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Title: Bakemono Yashiki (The Haunted House), Retold from the Japanese Originals - Tales of the Tokugawa, Volume 2
Author: De Benneville, James S. (James Seguin)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bakemono Yashiki (The Haunted House), Retold from the Japanese Originals - Tales of the Tokugawa, Volume 2" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



       *       *       *       *       *

  +------------------------------------------------------------+
  | TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES                                        |
  |                                                            |
  | Accents and diacritical marks have generally been          |
  | standardised. Where there is a single instance of a word   |
  | with an accent, and one without, no change has been made   |
  | to the original (e.g. Shigenari/Shigénari, Uesugi/Uésugi). |
  |                                                            |
  | The letter o with a macron is represented as o[u].         |
  | The letter u with a macron is represented as u[u].         |
  | The letter e with a macron is represented as e[e].         |
  |                                                            |
  | Kanji and hiragana characters in the original book are     |
  | shown enclosed in square brackets: for example, [sara].    |
  |                                                            |
  | The italicisation of Japanese words has been standardised. |
  |                                                            |
  | Hyphenation and capitalisation has been standardised.      |
  |                                                            |
  | Punctuation and obvious printer's errors have been         |
  | corrected. For a complete list, please see the bottom      |
  | of this document.                                          |
  |                                                            |
  +------------------------------------------------------------+

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: EDO WAN (TOKYO BAY)]



LEGEND.


The outline of the map is that found in Volume I. of the Edo Sunago,
published Keio 2nd year (1866). The detail of district maps found in the
book is worked in, together with that from the sectional map of Edo
published Ansei 4th year (1857), and from the Go Edo Zusetsu Shu[u]ran
published Kaei 6th year (1853). The map therefore shows in rough outline
the state of the city just before the removal of the capital from
Kyo[u]to; the distribution of the castes.

The Pre-Tokugawa villages (Eiroku: 1558-1569) indicated on the map found
in the "Shu[u]ran" are:--

North and South Shinagawa: Meguro-Motomura: Gin-Mitamura: Mitamura:
O[u]nemura: Upper and Lower Shibuya: Harajuku-mura: Kokubunji: Azabu:
Kawaza Ichi: O[u]zawa-mura: Imai-mura: Sendagaya: Yamanaka-mura:
Ichigaya: Ushigome: Kobiko-mura: Upper and Lower Hirakawa-mura: Ochiya:
Sekihon: Ikebukuroya: Tomizaka-mura: Ishibukero-mura: Tanibaragaike:
Neruma-mura: Okurikyo[u]: Nakarai-mura: Koishikawa: Zoshigayatsu:
O[u]ji: Shimura: Takinogawa: Kinsoboku-mura: Harajuku-mura (II.):
Komegome-mura: Taninaka-mura: Shimbori-mura: Mikawajima-mura:
Ashigahara-mura: Haratsuka: Ishihama-mura: Senju[u]-mura: Suda-mura:
Sumidagawa: Yanagijima: Jujo[u]-mura: Itabashi: Sugamo-mura: Arakawa
(river): Kandagawa pool (_ike_): Kanda-mura: Shibasaki-mura:
Shin-Horima-mura: Yushima-mura: Shitaya-mura: Torigoe-mura:
Shirosawa-mura: Asakusa-mura: Harai-mura: Some-Ushigome: Ishiwara:
Kinoshitagawa: Ubagaike (pool): Negishi-mura: Kinsoki-mura: Kameido-mura
(near Ueno): Shinobazu-ike (pool).

  From South to North circling by the West.
    Shinagawa: Mita-mura: Takanawa:
      Near Imai-mura is a Myo[u]jin shrine, close by the
        mouth of the present Akabane river.

Ikura: Hibiya: Tsukiji: Tsukuda: Tame-ike (pool): Tsukuda Myo[u]jin:
Ota's castle: Sanke-in: Hirakawa-mura: Sakurada-mura: Honju[u]-mura:
O[u]tamage-ike: Kametaka-mura. To the East.

77 villages, total.

Pronounce as in Italian, giving vowels full value: ch- as in "church."

[NIROKUDO[U] ISSUES]

TALES OF THE TOKUGAWA II

BAKÉMONO YASHIKI

(THE HAUNTED HOUSE)



RETOLD FROM THE JAPANESE ORIGINALS

BY

JAMES S. DE BENNEVILLE


    "Woman's greatest need,
     The base of all governance,
     Is governance; Seldom found,
     And rarely applied."--_Seishin_

YOKOHAMA

1921



PREFACE


In 1590 A.D. the Ho[u]jo[u] were overthrown at Odawara by the Taiko[u]
Hidéyoshi, and the provinces once under their sway were intrusted to his
second in command, Tokugawa Iyeyasu. This latter, on removing to the
castle of Chiyoda near Edo, at first paid main attention to
strengthening his position in the military sense. From his fief in
To[u]to[u]mi and Suruga he had brought with him a band of noted
captains, devoted to his service through years of hardest warfare. He
placed them around his castle ward, from East to South in a great
sweeping arc of detached fortresses, extending from Shimo[u]sa province
to that of Sagami. Koga was the chief stronghold on the North, against
what was left of the Uésugi power. The most devoted of his captains,
Honda Tadakatsu, was established at Kawagoé. Odawara, under an O[u]kubo,
as always, blocked the way from the Hakoné and Ashigara passes. In the
hands of Iyeyasu and his captains, the formidable garrison here
established was not likely to offer opportunity of a second "Odawara
conference," during which dalliance with compromise and surrender would
bring sudden attack and disaster. At this period there is no sign that
in his personal service Prince Iyeyasu made changes from the system
common to the great military Houses of the time. The castle ward and
attendance always were divided up among the immediate vassals of the
lord. The basis was strictly military, not domestic. Even the beautiful
_kami-shimo_ (X), or butterfly hempen cloth garb of ceremonial
attendance was an obvious reminder of the armour worn in the field.

Great statesman and warrior that he was, the Taiko[u] Hidéyoshi must
have realised the difficulties confronting his House. The formidable
power he had created in the North was no small part of them. On several
occasions he sought a quarrel with Iyeyasu; sought to humiliate him in
small ways, to lower his prestige and provoke an outbreak. Such was the
trifling incident of the lavish donation required of Iyeyasu to the
Hachiman shrine at Kamakura. But Hidéyoshi, as with Elizabeth of
England, looked rather to the balance of cost against result, always
with possibility of failure in view. When he died in 1598, and left
Tokugawa Iyeyasu practically regent of the land, his expectation can be
judged to be, either that the loyal members of the council of regency
would at least balance the Tokugawa power for their own sakes, or that
the majority of his son Hidéyori, then a mere infant, would witness no
question of supremacy. In the one event the glory and prestige of his
House would stand. In the second case the safety of his posterity would
be assured. With his experience, and belief in the over-riding power of
Nobunaga and himself, the first was as likely to happen as the second;
and the influence of the Toyotomi House was the means necessary to
insure to Iyeyasu the position already secured, against the jealousy of
the other lords. Time showed that he granted a perspicuity and energy to
the members of his council which Iyeyasu alone possessed.

With Sekigahara (1600) the situation was definitely changed. In 1603
Iyeyasu was made Sho[u]gun, and the first steps were to organize the
Eastern capital at Edo on an Imperial scale. The modest proportions of
the Chiyoda castle of Ho[u]jo[u] times--the present inner keep--had
already grown to the outer moat. Around these precincts were thrown the
vassals of the Sho[u]gun. The distribution at first was without much
method, beyond the establishment of greater lords in close proximity to
the person of the Sho[u]gun. This feature was accentuated in the time of
the third Sho[u]gun Iyemitsu. Immediately allied Houses and vassals
occupied the castle ward between the inner and outer moats, from the
Hitotsubashi gate on the North, sweeping East and South to the Hanzo[u]
gate on the West. The Nishimaru, or western inclosure of the castle,
faced this Hanzo[u] Gomon. From this gate to a line drawn diagonally
north eastward from the Kanda-bashi Gomon to the Sujikae Gomon, the
section of the circle was devoted to the _yashiki_ (mansions) of the
_hatamoto_ or minor lords in immediate vassalage of the Sho[u]gun's
service. Kanda, Bancho[u], Ko[u]jimachi (within the outer moat), the
larger parts of Asakusa, Shitaya, Hongo[u], Koishikawa, Ushigomé
(Ichigaya), Yotsuya, Akasaka, Azabu, and Shiba, were occupied by
_yashiki_ of _hatamoto_ and _daimyo[u]_--with an ample proportion of
temple land. It would seem that there was little left for commercial
Edo. Such was the case. The scattered towns of Kanda, Tayasu,
Ko[u]jicho[u], several score of villages on the city outskirts, are
found in this quarter. The townsmen's houses were crowded into the made
ground between the outer moat of the castle and the _yashiki_ which
lined the Sumida River between Shiba and the Edogawa. In 1624 the
reclaimed ground extended almost to the present line of the river. The
deepening of the beds of the Kanda and Edo Rivers had drained the
marshes. The use of the waters of the Kandagawa for the castle moat had
made dry land of the large marsh just to the south of the present Ueno
district. Thus Hongo[u], in its more particular sense, became a building
site.

With elaboration of the outer defences went elaboration of the immediate
service on the Sho[u]gun. There was no sudden change. The military forms
of the camp stiffened into the etiquette of the palace. The
_Sho[u]inban_ or service of the audience chamber, the _Ko[u]sho[u]gumi_
or immediate attendants, these were the most closely attached to the
Sho[u]gun's person. To be added to these are the O[u]bangumi or palace
guard, the _Kojuningumi_ and the Kachigumi which preceded and surrounded
the prince on his outside appearances. These "sections" formed the Go
Banshu[u], the _honoured_ bodyguard. In the time of Iyemitsu a sixth
_kumi_ or section was formed, to organize the service of the women
attendants of the palace, of the _oku_ or private apartments in
distinction from the _omoté_ or public (men's) apartments, to which the
Go Banshu[u] were attached. Given the name of _Shinban_ (New) this
_kumi_ was annexed to the Banshu[u]. This aroused instant protest. The
then lords of the Go Ban inherited their position through the merits of
men who had fought on the bloody fields of war. Now "luck, not service,"
was to be the condition of deserving. The protest was made in form, and
regarded. Iyemitsu gave order that the Shinbangumi retain its name, but
without connection with the Banshu[u].

At this point the confusion of terms is to be explained. All through the
rule of the first three Sho[u]gun a gradual sifting had been taking
place. Into Edo were crowding the _daimyo[u]_ who sought proximity to
the great man of the land. Then came the order of compulsory residence,
issued by Iyemitsu himself; seconded by the mighty lords of Sendai and
Satsuma, who laid hands on sword hilts, and made formal statement that
he who balked nourished a treacherous heart. The support of one of them
was at least unexpected. The acquiescence of both cut off all
opposition. Most of the ground now within the outer moat was devoted to
the greater lords in immediate service on the Tokugawa House. The
_hatamoto_ were removed to the outer sites in Koishikawa, Ushigomé,
Yotsuya; to the Bancho[u], the only closer ward they retained; or across
the river to Honjo[u] and Fukagawa. Those in immediate service were
placed nearest to the palace. From the beginning the favoured residence
site had been just outside the Hanzo[u] and Tayasu Gomon, across the
inner moat from the palace. Hence the district got the name of
Bancho[u]. _Go Ban_ ([go ban]) in popular usage was confused with ([go
ban])--"five" instead of "honoured." In course of time the constant
removals to this district made it so crowded, its ways so intricate,
that one who lived in the Bancho[u] (Ban ward) was not expected to know
the locality; a wide departure from the original checker board design on
which it had been laid out, and hence the characters [bancho[u]]
(Bancho[u]) used at one time. This, however, was when Edo had expanded
from its original 808 _cho[u]_ (20200 acres) to 2350 _cho[u]_ (58750
acres). The original Bancho[u] included all the ground of Iidamachi, and
extended to the Ko[u]jimachi road. Ko[u]jimachi (the _mura_ or village)
was then in the Bancho[u], and known as _samurai ko[u]jimachi_
[ko[u]jimachi] (by-way), not the present [ko[u]ji] (yeast). In the time
of the third Sho[u]gun the Bancho[u] was as yet a lonely place--to the
west of the city and on its outskirts. The filling in process, under the
Government pressure for ground, was just under way. Daimyo[u]-ko[u]ji,
between the inner and outer moats, through the heart of which runs the
railway spur from Shimbashi to To[u]kyo[u] station, was being created
by elimination of the minor lords. At the close of Kwanei (1624 A.D.)
all the Daimyo[u]-koji was very solid ground; an achievement of no
little note when the distance from the Sumidagawa is considered. At
Iyeyasu's advent to Edo the shore line ran close to the inner moat of
the castle. The monastery of Zo[u]jo[u]ji then situated close to the
site of the present Watagaru gate, was converted by him into the great
establishment at Shiba; and placed as close to the waters of the bay as
the present Seikenji of Okitsu in Suruga--its fore-bear in the material
and ecclesiastical sense.

The same rapid development of the town took place on the eastern side of
the river. Honjo[u] and Fukagawa became covered by the _yashiki_ sites,
interspersed with the numerous and extensive temple grounds. Iyeyasu was
as liberal to the material comforts of his ghostly advisers, as he was
strict in their supervision. One fifth of Edo was ecclesiastical. One
eighth of it, perhaps, was given over to the needed handicrafts and
tradesmen of the Kyo[u]bashi and Nihonbashi wards along the river, with a
moiety of central Honjo[u]--and to the fencing rooms. The balance of the
city site was covered by the _yashiki_. Thus matters remained until the
Meiji period swept away feudalism, and substituted for the military town
the modern capital of a living nation. So much for the Edo with which we
have to deal, apart from its strange legends and superstitions, its
malevolent and haunting influences, working ill to the invaders, daring to
encroach upon the palace itself and attack the beloved of the Sho[u]gun
and his heir, only to be quelled by the divine majesty of his look--as
expounded in such tangle of verities as the Honjo[u]-Nana-fushigi (seven
marvels of Honjo[u]), the Azabu Nana-fushigi, the Fukagawa Nana-fushigi,
the Bancho[u] Nana-fushigi, the Okumura Kiroku, the temple scrolls and
traditions, and many kindred volumes.

In reference to the Bancho[u]: the stories outlined in the present
volume date from the period of the puppet shows and strolling reciters,
men who cast these tales into their present lines, thus reducing popular
tradition to the form in which it could be used by the _ko[u]danshi_ or
lecturers on history, or by those diving into the old tales and
scandals connected with the _yashiki_ of Edo town. In the present volume
main reliance for the detail has been placed on the following
_ko[u]dan_:--

     "The Bancho[u] Nana-fushigi" of Matsubayashi Hakuen.

     "The Bancho[u] Sarayashiki" of Momogawa Jo[u]en.

     "The Bancho[u] Sarayashiki" of Byo[u]haku Hakuchi, in the
     "Kwaidan-shu[u]" published by the Hakubunkwan.

     "The Bancho[u] Sarayashiki" of Ho[u]gyu[u]sha To[u]ko.

     "Yui Sho[u]setsu" of Ko[u]ganei Koshu[u].

These references could be extended. The story of the Sarayashiki figures
in most of the collections of wonder tales. The Gidayu of the "Banshu[u]
Sarayashiki" by Tamenaga Taro[u]bei and Asada Itcho[u] finds no
application. It deals with Himeji in Harima. As for the stories from an
esoteric point of view, as illustrations of the period they have a
value--to be continued in those more historical, and which deal with the
lives and deeds of men of greater note and influence in this early
Tokugawa court. The present volume instances the second class of wonder
tales referred to in the preface to the Yotsuya Kwaidan.

O[u]marudani, 14th November, 1916.



CONTENTS

                                                            PAGE

      Preface                                                  v

      Map of Edo                                    _Facing_ xii

                            PART I.

                    TALES OF THE EDO BANCHO[U]:
                      WHO AOYAMA SHU[U]ZEN WAS                 1

      Chapter    I. The Chu[u]gen Rokuzo                       3

                II. The Bakémono Yashiki                      17

               III. Nakakawachi Shu[u]zen                     26

                IV. The O'kagé Sama                           38

                 V. The Report to the Tono Sama               48

                VI. The Shrine of the O'Inari Sama            55

               VII. The Luck of Okumura Shu[u]zen             64

              VIII. Aoyama Shu[u]zen                          76

                IX. Shu[u]zen meets Shu[u]zen                 84

                 X. The Meeting of the Gaman Kwai             89


                            PART II.

                    BANCHO[U] SARAYASHIKI:
                      WHAT AOYAMA SHU[U]ZEN BECAME            97

      Chapter   XI. The Yoshida Goten                         99

               XII. The Ko[u]jimachi Well                    111

              XIII. The Sen Himégimi (Princess Sen)          122

               XIV. Shu[u]zen Adolescens                     130

                XV. The God favours Shu[u]zen                142

               XVI. The Affair of the Asakusa Kwannon        150

              XVII. Emma Dai-O[u] gives Judgment             156

             XVIII. Kosaka Jinnai                            165

               XIX. A Matter of Pedestrianism                171

                XX. The Affair of Kishu[u] Ke                179

               XXI. If old Acquaintance be forgot            192

              XXII. The Shrine of the Jinnai-bashi           201

             XXIII. A Winter Session                         212

              XXIV. The Tiger at the front Gate; the Wolf at
                    the Postern                              218

               XXV. Chu[u]dayu wins his Suit                 229

              XXVI. Sampei Dono                              236

             XXVII. Aoyama wins his Suit                     245

            XXVIII. The Sarayashiki                          251



PART I


TALES OF THE EDO BANCHO[U]

WHO AOYAMA SHU[U]ZEN WAS.



CHAPTER I

THE _Chu[u]gen_ ROKUZO


Rokuzo the _chu[u]gen_ sighed as he faced the long slope leading to the
Kudanzaka. Pleasant had been his journey to this point. From his master's
_yashiki_ in Ichigaya to the shop of the sandal maker Sukébei in lower
Kanda it had been one long and easy descent. Sukébei had gratified Rokuzo
with the desired and well established commission or "squeeze." Orders for
sandals in the _yashiki_ of a nobleman were no small item. Rokuzo was
easily satisfied. Though of a scant thirty years in age he had not the
vice of women, the exactions of whom were the prime source of rascality in
the sphere of _chu[u]gen_, as well as in the glittering train of the
palace. At the turn of the road ahead Rokuzo could eye the massive walls
of the moat, which hid the fortress and seraglio built up by the skilful
hands of Kasuga no Tsubone in her earnest efforts to overcome the woman
hating propensities of the San-dai-ke, the third prince of the Tokugawa
line, Iyemitsu Ko[u]. Rokuzo was a _chu[u]gen_, servant in attendance on
his master Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon, _hatamoto_ or immediate vassal of the
commander-in-chief, the Sho[u]gun or real ruler in the land of Nippon
since the long past days of Taira Kiyomori.

Rokuzo had no great lady in charge of his domestic arrangements, one
whose obsession it was to overcome his dislike of man's natural mate.
Nor had he such mate to administer reproof for his decided liking for
the sherry-like rice wine called _saké_. Sukébei had rigidly performed
his part in the matter of the "squeeze"; but Rokuzo considered him
decidedly stingy in administration of the wine bottle--or bottles.
Willingly would he have sacrificed the commission for an amplitude of
the wine. But even _chu[u]gen_ had their formulae of courtesy, and such
reflection on his host would have been too gross. With a sigh therefore
he had set out from the shop of the sandal maker, eyeing the wine shops
passed from time to time, but not fortunate enough to chance upon any
acquaintance whose services he could call upon in facing him over a
glass. Rokuzo had the virtue of not drinking alone.

Kanda village once passed, the _yashiki_ walls hemmed in the highway
which ran through a district now one of the busiest quarters of the
city. This sloping ground was popularly known as Ichimenhara, to
indicate its uniformity of surface. There was not a hint of the great
university, the long street of book-stores close packed side by side for
blocks. Their site was covered by the waters of the marsh, almost lake,
of the Kanda River, then being slowly drained into the castle moats. The
top of the hill reached, at what is now South Jimbocho[u], the shops and
houses of the one village hereabouts, Tayasu-mura, offered a last chance
for diversion. The steep slope of the Kudan hill was now before Rokuzo,
and beyond he had to pass through the lonely wood which harboured a
temple to the war god Hachiman, and which covered the site of the
present Sho[u]konsha or shrine to the spirits of the soldiers killed in
Nippon's wars. This road ran through the San-Bancho[u], then a lonely
quarter in which stood isolated from each other _yashiki_ of the
_hatamoto_. The district was filling up, under press of the needs of the
castle service for space immediately round about. But the process was a
slow one, and the district one much suspected by the lower classes.

Rokuzo was not fat. He was short, thick necked, sturdy with a
barrel-like roundness, and, owing to his drinking propensities, endowed
with legs the thinness of which found the conveyance of the upper
massiveness no mean task. Hence he stopped at the foot of the hill to
wipe the sweat from his face. He eyed with envy a low caste being, a
_heimin_ and labourer. Clad in a breech-clout the fellow swung rapidly
down the hill with his load of charcoal balanced at each end of the
carrying pole. It was etiquette, not modesty, which confined Rokuzo to
the livery of his master. He was compelled to a coat which, light and
thin as it was, cut off all the breeze from his muscular shoulders.
Well! Up the hill he must get. The rolling down was a matter of the
past. The _yashiki_, the house officer (_kyu[u]nin_) to whom report was
to be made, lay beyond. About to make the start a voice spoke in his
ear. Though soft and gentle it would have had no particular attraction
for the now thirsty Rokuzo. But apart from thirst Rokuzo was of the
thoroughly good natured kind. He was surprised at the beauty of the face
on which his eyes rested; still more so at the size of the bundle she
was trying to carry, and which plainly was far beyond her strength. The
rashness of benevolence overcame the not too energetic Rokuzo. Sigh as
he did over the conveyance of his carcass up the steep hill, he sighed
still more at thought of this fragile creature attempting to carry such
a burden.

She followed his eyes to the bundle. "Alas! Honoured Sir, what is to be
done? The _furoshiki_ is far beyond one's poor strength. Though the
distance is not great--only to Go Bancho[u]--yet it could as well be a
pilgrimage to Isé. Surely the hills of Hakoné and Iga are no steeper
than this Kudanzaka." She sighed; and apart from a weariness of voice
there was a suspicion of moisture in her eyes. The more Rokuzo looked at
her, the greater waxed his pity and benevolence. Barely of eighteen
years she was a beautiful girl; not a servant, yet not one of the
secluded and guarded daughters of a noble House. Perhaps she was the
young wife of some soldier, and he was surprised at her being
unattended. She noted this, and readily explained the fact. There were
purchases yet to make, close by in Tayasu. Here a servant was to be at
hand, but wearied by waiting the woman had made off. "To offer a wage,
good sir, seems impolite; yet the way being the same deign to grant the
favour of your strength." In the petition her face was wreathed in
admiring smiles at Rokuzo's fine figure of a man. A light in the eyes,
captious and coquettish, the furtive glances at his broad shoulders and
stout neck, betrayed him into the indiscretion of volunteering a service
promptly accepted. This done, the lady, without losing sight of display
of her charm of manner, was all business.

Rokuzo had much to learn, and he was not one to profit much by his
lessons. If he was virtuous, he was by nature a very Simple Simon. A
greater liking for women might by contact have sharpened wits rather
dulled by drinking. As it was, anyone in the _yashiki_, who wished to
shift some unpleasant obligation, found in Rokuzo the one to be
impressed by the most specious excuse, and the one whose kindness of
heart undertook and carried out the purpose of avoidance by assumption
of the task. Instead of concocting some pretext to carry off Sukébei, or
one, or all, of his apprentices to the neighbouring street and a grog
shop, his inexperience and diffidence had carried him away still
thirsty. Instead of bumping into some passing fellow _chu[u]gen_ on the
street, and wiping out the insult with wine, he had idled along, leaving
to every man his share of the roadway, and to the thirsty with burdens
more than their share. Hence this uncongenial company of thirst and a
woman. She had halted at a grocer's shop, and his eyes were soon agog at
sight of her investments--mushrooms, not of much weight, but in bulk
forming almost a mound; the dried sliced gourd called _kambyoku_, of
which she seemed very fond; marrow, _to[u]gan_ (gourd-melon),[1] the new
and expensive potato (_imo_), for money was no object in her purchases.
A second shop close by caught her eye. Here were added to the pile the
long string beans, doubtless to roast in the pod for an afternoon's
amusement and repast, _kabocha_ or squashes, large stalks of _daikon_
(radish) two feet in length, _go[u]bo[u]_ or burdock, and a huge
watermelon. The list is too long to quote except for the report of a
produce exchange. Indeed it was rather a case of what she did not buy,
on a scale to furnish forth a _yashiki_. Then she made her way to a
confection and fruit shop just opposite the scene of her last purchases.
Pears were coming into season--weighty in measure and on the stomach.
But the lady was not frightened. She bought for yesterday, to-day, and
to-morrows, in fruit and cakes of all kinds. Conveyed by the divers
attendants her goods lay piled up at the last source of supply. Puzzled,
she regarded the huge mass; then took eye measure of the shoulders of
Rokuzo. They inspired confidence. She laid a gentle and admiring hand on
his massiveness. She looked into his face with enticing smile. There was
a silvery little laugh in her voice. Concealing their grins the shop
attendants fled to their different haunts. Here they smothered cries and
roars of coarse merriment; and one man nearly smothered himself by
sticking his head in the brine cask. This _chu[u]gen_ was no servant of
the lady. He was a volunteer conveyancer caught by a pretty face. They
knew her.

Rokuzo had more than sturdy shoulders. He stuck to his bargain. Plainly
something must be done; and the lady did it. In a trice she haled him to
a draper's shop. "A five-fold _furoshiki_--at once." The draper gaped
not; he obeyed. The cloth was produced, and his several apprentices were
engaged in sewing together one of those square package cloths, so
convenient in the conveyance of scattered parcels. It was a portentous
product, a very sheet. Obsequiously offered and accepted, the draper
watched his customers depart with curious eyes. It was not the first of
its kind bought by the lady. He hoped it would not be the last; for his
own sake and that of his fellow traders. The money at least was always
good. The girl must be popular and rich. A number of _chu[u]gen_ were
employed in her service. Never did she bring the same man. Then the
purchases were piled into one bundle. At this both Rokuzo and the
dispenser of sweets were skilled hands. The lady looked anxiously up and
down the road. She tripped into this place and that. Finally she came
back to the bundle, looking as if about to cry. Of the servant's return
there was no sign. Stolidly the shop-keeper maintained his pose. His
shop could not be left to itself; the lady could not wait. Outside was
the blazing sun of the sixth month (July), then at its hottest period of
the hour of the ape (after 3 P.M.). She looked at Rokuzo. He twisted
uneasily.

His good nature yielded again to the caressing glance. "Come! As boy
this Rokuzo has carried many a farmer's frame of grass from the mountain
to Shibukawa village. Nay; many a sick man has he shouldered on the
hills leading to the healing springs of Ikao and Kusatsu." He ran an eye
over the bundle. "Ah! A terrific bundle; one to cause fright. There is
nothing else to do." He would have liked to measure strength with this
truant servant; doubtless a terrific female. The confectioner puffed and
blew, with straining, swelling neck. The _furoshiki_ at last was on the
shoulders of the unhappy Rokuzo. Fortunately the shops of Nippon have no
doors. A most mountainous and monstrous wrestler, a very Daniel Lambert,
can be carried forth feet first from such a front. The shop keeper
followed the pair with his eyes. He passed his hand over the money. Then
he looked again. The lady went lightly up the hill. Puffing and blowing
at last Rokuzo was compelled to zig-zag on its steepness. Then she
followed after his movements, gently encouraging him with words, and a
cheerful pleased giggle that was a very goad in his rear. The grocer
crossed to consultation with the baker. "Bah! He has a ring in his
nose." Said the man of confections--"He is Rokuzo, _chu[u]gen_ of
Endo[u] Sama. But the other day it was Isuké, _chu[u]gen_ of Okumura
Sama, who did her service. And so with others. Truly entertainment at
Yoshiwara costs less effort and wage. These cats are all one colour in
the dark." The philosophic and cynical shop-keepers, each departed to
his own place, arguing more shrewdness in a _chu[u]gen_, and the greater
freedom, if less honour, implied in the gains and amusements of the
townsman. Again and again the baker inspected his coin. There were still
houses for women in the Ko[u]jimachi road. This satisfied his doubts.

Encouraged by the lady Rokuzo reached the top of the Kudan hill. In all
his experience of burden bearing never before had he shouldered the
like. It seemed at times as if the lady herself had floated up on its
broad surface, to deposit a weight far beyond her appearance. Perhaps
she did; for Rokuzo, blinded by the pouring sweat, hardly knew what
occurred. From time to time the sweet voice gave direction. Skirting the
castle moat she led him up the short slope of the Gomizaka. A fitting
name, thought Rokuzo. There were more than "five flavours" on his back,
without counting the nasty taste in a very dry mouth. His journey was
almost at an end. At least he had so determined, when suddenly the
destination was reached. The lady knocked at the side door of a splendid
gate set in a long stretch of wall. So much Rokuzo could see through the
damp stream from his brow; and that the surroundings were very rural. A
rattling of the bar and he turned eagerly to the gate. Its opening gave
a vision of beauty. Clean swept was the ground beneath the splendid pine
trees; graceful the curves of the roofs of the villa seen beyond; and
still more beautiful, and little more mature than his companion, was the
figure of the girl framed in the doorway.

Forgetful of his burden Rokuzo gaged. Forgetful of etiquette the girl
stared. She scanned Rokuzo from head to foot. The squat and sturdy
figure of the man, in combination with the huge burden, turned him into
some new and useful kind of beast. Astonishment passed into a smile; the
smile into a mad burst of laughter in which the other girl more
discreetly joined. "Ne[e]san (elder sister) the hour is late, but to-day
the opportunity of assistance was slow to appear. With such sturdy
support it was thought well to make ample provision."--"Provision
indeed! Merry will be the feast. Truly sister, great has been the good
fortune. Honoured Sir, deign to furnish forth the entertainment." Again
came the merry peal, this time from both the girls. Rokuzo hardly
appreciated such reward of his efforts. He had a strong suspicion that
this merriment was directed at him; that the courtesy and gentle voices
were on the surface. There was a snappy nasal sneering ring in the
laughter, most unpleasant and savouring of derision. However there was
certain to be something at the end of the task. Why neglect to take the
reward now close to hand? He passed through the large gate, opened by
the elder maiden to admit the size of his burden. Under her guidance he
struggled along past the corner of the house and into the more removed
privacy. Of this he could note the carefully kept inner garden, the
massive old well curb standing in its centre, and the scent and strange
beauty of the flowering plants. Attention was attracted by the conduct
of his three employers; for another and older girl now made her
appearance at the _ro[u]ka_ (verandah). She too gave the same short
sharp exclamation of amusement at the sight of the porter and his
portentous load. She leaped down quickly from the verandah and ran up to
peer into his face. Then she went off into the same mad peal of
laughter, in which she was joined without stint by her sisters.

Rokuzo was now angry beyond measure; yet as a man and good natured he
found it difficult of expression with such beautiful women. All the
terms of revilement came to his lips--rude rascals (_burei na yatsu_),
scoundrels (_berabo[u]mé_), vile beasts (_chikusho[u]mé_). These were
freely loaded on himself in time of displeasure of master or fellows.
But somehow now they stayed in his throat. "Rude"--yes; "rascals"--yes.
These words reached to a murmur. But the crowning insult of calling
these beautiful women "beasts" stuck in his gorge and he nearly choked.
Said the oldest girl--and she was not over twenty years--"Sister, you
are wearied by the heat and your efforts. Deign to enter the bath. All
is ready. Come! We will enter it together." Hand in hand the three were
about to depart. Rokuzo found speech. He stuttered in his
indignation--"Honoured ladies! Heigh there! This bundle--how now? Truly
it is as if this Rokuzo had been carrying a child. His back is wet
through. It is very unpleasant. Where is the package to be bestowed?
Deign to indicate." At the sharpness of his tone the elder girl turned
in surprise. His anger dropped before the attraction of smile and
address. Truly these creatures had attention but for the passing moment.
"Ah! In joy at the sister's return the burden and its bearer have been
completely forgotten. This is to be very rude. Aré! Honoured Sir, you
are melting away with heat. Place the burden here. At the well yonder is
water. Deign to wipe off the sweat which pours from your honoured
person."

At once with more than relief he deposited the huge package on the
_ro[u]ka_. Pending its disposition Rokuzo devoted himself to his
ablutions with decent slowness, to allow the idea of remuneration to
filter into the somewhat fat wits of these ladies. At first he was
inclined thoroughly to sluice himself inwardly. The water was
deliciously cool to the outer person on this hot day. But on approaching
the bucket to his mouth there was an indefinable nauseating something
about it that made him hesitate. Again he tried to drink. Decidedly it
was bad, this water; offensive for drinking. With a sigh he diverted the
stream from his gullet to his shoulders. So pleased was Rokuzo with the
experience that he repeated it again and again from the inexhaustible
coolness of the well. Then with his head towel he began to wipe the
nudity of his person, taking in at leisure his surroundings as he did
so. Oya! Oya! It was indeed an extraordinarily beautiful place, this
which he had entered. The care lavished upon plants and ornamentation
was carried to extravagance. The eyes of Rokuzo opened wider and wider.
Here was a splendid cherry tree in the full magnificence of its bloom.
The square of this inner garden was completed by half a dozen plum trees
laden with the scented blossoms, although the fruit hung heavy from the
branches. At the opposite corner the polished red of the ripe persimmons
made the mouth water. Beyond these trees and the house was a large and
splendid bed of iris, the curious and variegated bloom counterfeiting
some patterned screen. From the _ro[u]ka_ extended a wide trellis heavy
with the blossoms of the wisteria. Lotus was in flower in the pond.
Wherever he turned his eyes the affection of these ladies for colour and
scent showed itself. Jinjo[u]ki, hibiscus, pyrus spectabilis,
chrysanthemum, peonies, ayamé or the early iris, all were in mad bloom
to please the eye. With growing fright Rokuzo gazed from side to side.
What could be the social condition of these women, thus treated so
familiarly by a mere _chu[u]gen_? The gardener surely was an
extraordinary genius, such as would serve none but the truly great. This
was a suspicious place.

These thoughts were interrupted. Abruptly he approached the part of the
house that seemed a sort of kitchen. The huge bundle had disappeared.
The elder sister showed herself. The two younger girls held back
diffidently in the rear. All showed amusement, but the freshness of the
bath had wrought a change in manner, and made them still more lovely
than before. Said the elder--"Thanks are due for the kindness shown.
Though ashamed, deign to accept this trifling acknowledgment as porter's
wage." She held out to Rokuzo a _hana-furi-kin_. This gold coin, worth a
_bu_ (the quarter of a _ryo[u]_) was an extravagant fee.[2] Somewhat
strange withal; struck off in the Taiko[u]'s day the savour of
disloyalty was compensated by the "raining flowers" stamped in the
gold. Rokuzo was still more frightened. Ladies of course were ignorant
of values. Plainly these were ladies, of but little contact with the
world. As an honest and somewhat simple fellow he would have refused the
over-payment. But he was not eloquent in explanation, and the acceptance
meant the speedier departure. Prostrate with extended hands he gave
thanks. Then he thrust the coin into his bosom and rose in good earnest
to depart. Here follows the fall of Rokuzo from the grace of good
behaviour.

On her way to a room at the end of the garden passed the youngest of the
sisters. She was bearing a tray, the burden of which was _saké_ bottles.
In the other hand was the heating apparatus, flask included. Rokuzo's
nostrils opened wide at the delicious perfume. He stood stock still. As
in some surprise the elder sister regarded him. Thereupon the wine
bearer halted, in her pose holding the grateful steam directly under his
nose. Said the first girl--"Is the wage insufficient? If so...."
Rokuzo's nostrils twitched. The younger sister stopped a movement as of
further bestowal. "Ah! This honoured Sir can carry more than burdens."
She broke into a merry laugh. Said the sister--"Is that so? The _saké_
is object of desire." Beauty was now enhanced a thousand times by the
benevolence of their demeanor. With tongue at last eloquent--"Ah,
ladies! This Rokuzo is dying of thirst. The well here offers no means to
quench it. But for the honoured encounter at Kudanzaka long since would
the company at the wine shop of Ichigaya have been sought. For reward
deign wine rather than coin." He made a movement as if to restore the
gold, but the elder girl stopped him. "So then, Rokuzo likes wine. He
shall have both wine and coin, and entertainment in addition." With the
request from him their manner had changed. It was now more sedate and
purposeful. Rokuzo hardly understood the further course of his
experiences. Emerged from the bath he found himself seated before a
plentiful repast. The viand contents of the monumental burden together
with what sea and hill could provide--these figured. Rokuzo drank first,
and plentifully. Never had he tasted such delicious wine. He knew that
the Tono Sama drank no better _saké_; nor did his master occupy a more
splendid apartment than this one of the wine feast. The silken figured
_fusuma_ (screens), the fretwork crowning them, the many lamps--it was
now dark--in bronze and precious metals, dazzled his small
understanding.

The women acted as attendants. Rokuzo sat long, now thoroughly fuddled.
He listened to an orchestral theme, interpreted by _koto_, _fué_,
_biwa_, or the _taiko_ (drum). Perhaps there were better voices. Even in
their singing the three girls had that sharp, derisive, unpleasant,
nasal twang. But Rokuzo was past criticism. To their questioning he told
who and what he was; a _chu[u]gen_ in the service of his lord, Endo[u]
Saburo[u]zaémon, _hatamoto_ in the land, and now in office at the
fireward of the palace. Had he a wife? A _chu[u]gen_ is not one to have
a wife. At this all the women seemed very pleased. They exchanged
glances.

The elder girl now came close to him. She nestled by his side and took
his arm, looking coquettishly and smilingly into his face. "Rokuzo Dono
has done much for three lonely women. Will he not do more? Why not
remain as now, perform the tasks of this house? Does not the change of
masters attract?" Rokuzo's latest remembrance of encounter with the
honoured house officer (_kyu[u]nin_) of his master was the six days turn
in the _yashiki_ prison, on very scant fare. His face was long at the
thought. He was very remiss on this present occasion. What would happen?
In the haze of his wine the voice of the girl continued. Her face was
very close as she pressed on him. "Rokuzo Dono, deign to serve this
house, meet its difficulties." For a moment Rokuzo broke the spell.
"Difficulties? Of luxurious living and a splendid home? Such
'difficulties' make one laugh."--"Yet there are real difficulties. Three
women--they have their difficulties. Be the man of the house; the man in
the house. Condescend the favour." Restraint was thrown off. She held
him in her arms and drew him close. Rokuzo's brain was in a whirl.
Women? Women? Ah! The wine! His lips eagerly sought the cup she held to
them. When she rose he allowed her gentle persuasion. The two other
girls busied themselves in the preparations for the night. They
whispered to each other; and there seemed to be some ground of division,
but the elder had her way. She and Rokuzo were left alone.

If Rokuzo sought solace in the arms of his mistress he certainly failed
to find it. Never had such a nightmare descended on his slumbers.
Through the night he was battling with most fearful visions, seeking to
avoid tortures of hell. He had pursued his beauty into some huge cave.
Now possession was secure. From this there was no escape. But it was no
escape for Rokuzo. Now she turned into a huge obscene object, a very
_rokurokubi_, one of those hideous monsters with lengthy neck, gleaming
teeth, and distorted human-like face. Again there was change. He lay
supine and helpless; and extended full length over him was a fox of
portentous size. The sharp, yelping, nasal voice sounded in his ears.
"Coin, wine, then lechery: Rokuzo would drink, then play the beast. The
porter's wage is insufficient. Now let him pay the beast's wage." The
sharp gleaming teeth were at his throat. The foul breath filled his
lungs. Rokuzo struggled for air, shouted for an aid not at hand.
"Drunkard; lecher." By a final effort he would free himself from the
succubus--"Liar!... Namu Amida Butsu! Namu Amida Butsu! Holy the Lord
Buddha!"

A heavy chill went through his body, shaking him from head to foot. He
opened his eyes. In amazement he looked around him. The magnificent
apartment, the women, the garden, the feast, nothing remained of his
night's experience. It was the chill of early dawn, and he was lying on
the bare ground, in the midst of a wild grass grown and deserted moor. A
tree root was his pillow. He rose to find the waters of the Kanda marsh
under his eyes. He was still on the Ichimenhara. The Kudanzaka was yet
to be climbed. Ah! He had been foxed, bewitched by reynard or _tanuki_
(badger). Then remembrance of the _hana-furi-kin_ came to mind. Here
would be proof. He thrust a hand into his bosom--to draw out the leaf of
a tree. There was no doubt about it. And the banquet? At the very
thought of the viands Rokuzo squirmed. He made a gesture of nausea and
disgust. The _saké_--was excrement. The food--worse yet. He felt very
ill.

His aching limbs and heavy head accompanied him to his lord's _yashiki_
in Ichigaya. Rokuzo took to his bed. At the porter's lodge the
_kyu[u]nin_, Naito[u] Kyu[u]saburo[u], inspected the tickets of the
_chu[u]gen_. At last Rokuzo had made his appearance; and had made no
report. He was not long in reaching the _chu[u]gen's_ bedside. With
severe face he questioned him as to his absence and neglect. "Gluttonous
fellow! Something eaten is the cause of the sickness. Rascal that you
are, a good purge is the thing. Then a fast in the jail will restore the
stomach. This the punishment, if great your good luck. Otherwise--it
will be the garden front. Report is to be made." He turned to go. Rokuzo
detained him. He spoke with timidity, but under spur of the greater
retribution. He admitted his fault. "But...."--"But what?" impatiently
interjected Naito[u]. "Is not the food furnished by his lordship ample
supply for the belly? Does a _chu[u]gen_ question his lord's generosity?
What banquet tempted this rascal...?"--"Indeed it was a banquet." Rokuzo
went into details. Kyu[u]saburo[u]'s rage increased. "You are lying. Or
does illness follow food partaken in a dream? Perhaps the rascal Sukébei
has not been paid. Is Rokuzo a thief?" Rokuzo groaned in pain and
discomfiture. He would make a clean breast of it; confess to more than
mere food. And he did. "Nor is Rokuzo the only victim. Isuké,
_chu[u]gen_ of Okumura Sama of the Bancho[u], nearly lost his life.
Others have been trapped; and others knew enough to refuse service and
run away. Truly this Rokuzo is a fool. Condescend the honoured
intercession. Ah, that banquet!" He shuddered at the thoughts aroused.
At sight of the receipt of Sukébei perforce Naito[u] Kyu[u]saburo[u]
believed. He pitied Rokuzo, administered the stoutest purges in his
pharmacy, and left him somewhat relieved in mind and body. The tale was
soon known all over the _yashiki_--to the profit of all and the
amusement of most. With gleeful malice Rokuzo would be asked to describe
his meal, the superlative flavour of the wine, for past fact and present
fancy became strangely mixed in his recital. Thus, through the report of
the _kyu[u]nin_, Naito[u] Kyu[u]saburo[u], the experience of his
_chu[u]gen_ Rokuzo came to the ears of Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon,
_hatamoto_ of the land, of four hundred _koku_ income, and officer in
charge of the Hiban or fire-ward at the Ushigomé gate.[3]



CHAPTER II

THE _Bakémono Yashiki_


Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon heard the report of his officer. A slight frown
puckered his brow, and he contemplated the big toe of his immaculately
white _tabi_ (sock). "A vexatious matter! _Hatamoto_ of the land,
official duty gives occupation enough. Yet for such things to take
place, and so close to the person of the suzerain, this is not to be
permitted. Beyond his love for wine Rokuzo has shown himself
trustworthy. He is not lying?" Kyu[u]saburo[u] bowed low--"As your
lordship says. Of his illness there is no question; and that not merely
from a drunken debauch. Rokuzo is not one to be tempted by women; and to
those beyond his station he dares not raise his eyes. It was the wine
which tempted him beyond discretion. He has tried all patience, been
most disloyal. The honoured dismissal or severe punishment at the least
is his due. The Tono Sama summoning him to the garden front, and
deigning the kindness of putting him to death (_te-uchi_) ... yet...."
Hesitating he brought out the once _hana-furi-kin_, wage of the
unfortunate Rokuzo, now in such danger of drastic remedy for his aching
head. Respectfully pushing forward a knee the _kyu[u]nin_ presented it
to his lord. Saburo[u]zaémon examined it with much curiosity. "And
this?"--"The wage for his porter's work," answered the officer, his face
respectfully wrinkled with the trace of a smile. "Though one could say
from his exhaustion that he received other favour than coin. The very
thought of his filthy repast drives the rascal to most fearful
retchings. He is in a parlous way, and if your lordship deign
forbearance...."--"Heigh!" He was interrupted by the exclamation of
Saburo[u]zaémon, now examining the leaf most intently. "I say now! An
oak leaf, the broad reminder of the _kiri_ (paulownia imperialis), such
might come from last year's fall. This leaf never sprang from Nippon's
soil."--"Just so," replied the _kyu[u]nin_. "Hence petition for delay in
administering punishment."--"And of course the fellow is useless. Ill,
and besides he knows not whither he went, and came to himself on the
Ichimenhara."--"Yet, while still in his five senses, he recognized Go
Bancho[u]; and it is fact that the _chu[u]gen_ of Okumura Dono suffered
likewise in the Bancho[u]."--"Of Kakunai and the strange horse this
Saburo[u]zaémon has heard. And the other man?"--"One Isuké, a stout
fellow, but in good fortune the twin brother of this rascal Rokuzo."

Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon rose to his feet with an elasticity and snap
denoting decision. His wife standing close by laid hand upon his arm. He
turned to meet her frightened questioning look. He spoke reassuringly.
"Don't be afraid. Such things so near the suzerain's honoured dwelling
are not to be permitted. This Saburo[u]zaémon goes to learn the facts as
to this suspicious house. The _samurai_ has no fear of apparitions; and
less of thieves, as is likely to be the case. Let the rascals look to
themselves if they would avoid the taste of Saburo[u]zaémon's sword.
Kyu[u]saburo[u] is to see that the _Yashiki_ is well guarded. To-night
O[u]kubo Hikoroku Dono holds the fire ward. The occasion fits." At once
he was busied with his preparations for out door service. His wife,
granddaughter of old Nagasaki Chiyari Kuro[u]--he of the "bloody
spear"--was the _samurai_ woman, to aid her lord in his duty, not to
hold him back with tears and plaints. The pair were admirable specimens
of their caste. Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon's grand-father had been a
retainer of that hard hitting Asai Nagamasa who had to bow the head
before the sword of Hidéyoshi. The son Kiémon perforce had served the
Taiko[u], and well. It was with more than readiness that he had appeared
in the army of the Tokugawa at Sekigahara, to be killed in all loyalty
before O[u]saka in Genwa 1st year (1618). Saburo[u]zaémon was then but
five years old. But the early Tokugawa did not forget loyal service.
When of age he was summoned to Edo from his native province of O[u]mi,
given duty in the palace service, to become with years a _hatamato_ with
income of four hundred _koku_ and a _yashiki_ in Ichigaya, just beyond
the Gomon or great gate at the outer moat.

In the present matter night must be awaited. When the bell of the
Gekkeiji, the huge temple of the district, struck the watch of the pig
(9-11 P.M.) Endo[u] prepared to set forth. "In case of necessity ask the
aid of Hikoroku Dono, of Juro[u]zaémon."[4] This to his wife. "At least
one attendant? Kyu[u]saburo[u] is old enough to know that these rascals
never deal with more than one human." This to the old _kyu[u]nin_, who
with anxiety watched him depart into the darkness. With a sigh the
officer shut fast the outer gate. Then, sword over his knees, he
squatted himself at the house entrance, to slumber and await his lord's
return.

As officer of the fire ward Saburo[u]zaémon met with little difficulty
in passing the Ichigaya gate, beyond which lay the suspected district of
the Bancho[u]. To the sharp hail and protest at his appearance without a
lantern he sought the service of those of the guard. Surprise and abject
apology followed the bringing of face and equipment into their light. As
on urgent mission to the palace he explained the one and disregarded the
other. For form he borrowed a lantern at the guard house, to leave it in
a hedge close by, to hand for his return if in the darkness. Straight
ahead he walked for some distance. Now he was in the very centre of the
Bancho[u]. It was a most lonely place. The district had been set apart
for the _yashiki_ of _hatamoto_ and the houses of _gokenin_ who showed
no haste to apply for its ample space. Its highways and byways showed
lines of bamboo fences, plaster walls, broken at intervals by gates.
Between the far _yashiki_ there was much waste land. Suspicious were its
precincts in these days when the haunting spirits and apparitions,
attendant on once owners and their wars, were being driven out by the
advent and aggression of the new lords from the South. Still fresh in
men's minds was the wondrous _mami-ana_ of Azabu--the cave of the
_tanuki_ (badger)--with the implied curse on the Tokugawa. The cohorts
of apparitions, driven northward to the land of savages, had suffered
severely at the hands of Ii Naomasa on the banks of the Ueno Toshima
ferry. Thus the curse came down the centuries on the Tokugawa House.

Once in the heart of the district Saburo[u]zaémon stood uncertain. All
sense of locality was lost. The Bancho[u] by day and by night greatly
differed. The wind sighed through the great pine trees and whispered in
the long _suzuki_ grass. He thought to reach the neighbourhood of the
Gomizaka. The noise and bustle of the Ko[u]jimachi would give direction.
Just then a lantern came in sight at the turning in the lane. As it drew
near it was seen that to all appearance the bearer was a _chu[u]gen_.
Endo[u] drew back into the shadow. He would take a good look at him. He
allowed the man to pass. Then from behind--"Heigh! Wait!" Instead of
waiting the fellow took to his heels. Endo[u] pursued and soon caught
him. In terror the fellow sank on his knees before the two sworded man.
"Deign, honoured sir, to spare the cutting test. This Isuké is yet
young. He loves life. Condescend not to cut short his breath."
Saburo[u]zaémon was struck by the name fresh to his ears. Coldly he
looked the man over; played on his terror--"Yet you are fat; just of the
girth to give fair test to a new blade."--"Nay! Your lordship can deign
to observe it. Isuké is stuffed out with a recent meal. It would be but
a case of tripes. His bones are young and soft, his muscles wasted by
mere feeding. It would be as cutting _to[u]fu_ (bean paste). Deign to
spare him."

Said Saburo[u]zaémon. "'Tis no cutting test. Thus passing carelessly at
the side that fat paunch was an easy mark. Be more careful
henceforth.... You live hereabouts?"--"Honoured Sir, 'tis so. Isuké is
_chu[u]gen_ at the _yashiki_ of Okumura Sama."--"Ah! Then you know the
haunted house (_bakémono yashiki_) of the Bancho[u]."--"Just beyond?
Isuké knows it too well."--"Life spared, act as guide thither." The
man's knees bent under him. He plead for forbearance. Plainly he must
die. Only to this dreadful sentence and sight of Endo[u]'s sword did he
yield. Reluctantly he went ahead of the _samurai_, as far as a gate the
massiveness of which attracted attention. Saburo[u]zaémon looked it
over, then carefully considered his guide. He held out a coin. The
fellow respectfully drew back. Said Endo[u] with impatience--"As lord of
this mansion the money of guidance is offered. Accept it without
question. Here lies my purpose." This was but addition to obvious
terror. With wabbling knees the fellow persisted in refusal. "Honoured
lord, deign forbearance. Already has this Isuké accepted entertainment
here, with fearful results; nearly quaffing the waters of the Yellow
Fountain in Meido." Said Saburo[u]zaémon sourly--"What has the purpose
to do with a low fellow's entertainment? Take the coin, and be off with
you. Darkness acts as screen." The man did but whimper, "With purpose in
hand: truly darkness the screen, upside down; the balsam an incense, the
sticks to hand in the clay dishes. This? 'Twill turn out but the leaf of
a tree, to bring sorrow on Isuké. Your lordship has said it."--"It is
good coin," replied Endo[u] briefly. Then with some curiosity--"But what
has a tree leaf to do with purpose?"--"Pine leaves denote purpose, and
are so named."[5]--"A clever fellow after all! No wonder he escaped....
But be off with you. The coin shall ring true with daylight. So much is
promised on the word of a _samurai_. Fear the living man, not the
inanimate object; and say nothing of meeting the donor. Otherwise Isuké
ends badly. Now--off with you!" The voice was very human, the peremptory
gesture surely that of a two sworded man. The _chu[u]gen_ took
confidence in the fact that he could not help himself. Whatever doubts
he possessed, these he kept with the coin in his bosom. With scant
thanks cut short by fear he obeyed the order to depart into the shades.
Gathering impetus with distance he fairly took to his heels.

Saburo[u]zaémon waited for the lantern to disappear. Then he turned to
inspect the gate. There was no entrance through its solidity. It was a
_yashiki mon_, almost house, with two posterns. He must get a look
within. A long high plaster wall ran on both sides into the distance.
The moonlight, flooding the scene, showed him a breach opened by long
neglect. Once within he felt convinced that he was on the scene of
Rokuzo's experience. But the pine grove was anything but swept clean.
Branches torn off by storm and wind, fallen trees, lay scattered
everywhere. It was a very winding course which took him to the eaves of
the building some distance off. Plainly the once occupant had been a
person of position, perhaps a minor _daimyo[u]_. At the corner of the
structure he found himself in the garden more particularly attached to
the house. An exclamation of regret at sight of such desolation came to
the lips of Saburo[u]zaémon. A master hand had laid out this beautiful
piece of work; but trees and plants, no longer trained and trimmed by
man's hand, had run wild. In the centre was a wide well curb rising some
three feet from the ground. A single stone step allowed easier access
for those drawing water. The well-sweep had rotted off and lay upon the
ground. There was no bucket. Saburo[u]zaémon leaned over. From the still
surface of the water came an indefinable putrescent odour, perhaps from
the decaying plants, or refuse blown into the depths. He drew away,
disgusted and convinced. Carefully he made the round of this pleasaunce.
At the bottom of the garden near the confines of the well, was an
artificial mound--a _tsukiyama_ or moon viewing hill. Before this was a
little lake, for fish and lotus, of perhaps a couple of hundred feet in
length by narrow width. In places he could jump across it; and elsewhere
stepping stones offered passage. An Inari shrine in a plum grove offered
no particular interest, beyond recent inclosure showing a neighbour's
hand. There was swampy ground for the _shobu_ or iris and beds of peony
plants. In front of the line of towering pines was a row of Yoshino
cherry trees, all broken and neglected. The one time owner had loved
flowers. Endo[u] turned to the house.

The moon was pouring full on the closed _amado_ (rain doors), its cold
silver globe lighting up the scene. "Solitary is the moon of winter
glorious that of autumn." This was the tranquil moon of summer,
pacifying yet saddening men's hearts, as does all moonlight. It was
plain there was no entrance on this side of the house, unless unseemly
force was used. This was unnecessary. Endo[u] noticed the lattice work
of the bath-room. A few strokes of his dagger, and the frame was lifted
out. Then it was easy to draw back the heavy wooden panels and allow the
moonlight to flood these exposed chambers. Carefully he scanned his
immediate surroundings. The paper of the _sho[u]ji_ was torn and eaten
by the rats. In places the frayed _tatami_ (mats) bent under his feet,
evidence of decay of the supporting floor. There was the mouldy damp
smell common to places long closed to the freedom of the outer air. It
sent a chill to the bone; which Endo[u] noted with surprise as he turned
to the dark inner rooms. He must have some kind of light. Almost the
first step into the semi-obscurity offered the means to hand. Stumbling
over an object at his feet he picked up a staff. On examination it
proved to be one of those _kongo_ canes, the support to feet and belly
of the devout in their long pilgrimages, sign manual of the pious intent
of the bearer. He had taken a candle from his pocket, and, with small
respect to the "six worlds" of its rings, used the spiked end to
improvise a torch. Then an unexpected voice caught his ear; a sad,
wailing cry which chilled the heart. Then followed low, rapid,
disorderly speech, the meaning of which rendered indistinct by distance
could not be made out. Then came the unearthly startling shriek which
rang through the whole mansion.

Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon now had his torch fastened and blazing. Loosing
his sword in the scabbard promptly he set forth into the darkness
beyond. The candle cast a feeble light, making the darkness still more
apparent. However, he could see the splendour of these once inhabited
rooms. Screens worked in silk were dirty and frayed, but they were by
master hands, and still showed the outlines of beautiful designing. The
_rama-sho[u]ji_--the fret work between the rooms--was broken in places,
yet it displayed the erratic course of Nature's handiwork, the most
bizarre and effective of all. And always just before him went the
shuffling drag of sandals--as of some one on the _ro[u]ka_, further on,
at the room beyond. He sprang forward in haste, to fling back the closed
screens, but still the object eluded him; always there, yet never seen.
Thus it led him from room to room--reception rooms, sitting rooms, the
women's apartments; all gorgeous, all unfurnished, not a single object
of the value to tempt stray visitor or intentional thief. Even the
kitchen was stripped bare of equipment. Not even the stones to support
the furnace had been left. Thieves, or others, had long since accounted
for all movables.

Dumbfounded Saburo[u]zaémon stood at the foot of the stairway. Patter,
patter the footsteps had led him to this point. The width was coated
thickly with dust, swept by breezes from without, and from the
disintegrating plaster (_kabé_) walls. The webs of spiders were woven
across it; across the aperture. Yet--again came the wild sounds of riot
above. This time the voices were distinct and close at hand. A woman was
struggling, pleading under torture. "Alas! Alas! Deign to show pity.
What has been the offence, thus to inflict punishment. Condescend the
honoured pity. Ah! Pardon there is none. The child is consigned from the
darkness of the womb to the darkness of death. Alas! Most harsh and
unkind! How avoid the eternal grudge? Unending the hate of...." The
voice, like to the sharp rending of silk, ended in the fearful shriek,
chilling, heart rending, paralysing even the stout heart of Endo[u]
Saburo[u]zaémon. "Ki-i-i!" There followed the ineffectual gurgling
wailing cries of one struggling for breath. Drawn sword in hand
Saburo[u]zaémon sprang up the stairway. Nothing! The _amado_ thrown back
in haste light enough was given to show the emptiness of the room. Still
the voice was heard. He passed beyond. As before--nothing; except the
voice, now plain, as at his very side.

Saburo[u]zaémon was now assured of some witchery. "This is Endo[u]
Saburo[u]zaémon Takékiyo, _hatamoto_ of the land. Whoever, or whatever,
be present, assume the proper shape. Fox or _tanuki_ (badger), strip off
all disguise; stand to the test of Saburo[u]zaémon's blade." But the sad
wailing voice made answer--"Unkind the words of Endo[u] Sama. This is no
trick of fox or badger. Meeting an untimely end, the Spirit now wanders
as an unworshipped demon; as one deprived of all honour in the grave.
Brave has been the deed of Endo[u] Dono. Others have come; to depart in
fright. He alone stays to challenge. For so much, thanks. Deign worship
to my spirit, the security of rest from its wanderings." Saburo[u]zaémon
in amazement looked around. The voice was clearly heard, and close to
him; yet naught was to be seen. "Whoever you be, if wronged the sword of
Saburo[u]zaémon is here to avenge the wrong. If in life, the perpetrator
shall pay the penalty of the misdeed; yourself shall secure worship.
Such is the office of a _bushi_--to aid the helpless. But cannot the
shape be seen? Why this concealment from the eyes of Saburo[u]zaémon?"
And the voice made answer--"Has Endo[u] Sama no eyes? Concentrate the
thoughts. Here! Here!" Carefully and long Saburo[u]zaémon scrutinized
every spot. Following the voice he sought to get nearer and nearer. Thus
he was brought right before the _tokonoma_ (alcove). For a moment he
shielded his eyes with his hands, then boldly removed the screen and
faced the spectre in the plaster. At first faint, then more strongly
outlined was the vision of a young girl. At one time the face perhaps
had had great beauty. Now there was a weird expression of life amid the
wasting and decay of death. The living eyes gleamed a deadly hate and
distress which showed the torment of the spirit. Framed in the wild
disordered masses of long black hair the face of the apparition sought
to plunge its own unhappiness into the soul of its visitor. It was a
strange vision; one to rouse the desire for the beautiful woman in man's
heart, the wish to shield; together with repulsion toward the most evil
passions of a malice which inspires fear. Long and steadily the man
gazed; the woman answered the challenge. Then again Endo[u] was the
_samurai_. "On with the tale. To the wronged Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon
gives right and worship. A _samurai_, he has passed his word, not to be
broken." He would have taken seat before the alcove. Said the
voice--"Honoured Sir, the tale is long. On the _ro[u]ka_ without is a
stool. The _tatami_ are dangerous with the wet. Later deign the honoured
hearing." With surprise Endo[u] followed these household directions. At
the room close by he found the object indicated. Here met his eye a sign
unmistakeable. In the very centre of the _tatami_ was a huge
red-brownish stain; by the verandah a second stain; at the further
entrance a third of kindred character. Plainly the tale he would hear
was of no peaceful exit from life. To the tragedy of death had been
added violence. Thus fortified he returned, to take his seat before the
vision in the alcove; steadily, with the harsh official manner of his
caste, to meet the evil, strangely seductive, malice of its look and
suggestion. Then it spoke:



CHAPTER III

NAKAKAWACHI SHU[U]ZEN


Honoured sir, long past the source of this offence. It was the
fourteenth year of Kwanei (1637). As now, the summer heat was stifling.
To seek relief this Shimo had left the house, to stroll the
neighbourhood close by. Thus idly engaged, listening to the song of the
_suzumushi_, watching the fireflies flitting over the tops of the
_suzuki_ grass, and bending to cull a few lilies to arrange in the
_hanaike_, the presence of a stranger was felt. Ah! He was indeed a
handsome man. Not too young to seem a callow youth to the eyes of
Shimo's sixteen years; not too old to look on her merely as one of
different sex. Indeed he was not yet thirty years, a soldier, carrying
his two swords and his person most nobly. At very sight of him Shimo was
carried into the gust of the love passion. Her cheeks were "dashed with
the maple leaf, her heart swelled as the noon-tide." Her confusion did
not escape the notice of one already surprised at sight of a girl so
young strolling alone on the byways of the Bancho[u]. At once he spoke,
with the confidence of one who has the right to question--"And who may
this little beauty be, unaccompanied, with night so close at hand? The
Bancho[u] is said to be no safe place with coming of darkness. If on
some mission and belated, this Shu[u]zen will protect from harm. Or
perhaps, though young in years, this is some new wife. Or is it a lover
who is in question?" He spoke with kindness and authority, coming very
close to get his answer, his eyes fastened on my person, to the greater
increase of embarrassment. Vain was the attempt to throw some
indignation into the reply. Lover there was none. Of but sixteen years,
Shimo was in the hands of father and mother. To admit a lover would be
unfilial.... The father? Kawasaki Cho[u]bei, attached to the palace
stables. Humble was his rank in the minor office he held; but a one
time _ashigaru_ (common soldier) his service had entitled him to the
position and the suzerain's stipend of twenty _koku_. Hence he was of
some consequence among his neighbours. At this information, given with
some heat, the _samurai_ smiled and praised my father's service.

He did more than praise; on this night, and other nights. Frequent were
the meetings. Yet never did this Shimo pass the bounds of propriety.
Carried away by the gust of passion, incited by the lover's presence and
solicitation, yet Shimo's filial duty kept her person pure. A night came
when he failed at the rendezvous. So with the next, and following
nights. He had laughed at parting, and said that where was the will,
there a means would be found. Plainly the will was lacking, and he was
too proud and too highly placed even to endure the presence of Shimo at
his side. With these thoughts, and overcome by love and vexation, I
sickened. Great was the anxiety of the parents. Doctors were called in;
the priest's charms were sought. They were of no avail. It was the
advice of the wise old Saito[u] Sensei to leave me to myself and time.
"It is her years," said he. "Time will effect the cure; unless she
herself sooner indicates the means." Laughing he departed, as one
convinced that the cure was a simple one. Long had the determination
been held to tell all to the mother; always put off at sight of the
kindly anxious face. With such a lover she would have felt alarmed and
helpless.

Time brought the cure. The summer heats were nearly past; the eighth
month (September) close at hand. One day came a _chu[u]gen_ to the
house, bearing a message. At once all was in confusion. Nakakawachi Dono
was a _fudai daimyo[u]_ of twelve thousand _koku_ income. He was a
new-comer in the district, and known to be held in high favour at the
palace. A goodly portion of the site of the former Yoshida Goten in
Bancho[u] Ko[u]jimachi had recently been assigned to him. With the
removal of the Takata no Kata[6] to quarters closer to the castle the
greater portion of the palace had been removed to build the prior's hall
of the Iinuma Kugyo[u]ji. The villa part (_besso[u]_) of the structure
had been left intact, and with much of the park and garden had been
secured by favour to Nakakawachi Sama. For such a great lord in his
passage to condescend to rest at the humble house of a mere _go-kenin_
caused much disturbance. The limited household staff was put
energetically to work at cleaning and making all preparations for the
honoured visit. Treading with cat's paw my parents went from room to
room, to see that all was befitting. The articles of greatest value were
set forth for his lordship's view. An instinct set dancing my barely
restored nerves. Why did this great lord, so near home in his
progress--his fief was in Ko[u]shu[u]--deign thus to rest? What command
would he urge? His name was Nakakawachi Shu[u]zen. The _samurai_ lover
of the Bancho[u] spoke of himself as Shu[u]zen. Thus was the watching
and waiting, in a flutter of trepidation and newly aroused passion.

