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Thread: Empress dowager cixi

  1. #241
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    She pocketed it and went to see West Empress Dowager. She showed it to West Empress Dowager and then ignited it on the candle fire to show that she entirely trusted West Empress Dowager. West Empress Dowager thanked her profusely for her trust, but secretly she resented the whole thing. She couldn't explain why her feelings were deeply hurt. Was it the distrust of her husband, the late Emperor Xianfeng? Was it the generosity of East Empress Dowager? But in her opinion, this was humiliation. She always wanted to forget the difference in status between East Empress Dowager and herself, but the whole thing about the execution will just reminded her of it. She was not a person easily forgiving.
    On April 7, 1881, East Empress Dowager suddenly fell sick. It looked not so serious at first when Doctor Xi went to look at her and diagnosed that it was only cold. After taking some medicine, she felt better and had a stroll in the garden. When she was leaning on the railings to watch the goldfish in the pond, a eunuch came carrying a container. West Empress Dowager sent her some food specially cooked for her. She opened the container and saw a rosy-colored steamed sweet cake. That was her favorite snack. It looked so inviting that she tasted a small piece from it. A little later, she felt an acute headache. Her limbs looked in cramp. Her head eunuch went to report to West Empress Dowager, but she was napping and Head Eunuch Li said that she could not be disturbed. So when the doctors were summoned to see East Empress Dowager, she was already dead. It was April 8, 1881. She died at the age of forty-five. The two empress dowagers worked together for twenty years from 1861 to 1881. According to the rule, the demise of an empress dowager should be immediately announced and her next-of-kin notified. But her death was publicized next day.

  2. #242
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    She pocketed it and went to see West Empress Dowager. She showed it to West Empress Dowager and then ignited it on the candle fire to show that she entirely trusted West Empress Dowager. West Empress Dowager thanked her profusely for her trust, but secretly she resented the whole thing. She couldn't explain why her feelings were deeply hurt. Was it the distrust of her husband, the late Emperor Xianfeng? Was it the generosity of East Empress Dowager? But in her opinion, this was humiliation. She always wanted to forget the difference in status between East Empress Dowager and herself, but the whole thing about the execution will just reminded her of it. She was not a person easily forgiving.
    On April 7, 1881, East Empress Dowager suddenly fell sick. It looked not so serious at first when Doctor Xi went to look at her and diagnosed that it was only cold. After taking some medicine, she felt better and had a stroll in the garden. When she was leaning on the railings to watch the goldfish in the pond, a eunuch came carrying a container. West Empress Dowager sent her some food specially cooked for her. She opened the container and saw a rosy-colored steamed sweet cake. That was her favorite snack. It looked so inviting that she tasted a small piece from it. A little later, she felt an acute headache. Her limbs looked in cramp. Her head eunuch went to report to West Empress Dowager, but she was napping and Head Eunuch Li said that she could not be disturbed. So when the doctors were summoned to see East Empress Dowager, she was already dead. It was April 8, 1881. She died at the age of forty-five. The two empress dowagers worked together for twenty years from 1861 to 1881. According to the rule, the demise of an empress dowager should be immediately announced and her next-of-kin notified. But her death was publicized next day.

  3. #243
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    When the confusing message that Empress Dowager died became known to the courtiers, they all thought that it was West Empress Dowager, because she had been sick for a long time. Then when it was made clear that East Empress Dowager died, all the courtiers were stunned. They didn't know what to think, because East Empress Dowager was always known in a good health. Therefore, rumors got legs and spread far and wide. It was suspected that she had been poisoned by West Empress Dowager as it was said that West Empress Dowager had sent some food to East Empress Dowager on the same day she died. The suspicions were based on the following facts:
    (1) East Empress Dowager had insisted in the execution of Little An, the favorite eunuch of West Empress Dowager.
    (2) Once her new favorite eunuch Li was wrestling with other eunuchs as fun when East Empress Dowager passed on a sedan-chair, Li ignored her. East Empress Dowager thought that Li had no respect for her and wanted to have Li beaten. When she complained to West Empress Dowager, West Empress Dowager disagreed and they had a quarrel.
    (3) West Empress Dowager liked to watch operas and had a favorite actor, who often came to where West Empress Dowager lived. It was said that once East Empress Dowager caught West Empress Dowager lying with the actor on bed, very indecent behavior for an empress dowager. East Empress Dowager criticized her and West Empress Dowager had to express her regret and vow that she would never do such things again. She even had the actor put to death.
    (4) West Empress Dowager thought that if East Empress Dowager told others about the will, she would be greatly embarrassed. She already felt humbled before East Empress Dowager. She could no longer bear such humiliation.
    Added up to the above facts, there were often minor differences of opinions between the two empress dowagers. A sovereign's palace is always full of secrets.

