fear it. If eyes
and even ears are not deceived, the Princess
Sado-ko loves her cousin Prince Komatzu."
He made a gesture of denial, but she con-
tinued steadily : —
" Yet by your coming I fear that older,
wilder claims may reawake within the heart
of the capricious princess."
" Her heart is steady as the sun," he said.
" She is all nobleness and truth."
" You doubt that she has wavered toward
her cousin ? "
" I do not even think of it."
" So ! You think the sex so true. Well,
trust your eyes to-night. Sir Junzo 1 "
AN EVIL OMEN
AN EVIL OMEN
ARTIST, you cannot enter the hall ! "
said the Duchess Aoi, pulling the
sleeve of Junzo's hakama.
I am a guest/* he said briefly.
But you transgress the most stringent
rules of the court. His Majesty commands
that no one, save in evening dress, shall appear.
The Crown Prince is the guest of honor
Junzo looked with doubtful eyes at his
dress, then stared at the black-coated, white-
breasted garb of those within the room.
"It is the Prince of Nijo's palace ; I am
well aware that customs are changed here,"
" You think the Princess Sado-ko still sets
the fashions at defiance. Oh, artist, she is a
most abject devotee."
284 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" I do not understand."
"Artist, for your own sake, do not look
upon this new Sado-ko. Wait till the night
is past, and see her in the morning. She will
be then the princess you have known."
Both Junzo and the duchess started at a
familiar sound of low, mocking laughter.
" What, dear Duchess Aoi, you deign to
touch — to hold the sleeve of the honorable
artist ! " exclaimed the Lady Fuji-no.
Aoi's brown eyes flashed angrily.
" It was an honorable accident," she said
haughtily. "I sought to save the artist from
an error which would prove most humiliating
to him. He is a stranger and does not know
the rules as yet; but simply cast your eyes
upon his dress, my lady, and you will see why
I restrained him."
Fuji smiled in a superior, veiled way.
" Artist," she said, " Aoi is always thought-
ful. She speaks the truth to-night. Pray
heed her. If you step within the august hall,
and even gaze at a great distance upon her
Highness, you will lose your honorable head."
AN EVIL OMEN 285
Junzo walked away from them and went
upon the veranda of the palace. But Lady
Fuji followed him. She pointed toward the
long glass windows of the ball-room.
"Artist, the Duchess Aoi would prevent
your seeing Sado-ko in her new garb. She
clings to the despairing fancy that when her
Highness sees you again, her feelings and also
her dress will undergo a change, and that the old
Sado-ko will once again bewitch the artist, and
perchance save Komatzu for the Duchess Aoi.'*
" The duchess would prevent the mar-
riage ? " asked the artist, quietly.
" She is fairly mad to do so, artist, while I
am equally determined to have it so. Now
to which of us do you choose to lend your-
self as a weapon ? "
" Lady," said Junzo, gravely, " there is a
Western proverb : ' Between two evils, choose
the lesser.' Tell me, which of you is the
lesser evil ? "
She shrugged her thin, bared shoulders.
" Frankly, I confess of the two evils, Aoi or
Fuji, I do not know which is the worse."
286 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Junzo frowned gloomily through the win-
dows into the brightly lighted room, now
quickly filling. A trumpet blast, full and
clear, resounded somewhere in the palace.
" Who enters now ? " asked Junzo.
"The noble Prince Komatzu. Note the
change upon his face, artist. Love prints her
fingers on one's countenance as clearly as
" And who comes now ? "
" Put close your face against the barbarian
pane. You see quite plainly ? "
" Quite so."
" Well, look your full, Sir Artist. It is the
Princess Sado-ko who comes."
He saw a glittering, spangled gown, low of
neck and long of train. So long, indeed, it
was that she who wore it tripped within it, and
often lifted it in awkward style. Little high-
heeled French slippers were upon the feet.
The artist's eyes turned from surveying her
strange, gorgeous gown, to her face, and there
for a long, horror-stricken moment they re-
AN EVIL OMEN 287
Her face was creamy tinted, the eyes long,
the brows finely pencilled. Her tiny lips were
tipped with rouge, while her rich, shining hair
was crumpled in a strange and massed coiffure.
Wisps of hair, not straight or silky, but
crinkled and curled like the hair of the un-
intellectual races, strayed about the face and
sometimes fell upon her eyes. Her head was
held straightly and proudly, and she did not
deign to look about her. Her long, bare neck
was weighted down with pearls and other
flashing gems. Long, sleek, black gloves shut
out the beauty of her arms.
With eyes distended, Junzo gazed upon
her, like one fascinated with some strange,
gliding serpent. He did not hear the loud
fanfare of trumpets signalling the entrance of
the young Crown Prince, nor note the sudden
reverent silence within, the ceasing of the stir
of fans, the silencing of voice and movement.
Through his bewildered mind he thought he
heard the mocking laughter of the Lady
Fuji-no. Then suddenly the band crashed
out, and the imperial ball had opened.
288 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Slowly the artist turned, and in the light
streaming from the window he gazed at the
soft, smiling face of Fuji.
" It was a dream," he said, passing his hand
across his brow.
" Awake, Sir Artist ! " said the lady, " I
trust you are already disillusioned.*'
He walked awhile up and down the ver-
anda, then returned to her.
" Lady, the Duchess Aoi spoke truth. It
was an order of the Emperor. She could
not disobey. She is a martyr to the times."
« So ! So ! "
" So I believe," said Junzo, with unfaltering
" You find her changed, then ? "
"In dress — in garb, that is all."
"You did not see her face when she had
deigned to turn it to the Prince Komatzu ? "
" Beauty like hers will shine from very
graciousness, my lady."
" Artist, as you are aware, the Princess
Sado-ko is unconventional. To-night when the
first ceremonies are past, she will leave this ball-
AN EVIL OMEN 289
room. She may not dance, being a princess
royal. So she will retire to her private gar-
dens, and there, I doubt not, will linger for
a Httle while. Come with me there, and if
she chance to see you, perhaps she will con-
descend to speak to you to-night. The prin-
cess but attends the ceremonials on these
occasions. Hence we will not have to wait
" A happy thought," he said eagerly, as he
followed Fuji-no with wilHng feet.
It was dark without. The gardens in their
modern dress lacked the charm of those of
the palace Komatzu, yet Junzo trusted it
would be different when they should come to
Sado-ko*s own private place. But here a
disagreeable surprise awaited him. The place
was in a state of great disorder, and the
long reflection of the palace lights showed
that the gardens were being changed in form
" Follow me with care," said Fuji-no, " for
as you see, the gardens of her Highness are
undergoing change. Those who work by day
290 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
are not so careful to render the place safe for
They came now to a new wing of the palace,
which, too, appeared to be in process of altera-
tion. The artist and the lady now paused to
look about them. They heard a sound of
fluttering movement close at hand. Junzo
looked toward the balcony of the wing, from
whence the odd movement proceeded.
" It is the royal nightingale," said Fuji,
carelessly. " The foolish bird is beating out
" The nightingale, my lady ! "
" Yes. Have you never heard of the bird ?
It is the Princess Sado-ko*s, a gift to her from
" I have heard of it," said Junzo, huskily.
Lady Fuji-no suppressed a yawn behind her
fan, then turned impatiently toward the bal-
cony whence came the ceaseless sound of the
"It is ill ? " asked JunzOj shivering at those
dumb signals of distress.
"Why, no — yes — you might so call it."
AN EVIL OMEN 291
" How sad it must be for the princess/' he
murmured. " She loved the bird as though
it were a human thing."
The Lady Fuji curled her scornful lip.
" Talk not, artist, of love in the same breath
with Sado-ko. If it is love to cage a helpless
" Caged, you say ! I do not understand.
I was informed the cage was open always, but
that the bird clung to it in very gratitude for
the royal kindness shown."
" So it seemed till lately," said Fuji. " The
princess, however, has been given to the most
inexplicable whims and caprices, one of which
was to close tight the door of her own night-
ingale, making it a prisoner. Since then the
fooHsh thing seems ill and languishing, and
spends the night in vain attempts to escape."
Junzo glanced uneasily toward the balcony.
A moonbeam shone upon the gilded cage,
depending from an eave by its long chain.
The artist shuddered and paced restlessly
about the path. Suddenly he came back to
Fuji. His voice had a despairing note within it.
292 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Why did she do it, lady ? Do you know
the reason ? " he asked.
"Do what, Sir Artist?"
