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Madame Butterfly

Jan JoostenLoading... does not look forward to visiting Japan

3 minute read, episode 1 of 15.

H
is companion Melchior had counseled him on the voyage out — because he had ceaselessly bemoaned what he called their banishment to the Asiatic station — to wait until they arrived. He had never regarded service in Japanese waters as banishment, he said, and he had been out twice before.

Jan JoostenLoading... had just come from the Mediterranean.

“For lack of other amusement,” Melchior continued, with a laugh, “you might get yourself married and —”

Jan JoostenLoading... interrupted him with a savage snort.



To relieve boredom during his visit to Japan, Jan JoostenLoading... gets married

5 minute read, episode 2 of 15.

N
ot only did Jan JoostenLoading... get married, but he even provided himself with a home — creating his menage in quite his own way and entirely to his own satisfaction.

With the aid of a marriage-broker, he found both a wife and a house in which to keep her. The house he leased for nine hundred and ninety-nine years. Not, he explained to his wife later, that he could hope for the felicity of residing there with her for so long, but because, being a mere “barbarian,” he could not make other legal terms.



Jan JoostenLoading... does not get along with his in-laws

3 minute read, episode 3 of 15.

B
ut his wife’s family — the word has more significance there than in Europe — held a solemn conference, and, as the result of it, some of them waited upon Captain Jan JoostenLoading..., and, with elaborate politeness, intimated that his course had theretofore been quite unknown in Japan.

This was their oblique way of saying that it was unsatisfactory. They pointed out with patience and gravity that he would thus limit his wife’s opportunities of reappearing on earth in a higher form of life.

Jan JoostenLoading... smilingly remarked that he was not sure that it would be best for his wife to reappear on earth in a higher form. She would probably accomplish mischief enough in this very charming one as she was in fact doing.



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Jan JoostenLoading... leaves his wife, and she has his baby

5 minute read, episode 4 of 15.

A
nd after his departure, and the whimsical delight they had practiced together, she named the baby — when it came — “TroubleLoading....”

Every Japanese baby begins with a temporary name. It may be anything almost because it only has that name for a short time.

She was quite sure he would like how she had named him TroubleLoading... — meaning joy.

That was his own oblique way. As for his permanent name — he might have several others before — that was for Jan JoostenLoading... to decide when he returned.



Cho-Cho-SanLoading... worries if her husband will return

7 minute read, episode 5 of 15.

A
bird flew to the vine in the little porch.

“Ah, SuzukiLoading...!”

But the maid had withdrawn into the house. Cho-Cho-SanLoading... clapped her hands violently for her to return.

“Now why do you go away when” — her momentary anger fled, and she laughed — “when birds are flying to the wisteria?

“Go quickly, little maiden, and see if he is a robin, and if he has completed his nest — quickly!”

The maid returned and said that he was indeed a robin, but that he had no nest there yet.

“Oh, how slow he is! SuzukiLoading..., let us find another robin, one that is more industrious — and domestic, aha, ha, ha!”

“They are all alike,” the girl said, cynically.

“They are not! Admit that they are not!”



Cho-Cho-SanLoading... fantasizes about her husband’s festive return

7 minute read, episode 6 of 15.

I
f Jan JoostenLoading... had told her to go home, even though she had no home to go to, she would have been divorced without more ado. Perhaps she was logical (for she reasoned as he had taught her — she had never reasoned before) in considering that as he had distinctly told her not to do so, it was an additional surety that he would return.

Cho-Cho-SanLoading... again took up the happier side of the matter. The baby was asleep.

“And also, what do you think we had better be doing when he comes?”

She was less forcible now as she was less sure of herself. This required planning to get the utmost felicity out of it — something she always strove for.

“Me? — I think I — don’t know,” the maid confessed diplomatically.



A marriage broker visits Cho-Cho-SanLoading...

9 minute read, episode 7 of 15.

T
he baby continued to sleep. His looks did justify the praises of his mother. He was as good as a Japanese baby and as good-looking as a Dutch one.

Somebody was outside. There was a gentle and subdued clattering of clogs in the entrance.

“I beg your pardon.” It was a familiar, deprecatory voice, accompanied by the clapping of hands.

Cho-Cho-SanLoading... smiled wearily and called the maid.

“Oh, SuzukiLoading..., Goro the NakodoLoading... — he is outside. Shaka and all the gods defend us now!“

The two exchanged glances of amusement, and the maid proceeded to let him in.



The marriage broker brings around a suitor

8 minute read, episode 8 of 15.

T
he look-at meeting came about as planned.

There was a distinct air of state about Madame ButterflyLoading...’s house on that day. The baby and all the frivolities that attended him were in banishment.

The apartment had been enlarged by the rearrangement of the shoji.

At the head of it, statuesque in her most brilliant attire, sat Cho-Cho-SanLoading.... Japanese women are accomplished actresses, and looking in upon Cho-Cho-SanLoading... just at the moment of YamadoriLoading...’s arrival, one would not have recognized her. She was as unsmiling and emotionless, as the Dai-Butsu.

She enveloped him with the perfume of her garments.

The grave ceremonies attending the advent of a candidate for matrimony went forward with almost no recognition from Cho-Cho-SanLoading... until they had come to the point where they might seat themselves before her, to inspect and be inspected. Then she struck her fan against her palm, and SuzukiLoading... appeared and set the tobacobon between them.

YamadoriLoading... arrived in traditional Japanese attire.

He might not converse directly with Cho-Cho-SanLoading..., especially concerning the business at hand, but he was not prohibited from conferring with the NakodoLoading... about it in her presence.



Cho-Cho-SanLoading... visits the Dutch trading post

6 minute read, episode 9 of 15.

O
ne day she took her courage, and the maid’s too, for that matter, in both hands, and called upon the Dutch trading post in HiradoLoading.... There, she went to visit Jacques Specx, the chief of the trading post.

There was a west wind, and it was warm in HiradoLoading.... He was dozing.

When he woke, Madame ButterflyLoading... was bowing before him. At a little distance was the maid with the blond baby strapped to her back. He was unable to account for them immediately.

“Good night,” said Cho-Cho-SanLoading..., smiling amiably.

The chief glanced apprehensively about. “Night! It is not night, is it?”

They both discovered the error at the same moment.



Cho-Cho-SanLoading... talks to the chief of the Dutch trading post

8 minute read, episode 10 of 15.

Ah! How is your health? Also, I am sorry I woke you up, your excellency, and that I interrupted your sentence. That is not good for your health — to be woken up and interrupted like that. Therefore, I pray your honorable pardon. And — how is your health?”

The chief said that he was quite well.

“Ah, that is nice! And are you always sleeping well, honorable sir?”

He nodded.



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