THE LOYAL

RON INS

Original-helps. xv. .The Two Chap.

PUTNAM'S SONS FIFTH 182 AVENUE l88o .THE LOYAL RONINS AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE. TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE OF TAMENAGA SHUNSUI BY SHIUICHIRO SAITO AND EDWARD GREEY ILLUSTRATED BY KEI-SAI YEI-SEN." The friction of Time. OF YEDO " This is the Legacy of the Loyal Samurai. P. which obliterates TAMENAGA SHUNSUI (OLD MAN) NEW YORK G. most things. adds lustre to their fame.

Edward Greey. PUTNAM'S SONS 1880 The illustrated cover of this book was designed and drawn by Mr. P.COPYRIGHT BY G. .

Incerning Japanese art. which has already acknowledged the genius of Hokusai and of the Kano Brothers. possess a literature of no mean order. and it can- The not be denied that the Japanese. the names of Hokusai and of the Kano Brothers are destined. who have achieved so much in art. . display made by Japan at the InterExhibition at Philadelphia gave an impetus to the interest already excited among Western nations conbrilliant The national and from that time the subject has commanded the wonder and admiration pf the world. at no distant period. and the Western world. like those of Raphael and Hogarth. to become household words in every American and European family. literature of a people and their works of art are signs which the student is enabled to learn the degree of by civilization and refinement attained by a nation. will not fail to appreciate the wit and pathos to be found in the writings of the authors whose names I have quoted. deed. Foremost in the ranks of her celebrated writers are Bakin and Tamenaga.INTRODUCTION.

the book possesses the pages of the cles " little value. than seven hundred years. I. I decided take the " I-ro-ha is Bunko of Tamenaga first. to After some thought . sought and obtained the assistance of . need not here mention. in- Notwithstanding sions of disgust many misrepresentations and expres- heaped upon Roninism. few persons are aware of the existence of such a periodical. began my task but finding myself un. and of an institution. . I the much-despised institution. and thus supply a want I knew was greatly felt by those " interested in my country. cannot avoid feeling a certain admiration for it contained The author and book having been decided upon. has exerted a most powerful fluence over the nation. Three years ago I determined to translate a standard Japanese novel. It is true. I feel sure those who have written upon the subject have only seen " one side of the picture. believing that the germ of patriotism. in " Mitford's Tales of Old Japan. which. For many reasons. of great interest have contained many artihowever. " Within the last ten years Japan Mail . in the summer of 1879." something has been related of the social condition of the people but as an example of Japanese literature. the works of our writers have been sealed to American and I which English readers." While I am the last person to defend lawless acts.iv INTRODUCTION. equal to the work. because he one of the most popular of our writers secondly. on account of the romance containing a wonderful description of Japanese life under the feudal system. for more .

mentioned to him my at- tempt with I-ro-ha Bunko. and showing the author's thorough familiarity with our literature. I-ro- this To Mrs.. In October. Mass. which greatly delighted me. Makoto Fukui. and instructive descriptions of the manners and customs of my countrymen.INTRODUCTION. Edward Greey. who has done so much to bring Japanese art before the public. who has for many years been those To der a sincere friend to Japan and the Japanese. especially to Mr. Edward Greey. and is knew Japan from Yezo I to Kiusiu. so interestingly begun. Greey had not only lived friendship. John A. Van Name. of Boston. my attention was called to the Japanese stories of Mr. Mass. who have assisted Mr. and works . for the printers. and Mr. and our acquaintance. amusing. but that he " also an accomplished Japanese artist. they giving most graphic. Lowell. of New York. many years in the East. for the loan of copies of ga's Tamena- and to Mr. soon ripened into I discovered Mr. 1 wrote to him at once. A. Li- brarian of Yale College. of Manchester. The result is before the reader." we would not have been able to complete translation. I V Although failed I had her sat- to make isfactory progress and we abandoned the attempt. I tenmost my hearty thanks. the Mss. and without whose kind and generous surrender of his copy of " ha Bunko. Greey and myself.. who I so kindly copied . an estimable lady residing in Boston." when he recognized the work and agreed to join me in its translation. Gilbert Attwood. . return my best thanks also to Mr. During the following January. of Jamaica Plain. hearty and sympathetic cooperation.

so freely gave us the use of his library of Japanese who books.vi INTRODUCTION. July 19. and the hospitality extended to heart. with the help and guidance of the spirits of my ancestors. with whom years. and in one of whose in- stitutions of learning have received the education of which. Wherever I have been I have received a most kind welcome. Manchester-by-the-Sea. memory of the generous me will always be retained in my By the time this work reaches you I shall broad Pacific on far distant home. I hope. I shall make good use in the service of my sover- eign and country. SHIUICHIRO SAITO. 1880. which are founded upon the principles of freedom I so greatly love and admire. my way be crossing the trust the day is not when I shall Till then I say Sayonara (farewell). I feel especially happy in being able to offer this trifling tribute of I my gratitude I to the have lived for the last five American people.. f -- . Mass. yet I again be among you to study more thoroughly your noble institutions.

We were therefore com- pelled not only to rearrange the sequence of the chapters. the modern school of Nihonese fic- and was the Charles Dickens of Japan. and was issued in between the seventh year of parts. "The Loyal Ronins" Tamenaga Shunsui and published under the is one of seven " stories written by (For-the-sake-of-perpetual Spring-water). while perfectly The Japanese. would. at irregular periods. have bewildered our readers Tamenaga taking for grantutterly ed that his patrons were thoroughly acquainted with the intelligible to a story of the forty-seven ronins. Saito and Kozo (Middle-vil- Yedo. author's arrangement of the romance. The edition used myself bears the imprint of Nakamura-ya lage-store Happy-store-house) of by Mr. containing eighty illustrations by Kei-sai Yei-sen (Valley-cottage Superior-spring). but to supply the links in the story omitted by the author. Tamenaga founded tion. if literally followed. Tempo (Heaven-secure) and the first year of Kayei (Fortutunate-perpetual) A. 1836-1848. It is in eighteen volhundred and over a umes.D. .NOTES. title of I-ro-ha Bunko " (" The ABC Writing-desk ").

was the impossibility of translating concisely. ronin. " " Sei-chu (The Pictorial Biography gi-shi mei-mei ga-den Loyal Samurai). naive style . sambo. amount would make them very interesting pictures had to be rejected on account of their not having any connection with the letter- Many press. or the military title is used. Some of the half-cuts were engraved independently of of ingenuity the others. to the to Japanese works. Japanese are.Vlll NOTES. totally destroys the effect of the pictures. cases of individuals either the surname. and one eye. and no join correctly. an arrangethat. such as samurai. The original ment peculiar Western illustrations are in two pieces.. " These were obtained by referring to " Ako Shijiu hichi-shi Den (The Biography of the Forty-seven Samurai of Ako). sak/. have endeavored to reproduce Tamenaga's romance without making uss rf foot-notes or those stumbling-blocks of the Truly We to readers. and none better than ourselves know its imperfections. We "have not attempted to translate the quaint sentences into elegant English. Before reproducing the engravings I was compelled to unite them and retouch the lines of junction. translated literally. in names for persons and places. Japanese words. Those who will fully are acquainted with the Japanese language understand the difficulties we had to overcome in preparing this work for the press. Our reason them for retaining etc. but have done our utmost to retain the unique. the given name. and other works. These In the nearly all instances.

EDWARD GREEY. Mass.NOTES. . July 19. and the romances of Bakin. of IX the author. the Sir Walter Scott of the Japanese literary world." If this ers. 1880 ^ F F . believing it were "best to leave well alone. Manchester-by-the-Sea. we are prepared to give specimen of Nihonese literature pleases our readthem other works by Tamen- aga.

and thus It was illuminate my soul with the light of loyalty. and whose body is now resting beneath the tall grass. when the lamp burned dimly in the paper lantern and but partly revealed the pictures on the screens. whose eloquent descriptions I have so imperfectly reproduced. therefore. . I often sat by the fire-bowl and listened with awed face to my honored mother. from her honored lips I received the histories embodied I in this work . to compensate me for the gloom of the apartment. but to pay grateful respect to the spirit of my honored parent. would relate stories of the Forty-seven Ronins. who.AUTHOR'S PREFACE. if the book pleases. beg the reader not to think of the old man of Yedo whose brush traces these characters. During the long winter evenings of my childhood.

THE OLD. QO 103 . XXI. . .. .. . .CONTENTS... XXV. IX. . . . XVI. . ... CHAPTER I. .. xv. 63 74 . XXVII... . -41 . KIRA .... . VI. . . . V. 130 135 143 151 .. XXII.. . .. . . XVIII. xi . XIV. VIII. . X. . UNSHEATHING THE SWORD HOW A DAIMIO MET HIS DEATH THE MOTHER OF SIR STRAIGHT-GROVE SIR UNCONQUERABLE MEETS THE MESSENGERS FROM YEDO SIR BIG-ROCK RECEIVES THE LAST FAVOR FROM HIS LORD THE CLANSMEN PREPARE TO DEFEND THE CASTLE SEALING THE COMPACT THE STORY OF A YOUNG WIFE'S SORROW THE CONTEMPTIBLE BEHAVIOR OF THE TWO COUNCILLORS WHAT OCCURRED AT THE RESTAURANT OF THE ROYAL CHRYS. ANTHEMUM XI. . III. xix. . XVII. . DEPARTS FOR YEDO SIR HATCHET'S LETTER TO HIS WIFE THE MEETING IN THE SPRING-HILL TEMPLE SIR SHELL AND HIS FAMILY SIR BIG-ROCK MAKES REPARATION TO HIS WIFE . .. IV. XXVI. . .. XII. . 123 . XIII... DOWER SIR BIG-ROCK WINNOWS THE RICE THE MOTHER OF SIR COMMON MISS QUIET'S MR.. 167 I?3 . . .. . . .. SIR BIG-ROCK DIVORCES HIMSELF THE STORY OF DOCTOR BUTTERFLY-COTTAGE SIR CLIFF-SIDE'S STRANGE ADVENTURE THE GOD FOX CONVOLVULUS OVERHEARS A CONVERSATION SIR UNCONQUERABLE PERFORMS AN ACT OF JUSTICE ..13 28 34 49 57 . . . OLD STORY SIR . NOBLE-PLAIN SIR BIG-ROCK xxiv.112 .... . . .8l 85 . XXIII. . PAGE I 6 21 .. VII. .. .. 178 ' . .. XX.. 184 l88 194 . .. II..

XXXI.... . .. . XXIX..xii CHAPTER XXVIII. .... RETRIBUTION XXXV.. . xxx.... 244 2gl 256 268 272 ... ... . PAGE 198 2O2 212 2IQ 228 231 235 238 . . ... XXXVII. .. XXXIX. XXXVIII.. ... Contents... . THE COMMENTS OF THE CROWD SIR RED-FENCE WINS GOLDEN OPINIONS SUMMONING THE WITNESS BURNING THE INCENSE THE RONINS REJOIN THEIR LORD THE RETURN OF THE EXILES . ........ XL..... . XXXVI.. XXXII. xxxiii.. THE MISSION OF SIR HAWK'S-GROVE SIR RED-FENCE AND HIS BOTTLE SIR BIG-ROCK'S FAREWELL TO LADY PURE-GEM MARSHALING THE CONSPIRATORS SIR SMALL-GROVE SIR BIG-ROCK'S GIFT XXXIV......

of which he nominated Lord Morning-field of Ako. however. not being a daimio. the president of the Council of Elders in Yedo.THE LOYAL RONINS. and inprinciples of nobility solent in the discharge of his duties. corrupt.D. This man. 1698. and was directed to apin consequence point two officials to receive them . daimio (great lords) of equal rank. during the reign of the Shogun lyetsuna. UNSHEATHING THE SWORD. and Lord Tortoise-well. CHAPTER I. treating the : customary presents brought by the lords with scorn and addressing them in terms of undisguised conAt first they bore his behavior with quiet tempt. when determined to resent it became insufferable. Master of Ceremonies to the Shogun. month of November. . dignity. was officially informed In the that three commissioners were on their way from the Imperial Court at Kioto. who were instructed to place themselves under the orders of Kira. lacked the true was greedy. they and even went the length of it resolving to kill him. A.

2 The Loyal Ronins. " I am always at your service. he could not leave his post and personally propitiate the Master of Ceremonies. Are you ready to go?" " Yes. and hand him the gold. and bribed him with offerings which he diplomatically represented came from his master. knowing. on no account to neglect this duty. Sir field. besides of the castle of Ako. " I have here a letter and some money " " that desire swiftly conveyed to our lord's councillors. the chief councillor of Lord Tortoise-well. sir. in the the named New-well. as though it came from our chief. the reputation in of which. . Sir Arrow-stand and Sir Wisteria-lake. in a lower tone. two hundred rio (dolI have writlars). The I communication instructs them to wait privately on Kira. After pondering over the matter. as he had did. on most important business. ten urging them. day and night? Very good. Sir Reedy-plain. he summoned a samurai (knight or military gentleman) of the clan. and thus averted evil from their house. yes." was the response. at any moment. When he heard his chief been appointed one of the officials to receive the commissioners he felt troubled. learning of his Lord's annoyance secretly visited Kira. chief councillor of Lord Morning- was less fortunate. " I to whom he said : wish you at once to start for Yedo. Big-rock. adding. distant nearly three hundred miles from Yedo. of being upstart Kira." said Sir Big-Rock. province charge Harima.

and he traveled day and night until he ar- rived at his destination. deeming the money would be as good as thrown into the bay. utmost in return for favor. Upon reintelligence. I am defray your travelling expenses." my your great am honored by your . continued. Unfortunately for cillors. said : and after receiv- selecting me for this reI will do sponsible duty please accept my thanks. containing . purpose of receiving their final in- Kira. giving him a smaller package annoyance " This sum will fifteen be rio. I the morning the commissioners were expected from Kioto the two lords proceeded to the castle of On Oshiro for the structions. Sir Lord Morning-field his counArrow-stand and Sir Wisteria-lake. were parsimonious in their ideas the execution of their duties. men of little and stupid in ceiving Sir Big-rock's letter they hesitated to carry out his commands. when their chief next presented himself to Kira he was treated with neglect and covert disdain." Sir " New. Therefore. Before the sun had set the faithful samurai was on his way.Unsheathing the Sword. while Lord Tortoisewell was welcomed with obsequious flattery and carefully initiated in his duties. after complimenting Lord Tor- . sure you will not fail speedily to discharge this im- sufficient to portant commission.well bowed ing the letter and I respectfully money. as 3 by so doing they might expose our lord to serious " then.

to your unjust treatment. and. deeming it an imperative duty to obey the representative of the Shogun. had it not been for the cap worn by the official. but missing his aim. buried his weapon in . hotly pursued Morning-field who. my Lord Morning-field. would have cleft his head in twain. reception hall. later on." hausted. said w : my Although the noble's patience was almost exhe complied with the insolent command. One would think you were a countryman. turned to the latter's companion and Here. ignorant of the manners of Yedo." At this provocation Lord Morning-field rose. once by Lord more at- tacked him. finding himself wounded. whereupon the noble dealt him a blow that. Kira. and.4 toise-well. After awhile the Master of Ceremonies excused Lord Tortoise-well. to seek Kira and demand satisfaction at his hands. as his victim fled. cried I : Defend yourself. the string of sock has become loosened. he said " How exceedingly clumsy you are to-day." his challenger. uttered loud his cries. will no longer submit facing Instead of bravely drawing his weapon and Kira trembled and endeavored to escape. Tie it for me. at the same time resolving. pressing his hand ta forehead. addressing the other noble more contemptously than before. who was permitted to retire to the Then. rushed away. Sir Kira. The Loyal Ronins. : clutching the " hilt of his sword.

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thus giving Kira ample time to escape.Unsheathing the Sword. and advancing behind the daimio. a pillar 5 behind which the fugitive had retreated. An hour afterward Lord Morning-field was com- manded under to retire to his residence and consider himself arrest. threw his arms around his waist. . The incensed noble was following him up when an officer arrived on the scene.

when he had completed the poem. The man-rio is developed and beautified by the snows of winter. an inkstone bearing his crest. where 6 . He grasped the slender bamboo-stemmed writing- brush firmly and formed the characters with a swift motion. his manner betraying no anxiety concerning the impending decision of the Council of Elders. Then. was kneeling before a writing table in his study engaged in verse- making. DAIMIO MET HIS DEATH.CHAPTER HOW A " II. costumed in his official garb. falcon's feathers crossed and enclosed in a circle. Injustice to the lord reveals and intensifies the devotion of the samurai" Thus wrote the Lord of Ako one lovely morning in December. The noble. some brushes resting on a lacquered holder and a small kettle of inlaid metal containing water with which to moisten his ink. turned his head and glanced into the veranda. Upon the desk were some volumes of poetry. two weeks after his encounter with Kira.

. p. 6. (Ten-thousand-golden-berry plant). ii.The man-iio Chap.

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J stood a porcelain flower-pot containing the object of his inspiration. save its head. As he gazed upon this the rising sun sent its rays across the scene and night. a temporary fence of green bamboo had been a sign the lord was a prisoner and a built before it friend of the family. ? : My " when you are in danger." The " I noble regarded her tenderly and replied am well. his wife. gave orders and decided who should enter or quit the mansion. entered the apartment her features too plainly betraying the disturbed state of her soul. No song came from the kitchen. The main gate was closed. no voice was heard speaking above a whisper. A great sorrow was upon the household and all. Fair-face why are you so sad ? " : .How a Daimio met his Death. a screen behind him was noiselessly aside . trembled with apprehension. Advancing toward him she sank upon the floor and bowing until her : forehead touched the mat. how can I ap- pear happy . While the master of the house was thus calmly employed. surety for the chief. a man-rio plant. moved and Lady Fair-face. made the crystals sparkle like a cluster of stars. his retainers were moving silently about their duties. upon the bright green leaves of which was piled the snow of the previous contrasting charmingly with the clusters of ruddy berries hanging beneath. The " lady conquered her grief and said lord. said in an agitated voice " I trust my lord is in the enjoyment of good health. In the midst of his reverie.

" ! ! " " " My actions. nest always finds Whatever may occur. ceive me." " Have no fear." she murmured. and placing her hands on his knees. Last evening. pointed to the poem. Lady Fair-face read it slowly. and glancing at him. remarked : Ah. Although her words moved him he did not betray any emotion. the bird driven from : some desire shelter from the storm. also your paper handkerchiefs near it they are there this morning. The noble glanced sorrowfully at her and laying his hand on her shoulder." How Uttering these words she leaned forward. you are prepared for the worst Kira is all powerful with the Shogun. I its you will place implicit confidence in my chief- councillor and regard I mine. gazing " I can deceive all the world but sadly at him. Your actions have betrayed you. said " Fair-face." " forgetful of me. you. but inviting her to approach nearer. When his words as though they were succeeded to the rank and estates of .8 The Loyal Ronins. rested her face upon them. my lord " ? " You cannot deYes. I know what is passing in your mind. and his friends will do their utmost to crush the house of Ako. my lord. when you tended that plant. you used one of your hair-pins to remove a dead berry and left the trinket on the rim of the vessel." indicating the man-rio. Fair-face My greatest anxiety is on your account.

fertile in re- and a thorough man. neglect of his. saying " I underFair-face. merely replying " I am certain Big-rock has done his duty. source." : Lord Morning. I quickly discovered learned to value him at his true worth. patient under difficulties my error and He is a man states- of a hundred thousand. not averted this Ah. Lady Pine-island. not to forget my estimation of him. you have passed a sleepless night lie down and endeavor to seek refreshment in slumber.How my a Daimio met his Death. sobbing as though her heart would break. : stand. honorable. led full her toward the entrance to her apartments. her and when she became somewhat composed. The noble slowly returned to his desk. however. her chief attendant. and kneeling ." She tottered into the passage-way and sinking upon the floor saluted him. advanced quickly and drawing the screens between the rooms." is pray you The lady bowed her head and clung well that she to her husband." " Statesman polite to " ! she cried. If harm overtakes our house it will not be through any fault or I He a mirror of loyalty.field did not reproach her wifely outburst. I will send for you later on. then why has he danger from us ? Kira was most for this " Lord Tortoise-well. shut the pitiful sight from her lord's view. brave. knowing was soon to part from him Lord Morning-field endeavored to comfort for ever. imagined myself wiser than Big-rock. I 9 honorable father.

they being there as the representatives of the Sho- gun. passing Sir Common who was still respectfully upon his hands and knees and who presently followed him. to all of which I most respectfully to This commands me submit.M. when he was disturbed by the entrance of Sir Common. and extending Lord Morning-field. facing them. Neither of the officials spoke nor returned his salute. the apartment. calmly perused contents. announced the arrival of the Commissioners from the Shoofun. lower down. said " commit self-despatch and of announces the confiscation my estates and extinction of my family name. Upon reaching the main entrance the noble received and gravely saluted his visitors. remained (8 in Dragon profound thought until the hour A.io before of the it. who. O Lord Morning-field arose and quitted the study. place of honor . rewill at once read and out this decree. the elder drew a it folded document from toward the noble. prostrating himself near the doorway. we are ordered by the Shogun to announce the decision of the Council of Elders in the matter of your unsheathing your sword My within the precincts of the castle of O-shiro. whom he conducted to the reception hall where they seated themselves in the he kneeling on the mats. 77/6' Loyal Ronins. After a moments his : pause. said " bosom.)." ." carry quest you We The noble gravely received the paper and having its : reverently lifted it to his forehead. then addressing the commissioners.

after his lord had ceased to speak. saluted him reverently and retired to his left hand. calm and resolute. and behind him crouched the faithful samurai. listened with the deepest attention and. . whispered in his ear presently drawing a letter from his bosom and handing it to the samurai. When the latter had entered. ready to render the last services to their chief. when the visitors beheld the preparations necessary for He advanced to the place and the solemn ceremony. bowed and taken his place behind his chief. 1 1 chief commissioner listened with : unmoved coun- tenance and replied "In that case we are ready to act as your witnesses. The scene was most In the centre of the group knelt the noble. who . summoned Sir Common and bade him remove some screens concealing a recess in the hall. Lord Morning-field. addressing the commissioners." Lord Morning-field.How The a Daimio met his Death." No mon objection being offered to this he bade Sir Comapproach close to him. cold and stern. then pointing to a white pine-wood box resting on a sambo (stand) of like material. before him were seated the commissioners. impressive. who had not anticipated any other judgment. removing his outer garments revealed the shiromuku (white suit used during mourning and sacrificial ceremonies) after which he seated himself on the thick mats and signaled Sir Common to summon Sir Pure. remarked : " With your permission I will give my final instruc- tions to my councillors.

though the retainers set their teeth and clenched their fingers in agony. there being a light snow upon the ground. no sound escaped their lips. Outside the mansion all was still. lamentations and prayers of thousands of people. Lord Morning-field gazed through the open screens upon the beautiful view beyond and.Hill Temple in In the midst of the corthe southern suburb of Yedo. which was conveyed to its final resting place amid the tears. a norimono was borne tege (enclosed litter) containing the dead body of the Lord of Ako. calmly reached * for the dirk placed near his * right hand. * * * * * That afternoon a mournful procession wended its way toward the cemetery of the Spring. Inside reigned a covering of dead silence for. .12 The Loyal Ronins. mutely bidding it farewell.

eagerly inquired if the latter contained an ac- count of the self-despatch of Sir Kira. by a learned man of Kioto who had thoroughly studied human nature. the city of Yedo swarmed with men shouting themselves hoarse in their endeavors to dispose of newssheets containing full particulars of the death of the Lord of Ako. The great man's misfortune fattens the news-seller.CHAPTER THE MOTHER OF " III." This was said. Early on the morning of the day after the tragedy. who quitting their beds hastened into the streets and. persistent fly quickly discovers a dead body. SIR STRAIGHT-GROVE. In one hand they carried their paper and in the other the broad-sides which had been printed during the night. a merry-looking boy who had folded 13 " What " . After awhile their lanterns cries aroused the inhabitants. The hungry. and these words equally apply to our own time. are you asking ? laughingly exclaimed one of the venders. as they made their purchases. many years ago.

who would take possession of within two days of the noble's death. At the hour of the Horse (noon). as a protection against the dew. This them news . which required that equal punishment should be meted out to all parties engaged in a quarrel." This announcement amazed the listeners who were fully aware of the law. was one directing that the three residences of the daimio in Yedo were to be given up to commissioners accredited by the Shogun. and whose muddy " Do clogs indicated he had traveled from the suburbs. Amorig the minor instructions. who wore in his horn-spectacles and was nervously fumbling " I am anxious to know. ! One seldom " When will Sir discovers two nuts in a single shell. as I have bag relations in the clan of Ako.14 his pocket-towel The Loyal Ronins. comically rolled his eyes and stuck out his tongue. then replied " Don't worry yourself Sir Kira will die a natural : The news. you cash worth of horrors in this sheet. the people learned Kira was to escape with the loss of his office and a few days nominal imprisonment. contained in the de- cree sentencing the Lord of Ako to self-despatch. on the top of his head." " Kira die ? demanded an old man. on hearing which they became very indignant and secretly condemned the partiality of the Shogun. it and secured not expect too will find much your fifteen My honorable masters.seller death." for coins.

p. ." My honorable masters. 14." Chap. iii. you will find your fifteen-cash worth of horrors in this sheet.

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which not only ended the life of their chief. packed their armor and set out for the castle of Ako. in the absence of Sir Big-rock. but broke up their homes and deprived them of subsistence. After awhile his words appeared to comfort her and she recovered her usual calmness of manner. Everything was in confusion and loud were the laat a loss how to act in such a .Grove. did not hesitate openly to denounce the severity of the sentence. 1 5 spread consternation in the hearts of the clansmen residing in the city they. whereupon her delighted . fearing the old woman injury. and upon seeing the sad sight became with grief. frantic Lady would do herself some Fair-face. who lacked the true spirit of loyalty. and as they entirely depended upon the annual allowances received from their lord. mentations of the women who. whose aged parent had been the fostermcther of the dead lord. being sudden emergency. the greater number. On the day of his death she of the One unfortunates visited his residence in order to bid farewell to his body. . was a samurai named Straight-grove. By the mandate a thousand families were rendered homeless. their situations were pitiful in the extreme. which he did with many expressions of tenderness and affection. disposed of their effects and took service under new masters however. after attending to the immediate wants of their families.The Mother of Sir Straight. Some. unlike their husbands. commanded Sir Straight- grove to conduct her home.

M. cheerfully remarked to her son the funeral.). he retired for the night he saw the lamp was still burning in her apartment and knew she had not sought her bed. at the same time stating he would proceed to join Sir Big-rock at the castle of Ako. son softly retired to the kitchen and poured out a cup of sakd (rice wine). His mother appeared heartily to enjoy the viands and when the children went to bed." short so I will seek my room and do some All " present : bowed respectfully. The next morning and began sisting. of his household returned from them and announced that they were to depart on the morrow for his brother's residence in the province of Izu. imagining she grandmother. he drained to soothe the When members his agitated nerves. to pack their effects. he assembled : " Our time here grows writing.1 6 The Loyal Ronins. and about the hour of the Rooster (6 P. having placed on the family altar. and Sir Straight- grove said Honorable mother." later on. When. they gathered in the dining-room and partook of various delicacies which the careful house-wife had made with her own hands. the family rose earlier than usual even the little ones as- but no sound came from the chamber of the Sir Straight-grove. which. was . As that was to be their last night in the old home. he directed his wife to prepare a little feast. I trust you will sleep well.

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he beheld the weapon with which she had ended her life its appearance plainly denoting the will and courage that had : . I pray you will make haste to : very late and the bearers are waiting outExcuse my thus side to convey your baggage to Izu.The Mother of Sir Straight. calm As he held her left hand in in the majesty of death. he knelt. and falling upon their knees. pushed aside the screen. and listened for a reply. my mother crazy that she should do this ? Alas for me !" Advancing and weeping bitterly. Receiving none he became thoroughly alarmed and drawing back the sliding door entered the apartment. 1 7 through sitting up late. as the hours passed and she did not make her appearance. knocked gently. he grew uneasy and approaching the door of the room. " What !" he exclaimed. It is rudely summoning you. His lamentations quickly attracted the members of his family who crowded into the room. then moving toward the bed. saying " Honorable mother. refrained from disturbing her however. arise. his and supported her with his right. . as he tremblingly surveyed " Was the shocking sight. saying " Honorable mother !" To his horror he saw her face was unnaturally white and the bed-clothes were crimson with blood. saluted the dead. raised her in his arms and gazed upon the placid face. He paused sustained her last moments a courage worthy ot the mother of a brave samurai. tired .Grove.

When hands received him. written a firm hand by the heroic matron " I : leave you a few words. travel the Lonely Road. Sir Straight-grove noticed the letter and proceeded to stopping every now and then to wipe the tears in from his blinded eyes. and my heart that swelled with pride when he first walked the length of a mat. knowing in death as nurse is in attendance upon him. a folded paper inscribed "LAST WORDS. He was my am my my my aged lord. when he first received the he entered the world my clansmen tact. eyes. By for her loyal the side of the mat. When him he his our lord hears the sound of my clogs behind be comforted. I determined he should not. To-day a dreadful calamity overtook our lord and I have almost lost myself. My tongue taught his to say uba (nurse literally It was I who watched his infant steps milk-mother). behind the screens. when I saw his murdered body. I was present. tears to chief. old . This was the communication. the body had been removed from the room. when his consummate dignity and manhood. which had proved an altar sacrifice. in life. unattended. I about to end his my life in order that my will spirit may accompany on its journey. was a writing-case. brought foster-son. Therefore. in public audience. and near it . to-day." When read it. I saw him bloom into childhood and develop into a glorious youth.1 8 The Loyal Ronins.

" 1 9 My son. my heart dwells upon you. although I can but feebly express grasp the hilt geance upon which will cause you to follow me so quickly that I shall hear behind me the echoing of your clogs and ere long welcome you to the land of shadows. Moat Jr." Straight-grove dropped the document." When the day of retribution arrived Sir Straight- grove was the of Sir Kira. presently exclaimed " Who is the cause of all this ? Is it not solely due : to the insult Kira offered my honored master ? I call the gods to witness he shall not escape punishment. first to cross swords with the retainers . are three I borrowed from Mrs. volumes of a novel maid.Grove. of your sword and swear swift venthe enemy of our master vengeance As you read wrapped in a purple cloth. when you will not consider yourself. to my " To my Sir dear son. Take good care of your health until the day arrives for you to avenge our master. my thoughts. Miss Angel.The Mother of Sir Straight. You will return them with my thanks. and grinding his teeth with rage. this. I also desire you will give two of my robes and one of my girdles " In my closet. From your mother.

is What cups of sakd. " To-o ke moya Ikura to-o kumo nani kamaya senu Yeube nofuri de mizu ga mashi Masu nomi " dekiru kio no kawa bito" May the distance between the banks of the river The water is high troubling you ? through the storm of last night. notwithstanding the instructions tort of the village elders. and our fares being high in proportion. which formed the eastern boundary of Harima. lawless party. UNCONQUERABLE MEETS THE MESSENGERS FROM YEDO. the terror of solitary travelers from whom. they generally contrived to exmore than the legal amount of fare. Some of them were squatting on the banks smoking and gabmstretched upon their backs dozing or ling. whose occupation consisted in carrying passengers and vehicles across the Kagosa river. They were a turbulent. others ." Such was the song chanted by a number of lightlyclad coolies.CHAPTER SIR IV. we can afford to indulge in big be great.

the banks of the river were almost deserted. " beauty who is she ? springing to their feet." other coolies followed him like a flock of ducks object of their attention anxious to secure a choice morsel. Night was coming on. used as an embank- . 21 watching the rays of the setting sun that gilded the swift waters of the stream. I am coming. the fellow rushed into the water and began to breast the stream.Sir Unconquerable and the Messenger. I will hasten over and attend to her. and who was accompanied by a young man-servant. whose costume and manner denoted her to be the daughter of a samurai. espied two travelers signaling them from the opposite bank. Instead of replying. The attendant remained a few paces behind his mistress and anxiously watched the coolies. on seeing which he exclaimed : great beauty is making signs to me from the other side of the river. while the rest stood waistdeep in the flood and amused themselves by splashing their comrades. armed with one sword. the place had a bad reputation and the yakago (cylindrical net of split bamboo filled with stones." " " A What is that ? What " is that " ? cried the others. As they were ing his thus employed one of the party. was a charming girl of eighteen with a complexion like a momo (peach-flower). great lady. shad- eyes with his hands. laughing and shouting " I : A am The The coming.

my little crow. when he rudely seized her and endeavored The As he did so another to raise her from the ground. staggered up the slippery incline. threw down her On baggage and rushing into their midst. stream Come. rescued his mistress. exclaimed " Dogs." cried the useless for third. ment) cast a deep shadow on the spot where they stood and hid them from the view of approaching travelers. exclaiming : " Look ! here. I am here to defend her. he coning Kagosa : river " who is tinued Don't flutter so. the is deep and no one can carry you as easily as myself. muscular wretch.22 The Loyal Ronins. what do you intend to do ? My lady is not Dare again to alone. man. then drawing his sword. you to ? make love to her." hearing this outrageous speech. her servant." " " It is already engaged by that shall not rub your unshaven chin against I am Here. On came the men and presently the foremost. mount on my shoulders. : . " Cannot you see she prefers me Among the gallants of the and tearbetter looking than I ? the her from of his embrace companion. I will carry you safely over the rough water. no longer able to restrain his indignation. coolie quitted the water. emerging from the water. shouting " . a tall. young lady. You lady her pearly face. boys." frightened maiden shrank from him and would have fled.

Ere they had followed by his triumphant companions. and at the same time permitted him The to see . f Such was Sir Unconquerable who. This stranger was Sir Unconquerable. some (socks) years before. he had thoughtlessly tried its temper upon an impertinent peddler whose friends brought the matter to the notice of his chief. so giving Sir Unconquerable a sum of money. owes allegiance to no master). ronin-samurai was a seen approachgone many paces the which and halted road. they noticing ing along The face of the newclustered around their victim. though still a samurai. Although the latter admired the bravery of his follower and greatly valued his services. he could not condone his offence. after which their leader seized the young lady and made off with her. like a person who peeps behind the grating of a prison. he dismissed him and the knight became a ronin (wave-man. one who.Sir Unconquerable and the Messenger. lay a finger 23 upon her and you will experience the consequences. One day having purchased a sword. twisted ' ." coolies stared as though amazed at his auand seizing their cudgels fell upon the brave lad.':' . had belonged to the clan of Ako. a fitted man whose him his like tabi and name who. on seeing the young lady in the hands of her captors. dacity whom they beat and kicked cruelly. comer was concealed by a straw hat that effectually masked his features. seized them one after the other by their hands. advanced.

" by a hunter or ants whose nest disturbed by a husbandman." murmured the servant. folded their palms and expressed their gratitude. like broken bamboos and hurled them to the ground. The gratitude of your humble servant knows no bounds We we expect to meet fail. Through your bravery we have escaped a great danger. Honorable Sir. Be pleased to let " your honorable name ? for . having done which he turned to the affrighted maiden and said " The atrocious conduct of these scoundrels must them : have sorely troubled you." stranger. spite of his wounds.24 Tke Loyal Ronins. Though my And my spirit sprung like an arrow. and advancing upon the prostrate coolies. however. had risen to his knees." The young lady was too much agitated to reply. exclaimed " : Much to be hated dogs. the lady saying : " Sir profound thanks. knelt before their deliverer." Sir Unconquerable placed his hand upon the hilt of his sword. her servant who. The fellows made off like is birds alarmed prepare for death. without and thank you me know present ourselves at your residence your kindness. accept " " mine. The young lady and her servant. overjoyed at their escape. you have indeed arrived at an opportune moment. said " . I was alone and could do but little to defend the daughter of my master. my master in the next village when will.

.

.

