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EMPRESS DOWAGER CIXI (1 Viewer)

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]WhenWest Empress Dowager read the telegram, she was stunned into silence,because the telegram listed the following demands: (1) to free theemperor and return the power to the emperor; (2) to disperse Yihetuanand if Qing government can't do it alone, all the foreign governmentsare willing to send their armies to help; (3) Qing government shouldget the agreement from the foreign governments as to how many troopsQing government would train and keep standing. Qing government mustask foreign officers to drill its army; (4) foreign governments mustsupervise and control the collection of all the taxes and the use ofthem.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thoseconditions were just what West Empress Dowager could not bear with. So on June 19, when Dagukou fell to the foreign hands, West EmpressDowager decided to declare war and the foreign envoys were notifiedto leave Peking in 24 hours.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnJune 20, the German envoy wanted to go to the Foreign Affairs Yamento see the courtier in charge, but on the way he met a squad ofChinese patrolling soldiers and was killed by the leader of thesquad. The situation went from worse to worst. At four o'lock in theafternoon that same day, instigated by Prince Zaiyi Yihetuan startedto assault the foreign legations in Peking. A division under thecommand of Ronglu turned over to Prince Zaiyi and joined thebesiegement. The general of the division had been a rebel in thenorthwestern provinces. He had turned over to Qing government and hadbeen promoted to be a general. Prince Zaiyi had promised him that ifhis son would succeed to the throne, he would be made a governor. Sohe took orders from Prince Zaiyi instead from Ronglu. This was notdeemed as betrayal since Prince Zaiyi and Ronglu both served WestEmpress Dowager. Ronglu could not even report this inside turnover toWest Empress Dowager for fear that she would blame him for hisinability. But what could he do as this was not betrayal?[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Yihetuanand the division could not do much damage even to the buildings ofthe legations because their weapons were not advanced enough. Theyhad only rifles. So the general went to see Ronglu to borrow cannonsthat was under Ronglu's control. Of course Ronglu gave him a flatrefusal. He complained to Prince Zaiyi.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] WhenWest Empress Dowager was told that Prince Zaiyi wanted to useYihetuan to assault the foreign legations, West Empress Dowagerdidn't say anything. It meant that she acquiesced. Prince Zaiyi hadpromised to seize all the legations and capture all the foreignerswithin a short period of time. But it was now three days. So he wentto complain to West Empress Dowager that Ronglu rejected to lend himcannons and without cannons how could he take the legations in ashort time? He meant that it was Ronglu's fault, not his fault, thathe had failed in his task. West Empress Dowager told Ronglu to lendhis cannons to Prince Zaiyi, but Ronglu said that he could not lendhis cannons to Prince Zaiyi, because they might hit the Temple ofGeneral Deng, which was very close to the foreign legations. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] GeneralDeng had been a general of Ming Dynasty. His troops had been campednorth of the Great Wall. The first emperor of Qing Dynasty had likedto travel alone to check geographical conditions for his militarypurposes. He had been taken captive by the soldiers of Ming Dynastyand sent to General Deng. The first impression the emperor had madeon General Deng had been favorable and Deng had secretly releasedhim. He had been always grateful. Later when Japan had invaded Korea,General Deng had been sent to fight the Japanese army in Korea anddied there. As the first emperor of Qing Dynasty had learned thedeath of General Deng, he had built a temple in his memory, calledthe Temple of General Deng. When Qing Dynasty had been founded withinthe entire territory of China, the emperor had built another templein Peking, also called the Temple of General Deng. Every subsequentemperor would go there to worship. If the temple was hit by thecannons, it would be a crime done to the ancestors. Ronglu used it asa pretext to reject the demand of Prince Zaiyi. West Empress Dowageragreed, but she wanted Ronglu to use his cannons to support theattack to the foreign legations. Ronglu went back to tell the officerin charge of the cannon regiment to open fire. He didn't say towardsthe foreign legations He hinted to the officer that he should makethe sound of the cannons reach the inside of the Forbidden City. Sothe officer turned his cannons in the opposite direction and keptfiring. Ronglu always opposed to Yihetuan and their actions. Only hedidn't want to sing a different tune to displease West EmpressDowager.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Somany people were killed on both sides from June 20 through 24. ButPrince Zaiyi and his followers hadn't seized the legations yet. WestEmpress Dowager blamed him, saying, “If you can't take a fewbuildings in our own land, how can you drive out the foreigners?”On June 25, West Empress Dowager ordered to stop the attack, but theChinese soldiers and Yihetuan still surrounded the foreign legationsand the attack didn't really cease until August 14.