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Full text of "Daughters of Nijo, a romance of Japan"

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DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 



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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 



BY 



ONOTO WATANNA 

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. 
1904 

All rights reserved 




PPPYRIGHT, 1904, 



CMILLAN COMPANY. 



and published April, 1904. Reprinted 



NortoantJ Jpresa 

J. S. CoBhing & Co. — Berwick & Smith Co. 

Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



b 





Contents 








CHAITER 


PAGE 




Before the Story* s Action 




13 


I. 


The Child of the Sun . 






25 


II. 


An Emperor's Promise 






41 


III. 


Masago 






53 


IV. 


A Betrothal 






(^1 


V. 


Gossip of the Court . 






11 


VI. 


The Princess Sado-ko . 






87 


VII. 


The Picture by the Artist-mai 


a 




. lOI 


VIII. 


A Sentimental Princess 






113 


IX. 


Moon Tryst 






127 


X. 


Cousin Komatzu 






H7 


XI. 


A Mirror and a Photograph 






163 


XII. 


Mists of Kamakura 






175 


XIII. 


Daughters of Nijo 






189 


XIV. 


Solution of the Gods . 






• 199 


XV. 


The Change 






211 


XVI. 


A Family Council 






. 229 


XVII. 
^VIII. 


The New Masago 
A Mother Blind . 






. 243 
. 255 


XIX. 


Within the Palace Nijo 






267 


XX. 


An Evil Omen . 
7 






281 



8 


CONTENTS 




CHAPTER 




PAGE 


XXI. 


" You are not Sado-ko ! " . 


295 


XXII. 


The Coming Home of Junzo 


309 


XXIII. 


The Convalescent 


321 


XXIV. 


A Royal Proclamation . 


335 


XXV. 


The Eve of a Wedding 


347 


XXVI. 


Masago's Return 


359 


XXVII. 


A Gracious Princess at Last . • 


377 


XXVIII. 


"The Gods knewr Best !»' . 


387 



Illustrations 

** She did not speak to the attendant while she dined, 
but continued to stare before her through the 
open shoji ' * . . . .* . Frontispiece 

FACING PAGE 

**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 

13 



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 
Kwacho. 

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 
important mission. 

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 

B 



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 
declared. 

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 
also. 

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 
startled face. 

" 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, 
Yamada Kwacho. 

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 
mother. 



CHAPTER I 

THE CHILD OF THE SUN 



CHAPTER I 

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, 

27 



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 
beauty. 

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 
child, gravely. 

" 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 
you." 

" 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 
questioned. 

" 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 
prince." 

" 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. 



CHAPTER II 
AN EMPEROR'S PROMISE 



CHAPTER II 

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 
strength. 

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 

43 



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- 
ger Empress. 

" 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 
her face. 

" — 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 
sleeves. 

" 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 
maid." 

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. 



CHAPTER III 

MASAGO 



CHAPTER III 

MASAGO 

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 
best days. 

The young farmer of Echizen had been 
content to remain in his humble class, though 

55 



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- 



MASAGO 57 

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 
woman. 

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 



MASAGO 59 

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, 
Masago." 

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 
little body. 

"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 



MASAGO 6i 

dishevelled, but she was the picture of the 
healthy housewife, as she turned to her 
daughter. 

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 
red* orifice. 

" 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 



MASAGO 63 

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, 
gently. 

"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 
stirred. 

" 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 



MASAGO 65 

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 
learning. 

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- 
ishing prospect. 

" She shall go on one condition," he said. 

" Yes ? " eagerly inquired his wife. 

"That she is first betrothed to Kamura 
Junzo." 

" 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. 



CHAPTER IV 

A BETROTHAL 



CHAPTER IV 

A BETROTHAL 

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, 

69 



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, 
nothing more. 

"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 
caste." 

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 
Komatzu." 



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 
picture." 

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 
to idolize." 

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 
bent again. 

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. 



CHAPTER V 

GOSSIP OF THE COURT 









:> 



* 




CHAPTER V 

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/. 

79 



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 
shoulders. 

"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 
kimono. 

" 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 
at once. 

