LiuMing side-glanced Little Bai, a kind of sweat tenderness drove the distress and anxiety all these days. She smiled to him and took over the cake to eat.
“Don’t beating about the bush. Tell me what’s the good news? Don’t you know I’m very much distressed these days?”
Suddenly BaiShiWu held her shoulders and murmured into her ears:
“You had good future now, so I did! Further more we can never separate each other……”
“What’s the future then?” LiuMing pushed away his hand and turned over to sit by her bedside blinking her long-eyelashed big eyes.
“Didn’t you always worry about the interrupt of your learning so that you can not go on and complete your study? This time everything was arranged. Let’s go to a scientifically and medically developed country to study. Little Liu, this time you have the chance to become a master in the medical field…… Dear Liu, don’t you feel happy.” As soon as he saw LiuMing’s face turned mild he would keep on flattering with the words “Dear” “Honey” etc.
“You mean to study abroad?”
“Yes, the ticket had already booked in seven days. You know many rich family would go abroad to take refuge. The steam liner of British YiHe Firm had been fully booked a month before. My father entrusted an agency and booked these two tickets in double price.
“Go abroad—go abroad?……”LiuMing spoke as if murmuring to herself. She seems has not yet catched the meaning.
“Yes, Little Liu. We go abroad! There’s no war there and no danger. Moreover we can go on learning, especially for this highly talented student. You should be there! Not many years later, doctor LiuMing could be Nobel price winner.” BaiShiWu said all these exaggeratingly then conconciouly put his hand on Liu’s shoulder again.
LiuMing forgot to push his hand a second time but said to herself astonishingly: “To go abroad for study?……” Then she seemed to wake up abruptly and inquired: “Little Bai, you mean to go abroad, but which country to go to?”
“To Japan, Father has many friends there. If we went there we would worry nothing over the accommodation and recreation. Nothing to worry about, futher more the medical science in Japan is the world first class.”
LiuMing looked him up and down with her big blinking eyes as if she does not know him. LiuMing felt happy but also worried about it. She can not make the decision—That Japan is truly advanced in medical science placed second to German in the world. She can complete her study there then upgrade it. Besides she could have BaiShiWu by her…… As for the cost, if BaiShiWu love her and intend to marry her then…… LiuMing’s heart took a startle at this. How can it be? It would turn to a body trade!
…… This moment, the graceful egg shaped face suddenly turned into purple likes the color of coxcomb. She felt as if shamed and her self—esteem was hurt. LiuMing silenced for the moment, tears in the eyes.
“What’s the problem Little Liu? Everything went on well but why shall you turn stumbled? I can’t imagine you shall feel sorrow at this good happy news, so big news! ” BaiShiWu concerned so much about LiuMing that he took out his handkerchief to wipe off her tears.
“Get away!” LiuMing pushed aside his hand, looked at him and said in low voice: “You don’t understand me and I can’t make it clear. This is a big event but how could you make the decision without referring to me? Forgive me a few days. Ok?”
“How can it be?” BaiShiWu propagandized a long tale of the benefits for going to Japan. He said that originally his parents did not want him to make her his girlfriend. Then they got to know that LiuMing studied hard, the girl has good moral and good look. If she would marry BaiShiWu and be their daughter in law, they are willing to send the pair to study in Japan. And he won this not without argues even quarrels with his parents. If LiuMing should turn it down how could she live up to his favor and how could live up to all the arrangements he tried his best to make for her study abroad?
…… Childe Bai, asle shed his tear in the talking.
LiuMing’s mind was all in a mess. Faced with this suddenly occurred magic chance, faced with this magic road, she couldn’t make the anlysis and she couldn’t make the decision. She only subconciouly felt if she go then it would be a great improvement for her life and study. But that country is invading China and how can one bent down to study from the enemy? Furthermore the precondition is to marry BaiShiWu, but she did not want to marry at present, to be forced into it. The sense of shame for selling herself and the self-esteem formed from childhood as well as the eager to excel act like a shapless hand. They were about to suppress the fire tongue of hope that glittering before her.
She drove the BaiShiWu away then shut herself in bitter meditation.
“My girl! Mydaughter! Open the door please!” mother stood outside kept knocking at the doorand crying.
“What’s the matteragain? Why shall you keep on shrieking? ” LiuMing stay lazily in her apartmentand managed with the questions.
The mother keptsilence for a while after getting into the room then fixed her eyes on thedaughter in careful inspection. A long while later she began shooting out herwords successively:
“My girl, the heavenopened its gate for you! And it is showing apple pies. It is a big fortunatething! My fool no one else in the world can treat you as good as ChildeBai do. It is one hundred percent sincere. I can apply a fashionableword—love. He loves you so sincerly, he is so rich and handsome. If the fortunehad fallen on other girls that would be such a lucky thing they could neverexpect. Why? I heard it said that you are a kind of not willing to and youshould wait a couple of days for the answer? Fools, fools, my fool! How can youhave such a stubborn head?! You are of the same kind with your father. You, youdetermined to worry me to death?!”
“Mother, have yousaid enough?! I didn’t say I won go, but it’s not a small case let me take timeto think it over. How can you be in such haste? If you can’t wait please goabroad with him yourself. ”
Again LiuMing’swords choked her mother. The mother threw her a look of disfavor and turn fromangry look into smile.
“Ok, my daughter, mybaby. Then take time to think it over and make a thorough preparation. But whatcan you think about? It is not a strange thing to follow the rich husbandstuding abroad nowadays. SaiJingHua, the lady in the tale, followed her numberone scholar in the imperial examine to Gernman to be an official’s wife too……”
“That’s sheernonsense! If you don’t know keep your mouth shut!” Before LiuMing could turnangry her father broke into the room and shouted at wife with his eyes widelystared: “What does that SaiJinHua counts to? She isonly a prostitude, don’t you know and she went abroad to be a concubine. Couldn’tyou feel shame? How stupid you are to sell your daughter low-graded for hergoing abroad?”
