Translated by Addis of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
A young man about the same age as Duan FeiZhou pushed his way in. Duan FeiZhou guessed that he was not from London, but was probably a squire from some marginal county. The young man’s eyes fell on Yeats. He smiled and greeted Yeats with enthusiasm.
“Sir, do you remember me?” He spoke with a strong Irish accent. “I’m John Clearwater! We met in Dublin. Don’t you remember?”
Yeats pondered for a moment, and then it dawned on him. “It’s you!” He shook the young man’s hand heartily. “It’s been years! How are your parents and sister?”
“Thanks to you, my parents are still in good health. They asked me to say hello to you.” The young man named John said with great enthusiasm.
Yeats turned to Duan FeiZhou, and did the introductions with a flourish. “This is my hometown friend from Ireland, Mr. John Clearwater.”
Yeats turned to John. “This is a friend of mine from London, Mr. Leopold Chester.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you!” John warmly shook Duan FeiZhou’s hand.
“We haven’t seen each other for a long time. I think we should find a cafe or a restaurant, and sit down to have a good chat?” Yeats was also very excited and spoke with a stronger Irish accent. “By the way, are you free tonight? Miss Maud Gonne’s new play is on. I’ve bought some tickets, and I’m thinking of inviting some friends to the show! How about it, Mr. Chester, would you like to come along?”
“Ah…Yes.” Duan FeiZhou nodded his head.
Miss Maud Gonne was an actress and the dream girl of Yeats. Historically, Yeats wrote many poems and plays for her. He also proposed to her several times. However, each proposal ended in failure. Eventually Maud Gonne married someone else, and Yeats…also moved on.
Duan FeiZhou looked helplessly at the great poet. At this current time, Yeats didn’t know how difficult his future love life would be…Well, it was better not to tell him.
Duan FeiZhou and Yeats arranged to meet at 5pm and go to the theater together. Then, he went back home. He had to wear formal dress to the theater, so he had to change into a tuxedo. When he heard that his master was going to the theater with Yeats, Al was so excited that he danced around picking out clothes. He forced Duan FeiZhou to wear a tuxedo, and gave him a haircut together with hair polish. Duan FeiZhou looked in the mirror, and felt that the haircut would reveal his weak hairline…
Duan FeiZhou put Sword in the Stone into the trading house, and only brought the spell paper with him. Duan FeiZhou went downstairs dressed fairly well, only to find that Yeats was even more fancy than him. Duan FeiZhou wanted to laugh when he saw that Yeats was dressed to the nines.
In contrast, John Clearwater was much more modest. Of course, he was new to London and was not that sophisticated yet.
Duan FeiZhou boarded the carriage and Yeats said to the driver, “17 Connaught Garden Street.”
John was afraid that Duan FeiZhou wouldn’t like taking the long way around and explained, “My sister is now living at 17 Connaught Garden Street. To be precise, the home of her godmother. The other day, the old lady passed away. She has no family, only her goddaughter, that is my sister, Madeleine. It was only reasonable that Madeleine should organize the funeral, but she was too young and inexperienced, so I came to London to help.”
Yeats mysteriously lowered his voice, “John, he’s one of us.”
John raised his eyebrows, and looked at Duan FeiZhou in surprise. “You’re also an occult practitioner?”
Since they were all members of the same family, Duan FeiZhou didn’t have to hide and nodded.
John was delighted. “I am so honored to meet an occult practitioner. My sister is also an occult practitioner. Her godmother is actually her mentor, and she came to London to study occult philosophy under her godmother.”
“So you are also an occult practitioner?” Duan FeiZhou asked.
John bowed his head shyly. “No, I don’t have that skill. It’s Madeleine, my sister, who inherited the occult mysteries of our family.”
Duan FeiZhou asked, “So not all children in the family line of occult practitioners learn occult philosophy?”
“Generally speaking, all children learn it.” John said. “But I wasn’t born with any talent, so I gave it up. My sister was more gifted than I was, and my father, who had always been involved in the Irish independence movement, would have preferred me to be in politics rather than an occult practitioner.”
At the end of the Victorian period, when the Irish independence movement was in its infancy, Miss Maud Gonne, the goddess Yeats admired, was a staunch supporter of the Irish Nationalist movement.