Then he came. My parents prostrated themselves on the ground in his
presence. "With your permission--" Haughty he swept on, to be ushered to
the inner rooms. Even the officer in charge remained at a distance.
Prostrate at the sill my father gave thanks for the honour of this
unexpected presence, for his lordship's deigning to halt the palanquin.
On command Shimo served the tea, not daring to raise face from the
_tatami_ under the satisfied scrutiny of this honoured guest, exercising
all her self control, which yet did not prevent a trembling of the
fingers in presenting the salver with the cup. In due course, on
withdrawal of the service, he noted the one who served, and indicated
his wishes. He was a new-comer in the district. He would have his
service therefrom, at the hands of those close by. No girl was better
spoken of than the daughter of Cho[u]bei San. He would ask that Shimo be
sent to the _yashiki_ to attend as _koshimoto_ (maid in waiting) to her
ladyship. His short stay in this house he regarded as most fortunate. He
spoke through his chamberlain, now present; but followed the officer's
words with close attention. My father was overwhelmed by the honour.
Profuse and earnest were his astonished thanks. Shimo was the only child
of people now entering into the coldness of age. This was of small
moment. But there had been no opportunity to give her the training
required for such service. Beyond an awkward touch on _samisen_, mainly
due to her own practice, she was a moor girl, a very rustic. She could
keep house--yes; like a wardsman's daughter. Polite accomplishments she
lacked. Deign in this instance his lordship's honoured forbearance. The
girl was too young and awkward for such service.

Polite was the withdrawal; without knowledge of his lordship's
disposition and previous acquaintance. Shu[u]zen Dono was not so easily
balked. All the objections were brushed aside. Youth was everything in
my favour. His eyes twinkled with inward amusement as he spoke. All the
easier came the practice which everyone must go through. If Shimo was
incurably awkward she would not be dismembered, but dismissed. Great
would be the forbearance. That she had everything to learn pleased him
all the more. She would be the more readily moulded to his service. At
the _yashiki_ youth was an object, and not the experience of long time
service which had left the adept far too experienced. Such women had
their lord's service little at heart. Shimo had youth and beauty. These
were a girl's treasures and accomplishments. He had never seen one
better fitted for entrance on such service. All this the chamberlain
conveyed with an authority which put aside opposition. The lord's will
was spoken. First the mother gave thanks for the honour condescended to
one so insignificant. She claimed the promised forbearance of his
lordship to any faults. My father followed her example, and gave his
thanks. Such entertainment as the humble house afforded was now
produced. After partaking his lordship departed in state. The neighbours
had been agape at the great lord's train stationed at the gate. For them
and for the curious and discreet questioning, the congratulations at
such promotion in the world, this Shimo cared little. His lordship's
will had prevailed. Henceforth Shimo would live close to his side.

I had fled to the little working room, as one taking refuge amid the
constant household sewing. But needle could not be seen through the veil
of tears. "What joy! What joy!" Thoughtless the words were spoken out
loud. The mother's hand was laid on my shoulder. The look was kind, yet
with some reproach at this unfilial rejoicing. Apology was made. To her
doubts eager was the answer. "How else succeed in life? Service at the
_yashiki_, its life always under eye, its etiquette, even its
dangers--this experience alone can teach how to meet its requirements;
and so close at hand, near to home and parents. Others had succeeded in
such promotion. Why not Shimo, thus offered the chance to rise from the
status of a wardsman's daughter, or not much more, to become an
attendant in a lord's _yashiki_?" Sadly my mother smiled. Grave would be
her anxieties concerning one so inexperienced. "The child thinks but of
self and pleasure. The mother thinks but of the child, and sees the
dangers." This in lower tones--"If Shimo becomes the favourite of her
lord, how is such inexperience to meet the evil passions roused in those
around her? Always place her ladyship first. Resist the solicitation of
Shu[u]zen Dono; unless the _okusama_ chooses to favour what would be but
a transient passion. Keep this well in mind.... And now--to the
preparation of what is needed." She had detected the motive of his
lordship's summons, thought him captivated by a pretty face and figure
come across by accident. Thus she understood the inner feeling of this
Shimo. With the words of advice she turned to the subject of my needs.
Willingly this was left to her skilled hands; and the advice received as
little attention. To speak of resistance to his lordship, to one who
hungered for his presence, was but to set the brain devising all the
means to secure his favour. Thus outwardly busied with needle and
garments, the self was existing as in a dream. The preparations in any
event could not be elaborate. Shu[u]zen Dono was urgent. A lucky day was
chosen, and with my modest equipment I entered on the service of the
_yashiki_ of Nakakawachi Sama.

Introduction to the immediate presence of her ladyship, O'Hagi was
anything but pleasing. Seated with her were two maids, O'Tsugi and
O'Han. The first named was a buxom masculine woman of nearly thirty
years. The girl O'Han was a recent promotion from the scullery; and, as
was learned later, she owed the favour to the goodwill of the
chamberlain (_yo[u]nin_) Nishioka Shintaro[u], a cold, smooth spoken,
evil eyed man, mainly notable for the uncompromising readiness with
which he carried out the wishes of her ladyship. Over them all, of
greatest influence with O'Hagi Dono, was an old woman, O'Saku. She had
accompanied her ladyship from the original House, was utterly
unscrupulous in her service, and her sharp voice, like that of a file
scratching glass, sent shivers down the spine as I prostrated myself
before the group. Cold was the reception. "A likely wench! Plainly his
lordship's choice, without reference to your ladyship. But time will
show.... Meanwhile no service as yet is assigned. With this girl his
lordship's orders are first to be heard. O'Han, show the new comer to
the quarters of the _koshimoto_, that she stand in no necessity or
likelihood of forgetting where they are. For to-day there is remission
of service." Thus spoke the harsh voice of O'Saku, passing over my head.
The cold, knife like glances of all were like steel plunged into my
body. With obeisance I withdrew, to follow O'Han, who gave no greater
welcome and was no kinder than the rest. Almost at once she left me, and
several days were passed in solitude awaiting a summons. This came one
evening. With evil dubious smile O'Han presented herself. "His lordship
summons O'Shimo Dono to his service this night. You are to attend. Deign
not to forget the good services of this Han." She laughed, with a bitter
suggestiveness. What would anyone have done, thus treated at start as
evil doer, as intruder? With joy his lordship's command was heard. The
whole person of Shimo showed a well restrained love and joy. He was
pleased at the effect wrought on me by his presence. Small the
experience, beyond what love's attention could afford. The night's
banquet was plainly not the dullest of its kind. At its close O'Shimo
had command to accompany him. With morning I was a woman.

In the period which followed every night came the summons to attend my
lord. Foolish and inexperienced, in this whirlwind of passion Shimo was
but a leaf driven by the storm. The assignment to duty in the _yashiki_
never came. There was the daily report for duty at her ladyship's
rising, the cold and curt reception, the quick dismissal. O'Hagi Dono
was past her thirtieth year. Of the great Doi House, she brought to her
husband a dower of influence and prestige. Older than her husband the
love passion had never taken root. An ugly woman, there was small
chance for other good qualities to secure a fictitious esteem with a man
so easily captivated by beauty as Shu[u]zen Sama. Furthermore her
ladyship did not possess such amiable traits. She was a proud, hard,
jealous woman; with the natural graft of a bad temper. Soon abandoned to
a lonely bed she was no longer treated as a wife. Though the marriage
had endured some five years there was no child, and little prospect of
one. On occasions of ceremony the _okugata_ presided at his lordship's
wine feasts, attended by her band of furies. With the exception of
O'Han, who possessed the freshness of youth, none of them had any
pretence to good looks. Outwardly all due respect was paid to his
lordship, but the private apartments (_oku_) were in league against him.
For weeks the contact was through the _yo[u]nin_, Nishioka Shintaro[u],
who acted as messenger of his lord's commands, and conveyed to his
lordship any intimation of the wishes of her ladyship. Hence Shu[u]zen
Sama knew and cared little as to what passed in the inner apartments of
his wife. She knew everything which passed in those of his lordship.
This tacit divorce appeared welcome to both.

The object of his lordship's passion, in a household in which one side
or the other of the existing feud must be taken, the position of this
Shimo was quickly determined. Not by her, for short experience of her
ladyship inspired a terror which would even have counselled cooler
treatment from his lordship in one more experienced. The other girls
were all honey, to disguise the bitterness of gall. There was not one of
them who would not gladly have obeyed her lord's call to Shimo's place.
Hence to partisanship was added jealousy. At the daily tasks there was
but one topic of conversation--O'Shimo's favour with her lord. The
charms she used were evident enough, for Nature had been lavish with the
kind to meet his lordship's wishes. How was it their own parents had
spawned such incapacity? "Deign, O'Shimo Dono, to teach the art so sadly
lacking. How bring to prominence such meagre gifts of proportion as one
does possess? In turn shall be taught the art of the _hanaike_--the
arrangement of flowers, of the _koto_ and the _biwa_ in accompaniment of
old songs of heroes and their ladies, the ceremonial grace so necessary
in attendance, the conduct of a lady. From a wardsman's daughter little
is expected, beyond good looks. Alas! O'Shimo Dono is the _yamabuki_,
the yellow rose, beautiful in its out of season bloom (April), but only
too likely to be nipped by the frost. Deign to enlighten, O'Shimo Dono.
Beauty soon wanes, and pregnancy kills good looks as completely as the
chill wind does the flowers." Then they all broke into mad laughter; and
whispered to each other.

Their suspicions were correct. The constant companionship of his
lordship had the natural effect. When told great was his pleasure. If a
boy, the child should be acknowledged as heir of the House. If a girl,
it should be the solace of his years. So great was his joy and pride
that he spoke to the retainers as if it was the _okugata_ herself who
was at issue. Thus the news must have reached her ladyship's ears with
the first telling, for Nishioka usually was present at his lord's
repast. He was the black cloud hanging over all. A tall, gaunt, suave,
determined man of nearly forty years, the smile he cast upon this Shimo
chilled her. Always courteous in his lordship's presence, elsewhere his
courtesy conveyed a threat and insult which made me as the bird before
the snake. I feared the man; and feared him all the more when one day,
with small disguise of malice, he told me that his lordship had departed
in all haste for the fief in Ko[u]shu[u], not to return for some weeks.
Considering the state of affairs, this should inconvenience me but
little. This open reference to the pregnancy was a first alarm. It
showed how well known it was to the whole household. Indeed concealment
now was impossible. The fifth month had been entered upon; the
supporting band had become a necessity. But the climax was at hand.

That very day--toward noon--the summons came through the girl O'Han.
With sinking heart I took my way to her ladyship's sitting room. What
was going to take place. Passing the _chu[u]gen_ Jisuké on the _ro[u]ka_
he called to someone in the garden--"His lordship's absence gives the
chance to clean out the house." Covertly glancing below--there was no
one. Was it in malice, or as warning? Probably the latter. Jisuké always
had been active in little services; often the chosen messenger of my
lord. His look in passing conveyed no insolence; rather kind intention.
It took away the exhibition of surprise at my reception. Her ladyship
was seated at the upper end of the room. The maids O'Tsugi and O'Han
stood close by. Nishioka Shintaro[u] was just behind her ladyship. The
old hag O'Saku was seated at the front. She motioned me to make
salutation. The _okugata_ spoke harshly, with contempt and dislike of
the one thus brought before her at the white sand of judicial process.
"The affair at issue is a simple one. Shimo is to answer the
questions--without tergiversation or lying. To Saku is left the matter
of the examination."

The old woman bowed with respect and smiling gratitude at the pleasing
task. The smile conveyed to her ladyship promise of satisfaction, even
amusement, in the torture of a forced confession from this child who
would play the woman. Turning to me her face, with cheeks fallen in,
long sharp nose, hard bright glittering eyes of a bird of prey, the
snowy hair piled high around the temples, it was that of one keenly
searching out the tenderest spot into which to drive the knife. Her
first words were all flattery. "Much has been heard, and little seen, of
O'Shimo Dono since her entrance into the _yashiki_. What has been heard
is all to her advantage. Her devotion to the service of his lordship has
been carried to the utmost--even, some say, to extremes. Of that there
can be no criticism. His lordship's wishes are paramount. The action of
O'Shimo Dono contains nothing but merit. It is for the malice of others
to say that O'Shimo has sought and stolen the fruit belonging to her
ladyship; that her cat's eyes have been quick to fasten upon the place
of the mistress of the house; that it is she who would furnish forth an
heir to his lordship. Such is not to be believed. But the truth is to be
told. An heir to his lordship is a matter for her ladyship. No child has
fallen to her lot. If O'Shimo Dono be the first to give birth to a child
in the _yashiki_, it must be between the knees of her ladyship. Deign
then to make full confession.... Ah! There is no need to beg for mercy
and reprieve from the examination. Saku is old. Her ladyship is a
married woman. Both possess experience. On refusal personal examination
is to be made. O'Tsugi, O'Han, are to aid." The two women had come
forward and passed behind me. Seized and thrown down the clenched fist
of O'Tsugi was roughly pressed into my abdomen. In fright and pain, in
dread for the unborn child, I cried out. Then the violent old woman
dragged out the confession of all that had passed with his lordship.
Minute and shameful the details to be told in the presence of a man. But
Shimo was an animal with powers of speech, and must tell all. With the
confession the old woman's smoothness departed. "Vile slut! A townsman's
brat, sprung from the stable dung, you would play the adulteress, take
her ladyship's place, and supplant her with an heir got by some
stranger's seed.... She is gone to the sixth month? High time for
interference. She shall be kept here, until the separation of persons
takes place. No wonder his lordship abandoned the shameless hussy--for
some fresh country wench in Ko[u]shu[u]. For such loose jades to please
the taste of the Tono Sama causes surprise. But off with her, to the
room for confinement. There she is to lie, until her affair is settled."
At a sign O'Tsugi and O'Han seized hold of me. Clothes torn and in
disorder, the person vilely exposed, roughly I was dragged over to this
barred and retired apartment. Always I made effort to preserve my body
and its fruit from their harsh violence. O'Tsugi roared with laughter at
the feeble resistance. The woman was strong as a horse. To O'Han--"Look
at her big belly. Ah! Her ladyship is none too wise. Let the matter but
be left to Tsugi, and the midwife soon would be needed." She raised a
massive leg with suggestive gesture. In some fright O'Han stopped her,
on plea of no such orders. The girl was young, of full figure and not
without attraction. Perhaps she harboured hopes, and would not in a
rival's person set precedent for her own. O'Tsugi spun me around, as a
child would a top with the cord. Then suddenly she released me. With a
crash my body fell against the wall. Sick and faint I tried to rise, and
failed. They watched me for a time as I grovelled and retched in
sickness. Then the bar fell on the outer passage and my imprisonment.

The day light waned. The sound of the birds going to roost came to the
ears. It was now spring, the gladsome period of the year. The cooing and
chirping brought no charm to the prisoner's ear. These birds were as the
birds of Shidéyama (in Hell). Mournful the dirge they sang. Filled with
foreboding, with dread for self and the passing from the darkness of the
womb to the darkness of death for the unborn child, faintness of heart
was made worse by the faintness of hunger. I sank into a kind of
slumber, more racking than the working hours. Then the harsh cries of
the crows aroused me. Daylight was again streaming through the window
bars. At a corner of the sill was a jar. The water in it was stale and
foul smelling. None other was to hand. A _mimitarai_ (hand basin) was
found in the closet. Thus was the nauseating ablution performed. Near
mid-day, when ready to cry out with hunger, for sake of child not self,
the door opened. It was O'Han who brought me food. One strip of
_takuan_, the bitter pickled radish; for drink, ice cold water. Such was
the meal. At night some pickled greens replaced the radish. On my knees
I plead with O'Han, besought her mercy for the unborn child. She laughed
at my misery. "Good living on forbidden fruits has made O'Shimo Dono
fat. Her big belly is perchance to be reduced by diet. Such are the
orders of the _okugata_. Han can do nothing; and would do nothing if she
could. What a fool! Cannot one please his lordship, all night and every
night, without promise of an heir to the House? Condescend the vacancy
and leave such matter to this Han...." Perhaps she felt that she had
said too much. Abruptly she turned and left the room.

I was not long alone. At least it seemed not so, for the light slumbers
were disturbed by the pangs of hunger. Then came a hand fingering the
outside bar. It was done stealthily. In aid or menace? A deadly fear
came over me. With wild staring eyes, loosened hair framing an anguished
and distorted figure I faced the object without, seeking its entrance.
The terror was not relieved by the appearance of the chamberlain,
Nishioka Shintaro[u]. His face was set and drawn, as of a man who has a
problem to work out, as of one who would carry out the purpose with
certainty and expedition. He closed the door, set the lamp carefully on
the floor in a distant corner. Not a word was spoken. Eyes bright with
terror I watched his movements. He carried something in one hand. Shaken
loose it was allowed to trail behind him. His preparations made he came
toward me with decision. Retreating before his advance the wall was
reached. By this time he was on me. Then I saw what it was he held; a
slender rope, its dreadful meaning plain. I screamed in terror. Roughly
he silenced me, one hand on open mouth. In stifled tones I plead for
mercy. Then failing sign of respite, by desperate effort my struggles
called for all his strength. My screams resounded loud in the room.
"Aré! Aré! Murder! Deep the grudge, to seven lives! Nishioka San! The
grudge of one dying against Nishioka! Against man and woman who would
cut off the life of Shimo and her child. Ah! Her ladyship! The grudge!"
The cord had tightened round my throat. The ends were in the strong
hands of Nishioka Shintaro[u]. I mocked and stuck out my tongue at him.
I know I did so, as the breath came with greater and greater difficulty.
His face, that of a demon, grew to huge proportions, bright scarlet. Now
heart and lungs were bursting with fullness. Dreadful the agony,
dreadful the grudge for this ill deed. Thus I died. Then followed the
ruin of the House of Nakakawachi Shu[u]zen.



CHAPTER IV

THE O'KAGÉ SAMA


On the following night all were gathered in the apartments of her
ladyship. O'Tsugi was engaged in putting back the _koto_ (harp) into its
cover. O'Hagi Dono touched the instrument with no mean skill, and on
this night had deigned to please herself and those who heard her. O'Han
was engaged in heating the _saké_ bottles. Rarely did her ladyship
retire without this indulgence. The old woman, O'Saku, aimlessly moved
about the room. She seemed to be awaiting some news. A sound of steps in
the corridor, and with pleased countenance she made sign to her
ladyship. A moment later and Nishioka Shintaro[u] entered the room.
There was not a trace of difference from the ordinary in his composed
harsh reverential manner to her ladyship. The latter gave a look at
O'Saku. The old women asked the momentous question. "The matter in
hand--has all gone well? The wench no longer troubles the peace and
future of the _okugata_?"--"Everything to perfection: the _chu[u]gen_
and servants were given tasks to take them far removed. There was barely
a struggle. By the hands of this Shintaro[u] the affair was soon carried
to completion." With complacence he displayed two lean strong hands,
regarded with fondness and admiration by her ladyship. They could bestow
a more tender embrace than that suffered by the unfortunate _koshimoto_.
"And later; the traces of the deed, these are to be removed?"--"There
are none. The time was waited until the body grew cold. It was safe to
do so. The weather is yet raw, the room one seldom entered, and the bar
key in the hands of Shintaro[u]. But just now the task of dismemberment
and disposal has been completed. On pretext of repairs to the _ashigaru_
quarters much plaster was obtained. With this the severed fragments of
the hussy and her foetus were mingled, and thus concealed in the wall
of the _tokonoma_. The whole new surfaced no trace of the deed appears;
nor is there fear of stench from the corpse. Her ladyship can be assured
that all is well. O'Shimo no longer will give trouble with her
pretensions to his lordship's fondness. In a few days Shintaro[u] will
notify the father that the girl has run off with some lover. A worthless
jade, thus dismissed the _yashiki_, he will be too ashamed to make
inquiry here; and his searches elsewhere are not likely to bear
fruit.... How strange!" He brushed away a firefly which had flown into
his face. With surprise those present watched the bug flitting here and
there in the darkness of the corners and the open corridor. It was
barely the middle of the third month (April), and no season for the
appearance of those insects of the hottest period of the year. Failing
to catch it, O'Tsugi drove it into the outer darkness. Then closed the
screens.

More lights were brought. Her ladyship would take wine, and talk of
nothing but the joy and relief. "For life this deed shall not be
forgotten. Always in the ready courage and resource of Nishioka has
support been found; many awkward corners turned. If he finds favour with
his lord, still greater the regard of this Hagi. A cup--Shintaro[u]!"
Herself she offered it, leaning fondly toward him. Her hand trembled in
her passion as he took it, with purposed glance and pressure. Always
formal in outward seeming, the intimate relations of the pair for past
months were more than understood by these immediate attendants and
abettors. Nishioka Shintaro[u] long had been the honoured substitute of
his lord--the shadow, the O'Kagé Sama, of Nakakawachi Dono. In this case
the shadow was the substance. This ugly virile woman was boiling over
with passion. In the old O'Saku she had a bawd to her service. She had
entered this House as friend or enemy, according as the event would turn
out. Neglected by Shu[u]zen, unable to rule him by will or personal
attraction, she sought to do so by substitution, to the satisfaction of
both. Hence she made Nishioka Shintaro[u] her lover. He was nephew of
O'Saku and foster brother of O'Hagi. Once introduced into the house he
easily made his way into the confidence of Shu[u]zen Dono, by taking all
cares off his shoulders, beyond those of ceremonial attendance and
pleasure. The minutest details of everything were looked to by Nishioka.
This pleased Shu[u]zen, who placed confidence in the readiness and
proved resourcefulness of the man. Nishioka was an infallible guide in
all minutiae of the palace service and intrigue; his knowledge gained by
a long experience in attendance on the great Doi House. Here he had
risen from _chu[u]gen_ to _kyu[u]nin_ (house officer). When he came to
the _yashiki_ of Shu[u]zen he soon replaced the _karo[u]_ (minister) of
the fief in his lord's intimacy, and the latter official found
honourable banishment in continued occupation and residence at the fief
in Ko[u]shu[u], where Shu[u]zen played the rôle of a castle lord
(_jo[u]shu[u]_), a _fudai daimyo[u]_, a subordinate and spy on his
greater neighbours. The new comer was source of congratulation to her
ladyship. As O'Saku--and perhaps O'Hagi Dono intended, revenge was
sought on Shu[u]zen by promptly throwing the mistress into the arms of
Nishioka. Behind the impenetrable shield of the inner apartments--a
place that Shu[u]zen only sought to avoid--they could live as husband
and wife. Other arrangement now was met by the cold reception meted out
to her lord by the lady of the House. Any compunction Shu[u]zen might
feel as to what he thought to be the enforced sterility of O'Hagi thus
was salved.

Merry almost to madness was the progress of the wine feast. Her ladyship
went beyond the bonds even of a decent veil of sobriety. Her loving
attitude to Nishioka found more open expression than usual in the
presence of the others. Her abandonment was undisguised. All rejoiced
with her; congratulated the strong man on his ready energy. Only the
girl O'Han showed some lack of spirit, which she attributed to headache.
In kindness her ladyship forbade further concern with the service of the
wine, with the aggravation of its fumes; but she had too little
consideration for those about her to relieve the suffering girl from
attendance. Then the hour came to retire. According to the decent
formula in practice, Nishioka, notified of the fact, rose to take his
leave--to the next chamber. Here the O'Kagé Sama did his disrobing. The
girl O'Tsugi was the first to leave her ladyship, on some mission. She
came behind Shintaro[u], to administer a rousing slap between the
shoulders which brought him almost to his knees. Grumbling and gasping
he turned to meet her admiring looks. "A fine figure of a man! And one
to act as well as pose. For us his lordship has but pretty words.
O'Shimo alone profited otherwise. But the O'Kagé Sama of his lordship is
of another kind. Deign to favour this Tsugi from time to time."
Shintaro[u] volunteered a grimace which could pass for a consenting
smile. His shoulders burned under the heat of the lady's passion. In
search for a reply the screens again parted, and O'Saku made her
appearance. O'Tsugi at once took to flight, somewhat in derision. The
old woman followed her with eyes of suspicion. Then she marched straight
up to Nishioka--"An impudent jade! Shintaro[u] is to place no confidence
in her or her words. She brings nothing but shame, and perhaps worse.
There is not a serving man in the _yashiki_ who does not know her. And
remember this well. It is this Saku who holds the string of her
ladyship's favour. O'Hagi Dono is not so far enamoured as not to accept
a substitute at Saku's hands.... But he is a fine figure of a man! Too
fine to be spoiled by his lordship's hand." To avoid the threatening
lascivious gleam in the eyes of this withered branch Nishioka made
pretence of trouble with a knot in his girdle. The whispered invitation
grazed a negligent ear, to be interrupted by the sound of her ladyship's
voice. O'Saku was in no haste to leave or to say more. O'Han was the
last to appear. There were anger and tears in her eyes as the girl
stopped a few feet from him. She spoke half turned away, as ready to
take flight at expected interruption. "Nishioka Dono keeps faith with
her ladyship! Does he keep faith with Han? Earnest was the promise that
at all events Han should share his favour with O'Hagi Dono. Nearly a
month has passed since he has deigned a visit. Surely her ladyship is
not so exacting. Give fair answer. Is will or power lacking?" She waited
the reply, eyes cast down on the _tatami_, for she at least had some
remains of modesty. Thus the almost despairing gesture of Shintaro[u]
escaped her. He spoke in low voice, with emphasis, to this fairest of
his bevy of fair ones--"As for the _okugata_, O'Han knows her almost as
well as this Shintaro[u]. What would be the fate of both if their
treachery were suspected? Deign to be patient. The fountain of plenty
has not run dry. Shintaro[u] would go but so far. In this horde of women
he must look to himself. The dependence now is on her ladyship and
O'Saku Dono. Shu[u]zen Sama is cajoled by having thought for nothing.
The _karo[u]_ now is very old. This Shintaro[u] surely will take his
place. A break then with her ladyship finds punishment in exile to
Ko[u]shu[u]. Then comes the time for O'Han openly to join Shintaro[u],
for the happy bond of two lives." The girl's lips barely moved. Both
were startled at peremptory call from the neighbouring room. She spoke
rapidly--"'Tis small matter, even with her ladyship. But from time to
time a visit to this Han? Condescend it."--"Agreed!" was the impatient
answer. "But with O'Hagi Dono, O'Tsugi, O'Han.... O'Saku, the occasions
must be limited." He suddenly seized her in his arms and silenced her
protest in an embrace. Then with hasty steps he passed to her ladyship's
bed-chamber, leaving O'Han with wide staring eyes which shifted from the
room of the lovers to the door through which she had witnessed the old
woman's departure.

Such was the vileness of the life in which was engaged Nishioka
Shintaro[u]. A week had barely elapsed. There was occasion to make
purchases for the _yashiki_. The _chu[u]gen_ Jisuké remained
respectfully prostrate before the officer. Nishioka again ran over the
list required. "These are to be got at the Owariya in Mikawacho[u]. The
month's settlement is yet far off. The order stands sufficient. Now off
with you." The man did not budge. Rising to a sitting posture he looked
fixedly in the face of Nishioka. "What now?" grumbled the _yo[u]nin_.
Answered the _chu[u]gen_ with respect--"Something of a tip will be
well."--"A tip!" said Nishioka in astonishment. "For what is the month's
wage paid to a _chu[u]gen_? Is he to be given drink money for carrying
out his duties? Take the _furoshiki_; and now out with it and yourself."
"'Out with it'; just so." Such the answer; but the fellow did not budge.
The steady insolence of his attitude made Nishioka straighten up as by a
shock. He was too surprised to speak. The _chu[u]gen_ spoke for him.
"Yes--out with it. Ah! It is quite private with Shintaro[u]. Jisuké can
speak at ease. Drink money is just the thing for Jisuké. Jisuké Dono is
fond of drink. The O'Kagé Sama will supply the coin, three _ryo[u]_, in
return for the silence of Jisuké."

At the suggestive nickname, known only to the few in the secrets of the
_oku_ Nishioka fairly gasped. Jisuké did not give time for answer. He
drove the matter home. "'Heaven knows, Earth knows, Man knows.' So does
this Jisuké, of the doings of Shintaro[u] with the Okusama. Naruhodo! No
strange sight. When the honoured Sun (Tento[u] Sama) disappears toward
Ko[u]shu[u], the honoured Moon (Tsuki Sama) appears in the ascendant in
Musashi. The matter is a most important one, not to be brought to an end
by a gesture. Bring the Okusama on the head and shoulders of Jisuké; and
Jisuké tells all to his lordship. The proof is easy, and this Jisuké the
fitting messenger between these lovers.... Oh! Don't lay hand to sword.
Jisuké is active, and the way of retreat is open. The honoured Jisuké is
not one to perish by the hand of the low fellow (_yaro[u]_) Shintaro[u].
In plain terms, the rascal is male concubine of her ladyship; who knows
little of the even balance with which her paramour shares his favours
with her women. Surely Shintaro[u] was born under the sign of the goat.
But that is not all. The very walls can talk. At least that in which the
unhappy O'Shimo, seven months gone with child, stands walled in.
Naruhodo! Such punishment is inflicted on bugs, and worms, and creeping
things; not on human beings. How does Jisuké know? Go question the
plaster, you coward; or learn that Jisuké is, and has been, everywhere
present at council and at deeds. But a word to Cho[u]bei Dono, and
Nishioka crouches at the white sand for confession."

At first astonishment and incredulity, then wrath, now dismay filled the
heart of Nishioka Shintaro[u]. The fellow's insolence, the honorifics
bestowed on Jisuké, the vile terms heaped on himself, showed the secure
ground on which Jisuké stood in his full knowledge of events. For whom
was he spy? He must find out. Jisuké, however, volunteered the
information. "Spy? Jisuké Dono is spy for no one's interest but that of
Jisuké Sama. He would have warned O'Shimo Dono, but repented in time to
have all more completely in his hands. She passed on to her death,
carried out under the eyes of Jisuké, and at the hands--Yes, the hands
of the low fellow Shintaro[u]. Ah! Did beautiful eyebrows inspire this
deed? Was it the love for O'Hagi now, or love for O'Han hereafter? As
rival to his lordship the rascal Shintaro[u] had no chance with O'Shimo
Dono. The clothes prop is the most useful instrument of the house. It
brings things long unseen to light and sight. Jisuké Dono will be the
clothes prop for this completed wickedness--unless his silence be well
bought. Come! Fifty _ryo[u]_: not down: but ten suffices for the
occasion.... Come and demand it of the Okusama? No indeed! Before her
ladyship the prescribed etiquette demands obeisance, and off is whipped
the head of Jisuké. It is money and--a sword cut. On the contrary, off
with Shintaro[u] to beg the needed sum. The tongue of Jisuké Sama is
silenced only by the coin which secures his absence."

Nishioka could not help himself. "Jisuké is right. It is a matter of
importance. But her ladyship alone can supply the sum. Remain here,
where safety has been so well secured." Then he betook himself to the
inner apartments. At his tale O'Hagi was aghast. She touched the root of
the matter at once. "The man must have the money demanded. And
afterward...." Nishioka smiled grimly at the kindred thought. "Into the
_oku_ he is not to be inveigled. Leave the matter to this Shintaro[u].
After all be is but a _chu[u]gen_, plainly a fellow with two eyes; but
despite his long experience he must leave the _yashiki_ or conform to
the etiquette of the service. He will not leave a place where lies his
future mine of gold, no matter what his insolence in private. All will
be well. His ignorance and position offer chance to play upon.
Shintaro[u] surely will find a way to kill him." With this solace and
the coin he took his way back to the waiting Jisuké. "I say now! His
lordship's shadow indeed! This rascal Shintaro[u] has but to shake the
tree and the golden fruit falls into his hands. The kind of friend to
possess! Ask; and one receives. Sheet metal too! A very thief, he is
more generous than the Tono Sama! So far thanks. And now--_sayonara_!
Jisuké Dono is off to the pleasant land--the Amatsuki of Fushimicho[u],
the land of reed plains (Yoshiwara). The knave Jisuké, values higher
than the knave (_yaro[u]_) Shintaro[u]. The Honoured Sir pays for the
favours of his queen; his queen pays the _yaro[u]_ Shintaro[u]." With
this parting shot Jisuké was up and out into the open. With some
surprise he halted for a moment. Nishioka had received the sally in good
part. He was laughing, half in amusement, half in vexation. Thought
Jisuké--"Truly this rascal of a _yo[u]nin_ matches even the honoured
Jisuké. Both spring from the farm, and the jest touches him, and not his
rank. Between the two, lord and lady are like to pay dear."

Nishioka returned slowly to the inner apartments, to make report as to
this rather doubtful progress. For several days nothing was seen of
Jisuké. For a time, as one satisfied, he resumed his duties in the old
respectful rôle. Only a sly veiled jest would show the wolf lying in
wait. Then came further demands, promptly responded to by Nishioka. He
began to be curious as to the adventures of Jisuké. He made the
_chu[u]gen_ talk; whose experiences were painted in glowing colours.
With a sigh Nishioka handed over the cash demanded, granted the leave of
absence. Grumbled Jisuké--"'Tis like digging the metal from the ground.
Few are the miners of another's hoard. Why grudge this Jisuké what costs
Shintaro[u] nothing!" Nishioka grasped at the opening. "What costs
nothing, carries no grudge. But Jisuké has the cash at the cost of this
Shintaro[u], only obtained in the company of an ugly old woman. With
this coin it is Jisuké who commands the selected beauty of Nippon. Come!
There has been enough of this. To-night Shintaro[u] takes Jisuké as
guide. He too will take his pleasure amid the beauties of the
Yoshiwara." He spoke expansively, with far off smile and look, as if the
beauties were ranged before his vision. Jisuké stood with mouth wide
open. "What! Not even the whole private apartments of a _daimyo[u]_
satisfies this lecher? Ah! The rascal would plant horns on the Okusama.
Husband and wife alike adorned! How now: is not her ladyship already
something of a demon? Nishioka Dono will be impaled on one or the
other." With mock respect he gave advice and bowed before his officer.
His interest in this rebellion was plain. Nishioka was seen to hesitate.
He looked doubtfully at Jisuké, as if seeking counsel in this
questionable matter. To Jisuké the matter was a jest; thus to involve
all three victims in a common treachery to one another. The temptation
was great, and he was a match for any underhand design on the part of
Nishioka. No safer place for him than Yoshiwara, in which his enemy
might be still more involved. _Samurai_ were particularly marked in the
place. Meanwhile the chamberlain would be his butt for the evening.
Jisuké's hints as to his source of revenue were broad enough to the
companions of his evening pleasures. They would be delighted at a sight
of this generous official.

Hence he urged objections to his company, and himself found answers.
Said Nishioka--"It is agreed. To-night all is propitious. The old girl
has taken cold. She intends a sweating. Such the notice to this
Shintaro[u]. It is his time to be fickle. He accompanies Jisuké." His
mind was made up, with some evident tear and reluctance. Jisuké aided
him in his preparations. Wearing _zukin_ (hood) he passed out the gate
with Jisuké. The latter handed in two _chu[u]gen_ tickets to the
_momban_, and none knew that the honoured _yo[u]nin_ had left the
_yashiki_. In merry company they descended the Gomizaka. Shintaro[u] was
as a boy just out of school, so merry was he. He lagged behind, then
went ahead. At the top of the Kudanzaka he halted. "On with you, Jisuké.
Shintaro[u] stops here a moment." He passed to the side of the road.
Jisuké in turn halted. He was standing in the moonlight. Said he, with a
touch of his usual insolent jesting--"How explain to the ladies the
presence of the honoured chamberlain? Shintaro[u] _yaro[u]_ wears two
swords. Jisuké Dono is but a _chu[u]gen_. Odd company! Notable will be
the compliment."--"No explanation is required." Terrible the voice from
the shadow beside him. "Ei!" Quick as a flash Jisuké made a spring
forward, not too soon to prevent arm and back being ripped open by the
keen weapon.--"Ah! The low fellow Shintaro[u] is not the one to kill the
honoured Jisuké. He has already said it.... The beast! He has cut me.
The devil lies between Jisuké and the lights of the O[u]mon. With
Cho[u]bei San is found safety and vengeance." With all speed he fled up
the Ushinakizaka to seek safety in the darkness of its wood. Nishioka
pursued with determination. The rip of cloth and flesh showed him that
he had reached his man. Loss of blood would bring him down. Jisuké aimed
for the middle of the grove, for the Hachiman shrine, now the site of
the Sho[u]konsha. Under the dark shadow of the trees he hoped to escape
the pursuer. Alas! A tree root caught his foot and threw him on his
face. As he rose the sword ran him through from back to breast.
Staggering, grasping at air, he turned on Nishioka; spitting out his
grudge with the clots of blood. His last words of hate were mingled with
the rumblings of the storm close over head. The moon's brightness had
disappeared. Heavy clouds rolled up, illuminated time and again by a
glare of dismal light. Big gouts of rain began to wet the clothes of
living and of dead in this solitude. For surety Nishioka gave the final
thrust through the throat. Just then the bell of Ichigaya Gekkeiji
reverberated through the thick wood. In the night hour it sounded sharp
and sudden, like a harsh call to men to rise and witness. Nishioka wiped
his sword on the dead man's dress. A flash of lightning lit the face,
horrible and mocking in the death agony. As the chamberlain leaned over
the corpse a voice spoke behind him, harsh and as if half stifled with
the blood filling gorge and lungs--"Yai! Shintaro[u] has his way. He
murders Jisuké--not once, but twice. Deep the grudge! Deep the grudge!"
Then it broke into a wail, chilling in the helplessness of the malice
expressed. Nishioka sprang to his feet and whirled around. In the
uncertain light close by stood Jisuké. His hair in wild disorder, cheeks
fallen in and corpse like with the bluishness of clay, the _chu[u]gen_
grinned and threatened. The living man could match him with his pallor.
"Namu Amida Butsu! Get you hence vile spectre, or stay the test of
Nishioka's sword." He made a sweep with the weapon. The figure
disappeared. A mocking laugh resounded far and wide, followed by the
same chilling hopeless wail. In haste, and pursued by the wild laughter,
stumbling over stones and roots, Nishioka fled the wood, to make report
at the feet of her ladyship. For long the figure of the _chu[u]gen_,
crying, wailing in baffled malice, haunted the wood of the Ushinakizaka.
Men hastened to pass by, none would enter; and in time the apparition
became one of the seven marvels (the Nana-Fushigi) of the Bancho[u].



CHAPTER V

THE REPORT TO THE TONO SAMA


On the dull evening of the rainy season (June) Nakakawachi Shu[u]zen sat
looking out on the dripping plants and trees. The home coming had
brought no pleasure. The treachery of the favoured Shimo was assured.
The father himself admitted the search made for the lover; wept and
grovelled in shame and apology. O'Saku had seen him in person, when he
came to the _yashiki_ several weeks before the flight. O'Tsugi had heard
him call--"choi! choi!" had overheard O'Shimo's surprised
exclamation--"my lover! my lover!" After several mysterious absences, on
excuse to see her father lying ill, she had disappeared. On inquiry it
was found that Cho[u]bei had never known a day of illness. The excuse
was all a lie. "A case of the wild duck; the cock had come." Whose was
the child she bore? O'Hagi laughed, and her attendant woman smiled, at
his credulity.

Shu[u]zen never suspected the deceit. Something of a _dilettante_ for
the period he was learned in the Chinese tradition. Seventeen years, and
a woman has no heart. This Shimo was a debauched wench. Truly she had
foxed him with her superficial charms, picked him up thus easily in the
Bancho[u]. With gesture of weariness and disgust he turned to the papers
and scrolls on the desk before him. They were house accounts submitted
by Nishioka, and none too pleasing. A round sum was missing on the
person of the _chu[u]gen_ Jisuké. Sent out to make important payment, he
had run off with the money, leaving no sign of his whereabouts. Just
then the bell of Gekkeiji struck the hour of the pig (9 P.M.). With
impatience Shu[u]zen swept the papers together. Her ladyship as
companion of his wine feasts chilled the bottles with freezing glance.
The monotonous talk of debts and expenses, exchanged with those around,
added a bitter flavour. Always demands, or hints of demands, which made
the meal a very time of penance.

With some slowness he rose to attend the repast. Then from the garden
side came a sad wailing voice. "Grateful the honoured return, so long
delayed. Fond the thoughts of the past long weeks. Deep the longing for
the honoured presence. Report is to be made to his lordship. Alas!
Alas!" A chill went to the very heart of Shu[u]zen. Lamentable and
grievous as was the sound, he had no difficulty in recognizing the voice
of O'Shimo. Startled he turned in indignant anger to the _ro[u]ka_
whence the sound had come. He looked out into the darkness of the
dripping night. Nothing was to be seen. Plainly he had thought too much
of the girl, of her condition and the disappointment. He gave his body a
violent shake to throw off this cold oppression and foreboding. Then
slowly he took his way to the wine feast. The _saké_ would bring warmth.
This was not the case. Freely as he drank, it added to powers of vision.
His mind now always on the missing girl, the familiarity between spouse
and chamberlain seemed strange for the relation between mistress and
servant. As usual, with the finish of the last bottle, Nishioka
accompanied him to his retirement. Shu[u]zen spoke sharply of the large
increase in the expenses of the inner apartments. To meet these the
revenues would have to be forestalled, the income anticipated. The
smooth fellow met him more than half way in agreement. His lordship was
too estranged from the _okugata_. Greater familiarity toward the women's
apartments would be the needed restraint. Deign his presence this very
night. Nishioka Shintaro[u] spoke in no hypocrisy. The O'Kagé Sama now
was longing for the rightful substitution. His nest well feathered, he
would seek safer quarters with the softer charms of O'Han. On
Shu[u]zen's abrupt gesture and refusal he took his departure, almost
betraying his own disgruntlement. Comical was his despairing gesture as
he took his way to the bed of her ladyship.

The temple bell struck the seventh hour (3 A.M.). It roared and
reverberated through the room. Shu[u]zen opened his eyes. He was
tormented with the thirst inspired by his copious libations. His head
was heavy and whirling. He took a long draft from the jar close by his
pillow. Then he rose to tread the corridor. On his return he sought to
wash his hands. Turning to find the towel, close by him he saw a woman.
Dressed all in white, slender to emaciation, her face concealed by the
long hair which hung in heavy disordered masses over shoulders and
bosom, she presented to him the desired article. As he would take the
towel he spoke in surprise--"Who may this be, awake at this late hour
for Shu[u]zen's service?" Again the sad lamentable voice made
reply--"Fond the thoughts of his lordship. Long waited his return.
Report is to be made." At sight of her face he gave a cry--"Shimo!" At
the words the figure faded away. The outstretched towel fell to the
ground. A slight rustle of the breeze swept the corridor. "Shimo!
Shimo!" In amaze and suspicion came the words. Something had gone wrong
here. Shu[u]zen pressed the towel to his lips, as to get rid of the
nauseating taste in his mouth. Then came the voice from the garden. With
hasty movement he threw back the _amado_. The wind sighed through the
pines; a gentle patter of rain came in gusts. Close by the voice spoke
again--as from a _yukimido[u]ro_, one of those broad capped stone
lanterns, like to some squat figure of a gnome, and so beautiful an
ornament with white snow cap or glistening with the dripping mirror of
the rain.

"Report is to be made. Long has Shimo waited her lord's return. In this
Shimo was no treachery of heart. Devoted was her service to her lord. By
the hand of Nishioka Shintaro[u], by the malice of O'Hagi Dono, Shimo
and her unborn babe met a miserable end. Nor has the ill deed ended
there. Go now to the chamber of the wife, and witness the adulterous
deed. Deign to learn the truth from Shimo." The voice ceased. Shu[u]zen
passed a hand over his wine heated brow. Fox or badger? Did some over
bold and infamous apparition seek to delude him? With a bound he sought
his chamber and the sword at his pillow. He would deal harshly with such
lies. Then came a second thought. Why not ascertain the fact? He was the
husband. His presence was a right. Softly he made his way to the inner
apartments. At the outer ward he stumbled in the darkness against some
object. "Aré! The Tono Sama!" With a cry of alarm up sprang the sleeping
O'Han. She would have outstripped him in a race to the inner rooms, but
Shu[u]zen was too quick for her. With hand over mouth he dragged her to
the garden side. She would have cried out, and made resistance. Then he
changed her tune. Lacking confession he held her flat and prostrate
under him. Firmly grasping both wrists tight together, he forced his
dagger between the hands, and began to twist the keen blade. Unable to
resist the torture she soon told all she knew, confessed her own part of
watch and ward in the offense. This done, he drove the weapon through
her throat and left her pinned to where she lay, the limbs feebly
twitching in the last throes.

Assured of his suspicions Shu[u]zen now sought to surprise the lovers.
Cautiously he approached the sleeping room of her ladyship from the
inner side. There was no doubt of it. In the very throes of her passion
O'Hagi was without disguise. Shu[u]zen threw back the screens on this
vileness. "Lechers! For this disloyalty Shu[u]zen finds revenge! Make
ready!" Nishioka Shintaro[u] sprang to his feet, only to sink down in a
pool of blood which soaked the bed he had dishonoured. Severed from
shoulder to pap he died forthwith. With wild screams O'Hagi fled to the
corridor. As she reached it the point of the weapon was thrust through
her back, to come out at the navel. As she writhed and twisted on the
floor, Shu[u]zen measured the blow and nearly cut the body in twain.
"Ah! In good season the old bawd presents herself." In fright the old
woman's head had been thrust between the screens into the room close by
the master. An easy mark it fell severed to the ground, the blood
spouting its powerful streams from the arteries as from a pump. The
woman O'Tsugi was a sterner task. Aroused by the noise she came stalking
into the middle of the room, still rubbing eyes confused by sleep. "Ah!
The villainous cuckold. He has murdered these, and now would add the
next (_tsugi_). Not so!" With her wild jest she threw herself upon him.
Trained soldier as he was Shu[u]zen found the contest no easy one
against this virile woman. Getting the worst of it, she fastened her
teeth deep into his hand. Grunting with pain Shu[u]zen flung her off,
and quickly brought down the sword. Prostrate she lay, the blood stream
pouring over the real lord of this harem.

With a long breath Shu[u]zen surveyed his work. It was complete. Then he
went to the outer ward of the apartments. To his call no one came.
Repeated, in the distance of the _ro[u]ka_ appeared from the outer ward
(_omoté_) the old and faithful Nakamura Saisuké. At sight of his lord,
dyed in blood from head to foot, he threw up his hands. Without undue
haste or any words Shu[u]zen led him to the scene of the punishment.
Respectfully Saisuké brought a cushion. Then prostrate he waited for his
lord to speak. Long endured the silence. Then said Shu[u]zen
briefly--"Caught in the act of adultery this Shu[u]zen has put to death
the guilty. The results are most important. The lack of discipline in
the House is sure to lead to the honoured punishment by the suzerain.
From this there is no escape." Saisuké surveyed the scene with the calm
eye of experience. "Be in no haste, my lord. This Saisuké in his long
experience has seen many deeds of violence. For the present this matter
need not be published. Of the outer apartments (_omoté_), the
_chu[u]gen_ and servants need know nothing. In any case they do not
count, and can be sent away. The others are not curious; moreover they
are loyal, as _samurai_.... Of the inner apartments--a very clean sweep
has been made. Deign to leave matters for the present to this Saisuké."
With approval the old man examined the handiwork of his lord. It was
most thorough, even to the eye of this remnant of the battle field. Then
he went to work. The bodies he conveyed to the side of the artificial
mound in the garden. Digging out part of the hill, here he buried them;
forced in, dove-tailed together, in the smallest space; the old man
grumbling at the ground they occupied. Then with water he washed out the
blood stains on the wood work. When dry he would plane out tell-tale
marks. Meanwhile he would serve his lord, to the exclusion of all
others. Would the Tono Sama deign to rest? With sad misgivings the
_kyu[u]nin_ (house officer) watched Shu[u]zen as he retired to his room.
Himself he mounted guard at the women's entrance, to prevent all
intrusion.

Nakamura Saisuké's heart was pure. His age beyond recall. For two days
he struggled, alone in his task. On one pretext or another the
_samurai_ were sent off, one here one there, on lengthy missions.
Perhaps the old man's efforts had been too great. In the course of the
day a _chu[u]gen_, come on some affair, found him flat on his belly,
groaning with pain as in the very last extremities. To the man's
inquiries he could but cry out with colic and distress. Aid was brought,
but only to find him dead. Then a second discovery was made. Report was
necessary to his lordship. Here all was found closed against reception.
On making their way into the inner room Shu[u]zen was found, clad all in
white, the bloody dirk in hand, the body fallen forward on the
ceremonial mats. He had cut his belly open, on retiring for the night.
All now was in confusion. Should the _karo[u]_ be awaited. None knew
this exile to the Ko[u]shu[u] fief, beyond his reputed morose severity.
Official there was none to whom to make report. They were afraid, and
took their own part. With everything of value they could lay their hands
on they fled in different directions. The open gate and abandonment
attracted attention. The dead body of Shu[u]zen was proved a voluntary
_seppuku_ (cut belly) for some cause; that of the old man required no
explanation. The inquiry set on foot led only to confusion, and was soon
lost in the greater question of the heirship. Placed in charge of Yamada
Dono, a caretaker was sought for the _yashiki_. A property tangled in a
long dispute, this would seem a pleasing task and one to summon many
applicants. But this was not the case. Successful candidacy was followed
by early exodus. None could endure the frightful sounds heard every
night; the cries of pleasure followed by the screams of those in the
agony of a painful dying. Spectral lights were seen, the old well in the
garden poured forth its confined spirits, all the evil influence of the
place was rejuvenated in the minds of people by this last disaster.
"Thus the matter rests. 'Tis not this Shimo who is the cause of these
nightly scenes of strife and pain. In mad chase Shu[u]zen Dono, the
Okusama, the villainous Nishioka and his concubines, act the scene of
their cutting off. Shimo has but her part, to find Nirvana in the
worship of the upright. Deign this act of kindness." At the fierceness
of the voice Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon started. The red light of dawn was
pouring into the open room. All sight of the dreadful vision had faded
from the wall before him. Vision, or fact? It had been too vivid to
doubt. Yet as he came to the mound he passed around it. On the side next
to the lake now he noticed that it was all caved in, an obvious
depression. The tale then had truth. Thus he took his way from the
haunted precincts, determined to secure the _yashiki_ as his own, and
the future rest and peace of Nirvana to the unhappy O'Shimo.



CHAPTER VI

THE SHRINE OF THE O'INARI SAMA


Something has been already said of the _chu[u]gen_ Isuké, unwilling
guide of Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon to the haunted house of the Go
Bancho[u]. Thus is the second person of the name of Shu[u]zen introduced
into the traditions and history of the Bancho[u]. Of him and his
experiences with its denizens something is to be said.

Okumura Shu[u]zen had distinguished himself in the Amakusa uprising of
1637-8. A retainer of Matsudaira Nobutsuna he had not been the last man
to force his way into the blazing ruins of Arima castle. He did his very
best amid the struggling mass of halt, maimed, and blind, after the real
defenders of the castle had died weapons in hand. He was able to present
himself before his lord with a reasonable number of his own company with
heads on their shoulders; and a phenomenal number of heads minus
shoulders, of all ages and sexes--men, women, and children--of the
castle inmates. Against the once owners Shu[u]zen had little grudge. So
much was to be said of him. In private he railed against the bad rule
which had brought him and his fellows into the field against the
embattled farmers. But this was a thing to be endured; not cured, except
by time. Rebellion against the liege lord, under the leadership of
_samurai_ once retainers of the cowardly Konishi Yukinaga, added edge to
his sword and point to his spear. His service brought him in the train
of his lord's progress to Edo. In the report made Okumura Shu[u]zen
figured so well, that request--amounting to command--transferred him to
the Tokugawa over-lord. Made _hatamoto_ with fief of four hundred _koku_
he was as well liked by his greater lord as when in the humbler service
of a _daimyo[u]_. Five years of faithful work, and the necessities of
Government for his _yashiki_ site in Mita received the reward of a
liberal grant of another site in the Go Bancho[u], together with the
thousand _ryo[u]_ of costs of removal.

The work of transfer was pushed forward. The more modest abode of a lord
of moderate income, and the massive gateway with its supporting walls
and fence of closely woven, sharp pointed, bamboo retiring into the
distance now were ready to shut in Shu[u]zen to the privacy of his share
in the suzerain's defence. Plainly Shu[u]zen Dono put more confidence in
his own prowess, or insignificance, than in the strength of outer
defences against sudden attack of those at feud with him. Part of his
tract inclosed a shrine of the Inari goddess. This had still its
worshippers. On his inspection Shu[u]zen noted the loneliness of the
building, its desolation. Yet it was clean swept and kept, and a money
box for offerings was proof of attendance at the shrine. Whether this
was of man or beast was not so easy to determine, for traces of the
latter were plain to the eye. Their tracks swarmed about the building
itself. As Shu[u]zen stood in some uncertainty, a woman of the middle
class appeared. To inquiries she admitted that the care of the shrine
was due to herself and her piety; a care gladly rendered to its
efficacy. It had returned to her a son once sent adrift to the
provinces; and to her affection a husband who had gone astray much
closer home, for the intruding female was a minor member of her own
household. Finding excuse in some domestic misdeed, the worthy cit had
sent forth the damsel into the wilderness of the world with the fruit of
her experience. The relief of this incubus, and the return of a more
rightful heir than promised, the good lady attributed to the virtue of
her prayers to the Inari Sama. She was urgent to bring support to her
views in the general opinion of all the neighbourhood, mainly of the
Ko[u]jimachi village. These corroborated what she said as to the
shrine's efficacy and petitioned for its continued support. Made the
tutelary shrine of the _yashiki_, separated therefrom by a mere
brushwood fence, this Inari Jinja of the Bancho[u] continued to exist
for the good of the public and the annoyance of the amiable Okumura
Shu[u]zen. Its _kannushi_ (Shinto priest) he could never find. The woman
and others said that he lived at Ushinakizaka. At least the money
contributions were always accounted for, although they had never seen
his face. A few days before the formal opening of the _yashiki_ the
_chu[u]gen_ Isuké and the workmen stood with puzzled faces before a hole
discovered underneath the flooring of the shrine. It led to some passage
or cave. None were in humour to investigate, perhaps to the annoyance of
the O'Inari Sama. At Isuké's direction, and with difficulty in the
cramped space, it was found possible to shove into place the massive
granite slab which fitted tightly into the aperture, and plainly
belonged to it. "A one time store house of the god," quoth Isuké. With
that he and the others betook themselves to their divers tasks of
finishing the clearing up of building and surroundings. In the
excitement and confusion of moving in there was little thought of the
cavity in this twelfth month of Kwanei twentieth year (January 1644),
and the idea of making report was lost sight of until other conditions
brought up again the subject.

The ceremonial visits of the New Year, the congratulations and presents,
were to be made to the suzerain by his attendant _hatamoto_ and the
_daimyo[u]_ then in Edo town. Every _yashiki_ was in a turmoil of
excitement and confusion. Even in the greater _yashiki_ there was demand
for outsiders to carry the _hakomochi_ or long boxes, for the
_rokushaku_ (six footers) or tall fellows to carry the sedan chair, for
others to bear the _kappakago_ or rain-coat boxes. _Samurai_,
_ashigaru_, spearholders, _chu[u]gen_, _zo[u]ri_ holders--these were
attendant in the _yashiki_. But the minor establishments were mainly
dependent on outside aid to swell the lord's train. Hence the rôle of
Bandzuin Cho[u]bei and his successors was no sinecure, in addition to
the exercise of the art of arranging time and place so that the inferior
lords would be least inconvenienced by the necessary and often
humiliating deference to their superiors in rank. The guild patron
looked well to the interests of his employers--_daimyo[u]_--with small
regard to those who shifted for themselves; which was one of the causes
of grudge by the _hatamoto_ against Cho[u]bei, later removed from the
scene by assassination.

Every horse in Edo, destined for the morrow's ceremony, underwent the
pampered treatment that the groom Kakunai devoted to his master's nag.
On the preceding day Kagé (Fawn colour) had been treated to all the
luxuries of horse diet. He must eat for to-day and for to-morrow, and
perform all the offices connected there with beforehand. Said
Kakunai--"Kagé, be circumspect and constipated. To-morrow the master
offers congratulations at the castle. Kagé is stuffed beyond measure
to-day, that he be able to fast to-morrow. Show no discontent. For the
passage of the sun there is to be no eating, and but a modicum of
drinking. Halt not the procession for unseemly purposes." He stroked the
horse, and the pleased animal purred and whinnied with the contentment
of a cat at being petted. Then harshly said a voice in the ear of the
bending Kakunai--"For this feed of the year's end thanks are rendered.
Though not exactly of the kind desired, the intent has been good and the
stomach filled. Hence congratulations in turn for the New Year season."

Kakunai jumped as if some one had thrust the unblunted end of a spear
into his posteriors. He looked around, and over, and under the horse.
"Who speaks? Where from? And what concerning?... Yai! Yai! It's Kagé!...
Is no one hiding hereabouts, to make a fool of Kakunai?" With eyes
bolting out he backed away in terror. The horse grinned broadly, showing
its ugly yellow teeth in attempt at graciousness--"It is true. Kagé,
addresses the honoured _betto[u]_ Kakunai, gives congratulations to his
friend." Kakunai did not wait to receive them. Now he bolted forth in
person, to burst into the room of the _chu[u]gen_ Isuké, just then
struggling to arrange garments and hair for attendance on his lord's
progress. Head throbbing from not unliberal potations due to the seasons
festivities this was no pleasant task. To Kakunai's report the answer
was prompt and sour--"Kakunai is a liar or a fool; or if he would play a
jest on Isuké, his own head shall ache as badly." Kakunai accepted the
challenge and asseverated the truth of his report. Not at all convinced,
and with a gloomy satisfaction of the idea of having it out with Kakunai
on failure of the proof, Isuké accompanied the groom to the stable.
Kakunai gingerly made up to the horse--"Kakunai has been friend to Kagé.
Hence he is called liar or fool or mountebank. Deign to prove his truth,
Kagé Dono." Respectfully he bowed to the horse. The latter at once
turning to the _chu[u]gen_, brayed into his face--"'Tis fact. Kagé is at
least as human as these his brothers. He speaks to whom he wills. Not so
with Isuké and Kakunai. A word to the Tono Sama, and Kagé will kill and
eat these his friends. Keep his good will by friendship." Gently the
horse raised a front hoof. The voice was harsh; and the push, though
gentle--for a horse--sent Isuké flat, with reminder of Kagé thus closely
applied. Without a word the _chu[u]gen_ wallowed from the floor, none
too clean, and took to flight. Kakunai followed after, holding his nose.
In the privacy of the _chu[u]gen's_ room Isuké changed to sweeter garb
and discussed the matter with Kakunai. Should his lordship be informed?
Kakunai, as immediate attendant and in greatest danger, earnestly
protested. Isuké at any time might be brought into closest contact with
Kagé in his office of _chu[u]gen_ attending his master. They agreed that
it would be very disagreeable to be killed and eaten, especially with
such evidences of Kagé's powers of disposition. Hence nothing was to be
said; or rather each agreed to leave the matter of report to the other.

Great was the crush and excitement on this day of the year. Long and
continuous were the processions (_gyo[u]retsu_) of _daimyo[u]_ and
_hatamoto_ making their way to and from the castle. The rule of the day
was to avoid unnecessary collision, as far as possible; not only in the
matter of precedence, but of order. Commoners, male and female, old and
young, _ro[u]nin_, _samurai_, according to their caste squatted or
prostrated themselves in reverential attitude as the palanquin of some
lord passed by. Caustic or benign, generally malicious, the comment of
the Kidahachi and Yajiro[u]bei--"O[u]kubo Hikoroku Dono; 'tis true he
possesses influence, and the roughness of Hikoza Sama, but the keen wit
of the honoured father lacks."--"Yet the lord O[u]kubo has much kindness
beneath his roughness. The latter is passport to the favour of the
suzerain." Iyeyasu Ko[u] ruled by statecraft; Hidétada Ko[u] by
benevolence; the third Sho[u]gun Iyemitsu Ko[u], by rough energy. Such
the tradition of the personality of these three men handed down in
Nippon's history. With the passage of Tadamune Ko[u], of the great
Sendai fief, heads went very low. Great his wealth, and greater still
was his influence with the Suzerain. Tadamune swept proudly on; the
future disasters represented in the boy who rode close to the palanquin,
and whose licentious life later threatened to wreck the wealth and
position of the great house.

At the dismount notice (_geba-fuda_) Okumura Shu[u]zen, accompanied by
two pages, donned _zo[u]ri_ (sandals) and betook himself to the palace.
He was a small figure in this crush of great nobles, but as _hatamoto_
had his right and duty of being present at the palace; both rigidly
enforced, and assuredly with greater regard and welcome than most of the
men of much greater rank, always regarded with suspicion. The modest
train of a four hundred _koku_ lord was squeezed into a corner of this
mass of underlings waiting the return of their masters from audience.
Close companion to his beloved and now feared Kagé, the groom Kakunai
was well satisfied with his insignificance. Great was his consternation
to hear the harsh voice of his equine friend in his ear. A whisper to
Kagé meant a roar to the crowd--"Naruhodo! The stench of these humans
excels even that of the stable. One is as much confined here as there.
His lordship has now departed. Deign, Kakunai San, to indulge in
amusement. Let's be off--to the Kwannon of Asakusa, to the Yoshiwara.
Here there is naught but press and riot. In the pleasure quarter both
convey diversion. Deign so to regard it." With wide open mouths those
around turned to the quarter whence came these uncomplimentary terms.
Kakunai was sweating with fear--"Shut up!... Rude? Then deign to be
silent. Great the press. To withdraw is difficult; to desert his
lordship impossible. Silence is the part of the inferior." At this
exercise of authority the horse grumbled loudly--"Away from the stinking
stable one feels gay and at ease. Quicksilver runs in the veins. At
Yoshiwara the _hatsudochu[u]_ will be in progress. Following the
processions of the honoured _oiran_, liberal will be the _saké_ offered
at the tea houses. Deign, Kakunai San, to reconsider your purpose to
remain."

At this Kakunai almost melted into the icy puddle on the ground. He
shivered as he wiped the cold sweat dripping from his forehead. At first
voices said--"Who is speaking in these ribald terms? Kakunai San is it
not? Who the companion?... Oya! 'Tis the horse which talks! Asakusa and
Yoshiwara? What say the women to the presence of the beast? Eh! Off with
you, Kakunai San, to show which is horse and which groom." They crowded
around the pair, not daring to come close. Kakunai felt extremely
unwell. He could not deny the fact. "Like boys, he boasts beyond his
powers. The power of speech runs loose. Yet as a horse it is a wise
beast, the treasure of a four hundred _koku yashiki_, since none other
possesses his like. Deign to note his own proclamation of his tastes."
This was to throw the consequences of discovery on the animal, to file
the sharpness of teeth against the promised mauling of Kakunai's flesh.
Then he waxed eloquent and proud--"A fine horse indeed! Such a horse in
battle is unequalled. Is it not so, Kagé?" And Kagé promptly answered to
his friend's praise. "A horse of noble quality, with good deeds to his
credit, gains reputation. At the astonishment of the foe the rider runs
them through with the spear. Hence gain of heads, and reputation to both
steed and master." Kagé spun round, letting fly hoofs in all directions,
shaking his head and biting savagely. At this display of battle fire
those too close fled in disorder. At a safe distance wonder and advice
was expressed. "Deign to be off, Kakunai San. Truly the animal is foxed,
and foxes enough are to be found in Yoshiwara. He will find company
without fail." Kakunai, as he restrained the beast, now full at
ease--"Of that we are assured. Alas! He cannot squat. In that he is
clumsy, as is the red haired, green-eyed western barbarian. Otherwise it
is not Kakunai who would bring coin to Nakanocho[u], but convey money
hence." Some agreed, and some disagreed, and all congratulated. Thus did
horse and groom get much advertisement at the O[u]te-mon, to the
subsequent profit of both.

