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  1. #161
    Whenthe emperor came into power he remembered his study-mate andplaymate, Zaizhen, the son of Yixin and made him his Courtier BeforeThrone so that the emperor could see him more often. When they hadnothing else better to do, Zaizhen would tell the emperor some funnythings. Or something he thought it was funny.
    Oneday, he told the emperor, “The wife of the French envoy came to seemy mother.” The emperor interrupted and asked, “Does a foreignerreally have red eyebrows and green eyes?” (Some eunuch hadmentioned foreigners to the emperor like that.) Ziazheng replied,“They have green eyes, yes. But they don't have red eyebrows.”
    “What'stheir rule of behavior?” asked the emperor again.
    Theirrule is ladies first. When a newcomer arrives, the men must stand up,but the women still sit there. And men always kiss women's hands.”Answered Zaizhen seriously.
    Iwas told that the women and the men mix together. Is that so?”
    Sure.They shake each other's hands. They embrace each other and even kisseach other on the mouth.”
    Haveyou been kissed by a foreign woman?” The emperor was curious. Hewas still a teenager.
    No.I don't have such pleasure. They don't kiss us because they know wedon't like to be kissed.”
    Haveyou touched a foreign woman's hands?”
    Yes.On the day when the wife of the French envoy came to see my mother, Iwent into our guest room too. I was about to withdraw from theirpresence, the French woman asked me to stay. By the way, she canspeak some Chinese, though with an accent. She shook hands with me,but I had gooseflesh all over.”
    Why?Are there thorns on her hand?” The emperor asked innocently.
    No.Thorns only make me painful. But, no. The hair on her hand and arm isvery long.”
    Thatwill look like a monkey's.” The emperor joked.
    Yes.But she is more beautiful than a monkey.” They both laughed.

  2. #162
    Chapter 28

    Seventeenwas the age already mature for sex, but the emperor could not havesex with the queen, whom he loved, for fear that the queen would beblamed by his mother. And he didn't want to have sex with the royalconcubine whom he disliked because his mother had forced her on him. He could not go to the other two concubines if he didn't go to theroyal concubine.
    Hissex life was in crisis. As the emperor gradually knew somethingabout the life of ordinary people outside the Forbidden City, howinteresting it was, he wanted to witness it, to have a taste of thatlife and to see things in the outside world. For diversion, He beganto sneak out of the Forbidden City in disguise and wandered in thestreets. He had meals in some restaurants famous for some specialdishes and visited some bazaars. Once he met a bad courtier, who wassinging a few pieces from some well-known operas. It was customarythat courtiers or even princes liked to sing or even hum some tunesfrom the operas. Some courtiers even acted some scenes from operasas amateurs just for the enjoyment of it. The emperor liked tolisten to the operas, too. When he listened to the bad courtier, heliked his singing. So a few days later, he promoted the bad courtierto a higher position so that the emperor could see more of him. Thebad courtier secretly brought to the emperor some adult books andpictures of naked bodies, which only served to inspire his sexualdesire. Life in the Forbidden City was really tedious. The mostexciting entertainment was to watch operas, but even the emperorcouldn't watch operas everyday. Once or twice he even spent sometime in whorehouses to satisfy his need as a man. He could not go tosome expensive whorehouses because he was afraid to be recognized bysome courtiers, who were the regular patrons there. He could only gowhere no one would know him, where only workers or poor peoplefrequented. But all these activities of the emperor were known toRonglu, who was then in charge of the enforcement of law and order inthe capital and had his men in plain clothes all over Peking togather all kinds of information for him. But he didn't tell anyoneabout the emperor's behavior, only ordered his men to protect theemperor without letting anyone know it.

