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EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI (3 Viewers)

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 1[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]However powerful, you cannotpull back the chariot of Time; however powerful, you cannot refusethe visit of Death; however wealthy, you cannot bribe the king ofHades; however wealthy, you cannot buy immortality.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] She had beenbeautiful when young. She hated aging. She hated having white hair,but the silver threads stealthily crept onto her head in the duecourse of time. Li Lianying, whenever he saw a gossamer of snow amongher sable silky hair, would bury it under the black ones. If, by anychance, a piece of white hair came off and entwined itself on thecomb, he would hide it in his sleeve. He was the one who did the hairof Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908). He knew what Empress DowagerCixi would feel when she saw some snowy hair on her head. He reallyknew what she liked and what she did not. He was her favorite eunuch.In a short time, he was promoted to be her head eunuch.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Sometimes whenEmpress Dowager Cixi noticed that he put his fingers into his sleeveshe would ask what he was doing. ?ust itching. Scratching a bit, myrespected Old Buddha.Later in her life everyone in the Forbidden Citycalled Empress Dowager Cixi Old Buddha (The word OLD here does notreally mean old in age in Chinese, but instead is a respectedepithet.) and she liked it. He had to please her if he wanted to stayin her favor forever. Everyone wanted to please her. No doubt. Eventhe emperor, though afraid of her, sometimes wanted to please her,too. That is why people wish to seize power and remain in it. As longas possible.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] It was a newhairstyle. Li Lianying, now the head eunuch, but still doing herhair, called it ? Butterfly Among Flowers He always invented newhairstyles and gave them fanciful names. And while combing her hair,he would tell jokes, mostly vulgar jokes, which sent Empress DowagerCixi into laughter. He knew a lot of such jokes, which he had heardwhen he had been a small boy. Thanks to his good memory, heremembered all of these vulgar jokes after so many years. Sometimeshe made up some when an occasion arose. Eunuchs all came from poorfamilies, or no families at all. Who wanted to be a eunuch if hecould live otherwise? The cutting of the genital was no fun, not tomention the pain, and a lot of blood. The genitals, once cut, weredried and kept in a jar, which hung from the beam in his bedroom. Itwas the custom to bury the genital with the body when a eunuch died,to make the corpse whole with nothing lacking, although something?not in its original and natural place. But it was the best that couldbe done. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] When her hairwas done and breakfast finished, Empress Dowager Cixi changed intoformal attire. She put on heavy headgears. The adorned piece on thetop looked somewhat like a fan with fringes hanging down from the twoends. On her feet were special shoes that looked something likeshort stilts in the shape of a small upside-down flowerpot attachedon the middle of the sole. Then she went to hold court, sittingbehind a pearl screen. Emperor Guangxu, still under age, sat on thehuge throne before the pearl screen. Though he said nothing, he heardeverything. He knew everything. He was a clever boy, ambitious andanxious to do something to make the weakened empire strong andprosperous again.[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] * * *[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Arial Unicode MS, sans-serif][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]EmpressDowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu lived in the Forbidden City. TheForbidden City, also called the Purple Forbidden City, was located inthe center of the capital. The Forbidden City was built between 1406and 1420 during Ming Dynasty. It had been the imperial home totwenty-four emperors of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty(1644-1911). The magnificent and awe-inspiring Forbidden City alsoserved as the seat of imperial power during Ming and Qing Dynasties(1368-1911).[/FONT][FONT=Arial Unicode MS, sans-serif] [/FONT][FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Fromtheir throne in the Forbidden City, the emperors governed the countryby holding court sessions with their courtiers, secretaries andministers, issuing imperial edicts and initiating militaryexpeditions. [/FONT][/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]TheForbidden City extends seven hundred and fifty meters from east towest and nine hundred and sixty meters from north to south. The cityof seven hundred twenty thousand square meters is the largest andbest-preserved palatial complex in the world. It is surrounded by amoat, which is fifty-two meters wide and six meters deep, and by awall, which is three kilometers long and ten meters high. There arefour gates with towers above them: Noon Gate in the south, ShenwuGate in the north, Donghua Gate in the east and Xihua Gate in thewest. On the four corners of the city walls stand four turret towers,each with three roofs and seventy-two roof ridges. They aremasterpieces of ancient Chinese architecture. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]TheForbidden City is divided into southern and northern parts, theformer serving as the work area of the emperors and the latter astheir living quarters. The main structures are arranged along acentral axis and constructions on both sides of it are symmetrical.The three most imposing structures in the work area of the ForbiddenCity are the Hall of Supreme Harmony, the Hall of Medium Harmony, andthe Hall of Protective Harmony. The most magnificent of them is theHall of Supreme Harmony. Here the most important ceremonies of thefeudal dynasties were held, including the ascension of the emperorsto the throne, their marriage, and their conferring of titles onofficials. The Hall of Medium Harmony standing behind it was wherethe emperors rested before ceremonies and receiving officials. TheHall of Protective Harmony was where the emperors gave banquets andinterviewed in person successful candidates of imperial exams for theselection of government officials. In the living quarters are nineseparate housing complexes, where the emperors and their familieslived. North of the living quarters is a small imperial garden. TheMind Cultivation Hall in the living quarters was where most Qingemperors lived and handled state affairs. It was also here thatEmpress Dowager Cixi attended to state affairs for as long as 48years. The Forbidden City is a city within a city and was off limitsto the common people.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thelayout of the palatial complex, whose full name should be the PurpleForbidden City, is patterned after the legendary Heavenly Palace. Inthe ancient Chinese astrology, the heavenly area of Purple ForbiddenEnclosure centering on the North Star was seen to be at the center ofheaven. The palatial complex, regarded as being at the center ofhuman society on earth was therefore named the Purple Forbidden City.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thenumber nine received special emphasis in the city design. The numberof houses in the Forbidden City is 9,999, and nails on every door arearranged in lines of nine nails. This is because the ancientsregarded nine as the biggest number, which only emperors wereentitled to use. Also, since the numeral has the same sound aseverlasting in the Chinese language, it best reflected the wish ofemperors that their rule would last forever. Names of places in theForbidden City contain such words as benevolence, harmony and peace,which reflect the essence of Confucianism.