" Cage up the bird, when it was hers
already, captive to her will to come or go/'
" A mere caprice, artist. One day she
made a sudden exclamation of delight as
though she had but just perceived the night-
ingale for the first time. * Oh, see the joyous,
pretty bird ! ' she said, * and hear it sing ! * It
was at this time upon a camphor tree close
by, and singing, in its own free way, a serenade
no doubt to her. ' Why,' said the Countess
Matsuka, ' 'tis your own nightingale, your
Highness.' ' Mine ! ' said she, and seemed
to pause bewilderedly. Then suddenly she
clapped her hands. * Oh, yes, for sure it is
mine. Where is its cage ? ' * Why, here,' said
Countess Matsuka, who at this time alone
attended her. The princess put her hand
upon the cage, then, leaning from her balcony,
chirped and whistled for the bird in such an
odd and unfamiliar fashion that the countess
was amazed, and still more so seemed the bird,
AN EVIL OMEN 293
for, pausing in its song, it cocked its head,
fluttered its wings in sudden agitation, and
then it spread them wide and flew away. The
princess was so disappointed she wept in child-
ish anger, though Countess Matsuka assured
her it would return at dark, and take its night
perch in the cage. ' And will it stay ? ' asked
Sado-ko. * Why, princess, just as ever.*
Then she said she would not trust the bird,
and on that very night, waited in person for
its coming. With her own royal hands she
trapped it in the cage and closed the door,
though it was said her maiden, Natsu-no, im-
plored her on her knees to spare it. Since
then the maiden scarcely speaks, and like the
bird is said to droop."
The artist smothered a deep groan.
" Do you not like the story?" asked the lady.
" I cannot believe it," he replied.
" Then look upon the cage yourself."
" It hurts my sight. I will not," said the
man, and then he added, deeply, " It is an
" Heed it, artist ! " said the Lady Fuji-no.
"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO!
4- ^..^ .,^-
--^ X_^ — ■
" YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO ! "
IT was such another moonlight night as
that on which the Princess Sado-ko kept
her last tryst with the artist Junzo, but
in the Nijo gardens no sight was reminiscent
of the flowering gardens of Komatzu. No
bamboo grove offered inviting lanes for loi-
tering lovers, no stately camphor trees threw
their flickering shadows of mystery upon the
The lawns about the palace Nijo were quite
bare of trees, and even by the wing of the
Princess Sado-ko*s apartments the new and
ruthless carpenters, not gardeners, had torn
up the bright flowering trees and shrubs to
put in their places painted boxes, filled with
foreign ferns and flowers of priceless value, —
gifts from diplomats to the flattered Japanese.
298 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Junzo and Fuji-no kept within the shadow
of the princess's balcony, there being no trees
or foliage at hand to screen them otherwise.
The new-laid path which led from the front
of the palace to Sado-ko's wing, was white in
the moonlight, hence Junzo was quick to see
a shadow fall upon it. He leaned so far for-
ward to gaze along the path, that Lady Fuji
drew him backward.
"The light is on your head. Be careful,
artist, if you please. Pray have some patience.
They are quite close at hand."
Too close they seemed just then to Junzo,
as they came along the broad, white path with
slow and loitering steps. The tall soldier-
prince bent to her who turned her face to his,
like a flower to the sun.
When they had come quite close to
Sado-ko's veranda they paused a moment,
seeking some new excuse for lingering.
She made a childish movement, naive yet
eloquent. An artful shudder slipped her wrap
to the ground. Her shining shoulders, bare
and white, were revealed in the moonlight.
"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO ! " 299
The prince stooped quickly to the ground,
picked up the cloak, and, hesitating a moment,
held it in his hand. She shivered purposely.
Then with a sudden movement he wrapped
the cloak around her, and somehow in the
doing his arms stayed for a space about her.
Her face was close to his. Softly her loosened
hair brushed now against his lips. While still
his lingering arm was drooping on her shoul-
der, she said, in a low, wooing voice : —
" Komatzu, pray you hold my garment on
me for a space, for I would take these long
and stupid gloves from my arms."
" Let me do so," he begged eagerly ; and,
taking one of her small hands in his, slowly
drew the glove away, then still held the hand
clasped in his own.
" It is my hand — all mine ! " he whispered.
Stooping, he kissed the soft, white flesh, in
the emotional French way.
" All yours, Komatzu ! " Junzo heard her
sigh in answer. The artist did not move.
Like a man turned suddenly to stone, he
simply stared out at the scene, with fixed eyes.
300 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
He heard as in a dream the voice of this proud
prince whispering again to her, who but so
lately clung to him, the lowly artist, with such
piteous tears and prayers.
" To-morrow," said the prince, " his Maj-
esty will come to Tokyo. I will present my-
self before him and importune him to seal our
betrothal. His ministers are all in favor of
my suit, but the sanction of his Majesty is
needed. That, I am sure, he intends to give,
for I have heard that he made promise to our
august grandmother, the Empress Dowager,
that he would make sweet Sado-ko the high-
est princess in the land. Next to the Crown
Prince cf Japan, I am the highest prince,"
She smoothed with little restless hand the
foreign fabric of his coat. Her voice was
somewhat faint : —
" If his Majesty should not consent,
Komatzu ? "
" Why even dream of such a thing ? " he
asked. " Am I not the very one most fitted
for your husband, and have I not served well
"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO ! " 301
She seized his hand and held it close against
" Komatzu, were I not of equal rank with
you, — if I were but a simple maiden of humble
parentage, — would you still love me ? "
"I do not love your rank, sweet cousin,
but your own self"
" But if I were not of your rank, what
" Capricious Sado-ko, why ask such foolish
questions ? "
"Would you still marry me if I were not
a royal princess ? "
" I still would love you, Sado-ko. I could
not marry you in that event. Why, you
turn your face away ! The tears are in your
eyes. Cousin, you are too fanciful."
" Love makes me so," she said, and sighed.
" How strange," he said, " that we should
speak so freely of our love. A little while
ago the subject would have been deemed inde-
cent. Now it is a foreign fashion and we
Japanese speak out our love without the
smallest blush of shame. *Tis strange, indeed ! "
302 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" It is not only fashion," she protested ;
" love is not a new thing, — a caprice, a whim,
like such and such a dress, a hat or shoe or
" It is a new device of speech in our Japan,"
the prince declared, thoughtfully.
With childish petulance she turned toward
" Whioh you do not approve, Komatzu ? "
"Why, yes, I do approve it, Sado-ko. It
is most beautiful and pure, moreover. But,
cousin, as you know, I never spoke it yet —
this love — till lately. Then, somehow, when
you came back from the palace Aoyama, a
something in your eyes seemed to beckon me
to you and force the words of love to overrun
" They were not merely words of lips ^ "
" No, no. But I, you know, am not com-
pletely modern in my thought^ despite my
dress, and, too, I am a soldier. So sometimes
if my words seem clumsy — stupid — I fear you
must compare them with the flowery speeches
"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO!" 303
" Others, Komatzu ? What others could
there be ? "
His voice was low and nervous. He seemed
" Cousin, have you forgotten the artist-
man ? "
" The artist-man ! " she gave a little cry,
then quickly covered up her lips with her
" You start ! Kamura Junzo his name was.
Once I thought you favored him. So thought
all the members of the court. I could not
close my ears against the romance, though
I severely disapproved the slander, and named
it such ; for I deemed your condescension to
the man the idle fancy of a princess noted
for her oddities and caprices. But lately, the
mere thought of him causes my brain to burn
with raging and unworthy jealousy."
She rested one small hand against the railing
of her balcony, then slowly drew up her slen-
" The artist is no more to me," she said,
" than any slave who dresses me, sings to me,
304 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
entertains me, comes at my command, or paints
for me my picture."
" Yet, Sado-ko, the artist did not paint your
For a moment she stood still in bewilder-
ment, then went a step toward him. Her
words were stammering, then changed to
fervent, passionate appeal.
"Why, yes, he painted — that — assuredly
he painted — it does not matter what the
artist did. Komatzu, I have no thought
within my mind, nor love within my heart,
for any one in all the world save you."
He took her hands and drew them upward
to his lips, there to hold them for a space,
then let them go again.
" I am quite satisfied," he said. " Truth
itself shines in your face, my Sado-ko. And
now, sweet cousin, we will say good night,
for it is late, and I would not have your
beauteous eyes lose one small atom of their
lustre. And so for the night, sayonara ! "
Softly and lingeringly she repeated the
word. She watched him as he walked along
"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO ! " 305
the path, until he had quite disappeared.
Then slowly, dreamily she ascended the little
steps. She stopped in sudden irritation at
the sound of the restless bird within the cage.
Moving toward it, she shook the cage with
some nervous violence.
" Be still ! " she said. " You break my
thoughts, you foolish bird ! Be still, I say ! "
The Lady Fuji touched the artist's arm.
He did not stir. Peering up into his face,
she started back at sight of the dull, frozen
look. A glimmer of compassion crossed her
breast. She whispered : —
"Artist, come away."
He did not move.
" Pray come ! " urged Fuji.
Masago, standing by the bird-cage on the
balcony, thought she heard some whispering
voices close at hand. She leaned over the
railing and called, in fearful voice : —
" Who are the honorable ones below ? "
As Fuji sought to draw the artist away,
the movement of her effort reached the
ears of her mistress. The latter crossed the
3o6 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
veranda with quick steps, and, leaning down
close to the sound, saw those two figures in
the shadow. A moment later the Lady
Fuji-no, drawing her cape before her face,
fled along the path, and disappeared.
