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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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XIII

THE old grandmother was the first to arise on the auspicious morning. The sun had not yet made its appearance when she opened her shoji and looked out at the dawning.

She dressed herself hastily, and then went to arouse the servants. While the family still slept the house was put in perfect order, and soon breakfast was preparing. When she had set all the maids at their tasks the grandmother returned to the floor above, and entered the room now shared jointly by Taro and Billy. Opening the shutters she let in the light. Then as they did not | | 126 page image : 126     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM stir, she deftly turned down their bedclothes and drew the pillows from beneath their heads. Taro sat up grumbling and yawning, while Billy turned over on his side, felt about for the pillow, and then slept uneasily without it. Taro, now awake, shook Billy.

"Oh, let me sleep," complained Billy.

"All ride," said Taro, slipping out of bed and beginning to put on his clothes quickly. "You kin sleep when we marsh off with my fadder. No more Port Authur. Soon no more Lussians!"

Billy was out of bed in a minute, suddenly recalled to the fact of what this day was to bring forth.

"I'll beat you dressing," said he.

Meanwhile, Madame Sano was helping the little girls with their toilets.

Iris was standing patiently while | | 127 page image : 127     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM her hair was being dressed in an elaborate mode. Plum Blossom, her round, fat little face still flushed with sleep, was sitting on the floor drawing on a white stocking.

A maid was helping Marion. The latter's hair was arranged in the same fanciful mode as her stepsisters.

"Grandmother, please let me wear my new cherry-blossom kimono today," coaxed Iris.

"You must wear your white," said the grandmother; "all wear white today. You must look your best. Now, Plum Blossom, let O'Chika arrange your hair."

"Please, grandmother, tie my obi. You do it so beautifully," begged Marion.

Smiling, Madame Sano pulled and twisted the little girl's kimono into correct shape, wound the sash about | | 128 page image : 128     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM her, and tied it in a huge bow behind. Then she slipped a fan and two little paper handkerchiefs into the sleeves of each little girl. Now that they were all ready, she took occasion to give them a short lecture.

"You mus' wear sweed, smiling face to-day, liddle gells. No more cry."

"Oh, grandmother, how can I help it?" asked Marion, a catch in her voice which already betokened the forbidden tears. "I'd better stay home. I can't see father go away to that awful, cruel war."

"When Gozo went away I nebber cry one tear!" said Plum Blossom, fervently.

"I no cry needer," said Iris; "and when he say good-bye I laff and wave both these han's like this."

"She have flag in both those han's," explained Plum Blossom.

| | 129 page image : 129      A JAPANESE BLOSSOM

"She have my flag also; so when I also wave my han's I have no flag, but jus' same--me--I laff, too."

"Oh, didn't Gozo feel bad to see you laughing at him like that?"

"No," cried Plum Blossom, indignantly. "My! how good he feel. He hol' himself like thisaway." She threw out her chest in illustration. "And when he reached corner of street he put Juji down."

"Juji? Where was he?"

"Gozo carry him on shoulder all way down stleet. And Taro he too marsh ride flex' his side with Gozo. Then when Gozo reach that corner he put Juji down and he putting his han' on his head thisaway, and then he turn quick, and thad was las' time we saw Gozo."

Her voice fell at the end, and her face had now a distressed expression.

| | 130 page image : 130     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM

"I only cry after he gone way," admitted Iris.

Plum Blossom turned on her fiercely.

"If you talk of thad cry now, you goin' cry again, and to-day you mus' smile, accounts our fadder marshing, too."

Iris smothered all signs of tears.

"Me? I cry to-day?" she said. "Never I cry."

"Did Juji cry?" asked Marion, curiously, mindful of the child's talent in that direction.

"No, Juji never cry, even after Gozo gone. Everybody cry then 'cept Juji. He forget he god brudder naime Gozo."

"Now all honorably go downstairs and sedately wait for your august parents to descend for breakfast."

Later the grandmother dressed lit- | | 131 page image : 131     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM tle Juji, and the baby, too, for the lazy Norah could not see the necessity for such early rising, and grumbled at being awakened.

"Shure an' wot time is it he's afther goin' away?" she inquired of the grandmother.

"Your master go away at three o'clock," said the grandmother, quietly.

"Thray o'clock! In the afthernoon, may I arsk?"

"Certainly."

"And you get up at thray in the morning because he laves at thray in the afthernoon?"

The grandmother did not answer. She was unused to such questioning from her own servants, and found it hard to tolerate it from the Irish girl. But Norah persisted:

"What's the sinse of getting up before you're awake?"

| | 132 page image : 132      A JAPANESE BLOSSOM

The grandmother condescended an explanation.

"We desire to make this day a long one, since we can't have your master with us long."

Still grumbling, the Irish girl dressed herself, and then took the baby from the grandmother.

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