The carriage arrived at Connaught Garden Street and stopped in front of townhouse number 17.
John jumped out of the carriage and rattled the door ring with great enthusiasm. After a few moments, the door opened. A young girl appeared in the doorway. She had features very similar to John’s, and must be his sister Madeleine.
Perhaps because she was in mourning for her godmother, she wore a long black dress and a veil. However, for the day’s social events, she had also put on a luxurious fur shawl.
“Madeleine!” John kissed his sister twice on the cheek. “Are you ready to go straight away?”
Compared to her brother’s enthusiasm, her sister seemed much more aloof.
“Of course, dear brother.” She took her brother’s hand, and was helped by John as she walked down the stairs.
“Madeleine, why are you wearing this shawl?” John stared at the fur on his sister’s shoulders, “Don’t you feel hot?”
It was early summer, so although the evening was still a bit chilly, to be wearing a fur shawl was indeed a bit odd.
“It’s a gift from Madame Boyle.” Madeleine said lightly. “I wanted to show my love and respect for her. Besides, we’re going to the Grand Opera today, so I’m afraid I’ll embarrass you if I dress up too shabbily.”
“I see.” John scratched his head.
Yeats came close to Duan FeiZhou, and said in a lowered voice, “Madame Boyle is the godmother of that lady, who passed away a few days ago.”
“Ah? Oh…” Duan FeiZhou looked at Miss Madeleine’s shawl and was tongue-tied.
He recognized the shawl.
That shawl was not a mundane object, but an occult magic item with special power. It could transform into a spirit fox under the command of its owner and attack the enemy. The owner of the shawl was the same old woman who sold him the Phantom Phosphorus butterfly wing powder. She always had a young girl with her.
Could it be that they were Madame Boyle and Miss Madeleine?
This was not a coincidence!
Duan FeiZhou sincerely sighed and thought that the world was really small. Then again, just a few days ago, he had met the old woman in the trading house, and wouldn’t have expected that she would pass away so soon. He could only say that the world was unpredictable!
Madeleine’s frost-like eyes turned to Yeats, then Duan FeiZhou behind him.
In an instant, her eyes changed. She stared straight at Duan FeiZhou as if she had witnessed some kind of bizarre sight or a nightmare.
Duan FeiZhou subconsciously touched his face. Could Madeleine have recognized him? Even if she did, it didn’t matter, as they were all “our own people” there.
“This gentleman is…” Madeleine wondered.
John then realized he had forgotten to introduce his companion.
“This is Mr. Leopold Chester. He is a friend of Mr. Yeats.”
Madeleine suddenly pushed her brother away, and walked aggressively towards Duan FeiZhou. He took a step backwards in fear, wondering why the girl had taken an interest in him. She stopped in front of Duan FeiZhou, examined his face, and then broke out into a gorgeous smile.
“It’s an honor to meet you, Mr. Chester,” Madeleine said, gracefully extending a hand.
Duan FeiZhou cupped her jade hand and breathed a kiss over it.
The young lady turned to her brother, and said with a lazy drawl, “Let’s go. If we delay any longer, we shall be late.”
She lifted her skirt and boarded the carriage.
John scratched his head and mumbled, “I haven’t seen her for a few months, why has she changed her temperament?”
Yeats smiled helplessly, “Maybe girls at this age are just fickle.”
Only Duan FeiZhou was uncomfortable. His impression of Miss Madeleine was naive and lively, never that kind of cold and lazy temperament. Could people really change their temperament in just a few days? Could it be because of the shock of the death of someone close to her? Or was Madeleine born with two faces, one in front of her mentor and another in front of her elder brother?
Although Miss Madeleine was acting oddly, the play had to be attended. The group settled in the carriage and headed to Leicester Square in London’s West End.
London’s West End had always been the center of British theater, with countless theaters, large and small, and in the evenings it bustled with activity, with carriages coming and going in the streets and plenty of congestion.
The carriage that Duan FeiZhou and the others took had a hard time squeezing near the entrance of the theater. However, because of their early departure time, although there was a lot of delay on the road, they still had plenty of time before the play started.
In front of the theater was placed a huge poster of a man and woman standing back to back with three black-clad witches poised behind them. In the center of the poster was written in huge letters was Macbeth, and below that were the names of the main actors.