" Oh, but she would never countenance it ! " 

" She fairly despises the ways of us 
moderns." 

"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 
suit." 

" — 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 
consent?" 

" Well, suppose you suggest it to her." 

" I ? Oh, indeed, I am too honorably insig- 
nificant." 

"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- 



ness." 



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 
princess." 

" 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 
exactly." 

" While the Princess Sado-ko remains — 
Eastern." 

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 court. 

The Duchess Aoi turned her face away. A 
feverish color flushed her cheeks. She could 
not speak. 

"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 
Bara. 

" 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 
Sado-ko." 

" Poor prince ! " said Lady Fuji. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE PRINCESS SADO-KO 



CHAPTER VI 

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 

89 



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 
white pebbles. 

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 
gardens. 

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 
you." 

"We are betrothed," he said, passing his 
hand bewilderedly across his eyes. 

" Betrothed ? " she repeated in that sweet, 
low-toned voice. 

"Yes, Masago. Do you not remember 
then?" 

" But my name is not Masago," she said 
simply. 

" 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 
quietly. 

" Yes," he said. 

" And her name is Masago ? " she asked 
musingly. 

"Yes." 

" And she looks like me ? " She raised 
her face, and looked at him somewhat wist- 
fully. 

" 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 
the sun-god." 

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 
said simply. 

" Nay, he has presented it as a gift to me," 
she said. 

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 
sentence. 

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. 

"Yes." 

" 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- 
pressive face. 

" 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 
timidly. 

" I do not paint," he said. " I am but a 
sculptor." 

They walked slowly up the pebbled path, 
and through the bamboo grove, until they 
came to the little gate over which he had 
stepped. 

" Now we have reached the wall," she said 
with childish lightness. " You are not so 
brave nowadays, I fancy, as to carry me across 
by force." 

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." 

G 



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 — 
cold." 

"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 
asked. 

" 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 
own." 

" Yoii have not tried again," she said. 

" The sun is in my eyes, O princess. I am 
afraid." 

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 
awake T* 



CHAPTER VII 

THE PICTURE BY THE ARTIST-MAN 



CHAPTER VII 

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 ? " 

103 



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- 
ful bow. 

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 
cried. 

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 
his vision. 



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 
asked. 

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 
Madame Bara. 

"Yes, the neck and the long arms. Why 
not?" 

" 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 
affected solicitude. 

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- 
liquely. 

" 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 
honor. 

" Lady Fuji-no,** she said, " I have spoken.** 

Fuji bowed herself down to the mats, then 
quietly joined those without. 



CHAPTER VIII 
A SENTIMENTAL PRINCESS 



CHAPTER VIII 

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- 
ant. 

"Natsu-no, pray draw apart the door at 
once. The atmosphere is thick with odor of 
our ladies. It has sickened the honorable 
artist." 

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 

"5 



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 
his name. 

" 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 
underneath. 

" 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 
cannot be." 

" 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, 
princess." 

"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 
voice. 

" 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 
softest step. 

" 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 
to him. 

" My touch profanes you, Sado-ko," he 
whispered hoarsely. 

" 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 
tones. 

" I am not hungry," said the Princess Sado- 
ko. She smiled up at her lover's now adoring 
face. 

" 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 
advise you." 

Without replying, Natsu-no slowly moved 
to her seat ; but she kept her face toward those 
two figures now silhouetted in the twilight of 
the room. 

" 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- 
mother died." 

" 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 
feet» 

" For you, O beloved mistress. I pray 
that the gods will save you from this artist- 
man.'* 

The princess spurned her with her little 
footo 

" 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. 



i 



CHAPTER IX 

MOON TRYST 



CHAPTER IX 



MOON TRYST 



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 
footsteps. 

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 
I 129 



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 
fashionable Westerners. 

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 
mistress. - 

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 
them. 

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 
Komatzu. 

With another glance of assurance at the 
moon floating up from the hills and trees, she 
lifted her gown. Down into the garden the 
princess stepped. 

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- 
ingly. 

" You watch the stars, Sir Artist ? " she 
asked sweetly. 

" 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 
his face. 

