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  1. #271
    Thegeneral of the division these soldiers belonged came to see Ronglu tobeg pardon, but Ronglu told him that it was the fault of Big Brother.The general shouldn't worry about it. Ronglu said that he would takecare of it. In the war time to pacify soldiers was very important.That was what Ronglu did. So when Big Brother complained to Rongluabout the fight, Ronglu criticized his behavior. Big Brother took itout on the owner of the theater. He went to complain to the mayor ofXiAn City, who ordered the theater to be closed. Furthermore, hedeclared that in the war time all the entertainment places andrestaurants should be closed.
    Somany courtiers and other rich people came to the city. It was a goodchance for business. All the owners of the theaters and restaurantssent in a petition to open these places again. After briberies theseplaces were opened once more, but fighting was prohibited.
    WestEmpress Dowager had sent Mayor Wu Yong to other provinces onbusiness. Mayor Wu came back to report that his assignments wereaccomplished. West Empress Dowager was happy with him. When he hadpassed Canton City and met Governor Zhang, Zhang had said to him thathe should advise West Empress Dowager to expel Big Brother because itwas for him that his father, Prince Zaiyi, had brought suchcatastrophe to the country. He was really the cause of it. When MayorWu saw that West Empress Dowager was happy, he conveyed the opinionof Governor Zhang to her. West Empress Dowager already disliked theboy and Some other courtiers informed West Empress Dowager that theboy should be removed from the position of the future successor sincehis father was responsible for the disaster and on exile. Besides,the boy was really an unsuitable candidate for an emperorship as hehated to study. So the boy was deprived of the title and sent tolive with his father in Mongolian district.

  2. #272
    Chapter 45


    WestEmpress Dowager and the emperor left XiAn City on a return journey tothe capital. The routine was that all the roads should be repaired,no pits allowed. Yellow sands must be strewn on the road surface. Atsuch a time the routine was still kept. The local government had toorganize people for the toil. And on the return trip West EmpressDowager, the emperor, the queen and Concubine Jin all rode inpalanquins, not on wagons any more. They came to Kaifeng City, whichhad been the capital of Song Dynasty. West Empress Dowager wasreported that the foreign troops had withdrawn from the capital afterthe treaty had been signed. The foreign envoys would come to meet herwhen she arrived in the capital. She felt at rest that the foreignenvoys were still so polite to her. She had been afraid of theirattitude toward her ever since the war broke out.
    Fromthe Kaifeng City they took a ship to ferry across the Yellow River tothe north side. Then they hit a small town, called Yellow MilletTown. There was a story about this town. In Tang Dynasty there liveda young man who had desired to be a high-rank official. Once he wentto the capital for the government test and passed this small town. Hestayed in someone's house there for the night. An old man gave him aclay pillow to rest his head on. He himself went to cook millet forsupper. The young man was tired from the journey and lay down on thebed. When his head touched the pillow, he found himself in thecapital. He was the first in the test and was appointed a highposition. He did everything so good that he was promoted fast till hewas a prime minister and was then conferred a title of duke. Now onlythe emperor was above him in rank. He could be promoted no more. Hehad a huge family, sons and daughters, grandsons and grand daughters.He was very happy with his life and lived to a very old age. But atthat time he woke up. It was but a dream. And the millet was stillbeing cooked. The story was called the Yellow Millet Dream that meantlife is short at best. Why should everyone hustle and bustle to runafter wealth and fame?

  3. #273
    Whenthey entered Hebei Province, they were transferred to a special trainat a small town and reached the capital in the train. It was thesecond time for West Empress Dowager to ride in the train. The firsttime the train she had ridden was a sample train in the imperial WestGarden before the Purple-Light Pavilion. A foreign businessmanwanted to build railroads in China. Many Chinese people opposed it,including some conservative courtiers. To gain support from WestEmpress dowager, the foreign businessman offered a sample mini-trainas a gift to West Empress Dowager. The rails only covered a shortdistance with a couple of train cars on them. For safety, WestEmpress Dowager wouldn't allow the locomotive to draw the mini-train.Instead she ordered eunuchs to push and pull the carriage she sat in. The experience was told as a joke among the foreigners.
    WhenWest Empress Dowager got off the train, she saw the foreign envoyscoming to welcome her. She waved to them. Then she was carried in apalanquin into the Forbidden City. When West Empress Dowager returnedto her chamber, those remaining in the Forbidden City, the royalhousehold, the maids and eunuchs, all came to pay their respects toher. Except one. Royal Concubine Yu who was the concubine of thelate emperor Tongzhi, the biological son of West Empress Dowager, notof the present emperor Guangxu. In the absence of West EmpressDowager, she took charge of all the things in the Forbidden City.
    Theburied treasures are still there. She informed when she was summonedto see West Empress Dowager later, alone. “Now I must return theseto the rightful persons.” She continued, pointing to a tray carriedby a eunuch kneeling a little behind her. On the tray stood threeimperial seals wrapped in yellow brocade. One belonged to WestEmpress Dowager, which was made of white jade. One was the emperor's,which was carved from an emerald of the best quality. The third wasthe queen's, which was cast in gold. What if these seals were stolen? No one could answer this question. Concubine Yu really deserved areward, which was only a praise of words. “I always know you are agood thoughtful lady.” said West Empress Dowager, who very seldompraised people like that.