  3. #163
    Butthe furtive trips of the emperor outside the Forbidden City became sofrequent that he neglected his studies. He often stopped attendingthe classes without any reason, just notifying the tutors, “Noclasses today.” Usually it should be the tutors that gave the noclasses notice, not the other way round. But it was the way with theemperor. What could the tutors say? When the secretaries came to knowit, they discussed the situation. It was serious for many reasons,besides the reason for safety. Yixin was the sixth uncle of theemperor. Yihuan was the seventh uncle. And some old courtiers who hadseen the young emperor grow up. They handed in a report to admonishthe emperor, adding at the end that they hoped that the emperor wouldreceive them and they had more important things to report in person.The emperor got the wind of it already. He didn't want to hear anymore of their expostulation. He didn't even read their report. Thesecretaries and courtiers waited for the emperor to see them, butdays elapsed without any hint that the emperor would see them. Sothey just went in to see the emperor. Since Yixin was the head of theSecretarial Bureau, he began, “Have Emperor read our report?”
    “Notyet.” The emperor, though a bit nervous, pretended to speaknonchalantly. Then he took up the report on his desk. Slitting openthe envelope, the emperor took out the report from it. When he wenthalf way down the page, the color on his face changed, a littlepaler. He put down the report and said, “I know now. I will studyharder. Is that all right?” He sounded irritated. But these oldcourtiers ignored his sentiment.
    “There'smore than that.” said Yixin. He took out another copy and read italoud. Before he could finish it, the emperor shouted indignantly,“What if I let you be the emperor?” Everyone of the courtiers wasstunned. Secretary Wenqiang, who was not well there days, sighed andcollapsed on the floor. The emperor was in panic and regretted. Theeunuchs waiting outside the building rushed in to help SecretaryWenqiang on his feet. Such things had never happened since thebeginning of Qing Dynasty. So Yihuan, the seventh uncle of theemperor, said, “If emperor can watch his behavior, it's a blessingto our Qing Dynasty.”
    “Iknow everything is my fault. What's wrong with my behavior?”
    “Thefirst thing for a young emperor is to study hard. The second thing isthat a young emperor should not do things an emperor shouldn't do.”said Yihuan.
    “Whathave I done to deserve such censure?” asked the emperor.
    “Emperorshould not steal out of the Forbidden City.”
    “That'srumor. How can I do that?” The emperor pleaded.

  4. #164
    Emperorknow it's rumor or not rumor.” It sounded like the emperor waslying. So he said, “Do you have any proof? If you don't, you arespreading rumors.” Under such circumstances, Yihuan had to tell theemperor what he had learned so that the emperor looked upon hisbehavior seriously. So he enumerated what the emperor had done andwhere the emperor had gone. On such and such a day, the emperor hadgone to buy some books. On such and such a day, the emperor had goneto such and such a restaurant to have lunch and what dishes theemperor had ordered and how much the emperor had paid. He could notsay in which brothel the emperor had visited. The emperor could saynothing more.
    Thenthe Secretarial Bureau wanted to punish the officials in charge ofthe royal construction work, because they had caused a lot of troubleby instigating the emperor to fix the Round-Bright Garden, but theemperor wouldn't agree. When Yixin insisted, the emperor flared up inoutrage and issued an order to remove Yixin from all his offices,which he had learned from his mother, West Empress Dowager, who haddone it before. Other secretaries came to reason with the emperor andthe emperor wrote another order to remove every secretary from theSecretarial Bureau. He summoned the ministers and other courtiers andwanted them to discuss what punishment the emperor should inflict onthe secretaries.
    WestEmpress Dowager had some eunuchs working in the emperor's place andthey ran to report to West Empress Dowager, who went to see EastEmpress Dowager and told her everything she knew. The two empressdowagers sent for the emperor, who came immediately. East EmpressDowager said to him, “How can you dismiss all the secretaries? Doyou want the empire to crumble in your hands?” The emperor couldsay nothing to plead for himself. Then West Empress Dowager told theemperor to undo all his former orders, which the emperor had tofollow, though reluctantly. Anyway, everything became normal.
    OnNovember 28, 1874, the emperor was suddenly taken ill. A royaldoctor was summoned and after diagnosis he said that it was cold. Nobig deal. Everyone could fall sick for cold. So he prescribed some medicine, but it had no effect. The doctor wasperplexed and didn't know what to do. He had to wait and see whatother symptoms would appear. In the meanwhile he just prescribed somegeneral tonics. Then some red spots broke out on the emperor's skin afew days later. So the doctor decided that it was small pox. Thedoctor thought that it was easy now since he was sure what it was.When the empress dowagers asked him what was the emperor's illness.He told them that it was small pox. The empress dowagers asked, “Areyou sure?”

