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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #376
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    Chapter 44

    Concubine Zhen 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 see her and talked a little. Her sister, Concubine Jin, often sent her maid to bring her sister some delicious food. While Concubine Zhen was eating, the maid told her all kinds of news through the barred window so that Concubine Zhen could follow up with the situation. One day 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 her way to Concubine Jin's chamber, she lost the note somewhere. She was not 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 Jin was terrified, too, because they didn't even know what was on the note. If anything written on it was against the rules and if West Empress Dowager should know it, both of them, Concubine Jin and the maid, would die. So the maid traced back the way she had come, but found nothing remotely like a piece of paper.
    The note was picked up by a eunuch, who handed it in to West Empress Dowager. She read it and was angry, because the note read like that: “Make the emperor stay for the negotiation. But it was not the time to mind such a trifling thing.”
    Late in the evening on August 12, the bad news came at last that the joint troops would soon enter the capital. West Empress Dowager decided to leave Peking.
    “Old Buddha, the foreigners will soon come into Peking.” Prince Zaiyi came running to report in a frightened quavering voice, “What should we do?”
    “You said that Yihetuan could resist the foreign invasion. They have special magic and are bulletproof. Now you go to defend Peking. If you let the foreign armies enter the capital, I will skin you.” West Empress Dowager was really in a great fume.

  2. #377
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    Chapter 44

    Concubine Zhen 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 see her and talked a little. Her sister, Concubine Jin, often sent her maid to bring her sister some delicious food. While Concubine Zhen was eating, the maid told her all kinds of news through the barred window so that Concubine Zhen could follow up with the situation. One day 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 her way to Concubine Jin's chamber, she lost the note somewhere. She was not 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 Jin was terrified, too, because they didn't even know what was on the note. If anything written on it was against the rules and if West Empress Dowager should know it, both of them, Concubine Jin and the maid, would die. So the maid traced back the way she had come, but found nothing remotely like a piece of paper.
    The note was picked up by a eunuch, who handed it in to West Empress Dowager. She read it and was angry, because the note read like that: “Make the emperor stay for the negotiation. But it was not the time to mind such a trifling thing.”
    Late in the evening on August 12, the bad news came at last that the joint troops would soon enter the capital. West Empress Dowager decided to leave Peking.
    “Old Buddha, the foreigners will soon come into Peking.” Prince Zaiyi came running to report in a frightened quavering voice, “What should we do?”
    “You said that Yihetuan could resist the foreign invasion. They have special magic and are bulletproof. Now you go to defend Peking. If you let the foreign armies enter the capital, I will skin you.” West Empress Dowager was really in a great fume.

  3. #378
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    But the Chinese army and Yihetuan scattered before the foreign guns. And early next morning West Empress Dowager sent for the emperor, the queen and Concubine Jin. She told them her decision and ordered the queen to take eunuchs to bury her treasures in the backyard.
    Then she was attired in a dress like a peasant's wife and so were others as suitably dressed. But before her departure she ordered Concubine Zhen to be brought to her presence. “The foreign troops will soon come into Peking. I can't bring you along with me since there are already so many people I am taking. They will certainly rape you, which will be a great insult to the royal family, to the emperor. So I advise you to end your life before such things happen to you.” West Empress Dowager said to Concubine Zhen in a calm serious voice.
    “I am not afraid of death, but I beg Old Buddha to let the emperor stay to deal with the foreigners.” Her aim was that if the emperor could stay out of the control of West Empress Dowager, he would have the opportunity to actually seize the power. But West Empress Dowager had sufficient experience to see through such a farce and she just ordered the eunuchs to push Concubine Zhen into a deep well. The emperor implored West Empress Dowager on his knees to spare her life, but she just waved to the eunuchs to execute her order. Concubine Zhen, still young (born on February 27, 1876 and died on August 13, 1900), fell into the well with a long loud shriek trailing behind her in the air.
    While Concubine Zhen died in the Forbidden City, an old prime minister Xu hanged himself at home. He was the most conservative courtier, always opposing to anything made in foreign countries. When other courtiers used kerosene lamps, he still used candles. He was short-sighted, but refused to use glasses. Now the foreigners would soon reach the Forbidden City. He didn't want to see West Empress Dowager and the emperor 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 son promised to die with him. They prepared two pieces of rope and two stools. When the father put his head into the noose, the son stood aside and comforted his father, “Father, you go first. I will follow.” He took away the stool under his father's feet and watched his father hanging from the ceiling. Then he escaped by climbing over the back wall, but as destiny had it, he was captured by Japanese soldiers and kept as a captive till a peace treaty was signed. He was transferred to Qing government and was executed by the order of West Empress Dowager.