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thepredominant color of the Forbidden City is yellow. Nearly all thehouses, for example, have roofs of yellow glazed tiles. According toancient Chinese, the universe was made up of five elements: metal,wood, water, fire and earth, and earth was the most basic of themall. As a result, yellow, the color of earth, was most extensivelyused for the emperors, who were regarded as the supreme rulers of theworld.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theonly house with a roof of black tiles is Wenyuan Pavilion, serving asthe royal library. This is because the color black represents wateramong the five elements and water can overcome fire, a constantthreat to the collection of books inside. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]In1406, Emperor Yongle of Ming Dynasty began building the ForbiddenCity. Historical records show that it took one million laborers andone hundred thousand craftsmen fifteen years to complete the project.The Forbidden City remains more or less the same in appearance andscale despite repeated renovations and expansions by later emperors.All buildings in the Forbidden City are of a wood and brickstructure. A total of 3.1 billion bricks were used for theconstruction of the Forbidden City. A special glue was used to cementbricks and stone slabs. The glue was made from steamed glutinous riceand egg white. Timber came from mountains in the suburbs of FangshanTown as well as from remote Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Tens ofthousands of huge stone slabs were transported to the capital fromafar. The biggest piece, which lies behind the Hall of ProtectiveHarmony, weighs 250 tons. The slab, 16.57 meters long, 3.07 meterswide and 1.7 meters thick, was hauled over a distance of 50kilometers from the suburbs of Fangshan Town to the site by 20,000laborers at a cost of 176,000 taels of silver. The hauling was donein winter on man-made ice and took 28 days.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]TheForbidden City is a national treasure in terms of materials used,architectural style, layout and designed connotation. Besides, it isa storehouse of numerous priceless handicraft articles, rare curios,paintings and calligraphic works by famous artists as well asofficial documents and historical records. The Wenhua Hall in theForbidden City stores more than 10 million official documents drawnup over 500 years by central and local governments of the Ming andQing dynasties. They are the largest and most valuable collection ofhistorical records in the country. Wenyuan Pavilion, or the ImperialLibrary, keeps a complete collection of all the books published tillthen like an encyclopedia and a 79,337-volume compendium ofhistorical records and feudal rites compiled over ten years(1772-1781) by the nation's most accomplished scholars.[/FONT]
 

Guy Faukes

WF Veterans
I would first make the formatting consistent (spacing, font and layout) and proofread as there are random emoticons and compounded words. Overall, there's a lot of information being passed along our way and I'm not sure I agree with the opening two sentences. They seem sort of repetitive (refusing death, not being able to buy immortality).
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
in my manuscript, everything is ok, but I don't know why some words stick together here. It's not like this in another forum.
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 2[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]EmpressDowager Cixi was born in a government official's family. Her fatherwas appointed a position as a general, though he had never fought anybattles. It was said that when Empress Dowager Cixi was born, therewas the scent of the orchid in the room. So her given name was LanEr(meaning the Child of Orchid). She had two brothers and a youngersister, but she was the favorite child of her parents, the apple oftheir eye. She was beautiful, clever and talented. When she waseleven, her father was transferred to Wuwu, which is a big citysituated near the Yangtze River, and later was transferred again,this time, to Canton, a bigger city facing the sea.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Youropium is ready, Dad.LanEr called to her father, who stood at thewindow, looking at the front yard where a cock was bullying somehens.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Hewas proud of her. She could load opium for him now. Since China hadbeen defeated in the Opium War in 1840, opium trade became open andmany government officials and officers formed the habit of smokingit. Even Empress Dowager Cixi herself smoked it when she was inpower. Someone had recommended opium to her when she had astomachache. And it was said that when she smoked some opium, herstomachache ceased.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Hm.”Her father ummed as a reply. In China at that time, parents neversaid THANK YOU to children. It was taken for granted that childrenshould do things for parents. It was their filial duties.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Manyaristocrats of the Mandarin Clan loved to watch operas. So did herfather. And her father often brought her to wherever an opera wasperformed. Therefore, LanEr loved to watch operas, too. When shestayed in power, she watched a lot of operas, specially performed forher in the Forbidden City. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] LanErwas sixteen now with an oval face, a straight nose, crescent-shapedeyebrows, almond-shaped eyes that were as clear as crystal,peach-colored cheeks with two dimples when she smiled, ebony-blackhair in a tress, looking so oily and smooth that if flies had haltedon it they would have slid down. Now she sat at the table in thecenter of the room, sipping tea and looking at her father lying onthe bed and smoking opium, and sighing deeply at intervals.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “What'swrong?” LanEr asked. Her father put down the long-stemmed opiumpipe on the lacquer opium tray and looked up from the bed at hisdaughter. ?he situation in Guangxi Province is getting worse. Therebellion, I mean. They are fighting their way eastward and will soonreach here.The daughter agreed, but didn't look worried. Hers was aworriless age.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Theywill kill us. Everyone of the Mandarin Clan.” Her father could notsuppress the anxiety in his voice. That he was appointed a generalwas because his destiny would have it, not because he was talented asa fighter. He was really no fighter.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Then,what should we do?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Idon't know. Perhaps waiting to be killed.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Whynot ask for a sick leave? We can go back to Peking.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Goodidea.” Her father said in approbation.[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] * * *[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]LanEr'sfamily left Canton City in a ship they had rented with the crew onboard. Actually, the word rent is not correct. At that time, suchships, or ferryboats, belonged to a family or an individual. Thefamily or the individual was the sole crew on the ship or theferryboat. The ship they were on belonged to a family, husband andwife with a teenage boy. The husband rowed the ship with the help ofthe teenager. The wife cooked for the passengers who paid the familywho owned the ship. Their relationship was just like lodgers in aninn. Only this was a mobile inn. Their destination was Peking. