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The Mirror of Kong Ho

Letter 2
Concerning the ill-destined manner of existence of the hound Hercules. The
thoughtlessly-expressed desire of the entrancing maiden and its effect upon a
person of susceptible refinement. The opportune (as it may yet be described)
visit of one Herbert. The behaviour of those around. Reflections.
VENERATED SIRE (whose large right hand is continuously floating in spirit over
the image of this person's dutiful submission),--
Doubtless to your all-consuming prescience, it will at once become plain that I
have abandoned the place of residence from which I directed my former badly-
written and offensively-constructed letter, the house of the sympathetic and
resourceful Maidens Blank, where in return for an utterly inadequate sum of
money, produced at stated intervals, this very much inferior person was allowed
to partake of a delicately-balanced and somewhat unvarying fare in the company
of the engaging of both sexes, and afterwards to associate on terms of
honourable equality with them in the chief apartment. The reason and manner of
this one's departure are in no degree formidable to his refined manner of
conducting any enterprise, but arose partly from an insufficient grasp of the more
elaborate outlines of a confessedly involved language, and still more from a too
excessive impetuousness in carrying out what at the time he believed to be the
ambition of one who had come to exercise a melodious influence over his most
internal emotions. Well remarked the Sage, "A piece of gold may be tried
between the teeth; a written promise to pay may be disposed of at a sacrifice to
one more credulous; but what shall be said of the wind, the Hoang Ho, and the
way of a woman?"
To contrive a pitfall for this short-sighted person's immature feet, certain
malicious spirits had so willed it that the chief and more autumnal of the Maidens
Blank (who, nevertheless, wore an excessively flower-like name), had long
lavished herself upon the possession of an obtuse and self-assertive hound,
which was in the habit of gratifying this inconsiderable person and those who sat
around by continually depositing upon their unworthy garments details of its outer
surface, and when the weather was more than usually cold, by stretching its
graceful and refined body before the fire in such a way as to ensure that no one
should suffer from a too acute exposure to the heat. From these causes, and
because it was by nature a hound which even on the darkest night could be
detected at a more than reasonable distance away, while at all times it did not
hesitate to shake itself freely into the various prepared viands, this person (and
doubtless others also) regarded it with an emotion very unfavourable towards its
prolonged existence; but observing from the first that those who permitted
themselves to be deposited upon, and their hands and even their faces to be
hound-tongue-defiled with the most externally cheerful spirit of word suppression,
invariably received the most desirable of the allotted portions of food, he judged it
prudent and conducive to a settled digestion to greet it with favourable terms and
actions, and to refer frequently to its well-displayed proportions, and to the agile