Moving mechanically to the light, the artist
turned his face to Masago. A muffled cry
escaped her lips. She shrank back, still
clinging to the railing of the balcony.
'*' Kamura Junzo ! " she cried. " You ! —
and here ! "
" I do not know your voice," he said in
strange, wondering tones.
" I remember now," she said. " You wrote
a letter to the Princess Sado-ko. You wished
to look — look at her. You — you asked the
favor. Well — I — I am Sado-ko ! "
He moved his head and stared upon her
face with straining eyes.
" You are not Sado-ko ! " he said.
She trembled with fear.
" I do assure you " — she began, her hand
going to her throat to stay her frightened
"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO ! " 307
" You are not Sado-ko, I say ! "
Her voice was raised and shrill.
" I am the Princess Sado-ko," she cried.
" T do defy you, artist-man, to prove I am
His vague and wandering words recalled
her self-possession. She knew that she had
needlessly excited her fears.
"You are not Sado-ko," he said, "for she
was kind and sweet ; but you — you are a
nightmare of my Sado-ko. Your face is hers,
yet still you are not Sado-ko. Your soul is
false; your heart is dead, for Sado-ko is
dead, and you who once were Sado-ko are but
her ghost. You are not Sado-ko."
She grew afraid of that white, glaring face,
and hoarse, wandering voice. Turning, she
hastened to her room, drawing the doors close
The artist stood alone. Then suddenly he
laughed out wildly, loudly. Again he paused
in silence. Then laughed aloud again, in that
wild way. He heard the noise, the heavy step
of palace guards. Then Junzo turned and fled
3o8 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
like the wind, his fleet and sandalled feet carry-
ing him with more than natural speed onward
and onward. Past startled groups of garden
revellers, past loitering lovers, and past guards
about the grounds, and outward through the
palace gates he plunged on toward the city,
gleaming out in specks of light below.
THE COMING HOME OF JUNZO
THE COMING HOME OF JUNZO
THOUGH samurai by birth, the Kamura
family were of gentler nature than their
stern ancestors, and so no feeling of
anger or bitterness had been cherished against
their son Junzo. His parents made their sad
apologies to their guests, who hastily departed,
cloaking their feelings behind their well-bred,
stoic faces. Yamada Kwacho alone lingered
to speak a word of gruff sympathy to the
parents, and to offer what aid was in his power.
When they insisted that their son was surely
ill, Kwacho said at once he would go to Tokyo
and personally seek the young man in the
Meanwhile, the Kamura family kept a tire-
less, ceaseless watch for Junzo. Though days
and weeks and then a month slipped slowly
312 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
by, each member of the household took his
place by day at a small lookout station to
watch for any sight of ani-san (elder brother).
By night a light turned to the east burned
at the casement of Junzo*s chamber, while
mother and father knelt at shoji doors, keep-
ing the watch. Thus would they watch by day
and night, so any hour he might come would
find them waiting patiently.
Two months had passed since Junzo left
Kamakura, when the belated word c^me from
Tokyo. Yamada Kwacho had found the
No member of the Kamura family retired
that night. Even the smallest child knelt by
the shoji and watched for Junzo. A series
of heavy rains had darkened the days and
nights. The clinging fog of the Hayama
hung heavily in the atmosphere.
Not a star or gleam of moon shone out to
soften the blackness of the night sky. When
the slothful morning crept in timid wonder
over the hills, and pushed with soft, gray hands
the night away, the watchers saw the fog was
THE COMING HOME OF JUNZO 313
vanquished, and that the pale morning mist
bespoke a brighter day to dawn.
When the first gleam of the long-looked-for
sun came up the eastern slope, Junzo staggered
down the hills of Kamakura toward his home.
Those watching at the shoji saw him as he
passed with down-bent head within the gate.
Then the calm of caste and school broke down
before the throb of parenthood. Father and
mother hastened down the garden path to
meet their son.
" The fog ! " It was the mother who spoke
in sobbing tones, as she fondled the hands of
her eldest son. " You honorably did lose
your way, Junzo."
His restless eyes wandered from hers, and
he pushed back, absently, the long black locks
that tumbled on his brow.
"It was the fog that kept you, Junzo?"
"The fog?" he said dazedly. "No —
that is, yes. It was the fog, good mother."
"So dark a night! Oh, son, we thought
that you might wander from the path and
314 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
come to the river bank." She shuddered at
"Yet, you came down from the direction of
the hills," said his father, anxiously. " Did
you abide there last night ? "
" Yes," said Junzo, " throughout the long,
long night, my father."
The silent Kwacho shook his head, then
whispered in the father's ear : —
" We arrived last night, good friend, quite
early, but Junzo, as you see, is ill and I could
not leave him for a moment. Hence, Oka
being nowhere at hand, and not a vehicle in
sight, I sought to lead him homeward. But
no, he turned his feet in new directions. He
stumbled here and there across the fields and
up and down the hills, and finally we reached
the walls of Aoyama. I could not lead him,
since he would not have it so, and so I
humored his strange fancy, and hence, good
friend, have spent the night crouched down
beside the palace walls, without covering,
indeed, without the much-desired good sleep."
" Oh, come indoors, at once," the mother
THE COMING HOME OF JUNZO 315
entreated, for Junzo lingered absently on the
threshold. " Your face is pale, dear son, and
oh, your clothes are quite soaked with dew."
He followed her mechanically, though he
seemed, as yet, to have noted nothing of
the haggard aspect of their loving faces.
His thoughts seemed far away. When his
youngest brother, a little boy of five, came
with running steps to meet him and called
his name, he simply tapped the child upon
The anxious mother had now become the
zealous nurse and housewife. She clapped
her hands a dozen times, and sent two
attendants speeding for warm tea and dry
clothes. The children were put in charge
of Haru-no, who took them immediately to
a neighbor's house. Soon there was no one
left in the apartment save mother and son.
" We will take good care of you, my son,"
she said, " and when you are quite recovered,
we will have another council."
He repeated the word stupidly.
" Of what council do you speak ? "
3i6 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She stroked the damp hair backward with
her tender fingers.
" My Junzo always was the absent-minded
son, so given to his studies and his art he
could not spare a thought for other matters."
He put his hands upon those on his head,
and drew his mother about until she was before
him. Then, looking in her face with search
ing, troubled eyes, he said : —
" Was there a council of our family ? "
" Why, yes, my son, — that day you went
He passed his hand across his brow, then
seemed to listen for a space. Slowly a look
of horror crept across his face.
" It was my marriage council ! " he gasped.
" Why, yes, dear Junzo ; your marriage to
the maid Masago. Ah, you are quite ill, my
He sprang to his feet, and stood in quiver-
ing thought. She heard him mutter half aloud,
despairingly : —
" But she had gone away — to Tokyo. They
told me so."
THE COMING HOME OF JUNZO 317
" Why, no, it is a mistake. Who told you
that she went to Tokyo, my son ? "
" The palace guards," he said, not looking
at his mother.
" Oh, you are surely ill, my son."
" I am not ill," he said, with persistent
gentleness ; " but I am speaking truth, dear
mother. Do I not know of what I speak,
for was I not close by the palace walls through-
out the length of one whole night ? I fell you,
mother, that I saw her go to Tokyo."
His mother threw her arms about his neck,
then, bursting into tears, clung to him.
" Son," she sobbed, " do not speak of
Tokyo. The parent of your fiancee, Yamada
Kwacho, is even now within our domicile, and
the chaste maiden is safe in her home."
He spoke with slow and hazy positive-
ness : —
" She went to Tokyo that night. I was so
close unto her norimon that I could even
touch it, and through the fog and the dim
night I cried her name aloud. It sounded
wildly in the night air."
3i8 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
He undid the clinging arms about his neck,
and stood as though plunged deep in moody-
thought. When his father and brother came
into the room, he did not lift his head.
" Junzo, do you know your brother ? "
asked the youth Okido, stepping to his side.
Junzo raised his head.
" Why, yes, you are my younger brother,
Kido-sama. Good morning ! "
" Oh, ani-san ! " cried the youth, in mourn-
ful tones. " How strangely you speak, how
strangely you look ! "
" Son," said the father, sternly, laying his
hands on Junzo's shoulder, " it is your father
speaking now. I named you Junzo (obedi-
ence). From youth you have obeyed my voice.
Now come ! I bid you go to your chamber.
There you shall lie, your mother and young
sister will attend you, and Kido here shall
hasten for a learned doctor, a foreign man of
science lately come to Kamakura. You are
distraught and ill."
" But I am well, most honored parent."
" I say that you are ill."
THE COMING HOME OF JUNZO 319
" I am quite well, excellent father, and I
must go at once to Tokyo."
" I command obedience to my will ! Come,
Junzo ! "
" Command ! A little while ago — or maybe
it was long ago, within another lifetime, she
said it was an ancient practice to obey parental
command. Yet I always was so fond of the
old rules of life that I will recognize my duty,
father. I bow in filial submissiveness to your
But as he bowed his head in mock obedi-
ence he was so weak he would have fallen
down, but that the sturdy Kido and his father
For days and weeks the artist-man of Kama-
kura tossed upon a bed of illness, a prey to
violent fever of the brain, so termed by the
great Dutch doctor visiting the little town.
