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Geniuses are birthed not made.
Of that, the truth, I have confidence of the uttermost. Two possessions must be theirs - Longevity of Hair and Biliousness of Character. Likewise it is more better than a Father or Mother Genius has made proceedings. Most best that a Grandfather Genius walks in front. Then, is all of most wellness and the Genius is of excellency birthed.
No Honorable Ancestors of Geniuses have walked before me. No Longevity of Hair have I (since the all powerful fever raged in our Province). No Character of Biliousness, the Character of me being of unimportantness. How then can I, not having been birthed with properness become into one Genius on the instant? It is of uttermost impossibility, albeit the American friend of Miss Sterling say she teach to me many fine words of American Slang most profitable in works of Genius. Only can the Goddess of Mercy and perhaps the Foreign God a little, lend of aid to me in my extremities. To them I design the Poem below, of which you shall have readings. To composition, Poem take with much exactitude, six of hours and forty-five of moments. At endings of time, eyes ached and stomache have yearnings but Poem come out. I have extensive happiness for I now have knowings that, if of eats I partake of littleness, and make anointments of hair that it may to grow, I shall yet arrive at the business of Genius.
Give unto me of the sacred power,
O, Goddess of Mercy, now, this hour,
That into a GENIUS I may flower,
Like silver dewdrops in summer shower.
Yesterday Miss Powers say in class - "Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them." Thus has the business of Genius been thrust upon me and I must get busy. For three days now, in searchings of library of Honored President, I come upon Eng Muoi also making searchings. She hide book, I hide book. Today I make findings of space of emptiness on book-shelf where yesterday stood Honorable Pope. Eng Muoi has taken him unto herself. Next where Honorable Pope once was and now is not, I found book of Honorable Lord Kames, most evident a Genius with knowledge of Geniuses incomparable. He says, "A Constitution of Warmth and Inflamableness must a Genius possess. Likewise a Delicacy of Taste and Sedateness." Three of these Constitutions have I - Warmth (of coldness I know not) Inflamableness (anger comes quickly unto my heart) Delicacy of Taste (is it not I who of foods make selectings for our feasts?) But Sedateness, I have it not. Perhaps if I hump me and make trackings I can to catch it.
We are making a journey, Miss Sterling, Ai Lang, Bing Ding and I to the Monastery of Dreams on the tall mountain Koshan. From the Compound we came in early morning time by boat and now in sedan chairs we ascend into the clouds. At each placement of rest we stop. While coolies catch at breath and smoke at pipe, we drink of tea and watch at view. It is most wondrous. Trees of a growth extraordinary. Rocks of mightiness each bearing an inscription from the Classics. Down side of mountain, tumbling into waterfalls over boulders of bigness flows a stream of the clearness of glass. Below, the "Happy Valley" stretches myriads of miles away, of green in shadow and gold in sunshine, all of uttermost beauty.
There are steps of stone that one may arrive at Tea-houses higher up mountain side. I beg of Miss Sterling that I may to leave chair and mount up steps. All girls come and we climb, making readings of rocks as we go. I find great comfort in my reading - "With what little wisdom is the world governed." For the business of Genius makes me tired and tonight I must become fresh, like unto a daisy, for out of me must I cough up a Poem.
We are nearing the Monastery. High in air above our heads, the bell from the Temple tolls. As we climb Miss Sterling tells of the wicked man who tolls it. For twenty-five years he has made penance for his wicked sins. He was doomed to toll the bell and never speak; now he cannot to speak one word, but tolls on. That's not dead easy. I have of sorrow for that man. Tonight I will to compose a Poem to him.
We enter the open court of the Monastery. All is of great stillness and peace. Only tinkling of fountain in centre of court makes soundings. Beyond fountain is lake full of brilliant colourings. By lake we make pauses and see that colourings are red, blue, green and gold fishes - most beautiful! At end of lake an old man sits by stand; on stand are cakes all strung on string like Chinese cash. We buy of the cakes, Bing Ding cut strings, and we enjoy much pleasurings in fishes feeding forgetful of hours. But Miss Sterling say, "The time is passing. If you wish your fortunes told we must go."
We mount up stone steps and enter Temple of the Prophets. Bing Ding, alone, makes way to Priest at altar and tells to him of her desire. From his Divining Sticks he makes selection of one and lays it upon the altar, then opens the Taheo (Book of Great Learning) and reads:
The accomplishment of thy plans rests with Heaven. The Spirits of the Earth, Sea and Air are propitious. Thou shalt ride far upon the Sea into Foreign Countries and return in safety. The Earth Spirit gives thee great power in things political through thy marriage to a high official of thy Country. Seven worthy sons shall be born unto thee and thy days shall be full and many.
Bing Ding was of manifest satisfaction when she join us sitting on seat at back of temple.
We hike on up other stone steps to the Temple of the Moon. I enter with Ai Lang, Miss Sterling and Bing Ding making readings of Classics outside on rocks.
Unto the Priest of Temple Ai Lang tell of her birth-moon, also hour and place of birthment.