Still would much know to whom am indebted for to di- my deliverance. approaching the " litter. they heard loud voices proceeding from the other side of the river and presently beheld a host of travel-stained coolies." While she and her servant were urging him vulge his name. : 25 Unconquerable listened grimly and replied do not require such thanks for so trifling a mat- not trouble yourself further about this. and front of the said : . Sir " I ter. Sir Unconquerable." " I You are very kind. Unconquerable watched the approach of the proand as the first litter was borne up the bank.Sir Unconquerable and the Messenger. glanced at its occupant and said " Pardon me. Has any harm Sir befallen my lord ? Common pointed " to a little frame fixed in the litter. : travels post-haste. but is not the honorable samurai who Sir cession. Sir Common of the clan of Ako ? " The person addressed ordered moment. on which was secured the sambo and white pine box. carrying a light litter and running with all their might. your manner of traveling alarms me." " Sir Common." said the like to young I " lady. but conduct your mistress back to the nearest inn." said the former. referred to in a former chapter. As this party plunged into the stream a second one was seen in the distance. then " his bearers to halt a said : Strangely met. the sun will Do soon be set.

on reaching the summit of which the bearers Sir Pure hastily saluted ." Sir Unconquerable. who. placing his mouth close to Sir Unconquerable's ear. it is I. adding " still : We have made up our minds what to do. Sir Pure. the bearers once more lifted the litter and starting at a run. Unconquerable pray " our lord? has occurred to misfortune me what tell you Sir Pure waited until his bearers had carried him : ! alongside the speaker. You must excuse my relating the particulars you will learn them from Sir Pure who is following me." him and they ascended the bank. If you remember the gracious favors of your late lord. I can make good use of them. The approached the vehicle and shouted " Sir I Pure. too impatient to wait for the arrival of the second litter upon the bank. nounce to . answered " Sir it is not : waded by the should re- Pure. vanished in the direction of Ako. traveled nearly three hundred miles to convey " to Sir Big-rock and anthis." bowing respectfully. when." Ere he had uttered the last word. in five days. him the great calamity that has overtaken our lord. Your fears are well founded. Although my spear is somewhat rusty and my armor dilapidated. waded into the river. ronin. will you not hesitate to join us. as he spoke.26 " The Loyal Ronins. he whispered the sad news. We have. necessary you mind me of such a thing. side of the litter.

Sir Unconquerable and the Messenger.

27
;

broke into a run and rapidly followed the other litter leaving Sir Unconquerable with the young lady and
her attendant.

For some moments he remained as though

lost in

thought, the sad fate of his lord, profoundly affecting his loyal soul. He felt that, beginning with Sir Bigrock, all the samurai of the clan should die defending

the castle against the army of forfeiture, and, as he turned to conduct the strangers to a place of safety, did not notice the dim outlines of the trees and rocks,

but only beheld the sambo and white pine box carried
in the litter of Sir

Common.
office

When

they arrived at the
little

of the road-comferry,

missioners, in the

village near the

he made

a formal complaint against the coolies, then, requesting the officers to take care of the travelers and see them
to an inn, returned to his

took his armor from

its

rest

humble lodging, where he and busied himself in
effects

mending and polishing it. The next morning he disposed of his few started on foot for Ako.

and

CHAPTER
SIR BIG

V.

ROCK RECEIVES THE LAST FAVOR FROM HIS
LORD.

have a dishonest servant than a stingy one," was the golden maxim of the ancients, by which they meant, he who is too careful with his master's money, often becomes the means of ruining him.

" Better

Meanness

is

not economy.

The unpardonable
to

failure of

Sir Arrow-stand

and Sir Wisteria-lake

pay over

the gold sent by Sir Big-rock as a bribe for Kira, was treason against their lord and indirectly the cause of
his death.

After the chief councillor had despatched Sir
well,

Newhis

he

felt

somewhat easy
apprehension

in his

mind and looked
return

with

little

for

the
if

of

messenger.

Therefore, imagine,

you

can, his grief

and

the indignation Sir and Sir Common Pure, brought by

when he heard

awful

news

who reached

ble

the night of their meeting Sir Unconqueraon the bank of the Kagosa river. When Sir Common handed the letter, entrusted to him by his dead chief, to Sir Big-rock, the latter
28

Ako upon

Sir Big Rock receives the last Favor.
raised
it

29

reverently to his forehead, then with trembAs he did ling fingers essayed to break the seal. so he beheld the sambo and pine box from which
Sir

Pure had removed the white covering

;

whereupon

the chief councillor, unable to restrain his grief, his head to the mat and wept, his emotion

bowed

being shared by the messengers. After awhile he conquered his sorrow, and addressing Sir
"
I

Common,

said

:

trust the spirit of

our lord

hibition of
will

weakness.

These

forgive my exare the only tears I
will

allow myself."

rused

Thus speaking he opened the letter and slowly peits contents, and having thanked the exhausted
for their loyal

messengers

hastening to the instructions of their and out chief carry given dithat their wants should be attended rections to, dressed
in

devotion

himself in

sambo and

robes of ceremony, and taking the sacred burden in his hands, proceeded to the castle where he deposited his charge on the tokohis
its

noma

(raised recess corresponding to our mantlepiece), and that accomplished, sent out couriers to

summon
a

the clansmen to an extraordinary council. While awaiting their arrival he knelt, motionless as

statue, with his eyes fixed

upon the white pine box,

thinking
his lord.

how he

should best carry out the wishes ot Presently his hand sought the bosom of his
it

robe and he drew from
read
;

the

letter,

which he again
:

the communication being as follows

30

The Loyal Ronins.
"

THOU KNOWEST."
late

This was signed with the military name of the
noble.

In a short time the clansmen began to assemble, each, as he arrived, silently taking his place on the

matted

floor according to

his
;

saluting the chief councillor

rank and respectfully their blanched faces and

grave looks plainly denoting the anxiety that possessed their souls. The hours passed slowly as they
knelt,

mute and mournful,

with their

right

hands

grasping the hilts of their long swords, which they held vertically and used to support their bent bodies.

The

first

horizon

when an aged

gray streaks of dawn were illuminating the soldier ascended the castle-

tower, and approaching the big bell sorrowfully drew back the suspended beam used as a clapper and
against the metal repeating his action seven times and thus proclaim'ing the hour of the Tiger After he had completed his task he leaned (4 A.M.)

swung

it

;

over the parapet, and placing his withered hand to his wrinkled ear listened, presently muttering to himself
"

:

The

last

of the clansmen has
gate.

come

in.

I

hear the

warden closing the great
begin."

Now

the council will

At that moment Sir His surmise was correct. Big-rock raised his head and announced the reason
for so

suddenly assembling the members of the clan. The news fell upon the samurai like a thunderbolt

upon an egg.

A

dead silence reigned

in the apart-

Sir Big Rock receives the

last

Favor.

31

ment, and the dumbfounded clansmen glanced at one another as though utterly unable to comprehend the
full

meaning of the communication.

After awhile

one of the juniors uttered a cry of indignation. Then a loud clamor arose all over the hall and, notwithstanding their respect for the chief councillor, every-

body spoke
"

at once.

Now is the moment to remember the golden words of the ancients," excitedly exclaimed a young samurai " When the master is insulted it is for the servant to die. Our lord is no more, therefore let us
follow him, dying gallantly defending his castle, the ramparts of which shall be our pillow. Sir Chiefcouncillor,
this is
it

How
Sir

and when

is

our determination, frankly spoken. to be accomplished, we leave to

your decision."
Big-rock understanding their excitement permitted them freely to express themselves. Then once

more
"

meeting to order, said Fellow clansmen, your exhibition of loyalty, while admirable in its intent, savors too much of haste. You desire to die like true samurai. Where is your enemy to be found ? It will be easy enough to throw
;

calling the

away your

lives

but the height of

folly to sacrifice

your-

selves without obtaining some return. Our duty is to petition the authorities to appoint Lord Great-learning, the honored brother of our late master, chief of our
clan

and thus restore the house of Ako.

only partially know the decision

As yet we of the council of elders.

Sr. unless he has already died of his wound. would have averted this calamity. as our lord was directed to commit self-despatch. expect. They. Sir Moat. said : " Sir Chief-councillor. Sr. You will travel post-haste and return in the : : ." Sir Big-rock bowed gravely. Sir Kira. paused until the sound of their voices had died away. then signified as- Sir Moat. when he continued " Sir Chief-councillor. addressing the is president. I two despatch competent persons to the double object of presenting the petition Common and Sir Pure capital for the and ascertaining the fate of Sir Kira. its The assembly almost unanimously sent. after which he turned to Sir Shell and Sir Pigeon-field. understand when you heard of the danger likely to overtake our late lord. " fellow clansmen ? How say you." echoed the clans- men. I trust you will assent to this. and said " I shall have to trouble you with the mission to Yedo. without doubt. will have received a similar sentence. This matter was not known on the afternoon of our lord's left death when Sir propose we Yedo.. with death at our hands. which." " Yes.32 I The Loyal Ronins. there I one matter to which I desire to call your attention. failed in their duty and their treasonable neglect should be punished with death at our hands.. if carried out. you gave certain instructions to his councillors in Yedo.

well from the bringing news arrived post-haste of the sentence passed Sir Kira. Fellow clansmen." The members saluted and retired. We will fight and die. ing the assembly. eager to be the first to enter the portal and report himself for duty. This announcement caused the whole clan to grind and say is now no hope for us. the whole clan swarmed to the castle. New. every one anxiously waiting for information from Yedo. Two upon days afterward Sir capital. each carrying his armor. will show that we deserve the name of loyal samurai. shall have servants who do the same. and our their teeth " There : bodies.' This is the only return we can ' render for the well-remembered favors of our dead lord. swords and spear. people will say the master who observes his duties." Filled with these lofty sentiments. in the will remain castle.Sir Big Rock receives the last Favor. Although the clan of Ako may no longer exist. We close the council." once more address" from to-day until further orders. . however we will not be cowards and bring upon ourselves the ridicule and contempt of the world. you will now and the clan will be ready under arms. and before night the castle was in a state of complete defense. 33 same manner. every one at his post. hanging over the ramparts.

before lost the good will of the lord of Ako. THE CLANSMEN PREPARE TO DEFEND THE CASTLE. loyally rallying round the standard hoisted by the officers chief-councillor. Loyalty knows no distinction of rank. the majority of the clansmen. Instead of obtaining service elsewhere they had wandered about Among those ronin." The This ancient maxim admirably Ako.samurai 34 . sought safety ever. on hearing some of the samurai had . placed certain at the castle gate with instructions to take names of all who presented themselves and them assign duty according to their rank and merit. including the foot soldiers. these in the service of other masters how- were exceptions. Sir Big-rock. the down who approached the portal. describes the feeling It is true. forgetting all else but their duty. were three whose appearance plainly betrayed their These men had some time spirit and determination.CHAPTER " VI. that animated the clan of of their lord's misfortune. beautiful lotus springs from the mud. ever wise and watchful.

34. p. on the shore of the inland sea. Province of Harima. Castle of Ako."The Chap. ." vi.

.

replied " : Honorable Sir." Sir Cliff-field. if you please. though are determined to die for our lord . Upon hearing of his fate they had vowed to die in his cause. At future day.The Clansmen Prepare to Defend the Castle." at councillor. If you do not grant us this favor we will end our lives where we stand. therefore. waiting for the day when he would forgive them and restore them to their former positions. be good enough to report our presence to Sir Big-rock. Taking pity upon our wave-like fortune trial. hastened to present themselves before the registering officers. then. in the addresses. In a few moments a messenger came out. services. he. even in the hour of his forgets not to remember our needs. 35 the country. hear from the chiefpresent he is unable to avail himself of some your Upon hearing this decision Sir Cliff-field. : unable to restrain his tears. only ronin. the orders of the chief councillor excluding all but clansmen from enrollment. we you are quite right." The official did as he was requested. . replied in a husky voice " The kindness of Sir Big-rock is well known to us. and after thanking the three ronin. said " name them with money and : of Sir Big-rock. presented clothing." remarked the latter. " While admiring your spirit I cannot permit you to enter the castle. taking down their You may. speaking for the others. " Wait a moment. and although their armor was rusty and their clothes ragged. yet.

36 The Loyal Ronins. : " Look at the fellow's clothes pudence in desiring to for him to take a glance " wonder at his imbe registered it would be good ! I . cillor ot commenting upon the During the succeeding days the registering officers were kept busily employed by the arrival of the loyal clansmen from Yedo. villages. and attempted to enter the portal. most he will communicate with us. his order to withdraw. catching the loyal spirit of the clansmen. in a mirror. noticing which the registering officer contemptuously motioned tire. carrying on his back a set of dilapidated. don't you understand said another. We when his plans are decided upon. goodness of Sir Big-rock. refuse his Under these circumstances we dare not bounty or disobey sincerely trust. purple armor and bearing in his hand a formidHe advanced without any demonstration able spear. were anxious to offer their services. In the midst of the bustle there appeared a very poorly clad man. so wishes to enter the castle ." " ! O. they departed." The others added their entreaties to his. and after the messenger had promised to inform the chief-counthe same. : him to re- remarking with a sneer have no occasion for your services. " He fears to die of hunger." His words were caught up by the bystanders who began to mock the new-comer one of them saying " We . in addition to whom came merchants from the city and farmers from the provincial who.

.

.

" That is it ! That " is it ! cried the others. the Castle. and bowing respectfully. Sir Hatchet raised his : voice and shouted Unconquerable ! Are you among the crowd ? Sir Big-rock is impatient to see you. 37 plenty of if He of is willing satisfy meet a soldier's death.where he knows there to is to Defend rice. dog often happens upon a good dinner. he can first all the craving of his appetite. moments an aristocratic.The Clansmen Prepare . but." " Sir Unconquerable! Sir Unconquerable!" echoed . taking his seat did not trouble himself upon the stump of a tree near the gate. " Yes. came to the portal and enIn a few quired of the registering officers " Among those who are waiting for admittance. martial-looking samurai." A tramping The grim-looking samurai to listen. The honorable samurai you mention has not yet arrived. waited patiently as though expecting a summons from within." Upon " Sir receiving this answer." : is The replied " official : scanned his list." whis- pered a three men whom money " " opinion is he has heard of those the chief-councillor supplied with and clothing and wants to share their good third. named Hatchet." said a weazened-faced tailor. there not one Sir Unconquerable. " My fortune." " I do not even give him that much credit.

clapping their hands to their swords. name does not appear on the lists. ire of some young samu- who. has always been noted for his bravery and loyalIt is Surely he has not sought safety in flight." That afternoon when a number of the clansmen were assembled in the council-chamber. yet his now five days since the enrollment began." This remark aroused the rai. we can no longer tell a gentleman : . the cry being taken up by the loungers outside. please accom! pany me to his presence. Sir. one of them exclaimed : " What has become of Sir Island-in-the-front ? He ty.5g The Loyal Ronins. On hearing his name called. after the crowd. ' by his clothes. people falling back him with profound respect and saluted Sir Hatchet said. the saturnine stranger toward the gate. the slowly rose and advanced as he approached. Sir Unconquerable has been expecting you." Sir Unconquerable turned slowly round and. Now. officials at the the gate . talking over their plans and prospects. " lor The chief-councilWell met. saying " We will attend to the matter and pay a visit to : Sir Island-in-the-front. If we find him preparing to . leaving the people in amazement the tailor presently remarking Great Buddha. followed Sir glancing contemptuously upon Hatchet to the council-chamber. rose.

we will send him upon a different journey.The Clansmen Prepare retire like to Defend the Castle. beam ready to There is his armor hangbe put on at a moment's ' We have been too hasty. ing from the notice. fully determined to carry out their words. 39 a crab. said " I : cannot make this out." motioned his companions to remain quiet and advanced to the entrance of the room." " Ah !" said the samurai. After . . knew it . what is your pleasure ?" To which their leader answered " We desire to know whether your husband : is pre- paring to assist in the good work " ?" Honorable sirs. he is down upon " the shore attend- ing to his business." they went rattling their swords and clattering their clogs. and rushing into found everything in confusion. " reception-room I Ah !" exclaimed their leader. we looks suspicious." the wife of Sir Island-in-the-front en- As he spoke tered from the yard. Away Upon reaching the house they entered without the " ceremony. On the shore is all he? this Come." will seek him. gentlemen. when instead of drawing his sword he halted a moment and. and falling upon her knees enquired in an agitated voice : " Honorable sirs. it is I as we expected he is in his private apartment. be the one to despatch him. pointing will He forward.

That is the reason why I have not had time to enroll my name. like stage dai- mio. The sparrow cannot comprehend the mind of the " eagle. The samurai listened gravely and replied " Those packages are destined for the castle.' ." busily : The 1 faces of the young men crimsoned with shame. and presently reached the custom-house on the wharf. : ' and. on seeing which they rudely demanded what he was about. their leader said Ten thousand pardons for the ignorance of youth. bowing respectfully. While you have been doubting my loyalty I have been providing the means for your support. They swaggered off. where they discovered Sir Island-in-the-front engaged loading coolies with packages of provisions.4O The Loyal Ronins. three abreast. and why he had not enrolled his name.

Balanced against the my life is as light as a feather. deeming it wisest to await the return of their envoys from the capital. However. SEALING THE COMPACT. On the morning of the fourteenth Sir Pigeon-field presented themselves at the gate. 41 day Sir Shell and and . to surrender the castle of Ako to the commissioners who would be despatched for the purpose of taking possession of the same. he did not communicate its contents to the clansmen." Sir Big-rock upon the occasion of his receiving an official notification from These words were uttered by the Shogun. commanding him. This document reached him about the time Sir Shell and Sir Pigeon-field arrived in Yedo. Meanwhile preparations for the defense were continued and the fortress was victualled to sustain a long siege. within thirty days. quietly and respectfully. " A million evils are not so heavy as a latter command of the master .CHAPTER VII.

Alas! Alas! he still lives and " Sir Chief-councillor. then re- plied I : mission. the stately Fuji. Sir Shell made the report. Sumida river and mocks the noble justice How can the gods permit such in- Sir Big-rock listened with deep attention. and laughs at the idea of our avenging the death of our lord.42 The Loyal Ronins. and of the fidelity of his retainers. were immediately conducted to the presence of Sir Big-rock. We basks in the sun-shine hear his manner is as in- our house. which was as follows : duly delivered the petition to the proper authorities then made searching enquiry regarding Sir Kira. we though deprived of solent as ever his office. Sir Pigeon-field being too much exhausted to speak. as communicate I wish to to the it . of the Shogun's favor. I desire you will not . and moon " ? illuminating the spirit. Their travel-stained costumes and fatigued appearance betokened the severity of their journey. in the disgrace of has trebled the guards at the gates of his residence and his our spies dogged steps wherever we went. While the latter lies under the shadows of the tall pines of the Spring-Hill the cemetery. any one.* thank you for your zeal nake known this intelligence to I think the matter over before clan. in the discharge of your Please retire and take the refreshment and repose you so greatly need. his chief councillor. us enemy gazes at the rising sun. He boasts of the wisdom of Sir Small- and that he triumphs He grove.

upon " Sir Common said : Sir Chief-councillor.' hereby vow to commit self-de- . who upon receiving the decree of the Shogun. retainers of the Lord of 'Ako. ing. 43 leaving- The messengers bowed and retired.Sealing the Combad. and the words of the sage When the master is insulted. where. it is my duty to inform you that the Shogun has commanded me to deliver up the castle to an army of occupation. " ! wisdom of your decision. while we do to not doubt the of us. remembering the countless favors we have reis This " my " reply ! ceived at his hands and those of his ancestors. I shall do. as though expecting he would say something more however he remained with his head bowed. undersigned. said : unfolding the paper and readthe We. cil. it is ' for the servant to die. Sir Big-rock to his meditations. and when he ceased to speak. looked inquiringly at one another. bowing to his I have not lightly come to authority. Two days afterward he assembled a second coun- and thus addressed its members: Fellow clansmen. " this conclusion. to would be To oppose the lawful authorities dishonor the memory of our late lord. which. immediately proceeded to carry out its purport. his bosom." The samurai listened with grave attention. we without first knowing what is hesitate to abide become by it Are we to forget our loyalty ? Perish the thought The chief-councillor respectfully saluted the and taking a document from " speaker.

Sr. These men represented the rice separated from the husks. one by one. lion gods of heaven and earth be visited upon may January. we signing this. produced the paper which he unfolded and reverently deposited on the tokonoma in front of the sambo. The council now dismissed." The chief-councillor paused in order to note the ef: fect of his words upon the assembly. He then invited Sir Moat. 1699. saluting them gravely." At the appointed time sixty-three of the clansmen were kneeling upon the matted floor of the councilchamber. thus spatch and follow for lawful audemonstrating to the world our respect thority and devotion to our chief. If we fail to carry out this vow. should sign next to his father. The boy advanced and performed the ceremony. beneath his own name. being a foot soldier named Temple-cliff. Sir Big-rock. did the same the last to sign .44 The Loyal Ronins. After a brief delay Sir Big-rock entered and. the vengeance of the hundred milus. Jr. to follow him.. addressing whom Sir Big-rock said : . his spirit on the Lonely Road. cut the back of the third finger of his left hand and placed the bleeding member upon the document. " To-morrow at the hour of the will then continued re-assemble for the purpose of is Horse (noon). Turning to the assembly he drew a little knife from the scabbard of his sword. after which the others. a lad of thirteen. but the old samurai declined the honor and requested that the son of the chief-councillor.

whom received twenty-five rio. " 45 Your presence here chief and adds tainers. spear though ready to obey any order. While they were thus waiting. abreast from the portal. On whereupon the to chief-councillor ordered Sir Common marshal the clansmen and march them out of the castle. and." Sir Big-rock paid off the paper curof the clan. whether to attack or retire.Sealing the Compact. their arms and accoutrements glistening in the cold sunlight. having set aside a large sum rency The next day of money in for a special purpose. divided the balance left each of the treasury among the sixty-three samurai. the morning of the thirtieth day. in as hand. They stood motionless. the manner in which he manoeuvred his forces exciting the envy and admiration of the beholders. : gratifies the spirit of our lustre to the reputation of his loyal reThen speaking to the entire assembly. " after the surrender of the Immediately we will meet at the family temple fulfilling of our late lord for the purpose of our vow. the army of occupation arrived before the gate and demanded possession of the fortress. one The clansmen emerged two under the command of Sir Common and the other under Sir Unconquerable. Crossing the stone causeway they deployed to the right and left and formed into two bodies. The occasion afforded an opportunity for the official to display his military knowledge. Sir Island-in-the-front ." added castle.

" bowed low and the clan dispersed. during which ceremony Sir Big-rock and his right attendants prostrated themselves upon the ground. Following him came Sir Big-rock. & chief-councillor. at a short distance. bearing clad in chief. marched the vulgar. while the representatives of the SJw-gun were seated upon camp-chairs. the standard of the late quitted the castle. who carried in his hands the sambo covered with the white cloth. bearing reverently in his hand a tablet inscribed with the posthumous name of his lord. behind him his son carrying the being sambo. when he despatched a messenger to the commanders of the army of occupation. I trust those among you who may seek new masters will serve them as faithfully as you have served your All present late lord. guarded by samurai.46 The Loyal Ronins. He waited until his son had joined the body of clansmen under Sir Common. who advanced with their retinues and received the key. When all was over Sir Big-rock rejoined the clans- men whom he thus addressed " The house of Ako no longer : exists. holding in his hand the key of the main gate. ceremonial costume. Jr. At the hour of the Horse Sir Big-rock entered the temple of the Snow-clad Pine. I bid you a sorrowful farewell.. the main Upon reaching hall they were met by the chief priest who received their burdens and . the intention being to screen the sacred relic from the profane gaze of the Behind him.

Sealing tJie Compact. 47 deposited them on the altar. said " The time has not arrived for us to use our weapons upon ourselves. ' Thou shalt not live under the same heaven or tread the same earth with the enemy lord The death of our His enemy. in all things. knowing full well the spirit that animates us. upon receiving which their leader wrote a new compact. owing allegiance to no one but their dead lord. nevertheless we must acof thy master or thy parent. will render our task a most difficult one. The clansmen not concerned in the league did that From . This the sixty-four sealed with their bloody hands. Big-rock advanced to the post of honor and kneeling.' first must be avenged.. without drawing his sword. Sr. complish even river. The The conspirators listened attentively. be guided by your example and counsel. we will. The sixty-two were all assembled with their swords placed upon the mats ready Sir for use. as they were already in the eyes of the law. and the reason is to be found in : the words of Confucius. replied " Sir Big-rock. then. : and Sir Moat." The chief priest provided them with paper and other writing materials. prostrated himself." king-fisher always finds its prey the latter hide at the bottom of the though it. ronin. hour they became in the eyes of men.

what they considered wisest for the welfare of themselves and families. Within a week of the surrender of the castle. his wife. Lady Fair-face. Sir Big-rock despatched Sir Shell. instructing them minutely to Sir Kira and report his movements.cliffs with other conspirators to Yedo. who had lately been created Lord of Sabaye. Upon and took up her abode part of in sion situated in the Blue her only possession. Sir Unconquerable and Sir Thousand. she dwelt secluded from the world. where. a manHill district in the western Yedo. . a little town near the city of Kioto. having watch done which he gave up his residence in Ako and purchased a house in Yamashina. the death of the Lord of Ako. assumed the religious name of Pure-gem. attended by Lady Pine-island and a few faithful maidens.48 Tlic Loyal Ronins. waiting for the time to arrive when the ronin would avenge the death of her husband. the greater number taking service under a favorite of the Sho-gun. Sir Cliff-side.

ried a young merchant named Mr.CHAPTER VIII. This lady. In the fashionable. alas. had installed her in that charming spot. only a few months before. had been a famous singingAt the expiration of her contract she had margirl. when the shadows were deepening. which were kept green and fresh by a little stream that flowed through the domain. 49 . and as solitude naturally induces feelings of former gay life gloom. was left much alone. proud of his lovely wife. plants and flowers. whose name was Littletiger. northern suburb of Yedo. THE STORY OF A YOUNG WIFE'S SORROW. who. stood a cottage surrounded by beautiful grounds containing many lovely trees. she who had created the paradise had passed away and her late home was inhabited by a young bride. The result of an artistic taste could be seen on every side but. and he. her husband being absent at his place of business in the city. Bright-stone. she often thought of her and contrasted it with the quietness state. called Root-bank. and stagnation of her new One evening.

The empty considera- state of his money-bag and his worried looks tell the story of his trouble. she took up her guitar." Instead of completing the song she suddenly laid aside the instrument. yet my sleeves were wet with showers of tears. I " husband will not own it. Though shame and . He goes off very early to the and does not return until late at night. Why has he brought me to dwell in such a secluded believe it is place ? I Surely this cannot be the summer-house of which have heard so much. which rested against a pillar. I am sure. so is the path of love crossed with thorny obstacles. alone and sad heart beat fast and became as round as the Imon As I ! man noted nightingale nor the umbrella the approach of rain. " As the wood vines render the foot of Uyeno Hill difficult to Hill that lay before " Neither the me. a mistake for any one in his position to disregard public opinion and sacrifice his comfort. " my wandered the Niphon road. but when my thoughts flow toward my love. his business has decreased.5 The Loyal Ronins. and resting her chin upon her hands. but one he has hurriedly hired for city my reception. " The waters of the Sumida river tranquilly pursue their course. said in a musing tone : Although my since we have been married. commenced to sing a well-known song. ascend. I am full of uncertainties. and after tuning it.

evening ask you him and said do not Bright-stone. this my heart is full of sadness. "You do . upon which she dried her eyes." disastrous news to me. after : closing the outer door." " Do not be alarmed." He " followed her into the house. calling their mates to their resting-places among the trees. I have been very busy to-day running all over the city and must make : . you are very late I began to have fears about you. and the dusk of the The evening added to her sadness." when I am sure you will feel more cheernot "Oh. 5i my feelings. when his wife. Little-tiger. Little-tiger. and tears began to course down her cheeks. another visit before retiring to rest. rose. hurried to the entrance and welcomed her husband. I suppose the con: trast between your gay home and this place is too In a few days we will remove to our city great. knelt close to Dear . and patting her on the back. rested her head upon his knees. saying " Dear Bright-stone.A tion for Young Wifes Sorrow. may keep him from I imparting the would prefer to learn the worst and share his sorrow. Presently she heard some one opening the gate. replied " I understand all. knowing the pangs of unspoken grief are doubly hard to bear. please go out again this I know not why but something tells me to . Bright-stone!" she sobbed." He drew her toward him. chirping of the birds. residence ful.

Cannot." Little-tiger!" exclaimed. not my loneliness but he your secret sorrow that renders "Little-tiger! me so unhappy. Wait until morning." affected him and it was some reply. If I am not worthy to share your your trouble. I am unworthy Her speech greatly moments ere he could " your wife.52 The Loyal Ronins. I must set out at once. clinging to 'If you must this depart evening." :>h. business compels me to take a journey. Here." withdrawing a package containing five rio and a sealed letter from his bosom. loving ." wait awhile. in a despairing voice. will Now I must return to the city. when he said : to be The your love magnifies your fears. It fs understand me. and the sufficient to last be You money you until my return. please " take you where I myself dislike to Come. be brave. let me accompany you. " I ?" she cried." Her womanly perception penetrated his I How can cro." she cried. "who af- has been fairs?" " speaking to you about " I my business No one. here find necessary instructions. is what I came to nng you. truth to tell. Little-tiger. and. " No." little one. have learned all by watch- Please do not conceal the nature of ing your face. fact is Dear my Now know 1 you all. misfortune from me." To-night not to-night." she said. I must set out to-night. my Little-tiger.

" She clung cried " I : to him with one hand and with the letter. exclaiming " Ah I find it is as I thought. responsiI but. from you. must hurry away. a What can I say ? woman of low birth. I would not have taken pains to provide bilities as a coward for shirking instead of bravely facing them have of late been so unfortunate that I you brand after my death. that is not intended for you to read now. do you. stratagem. am end disgusted it. I shall follow stand all. I know full well the world me my . you imagine I could survive your death ?" " No. if I must part your farewell. dear and admirable one. him with overflowing sit 63 eyes. has brought this ruin upon Still." he sobbed. " I have never thought 'you would be thus unfaithful. and regarding Oh. Had I once a singing who done for will so. down again. with my life and am determined to You- . as she did so quickly glancing over the presently dropped. as you have chosen me for your wife. alas. other broke the seal of the noticing which he My dear. I have no need of money. It is I. : ! which she You are blameless." The agonized wife only grasped him more epistle. my dear husband. firmly. That letter contains Friendless as I am. I under- sudden calamity has overtaken you and you are about to end your life. girl.A she pleaded 14 : Young Wife's Sorrow. A the path you take.

54 The Loyal Ronins. dying in the beautiful spot rendered sacred by the devotion of the singing-girl. All was lonely and sorrow-inviting. a sign she had renounced all hope of life. still it tained honestly." pausing to pray at the willow tree. and have been this wild place. and proceeded toward the Three-points in the direction of the " Well-of-the-woods. to one of the branches of which the wife tied her silken girdle-string. pray you to accept it. you would be better off. we will seek its shelter. planted in her ory. We go to the ' Well-of-the-woods' near by. noticing which they knelt and said their last prayers." mem- Bright-stone rose. and there end our lives. prostrated I By and she said : by. therefore So saying he sunk with grief. ." They quitted the house. White-oak. As they approached the well they saw the pale moon reflected upon the placid water. quitted your gay circle to please me. so I thought if^I only a prisoner in were out of the way. all "The gods decree will things for our good. who is buried near her lover beneath the spreading branches of the weeping willow. hand in hand. and regarding her tenderly. when she had somewhat comforted him. This was obsmall sum of five rio will not go far." down at her feet. said : " The willow tree you mention is said to possess miraculous power. Come.

I recognize a good omen for him.A After a few Young Wifes Sorrow. there- fore. chief councillor of Sir Kira. pleasure. the course you had decided to take appeared the best under the circumstances. There are changes in the career of every man. by my interposition. in your despair. selled and who." you dry your Bright-stone and his wife were touched by the kindI came here to-night . When edge and. In being able to save your lives. rushed forward and seized them. joined hands and the fatal leap when a samurai advanced The new comer was Sir Small-grove. even at the risk of incurring his disSir Small -grove had drawn them from the of the well he enquired the cause of their sorrow. moments they rose. venerable tree for to pray under yonder honored lord. saying : " My good friends. been delivered from I death. became greatly interested and did his best to console them. divining their intention. always counhim rightly. As you have. so will he be saved from his enemies. though that master erred. feel sorrow. a man whose loyalty would at any time cause him to cross swords with the enemy of his master. unable to bear such great shame and Probably. pray tears and with come me. and though he may fall very low yet who can say he will not rise It was in truth again. that the dangers my now besetting him may be averted. doubtless. 55 prepared for along the path and. a very foolish one. upon learning the truth. you are both very young.

In a future chapter I will tell how these young people were enabled to return the great kindness rendered them by Sir Small-grove. Bright-stone and his wife were received into the merchant's family. accompanied him to his house where they remained a few days. and after gratefully saluting him and returning their thanks. so. desired to adopt a son.island. like Sir Big-rock. though he served a bad master. Young. . was. It fortunately happened that one Mr.56 The Loyal Ronins. who. a man of a hundred thousand. an old friend of Sir Small-grove and a mirror-maker by trade. ness of Sir Small-grove. at the samurai's suggestion Mr.

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THE CONTEMPTIBLE BEHAVIOR OF THE TWO COUN- At the first signs of a storm the timid hare seeks safety in the his earth. " On and began shall to talk over their prospects. Sir Arrow-stand and Sir Wisteria-lake. that has occurred We are blamed for everything 57 and our position has become a very hot one." I came across this maxim the other day while read- ing a history of the forty-seven ronin . White-stocking. " we do ? nervously enquired Sir who was the younger of the two men. I others. which they weave into their quote the foregoing saying in order to illustrate the cases of those cowardly wretches. and as birds collect various substances with which to form their nests. " IX.CHAPTER CILLORS. When trouble overtakes the master. the night of their lord's death they met in the apartment of Mrs. " What Wisteria-lake. so authors search out and use the thoughts of stories." . the disloyal servant fills pouch and departs. wife of Sir Arrowstand.

Yes." good name lady uttered a peculiar sound. who. pourwhich he raised to his lips ing out a big cup of saki " The fact is. was anxious to keep his friend in ignorance of it. but we must seek other and more pleasant quarters." mournfully answered Sir Arrow-stand.58 " The Loyal Ronins. " ! is " " I said pewgh Sir Wisteria-lake. gazed at her over his horn-spectacles and mildly remarked : " Your cough I " again troubling you ? did not cough. we are in a well. after the manner of young wo- men mated wear to old husbands whom they have tamed to petticoats. and resting the palms of her hands upon her The knees. Sir Arrow-stand. Sir Big-rock will never overlook our blunder. looked en- quiringly at Sir Arrow-stand. wagging her head as she did so. who he expected however the husband reproach the lady . would merely replied 1 : The noise outside renders conversation somewhat always for- -difficult. " Your " what are you condemning? determination. who was respectfully waiting for the termination of this domestic encounter. though used to that sort of demonstration. Everyone else can go to Ako. Honorable wife. with a shaking hand. will I think the wisest thing for us and thus secure a be to commit self-despatch for the future. gave her husband a significant look. to do. " You ." she tartly replied. indicative of dissent. Sir Wisteria-lake." she said.

59 I get me.Contemptible Behavior of the Councillors. presses there are eye-hitters stored my mistress is a widow she will no longer have use for such things and. agreed with her inclination." she cried.. as though thinking aloud " Follow his honorable example. " The " If I will accompany you and. listen to me. you mean business. after filling and lighting her pipe. so. when they ." This is no time to quote poetry. and Sir Wisteria-lake waved his hand as consent to such a though signifying he could never had exhausted their stock thing however." ." Mrs." Sir Arrow-stand turned to his comrade and remarked in an under-tone " : strongest is not always the wisest.why not accept the : benevolent provision of the gods ? To-morrow the commissioners will arrive and pocket all that is left. You and Sir Wisterialake have the keys of the treasury. while you are filling your bags. . White-stocking pretended not to hear this remark which. in no manner. At first her husband affected to be shocked by her proposition. go to the treasury at once. If you commit self-despatch. select some of the soul-stirring robes from my lady's Now that there. what am to do?" Sir Wisteria-lake bent forward : and murmured. I am sure. she glanced at her husband and said " Honorable Sir. would rather know they decorated my back than see them in the possession of . the commissioners' favorites.