After many days there came a calm. Junzo
slept and dream^ed.
He thought the angel face of Sado-ko bent
over his heated head, and that she brushed the
tumbled locks back from his brow, and cooled
320 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
it with her own soft, lovely hands. He cried
her name and whispered it again and yet again.
Was it only fancy, or did he truly hear that
low, low voice, sighing back in answer, and
soothing him with tender words of love ?
.* ~ — — - .
IT was a happy day in the Kamura house-
hold when the cheerful and rapid-moving
foreign doctor pronounced the patient
strong enough to leave his room to sit a little
while upon the balcony. His brothers were
eager to assist the weak and emaciated Junzo
to the soft seat they had prepared for him.
He protested that he was able to walk alone,
but finally admitted that the light, guiding
hand of his fiancee was a sufficient support
So leading him with careful step, the young
girl aided her lover, while all his brothers, and
his young sister Haru-no, watched the pretty
picture with moistened eyes. The gentle
mother slipped from the room to weep alone
at what she called " the goodness of the
324 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Once upon the balcony, the modest maiden
quickly bent her head over her embroidery
frame, feigning ignorance of the eyes upon
her. While the convalescent absently an-
swered the questions of his brothers, concern-
ing his comfort, his eyes scarcely left the
face of the quiet girl so close at hand.
A certain wistful wonder seemed to lurk
within the eyes of Junzo in these days. Yet
a sense of rest and quiet pervaded his whole
being. His lately racked heart and mind
seemed to have found a strange, sustaining
Now on this lovely day in early September,
with the odor of the gardens permeating the
atmosphere, and the sweet breath of the
country about, Junzo*s mind went vaguely
over the late events of his life, while his eyes
rested in wondering content upon the drooped
face of his fiancee.
The artist, in his illness, had been attended
by one he called " Sado--ko." When fever
left him and partial sense and reason crept
back to his weakened brain, growing daily
THE CONVALESCENT 325
with the strength of his physical body, he
marvelled over that exquisite face that bent
And then one day his sister, Haru-no, had
called her by name — Masago ! A light
broke through the dazzled brain of Junzo.
She who nursed him with tender care was
not a princess, but a simple maiden of his
own class, and, most marvellous, she was his
own betrothed, the virtuous maid Masago !
Reason was restored, and physical strength
Through the many days when he was
forced to obey the will of the insistent foreign
doctor, Junzo did not fret at his enforced
confinement. Such an existence was fraught
with dreamful possibilities of happiness. As
Junzo's thoughts became clear, this was his
solution of what he termed his recent mad-
ness : He had loved Masago from the first,
he told himself The very gods had planned
their union. Before he had known fully the
heart of his betrothed, she was sent away to
school. By chance this Princess Sado-ko
326 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
crossed his path, the image of the maid
Masago. It was because of this he had
thought he loved her, while it was the other
he loved. This was proved by the fact that
with a lover's adoration he was now drawn to
These were the thoughts of Junzo. Still
more curious was his way of comparing the
princess and the maiden, with a weight of
favor for the latter. In her constant presence
Junzo thought darkly of the falsity of
Sado-ko, and with ecstasy of the charming
simplicity of this girl of lowly birth.
As she sat with her pretty head dropped
over her work, he thought her lovelier than
ever he had dreamed the Princess Sado-ko.
Once during the afternoon his relatives
left the two alone. Then the girl softly
raised her eyes, to glance in his direction.
At the ardent glance she met, her eyes
dropped immediately. So much did he wish
to see again those dark and lovely eyes that
he complained of a discomfort.
He desired another quilt (though it was
THE CONVALESCENT 327
very v/arm), and also a high futon for his
head. She brought them to him, without
speaking. When she put the pillow under-
neath his head, he tried to speak her name
with all the ardor of his love.
" Sado — '* He stopped aghast. His lips
had framed that other name. The kneeHng
maiden's eyes met his. Her voice was soft : —
" Who is Sado-ko ? " she asked.
Flushing in shame and mortification, he
could not meet her eyes. When she repeated
her quiet question, the strangest smile dimpled
her lips at the frown upon his averted face.
" Who is Sado-ko ? "
" It is a name," he said, "just a name."
" It has a pretty sound," she said.
Though he moved his head restlessly, she
pursued the subject.
" Do you not think so, Junzo ? "
" It is an evil name," he said with sudden
vehemence. Although he did not see the
little movement of dismay she made, he
knew that she was leaning toward him. He
could not look at her.
328 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" You do not like the name of Sado-ko ? "
she said. " Why, that is strange ! "
At last he looked at her, then wondered
why she swiftly blushed, averting her eyes.
" Why strange ? " he asked, his eyes linger-
ing upon her flushing face.
" Because it was a name you called unceas-
ingly throughout your illness," she said.
" I called on you." He took her hand to
hold it closely within his own.
She stammered over her words, thrilling at
his touch upon her hands.
" But is my — my name, then — Sado-ko ? "
His troubled eyes were on her face, a wist-
ful wonder in their glance.
" I thought you so," he whispered softly.
She let her hand remain in his, for it was
sweet to feel his touch, yet, with the strangest
stubbornness, she urged the question ; —
" Why did you think me Sado-ko ? "
" I will tell you why some other day," he
ansv/ered in a low voice.
" But am I not Masago ? " she persisted.
THE CONVALESCENT 329
" Yes," said he, " Masago is your name,
and it is sweeter, simpler, lovelier far than — "
She drew her hands from his with passionate
petulance. Her eyes were hurt.
"You Hke Masago better, then, than
Sado-ko ? " was her astonishing question.
" The name ? Why, yes. It has a sweeter
sound — Masago! 'Tis the loveliest of flow-
ers, — modest, simple, and fair."
She caught her breath. When she raised her
eyes to his, they were full of deep reproach.
Moving away she turned her back, and would
not turn or listen to his calHng of her name : —
"Masago, Masago!" Then, after a short
silence, " Have I offended you, Masago ? "
She answered without turning her head : —
" You have offended Sado-ko."
He could not ansv/er that strange, inexpli-
cable remark, so kept silent for a space. Then :
" Masago, pray you turn your pretty head
She moved it petulantly.
He raised himself upon his elbow.
" Masago 1 "
330 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She did not answer.
"Well, then, if you will treat me so, and will
not come to me like a most dutiful affianced
wife, why I, though ill, shall come to you."
He made a threatening stir. At that she
started toward him, anxiety for his health
stronger than her childish petulance.
" No, no, do not move," she said. "I — I
will come to you if — if you desire it."
She took her place again by his side. Im-
mediately he possessed himself of both her
" Now look at me," he said.
She met his eyes, then flushed and trembled at
the love she must have seen reflected in his face.
" Masago," he said, " when Junzo once
again regains his normal strength, he has a
tale to tell his Httle wife, — a foolish tale of
youth's brief madness in a summer, of heart-
burning and heart-breaking, tears of weakness,
filial disobedience, falsity, and then — despair.
Afterward — the light ! "
*^ The light ^ " she said in a strange, bx-eath-
THE CONVALESCENT 333
" A face," he said, — " the soothing face of
"Oh, do not call me so,'' she cried almost
piteously ; " I cannot bear to hear it."
"Why — "
" Call me not Masago. I do not like the
" No, no. It is quite well that others —
say my honorable parents and brothers — should
call me so, but it sounds unkindly from your
lips, dear Junzo. Indeed, I — I hardly can
express my feelings. I — I — "
She broke off at the expression of bewilder-
ment upon his face. Nervously she entangled
" Call me what you will. Let it be Masago,
if the name pleases you. There ! my foolish
mood is past. I am your gentle girl once
" I will not call you by your name," he
said, smiling whimsically, " since you do not
like it. In a Httle while I'll have another,
sweeter name for you — wife ! "
A ROYAL PROCLAMATION
A ROYAL PROCLAMATION
IN the palace Nijo the latest royal procla-
mation came like an earthquake shock.
The Emperor at last had kept his word
to his dead mother. Through word to Nijo,
he authorized the nuptials of the Princess
Sado-ko to his own son, the Crown Prince
of Japan, thus elevating her to the highest
position in the land.
This great fortune, sudden and unexpected,
gave no satisfaction to the ambitious Masago.
The test of life had come. The woman in
her triumphed. For the first time since her
coming to Tokyo, Masago shut herself alone
within the chamber of the Princess Sado-ko.
She sat and stared before her like one
struck by so great a weight that she could not
lift it. All her life she had longed for wealth
338 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
and power. Now that the greatest honor in
the land was forced upon her, she shrank
from itj in loathing.