  5. #165
    Yes.”The doctor replied, “If it is the small pox, that meant no dangerto his life. If it was not small pox, he might have difficulty tocure.” West Empress Dowager annoyed, but she knew that she couldnot rebuke the doctor. It was not that she was afraid the doctorwould poison the emperor, but that if the doctor was reproached hemight get nervous and prescribe wrong medicine. So it was thetradition that no one should blame a royal doctor. On the contrary,West Empress Dowager said to the doctor, “If you heal the sicknessof the emperor, I will give you a promotion.” Encouragement wasmore appropriate. There was another tradition that when anyone in thepalace suffered from small pox, a goddess of small pox would be setup in an unoccupied room and joss-sticks and candles were burnedbefore the icon. After a few days the symptoms of the small pox onthe skin of the emperor gradually disappeared. Everyone in the palacewas happy. The empress dowagers were at rest. However, to theirunexpectedness, other symptoms showed up on the emperor. Now thedoctor was in a plight. The symptoms indicated the fatal disease ofsyphilis. It's unbelievable in the doctor's opinion that the emperorcould suffer from such a terminal disease, which was spread onlythrough sexual contamination. Of course the treatment didn't get anyexpected result. The emperor didn't feel any better, but worseeveryday. The doctor couldn't tell the truth, because the truthwould impair the emperor's reputation, which was at that timeconsidered more important even than his life. Besides, it was aterminal disease. No one could do anything about it even if thedoctor told the truth.
    Sincethe emperor got worse day by day, Yixin liked to know what was reallythe disease. He sent for the doctor. At first the doctor was afraidto tell the truth, but Yixin threatened that if he didn't let himknow, when the emperor died, the doctor would get into big troubles.So the doctor had to tell the truth. Yixin was stunned. He had neverthought of that. It was incredible. But he could not let the empressdowagers know it.

  6. #166
    Duringthe emperor's sickness, since he could not attend to the stateaffairs, the empress dowagers resumed the roles to act in his behalfand recommenced to handle the state affairs, which was just after theheart of West Empress Dowager. She was already disappointed in herson, who, in her opinion, had never listened to her since he tookover the power. Now it was everybody's concern who would succeed thethrone when the emperor was summoned to Heaven by his ancestors.
    Accordingto logic and common sense, the successor should be chosen from thenext generation to be the adopted son of the present emperor. ButWest Empress Dowager thought differently. If the successor came fromthe next generation to the present emperor, the present queen wouldbecome the empress dowager, and she would be the grandmother to thesuccessor. She wouldn't be in a position then to act in behalf ofthe successor from her next next generation and she would lose powerforever. She could not bear even to think of it. She sent Ronglu,who was a high-rank courtier now, to convene all the importantcourtiers to her presence to discuss the issue of the successor. Butas it was a subtle issue, the courtiers didn't dare to express theiropinions. They just begged the empress dowagers to make thedecision.
    Therefore,she selected the son of her sister, who married Yihuan, Yixin'sbrother, also her brother-in-law. The son was then only four yearsold. So she could still stay in power on the pretext that thesuccessor was too young and she must help him to handle things tillhe was grown up.
    “Hismother is my sister.” she would say, “His father is mybrother-in-law. I am his double auntie. He is really my own fleshand blood.”
    EastEmpress Dowager didn't care who succeeded the throne. The courtierscould really say nothing about the selection of the future emperor,which was considered to be the business of the royal family, a familymatter, but which really concerned everybody, the whole empire. Since West Empress Dowager made the decision, it was thus settled.Then West Empress Dowager promoted Ronglu to be one of the heads ofthe Royal Family Affairs Management. Ronglu could see more of WestEmpress Dowager now.