6o of moral The Loyal Ronins. Sir Arrow-stand failed to notice the actions of his wife. forgot all The men. they took their lanterns and proceeded to the fire-proof building." . for which purpose they kicked open ure-boxes and otherwise conducted themselves like Sir Wisteria-lake secured the plunder while burglars. " Go on preventing with your business. maxims. I will attend to mine. set to work to fill their bags with koban (oval." she mumbled. gold coins of various the treasvalues). the pocket-book her from speaking very plainly. Sir Arrow-stand made entries in a note-book. where the robes and other treasures of their dead master and living mistress were stored. while between her teeth she held a pocket-book. which she was securing with a silken cord. his companion should not have more than his share. containing paper-currency." is my Hearing 44 this act of placing a koban in the We shall remark Sir Wisteria-lake paused bag and said be unable to carry anything so : in the weighty. thus employed he said : Seeing her " 44 What That are you doing " ? affair. When they were filling the last bag he observed Mrs. when the time came for them to divide their prize. This matter kept him very busy. White-stocking on her knees before an immense bale. who now scruples. wrapped in a white cloth. as Sir Wisteria-lake instead of depositing the koban in the common purse. he being determined. betrayed a tendency to slip them into his sleeve therefore .

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leaning back and tightening the cord of the package. " It has been and shall always be as his I will. " 61 I Don't you trouble yourself." she said. pick as they it up and carry between you.Contemptible Behavior of " tJie Councillors. When they had collected as much as they could carry he secured the door of the building and they proceeded toward their house." said her I " Let us hurry " husband in a low tone. my dear." " man meddles As you will." she retorted." whispered all . are robes in this bale that cannot be When ! duplicated. he attempts something he does not understand. coolie. do not wish to be discovered in the I vicinity of the treasury." Not one step will advance without " my bundle. " Yes. it Come. That My dear. " do not burden yourself with those bulky things take money." he hurriedly replied. both being her power." The over-burdened men did in were required. will the dresses you require. ." will be my own " her husband. as you will." she resolutely answered. a with a lady's wardrobe. White-stocking soon dropped her burden and exclaimed : " It " I is too heavy " ! told you ! so." Sir Arrow-stand uttered a deep sigh and returned to work. Mrs." purchase you " " " she There Pewgh contemptuously returned.

.62 The Loyal Ronins. They soon reached the house. describe the punishment that overMeanwhile we will leave the wretched men to be tormented by the bitter tongue of the shrew. when she made them pack the money among her movables.\\e yashzki (mansion). going forth like burglars anxious to avoid the gaze of honest people. Later on I will took this disloyal trio. An hour before the dawn the party quitted \.

flourished and attracted great crowds of people. in April.CHAPTER X. the mother of mercy. when the cherry-blossoms were just budding in the Temple gardens. entered the inn and took their places on 63 . and lives We will by such deeds shall our be rendered pure. which during the prosperous reign of a wise sovereign. day. From that little germ grew a mighty fabric. grayhaired man. " The kill not perfect state is only to be obtained by prayer. who many years ago dwelt in a hermitage on the spot now occupied by the Temple of Asakusa. among them being place were lined a celebrated one bearing the sign of the Royal Chrysanthemum. an old. WHAT OCCURRED AT THE RESTAURANT OF THE ROYAL CHRYSANTHEMUM. who daily visited it and made their supplications to the goddess Kuwannon. the birds and will even feed the wild eagles." This was the prayer of a pious priest. accompanied by a beautiful girl of seven- One teen years. The approaches to this beautiful with restaurants.

said to his companion. life. The were moistened with "My dear Home. am becoming too old to properly take care of you and am afraid that your beauty will prove I have therefore made up a source of misery to you." To " this tionately replied Grandfather." . I it is not fear that drives me away from Yedo. saying " I new home as being in the country while in reality Golden-shore is not far from Yedo it is also a famous watering-place and neither dull nor described our . as long as you are with me I shall not be friendless. and once in the country no one will annoy us. An attendant the matted floor of the public room.64 The Loyal Ronins. my mind though Alto quit the city and live in the country. When you desire to see your old friends you can join a party of pilgrims coming hither to pray to the goddess Kuwannon and thus reach the city quite safely. you may at first feel lonely and dislike to reside among the strangers. lonesome. patriarch. and them before a screen having obquickly placed tained their order retired." closely : The old man watched her and endeavored to lessen her distress. whose cheeks tears. Still I part with my cannot help feeling regret at having to dear friends and my kind music-teacher. you will soon become accustomed to Keep a good heart and bear my decision explanation and entreaty the maiden affec: with patience.

Oh. In a short time the quick-footed attendant spread a humble repast before them." rudely continued the fellow. I say you no. no one would think you knew that your son had borrowed money of this gentleman. you need not look so very innocent. from your face. and Miss Home was in the act of pouring out saki when two strangers into the room. we have met in a very good : place. Upon seeing the grandfather they advanced to where he was seated. Mr. seeing which the merchant said in a conciliatory tone : The bewildered grandfather . One of the new comers swaggered appeared to be a merchant and the other. was a middle-man. Left-gate-keeper. simply clasping his hands and regarding the speaker. But. but his heart was sorely troubled at being compelled to take his grand-child from her companions and install her in a strange home." The person addressed trembled noticing which " his with apprehension. and pushing aside the screen. Left- " To judge gate-keeper. granddaughter glanced uneasily at the intruders whose behavior greatly distressed her.What Occurred at the Restaurant. absorbed in sad thoughts. the middle-man exclaiming " Mr. You act as though you had a perfect right to take your granddaughter where you please. 65 His words were cheerful. and for awhile he remained silent. kind Sir. squatted before him." did not reply. a person of rough demeanor.

of payment." said the middle- man. shall 1 : I for the paltry sum part with my dear granddaughter of five rio ? No. what am I to do ? Is it true I must accompany these persons ? Can you not help " me ? Thus speaking she grasped the sleeve of his robe and began to weep. at once." " That is a bright thought of yours. you are to be the satisfy you. and addressing Mr. have a take this little will young girl by way I patience with him. Mr. so along with me. . Prosperity laughed " : heartily and exclaimed trouble. Grandfather. don't give sneeringly us any more He seized the girl's hands her away. Left-gate-keeper. whereupon the old man and endeavored to drag arose and thrusting him back. you will not say no. he added. Prosperity. upon ! ." come While the men were making ready to start. cried What. and thus wipe out the obligation. no You shall not ! take advantage of my age and the death of my son You say he borrowed money of you where is your Have you his writing to show? Whether proof? you have or not I will. Mr. : Mr." Come now. for your parent's debt. Miss Home. therefore cannot accompay pany your relative. surely it will See here.66 " The Loyal Ronins. " Do you hear that. the terrified girl turned to her troubled companion and said "My dear grandfather. The obligation having been incurred by your father. reaching Golden-shore.

" He endeavored its to draw his weapon but his palsied hand refused retorted " : office. must and will have this girl. you go too " passionately exclaimed the grandparent. Everyone knows what sort of man I am." " " By the sacred mountain ejaculated the merchant." " Our patience is exhausted. man. shouting " Stop your whimpering and : " We come " along. even though it proceed from the mouth of the old and honorable Mr. seeing which the merchant Look here. " are not such fools as to depend upon a mere ! We promise." far. 67 borrow the amount you demand and forward it to you by a swift messenger.man. said the middle. " I shall not ex- cuse such words." He once more seized her and dragged her toward the entrance. Although I am aged I can still use my sword and will not see my son's daughter kidnapped. Left-gate-keeper. What is the good You know full breath." " Nor I. We furniture. You cannot deceive me. ." cried the middle-man. Mr.WJiat Occurred at tlie Restaurant. Left-gate-keeper. Under no circumstances will I give up the charge of my granddaughter." Here." of your wasting your feeble well you were compelled to leave your house on Buddha-river Street on account of being in arrear with to remove your your rent and were not even allowed Your promise to pay is a mere trick. have caught you in the act of running away.

68 The Loyal Ronins. captivated the heart of Miss Home. who was almost terrified out of her senses. name is Mr. who had been refreshing himself after a tour of inspection. the object of which was to learn something of the movements of Sir Kira. clear eyes. I shall therefore punish you. and as he stood there his white complexion. aquiline nose. rosy lips and brave demeanor. restaurant. who." continued the samurai. The middle-man pursued her. kneeling by the side of her grandfather. exclaiming Dog. Prosperity and I am termed the backbone of the middle-men of Yedo. : drawing " his sword. timidly glanced up at her deliverer. The poor girl. stood over him. Prosperity a blow that sent him upon the " floor. then. enraged at the double outrage. although social distinctions lose their sharpness in a your kicking over my table in the midst of dinner is more than I my ought to permit. broke from him and darted toward a screen behind which a ronin-samurai was seated. then renewed his attempt to drag Miss Home from the apartment. certainly was a handsome young man. sprang to his feet and dealt Mr. " He You impudent wretch. and in his struggle kicked over the screen which fell upon the My gentleman." " ." As he uttered these bombastic words he glanced menacingly around at the guests. what do you mean ? The samurai was Sir Shell. partaking of refreshments. who. in order to intimidate them and prevent their interference.

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" murmured the merchant. will you my " We will agree to anything. prostrating themselves with their foreheads to the floor. seeing which have violated the laws of the middle-man humbly pleaded " Honorable sir." . then observed " I should the blood only stain my good sword with : of such a reptile. for all he says. explain- ing that they were there to arrest some runaways. but for your disrespect for courtesy You men of low degree. I deserve the punishment. Your foot kicked over the screen upon me." Sir Shell deliberated a moment. to In case " I assent spare you." He drew his sword and flourished it. " Name proposal ? your own conditions. 69 Both the merchant and the middle-man were greatly frightened and. least of all a noble samurai like himself." " I can vouch " Yes. in doing which you am your country. yes. taking advantage of age. besought his forgiveness. in doing which they had not intended to offend the guests.Wkat Occurred at the Restaurant. I will have that foot." they answered. this old gentleman's years and helplessness. Sir Shell : glanced disdainfully at them and re- turned " I not about to punish you for your lack of toward myself. but the noble samurai will surely stay his hand when he hears I have a mother and a little son who are entirely de: pendent upon me for their support. have sought to kidnap this young lady.

loudly expressed their The admiration for the courage and charity of the samu- . saying am I are deeply indebted to you. honorable Her grandfather came " We ashamed to her aid. As for the cirpay that. my sword ? the former." : : thank you. will re- " In the first Good. guests. who had been much alarmed by the blustering of the intruders. Be quick." Sir Shell bowed and said " : Honored sir.7o " The Loyal Ronins. sum you demand I will tinued will taking too great a liberty " matter ? you permit me to interfere in this in the presence bashful The maiden. addressing the prostrate pair." After which. Under no this with interfere to cumstances will I permit you he conyoung lady. and in a few moments the kidnappers were out of the house. he sternly said " Let : me money fer off." he cried. make Will you take my I see you preout the receipt and be Ah ! The exchange was soon made. could only faintly sir. I really shall regard the money as a loan which I will endeavor speedily to repay. I will settle this matter. I beg you not to refer to that." or a thrust of have your decision. place you old nounce all claim upon this gentleman." then turning to Miss Home. who felt very : " perhaps I am of the " I handsome utter stranger. to figure in such a disgraceful affair.

know it was discourteous to draw my sword in the I By some mysterious providence we have received a great charity at your hands. urgent duty to I perform. turning to Mr. felt said " : Honorable sir. whispering to Miss Home. to use caution. my a lady. thanks to passed from you. 71 rai." and The plied " : old man bowed profoundly and gratefully re- " you not thank the honorable gentleman ? " Indeed I I feel under a great obligation to you. hope at some future day to be again illuminated by the light of your countenance. you will have not safe for you to tarry here. why do : " " presence of so fair I demanded pardon for it." These words caused her heart to beat violently. said " My dear granddaughter. yet the exigency of the case cannot leave you without asking your I have an rudeness. while the latter. Left-gate-keeper. Poor girl she was already deeply in love with her handgallant rescuer. the danger has . Still.What Occurred at the Restaurant. I beg you will not mention it." Then. I my it is very anxious good sword. therefore must now say farewell. you must have however." she stammered. His manly generosity touched . even now. which ! had induced him to bestow the large sum of five rio upon a passing stranger. would advise you to quit the place at once. not because he was young and some but on account of his goodness of heart." said Sir Shell.

72 The Loyal Ronins. who had made up their minds to deprive me of my granddaughter. being in a public restaurant and unaccustomed to such places. However." whis" pered Mr. I am bound for (the district in " which Sir-Kira resided). . urged her which the old man agreed. who. to comprehending her meaning. " May I ask where you reside ? The replied " ronin's face flushed slightly. I desire to make a little explanation. so I determined to retire to Golden -shore to her. I have long been annoyed by those men. Now. conversation and I I I This is no place " for was about to say Instead of completing his speech he paused and downward with a puzzled air. she was diffident and instead of replying. all my plans are in confusion. Left-gate-keeper. relative to return to the city. nodding samurai : Honorable sir. whispered something to her grandfather. thanks to your kindness in getting rid of them. on which the glanced young lady sighed and said : ' Would it were possible always to remain in the place of one's birth." Sir Shell. and she felt that to trust her life to such a one would be like confiding in the gods themselves. her soul. thus addressed the " out of their way. as : he evasively Original-place Honorable ? I sir. Why do you enquire " Because desire to return your kindness.

What Occurred at the Restaurant. she exclaimed : that. ." Such incidents as these teach us the mysterious ways and workings of the gods who preside over the tying of the thread of love. then road as this gentleman. 73 This decision so delighted Miss Home ting her bashfulness. we shall travel the same Our home is in the district of Original-place. forget- " Oh ! great happiness.

Left-gate-keeper called upon his landlord. How simple are the ways of the poor It was too late for Sir Shell to call upon his friend. so accepting the pressing invitations of Miss Home and her 74 . " Who the great warrior can oppose the will of the god of Izumo is conquered by love.CHAPTER XI. By the time they reached Buddha-river Street the sun had sunk below the horizon and the shadows of the evening were gathering over the city. and partake of a cup of saki. Even Mr. who dwelt near by. Left-gate-keeper and Miss Home the young people quitted the restaurant together and were so delighted with each other's society. THE OLD." (fate). Sir Unconquerable. received a new lease of his old home. who wished to consult him with reinvited Sir Shell to enter it ! gard to a despatch received from Sir Big-rock. and after paying the arrears of rent. whereupon he Sir Shell. Mr. OLD STORY. that the distance between the Temple-grounds and Originalplace appeared but a few paces.

While the young lady was preparing the evening meal he looked round the house and noticed the spirited poverty-stricken appearance of the apartments. continued. He has few years to live and it is every one's duty to make him happy. he said " : Pardon the question I am about to ask. and after they had chatted for awhile. Old Story. presented them to Miss Home and said : it a very small amount but I pray you to accept and expend the money in purchasing some delicacies " This is your venerable grandfather. bowing low.The Old. Have you a any occupation ? If one lives without earning. it being plain enough to him that the inmates would be at a loss to procure even the next day's rice. when he saw the rain descending in a The down-pour perfect deluge from the leaden sky." This remark pleased Sir Shell. He entered the kitchen. said for : " Those who remember the aged will themselves attain the honorable years." . even mountain-high fortune will soon be spent.5 grandparent. At daybreak he drew aside the paper-screen and glanced out. fully intending to leave early the next morning." As he was speaking Mr. he remained as their guest. who delighted him with songs and her performance upon the guitar. finding which he made it an excuse and spent the whole day listening to the charming voice of Miss Home. Left-gate-keeper came from an adjoining room and. took two rio from his purse. .

and leading the old man " It seems to me the aside he whispered to him. Home " I Before day-break on the following morning. she." answered Mr. My only wish now is." said Sir Shell. the recital greatly agitating the old man and making him very unhappy. innocent of hypocrisy. frankly informed him her relative had peddled candies in the streets and she had earned something by assisting her music teacher. Miss knocked at the door of Sir Shell's apartment in and said a troubled voice to : pray you come my grandfather.76 The Loyal Ronins. at some future day. With his death ended the life-long hope of my late son that. " What you young lady is of an age to be married . one of his descendants might be permitted to return to the service in which he had himrecently self been employed. who met such an untimely fate. however. when that takes place you will have some one to support you comfortably. received could hardly pay for your necessaries." " true. are exceedingly poor in addition to this we were once samurai in the service of the Lord of Ako " That is very But we . He has been . The old man and young maiden felt sorely ashamed . who was so deeply impressed by it that he spent the next day in talking over the misfortunes of their late lord. my granddaughter may be married to a samurai" His strange speech quite startled Sir Shell. Left-gate-keeper.

.

.

In a short time the corpse was prepared for burial. the poor girl knelt and wept the women present uniting their lamentations with hers and exclaiming " : Alas ! alas ! the venerable man is no more. seized with a fit. He glanced up at the young man. it who looked on sorrowfully. then. could not find in his heart to abandon Miss Home her hour of trouble. and the thread of his exist- ence was snapped Sir Shell and the young lady knelt by the body until the morning light illuminated the placid face of the dead. closing in twain. and as the smoke of the burning incense circled about the apartment. to whom she sorrowfully communicated her bereavement. patted heron the shoulder and whispered all words of consolation. The ronin arose and accompanied her to the miserable apartment. in the and the landlord. whose features were ashy with the pallor of death." in Sir Shell. on the floor of which lay Mr. when Miss Home summoned the neighbors. Old&ory. his eyes. 77 I going i to his aid " heard him moaning and upon discovered he was speech- less. Leftgate-keeper. Now her relative was dead seemed to look upon Sir Shell as her guardian or brother. gave a gentle sigh. but profull The young man gave . who took a fatherly interest orphan. scope to his generosity and not only saw the dead properly buried.The Old.

in fact. but his was the devotion of a brother. full The man how could she support herself? she had in secret given her heart. whom ship no word had fallen from his lips which she could interpret otherwise than as the utterance of pure friendIf she allowed that ship.78 The Loyal Ronins. She and handsome couple. as These. young girl. he might truth. her future was of sadness . was indeed kind. morning he informed Miss Home he must start early on the following day. Shell will make a She is really to be envied. vided the neighbors with funeral gifts. he busied himself with certain transactions. seemed to her like the Her thoughts were spirits of her departed friends. full and her tears flowed freely. Miss Home sat in the veranda and As watched the fire-flies flitting through the tall grass. devolved upon the shades of evening deepened and the hum of the city grew faint. they came and went. A few months before she had lost her father now her grandparent and only relative was gone. opportunity to pass with- out letting him know never learn the whisper : the state of her heart. She had heard the neighbors " In the midst of her affliction Miss Home has found Sir happiness." . treated them with so much respect and attention that they would not permit him to depart for three or four days. after which. During their five days of almost constant companionof uncertainty to . which through On the fifth the helplessness of the him.

Her her said " : by : tenderly conducted her indoors.The Old. Dear and to beautiful Miss Home. though they do not restore our friends." and. Old Story. Can you look with favor upon " ronin f . roosting in to the moon. hearing ing the dwelling. Thus thinking. to follow her grandfather. began to cry which Sir Shell said " : The bird of love makes me I feel bold. seating himself near by. who be left to care for She paused and not a sound was heard but the beat- ing of their hearts. grief quickly attracted the attention of Sir Shell. the trees surroundPresently some crows. who. give us replied " : new ones. that She made up her mind if he went away without expressing affection for her. The gods are good and. what is troubling you ? You must not grieve so much for the loss of your relative. coming to her bitterly. reflections inspired her with both joy These row. glancing downward. placed the fire-bowl and. will The agitated girl sobbed on When me?" you are gone. 79 and sorone should think she had found Joy any favor in the eyes of him whom she so loved. would wish ever be near an unfortunate you. and sorrow for fear he merely pitied her and that congratulations might be turned to sneers. she hid her face in the sleeves of her garment and sobbed assistance. My dear Miss Home.

while the moon. peeping through the open window. and exhibiting only her snow-white neck. with her taper fingers interlaced on her lap. Her reply was drowned by the voices of the bird?. She knelt with her head revealed the beautiful scene. looking more charming than the half-opened bud of a chrysanthemum.So The Loyal Ronins. hiding her blushing face " Sir Shell Sir Shell will your loyalty ? greater than your love for your dainty bride " prove . bent.

more miserable existence could scarcely be imagined his enormous wealth yielded him no happihis beautiful A ness. dreading the vengeance of the loyal ronin. His residence was not his own retainers. died a thousand deaths. spite of and worry . but by a body guarded only by of men belonging to which he would start his son. he trusted no one but his chief-councillor. Sir Small-grove. at the slightest noise 81 Lord Uyesugi. like a bat. his suspicious soul feared a traitoress in each of attendants. only went out at night. who. hid himself in his private apartments and. SIR KIRA. " He who No has committed a great wrong hears in the scampering mouse the footsteps of the avenger. of a This accurately describes the feelings ot Sir Kira. and while waiting for the just retribution he knew must sooner or later follow his crime.CHAPTER XII. sound alarms the placid soul of the well-doer.

whom he surrounded with detectives and watched as a tiger does his prey. in sending out spies to watch the man whom he most feared. Lady Pure-gem. is installed in the house of Big-rock as an attendant upon his children.82 his people The Loyal Ronins. said Now speak. Sir Big-rock. His bitter hatred extended even to the innocent widow. on hearing which Sir Kira directed his attendants to conduct the man to his presence and thus addressed him : " I hope you have brought lord. . my brother is in his employ your loyal retainers dwelling." and five of are Hying within bow-shot of his as gate-keeper. by complaining of their negligence and dis- regard for his safety. My wife. and in consulting with his friends how to bring his political influence to bear against the scattered members of the clan of Ako. a messenger arrived posthaste from Kioto." Sir Kira " " motioned his servants to and bid: ding the messenger approach close to him. When the autumnal flowers were blooming in the gardens of his residence. the information me good news ? " I The kneeling " retainer raised his My head and murmured: have is for your ear retire alone. Instead of feeling regret he took comfort in the fact He spent his days that Lord Morning-field was dead." My lord. Convolvulus. your instructions have been fully carried out.

week beKioto. succeeded " in getting " ! however. They emptied many and sent to a neighboring restaurant for refreshments.Sir Kir a. " " " 83 Yes. " What was " in it ? The council neither granted nor denied the prayer of the petitioners for the restoration of the clan. if to the other ronin. therefore. both he and whoever joined him would expeThat night he went rience the full power of the law. I was hanging round the let spot. she a sight of the document. this My have learned A fore I left difficult matter . have made up my mind what to do. is yes I ! impatiently " ? remarked Sir Kira. What " the news much." testily Well. house of Hatchet. by dint of using caution. Each must look out for clan. This proved a very lord. I. Big-rock received a communication from the Council of Elders. take his place. for many years I have worked . Their letter evidently caused him great annoyance. and at the same time gave Big-rock plainly to understand he made any attempt to avenge the death of his lord. The honorable Sir Kira has the It is useless for us to worry about best of the game. As for me. instructed my wife to ascertain its contents. where he met a number of The notification from the council was evi- bottles of saki dently a death-blow to their hopes. Said Big-rock and and : This news is a skull-cracker. well " exclaimed Sir Kira. bribed one of the waiters to ' me I thus obtained admission to the house. the reestablishing himself.

have no apprehension. who reported everything he did to their anxious employer. in future. my lord. which he said : after " " What think you." Sir Kira thought for a while. bade the man repeat the story." The next day a number for Kioto. intend to enjoy ' my life. Hatchet? "The poet replied very indignantly. . whereupon Big-rock took the bottle. whom you will instruct to follow Big-rock Yes. ing . Saki is the medicine for and filling a cup. Now. and. Sir Big-rock was sur- rounded by an army of spies. this news astounds me. of Sir Kira's retainers started from that time. ' and the other ronin joined him. and he has not since been sober. Sir Councillor " ? My lord. Let the messenger return and take with him some young men in my service. enemy. What say you." We must con- tinue to watch our " not relax our vigilance.84 The Loyal Ronins.' "The next day Big-rock was drunk. then summoning Sir Small-grove. hard. we will closely. and. so. will result in his engage him no longer being able in a quarrel that to trouble us. remarked : all diseases. if possible. Without their leader the clansmen can do noththey will be like a flock of geese that has lost its pilot.

even a nobleman has to resort to trickery. " " The hunted badger shams death." Sir Big-rock. she saw him staggering up the pathway. One morning in December. yet. With an unscrupulous enemy. SIR BIG-ROCK DIVORCES HIMSELF. " I want some sakd. being anxious they should not see their father in such a disgraceful little state. his good wife uttered no word of reproach. astonished the been lamous for his virworld when he gave himself up to drunkenness and dissipation. and sinking upon the floor. though his neighbors shook their heads and secretly condemned his conduct. after he had been absent from home all night." Sir Big-rock entered the house with his clogs on. noticing which she hurriedly sent her two children into her private apartment. having always tues. and neither by look nor action showed her sorrow and amazement. said to her : 85 .CHAPTER XIII.

permitted them to arrange a bed for him. else why me and seek the society Evidently I have been does my husband turn of others. who used to be so just. remiss from I my duty. little imagining he heard what she said. who appeared to fall into a deep sleep. she unconsciously gave vent to her thoughts. fearing his head would slip from support and that he would lie uncomfortably. dear husband. drowsily answered : " Is that the sort of stuff " you give me " ? My !" You " in Kioto. are tired with your journey and everything tastes it is the finest sak badly Journey.86 The Loyal Ronins. seeing the lady said in a low tone : whom Fetch not disturb your master. so kind and thoughtful. had treated her with the him a cup of the best. after which by his side. has of late strangely fear the death of . and bringing the his and side knelt by liquor. As she watched him. his wife knelt " Do is not well. and throwing the rest upon the matted floor. its " I am in an unhappy woman. he a pillow for his head. you are fatigued " ? Shall I prepare a bed for you He took a sip of the liquid. journey ? I have only been to the tea- house on Gi-on Street. saying presented She replied as though he : " My honorable husband. greatest politeness." Sir Big-rock." Just then some of the servants entered. Alas ! alas ! our lord has disturbed the beautiful balance of Sir Big-rock's mind. He.

found Still I 87 fault and blamed me lor what I have not done." that his bath is ready. for She is a model of a wife. " " Ye he moaned. and drying her eyes. he had. When way. think I must have been negligent in some I though cannot remember in what. Ah me ! the happy days of the past when he thought his wife was lady conquered her sobs. Sir Big-rock arose with no trace of intoxication in his manner. I will leave my him and see without fault. Better die than incur the displeasure of husband. she invents thousands of excuses for my conduct and takes upon herself all the odium. " How faithful she is gods " cannot bear this ! ! When ! I As he spoke " the tears trickled down his cheeks. little I my plan of deceiving Sir Kira. strong man paced the floor. will yet how can I do " it ? This brave. grasped his arms and clenched his teeth in his agony. Wise as he was. She shall not witness the scenes I must enact in order to carry out my sot.Sir Big-rock Divorces Himself. I will end this at once. as I can no longer bear this terrible agony. in undertaking to play the role of a disso- . as she did so. softly retired. regarding the sleeping man with the utmost tenderness. The poor she was well out of hearing. Then again children shall not remember me as a drunken put her away . he sobers I will respectfully ask him how I have offended. but with features expressive of the deepest agitation. Instead of blaming me what would appear to be a crime on my part.

88
lute

The Loyal Ronins.

man, forgotten how impossible it would be to overcome the devotion of his wife. The only thing left to him was to give her a letter of divorce and send
her, with their

younger offspring, to his father-in-law, who he knew would understand the true reason for his act and afford her comfort and advice. Presently he heard the sound of his children's voices, and his wife saying in a low tone
:

"

Do

not

make a

noise,

my

little

ones.

Papa
"
?

is

not

well,

you

will disturb

him."

"

Has he got
!

that funny sickness again

demand-

ed the elder boy. " Hush hush " said the mother. " Papa has troubles and you must not speak thus."
!

many

The unhappy man thought
his

lord, and, steeling himself against

of his duty to his dead all else, returned to

bed and once more pretended to slumber. About noon his wife entered and kneeling beside him, waited until he opened his eyes, when she
said "
"
:

Honorable husband, your bath is ready." " Bath ? he exclaimed, rising and taking a flageolet from its rest. " I am going out."

He moved
sented
"
it

in

the

which she picked up

of the door, seeing his ronin hat and kneeling predirection
:

to him, saying

Honorable husband,

I

pray you to put this on.
:

You have enemies

about."

Sir Big-rock turned

toward her and said

Sir Big -rock Divorces Himself.
"

89

much. I shall give you a letter of divorce and you must go back to your father. I will, however, if you wish, grant you permission to take charge of our two younger children. My servant Happy-seven will accompany you." Ere she could reply he had put on the hat and was

Enough.

You

talk too

staggering

the pathway, leaving her gazing after him like one just awakened from a dream. When the neighbors heard the news and saw her

down

and the
other
:

little

ones depart, they whispered to one anIn addition to wast-

" Sir Big-rock must be crazy. his substance in tea-houses, ing

he now puts away

his

model of a
children.

wife,

and gives up

the guardianship of his

He

strange are the ways of some has soon forgotten the goodness of his lord."

How

men

i

CHAPTER

XIV.

THE STORY OF DOCTOR BUTTERFLY-COTTAGE.
"Some
while running accomplish great military deeds the from enemy. away The ignorant attempts of quacks occasionally result in good
soldiers

consequences."

No
life

one

is

more

to

be pitied than he

who

places his

in

such foolish persons
ages,

the hands of a quack. Unfortunately many exist, because, throughout all

people have been more inclined to listen to rogues than to follow the advice of honest men.

Must we not be cautious ? There are many mock-doctors to be found everywhere. These fellows, utterly ignorant of the science of medicine, which the ancients so closely studied and
reduced to a system, pretend to cure diseases of which they do not even know the names, and entrapping
their victims

by a great show of books and scientific by threats and deceit, compel them to swallow the most nauseating compounds. If, once in a while, they make a hit, the whole couninstruments,
90

The Story of Doctor Butterfly -cottage.
try rings with their praise, and with their heads in the clouds.

9

1

they walk the earth

ancient professors of medicine established certain rules which are followed to this day. They first ascertained the comparative value of drugs, then mixed

The

them
fects

in specified proportions,

taking care that the

ef-

one ingredient should counterbalance the A paothers, and thus produce a harmonious result. tient suffering from fever requires medicines containing in (cold) properties, and one shivering with a chill should be dosed with yo (hot) drugs, to equalize the
of

temperature of the system.
flicted

However, a person afwith fever must not take only cold-producing physic, or the one who has a chill be treated with
drugs that merely create heat. A skilful physician to gives certain quantities of each remedy,"in addition

which he uses acupuncture and the moxa.

In

the

which is foregoing consists the science of medicine, of only acquired by long study and serving a number

Some regular practitioner. natural state, drugs ought to be administered in their effects prove their or others require careful preparation,
years
as
assistant
to a

very injurious to the patient.

Now a quack, not having
shaven head

studied these principles, blindly administers his nostrums, trusting to the god of luck to carry him through.
If his patient dies,

he solemnly shakes
:

his

and says to the weeping relatives " I was sure of this from the beginning." Beware of quacks they live upon the weakness of
!

92

The Loyal Ronins.
nature and

human

may be known by

the long pole of

their norimono (enclosed litter), assumption of profound gravity, and the audacious manner in which they promise to cure most incurable diseases.

their

care never to approach a a from contagious malady without person suffering

At the same time they take

having their sleeves stuffed with disinfectants, while their meanness is such they will keep their bearers walking all day, never so much as thinking to give the
a lunch or a cup of sak. There is another kind of quack who is too parsimonious to have a noritired

men

mono or even a man to carry his medicine-case. These scarecrows trot round the streets, from morning
till

night, with their pockets puffed out with

packages

of nostrums, and slip through the crowds, like eels between the rush*es, as though in great haste to visit in-

numerable patients.
:

Such creatures are well described

by the proverb " quack looks like a

A

man who
to live,

has stolen a cat

and hidden

it

in his

pocket."

My

friends, if

you wish
in

doctors, though, to assert there are

giving this

keep away from the advice, I do not mean
These,
like all

no able physicians.

good people, follow their profession quietly, and after performing a cure, do not go clucking about like hens.

On

Gold-mountain Street

in the city

of Yedo, lived

a physician named Butterfly-cottage, whose establishment presented an imposing appearance. In front, was a magnificent lodge, occupied by a porter in livery who

.

and he protected his shaven head with a paper umbrella. . 93.The snow was (hap. p. iv. falling lightly.

notwithstanding . his old bohemian taste sometimes returned and led him to do things incomwith his new dignity.The Story of Doctor Butterfly -cottage. He was the brother of ." " We any great dis- This was intended to impress his clients with an idea that he had more business than he could attend to. and. carrying in his proached the rear gate hand a horse-mackerel. physician to Sir was. One morning February. who. patible the cowardly renegade. Butterfly-cottage. not later. refuse to visit patients living tance from our residence. while his feet were kept from the wet by high clogs. lived who Dr. the greatest quack in the in metropolis. side the yard the visitor noticed a tablet. like him. 93 all inquiries. wrapped about with rushes. in his day. this worthy aphis of house. added to the Once ingreatly respectability of his master. treacherous man he had behaved so badly that he incurred young the disfavor of the Lord of Ako. Under ordinary circumstances the doctor would not have been seen bearing his own dinner however. and.). When quite a crafty. and over-reaching. inscribed as answered follows " : to Those who come before require to be examined are requested the hour of the Snake (10 A. 1700. Thus Kira. Sir Arrow-stand. M. The snow was falling lightly and he protected his shaven head with a paper umbrella. by his important air.

of medical appliances was mysterious and appalling.94 The Loyal Ronins. and by dint of making great display. finhe established himself as a ally drifting to Yedo where go-between in marriages. As he entered the house he handed his burden to that for his kneeling servant. Bring me mid-day a cup in of hot sake. and warmed his chilled fingers. he contrived to creep into the good graces of Sir Kira. after aside his heavy outer casting garment and unwinding the white silk wrap from about his throat. feel the cold principle predominating my body. Sir Arrow-stand's pleading. his collection His library was the talk of the neighborhood. saying : " Tell the cook to prepare my meal. end how to obtain a living. banished him from the Province of Harima. crouched over the hibachi (fire box). I wish I it stewed with leeks. and through the influence of his patron. The man hastened The attendant soon returned with the tray on which . though painful ailment. After accomplishing this feat he set up as a physician. His only stock in trade was his ready wit and a thorough knowledge of human nature. and real-estate agent." to obey. and for some years wandered aimlessly about the country. whom he cured of a trifling. soon became well known. notwithstanding which he could neither read nor write. Being but imperfectly educated. Byhe was at his wits' and-by. and the doctor. and his furniture and ornaments were unique and elegant.

he has been much disturbed in his mind. the visitor was ushered into his presence. blandly " You are the observed : are you not " I " ? gentleman from the Blue-hill district. Of late. to you all prescribe over the city. and had a simple. and have come to consult you concerning a relative of mine. g5 were a kettle of hot sak and a cup. I would like Your fame has been noised for him." said the doctor. responding to salutation." said the man. holding out his cup " Tell him I am very busy studying a will see him presently. early. and talks the wildest nonsense. People should not expect a doctor to wait on them at once like a store-keeper. who is employed in an apothecary store on Main Street. and replied : Under ordinary circumstances I could not take a .The Story of Doctor Butterfly-cottage. The new-comer was dressed in the costume of a merchant in easy circumstances. Butterfly-cottage simpered like a vain woman who " is complimented. have the pleasure of seeing you for the first " I am from the time." " He is for more case and sake". place you name." After he had refreshed himself and taken a bath. who." Dr. saying " There is a man from the Blue-hill district waiting O : to see you. I must smoke a few pipes before I can receive patients. Kneeling by his master he served him. polite manner which fav- his orably impressed the doctor.

