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“I have lived too long. Life has a way of becoming more stubborn the more you hate it. I find it hard toforgive my older lady for leaving me behind, and though I know it is wrong of me I am resentful of the wholewide world.” *She was becoming querulous, pouring forth the complaints as they came to her; but his efforts to comfort herwere on the whole successful. Her hair still had traces of its youthful beauty, and her forehead, now shorn,seemed younger than before, and even somewhat distinguished. Overcome with longing for Oigimi, he askedwhy she could not have stayed with him even thus, as a nun. He might at least have had the comfort of quiet,leisurely conversation. Though the old woman was an improbable object for envy, he was somehow enviousof her. He pulled her curtain slightly aside, that she might seem a little nearer. She really was very old, and yether speech and manner aroused little of the revulsion one expects from advanced age. She must once havebeen a woman of considerable beauty.Her face was contorted with sorrow.“Tears came first. I should have flung myself intoA stream of tears that would not have left me behind.”“But that, of course, would have made the sin graver,” said Kaoru. “People do sometimes reach the far shore,I suppose, but everything considered I doubt that you would have succeeded. We would not want to have lostyou in midstream. No, you must remind yourself how empty and useless it all is.“Deep though one plunges into the river of tears,One comes upon occasional snags of remembrance.“When, I wonder, and where will there be relief?” But he knew the answer: never and nowhere.He did not want to leave, though it was evening. But an unscheduled night's lodging might arouse suspicions.Presently he set out for the city.6She told the other women of his remarks, and her own grief was beyond consoling. She found them engrossedin preparations for their departure, oblivious to the incongruity their twisted old figures emphasized; and hernun's robes seemed drabber for all the happy confusion.“And there they are, so busy getting ready,The Tale of Genji5643
And wet are the sleeves of the solitary fishwife.”Nakanokimi answered:“Is it drier, my sleeve, than the brine-wet sleeve of the fishwife?Sodden it is, from the waves upon which it floats.*“I do not expect to take to this new life. I may well be back after I have given it a try, and so I do not reallyfeel that I am going away. We will meet again. But I do not like the thought of leaving you here by yourselffor even a little while. Nuns do not have to cut themselves off completely, you know. Do as all of themdo—come and see me occasionally.”Affection welled up as she spoke. She had arranged to leave behind such of her sister's combs and brushes asshe thought a nun could use.