Translated by H. Bencraft Joly
smaller than a water-jar. The spouse of the marquis of Chin Hsiang comes next, with no more than twenty catties a day. Besides these, there are several other families; some giving ten catties; some eight catties; some three; some five; subject to no fixed rule; and of course I feel bound to keep the lanterns alight on their behalf."
Dowager lady Chia nodded her head and gave way to reflection.
"There's still another thing," continued the Taoist matron, Ma. "If it be on account of father or mother or seniors, any excessive donation would not matter. But were you, venerable ancestor, to bestow too much in your offering for Pao-yü, our young master won't, I fear, be equal to the gift; and instead of being benefited, his happiness will be snapped. If you therefore want to make a liberal gift seven catties will do; if a small one, then five catties will even be sufficient."
"Well, in that case," responded dowager lady Chia, "let us fix upon five catties a day, and every month come and receive payment of t