Doctors reI have to tell every new-comer. by looking at them. ' Then you cannot know their quality again. in with and exact be strict advance. I you undertake my rela- tive's case.96 The Loyal Ronins. after early in I comand begin my morning my patients. the treatment tance. That is why definite prices have been fixed for certain kinds of medicine. who maliciously term me the scavenger doctor. often not returning until late at great reputation and large practice excite the envy and hatred of all my brother practitioners. only I . mid-day. you payment I must have an understanding concerning my though fees. I care not am even first must ready to be assured you can cure him. give a sum in advance. still you have come from such a disbesides. We. yet I find it does not decrease the number of the mence mixing rounds night. This is my invariable practice. it cannot be reached saying. of our honorable profession. I will see your relative But there is someof crazy people is my specialty. your His " you wish to engage replied will : my way me I am of at service." how much I have to pay you. patient." visitor bowed low and if Honorable doctor. semble dried fishes .' Is My ' it not ridiculous ? Now If you understand doing business. have to comwill not I pensate ourselves by charging for drugs. being prevented from demanding recompense for our advice. you remember the ' the pay of a physician is like the cherryblossoms on the high mountain. (literally demanded). thing new as .

" I do my best. yes.The Story of Doctor Butterfly-cottage. Please do not be harsh with him. Honorable doctor." quietly answered the man. give me six rio" The man produced to the doctor." " Yes. which means cure. Of course he thinks himself somebody else and believes he is pursued by enemies ?" " " Not My exactly. who is in such favor with the Sho-gun. I will bring the patient early tomorrow. Rememwould like to have the money I ber he will say.' soon cure him of that. is Tell me all the symptoms of your friend's disease. : and handing the sum remarked Honorable sir. he Imagines the manother. I He is confor tinually saying ' : would like to have the money the pearls. then. Will that be satisfactory to " Ah " ! I will you " " ? The I simple one bowed and murmured would not care if it were a little more. clap" Honorable sir. I my patients. ' ' for the pearls. Suppose we say five rio for my attendance and medicine during the period of ten days. The illustrious me. cure him ping his hands together. " his purse." crazy." " patronizingly interposed Those are the symptoms described in the ancient books on lunacy. ! " " ejaculated the quack. When I have clients who appreciate cure Cure him. calls me Doctor Never-fail.' . ner of things. is ' relative's illusion a very peculiar one." : Well. Sir Kira. 97 always nobleman.

return." will senger. and : after chuckling awhile. said : The " This of is from Dr. the clock on the tokonoma struck the hour of the The next morning at a celebrated Horse (mid-day). walked around the place as though it belonged to him. I see he re- quires a number of pearls of the very best quality. Butterfly-cottage. six rio of his must fill have earned be compelled to give up my the gaps caused by my little will his pouch. When the visitor fully polished his had departed. and after the clerk had the pearls ready. money and him as as he has a coin in keep paying long mishaps.98 The Loyal Ronins." While he was rejoicing. and hand" ? ing a letter to the proprietor. cried "Gracious me! that customer does not appear to know what avariciousness is. Unless I add some new patients to my I I list I shall norimono. the doctor gleeshaven pate with his right hand." said the mes- round to Gold-mountain Street. the merchant presented himself : drug store on Main Street. One " I my people shall pick them out and take them wait and accompany him. observed " : He You must go awaiting my quickly." The doctor is anxiously . boldly remarked " Will you please attend to this matter at once druggist opened the communication. and after reading it.

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who Upon stood respectfully in the entrance." " Then follow me. I am. To his amazement. how do you find yourself to-day ? Quite well." He waited in the ante-room for some time. enter the but when the merchant turned to inner apartment. said " Give me the package and remain here until you are summoned. talks very I suppose he thinks because he is in the service big : ! of this quack he has a right to put on airs." Quite well.The Story of Doctor Butterfly-cottage. sir. Butterfly-cottage saw him. the merchant stepped into the reception room. At last an attendant came out and said : Are you the young man " Main Street ? " " from the apothecary on Yes. sir. although he looks simple." : When " " " let Dr. the doc- The tor felt his pulse. the proprietor of the house being unusually busy with patients. the hot principle predominates. derisively stuck out his then tongue. Now " your tongue ? . The doctor wishes to send some : things back to your master. and addressing the clerk." clerk. laughingly exclaimed " That fellow. eh ? Come into you. saying : "Ah! I knew it." The man bowed. my private office and me examine his meaning. though not comprehending did as he was requested. he enquired " Well. doctor. 99 arriving at the house.

amine you. all would like to have the understand let I right. called yesterday. noticing which the servant said " Honorable master." The clerk. can I prescribe before I make an examination. me was own panied your messenger. doctor.ioo The Loyal Ronins. It is the hardest thing in the world to manage you crazy people. I you mean the merchant who saw him pass out of the rear gate an hour ago." " I " understand your saying that. All right. Now the soothing response. If the pearls are satisfactory. but do as I bid you. . young man." " " I I am not sick. loosen your girdle I and " look at your chest. I suppose your relative has returned to very " " How his home in the Blue-hill district." me would like the money " Don't be so stubborn." shall do no such thing. money. doctor? I "What do you mean. I have no relative livangrily The man who accoming in the Blue-hill district. . Now loosen your girdle." " Will you give me the money for the pearls ? " demanded the clerk. I would like to have the money for the pearls." was your case. is How Where the man who came clerk with you " ? The regarded : him with if surprise." muttered the doctor. for the pearls." be reasonable and let me exCome. provoked at being termed a lunatic. annoying. It is one of your symptoms.

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and. which he held upside down and regarded with blank amazement. " " Turn not that your signature ? cried the man. addressed clamor.The Story of Doctor Butterfly-cottage. "'there is no end to your I am not accustomed to be tongue. still I do not intend you shall full rush about the city with your mouth cusations." the clerk produced the order from his bosom. in a bewildered manner The : ." " Young man. remarking in a satirical voice " Will you deny your own writing ? Here is a note Upon hearing this : signed by yourself. ordering a number of pearls of the best quality. Perhaps this is a symptom of my sickness " ? Doctor Butterfly-cottage took the letter. I will have you secured of such acI until can com- municate with your relative. said. is Your demanding payment face. cried " Will you pay me for those pearls? I don't care : what you call me. as long as you hand me over the money. It is not I who am out of my senses. for pearls Cease your I have never received calculated to throw a blemish my honorable I upon Being a person of the highest re- spectability. the right way and look at it.. in such a disrespectful manner. contempt it can afford to treat such a charge with the deserves. making a mock obeisance. 101 placed his hands upon his knees." sternly returned the doctor." " Is it to doctor reversed the paper. and being unwilling acknowledge his ignorance of reading and writing.

as that docufor the pearls? ment is correct. When the clerk returned to his master. Yes. you will pay me few moments calm talk convinced both parties they had been swindled by an adventurer." said the clerk. as the doctor had written the he must be held responsible. preferring to lose his gold rather than hundred acknowledge his profound ignorance. .IO2 " The Loyal Ronins. and soon the song sellers on the streets were heard chanting a poem that made flushes of shame glow through the thick skin of the doctor's face. the rio) quack paid the large sum demanded. (six Finally. the latter insisted A upon re- ceiving his due order. gradually leaked out. ." At last we are beginning to " arrive at an under" standing. Of course. I always sign my orders thus though I do not " remember issuing this one. Although he did his utmost to the affair it keep quiet. saying.

CHAPTER SIR CLIFF-SIDE'S XV. the news of your sickness has 103 . finally contracting a disease that rendered him partially blind and confined him to his home. like his companions. For twenty months he traveled all over the city and suffered the extremes of heat and cold. 1 700. Original-help. saying " : Honorable master. a small house far from any other dwelling. who. that soon after the sur- The reader will remember render of the castle of Ako. This samurai. had unexpectedly presented himself. with his servant. STRANGE ADVENTURE. never heeding what fatigue he underwent. in the district of Made-land. had been very diligent. Sir Big-rock despatched certain of the conspirators to Yedo. which I will now rethese loyal late. men was Sir Cliff-side. with instructions to watch Sir Kira and report his movements. in the part of Yedo called PreachingHere he resided court. who had a Among most extraordinary adventure. in the month of February.

when he was aroused by Original-help saying: 'My honorable master. have rendered me doubly miserable. please take it while it is hot. Although I vently prayed to the god have constantly and ferof medicine. " Who would not feel sad to hear that sound There go the winged messengers. I fear I shall leak out of " Ah " ! the conspiracy. at last your medicine is ready. watching the ships going and coming waters of the bay. have come to nurse and attend upon was entirely in the faithful over-joyed and placed himself man's hands. sick. One afternoon as on the blue he was thus employed. I have. he has been slow to hear me. The days are . like Sir Shell and the rest. Toward the end of red. since yet they have brought no news to me. you. helpless spring. added to which this prolonged suspense with regard to Sir Big-rock's plans and my Jack of funds. and watched him with the greatest solicitude. During eight months Original-help tended him day and night. watching the receding line of geese until it vanished upon the horizon.IO4 reached Ako. the cackling of a flock of geese passing overhead brought to his memory thoughts of the home where he had left his wife and children." He sat for some time in a deep reverie. he sighed. been and unable to do my duty. the sick man began sit autumn when the leaves were to show signs of improvehours in ment and would for the little veranda." Sir Cliff-side I The Loyal Ronins.

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Yes. saying : " Honorable master. Original-course. you are all right. and our late . Doctor Original-course was absent attending When he returned he told me she had inquired most kindly after you. io5 getting so short I could not have it prepared earlier. You honorable master. He I is a most He treated me when was a boy skilful physician. See the water. and the sails far away down on the bay. when The gods give we can look at the sun without blushing. her comfort and hasten the day when it is. Can you discern that boat next to the fishing craft." He seems to under- "That he does. the one in which a man is tending a net replied " : " ? Sir Cliff-side pointing in the indicated direction. and Awa. "Though my trouble has been hard to bear. how it struggles!" fish. stand your constitution. as light as down." can see yonder mountains of Kazusa. he is "My must thank Dr." "That was very good of her." said Sir Cliff-side. compared with hers." "Indeed." Original-help knelt by his side and poured some of the hot medicine from a pot into the cup. Street. you will soon be quite well again. at Ako. Yes. pulling the line from he grasps the buoy of the net. indeed! The gods be praised. I " I think your eyes look better.Sir Cliff-sides Strange Adventure. He is taking out a What a large one. I had no idea it was such a great distance to Yeast our lady.

the angry wind began to whistle and the scene. the water changed from blue to black. When the shadows had deepened into night he was aroused by voices outside. lately so enjoyable. Sir Cliff-side followed his servant and seating himself by the lokonoma. lighted his pipe and resumed his meditation." " " a very different man Have you ever heard I once had occasion to an unscruplous pre" How foolish of you. I must get the light ready. my honorable master. He from Doctor Butterfly-cottage. it is growing dusk and you will not be able to see. Of how much did he rob you? Original-help cast down his eyes and : respectfully answered " Honorable master. which Then the color of presently sank below the horizon. and some one demanding : " I beg your pardon. leaving his master to watch the setting sun. my honored master. " of that knave ? Yes." He rose and quitting the veranda. I am here. there are some things to which we do not like to refer. He is tender. is esteemed him. became sad and gloomy. Dear me. consult him. saying : " Yes. went in-doors. I promise you I will never go near him again. covered with a cloth. Sir Cliffside answered the summons. on which stood his sword-rack. that yourself I am .io6 lord highly The Loyal Ronins. Does Sir Cliff-side live here? " Original-help being engaged in the attic. Who " might you be is " ? ! What.

" wonder where the buckets are kept. Bamboo miserable appointsurveyed the place and noted its When . send the me and come yourself. Lave your feet and arrived So you have enter at once. Brother Help-of-six is with us. please untie my sandals. welcome you. 107 It is I." said Origi" the entry. children to " I How pleased I am ! Be quick. Bamboo." . I want Sir Cliff-side to go in quickly. I will use my flint and steel. as I am suffering from a sickness called bird's-eye. mamma. papa. Original-help. Original-help will furnish you with water and towels." joyfully answered Sir Cliff-side. so glad. Young master. was both puzzled and surprised puzzled at the strange speech of Original-help and surprised at the sudden arrival of his wife and children. nal-help." The speaker him and " then turned to some one this who was with said : Come. " Mamma. and am unable to see any- Welcome. is the temporary residence of will my master. who have traveled all the way from Ako as escort to your honorable wife.babies. your in little son. New-six. " it is I. stumbling about in ment." Wait a mo- the servant had lighted a candle." " Come cannot ! " I rise to come in. my wife! thing in the twilight. you now see your father." cried the elder boy. from home. the honorable wife.Sir Cliff-sides Strange Adventure. Papa. If I try to move I shall fall over something.

the plastering on the walls was cracked in all directions. placed her hands on the floor. The mats covering the floor were old and of holes. and bending her forehead to the mat. after the faithful 1 man who " has escorted me from home." Then he called. are your eyes still bad ? " I was she remarked.rack) Sir Cliff-side's weapons." said Sir Cliff-side. and the only handsome of furniture was the katanakake stood on the tokonoma and held which (sword. I have not seen you for many. saying "My honorable husband. many months. knelt before Sir Cliff-side. must have lived very uncomfortably in this wretched : habitation. full The Loyal Ronins. you have a servant whom you call Original-help. little I don't mind my sickness now you and the ones have arrived. been with me since Bamboo ? Why he has February. that is correct. Original-course. " Escorted you from home." " Yes. " Who has attended upon you ? " " Original-help. there were great rents in the paper-screens through which came strong draughts.io8 ments. called upon Dr. my honorable husband. " dustrious and kind as ever. as she hastily made her toilet. 14 He is as in- understand. " " My honorable husband. so as we came through the city. during which time I have been You longing to look once more upon your face. He told me you would soon be quite well. article most anxious to know how you were." She entered the room. in a . respectfully saluted him.

now you will have some one back. Sir Cliff.side forgot the extraordinary phenomenon of the his duplicate Original -help. he toddled toward his parent and fondled him. honorable master. you have grown quite a big so glad to set eyes upon you again. descended from the attic with a lantern in his hand. You will soon get quite will rub your back. In the excitement of beholding his children. you " "Dear glad I rub to your I am know that is a good thing to do to sick people ? encouraged by Original-help No." i Thus speaking Original-help No. I New-six. I hope you have been good and obeyed your mother. too. "I. descending from the servant's arms. elder boy on the head.Sir Cliff-sides Strange Adventure. Little Help-of-six. "Original-help. do your eyes pain you? have come. 109 loud voice. Then. at the same time Original-help No. 2 "Is my papa sick?" glanced timidly around and said." Sir Cliff-side was moved to tears by the tender ." New-six looked up anxiously enquired in at his father's face and a gentle voice : papa. leading the elder child and carrying the younger in his arms. 2 entered from the veranda. said " and affectionately rubbing : My son. papa. well. saying. come and see your honor" able mistress " I ? am coming. I see Help-of-six is afraid of me and hides his head in fellow. am Original-help's short coat.

I will attend to our master and mistress. return early in the morning. You need not hurry back to-night." 2. "You start at once. Will you require any aid from me ? "No. i busily engaged preparing supper." Bamboo stretched herself upon the mat and the little ones reclined upon their father's knees. and speeches and affectionate manner At last he for some moments was unable to speak. of his children. to disturb our master and mistress who have much to talk about. The road between here and Blue-hill is none of the safest I will explain the reason of your absence to our master. 2 softly rose and retired to the kitchen where he found Original-help No. lie down without any ceremony and rest." laughingly answered the other. Original-help. I have brought from Ako many letters and messages for the attendants on Lady Pure-gem. " I do not wish Original-help. held them close to him and said " : O. you must feel very tired." he whispered. Although he had heard the man addressed by the same name as himself. Mr. As it is some distance from here to Blue-hill I wish to " start soon. My dear Bamboo. while he caressed them and talked with his wife about their dead lord. both of you have become most gentle. "I will . he was unaware how exactly they resembled each other." said Original-help No. " Mr. Original help No." "Thank you.no The Loyal Ronins.

Did you not tell me that your " servant was our Original-help ? " So he is. Bamboo." replied Sir Cliff-side." a low. left my never " honorable husband. Your man must be my servant's twin- brother. now I understand the The : mystery. lady thought for a while. Original-help has me. and. I am as are evidently strangers to one another." " impossible." " But. It is a case of the soul-dividing disease. then said in terrified tone "My honorable husband. He came from Ako in Feb- " ruary.Sir Cliff-side's Strange Adventure. in when Sir Cliff-side and his wife had ceased their conver- sation in order to listen to the foregoing talk. That is They much puzzled as yourself." . the man departed. the lady said : I am very much perplexed by the resemblance between those men.

one sakd cupful every half hour." Sir Cliff-side quoted the fore-going extracts to his wife adding : " Bamboo. in a mortar and make a strong infusion. any person suddenly becomes two beings. The medicine will make the patient bright and cheerful. Doctors are very fond of explaining . THE GOD FOX. such an affliction is as follows The remedy for "Take pound them equal parts of gentian. The ancient book called Kishitzuho (prescriptions for strange " If sicknesses) thus describes the ri-kon-bio (soul-dividing disease). exis actly resembling each other. " This disease is a very rare one. a case of soul-dividing fact of the dupli- by the : cate person being unable to speak. I do not believe any such sickness 112 exists out of books. asafoetida and ginger.CHAPTER XVI. wandering spirit to return to its proper body. and cause the duplicate. it You may know this disease. Give the person who can speak.

spite spirators of which he carries himself in a most reckless manner. Tell me about Sir See." Bamboo moved closer to her husband. gave up the care . I. for both men speak. our dear children are both fast asleep on knees.The God Fox. and have many times met to consult about the matter. fearing : Original-help No. and to wait patiently. things that no \\\ human being can fathom. chief-councillor have in incomprehensible ? the kindnesses of our late lord " Is this not Can he have " ? forgotten Bamboo. finally agreeing to continue our work of watching Kira. but coming from the amazed every one. Big. Even. alfor the sake of gratifying himself. of his children and spends his time with the butter-flies of the tea-houses. my Leave them so until supper is ready. We know of his proceedings. The conKioto have been terribly exercised. i might be a spy of Kira. Sir Big-rock is not a man to indulge in such pleasures Our enemy. Leave a mystery alone and it will explain itself. I have every faith in Sir Big-rock. and. and guarded vigilantly. whispered " I have very important news for you. is has immense influence. I suppose have heard how strangely the chief-councillor has you behaved how he divorced his wife. .rock and what has brought you hither. Do not the affair to permit worry you. Such things would not have been in an surprising ordinary man. acto their statement. though skulking in the retirement of his residence. this cannot be a case of cording the soul-dividing disease.

have to communicate. During the meal Original-help No. " at last the supper speaking from the kitchen. Sir Big-rock will give Our present anxiety is to learn what . when the attendant had retired for the night. know what is best to do. moment arrives. being on the spot. and many of the conspirators." The father awoke in the repast. the mother made up her in I little ones. who in their innocence. believe Sir Big-rocic If our acts as he does to throw Kira off his guard. My The honorable I wife and master-boys must be to say there is very hungry." " Now me what you i. the chief-councillor called About a week before upon me and . though the wife was secretly troubled and regarded him askance. and when the proper signal.1 1 4 The Loyal Ronins. In a few days they will be joined Sir by Sir Thousand-cliffs who will represent the contell spirators residing in this city. left Ako. reclined close to her husband and observed " I a low tone : At last can speak freely. and. ready." said Original-help No. 2. and. conjecture is correct all will yet go well. The supper being beds for over. am ashamed his nothing servant good to give them. is honorable master. children and the which was really a most excelbrought lent one and was heartily enjoyed. took the man to be Original-help No. us the are his real sentiments Hatchet and Sir Common have this matter in hand. I laughed with the boys.

to be with have submitted patiently. "gives me double package raising It shows he has neither forgotten his vow nor 'hope. now desire you will join your husband and take your children with you. said : He I know you must be .' He then gave me thirty rio for you and ten for my traveling expenses. however. fearing lest your presence might interfere with our plans. sick and I had to pay for many extras. to the mercy of strangers. under the circumstances." anything. This present from his to the forehead." " My dear Bamboo. said sick ' : u5 has been very I am informed Sir Cliff-side and that he has not yet fully recovered. I have only been The boys were both of them able to save four rio.' Here. The chiefLater on I will despatch Sir Hatchet councillor said ' ' : or Sir Island-in-the-front with in money for those who " are Yedo. Of course. pinched by allowed by sorely income the off from being so suddenly cut the and thinking you needed your lord. I. although I ducing the money. still." producing another package. and me by the District- overseer. When a man is sick it is not good for him to be left knowing his position. I are thirty-eight rio received for the sale of our five rio paid ' house and furniture.The God Fox. that is not all. you have done well to save the chief-councillor. myself. have practised the utmost economy." pro" Honorable husband. That is as it should be and your loyal conduct merits my thanks." Honorable husband. you have desired him.

honest " men in is the world. Though I all in I his power soon to liqui- did not like to act without was so much touched by his goodconsulting you. finally. I Yedo." Yes. The overseer was one of our lord's retainers. have brought owe your He expressed the deepest regret at his husband." " I some people I could mention. I have been regularly supplied with them. Dr. Bamboo. like he did his best. You acted just as I would have done. he honest through and through.' the entire sum borrowed of inability at once to pay you. and could safely have assumed a know-nothing face with I thank the gods there are some regard to his debt. I believe our lady must have given him some for me as. yet he lives a great distance from the city. since February. At ' first he refused your intend to to take the receipt and." . about me. that I gave him a receipt for ten rio. after the harvest is visit : Tell I over my me hither. I obtain things of such great value. thank you. and promised to do date the debt. trying to cheat us. saying the only thing to cure my disease would be to use the very best pearls yet how could . Instead of ness. Original-course felt very anxious pupil. five of the ten rio I money. said honorable husband.1 1 6 The Loyal Ronins. How came " conscience.' I on him and clear Now you have learned what brought would like to know about your sickness. when will call your eyes in such a state " ? Mine is a case of drying up of the water of the At first.

through one calamity of their a That is of-six suffered the most ? thing I cannot understand. going without sleep. As many as three physicians gave him But up. You must know little Help-of-six would have both had the smallthey feared was compelled to stay a month in the city of Mulberry and was at my wit's end. they have safely passed You say Helplives.The God Fox. honorable husband. and would never sleep except on my lap. though I believe many of their assertions are . I prayed to the gods constantly. were heard and the dear boys got well. our good Original-help. 117 "Ah. New-six. for and encouraging us by word and deed. how much I have endured. being the elder. should have had most disease in his body. at one time I die. I should not be here toHe attended upon us with the greatest devoday. at least so say the doctors. cried all day. So the children were sick during " the journey " " ? I Yes. pox. indeed she is. and vowed if my children were so spared not to eat sugar or oranges for three years. tion. My I prayers have the without their happiness of presenting them to you showing any signs of the trouble. and twice his breathing ceased altogether. Only to-day she spoke to the doctor about me." " You don't know The gods be praised. Poor Help-of-six. our lady is very good!" Yes. was very irritable. treating the boys as his own. please don't tempt me with those things. not being as old and sensible as his brother.

and above superstition I am only a woman full of the : ." cannot Bamboo wiped her eyes earnestly at him. at any moment. my honorable husband. I really believe my good Original- ." She procured the pot. help feeling anxious. Let that comfort you. while pouring out the liquid. I will endeavor to do so." in the " My I loyal wife.1 1 8 The Loyal Ronins. sad days when my eyes will no longer behold you. When is I think of the great calamity I that has overtaken our lord. us of our benevolent and beloved lord. still. All the world is waiting for you and your honorable companions to strike at the cowardly wretch thing better who deprived Remember. fancies of my sex. our two brave boys will constantly visit your tomb. whispered to him " I shall not sleep a wink You are brave to-night. and. let me give you your medicine. cheer me. die. indeed. and gazing My honorable husband. You are tired. mere guesses. and burn incense to your spirit. deck it with flowers. Your ready. replied " : with her sleeves. my " duty. to do words. am all perfectly willing to My duty to him before other . for I know I am after have gone the Lonely Road. you will bequeath them somea reputation that will keep them straight through life. you will bring up our children like true samurai" Yes. rememI bering the uncertain future of our poor babes. though you cannot leave your children a fortune.

" until lady waited until her husband had gone into the veranda.' 4 ' it was first your miserable Original-help was as red as Shut-ten-do. am Do " not be alarmed going to tell you something. where are you ? " : liver " The echo " Come." Original-help No. The servants of our lady plied me with sakd. but The next morning i was nowhere to be seen. dreadful malady. you have lately suffered from a mistress. time. and said I : My honorable mistress. help must have had an attack of the soul-dividing disease. As " : My my honorable master. did your Original-help de" respectful message ? No. I . " I see you : " are now all right.shi I beg you will forgive me this (the demon of drink). then whispered to the penitent servant r " The Original-help. then raising his voice. thought I had walked off all traces of last night's indulgence. the man saluted them and said Original-help No. his wife and children." The man hesitated. " as though ashamed.The God Fox." Yes. entered the room. Sir Cliff-side." said Sir Cliff-side.' then drink with me. You see they were very glad to get news from Ako and drink with me. my honorable sofa always has ." " outside repeated Where are you ? said Bamboo to her attendant. he shouted " Original-help. 2 arrived at the house and found everything ready for breakfast.

" No. yet be advised pearls. I have a chronic trouble termed dry-throat. I by me a good and continue taking the have left . you no longer require my aid. who called himself Original-help. Your eyes are fast getting well. as though fear- ing she was not in her right senses. with in cured. not that. and the family seated themselves. Original-help. and nursed you during your sickness. I would go and drown myself.I2O The Loyal Ronins. he cried. mur: muring as he did so " That fellow. You have been afflicted with a most wonderful complaint. then read which were as follows contents. They had scarcely ' begun " its to eat fell is when a paper this " ? fluttered in through the porch and at Sir Cliff-side's feet. my honorable husband." In a little while he announced the meal was ready. in Yedo. picking it up. good Original-help. like me ? If I thought I looked as homely as he does. soul-dividing disease. and the other attendance upon me. proceeded to dish the breakfast. Now your family and attendant have arrived from Ako. been " my weakness." The bewildered man gaped at her. Your double has returned Do not tremble so. you are perfectly to your body. called the One half of you has been here. but remembering a samurai lady must know more than a common fel- low like himself. "Since last February I have assumed the form and : What manner of your servant.

assembling her attendants. Butterfly-cottage. You may expect still further assistance from me. for you in the hands of your doc- came from Lady Pure-gem. He has taken pity upon me and saved How can I forget his great mercy me much " ! suffering. reverently offerings at his shrine. Sir Cliff-side recovered the visit to full use of his he paid a Lady Pure-gem. 121 number of them tor. gratitude uttered piercing cries and wept as profusely as their elders. forgetting the beneconferred upon him by his former lord. Overcome by . and while punishing that avaricious believes they who fits quack. Dr. " " To Sir Cliff-side . From an inhabitant of the residence of Lady Pure-gem." amazed " After reading this the samurai remarked to his wife and servant : Then the one whom I deemed to be a man was the god Fox of the residence of our lady. Using my supernatural power I assumed the shape of a merchant. of the greatly moved by the miraculous interposition god. witnessing their emotion. made . to whom he She was related the wonderful story here recorded. this discovery the three shed tears of while the children. who. and.The God Fox. When sight. is consort- obtained what you so sadly ing with your enemies needed.

inhabitants who yet there are some sceptics sneer at the supernatural powers of the god Fox. From the reader desires to satisfy himself of this fact. . that time be was referred to as the " Omnipotent g-od Fox Original-help. he Las only to visit the Blue-hill district where he wiU If nnd tie shrine.122 The Loyal Ronins." which name he contin"js to bear to the present day. which is kept : in beautinil order by the neighboring.

from . Kioto. and carried this. that the sword of a drunken samurai rests uneasily in its scabbard. 123 I have been looking for you everywhere." Big-rock was seen staggering along Temple Street. Sir Big-rock. ** The cherry blossoms were was mild and . marked with his crest. Sir On such a day as himself with the exaggerated dignity of a man who has taken an extra cup seeing which the beggars and tradesmen nimbly got out of his way. who saluted him." . the air fall of vernal incense sent up to the flowers to the gods hills the swiftly-flowing water of the .CHAPTER XVIL CONVOLVULUS OVERHEARS A CONVERSATION. He was dressed in a black costume. experience. knowing. pic-nic parties swarmed out to the all creation revelled in the warm sunshine. and said in a low Well met. As he turned the corner of Temple Avenue he was stopped by a ronin wearing a pilgrim's tone " : hat. Kamo River glittered like the spears of a vast army surrounding the city and . bhisiiig in the temple gardens .

124 The Loyal Ronins. not talk about impossible things. he grasped Sir Common by the arm and led him down a side-street to an inn called the " Eight Supreme Delights. Sir Common began to question his friend with regard to his intentions concerning Sir Kira. I have something important to communicate. Come along. but now have given up the idea." Thus speaking. She was a spy of Sir Kira and . team of horses. I recollect the creature her true Convolvulus. Do you remember the woman who was lately attendant upon your children ? She called herself Peach-blossom. his trusted retainer. She lives not . : The I was just hoping to see me in emptying would assist friend who thirsty a bottle of the best. come along. Sir Common. and. thought of using her as a means of deceiving her master. replied " Well met. peering at the speaker through his half-closed eye-lids. " name was is the wife of Black-field. I. " Sir Big-rock listened indifferently. at one time. There is an excellent shop not some far from here. where the Bozu (Buddhist priests) obtain their nourishment. councillor steadied himself against the trunk of a cherry-tree. and pres: ently remarked We came It is to drink." When they were seated in a private room." Yes. useless for a sickle-insect to attack a Is that all you have to tell me ? " Sir said " : Common lowered his voice to a whisper and Honorable comrade.

to his annoyance. Convolvulus listens to everything that passes between you and your friend. far i25 from here. honorable comrade. let him remain as long as he again to-morrow. I spent last evening at his house. waiting for a chance to kill you. spite of the land- strictly followed. significantly replied "Judging by your honorable friend's symptoms. noticing which he arose and said " summoning the landlord. and he was so hospitable that on my way home I dropped one of my swords." He quitted the room. When all pray you he awakens. and the landlord.fatigue. This noble samurai is is Here best a rio. and do not go near following you for several the place to-night. and reassuming an intoxicated expression. I suffering from over. he will call : him here will not awaken until sunset." " I understand. Your instructions shall be Common departed than Sir Bigrock arose. Be warned by me. : ceased speaking he looked at Sir Big-rock. staggered out of the apartment and. They have been months. I desires. he found fast asleep." No sooner had Sir . sake"." As he whom. next door to a very worthy man who is a money-changer.Convolvulus Overhears a Conversation. When you met me I was endeavoring to find it. closing the door after him. give him some of your and do everything in your power to detain night. Her husband and a band of Kira's people are secreted in her house.

His zig-zag walk highly amused a number of children. My boy found it lying on the tokonoma in the back room. There are people who reproach me for not such erful idiots. being busily engaged in attempting to draw the sword from its sheath. listened at a side window. Convolvulus emerged from a neighboring house. after and glanced drowsily at saluting him respectfully. who." Sir Big-rock did not take the cup. "This sword. I laugh at all What can one person do against a pownoble like Sir Kira." At that moment the lad came forward with the cup : of tea on a small lacquered tray and kneeling near the guest. presented it. falling into line." said Sir Big-rock. I presume you have come for your " sword ? producing the weapon and handing it to his " visitor. Moreover. having avenged his death. then observed Honorable sir. : ordered his boy to bring some tea. thinking as he did so " The honorable samurai : is very much confused this morning what comical grimaces he makes. who. sallied into the street. Big-rock seated himself upon the edge of the was shaded platform at the entrance to the store. remembering . and noiselessly approaching the money-changer's residence. While he was thus employed Mrs. " was presented to me by my late lord. lord's persuasion. mimicked his gestures and followed him as far as the house of the money-changer.126 The Loyal Ronins. which Sir by an over-hanging pine the proprietor. " tree.

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127 the saying. good now. We carouse. expect you " About the hour of the " Hog will (8 M.' care to shorten it." People might imagine me to be girdle. stifling in- clination to snicker." ' who would murmured an : " This is Uzi tea.Convolvulus Overhears a Conversation. man's life is but fifty years. Permit me to leave this sword here until toIt will never do for me to go through the night. I can always take a cup." responded the lad." swered " his guest." said " the delighted merchant. and sang to him self: " Sake and tea are all the same to a man who has been to see the flowers. " ! three weapons in my mid-day with intoxicated." You honor me. As he rose to depart he saw the shadow of Convolvulus vanish from the window. streets at ." said the " mon- Why did you The boy retired and on reaching the rear apartment. Gold-help. visit " " I you again this evening. as though " certainly. Turning to the boy he " Sake" ? Yes." You shall have some more of that old sake. " not bring sake as I directed ? that. ?" At what time may drowsily anindulge in a royal p." hiccoughed the visitor.). muttered the other " I cannot wait Good. performed a pantomimic dance. Sir Big-rock. " The honorable samurai knows ey-changer. I will replying to an invitation." Mr. certainly. frowning at his servant.

His visitor had done the talking and the drinking the reverse. Sir Big-rock staggered toward the tree and placed his back against the stem. all of a sudden. he being in the . when most men were slumbering. feathery pine. sword in hand. He did not appear to observe three men who had emerged from a neighboring tenement and. and was lying on his back. never stopping until reached the house of who they Convolvulus. though the tradesman imintoxicated air The samurai assumed an and walked very eccentrically. the men rushed forward and attempted to cut him down. war). of the About the hour honest Rat (midnight). shadow and his assailants in the full light of the moon added to which he fought with the greatest coolness and skill. the trunk of which was completely shaded by the drooping branches. with his right arm in a dish of stewed lampreys. agined he . The bravos finding were the they getting took to their heels. worst of a large package of paper in patching their mutilated bodies. their bare feet makno sound ing upon the pavement. pausing frequently to gaze at the moon. . when. The latter had long been oblivious of anything his guest said. This proved a very difficult task. Sir Big-rock quitted the house of the money-changer.128 The Loyal Ronins. expended it. were creeping after him. After going some distance he turned down a lane and entered a lonely spot at the rear of the shrine of Hachiman (the god of In the midst of the ground was a gnarled.

From who. 129 They to forgot to report the result of their encounter Kira. gradually began to regard his enemy with profound contempt . and as their intended victim kept his own counsel. as the days passed.Convolvulus Overhears a Conversation. the loyal ronins remained in ignorance of the affair. that time the spies contented themselves with watching Sir Big-rock and reporting his vagaries to their master.

while she sat in her 130 . whose dialect betrayed them to be natives of Ako. One of them was an old man called and the other. Their establishment was managed in a very peculiar way. was addressed as Long. " An A chance word speech. that.radish though few those were their true names. none of the servants being permitted to remain in the house at night. though they assured every one they had come from the South. is often more effective than a premeditated Kamakura. Both stood in imagined In the vicinity of . relative. in the spring of 1701. was conducted by two men and a woman. and strange rumors were circulated regarding the proprietors. who." arrow aimed at a private soldier sometimes slays a general. the greatest fear of the hostess. who was supposed to be his Quick-sand. was a fashionable inn. UNCONQUERABLE PERFORMS AN ACT OF JUSTICE.CHAPTER SIR XVIII. who were said to be bandits. within bowshot of the great bronze image of Buddha.

guest send Tiger-lily him order expensive food and drink. does he ? That are not beautiful enough to wait on such a valuable She is the one to make here. Big purse. presented himself at the inn. ." . he had been told of the bad reputation borne by the establishment. This luxury. A few days before. she said "I do not keep a house for the entertainment of : poor samurai" " Mrs. When the attendant had delivered the new-comer's order to her mistress. and marching into the best apartment. One evening Sir Unconquerable. While the grim-visaged ronin was being served. and ruled the house. ordered refreshments. he Sir Plain. Sir Kira's chief. ordered compelled them to do the them work a very hot tongue." You settles the case. even the guests sometimes ex- woman had periencing the effect of her temper.councillor was in the habit of frequent- ing the inn. at the same time curtly announcing that he intended to remain all night. on hearing which a burning desire to visit it his old spirit of adventure prompting him to go where hard knocks were He was also informed likely to be given and taken. dressed as of old and wearing his ronin hat. and of four servants. Rose-bud. 131 room and enjoyed every about like beggars. he felt . large I believe he is who made a sum misfortunes of his lord.Sir Unconquerable Performs an Act of private Justice.field " is not poor. He carries of money by the a big purse.

