The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1)

Image result for the story of the stone vol 1 book cover

The reader is presented by a question which may arise during the book’s beginnings, it possibly seeming to cross the line of odd, but more happening under the surface. Years previously, Nü-wa, a goddess, fixes the sky, she using a mountain to make “building blocks” and using all, but one which is left near Green-sickness Peak in the Great Fable Mountains. The block, or Stone contains powers, due to having been constructed by the goddess, it able to move and change its size.

The Stone is also self-aware, knowing it hadn’t been wanted in the reparations of the sky and feeling left out. During this bad mood, it notices a monk and Taoist walking quite a ways away, but are approaching the peak the Stone is on, the two chatting whilst resting. The monk sees and picks up the Stone, it having made itself smaller, and speaks to it of knowing it was special and planned on etching on it to show others the same who wouldn’t be able to travel there; the Stone was quite pleased. The monk stows the Stone away, and wouldn’t reveal the destination he planned for it, the Narrator not knowing, either.

An unknown amount of time later, another monk passes the same area and sees a rock with a length of text written on it. Vanitas the monk reads about the rock’s origins and how after he’d been brought to society, he’d lived as a human and achieved nirvana, then came back. The history of his life follows, the one piece of information not shared is the era this occurred, a little poem following, which wonders whom would go about sharing its story.

Vanitas replies to the rock directly of his feelings on how the story would be perceived without certain details and not making much of a hit, the Stone stating how its story put many perspectives uniquely which would separate its story from those already out. Vanitas breaks it down for it, the risque escapades and depravity of females only supplying interest to a certain sort. Most of its stories involved an assortment of differently themed “romances”, Vanitas continuing to explain why the genre wasn’t a strong one, the Stone defending the possibility it had some redeeming qualities, also speaking of how no part was exaggerated.

Vanitas gives in upon a second reading when seeing the Stone’s words were true. Upon returning, Vanitas had begun “in the Void (which is Truth)”, and returns there, deciding to be called “Brother Amor, or the Passionate Monk”, since he’d regained the Truth through Passion, as well as giving the book the new title of “The Tale of Brother Amor”. The book from there receives four more titles through the years, Cao also being mentioned titling it, “The Twelve Beauties of Jinling“, and the title eventually being given its original one back. Regardless of this, the details within, all being based in reality (which is apparently true after having skimmed the introduction), but the characters and occurrences not being vouched for, at the same time.

Many years before, the world angled differently, the city of Soochow had a certain section which was among the richest. Near this area lived a man, Zhen Shi-Yen with his wife, Feng-Shi, the two not high in financial standing, but had respect from those living in the area. Shi-Yen was an unassuming personality with only a daughter, Ying-lian. One day, Shi-Yen falls asleep whilst reading and views a Taoist and monk strolling and chatting. They discuss where the monk planned on placing the Stone to experience life alongside everyone else.

The monk explains how the Stone had gotten as far as it had by chance, and had located a fairy. This fairy housed the Stone temporarily and bequeathed it “the honorary title of Divine Luminescent Stone-in-Waiting in the Court of Sunset Glow” (a mouthful, which is why I’m being picky about what to share). The Stone spent its time near Magic River where he began giving water to Crimson Pearl Flower, she partially heavenly, so with this additive, transforms into a girl (the more I read makes me see how Madeline Bassett would adore this story). Crimson Pearl is soon plagued by how she’d return the favor to the Stone, believing the only way would be to live a life together as humans. So, for this reason, the monk was bringing the Stone to where the fairy planned to send the assortment of entities to experience human living.

Shi-Yen believes he is overhearing a crazy rant, then hears the monk say some words which worry him, Ying-lian being grasped more tightly by him, the Taoist and monk then decide to meet up again later, Shi-Yen wishing he’d spoken up to inquire about the monk’s words, but is interrupted by a student – Jia Yu-cun, as Shi-Yen was now near his own door, some background then given on the young man’s hard times. Yu-cun greets him warmly, Shi-Yen explaining his being outside was to calm Ying-lian from being upset, he then offers Yu-cun to sit inside and chat with him, due to the slowness of the day.

A servant leads the girl inside as Shi-Yen heads for his office with Yu-cun for tea, soon after, having to rush out for a Mr. Yan having dropped in, Yu-cun entertains himself with looking through some of Shi-Yen’s books, until seeing a girl outside picking flowers, she fetching somehow, then by chance, catching sight of him, she also pleased with his looks. When she turns to leave, then glances back twice at him, Yu-cun takes this as a sign of interest, he waiting only a little longer after learning from a servant boy this guest may be staying for supper, he deciding to go, and when Shi-Yen eventually gets his guest out, decides he wouldn’t be asking him to return when noticing Yu-cun had left.

Later, Shi-Yen goes to offer dinner to the young man after the Mid Autumn festival and supper with his family had been finished. Yu-cun was still thinking of Shi-Yen’s servant girl, Shi-Yen walking in on Yu-cun spouting poetry in relation to her, the two reconvening in his office for wine and food. As they drank and ate, the two become more comfortable with each other until Yu-cun bursts out with more poetry, Shi-Yen congratulating his talent with more wine.

Yu-cun then gets serious about his means of acquiring a lucrative career due to travel costs (I feels ya, buddy). Shi-Yen had been hoping this subject would be broached, since he hadn’t wanted to insult him by offering, but now he’s confided in him, he insisted on fronting all cost for his journey and immediately takes care of everything. Yu-cun didn’t make a big deal out of Shi-Yen’s charity, the two having fun until after twelve at night. When they parted, Shi-Yen sleeps in until noon, and upon waking, plans to set up a place for Yu-cun to stay, but learns he’d decided to leave before dawn, so the issue was let go.

Fifteenth Night brought bad tidings when Shi-Yen has a servant take out Ying-lian to look at the lights, and when the man leaves her on a step whilst relieving himself, the child goes missing, the servant searching until dawn and when not recovering her, leaves town in shame without informing Shi-Yen. He and his wife send out a search party, but Ying-lian isn’t found, the two becoming sick after a month or so, doctors looking after them until a monk living in the Temple next door, has an accident with oil and many houses are destroyed, including of course, the Zhens.

Shi-Yen is distraught over this misfortune, and had planned for them to move to their farm in the country, but the area had become dangerous, so Shi-Yen sells his land and they hole up with his wife’s father-in-law, Feng Su, whom whilst not happy with how they’d turned up, was comforted by his finances from his farm, he supposed to locate them a comfortable new place, but taking half and setting them up with a crap hut and unhealthy land. Not knowing how to recover his bad luck, Feng Su didn’t make his life easier by offering crap advice and then talking shit about Shi-Yen behind his back, he hearing of it later, and this helping his health get worse, his older age not aiding his recovery.

At some point in the future, Shi-Yen is taking a walk and hears a Taoist repeating some words, as he approaches closer, he asks for the man to clarify, since only hearing two words repeated, the monk declaring the words to be important ones and so had understood enough, Shi-Yen then offers more verses, the Taoist pleased, and Shi-Yen deciding then to accompany the mad man and informing no one. Well after this, his wife hears by rumor and is broken by the information, Shi-Yen not found when she’d sent for updates of him. She moves in with her parents and contributes by quilting, and one of her two maids was shopping when a bureaucrat is brought past, she recognizing him, but not recalling where. In the night, Feng Su is dumbfounded when learning someone from his house was wanted at the bureaucrat’s headquarters.

Yamen runners outside inform a smiling Feng Su, Shi-Yen was being summoned and when Feng Su shares how Shi-Yen had left a year previously to become a Taoist, the runners take him instead, his family and servants in fear of what could be happening. It was well into the night before Feng Su had gotten back home, everyone having questions, so Feng Su describes how this new mandarin, a Hu-zhou named Jia used to know Shi-Yen way back when, and had deduced he’d moved and was tipped off they would know where he was because of the woman, Lucky selling quilts in the doorway, and when Feng Su explains where Shi-Yen had gone, was unhappy to learn of this, then upon discovering what had occurred to Ying-lian, decides to send his own search party, expecting better results, and after speaking with each other a little more, Feng Su readies to leave, and Jia gives him silver pieces, his wife stunned by his story and the night passing calmly. Early in the day a package from Yu-cun is delivered to Feng-shi, as well as a letter to Feng Su to inquire if Feng-shi would allow him to take Lucky as his second wife (how sweet…), Feng Su pressing how significant it was she should comply, so they immediately ship Lucky off, and Yu-cun is so happy, he showers them with gifts, especially Feng-shi, to keep her occupied until Ying-lian was found.

Lucky apparently caught a good turn, since she bore Yu-cun a son fairly quickly, and was upgraded when Yu-cun’s first wife dies. Yu-cun’s progress after finishing school is followed, he getting the position of magistrate of the district fairly fast, but unfortunately, had a bad habit of out-thinking the higher-ups and making them seem foolish, so he was soon given a bad report of conduct, getting fired, but takes the news well, settling his family in his hometown with the riches he’d accrued and beginning to travel.

Yu-cun was in Yangchow when learning a Lin Ru-hai was also staying in the area, the man’s background being related to royalty, but his family line dying off and his only son having been lost the previous year. He had a daughter though, Dai-yu, she showing promise and so was educated a bit to take their minds off their son dying. Yu-cun had been ill recently and upon recovering for the most part, realized he needed to replenish his funds, so upon running into some buddies who knew the Salt Commissioner, Lin Ru-hai he was able to secure the position as tutor.

Due to it seeming the little girl dictated when she’d be taught, Yu-cun had plenty more time to recuperate, then Dai-yu’s mother falls ill and dies, the young girl’s lessons falling to the wayside in her grief, she also now becoming periodically sick, Yu-cun beginning to take strolls more often to ease his idleness. One day he walks out of town and sees a temple going to ruin, he reading the name of the place and the gate which had a poem written upon it, curious to learn the history of the place, but upon entering, only finding a deaf and half blind monk, whom wasn’t able to answer his inquiries.

So, Yu-cun leaves and heads for a neighboring village inn for some wine, there meeting an acquaintance, Leng Zi-xing, he having a good sense of business and the two admiring the other. Yu-cun asks how he’d come to be there, Zi-xing having been visiting a buddy by chance, the two then sitting and catching up on their lives since they’d last spoken, Yu-cun asking about anything notable happening in the area, Zi-xing recalling a small event in regard to a distant relative of Yu-cun, his family not normally considering themselves a part of the others family, due to their high class. Zi-xing describes how apparently their houses had fallen a bit, the time in which it occurred surprising Yu-cun.

Zi-xing states how the relation of how it happened would take some time, he clarifying how they hadn’t lost everything, but there having been the cinching of the belt, inwardly, the main problem stemming from the male progeny not living up to standards. Yu-cun is shocked to learn the families wouldn’t have continued the degree of education they’d been known for, Zi-xing giving background of the two heads of households, the men being brothers, one, Ning’s grandson becoming a Taoist and uninterested in any other matters, he having a son, whom in turn had a son, whom was currently a teenager, his father not taking responsibility and living a life of debauchery and no one willing to snap the man into shape.

The other side, Rong’s eldest, marrying into a well known family and having two sons, after he passed away, his wife surviving him, and his eldest taking over responsibility in title but not doing what was necessary for the household, his younger brother being urged to continue his education and going up the ranks in his field, he marrying and having a son, this son dying young, but also having a son, his wife then having a daughter after, and another son born with a piece of jade in his mouth twelve years later, this being the odd part Zi-xing was referring, Yu-cun unable to argue.

This youngest son, Bao-yu had been tested with objects of the family mixed in with different sorts of trinkets, he drawn to the items which were female in nature, his father displeased, but his grandmother doting on the boy. It didn’t end there though, Bao-yu now ten and naughtily clever, the boy precocious, Yu-cun saw this boy’s heritage in a certain light, Zi-xing wishing for him to clarify, so Yu-cun lists good men verses the bad ones, and stating their circumstances, as well as how it related to their current state of living in the world, the state of the world currently on the upswing of good tidings, and how pure humor over “perverse humours” tended to dissipate in certain environments, and on the off-chance the two should meet, being in constant opposition, they sometimes made their way into a human host, then upon this person’s upbringing, excelled in certain areas, which regardless of status, showed itself in some way, he again listing good and bad men.

Yu-cun then relates an experience with a small boy he’d been tutoring whom would also be among the bad, and Zi-xing mentions how like the little boy’s female counterparts, the girls in the Jia family were also good and clever. They then discussed how this family named their girls like the boys, which was unusual, Yu-cun learning his current employer’s late wife was named similarly, Zi-xing offering he research his words, but Yu-cun realizing it must be true with how her daughter, Dai-yu wrote and spoke, she also a part of the Jia family on the Rong’s side. They then wonder who the younger generation would be married off to, Sir Zheng having another son after Bao-yu, from one of his concubines.

After which they discuss Sir She’s having a son, as well, and also how this son had already gotten married within the family, to a cousin through marriage, and whilst he helped manage the family estate, his wife overshadowed him in more ways than one. Zi-xing then decides they should continue to drink after their hearty chat, Yu-cun noticing how the hour was getting on and they should walk and talk, so they made it to the city gates before they shut for the night, and right when they’re readying to leave, Yu-cun is recognized and given commendation, as well as being told of this person having fortuitous information for him.

Yu-cun recognizes an associate of his, Zhang Ru-gui, he also having been let go, and this area being his hometown, he sharing how he learned of ex-officials getting rehired, so there being a possibility for himself to get set up with a new position, he sharing this information with Yu-cun and then hastening onward, Zi-xing believing Yu-cun should use his connection to Ru-hai so he could do the same, Yu-cun agreeing, and the two going their separate ways.

When Yu-cun returns he makes certain the news was authentic before asking Ru-hai, but when he does inquire, the man was eager to do him this favor, then sharing with Yu-cun of having written a letter to his brothers-in law, Yu-cun’s distant relatives, Jia She and having addressed it to the younger brother, Jia Zheng. Ru-hai then states how much easier it’d be if Yu-cun accompanied Dai-yu to the capital, she not wanting to leave, but her grandmother and father convincing her what with having more female role-models by moving, she reluctantly going, and when Yu-cun arrives, he gets seen by Jia Zheng in good time, Ru-hai’s recommendation on top of his being impressed by Yu-cun’s scholarly nature, helping him get his job back as magistrate in another city.

Dai-yu, along with her maids are greeted by covered chairs from the mansion when stepping on land, they having traveled by barge. She notices the odd quality of servants and watched herself in case she made a wrong move. They were brought to the Rong Guo House, her maids helping her out of the curtained chair and walk through the grounds until meeting some loitering ladies who mention of Lady Jia having recently inquired about her, the attendant announcing she’d arrived and her grandmother greeting her with emotion, Dai-yu kotowing after they’d calmed. Her grandmother then introduced their female members of the family and sending for the children, two out of three of the girls each having a distinct virtue, the youngest only seeming still a child.

When tea was readied, the subject of choice turned to the events surrounding Dai-yu’s mother’s illness and death, refreshing her grandmother’s upset, she declaring how Dai-yu’s mother had been her favorite, so was understandably broken up. They then ask about Dai-yu’s obvious health issue, she stating no doctor had been able to cure her, so she only taking ginseng, they then hearing someone loudly pleasant approaching and announcing of being late, a lady entering whom was breathtaking and dressed like royalty, Lady Jia introducing her by a nickname of Peppercorn Feng, but a cousin revealing this was Jia Lian’s wife, Wang Xi-feng, Dai-yu using her given name when greeting her, and after Xi-feng gives her a once over, is quite candid about her beauty and she taking after the Jias, she then offering Dai-yu any comfort she desired and to let her know if someone was mean to her, she also commanding servants to be sure rooms were readied for her servants, she also making certain where the platters of food coming in were set.

Meanwhile, Dai-yu overhears her Aunt Wang discuss with Xi-feng there being silks brought so they could make some clothes for her, Xi-feng having taken care of it, and when her grandmother was ordering servants to take Dai-yu to her uncles, Xi-feng offers to accompany her, she taking Dai-yu by the hand and leading her out, they being driven to Xi-feng and She’s residence. Xi-feng has him called when they enter, but he wasn’t feeling well at the moment, but wanting Dai-yu to feel comfortable enough to tell her family if she needed anything to feel even more at ease and at home, Xi-feng then invites her to dine with her, but Dai-yu knew she was still expected by her other uncle, Zheng, she being escorted by the servants, back to the Rong mansion, Dai-yu seeing an ornate side of the home she had yet experienced, the hall within resplendent with beautiful furniture and scripts on the walls.

Dai-yu is brought to her Aunt Wang, in a side room, she sitting in a chair and brought tea, but is requested to move to where Wang was in another part of the room on some cushions, Dai-yu again refused to sit in her uncle’s place of honor, opposite Wang, but she coaxing Dai-yu to sit near her, explaining her uncle wouldn’t be able to see her today, but having to speak with her of the three girls they for the most part being well-behaved, but her son a major nuisance and of whom should be ignored.

Dai-yu then realizes this must be Bai-yu she referred, Wang explaining how due to his grandmother spoiling him, he continued to stay with the girls, so she shouldn’t trust what he says due to his chaotic nature. Wang then receives word it was time for supper, so leads Dai-yu across the grounds, also showing her where Xi-feng lived in case she had any requests, they then going to her grandmother’s quarters, where she resisted the place of honor, but learned it was her because her elder cousins wives wouldn’t be joining them, so Dai-yu goes through the proper etiquette before sitting.

The custom between dishes was certainly new to Dai-yu, they having tea for rinsing their mouths and different tea for drinking. Grandmother Jia then requests to speak to the children alone, everyone leaving, Grandmother Jia inquiring what books Dai-yu was studying (the four books, I presume), the girl asking about what her cousins were reading in return, and Grandmother Jia stating they could barely read and write, Bai-yu then being heard, and when entering, his appearance given (the poetic parts of this story isn’t cumbersome or hard to understand like some, and brings a nice airy description which is pleasant), Dai-yu somehow recognizing him and wondering why, he greeting Grandmother Jia, and she instructing him to visit his mother and return, he off to do as she bid and coming back quickly in different clothes, the boy even getting a song to go with his appearance (Moon on West River as background) and personality, it made quite clear he was a brat.

When his grandmother instructs he say hello to his cousin, he assesses her for some time before voicing her thought of having met her before, he then asking her questions about study and giving her a school name, he then asking if she had a jade, she stating it wasn’t common, which Bai-yu has a fit over, his grandmother attempting to calm him as he explains how his cousin, whom was so angelic didn’t have one and questioned it being of good value, quite upset.

Grandmother Jia comes up with the story of Dai-yu having used to have one, but buried it with her mother, this calming the boy, two servants then asking Grandmother Jia where she wanted Dai-yu to sleep, she deciding Bai-yu would bunk with her and Dai-yu would have his place, but Bai-yu convinces she let him stay with the girls. One of Bai-yu’s nurses hears Dai-yu still up after they’d all settled in the tent and asks what was wrong, her nurse explaining how terribly she felt for setting Bai-yu off and would’ve been responsible if he’d broken the jade.

Aroma, as Bai-yu named her, or Pearl, makes Dai-yu aware of how this was pittance to what Bai-yu could be like, so she should calm herself and sleep, Dai-yu grateful to hear this and doing so. Early next morning, after greeting Grandmother Jia, Dai-yu goes to her Aunt Wang’s and learns from another family member, Xue Pan had killed someone and need the help of the family, it already under investigation and they discussing whether to have him stay with them.

So, Dai-yu walked in to hear Aunt Wang speak with the messengers of her eldest brother and wife about their Aunt’s family in Nanking being a part of this manslaughter case, and due to Wang being busy with this, Dai-yu and the other girls go see Li Wan, her husband, Jia Zhu having died at a young age, but giving her a son, Jia Lan, now five and already starting his education. Li Wan was the daughter of Li Shou-zhong, whom when becoming head of the family, decided the females wouldn’t continue to receive a higher level of education and focus on needlework, what with a big believer of a dumb woman being virtuous or some shit.

Dai-yu is able to easily adjust to life among these ladies, though due to their mild natures. Now, Jia Yu-cun had begun his position as yamen in Ying-tian-fu, the manslaughter case soon becoming a part of his workload, it involving two sides fighting over the payment of a slave, one side getting fatally injured. Yu-cun hears first from the murdered man’s side, a worker of this man, whom relays how his “master” hadn’t known the slave he’d bought had been stolen goods, and the seller supposed to have deposited the slave to him three days later, but the seller instead turning around and selling her to Xue Pan. This man and his master going off to retrieve the slave, and Xue Pan sicking his bodyguards on them, beating his master to death, and Xue Pan along with the other guilty parties going to ground, this man waiting a year for justice, pleading with Yu-cun to locate the guilty parties.

Yu-cun is outraged by nothing being done, but catches the eye of a door-keeper before issuing a summons, he instead clearing the room, save this man, whom speaks of having known Yu-cun for over ten years, and after a hint of having met at the Temple, remembered him as a young monk, this man deciding to change his career after the fire. Yu-cun then asks why he’d halted his duties, the man informing Yu-cun how officials usually had a manual which listed the most powerful people of their district one would be better off not touching toes with.

Yu-cun hadn’t heard of this, and so the man continues why Xue Pan hadn’t been brought in being because of this, the man then showing the pamphlet, after which they hear a ring indicating Mr. Wang had come, Yu-cun dealing with the man, then returning, the door-keeper finishing his chat by stating how many influential people Xue Pan had to help him, Yu-cun confessing how he obviously had to deal with the case somehow, he then presuming this man must know more, which he doesn’t deny and even offers to detail.

The murdered man was called Feng Yuan, and he had no relatives when his parents died, he having been surviving off his minuscule inheritance, only eighteen or nineteen years old and gay, but apparently saw this slave and was ready to make an honest woman of her, which is why he’d decided to wait three days to give the impression it was similar to a wedding, so when both sides discovered what had happened, they caught him before he could get away and beat the crap out of him, but the issue stemming from both sides wanting the slave and not wanting what they’d paid returned to them, so Xue Pan had Feng Yuan assaulted and brought home, he expiring three days later.

Before all of this had occurred, Xue Pan was already planning to go to the capital, so he still left with the slave and his family, acting like a pampered rich man would, and leaving the clean up to his help. The clincher, though is whom the slave was, Yu-cun learning it was Ying-lian, which this door-keeper knew, since he’d been a playmate of hers way back, and also knew the kidnapper had a system of raising girls until old enough to sell them, he also recognizing her birthmark.

The door-keeper had gotten wind of her presence because the kidnapper rented one of his rooms, Ying-lian staying quiet when he confronted her out of fear of repercussions, then breaking down and admitting she recalled nothing, but this young man being certain of her origins. The night the kidnapper had been paid, Ying-lian started talking with him and felt like she would finally have some peace, until she learned of the three day wait, this young man’s wife seeing her to instill optimism, she stating how the future date meant she’d be living like a woman rather than a worker, and how much he paid showing the amount he cared, and not to worry about the time-frame, and her words seeming to have worked, but then Xue Pan getting involved, and he not having considerate intentions for her, beating her until she willingly came with him, this young man not knowing whether she still lived, so the fact Feng Yuan had gone through all of this with plans to settle only to be killed was a terrible fate. Yu-cun thought Feng Yuan’s sudden change of sexual interest must mean it was kismet, and poor Ying-lian, so close to being pardoned by her lot in life, only to have her suffering prolonged intimated the same.

On top of this, Xue Pan is a man whom divided his time with other women, and it being a terrible situation which Yu-cun now had to decide how to handle the next move, legally, the young man reminding him how Xue Pan may be related to the Jias through marriage, but Yu-cun already being on good terms with one of the family, so perhaps he should make himself even more esteemed to them. Yu-cun noted his newly appointed position being in a delicate area, since it was still so new, but the young man making the point of he not doing his job properly, and how would he could show he’s truly grateful for it, but no matter what he decided, it dictated careful consideration.

Yu-cun takes a moment before inquiring the young man’s opinion, he having thought the next day, Yu-cun should go about business as usual, but with a firm hand, bringing in Xue Pan’s family and workers to be questioned, and the young man would be getting Xue Pan’s people to claim he’d died of a sickness which would then be corroborated by their neighbors, Yu-cun would then get a special table to speak with the afterlife and offer anyone being allowed to come, and proceed by stating Feng Yuan had unfinished business with Xue Pan from a previous life, which he dealt with after death by making Xue Pan ill, and due to this whole debacle being started by the kidnapper, he alone would from there on be held accountable and all others free of guilt.

The young man would then get the kidnapper to agree to confession, and then the people would have no reason to question Yu-cun’s claims. He then would give the Fengs reparations for cost of the funeral, and Xue Pan already being rich, wouldn’t bat an eye about the cost. Yu-cun was entertained by the young man’s idea, but would give it a bit more of a ponder to ensure the public wouldn’t gossip. Yu-cun speaks with the Fengs the following day, the young man correct about they only wanting money and bringing the case to court because Xue Pan had denied them, so he had the Fengs agree to an amount and then wrote a couple letters detailing the issue had been handled. Yu-cun then became paranoid by how much the young man knew, and so waited until he caught him in a minor crime and had him sent to the military, this easing his mind.

Next, Xue Pan is followed, his father dying whilst Xue Pan was a boy and his mother spoiling him to the point of damaging his character. Due to his family’s wealth, he loved expensive things and spoke in a snotty manner, and regardless of education, was practically illiterate. He loved gambling and the sights, he also being technically employed by way of his father and grandfather, but only collected a paycheck without doing any work.

Xue Pan’s mother was the younger half sister of Wang Zi-teng and younger sister of Lady Wang, she over fifty years old now, and as for Xue Pan’s sibling, she called Bao-chai, younger and beautiful, was favored by their father, so was educated and smarter than Xue Pan, but upon their father’s death, she gave up continuing her education in order to help her mother.

The “upside” to this was the females of important officials getting the chance to be chosen as educational partners for the younger female royals. Due to this, and Xue Pan wanting to experience the grander life in the capital, he had a few reasons to go, which included having his sister available to be chosen and replenish his allowance. So, all of this had been in motion well before meeting Ying-lian and second-hand murdering her seller. Hence, he going on his merry way, expecting to only need to pay a fine which his servants would handle in his absence. Whilst they were traveling, they learn his Uncle Wang wouldn’t be present due to a promotion, which Xue Pan didn’t share he was happy about, since he felt he could now truly let his freak flag fly.

Xue Pan proceeds in convincing his mother they should have somebody make certain the servants of the houses hadn’t let their friends stay, due to how long they’d been unoccupied, his mother not seeing the point of rushing, since they had plenty of time and room. Xue Pan considers how busy everyone will be in helping his uncle get ready to go as they turn up, but his mother reminds him, this was what the Jias were for, but she sensing what his problem was, and even suggesting he go off to pick a place for himself, whilst she and Bao-chai continued to his Aunt Jia’s, Xue Pan acquiescing to her wishes, since he knew he’d be required to stay regardless of her words.

Meanwhile, Lady Wang was calmed upon learning Xue Pan’s case was being handled by Yu-cun, but was apprehensive by her older brother, Wang Zi-teng leaving. So, the news of her sister having arrived with her kids and servants put her back in high spirits, they reuniting with emotion, visiting Grandmother Jia, giving their presents, and then having a grand family get-together during which Jia Zheng sends a note to Lady Wang offering to have her sister stay in the secluded house with her kids, Wang having wanted to invite them to stay with her, Grandmother Jia wanting the same, so Xue Pan could have an eye kept on him, believing if he had complete freedom, he’d get into more trouble, Xue accepting the offer and beginning to move them all in.

The home was located next to Lady Wang’s, the two sisters chatting daily along with Grandmother Jia, Bao-chai happy to mingle with Dai-yu and the other girls, Xue Pan the only one dissatisfied, to start with at any rate. He still planned on moving elsewhere, but had to agree to stay temporarily whilst his servants prepared another home. Xue Pan’s opinion soon changed upon hanging out with his male family members, they sinking him into worse depths, the patriarch of the family, Zheng too busy to keep everyone in check, he having become the go-to for Zhen, whom was supposed to be the one in charge. So, upon Xue Pan realizing he was in no danger of being reeled in, he and his newfound best buddies came and left when they pleased, their adventures to follow.

Dai-yu had become another favorite of Grandmother Jia, she receiving the same attentiveness as Bao-yu, the other girls holding each other in high esteem and much closer, since they were treated differently. Now Bao-chai had joined them, Dai-yu felt put off by her beauty and how well-liked she’d become with everyone, due to being unaware how personable she was, and Dai-yu setting herself apart because of how serious she acted about being proper. Bao-yu, on the other hand still maintained the attitudes of a child, so had no differentiation between family members unless living more closely to them, like with Dai-yu, he speaking too roughly with her and attempting to make up for it, which she was big enough, or gullible enough to accept.

As this occurs, Zhen’s wife, You-shi invites Grandmother Jia, Lady Xing and Wang to a party, her son, Jia Rong accompanying her, they having an uneventful time, up until Bao-yu decides he’d like a nap, Grandmother Jia preparing the servants to attend to him when Qin-shi, Jia Rong’s wife volunteers to take care of him, Grandmother Jia acquiescing, but Bao-yu immediately offended by the art on the walls of the room she’d led him to, and the phrases on the wall clinching his desire to leave, Qin-shi then offerring her own bedroom, which he agrees to, but the servants shocked by the idea of an uncle sleeping in a nephew’s wife’s bed, but she believing he was too young for the sort of thoughts the servants had in mind, speaking of her brother being around the same age as Bao-yu, he then wishing to meet him, but the boy currently away, and upon getting to her room, is overcome with sleepiness as a pleasant smell assaults his nose, and this room’s art and scripts more to his acceptance, Qin-shi then having some noisy cats on the roof outside attended to as Bao-yu sinks into unconsciousness and feels like Qin-shi is still with him, leading him to a stream near some trees, it looking as if humans had yet set foot there, and Bao-yu completely taken with the place. Then he hears a lady singing out of view, she heading in his direction, the poem which follows showing she was otherworldly, it being the description of the appearance of a lady like herself. Bao-yu knew she was a fairy and smiles warmly at her, requesting she show him around for not knowing where he was, she introducing herself as Disenchantment and she living in the Sea of Sadness, her home being in the Land of Illusion. She also describes her relation to the human world by connection of varying romantic dealings and had gone to this spot for sensing karmic love in the area and was gauging if her services could be given, Bao-yu a candidate. She then invites him to tea at her home, nearby and how she’d written a musical composition called “A Dream of Golden Days”, Bao-yu so overcome by the offer, he’d forgotten to wonder where Qin-shi had gone, he following Disenchantment to her home, Bao-yu curious about the details of her job, which unbeknownst to him, had given access to his body to a demon of Lust, his becoming tainted.

They walk through an area with buildings designated by certain themes, Bao-yu wishing to see inside them, but Disenchantment relaying it wouldn’t be right to have him see the females files regarding their future, but Bao-yu nags her until she allows him a moment to view inside the Department of the Ill-Fated Fair, it lined with cabinets labeled by city, Bao-yu seeing his and inquiring what else the label meant, he learning it contained the twelve best ladies in his area, two more cabinets detailing two dozen more, and all other females remaining unlisted. Bao-yu takes a look at one of the other two, and opens a hard-case folder with a picture and verse on the two pages he viewed before looking at a different cabinet, still confused by the album he chose, and looking at the main cabinet, and unable to understand the words, and knowing Disenchantment wouldn’t explain it, but he continuing looking through the book, filled with pictures on one side and an accompanying poem, which warned and spoke of love, loss, and possibly even danger. As it goes on, the fate of women Bao-yu may know is spoken of in riddles. When Disenchantment believes he was becoming too wise on the information he was reading, she takes the book and decides they should move along, Bao-yu next within the back part of the mansion, he hearing Disenchantment hurriedly coax other fairies out to meet him, but they being unimpressed, having been expecting a reunion with Crimson Pearl, Bao-yu now uncomfortable, and Disenchantment explaining how she’d been going to retrieve Crimson Pearl, but was waylaid by two Dukes asking for her services of which she couldn’t pass, involving Bao-yu and their request to have his virginity taken on the chance it would sober his nature and aid him to navigate life with a clear mind. Disenchantment decided to fulfill their wish, his look at the records not doing the trick, so leading him there so he could experience a good party, she bringing him inside. Bao-yu then inquires the scent he smelled, she sharing it was nothing he’d be able to detect on his world, and giving the name.

After they sit, Bao-yu tastes the tea given him and is again desirous to know what it was called, Disenchantment telling where it came from, as well as what it was called, Maiden’s Tears. He surveys the room they were in before asking the names of the other fairies, they all having odd monikers like Disenchantment. When they sit at the table for wine and food, Bao-yu asks about the wine, it coming from flowers and tree extracts, twelve dancers then entering, Disenchantment requesting they perform her musical. She then informs Bao-yu may want to read about the piece so he could better understand it, the poems of the performance, following. The description has each songs lyrics, telling of past lovers, in twelve songs not including the prelude and epilogue, and by the conclusion, Disenchantment could see Bao-yu had lost interest, he requesting to be allowed to nap, she leading him to a little bedroom where a fairy girl sat, she exuding similarities to both Bao-chai and Dai-yu, Disenchantment stating how lust played into all attraction, regardless of men saying it was beauty they were attracted by, she confessing his lust was the strongest she’d seen which her affection for him stemmed, Bao-yu intimidated. He confides how he didn’t truly understand the meaning and believed he was still too young to be listed as such. Disenchantment clarifies her meaning by defining how many sorts of lust there were, his type being listed as “lust of the mind”, which couldn’t be described. She goes on to confide this is why she’d shared tea and wine with him, as well as the musical, and would also be paired with her sister, Two-in-one or Ke-qing to marry, they being bid to hook up this evening, so he could learn the construct of love and obtain an understanding and following of philosophy for everyone’s benefit.

Before Disenchantment leaves them to it, she advises Bao-yu on some techniques, he implementing them stupefied and baffled, but getting the deed done, Bao-yu by morning, in pure contentment, and the two walking out holding hands and somehow discover themselves surrounded by perils, Disenchantment yelling after them to return the way they’d come, Bao-yu inquiring where they were, and she explaining it was a place which could only be crossed by way of two ferrymen, demons then reaching for him to pull him into the water, he crying for Ke-qing’s help, his servants returning to him in fear, and consoling him, Qin-shi outside and taking care of the noisy cats and dogs, surprised to hear him call out her childhood name, and curious how he could know.

Qin-shi doesn’t look into it, though and Bao-yu is getting helped by Aroma to straighten his pants, she feeling something like jizz, Bao-yu looking embarrassed, and after being returned to looking properly, finishes his meal with Grandmother Jia and then has a moment with Aroma when she supplies him with clean undies, he pleading she not say anything and then coaxed into sharing how it had happened, but she laughing at him when he was about to share the sex part of his dream, Bao-yu then makes advances on Aroma, she allowing this after some playful denial, this being part of the reason she had been given to him, and from then on Bao-yu gives her extra regard, she more loyal to him, as well, and his story now being left.

The next area to be covered is decided on with the arrival of this person happening on the day this was being recorded. The Rong mansion is visited by a local called Wang, this person unknown by most of the family, other than Lady Wang and her brother, Wang Xi-feng’s father. The grandfather, whom had known Xi-feng’s grandfather, the father of Lady Wang, dies and has his son carry on, Wang Chang, he leading a farmer’s life, and when he died, his son, Gou-er continuing this work with his wife and their two kids, Ban-er and Qing-er, Gou-er inviting his wife’s mother, Grannie Liu to live with them and help with the kids. She readily accepts his invitation, but soon has to put her food down when Gou-er is seen to be drunkenly making trouble for her daughter, due to his own stresses of the farm and winter closing in.

Grannie Liu reasons with him to take his stupidity to the city, since he couldn’t stop spending the little money he made, she believing they could still think of a remedy, and leave the details to God, she then remembering his relation to Lady Wang, Gou-er’s wife worried they’d get turned away and look ridiculous for the trip, Gou-er buoyed by the possibility, suggesting Grannie Liu go first to survey for them, but she stating how they wouldn’t know her, until Gou-er suggests she take Ban-er with her and call on Zhou, whom knew his father, Grannie Liu seeing the logic behind his idea and having herself and Ban-er ready in the morning, the four to five year old boy gladly learning some phrases Grannie Liu taught him for the ladies at the mansion. They soon arrive and she leads them through a side entrance and speaks with some men loitering on the grounds, eventually being told to hang about at a certain gate where she’d be met by someone from the house, but an older man advising she see Zhou’s wife, since he was currently away on business, then directing her to where she could be located.

Grannie Liu asks a young boy where Mrs. Zhou lived upon following the directions, he showing them and calling out to her, Zhou Rui coming out and soon recognizing Grannie Liu and inviting her inside. Grannie Liu doesn’t share the true reason she’d come, instead stating how they’d come to see her and see “Her Ladyship”, Zhou Rui’s wife fairly able to deduce Grannie Liu’s real reasons for visiting, but knowing her son-in-law’s father had helped her husband when he’d required and was wanting an excuse to show off her own power, so responds with great charity, explaining her usual job and willing to go against protocol to relay a message to Her Ladyship, she sharing how her niece, Wang Xi-feng managed the place now, Grannie Liu thanking her for her kindness and she dismissing it for it not being an issue. She sends a maid to see how far along Lady Jia’s lunch was, and upon hearing what part they were in, gets Grannie Liu to join her before Mrs. Lian became to busy, she having the two wait whilst she spoke with Xi-feng’s closest servant, Patience whom decided the two could wait inside with her.

Grannie Liu first is overcome by the perfumed room and then its grandeur, Patience deciding to be polite once viewing the old woman and invites her to sit, everyone getting comfortable before proceeding with tea, Grannie Liu noticing a loud ticking and then being surprised by a loud bell sounding, all servants and Mrs. Zhou readying for Xi-feng to appear, the two going to the next room whilst Grannie Liu waited to be called, Zhou Rui’s wife coming in for her and Xi-feng not realizing she’d brought her in already, Grannie Liu showing her respect and Xi-feng requesting she stop for not knowing how they were related, yet and after, Ban-er too intimidated to give respect to his “Auntie”. Xi-feng then has Zhou Rui’s wife see if Her Ladyship, presumably Grandmother Jia, was busy, Zhou Rui’s wife returning to relay Grandmother Jia wouldn’t be seeing them, but to share any message with Xi-feng.

Grannie Liu declines and Zhou Rui’s wife giving a look which spoke of she getting a final chance to confess her thoughts, and so was about to do so when interrupted by the arrival of Xi-feng’s nephew, Jia Rong, whom had come to inquire on the behalf of his father to borrow a little glass screen which she at first pretended had already been borrowed, but soon has Patience get the key, Jia Rong so happy he goes off to gather his own servants to carry the load rather than have hers be put out, but Xi-feng asks he return, so later she could share something with him, and when he leaves once more, Grannie Liu gets into how destitute they were and food being scarce, then attempting to get Ban-er to say his little phrases, but he being too busy eating sweets, Xi-feng mercifully allowing this to pass and states she didn’t have to continue, ordering a guest-sized meal to be brought to them, Zhou Riu’s wife doing so, and the speaking with Xi-feng in private of what Grandmother Jia had said in more detail, it about how Grannie Liu wasn’t a blood relative, but was quite close to the family, so would leave it up to Xi-feng as to how much she chose to help them, Xi-feng then returning to relay how she knew they must be living in hard times and would give them some silver to return home with, Grannie Liu relaying how grateful she was before following Zhou Riu’s wife out, she speaking with her for some time after, before leaving the home.

Zhou Riu’s wife goes to Lady Wang, but discovers she’d gone to see Aunt Xue, so she goes after her, she waiting with Bao-chai, since she’d found her speaking with her sister, Zhou Riu’s wife asking if she’d been well the last few days, since she hadn’t come by, she admitting she’d been ill and explains how it wasn’t dangerous, but also had no cure, a monk relaying it was only an overheating problem and supplied a home remedy which surprisingly worked. Bao-chai then explains why she couldn’t describe the powders used, due to when it’s administered affecting how it worked, and as they speak, Lady Wang calls out to them and Zhou Riu’s wife goes in to share the happenings with Grannie Liu, after which Aunt Xue invites her to stick around and hands off a box of fake flowers for the Jia girls to wear. When Lady Wang suggests she keep them for Bao-chai, Aunt Xue shares how the girl was picky about accouterments to her attire, Zhou Riu’s wife then going back out and speaks with Golden about the young lady Caltrop, learning she was the one involved with the murder trial, and when seeing her up close, notes how her features reminded her of Master Rong’s wife, Golden thinking the same, and upon questioning Caltrop, learns nothing due to the girl’s blocked memories.

