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Eastern Shame Girl   By: (1878-1955)

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[Transcriber's Note: This book was published as Chinese Love Tales in 1935 (translated from the original of George Souile De Morant a variation in the spelling of the middle name) with numerous illustrations by Valenti Angelo. It was attacked and acquitted in the courts, winning judicial recognition of its exceptional literary merit.]

EASTERN SHAME GIRL

Translated from the French of GEORGE SOULIE DEMORANT

Illustrations by MARCEL AVOND

New York Privately Printed 1929

CONTENTS

EASTERN SHAME GIRL

THE WEDDING OF YA NEI

A STRANGE DESTINY

THE ERROR OF THE EMBROIDERED SLIPPER

THE COUNTERFEIT OLD WOMAN

THE MONASTERY OF THE ESTEEMED LOTUS

A COMPLICATED MARRIAGE

Note: The original source of the stories appearing in "Eastern Shame Girl" is the classic literature of China in the 17th Century.

EASTERN SHAME GIRL

When there is a great peace Under the gold cup of the sun Joy reaches its flowering.

In the twentieth year of the period Wan li, there came, among the thousands of students who gathered at Peking for the examinations, a certain Li, whose first name was Chia and his surname Ch'ien hsi, or "Purified a thousand times." His family were from Shao hsing fu in Chekiang; his father was Judge of the province of Kang su; and Li himself was the eldest of three brothers. He had studied in the village school from childhood and, not having yet attained to literary rank, had come, according to custom, to present himself for examination at Peking. While in that city, he consorted, before his springtide, with the young libertines, the "willow twigs" of his country; and, in order to gain experience, frequented the theatres and music halls. Thus he became acquainted with a famous singing girl called Tu, whose first name was Mei, or "Elegance." As she was the tenth of her family, she was known at the theatre as Shih niang, "The Tenth daughter." A delicate seduction diffused from her: her body was all grace and perfume. The twin arches of her brows held the black which is blue of distant mountains, and her eyes were as deep and bright as autumn lakes. Her face had the glory of the lotus, and her lips the glory of cherries. By what blunder of the gods had this piece of flawless jade fallen in the windy dust, among the flowers beneath the willow? When she was thirteen years old, Shih niang had already "broken her claws." Now she was nineteen, and it would not be possible to enumerate the young Lords and Princes whose hearts she had besotted, whose thoughts she had set in a turmoil, whose family treasures she had swallowed without compunction. In the theatres, they had composed an epigram about her:

When Tu Shih niang comes to a banquet The guests drink a thousand great cups Instead of a single small one. When Tu Mei appears upon the stage The actresses look like devils.

It must be said that never, in the young passions of his life, had Li Chia experienced the pain of beauty; but, when he saw Shih niang, emotion was awakened in him, and the feelings of a flowering willow filled his breast. He himself was gifted with rare beauty, and a sweet and gentle nature. He spent his money recklessly, with an unbridled zeal for bestowing gifts. For this reason he held a double attraction for Shih niang, who considered that falsehood and avarice were opposed to rectitude, and had also by this time made up her mind to return to a life of honor. She appreciated Li Chia's gentleness and generosity, and was drawn toward him. But he was afraid of his father and did not dare to marry her at once, as she wished. Their love was not, on that account, any the less tender. In the joys of dawn and the pleasures of twilight they kept together as do husband and wife, and in their vows they compared their love with the Ocean or with the Mountain, recognizing no other vital motive. In truth:

Their tenderness was deeper than the sea For it was past sounding, Their love was as the mountains But even higher... Continue reading book >>




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