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theship had a cabin in the middle of the deck. The cabin was dividedinto two sections with a partition. The larger front section was forthe passengers, the smaller back section for the owner? family,including a cooking space. There were no railings all round theship, which was not too big. The ship had a mast. When the wind wasfavorable, the husband would put up the sails and he only needed tohandle the rudder. A lot of energy saved. Every time they reached avillage or a town, the husband would get on shore for provisions andthe passengers would also step on shore, but for sightseeing.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Everythingwas all right so far along the route till one night when the ship wasat anchor for the night. It was already deep into the night whensome robbers got on board with sharp swords in hand, reflecting themoonlight. Everyone in the cabin woke up in alarm and panic. Theybegged the intruders to spare their lives. The robbers took all thevaluables from the passenger family, but didn't touch anything thatbelonged to the ship owner. It was the unwritten rule among theoutlaws. After these thugs left, no one could go back to sleep. Theship owner's family were hiding in their back cabin while thepassenger family were crying bitterly. How could they pay for theirlodging and food on the ship since they had been robbed of almosteverything. LanEr's father was taken seriously ill after they wereleft alone.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Herfamily had been rich. Rich people generally got their daughtersmarried early lest they should be selected to be the palace maids inthe Forbidden City. Life in the Forbidden City as maids was not sodesirable as imagined by the people who had never been in there. Aslight mistake or offense would bring a severe punishment, or even abeating to death. It all depended on the mood of the emperor or thequeen at the time of the offense. Only the emperor or the queen hadthe right for the infliction of such penalties in the Forbidden City.If her family hadn't undergone the loss of wealth, LanEr would havebeen married already, at such an age. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Whenher father held his position in Canton City, an officer working underhim offended a critique official. A critique official was in such aposition by law that he could criticize anyone, including theemperor. The ancestors of Qing Dynasty had made such a law in hopesthat their descendants, the future emperors, would have some peopleto look over their behavior and urge them to do things good andsuitable as befitting them as emperors.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theofficer detained the ship the critique official was on board andblackmailed him for three thousand taels of silver. The critiqueofficial was very angry and as soon as he reached the capital, hewrote a critique report to the emperor, who sent someone down southto investigate. The investigation revealed that her father had takenbriberies, which was against law. To make his superiors go easy onhim, he scraped all his means to bribe them. As a result, he wasremoved from his post before he could send in a request for the sickleave. At least, he didn't need to go to jail. He sold some of hisestates and bribed the governor of Anhui Province in the hope that hewould be appointed another position there. But as a Chinese sayinggoes, misfortune never comes alone. The governor died from some kindof disease. So his money was like pebbles thrown in water, withouteven some ripples being seen. Now he was really sick. So he took aship to go back to the capital with his family, where he still had atleast a house and some farms to live on.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theship got under way at dawn. When the wife served breakfast, LanEr'smother promised her that they would pay her when they arrived inPeking. The old man was a government official, at the least. Atthat time, the fare for a trip on board a ship cost some ten taels ofsilver at most. It was not much money to a government official. Theowner of the ship was not worried about that.[/FONT]
 

Jay Greenstein

Senior Member
You open with an info-dump of backstory, a guaranteed rejection point. Why? Because history lessons inform, but they don't entertain. Remember, the reader doesn't need that information in order to understand the scene you open with. Better to add such information where and when it's needed, as enrichment to necessary lines. There's also the point that the reader will probably have forgotten the information by the time they actually need it.
LanErwas sixteen now with an oval face, a straight nose, crescent-shapedeyebrows, almond-shaped eyes that were as clear as crystal,peach-colored cheeks with two dimples when she smiled, ebony-blackhair in a tress, looking so oily and smooth that if flies had haltedon it they would have slid down.
We'd know her age if someone said, "But you're only sixteen. so, better to..." This way it's something she hears and reacts to. Phrased as an info-dump it comes from someone unknown in a voice devoid of all life. And, all the information you give is a fragment of what a reader would need to actually visualize her. Remember, it's truly said that a picture is worth a thousand words. But that's for a still picture, and the image you hold is one that's dynamic, and in constant motion, expressing her feelings. No way in hell can you give the reader that, so why bother? In reality, unless some aspect of her appearance matters to someone she's interacting with, let the reader visualize her as looking like someone they would like. Instead of making them know what she looks like, make them know her as a person, though her behavior and interaction with other people.

You're telling the reader about the situation, just as you would on stage, to an audience. But there you would be performing the piece, and the audience would hear the emotion in your voice. They'd see your expression, movement, and gesture, and be given the emotional part of the piece. But the page reproduces none of that, so the voice telling the story is the one you'll hear if you have your computer read this aloud.

Have your computer do that and you'll hear what a reader gets. One listen and you'll know why this approach can't work. Fiction for the page must be emotion, not fact-based, so transcribing the voice of a storyteller can't work. And since the "voice" of the narrator can't be heard—and so is inherently dispassionate—an entirely different approach is required, one unique to the profession of fiction-writer. Unfortunately, it's not one touched on in our school-days.

Under its guidance fiction begins with story, not history. Under the mandates and restrictions of our medium we provide only those visual items that the protagonist is presently focused on, then the protagonist's evaluation of it's importance and what the best course is to address it. So instead of just learning that she watched her father we would know why, and why she decided to ask him her question. Her reasoning.

The tricks of writing fiction for the page aren't hard to find or learn—though mastering them, like any other field, takes time, study, and practice. But learn them you must, if your goal is to have your reader anxious to learn what happens next. Why? Because unless you make them hold that view they won't be motivated to turn to page two, and onward, And that's our goal.

Some time spent digesting a few books on the skills and tricks of the field would pay huge dividends.