" 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 
those within." 

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 
irresolutely. 

" The garden is fragrant. Lady Fuji-no. I 
would enjoy it for a little while." 

" And I," said she, and went a step down- 
ward. 

" 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 
to cease. 

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 
her lover. 

" 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 
her sobs. 

" 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 
shone out. 

" 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 
her." 

" 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," 
he said. 

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 
private gardens." 



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, 
dear Junzo." 

" O Sado-ko, it is sweet to be together, but 
sadder still than sweet, for this must be the 
last time/* 

She shook her head. 

" No, no," she said. " I will not let you 

go." 

" 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," 
she said. 

" I have myself asked this favor of my 
cousin." 

"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 
court." 

"Paint the pictures — " repeated Junzo, 
stupidly. 

"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 
to-^'^ 



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 
low voice. 

"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 
left." 

" 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 
before them. 

" 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 
the grove." 

He lingered, seeming averse to hiding ; but 
she urged him, pushing him with her own 
hands. 

" 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 
eyes. 

" Sayonara ! " he whispered. " It is for- 
ever." 

" Sayonara ! '* she repeated, and sobbed over 
the word, " for a little time," she said. 



CHAPTER X 

COUSIN KOMATZU 







>«. 







CHAPTER X 

COUSIN KOMATZU 

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." 

149 



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 
said. 

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 
Komatzu. 

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 
cumbersome." 

" 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. 
Cousin Komatzu." 

He frowned, glancing out with brows drawn. 

" I was thinking it an ideal spot for loiter- 
ing, princess." 

" 'Tis dark," said Sado-ko, still hastening 
blindly on. 

" 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 
hands. 

" Cousin, feel how cold my hands are. 
Will you not warm them with yours ? " she 
said. 

He held them doubtfully a moment, then 
chafed them with his own, while she moved 
onward. 

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 
hysterical rapidity. 

" 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 
way. 

" 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 
but cousins." 

"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 
affected court." 

"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 
trembling face. 

" 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 
Komatzu." 

" 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 ! " 



CHAPTER XI 

A MIRROR AND A PHOTOGRAPH 



CHAPTER XI 

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 
can spare." 

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 
to-night alone." 

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. 

165 



i66 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

" Go now to your deserved sleep, good 
maid," said Sado-ko, indicating the chamber 
beyond. 

" 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 
within. 

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, 
" Natsu-no." 

The tired waiting-woman was asleep by the 
dividing shoji. She awoke with a start and 
hastened to her mistress, murmuring her 
apologies. 

" 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 
the light. 

" 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 
floor. 

" Who is this ? *' repeated Sado-ko. 

"You, sweet mistress," said the maid, — "a 
most bewitching honorable likeness of your 
Highness." 

" You are sure ? " asked Sado-ko, smiling 
strangely. 

" 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." 

Natsu-no started. 

" 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 
women." 

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 
sleeve. 

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 
journey." 

" 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. 

"Yes." 

"And all the kuge (court nobles) and the 
ladies, also, go ? " 

" Yes." 

" 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 
her. 

" Noble princess, did you not just now 
speak of a journey ? " she asked, with evident 
agitation. 

" Yes," said the princess, wearily ; " to-mor- 
row we also will make a journey, but — we 
go alone ! Pray you, hurry with my bed, 
Natzu-no." 

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 
agitation. 

" 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. 



CHAPTER XII 

MISTS OF KAMAKURA 




J 



CHAPTER XII 

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 
M 177 



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 
her side. 

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 
passion. 

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- 
ing. 

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 
painful. 

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 
shoulders. 

" 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- 
ing. 

" 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, 
rising uncertainly. 

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. 



CHAPTER XIII 

DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 



CHAPTER XIII 

DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

MASAGO spoke, her words strangely 
enunciated. 

" 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 

191 



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 
vanished. 

" It was my wish," she said in a low voice, 
" to see you in your chamber. I begged this 
privilege, Masago.'* 

" Then, pray you, please be seated," urged 
the girl. She brought a mat and set it for the 
guest. 

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 
amaze. 

"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 
Masago. 

"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 
sadly. 