" faltered the other man. then began to trem- money. " has overtaken you ? turned his ashen features toward her and hoarseto ? : have a stroke " whispered Ye gods it is Sir Unconquerable Now the end has arrived and we shall have to give up what we have stolen. You will elder of the ble. her husband and his partner entered her room. Arrow-stand." " Steal his swords. " " Are you going What He ly " she snapped. He does not know my face." Listen. when he is hapsleeping." men put on his horn-spectacles.132 The Loyal Ronins." she said. is Unconquerable " a perfect demon. my dear." " a tremulous voice. he is armed. He is laden with have to attend to him to-night. " " ! " " Who " " cares for Sir Unconquerable ? But. " Our lives are not worth a cash each." ! ! she returned. peeped. you can rid us of his troublesome presence. The and advancing to a place where some holes had been made in the wall. thing. We will do no such Phewgh You were always a coward. when she said " Quick-sand and Long-radish. go and look through : the spy-hole at our new guest. To-night. dare not attack him while . I will pily go and entertain him. honorable madame." in We suggested her husband.

" being brought he discovered whereupon he sternly exclaimed : A lamp So. rushed upon the scene and assisted in enter- taining their guest. and by the dim light from the corridor. on hearing which the landlady. spear in hand. 133 " Leave it all to me. proceeded to demonstrate the strength of his arm. disloyal wretches.Sir Unconquerable Performs an " Ad of Justice. observed " Let us take a look at these rascally inn-keep: ers. you." she said. Sir other guests. then picking up a weapon. the intruders attacked him with their long swords. Cease quaking and look like a man. You become more timorous every day. unfaithful. Alas for their calculations ! In a short time the thread of her existence was severed. seized one At by the neck and the other by the sleeve and hurled them to the floor. The intruders uttered loud cries. That old sake will conquer him " ! the hour of the rat (mid-night) Sir Unconquerable saw the door of his room pushed back. and as apartment. The tumult had aroused the disturbance. who crowded into the chamber and demanded the cause of the Unconquerable explained what had occurred. who they were. and her husband and his partner were extended on the mats in the agonies of death. beheld two men enter the In an instant he was upon his feet. and calling for a light. While an act of striking in the dark I have accomplished it is " . dropped by the elder of the two.

Arrow-stand and Sir Wisteria-lake. it is The vengeance of heaven may be slow but Sir like sure. Now I shall sleep comfortably. justice. their deaths. . whose lives." Thus perished those contemptible creatures. were miserable.1 34 The Loyal Ronins.

MISS QUIET'S DOWER. he grasped his short sword in his right hand and said " My son. I do not desire to take the one leading to the infernal regions.CHAPTER XIX. a good Buddhist. one of the three. as he knew they were men whose loyalty was beyond question. to whom he was tenderly attached. a youth of sixteen. Sir Clifffield was seized with a fatal sickness which confined him to his bed. On finding his end near he sent for his son. preferring. shall as I am adise). or the path from this world. to go to Gokuraku (ParWhen Sanzu-no-baba (the old woman who is 135 . A few days after the surrender of the castle. : soon arrive at the place where the three roads meet. IN chapter the sixth I described how three roninsamurai presented themselves at the castle of Ako and offered their services to avenge the death of Lord Although Sir Big-rock could not then he determined to communicate with them later on. I am about to climb the Hill of Death and Morning-field. avail himself of their aid. When the boy had saluted him.

be ashamed to look upon his face. she will ask me why I bring this sword with me. I charge you to take this sword. castle of Soon after the surrender of the Ako. and his daughter said "My honorable father. his boy repeating the words after him and receiving the sword. through weakness. : then bade her retire and said to his son fore This morning I w as reading the book you see beme. know by heart. the toll-keeper of the Sanzu-river) comes forward to receive my clothes. so that my spirit may pass happily to a future He slowly recited the oath he had state. Sir Big-rock privately sent for me. I desire to follow the example of that mirror of loyalty and bequeath a legacy to you." exclaimed in the I old ronin. the gift of our dead chief. I my son.136 The Loyal Ronins. The gods have decreed that the thread of my life shall soon be snapped. shall not When meet our lord Paradise. and to my delight admitted me into the noble band of men who have vowed to avenge the death of our never-tobe-forgotten chief." it paused. which he solemnly swore to use as his father directed. it I have therefore determined to give : to you. will cheer your spirits. and to assume the responsibility of my vow. let me give you a cup of tea. of course." He The dying man waited " r until she had served him. " 1 Farewell. It is the history of Kusunoki Masashige." . which you." taken.

" he whispered. entered the Three Springs. Among these were the servants whom he treated with special civility. : who received her order. for. Will you permit me to take it for you ? " are too kind. and finally accepted . who was much moved by the loyal devotion of the samurai. where he joined Sir Cyprusvillage. a nursemaid in the service of Sir Small-grove. on a street not far from the residence of Sir Kira. 137 and after went to Sir mourning sixty days. One day a young girl named Miss Quiet." she replied. who had opened a grocery called the Three Springs. Sir Cliff-field entered into business with the greatest ardor. he was never so much as invited into the porter's lodge. Sir Cliff-field.Miss Quiet's Dower. He was directed to assume the name of Three-help. though he gave many bribes. attracted many cus- The young Sir Cliff-field buried his father. modestly closing her eyes. said in this an insinuating tone " It is a shame you should be obliged to carry " home. and accepted him as a member of the conspiracy. hopto ing thereby gain admittance to the noble's mansion. of Sir Kira. and ordered to Yedo. you " You not reside in the honorable house of Sir Kira ? She answered in the affirmative. In this he was doomed to disappointment. and being very handsome." " Do " You are very beautiful. " I am only a poor little servant girl. tomers to the shop. Big-rock. and asked for a cake of tofu (beancurd).

Mr.138 his offer. young people did not appear together upon the street. From that day Miss Quiet became a con- stant visitor at the store. and passed many witty remarks upon the matter. Plain. who were not in the conwondered how a spiracy. The morning-glory soon withers. which. to all of which he would reply Some of the shop-men. The Loyal Ronins. a retired architect. yet never invited him to visit her at her master's residence. in the beginning. This samurai who had. made certain plans. good-looking fellow like Three-help could fall in love with such a homely girl as Miss Quiet." In the course of a few months Miss Quiet accepted the young grocer as her betrothed and introduced him to her uncle. The girl loved her affianced very tenderly. was guarded closely. found them defeated by his attachment to . with her gain admission to Sir Kira's mansion. and was as anxious as ever to . : " The sensible man looks to the heart. being within the enclosure containing Sir Kira's mansion. who lived snugly upon the earnings of his younger days. The meetof the lovers ings always took place at her uncle's and the home. After awhile Sir Cliff-field became really enamored notwithstanding which he eagerly kept his and ears eyes open. Who can predict what sort of chicken will be hatched from an egg. in a comfortable house on Divinity Street.

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was through sired. honorable uncle. a great number. in the end.Miss this Quiet's Dower. saying Let me show you some of my handiwork. title day. Kira's yashiki (mansion). addressed him by the familiar of uncle. " One which he proudly exhibited." " Excuse me." As soon as she had departed. rising and stepping into the " house where she slipped on her clogs. in July. one. This must such " ? be a plan of a daimids mansion. the architect said my mistress would dismiss : " " What do you think of these specimens ?" You have wonderful talent. him very coolly. Three-help. girl still. drew the plan of Sir He was very crotchety and I . who highly esteemed the old man. " Sayonara will have great pleasure in (farewell). if I were seen walking with any me from her service. the young people really loved each he gradually took a liking to the grocer and called him nephew. 139 it humble but virtuous her ." said his " mouth of the niece. That fidgety old Sir Kira suspects everybody. he obtained what he so greatly dearchitect treated At first the old but when he found other. while Sir Cliff-field. he produced a number of plans. You must : accompany me. for. be to have In our house we doubly particular. uncle. I must go. you not looking at those beautiful drawings. 1701* when the lovers were paying the architect a visit. Have you designed many " Yes.

still. as he did so.140 The Loyal Ronins. I know something about the matter rolled : He . do you not. mysteries of many houses. until I had done my duty. am a noble man. yet When I die you must be very caretate to destroy it. is papers I am like a doctor." ful with my ." you " "What That How I envy I really ought not to nothing. The Lord I and humane. were I a samurai. remember how the Lord of " Ako was treated by Sir Kira. of its on account exquisite finish." " would never rest you forget the law forbids men taking into their own hands." oppose Uncle. uncle. know wrong I to talk in this manner. nephew ? " Yes. is what I secret rooms than a fashionable tea-house. hesikeep this. remarking " You. gave paper. will particulars related the story of the tragedy concluded his narration by saying you kindly give old me the " full ? The man I and : " Although once had Sir Kira for a of client I heartily detest him. doubt the members justice of the clan have loyal hearts they do not desire to the authorities." and sages This. without doubt. me " lots of trouble. I know the up the drawings and showed the young man a recess beneath the tokonoma where he kept his treasures. just amazed that his retainers have not I Ako was it is avenged his death. No . a beautiful piece of work. nephew. the ability to do such a thing." unrolling a large It contains more pasdid for him.

" The architect leaned back upon his : My re- his elbows. my. Through the intrigues of a fellow-official. niece a Up your priceless : my loyal comrades have been sorely trouband we have hoped against hope. " Were you a samurai. Sir Cliff-field. he continued some important papers. and garding claimed visitor with amazement. I lost the favor of my honored chief and was forced to become a ronin. joyfully ex- "Well met." Sir Cliff-field received the documents with trembling hands. raising them to his forehead. strong in his political power." he cried. accept them as the dower of : my niece. guarded like the Sho-gun himself. Though I wear the garb of a tradesman I have the heart of a samurai." Taking the plans from their " Future nephew. "Go to. time the this to dower." " I " am a samurai" was the proud response.Miss Quiefs Dower. I cannot find You give words with which to express my thanks. and. who was once a councillor of the Lord of Tamba. I believe I understand what you are doing in Yedo. you would not utter such words. the bosom friend of Lord Morning-field. Your kindness will enable us to clear . future uncle. true name is Cliff-field. here are hiding place. I am Green-mountain. Our eneled. 141 This reply made the architect very angry. has defied our attempts and mocked hearts of at our misery. murmured " Sir Green-mountain.

142 The Loyal Ronins. the stain of disloyalty from the name of the clan of Ako." Within ten days the plan was delivered into the hands of Sir Big-rock. who. after examining it. exclaimed " I : see one star shining through the darkness of the night." .

enemy's house better than he does. Sir Big. sent away the guard and when I have winnowed the rice." 143 . furnished by his son.CHAPTER XX. so we will storm his residence and kill the badger in his hole.rock was seated in his library. a few vows stand the test of years. " Only one thing is now has thinking aloud. 1701. " Kira required. It is most certain Kira will never give us an opportunity to attack him upon the street." he said. I will now try the loyalty of the conspirators. and evidently no longer fears me." Upon a hot day in August. SIR BIG-ROCK WINNOWS THE RICE. proceed to Yedo and carry out the plan I have so long had in my mind. Even How a high mountain may in time become a hillock. not obtained the plan from Sir Cliff-field we should have been compelled to grope our way in the now know every nook and corner of our I dark Had I . thinking of the news he had received from Yedo.

I had a very nice fish sent me this morning I . Honorable master. my friends ! Sir Common. house will me ? " He was about to strike his hands together. Luckily I have some few rio left. have of late spent much foolish money. Had I invested all I have thrown away. finding you at home. when Sir Common prevented with you not eat some of it and drink a cup of sakt him and said : ." said the servant. from the passage. Sir Big-rock : When exclaimed " Welcome. our business is to talk something more important.144 " TJie Loyal Ron ins. I presume you are feeling annoyed because I defeated you at our last game of go. which I intend to loan upon collateral security. " I shall always be here. I suppose Sir Hatchet is here to help you with his suggestions." said their host. in order to summon a servant. and Sir : Comabout in mon answered No. Left-six. Do you notice the large store- have built in the back-yard ? It is to hold the pledges." The " guests knelt quite close to him." " Admit them. and have come to wipe out the stain. and am now beginning to feel stingy." " I We are fortunate After this." the visitors entered the room. I should to-day be a rich man. Sir Big-rock. " Sir Hatchet and Sir Common desire to see you.

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I made up my mind. you. Common has exactly expressed my sentiments. angrily replied . who had : listened most impatiently. You must surely We have come to ask Sir Many of the conspirators." " Yes. and we some of them may lose heart. Chief-councillor. Are the sacrifices and sufferings of the loyal clansmen. comes. carried away by anger and a desire for to atrevenge. of our wives. " 145 rock. like bubbles that rise on the surface of water. and thus bring additional lauo-hincr-stock o ^ upon the memory of our honored lord. are losing their grip. of the world. Pardon me." said Sir Hatchet. what is your determination with regard to our enemy." " In understand. This long delay has sorely tried fear many of our number." calmly answered Sir Big-rock. to You must excuse us why are we thus to-day. refuse to perform their comprehend all these things. Sir tack " I ports show any attempt on our I ignominious defeat. discouraged by this long delay. Our part would result in do not desire to become the disgrace best plan will be Council of again to petition the That is my Elders to reestablish the house of Ako.Sir Big -rock Winnows the Rice. " idea what do you think ? . Sir Big- mistrusted? What are we understand by your words ? Surely you do not intend that Sir Kira shall die in his bed. " and when the time vow. the beginning. children and dependants to go for nothing. Sir Common. once and for all. better think I now Kira. rethe All of it. come what might.

! I never expected to hear do not agree with you such words from the mouth of Sir Big-rock. When you come across our friends. communicate my ideas to them.rock. to take the head of Sir Kira." " You jump fact of at conclusions. It would be too important were I specially to the late conspirators for that purpose. could There is only one course open to us. might wait three hundred. I will affair therefore give the papers into your charge. " The our having conspired has reached the ears Yedo. namely. I have thought the matter over and have resolved to return of the authorities at the written oaths intrusted to making the summon my charge. will not spare you. as long as we entertain such feelings. " Sir " are you enBig." . Chief-coun- as you are.146 " I The Loyal Ronins. we are unworthy to be restored to our old positions. and live so long. If you mean what you I say. and return their pledges. to fathom our hearts ? I did not take that deavoring oath in cillor jest. For some moments the visitors remained speechless He then took a with indignation." cried Sir Common. You know full well the council has not the slightest inten- tion to grant what you propose. and thus wipe out our too pro- we longed disgrace. who naturally agree that.rock." said Sir Big. three years for them to move nearly We in have waited the matter." roll of documents from his writingdesk and held the package toward them.

therefore my ! tongue brooks not the restraint of ceremony. " from Have you Yedo ? forgotten the sacred charge I brought Go to the temple of the Snow." thundered Sir Common. do as he desires and receive the documents. only exclude me from your arAll I ask rangements. " Sir If hilt of his sword my Common. then interposed. I will call upon you to-morrow. My heart is full of sorrow for my dead lord. at least. " Come. : saying Calm yourself. a coward ?" Sir Hatchet. which act will show our fellow conspirators that. trembling with rage. I begin to underwill stand the meaning of Sir Big-rock's words. you is to take charge of these papers. grasping his companion . but this is no time for compliments. Sir Common. '147 Having thus spoken he grasped the and impatiently waited for a reply.Sir Big-rock Winnows the Rice. If." Sir " Hatchet waited a few moments. after that. I will cut off your head and offer it to the god of war. too. in order to receive your reply.clad Pine and refresh your loyalty by gazing at the last gift from your lord. you provoke yourself about a trifle." We " What ? " cried Sir " Are you. you refuse to keep your vow. follow your own judgment." " I will not accept them. they have one man who is not afraid to lead them These are strong words to use to a Chiefcouncillor. decision does not suit you and others. as I have a plan of my own." said Common-.

: wares morning. completely you are disguised. his daughter came to him and said " Honorable father. Plum. Thousand-cliffs did not know you. turned to the and lady replied " So you did not recognize me. who was dressed in the humble garb of a merchant. cousin Plum ? Don't you think I make a good-looking fan merfloor. there is a fan-dealer outside.cliffs. " ? will you please send the gentle- man the stranger entered. Honorable can be possible you are my cousin." The samurai." " Thank I do not require any of his you. The next day. opening " it. Sir Hatchet saluted and exclaimed him. : chant " ? ." cried the " young lady. you have arrived at a most opportune time. The Chief-councillor will retire. Sir Thousand." but presently returned with a folded paper which she handed to her parent. ? who was it I linger- ing at the door. their leader. who." : When " Dear me. " I by the arm and hurriedly saluting will take charge of the papers. while Sir Hatchet was perusing a We volume of ancient poems.148 The Loyal Ronins. " Welcome. upon this The girl retired." has determined wisely. sir. said : My in dear Plum. deposited his sample box upon the How and wiping his perspiring brow.

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about his eccentric behavior." said Sir Thousand- and cliffs. Last night I argued the matter for several hours with worthy Sir Common. and the conspirators who are in this You will hear attend to those in Yedo. On hearing which. When the time comes visited Sir : ." Within a month a package arrived from Yedo. said "These men can be trusted. visit from oaths me as soon as possible." she " I will merrily answered. Sir Thousand-cliffs said " I This news is perfectly understand his intention. When will Kira learns the have been returned he broken. indeed delightful. : then related what had passed at the house of Sir Bigrock. " 149 You could not spoil your handsome features." Sir Hatchet waited until she was out of hearing. who. seeing the papers were greatly diminished in number. on receipt of which Sir Common and Sir Hatchet once I. for one. at length brought him to reason. I have come from Yedo in order to consult I with you it. " You I'll city.Sir Big-rock Winnows the Rice. have never doubted his wisdom and loyalty." That is also my opinion. is Now " comprehend and believe the day of attack close at hand. go and prepare some refreshments. mother and have My grandmother gone to the temple. is ! What a wonderful man deem the league the Chief-councillor though often feeling despondent. How would " to advise me return these ? documents you " Nothing could be easier. more Big-rock.

Sir Hatchet He and Sir Common felt and pleased. like have been thrice tried. You remember ' After a victory knot the cords then showed his visitors the plan of Sir Kira's residence. I Now you know what in my heart. that they ing up to heaven. They. caution you about one be more vigilant than ever." ' would. I refined gold. me. for the attack. were so encouraged o as though they were climb- . of your helmet. shall act as we one person. and consulted with them. however. what may be the Do not doubt is am .i5o The Loyal Ronins. Never mind odds we will accomplish our purpose. thing the saying of lyeyasu.

however. and matters by ill-timed he determined to send a representative to pacify and watch over them. therefore. at present that is impossible besides my appearance among them would re-awaken Sir Kira's suspicions and defeat our project. and would much like to visit . The samurai When lady has the soul of a warrior. for which purpose he summoned Sir Common. " can you be ready to depart ? Sir Common bowed and replied " I offer you my heartfelt thanks for selecting me.CHAPTER THE MOTHER OF " XXI. impatience. the son hesitates. SIR COMMON.cliffs. Knowing the clansmen in Yedo were beginning to exhibit fearing they might precipitate action. desire you will take my place. When I. a : . felt in a position to execute his plans. our comrades. the mother leads." Sir Big-rock having returned the written oaths and ascertained the intentions of his followers. whom he thus addressed : "I have been considering the intelligence brought from Yedo by Sir Thousand.

will of his mother.1 52 The Loyal Ronins. I cannot expect to I near Ako. I Will it be possible for can. My aged mother. Make the most of the delightful moments." Sir Big-rock nodded and answered : ? I shall only " Everybody thinks I who have always been such son. as A few days' delay will be will Sir Thousand-cliffs have somewhat quieted the apprehensions of our brothers in Yedo. Although I cannot openly speak the words. of trifling consequence." tears stood in the eyes of Sir felt respectfully took his leave. For this reason am most anxious to once more see my dear mother and family. Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to start at once. but I have one favor child are at I to ask. The Common that as he rock was allowing him Sir Sir Biga happiness he denied himself. to represent you on this important mission. you to grant me this great indulgence be absent one or two days. especially you a dutiful and affectionate By all grant your request with the greatest pleasmeans visit your home and do not be stingy with your farewells. my wife and If go to my home in Middle Village. Present my regards to your honorable mother and The perfume of the plumfamily. Yedo now. man of inferior judgment and little wisdom. do so mentally. and to bid them a last farewell. blossom soon passes away. return. He Common made into a bundle to purchased a few presents. ure. . which he be carried over his shoulders. at least.

she talked to garment her child. who had her babe upon her back and her sleeves bound with her tasuke (a cord carried by ladies to loop up their dresses). "Ah " he exclaimed. Cloth. the journey occupying one day and a half." the dwelling he heard his wife. As she vigorously rubbed the and plunged it into the water. assumed an unconcerned air. As he approached advanced from behind the reed-fence. Mrs. then dressed himself in 1 53 his best. On nearing home his thoughts reverted to the time of his prosperity." He (An expression of suppressed grief. striped cloth overcoat. when he was a great samurai with an allowance of three hundred koku of rice. the white roof of which could be seen peeping from among the branches of the pine-trees. proceeded and putting on his upon his way. singing. was seated upon a clog behind a shallow tub. Cloth. and knew by the sound of splashHe noiselessly ing water that she was washing linen. dashed the tears from and restraining his emotion. " then I was enabled to lodge ! my is mother in a beautiful residence. My breast nigh closed. asleep and that his father was listening . and regarding the humble abode. murmuring to himself " It will not do for my mother to see me looking his eyes. Mrs. watched her. she being unaware of his presence.The Mother of Sir Common. : miserable. and halting.) paused. never for a moment imagining he was fast to what she said. now all I is can afford well yonder mean cottage.

. entered the house. Having prostrated himself and performed the spectful salutation. and gazing lovingly at her son. when she beheld Sir Common. You must have suffered greatly during this sea! ! : son of returning heat (Indian summer)." was answer." she exclaimed. honorable husband. where are you ? My husband has " come home Hearing this. off his He the child. feet " ful I pray you Lave your and enter without ceremony. Honorable mother." As you please. his wife following with slipped. and not hearing his voice in reply turned to look at him. not to trouble yourself about saluting me. said " Common. who was over eighty years old. Mrs. Yes. " have a little patience eat heartily and enjoy yourself. strong Fusa Bo (literally Apartment baby). my " brave son. advanced to the window in the side of the entry. . Sir Common's mother. and laying aside his sup-hat. Sir " re- Common I said : Honorable mother. have for a long time expected . whereupon she ceased her occupation and said " : Oh. I am so glad to see you Mother has been feeling very anxious on your account.1 54 " The Loyal Ronins. " his respect- seeing greater than mine at beholding you. so that when your papa returns he will not recognize his big. I am delighted once more to behold your face. Cloth then sang a nursery song. honorable mother." Your happiness at me is not straw sandals.

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" truly a fortunate fellow. In an instant. he was off to the dreamcountry and I felt his soft cheek rest upon my neck. Your presence fills my heart with During your absence our good Cloth has been most affectionate. He also says a few words. but in his own baby language. : When We A moment before you came he was talking to me." The aged plied " I : lady smiled kindly upon him and re- Although you were unable have written very frequently from Kioto. my son. has detained me. not in words that every one could understand.The Mother of Sir Common. she* is his nurse and guardian. she ceased speaking. When he . pressure of business come back. Since our honorable mother loves and pets him so much. happiness. and said up " knew you would feel proud of our boy. Has he not and can almost balance grown very healthy. to i55 in order to ascertain the good or bad that has occurred to but the you. and has proved an admirable Fusa Bo. I have not seen you for six months. he is always about her. This has afforded me great comfort." " He is father." daughter. ? Look is at our darling He . Sir Common's wife took the current of the old lady's thought. during the day. and is most lovable." said the delighted I pray you not to disturb him. See the pretty fellow he is still asleep. yet cannot observe any change in to visit understand. little thinking his papa has come home. himself upon his feet. and. me you your appearance.

and saluted Sir : He Common assisted with respectful delight. certain prince of the Kuwan and To I provinces. Cloth.1 56 The Loyal Ronins. " me where my brother. cooked fish and rice and warmed sakL the baby awoke. but will return next spring and take you to my new home. who desires me to enter his service. money. as the head of the family." " will . since I have been away from you in Kioto. Cloth. the family sat down to a feast and celebrated the safe return of its head. " Here he comes. their happiness being unmixed and unrestrained. so am about to go to Yedo." producing a sum of serve for your present needs. Remember our honorable mother must not suffer for anything. is ? " has only gone to a neighbor's. you will regard my brother. Until that time I beg . Tell awakens we will make each other's acquaintance. Brother and wife. Total-three. Mrs. Take every care of our honored mother. I have done my best to find some place where I could settle Luckily I have met a repair my fortune. While the samurai were conversing. and remain well and happy." said Mrs." then. I have come hither to announce this happy news and bid you farewell I must start to-morrow morning. Total-three. you now know my errand. by the old lady. added As she spoke his brother entered. Sir Common waited until the smiling face of his parent indicated a good opportunity for him to : com- municate what he desired to say. then observed " My honorable mother. listening for a moment. who disliked to be unoccuWhen pied. This.

Have I not fully stated my affecting does " What ? my " business " " My " there son. if possible. Woman as I am." she gravely replied. correcting her attitude (assuming a serious pose)." murmured Mrs." " Nor on mine. I will not give I to undisciplined feeling. but you misunderstand me. like Cloth. and. like to know the real reason of your journey. iS." said the young man. " amazement. I am very happy to hear you are going to Yedo." . and am sure the real reason for your trip to Yedo is to avenge the death of our lord. Cloth. the proud mother of samurai. Total-three received the package and. one in ten thousand. believing that I. might prevent you from going. is no one here but our family and you can speak without re- presume your telling us a certain prince is you into his service is a fiction. so that there will be no after regret concerning way the matter. though I would. or that my tears would weaken the vow you have made ? I comprehend your motive for straint. Do you fear to tell me the truth. felt sad at the thought of losing Sir Common almost as soon as they had recovered him." : honored mother mean ? he cried. I to take concealment. " My honorable brother.The Mother of Sir Common. the venerable lady watched the face of her eldest born. " rest assured nothing shall be lacking on my part. While they were speaking. observed " My son. conjure you to speak out.

and will anxiously wait for the spring to come. but pretending not to do so." While his tongue uttered these words. His mother understood his feelings. in orparent. his heart rebelled against the deceit he was practising upon his and he bowed his head close to the mat. I " pray you be careful of yourself upon your journey.1 58 Sir The Loyal Ronins. This determined him to continue his loving deception. Since that time a great number and even of our comrades have changed their minds. the matter is still undecided. when the time came for her to say farewell she would become distracted with grief. when he checked himself. when I will return from Yedo. mother's loyalty was about to reveal all. My dear son. I am re-assured. While we held the castle we had many consultations. Why my honored mother ? I pray you to banish your suspicions and wait until spring. by Sir Big-rock is trying to mend his fortune should I deceive entering into business. as resolved to kill Sir Kira. answered : Since you say so. though she spoke so bravely. he respectfully said Honorable mother. " Placing both hands upon the : floor. surprised and delighted that his was as true as the needle to the pole. imagining. I I grieve to hear your suspi- deemed my explanation would be satisfacWith regard to avenging the death of our hontory. . Common. and were cions. der to hide his shame. ored lord.

i5g do not travel during the heated hours tired. and avoid the evening dews.The Mother of Sir Common. Whatever others may do. the old lady arose before daybreak and busied herself in preparing luncheon for The next morning him. making rice cakes and other delicacies of which she knew he was very Sir fond. while she thought to herself : When Common came " his mother. he endeavored to appear cheerful. Grow strong. and. gazing lovingly at him. Start at sunrise. said in a low. from his apartment and beheld her thus employed. it shall not be said that by word or deed. mon she was gone and Sir Comhad said good-bye to his brother. after saying good night. Have a good rest to-night. who. caused him to be untrue to his lord. Farewell my boy Thus speaking. hurriedly quit- ted the apartment. I shall often ney. retired to rest." After the morning meal had been eaten. early. my second " My son. received the child. and after listening to her husband's farewell. You must self." You must I be will awaken you and He thanked her for her minute and careful concern. grow strong. with averted face. of noon. he prostrated When . he took his little child upon his knee. think of you and of the comfort you will be to your grandmother and mother. he handed the babe ! " to his sobbing wife. tender voice : your father is going upon a long jourbe a very good boy.

he reverently lifted it to his forehead. and. seeing which he the cake in a suitable and placed spot presently had the pleasure of beholding the pigeons feed their brood with his offering. he seated himself in the shade of a tree and About noon. and. in broken accents. himself before his mother. and thus banishing filled his soul. in which he found the ricecakes and food prepared by his mother. his watched their actions with a dreamy mind being preoccupied with thoughts of . that the sad thoughts o travelled nearly eighteen miles." until do with this ? he mused. bade her adieu. The aged lady listened with unmoved countenance. counselling him to remember her advice. He him last saw her standing in the door-way regarding affectionately. Sir Common hastened from the place. Sir He Common curiosity.160 The Loyal Ronins. when he had opened his luncheon-box. being desirous of quickly returning to his duty. Taking a cake in his hand. accompanied him to the porch and watched his departure. " it then proceeded to partake of the repast. at the conone rice-cake remained in the recep- What gift. " If I keep night it will be spoiled and I cannot throw away can I " her in glanced about him and noticed a pigeon's nest the fork of a tree above his head. clusion of which tacle.

which they devoured as fast as the old ones could procure it." he said. reaching home about sun-set. and my life die fighting or will be lost to my family. I have made a great mistake. Sir is Common thought its : instinct causes Although the pigeon it to deny a small bird. those 161 who were far away. " I will reveal the " I must return to her. then said in a husky voice : . have. she will to deceive me." He then rose and retraced his steps. he went to his mother's chamber and narrated the circumstances that had influenced him to revisit her. true motive of my visit to Yedo and bid her farewell proper manner. in bidding farewell to of a grave falsehood. When my all mother. his was so slight that he did not hesitate my deceit. parental itself everything for its off- spring. been guilty is over and she be- comes acquainted with ' say : Though I affection for me most surely so much of have thought my son. wife and Having allayed the apprehensions of his an important brother stating he had forgotten in a by matter.The Mother of Sir Common. and prevented him from resuming his journey. Do human If I beings think as I much of their chil- dren ? go to Yedo shall either by I hara-kiri." These reflections caused him to feel very unhappy.' and will feel displeased and lament. " Seeing this. the parents never once swallow- by the noise of the young ing a morsel. He was awakened from his reverie birds clamoring for the food.

1 We will now drink a farewell cup. You could not. you have suspected I am going to Yedo for the purpose of avenging the death of our honored lord. for a moment deceived. That the first thing a samurai should consider. You are my only parent and I am conscious I ought to live with you and do my utmost to make your life happy. Dismiss me from trate me your whole mind upon your duty. your brother me to comfort my last years. Sir Big-rock and others of the clan have vowed to accomplish this act of duty therefore it will be impossible for me to visit you again. yet I cannot forget the grace of our late lord. in any way. is My am son. more than by acting your thoughts and concen- perfectly fulfil your obligation to thus." and filial duties ? I put your ungrateful and unworthy son both my loyal The " lady listened with a delighted expression and : gently replied You I yet was not lovingly tried to conceal the truth from me. have to name to Even had I no other son. thoroughly feel my wickedness as in confessing the . lord. It is . do your duty to our will my heart is rejoiced.1 62 " I The Loyal Ronins. . you would keep your word and leave an untarnished your child. Now that you have spoken frankly. never by word or look showing the least indication of her grief. I per- fectly satisfied. How am I to fulfil pray you will out of your heart. be with Remember. truth at this late hour." She procured sake and entertained him.

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to his horror ered she was dead. your kind- exness and affection toward me are beyond my poor That you should come back the distance of pression. of your mother. of her being awake.). "come hither and see " what mother has done for my sake Total-three and Cloth hurried into the room. and when Sir Common had somewhat mastered his grief. tired to their respective apartments.TJie MotJier of Sir Common. Sir Common. By her pillow was a letter. still he did not no- strations of their child. knowing it was her custom to be up before the rest of the household. her or appear to observe the affectionate demonwho alternately peeped round the door-way at his papa and clamored for his grand- mother. the hour of the dragon (8 A.M. when they re- At day-break he rose and waited outside his mother's room. eighteen miles. discovparent's chamber. overjoyed with her loyalty of talked with her until nearly midnight. At stained with the life-blood of the noble and courageous lady. thinking is only a . Sir Common. unable any longer to bear the suspense. 163 spirit. The hours passed and the sun mounted high into the heavens. ! he reverently opened the " I letter and read : leave you a few words. yet there was no sign His wife came and went. and glanced tice at him uneasily. My dear son. entered his and grief. and. "Brother! wife!" he cried.

and you might afford the enemy a chance to behold the inside of your helmet. My son. and my life "can well be spared. and set an ism to this. MOTHER. but also as the exe- cutioner of your mother. Had I foreseen this I would not have returned. after awhile observ- There are many sons who do not fulfil their filial duties. hasten to sever the thread of farewell to Total-three. your fortitude might forsake you.164 slight The Loyal Ronins. my dear son. Were unfettered by any concern about me. and. Look upon as the enemy of our honored Sir Kira not only lord. evidence of your love for me. possesses such a son I How ! happy I is the woman who duty is from you parted saw that and over your position. I precede you I am old in end it to the land of shadows." When a ing " : Sir Common had read this he cried like child at the top of his voice. smiling upon the knife. " to Cloth and to you. but none so wicked as I. I joyfully order to free you from anxiety. My last little Fusa Bo. I example of heroyour comrades. I have done the most foolish thing imaginable. How can I ever the noble example set forget me by my mother ! A thou- . Knowing you will surely do die contented. thought After my tack You must go to the atas clear as yours. that you may die the death of a samurai. a thought of that kind to enter your mind. to dear my existence. Indeed.

and he exclaimed "Ah! honored ently ladies the loyal heart of the samurai woman! Your is mother like the noble parent will of Sir Straight-grove. dead to so Sir Common.The Mother of Sir Common. which so moved the tears trickled down his cheeks. I returned disregarded the usual limit of mourning and usual. returning to Kioto. there as soon as possible. presented himself to Sir Big-rock. who. be reverI remembered by Those courageous can well All this make us men blush with shame. child and Grief. even : Sir Big-rock that reading the letter. " Have you been sick " ? is No. Their united names posterity. you do not look as . " nothing the matter with me. that of your family. I have lost my honored mother. and. imagine your grief and . saluting him. you have been absent longer than you promised moreover. and by turns embraced the inanimate form. sand times be accursed the wretch who caused " ! i65 all this misery His brother and wife united with him in lamenting the death of their parent. Well. . regret to hear of your " ? Did your Common related all that had occurred. bade farewell to his wife." " I honorable mother die suddenly Sir bereavement. after having buried his mother life with all honors and spent fourteen days in mourning at her tomb. Unhappily. Sir Common. Sir Big-rock. though natural. said . will not restore the brother.

banished his sorrow. and. started for Yedo. . having stayed one day in Kioto. the result of the meanness and wickedness the death of our lord. then wait for the day when we shall be able to return the sacred charge entrusted to me by our honored chief. at hand. encouraged by Sir Big-rock's words." Sir Common.1 66 is The Loyal Ronins. the sufferings of how can I express myself! The time of is misery of Sir Kira our clan retribution may freely When you arrive in Yedo you communicate my plans to our comrades.

" A glittering grain of gold icles of sand.CHAPTER XXII. lived by supplying the clan of with arms and other equipments. NOBLE-PLAIN. MR." At the the town sign of the Heaven Stream (milky way) in of Sakai. though only a cJwnin (literally street-people. he hastened to the castle and sought an interview with Sir Big-rock. is seen amid a hundred million part- The humble garb of the peasant often covers a noble heart. Upon hearing of the misfortune that had overtaken his employer. who. Oh. during the lifetime of Morning-field. that I were a samurai\ even were my rations no more than a 167 . artizans and that peasants). " Ako whom he thus addressed : Sir Chief-councillor. a class including citizens. dwelt a man named Lord Noble-plain. near the seaport of Osaka. something to prove my gratitude for the many kindnesses I have received at his hands. my heart is heavy with the calamity do to I and desire has befallen my gracious patron.

