“Quite so; that’s just my idea!” replied Yü-ts’un

“Quite so; that’s just my idea!” replied Yü-ts’un; “I’ve not as yet let you know that after my degradation from office, I spent the last couple of years in travelling for pleasure all over each province, and that I also myself came across two

extraordinary youths. This is why, when a short while back you alluded to this Pao-yü, I at once conjectured, with a good deal of certainty, that he must be a

human being of the same stamp. There’s no need for me to speak of any farther than the walled city of Chin Ling. This Mr. Chen was, by imperial appointment, named Principal of the Government Public College of the Chin Ling province. Do you perhaps know him?”

“Who doesn’t know him?” remarked Tzu-hsing. “This Chen family is an old

connection of the Chia family. These two families were on terms of great intimacy, and I myself likewise enjoyed the pleasure of their friendship for many a day.”

“Last year, when at Chin Ling,” Yü-ts’un continued with a smile, “some one recommended me as resident tutor to the school in the Chen mansion; and when I moved into it I saw for myself the state of things. Who would ever think that that

household was grand and luxurious to such a degree! But they are an affluent family, and withal full of propriety, so that a school like this was of course not one easy to obtain. The pupil, however, was, it is true, a young tyro, but far more

troublesome to teach than a candidate for the examination of graduate of the

second degree. Were I to enter into details, you would indeed have a laugh. ‘I

must needs,’ he explained, ‘have the company of two girls in my studies to enable me to read at all, and to keep likewise my brain clear. Otherwise, if left to myself,

my head gets all in a muddle.’ Time after time, he further expounded to his youn

attendants, how extremely honourable and extremely pure were the two words representing woman, that they are more valuable and precious than the

auspicious animal, the felicitous bird, rare flowers and uncommon plants. ‘You may not’ (he was wont to say),

‘on any account heedlessly utter them,

you set of foul mouths and filthy tongues! these two

words are of the utmost import!

Whenever you have occasion to allude

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