  4. #379
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    But the Chinese army and Yihetuan scattered before the foreign guns. And early next morning West Empress Dowager sent for the emperor, the queen and Concubine Jin. She told them her decision and ordered the queen to take eunuchs to bury her treasures in the backyard.
    Then she was attired in a dress like a peasant's wife and so were others as suitably dressed. But before her departure she ordered Concubine Zhen to be brought to her presence. “The foreign troops will soon come into Peking. I can't bring you along with me since there are already so many people I am taking. They will certainly rape you, which will be a great insult to the royal family, to the emperor. So I advise you to end your life before such things happen to you.” West Empress Dowager said to Concubine Zhen in a calm serious voice.
    “I am not afraid of death, but I beg Old Buddha to let the emperor stay to deal with the foreigners.” Her aim was that if the emperor could stay out of the control of West Empress Dowager, he would have the opportunity to actually seize the power. But West Empress Dowager had sufficient experience to see through such a farce and she just ordered the eunuchs to push Concubine Zhen into a deep well. The emperor implored West Empress Dowager on his knees to spare her life, but she just waved to the eunuchs to execute her order. Concubine Zhen, still young (born on February 27, 1876 and died on August 13, 1900), fell into the well with a long loud shriek trailing behind her in the air.
    While Concubine Zhen died in the Forbidden City, an old prime minister Xu hanged himself at home. He was the most conservative courtier, always opposing to anything made in foreign countries. When other courtiers used kerosene lamps, he still used candles. He was short-sighted, but refused to use glasses. Now the foreigners would soon reach the Forbidden City. He didn't want to see West Empress Dowager and the emperor 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 son promised to die with him. They prepared two pieces of rope and two stools. When the father put his head into the noose, the son stood aside and comforted his father, “Father, you go first. I will follow.” He took away the stool under his father's feet and watched his father hanging from the ceiling. Then he escaped by climbing over the back wall, but as destiny had it, he was captured by Japanese soldiers and kept as a captive till a peace treaty was signed. He was transferred to Qing government and was executed by the order of West Empress Dowager.

  5. #380
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    West Empress Dowager and the emperor rode on a wagon, and the queen and Concubine Jin on another wagon, followed by some courtiers on horseback. Prince Zaiyi and other princes followed up, too. At noon, they reached a small village. Head eunuch Li found an old man and brought him to the presence of West Empress Dowager, who didn't force the old man to kowtow before her because of her disguise as a peasant's wife.
    “Do you have any food?” She asked him.
    “All food taken by soldiers. They just gone.” The old man replied.
    What could West Empress Dowager say? Soldiers wanted to eat, too. Lucky, they didn't kill the old man and eat him. “Do you have tea? We are thirsty.” Eunuch Li asked.
    “This a poor place.” Said the old man, “Never taste tea my whole life. Always use dried date flowers.” So saying, he went to boil water and poured hot water into a crude bowl with some dried date flowers.
    West Empress Dowager looked at the dirty bowl, dent at the brim, frowning, but thirst forced her to drink it. A few hours later, they arrived in a small town. The mayor received and provided them with decent food, though not like dainties in the palace. At least their hunger was cured.

  6. #381
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    West Empress Dowager and the emperor rode on a wagon, and the queen and Concubine Jin on another wagon, followed by some courtiers on horseback. Prince Zaiyi and other princes followed up, too. At noon, they reached a small village. Head eunuch Li found an old man and brought him to the presence of West Empress Dowager, who didn't force the old man to kowtow before her because of her disguise as a peasant's wife.
    “Do you have any food?” She asked him.
    “All food taken by soldiers. They just gone.” The old man replied.
    What could West Empress Dowager say? Soldiers wanted to eat, too. Lucky, they didn't kill the old man and eat him. “Do you have tea? We are thirsty.” Eunuch Li asked.
    “This a poor place.” Said the old man, “Never taste tea my whole life. Always use dried date flowers.” So saying, he went to boil water and poured hot water into a crude bowl with some dried date flowers.
    West Empress Dowager looked at the dirty bowl, dent at the brim, frowning, but thirst forced her to drink it. A few hours later, they arrived in a small town. The mayor received and provided them with decent food, though not like dainties in the palace. At least their hunger was cured.

  7. #382
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    Now they wanted to issue several urgent orders, but they didn't bring any seals in a hurry. In general, a written order should have a seal on it, like the seal of West Empress Dowager, the seal of the emperor, the seal of the Secretarial Bureau or that of the cabinet, for the highest authority. Every yamen had its own seal. But they couldn't use the seal of the yamen of this town. Just as they were in such a perplexity, another secretary arrived, bringing the seal of the Secretarial Bureau. They issued some orders to move the troops to blockade the routes the foreigners were supposed to take if they wanted to pursue. Next they discussed where to go to set up their temporary palace. They could not stay in this small town. The nearest city big enough to have decent place for the royal family was Taiyuan City. So to Taiyuan City they made their way.
    The mayor of this small town was Wu Yong. West Empress Dowager was satisfied with his service and appointed him as the royal harbinger to prepare lodging and food for them. He went ahead and came into another town smaller than his. It was deserted. Even the mayor was not there. Then some eunuchs, some bodyguards and some soldiers arrived. They asked Mayor Wu for food and fodder, but he couldn't find anything in this deserted town. An officer glared at him, drawing out his sword. It looked as if he would kill Mayor Wu if he couldn't give him what he demanded. Wu got fumed and said to him aloud, “You fled before the foreign armies and you want to kill me. Are you ashamed of yourself?” He recalled all the bad things happened recently and started to cry bitter tears. When he dried his tears and opened his eyes, no one was there except himself. Later people said that they had been driven away by his tears. Perhaps he could try to weep before the foreigners and drive them out of China.

