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daughter of a priest is not a likely candi- her eyes and she felt hot blushes grow
was stopped and besieged by the ques-
and one of them even put sugar in his Two great braziers had been filled with tea. They handled their chopsticks so glowing charcoal. The foreigners, and awkwardly that it was marvelous that the outer-world Japanese who could they did not spill the rice grains on the speak their strange words, were busily matting. At last, the three feasters fincooking the fowls, chopped into dice, ished the mighty meal and stretched out and they were arguing about their re on the cushions to smoke in deep conspective talents, as do all amateur cooks. tentment. She doubted whether they Perhaps she could now look up for an had even noticed that her superior instant unobserved. No, a glance met kimono was not such as the maid of an
inn would possess. After the feast, her plunged its hands into the
which quick feet, in spotless white tabi, carried had been filled from the rice taxes, the away the bowls and little tables. Then
return journey to the provincial castles she sat down by the door to await any was often quite a different story. No clapping of hands.
rare occurrence was it for some haughty The host came in and bent his fore samurai to declare in the morning that head to the floor. He had himself ar he could not pay his inn bill, however ranged the flowers, in an old iron vase, modest it might be. Pledges would be to stand in the
left, and upon one takemona corner.
occasion a certain We tried to ex
warrior had been press our appre
forced to leave the ciation for the
first mistress of flowers and our
his heart his admiration of the
sword. And once,
went on the old We asked him
man, a noble, how old the inn
upon leaving the was. It had been
door, had caused his father's and
a vase to be unhis grandfather's.
wrapped from its Yes, in those days
encasements of the Nakescendo
one silken bag afhad rivaled the
ter another, and Takaido, and
had given it to the yearly, on the
inn. The donor hastening to Yedo
had written a to give obeisance
a poem of dedicato the shogun, the
tion with his own great nobles of the
hand. northwest prov
was shaped like a inces, with their
bottle, and the inn armed retainers,
had been called had had to pass
"The Bottle through Narii.
Inn” from that This now forgot
day, seventy ten inn had then
years in the past. been famous. Our
Our host, a youth HORI IN THE GARDEN OF THE BOTTLE INN room, which over
then, had thought hung the river, he
that the inn would repeated, had been only given to the ever be rich and renowned. He sighed. daimios. The samurai had crowded the The tradition of its renown had faded and other rooms. The inn had boasted a been forgotten in this age of railways. No score, twoscore, of trained and pretty longer did turbulent guests demand that ne-sans to wait
upon those fiery warriors. the bottle be brought out and shown. The modern geisha, be it said, by the If his dramatic genius had been subtly way, in many of her accomplishments, is leading us toward turbulence, we obeyed daughter to the inn maidens of feudal the pulling of the strings. We demanded days, who sang and danced and played to know whether the vase was still under musical instruments in addition to pos his roof. Our host smiled. The sacred sessing the graces of more domestic vase was hidden safely. Would we like duties. The inn had then rung with
to see it? shouting and laughter, and sometimes He returned, carrying an old wooden the dawn of the morning start of the box. The great-granddaughter dragged cavalcade found the retainers still sit the unredeemed sword after her. The ting around the feast.
well-worn scabbard was of mediocre, After the great city of Yedo had conventional design, but the blade had
been forged by one of the famous sword- giveness. But, because temptation and makers. Hori read the sword's origin conscience can generally be argued from the characters graved in the steel. around to our satisfaction, the gods have The old man slowly slipped it back into ironically added impulse as the third the scabbard, leaving us to ponder what part of us. It must have been some such might have been the tragic fate of the impulse which was the irrational lever ronin that he had never returned for his which moved us to action. We soared pledge.
to the heights. It was a superior endurNo casket of precious
ance to any fight that metal can be so allur
it is likely either of us ingly suggestive of
will ever attempt again. trove as the simple, un
Truly, such virtue is painted, pine boxes into
more regretted than which the Japanese put
gloried in. We did not their treasures.
take the bottle with us. ven cord clasped down
The bottle still functhe lid of the box of the
tions in its environbottle. The untying of
ment, in harmony with it began the breathless
its tradition. Taken ceremony. When the
away, it could be only a lid was lifted we saw
superior vase with a histhe first silken wrap
tory, an object of art. ping, then came
In that old inn it is a other, and another, and
living part, an inspiraanother. Some were of
tion. In the forgotten brocade, some were of
village of Narii no numfaded plain color, red,
bered museum tag blue, or rose. Finally
hangs around its neck. the drawing-string of
The bottle dropped the last bag was pulled
back into the brocade open and the old man
bag lined with faded lifted out the bottle. It
crimson silk. Then the was of yellow pottery,
other wrappings, one by with thick brown
one, muffled it. It went glaze overruning the
into the box; the lid sides. The mouth of the
was fitted into place vase was capped by a
and the cord was tied. bronze-and-silver band,
Do we gain strength carved with an irregular motif. The from resisting such temptation? The trustee of the possession allowed us to writers of the Holy Church of the Midpass it from hand to hand.
