From the moment she got into the chair, and they had entered

28 Oct

From the moment she got into the chair, and they had entered

From the moment she got into the chair, and they had entered within the city walls, she found, as she looked around, through the gauze window, at the bustle in the streets and public places and at the immense concourse of people, everything naturally so unlike what she had seen elsewhere.

After they had also been a considerable time on the way, she suddenly caught sight, at the northern end of the street, of two

huge squatting lions of marble and of three lofty gates with (knockers representing) the heads of animals. In front of these

gates, sat, in a row, about ten men in coloured hats and fine attire. The main gate was not open. It was only through the side

gates, on the east and west, that people went in and came out. Above the centre gate was a tablet. On this tablet were inscribed

in five large characters —“The Ning Kuo mansion erected by imperial command.”

“This must be grandmother’s eldest son’s residence,” reflected Tai-yü.

Towards the east, again, at no great distance, were three more high gateways,

likewise of the same kind as those she had just seen. This was the Jung Kuo mansion.

They did not however go in by the main gate; but simply made their entrance through the east side door.

With the sedans on their shoulders, (the bearers) proceeded about the distance of the throw of an arrow, when upon turning a corner, they hastily put down the

chairs. The matrons, who came behind, one and all also dismounted. (The bearers) were changed for four youths of seventeen or eighteen, with hats and

clothes without a blemish, and while they carried the chair, the whole bevy of matrons followed on foot.

When they reached a creeper-laden gate,

the sedan was put down, and all the youths stepped back and retired.

The matrons came forward, raised the screen,

and supported Tai-yü to descend from the chair.