Lady Macbeth, played by Maud Gonne.
“So that’s what we’re going to see today. Macbeth.” Duan FeiZhou said. He hadn’t even asked Yeats what play they were watching before they left. What an oversight.
Yeats suddenly put up a finger. “Shhh. Sir, remember, you must not say the name of the play in the theater. If you have to mention it, just say ‘that Scottish play’.”
Duan FeiZhou was confused, “Why?”
“It is said that the play carries a curse, and that the mere mention of its title will bring misfortune.” Yeats spoke with conviction, as if he had seen the curse coming.
John agreed, “Yes, there have been several accidents! It’s said that when Mac…Ahem, the actress who played Lady Macbeth died backstage at the premiere of this Scottish play.”
Yeats added, “In 1849 when it was performed in the United States, a riot broke out in the theater, which resulted in the deaths of 20 people.”
“It’s better to believe, than not believe!” John lamented.
Duan FeiZhou had nothing to say. Well, since this was the rule of the theater world, then he would follow the custom.
Miss Madeleine laughed lightly. “Maybe something will happen tonight too.”
“Madeleine! Don’t talk nonsense!” John scolded.
“I’m going to get a bouquet of flowers,” Yeats said.
How could he watch a goddess’ performance without flowers?
There were many flower sellers hovering around the theater, and they were shouting, “Ladies and gentlemen, buy a bouquet of flowers for your favorite actor! If you don’t even send flowers, what kind of love is that?”
Good guys. Duan FeiZhou really wanted to yell out the slogan. ‘If you don’t vote, I don’t vote!’
Yeats walked towards the one closest to them, and bought a bouquet of bright red roses from her. When he came back, he looked a little off. “Have you noticed that there seems to be a particularly large number of policemen around the theater?”
Duan FeiZhou sniffed, also glanced left and right, and indeed found several patrolmen skulking around, each with their eyes fixed on the doors. There were also several people who were mixed in the crowd, and while they weren’t wearing police uniforms, they exuded a well-trained attitude and posture. At a glance, it was clear that they were plainclothes police.
John frowned. “It’s probably because the main actor today is Miss Maud Gonne. Many socialites who support the Irish independence movement will come to see her performance, and the police are worried about something starting, so they have shown up in advance.”
They had been standing in front of the theater for a long time, which attracted the attention of many passersby, as well as the police.
“Let’s go in first.” Yeats said seriously.
Everyone agreed. They walked through the doors, Yeats and Duan FeiZhou at the front, and John followed with his sister on his arm. After they checked their tickets at the door, they entered the theater.
It was still early for the show, but many of the audience were already seated. Just like modern times, there were many vendors moving in between the seats as they hawked snacks.
Yeats’ tickets were in the front row. The group was about to cross the aisle in search of their seats when a sarcastic voice came from behind them.
“Well, if it isn’t the great poet Mr. Yeats. You’re here to watch the play, too?”
Duan FeiZhou turned around. A strange young man approached them with a civilized cane. He was about the same age as Yeats, his suit was fancy, his hair was greasy, and his solid gold watch chain was dangled across his chest and attracted attention.
Yeats looked sullen as he said coldly, “You’ve come to see the show, Count Lut.”
“How can I miss the new play of Miss Maud Gonne?” Count Lut smiled slightly as his eyes rested on the bouquet in Yeats’ hand. “Oh, you bought flowers for Miss Maud Gonne, didn’t you? That’s very thoughtful. I also asked the servant to buy flowers. Look, there he is.”
A manservant puffed and panted his way into the theater, holding a huge bouquet of flowers that covered almost the entire upper half of his body. Yeats’ bouquet looked very shabby by comparison.
Count Lut winked at his servant, and said, “Take it backstage to Miss Maud Gonne’s dressing room.”
“Yes, yes, Count!” The manservant moved backstage with difficulty.
Duan FeiZhou immediately understood. Count Lut was afraid that he was Yeats’ love rival, as both of them were pursuing Miss Maud Gonne. Competing with the wealthy Count was kryptonite, and Yeats naturally fell with the disadvantage.