 
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xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Oneday, they arrived at the Town of Qinghe. Their ship anchored at thethird berth along the wharf. The ship at the second berth in frontwas a little bigger than theirs. The passengers on board that shipwere escorting a coffin of an old friend of the mayor of this town tobe back to their homeland. The mayor, by the name of Wu Tang, was ascholar.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Inlate Qing Dynasty, anyone who wanted to serve in the government hadtwo ways to achieve his goal. One was to buy a title and wait for avacancy corresponding to the title. For instance, if someone bought atitle of mayor, he would get a mayoral vacancy. Briberies calleddonations could speed the process. The other was to take part intests held by the government. First was the local test. Whoeverpassed it could participate in the test on the provincial level. After that, the testees who didn't fail the provincial test should goto the capital joining in the final test, which held every threeyears. This test was very strict, because the winners would be madethe government officials. The test system had originally begun inTang Dynasty and had been adopted by all the subsequent dynasties. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Forthis test, several examiners were chosen by the emperor himself fromthe high officials of the central government, with one of them incharge. They would read and score the test papers. There were manyattendants to do all sorts of jobs that needed to be done at the testsite.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thesite had been built long ago. There were rows of bungalows, whichwere partitioned into booths. Every testee was assigned a booth, thedoor of which was locked. The testee could leave only after hefinished all the test papers. He slept inside the booth, for thetest would take a couple of days. The testee would bring his ownfood in a basket, and also the brush, the ink and the blank paper towrite on. All these things were examined before the testee enteredthe booth to prevent from cheating. If he wanted to go to thetoilet, an attendant would be with him to and back, and locked him inagain.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thetest consisted of two parts. One was to write an article under agiven title in a certain fixed style, which was literally translatedas Eight-Legged Style A testee, in preparation for this kind oftest, must learn how to begin, how to carry on and how to end thearticle, which should have eight paragraphs, hence the nameEight-Legged. It had strict rules to follow. Anything inconsistentwith the rules would fail the testee. In the second part, a testeemust express his opinions about certain political ideas or about howto handle political affairs. His opinions carried great weight inhis score.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Whenthe examiners were reading and scoring the papers, the names of thetestees on the papers were covered. Ten first best ones werecarefully selected. Once the selection was over, the names wereuncovered. Then the papers were handed in for the emperor to readand decide the order of the winners. But before he made any decision,the emperor would give an additional test, called the imperial exam,to the ten best testees in his palace. The best one (in the opinionof the emperor) would be conferred the title of Zhuangyuan, thesecond best Tanhua, the third Bangyan and the fourth Zhuanlu. Therest were called Jinshi. Next day, the first winner, Zhuangyuan,would go round on horseback through the main streets in the capital,a special honor. In the evening, the emperor would give a banquet toall those who had passed the final test. Generally the first threewould be given jobs in the Forbidden City, close to the emperor,which would provide good opportunities for fast promotion. Otherswould be appointed officials, some working in the central government,some sent away to be mayors of small towns if there were vacancies.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 3[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Ascholar should always care for a scholar friend, or his family whenhe was dead. It was required by old Chinese customs and etiquette. Mayor Wu knew that this late friend of his was not rich. Therefore,he sent a servant to give the friend three hundred taels of silver. The servant was told where the late friend's ship was, at the secondberth along the wharf. But before the servant arrived there, thelate friend's ship left and the next ship at the third berth moved upone berth. At fate had it, just as LanEr's family was in great needof money, some unknown mayor sent the former friend three hundredtaels of silver. The servant didn't know who the friend was. Heonly did his job by sending the silver to the ship at the secondberth. LanEr's family didn't know whether the father had had such afriend before. Who cared since they got the money to pay for thingsin urgent need. Right then, they needed a coffin badly because thefather died last night. Also lucky for Mayor Wu, LanEr remembered toask the servant the name of his master. LanEr had a long memory. And Mayor Wu had a bright future.[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] * * *[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Onceback in their old house, they buried the old master's coffin. Now itshould be the duties of the sons to shoulder the life's burden forthe family. But LanEr's two brothers were lame ducks. They justidled away their time in teahouses, carrying cages of their favoritebirds. That was the common life style of the sons of the richfamilies of the Mandarin Clan, but they were not rich anymore. NowLanEr had to take care of the family chores. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Whatcould Empress Dowager Cixi still remember about the life of hergirlhood living with her parents? Almost everything. She had adistant cousin by the name of Ronglu, a few years younger than she. They were playmates. She liked Ronglu better than she did herbrothers and sister. Ronglu was clever and talented, too, while herbrothers were a little dumb and her sister just ordinary both in thelook and in brains. Does it mean that birds of a feather gettogether? Normally so.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] ?fyou'll be the queen, I'll be your bodyguard.Ronglu often said toLanEr as her family deemed her as someone special since she was bornwith the scent of the orchid. She loved it that way. She would playthe part of the queen and Ronglu the part of bodyguard. He even wentso far as down on his knees before her to make it look real, or feelreal. All these served to rouse in her the ambition for power. [/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] * * *[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Atthree year's intervals, the selection of girls for the emperor wouldbegin. It lasted for several months. First, every family of theMandarin Clan would report their unmarried daughters between ages 13and 17 to the Clan Affairs Management. The management would sendsome officials and eunuchs to check out the girls on the list. Thatwas the first stage of the selection. Many names on the long listwould be crossed out. Those still on the list would be sent into theForbidden City for further sifting. Among those selected, some wouldbe sent to the princes. If lucky, they would become the concubinesof the princes. Some of the selected would be the royal waitingmaids in the palaces. Only a handful of luckiest girls would be inthe presence of the emperor.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Mostgirls, however, still longed to be selected and live in the ForbiddenCity, either as royal maids or as royal concubines. Even as a royalmaid, if she took the emperor's fancy and had sex with him, she wouldbecome a royal concubine. But as a royal concubine, if the emperorwas never interested in her, she would always live alone, till deathreleased her from the solitary confinement. Just try luck whenselected. But whether a girl was selected or not depended on theemperor himself or the empress dowager if there was one. The girlcould do nothing to that effect.