Madame Butterfly : Chapter I
SAYRE had counseled him on the voyage out (for he had repined ceaselessly at what he called their banishment to the Asiatic station) to wait till they arrived. He had never regarded service in Japanese waters as banishment, he said, and he had been out twice before.
Pinkerton had just come from the Mediterranean.
"For lack of other amusement," continued Sayre, with a laugh, "you might get yourself married and--"
Pinkerton arrested him with a savage snort.
"You are usually merely frivolous, Sayre; but to-day you are silly."
Without manifest offense, Sayre went on:
"When I was out here in 1890--
"The story of the Pink Geisha?"
"Well--yes," admitted Sayre, patiently.
"Excuse me, then, till you are through." He turned to go below.
"Heard it, have you? "
"A thousand times from you and others."
Sayre laughed good-naturedly at the gallant exaggeration, and passed Pinkerton his cigarette-case.
"Ah--ever heard who the man was?"
"No." He lighted his cigarette. "That has been your own little mystery--apparently."
"Yes; we all knew it was yourself."
"It wasn't," said Sayre, steadily. "It was my brother." He looked away.
"Beg pardon. You never told us that."
"He went back; couldn't find her."
"And you advise me also to become a subject for remorse? That's good of you."
"It is not quite the same thing. There is no danger of you losing your head for--" he glanced uncertainly at Pinkerton, then ended lamely "any one. The danger would probably be entirely with--the other person."
"Thanks," laughed Pinkerton; "that's more comforting."
"And yet," mused Sayre, "you are hard to comfort--humanly speaking."
Pinkerton smiled at this naive but quite exact characterization of himself.
"You are," continued Sayre, hesitating for the right word--"impervious."
"Exactly," laughed Pinkerton. "I don't see much danger to myself in your prescription. You have put it in rather an attractive light. The idea cannot be entirely disreputable if your brother Jack used it. We lower-class fellows used to call him Agamemnon, you remember."
"It is not my prescription," said Sayre, briefly, leaving the deck.
John Luther Long's Madame Butterfly (1898).
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