  4. #244
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    When the confusing message that Empress Dowager died became known to the courtiers, they all thought that it was West Empress Dowager, because she had been sick for a long time. Then when it was made clear that East Empress Dowager died, all the courtiers were stunned. They didn't know what to think, because East Empress Dowager was always known in a good health. Therefore, rumors got legs and spread far and wide. It was suspected that she had been poisoned by West Empress Dowager as it was said that West Empress Dowager had sent some food to East Empress Dowager on the same day she died. The suspicions were based on the following facts:
    (1) East Empress Dowager had insisted in the execution of Little An, the favorite eunuch of West Empress Dowager.
    (2) Once her new favorite eunuch Li was wrestling with other eunuchs as fun when East Empress Dowager passed on a sedan-chair, Li ignored her. East Empress Dowager thought that Li had no respect for her and wanted to have Li beaten. When she complained to West Empress Dowager, West Empress Dowager disagreed and they had a quarrel.
    (3) West Empress Dowager liked to watch operas and had a favorite actor, who often came to where West Empress Dowager lived. It was said that once East Empress Dowager caught West Empress Dowager lying with the actor on bed, very indecent behavior for an empress dowager. East Empress Dowager criticized her and West Empress Dowager had to express her regret and vow that she would never do such things again. She even had the actor put to death.
    (4) West Empress Dowager thought that if East Empress Dowager told others about the will, she would be greatly embarrassed. She already felt humbled before East Empress Dowager. She could no longer bear such humiliation.
    Added up to the above facts, there were often minor differences of opinions between the two empress dowagers. A sovereign's palace is always full of secrets.

  5. #245
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    Chapter 35

    Esquire Yang lived in Yuhang Town of Zhejiang Province. He had passed two government tests and had given an honorary title. But he didn't go for any official post. His family was rich. He liked to learn herbal medicine and sometimes served the neighborhood as a doctor. Across the street from his house there was a bean curd (toufu) shop, run by the husband and wife. The wife was beautiful and had a nickname: Cabbage. White and watery. Esquire Yang and the husband and wife knew each other since they were close neighbors. Mayor Liu of the town had a fop of a son who only knew sex and merry-making, never learned anything good and useful, let alone to study. But he was young and handsome, full of energy and hormone. The place he frequented was the whorehouse.
    One day the son happened to pass the bean curd shop and saw the wife Cabbage, who was selling bean curd to the customers. He halted before the shop, fixing his eyes on her face. When other customers left, he was still there, motionless like spellbound. Cabbage was wondering what he was waiting for; so she asked, “How can I help you, Customer?” Roused from his daydreaming, he stepped forward, pretending that he wanted to buy some bean curd. But instead of saying how much bean curd he wanted, he introduced himself, “I am the son of the mayor.” Often when people heard his self-introduction, they would stand in awe of him. That was just the effect he wished. Cabbage was awed, too. She apologized for not being aware who he was and then begged to know how much bean curd he wanted. He ignored that and asked flirtingly, “How old are you, Beauty?” Cabbage only smiled. The son asked, “Are you married?” Cabbage replied this time, “Yes.” She hoped that he would leave since she was married. Nevertheless, the son said, “If you marry me, you'll live comfortably and happily all your life.” He knew that was impossible. His mayor father would never ascent to his marrying with the left hand. He said so just as a temptation. He wanted sex with her only. Nothing more. When the husband returned, he had to leave.

