A romance, set in turn-of-the-centur Japan.
ing with shaking fingers at the sliding walls. She peered at first into Umè's room for there, indeed, lay the core of old Mata's heart. A slender figure on the floor stirred slightly and a sound of soft breathing filled the silence. All was well in Umè's room. She knocked then on Kano's fusuma. There was no response. Cautiously she parted them, and met an incoming flood of morning light. The walls were opened. Through the small square pillars of the veranda she could see, as in a frame, old Kano standing in the garden beside the fish-pond. Even as she gazed, incredulous at her own stupidity in sleeping so late, the temple bell above boomed out six slow strokes. Six! Such a thing had never been known. Well, she must be growing old and worthless. She had better fill her sleeve with pebbles and cast herself into the nearest stream. She hurried back, a tempestuous protest in every step.
"Miss Umè,--Umè-ko!" she called. "Ma-a-a! What has come to us both? The Danna San walks about
2013 SFR GALAXY AWARD WINNER
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