The gossiping motherturned her face back in silence when she saw both her old husband and daughterangered in red faces. She held on to the hand of her daughter and apologized:
“Don’t be angry, mygirl. It is me who is to be blamed for I am illiterate and unknowledged. Don’tbe angered the knowledged should not blame the ignorant. ”
LiuMing bursted outlaughing then got away from the mother’s hand.
“Why mention this—theknowledged and the illiterate? You should hire two door keepers for your mouthmother. Or I stitch your mouth with my surgical needle?
…… Now I won’t wastemy time in argue. I would go to find MiaoHong. I haven’t seen her for a fewdays.”
“Then you consulther for the going abroad? Of course you should say something to your friends. Mygirl the streets are in disorder, let your brother accompany you there or Iwould be in worry. Go early and be back early.”
LiuMing did not makea sound holding the hands of her little brother and went out.
GaoYongYa was inMiaoHong’s home by that time. Another one who in charge of the student’s union—WuHuaLin, a student from Geology department of QingHua Universityalso present there in the meeting room.
In sight of LiuMing,these three were caught in different facial expressions and greetings: MiaoHongjumped up firstly, she embraced aroundthe neck of LiuMing and said in lowvoice:
“BeiPing hasfinished. But how can you be fallen too? How about your white faced fellow? ”
GaoYongYa stood upand shook LiuMing’s hand in greeting:
“Classmate Liu, you arevery brave at Bridge LuGou. I know you saved a lot of injured soldiers. Butafter the cease fire in BeiPing you made little appearance.
LiuMing flushed alittle and she pushed MiaoHong to sit on the sofa side by side with her. Shelooked around the three people in the room then said in low voice:
“We lost BeiPing andit seems I would lose my career soon. I felt uncomfortable and shut myself home.
MiaoHong struggledto say before the other two:
“When I went to seemy siser Ming to drag her out for walk and sight seeing, I found it strangethat she kept herself home even her white faced fellow can not move her out.What’s the matter sister Ming? How can you turn depressed suddenly?”
“Depressed?”Theword is harsh to LiuMing’s ears. But she remembered a few days before when sheheard SongZheYuan had eacaped and submerge of BeiPing became imminent she didshut herself home. “Depressed? Did I really turn depressed?……” LiuMingreflected the things in disorder that she should forget there are other threeyoung fellows in the room.
“LiuMing,I heard WuHuaLin said just now that we can not consider BeiPing had lost. Manyyoung students—mainly students from a variety of universities—had left the cityto seek an anti-Japanese road. Certainly there are some who shaved their hairsclean to conceal themselves and stay. LiuMing, what shall we do then? I alsoworry about it and at a loss what to do. What shall we do in the incoming days?”
MiaoHong’swords touched the heart of LiuMing hardly. The students who are not willing tolive as a slave without a country took their leave for an anti—Japanese road. Whatabout herself then? “To study in Japan and uplift herself to doctor’sdegree.” This phrase jumped out to prick her hard like a steal needle. Her faceturned white from it and she could say anything for a long while.
“SisterMing, How shall your face turn pale-colored? Are you fallen ill? I am justconsulting with Little Gao if we should move to south-China. My father knows someonein the GuoMingDang party and the father of Gao also has a lot of acquaintancethere. Then, shall we follow GuoMingDang party for anti-Japanese? ”
LiuMing still kept her silence there. The instance a familiar shadow suddenly jump out in her mind—CaoHongYuan. He is in the anti—Japanese force but by no means the member of GuoMingDang party. How can the 29th Rout army be defeated? Didn’t he say ChiangKai-shek refuse to reinforce them? That should be the case. If GuoMingDang party had marched in their giant forces to fight shoulder to shoulder with the 29th Routh army, how can senior officers like TongLinGe and JiXingWen sacrifice their lives?…… Thinking of these, LiuMing wanted to dismiss their idea of going south. Then she also felt ashamed, she had planed to go to Japan herself so how can she have the right to reason?
“Classmate Liu, where do you prepare to go?” WuHuaLin interrupted in with the question and broke the thoughts of LiuMing.
“I do not know.” LiuMing flushed and nodded her head.
“BeiPing is facing the imminent submerge and TianJing is also endangered. The Jap boosted up their wild ambition and they are reaching their tenacles of war all over China. Escaping out of BeiPing serves one way but not a thorough one.” WuHuaLin said it mildly instead of in agitated tone: “We young men are pillars of the country and the future of the nation. At this intersection your choice is critical!”
“That’s the most critical thing!” LiuMing repeated the phrase and emphasized in her heart. She can not fully comprehance something and want to refer to Mr. Young. But, LiuMing only met him few times in first aid work for the 29th Route Army…… ” This time LiuMing’s mind were all in a mess never mension to say anything.
“Sister Ming, be sure to go with us! My parents want to go south, they will take me and of course they are willing to take you there. If you couldn’t part your white faced fellow, then let him follow us too.”
“Shut your mouth please!” LiuMing does not like Miao to nick name BaiShiWu “The white faced fellow.” But the capricious LiuMing preferred to. Sometimes Liu turn angered and knocked her back with the fists but that won’t help. She took delight to nickname him. “Miao, the GuoMingDang party did not take active measure to fight against the Jap. Why BeiPing is going to be occupied? Do you know the detail?” LiuMing hardened her face to question MiaoHong in the mean time to test others.
“You can’t depend on me. But if you want to fight against the Jap or do not live as a slave without a nation, where can you go except for the south?…… My! I got it. The CaoHongYuan, he comes from the west maybe—from YanAn. For sure YanAn is more determined to fight against Jap than Chiang Kai-shek. But it is all in chaotic now and how can we go to YanAn? But where can we find the Cao? He has not maken his appearance since my father made the medical purchase for him—” At this MiaoHong protruded her tongue, she knew she said something out of place so stepped on the brake. Her face turned as red as an apple.