  8. #383
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    Now they wanted to issue several urgent orders, but they didn't bring any seals in a hurry. In general, a written order should have a seal on it, like the seal of West Empress Dowager, the seal of the emperor, the seal of the Secretarial Bureau or that of the cabinet, for the highest authority. Every yamen had its own seal. But they couldn't use the seal of the yamen of this town. Just as they were in such a perplexity, another secretary arrived, bringing the seal of the Secretarial Bureau. They issued some orders to move the troops to blockade the routes the foreigners were supposed to take if they wanted to pursue. Next they discussed where to go to set up their temporary palace. They could not stay in this small town. The nearest city big enough to have decent place for the royal family was Taiyuan City. So to Taiyuan City they made their way.
    The mayor of this small town was Wu Yong. West Empress Dowager was satisfied with his service and appointed him as the royal harbinger to prepare lodging and food for them. He went ahead and came into another town smaller than his. It was deserted. Even the mayor was not there. Then some eunuchs, some bodyguards and some soldiers arrived. They asked Mayor Wu for food and fodder, but he couldn't find anything in this deserted town. An officer glared at him, drawing out his sword. It looked as if he would kill Mayor Wu if he couldn't give him what he demanded. Wu got fumed and said to him aloud, “You fled before the foreign armies and you want to kill me. Are you ashamed of yourself?” He recalled all the bad things happened recently and started to cry bitter tears. When he dried his tears and opened his eyes, no one was there except himself. Later people said that they had been driven away by his tears. Perhaps he could try to weep before the foreigners and drive them out of China.

  9. #384
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    When they arrived in Taiyuan City, some pieces of news came. Ronglu was in Baoding City, preparing for any emergency. The foreign armies were keeping the capital in order and waiting for Qing government to send someone there to negotiate. The peace negotiation between Qing government and foreign envoys began even when West Empress Dowager had still been on the way to Taiyuan City. One of the conditions persisted on by the foreign governments was to execute all the courtiers who had stubbornly used Yihetuan against foreigners and hence caused the war. The Qing government representatives pleaded that by Chinese law princes were never executed. The joint foreign troops marched towards Baoding City and took it. West Empress Dowager was afraid that they would come after her in Taiyuan City. So she escaped to XiAn City with the emperor and other royal family members, leaving those princes and other courtiers in Taiyuan City, because those were the ones on the list that the foreigners wanted Qing government to punish.
    At last they reached XiAn City, their final destination. It had been the capital for many dynasties back in the Chinese history. It was inland far enough from Peking. So West Empress Dowager thought that the invading armies could not march so far to it. Once she was safe, she restored to her former luxurious life despite the capital being still in the hands of the foreigners. Ronglu came to XiAn City directly from Baoding City from which he had fled.
    On September 7, 1901, a treaty was signed and peace was restored. The members of Yihetuan were either killed or arrested or scattered in escape. Through bargaining, all the courtiers belligerent to foreigners and responsible for the war were executed except Prince Zaiyi, who was banished for life to Mongolian district.

  10. #385
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    When they arrived in Taiyuan City, some pieces of news came. Ronglu was in Baoding City, preparing for any emergency. The foreign armies were keeping the capital in order and waiting for Qing government to send someone there to negotiate. The peace negotiation between Qing government and foreign envoys began even when West Empress Dowager had still been on the way to Taiyuan City. One of the conditions persisted on by the foreign governments was to execute all the courtiers who had stubbornly used Yihetuan against foreigners and hence caused the war. The Qing government representatives pleaded that by Chinese law princes were never executed. The joint foreign troops marched towards Baoding City and took it. West Empress Dowager was afraid that they would come after her in Taiyuan City. So she escaped to XiAn City with the emperor and other royal family members, leaving those princes and other courtiers in Taiyuan City, because those were the ones on the list that the foreigners wanted Qing government to punish.
    At last they reached XiAn City, their final destination. It had been the capital for many dynasties back in the Chinese history. It was inland far enough from Peking. So West Empress Dowager thought that the invading armies could not march so far to it. Once she was safe, she restored to her former luxurious life despite the capital being still in the hands of the foreigners. Ronglu came to XiAn City directly from Baoding City from which he had fled.
    On September 7, 1901, a treaty was signed and peace was restored. The members of Yihetuan were either killed or arrested or scattered in escape. Through bargaining, all the courtiers belligerent to foreigners and responsible for the war were executed except Prince Zaiyi, who was banished for life to Mongolian district.

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