Haru was brought up, chiefly at home, in that old-fashioned way which produced one of the sweetest types of woman the world has ever seen. This domestic education cultivated simplicity of heart, natural grace of manner, obedience, and love of duty as they were never cultivated but in Japan. Its moral product was something too gentle and beautiful for any other than the old Japanese society: it was not the most judicious preparation for the much harsher life of the new, - in which it still survives. The refined girl was trained for the condition of being theoretically at the mercy of her husband. She was taught never to show jealousy, or grief, or anger, - even under circumstances compelling all three; she was expected to conquer the faults of her lord by pure sweetness. In short, she was required to be almost superhuman, - to realize, at least in outward seeming, the ideal of perfect unselfishness. And this she could do with a husband of her own rank, delicate in discernment, - able to divine her feelings, and never to wound them.

Haru came of a much better family than her husband; and she was a little too good for him, because he could not really understand her. They had been married very young, had been poor at first, and then had gradually become well-off, because Haru's husband was a clever man of business. Sometimes she thought he had loved her most when they were less well off; and a woman is seldom mistaken about such matters.

She still made all his clothes; and he commended her needle-work. She waited upon his wants, aided him to dress and undress, made everything comfortable for him in their pretty home; bade him a charming farewell as he went to business in the morning, and welcomed him upon his return; received his friends exquisitely; managed his household matters with wonderful economy, and seldom asked any favors that cost money. Indeed she scarcely needed such favors; for he was never ungenerous, and liked to see her daintily dressed, - looking like some beautiful silver moth robed in the folding of its own wings, - and to take her to theatres and other places of amusement. She accompanied him to pleasure-resorts famed for the blossoming of cherry-trees in spring, or the shimmering of fireflies on summer nights, or the crimsoning of maples in autumn. And sometimes they would pass a day together at Maiko, by the sea, where the pines seem to sway like dancing girls; or an afternoon at Kiyomidzu, in the old, old summer-house, where everything is like a dream of five hundred years ago, - and where there is a great shadowing of high woods, and a song of water leaping cold and clear from caverns, and always the plaint of flutes unseen, blown softly in the antique way, - a tone-caress of peace and sadness blending, just as the gold light glooms into blue over a dying sun.

Except for such small pleasures and excursions, Haru went out seldom. Her only living relatives, and also those of her husband, were far away in other provinces, and she had few visits to make. She liked to be at home, arranging flowers for the alcoves or for the gods, decorating the rooms, and feeding the tame gold-fish of the garden-pond, which would lift up their heads when they saw her coming.

No child had yet brought new joy or sorrow into her life. She looked, in spite of her wife's coiffure, like a very young girl; and she was still simple as a child, - notwithstanding that business capacity in small things which her husband so admired that he often condescended to ask her counsel in big things. Perhaps the heart then judged for him better than the pretty head; but, whether intuitive or not, her advice never proved wrong. She was happy enough with him for five years, - during which time he showed himself as considerate as any young Japanese merchant could well be towards a wife of finer character than his own.

Then his manner suddenly became cold, - so suddenly that she felt assured the reason was not that which a childless wife might have reason to fear. Unable to discover the real cause, she tried to persuade herself that she had been remiss in her duties; examined her innocent conscience to no purpose; and tried very, very hard to please. But he remained unmoved. He spoke no unkind words, - though she felt behind his silence the repressed tendency to utter them. A Japanese of the better class is not very apt to be unkind to his wife in words. It is thought to be vulgar and brutal. The educated man of normal disposition will even answer a wife's reproaches with gentle phrases. Common politeness, by the Japanese code, exacts this attitude from every manly man; moreover, it is the only safe one. A refined and sensitive woman will not long submit to coarse treatment; a spirited one may even kill herself because of something said in a moment of passion, and such a suicide disgraces the husband for the rest of his life. But there are slow cruelties worse than words, and safer, - neglect or indifference, for example, of a sort to arouse jealousy. A Japanese wife has indeed been trained never to show jealousy; but the feeling is older than all training, - old as love, and likely to live as long. Beneath her passionless mask the Japanese wife feels like her Western sister, - just like that sister who prays and prays, even while delighting some evening assembly of beauty and fashion, for the coming of the hour which will set her free to relieve her pain alone.