Analysis: As it says LiuMing stand at the intersection. Presently she has three choices: to go abroad, to go south or to go to YanAn. To complete her original ambition in career success the first choice seems the most ideal one. The BaiShiWu has large fortune for him there is nothing to worry if he take the Japanese side. Now LiuMing has medical experiences in the war and advanced her surgical skill so Japan is possibly welcome her. But she strongly turned against the thought for she had been educated both in school and on the first aid work with patriotism and the patriotism reinforced by war and blood. The second is also much easier than the third. At least she can temporarily escape the war in the south. To go to YanAn would be the most difficult choice, almost everything would be in shortage and at present stage she can’t imagine it. But that is a choice determined to fight against the Jap and win national liberation.
The several one in the house then kept in silence.
LiuMing had thought if CaoHongYuan should be present he would have proposed with some good suggestions. But when she recalled she should have the intention to go to Japan with BaiShiWu the figure of CaoHongYuan turned a kind of fearful.
She returned sullenly and the BaiShiWu was waiting for her at home again. He knew LiuMing had gone to the MiaoHong’s but he took afraid of Miao’s quick mouth so preferred to stay and wait.
BaiShiWu held in his hands a big HaMi melon and present to LiuMing as soon as he saw her.
“Little Liu, I am waiting for you to cut and divide the melon. I favor this kind of melon from XinJiang and of course you would like it too.”
“I do not like it. It is too expensive and cost a whole month subsistence of the poor for corn flour. ”
“Look, What’s the matter my girl? Did you eat the gunpowder and turned so aggressive to Childe Bai? He had tried his best to buy the menlon in so hot a day and it is all for you. How can you be so ironic to him? You behave too much! Even the officer would not turn down a man with a present…… Further more, you will soon go to Japan with him, why not make the preparation happily? I won’t alow you going out as you wish afterwards.”
The mother of LiuMing rattle on herself while little Bai dragged her to the inner apartment.
He focused his bright and affectionate eyes on LiuMing, then sat by her side and said in soft way:
“Little Liu, what had angered you? Does that quick mouthed MiaoHong say something to annoy you again?”
LiuMing told him directly that MiaoHong want her go south with them. Bai took a big afraid and even lost his tongue:
“Little Liu, You want to go south too? That’s impossible! The steamer tickets had already booked. The latest linear to be on could not exceed Auguest 10th. ”
“I had not admited it to them. Look, how much worried you are?”
“That’s good! I can take it easy then. Hurry up with your melon and I will take you to RuiFuXiang silk work store for some fabric. You should have a few more silk cheogonsams—you used to be in plain clothes. After going abroad and be a rich lady, you must dress you up. You looked originally outstanding, a little dress up only made you beauty of the country……” BaiShiWu produced from the pocket of his trousers a glittering jewlery box. He further opened the box to show a green jade ring that is also shinning. The ring held in the hands of BaiShiWu while shining before LiuMing’s eyes. She did not realize what the matter before BaiShiWu fixed the ring to her ring finger. Bai wear happy expression on the face and even kissed the hand with the ring. “Darling, let’s go together then. The ring is for the engagement—it is a present from my grandpa to mother for her marrage. It is cat’s eye—a priceless thing!”
LiuMing was made perplexed as if thrown into dream. What’s the matter? How comes these jade ring, cat’s eyes, prince and dowery? LiuMing who comes from poor teacher’s family knows nothing and showed no interests in these articles and titles. She thought in half conscious: to go to Japan means to marry him and have to wear silk garments and the jade ring. Possibly she had to live a luxury and dissipated life. So could the career success of medical doctor as well as her medical research would possible go in vain?
…… LiuMing suddenly felt lost, she rose up her head to look at the BaiShiWu in heavy breath then took off the ring to say coldly:
“What the use of this for me. Return it to your mother.”
“No, No. There should be ring for engagement!”
“Many of my classmates fell in love with each other and live together. All of the dowery is nothing but a shabby apartment, a simple bed and quilt, nothing of any value. Did they also live happily?”
“That’s for they have no money and have to manage with it. Little Liu, you turn stubborn again! Now my parents turned to like you. I am the only son of my mother and she knew you are a good girl so she gave this ring which she had woren for fifty years to you. I can’t say it’s priceless but it can be counted as a piece of rare treasure. How can you turn it down? If you refuse to accept it my mother and I would be hurt. Little Liu, wear it please. ”At these LiuMing held the hands of BaiShiWu and wanted to fix the ring on to her finger again.
LiuMing withdrew her hand again and the ring almost fell on the ground. BaiShiWu catched the ring in the air and his face turned red:
“Little Liu. How shall you behave like this? Do you want to leave me? You don’t want to go abroad with me then? What do you plan to do?”
“I didn’t say I have to follow you! Why are you in such a hurry for the engagement? Did you want to tie me up with your treasure? I had said I won’t engage before I completed my study never mention marrage. I repeated it for too many times. Did you ever heart it? The general can be changed but the will of common walks can not. How can the hen understand the ambition of the eagle?” LiuMing raised up her voice in the talking automatically.
BaiShiWu stunned and he didn’t expect LiuMing could say this.
This time mother made a cough outside and knocked the door:
“Open the door please, girl. It’s time to eat the melon. It had been split and waiting for you…… How shall you quarrel again? My girl, eight times out of ten it is your fault. When can you change your temper?”
BaiShiWu opened the door. Mother carried in a porcelain plate of well cut melon pieces then the two silenced down and bent over the plate eating.
A while later, the mother held in her hands a pile of silkwork amongh which are India silk and georgette. She released all on the bed of LiuMing and the small bed turned into a hill of shining colors.
“My girl, you should dress up afterward. Childe Bai had bought all these for you. Have them tailored soon! Hurry up or you miss the trip. I heard it say the cost for tailoring is extreamly expensive abroad. More over, they can not tailor our cheogonsam. Is that right? ”
LiuMing looked at the beautiful fabric she felt strange and bored but also moved. We did not say how much money had the BaiShiWu spent on them, just think of how much time it cost him in the selection…… She sat on the edge of the bed, inspected the material while folded them up. At last all was tidy and in order then she smiled at BaiShiWu.
