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.
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.
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.
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.
But the maid had withdrawn into the house.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... 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.
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.
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.
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.
The chief said that he was quite well.
“Ah, that is nice! And are you always sleeping well, honorable sir?”