EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI - Page 19

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  1. #181
    Aftera while the young man left with his servants. But his cute imagestill lingered in the mind's eye of Lady Kui. When the waiter came toreplenish her teapot with boiled water, she asked him who that youngman was. “Your Ladyship mean His Esquire?” said the waiter,“Everyone know Esquire Zaizhen.”
    “Youmean the son of Prince Yixin?” Lady Kui wanted to make sure.
    “Nonethe other.” The waiter smiled his reply. Lady Kui thought that wasthe man a woman should marry. She always looked down upon her husbandbecause he was a useless man in every sense of the word. Although hewas a duke, he didn't have power and didn't have a lot of wealth asother dukes, nor even as marquises, earls, viscounts and barons. Inher opinion, wealth should be in correspondence with titles. Lady Kuiwas vain as many women were.
    Whenshe stepped out of the teahouse, the servant, who had addressed herinside the teahouse, came forth, saying, 'His Esquire leave the coachhere to take Your Ladyship home.” When she refused, the servantslung himself down on his knees and kowtowed before her, blocking herway to go further. The servant begged, “Have mercy on me, YourLadyship. If Your Ladyship won't ride home in the coach, His Esquirewill think I'm useless and will fire me. I have a family of five tofeed. So have pity on me, Your Ladyship.” He kept kowtowing untilshe conceded. Lady Kui had a heart of gold and didn't want his familyto starve. But she asked, “Do you know where I live?”
    Sure.”The servant replied, “Your Ladyship live in Duke Kui's residence.”
    Sothey knew everything about me, she thought. The coachman was holdingthe door of the coach open for her. The servant crawled on the groundbefore the coach door, serving as a step stone. Lady Kui stepped onhis back and into the coach, helped by her maid, who followed in. Thecoachman shut the door. The servant rode with the coachman in thefront. The coach rumbled forward. Lady Kui sat back comfortably andclosed her eyes. The maid sat at her side with only half of herbuttocks on the seat. Generally a maid could not sit with hermistress, but she could not stand in the coach, either. So this was aposture adopted by the inferiors before their superiors when theywere asked to sit or had to sit on certain occasions.
    WhenLady Kui felt the coach halted, she opened her eyes, but it was nother home. The servant came to open the door. Lady Kui asked, “Whereis this?” The servant replied, “Your Ladyship will know when YourLadyship go in.” Lady Kui was curious to know and went in, followedby her maid. Esquire Zaizhen was there to welcome her. She couldn'treject his courtship and they slept together that night. Thus, LadyKui became a concubine of Esquire Zaizhen.

  2. #182
    DukeKui waited eagerly for the return of his wife the whole day and thewhole night, but to no avail. It had never happened like this before.He knew that something was wrong with his wife. Next day, he reportedto the yamen that his wife was missing. The wife of a duke was notlike a wife of an ordinary person. So the yamen made it amissing-person case. But for three months no trace of his wife'swhereabouts was detected. It seemed as if his wife just evaporatedlike a wisp of steam.
    Justas Duke Kui was about to give her up as dead, she was seen in atheater together with Esquire Zaizhen. They were seen by a patrolofficer, who knew both Lady Kui and Esquire Zaizhen. The patrolofficer didn't dare to report to the yamen. He didn't want to makesuch an enemy like Esquire Zaizhen. But it was not good to the yamenif the missing-person case could not be closed. So next day he wentto see Esquire Zaizhen. Of course, he couldn't see Esquire Zaizhenhimself. The head servant received him. He discussed with the headservant how to close the case without making a ripple into a billow.
    NowEsquire Zaizhen was afraid that he would get into a big trouble ifhis father learned it. He suggested to Lady Kui that she should gohome to settle it with her husband and then come back.
    “Youwant to get rid of me?” She flared up. “Not so easy.”
    “No.I need you. You know that.” Zaizhen reassured her. Lady Kui thoughtthat she could not always hide like a criminal wanted. They made aplan. Esquire Zaizhen promised to get her husband a good position asa condition to the settlement. He gave her a thousand taels in asilver note. So Lady Kui returned to her former home next day to thesurprise of everyone in Duke Kui's residence. To them she seemedsuddenly descended from Heaven like a fairy god-mother. Lady Kui wentto the bedroom and Duke Kui followed in and shut the door behind him.

