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  1. #131
    WestEmpress Dowager had played a little trick on him when he had beengiven the power to command all the troops against the Peaceful Army.At that time many courtiers had been afraid that Elder Zeng mighthave turned his back against the government and overthrown QingDynasty, then declared himself to be the emperor of a new dynasty.The empress dowagers had feared it, too. So they had appointed Zuo asGovernor of Zhejiang Province and Li as Governor of Jiangsu Provinceto weaken Elder Zeng's power. Although Elder Zeng didn't manifest anydesire to be the emperor himself, some of his followers had reallytried to persuade him to do so. Zuo and Li, though had worked underElder Zeng, would never support him to be the emperor.
    GovernorLi was born in Anhui Province. In 1853 when the Peaceful army hadtaken Nanking City, the emperor had given an order that anyone couldtrain people to defend themselves against the Peaceful Army. So Liwent home to train the people in his hometown. In 1858, he went tosee Elder Zeng to be his pupil and his private advisor. Then they hadsome disagreement and Li left Elder Zeng. When Xiang Army occupiedAnqing City, Li wrote a letter to congratulate Elder Zeng, who tookhim back to be his advisor again. When Elder Zeng was appointed TwoRiver General Governor, he gave Li a position till Li became thegovernor. Li was a selfish man, always thinking of himself first.Since West Empress Dowager gave him such a post as a governor, hewouldn't support Elder Zeng to be the emperor and still worked underhim. Besides, even if Elder Zeng did hold up his rebellious banneragainst Qing government, it was still a question who would have thefinal victory. Li liked one bird in hand, not two birds in the bush.

  2. #132
    GovernorZuo was born in Hunan Province. He had passed two government testsand lived as a tutor in his village. After the uprising of thePeaceful Army, he trained the people to defend the village. Then hewent to work under the Governor of Hunan Province in charge ofmilitary affairs. When Elder Zeng organized his army, Zuo helped himby sending him men to be trained, stuffs needed in war and money.When Elder Zeng was defeated in 1854 in his first battle with thePeaceful Army, he was so downhearted and tried to make anunsuccessful suicide. Zuo went to see him and solaced him. In May,1860, Elder Zeng sent in a report of recommendation for Zuo and thelate emperor gave Zuo a position working under Elder Zeng. Then ElderZeng let Zuo train his own army. But Zuo always had a differentopinion from Elder Zeng about the war strategies and he didn't wantElder Zeng to control him. So their relationship became tense. AsWest Empress Dowager appointed him first the governor of ZhejiangProvince and then in May, 1863, appointed him the general governor ofFujian Province and Zhejiang province, he was now equal in rank withElder Zeng. So he wouldn't support Elder Zeng to be the emperor andrule over himself again.
    Urgedby the empress dowagers and the secretaries, Elder Zeng accepted theappointment of the governor of Zhidi Province. He arrived in thecapital and also took up his temporary residence in the temple. Whenpeople in Peking came to know that he would reach the capital on acertain day, many of them lined up along the route that Elder Zengwas supposed to pass. People wanted to see what he looked like. Theyalready knew Governor Zuo was a bit fat like a rich merchant andGovernor Li was tall like a strong fighter. When Elder Zeng did makehis appearance, many people were disappointed. Elder Zeng was leanand of the middle height. If not for his official clothes, he wouldcertainly be mistaken for a provincial squire. Someone in the crowdwho knew the face-reading was surprised to find that Elder Zeng couldbe a governor. According to the theory of face-reading, Elder Zengwas destined to be executed, but he was a governor now. Theexplanation was that he must have done many good things, which musthave changed his fate, though not his face.