Zhou Riu’s wife continues to the girls quarters and delivers the flowers, she staying and speaks with a nun about whether the Mother Superior had gotten the monthly donation and where she was, currently. The nun didn’t know, but relays the woman’s whereabouts, and after a little more conversation, moves along to Xi-feng’s, Patience helping her complete her task and then plans on going to Grandmother Jia’s when she runs into her daughter, whom is full of questions, which Zhou Riu’s wife takes lightly, instead inquiring if she also had any issues, since she sensed it was one of those days, her daughter admitting to this and had hoped she’d be able to help her husband. Zhou Riu’s wife agrees to see to it after delivering the remainder of the flowers, going to Dai-yu’s, whom was with Bao-yu, the girl not pleased with the idea of receiving the leftovers of the flowers, and as Bao-yu sends a maid to deliver a message to Bao-chai, Zhou Riu’s wife exits, it being told her daughter’s husband was Yu-cun’s old friend, Zi-xing, he in trouble over some issues with some ancient items bought, Zhou Riu’s wife certain when she brought it to Xi-feng’s attention the issue would be handled.

As evening came, Xi-feng updates Lady Wang on the day’s events, beginning with gifts sent by the Zhen family and having shipped them gifts in return, also informing of gifts also being ready for the Earl of Lian’s mother, and continuing about how she had been invited by Cousin Zhen’s wife to come over the next day, making sure she was allowed to attend, the night then ending. Bao-yu decides he wants to accompany Xi-feng to visit Cousin Zhen’s wife, You-shi, her son and daughter also present. They sit down for tea, Qin-shi then informing Bao-yu to go see her brother, he quickly doing so, but Xi-feng deciding she also wanted to meet Qin Zhong, the boy arriving and awkwardly greeting her, then having the usual inquiries answered of his studies, etc.

When the ladies move on to a card game, the boys leave to chat, the two each having similar thoughts of envy of the other and how they hated they weren’t the other’s equal, so they could be close buddies, and once initializing conversation, become familiar with each other, Bao-yu learning Qin Zhong was currently tutor-less and waiting to get a new one, Bao-yu offerring a school situation his family had set up and suggesting Qin Zhong ask permission to go with him, the two boys agreeing the idea was a good one, they returning to discover Xi-feng had won the card game and a show would be set up as her winnings in a couple days time, Xi-feng then giving her opinion about an old belligerent worker, Big Jao, whom had been asked to accompany Jia Rong home, but was insulting everyone, the man needing to be sent away, she then leaves with Bao-yu, Jia Rong commanding the servants to restrain Big Jao, since he continued prattling on with his threats, Bao-yu making the mistake of inquiring about one he’d heard and Xi-feng threatening to inform his mother, he pleading for her not to and apologizing. Xi-feng changes her anger to comfort and shares how she’ll be speaking with Grandmother Jia about Qin Zhong joining his school.

When they get back, Bao-yu shares with Grandmother Jia his wishes and why it was a positive choice to allow Qin Zhong to join him in class, Xi-feng also supplying her agreement which Grandmother Jia is affected in a good way, Xi-feng then inviting her to the play which was being set up for her, and Grandmother Jia tagging along on the day with Lady Wang, Dai-yu, and Bao-yu, but Lady Wang and Grandmother Jia leave early, Xi-feng having so much fun, she stays much later. Meanwhile, Bao-yu had wanted to watch more of the plays, but had left with Grandmother Jia and then decided to call on Bao-chai, but is held up by some men his father had belittled, and when they release him, a nurse learns they’d left Sir Zheng before he’d taken his afternoon snooze, Bao-yu glad he didn’t have to avoid his father, now and goes straight to Bao-chai’s, but not before being stopped once more by some men who ask about getting some calligraphy by him due to having seen some of his about town, then finally being greeted with familiarity by Aunt Xue, she sending him in to see Bao-chai, he finding her sewing and when Bao-yu speaks, greets him respectfully, the two sitting over tea and speaking of their other cousins.

Bao-chai then states of how she’d been wanting to see his jade more closely for quite some time, he handing it to her, the Narrator reminding this was the same as the stone mentioned at the start of the tale at the Greensickness Peak, listing a poem about it along with the words the monk scraped onto it. When Bao-chai’s maid notes how she had a similarly written message on her necklace, Bao-yu is intrigued to see it, she agreeing and Bao-yu gleefully agreeing the two sounded like two parts of the same script. Bao-yu then smells something on her clothes, she believing it was the pill she’d taken, Dai-yu then entering and making a joke of having come at the wrong time, since Bao-yu was there, talk then turning to retrieving his cape due to it having begun to snow, after which a Nannie Li tells of how she’d gotten flack for Bao-yu drinking wine a time before, since he’d requested a cup this time to go with some goose-foot preserve.

Aunt Xue eases the woman’s mind by assuring she’d take the blame if it came to it, so Bao-yu gets his wine as Dai-yu gives her maid a hard time when she brings her a hand-warmer, Bao-yu having to plead for more wine and Nannie Li warning him to watch himself, since his father may call him later, this sobering Bao-yu’s good mood, but Dai-yu speaking up for him which in turn amuses Bao-chai, Aunt Xue then supporting Bao-yu’s drinking, he feeling better upon her invitation to dinner. When his Nannie goes off to change with instructions to watch Bao-yu closely, the other maids ignore this and go about their business, Aunt Xue discreetly removing the wine when necessary, and replacing it with tasty soups, along with strong tea, believing this would recover him, Dai-yu then mentioning it was time to go, so Bao-yu tags along, the two greeting Grandmother Jia, whom hadn’t dined, yet, she instructing Bao-yu go sleep it off, but when he returns, he’s told by Skybright to use up the ink she’d mixed for him, he inspecting her job of pasting his characters outside, Dai-yu joining them and praising Bao-yu’s work, he then inquiring whether Skybright had received the dumplings he’d sent her, she agreeing and had planned to save them when Nannie Li had taken them for her grandchildren, and also had drank all of the tea being saved for him, this pissing him off, but Aroma stating how if he got rid of her, all the other maids would go, so he stops complaining as they undress him, he falling to sleep almost immediately.

In the morning, Bao-yu overhears Jia Rong come with Qin Zhong to speak with Grandmother Jia, whom was impressed with him and has the other ladies in the family meet him, the visit keeping them into the evening, she also offerring he stay with them if ever his studies kept him too late. When Qin Zhong returns home, he informs his father, Qin Bang-ye of the day he had, it being told of the position he held and his adoption of two children, the boy dying, and Qin Zhong being his progeny late in his life, he happy to know he now needn’t worry about a tutor. The only issue was in thinking of what he’d have to spend to keep Qin Zhong properly started and supplied, but knew it was for the best, so he gives the teacher his raised tuition, whilst paying respect with his son, they then only waiting for Bao-yu to decide when they’d start, the day they go being an eventful one.

Bao-yu wishes to begin their schooling immediately, so sends word they would go in two days. Bao-yu then gets some advice from Aroma about what she’d packed for him on the morning he’d be going, and for him to stay on top of designating someone keeping the place warm, Bao-yu assuring her he’d be all right, and for the maids to keep themselves busy by staying with his cousin Lin, he then going to see Grandmother Jia, Lady Wang, and his father, Jia Zheng, the last being candid about what he believed his son capable of, and wishing he’d go away, his literary guests attempting to keep the mood light and hurry him on to breakfast, but Jia Zheng calls in Bao-yu’s pages as he waits outside, he asking them to inform him of what Bao-yu was actually doing in class, he choosing Nannie Lin’s son to speak, whom honestly informs how far into a book of poetry he was reading, in fear of repercussion. Jia Zheng instructs they tell the teacher to begin him on the Four Books, his attendants agreeing and walking out, they making certain Bao-yu had heard and instead of making it up to them if he disappointed his father and one of them received a beating, they implored him to obey the rules from time to time. By the time he gets back to Grandmother Jia’s quarters, Qin Zhong was waiting with her, the two then walking out, Bao-yu saying goodbye to Dai-yu and then going off to school.

Description of how the Jia school stayed funded and its location are given, then Bao-yu and Qin Zhong are introduced to their fellows upon arrival and get straight to their assignments. The two boys were joined together from then on, Grandmother Jia even looking after Qin Zhong for her gathered affections bringing about getting him clothes and having him stay for multiple nights. Bao-yu soon decides their formalities of being nephew and uncle would be forgotten and they’d from then on treat each other like buddies and siblings, which at first Qin Zhong hesitated to agree to, until Bao-yu kept insisting and led by example, Qin Zhong eventually complying. Like in any school, there was a variety of personalities and classes within the school, their commonality coming from the relations to the Jias, and due to the two boys being close friends, it gave the other students room to start rumors. Xue Pan took advantage of the school by seemingly using it as a sex service. Xue Pan soon had two ‘regulars’ and Bao-yu and Qin Zhong also were taken in by the pairs charm, which Bao-yu and Qin Zhong were unaware was so obvious. Then, Qin Zhong gets a moment with one of the boys and is rudely interrupted by another student, whom threatens to spread lies and speak with the Jia Rui about this boy harassing then, but due to Xue Pan paying him off, he was biased, and since Xue Pan was currently off of Jia Rui and Darling, the boy Qin Zhong was speaking with, he decides to put Darling down which also shames Qin Zhong by association. Jokey Jin, the bully takes advantage of this by furthering the rumors of the two boys taking the time alone to make out etc.

Jia Qiang, related to Jia Rong was being raised by Cousin Zhen, and the sixteen-year-old stood up for the under-dogs. Jia Qiang, thinks strategically the best way to handle the situation since both sides had an in with his relative, so gets the help of Tealeaf, the youngest and most impressionable of Ba0-yu’s pages, Jia Qiang describing the terror Jokey Jin would be if not taught a lesson, so Tealeaf confronts him, Jokey Jin gets permission to ditch class, since Jia Rui is a pussy, Tealeaf gives him crap and Jia Rui notes Tealeaf’s foul language. Jokey Jin is about to have Bao-yu deal with his servant, when Qin Zhong notes something flying by him from the table of Jia Lan and Jun, related to a second Lan, whom was the son of Li Wan and was Bao-yu’s nephew, and whilst Jia Jun was at first indifferent, he gets hooked in by a water bottle hitting his desk, his buddy, Jia Lan keeping his rage from manifesting to more damage. Jokey Jin though, is furious by this, Jia Lan holding him back from returning fire, but Jokey Jin too incensed, throwing a bag of books instead of the inkwell, but his aim not catching the culprit and instead hits Bao-yu and Qin Zhong’s table, Jokey Jin then launching himself at the original thrower. Jokey Jin, meanwhile had picked up a bamboo pole and was whipping it around, hitting Tealeaf, whom then calls in three more pages to assist.

Some students took cover whilst others joined the fight or hooted and urged others on as they stood on desks, Li Gui entering the hubbub and giving the pages the most crap for not keeping their cool, but Bao-yu having final word as he aids Qin Zhong after sustaining a head wound, he declaring they were leaving and would be informing his great-uncle Dai-ru of the unprofessional behavior they’d suffered. Li Gui suggests he leave Dai-ru out of it and blames Jia Rui for not stepping in, he defending himself, but Li Gui stating plainly why the boys had stopped respecting him, and if he didn’t stop Bao-yu from outing them, he’d go down with the rest. Bao-yu declares nothing would sway his decision to speak with his great-uncle, Qin Zhong speaking for justice in the expelling of Jokey Jin, Bao-yu reasoning it would be in Jokey Jin’s future once he told their story and when Jia Rui asks whom Jokey Jin was, Li Gui decides to refrain sharing so as to spare Jia Rui of the pain. As they hear Tealeaf through the window bad mouthing Jokey Jin’s aunt and her bad conduct, which has Li Gui yelling at him to be quiet and Bao-yu deciding now he knew whom Jokey Jin’s aunt was, he’d instead speak with her, Tealeaf then stating proudly, how he’d bring Lady Jia to him, Li Gui pissed off by this and threatening Tealeaf, finally getting the young man to shut up, and hoping his discretions wouldn’t be brought to light and had fixed the problem by pleading with Bao-yu and Qin Zhong separately, Bao-yu eventually deciding the matter would rest pending Jokey Jin admitting he was sorry, he refusing until Jia Rui and Li Gui convince him to relent, he doing so, and Bao-yu changing the condition to have Jokey Jin kotow to them, which would be shared in the next chapter.

Jokey Jin kotows to Qin Zhong, Bao-yu then agreeing the issue was resolved, but Jokey Jin grudging Qin Zhong his closeness to Bao-yu, but his mother hearing him as he spoke to himself, reminding him how lucky he was to be in this school. So, he does as he’s told and continues with his classes next day. Jokey Jin’s aunt was wife to Jia Huang, they living a humble lifestyle, receiving help from Xi-feng and You-shi when close to inability to pay their bills, His aunt decides to visit her sister-in-law about Jokey Jin’s run-in with Qin Zhong, thinking he was responsible for the negative outcome and see if she could get permission to speak with Qin Zhong’s sister. Her fire subsides though, as she sits with You-shi, the lady explaining how Qin-shi was feeling ill and her little brother, Qin Zhong had informed her of the school fight, You-shi then sending him to Bao-yu’s whilst she calmed Qin-shi and had her eat breakfast. She then inquires of Mrs. Huang if she knew a decent doctor, of which she had no information and decided against mentioning her true reasons for coming by, agreeing she should make certain Qin-shi wasn’t pregnant before giving her any definitive remedies.

After a pleasant visit, she leaves, You-shi then describing to Cousin Zhen of the uneventful visit, and then moving on to what they needed to do for Qin-shi. Fortunately, Zhen knows someone they can contact, believing Zhang will definitely visit them the next day, You-shi pacified, and then inquiring what they should do for their father’s birthday the day after, he revealing how their father wanted no part in any family parties for himself, so You-shi plans a two-day party for the family on his behalf. They receive a message from the doctor, promising to drop by next day and put down his own abilities as a practitioner before agreeing, due to respect, to visit Qin-shi. As promised, Dr. Zhang comes by, Zhen greeting him, the doc again explaining his lack of practice as a medical doctor, Zhen believing him humble, and then sends him to Qin-shi where he takes her pulse for some time before going outside with her husband, Jia Rong. The doctor explains his theory not being the conclusion of pregnancy, and he would prescribe her a treatment which if was responded to positively would give her a better chance of living. The list of herbs are given with how much to include and the doctor states she could make it if surviving the Spring, then leaves, Jia Rong relaying to his parents what he’d been told. The chapter after this supplying Qin-shi’s reaction to the medicine.

On the day of Jia Jing’s birthday, Zhen sent some gifts and instructions for the deliverer to note the man’s pleasure, and received the message of Grandfather would lead the prostration of the family from his home. Then, they learn Grandmother Jia wouldn’t be attending due to some dietary issue, they then touching on Qin-shi’s illness before Zhen goes to greet the recently arrived men-folk. You-shi continues to explain how they’d begun the doctor’s prescription, but nothing much had changed. Xi-feng is touched with emotion when learning Qin-shi had forced herself to get up the last time they’d met because of how much they’d bonded. Jia Rong then comes back with the news of their grandfather being happy with how they were conducting the celebration and would now continue looking after the men, but stating Xi-feng would be able to deduce how unwell Qin-shi was upon seeing her soon. You-shi then states how they should decide whether they’d dine inside or out, what with the show being prepared in the yard.

The decision was made to remain indoors and the table was set quickly. After they’d finished, Jia Rong gives a message to his mother of the men who had left and those who they would see at the show, as well as where all the presents were being stowed and the thank you notes and how the guests were treated before being sent off. Xi-feng then decides to visit Qin-shi before joining the rest, Bao-yu becoming affected by her words and Xi-feng turning it around light-heartedly, the reason they’d come, she then deciding to send Bao-yu back with Jia Rong, whilst she spoke a bit longer to Qin-shi. Xi-feng stayed as long as she could ignore messages from You-shi to come out, but finally readying to go, and still attempting to maintain Qin-shi’s positivity level, she then getting emotional as she agreed to visit as frequently as possible, and as she walked, is startled by Cousin Jia Rui, he obviously eye-balling her, she aware and pretending to enjoy his “charm”, they tentatively setting up some time to chat, she allowing him ample distance to move back toward the family, and thinking how she’d set him straight when the timing was right.

Xi-feng is then approached by one of You-shi’s servants, she informing Xi-feng she was now being sent for, You-shi makes clear how dedicated she was to Qin-shi, she then having her sit and drink with the other ladies, Xi-feng then instructed to choose a couple plays from the bill, since the two aunts had already done so, after which Xi-feng states how those two choices would be the final bit of the program for the players, but You-shi insisting she’d like the company, Xi-feng then seeing the men had left, a servant supplying they’d gone off to drink, and when the play was done, the party ended after the ladies had another course and tea, everyone beginning to leave. Cousin Zhen offers the ladies return the next day, but they choose to decline in favor of a day of rest. The day after brought another celebration, and this point onward, Qin-shi got steady visits from Xi-feng, her state of health fluctuating, Cousin Zhen, You-shi, and Jia Rong stressing more with her instability.

Whenever Xi-feng came over for Qin-shi, Jia Rui inexplicably turns up, and at the start of the final month to mark Qin-shi’s having begun the doctor’s treatment for almost a year, Grandmother Jia and ladies were consistently wanting updates of her health, it still not having normalized. Grandmother Jia decides Xi-feng should see how she was the next day, and to make certain her favorite food was in constant replenishment. Xi-feng saw Qin-shi’s lack of appetite having affected the skin on her face, but she still tried to keep her spirits up, and when she spoke with You-shi after, they wonder about Qin-shi’s surviving, You-shi tentatively having planned for the worst, she then reports to Grandmother Jia, being dismissed, and going home. She is then updated on her home’s calls, Jia Rui one of them, and after informing her servant why she was ready to take him on, the woman agrees with her, Jia Rui’s visit spoken of in the next chapter.

Whilst the two were still discussing Jia Rui, they were told he was now about to enter, and when he arrived, Xi-feng could see the pleasure in his face by her non-formal attire, he wondering why Cousin Lian wasn’t in attendance, hinting it could be due to a lady, he then declaring he wasn’t the sort whom flitted from one love to the next when Xi-feng comments all males were like this. He felt even more special when she’d commented how rare an attribute it was, the conversation progressing until Jia Rui states how he’d wile away the hours with her daily, if allowed. Xi-feng then shows how she believed him by comparing how two other men had proven themselves barbaric. Jia Rui became even more smitten, Xi-feng politely warning his movements were being surveyed by the help, he adjusting his body language accordingly. Xi-feng then decides he should ready to leave, but says he can meet her later in the evening when he protests, she quelling his worry of being noticed by anyone near their appointed meeting place.

Later, he arrives to the total darkness behind the side gate, but as he waits he hears the gate he came through being shut, the realization he was stuck there for the night his only company. He was properly chilled by morning and got lucky when an old woman came to be let in, he sneaking out without any trouble and making it home. His grandfather, Jia Dai-ru, whom had raised him, was certain Jia Rui had gone out carousing, since he’d kept him on a tight leash from the start, so Jia Rui decided to say he’d spent the night at his uncle’s house. His grandfather not buying this, whipping him good, then making him do extra homework all night, and not being allowed to have food, but this foo doesn’t learn.

A couple days go by, and he again goes to Xi-feng, she realizing his stubborn efforts hadn’t diminished, so she offers another task for him. Jia Rui falls for it, hard, he leaving her, as requested, and she informing those necessary to expect the berk later in the evening. Jia Rui had the misfortune of being waylaid by relatives joining his grandfather and he for dinner, then must wait for his grandfather to retire for the night, so when Jia Rui makes it to the agreed spot and sees no one, he wonders if he’d been stood up again. Someone does arrive though, and Jia Rui is so filled with lust he immediately goes after the figure and readies to do some poking, when Jia Qiang walks in with light. Jia Rui gets a glimpse of whom he was about to nail, it Jia Rong, Jia Qiang informing him of being expected by Lady Wang, whom was furious to learn Jia Rui’s obsession. He then decides a bribe was in order, Jia Qiang not needing much convincing, and when Jia Rong feigns a more difficult customer, Jia Rui ups his price and writes them an IOU, Jia Qiang then deducing Jia Rui must wait elsewhere until he located the route which would which would keep him “unnoticed”. Jia Qiang deposits him underneath a stair, the two leaving him, and during his short wait, is drenched in human feces,

Image result for 8 crazy nights whitey and porta potty Jia Qiang then returning to let Jia Rui know he could go through the gate now, he not wasting anymore time, getting a servant to let him in and wash. He thought how whilst Xi-feng had betrayed him, he was still overcome by her beauty, these thoughts not allowing him to drift to sleepy-land.

From then on, Jia Rui stayed away from her home, but Jia Qiang and Jia Rong dropped by often for their agreed upon moolah. Due to this stress, his grandfather’s strict homework assignments, and only the company of his hand, since Xi-feng was out of reach, he was stricken ill before the year was done, no remedies showing relief. By Spring, he’d gotten no better, his grandfather Dai-ru in a state, since no one could cure him. Dai-ru, in the end goes to Lady Wang, whom speaks with Xi-feng about acquiring pure ginseng for him, Xi-feng not going out of her way to comply though, she instead sending a crappy package-worth to Dai-ru, Jia Rui desperate to get better, so takes everything, and one day overhears a Taoist saying he could cure certain illnesses from the door, and when the Taoist states he wouldn’t be able to, but had a trinket which would keep him alive, he handing him an inscribed mirror. The Taoist shares how the fairy Disenchantment made it, and as long as Jia Rui resisted looking at the front, he’d be cure in a few days, the Taoist states he’d return for it then.

The Taoist then quickly exits despite those who’d heard, asked him to tarry. Jia Rui then looks at the mirror, seeing a skull, he covering it, and deciding to look at the front to spite the Taoist giving him a fright, he seeing Xi-feng enticing him to come, and boy does he, going through the mirror a few times before the last one, he getting pulled away before being allowed to reenter the real world once more, and everyone who watched this, seeing Jia Rui picking up and putting down the mirror until he stopped breathing, and as Jia Rui’s grandparents mourned, are ready to chuck the mirror in a bonfire and blamed the Taoist, they hearing a disembodied voice remind of Jia Rui having had a choice to obey the instructions. The mirror biffs off without help from anyone, and Dai-ru sees the Taoist outside catch it, and vanishes. Dai-ru is given contributions so Jia Rui’s funeral would be of good quality. Whilst Jia Rui had been dealing with his issues at the end of the year, Lin Ru-hai was also severely sick and requests a visit from Dai-yu. Grandmother Jia didn’t want to allow the girl to go, but makes the proper reservations for her to go to her father’s bedside. Bao-yu also was stricken, but accepted the girl’s departure, Grandmother Jia also had Jia Lian join her on the journey to Yangchow.

Xi-feng was affected with restlessness when Jia Lian had left with only Patience to converse with, the two considering how far into the trip he could be, Win-shi coming in as Xi-feng was close to sleep and Patience already asleep, she wishing to confide in her, since she also would be leaving soon. Qin-shi begins by speaking of some foretelling sayings about how whilst their family was currently respected, how it could fall from its perch easily. She continues about how Xi-feng could stave off too far a fall for them by preparing whilst they were still stable enough, and how there were a couple areas which Xi-feng could focus to make life easier if trouble should strike. Qin-shi explains the family cemetery and school both needed tending, which could be funded with the purchasing of property around the cemetery and the school moved on to said property to be paid for with the new purchases. The family would then share responsibility of tending to the school, which would keep everyone from complaining of having sole charge of the duties. So, in this way, the property would be safe from being taken to its charitable status, and would allow the young people to continue their education and be useful agriculturally.

Qin-shi then professes of a positive occurrence in the near future which could make them all spend in celebration and to be way of the excess extravagance. Qin-shi reveals a riddle before the hour of death is heard by chiming. When Xi-feng awakes, a servant announces Qin-shi had died, Xi-feng then getting ready to go to Lady Wang’s, and family and servants alike mourning her. Meanwhile, during Dai-yu’s absence, Bao-yu kept to himself and began retiring early in the evening, his reaction to Qin-shi’s death worrying his servants, since he’d thrown up blood, but he refused having a doctor called, believing it had been caused by the surprising news. He prepares to see Grandmother Jia and insists being allowed to go to Qin-shi, she setting up transport and entourage for him, and after seeing her body and grieving, looks in on You-shi, whom was ill with a stomach issue, then goes in search of Cousin Zhen, whom was speaking to other family members who had arrived and were mourning. He lost hope for the family name ending because of Qin-shi’s death, then speaks of plans for the funeral. Arrangements are made for her body before the ceremony and moved to a shrine.

Meanwhile, Cousin Zhen gets a deal for the making of the coffin from Xue Pan, they soon hearing of Qin-shi’s young servant committing suicide upon hearing of her passing, they burying the girl next to her. Cousin Zhen then has the good luck of speaking with a well-respected servant whom would be able to help him get his son, Jia Rong considered for a better position so he’d be able to add it to the needed banner for for Qin-shi’s funeral. The servant makes the arrangements with his secretary, and after he’d left, Cousin Zhen plays host to new arrivals to mourn Qin-shi. The next day, Jia Rong’s rank was promoted and the coffin stated as such. So, whilst most everything was progressing easily, Cousin Zhen still stressed over You-shi still being ill and this reflecting the family badly if it damaged some sort of rule regarding the “female head of household”, his answer coming from Bao-yu, Cousin Zhen completely agreeing with him and setting about the temporary head being Cousin Feng (Xi-feng), so brings Bao-yu to his room where only Xi-feng remained, since the other ladies disappeared for embarrassment, and Xi-feng notes how Cousin Zhen had been over-extending himself, he ignoring this and asking for her assistance on receiving her aid, she instructing him to ask Lady Wang, whom enters, but also puts her opinion of herself being too young, Cousin Zhen maintaining she was the only option and becoming upset, Lady Wang and she eventually consenting, so she accepts (I’m getting annoyed by the formalities basically referring to the same person to different ways, it’s confusing). After Cousin Zhen leaves, Xi-feng puts in order the tasks which she need focus on most once Lady Wang also leaves, she narrowing down how best to deal with the servants, especially.

Chief Steward of the Ning-guo mansions, Lai Sheng gives directions to his men to do as Xi-feng asks, their work hours guaranteed to be a bit longer now. So, as long as they put up with her bitchy, stubborn ways for the month, they could kick back after, she being known to go after anyone who disobeyed. Sunshine, Xi-feng’s servant then turns up for the household list of names, everyone snapping to work accordingly. After recieving said list, Xi-feng goes home. Xi-feng arrives back at Cousin Zhen’s early next morning to discuss Lai Sheng’s wife of almost the same topic of discussion Lai Sheng was going over, and then saw all servants before giving out their duties, she then making plain how everything would now be run. Her hold was immediately felt and order returned after many years of nonsense. After seven times seven days before the funeral, the monks had made it to a serious part of their prayers, as were the Taoists and other holy people all doing their parts to prepare Qin-shi’s journey through the afterlife.

Xi-feng had a late start next morning, and upon arriving, has the servants begin the procedures for their mourning. Xi-feng leads by example, Cousin Zhen and You-shi ending the display and Xi-feng starting the task of meeting with the servants, one woman later today, found and begging forgiveness whilst Xi-feng handled an order for silk-cord, which soon turned into other diverted attention for servants and wives of “important” men. Xi-feng continued her tracking of funds and deciding what would be handled according to her logic. Then, she returns her attention to the lady, informing her how she would normally have her conduct qualify dismissal, but instead would make an example of her, and ordered her whipped by bamboo, the servants taking her look of anger seriously and following orders. Xi-feng afterward, notes the new rules for how tardiness would be handled would be double the whipping number the woman endured, along with some other dissuasive fines, she then allows all to get to work. Xi-feng makes her leadership clear, and no one dared slack off. Bao-yu is then followed, using Xi-feng’s office to speak with Qin Zhong, she greeting them and finishing lunch as she took care of restocking orders and chatting to the boys about their school work, Bao-yu realizing Xi-feng hadn’t put through the request for materials necessary to finish his homework space, she revealing the materials had already been supplied and was only teasing him.

A servant traveling with Dai-yu then comes in to report the news of her father’s death and how long they’d be away for the burial. Later in the evening, she gathers requested coats and gives the servant more tasks whilst he looked after Jia Lian. As the funeral day drew nearer, Cousin Zhen picked out Qin-shi’s plot and the number of monks wanted for the ceremony. Cousin Zhen also stayed over at the head monk’s room overnight so he could finish the readying of the plot and whatnot before the funeral, Xi-feng also finalizing her reservations before and after the funeral, she also dealing with other family-related matters throughout, everyone becoming impressed with her multi-tasking and superb handling of all situations. Then, the night no one was to sleep was upon them, Xi-feng surrounded by shy family members, but she not perturbed and giving assignments to all as people came and left throughout the night, morning bringing the funeral. It beginning with the tradition breaking of the bowl by honorary daughter/servant, Jewel, showing her sadness appropriately. One official, the Prince of Beijing had also attended, asking about wanting to meet Bao-yu to Jia Zheng, his father. He retrieves the boy, Bao-y excited to have been asked for, he admiring the Prince, and their conversation forthcoming.

Bao-yu admired Shui Rong, the Prince of Beijing’s mourning accessories and outfit before attempting to greet him formally, but was prevented by the man, he instead asking about Bao-yu’s jade, and being handed the corded stone immediately for inspection. After, the Prince inquires about Bao-yu’s studies, etc and then states how Bao-yu was sure to surpass his elders, Jia Zheng replying how lucky they’d be if Bao-yu lived up to the affirmation. The Prince then offers Bao-yu an invitation to his home to speak with the cultured writers the Prince had been known to host, this allowing Bao-yu another way to be taught different sorts of intellect. He then gives Bao-yu a bracelet he wore, Bao-yu and his father both thanking him traditionally before Jia She and Cousin Zhen offer he go before the coffin’s procession, but the Prince decides the hearse’s presence to importance, so the funeral party was temporarily separated whilst the Prince left. Bao-yu was preparing to join the other men to go by horseback, when Xi-feng invites him to accompany her by carriage, he accepting and then taking a moment to stop at the midway of their travels.

They get out at a farm, one of Bao-yu’s pages describing the farm tools whilst Xi-feng changed her outfit, they eating and taking tea before continuing their ride and catching up at the Temple, and after staying the day, is offered to return home in the evening, but decides to stay, Xi-feng taking responsibility for him. The two, along with Qin Zhong, since his father was unable to remain, retire at her arranged rooms, she speaking with the lady of the house, Euergesia, whilst Bao-yu and Qin Zhong are met by one of Euergesia’s “disciples”, Sapientia, Bao-yu giving Qin Zhong a hard time for supposedly hugging her privately, he denying knowing anything about it. Sapientia couldn’t deny Bao-yu’s claims though, the two having fallen for each other, but their affections innocent, so far. They had tea, then leave Sapientia for other pastimes.

Meanwhile, back with Xi-feng, Euergesia relates a story where a family wished for her assistance, but she not interested in getting involved, Euergesia warning it would give the wrong impression, so Xi-feng decides to quote a price she’d agree to help, if paid, Euergesia immediately assuming they would and whether she’d be prepared to begin the next day, she not saying yet, but the two chatting on. Qin Zhong soon locates Sapientia, he vowing his love, she wanting him to prove it through getting her out of her servant status, and his agreement, but forcing his unbridled passion upon her, Bao-yu cock-blocking him in a odd way, and he deciding what Qin Zhong would do to keep his secret for him, but the details unknown. Now, Qin Zhong is attempting to figure a reason for them to remain longer, Xi-feng weighing the reasonability, deciding it’d suit her for the task she agreed to do. Xi-feng has a servant send a message to a general Yun Guang, and when they were set to leave the next day, Xi-feng makes sure Euergesia will contact her with Yun Guang’s answer. Qin Zhong and Sapientia’s parting was full of sadness and the details of the departure are to follow.

Everyone’s return home is uneventful, Bao-yu had every intention of using his finished work space, but Qin Zhong became sick, and woe he is made to wait longer before he could study with him. Xi-feng received Guang’s response in affirming his readiness to help her which had him receiving his gifts back and a young lady and man committing suicide in the process, Xi-feng looking like she was content with money made and Lady Wang remaining in the dark, this seemingly the start to her new hobby. Soon, Jia Zheng’s birthday has come, a message from the Emperor coming by Head Eunuch of the Bedchamber, they learning Jia Zheng had been summoned to see the Emperor right then, this having the rest of the family wondering what reason there could be as Zheng readies to leave. A few hours later, Grandmother Jia receives message of she and her female family members were now also being asked to go meet Zheng so they could show gratitude, Grandmother Jia learning privately one of the ladies had been chosen as Imperial Concubine.

When the women found out, they were quite pleased and dressed according to title of power. Bao-yu was the only one whom wasn’t bothered by this good news, Sapientia having followed Qin Zhong and he getting punished when Qin Bang-ye found her, he getting so incensed, an illness which he periodically fought, finally claimed him a few days later, so due to the physical stresses and mental anguish from losing his father, he struggled to get better. This is why Bao-yu’s sister, Yuan chun’s “promotion” didn’t brighten his mood, the family putting it off to being one of his crazy ways. Although, the knowledge of Dai-yu finally returning helped him defrost a bit, and when she arrived, she became swept up with locating space for the new books she’d brought back (I feel that). Meanwhile, Xi-feng and Jia Lian were jokingly speaking formally with each other, and as they had tea, spoke of Xi-feng’s duties and she down-playing her competence at managing households. As she’s inquiring Jia Lian to have Cousin Zhen forgive her terrible management of his home, Jia Lian is reminded of hearing news about Xue getting Caltrop as he’d been wanting. Jia Lian notes how Xue wasn’t suitable for her, so Xi-feng offers to exchange her maid for Caltrop.

When Jia Lian goes to see Zhen, whom had dropped by, Patience admits the reason Caltrop was mentioned was because Brightie’s wife had come to deliver money. Later on, as Xi-feng and Jia Lian have wine, his old nurse comes by to ask about possible work for her sons, Xi-feng willing to take the matter into her own hands. The conversation then moves on to the Emperor’s project of having a place for the concubines to visit with their parents, Jia Lian helping with this. Nannie Zhao speaks of the old Emperor’s ways and is soon interrupted by Jia Rong and Jia Qiang who were delivering the message of where the Visitation spot would be placed and to give comment the next day. Jia Qiang then relays a message about his own task of hiring entertainers and was to accept advice, Jia Lian wonders whether he was experienced enough to choose appropriately, Xi-feng defending Zhen’s choice to have Jia Qiang handle it.

After Jia Lian learns how the money for this task would be handled, he approves of Jia Qiang’s plan so far, and Xi-feng offers a couple helpers to aid him, which he’d been hoping to request. Jia Qiang offers to pick up anything Jia Lian needed in appreciation for his help, and after this, heard a few general household matters before retiring for the night, Xi-feng joining him by midnight. Jia Lian plays a large role in choosing the builders to undertake the project which began the next day, after which they started purchasing supplies and moving a garden to attend to the landscape before building. Due to the family focused on this, Bao-yu wasn’t hassled about his school work, but soon discovers Tealeaf, Qin Zhong’s state turning into a deathly illness. Bao-yu relays this to Grandmother Jia, whom allows he go to him until he passed, but must return directly after. Bao-yu leaves and quickly takes a carriage to Qin Zhong’s where he was being looked after by female relatives.

When Bao-yu sees his friend lying on a bed instead of his kang, he becomes upset, Li Gui reminding Bao-yu the reason behind this could be due to Qin Zhong’s sensitivity to certain levels of hardness of cushion rather than it being about the custom of not being allowed to expire on a kang, hoping this possibility would calm Bao-yu so as not to upset Qin Zhong, but he needn’t have worried, since Qin Zhong was currently dealing with beings ready to drag him into the afterlife, but upon hearing Bao-yu calling, the “demon” leader and bunch put them atwitter as to how to proceed. The lead demon decides to relent in letting Qin Zhong a few more moments to say goodbye to Bao-yu, since he wore his demon repelling jade. Unfortunately, Qin Zhong was unable to speak and could only awake to look at Bao-yu before descending into blackness.

Bao-yu was terribly distraught from this day until quite some time after the funeral. Later still, Cousin Zhen informed Jia Zheng of the garden being done and he would be last to decide if they needed to add anything else, as well as the opinion for certain points of the space to be named, the two agreeing with an idea from a man of words about putting their ideas on lanterns and have Grandmother Jia decide later which would be best. Bao-yu had been prompted by her Ladyship only moments before to go in the garden, so hadn’t been quick enough to retreat before his father approached, Jia Zheng then deciding he’d see how gifted Bao-yu’s couplet skills truly were, since receiving good notes regarding this from his instructor.

Jia Zheng leads them all to the first spot needing to be named, everyone suggesting something, Jia Zheng not disappointed after Bao-yu makes his suggestion, but the area ultimately going to receive a different name. They move to another area and the group again gives opinions, Bao-yu doing well and this time his father acknowledging this in the usual minimalist way, they moving on. this time, the little enclosed area bringing to mind the idea of studying within to Jia Zheng’s attention and Bao-yu showing a look of guilt. After hearing the other men first, Jia Zheng speaks deprecatingly about Bao-yu to Cousin Zhen, since he’d suggested hearing from Bao-yu once more, he again giving a more suitable idea and stating why the others didn’t seem fitting. Jia Zheng hadn’t been impressed with the couplet Bao-yu offered thought, getting the report of what deliveries had been made for the structure thus far. They move on to the next area as they listened, Jia Zheng happy to have reached this particular rest-spot.

Bao-yu doesn’t wait to be asked this time and his father responds heatedly about they only having been inquiring to test him, so when they moved to another building he had Bao-yu attempt a name, Jia Zheng not pleased and putting down both name and couplet before moving on, this time traveling to another area with a stream, Bao-yu still unable to impress his father, the group then climbing to another area over a hill. Jia Zheng’s first impression of another building turned from negative to calm due to the view from the door, plants all about within, Bao-yu mistakenly offering his opinion on the smell form the plants coming from a particularly named rare plant.

When Bao-yu stays silent at the next building as the literary men suggested couplets, Jia Zheng calls on his son again, goading him for his opinion, and again acting surprised when the other men praise Bao-yu, but inwardly agreeable, at the least to the positive feedback. The next place they went was the entrance hall, this place giving Bao-yu deja-vu, the other men having Jia Zheng allow Bao-yu to give his opinion in a day’s time, since he looked so preoccupied with attempting to remember. Jia Zheng does only allow these terms if Bao-yu gives him a perfect suggestion, they then being interrupted by a servant with information Yu-cun having sent a message. They leave with Jia Zheng leading, he again shooting down a suggestion from Bao-yu when they crossed a dam, after which they walk past many other quaint rest areas, Jia Zheng only stopping when he became tired.

Bao-yu still attempts naming the place they were in after his father had the others speak. The idea wasn’t accepted, though and they continued on until reaching where they’d begun, Jia Zheng allows Bao-yu to depart, the boy being stopped by his father’s pages, who took all of his valuables they could see as payment for supplying him with his poems, they then take him to Grandmother Jia, after which he goes back to his quarters, Aroma and then Dai-yu seeing his missing articles, the latter annoyed he’d given away a gift of hers, she collecting and cutting up a bag Bao-yu had requested she make, he showing her how the gift she’d thought had been re-gifted was actually saved, she upset by his reaction of returning it to her and then calming her down when he saw she was going to destroy this purse, as well. When he didn’t let her alone, though, she attempts arguing why he’d insist keeping the little purse when he’d tried to reattach it, the two eventually making peace enough to go to Jia Qiang’s where they learned of a twelve girl act he’d acquired, also 24 nuns also being employed by Lin Zhi-xiao’s wife, the lady informing how they may get an extra nun, Adamantina, whom would fit well and came from a good family, but the young lady having not been convinced, yet. Lady Wang suggests a formal invite of which the results continue presently.

As Xi-feng became busier, Bao-yu decides to move their group to Ying-chun’s quarters. Meanwhile, Lady Wang would be occupied with work for the garden for the next ten months straight. Finally, after Grandmother Jia had given her okay, Jia Zheng puts in request and receives answer for a “Visitation”, in a month’s time. A eunuch made last minute rules and requests on behalf of the concubine and the night before the visit brought rest to no one. The important members of the family were all ready by five next morning and waiting at the entrance until hearing how the concubine wouldn’t be arriving until early evening. Xi-feng prepares small assignments in the meantime, and when night finally falls, the eunuchs soon get wind of the concubine’s approach, the Jia family also reclaim their spots of welcome, and then two sets of ten eunuchs stand in a line before they hear the concubine reaching their estate. First her servants carry her belongings, she bringing up the rear. Yuan-chun descends only for a moment to “‘changing her clothes'” before being brought to the freshly pimped garden, she overwhelmed by the lengths obviously gone to in order to show the excessive make-over. As Yuan-chun was brought further into the garden, it’s explained why Jia Zheng had chosen to use his son’s suggestions being to do with Yuan-chun having been so close with him when he was a small boy. Yuan-chun, not knowing this it seems, spoke her mind, and one title for the entrance to an area was shortened whilst another changed completely. Yuan-chun then sat to be greeted by the family, her lady-in-waiting dismissing each group as they paid respects.