Shu[u]zen, audience granted, appeared at the castle gate. Respectfully
the crowd drew apart, and watched the lord depart with his train. Never
had one of the minor _hatamoto_ attracted greater attention; and of
these many were notable men for personal exploits. Entirely unconscious
of this notice Shu[u]zen rode off to his _yashiki_. In the course of
the succeeding days many visits were to be paid, and the wondrous fact
had chance to spread from the under world to the surface. At the
_yashiki_ of Abé Shiro[u]goro[u] the salutations were exchanged; the
spiced _saké_ to preserve life--the _to[u]so_--was brought forth.
Shu[u]zen detected in his host a quizzical, even amused attitude. Said
Shiro[u]goro[u]--"Shu[u]zen Uji, did he deign to ride, or mount the
_kago_ (palanquin)." The question was abrupt, and seemed not over
courteous. A _hatamoto_ of four hundred _koku_ possessed steed and
spearmen. Abé Shiro[u]goro[u] was a great lord, and Shu[u]zen answered
smoothly, seeking any source of offense. To his affirmative, said the
host--"Then Shu[u]zen Dono perhaps deigned to mount the favourite and
talking horse.... Surely he knows of the animal's great gift....
Congratulations are due, for what is the talk of the castle precincts."
Shu[u]zen's astonishment was too great not to be genuine. He was the
first to propose to Abé Dono the taking of a look at the noted beast. He
was eager to inspect an animal, which, it seemed, he had as yet never
seen. The two lords came forth to the _genkwan_ (house entrance). On
summons Kakunai brought forward the horse, expecting his lord to mount,
not exactly understanding the presence of the lord of the mansion.
Shu[u]zen's first words enlightened him unpleasantly. With some
severity--"Kakunai, does this horse talk?" Thunderstruck Kakunai did not
know what answer to make. Kagé could bite. His master could do worse, if
enough angered. He hesitated--"Hai!" Quoth Shu[u]zen--"'Hai' is no
answer. Has the horse power of human speech?" Kakunai put his hand to
his head, then turned to Kagé, who was obstinately silent. He gave him
as hard a blow on the neck as he dared, without result. "The Tono Sama
has heard the tale; as has this Kakunai. His head in a whirl, Kakunai
knows not whether it be true or not. By an humble groom such matters are
not understood. To report idle gossip or the illusions of one's brain,
savours of impudence. Deign the question in person. Kagé refuses answer
to this Kakunai."

Thus skilfully he lied. Kagé eyed him with approval; Shu[u]zen with some
doubt. He turned to the horse--"Kagé, it is said you speak. Shu[u]zen is
the master. Answer without lying." Kagé spoke, indifferent to rank and
without circumlocution of polite society--"'Tis so; and just as does a
human being. Truly Shu[u]zen Sama has supplied a most foul smelling
place to learn the art." Abé Shiro[u]goro[u] snickered--"Kagé Dono is
too precise. Would he learn the art of converse over his master's
wine?"--"Not unwillingly," replied the nag. "But in any case he would
have Isuké and this lazy groom make better and more frequent use of
broom and bucket. The good offices of Abé Dono are requested." By this
retort courteous the two noblemen were silenced and amused. Uncertain as
to the course of further converse with the beast Okumura made
salutation, mounted and departed homewards. As he gave the horse into
the groom's charge he said--"It is for Kakunai to keep in mind the words
of Kagé." As he vigorously applied broom and water to the stall and
vicinity of the favoured animal, Kakunai mentally determined that on the
whole Shu[u]zen Dono was the more dangerous of the two. Hence-forward he
would be careful to remember all that Kagé said--and make report.



CHAPTER VII

THE LUCK OF OKUMURA SHU[U]ZEN


The first efforts of Shu[u]zen at solving this mystery were not overly
successful. A _samurai_, he betook himself to the highest exponent of
the caste cult. In search of illumination he hit upon Hayashi Daigaku no
Kami Dono. This man, learned in all the lore of Morokoshi (China), head
of the certified institute of letters--the University--could but confess
his ignorance--vicariously. Rats nesting in the tails of horses formed
part of the experience of books, but not of that of men. Of talking
horses there was no authenticated case. The whole matter remained
without proof. He had never heard of such. Shu[u]zen squatted in a
drowsy stupefaction as an incomprehensible learning was poured into his
ear. He choked with the dust raised from the ancient volumes, tenderly
and reverently pawed over by the learned doctor, who seemed dust-proof.
Finally through the mist he heard the asseveration that it must be the
work of fox or badger. It was matter for the diviner, not the divinity
of the learned. With this Hayashi Dono gave the pile of dusty script
before him a mighty thump, and disappeared behind the cloud he had
raised.

Okumura Shu[u]zen sought the open air and respiration. Where now should
he go for counsel? He would sell the beast. Kakunai sought mercy. He was
but a groom, and death was easy at his master's hand. At all events
easier than the one promised by Kagé, if Kakunai should lead him out to
the market, and with fluent lies send him forth to earn the cruel
livelihood of his kind between the shafts of a cart. Shu[u]zen was a
kindly man; the horse one deserving better treatment. The groom's terror
and the beast's threat added a new and interesting element to this
search into the unknown. On the next day was to be heard memorial
service for the ancestral tablets. This was to be performed in person
by the abbot of the Seisho[u]ji of Shiba, Bankei Osho[u] known to fame.
Shu[u]zen snoozed and exercised patience as the abbot read and expounded
the lengthy _sutra_ scroll. Over the subsequent repast he broached the
subject of the talk of beasts, and his own particular difficulties.
Bankei Osho[u] was most interested. All animals had speech and memory
according to their kind. Food, a master's kindness, their own particular
concerns, were matters of great intelligence among them. Why then should
speech be aught else than to possess the organ? Such was the case with
parrots. Monkeys evidently understood each other well, understood the
gestures of men. As to the horse, there were very ancient records of the
speech of such; so dim in the memory of men that probably they were mere
talk of ignorance. But he would see this wondrous beast. Deign that
guidance be supplied.

Shu[u]zen grasped at the offer. The abbot spoke with an ease and
glibness that only the ecclesiastic on his own ground can show to those
ignorant of his subject. He wrapped his lore, made easy for the
beginner, in such technical phraseology, that Shu[u]zen could grasp at
the meaning without knowing anything about what the abbot said, and
hence had all the greater respect for the immense truth which he could
see and not understand. Appreciation is as good as knowing--for the one
who would pose--and soon Shu[u]zen and the cleric stood at the house
entrance, waiting the production of the horse. Isuké in haste had
carried the message to Kakunai. Kakunai, assured of his master's
forbearance and Kagé's accomplishments, had been none too sober since
that happy day. Said he aloud--"A horse is not an ass; and a talking
horse is one of his kind. Tip money to see the wondrous beast has flowed
into the stable; and wine has flowed into Kakunai. For Kagé there has
been soft rice paste (_mochi_) and dumpling (_dango_) in unstinted
quantities. The pastry cook has been overworked. Kagé, now seize the
opportunity. Speak with fluency and argument. Ah! If you had but the
taste of this Kakunai! Wine would be an inspiration."--"Just try me!"
chimed in the brute's voice. "Follow up the wine with rice cakes in
syrup (_shiruko_). Otherwise Kagé opens not his mouth, except to bite.
Grievous is it to exercise speech, and to witness the benefits accruing
to the human hog. Henceforth Kakunai must share alike with Kagé." At
this rebellion Kakunai was dumbfounded--"Nay, Kagé! _Shiruko_ and _saké_
for a beast? Never would such come to the inside of the belly (mind) of
Kakunai. If you did but know its content...."--"Shut up!" was the nag's
discourteous response. "Kagé knows it well. You have eaten _takuan_
(pickled radish), and it smells none too sweet. A little further off,
good Sir: now--who is this would be interviewer?"

Reduced to proper proportion Kakunai made humble reply. "Most fitting
company for the honoured Kagé Sama. The abbot Bankei deigns his
presence." The horse gave a violent snort, and plunged back to the limit
of his halter. "Kagé talks not with a priest, nor henceforth with
anyone." Kakunai was all consternation--"But Kagé Dono ... the tips!
This refusal is terrific. Why not favour the curiosity of the Osho[u]
Sama? Deign to reconsider. The dainties of Kagé, the wine of Kakunai,
are at stake. Silent before the Osho[u], the Danna Sama in anger will
strike off the head of Kagé. Kakunai loses friend and fortune at a
blow." The animal duly mused. "It is so. Shu[u]zen Dono of late has been
short tempered. It cannot be avoided. Better had it been for Kakunai to
take this Kagé and depart to country fairs and towns; to pick up much
coin for wine and dainties. However, all may go well. Delay not past the
coming night to join yourself with Kagé. Between the service of
Shu[u]zen and that of Kagé this low fellow (_yaro[u]_) Kakunai must not
hesitate."--"Just so," agreed the groom. "It is mere matter of gambling
anyhow that any ill occurs. Drinking wine, does Kagé also gamble?" A
shudder went through the frame of the horse--"Why speak thus? Of horses'
bones the dice are made. Would Kagé trifle with the relics of his kind?
Make answer, Kakunai." He spoke with a fierce earnestness. Kakunai
stammering sought answer. Just then Isuké appeared, to urge all speed.

With lowered heads man and beast appeared at the house entrance. Kakunai
touched three fingers to the ground. To insure due reverence Kakunai had
haltered Kagé so that he could talk, but hardly move a limb. At sight
of the beast Bankei Osho[u] took his most severe ecclesiastical pose.
Dressed in violet robes, the gold embroidered stole (_kesa_) over his
shoulders, the rosary of crystal beads in hand, he approached the horse.
With the brush of long white hair which clears away the dust of the
world's offences (_hossu_) he swept the circumambient air. Long he
observed the nag. Then coming close to it he grasped the forelock. Kagé
raised his head, with open mouth as if about to snap. The abbot
continued his recitation of the holy _sutra_. Mouth still wide open,
clumsily the horse sank on his knees before the priest. Then suddenly
and deftly Bankei thrust a bolus into the open mouth, which closed as
moved by springs. Sweeping the air with _hossu_ and his rescued
arm--"Acquire the heart of virtue. Assume the true nature, and seek
Nirvana." He kept on stroking the beast's head with the rosary. Once or
twice Kagé opened his mouth as if to speak. Then incontinently the body
rolled over lifeless. The bystanders looked on with fear and amazement.
Without speaking the abbot took the arm of Shu[u]zen and accompanied him
within.

Kakunai, left to himself, rolled to the ground as speechless as his four
legged charge. Tears of sorrow and anger flowed copiously. "Ah! He is
dead! Kagé is dead! Wise was he to advise flight. Alas! This beast of a
_bo[u]zu_ (priest), what purge did he use, thus to cut off at once the
breath of Kagé? No more gambling, no more wine, with Kagé nicely bedded
and asleep in his stable, and Kakunai with equal luck asleep in the
pleasure quarter! Alas! Alas! Kagé is no better now than a dead
ass--while Kakunai still lives." Thus he vented his grief, to the
amusement of his fellows who had shared but little in his fortunes.
Meanwhile Shu[u]zen and the abbot were otherwise engaged. Said
Bankei--"Deign to relate something of how Shu[u]zen Dono came to this
_yashiki_. Honoured Sir, was not the former site in Mita? How came the
change?" Shu[u]zen explained the conditions and the time of change to
his new site and experiences. If there was aught of grudge, it attached
rather to place than person. To this Bankei Osho[u] was agreed. "The
fact of the case is plain to Bankei. The spirit directing the actions of
the horse is not the spirit of the animal. The possession brought to an
end by the exorcism, the alien spirit departed, and the carcass of the
animal deprived of this influence, it fell to the ground an inert mass,
like to the abandoned shell of the cicada. But the malevolent influence
is to be found. This is the task of Shu[u]zen Dono. Deign, honoured sir,
then to have memorial rites performed by this Bankei, and no longer will
the _yashiki_ be haunted by such unusual and unseemly performance....
Daigaku no Sensei? He is but a Confucianist, bound to the letter of
material substance. Nor would he confess the ignorance of the spiritual
world he undoubtedly is gifted with, of the law of punishment for deeds
performed in a past existence (_ingwai_) as taught by the Lord Buddha.
The materialist has his nose to earth, and can see naught else. The
idiot has his nose to heaven, and can see naught else. The Buddha's Law
comprehends Heaven and Earth. Hence its truth." With this expression of
the _odium theologicum_ the worthy abbot departed templewards,
accompanied, as gage for further proceedings and profit, by the carcass
of the horse. Bankei had this inhumed in the ground behind the main hall
of the temple. Kakunai superintended these last obsequies. The abbot's
words, as to the malevolence of the influence involved, was proved to
Shu[u]zen the next day, when report was brought that the groom had
hanged himself at the gratings of the stall once occupied by Kagé. Moved
by this strong hint, Kakunai was sent to join his equine friend in one
common grave.

Warned by the unusual nature of these events Shu[u]zen determined at
once to trace out the source of this evil influence. It was his duty as
a _samurai_ to suppress such manifestations occurring so close to the
suzerain's dwelling. It was to his own interest to free the _yashiki_
from such noxious vapours. The _karo[u]_, Beita Heima, set on foot an
investigation. Then it was that Isuké the _chu[u]gen_ had thought of the
hole detected under the shrine of the O'Inari Sama. On Shu[u]zen's order
the _karo[u]_ undertook the task of examining this suspicious adjunct to
the _yashiki_. Torches in hand several _chu[u]gen_, under the direction
of the _samurai_, were appointed to the work. The men hesitated a little
to violate the precincts of the shrine. Growled Beita--"The carpenters
did not hesitate to build it. What they put up, men can destroy. Up
with the boarding. Thus the stone easily will be raised." The directions
were carried out. There were many tracks of beasts, all of which seemed
to converge to this spot. With removal of flooring and joists, soon the
massive lid of granite was raised on edge. With a thud and cloud of dust
it fell to one side. The men drew away, not only checked by the dark
aperture exposed, but by the foul odour which poured up from the
confined space. Holding his nose the _karo[u]_ took a lighted torch for
further inspection of depth and means of entrance. "Um! A shallow place;
not more than a _jo[u]_ (10 feet). Who volunteers to enter? Come! Don't
be backward on his lordship's service. Isuké, eh?"

Isuké came forward readily enough at the call. He was a brave man, and
moreover a little angered at the fate of his one time friend, Kakunai.
If the beast of a horse, or the spirit beast, held occupancy here, Isuké
would deal with him. The kick of spiritual hoofs and the bite of
immaterial teeth had no terrors for Isuké. Carefully inspecting his
ground he took the leap. A lighted torch was lowered to him. With this
he marched off, the light growing quickly faint in the darkness. "Oya!
Oya! 'Tis strange. The stench--it is unendurable. The darkness too thick
even for the torch. It fails to burn." For a time his voice was heard
rumbling off with increasing distance. To repeated shouts no answer was
returned. Said Heima--"Isuké has gone too far, out of range. Some other
must bear him aid.... What! All milk livers? You, Gensuké, love the wine
cellar. Its care would seem to be your calling. Now down with you! Here
is one made to hand for the _yashiki_. Make report of the discovery to
his lordship." Gensuké was most unwilling, but his comrades loudly
applauded the choice. He was lowered into the hole by hands energetic to
lend him assistance in reaching its depths. Provided with a light he too
started off on his march into the darkness. "Iya! Iya! What stench! 'Tis
past endurance. Ah! There is a loud roaring yonder. Gensuké will
investigate. Deign support in necessity." His voice also faded off with
the distance. Then all was silence. Those outside now could hear the
faint reverberation spoken of. To their shouts there was no answer. All
were much alarmed. They looked into each others' faces. At the
_karo[u]'s_ order there was now no hesitation, though there was some
grumbling at the rashness of those who risked the wrath of the O'Inari
Sama by the heedless undertaking.

Three or four men at once jumped down into the hole. With dimly burning
torches, and holding each other by the hand, they made their way into
the blackness of the cavern. Almost at once came a cry, answered by
others. Those above leaned eagerly over the aperture. Some took the
leap. Soon the men appeared, dragging along the limp and helpless body
of Gensuké. The trouble now was clear. The men had been overcome by the
vicious air of the cave. Soon Isuké also was brought to the upper air.
With the removal all the roar and reverberation was transferred to the
surface. The two men lay unconscious, breathing noisily, and to all
appearance in great extremity. Beita San at once ordered local aid.
While friction and cold water was being applied, the leech summoned,
Saito[u] Sensei, came on the ground. Heima questioned anxiously as to
the men's condition. The Sensei reassured him--"It is but the noxious
air of the cavern which has overcome them. A day or two, and they will
be as good as ever." The old man wrinkled his face and chuckled a little
as he surveyed the victims of the O'Inari Sama. Greatly was the
reputation of the shrine for efficacy added to in this punishment. "Boy
and man this aging Saito[u] Genan has known the place. Evil its repute.
The cave is very ancient, and in the past much feared by people round
about. Failure to worship has been followed by misfortune. Horse or cow
has disappeared, house been burned down, or pregnant wife frightened
into miscarriage by apparitions. Young girls attending at the shrine
have disappeared. Its reputation is as evil as that of the Ko[u]jimachi
well yonder." He jerked a finger in the direction indicated, at the
neighbouring site beyond the bamboo fence. "A bolus, and these fellows
are restored to consciousness." From his wallet he prepared the drug.
Gensuké showed signs of life, opened his eyes, uneasily moving first
this limb, and then that. Isuké sat bolt upright, with most stentorian
snort. He waved both arms with a violence which sent his two supporters
to the ground. In wrath he sprang up, but the malign effect was still
too powerful. His legs wavered under him, and they had to come again to
his aid. However, it was necessary to carry off Gensuké limp and
helpless; with the support of the arms on each side of him, Isuké made
his way back to the _yashiki_ on his own legs.

Heima made report to his lord of what had passed, of the history of the
place as reported by Saito[u] Sensei. Shu[u]zen pursed his lips, and
inquired as to the condition of Isuké. The _chu[u]gen_ was a favoured
attendant; one much trusted. At the end of a week he was summoned to his
lord's presence. "And Katai (tough) Isuké, his experience has gone
beyond his powers?" Shu[u]zen spoke with that slight jeering condolence
which arouses obstinacy. Isuké, prostrate on his hands, expressed
gratitude for his lord's reproof. The fault was not his. Overcome by the
foul air he became giddy, then lost all sensation of time or place. "And
the roaring and noises, these did not frighten Isuké into his
faint?"--"Roaring, noise, there were none; beyond the gentle drip of
water often heard in such places. The roaring heard must have been due
to the snoring of Gensuké. The cowardly fellow still clings to the bed,
sucking in the dainty fare of the invalid; not so, Isuké." Shu[u]zen had
an idea. All the others were too struck by fear to be of aid--"Then
Isuké fears not the work of fox or badger. He will again make the
venture?"--"For the Tono Sama; though none too willingly," was the
_chu[u]gen's_ reply. "Fox or badger? Let them but come under the knife
of Isuké, and he will make soup of them; a better soup than they supply
otherwise. But the stench!"--"And the foxes of Nakano (Shinjuku)?" Isuké
blushed. His master was far too knowing.

At Shu[u]zen's order that night Isuké met his lord at the steps of the
Inari Shrine. The adventure pleased Shu[u]zen. He was still young enough
to delight in exposure and difficulties. Plainly old Beita was not the
man for this task. His retainers readily would obey their lord's
direction. But Shu[u]zen hungered for a more direct credit. He stripped
to his loin cloth in the cold winter night. Isuké followed his lord's
example. The job would be no clean one. Then the two men dropped to the
floor of the cavern. Isuké spoke in surprise. "Naruhodo! At night the
place seems much brighter than by day." He looked around in some
suspicion and astonishment. Then his eye rested on the torches. "Oya!
The torch burns brightly, not dimly as before. Pfu! The stench is
unaltered, but the air at least is breathable." Preceding his master by
some ten paces, Shu[u]zen heard him give a shout. Hastening up, with
Isuké he bent over the aperture of what seemed to be a well. What was
its depth? "In with you, Isuké," said Shu[u]zen. The _chu[u]gen_
protested--"Nay! The Tono Sama deigns to jest. Is Isuké a bat
(_ko[u]mori_), one to fly off into the darkness.... Ah! The depth is
terrific. The light hardly shows the blackness of the place. It may
reach down to Meido itself." Shu[u]zen lit a second torch, then cast it
down into the cavity. He broke into a laugh. The light continued to burn
brightly. "Meido then is not far off. The bottom of the well lies not
five _shaku_ (feet) below. Now in with you!" Anticipating the
_chu[u]gen_ he sprang down himself.

Isuké spoke, holding his nose--"Heigh! Tono Sama, deign to go no
further. The stink passes beyond measurement. It increases with distance
gone. Peugh! It blows from yonder." He pointed to a low aperture in one
corner of the roundish space in which they stood. Shu[u]zen could
understand better now. The whole cave was due to water; had been formed
by water in the loose volcanic soil. The well was a mere passage way by
which it once had risen, and been drained off again. Isuké was right.
With decuple vigour the stench now rose close to hand. "In with you,"
was the peremptory order. "Anything found in way of gold and silver
belongs to Isuké; and caves are always rich in such finds."--"Is that
so?" said the _chu[u]gen_--"It is the tale of old books; which often
lie. But in with you, and find out." Under spur of avarice and command
Isuké crawled into the passage. He had gone but a bare ten feet when
Shu[u]zen heard a most fearful yell, saw the rapid progress outwards of
the posteriors of Isuké. The man's face was chalk white--"Deign, Danna
Sama, to go no further." He choked for utterance. "How now!" said
Shu[u]zen in pretended astonishment. "Fox or badger? They were to be
converted into soup for Katai Isuké, soft food for his grinders."--"For
fox or badger Isuké cares not. He invites their presence.... Kiya!"
Shu[u]zen in sport had placed a cold wet hand on his neck. "Ah! The
Danna jests. Of fox and badger soup is made. With human stench it is not
savoured. There is a dead body within. Hence the frightful odour."

Shu[u]zen at once began to twist his head towel around his nose. With
feeblest protest Isuké saw him take the torch and disappear into the
passage. Soon his voice was heard. "Isuké! Isuké! Is he milk livered?
How about the gold and silver? Would Isuké abandon it?" Isuké would not.
In a trice he was on hands and knees, to rejoin his master who was
roaring with laughter. "Gold and silver may be here," Shu[u]zen
explained. "Otherwise Isuké would have backed out of the undertaking,
all the way to the cave's entrance. Turn the body over. See whether it
is of man or woman." Much put out Isuké did as he was bid. "Pfugh!
Stirring does no good. The very flesh is melting from the bones. The
hair of the beard and head show it to be a man." Shu[u]zen turned to a
wider passage, plainly due in part to hand. By crouching he could enter
into a larger chamber. In wonder and admiration he called to Isuké. In
so far, the _chu[u]gen_ would pursue the venture. Besides would he not
follow his master to Meido itself? "Look, Isuké! Such groining of the
roof is only made by Nature's hand. The cave of Fudo[u] Sama at Meguro
shows no finer sight." He pointed to the mass of interlacing roots of
some huge _icho[u]_ rising from the ground above. Isuké grumbled assent,
without much vigour. He was getting tired of this adventure. It was a
satisfaction they could go no further. Shu[u]zen meanwhile was rummaging
the place, which evidently had been a kind of dwelling. In a closet were
found some coarse cooking utensils and crockery for food. A supply of
firewood in one corner, and a box, completed the furniture. With
curiosity Shu[u]zen turned over the books in the box. A cry brought
Isuké to his side. "Your share, Isuké." He pointed to three shining
silver _ryo[u]_ which lay below the scrolls. Isuké looked incredulous at
the find. Then he prostrated himself before his master in deepest
gratitude. With joy he pocketed the coin and shouldered the scrolls.
There was nothing more to do. They sought the open air.

The strange sight reported to him, Beita Heima the _karo[u]_ appeared
before his master. In the early morning light Shu[u]zen was pouring
buckets of cold water over Isuké, having himself undergone the same
treatment at the _chu[u]gen's_ hands. "Kan mairi, Heima,"[7] said
Shu[u]zen with a laugh. Then he explained matters to the astonished
_karo[u]_. Isuké's further ablutions were left to other hands. The
affair now was cleared up. The removal of the slab, the fresh air
penetrating the cavern, made the removal of the body easy. This was to
be sent to Bankei's care for proper burial and rites. Meanwhile
Shu[u]zen with interest and increasing gravity examined his prize. The
books were all on war. One was in the suspected script of the western
barbarian. From its plates, it was a work on fortification, and the art
of attack and defence. Shu[u]zen did not understand the Dutch words, but
he regarded the find as of importance, at least as adding to his own
merit. So likewise did Abé Bungo no Kami, minister for the month, and
with a great liking for Shu[u]zen. He saw to it that the affair was to
the latter's profit. The _Ometsuké_ inspected the books, inspected the
cave, drank Shu[u]zen's wine, and commended the vigilance and energy of
the _hatamoto_. The report was worth an added hundred _koku_ to his
modest income. Isuké also counted his gains with joy; a means of
continued defiance and pursuit of the foxes of the Nakano pleasure
quarter.

As to Bankei--the funeral rites had been performed, the _sutra_ read,
the body inhumed in the same mound with those of Kakunai and the horse.
Liberal had been the gift of Okumura Shu[u]zen for all these divers
interments, and great the unction of Bankei at the accomplishment and
solution of the mystery of the cave in the Bancho[u]. But one thing
rested uneasily on his mind. What the identity of the evil spirit which
caused these wonders? That night, as the abbot rested in his bed, there
appeared at his pillow a man of some thirty odd years, tall, gaunt,
hairy, ugly, and much dejected. "His eyes were prominent in his head,
his lofty nose showed ability, he had the mouth of a shark." Plainly
very great had been his wickedness. Prostrate the apparition gave
thanks to the saint. All the spice and joy of evil doing had been
exchanged for the insipidity of Paradise. Now he was threatened with
Nirvana through the prayers of the saintly abbot. In life he had been
the wicked So[u]ja Mushuku (lodgeless). A famous thief, he was the
source of the raids on purse and person, on _yashiki_ in particular and
the common people in general, which had caused much fear and distress in
Edo. The cave of the Inari, a lucky discovery, had been his safe haunt
from pursuit. None could betray him, for none of his band knew his lair.
He would betray no one; but he would tell the abbot of his fate. It was
Isuké who had sealed him up in the cave by thrusting into place the
heavy cover. Here he passed miserable days in hunger until the poisonous
air, gradually accumulating, had put an end to him. His spirit, however,
had haunted the place, with no disposition to leave. With the
opportunity he had entered the body of Kagé, in search of human
requirements and enjoyments. Betrayed by appetite he had been driven
forth by the prayers of the abbot, and solaced by his petitions for the
future life. Deign to let the matter rest there, and not pursue him into
the inanity, the nothingness of Nirvana. To this the practiced ear of
the holy Bankei gave deep thought. This fellow already had forced the
unhappy Kakunai to follow in his tracks. What might he not do to others
in whom the abbot had far greater interest? "To such wickedness the gift
of Nirvana is not likely. Bankei wastes his breath, and Shu[u]zen Dono
his substance. Deign to enter Meido, be wholly purified of wickedness,
and in a second birth, if in human form, be of a virtuous House. For
present and past sins atonement is to be made. For those still living
Bankei holds not his lips silent. Off with you at once to these insipid
joys." He thrust the rosary of crystal beads into the vision's face. At
once it disappeared, and Bankei woke amid a nauseating odour. He
stretched himself in weariness--"A dream? Tribulation of the Five
Viscera?" Yet he would report it to Shu[u]zen, and on the uncertainty of
the truth secure further aid for man and horse. Hence the monument of
the Bato[u] (horse-headed) Kwannon, which long stood on its mound behind
the _hondo[u]_ of the Seisho[u]ji of Shiba.



CHAPTER VIII

AOYAMA SHU[U]ZEN


These events could not fail to cause comment. It was in the general room
of the _hiban_, the fire guard of the castle, that the discussion came
to a head. There were a number of these guards for different quarters of
the castle inclosure; and for better drill and coordination the officers
met, apart from the site of their particular duties. This made the
office of the _hiban_ a sort of club of the _hatamoto_, bringing
together the members of the more particular cliques, known respectively
as the Shiratsukagumi (white handle club), the Kingingumi (gold and
silver clubs), the members of which knocked out a conspicuous tooth,
replacing it with the metal ensign of their affiliation, and the Kubo no
Shiro-oshigumi. These organizations, something like the Otokodaté of the
townsmen in the closeness of the relations of their members, had by no
means the same worthy object. They were often merely a way of ruffling
it through the town, particularly at the amusement quarter of Asakusa;
seeking quarrels with _ro[u]nin_, abusing women, and literally
gravelling the discomfited townsmen, not seldom left on the ground,
subsequently to be put into it. The Otokodaté, or chivalrous band, were
indeed needed in this state of early Edo. They could hold their own,
inasmuch as the _samurai_ involved dared not bring a quarrel to light.
He had the advantage of his training; and by the rules of his caste did
not hesitate to have assassinated a plebeian he could not overcome, and
chose to regard as impertinent. Collisions with these, however, were
rare. _Ro[u]nin_ were the particular object of dislike of the Tokugawa
adherents. It was the great exception made, when Hida no Kami (Yagyu[u]
Matajuro[u]) admitted Kumé no Heinai to his fencing room and
discipleship. The _ro[u]nin_, of course, deserved the proscription,
being often the devoted adherents of a lost cause--Hoo[u]jo[u] or
Toyotomi--and unwilling to transfer their fealty to a second lord. The
most noted and hated of the _ro[u]nin_, though free from any taint of
rebellion to the Tokugawa, was this Heinaibei; the vilest assassination,
that of his friend Bandzuin Cho[u]bei by Mizuno Juro[u]zaémon aided by
other members of the Shiratsukagumi.

Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon had related the mishap of his _chu[u]gen_, his
own experience in pursuing the offenders. The old fellows, heroes of the
Genwa and Kwanei periods, were gathered close to a _hibachi_. Despite
the season age sought pretence of warmth or closer company. Said the
veteran Matsudaira Montaro[u]--"O[u]kubo, what think you? Surely the ice
water of gathering years runs in our veins. Such happenings, so close to
the dwelling of the Ue Sama, never would have taken place in former
days. But we are old. The stiffened joints and the wrinkles would not
deceive such miscreants. 'Twould be a palpable fraud, our
presentation."--"True," growled Shichinosuké; "but ice water runs in
other veins than those who are old." Kondo[u] Noborinosuké, verging
toward his fifties, now chimed in--"Naruhodo! The talk of these young
chaps infects one with their own complaints. This one can but thump
himself on the chest and speculate as to whether he has one lung, or two
of the kind. This other limps and dreams of _kakké_. His tongue hangs
out a yard, that he can better inspect its colour; and his legs are
black and blue from efforts to detect a dropsy. A third excuses himself
by a flux, which he would cure with hot wine; and a fourth is assured of
a cold, to lead to all these and other ailments, and hence steeps
himself night and day in the hot bath, the one to be most easily
excused. Emma Dai-O[u] in Hell[8] could not afflict these fellows more
than they grieve over themselves. Only in talk of their ailments do they
find company. Plasters and medicaments for their persons, instead of
armour and the quietus of the foe, these are the objects of their
quest." The two old rascals, and their middle aged abettor, looked slyly
over each other's heads at the younger men grouped in the rear, then at
each other. Thus it was with these violent fellows of the actual
battlefield. They would stir someone to action.

"Heigh! Heigh! Not Endo[u] Uji: he at least has proved his mettle. The
pressing offices of the day do not call for sleep all night. He is of
the stock of Kiémon Dono. Old Hikoza never tired of tales of his
father's prowess." Kondo[u] chuckled as he continued--"The old fellow
(_oyaji_) spoke well of the dead. The living had need to take care of
his praise of them. Witness Torii Dono and Akiyama Dono, at the two
extremes of age. Good luck, as well as management, extricated them from
the results of a commendation like to cost them much. Alas! His place is
not to be filled." O[u]kubo Hikozaémon, governor of these wild fellows,
keeper of the suzerain's conscience, had left his seat vacant these past
five years. Sorrow for his loss did not prevent Noborinosuké bringing a
bright and beady eye on Aoyama Shu[u]zen. O[u]kubo Shichinosuké followed
the look. All of the old ones fastened Shu[u]zen with inquisitive glare.
The object of their attention neither quailed nor showed undue
eagerness. "The honoured ancients favour this Shu[u]zen with the task."
His laugh was so cold and purposeful, his look so derisive and
comprehending, that the old fellows in some confusion sought comfort in
each other. This Aoyama Shu[u]zen was a very devil of a fellow. He had a
perspicacity in finesse that the plain, keen, and honest bluntness of
former days could not deceive. Aoyama was not one to charge with
effeminacy in any form. He had a wife--whom he neglected. He had a page,
whom he favoured. He had all the harsh vices and capabilities of the
warrior age. Turning to Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon--"Endo[u] Uji has seen
the vision, not fox or _tanuki_. This has been the experience of the
_chu[u]gen_?" Saburo[u]zaémon did not like the connection; nor did he
like Shu[u]zen. "It is fact. Rokuzo was bewitched, not Endo[u]. See to
it that Aoyama Dono has better luck." Thus tacitly he would force the
mission on Shu[u]zen. The latter suppressed his anger at the assumption.
"Endo[u] Dono, as with this Shu[u]zen, is _hatamoto_ of the land. Such
vile rascals as these do not make them object of their tricks."--"Don't
be too sure of that," replied Endo[u]. "Neither fox nor _tanuki_ would
care for the company of the vision. This Saburo[u]zaémon does but seek
to give it rest--and himself." He spoke with some gloom. Said Aoyama
with decision--"Agreed! What may be the reward?" A chorus of protest
went up. "Reward! Reward!... The applause of all.... The interest in the
tale, as with that of Endo[u] Dono, just recited." But Shu[u]zen smiled
and shook his head--"Endo[u] Dono seeks the good will of an unworshipped
demon." Saburo[u]zaémon shot a glance at him. "Shu[u]zen too has his
object. Otherwise, let others volunteer." The force of what he said was
made plain by the silence of the company. The stories told, none longed
for the experience. Thought Montaro[u] testily--"This fellow always has
something in his sleeve." With hesitation--"Endo[u] deserves reward, and
claims it not. Aoyama would have it in advance. How now: a sword?" All
looked inquisitively at Shu[u]zen. They were surprised and disgruntled
at his gesture of dissent. He knew the ancients, and could suspect a
trap. "Shu[u]zen knows the kind. As with buying radishes at Yanagibara;
one good for nothing, and bringing anything but honour.... Shu[u]zen
selects his own weapon, nor asks reward apart from the issue." Kondo[u]
Noborinosuké clapped his hands. The younger man was a favourite and
kindred spirit of his own, near enough in age to be congenial. "The
presiding chair at the Endurance Society meeting. We are _samurai_,
_hatamoto_ of the land. Gold is not to the purpose. A sword is bought
with gold. Let Aoyama Uji make report to the meeting, and on that hang
the office." Shu[u]zen was the first to nod eager assent. All agreed;
with no great joy at prospect of the coming test, yet afraid of his
refusal. Thus the company separated, committed to a meeting of the Gaman
Kwai at the house of Noborinosuké, to hear the report of Aoyama
Shu[u]zen's venture into the Bancho[u].

His preparations made, the next night, at the hour of the rat (11-1
A.M.), saw Aoyama in his turn climbing the slope of the Gomizaka.
Attached to the immediate service of the palace, the place was very
desolate and strange to him. At a loss where to look for the objects of
his search he sauntered at random, attention drawn to footing in this
darkness. Thus it was that the Gekkeiji bell sounded over the moorland,
striking the first watch of the hour of the ox (3 A.M.). He stopped to
listen his eye fixed at the time on the long line of wall and fine gate
of a _besso[u]-yashiki_ (country villa), evidently of a great lord. He
had passed from here some little distance, to the turning of the wall,
when hasty steps and the hard breathing of one who had just breasted the
hill struck his ear. Shu[u]zen standing at the corner was almost knocked
down by the dark bulk which bounded out of the shadow. Both parties
sprang back in attitude of watchfulness. Shu[u]zen had never seen such a
fellow. At least seven feet in height, hairy of arms and legs and face,
his eyes shone like bright mirrors. Bulging forth these made him like to
the ghost of some huge dragon fly. Did he not have an eye in the middle
of his forehead? Shu[u]zen could not have denied it. Of size to inspire
fear, decidedly the rascal was to be suspected. Shu[u]zen was the first
to question. "Who and where from? Answer at once, or this Aoyama deigns
the death cut." The man, or monster, merely opened and shut the plate
like eye holes. Then with a roaring derisive lip--"Ha! Ha! This is
Tanuki-baké, come hither to find and fetch Aoyama."

"Ya! Ya!" Aoyama was in a great rage. In the act of drawing his sword he
would cut the rascal down. Thus to insult a _hatamoto_ of the land, lord
of twelve hundred _koku_! "Make ready!" Apparition or not, at a bound
the man was some ten feet off. Then followed a space, during which
Shu[u]zen made every effort known to the fencing room. He would have
impaled a real dragon fly more readily. Without attempt to flee the
object merely darted hither and thither. Shu[u]zen was dripping with
perspiration. He felt badly and discouraged. For a moment he would
rest--"To see this Aoyama?" He grunted. "Just so," was the reply. "Fools
at close quarters give entertainment. Aoyama is not the clever one to
cut down the _tanuki-baké_ (badger-ghost). Get you hence to your quilts,
good sir; to your fool companions who wear summer garb in depth of
winter, and triple garments in the heats of the sixth and seventh
months; stuff themselves with hot food and wine in summer, and freeze
the viands and _saké_ in winter. Get you hence to your companions of the
Gaman Kwai (Endurance Society). Make report to them of Aoyama's venture,
and bray and brag to them of spending a night outside the sheets."
Shu[u]zen strove to be calm on receipt of these insults to his kind. In
haughty condescension he explained--"Those of the Gaman Kwai wear
_katabira_ (light summer wear) in winter, triple gear in summer, to
undergo the hardships of the battlefield. In war one regards not heat or
cold. He drinks from the puddle on the field, and cooks the rice straw
for food in his helmet. This is the great time of peace. The experiences
and the hardships of the battlefield are lacking. It is as substitute
for these...." He was interrupted by a mighty burst of impolite
merriment from the heavy man, who held his sides as like to split from
laughter. "Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Naruhodo! These chitterlings; stuffed
sausages! 'Sufferings of the battlefield; hardships'! They are not to
encountered in such childish sport. He who would face these must
practise the art of the inner belly (mind). It is by hardening the belly
that the trials of war are met. You fellows practise but the outer cult.
Of the inner and secret precepts you are ignorant. Degraded fools
(_bakéyaro[u]_)!"--"Shut up!" roared Shu[u]zen. He could take the fellow
at a disadvantage in his fit of outrageous merriment. Close to hand he
leaped on him. In effort to avoid the blow the miscreant tumbled head
over heels into the close deep waving _suzuki_ grass. With satisfaction
Aoyama felt the sword sink deep into the resisting substance. Great his
disgust to find that he had cleft an old and hidden stump to the very
root. He seated himself upon it.

At least he was in the centre of disturbance. Should he await further
encounter, or depart elsewhere to find it. He had a mind to abandon the
lanes and plunge into the waste land. Just then screams and cries were
heard; the sound of rapid flying feet coming in his direction. A young
woman in flight was now close at hand. Her hair unbound streamed behind
her. She was in night clothes, and the knot of the narrow _obi_ or band
come loose in her flight, exposed a figure all attraction. On reaching
Aoyama she threw herself at his feet, clasping his knees. "Aid! Aid from
the honoured _samurai_! Thieves breaking in threaten with death and
pillage. Deign, honoured sir, to aid." Shu[u]zen was very willing to do
so. The lady was very urgent and very beautiful. He himself was
uncertain as to goal, and the matter of the ghost could wait on her
extremity. To his inquiry she made reply--"Just yonder." With her he
retraced his steps. To his surprise the gate of the _yashiki_, already
noticed, was wide open. In all haste she urged him to the entrance, yet
in his rapid passage he seemed to have seen this place before. The girl
gave a call, then another. Shu[u]zen joined her in chorus and the
search. The mansion was thrown wide open and abandoned. Not a soul was
to be seen. All had either been killed, or had fled. The wailing of the
girl brought him to her side. Prostrate she lay on the bodies of an old
man and old woman, who had been put to death without mercy by the
miscreants. Great was the pity of Aoyama. "The bodies still smoke in
blood; the perpetrators cannot be far off. It would be well to seize
them. This lantern ... how now? Is it of the house?" The girl raised her
head to observe it. "No," she said. "The house lanterns have not the bow
handle. This is of the thieves.... What's that?" A noise was heard
above. Aoyama, hand on his sword, sprang to the stairway. The girl, all
smiles at the prospective vengeance, followed him.

Three fellows were busy at the closets and chests. The contents were
scattered over the floor, evidently for purpose of selection. Aoyama
burst upon them. "Heigh-ho! Vile rascals! Submit your necks at once to
the blow, your arms to the cord." At first the pillagers were greatly
astonished and put out. "A _samurai_! Our work is interfered with. Alas!
We must away." Said the leader, a determined looking fellow--"Umph! 'Tis
nothing but a board wages _samurai_ (_sampin_). He is alone. Kick him
down. Teach him the lesson of interference." With yells all made for
Shu[u]zen. Disregarding those at the side he delivered his blow at the
man in front. Kiya! He split him in two as one would green bamboo.
Shu[u]zen drew back with a side sweep which cut another clean across the
girdle. He stopped to rub his eyes with amazement. Was it not
witchcraft? Not three, but five men now confronted him; and lively
rascals they were. Strive as he would Aoyama's blows seemed but to
multiply his foes. He was but one man. A kick to this side sent a
rascal flying to the wall; an elbow shot sent another through the
screens. Then all took to flight. One closely pursued sought the roof,
the drying frame its heights. Aoyama was about to cut him down, when the
fellow sprang off into the darkness like a flying bird. At the same time
came most urgent and piteous cries from below. "Danna Sama! Honoured
_Samurai_ Sama! Deign rescue. The thieves! They force me to
extremities." Reluctant Shu[u]zen turned back. On reaching the lower
stair he came upon the rascals who were gathered round the girl. At
sight of him all took to flight. To Shu[u]zen's astonishment the girl in
her turn fled in pursuit. Out of the house rushed the whole band,
Shu[u]zen joining in the mad race. Down the slope went all. Then
dobun!... Shu[u]zen's foot caught in a hole, or root, or some obstacle.
Head first he went into the ditch. Struggling, gasping, spitting out the
dirty water of the drain, Aoyama scrambled up on the bank. He looked
around in amazement. The white light of dawn illuminated the scene; the
ill fated tree stump and the dirty drain close by. House there was none.
Girl and thieves had disappeared. He stood on the moor, shivering in
Nippon's always cool dawn and dripping wet with the filthy fluid of the
ditch or stream flowing through these fields and the valley. With
discomfiture he took his long way homewards to the Do[u]sanbashi.
Plainly he had been bewitched and derided. So believing, he was startled
to find himself again before the _yashiki_ gate; but in the light of day
it showed the obvious neglect of years. Shu[u]zen at once sought
entrance, not by the gate, but over the wall for lack of other means. He
recognized the scene of last night's exploit, and its description as
given by Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon. Besides, he recognized the place in
his own experience of long past years, the favour and support of one to
whom he was much indebted. Ah! Truly these were dangerous rascals he had
encountered.



CHAPTER IX

SHU[U]ZEN MEETS SHU[U]ZEN


Aoyama Shu[u]zen was not likely to brag of this exploit. All day he sat
biting his thumbs, and drinking wine to obviate the effect of his nasty
bath. An idea began to crystallize in his brain. But this matter
pressed. The preparations for the night were to be made. He hoped for
better luck in his vengeance on the miscreants. The watch of the rat
again saw him skirting the Ushigafuchi on his way to the Bancho[u]. He
had just started up the slope of the Gomizaka when he heard steps behind
him. Oya! Oya! Two _chu[u]gen_ and a lady. About these there was nothing
suspicious. But the lantern they carried? It was marked with the
_mitsuba-aoi_, or triple leaf holly hock crest of the suzerain's House.
Plainly the bearers were on mission from one of the San Ke (Princes of
the Blood), or perhaps from the palace itself. Reverence must be done to
the lantern. On his present mission, and thus arrayed, Aoyama sought to
avoid notice. He disappeared into the long _suzuki_ grass at the road
side. He could hear the lady express her anxiety and haste. Then with
curiosity Aoyama watched their strange behavior. A bare sixty feet
beyond they came to a halt. The lady shrank back as in terror. Haténa!
Aoyama recognized him by his size, the antagonist and critic of the
previous night. Without delay, or giving time for flight, the huge
ruffian with one hand grasped the bosom of the lady's dress, with the
other the arm of a _chu[u]gen_. A kick sent the other fellow very
willingly to the ground. Tremendous was the apparition as he towered
over his victims. He seemed taller than ever. His hair stood out like
iron wire. His mouth grinned open wide from ear to ear; and now Aoyama
could see distinctly the horns sprouting from his temples. Did he not
have claws? Aoyama could not remember.

He would rescue the lady, beautiful of course. Rapidly passing through
the grass Aoyama burst out upon the group. He took aim at the knave's
breast bone. "Yai!" The fellow let go. The two prisoners, thrust
violently into the knees of Shu[u]zen, brought him to the ground. When
he had recovered balance the rascal had disappeared. The lady was in a
dead faint. One _chu[u]gen_ seemed to be dead. The other was squatting
at some distance, eyes saucer like in fright. He regarded Aoyama with
grave suspicion. The _samurai_ called to him. "Here you! Your mistress
has fainted. Water at once!" But the fellow did nothing but answer "Hei!
Hei!" without sign of motion. "Don't sit and purr like a cat," roared
Shu[u]zen. "Off with you, and fetch water." At last the man took courage
to approach. "Alas! Danna Sama, this Bancho[u], where the thieves are
apparitions, and apparitions turn to women, frightens this
Isuké."--"Fear or no fear, water must be had. Such milk livered fellows
are not for man's work. Weakness of loins won't do. Off with you."--"But
how?"--"In your scabbard, fool." For answer the _chu[u]gen_ made a wry
face and tugged at his weapon. As often the case with those men, it was
of wood. Shu[u]zen laughed. Then he gave his own scabbard to the
_chu[u]gen_. Off the fellow crawled, with gait and speed of a maimed
insect.

Meanwhile what was to be done. Shu[u]zen put his hand into the bosom of
the lady, and rummaged. Women were always dosing and fainting. Doubtless
she was provided for such contingency. Surely a perfume reached his
nostrils. Ah! Here it was. He drew out the fragrant package. Medicine
without doubt. The drug savoured strongly of musk. At last the fellow
was on hand with the liquid. Shu[u]zen made a pellet from the drug.
"Raise up your mistress. Take her in your arms." But the man drew away
in horror. He prostrated himself flat on the ground. "Deign forbearance.
To touch with a finger one of the ladies of the palace is not to be
ventured."--"Ah! Is that so?" grunted Shu[u]zen. "Circumstances of
course don't alter cases. He who will not touch a woman is usually a
most lecherous rascal." With this comment he roughly shoved aside the
awkward efforts of this meticulous attendant. Taking the operation upon
himself, he gently pressed the back of the lady's neck, forcing her to
open her mouth. Inserting the drug he poured in water from the scabbard.
A sudden slap on the back and down went the bolus. The lady opened and
shut her eyes. Then they remained open. "Be firm," commented Aoyama
Sensei. "Thanks," replied the dame. "Ah! What fright! With hand on
dagger was this Bancho[u] entered on. So near, how suspect misfortune at
hand? Truly honoured sir, great your trouble and inconvenience."

Aoyama accepted the thanks, to satisfy curiosity. "But so late abroad
... and doubtless of the honoured San Ke...." Replied the lady--"The
mission was of Kishu[u] Ke, said to be of grave import. Hence the late
hour of the night. This insignificant person is lady in waiting at the
San no Ma of the palace; Takigawa by name. The _yashiki_ of Okumura
Shu[u]zen, my father, lies close at hand. Great the cowardice shown by
this Taki." Shu[u]zen grasped the whole affair. Between Kishu[u] Ke and
the parent House the feeling in those days was none too good. Grave
suspicion on the part of one, angry resentment on that of the other. He
would see more of the matter. It was his duty as _hatamoto_. "To go
abroad with _chu[u]gen_ is no safe thing. At this hour and place
_samurai_ could well have been taken as company. As for courage--of that
kind it is not expected of a woman. Valour was shown in undertaking the
mission. And this fellow...." He turned sharply to the _chu[u]gen_ and
pointed to his fellow. "Mujina-také."--"What!" roared Shu[u]zen. He
looked from _chu[u]gen_ to lady, and from lady to _chu[u]gen_. They
seemed surprised. Stammered the man in fright--"It is but a nickname.
His name is Také, and he is very worthless. Hence he is called
Tanuki-také. I am called Yo[u]kai Isuké (Apparition Isuké), being
nothing but wind." Aoyama grunted a ready assent to this self critic.
The fellow's ignorance and cowardice was as gross as the material flesh
which Shu[u]zen tested with a well applied kick in the buttocks,
bringing Isuké in position to render first aid to his companion. This
was done by passing on the application. A vigorous snort followed the
thump on the back administered to Mujina. He sat up and regarded his
mate with astonishment. "Ah! The Yo[u]kai.... No more of that. 'Tis
Mujina's turn." This, when his fellow proposed a second application. The
return came sooner than anticipated. A terrific sneeze followed. Up came
his head sharply, and the _yo[u]kai_ rolled over backwards on the
ground. He rose in fury, holding his jaw. Shu[u]zen was laughing, the
lady smiling. "The distance is but short? Plainly those fellows are next
to worthless. This Shu[u]zen will act as guard." Thus did Aoyama go in
company to the _yashiki_ of Okumura Shu[u]zen; and thus was his second
night's venture brought to naught.

The arrival of the Ojo[u]sama (lady daughter) in company with Aoyama
caused much excitement. Okumura was of five hundred _koku_; Aoyama of
twelve hundred _koku_. The latter was at once ushered to the inner
apartments. The lady wife of Okumura came forward to urge his stay for
some entertainment. Aoyama in turn was curious to know more of this
mission in connection with a _hatamoto_ like himself. He spoke gravely
of the dangers in this neighbourhood, apart from the strange tales told.
Okumura Shu[u]zen heartily agreed. The charge being to Kishu[u] Ke was
not to be declined. Himself he had many strange tales to relate. Though
the hour was late, every effort was made. Aoyama Shu[u]zen was gratified
with a beautiful repast. The wine was served in person by Takigawa Dono.
The talk passed from personal affairs to tales of war. Here Aoyama was
in his element, both from experience and the tales of others heard in
the _hiban_ and at the meetings of the Gaman Kwai. This was a first
meeting, not to be too long drawn out. Okumura was a new comer in the
Bancho[u], his service was in connection with the public works. Aoyama
had been of the palace staff until very recently. Both expressed deepest
gratification at their encounter. As he took his way home in the morning
light, Aoyama Shu[u]zen could but contrast with pleasure his present
arrival with that of the previous morning. He had feasted well, and made
an acquaintance of some value.

The following day he would make his acknowledgments. Aping no great
style he walked accompanied by a page and two _chu[u]gen_. Inquiry soon
brought him to the _yashiki_. Inquiry soon introduced him to a sitting
room. "Lucky fellow!" thought Aoyama. "The influence of Matsudaira
Ko[u] lands him in affluence. A modest income; a double _yashiki_!" This
part of the house was different from that of his last night's
introduction. Then he stated his business to the _karo[u]_. The night
before he had accompanied the Ojo[u]san to the _yashiki_. He would make
acknowledgment of the courtesy then received. The face of old Beita
Heima was a puzzle. Deep the respect due to twelve hundred _koku_
Aoyama, but had he been drunk or dreaming?--"Has not your lordship
mistaken the _yashiki_?" Aoyama was a little severe at what seemed
gratuitous assumption. "You were not on the guard last night." Beita
spoke, prostrate and with great respect, but with an earnestness and
obstinacy not to be mistaken. He had been on the guard--from sunset to
dawn. Aoyama began to feel uncomfortable. Veiling the sharpness--"Is
this not the _yashiki_ of Okumura Dono?" Heima gulped assent. "Is not
Takigawa Dono, of the San no Ma, the Ojo[u]san of the House?" Here Heima
was on sure ground. "Ojo[u]san of the House there is none. It is very
rude; but surely there is mistake as to the _yashiki_." Aoyama now was
beginning to see light. He felt very hot and uncomfortable. He ventured
a last question for surety. "And Okumura Dono?"--"The Tono Sama absent
in Shimosa, the _yashiki_ has been in this Heima's charge for this past
month's course." With such grace as he could in his discomfiture Aoyama
Shu[u]zen took his leave. The astonished page and _chu[u]gen_, still
retaining the intended presents of acknowledgment, with difficulty kept
up with their master. Ah! The beasts again had scored. Detestable!
Shu[u]zen thought with horror of his repast of the previous night. He
had no better fare than Rokuzo the _chu[u]gen_. In rage he sought his
room, and swallowed all the purges and emetics to hand. Occupied in
retching, and thinking, and other matters germane to his condition, he
concocted the plan by which he hoped to bring the foe to book, and
himself to the presiding chair which surely he had earned.



CHAPTER X

THE MEETING OF THE GAMAN KWAI


With the fall of O[u]saka castle (1615), and the culmination of the
uneasy movements of the years following in the conspiracy of Honda
Masazumi, the country entered on a long peace--the Tokugawa Taihei. The
Arima rebellion after all was but an affair of farming folk, in far off
Kyu[u]shu[u]. Masazumi struck right at the person of the Sho[u]gun
himself. A special ceiling was constructed in his castle at Utsunomiya.
This was to collapse on the sleeping Iyemitsu Ko[u] sheltered beneath
it. Caught between the heavy boulders above and beneath the couch, the
Sho[u]gun was to be sent to rest with, not worship of, his divinized
grandfather at Nikko[u]. Iyemitsu slept the night at Edo castle, owing
to the valour and strength of Ishikawa Hachiémon. Masazumi had failed,
and the set field of battle between the factions of the _samurai_ was a
thing of the past. The duel, forbidden in theory and compulsory in
practice, was to take its place. The substitute always had existed. It
tried men's courage, not the sustained endurance of campaigning. How
then was the old spirit of the warrior to be maintained? The desire to
emulate their sires worked on the younger generation. The relics of the
Tensho[u], Keicho[u] and Genwa periods (1573-1623) O[u]kubo Hikozaémon,
Matsudaira Montaro[u], Nagasaki Chiyari Kuro[u], were heroes who could
boast of having stood before the horse of Iyeyasu in his earlier trials
of battles, trials in which the veteran commander would pound with his
fist the pommel of the saddle until it was red with the blood from his
bruised knuckles. Their tales of actual war, the sly jeers at the
softening manners, spurred on younger members to find ways by which to
simulate practical experience of campaigning. The result was curious.
One of the organizations was the Undameshi Kwai, or Fortune Testing
Society. Loaded firelocks were stacked in the middle of the room of
meeting. Around them sat the members of the club, squeezed into full
armour, from helmet to the warriors shoes of skin. The match was set.
The weapons were exploded, sending a shower of balls in every direction.
"Ah! Ha! The bullet grazed my helmet."--"The gorgelet caught it."--"The
corselet has saved me."--"Congratulations are in order. Surely your
pension will be increased during the year."--"Oya! Oya! And Genzaémon
Uji?" The unfortunate Genzaémon had not fared so well in the mimic war.
At all events he sat the meeting out--if he could. To be reported dead,
in the course of duty; or be overcome with regrets at showing such
clumsiness in being wounded; or, if actually incapacitated, to go home
and die of "illness" (cut belly).[9]

The Gaman Kwai, or Endurance Society, was another form the movement
took. In the season of great cold its meetings were held as if in the
height of the _doyo[u]_ or dog days; vice-versa with the time of great
heat. It was the beginning of the seventh month (first half of August).
The heat was intense, and had been for the past weeks. The farmer
watched the steamy vapour rising from the rice fields and rejoiced. The
plants were growing luxuriantly, the leaves of the willow trees were
hanging yellow and wilted. Passers by on city or village streets sought
the shade under the buildings, walking with languid lagging step, and,
home once reached, removing every garment which etiquette--not
decency--had hitherto compelled. Great was the dismay of the weaker
members of the Gaman Kwai on receipt of a circular letter couched much
as follows:

     "In this season of great cold the continuance of the
     honoured health is observed with joy. On the seventeenth day
     it is desired to make offering of a cup of indifferent wine.
     It is begged that the use of the honoured _kago_ (palanquin)
     be condescended. This the purport of the missive. With
     reverence and respect.

     KONDO[U] NOBORINOSUKÉ.

     To...."

The weaker allowed this missive to float gently and despairingly
earthwards. Gasping for breath in the stifling heat they sought to fan
themselves into a semi consciousness. "Terrific! Terrific! Yet refusal
is out of the question. Ah! This Kondo[u] is a doubtful sort of rascal.
He is of the cruel kind. No mercy is to be expected of him. Yet if one
fails to attend there will be but jeers and taunts of cowardice. One
could not appear in public. Alas! Alas!" The stronger received it with
equal impatience, but with the purpose to put in the evil hours with the
best possible face, and score on the host--if they could. All left
strict orders at home for a cold bath to be in readiness for the return.
To this rash step the weaker groaned and yielded. The Nipponese fear and
detest cold water--even for drink.

Thus they sallied forth--from Ichigaya to Honjo[u] Kameidocho[u], from
Shitaya to Shinagawa; some on horseback, some in _kago_; all arrayed in
triple set of thickly wadded winter garments, in _hakama_, or trousers
with double folds, in shirts and leggings, and fur shoes of the warrior
on winter campaign. The gate keeper of the _yashiki_ in Owaricho[u]
called their names on arrival--"O[u]kubo Hikoroku Dono, Endo[u]
Saburo[u]zaémon Dono, Abé Shiro[u]goro[u] Dono, Matsudaira Montaro[u]
Dono, O[u]kubo Shichinosuké Dono, Mizuno Juro[u]zaémon Dono, Ishikawa
Hachiémon Dono,[10] Okumura Shu[u]zen Dono, Kusé Sanshichiro[u] Dono,
Aoyama Shu[u]zen Dono...." The list was a long one. One and all were met
by Kondo[u] Noborinosuké in person at the entrance. Over his triple
winter garb he wore a wadded coat or _kosodé_. Others had donned the
longer _kataginu_. These were of the weaker kind. It did not fit so
closely; pressed the warmth of its tissue less lovingly to the person.
All complained of the intense cold. "Never was such cold felt," blandly
agreed Noborinosuké. "An old fellow of the gardeners says that for sixty
years such cold has not been experienced. It is a marvellous cold year.
The ground will not be thawed this season. Deign to enter. Warmth is
provided against this intensity of cold." And his hearers bowed and
offered thanks, as well as their unwieldy wrappings would allow. At all
events in the room yonder there would be the breeze from the garden
side. They knew the place and its delights. Kondo[u] was of the age to
provide himself with quiet comforts. With eager stride the banquet room
was sought.

"Oya! Oya!" The speaker gasped in dismay and for breath. They had been
introduced into a furnace. Explained Kondo[u] gently--"Everything has
been done to shut out the intense cold. The _amado_ are tight closed,
the braziers well supplied.... Heigh-ho! Allow none of these to get
dark. More charcoal! More fuel!" The attendants obeyed, urging the fires
before each guest. Seated close together to conserve the heat, the sweat
poured off in streams. Unable to get breath some groaned and grunted--to
pass it off as due to the intensity of cold. Soon they "would be thawed
out with the genial warmth." Kondo[u] and Aoyama were immensely pleased
in their assent and at their sufferings. But the more discontented
sought the fly in the ointment of the content of their hosts. Aoyama
really was such. He was the one responsible for the call; Kondo[u] his
ready abettor. Said one--"Intense the cold, yet how explain the freaks
of Nature. If it were not so freezing the blue clusters hanging in
Kondo[u] Dono's garden, just traversed, could well pass for wisteria."
They laughed at him--"Wisteria in the seventh month? That would be as
great a marvel as the cold."--"Not so the grape," replied another.
"Kondo[u] Uji long since promised sight of the new plant. To be sure the
barbarian fruits are as ill trained and uncouth as the denizens of the
land they grow in. They flower and fruit in winter season. If not
wisteria the clusters must be of the grape."--"Not so," promptly put in
Aoyama. "Truly it is the green eye of jealousy which colours the vision.
They are icicles; and no seasoning for the repast or the conversation of
this cold occasion."--"Which brings the sweat to the face of Aoyama
Uji." Aoyama turned calmly on the rash interloper. "It is not sweat;
'tis mucous. The intense cold causes flow of mucous. Are not others so
affected?" He looked around grimly on the steaming shining faces before
him. "Mucous?" questioned a doubter. "Yes: face mucous," was the calm
rejoinder.

All turned to Kondo[u] Noborinosuké who would explain the more
particular purport of the meeting. There was report to make, a new
member to introduce. All turned with respect and salutation to Okumura
Shu[u]zen. It was a long and painful ceremony in the bulky winter garb.
But they were in relays, took turns. Ah! If it was but Aoyama, thus long
bent double, murmuring apology and compliment. Then Aoyama Shu[u]zen
made his report. He made it as one sure to please his hearers, many of
whom regarded him with no particular liking. In fact at the tale of his
discomfiture there was some joy, and tendency to show it. "Then, as with
us, Aoyama Uji meets Okumura Dono for the first time." Aoyama nodded an
amused assent. Said one more malicious, "And the repast? Surely the
_hatamoto_ was as well entertained as the _chu[u]gen_?" Shu[u]zen
skilfully dodged the issue. "The hour was very late. Such could hardly
be expected or offered to this Shu[u]zen without raising doubts.
Fortunately it was thus." Said one more persistent--"At least a cup of
wine...."--"Without fire or heating? More than rude the
implication!"--"Yet beasts know but little of etiquette; and if fox or
badger...." Kondo[u] Noborinosuké came in with--"That shall be at once
determined. It is time for the repast. The _tanuki_ killed by Aoyama Uji
furnishes the soup." At a sign the retainers brought the beast in his
own skin. All rose in marvel at the sight. Truly it was a huge fellow.
"An old rascal, too. See! The hair on the back is of different colour
from that on the rest of the body."--"Showing the great age and
wickedness. Many are those he has gulled to their destruction. Now in
turn he furnishes forth the repast." Said Kondo[u]--"How did Aoyama Uji
secure the beast."

"This Shu[u]zen was much put out. Plainly by no ordinary means could
these miscreants be eliminated. How meet them in true shape? Against the
usual weapons they were secure in their transformations. Only the flying
bullet could reach such mark; and the discharge of a gun in Edo town
means banishment at the least. Then an idea came to Shu[u]zen. At the
hour of the ox again the Bancho[u] was sought. Position of great
dejection and weariness was taken, on a stone amid its greatest
desolation. The wait was not long. Unexpectedly the sound of a gunshot
was heard. This was surprising, for the reasons given. Hardly believing
in an apparition, thinking it rather due to some rascally outlaw, his
coming was awaited. Slouching along appeared a man in hunter's garb. He
carried a fowling piece, and evidently was the criminal. Taught however
by past events this Shu[u]zen took no action. Merely hailing him, his
purpose and game was inquired. He was ready in answer as to both. Yonder
on Matsuyama harboured a huge and dangerous boar. It was this boar he
sought. Kindly he gave warning, and advised return to safer quarters. On
my part great enthusiasm was expressed for the sport; his company was
sought. At this he jeered; then denied attendance as lacking a gun. 'Not
so,' quoth I. With these words the punk carried in the hand was touched
to the fuse of the fire crackers concealed at one side. 'Kiya!' So
startled was he that his gun fell to the ground and he took his proper
shape. At once this Shu[u]zen in the act of drawing cut him into two
parts. Thus he died. Awaiting dawn another beast appeared, this time in
true form. Approaching the prostrate body it wept and wailed. This too
'twas sought to slay, but the beast had the advantage of being
forewarned. For the time it has escaped. Meanwhile, returning from its
pursuit, was found an admiring crowd of plebeians gathered round the
slaughtered _tanuki_. The priest for his exorcisms took cash; the
_samurai_ were the ones to act. Their joy and wonder was turned to good
account. Under penalty of sharing the fate of the beast two of them
shouldered it to the _yashiki_. Such the tale of Shu[u]zen. And now for
the results!"

Kondo[u] gave a sign, and the gaping wonder of the assembly at the deed
was stifled in the wave of heat which poured in from the neighbouring
room. "Ah! Truly these are cruel fellows!" Here a furnace had been
erected for the cooking of the _tanuki_. It sent its streams of hot air
into the already crowded and stifling room. Aoyama in person supervised
the cooking. The animal was cut into small portions. Smoking hot the
viands were placed under the noses of the gasping guests. With the great
age of the beast it had accumulated great toughness. The younger
members had the consolation of their jibes at the old fellows. They tore
at, struggled with, the leathery fragments. But the latter had no teeth,
and the malicious Aoyama would see to it that it stuck in their throats.
"How, now, ancients? Is not the meat of this _tanuki_ tender beyond
measure? Truly one cannot call this engaging in the practice of war; to
enjoy such a delightful mess."--"Just so," grunted Montaro[u]. "One can
then eat the knobs off one's helmet. The flesh of this fellow is so
tender it sticks in one's throat, as unwilling to allow it passage....
G'up! G'up! G'up!"