“The two of us are both pursuing Miss Maud Gonne. Perhaps in the intermission lounge, you can go discuss literature.” He glanced at the theater ticket in Yeats’ hand, and smiled. “Oh, I forgot. Not everyone is like me, and can afford a box at the theater.”
Yeats’ eyes grew colder. He didn’t say anything, John sulked. The young Irishman idolized Yeats, so how could he bear to see him taunted like that?
John took a step forward, and stepped between Yeats and Count Lut.
“Flowers can only decorate a dressing room,” John said, as he crossed his arms, his tone cold and hard. “But only poetry can move the soul. If you want to court Miss Maud Gonne, go back to school and study for two more years.”
The corners of Count Lut’s mouth twitched as he sized John up from head to toe with a disdainful look on his face. “Mr. Yeats, is this your Irish hometowner? They say that things come in groups and people come in groups. If you keep hanging around with these poor people, I’m afraid people will treat you the same way.”
“You…!” John was so furious that he wanted to throw his fist at Count Lut’s face. However, Yeats reached out and squeezed his shoulder.
“Forget it, John,” the poet said calmly, as he held back his anger. “There’s no need to get angry with such people. It will only bring you down.”
Count Lut gave John a disgusted glance, then turned the same gaze to his sister Madeleine and Duan FeiZhou, who had no presence next to him. He gazed at Madeleine with interest, and the lustful look in his eyes simply screamed disgust.
When he looked at Duan FeiZhou, his attitude became even more overbearing. He smiled contemptuously and raised his chin. “Mr. Yeats, you are really something. If you must bring people to support Miss Maud Gonne, at least find a few decent ones. With this kind of people sitting in the theater, people will think that there are beggars mixed in.”
Duan FeiZhou clenched his fist. He now wanted to have a mixed doubles match with John. The group had been “chilling” at the entrance of the theater for so long that many people had taken their argument as an appetizer before the play and were excited to watch.
When they saw that the way in and out of the theater was about to be blocked by the crowd, the theater staff hurriedly came over to disperse them.
“Hmph! I won’t waste time with you.” After he threw down those words, Count Lut put his cane under his arm and prepared to go upstairs.
Suddenly, someone called out to him from the entrance of the theater, “Oh, if it isn’t Henry Freeman! It’s been a long time! Come over and let me see!”
Count Lut was petrified. He slowly turned around, as his face squeezed out a stiff smile. “Aunt Edith…”
The woman he called Aunt Edith was the old Lord Perlilla’s Lady Edith, who, accompanied by her son, had just walked into the theater.
Even though Lady Edith was old, her face already covered with the marks carved by time and weather, her body still held an arrogance and reserve like gleaming polished steel. She entered the theater, and it was as if the queen had arrived herself, as the surrounding people automatically turned their heads towards her.
The Earl of Lut, like a poor child, dutifully kissed Lady Edith on both cheeks. Meanwhile, Lord Perlilla slapped him hard on the shoulder, and said in the tone of his older cousin, “Long time no see! Have you become fat again? Hahahahaha! You need to exercise more, cousin!”
After that, he immediately noticed the line of people standing at the side.
“Oh, Mr. Yeats! Mr. Chester!” He acted as if he had seen his family, as he excitedly jumped on the two. “I never thought there would be such a coincidence!”
Duan FeiZhou wanted to say the same thing. So many acquaintances gathered together, but was it a coincidence?
Count Lut was dumbfounded. “You…They…You know them…?”
Lady Edith said with a stern face, “Henry Freeman. These two gentlemen are our family’s great benefactors. Don’t you remember the discovery of the Ether crystals under our estate the other day? It was thanks to these two gentlemen, we escaped being defrauded.”
Lord Perlilla smiled and said, “My mother always said that one day, when we come to London, we must pay you two a visit. But recently, because of the Ether crystal mine, we have been running around so much that we haven’t had time. Today, we could finally spare the time to watch a show, but I didn’t expect to meet you here!”
Count Lut’s face instantly turned green. It was amazing the way that the man’s face could repeatedly jump between red and green. It was really a miracle of biology.
Duan FeiZhou tried to stifle his laughter. “Lord Perlilla, is this ‘nobleman’ a relative of yours?”
His Lordship replied politely, “Yes. He’s my cousin. Our mothers are sisters.”