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnJuly 14, the foreign united troops seized Tianjin City. No one wantedto be the bearer of the bad news to West Empress Dowager, but it wasPrince Zaiyi's responsibility. He couldn't avoid it and had to reportit to West Empress Dowager, who chided him, “You said that Yihetuanhas magic power and can resist the foreigners. How could that be thatTianjin City was lost?” Prince Zaiyi trembled while answering, “Iwas told that traitors were hiding among Yihetuan and made theirmagic malfunction.” West Empress Dowager flared up at such childishexcuse. She slapped hard on the table before her, which startledZaiyi prostrating in front of the table. “I don't care about theirmagic functioning or not. If the foreigners come to the capital, Iwill put you before the muzzles of their cannons.” She dismissedhim in frustration.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Nextday Ronglu went to see West Empress Dowager to report that after theinvestigation, the telegram supposed to come from the foreigngovernments was proved to be a fake. No such a telegram had reallycome through the cable. There was no record about such a telegram atthe stations on both ends. It must have been written by the order ofPrince Zaiyi, who had always urged West Empress Dowager to declarewar against the foreigners. So West Empress Dowager summoned Zaiyi.“Do you know what is deception?” She hit the side table with herfist. Zaiyi quivered with fear, but he pleaded weakly, “I neverdare to cheat Old Buddha.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thenwho created a phony telegram?” She accused indignantly. Zaiyi couldhave nothing to say for himself. He only knocked his forehead on thefloor, imploring to be pardoned. “You think I don't know the thingsyou did. I know what you want. You want to be the over-emperor whenyour son inherits the crown. I can tell you now, don't even thinkabout it.”[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]WhenPrince Zaiyi got home, he was told that his favorite assistantgeneral and his family had been killed by Yihetuan. They had accusedhim of insufficient provisions to them. Zaiyi sent for their leader,who said that there were traitors among them who had done it. Zaiyiknew that the mention of the traitors were just a pretense they madeto elude the criticisms from other courtiers. That the leader wouldsay it to him was really beyond his belief and imagination. He waslike to invite wolves into the fold of his sheep.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Hewas more afraid of the courtiers to oppose him than Yihetuan tobetray him. First he accused three courtiers of treason and put theminto jail. Then two courtiers wrote a report to West Empress Dowagerthat Prince Zaiyi should be responsible for all the occurrences. ButZaiyi said that they were guilty of treachery and begged West EmpressDowager to execute them. And West Empress Dowager did order these twocourtiers to be executed. Then Prince Zaiyi insisted that the threealready imprisoned courtiers should also be executed and likewiseWest Empress Dowager did issue an order to execute them. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnAugust 4, the foreign troops left Tianjin City and marched towardsPeking. Outside Peking, there were Chinese troops camping there todefend the capital led by ex-governor Li Binheng, but when the unitedforeign troops approached, the Chinese soldiers were all scattered atthe sound of cannons and guns. Ex-governor Li had originally opposedto war against the foreigners, but when the foreign troops had beenattacking Tianjin City, he had recruited a division and marched thedivision to rescue the capital. West Empress Dowager was excited atthe action and interviewed him and gave him a royal sword. A royalsword had some authority of itself. Anyone who had the royal swordcould execute everyone who disobeyed his order without the need toget the approval from the emperor first. It was as if he representedthe emperor to execute people. It was a specially given power as wellas an honor and an encouragement. When his newly-recruited soldiersdispersed, he cut his own throat with the royal sword. Now theforeign troops marched forth without any resistance like they were ona parade. On August 14, the allied troops entered Peking without ahitch and then they strutted into the Forbidden City, from which WestEmpress Dowager had already escaped.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 44[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ConcubineZhen had been confined in an empty room of an old deserted building.As she was always kind to eunuchs and maids, they often came to seeher and talked a little. Her sister, Concubine Jin, often sent hermaid to bring her sister some delicious food. While Concubine Zhenwas eating, the maid told her all kinds of news through the barredwindow so that Concubine Zhen could follow up with the situation. Oneday she wanted the maid to take a note she had written to her sister.The maid could not refuse and hid the note in her pocket. But on herway to Concubine Jin's chamber, she lost the note somewhere. She wasnot even aware of it. When she reached the chamber of Concubine Jin,she could not find the note. So she was in a panic and Concubine Jinwas terrified, too, because they didn't even know what was on thenote. If anything written on it was against the rules and if WestEmpress Dowager should know it, both of them, Concubine Jin and themaid, would die. So the maid traced back the way she had come, butfound nothing remotely like a piece of paper. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Thenote was picked up by a eunuch, who handed it in to West EmpressDowager. She read it and was angry, because the note read like that:“Make the emperor stay for the negotiation. But it was not the timeto mind such a trifling thing.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Latein the evening on August 12, the bad news came at last that the jointtroops would soon enter the capital. West Empress Dowager decided toleave Peking.