The same thing was repeated for several days in succession, and when the jailer asked for some explanation of these extraordinary proceedings, Keng gave him a detailed account of their wonderful deliverance by the fairies, the picking up of the monkey, and the rescue of Lo-yung, now the great mandarin, who was keeping him confined in prison.
She is also known as a clever business woman; at present she rules the state of Keng Kham during the minority of her son. She lost her jewels in the Hoogley on the road to Delhi Durbar, and thought that as nothing to put against the satisfaction of having "shaken hands with the King-Emperor's brother," the Duke of Connaught, the memory of whose graciousness is treasured by the Shans to-day.
Then asking a servant to fetch him a pencil, he wrote a couple of words on the palm of his hand. This done, he went on to inquire of Hsueeh. P'an: "Did you see correctly that it read Keng Huang?" "How could I not have seen correctly?" ejaculated Hsueeh P'an. Pao-yue thereupon unclenched his hand and allowed him to peruse, what was written in it.
As the boat was so small that we had hardly room to stow ourselves away when all my stores were on board, I only took one other man named Latchi, as pilot. He was a Papuan slave, a tall, strong black fellow, but very civil and careful. The boat I had hired from a Chinaman named Lau Keng Tong, for five guilders a month.
"Your reference to pictures," added Hsueeh P'an smiling, "reminds me of a book I saw yesterday, containing immodest drawings; they were, truly, beautifully done. On the front page there figured also a whole lot of characters. But I didn't carefully look at them; I simply noticed the name of the person, who had executed them. It was, in fact, something or other like Keng Huang.
"Were they possibly these two characters?" he remarked. "These are, in point of fact, not very dissimilar from what Keng Huang look like?" On scrutinising them, the company noticed the two words T'ang Yin, and they all laughed. "They must, we fancy, have been these two characters!" they cried. "Your eyes, Sir, may, there's no saying, have suddenly grown dim!" Hsueeh P'an felt utterly abashed.
Accidents are marvellously rare, considering the thousands of large, heavy, handsome keng boats that ply continually between the gulf and the capital, now lost in a sudden bend of the stream, now emerging from behind a screen of mangroves, and in their swift descent threatening quick destruction to the small and fragile market-boats, freighted with fish and poultry, fruit and vegetables.
The pictures were, actually, exceedingly good!" This allusion made Pao-yue exercise his mind with innumerable conjectures. "Of pictures drawn from past years to the present, I have," he said, "seen a good many, but I've never come across any Keng Huang." After considerable thought, he could not repress himself from bursting out laughing.
Weeks and months went by, but no news came from him, and the heart of Chung was wrung with anguish, for he knew that Lo-yung's unnatural conduct would in the end bring retribution upon Lo-yung himself. At last he determined to send his son, Keng, to the capital to find out what had really become of Lo-yung.
Wounded and bleeding from the severe scourging he had received, and in a terrible state of exhaustion, poor Keng was dragged to the prison, where he was thrown into the deepest dungeon, and left to recover as best he might from the shock he had sustained. His condition was indeed a pitiable one. Those who could have helped and comforted him were far away.