페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

in her eyes?

I was horror-stricken. She wasn't heartbroken; she was glad!

Amaso rose gracefully, without effort, preparatory to taking her leave. She picked up the little jar and bowed low to me.

“That is a very beautiful jar," I ventured.

It is a very poor thing, unworthy of such an honor.'

I smiled at her quaintness. “Let me see it.

She handed it to me, and I looked into it. My flesh began to creep. It was full of ashes; I could see a tooth and a bone that remained unburned. Amaso must have seen the paleness of my face, for she seized the jar before it dropped from my trembling hands. She saw my weakness evidently with surprise, and, peering into the jar, began to smile. Then, after looking anxiously at my horror-stricken face, she laughed aloud-a merry, twinkling laugh.

It aroused me. I shook off the stupor that had seized upon me, and faced her. Amaso!" She bowed her head under my eye. You will leave the premises immediately. I wish never to see again a person so hardened as to laugh over the remains of a loved one newly dead."

Submissively and without sound of a footfall, she shuffled from the room.

I reached for water and dampened my forehead. For an hour I paced up and down, nerve-wracked. It had been too horrible-too inconceivable.

Amaso had not gone. Perhaps she would refuse to go. And I would have to see her again to force her departure. I would not see her again. Yet I could not bear to think of her as on the place. So I made my way to her quarters, determined this time to use physical persuasion.

I hurried through their little garden-how hideous the thought of it was in the light of my knowledge. I even sobbed a little over the woman's fickleness. I rushed up the tiny steps and pushed back the screen. Before me was a pitiable sight. Amaso had committed hari-kari. There she sat cross-legged, face downward, in a pool of blood.

A cruel short knife was in her body, with both hands still clutching it.

It was an hour before I found her note and had quieted myself enough to read it. It was brief : Honorable Lady:

I am sorry to bring my poor life into disturbance of your peace. I commit hari-kari, for an honorable person thought my reverend husband was not beloved and held sacred by me. Respectfully your servant,

AMASO.

When I recovered enough to travel, I left for America.

2. Student Oral Composition on "In Japan" Yesterday I read a little story called “In Japan.”

I don't know whether it's true or not, but anyway it's characteristic of the way some people draw conclusions.

An American woman who had lived in Japan for more than a year had come to doubt the sincerity of the Japanese people. They were always smiling. The American didn't think them frivolous, but still she could not believe they were ever truly serious. She had a little servant, Amaso, who lived in a tiny apartment with her husband in the corner of the Ameri. can woman's garden.

The American used to watch them at work in the garden; but she never saw them show the least sign of affection for each other. She didn't doubt that they were devoted; for in their silent way they did seem to depend on each other a great deal.

Then one day the husband became ill. Still Amaso did her duties about the house as cheerfully as before, always with a smile on her face. At night, though, the American saw through the screen walls of Amaso's house that she always sat by her husband, caring for him tenderly.

One day Amaso came to the lady and asked for a day's leave. She said that her unworthy sister would take her place, if it would not offend the honorable lady. The American wished to know the reason for her request.

Amaso said, “My husband has gone to his ancestors, and he wishes me to go to the temple.

The American was very sympathetic, and told Amaso to take as many days as she wished. But she could not understand the smile on Amaso's face. her house to put her out by force, if necessary. She entered the door, and there sitting in a pool of blood was Amaso. Both hands were clutching a dagger which she had thrust into her body.

Later Amaso came out from her little house, in her white mourning garments. Her mistress thought she would test her again and see if she was really feeling any grief. She asked Amaso where she was going. And she replied, “To my husband's burial.”

The American saw again the flash of a smile, in her large brown eyes. She was disgusted with her shallow courtesy.

When Amaso came back, she was carrying a little jar. The American stopped her and said, “That is a very pretty jar, Amaso. May I see it?

Amaso answered, “Not worthy of such an honor," and handed it to her mistress; then bowed low. The lady raised the lid. There, in the ashes within, she saw a tooth and part of a bone. Amaso caught the jar just in time to save it from falling. The woman's hands were shaking, and her face was pale. Then suddenly Amaso laughed aloud. Then the woman recovered her senses enough to show her indignation at such a lack of feeling. "Amaso, leave this place at once," said she. "I

• will not have any one in my service who takes such a terrible grief so lightly. I don't want to ever see you again!"

Amaso bowed, and with the jar in her hand, went slowly down the walk to her little house.

But the American was not satisfied. She waited a little while; and as Amaso did not leave, she went to

[ocr errors]

Later the American found a little note, which read: Honorable Lady,

I am sorry my poor life has disturbed your happiness. I have committed hari-kari because an honorable lady thought I did not love and respect my husband.

“Your faithful servant,

“AMASO.' As soon as the American woman recovered from her shock, she returned to her own country.

(1) What kind of a mood should a person be in to tell this kind of story effectively?

(2) Should the speaker's sympathy appear to be with the American or Japanese woman? Should there be a transfer of sympathy from one woman to the other before the end is reached? If so, where should the change be made?

(3) Does the student retain the element of suspense found in the original ?

(4) Notice that the student has changed (after the brief introductory paragraph) from the first person's point of view of the original to the third person'

(5) Which form of the story do you like better, the original or the re-told ? Give your reasons.

37. Description.—You doubtless will be unable to find any single piece of description long enough and

« 이전계속 »