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 
said. 

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 
equality. 

" 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 
unconsciously. 

** And so I came to — to look upon you — 
sister." 

"You came from curiosity," said Masago, 
in that same bitter tone. "It was the pass- 
ing whim of a languid princess, bored with 
her greatness." 

"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 
Masago, coldly. 

" 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 
gods?" 

" 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 
hands. 



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. 



CHAPTER XIV 

SOLUTION OF THE GODS 



CHAPTER XIV 

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 
her mind. 

" 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 
reply. 

" And you do not joyfully anticipate the 
union ? " 



202 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

" I loathe the very thought," returned 
Masago, bitterly. 

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 
me. 

" I am listening," said Masago, with sullen 
impatience. " I will also answer, princess." 

" Call me sister. Name me Sado-ko, I 
beg." 

" 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 
choice, Masago." 

" The simple cottage of a merchant," said 
Masago. 

" 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?" 

"Oh, yes!" 

"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 
face defiantly. 

" 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 
earth." 

" 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 
against her. 

" 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 
be/' 

"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 
she, 

" 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 
away. 

" 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." 



CHAPTER XV 
THE CHANGE 




/^ 



CHAPTER XV 

THE CHANGE 

" 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 
absurd mistakes." 

" So ! Then the whole court will call it 
* A new caprice of the foolish Princess 
Sado-ko.' " 

"Again, if you please — call me Sado-ko." 

" Princess Sado-ko ! " 
213 



214 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

"Masago!" 

" 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, 
Masago." 

" 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 
Sado-ko. 

" 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 
sharply jealous. 

" 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 
gleamed. 

" 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 
Masago." 



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 
her. 

"That is how I feel, also," she said. 

They smiled into each other's faces, then 
drew closer together, their sympathy for each 
other growing. 

" 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 ? " 

"I will." 

" 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 
Sado-ko. 

" What more ? " asked Masago, surveying 



THE CHANGE 221 

with delight the width and beauty of her 
obi. 

" 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 
nightingale." 

" 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 
proceeded. 

" 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." 
p 



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 

light.' ■• 

Masago walked with faltering steps toward 
the doors. Her voice shook a moment. 



228 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

then raised in nervousness, it sounded oddly- 
harsh. 

" 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 
head imperiously. 

" Take up the light and follow me ! " 
she said. 

Trembling, dumb, and horror-stricken, the 
maid obeyed, for she had caught one quick, 
clear glimpse of that sweet other face. 



CHAPTER XVI 
A FAMILY COUNCIL 



CHAPTER XVI 

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, — 

231 



232 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

and so upon the few acres of land belonging to 
his father he had spent the first passion of 
the artist. 

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, 
and fragrance. 

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 
councirs beginning. 

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 
Masago." 

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 
Junzo's place. 

" 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 
our careers." 



A FAMILY COUNCIL 



235 



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- 
teously. 

" 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- 
ment." 

" There is time for his return," declared 
Kamura, with dignity. " I trust you all will 
stay with me. What say you, my good friend 
Kwacho?" 

" Assuredly, I will stay," assented the gruff 
and honest Kwacho. 

" And I." 



A FAMILY COUNCIL 237 

"And L" 

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 
Kamura house. 

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, 
Cousin Kamura." 

" 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 
its way." 

The young Kamura cousin shuddered, and 
looked with apprehension at the ever clouding 
sky. 

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 
creeping night. 



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- 
phy." 

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 
Junzo. 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE NEW MASAGO 



CHAPTER XVII 

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 
Masago. 

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 

245 



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- 
ing light. 

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 laughed. 

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 
happy. 

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, 
Masago." 

" 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 
honorable marriage." 

" 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 
see?" 

" 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 
criterion. 

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 
brothers. 

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- 
tions. 

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 
cannot see." 

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 
younger ones. 

" 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. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
A MOTHER BLIND 



^ 




CHAPTER XVIII 

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 : — 

R 257 



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 
faced Ohano. 

" 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 
piteous. 

"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 
speak on." 

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 
story." 

" 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 
in agitation. 

"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 
hands. 

" 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 
obediently. 