" and replied : Your generous devotion will gratify our dead chief. and will some day call upon you to render us an important service. The Loyal Ronins. it disposal. Noble-plain heard strange stories concerning the be- havior of Sir Big-rock. will My fortune. I have long been aware of your honesty and fidelity. I am henceforth at your com- mand. Be patient and await the time when you will receive a communication from me. Noble-plain " That is '' ? do for you ? The new-comer approached him and whispered " Would you like to earn a large sum of money ? my name." not what to handful Sir Big-rock listened with pleasure. 1701. terprise and die an honorable do. find Be comforted me my in my life. you the same mind. a few days after the departure of Common for Yedo. like the rest of the world. and. . years passed. shall look forward for the moavail yourself of ment to arrive when you humble aid." " Sir Chief-councillor. a messenger entered the mer: chant's store and said " Are you Mr. I could then join in your noble enAs it is. notwithstanding which he was always expecting a summons from the Chief-council' lor. What can " I . Sir In October. Your words have I heart. all I possess is at your to-morrow or ten years hence.1 68 of rice. I know death." will my He The then took his leave and returned to Sakai.

He wishes you to supply him with some arms. "That You have Noble-plain's eyes flashed and he ground his teeth with rage. late master of ceremonies to the Sho-gun. Quit this place or dare you propose such a thing to I will kick you out. condition. saying " Before I go." Noble-plain glanced at the superscription and that the communication saw was from Yamashina. Surely business must be very bad with you ? " The " proprietor sighed and answered Since the death of my noble patron all I : become my one." good. I desire you will read this.Mr. " An and wishes to give you a little commission. " of Yamashina. of a heap." The stranger. instead of complying with this letter comit mand. and the bearer was designated as Temple-cliff. then exclaimed : " You dog how ! me. drew a from : his bosom and handed to the merchant. the note and read as follows : He opened old employer desires to see you at your earHe is about to engage in business. I Noble-plain." is shall my affairs have be most happy to better The service I require is a very easy heard of Sir Kira. liest convenience." . " PEACEFUL-VALLEY. 169 perceive your shop is not so well stocked as formerly and that you have only one assistant.

I am deem most fore faithful. where he regaled him The overjoyed merchant with sakt and fish." Sir Chief-councillor. is at your " service. prostrated himself before the messenger. and after scan- ning " I it. invited him to enter his private apartment." replied the merchant. I wish you to attend to this matter at once. also the . " it is true I have but little left. you still know." Sir Big-rock produced a paper which he handed will him. compelled I hear you are very poor. there- to test played by Templeeven those whom I am rejoiced to fortune. said : understand what you want and will have everything at the place you mention before the snow begins to fly. and on the following morning Noble-plain presented himself to Sir Big-rock." . Noble-plain opened the document. who said " You must excuse the trick : cliff.170 TJie Loyal Ronins. still what there is. and. after returning thanks." That night the two men started for Yamashina. and will leave the details to your judgment merely remarking that absolute secrecy must be observed in the matter. saying " : Enclosed you find a list of certain articles I require delivered to the care of the chief-priest of the Spring-hill Temple in the High-rope district of Yedo. The uniforms I will procure in Yedo. though you have lost your remember the goodness of your late patron.

containing the big eel. Noble-plain. He hand you any further funds you may require. 171 bamboo pins and pocket at once and you may . old stream. " will Have no apprehension on attend to that. A few days : after the merchant's departure. the I Sir Big-rock sent for a package which he gave to man remarking as he did so . I will start rely upon your secret being well kept. Although we " The late beautiful searched every nook and corner we failed to get sight .Mr." business. and returning to his home. shall sell my stock and merchant. if this is sum be living insuffi- cient." With regard I " to funds." replied the the score of money. then secretly set out post-haste for Yedo. writing materials. call upon Sir Common. Sir Big- rock received the following communication from the capital weather has been very favorable for eeling and the Associated Anglers have been out Yesterday we tried our fortune in the early and late. in Yedo." said Sir Big-rock. who will at the Three-springs grocery store." Noble-plain took his leave. : " Here are two hundred rio . informed his wife that he was going to the province of Bingo. near the residence of Sir Kira. Sir Chief-councillor. I am overjoyed at receiving this commission I feel as though I were walking upon the " air.

' : to the rule." this. able you to suggest cure the monster. After Sir Big.' This case will prove an exception At last. Your experience as an angler will some means by which we can " ense- ASSOCIATED ANGLERS." . You remember the It is foolish to go to a tree in saying of Confucius order to catch fish.172 of him. we learned that he had quitted his usual retreat and taken refuge beneath the shade of a tall cedar. TJie Loyal Ronins.rock had read self he laughed to him- and exclaimed : " So. siated Anglers house and sought refuge When I join the As- we will capture that slippery eel. Sir Kira has left his with his son Lord Upper-cedar. toward the evening.

like him. and wrote many verses that have been preserved to this day. made her house During the lifetime of Lord Morning. in addition to which her whole heart was in the conspiracy.field. mother-in-law. Sir Hatchet was the governor of his chiefs residence in Kioto. She was famous for her virtues. DEPARTS FOR YEDO. who. and she the rendezvous of the loyal leaguers. the poet continued to reside in that city. Among the celebrated ladies of the clan of Ako was Mrs.CHAPTER SIR BIG-ROCK XXIII. and after the noble's death. obedient to her husband. in the art of composing elegant Toward the end of October. Gentle to her and kind manner. where he earned his living by instructing pupils stanzas. and possessed a noble and loyal soul. wisdom and talents. but found time to continue her studies in Japanese and Chinese literature. Brilliant. wife of Sir Hatchet. was a poet. she not only manin aged her household affairs with consummate ability. 173 when the tempests had .

in the province of Ise (the Mecca of believers in the Shinto faith). Brave and wise woman. they left Kioto under the pretence of making a pilgrimage to the shrine of the goddess Amaterasu Omi-kami." At Shiga. Miss Plum. that in the morning sun sent up a heavy mist." " Lonely and cold stands the . Sir Hatchet was instructed to deMrs.174 The Loyal Ronins. their On After crossing a river. way the poet delighted his companion by the describing objects and places of historic interest. congratulating him that he would soon accomplish what they both so greatly desired. and bade adieu to her husband as though he was going to a festival. : I take with me the vapor of the stream. and. in order to deceive their enemies. trees. " So lives a person (meaning his wife) at home. Jr. where can we find her equal ? Sir Hatchet was accompanied by Sir Big-rock. he said solitary pine-tree on the shore of Shiga. which he made the subjects of impromptu verses. he observed : " As I emerge from the Kamo. While the sleeves of the mourners were yet wet with tears. Brilliant received the news with part for Yedo. and among an epivictims first were the mother of Sir Hatchet.. its stripped the autumnal garb from the demic appeared in Kioto. and his daughter. heroic fortitude.

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thejr fellow conspira- and were warmly welcomed by Sir Big-rock. assumed a and assisted in the task of position of responsibility. When the travelers reached the town of Kanagawa. and glancing at the mountain. i?5 These poems showed the young man. they halted for a day to celebrate the majority of Sir Big-rock. he was thinking of the beloved one whom he had left in Kioto.. his maid-servant. joyfully exclaimed " Oh. who. to companion departed examine his papers and . Jr.Sir Big -rock Departs for Yedo. Upon the following day. hours noticing which. Soon after Sir Hatchet and for his Yedo." His companion. the fog that had for the previous twenty. Jr. turned. had his forelock shaven. arrange them in order. hearing this. arrived at their destination. and received the military name of Good-gold. the snow-clad peak of Fuji-san. Sir Big-rock began who prepares for death. as they were proceeding on their journey.four lifted. " I see. that morning. happy omen Fuji-yama salutes me on attain: ! May it thus greet me upon the majority! morning of my accomplishing the desire of my heart!" ing my Toward evening they tors. Sir enveloped Fuji-yama. that while Sir Hatchet was apparently unconcerned. like one When he had completed this task. reflected upon the and said : bosom of the bay. suddenly Hatchet looked across the glittering water upon his right. From that time watching the enemy.

and prostrating him: said in a troubled voice . and regarding her. said " . you have not taken any . remarking : " Honorable master. as she turned to depart. Left-six with their attentions Will you. my son may come back before me and bring some friends with him.Carnation. and am about to go upon a journey which will occupy : me until the end of the year. bringing a cup of tea. and absent. in the doorway. I beseech you to drink this. In a few moments Grandson-lelt-gate- you will The overjoyed keeper appeared self. and money to cover the house expenses while I am Have everything in readiness." He drained the vessel and gave it back then. turn bowing. called to her.1 76 The Loyal Ronins. and Sir Big-rock presently heard her informing the aged servant of his determination. kindly speak and Mr.. The only person who will remain with be old Grandson-left-gate-keeper. Honorable master." girl retired. I am growing tired of this lonely life. Carnation. Happy-seven. re- freshment to-day. before leaving. I intend to take those men with me. saying " Carnation. who annoy me " ? : Her employer smiled. replied " Have no fear. Here are your wages." The girl listened attentively to his instructions. to Mr. entered the room. everything shall be done as you command. which she presented to him. so that if I resuddenly I may not be annoyed by finding the It is possible place in disorder.

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" I 177 Honorable master. house." This delighted the old man. ." was the I person here to receive any of my friends who may You will. is it ? true " " you have decided that require a responsible shall not accompany you reply. and retired with an important air. That evening Sir Big-rock proceeded to the temple of the Snow-clad Pine. behind them being a hired coolie laden with their baggage. "Yes. in my absence. the neighbors saw the Chiefcouncillor and his two servants quit the house. who saluted his master. take charge of the call. Early the next morning. and received the sambo and white-wood box.Sir Big -rock Departs for Yedo.

and a letter. I have not heard from feel you since left home. discovered a box. Rest assured am 178 . see the writing of my husband. regarded the characters and ex- claimed " fall : When like I a shower. my tears Even in the midst of his anxiety he remembers me.CHAPTER XXIV. and I in consequence quite well. the wife of Sir Hatchet received a package from her hus- One band. she lighted the lamp in a tall lantern. " I met my love and talked with her until the I moment I of parting. SIR HATCHET'S LETTER TO HIS WIFE. which was as follows : " I send you a few I lines. 1701. and upon opening it. some poems. then clasping her hands." After she became somewhat composed she read the communication. spread the epistle before her. very unhappy. No sooner had quitted her presence than thousand things I had left unsaid." remembered a night toward the end of December. Proceeding to her room. and kneeling upon the matted floor.

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the written foregoing whenever ing to spare. but found none had arrived. Wisteria. upon our adopted son. who gave me some good sake. I felt very sad. Be careful not to be cheated or robbed. some one ! go to reside with a friend? Oh how pity you. called so. the first monthly anniversary mother's death.Sir Hatchet's Letter " I to His Wife. and comforted me by saying you would do everythe priests for praying for thing necessary and pay the repose of our dear parent's soul. I to conquer your grief. knowing you must miss the beautiful objects of art and the furniture to which you have so been long accustomed and which you sold to defray my expenses hither! You must feel in the absence of those things as though the house had grown larger. interest due me. 179 said after letter my you might begin to write about five days departure. I had a few mo- ments . I to live with you or I dare say you also miss the many I callers I who visited us when we were together. yesterday Are you inquiry. hav- my pen to-day.help has paid the principal and. and thinking there might be a made still from you at the address I named. him You had of our Yesterday. in order to disperse my melancholy. at our home ? If you are lonely. as I am trying " can see you sitfancy pray you will endeavor to do mine. why not take . I Has ? Wisteria-three returned the money loaned I hope better urge him to do this. not being able to visit " her tomb. " I resume the 29th November. ting lonely and comfortless.

much you If he troubles you with further perfectly correct. . I received your letters of the i5th and which gave me great happiness. yet when night comes you cannot nation made long . answer to Wisteria-help. Last night inst. " I am glad you visited the tomb of our mother and distributed the alms also that the tomb-stone was finished and placed in position. " Although our separation is the result of a determi- ago. yourself to grieve so you have sufSorrow always You must not allow and it Your was are friendless enough. wait enquiry. so as to get the full sense of every say you still have the pain in your left ribs also that your that you cannot sleep on that side You have done well to consult Dr. the district registrar. I am not surprised you are sick. and the stone-cutter's bill was so reasonable. while perusing them. . and it many pleases me to hear none of the people suspect the when he are will truth. " slowly. You Remembering what Village -cottage. I am not astonished there rumors with regard to Sir Big-rock. pulse is weak. hear from me. tell him to until the end of the year. and read 6th them word. yet we both sorely feel the sadit ness has brought about. fered. to be talking with you. produces diseases of the body.180 " 1 Tfo Loyal Ronins. during the day your occupation prevents you from dwelling too much upon your misery. . You say.. I seemed. . is important you should take care of your health.

yet. I 181 feel My poor. and thus soothe your sorrow. spondence. toward the attainment of wisdom. since my arrival here. you bad news. turb . I have been surrounded by visitors and have had little time for correme. The younger members of our party are full of courI " am sorry to tell . will gradually learn the philosophy of human life. I had little to dismy mind and could think about verse-making however. dear wife. The fact is. Our duty is not to lament over what is irreparable. ' saying. by reflecting upon them. I hope will not but will write verses. is for- does not apply either to you or me. The getting. You know pecially that upon the Osaka Pass. the same as you do. I pity you. " You tell me you are pleased with my poems.Sir Hatchet's Letter sleep from thinking of me. but to bear the misfortunes inflicted upon us by the gods yet. like a badger. my dear wife. the greater grows our sorrow still. if we reason correctly. As the days pass. we will find each misfortune is a step already these things. you give up composing one whenever you have a spare moment and send it to During my journey hither. I hope. now that every arrangement has been made. Sir Kira is hiding somewhere. and. does not give any sign of his whereabouts.' to His Wife. By the way. es. Not seeing . our enemy will not slip through our fingers. I greatly admire those enclosed in your letters.

They treat us very We all have nick. Sir Sir age. as it is Make it into soup. I am exceedingly sorry I did not follow your advice. when Dr. The sleeves and linings of my clothes are beginning to wear. To-day our 1 son. and only slightly corned. insisted upon sewing During the night I put on all my garments.1 82 The Loyal Ronins. which I have had boned and salted. Sir Lucky-field. and seeing they were very nice and reasonable in price. and the boys. noticing a large rent in it my coat. There is no necessity for you to soak it. as it is very cold here. Yesterday I went to a store to buy some geese. They call me kindly. . including our son. Sir Unconquerand myself being the seniors. " up.names. remembering I shall only be here for a little while longer. give him some of it with sakl. but. Valley-cottage calls. Early-crop hourly consultation and arrange everything for Yesterday the theatres opened for the winter season. live in bachelor style. bought an extra one. and I allowed him to have his way. I have let them go.' saying I have a forelock growing like a physician's. took a We holiday and went to witness the performances. You said I had better take another suit with me. the juniors doing the house-work others. You will receive it in a box with this letter. are in the Common. and waiting upon us at meals. doctor. able.

" HATCHET. my beloved so try to comfort yourselt. " To my dear Brilliant. receive the welcome news. " November the 3Oth. " " to His Wife. You will hear from me up to the moment." . 183 I is have removed to the some distance from I Remember.. You may at any moment wife. which where our son is staying. " I am well in health. have written this letter under circumstances of great last difficulty.Sir Hatchet's Letter Since writing the above house of Big-rock Jr.

though all felt the power of his presence.At the hour of the Fox (10 P. . yet all they could learn was that he had quitted the place for parts unknown. THE MEETING " IN THE SPRING-HILL TEMPLE. and by midnight the leaguers were all assembled in a large apartment behind the main altar.M.CHAPTER XXV. The younger of the conspirators be- came greatly excited. The priests guarded every entrance and took care that 184 . From the first to the tenth of in December. but few of them saw him. spite of which they were unsuccessful.) on the nth of December." The leaguers knew Sir Big-rock was in Yedo. They haunted the vicinity of his son's residence and even penetrated into the mansion. everyone was endeavoring to discover the whereabouts of Sir Kira. finding which Sir Big-rock summoned them to meet him in the Spring-hill Temple. of Our most fervent vows vengence are made in the peaceful abodes of the gods. a number of men stealthily approached the sacred building. their enemy having vanished like a actively employed cloud.

pine As the great bell. said " : Brothers." flickering. powerful we were that lant. After returning the bows of his comrades. Our enemy. who. advancing close to their leader. the contents of which were unknown to most of them. he directed Sir Common to call the roll. who are here assembled. as though in deep thought. Since that time some of his followers have proved faithless to their the vengeance of plighted words those we leave to . knelt in two rows. their visitors. crouched in a semicircle about the sambo. Forty-seven ronins answered Here. which. We. he respectfully saluted. then. red light of the candles feebly illuminated the apartment.The Meeting in the Spring-hill Temple. Sir Big-rock remained for a moment with his head bowed. have been thrice tried and I have waited patiently. the midnight hour was struck upon In his hands he bore the sambo and white box. and the conspirators. eagerly awaited the arrival of their chief. Sir Big-rock slowly entered the hall. had to be deceived into believing . the gods and the contempt of their fellow-men. and little could be seen save " The the pale faces of the clansmen. having placed upon the tokonoma. in might some day be we bearing everything that tooour a position to perform and vigilong deferred duty. gazing upon them. three years ago our beloved lord committed this legacy to my charge. i85 no one should surprise A dead silence who reigned in the dimly-lighted hall.

pressed forward. disloyal and many things had to be done ere we were prepared to strike the blow." accomplish This speech was received with murmurs of approval. he opened the folds and revealed a blood-stained dirk. of the box. which at- Before quitting the temple he gave audience to . his residence until our swear by the hundred million gods duty is performed. leaving him kneeling. care not how closely night he shall cease to live. and reverently touching the dirk. his command. as though eager to attack their enemy. exclaiming as he exhibSir Big-rock lid removed the ited it to the " This is I assembly the : weapon that shall end Sir Kira's life. is about to return to his home. I yesterday received information that Sir Kira. After raising this to his forehead. Be there ten thousand men at will We will cut our way through them and our aim. and that on the anniversary of the death of our beto our loved lord he On that give a feast to his friends. aroused to frenzy by his words. then. and took from it a package wrapped in a purple cloth. and regarding the legacy of his chief. he may be guarded." The conspirators. in titude he remained till daybreak. silently departed to their lodgings. after receiving instructions as to their places of rendezvous on the night of the Hth.1 86 The Loyal Ronins. disbelieving in our devotion honored chief. in his never to leave joined vow . we the conspirators grasping the hilts of their swords.

retired to his lodging residence of Sir Kira. 187 Noble. and that done.plain. and inspected the uniforms and accoutrements provided by the latter. the contractor. in a house opposite the .The Meeting in the Spring -hill Temple.

the heart may be surcharged with sorrow. and when the time comes. 188 Home is . call Though the face be calm and resolute. he . when he had time for reflection." " My dear husband. how you would suffer. At the those " who of duty. who had been married nearly three years. Mrs. wife. after their union. were to die suddenly and we had nothing laid by. must tear myself away. SIR " SHELL AND HIS FAMILY. Home. The past cannot be recalled. it will never do for me to remain idle. the samurai bids farewell to are dear to him. are you going to Original-vil" lage to-day 44 ? Yes." The speakers were Sir Shell and his wife. If my I love. thought " I : know I I have acted indiscreetly. yet still what could I do ? tenderly love my cannot prove faith- less to my lord.CHAPTER XXVI. In the ardor of his wooing he had not reflected upon the consequences of tying the thread of love however.

This comforted him while the advent of the babe was a source of great happiness to the mother. with his arms extended and fully on a rug by Her . lighted the near her seating herself husher a garment for Mrs. 189 young and attractive. when Sir Shell was proceeding home from the Spring-hill Temple. and work-box.Sir Shell and his Family. the sight of the little one the father's heart with pity and sorrow. his wife thought to herself: What is band ? He " the trouble that has come upon my hus- and returns goes out late in the evening I at all hours. was sleeping peaceher side. the morning of the i2th of December. and will." That evening after sunset. Thus. charcoal in the fire-bowl. On he determined to inform his wife of their approach- ing separation. after eating his courage out for he went breakfast. her. when he discovered the grievousness of his mistake and found he had two helpless beings dependent on him. so him make to wonder whether I have done anything Even the smiles of our little one have unhappy? ceased to attract his attention. I hope. Also-five-boy." until their son was born. and he secretly reproached himself with being the cause of the filled misery he knew must soon overtake them. find some one to console her for my loss. Home babe. Upon beholding so. failed. As he quitted the house. began to sew upon band. and is often moody and thoughtful. his the day to watch the residence of Sir Kira.

the news I delights me. near him being a mottled dog. as I would your native place." she pleaded. you. Really. about to I am make journey am not going to Ako." " is it ? there is something I have long de- sired to " tell What she enquired. and there are many perils to be encountered on the road. and folding his arms. While she was thus employed." Sir Shell laid down his pipe. : said in a gentle voice " My dear I Home. Sir Shell entered. The is not a matter of one or two hundred Indeed. " That it thought all " I be impossible. " Still I miles.190 his The Loyal Ronins. and a rag doll. and having lighted his pipe. seated himself by the fire-bowl." "My dear husband. and after depositing his sword in the katana-kake (sword-rack). have over and decided it is best for you and . I am ready to accompany you " It He at travel any moment. may never I return alive. a rattle. like to visit hope we are going to Ako." to would will prefer accompany you. Also-five-boy is now old enough to and will not be any trouble. I may have to start very soon." he said. glancing anxiously at : him. said " Dear : Home. his toys. but a long and tiresome one. thought for awhile and replied is necessary I should go upon a long journey. head resting on a cushion.

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My wish to cast me off." burst into tears and covering agitated her face with her sleeves sobbed convulsively. I. no. continued " : it This sum will last you for a long time. beg you will think of our child. alas. I understand all." He then produced a package of money which Sir Big-rock had given him that afternoon. After awhile the agonized woman made a great effort " said. that we ever met in the putting me away. the full force of reply. as she pointed to the child You honorable husband. have no reproaches to make but. 191 our son to remain here. as though his heart were torn to pieces. who have brought you nothing : and but anxiety and misery. for the first time. regarded her pityingly without being able to He realized. that is your kind pretext for Alas. No. my Surely you do not desire to be bad enough for you to part dear wife. I feared this was coming and . felt The woman who the sacrifice he was about to make. even though you do not love me. You tell me you have to let him suffer for my faults ! go upon a long journey. risk his life ? It will with me. and as he watched her and their sleeping babe. and handing to her. Would I had died before that restaurant at Asakusa ! . and put off your intention until he is old enough to remember Oh. you remain here and take care of our boy while I go to better our fortune. scalding tears trickled down his cheeks and dropped upon his hands.Sir SJtell and - his Family. Sir Shell. bear with me for his sake and do not your face.

and quitting the house. when temple Sir Shell crept back to his home and halting in the bell The hours passed porch heard Mrs. began The babe awoke and peered up at her face . exclaimed pray you to put an end " to our lives I cannot exist without you The distracted man bowed his head and was utterly honorable husband ! ! O I ! unable to reply. felt as though he would have to break his loyal vow. . in a cruel husband great sormight find comfort this your decision. and prospect of . crawling toward his mother then. Obo san yoiko da nen neko yo . leaving his wife to comfort the babe. paced the street. Obo san ga nen neko shita ato d&. biting his lips. leaving his dear ones for the journey to the unknown and. to cry piteously. hearing her sobs. Sir Shell. : a despairing cry.192 day. flict He suffered untold agony in the in the con- between his love and duty. no longer able to bear the sight. " Home singing: Nen neko okorori nen neko yo." She threw " herself at his feet. should never have known I row in ! Were you affectionate. then I The Loyal Ronins. thus adding to their sorrow. hastily arose. until the distant sound of the announced the arrival of midnight. but and doubly happy you have always been most kind When this child was born I felt believing he would be the means of and after uttering strengthening our love.

fish ! I will feed him with the red-bean rice and will go over the mountains and through Sleep Sleep my good baby. as the sad air died away. angel of sleep threw his shadow over the abode of sorrow. I will go over the mountains and through the valleys and fetch some red- Sleep! Sleep! my good While bean rice and fish ! When my I clever baby awakens. sleep! my gentle baby slumbers. no mezameni agema sho" TRANSLATION. quietly entered his dwelling and stretched himself upon his bed. for a brief space. sleep ! ! ! the valleys! The husband . . baby. caused the At last the inmates to forget their unhappiness. listened with heaving breast and troubled face then. and. 193 Yama saka koyete ikimashite. Aka no omamma ni toto soyete Oriko na obo san.Sir Shell and his Family.

and said : constant attendance upon him." 194 . Left-six. having been die with their employer." in The men. MAKES REPARATION TO HIS WIFE. Only the gods know the secrets of our souls." t. Judge no one until the grass has grown upon his grave. the morning of the 1 3th of December. were aware of the conspiracy and had hoped to Happy-seven bowed humbly Honorable master. which you will personally deliver into the hands of time has arrived The when my father-in-law. " On summoned his servants. we pray you will allow us to remain with you to the end. This is the determination we " made long ago.CHAPTER SIR BIG-ROCK " XXVII. I desire you will both proceed to Richcliff and take with you these letters and this package. and after devoting several hours to writing. Sir Bigrock rose early. : Happy-seven I and whom he thus addressed no longer require your services. We desire to attend you upon your last journey.

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It is and replied be frank with you." said Happy-seven. and set out for their destination. If you wish to serve me. and commended father-in-law. " as long as we live we will remember your goodness. as none but the members of the league will be permitted to join in the attack. do as I plan. giving. The hour is at hand when the clansmen will carry out their : Sir Big-rock listened attentively I will and devote the remainder of your lives to attending upon my family. At last." " Yes. " i 95 long-cherished impossible for me to grant your prayer.Sir Big-rock Makes Reparation. a choking voice " fit : Honorable master. Left-six dried his tears and said in request. we for such will common fellows as I see it is not obey. and serve your honorable family as faithfully as we have done you. his family to third list the guardianship of his The among other things. a was to his sons." They then received their wages and the letters and package. The first was a long epistle in which the samurai narrated the history of the conspiracy. his wife and his children. feeling sure that the time of attack was close at hand." When the men heard this they wept and begged he would re-consider his decision. we are to take part in your glorious enterprise. and it was with difficulty he restrained them from ending their lives there and then. Sir Big-rock's communications were addressed respectively to his father-in-law. of books he desired they .

December morning. I can now face death without a pang. should read. watching over your welfully fare " will and that of our children. pelled you the stigma of divorce me to tear myself of duty comand from away you put upon ! Oh how I when my sense It suffered that was my I only means of deceiving our enemy. Admirable wife and noble mother. and disI By Happy-seven and Left-six. also minute instructions for their guidance. my spirit will be ever present. whom to I now miss from my first service lines. wife of my heart when the duty to our lord is accomplished ! . your care. My dear love. to forgive I me for the apparently brutal conduct treated you. have. Oh.196 The Loyal Ronins. Mrs. knowing you understand what has hereto appeared unnatural in behavior. your my name will be remembered longer than my own. Stone. The second read as follows " letter : was to his wife. your son. and commend ask you. " I now bid you a temporary farewell. for you have made three offerings at the shrine of loyalty your husband. and your sacrifice will You be recognized by our honored chief. done your duty as a wife and member of the clan. send you a few "In the with which cold place I my ! dear and honored wife. though I shall never see you again in this life. and yourself. in bearing this injustice. and nothing have done has been so effectual in blinding him as to my real designs.

Sir Big-rock Makes Reparation.

197

and

have departed to the land of shadows, think of tenderly as you have done during my life, and when the time comes for you to travel the Lonely-road, rest assured I will be waiting to greet you at the terI

me as

mination of your journey. " I leave the education of our sons entirely to you,

and hope
die loyal
"

poor example will teach them to live and to be true to their duties. Herewith I send you a letter from our brave son,

my

men and

Good-gold.
"

To my

dear wife, Stone. " BIG-ROCK."

CHAPTER
THE MISSION OF
"

XXVIII.

SIR HAWK'S-GROVE.

in the air and on the house-tops, and the geese could not be seen by the passers-by." overhead ing high

Snow was

fly-

the morning of the i4th of December the wind suddenly shifted to the north, thick white clouds piled up upon the horizon, and soon the air became filled

On

with feathery particles of snow, which continued to descend until the city of Yedo was covered with a white
veil.

Few

people ventured into the streets, and the cold

gradually became intense. Toward noon a samurai, dressed in a rain-coat, entered a buckwheat- vermicelli restaurant at the western

end of the Two-provinces Bridge, and
the proprietor, said
"
:

after saluting

Mr. Long-time, I have come to ask a favor and to First of all let say I am about to bid you farewell. me have a drink of sak& arid some of your famous vermicelli. This snow-storm is enough to chill one to the marrow."
198

The Mission of Sir

HawK s-grove.

199

The propietor ordered a servant to bring the refreshments, then, squatting by his friend, said " Mr. Hawk's-grove, or rather, pardon me, Sir
:

no longer a merchant. What do you mean by saying you are about to bid me farewell ? Has your tobacco bus" iness proved an unfortunate speculation ?

Hawks-grove,

for

I

perceive you are

"

Yes, somewhat," replied the samurai.

"

The

fact

is I have spent much to get very little, and the price of rice being high, found it hard to earn a living. I in have been consultation with some of my former

comrades, who, like myself, are ronin. We have had an offer from a Prince, related to our old master, and

have accepted positions
" That's

remember

in his service." " You said the restaurant-keeper. good," One cannot make a merthe old proverb
'

:

chant out of a samurai.'
ing away, as

sorry you are goafter knowing you for three years I
Still I

am

regret being obliged to end our acquaintance.

When

do you
"
soft
;

"

start

?

Not

until to-night.

During the day the roads are
;

however, when the moon rises the frost increases, and the traveling will be more pleasant besides, as there are over twenty in our party, we shall not fear the The favor I have to ask is attacks of highwaymen. intended to assemble in my house and take this.

We

supper, but

my

place
I

is

too small to accommodate
if

such a large party.
entertain us here."

have come to ask

you

will

2OO
"

The Loyal Ronins.
"

That is Certainly," answered Mr. Long-time. prepare anything my business. Do you wish me to " in addition to our usual bill of fare ?
Yes," said Sir Hawk's-grove, taking a sum of " I will leave this money from his pocket-book.
"

amount
sak6,

in

rice,

your hands. Please have ready sufficient fish and vermicelli to satisfy twenty-five
:

hungry persons."

The
"

proprietor received the coins, saying

Although no advance payment is needed from a How late do you desire the friend, I will keep this.
"

repast ready ? " By the hour of the

Fox

(10

P.

M.),"

answered

the

samurai. By that time all your" regular customers will have taken their departure ?
" between Yes," sadly replied the other, so, to selves, my business is not flourishing
"
;

"

our-

make

up

for the deficiency

renting

my

rooms

my receipts, I have been to haikai (verse-making) parties,
in
;

stay beyond the hour of the Hog (8 P. M.). There is no fear of disturbing my guests you will have the whole house to yourselves." When they had chatted for awhile, Sir Hawk's-grove quitted the restaurant, drew his rain-coat tightly about him, and pulled his broad-brimmed hat well over his
eyes, so as to shield his face from the blinding snow. He crossed the Two-provinces Bridge, and entering

who seldom

the street at the rear of Sir Kira's residence, proceeded to a tea-house, where he engaged rooms for a

The Mission of Sir
second party,
telling the

HawKs-grove.

201
related to

same story he had

he sauntered toward the back gate of the noble's mansion, and
taking shelter
in

the keeper of the vermicelli restaurant. Having accomplished this mission

a road- side refreshment

stall,

ordered
all

some

tea,

at the

same time

secretly watching

who

entered the opposite portal. " Ah " laughingly exclaimed the one-eyed patriarch who kept the stall, " this is like old times I shall
!

;

be very busy
to entertain a
will

this evening.

number

great Sir Kira is kettles of his friends, and

The

my

be emptied many times."

The samurai pretended not to be interested, and the speaker, who repeatedly slapped his hands to keep
himself warm, continued " Ah there will be glorious doings in the mansion. They have made preparations for over a hundred
: !

guests.

Sir Kira

is

ago

I

saw

his lacquered

a very good man. About an hour norimono enter yonder gate-

way."

The

ronin handed him some money, then

made

the

best of his
staying.

way

to the house

where

Sir Big-rock

was

He

informed the Chief-councillor of what he
:

had heard, when the former said " Good, the wary eel has entered the

trap."

CHAPTER XXIX.
SIR RED-FENCE
"

AND HIS BOTTLE.
me
sakJ,

Every one has a hobby, allow

then the ways of Nihon (to
it

make

verses).
is

Provided a man pays for his much he drinks."

no one's business how

Hawk's-grove made his report to Sir a Big-rock, and while the storm was raging furiously, more taken he had whose betokened samurai, gait sakt than was good for him, staggered along West His face Street in the district of Small-stone river. was red and his eyes had a wild look, still he appeared to know where he was going, and took great care to protect a large earthen bottle that was suspended from

Soon

after Sir

his girdle. Every few moments he would pause, raise the skirt of his rain-coat and ascertain if his treasure

were

safe,

then mutter something about the storm and

continue his zig-zag career. This samurai was Sir Red-fence, who had a strange He was the younger brother of Sir Turfhistory.

ground, of the clan of Autumn-moon, and
202

when

quite

Sir Red-fence and his

Bottle.

203

young had been adopted by a family who acknowledged the Lord of Ako as their chief. Unfortunately, Sir
Red-fence had a great weakness, an inordinate love for liquor, and was almost constantly under its influence. This failing greatly be-littled him in the eyes of

been employed by

strangers, notwithstanding which he had many times his lord to conduct negociations that required great tact and ability. was this ?

Why

Because, even though Sir Red-fence were intoxicated and lying on the floor in a state of stupefaction, he

would, at the summons of duty, instantly arise and perform faithfully whatever was entrusted to him, in
addition to which he was very eloquent and possessed sound judgment, and in the capacity of ambassador to

the princely families, had done his lord good service. It had generally happened that when he set out upon one of these errands, he was suffering from indulgence
in his favorite beverage,

and although

at first

he would

endeavor to preserve a dignified appearance, before he had gone a hundred yards he would drop the reins upon the neck of his horse and begin to nod, leaving
the animal to go as it pleased and permitting it to crop the grass growing on the road-side. His attendants,

shamed by the grins and remarks of the passers-by, would waken their master and respectfully caution
would him, when, without even opening his eyes, he mutter " I am very sleepy." I know all about it. Well, well slumbers until he his resume and He would
:
!

yawn

Sir Turf-ground. scribed in the old saying and by : Although sent in four directions at once. After Sir Red-fence became a ronin he continued to indulge in his potations. not only furnished the prodigal with money but bought him good clothes." " Lord Morning-field had great regard for Sir Redfence. he would sell it to the first purchaser of cast off garments he met and invest the proceeds in drink. his dignity of manner command the admirHe was like the man deation of the by-standers. a good depended upon his man. for upon receiving a new suit. he brother. Having no regular income and being unable to gain . arrived in front of the residence of the daimio to whom : he was accredited and heard the loud announcement "An ambassador is at the gate!" From that instant he would become wide awake. and although he often wanted rice. and would often praise him for his ability while among o the clansmen no one was more devoted to their chief than this drunken samurai. His dissolute behavior. his living by any occupation. who. was seldom without liquor. recollect- ing the last injunction of their father. Unhappily this benevolence was of little benefit to Sir Red-fence.2O4 The Loyal Ronins. and he continued to do everything in his power for the way- . while grieving Sir Turfground. he would still preserve the honor of his master. never lessened the latter's affection.

that Sir Turf-ground his brother would visit him less although they looked began to wish frequently and the lady of the house positively refused to see her relative. This finally became such a nuisance and so interfered with seriously their occupations." His shabby garments. bad as he was. his appearance at the domestics. who. and his old straw rain-hat. Such was Sir Red-fence. Whenever he made establishment. gave him a very disreputable appearance and he in no way ment are resembled one who remembers his master. as he " I wonder where surely it to. who would haunt his house and amuse the his brother's servants with his drunken antics." In a few moments he resumed his weary journey.Sir Red-fence and his Bottle. Those at his establishusually empty. " This wintery storm makes one feel as if stone-pins were being driven into one's flesh. has not been blown away? Thanks to the gods. would quit their work in order to listen to his witticisms and watch his comical tricks. I have brought my bottle with me. " . upon him as an unmitigated sot and good-for-nothing. The snow beat into his face and he from time to time was obliged to pause to take breath and ascertain his whereabouts. 2 o5 ward man. my brother's residence has gone he muttered. which he wore athwart his visage." leaned against the side of a house. had many virtues. which were partly concealed by a red paper waterproof cloak.

until he reached the side gate of the mansion of Lord Autumn-moon. advancing a step or two. walking unconcernedly through the snow-drifts and puddles. I have heard Sir Red-fence has never sitting : near him " tasted water. then laughed and remarked to a companion who was and There goes Sir Red-fence his bottle. Upon beholding him." replied the other. The Sir Red-fence always has a drop in his bottle." growled the porter. my old fellow. while the younger. the two maids who were in the kitchen glanced at each other. warm cup would not be amiss on such a cold afternoon." object of their remarks." . both of them are full of sake. " Sir Red-fence. strode across the more sober enclosure and pro- ceeding to the side door of his brother's residence. said "The cold does not seem to affect you.206 The Loyal Ronins." " I " I could say the same. who was crouching over the fire-bowl in the lodge. and addressing his bottle as though it could understand him. believe the gods supply some people with their I wish drink. : You must have very cold on your way." " Would I were like them. felt bowed and addressed him. who had assumed a gait. : Of the hundred medical remedies sakd is the chief. elder quitted the apartment to inform her mistress of his arrival. entered. knelt. After passing the porter. he halted." The porter waited until the visitor was out of hearing. " A good. and the. saying you are welcome.