  3. #133
    Duringthe interview, the empress dowagers inquired and Elder Zeng answered.He was not like Zuo, straightforward. He was an overscrupulousperson.
    “Waseverything fine in the south before you left?” asked West EmpressDowager.
    “Yes.Everything's in order.” Elder Zeng replied carefully.
    “Howis your disarmament?” West Empress Dowager queried in a stern tone.
    “Twentythousand were sent home and thirty thousand remain to bereorganized.”
    “Theydidn't make things difficult for you?”
    “No.They are happy to go home.”
    “How'syour health?” cut in East Empress Dowager.
    “Better.I think the worst is over.” Elder Zeng felt a little less nervous.
    “Youstill take medicine everyday?” asked East Empress Dowager, alwayssoftly.
    “Yes.”His heart beating resumed to the normal.
    “Whenyou arrive in Baoding City (The capital of Zhidi Province), the firstthing is to train the local army.” said West Empress Dowager.
    “Iwill. And I will strengthen the defense along the coast.”
    “Ifyou need anything or have any problem, just send in a report.”
    Theinterview ended. Elder Zeng kowtowed and stood up and backed out ofthe room. He left the capital next day and made his way to where hispost was as the governor of Zhidi Province.

  4. #134
    Chapter 24

    OnAugust 13, 1869, two colossal ships sailed down the Grand Canal, withmusic floating out of the cabin and banners fluttering on the masts. On one of the banners was a picture of a three-legged bird. Therewas a story about the three-legged bird. The goddess queen kept athree-legged bird and often sent it out to gather things for her. Little An put up the banner with the implication that he was sent byWest Empress Dowager to gather whatever he could get for her, not forhimself. But he forgot that West Empress Dowager always wanted toshow that she never took things undue to her. Another wrong moveLittle An made. A fatal wrong move.
    LittleAn had bought a girl from a poor family to be his wife, but he couldnot have sex with her since his genital had been cut. This absurdityhad a history of its own. It had originated from other dynasties. Aeunuch, when getting into a certain power, would have a preference tolive like a normal person. The idea of a normal person, in theirmorbid opinion, was to have a family. But no girl would marry him ashe was not really a man, lacking the body parts representing a man.He was only half a man, in the view of the other people. So a eunuchcould only buy a girl from a poor family. The girl at least wouldn'tbe starved. But some girl would rather be a nun than the wife of aeunuch. It was said that a eunuch would do nasty things to a girl toget his morbid sexual satisfaction, like biting her or clawing herskin. Poor girl. Some eunuch even adopted a son to inherit his nameand property.

  5. #135
    However,Little An took his wife with him. He had some attendants on board andhired some musicians to enjoy his journey. He brought some boxes fullof jewelry, some of which were stolen from the palace. He wanted tosell the jewels in the southern provinces and buy some silk stuffthere, which he would sell when he was back to the capital. He hadreally a brain for business. On his way down south, he gatheredbribery and even forced some chicken-hearted officials to give himsilver notes. When he racketeered his way into Shandong Province, hedidn't see anyone come to welcome him. The governor of ShandongProvince was an upright official. He abhorred all the evil things. Heknew all the bad things Little An had done. He had sworn that hewould kill Little An when he had the chance. Now the chance presenteditself.
    Whenthe governor was reported that Little An had entered his province, heordered the mayor of the town where Little An stayed for the night toarrest him, but the mayor hesitated, being afraid of West EmpressDowager. At that time a mayor had quite a few advisers to help himmanage all kinds of things, from legal to his personal affairs.Someone advised him to take an onlooker's attitude to elude to beinvolved in this awkward matter. So the mayor found some excuse notto go. It was understood. The governor didn't resent him. Then thegovernor had to dispatch an officer to do the job. He was afraid thatif Little An got out of his domain like a fish jumping out of thenet, another governor might let him go, never dared to arrest him.
    Theofficer hastened along the route Little An had taken and at lastovertook him. He went to see Little An and said to him that thegovernor invited him to his yamen (a local government administrationbuilding and the governor also lived in there).