He answer thus: The right way leads forward; the wrong way backward. Unto your choice bring wisdom. Within four angles of prominence lies your life. Leo rising, Cancer culminating. To your house Mars brings trouble but Venus overrules. You will bear a man child of exceeding greatness. Art is your talent; your hands your best possessions. See to it that you use them wisely.
Ai Lang give promise of wisdom and we make getaway unto Miss Sterling and Bing Ding.
Up yet another stone steps we mount to the highest Temple of all, set like a star in clouds at top of mountain - the Temple of Dreams. Inside of Temple most wonderful but at entrance of uttermost darkness. One step - two step I take alone (only one person can make entrance at one time) then comes light, soft like flush of dawn. Grows brighter, most bright, until over all things the Spirit of Fire spreads its mantle of red. I walk on, each step in changing light; Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green and Violet. At last I make stand at foot of rainbow before the High Priest of the Temple. Strange, most strange! Last night I dream of rainbow. I speak unto the Priest my dream. He make interpretation as follows: The rainbow you beheld in sleep is an omen of good promise. Likewise the street in which you walked in fear and darkness for Success crowns him who works to win. The violets you gathered at end of street were Happiness, Fame and Riches. All these shall be yours if you break not the string of Pearls that are entwined about your neck. Should one Pearl loosen and fall into space, Sorrow and Sadness shall be your portion. Beware of accidents unto the Pearls.
Much troubled, with hand to Pearls lest Misfortune come up with me - for clasp of necklace is of weakness - I make return through rainbow into world outside.
"The shadows are growing," Miss Sterling say. "Come, we must get down the mountain to to the boats at once!"
Tonight after we reach Compound, I cut out dinner and make anointment of hair, also stir my stumps to compose Poem. Time - five of hours - ten of moments. I have much hunger.
He sits in the belfry tower,
Tolling the soft bell of Dreams.
Four times he rings it each hour,
Heaven with sound of it teems.
Moons long past the Spirits said:
"For untold Sins you must pay,
Morning's gold but Evening's red,
Your crimes must be paid each day."
Worn and dark is He and old.
On his soul his Sins have weighed.
Twenty-five years He has tolled,
Surely the price He has paid.
This morning at Ten of the clock we march by two's and two's into Chapel, Honored President and Teachers leading. Cui Ai adorned in light blue silk following. Tomorrow she marries. Today, Miss Powers trim Chapel and make for Cui Ai alone, Graduating Exercises most scrumptious.
First come little welcome speech of our Honored President then Cui Ai arise and speak Essay on Faith in our beloved Neuchang dialect. Sit down, and Chinese girls sing in chorus "Wings of Faith." Again Cui Ai arise and speak Essay on Hope in Classical Chinese. Sit down, and our Adorable Miss Sterling sing solo, "Keep on Hoping." Yet again Cui Ai arise and speak Essay on Charity, this time in English. Yet again sit down, and Chinese girls sing chorus of "Charity."
Miss Powers make speechings of presentations and unto Cui Ai give Diploma of Excellency. All is finished.
Cui Ai's Eager Betrothed, also Beauteous Mother and Sisters and Brothers also much beauteous Flowers make arrival upon platform at same time. All is most merry and of good fortune, and our sorrow that Cui Ai is not to wait for the graduation of the class, is now turned to joyfulness.
Later, we go with Cui Ai to gaze upon her jewels and fine clothings. Her No. 1 Chest of red lacquer holds many garments of fine silk of soft warmth and richness. In the tray, numberless bracelets, hair-pins, brooches and other ornaments have place.
No. 2 Chest, also of red lacquer, contain clothing more ordinary and household linens most plenteous.
All the time Cui Ai showing Chests, not down in the mouth but having smilings.
By and by I say, "Why do you look happy, Cui Ai? Why do you not make cryings? It is our custom."
Cui Ai make response: "Because of our dear Miss Sterling. She say it is of uttermost foolishness to make marriage and cryings at same time. It is not the American way to so do. American lady make first marriage, no cryings, sometimes later make cryings, but not always. Also I have great and copious joys for in my house of littleness I am to live unto myself and husband alone, not with Able Mother-in-law."
We wonder at the manifold good fortune of Cui Ai. It is not to believe that she live not in house of Able Mother-in-law. I have much doubtings.
I return unto my room and will to compose Poem on - "What is House without Mother-in-law?" but Poem no come out. I am floored with completeness. Six bells ring but I go not. Again I make anointment of hair and cut out dinner. I find book of rhyme-words and choose this list - "Air-fare, Where-wear, Prayer-ensnare." At the once I become up to snuff and Poem come unto me of so great quickness I have double joyings: Firstly, that Poem is of everlastingness of length; lastly, that with my rhyme-book, I can now become on to the job of Genius. Poem take of time, three of hours; of moments, four. I give of name unto Poem:
"The Three Graces."
Long New Moons ago, Three Graces most fair,
Dwelt under one roof. And combing long hair,
Made wishes to ride in Red Wedding Chair,
Enwrapted in Red Veil; and Wedding Dress wear.