Yuan-chun’s lady-in-waiting went about excusing each group as they paid respects. After this, she again, “changes her clothes” and is carried to her family’s home. Grandmother Jia and Lady Wang both waiting, and Yuan-chun becoming emotional from seeing them after so long. Six other ladies were standing around and watching the scene with tears in their eyes. After everyone calmed, others were brought forward to greet her, and after learning Aunt Xue, Bao-chai, and Dai-yu weren’t present, she had them called on to attend the reunion. Then, when most of the high-positioned servants were led out, Yuan-chun was comfortable enough to lose diplomatic formality, unfortunately, it making certain trouble when wanting to chat with her father, Jia Zheng, they having to speak with a curtain hiding one from the other. He spoke of advising her, and also stating of his wife and he were honored by her royal position and she shouldn’t feel upset for her good fortune including this stipulation of her visit.

Yuan-chun then wonders aloud where Bao-yu was, after which Jia Zheng shared his son’s contribution for the titles in the garden. She calls for him and is overcome with joy once more, until being led to a feast elsewhere, getting the chance to explore the grounds further, and afterward, she and the family sitting down for their meals and she writing down her choice for titles of the lovely garden and changes to the names of some, but not Bao-yu’s inscriptions. After doing a bit more writing, Yuan-chun requests the ladies of the family to attempt writing some poetry, as well as Bao-yu expanding on his inscriptions of her four top favorites. Everyone immediately begins, the ladies poems being read first. Yuan-chun praises two out of the four young ladies, and then Bao-chai helps Bao-yu with his last requested poem. After this, the twelves little girl performers got their chances to show their talents, one girl, Charmante being noticed considerably more. Then, Yuan-chun makes an inspection of the list of gifts which would be given to the family and servants, she agreeing, the time for her visit ending. Grandmother Jia with Lady Wang were both visibly upset, Yuan-chun attempting to reassure them everything would be fine before steeping back into her carriage.

The emperor hears of Yuan-chun’s visit a day later, and Xue-feng along with the rest of the family, were taxed physically and mentally by all the planning they’d done, she continuing to oversee the cleanup of the garden which lasted for the next few days. Bao-yu though, was among those being completely sedentary with his time, he accepting an invitation to attend some plays at the other house. The productions were so loud, people on the streets could hear the cacophony. Bao-yu becomes tired of it fairly quickly and decides to move along, chatting with You-shi first, but leaves her and the maids and concubines shortly after, his attendants all having let him be for believing he’d only mill about until evening. Bao-yu was on his way to see a portrait of a lady hanging in one of Cousin Zhen’s studies, and upon approaching closer, hears questionable sounds from within. He makes a tear in the paper window and witnesses Tealeaf getting off with another girl. Bao-yu was shocked into a yelp and busted in on the two, allowing the one girl to leave and inquiring of Tealeaf to share the girl’s name, which was Swastika (the story behind this, shared), the two then decide to visit Aroma where they are also greeted by her family and before being escorted back home, sits a little while.

Meanwhile, his maids were also taking advantage of Bao-yu being out, Nannie Li dropping in and not being impressed with their behavior. She helps herself to Bao-yu’s gift to Aroma, though and becomes peeved and feels guilty when hearing why the koumiss had been saved. Another maid attempts to make light of Nannie Li’s egotistic perspective by agreeing with her, but she didn’t believe the maid’s genuineness, and after leaving, Bao-yu returns to notice the maid, Skybright lying down, Ripple relating the events with Nannie Li and how Skybright started losing when the old woman arrived. Aroma then comes in, Bao-yu asking for the koumiss and the maids naming the drinker, Aroma stating how Nannie Li would’ve been welcome to it anyways, since she’d made herself sick of the drink before Bao-yu could react.

When Aroma requests Bao-yu peel some chestnuts for her, this distracts him from thinking anymore of Nannie Li and he drifted to the topic of one of Aroma’s younger relatives, the girl catching his interest and confiding his opinion of liking the girl to reside with them, Aroma taking offense over how her family shouldn’t all have to work for his, Bao-yu claiming the possibility he could’ve meant as a bride rather than a maid, Aroma not buying this due to her family’s lower status. She then shares how the girl was already betrothed, Bao-yu showing disappointment, and then shocked and surprised when hearing her family’s plans of buying her freedom to move back home. Bao-yu’s reaction to state how he could keep her there when she’d confessed her wish to return to them, and explaining how his family couldn’t deny her freedom if purchased, Bao-yu distressed over this, but seeing how possible it was, regardless of his hypothetical scenarios to make her stay, he then sharing how he’d rather have not had her employed for him if she’d told him sooner she’d eventually leave, readying for bed.

Then the conversation between Aroma’s mother, brother, and herself is related, she not wanting  them to buy her out, due to how well she was treated and they not having need of the money to sell her off again, they also agreeing with her after seeing Bao-yu. So, Aroma confessing the opposite to him was part one in a complicated plan (maybe?), she’d successfully gotten Bao-yu off his high horse and discovered his true feelings. She then goes to Bao-yu to see he’d been crying, she confiding her change of heart to stay and Bao-yu asking her to think of a way to prove to her how much he truly wanted her to remain with him. Aroma wants him to perform three tasks for her, one being to not go on and on with long drawn out responses, the second to at least pretend to enjoy studying, especially around his father and associates, Bao-yu claiming to already having stopped doing this, the third was to resist taking lipstick and eating it, he agreeing fully, and Aroma stating if he could keep it up and only be careful how reckless he was, she wouldn’t ever leave. Another maid then walks in to share the hour being late, so Bao-yu again goes through his bedtime rituals.

Next morning, Aroma becomes ill, so had to take most of the day off, Bao-yu going to see Dai-yu, whom was attempting to nap, but he insisting her napping after a meal was unhealthy, so she relented staying up and chatting with him. Bao-yu becomes distracted by Dai-yu’s perfume scent as she advised him to be careful being seen helping to make rouge, since the news could read his father. Dai-yu confesses it wasn’t perfume, but perhaps came from her closet, Bao-yu denying this for the smell being different. After some time sniffer her cuff, he attempts to make idle conversation, Dai-yu not participating until Bao-yu pretends hearing of a story about Yangchow and some magic mice, she then relenting to listen. When Dai-yu finally realizes this story involved a character with connotations to herself entering the story, she punishes Bao-yu with a lip-pinch, Bao-chai coming in and asking what had happened, Dai-yu explaining and happy to know Bao-chai could now whip Bao-yu at his own game, they then hearing an angry outburst from the vicinity of Bao-yu’s room.

So, as they’d been having a grand ole time, Bao-yu feels better now Dai-yu wouldn’t get indigestion, she identifying the yelling coming from Nannie Li arguing at Aroma, Bao-chai keeping Bao-yu from breaking it up for Nannie Li’s outburst being small potatoes. Bao-yu agrees with her words before going off and hearing Nannie Li’s insults to Aroma having to do with her not having at least acknowledged her presence when she’d arrived. Aroma kept her cool, but became upset when Nannie Li began suggesting how better off they’d all be with her getting married and leaving, Bao-yu attempts to support Aroma with the allowance of she having been sick, but Nannie Li continues her rampage by believing Aroma had turned all of them against her, she then becoming upset, Bao-chai and Dai-yu attempting to ease her emotion.

Xi-feng’s attention is caught in the front room, she entering and stating to Nannie Li of needing to be quiet, Grandmother Jia was in good spirits and didn’t need to hear her petty b.s. (seriously; It was said in kinder terminology, though). Xi-feng also states how if Nannie Li was being upset by anyone she should report them to her for punishment, she then insisting the old bag come have some stew and drink in her quarters, Nannie Li begrudgingly following, but quietly bitching about how she didn’t regret her actions. Bao-chai and Dai-yu were properly amused by this, Bao-yu wondering why Nannie Li had truly gone off on everyone, Skybright defending the girls due to the culprit should’ve willingly come forward if circumstances warranted, Aroma then stating how Bao-yu shouldn’t have turned the quarrel into a group affair, since she always received the backlash, stopping herself from becoming further distressed for Bao-yu’s sake, he also staying reserved, since he could see she was truly ill.

As a proper lie-down is set up for her, she suggests he sit with Xi-feng and Grandmother Jia for awhile, she assuring him she’d be alright, Bao-yu agreeing with her idea and so joins his grandmother once Aroma was settled, he returning afterward to find all his maids gone except Musk, whom had decided to keep an eye on Aroma and Bao-yu’s quarters. So, before retiring himself, he brushes her hair when he remembers she’d been talking about it earlier, another maid coming in, teasing Bao-yu, he making light of it, fortunately, and then returning to her game. By the following morning Aroma had recovered, so Bao-yu goes to Aunt Xue’s home. Some of his other closely-aged relatives were also there playing games, Bao-yu’s half-brother, Jia Huan playing against Bao-chai, she treating the two brothers equally, so when Jia Huan starts losing the game and attempts to cheat, Bao-chai has the other girl give up her winnings, she annoyed, but Jia Huan breaking down, which Bao-yu then comes in to inquire the reason, but the other too ashamed to confess.

Besides this, there was an odd relationship between the two due to Jia Huan being a concubine’s son and the younger. Bao-yu didn’t bully him, since people were already speaking about him enough as it was, and he also was ruled by his religion teaching respect of blood being of utmost importance, so Bao-yu dealt with Jia Huan as this and the fact he’d grown up with females coloring his reasoning. He made it clear if the game was upsetting him, he should go find something else he’d enjoy. Jia Huan ends up back in his own quarters where his actual mother, “‘Aunt Zhou'” wondered aloud what had happened (Lady Wang was known as his mother only by title). When Jia Huan shares his story of what had occurred, Aunt Zhou bursts with how he shouldn’t have been mixing with them anyways. Xi-feng hears her as she passes by, telling her off through the window and having the boy come with her. She proceeds to berate him about his choice of bad company and being too weak-minded, she then sending him off with more cash for betting with and would make him regret any similar behavior in the future if she heard about it again. Meanwhile Bao-yu and Bao-chai go to visit with Miss Shi when she comes to call.

When arriving at Grandmother Jia’s room, Dai-yu was there giving Bao-yu a hard time about spending time with Bao-chai. She exits, and Bao-yu goes after her wondering why she was mad, she stubborn and Bao-yu getting pulled away by Bao-chai on behalf of Cousin Shi, the two leaving Dai-yu upset, and when Bao-yu returns later, she is more distressed and so he attempts calming her with how close they were compared to Bao-chai, whom was too new to be considered more of a closer cousin. Cousin Shi then comes to say how perfect it was they deserting her the one time she’s actually available to them, the two laughing at her lisp and she quickly exiting after a joke about Dai-yu marrying a lisper. Bao-yu blocks Dai-yu’s attempts at chasing her and Bao-chai tries to diffuse the situation by waving the white flag, Dai-yu having a Nannie Li moment when she sticks to her pursuit and belief there was collusion against her. Bao-yu makes her realize how this nonsense began due to her own tom-foolery, a servant interrupting with news of Grandmother Jia starting supper, after which Bao-yu hangs around with Dai-yu and Xiang-yun until quite late, Aroma asking for him periodically.

The next morning, Bao-yu is up with the light and fussing at Xiang-yun’s blankie, Dai-yu having him leave temporarily whilst they dressed, and after finishing cleaning their faces, Bao-yu requests Xiang-yun style his hair, Aroma sees this and returns to Bao-yu’s room where Bao-chai comes looking for him, she taking a moment to speak with Aroma about herself, liking the girl. When Bao-yu returns, he notes how quickly Bao-chai leaves, Aroma not in a good humor and Bao-yu stating as much, she confessing she’d like to work for Grandmother Jia once more. This worries Bao-yu, but he doesn’t get anything more from her, and when he receives similar attitude from Musk, he lets it go and lays down for a nap. When Aroma covers him and he takes the blanket off, they begin speaking, he stating how she wouldn’t even let him in on why she was mad, and she maintaining he should know already and when he finishes lunch and returns, she has fallen asleep. He goes to his room and reads for awhile until seeing one of his maids, Citronella, standing in the room awaiting instruction, he changing her nickname given to her by Aroma to Number Four due to the number of girls in her family and she being the baby, he growing tired of the flower and fragrance theme.

Aroma and Musk quietly find this amusing, Bao-yu now bored with his uneventful day, Number Four wanting to make a favorable impression on him, and after dinner, Bao-yu now a bit inebriated, he considered how best to bide his time from Aroma, reading and becoming inspired by a passage and adding his own thoughts in the book regarding Aroma, Musk, Dai-yu, and Bao-chai, then retiring. Aroma is asleep next to him when he wakes in the morning, he rousing her so she could go sleep comfortably on her own kang (which everyone seems to lounge and sleep on, so I presumed). When Bao-yu attempts to get her more comfortable, she resists, still playing her game of having him see his wrongful ways. Instead, it seems to be left alone once Bao-yu breaks a hair-pin, they both washing up. Bao-yu leaves and Dai-yu comes looking for him, seeing his open book, and ads her own lines to his. She then goes to Grandmother Jia’s, and after to Lady Wang’s, the doctor having seen her daughter, she being sick with smallpox. The doctor advises the potential for recovery and how to treat it for the little girl’s comfort. A room was then prepared for the girl, doctors, and parents, since it would be a 12 day process.

Jia Lian was affected by this set up because of the forced abstinence it entailed, which would be satiated by a lady known as “the mattress”, the wife of a cook called “Droopy Duo”. Jia Lian soon had her brought to him, she delighted, they meeting in the evening, and upon getting down, her nickname explained as coming from an affectation her body took, and once finished, the two ‘come’ (wink) to an agreement. When the baby’s illness had passed and everything was normal, Patience discovers a lock of hair under Jia Lian’s pillow, she confronting him about what it could be, and when he makes a lunge for it and fails to retrieve it before Xi-feng was heard heading towards them and requesting an item for Grandmother Jia, asks whether anything was found or missing from Jia Lian’s temporary quarters, she knowing the possibility of her hubby’s naughtiness.

Patience keeps his secret and when they’re alone again, was about to negotiate terms when he tricks her into releasing the hair, and her frustration making him ask for her to let him lay her, she leaving whilst the getting was good. He then vows to make Xi-feng realize whom was actually in power in their relationship, it sounding murderous, he claiming she was using the double-standard on him (rightly), Patience defending Xi-feng for not being a cheat. When she mentions how trustworthy she thought of him, he widens his threat to include anyone who thought his conduct unsavory, Xi-feng then happening to return to see Patience conversing through an open window, she giving Xi-feng some attitude when she mentions why she was outside to speak with Jia Lian inside, then exiting, Jia Lian also trying to excuse himself, but Xi-feng having a topic to discuss.

Xi-feng inquires about their plans for Bao-chai’s birthday, since she’d be turning fifteen and Grandmother Jia wanted a nice party for her, so Jia Lian comes up with a simple solution, Xi-feng only making certain he had final say, he not caring as long as she eased up her surveillance of him. Shi Xiang Yun is then followed, she preparing to end her stay, but Grandmother Jia insisting she wait til after the party, she agreeing and sending word back home. Meanwhile, Xi-feng speaks with Grandmother Jia about what her thoughts were for entertainment, she going off on her in a burst when she was offered a meager sum to obtain said festivities, fortunately everyone taking it lightly. Grandmother Jia had caught on to the situation being for her benefit, she enjoying these set up digs on her.

On the day of the party, a different child acting troupe is scheduled. The party stayed a private affair, and Dai-yu was still acting aloof toward Bao-yu, as he’d come to her room to offer choosing her favorite plays for her, she not impressed, but still allowing him to lead her out. After the family had eaten, Bao-chai chooses the first play to be from a piece of Journey to the West, Grandmother Jia happy with her decision. The others also get a choice and everyone sits to watch the set, Bao-yu asking Bao-chai why she kept requesting similarly themed plays, her answer having to do with the music and lyrics, Bao-yu having her share which part she particularly liked, she obliging by quietly singing the section.

Bao-yu agrees with her assessment, Dai-yu voicing her annoyance at his talking, and after everyone had watched the plays into the evening, Grandmother Jia gave extra gifts to two of the girls who stood out, afterward. As the troupe was packing it in, some noted how one of them looking like one of their party, Xiang-yu naming the person, then becoming angry when receiving a look from Bao-yu, which she mistakenly perceived to be a look of insult, and she not caring for his explanation, he then getting pushed out of a room by Dai-yu when he was looking for her. He waits her out and when she opens the door once more to find him still waiting, she allows him entry, alluding to how he seemed to support her being teased, he declaring the statement hadn’t been made by him, and she concluding with a baffling answer, since she supported everyone’s reaction, whilst wasn’t ideal, she thought his staying straight-faced made it worse, like she couldn’t take the joke. Besides this, how he’d reacted to Xiang-yu confused her into thinking it was due to she being on a lower rung-of-importance to Xiang-yu and shouldn’t have been joining with her, for risking a comeback, and so believed his excuse of she being sensitive was to distract from this, Dai-yu not liking he’d stuck in nose in. Bao-yu realizes how his actions had received negative results from both ends and his book reading reminded him of the philosophies saying how unfulfilling the task he’d put on himself was, making him feel worse, so he ditches her in favor of his quarters.

Dai-yu took this even more insulting and declared he stay away from her and not speak with her again. Bao-yu doesn’t respond, and when Aroma sees him, lets it be and talks of different subjects, her attempts being met with indifference. Bao-yu was determined to keep out of any suggestion referring to the ladies and so stayed aloof with all of Aroma’s ideas regarding good spirits toward the women. After quoting a line describing how he felt, he became upset and began writing some verses. When he was satisfied, he goes to bed, Dai-yu wandering in later and Aroma detaining her before she withdrew, after learning Bao-yu had retired, but was amused by Bao-yu’s writing which Aroma gives her, she showing Xiang-yu and Bao-chai, the latter disposing of it, since believing Bao-yu had written it because of what she’d told him of the play, Dai-yu finding her reaction amusing. She states how destroying the paper was unnecessary and could reverse Bao-yu’s reaction by posing a specific question to him, which when he heard, could not find a reply, all who watched on amused and suggesting alternatives to his torn up thoughts, he then realizing his Enlightened moment was false, taking the three’s ribbing lightly, since they also hadn’t obtained Enlightenment, regardless of knowing more than he.

Meanwhile, Yuan-chun had sent a riddle for the family to decipher and return a riddle of their own to her. Everyone took part in answering the riddle and supplying one of their own and the answers along with the riddles were delivered and returned in kind. So, whilst some of Yuan-chun’s guesses were incorrect, those who’d stumped her pretended she’d succeeded in solving them. Jia Huan was the only one whom had given a riddle Yuan-chun admitted she couldn’t solve, the answer being sent to her, Grandmother Jia so taken with the game, she sets up one of her own for everyone, Jia Zheng also taking part, and after Grandmother Jia had Li Wan join them, also noting Bao-yu staying monosyllabic due to his father’s presence, the other ladies were also lacking in conversation, Bao-chai the least affected by whatever was putting the others off, Grandmother Jia considering the cause to be Jia Zheng, she attempting to convince him to turn in, but he wanting to be a part of the fun, Grandmother Jia relenting by offerring him a riddle, the two soon trading riddles, Jia Zheng giving presents when Grandmother Jia’s answers were correct.

After, she suggest he has a go at the kids riddles, getting them with one guess, but becoming depressed by how dark they were. Grandmother Jia could tell something had darkened his mood and didn’t want him bringing down the party anymore and again brings up of he readying to retire for the night, he agreeing this time and doing so after a couple more drinks and conversation with her before making his exit, his mood not improving. At the table, upon Grandmother Jia stating they loosen up, Bao-yu immediately begins critiquing the riddles, Dai-yu and Xi-feng making fun of how animated he’d become and realizing Jia Zheng should stick close to him more often if they wanted peace, he retaliating against Xi-feng’s comment by play-wrestling with her. After some little time, Grandmother Jia becomes tired and breaks up the party so all could settle for bed.

A bit after Yuan-chun’s visit, she has a copy of the poems made about the garden and has the best ones engraved in the family’s honor. Jia Zheng goes about passing the responsibility to have her wishes met and was considering how to proceed with transplanting the nuns and monks elsewhere (this being mentioned way back…), Zhou-shi turning up thinking a job for her son, Jia Qin could be acquired, since the family needed the money, she getting the opportunity to chat with Xi-feng, whom liked her, and after hearing her idea of how to keep the nuns and monks with no problems of separating them, Xi-feng has Jia Zheng informed because it was so clever, she being reminded by her hubby Jia Lian they had to think of Jia Yun first, she already having plans for him, Jia Lian agreeing and asking about a little romp they had the night before, she giving a small laugh and not answering. Later, when Jia Lian relays all of their plans for the boys to Jia Zheng, he allows this quickly for indifference in these matters, Jia Qin being hired and he stating his gratitude to them, Xi-feng also having Jia Lian supply him with an advance, he immediately starting his work after speaking with his mother.

Meanwhile, Yuan-chun was reminiscing  about the beauty of the garden as she worked on the poems it had inspired and thinking how terrible it was knowing they wouldn’t be using it in her absence, so she decides to have the girls and Bao-yu move in there. She writes her wish of this and has it sent to Jia Zheng and Xi-feng, and when Grandmother Jia is informed, they begin setting up for this to happen, Bao-yu quite ready to move in and chatting to Grandmother Jia of his plans of what he wished put there, he then being called by Jia Zheng, his attitude changing obviously, Grandmother Jia comforting him and telling him how to respond to his father during this visit, and when she sends him off with some nannies as “protection”, he makes his way to his father slowly, the nannies awaiting outside the area his father was enjoying seeing him take his time, one making light of his apprehension and letting him know his father was in a decent mood, so he should take advantage whilst he could.

Jia Zheng states what he expected from Boa-yu once he’d moved and the consequences if he got out of line, his mother then reminding him to have Aroma give him his pill each night, Jia Zheng becoming irritated upon hearing the maids nicknames, the two then dismissing him. When he returns to Grandmother Jia’s and sees Dai-yu, they decide which part of the garden they wanted, the two being neighbors and a date set for them all to move in, Bao-yu’s life becoming a thing of idyllic freedom. He’d composed for poems indicated by season of how he fest and had become popular as a source for knocking them out, pleased with the attention: what with being thirteen and liking having people refer to him for his work. One day, though he’d grown unfulfilled and couldn’t get comfortable. Tealeaf realizes Bao-yu had yet to try one thing, he gifting some books the boy hadn’t seen before, and Tealeaf asking he keep them secret.

Bao-yu attempts to, but one day as he’s reading under a tree, Dai-yu walks in on him, explaining what she’d been doing with the fallen tree blossoms, as Bao-yu had been dumping them in the water, she then mentioning the book he’d been reading and disbelieving his reply, so he promises her to secrecy and praises its absorption capacity. Dai-yu soon realizes the truth in his claim she agreeing after reading a bit. When Bao-yu quotes a couplet which Dai-yu takes personally, he quickly apologizes, she brightening and the two burying petals when Aroma announces Uncle She was sick and the two were summoned by Grandmother Jia to attend. After, Dai-yu was walking by herself and heard the girl troupe practicing a song, she concluding how a song could have wonderful pietry and is soon brought to her knees and tears as she listened, someone interrupting.

Caltrop explains why she’d been wandering and then walks Dai-yu back to Naiad’s House. They see a gift sent to Dai-yu, hang out, and after, Caltrop leaves her. Meanwhile, Bao-yu was expected by Grandmother Jia to check on his Uncle She, and as he wait for his change of clothes, essentially wraps himself around Faithful, Grandmother Jia’s servant and wanting to eat her lipstick, Aroma walks in and states how he was becoming a lost cause. Then, before he away’s to She’s, he’s greeted by Jia Lian, the two interrupted by Jia Yun, Bao-yu and Jia Lian’s nephew, a joke being made about Jia Yun not minding if Bao-yu wished to be his father, even though Jia Yun was years older. As they all part ways, Bao-yu invites Jia Yun to visit him the next day, he then riding (by horse) to She’s. After seeing him, and noting he only had a chill, he relates Grandmother Jia’s message, he’s then brought to Lady Xing’s room where they chat, being briefly interrupted by Jia Cong, Jia Huan, and Jia Lan, Lady Xing making an excuse to have them leave, Bao-yu then being invited for dinner with she, Ying-chun, and her nieces before returning to Grandmother Jia, then his quarters.

As this is going on, Jia Yun was after a job from Jia Lian, he conveying an opening when the planting was to be started, then going to his uncle, Bu Shi-ren for a loan of goods, but he hard up not only for the products, but the money from someone else already being owed. Jia Yun puts perspective to his Uncle’s words, noting he could be more trouble, his Uncle mentioning Jia Yun’s other cousin whom had gotten the priests and nuns position (to transport them to different temples), Jia Yun having enough of hearing about why he couldn’t acquire a job like him was ready to leave when his Uncle offered he stay for dinner, but declines. As he’s walking away moodily,he walks into a drunk man, whom turns out being his neighbor, Ni Er, a dirty businessman, he about to knock his clock off until realizing who him was, then telling he’d help him out if need be, Jia Yun accepting if only to keep the man friendly. They part ways after he’s given a message to pass to his wife.

Jia Yun begins his plan the next morning, back to the Rong-guo House and sees Xi-feng, he giving her his purchase of oil scents, pleasing her with his surprise, but not getting anymore information about a job, he remembering his invitation from Bao-yu, and the boy’s pages leaving him to wait, Jia Yun hearing a girl from outside, and Tealeaf returning by then and having her take a message to Bao-yu, Jia Yun fascinated by the maid and taking her advice to return next day. He again speaks with Xi-feng, she having learned his reasoning for his gift, she playing hard to get, but he making clear he’d take whatever she could give, they scheduling a meeting so he could start. After recieving payment, he gives Ni Er his money back, then goes to buy the trees after sharing the news with his mother.

As for Bao-yu, it’s clarified he’d invited Jia Yun flippantly, and so had been away a couple days with the Prince of Beijing, and then returning to note his maids were detained someway or another and when he called, turned away the older maids who answered. A young lady, then comes in to pour his for him, she able to relay Jia Yun having come by, Ripple and Emerald then return and confront Crimson outside, she explaining her presence and Ripple insulting her, they interrupted by an old lady delivering the information about how they conducted themselves when the trees were planted the next day. Crimson soon realizes she had more information then the two bitches. She had been resident in the House of Green Delights before Bao-yu and girls had moved, she retreats to her room, then hears her name being called, discovering it was Jia Yun, and when he attempts to pull her closer, she falls in her attempt to run off. She awakes realizing she’d dreamt it, beginning her chores when dawn comes.

Bao-yu had been thinking of Crimson and wanted to invite her to become a closer attendant, but doesn’t get a chance before his washing. Then, Aroma speaks with Crimson to have her borrow a spittoon from the Naiad’s House, Crimson seeing the tree workers with Jia Yun, but not up to speaking with him, feeling sorry for herself, and instead lies down after she completes her mission. The following day brought Wang Zi-teng’s “lady”‘s birthday, Lady Wang wishing to go, but not since Grandmother Jia wasn’t up for it, but Aunt Xue, Xi-feng, Bao-chai, Bao-yu, and a few other girls accepted the invitation. Jia Huan had returned from school recently and was getting to work on some copying, delegating tasks as he did, Sunset decided to advise him to speak more kindly, since the other maids thought he was a schmuck, he not taking her helpful criticism well, but being interrupted by Bao-yu’s return, his mother suggesting he rest for awhile, since he’d been drinking. So, whilst he lay, Sunset massaged his legs, but not giving her undivided attention, she warning he’d tell on him, since he’d captured her hand, Jia Huan, Sunset’s master, deciding to punish him anyways, dropping a candle brimming with melted wax on his face, Lady Wang and Xi-feng both talking harshly about Jia Huan’s thick-motioned ways, then Lady Wang turning to Jia Huan’s mother, Aunt Zhao (Why must there be a Zhou and Zhao?!), she taking the put-downs and making certain she was seen helping Bao-yu.

Lady Wang knew she’d be hearing about this from Grandmother Jia, and begins applying lotion on her son, Bao-yu. He was prepared to take the blame, but Xi-feng knew there’d be hell, regardless. Bao-yu was returned to his room, Dai-yu visiting once learning of what happened, and he expected to see Grandmother Jia the next day, she blaming his care-takers. Bao-yu’s “Wise Woman”, Mother Ma also visited and did her magic lady words to make certain he healed properly, Grandmother Jia also learning of an incense-related ritual to keep him safe. Mother Ma explains how her other customers would purchase various amounts of oil to keep a light burning of which she herself would upkeep at her home (Bloo), Grandmother Jia considering carefully, so Mother Ma presents a suitable possibility for her in the case of Bao-yu, which she agrees, also making certain his attendants had extra cash for giving to good karmic charitable cases, like monks or various poor they meet on their way with Bao-yu.

After, Mother Ma visits Aunt Zhao for some silk and discusses Jia Huan and her contribution for him, she sharing her frustration about how Bao-yu would always overshadow him, even whilst understanding the reason. Mother Ma then deduces Aunt Zhao’s true problem being with Mrs. Lian, Aunt Zhao checking to be certain there weren’t any prying ears before agreeing and feeling she had to put up with the woman’s will. Mother Ma sees the potential for more money and plays hard-to-get when Aunt Zhao shows interest in the idea of investing in an underhanded way of dealing with the woman whom seemed to be in line to claiming all property and goods leftover in the Jia name, Mother Ma taking her more seriously when Aunt Zhao brings her attention to how she’d be able to name her price if her idea worked.

So, Aunt Zhao bargains with her by giving her a bundle of goods and a little extra cash, as well as an IOU, Mother Ma giving her paper cut-outs of people and demons, she explaining how to use them and placement of them under the targets beds, she then leaving after being summoned by Lady Wang. Meanwhile, Bao-yu had become a homebody since his burn, so Dai-yu would chat with him most of the time in his room, and one day, after getting bored of reading and sewing, walked to Bao-yu’s and found Li Wan, Xi-feng, and Bao-chai having a blast, Xi-feng inquiring about the tea she’d sent her, Bao-yu piping in with his opinion of them being nasty flavored. When Dai-yu states the opposite, Xi-feng gifts her the rest of her supply and would have someone speak of a favor she had in mind for her upon its delivery.

Dai-yu remarks how the gift seemed to be attached to strings and Xi-feng retorts with a phrase which alluded to she being a bride which would attach her to the family, this embarrassing her and she stating how it wasn’t funny, Xi-feng not resisting her jabs and speaks of Bao-yu and she, which had her running out, Bao-chai going after her as Aunts Zhou and Zhao enter, Xi-feng and Dai-yu actively not conversing with them. Then a summons is given for the younger ladies to visit Wang Zi-teng’s wife, so Li Wan and Xi-feng leave, as well as the Z’s, Bao-yu calling for Dai-yu, whom hadn’t gotten very far outside. When she returns, he holds her hand and only smiles at her, making her self-conscious, then he complains of his head before having a fit and scaring the maids and herself, he attempting suicide multiple times before Lady Wang and Grandmother Jia arrive, they soon distraught, many other family members hearing and milling about in bewilderment outside. Xi-feng’s reaction was to start gutting dogs and chickens with a knife and was looking at the crowd with blood-lust until some servants overpowered her and put her in her quarters. Many began suggesting what should be done metaphysically and otherwise, and by sunset Zi-teng’s lady leaves for home and visits again to ask after everyone the following day. Others visited with well-wishing and help from doctors, and the family had resorted to moving “the cousins” into Lady Wang’s room, Jia Yun and pages tasked with watching them at night due to their conditions still on the raving side.

The search for a cure continues and the fourth day Bao-yu requests Grandmother Jia to prepare his belongings and himself to be expelled from the family, Aunt Zhao gleeful, but acting sad, she attempting to convince Grandmother Jia to bide his words so he could die peacefully, her response being to hock a loogie in her face. She berates her and declares she wouldn’t gain anything from his death, along with anyone else, a servant then informing of the coffins having been finished, this putting Grandmother Jia over the edge and ordering the wood-smith to be whipped to death, and then hearing a chanting monk outside. Upon seeing him and his companion, they being a scraggly sight, they are invited in, the monk requesting to pray over Bao-yu’s jade to aid its ability to ward off the evil. When the monk holds it, he speaks familiarly to it of the time they’d met 13 years before on Green-sickness Peak, and once finishing his prayers, instructs Jia Zheng where to place it and the cousins recovery to be expected in 33 days. The two then leave before he could offer sustenance, and his instructions are followed diligently, Bao-yu and cousin regaining sanity and appetite by evening, Dai-yu relieved along with the others.

When Bao-yu’s month of rest is up, his face has healed, as well. This time also allows Jia Yun and Crimson to be around each other more, she noticing, but not remarking on the handkerchief he carried looking like her missing one. Later, a young maid, Melilot comes to her for the favor of looking after some money for her, she advising Crimson to go home and see a doctor, Crimson acting emo and declaring she would be better to die, Melilot warning her to not speak in such a way. They are interrupted by a quite young maid giving Crimson the task of copying patters for Mackerel, but she needing to retrieve a tool from Oriole and meeting Grannie Li, whom had told Jia Yun Bao-yu wished to see him.

Crimson loiters and soon the two eye each other as she speaks with his guide, Trinket. Jia Yun and she continue to Bao-yu’s, he impressed with his uncle’s home. Bao-yu asks after him when he invites him in his bedroom to sit, Bao-yu remarking how long it’d taken for him to remember his long ago invitation, but Jia Yun only glad he’d recovered. Bao-yu makes idle chat and when Jia Yun notes he was growing tired, decides to take his leave, Bao-yu wishing he return sometime. On his way back, Jia Yun asks Trinket a variety of questions about herself and the other maids, soon landing on the handkerchief, she mentioning how Crimson had even offered her a reward if found. Jia Yun had a plan for the item and gives Trinket a different hankie, he having her promise to let him know what she did.

Meanwhile, Bao-yu was being awoken by Aroma to go have a walk, he reluctantly relenting, soon running into Jia Lan, whom was after some deer to shoot with bow, and after allowing the young boy to continue, headed unconsciously to  Naiad’s House. As he approaches closer to the window, he hears a quote from a book he knew, Dai-yu speaking, and when he enters and startles her, she denies having said anything, she dismissing her “guardians of morality”, Bao-yu quoting a line, himself and upsetting her, she walking out and he following in distress, but they being interrupted by Tealeaf with a summons from his father, and so Bao-yu rushes off and is led outside the gate, where he’s met by Xue Pan, he laughing and apologizing, and Bao-yu taking his jest lightly, but readying to return the favor.

Xue Pan then gets to his point, which was in celebration of his birthday next month, some buddies had put together a feast and he wished Bao-yu to join them, the with a singer already in attendance. When they sit, Xue Pan brings up how Bao-yu could draw him something for his birthday present, he seeing some good erotic ones recently. Then another buddy comes in, Feng Zi-ying, Xue Pan asking after his family and how his black eye had come from a hawk’s wing during a hunting trip with his pops. As he finishes with it being good fortune he’d gone rather than stayed home in comfort, he attempts to bow out, but the group refuses him, wanting more deets, he playing at being annoyed, but after agreeing as long as they supplied him with a couple decent-sized drinks, he still keeps his news to himself, but hits it would be shared at a get-together of his own in under two weeks, he then driving his horse away (yes, drive).

The group sticks around for awhile longer and when Bao-yu returns to a worried Aroma and clarifies what had become of him, due to his toasty state, she was a bit perplexed he hadn’t at lease sent word, but Feng Zi-ying was a distracting fellow. Bao-chai joins them, she relating how she’d refused the invitation, taking her tea and speaking of unimportant topics. Before Bao-chai had dropped by, Dai-yu had also planned to visit Bao-yu once learning he’d returned, she even seeing Bao-chai ahead of her, but distracted herself with some beautiful fish, so when she did finally get to his home, she had to knock to be let in the gate. Unfortunately for her, Skybright was in a bad mood and not recognizing her voice, turns her away, Dai-yu debating what to do and feeling bad for herself, she then hearing Bao-yu and Bao-chai inside, her mind going to even further paranoia of what reason could make Bao-yu turn her away, she becoming distraught and sits under a tree, someone eventually exiting from the house, but only to be known upon continuation of the second volume.

I’m hooked, I’ll be quite happy to continue. In the Appendix we learn who Bao-yu had seen the fates for in the fairy’s library, beginning with Skybright’s terrible fate by slanderers. Aroma does marry, Caltrop/Ying-lian is murdered by Xue Pan’s horrible wife, Xin Jin-gui. As for Bao-chai and Dai-yu, they are represented as two halves of a perfect woman and the meaning behind their songs are up for debate as to whether the first or second refer to one or the other, or the first two both, or the first and second about Bao-yu. There are other characters explained, but I’ll only list those I remember, the last being Xi-feng, whom will have an unfulfilled life which may end in divorce.

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Kitchen

Image result for kitchen banana book cover

 

The Narrator, Mikage begins with her most favorite spot being a kitchen, the size, kind, or location not an issue, preferably well used. Even if they’re spattered with food, which Mikage hopes happens to the larger kitchens she may visit, currently though, she leaning on a large fridge, viewing through a window the evening stars. Only she and the kitchen present whilst considering how she would be content with dying in a kitchen. She remembers when her grandmother died and couldn’t sleep, sleeping near the fridge easing her mind. Mikage’s parents died at a young age, she then living with her grandparents, when starting junior high, her grandfather died, and the previous day, her grandmother died, she shocked to learn she was now the last one in her family, after attending the funeral, moving her futon to the kitchen. When she realizes she must move, the list of apartment options overwhelms her, she buckling with the task, but as the days passed by, she is visited by a young man, Yuichi, as she’s glancing disinterestedly at the apartment list, and binding up old magazines with strings. Mikage thanks him for helping her at the funeral, they having attended the same university, and she taking bereavement leave.

Yuichi inquires after her apartment hunt and she informs him of its stagnation, Yuichi then inviting her to stay, he having discussed this with his mother, and giving her directions, setting a time she could visit later. Mikage accepts without thinking too much about it, he then leaving, she recalling Yuichi’s reaction of sadness at the funeral, she thinking he must’ve had a relationship with her grandmother she wasn’t aware of, but after he’d offered her his help there, he’d continued helping her. Then she remembers her grandmother talking of the boy, Tanabe, whom worked at the flower shop she frequented, Mikage sensing he was the solitary sort, since even after knowing him for a bit, he seemed stand-offish. It began raining as she walked to his house, their homes separated by a park, she walking through, and when seeing how high their floor was, considering how wonderful their view must be, she not thinking past their invitation. She’s greeted by Yuichi at their front door, and is hit with the size of the couch before seeing the large kitchen behind it, and loving it from the first viewing. Normally, when confronted with people she didn’t know well, in a different home, she felt isolated, but knowing how alone she already was, put a spin on the situation, giving her new perspective.

Mikage gets straight to the question of why she was there, Yuichi plainly stating how nice her grandmother had been to him and they having plenty of space to spare, the two interrupted by Yuichi’s mother, Eriko rushing in, Mikage captivated by her stunning features. Whilst getting through pleasantries, Eriko quickly changes to return to work at a nightclub, she mentioning how she expected Yuichi to convince her to stay over, Yuichi walked her out and suggests Mikage watch TV for a moment as he rushed out to speak with his mother, Mikage finally understanding what being enchanted was. When Yuichi returns, he inquires whether she’d felt timid around Eriko, she being honest and remarking on her exquisite features, Yuichi confides how she’d had surgery, and had been a man, Mikage at first thinking he was messing with her, but then listens to how his parents met when they were young, his mother’s family giving Eriko a home, he then running away to get married with his mother. After his mother died, Eriko decided to get the surgeries to become a woman and started the nightclub. So whilst she still didn’t know whether to trust him fully, she gave them a shot because she did have faith in their kitchen, the two’s “Buddha” smiles being nice, as well.

When they end their night, Yuichi shows her how the shower worked and gets her set up with blankets, pajamas and what not, she again making certain her staying was fine, he then leaving her to get settled. When she lays down, she’s quite content with the silence, view, plants, and kitchen so close, she going to sleep, content. When she’s greeted by Eriko in the morning, she forgets for a moment of her male genetics, but then offers to make breakfast when Eriko decides takeout would be easier, she leaving Mikage to work the kitchen. Eriko shows her healthy appetite and by afternoon, Mikage is reveling in the slow, calm atmosphere. Eriko then mentions how Yuichi had described her as looking like a dog they used to have (17 Again), Eriko insisting on seeing the resemblance and how amused she was by it the night they met, Mikage hoping the dog wasn’t a Saint Bernard. Eriko then explains how she understood why Yuichi was so attached to her was for this reason, and she regretting not being a better mother for recognizing his aloofness, but he turning into a good person; she recognizing the same of Mikage, relating how hard life could be, but wanting her to be comfortable. When Mikage offers to pay rent, Eriko instead request she make the soupy rice once in awhile, hers surpassing Yuichi’s.

