But so apprehensive was Chia Lien lest something might occur to make the relatives change their ideas, that he also despatched a messenger to lay the affair before Wang Tzu-t'eng, who bade a few constables, coroners and other official servants come and help him to effect the necessary preparations for the funeral.

Reader, do you wish to know what follows? if you do, the next chapter will unfold it. By a strange coincidence, Chia Pao-yue becomes acquainted with the golden clasp. In an unexpected meeting, Hsueeh Pao-ch'ai sees the jade of spiritual perception.

As soon as Chia Yuen entered the court, he stamped his foot and shouted, "The monkeys are up to mischief! Here I am, I've come;" and when the company of servant-boys perceived him, they one and all promptly dispersed; while Chia Yuen walked into the library, and seating himself at once in a chair, he inquired, "Has your master Secundus, Mr. Pao, come down?"

Madame Wang thereupon placed them in dowager lady Chia's hands, and old lady Chia deposited them on the altar. Madame Hsing stood on the west-east side of the sacrificial altar, and along with old lady Chia, she offered the oblations and laid them in their proper places.

"What's the name of your young gentleman?" "As our old mistress treats him just like a real precious gem," the quartet explained, "and as his complexion is naturally so white, her ladyship calls him Pao-yue." "Here's another one with the name of Pao-yue!" old lady Chia laughingly said to Li Wan. Li Wan and her companions hastily made a curtsey.

"This," she said, "is the wife of your uncle, your mother's elder brother; this is the wife of your uncle, her second brother; and this is your eldest sister-in-law Chu, the wife of your senior cousin Chu." "Ask the young ladies in," dowager lady Chia went on to say; "tell them a guest from afar has just arrived, one who comes for the first time; and that they may not go to their lessons."

Old lady Chia laughed. "Yes," she said, "this vixen Feng has, in real truth, developed a meaner tongue than ever! But she alluded to crackers," she added, "so let's also let off a few fireworks so as to counteract the fumes of the wine." Chia Jung overheard the suggestion.

That as he failed to carry out his design, he gave her a thrashing, which so exasperated Chin Ch'uan-erh that she threw herself into the well and committed suicide...." Before however he could conclude his account, Chia Cheng had been incensed to such a degree that his face assumed the colour of silver paper. "Bring Pao-yue here," he cried. While uttering these orders, he walked into the study.

Li Wan and her companions went up to them with hasty step; but dowager lady Chia directed the servants to make them stop; explaining that it would be quite enough if they stood where they were. On her approach, old lady Chia smiled. "I've given," she observed, "your Madame Wang and that girl Feng the slip and come. What deep snow covers the ground!

After breakfast, her grandmother Chia again pressed Hsi Ch'un. "You should go on," she said, "with your painting, irrespective of cold or heat. If you can't absolutely finish it by the end of the year, it won't much matter!