Most ancient was Faith, with belief that by prayer
A Husband would come, appearing in air.
Sun-time and Moon-time she'd pray, then declare:
"He'll be here tonight; our roof-tree to share."
Miss Hope was a Grace without any care,
Hoping a Husband to her would repair;
Her thinks troubled not. She hoped he'd be there,
But how he would come was not her affair.
Charity said: "Each our part we must bear,
If we are to Marry. Men quickly scare.
We must decide on the Time, Who and Where.
Get up and get busy; Each, Do and Dare."
Each Grace went her way a riding her mare.
Hope rode on Hopings. Miss Faith rode her Prayer.
Still they ride on and at Charity glare;
Her Wedding took place 'mid trumpetings blare.
The Moral is plain and not at all rare.
Just praying and hoping failed for that pair.
Be Up and Be Doing. Yourself never Tare,
If ever a Husband you wish to ensnare.
With the shining of the Sun while yet the Moon has not gone to sleep, we six Chinese girls of the graduating class to which Cui Ai once belonged and now belongs not, come unto her room to adorn her for her marriage.
We have friendly quarrellings over the red slippers of so great smallness, which she has made herself - as to who shall place them on her tiny feet - also we snatch at hair-pins and bracelets, to be No. 1 aid at dressings.
Cui Ai pays scanty heed to the admonitions which her paid attendant is all time speeching unto her, but is full of cheerfulness at which we have much marvelings. At last, attendant place red wedding-veil on head and we fasten many brooches upon red wedding-gown. Over the bride's small hands Bing Ding slips jade bracelets and all is in placement.
The Mistress of Ceremonies (Miss Powers) enters and taking Cui Ai by hand, leads her into garden; we follow at distance of most respectfulness. Down the path they walk, past the wonderful red chair all of one blossom, even the poles covered with vines and flowers, and up the Chapel steps.
Inside Chapel, Miss Powers lead Cui Ai to altar where wait Groom and Minister, while Miss Sterling all time play Wedding March of Honorable Mendelssohn.
Outside Chapel, Chinese band play and friends fire crackers with so great noisesomeness that we can but hear Minister's word like whisperings. Whisperings cease, and Bride and Groom make proceedings down aisle side by side; Miss Powers at back, while Miss Sterling play Wedding March from Honorable Lohengrin.
Chinese crackers increase in noisesomeness. Groom puts Bride in her chair of beauty and takes his own chair of plainness behind her.
The Wedding Procession proceeds. At head comes Bride with her red lacquer Chests, Boxes, Bathtubs and Household utensils, each borne on poles by Coolies. Following these are hanging shelves, one upon the other, all suspended by poles carried by four bearers, each shelf containing some sweet or cakes. The lantern bearers with lanterns of uttermost gorgeousness come next, then follow the Groom's chair and his men friends. Also many pyramids of beauteous flowers. Of a truth Cui Ai's Procession of Marriage is most magnificent.
To the house of newness and littleness all in the Procession march on, but we go not until the evening of the sixth day.
When Procession make arrival at house of Groom, men friends enter in and servants at the once begin to pass foods. Upon each tray must friends place coins wrapped in red paper, for this is a custom that all men must observe.
All evening must Bride and Groom entertain guests; this time Cui Ai make introduction of so great foreign entertainments men cannot to make fun of poor, little Bride as before.
After I look see Marriage Procession I return unto my room and try to compose Poem of Wedding, but no Poem come out. One hour - Two hour - Three hour - then I crawl into my Mieng, a blooming idiot, for unto me has Poem given the go-by.
Three days later Cui Ai make return unto College. With her comes her husband of newness; to them our Honored President give of feast. All graduating Class present. Cui Ai possess looks of happiness; husband possess looks of uncomfortableness. American friend of Miss Sterling say, "Gloomy Gus!" Miss Sterling laugh and say, "Oh, no, just too many ladies present." I think I care not for Gloomy Gus husband; too much troubles.
At feast I partake little of eats. At the once I get a move on and safe within my room make yet again anointments of hair that I may to compose Poem. Time, two of hours. One of moments.
As a Genius! am but a jest,
As a Poet, not one of the best,
For from North, South, the East and the West,
All agree that they wish would rest.
Tonight have I become a Genius-Poet for finality, for tomorrow we graduate. Therefore will all Friendly Ones in reading of these pages have rememberings of that of which I before make statement - "That the business of Genius has been thrust upon me, who have no Ancestors of Geniuses - no Longevity of Hair - no Biliousness of Character" - and excusings give unto me, a made - alas - not birthed GENIUS.
Here Conclude the End With Much Gaining of English. That Class Book Be Birthed Into Complete Completeness We Give of Thanks, Through Ai Lang Our Unworthy Artist and Bing Ding Our Also Unworthy Biographer, Unto Paul, The Elder and His Company of Honorables. Second Thankings Unto Herman A. Funke Who, During the Seveneth Moon (August) of the Year in America, 1916, Conduct Book Through Press - Tomoye - Which is Situate in City of San Francisco
"All Is Of Great Stillness And Peace"