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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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As Hyacinth passed up the little garden-path she saw a familiar face at the open shoji of the guest-room.

"It is Yamashiro Yoshida," she said to Koma.

"What does he want?" her companion demanded, with such unexpected harshness that the girl broke into a silvery peal of laughter.

"The gods alone know. We shall see. Ah, but he is welcome!"

Aoi met them at the door. Her poor, little, anxious face hurt the girl more than if she had heaped her with reproaches. With an unwonted tenderness she threw her arms about the mother's neck and pressed her face against hers, whispering over and over again.

| | 218 page image : 218 THE HEART OF HYACINTH

"How I love you! It is so good to see you again."

"Yoshida is within," said Aoi, when the girl had released her. "He comes alone."

"What!" she cried, in mock surprise. "The brave Yoshida ventures out alone? Well, and what does he want?"

"Nay, he would not tell me. He will speak only to you, little one."

"Very well. Let him speak," and she pushed the doors gayly aside and entered the oxashishi. She was not aware that Koma had entered also until, following the glance of Yoshida, she perceived Koma behind her. Then her voice rippled merrily, and she spoke affectionately to Yamashiro Yoshida.

"Why, Yamashiro Yoshida, what brings you here? I had not dreamed of the blessings the gods had in store for me. I am so affected by the light of your presence that I am rendered speechless," which last was quite un | | 219 page image : 219 THE HEART OF HYACINTH true, as both the young men could have attested.

Yoshida bowed himself to the ground; and now, oblivious of the presence of the intruder, Koma, replied:

"Ah, beauteous one, I am come to bring you a most insignificant present, and to beseech you to pardon the rudeness of my family and to permit our betrothal to continue."

The girl took the gift slowly and held it on the palm of her hand. It was a very exquisitely lacquered box, and she knew without opening it that it contained some very valuable complexion powder. Her lover, however, could not have told from her face the effect of his words and gift upon her.

Her eyes were inscrutable, her lips pressed closely together. She seemed to be examining the box with critical eyes, as though she were weighing its value.

Without a word of response, she suddenly crossed to the tokonona and drew | | 220 page image : 220 THE HEART OF HYACINTH out from underneath it a fairly large box. Its contents she removed slowly, setting the articles in a semicircle on the floor about her. Soon she was quite encircled by the contents. Then, with one little, pointing finger, she spoke:

"This obi, Yamashiro Yoshida, was your first gift. It was given on the day of our betrothal. I have never worn it. It was too rich for one so small as I."

She looked full into the face of Yoshida, and then with a fleeting glance she saw the face of Koma. She smiled ever so sweetly.

"These pins, Yoshida, are costly, but murderous appearing. Once they pricked my head."

She stuck them into the sash of the obi.

"These bracelets," she said, "are just exactly like the ones you gave to the geisha Morning Glory."

She laid them beside the pins.

"This kimono, honorable Yoshida, is | | 221 page image : 221 THE HEART OF HYACINTH so heavy its weight would break the back of one so humble as I."

"Lady," said Yamashiro Yoshida, haughtily, "you make a jest of my gifts. I assure you I do not appreciate it. Why do you thus enumerate them? Is it not ungracious?"

Sweetly the girl swept all of the gifts into a heap together, then, rising with them in her arms, she crossed to Yoshida.

"Yamashiro Yoshida," she said, "I never loved you, yet I betrothed myself to you because of the magnificence of your gifts. I was an ignorant child. Then you and your august parents cast me off because of my honorable origin, which you despised. Now you come to attempt to buy me with another gift. But I am no longer a silly child, and I give you back not only that new gift, but--all--all--all--all. Take them--take them quickly."

She thrust them into his arms. Angrily he attempted to refuse them. They fell crashing to the floor. A man's rich | | 222 page image : 222 THE HEART OF HYACINTH voice suddenly broke out into laughter.

"It is an insult!" cried Yamashiro Yoshida, furiously, trampling upon his gifts, half by accident, half blindly. He glared at the sweetly smiling face of the girl--glared at the laughing Komazawa; then he clapped his hands violently.

"My shoes!" he fairly shouted at Mumè, as she answered his summons.

He kicked his feet into his shoes, stamped on the floor furiously, then turned on his heel and left the house in a fine rage.

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