Thursday, July 28, 2011
Summary: Madame D. had no peer. She was the most beautiful woman in the capital. She was married to a husband who was an official in the government, a government that beat up student protesters. Madame D. felt sorry for the protesters, one of whom had been her brother who had been killed during a protest. Because of her husband’s handling of the student protesters, Madame D. and her husband drifted apart in their marriage.
Madame D. loved beautiful pearls. When a student offered her a beautiful set of pearls, she agreed to meet him. That led to an affair that culminated in a pregnancy. When her husband’s suspicions were aroused by her growing condition, she said that he had impregnated her one night when he came home drunk.
The handsome young man who had given her the pearls was a student protester. He was caught in a protest, but escaped. Before he left the area, he saw her again, and she returned the pearls because she knew he needed money. He reluctantly accepted them and then disappeared. She raised their son,
When the present emperor died, another replaced him who was in favor of the reforms advocated by the student protesters. Madame D.’s husband, who had been responsible for the deaths of the student protestors, was tried and executed. The handsome young man who had given her the pearls became an official in the new government and he married Madame D.
You know the rest. Happily ever after.
Famous Chinese Short Stories. Re-told by Lin Yutang. New York: The Pocket Library. 1954.