The Honorable Miss Moonlight , livre ebook

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When the day of Lord Saito Gonji’s birthday arrives, Gonji celebrates with dread, knowing that in a week, he will be married. Sent away in his youth for samurai training, and then to higher education, Gonji is very connected to his studies. After his intelligence is proven, his professors even tell Gonji that he would do great things for Japan one day. However, since he is the youngest son in his family, Gonji is expected to marry—a social expectation that he cannot get around. Now, on his birthday, he is expected to marry a childhood friend, Ohano in one week, which will greatly interfere with his studies. When his family notice how upset Gonji is over the arranged marriage, they grant him one week of pure freedom, allowing him to do whatever he chooses. Soon into the week, Gonji meets a famous dancer. Known by the stage name of Spider, the dancer was at the height of her career after being trained by the most celebrated geisha in Japan. When Spider and Gonji become intimate during the week, their fleeting encounter soon proves to complicate the plans Gonji’s parents made for him.


Featuring complex and memorable characters as well as detailed descriptions of Japanese customs and landscapes, The Honorable Miss Moonlight depicts a vivid portrait of 20th century Japan. With themes of gender, sexuality, identity, and a close perspective of the honor/shame culture of Japan in the 1900s, The Honorable Miss Moonlight is as enlightening as it is entertaining.


First published in 1912, The Honorable Miss Moonlight is one of Onoto Watanna’s most famous works, yet is rarely found in print. This special edition features a stunning cover design and is printed in an easy-to-read font. With these accommodations, this edition caters to contemporary readers by restoring the novel to modern standards while preserving the original intricacy of Onoto Watanna’s work.


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Date de parution

23 février 2021

Nombre de lectures

0

EAN13

9781513276557

Langue

English

Poids de l'ouvrage

3 Mo

The Honorable Miss Moonlight
Onoto Watanna
 
The Honorable Miss Moonlight was first published in 1912.
This edition published by Mint Editions 2021.
ISBN 9781513271552 | E-ISBN 9781513276557
Published by Mint Editions®
minteditionbooks.com
Publishing Director: Jennifer Newens
Design & Production: Rachel Lopez Metzger
Project Manager: Micaela Clark
Typesetting: Westchester Publishing Services
 
CONTENTS I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII XIII XIV XV XVI XVII XVIII XIX XX XXI XXII XXIII XXIV XXV XXVI XXVII XXVIII XXIX
 