"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 
fancy." 

Sado-ko smiled through her tears. 

" It is true," she said, " I do not doubt 
it. He dreaded thought of union with 
Masago." 

"Just as you, Masago," said Ohano, bri- 
dling, " dreaded the thought of marrying him. 
You were ill suited to each other. The gods 
know best." 

"Yes," said the princess, softly, "the gods 
know best." 

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 
alone." 

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." 



CHAPTER XIX 

WITHIN THE PALACE NIJO 



f^,3i^ 




CHAPTER XIX 

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 
foreign residents. 

The Nijo palace in itself was a monument 
to the country's change. Bit by bit its 

269 



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 
or kimono. 

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 
Nijo. 

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 
mastered him. 

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 
reception room. 

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 
his letter. 

" 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- 
tion room. 

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- 
ness. 

" Good day, Sir Artist. It is an unexpected 
pleasure to see once more your august counte- 
nance." 

Junzo turned his melancholy eyes upon her 
mocking face. Painfully he bowed, feeling in 
small mood to perform the courtesies of 
life. 

" You are in excellent health, I trust ? " she 
asked. 

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 
ostrich feathers. 

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 
artist." 

" 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 
Princess Sado-ko." 

"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 
understand them." 

" 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 
trusts completely." 

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 
gloomily. 

" 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 " 



CHAPTER XX 

AN EVIL OMEN 



tc 



cc 



CHAPTER XX 

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 
to-night.'* 

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," 
he said. 

" You think the Princess Sado-ko still sets 
the fashions at defiance. Oh, artist, she is a 
most abject devotee." 

283 



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 
can be." 

" 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- 
mained. 



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 
faith. 

" 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 
for long." 

" 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 
and style. 

" 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 
evening loitering." 

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 
its life." 

" The nightingale, my lady ! " 

" Yes. Have you never heard of the bird ? 
It is the Princess Sado-ko*s, a gift to her from 
his Majesty." 

" 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 
bird's movement. 

"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 
thing—'* 

" 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 
evil omen." 

" Heed it, artist ! " said the Lady Fuji-no. 



CHAPTER XXI 
"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO! 



4- ^..^ .,^- 



^ 



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^-~^' 



--^ X_^ — ■ 







CHAPTER XXI 

" 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 
moonlit grass. 

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. 

297 



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 
his Majesty?" 



"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO ! " 301 

She seized his hand and held it close against 
her face. 

" 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 
then?" 

" 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 
fan." 

" It is a new device of speech in our Japan," 
the prince declared, thoughtfully. 

With childish petulance she turned toward 
the balcony. 

" 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 
my lips." 

" 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 
of others." 



"YOU ARE NOT SADO-KO!" 303 

" Others, Komatzu ? What others could 
there be ? " 

His voice was low and nervous. He seemed 
to hesitate. 

" Cousin, have you forgotten the artist- 
man ? " 

" The artist-man ! " she gave a little cry, 
then quickly covered up her lips with her 
fingers. 

" 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- 
der figure. 

" 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 
picture." 

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 
breathing. 



"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 
not Sado-ko." 

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 
behind her. 

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. 



CHAPTER XXII 

THE COMING HOME OF JUNZO 



CHAPTER XXII 

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 
capital. 

Meanwhile, the Kamura family kept a tire- 
less, ceaseless watch for Junzo. Though days 
and weeks and then a month slipped slowly 

3" 



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 
wandering Junzo. 

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?" 
she urgdd. 

"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 
the thought. 

"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 head. 

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 
to Tokyo." 

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 
son." 

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 
high will." 

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 
supported him. 

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 ? 



CHAPTER XXIII 
THE CONVALESCENT 



.* ~ — — - . 




CHAPTER XXIII 

THE CONVALESCENT 

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 
gods." 

323 



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 
balm. 

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 
above him. 

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 
increased daily. 

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 
Masago. 

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 ? " 
she asked. 

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 
this way." 

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 
slim hands. 

" 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- 
less voice. 



THE CONVALESCENT 333 

" A face," he said, — " the soothing face of 
my Masago." 

"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 
name." 

