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to Aunt Otsuné; she felt her career balked and frustrated; the young couple began to love each other much more than before. "What would this state of things result in?" said the gossips of the town. Reconciliation of the huffy old man, impossible! Separation of the affectionate pair, quite as hard!
Here Aunt Otsuné called in her inventive powers; she was full of kind honest invention,-how else could she have carried herself in the battle of life so far, single handed, and remain a favorite with all the world? She took Miss Chrysanthemum and Mr. Prosperity under her wing, as it were, rented a comfortable little house on a by-street and installed them therein, married. She liked to see them happy together, and have them take care of her in her old age; she had heretofore been lone and helpless, despite her cheerful exertions. They opened a small candy store, falling back upon their knowledge of the trade; soon there came to them a dear little babe. Aunt Otsuné rejoiced at the little one's advent; her scheme was now complete. She bore the infant in her arms softly and went to the door of her former employer. Her diplomacy was to give the cross old fellow a sight of the lovely grandchild and thereby work a miracle in his stony heart, surmising at the same time that time must have done something towards mollifying his obstinacy. This accomplished, it would be an easy step to persuade him to take them all back into his favor. Alas, poor faithful soul! it was but a woman's wisdom; Mr. Gladness was still found inexorable.
On that memorable night slowly she walked into our house with the babe in her arms, and sat herself down heavily by the dim, papered Japanese household lamp. For some time she remained silent and glanced around the room furtively; to her unspeakable satisfaction there was nobody there beside ourselves. Then the mental tension with which she upheld the whole weight of misery and woe gave way, and she burst into a flood of tears. I recollect the unusual solemn hush of the room, the serious looks of the company and the distracting sobs on the other side of the lamp; I recollect my becoming unaccountably sad, too, and looking away at a corner in my effort to refrain from tears; I beheld the paper god pasted high up on the pillar brown with age and smoke. When Aunty recovered herself, she managed to inform us how she had been received by Mr. Gladness and told us she had made up her mind, if the young people were willing, to move to one of the islands in the Sound where she was sure of a kindlier reception. So the kind old soul, foiled in the last of her struggles, left her friends at Imabari for the simple life of the islanders. At intervals, we had intelligence of her whereabouts, but as years rolled on news reached us no more.
I have given this account of Aunt Otsuné somewhat at length, because I felt interested in reviving her half-forgotten memory; and I have entered upon the history of Miss Chrysanthemum and Mr. Prosperity in order to show to the people of this country, who are misinformed on the subject of Japanese marriage and believe that our young peo
ple are, in all cases, matched by their parents and not infrequently to those whom they do not love,in order to show, I say, to these misinformed people by an actual example from my own observation, that such is not the case, and that our people marry for love of each other, notwithstanding the artificial manners of our society.
I WAS generally happy in my childish days in Japan. I cannot put my finger on any particular thing as my chief happiness, but I think holidays made me as happy as anything. We have a number of holidays, among which the first and the greatest is New Year's Day..
The first three days of January! I shall never forget them. But like most celebrations New Year pleasure must be chiefly felt in a few preparatory days. In Japan full vigor is preserved among children for Happy New Year; here in America Merry Christmas, with its Santa Claus and his stockingful of presents, takes away the zest from children before New Year comes. The merriment of the season is materially heightened by the making of the mochi. The mochi, which I have referred to once before, is a glutinous cake made of rice; it is as peculiarly indispensable in the New Year feast as is turkey in the New England Thanksgiving dinner. It is generally no larger than a man's palm, therefore one family makes a great number of The an is them. Many are stuffed with the an. not necessarily sweet; some people like it flavored with salt. A large number of the mochis are not stuffed; they are suffered to dry and harden, so
that they can be stored away for future enjoyment. At any time during the year you may get them out and steam or toast them. In our town there are men who make it their business to visit houses and help them in mochi-making. Just before New Year the professional mochi-makers work hard day after day. They could not always come in the daytime and made arrangements to visit us in the early morning. Then my sisters and I could hardly go to sleep in the great anticipation of joy. When the morning came, our house was thrown open, illuminated (for it was yet dark) brightly and cheerfully, and the whole household were up doing something with willing hand and heart. I cannot describe how happy I was in this scene. I tried, half in play, to help them and got in everybody's way. You know the holiday feelings are very difficult to reproduce with pen and ink.
Along the house on the street the men arranged a row of small earthen cooking stoves, which they had brought with them, each carrying two. The mode of carrying in this case, as well as in the transportation of any heavy load, is to use the shoulder as fulcrum and, laying on it an elastic wooden pole from whose ends hangs the burden, walk in steady balance, presenting the appearance of a pair of scales. Over the stoves were placed vessels of boiling water, over the vessels tubs with holes in the bottom and straw covers on top, in the vessels were heaps of rice washed perfectly white. The rice used in mochi-making is different from ordinary dinner rice; it is more glutinous when