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Asdestiny had it, LanEr was selected as a royal concubine and sent tolive in the Round-Bright Garden, the Garden of All Gardens, as theforeigners called it. But getting into the palace was only the firststep. If the emperor never looked at her, her fate would bemiserable. Actually the emperor lived in the Forbidden City, not inthe Garden. So LanEr was disappointed. But no worry. The lucky starwas shining over her. The rebels in the southern provinces hadfounded their own regime. It was named The Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom The Qing government armies had been defeated. Reports came in fromthese provinces, bearing bad news. The emperor felt a headachewhenever he read these reports. Therefore, he moved into theRound-bright Garden with the queen, wishing a better environmentwould assuage his headache when he had to read those reports indismay. Now LanEr had the chance. She wanted to approach theemperor, but didn't dare to do so, because there were strict rules ofetiquette everywhere in the palace. One step amiss, regret the wholelife. If she could not go near the emperor, why not let the emperorcome to her? Good idea. She always got good ideas. She was so proudof herself.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] EmperorXianfeng (1831-1861 and succeeded to the throne in 1850) came outfrom the queen's chamber. The queen was from Nugulu family. Herfather was one of the prime ministers. (There was more than one primeministers in Qing Dynasty, because the decision was made by theemperor himself, not by a prime minister.) The queen was kind,benevolent and demure. She never showed her teeth even when grinning.Okay. She never grinned, only smiled. That's what demureness requiredfrom a lady.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theemperor sauntered in the royal garden towards his study. Suddenly heheard someone singing from behind a cluster of trees. The voice wasso sweet that it magnetized him to it, like the song of the sirens.No resistance offered on his part. Indeed, the emperor never thoughtof resisting it. He was willing to be drawn to it, to so sweet avoice, a female voice. He was a man. How can a man resist a woman?Besides, he could conclude, from the sweet voice, that she must be abeautiful young girl. Never did an ugly woman have such a sweetvoice. Is there any woman like that? Ugly but with a sweet voice? Hehad best explore it and find the answer for himself.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Behindthe grove there was a pavilion, in which a girl sat leaning on therailing. From the attire, he knew she was a royal concubine, but anew one he had never set his eyes on before. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] LanErsat in the pavilion, singing her heart out. A bait she threw out. Shehad studied the location. It lay near the everyday route the emperorwould take when he went to the queen? chamber from his study and thenback. Now she saw the emperor coming. The fish to her hook. Thebiggest fish she could get. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Shegot on her knees to welcome the emperor, who helped her on her feet.The emperor looked attentively at the new concubine. Beautiful.Really beautiful. The most beautiful among all his concubines. Thequeen was not so beautiful. But an emperor chose a queen for herdemureness and decency of behavior, not for her beauty, but chose aconcubine for her beauty. The emperor couldn't take his eyes awayfrom the oval face, the straight nose, crescent-shaped eyebrows,almond-shaped eyes, clear as crystal, peach-colored cheeks with twodimples when smiling, ebony-black hair in a tress, a pretty contrastto her fair skin. She was dressed in a red brocade gown of theMandarin style. The emperor touched her hand, jade-white, with rednails. He felt his heart beating wildly against his rib cage like hewere having a palpitation. The emperor was only in his earlytwenties. His hormones rushed up.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Sothat night the emperor slept with LanEr. She became known later asRoyal Concubine Yan, the emperor's favorite concubine. Before long,Concubine Yan got pregnant. The queen didn? have any children of herown and Concubine Yan was the only one pregnant among all theconcubines at the time. So she got special treatment. Andehai (knownlater as Little An), the emperor's favorite eunuch, was sent to waiton her and then became her favorite eunuch. Andehai was a youngeunuch with a handsome face and fair complexion. And the mostimportant thing was that he knew how to flatter and to please. If hewere to open a school to teach the skills of flattering, he wouldhave had a lot of students.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] EmperorXianfeng was expecting a son, an heir and a successor. If ConcubineYan gave birth to a girl, her side of the scales would tip up andlose the favorite balance, and also her importance in the eye of theemperor. And also her ambition. But as fate would have it, she bore ason to the great expectation of the emperor. Now her side of thescales sank. Her position in the palace was unshakable. Even thequeen sometimes would yield to her wishes.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 4[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]EmperorXianfeng had such a strong desire for sex that he couldn't spend asingle night sleeping without a woman beside him in bed. The emperorhad nineteen concubines. According to the palace records about theprocedures for the emperor's sex life, the emperor never went to thechamber of any concubines. Every night before the emperor went tobed, a eunuch brought in a tray on which lay many small rectangularwooden pieces with the names of all the concubines inscribed on them.The eunuch held the tray high above his head on his knees before theemperor. If the emperor decided on someone, he would turn upsidedown the wooden piece with the name on it. Then the eunuch went tothe chamber of the concubine the emperor had chosen. The concubinewas stripped naked. Two other eunuchs put a blanket around her andcarried her on their shoulders to the emperor's bedroom. The eunuchslaid down the concubine at the foot of the emperor's bed and takingthe blanket off of the concubine, they left the emperor's bedroom. The nude concubine crawled to the pillows and lay down beside theemperor. In the morning, the two eunuchs came back to wrap theconcubine in the blanket and carried her back to her own chamber. The date and the name of the concubine were recorded so that if theconcubine got pregnant, they could count the days to make sure thechild was the emperor's flesh and blood, not someone else's. Sincehe was so fond of Royal Concubine Yan, he sent for her into hisbedroom almost every night, even when she was with child. They werehappy together in bed. Sometimes the emperor slept so late that hemissed holding his court.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Hiscourtiers came early and waited in the resting room, but the emperornever showed up to meet them to hear their reports or havediscussions about all the national affairs. The written instructionsset up and handed down by the ancestors wouldn't allow suchnegligence of state affairs. But the courtiers could do nothingabout it. They were not permitted to go to the emperor's chamber torouse him. The queen could, nevertheless. When she learned it fromthe eunuchs, (eunuchs were all gossips.) she sent her head eunuch tothe chamber the emperor was sleeping in. The head eunuch carried onhis head the book, in which the instructions of the ancestors hadbeen written. He knelt before the chamber door and began to recitethe instructions aloud. When the emperor heard it, he must get downfrom the bed and listen to the recitation on his knees. If theemperor was still sound asleep and didn't hear it, his head eunuchwould go to wake him up. Of course, the emperor would be annoyed,but he couldn't ignore the instructions of his ancestors. He had todress up and go to meet his courtiers. This happened too oftenlately, to the queen's liking. So one day, the queen went thereherself with the book on her head. The emperor's head eunuch saw thequeen coming and went immediately into the chamber to report to theemperor, who jumped out of bed and had barely time to put on hisshoes. He opened the door and found himself face to face with thequeen. He said hastily, ?nough, enough. I'll go now.So the queenwaited at the door till the emperor left for his court session.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thenthe queen ordered Royal Concubine Yan to follow her to KunningPalace. (The whole Forbidden City was the emperor's residence, insidewhich there were many buildings. Each building was called a palacein Chinese.) Kunning Palace was a place where the queen held hercourt generally when she wanted to punish someone. The queen was thesecond in power in the Forbidden City.[/FONT]
