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Convinced that this lady must be her grandmother, she was about to prostrate herself and pay her obeisance, when she was quickly clasped in the arms of her grandmother, who held her close against her bosom; and as she called her “my liver! ” (my love! ) she began to sob aloud. The bystanders too, at once, without one exception, melted into tears; and Taiyue herself found some difficulty in restraining her sobs. Little by little the whole party succeeded in consoling her, and Tai-yue at length paid her obeisance to her grandmother.
Tai-yue speedily rose to greet them and to exchange salutations. After they had made each other’s acquaintance, they all took a seat, whereupon the servants brought the tea. Their conversation was confined to Tai-yue’s mother,--how she had fallen ill, what doctors had attended her, what medicines had been given her, and how she had been buried and mourned; and dowager lady Chia was naturally again in great anguish. “Of all my daughters,” she remarked, “your mother was the one I loved best, and now in a twinkle, she has passed away, before me too, and I’ve not been able to so much as see her face.
Tai-yue concluded, in her mind, that this seat must certainly belong to Chia Cheng, and espying, next to the couch, a row of three chairs, covered with antimacassars, strewn with embroidered flowers, somewhat also the worse for use, Tai-yue sat down on one of these chairs. But as madame Wang pressed her again and again to sit on the couch, Tai-yue had at length to take a seat next to her. “Your uncle,” madame Wang explained, “is gone to observe this day as a fast day, but you’ll see him by and bye.