  4. #274
    Itwas said that West Empress Dowager had often dreamed of ConcubineZhen after she had ordered her drowned in the well. The image ofConcubine Zhen in her dream was ghastly. It was said that maids andeunuchs often encountered something like a shadow floating and movingin the air around where Concubine Zhen had lived when alive.
    “Idon't know how to report to Old Buddha . . .” Concubine Yu didn'tfinish the sentence.
    “Youcan say whatever you want. I won't be offended.” West EmpressDowager promised.
    “Ioften dreamed Concubine Zhen. She asked to be buried somewhere. Shedoesn't like to lie in the well. It's too cold there.”
    “That'swhat I am always thinking.” West Empress Dowager gave an order thatConcubine Zhen's corpse should be lifted from the well and buriedwith a proper ceremony as befitting her status as a royal concubine.
    Yourslave have something else to report to Old Buddha.” Royal ConcubineYu went on, “Your slave dreamt Concubine Zhen many times. ConcubineZhen said to your slave in the dream that Concubine Zhen need amemorial tablet (a small wooden tablet on which the name of thedeceased was engraved. The tablet was often put on a table withincense and candles before it for people to pay their respects to thedeceased.) so that her ghost can sit behind it, won't float in theair.”
    Wheredid she say that she wants to keep her memorial tablet?” WestEmpress Dowager asked.
    Inthe empty room just beside the well Concubine Zhen died in.” WestEmpress Dowager agreed to the arrangement. West Empress Dowager knewthat she must be nice to the emperor now as the circumstances hadchanged, though she still wanted to control the emperor. When theemperor had been confined on the island, he had been treated like aprisoner. Just enough food, enough clothes. Sometimes even no fire towarm the room. Now he was treated as an emperor, just like before thereform. It was because the emperor would interview the foreign envoysaccording to the international practice. If the emperor saidsomething about his maltreatment, it would give the foreigngovernments an excuse to request the return of power to the emperor.This was the least West Empress Dowager wanted.

  5. #275
    Thereform launched by the emperor had impressed the foreign governments. They had sympathized with him when it had failed. They had beenconcerned for his safety when the emperor had been confined. If theemperor complained to any of the envoys, it would bring herinternational troubles.
    “You'dbetter go to Concubine Zhen's funeral.” West Empress Dowageradvised the emperor to show that she had never disapproved them tolove each other. “She will be buried as a royal concubine.”
    Herhead eunuch Li was sent to see the emperor when he returned to hisstudy. West Empress Dowager didn't really want the emperor to seethe misshaped corpse of Concubine Zhen. It would certainly remindhim of how she had died.
    Buthead eunuch Li didn't know how to dissuade the emperor from attendingthe funeral.
    “Canyou get something for me?” the emperor asked eunuch Li, “SomethingConcubine Zhen had used or worn, by which I can remember her.”
    Yourslave will do the best and see what can be got.” Eunuch Li replied. But he was not sure where he could turn to look for the somethingthe emperor so wistfully desired.
    Suddenlyan idea occurred to him. Very probably, Concubine Jin kept somethingof her sister's as a memento. He went to see Concubine Jin andconveyed the emperor's wish. She rummaged in a trunk and finallyproduced a small gold box, which she gave to him, which he presentedto the emperor, adding, “Concubine Jin said that it's betterEmperor won't go to the funeral. It's so cold outside. If Emperorfalls sick, Concubine Zhen will be uneasy in her afterlife.”
    “Iwill take her advice.” Said the emperor, caressing the box as if itwere a pet. “You can leave now.” Head eunuch Li went back toreport to West Empress Dowager.

