The lights rise in
Wan's room in the monastery. It is an hour later. WAN is pacing the floor
waiting impatiently. He holds a sheet of paper in his hands which he refers
There is a knock on
the door. HE rushes to open it.
I have come, sir.
Here is the poem. I trust you To deliver this safely.
I will that, sir.(SHE turns
Wait! I must have word of anything She will do or say. The slightest change
on her face Or in her voice When she reads what I
have written. For lovers exist On the flicker of the
eyes And the movement of the
mouth And the sigh upon the
I shall watch and listen
Go now, For I have waited too
long. (BEITESEN leaves
through the door of his room. WAN continues to pace in agony. HE goes to
the window and sees BEITESEN appear from the monastery door and make her
way across the garden. HE looks down as if to say "Hurry, damnit!" The
lights rise in the Chen house. MEILAN is alone on the sofa, reading. BEITESEN
Forgive me, my mistress. I am so sorry to disturb
you But I have come with
a message. It is from your cousin,
Wan Lei. (SHE hands the paper
to Meilan, who opens it and reads. As she does, WAN, from his room, sings
the poem. BEITESEN watches closely for any alteration in Meilan's face.)
I know every leaf on the
apricot tree Which gently guards your
window. I know the nightingale Who comes to rest in
the branches. I know the stillness
of the dawn As it vies with the sound
of the shadows In keeping vigil. If I could but replace
the apricot tree And the nightingale And the shadows And the dawn. (MEILAN's face does
not change expression. SHE stares out the window as BEITESEN waits for
her to speak.)
There is no answer.
MEILAN Wait!(SHE goes to the
table, takes a quill pen and a sheet of paper and writes rapidly. SHE then
folds it and hands it to Beitesen.)To my cousin who writes poetry, This is my answer.
(eagerly)Oh, yes, mistress! (SHE rushes quickly
across the garden again. WAN is now waiting for her at the monastery door.)
She has sent you a message!
it from her hands, nervously unfolds it and reads.)Neither the apricot tree Nor the nightingale Nor the shadows Nor the dawn Will guard the willows
by the western gate On the fourth of the
second moon.(almost in disbelief)Beitesen! She will see me! She has consented to
see me On the fourth of the
second moon. The fourth! That is tomorrow! Tomorrow, she will see
me! But where are the willows
by the western gate?
Tomorrow when the moon is
full, I will come for you And take you there. WANShe will see me! At last she will see
me And speak to me! Oh, Beitesen! (BEITESEN gazes at
the ecstatic WAN with affection.)