EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI - Page 18

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  1. #171
    Whenthe contents of the treaty became known, the first ones who got angrywere the critique officials. Some of them wrote reports to accuseChonghou even of treason. The empress dowagers were irate, too. Theyinstructed the Secretarial Bureau to deprive him of his title ofRoyal Representative and to have a discussion what punishment shouldbe inflicted on him. On hearing it, the Russian envoy came to theForeign Affairs Yamen to protest, saying that it was an insult toRussia if Qing government punished the Royal Representative who hadsigned the treaty. The head official in that yamen explained thatQing government punished him because he hadn't waited for any orderand had signed on his own decision and that it had nothing to do withthe signing of the treaty. So the Russian envoy could not protest forthat reason and left.
    CritiqueOfficial Zhang Zhitong wrote a report, suggesting that first toexecute Chonghou for treachery, second to declare to Russia that thetreaty was still invalid since Qing government hadn't approved ityet, third to make war preparations to defend the territory if Russiawaged war on China. A lot of courtiers supported his suggestion.Someone even said, “If war is inevitable, it's better to let itcome earlier since there are still so many experienced generalssurvived from the combats with rebels.” What all the courtiers hadsaid could be concluded in two points: Execute Chonghou and if Russiawants to fight, let's fight.

  2. #172
    Toappease their innocent fury, the Secretarial bureau, approved by theempress dowagers, told Judicial Ministry to detain Chonghou in thejail. Chonghou had confined himself at home since he had returned tothe capital, waiting for things to get quiet down so that he mighthave been let go with only slaps on the wrists. His servants wentabout the city to hunt for any news for him. When the message camefor his apprehension, he put on a prisoner's uniform, which he hadmade. He also knew that if war broke out he would be executed toencourage people to fight. That's politics. When he was put in aprison cell, his butler bribed the jailers so that his master couldbe treated well.
    TheSecretarial Bureau held a series of joint meetings with the cabinetmembers. They even invited Critique Official Zhang to attend. Yixinenumerated the reasons why the government should not have war againstRussia. He said, “Our guns and cannons are not so good and so manyas Russians have. We don't have enough provisions and money tosupport the war. We haven't known the attitude of the generals andsoldiers. What if they don't want to fight?” The war cries lowereda little. The only feasible way at present was to send another RoyalRepresentative to Peterburg to renegotiate with Russia to change thearticles of the treaty. This was a very difficult task. Then theymade several decisions: the government could delay to take back YiliTown and Chonghou could not be executed yet, which would be afriendly gesture to Russia. But why should Russia really care for aChinese official, dead or alive?
    Warpreparations were still going on. General Governor Zuo left GansuProvince for Xinjiang Province, closer to Russia. News came to theears of the empress dowagers that Zuo had taken a coffin with him.The empress dowagers were greatly moved and openly extolled him forloyalty and bravery.
    Aftera great deal of bargaining and reasoning with Russia, the old treatyhad been denounced and a new treaty was signed, which made Qinggovernment lose less rights, but more money. Russia had asked for therepayment of the maintenance fee they had spent on Yili Town. Itsounded reasonable to West Empress Dowager. In the old treaty thefee was five million silver rubles and in the new treaty the fee wasincreased to nine million silver rubles, which was equivalent to fivemillion taels of silver. As long as West Empress Dowager feltgratified, everything was fine. The new Royal Representative waspraised for the completion of the difficult task. He was the eldestson of the late Elder Zeng. As the event was settled to the contentof the empress dowagers, Chonghou was pardoned and released.

  3. #173
    Chapter 30


    WestEmpress Dowager was sick for some time already, but she still went todiscuss things with the courtiers. Then her sickness became serious.On March 12, 1880, East Empress Dowager had to handle the stateaffairs alone, with the help of Yixin and other courtiers, of course.But West Empress Dowager was not happy. She was afraid that EastEmpress Dowager would seize the power at the chance.
    Theroyal doctor said that her sickness was due to the strains of toomuch work and suggested that she should have a complete rest till sherecuperated entirely. As her anxiety added to her sickness, shedidn't feel any better for four months. Medicine proved no effect onher. No one could persuade her to take more rest. Then Big Princesswas thought of, who was a widow now and lived separately in her ownresidence. She went to the Forbidden City to see West EmpressDowager and stayed there to look after her day and night. It wassaid that Big Princess spoke so convincingly that West EmpressDowager always listened to her.
    OnJuly 13, a notice of doctors Wanted in the emperor's name was put upthroughout the empire. The governor of Zhejiang Province recommendeda famous Doctor Xi, who was dispatched to the capital, into theForbidden City. The coincidence was that other two governors alsorecommended Doctor Xi. So Doctor Xi was then summoned to the presenceof West Empress Dowager in her chamber. She was lying in bed. FirstDoctor Xi kowtowed before the bed, then he knelt close to the bed tofeel the pulse of West Empress Dowager. He had been taught all therituals beforehand. After feeling the pulse, he asked permission tolook at the tongue of West Empress Dowager. Then he was allowed tostand up and backed away from the bed. Near the door he turned roundand walked out of the chamber. He was led into another room to writeout his prescription, which was then checked by the courtiers in theSecretarial Bureau and even sent to West Empress Dowager herself tobe approved before a eunuch took it to the drug storage room in theForbidden City for the medicine.

