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The Dragon Painter   By:

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Author of "Truth Dexter," "The Breath of the Gods," "Out of the Nest: A Flight of Verses," etc.

Illustrated by Gertrude McDaniel

[Frontispiece: "Another step, and she was in the room."]

Boston Little, Brown, and Company 1906

Copyright, 1905, By P. F. Collier & Son.

Copyright, 1906, By Little, Brown, and Company. All rights reserved

Published October, 1906

The story of "The Dragon Painter," in a shorter form, was originally published in "Collier's." It has since been practically rewritten.




"Another step, and she was in the room" . . . Frontispiece

"With the soft tuft of camel hair he blurred against the peak pale, luminous vapor of new cloud

"He walked up and down, sometimes in the narrow room, sometimes in the garden"

"'Come, Dragon Wife,' he said, 'come back to our little home'"

"Umè ko leaned over instantly, staring down into the stream"

"Then a little hand, stealing from a nun's gray sleeve, slipped into his"



The old folks call it Yeddo. To the young, "Tokyo" has a pleasant, modern sound, and comes glibly. But whether young or old, those whose home it is know that the great flat city, troubled with green hills, cleft by a shining river, and veined in living canals, is the central spot of all the world.

Storms visit Tokyo, with fury often, sometimes with destruction. Earthquakes cow it; snow falls upon its temple roofs, swings in wet, dazzling masses from the bamboo plumes, or balances in white strata along green black pine branches. The summer sun scorches the face of Yeddo, and summer rain comes down in wide bands of light. With evening the mist creeps up, thrown over it like a covering, casting a spell of silence through which the yellow lanterns of the hurrying jinrikishas dance an elfish dance, and the voices of the singing girls pierce like fine blades of sound.

But to know the full charm of the great city, one must wake with it at some rebirth of dawn. This hour gives to the imaginative in every land a thrill, a yearning, and a pang of visual regeneration. In no place is this wonder more deeply touched with mystery than in modern Tokyo.

Far off to the east the Sumida River lies in sleep. Beyond it, temple roofs black keels of sunken vessels cut a sky still powdered thick with stars. Nothing moves, and yet a something changes! The darkness shivers as to a cold touch. A pallid haze breathes wanly on the surface of the impassive sky. The gold deepens swiftly and turns to a faint rose flush. The stars scamper away like mice.

Across the moor of gray house eaves the mist wavers. Day troubles it. A pink light rises to the zenith, and the mist shifts and slips away in layers, pink and gold and white. Now far beyond the grayness, to the west, the cone of Fuji flashes into splendor. It, too, is pink. Its shape is of a lotos bud, and the long fissures that plough a mountain side are now but delicate gold veining on a petal. Slowly it seems to open. It is the chalice of a new day, the signal and the pledge of consecration. Husky crows awake in the pine trees, and doves under the temple eaves. The east is red beyond the river, and the round, red sun, insignia of this land, soars up like a cry of triumph.

On the glittering road of the Sumida, loaded barges, covered for the night with huge squares of fringed straw mats, begin to nod and preen themselves like a covey of gigantic river birds. Sounds of prayer and of silver matin bells come from the temples, where priest and acolyte greet the Lord Buddha of a new day. From tiny chimneyless kitchens of a thousand homes thin blue feathers of smoke make slow upward progress, to be lost in the last echoes of the vanishing mist. Sparrows begin to chirp, first one, then ten, then thousands. Their voices have the clash and chime of a myriad small triangles.

The wooden outer panels (amado) of countless dwellings are thrust noisily aside and stacked into a shallow closet... Continue reading book >>

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