Mikage then realizes upon review, how stressing living with the elderly could be, knowing they could die soon. She recalls how easy the relationship between she and her grandmother was and the times she may have mentioned Yuichi, but even during times Mikage was impaired by drink or love, she knew there was only one person left in her life, and while she was aware of having been loved, the loneliness of her life sobered her to how it was, so she didn’t take long to move in. She showed her appreciation with making food and tidying, still working her part-time job, the three of them working different hours so it feeling spacious, Mikage extremely grateful with how she’d gotten so lucky. When she’d gone to her old home for the remainder of her belongings, she already felt estranged, and as she cleaned the fridge, her house phone rang, she hearing her ex, whom was out of the picture when her grandmother got worse. He called to give condolences, having heard through classmates, they then making a time to see each other. Sotaro’s main interest is plants, he normally outside near parks and whatnot, but due to the winter season, they agree on a cafe near a park.

They have general chat until Sotaro brings up knowing she’d moved in with Yuichi, whom had been slapped by his now ex-girlfriend in school. As they walked through the park she was reminded why they weren’t good together, he not making her feel good about herself, but by nothing he outwardly said, only how he was, they then leave each other on good terms. As she’s watching TV later in the evening, Yuichi comes home with a word processor, Mikage noting Yuichi and his mother’s penchant for pricey electronics. When he questions her on when she would post her change-of-address forms and how she’d rather get it done when she moved for good, he reacts bluntly, but quickly lightens, Mikage again asking if her being there imposed on him, he acting oblivious. They get the forms ready to send out, she learning Yuichi wanted to help for despising spare time. As they continued, she asks about the issues her being there seemed to have for him, he finally catching on and as they worked, she sensed he was quite melancholy, she understanding the issue he’d had with his girlfriend, and if she stayed there, she’d only make his life more difficult, she also seeing how their intimate conversations could complicate her feelings toward him, so whilst making the new address forms, she attempted to convince herself of needing to move as soon as possible.

When Eriko comes in to drop off a newly bought juicer, she remembers a gift for Mikage upon seeing the address cards, Mikage overcome by the thoughtful banana glass (a nod to herself?). Mikage cleared out her stuff and finished cleaning the next day, she seeing the landlord and chatting amiably like she and her grandmother used to do. She was heading to her new home by nightfall and getting emotional about how she was truly done with her childhood home, but then getting cranky when riding a crowded bus, feeling better when seeing an airship. A grandmother and granddaughter sitting nearby, the girl seemingly in a bad mood is unphased when her grandmother points out the same airship to her. When the girl’s grandmother finally gets the girl to smile though, Mikage is overwhelmed by no longer getting to see her own grandmother, she rushing off the bus and crying violently, knowing it was because she hadn’t properly mourned, but she then noticing she had stopped at a kitchen, she immediately feeling better and continuing on her way. When she got back, she announced how tired she was to Yuichi and is almost fully asleep when he’d gone to the kitchen to make tea, she halfway aware of his commenting on how quickly she’d gone down. She dreamt about the kitchen in the old apartment, a floor color she once hated, now loving. She sees Yuichi cleaning the floor and she suggests they have a tea break.

They have an aimless chat, until Yuichi asks whether she was going to leave their apartment, and before she was able to answer, telling her not to, which confused her since he sounded like they’d already begun this topic. He explains how he’d considered carefully before inviting her, and believed being with them is what’s best for now, Mikage conveying her agreement and Yuichi returning to his task of cleaning the floor. They they begin singing together as they worked, Mikage believing she broke the dream-mode by requesting they stop in case her grandmother woke, he instead suggesting they go to a ramen noodle stand at the park when they were through. Mikage wakes up after this, it now two in the morning. Yuichi takes her by surprise whilst she’s in the kitchen pouring water for herself, he also having woken up and deciding to make ramen, Mikage offering to cook it for him and to sit on the couch. When she mentions in her dream he’d also wanted ramen, she notices his surprise, he then inquiring of the color of the kitchen floor, she confirming he was correct, and thanking him for mopping the floor, he then offering to get them both juice, Mikage letting the discussion about the dream lay, knowing they had plenty of time in the future to talk about the shared experience.

One night Eriko is watering the plants when she blurts how it isn’t simple being female, and learning one’s breaking points is healthy in truly having the ability to know happiness, she appreciating the hard times she’d gotten through. Mikage states how she believed she knew what Eriko meant, Eriko then complimenting Mikage’s grandmother for having been an extraordinary lady for having raised a truthful, good-hearted young woman, she loving Mikage for it and how she’d been fortunate. Mikage begins reading the magazine she had started before Eriko’s spontaneous chat, and also ponders how she’d have to move again at some point, she debating if she’d ever come back when she did or would only have her fond memories. She then decides to focus on ‘the now’ and enjoy them whilst she could, also considering how she planned on handling the tough times in the future. She then thinks about imagined and real kitchens she’d experience with many people or only one other, in every place she would live and knowing there would be plenty more.

Eriko was murdered by a crazed regular at her club after the man had seen her walking to work one night. Yuichi phones Mikage to let her know, waking her up and stating how Eriko had taken her murderer down with her, Mikage having difficulty allowing this to sink in due to grogginess. Another blow came when Yuichi confesses how long ago it had happened, he not able to let himself inform her before the funeral, begging her forgiveness. Mikage decides she’d rather have this talk in person and offers to come by (this being after she’d finished school and now worked in a cooking school as an assistant), she then remembering the last encounter she’d had with Eriko being at a store late one night, the two ending their passing with smiles. Mikage dashes through her apartment hurriedly to grab what she needed, finally getting her head together with the items she required and left. On her walk, she starts to get upset, her eyes blurring and making everything viewed in a pretty glaze. She was truly broken by the news though, life not seeming worth living, none of this showing . When she sees Yuichi, she’s quite happy since it’d been awhile, Yuichi surprised she wasn’t furious with him. Instead they sit on the couch drinking coffee, he at first asking about her job, she in the honeymoon phase, then relaying his state of mind being wildly out of sorts around the time of the funeral, he having her in his thoughts, but unable to confess for it becoming too real, regardless of Mikage and Eriko being so chummy.

Mikage handles his explanation by noting how they were a pair, having lost so many people already, she successfully lightening Yuichi’s mood and they proceeding with Eriko’s will, but Yuichi also giving her Eriko’s red sweater which one day she had guiltily admitted looked better on Mikage. She proceeds with reading the letter written to Yuichi by Eriko, she starting lightly, stating of the ridiculous possibility of her death by someone’s hand, but sensing the necessity, she glad Mikage had entered his life since Eriko was the last of Yuichi’s family, this before warning him to refrain communicating with his mother’s side. She then tells how she attempted writing as a man and failed, she then reminiscing about the good times throughout her life, Mikage living with them being one, then ending with what legal papers he would find and to phone the lawyer for further detail, everything but the club going to him. Mikage stayed up most of the night grieving, the two not getting up until after noon. Yuichi readies for school and inquires if Mikage planned on going home, she thoughtfully declaring she would wait until dinnertime, which lights the idea in Yuichi’s head she should make a fancy feast, she wholly into the idea and supplying a grocery list for him to retrieve for her, after he’d gone, she getting the empty-house feeling, prominent after a death.

Mikage treasured the six months she’d had with Eriko, she getting overcome with the empty feeling and sleepiness, but resisting for knowing nightmares would arise, she moving to the kitchen and upon inspection, cleans the place for not being used in awhile. As she made progress, the kitchen duties eased her mind, she realizing she had turned a corner. She remembers how the summer she was with Eriko and Yuichi had also been the one she’d learned to cook. She bought three books which covered all the necessary information to attempt the task. Yuichi and Eriko would tease her because of the flurry of excitement she’d display as she learned, she even finding how cooking made her feel when in negative moods. She realizes she had brought the family together due to how much she cooked, she looking back on those days fondly, then considering how the possibility of beginning the cooking process depended on if the heat was at the right temperature before cooking, believing this affected the taste and look of the dish, they certainly not looking like the pictures in her texts. Mikage then goes over how frustrated she had at first become upon failure of making a dish properly, but how she’d gotten through it, not changing her, but helping her discover her own process. The position of the celebrity cook she’d landed, she believed was acquired by the difference in temperament between herself and the other candidates, especially with only the three month study program (her three books) she’d given herself. The other women not living a life which would allow the same type of learning Mikage had gotten (those three months of heaven), enough to understand risks needed to be made for anything good to come from life.

All of Mikage’s cleaning had passed the day, Yuichi having her help him with two more bags of groceries in the car, he then seeing the moon looking nice, Mikage catching his attempt at changing the subject due to making her help him with bags having nothing to do with the dinner like he’d claimed. As they rode the elevator back up, Mikage came to the idea how Yuichi made her feel content, but unable to make sense of the emotion. Dinner took her two hours to finish, she mentioning how she wouldn’t be able to cope with Eriko’s death all at once, and noting how worn down Yuichi seemed, which is why neither brought up Eriko. After they had eaten all they could, Mikage saw an empty bottle of wine Yuichi must have drank by himself, he then conveying how it did help cause his putting off calling her about Eriko, being drunk for a month and his mind believing she’d hold his not confessing sooner against him. Yuichi then confides all the thoughts he’d built up about how he’d handled his mother’s death and not being brave enough to face Mikage, he then asking if she’d move back, she not knowing if he was too drunk to understand what he was saying, but stating of it on the table for debate. Yuichi brings down the mood with how he could end up becoming stuck in his gloom, she getting upset and deciding they should see how things would go. He passes out and Mikage cleans the dishes whilst she bawls over her isolation. When she is woken by the phone the next morning, she picks it up before remembering she wasn’t at home, the caller disconnecting after she says hello, she then going to work. After she learns she’d be let out early, she was also invited to a three-day research retreat for food, she immediately accepting, which answered her own question of whether she’d be staying with Yuichi. As she entered the prep area, she speaks with the two head assistants who couldn’t go to the three-day research retreat, due to golf lessons, the girls sweet, and Mikage pleased to work with them.

Then the three are visited by the defensive, know-it-all caller, a classmate of Yuichi whom is also in love with him, she attempting to demand Mikage leave him alone whilst also schooling her about how she’d gotten him in a rut, she mentioning how she’d comforted him after his mother had died, and before she could continue her selfish tirade, Mikage starts speaking about how the girl hadn’t even gotten her side of what happened, she feeling bad for the girl having wasted her time for a useless task. Once Mikage had said her peace, the girl left, the two assistants supporting Mikage’s side, she feeling worn down. When Yuichi returns home later, Mikage shares her news about work and planning on leaving to pack, but as he’d been driving her home, she craves some tea beforehand, and upon sitting, she mentions this being their first time out together. When he’d gotten her home, they discuss what he’d like for a souvenir, she burying her face in his arm when realizing how cold it was outside, then leaving and discovering her own jealousy, not knowing whom was “winning”. Mikage then relates a sad memory of Eriko when she was sharing a story about before she became a woman, his wife terribly ill and how he’d visit her before and after work every day. At one point, his wife asks for something alive to be with her in the hospital room, Eriko immediately out and buying a pineapple potted-plant, his wife extremely grateful. When she was about to get worse (Eriko not confessing to her the nature of her illness), she requests he take the plant home with him, his isolation shared with the pineapple, he also coming to his first realization of becoming a woman as he decided against hailing a taxi, after his wife’s death, planning on maintaining a bemused sunniness, he then transitions to become a lady. Mikage figures what she’d meant by sharing the story, she fighting her weaknesses as she tried to sleep.

The next morning Mikage gets a phone call from Chika, the head girl at Eriko’s club, whom now owned it by Eriko’s will. Chika was a transvestite, but quite pretty, he calling to speak with her about an important topic, mysteriously only giving the place they’d meet and hanging up. Upon meeting him at the noodle place, Mikage begins eating and then inquires what was so urgent, he usually exaggerating, but he talking about how Yuichi was acting oddly, usually so austere, but his emotions breaking through, he referring to Yuichi to an Inn since he’d not been sleeping well. Chika then confides his sense of they’re deep affection for each other and she should go after him, Mikage numbed with his deduction. He goes on to figure out what the hold up was besides Mikage’s trip, she relenting by deciding to give tracking him down some thought, Chika relaying how Yuichi’s state of mind needed changing what with his mother’s death affecting him in such a bad way. As Mikage walks Chika out, he breaking down loudly, he also gives her the information on the Inn. As he leaves, Mikage affected with his emotion, but still undecided about her next move, she end up doing nothing about it and begins her trip to Izu with Sensei, other staff, and a cameraman, Mikage reverting back to thinking this was best, the muddled feelings being too difficult to sort.

Later in the evening, Mikage goes to Sensei’s room to ask if she’d be allowed to go get a meal since the Inn served only veggies she didn’t like, she not minding, and once Mikage had gone out walking, she discovering she’d love to be on the road more often, but Yuichi having put too much of an impression on her. When reaching the first restaurant she still saw open with only one other patron, she goes in and gives her order. As she waits, she uses the phone sitting on the counter and dials Yuichi’s Inn, when he answers, he deduces how Mikage got the number, she asking about the food there, tofu being the answer, after they joking about not eating apart, together. Mikage asks about how long he’d stay, she not believing his reply of it not being long, the two hanging up soon after, Mikage’s sense of isolation returning, but once her katsudon was done and tasted, she abruptly deciding to order a second and both made to go, she remembering Sensei had mentioned this place and was disappointed they couldn’t hit it.

Mikage debated her next move, which is again made for her when a taxi pulls up, she getting him to agree to the longish fare, when they get there, the cabbie able to arrive in decent time, she then having to contemplate how she’d get into Yuichi’s room since no one at front desk was answering, it after midnight, and the lights in all the rooms being off, she then sensing which room it was and climbing to it, but getting stuck, and after a few moments, able to pull herself up, but sustaining an injury. Now bleeding and after take a rest, she knocks on the window, Yuichi answering after a minute, disbelieving he was seeing her at first, but once getting her inside, gives her tea whilst she insisted he eat the katsudon she’d gotten for him. Her original feeling of gloom permeated and dissipated with the memories they’d shared. Before leaving, she finally gets her thoughts out about wanting to be with him, but for him to think on it until he felt better, after the two joke about Yuichi wanting to exude masculinity when Mikage saw him, they part. Mikage is next awoken by footfalls outside her door, she viewing the snowstorm which moved in, and getting up when Sensei called. On their final day of the trip, they had a French menu, Mikage taking a walk on an unbearably cold day on the beach, only warmed by a can of coffee (I’ve had one before, heated with chemicals at the sealed bottom, not bad stuff), when returning and readying a hot shower and tea, Yuichi calls, she informing him of the foodstuffs she’d sent ahead, he declaring he’d be picking her up, and so giving him the information of when and where, contentedly.

This was a wonderful story, quite gripping and entertaining. The fact it didn’t really have chapters didn’t make it difficult to read due to the fascination the writing brought. I’m glad I decided to read this on a whim.

Moonlight Shadow

Hitoshi was given a bell which he carried with him on his case he used as a wallet, the Narrator giving this as a token of love, which he would keep close to him until the end (…of the story?). The two were in the same sophomore committee for a field trip, their time together brief since being in separate groups when arriving, they only spending time together on the train. When they’re about to join their groups, the Narrator, Satsuki (annoyingly not introduced until five pages later) gives Hitoshi a spur-of-the-moment gift of the bell left behind by her cat. She was impressed with his sensitivity in reacting to her present, all day the two thinking of the bell and their shared memory, upon returning, head-over-heels for each other. The bell had stayed with them for almost four years through all the poignant moments of their time together. Then Satsuki confesses to sensing Hitoshi’s fuzziness in reality to her, she considering if this thought was a bad omen of the future, it would be quite unfortunate.

Hitoshi was gone by the time Satsuki was twenty, she drastically changed by his death, feeling something terrible must now occur to her because of her instability. Her connection to him involved many major firsts in her life which they were able to learn together, but now she couldn’t stand living for not having Hitoshi. Satsuki takes up running for two months after Hitoshi’s death (Octopus Pie having a similar story when Hanna takes up running after splitting with Marek, more funny, but still sad), she getting terrible sleep with consistent dreams of Hitoshi. Her depression led to feeling nauseous and instead of becoming anxious for dawn to rise, she’d started jogging. During the day, she would distract herself with buddies, she awaiting the day she’d have her eureka moment. Even after Hitoshi’s death, Satsuki still enjoyed the river which he had lived on the other side of, they meeting on the bridge, frequently. She meditated how these times of rest helped her stay sane for the day.

The next morning she is woken with a nightmare, prepares to run, but finds when doing so, brought difficulty in breathing, deciding to push through it. When reaching the bridge and pouring some tea for herself, she’s snuck up on by a lady asking for a cup (presumptuous), Satsuki dropping her thermos over the ledge, the lady seeming friendly and light-spirited, so once taking a sip herself, offers the woman the rest, she offering to replace the thermos. The woman then states how she’d arrived recently from a fairly distant place to view a sight only seen once a century, she then inquiring if Satsuki knew of this, but when being told she hadn’t, agrees to share what the phenomenon was in some time. Satsuki doesn’t wait though, she realizing she needed to be heading back, then Urara introduces herself, she stating of hopefully seeing her again.

Satsuki thinks how strange Urara was, and when taking a second look at her, sees an expression which changed her features, but smiles and waves again when looking away from the river and sees her staring. She wonders about the type of person she could be as she continues on, then Hiiragi, Hitoshi’s brother is mentioned to stepping to the beat of his own drummer, his eighteenth birthday “this month”. When Satsuki meets him after his class, he was in full sailor girl uniform, Satsuki horrified, but able to act natural for his nonchalance. As they order tea, Satsuki notices a movement Hiiragi did, which reminded her of Hitoshi, the two now having a system of making light of it so as to throw away the sadness they felt. Then it’s elaborated on Hiiragi losing his girlfriend, Yumiko the same night Hitoshi had given her a ride to the train station, whilst Hitoshi not being at fault, both of their lives having been taken.

Hiiragi makes chit chat about her running, then suggests they go to a new spot with delicious tempura on rice, after how the running didn’t seem to help her getting chunky. Satsuki knew she’d been actually losing weight, but plays along, agreeing and then explains how the outfit was Yumiko’s, his late girlfriend, her parents attempting to have him stop, but he having a good laugh over it, Satsuki having asked about it and he explaining it made him hurt less. Satsuki realizes then they had a new expression for their faces which conveyed the attempt to bury the thought of their partners. Then Satsuki states of having to let her parents know she wasn’t coming home for dinner, Hiiragi planning on ordering out for delivery for his mother, she saying how nice the gesture was. When Satsuki had first been informed by Hitoshi of his younger brother, he’d specified how his weirdness made him worry whether it could affect Satsuki still liking him, also mentioning how adult-like he acted except around his family, but Hitoshi also stating it was most likely okay since Hiiragi enjoyed meeting “‘good people'”.

Then back to real time, they about to walk to the place across the river, Satsuki remembering she hadn’t seen Urara since the first morning they met, she getting another hit of pain when Hiiragi thought she’d hesitated and offering to drive her back, his kindness dripping of Hitoshi. Then Satsuki shares of meeting strange Urara, recalling the expression on her face seeming demonic and Satsuki thinking it was because she thought she shouldn’t have human feelings, then comparing how minor her melancholy seemed, wondering if she was in store for worse pain. As they neared the restaurant, they ended up having to go through the cross streets where Hitoshi and Yumiko had their accident, Satsuki and Hiiragi becoming solemn and trying to stay upbeat, she discovering how cells could get the feeling of people from the past, not comprehending the idea before, like when tour guides in castles would offer this possibility. She then begins to consider Hitoshi’s last thoughts and emotions, as well as how it would’ve looked at night and whether this night looked similarly. She noted how beautiful the moon was as Hiiragi nudged her to cross the street. They were eating when Satsuki regained a luster for life caused by the meal, she complimenting it so hard, the employee was embarrassed.

One afternoon, Satsuki had gotten sick, too ill to run, she realizing the phone was ringing and having to pick up for no one else at the house. She’s surprised to learn Urara was calling to see if she could meet up, Satsuki agreeing, but also asking how she’d discovered her number, Urara good-naturedly relating how she wanted it, so it came (synchronicity), Satsuki accepting this due to how she explained it. Urara then informs Satsuki to join her at a department store in the thermos area, Satsuki knowing she shouldn’t leave for her cold, but too intrigued, following her gut. Making sure to dress warmly, Satsuki rides her bicycle, noticing the weather promising spring, everyone outside seeming to go about their business pleasantly, whilst Satsuki remained insouciant, wanting her heart to finish the job of breaking already. When she sees Urara, she notes how she looked closer in age to herself this time, when Urara sees Satsuki, she notices immediately she was sick and getting straight down to showing the different sorts of thermoses available to choose from, she feeling much better for Urara’s exuberance.

After Satsuki detected one, they have tea, she then giving Satsuki a variety of tea to break in the new thermos with since a shop owner closing his shop gave away a bunch to her, Satsuki again grateful. She then asks once more about how Urara had come by her number, she divulging more information about how she’d become proficient in sensing them, allowing her finger to choose without thinking, Satsuki wanting to trust this since she felt like she’d known Urara a long time ago, and her nature made one susceptible to accepting her far-fetched explanations. Satsuki describes her gratitude in a strange way, she being as euphoric as a “lover”, Urara not missing a beat and advising Satsuki feel better by the day after next, Satsuki deducing the phenomenon must be the reason, which Urara admits, also relaying the hour to be at the bridge, she asking about what it could be and Urara finally confiding how if all progressed accordingly, Satsuki may see a kind of supernatural sight, she sensing Satsuki had a deep bond with the river making it more possible she’d succeed in seeing it, whatever it was being unique. Satsuki dazedly finalizes the meeting, she then flashing back to Hitoshi and her last time at the bridge being a fine one, he getting ready for a boys night, Satsuki a healthy amount plumper and much more content. When they say their goodnight’s, Satsuki hears the bell as he walks off. She then confesses how terrible their fights could be, the two also having affairs with others, they both wounding the other countless times, but overall their time together being happy.

Satsuki used to dream how she’d stop him from leaving, the memory consistently having the affect of upsetting her and bottling her pain in public hurting more. As Urara and she split later, she was wishing this something did happen, but also soothing herself with the thought of still being pleased by the both of them being at the river, regardless of the outcome. As she’s about to reach her bicycle, she spots Hiiragi, in normal-wear, she thinking he was playing hooky and instead of calling to him for weakness, walks in his direction, but he going off, fortunately in the direction she needed, unfortunately at a speed she couldn’t equal. Hiiragi soon stops in front of a tennis shop though, Yumiko having played, he blankly staring within, Satsuki not making herself known, she deciding she wouldn’t go up to him, seeing the look of a bird searching for its mother on his face, it being adorable, but also feeling down about how his presence soothed her because of reminding her of Hitoshi. When she had first met Yumiko, she couldn’t imagine the hold she had on Hiiragi, she seeming average in most ways, but for whatever reason, she complimenting him in her way. Hitoshi relays to her it was because of her tennis abilities, they watching a finals game, where the two realized Hiiragi was right, and her friendship to the girl budding, which made the events later even more terrible to think on. Satsuki leaves Hiiragi without saying hello and decides to not mention ever having seen him, her illness getting worse. She awakens from a dream again, still sick and debating her run, wanting dawn to break, instead making tea, returning to her room, and looking out her window to see Urara, whom mimes permission to pass their front gate, she nodding. Urara then explains being on her way home from work, noting how terrible Satsuki looked and offering a vitamin C candy and some comforting advice, afterwards closing her window for her, she feeling better enough to catch a few more z’s.

Satsuki gets much more rest, she awaking early in the evening, questioning whether she’d actually spoken with Urara, also wondering if more horrible nights were in her future, she then surprised by a visit from Hiiragi, whom had called, learned of the sickness from her mother and dropping by to see how she was feeling. He then shows her his get well gift of KFC, enough for them both so it being time to dig in. During this, Hiiragi opens up with letting her know of how concerned he’d been for her and to call him if she felt too alone, glad and surprised he’d said anything. Later, she sleeps better than she had been in a long time, the aid of medicine helping, she next waking at the right hour to prepare her meet up with Urara. She still goes for a run, and Urara is waiting for her at the designated spot, she greeting her warmly and warning her what to do as the time neared, she mentioning of their dimension about to change, and not to move or say anything when they viewed whatever they would see across the river. As the sky lightened, first Satsuki hears a bell, then notices Urara had disappeared, when looking back at the river, she sees Hitoshi at the other shore, breaking down, but not saying a word, he waving to her as his image faded with dawn, she again seeing Urara and telling her how worth the experience had been.

When Urara shares of the Weaver Festival Phenomenon whilst they drank tea in a shop, she explains how the vision was produced, she also having lost a significant other, she then mentioning of seeing Satsuki the first night and deciding to extend the invitation. Satsuki then wonders what plans Urara had next for herself, whom she’d seen, as well as still curious about the sort of person she truly was, unable to say anything to her. Urara states how the moment having allowed them to have a second chance with goodbye’s should ease their minds, Satsuki still in much agony over the memory, she finally inquiring after Urara’s next destination and she giving the vague answer of seeing each other again, as well as knowing Satsuki’s number, they parting, and she considering what Urara had done for her. Satsuki is next waiting at Hiiragi’s school to deliver his birthday present of a record to him, when he dashes out claiming to have seen Yumiko, he not wearing her uniform. He shares how one night he’d been woken up seeing Yumiko walk through his door (after opening it, of course) and taking the sailor suit, she then mouthing, “‘Bye-bye'”, waving, and he going back to sleep, the next morning unable to locate the outfit. When questioning his own sanity lightly, Satsuki suggests he start running when getting those emotions, he cracking up. Then from Hitoshi’s perspective, he states of having to be on the move, then giving an idea of Urara being a part of him and grateful of Satsuki waving goodbye to him.

This was an interesting and odd one, as well, but there’s something about Kitchen where the characters hold one’s attention more, connecting with Mikage, and the goodness of Eriko. Overall worth it, quite an easy read on top of everything, too.

Rose Madder

 https://2aughlikecrazy.wordpress.com/2016/08/28/rose-madder/

A woman, Rose, is having trouble breathing as she sees her husband, Norman after he gets home. She’s pregnant and not having felt a pain similar to this in her life, she hoping nothing is wrong, but feeling like there might be, since it is hinted of Norman having punched her a few times in the stomach. She’s close to miscarrying and he’s on the phone, she thinking of his status as a cop, and in the process of calling an ambulance. She wants to scream in pain, but Norman didn’t allow such noise, and when he ends the call, he regards the mess around them, she showing her bloody fingers in response as he picks up the shredded paperback she’d been reading and placing blame on his temper to it, she knowing he would’ve done the same with anything she could’ve been doing, he prickly because some woman was hassling him. As he dumps the trashed novel, she starts cramping and having thoughts of loathing of him without truly registering them.

When Norman returns, he has such a look and demeanor, she thinks he means to murder her, but instead, handsome Norman approaches to pick her up, after having told the emergency dispatcher he wouldn’t, but he needing the story he gave to stick, so places her at the foot of the stairs. She begins bleeding more profusely as he checks the spot in the corner for blood, then goes to the kitchen and comes out with a sandwich and rag, cleaning up the spot in the corner. When they hear the ambulance approach, he makes certain she knows the story and then has her say what would happen if she mentioned anything else. Before he walks away to get the door, she stops him to ask why he’d done it, he looking scared for a moment, then claiming it was an accident and she’d be able to have another baby. The EMT give her something to make her sleep and she drifts into a dream where she’s running away from something she knew would catch her (Rose doesn’t seem quite strong, she wanting a baby by this numbskull). It’s told she stays in Norman’s crazy world for nine more years.

Rose spends fourteen years with him, in all, she able to ignore most of it since she usually only received four beatings per year, but the Wendy Yarrow year brought twelve, Rose having to be taken to the hospital after the miscarriage for coughing up blood, learning her lung was being poked by a broken rib, and even though the staff didn’t seem to believe her “falling” story, they only patch her up and let her go, it being 1985. Norman knew he skirted getting in trouble though, so intended to be more tactful. It’s then shared of what Rose had gone through with Norman and what finally gets her attention being a spot of blood. She debates whether to change the sheets, she wanting to save some work by moving the pillow over it, most anything to do with how she kept house being under scrutiny for a physical reprimand, he normally careful not to clock her in the face, but when his temper flared, she still having to be careful not to make a mess or be loud in any way. After one of the unruly temper flares, he gauges the damage done to her nose, gets her an ice-filled wash cloth to minimize swelling and bleeding, she noting the next morning it had done the job for the most part, with the exception of this errant drop on the sheet. Rose didn’t look forward to remaking the entire bed since Norman’s favorite spot to punch her was her back, which after fourteen years had begun to leave noticeable signs of her kidney’s being hit. She considers how if she kept allowing this, Norman could kill her, but the worst thought being he may not.

To Rose’s surprise, she began to feel rage and considered leaving, but at the same time attempting to abate the feeling and talk herself out of it for Norman being a decent provider, regardless of being a smidgen temperamental. Rose couldn’t let it go though, since not being able to stop staring at the blood, considering how her life would be after fourteen more years, the damage she could live through, she then walking out of the bedroom, grabbing her bag and struggling to open the door, then deciding to grab their ATM card even whilst her beaten side begged her not to, but the drop of blood giving her drive, then hesitating no longer, walking outside, she ready to get the hell out of there. As she passes the store, she thought of how Norman claimed to have developed his sixth sense and whether she needed to be more careful in being seen, she then noticing his car coming down the street, she thinking of a believable reason for being out, but not needing to for having scared herself needlessly, she determined to turn onto the next street so as to avoid his driving route. She walks along a residential neighborhood, she desperately needing a bathroom and was lucky to choose a home of someone who had been away for a couple of days already, relieving herself in the backyard, she lightening physically and mentally by her actions.

Rosie, as she prefers to be called, walks for almost two hours before locating a pay phone and calling a cab, she buys sunglasses and a kerchief for her hair before it comes, she requesting an ATM and bus depot, meanwhile deciding she’d return to her maiden name, only when necessary using Norman’s. When getting to the ATM, she then struggles with the amount to withdraw, she ending up going for a few bills since she may as well, she in for trouble either way by now. She makes it to the bus depot, again having to work up her motivation to continue, she entering the building and trashing the card, it being noticed and fished, after she’d moved on, and once getting to the ticket window, contemplates a name to give, she flubbing up and saying the fake name rather than where she wanted to go, feeling quite out of place for not having socialized outdoors for fourteen years. She gets her ticket, though and once on the bus and out of sight of the police station, she relaxing to the point of dozing and seems to enter the Territories, at first sight tranquil, but then sensing wild creatures, and what ends up jerking her awake is the thought of Norman’s fist coming at her, and whilst relieved to be away from him, she knew she couldn’t slip up from covering her tracks, she not certain he wouldn’t still detect her whereabouts, but ready for whatever she found ahead.

Rosie’s first few weeks were tough, but she didn’t have second thoughts, regardless of being fear-stricken. When she’d gotten to the second bus terminal, she didn’t entertain the thought of walking outside so early in the morning, thinking the worst if she did, so heads for a seat as two cops pass, she hoping they’d leave her alone until dawn broke in a few hours. At four, she gets some cereal and coffee at the cafeteria, she then spotting a customer service desk, and debating whether to ask for assistance, she deciding to go for it, and the man attentive enough to ask about her vague plans, nothing coming of it, and she asking for his opinion, he offering her his card where he wrote the address of a battered women’s shelter on the back, then giving her directions so she could go at daylight. When she walks off the bus in the morning, to continue on foot, she loses her way and the people around didn’t look friendly to ask for directions, she walking in the wrong direction for three hours, then regaining some familiarity when recognizing where she’d started. The first person she asks about directions isn’t accommodating, but at least solidifies the truth of the place being known and when seeing a shop, is told how she was sixteen to eighteen blocks away. When she finally gets to the right street, her second encounter with a citizen in regards to whether she was close to the cross street she was looking for again began badly, she learning nothing, but does eventually get there, turning the wrong way, but righting herself, and reaching the house. When buzzing the door, she is instructed to show the business card given, she finally allowed inside.

As Norman contemplates his first move to locating Rosie, she was being led to Anna, the proprietress, when first arriving, given a meal, allowed to sleep, then another meal before seeing her, whom upon getting Rosie’s name, asks for the details of how she’d left. Anna then informs Rosie how long she could stay, if needed and how Providence had led her there like in a Charles Dickens novel, then she asks about Rosie’s skills which makes her break down for not knowing or able to do much, but Anna taking it lightly and offering her a job at a partnering hotel. She assigns her a counselor to shadow, then making clear Rosie is getting the chance to free herself from Norman, officially welcoming her. Three weeks later, Norman gets a lead from the guy, Ramon, whom Rosie passes in the bus station rummaging for the bank card, he now confronting Norman in the park as he relayed how he’d been instructed to meet him out there, the man having been arrested on a drug charge and the ATM card found on him.

The man was now sensing the trouble he was in with Norman, but getting offered being let go for his help, Norman doing a fairly odd thing after noting Ramon being gay, he feeling him up and talking about how he was going to be his good buddy since being laughed about by some cops he knew and then began squeezing Ramon’s boner in a vice grip. Ramon was glad he was able to answer Norman’s questions of what window and time she was in the station, not saving himself much pain. Norman then plans his next move of tracking her on weekends until he was free, he certain he’d detect her whereabouts easily enough and how he was going to teach her a severe lesson when he did. After being away for a month Rosie was noticing her physical changes for the better, working at the Whitestone Hotel. She liked how she knew what would happen throughout her day, she taking a banana break in the room she was finishing turning down, Pam sticking her head in and scaring Rosie, but asking if she wanted to join forces on the last two rooms, she taking her up on it and treating her to coffee and pie after. Rosie is content with her current set up, but expecting soon not having Norman around will be enough, she readying for the time it’ll be her turn to vacate the shelter as she drifts to sleep at night.

The next Wednesday, Pam leaves Rosie after work for not feeling well, she denying Rosie should accompany her in preference of she going to get coffee independently. Rosie then notices her wedding band, having forgotten she could get rid of it if she chose, but after seeing Pam off, walks to the cafe, but passing it as she became distracted by her memory of the pervert whilst she’d been lost her first day in the city. A young man stops her before she mindlessly walked into a busy street, she then aware how far past the cafe she’d gone, but as she approached the coffee shop, she decides to return home instead, then noticing the pawn shop, carefully deciding to see what her ring would fetch since she had no fond memories nor reservations holding her back, instead thinking about paying for her time at Daughters and Sisters hopefully having enough for herself after. When she guesses it actually wasn’t worth much, her thoughts confirmed by the young man behind the counter, she keeps it as a reminder to not be gullible again. As she makes her way out, a picture seems to grab her attention, of a woman on a hill, which she gravitated to for the new place she was going to get.

Rosie walks back with the painting and asks the young man if he’d be willing to trade for the ring as an older man watched, and when he agrees, Rosie is ecstatic, the two men discussing the odd qualities of the painting, she thinking about when she’d be able to hang it. Then, Rosie wished to complete the transaction so she could leave, the young man agreeable and wrapping it up. The older man follows her outside, introducing himself and asking she read a couple passages from a book, she at first guarded, but after the first paragraph, curious. When she had finished, Rob was delighted with her reading, she shocked when he gave her a job offer. Meanwhile, Norman had cleaned his desk of all unnecessary trash, he having specific thoughts on black people’s abilities when it came to work ethic, which he’d learned from his pappy. His home had switched roles, it looking bomb-blasted with trash whilst is desk at work was clean as a whistle. Norman had apparently been promoted, getting a real office, his bust going perfectly, he considering how his desk being this clean would have only come about if he’d been fired.

Norman then recalls how his assumption Rosie wouldn’t go far from her childhood town had set him back, he unable to know for certain which bus she’d taken, and whilst his job had taken a turn for the better, he was obsessed with the idea it canceled out with Rosie still missing, he having been blind by thinking she wouldn’t leave, the amount she took meaning nothing, only concerned with she having taken something of his, and he owing retribution. He also thought back to the women he’d had sex with since Rosie left, one in particular not living through it, he choking her when she resembled Rosie for a moment, but not being concerned after she’d died since he’d taken care of murders committed before. He then considered if Rosie knew of this, but shrugging it off, instead going through the meticulous process of tracking her down. He enlisted help from a neighboring city’s police station on false pretenses, nothing coming of it. As he readied to move his office belongings to his new office, he gets a call from the bus cashier, he remembering the odd way Rosie had asked for a ticket, Norman now feeling the upper hand returning, and easing him.

Rosie saw Pam sitting whilst watching an overweight, but muscle-y Gert with a punk-looking Cynthia, Gert teaching her self-defense, which she did for anyone who wanted to learn, Rosie having been taught some moves she didn’t expect to use, but appreciating Gert’s kindness and interest in her mentoring. As Rosie sat with Pam and relayed her time after Pam had gone home, Gert flipped Cynthia, whom squealed upon the take-down giddily, bouncing back quickly, Pam wanting to hear more about the younger guy than giving her opinion on the painting Rosie tried to focus her on. Gert was encouraging Cynthia to help flip her in return, Cynthia exhilarated once succeeding, Anna then walking in and sobering her victory with how she had only aided Gert’s body to follow it’s own inertia. Rosie then asked her opinion of the picture when she’d shown interest, there now seven ladies staring and not saying a word until Rosie prompts a response, feeling awkward, receiving the similar opinion of it being strange. Soon, Cynthia is relating a story where she’d had a similar experience to Rosie’s in regards to a picture her mother owned, drawing her in, she not knowing what happened to the painting, but guessing her mother had trashed it. Anna then states Rosie needed to come to the office with her after she told them all about her new job offer, she admitting it may regard what Rosie had been waiting for.

Anna describes the studio Rosie would be getting being one of their better ones, Rosie overcome with happiness in moving forward. Anna then asks after how Rosie was feeling in regards to Norman attempting to locate her, Daughters and Sisters policy being to not discuss where anyone relocated to, with outsiders. Anna prompts Rosie to go through how she’d deal with the possibility he did find her, they moving on to her financial stability to maintain the apartment and her new job’s unknown stability as of yet, until she started, she not knowing, but believing it will pan out, she also knowing she had back ups on the off chance it fell through. Anna lets her know she could move in the next day if she chose and hoped she would attend the upcoming picnic, she continuing to study the painting and noting how the painter hadn’t signed it and the printing of ‘Rose Madder’ on the back seemed much newer than the picture, it looking 40 years or older.

Norman leaves by bus, the day before Rosie begins her new position, he ignoring how much her ditching him had affected him, and needing to infiltrate her mind once more, quickly. He allows himself to blind himself to the fact it was about how he hadn’t sensed her movements and less about the card theft. He attempts to track when she could’ve decided her escape and how long she planned it out. Once on the bus though, trying to sense which seat she’d have chosen, he then going over how much effort telepathy took in practice. As he traveled, he attempts to retrace her steps at the rest stops as well, he repeating his new mantra and eager in imagining he was underneath her bed so he could stab her. When arriving at the final stop, he gauges what her next step would’ve been, distracting himself for a moment with the thought some low-life could’ve killed her before he could, but then getting back on track and after doing a step-for-step of Rosie’s movements, learns the information desk man’s name, then goes to a cab where he’s taken to The Whitestone. Meanwhile, Rosie is slowly becoming overwhelmed by the actual doing of her new job, fear setting in when sitting in the recording booth. Thoughts breaking her self-worth returning as she starts talking herself out of succeeding, worse case scenarios in how she’d survive crashing on her, as well. Then, thought’s of her picture motivated her to sit down as asked, gaining courage by thinking of the woman in the picture, and once talking to allow the sound engineer to level the console, everyone looking pleased with Rosie’s speaking voice. She has one more thought of insecurity before action, but begins her lines like a champ.

When finished for the day, Rosie goes to Daughters and Sisters to update them of her day, she still riding the buzz and even agreeing to ask shop owners in her area  to post their fliers to sell tickets for the picnic and concert, also to remember to mention they weren’t gay and didn’t harbor underage runaways, a couple of the reasons sales were low. Rosie knew she wouldn’t be putting it in those terms, but would talk them up as best she could, she again reveling in being on her own.  She then thinks for a moment, in the painting, the woman’s toga’s creases had changed, but deciding she’d tricked herself, now talking aloud to her like she would a good buddy about how she sensed she had needed to prove to the director she could do the work. When she looked outside, the car she saw pull up didn’t bother her like it normally would, she then distracted by seeing more of one of the two “gods'” faces, thinking then the painting had expanded, but realizing it actually seemed more like she’d gotten a widescreen view and this helped her discovery of new statues in the picture. Rose froze when the light, rapid knocking began, she kicking herself for not locking the door and putting off buying a phone for a better deal, but does remember her groceries containing some cans, and after grabbing the largest, announces of coming.

Norman is then shown on his hotel bed smoking, back-story of when he’d started and how Rosie’s family had died, following. Norman not having felt bad for them since Rose’s father in particular had tended to ask probing questions Norman didn’t deem viable as he was no longer in charge of his daughter. Then it’s told of Norman picking up his two pack a day habit after eleven years, he planning on quelling his stress with smoke and control over his style of divorce. Norman then readied to leave, he feeling charmed in his chances of detecting Rosie, he taking the bus for anonymity and once getting out, uses his map to guide himself to Information desk man, Peter’s home. When he gets to the door, he thinks about how his plan involved the man not speaking to anyone after he was finished, so he not bothering with a face mask, and when Peter answers the door, he senses Norman was bad news, but couldn’t shut his door in time, Norman kicking it closed behind him and similarly threatening to assault him the way he had Ramon. He proceeds to locate oven mitts, then leads Peter to his cellar, Norman satisfied with his results, but needing to dispose of his shirt and mitts later.