"Y[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]oushouldn't let the emperor sleep so late and neglect the stateaffairs. Do you know it's your fault?" The queen accused ConcubineYan.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Inthe Forbidden City, if anyone was accused of anything by his or hersuperiors, no matter it's his or her fault or not, he or she mustsay, 'It's my fault." And then he or she must beg to be punished. Ifthe punishment was inflicted, when it was over, he or she must thankhis or her superiors for being punished. Likewise, if anyone was tobe executed by the order of the emperor or the queen, he or she mustthank the emperor or the queen for the execution. That's feudalChina. Ridiculous?[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]SoRoyal Concubine Yan said accordingly, “Yes, it's my fault.” Butshe pleaded, “I can't refuse to be carried to the emperor'schamber.” (Implied, that is no use to be jealous? “I can't tellthe emperor what to do if he wants to sleep late.” (Implied, don'tblame me.)”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thequeen flared up and ordered her eunuchs to beat Concubine Yan. Twoeunuchs held her down on the floor. A third eunuch fetched a woodenstick. Just as the stick was being brought down, a voice, panting,shouted, “Stop!” The emperor came to her rescue.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Whenthe emperor was holding the meeting with his courtiers, one of hiseunuchs came running to whisper to the emperor that the queen tookConcubine Yan to Kunning Palace. The emperor knew at once what wouldhappen. He adjourned the meeting till tomorrow and hurried toKunning Palace, just in time to prevent the beating.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Oh,my dear queen,” said the emperor sweetly, “Though Queen have theright to beat her, Queen can't beat her today.(In Qing Dynasty,Emperor and Queen were used to address the emperor and the queen. OrEmpress Dowager was used to address an empress dowager.) [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Whynot?” The queen looked dubious.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “BecauseConcubine Yan is pregnant.” The emperor acquainted the queen withthe surprising happy news.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theemperor had no son yet. If an emperor had no heir, it was deemed asa sin to his ancestors. So pregnancy in the palace was verysignificant in the eye of the queen. Concubine Yan was spared andsent back to her own chamber.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “SinceConcubine Yan is pregnant, Emperor should let her have more rest. Emperor should no longer sleep with her till her child is born. Thequeen warned the emperor. (The superiors could use pronouns and namesto address or mention the subordinates.)[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] * * *[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Sushunand Duanhua were brothers. Since Duanhua was the elder one, heinherited the title of Prince Zheng when their father died. But theyounger brother was a man of ability and determination. Thebrothers, especially the younger one, had won the emperor's favor byoffering things to the emperor's liking. They often suggested to theemperor how to have fun and even provided him with every possiblediversion and pastime. The most desired fun to the emperor was sex.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theyounger brother, Sushun, knew that the emperor could no longer sleepin Concubine Yan's chamber at present. Therefore, he found some verybeautiful women, who belonged to Han Clan (The ruling class of QingDynasty was Mandarin Clan.) and stole them into the Round-BrightGarden, where the emperor lived most of the year while he should livein the Forbidden City. The Round-Bright Garden was located outsidethe capital, Peking. The garden had hills and lakes, trees andflowers that covered almost every inch of the ground with footpathszigzagging among them. Even in the winter, the snowy scene was alsobeautiful. All the buildings, the pavilions and the arbors, wereimitated from the architecture of the famous structures all over thecountry. The emperor liked to live in the Round-Bright Garden, notjust because of its beautiful scenery, but mostly because when he wasin the Forbidden City, he must do almost everything in accordancewith certain etiquette set up by his ancestors, but when he dwelt inthe Garden, there were not so many rules required to observe. Lifewas a bit easier there for him.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Buthis ancestors had set up a rule that women with small deformed feetwere inhibited to enter any of the emperor's residences. Women ofHan Clan had such feet. So the emperor broke the rule to acceptthem. Among these Han Clan women, one was a widow, some were whoresfrom brothels. All were beauties. One of the whores was originallythe mistress of a courtier, who, when aware of it, sent in a reportof advice, saying that the emperor should not keep Han Clan women inthe Garden. The emperor wrote a sentence on the report and gave itback to the courtier. It said, “You are jealous.” Among all thewomen of Han Clan, there were four beauties the emperor liked best.He named them Apricot Spring, Peach Spring, Peony Spring andCrabapple Spring (Crabapple here means Chinese flowering crabapple.) They were called Four Springs by the maids and eunuchs in the Garden.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Aftergiving birth to a son, Concubine Yan expected the emperor's visiteveryday, but for a long time the emperor seemed forgetting her. Atlength she came to the knowledge that the emperor kept a lot of HanClan women in the Garden. But she could do nothing about it. Only thequeen could produce the book containing the ancestral instructions. She must seek alliance in the queen. So she went to pay her respectto the queen. She knelt before the queen and kowtowed. The queenbade her to stand up after the ritual.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Queen.”She began, “Does Queen know why the emperor looks thinner day byday?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Noidea.” Replied the queen. “What have you heard?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Theemperor has many Han Clan women hidden somewhere in the Garden.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “That'sagainst the rule.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “So. That's why I must report to Queen. Queen must interfere. I'm notjealous. I'm only concerned with the emperor's health.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Therefore,the queen decided to search the garden. Early one morning, many maidsand eunuchs followed the queen into the Round-Bright Garden.Concubine Yan accompanied the queen there. They searched everybuilding, every corner in the buildings, but couldn? find any of theHan Clan women supposed to be there. They had been there before, butwhen the emperor got the wind that the queen would search the garden,he ordered them to be removed to some secret place. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Itwas said that the emperor liked to have fun outside the ForbiddenCity. He went out in plain clothes. Once he stole out of theForbidden City, strolling in the streets, followed by a eunuch andsome bodyguards, also in plain clothes. He looked this way and that,at all the interesting things he had never seen before. Someone waskneading a few colored doughs. Then picking pieces of dough off fromhere and there, he made a female figure out of them. The hair, theface with a mouth, a nose, eyes and ears, colored clothes, the handsand shoes. Nothing missing. Then he made another, a male figure. The figures were taken after the characters from well-known operas. Looking so vivid. Just wonderful. So the emperor told the eunuch tobuy both and bring them back to his palace. He had them displayed onhis desk. But after a while when the dough dried, there appearedsome cracks on the figures. And the last place the figures ended upin was among the garbage.