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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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VII

IT would be cruel to dwell upon the sufferings of Norah. She came to consciousness while being carried bodily through the streets by half a dozen of "the finest" in Japan. But she retained consciousness only long enough to give vent to another terrific shriek and then faint again. When next she came to, she was in the "dhirty haythen doongeon," as she termed it. There Mr. Kurukawa found her, secured her release, and took her home.

But the baby! It was only a little after nine when Norah had gone forth so bravely. By five in the afternoon | | 70 page image : 70     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM the search for the baby had not ended. Everybody in the village appeared to have had the baby at one time or another through the day. The little one had been passed from house to house as an object of curiosity. Its clothing was a marvel to all Japanese eyes; its blue eyes were extraordinary; its little wisps of yellow hair the most amazing of sights ever seen in the little town; and its milk-white skin positively unreal. Japanese mothers brought their own brown offspring and put them side by side with the little white baby. They patted its little, chubby hands, and put their fingers into its mouth. The latter never failed to please the Kurukawa baby, which immediately fell to sucking the finger greedily. After a time, however, as no milk was forthcoming from the numberless fingers thus offered, the baby became cross.

| | 71 page image : 71     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM

Then nobody wanted it any longer.

Mr. and Mrs. Kurukawa and a policeman went about the town hunting for the child. The mother was almost prostrated, but insisted on accompanying her husband. As they turned away from each house the mother grew paler and more fearful. Finally the policeman suggested that they abandon the search until the following morning. It was getting towards night, and the Japanese retire early.

The parents would not hear of this. They would search all night if necessary. The policeman shrugged his shoulders. Very well, he had other duties. As the honorable excellencies could see for themselves, the streets were already almost deserted. Indeed, there were only a few children left yonder in the street. The father and mother turned a | | 72 page image : 72     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM most aimlessly towards the place where a number of children were playing skip rope. One little girl after another would jump back and forth over the swinging rope. One girl seemed less nimble than the others. She slipped once, and trod on the rope often. As the Kurukawas came nearer to the group they noticed her because she seemed humpbacked. But the hump upon her back bobbed and moved up and down. When she stopped skipping and came to their side of the rope the hump upon her back moved a bit higher, until it rested against her neck. It was a little baby's head!

Mrs. Kurukawa uttered a faint cry and rushed upon the little girl, pitifully trying to drag the baby from her back. It was sound asleep and seemed perfectly comfortable and none the worse for its late ad- | | 73 page image : 73     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM ventures. Mrs. Kurukawa hugged it wildly.

"Oh, my little, little baby!" she sobbed. It opened its sleepy blue eyes and gooed and gurgled softly.

From this time forth the baby became the centre of attraction to all the family. Even Juji seemed to be conscious of its enviable position. Was it not surrounded at all times by the little girls? Was it not hugged and petted in a way he had considered due only to him from his sisters?

He had watched with wonder the queer little plaything ever since it had come into the house. It was no larger than some dolls his sisters had; but when it opened its mouth it could make a noise almost as loud as Juji himself. In fact, its noises and its limbs and everything about it had an absorbing interest for Juji. | | 74 page image : 74     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM He began to hang about its vicinity. Norah would discover him pressed up close to her knee, his little, serious slits of eyes intent upon every movement of the baby.

"Bless his heart," she would say. "Shure the little lamb loves his wee brother. Then give him a nice kiss," whereupon she would put the baby's face close to Juji. The latter would rub his nose against the fat, soft, baby cheek. He must have pondered over his little step-brother, for one night Norah was awakened by strange little sounds in the vicinity of the baby's bed. She reached over in the dark, found and enclosed a little hand in her large one. Then she saw a little figure in bed with the baby. Juji was sitting up and leaning over the baby. In his hand was a bottle, the end of which was thrust into the baby's mouth!

| | 75 page image : 75     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM

Norah was too astonished at first to do anything but watch the child. Then she seized him.

"You lamb!" said she. "If you aren't the swatest haythen, shure I don't know who is!"

"Opey mouth," said little Juji, in English, and pushed the bottle towards Norah's lips.

He had seen the nurse-maid do this with the baby, and had heard her say:

"Opey mouthie, lover!"

He had found the bottle, and while all were asleep and there was no one to interfere with him, he had sought to feed his baby step-brother.

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