THOUGH seventeen years had now passed since Yugao's death,' Genji had not by any means forgotten her. He had indeed sine: those early days seen much of the world and encountered the most divers temperaments. But he had yet to find a disposition such as hers; and it was with feelings of longing and contrition that he looked back upon their intimacy.
Though Ukon was not a creature of much account, she was the one person to whom he could speak of the dead lady. He felt a considerable degree of affection towards her, and during the years after Yugao's death Ukon had practically lived at the Nijo-in, being allowed to spend most of her time with the older servants in the housekeeper's room. Then came the exile, and with Genji's other servants she went across to the western wing and entered Murasaki's service. She gave the impression of being a harmless, self-effacing creature, and it would have surprised everyone very much to know what was all the while going on in her mind. For Ukon, particularly after the move to the New Palace, was constantly appraising the relative positions of the great ladies who ruled the house, and deciding what place her own dear mistress would now be occupying, were she still alive. 'Certainly,' said Ukon to herself, looking critically at the Lady of Akashi, 'my poor lady would not have been eclipsed by such as you!' And indeed Ukon had seen for herself that even where his feelings were far less strong than in Yugao's case, there never came a time when Genji turned aside from those who had opened their hearts to him, or behaved as though his obligations towards them were at an end. However full might be the cup of his affections, he did not allow a drop to spill; and though Yugao might not perhaps have been able to vie with so great a personage as Murasaki, yet it was certain that were she alive she would now be occupying one of the main apartments in the newly finished house.
Such were the sad reflections that dwelt constantly in this solitary lady's heart. She had never attempted to get into communication with the family of her late mistress, nor even to discover the present whereabouts of the child2 whom Yugao had left behind at the house in the Fifth Ward; partly through fear of being questioned concerning her own part in the unhappy affair, partly because there seemed to be no object in doing so. Moreover, Genji had strictly forbidden her to mention the story to any____________________
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Publication information: Book title: The Tale of Genji:A Novel in Six Parts. Contributors: Lady Murasaki - Author, Arthur Waley - Translator. Publisher: Modern Library. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1960. Page number: 434.
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