Bill Steiner, from the pawn shop waited outside Rose’s door with flowers, she having made such an impression, he was unnerved by attempting to ask her out, and intrigued as well as smitten as he’d been before holding out the flowers as a peace-offering when she opened the door with her raised can of fruit in the air. Rosie ended up agreeing to the date out of relief for not needing to use the fruit-weapon, as he drove, she now paranoid of Norman catching her, but when seeing the warm atmosphere of the restaurant, it receding temporarily, flaring up again when her ‘Norman voice’ begins talking her out of staying, she then visualizing her picture and calming. Rosie confesses of being fine after Bill inquires, adding she was a bit afraid, which once Rosie elaborates of Bill being the second man she’s been out with, he announcing of feeling similarly, they then led to a booth. They first discussed how he’d gotten Rosie’s address, he automatically calling her Rosie to her delight, they then discussing some important topics about Rosie’s marital status and the two vowing to be up front with the other, Bill to Rosie, and the latter to herself in return to Bill. Their chat turns to lighter interests as their night progressed, thoughts of Norman only invading as Bill walked her to her door. She debates asking him in, but when doing so, is declined, he again mentioning how strongly he was affected by her. When he asks for a second date, Rosie is again flattered, but then remembers the picnic, she passing along this revelation, and he offering to drive her back before her t-shirt selling shift, which still made her first instinct to pass up the offer, but the Rose Madder picture making her want to match the imagined bravery of the figure, so instead consents and also has him agree to stay at the concert with her, Bill all for it and suggesting a coat due to chill in the morning, then leaving on a charged excitement.

After she secures the door, she notices another change in the painting, some trees now visible on one side with the statue and a pony with cart and possible other person on the other. As she readied for bed, she thought only of her date, then dreams between sleep and wakefulness about the little girl she doesn’t have and the man, Richie Bender whom had caused all the issues of 1985 in some way, then going deeper into unconsciousness. Norman was also going to sleep, only three miles from Rosie, he also thinking of Richie Bender, the reason being he the one accused of a shooting in Payless. A clerk pointed him out and gave detailed directions to his motel room where Norman and his partner found Wendy Yarrow, they physically and sexually assaulting her and Norman sustaining scratches the two claim she’d made. They close, but not locating Richie Bender’s room, their official reprimand in regards to the excessive force of her broken fingers. Norman then vows to deal with Rose and proceeds to fall asleep. As Rosie was drifting off (one thing I’m getting annoyed with being these overlapped time-frames, also happening in Firestarter), she thinks of the Wendy Yarrow case after she’d found a lawyer, on the course to making more trouble by filing a civil case. She’s discovered murdered in an obvious crime of passion, multiple stab wounds and cut bosom. When Rosie had heard the story, she puts together what had happened, she going deeper into sleep as her thoughts turn to Bill, smelling grass sleepily and thinking it was from the park, but then when thunder and crickets are heard, realizing she’d closed her window and had seen a clear night earlier.

In the late afternoon of a Wednesday, Rosie was on feeling grand as she got a cup of coffee at the cafe, a bit out of her way now, but comfortable with the spot, she reveling in knowing the fact they wanted her for the readings of the other novels in the series. Then she recalls how she’d been told by Rhoda, the director whilst she snuck a smoke in the bathroom, relaying to Rosie of Robbie planning on offering her a contract, but to watch out for herself and not sign only for gratitude, she attempting to make her realize how much talent she had, Rosie halfway believing, but also becoming annoyed by her attempt to instill caution. Rhoda then makes clear what Rosie should ask for, the number shocking her, Rhoda asking how she’d gotten such vocal control without being a singer, Rosie recalling the times she’d had to manager her breathing for pain. Rob calls to set up a lunch meeting with her, afterwards getting similar advice from Curtis, the sound guy, then thinking about her date and bright future as she finished her pastry. Meanwhile, Pam finished her shift and was heading toward the cafe, Norman waiting for the walk sign with her, she feeling an aversion due to his eyes, and Rosie promptly getting a second tea for no particular reason. Norman was looking at Pam’s butt, glancing inside the cafe she’d walked into, seeing Rosie without knowing, she resembling Rose Madder.

Pam doesn’t recognize her at first, either, but yelps when it hits her, and the two take their drinks to their old table, Rosie sharing her good news and accepting another pastry, even though she planned on keeping off the fifteen pounds she’d lost after getting to the city. Pam was still processing Rosie’s new look in shock, her face looking younger and the blonde hair apparently working on her, seeing how Rosie had copied Rose Madder’s style, and deducing Rosie having met someone, she bursting out laughing in reply. When Rosie’d walked home for her energized happiness, she remembered how she’d dreamed she and Bill were riding his bike in the scenery of the painting, she forgetting the magic word which had made them fly, but then undoing the French braid she’d given herself, she hearing a cricket, catching it, and rationalizing how this is the cricket she must’ve heard last night, her inner voice mentioning how it’d sounded like an orchestra of them, then before dumping it out the window, she realized the cricket couldn’t have hitched a ride on Bill, and when the cricket jumps, she discovers two dead ones along with a pink clover, slowly looking at the painting, the pony now seen grazing. It didn’t taker her long to start thinking the evidence she’d collected came from her picture, and whilst she knew it was a mad way to think, she believed it, the idea most likely receding if other people were present, but currently the fantastic supposition sticking.

Rosie examined the picture closely at her kitchen counter, the back where the paper had writing, crinkling more than before when she had touched it. She reached for a knife as her timid conscience urged her to stop, she hesitating a moment longer before carefully cutting it, some dead and one live cricket falling out with a dead leaf, some more clover flowers, and grass. She then continues to trace the outer edge of the backing with her knife, and with removing the paper, detects more dead insects and some gray hairs she deduced was from the pony. Rosie then thinks matter-of-factly to herself of her obvious loss of common sense once more. She decides to separate picture from frame, she probing the naked canvas until her phone’s ring scares the bejesus out of her. She picks up to hear Anna preparing to deliver some news which may or may not involve her. After hearing what she relays, Rosie hangs up before deciding whether she was going to spend her night at Daughters and Sisters, calling Bill to inform him of not being able to see him, not wanting to explain, and after hanging up, revealing her thoughts of belief it was Norman, and he’d murdered Anna’s ex, Peter. Norman was setting himself up with a mild disguise before heading to Daughters and Sisters. He remembered the aches he’d woken up with which stemmed from his fastly regretted time with Peter, it not in the paper yet, but knowing a man like Peter would be looked for soon enough, and then he seeing the paper a day later to note his thoughts  had been realized, the story covered on the front page. Norman also does his research about the Daughters and Sisters organization, learning Anna’s connection to Peter, he sensing the ladies would be quite careful now. Norman reaches the house, walking on the sidewalk across the street from it, getting a good eyeful in small doses, keeping his pace leisurely. He’s briefly noticed by Cynthia, he having to calm himself before returning her wave, he then moving along. He stays deep in thought as he walks away, soon stress-biting his finger until it bled, he then noticing a sign for fresh rolls, and the Daughters and Sisters flier.

Rosie wasn’t having a productive day at work due to her almost sleepless night, Rhoda calling an early lunch and Rosie attempting to make she and Curtis believe she’d do better at noon. When she gets to the lobby, Bill is waiting for her. She’s at first uncertain and scared, but when he confesses of being unable to do as she’d bid, she is overwhelmed with being in unknown territory, but when he gives her an opening for a hug, she takes it automatically. As they walk, she confides how happy she was he’d come to see her, she beginning to share the fear she’d had about Norman being close, but first has him buy them a couple hot dogs before getting down to the grit. After she had a bite, she has a moment to think he’d stop talking to her after this, but decides to dive in, starting with how they’d met. By the end, she’d shared Anna’s information, the police not having released the killer having bitten Peter over thirty six times, she expecting Bill to ask why she’d put up with him for so long, but instead inquiring whether she thought Norman had killed Wendy Yarrow, she thinking it possible, but then having to get back for being five minutes late. As they go, she explains her worry about Anna thinking Norman could be dealt with like any other abusive husband, and why Rosie wouldn’t go to the police like Bill had suggested, she also explaining how another women’s group had gathered intelligence on Norman, and Daughters and Sisters now knew what he looked like. The conversation winds down as they reach her building and are met by Rhoda and Curt outside. Rosie introduces them to Bill and he takes the opportunity to finalize their plans to go out Saturday, Rosie reluctantly agreeing and he walking off, Rhoda remarking on his charming looks.

On Thursday, Rosie calls Anna to make certain she hadn’t heard anything more about Norman, this being so, and relaying the remembrance for Peter happening on the same day as the picnic, then realistically explaining to Rosie about how common it was for battered women to believe their spouse capable of murder, the two moving on to other topics after. Rosie then attempts to sleep, but is distracted by the noise of a baby’s cry, thunder, crickets, and lightning, finally getting to sleep, but being woken by a bright flash and thunder, when looking at her window, seeing a real scene of the painting, her view of the street replaced. Rosie ignored her conscience as she steps into the picture-no-longer-picture. After stepping through and looking back for her bedroom, it wasn’t there, an easel and painting of Rosie in her outfit for the outing with Bill in front of her, she unnerved as she also sees the pony and a woman with it in front of her now, whilst Rose Madder still looked down at the temples. The young woman reassures the pony didn’t mean to startle her when he’d bumped his head into her, she recognizing the lady as Wendy Yarrow, now certain she was dreaming.

When she hears the baby cry for a moment again, Wendy warns Rosie not to look straight at Rose Madder after hearing her call to her, which Rosie then turns to approach, noting something odd about her hairline, Rosie unaware she was meeting her twinner, but getting the gist when she showed Rosie her scar, which she had on the opposite hand. Rose Madder then relates how she would return whatever Rosie did for her, then requesting she bring her baby to her. Rose Madder bids Rosie go to the temple, Wendy accompanying her only so far, since also having what Rose Madder had, only not as bad, yet. Wendy warns her of the bull, Erinyes whom guarded the temple which hurt Rosie’s eyes to look at, Wendy instructing her to rip two strips of her gown, using one to wrap a rock in as the rain began to fall. Wendy cuts herself and soaks a piece of cloth, then instructs Rosie on what she must do with it as she uses the second cloth to cover her wound.

Rosie is urged to walk through the temple and not to stop until through it, it unable to harm her for only containing spirits. She then relates how Rosie would get to the baby and return to Rose Madder, but to be careful of Erinyes. She walks, uncomfortably naked and cold to the temple, the statue’s face is of the perv outside the bar, when she enters, she’s still quite cold, recognizing the details inside to the church she used to attend and against Wendy’s advice, picks up a book, which smelled terrible upon opening. She walks through to the dead garden to the stream where the stepping stones lay, she considering drinking for the thirst and the possibly upside in forgetting all, but thinking of Bill keeping her moving and across, she entering a forest where the trees looked like they had shrieking faces on the trunks, finally seeing the tree in the clearing with the fruit. She collects quite a few as she’s overwhelmed by the wonderful aroma, saving herself in time, she almost licking her fingers. She then walks toward the tunnel with the word “Maze” above it, the baby’s cries now infrequent. After getting down the over 200 steps, she debates which of the four break-offs from the main tunnel she should take, bringing back her extremely loud cry she’d not used since childhood, the baby screaming and the bull hearing, moving as well, but Rosie deciding on which tunnel and starting through.

When Rosie reaches another spot where she must decide which passage to choose, it dawns on her why she had the seeds, she placing one at the next tunnel she tries, but it being a dead end, so replaces it at a different entrance. Rosie had been doing this for some time when she begins to see a heightened brightness, now having only three seeds left. Finally though, she sees the baby, she wondering whom she truly was and whom had left her there, but letting this go as she picks up the child and is readying to leave when Erinyes detects her, it taking Rosie a few moments to figure out what she must do, unwrapping the rock and tossing it away from the tunnel she needed, streaking for it (no pun intended) as Erinyes charged. Rosie makes it a bit away until Erinyes almost catches up, but Rosie continues on with no real trouble, only scaring herself when not seeing a seed she thought she’d put down at first, eventually locating it and going on. She reaches the steps and gets out with only minor aches, retracing her steps to the stones at the stream, what had previously drawn her to drink, not affecting her at all, then seeing what looked like many vultures perched on the temple, moving away as she stared and once out, being urged by Wendy to return the baby, she now hesitating, but reassured by Wendy to follow through, Rose Madder giving Rosie her armlet and stating of she and Norman divorcing, but to be careful outside her realm.

Rosie goes back to her world, sleeping and when awoken by her alarm, unable to remember why she was naked or where her terrible aches came from. She showers, only half remembering the warning of not to taste her red fingers, she thorough in cleaning them and when seeing the painting again, is surprised to see birds in the sky above the temple and the clouds gone, she not willing to pause on what else was missing and storing the painting, at least temporarily in the closet. When she’d met with Robbie, she gets her contract offer which she decides to think over, and as she goes to the studio, she realizes Rose Madder’s armlet had been missing. When she returns home, she discovers the armlet and the piece of her nightie which carried the seeds, with the three seeds still remaining within, under her bed, Rosie then reminded of Rose Madder’s promise. Before she had been transported to the supposed Territories, Norman had been lying in his bed as well, wondering how Rosie had found the balls to run, he then thinking how she was probably whoring herself out for not having experience doing anything else. When he’d woken from an odd dream-filled night, he sees Rosie walking through the temple (Rosie’s feeling of Norman watching her being closer to the truth than she wanted to admit), he thinks about what he’d do if he found her with a guy. After seeing her walk into the maze, he’s visited by Rose Madder and then wakes, thinking of how he’d keep eyes on the park and sensing Rosie wouldn’t be the only one watching out for him. As he’s in the lobby, Pam passes him again with two other maids, talking about the concert, he praising the luck he’d caught when confirming it was Pam whom knew.

Norman’s next move was in hot-wiring a car in the long-term parking of the airport, after getting the car washed, he stops at an army surplus store and purchases a taser, then goes to a barber to get his hair shaved off, afterwards having trouble recognizing himself. He then drives to a secondhand clothing shop, people staring at his head, which didn’t bother him since they wouldn’t remember his face. He buys a motorcycle jacket and plans on immediately returning to his room to sleep, before doing so though, hitting a gift shop at the Women’s Cultural Center and Museum. Once back at the hotel, he has no further motive then to get to his room for the migraine he’d built up. He falls unconscious, his headache following a ways, but then he getting deep enough to ditch the pain, and upon waking refreshed, thinks of Rosie needing to wake up to view the last sunrise she’ll ever witness. Rosie does as she’s told, waking a little after four A.M., scared Norman was in her room, she calming when seeing she was alone, looking at the armlet, not knowing where she’d come to possess it. Eventually, her thoughts turn to getting ready and once seeing Bill parked, goes down to meet him. He gives her his father’s riding jacket since her sweater was estimated not being warm enough, once getting set up with jacket and helmet, the two setting off.

Rosie gradually started with liking to loving the ride, and once getting to the lake, quite impressed with the deserted tranquility. They move the cooler, then Bill leads her to a spot where a vixen and cubs were resting, the two heading back after watching them for a bit. When Bill began setting out their spread, the amount of food brought, made Rosie giggle hysterically, he letting her know he’d wanted to be certain she’d enjoy her meal, he giving some history on his modest love life and how he’d fallen for her, then suggesting they dig in. Afterward, they sit on a rock and fool around for awhile, Bill insisting they walk it off, he not wanting to be interrupted or have it done in such an unromantic way (either a true gentleman or not having a rubber), then returning to the campsite after seeing some flowers and a woodpecker in a meadow. They get to the park on time, foreshadowing of Rosie looking back on her joy-filled moment upon seeing the sign turning into intense fear later, upon reminiscence.

Norman was currently parking the car a good distance away from any traffic which could effect his plans, then preparing the wheelchair he bought with female friendly bumper stickers and his new identity’s back story. He goes over his plan for discovering her and what he’d do when he did (some words not having been caught as the wrong one by a careless editor). Best case scenario, he’d get her after she’d arrived home, he following her, worst, if she spotted him and he ending her on the spot. When he paid his entrance fee and wheeled away, the ticket guy kept calling him back since he’d paid too much, Norman getting on himself for already bringing unwanted attention to himself. He does fairly well after, but gets nervous when not seeing Rosie at noon. Meanwhile, Gert had taken notice of him, but hadn’t placed him, yet. Norman had ridden through the grounds, making himself scarce as the women sat for lunch, his migraine returning with his continual paranoia, his knowledgeable inner voice keeping him calm and supplying a new tactic. Gert was talking herself out of thoughts of whom she’d seen being Norman, but decides to check so she didn’t continue to feel bothered. She attempts to have the ticket guy help her, but he wasn’t feeling particularly welcoming, only getting how the man he’d helped had forgotten what price to pay, she next wanting to locate the ladies she’d seen speaking with him, but none currently within sight.

Norman’s new plan involved staking out the restrooms, he letting himself out of his chair out of view of anyone. He waits for a lady to come to the bathroom by herself, it almost being one of the ladies he’d spoken with earlier, but Gert calling her back, Cynthia now being the target, he catching her before she walked in. Gert’s conversation with Lana shows how she was the first to identify Norman, whilst Cynthia was being sexually assaulted. Gert was then on her way to the restroom when she heard the threat from behind the building. She was readying to knock Norman out when he turned, she catching his face (Grendel being mentioned in regards to Norman’s look). Cynthia doesn’t move for being in shock, Norman now taunting Gert, she estimating her best move was to egg him on, and when she interrupted his constant insults and movement, he goes after her, she gets the upper hand until he is able to wriggle away after she peed on him after having needed to since confronting the ticket guy, Norman charging again, but Cynthia tripping him up. Gert goes after him once he retrieves his taser, she throwing the wheelchair at him to disarm him, Cynthia failing to warn her in time to save her from the taser’s bite, but after, he didn’t have enough time to do much more since security was approaching, he walking toward the rides. Rosie had made her way to the hospital, locating Gert where she updates her of Cynthia being tended to, unaware of the policemen’s presence until Gert introduces her to one. She’s overwhelmed for a moment, then resigns to confiding to the Lieutenant of what she knew.

Norman was struggling to get his head around what Gert had done to him as he walked, remembering his decision to flee having to do with his own pain more than the approach of people, he attempts to quiet his mind as he desperately thought about needing to end her. His mind flitted back and forth between sanity, he noticing the attention he was getting, but after turning between two amusement areas, gets a kid’s mask to cover his face with. After reaching the car again, he begins to hope Gert’s voice won’t be a fixture in his head, now. Once Norman had gotten out of the parking lot, he hears a voice from the mask confide of Rosie’s make out session, he then stating what he planned on doing to her when he found her. He remembers Pam after, and plans on getting the information he wanted this time. Rosie is accompanied by Gert as they are driven by the Lieutenant and his partner to the station, Bill following. Norman has made it back to the parking garage, he deciding on keeping the “lucky” bull mask, the next moment he’s aware, being of getting Pam back into the housekeeping room, but before he can succeed gaining any information, Pam has one helluva nasty accident, Norman finishing her off. After dropping her on a pile of sheets, he notices a key on her bracelet, takes it and looks for her locker, after searching through her purse and detecting her key card and code, he leaves.

Meanwhile, despite the detectives mellow attitudes, Rosie is scared and angry, they repeatedly having Gert go through the events, and once finished, focusing on Rosie. Norman had found himself down the street from Daughters and Sisters, he noticing he’d changed his clothes, still had the mask, but not his gun, then planning what he’d do if coming across residents (which he thinks of handling by shooting with his forgotten revolver…) or police, not thinking about the possibility of all being quiet, which it was. After speaking to Ferdinand the Bull (of whom is shown on the cover), he’s reassured, yet disappointed the ladies hadn’t been more affected by him. Once overcoming his hesitation of it possibly being a set up, he enters, no one bothering him. He looks around and discovers Anna’s office, then seeing a basket of outgoing mail, he sees a letter to Rosie, and whilst he’s reading it, hears the house alarm go off as someone comes in. Anna is then followed before she enters the house, she going over how painstaking the ceremony had been, she having only stayed for knowing her movements would be scrutinized, also not having answered her three pages, deciding to check her answering machine when she got in. She doesn’t notice anything wrong until seeing her door slightly open, and when trying the light and it doesn’t turn on, Norman catches her, biting her after closing the door.

Rosie finishes her interview and the Lieutenant again vows to get Norman, he also informing her of police cars being stationed at and around her home. As Gert was taken back to the park by a police car, Rosie and Bill planned on heading to her place. When they get there and she’s heading for the door, it doesn’t occur to her until she’d unlocked the lobby door, realizing the cop she heard coming up behind them wasn’t the one the Lieutenant had sent. Norman is shown washing off at Daughters and Sisters before his mind jumps ahead again to Rosie’s apartment, he wearing a new coat, and wondering what he’d do about the cops. Once receiving the idea from Ferdinand again, he tricks both cops by getting them to approach after faking a heart attack, taking out the elder one, then the younger, whilst the older cop stumbled off, no one having seen anything, yet. Norman manages to lead the older cop back to the car where he stuffs him in the trunk, then returns to the younger one to strangle him to death before depositing him into the passenger seat. Norman blacks out again and next notes he’d done something to the entrance light, the next time he blacks out, coming to as he’s grasping at Bill, he ready to choke him. As he’s proceeding, Rosie finds courage and strength with the armlet, throwing him off, then attempting to get Bill to her room, Norman stops them with gunshots, which helped him see where they were, then coming at them.

Rosie blocks his way temporarily, getting herself and Bill up the stairs, she even able to kick Norman back down once he’d grabbed her leg. When she gets to her door, Norman catches up and again tries strangling Bill, Rosie turning back to stop him, he biting her hand, but she breaking his jaw. When she gets them both into her apartment, she realizes she hadn’t been wearing the armlet which she thought had lent her strength, but their danger was still close, Norman ramming the door after she’d locked them inside, she pulling Bill to the closet when the painting opened up for them. Norman’s perspective is switched to during his hang up on the stairs with the “coat-tree”, all the way to when Rosie dislocated his jaw, of which he resets. When finally getting into Rosie’s room, he fires twice at the shower before seeing the way they exited. He looks to the other world, he feeling he was seeing through one eye-hole as he wore the mask, and after stepping through, still seeing through a single eye, he realizes he couldn’t remove the mask.

As Bill and she look around, he questions whether what he saw was real, but before being able to answer, Wendy calls to Rosie to bring Bill down to her, informing them how close Norman was and Rosie needing to participate in essential ways. After partially carrying Bill to her, Wendy shares of how much she’d gotten done, which Rosie only half understood, the two then helping Bill move toward the Temple, but around to the back where a similar looking tunic for Rosie hung, she hesitant in dressing, but as Norman closes in, she does as Wendy relays, Rose Madder having made the command for Rosie to fulfill. She knows the part she must play and calls for Norman, Wendy assuring them Rose Madder would handle the rest. Bill is quite confused by their knowing exchange, Rosie leaving him with Wendy as she readied to lure Norman, the two hearing her baiting statements to him, he and Wendy thinking for a moment Norman wouldn’t go through the Temple, but around it, their fears appeased when hearing sounds to prove he was inside. Next, Norman’s perspective shows his terror of being stuck with the mask on his face, but Rosie’s sweater and jacket distracting him from this, especially when hearing her call him. As he follows her voice, it’s shown he’s distracted by the statue outside looking like his father, which Bill and Wendy had been confused by his one-sided statements to, but again, Rosie distracts him, he getting the sensible voice suggesting he go back and await her return at her apartment, Norman ignoring this since anticipating the cops to come and how Rosie was speaking to him with such disrespect; His final decision made once reading the sign above the Temple.

As Norman goes through what looked like Rosie’s hometown church, he kills a bat which comes at him, and Rosie gets his attention by commenting on it, he charging at her as she stood in the dead garden. When Rosie sees him coming, she at first can’t move, but gets herself going by remembering a terrible memory, getting across the stream, but sliding back toward it after she’d made it across. When Norman sees this and her look of panic at getting near the water, he doesn’t think much of it, finding it amusing, but after seeing her make it to the crest of the incline and flip him off, he notes her concern and is careful upon crossing. He sees Rosie watching him and then is caught by the naked boy statue, Norman running to take advantage of his good luck, Rosie becomes angered by the boy’s rude questions and gets him off her by punching him, but now Norman is quite close, he brushing her tunic strap, but Rosie getting a good lead after a short while, and they again meeting at the dead tree, Norman giving her a chance to give in, but she continuing on and when next he hears her, Rosie’s voice sounds slightly different. When she reaches the entrance to the maze, Rose Madder instructs her to go partially down the steps so she didn’t have to witness what would come next, unless she truly wanted.

As Norman neared, he thought he’d heard Rosie speaking, which made him hope Gert were there to be slayed, as well. Rosie currently ached for Norman’s death to come quickly so she could move on with her life, and when Norman sets eyes on Rose Madder, he notices small differences in her body type and attitude, but considers it meant he’d have to refresh her memory of what she needed to act like, her back still turned from him. After he’d commented on the reason she’d dyed her hair and she’d stated of the brown color being the dye job, he is incensed for being opposed, but then wonders where the person she’d spoken to had gone (hopefully, not believing he’d get a rock “chunk”-ed at him). When he demands Rosie turn to him, his gun out, the mask doesn’t feel like a mask anymore and his vision is darkening as Rosie turns and he sees her blackened skin as she states of Erinyes breaking the rule of the bull having exited the maze meaning he’d be put to death. Rosie Madder turns to Norman and what he sees brings terror and shrieking, she biting him (reminding me of American Gods, a bit). Whilst this occurs, Rosie doesn’t watch, but is listening, she not moving until Rose Madder calls for her. She slowly notices the state of Norman’s body lying before her, Rose Madder planting seeds on him and then dumping his body in the maze. Rose Madder then directs her back out where Dorcas/Wendy and Bill waited, she advising Rosie to “Remember the tree”.

Rosie locates them at the top of the hill, Bill meets her to make certain she was okay, the two walking back to Dorcas, Rosie changing her clothes when prompted, then relaying Rose Madder’s message of she having something for her. Dorcas hands her a little corked bottle which Dorcas instructs Rosie to use for Bill when they returned. Afterwards, the three wait silently for Rose Madder, she walks to them in the light of the moon, Dorcas and Rosie instructing Bill to keep his gaze down and not to stop until told, Rosie going along with the idea they were dreaming when he inquires. When Rose Madder stops in front of them, Rosie states of receiving the bottle, Rose Madder then giving her Norman’s police academy ring, she commenting about if she watched Bill’s back, he would do the same for her, Rosie then looking at Rose Madder’s face, it not being the same as what Norman saw, but not wonderful either, she confiding to Rosie she should go back to her natural hair color. Rose Madder then offers her a hug and wishes they’d met sooner, as well as reminding her not to forget the tree, which Rosie asks for clarification to, but not getting an answer. She then inquires whether she was Rose Madder, but not getting confirmation of this either, Rose Madder instead urging them to return home.

Rosie takes Bill’s hands and leads him to the widening view of her apartment. Before they’d gotten through though, Rose Madder starts to lose it, wanting her armlet back, Rosie hastily throwing it near her and getting them both out. When they’d fallen back into reality, Bill noted how it must have all been real, Rosie not attesting this, but apologizing for losing the jacket he’d lent her. They then hear the injured neighbor yelling in pain, Bill off to tend to him, Rosie first calling for an ambulance, then uncorking the tiny bottle, realizing what she’d been given was a few drops of the stream at the Temple of the Bull. She puts one drop in some soda, then calls the police again so she could speak with Detective Hale, whom she informs of Norman having been there and was now gone, Hale planning on meeting her at her place, and she stating she’d wait for him, afterwards Bill coming back, and when coughing, getting him to drink the soda, Bill admitting after a few moments, of having forgotten his own and her name for a second.

As Hale got their stories, he wasn’t sure whether Rosie was withholding some detail, but after he goes over his notes of their confession, Rosie agrees with him. Later, Bill agrees to stay over and passes out quickly, Rosie taking a moment to look at her now, devoid-of-humans painting, this aiding her ability to fall asleep. She awoke them both with her nightmare, but the two moving on to a little fun-time, then much later, when Bill had gone for sustenance, Rosie put away the stream water and discovered Norman’s police academy ring, she ending up placing it with the rediscovered poison seeds, dumping all but one, which she then transfers to her purse. They learn of Anna, and Norman stays in the papers for a week, Rosie deciding to burn the picture in the incinerator and attempting to ignore her memories of Rose Madder’s words.

In October, Bill and she go to the picnic grounds again, and she accepts his proposal, she still wondering about the tree Rose Madder spoke about. After their wedding, Rosie has had to use the ‘forgetful water’ for Bill’s nightmares, the last being used on their honeymoon. In January, Rosie confirms she’s pregnant, she still remembering the tree, but Rose Madder also mentioning to add keeping her temper in check, Rosie unsettled with this thought and demanding Rose Madder leave her alone. When her little girl does arrive, she commemorates her friends instead of the wanted name, Caroline. So, Pamela Gertrude is born, Rosie wanting the middle name to be Anna, but being talked out of it by Bill. When Pamela is two, they move to the suburbs and during their finalizing what house they want, their opinions divert and they begin arguing. When Bill apologizes for raising his voice, Rosie is struggling to suppress her violent anger, which he takes as her not forgiving him, so he withdraws to the other room as she continues preparing dinner. She’s plagued by the disturbing thought of hurting Bill drastically, well into the night as she remembers Rose Madder’s words of, “I repay”.

The next few days bring obsessive awareness to her arms, face, and hands, the latter more so with the unknown idea of whatever she thought would develop would begin there. She takes up going to the batting cages where she develops her skills to the point of impressing all the men and boys with her form: both bodily and technique, who bat there; She even knocks one through the netting due to hitting the ball at such high velocity. A month after, Rosie doesn’t take Rhoda’s suggestion they end early due to Rosie’s voice losing inflection, calmly, she then having a terrible daydream of killing Rhoda, until she’s brought back to reality by Rhoda asking after her. Rosie reminds herself of the tree once more, and agrees to stop for the day, but her rage is masked with difficulty. When she dreams after falling to sleep later at night, she realizes she’d been remembering a different tree, but now knew her next move. She calls out of work the next morning and goes to the picnic grounds alone, to the fallen tree where the fox was, she burying the final seed and Norman’s ring. She dumps everything else out of her purse as well, and on her drive back, chucks the bag out her window. Years pass, Pamela is now a teenager, and Rosie no longer deals with bouts of anger, Bill having sold his bike since he felt he could no longer ride safely. Rosie and he don’t go to the picnic grounds anymore, but Rosie goes alone every year, where a new tree has grown, she believing it has quelled her rage. She worries over the day the tree will start bearing fruit, but doesn’t obsess over the thought, since no signs of people have revealed this spot to be popular, the vixen returns and watches her as she sits and sings Rosie Real.

The ending feels a bit rushed, and whilst I know Gert survived, it seemed odd she decided naming her daughter after those two women, rather than the name she wanted and the middle name to be Anna, it would still sound country, but it seemed like it would have been more true for herself. Otherwise the story moved along nicely, enough, and whilst I have read reviews not interested in the fantasy side of this story, it definitely suits King’s style, and wasn’t clunky compared to the others I’ve read of his, it only not being his strongest and could have done with a bit more fleshing out. Now I’ve read it though, I can continue on to his other Dark Tower-related books.

Right Ho, Jeeves

 

We begin in the middle of a conversation between Bertie, whom was about to confess something he believed could hurt Jeeves’ feelings in some way, but Jeeves assuring him otherwise, Bertie about to let loose when Bertie, the Narrator stops his retelling to confess he not being on-point. He unsure of where to begin the story, explaining the ways a story can quickly go south. He goes back to mention the other players in this being Gussie, Madeline, Cousin Angela, Aunt Dahlia, Uncle Thomas, Tuppy, and Anatole. Bertie then describes his trip to Cannes marking the beginning and Jeeves declining to come, Bertie instead going with his Aunt Dahlia and her daughter, Angela. Tuppy, Angela’s fiancée, bowing out at the last, and Aunt Dahlia’s husband, Tom, staying home. We get the gist of their stay and their trip back to London to their home, Brinkley Court where Tuppy would join them a couple days later, and Bertie going home to drop his luggage and prepare for dinner at the Drones. As he does this, Jeeves and he chit chat until Gussie is brought up, which surprises Bertie when learning Gussie had been calling after him, Gussie being a country type whom enjoyed his research of newts in his garden pond, hating London. Bertie then catching Jeeves up on how long it had been since Gussie’s last visit to the city and his penchant for his newts.

Bertie then gives Gussie’s back-story behind where the newt-love began, and ever since being wrapped up with them, he confirming with physical description of Gussie to be certain Jeeves was speaking of one and the same, Jeeves relating it could well be so, and also able to share the reason for his resurfacing being caused by love. Jeeves then divulges more about whom Gussie was actually attempting to get a hold of being Jeeves, Gussie having been recommended by Sippy, a fellow student with Gussie way back when. We then get a recap of how Jeeves had helped Sippy, and Gussie’s situation being similar. Bertie then wonders of the girl whom had stolen Gussie’s affections, and learning it was Madeline, and then deciding the match had merit, we getting an idea of Bertie’s viewpoint when giving the example of seeing her at Cannes and the flighty questions she’d ask. He gives Jeeves the o-k to meddle, and Jeeves continues his unpacking of Bertie’s bag as he dressed, Jeeves making Bertie aware he’d found a questionable garment in his bag, which Bertie knew he would soon have to defend. Bertie hearkens back to when and where he’d worn it, knowing the possibility of Jeeves “making a scene” over it. Bertie prepares well, stating the jacket had been bought, after Jeeves had assumed the jacket was someone else’s, and Bertie planning on breaking it in more at Pongo Twistleton’s party the next day, Jeeves accepting this, and Bertie learning he’d be staying in regardless of his kind offer of Jeeves taking the night off since he expected Gussie to drop by, Bertie suggests full service for him and his love, going off to the Drones. Bertie speaks, or more like, is spoken to by Pongo most of the night, and when returning home, walks in on Gussie, dressed in a way described devilish and Mephistophelesian, he conversing with Jeeves.

Bertie greets him confusedly, caused by Gussie’s appearance, and when Gussie asks his opinion of his outfit, Bertie skirts an answer to regard his being in London and how long it’d been since he’d last visited, Bertie then stating how nice of a party it must be Gussie was planning to attend, Gussie not answering and instead sending Jeeves to be sure his cab was still waiting for him, when Jeeves had gone, Gussie lets the conversation go silent as Bertie made himself a drink, then letting the old boy off the hook by confessing he’d heard of Gussie’s situation from Jeeves. Gussie not pleased to know Jeeves had shared his private business, but Bertie dismissing this and giving his blessing, asking after how they’d met, Bertie then also supplying his aid and back up to Gussie, which he thanks him for, but makes known Jeeves’ assistance being the real jewel to him, Bertie stung by his words, especially since his conversation about his dress jacket had been criticized. Bertie then asks what Jeeves had done to help Gussie so far, it being the advice to attend this party and to top it off in a Mephistopheles get-up, which burns Bertie all the more due to Jeeves displeasure over his jacket when he was suggesting Gussie go around in red tights. Bertie attempts to convince Gussie to skip the party, but Gussie couldn’t since she’d be leaving after, and whilst Gussie felt the plan would ultimately fail, he also knew it was possible he could pull it off and could get what he wanted. Gussie then digresses into metaphor involving newts, Bertie arguing the point of Gussie not having the love of Madeline if he were one of his amphibious obsessions, he arguing he would if she also were one, Bertie then getting pressure in his head from the pointless disagreement. Bertie ends the line of subject by regaining his point of Gussie skipping the date altogether, but he adamantly refusing since she would be off to the country the next day, Bertie giving in. Jeeves then returning with news of the cab being outside, Gussie bidding Bertie farewell, and Bertie turning his attention on Jeeves, (we catching up to where we began the story), Bertie getting down to Jeeves’ reasoning behind his plan for Gussie and how Bertie differed from Jeeves’ outlook on the results, he believing Jeeves’ plans tended to be on the complex side and deciding he would take over the reigns forthwith, Jeeves accepting this straight away, Bertie then sharing of plans to see Gussie the next day, but forgetting to do so what with the telegrams arriving.

We learn the order of which telegram comes first and their contents, which confounded Bertie and started a telegram chat which still left him baffled, this after spending a couple months with his aunt already, finally calling for Jeeves’ opinion which pointedly suggested he do as the telegram made plain:”come at once”. Bertie then considers the request impossible for his plans on attending the birthday party, leading in to the differing opinion on the jacket, Jeeves staying firm with not relenting his dislike of the garment like Bertie believed he would someday. Bertie lets this go and details his plan of wiring his aunt of coming around in a week or so, reasoning it should be a tolerable wait. Bertie then readies for the party, and gets home dead early in the morning, ready to pass out when Jeeves interrupts with news of his aunt’s presence, she busting in.

Bertie first reminds us dear readers of he being consistent in giving credit where it’s deserved, and his Aunt Dahlia being one of the good ones. We then recap on previous escapades Bertie had with his aunt. Bertie after, pondering why Dahlia would bombard him at such an hour after so recently returning home, he believing other tasks more pressing than visiting him before his morning tea. Bertie decides to play a silent non-indulgent humor, his aunt breaking it with her idea of what he looked like, she inquiring if it was caused by his late night, Bertie agreeing it was due to Pongo’s late party. Dahlia then commands he dress, Bertie unbelieving and then groaning with unwillingness, Jeeves entering with non-reviving, but comforting tea. Bertie then asks the meaning of her being there (she at first being a smarty pants and referring to his tea), she hinting of Bertie accompanying her back at hers and she having a task for Bertie. After his questioning further, she gets down to the quick of it being for Bertie to give away prizes at a grammar school since the original person had to decline. Dahlia then relents to Bertie having a couple days to recover from his partying night, but Bertie not quite agreeing to Dahlia’s chore for him, especially after the add-on of having to prepare a speech, but Dahlia goes for the low blow of Bertie not being welcome in her home and in extension Anatole, her chef’s cooking ever again. Bertie’s still attempting to convince her he wouldn’t be the greatest choice, she giving reasons why she couldn’t ask his Uncle, and Bertie relating how terrible the last time he’d given a speech at a school had gone, Dahlia making it clear the whole event would be dry and she’d be glad of a laugh, she reiterating of seeing him within a couple days. This exchange leaving Bertie in a funk, Jeeves then entering to announce Gussie was present.

When they go through their proper greetings, Bertie cuts to the quick of Jeeves no longer working his case, Bertie ready to take the reigns. Gussie had entered the room looking desperate, the emotion visually becoming more pronounced when he heard the news, he then sharing his reasons for coming by was to be instructed on his next move since Madeline had gone to stay with some people in the country, but once Gussie shared the name Travers, Bertie realizes the issue was a thing of the past, he confessing his aunt’s home was where Madeline had gone, and he could take him there as an honored guest, Jeeves not having the genetics on his side in regards to he having reason or ability to get Gussie entrance, Bertie requiring to make note of this. He then describes the surroundings of Brinkley practically pushing the romance and possibility of engagement right in to one’s lap, Gussie being boosted by Bertie’s words. Bertie rings for Jeeves to retrieve him telegraph paper and pencil, after which Bertie writes to his Aunt Dahlia of Gussie coming to call at Brinkley, he then giving said telegram to Gussie for delivery, he happy to do so. Bertie realizes, through discussion with Jeeves, Gussie should stay away from fatty meat, so prepares a second telegram to meet Gussie at Brinkley with his sage advice. Bertie then confesses to Jeeves his other plan for Gussie was to have his aunt offer the job of giving prizes out to Gussie, Bertie relating his inability to keep this work, and Gussie unable to say no should his aunt ask him.

Following, is the back and forth telegram messaging between Bertie, Gussie, and Aunt Dahlia, the last replying first with negative tones on why Bertie sent his friend to her home, Bertie then receiving confused word from Gussie about Bertie’s additional message about meat, he only replying to add not to eat kidneys. Bertie then hears from his aunt which confirmed his senses of Gussie growing on her, was spot on, but when she mentioned Bertie would still be expected, Bertie drops the bomb of being unable to make the engagement, his aunt responding with bodily threats. After Bertie waited a little longer though, his wish came true with another telegram from Dahlia confirming she’d gotten Gussie to replace him, and he was no longer obligated to come, but she still wished him ill harm. Bertie was extensively relieved and had a night out at the Drones, retiring at home with no issues on his mind. The next morning however, brought surprising news by telegram informing him of the troubles of his cousin Angela and Tuppy Glossop, Bertie realizing he’d have to go to Brinkley Court to be with his aunt in her time of upheaval, he sending Jeeves ahead with luggage by train, he to follow by car after his lunch appointment.

