Page:Kwaidan; Stories and Studies of Strange Things - Hearn - 1904.djvu/157

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care to live unless Aoyagi be restored to me. Besides, if the death-sentence be passed, I can at least try to kill Hosokawa." He slipped his swords into his girdle, and hastened to the palace.

On entering the presence-room he saw the Lord Hosokawa seated upon the daïs, surrounded by samurai of high rank, in caps and robes of ceremony. All were silent as statues and while Tomotada advanced to make obeisance, the hush seemed to him sinister and heavy, like the stillness before a storm. But Hosokawa suddenly descended from the daïs, and, taking the youth by the arm, began to repeat the words of the poem:—" Kōshi ō-son gojin wo ou." … And Tomotada, looking up, saw kindly tears in the prince's eyes.

Then said Hosokawa:—

" Because you love each other so much, I have taken it upon myself to authorize your marriage, in lieu of my kinsman, the Lord of Noto; and your wedding shall now be celebrated before me. The guests are assembled;—the gifts are ready."

At a signal from the lord, the sliding-screens concealing a further apartment were pushed open; and Tomotada saw there many dignitaries of the court, assembled for the ceremony, and Aoyagi awaiting him in bride's