The family of Feng Tzu-ying had, it must be explained, come to learn the news that the inmates of the Chia mansion were offering a thanksgiving service in the temple, and, without loss of time, they got together presents of pigs, sheep, candles, tea and eatables and sent them over. The moment lady Feng heard about it she hastily crossed to the main part of the two-storied building.
Hsueeh P'an, Pao-yue and the other young fellows would on no account listen to his excuses. They pulled him vigorously about and would not let him go. "This is, indeed, strange!" laughed Feng Tzu-ying. "When have you and I had, during all these years, to have recourse to such proceedings! I really am unable to comply with your wishes.
But if you do insist upon making me have a drink, well, then bring a large cup and I'll take two cups full and finish." After this rejoinder, the party could not but give in. Hsueeh P'an took hold of the kettle, while Pao-yue grasped the cup, and they poured two large cups full. Feng Tzu-ying stood up and quaffed them with one draught.
Yu reiterated how that some time ago a doctor had also expressed the opinion that she was ailing for a happy event, but that the previous day, had come a doctor, recommended by Feng Tzu-ying a doctor, who had from his youth up made medicine his study, and was very proficient in the treatment of diseases, who asserted, after he had seen her, that it was no felicitous ailment, but that it was some grave complaint.
He reached Feng Tzu-ying's doorway by a short cut. A servant announced his arrival, and Feng Tzu-ying came out and ushered him in. Here he discovered Hsueeh P'an, who had already been waiting a long time, and several singing-boys besides; as well as Chiang Yue-han, who played female roles, and Yuen Erh, a courtesan in the Chin Hsiang court. The whole company exchanged salutations.
And it was only Feng Tzu-ying, who made his appearance on the scene, who succeeded in dissuading him. So resuming their seats, they drank until dark, when the company broke up. Pao-yue, on his return into the garden, loosened his clothes, and had tea. But Hsi Jen noticed that the pendant had disappeared from his fan and she inquired of him what had become of it.
I was about to tell you that a short while back, Feng Tzu-ying came to see me, and, perceiving that I had somewhat of a worried look, he asked me what was up; and I told him that our son's wife was not well at all, that as we couldn't get any good doctor, we couldn't determine with any certainty, whether she was in an interesting condition, or whether she was suffering from some disease; that as we could neither tell whether there was any danger or not, my heart was, for this reason, really very much distressed.
"But do, after all," urged Pao-yue, "finish this thing about a piece of good fortune in the midst of misfortune before you go." "To tell you this to-day," smiled Feng Tzu-ying, "will be no great fun. But for this purpose I intend standing a special entertainment, and inviting you all to come and have a long chat; and, in the second place, I've also got a favour to ask of you."
"Come along," they one and all proposed, "and join the banquet; you can then quietly recount to us all your experiences." At this suggestion Feng Tzu-ying there and then rose to his feet. "According to etiquette," he said. "I should join you in drinking a few cups; but to-day I have still a very urgent matter to see my father about on my return so that I truly cannot accept your invitation."
Feng Tzu-ying then explained that he knew a young doctor who had made a study of his profession, Chang by surname, and Yu-shih by name, whose learning was profound to a degree; who was besides most proficient in the principles of medicine, and had the knack of discriminating whether a patient would live or die; that this year he had come to the capital to purchase an official rank for his son, and that he was now living with him in his house.