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “OldBuddha, the foreigners will soon come into Peking.” Prince Zaiyicame running to report in a frightened quavering voice, “Whatshould we do?”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Yousaid that Yihetuan could resist the foreign invasion. They havespecial magic and are bulletproof. Now you go to defend Peking. Ifyou let the foreign armies enter the capital, I will skin you.”West Empress Dowager was really in a great fume.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Butthe Chinese army and Yihetuan scattered before the foreign guns. Andearly next morning West Empress Dowager sent for the emperor, thequeen and Concubine Jin. She told them her decision and ordered thequeen to take eunuchs to bury her treasures in the backyard.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Thenshe was attired in a dress like a peasant's wife and so were othersas suitably dressed. But before her departure she ordered ConcubineZhen to be brought to her presence. “The foreign troops will sooncome into Peking. I can't bring you along with me since there arealready so many people I am taking. They will certainly rape you,which will be a great insult to the royal family, to the emperor. SoI advise you to end your life before such things happen to you.”West Empress Dowager said to Concubine Zhen in a calm serious voice.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Iam not afraid of death, but I beg Old Buddha to let the emperor stayto deal with the foreigners.” Her aim was that if the emperor couldstay out of the control of West Empress Dowager, he would have theopportunity to actually seize the power. But West Empress Dowager hadsufficient experience to see through such a farce and she justordered the eunuchs to push Concubine Zhen into a deep well. Theemperor implored West Empress Dowager on his knees to spare her life,but she just waved to the eunuchs to execute her order. ConcubineZhen, still young (born on February 27, 1876 and died on August 13,1900), fell into the well with a long loud shriek trailing behind herin the air.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] WhileConcubine Zhen died in the Forbidden City, an old prime minister Xuhanged himself at home. He was the most conservative courtier, alwaysopposing to anything made in foreign countries. When other courtiersused kerosene lamps, he still used candles. He was short-sighted, butrefused to use glasses. Now the foreigners would soon reach theForbidden City. He didn't want to see West Empress Dowager and theemperor taken captives or insulted. He decided to die for the nation.He called in his son and wanted him to be a martyr, too. His sonpromised to die with him. They prepared two pieces of rope and twostools. When the father put his head into the noose, the son stoodaside and comforted his father, “Father, you go first. I willfollow.” He took away the stool under his father's feet and watchedhis father hanging from the ceiling. Then he escaped by climbing overthe back wall, but as destiny had it, he was captured by Japanesesoldiers and kept as a captive till a peace treaty was signed. He wastransferred to Qing government and was executed by the order of WestEmpress Dowager.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]WestEmpress Dowager and the emperor rode on a wagon, and the queen andConcubine Jin on another wagon, followed by some courtiers onhorseback. Prince Zaiyi and other princes followed up, too. At noon,they reached a small village. Head eunuch Li found an old man andbrought him to the presence of West Empress Dowager, who didn't forcethe old man to kowtow before her because of her disguise as apeasant's wife.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Doyou have any food?” She asked him.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Allfood taken by soldiers. They just gone.” The old man replied.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Whatcould West Empress Dowager say? Soldiers wanted to eat, too. Lucky,they didn't kill the old man and eat him. “Do you have tea? Weare thirsty.” Eunuch Li asked.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Thisa poor place.” Said the old man, “Never taste tea my whole life.Always use dried date flowers.” So saying, he went to boil waterand poured hot water into a crude bowl with some dried date flowers.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]WestEmpress Dowager looked at the dirty bowl, dent at the brim, frowning,but thirst forced her to drink it. A few hours later, they arrivedin a small town. The mayor received and provided them with decentfood, though not like dainties in the palace. At least their hungerwas cured. [/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Nowthey wanted to issue several urgent orders, but they didn't bring anyseals in a hurry. In general, a written order should have a seal onit, like the seal of West Empress Dowager, the seal of the emperor,the seal of the Secretarial Bureau or that of the cabinet, for thehighest authority. Every yamen had its own seal. But they couldn'tuse the seal of the yamen of this town. Just as they were in such aperplexity, another secretary arrived, bringing the seal of theSecretarial Bureau. They issued some orders to move the troops toblockade the routes the foreigners were supposed to take if theywanted to pursue. Next they discussed where to go to set up theirtemporary palace. They could not stay in this small town. The nearestcity big enough to have decent place for the royal family was TaiyuanCity. So to Taiyuan City they made their way.