“Still more loathsome is a kind of pedantic and profligate literature, perfectly devoid of all natural sentiment,
full of self-contradictions; and, in fact, the contrast to those maidens in my work, whom I have, during half my lifetime,
seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. And though I will not presume to estimate them as superior to
the heroes and heroines in the works of former ages, yet the perusal of the motives and issues of their experiences,
may likewise afford matter sufficient to banish dulness, and to break the spell of melancholy.
“As regards the several stanzas of doggerel verse, they may too evoke such laughter as to compel the reader to blurt out the rice, and to spurt out the wine.
“In these pages, the scenes depicting the anguish of separation, the bliss of reunion, and the fortunes of prosperity
and of adversity are all, in every detail, true to human nature, and I have not taken upon myself to make the slightest addition,
or alteration, which might lead to the perversion of the truth.
“My only object has been that men may, after a drinking bout, or after they wake from sleep or when in need of relaxation
from the pressure of business, take up this light literature, and not only expunge the traces of antiquated books, and obtain
a new kind of distraction, but that they may also lay by a long life as well as energy and strength; for it bears no point of
similarity to those works, whose designs are false,
whose course is immoral. Now, Sir Priest, what are your views on the subject?”
K’ung K’ung having pondered for a while over the words, to which he had listened intently, re-perused, throughout, this record of
the stone; and finding that the general purport consisted of nought else than a treatise on love, and likewise of an accurate
transcription of facts, without the