  4. #174
    DoctorXi had passed the second government test and had come to the capitalfor the final test. At that time there had been war in the southernprovinces. He could not have gone back to Wuxi City, where he hadbeen born and grown up. He had stayed in the capital for preparationfor the next test. He had had plenty of time and begun to studymedicine all by himself. He had bought an official title, but couldnever have got a post, because the government had needed money badlyand sold more titles than the real positions could have held.Everyone who had bought a title should have waited for a vacancy. Toget a vacancy, one should have spent more money. Xi couldn't havepaid more money and so he had had to wait. In the meantime, he hadpracticed his medicine and had greatly improved his skills andknowledge. After war had ended in the southern provinces, Doctor Xihad got a vacancy there.
    Nowhe came to the capital as a doctor. He met the royal doctor first,who asked him a lot of questions as if he was testing his medicalknowledge. Doctor Xi answered all his questions deliberately and atlast the royal doctor could think of no more questions to ask. Itmeant that Doctor Xi was a better doctor than the royal doctor. WhenDoctor Xi asked the royal doctor what illness West Empress Dowagerwas suffering, the royal doctor could not say anything definite. Hecouldn't even tell what kind of the illness it was.
    SometimesWest Empress Dowager didn't take the medicine if she didn't trust inthe expertise of the doctor, who wrote out the prescription, though. But this time West Empress Dowager took medicine for forty-threedays, because she trusted Doctor Xi. She was soon convalescent andcould see the courtiers again.
    Therehad been a rumor that West Empress Dowager had had a miscarriage andthe royal doctor had misdiagnosed. If a doctor could not diagnosecorrectly, how could he prescribe the right medicine? That was whythe sickness of West Empress Dowager had lasted so long. Doctor Xidiagnosed it, but he couldn't say it. So he just prescribed the rightmedicine under another name of the disease with somewhat similarsymptoms. Anyway, when he cured West Empress Dowager, he was given avery good position near the capital so that if next time West EmpressDowager was sick again, he could come on a very short notice.

  5. #175
    OfficialYan was an ugly man, short and lean. His eyes were not on the samelevel, one a bit higher and the other a little lower. The lineconnecting the two eyes was slanting. But he was an upright official,never afraid of any unreasonable superiors. At that time he was theFinancial Official in Hubei Province, directly under the governor.The governor of Hubei Province was bisexual and doted on his page, ahandsome young boy with fair skin. Sometimes, the governor wouldsleep with him at night. As the boy grew up, the governor gave himofficial titles till he was then a deputy general and the head of thegovernor's bodyguards. The deputy general often bullied people andextorted money from people. Official Yan always wanted to put himaway in jail, but didn't get a chance.
    Oneday, the deputy general trespassed into a house and raped and killeda girl in that family. The father sued him in Yan's yamen. Now Yanhad a reason to arrest him. So he went to the governor's yamen withhis guards. The governor hid his boyfriend, the deputy general, inthe back of his yamen. Official Yan asked to see the governor, butthe governor feigned sick and wouldn't come out to receive Yan. Oneof his bodyguards said to Yan, “When Governor get well, Governorwill come to see Your Excellency.” The governor had thought thatYan would go away and after things got cool off, he could save theskin of his boyfriend. But Yan said to the governor's bodyguard,“Governor will surely recover some day. I'd better wait here tillGovernor gets well.” He ordered his guards to fetch his sleepingbag and other necessary things from his own yamen. He stayed in thereceiving room of the governor's yamen for three days and managed hisown official business from there. It really looked bad to thegovernor, who asked the Judicial Official and his own privateadvisers to persuade Yan to leave, but Yan insisted that he shouldexecute the deputy general for the murder of the girl before he left.The governor had to come out to see Yan. The governor knelt beforeYan to implore him to spare the life of his boyfriend, the deputygeneral. The governor was Yan's immediate boss. So someone said thatit was not appropriate to let the governor kneel before him. Yanhelped the governor on his feet and promised to spare the life of hisboyfriend, but on one condition. As long as Yan could spare hisboyfriend's life, the governor would agree to any conditions. “What'sthe condition?” he asked. “He must be deported to his homevillage and Governor can never hire him again.” said Yan. Thegovernor consented to the condition and sent for the deputy general,who kowtowed to Yan for sparing his life. Yan ordered his guards togive him forty beatings before deporting him out of the province. Thegovernor was not a bad man, only a good-for-nothing. He didn't hateYan for that and never thought of revenge. On the contrary, herecommended him to West Empress Dowager, who then appointed Yan asthe governor of Shandong Province.

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