Said another--"The wine thus steaming hot, the viands sizzling, truly
the feed is most beneficial. One even sweats in this intensity of
cold."--"Of course," was the matter of fact reply of the wise. "Thus
does the heat of spring thaw out the cold ground into a perspiration;
thus does the frozen body burst into a sweat with the hot food and
drink." All accepted the explanation without argument. They were in
haste to end this meeting, even at cost of swallowing whole the _tanuki_
and Aoyama Shu[u]zen with it. Despite the prospect of attendance at his
_yashiki_ all rapturously agreed. Aoyama was an original. He would not
repeat the experiment of Kondo[u]. They had nearly a six month's respite
before them. With this the entertainment was brought to a close. In
almost unceremonious haste the guests took their leave, fairly galloping
out of the entrance, hanging out of the _kago_ or over the horse's neck,
urging attendants to full speed homeward. Here the stifling garments
were torn off, the plunge into the cold tub followed; and many paid for
this rashness with an illness of days. Meanwhile Aoyama Shu[u]zen had
learned one important fact. Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon in application for
the _bakémono yashiki_ had met with flat refusal. The field was open to
himself. Moreover he had said nothing of the fact that, in the exercise
of his new office as magistrate for the apprehension of thieves and
fire-bugs, he was in fair way to suppress forever and in great torments
the Mujina-baké and his fellows, residuary legatees of the prowess and
field of action of the late So[u]ja Mushuku.

END OF PART I



PART II


THE BANCHO[U] SARAYASHIKI

OR

THE LADY OF THE PLATES

WHAT AOYAMA SHU[U]ZEN BECAME.



CHAPTER XI

THE YOSHIDA GOTEN


When Prince Iyeyasu consolidated his power at Edo, more particularly on
his becoming Sei-i-tai-Sho[u]gun, some provision had to be made for the
great _daimyo[u]_ brought by the necessities of occasion to personal
interview with their chief and suzerain. In the suburbs rose beautiful
structures devoted to the entertainment of these _kyakubun_--or
guests--as the greater _daimyo[u]_ were then termed. The Yatsuyama
Goten, the Hakuzan Goten, the Kosugé Goten, the Yoshida Goten, other and
elegant, if minor, palaces arose. Their first use disappeared with the
compulsory residence of the _daimyo[u]_ under Iyemitsu Ko[u], but some
were still maintained as places of resort and entertainment for the
Sho[u]gun in his more relaxed moments. Others were devoted to the
residences of favoured members of his family. Others were maintained for
the entertainment of State or Church dignitaries, on occasion of
particular mission from the court in Kyo[u]to to that of Edo. Others
were destroyed, or put to temporal uses, or their use granted to
favoured retainers or church purposes.

One of the most beautiful of these was the Yoshida Goten in the
Bancho[u]. The site originally had been covered by the _yashiki_ of
Yoshida Daizen no Suké. One of those nobles favouring the Tokugawa
against Ishida Mitsunari, as their designs became clearer with the years
following Sekigahara, at the attack on Osaka castle he was found within
its walls. Thus the "Overseer of the kitchen" fell under the wrath of
his suzerain. Hidétada Ko[u] was a man of much kind temperament, but he
was a strict disciplinarian and a rough soldier. Whether or not the
dishes furnished for his consumption and digestion had anything to do
with the matter, there was serious cause enough. With many others the
Daizen no Suké was ordered to cut belly, and his tribe suffered
extinction--of rank and rations (_kaieki_). Such the reward of this
turn-coat. His disappearance from the scene was followed by other
removals. Daizen no Suké was head of the Ko[u]sho[u]gumi. With the
confiscation of his _yashiki_ site five other Houses of the "company"
were ordered to remove to other sites at Akasaka. Thus 2,500 _tsubo_ of
ground (24 acres) were obtained for the building of a new _kyakubun
goten_. Erected on the ground of Yoshida's old mansion, now waste
([sara]), it got the name of Sarayashiki. Time confused this character
[sara] with the events which there took place; and it was written Sara
([sara]) yashiki or Mansion of the Plates. Thus was the unhappy tale of
O'Kiku written into the history of Edo and the Yoshida Goten.

The second daughter of Hidédata Ko[u], the Nidai Sho[u]gun, had been
married to the lord of Echizen, Matsudaira Tadanao. At the time of the
Osaka campaign Tadanao sulked. Prince Iyeyasu was very angry with him.
However, when finally Echizen Ke did appear, he acted with such bravery,
and to such effect in the campaign, that the old captain's anger was
dispelled in his appreciation. To this connected House of the Tokugawa
he thought to be liberal enough; not to meet the inflated scale of the
ideas of Tadanao, who spent the next half dozen years in so misgoverning
his lordly fief as to render necessary an adviser, planted at his side
by his powerful cousin in Edo. In Genwa ninth year Tadanao
rebelled--with the usual result to him who acts too late. He was
suppressed, largely by the aid of his own vassals, and exiled to Hita in
Bungo province. Here he shaved his head, took the name of Ichihaku. It
was of no avail. Promptly he died. It seemed to be a dispensation of
Providence--or dispensation of some kind--that exiles usually and early
developed alarming symptoms; in the shortest possible time removing
themselves and all cause of irritation to the overlord by their transfer
to another sphere.

The Tokugawa Sho[u]gun was generous to his relations. The exit of
Tadanao was promptly followed by the induction of his infant son
Mitsunaga into his fief. However, for the child to govern the great
district of 750,000 _koku_ appeared to be a doubtful step. Its
government actually being invested in the _daimyo[u]_, it was not to be
made a breeding ground for trouble through the action of subordinates.
Hence the main fief with the seat at Kita no Sho[u] (Fukui) was given to
the uncle. Fukui to-day is a dull provincial town, and excellent
stopping place for those who would have eyes opened as to the great
wealth and wide flat expanse of these three provinces of Kaga, Etchu[u],
and Echizen. Their lord was a mighty chieftain, entrenched behind
mountain barriers; and the great campaigns, which figure in pre-Tokugawa
history, were fought for a great object. The Maéda House, however, had
had their wings clipped, and were confined to Kaga. The Matsudaira were
established in Echizen. Etchu[u] was much divided up. The reduction of
the fief of Echizen Ke to 500,000 _koku_ brought him within reasonable
bounds, and he could well be left to ride with his hawks along the
pretty Ashibagawa, or to take his pleasure outing on the crest of
Asuwayama, the holy place of the city suburbs, and where Hidéyoshi
nearly lost life and an umbrella by a stray shot. Then would follow the
return, the ride across the wide moat, its waters dotted with the fowl
he went elsewhere to shoot, but safe within these precincts. Whether he
returned to any better entertainment than that of the present day
Tsuki-mi-ro or Moon viewing inn, one can doubt. He certainly did not
have the pretty outlook from its river bordered garden front.

Sen-chiyo-maru, later Mitsunaga, was relegated to Takata castle in
Echigo, with the minor income of 250,000 _koku_. Perhaps this fact,
together with his youth, and the more entertaining expenditure of the
income at an Edo _yashiki_, rather than in a mountain castle town,
brought the Takata no Kata to the capital. Takata Dono, or the Takata no
Kata, so named from the fief, is not known to fame or history under
other appellation. She is said to have possessed all the beauty of her
elder sister, the Senhimégimi, wife of Hidéyori Ko[u], son of the
Taiko[u], he who fell at Osaka castle. Furthermore, with the training of
the _samurai_ woman, the greatness of her position and personal
attraction, she possessed all the obstinacy and energy of the male
members of her family, with few of the restraints imposed on them by
public service. Takata Dono frankly threw herself into all the pleasures
she could find at the capital. Established in the Yoshida Goten, the
younger _samurai_ of the _hatamoto_ quickly came under her influence.
There was a taint of license in her blood, perhaps inherited from the
father who was most unbridled in his passions. The result was a sad
falling off from the precepts of Bushido[u] in herself and her
paramours. The Bakufu (Sho[u]gunal Government) was compelled to look on,
so great was her power at the castle. In the earlier days sentence of
_seppuku_ (cut belly) was a common reward for open misconduct. A word
from Takata Dono, and the disgraceful quarrels over her favours were
perforce condoned; and her lavish expenditures on her favourites were
promptly met. Alas! Alas! The up to date histories of Nippon sigh over
and salve these matters. "They were the inventions of a later age; were
not current in her life-time." Nor likely to be put too bluntly by those
tender of their skins. But an old poem has come down to express the
popular belief:

    "_Yoshida to[u]reba nikai kara maneku;
     Shikamo kano ko no furisode de._"

Somewhat irregular, like the lady's conduct, but which can be
interpreted,

    "Passing Yoshida, from above the signal;
     Furthermore, the waving of long sleeves."

Of little deer (or dears) for the style of sleeve, the _kano ko_, can be
read young deer. Bah! Was there not a "parc aux cerfs" half way round
the world? Nor were such confined to the capital cities of Edo and
Paris.[11]

The poem refers to the unbridled licentiousness the little lady
developed on her translation from her provincial residence; though
locally she had not failed to distinguish herself. What follows is part
of the tales current. At the time the _himégimi_ (princess) was thrown
on her own devices in Takata-jo[u] the _karo[u]_ or chief officer of the
household was one Hanai Iki. This fellow owed his position entirely to
his good looks and her ladyship's favour. This favour he met, not in the
spirit of a loyal vassal, but in that of a professed and bold lady
killer. As _karo[u]_ his attendance on her ladyship was constant and
intimate, and it took no particular acumen to find out that the intimacy
was of a more peculiar relation. Hence great was the under current of
comment, and regret at the unbridled conduct of the lady. None, however,
dared to interfere with the caprices of one so highly placed; and the
only means was to work on the decent feelings of Iki himself. Thus the
tale was brought to his wife's ears. It is to be said that with her all
jealousy was suppressed. It was for her to find the cure for her
husband's unbridled conduct. As Hanai Iki was a mere official, and with
no great claim to unusual or able services, it was hoped that his
removal or reform in conduct would bring back the _himégimi_ to a
befitting conduct. There was no suspicion that her passion was a disease
raging in her very blood, and that it was the man, not his personality
she sought.

The wife first adopted the orthodox method of formal remonstrance.
Without chiding, with a smile and great indulgence of one at no
particular fault himself, she enlarged upon the subject in the service
of the tea. "It is not a matter between Iki Dono and this Chiyo. There
is no unseemly jealousy in the wife to bring forward the complaint. In
fact the marital relation is not in question. As the husband pleases, so
should the wife submit. But great is the talk aroused at these too
private meetings with the _himégimi_. It is the House which is at stake.
Its influence and prestige is threatened by a mere retainer. This in a
short time can but lead to ruin. The caprice of a woman is well known.
In some cooler moment the eyes of her ladyship will see another colour.
The one to suffer will be Iki Dono, for now he has no other support but
in his mistress. Deign to regain the confidence of the household, and no
great harm can result beyond neglect. Honoured sir, you stretch out for
what is far beyond reach; and in the end can but fail. Deign to be
circumspect." If there was any tone of contempt and depreciation in the
protest it was in the last few words. At all events the eyes of Iki were
opened to the fact that it was sought to reach him through the wife's
remonstrance. He expressed surprise and discomfiture at what he asserted
had no real basis in fact. His office brought him in close contact with
her ladyship; the more so as the management of the fief was in her
hands. Matters were to be discussed which necessitated the exclusion of
all others. However, if such was the talk of the palace, or even beyond
its walls, he could but give thanks for the kindness of the
remonstrance. Henceforth he would be more careful, and would trust to
her good feeling to believe in his good faith.

With joy the wife heard what he said. With all good will she made
herself the apostle of this explanation. No one believed her and facts
soon belied words. Her ladyship, just entering on her passion, became
more exigent in her calls for the _karo[u]'s_ attendance. Iki now seldom
appeared at his home. Long absences from the castle town, pressing
business, any excuse to hand came to the alarmed ears of the wife. All
the rumours gathered were sure to reach her in exaggerated form. Hanai
Dono was the constant companion of her ladyship's wine feasts. He was
her acknowledged paramour, and lived in the private apartments of the
castle as in his own house. All talked--except the ladies in waiting of
the _himégimi_. These were selected and trained by her; selected for
beauty and trained to discretion. She would have no ugly thing about
her; and all was to be for her use. Iki was handsome, and discreet. To
her he was an object; as were the maids; the same apart from sex. He
filled his rôle admirably, never introduced his favour with her ladyship
into the public affairs of the House, or solicited for such personal
advancement as made toward outward display. But circumspection of
conduct never yet closed the mouth of gossip. There were those who were
jealous of what he might do; and jealous of a favour they would gladly
share themselves. The _himégimi_ was the prize which all coveted, and
which no one should possess to the exclusion of others.

Hence the buzz of talk rose loud, and the criticism stung the wife. She
determined herself to learn the truth of these tales. Hitherto they
were but the scandalous talk of people. Wife of the _karo[u]_, naturally
her ladyship did not require her attendance; but as such she had ready
access and an intimate acquaintance with the palace routine. Her mind
made up, she presented herself on some trifling pretext. Certainly in
her manner there was nothing to arouse comment. Received in the inner
apartments (_oku_), her plea, the introduction of a page into the
service, was readily granted. On retiring she would speak with the
superintendent of the _oku_, the old and experienced lady in waiting in
charge of the _himégimi's_ service. Thus she found the opportunity to
wander the inner precincts, to disappear and to slip into the bed room
of the _himégimi_. Here she stepped into a closet, pulled to the screen,
and crouched down behind the heaped up quilts. For the companionship of
her wandering lord she did not have long to wait; nor for proof of his
inconstancy. Iki came into the room, holding by the hand and drawing
after him one of palace ladies in waiting, Takeo by name. The girl was
by no means unwilling. Her blushes and confusion added to the great
beauty which made her the favoured attendant on the _himégimi_. Iki
pressed her close and openly. The girl plead ignorance and inexperience.
She was ashamed. Iki laughed. "Does not her ladyship set the example for
others to follow? Deign...." The plea of his relations with the mistress
came quite fit to the coarse feeling of Iki. Not so to the girl, who was
warmed into some indignation, and drew all the more from him. He would
persist; but just then her ladyship called from the next room--"Takeo!
Takeo!" The voice was impatient, as of one in haste. Iki had time to
thrust a letter into the girl's hand, which she quickly transferred to
her bosom. All the boldness of O'Chiyo was at stake as the maid came to
the closet. Close down she crouched; but Takeo had one eye on Iki, and
only one careless eye on the heap of _futon_, of which she drew from the
top. Iki made a grimace, for the benefit of the one he really loved. Her
ladyship's appearance was received with the warm and flattering
affection of the favoured lover; and O'Chiyo had proof positive that the
relations of the two were kind indeed.

The suicide of the wife, the letter of protest she left behind, had
more influence on the public than on the conduct of Hanai Iki. It simply
removed the last restraint and means of reaching him. All now depended
on her ladyship's infatuation. Old vassals sighed with joy when they
heard of the proposed removal to Edo. As _karo[u]_ Hanai Iki would be
left in charge of the fief. Not so: it was soon learned that his name
headed the list of those transferred for household service. The
grumbling was as open as it dared to be. The fief was to be contented
with the service of two vice-_karo[u]_; no great loss, except in matter
of prestige in dealing with other Houses. The _karo[u]_ became a kind of
male superintendent of the _oku_! But at all events the fief was rid of
him. Nor was Iki particularly pleased. He had been feathering his nest
in the material sense. The severance of the connection, without loss of
esteem, meant to him a quicker consummation of his wishes with Takeo
Dono, whom he would ask for as wife. Their relations had gone forward at
a wild pace. Once thrown into the whirl of passion Takeo sought but to
meet the wishes of her lover. The passion of the _himégimi_ stood
between them.

Established in Edo, at the Yoshida Goten, all went mad with content in
their beautiful surroundings. The palace gardens were noted. A hint of
the fine construction of the buildings is found to-day at the Kugyo[u]ji
of Iinuma, built subsequently from the materials. For the use of the
Sho[u]gun Ke in entertainment of his visitors, every art had been
exhausted in its adornment. The screens were objects of beauty, and
separated the large rooms with their fine pillars and ceilings of
grained and polished woods. The _rama-sho[u]ji_ were carved by Nature's
handiwork, and the polished lacquer and brass reflected a thousand times
the beauties roundabout. Whether the garden be viewed from the
apartments, or both from the _tsukiyama_ or artificial hill beside the
little lake, it was a scene of balanced beauty, showing every nicety of
man's hand in Nature's own proportion, and not guided into the
geometrical designs of a carpet square or a surveyor's working table.
Instead of the dry dullness of a provincial town, in which themselves
they had to fill the stage to give it life and pompousness, Edo was
close at hand, and they were part of, and actors in, the luxury and
magnificence of the Sho[u]gun's court. It is not surprising that the
_himégimi_ returned to all this glitter and activity as one long
banished from its seductions to a wilderness; added her own dissipation
and lavish entertainment to the constant round of festivity and luxury
rapidly supplanting the hard military discipline of the first
Sho[u]gun's camp; a luxury itself to crystallize into a gorgeous rigid
formalism, as deadly to the one not meeting its requirements as the
lined and spotted beauty of some poisonous serpent.

The wine feast was at its height. The cup passed more freely in this
chilly season of the year; and in the tightly closed apartments the
warmth of association and the table's cheer were sought. The _himégimi_
was more expansive than usual under the influence of the wine. Iki was
positively drunk, and in his state over-estimated the condition of her
ladyship. Takeo was serving the wine. Beyond stolen interviews of
moments the lovers had found no opportunity for the longed for clinging
of soul to soul, of person to person, during the night's long hours. The
girl's hands trembled with passion as furtively she sought those of her
lover in the passing of the wine cup. Iki was absolutely careless. Her
ladyship too far gone to note his conduct? He seized the arms of Takeo
and drew her to his side. The display of amorous emotion on the part of
both was too open to escape notice. The _himégimi_ rose to her feet as
on springs. The beautiful flushed face took on a deeper tint as she
scowled on the guilty and now frightened pair. Her breath came hard and
with difficulty. Then reaching down she wound the long tresses of Takeo
in her hand, and dragged her to her knee. Twisting and twisting, until
the agony made the girl cry out, she berated her--"Ah! Wicked jade! Thou
too have eyes for a man's person. Disloyal wench, would you aim to make
the beloved of your mistress partner of your bed?... What's this?" From
the girl's hand she tore the answer to the lover's plaint. The sharp
eyes of her ladyship sought the maid's person. A nervous hand fumbled
the folds of her _obi_ (sash). "Ah! The treasure house is not far off.
Such valued gems are carried on the person." Thrusting her hand into the
gentle bosom the _himégimi_ drew forth the guilty complement.

Wrote Iki--

    "How act to drop the mask;
     Many the pledges breathed in truth."

And the girl made answer:

    "Ah! The night of meeting, love's consummation;
     The hindrance, thing or person, object of hate."[12]

The words were too plain. There was a certain savage tone of exulting
wrath as the _himégimi_ read out loud the contents of the missives. It
chilled the hearts of those who heard her. She spoke: at first in low
concentrated tones of bitter jesting hate. "Ha! Ha! Disloyalty goes
beyond mere thought; would strike at the person of its lord. What
lascivious slut is this, who thus would creep into the mistress' bed, to
take her place?... Look up! Naruhodo! In that face is too much beauty.
Vile huzzy, you would seek the favour of my lover. Hence forth neither
he nor any man shall look on you, except with loathing." Close beside
her was the _hibachi_, its burden of the hard burning charcoal from
Ikéda now a bright cherry red. Dragging the girl to the brazier,
twisting both hands more firmly in the long black hair, she forced her,
face downwards, into the heated mass, pressing into the back with her
knee. In terror the other girls looked away, or hid their faces in their
sleeves. Before the towering anger of the princess none dared apology or
intercession. The smell of burning flesh rose sickening. Takeo feebly
moaned, and writhed a little under the nervous pressure of those
delicate powerful hands. Then she was silent. The inhuman punishment had
reached its end. Roughly her ladyship threw her aside, face upward on
the _tatami_. Those who took a hasty glance turned away in horror from
the face, black here, red and swollen there, the mouth filled with
ashes, the eyes--one totally destroyed.

The _himégimi_ was on her feet. "Iki--here with you!" In fear the man
prostrated himself before the vision. "Not yet did the demon's horns
sprout from her head; but the eyes injected with blood, the hair
standing up to Heaven, converted her ladyship into a veritable demon."
In slow and measured wrath she spoke--"Ah, the fool! Admitted to the
favour of his mistress, the long continued object of her affection, with
all at his command and service, he would sacrifice these for the
embraces of a serving wench. Truly the man has gone mad with lust; or
rather it is a man's face and a beast's mind. Thus before my very eyes
he would dally with his whore and make me cuckold. Of such miscreants
one feels no jealousy. Hate and punishment follow the insult." A quick
movement backward and her halberd hanging at the wall was in her hand.
The scabbard stripped from the shining blade was held over head. "Namu
San! Holy the three sacred things!" Iki sprang to his feet, coward and
fool he sought not to grapple with her, but to flee. The command of the
_himégimi_ rang sharp--"He is not to escape!" In this company of her
maids, all _samurai_ women, the discipline was complete. If they would
not suffer the punishment of Takeo, they must respond. Whatever the
backbiting and division among themselves, in her ladyship's service they
would sacrifice life itself. Besides, more than one hated Iki with the
heart-whole hate of neglected love and advances. Takeo had been more
favoured than her companions, not through any fault of theirs in seeking
this lady killer. Hence the alarm was quickly given. Iki was beset by
this female army, every one armed, himself with but his dagger. There
was no outlet for escape. Then they came to close quarters. The boldest
threw themselves on him. Dragged to the ground, bound fast, he was
pulled and pushed into the garden. Breathless and dishevelled the female
horde parted to allow the approach of the _himégimi_--"Such open insult
and vile conduct is difficult to overlook. The disloyalty intended is
past pardon. For this, too great the grudge." The keen blade flashed,
and the head of Iki rolled some feet distant. Without a glance in the
direction of the miserable Takeo, the princess took her way back to her
apartment. At last some attention could be given to the suffering and
disfigured girl. She was paying the penalty for her treachery and
disloyal thoughts. The pains which followed were aggravated by neglect.
The face and chest one mass of burns, the wounds soon became putrid. The
stench was so frightful that none would go near her. They brought her
food; then fled her presence in disgust. As she grew weaker, unable to
feed herself, the pangs of starvation were added to her woes. The
continued cries of agony grew feebler and feebler, became a mere low
moaning; then ceased altogether. "Thus trifles lead to death, and
lechery finds its punishment." The bodies of the guilty pair, thrown
into the garden well, there found the only interment.

Her ladyship was not to escape. Following this scene her passions broke
out of all bounds. She took no new lover; it was lovers. Men were
beckoned to the Yoshida Goten as to a brothel--with waving sleeves from
the upper story. For a night, for a week, for a month they would be
entertained. The weaker sort soon displeased her, and were dismissed; to
find their end in the well of the willow, the Yanagi no Ido, of the
inner garden of the palace. It would seem as if some wicked demon had
entered the person of Takata Dono, to lead her into this course of
debauchery.



CHAPTER XII

THE KO[U]JIMACHI WELL


One day a toilet dealer came through the Bancho[u]. The sun was already
on its decline as he passed the front of the Yoshida Goten on his way to
his home in Kanda. It shone, however, on a fellow who at once attracted
the attention of the look-out maid. She gave an exclamation--"Ma! Ma!
What a handsome man! Such a loveable fellow! Her ladyship...." Then a
feeling of pity seemed to close her mouth. But further speech was
useless. The _himégimi_ lacked company for her night's feast. Herself
she responded to the incomplete summons. A glance and--"Bring him here;
without delay. Such a fine specimen is not to be allowed to escape." It
could not be helped. At once the beauty, all smiles and gestures, with
waving sleeves sought to attract the attention of the itinerant trader.
The district was new to him, his sales had been poor. This summons was
the direct favour of the Buddha. From this great mansion surely his pack
would be much lighter on return. Timidly he approached the _samurai_ at
the gate, fearing harsh repulse. The officer, however, was very
amenable, transferring him at once to the guidance of the maid already
waiting close by. Thus was he brought to the women's apartments; to be
surrounded by a bevy of the sex, of a beauty of which he had had no
experience. They began looking negligently over his poor stock, and
closely over his own person. Then--"'Tis at her ladyship's order that
the summons is made. Come this way." At this unusual conduct in a
_yashiki_ he had some misgivings. His hesitation met with small
consideration. The crowd of women surrounded him and pushed him forward,
exercising a violence which astonished and paralysed resistance at being
thus exalted above his sphere. Protesting he was taken to the bath. This
office completed amid admiring comment, he was dressed in _hakama_
(trousers) and blouse, of stuff perfumed and of silky softness, which
made him feel as if he moved in some dream. Thus purified and arrayed he
was led through a long range of magnificent rooms, the sight of which
sent his heart further and further into his heels. Finally he was
introduced into an apartment of no great size, but with dais and bamboo
blind. Led before this, his guides drew apart and prostrated themselves
in obeisance. The toilet dealer followed the excellent example.

The screen slowly rose and the Takata Dono appeared in all her beauty.
At this period she was barely thirty years, in the full development of
her charms. To the eyes of the poor toilet dealer it seemed as if Benten
Sama, the goddess of love, was thus gravely regarding and measuring
every line of face and body. Finally she seemed satisfied with this
close inspection. A sign and the formality of the scene vanished. "Come
closer.... The _saké_ cup!" Anxiously wriggling himself to her very
presence, she then questioned him as to age, business, habits. Her voice
was as silvery gentle as her face was beautiful. Soon he found himself
looking up into it with confidence, as well as with awed respect. The
_saké_ utensils brought, she condescended herself to fill the cup. This
was filled again; and yet again. When the liquor began to show its
influence her manner became more familiar. With a quick movement, which
surprised him by the latent strength shown, she drew him close to her
side, began openly to show her favour for him. "Such fine figure of a
man is no such fool as not to know he can please a woman. The very trade
leads him to study women's taste. Now sir: for test of your
qualities...." But frightened the toilet dealer disengaged himself, and
springing back a little he prostrated himself flat on the ground. "Deign
not an unseemly jest. Close to the person of a great lady, such as is
the honoured presence, the poor artisan finds but distress. His wares
have no market amid this magnificence. Dependent on him for means of
life are two aged parents. A bare subsistence is secured for them.
Condescend his dismissal, that he may return to relieve their
anxieties."

The speech met with but poor reception. Gentle was the laugh of the
_himégimi_, yet a little wrinkle knitted her brow. She seemed to regard
him in a somewhat strange light. "Have no misgivings as to their fate.
An ample sum shall be sent to assure them against need. Meanwhile Nature
and the occasion has furnished forth the toilet dealer--for the lady's
toilet.... Now for the wine feast." In the scene of riot and merriment
which followed the one thought of the unfortunate trader was to escape.
There was no strict order in the banquet, no formality. The idea of the
_himégimi_ was to get the greatest pleasure out of everything to her
hand, and all vied with each other, by song and art, with voice and
musical accompaniment, by a minute attention to needs of host and guest
to make the sensual effect of the scene complete. There was not a
jarring element in the well trained bevy of women devoted to pleasure.
The toilet dealer was free, yet bound. If he would seek occasion to
leave his place, to move uneasily hither and thither in these wide
rooms, as did the women with their carelessness and ease, always he
found himself balked by their presence. Escape there was none. Soon he
found himself again by her ladyship's side, to be plied with the wine
until sense and caution gave way before the spell of the beautiful
woman. To her it was an amusing game, a stimulant to her passion, the
conquest of this reluctance in a man found to lack the brazenness and
vulgarity of his caste. In the end he could but murmur at her feet that
he was hers--to do with as she would. "Would that this dream could last
forever! In this Paradise of the wondrous Presence."

The scene was changed. Her ladyship rose. In the company of a few of the
women he was led still further into the recesses of the palace. Here he
was arrayed for the night, amid the merry jesting and admiring criticism
of his attendants. Accompanied to the bed chamber the _fusuma_ (screens)
were closed, and he could hear the fall of the bars in the outer
passages. Submission now was easy, as inevitable, as taken by the storm
of this woman's passion. With but short intervals of dozing she would
draw him to her embrace, and intoxicate him with her caresses. "When the
poison be taken--let the plate be full." With clearing brain, though
under the spell of her beauty he never lost sight of the purpose to flee
this doubtful snare. When at dawn she really slept, he rose to seek
exit; to run into the ever vigilant guard. "Naruhodo! Truly an early
riser the honoured guest. But all has been made ready. The bath is at
hand. Deign to enter." Thus surrounded and compelled he began the second
day. As the maid dressed him after the bath she broke out in admiration
of his physical presence. "The handsome fellow! No wonder her ladyship
was seized by the love wind." In the evening's entertainment he had
proved himself no fool in interesting anecdote of the town, and a quaint
and naive description of the view the lowly take of those who call
themselves the great. Under the skilful questioning of one or other this
simple fellow--of keen wit and observation--had shown a phase of life
unknown to them, beyond the careless view afforded from between the
blinds of the curtains of the palanquin. The vulgar boldness of his
predecessors was conspicuously lacking, as was the tedious talk of war
and discussion of court etiquette of noble and more formal guests. Not
only her ladyship, but the maids thoroughly enjoyed him.

His astonishment and fearful protest at the gorgeous robe put on him
turned them from pity to amusement. Said a bolder wench--"Take and enjoy
the gifts of her ladyship as offered. The chance is not likely again to
present itself. Put aside all thought of past; seek pleasure in the
present, without regard to the future." Though spoken with a smile which
showed the whole row of beautiful teeth, there was a menace in the words
which came home to him. If he had had some suspicions of his
whereabouts, he felt sure of it now. There were but rumours and
suspicions, slanders of course, of which he seemed destined to prove the
truth. The knowledge seemed to add dignity to his pose. He would await
her ladyship's exit from the bath. Conducted to the garden he strolled
its beautiful inclosure, noted the high roofs on every side. Standing by
the _tsukiyama_ he heard the shuffling of sandals. Turning he prostrated
himself before the _himégimi_. Rosy, with sparkling eyes, long flowing
black hair, regal presence, she was indeed the goddess Benten Sama in
human flesh and blood. Without rising the toilet dealer made
request--"Deign the honoured pity. To spend one's life in the service of
the honoured Presence, this has been said; and for the words regret
there is none. It is for those dependent. Condescend that no harm come
to them, no distress from this visitation of gods and the Buddha.
Willingly the price is paid for the delicious dream, no grudge felt for
what is to follow."

The _himégimi_ stopped short. For some time she was lost in thought.
This man was keen enough of wit to know the price at which her favours
were bought; brave enough not to flinch, or to make abortive effort to
avoid his fate. Her whole experience brought feeling of disgust toward
men, when once satiated. With this man the chord of pity was touched.
The honoured sleeves were wet with the honoured tears as she made answer
to the plea. Without slightest effort to deny her once purpose she
consoled and reassured him. "It was determined, that granted favour you
should never leave this place." Her brow darkened for a moment at the
ominous words; than cleared radiant. "Those who enter here ascribe to
their good fortune the pleasures they enjoy. Instead of modest gratitude
they show the arrogance of possession. Purpose was first shaken by the
filial love expressed for those who gave you being, the tender care and
anxiety for their welfare. A man like you, one is assured of his faith
and silence. At night you shall depart from here unharmed." She took him
by the hand, and when he would show respect, with familiarity drew him
along with her. Thus they walked the gardens, talking of varying
subjects; she listening to his explanations and instances of life in the
common world, and questioning him adroitly as to his past and future.
Then the return was made to the inner apartments of the palace. From
this stray honey bee the little lady sucked the last juices of its
nature. The day was spent in the same riotous merriment and feasting. At
the order of the _himégimi_ he had withdrawn for the moment from her
presence. When the maid came toward him, it was with expectation of
another summons that he followed after. She took him to a little room.
Here were his coarse garments and his pack. To these were added the
gifts heaped on him by her ladyship. The change of garb completed
suddenly the girl took him in her embrace, pressing the now soft
perfumed hair and warm moist skin of his neck. "Ah! You lucky fellow!
But know that silence is golden." With this she as suddenly seized his
hand and led him swiftly along the dark corridor. At its end an _amado_
was slipped back, and they were in the garden. To a postern gate she
fitted the key. Pack adjusted he would turn to make salutation. Two
slender firm hands laid on his shoulders sent him flying into the
roadway. The gate closed with a sharp bang, and all sign of this fairy
palace disappeared.

Every day the toilet dealer had prayed to _kami_ and Buddha, made his
offering of "cash" at the favoured shrines, performed such pilgrimages
(_sankei_) as his limited means and scanty time permitted. To this alone
is to be ascribed his escape. Not so with others: to turn the page to a
second instance--One day a maid from above called to the gate
guard--"Stop that man!"--"Who?" The guard was at loss, not what to do,
but whom to stop. Promptly the highway was roped off. None were allowed
to move until inspection was made. As the plebeians lay prostrate with
noses on the backs of their hands they marvelled and spoke to each
other. "Truly a wondrous event! Some great rascal must have been
detected. Thanks to the _kami_ and the Buddhas the heart of this
Taro[u]bei is clean."--"And of this Jimbei. To pay the debt to the
_saké_ shop he has not hesitated to contract Tama to the Yoshidaya of
Yoshiwara."--"Well done!" quoth his friend. "Then credit at the Echigoya
is good?"--"Deign to come and drink a glass of poor wine, to the
pleasure and good luck of Jimbei." The edifying conversation was
interrupted by call for inspection. All passers by but men were
summarily motioned on. A maid stood by--"No, not this one ... nor this
one ... nor that.... Ah! That big brown fellow, with huge calves. He is
the man." At once the "big brown man" with enlarged pediments was cut
out from the heap of humanity, with whispering fear and looks the others
went about their business. "Truly his crime must be very great. Yet who
would suspect it! He is not an ill looking fellow by any means." Others
shook their heads as they went away, vowing never again to take this
road to work, or home, or pleasure.

Before the _yakunin_ the prisoner fell on his knees. "Deign the honoured
pardon. Doubtless grave is the offence; but of it there is no
remembrance. An humble wheel-wright of Kanda, this worthless fellow is
known as Gonjuro[u]. It is work at Nakano which brings him hither." He
turned from one officer to the other. They disregarded his prayers, and
delivered him over to the maid, directing him to obey her orders, or
suffer for it. In dumbfounded surprise and gathering confidence he
followed after. Surrounded by the army of maids he more than readily
submitted to their ministrations. The freedom of the bath, the donning
of the gorgeous robe, pleased him beyond measure. To their quips and
words of double meaning he made ready answer, meeting them more than
half way with the obscenity of the Yoshiwara. "Taro[u]bei is tricked out
like an actor." At this all the greater was their merriment and
boisterousness. Introduced into the presence of her ladyship, his first
confusion at the magnificence of the surroundings was quickly removed by
his cordial reception. The _himégimi_ laughed at sight of him; laughed
still louder at his uncouthness. Then she passed to more earnest
measures; praised his thickness of limb, the sturdy robustness of neck
and loins. To his apologies--she urged him not to be frightened or
backward. Pushing the thick shock of hair back from his eyes he eyed her
with growing comprehension. After all a woman was a woman. "'Tis no
fault of this Taro[u]bei. The _yakunin_ compelled his presence. For such
a noble lady he would make any sacrifice." He spoke with bold look and
manner, thoroughly understanding now the nature of his summons at the
caprice of some great lady. Had he not suffered equal good fortune with
the beauties of Yoshiwara? He treated lady and maids with the same free
familiarity and sportive roughness as if in one of his favoured haunts.

All the more was the _himégimi_ amused at his extravagance. She made no
sign of displeasure, and the girls made little resistance to the
fellow's boisterous manifestations as he tousled them. Always her
ladyship had eyes of the greatest appreciation on this splendid animal.
The feast set before him he looked on with small favour. "What then
tickles the palate of Juro[u]?" She leaned toward him, her face flushed
with this struggle to cage her latest prize. The silvery and enticing
voice had for answer--"Také (bamboo); just plain boiled, with syrup and
_sho[u]yu_." Then timidly, as he sought her good will--"Just a little
wine; two _go_ (a pint) ... say five _go_." She laughed with good
humour. His choice among this bevy of beauties at last had fallen
spontaneously on herself. The conquest pleased her. Then he was well
stuffed with coarse foods, hunted out of the supplies for the grooms and
stablemen in the palace kitchen, with _saké_ of a harsh and burning
kind--"which had some taste to it." Indeed never had he drank such! The
_himégimi_ sipped a drop or two of the acrid liquor, made a wry face,
and sought to bring the scene to its climax.

With the bath next day he was all grumbling and exigencies. The maids
bore this with patience, and glances interchanged. Her ladyship had
promised him breakfast to restore exhausted Nature--"And such was
promised as that this Taro[u]bei would never need another." He roared
his dissatisfaction. The hint was taken up at once. "This way: it is for
the _yakunin_ to carry out her ladyship's order, and to stop your
gullet." The brusqueness of the _samurai_ was poor exchange for the
noisy amorous atmosphere of the inner palace. With indignation the
worthy wheelwright obeyed the order to march ahead. "Ah! Just wait my
fine fellow. A word to the lady of the mansion, and you shall learn the
cost of insult to the man she favours. This _yaro[u]_ Gonjuro[u] has no
other wife. Her ladyship takes him as adopted husband." The officer
winked and blushed a little at this very crude specimen. By this time he
had led the man to the well curb in the inner garden. Harshly--"Now down
with you. Favoured by the gods and Buddhas you cannot even hold your
tongue. Ladies like not boasting of their favours. 'Tis now the time to
express pity for you. Make ready!" Deftly he tripped him up, to send him
an all fours. The sword flashed, and the wheelwright's head rolled on
the ground. Just as it was the body was cast into the well.

Such was the fate of those who found favour with the _himégimi_. More
and more suspicious became people of the strange disappearances traced
to the precincts of the palace. Strange tales went around, to gather
force with numbers. Kwanei 8th year (1635), whether for closer
supervision of the lady or actual necessity, she was removed to the
castle precincts, and there given quarters. Time doubtless it was, that
tempered these crazy outbursts of the _himégimi_. She lived until
Kwambun 12th year. On the 2nd month 21st day (12th September 1672) she
died at the age of seventy two years. Grand were the obsequies of one so
favoured by the Sho[u]gun. The _daimyo[u]_ went up in long processions
to condole with the suzerain at the death of a rich aunt, and
congratulate him on the possessions seized. On the 24th day the lord of
the land sent lavish incense and a thousand pieces of silver, by the
hand of Inaba Mimasaka no Kami Masamori, to Matsudaira Echigo Ke the son
and heir, doubtless glad enough to get this much out of his lady
mother's rich furniture and dower. From the Midai-dokoro, the
Sho[u]gun's consort, by the Bangashira (Superintendent) of the women's
apartments of the Sho[u]gunal palace, he secured another thousand pieces
of silver. All was treasure trove toward the heavy expense of the
imposing funeral. On the seventh day of the decease--the 27th day (18th
September)--the obsequies took place at the Tentokuji of Shiba, where
she was to rest, well weighted down by massive sandstone and an
interminable epitaph--of which the posthumous name of Tenso[u]-in can be
remembered. The Sho[u]gun Ke was present in his proxy of Tsuchiya Tajima
no Kami Kazunao.

The Yoshida Goten had shorter shrift than its once occupant. The
_daimyo[u]_ were moving into _yashiki_ under the compulsory residence
edict. The _kyakubun_ were still met at the outskirts of the city, but
the many different palaces for their entertainment became superfluous.
The main part of the Yoshida Goten was pulled down, and its magnificent
timbers and decoration went to the equipment of the prior's hall of the
Kugyo[u]ji of Iinuma. This great temple, situate one _ri_ (2-1/2 miles)
to the north of Midzukaido-machi, in the plain at the base of
Tsukuba-san, is one of the eighteen holy places of the Kwanto[u], and
under the charge of the Jo[u]do[u] sect of Buddhists. In former days the
notice board was posted at the Chu[u]mon (middle gate), ordering all
visitors to dismount from horse or _kago_. The _bushi_ removed their
swords on presenting themselves for worship. The temple itself is of
moderately ancient foundation, being established in Oei 21st year (1414)
by the two Hanyu lords, Tsunésada and Yoshisada, who built the castles
of Yokosomé and Hanyu, close by here in Shimosa. Grand is the _hondo[u]_
(main hall); and grand the magnificent old pines and cedars which
surround it and line its avenues. These are set off by the girdle of the
flowering cherry, famed among the ancient seven villages of Iimura.
Moreover it was the scene of the early labours in youth of the famous
bishop--Yu[u]ten So[u]jo[u]; who solved so successfully the blending of
the pale maple colour of its cherry blossoms that he gave the name
_myo[u]jo[u] no sakura_, a new transcript of the "six characters." Here
he grappled with and prevailed over the wicked spirit of the Embukasané.
In later writers there is a confusion as to the tale of the Yoshida
Goten. The palace material was used for the construction of the prior's
hall.[13] In the Genwa period (1615-23) the Senhimégimi, eldest daughter
of Hidétada Ko[u] the second sho[u]gun, cut _short_ her beautiful hair
and assumed the name of the Tenju-in-Den (as nun). The hair was buried
here under an imposing monument; and later one of the ladies-in-waiting
of the princess--the Go-tsuboné Iiguchi Hayao. (The name of the princess
Tsuruhimé in _kana_ is probably a later and mistaken addition.) Thus
were the many adventures of the Takata Dono transferred to her equally
well known and beautiful elder sister. The Senhimé, wife of Hidéyori,
suffered and did quite enough herself for which to make answer.
Meanwhile the site of the Yoshida Goten in the Bancho[u] became more
than suspected. Jack-o-lanterns, the ghosts of the victims of the
_himégimi_, came forth from the old well to haunt and frighten
passers-by. Nor were subsequent attempts to use it encouraging. Thus the
ground lay idle and uncalled for, with no one to occupy it until the
grant of a large tract in Dosanbashi as site for the _yashiki_ of
Matsudaira Higo no Kami compelled removal of several of the _hatamoto_.
Among these were O[u]kubo Hikoroku and Aoyama Shu[u]zen.[14]



CHAPTER XIII

THE SEN-HIMÉGIMI (Princess Sen)


The Sen-_himégimi_, eldest daughter of Hidétada the second Sho[u]gun,
figures little in our story; enough so, however, to necessitate the
telling of one of the not least striking episodes in a life full of
event. Married at the mature age of six years to the Udaijin Hidéyori,
son of the Taiko[u] Hidéyoshi and lord of O[u]saka castle, those
childish years were the happiest of that period. Clouds were rising
between Toyotomi and Tokugawa as the princess approached nubile years.
On her the Yodogimi, mother of the Udaijin, visited the more personal
effects of her resentment. For the growing girl it was a period of tears
and affliction. In truth she well knew the weight of her mother-in-law's
hand. So wretched was her life that there was some fear of her killing
herself. A powerful influence in screening her in these later years was
that of the famous Kimura Nagato no Kami. Shigenari and his wife Aoyagi
were the guides and friends of the _himégimi_ during this trying period;
her councillors to forestall cause of the Yodogimi's wrath. Moreover the
pleasant relations between the young husband and wife were an incentive
to bear a burden patiently, which time might remove. Nevertheless the
Yodogimi was inexorable. The night screens were set up in different
chambers. When the Sen-himégimi made her escape from O[u]saka castle she
was sixteen years old, and in all likelihood a virgin.

As to the stories of her escape from the besieged castle, then in the
very throes of the final vigorous and successful assault by the three
hundred thousand men surrounding it, these vary. According to one
account Iyeyasu Ko[u], brows knit with anxiety as he watched his men
pressing to the attack, thumped his saddle bow as vigorously as waning
years now permitted--"The Senhimé to wife, to him who brings her safe
from the castle!" Not a man in his train moved. They looked at the
blazing mass before them, the flying missiles--and staid where they
were. Then came forward a Tozama _daimyo[u]_, Sakasaki Dewa no Kami
Takachika.[15] Prostrating himself he announced his purpose to make the
attempt. Making his way into the blazing pile of the burning castle he
found the Senhimé amid her frightened maids. Wrapping her up carefully
he took her in his arms, and with great regard for her person, and none
for his own, he sought her rescue. The last chance was through the
blazing mass of the great gate. Just as he was about to clear it, down
came the tottering superincumbent structure almost on their heads. The
red hot tiles, the sparks like a fiery deluge, the blazing fragments of
wood carried and tossed by the air currents, surrounded them as in a
furnace. Nearly all the train perished in the attempt. Dewa no Kami
succeeded in presenting himself before the O[u]gosho[u] (Iyeyasu). Even
the old captain could but turn with pity from the hideously disfigured
man. The Senhimé in all her beauty was saved. Bitter was her resentment
against all--father, grandfather, their partisans--who had refused the
gift of life to the young husband. Rescue or no rescue, she absolutely
refused to carry out the agreement and become the wife of this--mask.

Other tales are less romantic. The most prosaic sends Dewa no Kami to
Kyo[u]to, on orders of Hidétada Ko[u]. For the princess a second bed was
to be found among the Sekké (the five great _kugé_ Houses of the
imperial court). The mission was not unsuccessful, but by the time the
messenger returned Hidétada had changed his mind.[16] Brusquely he
offered her to Dewa no Kami. The Senhimé got wind of these movements.
Her resentment toward the Tokugawa House determined her hostile stand.
She would not be an instrument to their advancement. Family relations
were taken very seriously. It is to be remembered that her uncle
Hidéyasu, adopted into the Toyotomi, was so fiercely loyal to that House
that his natural father, the O[u]gosho[u] Iyeyasu, poisoned him, by his
own hand and a gift of cakes, it is said. Those likely to hitch and
hamper the movement against O[u]saka, such as the famous Kato[u]
Kiyomasa, found short shrift in the soup bowl. At all events the insult
of refusal fell on Dewa no Kami. After all, by the most authentic tale,
he seems to have deserved no particular credit. As to the actual escape
from O[u]saka-Jo[u] either of the following versions can be accepted. As
suicide was the inevitable issue for the defeated, the Yodogimi, with
some reluctance, had announced her purpose; and her intent to involve
the _himégimi_ in the fate of herself and son. This was but the ethics
of the time; and was neither cruel nor unusual. It was thoroughly
constitutional. Fortunately the fears of the Lady Dowager made her
add--"the time is not yet propitious." She left the keep, intending to
ascertain in person how matters went on outside, before going on with
the ceremony inside. The maids of the Senhimé at once surrounded her and
urged flight. Overpowering any resistance, moral and physical, these
energetic _samurai_ women bundled their mistress well into _futon_
(quilts). Then with no particular gentleness they lowered her over the
castle wall. Others followed her--to destruction or better luck, without
_futon_. Some twenty of them risked the descent. Horiuchi Mondo[u], a
gentleman of Kishu[u] Kumano, noticed the unusual group. They besought
an aid for the princess he readily gave. Dewa no Kami happened to come
on the scene, and promptly took the responsibility of the safety of the
princess on his own shoulders.

Here the two versions join, for by the other Ono Shuri, captain of the
defense and hence most seriously involved, sought the safety of his own
daughter. The princess therefore was sent from the castle, under the
care of his _karo[u]_ Yonemura Gonémon, to plead for the lives of the
Udaijin and his mother the Yodogimi. Ono was careful to include his
daughter in the train, and the _karo[u]_ followed his illustrious
example. Dewa no Kami met the party outside the castle, and grasped the
chance of being agreeable by escorting it to the camp of the
O[u]gosho[u]. Honda Sado no Kami here was in charge. His mission to the
grandfather was eminently successful. Iyeyasu, overjoyed at the escape
of the beloved grandchild, consented; provided that of the actual
Sho[u]gun be obtained. All rejoiced, with little thought of Hidétada's
harsh feeling. Perhaps the message expressed this; perhaps it was spoken
to cover refusal, for he had deep affection for his children. But as in
greatest wrath he made answer--"The thing is not to be spoken of. Why
did she not die together with Hidéyori?" The Senhimé was safe enough now
in his camp; and he did not purpose the escape of his rival Hidéyori, to
be a permanent danger to his House. The princess, worn out by many days
of suffering, went to sleep in the shed which furnished her with
quarters, and never woke until high noon on the following day. By that
time she could choose between the tales of her husband's escape to
Satsuma; or his suicide and her widowhood, the only proof of which was
the finding of the hereditary sword of the Toyotomi House. She clung to
the former story, despite the ascertained suicide of the Yodogimi, who
hardly would have allowed the escape of the son and her own destruction.
Thus disgruntled, later the _himégimi_ was removed to Kyo[u]to, fiercely
hostile to all the Kwanto[u] influence.

A word in conclusion as to the fate of the attendants, thus skilfully
foisted on her. The daughter of Ono Shuri had escaped, with all the
sufferings and passions aroused by family disaster. When subsequently
the princess was removed to Edo she went in her train. They were
companions in misfortune. In the hostile atmosphere she was taken with a
consumption, long to undergo its torments. Overcome by homesickness she
would return to former scenes, and worship at her father's grave.
Permission was now granted. Yonémura accompanied the dying girl to the
capital. Here Ono Shuri had lost his head in the bed of the Kamogawa
(the execution ground). Here at Kyo[u]to the daughter found her tortured
end. Gloomy the old vassal prepared the funeral pyre of his mistress. As
the flames shot high and wrapped the corpse, a woman's figure darted
forward and sprang into the midst. Unable to distinguish the bones of
his daughter from those of the honoured mistress, Gonémon placed the
remains of both within the same casket, to rest at the last beneath the
pines and cedars of the holy mountain of Ko[u]ya.

On June 4th (1615) the castle had fallen. The date is important in
connection with one of the current scandals. Later the Senhimé was
escorted down to Edo by Honda Mino no Kami Tadamasa, in whose train was
his handsome son To[u]nosuké (Tadatoki). He is said to have been like
enough in appearance to the Udaijin Hidéyori to act as his substitute in
the most intimate sense. The fierce little lady fell violently in love
with him. By the time Edo was reached she ought to have married Honda,
and in the passage of the months and days would have to. At all events
this rather disproportionate marriage was early proposed to the council
of the Bakufu, and after some discussion accepted. This decision was not
reached until Genwa 2nd year 9th month (October 1616), or more than a
full year after the fall of the castle. The failure to carry out the
agreement with Dewa no Kami afforded ample reason for the extremity to
which this latter's rage was carried. By all accounts he had lost a
bride, the acknowledged beauty of the land, apart from the great
influence of the connection. Perhaps his own hideous disfigurement was
involved. He determined to lie in wait for the journey down to Himeji,
Honda's fief; and kill or carry off the lady. The Sho[u]gun's Government
got wind of the purpose. The lords were storming with wrath, and a
public fracas was feared. All composition had been refused. Dewa refused
to see his friend Yagyu[u] Munénori, sent to him as messenger of
greatest influence. Secret orders then were sent that Dewa no Kami must
be induced to cut belly, or--his vassals ought to send his head to Edo.
The Sho[u]gun's word and bond must be saved. The vassals knew their
lord, and had not loyalty enough to act otherwise than to sever his
head, as he lay sleeping off a drunken fit in broad daylight. It was
against rewarding this disloyal act that Honda Masazumi showed open
opposition to the council's decision; and Hidétada Ko[u] himself
disapproved enough not to inflict extinction (_kaieki_) on the family of
the dead lord, the usual process. The continuance of the succession was
permitted on the Sho[u]gun's order. All these matters were so public
that little credit is to be given to the rôle assigned to Sakasaki Dewa
no Kami in the event about to be described; the issue of which was so
unfortunate in the carrying out, that Sakasaki, in command of the bridal
cortege and keenly feeling the disgrace, cut open his belly in
expiation; and that the Government, to hush up talk as to attack on the
train of the princess, put forward as explanation the proposed treachery
and resultant death of Dewa no Kami.

As to the event itself: with greatest reluctance, uncertain as to her
former husband's fate, the Senhimé had been forced into agreement with
the Honda marriage. From the Nishimaru (western) palace the bridal
cortege took its way to the _yashiki_ of Honda near the Hitotsubashi
Gomon. Time was at a discount in those days, and by no means was the
shortest route to anything taken. The procession filed out of the
Sakurada Gomon, to circle with its pompous glitter the outer moat. All
went very well. The _yashiki_ walls bordering Tayasumura were slipping
by. Then the steadily accumulating clouds poured forth their contents.
It was a downpour, blinding in effect. The _rokushaku_ of the
Kurokwagumi--stout and tall palanquin bearers, "six footers"--floundered
and staggered in the mud. The heavy palanquin came to the ground. Great
was the rage of the princess at this unseemly precedent for such an
occasion. "Rude ruffians! By this very hand this scum shall die!"
_Te-uchi_ was to be the lot of the miserable fellows prostrate in
obeisance and seeking pardon in the blinding storm from the lady's
dagger, menacing them from the open door of the palanquin. The Lady of
O[u]saka was quite capable of carrying out her threat. Abé
Shiro[u]goro[u], later the famous Bungo no Kami, was equal to the
occasion. With soft words he would soothe her. "Congratulations to the
_Himégimi_! May her highness deign to accept the so happy augury of
present ill luck bringing good fortune throughout a long and happy life.
Deign to regard with future favour the words of Shiro[u]goro[u]." He got
as near the mud as he dared in his respectful salutation. The lady's
face softened. She was appeased.

Then she held up the hand, with the dagger still ready for action.
Shiro[u]goro[u] sprang to his feet. Something else than storm was in
progress. In the escort ahead there were other sounds than the rumbling
and sharp crash of the thunder, the swishing of rain wind driven. The
flashes of lightning showed that the cortege was the object of a most
determined attack, which sought to make its way to the palanquin of the
princess. Abé Shiro[u]goro[u] would have leaped forward, but the
flashing eyes and presence of the _himégimi_ held him to her nearer
defence. The number of the assailants could not be ascertained in this
darkness like to night.[17] The tower of defence was Yagyu[u] Tajima no
Kami, greatest master of the sword in Nippon. He had the support of the
younger O[u]kubo, of Kondo[u] Noborinosuké, of Mizuno Juro[u]zaémon even
then noted as expert with the spear. In general command was the beloved
superintendent of the _hatamoto_, O[u]kubo Hikozaémon. In daylight the
affair would have been easy. But in this darkness they had to stand to
their defence. That it was an attack by O[u]saka _ro[u]nin_, enraged at
the marriage of the princess, there was no doubt. But what their
numbers? So far the defense was impregnable. There was nothing to fear.
Three of the leaders of the _ro[u]nin_ lay on the ground. Their chief,
visible in the lightning flashes, could not hope for success. It was the
old and still active Hikozaémon, the _oyaji_ (old chap), the hardened
warrior of Iyeyasu, who scented out the threatening move. He sprang off
into the dark wood, almost as the crack of the musket was heard. They
would seek the life of the _himégimi_ with deadly missiles! How
contemptible; for great as yet was the scorn of such use. Vigorous was
the old man's pursuit of a foe, seeking to ascertain his success and
reluctant to flee. "Ah! Ah! Rascal! Just wait! Wait for this
Hikozaémon!" The fellow did wait, a little too long. Noting the
lessening darkness, the discomfiture of his train, he turned to flee in
real earnest. As he did so, Hikozaémon, despairing of success, hurled
his dirk. Deep into the fellow's shoulder it went. "Atsu!" Savagely he
turned on the old man. Hikozaémon was skilled in defence, but stiffening
with age. His opponent showed himself an able warrior. "Ah! Ha! 'Tis
Hikozaémon Dono. With him there is no quarrel. Deign to receive a
wound." The old fellow's sword dropped helpless under a sharp rap over
the wrist from the back of the blade. This was enough for the man's
purpose. With laughing and respectful salutation, of short duration, he
turned to a more successful flight.

The storm cleared away, the cortege was re-formed; to enter in state the
_yashiki_ of Honda Sama. It was said that he got but a cold bride--one
on whom only "the bed quilt lay light." Time, the ascertained fact of
Hidéyori's death, worked a change in the insanity simulated by the
princess. Then she was so taken with her lord that she proved fatal to
him. He died at the age of thirty-one years, was buried in his castle
town of Himeji, leaving but one daughter as issue by the princess. The
lady returned to residence at the Takébashi Goten, to be a disgruntling
influence in her brother's court. But Honda Ke had not done badly. This
consort made him a minister in the Sho[u]gun's household (Nakatsukasa no
Tayu), a more likely promotion than one at the age of sixteen years, at
this date of the Sho[u]gunate. From 10,000 _koku_ his fief was raised to
150,000 _koku_; and he secured a wife so beautiful that his exodus to
the houris of Paradise was a bad exchange. Meanwhile what was the cause
of objection, thus expressed by force of arms, to the conduct and
nuptials of the Sen-himégimi?



CHAPTER XIV

SHU[U]ZEN ADOLESCENS


The struggle between Toyotomi and Tokugawa was of that embittered
character which follows from two diverse theories of political
structure. The Taiko[u] Hidéyoshi, by force of military genius and
constructive statesmanship, had assumed the pre-eminent position in the
land. In doing so he had drawn to himself a sturdy band of followers
whose whole faith and devotion lay in the Toyotomi. Such were the "seven
captains," so conspicuous in the defence of O[u]saka-Jo[u] in later
years. Such were the doughty fighters Susukita Kanéyasu (Iwami
Ju[u]taro[u]) and Ban Danémon. The latter unceremoniously shook off
allegiance to his lord on the latter's treachery at Sekigahara, and
turned _ro[u]nin_. Such were great recalcitrant nobles thumped into
complete submission, granted unexpected and favourable terms in their
capitulation, devoted henceforth to the Toyotomi House, and of whom the
Cho[u]so[u]kabé of Tosa are representative. It is the fashion of modern
historians to regard and speak of these brave men as irreconcileables
and swashbucklers; thus tamely following after the Tokugawa writers of
contemporary times, and imperialistic writers of to-day, to whom all
opposition to the favoured "Ins" is high treason. As matter of fact, if
men like the Ono were lukewarm and seeking their own advantage; if Obata
Kambei Kagemori was a mere traitorous spy of the Tokugawa; Sanada
Yukimura and Kimura Nagato no Kami, and in humbler sense Susukita
Kanéyasu and Ban Danémon, if they had much to gain by the victory of
their lord, yet were willing to endure hardship, face a defeat early
seen, and accept the inevitable death which was meted out to him who
refused the attempts at bribery and corruption of the victor. The
"_ro[u]nin_," of whom the then Tokugawa chronicles and captains spoke so
contemptuously, were in the bulk not only "the outs," as opposed to
"the ins," but they were too devoted to their party tamely to accept
service with the enemy. Large were the bribes actually offered to Sanada
and Kimura; and any or all of the seven captains could have made terms
of advantage--to themselves.

    "The scent of the plum, with the flower of the cherry;
     Blooming on branch of willow 'tis seen."[18]

Iyemitsu Ko[u] hung this poem on the flowering plum tree to which he
gave the name of Kimura no Ume; a conscious tribute to the chivalry of
Shigénari. And O[u]kubo Hikozaémon risked life and favour in the
destruction of the plant, and rebuke of the bad taste shown to men who
had lost fathers, brothers, gone down before the deadly spear of the
young captain.

The fall of O[u]saka-Jo[u] decided the fate of the Toyotomi House. Not
at once, for the rumour of the Udaijin's escape to Kyu[u]shu[u] kept
alive hopeful resentment in the minds of the scattered _samurai_ whose
captains had perished in the battles around O[u]saka, had died or cut
belly in the final assault, or had lost their heads by the executioner's
sword in the bed of the Kamogawa. Among those who found refuge in the
hills of Iga was a certain Ogita Kuro[u]ji; a retainer of Nagato no
Kami. This man gathered a band of kindred spirits, among whom his
favoured lieutenant was Mo[u]ri Munéoki, although he much leaned to the
astonishing acumen of Kosaka Jinnai, a mere boy in years, but hiding in
his short and sturdy form a toughness and agility, with expertness in
all feats of arms, which discomfited would be antagonists. In the
discussions as to future movements there was wide difference of opinion.
Munéoki, the true partisan, proposed to rejoin Hidéyori in Satsuma. "The
prince is now harboured by Higo no Kami; Shimazu Dono of Satsuma, close
at hand, will never permit the entrance of the Tokugawa into his
borders. It is at Kagoshima-Jo[u] that the prince will reorganize his
party; and thither duty calls." But Kosaka Jinnai was equally positive
in the opposite sense. He turned Munéoki's own argument against the
proposal. The prince could well be left to organize the West. It was
for others to see how affairs went in the North. Therefore the first
thing was to hasten to Edo, to ascertain the position of Daté Masamuné
and the great northern lords at this final triumph of the Tokugawa, when
at last their jealousy and fear might be aroused to opposition.

Adventurous inclination, the desire to meet rather than run away from
the enemy, turned the scale to Edo. Reluctantly Munéoki agreed. With
Jinnai he proceeded, to learn the state of affairs as to the great
northern House, so devoted to the new creed of Yaso (Jesus) as certain
to be angry and alarmed at the savage persecution now entered on by the
second Sho[u]gun. They returned to meet Ogita and the other captains at
Odawara, and with unpleasant news. Masamuné Ko[u], luckily for his would
be interviewers, was absent at Sendai. However there was no difficulty
in finding out that far from dreaming of further embassies to Rome from
the Prince of O[u]shu[u], he had and was acting so vigorously that
probably in no quarter of Nippon was the hostile and treacherous creed
so thoroughly stamped out. The watch and ward of the north country was
practically left to a loyalty of which the Tokugawa felt assured.
Munéoki made this report with bitter joy, and Jinnai could not say him
nay. Then the former carried out his first plan. He made his way to
Kyu[u]shu[u], to learn the truth as to the Udaijin's fate. Assured of
this he harboured with the malcontents of Higo and Hizen, to take his
part and perish some years later in the Amakusa uprising.

Perhaps the tartness of Mori's criticism made his company unacceptable.
Ogita preferred to follow the urging of Jinnai and his own inclination
to observe how matters were going in Edo. Most of the company followed
him, to establish themselves as best they could in the confusion of the
growing town, rendered a thousand times worse by the settlement of the
later troubles and the flocking of all classes to this eastern capital.
Ogita set up as a doctor in Daikucho[u] (carpenters' street) of the
Nihonbashi ward, under the name of Gita Kyu[u]an. His chief lieutenant,
Jinnai, settled close to his leader in Kurémasacho[u], figuring as a
physiognomist, of near enough relation to excite no comment in the
companionship with the older man. His own years were disguised by an
ample growth of hair and the past experience of an accomplished rascal.
Jinnai could have passed himself off for a man of thirty odd years. The
house of a physiognomist was overrun with visitors, whom Jinnai knew how
to sift, and who had no particular wish to encounter each other. Hence
the presence of the leaders, with his own particular followers, Watanabé
Mondo, Ashizuké To[u]suké, Yokoyama Daizo[u], Hyu[u]chi To[u]goro[u],
excited no comment among the neighbours. The question of the marriage of
the Senhimé, the honoured widow of the Udaijin Ko[u], soon was stirring
up a ferment in higher circles than these in Edo town. Sakai Uta no Kami
and Doi Oi no Kami of the _ro[u]ju[u]_ (council of state) were keen to
urge the match. She was young, and they plead the cruelty of forcing
celibacy on her. She was the centre of the ill disposed and most
willingly so. The stern old soldier Aoyama Hoki no Kami took the
opposite ground. It was for her to cut short her hair and pray for the
soul of the husband perished in the flames of O[u]saka-Jo[u]. Such was
the precedent, and, he hinted with good ground, the disposition of the
princess, then coquetting with Toshitsuné lord of the great Maéda House
of Kaga. Besides he knew that Kasuga no Tsuboné, powerful influence in
the private apartments of the palace, was urging on the match. The mere
fact of her constant interference in the public affairs irritated Hoki
no Kami beyond measure. He was acting through sentiment and
conservatism. Kasuga and her allies were acting on political motives.
They carried the day; to the great indignation of Hoki no Kami, and of
an assistance he never dreamed of.

