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Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Heart of Hyacinth, an electronic edition

by Onoto Watanna [Watanna, Onoto, 1879-1954]

date: 1903
source publisher: Harper & Brothers
collection: Genre Fiction

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IV

MORNING dawned with a haggard light. Ceaselessly the rain drizzled down. The torpid heat of the previous day had given place to a clammy chilliness. The weather oppressed the sick one. Her restlessness was gone, but passive quiet was more ominous. Her white face seemed to have shrunken through the night--so white and still it was that she seemed scarcely to breathe.

Too weak to bear the burden of her child against her, the mother permitted the little one to be cared for in an interior room lest its cries might disturb her. All through the day she spoke no word. Wearily, the heavy lids of her eyes were closed.

As the day began to wane, Aoi, thoroughly alarmed, summoned the vil- | | 28 page image : 28 THE HEART OF HYACINTH lage doctor; a very old and learned man he was considered. He felt the woman's hands, listened to her breathing with his ear against her lips. Very cold her hands were, but her breathing was regular, though faint.

The doctor looked grave, solemn, and wise. He shook his bald head ominously.

"How long has the honorable one been thus?"

"Since early morn, sir doctor. She awoke from her night sleep only to fall into this condition."

"The woman has but a short space of life left to her," said the doctor, solemnly.

Aoi trembled.

"Her people--" she began, falteringly. "Oh, good sir doctor, it is very, very sad. So young! Ah, so beautiful!"

Seeming not to share or understand Aoi's sympathy, the doctor gathered up his instruments and simples slowly, meanwhile glancing uneasily towards | | 29 page image : 29 THE HEART OF HYACINTH the face of the sick woman. He turned suddenly to Aoi.

"Madame," he said, "the village sympathizes with you at the infliction placed upon you by this enforced guest, but--"

"You do not finish, sir doctor?"

"The woman became a nuisance at the tavern. The people there were not Kirishitans (Christians), and were moreover in ignorance of the woman's speech. They could only comprehend that she wished to be taken to some one of her own people--so, madame, you--"

"I, being of her people," said Aoi, with simple dignity, "she was brought to me. That was right. I thank my neighbors for their kindness. I am honored, indeed, with such a guest. She is welcome."

The doctor moved towards the door. "And the child? It is well, and will not accompany the mother on her last journey. What will become of it?"

Aoi did not reply.

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"If it is desired by you, Madame Aoi," said the doctor, endeavoring to be kind, "I will immediately despatch word to the city to send notification to the nearest open port. There, surely, must be some consul, or representative of the woman's country. To them the child should go."

Aoi spoke swiftly.

"The poor one's people were unkind to her and cruel. How can we tell but that they might also abuse the child?"

"That is the affair of the child, Madame Aoi. Pray accept my counsel. Send the child--"

Interrupted by the sudden entrance of little Komazawa, he did not finish. The boy had evidently heard all, through the thin partition doors, against which he had leaned, listening intently. He thrust himself now before the doctor, with eyes purpled by excitement. His tense little body quivered.

"Sir doctor," he said, in a voice new even to his mother, it was so strong | | 31 page image : 31 THE HEART OF HYACINTH and haughty, "you make mistake. The child is already among its own people. Here, in my father's house, all people are Engleesh. So! The child belongs to us, since the mother did present it to us. It is a gift of the good God!"

Smiling and frowning together the little doctor bowed ironically to the little fellow facing him.

"And will the august one enlighten me as to whether he will make an effort to find the child's legal guardians?"

"That is our affair, sir doctor, but I will answer. We will ask advice of the good excellency when he returns. He is in Sendai even now. He will be in our village to-night."

The doctor bowed himself out, and Koma turned to his mother, a question in his eyes. Aoi nodded sadly. The poor white woman would die, had said the sir doctor.

Komazawa approached the bed softly, until he stood by the woman's side, looking down fixedly upon her. How | | 32 page image : 32 THE HEART OF HYACINTH white was the still face, how beautiful the long lashes that swept the cheeks, how wonderful and sunlike the silken hair enveloping her head like a halo. Could she be real, this beautiful, still creature? Never had Komazawa seen anything like her. She seemed a spirit of the lingering twilight.

Suddenly he bent over her and softly touched the small hand that lay outside the coverlet. But soft as was his touch it acted like an electric shock upon the woman. She started and quivered, as her heavy lids lifted. At the little face bending above her she stared. A strange expression came into her face. Her voice was like that of one murmuring in a dream.

"A little white boy," she said. "A little white--"

Her lips were stilled, but a breath, a sigh passed from her as Koma, with a sudden instinctive motion, put his face down to hers. When Aoi gently drew the boy up she found the still, white | | 33 page image : 33 THE HEART OF HYACINTH face softly smiling in the twilight, as though ere she slept she had seen a vision.

But Komazawa knelt by the bedside, weeping passionately.

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