  7. #167
    EmperorTongzhi died on January 12, 1875, and the successor to the throne wasnamed Emperor Guangxu (1871-190, but he was chosen as the adoptedson of Emperor Xianfeng, the husband of West Empress Dowager, not asthe adopted son of Emperor Tongzhi, her son, because Emperor Guangxuwas the cousin of Emperor Tongzhi, belonging to the same generation. Now West Empress Dowager was his adopted mother, still the empressdowager.
    PrinceFu was sent to fetch the son of Yihuan, the future emperor, whosemother, the sister of West Empress Dowager, was happy and sad at thesame time. Happy because her son was the emperor now and sad becauseshe lost her son forever. “Will the wet nurse go into the ForbiddenCity too?” asked the mother.
    “No.They had hired another wet nurse already.” answered Prince Fu, whowas Yihuan's younger brother, the ninth one.
    Butcan you report to West Empress Dowager that my son can't leave thiswet nurse.” pleaded the mother, who was almost in tears.
    Mysister-in-law, you should say Emperor now, not your son any more.”
    Itwas night. The child was asleep. When he was wakened, he started tocry. The mother took him to the Forbidden City, carried in a warmpalanquin. When they reached the palace and were presented to theempress dowagers, the child was asleep in the arms of his mother. Butwhen he transferred to the embrace of a new wet nurse, he began tocry again. Therefore, the empress dowagers had to send for theoriginal wet nurse.
    Justafter a month of the new emperor's coronation, the queen of EmperorTongzhi died. It was said that she committed suicide, but generalopinion was that she was compelled by West Empress Dowager to end herlife either by swallowing a lump of gold or by starving herself. Imperial palace is always full of secrets that no historian cansolve.
    Almostat the same time, Princess RongAn, the daughter of Concubine DowagerLi, was pregnant. When she came to know her stepbrother, EmperorTongzhi, died, she wept and wept till her baby aborted. Then she gotsmall pox and died not long after Emperor Tongzhi's death. It wassaid that Emperor Tongzhi needed a companion in Heaven and took hisstep-sister with him.

  8. #168
    Chapter 29

    Acritique official turned in a report, saying, “The pawn shop ownerLi falsely declares that he is a relative of Minister Ho ofConstruction Ministry and hereby does all sorts of illegal thingslike cheating and extorting and taking briberies. He is also ago-between in other unlawful transactions. He mingles with thecourtiers and his residence is as magnificent and luxurious as thoseof the ministers.” How can a pawn shop owner manage to have allthese luxuries? This critique official beg to have this pawn shopowner to deport to his home town so that the capital could be clearof such human garbage. Then he added in another paragraph, “As forcourtiers, especially ministers, they should not mix with such lowlives, feasting together and giving each other presents. Thiscritique official beg to issue an order to prohibit such behavioramong the courtiers.”
    WhenWest Empress Dowager read the report, she was surprised. She knewMinister Ho was a scholar. How could he have anything to do with suchpeople? But she was not sure whether the critique official told thetruth, because a critique official was allowed to write a reportbased on mere rumors and gossips. So she sent her head eunuch Li togather some facts. Head Eunuch Li, or Tawing Li as people called himbehind his back, was cleverer than Little An. He did anything illegalwithout leaving any trace of proof behind. He spent half a day tomake inquiries where he could get the truth and came back to reportto West Empress Dowager.
    MerchantLi, the pawnshop owner, came from Shanxi Province. He had a buildingconstructed and opened a pawnshop, which took up a great expanse ofspace in a market place. He dealt in curios and also sold books. Sothe pawnshop was looked upon as a bookstore as well. Poor peoplewouldn't buy books or pawn curios. His customers were all rich peopleand courtiers. Therefore, he bought an official title so that hecould wear official clothes on certain occasions. He even knew aprince, who had a hobby to collect antiques. With so much contactwith courtiers, he began to step outside the circumference of law.When such dealings became open secrets, they attracted the notice ofcritique officials. It was just at the time that West Empress Dowagerwanted to utilize the critique force to discipline the officialdomand establish her own authority. So West Empress Dowager gave thereport to the Secretarial Bureau for discussion and investigation.The Secretarial Bureau ordered the Judicial Ministry to arrest thepawnshop owner. Further investigation revealed that the pawnshop,when in the process of construction, had encroached on a piece of thegovernment land and the whole lot that belonged to a charityorganization for poor people. The judgment of Judicial Ministry onhim was sixty beatings and one year's imprisonment, and after that,he would be deported to his hometown under parole of his localgovernment.

