Dame Feng, Shih-yin’s wife, upon hearing the tidings, had such a fit of weeping that she hung between life and death;
but her only alternative was to consult with her father, and to despatch servants on all sides to institute inquiries.
No news was however received of him, and she had nothing else to do but to practise resignation,
and to remain dependent upon the support of her parents for her subsistence. She had fortunately still by her side,
to wait upon her, two servant girls, who had been with her in days gone by; and the three of them, mistress as well as servants,
occupied themselves day and night with needlework, to assist her father in his daily expenses.
This Feng Su had after all, in spite of his daily murmurings against his bad luck, no help but to submit to the inevitable.
On a certain day, the elder servant girl of the Chen family was at the door purchasing thread, and while there,
she of a sudden heard in the street shouts of runners clearing the way, and every one explain that the new magistrate had come to take up his office.
The girl, as she peeped out from inside the door, perceived the lictors and policemen go by two by two;
and when unexpectedly in a state chair,
was carried past an official, in black hat and red coat, she was indeed quite taken aback.
“The face of this officer would seem familiar,” she argued within herself; “just as if I had seen him somewhere or other ere this.”
Shortly she entered the house,
and banishing at once the occurrence from her mind, she did not give it a second thought.
At night, however, while she was waiting to go to bed, she suddenly heard a sound like a rap at the door. A band of men boisterously cried out:
“We are messengers,
deputed by the worthy magistrate of this district, and come to summon one of you to an enquiry.”