On the Feng Yao bridge， Hsiao Hung makes known sentimental matters in equivocal language. In the Hsiao Hsiang lodge， Tai-yue gives， while under the effects of the spring lassitude， expression to her secret feelings.
After thirty days' careful nursing， Pao-yue， we will now notice， not only got strong and hale in body， but the scars even on his face completely healed up； so he was able to shift his quarters again into the garden of Broad Vista.
But we will banish this topic as it does not deserve any additional explanations. Let us now turn our attention elsewhere. During the time that Pao-yue was of late laid up in bed， Chia Yuen along with the young pages of the household sat up on watch to keep an eye over him， and both day and night， they tarried on this side of the mansion. But Hsiao Hung as well as all the other waiting-maids remained in the same part to nurse Pao-yue， so （Chia Yuen） and she saw a good deal of each other on several occasions， and gradually an intimacy sprung up between them.
Hsiao Hung observed that Chia Yuen held in his hand a handkerchief very much like the one she herself had dropped some time ago and was bent upon asking him for it， but she did， on the other hand， not think she could do so with propriety. The unexpected visit of the bonze and Taoist priest rendered， however， superfluous the services of the various male attendants， and Chia-yuen had therefore to go again and oversee the men planting the trees. Now she had a mind to drop the whole question， but she could not reconcile herself to it； and now she longed to go and ask him about it， but fears rose in her mind lest people should entertain any suspicions as to the relations that existed between them. But just as she faltered， quite irresolute， and her heart was thoroughly unsettled， she unawares heard some one outside inquire： "Sister， are you in the room or not？"
Hsiao Hung， upon catching this question， looked out through a hole in the window； and perceiving at a glance that it was no one else than a young servant-girl， attached to the same court as herself， Chia Hui by name， she consequently said by way of reply： "Yes， I am； come in！"
When these words reached her ear， Chia Hui ran in， and taking at once a seat on the bed， she observed with a smile： "How lucky I've been！ I was a little time back in the court washing a few things， when Pao-yue cried out that some tea should be sent over to Miss Lin， and sister Hua handed it to me to go on the errand. By a strange coincidence our old lady had presented some money to Miss Lin and she was engaged at the moment in distributing it among their servant-girls. As soon therefore as she saw me get there， Miss Lin forthwith grasped two handfuls of cash and gave them to me； how many there are I don't know， but do keep them for me！"
Speedily then opening her handkerchief， she emptied the cash. Hsiao Hung counted them for her by fives and tens at a time. She was beginning to put them away， when Chia Hui remarked： "How are you， after all， feeling of late in your mind？ I'll tell you what； you should really go and stay at home for a couple of days. And were you to ask a doctor round and to have a few doses of medicine you'll get all right at once！"
"What are you talking about？" Hsiao Hung replied. "What shall I go home for， when there's neither rhyme nor reason for it！"
"Miss Lin， I remember， is naturally of a weak physique， and has constantly to take medicines，" Chia Hui added， "so were you to ask her for some and bring them over and take them， it would come to the same thing."
"Nonsense！" rejoined Hsiao Hung， "are medicines also to be recklessly taken ？"
"You can't so on for ever like this，" continued Chia Hui； "you're besides loth to eat and loth to drink， and what will you be like in the long run？"
"What's there to fear？" observed Hsiao Hung； "won't it anyhow be better to die a little earlier？ It would be a riddance！"
"Why do you deliberately come out with all this talk？" Chia Hui demurred.
"How could you ever know anything of the secrets of my heart？" Hsiao Hung inquired.
Chia Hui nodded her head and gave way to reflection. "I don't think it strange on your part，" she said after a time； "for it is really difficult to abide in this place！ Yesterday， for instance， our dowager lady remarked that the servants in attendance had had， during all the days that Pao-yue was ill， a good deal to put up with， and that now that he has recovered， incense should be burnt everywhere， and the vows fulfilled； and she expressed a wish that those in his service should， one and all， be rewarded according to their grade. I and several others can be safely looked upon as young in years， and unworthy to presume so high； so I don't feel in any way aggrieved； but how is it that one like you couldn't be included in the number？ My heart is much annoyed at it！ Had there been any fear that Hsi Jen would have got ten times more， I could not even then have felt sore against her， for she really deserves it！ I'll just tell you an honest truth； who else is there like her？ Not to speak of the diligence and carefulness she has displayed all along， even had she not been so diligent and careful， she couldn't have been set aside！ But what is provoking is that that lot， like Ch'ing Wen and Ch'i Hsia， should have been included in the upper class. Yet it's because every one places such reliance on the fine reputation of their father and mother that they exalt them. Now， do tell me， is this sufficient to anger one or not？"