“Little Bai, Don’t threw blame on me. I show no interests in these expensive things for me. If you are so rich it’s better to equip me a laboratory or purchase a set of X-ray machine……”
BaiShiWu lit-up a cigarette in his idleness. He relied on the chair and observed the smoke rings. His heart was full of worry and disappointment.
Analysis: The departure is on the schedule now, and the BaiShiWu showed his haste. He produced the engagement ring and forced on the finger of LiuMing. The love seems to be enforced one. Because when LiuMing wanted to turn it down he said: “How can you do it?” And he mentioned his mother’s attitude and the value of the ring. If it is only a trade or business deal, it is also too haste to do so. Love is more than a trade but the boy made it less than a trade.
Five o’clock in the earlymorning, as Liu’s mother was burning the stove and cleaning the courtyard therecome the sound of knocking at the door open to the street.
“Who’s that knocking at the doorso early?”
“I am searching for Miss Liu—LiuMing.Excuse me. Open the door please!” the man answered is young with hoarse butmild voice.
The mother tookafraid, how could a strange man come so early in the morning to search LiuMing.SongZheYuan escaped and the 29th Route Army was crushed by the Japand the Jap will occupy BeiPing soon……In the turmoil of warhow can a man come in the early morning to find my daughter? Is it possiblethat the Jap got to know she had been on the front line for first aid? Couldthe Jap send a traitor here to torture him?
……Mother was afraid and her heart beating faster. Shedidn’t go to open the door in stead she went directily to her daughter’ssleeping bed. She lowered her voice and shouted on haste:
“My girl, my daughter!……Ming, Ming! Get up soon! There’s someone here tocatch you!”
LiuMing suddenly got up from her bed. She frowned and stared at the mother.
“Mother who did you meet and how can you turn so alert. Where is he whocomes to catch me?”
“He is standing outside on the street. Put on your shoes and wear the whiteCheogomsam. Fix the fastener and stand there to think over it. The one iscalling her name outside. Liu hardened her heart and strode toward the door inspite of her mother’s blockage. She unbolted the door and pulled it open—theman is CaoHongYuan, he pushed his bicycle standing outside in pale look.
It is out of Liu’s expectation. How can this man suddenly present himselfhere in front of my house? She smiled unnaturely and her heart also beatfaster.
“You are here…… Come in and have a seat.” LiuMing flushed and stood by the deserted doorto let in CaoHongYuan.
CaoHongYuan glanced at Liu. How can theelegant and quiet girl turn uneasy and lost? He felt it strange butinconvenient to inquire. So he addressed it lightly.
“Little Liu, Allow me a few seconds out. I have something to talk to you. ”
“Ok, then you won’t come in?”
“I won’t. You come out!”
The time LiuMing wanted to step out, mother dragged on her arms and pinchedtightly.
“My girl, where are you going? It is too early in the morning more over itis chaotic outside.”
LiuMing looked at her mother then pointed at CaoHongYuan to say:
“This is my acquaintance. He has something to talk to me and I will be backin a minute.”
LiuMing’s mother took a few glances at him to see the man is quiet,harmounious and smiling. He does not seem to be a bad guy, so she released hishand and crippled out hastely on her little feet. Again she looked up and downCaoHongYuan outside the door. She observed enough and concluded that he is adependable fellow. The mother relieved and narrow her eyes to look at LiuMingthen said:
“The Jap will march in soon. Return as soon as possible! I won’t allow youto go out as you wish afterwards.
LiuMing did not mind her mother she pushed the handle of the bicycle andprepare to go. But CaoHongYuan did not move immediately she smiled at thegossipping old woman:
“Good morning, aunt! I havesomething to talk to LiuMing, she will be back soon. Take it easy!”
“Ok! Ok!” the mother was satisfied with the humble and polite manner ofCao, she smiled:
The sun just rose up a little and the morning frog has not yet dispersed. LiuMingfollowed CaoHongYuan in the lonely lane. She is wondering, surprised and hassome unnamed feeling that her heart beat fast. The two walked out of the lane,strolling for a moment before reached a small lake. Cao Looked around to makesure there is no one near then stopped and say:
“Little Liu, one o’clock in the afternoon. Dress you up prettily and hold adelicate western umbrella in hand to fill an important task with me. Are youwilling to?”
“What important thing is it that needs to dress up prettily and hold a western umbrella?……” Hearing Cao’s instruction, LiuMing turned more surprised and puzzled that he couldn’t help showing suspecting look.
“I won’t tell you anything about it now. What I can tell you is that the Jap would march in formally this afternoon and BeiPing would be occupied from then on. Are you willing to go?”
“Ok. I’ll be there.” LiuMing knew the importance so admitted readily.
“Twelve o’clock at noon be dressed up prettily and waiting for me in front of the ShuangYi Resturant on the overpass. Never delay a second or tell anyone else.
“Ok. Be sure of it and I’ll be there in time.”
Then HonYuan added up: “Mother cares you so much. Would she allow you to do so?”
“Take it easy. She can not stop me and no one can stop me.” LiuMing threw back her short cut hair in delight her black eyes blinking with the wave of spring.
The clouds from north-west curtained the scorching sun of July gradually. The steaming hot in the air mixed the stirred up dust on the street like thick frog befallen. They intend to choke out the breath.
YongDing gate mansion which embodies thousands years of Chinese civilization stand there like an insulted old man squatted shrinkingly under the grey sky. The gate tunnel, its mouth, seems taking a long sigh.
How can he prevent?
Look! Japanese national flags were on the two sides. The flags postured like to swords that inserted into the two sides of the old man. More over there are strange notices on the wall:
Declaration from Royal Japanese Expeditionary Force North China Division
In order to revive East Asia, sweep clean the commonuist forces, develop the friendship between the two countries and save the Chinese nation, the Mikado his majesty decree the royal Japanese force would take position in BeiPing this afternoon. Here inform the citizens of BeiPing, commercial and industrial links to keep calmful and smooth running.
