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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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XXIV

TWO weeks later the mail for Tokio contained several pathetic epistles. Most of them were written in the wandering, crude, yet peculiarly attractive handwriting of little children. Mrs. Kurukawa read them over and over again, crying softly as she did so.

"DARLING MAMMA

--DO please let us come to you in Tokio. You do not know how sad we are without you. Little girls have little hearts, but I know that they can suffer much, just the same. Grandmother, too, is very sad, and Norah is crying, 'Wirrah, wirrah, wirrah' all the time, and, oh, mamma, she says she hears the banshee every night wailing outside | | 214 page image : 214     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM our house. Grandmother says it's only that old gray cat of Summer's. You probably remember her. But Norah says it is the banshee, and it means that some one in our family is dead. Oh, mamma, how it made me cry! Grandmother has made us all the strangest-looking kimonos. They are of black crêpe, and I cannot bear to put mine on. She says that black is not the mourning color in Japan, but we must wear black in honor of you, mamma, because black crêpe is mourning in America. So yesterday we all went to church in those black kimonos, and everybody stared at us, and I put my head down on the pew, and cried and cried. Plum Blossom and Iris also hid their faces, and though they say they did not cry, I think they did, for their eyes were all red. Everybody treats us as if we were great people. In church they all bowed so deeply to us as we went in. Sometimes the men we meet on the street will cheer when they see us. Taro says it is because father did such heroic things. Taro has no heart, I sometimes think, for he seems to be proud and happy that | | 215 page image : 215     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM father is gone, and he says he wishes he could have the chance to do what father did. Billy is very serious these days. He thinks he ought to be with you in Tokio, to take care of you and protect you. Oh, dear mamma, do let us know all the news you hear, and if we cannot come to you, please, please come home to us soon.

Your affectionate and loving, "MARION."
"BELOVED DAUGHTER-IN-LAW

--I hope that your health is excellent and that you will return home soon. The servants weep for their okusama (honorable lady of the house). The children are augustly sad without you. Billy has lost his appetite for food. He has the pale face got. When I request, 'Are you ill, Billy?' he makes reply, in boy rough way, 'No, but I ought to be with my mother.' Marion spoils her pretty eyes with too much weep. She and Juji weep enough tears for all the honorable family. Plum Blossom does all your work most neatly, and is learning excellently to be a good house | | 216 page image : 216     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM keeper. You chose wisely to put her in your place, and she feels proudly your august confidence in her. Iris assists her in all things, but neither does she appear in good health. She has too much paleness in the face also. Taro is a great comfort. His father's heroism has inspired him with noble ambitions. He is a worthy son, though young. The baby has more words to say each day. Yesterday she spoke of the white moon which appeared in the sky while it was yet day as "ball," and she said, 'It is too high!' Those are many words for one so young. She has her august mother's eyes.

"Excellent daughter-in-law, I beseech you to earnestly seek details concerning the fate of our beloved Gozo. It is said in some of the papers that he did accompany his father upon this expedition. I entreat you to think first of all of your august health and happiness.

I sign myself, Your unworthy mother-in-law, "SANO-OTAMA."
"DEAR MOTHER

,--Since father is dead, I ought to take care of you. I think | | 217 page image : 217     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM about it all the time and want to come to you. I don't think it right for a woman to be alone, and I must come to you at once. Taro and I have not felt like doing anything lately. I don't know what's the matter with everything. The house doesn't seem the same without you. I can't write much. I want to be with you, mother.

Your boy, "BILLY."
"ESTEEMED MOTHER,

--The plum-trees have much buds again got now, but very sad they make us this year. I think only of those cherry blossoms we did see with our honorable father. They are so like the plum. Billy says they make him sick if he look upon those trees. So we go not out much, as it makes so sorrow in the hearts to see those same trees shine.

"Earnestly I endeavor to follow your honorable counsel about the house, and it is unworthily clean to your honor. I am become like Marion. Always my eyes those tears in them when I think about you, and several times I make my pillow | | [218] page image : [218]     A JAPANESE BLOSSOM wet. Therefore I praying until you please come home with us. Tha's very sad that our father die and go way, but tha's sadder that we lose our mother also.

"Unworthy and insignificant, "PLUM BLOSSOM."
"DEAR MAM,

--I thought I would write you a letter, hoping that you are well. i like you very much, main, and i love the precious lambs, both the babby and Juji, but, mam, i cannot bear any longer so much sorrow, and it's a letter to you I'm writing to say i must go back to the old country, for i cannot bear so much trouble and i have heard the banshee cry at night and it's afraid i am that there's death hovering about. Will you buy my ticket, please, mam? And it's breaking my heart sure to leave you and the lambs.

"Respectfully, NORAH O'MALLEY."
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