By his wife, née Chia, he had a daughter, to whom the

By his wife, née Chia, he had a daughter, to whom the infant name of Tai Yü was given. She was, at this time, in her fifth year. Upon her the parents doated as

much as if she were a brilliant pearl in the palm of their hand. Seeing that she was endowed with natural gifts of intelligence and good looks, they also felt solicitous

to bestow upon her a certain knowledge of books, with no other purpose than that of satisfying, by this illusory way, their wishes of having a son to nurture and of

dispelling the anguish felt by them, on account of the desolation and void in their family circle (round their knees).

But to proceed. Yü-ts’un, while sojourning at an inn, was unexpectedly laid up with a violent chill. Finding on his recovery, that his funds were not sufficient to

pay his expenses, he was thinking of looking out for some house where he could find a resting place when he suddenly came across two friends acquainted with

the new Salt Commissioner. Knowing that this official was desirous to find a tutor to instruct his daughter, they lost no time in recommending Yü-ts’un, who moved into the Yamên.

His female pupil was youthful in years and delicate in physique, so that her lessons were irregular. Besides herself, there were only two waiting girls, who

remained in attendance during the hours of study, so that Yü-ts’un was spared considerable trouble and had a suitable opportunity to attend to the improvement of his health.

In a twinkle, another year and more slipped by, and when least expected, the mother of his ward, née Chia, was carried away after a short illness. His pupil

(during her mother’s sickness) was dutiful in her attendance, and prepared the medicines for her use. (And after her death,) she went into the deepest mourning

prescribed by the rites, and gave way to such excess of grief that, naturally delicate as she was, her old complaint, on this account, broke out anew.

Being unable for a considerable time to prosecute her studies,

Yü-ts’un lived at leisure and had no duties to attend to.

Whenever therefore the wind was genial and the sun mild,

he was wont to stroll at random,

after he had done with his meals.

Still more loathsome is a kind of pedantic and profligate

“Still more loathsome is a kind of pedantic and profligate literature, perfectly devoid of all natural sentiment,


full of self-contradictions; and, in fact, the contrast to those maidens in my work, whom I have, during half my lifetime,

seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. And though I will not presume to estimate them as superior to

the heroes and heroines in the works of former ages, yet the perusal of the motives and issues of their experiences,

may likewise afford matter sufficient to banish dulness, and to break the spell of melancholy.

“As regards the several stanzas of doggerel verse, they may too evoke such laughter as to compel the reader to blurt out the rice, and to spurt out the wine.

“In these pages, the scenes depicting the anguish of separation, the bliss of reunion, and the fortunes of prosperity

and of adversity are all, in every detail, true to human nature, and I have not taken upon myself to make the slightest addition,

or alteration, which might lead to the perversion of the truth.

“My only object has been that men may, after a drinking bout, or after they wake from sleep or when in need of relaxation

from the pressure of business, take up this light literature, and not only expunge the traces of antiquated books, and obtain

a new kind of distraction, but that they may also lay by a long life as well as energy and strength; for it bears no point of

similarity to those works, whose designs are false,

whose course is immoral. Now, Sir Priest, what are your views on the subject?”

K’ung K’ung having pondered for a while over the words, to which he had listened intently, re-perused, throughout, this record of

the stone; and finding that the general purport consisted of nought else than a treatise on love, and likewise of an accurate

transcription of facts, without the

least taint of profligacy injurious to the times,

he thereupon copied the contents,

from beginning to end, to the intent of

charging the world to hand them down as a strange story.