  6. #246
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    Chapter 35

    Esquire Yang lived in Yuhang Town of Zhejiang Province. He had passed two government tests and had given an honorary title. But he didn't go for any official post. His family was rich. He liked to learn herbal medicine and sometimes served the neighborhood as a doctor. Across the street from his house there was a bean curd (toufu) shop, run by the husband and wife. The wife was beautiful and had a nickname: Cabbage. White and watery. Esquire Yang and the husband and wife knew each other since they were close neighbors. Mayor Liu of the town had a fop of a son who only knew sex and merry-making, never learned anything good and useful, let alone to study. But he was young and handsome, full of energy and hormone. The place he frequented was the whorehouse.
    One day the son happened to pass the bean curd shop and saw the wife Cabbage, who was selling bean curd to the customers. He halted before the shop, fixing his eyes on her face. When other customers left, he was still there, motionless like spellbound. Cabbage was wondering what he was waiting for; so she asked, “How can I help you, Customer?” Roused from his daydreaming, he stepped forward, pretending that he wanted to buy some bean curd. But instead of saying how much bean curd he wanted, he introduced himself, “I am the son of the mayor.” Often when people heard his self-introduction, they would stand in awe of him. That was just the effect he wished. Cabbage was awed, too. She apologized for not being aware who he was and then begged to know how much bean curd he wanted. He ignored that and asked flirtingly, “How old are you, Beauty?” Cabbage only smiled. The son asked, “Are you married?” Cabbage replied this time, “Yes.” She hoped that he would leave since she was married. Nevertheless, the son said, “If you marry me, you'll live comfortably and happily all your life.” He knew that was impossible. His mayor father would never ascent to his marrying with the left hand. He said so just as a temptation. He wanted sex with her only. Nothing more. When the husband returned, he had to leave.

  7. #247
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    From then on, he often came to the shop, but never bought any bean curd. When the husband was out, he flirted with her, teased her, importuned her, even threatened her. Some women are vain by nature. The son often bought her cosmetics and new expensive dress. At first Cabbage refused to take anything from him, but he just left the things behind in the shop and scurried away. Cabbage had to hide the forced gifts somewhere lest her husband saw them and caused trouble. By degrees she accepted the handsome young man, the son of the mayor. The son didn't keep their adultery a secret as it should. He didn't care if people knew it. Who dared to offend the son of the mayor? Soon the husband learned it, but what could he do? He could not sue the son in his father's yamen. On the contrary, the son was jealous of the husband and desired to get rid of him.
    The husband was taken ill one cold day. Cabbage went to Esquire Yang and asked him to come over to see her husband. So Esquire Yang followed her into their bedroom in the back of the shop. Esquire Yang diagnosed that it was nothing serious and the husband just caught cold. Yang prescribed some medical herbs and minerals, and left. Just as Cabbage was going to buy the medicine on the prescription in a drugstore, the son came to see her. When he knew that the husband was sick and she would go out to buy the medicine, he offered to go for her. He went to a drugstore and bought the medicine on the prescription. Then as if he suddenly remembered, he wanted to buy a small packet of arsenic, to poison the mice in his house, he explained. Back to the bean curd shop, he gave the medicine and the small packet to Cabbage and left in a hurry. Cabbage thought that the medicine and the stuff in the small packet were all prescribed. So she put everything together in a pot and stewed them. When it was ready, she poured the medicine juice into a bowl and fed it to her husband when it was cool enough to take. Before long, the husband cried pain and rolled all over the bed. Cabbage did not know what to do and just watched. Next moment, blood came out from his nose and mouth. Cabbage realized that her husband was poisoned and remembered the small packet, but she couldn't say anything about it.

