The portrait of a lady of exquisite beauty and independent mind whose impenetrability and seeming self-sufficiency touched all who knew her...Nobuko Hayashi could claim all the attributes of a Japanese woman of distinction -- she lived her outward life as a character in a No drama. As wife of a prominent businessman, she provided face in spite of her knowledge of his second home in the city, complete with geisha and son. She sought release in love for her son and in athletics, but slowly the beautiful vase of her life began to crack. First there was the watchman who committed suicide, somehow her responsibility; then there was the war which called her to serve and took her from her the delights of sea and drama. She had never known love, and found herself reaching for the master No dancer, her son's healer, and in her own last illness a magician. In death she escaped all -- the husband who suspected her of unfaithfulness, the priest who had absolved her, the final degradations of the war. But in death there could be reconciliation for the handmaid who sought her in a nunnery and the husband who realized love no longer tinged by fear.