  9. #169
    Butthe critique officials really aimed at Minister Ho, not the pawnshopowner, like they had said that they wanted to hit the tiger, not afly. Then another critique official filed in his report, asking whatrelationship actually was between Minister Ho and the pawnshop owner.After the perusal of the report, West Empress Dowager orderedMinister Ho to explain it. Minister Ho replied in his report that hedidn't really have any relationship with the pawnshop owner and thathe met him whenever he went to buy some books there. If that was thetruth, he was not guilty of anything. But as a matter of fact,Minister Ho took the wife of the pawnshop owner as his dry daughter(In China, dry father/mother and dry daughter/son have noflesh-and-blood tie between them. Their relationship is somewhat likegod-father/mother and god-daughter/son, only without any religiousmeaning in it.) When the wife had died, Minister Ho made one of hismaids as his dry daughter and married her to the pawnshop owner. Sothe relationship between them was dry father-in-law and dryson-in-law. To show his gratitude for marrying his dry daughter tohim, the pawnshop owner bought a young girl and presented her toMinister Ho as his concubine. Minster Ho's wife had long been dead.So Minister Ho made the girl his wife. Now the pawnshop owner gothimself a young dry mother-in-law. If the girl were still a concubineand when they met, he didn't need to show any respect to her, but asthe wife of Minister Ho, he should go down on his knees before herand kowtowed to her when they met on certain occasions.
    Thecritique officials accused Minister Ho of cheating in his reply abouthis relationship with the pawn shop owner. So Minister Ho was demotedto be the deputy general critique official since there was no othervacancy. (General critique official was the head of the critiquedepartment.) Now all the critique officials were opposed to it. Thatwas a wrong move of the Secretarial Bureau. It seemed as if they hadmade the appointment without serious consideration. Some critiqueofficial asked if this appointment meant that a critique officialshould lie and cheat. Of course not. On the contrary, a critiqueofficial should be upright and honest. So the Secretarial Bureau hadto let him retire with the promise that his son would get apromotion.

  10. #170
    Forfive years General Governor Zuo at last put an end to the Hui Clanrebellion. Just as he was about to return to the capitalvictoriously, an international event happened in Xinjiang Province.So West Empress Dowager ordered him to stay there for a while longer.If war should break out in Xinjiang Province between Russia and Chinahe could go there to reinforce.
    Russiahad occupied Yili Town in Xinjiang Province for quite some time. Theyhad declared that they only kept that town for Qing government tillQing government was capable of ruling the town peacefully andefficiently, because there lived in Yili Town so many Russianmerchants and people and Russian government should protect them. Atleast Russia still occupied Yili Town that belonged to Qinggovernment, which had been busy dealing with rebellions at that time.Now there were no more rebels. Qing government put the Yili Townproblem on their agenda. They delivered a diplomatic note to Russiafor the return of Yili Town to China. Both governments agreed to havea talk about it in Peterburg in Russia. (Peterburg was then thecapital of Russia. They call it Leningrad now.) So Qing governmentsent a courtier Chonghou there as a royal representative. He had beenworking in the Foreign affairs Yamen for a long time and knew how todeal with the foreigners. The courtiers often wanted to guess whatWest Empress Dowager really wished so that they could do things toher satisfaction. But this time Royal Representative Chonghou had awrong guessing that West Empress Dowager was afraid of war and wouldmaintain peace at any costs. Therefore, he gave in to Russian demandsmore than necessary. And the worst of it was that he didn't even senda copy back for the approval of West Empress Dowager. He thought thathe had the full authority to do that and signed the treaty. Then hedidn't wait for any further order and just returned to the capital.By the treaty, Qing government lost a lot of rights, though Russiapromised to let Qing government take back Yili Town.


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