Among the band of _ro[u]nin_ the matter was discussed with all the
greater heat and bitterness of purpose, inasmuch as they had to do so
mouth to ear. Ogita expressed their feeling when he summed up the matter
as an outrageous breach of chastity on the part of a princess, who could
not positively know whether the husband was yet living, or really had
died at O[u]saka--"Hence she is doubly guilty, of treachery and
pollution of her living lord; or of shameful lechery in this open
neglect of his memory and seeking another bed. Moreover to put her to
death will strike terror into the partisans of the Tokugawa, and give
courage to all the adherents of the cause, of whom thousands are
gathered here in Edo. A display of vigour will maintain those inclined
to the new service true to the cause." All rapturously agreed. The
occasion of the marriage and procession was settled upon for the attack,
in which the leaders and some eighty men were engaged. The result, as
told, was disastrous to them. Watanabe and Ashizuké were killed by
Tajima no Kami's own hand. Kondo[u] Noborinosuké thrust his spear
through the belly of Yokoyama Daizo[u]. Jinnai brought off in safety the
bulk of the party. Ogita had tried to bring down the lady princess by a
gun shot. In the straggle with Hiko[u]zaémon he purposely did the old
man as little injury as possible. Respect for the grand old warrior, an
amused interest in one whose influence lay in plain speaking, held his
hand. If O[u]kubo Dono was entitled freely to express his opinion of the
Sho[u]gun Ke, Kuro[u]ji took it as no insult to endure the same himself.
He reached his home with a painful but not dangerous wound in the
shoulder, to grunt over the infliction and this latest discomfiture.

His nurse was not at all to the taste of Kosaka Jinnai. O'Yoshi was a bare
twenty-three years in age. She was a beauty and a flirt. Ogita indulged in
the greatest expansion with her; as would the man of fifty years to the
girl, a mistress young enough to be a daughter. The months and weeks
passed following the attempt on the Senhimé. The effort to hunt out the
perpetrators had been given up in despair. The population of Edo as yet
was too fluid and shifting to take very exact account of its movements.
Doubtless they were _ro[u]nin_, and had promptly scattered on failure of
the attack. Then the constant attempts at incendiarism, in many cases
successful, began to attract attention. The two _machibugyo[u]_, together
with the particular office for detection of thieves and incendiaries, were
at their wits end to trace out this gang of fire bugs. One day O'Yoshi was
just leaving the bath house in Daikucho[u] called the Cho[u]senya, when
she met with an adventure. A young _samurai_ coming along the street
attracted her admiring attention. He was barely twenty years of age, of
good height and commanding presence. In black garb and wearing _hakama_,
his two swords tucked in his girdle, and his cue trimmed high, attended
by a _do[u]shin_ and several _yakunin_, the procession greatly flattered a
woman's feeling. She tripped along, towel in hand, and her eyes anywhere
but on her footing. Suddenly the strap of her clog broke. She was pitched
forward, just able to keep her balance. The _samurai_ trod sharply on the
discarded _geta_. A cry of pain followed, and O'Yoshi was all discomfiture
at sight of the blood staining the white _tabi_ of the young lord. At once
she was humble apology for her awkwardness, very badly received by the
_do[u]shin_ who scolded her most severely--"Careless wench! Such rudeness
is not to be pardoned." He would have laid rough hands on her, but Aoyama
Shu[u]zen interfered. The woman was pretty, the injury painful, and he was
young. "Don't scold her. It was by accident.... Don't be alarmed.... Ah!
It hurts!..." He looked around, as seeking a place to rest.

O'Yoshi was very solicitous over the handsome young man. "Deign to
pardon the careless action. Alas! The foot of the young master is sadly
injured. My husband is a doctor, Gita Kyu[u]an, of wondrous skill in the
Dutch practice. Condescend to enter the poor house close by here, and
allow drugs to be applied to the wound." Shu[u]zen really was suffering
inconvenience and pain from his wound. Besides, as attached to the
office of the _machibugyo[u]_, he sought all means of contact with the
class whose offences were to be dealt with. He at once agreed. Ogita was
absent when they entered. O'Yoshi tended the wound herself. The salve
really had wonderful effect. Flow of blood and pain ceased. Cakes and
tea, for refreshment, were placed before Shu[u]zen. O'Yoshi entertained
him with amusing talk of the wardsmen of Nihonbashi, not the most stupid
in Nippon. She retailed the bath house gossip, and Aoyama carefully took
in costume, manners, and the conversation of the beauty, which did not
at all accord with her station in life. If she was connected with a
doctor now, at some time she had been intimate with men of affairs in
his own caste. He thanked her graciously and would have forced lavish
payment on her. O'Yoshi was all pained surprise and refusal. That her
reluctance was genuine he could easily see. "I am Aoyama Shu[u]zen, and
live in the _yashiki_ at Surugadai. The kindness shown is not to be
forgotten, and perhaps some day this Shu[u]zen can serve his hostess."
With compliments he took his leave. O'Yoshi watched the handsome youth
well out of sight. She could not hear the remark of Shu[u]zen to the
_do[u]shin_--"A suspicious house; no frowsy doctor shows such favour to
his dame. Dress, manners, language, betray contact with the _samurai_."
The officer nodded admiring assent to his young lord's acumen.

Ogita Kuro[u]ji came limping home, to find O'Yoshi--Cho[u]senburo[u]
Yoshi, as this adventure dubbed her--overflowing with her experience. At
first he was rather pleased at such addition to his acquaintance.
O'Yoshi was a bait to all but Jinnai, who would detach him from her. The
others sought his favour to secure hers with greater ease. At mention of
the _do[u]shin_, subordinate officials of the legal machinery, the
official grade of the visitor, his brows knit. "Of official rank--that
will never do! Deign Yoshi to be careful in relations with this man, if
he should again appear. Engaged as is this Kuro[u]ji, the slightest
hint, a suspicion, would be most disastrous."--"Then the affair of the
Senhimégimi did not block matters? This Yoshi yet is to ride in
palanquin, to be a _daimyo[u]'s_ wife?" The tone was a little jeering,
and the laugh as of one sceptical. With thoughts on this new love the
reference to this futile scheming annoyed her. She would push this
acquaintance to the full effect of her charms. Ogita took some offence.
He spoke braggingly, but disastrously to the point--"Assuredly 'tis
Yoshi who shall be the lady of a _daimyo[u]_ of high place, not of a
meagre fifteen or twenty thousand _koku_. Kaga Ke, Maéda Toshitsuné, is
grinding his sword. The great Houses in the west--Hosokawa, Bizen,
Kato[u], Mo[u]ri, Satsuma, will follow him. Give them but the
opportunity in the disorder of Edo, and the sword will be drawn. In a
month, Edo, fired at a hundred points will lie in ashes. Then...." He
stopped a little frightened. But she feigned the greatest indifference,
teased him into opposition. Sitting down before the wine she got out of
him the whole affair. Reverting to the accident--"But yourself, an
accident has been deigned. Has another Yoshi encountered Kuro[u]ji
Dono?" To the tender solicitude half laughing he made jesting answer.
"A Yoshi with beard and wearing two swords. To-day the contract was
signed by all with the blood seal. The wine feast followed. The talk was
earnest, some of it rash. Interposing in the quarrel, the dagger
intended for the belly of one, was sheathed in the thigh of this
Kuro[u]ji. A trifling flesh wound; well in a day or two, at present rest
is needed."--"A dangerous affair; if it gives rise so easily to
dispute." Such her comment. "Not so," answered the infatuated veteran.
"They are too far in to withdraw." Before her eyes he unrolled the
scroll. Her eye quickly ran along the crowded columns of the names--by
the score. Here was indeed a big affair. Out of the corner of one eye
she watched him put it away.

The salve Ogita Kuro[u]ji used for his wound had no such benefit as that
offered Aoyama Shu[u]zen; and perhaps O'Yoshi could have told the reason
of its failure. By the next day the wound was inflamed enough to make
movement difficult. Feeling the necessity of repair, Kuro[u]ji left all
matters to his mistress, and sought early recuperation in complete rest.
On plea of needed articles O'Yoshi was out of the house and on her
hurried way to the Aoyama _yashiki_ at Suragadai. The distance was
short; yet her plan was already laid. Her dislike for the ageing Ogita
was sharpened into hate by her love for the handsome young _samurai_.
Close to the _yashiki_ on pretext she entered the shop of a tradesman.
To her delight she learned that the Waka Dono, Aoyama Shu[u]zen, as yet
had no wife. She had a hundred yards to go, and her purpose and ambition
had expanded widely in that short distance. Her application for an
interview with his lordship was quickly granted. She had often been
subject of talk and comment between Shu[u]zen and his subordinate
officer. The _do[u]shin_ happened to be present, and the attendant
announced her at once. Passed to the inner apartment she found Shu[u]zen
as if he had been eagerly awaiting her coming for hours. Her reception
was flattering. The ordinary salutations over they passed to most
familiar talk, as of oldest friends between man and woman. When
Shu[u]zen would go further, and in love making press still greater
intimacy, her refusal was of that kind which sought compliance. Said she
with a smile--"Make Yoshi the wife of the Waka Dono and she will make
the fortune even of one so highly placed as Aoyama Dono." To his
incredulity and astonishment she would say no more. Shu[u]zen now was
determined not to let her go. He feigned consent, agreement to
everything, with much regard for her, and small regard for the promotion
at which he jested. Now they were in the very heigh-day of love. She
resented his scepticism, and in the heat of her passion gave him
everything--including the contract. His mistress by his side, seated in
the confidence of an accomplished love affair he listened to her stream
of revelation. This "doctor" and "husband" was neither doctor nor
husband. His name was Ogita Kuro[u]ji, an O[u]saka _ro[u]nin_. With
Kosaka Jinnai and others of the same kidney he had been the head and
front of the attempted rape of the Senhimé. Shu[u]zen knew enough to
discount all the talk as to Maéda Ko[u], of the Hosokawa, and other
great Houses. They were beyond his sphere. But here in his hands lay the
web of a most important affair; so important that it frightened him a
little. As his brows knit O'Yoshi too grew a little frightened;
regretted that she had told so much all at once. She had babbled beyond
measure in her transport. She had misgivings. Shu[u]zen reassured her.
For her to return to Daikucho[u] would never do. A breath of suspicion,
and Ogita's sword would deprive him of his mistress. Safe quarters were
to be found in the _yashiki_. He called the _do[u]shin_, one Makishima
Gombei, and put her in his charge. The two men exchanged glances as she
was led away.

The office of the south _machibugyo[u]_ was in a ferment when Aoyama
made his report. All available _yakunin_ were at once gathered. The list
was carefully gone over with the minister for the month, Hoki no Kami.
Despatched on their various missions the squads departed. To Shu[u]zen
was assigned the capture of Ogita Kuro[u]ji, leader of the conspiracy.
This latter was chafing at the prolonged absence of O'Yoshi. Some
accident must have happened to her. Then he remembered. She had gone to
Hacho[u]bori. Here lived a sister, whose delivery was daily expected.
Doubtless this commonplace event, yet surpassing in interest to every
woman, detained her. A confusion outside attracted his attention. There
was a crowd, and some disturbance. Hatsu! The people were being kept
back by _yakunin_. "The thoughts of Kuro[u]ji were those of the wicked."
At once he attributed their presence to himself. A look out at the rear
and he quickly shot to the wooden bar. Between the bamboo of the fence
men could be seen passing to and fro in numbers; and they were
_yakunin_. He had been betrayed. The counsel of Jinnai came to mind, and
he ground his teeth as he stood with drawn sword before the empty drawer
of the cabinet. The scarlet of the _obi_ of his false mistress flashed
before his eyes. He had to die unavenged. "On his lordship's business!
On his lordship's business!" The harsh voices sounded at the front.
Those who would enter uninvited found themselves face to face in the
narrow space with the old Kuro[u]ji, the man who had fought from Sagami
to Tosa, from Cho[u]sen to Kyu[u]shu[u]. The more incautious fell
severed with a cut from shoulder to pap. A second man put his hand to
his side, and rolled over to breathe his last in a pool of blood.
Visions of "Go-ban" Tadanobu came to mind. Kuro[u]ji would die, but he
would leave his mark on the foe. Shu[u]zen's men could make no progress,
except to swell the death roll or their wounds. In rage their lord
sprang to the encounter. Shu[u]zen was young, but it is doubtful if the
issue would have been successful with this man turned demon by the
double injury and treachery. But Ogita amid this horde of assailants had
suffered in his turn. In a parry his sword broke off short near the
hilt. With a yell he sprang to close quarters, dealing Shu[u]zen a blow
with the hilt that sent him reeling senseless to the ground. Then,
unable to accomplish more, and taking advantage of the respite caused by
the rescue of his foe, he sprang to the ladder leading above. Once on
the roof he saw that escape was hopeless. Already they were breaking
into the rear. Men were approaching over the neighbouring houses. In the
old style of ages past he waved them back with drawn dagger. There was
no Shu[u]zen to give command--"Take him alive!" They were only too glad
to halt and let him do his will. Stripping to his girdle, before the
assembled crowd he thrust his dagger into his left side and drew it
across his belly. Then he made the cross cut through the navel.
"Splendid fellow! A true _bushi_!" Admiring voices rose in the crowd.
The body of Kuro[u]ji fell forward and down into the street. Thus he
died.

This affair had ended in a way to redound greatly to the credit of
Aoyama Shu[u]zen. Others had not been so successful. Of nearly two
hundred names only eighteen prisoners were secured. Shu[u]zen stamped
with impatience on learning of the escape of Kosaka Jinnai. He had
learned much about him from the hate of O'Yoshi. "That man is the real
leader of the band, the inspiration of Ogita Kuro[u]ji. Ah! Why could
not this Shu[u]zen be in two places at once!" Older officials bowed low,
and smiled to themselves and each other at youth's self confidence.
O'Yoshi now found short entertainment. Shu[u]zen had no further use for
the woman, for the means of his promotion. One day a _chu[u]gen_ led her
to the postern gate of the _yashiki_, put a paper containing a silver
_ryo[u]_ in her hand, and unceremoniously shoved her into the roadway.
The gate closed behind her. At first she hardly comprehended the meaning
of this treatment. Then, as it filtered into her mind, her rage passed
all measure. "Ah! The beast and liar! Yoshi was not fit to be the wife;
nay, not even the female companion of this arrogant lord?" She had been
juggled out of the secret of such value to him, then cast forth with the
wages of a prostitute summoned to the _yashiki_. The woman was helpless.
Broken in spirit she dragged herself off, to undergo a severe illness
brought on by despite. Her foul rôle ascertained, friends and family
would have nothing to do with her. Once recovered, she found herself
deprived of all means of subsistence, even that of beauty, by her
disease. Never more would she deal with the noble class, to be left with
such a legacy. She would pray for the salvation of the man she had
betrayed. On her way to the Asakusa Kwannon she passed the jail, then
near the Torigoébashi. Stumbling along just here she raised her head, to
confront the long line of rotting heads there set forth. Just facing her
was that of her ex-lover Ogita Kuro[u]ji. It took on life. The eyes
opened and glared fierce hate. The lips moved, and the teeth ground
together. Then the other heads made measured movements. "Atsu!" With the
cry she fell fainting to the ground, and it was difficult to restore
her to consciousness. For several years the half crazed beggar woman
sought alms near the jail, to act as guide and comment on the fresh
heads exposed, until as nuisance she was driven off by the guard. Then
the shameful swollen corruption of the body was drawn from the canal
close by; thus to end on the refuse heap the treachery of Cho[u]senburo
no O'Yoshi.



CHAPTER XV

THE GOD FAVOURS SHU[U]ZEN


The influence of a House close to the person of the Sho[u]gun was no
drawback to the close attention Aoyama Shu[u]zen gave to official duty
throughout his career. The Aoyama stood high in the council of the
governing power. Even an old blunderbuss like Hoki no Kami could not
shake this influence. When Yukinari tore the mirror from the hands of
the young Sho[u]gun Iyemitsu Ko[u], berated him roundly for effeminacy,
and dashed the offending object to pieces on the stones of the garden,
this wanton treatment of the prince could not be overlooked. "Invited"
to cut belly by his intimates and opponents in the council
(_ro[u]ju[u]_) he defied them, laid hand to sword, and swore they should
join him in a "dog's death." The timely entrance of O[u]kubo Hikozaémon
prevented the unseemly spectacle of three old soldiers and statesmen
enjoying the fierce and deadly pastime of one of the duels of Keicho[u]
(1596-1614). Hoki no Kami in his own way was right--and knew it; and he
had the tacit approval of Hidétada Ko[u]. The result was not _harakiri_,
but the offending noble was consigned to the care of his brother. He and
his were "extinguished"; for the time being, and to the greater glory of
his other relatives near the Sho[u]gun's person. Such was the rough
discipline in Hidétada's camp of Edo. The second Sho[u]gun, now retired
(O[u]gosho[u]--_inkyo[u]_), never lost the manners or the methods of the
battle field.

The career of Aoyama Shu[u]zen therefore was a steady rise in the
Government service; in younger years attached to the immediate train of
the prince, in greater maturity to the enforcement of the edicts through
the legal machinery of the Bakufu. At this time he ruffled it bravely
with the other young blades. The younger _hatamoto_ on their part
opposed to the _otokodaté_ of the townsmen the far more splendid
_Jingumi_ or divine bands. Yamanaka Gonzaémon knocked out several front
teeth and inserted in their places gold ones. Hence the rise of the
_Kingumi_ or Gold Band. Aoyama Shu[u]zen did likewise with substitution
of silver. Hence the _Gingumi_. They were all of the Mikawa _bushi_;
that is, drawn from the native province and closely affiliated to the
Tokugawa House. Hence these _hatamoto_ carried themselves high even
against the greater _daimyo[u]_, sure of support from their over-lord
the Sho[u]gun. As for the town, they did as they pleased, seeking
quarrels, distributing blows, and only restrained by wholesome reprisals
of _ro[u]nin_ or the _otokodaté_ of the townsmen, who in turn relied on
such _daimyo[u]_ as Daté Ko[u] and Maéda Ko[u], valued allies of the
Tokugawa House, yet showing no particular liking for the encroachments
of the palace clique on their own privileges.

The necessity of moving quarters was equally an embarrassment to Aoyama
Shu[u]zen and to his intimate and neighbour O[u]kubo Hikoroku. O[u]kubo
suggested Honjo[u]--"The water lies close by. Hence in winter the place
is warm, in summer cool."--"And of mosquitoes swarms," interjected the
practical Aoyama. "If the hillside be cold, it surely is no drawback to
Hikoroku Uji." The one named made something of a wry face, and Aoyama
smiled apart. He knew that Hikoroku was not so affectioned to the
meetings of the Gaman Kwai as himself. However, smoothly--"This matter
of the Yoshida Goten coming up offers fair opportunity. The failure of
Endo[u] Uji need not discourage O[u]kubo Dono and this Aoyama." Both
smiled a little. They could put palace influences better to work. "It is
two thousand _tsubo_," said Shu[u]zen. "Just the thing: moreover, it is
close to palace duty. On this point Honjo[u] is not in the running.
Besides, the site has its own attraction. Of course Shu[u]zen takes the
well, in the division." O[u]kubo interposed a lively objection, the
shallowness of which Shu[u]zen could detect. He humoured his friend's
obstinacy. "Leave it to the lots." In haste the slips were
prepared--"Hachiman, god of the bow and feathered shaft, grant your
divine aid and bestow the old well ghost haunted on this Aoyama." Okubo
laughed at his earnestness. "Aoyama Uji leaves this O[u]kubo no resort
but in the Buddha. Good fortune to O[u]kubo, and may the will of the
Lord Buddha be done.... Naruhodo! 'Tis yours after all. The shaft of the
war god is stronger than the Buddha's staff." He took his disappointment
so well as to be the more urgent in securing the transfer. This was
granted, with expenses of removal.

Aoyama Shu[u]zen superintended in person the preparation of his new
residence. This was soon in readiness as little was to be done. O[u]kubo
took cash and construction. The former villa, fallen to Shu[u]zen's
part, needed mainly air and light, and repairs to its rotten woodwork.
When it was time to think of the water supply Aoyama ordered the
cleaning out of the old well. The workmen began to talk--"'Tis the old
well of the inner garden, the Yanagi-ido of the Yoshida Goten. Danna
Sama, deign to order exorcism made, and that the well be filled up and
covered from men's sight." The Danna laughed at them, and was obstinate
in his purpose. He took upon himself all the wrath of the disturbed and
angered spirits. He hoped that they would not furnish material for more.
To hearten them, he and his men descended to the level of the water.
With headshakes and misgivings the chief ordered his men to the
task--"Pfu! It stinks of ghosts, or something. Surely there will be dead
men's bones for harvest; and perhaps those of the living. The old well
has not seen its last ill deed." As for the dead men's bones, the well
refuse was laid aside, and on Aoyama's order buried with no particular
reverence in the bowels of the _tsukiyama_ close by. "Let all the
spirits of the place find company together," he jeered. The _yashiki_ of
Komiyasan in Honjo[u] had its processions of marvels--dead men, frogs,
_tanuki_, and fox--to shake its _amado_ at night and divert the monotony
of those who lived therein. The portentous foot perhaps he could not
match, but he would share in this contest with ghostly visions. Chance
had offered him the opportunity. All was prepared. Shu[u]zen had
established himself. Nightly with his camp stool he took his seat by the
old well, to smoke his pipe and drink his wine--"Now! Out with you,
ghosts! Here present is Aoyama Shu[u]zen, _hatamoto_ of the land. He
would join in your revels. Deign to hasten.... What! The ghosts would
rest this night?" Thus night after night passed with his jeering and no
sign of the supernatural objects, not thus to be conjured. Time made the
pastime stale--as stale as the waters of the Yanagi-ido which never
furnished supply for the house or its tasks. Aoyama had the excuse of
drinking wine. As for the household, the women would not even use the
water for washing. They said it stunk too badly. In so far Shu[u]zen
failed.

It was about the time of his entrance on this new possession that more
good fortune came to Shu[u]zen. He was made the magistrate whose office
covered the detection and punishment of thieves and incendiaries. It
showed the estimation in which he was held, and satisfied both the
vanity and the hard cold temper of Aoyama Shu[u]zen. Looking to results,
more than method, the selection was most satisfactory; if return of the
number of criminals was the index assumed. Until a method attracted
unfavourable attention by some scandal, only results were regarded by
the Bakufu. But his household could not regard with any easiness a
devotion of his lordship to the wine cup, which turned his court into a
wine feast. Up to this time Aoyama Shu[u]zen in all official duty had
shown himself hard, unbending, callous, conscientious. Now the element
of cruelty appeared, to develop rapidly with exercise until it was the
predominant tone. Some illustrations are to be given from events
occurring in these first three years of Sho[u]ho[u] (1644-6).

Aoyama would show himself the strict disciplinarian. His chamberlain
(_yo[u]nin_) Aikawa Chu[u]dayu close beside him, his _do[u]shin_ seated
at either hand, he gave his orders and rebuke to the assembled
constables. He scowled at them. Then with voice harsh from the contents
of the big wine cup beside him he commanded--"Diligence is to be
expected of all. He who fails to make many arrests shows sloth or ill
will to his lord. Anyone against whom there is the slightest suspicion,
even if he or she be abroad late at night, is to be brought to the jail.
No explanation is to be allowed. There must be many arrests. Examination
in the court is to follow; and many crimes, discovered under the
torture, will be brought to punishment.... Heigh! Call up that old
fellow there.... Who? That Ryu[u]suké." At Shu[u]zen's order Ryu[u]suké
forthwith came close to the _ro[u]ka_. "You, fellow ... what manner of
man to act as constable are you? Days pass without a single prisoner
being brought in. This jade, found in the street at the hour of the rat
(11 P.M.) pleads excuse of illness and the doctor. This lurking
scoundrel, seeking to set half the town on fire, pleads drunkenness as
keeping him abroad. Thus many of these villainous characters, whores and
fire bugs, find field for their offenses. No more of such leniency.
Failure to arrest means dismissal from the service and punishment as an
ill-wisher. Oldest and most experienced, the greatest number of
prisoners is to be expected at your hands. Shu[u]zen shows mercy. Your
age remits the punishment, but dismissal shall afford example to the
rest as to the wisdom of showing energy." Thus he cast forth without
pity an ageing officer whose only offense was an experience which sought
the mission of the night straggler, and allowed the harmless to go free.
Ryu[u]suké went forth from the office of the _bugyo[u]_ stripped of the
means of living and of reputation, and assured of the unforgiving
character of his lord. That night he cut belly, recommending his family
to mercy. This was soon found--in debt and the debtor's slavery allowed
by the harsh code. Thus was the jail kept full, with the innocent and a
sprinkling of the guilty. No one dared to be lax; for life hung on
salary, and on zeal the continuance of the salary. Moreover all revelled
in the reward of the wine cup liberally bestowed for zealous
service--and the more liberally as Shu[u]zen took his turn with his big
cup, every time he sent down the _saké_ to his underling.

In Bakuracho[u] lived one Zeisuké, a poor but honest fellow who made his
living by peddling the smaller kinds of fish and the salted varieties,
for his trifling resources allowed no larger outlay for his trays. In
this way with greatest difficulty he managed to support an old mother, a
wife, a young child. Locally he was known as "Honest Zeisuké" for the
not often found quality of representing the antiquity and character of
his wares much as they were. When bad weather forbade the opening of the
fish market, Zeisuké readily found some task at day labour by which a
few _mon_ could be secured, and for which his character for honest
service recommended him. One night, when on his way homeward, he was
passing the Asakusa Gomon just as the cry of fire was raised. Knowing
the alarm of his aged mother Zeisuké at once bolted towards home. When
all were running toward the fire this at once attracted attention. By
the law it was the strict duty of the citizen to betake himself to his
ward, and to be ready for service in preventing spread of the often
disastrous conflagration. His action was noted by the ever present
myrmidons of Shu[u]zen. In a moment they were after him. Surrounded he
was quickly caught. His explanation was not heard. "Say your say at the
white sand, under the strokes of the _madaké_," was the rough answer.
Thus he was dragged off to the jail.

The next day Aoyama's first motion was to reward the captors with the
wine cup. Harsh was the vinous scowl he cast on Zeisuké now cringing at
the white sand. "Ha! Ah! A notable criminal; a firebug caught in the
act, and attempting to escape. Make full confession. Thus much suffering
is escaped, and the execution ground soon reached." Zeisuké had no
confession to make, and to his explanation Aoyama turned a deaf ear.
"Obstinacy is to be over-ruled." He made a sign. At once Zeisuké was
seized. His head drawn downward two stout fellows now began to apply in
rhythm the _madaké_--strips of bamboo to the thickness of an inch
tightly wound together with hempen cord, and making an exceedingly
flexible and painful scourge. The blood quickly was spurting from his
shoulders. Aoyama and his chamberlain sat enjoying the scene immensely.
At the seventieth blow the peddler fainted. "A wicked knave! Off with
him until restored." Then he settled himself for the day's pastime; for
the torture had come to have the zest of an exhilarating sport. The
cries of pain, the distortions of agony under the stones, or the
lobster, or suspension, the noting of the curious changes of flesh
colour and expression under these punishments, the ready assent to
absurdly illogical questions, all this not only amused, but interested
Shu[u]zen. The naivété and obstinacy of the fisherman was just of the
kind to furnish the best material. The fellow was sturdy of frame, and
under skilled hands readily submitted to this dalliance for days without
bending from his truth.

Meanwhile things went on very badly at the house in Bakuracho[u]. The
disaster of the arrest fell like a thunderbolt on the wretched little
household. Day after day, hoping for the acquittal and release, one
article after another went to the pawn shop. Reduced to absolute misery
the house owner and the neighbours came to the rescue with a small sum
raised among them. The long continued official suspicion affected even
these toward the "Honest Zeisuké," and their support grew cold. Then
came the news that Zeisuké had died in the jail under the torture.
Tearless, aghast, deprived of all support, the wife and mother long
looked in each other's faces. Said the old woman--"Alas! Alas! Neither
gods nor the Buddha exist. Faithful and devoted was Zeisuké to this old
mother. Unfortunate in his life, he has been equally unlucky in death.
What now is to be done!" She put her sleeves over the old and wrinkled
face, and bending low concealed tears and a long farewell to the beloved
in the person of her grandchild.

The wife was in little better case, but had to soothe this grief. A few
coins remained. She would buy the necessaries for the evening meal. "But
a moment, honoured mother. The return is quick. 'Tis but for the needed
meal." Taking the child on her back she started off into the darkness.
For a moment she turned to look at the mother. The old woman was
following her with eyes tear dimmed in the sunken hollows. Thus they
parted. For a moment the wife halted on the bridge over the Edogawa. The
dark slimy waters were a solution, but she put it aside in the face of a
higher duty. Soon she was on her way back. To her surprise the house was
in darkness. Surely a little oil was left in the bottom of the jar. She
called, without getting an answer. In alarm she groped her way in the
darkness, to stumble over the body of the old woman, lying limp and
helpless. Something wet her hand. Now she was in all haste for a light.
"Ah! Ah! The honoured mother! What has occurred? Has not ill fortune
enough fallen upon the home of Zeisuké?" Alas! the hand was stained with
blood. The old woman had intended the parting salute to be the last.
Left alone she had bit off her tongue, and thus had died. Rigid, as one
stupified, the wife sat; without tears, but thinking. Now she was left
alone. But what as to the child? A girl too? Ah! There were enough of
her sex in this hard world. She reached out a hand to the long
triangular sharp blade close by. She touched edge and point of the
_debabo[u]cho[u]_ (kitchen knife) with the finger.

Here was the solution. Rapidly she loosed the child and lowered it to
the ground. It took but a moment to open the little dress and expose the
breast. Then knife in hand she leaned over it. As she did so the child
opened its eyes, smiled, then laughing began to finger her bosom seeking
sustenance. The feelings of the mother came over the woman. She put
aside the knife to give the babe the breast. Alas! Starvation afforded
but scant milk. Failing its supply the child cried peevishly. This last
stroke of poverty was too much. The original purpose came back in full
sway. With quick motion she put the child beside her and held it firmly
down. The sharp pointed knife was thrust clean through the little body.
A whimpering cry, the spurting of the blood, and the face began to take
on the waxen tint. With the same short energetic movements the mother
now sought her own end. Guiding its course with the fingers the knife
was now thrust deep into her own throat. Both hands on the heavy handle
she tore it downward; then fell forward on the mats. The wardsmen made
report.



CHAPTER XVI

THE AFFAIR OF THE ASAKUSA KWANNON


Aoyama Shu[u]zen stalked forward to his cushion near the _ro[u]ka_.
Carefully adjusting his robes he scowled--most heavily; mainly at the
almost boy crouched before him at the white sand. Expectant the
_yakunin_ stood by. Their leader stated the case against this outrageous
criminal captured in the dead of night on the very steps of the
Jizo[u]do[u], in the very shadow of the great temple of the Asakusa
Kwannon. The sacred structure, object of his nefarious design guarded
his slumbers; the healing Yakushi Nyo[u]rai, Jizo[u] the god of youth
and childhood, casting stony glances of benevolence through the closed
lattices. "A most hardened wretch, an evident firebug, and probable
thief; at once make full confession of the offence. Thus the torture is
to be avoided, the punishment in so far mitigated." The voice was harsh
and unrelenting, admitting of no explanation. The look accompanying it
was without trace of pity, but full of the official scorn and dislike
which would anticipate the turns and doubles of its quarry. The hare in
this case but thought how best to meet this unforeseen and disastrous
turn to events. He had heard much of the Yakujin--the god of disease and
pestilence--under which pet name Aoyama Shu[u]zen was known by a certain
element of Edo town. He would tell the truth, with the certainty that in
the effort enough lie would slip in to make out a good case.

The story at root was a simple one. Great of reputation for beauty and
attraction in the Yoshiwara was "Little Chrysanthemum"--Kogiku. In
company with friends this Masajiro[u], second son of the wealthy
Iwakuniya of Kanda Konyacho[u], (dyers street), had met and loved the
_oiran_. He had been favoured in turn by the great lady of the pleasure
quarter. Hence the displeasure of his father, who learned the fact by
the unanticipated and unpleasant presentation of bills he thought had
been settled long before by the diligence of Masajiro[u]. Hence the
preceding night, on the boy's return from dalliance with his mistress,
he had been summarily turned out.... "Ha! Ah!" roared Shu[u]zen. "A self
confessed vagrant; a thief! Gentle the face and wicked the heart it
conceals. Plainly a case for the jail and torture. The truth is to be
learned. The scourges will bring it out. Make full confession...." A
sign, and the attendants with their _madaké_ stood forward. In his
terror Masajiro[u] crawled toward the _ro[u]ka_. "Confession!
Confession!" he bawled out. With grim smile Shu[u]zen signed a halt. The
_do[u]shin_ prepared the scroll.

Yes: he had been turned out, but not as vagrant. The mother, so severe
in the presence of the father, had fondled and wept over him. The
Banto[u] Sho[u]bei had grave and kindly words of admonition. All would
be well, and forgiveness follow in time. He was to go at once to his
nurse at Koshigeyatsu. Such effects as were needed would follow him.
Money he was better without; beyond the little needed for the short
journey. The father's anger was not to be aggravated. Soon he would
enter for his night's draught, so haste was to be made. Thus he was
bundled forth, to make his way in the darkness to the distant country
village. The Baya's kind aid in the little conspiracy was assured at
sight of her once ward. Overwhelmed with advice and woe he departed into
the night, his step growing slower and slower with separation from his
home. No money! That meant no Kogiku. The idea of never again seeing her
face made his stomach turn. It did turn the direction of his footsteps,
which now was toward the Yoshiwara.

Kogiku was overjoyed at sight of him. He had but just left her, and now
returned to her side. What greater proof of love could she have? The
favouritism of the Go-Tayu found favour for her lover's presence. Seated
together she soon noticed his gloom, which all her efforts failed to
lighten. Somewhat nettled she showed displeasure, charged him with the
fickleness of satiation. Then he took her hands, and told her that this
was the final interview. His dissipated life, the discovery of their
relations, had so angered his father that under sentence of banishment
from Edo he had come for a last look at her face. "What's to be done!
What's to be done!" The lady wrung her hands in genuine grief over the
handsome youth thus torn away. She had welcomed his presence as means of
escape from her own difficulties. But a few hours before the master of
the Uedaya had announced her sale and transfer to a wealthy farmer of
Chiba. Ransomed by this country magnate she was to leave the gay life
and glitter of the Yoshiwara, for a country life and the veiled
hardships of a farm. In exchange for the twenty years of
Masajiro[u]--she obtained this settlement and a master passing fifty
odd. She was in despair. The brilliant beauty, thus to sink in a few
year's course into a farm wench, felt the sacrifice too great. Finding
no aid in the boy lover, long she lay weeping, her head on his knees,
hands pressed against her temples.

Masajiro[u] was at no happier pass. "Up to the arrow point in love" his
idea at bottom had been of a temporary separation. To find another
Kogiku, a petted _oiran_, whose fame and beauty flattered any lover, was
a stroke of good fortune not likely to occur. His own expression showed
how little real idea of separation was in his mind. She noted it.
Looking steadily in his face--"Constant the vows of this Kogiku, met by
the love of Masa San. No matter how remote the prospect, the bond is
that of husband and wife. With this old suburban drake Kogiku pollutes
not her charms. Condescend to agree to a mutual suicide. Thus the
obligation is avoided. Together the lovers pass to Meido (Hades) to
wander its shades until the next and happier existence unites them in
the flesh." In amazement and discomfiture Masajiro[u] hung down his
head. He would conceal the shock to his boyish timidity this proposal
gave. His mind was full of such stories. He knew the earnestness of
Kogiku. Then and there would she not draw her dagger to accomplish the
deed? He was dreadfully frightened. Never would he have sought her
presence, if such result had been anticipated. Now he must accompany her
in death, or endure her grudge if successful in escaping her insistence.
He temporized. Pointing to his plain disordered garb--"As to
that--heartily agreed. But there is a seemliness about such procedure. A
more befitting, a holiday costume, is to be sought. Then together, as on
a joyful occasion, Masajiro[u] and the Oiran will consummate the vows
of husband and wife in a joint death." She looked him over, and was
easily pacified by the evident truth and good sense. Again herself, in
prospect of this avoidance of the unpleasant future she sought to
entertain her lover with all the skill and charm she was so noted for.
At midnight he left her, to secure an interview with Sho[u]bei on plea
of forgotten needs; then he would return in more fitting garb.

His course lay through the now silent precincts of the great temple.
More than the sun's circuit passed in these excesses, physical and
mental, weighed upon him. He would rest a moment and consider his course
amid the holy surroundings. Yakushi? The god was the physical healer in
his theology and his services the strong and healthy youth did not need.
Jizo[u] Sama, or the six Jizo[u] Sama, but a little way off? Probably
the gentle divinity no longer regarded him as under tutelage. But the
Lady Merciful--Kwannon Sama--why not make his petition to her? It was an
inspiration, and earnest was the prayer which followed it--"Lady of
Mercy, deign to regard with pity the unfortunate lovers. Grant that some
exit be found for their woes, less harsh than the severance of the vital
knot, offence to the Lord Buddha. Kwannon Sama! Kwannon Sama!... may the
Buddha's will be done!" As he spoke a heavy object fell from above, to
graze his shoulder and land at his feet. He stooped and picked it up.
With astonished delight he noted the glittering coin within the bag. Ah!
Ah! Away with all ideas of self destruction. Here was the means to
escape the guilty consequence. Here was the ransom of Kogiku. He had
shuddered at thought of return to the side of that woman, in death to
wander the paths of Shidéyama (in Hell) with the unhappy ghost--bald
headed! Here now was the solution, in wine and the flesh and blood of
the living long-tressed Kogiku, a very different person. His thought now
turned to Yoshiwara. But--Naruhodo! Here was a second petitioner at this
extraordinary hour. With amazement he saw a girl come flying across the
tree and lantern dotted space before the great temple. There was
something in gait and manner that he recognized, despite the deep
_ko[u]so[u]-zukin_ concealing her features. From the shadow of the steps
he sprang forward to confront her. It was so! The face beneath the
_zukin_ was that of O'Somé the beloved of his brother Minosuké. The
great dye house of the Iwakuniya sent much work to the minor
establishment of Aizawaya in Honjo[u]. His brother had such matters in
his charge. At sight of Masajiro[u] the face of the sixteen year old
O'Somé was dyed like unto the maple. "O'Somé San! Here; and at this
hour! Is it some visit to the shrine that in such haste...." In place of
answer she wrung her hands and plead to be released. She must die. The
river was not far off; there to end her woes. The scandal caused in the
affair between herself and Minosuké had brought her to shame. Solemn had
been the vows passed between them, tender the acknowledgments. By some
retribution from a past existence thus she had found pollution with a
beast. The heart yet was pure, and there was nothing to do but die.
Deign forthwith to release her.

In his amazement he nearly did so. Alas! All these young girls, at least
the desirable ones, wanted only to die. To become a divinity by
death--_Shingami_--seemed to the feminine brain in youth the height of
fashion. Very well: but he would seek to dissuade her. His pockets full
of gold the present beauty of O'Somé dimmed the past charms of Kogiku.
She yielded to force and his urgency in so far as to accompany him to a
refreshment stand just opening with the dawn. The mistress greeted them
with kindness and affection. She showed them to an inner room. Here he
urged his suit; flight and a home with the devoted nurse at
Koshigayatsu. But O'Somé was unwilling. She had been "foxed"--herself
was but a mere moor-fox. Deign to leave her to her own sad fate. It was
the brother that she loved. Since she was deprived of him, she would
seek the embraces only of the waters of the river. She urged and plead
so prettily that her sadness and gloom entered into his own heart. She
should be his companion. Kogiku in despite would join them. Thus the
three together would find comfort in the shadow land of Meido. He gave
up all attempt to persuade the girl. Briefly and almost harshly--"Be it
so. Then we will die together. This Masajiro[u] is under contract to
die; and too tired to walk so far to find a partner. Condescend to await
the night. Then we will take the shortest course to the river."

To this O'Somé joyfully agreed. The day was passed in such harmless
dalliance and favour as a young girl can show, who has had her own way;
with a young man willing to dispense with thought during the intervening
space of time before a not overly agreeable ending; and under the
auspices of an honoured hostess fee'd by the glitter of coin into a
consenting obtuseness. With the night they set forth in the rain. The
river bank was not far off, but such vulgar plunge from the edge of the
coarse promiscuity of Hanagawado[u] was not to the taste of either.
Then, as now, a ferry not far from the Adzuma bridge crossed to the
pretty sounding "Eight hundred Pines." _Yashiki_ then surrounded, a
palace to-day covers the site. They watched the ferryman pushing off
into the river's darkness. Then hand in hand they strolled up the bank
of the stream, under the gloomy trees, seeking the favoured spot of
their undoing. Suddenly O'Somé stopped; sank at the feet of Masajiro[u].
His hand sought the handle of the dagger. The weapon raised he was about
to plunge it into the tender neck. Then a shout startled his ear. "Rash
youths--Wait! Wait!" A powerful grasp was on his arm. With a shiver he
came to consciousness. O'Somé, the river, the bag of gold in his bosom,
all had disappeared. He was lying on the steps of the Jizo[u]do[u],
surrounded by the _yakunin_. All had been a dream!

With open mouths the _yakunin_ in the court looked at each other. Lo!
They had nabbed a mere dreamer. How would his lordship take it? One more
quick witted and thirstier than the rest answered for all--"Ha! Ah! A
wretched fellow! Not only thief and firebug, but murderer also!" To the
astonished and stammering protest of Masajiro[u] there was the answering
scowl of a very Emma Dai-O[u] on the bench. "Miserable wretch! What is
in the heart at best comes to the lips. This matter is to be sifted to
the dregs, the witnesses examined. For offence so far disclosed he can
take the lash. Then off with him to the jail." Masajiro[u], his back
torn to ribbons and bloody with the fifty blows, was supported out of
the court. Then the wine cup was condescended to the energy and
acuteness of his captors. Enlivened by the morning's entertainment and
his own big cup Aoyama Shu[u]zen rose and departed.



CHAPTER XVII

EMMA DAI-O[U] GIVES JUDGMENT


Great was the excitement and lamentable the experience of the Aizawaya.
The matter of O'Somé had been under discussion with the Iwakuniya.
Beyond good words and cold courtesy little satisfaction could be
obtained; nor could it be expected. The offence had been the work of a
fox, and the jewel of a girl's reputation had been trodden in the mire.
Returned to the saddened home, the nurse of O'Somé was found awaiting
them. At the news she had hastened from the country to console her old
mistress and to take her one time charge in her arms. "Alas! Alas! Is
the matter so beyond remedy? Surely with a good dower the
Iwakuniya...."--"'Tis no such affair," answered the mistress, wiping
away her tears. "As fact the girl is a wretched wench, disregardless of
the parents. The little fool fell madly in love with the figure of the
eldest son of the dye-shop. It seems that daily she made pilgrimage and
prayer to the Ushi no Gozen, to the Gentoku Inari. What more malign
influence could be invoked! One day Minosuké came on a mission to the
shop. She followed him to the street, and for hours her whereabouts was
unknown, until this return in disgrace. Accompanying him to Asakusa,
there she exchanged vows and pillows with him at a convenient
assignation house. Alas! On the return he was taken with a fit in the
street. The prior of the Kido-ku-In, the great priest of the Shu[u]genja
(Yamabushi), was passing. His aid invoked, at once he recognized the
rascal's disguise. Under the charms recited by the priest the true
appearance was assumed, and a huge fox with a long tail darted away from
the gathered crowd. No reputation has the girl gained by consorting with
such a mate."

The nurse listened with amazed horror, turning first to the mother,
then intently regarding the damasked face of O'Somé, dyed red at the
story of her shame. "Oya! Oya! Possessed by a fox! Alas! Truly it is
almost irreparable. If it were mere defloration by the young master of
Iwakuniya, that could be endured. But a fox mixed up in the matter....
Truly it would be well to take her off somewhere, to some hot spring in
Idzu. There the influence can be removed, and O'Somé San at least
restored in mind." With this advice and gossip, with whispered
consolation and laughing cheer--"'Tis no great matter after all; in the
country--will be found girls a'plenty, quite as lucky or otherwise"--the
kind and jovial dame took her leave.

The advice as to the hot spring seemed so good that preparations were
under way in all haste. The straw baskets with their convenient deep
covers to fit the larger or smaller needs of travel (_ko[u]ri_), the
_furoshiki_ or large square wrapping cloths, lay in the middle of the
room, amid the pile of wraps and clothing for daily and more formal use.
Skilled hands of maids and youths (_wakashu[u]-kozo[u]_) employed in the
house were fast packing these latter into convenient parcels. Then to
the hustle and bustle within the house was added the more unusual murmur
of voices and tread of many feet without. The house owner (_ienushi_),
accompanied by the head of the house block (_gumigashira_), entered in
haste. Close at their heels followed the land owner (_jinushi_), the two
bails (_jiuki_ and _tanauki_). All looked with surprise and suspicion at
these hurried preparations for departure. "Oya! Oya! This will never do.
Honoured Sir of Aizawaya, the _yakunin_ are now at hand from the office
of Aoyama Sama. Your daughter in summoned to the white sand. Remove at
once these signs of what looks like a flight." Eyes agog the frightened
parents watched their neighbours and the servants hustle goods and
parcels into the closets. They had hardly done so when the _do[u]shin_,
followed by several constables, burst into the room. "The girl Somé,
where is she? Don't attempt to lie, or conceal her whereabouts." Eyes
ferreting everywhere, the parents too frightened to move, the _yakunin_
soon entered, dragging along the weeping O'Somé. "Heigh! Heigh! The
rope! At once she is to be bound and dragged before the honoured
presence." Amid the bawling and the tumult at last the father found
opportunity to make himself heard. He prostrated himself at the feet of
the _do[u]shin_, so close to O'Somé that the process of binding and
roping necessarily included his own ample person. "Deign, honoured
official, to forbear the rope. There is no resistance. The girl is very
young, and ill. We accompany her to the presence of his lordship."
Weeping he preferred the request. Iyenushi, Jinushi, Gumi-gashira, in
pity added their own petition to the officer. This latter surveyed the
slight figure of this fearful criminal. Besides, notoriously she had
been foxed. He grumbled and conceded. "The rope can be forborne; not so
as to the hands, which must be securely tied to prevent escape. The
affair is most important. Delay there cannot be. His lordship is not to
be kept waiting." Then he swept them all into his net. _Do[u]shin_,
_Yakunin_, _Jinushi_, _Iyenushi_, _Gumi-gashira_, _Ban-gashira_,
_Jiuki_, _Tanauki_, debtors, creditors, all and every in the slightest
degree connected with the Aizawaya fell into the procession. But Edo
town was growing used to these. 'Twas merely another haul of the active
officers of the honoured Yakujin. "Kimyo[u] Cho[u]rai"--may the Buddha's
will be done, but spare this Taro[u]bei, Jizaémon, Tasuké, or whoever
the petitioner chanced to be.

Aoyama Shu[u]zen stalked slowly forward to the _ro[u]ka_. Scowling he
ran his eye over the crowd, taking in each and every. Then his eyes
fell--first on Kogiku, the harlot of the Uedaya; then on the shrinking
beauty of O'Somé of the Aizawaya. Shu[u]zen was improving in these days.
The Ue-Sama (Sho[u]gun) spoke harshly of those retainers who made no
provision for issue to support loyally the fortune of his House. Let him
who would seek his lord's favour furnish forth such noble and lusty
issue as in the Kamakura days, when Ho[u]jo[u] Tokimasa, Wada Yoshimori
Hatakeyama Shigetada, the Kajiwara, Miura, Doi, attended the hunting
field of their suzerain followed by a dozen lusty heirs of the
line--direct and indirect. Hence of late Shu[u]zen had renewed his
matrimonial venture, and taken to his bed a second partner. For side
issue and attendance on his household affairs, his office was a fruitful
field. The families of those condemned suffered with them, and the more
favoured served in Aoyama's household, in all offices, from that of
ladies in waiting to menial service--down to the _yatsuho[u]ko[u]nin_.
These latter, slaves for life, were more fortunate than their sisters
_yatsu yu[u]jo[u]_, who were condemned to be sold for life service as
harlots in the Yoshiwara. It was a hard law; but it was the law of the
Tokugawa, of before the days of the ruling House. Shu[u]zen profited
greatly by it in the domestic sense. The harlot and the girl budding
into womanhood would be acceptable addition to the companionship of his
then bachelor existence.

His manner softened as he took his seat. His robes were more carefully
adjusted. His cue bristled more erect. He was strikingly good looking.
Dismissing all minor offenders he took up at once the great case of the
day. The wretched Masajiro[u], his back bloodily marked by the scourge,
was crouching in shame at the white sand before him. Shu[u]zen gave him
one savage glare, which added terror to his confusion before those once
friends and relations. Then Shu[u]zen began carefully and insistently to
scan the faces of the girls. They were well worth attention. O'Somé,
sixteen and a beauty, had these aids to her other charms--a _kimono_ of
the fine striped silk of Izu, made in the neighbouring island of
Hachijo[u] by girls well fitted themselves to give grace to the
beautiful tissue, an _obi_ (sash) of fawn and scarlet into which was
woven the shadowy figure, here and there, of a landscape--sketchy but
suggestive. The belt which girded it within was of egg coloured crape,
and the orange tissue broadened and hung down to add its touch of
carefully contrasted colour. The hair was built high in the
_taka-shimada_ style, tied on top with a five coloured knot of thick
crape. The combs and other hair ornaments were beautiful, and befitting
the cherished daughter of the well-to-do townsman. Then Shu[u]zen's look
wandered to the harlot. Kogiku, Little Chrysanthemum, was noted in Edo
town. Her beauty was more experienced, but hardly more mature than that
of the town girl. Sedately she met the look, and without movement eyes
plead smilingly for gentle treatment. She was dressed[19] in a robe of
gauzy water coloured silk. The sleeves were widely patterned--as with
her class--but worked with rare harmony into the light grey colour of
the robe. The long outer robe thrown over the inner garment (_uchikaku_)
in these brilliant colours, in its tamer shades yet harmonized. Taken
with the broad sash of the _obi_ it made her rival the peacock in his
grandest display. Her hair dressed high, was a bewildering harmony of
the costly tortoise shell combs and pins (_kanzashi_) arrayed in
crab-like eccentricity. The gold ornamentation glistened and sparkled
amid the dark tresses. Truly Shu[u]zen was puzzled in this claim for
priority between the unrivalled beauty and the fresher and naiver charms
of inexperience. Ah! Both should be the cup-bearers. But the sequel!
Benten Sama alone could guide the lot.

It was ordered that the confession be read. Once more the judge,
Shu[u]zen carefully watched the faces before him of those most
concerned. It was not difficult to detect amid the confusion of O'Somé,
the growing wrath of Kogiku, an unfeigned astonishment. With some
satisfaction he noted this evident discrepancy in the plea. Suave, yet
still somewhat harsh, he addressed O'Somé. "The confession of this
wicked fellow has been heard. What has Somé to say in answer thereto."
For a moment the girl raised her head to that of this Emma Dai-O[u].
Then in confusion she half turned as seeking support--"Mother! Mother!"
It was all she could say in her fright, and more than the mother could
stand. She was the townswoman; self-assured in her way. She boldly
advanced a knee. "With fear and respect: the girl is but of sixteen
years, and the white sand has paralysed her thought and utterance.
Deign, honoured lord, to pardon the mother's speech." Then she went into
details as to the late unfortunate occurrence. With indignant looks at
the crushed and unfortunate Masajiro[u], she gave her own testimony
which rang with truth. "Well he knows all this matter. For the past six
days the girl has not left home or parents caring for her afflicted
body. 'Tis only this fellow Masajiro[u] who claims to be the lover, to
take the place of his brother Minosuké; a poor exchange in either case,
with fellows who do but run after the harlots of Yoshiwara, to the
bewitching of innocent girls." Tenderly she took the now weeping O'Somé
in her mother arms, and added her own tears to the soothing.

Shu[u]zen slowly leaked a smile. He left the pair to themselves and
turned to Kogiku. "And you?" Kogiku was not so easily confused. Readily
she confessed to the contract between herself and Masajiro[u]. "This
affair of the rich purchaser from Kazusa came up suddenly. There seemed
no outlet but suicide--if the dreary life away from Edo was to be
avoided." Shu[u]zen took her up harshly--"Bound to the Uedaya for a term
of years then you would cheat your master out of the money he expended
on you. This is theft, and most reprehensible. For such it is hard to
find excuse." His roughness puzzled and frightened even the experience
of Kogiku. She became confused. Shu[u]zen was satisfied with the
impression. He was unwilling further to delay his own prospects. Sending
the matter over to the next sitting for final settlement he remanded all
the accused--Masajiro[u] to the jail and repeated scourgings for the
lies contained in his confession; the girls to his own care. His
experiences for the time being would largely condition the final
judgment.

Shu[u]zen was regular in his irregularities. Promptly, the case again
convened, he gave judgment. There was none of the customary roughness in
his manner. Even the official harshness was smoothed down. He dilated on
the importance of the case, the necessity of making an example of this
evident depravity of manners and morals affecting Edo town--"As for the
girl Somé, it is matter of question with whom she is involved,
Masajiro[u] or Minosuké; both well could be her lovers. Thus she has
fallen under strange influences and been foxed. Such a girl is not to be
allowed to wander at random. As act of benevolence henceforth charge is
continued as in the present conditions. Kogiku is still more
reprehensible. The attempt to cheat her master being so brazenly
confessed is hard to overlook. Owing to her previous life perhaps the
feelings have become blunted. The same benevolence and punishment is
awarded to her--with hope of future amendment." The master of the
Uedaya, crouching close to his head clerk made a wry face. The two men
exchanged glances, and the clerk opened a very big round eye for his
master to observe. The latter sighed. Continued Shu[u]zen severely--"As
for this Masajiro[u], he is not only liar, but would-be firebug and
thief. What is harboured in the mind he would put into deed. It is but
chance which has saved the life and purse of the passing citizen, and
the sacred structures from the flames. To him the severest punishment is
meet. However benevolence shall still hold its sway. Instead of the
sword, banishment to the islands for the term of life, to serve as slave
therein to the Eta--such his sentence. To this judgment there is no
appeal." Abruptly he rose. The weeping father and mother were baffled by
the nonchalance of the daughter, who had no chance to give them comfort,
but was at once removed in company with the willing lady of pleasure and
experience. The huddled form of Masajiro[u] was hustled roughly out with
the kicks and blows to which he was becoming accustomed. Two or three
years, under the rough charge of his new masters, were pretty sure to
witness his body cast out on the moorland to the kites--or into the sea
for fishes to knaw.

It was the _banto[u]_ (clerk), faint with the hunger of long waiting,
who led the parents into the first cook shop encountered on the way.
Here over greens and cold water the father sighed, the mother wept
apart, the clerk eyed biliously the meagre fare. Then in poured the
company of Kogiku--a noisy, merry crowd. There were expressions of
amused discomfiture, caught by the sharp ears of the clerk; suggestive
references. He watched them; heard the lavish orders for food and
wine--"Plenty of wine, and piping hot"--"Respectfully heard and
understood." The waiting girls were at their wit's end. The feast in
progress the _banto[u]_ came boldly forward. "Honoured sirs, deign to
note these parents here, deprived of their daughter. Your honoured
selves have lost a girl of much value to your master. How is it then
that you thus deign to rejoice? Plainly the grief of these must be out
of place." The man addressed more directly looked him over coldly; then
cast an eye on the distressed father and mother, at their meagre fare.
His manner changed. He became more cordial. "Good sir, the affair is not
to be taken thus! Sentence has been given, but...." He laughed--"it can
be revoked. Already in the inner room the master is in consultation
with the agent of Takai Yokubei San (Mr. Highly Covetous), Aikawa
Dono,--the honoured _yo[u]nin_ of Aoyama Sama. A round bribe, and the
girl will be released...." The words were not out of his mouth when the
father was on his feet. Led by the _banto[u]_ he made the rounds of
all--pimps, bawds, and bouncers--soliciting their influence--"Honoured
gentlemen of the Yoshiwara, deign to interfere in the matter, to plead
with the master of the Uedaya. House, lands, goods, all these are
nothing if the cherished daughter be restored." He wept; and they took
pity on his inexperience. The first speaker at once sprang up and went
to the inner room. The master of the Uedaya cordially desired their
presence. Added funds were no drawback to his own petition in the
dealings with Yokubei San. The parents introduced he told them--"It is
but a matter of cash. Kogiku, within the next three days, must be
delivered to the _go[u]shi_ of Kazusa, or else a large forfeit paid. She
can kill herself on the day following. 'Tis no affair of the Uedaya. Add
your gift of a hundred _ryo[u]_ to the bribe of the Uedaya, and Saisuké
San, here present, can assure success. Aikawa Dono surely has not left
the court. He awaits report, with as great anxiety as your honoured
selves. As for the Tono Sama, he has had the presence of the girls for
the six days, and will be all the more easily worked on. But from all
accounts the honoured daughter had little to lose in the experience. She
would make a splendid Go-Tayu." Seeing no sign of acquiescence he
shrugged his shoulders, and continued to the honoured Saisuké San--"A
most annoying affair: a hundred _ryo[u]_ to this shark, and only the
premium and the debts of the _oiran_ will be paid. But he will take no
less?... Be sure she shall learn the use of the _seméba_ (punishment
cell) before she finds her new master." Saisuké San with slow smile made
answer--"Be sure that by night she will be in your hands, ready for the
experience."

Rejoicing the parents gave thanks, and betook themselves to their home.
Half ruined, again O'Somé would gladden their hearts. But the mother had
an eye to the expense, and promised a reception hardly better than that
awaiting Little Chrysanthemum. Why show favouritism? There was small
difference between the two. But this the father energetically denied.
Meanwhile Aoyama Shu[u]zen was preparing for his wine feast, one of a
pleasant succession extended over this interval. With misgiving and no
pleasure he saw the entrance of Aikawa Chu[u]dayu. The chamberlain
brought with him the account books. Shu[u]zen's experience, however,
noted past profit as salve to annoyance. He was a bitter hard man in
domestic administration; cutting down food, and by fines the wages, of
those more regularly employed in the household. This made the threatened
loss of women serving by compulsion the more severe. Chu[u]dayu knew how
to deal with his master. Affairs in the household were not going well,
under the free indulgence of Shu[u]zen toward himself and his pleasures.
Besides he was about to deprive him of his new favourites. At a sign
Kogiku and O'Somé, already present by the lord's favour, withdrew. The
younger girl had aged ten years in experience with this companionship of
the week. Chu[u]dayu watched them depart. Then sighed heavily. "Ah! Ha!
So it's _that_." Shu[u]zen moved testily, as sharply he regarded his
satellite. "Acting under the instructions of your lordship, the box of
cakes has duly been received from Saisuké. The affairs of the household
require a large sum. Her ladyship's confinement is to be considered, the
entertainments required by custom for the expected heir. To return the
gift means to your lordship--the sacrifice of two hundred _ryo[u]_. May
the Tono Sama deign to consider a moment. Such double good fortune is
rare--and the messenger waits upon this trifling sacrifice of a pleasure
for which substitutes easily can be found." He drew the _furoshiki_ from
the box. Shu[u]zen sighed; but did not hesitate. "Hasten Saisuké off at
once; with the exchange." He placed the box in a closet close by. "As
for the wine feast, Chu[u]dayu shall be the cup-bearer. Shu[u]zen is in
an ill humour." He had an ugly look. Chu[u]dayu, however, did not draw
back. Leaning forward with a smile--"This Chu[u]dayu would make report,
to the pleasure of the Tono Sama."--"Of what?" asked Aoyama, in some
surprise at his chamberlain's earnest manner. "Of the whereabouts and
close proximity of Kosaka Jinnai."--"Ah!" The tone of voice had the
depth of years of expectant hate.



CHAPTER XVIII

KOSAKA JINNAI


When Takéda Shingen swept down upon the lower provinces in 1571, fought
a rear guard action at Mikatagahara, in which he nearly extinguished
Tokugawa Iyeyasu, with a taste of the latter's remarkable powers of
recuperation, he went on to his real aim of a trial of strength with the
main Oda forces in Mikawa and O[u]mi. The great captain lost his life by
a stray bullet before Noda castle. His death for long kept secret, until
the northern forces had withdrawn into the fastnesses of Kai, the war
languished, to be renewed with greater activity under the rash and
ignorant leadership of his son. Katsuyori and his tribe cut belly at
Temmoku-zan, the last and successful bid of Iyeyasu against his former
enemies. Then the Tokugawa standard was planted from Suruga to Mikawa,
and Iyeyasu became indisputably the first of Nobunaga's vassals--and one
never thoroughly trusted.

Among the twenty-four captains of Takéda Shingen was a Kosaka Danjo[u]
no Chu[u]den. His son Heima inherited the devotion, as well as the fief,
of the father. Unlike many of the Takéda vassals in Kai he clung to
Katsuyori Ko[u] through all the bad weather of that unlucky prince. Kai
was no longer a safe place for vassals true to the native House. Better
luck could be assured with the old enemies, the Uesugi in the North. But
Heima would not seek other service than that of his once lord. He only
sought a place to live.

When the ex-soldier appeared with his wife in the village of
Nishi-Furutsuka at the base of Tsukuba, the people thereabouts had more
than strong suspicion that he who came so quietly into their midst was
not of their kind. However his presence was accepted. His willingness to
take up farm labour and another status, to become a _go[u]shi_ or
gentleman farmer, his valued aid and leadership in the troubled times
which followed, were much appreciated. The year 1599 found the old fox
Iyeyasu Ko[u] planted in Edo castle; and Jisuké, as Heima now called
himself, leaning over the cradle of a boy just born--a very jewel.
Jisuké's wife was now over forty years in age. Hence this unexpected
offspring was all the dearer. In the years there had been losses and
distress. The new-comer surely was the gift from the Kwannondo[u]
nestled on the slopes of the mountain far above the village. To the Lady
Merciful many the prayers for such aid.

The child grew and prospered. A farmer's boy, yet he was the _bushi's_
son; made plain in every action. Under the tutelage of the priests of
the neighbouring Zen temple he learned all that they chose to teach, far
outstripped his fellows, and in class room and in sport was their
natural leader. Sport was the better test. With years Jinnosuké tired of
the clerical teaching. The leader of the village band he was its
mainstay in the wars with boys of rival hamlets thereabouts. These were
soon driven away, and their own precincts invaded at will. The mountain
became distinctively the property of Jinnosuké and his youthful
companions, whose whole sport was devoted to mimic warfare. Their
leader, thus unchallenged, became more and more reckless; more and more
longed to distinguish himself by some feat beyond mere counterfeit war.
One day, under his direction, in the storming of the hill which
represented the enemy's castle, much brushwood and dried leaves were
gathered. "Now then! Set the fire! The foe, blinded by the smoke,
perishes under our blows. On! On!" The other children eagerly obeyed.
The blazing mass towered up and up. The trees now were on fire. The wind
blowing fiercely drove the fire directly on to the Kwannondo[u], which
stood for the citadel of the besieged. Soon the temple itself was in
flames. Greatly excited the boys swarmed amid the smoke and confusion as
if in real battle. "Now--for the plunder!" At Jinnosuké's order the
furniture of the temple was made the object of loot, heaped up at a safe
distance for future division.

Thus engaged loud shouts met their ears. In fright the band of
youngsters turned to meet the presence of the enraged incumbent, the
_do[u]mori_. The temple was his charge and residence. His small
necessities were supplied by visits to the villages below. "Oi! Oi!
wretched little villains! Thus to fire the temple in your sport is most
scandalous. Surely your heads shall be wrung off--one by one. Terrible
the punishment--from Heaven and the Daikwan."[20] The boys in confusion
began to slink away. Then the voice of Jinnosuké rose above the tumult.
"On! On! This priest stinks of blood. Be not cowards! The commander of
the castle would frighten with words. 'Tis he who is afraid. It is his
part to cut belly in defeat and die amid the ruins." In a trice the
whole pack had faced around. Boldly with staves they set upon the
priest. Numbers brought him helpless to the ground. There was a large
stone lying close by. Heaving it to his shoulder Jinnosuké stood over
the prostrate man. "According to rule the matter is thus to be
conducted. This fellow is to be given the finishing stroke; then buried
in the castle ruins." He cast down the heavy block with all his force.
The priest's brains were spattered on the ground. Under the direction of
Jinnosuké the body with feebly twitching limbs was thrown into the now
blazing mass of the temple. Then forming in line, and raising the shout
of victory, the youthful band of heroes marched off to the village.
Under pain of his displeasure--which meant much--Jinnosuké forbade any
bragging or reference to the affair. Wisely: a day or two after a
peasant came on the scene. In fright the man hastened to make report. At
once buzz was most tremendous. Was it accident or the work of thieves,
this disaster? Said one man sagely--"The _do[u]mori_ was a great
drunkard. Deign to consider. The temple furniture is untouched. Thieves
would have carried it off. He carried it out to safety, to fall a victim
in a further attempt at salvage. The offence lies with the priest, not
with the villagers." The report pleased all, none too anxious to offend
the bands of robbers ranging the mountain mass and the neighbouring
villages. Thus report was made by the village council to the Daikwan's
office. The temple authorities had a severe reprimand for allowing such
a drunkard to be in charge of the shrine. Jinnosuké stuck his tongue in
his cheek. "Trust to the valour and skill of this Jinnosuké. These
constables are fools." But his companions were a little frightened with
this late exploit. Their numbers fell off. Many of them now came to the
age fit for farm work. Jinnosuké was not long in finding substitutes in
the real thieves who haunted the neighbourhood. Their spy, and often
engaged in their raids, yet in his own district he was only known as a
bad and dissipated boy.