  6. #276
    Sincethe German envoy had been killed in the riot of Yihetuan, the Germanking insisted that Qing government should send a prince to Germany toapologize. West Empress Dowager sent Prince Zaifeng, the step-brotherof the present emperor, to Germany. As the emperor had made a goodimpression on the foreign governments, the German king received hisstep-brother in a cordial manner and encouraged him to take part inmore political activities. When Prince Zaifeng returned and reportedto West Empress Dowager, she suspected that the foreign governmentsmight support Prince Zaifeng to be the emperor if anything happenedto the present emperor. She knew that Prince Zaifeng was not a man ofability and had no ambition whatsoever. But what if he was goadedtowards that direction?
    Inold China, when the son of a family might go astray, the parentsalways found him a wife who could lead him on the right path in life,given that the wife was demure and decent in moral and behavior, andhad the talent to turn the husband round her little finger. So WestEmpress Dowager began to look for such a girl to be the wife ofPrince Zaifeng.
    Rongluhad a son and a daughter. The son had died young from some kind ofdisease. The daughter was about the same age as Prince Zaifeng, butwas known very shrewd and eloquent. Head eunuch Li suggested that shewas the right girl for Prince Zaifeng. However, Prince Zaifeng hadalready been engaged to another girl from a Mongolian family. WestEmpress Dowager ordered the engagement to be broken. Normally, if theboy's family wanted to break the engagement, it would be deemed thatthey had found some demerits or misconduct with the girl and it was adisgrace to the girl. Although it was different in this case, thegirl still thought it as a disgrace to her. She thereby made hersuicide by drinking some poison.

  7. #277
    PrinceZaifeng and Ronglu's daughter, Funiu, were soon engaged to bemarried. West Empress Dowager often summoned the daughter Funiu intothe Forbidden City. She was a clever girl and knew how to talk sweet.Before the wedding day when she was in the Forbidden City, WestEmpress Dowager said to her, “I think you have everything. I don'tknow what you could lack. But I still want to give you something as awedding gift.” She gesticulated to her head eunuch Li to take outher jewelry box, which was in her bedroom. Eunuch Li got two eunuchsto carry out the jewelry box. When the box was opened, glisteningcolorful gems and gold met the eye of the peepers. West EmpressDowager beckoned Funiu forward and told her to pick six items,whatever she loved. This really was a special favor. She would soonbe her niece-in-law.
    Therewere four compartments in the box. All sorts of pearls were in thefirst compartment, some as big as a playing marble. The secondcompartment contained colorful precious stones. Jade of all thedifferent shapes and sizes were stored in the third compartment andmiscellaneous pieces were put in the fourth compartment. “You canchoose from the miscellaneous compartment first.” West EmpressDowager advised her. There was a diamond ring. The diamond was as bigas the core of an apricot. She was about to pick the ring when sheheard someone coughed. She looked up at Big Princess, who was movingher head a bit from left to right. So she took up a diamond braceletinstead. “It is a nice piece. You can try it on.” West EmpressDowager instructed. She put it on her wrist and showed it to WestEmpress Dowager. “It looks pretty on you.” West Empress Dowagercommented. So Big princess said, “You can keep it on.” Then shewas told to select six pieces. It meant that the bracelet was theextra gift. She got six more.
    Rongluwas seriously sick at the time, but the wedding was still held.Superstitious people at that time thought that a big event like awedding would drive away the demons of sickness. But demons ofsickness didn't fear such things like a wedding and took Ronglu awaywith them not long after the wedding. The news of the death of Rongluhit West Empress Dowager really hard and she wept sincere tears.

  8. #278
    Chapter 46


    Althoughthe reform started by the emperor had failed, people all over thecountry still required it. They blamed West Empress Dowager for thefailure. It was all on the newspapers.
    WestEmpress Dowager hereby made a public declaration that she wantedreform, too, but step by step. First, she wanted to denounce theexamination system for the selection of government officials and toestablish new western-style schools. But some conservative courtiersargued, “If this system was denounced, how can the governmentofficials be chosen when needed?” Other courtiers supporting thereform refuted, “We can choose from the students at schools.”
    WestEmpress Dowager also agreed to send a group of young studentsoverseas to study in America. China needed a lot of people withspecial skills and knowledge of special technology like people whoknew foreign languages to deal with the foreign countries, likepeople who could set up and operate telegram system and buildrailroads and steamboats, particularly warships, and could dig upores for the newly developed industries.
    But many students having been sent to study in America picked upwestern life-style and habits, which was considered to betray theChinese traditions. Some courtiers suggested that all the studentsshould return to China or their minds would be further contaminated.After plenty of debates, West Empress Dowager consented to let thestudents return. The newspapers called it a waste of money, but someof the students had really learned something and became earliestengineers in the building of railroads and ships, etc.

