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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

And deeply attached to his half brother Sheng


FOOTNOTES:

[17] Of the Ming dynasty; reigned A.D. 1426-1436.

[18] These beadles are chosen by the officials from among the respectable and substantial of the people to preside over a small area and be responsible for the general good behaviour of its inhabitants. The post is one of honour and occasional emolument, since all petitions presented to the authorities, all mortgages, transfers of land, &c., should bear the beadle's seal or signature in evidence of their _bona fide_ character. On the other hand, the beadle is punished by fine, and sometimes bambooed, if robberies are too frequent within his jurisdiction, or if he fails to secure the person of any malefactor particularly wanted by his superior officers. And other causes may combine to make the post a dangerous one; but no one is allowed to refuse acceptance of it point-blank.

[19] A favourite Chinese expression, signifying the absence of food.

[20] That is to say, his spirit had entered, during his period of temporary insanity, into the cricket which had allowed itself to be caught by his father, and had animated it to fight with such extraordinary vigour in order to make good the loss occasioned by his carelessness in letting the other escape.

LXV.

TAKING REVENGE.

style="text-align: justify;"> Hsiang Kao, otherwise called Ch'u-tan, was a T'ai-yuean man, and deeply attached to his half-brother Sheng. Sheng himself was desperately enamoured of a young lady named Po-ss[)u],[21] who was also very fond of him: but the mother wanted too much money for her daughter. Now a rich young fellow named Chuang thought he should like to get Po-ss[)u] for himself, and proposed to buy her as a concubine. "No, no," said Po-ss[)u] to her mother, "I prefer being Sheng's wife to becoming Chuang's concubine." So her mother consented, and informed Sheng, who had only recently buried his first wife; at which he was delighted and made preparations to take her over to his own house. When Chuang heard this he was infuriated against Sheng for thus depriving him of Po-ss[)u]; and chancing to meet him out one day, set to and abused him roundly. Sheng answered him back, and then Chuang ordered his attendants to fall upon Sheng and beat him well, which they did, leaving him lifeless on the ground. When Hsiang heard what had taken place he ran out and found his brother lying dead upon the ground. Overcome with grief, he proceeded to the magistrate's, and accused Chuang of murder; but the latter bribed so heavily that nothing came of the accusation. This worked Hsiang to frenzy, and he determined to assassinate Chuang on the high road; with which intent he daily concealed himself, with a sharp knife about him, among the bushes on the hill-side, waiting for Chuang to pass. By degrees, this plan of his


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