“But who would believe that the world is but full of disappointments! On the succeeding day,

it came about that the kidnapper again sold her to the Hsüeh family! Had he disposed of her to any other party, no harm would anyhow have resulted; but this young gentleman Hsüeh, who is nicknamed by all,

‘the Foolish and overbearing Prince,’ is the most perverse and passionate being in the whole world. What is more, he throws money away as if it were dust. The day on which he gave the thrashing

with blows like falling leaves and flowing water, he dragged (lit. pull alive, drag dead) Ying Lien away more dead than alive, by sheer force, and no one, even up to this date,

is aware whether she be among the dead or the living. This young Feng had a spell of empty happiness; for (not only) was his wish not fulfilled, but on the contrary he spent money and lost his life; and was not this a lamentable case?”

When Yü-ts’un heard this account he also heaved a sigh. “This was indeed,” he observed, “a retribution in store for them! Their encounter was likewise not accidental; for had it been, how was it that this Feng Yüan took a fancy to Ying Lien?

“This Ying Lien had, during all these years, to endure much harsh treatment from the hands of the kidnapper, and had, at length, obtained the means of escape; and being besides full of warm feeling,

had he actually made her his wife, and had they come together, the event would certainly have been happy; but, as luck would have it, there occurred again this contretemps.

“This Hsüeh is, it is true, more laden with riches and honours than Feng was, but when we bear in mind what kind of man he is he certainly,

with his large bevy of handmaids, and his licentious and inordinate habits, cannot ever be held equal to Feng Yüan, who had set his heart upon one person! This may appositely be termed a fantastic sentimental destiny,

which, by a strange coincidence,

befell a couple consisting of an ill-fated young fellow and girl!

But why discuss third parties?

The only thing now is how to decide this case,

so as to put things right.”