Royal Japanese force north China division.
Comander in chief: Sasaki.
Shawa 12, July 31st.
The republic of China 26: July 31st.
Along with the sigh of readers many wooden cased loudspeakers hanging on the city wall and everywhere along the streets kept repeating the declaration. A female shrilling voice was shrieking it in a flattering tone.
“BeiPing Radio Station, The P.P.B.C People’s Republic Broadcasting, here to announce the declaration of the Royal Japanese Expedition North China Division: In order to revive East Asia, sweep clean the commonuist forces, develop the friendship between the two countries and save the Chinese nation, the Mikado his majesty decree the royal Japanese force would take position in BeiPing this afternoon……”The thrilling voice was constantly interfered by the noisy hunman sound. The announcement was ended with shrieking and affectionate pop songs.
Sweet flower, sweet flower……
Buy it if you have the coin,
Not to wait till its ruin.
Analysis: The Japanese force is taking over BeiPing. At the strategic moment LiuMing received an urgent task maybe to welcome the invaders. But behind it CaoHongYuan refused to disclose the plan. Would it change the fate of LiuMing? The declaration of the Jap and the peace making radio announcement are all made to pacify the people and make their taking over as well as the rulling afterwards smooth. Even if it is a powerful army, it is samller numbered in comparasion to the people in the city, never mention the population of the nation. They have to cheat for their existence and they have to make their public relations.
LiuMing arrived at ShuangYi Resturant to the south of the overpass twelve o’clock on time. She wore light colored green cheongsam, flesh colored silk stockings and white medium heeled shoes. She had a pretty green silk fabric umbrella in one hand, a green leather bag with golden outline in other. When she dressed herself up she looks like a graceful green willow tree or a lotus cushioned by green leaves in her slim and tender posture. Two minutes later, CaoHongYuan appeared in his cream colored suit, a pair of white leather shoes with a new straw panama hat on the head. The fellow looks like a rich childe or a rich university student, walking towards her in his delicate manner and slight smile.
“Go in to have a lunch. It is still long before the film.”
“oh, you have arrived……”LiuMing nodded to him. She turned and saw a rickshaw waiting in not so far a distance by the street. The puller who was wiping his sweat happened to be WangYongTai.
“We eat our lunch here?” then LiuMing protrude her mouth to the puller and said: “How about the puller then?”
“Give him a kilo of bare flour pie and we go in.”
Inside YongDing gate and to the south of overpass, this returant counted the biggest. LiuMing followed CaoHongYuan through several sparse dinning rooms on the first floor and entered a private room on the second floor facing the street. That is a small single room, a white colored curtain hung to the half length of the door. The two sat themselves at a big table by the window then a business associate came in with a white towel on the shoulder. The associate smiled and made his inquiry:
“This lady and gentlman, can I help you? Make your order directly or have a cup of scented tea first?”
HongYuan looked at the associate in his twenties and made the order fluently as well as generously:
“A pot of tea please—scented and first class. Then dishes and rice please.”
The associate said: “yes, yes.” Then he went downstairs.
HongYuan blinked his eyes and intentionally raised his voice to say:
“Did you hear the radio broadcast? This afternoon the Japanese force would march in BeiPing. I heard it said they will set off from NanYuan and FengTai then march in through YongDing Gate.
LiuMing bitted her lips and stared wide her eyes to nod with effort. She does not know his intention behind the words. She looked at his pale face with her confused eyes then said in low voice:
“Let it be then. How about going for a look after the lunch?” she returned to her seat while speaking.
The associate went up stairs with a pot of tea and two cups. He was filling the cups with tea water and said simultaneously:
“The Jap will march into BeiPing! Did you hear the radio broadcast? And there is declaration sticked on the gate wall.
LiuMing and HongYuan said nothing they only looked at the associate and nodded the head. The associate think they could be lovers so he stopped and went downstairs.
CaoHongYuan searched every single room upstairs. He uncurtained every room to make sure there is no one else on the second floor. So he returned to murmur into Liu’s ears:
“Four o’clock in the afternoon, the Jap will march in through YongDing Gate. Our guerrilla force had prepared for them some dim sum on the gate mansion. We two and the Wang’s mission are to observe the enemy’s activity inside and outside the city. We would mix up in the mass after lunch. The Jap would surely inspect the gate mansion before their force march in through it. After their inspection our guerrilla force would ambush in the mansion. If there is no dim sum in the mansion when the Jap is marching in, then there should be a trap. In this case you open your western umbrella, held high in your hand and shake three times then draw in…… After this we all went to Tao Ran pavilion. In case of unexpected things you do not have to perform it in stead you jump into WangYongTai’s rickshaw to escape as quickly as possible. You do not have to care about other things.” Cao rose up his voice at this, “Miss Li, have a cup of tea please. It’s too hot and humid a day……”
Hearing the murmured command line like words, LiuMing behave as if a soldier heard the horn for battle. She was happy and excited with a quick pumping heart. At last she could join the battle force. But Liu also worry about it. Could she complete the mission successfully? How and when to apply the umbrella strategy?……” She looked at HongYuan and said in low voice:
“Don’t leave me then for I don’t know when to use the umbrella……”
HongYuan nodded his head in silence. He drunk the tea and was sining the pop tone:
Sweet flowers, sweet flowers.
The flower is sweat but it will not last……
Seeing the casual and calm expression of Cao, LiuMing couldn’t help pursing her lips to suppress the laugh. A novel feeling impacted on her heart. What an interesting, magic and tale like life it is! It would be interesting by his side.
After the lunch, it is already two o’clock in the afternoon. As they went out of the restaurant LiuMing opened the umbrella, the two walked side by side on the pedestrian. The noisy sound and disorder around the overpass died down today. The singing like push selling disappeared. The coming and going of people and vehicles were never to be seen there. People gathered in side and out side YongDing Gate on the pedestrian to watch the march in ceremony of the Japanese force with interesting and fearfulness.
