MADAME BUTTERFLY


VI

DIVINE FOOLERY

IF Pinkerton had told her to go home, even though she had no home to go to, she would have been divorced without more ado.  Perhaps she was logical (for she reasoned as he had taught her -- she had never reasoned before) in considering that as he had distinctly told her not to do so, it was an additional surety for his return.

Cho-Cho-San again took up the happier side of the matter.  The baby was asleep.

"An' also, what you thing we bedder doing when he come?"

She was less forcible now, because less certain.  This required planning to get the utmost felicity out of it -- what she always strove for.

"Me? -- I thing I -- dunno," the maid confessed diplomatically.

"Aha, ha, ha!  You dunno?  Of course you dunno whichever!  Well -- I go'n' tell you."  The plan had been born and matured that instant in her active little brain.  "Jus' recomleck 't is a secret among you an' me.  We don' tell that Mr. Trouble.  Hoash!  He don' kin keep no secret.  Well, listen!  We go'n' watch with that spying-glass till his ship git in.  Then we go'n' put cherry-blossoms aeverywhere; an' if 't is night, we go'n' hang up 'bout' 'mos' one thousan' lanterns -- 'bout 'mos' one thousan'!  Then we -- wait.  Jus' when we see him coming up that hill -- so -- so -- so -- so," -- she lifted her kimono, and strode masculinely about the apartment, -- "then!  We hide behine the shoji, where there are holes to peep."  She glanced about to find them. "Alas! they all mended shut!  But" -- she savagely ran her finger through the paper "we soon make some, aha, ha, ha!  So!"  She made another for the maid.  They illustrated this phase of her mood with their eyes at the holes.  "Then we lie quiet lig mice, an' make believe we gone 'way.  Better n't we leave liddle note: 'Gone 'way foraever.  Sayonara, Butterfly'?  No; tha' 's too long for him.  He git angery those ways on the first word, an' say those remark 'bout debbil, an' hell, an' all kind loud languages.  Tha' 's time, bifore he gitting too angery, to rush out, an' jump all roun' his neck, aha!"  This was also illustrated.

But, alas! the maid was too realistic.

"Sa-ay!  not you -- jump roun' his neck -- jus' me."

Cho-Cho-San paused ecstatically.  But the maid would not have it so.  She had seen them practise such divine foolery, -- very like too reckless children, -- but never had she seen anything with such dramatic promise as this.

"Oh! an' what he say then," she begged, with wild interest, "an' what he do?"

Madame Butterfly was reenergized by the maid's applause.

"Ah-h-h!" she sighed.  "He don' say -- jus' he kiss us, oh, 'bout three -- seven -- ten -- a thousan' time!  An' amberace us two thousan' time 'bout 'mos' -- tha' 's what he do -- till we got make him stop, aha, ha, ha! account he might -- might -- kill us!  Tha' 's ver' bad -- to be kill kissing."

Her extravagant mood infected the maid.  She had long ago begun to wonder whether, after all, this American passion of affection was altogether despicable.  She remembered that her mistress had begun by regarding it thus; yet now she was the most daringly happy woman in Japan.

"Say more," the maid pleaded.

Cho-Cho-San had a fine fancy, and the nesting of the robins could not, at the longest, be much longer delayed now; she let it riot.

"Well," -- she was making it up as she went, -- "when tha' 's all done, he loog roun' those ways lig he doing 'mos' always, an' he see sump'n', an' he say: 'Oh, 'el-lo -- el-lo!  Where you got that chile?'  I say: 'Ah -- oh -- ah!  I thing mebby you lig own one, an' I buy 'm of a man what di'n' wan' no bebby with those purple eye an' bald hairs.'  And he as' me, 'What you pay?'  Americans always as' what you pay.  I say: 'Oh, lemme see.  I thing, two yen an' two sen.  Tha' 's too moach for bald bebby ?'  What you thing?  But tha' 's a time he saying: 'I bed you tha' 's a liar; an' you fooling among me.'  Then he gitting angery, an' I hurry an' say, one las' time, 'Tha' 's right.  I tole you liddle lie for a fun.  I di'n' pay nawthing for him, aexcep' -- sa-ay! --   Then I whisper a thing inside his ear, -- jus' a liddle thing, -- an' he see!  Aha, ha, ha!  Then he say once more, las' time, -- ah, what you thing, Suzuki?"

But the girl would not diminish her pleasure by guessing.

"'Godamighty!'  Aha, ha, ha!"

"Tha' 's all things you know?" questioned the maid, reproachfully, "an' all things you do?"

She had a right to feel that she had been defrauded out of a proper denouement.

"Ah-h-h-h!  What would you have that is more?  Jus' joy an' glory foraevermore!  Tha' 's 'nough.  W hat you thing?  You know that song?

    "'T is life when we meet,
       'T is death when we part."

Her mistress had grown plaintive in those two lines.

" I hear him sing that," murmured the maid, comfortingly.

Her spirits vaulted up again.

"But ah! You aever hear him sing -- ? "

She snatched up the samisen again, and to its accompaniment sang, in the pretty jargon he had taught her (making it as grotesque as possible, the more to amuse him):

      "I call her the belle of Japan -- of Japan;
         Her name it is O Cho-Cho-San -- Cho-Cho-San;
         Such tenderness lies in her soft almond eyes,
         I tell you she 's just ichi ban."

"Tha' 's me -- aha, ha, ha!  Sa-ay -- you thing he aever going away again when he got that liddle chile, an' the samisen, an' the songs, an' all the joy, an' -- an' me?"  And another richly joyous laugh.

" Oh, you an' the samisen an' joy -- poof!" said the maid. "But the chile -- tha' 's 'nother kind thing.  Aexcep' he grow up, an' go 'way after his father?"

She was odiously unsatisfied.  She would leave nothing to fate -- to heaven -- Shaka.  But out of her joyous future her mistress satisfied even this grisly doubt.

"Ah-h-h!  But we go'n' have more -- lig steps of a ladder, up, up, up!  An' all purple eyes -- oh, aevery one!  An' all males!  Then, if one go 'way, we got 'nother an' 'nother an' 'nother.  Then, how kin he, that Mr. B.F. Pikkerton, aever go 'way?  Aha!"

" Yaet, O Cho-Cho-San, if you -- "

Was this a new doubt?  It will never be known.

" Stop!  Tha' 's 'nother thing.  You got call me O Cho-Cho-San, an' Missus Ben-ja-meen Frang-a-leen Pikkerton.  Sa-ay; you notize how that soun' gran' when my hosban' speaking it that aways?  Yaes!  'Mos' lig I was a emperess.  Listen!  I tell you 'nother thing, which is 'nother secret among you an' me jus': I thing it is more nize to be call that away -- jus' Missus Ben-ja-meen Frang-a-leen Pikkerton -- than Heaven-Descended-Female-Ruler-Everlasting-Great-Japan, aha!  Sa-ay; how I loog if I an emperess?  What you thing?"

She imitated the pose and expression of her empress very well.

"If your face liddle longer you loog ezag' lig," said the maid.

But her mistress was inclined to be more modest.

"Ah, no.  But I tell you who loog lig a' emperor -- jus' ezag' -- that Mr. B.F. Pikkerton, when he got that unicorn upon him, with gole all up in front an' down behine!"

And at this gentle treason there was no protest from the patriotic maid.


Chapter 7

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