Masago thought with aching heart of the
Prince Komatzu. Throughout the day she
sat alone, uttering no word, not even answer-
ing the queries of her maid, the woman
Toward evening she heard the palace bells
ringing. Knowing why they rang, she pressed
her hands to her ears, a sickening sense op-
pressing her. She heard the dim voice of the
" Princess, will you deign to robe to-night ? "
Slowly, mechanically, Masago arose, permit-
ting the woman to lay upon her a foreign
gown which only yesterday had come from
Paris. Now its tightening stifled her. Her
heavy breathing caused the woman to ask
gently : —
" You do not appear augustly comfortable
to-night, exalted princess. Are you quite
well ? "
Masago threw her bare arms above her
A ROYAL PROCLAMATION 339
head, and paced the floor like some tortured
being. Suddenly she turned upon the woman,
crying out in an hysterical way : —
" Why do you stand and stare at me,
woman! Oh-h! My head is throbbing, and
my heart beats so — "
She covered her face with her hands.
Swiftly the woman withdrew. In the next
room she took her stand by the dividing
shoji, watching the one within.
"She would treat me like the bird," she
said, "and it is dead."
Masago called her shrilly, harshly.
" Woman ! Maid ! Do you not hear me
calling ? "
** I am here, princess ! " said the woman,
quietly, stepping back into the room.
" I cannot bear this gown to-night," said
Masago. " It suffocates me. It is ill-fitting."
The woman patiently removed the gown,
then waited for her mistress to command her
" Take them all off," said the girl, in an irri-
tated voice. " These and these."
340 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
She indicated the silk corsets and the frail
shoes which gave her such unstable support.
Freed of the foreign garments, she seemed to
breathe with more ease and comfort.
" Now a kimono, — just a simple, plain one."
The woman brought the plainest one of all.
Soon Masago was arrayed in this.
" Do I appear well to-night ? ** she asked
" Yes, princess."
" Will not his Royal Highness be aston-
ished at my garb ? "
" Enchanted, princess."
" Enchanted ! You speak foolish words !
He is a modern prince, this future Emperor
of Japan. He will despise a plain kimono."
The woman closed her lips.
" Say so," insisted the girl, wildly. " Agree
with me, woman, that when he sees me in this
garb to-night, he will detest the sight of me,
and insist unto his father that he must have
another bride. Oh, you do not speak ! How
I hate you ! "
She was sobbing as she left the room in a
A ROYAL PROCLAMATION 341
breathless, piteous way, for no tears carne to
Like one in a dream Masago passed
through the halls of the Nijo palace. Soon
she was in the great reception hall, where the
Crown Prince, guest of her father, Nijo,
awaited her appearance. Her courtesy was
mechanical. She took her place beside him
on the slight eminence reserved for royalty
Masago little cared that night whether her
maidens whispered and gossiped at her whim
to appear once more in the national dress. It
was suggested that she wore the gown in com-
pliment to her exalted fiancee.
As the girl surveyed the brilliant spectacle,
an intense weariness overtook her. Half un-
consciously she closed her eyes and put her
head back against the tall throne chair upon
which she sat. Then Masago became deaf —
blind to all about her. Strange visions of her
home passed through her mind, — her simple
home, quiet, peaceful. As in fancy she saw
Ohano*s sympathetic face, she felt an aching
342 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
longing to hear her garrulous voice lowered to
her in gossip ; she saw again her happy,
healthy little brothers, romping in the sunny
garden. Even the thought of Kwacho, grave
yet always just and kind, despite his narrow
prejudices, awoke a vague tenderness.
When some one spoke the name of Princess
Sado-ko, she roused herself, then shuddered
at the very sound.
" You were so pale, princess, and you closed
your eyes just now. I thought, perchance,
that you were ill.** The Crown Prince of Japan
spoke with polite solicitude to the maid Ma-
sago. Her eyes filled with heavy tears.
" Oh, I am homesick — homesick ! ** she
murmured in reply.
He leaned a trifle toward her, as though
his boredom were lifted for a second.
" Are you not at home already, princess ? "
She shook her head in mute negation.
" What do you call your home, then ? " he
She answered in a whisper : —
" Kamakura ! "
A ROYAL PROCLAMATION 343
" Ah, yes, the castle Aoyama is there."
She could not speak further. A page
brought tea on a small lacquered tray. She
touched it with her Hps, then again relapsed
into her attitude of weariness and languor.
The Crown Prince thought his cousin both
stupid and dull. He mentally decided that
her beauty had been overrated. Bright, flash-
ing eyes, rosy lips, a vivacious countenance,
in these days were considered a more desirable
type of beauty than this tired, languid, waxen
sort, mysteriously sad, despite perfection.
He wondered whether her allusion to Kama-
kura had to do with the famous artist there,
of whom the young prince had heard.
Report had told him that the capricious
Sado-ko had treated this plain artist with
familiarity such that the court gossiped.
While these thoughts ran vaguely through his
mind, the princess interrupted with a ques-
tion : —
" When is the wedding-day ? '* she asked.
" It is not set," he replied somewhat
344 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
Her hands moved restlessly in her lap.
"Are there not other ladies of the royal
house more exalted than I ? ** she asked.
" None, illustrious princess," he answered
She turned her miserable face aside, and
stared at the company with eyes that would
fill with tears. Suddenly, hardly conscious of
her words, she exclaimed, in a low, passion-
ate voice : —
" I hate it all ! I hate it all ! "
The Crown Prince stared in astonishment
at her feverishly flushed face.
" I overheard your words, princess," he
said, with forbidding candor. " I do not
know to what you are alluding. The words
themselves have an unseemly sound."
She pressed her lips together, and sat in
bitter silence after that. Suddenly she
became conscious of compelling eyes upon
her. She moved and breathed with a new
excitement. Then she heard the Crown Prince
speaking in a sarcastic, drawling way, which
already she had begun to dislike.
A ROYAL PROCLAMATION 345
"Our cousin, here, Komatzu, is sick for
She turned her helpless eyes upon Ko-
matzu*s face. To her passionate, hungry eyes
he appeared impassive and unmoved. Had
the horrible tidings, then, left him only cold ?
Were the words of love he had whispered
so often in her ear but the carefully prepared
words of a formal suitor ? Was he so much
a prince that he could mask his heart behind
so impenetrable a countenance ?
Tears, welling up from her aching heart,
dropped unheeded from her eyes. She made
no effort to wipe them away, or to conceal
her childish grief and agony. So this lately
elevated princess, affianced to a future em-
peror, sat by his side in a public place, with
tears running down her face. The Crown
Prince was impatient at this display of weak
emotion, she knew, and her action was unbe-
fitting a princess of Japan ; nevertheless she
found herself repeating over and over again
in her heart; —
" I am not a princess ! I am not a prin-
346 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
cess ! I am only the maid Masago. That is
all. I have been but playing at a masquer-
ade, and I am tired. I want my home — my
parents. My heart is breaking ! "
THE EVE OF A WEDDING
THE EVE OF A WEDDING
IT was the month of Kikuzuki (Chrysan-
themum). Summer was dying, — not
dead, — and in her latter moments her
beauty was ethereal, though passionate. The
leaves were brown and red. The grass was
warmer colored than at any other time of
year. The glorious chrysanthemum, queen
of all the flowers in Japan, lent golden color
to the landscape. The skies were deeply blue.
Sometimes, when the sinking sun was slow
in fading, its ruddy tints upon the blue made
of the heavens a purple canopy, enchanting
to the sight. Yet with all its beauty Novem-
ber is the month of tears, for Death, however
beautiful, must always wring the heart. So
lovers are pensive and melancholy in their
happiness at this sweet, sad season of the
350 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
It was the eve before the wedding of
the artist and the maid Masago. Junzo's
artful insistence that he was not strong enough
to do without the helpful nursing of his fiancee
had kept her for many days a guest within his
father's house. Now it wanted but the pass-
ing of one night before the day when the
wedding would take place at the house of
Kwacho. Hence the lovers were on their
way from the Kamura residence. It was twi-
light. The two loitered in their steps along
the way, pausing on every excuse within the
woods, the meadow fields, and even on the
open highway. They spoke but little to each
other, and then only at intervals. But when
they had approached quite near the house,
the girl said tremulously : —
" When we are married, Junzo, I want to
make a little trip with you — alone."
She stopped, looking toward the hills.
Then, with one hand on his arm and the
other lifted from her sleeve, she pointed : —
" Look, Junzo, how the royal sun lingers
THE EVE OF A WEDDING 351
on the palace turrets. It seems to love
Junzo surveyed the golden peaks of the
palace, shining red in the sunset glow. His
thoughts prevented speech. His mind dwell-
ing on that one who had once made her home
within the palace, he forced his eyes away to
turn them on the dreamy face of his Masago.
" You spoke of a little trip, Masago.
Where shall it be, then ? "
"Yonder," she said, still pointing toward
His face was troubled.
" I do not understand. You do not
mean — "
Slowly she nodded her head.
" Yes, I mean to Aoyama, just up there on
the hills, my Junzo. It would be a little
journey, and I — I want just once again in
my life to loiter in the gardens."
. " You have already been there, then ? " he
asked, with some astonishment.
She caught her breath, then simply bowed
352 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" I have been there in fancy, Junzo, or per-
haps it was in dreams," was her reply. " Will
you not go with me sometime, in fact ? "
He hesitated, and moved uncomfortably.
