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Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio vol. II (of

Your head was full of Kuei hsiu


The latter even went so far

as to propose to Mr. Chang that Kuei-hsiu should go as second wife, at which he was so enraged that he declared he would wash his hands of the girl altogether. The mother then found out when Chi-sheng's wedding was to take place; and, borrowing a chair and attendants from her brother under pretence of going to visit him, put Kuei-hsiu inside and sent her off to her uncle's house. As she arrived at the door, the servants spread a carpet for her to walk on, and the band struck up the wedding march. Chi-sheng went out to see what it was all about, and there met a young lady in a bridal veil, from whom he would have escaped had not her servants surrounded them, and, before he knew what he was doing, he was making her the usual salutation of a bridegroom. They then went in together, and, to his further astonishment, he found that the young lady was Kuei-hsiu; and, being now unable to go and meet Wu-k'o, a message was sent to her father, telling him what had occurred. He, too, got into a great rage, and vowed he would break off the match; but Wu-k'o herself said she would go all the same, her rival having only got the start of her in point of time. And go she did; and the two wives, instead of quarrelling, as was expected, lived very happily together like sisters, and wore each other's clothes and shoes without distinction, Kuei-hsiu taking the place of an elder sister as being somewhat older than Wu-k'o.[140] One day, after these events, Chi-sheng asked Wu-k'o why she had refused his
offer; to which she replied that it was merely to pay him out for having previously refused her father's proposal. "Before you had seen me, your head was full of Kuei-hsiu; but after you had seen me, your thoughts were somewhat divided; and I wanted to know how I compared with her, and whether you would fall ill on my account as you had on hers, that we mightn't quarrel about our looks." "It was a cruel revenge," said Chi-sheng; "but how should I ever have got a sight of you had it not been for the old woman?" "What had she to do with it?" replied Wu-k'o; "I knew you were behind the door all the time. When I was ill I dreamt that I went to your house and saw you, but I looked upon it only as a dream until I heard that you had dreamt that I had actually been there, and then I knew that my spirit must have been with you." Chi-sheng now related to her the particulars of his vision, which coincided exactly with her own; and thus, strangely enough, had the matrimonial alliances of both father and son been brought about by dreams.

FOOTNOTES:

[138] This story is a sequel to the last.

[139] The surnames would in this case be different, and no obstacle could be offered on that score. See No. XV., note 109.

[140] The _denouement_ of the _Yue-chiao-li_, a small novel which was translated into French by Remusat, and again by Julien under the title of _Les Deux Cousines_, is effected by the hero of the tale marrying both the heroines.

XCVI.

A SUPERNATURAL WIFE.

A certain Mr. Chao, of Ch'ang-shan, lodged in a family of the name of T'ai. He was very badly off, and, falling sick, was brought almost to death's door. One day they moved him into the verandah, that it might be cooler for him; and, when he awoke from a nap, lo! a beautiful girl was standing by his side. "I am come to be your wife," said the girl, in answer to his question as to who she was; to which he replied that a poor fellow like himself did not look for such luck as that; adding that, being then on his death-bed, he would not have much


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