  3. #183
    Wherewere you all the time? I am so worried.” said the husband.
    “It'sall your fault. I was confined by someone.” The wife complained.
    “Whois that someone” ?Duke Kui wanted to know who was so bold to kidnapa duke's wife.
    “Someonepowerful. We are no match for him.”
    “Youcan at least tell me who he is. I'm not to sue him or what.”
    “He'sEsquire Zaizhen.” That was their plan to tell the husband thetruth.
    “Sonof Prince Yixin?” The husband couldn't believe his ears and desiredto make double sure.
    “Whoelse would be so bold to confine me?”
    “Whydid he do that to you?” That was the reasonable question.
    ”Nowtell me, you want to go to jail or you want to be a high-rankofficial.”
    “Whatall that means?” The husband was not so dumb as he seemed to be.Only he was chicken-hearted.
    “He'sknown all you did, the two illegal things, I mean. He has all theevidence gathered.”
    “So,what he want? Blackmailing always has a purpose.”
    “Hewants me. If you let him have me, he'll get a position for you. Andhere'd a thousand taels.” She took out the silver note and handedit to her husband. “If you don't, he'll give the evidence to theMandarin Clan Affairs Management.” Duke Kui knew that his wifenever loved him and that during the three months she had lived withEsquire Zaizhen, they had had adultery for sure. He couldn't reallytake back a wife that had had sex with another man, whoever he was.So the best way to settle it was to let her go and get the money andthe position for the exchange. Lady Kui knew her husband so well thatthe result was predictable. She didn't really tell Esquire Zaizhenthe illegal things her husband had done. She just used them as atrick. Duke Kui sent a report to the yamen to withdraw his case forthe reason that his wife was back.
    DukeKui had a younger brother (referred to as Brother Kui hereafter), whowas a gambler and a villain, capable of anything. A gambler alwaysneeds money. So Brother Kui often went to see Duke Kui for money.When Duke Kui didn't have any cash to give him, he would takewhatever he could lay hands on in Duke Kui's house and sold them formoney. He was really a headache to Duke Kui.

  4. #184
    BrotherKui thought it as an insult. He wanted to revenge and to get moremoney out of the event. First he went to see a doctor and asked thedoctor to write him a certificate about his wounds for the possiblefuture use when needed. Then he asked someone to write a statementfor him about everything that occurred so far, including what hadhappened to Lady Kui. He took the statement to the residence ofYixin. The butler received him and accepted his statement. WhenBrother Kui left, the butler read the statement and was frightened.He didn't dare to report to Yixin. He sent it to Esquire Zaizhen, whojust put it aside and forgot about it.
    BrotherKui waited for half a month. When he realized that no one would cometo settle things with him, he had another statement written and tookit to the head of the Mandarin Clan Affairs Management. The head gavethe statement to Yixin, who got furious and told the butler to findhis son. Esquire Zaizhen had to come to see his father. He kneltbefore his father, who enumerated his wrong-doings. Then Yixin toldthe butler to take his son to the Mandarin Clan Affairs Management.It meant that he wanted to punish his son by law. This was veryserious. There would be a bad record about the son's behavior. So thebutler begged Yixin to spare his son this time. But Yixin insisted.All the household came to beseech on their knees, even the wife ofEsquire Zaizhen, the daughter-in-law of Yixin. She should have beenjealous and let her husband be punished. But she was a kind woman anda nice wife. So Yixin softened a little. The butler, who had workedin the family when Yixin had been young, seized the opportunity andsaid that if his son was taken to the Mandarin Clan AffairsManagement, West Empress Dowager would surely know it and would beangry, which was not good to her health. She was not completelyrecovered yet. Then he suggested that the son could be confined inhis study till he mended his ways in his behavior. Yixin agreed tohis measure, but added that the windows secured from outside and thedoor locked from outside too.