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Anothertime when the emperor was sauntering along a narrow street, he saw ayoung beautiful woman standing at the door of a dye shop. She wasthe owner's wife. When he made for the door, the woman stepped asideto let him in. He walked in like he was a customer and talked to thewoman since the husband was in the back of the shop. He said to thewoman that he could make her husband rich if she was willing to behis concubine. The woman was at a loss what to say to such animproper proposal. Just then, the husband came out. The emperorleft with his attendants. Next day a stranger came into the shop. His servants carried in two boxes. A big heavy box they left on thefloor and a small one they put on the table. The man announced thatthe emperor wanted his wife. If he refused, he must drink thepoisonous wine in the cup in the small box. If he agreed, he couldkeep this big box full of gold. Besides, the emperor would make hima government official. He must choose between the two. He had tochoose the latter, even if he loved his wife. The wife was taken andsent to live with the women of Han Clan. Sushun had done anotherfavor to the emperor.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 5[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Unfortunatelyfor Emperor Xianfeng, in the second year of his reign, 1851, a greatrebellion broke out in the south of China on a large scale, in areligious cloak. But before that, there had been other rebellions ina religious cloak, too. These rebellions had lasted very long. There were two main rebellious organizations. First was the WhiteLotus Taoists, which had originated in the Yuan Dynasty to fightagainst the Mongolian Clan, who had galloped down south from Mongoliain the far north and after occupying China, had established the YuanDynasty. When the Mongolian Clan had been driven back after theirreign of a little less than a hundred years, the White Lotus Taoistshad been dormant, because the next dynasty, Ming Dynasty, had beenfounded by the same Han Clan. Sometimes, they had killed somecorrupted officials. When the Mandarin Clan had set up their QingDynasty, the White Lotus Taoists had risen up to arms again like anawakened lion or a phoenix rising from the ashes. Especially from1793 to 1802, they had combated against the Mandarin Clan in fiveprovinces in Midwest China. The other main rebellious organizationwas Heaven & Earth Society, first organized in 1786 in Taiwan. After 1793, they had set foot on the mainland. Their branches hadscattered over many provinces, but battled separately, never united.[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] * * *[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Sinceearly in Qing Dynasty, many clergymen and priests had come to Chinato save the souls of the Chinese people. They had left theirfootprints everywhere, even in the remote villages. Using thewestern religious theory as their basic creeds, the largest andlongest rebellious organization was born in 1851. It was calledGod-Worshipper Society. There had been quite a few rebellions sincethe Mandarin Clan had crossed the Great Wall and conquered the HanClan. These were really political organizations in a religiouscloak. So was the God-Worshipper Society.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theleader of the God-Worshipper Society was then a young man, Hong byname, born on January 10, 1813, in Guangdong Province. His father wasa peasant, tilling the fields to grow vegetables and raisingpoultries. Hong had two older brothers, who helped their father withthe sowing and reaping work. At that time cows were used to ploughthe ground. They had two cows. Though the family was not rich, they had enough to live on. So the father sent his youngest son, Hong,to a local tutor for education, pinning the hope on the son that someday he would pass the government tests and become an official. Butkarma arranged for him to take another road in his life. He failedall the tests. In 1836 after his last test failed, he met withsomeone in the streets of Canton City, who was distributing somebooks. Hong was given a copy, but he kept it at home and never readit. The failure in the tests made him so downhearted that he decidedhe would no longer take the tests. He became a tutor giving classesto children in his village.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Oneday in May of 1843, he found time heavy on hands. As he wanted toget some book to read for pastime, he came across the copy longforgotten. It was a gospel book written by a Chinese Christian. Thebook charmed him so much after he finished it that he wanted to tellpeople things in the book. So he quit tutoring and startedpreaching. He no more believed in Buddha. He no more believed inConfucius, whom almost all the scholars worshipped. He believed inGod now and created the God-Worshipper Society. He left home foranother province, Guangxi Province (west to Guangdong Province he wasborn in), and turned over a new leaf in his life. He preached invillages after villages there, sowing his seeds. His believersincreased rapidly. He set up his headquarters in Jintian Village,which was like a gunpowder barrel that only needed a match.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] In1850, there were droughts in Guangxi Province. Food was scarce. Thefood merchants raised the prices. People who were starving began toattack the rich people's residences for food. The rich peopleorganized their own guards to resist. The God-Worshipper Society hadits believers in many places all over the province. The believersconsisted of all kinds of people, from rich residents to poor tramps,from charcoal burners to peasants. In 1851, a match was applied tothe gunpowder barrel. A small town police officer, who had been sentto arrest a thief, came across the charcoal burners in the woods nearJintian Village on his way back. He was a corrupted officer andoften racketeered people for money. This time he asked for moneyfrom the charcoal burners, who made charcoals from the tree branchesand lived from hand to mouth. Of course, they refused his demand. As the charcoal burners greatly outnumbered his policemen, he had toleave empty-handed, but he threatened to come back with morepolicemen to arrest them as rebels. The charcoal burners were afraidand gathered in a rich believer's yard for a discussion what to do. Meantime, the police officer happened to meet another rich believerand took his concubine away from him as a vengeance on the believers. Now the gunpowder was ignited. All the believers came to JintianVillage and the leader Hong declared that God was Heavenly Father andJesus Christ was Heavenly Brother and that he was Heavenly Son sentdown by Heavenly Father to save the world. Then he organized them.They called themselves the Peaceful Army, because their purpose wasto bring peace to this world. The uprising took place on January 11,1851.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theemperor received the report about the riot seven days later. He sentgovernment armies to quench the rebellion. The Peaceful Army marchedeastbound. They defeated the armies of Qing government and took overquite a few towns, but they didn't stay there long. They continuedthe eastward advance till they came to YongAn City. The word YongAnmeans long safety It's a good name for a city. So they founded akingdom there, called Peaceful Heavenly Kingdom. Hong made himselfthe Heavenly King and gave titles to his chief followers, who werealso leaders of troops. There were so many kings in this kingdom:East King, North King, West King, South King, Shrewdness King,Swallow King, Protection King, Assistant King and Wing King, whoshould be like the wings of a bird to make it fly up. [/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theyput up slogans so that people could know what was their goal. Theirslogans were: If there's land, plough together; if there's food, eattogether; if there're clothes, use together; if there's money, spendtogether. And absolute equality everywhere. Enough food and clothesfor everyone. These slogans fascinated and attracted a vast number ofpoor people, and hence swelled the Peaceful Army.