Something of this had to come to the ears of Jisuké; but not the full
extent of his son's wickedness. He sought a remedy for what he thought
mere wild behaviour. Now in the town, years ago, there had lived a poor
farmer and his wife; "water drinkers," in the local expression for
bitter poverty. The man laboured at day tasks, and the wife laboured as
hard with him, bearing her baby girl on her back. Jisuké aided as he
could, and as was his wont, and when the pair were taken down and died
with a prevailing epidemic disease, it was Jisuké and his wife who took
the child to themselves, to bring her up as their own. O'Ichi San grew
into a beautiful girl, and at this time Jisuké and his wife trusted to
her favour and influence to bring Jinnosuké to the sedateness and
regularity of a farmer's life. The girl blushed and looked down as she
listened to what was more than request, though put in mildest form. "One
so humble is hardly likely to please the young master. Filial duty bids
this Ichi to obey, and yield her person at command." The mother was more
than gratified at the assent and modesty--"Dutiful you have always been.
We parents have no eyes. The whole matter is left to you. If Jinnosuké
can be taken by your person, perchance he will devote his time to home
and the farm work, now so irksome to his father. Where he goes in these
long absences is not known; they can be for no good purpose." Thus the
arrangement was made. The girl now busied herself about and with
Jinnosuké. She was the one to attend to all his comforts, to await his
often late return. Thus used to her he soon began to look on her with
anything but brotherly eyes. Was she not the daughter of old
Taro[u]bei, the water drinker? He knew the story well. Thus one night he
took O'Ichi to himself. She pleased him--as with the parents. No
objection was anywhere raised to the connection; a village of Nippon has
cognizance of such matters; and in short order public notice was given
of the marriage.

The influence was not of long duration. With his wife's pregnancy
Jinnosuké disappeared. From the age of thirteen years he had been hand
in glove with all the rough fellows of the district. These were stirring
times in the south. There was something to pick up. After all was not he
a _samurai's_ son. Jinnosuké was too late for action. Although but
seventeen years old his short sturdy and astonishingly active frame and
skill with weapons was a welcome addition to the band that Ogita
Kuro[u]ji had gathered after the fall of O[u]saka-jo[u]. Now Jinnosuké
figured as Kosaka Jinnai. Here first he came in contact with the law and
Aoyama Shu[u]zen. On this failure he betook himself at once to the
disguise of his native village; to enter it as quietly as if he never
had left it, to find himself the father of a baby girl, Kikujo[u], and
to procreate another on his patient wife. But before this second girl,
O'Yui, was born Jinnosuké, as the village still knew him, had again
disappeared. This was in strict accordance with his principle, of which
something is to be said.

Of these O[u]saka _ro[u]nin_, determined not to take another master,
there were three Jinnai. In council over past failure, said Tomizawa
Jinnai.[21] "The ambition of this Tomizawa?" He laughed. Jinnai was no
distinctive term in this gathering. "It is to collect all the beautiful
costumes of Nippon."--"Admirable indeed!" chimed in Sho[u]ji Jinnai (or
Jinémon, as he called himself). "But why stop at the surface? As you
know, the ambition of this Sho[u]ji had long been to see gathered
together all the most beautiful women of Nippon. And you, Kosaka?"--"To
see all distinction done away with between other men's property and my
own."--"Splendid indeed! But don't poach on our ground." The two others
clapped their hands and laughed. Kosaka Jinnai did not. "Well then--to
put the matter to the test," said he callously. Tomizawa Jinnai
forthwith took up the collection of old clothing and costumes of divers
sorts. He can be said to be the ancestor of the old clothes trade of
Edo--To[u]kyo[u]; and the Tomizawacho[u] at Ningyo[u]cho[u] no
Yokocho[u], the place of his residence, is his memorial. To this day it
is a centre for old clothes shops. Sho[u]ji Jinnai pressed the petition
he had once put in (Keicho[u] 17th year--1612) as Jinémon before being
finally convinced of the righteousness of a Tokugawa world. He was lucky
enough to find oblivion and reward in the permit for a harlot quarter.
As its bailiff (_nanushi_) he assembled three thousand beautiful women
for the service of the Yoshiwara, then at Fukiyacho[u] near Nihonbashi,
and of which O[u]mondori is the chief relic. Kosaka Jinnai, under such
encouragement and auspices, betook himself more vigorously than ever to
robbery; enhanced by a mighty idea which the years gradually brought to
ripeness in his mind. From being a sandal bearer Hidéyoshi the Taiko[u]
had risen to rule. He, Jinnai, would emulate the example and rise to
rule from being a bandit. He was not, and would not be, the only one of
the kind in the political world. Hence his wide travels through the
provinces, his seeking out all the most desperate and villainous
characters, for he had "trust" in few others, his weaving together of a
vast conspiracy of crime, not to be equalled in any time but the closing
days of the Ashikaga Sho[u]gunate--and that not so far off. Of this
period of Jinnai's life there is a tale to relate.



CHAPTER XIX

A MATTER OF PEDESTRIANISM


Up to the very recent days of Meiji the precincts of the Shiba
San-en-zan Zo[u]jo[u]ji, now known more particularly as the most
accessible of the burial places of the Tokugawa Sho[u]gun, were an
excellent example of the old monastic establishments. The main temple
with its wide grounds was completely girdled by a succession of halls or
monastic foundations, some of which were famed through the land for
their theological teaching of the principles of the Jo[u]do[u] sect.
Conspicuous among these were the Tenjingatani and the Mushigatani,
seminaries widely sought for the erudition of the professors. In all
nearly three thousand students attended the halls, with an eye to an
ecclesiastical future.

On the dawn of a cold winter morning a priestly clad man, a _shoké_ or
one of the lowest clerical order, mainly notable for the vastness and
robustness of his proportions, could have been seen leaving the gate of
the Tokucho[u]-in. His size alone would have attracted attention, for
the mouse coloured _kimono_, the white leggings and mitts (_tekko[u]_),
the double soled _waraji_ (sandals) fastened on a pair of big feet, were
usual travelling equipment of his kind, made sure by the close woven
_ajiro_ or mushroom hat covering his head; admirable shelter against
heat in summer, and a canopy--umbrella like--against falling snow in
winter. By somewhat devious route he strode along a narrow lane, crossed
the Gokurakubashi and halted before the Chu[u]mon on the broad avenue
leading up to the temple. A glance thither satisfied him for a
leave-taking, which yet displayed some sentiment. A few moments carried
him without the entrance gate, and but few more saw him crossing
Kanésujibashi, evidently on some long tramp, if the steady swing of a
practised walker, in no haste and conserving his strength, is any test.

The road in those days passed through a long succession of village
houses, the _cho[u]_ of Shiba village, broken very occasionally by a
_yashiki_ wall. It was not until he reached the barrier at Takanawa,
Kurumacho[u], that he came full out on the bay just lighting up with the
coming day--a beautiful stretch of water, now spoiled by the ugliness of
the railway and the filling in which has turned the haunt of thousands
of wild fowl into a prairie, soon to be covered by hideous factories and
other sites of man's superfluous toil. Close by the little saddle at
Shinagawa, now a railway cutting, a stream came into the bay from the
west. On the bridge the priest Dentatsu stopped for a moment.
Throughout, from the time of leaving Kanésujibashi, he had had a feeling
of being followed. Now he determined to get a good look at his pursuer,
it was not particularly satisfying. "Iya! An ill looking chap--with an
eye like a knife." The object of these remarks had halted with him, at
the further side of the bridge. He was contemplating the water with one
eye, the priest with the other. A short sturdy man of forty odd years,
Dentatsu noted the good but thin upper garment, the close fitting
leggings, the well chosen _waraji_, the copper handled dagger in his
girdle. Furthermore he noted a cold decision in the glance of the eye
that he liked least of all in the fellow's equipment.

This was a man he would not choose for companion--"Bah! Short Legs, this
Dentatsu will soon leave your stumps in the rear. A little speed, and
this doubtful fellow is left behind beyond hope." So off started his
reverence at the full pace of his huge legs and really great endurance.
Through O[u]mori and Kamata, crossing in the same boat at the Rokugo
ferry, through Kawasaki and Tsurumigi--totsu-totsu-totsu the stranger's
legs kept easy pace with those of the priest. "A most extraordinary
fellow," thought Dentatsu. "He moves as on springs. It would be well to
settle matters at once with him." Halting he waited for this pursuer to
close up the few score feet maintained between them. His frowning manner
had a genial greeting. "Ah! Ha! Truly the Go Shukké Sama[22] is no mean
walker. But even then company on the road is good. From the
Zo[u]jo[u]ji; by that _kesa_ (stole), dress, and carriage? Probably the
honoured priest has a long journey before him--to the capital?" Dentatsu
duly scanned his company--"To the Chion-In, the parent temple, and none
too fond of companionship on the road. Deign, good sir, to spare yours;
with such short legs the task of precedence would be out of the
question. Drop the useless effort of this pursuit, which becomes an
annoyance."

Dentatsu's manner was truculent, his grasp on his stick even
threatening. The fellow met this rough greeting with the suavest
determination. "Oya! Oya! Naruhodo, Go Shukké Sama! A very rude speech
indeed! After all the highway is free to all, and I too travel the
To[u]kaido[u] toward the capital. Deign to grant your company and the
entertainment will be all the better. Don't be deceived by length, or
lack of length, in one's legs. The promise will be kept not to detain
you.... That you came from Zo[u]jo[u]ji is plain from your garb, if you
had not been seen to turn into To[u]kaido[u] from the temple avenue....
I too travel Kyo[u]to way.... See! In our talk already Hodogaya town is
passed. This climb.... here is the top of the Yakimochizaka. The mark
stands here to bound Sagami and Musashi. Ha! Ha! The Go Shukké Sama has
splendid legs, but he is handicapped by his weight. Surely it cannot be
less than two thousand _ryo[u]_ in coin that he carries in the pack on
his shoulders. That contains no bills on the Sho[u]shidai (Governor) of
the capital."

Ah! The matter now was fully lighted. The fellow then had known his
mission from Zo[u]jo[u]ji to the parent temple, to remit this sum to the
capital. Dentatsu had not anticipated difficulty so early in his
journey, nor did he much care for the contest which was offered him. He
judged the man by his legs, and these were almost miraculous in
swiftness, activity, and strength. "Alas! A dangerous fellow indeed. The
luck of this Dentatsu is bad. What now is to be done?" The cold sweat at
his responsibility gently bedewed his forehead. Yet Dentatsu was a brave
man. The tradesman--or robber--laughed lightly. "Don't look so queer, so
put out, honoured Shukké Sama. Truth is told in saying there is business
on To[u]kaido[u]. Even if highwayman, the last thing thought of would
be to meddle with the funds of the honoured Hotoké Sama (Buddha). Be
reassured; and as such be more assured in having a companion. The coin?
Pure guess, and from the small size of the parcel and the evident
difficulty found in carrying it. It weighs too much on one shoulder.
Trust not only the thief, but the trader to know the signs of cash....
You would breakfast at Totsuka town? Did they send you forth with empty
belly? Surely the monastery kitchen has no such reputation for
stinginess among the vulgar." His manner was so reassuring that Dentatsu
gained confidence in him and his profession. Gladly now he accepted this
failure to relieve him of his precious burden, and this offer of
company. He resented however the reflection on the monastery
kitchen--"Not so! Nor is this foolish priest so at odds with the cook as
not to find a bit of mountain whale (flesh) in the soup. Repletion is
the aim and object of a monastic existence."--"Ha! Ha! Ha!" laughed the
fellow. "Yet the honoured Shukké Sama would breakfast so close to Edo
town! Good sir, deign to leave the matter to me. Both are in haste--you
to the capital; I almost as far.... This Fujisawa is a wondrous place.
As priest you know its temple and its wandering prior, the precious
relics of the Hangwan, but the woman Teruté of course the priest
despises; yet Oguri owed much to her--life and success in his vendetta.
Besides in a copse, just over yonder hill, is the shrine of the other
Hangwan--Yoshitsuné. A prayer to his head there buried brings success in
warlike adventure, no great affair for cleric or tradesman.... Already
the Banyu[u] ferry is close at hand. Surely if we would reach Sumpu
(Shizuoka) this day there can be no lunching short of Odawara town."

Dentatsu would have stopped short, if such halt had not involved the
rapid disappearance of this elastic and now entertaining companion. As
it was both had to slow pace to let him get breath taken away by pure
amazement. "Odawara town! Sumpu before night! Tradesman, have you gone
mad? To Sumpu it is full forty-eight _ri_ (120 miles). You talk like a
fool. Who is there, to walk such a stage in a day?"--"The honoured
Shukké Sama and this tradesman. In talk and argument the ground flies
under the feet of such walkers, and the promise to keep pace will be
maintained. Just see--this is Kodzu town; yonder the waters of
Sakawagawa. 'Tis early yet, but time can be spared for food. For
exercise belly timber is needed. A good lining of wine and food to the
inwards is the tonic to more talk and exertion. Now in with you, to this
broad space leading to the castle--the keep of O[u]kubo Kaga no Kami,
with his hundred thousand _koku_ and the trust of the suzerain worth all
his other honours. Ah! Here is the eight roofed Minoya, best of its kind
in the town. And what a town. Between wine, food, and singing girls, one
loiters as long as a second Odawara conference; at times to one's
ruin.... Ah! Ha! A stop for the mid-day meal. Ne[e]san, no more delay
than needed. Speed is urgent, yet food and wine of the best. The
honoured Shukké Sama is affected toward vegetable food.... What! The
Buddha called wine _hannyato_--hot water bringing wisdom? Ne[e]san, the
honoured Shukké Sama is a man of sense, no ascetic when unsatiated--or
on a journey. He would wear out belly and _waraji_ (sandals) on the same
service. Fish boiled with a little salt, _sashimi_ (sliced raw
fish)--and _don't_ forget the _kamaboku_ (fish paste). Two bottles for
each, with as much more heating. Bring a large bowl, empty. Never mind
the change.... And now, honoured Shukké Sama, deign at least to the
uninitiated the basis of this wondrous argument." Dentatsu could not
take offence at his merry humour. Himself he smiled, as he poured from
the second bottle of the wine. "Yes; the Buddha has called wine
_hannyato_, thus permitting its use to the initiated; just as stronger
foods, properly labelled, are fit for the belly. Thus by the mouth is
purified what goes into the belly. If the mouth can perform lustration
in the one case, it can do so by its exercise in another and more
intimate fashion." The fellow was immensely pleased. Leaning over he had
drunk in the countenance of the priest in the course of his
argument--"Naruhodo! A big body: 'twas feared the mind would be small.
Deign, honoured sir, to wait a moment; a purchase to make...." Off he
bolted with the _domburi_ or large bowl, something of a mystery to the
priest. It was soon solved by his reappearance with the vessel filled
with the small salted squid (_ika_). "There! Honoured Shukké Sama,
sample the best of Odawara town, noted for _kamaboku_ and its small
fish-salted; and of these the _ika_ is unsurpassed." As they drank the
wine, urged on by the savoury relish, he gave few and brief directions.
The food was wrapped up by the _ne[e]san_, several bottles of wine put
in the package, for use in a journey that must be pressed. "Now--the
bill; for you, _ne[e]san_, what is left over. Honoured Shukké Sama, a
gentle pace for the time being. The belly full, one loiters to let it do
its work. From here to Yumoto is a _ri_ (2-1/2 miles), of most gentle
rise. And what a pretty scene; the valley narrowing to its clinging
hills hiding the strange and beautiful scenes beyond, yet which cause a
little fear even to the stoutest hearts. This river seems alive,
twisting, and turning, and pouring in multitudinous and minute falls
over the rounded boulders. The greater falls are naught else--on the
larger scale. All day one could watch the twists and turns of one spot
in a rivulet, white, green, almost black, yet never the same.... Note
how the pass narrows. This is Hata, beyond is the monkey's clinging
hill--well named. More than one rock from the steep above has torn away
the traveller's grasp and crushed a skull as if an egg shell." They
breasted the steep hills through forest, came out on the gentler upper
slopes covered with the long bamboo grass through which could be seen
the rough heaped up surface of volcanic debris. The trader came to a
halt. "A request to make."

"Ah! Now the fellow's mask is off--in this lonely spot.... He shall have
a tussle for it." Dentatsu was as much enraged as scared. Grasping his
staff he faced the townsman with harshness and visible irritation. Said
the latter testily--"Put off the honoured scowl. Truly the distrust of
the Shukké Sama is most uncomplimentary. But--as priest of Zo[u]jo[u]ji,
and on its mission, there is a passport. Women or guns with such, and
those unfurnished, cannot pass the barrier. I am unfurnished." Dentatsu
showed his amazement--"Yet you would journey to the capital!
And...."--"Started in great haste, without time even for equipment, as
can be seen--in a way. Deign to grant the request of entering in
'companion.' With this favour all will be well, and the obligation
greater." Said the priest gravely--"True: and companions for the day,
breaking food together, it is no great matter. But a townsman as
company--the barrier guards would certainly make question."--"Write the
matter in; write the matter in. They shall have answer.... For whom? The
name is Jimbei, of Kanda ward; but just now a servant of Zo[u]jo[u]ji.
Jimbei will be a credit to the honoured Shukké Sama. Write it in." His
manner was so peremptory that the priest drew forth his writing
materials. With one hand grinding his tablet of ink, with one eye
watching Jimbei, he saw him disappear into the bushes. With misgiving
the characters were added to the passport, a gentle forgery easy to the
cleric in mind and hand. Who would not cheat barrier and customs, and
feel all the better for the deed? To the misgivings were added a gasp of
astonishment. From the bush appeared Jimbei clad in full raiment of a
temple servant, carrying pole and the two boxes (_ryo[u]gaké_) on his
shoulders, and so like to the rôle that Dentatsu felt as travelling in
the style of his betters. "But ... in this lonely place how effect such
change? How...." Jimbei quietly removed the document dangling from his
fingers. "How--and why--and which--and where--all these are for later
explanation. Time presses if Sumpu is to be reached at night. Jimbei
answers for the credit of the Go Shukké Sama. Now, honoured sir--down
the hill with you." They were standing on the crest overlooking the lake
far below. Jimbei set the example by starting off at a rapid pace. Never
had priest better attendant, or one more skilled in dealing with barrier
curiosity. He was loquacious, without giving information. The matter was
clear, and Jimbei gave hint as to the mission and the burden. Dentatsu
was given early clearance. At the top of Muko[u]zaka Jimbei loyally
restored to him the precious burden until then assumed. "Now, sir
priest, be assured of Jimbei Dono's good faith. The favour has been
great. The acknowledgment shall be as great. In this life the Go Shukké
Sama and this Jimbei are bound in brotherhood." If Dentatsu felt
grateful, he also felt a little chilled.

"A wonderful fellow! Such legs on such a small body have never been
seen.... Nor such an eye. This man is as much brains as bulk. Every
member is intelligence--Extraordinary!" He kept this opinion to
himself. Aloud--"This Dentatsu admits his inferiority. He is worn out.
Since Jimbei balks Mishima town, from there onward this foolish priest
takes nag or _kago_." Was he speaking truth, or trying to get rid of
him? Jimbei stopped and observed him keenly. Bah! His was the master
mind over this poor cleric. "The Shukké Sama already has had test of
Jimbei's wit and talk. Deign not to spit folly. Leave the matter to
Jimbei, and be assured that the passage of time and space will go
unobserved." Nor did the priest find it otherwise. The leagues passed on
apace. At this rest shed they stopped awhile for tea, and to consume
provision. At another Jimbei halted to order _saké_ for himself and
companion. The sun was far down as the ferrymen landed them on the
further side of the Fujikawa. Okitsu? Mio no Matsubara? No indeed:
passing under the walls of the Seikenji, Jimbei spoke with enthusiasm of
the place famed for eatables--Sumpu town. To[u]to[u]mi-wan, Suruga-wan,
furnished the fish, unsurpassed; the _tai_ (bream) of Okitsu, famed for
_sashimi_--all these, including the best _saké_ in Nippon. Dentatsu
sighed with weariness and anticipated pleasure of the table set. Passing
through the darkness of full night the mass of a castle bulk could be
made out. Then they came into the blaze of such light as a large
provincial town afforded. Said Jimbei, with some exultation--"Sumpu
town, and its inns of note. Eh! Honoured Shukké Sama!"



CHAPTER XX

THE AFFAIR OF KISHU[U] KE


Jimbei, as of one born and bred in the town, at once led his companion
off from the castle precincts. The many lanterns hung out in the narrow
streets showed this Jinshukucho[u] to be the lodging quarter of the
town. Approaching the entrance of one more conspicuous--"The
Yorozuya.... Ah! Shelter for the night." The maids kneeling at the
entrance chorused their welcome. Keenly they took in the prospective
guests, garb mainly, possessions less conspicuous. All Nipponese travel
light, and tea money is to be judged by outward appearance. "Deign to
enter;" the usual mechanical and none too enthusiastic greeting. Jimbei
was at home--"And the eight mat room over looking the street?... Oh!
Ne[e]san is without memory." The girl, a little puzzled, admitted the
defect and made apology. Alas! The room had been taken for one of the
train of Kishu[u] Ke. They were _samurai_, on their lord's business, and
would have no near neighbours. Another room of size and suitability was
available. "Honoured Shukké Sama, water for the feet." Deftly he
stripped off the sandals of Dentatsu, acted the servant to perfection,
and attended to his own purification with practised swiftness. Then
under the guidance of the maid the room was sought. The host appeared
almost as soon with the inn register. "Dentatsu, _shoké_ of
Jo[u]jo[u]ji; one companion--from Mishima this day." With grave face
Jimbei made the entry; and Dentatsu gave all the approval of an outraged
weariness.

"And now--the bath? Ne[e]san, the Danna Sama is large of body and
liberal of needs. No vegetation as repast for him. Just a...." Jimbei
went into a huge order of food and wine to repair their tired bodies.
The girl sighed in relief--"The honoured _bo[u]zu_-san (sir priest) is
most considerate. He asks but what is easily supplied." To Jimbei's
supposed inquiry--"To furnish out of the usual course is never easy. The
honoured priests often give trouble." A serving man stuck his nose
within the _sho[u]ji_. "For the honoured guests the bath...."--"Danna,
the bath." The girl stood expectant. Following her guidance the weary
Dentatsu, under the manipulation of his more active companion, underwent
this partial renovation. Before the _zen_, well covered with the
eatables, Dentatsu sighed--"Ah! Ha! This Dentatsu is weary beyond
measure. To-morrow he will rest here. The distance...." Jimbei cut him
short--"The Danna deigns to jest. The rest of a night, and all the
weariness departs. Wine and food, sleep, will show the folly of such
thought. Besides, the temple's important affair...." Dentatsu did not
seem to be so solicitous concerning temple matters as his attendant.
Jimbei gave him little chance to show it. He prattled and talked, had
much to ask of _ne[e]san_. This shortly, and as decided--"With an early
start let the beds be laid at once." Off he dragged the unwilling
Dentatsu. When they returned from preparation for the night the beds
were laid. Dentatsu tumbled incontinently into one, and in a moment was
snoring. Jimbei sat smoking, watching him and the girl making the final
preparation of the chamber for the night. As she passed close to him
suddenly he seized her and drew her down to him--"Ara! Danna, this won't
do at all. A maid in the inn, such service must be refused. Condescend
to loosen." But Jimbei did not let her go. He drew her very close.--"Ha!
Ah! Indeed one is much in love. However don't be alarmed. It is another
affair. The Go Shukké Sama has a little soul in a big body. He is
wearied beyond measure; yet the temple affairs require an early start.
Deign to call us at the seventh hour, but be sure to say it is the
sixth. Is it agreed?... For a hair ornament." The maid understood the
coin and the innocent deception. Dimming the night light she took her
departure. An inn of Nippon never sleeps.

Dentatsu was aroused, to find the lamp still burning brightly in the
room. The maid, somewhat frightened, was vigorously shaking him. "Oya!
Oya! To shake up such a big Danna, 'tis terrific. He may deign to bestow
a beating." Said Jimbei, with calm philosophy--"For the _kerai_ to
inconvenience his master is not to be permitted. You are of the inn
service. Hence not to be reproved by strangers. It is your function to
arouse."--"The sixth hour!" grumbled Dentatsu. He rubbed his eyes as one
who had just gone to sleep. Jimbei carried him off to the cleaning
processes of early morn. The return found the table laid with the meal.
With quietness and despatch Jimbei settled all matters with the aplomb
of the practised traveller. Before he was well awake Dentatsu found
himself following after through the dark streets. "Surely the maid has
mistaken the hour.[23] 'Tis yet the darkness of night."--"Not likely,"
interjected Jimbei, as swiftly he urged him on. "The girl sees to
departure every day in the year. It is the darkness of bad weather, and
all the more need for haste." He looked around in surprise. They had
reached the ferry at the Tegoé crossing of the Abégawa, at the edge of
the town. "Naruhodo! Not a coolie has yet appeared. There is no one to
carry us across the river. How now! Has the girl really mistaken the
hour?... Return? Why so? That would be to look ridiculous, and the woman
is not worth scolding. However, this Jimbei knows...." With misgiving
and protest Dentatsu followed him a little up stream, toward the
Ambai-nai or Nitta crossing. Here the broad middle space is usually left
bare of flood. Jimbei began to strip.

"Naruhodo! Townsman, surely the crossing is not to be trod without the
practised guidance of the coolies? This Dentatsu budges not a
step...."--"Deign to be silent," was the reply. Jimbei was already in
the water; with the priest's luggage and his own. With fright and
interest Dentatsu watched him feel his way through the stream. Surely he
was a most surprising fellow. On the other bank doubtless he would
disappear at once. The big legs of Dentatsu trembled under him. He had
thoughts of entrance, but the impossibility of overtaking these legs of
quicksilver prevented him. "Ora pro nobis"; these departing treasures.
No! Now he was returning. "Now, Go Shukké Sama, up with you." He made a
back for Dentatsu, but the big man backed away. "Jimbei! Are you mad? Is
Jimbei one to carry the big...."--"Body in which is lodged such a small
soul? Be sure, sir priest, this Jimbei easily could shift double the
weight. Up with you!... Don't put the hands over my eyes. A little
higher: that's it." Off he started into the flood. The first channel was
easy; barely to the thigh. Dentatsu walked across the intervening sand,
with more confidence and not a word of doubting protest. Again, and
readily, he mounted this surprising conveyance. The second attempt was
another affair. The river flowed swift. The legs of Dentatsu were wound
around the neck of Jimbei, now in water to his chest. He looked in
fright and some pleasure at the waves, flicked here and there with
white. Jimbei halted--"A fine sight, sir priest. Note the deep blue. It
shows depth, yet this is the ford. Just below it runs far over man's
head, with swift undercurrent. He who once is caught in it rises not
again until the crossing is reached, far below." Said Dentatsu, scared
and annoyed--"Why loiter then in such a dangerous place?"--"Because just
now the world is Jimbei's world." The tone of voice, the look up he
gave, froze the soul of Dentatsu.

"Just consider, sir priest. A movement, and the honoured Go Shukké Sama
is food for fishes. His disappearance accounted for, his luggage, the
two thousand _ryo[u]_ of the temple, pass to Jimbei as his heir, and
none to make report. The honoured Shukké Sama, is he prepared?" Dentatsu
was no fool. This man was in earnest for the moment. With all the
calmness of a desperate position he made terms--"Life is everything.
Deign to place this foolish priest on solid ground. Jimbei takes the
coin, goes unscathed, without word now or hereafter. The priest's word
for it--and surely Jimbei fears not for himself." He clung fast to
Jimbei's neck. The latter had gone off into a most outrageous peal of
laughter which almost shook his freight from the perch aloft. Then
slowly and carefully he proceeded into the shallows, set down his charge
on the further bank--"A magnificent compliment: but no more of this.
Perhaps now the Go Shukké Sama will have trust in Jimbei, submit to his
guidance. For once in earnest, the escape was a narrow one.... Ah! Ha!
Ha! Ha! How scared!" Dentatsu did not deny it--"More than frightened;
thoroughly scared." He scanned his companion. "A most surprising fellow!
Surely...." He was perplexed. But Jimbei paid no attention to his
questioning deferential manner. He was plainly the master--"Come now!
All haste is to be made." Urging the pace soon they were amid the hills.
The white light of dawn was approaching as they were reaching the top of
a difficult climb. "The Utsunoya-to[u]ge (pass)," said Jimbei. A
peculiar vibration in his voice made Dentatsu look at him with surprise.
His mouth was set. His eyes shone colder than ever. Every faculty of the
man was awake and alert. Silent he halted, put down the pack on the
steps of a little wayside shrine, drew out his pipe to smoke. "Beyond is
the Tsuta no Hosomichi, running along the mountain side for some
_cho[u]_; the 'slender road of Ivy,' for it is no wider than a
creeper."--"A bad place!" mechanically murmured Dentatsu. "A very bad
place!" was the grave reply.

Then the sound of steps was heard. A man, puffing, came up on the run.
He addressed himself with respect to Jimbei--"Honoured chief, they enter
on the pass."--"Good: now--vamoose; but be at hand." The man saluted, to
Jimbei and the priest, and disappeared in the direction whence he came.
"Vamoose? Vamoose? What and why this word vamoose?"--"Shut up!" was the
emphatic reply of Jimbei. His eye turned to wayside shrine, close by at
the summit of the pass. "Now, in with you, sir priest. No word or
motion, if life be valued.... In with you." Dentatsu looked him all
over. In resentment? If he felt it, he did not dare to show it.
Mechanically he turned and huddled himself within the grating. Jimbei
forced it in on him, for the space would but hold the big body of the
priest. He had hardly done so when another man came running up, almost
breathless--"Chief! They are at hand."--"Good: vamoose."--"Again
'vamoose'", grumbled Dentatsu openly.[24] "Why such strange words; and
at least why not explain them?"--"Ah! Ha! A noisy priest; these clerics
can do nothing but clack, clack, like a parcel of geese or women. Even
the best of them--who thus consorts with Jimbei. Remember,
Bo[u]zu--silence, or the Go Shukké Sama finds Nirvana--not Gion; or was
it Chion." With a silent ferocious laugh, or expression of such, he
disappeared into the bushes.

But few moments passed. Dentatsu wriggled uneasily in his robes, the
only motion space permitted. Then was heard the merry sound of bells. A
pack train appeared; or rather two horses, one as carrier. A _samurai_
rode in front; another followed on foot. Four or five grooms were in
attendance. Close by the shrine, at the top of the ascent, they halted
to get wind after this last steep pull. "What a splendid sight!
Naruhodo, Gemba Dono! The sun rises from the bosom of the waters. How
blue they seem! The hills take shape in the dawn's light. Truly the
start, so inconveniently early, is repaid in part. One could stay here
forever ... what call you this place?... Tsuta no Hosomichi? And the
resort of highwaymen. But the _samurai_ has his sword. Such fellows are
not of the kind to trouble. Much more so a _tanka_ couplet to celebrate
the beauty of the spot." He laughed, and his companion swaggered to the
front of the shrine, with that peculiar hip motion of his caste.
Dentatsu held his breath. The grooms chanted the few lines of a
song--"The eight _ri_ of Hakoné--the horse's pack; the Oigawa--its wide
flood, not so." Slowly they rose to follow the masters. He who walked
preceded. The pack horse followed. The rider was well engaged in the
narrow way. The grooms were preparing to follow. Then a man burst forth
from the bushes at the roadside. "Atsu!" The _samurai_ had but hand on
his sword hilt when his assailant had cut deep into shoulder and pap.
His companion tried to turn. Then Dentatsu saw the animal he rode
stagger and fall. The rider had but time to throw himself to the ground.
Before he could rise his head rolled off a dozen paces, then bounded
down the steep slope. Striding over the body smoking in blood, Jimbei
grasped the rein of the pack horse. The grooms, who had looked on eyes
agog, took to flight down the pass as they had come. The whole affair
had not taken two minutes.

Gasping with fright Dentatsu allowed himself to be dragged from the
shrine. "Ah! Ha! Ha! A surprising fellow! Such activity was never shown
by man. Truly Jimbei is of the hobgoblin kind." Jimbei was once more
transformed. His costume of priests' attendant had been resumed. The
carrying boxes, now much heavier, were ready to shoulder. Gravely he
indicated the burden. "Four thousand _ryo[u]_ there; a thousand _ryo[u]_
to be carried elsewhere. But now there is need for great haste. Neither
Jimbei nor the Go Shukké Sama is to be found in these parts. On with
you, sir priest."--"Ah! Jimbei! Jimbei! A strange fellow indeed! What
manner of company has this Dentatsu fallen in with?"--"This is no time
for questions--or answers," was Jimbei's stern reply. "The relation
evidently is for life. Jimbei recognizes it.... Yes, the crest is that
of Kishu[u] Ke; the money, funds remitted to his treasury. Hence all the
greater need to hasten." Speed they did, by paths and shorter ways
unknown to Dentatsu as frequent traveller of this road, and which spared
the Hamana bight and rest at the tea sheds of the To[u]kaido[u]. Fright
urged on Dentatsu without protest; settled purpose hastened Jimbei. Thus
Yoshida post town was reached in good time to inn, for the priest was
half dead with fatigue.

Jimbei surveyed his charge, critically and with much kindness, as one
does what has been of greatest use to him. "Not a step further can this
Dentatsu go." It was not refusal; it was plain assertion of fact; and
Jimbei agreed. "There is no longer need for haste. Two, three days
stoppage, with the best of food and wine shall be the reward of the
honoured Shukké Sama. Nay, until thoroughly restored." They had come
from the bath and were seated at a table loaded with wine and food.
Dentatsu prepared to eat. Just then the landlord stuck his head in
between the _sho[u]ji_. His face was anxious and frightened. "Regret is
felt. On Utsunoyama, at the crossing of the pass, the honoured money
train of Kishu[u] Ke has been held up and robbed. 'Tis a great affair;
by some notable robber! At Yoshida none are allowed exit or entrance
during the next six days. People and strangers are to undergo strict
examination. Deign the honoured pardon, but ... after all the charges
are to be met for the detention." The morsel then being conveyed to the
mouth of Dentatsu stopped short. A warning look from Jimbei nearly made
him choke. The townsman was all suavity and glee--"How fortunate! The
honoured Shukké Sama, foot sore, would rest several days. And at no
expense! The generosity of Matsudaira Ko[u] passes measure. Are we not
lucky, Danna?" To the host--"So it makes no difference. But at this
distance...." The host shrugged his shoulders. "It would seem so; but
the order is official. The notice came by boat from Oigawa. The whole
To[u]kaido[u] is up--from Yoshida to Numazu town."--"And why not to Edo
and the capital (Kyo[u]to)," Jimbei laughed. The host laughed too. Well
satisfied with his guests' satisfaction he withdrew. Dentatsu did but
blink.

The meal removed Jimbei sat in apparent thought. "A boat--and Yoshida!
Who would have thought it? Ah! The wicked are not to escape punishment.
Three feet nearer Heaven--on a stake; and one's belly full of wind
holes--from the spears. Go Shukké Sama, the crime was a dastardly one.
Five thousand _ryo[u]_! Surely it means crucifixion on the embankment.
We will furnish poles for plover--to roost upon."[25] Dentatsu made a
sign of frightened repulsion. He could not speak. Jimbei seemed to catch
an idea. "Ne[e]san! Ne[e]san! keep the honoured Shukké Sama company over
his wine. There is a purchase to make.... By the house? No such trouble
asked. It is for _waraji_, with cloth in front and rear,
indispensable.... Not found here? Nay, these eyes saw them on entering
the town. Someone will get ahead in the purchase--with great regret. The
place was seen, but not knowing the streets it is not to be described."
When the girl carried out the dishes, to bring in more wine, Dentatsu
raised heavy reproachful eyes--"Then Jimbei would run away, leave the
priest in the lurch." He cast a look at the hateful _ryo[u]gaké_,
stuffed with recent spoil. Jimbei froze him into silence--"From the town
there is no escape. Leave the matter to Jimbei. Drink: even if the
liquor chokes."--"A means of escape will be found?"--"Truly a big body
and a cowardly heart. Why, man this but a difficult place. Jimbei
leaves, to find an exit."--"Just so!" was the gloomy answer of the
priest. He put his head in his hands. Meanwhile Jimbei betook himself to
the front. To avoid annoyance he borrowed an inn lantern. With its broad
mark of "Masuya," the name of the inn, he sallied out into the darkness.

He was gone nearly a whole watch. Dentatsu, assured of his desertion,
was in despair. He had relied on the fertile mind of this scamp. Ah!
What a predicament this fellow had got him into. Then the voice of
Jimbei sounded at his shoulder. Dentatsu almost leaped up. Instead he
gulped down the _saké_, until then barely touched, to the maid's great
astonishment. "Surely the Danna Sama must be ill."--"More likely tired,
than unwell. But the wine will make it pass. The _waraji_? Here they
are." He laughed as he drew them from his bosom. The girl was all
astonishment. They were just as described; such as were never seen west
of Hakoné. Truly a sharp-sighted guest! When alone Jimbei spoke
briefly--"Take courage. The matter is arranged." Said Dentatsu,
heavy-eyed--"The mission settled? Has some other lost his life at
Jimbei's hand?" Jimbei laughed; then frowned. "Neither blood nor coin
does Jimbei spill for mere pastime. He has purpose." He handled the
_waraji_. Said Dentatsu in some amaze--"Where did you get them?"--"In
Odawara."--"Has Jimbei been to Odawara?"--"Just so: but not now. Jimbei
is no Tengu Sama. Did not the Go Shukké Sama take food at Odawara? This
kind are only found there; and pretexts are always needed to range a
town in darkness. The mission is performed. Be assured that before day
these very people will urge departure.... How so? Jimbei is not without
friends; and has done his own part as well. The train is laid, and in
all quarters of Yoshida town the fire will break out. The wind blows
strong, and ... 'tis them or us." His look was so cold as to freeze.
Dentatsu, in ecstasy of gratitude did but seize his hands and
murmur--"Wonderful man--truly a great captain!" For the first time
Jimbei looked a genuine benevolence.

Dentatsu pushed the covers partly away and sat up in bed. Severe had
been the chiding of Jimbei--"Honoured Shukké Sama, such conduct will
never do. Fortunate it is that the event is postponed but an hour or
so. Ne[e]san surely is amazed at the sudden abstinence of the Go Shukké
Sama from food and drink. Moreover there is work to be done. The body
unnourished, it gives way. Deign to rest. Be assured the urging will
come from others." These the final words before the townsman-bandit had
himself dropped off into soundest slumbers. Dentatsu watched him, with
confidence and some awe. Smoothed out in sleep and under the influence
of some pleasant dream, Jimbei was as harmless looking as one of the
doves in the temple of the war god Hachiman. He leaned over and would
wake him. "_Urusai!_ Annoying fellow! Ah! This _bo[u]zu_ is part hare,
part ass, part swine. When not braying, he is stuffing, or ears up in
fright. Deign to rest, honoured priest. Legs and body will soon have
enough to do." Again he turned over; and again the snores rose loud.
Dentatsu could not sleep. He lay awake, listening to the diminishing
sounds of inn life.

The temple bells were striking the sixth hour. The sound was a strange
one. The strokes of the hour ran into one continued roar.
Jan-jan-jan--pon-pon--gon-gon--cries of men, the racket of wooden
clappers and of drums, were now added to the uproar. For a few moments
Dentatsu stood the increasing excitement. Through the cracks of the
closed _amado_ he could see a reddish glare, becoming brighter and
brighter. He sat up and roughly shook Jimbei by the shoulder. "Oh! This
rascally cleric. Nothing will satisfy his stupidity, but to carry it to
extremes. Honoured Shukké Sama, wait the urgency of others; don't supply
it. We at least lack not preparation.... Ah!" The _sho[u]ji_ were thrown
hastily back. The host of the inn appeared, his face pale and lips
trembling. "Honoured guests! Still in bed? Deign at once to flee. The
town is in a blaze. Every quarter has its conflagration which walks
apace; and in this gale hopeless to overcome...."--"Don't talk folly,"
sleepily answered Jimbei. "Is not the town in ward for these six days.
Why disturb oneself? Let all burn together?" The host wrung his
hands--"Honoured sirs, the blame and punishment falls on this Masuya if
injury befall its guests. All lies wide open. Deign at once to leave....
Naruhodo!" His mouth was wide open. Jimbei and Dentatsu rose as on
springs, full clad, _waraji_ on their feet. The way "lies wide open."
This was the watchword to Jimbei. "Edokko (sons of Edo) always are
ready, and need no urging." With this genial explanation he and Dentatsu
shouldered past the astonished landlord. If the latter would have had
suspicions they were thwarted or postponed by the cries which rose
below. His own main house was now in flames. Hands to head in this
confusion of ideas he abandoned all thought of his guests and rushed
down below. As if in his own home, with no guide but the outer glare
Jimbei passed to the inn rear. In the darkness of the passage he had
stopped, leaned down and struck a light. The precious _ryo[u]gaké_ on
his shoulders, with the priest he took to the fieldpaths in the rear of
the town. The ground was level; the land rich rice field with its
interspersed and picturesque clumps of trees and bamboo, its verdure
bowered villages. From time to time they looked back at the sky, flaming
red, and in its darker outer parts a mass of glittering flying sparks
"like the gold dashes on aventurine lacquer ware."

For two days they had lain at Okazaki town, Dentatsu incapable of
movement after the mad run along the classic highway in the darkness of
that fearful night. As refugees from the stricken town they met with
kind reception. The greater part of Yoshida town lay in ashes; and so
great the disaster, so unsuspected the cause, that men looked rather to
the hand of Heaven than of human kind for the source of such punishment.
Jimbei spoke gravely as the two stood on the long bridge leading to
Yahagi across the river. "The luck of one, the misfortune of
another--'twas the life of the Go Shukké Sama and of this Jimbei against
the lives and fortunes of those wretched people. And is there aught to
outweigh life?" The priest nodded a lugubrious and pleased assent to
this plain doctrine. "It is just as well the host of Masuya lost life as
well as goods. He might have made plaint, and had too long a tongue....
Jimbei could not foresee such weakness in so huge a body." He looked
Dentatsu over with a little kindly contempt. "And so the honoured Shukké
Sama would ask the name of this Jimbei? Honoured sir, the favour of your
ears--for Kosaka Jinnai, son of Heima of that name, descendant of the
Kosaka known to fame in service with Shingen Ko[u] of Kai. Times have
changed, and misfortune driven Jinnai to seek revenge for his lord's
undoing." He mocked a little; the tone was too unctuously hypocritical.
Then abruptly--"Sir priest, here we part. Your way lies ahead to Gifu
town. Delay not too much, until the lake (Biwa-ko) is reached. Travel in
company, for Jinnai, though his men are numbered by the thousand,
controls not all the craft. A priest can scent a true priest. Seek out
your kind.... Ha! You make a face.... Here: two hundred _ryo[u]_. The
monastery is none too generous, and would have you live--abroad. _Sutra_
and prayers are not amusing. By face and years the honoured Shukké Sama
loves the sex as well as the best of his kind. The very shadow of a
monastery is prolific. More merriment is to be found with the girls of
Gion than with those who dance the _kagura_ (sacred dances) at
Higashiyama. Besides, these are for your betters. If further off--seek
Shimabara (the noted pleasure quarter). Go buy a Tayu; the funds are
ample and not to be hoarded.... There need be no hesitation. 'Tis money
of no thief. The prince robs the public; and Jinnai robs the princely
thief. No trader ever has hung himself from the house beam for act of
Jinnai; and more than one owes credit and freedom from a debtor's
slavery to his aid."

It was with thanks, the parting with a man famed by deed before one's
eyes, that Dentatsu slowly passed on to the bridge. From its further end
he could see the road leading into the Nakasendo[u] hills. Long he
waited until a diminutive figure, hastening along it, appeared from time
to time between scattered houses on the outskirts of Okazaki town. Then
in earnest he took his own way, partly impelled by fright and anxiety at
loss of his companion and being thrown on the resources of his own wits.
He felt for a time as a blind man deprived of his staff. It was years
after that Yoshida Hatsuémon, he who died so bravely at O[u]saka,
accompanied Marubashi Chu[u]ya to the new fencing room opened at Aoyama
Edo by the teacher of the _yawatori_--a new style of wrestling
introduced from Morokoshi (China)--of spear exercise (_so[u]jutsu_), of
ju[u]jutsu. Marubashi Chu[u]ya had tried the new exponent of these arts,
and found him master in all but that of the spear, in which himself he
was famed as teacher. At this time (Sho[u]ho[u] 3rd year--1646) the
crisis of Jinnai's fate and the conspiracy of the famous Yui Sho[u]setsu
were both approaching issue. To his amazement Hatsuémon recognized in
Osada Jinnai the one time Jimbei of the days when he had journeyed the
To[u]kaido[u] in priestly robe and under the name of Dentatsu. The
recognition was mutual, its concealment courteously discreet on the part
of both men. Sho[u]setsu appreciated the merits, the audacity, and the
certain failure ahead of Jinnai's scheme. The better remnants he would
gather to himself. Yui Sho[u]setsu Sensei aimed to pose as a new
Kusunoki Masashigé, whose picture was the daily object of his prayers
and worship. All was grist to the mill of his designs; but not
association with such a chief--or lieutenant--as Kosaka Jinnai.
Forewarned Marubashi and Yoshida (Dentatsu) held coldly off and sought
no intimacy. Thus watched by keen wits of greater comprehension Jinnai
rushed on his course into the claws of Aoyama Shu[u]zen and the meshes
of the Tokugawa code for criminals of his class.



CHAPTER XXI

IF OLD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT


Thus Kosaka Jinnai, under the name of Osada, at the beginning of
Sho[u]ho[u] 2nd year (1645) was established at Aoyama Harajuku-mura. For
a gentleman of such abilities his pretensions were modest. It is true
that he hung out a gilt sign before his fencing hall, with no boasting
advertisement of his qualities as teacher. Yet his fame quickly became
such that students flocked to him by the score. In a few months, on plea
of being over-stocked, he was turning away all who would seek his
instruction. Some he could not refuse--retainers of _yashiki_ in his
vicinity. But the generality of his disciples were a very rough lot; and
this finer quality of his flock were carefully segregated, came and went
at their appointed time apart from the common herd; and as matter of
fact profited much from their teacher, and knew very little about him.
Which was exactly the aim of Jinnai. This was remembered of him later.

There is but one domestic episode connected with this period, so short
and purposely obscure in its duration. About the time of his first
establishment a villager, on visit to Edo town, chanced upon the
practice hour of Jinnai. The years had passed, yet the rustic had no
difficulty in recognizing in the Sensei the one time Jinnosuké. When
later he sought a more personal interview the great man was found
courteous but freezing cold in the reception. The news from Tsukuba
district was of that mixed character not to afford any exuberant
pleasure. His reputation for bad company had gone abroad, though no
great deeds of wickedness had been attributed to him. With the devotion
of a daughter his wife had nourished the old folk, brought up her two
daughters. On her shoulders during all these years had rested the
management of these small affairs. The girls grew toward womanhood.
When O'Kiku was in her seventeenth year Jisuké had died--unconsoled at
the ill turn fortune had played him in this unfilial son. These
grandparents had lingered out the years, crippled and helpless, urging a
re-marriage on O'Ichi--always refused on the plea that such relation was
for two lives. Jisuké Dono had united them, and he alone could separate
her from Jinnai. She sought no second relation herself and plead against
it; and Jisuké would not force it on this filial daughter, who thus
would block the disinheritance of the son. Thus the farm stood, ready
for the master on his return. Truly the whole village wondered, and
admired her filial conduct.

To most of this Jinnai listened with indifference. "These girls--their
looks and age?" Replied the man--"O'Kiku now is seventeen years; O'Yui
Dono has fifteen years. Truly they are the village beauties, and rarely
found in such life, for they would spare the mother all labour." He
spoke with enthusiasm. "Then the mother lives?" The man shook his
head--"The grave mound yet is very fresh. When she died she spoke no
word of Jinnosuké Dono." Boldly he looked in rebuke at the unfilial man.
Jinnai, if anything, showed annoyance. The old woman alive would have
kept the inconvenient wife--the three women--at the distance of
Tsukuba's slopes. His plans admitted of no possible descent on him at
Aoyama Harajuku. Briefly he made request for the favour of bearing a
message. Gladly the mission was accepted. With a discouraging cordiality
in the leave taking the old acquaintance took his way back to the
village. With something of a flutter O'Ichi opened and ran out the
scroll he brought--"Unexpected and gratifying the meeting with
Taro[u]bei San. The news of the village, not pleasing, is subject of
condolence. Deign to observe well the instructions here given. The time
will come when a summons to Edo town will be in order. At present the
establishment is new and tender, and stands not the presence of
strangers to the town. Condescend to show the same care in the present
as in the past. The farm and its tenure is left to the hands of Ichi. As
for these girls, look well to their care. They are said to be handsome
and reputed the daughters of this Jinnai. Obey then his command. These
are no mares for the public service, or for the private delectation of
some rich plebeian. Service in a _yashiki_ need not be refused, and
jumps more with the plans and purposes of Jinnai. Keep this well in
mind, and await the ripeness of time. With salutation...." Such the cold
greeting through the years. "Reputed the daughters of this Jinnai." Ah!
He thought and knew the years turned the beauty Ichi into the worn and
wrinkled country hag of nearly forty years, only too ready to market her
girls for her own necessities. She was ill and worn in her service. Here
Jinnai was to be recognized. He was the man of his caste, with contempt
for the plebeian he turned to his uses, but who must have no intimate
contact with him or his.

Edo town was in a turmoil. North, East, South of the town the lives and
purses of men who walked were at hazard. Plainly some band was operating
in these quarters of the town. Aoyama Shu[u]zen was hard put to it. His
arrests, outrageous and barbarous, increased with his difficulties. Some
specimens have been instanced. His bands of _yakunin_ lay out in a wide
net around the threatened quarters of the city. On the outskirts of
Honjo[u] a country mansion would be fired and plundered. In O[u]kubo a
temple (the Jisho[u]-in) was clean gutted of its treasury--without
notice to its neighbours. Not a sign of the spoil could be traced until
the Sho[u]shidai of Kyo[u]to sent as present to the suzerain a most
valued hanging picture (_kakémono_) of Shu[u]bun, picked up for him in
O[u]saka town, and worthy of being seen by the eyes of Edo's ruler.
Murder and rape were the common accompaniments of these crimes, the
doers of which left no witness, if resisted. _Tsujikiri_, cutting down
wayfarers merely to test the value of a sword blade, found revival. Such
murders in the outward wards of the city were of nightly occurrence. Yet
they all centred in Aoyama's own precinct; starting forth from the
fencing hall of Osada Jinnai. What a band they were! At this long
distant date the names read with that tinge of the descriptive which
such nomenclature gives--Yamaguchi Chiyari, Kanagawa Koni, Sendai no
O[u]kami, Okayama Koshin, Kumamoto Kondo[u], Tsukuba Endé;[26] their
great chief being Kosaka Jinnai.

The eleventh month (December) was closing its first decade. The wine
shop at Shiba Nihon Enoki was celebrating a first opening, a feast in
progress for some hours, and to be maintained for the few ensuing days.
The enthusiasm was at its height, and the wine flowed like water. Some
few guests, who could, tottered home at midnight. Clerks and
domestics--there is little difference in Nipponese practice--shut up the
premises as well as their drunken state permitted. Those who had still
some trace of sobriety proceeded to guzzle what was left in the opened
casks. When the hour of the ox (1 A.M.) struck, not a man in the place
knew front from rear. They lay sprawled out dead drunk--as were some of
the women. This was the hour watched for and chosen by Jinnai. Such of
the females as could give the alarm were bound and gagged by the masked
invaders. Then they gutted place and store-houses. With bending backs
they betook themselves over the hills the short distance to Harajuku.
Here Jinnai, in the unwise benevolence of the bandit chieftain, gave
rein to the licentiousness of these favourites of his mature age, to
these lieutenants and agents in the great movement for which all this
loot was gathered. The circuit was formed. The heads of wine barrels
just stolen were broached. The grizzled, tousled member who officiated
as cook, and as such had been left behind to his own offices, produced
the feast of fish and delicacies in celebration of the great deed and
accomplishment. "Now is the turn of this company," said Jinnai in
pleasant reference to the victims of the raid. "A real banquet of
extreme intoxication.[27] Alas! We have no _tabo_.... Too dangerous a
loot," commented Jinnai amid the roar of laughter and approval. "Use and
abuse go together; and the necessity to slit the throats of such
chattering parrots. For this company the remains would give trouble,
and might bring unexpected visitors about our ears. Be virtuous--and
spare not the wine." The advice was followed to the letter. Soon the
house of Jinnai was a match for that of the looted wine shop.

With the light of the December dawn a metal dealer (_doguya_) was
trudging his way over the sifted cover of an early snow fall. He lived
thereabouts; often had had small jobs of mending the weapons and
implements of this sturdy establishment of Jinnai, hence had some good
will to its owner, which was more than could be said of most of the
neighbours. To his surprise he noted the wide open gate to Jinnai's
entrance, the many tracks leading within. Strange sounds were heard. He
would venture on a look. "Oya! Oya!" The man stood stock still, half in
fright and half in a wondering concupiscence of curiosity, as he took in
the riotous vision of the fencing hall. Some twenty men lay scattered in
different postures--all dead drunk. The noise arose from their wide open
snoring mouths and nostrils. A score of wine casks lay tumbled, the
liquor spilled on the _tatami_. Mingled with the remains of food and
vomit were stained cups and dirty plates. More suggestive to his
frightened eyes was the heap of packages laid out at the side. Some of
them had been opened, and displayed the varied assortment of the
contents. Most conspicuous was Jinnai, who had gone to sleep with the
bag of all the coin found in the wine shop as pillow. Ah! Ha! The scene
needed no interpreter. This was a mere band of thieves, the house their
den. The man stole to the kitchen. He knew his ground, and that in these
bachelor quarters no women would be stirring. Jinnai was a
misogynist--on business principles. Hearing a stir he would have fled at
the rear, but the body of the drunken cook, the intermediary of their
dealings, lay square across the exit. Fearful he made his return. As he
passed out the front--"Alas! Alas! What is to be done? The Sensei, so
just and prompt in his dealings, so kind in his patronage, is a mere
thief. Report is to be made. As witness this Sentaro[u] will send the
Sensei to the execution ground. But the honoured mother--no trouble is
to be brought on her. By other discovery ... and perchance someone has
seen this entrance! What's to be done? What's to be done?" He did one
thing in his perplexity. He shut the outside door, closed fast the big
gate, and departed by the service gate. Thus no others should intrude on
this rash man; and likewise Jinnai had no inkling of his visit. Then the
_doguya_ fled to his home, so blue in the face and overcome as to
frighten the household. They gathered round the unhappy man with hot
water to drink as restorative. "Had he seen a ghost?"

All day he pondered. Then he told his story to Aikawa Chu[u]dayu. The
officer was indebted to Sentaro[u]; for many a hint in his operations.
"Deign somehow, honoured _yo[u]nin_, that the Sensei be allowed to
escape. For this Sentaro[u] to appear as witness will bring down the
curse of one sure to be visited with execution. Condescend this favour."
Chu[u]dayu looked on him with approval, but shook his head in
doubt--"Never mind the curse of one dead. The service to the suzerain is
most opportune. Thus surely there will be reward, not punishment. For
the present you cannot be allowed to leave, but the mother shall suffer
no anxiety. There is much serious matter against this man; perchance no
testimony will be called for.... Strange he should be caught thus; on
both sides, and in accordance." He looked over the scroll he held in his
hands, and with it took his way to his master's apartment. Thus it was
he could spring on Shu[u]zen the greater affair concerning the long
missing man. Making his report of the tale of the _doguya_ he passed
over the scroll he held in his hand--"The fellow is caught in both
quarters. There are three of these _ro[u]nin_, most intimate. Of this
Marubashi Chu[u]ya little favourable is known, but he has the support of
Yui Sensei, the noted master of the Ushigomé Enoki fencing room, and
favourite of all but Hida no Kami, whom he would rival in attainment.
Shibata Saburo[u]bei and this Kato[u] Ichiémon seem honourable men, of
clean lives and reputation beyond the fact of being _ro[u]nin_. All
experts at arms they live by teaching one form or other of the practice.
Curiosity led Chu[u]ya to the encounter of this Osada at his fencing
hall, to find him more than his match at everything but his favourite
art of the spear. But here lies the point. Later he returned, in company
with a one time _shoké_ of the Zo[u]jo[u]ji. As Dentatsu the priest had
met with Jinnai, and nearly suffered at his hands. In what way he did
not say, but told Chu[u]ya that the man's real name was Kosaka--of the
stock of Kosaka Dansho[u] no Chu[u]den of Kai; of him your lordship
already has had experience in early days. At last he comes into the net
and under such fair terms."

Aoyama did know his man; even after all these years. He had ripened
much. Why not Jinnai? He would have gone himself, and chafed at not
doing so; but his satellites showed him the lack of dignity in such
procedure. The magistrate in person to take a common thief! Darkness
offered chance of escape; so with dawn a host of _yakunin_ was sent
under a _yoriki_[28] and several _do[u]shin_. Aikawa Chu[u]dayu himself
volunteered. Jinnai and his men were not yet up. On the previous day
awaking amid the unseemly debris of the night's debauch, with no clear
recollection of its progress and ending, the chief's first alarm had
been dissipated by finding the outer gate locked. The unbarred wicket
was attributed to an oversight which hardly would attract notice from
the outside. Indeed he had not been the first to rise and take tale of
his companions, to ascertain which one had occasion to open it and go
without. With such a chief few would admit negligence. The day passed
without notice. Confidence was restored. Now from the outside was heard
a hum of voices. "On his lordship's business! On his lordship's
business!" The cries came together with an irruption of _yakunin_ into
the entrance hall, Jinnai and his men promptly sprang to arms. A
scattered fight began, with none too great stomach of the officers
before the stout resistance offered. It was no great matter to reach a
ladder to the loft. Jinnai was the last man up. The more daring to
follow was laid low with an arrow shot from above, and the ladder
disappeared heavenward. Panels now were thrust back, short bows brought
into use, and almost before they had thought to fight or flee the
constables had five of their men stretched out on the _tatami_.

Before the shower of missiles they could but retreat. At the request
for aid Aoyama Shu[u]zen was in a rage. There was now no preventing his
departure. Mounting his horse off he rode from Kanda-mura toward
Harajuku-mura. But it had taken some little time for the messenger to
come; and more for Aoyama with his staff to go. Meanwhile much had taken
place. The ward constables had joined the _yakunin_ of Shu[u]zen. The
place completely surrounded, _tatami_ were taken from the neighbouring
houses for use as shields against the arrows. Then on signal a concerted
rush of the hardiest was made. Pouring in, with ladders raised aloft;
tumbling each other into the ditches, in the confusion pummelling each
other with mighty blows, and in consequence securing stout whacks from
the enraged recipients; the unlucky constables were soon
indistinguishable in their coating of mud and blood. The outrageous
ruffians, however, were soon tumbled from the posts of vantage and
precise aim by well directed thrusts. A dozen men poured up the ladders
and through broken panels into the loft above. Here in the uncertain
light they hesitated. The figures of the foe could be seen, armed and
ready for an arrow flight. Then a shout was raised from below. Stifling
smoke poured up from every quarter. The scene was illuminated by the
blazing figures of the archers, for these were old armour and weapons,
lay figures stuffed with straw and meant but to gain precious moments of
respite. The _yakunin_ now had themselves to save. The retreat was as
disorderly as at their first advent, but their rear was not galled by
aught but flying sparks and burning timbers. Discomfited they watched
the blazing mass of Jinnai's once establishment; watched it until it was
a mere mass of ashes and charred beams.

Jinnai had been long prepared for such an adventure. The _yakunin_ at
first driven back he followed his company through the tunnel[29] leading
to beneath a subsidiary shrine in the grounds of the neighbouring temple
of the Zenkwo[u]ji. Here he dismissed them, with hasty division of the
raided coin, and instructions to their chiefs to meet him at the
festival of the Owari no Tsushima in the fifth month (June). Himself he
would go north, to give notice and gather his recruits. Thus exposed at
Edo, the great uprising now must centre in O[u]saka. They scattered to
their different courses; and thus Jinnai failed to meet the enraged
Aoyama Shu[u]zen, now present on the scene. But even the harsh
discipline of their master had to yield to the piteous appearance of his
men in their discomfiture. Aikawa Chu[u]dayu bent low in most humble
apology. They had underestimated the man, had virtually allowed him to
escape--"Naruhodo! The figures were of straw, and no wonder yielded so
readily to the spear. Only the sight of the flames rising amid the
armour betrayed the deceit in the gloom of the loft. Deign to excuse the
negligence this once." A _do[u]shin_, an old and experienced officer,
spoke almost with tears. Aoyama gave a "humph!" Then looking over this
mud stained, blear eyed, bloody nosed, ash dusted band of his
confederates he began to chuckle at the battered and ludicrous
composition. All breathed again. But when he had re-entered his
_yashiki_, and was left to himself, without concubine for service, or
Jinnai for prospective amusement, then indeed he stamped his feet, his
belly greatly risen. Alas! Alas! How could Yokubei Sama find a
substitute for the one; and secure the real presence of the other?



CHAPTER XXII

THE SHRINE OF THE JINNAI-BASHI


It was one of those small Fudo[u] temples, tucked away on a shelf of the
hillside just above the roadway, embowered in trees, with its tiny fall
and rock basin for the enthusiastic sinner bathing in the waters of this
bitterly cold day. The whole construction of shrine, steep stone steps,
and priestly box for residence, so compactly arranged with the
surrounding Nature as to be capable of very decent stowage into a
case--much like those of the dolls of the third or fifth month. The
nearest neighbour was the Shichimen-shi--the seven faced Miya--in this
district so dotted even to day with ecclesiastical remnants, from
Takénotsuka to Hanabatakémura on the north edge of Edo--To[u]kyo[u].
However it was not one of their resident priests who stood at the
_ro[u]ka_ of the incumbent cleric seeking a night's lodging. The kindly
oldish _do[u]mori_ (temple guardian) looked him over. Nearly fifty years
of age, two teeth lacking in the front, his head shaved bald as one of
the stones from the bed of the Tonégawa, a tired hard eye, thin cruel
and compressed lips added nothing to the recommendation of the rosary
(_juzu_) and pilgrim's staff (_shakujo[u]_) grasped in hand; and indeed
the whole air of the man savoured of the weariness of debauch, and of
strife with things of this world rather than of battles against its
temptations. Yet the wayfarer was greeted with kindness, his tale of woe
heard. His own quarters--a flourishing tribute to the mercies of the
eleven-faced Kwannon, with a side glance at Amida--had gone up in smoke
the day before. Naught remained but the store-house, with its treasure
of _sutra_ scrolls and hastily removed _ihai_ of deceased parishioners.
The disaster was not irreparable. His enthusiastic followers already
sought to make good the damage. Himself he would find aid from the cult
in Edo.

Kosaka Jinnai, for the unfortunate cleric was none else, seated himself
in the comfortable quarters of the _do[u]mori_, to earn his shelter by a
talk which in interest richly repaid the meagre fare, and made amends
for no prepossessing exterior. On his pleading weariness the _do[u]mori_
got out _futon_ and spread a couch for the guest. This suited Jinnai's
real purpose, which was not to loiter close to Edo and Aoyama's claws,
but to push on that night toward Tsukuba and old friends, and recent
ones he knew he would find on its none too savoury slopes. But Heaven
does not permit the wicked a continued license in ill deeds. The
weariness and indisposition pleaded, in part genuine, rapidly grew
worse. The chilled feeling passed into its palpable and physical
exposition. With alarm the _do[u]mori_ watched the progress of this
ailment. His hot drinks and solicitude would not produce the needed
perspiration. Instead the chill was followed by high fever and delirium.
The medical man, summoned from the village, was taking leave--"A plain
case of ague from Shimosa's swamps. Is he friend or relative of the
honoured Shukké Sama? No?... Alas! A case of resting under the shade of
the same tree; of drinking from the same stream.[30] Deign to have a
care with this fellow. He says strange things, and raves of robbery and
strife--'I am Kosaka Jinnai; the famous Jinnai.' Truly you are to be
pitied at being saddled with such a guest. Doubtless it is affliction
for some deed committed in a previous life, a connection of two worlds
between the honoured Shukké Sama and this doubtful guest."