Haru had cause for jealousy; but she was too much of a child to guess the cause at once; and her servants too fond of her to suggest it. Her husband had been accustomed to pass his evenings in her company, either at home or elsewhere. But now, evening after evening, he went out by himself. The first time he had given her some business pretexts; afterwards he gave none, and did not even tell her when he expected to return. Latterly, also, he had been treating her with silent rudeness. He had become changed, - "as if there was a goblin in his heart,"-the servants said. As a matter of fact he had been deftly caught in a snare set for him. One whisper from a geisha had numbed, his will; one smile blinded his eyes. She was far less pretty than his wife; but she was very skillful in the craft of spinning webs, - webs of sensual delusion which entangle weak men; and always tighten more and more about them until the final hour of mockery and ruin. Haru did not know. She suspected no wrong till after her husband's strange conduct had become habitual, - and even then only because she found that his money was passing into unknown hands. He had never told her where he passed his evenings. And she was afraid to ask, lest he should think her jealous. Instead of exposing her feelings in words, she treated him with such sweetness that a more intelligent husband would have divined all. But, except in business, he was dull. He continued to pass his evenings away; and as his conscience grew feebler, his absences lengthened. Haru had been taught that a good wife should always sit up and wait for her lord's return at night; and by so doing she suffered from nervousness, and from the feverish conditions, that follow sleeplessness, and from the lonesomeness of her waiting after the servants, kindly dismissed at the usual hour, had left her with her thoughts. Once only, returning very late, her husband said to her: "I am sorry you should have sat up so late for me; do not wait like that again!" Then, fearing he might really have been pained on her account, she laughed pleasantly, and said: "I was not sleepy, and I am not tired; honorably please not to think about me." So he ceased to think about her, - glad to take her at her word; and not long after that he stayed away for one whole night. The next night he did likewise, and a third night. After that third night's absence he failed even to return for the morning meal; and Haru knew the time had come when her duty as a wife obliged her to speak.

She waited through all the morning hours, fearing for him, fearing for herself also; conscious at last of the wrong by which a woman's heart can be most deeply wounded. Her faithful servants had told her something; the rest she could guess. She was very ill, and did not know it. She knew only that she was angry - selfishly angry, because of the pain given her, cruel, probing, sickening pain. Midday came as she sat thinking how she could say least selfishly what it was now her duty to say, - the first words of reproach that would ever have passed her lips. Then her heart leaped with a shock that made everything blur and swim before her sight in a whirl of dizziness, - because there was a sound of kuruma-wheels and the voice of a servant calling: " Honorable-return-is!"

She struggled to the entrance to meet him, all her slender body a-tremble with fever and pain, and terror of betraying that pain. And the man was startled, because instead of greeting him with the accustomed smile, she caught the bosom of his silk robe in one quivering little hand, - and looked into his face with eyes that seemed to search for some shred of a soul, - and tried to speak, but could utter only the single word, "Anata(1)?" Almost in the same moment her weak grasp loosened, her eyes closed with a strange smile; and even before he could put out his arms to support her, she fell. He sought to lift her. But something in the delicate life had snapped. She was dead.

There were astonishments, of course, and tears, and useless callings of her name, and much running for doctors. But she lay white and still and beautiful, all the pain and anger gone out of her face, and smiling as on her bridal day.

Two physicians came from the public hospital, - Japanese military surgeons. They asked straight hard questions, - questions that cut open the self of the man down to the core. Then they told him truth cold and sharp as edged steel, - and left him with his dead.

The people wondered he did not become a priest, - fair evidence that his conscience had been awakened. By day he sits among his bales of Kyoto silks and Osaka figured goods, - earnest and silent. His clerks think him a good master; he never speaks harshly. Often he works far into the night; and he has changed his dwelling-place. There are strangers in the pretty house where Haru lived; and the owner never visits it. Perhaps because he might see there one slender shadow, still arranging flowers, or bending with iris-grace above the goldfish in his pond. But wherever he rest, sometime in the silent hours he must see the same soundless presence near his pillow, - sewing, smoothing, softly seeming to make beautiful the robes he once put on only to betray. And at other times - in the busiest moments of his busy life - the clamor of the great shop dies; the ideographs of his ledger dim and vanish; and a plaintive little voice, which the gods refuse to silence, utters into the solitude of his heart, like a question, the single word, - " Anata?" (1) "Thou?"