  9. #279
    Inorder to make political reform like Japan, West Empress Dowager sentfive courtiers abroad to learn from Japan and other foreigncountries. On the day they were to leave, the five courtiers arrivedat the railway station one by one. Just before the train started, amiddle-aged man dressed like a servant wanted to board the carriagein which the courtiers were seated. The guards at the carriage doorstopped him, but the next moment, Bang! a bomb exploded. The man andthe guards died. Two courtiers were injured, though not seriously,and the carriage was destroyed. One of the courtiers was so dreadfulthat he resigned from this assignment, of which everyone envied.
    Itwas said that the man carrying the bomb was a member of therevolutionary party in Canton City, whose aim was to overthrow thereign of the Mandarin Clan. They declared that Qing government wascheating people by sending some courtiers to learn from the foreigncountries how to organize the election of the house representativesto form the congress of China. Whether it was cheating or not, WestEmpress Dowager promised to realize it after nine years. A fewmonths later some other courtiers got aboard a ship in Shanghai andsailed to Japan. Some of the Chinese scholars had escaped to live inJapan after the reform of the emperor had failed. They were studyinghow the reform had been made in Japan. One of the courtiers that cameto Japan knew one of the scholars there. He told other courtiers tohave a good time and fun. He would take care of the report, whichmust send in to West Empress Dowager when they returned to China. Helet the scholar write a report for them about the reform in Japan andpaid him one thousand taels of silver. Therefore, when the fivecourtiers returned from Japan, they handed in a report, stating howto organize a cabinet and to form a congress, etc.
    Thepart of the reform that met with the strongest challenge was thechange of the system of officialdom, because many officials wereafraid to lose jobs. But this time, since West Empress Dowagersupported the reform, all oppositions were futile. No one was reallyout of job. Some old ministries changed names only. Some newministries were set up. And many officials were only moved from thisministry to another ministry. For those who didn't have newassignments yet, they still got paid with the same salary and wereput on a waiting list. The newly established ministries were those:Foreign Affairs Ministry to replace Foreign Affairs Yamen, CivilMinistry, Military Ministry, Agriculture & Industry &Commerce Ministry, Communications & Transportation Ministry. Theold ministries had two ministers in equal charge, one was from theMandarin Clan and the other from the Han Clan, while the newministries had only one minister, who was either from the MandarinClan or from the Han Clan. But the fact was that more ministers camefrom the Mandarin Clan. The courtiers of the Han Clan complainedabout it on the sly.

  10. #280
    Afterthe death of Ronglu, Prince Yikuang was the head of the SecretarialBureau. He was an avaricious man. He had six hundred thousand taelsof silver that he wanted to deposit in a foreign bank. His son knewthe manager of a British bank and they deposited the money in thatbank. The manager and the son were both fond of women and often wentto the brothels. The manager was generous with money and so was morewelcomed by the whores than the son. The son was jealous of themanager and once he told his bodyguards to beat the manager.
    Themanager wanted to avenge. He went to see a friend, whose title was acritique official. Next day, a report showed up before West EmpressDowager, stating that Prince Yikuang had six hundred thousand taelsof silver deposited in a British bank and then asking why PrinceYikuang didn't deposit it in one of the money shops run by thegovernment. West Empress Dowager thought that it was right and askedPrince Yikuang the reason why he didn't put the money in the moneyshops. Prince Yikuang had to disown that he had such an amount ofmoney in a British bank, because it was all ill-gotten money that hedidn't dare to let West Empress Dowager know. He begged West EmpressDowager to send someone to investigate, adding that if theinvestigation proved that he had the money, he was willing to donateit to the government. Of course West Empress Dowager sent a secretaryof state to do the job. But the secretary could not surmount theobstacle of the private policy of the bank and he had to report theoutcome to West Empress Dowager.
    PrinceYikuang wanted to withdraw the money out of the British bank anddeposit it into another foreign bank lest the secret should beuncovered by West Empress Dowager. He sent for the manager, who saidthat he didn't need to transfer the money and a change of the namefor the account was the right thing to do. So Prince Yikuang gave themanager the account book and his personal seal. Next day, the managercame bringing him a new account book and another seal with a new nameon it. After six months when he needed some money and sent his butlerto make a withdrawal, he was told that all his money was gone and themanager disappeared.
    Themanager had used the account book and his personal seal to withdrawall his money and put into his own account and then he had givenPrince Yikuang a new account book with no money in it. He had giventhe critique official one-third of the money he had promised. He hadfled to Shanghai. When the son was told the bad news, he knew that itwas the revenge for the beating he had given him. The beating costsix hundred thousand taels of silver, very expensive.

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