C-2 Renew a sweet experience of bygone days
Yu Wen was born in Pei-Jing, China,1914. The beginning years of a new democratic government, The Republic of China. The glory of Ching Dynasty faded.
All the relatives of Mrs. Lyan’s were with blue blood. One of them, Lord Jin Sz Ye who loved to tell jokes.
Once Jin Sz Ye told Yu Wen a true story which she could never get over with. It was about a downgrade lord who was so sensitive about his reputation.
One morning, Lord Jin Sz Ye was strolling with his bird’s cage close Hu Gwo Sz, a famous temple in Pai-jing. There were all kinds of small business around the temple. People loved to shop around there. Jin Sz Ye walked into a tea hut for some breakfast. Sitting behind him, there was a poor old jobless lord. It was very noisy at that tea hut; some were calling for the waiters to take orders, some were asking for the prices. Friends talking to each others across several tables. Birds twittering in their cages restlessly……. All of a sudden, he heard a loud slam coming from the table behind his. Someone shouted: “It’s too loud, Be silent!” Everybody stopped talking and turn around and looked at the table behind him. That was the jobless lord, standing with his dignity. The hut was as silent as the night. The people at the tea hut begin eating or drinking quietly.
Even if he was a jobless lord; he still is yesterdays majesty. Jin Sz Ye stood up trying to calm the old man down. But he found out that the old jobless lord was wetting his finger with his mouth and trying to pick up some sesames seeds which jumped out of the cracks in the table, due to the force of his slam.
The story was told when Yu Wen was around six or seven years old, she was so innocent and naive. She could not understand the ways of the world. She thought the old jobless lord was so funny. She was even imitating his action, banging on the table and made lots of loud noise.
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Yu Wen’s father, Mr. Lyan was the descendant of a Mongolian prince. Educated in Japan. Because of his education back ground, he operated an arsenal in Pei-king. That was during the beginning of The new republican government. Political affairs were very unstable. There were many warlords did not agree with to the policy of the new government, and also they would like to enlarge their own territories by taking lands from the other Warlords. Hoping someday they could take over the whole country. Wars happened here and there in China. Munitions were needed for both government and the warlords. Mr. Lyan’s arsenal was mutually benefited.
Yu Wen’s mother was a descendent of empire’s direct lineage. Supposing the Ching was still in power, Mrs. Lyan should be a princess. Yu Wen should be princess as well.
Due to the business Mr. Lyan was operating, the Lyan family was courteously treated by both government and the warlords. The Lyans were able to keep their splendid house with courtyards which were located at Bei-Wu Alley in Pei-king. It was not as big and beautiful as a prince’s house, but certainly it was very unusual. There were beautiful gardens with rockeries in the pond. A pair of stone lions stood on each side of the main entrance. The rooms in the first yard were menial. The houses in the second yard were for the masters. Eaves are long and wide. If you place a manhjong table under the eaves with 4 people playing around at the table, they would not get wet by the heavy rain. The bricks of the pathway were carved with moral stories. When Yu Wen was a little girl, she often asked Wong -Ma, her nursing mother to tell her those stories.
In the second yard there was an artificial hill with a secret door, a cave behind the door. In the cave there was a stone table. Yu Wen knew in the hot summer days, the ice for the whole family were stored here. They used those ice blocks for cold drinks, cooling fruits, and bring the room temperature down. As a naughty child, Yu Wen loved to ask Wong Ma to be with her to explore the cave. She believed there must be some kind of secret path that could lead to somewhere. Such as to the country side, or another mansion…… Due to the darkness and the cold air, poor Wong Ma was never be able to accomplish the adventure with her.
There were various kind of flowers in front of the artificial hill. Yu Wen loved the nature since she was a little girl. She appreciate the beauty of the nature. She often being attracted by a small flower, a butterfly or a bug. Whenever she found something special, she would ask Wong Ma to help her to bring it home to study it. Sometimes even use it as a model for her embroidery. That was why her needle works were so different from others.
—to be continued—