  8. #248
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    From then on, he often came to the shop, but never bought any bean curd. When the husband was out, he flirted with her, teased her, importuned her, even threatened her. Some women are vain by nature. The son often bought her cosmetics and new expensive dress. At first Cabbage refused to take anything from him, but he just left the things behind in the shop and scurried away. Cabbage had to hide the forced gifts somewhere lest her husband saw them and caused trouble. By degrees she accepted the handsome young man, the son of the mayor. The son didn't keep their adultery a secret as it should. He didn't care if people knew it. Who dared to offend the son of the mayor? Soon the husband learned it, but what could he do? He could not sue the son in his father's yamen. On the contrary, the son was jealous of the husband and desired to get rid of him.
    The husband was taken ill one cold day. Cabbage went to Esquire Yang and asked him to come over to see her husband. So Esquire Yang followed her into their bedroom in the back of the shop. Esquire Yang diagnosed that it was nothing serious and the husband just caught cold. Yang prescribed some medical herbs and minerals, and left. Just as Cabbage was going to buy the medicine on the prescription in a drugstore, the son came to see her. When he knew that the husband was sick and she would go out to buy the medicine, he offered to go for her. He went to a drugstore and bought the medicine on the prescription. Then as if he suddenly remembered, he wanted to buy a small packet of arsenic, to poison the mice in his house, he explained. Back to the bean curd shop, he gave the medicine and the small packet to Cabbage and left in a hurry. Cabbage thought that the medicine and the stuff in the small packet were all prescribed. So she put everything together in a pot and stewed them. When it was ready, she poured the medicine juice into a bowl and fed it to her husband when it was cool enough to take. Before long, the husband cried pain and rolled all over the bed. Cabbage did not know what to do and just watched. Next moment, blood came out from his nose and mouth. Cabbage realized that her husband was poisoned and remembered the small packet, but she couldn't say anything about it.

  9. #249
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    In such a case, the wife must report to the government. So a coroner came and detected the remaining trace of arsenic. He concluded that the husband was poisoned. He reported it to the mayor. The wife was arrested as a suspect.
    The mayor's son hadn't thought that the wife would be arrested. Now the situation was out of his control. He went to the jail to visit Cabbage, who blamed him for the murder.
    “It's no use to blame me.” He said, “No evidence against me. I really come to rescue you.”
    “How?” Cabbage asked with hope.
    “You are only a suspect. If you can point out someone else who poisoned your husband, you'll be released.” The son really liked Cabbage and wanted to save her life, but he knew that they must find a scapegoat to take the responsibility, or the case couldn't be closed.
    “I can''t think of such a person.” She sobbed.
    “Who wrote you the prescription?” The son asked.
    “Esquire Yang.” The son knew him and even hated him for his learning because his father always compared him with Yang and scolded him for neglecting his studies. He said, “So, he's the one.”
    “No, he's a nice man. I can't frame him.”
    “Then you will die.” The son pressed. The law at that time was very simple: whoever kills must be executed. “Please, do it for me.” said the son, “When you are released, we'll go somewhere else and live together. Besides, Yang won't be executed because he has an honorary title. At the worst he will be deprived of his title. This time...” (He implied that after the honorary title is taken away, if he commits such a crime again, he will die. But he won't die this time.) Cabbage knew nothing of the law and believed him. By then, she began to love the son and wanted to live together with him since her husband had died.
    A few days later, Cabbage was brought before the mayor for questioning. “How did you murder your husband?” The mayor interrogated.
    “I didn't murder my husband. It's a total mistake.” replied she on her knees.
    “If you didn't, who murdered your husband?” The mayor sounded fierce.
    “I don't know. Not me.” Her voice was so low that the mayor barely heard her. He ordered the jailers to slap her face twenty times. Cabbage cried, “No. I have something to say.” So the mayor bid the jailers to hold.
    “When my husband was sick, I asked Esquire Yang to diagnose. He wrote the prescription.”
    “Where is the prescription now?”

  10. #250
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    In such a case, the wife must report to the government. So a coroner came and detected the remaining trace of arsenic. He concluded that the husband was poisoned. He reported it to the mayor. The wife was arrested as a suspect.
    The mayor's son hadn't thought that the wife would be arrested. Now the situation was out of his control. He went to the jail to visit Cabbage, who blamed him for the murder.
    “It's no use to blame me.” He said, “No evidence against me. I really come to rescue you.”
    “How?” Cabbage asked with hope.
    “You are only a suspect. If you can point out someone else who poisoned your husband, you'll be released.” The son really liked Cabbage and wanted to save her life, but he knew that they must find a scapegoat to take the responsibility, or the case couldn't be closed.
    “I can''t think of such a person.” She sobbed.
    “Who wrote you the prescription?” The son asked.
    “Esquire Yang.” The son knew him and even hated him for his learning because his father always compared him with Yang and scolded him for neglecting his studies. He said, “So, he's the one.”
    “No, he's a nice man. I can't frame him.”
    “Then you will die.” The son pressed. The law at that time was very simple: whoever kills must be executed. “Please, do it for me.” said the son, “When you are released, we'll go somewhere else and live together. Besides, Yang won't be executed because he has an honorary title. At the worst he will be deprived of his title. This time...” (He implied that after the honorary title is taken away, if he commits such a crime again, he will die. But he won't die this time.) Cabbage knew nothing of the law and believed him. By then, she began to love the son and wanted to live together with him since her husband had died.
    A few days later, Cabbage was brought before the mayor for questioning. “How did you murder your husband?” The mayor interrogated.
    “I didn't murder my husband. It's a total mistake.” replied she on her knees.
    “If you didn't, who murdered your husband?” The mayor sounded fierce.
    “I don't know. Not me.” Her voice was so low that the mayor barely heard her. He ordered the jailers to slap her face twenty times. Cabbage cried, “No. I have something to say.” So the mayor bid the jailers to hold.
    “When my husband was sick, I asked Esquire Yang to diagnose. He wrote the prescription.”
    “Where is the prescription now?”

