By Lee Langley
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Extra resources for Butterfly's Shadow
Not with the Italian family, but in a silk-reeling factory on the outskirts of town. She was grateful to Sharpless-san: his mention of the Italians had been of help to her. This was an excellent opportunity; she was grateful to Cho-Cho-san for drawing her attention . . And so forth. Then, a hesitation; a diffidence: it would be a great kindness if Cho-Cho-san were to permit Suzuki to occupy her usual sleeping space at the back of the house – for a while. ’ And so forth. Cho-Cho knew what her maid was really saying and Suzuki knew that she knew.
She waved a small white hand at the wall. The scroll was one she treasured, it had belonged to her father and she had removed it from its crimson box and hung it in the small alcove at the centre of the wall, the tokonoma, the place of honour reserved for a precious object. ’ Pinkerton stared at the scroll, bemused; a few scribbled lines, dark grey on white, plus one red mark. ‘Oh. Right. ’ In his view the scroll didn’t exactly light up the place; he thought the room still looked bleak. And there was the matter of what they put into their mouths.
They went ashore next morning, early, in a sampan that set them down on the waterfront. The encircling hill was steep, in some places too steep for houses. Here and there it had been terraced for gardens that looked no bigger than a handkerchief and Pinkerton could see tiny figures bent low over whatever modest crop they were tending. When they stood upright, with their shallow straw hats and thin bodies, the figures looked like mushrooms growing in the green patches. On shore Pinkerton and Eddie elbowed their way through rickshaw men calling out, plucking at the sailors’ sleeves.