25. The many petals which fell overnight from his prize chrysanthemums – He discovers in the morning to be lying in mounds which suggest The characters for We Crave Your New Wife’s Somewhat Exquisite
Equivalent. By the next year, of course, these flowers are nowhere in sight.
26. An Apology for Not Visiting ‘I did indeed approach your remote retreat to visit you; There where, as you said in your letter, ‘The plum-tree is my wife.’ But, on observing as I drew near that the phrase was, evidently, no mere metaphor, I decided that the most prudent course open to me was to remove myself at once.’
27. From a Letter of Condolence ‘Dear Sir, please accept these apologies for what must have seemed an unforgivably thoughtless remark. The esteemed, sublime and able letter which you wrote to me recently about your late wife Contained that modern tag which, I now learn, can mean either ‘old,
dried fish’ or ‘a sunlit cemetery’. Oh, my friend! Never have I more regretted my lamentably uncertain touch with current linguistic nuance!’
28. The scholar has been unable to continue his work this morning On The Fundamental Maturity of Most Chinese Poetry Because his wife has just beaten him senseless with the heavy manuscript – Although, in fairness to her be it said, she did at least glance through it first.
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