  5. #185
    Thebutler often went to see the son, who wanted the butler to let himout. The butler wouldn't comply for fear that Yixin would takestricter measures. He advised the son that if he could send Lady Kuiback home to her husband, his father might go easy on him. The sonwas eager to get out. He wrote a letter to Lady Kui without a secondthought. The letter said that it was better for both of them that sheshould return home to her husband for the time being and when he gotout she could come back to him and that they could find some placesecluded to live together, forever and ever. The butler took theletter to Lady Kui and advised her to follow what Esquire Zaizhen hadsaid in the letter, adding that Prince Yixin would never agree totheir relationship since it involved Duke Kui.
    NowLady Kui found herself between the devil and the deep sea. How couldshe go back to her husband since they had the settlement? She couldnever do that. She had nowhere to go except to the god of Hell. Nextday when the maid entered her bedroom, she gave out a loud shriek.The guards and servants rushed in to see what the matter was. LadyKui hanged herself. They reported to the butler, who didn't dare tolet Yixin know. The butler wanted to settle it secretly. He went tosee Duke Kui and told him that his wife had hanged herself. Duke Kuiwas stunned by the unexpected sad news, but a while later he said,“It's the best way for everybody.” They negotiated. The butlerpromised to take care of everything about Lady Kui's funeral andburial. Then he gave the husband ten thousand taels of silver as hushmoney. Some close friend who knew it joked with him that he sold hiswife's body, which was worth ten thousand taels.

  6. #186
    Chapter 33


    Sincethe treaty between Russia and China was signed, Yili town would soonbe returned to Qing government. The secretaries were considering whowould be the most suitable candidate to take over the town and guardit. General Governor Zuo recommended General Zhang, who was alreadyin Xinjiang Province. The report of recommendation from GeneralGovernor Zuo said that that General Zhang was the most appropriateperson for the post. His bio was attached.
    GeneralZhang was born in Zhejiang Province. He was often seen in casinos fora living when young. Once an elder relative scolded him for hisidleness and even boxed his ears in public. He felt humiliated andleft home. He went to Henan Province and found his uncle-in-law, whowas the mayor of Gushi Town. So he lived in the mayor's yamen and hadsome pocket money, too. He had never been educated and wasilliterate, though he was tall and good-looking, with a strong build.His relative, the mayor, despised him and didn't deign to give himany work. He idled away his time. He had a cousin, the daughter ofthe mayor, who was nicknamed a lady-scholar. The cousins had neverseen each other. At that time Henan Province was one of the areaswhere the Nian Army moved about.
    Oneday, a horrible piece of news spread that the Nian Army would come toattack the town. A small town didn't have an army for its owndefense. The few policemen to enforce law and order could not beconsidered as a defensive force because they never had any experienceto fight on the battlefield. People were in a panic. The mayor couldnot but put up a notice to recruit young men. Three hundred youngpeople came to register, but none among them were capable enough tobe the leader. So the mayor put up another notice that whoever couldlead those three hundred young men to trounce the Nian Army wouldmarry his daughter. But no one dared to take the leadership, becausethe Nian Army outnumbered them tenfold, twentyfold or evenhundredfold. Someone joked with Zhang that he should try. Thisencouraged him. So he tore down the notice and went to see the mayor,his uncle-in-law, suggesting that three hundred people were notsufficient to safeguard the town and the best strategy was to ambushthe Nian Army. It sounded reasonable and feasible. The mayor agreedto it. Zhang led the young men out of the town and laid the ambushwhere the Nian Army would pass. All the gates of the town wereclosed. Other people stood behind the battlements. They planned tobeat the drums and wave the banners when the combat began, making itlook like more armed people would come out of the town to join thebattle.

