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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #256
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    The town was in a far southern province. It took more than a month for the concerned parties to travel the long distance to the capital. When the minister questioned Cabbage, she was consistent with what she had said. The son of the mayor had warned her that if she changed anything in her statement of confession the consequence would be very serious. But he hadn't explained how serious it would have been and Cabbage hadn't doubted it. She really liked him and wanted him to live. The minister had a meeting with his consultants. They all knew that if Cabbage insisted on what she had confessed, they couldn't change the verdict. They had no reason to do so. They should find a way out of it. Everyone in the room put on the thinking cap. All of a sudden, one of the consultants said that he was struck with a wonderful idea.
    In a small room of the Judicial Ministry building, a square table stood in the center with two people seated at it opposite each other. One was Cabbage and the other was Yang. They were brought together in this room by the jailers, who told them that the minister gave them the dinner because they would be executed next day. They were supposed to bid eternal adieu to each other at their last dinner party. There were four dishes on the table and even wine was provided. Yang was in total despair and felt that it was unfair to him because he didn't murder anybody. Cabbage hung her head low, ashamed of herself for framing Yang. At first both of them kept silent. No one cared to speak. To break the awkwardness, Yang began, “Cabbage, let's drink farewell. We may meet in next life.” Cabbage could think of nothing to say. So she remained in silence. She realized now that she had been taken in by the son. Perhaps, he had never loved her from the beginning, but why had he wanted her husband out of the way by poisoning him? “Cabbage,” Yang went on, “We will die tomorrow. Can you tell me the truth so that I won't die ignorant?” Cabbage thought what was the use now even if she told the truth. They would be executed next day all the same. So she made no answer, still bending her head low. Yang was a couple of years older than she. They grew up together in the same neighborhood. When in childhood, they played together. Then Yang reached the age to be tutored, he transferred his new knowledge to her by teaching her how to read and write. As her family was not rich, Yang's father didn't consent to their marriage. Then she was married to the late husband. “Did you still remember we read the story West Chamber together?” How could she forget? She recalled many scenes in their childhood and when they had grown up. She almost buried her chin in her chest. “Cabbage, speak to me, please. Let me hear your voice once more before I die.” Yang sounded like begging her. Her tears dripped on her lap. “Don't cry, Cabbage. Talk to me. We have only tonight to live.” Yang said softly. Cabbage sobbed out the words, “I'm sorry.”

  2. #257
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    “No need to say sorry.” Yang sighed. After a while. “Do you hate me?” Cabbage asked bashfully.
    “No. Why should I hate you? Everyone will die sooner or later.” Yang said philosophically.
    “Because I framed you.” At last she said that.
    “So, you did frame me?” Yang said without any surprise. Cabbage nodded.
    “Now tell me the truth, please.”
    “What's the use now?”
    “At least I know the truth before I die.”
    After a lot of importunity from Yang, Cabbage told him the truth. Yang sighed and laughed and began to eat and drink. A jailer came into their room, holding a stack of paper in his hand. He told Cabbage to sign on the bottom of the last page. Cabbage didn't know what that meant, but she signed anyway. Why should she care what papers she signed? She would soon die. She cared for nothing any more.
    Next day, both of them were brought before the minister. They thought the minister would send them to the execution ground. But the minister asked Cabbage, “Why didn't you tell the truth in the local government? I mean, at least you could do it in the governor's yamen.” Cabbage was confused. She was at a loss to understand what the minister had just asked. This was the ruse they had used to draw the truth out of Cabbage. The minister had hidden himself in the next room with some of his consultants. They had been eavesdropping to what Yang and Cabbage would have said. A consultant had written down all the facts Cabbage had confessed to Yang. The minister issued an order to fetch the mayor, the son of the mayor and the owner of the drugstore, who had sold the arsenic to the son. When the drugstore owner pointed out that it was the son of the mayor, not Yang, who had come to him to buy the arsenic, the son could no longer deny his crime. So the original verdict was invalid. The son was executed. The mayor was removed from his office and exiled to a remote province. Cabbage and Yang were proved not guilty and released. Yang went back to his home in the southern province. He was handicapped on the knees for life.
    The case was closed. Many officials in that southern province were either dismissed from their posts or demoted, because they had misjudged a case that had involved two innocent lives. The minister wrote a report to West Empress Dowager. She was interested in the case and curious to see what Cabbage looked like and so summoned Cabbage to her presence. In ordinary circumstances, only courtiers above a certain rank could be present before an empress dowager. Cabbage was a special case. After the interview, Cabbage became a nun.

  3. #258
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    “No need to say sorry.” Yang sighed. After a while. “Do you hate me?” Cabbage asked bashfully.
    “No. Why should I hate you? Everyone will die sooner or later.” Yang said philosophically.
    “Because I framed you.” At last she said that.
    “So, you did frame me?” Yang said without any surprise. Cabbage nodded.
    “Now tell me the truth, please.”
    “What's the use now?”
    “At least I know the truth before I die.”
    After a lot of importunity from Yang, Cabbage told him the truth. Yang sighed and laughed and began to eat and drink. A jailer came into their room, holding a stack of paper in his hand. He told Cabbage to sign on the bottom of the last page. Cabbage didn't know what that meant, but she signed anyway. Why should she care what papers she signed? She would soon die. She cared for nothing any more.
    Next day, both of them were brought before the minister. They thought the minister would send them to the execution ground. But the minister asked Cabbage, “Why didn't you tell the truth in the local government? I mean, at least you could do it in the governor's yamen.” Cabbage was confused. She was at a loss to understand what the minister had just asked. This was the ruse they had used to draw the truth out of Cabbage. The minister had hidden himself in the next room with some of his consultants. They had been eavesdropping to what Yang and Cabbage would have said. A consultant had written down all the facts Cabbage had confessed to Yang. The minister issued an order to fetch the mayor, the son of the mayor and the owner of the drugstore, who had sold the arsenic to the son. When the drugstore owner pointed out that it was the son of the mayor, not Yang, who had come to him to buy the arsenic, the son could no longer deny his crime. So the original verdict was invalid. The son was executed. The mayor was removed from his office and exiled to a remote province. Cabbage and Yang were proved not guilty and released. Yang went back to his home in the southern province. He was handicapped on the knees for life.
    The case was closed. Many officials in that southern province were either dismissed from their posts or demoted, because they had misjudged a case that had involved two innocent lives. The minister wrote a report to West Empress Dowager. She was interested in the case and curious to see what Cabbage looked like and so summoned Cabbage to her presence. In ordinary circumstances, only courtiers above a certain rank could be present before an empress dowager. Cabbage was a special case. After the interview, Cabbage became a nun.

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