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Themayor of this small town was Wu Yong. West Empress Dowager wassatisfied with his service and appointed him as the royal harbingerto prepare lodging and food for them. He went ahead and came intoanother town smaller than his. It was deserted. Even the mayor wasnot there. Then some eunuchs, some bodyguards and some soldiersarrived. They asked Mayor Wu for food and fodder, but he couldn'tfind anything in this deserted town. An officer glared at him,drawing out his sword. It looked as if he would kill Mayor Wu if hecouldn't give him what he demanded. Wu got fumed and said to himaloud, “You fled before the foreign armies and you want to kill me.Are you ashamed of yourself?” He recalled all the bad thingshappened recently and started to cry bitter tears. When he dried histears and opened his eyes, no one was there except himself. Laterpeople said that they had been driven away by his tears. Perhaps hecould try to weep before the foreigners and drive them out of China.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Whenthey arrived in Taiyuan City, some pieces of news came. Ronglu was inBaoding City, preparing for any emergency. The foreign armies werekeeping the capital in order and waiting for Qing government to sendsomeone there to negotiate. The peace negotiation between Qinggovernment and foreign envoys began even when West Empress Dowagerhad still been on the way to Taiyuan City. One of the conditionspersisted on by the foreign governments was to execute all thecourtiers who had stubbornly used Yihetuan against foreigners andhence caused the war. The Qing government representatives pleadedthat by Chinese law princes were never executed. The joint foreigntroops marched towards Baoding City and took it. West Empress Dowagerwas afraid that they would come after her in Taiyuan City. So sheescaped to XiAn City with the emperor and other royal family members,leaving those princes and other courtiers in Taiyuan City, becausethose were the ones on the list that the foreigners wanted Qinggovernment to punish.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Atlast they reached XiAn City, their final destination. It had beenthe capital for many dynasties back in the Chinese history. It wasinland far enough from Peking. So West Empress Dowager thought thatthe invading armies could not march so far to it. Once she was safe,she restored to her former luxurious life despite the capital beingstill in the hands of the foreigners. Ronglu came to XiAn Citydirectly from Baoding City from which he had fled. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]OnSeptember 7, 1901, a treaty was signed and peace was restored. Themembers of Yihetuan were either killed or arrested or scattered inescape. Through bargaining, all the courtiers belligerent toforeigners and responsible for the war were executed except PrinceZaiyi, who was banished for life to Mongolian district.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Therewere two theaters in XiAn City. Since West Empress Dowager set up hertemporary palace there, Big Brother went to watch operas everyday,escorted by a group of eunuchs. Big Brother liked to accompany thesinging by beating the drum. So the owner of the theater and theleader of the troupe had to let him do it. There were often somesoldiers there, who were under the command of Ronglu. One day, BigBrother didn't beat the drum correctly and the opera singer falteredin his singing. So some soldiers who didn't know who Big Brother waslaughed at him. Big Brother thought it was contempt to him. He beganthe fight with the soldiers and the eunuchs joined to protect BigBrother. They had to even if they didn't like the boy, because ifanything serious happened to Bit Brother, they would be executedfirst. [/FONT]
 

xlwoo

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

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 45[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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?[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

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

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Idon't know how to report to Old Buddha . . .” Concubine Yu didn'tfinish the sentence.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Youcan say whatever you want. I won't be offended.” West EmpressDowager promised.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Ioften dreamed Concubine Zhen. She asked to be buried somewhere. Shedoesn't like to lie in the well. It's too cold there.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “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. [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Wheredid she say that she wants to keep her memorial tablet?” WestEmpress Dowager asked.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “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.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] Buthead eunuch Li didn't know how to dissuade the emperor from attendingthe funeral.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “Canyou get something for me?” the emperor asked eunuch Li, “SomethingConcubine Zhen had used or worn, by which I can remember her.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] “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.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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? [/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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. [/FONT]
 

xlwoo

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

xlwoo

Senior Member
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Chapter 46[/FONT]


[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.”[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.[/FONT]
[FONT=Times New Roman, serif] 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.[/FONT]
 

xlwoo

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

xlwoo

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