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SHIKIBU, Murasaki

The Tale of Genji

An attendant came up, bowing deeply. "The white flowers far off yonder are known as 'evening faces," he said. "A very human sort of name--and what a shabby place they have picked to bloom in."

It was as the man said. The neighborhood was a poor one, chiefly of small houses. Some were leaning precariously, and there were "evening faces" at the sagging eaves.

A hapless sort of flower. Pick one off for me, will you?"

The man went inside the raised gate and broke off a flower. A pretty little girl in long, unlined yellow trousers of raw silk came out through a sliding door that seemed too good for the surroundings. Beckoning to the man, she handed him a heavily scented white fan.

Put it on this. It isn't much of a fan, but then it isn't much of a flower either.