" I do not understand your fancy," he
"Well, make the little journey with me,
will you not?"
" The palace is not public property," he
As she did not respond at once, he seized
the opportunity to continue their walk, think-
ing in this way to divert her. It was growing
softly darker. In the twilight her face was so
ethereal and perfect that the artist could not
take his eyes from it. Suddenly she said quite
simply : —
"You have fame at court, and so you could
obtain a pass to enter the grounds."
" Why, have you so strange a fancy. Ma-
" Is it strange ? " she asked, and stopped
again. In the dusk of the woodland lane, her
upturned face appeared timid, wistful.
THE EVE OF A WEDDING 353
" Yes, it is strange for a maiden of our class,
Masago, to wish to enter royal gardens."
" Are they not beautiful ? " she asked wist-
" Beautiful ? Perhaps, to some eyes, but to
my mind not of that more desirable beauty
nature gives to our more simple gardens."
" Once you thought the gardens peerless,"
she said ; " have you forgotten, Junzo ? "
He started violently. Suddenly his hand
fell upon her arm. In the dimly fading light
he bent to see her face.
" How can you know of-— Masago, your
words are strange."
She laughed in that soft way so reminiscent
to him always of that other one.
"They are not strange, indeed," she said,
" for I have often heard that you declared the
palace grounds were beautiful. But then,"
she ^sighed, and resumed the walk, "an artist
is no less a man, and therefore fickle."
They did not speak again until they reached
Yamada's house. At the little garden gate
354 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" How quiet all the world seems to-night ! "
" You say that in a melancholy tone of
" Yes, I am a little melancholy. It is the
season and the night. Have you forgotten,
Junzo, that to-morrow — "
He did not let her finish, but seized both
" How can you ask that question ? I think
of that to-morrow every second. To-night
I will not sleep."
"Nor I," she said.
" What will you do ? Tell me, sweet Ma-
sago, and I will engage the night in the same
She nestled against his arm, looking toward
" To-night," she said, " Til sit beside my
shoji doors and I will watch the moon. I'll
tell my heart that I am keeping tryst with you,
and think that it is so, that you and I, my
Junzo, are alone in some sweet garden, keep-
ing a moon tryst."
THE EVE OF A WEDDING 355
He dropped her hands. She could hear
his quickened breath. In the shadow he could
not see her face. How could he have guessed
that Sado-ko was jealous of her very self?
" Why did you drop my hands ? " she
He seemed to be in painful thought. His
voice was husky when he spoke : —
"Your words, Masago, start bitter recollec-
tions in my mind."
" Bitter ? " she repeated softly.
" Bitter, bitter," he replied.
She broke his thought, with a timid question.
"Junzo, this is our wedding-eve. Confide
He moved from her a step, and stood in
indecisive silence. Then : —
" There is nothing to confide."
"You told me once there was a tale that
you would tell me."
With an impetuous motion he once again
seized her hands.
"You are too good, too pure to hear the
story of one both false and base."
356 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
In the strangest, most piteous of voices she
answered : —
" Perhaps there was another time when you
called her by another name."
Her strange words rendered him quite
speechless. She put her hand upon his arm.
There was a pleading quality in her voice : —
" Junzo, do not think or speak unkindly of
poor Sado-ko," she said.
He repeated the name in a low, despair-
ing voice : —
" Sado-ko ! "
The very name recalled his anguish of the
" You love her still ? " she asked. Now a
note of fear was in her voice. She could not
bear that he should speak or think unkindly
of the Princess Sado-ko, yet the very thought
that he should love one who was no longer
herself, rendered this paradox of women dis-
" You love her still ? " she asked, catching
his arm and shaking it with her childish
THE EVE OF A WEDDING 357
" No, no," he said, as though the very
thought was loathsome, " 'tis you alone 1
love, my own Masago."
Her tone was sharply tart.
" You do not love Sado-ko ? "
" I love Masago," he said.
" I would not have it otherwise," she said,
and laughed happily.
" Masago," he said earnestly, " ask the con-
sent of your honored parent that I may come
indoors. We will spend a portion of the night
together. I will then tell you all you wish to
know concerning that passion of the heart I
once have felt, which you have suspected. It
is better you should know."
ALONE in the quiet guest room of the
Yamada house they sat. Convention
demanded a light, but it was of the
dimmest — a dull and flickering andon. Yet
the night was clear. By the shoji walls they
sat, looking into each other's faces, thinking
always of the morrow.
She had listened without interrupting while
in low, tense voice he had told her of a mad-
ness once felt for a high princess. When he
had quite finished and sat in silent, moody
gloom, she moved nearer to him, then slipped
her hand into his, and nestled up against his
shoulder. Her voice was soothing in its
" By this time the little bird — the poor
caged nightingale is dead," she said. " The
362 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
gods were more kind to you, Junzo, for see,
you are so strong you beat away the cage-bars
and are quite free to love again."
Pressing his face against her hair, he said
solemnly : —
" The gods are witness of this fact. You
are the only one that I have ever loved."
Smiling, she sighed with happiness.
" Poor Sado-ko ! " she said.
His voice was earnest.
" I loved you in her, Masago."
She smiled in sweetest confidence now.
" That is true," she said. " I do believe it,
and to-morrow — "
" To-morrow will be a golden day upon the
august calendar of our lives. I love you !
Men of our country do not always marry for
their love, Masago, but the gods are kind, and
favor us 1 "
" How sad," she said, " it must be to marry
one for whom we do not care ! "
" It is the fate of many in our land."
"The times change, Junzo-san. Are not
conditions happier to-day ? "
MASAGO'S RETURN 363
"True. In the years to come they will
still improve, and if the gods grant us honor-
able offspring — "
" What is that ? " she cried, starting from
him suddenly. " I thought I heard one mov-
ing — and see, oh, look, there is a shadow on
the shoji wall ! '*
" Where ? "
" Over there ! See, it is moving now.
Some one is upon our balcony. Oh, Junzo ! "
She clung to him in a shivering panic of fear.
" Do not tremble so, Masago. Some fool-
ish listening servant, that is all ! One moment,
we will see ! '*
He started to cross the room to the opposite
side, but she clung to him with nervous appre-
" No, no — I am fearful ! " she whispered.
" But some one is without. I too saw and
see the shadow of the form. Why should our
simple courtship be spied upon ? Let me see
who it is, Masago ? "
They were speaking in whispers. The girl
was trembling with fright.
364 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" It is an evil omen on this night," she
whispered pitifully. " Do not, pray you, do
not seek to find the cause."
"Your fear is most incomprehensible. Let
us go to another room, then. We will join
your honorable parents."
She clung to him fearfully as they made
their way across the room together. The
shadow on the shoji moved upward from its
crouching position, and through the thin walls
the lovers saw an arm, with the long sleeve
of a woman falling from it, extended to push
aside the doors.
Upon a sudden impulse Junzo strode
toward the doors and opened them. The
figure on the balcony stood still, silhouetted
in the silvered light of the night. Between
the parted shoji she stood like one uncertain.
Then suddenly she swayed, as if about to faint.
She grasped the door for support.
The lovers watched her in silence as elo-
quent as though they gazed upon a spirit.
Then suddenly the man broke the spell of
tense silence, and stooping to the andon raised
Between the parted shoji she stood like one uncertain."
MASAGO'S RETURN 367
it up and swung its light upon the woman's
A cry escaped his lips — a cry simultane-
ously echoed by the stranger. She stepped
into the room, and with her hands behind her
drew the sliding doors closed. Now against
them she stood, looking about her with vague
" Who are you ? " hoarsely sounded the
voice of Junzo.
"Ask — her !" was the reply she made,
indicating Sado-ko. Junzo slowly turned
toward his fiancee. He saw her hands fall
from her face, which in the dull light seemed
now white as marble. She turned it toward
the woman. Her voice was strange.
" I do not know you, lady," was her answer.
The one by the doors laughed with a fierce
wildness, then threw her arms above her head
with abandoned recklessness.
"You do not know me — you!" She
laughed again. " You have reason to know
me, Princess Sado-ko," she cried.
Cold and immovable still, the girl who but
368 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
lately had clung so warmly to her lover, stared
now upon the visitor.
" I do not know you," she repeated in dis-
tinct tones. " I am not a princess, lady, but a
simple maiden, the daughter of Yamada Kwa-
cho, and named Masago ! "
Then, as though she put aside some late
physical weakness, the other crossed and faced
" I am the maid Masago, with whom you
exchanged your state. Princess Sado-ko," she
There was silence for a moment, then the
low-toned, deliberate denial of the other one.
" It is not true," she said.
Masago turned toward the artist.
" Look at me ! " she said. " You do not
dare, you artist-man. You know that I speak
As though she were an unholy thing, he
shrank from her. She moved uncertainly
about the room. Suddenly she asked quite
querulously : —
" Where is my mother ? I never realized
MASAGO'S RETURN 369
before how much I loved her." She looked
about the room impatiently. " How dark it
is ! Let us have light."