  7. #187
    TheNian Army reached the town at night. They camped outside the town,intending to siege it next day. They thought that it was an easy jobto take over such a small town. But at midnight, Zhang and his threehundred young fighters assaulted the camp of the Nian Army, who wassurprised and panicked. The Nian Army didn't even know the number ofthe attackers. They only heard the cries of war everywhere and drumsbeating on the town walls and saw banners being brandished in thewind. The coincidence was that just at the time when the battle wasin the hottest, a detachment of the government army came to therescue and the Nian Army fled. So Zhang was conferred a title andmarried his beautiful and talented cousin. Then he was made the mayorof that town. No one knew that he could not read and write, becausehis wife read all the documents and wrote all the reports for him. Hewas gradually promoted to be the Financial Official of HenanProvince. But his illiteracy came out at last in the open. CritiqueOfficial Liu revealed the fact to West Empress Dowager in his report.There was a rule that illiterate people could not be officials, butthey could be made officers. So he became a general. General Zhangwas ashamed of his illiteracy and asked his wife to tutor him. Aftera few years, he was no longer illiterate. He was happy and proud ofhimself. When he learned that Critique Official Liu had committedsome serious offenses, had been deprived of his title, no title andno post of course, and lived now in destitution, he wrote a letter tohim with a silver note of one thousand taels enclosed. But he used aseal on the letter, bearing the word ILLITERATE. The empress dowagerswere delighted to hear the story and made him in charge of Yili Town.

  8. #188
    Therewere more policemen in Henan Province than in any other provinces,because there were more robbers and thieves in Henan Province. Therehad been a drought there and people were starving. Who is willing tobe starved to death? Disasters, whether natural or not, alwaysengender outlaws. But something more amazing was that some policemenhad two personalities They were policemen in uniforms in the daytimeand robbers or thieves in plain clothes at night. So these casescould never be solved. Only they never did such things in their ownjurisdiction.
    Oncea rich merchant was robbed on the way home and he reported it to theyamen of the town where he lived. As a matter of course, the case hadno outcome. The merchant hired someone to privately investigate forhim. As a result, the chief suspect was a policeman called Hu, wholived in Zhenping Town, quite a distance away. The merchant filed alawsuit against Policeman Hu in the governor's yamen. The governortold the Judicial Official to detain Policeman Hu. So an order ofarrest came into the hands of the mayor of Zhenping Town. Mayor Mawas a scholar, having passed three government tests, but he was abookworm, hardly knew how to try a case. In fact, few mayors werefamiliar with law. So every yamen had some advisers like financialadviser and judicial adviser.

  9. #189
    MayorMa wanted to issue a warrant to take Policeman Hu into custody, butfirst he consulted with the judicial adviser by the name of Mao, whosaid that he didn't even know where Policeman Hu was at present.Mayor Ma wondered, “How can that be? Is he not on duty in thisyamen?” Mayor Ma had been assigned this post only a few daysbefore. He knew nothing about all the things he should know in thistown. So Judicial Adviser Mao told Mayor Ma that probably PolicemanHu just registered here as a policeman and was never on duty. Maybe,he could even be a gangster. Judicial Adviser Mao wanted to look intosome documents first. He went back into his own room and consultedhis notebook. Hu became a policeman through the recommendation ofanother policeman called Liu. So Judicial Adviser Mao sent forPoliceman Liu. When Liu came into his room, Mao said to him, “Nowyou are in a big trouble.” Policeman Liu asked what kind of troublehe was in. “You recommended Policeman Hu. Now the governor wantsMayor Ma to detain him for a case of robbery.” This was really adifficult case. Hu was the leader of gangsters in this town.Policeman Liu understood that he could haul Hu in, but his followerswould assassinate him for vengeance. But he could not turn down theassignment, either. He went to see the false policeman, the real gangleader Hu and told him everything. “Are you kidding?” Hu doubted.“Do I look like kidding?” Instead of answering, Policeman Liuqueried sternly and let him see the warrant. Hu took Policeman Liu toa back room and they laid out a scheme. Hu sent a large sum of moneyto Judicial Adviser Mao as a probe to his reaction. He figured thatif Mao declined, he would think of some other way, and if Maoaccepted, everything would be easy. And Mao took the bribery.
    Anew prisoner was brought into the jail. It was a boy of fifteen.Policeman Liu asked him, “Who are you?” “I'm Wang.” said theboy. Policeman Liu slapped him on the cheek.

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