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The Crab-Flower Club

The Story of the Stone, Chapters 27-53

Story of the Stone

Cao Xueqin - Author

David Hawkes - Translator

David Hawkes - Introduction by

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ISBN 9780140443264 | 608 pages | 29 Sep 1977 | Penguin Classics | 5.07 x 7.79in | 18 - AND UP
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The Story of the Stone (c. 1760), also known by the title of The Dream of the Red Chamber, is the great novel of manners in Chinese literature.

Divided into five volumes, of which The Crab-Flower Club is the second, it charts the glory and decline of the illustrious Jia family (a story which closely accords with the fortunes of the author’s own family). The two main characters, Bao-yu and Dai-yu, are set against a rich tapestry of humour, realistic detail and delicate poetry, which accurately reflects the ritualized hurly-burly of Chinese family life. But over and above the novel hangs the constant reminder that there is another plane of existence – a theme which affirms the Buddhist belief in a supernatural scheme of things.

Note on Spelling
Preface

Chapter 27
Beauty Perspiring sports with butterflies by the Raindrop Pavilion; And Beauty Suspiring weeps for fallen blossoms by the Flowers' Grave

Chapter 28
A Crimson cummerbund becomes a pledge of friendship; And a chaplet of medicine-beads becomes a source of embarassment

Chapter 29
In which the greatly blessed pray for yet greater blessings; And the highly strung rise to new heights of passion

Chapter 30
Bao-Chai speaks of a fan and castigates her deriders; Charmante scratches a 'qiang' and mystifies a beholder

Chapter 31
A torn fan is the price of silver laughter; And a lost kylin is the clue to a happy marriage

Chapter 32
Bao-yu demonstrates confusion of mind by his declaration to the wrong person; And Golden shows an unconquerable spirit by ending her humiliation in death

Chapter 33
An envious younger brother puts in a malicious word or two; And a scapegrace elder brother recieves a terrible chatisement

Chapter 34
A wordless message meets with silent understanding; And a groundless imputation leads to undeserved rebukes

Chapter 35
Sulky Silver tastes some lotus-leaf soup; And Golden Oriole knots a flower-patterned fringe

Chapter 36
Bao-chai visits Green Delights and bears strange words from a sleeper; And Bao-yu visits Pear-tree Court and learns hard facts from a performer

Chapter 37
A happy inspiration prompts Tan-chun to found the Crab-flower Club; And an ingenious arrangment enables Bao-chai to settle the chysanthemum poem titles

Chapter 38
River Queen triumphs in her treatment of chysanthemum themes; And Lady Allspice is satirical on the subject of crabs
An inventive old countrywoman tells a story of somewhat questionable veracity; And and impressionable young listener insists on getting to the bottom of the matter

Chapter 40
Lady Jia holds two feasts in one day in the Prospect Garden; And Faithful makes four calls on three dominoes in the Painted Chamber

Chapter 41
Jia Bao-yu tastes some superior tea at Green Bower Hermitage; And Grannie Liu samples the sleeping accommodation at Green Delights

Chapter 42
Lady Allspice wins over a suspicious nature with some well-intentioned advice; And River Queen enhances her reputation as a wit with some amusing sarcasms

Chapter 43
An old woman's whim is the occasion of a birthday collection; And a young man's remorse finds solace in a simple ceremony

Chapter 44
Xi-feng's jealousy is the object of an unexpected provocation; And Patience's toilet is a source of unexpected delight

Chapter 45
Sisterly understanding finds expression in words of sisterly frankness; And autumnal pluviousless is celebrated in verses of autumnal melancholy

Chapter 46
An awkward person is given an awkward mission; And a faithful maid vows faithfulness unto death

Chapter 47
In pursuit of love the Oaf King takes a fearful beating; And from fear of reprisal the Reluctant Playboy makes a hasty getaway

Chapter 48
The Love-Deluded One Turns his thoughts to trade and travel; And the Poetry Enthusiast applies herself to making verses

Chapter 49
Red flowers bloom brighter in dazzling snow; And venison reeks strangely on rosebud lips

Chapter 50
Linked verses in Snowy Rushes Retreat; And lantern riddles in the Spring In Winter Room

Chapter 51
A clever cousin composes some ingenious riddles; And an unskilful physician prescribes a barbarous remedy

Chapter 52
Kind Patience conceals the theft of a Shrimp Whisker bracelet; And brave Skybright repairs the hole in a Peacock Gold snow-cape

Chapter 53
Ning-guo House sacrifices to the ancestors on New Year's Eve; And Rong-guo House entertains the whole family on Fifteenth Night

Appendix I: Regulated Verse
Appendix II: Threesomes with the Dominoes
Appendix III: Unsolved Riddles
Characters in Volume 2
Genealogical Tables