" Sir Red-fence nodded. Red-fence." she replied. She begs you will excuse her from seeing you. replied : Girl. is my master home ? At well. at Is his health " at the until late to-night. He never harmed a woman . 207 The samurai threw aside his rain-coat and tore off his hat without untying the cords. : " him. but. as you warmed with good sakt and the cold does not trouble me. affected " Sir How weather is ? my Is brother? by this he is moment he the present our mansion. assisting prince to I do not think he will return entertain some guests." Sir Red-fence.Sir Red-fence and his Bottle. After awhile he appeared the servants whisdoze. in his life. my mistress is indisposed. I hope she soon recover. noticing which the elder of pered to her companion " I will and leave you to wait go to my mistress You are not afraid of upon the honorable brother. Tell me how my sister is ? At that moment the other servant re-entered the kitchen and said : " "Honorable sir. seated himself near it and smiling " at the attendant. then carefully placing his bottle upon the platform. am thank you for your kind words." He spoke indistinctly and the girls imperfectly unto derstood what he said. saying : " Oh ! this will severe cold is quite too much for her. I I see. " Very good. are you ? " No one fears "Not in the least.

the sleeper suddenly jerked himself upright and exclaimed " Let me have a cup. I have too much Here is some old sake" which respect for my nerves tea ! " Of " ? " ! I have brought as a present it for my dear brother." : When she inquired. " I can do that : for myself. he shook it and said to the attendant : "There is too much poison in this sake" . Accept it from me and finish it before you go to bed. repeating the oper- ation several times." The damsel ner and put it received his aside. from his . and handing him a cup. Girl you know I never drink it. When only a small quantity remained in the vessel. said " " Honorable sir. I will ascertain whether it been poisoned." The maid laughed behind her sleeve. the old servant had departed. after gift in a hesitating manvisitor rose. while the girl regarded him with an astonished face. Behas fore giving to you. shall I warm the sakt for you ? " A thousand thanks.208 The Loyal Ronins." he replied. which the thrusting his toe into the loop of his during the conversation had dropped said : and which foot. left clog. The bottle was quite large." He filled the cup and emptied it. and it took him some time to reduce its contents. still the few cups that remain will not do you girls any harm.

.

.

I I has caused you will forgive much anxiety and annoy- beg you I my offences. I became a ronin you have been most kind to for me." : Since Now listen. which I return my heartfelt thanks." At girl upon " Red-fence dropped a tear." Thus speaking. part it happen that I die without again beholding your face." " " you. came here the remembrance of your brotherly kindnesses will ever remain in my heart. and to recover it. 209 I Please be good enough to listen to what tell about to brother. have procured employment under a western with whom am about to start for his province. his head in a soiled he was about to As envelope the handkerchief. and tell him this Very well. I ness for sak ance. he placed hand to his head. even should without seeing you. reaching which he turned and said this point Sir : : Also -tell him Hereafter and forever I will entreat the gods to make both you and my his sister prosperous and happy. but the did not notice it. it storms too much for you to go : . He then moved toward the door. to say farewell.Sir Red-fence and his " Bottle. when he missing his rain-hat returned found that in pulling it off he had broken the cords. Sir Red-fence. said " Honorable sir. and I faithfully repeat my words to am my Of course will. girl. the girl took a hat hanging upon wall and handing it to him. and am sorry enough to deRest assured. My fondAt length prince.

abroad with your head thus unprotected. I am glad to hear he so long I has at a strange time I for a prince to proceed to his province. hurried he was perfectly assembled at the grocery-store of the Three-springs. really very uneasy about him. he day avenge the death of their lord. he hoping that Sir Redfence and the rest of the clansmen of Ako would some felt As it was. last taken service. : Within an hour and had sober. placed a repast be- . I hope he I not meet with any accident. though it is This will is bitterly cold weather for a journey. said " I regret not to have seen him. I must now be off. joined the conspirators through the snow. and with difficulty restrained his tears. and conquering his sorrowful re- flections." " I thank you. His wife noticing his emotion. and he requires my assistance. and suscomprehend my girl pect he is about to depart upon some important errand. He hastily retired. I hope you girls will have a happy New Year. Soon after Sir Red-fence quitted his brother's house Sir Turf-ground returned. suppose the did not brother's words. and on receiving the message from his wife." My dear wife. thought only of the profligate." . This is my master's hat take it and leave your own. I feared something had befallen the poor understand the end of the year is at hand. He has remained away fellow.2io The Loyal Ronins. am Had have Sir Turf-ground known the truth he would proud of his relative.

I Even when my brother was a child We see him at a great disadvanpossesses know he May admirable qualibe fraternal affection blinds me. Red-fence is not unmindful blade. as an icicle or a fragment of crystal therefore. and minutely described how he had partaken of its contents. unlike duties of a samurai. when he was sleeping in the kitchen like a dead man. and I am certain we shall yet feel proud of him. believe. still I can- many not help loving and The other day. Sir had : his nurse was a female Shojo (a submarine monster of dissipated habits). admiring him. and thought so low. Bottle. he cried tage. how sad it was he had While I was thus thinking. for ties. then recognizing me. I noticed his left hand was clenched about the scabbard of his long sword and that he grasped the hilt with his right. of the spite of his failing. and when the maid retired. Turf-ground smiled sadly. When I advanced he immediately opened his eyes and partly drew his weapon. remarked to his wife " Red-fence has only one fault when there is a bottle near him he I believe forgets everything else. 2 1 1 and bade the servant The bring some sakL girl produced the bottle left by Sir Red-fence. During its that moment . I looked at him. rolled over and resumed fallen his slumber." . I observed the was as brilliant dilapidated scabbard.Sir Red-fence and his fore him. for sak&. showing him to be on his guard.

she repeated prayers for the repose of the dead chieftain's the family soul. his family name has become extinct." I ' The years have come and gone.CHAPTER XXX. like the waters of Nonobiki. gazing upon a manrio-plant Toward attendant." describes the grief of Lady Pure-gem. while my beloved lord 212 is no more . tears fall am still weeping for thee. his retainers are scat- . who. " Ah " she exclaimed. the evening. when the storm was abating. " SIR BIG-ROCK'S FAREWELL TO LADY PURE-GEM. with Lady Pine-island. and ! " placed upon the tokonoma. on the third anniversary of her husband's death. My day and night. had been all the day prostrated before This poem admirably where. altar. partook of some slight refreshment. she yielded to the earnest solicitations of her faithful retiring to her private apartment. and my beloved. That flourishes. my dear husband wrote his last poem in praise of yonder beautiful object.

M. ! his The fire of loyalty is only slumbering in the hearts of our clansmen. a servant announced the arrival of Sir Big-rock. and 2 1 3 thistle. and ought to be informed of what the clansmen are doing." Pine-island did not reply. In an instant the mourner's grief appeared to vanish." The widow covered her face with her sleeves. said " I : hope your words ing the nobility of my fulness for his retainers." said Lady My " Pine-island. I cannot understand why they have permitted the leaves of three autumns to fall upon his tomb without having made an attempt to wipe out the disgrace of his death. and the love they professed to bear for him. she having taken from hearing the great care to prevent her mistress Lady gem strange rumors concerning Sir Big-rock. his thoughtwill unbounded generosity. as Lady Purewas returning to resume her prayers. and after sobbing awhile.Sir Big-rock's Farewell tered like the seeds of a to Lady Pure-gem. oh. terrible thought death remains unavenged. with the Chief-councillor. About the hour of the Hog (8 P. directed Lady Pine-island to conduct and she joyfully the visitor to her presence. Sir Big-rock will yet be heard from. Rememberhusband's character." " honored mistress.). The attendant made her obeisance and retired. presently returning who was . his prove true. Why has Big-rock not sent me some communication ? I am living here secluded from the world. do not despair.

after you left side in Yamashina. little had possess sufficient means for to know what has brought is this : all my needs. then filled a cup with sake and offered it to her visitor. I. Sir Big-rock. in the days : of our dead lord's prosperity the responsibilities of office gave me no time for relaxation. " ? What our castle you went to rehas brought you from so great a distance The councillor took the cup. who was secretly delighted with the success of his words. after which he replied " Most worthy-to-be-honored mistress." lady listened as though unwilling to credit her senses. and kneeeling. prostrated himself before Lady Pure-gem. her sadness came a gleam of joy. saying " I : am told. and during brief visits to this city I my my opportunity for amusement. lady was likewise deeply moved. I Yedo to enjoy more fashionable pleasures. drained its contents. You desire ? me from Yamashina It have visited Having exhausted all the delights of Kioto. through the generosity of my honored chief.214 The Loyal Ronins. seeing which. as she bethrough lieved Sir Big-rock was there to announce the good Though the news. remaining clad in his ceremonial robes. and bowing. Although I am only a man of wave-like fortune. mute with grief. advanced with a sorrowful face and grave demeanor. He with his forehead close to the mat. said : The . When she had somewhat recovered from her emotion she requested Lady Pine-island to retire.

My companions are notified and are waiting to accompany me.* I receive with profound thanks. Meanwhile may losing her self-control. I desire you will place implicit confidence in my Chief-councillor : and regard his words as though they were mine ? Oh. not return to Yedo may for some years. upon sending a warrior into a desperate combat. such a gift being regarded as a good omen. thought : The horse is considered a lucky animal. 2 1 5 have been to nearly all the celebrated places in and only one more errand remains to be performed that I shall accomplish to-night. have you any message for your dead lord in heaven " ? Upon hearing this speech. utterly unable to understand the change in his sentiments." Lady Pure-gem regarded him with amazement. and gazing earnestly at him. Most worthy-to-be-honored mistress.Sir Big-rock's Farewell " I to Lady Pure-gem. she exclaimed " ! ' : Are you the loyal retainer of whom Ingrate my dear lord said Whatever may occur. respectful farewell. Her soul became filled with and indignation. Lady Pure-gem clasped her hands. and hurled it at him. happiness and prosperity attend you. Japanese history records many instances where a general. Sir Big-rock caught the missile. unfaithful and miserable wretch. I have come to bid you a as I this city. presented him with a steed. and reverently press\ ' ing " it to his forehead. replied : This parting gift of a horse." * " . you have dis" honored the name of samurai In her agony and despair she grasped a paper-weight shaped like a horse.

Can it be possible he : " is still loyal ? then said. a silken. On her left were a pipe." cuse me. slowly Sir Big-rock. cautiously " Honored Mistress. in a faltering voice " Sir Chief-councillor. was merely a portion of the main room. her countenance betraying the indignation that possessed her soul. and a tall. to left wall stood an open press furnished with cupboards and drawers for garments it likewise contained a number of shelves filled with exquisite The ante-chamber. which Lady Pine-island had withdrawn. and rising. recollecting : retired from the apartment.216 " The Loyal Ronins. and before her a tiny porcelain stove which The other articles furnishing supported a tea-pot. chief attendant was reclining behind a paper-screen.wadded quilt. square lantern. I do not understand your meaning. Against the . He bowed respectfully to the floor. wooden the place were a lacquered tray containing cups. beg you will now exOnce more I bid you farewell. and a lacquered box holding a jar of finely shredded tobacco." how nearly he had beanswered trayed himself. the sides of which were filled with semi-trans- parent paper. shut off with paper screens so as to form a recess. a pillow. leaving the lady bewildered and shocked at his inexplicable behavior. . I regard your present as though I it came from my dead chief. The specimens of porcelain and old lacquer-ware.

.

w .c.

" other ladies of the household. beg you will present them to her and rewill honor me by reading them. such a proceeding being contrary She took the volumes." she quest Although Lady Pine-island was intensely indignant with the speaker. places of beauty and historic fame. who accompanied him to the veranda. sinking upon his knees and drawing some books from his left sleeve. you no more of it than of a drop of dew. It appears. followed by the young and conwomen. who one by one had entered the apartment. sword from the floor. them upside down. Pine-island slipped the volumes into .Sir Big-rock's Farewell <l to Lady Pure-gem." said Sir Big-rock. 2 1 7 Madam. and extending it toward him. retired. instead of remembering your duty. believe their perusal greatly interest our honored mistress therefore. " here are a few songs and poems I composed on my way from Kioto. Lady her sleeve. remain silent. we expected better things than this. Sir for his strange behavior their The contempt and taking his short Big-rock merely bowed gravely. united in expressing however. will In these volumes are described I many . opened one of etiquette. I cannot in verse-making. remained as long as he their bitter . she could not refuse the to proffered gift. tinued reproaches in sight. and have thought have been amusing yourself and spending your time Pardon my plain speech. ex- claimed " : Sir Big-rock.

after . mistress. praying and sobbing as though she would die of grief.2 1 8 The Loyal Ronins. it deeming would be an insult to present them to her which she proceeded to the adjoining room where she found Lady Pure-gem prostrate before the altar.

they ceeding by tig . After walking a few paces. and the full moon. Sir Big-rock quitted Lady Pure-gem's residence as the temple bells boomed forth the hour of the Fox (10 The storm had ceased. the distance from the Blue-hill district to the neighborhood of Sir While proKira's mansion being over four miles.CHAPTER XXXI.).M." on and passing the guard. he paused. brilliantly illuminated the grounds surrounding the mansion. On reaching the shrine of the god-Fox. heard sounds that noble's residence. he engaged a public kago and directed the bearers to convey him to his lodgings. The find us freed of a He moved journey occupied nearly an hour. and gazing upon the snow-laden branches of the bamboos that overhung the structure. entered the street. shinP. said " : Thus have the loyal hearts of the clansmen been bowed with sorrow. To-morrow's sun will melt your burden and heavy load. MARSHALING THE CONSPIRATORS. ing through the cloud rifts. who saluted him with profound respect.

" said Mr. " Gentlemen. producing a very large and beautiful " cup. he detained his bearers until he had changed his robes of When armor and the uniform provided by After doing this he re-entered the the contractor. where he was welcomed by his companions and the proprietor. we return you many thanks for offering us the use of your treasure. prize in it a game with me ? of hai-kai (verse. of music and revelry. We this and mid-night. Long-time. all conspirators glanced significantly at one anand were greatly delighted at his words. the Chief-councillor : said 44 Mr.vermicelli kago restaurant.220 The Loyal Ronins. who quickly set before them ceremony for his an excellent repast." Sir Big-rock arrived at his destination. and recite the verse that won this " prize ? . may earn a large sum between " Sir Kira is . other patron. and one of the coolies to the other : remarked giving a great feast we had better reIt will be a good place for us to find anturn here. drinking from such a cup always good luck. On the point of depart- ing upon a journey. Will you not confer another favor upon us." Speaking thus.making). and was conveyed to the buckwheat. host. he placed the vessel before Sir Big- The other. When had filled and emptied the cup. I was awarded this as the champion's Will you empty brings rock.

.

.

to Please bring will borrow your first stanza and add something it. Please oblige us by reciting " I ! ! it. bent forward and wrote He : " During the night Harder grows (What?) the icicle. also be read thus is : " It " In the world -will What always attain eminence ? (This) genius." " " Oh no " oh no We are sure it is they cried. as you insist." exclaimed Sir Big-rock. Your poem has set me verse. 221 was nothing extraordinary. I me writing materials." ." " Well." " That may very good.Marshaling " It the Conspirators." took a brush. This is my poor attempt at versification " " I : will comply." the man replied. a most excellent poem. and leaning upon his sword. I fear you will deem it a very poor composition. During the night Sings high in the sky (What ?) a nightingale. gained the championship more by good luck than by the elegance of my stanzas." he answered.making.

The was : who com- posed the following " The red glow fills the hall of the Pine-trees. they were calm and resolute. We will have a verse- Upon completing : making match.. and wrote : The cry of the sparrow-eagle pierces the sky. and handing him the brush." in His companion replied a low voice : ." These impromptu verses showed the spirit of their writers. Among the party were some more proficient in warfare than in verse-making." Sir Big-rock.222 The Loyal Ronins. meaning of this number." To " this Sir Hatchet added sake. Jr. remarked " Now see what you can do. he whispered to Sir Big- Sir Unconquerable was of eagle " : Why ? rades For does that poetry so greatly please our commy part. I cannot see any sense in it. After he had disposed of a good meal. this he turned to Sir Big-eagle. even in the presence of death." The samurai thought " for a moment. who looked on respectyet failed to comprehend the hidden the sentences. and that. : Already the big last to write cup has been emptied. fully.

223 During the night harder grows the icicle/ may During the night sharper the blade of the sword. later on I will try to distinguish myself. My poetry ten with the point of my sword. Sir Big-rock noticed the absence of Sir Shell. Mrs." Sir Unconquerable's grim visage relaxed smile. this is the hour of the poets .. forgets ing with wife "Your friend. and filling a cup with sakt he drained said " : into it. Home and the child was " Mamma." the assembly and Cedar-valley retired from hastened to the house of his friend." was weeping bither and lisping : . parttime the how one and child. has flies. In think it will be as well for you to seek him. Jr. whom he found Sir preparing to depart.' grows My verse also means The sound of the whistle pierces the air. terly.' Sir be read thus ' : : ' Listen. ' Hatchet's stanza signifies Already Sir Kira has and the of Sir fallen/ poem Big-rock." While the conspirators were feasting. a then I understand. mamma. clinging to papa shall not go.Marshaling " the Conspirators. may be inThe red glow of the comterpreted in this manner ' : ' : bat the hall decorated with the representations of Pine-trees/ the apartment in which Sir Kira has enfills tertained his guests. Sir Shell. quietly called Sir Cedar-valley aside and whispered : I not yet arrived. and conjecturing is writ- the cause.

" said Sir Cedar-valley. then turned from him. as a condemned does at his executioner. and they did not encounter any one on their way. they were joined by the second division Upon from the tea-house. leaving his wife prostrate on the floor. The cold was intense. crouching near " I am him. certain you will not be the one to delay our journey. he seated himself with a calm air and in no way behis When papa he joined ! trayed the distraction of his soul. which had been accomplished so quietly that few of the party knew he had not been with them all the evening. Sir Big-rock did not appear to notice Sir Shell's entrance. a spot called Rush-island. like one struck down by lightning. quitted his home. . and silently bidding them adieu. arriving at their rendezvous. endeavored to control him- Comrade. pitifully exclaiming " ! : " Papa companions at the restaurant. after which. remembering his duty. Toward midnight the conspirators quitted the restaurant and proceeded across the Two-provinces Bridge." For a moment Sir Shell remained mute and irresolute. Shell glanced at the visitor.224 Sir The Loyal Ronins. your companions are ready to start. The last sound he heard was the voice of little Also-five-boy. and folding " arms. his man self. he gazed sorrowfully at his beloved ones.

2." give as a 3. during all ages. " " Bubble. make any mistake in replying to signs At the sound of the drum. Remember the watch. " " or " Top. been thus regarded. preserved to this day in the Spring-hill Temple : The 1. as possible." counter-sign. both the front and rear companies are simultaneously to advance. . " To the challenge of " River.." or give a word referring to Valley mountain. Do not and signals." 4. following instructions.words they are most the night attacks of important. 22 5 (2 Here they remained until the hour of the Ox A. was clad in uniform. and have ever.M. nine times in three turns. beaten ac- cording to the code of Yamashika. issued by Sir Big-rock. Jr. to which were affixed his names and a description of his personal appearance. and carried in his sleeve a docuthe first ment describing the reason for the attack." answer Rock. when they were formed into two companies .). As soon as we have gained an entrance to the 6. and the second led by Sir Each man Big-rock.Marshaling the Conspirators." or any word referSpray. and Reply as quickly and as clearly avoid combating with a friend. assisted by Sir Lucky-field. To the challenge of " Mountain. under Sir Big-rock. ring to water. were copied from the original document. 5.

for the enemy's weapons. to which every one will respond. or any of the enemy who are unarmed. 12. When Sir Kira is found. boo pins to be used for sticks. 1 1. 8 . Do this. Each shall carry a yatate (pocket writing-case). then all will assemble on the spot where he is discovered. destroy the arrows. light After that be ready to your candles. Do not fail to have your distinguishing letter. but also upon your weapons and accoutrements.226 residence. 14. and break the spears. Each shall carry a blue silk wrapping cloth. his captors must blow three prolonged blasts upon their whistles. shall carry a bottle of alcohol for the purpose of dressing wounds and making flashes to dismay the Each shall also carry two candles and two bam9. . bar all the doors and guard the places of exit. no matter whether you be well or sick sudden excitement often makes a strong man ill. Put out . . and the steam from the em- boxes bers will greatly alarm them. search The Loyal Ronins. After 13. securing an entrance. Do not kill women or children. Before starting take some medicine. cut the strings of their bows. Each man foe. 1 5. all lights and pour water into the fire- the darkness will prevent our opponents from ascertaining our numbers. 10. 1 6. 7. not only on your uniforms.

was . was reclining upon his bed.Marshaling the Conspirators. think- At the moment when ing of the pleasures he had lately enjoyed. and never for an instant imagining that the hour of retribution near. that noble. inflamed with his potations. 227 the leaguers were advancing upon the residence of Sir Kira.

I will now fulfil my promise. and describe how they were enabled to return the great kindness shown them were by Sir Small-grove. he hastily 228 awoke little daughter. . who had been all day in attendance upon his chief." . " Good deeds are good seeds Bad deeds are foul weeds. on hearing which Sir Small-grove advised Mr. Little-tiger. It will be remembered that the young people a mirror-maker. when he heard the sound of a drum followed by whistling and the crash of falling shutters. and his wife. Bright-stone to remove his place of business to a street adjoining the residence of Sir Kira. Sir Small-grove. In chapter eighth I related the story of the young merchant.CHAPTER XXXII. SIR SMALL-GROVE. Bright-stone. was On preparing to retire to bed. Mr. the night of the attack. This good man died adopted by within a few months after he received them into his family. Chief-councillor of Sir Kira. Comprehending in a moment his the nature of the disturbance.

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Bright. master. the inmates of which were fast asleep. The yashiki have no expectation of grief lost her mother. who your fire ? on dwelling The samurai paused a moment. and who at first were greatly alarmed by his summons. and ascending to the roof. For myself I care not my only the surviving who has already is on account of this dear child. quitting his house. child not to make any outcry. will have no this I one care for her. is invaded. Little- withdraw the bolts tiger directed their boy-servant to was accomplished. Sir Small-grove? : Is " : long deferred. then replied " It is as I have often The calamity. and entering the " mouth of the house hurriedly handed his daughter to the lady.Sir Small-grave. This accomplished. after to my death. he took her After cautioning the in his arms. securing the When their visitor " pushed aside the door. rapidly descended to the street. and who. Sir Small-grove procured a fire-ladder. he took the child upon his arm. deposited his burden upon the snow-clad slope. Mrs. Remembering have . and I combat. After a brief delay. and started at a run toward the house of Mr. during which they had ascertained the name of their disturber. 229 whom and he loved very dearly. is "What anxiously enquired the trouble. has at length overtaken my . then drew up his means of escape and lowered it on the other side of the wall.stone. the rear eave of which overhung the street. that entrance. hurried across the enclosure to a corner of the grounds where stood the temple of the god of war. so predicted.

Barriers were forced. and although desperately wounded. overpowered by numbers. crimsoned with the blood of both parties. the pale Outside. stow your kindness upon her." He then rushed away without waiting to hear their assurance that " not even an ant should harm the little one. doors broken down. his last effort being to hurl his sword at one of his opponents. threw himself into the thick of the fray. and the cries of the women and children rose loud above the sounds of the combat. and hastening to the mansion. Sir Small-grove remounted the useful ladder. contrived to keep his assailants at bay. . until. When the conspirators entered Sir Kira's chamber. being particularly anxious to keep the leaguers from entering the sleeping apartment of Sir Kira before that noble had time to escape. The whole mansion was a scene of confusion. the bright stars twinkled in the clear sky. snatched a few moments of most precious time to My last wish is that you will bebring her to you. and died in the act of defending his chief. no sound was heard but the clashing of weapons and the execrations of the combatants. and moon illuminated the snow-covered landscape. and the banqueting hall with its decorations of pine trees. they discovered an empty bed. he fell like a true samurai. Though Sir Big-rock eagerly listened for the three blasts upon the whistle. He guarded the door with indomitable bravery.230 The Loyal Ronins.

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left these volumes for There is now no longer liable is the human heart . After smok- ing several pipes she took the books from her sleeve. her thoughts running thus The much trusted and long looked-for Sir Bigrock has been here. " The long night is at an end. thinking of Sir Big-rock. he did not appear to understand the cause of our her feellady's just indignation. so she felt lonely and disinclined to seek her bed. While the combat was raging in the mansion -of Sir Lady Pine-island was seated by the fire-box on the floor of her apartment. strangely unreings. SIR BIG-ROCK'S GIFT. and the result is a bitter disap- heavy " : pointment to us all. sat musing with a heart. Brightly shines the sun of loyalty.CHAPTER XXXIII. and as the golden moments melted." Kira. and after outraging How her. ! ! 231 . How different he is to what we have believed him to be how rude and stupid Why. Her companion was still in attendance upon their mistress and her own maid away visiting.

apartment. This did not stop the girl. Sir Kira. Alas! any hope of avenging the wrongs of our house. be unconscious. aroused the sleeper. crying : . the books slipped from her grasp and she slumbered. Lady Pine-island picked up a pipe and dealt her a sharp blow upon the knuckles. a maid servant she had lately engaged. " how well I know it The hours passed ! swiftly. her captor held . . and presently drowsiness overcame her loyal spirit her fingers relaxed. grasped her by the robe and exclaimed: " We have been fools to imagine you were one. Then the sliding-door upon her right was gently pushed back and some one stealthily entered the . and soon discovered her object was to obtain possession of the volumes. slight as it was. and with partly opened eyelids watched the intruder. who. As the thief stretched forth her The hand. Ah you are a spy sent by our enemy. struggled violently to escape however. whom every one believed to be half witted. who now began to comprehend the creature's treachery. The her firmly." intruder finding herself and mission discovered. Wretch I command you not to move another ! ! step.232 The Loyal Ronins. who seized the books and endeavored to make off with them whereupon her mistress. pretended to lady closely followed the other's movements. The noise. fearing treachery.

" She then hurriedly arranged her obi (girdle). the not even whisper news might be conveyed to Sir Kira and thus put him on his guard. she placed her hands upright. and opening the first of them." ! There was a rush of persons from all parts of the house. The act of that wretched girl our foe and the necessity for proves the vigilance of I must hasten to my lady and caution. have by this time been avenged. she took the books from the floor. and exclaimed: " Spirits of my ancestors! what have I done? This its contents. Sir Big-rock's communicate this joyful intelligence. if he did so. therefore the truth. began to peruse After reading a few pages. I entreat for assistance. and the girl was quickly secured and consigned to safe quarters. taking the volumes of the roosters announced As she did so the crowing the dawn of day. The Chief-councillor indeed came to bid us a long farewell. " 233 Help help ! In the name There's an evil-doer in my chamber. understand the motives of Sir Big-rock whom. palm to palm. The death of our dear lord and the dishonors heaped upon his I now house. of our lady. believing. very night Sir Kira is to be punished.Sir Big -rock's Gift. dared might have entered our household. alas! we He feared that spies treated so contemptuously. and in her hand quitted the chamber. Upon she beheld the ladiesentering the corridor . the ladies When had retired and Pine-island somewhat recovered from her agitation.

The chief-attendant found Lady Pure-gem asleep. " them com- your mistress. illuminated soul of the Lady of Ako. " " ! with happiness the " The gods be praised she fervently ejaculated." she cried. The spirit of my murdered husband will now rest in peace." " "draw was done they beheld the sun-goddess slowly arise from her bed among the purple clouds. upon be required to receive important visitors. while the words written by this When the Chief-councillor." . Pine-island. The rays glinted across the snowy landscape and all nature appeared to rejoice.234 The Loyal Ronins. powder and paint. and heard menting upon the events of the night. in-waiting sitting in groups. notwithstanding which she awoke her and related the " Be quick and prepare yourselves to attend You will shortly welcome news." At these words they scattered to their apartments and were soon busy with combs." joyfully exclaimed the widow. aside the window-screens.

fight was brief. with their spears.. order to discover the fugitive noble. then rushed at him furiAt the same instant a second assailant conously. fronted Sir Lull. when Sir Straightgrove and Sir Lull. Jr." It was the hour of the Tiger (4 A. entered a charcoal -house in the rear of the mansion and began to probe the packages While they were thus engaged. Jr. justice overtook him he crouched mute and terrified. and the conspirators were the 235 . RETRIBUTION. some one secreted behind a pillar hurled a bag of char- coal at Sir Straight-grove.CHAPTER XXXIV. The victors. and the aides of Sir Big-rock were searching the yashiki in .) the combat between the large body of well-disciplined warriors who defended the residence of Sir Kira and the small company of resolute leaguers was at an end. " When In the day of his power his voice was loud and arrogant. M.

: his followers result of his After looking intently at the blackened investigation. dog? He stooped. advancing to the far end of the shed.. Come. then proceeded to ascertain the announcement meanwhile round and silently awaited the gathered truth of the . features of the man.236 " The Loyal Ronins. forty-five came hurrying to the spot. exclaimed " It is Sir Kira! There is head " ! the scar upon his fore- and the The overjoyed ronin gave the signal agreed upon. : prisoner's face. turning the light upon the Jr. and to was a man. for others. taking his dark lantern from his belt and flashing the light upon the " where you find one snake it is as well to look scene. addressed the fugitive refused to reply." He him knelt before the trembling noble. half filled with bags of charcoal and billets " " What is that in yonder corner ? said Sir Straight" Is it a grove. dressed blackened all his delight discovered the object in a white satin sleeping-robe. Those fellows did not attack us without good cause. he said " Yes. and addressing respectfully. his dragged him out of the comrade. over with charcoal." said Sir Straight-grove. said : . Upon being corner. and finding which Sir Lull." They minutely searched the building. Sir Big-rock directed the captors to bring their prisoner into the yard. this is Sir Kira. which was of wood.

proceeded across the Two-provinces Bridge toward the Springhill Temple. " 237 are the retainers of Lord Morningfield. Jr. have come hither to avenge him.. After marching a short distance. at your instigation. and handing of SjJ it to Sir Lull. bade him communicate tne news to Lady Pure-gem." Sir Kira glanced furtively at the assembled conspirators but stubbornly refused to reply. and thus Sir Kira. was condemned to harakiri. Sir Big-rock ordered a halt. we We perform our duty as will faithful. who. produced the dirk of his dead lord. ond. We pray you sec- acknowledge the justice of our purpose. SjC li !{ 1 V When the day broke the victorious leaguers quitted the yashiki. . whereupon Sir I will have the honor to act as your Big-rock. and beseech you to perform upon yourself the honorable ceremony. and summoning Temple-cliff. loyal men. and forming into companies. directed him to make use *|5 it.Retribution. finding it was useless to persuade him to die the death of a noble.

who was still in bed. time. " I listened to the voices of the people and heard of the noble deed done in the night. Good-fellow. and voices in It loud conversation.M. We shall not get a glimpse of them.CHAPTER XXXV." " Wait a moment. " Come " quickly. Confound it You surely will ! 238 . must leave you and hurry on by myself. the settling of accounts causes December to be a busy ." cried one.) when Sir Turf-ground. You move more like a tortoise than a man. was nearly the hour of the Dragon (8 A." Here. and there is no difference between the first month and the last to the merchant. " Look ! there they go along I that street. heard the sound of many persons passing his window. THE COMMENTS OF THE CROWD." The morning and of the 1 5th of December dawned clear bright. To the family of a samurai one day is like another. and the household of Sir Turf-ground slumbered peacefully.

At first Sir Turf-ground did not pay much attention. news. one of the spectators shouted to him. crying " They have just entered : They are now on tomb of their lord. saying " Have you seen them ? By the gods. my son." The ronin Ako have his head.The Comments of not go without me. and a dull roar. he hurriedly arose." " ! ! the Crowd. or we shall miss them. it ous spectacle " " ! : is a glori" Tell What " is ? demanded of Sir Turf-ground. thrust his swords into his belt. me " the news. such as is made by a crowd when admiring a procession. Ah! they are loyal and faithful men " ! . It was a Sendai." Then came a noise of persons moving over the frozen snow. attacked the residence of their Sir Kira and taken way to deposit it upon the As the man was speaking. and opening the window. brave ones forcing their way in sight to behold the themselves according to regular order and guarding ti\z the rules of war." cried a woman." a store-keeper came rush- of yashiki of the Lord Be quick if you wish to see them. but when he heard the people murmuring their applause. dressed himself. to tell 239 I was the one you the Look Look they are coming this way. ing up the street. He called to his wife and while he was interrogating her. " Hurry. beheld the people running toward the end of the street.

might be willing to avenge their master's wrongs." as Having ascertained . but my brother was only affiliated to the clan. come back quickly. If this is so. shall I run out and ascertain ? " Stay one moment. but also to me. Turf-ground listened attentively. hearing the noise I and many persons quitted the yashiki and entered the The ronin street in order to investigate the matter. it will be not this " Honorable master. his first thought being of his brother. " out into the veranda where he found his who was on of puppies." : He went old servant." " morning. my master. though by accident. and First-fellow. other ronin being the hereditary retainers of the Lord of Ako. I shall become a laughing-stock." said Sir Turf-ground. and he whispered to his wife " I am certain Red-fence is one of that party. whom " knees playing with a pair he thus addressed his : do you know the truth about this great excitement ? " Yes." ing. Yet there is a strange coincidence between his message to me last night fluence of sak6 y part in and the rumor of believing he is only a great honor to him. Upon of Ako have performed their duty and are now I am sure Sir Red-fence is with them.240 Sir The Loyal Ron-ins. If I send you on such an errand and my brother is not among the noble band. First-fellow. added to which he is generally under the in- and would. " " I return- know The not what to think. I fear. You had better go out the truth. be unable to take such a glorious deed. I agree with you in with them.

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and out between the spectators congregated upon the avenue leading to the residence to the Lord of Sendai." " ! What gallant men . as if he were going to market. Sir Turf-ground paced the veranda and prayed to the gods that his brother might be found among the loyal men. Silver-boy ! cried a broad-shouldered fellow." He ran to the kitchen and will return as soon procured a basket and account-book.The Comments of " the Crowd. saying : hope they will soon come out. They must have fought bravely." their Then a number of persons spoke at " " Are they going to stay inside ? " " I once. as possible and ease your mind. Presently a " tall man. I 241 Very well. for Yes. looked back and said be able to go any further. After the servant was gone. The watchmen of the Lord of Sendai have formed a line across the street in front of the residence and made a No one will fence with their clubs. honorable master. and many of them were desperately wounded. : in the front rank of the crowd. then went out by the side-gate and pushed through the dense mass of people. I armor was cut all to pieces. " ? " have you seen " them caught a glimpse of the party as they entered the gate." " " Oi. and kept his ears open First-fellow in moved for news.

