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Simingcun

The broadcasting of the TV play The Romance of Xu Zhimo in 2000 aroused the attention of Shanghai people to Simingcun Lane, opposite the Shanghai Exhibition Centre (former Hardoon Garden) because No. 923 shikumen building in Simingcun Lane was the residence of Xu Zhimo and Lu Xiaoman after their marriage.

Xu Zhimo and Lu Xiaoman lived in No. 11 garden villa in Huanlong Road (present day Nanchang Road), Shanghai when they first got married and then moved to this building, No. 923 shikumen building in Siming Village in Fuxi Road (present day Middle Yan An Road). Their bed room was in the second floor in front of a wingroom which served as smoking room for Lu Xiaoman and the hall in the second floor served as a reception room with a couch attached for the guests. The study of Xu Zhimo was in the third floor.

Though Xu Zhimo regarded Lu Xiaoman as a spiritual partner which would never change to the end of his life and their works such as Diary of Xiaoman and some others were passed from mouth to mouth with approbation but the couple also had their own troubles in their practical life. Lu Xiaoman was tired of the persuasion from Su Zhimo for stopping playing mahjong and smoking opium and felt depressed for the coldness of Xu's father. And at the same time Xu Zhimo was also distressed with the life of having fun in keeping with the occasion.

In 1929 when Tagore came to Shanghai again the couple invited him to stay in a delicate small room in the third floor but Tagore took a fancy to the room with a big desk and full of books and magazines. At the request of the couple Tagore was glad to paint a picture with a poem inscribed in Bengali and offered a purplish red Indian gown as a souvenir at parting.

Lu Xiaoman usually had an air of importance and easily spent a lot of money so Xu Zhimo had to give lectures in many schools, such as Shanhai Law College, Guanghua and Dongwu universities, Central University in Nanjing and Peking University in Beiping. Lu Xiaoman urged Xu Zhimo who had something to do in Beijing to come back to Shanghai immediately by no any reason at the end of October 1931. So Xu Zhimo was back in Shanghai but Xiaoman, usually gentle in manner, lost in her temper to Xu Zhimo. Xu's patience had worn out and went off in a huff. The next morning he went to Nanjing and then took a plane in a hurry to the north because he had an important academic report to make in Beijing. But he died of plane crash.

The 36-year-old poet was past away hurriedly but quietly. Lu Xiaoman felt sad when she saw articles once used by the deceased at their home in Siming Village and wrore a poem to express her sorrow. In May 1965 she said over and again to erect a tombstone beside Xu Zhimo's tomb when she was dying.

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