" No, no," cried out the artist, imploringly,
" there is sufficient."
" Ah, you fear to see my face more plainly,
artist? Yet I will have more light. My
nerves are all unstrung. I could laugh and
weep, and I could scream aloud at the least
She clapped her hands loudly, imperiously,
then restlessly paced the room.
" The woman always came so slowly. The
promptness of the menials of Nijo makes me
impatient of this country slowness."
Outside, in the corridors, the shuffling tread
of the servant was heard. Masago, in her
nervous state, could not wait for her to open
the doors, but pushed them apart.
" Bring more lights," she commanded, then
stayed the woman by grasping her kimono at
the shoulder : " Oh, it is you I see, Okiku.
Come inside ! "
The woman stepped into the room, looking
370 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
up at her in a startled fashion, then glancing
at the other silent two.
" Do you recognize Masago ? " asked the
girl, bringing her face close to the servant's.
The woman cried out in fright as she stared
in horror from one to the other. Suddenly
she gasped : —
" It is a wicked lie. You are not Masago.
There is my sweet girl." She pointed to the
At those words Sado-ko seemed to come to
sudden life. She crossed the room and whis-
pered to the maid : —
" Okiku, bid my father and my mother
come at once. The woman seems both ill and
witless. Pray hasten. Also bring more lights."
Masago sat down on the floor. Laying
her head back against the panelling of the
wall, she closed her eyes wearily.
" I am so tired and worn out," she said
plaintively ; " I have travelled half the night.
What time is it, Onatsu-no — Why, I forget
again. Oh, it is good to be home once more.
I never knew how much — "
MASAGO'S RETURN 371
Ohano^s pleasant voice was heard outside
the door. As she bustled into the room, fol-
lowed by Kwacho, Masago leaped to her
feet, and, rushing headlong across the room,
threw her arms about Ohano's neck.
" Mother ! Oh, my mother, mother ! " she
Ohano stood in stiff amazement, staring
across Masago's head at Sado-ko. The maid
brought andons ; the room was now well
" Why — what — " was all that Ohano
could gasp, but she had not the heart to put
the girl from her arms. Yamada Kwacho was
more brusque, however. He drew the girl
away from Ohano by her sleeves, but when he
saw her face, he started in astonished bewilder-
" I do not understand," he said dazedly,
" Junzo — Masago — " He turned to them
Sado-ko spoke with perfect clearness. Her
eyes were wide and steady, but there was no
color in her face.
372 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" The woman seems demented, father. She
thinks that she is other than herself — your
daughter. But look upon her garments. See
the crest upon her sleeves ! She evidently is
some high lady. Her mind is wandering in
With a savage cry Masago sprang toward
her. She would have struck Sado-ko had not
Kwacho held her.
"What! You — you speak thus in my
own father's house! Oh!" She turned pite-
ously toward Ohano. " Mother, you will
understand. You know your Masago ! "
" You, Masago ! " exclaimed Yamada
Kwacho ; " why, you are wild in ways. Our
girl from babyhood has been docile, quiet,
almost dull, while you — "
" Mother, speak to me. Say that you at
least know your own child."
Ohano burst into tears. Her mind was
entangled and perplexed.
There were steps without the house, and
the shrill calls of runners ; then loud rappings
on the doors. Kwacho pushed them open
roughly to find a dozen men in livery upon
his veranda. A tall man stepped forward.
Sado-ko pulled her mother down with her
upon the floor, thus concealing their faces in
low obeisance. The artist did not move, but
his eyes met those of the royal Prince Ko-
matzu. The latter glared upon him fiercely.
" What means this rude intrusion ? " de-
manded Kwacho. " We are simple citizens.
Why are we disturbed ? "
He was interrupted by the screaming of
Masago. She rushed toward Komatzu, crying
out : —
"You, you, you — He has sent you for
me — oh-h — "
She swayed and fell even as she spoke.
Without a word of explanation the Prince
Komatzu himself stooped to the floor. Lift-
ing in his arms the senseless form of the maid
Masago, he bore it to the royal norimon
without the house.
After that those within the house heard the
sounds of departure. Then silence in the night.
Kwacho returned from the veranda.
374 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
"They have gone in the direction of the
palace Aoyama — some demented princess,
doubtless." He turned to Junzo, " I trust
you will pardon the interruption of your visit
in my house."
The artist returned his host's bow mechani-
cally, then looked with some stealthiness toward
his fiancee. When he found her eyes fixed upon
his face imploringly, he could not look at her.
" The night grows late," he said heavily ;
" permit me to say good night."
He bowed deeply to all, departing without
another word to Sado-ko. She moved toward
the doors. Turning in the path, he saw her
That night, when husband and wife lay
side by side upon their mattresses, Kwacho,
moving restlessly, said : —
"The woman had a countenance so strangely
like our girl's it disturbs my mind. Yet,
Shaka ! how different were their ways ! How
much more admirable the simple, unaffected
manners of our country girl ! I wonder why
the woman came — "
MASAGO'S RETURN 375
" Listen, Kwacho/* said Ohano, sitting up,
" I have heard, sometime, that the Princess
Sado-ko once loved our Junzo. Yes, it is
so ! You need not move so angrily. Do
you not recall that when he was ill he called
upon her name repeatedly ? "
" I tell you," her husband answered angrily,
" the boy is fairly sick with his affection for
Masago. Only a woman's foolish mind could
Ohano lay down again.
" A woman's wiser mind, Kwacho. I am
convinced this princess came to take our
Junzo from Masago."
"Go to sleep, Ohano," growled her hus-
band ; " surmises and convictions are some-
times treasonable and wicked."
A GRACIOUS PRINCESS AT LAST
A GRACIOUS PRINCESS AT LAST
THE following morning Masago, irri-
tated and nervous, sat in a chamber
of the palace Aoyama. Impatiently
she chided Madame Bara, the chaperon.
"I am tired of your voice/' she said. " Do
not speak further, or better still, leave me, if
The woman, bowing deeply, left her mistress
alone. Then Masago called : —
" Natsu-no ! Where are you ? "
Upon the instant appeared the waiting-
woman of the Princess Sado-ko. Masago
instructed : —
" Look out once again and tell me if he
There was silence for a moment, as the
maid passed into the adjoining room and
leaning from the casement looked toward
38o DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
the front part of the palace. Soon her
voice, raised and mechanical, answered the
impatient query of Masago.
" He comes not yet ! " she said.
" Look again," said Masago ; " do not leave
the casement until he comes."
Natsu-no was no longer young. She shiv-
ered at the open casement through which
came the morning air; her eyes were blue
with cold, and tired for sleep, for Natsu-no
had spent the night in secret tears. After all
these days she knew now where her mistress
was, yet fate — a thing she was too insignifi-
cant to fight against — chained her like a
slave to this girl-autocrat.
When, from the direction of the palace
reserved for the men of the household, Ko-
matzu appeared, the woman drew the shutters.
Then, shuffling to the other room, she an-
nounced, "He comes ! "
Masago sprang to her feet. She held out
both her hands toward Komatzu when he
entered, but he did not touch them. His
eyes were dark, drawn into a heavy frown.
A GRACIOUS PRINCESS AT LAST 381
" Have you heard the joyful news ? '* she
" What news ? "
" Word came this morning by the divine
barbarian wires from Tokyo that my betrothal
with the Crown Prince had been peremptorily
annulled. Why, you do not appear glad at
the news ! "
" I have heard it/* he said ; " there are
other things which trouble me. Princess, 1
ask an explanation of your Highness. Nay,
I demand it. Some months ago a rumor
coupled your name with a low artist-man.
You start and blush. Was the rumor only
malice ? "
Masago looked at him reproachfully. She
said : —
" Then, cousin, give me an explanation of
your last night's conduct. You have recov-
ered from your indisposition, which still had
a cause. Why did you journey in such haste
to Kamakura P "
Tears fell. Masago's voice broke and
382 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
trembled. " I was homesick," she replied in
a low voice ; " that is the truth, Komatzu.
The gods are my witnesses."
" Homesick for the merchant's home, friends
of the artist-man ? "
She averted her face, not hesitating in her
"Your jealousy is misplaced, Komatzu.
They told you truly last night. I was — as
women often are — witless. Who would not
be at such a shock ? "
" You speak of your betrothal ? "
" I do. Do you not understand, Komatzu ? "
She went closer to him. "The thought
of union with another than yourself unnerved
He spoke impetuously, and as though a
weight was lifted from his mind : —
" Princess, could I believe your words,
I would be the happiest prince in all the
" Believe them," she pleaded. " It is the
truth I speak ; I swear it by all the eight
million gods of heaven, and by our ancestor,
A GRACIOUS PRINCESS AT LAST 383
the Sun-god. I went to Kamakura, rashly,
blindly, wildly, because of love for you."
He looked searchingly into her eyes. Then
as if satisfied he stooped and kissed her lips,
a habit they had recently adopted at court.
