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Emory Women Writers Resource Project

A Japanese Blossom, an electronic edition

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

date: 1906
source publisher: Harper & Brothers
collection: Genre Fiction

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IT was the day after Marion's accident that the baby was lost, or, rather, "shtolen," as the nurse-maid put it.

Norah had taken it in its carriage a short distance from the house. In Chicago it had been her daily duty to push the baby up and down the street on which they lived. The Kurukawas' garden was of a fair size, but its dimensions were limited for Norah's purpose. Moreover, the girl was intensely homesick "for the soight of the face of a foine cop!"

When she had gone to America, one of the first things she noticed | | 64 page image : 64     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM was that all, or nearly all, the policemen were Irish. The idea occurred to her that it might be the same in Japan. And so, unmindful of the instructions of her mistress not to leave the vicinity of the house, Norah sallied forth, and wandered on until she came to the main street of the little town. The news of the presence in the street of a most extraordinary looking foreign devil, a giant in size, pushing an outlandish jinrikisha with a pale-faced, yellow-hair baby in it, spread like wildfire through the surrounding streets. Soon a small mob of children and a number of curious men and women were following and surrounding Norah. Some of them ran ahead of her, impeding the progress of the baby-carriage. At first Norah regarded them with inherent good-humor, but after a time she became | | 65 page image : 65     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM embarrassed and annoyed. A little girl of about seven years had actually climbed over the front of the carriage, and there she perched, regarding the baby with great curiosity.

Norah stopped. One hand sought her plump hip, and the other doubled to a fist, which she shook.

"Now, you young spalpeen," said she, "you climb down, or I'll put you down none too gently. Off with you, you haythen imp!"

The little girl regarded her unblinkingly, but the surrounding crowd began to jabber excitedly. Norah turned upon them.

"Shure, it's a fine lot of haythens you be! wid nothing better to consam yersilves wid than the business of others. Off wid you all, or Oi'll make short worruk of the boonch of yez."

A threatening movement cleared | | 66 page image : 66     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM a space about her. Her fighting blood was up. She began to lay about her in every direction, spanking a little boy on her right, pushing along by the ear another, and culling a giggling maiden of fifteen summers, whose tittering had for some time irritated her. But in attacking the children following her, Norah made a mistake. The "haythens," merely curious at first, now became aggressive. In a few minutes there was a concerted rush in the direction of the Irish girl. She took fright at this, and at the top of her voice shrieked:

"Police! Police! Murdher! Hilp!" Her cry had immediate effect. Some one came running towards her. The crowd fell back, and indeed dispersed almost in silence at the approach of the little, uniformed figure which descended upon them. He | | 67 page image : 67     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM made his way straight to Norah with wonder. She watched the magic effect of his coming upon the crowd, and as he came up to her she spoke admiringly:

"Shure it's the Mikado himself yer afther being, I should think, from the grand way you're threated."

He touched her arm with a hand of authority.

"I have the honor to arrest you," said he, in distinct English.

"Arrest me!" shouted the now irate Norah. "And who in Harry are you?"

"Police," said the little man, shortly.

"You a policeman!" cried Norah. "Now the saints forgive you for the lie! Shure, I niver saw a policeman of your sawed-off size before! Where I come from--"

But the grip upon her arm had tightened. Indignantly Norah sought | | 68 page image : 68     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM withdraw, but to her astonishment she could not move. The little, "sawed-off" policeman held her in a tighter grip than any Irish policeman could have done. Norah's red face blazed.

"It's yersilf that 'll be arrested for the outrage," she said, and then began to wail aloud in most distressing accents.

"Oh, wirrah, wirrah, wirrah! And why did I iver lave the ould country? And why did I iver come to this haythen land of savages? Shure it was love for the innocent babe that--"

She stopped and turned to look for the baby. Carriage and child were gone!

A frightful scream escaped the lips of the terrified girl. Then she collapsed heavily in the arms of the little "haythen" policeman.

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