  11. #251
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    “At home.” So the mayor ordered Cabbage to be put back in the cell and sent one of his men to her home. The shop was closed down and the door was locked with a padlock from the outside by the police. The man found a policeman to open the door for him. He went in and searched the place and found the prescription on the table in the bedroom.
    At the second interrogation, the mayor asked, “The arsenic is not on the prescription. Why did you say he poisoned your husband?” Cabbage answered, “How could he write the arsenic on the prescription? He got the medicine for me from the drugstore.” She remembered that the son had told her that if she framed Esquire Yang he would not be executed because he had an honorary title, which sounded like an amulet from death. So she did it against her consciousness. Many human beings are selfish. He or she will save his or her own skin by exposing the skin of others. Esquire Yang didn't even dream of it when the police came to his house for the apprehension. Yang thought that it must be a mistake and he would be back home after some explanation. When Yang was taken into the yamen, the mayor didn't ask him any questions. He just wanted Yang to write a statement of confession to what Cabbage had said. Of course Yang wouldn't comply. So the mayor told jailers to bring Cabbage into his presence as a kind of witness. He let her repeat what she had said, not one word more, not one word less. Yang shouted to Cabbage, “Why you frame me?” But Cabbage was taken back to her cell as soon as she finished her task. Yang was tortured since he wouldn't own that he was guilty of the crime. He was tormented more than once till his knees were broken. He had to write and sign the statement of confession in the hope that when he appealed to the higher government, this wrong would be righted. The verdict given by the mayor was the penalty of death for both Cabbage and Yang. The reason stated in the report, which the mayor had to send to the Judicial Ministry for their approval, was that they poisoned the husband because the husband found out their adultery. Accordingly Yang appealed to the higher government. (That level of government is equivalent to the county government here, above the town and below the state. A state here is equivalent to the province there.) The higher government maintained the original verdict because the mayor had bribed them from time to time. Yang then appealed to the governor, who did the same for the same reason.

  12. #252
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    “At home.” So the mayor ordered Cabbage to be put back in the cell and sent one of his men to her home. The shop was closed down and the door was locked with a padlock from the outside by the police. The man found a policeman to open the door for him. He went in and searched the place and found the prescription on the table in the bedroom.
    At the second interrogation, the mayor asked, “The arsenic is not on the prescription. Why did you say he poisoned your husband?” Cabbage answered, “How could he write the arsenic on the prescription? He got the medicine for me from the drugstore.” She remembered that the son had told her that if she framed Esquire Yang he would not be executed because he had an honorary title, which sounded like an amulet from death. So she did it against her consciousness. Many human beings are selfish. He or she will save his or her own skin by exposing the skin of others. Esquire Yang didn't even dream of it when the police came to his house for the apprehension. Yang thought that it must be a mistake and he would be back home after some explanation. When Yang was taken into the yamen, the mayor didn't ask him any questions. He just wanted Yang to write a statement of confession to what Cabbage had said. Of course Yang wouldn't comply. So the mayor told jailers to bring Cabbage into his presence as a kind of witness. He let her repeat what she had said, not one word more, not one word less. Yang shouted to Cabbage, “Why you frame me?” But Cabbage was taken back to her cell as soon as she finished her task. Yang was tortured since he wouldn't own that he was guilty of the crime. He was tormented more than once till his knees were broken. He had to write and sign the statement of confession in the hope that when he appealed to the higher government, this wrong would be righted. The verdict given by the mayor was the penalty of death for both Cabbage and Yang. The reason stated in the report, which the mayor had to send to the Judicial Ministry for their approval, was that they poisoned the husband because the husband found out their adultery. Accordingly Yang appealed to the higher government. (That level of government is equivalent to the county government here, above the town and below the state. A state here is equivalent to the province there.) The higher government maintained the original verdict because the mayor had bribed them from time to time. Yang then appealed to the governor, who did the same for the same reason.