“Damned, if we admit the value of mainting the army three years only to use them one time, then why Chiang Kai-shek did not stand out to fight if the 29th Route Army can not denfend the Jap?”
“However proud this animal force looked like, they can not stay long before driven out!”
Shoutings and sighings constantly broke out from the gathering. Some young man and women even had tears in their eyes.
Three o’clock in the afternoon, the flow of viehicle and people completely disappeared on the street. Only the peace making GuoMingDang policemen still presented there in their black uniforms to keep order. They held the club high, running here and there to shout at the crowd:
“It’s a curfew! The Japanese royal force would march in soon. Come out to welcome them at the entrance of the lane.”
Some one stared at the policemen in anger and retreated to the lane entrance.
Someone walked and cursed, “They found their step father finally. You are so active to be a traitor!”
The moment the policeman wanted to chase the cursor, a girl with pink umbrella blocked him.
“Mr. Policeman, you did a really hard job!”
The policeman saw the speaker is a beautiful slender girl in flower print silk cheongsam, his anger disappeared and approached to say in smile:
“Say, this girl. Why not hurry back home soon. The Jap will march in soon and the girl like you……”
The girl did not feel astonished or angered at this. The graceful egg-shaped face showed a light expression to say:
“The Jap is nothing to be dreadful. The most dreadful thing are the discourage Chinese. I prefer standing here to see what the Jap can do!”
“Yes, you got it, girl!” many praises rose in the crowed and they pushed forward. The instance the policeman wanted to drive away the crowed, a tall built old woman with a worn basket shouted out suddenly.
“My god, you demand the life of this old woman. The Jap occupied the three provinces in north east China, three out of the five of my family members died. I managed to drag out my little son from the tiger’s mouth. But today…… But today they would occupy BeiPing too. Where can we escape to and how can we live on?…… ”the woman shook and fell down on the ground in the talking.
Analysis: LiuMing is a patriotic girl and responsible doctor, but not yet an experience guerrilla soldier. She knew that BeiPing had lost, but she took the guerrilla mission with too romantic tinge. She used the phrase of magic, tale like and happy, but actually any of such action is cruel and by chance. The citizens of BeiPing were also angered at the lost but they seemed ignorant at the consequence. The old women who fell on the ground told something true and that might be a hint to the sufferings that would soon be inflicted on the people of BeiPing.
CaoHongYuan stood not too far away from the old woman who had fallen down. She is the mother of the apprentice named HuaXing in YuFeng pharmacy who ZhangYi had introduced to him. He was startled and intended to help her stand up. But in view of his make up and mission Cao had to withhold. Cao could only act as onlooker.
The girl with the pink colored umbrella pinched the umbrella under her armpit then held the old woman up to say:
“China won’t collapse, grandma you can live on!”
The gathered people also shouted in answering:
“China won’t collapse! China won’t collapse!”
In the shouting and grief they supported the old woman to have a rest in a shop by the street.
LiuMing and CaoHongYuan stood shoulder to shoulder by the roadside, exchanging their look in silence. They were influenced by the grief and anger of the mass. What made them surprised was that the girl with pink western umbrella happened to be LuFang whom both of the two aquainted. LiuMing intended to say hello to the woman whom she admires but Cao touched her arm and she understand the situation then withheld the intention. So she threw her a glance in stead. They walked slowly in the direction of YongDing Gate mansion.
Policemen looked at their rich make up and the joined arms then acknowledge them to be lovers. The police didn’t mind the two only cast them a look in stead.
They walked out of the YongDing Gate. By the roadside also gathered people who stood there waiting for the march in ceremony of the Japanese force. The loud speaker there was announcing the declaration of the Jap. LiuMing discovered WangFuLai in the crowd—he had a shabby straw hat, wore a grey colored old long gown, had two bamboo baskets on the shoulder and shook a rattle as big as silver coin. The man is calling for business. WangFuLai disguised himself to be a recycler. LiuMing turned to face HongYuan by her side, she smiled and said:
“How can he be here recycling the unused?”
HongYuan shook his head to hint that she shall keep in silence. He kept calm perfectly, did not look at the crowd nor the WangFuLai. The fellow stood quietly before a whitewashed wall reading a piece of colorful pictorial poster on which printed a blond western beauty above the waist.
Golden throat— Gracia are performing The Spring Day.
Specially invite you to the coronation of British Emperor.
You can’t miss the the raving beauty!
By the side of film poster pastes a newspaper report, the big characters catched the eyes:
Fierce fighting broke out in TianJing. The whole land of HeBei province turned scorched earth.
“Scorched earth, totally scorched!……”HongYuan repeated the sad line in soft voice, but he is calm in looking, joining LiuMing’s arm in a casual relaxed manner.
LiuMing thought it secretely: I should behave as calm as he…… But why I was disturbed inside?
…… Just this moment, WangFuLai shook his rattle and prolonged his voice in shouting:
“Recycling, Recycling! For the unused clothes, shoes and stockings……”
Someone in the crowd was annoyed and shouted back:
“The recycler, can you choose a right moment for your business. Look! What time is it? The Japanese army will arrive soon, but you……”
“I know! I know!” WangFuLai said mildly: “BeiPing will be occupied by the Jap. The disaster of national collapse would be imminent! I am a Chinese man and how can’t I understand…… But if I stop the business I would have no steamed bread to eat for the day……”
Peole looked at this patriotic recycle with compassion. They stopped the curse and let him do what he likes.
It’s four o’clock in the afternoon. The weather turned hotter and more humid. The sun made its appearance for an instance then shaded in the thick black clouds.
The crowds outside YongDing Gate stirred and some one was shrieking:
“Look! Over there, the Jap is approaching!……”
“The royal Japanese army is marching in. Welcome them please!” several plicemen are running and shouting at the crowds by the street. They are driving the people into the lane with clubs.