dle Ages said so. By refusing that bottle What was one of our reasons for being I merely gained exhaustion. This moin Narii at that very moment? It was ment I am stifled by the dust of the that our eyes were prying for those rarer ashes of that murdered passion. My treasures in Japan which may
conscience replies with no comforting retimes gleaned “away from the beaten sponse. It has lost the vitality of recoil, track." Unaccountable chance had led and thus, if ever such time may come, I us to the inn. The old man was hope- may yet glory in a greater vandalism, lessly beaten in his contest with poverty. some supreme Hunnish act, and there I knew that he did not wish to sell, but will be no rasping regret. if there should be the jingling of a few The breezes up among
snows of yen-was it likely that he could refuse? the mountains came down into the valOur eyes were gleaming with desire. ley for the night. Wherever they were Surely, even if it were a venal sin to take going, they seemed to be quite undeaway the bottle from The Bottle Inn, termined as to their path. They blew the very greatness of the temptation from every side and into every corner of would have brought its own special for the room by turn. Little by little, to
escape the draughts, we had kept push Kenjiro laughed at me. “It's nomiing along the wooden shutters until we yoke,” he said. “Insect powder—what were at length completely walled in. do you say in America? Bug medicine?" It was not possible to imagine that a few I insisted that I had not seen the sign miles away, down on the rice-plains, the of anything looking like a marauder. millions were nudely stilling, while we “Of course not!" Hori stopped me as were going to bed to get warm. The if I should have known better. "It's just daughter of the priest had been dragging courtesy to honored guests, to show you layers of bedding as far as the door, and that they would wish to protect you, when we clapped our hands she had in if there were any. If there were crawlnumerable mattresses for each of us. ers," he concluded, with some scorn, There seemed to be nothing left to do "do you suppose that they'd make such but to blow out the lights and cry, an effort to call attention to the fact?” “O yasuma nasai!” to the retreating pat That bushido explanation satisfied ter of her footsteps.
Hori, but I was doubtful. For the sake "What's the midget granddaughter of verification I carefully destroyed the waiting for?” I asked Hori.
integrity of the rampart around my bed "She wants you to go to bed,” said by opening up passages through the he from under his quilt.
powder. I was willing to display a few I jumped into the soft center of my
bites in the morning to prove the truth. mattresses as requested. Then the but I went to sleep dreaming about twoterfly dropped on her knees and crept sworded samurai who looked like pinchbackward around our beds. Out of a bugs, and they were swaggering around box she was pouring a train of powder a wall of insect powder. However, the until she had us each inclosed in a magic morning proved that Hori was quite circle.
The delicate attention had “Why?" I demanded.
been born of pure courtesy.
VOL. CXXXVI.—No. 813.-52
BY HELEN MACKAY
CAME out from a I waited, not wanting to say too doorway in the Boule- much, and not wanting to leave him. vard de Strasbourg,
After a minute he picked up his arms just before the Gare de from along the back of the bench, drew l'Est. It was one of in his legs and leaned forward, with his
those terribly hot days elbows on his knees and his face in his We that came early this hands. Then I sat down on the bench year toward the end of May. The shade beside him. of the chestnut-trees was grateful in the “Please, tell me, where is your home? crowded, dusty boulevard.
Is it in the High Provence?" On a bench, just there in the shade, “Yes," he said, "in the mountains. a soldier was lounging uncomfortably in
Between Barrême and Senez-at Ourjas, his hot, long infantry coat, that had once been blue, his heavy, dusty boots thrust out in front of him, his. arms I could see and feel that country, sprawled along the back of the bench,
ancient and very strange, all the color his head sunk forward from down be of wild beasts. The wide, bare, stony tween his hunched shoulders. He had beds of rivers, and the great bare sweeps taken off his battered helmet, and it lay of mountain-sides are the color of lions' with his knapsack and rolled blanket on shoulders. The yellow-grays of wild the ground at his feet. His hair was thyme and lavender and olive are tawny quite gray. He seemed so forlorn and and warm, the color of lions' breasts
. alone that I spoke to him.
Only the cypresses are black, long, “Something wrong?”
straight markings, like the stripes in the He looked up; his face was sunburnt
as sunburnt skins of tigers. All the little, poor, stone to the color of yellow leather. He had houses and the ruins of watch-towers a rough, small, gray beard, and black and castles are of tawny, live, wild coleyes under rough gray eyebrows. ors, like the rocks and the rare patches “What would you?” he said.
of corn and vine. Tawny oxen drag the I thought I recognized the accent. I plow or stand with the cart in the vinelooked at his knapsack and things and yard. The sheep and the sheep-dogs are said, “You are come on leave?” tawny together under the olives.
He jerked his head back toward the There is a certain little tawny house, station and said, “I arrived an hour ago. square, with three cypress-trees beside
“But," I said, “leave is not meant for it, set back, up a rough path from the sitting drearily alone; it is for family road, among olives and vines. The and friends and things to do."
sheep were going home to it in one twiHe said again: "What would you? light when I passed, quite a large flock, I am not of Paris; I have no one here managed by a very busy dog. There and nothing to do.”
were two or three lambs with the flock. “You are just waiting between The shepherd was a very small boy. He trains," I asked, “on your way home?" was carrying one of the lambs over his
He said, "It is of no use going home.” shoulder, its feeble little legs crossed “But your people. Have you no peo under his chin, its long little face nod
ding beside his little brown round face. “Oh yes, my wife and the little boys.” He was toiling up the steep path labori“And
ously, for he was so small that even the “No use.” He was staring straight in tiny autumn lamb was heavy for him. front of him.
It was September, the grape-vines