It was about the hour before dawn when Heng-cho appeared, bearing across his back a well-filled sack and carrying in his right hand a spade. His steps were turned towards the fig orchard of which Yan had spoken, so that he must pass Chou-hu's house, but before he reached it Tsae-che had glided out and with loosened hair and trailing robes she sped along the street.

With this assurance Chou-hu seized one of his most formidable business weapons and caused it to revolve around his head with great rapidity, but at the same time with extreme carefulness. "There is a ready saying: 'The new-born lamb does not fear a tiger, but before he becomes a sheep he will flee from a wolf," said Tsae-che without in any way deeming it necessary to arrest Chou-hu's hand.

He next altered the binding of his hair a little, cut his lips deeply for a set purpose, and then reposing upon the couch of the inner chamber he took up one of Chou-hu's pipes and awaited Tsae-che's return. "It is unendurable that they of the silk market should be so ill-equipped," remarked Tsae-che discontentedly as she entered.

Then Yan, who had an unfaltering grasp upon the necessities of each passing second, sprang agilely forward, swung the staff, and brought it so proficiently down upon Chou-hu's lowered head that the barber dropped lifeless to the ground and the weapon itself was shattered by the blow.

Thereupon Yan drew up such a document as he had described, signing it with Chou-hu's name and sealing it with his ring, while Tsae-che also added her sign and attestation. He then sent her to lurk upon the roof, strictly commanding her to keep an undeviating watch upon Heng-cho's movements.

Nevertheless an impression had thus been formed in Chou-hu's mind and the woman forbore to correct it, thinking that it would be scarcely polite to assert herself better informed on any subject than he was, especially as he had spoken of Yan thereby receiving a higher wage. Yan himself would certainly have revealed something had he not been otherwise employed.