This Lin Ju-hai’s family name was Lin, his name Hai and his style Ju-hai. He had obtained the third place in the previous triennial examination, and had, by this time, already risen to the rank of Director of the Court of Censors.
He was a native of Kú Su. He had been recently named by Imperial appointment a Censor attached to the Salt Inspectorate, and had arrived at his post only a short while back.
The only misfortune had been that the several branches of the Lin family had not been prolific, so that the numbers of its members continued limited;
and though there existed several households, they were all however to Ju-hai no closer relatives than first cousins.
Neither were there any connections of the same lineage, or of the same parentage.
Ju-hai was at this date past forty; and had only had a son,
“Brother stone,” he forthwith said, addressing the stone, “the concerns of past days recorded on you possess, according to your own account, a considerable amount of interest, and have been for this
reason inscribed, with the intent of soliciting generations to hand them down as remarkable occurrences. But in my own opinion, they lack, in the first place, any data by means of which to establish the name
of the Emperor and the year of his reign; and, in the second place, these constitute no record of any excellent policy, adopted by any high worthies or high loyal statesmen, in the government of the state,
or in the rule of public morals. The contents simply treat of a certain number of maidens, of exceptional character; either of their
love affairs or infatuations, or of their small deserts or insignificant talents; and were I to transcribe the whole collection of them,
they would, nevertheless, not be estimated as a book of any exceptional worth.”
“Sir Priest,” the stone replied with assurance, “why are you so excessively dull? The dynasties recorded in the rustic histories, which have been written from age to age, have, I am fain to think, invariably
are but a counterpart of each other. What is more, these works, throughout all their pages, cannot help bordering on extreme licence. The authors, however, had no other object in view
than to give utterance to a few sentimental odes and elegant ballads of their own, and for this reason they have fictitiously