- Byliner Original
Do you want to wear out your insides by the time you are sixteen? Of course not. Then learn these lessons well.
While you are still a virgin courtesan, you must know all the arts of enticement and master the balance of anticipation and reticence. Your defloration won’t happen until the New Year, when you turn fifteen, and I expect you to have many ardent suitors by the time Madam is ready to sell your bud.
You might be thinking, “What does my attendant, old Magic Gourd, know about romance?” When I was nineteen, I was one of the Top Ten Beauties of Shanghai. And not too many courtesans last until they are thirty-two. So you see, I know more than most.
Always remember, little Violet, you are creating a world of romance and illusion. When you play the zither, it should be the aching or joyous companion to your song-poem. Sing to your suitor as if no one else is in the room, as if it was fate that brought you two together at this moment, in this place. You cannot simply pluck the silk strings or let memorized words fall from your mouth. You might as well not play at all and just take the sedan directly to a brothel where no one bothers with illusions or preludes.
Most beauties learn only ten song-poems throughout their career. You will not be like most. You will be unusual. Over the next year, you will learn three melodies about mountain retreats, three rustic ballads about maidens and young boys who meet in the mountains, three classic song-poems about returni...