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Theirsublime aim was to overthrow Qing Dynasty and drive the Mandarin Clanout beyond the Great Wall, back to where they had come from. Anorder stated that anyone in the Peaceful Army, if coming inpossession of anything, must hand in to the Heavenly Treasury andeveryone could get a share from it when needed. Therefore, unlikethe armies of Qing government, the Peaceful Army had good disciplineand was supported by the people. Many young beggars and vagabondsjoined it. Another edict was given that people of the Han Clanshould grow their hair on the front part of their pate and restorethe hairstyle of Han Clan. The male hair style of the Mandarin Clanwas to shave the front part of the pate clean and braid the back partof the hair into a pigtail. When the Mandarin Clan had built uptheir Qing Dynasty, they had ordered all the male people of the HanClan to wear their hair in the same style. Whoever had refused wouldhave been beheaded. Their slogan was: hair or head. (It meant thatif you wanted your hair, you could not keep your head on yourshoulders.) So when the Peaceful Army grew their hair, Qinggovernment called them Long-Hair. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Whilethe Peaceful Army was celebrating their victory and newly-foundedregime, Qing government gathered large troops and encircled YongAnCity. In March, 1852, the Peaceful Army concentrated its forces andwedged out from the enclosure of the government army. The governmentarmy pursued, but was put to rout. The Peaceful Army headed forGuilin City, the capital of Guangxi Province. They surrounded theCity for a month, but could not take it. So they quit and marchednorthbound. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Theemperor sent three detachments to attack the Peaceful Army, but werealso beaten. Then the government troops gathered in Wuchang City forthe purpose to prevent the Peaceful Army from going further north. The emperor issued an order to allow cities, towns and even villagesto organize and train their own people for self-protection.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnDecember 7, 1852, the Peaceful Army split itself into two sections. One section went on land and the other by water. They obtainedplenty of ships from the government army. Their goal was the Wu-Hanarea, which included Wuchang City, Hanyang City and Hankou City. TheThree Cities were the important military strategic area on the upperYangtze River. Within ten days the Peaceful Army occupied the threecities one after another. The Heavenly King and all his other kingsstayed in Wuchang City to celebrate and recruit while the emperorordered his army commanders to set up defense lines in HunanProvince, Hubei Province and Anhui Province to blockade the advanceof the Peaceful Army towards Nanking City.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnFebruary 9, 1853, after the Chinese New Year, the Peaceful Army leftWuchang City, dividing itself again into two sections. They went onland alongside and by water on the Yangtze River. They aimed atNanking City. They took over many cities and towns along the way,like Jiujiang City, Anqing City, which was a very important spot inthe military point of view, and Wuwu City. On March 18, the PeacefulArmy entered Nanking City. They changed the name to Tianking City.(Tianking means the Heavenly Capital.) [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ThePeaceful Army established new law and order in the City. It was verysimple: those who killed others would be executed. No robbery ortheft happened because the excessive things must go to the warehousesof the Heavenly Treasury. Every twenty-five families formed a socialunit. A unit leader was elected. A strong male adult was chosen fromevery family to form the basic military unit. The twenty-fivefamilies worked together and lived together. There was a treasurywarehouse in every unit. Everything they got was stored there andeverything necessary for the living was supplied from there. It wassaid that the foreign governments sent their representatives to havea look in Nanking City, surprised at all these. They thought it wasa revolutionary army and hereby kept strictly neutral between the tworegimes. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Whenthe message reached the Forbidden City, the emperor lost his appetitein anxiety. He appointed new commanders to organize two detachments. One set up their camp in the area of Purple Golden Mountain not farfrom Nanking City on the southern side of the Yangtze River. It wascalled the South River Camp. The other camped in Yangzhou City onthe northern side of the Yangtze River, hence called the North RiverCamp.[/FONT]
 

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[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 6[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thehistorians have discussed why the Qing government armies were soeasily defeated and their conclusions are: (1) The military system ofQing Dynasty was that the army controlled by the central governmentwas called Eight-Flag Army and those belonged to the local governmentwere named Green-Camp Army. The Eight-Flag Army could no longerfight after long time of peace (almost two hundred years) and lack oftraining and practice. The old fighters had long been dead. The newgeneration of soldiers all came from rich or well-to-do families. They joined the Army as an honor since there was no occasion forfighting at that time. There really were days fixed for training,but most of them just hired some poor young men to be drilled intheir names for roll-calling. No one knew who's who by face. Now thetime came for the combat, but they didn't know how to fight. As forthe Green-Camp Army, their sole duty was to defend the city or townthey belonged to against small groups of outlaws. They had noexperience in big-time fight on the battlefield, like forming aphalanx, and no training whatever for that matter. (2) Everycommander wanted to be independent and fought separately. Theycouldn't unite as a strategic whole. Especially so was theGreen-Camp Army. They were accustomed to the way that once theychased the rebels out of their jurisdiction, their duties wereperformed. The fleeing rebels were the problem of anotherjurisdiction. (3) There were conflicts of ideas and interestsbetween officials and officers of the Mandarin Clan and those of theHan Clan. The latter looked down upon the former and wouldn't obeythe former. The commanders were all from the Mandarin Clan and allwere no good. (4) In Qing Dynasty, officials were above officers instatus and ranks, but they didn't know how to fight. So officersoften disobeyed them. Quite a few officials just ran away in theface of the enemies. (5) The government officers and soldiers oftendid nasty things to common people like extorting, and so theycouldn't get universal support. When the Peaceful Army assaultedNanking City, there were only five thousand government soldiers todefend it. This was a big city with the circumference of forty-eightkilometers and more than fifteen thousand battlements. Every soldiershould safeguard three battlements. No wonder the Peaceful Armyentered the city like back into their own home.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Afterthe Heavenly King settled in Nanking City as his capital, he issuedtwo orders. His Heavenly General and Earthly General (their positionequivalent to that of a commander) would march twenty thousand strongnorthbound, detouring Yangzhou City where the government army camped. His Spring General would start from Pukou Town northward. Theinstruction given to them was to advance towards Peking to overthrowQing Dynasty. They fought their easy way through Anhui Province andmet resistance in Hunan Province. But they penetrated the defenseline of the government army and approached Kaifeng City, the capitalof Hunan Province. They assailed the city, but couldn't breakthrough. So they went in a roundabout way and ferried across theYellow River at Yixin Town. They enclosed Huaiqing Town andconquered the government army there, headed by the governor of ZhidiProvince (It's Hebei Province now on the map). They hoofed towardsBaoding City, close to Peking.[/FONT]
 
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