Bertie is then seen driving and in thought over Tuppy and Angela’s issues, distressed especially since he’d been rooting for the two, knowing them both so well. He believed they matched each other, even knowing relationships had there ups-and downs, Bertie thinking Tuppy knew his limit by now. He sped forth to Dahlia’s so he could hear the whole story from the source. He made the trip in good time and was even confided in by Dahlia of being glad to see him, the usual feeling given by members of his family closer to disgusted revulsion. Bertie comforts her, uncertain of how she felt and guessing aloud. “Her usually cheerful map was clouded, and the genial smile conspic. by it’s absence.” Needed a reminder of what the ‘a’ was. She affirmed her worry, and mentions how she should be giving him a piece of her mind for his cowardly way of getting out of prize-giving, but allows him a pass since he came, and also thought “Spink-Bottle” a win, as long as he didn’t digress about newts. Dahlia also mentions her worry about Tom, her husband. Bertie calls him Uncle Tom and Dahlia alludes to how every time he does she imagines him black with a banjo (I didn’t get around to reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but I do enjoy Dahlia’s mindset.), but her worry was over his reaction to her loss in gambling, and this at a time when she needed funding for her weekly journal Milady’s Boudoir. Bertie was confused because of how long it was taking for Dahlia’s paper to take off (two years), she clearly stating Bertie would stay bewildered until he did a paper for himself, she also giving reply to how welcome Tom had been up to this point on the subject of money, his mood changing with the income tax representatives bothering him for more cash, and now he raving about it since her return home.

Bertie wasn’t surprised since knowing his Uncle couldn’t give up a fight when it came to his bankroll, regardless of its immensity. Dahlia mentions how Tom’s only source of comfort was Anatole’s menu, the two praising Anatole’s goodness, Dahlia after a few moments remembering her reasons for starting this conversation and getting back on track with why Angela and Tuppy were arguing, it shark-fin related. Apparently Angela, during vacation in Cannes, had met with a shark whilst aquaplaning: being towed by boat and riding behind attached it. Angela had been tossed, regained her board only to get knocked off again by a shark, and whilst gaining the attention of the driver to come back for her, she felt this shark nipping at her ankles. So when Angela relayed this story to Tuppy, he gives no reaction, and when she finished, suggested it could have been a log, but she reminded him it had jumped at her, so he allows it could have been a harmless fish, she angrily calling him names of idiocy, and he not comprehending her near fatality. Bertie definitely empathized with his cousin’s view, he knowing the few times one’s likely to have vibrant stories to share only to have someone play it down as nothing special. Well, from there it got worse as both stubbornly, on one side, and possibly ignorant on the other, both kept pointing faults out on the other until the engagement disintegrated. Bertie’s aunt again giving relief for Bertie having come, but he says some back-lashing words which his aunt is then reminded of having need of Jeeves. Bertie’s face is the only part of him to show shock, he sitting, but knowing the shock would’ve spread if in another, more upright position. Bertie then speaks his mind in what he’d thought of Jeeves’ handiness of late, he believing those who immediately sought Jeeves should at least allow him a shot at the problem first.

Dahlia sensed Bertie was in opposition to Jeeves for some reason, he denying there was any issue (but relates to us, dear readers) of a cause for his surliness stemming from Jeeves’ neglect in packing Bertie’s beloved jacket, he having seen it in his closet, it still hanging, so he remedied this by including it among his own items, but believed Jeeves was pulling a fast one on him. Dahlia brings him back to the subject of having Jeeves help Angela and Tuppy’s situation, but Bertie again pipes in, she should allow him to test his plan to renew their love, Dahlia insisting he stay out of it, and refusing to listen to his plan. Bertie leaves her as she wished, in the metaphorical dark, and goes outside where he sees a figurative dark cloud over Tuppy, whom was slinging stones at a flowerpot. Tuppy is reintroduced with a shared story of he and Bertie’s past, when Tuppy had pranked him and Bertie still rankled, but not so much as to enjoy his unhappiness of his engagement falling apart. One could see by Bertie’s look and demeanor he meant to aid fixing Tuppy’s situation. Tuppy didn’t respond with gladness, but dazed emptiness of emotion. He asked whether Bertie was staying or visiting, Bertie toying with the idea of confessing his intention to help Angela and he, but decides not to, since some people don’t take help lightly. Bertie gives an answer which brings indifference, Tuppy then bringing up how Bertie most likely heard of his troubles, Bertie confirming and asking why Tuppy would denounce Angela’s shark, he sharing his side of the story, which included defending himself from being called “material” due to wondering aloud about Anatole’s food decisions. Bertie agrees this to be good reasoning, but if love shall prevail, shouldn’t he have let her win this one, Tuppy unable to deny his love for her, but she also requiring an ego hit. Bertie is unable to accept his words and asks Tuppy what happened to his kind, romantic self, Tuppy wondering where Angela’s good qualities had gone, especially after being told he had a double chin. Bertie attempts to have Tuppy overlook this and fix their fight, but Tuppy refuses due to other fat points Angela had made. Bertie tries to keep Tuppy in perspective about his words to Angela, but he saw them as helpful, not purposely hurtful. Bertie now knew how difficult his task would be, he supposing aloud of Angela being torn up by their feud. Bertie then suggesting she’s putting on a “mask” to hide her true emotions, and a way of giving sign to a truce would be to make a grand gesture of pushing their upcoming meal away (TV show also covering this story). Tuppy has trouble with this at first since it’s Anatole’s cooking which is desired by all who come across him, but Bertie reminds Tuppy he can go down to the kitchen in the night to satiate his palate, which upon hearing, brightens Tuppy into agreeing, he assuming Jeeves came up with the plan and disbelieving Bertie could manage anything so perfect, Bertie taking offense, but his displeasure going unnoticed, he instead reminding Tuppy the time was ripe to dress for dinner.

Bertie was still most affected by Tuppy’s close-minded thoughts, it especially hurtful to give due credit to an employee whom was subordinating Bertie’s jacket. He eventually obtains composure by bath, the most aiding accessory being a toy duck. Once the calming bath was through, he’s met by Jeeves whom greets him formally and hands Bertie his socks, upon request. Bertie then mentions Jeeves supposition of the task he’s given himself being quite the doozy and being met with agreement by Jeeves. Bertie then eases Jeeves’ mind by assuring he’s handled the issue accordingly, Jeeves politely asking for details, and he being secretive, but then sharing a plan of feigned peril for Tuppy to show how much he cared by making certain of Angela’s safety, Bertie nixing and closing the “subj.”. Silently, Bertie is worrying and saddened by Jeeves failing ability of coming up with a decent plan, Jeeves again responding in a way which has Bertie defending his sound plan from criticism. Then Bertie critiques Jeeves’ way of making his reply sound dubious of Bertie’s success. Jeeves agreeing to work on this, but once Bertie confides his plan, Jeeves again gives him the impression of questioning the soundness of it, Bertie overlooking the cracks Jeeves thought were holes, he instead asking for his white jacket, Jeeves seeming to smugly mention his forgetfulness to pack it, and Bertie confessing of his good fortune in supplying it for himself, and for Jeeves to bring it from the hall. When Bertie’s aunt first catches sight of him, she likens him to a group of men in a musical.

Bertie learns his aunt’s mood may be caused by his Uncle still being in a bad mood. Bertie attempting to come up with an alternative to his aunt’s mess, but learning a new fact which pinches the idea. Bertie then discovers Dahlia could join the crew of non-eaters, he not explaining himself clearly at first, but once she understood what Bertie meant, she was quite pleased and decided to take part. When the guests sat to dinner, Bertie was not prepared for the serious atmosphere and was quite happy when it was done, everyone in a particular mood, Bertie especially surprised by Gussie’s deathly appearance since last he’d seen him. After the meal, Bertie was deciding to catch up with Gussie, but got caught up with a game of backgammon with his aunt until she was pulled away to speak with Anatole. Bertie discovers Gussie in the garden, he not receiving him well, quite upset over Bertie pawning off his prize-giving onto him, he prepared for this unpleasant confrontation. He makes it seem like Gussie taking over this task was a part of his plan to show the many sides of Gussie, which Bertie does fair enough selling, only needing to claim how simple his speech at the girls school had gone. Bertie then councils Gussie through his inability to ask for Madeline’s hand. Gussie coming around to the idea, but then fretting over what he’ll have to say once Bertie “tags him in”, he giving him a phrase Jeeves had said to him and then some interesting metaphors Madeline had come up with. Bertie rounds off the turns of phrase until steering Gussie to the main, then suggesting he have a couple shots beforehand to even the nerves, Gussie sharing he’d never imbibed, to Bertie’s surprise, but Gussie would need to work with what he allowed himself, o.j., then Bertie runs through the plan with him before leaving him to it. Bertie going off to locate Madeline to begin his part, but realizing upon viewing her, how she wasn’t one of his most bosom of buddies and this could be a bit uncomfortable for him. Bertie sallies forth, though, getting Madeline into the yard and struggling with where to go from there, more figuratively than literal.

Bertie first begins by giving example to how straight forward his conversation with Madeline could’ve gone if she were a different sort, it being hashed out relatively quickly. Madeline was prone to being affected by twilight though, and Bertie knew he was going to have trouble speaking with her, she supplying chat which involved the stars, Bertie listening to the sorts of diverse subjects Madeline would bring to his attention, before she referring to a single star which didn’t support her “daisy-chain” metaphor, he thinking she needed to choose which she believed, but ignores this since realizing he could use the subject matter as a lead-in when she veers off course over some rabbits nearby. Madeline shares how when she was younger she believed rabbits were gnomes (is it odd or simply because I’m reading two British authors at the same time being the reason they both have gnomes in their stories?), this somehow relating to her idea of seeing a fairy queen. Bertie lets this slide and finally pipes in about how her comment about “shedding tears” earlier, related to an “aching heart” someone on the property was dealing with, Madeline guessing who it could be, Bertie getting more annoyed as she kept getting it wrong, but finally he indirectly spouting the point of “this aching heart” relating to the inability of confessing this love for Madeline, she getting misty-eyed and Bertie tired with the effort, he not realizing Madeline thought he was speaking of himself until she replied how she had noticed the looks he’d been giving her at Cannes, he now knowing he was in too deep to back out now, but was dismayed with the idea of being engaged to a girl like Madeline. Bertie awaits her to finish explaining painfully, but was lucky by the end of it, she turning his misproposal down. Bertie is so relieved, he accepts this readily, she apologizing and Bertie easing her mind, quite content with her suggestion of staying friends, she looking at him with compassion, and he wanting to explain how fine it was, but resisting, there being a long enough pause for Bertie’s mind to wander when Madeline had picked up the subj. again to wish she could return his feelings, but they needing to keep this little confession a secret, she spiraling into wanting to share a thought with him since they were truly friends, Bertie sensing out loud she felt love for another, she agreeing, and Bertie thinking how he didn’t look forward to breaking the news to Gussie, Bertie believing it would push him over the edge. He gives example of the two spectrums by mentioning his buddy Bingo whom bounces back quickly from disappointment, Gussie lying on the other side, the kind to pine. Madeline was explaining how the man she spoke of hadn’t shown signs of affection for her yet, but details how they first met, Bertie realizing it must be Gussie she was describing, he so relieved and surprised, a “wow” escapes, startles Madeline, and he making an excuse to withdraw as Gussie comes forward. Bertie now certain their fates were locked together, adjourning to the smoking room for a celebratory drink.

Bertie walks us through the making of his liquid delight and drinks with his feet up in an armchair (I had one of those funny images of his feet being above his head, heh), he thinking of how Gussie could already have done the deed and could already be hashing out plans, making Bertie glad for the newt-loving fool. Bertie is interrupted with his fluffy thoughts by whom he assumed was Tuppy walking in quietly and making himself a drink, as well. Bertie had forgotten his second case temporarily due to the supposed success of Gussie’s. He getting right into how Tuppy was doing, whether Angela had approached him and all, Tuppy flustered for his empty stomach, and relaying Angela hadn’t so much as stepped near him, Bertie then looking on the upside possibility Angela was currently searching for him, Tuppy believing she hadn’t even noticed his ultimate sacrifice, Bertie again attempting to show how it didn’t seem likely she hadn’t noticed at all, he listing the courses and Tuppy interrupting due to not having eaten them. Bertie changes tactics by trying to leave him words of strength, which does the opposite since Bertie again reminded him of food, this time from the pantry, and after Bertie realized his ignorant mistake, the two sit in silence for awhile.

Tuppy gets up only to show his frustration through the attacking of furniture, Bertie respectfully averting his eyes, until Tuppy picks up the reigns of chat once more, he speaking of the topic of Angela, and through his thorough examining of the matter, he detects the theory there was “dirty work” all over the tiff, Bertie disagreeing once Tuppy mentions it couldn’t have been caused by his inconsiderate words of the shark. Tuppy thinks Angela already wanted to end the engagement using the shark as a catalyst. Tuppy believing she must’ve fallen for another whilst at Cannes. He then making direct threats to the unlucky fella if he ever saw him, then exits. Bertie waiting a beat before heading for the drawing room to locate Angela for a chat. He only discovers his aunt, whom didn’t look pleased due to her appetite raging, she informing Bertie of Angela already having gone up to her room early due to a headache, the news not sounding good to him. Dahlia inquiring why he wanted to know and he relaying he’d wanted to walk and talk with her, Dahlia taking the opportunity to detail a favor involving Bertie drowning himself in the pond, and after his aunt describing she would dance on his grave. Bertie was hurt and bitter by her words likening himself to a girl he’d read about in a book whom didn’t wish to remain in the house if she was going to take such abuse.

Bertie calms for recollecting her empty insides, he asking straight out why she was ‘biting his head off’, his intuition being sound, she mentioning her food lust, and he proposing the same raid to the kitchen for steak and kidney pie. This doesn’t ease her mind though, since Tom was not receptive to being empathetic to Dahlia’s lack of eating, he wounded over Anatole putting in his notice because of all the untouched plates. Bertie apologizes sincerely what with the part he’d played in the mess, Tom truly overwhelmed with the loss, Dahlia’s handout less likely. Bertie was short on remedies now, but willing to make the effort, Dahlia showing him what staggering looked like whilst in a sitting position. She making clear on her unfinished threat if he were so bold to attempt another fix-it project, but Bertie leaves the room, hearing what sounded like the Tennyson volume sitting beside his aunt fly at the door, he not dwelling on this and going out to the lawn to ruminate on some ideas, hearing a groan of which he thought could be from his Uncle Tom, but deciphers the forms on the bench to be Jeeves and Gussie. What was so hard to understand for Bertie was Gussie seemed to be in a negative state, when he gets close enough, Jeeves greets him, but Gussie bids him farewell with the plan of walking to the pond to drown himself, Jeeves suggesting this isn’t the best plan, so Gussie takes his word, making known how everyone he’s encountered, including Mrs. Travers had been nothing but nice to him, and instead would go for a stroll.

Bertie is perfectly flummoxed by Gussie’s attitude, asking Jeeves how it could’ve gone so badly with Bertie’s training Gussie beforehand, Jeeves relaying how Gussie had gone off-course and instead of proposing, blasted Madeline with a flurry of newt-talk. At first Bertie couldn’t fathom how this could’ve happened, but after further detail of Gussie becoming too nervous and began to chatter aimlessly, Bertie reminisces of his own experience with a dentist. He then imagining how the failure could’ve went down and when using the conversation model between he and dentist, he discovers how easily it could’ve caved in. Bertie also learning the amount of time Gussie had to share this subject line before Madeline opted to return indoors. Bertie understanding how demanding a job helping Gussie was going to be, he usually asking Jeeves’ advice by now, but instead sharing the situation needing careful thinking over and wishing Jeeves a good night, Bertie reflecting on what option would be optimal as he goes.

Bertie relates how he has luck sleeping on a problem and the solution revealing itself by morning, which it had, he having a new plan for Gussie to admit his feelings: alcohol. Bertie was ready to share his idea with Jeeves when he came in with Bertie’s tea, but Tuppy comes in after Jeeves, he looking rough, Jeeves fluidly exiting, and Tuppy wanting to share his woes with Bertie after he declined to listen to Bertie’s new strategy. Bertie then refrains in preference to hearing why, Tuppy describing how he’d gone at one a.m. to snack in the kitchen, he encountering Angela, Dahlia, and Tom, the last thinking burglars were invading, so was packing heat, as well. The conversation being relived by Tuppy was upsetting him since Angela was able to make him feel fat once more. She continually pressing the button even as they all returned to their rooms, Bertie playing at positivity, but Tuppy certain Angela was in love with another and disgusted by him. Bertie then kills the idea she fell in love at Cannes, saying they’d spent most of their time together, she not close to anyone, but himself, he not helping the sharing of this by describing Angela’s name for herself in their youth. Tuppy stays in thoughtful silence until the gong for breakfast is heard, he off like lightning, and Bertie believing he’d done good with both his current and upcoming plans, and ready to share with Jeeves as he retrieved the tea tray.

Bertie begins his engaging Jeeves with noting Tuppy’s unkempt look, Bertie explains his most recent woe, still believing Angela held the old torch, and had a new idea to get her aimed in the right direction, he deciding a good roast of Tuppy will get Angela to defend him regardless of their anger toward each other. Bertie gets the light bulb from a similar experience he had with a girl whom was insulting her fiance, Bertie agreeing with her without knowing this fact, and she reacting unfavorably upon Bertie. Once he’d settled the time-frame, having Jeeves make note of Angela off with friends currently, he set his sights upon Gussie’s love issue. Bertie plainly refers to Gussie as a b.m. and lists why when Jeeves attempts to show decorum, the main example being of the costume and not going to the party, Bertie making note even on the off-chance Gussie had made it, due to his straight-edge sensibilities, would not have proposed, and so Bertie planned on spiking Gussie’s o.j. with a hefty amount of gin. He then has to school Jeeves once more on his inflection of his ‘sirs’, Jeeves explaining Bertie’s plan was a bit forward, since Bertie didn’t know how sensitive Gussie could be to the spirit, but shares a story about a parrot to help explain, Bertie not catching the gist and focusing only on Gussie not being a winged creature, fully intending to implement his plan. He then relates the reason he’s waiting for the next day to begin, it being for Gussie hosting the prize-giving and would be able to kill two birds with his gin high, but when Bertie adds perhaps Jeeves should be the one to spike Gussie’s juice due to having easier access, Jeeves apologetically declines, Bertie wounded by this, but not taking it personally.

Bertie didn’t recognize the names of Angela’s buddies, and she likely having a great time, for barely making it back in time to change for dinner, Bertie catching her afterwards in the drawing room, and looking like she needed a friendly ear. They speak cordially, but familiarly with one another, Bertie inviting her for a stroll, Tuppy then upsetting a mini-table with breakables atop it, startling Dahlia, and Tom pitching in with a teacup, Tuppy apologizing, but Angela giving him a look of being above it, they continuing out and planting themselves on a bench, Bertie starting off slow with easy chat, they beginning with Angela’s day-long stay with the Stretchley-Budds, she helping them with the set up for a party for the servants, Anatole not attending for wanting to return to where he was valued. Angela was ready to go indoors due to the dew, but Bertie extends her stay by offering his lap as a shoe-guard against the ghastly nature, she accepting and they idly conversing, it slowly dying off, and Bertie hearing rustling in the bushes, debating its weaselly origins, then going straight into the candid, Angela admitting to the wedding being off for sure, Bertie going in for the kill and laying Tuppy a new one, Angela replying how she’d believed they were chums, he denying this, and relying on past experience to aid the believability. He struggles with his words since he didn’t truly have hard feelings toward the nitwit, but attempting once more, his last go confusing her, and then himself for having to repeat it multiple times, but then he explains himself so thoroughly, it hurt him to go on, what with the expunging of all oxygen in the relation and he not enjoying being so harsh, but finishing it off like a champ. After all of this, and no reaction from her, Bertie is in awe by her indifference, but then as she’s still staring at the bushes, she agrees with Bertie’s tirade, he not having planned for this off-chance possibility, taking a moment to form a response. Before he has a chance though, Angela goes on with relish and states other bad qualities Tuppy had, even going for his hair thinning, she then deciding to return indoors, Tuppy of course, exiting from his bushy cocoon.

Bertie senses a defensive stance was needed, repositioning himself behind the bench, he then gauging Tuppy’s physical appearance giving signs of his fury. Bertie plays innocent whilst Tuppy stays fixated on harming him, he staying calm and using the bench as buffer as he attempts to explain his uncouth opinions of Tuppy, interrupting himself with talk of haggis (ingredients) and Tuppy’s background (Scotch). One part during his wait for Tuppy to realize his intentions, he notes the beetle which had stayed its post on Tuppy’s head having finally buzzed off quite hilariously. Then again, Tuppy’s confession of he believing Bertie was getting the love bug for Angela, (worth the read in itself due to Bertie’s innocent reaction of cousins being anything other than blood relatives being snort-worthy, as well) especially with his reply, but still not convincing Tuppy until mentioning an interest at Cannes with another girl. When defending his choice of Madeline being his heart-puller, Tuppy is stunned to a stop from his lunging at Bertie (along with Bertie’s backtracking with Madeline’s odd opinion of stars and rabbits truly tickling me), he’s finally convinced upon hearing Madeline had declined interest in Bertie. Tuppy has a couple more instances of flare up due to remembering the choice of words Bertie had used against him, but Bertie reminds him it was all for the plan of his roast, and Bertie realizing Angela must’ve seen Tuppy in the bush to maker her say all those sensitive topics, she reappearing then for another jab consisting of a plate of sandwiches for Tuppy, Bertie finally getting his release from the fluctuating safety of the chat, he following Angela back in as they hear the plate knocked over angrily, Angela enchanted with the calm night (love it!).

Next morning Bertie contemplates his inability to rejoin Angela and Tuppy’s souls, so he instead changes to Gussie’s situation at hand. He having executed his spiking of juice with much effort according to he, as acting cupid, overcoming the issues, and able to catch some z’s in the midst of needing to obtain the jug from the kitchen. Fortunately, Bertie’s timing was fine since he ran into Gussie practicing his speech on the lawn, Bertie more certain once speaking with the nervous nerd, he’d made the right decision. He then brings up of having good tidings, but once Gussie begins to guess and none of his hopes of the school for some reason shutting down, Bertie gives Gussie a general upbeat phrase to say since he had nada in the speech department. Bertie then attempts to assure Gussie he should speak with Madeline again, Gussie not seeing the point since making a fool of himself and believing she couldn’t stand him anymore. Then after Bertie failed to make impression with a partially remembered story, Gussie insists Bertie leave him to figure out what he’ll say. As Bertie obliges, this moment had been his deciding factor whether to proceed as planned, he off to the kitchen for the o.j., and when entering his room with Jeeves already present, he comes to learn Jeeves had decided to rally round and succumb to Bertie’s plan, already lacing something upon having a worrisome exchange whilst Bertie napped. He was pleased, but thought a bit more in the juice couldn’t hurt for safety purposes, and when Jeeves shares of having shared an anecdotal story for Gussie’s use, he leaving him, Bertie is in mid-pour, and an obviously sloshed Gussie walks in, Bertie making certain Gussie had willingly imbibed, he confirming this with the knowledge of consuming much whiskey. Bertie was currently quite glad of a large picture obscuring the tainted juice, they then going down to lunch, everyone quite solemn since it wasn’t Anatole’s meals. After, Bertie returns to his room to get ready to go to the school, Gussie already being taken there, Jeeves and he slowly understand, Gussie had consumed the pitcher of o.j., the two unable to imagine the events which could come from such a highly inexperienced intoxication.

During the drive, Bertie remarks to Jeeves how even if the prize-giving goes south, Gussie should definitely ace his proposal when attempted, Bertie thinking Gussie would gain the air of Cagney. Jeeves then informs Bertie of Gussie already having obtained his engagement before leaving, he pleasantly surprised, but allowing how well his plan, not Jeeves’, had worked. When they arrived and Bertie sees Gussie being directed to his seat, he was hit by traumatic nostalgia of his own speech-giving moment. He considering anyone who was familiar with drinking would be able to detect the lack of sobriety of Gussie. Bertie doesn’t engage with the proceedings until noting how Gussie attempted to cross his legs a repeatedly until having to correct the headmaster a couple of times on the pronunciation of his name, Gussie responding with a happily forgiving “you silly ass” being quite hilarious. Also, before this point, Dahlia became aware of Gussie’s buzz. The headmaster deciding whether to turn the floor to Gussie what with his colorful outbursts thus far, but Gussie takes the decision away when announcing his speech-y time, he getting quite a reception from the boys, and actually not bombing. He even has a moment to speak of Tom and his opinion of the state of the world not being beautiful (the main motif of Gussie’s speech), and still going strong on crowd likability. Then right as Bertie was glad he wasn’t seated with his family, Gussie spots him and calls him out as a pessimist. Finally, he’s interrupted with the task of giving the prizes, after the first handed out, Gussie’s likability slowly drops. He attempts to speak with each child, but when Scripture Knowledge was presented, and Bertie’s name again lingered on, Bertie makes his way out, getting to bed and passing out, he awoken by Jeeves for dinner. He is given the details of what happened after and how quickly the ceremony ended, Jeeves then relaying of Gussie losing his engagement, Bertie overcome with this update, but they then interrupted by Tuppy collapsing outside Bertie’s door.

Bertie wasn’t receptive to the look in Tuppy’s eye, and he wasn’t keen to notice Jeeves had done his usual habit of trickling out quietly, but it seemed he worried over this for nothing, Tuppy explaining his reason for coming was to apologize. Bertie misinterpreted the reason for the apology being related to Tuppy’s prank on him with the rings at the pool, but he clarifies by stating it was for not believing his love for Madeline. Now though, Tuppy was certain Gussie had stolen Angela from him, regardless of Bertie relating he loved “the Bassett”, too. Tuppy will have none of this since being told by Angela of Gussie and her engagement, surprising him, Jeeves entering after Tuppy leaves to inflict death upon Gussie, Jeeves then pointing out Bertie’s plan to discover Gussie needed no more than a glance to his bed, Gussie in the midst from crawling out from underneath it. Unfortunately for Gussie, he hadn’t much time to relax, since after Jeeves locked the door per Gussie’s request, Tuppy came back, Gussie making for the closet before Tuppy barges in and claiming he knew Gussie was in there, only to be shocked when he emerged and dashed out, Tuppy following after overcoming his surprise, Bertie then dismissing Jeeves in order to give these new developments serious contemplation.

Fortunately, Bertie was of Wooster stock, so his need for thinking over the problem took mere moments, he deciding he must speak with the angelic player, Angela, she admitting her motives, as for being for the entertainment, Tuppy supplying this in spades. Bertie attempts to have her end the game, but she having no intention of doing so, offhandedly insulting Bertie, and he letting her alone. He was disheartened by Angela’s unsympathetic view of her joke, he remembering a quote by Kipling of the (f)emale of the (s)pecies being more (d)eadly than the (m)ale. Bertie decided it was time for brain food, on his way, discovering Dahlia ahead of his mindset. She showed she was in better spirits by offering him some of her snack, and the two chatting about the servants party, then moving to Gussie, Bertie sensing she hadn’t heard of his engagement since she raved about how wonderful his performance had been at the school. Dahlia also mentions how her mood couldn’t be turned due to Anatole deciding to stay on. Then Dahlia’s butler enters to inform her of Gussie potentially stirring up Anatole,after all of Dahlia’s hard work convincing him to retract his notice.

This news seemed to freeze all who heard, Bertie’s apple slice chewing the only noise to break the silence, and upon further inquiry by Dahlia, the couple learn Gussie was sitting on the roof and disturbing Anatole’s ability to slumber with making faces at him. Dahlia was off like a shot when her butler, Seppings said it had “upset” Anatole, Bertie and he quickly following Dahlia up the stairs. The scene they run to is an obvious displeased Anatole shaking his fists at the skylight where Gussie gazed down with the look of a fish, Bertie sympathetic to Anatole’s plight. When Dahlia asks Anatole what’s happened, he gives his version in quite an eclectic choice of words, Bertie agreeing with him without provocation (even though to see the dialogue, it’s quite a “mixed” explanation). Anatole continues his rant of how he attempted to learn Gussie’s reasons for staring down at him, but nothing comes of it, he ending in French, (many versions to choose from) “I do not care what type of vile chap. It’s stupid to make like a bird, go away.” Dahlia attempting to soothe Anatole, but ends up stirring him up with a misinterpreted choice of words, Anatole again threatening to leave, everyone showing Gussie the error of his ways by gesture or dirty look. Bertie finally figures what Gussie was conveying through facial signs: he was stuck up there, so they then endeavored to open the skylight, and once Gussie was secured in the room, was unable to explain himself. Dahlia gives up after attempting to extract some detail of Gussie’s reasoning, she suggesting Bertie get him out of there and give him some ice for his head, whilst she again attempted to calm Anatole. Bertie then asks Gussie if Tuppy had been chasing him again, and, in French, a “shiver” going through him. Bertie considers aloud Gussie should away to his room before Tuppy picked up his scent once more. Once he was properly tucked away behind locked door, Bertie makes his way back to the dining room for more fruit salad and a further ponder, Dahlia joining him soon after with request of a drink, Bertie in his element and supplying hastily. He then attempts empathy, but is greeted with he being compared to Attila the Hun, to his dismay, she then explaining Anatole’s plan to leave the next day and also learning of Angela and Gussie’s engagement, she no longer caring if Bertie planned to fix these new problems what with not seeing how it could get worse. Bertie then is given a letter by Jeeves from the Bassett, whom decided she was going to marry him, Bertie wailing his dismay.

Bertie realized he wouldn’t be able to decline now he had been reclaimed, he giving the letter a second perusal and not landing an idea until some snacking was had, first the sequence of events which would get Angela and Tuppy together, as well as Gussie and Madeline trying again, coming to him. Bertie decides after another slice of cheese, he’d locate Madeline, but this needn’t have been a necessity since Madeline wandered in not long after the thought was shared. The conversation which follows is full of one repeating the other and apologies for speaking at the same time. When Madeline gets her side out, she confesses her affection for Bertie, but still held a flame for Gussie. Madeline couldn’t see a reconciliation between them though, then Angela comes in and the two ladies commence in congratulating and well-wishing each other, Bertie taking the moment to excuse himself for a think, going outside and literally bumping into Jeeves. He takes a moment to measure whether Jeeves could help him with his situation, and decides to give him a shot, but only if he could refrain from making Bertie give up his mess jacket, he agreeing, then offering his previous suggestion and Bertie too hard up to poo-poo the plan. They discuss the finer points and decide half an hour after midnight would meet the hour of execution of the idea to commence.

Bertie then compares how country living as opposed to London living affects his actions; For instance, at night in the country, Bertie’s imagination takes over and he’s more susceptible to the heebies with the possibility of the supernatural taking him by surprise. What was currently bothering him, though was in knowing it was time to ring the fire bell and the shock of the noise it would make in the deadly quiet. He then remembers another chap from the Drones having a similar experience and he only concerned about his own timely escape when the alarm sounded (the difference here being, he wasn’t currently in love, which Bertie didn’t catch). None of this mattered due to the results being Bertie walking with everyone to the lawn, Bertie calling Jeeves over to discuss how the plan didn’t go accordingly, Jeeves then alerting Bertie  to Dahlia attempting to get his attention about why he’d rung the bell, she taking his excuse well enough and declaring she would return to bed when Gussie states of all doors being locked, Dahlia then losing it, and ranting about the failed loyalty of their butler. As she continued, Jeeves waited patiently to catch her attention, and upon doing so, calms Dahlia with giving an idea, she prompting him to share, he revealing a bicycle was at their disposal and Dahlia immediately voting Bertie be the rider, he attempts to deflect the task and fails, he then moodily beginning his ride, thinking of the dark joke Jeeves told of two men becoming one due to a tandem bicycle collision with a van. Moving forward to Bertie arriving at the Manor, he confesses how the ride had changed him to a more serious soul, especially when learning from Sepping, Jeeves currently had the back door keys (this is also added in the TV show), Bertie returning to Brinkley to learn why he’d been sent on this ride-around.

Bertie describes how he felt closer to scorned women (in reference to the saying). When he reaches Brinkley, he’s greeted by Madeline, he wanting to give Jeeves a piece of his mind, but Bertie waiting patiently, as the two soon begin misunderstanding each other again, he learning Jeeves was currently in the dining room, and also the time he’d ‘uncovered’ the house key. Madeline then drags out another piece of information she wished to share, getting caught up with comparison of Bertie to the knights of the Round Table, finally hinting at what she required, Bertie obliging once understanding it was about their coupledom, he then excusing himself so he could change. Bertie was so lightened by this news, he didn’t even feel anger toward Jeeves anymore. Then Tuppy greets him, only then returning from the cellar with liquid refreshment, he catching Bertie up on he and Angela making up after Bertie shared of Tuppy being back in the game with Angela, he then resuming to the dining room when Dahlia called, she in better spirits, as well since Anatole withdrew his notice once more and Tom had given her a cheque for her paper. Bertie continued to his task of bathing and was met by Jeeves upon the finish, Bertie so intent on questioning about everyone’s happiness, he didn’t even regard the inquiry of how his journey had been. Bertie gets Jeeves explanation on how the rest of his plan came down to psychology and if the group had a common irritation (Bertie), they’d resolve their own issues, which had gone as planned. Bertie realizes he could use an omelette after Jeeves shared the anecdote with the necessity of breaking some eggs. When Jeeves returns with revitalizing refreshments, Bertie asks Jeeves if he was troubled over anything, Jeeves confessing to ruining by iron, his mess jacket, Bertie verging on anger, but then giving French phrase, ‘What is the purpose of it?’, ‘generous wrath’, wouldn’t be worth it, Bertie taking the news on the chin, and continuing his consumption of omelette eating.


As usual, loved this one, and am still pleased with recognizing how closely the TV series kept the story-line so on point. Also, the reason I won’t quote excerpts of the book, usually is firstly, there are plenty of reviewers who do, and also due to the hilarity of the conversations between characters, since they are so genuine and deadpan in the reading, it must be read all at once since the back-story is usually important and one wouldn’t necessarily get the same gleefulness seeing it in mid-magic. To the next!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & other selections

We begin with The Author’s Account of Himself, which describes of he having enjoyed discovering new places, which bothered his parents, but he exploring all the spots known for robbery, murder, or ghosts, one day viewing a vast scenery from a hill, impressing him with its many miles. From then on studying books about travel and neglecting his school work, he traveling to watch ships sail away and fantasizing of the adventures they’d had so far away. He goes on to contemplate, after seeing parts of America, to go to Europe to see the history of his origin. He concludes with having and not knowing whether it was luck or not of being able to travel many countries and studying the scenery like a tourist rather than a “philosopher”, he going so far as to sketch a few scenes from the places he’d been for friends and how differently his choice for sketches would be from a landscape painter, whom would choose the secret, lesser known spots rather than the tourist attraction areas.

Then The Legend of Sleepy Hollow begins with a description of Tarry Town (not important), which explains where the name stems from: housewives in the next town, caused by their spouses going to the bar, then we learn of an especially quiet spot a short distance from the town, the only noise coming from a brook and birds. Inhabitants of this area coming from the Dutch and the glen known as Sleepy Hollow. The town had rumors surrounding it which indicated there were hex-like powers within it. Many odd sightings and feelings being experienced by the people, one leading apparition being the Headless Horseman. The story behind the Horseman’s origins is of he being a Hessian trooper whom was hit by a cannon-ball in the Revolutionary War, the ghost having some space to ride, it being said to go as far as a churchyard where he was supposedly buried. We then are told of Ichabod Crane whom had stayed there some thirty years previous to teach the children, then receiving description of his physical character (which reminds me of Johnny Depp’s version more than the TV show version). His school house is shown and how it was easy to enter, but if closed, was rigged for being difficult to escape from, as well as the sort of teacher he was when it came to corporal punishment, but had a “justice” about whom he’d target. He also tended to chum about with the older boys and made rounds of the children’s homes when it came to room and board. The scene painted of Crane is wildly different than those portrayed, except, again with perhaps Depp’s role, if only he’d been focused on multiple ladies, as mentioned in the story; the boy’s eye wandered, for sure. 

Crane attempted to make himself useful for his staying though, doing chores in and outside of the property’s of the farmers hosting him. He also orchestrated and taught the local church choir, he being quite popular among the ladies for his fancy dress and speech, but also having the latest news to share with each home he entered. He also enjoyed reading a book of witchcraft by the brook until dark after he taught class, singing as he made his way to whichever home he stayed. He also enjoyed spending time with the wives as they spun clothes, sharing ghost and scary stories, Crane doing the same with his choice of reading and scientific facts. Crane did become spooked by his walk home some nights due to sounds or mistaken view of shrubbery. One day he’s running into a barely legal girl whom was daughter to a man of prominent stature, Crane having been to the man’s home once, he imagining what his dinners must look like with such meaty variety, he then viewing the inside of the farmer’s home. Crane contemplated how he’d win Katrina, the girl’s heart, especially since there was already plenty of contenders and the main one being a young man called Brom, a tough, mischievous, good-humored hooligan whom sometimes did horse ride-bys with his buddies late at night making loud whooping noises, waking the ladies up who knew the culprit immediately upon listening. Back to Crane’s woo, though, even knowing Brom was testing his luck with Katrina, Crane couldn’t give up and made his move as well, but more toned down, Brom hearing about it anyways, and his threat of what he’d do to Crane getting back to him, he making sure to avoid Brom, but he getting at Crane other ways, like his school house being vandalized. Besides these happenings, one afternoon Crane receives an invitation to a party at the Van Tassel’s, Katrina’s family, this happening on a school day and prompting Crane to rush the rest of the lessons and let the kids out early so he could prepare.

There is also multiple reference of Crane being similar to the “knight-errant”, he again having this air as he rode to Katrina’s, looking quite a figure atop the horse he’d borrowed. When he’d arrived, the other guests were noted in attempting to look their smartest, Crane noticing, but not acknowledging Brom, the two entering, and Crane bringing his attention to all the yummy goodness around him (the man loved his food). Then he has a dance with Katrina, as Brom watched, and afterwards goes to listen to a conversation with her father, officially losing his momentum by leaving Katrina alone, the loser. Crane heard the group sharing terrifying tales of every kind, soon landing on the Horseman, Crane hears the latest of a man’s run in and where the Horseman was seen most often, as well as a story from Brom with his encounter. After a bit more stories are related, the party breaks up, people go home, except for Crane, whom waits for a moment to speak with Katrina, whom he thought he was at the top of the game with. The Narrator doesn’t know the details of the conversation though, only knowing Crane didn’t stay long after and wasn’t happy. He waking his horse with disrespect and riding by the gnarly tree, but having another moment of uncertainty when coming to a brook where the man of the namesaked tree had been held up. Crane attempts to rush by the obstacle, but now the horse resists stubbornly, unwilling to obey his savagely made demands. Then he notices a presence in the dark, Crane calling out for an answer and getting none, so begins humming a psalm (hilariously), the creature moving into the horse’s blind spot, and Crane realizing it was the Horseman.

Crane rides off, attempting to lose him, but regardless of speeding up or slowing down, the Horseman matches his pace. When Crane notices where his head was though, it renewed his energy to flee, the horse taking a route of his own decision, it leading past a “goblin bridge” and the church. Crane’s saddle then comes loose and he slides back and forth as the horse runs in a panic. Crane then notices he’s approaching the bridge Brom had lost the Horseman, Crane not as lucky since getting across, he looking behind him and seeing the Horseman readying to chuck his head at him, Crane attempts to avoid it, but the Horseman has some spot on aim, for it connecting directly with his head. Crane falls hard, and all ride on without him, his horse scampering home and no one noticing Crane missing until after he’d missed his class, they tracking his hat down first, but nothing of the man was found, his school house closing. Someone visiting Sleepy Hollow from the city however, knew Crane was alive and doing well for himself, but the wives preferred to remember his disappearance being related to the Horseman’s doing, a farm boy claiming to have heard psalm singing at the deserted school house. Definitely unlike the adaptations; an alright tale, but does read like an overview, and knowing how much of a butt Crane is, definitely makes his horrendous scare much more satisfying.

There is then a Postscript where we learn the Narrator heard the story at a meeting, the man sharing of getting the response of amused laughter except for one whom asked of the moral, the man responding of life having ups and downs and he himself not believing parts of the story either, the man having a confused expression by the answer.