I
The day had been long and sultry. It was the season of little heat, when an all-encompassing humidity seemed suspended over the land. Sky and earth were of one monotonous color, a dim blue, which faded to shadowy grayness at the fall of the twilight.
With the approach of evening, a soothing breeze crept up from the river. Its faint movement brought a measure of relief, and nature took on a more animated aspect.
Up through the narrow, twisting roads, in and out of the never-ending paths, the lights of countless jinrikishas twinkled, bound for the Houses of Pleasure. Revelers called to each other out of the balmy darkness. Under the quivering light of a lifted lantern, suspended for an instant, faces gleamed out, then disappeared back into the darkness.
To the young Lord Saito Gonji the night seemed to speak with myriad tongues. Like some finely tuned instrument whose slenderest string must vibrate if touched by a breath, so the heart of the youth was stirred by every appeal of the night. He heard nothing of the chatter and laughter of those about him. For the time at least, he had put behind him that sickening, deadening thought that had borne him company now for so long. He was giving himself up entirely to the brief hour of joy, which had been agreeably extended to him in extenuation of the long life of thralldom yet to come.
It was in his sole honor that the many relatives and connections of his family had assembled, joyously to celebrate the fleeting hours of youth. For within a week the Lord Saito Gonji was to marry. Upon this pale and dreamy youth the hopes of the illustrious house of Saito depended. To him the august ancestors looked for the propagating of their honorable seed. He was the last of a great family, and had been cherished and nurtured for one purpose only.
With almost as rigid care as would have been bestowed upon a novitiate priest, Gonji had been educated.
“Send the child you love upon a journey,” admonished the stern-hearted Lady Saito Ichigo to her husband; and so at the early age of five the little Gonji was sent to Kummumotta, there to be trained under the strictest discipline known to the samourai. Here he developed in strength and grace of body; but, seemingly caught in some intangible web, the mind of the youth awoke not from its dreams. His arm had the strength of the samourai, said his teachers, but his spirit and his heart were those of the poet.
There came a period when he was placed in the Imperial University, and a new life opened to the wondering youth. New laws, new modes of thought, the alluring secrets of strange sciences, baffling and fascinating, all opened their doors to the infatuated and eager Gonji. With the enthusiasm born of his solitary years, the boy grasped avidly after the ideals of the New Japan. His career in college was notable. In him professor and student recognized the born leader and genius. He was to do great things for Japan some day!
Then came a time when the education of the youth was abruptly halted, and he was ordered to return to his home. While his mind was still engaged in the fascinating employment of planning a career, his parents ceremoniously presented him to Ohano, a girl he had known from childhood and a distant relative of his mother’s family. Mechanically and obediently the dazed Gonji found himself exchanging with the maiden the first gifts of betrothal.
Ohano was plump, with a round, somewhat sullen face, a pouting, full-lipped mouth, and eyes so small they seemed but mere slits in her face. She had inherited the inscrutable, disdainful expression of her lofty ancestors.
Though he had played with her as a child and had seen her upon every occasion during his school vacations, Gonji looked at her now with new eyes. As a little boy he had liked Ohano. She was his sole playmate, and it had been his delight to tease her. Now, as he watched her stealthily, he was consumed with a sense of unutterable despair. Could it be that his fairest dreams were to end with Ohano?
Like every other Japanese youth, who knows that some day his proper mate will be chosen and given to him, Gonji had conjured up a lovely, yielding creature of the imagination, a gentle, smiling, mysterious Eve, who, like a new world, should daily surprise and delight him. As he looked at Ohano, sitting placidly and contentedly by his side, he was conscious only of an inner tumult of rebellion and repulsion against the chains they were forging inexorably about him and this girl. It was impossible, he felt, to drag him nearer to her. The very thought revolted, stunned him, and suddenly, rudely, he turned his back upon his bride.
The relatives agreed that something should be done to offset the gloom of the first stages of betrothal. It was suggested that the bridegroom have a full week of freedom. As was the custom among many, he should for the first time be introduced to the life of gaiety and pleasure that lay outside the lofty, ancestral walls, the better, later, to appreciate the calm and pure joys of home and family.
In single file the jinrikishas had been running along a narrow road which overlooked city and bay. Now they swerved into shadowy by-paths and plunged into the heart of the woods. A velvety darkness, through which the drivers picked their way with caution, enwrapped them.
For some time the tingling music of samisen and drum close by had been growing ever clearer. Suddenly the glimmer of many lights was seen, as if suspended overhead. Almost unconsciously faces were raised, excited breaths drawn in admiration and approval. Like a great sparkling jewel hung in mid-air, the House of Slender Pines leaned over its wooded terraces toward them.
Gay little mousm é s, rubbing hands and knees together, ran to meet them at the gate, kowtowing and hissing in obeisance. The note of a samisen was heard; and a thin little voice, sweet, and incredibly high, broke into song. Geishas, with great flowers in their hair, fell into a posturing group, dancing with hand, head, and fan. Gonji watched them in a fascinated silence, noting the minutest detail of their attire, their expression, their speech. They belonged to a world which, till now, he had not been permitted even to explore. Nay, till but recently he had been rigidly guarded from even the slightest possible contact with these little creatures of joy. Soon he was to be set in the niche destined for him by his ancestors. Here was his sole opportunity to seize the fleeting delights of youth.
A laughing-faced mousm é , red-lipped and with saucy, teasing eyes that peeped at him from beneath veiled lashes, knelt to hold his sake-tray. He leaned gravely toward the girl and examined her face with a curious wonder; but her smile brought no response to the somewhat sad and somber lips of the young man, nor did he even deign to sip the fragrant cup she tendered.
An elder cousin offered some chaffing advice, and an hilarious uncle suggested that the master of the house put his geishas upon parade; but the father of Gonji roughly interposed, declaring that his son’s thoughts, naturally, were elsewhere. It was so with all expectant bridegrooms. His father’s words awoke the boy from his dreaming. He turned very pale and trembled. His head drooped forward, and he felt an irresistible inclination to cover his face with his hands. His father’s voice sounded in gruff whisper at his ear:
“Pay attention. You see now the star of the night. It is the famous Spider, spinning her web!”
As Gonji slowly raised his head and gazed like one spellbound at the dancer, his father added, with a sudden vehemence:
“Take care, my son, lest she entrap thee, too, like the proverbial fly.”
A hush had fallen upon the gardens. Almost it seemed as if the tiny feet of the dancer stirred not at all. Yet, with imperceptible advances, she moved nearer and nearer to her fascinated audience. Above her flimsy gown of sheerest veiling, which sprang like a web on all sides and above her, her face shone with its marvelous beauty and allurement. Her lips were apart, smiling, coaxing, teasing; and her eyes, wide and very large, seemed to seek over the heads of her audience for the one who should prove her prey. It was the final motion of the dance of the Spider, the seeking for, the finding, the seizing of her imaginary victim. Now the Spider’s eyes had ceased to wander. They were fixed compellingly upon those of the Lord Saito Gonji.
He had arisen to his feet, and with a half-audible exclamation—a sound of an indrawn sigh—he advanced toward the dancer. For a moment, breathlessly, he stood close beside her. The subtle odor of her perfumed hair and body stole like a charm over his senses. Her sleeve fluttered against his hand for but the fraction of a moment, yet thrilled and tormented him. He looked at the Spider with the eyes of one who sees a new and radiant wonder. Then darkness came rudely between them. The geisha’s face vanished with the light. He was standing alone, staring into the darkness, his father’s voice droning meaninglessly in his ear.
 
II
Her real name was as poetical as the one she was known by was forbidding and repelling. Moonlight, it was; though all the gay world which hovers about a famous geisha, like flies over the honey-pot, knew her solely as the “Spider.”
“Spider” she was called because of the peculiar dance she had originated. It was against all classical precedents, but of so exc

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