Before this LiuMing followed CaoHongYuan and went into the city through YongDing Gate again. There is a spacious ground ajoining the city inside the city then followed the streets with shop and civilian quarters by two sides. He behave like lovers who intentioned to hide from the crowd. They still walk side by side with joint arms on the spacious ground. LiuMing felt embarrassed with her face flushed and heart fast beating. But she knew it is a mission so a lucky feeling surged inside.
Four o’clock on time when the crowds were shouting that the army was approaching the two had mixed into the crowd at the entrance of a lane where the distance to the tunnel of city gate measures around only 200 meters.
The march in ceremony of the Japanese army has initiated.
A group of yellow painted motor cycles marched in the head. They drove on slowly from the south. Individual soldiers rode on the two wheeled marching ahead, the gendarmes left shouldered Ann pocket type pistal and a sword also hung on the leather belt by the left. They wore white cloth armband on the left arm with two fist size scarlet character “gendarme” painted on. The characters catch eyes and flaring in the look. The motor tricycle followed them. Junior officers of the gendarme force and the junior officers of the secret service of land force in red hooped big lipped cap sat in the side cars. Two yellow jeeps drove in after the motor teams both had the canvas hood foldered backward. Four big nosed westerners sat in the leading jeep: one in German army uniform and the other in Italy army uniform, they are military correspondent and hung pistal on the waist. The rest two wore western suit. One comes from British Leuters the other from American united press. They are special correspondents.
The four prepared to interview the shocking new of Japanese taking over the city BeiPing. The four correspandants stood at the Jeep facing backward with their cameras in hand. Four Japanese correspondents stood in the second jeep—two of them are military correspondent and the rest comes from Asahi shibum and Yormiri shibum separately. They are also special correspondants. The four Japanese correspondents stood in the same posture like the westerners. They prepared to record the splendid procession of the ceremony to show the military achievement.
Horse troop followed the two jeeps. The exhausted army horse bent down their heads and sneeze soundly. The horse let out a pungent smell. Then the artilary force followed the horse troop. Cannons of different type and different caliber were dragged on wooden wheels by a dozen or half dozen horses separately. Gunners also ride on the military horses. The artillery forces with light and heavy artilaries are obviously from different military units they muster up templorarily to make a show of force to Chinese people. Infantry followed artilary forces. An arrogant standard bearer took the lead with Japanese military flag in the hand. The infantry marched forward in four columns with their kaki army uniform stained in sweat and showed white circles. Several strips of cloth hanging down the back of their army cap which looked like the pig ears.
Not long after the march in of infants followed a commander veihicle. A commander around fifty years old with a tuft of short cut beard sat in the car—he is a senior army officer and the commander of the march in ceremony. Two medals hang in the front of his starched uniform and yellow ribbon bore on the shoulder. He held a first class sword in his white gloved hand. The senior officer has severe look and looked straight ahead, typically as arrogant as Japanese military men. Other two officers accompanied him by the two sides. The car drove on slowly followed by a long line of infantry force and every unit held a military flag.
Analysis: The old woman fell down but people held her up and consoled her that the live will go on and China will not collapse. It indicates that the people will not let the country collapse. The loss of BeiPing is temporarily. Then the author depicted the march in ceremony of Japanese army. How arrogant those soldiers looked like. The news would be spread around the world soon. But actually every invader is very strong by appearance but very fragile psychologically and the stronger he pretend to be the more fragile inner hearted he has in actual.
In the noisy whinny, in the squeak of wooden wheels that carries the cannonand in the fricative sound between boots and ground…… All these harsh sounds seem to cryout a painstaking line: “BeiPing our ancient capital of civilization, today yousunk—you sunk!……”
The Japanese soldiers posture themselves as winners. They were marchinginto the city through the gate tunnel in ignorance of all the others. They didnot look to see the civilian who lined by the street, nor those policemen whostood there to keep order and salute to them in humble manner. It seems theydoes not show any interests in the obedient people who were waving the papermade sun flags, wore the armband painted with Japanese national flag andsaluted to them or applaud to them. Their fish like eyes fixed still and lookedstraight ahead……
“My holy God, please tell me who these men are. Are they saving stars ordevils? Give me hint please! Tell me so I can tell your pathetic and sinfulchildren. Amen……”A priest hardened his expressionless face and crossed with his finger onthe chest.
The surrounding people threw ugly look at the murmuring priest. LiuMingalso threw him a glance and prepared to say something, but Cao pinched her handthe instance and that is the hint to make her open the umbrella and vave itthree times.
LiuMing’s heart beat faster the instance and wave three times her umbrella.
This instance the WangFyLai who stood by the city wall with his basketsshook the rattle hard and cried aloud:
“The Jap has marched in! And I would have no chance for the business……” He escaped into a lane in the crying. Then the moment when the commander’scar was entering the spacious ground after the gate tunnel the sound of blastbroke out suddenly as if a loud thunder that struck suddenly in the sky.
Bang! Bang! Bang!
……Following the blast of hand grenades, fire andsmoke rose high in the sky. The Japanese senior officer and the two assistantswho sat in the car were blasted out in pieces. The car was destroyed also andstopped by serveral dead bodies of the Japanese soldiers who were killed in thegrenade attack.
A flaring military flag of Japanwas blewn up high into the sky by the impact. It turned several times in theair then dropped slantly. The yellow spearhead planted into a mess of posterson the wall of a park toilet finely to fix into the advertisement of treating thevenereal diseases.
Hearing the explosion, the leading jeep with German, Italy, Britishand American correspondent accelerated and ran ahead of the moter formation ina zigzag course. They drove in full speed into Legation Street inside the city.
When the civilians running towards their home with surprise and enjoyment,CaoHongYuan pushed LiuMing to a lane west of the street—WangYongTai and hisrickshaw had been waiting there already. HongYuan pulled LiuMing onto therickshaw then he himself fellowed onto and sat by her side. WangYongTai stoodby the rickshaw watching over the gate. He hastened with the following words assoon as he saw the two:
“Oh, my old customer, where are you heading for?” he raised the handle ofhis rickshaw and smiled. Soon the rickshaw flied into another lane like amotorcycle in full speed.