Rip Van Winkle is then related by introducing the story being discovered in a deceased Diedrich Knickbocker’s papers. The man having written the tale and how it was either loved or dismissed, it being said he should’ve spent his time in some other way, but since he wasn’t alive, there being no harm in sharing the story now. We truly begin with mention of the Kaatskill mountains, which changed color and shape depending on the hour and weather. This story also following descendants of the Dutch, who lived in a village at the bottom of the mountain. We discover Rip Van Winkle lives among them and is a pleasant sort. He marrying an opposite personality from himself, so when his domestic tiffs were gossiped about, he consistently had the unanimous support for his side. Even the children of the village “sang his praises” since he’d teach them new games, make them toys, and told all sorts of stories. The one area he lacked was the motivation to keep up with his own household chores, but offering assistance to others, as well as having abundant patience with the most mind-dulling pastimes, i.e. fishing, hunting were his shtick. Rip didn’t have any luck when it came to the weather being on his side when necessary to do farm work, and so his was the lease successful in the village. His children weren’t any better for him, his son looking like a street rat, and his wife constantly berating his laziness, so to escape, he would walk about outside. Wolf, his dog was looked with the same contempt as Rip by his wife since she believed the dog wasn’t helping her husband’s lackadaisical ways. His marriage didn’t get any easier with time, so Rip began attending a club of sorts where the great thinkers of the neighborhood would meet.

The men of the group weren’t safe from Mrs. Van Winkle though, she going after all of them when it came to sharing the blame for Rip’s kickback lifestyle. It was this kind of situation where Rip would go off to the woods with Wolf, one day he going squirrel hunting, getting higher onto the Kaatskills, soon tiring himself and resting, then realizing it would be well dark by the time he returned to the village, he not excited by the reception he expected from his wife, but when planning on descending, hears his name being called, surprised anyone would be in such a deserted spot, but he thinking it was a villager in need, going to meet the stranger and helping him with his load, they walking higher into the mountain. Rip is curious of why this man carried liquor and was complacent with the diversion. They reach the man’s desired location where other oddly attired men were passing their time playing a bowling game. Whilst their actions conveyed good times, it was quiet, and none were smiling. Rip was put off by their behavior, he helping divvy out the drink upon request, the men accepting and going back to their game.

Once Rip no longer felt he was being watched, he tastes the keg, it being a flavor he enjoyed, soon having enough to put him to sleep. He awakens at the spot he originally sees the stranger when it’s light, he thinking he’d slept there the night and what excuse he’d need for wifey. He looks for his gun and discovers an old one falling apart, concluding the men of the night before must have robbed him. He then decides to return to the place where they’d been, the route now containing a stream which was dry before. When he gets to the spot where there should be a place to enter the clearing, there was none, Rip having to resign himself to being without gun or dog, and needing to put up with the confrontation his wife would surely bring to him since he couldn’t put off going home for being famished. When he reaches town he was baffled by not recognizing anyone he saw, and upon copying the gesture of the men to rub their chins, he realizes is beard had grown quite a bit. He also notices the houses and names over the doors weren’t familiar, as well as the building he knew no longer standing, but the landscape having stayed unchanged.

Rip locates his home which had decayed greatly, as well as a skinny dog which must’ve been Wolf hanging around the property, but no longer knew him. He then goes to his club’s meeting place, discovering a different scene with a man talking about politics, the place no longer lazy, but busy with people. When the politicians notice his odd appearance and being noticed by the women and children, they each inquire how he voted, and the like, Rip responding with confusion. When another man asks whom he was looking for, Rip names his friends, their fates ranging from death to holding a place in Congress. Rip felt so forlorn to the changes he blurts of anyone knowing “Rip Van Winkle”, some immediately recognizing the name and pointing to a man standing against a tree, Rip now questioning his own identity, he relating this when someone asks his name, he not knowing what to say. He having forgotten he had a son with his moniker, apparently. When a young lady approaches him with her child, also speaking the name of Rip, her child’s name, Rip asks whom she was, he learning about his wife, how long he’d been missing, twenty years, and what they’d thought had become of him. Rip then informs her of whom he was to her, an older woman walking up and recognizing him as her neighbor. He then finally gets his chance to share his short story of what happened to him.

Everyone had trouble believing his story until the local historian vouched for Rip about the Kaatskills being haunted by odd entities, the man relating how his father had seen a similar scene, and he himself had heard the noise of their bowling. After this, the party disperses to resume their election, Rip’s daughter inviting him to stay with her and her husband, he one of the boy’s whom would climb on his back all those years past, Rip’s son employed on their farm, but maintaining the disposition of his father, doing all work, but his own. Rip began to continue his old ways, and whilst seeing some old friends, preferred making new ones with the younger age group, he becoming a fixture of the neighborhood, but also having to become updated about the war and he now being a U.S. citizen. Rip did take up his post once more outside the inn to share his story with those who hadn’t heard, the details being on the minds of similarly nagged husbands, hoping for a fate like his. Mr Knickerbocker then corroborates the story by having spoken with Rip Van Winkle, himself and seeing a certificate stamped by a justice’s hand as proof of the truth. Fairly how I remember it the from the first time I’d heard it, odd tale upon rereading. 

We next have a Postscript of a story of a squaw whom managed the day and night, doing all the work of making the new moon and what happened with the old (basically recycled). She was in charge of the snow and storms, as well, and there was also a mischievous spirit whom would trick Indian hunters, we learning where the spirit liked to stay, Indians respecting the spot by leaving it unmarred by hunting animals there, etc. One Indian didn’t do so and paid for the slight when he touched something which shouldn’t have been moved, ending in his death and was connected to a stream which is still joined by the Hudson, the stream called the Kaaterskill. I do enjoy Native American mythology and due to this also being short, is a nice little break before the next.

The Spectre Bridegroom takes place in Germany and follows a Baron Von Landshort, whom comfortably lived in his family home, his neighbors keeping up with the feud their families had fueled for two centuries or so. The Baron had one daughter, whom was smart and beautiful, being given her education by her two aunts. This knowledge not as spectacular as made out to be, but considering the era, I suppose was still a fine enough accomplishment. When further explanation of her ability to follow instruction is given, it makes aware how she wouldn’t fall for a man without explicit measure to do so. We learn as well, of the family he would invite to his parties, praising his greatness and would agreeably listen to his tales relating to the portraits on the walls. Reminds me of my grandfather, hopefully my interpretation is wrong in thinking the Baron’s family enjoyed his company only for his sharing of the wealth. The story moves to the main point of when the Baron was expecting his daughter’s bridegroom to arrive. The marriage was arranged by the Baron and another agreeable dignitary, the two being betrothed and not meeting until right before the wedding day. The young man, for being in the Army and delayed for unknown reason, gave mention of when to expect him. Whilst the household was preparing for his arrival, the aunts prepared the girl’s dress and counseled her on how to carry herself when they first met, but the day drags on and soon into night with no Count in sight.

The Count’s perspective is then shown, his blasé attitude of not feeling rushed to make his appearance and how he’d waylaid himself in preference to visiting a friend in arms, nearby. The two catch up and decide to accompany each other due to their destinations lying in the same direction a ways. They unhurriedly journey through a forest and are molested (older definition) by robbers, they almost being overpowered until the Count’s men join in, the Count sustaining a terrible wound which a doctor attempts to heal, but making clear the Count’s odds not being good. The Count gives his friend his dying wish for him to travel to his bride’s home and explain why he hadn’t shown up. His buddy, Starkenfaust held trepidation in going through with the Count’s last request since his family were enemies of the Baron’s family and also due to his news not being fortuitous. Starkenfaust was intrigued by setting his own eyes on the beauty of this bride, though and couldn’t deny his inclination for escapades of these kind.

Meanwhile the Baron endeavored to postpone the feast, the meat already overdone for the evening getting later, he ready to reluctantly proceed when he finally hears sounds of approach from the gate. When the Baron sets eyes on the stranger whom he presumes to be his late guest, he babbles on and interrupts the man so often, he decides to wait to explain, the bride then making her appearance. The man becomes mesmerized and no longer fights to make his explanation known, the group proceeding to the banquet hall. The groom then only entertains himself with conversation with the blushing bride, she taken with her groom’s handsome countenance. The party starts well, but the man seemed to become weighed down with his secret, the bride soon becoming affected. After one of the Baron’s tales, the groom decides to leave, the Baron surprised since he’d prepared for the man to rest there for the night. The man shares of having other plans and when the Baron follows him out, the man claims he’s a ghost, he riding off for his funeral and the Baron sharing the news with his guests. The story of the Count’s demise is confirmed next day, the Baron’s guests staying for his “comfort”, and the bride downcast by the news.

The second night of the bride’s mourning, one of her aunts had stayed with her in her room, the woman falling asleep, and the widow-bride then hearing music, going to her window to again see the specter, the aunt having awoken due to the music and seeing the same, fainting straight away. The aunt thenceforth refused to sleep in the room, the girl not wishing to sleep in any other, the aunt vowing not to relate their supernatural visit until one morning, the girl goes missing and the aunt spills the frightful tale, two workers supporting the possibility of the specter carrying her off for hearing hooves at midnight. The Baron sends scouts to search for her, but was joined by the specter and his daughter as he was readying to search, as well. The man then explains fully what had occurred the previous nights of his visits and had wedded the girl, since. The Baron accepts this in preference to the alternative, everything working out to their advantages in the end. If not for the criss-cross, this story reminds me of Corpse Bride. Quick and entertaining, if not a bit corny.

English Writers on America states the mentality of English views on American writing, of which they are biased due to the English reviewers. I’d also agree with Irving’s opinion of the English being top dog with “graphical descriptions”. He also states we, as Americans also offer the “worst” of the Englishmen, the “good” ones going to more exciting and remote locales. Those whom travel here, getting a small-minded view of the world’s greatest “political experiments”. The ideas being attempted to relate getting lost by the minor viewpoint of “surface…interests”. The disappointment of these viewpoints colored by their idea of money falling in their laps, etc. The true beauty of America lost in translation. I’m hesitant to agree with Irving’s view here. He lets his rant end with this, wanting to address it due to other Americans apparently dwelling on this. He then attempts to calm aching egos with words of optimism about America. He goes on to mention the differences of writers between England and the U.S., claiming England is bashing the U.S. in their news articles. Haven’t researched, can’t comment. Irving claims England will regret their words when they need the U.S. as compatriots. This is where I begin to skim since Irving seems to have been writing this as a political piece during his time of not accepting his place in the government, but sharing strong opinions. The last bit describes of extricating wisdom from England’s perspective of the U.S. to make Americans stronger. Not my favorite, if I had more experience with multiple time periods politics, perhaps.

The Mutability of Literature begins with the ideas of partial dreaming and our Narrator in such a state whilst hanging about Westminster Abbey, his lazy thoughts being interrupted by loud, happy boys from Westminster School playing football in the passages, our Narrator withdrawing to the library to escape their noise. The church officer unlocks the rarely used room to the library, it being above ground level, the Narrator barely hearing the boys now, and even less after the bells for prayer were rung, he viewing the small table and unused inkwells, pens, and a few books sitting atop it. Our Narrator pays these no mind as he takes a quarto and settles in an elbow chair, but then is overcome by the somber air of the place, and how futile the lives of authors be! As he thought this, the quarto “yawned” awake and began to speak in its archaic tongue, our Narrator attempting a modern translation. The book complained of not being read for two hundred years and would prefer the dean open the library to the school so the books had better chance of being opened and aired, but the Narrator argues the bright side of the book not being worn out so often, the quarto’s counterparts most likely already dust. The book didn’t see the value of this since it had been meant to circulate many hands, but the Narrator maintains the luck of the book being it hadn’t been constantly used, but preserved. He goes on to compare other authors works having already been forgotten, the book noting those mentioned being quite older than it. The Narrator then mentions an author of whom’s work has helped the mutability of literature, but a public library making him cry in knowing the books within would most likely be forgotten in a century.

The book mentions a few popular titles from its day, but the Narrator informs how their time had passed. He spoke of how long before the printing press, works of literature weren’t so common and works of genius would have their time and fade out, whilst now, if those works were to stay, the new wonders of literature combined would leave the reader “in the endless maze of literature.” Doesn’t sound terrible, to me. The Narrator mentions how the expanse of choices overwhelms people, so we only end up reading reviews, and critics are helpful for what they do, by weeding out the failures. The quarto then asks after Shakespeare, the Narrator denying his work had been forgotten due to unparalleled originality, but commentators of his collection were drowning out his work from only knowing its pure beauty. The quarto laughed its back cover off (not literally), the Narrator taking slight offense and defending the poet as being a writer whom wrote from the heart, which helps gain immortality. Due to his poetic style, he has an edge over prose writers (they going on too long), he able to capture the essence of the spirit. (The Narrator is wrong about settings needing to possibly be changed, even though his mention of Chaucer in regards to this is true) he launching into another speech when interrupted by the church officer whom was there to close the library, the Narrator noticing the book had stopped responding, and even when returning a couple times after this, didn’t hear a peep from the book again, uncertain whether he dreamt it all up. Fascinating, usually I’m a sucker for literature-themed literature, and it certainly wasn’t bad, but I do believe I’m tiring of Irving’s style. His talk of archaic language makes me respond with “ain’t you the pot calling the kettle”, etc.

Westminster Abbey first describes the Fall being gloomy and our Narrator walking through the Abbey describing his course of seeing a church officer making him imagine the man was a ghost drifting through the corridors. He then details the age of tombstones and walls, but then a sliver of sunlight makes the building itself show some elegance. He then ponders over three abbots’ gravestones, reading their names. Once the bell tolls the hour, he moves on to another part of the inside of the abbey, impressed by its enormity and how it made one aware of the noise made by walking through. He then considers how once great men fought for a place among the dead for their tombstone to be among so many others. He relating Poet’s Corner where monuments and such, house sculptures of Shakespeare and others. The Narrator gives homage to the sacrifice authors make for their work and how it services humanity for their thoughts preserved. After, he goes to the burial chamber of kings which used to be chapels. Each room carried a different statuary scene which brought to the Narrator’s mind one was seeing an estate which showed a legendary city with the inhabitants turned into stone (so, Medusa’s lair?). He is also affected by how the people of those times had a direct and proud way of writing the inscriptions of those who died. The Narrator then describing a monument across from Poet’s Corner which he didn’t find incredible, since it was a terrible display of wife being targeted by death with her husband watching. As the Narrator experiences this, he’s periodically struck with the noise of life from outside which confuses the sadness of the place. It was getting closer to dark and the sounds begin to lessen as evening prayers were starting. He stood outside Henry VII’s chapel, it located up some steps and looking through a depressing, but impressive arch, the place seeming hesitant to allow anyone to walk through such a dazzling place. More detail of the inside is given, its Gothic and magnificent surroundings (one would probably be better off experiencing it in person, but the usefulness of this text lies in the inability to go or its eventual destruction). The Narrator contemplates how once this place had looked new and lighter, now dreary and deserted with birds nesting in the ornamental corners of the ceiling. He then shows the room with Queen Elizabeth, and the other, her “victim”, Mary, resting on a bench for all of his walking. He hears the priest speaking his sermon, and the organ playing giving the place another side of nuance. He sits and allows the music to entrance him as the day grew later. Before leaving the abbey, he visits Edward the Confessor’s shrine, where other kings and queens are also housed. When viewing the tomb, he noted it had been vandalized, he leaving the way he came in, noticing the jolting sound of the closing door, and its echoes within. The Narrator then realizes only the moment after stepping out, the memories of what he’d seen were fading, like a joke of death. The Narrator also has revelation to the history of the place eventually falling and being forgotten. Fascinating only if one enjoys architectural and Gothic description.

The Creole Village is an overview of the mixed population in Louisiana of French, Spanish, and Indian, the French characteristics seeming to surface to the top of the other genetics as most prominent. The language also being the main form of communication, which makes them indifferent to politics and would follow blindly to whatever rules the government implemented, and the few older men who were followed simply because they were authoritative. The people lived with a lack of money lust which was also confusing to our Narrator. He mentioning having met an unofficial leader of one of these villages, he describing the man as having original Gallic features, and traveled with a black servant, whom looked quite content, we learning our Narrator’s thoughts on this being atypical for black men, contrasting this with Indians. We are also introduced to another man of the village, he being a school teacher, playing sports, and surveying land, we learning the men’s opposite personality to their canine companions. The group was heading back to these two men’s village, upon arrival, they receiving a warm welcome by the townspeople. Each man goes off with their families, the Narrator following the teacher home, where he and his family chatted of gossip. The Narrator then walks about town, seeing how most everything was French in architecture and clothing, with some Gallic construction. He heard the fiddle of the teacher which he would’ve returned to hear and see the festivities involved, but the steamboat was close to disembarking, he hoping the village stayed as it was, unmarred by money and greed, the next stop being a place of which the opposite was occurring. The village was expanding and life was richer and more complicated, the Narrator desperately wondering the fate of the Creole village. Surprise there, I suppose. Easy read and interesting viewpoint.

English and French Character has the Narrator explaining how he saw his role of viewership and being an important judge of character between the French and English, he relating how the English stuck with their own; the French and English staying unmixed. We then get a braid of facts, of the English and French personalities, the former being consistent and precise, whilst the latter is fast to conclusions, etc. The French seize the day whilst the English prepare for the worst. The French social, the English reserved and prefer solitude. French are masters of wit, English, humor (Agreed), as well as the former having more decadent taste, the latter having a vast imagination (Agreed, again). We then get the correlation of their political stances. This one is short, but interesting with its simplicity. Especially good for those interested in Sociology/History.

The Tuileries & the Windsor Castle gives the impression of being similar to “Westminster Abbey” and the previous essay, the Narrator entertaining himself by giving French character to national buildings. In the Tuileries, the Narrator describes the military doing their usual fare on base, we learning some men lounged whilst others patrolled, and detailing the building itself being quite sophisticated, but every nook having an occupant, whether they be court employees or royalty and their families. The royalty varied in status, those who having fallen in stature, living modestly within their rooms. It goes on about how surprisingly many children and nursemaids resided inside, this description before Windsor Castle had its repairs and additions since the author made it sound as if the place was crumbling. I called it, easy read, pleasant enough if wanting detail of military and royalty living in a castle like a motel.

The Field of Waterloo immediately makes known of this essay expanding on the French and English character. The two opposites and both fit for the other’s competition, the best example being by their armed forces, each having long pasts filled with wins, the Battle of Waterloo then being referenced as the latest in their facing off, one side showing courage and the other stubborn motivation. Then we are given how the English, since not receiving the command to fire, stood in their ranks bravely as the French came at them. A moment of humanity is relived by how a French soldier spares an Englishman since he’d dropped his weapon. Both sides fight exemplarily to the point of not being able to figure who’s side showed the most ‘character’, the Narrator painting a pleasant and worn picture of the time he’d visited the war-zone. The essay concluding with details of a man called De Latour d’Auvergne. Enjoyable one, giving some extra insight to go with the reading of Les Miserables.

I hate to do this, but due to the next story, Knickerbocker’s History of New York being a part of a much larger work, I must wait until I get my hands on the entirety.

Also, to prelude the start of A Tour on the Prairies, since I read some favorable reviews and one which made me question whether I’d want to read the full volume, I’ll be using these excerpted stories before deciding to commit to the whole collection.

A Bee Hunt gives location as being in a spectacular forest, camp near dead trunks where non-farmed bees reside nearby, a search party soon goes off in search of one of the bee hives, our Narrator accompanying when invited. They soon come across the lure for the bees so the group could be lead to their honey stores, they choosing a destructive way of getting to the honey, chopping the tree down. As the group and neighboring hives utilizing the honey, the bees returned to the hive, at first confused by the change to location of their hive, then fly to a nearby tree, possibly considering their next move (the queen most likely smooshed). The group leaves a lot of the honey there, discussing how animals of the forest would clean it out, especially bears. Depressing, well written, and having me question whether I’m a fair-weather fan of this style and period of writing, but definitely have decided I’m not enjoying these topics, so will go straight to the Crayon Miscellany.

On Astoria, due to there apparently being better resources out there (this being repetitious in style), I’ll be a’skippin’ ahead, didn’t sit well with it being another excerpt, anyways.

Since I can’t say I care about Oliver Goldsmith, the man, or the history, moving ahead. Plus, there’s Wikipedia for a reason, right? *wink*

Here I go again, I’d prefer reading Tales of a Traveller in it’s full text, which will now take longer, since Phoenix Public Library is a joke.

Might as well add The Alhambra to the ever elongating list, as well.

The Guests from Gibbet Island relates of a well known village called Communipaw where a building looking dilapidated and evil-looking has been standing for many years, where gangs of malnourished dogs roamed about, and in front of the building stood a platform looking like the sort one lynchings were performed on, but was only a post to hang signs, the building before being used as a bar, where a well-remembered meeting of men was held, they having discovered New Amsterdam. The owner of the establishment would hang mysterious signs and was entertained by the mystery it instigated among the patrons. Then introduction to Yon Yost Vanderscamp is given, he the prankster variety, pulling tricks like putting gunpowder secretly in pipes of the regulars, Vanderscamp was the nephew of the proprietor, Tuenis Van Gieson, and he looking upon him as a son, took this with humor. Gieson, however would have his patience tried by a man called Pluto, he a mystery himself since arriving during a storm in bad shape, no one knowing his origins. Gieson revived him to health, but soon learned Pluto didn’t speak the same language, since when asking his home, he would point to Gibbet Island, which everyone knew wasn’t populated. He stayed long enough to learn some Dutch and was seen as a goblin of the bar, he doing odd jobs when he felt charitable. Pluto enjoyed most being in a boat or raft, fishing, and wouldn’t be detoured by stormy weather, he also having bonded to only Vanderscamp, he tutoring the boy to be the most irritating mischief-maker, the two riding off in the ocean until Vanderscamp was cultured on all the bays and islands in the area. During one of these excursions, the two disappear for longer than usual, no one minding since their village was quiet for once. When Gieson died, the bar closed, Vanderscamp the heir, but years passed with no return. Until he did many years later, looking grizzled and with a crew of like demeanor. Vanderscamp had plans on reopening the bar for he and his fellows, well-off merchants, he changing the bar to a raucous place. The men essentially turning the place into a piratical resting house.

Pluto, looking more rough for the passing years was treated roughly, but seemed to enjoy the put downs and abuse, he egging on the violent behavior until the men took their wild night out on the town, the locals withdrawing indoors. Vanderscamp would insist on renewing old acquaintances though, until the day his crew and he would leave, when next to return, to be a surprise. The locals realized Vanderscamp’s new role as a successful pirate, their town now his safe-haven. The British government soon took notice to the piracy though, and on Gibbet Island, hung some of Vanderscamp’s crew, he and Pluto escaping capture, the townspeople hoping his demise had been delivered elsewhere. Unfortunately, their return is made, but Vanderscamp had found himself a wife, of ill-temper, he having changed his ways and ready to retire in his hometown. Vanderscamp was soon seen dealing with shady, but unassuming men, the idea being he was trafficking stolen goods. One night, a trade had occurred and Vanderscamp was a bit on the alcoholically toasty side, as a storm began to brew, Pluto rowing them past Gibbet Island, where the bodies of his comrades still hung, Vanderscamp regarding the dead kindly, the two getting to shore at midnight, he knowing his wife wouldn’t greet him kindly, but not expecting the news of guests awaiting inside, he going up to see them, and shocked to discover the gallows-men, he backing out and falling down the stairs, losing his life. From then on the house was considered haunted. Pluto acted more off his rocker, and one night the town heard screams, but ignored them, some brave enough, checking the next day to see the place a mess supposedly, by the storm, and Vanderscamp’s wife strangled. Later, fishermen discovered Pluto’s boat and he close to Gibbet Island, all seeming to have received terrible fates.

Surprisingly engaging, not much of a ghost story, but I’m no longer expecting much from Irving.

The Legend of Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa begins with a convent at Silos in Castile, a decomposing, but majestic memorial of the Hinojosa family. A scene where a knight conquers men and women, and they repenting is shown, but due to its age, the meaning harder to understand for anyone other than an expert. The tale was protected in Spanish texts and is as follows. Long ago, many hundred years previous, there lived a courtly man named Don Munio, etc., he owner of a castle along the borders, and making a name for himself as being known for brutality, he having many trophies of his conquests, and when he wasn’t off to war (Shout out to Curtis! Showed me and my buddy the proper way to go to war is with metal bowl upon head, and spoon in hand!), he enjoying hunting of all sorts, being married to a gentle soul, not cut out for his daredevil lifestyle. One day as he’s on the hunt, a group of Moors both male and female, wearing expensive accessories were walking in his line of sight, they not carrying weapons, as well as a young man and woman, quite taking in the looks department, on a horse, Don Munio took advantage of this happy coincidence, calling his men, and they taking them as prisoners, the young man, once learning whom had captured them, praising Don Munio for his successes and offering all their possessions if he allowed them to continue forward to their wedding, Don Munio then offering for they to stay with him, as guests for fifteen days, Don Munio’s wife greeting the new bride with sisterly affection and led her inside, and as promised, they celebrating for two weeks and a day, Don Munio gifting them wonderful handmade trinkets (presumably), and got them safely on their way. Years later,Don Munio answers the call of war against the Moors once more, his wife distraught, he promising to make this his final fight, the battle was a lengthy and wound-heavy one, Don Munio rallying the troops so their king could flee, Don Munio and many of his men dying in the effort, Don Munio taken out by a familiar face, and upon realizing whom he’d slain, felt deep regret. Meanwhile, Don Munio’s wife waited anxiously, and on one night, a guard sounded the sign for a party on the road, they believing Don Munio had returned (true) with Moorish prisoners (not so much), the young man kneels guiltily before Don Munio’s wife, and the ancient scene erected was made at the young Moor’s expense. The ghostly part happening the same day of Don Munio’s death, he and his men seen at a church, they disappearing when approached. It concludes by mentioning if there’s any doubt to the story, check History of the Kings of Castile and Leon by Fray Prudencio de Sandoval, Bishop of Pamplona, in the History of the King Alonzo VI on page 102.

I do give props for the specificity, this one a charming way to end an up and down collection. Recommended to history and or sociology buffs.

 

 

 

Thank You, Jeeves

 

Bertie is in his apartment playing his banjolele and feeling pensive. He then shares with Jeeves of seeing Stoker and his daughter, Pauline in town, Jeeves stating their presence shouldn’t effect him regardless of what had happened in New York. Jeeves does make the point of they being in town should scarcely mean he’d run into them, London being a place where it was easy to avoid people, apparently. Bertie then proceeds to mention whom he’d seen with them being Lord Chuffnell’s Aunt Myrtle and Glossop. Jeeves then mentions Roderick Glossop had asked to meet with Bertie, surprising him due to their rocky encounters in the past. Bertie is so flabbergasted by this and uninterested in confrontation, he commands Jeeves to borrow a neighbor’s dog to sic upon Glossop. Bertie then gives detail to why he’d react so poorly to such news. After, why he’d decided to act unaccommodating is shown, but since Glossop had arrived whilst Bertie was playing his banjolele, he was in a light-hearted mood and also thought the only reason Glossop could be there was to apologize, but when Bertie greets Glossop with magnanimity, he’s given nothing more than a grunt. Bertie is about to match his cold demeanor when Glossop lays into his sanity again and how his playing of the beloved instrument was annoying his neighbors, in particular one of Glossop’s patients, and he was there to unceremoniously attempt to get Bertie to stop, but Bertie had been annoyed by the yappy dog owned by the woman downstairs and so Glossop promises the issue wouldn’t be at an end yet, which for Bertie was the case, for after doing a musical set, he receives a call from the manager of the building which gave him the option to either stop playing or move, Bertie choosing to leave, then informing Jeeves. When Jeeves makes it clear he would put notice if Bertie planned on moving to the country, Bertie attempts to pep talk him into staying even after learning Jeeves could barely take the playing as well, the accepting of his resignation soon following.

Bertie then goes walking and upon turning a corner in Piccadilly, sees Chuffy. A bit of background on him and his status is related, Bertie considering he may have a place for him to rent. Chuffy though, had a lunch meeting with no other than Glossop, Bertie doing his best to talk him out of it, but due to the possibility of Glossop wanting his estate for the summer, couldn’t risk it and promises to dine with Bertie the next night, which Bertie states of being unable to do for leaving, wanting to know if he could hook him up with a cabin, Chuffy able to with ease. Bertie then mentions of having let go Jeeves upon questioning, Chuffy seeming quite interested. Bertie going off to the Drones after, and considering how he would have other musicians (of the black persuasion, this being the second time mentioned in a no longer used form, sort of way) to learn from due to their musical prowess. Bertie then speaks to Jeeves once more to make sure he had no guilt in his decision to leave, Jeeves letting him know Chuffy had offered a position to him which he accepted, Bertie now miffed Chuffy’d given him the wrong impression with his inquiries, Bertie then letting Jeeves know they would be in the same area and made a meeting spot.

Bertie mentions how the boys at the Drones had reacted to his sharing of leaving. They believing he’d be bored to death, but after a few days of being in his new home, had no feeling in this regard whatsoever. After, he debates whether to add more scenic details to his description of his environment, having received opposing opinions, Bertie decides to keep it short, detailing what he saw, then of his new valet, Brinkley speaking with the Sergeant, Bertie including how a yacht had docked in the harbour during the night. The mention of Brinkley then makes me certain of the show covering this story, it playing out a bit differently, but soon beginning to match up, fairly. Bertie then hears his car horn honking and upon seeing the boy pushing it, almost supplies him with a whack, but then realizing he’s Chuffy’s aunt’s son, reeling himself in. Seabury’s ranking among other terrible children Bertie had met is listed, he making the top five. Seabury then shares he was there to invite Bertie to lunch, so Bertie informs his man and drives off with the kid, he then learning it was a party and it being too late to go back to change. Seabury then shares of how they were now staying with Chuffy due to a stink in their home, Bertie making a joke and the boy shutting him down, then asking for money for protection, Bertie declining. When he arrives and parks, Bertie asks Chuffy about his cousin’s odd request, Chuffy explaining Seabury’s reasoning, Bertie noting how Chuffy seemed different and inquiring further in this area. When Chuffy responds cryptically, Bertie asks plainly why he’s so happy, Chuffy relenting, even though Bertie admitted to being unable to keep a secret, it being Chuffy’s aunt would soon marry Glossop. Bertie not seeing the good in this set up other than Glossop and Seabury completely deserving each other, Chuffy attempting to convince Bertie to start liking Glossop for his sake, but agreeably gives in when he knows it won’t happen. Bertie then discovers whom Glossop had found to take Chuffy’s estate off his hands, as well next seeing Stoker pulling up with his daughter, Pauline, son Dwight, and Glossop himself.

This lineup had taken Bertie by surprise, he attempting to act as respectably as possibly, to cover his reddening face. Meanwhile Chuffy hadn’t noticed the two men staring at Bertie with distaste, Pauline greeting him warmly and unphased by the males with her staring with varying degrees of indifference. Pauline goes on to explain how she tried getting in touch with Bertie and he dazedly mentioning having left town, she seeing as much. Soon after a little more awkward conversation, Lady Chuffnell ushers the group in and leaves Bertie whom hadn’t noticed until he was alone with Chuffy once more, whom was looking at him oddly. Chuffy wondered how well Bertie must know Pauline, the response being he didn’t much at all, Chuffy stating it seemed much more with how she acted and Bertie confirming she treated everyone this way. Chuffy undoubtedly giving the impression of having a thing for her with how he responds. Chuffy then inquires what areas of conversation to avoid with Stoker, Bertie deciding anything involving him would be a bad idea and he being better off to sit out the afternoon gathering, Chuffy agreeing if Bertie’s assessment was accurate. Once Chuffy decides he should join the others, Bertie mentions he also noticing the squirrelly way Chuffy acted whilst talking about Pauline, Bertie seeming a bit annoyed, but since they did have many common qualities, he seeing the value of helping the two nurture the budding romance. Bertie gets the chance to broach the subject with Pauline when she gets him alone outside and sits on a bench, Bertie starting with the reason he’d come there. Pauline then speaks of her father and Glossop not being Bertie’s biggest fans, she then easing into the subject of Chuffy, which upon using his first name, confuses Bertie for not having heard it before, but then Pauline defends him and makes Bertie look at her sideways. Pauline revealing she knows he likes her back, but hasn’t said so yet which confuses her, Bertie assuring due to the few days which have passed she should give him time, she confiding a strange, dreamy, fantasy of  what Chuffy reminded her of, and Bertie not getting why she’d have such a thought, she unable to explain, and after Bertie mentions how men go through certain measures before making declarative steps, Pauline notices someone approach, Bertie realizing it was Jeeves.

Jeeves is there to inform of Pauline’s father asking after her, Bertie confirming what she’d said to him was in the forefront of his mind, and then speaking with Jeeves with plans to leave, then considers asking his advice regardless of their differences, Jeeves lending his ear. Bertie begins by making certain Jeeves knew of Chuffy’s feelings for Pauline, he agreeing and Bertie knowing Chuffy being a quick operator, didn’t understand what could be holding him back. Jeeves brings insight, it being caused by Chuffy’s financial straits, then going on to share where Stoker had gotten his fortune, Bertie surprised by the amount and specifics Jeeves had on the subject. Jeeves also mentions how Chuffy had assured of Stoker signing by using himself as a bargaining chip, and for all of Jeeves’ good ideas, he currently didn’t have one which would work to aide Chuffy. Bertie then decides he’ll use jealousy as a way to get Chuffy moving, Jeeves not agreeing with Bertie’s fuel to get Chuffy going, but Bertie having decided he didn’t mind a knock from a buddy if it meant helping him get the girl, then asking Jeeves to supply him with sandwiches and drink, and when to begin informing the desirables to begin flocking to him, Jeeves going along without a fight.

When Jeeves returns with the requested snackies, he also mentions of no news regarding the sale of Chuffy’s estate, but of a party for Dwight being held on the yacht with everyone present invited, the two boys one upping the other on experience with yachts, Stoker deflating the ego fight by mentioning of hiring the black minstrels for the boy’s birthday which descended the two in another ego fight, but Jeeves had completed his part of Bertie’s plan, one issue arising since Pauline and Chuffy had been chatting and could potentially arrive together, Jeeves knowing a way of detaining Chuffy for a spot longer. Pauline finally arrives and before she could say what she was beginning to say, Bertie sees whom he believes is Chuffy coming and plants a kiss on her head, but instead noted it was Pauline’s father, Bertie lucky the man hadn’t kicked him for already believing Pauline and he were more than friendly, instead retrieving his daughter and walking off, dirty look at Bertie intact all the while. Chuffy then comes to confront Bertie about he not mentioning having been engaged to Pauline, Bertie not believing it important due to its being short lived, then realizing he’d been lucky Chuffy hadn’t seen the failed kiss due to his serious disposition currently. Once learning Bertie no longer had feelings for Pauline and she had feelings for Chuffy, he relaxed, then stated he’d already become engaged to her and Stoker had agreed to buy his home. Bertie then going to see Jeeves whom mentioned the spiked tension between the youngsters of the group once more, which damaged the deal of Stoker buying the estate due to the sequence of events which followed, Bertie quite pleased by the fates of the two boys involved, Jeeves concluding the story by giving everyone’s current whereabouts. Bertie then inquires how Jeeves had come by the information of why Stoker planned on keeping Pauline on the yacht for the remainder of their stay, which worried Bertie since it involved his kiss and Chuffy having overheard the conversation as well, he wanting to display his anger upon Bertie. Jeeves then comes up with the idea of Bertie giving the intention of only doing so in congratulations of their engagement and was only brotherly in nature, Bertie needing to meditate over getting away with this plan. Jeeves had then properly assumed Chuffy would be awaiting Bertie’s arrival back at his cottage, Chuffy popping up as soon as Bertie made his presence known, acting intimidating. Bertie does insert the story of the intention behind his kiss and after a few moments, Chuffy calms and declares he would still be marrying Pauline, regardless of his financial stability. Bertie then mentions how Jeeves could be Pauline and Chuffy’s go between by letter to set up a meeting since Chuffy had agreed with Stoker of he being Jeeves’ new employer. After perfecting his plan, Chuffy backslides into doubt, Bertie having to repeatedly confirm there was nothing between he and Pauline, Chuffy in the end taking his word. Bertie then deciding he’s going to town for a bite and show, relieving Brinkley for the night, whom he didn’t care for at all. When Bertie had returned to his room, he found a shocking sight of Pauline in his bed and pajamas.

Bertie then investigates why Pauline had swam ashore to his bedroom, soon learning Jeeves had helped her and had also mentioned of Bertie being pleased to help accompanied with a backward compliment, Bertie getting hung up on it a bit. Pauline then continues about how she got in and if Brinkley were to have seen her he would’ve heard her enter, especially having done so through his bedroom, Bertie now wondering where the man could be. Pauline suggesting he may have gone on a crawl, in which case they should be safe, when a knock on the door is heard. She thought it could be her father and doused the candle, making Bertie more ill at ease, whomever at the door not letting up the knocking regardless. When Bertie does finally get the door he’s happy to discover it isn’t Stoker, but the Sergeant and his nephew, the young officer reporting of the broken window and mentioning seeing someone enter, they now insisting on searching the house. Bertie shuts this down quickly enough even after the Sergeant goes on a bit about police being blocked from doing their job, after which Bertie informs Pauline he’ll be retiring to the garage. As he makes the walk though, he’s interrupted by the Sergeant once more, apologizing and letting Bertie on his way, he attempting to get comfy in his car and failing, due to the Sergeant making another misplaced appearance and apologizing, now thinking Bertie was an odd duck, but once being left, Bertie knowing sleep would evade him, then he decides to try a tool shed he’d seen on the grounds. After getting comfortable and even becoming sleepy again, he’s again interrupted by the officers, Bertie becoming quite annoyed and deciding officers should have a touch of being shackled if this was going to be the way he was hassled. After making it clear whom he was to the two interlopers once more, they start their apologetic spiel and discussed reasons of Bertie being a bit odd to choose these places for sleep, but finally leave and Bertie having his moment of unconsciousness taken away once again by Chuffy.

How well received Bertie reacts to visits from his buddies is regarded, with the exception of the timing being right, this not a prime moment. What’s more, the Sergeant was present as well, the man explaining he’d found Chuffy near the harbour, Bertie thinking how much more convenient it could’ve been if he’d come early enough to see Pauline ashore. Instead Bertie found himself again having to defend his reasons for sleeping outside, Chuffy not understanding his argument for having a comfortable bed indoors, Bertie comes up with it being caused by a spider, thinking the idea was the perfect deterrent, but found out soon enough this had only made Chuffy decide to have he and the Sergeant escort him upstairs and kill the bug, Bertie aghast at the possibility. So due to not having a proper explanation handy, he low blows the Sergeant and dashes off, but only runs into a garden-related tool, the men carrying him into his cottage and straight into his bed with no surprising guests, to Bertie’s bewilderment. Chuffy then dismisses the Sergeant and goes about getting Bertie more comfortable, whilst Pauline emerges from her hiding place and happily greets Chuffy whom stares at her, quite unsure what to make of her presence there. She unaware of his confusion and not so happy look, goes to him only to be turned away which then makes her ask why he was reacting so coldly. After a few words from Chuffy, she slowly comprehends how she must look and becomes angry. Chuffy thinking he knows what’s been going on and revealing how he knew of she and Bertie’s short engagement and still thought there was warm feelings between them, Pauline not setting him straight, but declaring her pure dislike of him, not wanting to see him again and Bertie interjecting with details of an uncle whom had pigs, due to being a part of the subject between Pauline and Chuffy. In the end, Chuffy gracelessly makes his exit, Pauline making her view clear of she not caring about his pain from his spill toward the door, physically or otherwise.

Pauline then requests Bertie to leave the room so she could change and return to the yacht, Bertie hoping for a conversation about Chuffy, but she not wanting to think of him anymore. Bertie mistakenly pressing the matter even after she threatened violence upon his head, and despite getting his word in, she maintains her return and Bertie is left alone to fail sleeping, feeling sorry for the two ex-lovers. So he goes downstairs and after fixing himself a drink, discovers a letter from Pauline which mentioned having taken his coat and a rowboat back instead. After Bertie felt calm enough to contemplate sleep once more, he receives a knock on the door, expecting the Sergeant again, but getting an eyeful of Stoker, whom didn’t look kindly at all. He lets himself in and Bertie has an opportunity to answer smartly to his inquiries, then stating his daughter was in his premises, and after searching to uncover nothing, apologizes and wonders where she could be, Bertie seeing the moment most likely being something it wasn’t, similar to seeming Stoker’s equal. After Stoker leaves, Bertie makes sure no one else will turn up before turning in, the next time being woken by tweeting birdies and readying himself for breakfast.

After which he noted how he seemed too happy for the events he’d witnessed not long earlier, he believing he should be planning for a reunion when Jeeves pays him a visit. Bertie takes the time to catch him up on the previous evening’s misfortune and asks for Jeeves expertise, he needing time and was there to deliver a letter from Stoker which contained an invitation. Jeeves shares how it may have been caused by the conversation he’d had with Stoker earlier, having spoken with him of the events occurring in New York, revealing the other side to Glossop’s stories of Bertie. Which upon hearing Stoker having amended his views on Bertie and turning on Glossop, he thanks Jeeves for his efforts and decides to accept the invite for being able to plead Chuffy’s insanity, Jeeves building on his unformed idea with using the quarrel inflaming Chuffy’s unwellness. Bertie then gives confirmation of the time he should be expected and next he’s on board, Stoker mentioning how small of a dinner party it would be with Pauline feeling ill, Bertie’s plan going up in smoke. Conversation was scarce during the meal, but when they were having their after-dinner smoke, Bertie landed on a topic Stoker could entertain, it being about his yacht. Stoker then offers to show Bertie around, going to the bedrooms, and through politeness gets Bertie inside one of the rooms, locking him in.