  13. #253
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    Yang had a sister, older than he. The sister had been a wet nurse in the household of a prince. When the bad news reached her, she went to beg her former mistress, the wife of the prince, to save the life of his brother. The wife spoke to the prince about it. The prince told the elder sister to file in an appeal to the Judicial Ministry and in the meantime he would talk to the minister. So the sister asked someone to write an appealing statement for her since she could not read or write. (In old China many women could not read and write. It was thought that the moral principles for a woman included illiteracy.) She hid the written statement in the innermost pocket of her clothes and went to the Judicial Ministry yamen. The rule was that she should throw herself on a piece of wood with nails attached on it, the sharp ends upward. The elder sister put on a lot of thick clothes for her own protection. When she reached the yamen, she beat a drum there. Just outside the gate of every yamen, including local ones, there placed a drum for people to beat it whenever they wanted to sue or to appeal. When the drum-beating was finished, one of the policemen guarding the yamen put out a wooden piece at the gate, which was supposed for the sister to fling herself on. So the sister shut her eyes and cast herself on the sharp nails. She held her head high so that her face would not be injured. The sharp ends of the nails penetrated her thick clothes and scratched a little on her skin. Some blood oozed out, but other than that, she was fine. Two policemen helped her up on her feet and the wooden piece was removed. Then she took out the appealing statement from her inner pocket and gave it to a policeman, who took it to the minister. After a while, the minister summoned the sister in. It meant that the minister accepted her appeal. The sister knelt before the minister and said, “My brother is a scholar. He can't kill anyone, not even a chicken.” The minister didn't say anything because he didn't know the case yet. He dismissed the sister and ordered all the individuals involved in the case to be fetched from the town to the capital, to the Judicial Ministry yamen.

  14. #254
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    Yang had a sister, older than he. The sister had been a wet nurse in the household of a prince. When the bad news reached her, she went to beg her former mistress, the wife of the prince, to save the life of his brother. The wife spoke to the prince about it. The prince told the elder sister to file in an appeal to the Judicial Ministry and in the meantime he would talk to the minister. So the sister asked someone to write an appealing statement for her since she could not read or write. (In old China many women could not read and write. It was thought that the moral principles for a woman included illiteracy.) She hid the written statement in the innermost pocket of her clothes and went to the Judicial Ministry yamen. The rule was that she should throw herself on a piece of wood with nails attached on it, the sharp ends upward. The elder sister put on a lot of thick clothes for her own protection. When she reached the yamen, she beat a drum there. Just outside the gate of every yamen, including local ones, there placed a drum for people to beat it whenever they wanted to sue or to appeal. When the drum-beating was finished, one of the policemen guarding the yamen put out a wooden piece at the gate, which was supposed for the sister to fling herself on. So the sister shut her eyes and cast herself on the sharp nails. She held her head high so that her face would not be injured. The sharp ends of the nails penetrated her thick clothes and scratched a little on her skin. Some blood oozed out, but other than that, she was fine. Two policemen helped her up on her feet and the wooden piece was removed. Then she took out the appealing statement from her inner pocket and gave it to a policeman, who took it to the minister. After a while, the minister summoned the sister in. It meant that the minister accepted her appeal. The sister knelt before the minister and said, “My brother is a scholar. He can't kill anyone, not even a chicken.” The minister didn't say anything because he didn't know the case yet. He dismissed the sister and ordered all the individuals involved in the case to be fetched from the town to the capital, to the Judicial Ministry yamen.

  15. #255
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    682
    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.”

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