“The Hsüeh family have plenty of money, so that if your Worship

“The Hsüeh family have plenty of money, so that if your Worship adjudicates that they should pay five hundred,

they can afford it, or one thousand will also be within their means; and this sum can be handed to the Feng family to meet the outlay of burning incense and burial expenses. The Feng family are, besides, people of not much consequence,

and (the fuss made by them) being simply for money, they too will, when they have got the cash in hand,

have nothing more to say. But may it please your worship to consider carefully this plan and see what you think of it?”

“It isn’t a safe course! It isn’t a safe course!” Yü-ts’un observed as he smiled. “Let me further think and deliberate; and possibly by succeeding in suppressing public criticism, the matter might also be settled.”

These two closed their consultation by a fixed determination, and the next day, when he sat in judgment, he marked off a whole company of the plaintiffs as well as of the accused,

as were mentioned by name, and had them brought before him. Yü-ts’un examined them with additional minuteness, and discovered in point of fact, that the inmates of the Feng family were extremely few,

that they merely relied upon this charge with the idea of obtaining some compensation for joss-sticks and burials; and that the Hsüeh family,

presuming on their prestige and confident of patronage, had been obstinate in the refusal to make any mutual concession,

with the result that confusion had supervened, and that no decision had been arrived at.

Following readily the bent of his feelings, Yü-ts’un disregarded the laws,

and adjudicated this suit in a random way;

and as the Feng family came in for a considerable sum,

with which to meet the expense for incense and the funeral, they had, after all,

not very much to say (in the way of objections.)


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