"But—" 

" 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 
her fingers. 

" 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 
more." 

" 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 ! " 



CHAPTER XXIV 
A ROYAL PROCLAMATION 



--^ (a 




CHAPTER XXIV 

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 

Y 337 



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 
Natsu-no. 

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 
maid. 

" 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 
further. 

" 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 
hysterically. 

" 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 
give relief. 

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 
alone. 

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 
inquired. 

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 
stiffly. 



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 
coldly. 

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 
Kamakura." 

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 ! " 



CHAPTER XXV 

THE EVE OF A WEDDING 



CHAPTER XXV 

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 
year. 

349 



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." 

"Where, Masago?" 

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 
Aoyama." 

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 
the palace. 

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 
her head. 



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 
said. 

"Well, make the little journey with me, 
will you not?" 

" The palace is not public property," he 
answered. 

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- 
fully. 

" 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 
they paused. 



354 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

" How quiet all the world seems to-night ! " 
she said. 

" You say that in a melancholy tone of 
voice, Masago." 

" 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 
her hands. 

" 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 
way." 

She nestled against his arm, looking toward 
the stars. 

" 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 
asked. 

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 
in me." 

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 
past. 

" 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- 
tracted. 

" You love her still ? " she asked, catching 
his arm and shaking it with her childish 
jealousy. 



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. 

She sighed. 

" 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." 



CHAPTER XXVI 
MASAGO'S RETURN 




^ 



CHAPTER XXVI 

MASAGO'S RETURN 

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 
quality. 

" By this time the little bird — the poor 
caged nightingale is dead," she said. " The 

361 



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- 
hension. 

" 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 
face. 

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 
eyes. 

" 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 
her. 

" I am the maid Masago, with whom you 
exchanged your state. Princess Sado-ko," she 
said. 

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 
truth." 

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 
cause." 

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 



2A 



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 
silent Sado-ko. 

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 
cried. 

Ohano stood in stiff amazement, staring 
across Masago's head at Sado-ko. The maid 
brought andons ; the room was now well 
lighted. 

" 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- 
ment. 

" I do not understand," he said dazedly, 
" Junzo — Masago — " He turned to them 
for enlightenment. 

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 
delusion." 

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 



MASAGO'S RETURN 



373 



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 
standing there. 

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 
imagine otherwise." 

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." 



CHAPTER XXVII 

A GRACIOUS PRINCESS AT LAST 




'^^^^■_ 



^^*<f^-^ 





CHAPTER XXVII 

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 
you please." 

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 
comes." 

There was silence for a moment, as the 
maid passed into the adjoining room and 
leaning from the casement looked toward 

379 



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 
cried. 

" 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 : — 

''Purely so." 

" 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 
deceit. 

"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 
me." 

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 
land." 

" 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 

They laughed. 

" 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 
the palace. 

" 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 
compassion. 

" 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 
the latter." 

"You have been faithful," said Masago, 
kindly. 

" Will, then, the illustrious one reward 
the faithful service of the most humble 
one r 

" What do you wish ? It is already 
granted," said Masago, generously, for she 
was happy. 

" Permission," said the woman, " to leave 
your service." 

Masago looked closely into her face. 

" You wish to serve again — * '■ 

She did not finish the sentence, nor did the 

2B 



386 DAUGHTERS OF NIJO 

woman. Their eyes met. Each understood 
the other. 

" 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 
nightingale.* " 

Natsu-no touched with her head the hem 
of Masago*s robe. 

" You are a gracious princess, ** she 
murmured. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 

"THE GODS KNEW BEST!" 



^/r^-^ 




)^^^^':Zji^ 



^ 



CHAPTER XXVIII 



" 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. 

389 



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- 
ness itself 

" 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 
motion. 

" 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 
groaned. 

" The gods have pity on us both ! " he 
said. 

"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 
it?" 

" But why may we not ? " 

" You are the Princess Sado-ko, and I — an 
artist-man." 

" 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 
said. 

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 
rights." 

" 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 
mistress." 

" You have left the Nijo service r " inquired 
Sado-ko, swiftly. 

" 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," 
he said. 

" 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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