V

Poor Pang Noo did bis inspection work with a heavy heart as time wore on, and the personal object of his search was not attained. In the course of his travels be finally came to bis uncle, the magistrate who had dismissed the Cho family. The uncle welcomed his popular nephew right warmly, but questioned him much as to the cause of his poor health and haggard looks, which so ill-became a man of his youth and prospects. At last the kind old man secured the secret with its whole story, and then it was his turn to be Bad, for bad be not just sent away the very person the Ussa so much desired to see?

When Pang learned this bis malady increased, and be declared he could do no more active service till this matter was cleared up. Consequently be sent a despatch to court begging to be released, as be was in such poor health be could not properly discharge his arduous duties longer. His request was granted, and he journeyed to Seoul, hoping to find some trace of her who more and more seemed to absorb his every thought and ambition.

VI

In the meantime the banished family, heartsick and travel-worn, bad settled temporarily in a distant hamlet, where the worn and discouraged parents were taken sick. Uhn Hah did all she could for them, but in spite of care and attention, in spite of prayers and tears, they passed on to join their ancestors. The poor girl beat her breast and tore her hair in an agony of despair. Alone in a strange country, with no money and no one to shield and support her, it seemed that she too must, perforce, give up. But her old nurse urged her to cheer up, and suggested their donning male attire, in which disguise they could safely journey to another place unmolested.

The idea seemed a good one, and it was adopted. They allowed their hair to fall down the back in a long braid, after the fashion of the unmarried men, and, putting on men's clothes, they had no trouble in passing unnoticed along the roads. After having gone but a short distance they found themselves near the capital of the province - the home of the Governor. While sitting under some trees by the roadside the Governor's procession passed by. The couple arose respectfully, but the Governor (it was Pang Noo's father), espying the peculiar feather fan, ordered one of the runners to seize the women and bring them along. It was done; and when they were arrived at the official yamen, he questioned the supposed man as to where he had secured that peculiar fan. "It is a family relic," replied Uhn Hah, to the intense amazement of the Governor, who pronounced the statement false, as the fan was a peculiar feature in his own family, and must be one that had descended from his own ancestors and been found or stolen by the present possessor.

However, the Governor offered to pay a good round sum for the fan. But Uhn Hah declared she would die rather than part with it, and the two women in disguise were locked up in prison. A man of clever speech was sent to interview them, and he offered them a considerable sum for the fan, which the servant urged Uhn Hah to take, as they were sadly in want. After the man had departed in disgust, however, the girl upbraided her old nurse roundly for forsaking her in her time of trial. "My parents are dead," she said. "All I have to represent my husband is this fan that I carry in my bosom. Would you rob me of this? Never speak so again if you wish to retain my love"; and, weeping, she fell into the seivant's arms, where, exhausted and overwrought nature as serting itself, sleep closed her eyes.

While sleeping she dreamed of a wonderful palace on high, where she saw a company of women, who pointed her to the blood-red reeds that lined the river bank below, explaining that their tears had turned to blood during their long search for their lovers, and dropping on the reeds they were dyed blood-red. One of them prophesied, however, that Uhn Hah was to be given superhuman strength and powers, and that she would soon succeed in finding her lover, who was now a high official, and so true to her that he was sick because he could not find her. She awakened far more refreshed by the dream than by the nap, and was soon delighted by being dismissed. The Governor's steward took pity on the handsome "boy," and gave him a parting gift of wine and food to cany with them, as well as some cash to help them on, and, bidding him good-by, the women announced their intention of travelling to a distant province.