The _do[u]mori_ was an old and foolish fellow; but still able to catch
the warning tone and manner of the leech. With anxiety he went to his
guest. Jinnai was sleeping under influence of the draught administered,
and on the word of the medical man was insured for some hours
unconsciousness under the drug. Placing food and drink close to hand,
out into the darkness went the sturdy old chap. The day saw him at
Harajuku-mura, wandering around the site of ashes and charred beams of
the late conflagration. No sign of renovation was there found. For
satisfaction and a meal he turned to the benches of a near-by eating
shed. His inquiries confirmed his own fears and aroused the suspicions
of others. "Truly the honoured Bo[u]zu San must live far from this part
of Edo. These ruins are of no temple. Here stood the fencing room of one
Osada Jinnai, a _ro[u]nin_. This fellow turned out to be a famous bandit
and escaped criminal; no less a person than the Kosaka Jinnai engaged in
the attempt of years ago to carry off or slay the Tenju-in-Den of the
suzerain's House. Heaven's vengeance long since visited the others. Now
Aoyama Dono seeks this fellow. Is he friend or relative that thus
inquiry is made?" The _do[u]mori_ in fright cut short his meal and
questions. Paying his scot he made off in a hurry. Soon after one of
Shu[u]zen's spies passing, he was informed of the matter. Then the hue
and cry was raised through the ranks to find this suspicious cleric.

From Jinnai the _do[u]mori_ got little satisfaction on return at dark.
He found him sitting, with natural and restored presence, smoking, and
measuring him with the cold cynical glance which froze the marrow in his
spine. "Ha! Ah! The honoured Shukké Sama wanders far and long." The
priest did not attempt to conceal fright or mission--"Honoured guest,
the poor quarters of this foolish cleric are open to the afflicted of
his kind. But Kosaka Dono, deign at once to remove from here. Already
the _yakunin_ are on the trail. Yourself, in the mad fits, you make no
concealment of name and exploits. Found here, discredit is brought upon
the Buddha, and ruin to this his follower. Condescend at once to seek
other quarters." He looked earnestly and pleadingly at the bandit chief,
with squawking groan to lower his head almost to the _tatami_. Jinnai's
eye went through him in his cold wrath--"Be assured of it; that I am
Kosaka Jinnai; and hence one without fear. Let the _yakunin_ come--to
their own destruction. These quarters just suit this Jinnai--for the
time. Cowardly and foolish cleric, you would prattle and bring trouble
on yourself with that wheel of a tongue. Then get you hence. This Jinnai
undertakes the charge and exercise of the weapons of the furious god.
Bah! They are but of wood." To the horror of the priest he gave the
wooden Fudo[u] which adorned the chamber such a whack that the
unfortunate and flawed divinity parted into its aged fragments. "What!
You still delay!" A hand of iron was laid on the old fellow's neck.
Jinnai bent him to the ground. He looked around for implement. None was
better to hand than part of the outraged god. Holding firm his victim,
and raising his robes, a vigorous hand applied to the priest's cushions
such a drubbing as he had not had since childhood's days. Then grasping
him neck and thigh Jinnai cast him out onto the _ro[u]ka_ and down the
steps which led to it. The old fellow heard the _amado_ close tight with
noise. Thus the unwilling god entered on the service of this new
satellite.

The hue and cry was loud. In the cold of the night the _do[u]mori_
wandered, afraid in his shame and trouble to approach parishioners;
afraid in the chill outside air to sleep. A hail came to his ears--"Sir
priest, have you not dropped coin?" Ah! Here was a stranger; and his
tale he did unfold. Parlous his case; and for him the sky was upside
down. "Most lucky! At our place to-day a prayer of _hyakumanban_
(memorial service) is to be held. Food, sleep, and counsel, wide enough
for this weariness and distress are offered. Deign to go in company."
Thus the spy led him to his officer, a _yoriki_ established at
Fuchiémura in the attempt to net this desperate fellow. With joy the
news of Jinnai's close proximity was heard. Entrusting the tired and
barely conscious priest to the village head-man, officer, _do[u]shin_,
and _yakunin_ set out. Jinnai had overrated his capacity. Again the fit
was strong on him. He shook and shivered, helpless under the weight of
every covering he could find, and dared not move or turn in fear of the
chill aroused. Then at the outside came the shout--"His lordship's
business! Make no resistance; submit at once to the rope, in hope to
secure grace." The _yakunin_ roughly broke down the doors of the
priest's house. They found Jinnai on foot. Growled he--"You are not the
kind to face Jinnai. A rush--to freedom; with such of you as stand for
carrion." He boasted overmuch. His fit was too strong even for such iron
resolution. The crisis of the fever was at hand, and his legs bent under
him. A shove from behind sent him weakly sprawling in a heap. Then they
all fell on him, bound him hand and foot, and carried him to the
village.

The cortege halted on its way to Edo town. Loud had been the lamentation
of the unfortunate _do[u]mori_. He was a ruined priest. At best a
witness, perhaps to be regarded and tortured as the accomplice of this
desperate villain; jail or the execution ground awaited him. He plead
with this one and with that. With sympathy they heard, but in stolid
silence. The spy, who had accosted him, knew the old man well--holy,
pure, somewhat simple and guileless of mind, he was object of reverence
and gentle derision of the parishioners who sought his service in every
trouble. The man spoke to the _do[u]shin_, explained the matter. The
_do[u]shin_ took him to the _yoriki_ seated beneath a tea shed. The
officer nodded; then called for the report. "There is an error of
transcription." Thus he altered the characters [tsujido[u]] to
[tsujido[u]]. Instead of _tsujido[u]_ a cross road temple, now it read
"taken at the cross roads"--"Call the old man here." To the
priest--"Through no fault of yours has this man visited you. Be better
advised as to other guests.... But now--take this coin. This man's
course is run. He surely will be ordered to the execution ground. Great
has been his wickedness, and his grudge is not to be visited on others.
Prayers are to be said for his soul in the next world. The _do[u]mori_
of the Fudo[u], his zeal and honesty, his purity of heart and manners
are vouched for by those who know. Pray for him.... Now--get you hence!"
He put a gold _koban_ in the priest's hand, allowed the joyful
reverence, and cut short the protests of inconvenient gratitude. The
_do[u]shin_ shoved him off to the rear. The friendly spy carried him
apart and pointed to a path running through the fields behind the houses
of the hamlet. None cared to observe his departure. Thus Jinnai came to
Edo, minus his ghostly purveyor.

First carefully was his body nourished for the coming entertainment.
With clement genial smile Aoyama Shu[u]zen claimed the acquaintance of
this one time antagonist. As to the past and recent events there was no
doubt. Aoyama had hazy, but little confirmed, ideas of greater objects;
knowing as he did the early nature and history of Jinnai. But the
Tokugawa were now so firmly seated. Confession was to be secured in the
first place, to legalize the execution; and information in the second
place, if such existed. Of confession there was none; not even answer.
Jinnai closed tight his lips in scorn. Then first he was scourged; the
scourging of he who is already condemned. The stout fellows stood
forward with their _madaké_; those thin slips of rattan, two feet in
length, wrapped into a bundle an inch in thickness with stout hempen
cord. Ah! How flexible and painful! As they laid on quickly the welts
and bloody stripes appeared. At the hundred and fiftieth blow the
medical man and legal procedure demanded forbearance. He was removed.
"Cure his back!" roared Shu[u]zen. "Rub salt into the cuts. Next time
the tender surface will force at least words from his lips." But he
underestimated his man. Bound to a stake, with arms behind, kneeling on
the sharp grids, Jinnai hugged the stones--five, six, seven--Chu[u]dayu
leaped down to aid the _do[u]shin_ in pressing down the weight of nearly
eight hundred pounds resting between chin and doubled hams. The body of
Jinnai grew lobster red, his lips were tinged with bloody foam and gouts
appeared. The hours passed. The black colour of the feet rose upwards.
Then the sign was given and the man taken away in a dead faint, without
the utterance of word or groan.

Thus the game went on. Now it was the lobster. Aoyama would not go to
the prison, nor miss the sight. For a whole morning with curiosity he
watched the progress of the torture. Jinnai lay on a mat. Arms pulled
tight to the shoulders and behind the back, the legs drawn together in
the front and dragged up to the chin. The body at first had the dark red
of a violent fever, but the sweat which covered it was cold as ice. Then
the colour darkened to a purple, changed to an ominous blackish green.
Suddenly it began to whiten. In alarm the doctor ordered relief. With
wrath Shu[u]zen rose from his camp chair close by; still no confession.

What was suspension to this? Jinnai hung limp as a dangling fish from
the beam. Arms drawn behind his back and upward to the shoulders, a
weight added to the feet made any movement of the limbs agony to the
whole body. It was a sort of prolonged crucifixion. When blood began to
ooze from the toes again removal was ordered. Of the latter part of the
torture Jinnai knew little. He was unconscious. This hardy body of his
was adding to his torments. Even Shu[u]zen could not help admiring this
obstinate courage. He would try one other means--flattery; genuine in
its way. "Useless the torture, Jinnai, as is well known with such a
brave man. But why prolong this uselessness? Done in the performance of
official duty, yet it is after all to our entertainment. Make confession
and gain the due meed of the fear of future generations, their
admiration and worship of such thorough paced wickedness. Surely Jinnai
is no ordinary thief. Shu[u]zen never can be brought to believe him
such." He spoke the last somewhat in scorn. At last Jinnai was touched
with anger. He opened eyes, and, for the first time, mouth--"Aoyama Dono
speaks truth. But why regret past failure? My followers? They number
thousands. Why rouse envy or show favour by giving name of this or that
lusty fellow? The object? As to that exercise your wits. Fat wits; which
in these twenty years could not hunt out this Jinnai. Ah! 'Twas but this
unexpected illness which played this evil trick; else Jinnai never would
have faced Shu[u]zen; except sword in hand. This Jinnai is a thief, a
bandit; the tongue grudges to say. Such is his confession. Not a word
more--to Aoyama Uji." He closed his eyes and mouth. Enraged at the
failure and familiarity Aoyama shouted out--"The wooden horse! The water
torture!" They mounted the man on the sharp humped beast. Lungs, belly,
abdomen wide distended, in every physical agony, his body could but
writhe, to add to the torture of his seat as they dragged down on his
legs. Eyes starting wildly from his head, gasping for air, the
unfortunate wretch was given the chance to belch forth the liquid.
"Atsu!" The cry was between a sigh and a yelp of agony. Then he fainted.
With chagrin at his failure Aoyama Shu[u]zen put official seal to the
confession bearing the thumb print of Kosaka Jinnai. Thus ended this
phase of the contest between the two men.

Jinnai's body was too racked by the torture for immediate sentence. When
he was brought in the court Aoyama Shu[u]zen had another wicked surprise
to spring upon him. Jinnai's rejuvenating eye noted the band of
peasants, the two beautiful girls brought captive in their midst. He
knew at once who they were; even if the viciously triumphant look in
Shu[u]zen's eyes, the piteous fright and affectionate sympathy in
theirs, had not enlightened him. The presence of O'Kiku and O'Yui was
due to an ill freak played by fortune. In the fall of the year an
illness of the mother--cold?--came to its end and herself with it. What
was to be done with farm and girls? To the villagers this question was
of serious debate. Of one thing they were in dense ignorance. Three
years before a new farm hand appeared in Jisuké's household, and men
could well wonder at the favour he found with the old man. With some
misgivings they had warned him against recklessly introducing a strange
_muko_, without first consent of the village. Jisuké assured them
against what was actual fact. Wataru Sampei was a _samurai_, of
_samurai_ stock, and liegeman to his own old masters of Kai province. It
was with the consent and approval of the dying man that O'Kiku was
united to him. The household in Nippon is adamant in its secrets to the
outside world--and that against the most prying curiosity anywhere
found. O'Kiku lay in of her child and nursed the babe in her own nurse's
house. Thus in full ignorance the council met to consider the request
made by the girls to communicate with Jinnai--Osada Sensei--at the
famous _yashiki_ of Aoyama.

Most of them were ready to consent. Then rose one Jinémon, smarting
under the sense of having fields adjacent, coupled with flat refusal to
his son of the simple girl O'Kiku. He suspected this virginity of nearly
twenty years; and with an ill turn to this obstacle might do himself a
good one. "Take heed, good sirs, what counsel ye come to. News fresh
from Edo couples the name of Osada Sensei with Kosaka Jinnai; makes him
out a violent bandit and would be ravisher years ago of the
Tenju-in-Den. Surely his fate will be hard. Send them to the _yashiki_
of Aoyama--but to that of Aoyama Shu[u]zen Dono. Thus their request is
met; and no blame incurred. The honoured _bugyo[u]_ (magistrate) answers
for the district (Aoyama), and the girls will not suspect the
destination. Otherwise, look well to yourselves. Aoyama Sama is known as
the Yakujin. Great his influence in Edo, and sour his wrath as that of
Emma Dai-O[u]. It will fall heavy on you." This intimation, that he
would do what they would avoid, soured all the milk of human kindness.
Wataru Sampei, departed in all haste to Edo, returned in fright to
announce his discovery of the state of affairs. The father Jinnai then
was undergoing the harsh tortures of Shu[u]zen. He found the farm in
charge of Jinémon and his son; the two girls already sent in all
ignorance to the _yashiki_ of Aoyama. Receiving a harsh dismissal he
dared not punish, from the house and tears of the old nurse he received
as if by theft his infant son. With him he took his way to Edo; to
establish himself as gardener at Honjo[u] Koumé; or at Narihira, some
say.

In daily rounds of the jail the _do[u]shin_ stood over Jinnai. In three
days this man was to go to Torigoébashi. Here he was to be crucified and
speared--"with many spears" ran the sentence, to indicate the
prolongation of the torture. "Jinnai, you have shown yourself brave,
have refused to name even one associate. The time passes. Perhaps some
wish, not incompatible with duty, comes to mind." Jinnai opened his eyes
at the unexpected kindly tone and words. It was as if one soldier looked
into the eyes of his compeer on the battle field, as well could be the
case with this man older and of more regular experience than himself.
The answer came with the measured slowness of an earnest thanks and
appreciation--"The offer comes from a kind heart, shown on previous
occasions.... There are women held here." He hesitated. "Deign the last
cup of cold water at their hands." The officer did not refuse. O'Kiku
and O'Yui knelt beside the couch on which lay the broken body of the
father. Said Jinnai--"The end is most unseemly; words grudge to speak
that mere accident thus should determine the fate of Kosaka Jinnai; he
who sought to determine the fate of Tokugawa Ke. A dagger would have
secured the fitting ending, that you two should not bear the public
service of the town, a certain fate. This remedy Jinnai now forbids.
With life changes occur; old scores are wiped out. Hearken well: live
with patience; serve well to the hour. Now the last cup of life is to be
drained; this first meeting brought to an end." Tears running down her
face O'Yui, mere child budding into womanhood, presented to her sister
the vessel never used as yet and filled with the cold liquid. From the
hand of O'Kiku it was accepted. Jinnai drank, looked long and earnestly
into the face of both, then with a wave of the hand dismissed them. He
had had his say. The hardness of the man returned, and all his courage
with it.

Three days later--Sho[u]ho[u] 2nd year 12th month 1st day (17th January
1646)--the procession was formed to move to the execution ground at
Torigoébashi. The assembled cits marvelled at sight of the man and
rumour of his extraordinary wickedness. There was a concentration of
mind and energy in the face of Jinnai, which under any condition would
attract attention. The centre of the scene, he bore himself splendidly.
Despite the pain he suffered no incapacity was pleaded. Thus he forced
nature. The costume of the famed robber at this noted execution in Edo's
annals? He wore--"a wadded coat (_kosodé_) of fine silk from Hachijo[u]
in Izu, and that of quintuple stripe. The _obi_ (sash) was seamless and
of a purple crape. Into brick coloured leggings was twisted bias white
thread, and his straw sandals (_waraji_) matched them." The jail had
given to a naturally fair colour a somewhat livid greenish tint,
rendered more commanding and terrible by the piercing cold eyes. Those
far off said--"How mild looking! How tranquil!" Those near at hand
shuddered and were glad at the removal of such wickedness. The
_yoriki_--informed of the purport--let him speak. Jinnai turned to the
crowd. His voice reached far. "Brought to contempt and a punishment
words grudge to mention, this Jinnai holds not evil thoughts against
those who carry out the law. The ill fortune of unexpected disease made
capture easy, and has brought about this vile ending. Hence on death
Jinnai will not leave this place; but as an evil spirit remain to answer
those who pray for relief from the mischance of this ill disease. Those
afflicted with _okori_ (malaria) shall find sure answer to their
prayers. Held now in no respect, this later will be bestowed. The last
purposes of those about to die are carried out." He ceased speaking. A
sign and he was stripped and raised on the implement of torture [ki] ill
described as a cross. For hours he hung, revived from time to time with
vinegar. Then signal was given for the end. First one, then another,
_yakunin_ thrust a spear into his belly, seeking least injury and
greatest torture. As he approached the utter prostration of a
dissolution the _yoriki_ gave sign. The spear point thrust into the
vitals showed through the left shoulder. And Jinnai died.

To the north, just beyond the present Torigoébashi, is the Jinnaibashi,
relic of this episode. On the north, close by the Torigoé Jinja stands
the shrine to Jinnai, the god granting cure to sufferers from ague. No
mean resort is it; nor modest the offerings of wine to his service.
There it has endured through these hundreds of years. Jinnaibashi,
Jigokubashi (Hell Bridge) is a relic of the place of execution soon
abandoned. After the fifth year of the period the jail was removed to
Temmacho[u]; the execution ground to Kotsukabara.



CHAPTER XXIII

A WINTER SESSION


Aoyama Shu[u]zen was in conference with Chu[u]dayu. Preparations were to
be made. It was with something like dismay that the members of the
Endurance Society received the missive--"At this season of the great
heat your honoured health is matter of solicitude. More and more may it
thrive. Hence the condescension of the honoured (your) litter is
requested on the coming sixteenth day. The wish is expressed to offer a
cup of inferior wine. With fear and respect:--

To...."

Alas! Alas! If they could have but reached the ceremonies of the New
Year.[31] This rascal Aoyama would have been too occupied with the
official visits to press his right to a meeting in the season of extreme
cold (the _tai-kan_). But now--on the 16th day of the 12th month (2nd
February): Ah! Ha! He was a wicked fellow. The grudge properly lay
against Kondo[u] Noborinosuké who had sweated the juice out of them in
the intense heat of the hot season. Now Aoyama proposed to freeze it on
the surface of their bodies. But to refuse was out of the question.
Charged with weakness and effeminacy one would be laughed at as a fool;
be unable to show his face. After all perhaps one could escape the
ordeal with life.

The 15th day, on which the invitations were issued, was threatening. The
16th day fulfilled the promise. Cold blew the blasts down from snow clad
Tsukuba, with full sweep across the Shimosa plain. As it caught the
unfortunates crossing the Ryo[u]gokubashi in their progress toward the
Bancho[u], they shook and shivered with more than anticipation. An
occasional flake of snow heralded the heavier fall. At the _yashiki_ of
Aoyama all was in readiness to welcome the guests. Shu[u]zen stood at
the house entrance to greet them. With thin open silken robe thrown over
his _katabira_ or summer robe, lacking shirt, and wearing the wide woven
grass cloth _hakama_ (trousers) which sought every breeze, he carried a
fan in his hand. The _kerai_ met the guests with ice cold water for such
as cared to dip the hands--and none dared refuse. Shu[u]zen fanned
himself vigorously; and his guests were zealously supplied with fans, or
the heat inspired by their progress was dissipated in the draught raised
over them by energetic hands. The door-man (_toritsugi_) monotonously
sang out the new arrivals--"Abé Shirogoro[u] Sama, Kondo[u] Noborinosuké
Sama, O[u]kubo Hikoroku Sama, Yamanaka Genzaémon Sama, O[u]kubo Jizaémon
Sama, Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon Sama, Kanématsu Matashiro[u] Sama, Okumura
Shu[u]zen Sama..."; and Shu[u]zen had greeting for all. "Ah! Ha! Such
terrific heat! Not for sixty years has such been experienced. An old
fellow in the _yashiki_ will answer for it. But be sure all has made
ready for comfort. Truly the honoured presence in these dog days in a
gratification. The viands, the drink, all have been carefully cooled.
Deign to come within, to a cooler place, away from this desolating heat.
Condescend to notice how the very leaves have been withered off the
trees."

With inward groans, their teeth chattering and their bodies shivering,
they followed this merciless fellow. "Ha! Ha! For tobacco there will be
fire in the braziers. At least one's fingers are assured of warmth."
They smirked at the anticipated pleasure. Warm fingers and the heated
_saké_! But--Oya! Oya! Bare were swept and wide open thrown the rooms.
Screens (inner and outer) had all been taken away. From the garden came
the cold blast, blowing icily through this wide bare space. For
cushions--the straw _zabuton_; for fire in the braziers--punk! Explained
Shu[u]zen in all kindness and suavity--"Fires in the braziers in this
heat were too terrific even to think of; so punk (_hinawa_) has been
substituted.... No need for thanks; the mere duty of the host. And
now--no ceremony: off with the garments of all. A middle cloth answers
purposes of decency. Deign the trial. Here is cold water to cool the
heated body." Promptly he stripped to the skin. The _kerai_ were
bringing to the verandah black lacquered basins filled with water in
which ice floated. Before this terrific fellow there could be no
hesitation. They followed his example in being soused from head to foot.
In the wiping--"Let the rag hang loose. Don't wipe with knotted towel.
Stupid fellows! The cool wetness clinging to the skin gives a shiver of
delight." Thus shouted Shu[u]zen to his officiating satellites. Then all
the guests took seats. The mucous was running from the noses of the old
fellows who had fought campaigns at Odawara, Sekigahara, O[u]saka.
Aoyama noted it with delight; and even Kondo[u] felt a grudge against
him, yet was compelled to laugh.

The viands were brought--to send a chill down the spines of all;
macaroni in cold water (_hiyamugi_), and the equally heating sea ear in
frozen salt water (_mizugai_). Shu[u]zen urged the latter, as better
fitted for the season. As piles of _sashimi_ (sliced raw fish), resting
on neat beds of shaven ice, were brought eyes looked to heaven--to hide
the expression. When the wine appeared, the bottles immersed to the neck
in tubs filled with salted ice, the more recondite parts of the room
echoed groans. Even Shu[u]zen smiled with complacence. He felt he had
scored success. It was Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon who showed no sign of
discomfiture. "Naruhodo! Aoyama Uji, in this great heat how explain a
thing so strange? Deign, honoured sir, to look. This white substance
falling from the sky; if it were not so hot, one would call it snow."
Said Aoyama undisturbed--"Not so, Endo[u] Uji. It is but from wild geese
fighting in the sky, their feathers; or perchance _kanro_--the sweet dew
which falls from heaven when a virtuous lord condescends to rule. Who
more virtuous than the honoured suzerain?" All bowed in heartfelt
enthusiasm and respect. Then said Saburo[u]zaémon--"'Tis a thing to note
closer at hand; a stroll in the garden, to seek its coolness in this
heat." He leaped down into the fast accumulating snow.

Others too stole away, at least to get protection from the outrageously
cold blasts of the exposed rooms, and the further exactions to be
anticipated from the ingenuity of their host. Growled Kanématsu--"It is
the value of one's life risked with such a fellow as Aoyama. Where
Kanématsu sits the snow drifts in on his shoulders. He is without
consideration or mercy."--"For any: his women must find service in such
a _yashiki_ a substitute for the torments of Emma Dai-O[u]."--"Not so,"
sneered Kondo[u]. "Even the wife is but a wooden figure; much like
Kondo[u]'s fingers." An idea seemed to come to him. He left them for the
time being. The others stood sheltered from the wind, to talk and
shiver, Endo[u] joined them from his garden stroll. Seeing Kondo[u] on
his return, said Abé Shiro[u]goro[u]--"Eh! Naruhodo! The smile of pain
relieved! Kondo[u] Uji, has he found means to unbend, to thaw out those
fingers? Ha! The rascally fellow knows the way about. There is hot water
at hand. Deign to give the hint, Kondo[u] Dono." Kondo[u] leaked a
smile, then snickered--"It was but an idea. Hot water in this _yashiki_
on such a day there is none. But it is always to hand for the effort.
The fingers of Kondo[u] were turning white, were in danger, and so...."
He held out his fingers for inspection. Abé looked with envy. "They
fairly steam!" Then suddenly putting his fingers to his nose--"Oh! Oh!
The filthy fellow! Kondo[u] Uji! Deign to wash your hands. Indeed hot
water is always carried on one's person. But...." All grasped their
nasal members and protested. Noborinosuké laughed outright, and
submitted to the ablution. Abé in malice gave the hands a copious
libation. For the nonce his fingers had been saved and Kondo[u] was
satisfied with the outcome.

A woman dressed in the summer garb for service came from a room close
by. The opening and closing of the _sho[u]ji_ gave Endo[u]
Saburo[u]zaémon a glimpse. At once--"This way...." His tone commanded
attention. Abé Shiro[u]goro[u], Kanématsu Matashiro[u], O[u]kubo
Hikoroku followed him. It was the maids' sleeping room they entered.
"Aré! Aré! Have not the honoured sirs made a mistake? Deign to return to
the other apartment. This is the maids' dressing room."--"And in no
better place can one be," grumbled Shiro[u]goro[u]. His eyes took in the
room with avid curiosity. Here the girls quickly slipped into winter
garb, until called to the banquet hall for service. But it was not the
glimpse of shoulders of the one so engaged at the moment, as the brazier
covered by a quilt and placed in the centre of the room. From this the
girls had emerged in confusion. Said he reprovingly--"Eh! Eh! In this
great heat to have a brazier--it is more than out of season. Surely it
is against the order of the master of the house." The girls, uneasy and
at a loss, had but for answer--"It was the idea of O'Kiku...." The
beauty, still flushed with the suddenness of her effort, came forward
smiling. The attention of all was riveted. A little taller than the
average of her sex, very fair of skin, the sparkling eyes in the pure
oval of the face framed in tresses reaching almost to her feet, the tiny
feet and long fingers appearing from the edge of the robe, the
incomparable poise of head and neck, this woman was a beauty, to be
rivalled by few in Edo town. The voice too was as musical as were her
words to the frozen men--"It is but a water _kotatsu_; so that one can
be cooled in this extreme of heat.... Within? Ice--of course. Deign to
enter." The suppressed groan of Abé was cut short. He looked fixedly at
the bright laughing face before him. The smile was pained and
stereotyped, but the sympathy was evident. He understood. "Ho! Ho!
Endo[u], Kanématsu, O[u]kubo, deign to try this delicious coolness. Ah!
Ha! This water _kotatsu_ is a splendid idea. In this great heat it
restores one to life. Truly Kiku is as clever as she is beautiful; one
apart from all the others." The men crowded together under the
_kotatsu_--"More ice! More ice! The _hibachi_ grows warm." Laughing
O'Kiku brought the necessary supply with the tongs, blew it into life
with a little bellows.

All the time Endo[u] observed her closely. To Abé--"Truly she is a
beauty.... Your name is Kiku.... And age?... Twenty years only!... So
Kiku is sempstress in the house of Aoyama Uji. So! So!" He and Abé
regarded her attentively. They praised her beauty. The crimson blush
spread over face and neck, adding to her charm. Thoroughly warmed the
men left the room. Said Endo[u]--"Oh, the liar! This Aoyama poses as a
misogynist, takes a wife--perforce, and charges those of us who like
women with effeminacy. O[u]kubo, how about this Kiku.... The Sempstress?
Oh, you stupid fellow! Why--there is no more beautiful woman in Edo. She
is the mistress of Aoyama; who deceives and mocks us all. And now--to
bring him to open shame." Aoyama Shu[u]zen, quick to note their absence,
and the return so refreshed, was much put out. "Where have these fellows
been?"

Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon was not slow in the attack. "Truly, Aoyama Uji,
words do not fit deeds. Are you not a bit of a rascal?"--"Why so?" was
the calm reply of Shu[u]zen, always ready to a quarrel. "You pretend to
hate women; you charge us with effeminacy who have wives; and take your
own but on compulsion. Yet in this very house there is not only a wife,
but the most beautiful woman in Edo for concubine." Shu[u]zen's
astonishment was too manifest. "Who?" said Endo[u], with some misgiving
that he had missed fire. "This Kiku; would you deny it?"--"Surely so,"
was Shu[u]zen's assured reply. Then seeing the curiosity of those around
he added with courtesy--"This Kiku is a slave girl, a criminal under
judgment, a _yatsu-ho[u]ko[u]nin_ by favour. Would you know about her?
She is daughter to the robber Jinnai, not long since put to death. The
law may be harsh, yet it condemns the line of such men to extinction,
and sends their issue to the execution ground. Whether through good
will, or mistaking the Aoyama Harajuku, the resort of this Jinnai, for
this _yashiki_, the villagers brought the two girls Kiku and Yui from
near Tsukuba. In pity one was taken into the life service of the
_yashiki_. For his business Jinzaémon of the Yoshiwara Miuraya
considered the younger Yui as more fitting. To him she was bound as
_yatsu-yu[u]jo[u]_.... Husband? No: and thus all posterity of the robber
is stamped out. Yui serves for life as harlot in the Yoshiwara, with no
recognized issue. Kiku serves for life at the _yashiki_. The case is a
pitiable one." All present echoed what he said. "It is the offence, not
the person, which is to be hated. Truly it is a hard lot." They were
curious to see her. Said Shu[u]zen--"Surely she has been rated too high,
but--summon Kiku here." As the girl stood in the midst for all to
observe, blushing and panting a little with fright at all these eyes
upon her, there was no gaze more intent than that of Aoyama Shu[u]zen.
The pity expressed and the praises lavished reached his ears. He studied
her from head to foot, heard the caustic criticisms--"Such a beauty, and
a serving wench! Aoyama is a fool."



CHAPTER XXIV

THE TIGER AT THE FRONT GATE; THE WOLF AT THE POSTERN


Thus it came about that O'Kiku was an inmate of Aoyama's _yashiki_. He
had told the tale, the fatal error drawn by the mother from the
peasant's message. It was her own deed. Thus "evil seed produces evil
fruit. In one's posterity is punishment found." All knew Kiku's story.
Promptly with her appearance in the household she was named
Shioki--O'Shioki San, O'Shioki San; when not addressing her these
companions called it to each other for her to hear. Shioki? It means
"the execution ground."

A flower blooms but to wither; and this flowering branch was to be
tended by the master's hand. Now she was faced with a new and terrible
danger. O'Kiku was quick to note the state of Shu[u]zen's household. Of
the _koshimoto_, two were the favoured concubines during the
incapacitation of the wife. The lowliness of her own position--menial
servant and mere serving wench--would seem to protect her. Moreover she
was not brought into contact with the house master. But after all she
was the _bushi's_ daughter, brought up by a mother trained from youth at
the hand of the _samurai_ grandmother. Thus dragged out into the light
by indiscreet curiosity the tiger's eye had fallen upon her. Shu[u]zen
marvelled at his stupidity, his oversight. This woman was indeed a
beauty, the concubine for long sought, and to hand free of her charms.
He stood adjusting his robes; then lost in thought. There were
obstacles--in the girl's position. But that night O'Kiku was ordered to
serve the wine. The intelligence and training, corresponding to the
outward physical charms, aroused in him a very fury for possession.
Abrupt, blunt, overbearing he approached her in the coarsest way--"Kiku,
first pity and now love has seized upon the heart of Shu[u]zen. With
women all his relations have been those of cold formality--the business
of connection or the necessity of an heir. Now an entirely different
feeling is aroused. The very sight of Kiku's figure inspires fondness,
an exclusion of all others of her sex. 'Tis Kiku alone who remains the
object, all others are mere lay figures. You are a woman, and by nature
know of such things. Is not this truly love? Consent to become the
concubine of Shu[u]zen. Let this very night seal the union."

He attempted to draw her close to him, but she shrank away in confusion
and fright. Shu[u]zen was amazed--"What! You refuse?... Ah! Then it is
hate of this Shu[u]zen which is felt. Most unreasonable hate, for he
acted but as _bugyo[u]_ of the land. It is a disloyal hate." In his mad
and thwarted lust his lips trembled. The girl humbly remained
prostrate--"Condescend the honoured forbearance. Such could not be the
case. Great the favour of Heaven, of your lordship as its agent, in
saving this Kiku from the final punishment, the coarse assault of
menials. But deign to consider. Kiku is the daughter of Jinnai. She is a
reprieved criminal in the land, can be naught else but of lowest status.
Kind the honoured words, great the gratitude inspired; but is not the
summons unseemly. Deign forbearance; add not to the offence of Kiku." In
her mind was the last scene with her father Jinnai; the tortured,
distorted, suffering body of the condemned bandit. Pollute her body with
this man who had thus played with the one to whom she owed life and
duty; to the man who had sent the father to the execution ground? She
would have used her dagger first on herself, rather than on him. His
words did inspire uncertainty. He was the officer in the land, the
representative of the suzerain, hence guiltless. But that made not the
idea of his embraces less repulsive, though she wavered in thoughts of
vendetta--between filial duty and loyal service to the suzerain. Her
attitude puzzled Aoyama. The unusualness of his proposition he put
aside. Her claim to loyalty, in his hopes as the successful lecher, he
was disposed to accept. Was there not something deeper?

Then the battle began between them, to last for those weeks of the
winter months. Force matters he would not. There was a zest in this
pursuit, far apart from any mere sensual gratification. The desire he
felt for her person was all cruel. It was joined to the desire to humble
her, to force her to consent by her own lips and motion and against
reason, to grant the gift of herself even if unwilling. There was an
enjoyment in soiling the body and mind of this beauty. Thus with refusal
love began slowly to turn to a hatred full of malice. One night Aikawa
Chu[u]dayu was present. O'Kiku as usual served the wine. Shu[u]zen
turned to him impatiently--"The speech of the overlord is without
effect. Chu[u]dayu, try your hand, and bend Kiku to consent to my
wishes, to become my concubine." Shamed before the whole household?
O'Kiku had grown used to this grossness in the determined pursuit of
Shu[u]zen. Now openly addressed before the chamberlain and others she
looked down; a little flushed, and hearing with astonishment the words
which came from such a quarter. Chu[u]dayu spoke slowly; addressed her
with a severity of tone which belied his intent. "O'Kiku Dono, why are
not thanks given for such condescension on the part of the Tono Sama?
Apart from his rank is not the experience of his fifty years, on the
battle field of war and love, to count in his favour? Most imposing and
strong his figure, despite his age. All bow in respect before the lines
marked by the wisdom of years in his lordships face. Why refuse to
follow the example of the other women of the household--and share with
them? These are indeed _koshimoto_; your promotion to the position, from
the vilest status, but a caprice and kindness. You should obey the order
of the Tono Sama. His face alone would inspire fear. All regard it with
awe, as if in contemplation of that of Emma Dai-O[u]. And who refuses to
obey the mandate of the king of hell? Answer--who?" He leaned far over
toward her. O'Kiku looked at him; then hid her face in her hands.

These were not her only trials in this Jigoku _yashiki_ (Hell mansion).
There was her ladyship to take into account. Says the proverb of the
Nipponese--"dabble in vermilion, and one is stained red." Contact with
Shu[u]zen had developed all the harsher traits in this stern _samurai_
dame. She despised the former character of her husband, and now was mad
with jealousy at his unrestrained lechery. However there was some
consolation in this new pursuit. Promiscuous in his intercourse with all
and every other of her household, she could do but little. These were
women of more or less position. Now he threatened to turn all devotion
in the one direction of this beautiful girl, to condescend to a serving
wench.

    "The Rangiku: it has a fox's shape."[32]

Thus sneered her fellows. O'Kiku now was punished as scapegoat for all
the others. The natural harshness of her ladyship's character turned to
barbarity. This "slave"--O'Shioki--in no way could satisfy her. The
slightest fault, of self or other, was visited on O'Kiku. One day her
ladyship in her rage seized her and dragged her by the hair over her
knees. A short baton of bamboo was to hand, and with this before all she
put the girl to the shame of childhood's punishment, and with a malice
and heartiness of will and muscle which left O'Kiku lame, and thus
victim in other derelictions of duty. This so pleased the _okugata_ that
it became a favourite pastime, whenever the girl was at hand and her own
arm had rested. She would have starved her, but the rest contributed of
their store out of mere fellowship. Her ladyship recognized the
uselessness. She did not dare deface her beauty. Believing in
Shu[u]zen's love her vengeance was confined in its exercise. With
despair she regarded her bloated disfigured person, the wan faded aspect
due to her advanced pregnancy. Ah! If she could but fasten some offence
upon her. She would bring about this interloper's death. With delight
she noted the signs of dislike and malice in Shu[u]zen. Surely the tales
were true that the beauty was holding out for the price of her charms.
It should be a case where beauty would not secure pardon.

It was at this time that, with Shu[u]zen's consent, she put O'Kiku in
charge of ten plates condescended in trust to the House by the
To[u]sho[u]gu[u] (Iyeyasu). It was a bid of Shu[u]zen, the mark of the
conferrence of position as _koshimoto_ in his household. Only in the
madness of love--or lust--would he have risked such impropriety. The
regular time for counting had arrived. O'Kiku carefully replaced the
beautiful objects, marked with holly hock crest, into their lacquered
box. Again Shu[u]zen importuned her with his suit. Then in
vexation--"Ah! Truly a rebellious and wicked grudge is held by this
Kiku. Attempt at denial is useless, it is not only rebellion against the
master, but against the decree of the master of all. Decide at once.
Either be the concubine of Shu[u]zen; or suffer the sword cut." Again
she plead with him, and Shu[u]zen's eyes opened wide with astonishment.
"Condescend the honoured hearing. Kiku has plead as one no longer of
this world. 'Tis true. But before now she has already taken the vow of
two worlds."--"What!" said Shu[u]zen in amazement. His mind lighted up
as she proceeded--"It is true. Under guise of farm hand at the village
lived Wataru Sampei, a _samurai_ and _ro[u]nin_ of the Takéda House of
Kai. By him there is a child--now three years old. Alas! The father
lives in direst poverty. Twice in the month--the 15th day when the
festival of the Ichigaya Hachiman shrine is held, the 25th day when that
of the Hirakawa Tenjin Sama is held--with the child Jumatsu he is to
pass. A wave of the hand--'Is it Kiku?... Is it mother?' The
relationship longed for and regarded as enduring to the whiteness of the
hair thus is reduced to the wave of a hand. The chaste wife suffers not
the embrace of two men. Oh! Husband! Son!" Weeping O'Kiku hid her face
in her sleeves as she made her plea.

Harsh and triumphant was the voice of Shu[u]zen as he pressed on this
newly discovered weakness. "Then you lied; Jinnai lied, in calling you a
maid. This Sampei and Jumatsu rightly are gallows-birds, doomed to the
execution ground. Shu[u]zen has but to say the word. Seized they are put
to the torture; the child to know the bitterness of the scourge. Such a
tiny body will be cut to ribbons. Listen well! Obey the command of this
Shu[u]zen. 'Tis the choice between the jewelled palanquin of the
favoured mistress, or torture for these two. The kind offices of the bed
for Shu[u]zen, or the rottenness of the jail for these two criminals.
The gift of Kiku's chastity secures for them oblivion.... You would ask
time? To-morrow night, after the counting of the plates, the answer will
be received." He ceased--to turn to Chu[u]dayu, who for a little time
had stood by, as one waiting on a matter of business. O'Kiku, face white
and drawn, tottered away to her room.

She had played false, and at a cast lost all. Gloomy, the long hair
framing the distraught and unhappy face, she sat. "Unhappy the lot of
this Kiku. The sisters left without a father's sanction, to witness the
shadow on the mother's life; to know that father but as criminal ready
to be sent to the execution ground; and now, by rashness of the tongue,
to condemn husband and infant son to such a hideous fate! Remedy there
is none. Perchance the life of this Kiku in sacrifice for both arouses
kindness to pardon; or at least secures them in ignorance." Now she was
all decision. Rapidly she loosed the girdle of her sash. The safety of
her beloved was at stake, and no father's command held. The feet bound
she seated herself before the mirror, took up the dagger and felt its
keen point, then the morbid soft flesh of the neck. As she raised her
arm it was seized at her side. Noiseless Chu[u]dayu had entered and
acted in prevention. With a grunt he bent down and severed the sash cord
which restrained her. Then holding the dagger daintily he spoke his
will--"Is not this madness, O'Kiku Dono? The Tono Sama has issued his
summons, and the heart does not conform. The secret thought is known to
this Chu[u]dayu. Turn therefore to a friend. Safety is not to be sought
by the drastic method of the steel. Look to flight. Chu[u]dayu aids--nay
goes in company. Against him there can be no grudge. If Sampei and this
boy exist, they are not to be met within the _yashiki_ of Aoyama
Shu[u]zen--either by submission and riding in the jewelled palanquin, or
by the argument of the dagger. It is an easy matter for Chu[u]dayu. An
error confessed in conducting of the accounts, and with purse well lined
with the gold of Shu[u]zen this _yashiki_ is abandoned. O'Kiku Dono goes
in company. Between the two known connection there is none, and without
the wife this Sampei and Jumatsu go unharmed. In the relationship with
Jinnai the link is missing and Edo too wide a mark to pick them out. So
much can Chu[u]dayu answer for."

"Ah!" At times a Buddha is met in Hell itself. With astonishment and
reverence O'Kiku regarded this saintly apparition. Noting the impression
made Chu[u]dayu sat close by her. A little disturbed and restive she
moved away. "The words of Chu[u]dayu Dono are more than kind; never to
be forgotten in this world. By such means are Sampei and Jumatsu really
to be saved?"--"Most assuredly," was the smooth reply. "Chu[u]dayu acts
at once. Deign but the required pledge...."--"The pledge?" O'Kiku spoke
now with misgiving filtering into a sinking heart. Said Chu[u]dayu with
impatience--"Pledge: don't feign innocence, O'Kiku Dono. Does Chu[u]dayu
sacrifice all for the mere amusement of the affair. Amusement there is
indeed for him. O'Kiku must consent to accept this Chu[u]dayu. Deign to
change ox for horse. Failing Sampei, it is to Chu[u]dayu she grants her
favours. This is to be agreed--and right now, as pledge, a proof offered
of her sincerity." Now there was no mistaking the words in invitation
made plain by eye and gesture. She wrenched away the detaining hands
laid upon her; sprang up. "Ah! Villainous man! You would rob your lord,
deceive and betray this Kiku. Such speech is pollution to the ears; the
touch of such a creature is loathsome. Chu[u]dayu has the weapon of
Kiku; but Kiku can still cry out and bring the household about your
ears. Beast--away from here!" Armed as he was Chu[u]dayu was
afraid--"'Pollution'--'beast'? Ha! The woman's thought rises after all
to the surface in her hate. For this you shall pay. Just wait." He left
the room in haste, to betake himself at once to the apartments of the
_okugata_. O'Kiku crouched on the _tatami_, her eyes wide open, fastened
on the texture of the straw surface, saw nothing but this new and
terrible position. She could not die; she could not live; and yet the
tiger was at the gate, the wolf at the postern.

A maid came to summon her to Shu[u]zen's presence. Knowing her position,
her feelings, the solidarity of sex had veered to kindliness for this
unwilling rival. The girl was shocked at sight of her. "O'Kiku Dono! Tis
but for the counting of the plates--as usual." She aided her to don the
ceremonial costume. In all the magnificence of her apparel, with hair
dressed high, she followed after the girl. In her beauty a splendid sight,
in her heart "she was as the sheep going to the butcher." Her ladyship sat
close beside Shu[u]zen. Other _koshimoto_, with Chu[u]dayu and several
retainers, were present. Despite the customary nature of this vicarious
reverence to the spirit of the To[u]sho[u] Shinkun (Iyeyasu) there was an
oppression, a suppressed interest, which seemed to fasten every eye on
O'Kiku as slowly and gracefully she bore the box before her lord, made
salutation. "Open;" the word from Shu[u]zen's lips came dry and
harsh--"One"--"Um"--"Two"--"Um"--"Three, four"--"Um"--"Five"--"Um"--"Six,
seven"--"Um"--"Eight"--"Um"--"Nine.... Oya! Oya!" Then in fright--"What
shall I do!" With horror O'Kiku gazed at the fragments of the tenth plate
lying at the bottom. Shu[u]zen, all moved by his wrath and excitement,
leaned forward. The holly hock crest ground to powder was almost
indistinguishable. Hardly able to believe her eyes O'Kiku mechanically
began to finger the pile of porcelain--One, two, three ... they followed
up to nine.... "What shall I do!"

The malice and ferocity of Shu[u]zen's tone sent a thrill through those
present--"Vicious jade! This is a sample of Kiku's hatred to this
Shu[u]zen, through him of her disloyalty to the revered House. What
explanation can be offered? What expiation?" Slowly and in despair
O'Kiku raised her head. She caught the triumphant glance passed between
the _okugata_ and Chu[u]dayu. All was illuminated. This was Chu[u]dayu's
threatened vengeance. As of one dying her voice--"This is not the deed
of Kiku. Daughter of the criminal Jinnai she holds no grudge against
lord or suzerain; would but pray in this world for oblivion of those
offences in a future existence. Deign, my lord to believe this Kiku.
Malice acts here. But a short time ago Chu[u]dayu...." The man sprang
forward--"Lying hussy!... Tono Sama, this woman would save herself by
slander. Plain has been her ill feeling against the honoured lord in
refusal to obey his summons. Here lies the proof of ill intent and
rebellion against the suzerain's House. Surely there is no punishment
for such but death!"--"Surely there is no punishment for this but
death!" The harsh voice of the _okugata_ was heard in repetition.

Shu[u]zen spoke--"'A twig broken on the flowering branch of plum, and
the whole is to be cut off.' Such the words of Kuro[u] Hangwan
Yoshitsuné. Kiku, you are a vile, treacherous woman; undeserving of
Heaven's favour and the kindness shown by Shu[u]zen. Now you lie--with
the fancy tale of child and husband, in order to escape the bed of
Shu[u]zen; with slanderous insinuation to throw your crime against
others.... Here!" At the command the _kerai_ came forward and dragged
her within reach. Shu[u]zen seized a hand. "Ten the plates: one broken,
the tale destroyed. Apology is to be made. Make full confession. No? For
the one, ten are due." There was a _hibachi_ close by his side. He
dragged her arm over the brazier, drew his dagger--"One." At the middle
joint the finger fell severed into the ashes. "Two"--"Two," faintly
answered O'Kiku. "Three"--"Three"--"Four"--"Four"--"Five"--"Five."
Shu[u]zen laughed. "Kiku cannot hold grudge as being maimed. The stumps
remain." Chu[u]dayu sprang forward at Shu[u]zen's sign. Roughly holding
the bleeding stumps he pressed them into the harsh cautery of living
coals. A suppressed wailing cry from Kiku, a shuddering and turning away
of the frightened women; her ladyship laughed out loud. Kiku raised her
head and gave her a long look. Shu[u]zen grasped the other arm. The
punishment went on. "Six.... No confession?" One by one the remaining
joints fell. Only the thumb remained. Like a demon the _okugata_ sprang
forward. She snatched away the keen weapon, and pressing down the edge
of the blade triumphant raised the severed digit torn away to the wrist.
Shu[u]zen himself rose in astonishment at the act. All were in a wild
excitement. The violent woman strove to shriek, but choked in her rage
and utterance. They surrounded her and bore her off to her own
apartment.

A wave of the hand and all but Chu[u]dayu had departed. Shu[u]zen was
divided between his hate and the certainty of having been deceived.
Besides, only the body was maimed, and in the malice of his heart he
would soil this woman's soul. He leaned over the helpless figure. "Your
own deed, Kiku: make confession and submission. There is yet life to
plead for. Ha! 'Tis true. Vicious wench, you would seek the destruction
of Shu[u]zen by temptation; the grudge is to be carried to the end."
From far off came the answer--"Alas! To this Kiku are imputed the wet
garments. A lie destroys her to whom life is displeasing. Aye! The
grudge is to be carried to the end. Against this treacherous Chu[u]dayu,
against Aoyama and his House the grudge. Remember well!" In fury
Shu[u]zen sprang to his feet--"Chuu[u]dayu, take hold of this woman. Out
with her to the garden!" With practised hand the chamberlain bound hands
and feet. Then following after Shu[u]zen he dragged her through the snow
to the old well. "'Tis here," said Shu[u]zen briefly. Removing the
bucket the rope was tied under the arms of O'Kiku. "Your own act and
deed, Kiku. In your punishment apology is made to the suzerain House. Go
join your father Jinnai at the Yellow Fountain (Kwo[u]sen) in Hell....
Chu[u]dayu, kill her by inches." Seeing the chamberlain's hesitation
Shu[u]zen gave the body a push. Swift the descent. The splash of the
water was heard. "Heave up!" With eager energy Chu[u]dayu brought O'Kiku
to the curb. "No confession yet?"--"Aye! Grudge the last thought; grudge
against Chu[u]dayu; against this Aoyama, him and his." The long wet hair
hanging about the chalk white face, the bulging glaring eyes, the
disordered saturated garments of the half drowned girl, were too much
for Chu[u]dayu. The man now was struck with fright. He sought to save
her. "Tono Sama, is not the purpose satisfied? A request...."--"Coward!
Are you afraid of the ghost? Surely Kiku will visit the couch of
Chu[u]dayu--as perhaps to his desire." But Chu[u]dayu now openly was
afraid and not ashamed. "Deign to spare her, Tono Sama.... O'Kiku Dono,
this is no affair of Chu[u]dayu. As ghost deign to haunt the Tono Sama.
'Tis the Tono Sama who kills you." He plead; but inexorable the
whispering voice--"The grudge! Against Chu[u]dayu...." Then in terror
Chu[u]dayu sought the end--"Ah! Vile bitch!... Tono Sama, deign to cut
short the curse, and with it the breath of this hussy."--"Your act and
deed, Chu[u]dayu...." Shu[u]zen took up the rest of the sentence. "Pass
your sword into her belly, Chu[u]dayu; the lord's order." Chu[u]dayu
hesitated. Then looking away he thrust--once, twice. There was a
squishing sound, as of steel entering something soft. A heart rending
scream rang through the air. It was like the ripping apart of silk.
Shu[u]zen stepped to the curb, looked into the agonized staring eyes.
Then he gave the final thrust of his dagger into the windpipe, and cast
the weapon to Chu[u]dayu to cleanse. As if an automaton the man went
through his task: brought the heavy stone to bind into the long trailing
garment. Seeing his helplessness Shu[u]zen shrugged his shoulders with
contempt. With his dagger he severed the rope. _Dobun!_ A final splash
of water at the end.



CHAPTER XXV

CHU[U]DAYU WINS HIS SUIT


Chu[u]dayu's legs bent under him. "Ah! My lord! O'Kiku grasps my neck!"
A cold hand laid upon him he shrieked in fear. Shu[u]zen turned--"Fool!
'Tis a clod of snow from the tree above, fallen on your collar. Off with
you to bed. Truly in these days such fellows are good for nothing." Off
he strode to the _ro[u]ka_. For a moment he looked out--on the heavy
flakes coming down like cotton wadding, at the figure of Chu[u]dayu
staggering like a drunken man to his quarters. With a laugh he closed
the _amado_, seated himself before the heated wine. Yet the woman would
not get out of his thoughts. "What a fool! A matter of no import would
have given her position with others and influence with this
Shu[u]zen.... Ha! Ha! How frightened was Chu[u]dayu! It is not the
shadowy fingers of the dead which do good or ill, but the flesh clad
muscles of the living. As to your ghosts...." He snapped his fingers and
drank wine in derision. Thus he spent the early hours of the night.

"What's that!" He put the bottle down at the sound of voices in
excitement, of running feet. Soon an officer appeared. The _okugata_ was
threatened with premature delivery. A physician was to be had at once.
Shu[u]zen shrugged his shoulders with indifference. Five months--seven
months--nine months--what a matter to trouble a man with! So angry was
he that they dared not tell him more. Matters were going very badly with
her ladyship. In her delirium she raved over the past scene of the
punishment. The tortures of this present delivery were added to an
hundred fold by the disorders of the over-wrought brain. Then the child
was born. The assembled women whispered to each other. A very monster
had seen light: perfect in its main parts, but with the face of Emma
Dai-O[u] as a foetus--with the fingers lacking on the hands. They dared
not let the sick woman see it. She detected their confusion, asked to
see the child. She grew more and more excited with refusal, and they
were at a loss what to do. Finally the child was brought, to her
distress and confusion. Then--as from the ceiling--"Shame on the House
of Aoyama Shu[u]zen. A maimed child, a monster is born as its issue."
And the voice began to count, followed by the moving lips of her
ladyship--"One"--"One"--"Two"--"Two"--"Three"--"Three"--monotonously it
went on to--"Nine.... Ah! What shall I do! One is missing. Wa! Wa!" So
lamentable the crying voice that a chill went to the hearts of all.
Again the count went on; again the failure and the lamentable cry and
weeping. Her ladyship sat up. They strove to restrain her, but in her
madness she shouted back in answer to the counting--"One, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight, nine.... Ha! One is missing! Vile slut!
Thus to maim the child in malice." She raved and tore at the covering.
From the disordered hair streaming around face and bust looked out at
them the wan face of O'Kiku. In disorder the women fled. Driven back by
the necessity of their duty they found her lying dead in a pool of
blood. As for the maimed and deformed monster, he took well to the
nurse's breast. Such they always do.

Where was Chu[u]dayu in all this confusion? Shu[u]zen had men hunting
him high and low. Angered at his absence, his own dislike and suspicion
of him as possible rival grew with the night and the hours, rendered
bitter by these household scenes. He would settle matters with
Chu[u]dayu. "Yokubei" he had heard him called; and covetousness turns
not only to gold and such like. As fact Chu[u]dayu had good excuse for
absence. Much out of sorts he had betaken himself to his own rooms and
the care of the old woman in charge, his only female companion in lieu
of wife. Ah! What weather! The snow changed to sleet and rain drove into
and chilled to the marrow those out in the storm. The _baya_ (old woman)
at his entrance was all astonishment--"Danna Sama! The garments are wet
through. Condescend at once to make a change." Gruffly Chu[u]dayu
accepted her aid. Stripping off first one and then another of the outer
garments he too grumbled in his turn--"What a fool the woman was! To
lose life against the sacrifice of such a trifling thing. Ah! She was a
maddening beauty; of the kind to drive the blood to boiling heat. Never
again.... What's that?" Pon-pon: the sound of someone knocking ashes
from a pipe into the receiver came from the inner room. The _baya_ was
laughing--"Ha! Ah! The Danna Sama is a sly one. He is the one to make
friends with the beauties. The lady regretted the Danna's absence, said
that she would wait the honoured return.... Who? 'Tis she so sought by
the Tono Sama himself; and who instead favours the Danna. O'Kiku
Dono...." Before the wild stare of Chu[u]dayu, the clutch on her wrist,
the old woman stopped in fright. Then from within came the
counting--"One, two, three, four, five"--"Six," Chu[u]dayu mechanically
joined in. "Seven"--"Seven"--"Eight"--"Eight"--"Nine"--"Nine"--the words
were followed by the chilling lamentable wail of a soul in agony. "What
shall I do! What shall I do!" With a yell Chu[u]dayu dashed to the
_sho[u]ji_ and threw them back. No one! With astonishment and terror the
old woman gazed at him as seeking an explanation which did not come.
"The lights in the Butsudan! Namu Amida Butsu! Namu Amida Butsu! Praise
to Amida, the Lord Buddha!... Wine! Wine, and much of it; very hot!"

He sat, his head in hands, watching the flickering light in the altar
stand. "Ha! 'A woman and a man of small comprehension: these are hard to
govern.' Ko[u]shi (Confucius) says it. This Chu[u]dayu has played the
fool to the Tono Sama's extravagances." The bell of Gekkeiji began to
strike the hour of the watch. It came clear and mournful across the
snow. "How like a woman's nature," says the native scribe.
"One"--"One"--"Two"--"Two"--"Three"--"Three." ... Chu[u]dayu went on,
mechanically following the blows hammered into his brain. Then came the
heart rending hopeless wail which chilled his very soul. The old woman
in amazement and pain gave a howl as the hot wine ran over hands and
fingers. Chu[u]dayu on his feet stupidly gazed at the bottle rolling to
the end of the room. "'Tis of no import," he muttered. "Now--to get
hence. Close up all. To-night Chu[u]dayu returns not."--"But Danna Sama!
Condescend to consider! The Danna Sama is not himself. Truly he will be
ill. Deign the honoured couch." The couch in that room! He shuddered all
over. The old woman wrung and wiped her scalded fingers, and would
persuade him to seek rest. She simpered in her blandishment. "Where
could she possibly have gone, for _baya_ saw no exit? Perhaps the lady
comes again; and in the _yashiki_ there is no greater beauty than O'Kiku
Dono. Fortunate the Danna...." Truly she thought him gone mad. "Shut
up!" roared Chu[u]dayu. His eyes blazing under the heat of the quantity
of his hot stimulant he thrust her, a heap huddled into a corner of the
room. Trembling hands adjusted what garments he could lay eyes upon.
Over all he threw a long wool cloak with hood and eyelets against the
snow. Turning to the entrance he glowered at her, hand on his
dagger--"More words of that vile jade, and _baya_ joins her own beneath
the stone. This Chu[u]dayu goes to Nakacho[u], to a public woman. If
that O'Baké comes again.... Ha! Ha!... Let her lie with Baya.... Why!
She's not even rotten yet!" He left the old woman stupefied and quaking,
himself to leap out into the storm and darkness.

Outside the gate he had a shock. In the shadow he ran into a woman
standing by, who turned at his greeting. O'Kiku's face? With clenched
fist he would have struck, but the vision faded. "Truly the _baya_ is not
wrong. Chu[u]dayu is mad, or drunk." His knuckles had near encounter with
the brazen crest fastened into the post. This brought him to himself.
Rapid was his descent of Gomizaka. At its foot was a _kago_ stand. "The
Danna Sama from the Aoyama _yashiki_--he condescends the _kago_. One all
closed? The Danna Sama will lie as snug as in a _koshi_ (_kwanoké_ =
hearse)." Chu[u]dayu took the joke badly. The fellow sprawled on the
ground under the blow--"Is this a funeral procession? Truly the night
itself is bad enough--without the joke."--"A scurvy knave," humbly
explained the _kago_ chief. "A country recruit, just to hand. Deign to
pardon his impertinence." He edged the fellow off, called up another
man--"The Danna stands not on the fare? Truly 'tis such a night as rarely
has been seen. With wind and sleet the men can barely stand. But the
Danna is in haste. Surely a woman is at the journey's end.... Not a
palanquin but with mats." Chu[u]dayu was neatly bundled into the litter.
The mats were lowered at the sides and covered with oiled paper. "To
Nakanocho[u]; and at good round pace." He hardly heard the functionary's
words. "Ah! How she hated this Chu[u]dayu! How she glared into the Tono
Sama's eyes as he dealt the blow into her pap!... A vicious jade; yet a
beauty. Where could such beauty be encountered? May the _kami_ (gods)
grant Chu[u]dayu the same good fortune this night!" More pleasing vision
soothed him. He was filled with hot wine and fast grew dazed and sleepy.
The gentle motion of the _kago_ rocked him as in a cradle. Yet he could
not get sleep. Her voice was in his ears; without, in talk with the
_kago_ men? He raised a corner of the mat. With surprise--"Heigh,
_kagoya_! What place is this?" He was passing the moat on his right not
left; the hill sloped down, not up toward Nakano (Shinjuku). "Danna Sama,
it is Suido[u]bashi."--"Suido[u]bashi! And does one go to Nakanocho[u] by
Suido[u]bashi? Knaves! About with you, and to the right course as
directed."

The men, after their kind, grumbled; but to themselves; and in a way
their fare should hear. "Naruhodo! What a beast of a night is this!
Mate, it is to Nakanocho[u]; but Nakanocho[u] whither? The Danna Sama is
testy. He is not to be questioned. He might give a cut. Jubei is lucky.
He has changed head for rear. A care there! A care there! What? Again
around? What a night, and what a Danna to deal with!" The unconscious
Chu[u]dayu was borne onward. Again the vinous fumes passed off. To his
amazement be saw the water on the left; but not what he sought. "Heigh!
Heigh! _Kago_ men, whither now? What place yonder?"--"Yanagibara, Danna
Sama." Chu[u]dayu's voice was big with wrath. "True _kago_ men as
guides! Does one go to Yanagibara to go to Nakanocho[u] of
Shinjuku."--"Oya! Oya! The Danna always tells us to go this way, that
way. Nakanocho[u], Nakacho[u]--is it Yoshiwara, or Fukagawa, or Naito[u]
Shinjuku to which the Danna goes? 'Tis but the lady at the pole who has
a clear head and forces us to go this way.... Danna, never mind the fare
money. Condescend to alight. It is a hard night; too hard for such a
baffling task.... Here is your pretty friend again!"

Chu[u]dayu raised the mat and looked out. Vaguely outlined in the again
whirling snowy darkness stood O'Kiku. With wild cry he sprang out, sword
drawn. The _kago_ men dropped the litter and took to their heels. Dazed
Chu[u]dayu looked around him. Ah! He was drunk with wine, and visions
haunted him. Yanagibara? Let it be Yoshiwara then. Stalking through the
O[u]mon he made his way to the Nagatoya, a tea house at which he was
known. "Oya! The honoured Danna Sama of the Bancho[u] _yashiki_. In good
season Aikawa Dono; the lady awaits the honoured _buké-sama_."--"A lady
waiting? Fool! Who brings a woman to this market where he comes to
purchase?" The _banto[u]_ (clerk) of the tea house insisted. "Aikawa
Sama, is it not fact? She is barely of twenty years; outstripping in
beauty the greatest of the Go Tayu.... Her name? O'Kiku San...." In his
amazement the man rose from his kneeling salutation, craned his neck to
watch the flying figure of Chu[u]dayu disappear. Perhaps the Danna had
gone mad. Surely he was mad; and not one to come on foot on such a night
and all the way from the Bancho[u]. He sighed at loss of such an eager
customer.

Chu[u]dayu walked into the first tea house to hand when he had stopped
for breath. A first visit, his tea money (_chadai_) was munificent. Such
a customer deserved good treatment from the Izuzuya. Hence the attendant
guided him to the Miuraya, where was bespoken the presence of the
brilliant _oiran_ O'Yodo. The hour was late. The _oiran_ was detained.
Chu[u]dayu was sleepy and demanded his room. Hardly had he taken to his
couch to await her presence than he was asleep. Leaving her other guest
O'Yodo pushed open the _sho[u]ji_ and entered. She deserved her
reputation for beauty. A splendid girl, for she was not more than woman
yet. A little tall for her sex; fair and with but little powder, an oval
face, long trailing hair, and shapely hands and feet for all this
business. _Batan-batan_ the sound of the _zo[u]ri_ (sandals). She
dropped these on the outside. The stranger was asleep. Sitting beside
him she gathered the folds of her crape night robe about her bare feet.
With a deft touch she adjusted the knot of the pink sash which confined
it; then turned attention to the long silver chased pipe and the face of
the sleeping man. Some feeling was aroused she could not understand.
There was much she did not yet understand in this bitter toil of hers.

Chu[u]dayu began to speak; at first in halting and broken sentences;
then in a continued flood--"Ah! Ha! That look of hate! Chu[u]dayu
acted most foully. 'Twas he who took the plate, to secure his
safety and O'Kiku's death. Deign to pardon. It was not Chu[u]dayu;
'twas the Tono Sama who dealt the fatal blow.... What? The
suffering?... Ah! But the suffering of mind.... Now she
begins--one--two--three--four--five--six--seven--eight--nine....
Kiya!" The shriek rang through the room, bringing O'Yodo to her feet.
Crouched beside the _andon_ was outlined vaguely the figure of her sister
O'Kiku. "Ne[e]san! Here! And what...." At the words she turned to meet
the wide open frighted gaze of Chu[u]dayu. The matter of fact, gentle
tones calmed him. "A first meeting with the honoured guest. Deign to
pardon the awkwardness of Yodo." Chu[u]dayu came out of his sleep
reassured. He had dreamed; a frightful dream. She told him so, and
pressed him curiously as to why he had called out. "The honoured
_samurai_ (_buké-sama_), who then favours Yodo?" He spoke, as being again
himself--the military man, and no less a person than the chamberlain of
Aoyama Shu[u]zen Sama, _hatamoto_ with a _yashiki_ in the Bancho[u].
"Perhaps then a serving maid called O'Kiku is known to the honoured sir."
Again Chu[u]dayu's doubts were raised at evident resemblance--to be
reassured. "No kin: we knew each other well in early life. The father was
a great criminal, and O'Kiku, it was heard, was condemned to be a slave
for life. Entered in this business nothing has been seen of each other.
She is well--in mind and body?" The question was timid, and Chu[u]dayu
did not notice the unnatural eagerness. "In Kiku's place mind and body
are assured their lot; to undergo no change." Captivated by this beauty
he was now eager for his good fortune. Reluctant and with misgiving she
allowed him to draw her close.