I spent the night I my cousin. and for awhile it seemed as if the mighty mountains would be rent asunder. from the attacking army. which overlooked the grounds of the noble's By the gods! it was a tremendous fight. As we were retiring to bed. clad " and white ." exclaimed a young clerk. who lives near the yashiki of Sir Kira. with a coat of red on horseback." answered the drowsy man. the war-cry sounding from the earth to the heavens. the fact is. as usual. whereupon we ascended to the roof of the house. where have you been ? You look as though you had spent the night in emptying a jar. Presently. You are mistaken. is that you ? You have. is just what we expected of the ronin of Ako. and adding rumor to rumor in the exaggerated fashion of a crowd. with their banners flying. mansion. fought in four directions." " " " I do not miss your headache. who was nodding eyes and replied : as though opened his Ah ! Seven-fields. " Pine-boy. drank very little sakt . my boy. issued a warrior in purple armor." " The man half asleep. we heard the sound of the drum and the crash of at the residence of the attack." one was enthusiastic over the courage and Every loyalty of the forty-seven." retorted Seven-fields. Plum-garden. they wore the "This time away. The armies on both sides. " addressed.242 The Loyal Ronins. missed a great sight by not going with me.

tongues was like the roar of advancing The . you in the front rank. " you not sometimes speak the truth ? The merry fellow made a grimace. and glancing round him. " What are I heard at the lecture in New " Street the other night." and the noise of their people crowded forward. waters. Why " don't you attend there and illuminate your mind ? you romancing about ? " I am relating what The young men marked " : laughed. they are coming out : " ! " Yes. answered " Because fiction is considered more interesting than : why do Oi. here they are. eagerly exclaimed " Is I there a second party ? thought all the leaLord of Sendai. " 243 One moment.The Comments of " the Crowd. do you see any" of the second party of the ronins ? thing The people craned their necks. and soon the cry went up " See. more numerous than the composed of the ! " ghosts of Sir Kira's men. yes." As he spoke there was a movement among the watchmen who guarded the entrance to the yashiki. you are always telling stories . company is far is It first." laughingly " The second remarked Pine-boy. and one of them re- Pine-boy." of the mansion had entered the guers : Oh you are quite behind the times." cried Seven-fields. and Seven-fields history." replied the joker.

his action showing to the world thorough approval of their deed. Then came the second division. had sent a messenger inviting them to enter his mansion and par- The ronin take of refreshments his . whose like the rags of a beggar.CHAPTER XXXVI. elbowed his way into the front rank of the crowd. sword forged by Masamune is sometimes found in a second- hand store. who. marched boldly forward." had been entertained by the Lord of Sendai. went . 244 Sir Unconquerable. but though First-fellow closely scanned their faces he failed to see the object of his search. The crooked A tree often produces fine fruit. under Sir Big-rock. SIR RED-FENCE " WINS GOLDEN OPINIONS. The vanguard. and eagerly waited for the approach of the First-fellow companies. and with their arms ready for use. led by armor hung about him by. Upon quitting his residence they formed into three companies. on hearing of their approach.

his helmet being pushed back and suspended his brow was bound with a his neck by its cord . whom he beckoned to him and thus addressed : " I am The bowing lations. glad to see you. for. anx- iously watched for the arrival of the third company. to add to my regret. 245 This company. that while a great killed. white ribbon.'* ers. night I went to unfortunate was enough to miss seeing him. I am not sensible of any such feeling. said " Sir Red-fence." " If I was do. I. marching instead of walking with his usual unsteady gait. at the he beheld Sir Red-fence. paid a visit to Sir Kira ." man went upon his knees in the snow. my sister was indisposed othunable to receive me. mented upon the the defenders fact. ad- they came vanced with a firm step and a martial bearing elicited the that admiration of the beholders. First-fellow. His head was from bare. As apprehension vanished. with whom we found at home. many posed in kago As these passed. : and his head to the ground. and in his hand he carried a spear. head. I offer you hearty congratu- my look very weary. well. First-fellow. number of not one of of Sir Kira were the ronin had fallen in the attack. who." " Last farebrother bid my the reply. After leaving them. He soon perceived his brother's servant. who began in sight his to feel very nervous. was almost entirely comof wounded of whom were carried men.Sir Red-fence Wins Golden Opinions. and You and and. the crowd com(litters). the largest.

acknowledge the Honorable you are indeed mistaken. him that we have avenged our master's death and. are proceeding to his tomb at the Spring-hill Temple. he ordered me to run with all speed and ascertain whether you were among the noble band. sir. saying my last gifts. to my honored brother." Sir Red-fence laughed heartily and said " The fact was my brother rather doubted : my pres- ence here ? truth. and to learn from your own lips smiled the particulars of the victory.246 The Loyal Ronins. Tell his wife a parting prayer for their happiness. Present these. myself Sir Red-fence ' my master and off to and all our people. the rubbed his hands together and chuckled to himthough delighted : self as in his at employer's speaking. latter While the ronin was addressing "First-fellow. The : moment we heard what had mistress." significantly The " ronin and handed : his whistle and spear-badge to the man. When he learns the good news his heart will leap with joy. where we hope to I send both my brother and join our honored lord. he replied " relative." " Come now. bearing the evidence on our bodies. immediately said is one of the loyal men. occurred. and when the beholding such a change latter ceased This morning as soon as my honorable master was told of the attack.' and I rushed ascertain whether you were wounded." He . I am delighted to be the bearer of such glorious tidings. First-fellow.

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my honorable master. He was . 247 next removed his purse from his girdle and presenting " it to the said in a kindly voice This kneeling man. what are you talking about ! ? The gen" tleman you are praising is out of sight. panting. that is Sir Redthe brother of fence. whom speed he found arrival. Honorable sirs." Sir Turf-ground's heart beat so quickly that he ." Uttering these words he turned and hastened his after comrades who were already at some distance. Now." " Ha Ha Ha " laughed the bystanders. shall be left behind. old fellow. could not return a moment was sooner. ! ! He is crazy with joy. must hurry away or Take care of yourself and be I diligent in the performance of your duties. : is I for you. "Look at him!" he cried.Sir Red-fence Wins Golden Opinions. as though the samurai " were still present." remarked a tanner among the " spectators." to his senses. all These remarks brought First-fellow and springing to his feet he ran with toward the residence of anxiously awaiting his First-fellow fell his his employer. ex- claimed " : Honorable master. upon I his knees and." " Why. First-fellow. adopted into the family of Red-fence of the clan of Ako and is one of the party of avengers. For a few moments First-fellow was unable to supmeanwhile the crowd collected about press his joy him and began to ask questions.

As he marched at the head of the third company every one applauded him. " Have you seen my " I brother ? Not a shadow suppose ? You was are wrong. I pushed my way through them and. in his usual voice. beheld the loyal men emerging from the gateway. and could only of whisper " : him. he wore beautiful weapons.248 unable to reply The Loyal Ronins. women and children." " Wounded did you say " Turf-ground. sitting up. he there. Samurai. were mingled together without any distinction. " How is it anxiously enquired Sir with my brother?" ? : " He ! is uninjured." ' ' "My thanks to the gods. then. Be happy." replied the servant.fellow I was so overcome that my heart ceased to beat. In- stead of the shabby swords to which our eyes have been so long accustomed. they offered a bold front and advanced in battle array. men. merchants. When he called First. honorable master. and though nearly all were wounded. to me " ! took the whistle and badge from . It was a stirring sight. There were some fifty of them. the scabbards of which were inlaid with gold and silver. I found the avenues crowded with people. and his spear bore ample evidence of having been used. as I neared the residence of the Lord of Sendai. old and young. he slapped his hands on his knees and exclaimed " Ah he is a brave man." said "How bright has the world become The servant Sir Turf-ground.

" First-fellow burst into tears. only an honor to the clan of Ako but also to their In their enthusiasm each Sir Red-fence. his 249 master. who complimented him upon the loyalty of his brother. with which they bathed the . Sir Turf-ground. Oh! how we have misunderstood him He is a most loyal. bosom and : as he handed them to his said ' Sir Red-fence sent these to < : peat this message Brother. congratulations of his wife and the maids. warm words of apand hastened in-doors where he received the proval. no longer able to repress his tion. feeling happy beyond measure that his brother should have so nobly fulfilled the first duty of a samurai. receive these as my parting To me he gave this purse of money. and conferred honor upon the house of his ancestors. all agreeing that it was not own. a few drops of the sake. and the crowded with the clans\hz. begged for some memento asked for of and hearing of the bottle. The news soon spread through house of Sir Turf-ground was men of Autumn-moon. The latter dismissed his servant with appreciated the gallant conduct of their master's relative and were loud in their praises of the once fully He despised Red-fence. overcome with the recollection of the scene through which he had just ! passed.Sir Red-fence Wins Golden Opinions. trifles I you and bade me ream on the road to gift.' death. emo- wept with joy. yashiki. noble man.

it wrapped in a piece of purple silk and placed ants." . and is the foundation of well-known story of " Red-fence and his bottle. This souvenir the said to be preserved by his descend- even to the present day. crowns of their heads. owner who regarded it the earthen vessel as a precious relic. Having done this they put on its the old rain-hat and prayed that the spirit of might inspire them to follow his example. Sir Turf-ground. in a box is among his treasures.25o The Loyal Ronins.

I come from the Chief- councillor to bring you joyful news. Temple-cliff?" " He bowed and replied That is my humble name. said : and saluting him. ." " While the ronin were being entertained by the Lord of Sendai." she said my lady must receive the information from your lips. Though the sun is shining.CHAPTER XXXVII." 251 . remember your face. and the snow has melted from the face of nature." " " Follow me. Are you not the loyal : soldier. the messenger despatched by Sir Big-rock arrived at the residence of Lady Pure-gem and requested permission to see the mistress. our sleeves are moistened with tears. SUMMONING THE WITNESS. Lady Pineisland entered the reception hall. As soon as his arrival was announced. " I should imagine by your appearance that you are I the messenger Surely we have been so anxiously expecting.

who comes from Sir Big: rock. he bowed his head to the mat and remained exhausted with his effort. quence.25 2 The Loyal Ronins. and after saluting her. proceeded in a rough. were full of elonight. and deeply moved the hearts of the listeners. She conducted him to the presence of her mistress and announced him. which explained more eloquently than words the desperate nature of the attack. a number of persons applied for entrance at the outer gate. saying " This is Temple-cliff. though homely. proved to be Sir Arrowhead and one Temple-west." oil paper. As he spoke and the tears streamed down his cheeks. a servant of Sir Big-rock. at the conclusion of his recital the hour of the Horse (noon). and upon At being granted admittance. after directing one of her attendants to give Temple-cliff a cup of sak6. yet graphic fashion to relate the events of the His words. Lady Pure-gem. and felt that even this humble soldier had done beloved husband. his duty to her Temple-cliff prostrated himself at the entrance of the apartment. who bore the following packages : Three locked trunks covered with A wooden box labeled " Books. They were accompanied by six footmen and twenty coolies. ordered him to be conducted to a room where he received proper attention and nourishment." Lady Pure-gem glanced at his torn garments and battered armor. .

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' Lady Pure-gem was profoundly moved by this . said " : The samurai upon the veranda. and Chief-councillor who Your Lady-ship. which When knelt and the messengers saw Lady Pure-gem. placed their burdens upon the veranda and retired out of sight. Chief-councillor. I " I beg your Lady-ship also forward an account of my dis- bursements. as sum of money have expended a had the right to take. There are nine thousand rio remaining which will accept.Summoning tlie Witness. honored Sir Big-rock desires ' me to say this to At the surrender your Lady-ship. come into the house and explain your mission. I portion of the amount for the support of certain members of the clan and for the armor and weapons required in carrying out our duty. Lady Pine-island directed the party to be conin ducted into the garden opposite the room her mistress was seated. the tomb of our I. A small box containing a letter." rose. " What is the meaning of this " ? Pure-gem. after the coolies and foot-servants advanced. Nine thousand rio wrapped in paper. leaving Sir Arrow-head who still remained in a respectful position. I come from the is now with the loyal clansmen at lord. " demanded Lady Arrow-head. stepped prostrating himself. they which bowed their faces to the ground. removed a large which I of the castle.

Lady Pure -gem immediately agreed interview. entered the house and asked permission to see their mistress. Big-rock is a man of a hun- dred thousand. set out for his destination. and. When the messengers were dismissed. brave. he encountered a third messenstories. hastily saluting him. as she listened to the sad wept over their sufferings and privations. to grant him an being admitted into her presence. ger. who feasted them with many dainties and rewarded them with expressions of approval. During the meal she made minute enquiries concerning each of the ronin. which not only proved the bravery and loyalty of the Chief-councillor. Temple-cliff. and when this was done they were conducted to the apartment of their mistress. but showed he was anxious to provide for her future comfort. The chief attendant ordered the servants to see to the messengers. speech. fertile in resource. Sir Three-village. patient under difficulties. he bowed profoundly. who was the bearer of a letter from Sir Big-rock to his wife. honorable. thus addressed her : On . " My honored and beloved husband spoke most " truly. and Sir Arrow-head departed for the Spring-hill Temple. who. Can any one excel him ? She then whispered to Lady " Pine. As the samurai quitted the residence. and a thorough statesman.254 The Loyal Ronins.island and retired greatly agitated. and raising his head." she exclaimed.

Summoning
"

the Witness.

255

charged to deliver this We, the loyal men, having betaken ourmessage. selves to the tomb of our late lord and expecting soon to be in the hands of the authorities, beg that some
mistress,
I
'

Honorable

am

one be

once despatched from the household of your Lady-ship to witness the offering we are about to make
at
"

to the spirit of our honored chief.' The lady reflected for a moment, then said to her

chief-attendant
"

:

you proceed with all despatch to the Spring-hill Temple and in my name thank each
Pine-island, will

of the loyal retainers for his devotion to my never-towill ask be-forgotten lord. At the same time you him." mistrusted ever me for to having forgive Big-rock Lady Pine-island bowed and replied "I so sacred am conscious of inability to perform
:

my

and important an errand, yet

to this

and

all

your com-

mands I joyfully assent." She then dressed herself

in

and, entering a norimono (litter), the Western Hill to the region of the Eastern Sea. arrived Sir Three-village followed her, and when they announced to the Chiefthe
at

her ceremonial robes was borne swiftly from

Spring-hill Temple, councillor
:

"Comrade, the witness deputed by our lady
the waiting-room."
Sir Big-rock

is

in

bowed and
hither.

replied

:

Conduct her
the ceremony."

We

will

now proceed

with

CHAPTER

XXXVIII.

BURNING THE INCENSE.
"
I knelt before the

tomb

of

my

chief

and reverently addressed

his noble spirit."

behind the

resting-place feebly struggled through the leafless branches of the trees that surrounded the little cemehills,

The

afternoon sun, descending to

its

In the centre of the tery of the Spring-hill Temple. enclosure was the tomb of Lord Morning-field, con-

surmounted by a massive, upright slab, which bore the mon (crest) of the house of Ako and the posthumous name of the Daimio. " Reiko in den Mayeno Shosho Suimo Genri Daikoji" Chosantayu [Great-peacefully-reclining- samurai of the Cold-shinsisting of three tiers of stone,

ing mansion, who, blowing aside a hair, revealed the hidden spirit of loyalty in his retainers and who, during
;

his

life,

enjoyed the honorable

title

of Major-General

and The-great-man-having-the-privilege-of-audiencewith-the-Mikado-(Emperor).] The tomb was enclosed with a stone railing and
256

Burning

the Incense.

2 5;

surrounded by a platform of the same imperishable
slabs before the entrance being depressed a few inches so as to form a pathway. Upon the second step rested a mizuhachi (stone trough for water), on each side of which were stone vases containing evergreens, among the latter being branches of the beautiful manrio.

material,

the

used for the purpose of enclosing a camp) had been erected around the edge of the platform, and the spot thus shut off from the gaze of the spectators who swarmed about the approaches to the cemetery. As the bell of the temple slowly announced the hour
of the

Maku

(cloth screens

Ape

(4

p.

M.),

Lady

Pine-island

was conducted

place, after which the ronin, who were resting in various attitudes, rose to the respectful position, and Sir Big-rock, addressing

inside the enclosure

and assigned a

Sir Lull, "

Jr.,

said

:

Comrade, present our

offering."

The samurai removed

the cloth which covered an

object resting upon a white-pine sambo, and raising the

burden, slowly advanced inside the railings and deposited it upon the third step, then retired backward. As

approached the tomb and set a On the lacquered (stand) upon the flag-stone. stand was a bronze urn containing live charcoal, and

he did so a

priest

Dai

a large jar

with grains of incense. The ronin then took their positions on the platform, Sir Big-rock kneeling nearest to the tomb on the left,
filled

258

The Loyal Ronins.

and the others forming a semi-circle, his son occupying the second post of honor on the right. The scene was most solemn and impressive, and Lady Pine-island bowed her head in her sleeves and

wept audibly.
Sir Big-rock, whose face was pale with suppressed excitement, rose, and advancing to the incense stand,

prostrated himself, remaining several moments with his forehead close to the stone. Outside all was

hushed, and no sound could be heard save the sobs of

Lady

Pine-island.
scroll

After a long pause the Chief-councillor took a from his bosom and read as follows
:

"December
"

i5, 1701.

We
all

have

this

day come

to

do homage

at

your

tomb,

of us being most willing to lay down our lives in your cause. Spirit of our dead Lord, we reverently announce this to you. Three years ago, you, our

honored and beloved master, were pleased to attack Sir Kira, for what reason we know not. You, our and to honored beloved Lord, were compelled put an end to your life, but Sir Kira was permitted to live. Although we fear after you have submitted to the decree, you will be displeased at our having resisted it, still we could not refrain from doing our duty. We have eaten your food and partaken of your bounty we are yours in all things and have ever remembered the command of Confucius. We would not dare to
;

present ourselves before you

in

paradise without having

Burning
carried out the vengeance

the Incense.
'

you began.

have waited has appeared

Every day we

like three autumns', yet, not-

withstanding our loyal desire, three autumns have come and gone since we received your legacy. Verily we have trodden the snow for one day, for two
'

nay,

days, and have tasted food but once.' and sick, the young and have
fully to

end

their lives.

The old, feeble come here joystrong, men Although laughed at us

as at the sickle-insect, which, trusting in the strength of its puny weapon, will attack a team of horses and

bring

itself to grief,

we have never

halted in our duty.

Your enemy has hidden
have had great

himself like a bat, and
at

we

difficulty in finding

night we called at his escorted him to your tomb."

him residence, and

home. Last this day have

Chief-councillor paused in his reading, and producing the dirk from his bosom, rose, advanced to the sambo and deposited the weapon by the offering then
;

The

returned, knelt behind the incense-stand and resumed:

which you, our honored and beloved Lord, used upon your enemy and employed to sever the thread of your existence, and which, in your last hour, you solemnly committed to our charge, we now
This
dirk,

"

your noble spirit be present, we entreat you, as a token, to once more grasp your weapon, and, a second time, strike the head of your foeman and thus
return.
If

forever end your feud. " This is the prayer of your forty-seven humble
retainers."

260

The Loyal Ronins.

Sir Big-rock placed the

document upon the tomb

and

all present prostrated themselves. After a moment that seemed like an age, they felt the massive structure shaken as though by an earth-

quake, then came the sound of a dull thud, resembling the stroke of a dirk, and the weapon dropped from its
place and

near the right hand of Sir Big-rock, who reverently received the gift, and raising it to his forehead, cried " Master, we thank thee Now, come what may,
fell
:
!

you have approved of our deed. O noble spirit wait a little longer and you shall be once more surrounded by your loyal retainers."

we

fear not, for
!

then

The ronin listened to this speech with awed faces, bowed to the ground and wept tears of joy. When they became somewhat composed, the Chief-

councillor took a few grains of incense from the vessel,

and throwing them upon the burning embers, exclaimed
"
will
:

As

this

thee,

my my

sweet perfume ascends from this vase, so soul soon leave its worthless body and join

honored and beloved Lord,

in

the land of

shadows."
returned to his seat, and taking the opened it and said in a firm voice
:

He

roll-call,

"

Big-rock, Jr."
his parent, said " Sir Chief-councillor, there are others who should
:

His son bowed, and addressing

precede

me

in

this

solemn

act.

Sir Straight-grove,

Burning
Sir Lull,
Jr.,

the Incense.

261

Sir

Common,

Sir Hatchet, Sir

Uncon-

querable, Sir Cliff-side, Sir Thousand-cliffs, Sir Islandin-the-front, Sir Red-fence, Sir Shell, nay all should

precede me.
to

I,

being the junior, ought to be the

last

make my respectful offering." The ronin admired the humility of their young comrade, and murmured approvingly then Sir Big-rock
;

words fill me with happiness Sir Straightand Sir Lull, Jr., shall precede you." grove Sir Straight-grove advanced and performed the solemn rite, then bowing a second time, prayed for
;

said " Your
:

the repose of his mother's soul. Sir Lull, Jr., took a large pinch of incense, the smoke of which was wafted like a dark cloud toward the offering on the sambo. As Sir Big-rock, Jr., returned to his place he beheld, above the canvas screen surrounding the tomb,

the peak of Fuji-yama, and remembering his wish, smiled and saluted it. Sir Lucky-field, an old man who followed him, on

resuming
"

his seat,

thought

:

The sun

just yesterday. burden." a of soul grievous my

of to-day has dispelled the heavy snow of The act I have performed has relieved

Sir Lucky-field, Jr., who, like his father, made his offering felt at peace with all the world, and

Next came

with a heart

full

of gratitude.
Sir

This young

man was succeeded by

Common.

dragging his left limb. After he had performed the rite. Sr." : his head. calm and dignified. but shall end my life like the rest of my comrades. noticing which he said " That is a good omen I shall not die of my wounds. After father and son had returned to their places. Sir Moat. who are dear to us. who. and who was supported by his son. Jr. Jr. big tears trickled down his cheeks. having performed the loyal rite. the latter shook the incense upon the coals. which bore a frightful wound. feebly rose. he seated himself next to Sir Common. when the latter said : This brave man was " My only regret join in this joyful have not forty-seven sons to ceremony. as usual. Sr. who had been desperately wounded in the attack. " The While he was thinking." Sir Lull.. followed by his second son. crawled toward the incense stand.. Following him came Sir Hatchet who was. and bowing thought approval of our Lord fills our hearts with hapthe reflection of which will render joyful those piness. Then came Sir Moat. Notwithstanding his injuries. The patriarch spilt some of the incense. Sir Hatchet. his adopted son. a very old man.' is I . for he remembered the heroic deed performed As by his mother..262 TJte Loyal Rcnins. made his offering. returned to his parent. and motioning his sons to re- main seated. : . he resolute made his offering in a manner and spoke in a voice audible to those outside the enclosure.

He. too.water. who had step. who. 263 was succeeded by Sir Shoal. he produced a bottle and cup. The young right arm. As he resumed his seat. Sir Pure then advanced. and addressing the Chief-councillor. Jr.Burning the Incense. silently " rontn. " He Sir Shell!" called the Chief-councillor. and having performed the : resumed I his seat. said in a low voice : . sacrificed so much. thought of his family.. Sir Arrow-head and Sir Swift. to use his made his offering with his spirit ! He bowed : and invoked the of his chief. Sir Red-fence next responded to his name and shall not require reverently followed the example of his comrades. their offerings. saying O. being severely wounded. Sir Shoal. These assisted the maimed men to make rite. This noble samurai was followed by Sir Tide-field and Sir Rich-grove. who burnt incense and addressed the spirit of their dead Lord. but remembering the words of his wife and the benevolent act of the god- Fox felt comforted. This time I kago" (alluding to his quick and painful trip from Yedo to Ako). Sir Cliff-side prepared to take his place. Jr. thinking " shall soon make my last journey.. advanced with a firm and being unable left. beloved master helpless wife and child!" I pray you remember my As he rose. were carried by their comrades. Sir Inner-field and Sir Inner-field.

. knowing full well it to Having accomplished the duty would be easier to check a mountain torrent than prevent sakd from descending his comrade's throat. . Sir StoreSir Village-pine.. Sir Victory-field. Sir Tree-village. assisted . " Sir Unconquerable rose slowly as he did so the remnants of his armor fell upon the pavement. noticing which he kicked them aside and advanced to the stand. and while then offered a briel prayer sumed his place he said to Sir Hatchet the sambo. grimly watched the object on He . The ronin This samurai took a handful of incense. Sir Cross-river and Sir Three-village. while now my body.264 " The Loyal Ronins. and my ragged condition. Sr. Sir Faithful-friend. Rush -field. of them being too badly crippled to burn the " ! incense without help. I will a cup cf congratulation. Sir CliffThese field. Sir Cedar-field. now empty required." it is. came Sir Village-pine. free from encumbrances. Sir Thousand-horses. " : it was being consumed." Sir Big-rock did not reply. as he re- falling of the fragments of my armor. Sir Rush-valley. After him men being among the wounded. Sir Cliff-island and Sir Middle-village five then answered to the summons. Jr. Sir Arrow-field. though one another. though The then like my heart was heavily burdened. Sir Near-pine. reminded me of the time when you called my name from the portal of the castle. not completely disabled. Sir bridge.

I only carried out honored mistress my honored and beloved chief. offered prayers. At the conclusion of the ceremonies.rock.Burning i the Incense. having done which he sent to the chief-priest." Sir Big-rock burnt the incense. "Temple-cliff!" adding: "In the absence of our brave comrade. Sir Island-in-the-front. . made their offerThe Chief-councillor then said in a loud voice ings. Lady Pine -island comAfter the : " priests pleted her errand. the Chief- councillor bowed to the Sojo (superior of the priests) and said " : Will your reverence be good enough to take it disposed of accordcharge of our offering and have ing to the usual custom ? The Sojo gravely returned his salute and replied " Sir our duty to attend to the Big. I will perform the rite for him. with his assistants. entered the enclosure. My I have been able thinks too much of the poor services He bade the lady a respectful fareto render her. commenced the message she was charged to deliver. in the name of her mistress. saying the last wishes ot " Pardon me. Sir Thousand-cliffs and Sir Big-eagle. for their devotion to their late then addressing the Chief-councillor. on hearing which he politely interrupted her. and. who. thanked the loyal men lord ." had retired. 265 When they had retired. and advancing before the tomb. to which the ronin listened respectfully. it is dead." : .

) a procession First left the grounds of the Spring-hill Temple.. Sir Big-rock. consisting of Big-rock. Following these marched the retainers of Lord Mori. the wounded. escorting twelve of the ronin. remarking " : You were indeed fortunate to be its present when the spirit of our honored chief gave May you approval to the act we have performed. samurai in the service of Lord Pine-plain. al- ways be happy and enjoy good health. who were in charge of the third division of prisoners then came a party of ronin who were in the custody of samurai belonging to the house of Lord Water-field." I? SjC JjC Jji " S| 9f* 3f At the hour of the Hog (8 p. might not increase the sufferings of the loyal men. Prince of Higo. came a number of armed retainers carrying lanterns. being among the number. the officers of the Sho-gun are in the reception hall and desire your attendance. decorated with the mon (crest) of Lord Narrow-river. Upon . one of the priests approached him and said : Sir Big-rock. and the officers in charge conveyed their prisoners to the yashiki of their respective lords. reaching the heart ot the city the procession separated. They moved silently and proceeded slowly.266 well. Jr. including Sir Next a second detachment. in order that the coolies bearing the litters which contained . The Loyal Ronins. M." As he finished speaking. who guarded a body of the ronin.

were. pending the decision of the authorities. were neither permitted to receive visits From from their friends nor communicate with them. the ronin.Burning the Incense. in fact. though treated with the greatest consideration. . 267 that time. They dead to the world.

their sympathy being entirely with the loyal band. show my appreciation of passed. 1702. I joyfully salute The authorities. were exceedingly perplexed how to act. " Fully conscious of having performed the messenger of death." my duty. I imagine you will soon hear from the Council. still there is no law to prevent me from endeavoring to serve you after your sentence is Can I. I thank : My 268 . Early on the morning of the 4th of February. having imprisoned the ronin. THE RONINS REJOIN THEIR LORD. Al- though you are not permitted to receive favors from your friends. " your loyalty ? Sir Big-rock gravely saluted him. Lord Narrow-river entered the hall in which Sir Big- rock and his companions were confined. and after enquiring concerning their condition. said " It appears to me you must feel very weary of this sort of existence however.CHAPTER XXXIX. in any way. be the news good or bad. in the name of my comrades. and replied " Lord. : .

" .I/a ureshi Last writing of Sir Big-rock. ixxii ni kakaru knmonashi " Yoshio p. ounnwa haruru miioa sutzuru tztiki Ukivons Chap. .

.

took up a my brush and wrote " : Ara ^lresh^.TJte Ronins Rejoin tlieir Lord. were prisoners and emboldens us many kindnesses we have enjoyed at your Your benevolence has made us forget we to ask this favor. 269 you for the hands. Rest assured it shall be I have now a accomplished. no longer obscured by clouds. thought for a moment and replied : The " Unfortunately have no authority in such a matter. for in is it. one . whereupon Lord Narrow-river saluted the ronin and quitted the hall. though." (" I am indeed happy." resting-place daimio. an officer entered and announced the arrival of the commissioners of the As Sho-gun.") I have sacrificed He then bowed respectfully and handed the paper to the daimiOi who received it with many expressions of satisfaction. yet I here pledge my honor to do everything in my power to bring about what you so ardently wish. After a brief interval." queath Sir Big-rock went to the writing-stand. omoiwa harura miwa sutzuru . The moon doing my life. Ukiyono tzuki ni kakaru kumonas/ii. my desire is accomplished. we should die without a shadow of regret. who was greatly affected by this speech. Could we be assured of this. the noble ceased speaking. We desire that our bodies may find a near the tomb of our beloved chief. I favor to ask a souvenir of yourself which I will beto descendants as a precious relic.

hereby sentenced to perform hara-kiri. read as follows " field. which they distributed number among' the prisoners. for your audacious conduct. Sir Kira. In addition to this your descendants are banished to the island of Oshima.270 of his councillors The Loyal Ronins. asfol- lowed their guide to the audience chamber. You. took a paper from the glancing at Lord Narrow-river. broken. and slain. who were requested to prepare themselves for their sentence." The commissioners . there authorities. the late master of ceremonies to the august " Sho-gun. and after : Big-rock. lyetzuna. and behind him came a of retainers bearing white dresses and kamishimo (ceremonial costumes). The ronin cast aside their garments and joyfully sumed the snowy robes having done which they . by night into the house of.quitted the hall and proceeded . and forty-six others. are. The elder of the visitors bosom of his garment. neither respecting the dignity ot the city nor the laws of the country. men. as with one voice acknowledge the justice of our sentence and gratefully return our thanks for being permitted to die such an honorable death. entered. before whom they prostrated themselves and remained in the respectful attitude." to remain during the pleasure of the : To " this the We ronin replied. late Chief-councillor of Lord Morningthe daimio of Ako. where they found the commissioners and Lord Narrow-river. having conspired against.

) Sir Big-rock and were in two rows upon thick companions kneeling mats placed in the court-yard of the yashiki of Lord Narrow-river. At the hour of the Snake (10 his In front of the condemned men knelt several samurai of the clan of Higo. to sentence. who were present as witnes- ses for their lord. their march down the Lonely-Road. dark to Sanzu-no Baba. behind each ronin being two officers who were to act as their kaishiyaku (seconds). M. Sir Big-rock. Lord Mori. whose and bearing betokened the : happiness that possessed his soul. clear voice " " we will now meet our last Comrades.TJu Ronins Rejoin their Lord. of Death. headed by the fell into line spirit of Sir Big-rock. Before the sound of the temple bells had ceased to vibrate on the air. were welcomed by . face and Lord Water-field. and boldly plunging into the where they river. forty-six shadowy forms. whom charge of the they likewise communicated the who had A. to the residences of the daimio 271 other ronin. the spirit of their beloved chief. At the in enacted same hour and moment a similar scene was fa& yashiki of Lord Pine-plain. passed over to Gokuraku (Paradise). * * ***** enemy! and began . turned to his companions and said in a loud. together Together they mounted the Hill roads meet here three the where the at halted place which they handed they stripped off their white robes.

") The visitors were the widow and sons of Sir Cliffside. On the morning of the 4th of February. entered the enclosure and proceeded to a tomb which bore the inscription " Zinkuan yoken shinshi" A true who set an example to all and who samurai. " He. who had on that day returned from their place of exile and come : to make offerings at the grave.CHAPTER XL. a lady accompanied by two handsome young men. and the servant was Original-help. (" used his sword where it was required." The snows oi eight winters had fallen upon the bamboos surrounding the cemetery of the Spring-hill Temple. THE RETURN OF THE EXILES. will be loyal to his chief. 272 . fail to be patrotic. 1710. and followed by a servant. who is A loyal man cannot dutiful to his parents. who carried in their hands bouquets of flowers. where forty-seven tombs marked the restingplaces of the loyal men of Ako.

Sojo for the care he had bestowed upon the graves. visitors bowed before the souvenirs. as on the of her husband's death. they burnt incense and repeated prayers. by the accession of a new Sho-gun. which they relics ot regarded as good Buddhists do the their At the the hour of the Snake (10 A. then proceeded to the temple where they found assembled relatives and ment.M. Mrs. the wife and son of Sir Shell. When all had taken their places upon the matted floor. the venerable superior ascended the platform.) the priests led way to the chapel of the temple. Brilliant was not among the number. the betrothed of Sir Cliff-field. Pine-island. they went to an adjoining where apartment they were shown the battered armor and weapons of the ronin. she had joined him in paradise. been released from banish- sweeping the tomb. had. and the loyal contractor. palm to palm. The saints. offered prayers. When all had thanked the forty-seven the party were the wife and two sons of Sir Big-rock. 273 friends of many the dead heroes. Miss Lady plain. Quiet. and placing his hands upright.The Return of After the Exiles. the family of Sir Among Common. after which he thus addressed the congregation " How can I find words to express the feelings of : . Noble- him day whose participation in the conspiracy had caused to be banished with the families of the samurai. like themselves. who.

cheeks. You. the names and fame of the loyal men. how glorious is your dower! You. ! ! to follow in the footsteps of your fathers. widows. how priceless your legacies salute you all. whose armor and weapons you have just worshiped who suffered so my My aged . will be remembered with respect and admiration.274 The Loyal Ronins. from time to time. therefore were patriots have set an example which will be followed forThey ever and ever. M. ones the gods have indeed been good to you you are the descendants. thus recognizing the devotion of the loyal ronin. pausing frequently to wipe the tears from his His eloquence deeply moved the listeners. uttered pious ejaculations and *This prophecy has been fulfilled. you are the favored greatly and died so nobly. heart. their sons. and welcome you back " from exile ! ! then briefly reviewed the lives of the fortyseven. have an inheritance It is for you that will make you envied by all men. Oh. and the * day will surely come when their worth will be recognized in the highest place (by the Mikado). and the whole world shall ring with their praise! They were dutiful sons. H. whose bodies rest beneath yonder tombs. favored ones. . tongue can but imperfectly speak the praises due to the loyal men. friends of I the departed heroes. . relatives and friends of Immortals! Through all ages and changes. . He who. You. I. Mutsuhito having in the year 1869 bestowed upon the tomb of Sir Big-rock the high honor of the Goldenleaf. Their glorious deed will shine like a torch at night. therefore were loyal men They were loyal men.

275 bathed joy. is engraved upon a golden tablet. will The names. which obliterates most things." only add lustre to their honorable THE END. and their loyalty. he thus record of their sufferings.The Return of the Exiles. . their heroism. and the friction of time. their sleeves with the dews of sorrow and the he had eulogized concluded his oration : When " all martyrs.

.

.

.

.

.

A 000 056 328 8 .