The Pier part 1


    Mori Ogwai (1860—1932)

    Mori Ogwai, who was at one time army surgeon general, was one of the most distinguished Japanese literary men. He has been indefatigable in his labors of translation and interpretation.

    His versions of the great works of European writers are considered among the finest in all modern Japanese literature. He also wrote important biographies, novels, and many excellent short stories.

    This story, translated by Torao Taketomo, is reprinted from the volume Paulownia, copyright, 1918, by Duffield & Co., New York, by permission of the publisher.

    The Pier

    The rails of four railroads cut straight and obliquely the beams of the iron bridge on which the long and short cross-beams are like the bars of a mylophone on which children play. Through the cracks of the cross-beams, that almost catch the heels of shoes and wooden clogs, here and there the black waves are shown, reflected on the white flashes of sunshine.

    It is the Azuma coat m silver gray, which she loosely wears on her body, that carries the child of her husband, who is starting to-day, this day which is not far from the month of confinement.

    She came with her hair in Sokuhatsu. Her boa is of white ostrich. ±loJdl1ng the light green umbrella with tassels, she walks along, surrounded by four or five maidservants.

    The big ships are anchoring on the right and the left of the pier, home are painted in black, some in white.

    The anchored ships are making a fence for the wind. Every time she feaves the place where there are ships, a gust of wind blows and flutters the skirts of her Azuma coat.

    Two years ago, immediately after he was graduated from the university of literature, the count, her husband, had married her. It was during the previous year that she gave birth to her first child, a princess like a jewel. At the end of the year the husband became a Master of Ceremonies at the Court. And, now, he is starting to London, charged with his official duty.

    In his newly made gray overcoat, flinging the cane with crooked handle, her husband is walking rapidly along the pier. The viscount, who is going with him, and whose height is taller by a head than his, also walks rapidly beside him, clad in a suit of similar color.

    The French ship, on which her husband is about to go abroad, is anchoring at the extreme end of the right side of the pier.

    A stool, like that which is used to repair the wires of a trolley, is stationed on the pier, and from it a gangplank is laid across to the bulwark.

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