  6. #136
    Whatwill he want from me?” Little An asked the officer.
    Idon't know.” Replied the officer, “You will know when you see thegovernor.”
    LittleAn thought that perhaps the governor would give him a feast and somegifts after it. So he went with the officer to see the governor, butwas immediately confined in the yamen. Then the governor orderedLittle An brought into his presence. He interrogated Little An, “doyou know that your sneaking out of the capital is against the rulesof our ancestors? How do you dare to do that?”
    I'msent by West Empress Dowager on a royal mission. I'm not sneaking outof the capital.” Little An pleaded in an angry voice.
    Ifyou are sent out by West Empress Dowager, where are the officialdocuments?”
    Idon't have any documents. But if you don't believe it, you can writeto check with West Empress Dowager. West Empress Dowager can confirmit.”

  7. #137
    Everyonewho travels on an official errand should have official documents. Ifyou can't produce any documents, you are surely sneaking out.” Thenthe governor ordered his guards to put Little An into the prison,rejecting to hear his pleading any more. When Little An was put underthe custody, the governor sent an express report to the capital, tothe Secretarial Bureau, saying that a eunuch sneaked out of thecapital against the rules set up by the ancestors and should therebybe executed. But he didn't wait for a written reply from theSecretarial Bureau and just executed Little An on September 14, forfear that West Empress Dowager would order him to release Little An,who would no doubt revenge on him. But it would be fine if WestEmpress Dowager wanted to revenge on him for Little An, he had atleast already killed Little An. (Another scenario was that he waitedfor the order, which came to instruct him to execute Little An.) Whenthe jailer went to the cell that Little An was confined in, he liedto Little An, saying that the governor wanted to see him. Little Anthought that maybe West Empress Dowager had known it and ordered thegovernor to release him. Once out of the prison, the jailer didn'ttake him to see the governor. He put him into a caged cart. Little Anknew what it was and felt his whole body listless. The executionerwalked beside him. Few people were watching, because it was night.The governor didn't want any trouble and so ordered Little An to beexecuted at night.
    Itwas said that he had exposed Little An's body for three days and hadhis body stripped of pants and underwear to show that Little An wasreally a eunuch. It was because there had been a rumor prevalentthat Little An had pretended to be a eunuch, but had had sex withWest Empress Dowager. That's why West Empress Dowager had indulgedhim. A rumor could never be killed by power, but by facts. Theexposure of Little An's half-naked lower torso smothered the rumoreasily. West Empress Dowager was glad and thankful when she learnedit later.

  8. #138
    SinceWest Empress Dowager was sick, the report about Little An went toEast Empress Dowager, who made a decision urged by the emperor andsupported by the secretaries and many other courtiers to executeLittle An. Then when the written order drafted by the SecretarialBureau was sent to West Empress Dowager for her to use her seal onit, she was irate, but she could do nothing to stop it, because shecould not change the rules made by ancestors and furthermore, all thecourtiers demanded that the rules should be observed, or othereunuchs would follow his example. When the emperor taught by someclever official explained to her about the meaning of thethree-legged bird, adding that if she refused to execute Little An,people would think that she had really sent him to collect gifts andbribery for her, which would mar her reputation, she had to use theseal on the written order to show that she had nothing to do withLittle An sneaking out of the capital.
    Thedeath of Little An provided an opportunity for Li Lianying to takehis place. Li had been in the Forbidden City for several yearsalready, but he hadn't had a chance to even appear in the presence ofWest Empress Dowager as Little An would have allowed no one tothreaten his position.
    Generally,the ritual to be a eunuch was performed when really young. The older,the riskier when the genital was cut. Eunuch Li, when he got thetreatment, was already round thirty. He had been in a business andhence called Tawing Li. He liked gambling. Because of the constantloss on the gaming table, he had owed plenty of gambling debts. Hehad to leave his hometown to escape from his debtors. He traveled tothe capital. He had known some old eunuch in the Forbidden City.Since he didn't get any job, he often went to visit the old eunuchthere and learned that all the eunuchs, who had served to comb thehair of West Empress Dowager, had been either reproached or evenpunished. No one had done the job to her satisfaction yet. Tawing Lithought that as he had no work right then, why didn't he learn to bea stylist? If he could be her favorite eunuch like Little An, it wasworth the sacrifice of his dick. At least he had had some experiencein treating fur though fur was different from the hair on a humanhead. They had a little bit similarity. So he went to some brothels,not to have sex with any women there, but to learn how to do the hairbeautifully, because the women there were really the hair expertssince they always wanted to have pretty hairdo to please theirpatrons. He went there disguised as a vendor of cosmetics and flowersfor several months and learned all the tricks.