" I have suffered, Sado-ko, more than I
ever dreamed possible. I thought this artist-
fellow was alone responsible for your action."
" Komatzu, he is already betrothed to the
merchant's daughter, a simple maid, who
bears a small resemblance to me."
He made a gesture of denial.
"That is impossible, princess. What, you
compare one of her class with you ! It is
most gracious. No one in all the land can
equal you in beauty."
She smiled in happiness.
"Your journey was a fortunate event,
though a rnorsel for the gossips, princess.
Do you know that this latest caprice so
moved the young and easily shocked Crown
Prince, that in disgust he hastened to his
father, and on his knees besought him to
grant another wife ? "
384 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" What happened next ? "
" One hour after you left Tokyo, Sado-ko
was humiliated, her betrothal being publicly
annulled. It made a noisy story for a space."
" And next what happened ? "
" Next, I too presented myself before his
Majesty, who, being uncle as well as father,
was ready to condone offence unfitted for
a future Empress. Consequently, when I
begged him to grant me your hand in
marriage, he graciously consented."
" And you followed me at once ? "
" At once."
When Komatzu had left her, Masago stood
for some time looking from the casement of
" To think," she murmured, " of the folly
I was near to committing but last night. The
court is cold and heartless, yet it is my true,
true home, for there is the only one on earth
who loves me." She sighed. " I am an
outcast from my childhood's home — even my
stupid mother denies me. It was fitting ! "
A GRACIOUS PRINCESS AT LAST 385
The voice of the waiting-woman, Natsu-no,
broke upon her meditations.
" Exalted princess ! " She turned slowly
toward the woman. At her haggard aspect
she was touched.
" What is it, Natsu-no ? ** she asked with
" I am no longer young," said the woman.
" I was handmaiden to the mother of the
Princess Sado-ko, and from her birth I served
"You have been faithful," said Masago,
" Will, then, the illustrious one reward
the faithful service of the most humble
" What do you wish ? It is already
granted," said Masago, generously, for she
" Permission," said the woman, " to leave
Masago looked closely into her face.
" You wish to serve again — * '■
She did not finish the sentence, nor did the
386 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
woman. Their eyes met. Each understood
" You are free to go," said Masago, gently.
The woman moved away.
" Stay," said Masago, " I have a message
for you to carry to your mistress. Say this
for me : * She who is now Princess Sado-ko
sets free your maid. She wishes with all
her heart she had done likewise with the
Natsu-no touched with her head the hem
of Masago*s robe.
" You are a gracious princess, ** she
"THE GODS KNEW BEST!"
" THE GODS KNEW BEST !
IT wanted but a few hours before the noon
wedding when Sado-ko, appearing on her
balcony, looked down into the garden,
where her lover waited. Down the little flight
of stairs straight to him she went, silently ac-
cepting from his hands flowers. Her eyes were
fixed upon his face lovingly, but anxiously.
" You look so pale," she said. " Did you
not sleep last night, my Junzo ? "
" I did not sleep," he said. " Come, let us
walk where it is more secluded. I wish to
speak with you alone."
In a dreamy, pensive fashion she walked
beside him. They crossed the little garden
bridge to a quiet, shady spot. Once out of
sight of the house, Junzo stopped short and,
turning, faced her.
390 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" Last night/' he said, " one told a night-
mare story, which you denied. The morning
is come. Tell me the truth."
A flush spread over her face, as though
she were half angered with him. She would
not raise her eyes to his. His voice was firm
— stern : —
" Answer me."
" I cannot," she replied, " when you speak
in such a tone."
Her heaving bosom told him she was on
the verge of tears. Gently he took her hands
in his and held them. His voice was tender-
" Now tell me all," he said.
She tried to meet his eyes, but could not.
Then she sought to draw her hands from his,
while she averted her face.
" I would not speak of sad matters on my
wedding-day. There is naught to tell." She
added the last sentence with swift vehemence.
" There is much to tell," he said gravely.
"I am your lover — soon your husband.
Before that time, tell me the secret which
"THE GODS KNEW BEST!" 391
rests between us now. If there is no truth in
that woman, reassure my doubts."
" Can love and doubt exist together ? "
" If you loved me, you would trust me," he
replied gravely, ignoring her question.
She threw her head back with a swift, brave
" Do you truly love me ? "
" With all my heart."
" You love Sado-ko ? "
He did not answer.
" Ah, how blind you have been," she said,
" that Sado-ko could make you think she
were other than herself. It was a strange test
of your love, Junzo."
" Then it is true ! " he said, making a move-
ment of recoil from her.
" It is true that I am Sado-ko," she said.
He stared at her blankly. Then suddenly
he covered his face with his hands and
" The gods have pity on us both ! " he
"Why should the gods have pity?" asked
392 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
the Princess Sado-ko. " They have already
blessed us. We are happy, Junzo."
" Happy ! " he repeated. " Guileless one,
do you not see our happiness is so slight
and dangerous a thing we cannot hold
" But why may we not ? "
" You are the Princess Sado-ko, and I — an
" You are my Junzo," she replied, " and I
am your Sado-ko. This we know, but it is a
secret. The world will call me Masago, and
once I am your wife — "
" Our union is impossible."
Pressing her hand to her breast, she gazed
imploringly at him.
" It is not impossible," she said steadily.
"You cannot now refuse to marry me. The
gods have given us to each other. They did
so from the first. We will be happy."
" There are others of whom we both must
think;" he cried.
" No, no," she said. " Upon this day we
will not think of others."
"THE GODS KNEW BEST!" 393
" This is folly that we have been dreaming,
O princess ! "
He moved away from her for a time, pacing
up and down with moody, bent head. He
came back to her impetuously, and spoke
accusingly, yet mournfully : —
" You did a cruel act last night. That poor
girl came to her true home. You denied her,
Sado-ko ! "
" Tou reproach me for that ! " she cried, her
eyes flashing resentfully. " How can you say
that to me, since it was for your sake I did
deny her, and for hers too, though she had
been most eager and well content to change
her lot with mine at first. Yet last night I
thought upon the consequences of her act and
mine. I did not think of myself at all."
He did not interrupt her, and she continued
in defence with impetuous swiftness.
"Think on the matter but a little v/hile,
Junzo. Would you have loved this other
one ? No, in your face I read the answer.
Do not speak it. Could I give her to you,
then, in place of me ? I am but a woman and
394 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
cannot reason harshly, and so I thought last
night with pity and tenderness of you."
« My Sado-ko ! " he said.
"A little while ago," she said, "you called
me Masago. How easily you change the
name. First it was Sado-ko, — the sweetest,
most peerless name on earth. Then it was
Masago, — the purest, simplest name for
maiden ; and now — "
" I never loved you for your name," he
She laughed for the first time, and caught
at his hand, pressing it against her face.
" Now you are my Junzo once again. We
will not speak of these sad things."
" Sado-ko, we cannot but do so. Try and
see the matter as it is. You are — "
" Masago — your betrothed. A little while
and I will be — your wife! "
" It cannot be," he said sadly, " for you
are not Masago. We must think of her be-
sides ourselves. We cannot rob her of her
" But it is to protect her that I must still
"THE GODS KNEW BEST!" 395
be Masago. Why, think what would be the
fate of a common citizen if she confessed that
she had practised deceit upon the royal court !
True, I was jointly guilty, but princesses do not
have the punishment bestowed upon a sim-
ple citizen. Why, there is no doubt, if this
were told, the maid Masago would be punished
by the government so cruelly she would not
have the strength to live. Is it not a crime
of treason — "
Junzo held up a hand, for some one was
coming toward them.
The woman who approached was bowed,
but when she lifted her face, they saw the un-
dried tears upon it. Sado-ko recognized at
once Natsu-no. The latter came hastily
toward her, dropped upon her knees, and
hid her face in the folds of the girl's kimono.
"Do not kneel,'* said Sado-ko. "They
will see you from the house. Stand up. Now
tell me, why do you come here ? "
" Sado-ko ! "
" Hush ! Do not call me by that name.
Why are you here ? "
396 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO
" To offer my poor services again, sweet
" You have left the Nijo service r " inquired
" The gracious princess granted me my free-
dom, and so I came — "
Sado-ko put her arm about her old servant.
" Do not tremble so, good maid," she said,
" but tell us in a breath all there is to know."
" She is to marry Prince Komatzu. All is
well with her to-day. In her happiness she
was generous and gracious ; and so this morn-
ing granted me my freedom."
Sado-ko turned a beaming face toward her
lover. For the first time he was smiling.
" Your coming is a happy omen, good maid,"
" Hark, listen ! " said Sado-ko, her eyes
gleaming. " They are calling me. They wish
to put my wedding gown upon me. I must
go. Natsu ! Come and dress me for the last
time in my maidenhood. Junzo ! For but
an hour*s space, sayonara ! "
^' Sayonara," he repeated with deep emotion.
"THE GODS KNEW BEST!" 397
He watched her until he could not see her
further. Then with sudden, swift, and buoy-
ant step he followed the path she had taken,
and entered the wedding house.
" The gods knew best ! " he said.
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