Madame Wang gave a smile, nodded her head assentingly, but uttered not a word by way of reply.
The tea and fruit had by this time been cleared, and dowager lady Chia directed two old nurses to take Tai-yü to go and see her two maternal uncles; whereupon Chia She’s wife, madame Hsing, hastily stood up and with a smiling face suggested, “I’ll take my niece over; for it will after all be considerably better if I go!”
“Quite so!” answered dowager lady Chia, smiling; “you can go home too, and there will be no need for you to come over again!”
Madame Hsing expressed her assent, and forthwith led Tai-yü to take leave of madame Wang. The whole party escorted them as far as the door of the Entrance Hall, hung with creepers, where several youths had drawn a carriage, painted light blue, with a kingfisher-coloured hood.
Madame Hsing led Tai-yü by the hand and they got up into their seats. The whole company of matrons put the curtain down, and then bade the youths raise the carriage; who dragged it along, until they came to an open space, where they at length put the mules into harness.
Going out again by the eastern side gate, they proceeded in an easterly direction, passed the main entrance of the Jung mansion, and entered a lofty doorway painted black. On the arrival in front of the ceremonial gate, they at once dismounted from the curricle, and madame Hsing, hand-in-hand with Tai-yü, walked into the court.
“These grounds,” surmised Tai-yü to herself, “must have been originally converted from a piece partitioned from the garden of the Jung mansion.”
Having entered three rows of ceremonial gates they actually caught sight of the main
structure, with its vestibules and porches, all of which, though on a small scale, were
full of artistic and unique beauty. They were nothing like the lofty,