  9. #139
    Thenhe came to see the old eunuch and expressed his wish to be a eunuch.In astonishment, the old eunuch advised Tawing Li not to do such athing. “The risk was too great. Only one out of every ten survivedat your age.” The old eunuch said to Tawing Li. “So I'm the onealive.” Tawing Li insisted. His determination softened the oldeunuch and he took Li to see an old man. The old man was an expert.This line of work had been handed down in his family. He told Li tolie down on a wooden bed. His limbs were tied to the four corners ofthe bed. Before Li knew anything, he felt an acute pain coming fromhis crotch to his head. He fainted. The old man applied some medicineto the spot to stop the bleeding. If there was no infection before ithealed, he was safe, he said. After ten days, he went into theForbidden City as a real eunuch. He was taught all the etiquettebefore he could be recommended to West Empress Dowager as a hairstylist, which happened only after Little An died. Little An had beena fool, in his opinion, and he wouldn't be so stupid.
    Nowthrough the old eunuch he made himself known to West Empress Dowagerthat he was a hair stylist. So West Empress Dowager summoned him toher presence and warned him that if he couldn't do her hair to hergratification, he would be punished for boasting. The result wasthat she was greatly satisfied with his skills in the hair styling. He became her favorite eunuch, and later her head eunuch.

  10. #140
    Chapter 25

    ElderZeng was transferred to Zhidi Province to be the governor there. Thenew Two River General Governor was Ma, who was from a family of HuiClan, but was born in Shandong Province at the east coast of China.His ancestors had immigrated there. Ma was a man of talent. He hadfought with the Nian Army and was always victorious in the battles.So he was promoted fast. When he was appointed the Two River GeneralGovernor, he organized a new army to be trained for the use ofrifles. Every morning he would go to see his army drilling. Thesoldiers were being trained how to use rifles. He liked to watch themto hit the targets. After that, he went back to his yamen forbreakfast. His yamen was very close to the drilling ground. So hejust walked there and back. No need to ride on the horseback or in apalanquin. Only a few bodyguards escorted him.
    Inthe olden China, especially in the period of later dynasties, poorpeople who were wronged or falsely accused had nowhere to complain orsue. The lowest local government would refuse their cases. So theywould do desperate things to get the wrongs righted, like to throwthemselves on the ground to block the advance of an official from ahigher local government. For example, if his case was refused by amayor, he would stop the governor by throwing himself down on hisknees on the ground before the governor's palanquin and crying, “I'mwronged! Help me to right the wrong!” A good high-rank officialwould take the person to his yamen and accept his case. A badofficial would tell his bodyguards to drive him away.
    Onemorning when Governor Ma was on his way to return to his yamen, allof a sudden, a man rushed out of nowhere and threw himself on theground on his knees, crying, “Your Excellency, right the wrong forme!” But next moment, the man grabbed the right wrist of GovernorMa with his left hand and brought out a sharp dagger from inside hiscoat with his right hand, thrusting the dagger into the right side ofGovernor Ma's chest. Governor Ma cried, “It's you.” before hefell on the ground. The bodyguards caught the man on the spot.Governor Ma was carried into his bedroom and laid on his bed. Doctorswere sent for. When the bad news spread to the ears of the general ofthe city, whose duties were to defend the city, and to the ears ofthe judicial official and other officials, they all hurried to seethe governor, who was dying. The doctors arrived next, but they coulddo nothing, because the wound was fatal. Governor Ma died next day.


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