CHAPTER XXVI

SAMPEI DONO


He was poor; coarsely and scantily clad as he came on his return through
the darkness and snowflakes now coming down wet and moist, whirling and
twisting under the increasing gale and gradually turning into a
penetrating chilling sleet against which the straw raincoat was poor
protection. In this guise Wataru Sampei was the gardener, making a
precarious living at which his skill was accidental and vicarious. In
his shabby home he was the _samurai_, his two swords treasured,
carefully wrapped and put away in the closet; struggling to live in
order to bring up this boy Jumatsu in his own cult, to better times and
retribution on the upstarts from the South. This night too had been part
of his _samurai's_ duty, in its _sankei_ or pilgrimage to the Asakusa
Kwannon. O'Kiku believed in efficacy of prayer to the goddess of mercy.
A hasty word, implied rather than spoken, as to a passer by during the
first sight of her, and the gesture of acquiescence on his part who had
little faith. But the gesture was as strong in its obligation as an oath
written and signed in blood.

On approaching his home with surprise he noted a woman by the door. She
seemed to be in the act of coming or going. Surely he could not mistake
that figure; nay, throwing the light of his lantern ahead a glimpse of
the white wan face startled him. His heart leaped within him--"Is it
Kiku? How comes the wife here at this hour? How has exit from the
_yashiki_ been permitted?" But the woman answered not. Instead she moved
away from him, into the darkness. More and more astonished Sampei called
after her and followed. Always she eluded him. Thus he was led away two
hundred, three hundred yards. There she was, halted beneath the willow
tree on the river bank. His pace broke into a run. Now she did not move
or attempt to elude him, but as he came up the figure was but a stela to
point the way to a near-by shrine. Sampei passed his hand over his brow.
Kiku was too much on his mind; this forced widowerhood with charge of a
toddling boy. Ah! If pity and affection would but allow him to transfer
the child to others! Better would it be for both. But how face the
mother without the child--and then, the lot of one's favoured child in
the house of strangers and under their cold glances? Sampei himself
could not part with Jumatsu. Easy was it for him to cut belly--and leave
mother and child in this desolate condition. Meanwhile his uneasiness of
mind at their present outlook was driving him to delusions.

Taking off his wet outer garments he stole into the bedroom. Now it was
very late in the night; he would not disturb the child. To his surprise
he found him sitting up on the quilts, shivering and weeping.
"Bo[u]chan! What's gone wrong?" He took the child's hands, anxious to
note any sign of distress or fever. But Jumatsu made answer in his
turn--"Mother has just been here. She was crying. She said--'Bo[u], the
parting is for long. Never again will the mother be seen. Grow up,
Bo[u]; grow up to be a fine man.' Then she cried more than ever." A hand
seemed to grasp the heart of Sampei--"Mother here, Bo[u]chan!" Surely
the child could not lie, even make up the story at this age, so fitting
into his own uneasy vision. Continued the little fellow mid his
tears--"It was not her fault. Someone broke the holly hock plate and
charged mother with the crime. Then the Tono Sama killed her. He wanted
her for his concubine; and so came to hate her and easily took the tale.
It was not her fault. She said this--then went away."--"Whither?"
Sampei's tone was so abrupt and harsh to startle the child into
quiescence. He pointed to the house altar on its stand--"Mother just
went away; into the Butsudan.... And she hasn't come back--to
Bo[u]chan." He ended in a wail and childish weeping. Ah! The hands now
grasping at Sampei were of ice. Slowly he approached the Butsudan.
Startled he saw the snow within it. This wild tale was taking the hold
of certainty on his mind. He lit first one light, then the other in the
altar stand. Then sharply of itself rang the little bell. A cold sweat
stood out on Sampei's body--"Namu Amida Butsu! Namu Amida Butsu!"
Earnest the prayer for some departed soul. Unconvinced, yet feeling the
truth of the impression he passed the night with eyes wide open. With
dawn he would go forth to make inquiries at the Bancho[u] _yashiki_.
This would be the fifteenth day. Anyhow Kiku would be expecting him.

He set out early, carrying the boy on his back. Humbly and with
experience of such places he approached the gateman. "An inquiry to
make."--"What is it?"--"At this _yashiki_ is there not a woman
labouring, one O'Kiku?" The man eyed him with the contemptuous tolerance
of him who knows--"Woman labouring? In the _yashiki_ there are two score
and more. Of Kiku more than one; although those of the men's quarters
have nothing to do with such matters. Perhaps the slave girl Kiku is
intended.... See her! Good fellow, are you mad? One under condemnation
is not to be seen.... You have come far? Even if you had come from
O[u]shu[u] or Kyu[u]shu[u] you could not see her.... But all the way
from Honjo[u]; it's too bad." The man looked at him with more
benevolence. After all he had some heart, and many distressed people
came to this _yashiki_; entered into it. "Are you thirsty?... No? In
that case entrance there is none; although the water of the well in the
_yashiki_ is said to be superior to all other, sovereign to cure
thirst.... Ah! You have been dying with thirst all night. Your tongue
cleaves to the roof of the mouth. Then the case is altered. For the
silver thanks are felt. Just enter. Perhaps some maid will come to the
well to draw water. Perhaps this Kiku herself. One so ready--of
tongue--can easily excuse his presence and this Yo[u]zaémon, if there be
question."

With humble thanks and joy Sampei followed the instructions. The well
was at the corner of the larger paved space and from it he could see
into the inner garden and the greater privacy of the establishment. Here
he could note more life at this early hour, and even the stir of
excitement. People were running to and fro as under some unusual
stimulus. Slowly he drank, delayed as long as he could, unnoticed and
unquestioned. He could not thus act too long. Indeed as he moved off a
foot soldier (_ashigaru_) passing asked his business. He gave excuse as
on mission to a servant, whose name he picked up from one just gone by.
As the man had taken a message outside his answer was a safe one.
Sharply the _ashigaru_ repeated the fact of absence, and Sampei had no
excuse not to leave. The excitement now was spreading to the front
quarters of the _yashiki_. Fragments of talk showed him that his visit
was most inopportune. Her ladyship had just died, and the household was
in a buzz. When he would again speak to the gateman, the functionary's
manner did not encourage it, Sampei took the hint of his cold
unrecognizing eye and bowed in humble acknowledgment to all in going out
the gate. "Chu[u]dayu Dono--where is Aikawa Sama to be found?"--"The
honoured chamberlain? He left the _yashiki_ last night in the other
watch. There has been no return during this of Yozaémon." So much he
caught in passing.

Slowly Sampei passed down the Gomizaka and along the moat of the castle.
It was with greatest reluctance he left this place. The child began to
whimper. "_Otosan_ (father), this Jumatsu is hungry." The little
fellow's whimper turned to genuine tears. The father heartened him. Just
ahead, on the Kudanzaka, all that should be remedied. Of the number of
small shops Sampei noted the sign of the Kikkyo[u]ya--the House of the
Full Well Bucket. Bending under the curtain strips hanging at the front
he entered the cook shop. "Deign to come up here.... For food? Of the
best: clam soup, a stew of vegetables and fish, hot boiled _to[u]fu_ ...
and _saké_, none better." The place did not promise much despite the
advertisement. Avoiding the doubtful stew Sampei ordered wine for
himself and hot boiled bean paste (_to[u]fu_) for Jumatsu. As he fed the
child, and at opportunity sipped his wine, a blind shampooer entered; in
this tiny place to take a seat close by. Apparently he was well known
thereabouts. In bringing wine the host sat down beside him to
talk--almost into the ear of Sampei.--"Toku no Ichi San, you are early
abroad. Does illness or luxurious idleness summon the honoured _Amma
San_ to the couch?... But yourself, you do not look well. Work late
into the night goes not with early rising. This is going to excess." The
man coughed and drank, turned his sightless eyes on Sampei. What he said
made this latter all attention.

"It is no early call brings out this Ichibei. Ah! What a night this
last!"--"Truly so," replied the matter of fact host. "And no sign of the
storm's cessation." He looked out for a moment on the flakes of snow,
again coming down thick and heavy. "Drink your wine, Ichibei Dono. In
truth you are as white as yonder falling flakes which you do not see.
And 'tis said your kind cannot see ghosts."--"See them; no. To those
whose eyes are darkened by the night of blindness the gods have granted
grace against such visions. But alas! Other faculties have been
sharpened. He who cannot see, can hear. Listen Jiro[u]bei San. Last
night this Ichibei was called to the _yashiki_ of O[u]kubo Sama. The
_okugata_ was in pain and needed his treatment for the limbs. It is a
kindly house, one good to go to. The storm kept Ichibei in the
_yashiki_: Food and the mat was granted, for his lordship would not send
a cur, once granted shelter, out into storm and darkness. But next door
it is very different. Here is the _yashiki_ of Aoyama Shu[u]zen
Sama--the Yakujin of Edo. Jiro[u]bei San knows of him. His lordship took
the _yashiki_ for the old well of the Yoshida Goten. 'Tis said at nights
he takes wine and pipe, sits by the well, and in his hardiness and
defiance of weather and season challenges the ghosts to appear. Last
night.... Ah! The scene rung into the ears appears before the eyes even
of the blind. It was the sound of blows--as of a wet cloth striking bare
flesh. A woman plead for mercy. 'Vile wench.... Kiku.' These words were
heard. Then such a scream--'Kiya!' as of rending silk--that yet it rings
into the ears of this Ichibei; to banish sleep and peace of mind for the
rest of the night. What could it be? Had the ghosts appeared? Or had
some maid displeased the Tono Sama, and hence suffered death at his hand
(_te-uchi_)? He is not one to spare suffering.... Ah! How she suffered!
All night Ichibei has lain awake and suffered with her. It seems as if
her cry never would depart from these ears. With dawn I fled--without
food, and doubtless to the astonishment of all. Feeling faint, your
shop offered refreshment."--"Another bottle?... O'Kabé! At once: for
Toku no Ichi San.... Honoured guest, thanks. Deign again the honoured
patronage. Sixty _mon_ the price, _sayonara_."

Sampei paid the scot, and with Jumatsu carefully wrapped up against the
storm passed out into the open air. Now he was himself again; the
_samurai_ of Kai, with the old traditions of his province and his
liegeship to the great Takéda House. Against this Aoyama double was the
vendetta--for Jinnai, for his wife Kiku. His ears had drunk in the
convincing tale of the blind shampooer. His decision was as ready. His
steps now were bent to the Miuraya in the Yoshiwara. At his name the
_banto[u]_ expressed surprise. "The _oiran_ was about to send a message;
most opportune the honoured coming. Deign for the moment to wait."
Related to their great attraction Sampei had every attention. Shortly
the sound of _zo[u]ri_ was heard, and O'Yui entered the room. Jumatsu
viewed her beauty and splendour with grave approval, astonishment, and
fear. "Obasan (auntie)? But she is young; beautiful, just like mother.
Oh! Just like the pictures of the great Tayu." The two elders listened,
preoccupied and with pained smile. "What book; and where seen?... Oya!
Oya! In the priest's room at the Fukuganji? That should not be. Priest
and _oiran_ are not of kin." O'Yui's laugh was so silvery that Jumatsu
in admiration pressed close to her knee. Clasping him she spoke to
Sampei. Ah! How great was her anxiety. As she told her tale the heart of
Sampei was filled with wrath and certainty--"This Chu[u]dayu is such a
strange fellow. The weather still holds him to the place. Hence by good
luck it was possible to ask for a consultation. Has not some injury
befallen the person of Ne[e]san? The ravings of this man in his drunken
sleep, the vision of the sister, the face and garments all dyed with
blood, cannot these find confirmation or disproof? In the embrace of
this man Yui shudders." She wept.

With growing weight and terror at heart she noted the increasing gloom
of Sampei's face. "Kiku is no longer of this world. It is true. Herself
she told the tale to Jumatsu. At the _yashiki_ all is confusion with the
death of the lady of the House. By accident Jumatsu's vision is
corroborated by the blind shampooer, led into the cook shop of Kudanzaka
by the same hand which led Chu[u]dayu to the arms of the _oiran_ O'Yodo.
The evidence is complete for this Sampei. To-night--at the first
opportunity--Sampei kills this Aoyama Shu[u]zen; then cuts belly. As for
Chu[u]dayu, Kiku has brought him to O'Yui San. Deign to accept the
charge. Last night he has been the lover, and the chance of the weather
and the charms of O'Yui have kept him here. Let the coming night be his
last." He put a restraining hand on the sleeve of O'Yui. In vengeance at
once she would have rushed off to poniard this obscene fellow. Be once
more the object of his embraces? Alas! Hers indeed was "the bitter
toil," which led her to the arms of this scoundrel dripping with a
sister's blood. But she listened to the cold and cautious counsel of
Sampei, and nodded comprehension and assent. When she re-entered the
room where Chu[u]dayu was drinking and roistering there was not a sign
of any emotion. Once again she was the harlot, to charm and inveigle him
into remaining with her. Ha! Ha! The gods had granted his prayer. "Kiku?
She was a beauty--and the impression of childhood would be corroborated
by her later appearance. But even thus she is a faded old woman to the
honoured _oiran_. A bag of bones!" He roared with drunken laughter; and
O'Yui fingered the handle of the dagger in her bosom, in frenzy at the
vile jest. "Come now! Kiku has been the object of Chu[u]dayu's love. He
confesses it. But now--away with such an O'Baké. He seeks the greater
solace of O'Yodo's arms." The wine nearly choked him. His eyes stood
out. He gasped and choked. Anxiously the _oiran_ nursed him back to
breath.

Late that night he had gone to bed very drunk. The ninth hour struck (1
A.M.). O'Yodo, who had sought temporary excuse, entered. Chu[u]dayu again
was dreaming, horribly. Ah! This vision would never pass. O'Kiku was
standing by him. At first faint, then loud came the voice, and Chu[u]dayu
counted with her--"One"--"One"--"Two"--"Two"--"Three"--"Three".... On
went the count. Now she was astride of him, pressing him down, throttling
him. "O'Kiku Dono! It was not Chu[u]dayu. The treachery was his; but the
Tono Sama gave the blow." He writhed and struggled in his sleep. Then
O'Yui dealt the thrust, straight downward. "Yai! Yai! Ah!" The scream
rang out, startling all around. Alas! A little misdirected the dagger
glanced from the bone and pierced the shoulder. As the man rolled her off
the girl made one desperate effort. Deep she thrust the blade into his
right side, ripped it up and side ways. "Kiya!" Chu[u]dayu staggered and
rolled over, hands to his side to hold in the severed liver and guts.
When she would strike again her hands were held. The bawd (_yarité_),
aroused and passing, saw the shadow of the raised dagger. The _banto[u]_
had come to her aid. While some sought to aid the desperately wounded
man, others drew away O'Yodo, again the woman and overcome with tears of
regret at her failure.

Jinzaémon of the Miuraya questioned her. Was it _shinju[u]_--a mutual
suicide to insure happiness together in the next life? Had she really
known the man before, and not pretended new acquaintance? Then, without
mention of Sampei, she told the story of her vision, her certainty that
inquiry would establish the truth of its accusation. Jinzaémon had no
recourse. The Yoshiwara _bugyo[u]_, with _do[u]shin_, was soon at hand.
"To kill a man on such evidence...." But before applying torture he
would question the victim. Chu[u]dayu's case was hopeless. The liver was
almost severed. Death was but a matter of an hour or two. During that
time his ravings in delirium, his confession in lucid moments, added a
new and momentous phase to the case in corroborating the tale of the
_oiran_ as to the strange vision. The _bugyo[u]_ did not dare to go
further. He must consult those higher in authority. A _hatamoto_ of the
land was involved; one just favoured with appointment as _tsukaiban_
(staff officer) to the suzerain. The _machibugyo[u]_ himself had no
power in this case. Hence the affair--its nature and its proof--must be
submitted to the _waka-toshiyori_, the officer of State in immediate
charge of the _hatamoto_, their control and interests. Meanwhile the
affair must be smothered and strict search made for the recent visitor
Sampei, who had completely disappeared. Jumatsu readily was traced to
the care of the house master (_iyenushi_) at Koumé. His tenant, on plea
of business in Kai, had left the child with him. Thus they went astray,
and thus failed to act. Meanwhile Shinano no Kami at last determined to
send for and question Aoyama Shu[u]zen. The seventh day following the
retribution was reached--to the great enlightenment of these puzzled
magistrates.[33]



CHAPTER XXVII

AOYAMA WINS HIS SUIT


Aoyama's _yashiki_ blazed with light. The guests looked around, at the
many lamps, the waiting-women in dainty attire, the ornament of service
and of substance; and then looked into each other's faces. The
unseemliness of the thing was on the minds of all these dozen to twenty
gentlemen. The body of the wife had hardly been carried from the house
to the funeral pyre. It was true that grief was to be given no display
in the _samurai_ code. The new promotion offered excuse for its
celebration. But on the whole this feast seemed an indecent exhibition
of rejoicing. "Aoyama Uji is not the Shu[u]zen of old. What has got into
the man this past month?" Thus Okumura Shu[u]zen spoke of his namesake.
"Bah! It is the shadow of Kiku, the 'sewing girl.' Aoyama rejoices in
thus replacing old material. May he get a better heir on her than his
last. 'Tis said to be a monster!" Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon whispered,
half in jest and half in a savage earnest of disapproval.

O[u]kubo Hikoroku first broached the matter openly at table. "Aoyama
Uji, is this not a strange meeting? Here we are, all members of the
Gaman Kwai; as _hatamoto_, men close to the suzerain's knee and ready
for the call to battle. But this--with the glitter of apparel in
substance and women, it is show and feast for _kugé_ (court nobles), a
meeting to view the moon and its light upon the snow. Deign to explain."
Aoyama smiled. He might have made some formal excuse for this
eccentricity. Saburo[u]zaémon spoke out for him--"Don't be obtuse,
O[u]kubo Uji. The one lacking here is the cause of the feast. O'Kiku
Dono still delays. Is it not so, Aoyama Uji?" He spoke with cold
certainty, a curious intonation in voice. Aoyama was black with a fury
about to burst forth when O[u]kubo sprang up. He looked around. "Just
so! Wait but a moment. We'll have her here." Aoyama was turned aside,
and would have detained him. "Hikoroku Dono, it is useless. Kiku is not
in the _yashiki_." To the dubious look of astonishment--"It is fact. She
was a vile disloyal woman. Breaking the holly hock plate, the trust gift
of the To[u]sho[u]gu, this Aoyama put her to death. This shall be
apology to the suzerain's House." O[u]kubo sat down again in pure
amazement--"For what is said one feels regret. The apology is made; but
surely...." Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon laughed outright. He seemed with
intention to egg him on. O[u]kubo turned indignantly. "Why laugh,
Endo[u] Uji? Is the life of a human being to be put against a piece of
porcelain?"--"Saburo[u]zaémon laughs at your credulity, O[u]kubo Dono.
It is but a ruse to put us from the search. Kiku certainly is not far
off."

O[u]kubo danced up in a fury. This time he was not to be kept. "'Tis
true! But the badger's lurking hole, the place where he keeps her, is
known. Soon she shall be here." Defying Shu[u]zen's wrath he and Endo[u]
left the room. O[u]kubo was ahead. Throwing open the _sho[u]ji_ of the
maid's room he looked within. Ah! Standing by the closet in the dim
light was the figure of O'Kiku. "Kiku, why are you here, not joining in
the feast? The beauty and the lady, whose love seduces so stern a man as
Shu[u]zen to soft ways, is not to neglect the guests. Come to the
banquet hall." He seized her sleeve. Said Saburo[u]zaémon from the
_ro[u]ka_--"Whom do you address, O[u]kubo Uji?" He looked around the
room. "There is no one here.... Kiku? You grasp a garment hanging on the
clothes rack." It was true. Dazed and somewhat upset O[u]kubo returned
to the banquet room. Aoyama met defiantly the hard look of Endo[u], the
inquiring question of O[u]kubo--"Is it true Aoyama? Did you really value
a human life against a plate, and kill her?"--"It is plain fact," was
the answer.

Again the strange looks passed between the guests. Some shrugged their
shoulders. Others looked at him and whispered. Some laughed, with
glances at the frightened faces of the waiting women. "It's not to be
believed," said the emphatic tones of O[u]kubo. Suddenly a breath seemed
to go round the room. Every light went out; except the one before
Hikoroku. Dimly outlined by Shu[u]zen's side could be seen the figure of
O'Kiku. The wan face amid the long disordered dangling hair; the gore
smeared face, and neck, and bosom, sent a thrill and shudder through
those present. At the exclamations Shu[u]zen turned. He saw her--"Vile
jade! You too would reproach Shu[u]zen. A cut for you!" He sprang up,
dagger in hand to cut her down. Then followed a wild scene with the
raving man. The maids sought to avoid death; happily with success beyond
trifling injuries, for sight of a woman made him frantic. Surrounding
Shu[u]zen the men drew him on. From behind O[u]kubo, Okumura, Endo[u]
rushed upon him. Overpowered he was secured. With the madness of the
host the banquet came to an end. As they left O[u]kubo said to Endo[u]
Saburo[u]zaémon--"Really Endo[u] Uji, why so rough in speech with
Aoyama? With those of one band quarrels are not to be sought."--"Nor
will be," answered Saburo[u]zaémon with a slight tinge of contempt. Then
he added slowly--"There is a strange affair in Yoshiwara. The
chamberlain of Shu[u]zen, one Chu[u]dayu, is involved; and Shu[u]zen
with him. This matter of Kiku threatens grave issue with the
_waka-toshiyori_. It is said that the two murdered the woman--because
both wanted her for concubine." He laughed harshly--"Why tell these
facts to neighbour O[u]kubo?" Said Hikoroku, with his blunt truth--"The
sounds and sights from Shu[u]zen's _yashiki_ are not always pleasant.
There are tales in the household of a night--that on which Shu[u]zen's
wife died. All there was in confusion. It is for fellow-members to
protect the reputation of each other." Endo[u] was rebuked in turn.

Shu[u]zen was himself again. With the passing of the wine, the guests,
the confusion, he was the cold, collected, dreaded master of a few hours
ago. Respectfully the _kerai_ withdrew. Left to himself he pondered the
events of these hours. He recognized and measured the concentrated
dislike expressed in the words and actions of Endo[u] Saburo[u]zaémon,
egging on O[u]kubo, irritating himself to desperation. To Shu[u]zen it
was a question as to just what was meant. At his age even in his caste
men did not seek each other out to draw the sword. The issue was much
more serious, involving disgrace. He would like to get at the inner
motive of this fellow's action. How invaluable the aid of Chu[u]dayu,
who knew the ins and outs of the _yashiki_ of all Edo, and particularly
of his lord's intimates. But he had disappeared--as if the earth had
swallowed him. Shu[u]zen had condoned too many instances of the
chamberlain's free use of his lord's funds, to come upon him harshly for
any peculation. The man had been useful in many dubious actions; in
bribery, solicitation, pimping, as a useful and facile witness.
Chu[u]dayu would worm himself to the bottom of this matter in short
order.

Thus he went to rest. Despite disordered brain his sleep was sound. It
was Gekkeiji's bell striking the ninth hour (1 A.M.) which roused; or
else the throat fouled and dried his mouth. He was parched beyond
measure; his tongue seemed to fill the whole cavity. Impatiently he
called--"Heigh there! Water! Is there no one to attend?"--"At the lord's
service...." The gentle tones of a woman made answer. She knelt at his
pillow. The water pitcher was offered. He took it and drank greedily.
Then--"What maid is this? Does she seek Shu[u]zen's bed? He is in no
humour for such favour." And the girl wailed in answer--"Ah! Ah! Harsh
his lordship's tone, harsh his words. Has not long since his command
been issued? The fault lies not with Kiku. A lying officer stands
between the Tono Sama and his handmaid." Shu[u]zen sat bolt upright,
glaring. Framed by the long trailing hair there appeared to his eyes the
wan, blood smeared face of O'Kiku. With a yell he was on one
knee--"Wretched woman! Does Kiku still pursue and solicit Shu[u]zen?
Make ready! Again a cut!" He sprang to his feet, grasped and drew the
pillow sword. With smothered cry of terror and anguish the figure turned
to flee; but he cut her down from shoulder to pap. As he did so the
_sho[u]ji_ were flung wide apart. The moonlight from the opened _amado_
flooded the room and lighted up the intruder.

Rage and hate growled in the tones of Shu[u]zen--"A bandit thief and
doubtful fellow, thus to push himself into the presence of a _hatamoto_
of the land! Fellow, name yourself: who thus by night breaks into
Shu[u]zen's presence, intrudes upon his pleasure." Harsh and insulting
the laugh of Sampei. He pointed with his drawn sword to the bleeding
prostrate corpse of the unfortunate waiting maid, cut down by Shu[u]zen
in belief of the apparition of her namesake. "More than one Kiku
harbours in the lair of Aoyama. Would he slay them all in sacrifice to
his lust? Wataru Sampei comes to ask account of his wife Kiku, daughter
of Jinnai, _ro[u]nin_ of Takéda Ke of Kai, as is himself. Now--to the
contest! God of the bow and feathered shaft, favour this
Sampei!"--"Favour this Shu[u]zen!" Both men made invocation almost in
the same breath as they sprang at each other. Sampei was pushed on by
rage and vengeance; Aoyama by a savage joy in combat. Here was a worthy
antagonist, a true taste of old of the battle field. If Sampei was the
younger man, he was also in worse training than Shu[u]zen; and in his
poor condition hardly a match for the practised soldier. However
Shu[u]zen was compelled to admire a resourcefulness in parrying his own
fierce attack, the beauty of his enemy's Muramasa blade, which seemed
itself to act and seek his life. "Shu[u]zen's prize--the sword of
Sampei!" He shouted in exultation. Sampei was forced back to the
_ro[u]ka_. At the sill he tripped and fell. "Now off with you--to Meido
and the Yellow Fountain, to join wife and parent thief." Shu[u]zen in
joy swung high his blade for the fatal blow. Sampei without sword was
helpless at his feet. But the blade did not descend. Shu[u]zen's arm was
held fast. By the outraged wife, O'Kiku, as later tradition would
assert? At this pass Sampei used his dagger. Plunged straight into the
belly of Shu[u]zen with it he disembowelled him. Abandoning hold on his
weapon, with a screech Aoyama fell, twisting and writhing in the pool of
his blood. When the _kerai_, roused by the disturbance, the shouts and
the clashing of swords, fell on Sampei, to disarm and make short work of
him, the _karo[u]_ Makishima Gombei prevented them. With difficulty he
dragged Shu[u]zen's sword out from the deep cut it had made in the beam
of the partition. "Stain not good weapons with the blood of a rascal and
thief, who shall undergo the torture and the disgrace of the execution
ground. Be sure his lordship will be well avenged. It is better so."

Thus with bitter regret Sampei found himself avenged, but still in life.
The next day, with the presence of the messengers from Shinano no Kami,
the situation changed. With the report from Makishima was demanded the
person of Wataru Sampei, whose story fitted into present evidence
obtained. Deeper and deeper went the investigation into Aoyama's house
affairs. Here was great disorder--harshness, lust, ill discipline. On
this latter charge--lack of discipline--official displeasure gladly
fell. The tale of the monster, obviously unfit for any service to the
suzerain, came out. The _kaieki_ of the House--deprivation of rank and
income--followed. As far as posthumous action could disgrace, so far did
Shu[u]zen suffer.

Much better was the fate of Sampei. The case of the Bancho[u] _yashiki_
no longer could be hid under a bushel. It was the affair of a
_hatamoto_, so hated by the _daimyo[u]_. Satsuma no Kami sought and
obtained his charge. During the weeks which followed Sampei was the
object of respect and solicitude of those who had the care of him. As
_ro[u]nin_ of the Takéda House this was all the greater in this
_yashiki_ where the Tokugawa were held in no great affection. The
breaking into the _yashiki_ of a _hatamoto_, the slaying of its lord,
could not be condoned. The official world was glad to combine this with
the lack of discipline decision. When the inevitable order came to cut
belly it was a chamberlain of Satsuma no Kami who acted as _kaishaku_
(second); and Sampei knew that to this man would fall the possession and
adoption of his little son. Thus came he to his end, and his House into
this brave heirship. Thus was disappointed the malice of Shu[u]zen, in
his last breath denouncing his slayer as the husband of O'Kiku.
Announced Horibé Izumi no Kami, the _machibugyo[u]_ who made final
disposition of the case--"Between Sampei and Kiku no marriage being
proved, the issue belonging to the man, the child Jumatsu is held
sinless; for the woman Yui detention for further examination of conduct
and condition." This examination never came; nor was intended to come.
For some months she was detained in the _yashiki_ of Horibé Sama. Then
the third Sho[u]gun died; a general pardon followed of all ordinary
offenders. Under this order she was released, and the Miuraya had the
hint or good sense not to press for renewed service. A nun, she cut off
the long and beautiful hair, to pray in this world for the souls of
father, sister, he who had acted as more than brother in the vengeance
taken. Thus through the long years to her final and irrevocable release
without any earthly condition.



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE SARAYASHIKI


Again the site of the Yoshida Goten lapsed to waste land. Through the
years stood the _yashiki_ of Aoyama Shu[u]zen, in wall and roof and beam
gradually going to rot and ruin. Passing by on nights of storm wayfarers
saw most frightful visions--the sports and processions of spectres
issuing forth from the old well of the one time inner garden. Their
wailing cries and yells were heard. Conspicuous among them was the sight
of the unfortunate Kiku, her wan face framed in the long rank disordered
hair; the weird beauty frightful in its expression of horror, as with
the stumps of fingers she counted--"One, two, three ... four, five, six
... seven, eight, nine." Then came the haunting fearful cry--"Alas!
What's to be done? One lacks. Oh! Oh!" Sight, sound, glare went to the
hearts of the stoutest witnesses. Soon the ill fortune of those thus
favoured with the vision of the Lady of the Plates was rumoured abroad.
Wounds, money losses, even death fell on them or on their households.
Men no longer were curious. They fled the neighbourhood of this ill
omened gap in Earth's surface, unseemly exit for these foul spirits. On
nights of rain and storm none passed that way. Even by day the children
were rebuked and forbidden to approach the well.

Many are the stories as to the place. To instance one of these: It was
Ho[u]ei third year (1706)--the approach of winter in this tenth month
(November). Then came to Edo town a wandering pilgrim (_shugenja_) and
his wife. Tramping the land all summer to Nippon's varied shrines and
sights, now they were on the return to their home in Michinoku
(O[u]shu[u]). Much had they heard of Edo, capital seat of Nippon's great
lord. Every day busied with its sights they returned wearied to their
inn in the Shitaya district. This day they had wandered far. Returning
from Renkeiji of Kawagoé they passed the Naito[u] Shinjuku quarter.
Almost as great, if of different kind, was the woman's curiosity at
sight of the caged beauties, waiting the summons of those far better
supplied with cash than her own spouse. Finally in indignation she
dragged away the loiterer; and muttering rebuke followed after the
jingle of the rings on his pilgrim's staff. They were passing through
the Go Bancho[u], along the long stretch of _yashiki_ wall. From a
postern gate came forth a woman. The light of her lantern fell on the
man and his equipment--"Oya! Oya! Good fortune indeed: honoured
_shugenja_, a moment's stay. To-night a memorial service is to be said
for the mansion's lord. Condescend to enter and grant service."
Willingly husband and wife heard the invitation to rest their wearied
bodies. Passing through the garden water was supplied to wash the feet.
Then they were seated before an ample feast fit for their kind; of
glutinous rice balls coated with the sweet bean paste (_botamochi_), of
macaroni the savour of which tickled the nostrils, _saké_ followed, in
generous quantity and of quality to match.

Said the girl--"It is an all night service that is requested. Deign to
undertake the watch and prayer. Ample shall be the reward." Prostrate the
_shugenja_ spoke his thanks. The Butsuma, or room containing the little
shrine, was close at hand. Seating himself, his woman just behind, he
bowed and made reverence. "Thanks for the honoured entertainment so
generous and excellent. May the honoured spirit find rest, at once
entering Nirvana ... and now, the Hannya Shinkyo[u]--_Sutra_ of the
divine intelligence."[34] He began the recitation, accompanied by his
wife. Both intoned the _nembutsu_--"Namu Amida Butsu! Namu Amida Butsu!
Praise to Amida the Lord Buddha!" Again the recitation of the _Sutra_ was
begun. The hours of the night advanced. Man and wife became more and more
drowsy; slower and slower came the words of the sacred writing. Then the
man nodded off to sleep; as long before had the wife. The hour of the ox
struck at Gekkeiji, filling this whole district with its heavy boom. The
man woke with a start. What fearful shriek was that? Close by in the
next room a woman's voice began counting. But such a voice! "One, two,
three...." on it went to "nine.... Ah! Woe is me! One lacks. What's to be
done!" Shrill, blood chilling the cry of anguish which followed.
Curiosity overcame terror. The man stole to the screens and gently opened
the merest slit. Over his shoulder looked the startled wife.

A shudder went through both at the sight. Wan, frail, the beautiful
anguished evil face of a girl could be seen through the long tangled
hair framing it. Slender to the emaciation of great suffering she knelt
before the pile of plates she was counting--"One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven, eight, nine...." The wild chilling scream froze man
and woman. For at the moment in sprang another female, in whose worn
emaciated face and figure was displayed such concentrated evil passion
of hatred and jealousy as rarely to be seen on human being. Like the
flying hateful god Idaten she sprang upon the girl, grasped her long
black hair, and hurled her to this side and that. Helpless the victim
held up the bloody stumps of fingers. Now the face was seen to be dyed
in blood, the garments dyed red with blood, the girl again agonizing in
a pool of blood. With horror the pilgrim and the woman hid their faces.
The man's hands trembled as he struck the bell and intoned the holy
recital. Thus in a daze, amid the counting, the cries and shouts, the
weeping and the wailing, he went on. The cry of the cock was heard. As
if by magic all the wild sounds ceased. The wanderers looked around in
amazement. The altar was the stone curb of a well. The _yashiki_ and its
magnificence stood close by; but the building was roofless and in ruins.
Chilled to the bone, half dead and half mad with fright, the two
fled--to reach their inn.

At their tale host and those assembled shook their heads. "It is the
Sarayashiki of the Bancho[u], the well that of the old Yoshida Goten,
whence ghosts issue; unless by good fortune the vision be a trick of fox
or badger. Honoured Sir, have prayers said to avoid ill fortune." But a
merry, foul, cynical old fellow--peasant turned townsman--twinkled in
his laughter. "Then O'Kiku San has favoured the _shugenja_ and his
spouse with feast and gifts?"--"'Twas very strange," naively replied the
pilgrim. "Copious and splendid the entertainment. Of the reality there
can be no doubt. This Jubei did not feast in a dream on those dainties."
The host and other auditors broke into coarse laughter--"Feast! The
_botamochi_ was of horse dung, the macaroni was earth-worms, the
wine--was urine." All roared in their great joy. The unfortunate
pilgrims, much put out, made gesture of discomfiture and fright. Said
the peasant-townsman, in sly hit at the host--"Perchance O'Kiku brought
the viands from near-by inn or cook shop. Surely these furnish little
better." Laughing he left the now angry innkeeper to aid his wretched
guests, writhing and retching in all the pains, actual and imagined of
such a feast.

Command went forth to the holy man--and from the Sho[u]gun Ke himself. A
halt must be brought to these unseemly proceedings so close to the
suzerain's dwelling. These priests of the Dendzu-In, in the shadow of
whose temple rested so many of the Tokugawa dead, were famed for
learning and for piety. The founder of the Hall, Ryo[u]yo[u] Sho[u]nin,
had set to his successors this standard as necessary accomplishment,
bequeathing to them perhaps the ability to meet the demand of his title
of Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin. Between his eyes was a mole in shape like to the
crescent moon of the third day. Hence the appellation and its meaning
application; for as the moon waxed to its full, so did the Sho[u]nin
with advancing years wax great in learning, and throw his increasing
light upon mankind. Of this first prior there is a tale. It was the
period of the Ashikaga wars, and the Sho[u]nin, for safety and on
business of his order, was resident for the nonce at Asonuma in Kotsuké
province. As he prayed and wrought in the night, without rose violent
sound of fighting and disturbance. Rising he looked forth. Two bands of
men at direst odds displayed the greatest cruelty to each other. But
what men! Emaciated to flesh and bone, weird and unhappy of face, the
Sho[u]nin saw that these were not of this world. His determination was
at once taken. Rosary in hand and intoning the _nembutsu_ he stepped
forth. The strife parted before him; its actors were prostrate in his
presence. "What means this fierceness of battle?" asked the prelate.
"Surely ye are not of the world, thus without mercy to strive to do such
pitiless cruelty."--"Not of this world," said one raising his head; "but
no more cruel than men in the flesh. In the Gempei wars, fighting we
lost our lives. Our bodies tumbled promiscuously into one common ditch,
without rites or worship, the grudge still continues through the
decades. Deign, honoured priest, the aid of prayers of one so holy, for
the rest of all." Gladly the prior grasped the opportunity--"For such
surely is the charm of the Sacred Name--the paper with the sacred
characters of the Nembutsu, Namu Amida Butsu. Not this ignorant foolish
cleric, but the vow of the Nyo[u]rai, Amida, relieves you from the Hell
of fighting (Shurado[u]). Deign to accept the charm and enter Nirvana."
Gladly the outstretched hands received it. Then all vanished in a mist.
On the following day with discretion and modesty the prior told his
experience to his open mouthed and credulous disciples. An ancient man
of the place was found to point out where tradition placed the burial
and its mound. The bones found on digging were sorted, and with rites
found burial. Never after were prior, disciples, or villagers troubled
with these visions. But the prior's reputation took an upward bound, to
the credit of his sect.

Thus it was with his successor--himself a true Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin in
the illumination of his learning--"From his youth he had abandoned the
world, and all the scripture had passed under his eyes. At eighteen
years he knew all the _sutra_ and the doctrines of Shaka (Sakyamuni),
and books whether exoteric or esoteric. Moreover he understood
thoroughly astrology and almanacs, the poetry of Morokoshi (China) and
Nippon, and instrumental music. Truly once heard he knew ten times, so
clever he was." It was to this Saint, in his eighty-second year, that
the order came to lay the ghost of O'Kiku, to dispel the disorderly
spectres of the well of the Yoshida Goten. "A difficult, nay a severe
task; but one well within the power and mercy of the Buddha. To-night we
go forth to the attempt. Let all exert themselves." His subject clerics
bowed low--"Respectfully heard and obeyed." They liked it not. The
nights were cold; the place noted for bad company, and bad weather. But
the order of their head was not to be disobeyed.

With the first watches of the stormy night the Sho[u]nin and some thirty
priests were assembled about the well curb. Earnestly the Sho[u]nin read
the sacred writing. Vigorously his followers made the responses. Louder
the voices and greater their confidence as the night progressed without
sign of visions. Then said the Sho[u]nin--"Surely great is the efficacy
of the _sutra_. Namu Amida Butsu! Namu Amida Butsu! All evil visions and
spectres vanish; to seek the peace and oblivion of Nirvana. Let the
event prove the efficacy of the charm."--"Namu Amida Butsu! Namu Amida
Butsu!" Loud the voices of the priests, but now in terror. The bell of
Gekkeiji was striking the hour of the ox (1 A.M.). Crouching and
shivering they saw the spectral lighting up of the well. The blue
glittering points began to dot its mouth. Then swarms of spectres began
to pour forth, obscene and horrible. Among them appeared the ghost of
O'Kiku. Stricken with fear the priests stopped all reading of the holy
writ. Flat on their faces, their buttocks elevated high for great
concealment, they crouched in a huddled mass. "Namu Amida Butsu! Namu
Amida Butsu! Spare us, good ghosts--thus disturbed most rudely in your
nightly haunt and revels. Ha! Ah! One's very marrow turns to ice. No
more! No more! Away!" But the Sho[u]nin held firm. Surrounded by the
jibing menacing mass of spirits, steadily and without fear he hung on to
his scroll, read the _sutra_, intoned the _nembutsu_. One by one his
company stole away; as did the spectres with approaching dawn.

He did not reproach his flock. Said the prior to the shamed assembly--by
daylight: "Surely this is a very difficult undertaking. This curse of
the dead is no ordinary one. It is a soul without light, of some highly
debauched sinner, of some woman vowed to eternal hate. Deep the
malignancy; but deeper yet the efficacy of Mida's vow. Seven nights will
do it. Let all make every effort." He looked around, with trace of
gentle rebuke--"We are men who have left the world (_shukké_). Why then
fear the dead; when ye are part and parcel of them? Perhaps greater
company is needed." He sought it from his fellow priors. From Shiba to
Asakusa they swarmed. With fifty, with seventy, with a hundred and
seventy priests, all reciting the _Sutra_, intoning the _nembutsu_, the
noise and confusion rose high above the sound of storm and spectre.
Sleep was banished far and wide thereabouts. But this could not last.
"One, two, three, four...." with the counting of the plates the chilling
heart rending shriek, the wail of the unhappy girl, the stoutest
volunteers quailed and with their hands shut out the spectral vision.
These volunteers disappeared with the second week of recitation entered
on by the Sho[u]nin. Even his own band began to fail him. They sent
substitutes, in the shape of the temple servants, the lowest grade, the
Shoké Sama. When a third week was announced, as sure to accomplish the
exorcism, there was open rebellion. It was with sadness and admiration
that the Sho[u]nin saw his band thus reduced to a few faithful men, the
oldest of his flock, almost as old as himself--and these deaf, blind,
and almost dumb. "Ah! It is a tremendous affair. Deep the malignancy of
this curse. This foolish priest has overrated his reputation with the
Buddha. Great the discredit to the sect and temple at the wide heralded
failure." He felt as ill and out of sorts away from the presence of the
vision, as did his disciples in its presence. He was old and foolish and
over-confident.

The prior slept on his cushion, his robes still wet with the storm and
rain of the previous night. Then came a woman, dressed in sombre garb.
Approaching the sleeping priest she wrote upon his sleeve the character
_ki_ [ki], bowed reverently, and disappeared. He awoke seeming to hear
her footsteps. How clear was this dream! The character _ki_, what did it
portend? The Buddha would not fail his priest. Taking himself to the
altar he prostrated himself before the seated figure. Then he prayed.
And as he prayed--perhaps resumed his nap--wonderful to say again the
character [ki] appeared, this time on the Buddha's sleeve. The Sho[u]nin
rubbed his eyes. Was he awake or dreaming? He did not know. "_Ki_," the
chance, the opportunity that the successful man in every undertaking
grasps, where others fail. He must apply it to his own calling and the
crisis. They exercised their brains; he was reputed to be well
furnished. This next night was the last of the third seven days.
Failing favourable issue he would take up his staff and depart to other
place, never to reappear in the beloved precincts of his hall. Thus
inspired he thought and thought. The grave, kindly, piercing eyes became
brighter and brighter. Then his monks came running in surprise and
alarm. The reverend prior was laughing--not in merriment, but with the
joy of him who has found the successful issue to be so plain and easy.

This last and critical night in storm and riot proved to be the worst of
all. Said the Sho[u]nin with grave kindness--"This night the Sho[u]nin
goes; others need not accompany." All rejoiced--until they saw his
preparation to face the rain and cold. Then they weakened, and all plead
to accompany him. Splendid the train assembled around the well curb.
Again the reading of the _sutra_ began, the intonation of the
_nembutsu_. Again the clerics cursed their ill timed enthusiasm, which
brought them out in the storm and to such unseemly company. Again the
ghosts issued forth from the old well in their obscene riot. Jeering,
menacing they swarmed around the frightened priestly band. Immoveable
the prior. Natural and supernatural seemed to hang on the issue between
priest and spectres. The figure of O'Kiku, wan, sad, malignant appeared.
She counted--"One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,
nine...."--"Ten!" shouted the Sho[u]nin, extending the Junen. "Ara! What
joy! None lack. Ah! By the Sho[u]nin's virtue this Kiku secures Nirvana.
Gratitude and obeisance are due." With the words the figure faded, the
spectres disappeared, the storm rumbled and passed off rapidly to the
distance, and the stars shone out on the cold clear sky of a perfect
fall night with its studded firmament.

Thus did the Sho[u]nin find the secret in the _ten_ repetition of the
sacred formula--the _ju_ nen. On her finger stumps O'Kiku
counted--counted as does the successful man in the business of life. But
O'Kiku was maimed. The thumb was lacking. Hence the tale went but to
nine. The missing factor once supplied her count found completion. Long
had been accomplished her vow of indignant vengeance, but still the
plates remained to count for her own release, and this she could not
effect. Great was the reputation thus acquired to priest and temple.
Probably it was this feat which has confused him with his greater
predecessor, the founder of the temple; transferred most
anachronistically to this latter the tradition of the actual laying of
the ghost.

There is an old book[35] in which the matter is discussed--"It was in
the old well that Kikujo[u] was drowned, says tradition in Sho[u]ho[u]
3rd year (1646). By the ability, merit, and power of Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin
her soul was saved, and at once she became a Buddha. Though such be the
story, by the temple register the founder of the Dendzu-In, Ryo[u]yo[u]
Sho[u]nin, entered the Hall in O[u]ei 22nd year 9th month 27th day (29th
October 1415). One smiles. Ho! The Sho[u]nin lived two hundred and
fifty-six years before, and dates do not amalgamate. How many
generations had the Sho[u]nin seen when Kikujo[u] became a Buddha! The
Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin becomes a bubble Sho[u]nin. The learning of this
Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin was notorious, and it has been banded down to people
of later generations in matters concerning Ryo[u]yo[u] Sho[u]nin. Deign
to take a glance at facts here indicated. The 'Edo Bukkaku Ryakuden'
(Epitomised Record of Buddhist teaching in Edo) says under the heading
'Muryo[u]zan Jukyo[u]ji Dendzu-in'--

     'Koishikawa Ji-in: 600 _koku_ (income). The founder was
     Yurensha Ryo[u]yo[u] Sho[u]nin, early in the Meitoku period
     (1390-1393). This Sho[u]nin had between his eyebrows the
     figure of the moon on the third day. Later people called him
     Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin. Native of Jo[u]shu[u] he was the son of
     the castle lord of Iwasé in Kujigo[u]ri, Shirayoshi Shima no
     Kami Yoshimitsu. Through prayer at the Iwasé Myo[u]jin his
     mother became pregnant. He was born Riaku-O[u] 4th year 1st
     month 24th day (11th February 1311). Later his father was
     killed in battle, and the mother took him to the
     Jo[u]fukuji, at So[u]jiyama. Putting him in charge of
     Sho[u]jitsu Sho[u]nin his head was shaved. At eight years
     old he was received at the Mikkyo[u] (Shingon) Ho[u]don-In
     Yuzon. Taishu[u] (secret cult) was learned through the
     teaching of Shingen Ho[u]shi. The Zenshu[u] was taught by
     the aged Tajima no Temmei and Gwatsuryu[u]. Shinto[u] by
     Jibu no Tayu Morosuké. In the poetry of Nippon he followed
     Tona, for ancient and modern example. He wrote ten books of
     importance. Noted for learning, in Eiwa 4th year (1378) he
     was transferred to Taitei-san O[u]sho[u]-in Nan-ryu[u]bo[u]
     in Shimotsuké no Kuni. Here he taught the seed of the Law.
     The son of Chiba Sadatané, Toku Sendai Maru, had a younger
     brother. It was he who founded the Zo[u]jo[u]ji and became
     Yu[u]yo[u] Sho[u]nin. Ryo[u]yo[u] Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin died
     in O[u]ei 27th year 9th month 27th day (3rd November 1420).
     The San-en-zan Kwo[u]-do[u]-in Zo[u]jo[u]ji had to fief
     10540 _koku_. It is the chief seat of the Jo[u]do[u] sect in
     the Kwanto[u], and its schools swarm with students.'

The large hanging bell of this Zo[u]jo[u]ji (_tsurigané_) has the
thickness of a foot. At the time it was the largest of all bells. In the
temple record it says that the Sho[u]nin of Shiba San-en-zan, generation
following generation, were highly noted for learning. From Ryo[u]yo[u]
Sho[u]nin the predecessor the principles must have been inherited. Hence
in the foolish talk of people the honoured name of the Sho[u]nin was
borrowed and adopted into the affair of Kikujo[u], as of the noted and
erudite priest Mikatsuki Sho[u]nin; no matter of offence."

But no such laboured explanation is required. The sanctity of learning,
the inheritance in these bishops and priors of the merits of those who
went before, has kept and keeps the appellation in the minds of the
generations of the Nipponese. Ryo[u]yo[u] Sho[u]nin, his merits and his
nickname, passed in the public mind to his successors. It is the
laboured and learned effort of these days which fastens on the prior of
Dendzu-in the tales of the long past founder of the temple. It was the
learned Osho[u] of the time of Tsunayoshi Ko[u], that fifth
Sho[u]gun--the Inu Kubo--basely devout and devoted to the Buddha's Law,
when to save the life of a dog (_inu_) the lives of men were sacrificed
on the execution ground.[36] The piety and learning of the great priest
surely is needed to counterbalance the cruel folly of his master. Both
qualities of this later cleric were the needed light in this period so
dark for men. In which the wife, more faithful to tradition and the
land, drove her dagger into the Sho[u]gun's heart, and kept from his
seat and succession the favoured person of his catamite.[37] To be sure
the little lady, of _kugé_ not _samurai_ stock, daughter of the Kwampaku
(Premier) Takatsukasa Fusasuké, of courage and truly noble stock, then
used the dagger on herself; and has kept busy ever since the historians
of Nippon, official and other kinds, in explanation of how "it didn't
happen." This is but a tale of outside scribes, to explain the taking
off between night and morning of a perfectly well man (or divinity)--not
sanctified with official and Tokugawal benediction; and no wonder. The
tale and the event was not one to brag of. And the lady died too--very
shortly.

The eagerness to ascribe a local habitat to the story of the Sarayashiki
has led to-day to some curious confusions, dovetailing into each other.
To follow Ho[u]gyu[u]sha--in the far off quarter of Yanaka Sansaki, near
the Negishi cut of the Northern Railway, is the Nonaka well. Despite its
far removal this _pool_ is ascribed to O'Kiku, as the one time well of
the Yoshida Goten. As fact--in Sho[u]ho[u] a harlot, by name Kashiwaki,
ransomed by a guest here established herself. Death or desertion cut her
off from the lover, and she turned nun. The place at that time was mere
moorland, and the well near by the hut had the name of the Nonaka no
Ido--the well amid the moor. In time the lady and her frailty
disappeared, and the kindly villagers buried her close to the hut, scene
of her penance.

    "Vain the tranquil water mid the moor--mere surface;
     Gone, nought remains--of the reflection."

Her well? People call it now the _yobi-ido_, the calling well, a pool
furnished by springs and some thirty feet in diameter. Now only a few
_cho[u]_ (hundred yards) to the north of Sansaki, at the Komizo no Hashi
of Sakanoshita, is an old mound called the grave of O'Kiku. "Here a
small seven faced monument has been erected. But this is not the O'Kiku
of the Sarayashiki. This woman named Kiku died of an incurable disease.
As her dying wish she asserted that any who suffered pain from incurable
disease had but to pray to her to receive relief. With this vow she
died." It is the connection between this Kiku and the _yobi-ido_ which
has so transferred the well established site of this old story.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus comes to a finish these tales of the Edo Bancho[u], the story of
the Sarayashiki with its cruel fate of the unhappy Kikujo[u], the Lady
of the Plates. Long had the distressed figure of the wretched girl
ceased its wailing over the never completed tale of the porcelain
plates. But the memory of her misfortunes, of the ill-omened well of the
Yoshida Goten has remained for centuries in the mind, and thought, and
speech of Nippon. Up to the early years of Meiji the Ko[u]jimachi-ido
still existed, to be pointed out to the superstitious ever present in
this land. The Bancho[u], for many decades of years, had become the
crowded Bancho[u] of the proverb which asserts that one born and living
out life therein, yet could not be expected to know the windings and
intricacies of its many ways and byways. In time the _yashiki_ of
_hatamoto_ disappeared; in recent years to make way for a residential
quarter of prosperous tradesmen, minor officials; nay, for bigger fish
who swim in the troubled waters of court and politics. The old
Ko[u]jimachi village, with its bustling street and many shops, remains.
True the old well has gone the way of the ruined _yashiki_ of Aoyama
Shu[u]zen, of the waste land ([sarado]) on which at one time both stood.
But to this very day the tradition remains firm and clear. So much so
that those who leave their homes, to fail of reappearance ever after,
are spoken of as having met the fate of the unhappy victims of the
Ko[u]jimachi-ido. To quote again the very ancient poem in assertion of
the verity of its evil influence:

    "Yoshida: to passers by the token;
     Long sleeves wave invitation."

Yokohama--21st September to 14th November, 1916.

--FINIS.--

To follow--The Hizakurige (To[u]kaido[u]) of Jippensha Ikku--in English.

FOOTNOTES:

[Footnote 1: Benincasa hispida (Brinkley).]

[Footnote 2: Of about fifteen dollars in terms of present money.]

[Footnote 3: Comments the scribe of Nippon (Matsubayashi Hakuen)--"This
kind is not the animal known as fox. There are foxes in human shape
which extort money. They dwell round about Yoshiwara and Shinagawa.
These are found in the Shin-Yoshiwara. In Meiji 33rd year 8th month
liberty was granted to give up their occupation. Blowing wide cast a fox
fever, the brothels of the Yoshiwara displayed a magnificent confusion.
In round terms Tokyo town was in an uncontrolled disorder. Among these
human foxes there was a guild, and this was the source of the tumult."]

[Footnote 4: Mizuno Juro[u]zaémon Shigemoto, son of Hiuga no Kami
Katsunari. He was ordered to commit _seppuku_ (cut belly) for the
assassination of Bandzuin Cho[u]bei: Kwanbun 4 year 3 month 27 day (22
April 1664).]

[Footnote 5: _Kokorozashi wa matsu no ha to moshimasu_.]

[Footnote 6: Second daughter of Hidétada; wife of the Prince of
Echizen.]

[Footnote 7: At the severest cold, clad in breech clout, or thinnest of
white linen, the pilgrim after sunset makes his round of the temples for
worship.]

[Footnote 8: The Pluto of Indian (Yama), Chinese and Japanese (Emma)
mythology. Dai-O[u] (Great King). Cf. Eitel's "Chinese Buddhism," p.
207.]

[Footnote 9: Other accounts say that these heroes used--pith bullets.]

[Footnote 10: He was of great strength, and is said to have carried the
Sho[u]gun in his palanquin on his shoulders himself back to Edo in the
flight from Suzume no Miya. With the approval of Iyemitsu he forced his
way into the castle gate, thereby incurring official censure and
banishment to an island--to Hitotsu no Jima, or the present Ishikawa
Jima at the mouth of the Sumidagawa! The sentence was purely formal. His
favour with Iyemitsu was very high owing to this Tsuritenjo[u] (hanging
ceiling) affair.]

[Footnote 11: These stories were not likely to be published under a
paternal Government; except in the mouths and tales of the people. Too
many scandals have been "excerpted" from the official histories and
records of Nippon to have a robust confidence in what is left. The
_ko[u]dan_ lecturers and writers make the Senhimégimi, eldest daughter
of Hidétada, the heroine of the scandals emanating from the Yoshida
Goten. History refers them to the Takata no Kata. But this lady left
powerful issue. Not so the Senhimégimi (Princess Sen), in ways a
splendid woman. Better known as the Tenju-in-Den she lies buried under a
most imposing monument at the Dendzu-in in Tokyo. Tenju-in-Den lived to
over eighty years; the Takata no Kata died, aged seventy-two years.]

[Footnote 12: _Itsuwari to omoi sutenaba ikani sen; Sue kakete chigiri
mo aru wo afu yo sae; Iku sue to fuku chigiru makoto wo._ (1) _Hedatsu
koro mono urami to zo omou._ (2)]

[Footnote 13: Burned down a few years ago: a fire disastrous to the
temple records.]

[Footnote 14: Dosanbashi is the site facing the castle and lying just
north of the wide avenue facing the main entrance to To[u]kyo[u]
station. It ran north to Kanda bridge. It formed part of the
Daimyo[u]-koji, which extended from Kandabashi to the Hibiyabashi and
the Sukiyabashi at the south. Roughly speaking this Daimyo[u]-koji was
the district between the inner and outer moat and the bridges mentioned,
now traversed by the elevated railway from Shimbashi to the To[u]kyo[u]
station. The Dosan bridge crossed a wide canal which connected the inner
and outer moats with the Sumida river. The street running from
Gofukubashi to the castle moat covers the site of this canal, and the
bridge itself was about where the spur of the elevated railway crosses
the present highway (1916). The Embukasané inspired the famous tale of
Encho[u]--the "Shinkasané-ga-fuchi"--and, like many Nipponese stories,
is founded on actual occurrence.]

[Footnote 15: Also called, Naomori, or Narimasa, or Nariyuki.]

[Footnote 16: There was great opposition to the introduction of _Kugé_
(court noble) influence into the Sho[u]gun's household at this time. The
same reasons of course did not apply to marriage of Tokugawa women into
the Kyo[u]to circle. The Sho[u]gunal Court was to be ruled by _samurai_
code and influence.]

[Footnote 17: Marriages at that date were performed in daytime. Note in
the original.]

[Footnote 18:
    _Ume ka ka wo sakura no hana ni motase tsutsu;
     Yanagi no eda ni sakashite zo min._]

[Footnote 19: Momogawa Jo[u]en: _ko[u]danshi_ differ in their treatment
of such detail. Some emphasize it, after the manner of the chronicle;
others do not.]

[Footnote 20: The _Daikwan_ was the chief representative of the feudal
lord in the particular circumscribed district. His authority rarely
passed beyond a few miles. Note the Daikwanzaka and the site of his
_yashiki_ in Yokohama (_Motomachi_).]

[Footnote 21: Momokawa Jo[u]en.]

[Footnote 22: Shukké, one who has left the world--turned
priest--"Honoured Mr. Recluse."]

[Footnote 23: The Nipponese "watches" covered two hours. Hence he had
been aroused between 3-5 A.M., not 5-7 A.M. as expected.]

[Footnote 24: _Dentatsu_--"Jimbei, mata 'fukeru' to itta na. Nan no
kotta (kotoba) sono 'fukeru' to iu no wa." _Jimbei_--"Yai! Yai! Bo[u]zu"
etc. To the erudite is left closer approximation to _fukeru_ (in
_kana_). This story is told, following the details of Koganei Koshu[u]
("Yui Sho[u]setsu"). Gion, equally known for its _hetairai_.]

[Footnote 25: In the vernacular.]

[Footnote 26: The first--Yamaguchi etc.--are place names, from
Kyu[u]shu[u] to O[u]shu[u]; widely scattered. Otherwise--"Bloody Spear"
(Chiyari), "Iron Chin," "Wolf," "Fox-heart," "Iron head," "Monkey
hand."]

[Footnote 27: He has played on the ideographs--[kyoku-sui no en] and
[kyoku-sui no en], _kyoku-sui no en_; the last meaning--"Winding water
entertainment," cf. "Benkei" Vol. II. p. 195.]

[Footnote 28: The _yoriki_ is hard to place--"commanding officer." He
was not of the office, yet as of rank was chosen to lead these more
dangerous and trying expeditions, or to act in more important arrests.]

[Footnote 29: In the conspiracy of Sho[u]setsu such did exist, directed
to the house of one of his followers, placed not far off in another
street. [But recently such a tunnel was discovered under the garden of
Baron Sakatani at Haramachi, Koishikawa, To[u]kyo[u]; believed to belong
to the Hakusan Goten, and dating 250 years back. 20th May, 1917].]

[Footnote 30: Brinkley's Dictionary gives it--_Ichiju no kagé ni yadori,
ichiga no nagare wo kumu mo, mina kore tasho[u] no en narubeshi_.]

[Footnote 31: Sho[u]ho[u] 3rd year the New Year fell on 16th February
(1646) of the modern calendar.]

[Footnote 32: _Rangiku ya: kitsuné ni no se yo[u] kono sugata. Rangiku_
= Caryopteris mastachantus.]

[Footnote 33: In Buddhist theology the seventh day is one of the
important dates of the _hotokés_ (deceased spirit) sojourn upon Earth.]

[Footnote 34: Pradjna--"highest of the six pâramitâ, principal means of
attaining Nirvana, knowledge of the illusory character of all
existence." Eitel--p. 119.]

[Footnote 35: The quotation and what follows is from Ho[u]gyu[u]sha
To[u]ko[u]--"Bancho[u] Sarayashiki." The exactness of these old temple
registers in essential dates is worth noting.]

[Footnote 36: Tsunayoshi 1646-1709. A vassal of Akita Danjo[u] killed a
swallow. He was executed; his children were executed; and he and his are
but one case out of many.]

[Footnote 37: Or son, by the more respectful account. Yanagizawa
Yoshiyasu took the name of Matsudaira. His son Yoshishige, said really
to be the son of Tsunayoshi by the wife of Yoshiyasu, was to be adopted
by Echizen no Kami Tadanao, brother and heir to the Sho[u]gun. Tadanao
"removed," left the field open to the success (and succession) of the
powerful premier. Yanagizawa as _tairo[u]_ (premier) was an irregularity
in itself.]

       *       *       *       *       *

  +------------------------------------------------------------+
  | Typographical errors corrected in text:                    |
  |                                                            |
  | Page   v: The modern kanji character has been used for     |
  |           yeast (_ko[u]ji_)                                |
  | Page  11: crysanthemum amended to chrysanthemum            |
  | Page  22: masterhand amended to master hand; rotten        |
  |           amended to rotted                                |
  | Page  26: embarassment amended to embarrassment            |
  | Page  29: on amended to an                                 |
  | Page  41: missing /s/ in gesture added                     |
  | Page  47: made amended to make; pallour amended to pallor  |
  | Page  51: villanious amended to villainous                 |
  | Page  57: dependant amended to dependent                   |
  | Page  59: state raft amended to statecraft                 |
  | Page  63: circumambiant amended to circumambient           |
  | Page  69: spoken off amended to spoken of                  |
  | Page  73: milklivered amended to milk livered              |
  | Page  95: gallopping amended to galloping                  |
  | Page 102: herhaps amended to perhaps                       |
  | Page 105 et seq.: superintendant amended to                |
  |           superintendent                                   |
  | Page 132: preceded amended to proceeded                    |
  | Page 140: lead amended to led                              |
  | Page 143: Aoyoma amended to Aoyama; embarassment amended   |
  |           to embarrassment                                 |
  | Page 147: exhilirating amended to exhilarating             |
  | Page 169: astonishly amended to astonishingly              |
  | Page 171: mits amended to mitts                            |
  | Page 173: he amended to be                                 |
  | Page 175: quid amended to squid                            |
  | Page 176: multidinous amended to multitudinous             |
  | Page 182: peel amended to peal                             |
  | Page 192: exhuberant amended to exuberant                  |
  | Page 212: condescenscion amended to condescension;         |
  |           effiminacy amended to effeminacy                 |
  | Page 213: icely amended to icily                           |
  | Page 214: maccaroni amended to macaroni                    |
  | Page 221: conferrence sic, meaning conferring              |
  | Page 227: squshing amended to squishing                    |
  | Page 232: yashihi amended to yashiki; impertinance         |
  |           amended to impertinence                          |
  | Page 239: Ototsan replaced with Otosan                     |
  | Page 241: feint amended to faint                           |
  | Page 252: maccaroni amended to macaroni                    |
  | Page 254: maccaroni amended to macaroni; apellation        |
  |           amended to appellation                           |
  | Page 260: apellation amended to appellation                |
  |                                                            |
  | Where two different spellings occur an equal number of     |
  | times in the text, both spellings have been retained       |
  | (Koshigeyatsu/Koshigayatsu; Surugadai/Suragadai).          |
  |                                                            |
  | Where there is an equal number of instances of a word      |
  | occurring as hyphenated and unhyphenated, the hyphens      |
  | have been retained: Ban-gashira/Bangashira;                |
  | fire-ward/fireward; go-kenin/gokenin;                      |
  | Kanda-bashi/Kandabashi; Mita-mura/Mitamura;                |
  | new-comer/new comer; overlord/over-lord;                   |
  | raincoat/rain-coat; Tayasu-mura/Tayasumura;                |
  | wheel-wright/wheelwright;                                  |
  | yatsu-ho[u]ko[u]nin/yatsuho[u]ko[u]nin.                    |
  |                                                            |
  | The Senhimégimi: Hyphenation and/or word separation, as    |
  | well as italicisation, is varied. The variations of Sen    |
  | himégimi, himégimi and Senhimé have been retained as they  |
  | appear in the text.                                        |
  |                                                            |
  +------------------------------------------------------------+

       *       *       *       *       *





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