After a little time waiting, Stoker returns, being vague as to why he’d placed Bertie in his current confinement, only sharing he was setting up the concert, Bertie having him explain the reason in detail, Stoker sharing he’d been stopped by the Sergeant to identify a person in his custody and it being Pauline. After hearing his perspective on what must have occurred, Bertie’s unable to defend any reason Pauline would’ve been inside his cottage, especially after stating otherwise. Despite this though, Stoker’s mentioning all this was to ensure he no longer thought of Bertie the same way and wouldn’t be opposing his engagement to Pauline, Bertie taken aback, but doesn’t confirm his thought being correct, which lets Stoker continue his extended reason for Bertie being detained was so he couldn’t give reason to leave until the wedding happened, he leaving to get back to his son’s party and sending his man with pajamas for Bertie. Meanwhile Bertie was struggling with his upcoming matrimonial setup due to knowing the love Pauline and Chuffy must still have for each other. When Jeeves arrives with said bed items, Bertie believes he’s safe once hearing Jeeves had spoken with Pauline, but Jeeves puts him straight by making him aware, Pauline hadn’t shown negativity toward their scheduled betrothal.

Next Jeeves supplies the idea of Bertie fleeing the yacht if acceptable to him, he mentioning what would be acquired if Bertie wanted to do so successfully, upon hearing it, Bertie thinking Jeeves had cracked, but he explaining of the minstrels leaving soon since their performance had finished, Bertie able to make a getaway with them, he now in typical awe of Jeeves’ intellect and says as much, then laying back for the smearing of shoe polish. After implementing the plan and it concluding with no hitches, Jeeves stands with Bertie outside his gate getting seriously amused by Bertie’s appearance, Bertie inquiring what his next steps should be, and Jeeves listing off the bullet points, the more important of which had Bertie preparing a trip out of the country to lie low. Bertie then asks after Jeeves, he stating he’ll be going back to Chuffy’s employ and Bertie thanking him once more (the title making it clear this is what the story would reflect) and mentioning including a little something when he wrote to him with his whereabouts. Bertie, satisfied with being alone since Brinkley still hadn’t turned up, but also due to his state of appearance, was attempting a wash which does nothing, he about to obtain butter, remembering this was necessary in getting shoe polish removed, when he heard a sound downstairs, thinking of the possibility it could be Stoker, and so being quiet and careful, upon listening further, heard whomever throwing items about in the sitting room, he making out the figure to be a drunk Brinkley. Bertie shouts at him and once Brinkley realizes where the voice had come from, picks up a knife and goes after Bertie, thinking him devilish, Bertie having forgotten his state, dashes back to his bedroom in pure terror, and then a description of how he’d have shared this tale with his nonexistent grandchildren to indicate camaraderie with them of his fear and how his reception of Stoker at this moment would’ve been warmly welcomed.

Bertie then speaking to Brinkley through the door to assure him of his identity, Brinkley thinking Bertie was inside the room with the devil and, Bertie hearing another person outside with Brinkley, soon realizes it was the Sergeant. Thinking at first he was saved and then figuring, perhaps not, due to his appearance and the Sergeant’s penchant for detainment which didn’t suit Bertie for his current trouble with Stoker. As Bertie listened, Brinkley now sounded quite sober whilst explaining what he thought had happened to Bertie inside the bedroom with the devil, but the Sergeant focused on Brinkley’s weapon currently in hand. Once circling to Brinkley’s reasons for said knife, the Sergeant knocks, but Bertie doesn’t speak, and Brinkley excuses himself, Bertie then looking out the window and deciding this would be an acceptable means of avoiding the situation, beginning to devise his accessories to do so, but this doesn’t do much good for the Sergeant having seen Brinkley decide to overturn a lamp to set the cottage ablaze, the two fleeing outdoors and Bertie still in his room until seeing the happy little flame appear. Bertie noting of taking his banjolele until remembering where he’d left it, currently couldn’t be reached, jumping out the window hastily. He runs off and sits himself a fair distance away in the wood, contemplating his next steps, which again gets hung up on his lack of banjolele and soon switches to how to acquire butter, so he could catch the train, ending with trailing Jeeves to Chuffy’s to impress upon him the task of fetching butter. Bertie makes his little trip successfully and without getting too lost on the way, being seen by a worker of the house and scaring her to the floor.

Bertie reflects on how a reaction so severe could be caused by something so insignificant as shoe polish and how if he’d only had a tan she may well have treated him with formal greeting. Bertie decides to withdraw once hearing people notice the girls reaction from inside. He goes to the front of the house and considers his next move, hearing Seabury yelling, making Bertie content. He then views someone he believed he recognized until then figuring whom he actually saw was Brinkley, he making such a loud knock, he was met by Chuffy himself, not pleased by his abrasive action and giving Brinkley a chase with periodic kick for Chuffy not being receptive to his question of whether the devil had paid him a visit. Bertie takes the opportunity to ask Chuffy for some butter since he can’t seem to get in touch with Jeeves, and so gets right behind Chuffy as he passes and scares the daylights out of him, not considering doing it gently until too late. Chuffy still doesn’t give Bertie a decent response of being happy to see him, so Bertie attempts to butter him up a bit, as it were, congratulating him on his butt-kicking, explaining whom Brinkley was to him, and what he’d done to the cottage. When Chuffy gets a better view of what Bertie looks like, he again wonders of Bertie’s sobriety, Bertie proving himself sound-ish of mind and ready to detail his adventure fully, so he could finally ask for the butter he required to catch the train. Once finishing his tale, Bertie could sense it wasn’t hitting an empathetic ear, especially when Chuffy shows surprise of Bertie trying to escape when a beautiful girl was ready to marry him, and her father giving his blessing. Bertie mentions of how she loved Chuffy though, and he denying this, he stating whilst he did love her she obviously wanted Bertie due to swimming right to him last night. Chuffy deciding he wouldn’t supply butter, but would wait until Bertie saw sense and went through with marrying Pauline, since he wanted her happy. After Chuffy stalks off, Bertie has gone deep into thought for some time and not noticing Jeeves turn up, until finally picking up on his gentle way of getting his attention.

Bertie again, had a great way of using metaphor in being relieved in seeing Jeeves, soon relaying what had happened since the Bertie’s escape off the yacht. After conclusion, Jeeves offers to obtain butter as well as some other little relaxants to ease Bertie’s stresses. Bertie then asks after what had happened to Seabury, Jeeves updating him and how it had been resolved, the answer being outlandish in reference to whom they referred. Being more surprising was the one in question agreeing to black face whilst constituting the entertainment for Seabury. He having in mind to set up some trickery for Glossop due to unpaid protection fee, Bertie then remembering to send Jeeves hastily for butter, waiting for his return, but not before hearing Seabury start shouting again. Bertie sees an odd sight of Glossop emerging, Jeeves reporting what he’d heard from an eye witness whom worked there, Glossop’s engagement off as a result. Jeeves then noting how Glossop would soon be in a tight spot for his appearance, Bertie feeling sorry for him and detailing how he would’ve reacted if Glossop had been his buddy. Jeeves then had to break the news of Seabury having emptied the house of butter for his vengeful plan.

Bertie was stunned once more by his unfortunate situation, wanting Jeeves to show more emotion in these situations, but as it was, only being able to offer a place for Bertie to spend the night until morning so Jeeves could bring him the necessities to wash himself. As Bertie walked to the other house for the night, he thought of those responsible for his current unhappiness, he realizing he maintained a change of heart towards Glossop. By this time Bertie had reached his destination and began to cautiously break in, reminding himself of the failed B and E’s he’s had before, but Bertie then seeing the back door open a little, he now even more timid for the possibilities of what he could run into within. Bertie soon learning Brinkley was inside, and what his next move would be. Bertie for the second time, being glad he waited since he soon heard some shouting, at first receding, and then heading straight at Bertie, the object of Brinkley’s insanity now being correctly identified. After Brinkley locked himself back inside, Bertie makes himself known to Glossop, he taking it the most subdued, but still needing time to recover from his run in with Brinkley. Bertie agrees the two of them must at this moment put aside their differences and work together, Glossop then sharing of what had occurred after Bertie had seen him leave Chuffnell Hall, Bertie then having to confess they wouldn’t have shelter at his cottage, as well as the inability to wash, and the reason. This returned Glossop’s dower mood, until he cleverly figured the garage was still available to them and with it, petrol to wash up in, Bertie not seeing the value in returning for himself so shares with Glossop of having to journey alone, he wanting to await Jeeves, then confiding how Glossop would have to break into the garage, the two parting after making lunch plans for a future date.

Bertie then confesses the comfort level a summer house brings, it being severely low, and now thinking how he should’ve went with Glossop so he could wash immediately and even drive to London rather than taking a train. Bertie couldn’t bring himself to go through with it though, knowing the Sergeant would be too close for comfort and so lays back and tries to sleep. This time succeeding even after giving up, waking in the morning ready to lay in to some nonexistent breakfast and then deciding to see if Jeeves had arrived, getting paranoid he could miss him. When he’s close he spies a parlour-maid setting out a tray with morning snackies which Bertie couldn’t ignore, thinking he had it planned well, but upon testing his theory, heard someone outside the door as he’s lifting the tray cover, so instead hides at the desk to hear Jeeves making a phone call, he not disturbed at all, finishing his call, and inquiring why Bertie had stopped back at Chuffy’s residence, Bertie explaining the situation, and Jeeves filling Bertie in to Lady Chuffnell’s new outlook, Bertie now ready to consume the breakfast when he heard someone new about to enter, so hides once more, it being Stoker.

Bertie would’ve liked to have viewed the scene, but settled to listen as Stoker began with some heat regarding Jeeves’ quick retreat, and upon having Jeeves explain, is silent for a moment, then thanks Jeeves for having saved him from possible legal issues. Stoker inquires if Bertie had been seen and where he was heading, Stoker deciding to take a walk to the Dower house once Jeeves had shared Bertie’s plans. After Bertie has time to pop back up to bleed his being awe-struck by Jeeves again, he must retreat again for Pauline entering. After which she seemingly had an enlightening conversation with Jeeves about Bertie, the status of Lady Chuffnell, and Chuffy, she going off, but then Bertie hearing someone getting into the breakfast tray and thinking Pauline had come back, Bertie aching in knowing the lovely kippers were being consumed. So even whilst knowing popping up on people didn’t work well, he did so upon Pauline whom handled it not well at all, Chuffy finally making an appearance and sweeping Pauline off her terrified feet, she glad to be swept as Bertie witnessed.

Bertie considers the situation he watched was one which shown whether a man maintained a chivalrous nature, Bertie being subjected to a sight he didn’t wish to see or hear and so withdrawing back under the table, and when Chuffy had calmed Pauline a bit, he asks what had frightened her, Bertie deciding this to be an ample time to reappear. Chuffy looking annoyed, but everyone seeming a bit O-k with his current look now and so Bertie brings up with Chuffy the matter of his first name and wanting to discuss it in more detail, mentioning having a laugh at the Drones about it, Chuffy getting serious about what would happen if Bertie did. Bertie then shares a story which makes Chuffy demand he cease, Bertie’s intention to attempt to show how close Pauline and he had been. Bertie then reminds them how Pauline’s father still believed she was marrying him, but he assuring her he’d handle it, which was met with humorous incredulity, Bertie having the chance to prove himself as they hear footsteps approach. They see Stoker looking a bit worn, Pauline asking what had happened, he confessing his trek to the Dower house being met with a man throwing potatoes, Bertie thinking of how admirable Brinkley’s opinionated attitude was when required, and surprising Stoker with his appearance, giving an amusing reason for looking burnt. Bertie then gets on track with beginning his break down of whom Pauline would marry. Unfortunately for them all, Stoker wasn’t having it, Chuffy not taking his stubbornness well, Bertie then admiring the shiner Stoker had received from a thrown potato, knowing how difficult it was from personal experience. Then upon Stoker learning Glossop had beat the shit out of Seabury, he began reconsidering not buying the estate out of spite since it was what Chuffy had been relying on so he could marry Pauline, but then Pauline ruined their progress after mentioning he could apologize to Glossop, Bertie sensing it going south. Everyone became stuck in the ugly silence until Jeeves drifts in with a telegram for Stoker, but made it sound epic for the details, Stoker not impressed and grabbing the letter. Once reading it he learns the will which would’ve made them rich was being disputed, so they could lose everything, Chuffy then excited since he’d be on the same level as Pauline and they could resume their plans. Stoker planning on fighting the dispute, mentioning Glossop’s help, the group wondering how he would manage this due to their little falling out, Stoker now seeing their fight through different eyes, believing they were like brothers who fought. Jeeves then comes in again, Stoker hastily dismissing him even though Jeeves was attempting to assert of knowing where Glossop currently was since none of them knew for certain.

Jeeves withdraws and everyone calls him back for the the news being Glossop had been arrested and placed in the larger of two potting sheds on the grounds which the describing of was about to give Stoker a popped blood vessel. Why the Sergeant’s nephew had put him there is shared, it making sense but still being an odd choice. After getting the completed story as to where Sergeant Dobson was, and the nephew currently awaiting Chuffy due to his status as Justice of the Peace, Jeeves exits and Lady Chuffnell then enters with barely an acknowledgement toward Bertie’s black face, but goes to Chuffy, upset about Glossop’s arrest. Then Stoker realizes the futility of having Glossop testify for him since being found in black face, as well (making him seem cuckoo). Everyone then loses track of what to do, Bertie having given up temporarily, until ringing Jeeves and reminding Chuffy of his usefulness, then recapping Jeeves of the situation to receive a simple fix in response which aggravates Stoker once more, but in the end decides if he can get them out of this nonsense he should like to hear it, Bertie cutting Jeeves off to be certain of two terms, of which being certain Stoker would purchase Chuffnell Hall, and wouldn’t force Pauline upon Bertie. Jeeves then suggests an easy way of getting Dobson away from the shed, and due to his orders, wouldn’t admit to disobeying. Stoker does bring up the good point of whether the cops were able to figure it out or not, if they spoke about it, as they inevitably would, the story would get out. Instead Jeeves proposed Bertie be substitute for Glossop as prisoner which once Bertie keeps attempting to discover reasons not to be put through the short end, everyone starts rubbing the ole ego, softening him up, but what seals it is the promise of breakfast, Bertie following Jeeves out.

The aftermath of Bertie’s breakfast is described, he and Jeeves discussing the happenings of the day being quite stressful, the sight of Chuffy in his Justice of the Peace “uniform” throwing Bertie off, but he praising Jeeves for his part being played well, even learning of the letter of the will being contested was a contrivance of Jeeves, Bertie now saddened in knowing the odds of Jeeves ever being on the market for reemployment being slim. When Jeeves enquires Bertie’s next move, he shares he planned on going back to his apartment in the city due to his banjolele being crisped in the fire and wasn’t getting another, Brinkley having tainted his love of the instrument. Jeeves then asks whether Bertie would consider rehiring him since he didn’t have the interest of being in a married man’s employ. The question shocks Bertie, but thanks Jeeves and the story ends. As entertaining as the others and I hope to get it for my personal library soon.

Mrs. Dalloway

I had decided to postpone reading The Hours since I’d heard it was fruitful to begin with Mrs. Dalloway due to there being nods throughout the former and I wanted to be sure I would catch them, which I started to notice almost straight from the start of beginning this.

We commence with Mrs. Dalloway going to buy flowers whilst Lucy stayed and prepared for the party, I’m assuming, it would come later. Mrs. Clarissa Dalloway is eighteen (which is mentioned in The Hours, but for a different reason) and musing about a phrase Peter Walsh had told her as she walked. It’s June, and Peter will be back from the war soon, they residing in London. Clarissa continues to give pictures of what the city was doing during the day until she runs into one of her old friends, Hugh. He greets her familiarly and she answers his question of where she was headed with why she enjoyed walking in London; Mmk. Hugh, like most of his family, came to London to visit a doctor, he going on behalf of his ill wife who had, it is hinted, womanly issues to attend, but despite which would be coming to her party later, if not a bit late himself for his job detaining him. Peter, the jealous and for the most part, surly type, had a problem with her friendship with Peter, even though he was married, but Clarissa forgave his brashness with being agreeable to walk with her in the mornings; what very simple requirements. She then reviews the right reasons she made in not marrying him and whilst she’d moved on, she felt a little betrayed, it seemed in knowing he had done so, as well. She then considers what book she should give to a woman in a nursing home, Evelyn Whitbread, before choosing nothing and going on her way.

Clarissa then speaks of how she habitually did certain things to influence how people thought of her and her regrets in doing so. Then considering how she’d feel more comfortable as someone else she knew, but currently how even her identity as Clarissa was overshadowed by whom she married, making her Mrs. Dalloway. Clarissa then moves on to speak of how much she enjoyed Bond Street in the morning and how her daughter, Elizabeth differed from herself on the enjoyment of gloves. She also describes her daughter’s temperament to those she didn’t care for from church and one woman in particular, a Miss Kilman she felt opposite for, but Clarissa didn’t like a bit. Clarissa then goes on to consider why she felt such hate and believed it stemmed from love of herself overriding any decent feelings toward Miss Kilman. After coming to this conclusion, she reaches the flower shop which would hold flowers for Clarissa when she had parties, so upon going in and conversing with the florist, Miss Pym, she then gets caught up in talking of the flowers and how they glowed by a certain time of day. Clarissa then believes she hears a gun go off, but Miss Pym relates how it must be another car which had gone by, taking the blame for its noise and then noticing how the car having back-fired, was now parked across the street and the one driving, pulling the blinds on the windows before anyone could get a good look at the supposedly important man within. Those on the street were contemplating who it could be as well, Clarissa believing it was the Queen running specifically mentioned errands. As the car moves on slowly, the same reaction occurs to the people on the street, but soon they become distracted by an airplane writing something in the air and don’t notice nor care about the vehicle now going through the gate of Buckingham Palace.

Lucrezia and Septimus, who are introduced earlier as people are watching the airplane, but now revisit them as they are sitting on a park bench, Lucrezia trying to engage Septimus in interests other than the ones which isolate him. She believed he had something wrong with him, but when she brings him to the doctor, he can’t detect anything and have him try to take interest in certain outdoor activities. Lucrezia meanwhile doesn’t feel like she can share her issues with him with anyone, meanwhile Septimus is shown having deep thoughts he wished to put on paper but being interrupted by Lucrezia trying to get his attention per the request of his physician, he only getting annoyed and distracted. To add to both of their annoyance they then are approached by a young lady, Maisie who had just come to visit London and doesn’t get treated kindly by Lucrezia making her wish she hadn’t ever decided to go there at all. A woman looking from afar at Maisie’s experience whilst she is feeding the birds, her thoughts on marriage given and what the airplane in the sky reminded her of.

Clarissa hadn’t noticed the airplane until she’d just arrived home, but hadn’t even been given time to register what it was when her maid shuts the door, then being told of a phone call which related a Millicent Bruton was inviting her husband for lunch and Clarissa hadn’t been invited with him. This news also disappointing her since she’d heard Lady Bruton’s get-together’s were something to boast of. Clarissa’s sleeping arrangement is shared due to her trouble getting to sleep, as well as the first mention of her proclivity for both women and men (not straight out, but clear enough to understand). She relates a story of Richard trying to quietly get upstairs and hurting himself in the process and then reminiscing about an old girl friend of hers and trying to associate the relationship with love. Clarissa mentions her meeting of Sally and how she seemed to be enamored by not only her looks, but interests as well. Her thoughts on Sally are shared, and a time jump into the future has occurred or she had been from the beginning, fifty-two years old and was only reminiscing about her past. Besides which, she felt like she would be told she looked older by Peter or whomever when he returned. She then goes on to think of her party she would soon be throwing and still chafing from her lack of invite by Lady Bruton. Now though, she went in search of the dress she planned to wear later and considered mending it herself since her maids were busy with other things in preparation. Once her servants began inquiring as to whether she wished them to help her mend the dress, she would thank them repeatedly and decline due to they having enough to do already, then revealing whom she’d gotten the dress from and how she wanted, but never would, visit Sally Parker.

Clarissa then stayed deep in thought whilst mending her dress about where she’d worn it and metaphors in reference to it until she hears the doorbell and Peter Walsh makes his way in to visit with her. Clarissa is surprised he calling on her so early before her party, but very glad he’d come to see her since she would have found he’d been back in town for a day if she’d read his letter. Peter also didn’t have long to stay since he was going to the country, but asked of Richard and Elizabeth, also wondering about the dress she’d been interrupted of mending, Clarissa responding by answering half of his first question, catching him up and then making sure he didn’t mind if she got back to fixing her dress for the party. Clarissa then toys with him by confessing she wouldn’t invite him to the party and he asking her why, she wondering why she’d decided not to marry him all those years ago, they then reminiscing of an old home and his visits with her father during the days he wanted to marry her, he now imagining them surrounded by a moonlit scenery.

Peter than contemplates sharing his news, but begins talking himself out of it for not seeming to live up to Clarissa and all the Dalloways’ standards; In the end though, Clarissa asks him what’s been going on with him which gives him the lead in he needs to declare he’d fallen in love. Clarissa taking his being love-struck in stride even though she seems to be a little irked he isn’t referring to her, she asking who the woman is and he realizing she’s an Indian woman married to a man in the Indian army with two small children and he’s just waiting to see his lawyer. Clarissa then realizes how lucky she is to not have married him and focuses on how he’s become love smitten once more. Peter also realizes the trouble he’s in for just trying to get his love divorced so they could marry and this apparently brings him to tears with Clarissa comforting him, but whilst doing this began thinking how she yearned to tag along with him on his adventures soon feeling as if they’d lived a whole life together and she was nearing the end. Peter then asks Clarissa if she’s happy with Richard which she’s saved from answering by her daughter, Elizabeth entering and she introducing her to him, which he then takes his cue to leave, but not before Clarissa rushes after him to remind he should come to her party.

Peter’s perspective is shown as he’s walking down the street with Clarissa’s last words to him revolving in his mind and how he couldn’t understand, but didn’t fault her for her need of the socializing ploy. Peter’s interest in mechanics is shared, moving back to Clarissa and how she’d changed subjects by acknowledging her daughter’s entrance into the room, Peter being slightly annoyed by how she’d phrased it and noticing how Elizabeth must have felt the same, he soon thinking of how Clarissa hadn’t changed temperament since her youth and feeling a bit of a fool about how he’d broken down in front of her, but he seeming to have a penchant to do so in front of Clarissa. Peter than has the puzzling thought of Clarissa’s interaction with him including some sort of refusal, which may have been in reference to her not answering his question, but this all happens whilst he’s getting ready and not seeming to be aware of it, then having a thought as the clock strikes half-past eleven and the last bell tolls, he thinks of Clarissa’s life ending, remembering a physical  ailment she was dealing with and it giving him a spring to his step to get a move on. Peter then considers the possibility of Richard being able to hook him up with a job whilst some young English soldiers pass him on the street. Peter dwells on the soldiers for a while and then considers how no one but Clarissa knew he was back in London and being in Trafalgar Square providing a feeling of being free, giving an impression of his youth he hadn’t had for a very long time. He then spies a young woman whom grabs his attention so soundly he decides to follow her; always a great idea. Peter than fancies how he’d distract from the idea he’s following her if she noticed his presence by offering to grab a drink and she automatically agreeing; Have to love those fantasies. He starts to lose her on the street as it began to get congested, though, but is able to follow her until she enters a private residence, he then remembering Clarissa’s repetitive words.

Peter considers where his family originates and his indifference to the Indian army and imagines how he’d pass his time as he came to these conclusions, he then thinking of his youth and how this was brought to his mind because of Clarissa and how females tended to live in the past more than men. Peter sits down after this and goes back to his thoughts of Elizabeth and her “queer” look and then analyzing why Clarissa had introduced her the way she had. Peter than decides he’ll want to speak with Elizabeth again as he’s on the verge of a nap in the park and seeing him reach deeper unconsciousness. He wakes with a start and remembers the time he’d been dreaming of, it being in the summer in the early “‘nineties” and being deeply in love with Clarissa. The moment he remembers includes Clarissa imitating a woman in an unstylish dress and realiizng a fact which makes her state she couldn’t socialize with her anymore which tainted Peter’s love of her, even though he understood it was caused by her naïveté and the fact he couldn’t stand how she could go along as if nothing had occurred, driving him crazy, but still over-ruled by his love, even though her words would keep him in a funk for some time after. When they sit for supper, Peter than notices Clarissa, he having sat near her aunt, is sitting near another young man and her quirky mistake of calling Mr. Dalloway another name, is their first introduction and Peter’s sixth sense in knowing Clarissa would marry him. After Peter realizes this, they still have a good time socializing at the party, but he seems to be in denial after and must confront Clarissa another day, to be certain of their courtship being over, he not taking it as in stride as he’d done when he’d thought of it. He then remembers the last time they saw each other before coming back to his senses in the park, having the realization of the distractions life gave him to ease his pain of losing Clarissa and watching a little girl’s antics near a pond.

Lucrezia has come to her last bit of patience toward Septimus when a little girl runs into her and she has someone to comfort and after the child runs back to her nurse, Lucrezia considers she must return to Septimus for how late it was getting and needing to see Sir William Bradshaw. Lucrezia then remembers how odd Septimus could get with certain ideas he argued were reasonable. Septimus’ perspective is given as he has some “strange” thoughts and listens to a boy with a penny-whistle down on the street below his room. When Lucrezia comes in to ask him the time, he has trouble focusing on her question, but after being led back to reality he wavers between seeing a dead friend and then going to Peter’s perspective seeing them as he walks through the park and comparing London life to how he’d been living in India. His thoughts then move to a young woman who had married young to a rich man, someone he never would have suspected to do this. Sally being whom he was thinking of, ponders how she was Clarissa’s only best friend whom could see beyond people’s social behavior and was able to call out “bullshit”. Background of Hugh is mentioned, whom Sally despised for reasons unknown and to whom he was married. A memory of Mr. Dalloway being quite sensible is shared, and realizing why Clarissa must have fallen for him and then discovering Clarissa may have the better judge of character than Sally, she also having the ability to immerse herself in her own little world regardless of her actual surroundings.

Through Peter’s musings (of whom I almost forget is narrating due to the prolonged thought process), he settles with thoughts of Clarissa’s nature and must be sure to insist he doesn’t love her anymore, but must be able to explain and mentions how Clarissa would own up to all of her flaws, being a very honest sort (I can relate). Whom the parties are usually for is then related and how Clarissa was a major believer in keeping oneself busy, after getting similarities between her favorite authors and using a metaphor she lived by and also describing her personality quirks which leads in to Elizabeth’s current stage of dealing with the elder friends of her mother. He then considers how the tables seemed to have turned for he and Clarissa, she now being in love with him and his thoughts of what men really think of having to compliment women once they reach their fifties. He then thinks of Daisy, his would-be fiancée and remembers a letter she wrote to him he knew her plan in mentioning certain details was only a ploy to try and hurt him for leaving on this sojourn to England. His reasons for being there besides attending Clarissa’s party is given and how passion is viewed differently in men’s eyes, he then becoming distracted by a strange sound whistling through the trees which makes him consider the situation the person who was making the sound would have gone through, he giving her a schilling before taking a taxi.

Lucrezia has now also noticed the woman and is feeling sorry for her as she’s about to walk across the street. She imagined people knowing of her sadness and wanting her feelings to be noticed, she hoping the doctor they were going to see will be able to help Septimus. A clerk who didn’t live well is visited, but self-educated himself by going to the library and writing to authors for suggestions on books to read (pretty good idea). Septimus’ past is shown on how he’d come to the city and his first love and her influence on his reading and writing. We learn what Septimus had volunteered to do, even though he was being eyed to move up in his clerk position. After losing a friend in the war, he meets Lucrezia whose family owned an inn, he immediately upon meeting her, becomes engaged with her. This is also the time he begins to have feelings of unnoticed panic and having moments with Lucrezia whilst she worked making hats. As Lucrezia is found to have a critical, but passionate eye for hats and outfits, Septimus is starting to become aware of his inability to feel emotion, but other parts of his brain seeming to work perfectly. When he’s taken his old position back as a clerk, they put him on a pedestal and he seems indifferent to their reaction, instead thinking of Shakespeare’s feelings toward humanity and then Lucrezia trimming hats and her thoughts of having a family at some point.

Lucrezia goes on to speak of what sex her child must be and the baby would be introduced to Shakespeare due to Septimus’ brilliant mind and if her requirement wasn’t satisfied she would be come inconsolably unhappy. This subject was the first to make Lucrezia cry since getting married and Septimus could feel no empathy for her loneliness for wanting a child. Septimus’ inability to navigate his lack of emotion pushed him into a deeper state of withdrawal and so Lucrezia calls the doctor whose diagnosis being there wasn’t a thing wrong with him and he may just need some time to unwind along with a few other home remedies. The doctor speaks to Septimus of trying to feel better at least for his wife, since his being bed-ridden was upsetting her and Lucrezia confessing later how the doctor had invited her to dinner, speaking of his four children and how Septimus was feeling abandoned because of her acceptance to the invitation which cycles him back to the idea of somehow giving up his life for the people around him, he figuring it wasn’t quite reasonable to do it for other people’s benefits since he did get some enjoyment out of the basic details of life, whether it be food or weather. When the doctor leaves and is soon called back by Lucrezia for being startled by Septimus talking nonsense to himself out loud again, the doctor prescribes him some medication which will help him sleep.

Big Ben rings twelve and Clarissa activities are mentioned of what she was doing before focusing on Sir William Bradshaw and how he would drive anywhere a patient needed him whilst “her ladyship” sometimes waited in the back seat of his car. She having the time to think of many random things including her husband and son and community affairs. Doctor Bradshaw had come to look in on Septimus as well, determining he could do with some time in the country, noting his behavior and accompanying illness the previous doctor was unable to diagnose. After giving Lucrezia all the information and what would be done for Septimus in his home, they bring the news to Septimus who doesn’t take it very well, but is thrust to accept his transfer of home temporarily so he could be a proper husband and live up to expectations at his work. After, background of how Sir William helped his patients, which whilst giving the patients’ families ease of mind, worked the patients themselves, up. Lucrezia though, not being among the norm in this frame of thought, disliking Doctor Bradshaw with definitive emotion. A digression involving Hugh Whitbread is given and what he did for the community and the reason he would never accept lunch with Lady Bruton, which then led to Mr. Dalloway meeting Lady Bruton on a doorstep.

A meal with Lady Bruton, Hugh, Miss Brush and Richard, is next, she having invited them under false pretenses and deciding when the proper time would be to break her news, she asking after Clarissa to Richard and Lady Bruton being after social and political acceptability more than pure friendship. An explanation is shared of what her question regarding Clarissa would have meant to other women as opposed to men and how they acted toward each other in the few moments they did run into each other. Lady Bruton than abruptly reveals Peter Walsh being in town once more and everyone in the room getting sparks of recognition and Richard seeming very pleased by the news. Lady Bruton  is seen waiting patiently until they are all smoking and has her maid get them papers before trying to segue to her point of the evening, but then seeming never to reveal it and Richard asking whether she’ll be joining Clarissa’s party, she uncertain for not having a taste for parties. When they leave she lies down for a moment and thinks of a memory with her mother and father when she had dirtied her dress and with this thought and of her other relatives, she goes deeper into sleep.

Richard and Hugh are next as they enter a jewelry shop, Hugh once realizing his usual jeweler wasn’t available decided he wouldn’t buy anything until he was in and Richard, finally deciding he would look for something for Clarissa, couldn’t figure out what to get since the last time he bought her jewelry it hadn’t made time as an accessory upon her. Whilst he struggled with the thought though, he became annoyed by Hugh’s conduct in announcing his decision to wait and so departs to find Clarissa. He decides upon arriving with flowers to announce his love for her, which doesn’t happen very often due to the awkward feeling of the process, but once he’d determined his plan, he then notices the lack of policing there was on the streets and how he was gathering evidence for malpractice quite often. He then considers his words of love for Clarissa once he confronts her and meanwhile walks through an area with poor families entertaining themselves. Richard also confronts how he’d at one time been jealous of Peter and Clarissa, but had his mind eased by Clarissa’s mindfulness of what she truly needed. As Richard reaches his destination, Clarissa is seen struggling with the idea of having to invite someone she didn’t really care for to her party and then being distracted and surprised by the late hour and of Richard walking in with roses, he unable to voice his words of love, but Clarissa understanding his unspoken meaning. The two speak of the party later and of Elizabeth’s current interest with a friend whom had just come by, both of them speaking of the visitors Clarissa had and of whom was at the lunch with Richard, he departing without saying the words he wanted to voice, but needing to get back to work and deal with some business, which Clarissa knew and accepted as she rested per Richard’s parting words due to a doctor giving this particular piece of advice at one time.

Clarissa was then aware she was unhappy about something and slowly figured out what it was which upon doing so, was instantly in better spirits since the subject matter was purely to do with others opinions of what she enjoyed, even at the risk of her health. When Elizabeth walks in to see Clarissa resting, her features are mentioned differing from the other Dalloways’ to suggest they had some deviation from their heritage somewhere and how her personality had changed from when she was a child. Meanwhile Miss Kilman, Elizabeth’s guest, waited on the stair and would be able to hear the conversation between Clarissa and Elizabeth, which the latter was aware. Miss Kilman’s background is shared and what she thought of Clarissa and Richard, establishing she taught Elizabeth history. When the two go out of the room and Clarissa is aware of Miss Kilman, Elizabeth goes to fetch some gloves which were left behind and Clarissa has a “stand off” with Miss Kilman over how she seemed to have such a hold on the girl and whilst Miss Kilman claimed to not hate Clarissa, she certainly felt the need to act coldly to her and felt well within her right to do so since she was paid to do a certain job and thought Clarissa was just a rich snob, which she seemed to be in her own way, likewise minus being rich. Before they get out the door, but still not quite in time, Clarissa tries to remind Elizabeth to come back on time for their party, she already out the door and a loud vehicle drowning her out. After Clarissa takes a moment to think of Miss Kilman in her perpetually sour state, she swiftly moves subject to Peter and his seemingly baffling taste in women. Clarissa then reminds herself she must call for some accouterments for her party and remembers how she must have insulted or hurt Miss Kilman with her reaction to her, thinking Miss Kilman may have held her in higher regard than she truly believed, knowing the woman looked at her with disdain, but still considered she must have been affected by Clarissa’s lighthearted response to her.

Miss Kilman is then shown dealing with her negative self-image and how Clarissa had it so easy, speaking of her issues with a Mr. Whitaker. After, they go shopping and have tea, Miss Kilman getting thwarted in having the cake she wanted due to a child snatching it up when the mother and child sat near them, she not taking it well at all. After, they go elsewhere to have tea and when Elizabeth is done, she divulges of wanting to leave, but Miss Kilman wishes her to stay since she hadn’t finished yet, so Elizabeth waits on her and Miss Kilman learns she will be attending her mother’s party and gives advice on how she should take parties with a grain of salt and Elizabeth not caring for them much anyways is then led into how Miss Kilman seemed to have possessive feelings for her. Elizabeth then sits through an awkward statement from Miss Kilman regarding her self pity, but how it outweighed the pity for others. Miss Kilman then goes to pray after Elizabeth finally flees and pays their bill, she meanwhile having a difficult time connecting to her spirituality and thoughts of the people she’d seen during the day which leads us to what Elizabeth was doing; waiting for an omnibus and feeling too exposed to the world as opposed to how she felt in the country with her father. She then considered the profession she’d prefer going into one day and how she’d spent so much time on the bus she may already need to get back home to change for dinner, but not knowing the hour it was, currently.

After Elizabeth has some time for a walk, she realizes it’s later than she believed and makes her way back, having being given the description of what the objects and scenery around her looked like and changing in the light, Septimus seeing the same things. (Which is one thing Virginia Woolf had going on for her, the almost imperceptible character-shifts.) Septimus is shown having those deep thought moments and Lucrezia worrying over him again, thinking back to his sometimes crazy thoughts she was demanded to write down and how one person reacted unfavorably in Septimus’ eyes once they’d read a part. After sitting for a few more moments, Septimus makes a comment about the hat Lucrezia was working on which reminded her of how he used to speak, seeming normal. They laughed over his thought of the hat and then goes about making it look even better by laying out the accessories Lucrezia would need to change the look according to his eye, which she knew was keen to sense certain odd styles. Having this moment between them made Lucrezia very happy, she trying the quirky looking hat on until a tap at the door indicated the girl with the paper had arrived. After Lucrezia returns the girl to her mother and Septimus wakes from his dozing off, he and she look at the notes she’d taken for him and how the night being referred had been so serene for the two it wasn’t fair how they’d be separated just because the doctor said it was best, Lucrezia confiding they couldn’t be forced to obey. Instead of burning his notes, as requested, Lucrezia decides to store them out of sight, since some of them were wonderful drawings.

When the two realize the doctor had come to escort Septimus out, Lucrezia stops him on the stair, but only for a few moments and Septimus, once realizing he had nothing to defend himself with, decides the only decision is to escape through the window, the results of which, aren’t favorable. Septimus is dealt with and Lucrezia is given something to aid her to sleep and then perspective goes to Peter. He beginning by having thoughts of how people act around emergency vehicles for having heard an ambulance pass and then takes himself back to a memory of he and Clarissa on an omnibus and gathering prized items from a certain market and then getting once more side-tracked by her daughter’s entrance until once again thinking of his and Clarissa’s good-ole-days until noting he’d gotten a letter from her and dreaded opening it for all the drama of feelings the two seemed to have for each other. Peter thinks of how he’d, for some reason wanted Clarissa to introduce Daisy if the opportunity arose and then learning his indulgent interests as he goes to dinner. After speaking with a family who he senses he’s completely delighted his presence with, he decides he’ll attend Clarissa’s party for the purpose of talking about the political happenings of India with Richard to learn what the English were doing out there. As he walks out of the restaurant and thinks of various subjects, he gets a paper and then starts thinking how cricket is an interest which is inescapable. Peter than walks one through how most people view parties and how different age-groups act in them and then noticing how the people of London seemed to all being going out to dinner, he then noting certain individuals who catch his eye.

When Peter reaches Clarissa’s house he notices her maid rushing around to fix any finishing touches to the furniture, etc., which could mean an official was coming, as well, but this not being impressive to Mrs. Walker, the cook. As the party was getting started and the men and women separated, Mrs. Walker is followed, whom is stressing about the salmon always being under cooked. As more people arrived, Peter among them, he then realizes his coming was probably a mistake, due to Clarissa taking on the pleasant hostess routine and he not knowing anyone there, now thinking staying in to read a book or going out to listen to music would have been more preferable. Then perspectives are changed a couple times to land on Clarissa’s cousin who felt like her invitation was a second thought since she’d received it late, she then seeing Peter Walsh and how Richard seemed very glad to see him after the latter had come to speak with her cordially. Clarissa is struggling with whether the party is yet a success and her role not feeling important, which was to stand and greet those who arrived, at the moment. Then Clarissa is greeted by a party crasher, Sally Seton, the two acting very pleased to see each other and as they catch up, the Prime Minister arriving and being ushered around by Richard for introductions, noticing how the man didn’t look important, naturally. Clarissa continues with the Prime Minister through the room and greets more people as they come in and when she interrupts some men who are laughing to ask what the joke is, none of them responding for propriety’s sake, most likely, she then overhearing a polar-opposed conversation between two men about Milton and thinking they weren’t hitting it off very well.

Clarissa continues to speak to certain individuals, one being her aunt and then wondering where Peter had gone, her aunt having had many memories in India. When she sees and leads him to her aunt, she promises to speak with him later and moves on to discover Lady Bruton. They speak for a moment until Lady Bruton notices Peter and engages his opinion of India since he’d just been there. After some time Clarissa gets the time to speak with Peter and then is interrupted by Lady Bradshaw announcing her lateness. She goes on to chat with Clarissa of various things until mentioning a young man who had killed himself earlier in the evening and the slow shock of how Lady Bradshaw could be using this as her conversation piece at Clarissa’s party. Clarissa is then taken by seeing an old woman getting ready for bed across from her window and the circling thought of the young man who died and why he’d done it, but not feeling sorry for him because of the party she had going on around her, making her appreciate life. Meanwhile Peter and Clarissa’s other old acquaintances and friends sat and rehashed the past, awaiting her to make her rounds so they could all talk together. As they wait for Clarissa, the round of conversations intermingle and end with Elizabeth being told by Richard how he had hardly recognized her as she was talking with someone, she pleased and Peter then realizing his excitement and figuring out the reason for it was Clarissa having reappeared.

Smooth and meandering story, the kind one would read during travel or at the beach, I enjoyed it more because I’ll be reading The Hours after, but Woolf has such an easy flow I may just have to read a few more of hers.