After the march in of Japanese army, gradually the social order of BeiPingrecovered. The shops started their business as usual and the flow of people onthe street intensified. Japanese sun flags can be seen everywhere in thestreets and lanes in place of the blue sky and white sun. They outstanded andout numbered the former.
LiuMing kept herself home while BaiShiWu went to visit her almost every dayunder the escort of WangSheng and LiShun. The day he wanted to have a walk withLiuMing in the Imperial Palace. Then Liutelephoned MiaoHong and GaoYongYa inviting them to go together. After eight o’clock,the four young fellows walked into the back door of Imperial Palace—ShengWuGate.
The weather in early August isscorching hot. In the afternoon people felt too hot to go out. Only a fewtourists made their appearances in front of ShenWu gate—some are Chinese andothers are Japanese soldiers or commercial men with their daughters and wife incoquettish kimonos. They swaggered here for a sight seeing.
The four went into the Imperial Palace. They went alongthe east wall southward slowly approaching the Hall of Supreme Harmony.
This is a sunny day. Nine o’clock in the morning the glazed tiles of the Imperial Palace were glittering with dazzinglight under the sunshine. The palace wall and the adjoining mansions under theslanting morning ray gave shade to the ground and made a cool space along withthe shadow of trees. In lack of maintance bushes and wild flowers grow indisorder in front of a section of imperial wall. A flock of sparrows chirrupamong the weed competing for worms. At times something startled them and theyflied onto the wall in groups. The sparrows stay on the wall and looked aroundto make sure nothing ever happened then dived into the weed again.
Today BaiShiWu dressed up especially decent: he was in starched whitefabric suit and turned outside the collar of his white silk shirt. He wore apair of white leather shoes. The white color stayed in tune with his oiledblack hairs to show his decency and handsomeness. But the LiuMing by his sidewas in white foreign cloth cheongsam with an opening to the knees. She hadwhite thread socks and white leather sandals. The girl was simple andattractive in comparasion to the BaiShiWu by the side.
She walked by the side of BaiShiWu in silence with her eyes fixed ahead inignorance of the decaying mansions and corridors in decayed red color while theBaiShiWu was urgent to make her say something.
“Look! How prettily MiaoHong dressed herself up today. She wore white silkblouse and skirt, looked prettier than in cheongsam. The make up can show heractiveness, healthy and beauty. But I don’t like the dress of GaoYongYa: hishairs are too long and he has a pair of spectacles of thick myopic lens. He didnot even fasten his waist belt properly. The high quality suit seems crumpledon his body…… Little Liu, why didn’t you dress up prettier today? How shall you turn backthe material I purchased in ShangHai?Why didn’t you tailor a few pieces of clothes with them? ” BaiShiWu stopped hisself-talk like speech here and fixed his eyes on LiuMing’s face, “Little Liu,you seemed not happy today. Why? Anyhow you looked prettier in the mood: springin your frown, sorrow in the eyes, like DaiYu in the Dream of Red Mansions. LittleLiu, I like quote a poem for you, no, just a few lines from it: ‘A swing insidethe yard, a path beyond the wall. A beauty smiles inside and the pedestrianmindless walk. He turns deaf to the joy and the affectionate was ruthlesslycooled.’ Little Liu, don’t you know who wrote it?”
“Look! What did you talk about? I amnot interested in listening to this.” LiuMing glanced BaiShiWu in disfavor andsaid in depress, “Look at those people there please!” Liu slightly protrudedher mouth towards the several Japanese men and woman, taking a sigh andcontinued, “Shall you congratulate being a slave? Look, you dress yourself upso joyfully and recited so affectionate poem lines. That’s ‘The business womenof Kindom Shang did not knot the bitterness of country collapse!’ –I did feelshame for you!”
“Forgive me! Little Liu.” BaiShiWu also glanced at the several proudJapanese people then shook his head slightly, “It had turned to be a matter offact way. What can we help then? Little Liu I worry about your mood so Iinvited you out for a walk. Why? You dragged out MiaoHong and her husband also.How inconvenient it would be for our talking?……”
“It is more active to have someone join us. I am really in worry and I won’tbe out if you had not invited.”
“I can’t understand what make you feel so worried. Tell me please! Tell me,Little Liu. I should share it with you.”
“You can’t understand. Even if I said it won’t help!”
Yes, these days LiuMing was trapped in untold bitterness of psychologicalclashes.
Since CaoHongYuan dragged her into the dramatic YongDing Gate snipingLiuMing became more depressed and melancholy. She often sat solitudely on abench fixing her eyes to a small date tree and stay in the daze for long. Shedid not move even if mother called her for meal. Sometimes mother worried overit but Liu still kept her silence. And the BaiShiWu also couldn’t be calm. Hepatted on his hands but could explain nothing to the mother too. Later themother recalled there was a morning when a young man came to visit her and fromthen on her daughter turned to be in such way. But daughter warn her time andagain that she mustn’t tell the thing to anyone. For this the mother swallowedthe question by her lips and changed a topic: “Did evil spirit catch her? Shallit be the fox lady or the hedgehog ghost? Childe Bai, shall we invite a witchhome for a look?”
BaiShiWu shook his head in the worry then murmured into LiuMing’s ears:
“Little Liu, What’s the problem? I won’t leave you if you refuse to tellme.”
“It’s really nothing.” LiuMing said lightly, “I am reasoning whether or notI shall go to Japan.”
LiuMing told him the truth.
Analysis: The most beautiful scene is nothing to the eyes of a man whose countrycollapsed. The depression of LiuMing happened to be the depression of the wholenation. But the BaiShiWu had little sense of the nation. He lives an unworriedlife or he let it be when the collapse turned to the matter of fact way. Differentenvironment educated and forged different attitudes toward the national event. Soeven if the country stay as one the trends are diversified, especially in anation who had experienced thousands years of fuedulist ruling and has adiversified social classes.