Fordham University

 

Home | Ancient History Sourcebook | Medieval SourcebookModern History Sourcebook | Byzantine Studies Page
Other History Sourcebooks: African | East Asian | Global | Indian | IslamicJewishLesbian and Gay | Science | Women's


IHSP


MainAncientMedievalModern


Subsidiary SourcebooksAfricanEastern AsianGlobalIndianJewishIslamicLesbian/GayScienceWomen


Special ResourcesByzantiumMedieval WebMedieval NYC
Medieval MusicSaints' Lives
Ancient Law
Medieval Law
Film: Ancient
Film: Medieval
Film: Modern
Film: Saints


About IHSPIJSP Credits

East Asian History Sourcebook:
Isaac Taylor Headland: Court Life in China: The Capital, Its Officials and People, (New York, F.H. Revell, c1909)

COURT LIFE IN CHINA THE CAPITAL ITS OFFICIALS AND PEOPLE
By ISAAC TAYLOR HEADLAND Professor in the Peking University

PREFACE

Until within the past ten years a study of Chinese court life would have been an impossibility. The Emperor, the Empress Dowager, and the court ladies were shut up within the Forbidden City, away from a world they were anxious to see, and which was equally anxious to see them. Then the Emperor instituted reform, the Empress Dowager came out from behind the screen, and the court entered into social relations with Europeans.

For twenty years and more Mrs. Headland has been physician to the family of the Empress Dowager's mother, the Empress' sister, and many of the princesses and high official ladies in Peking. She has visited them in a social as well as a professional way, has taken with her her friends, to whom the princesses have shown many favours, and they have themselves been constant callers at our home. It is to my wife, therefore, that I am indebted for much of the information contained in this book.

There are many who have thought that the Empress Dowager has been misrepresented. The world has based its judgment of her character upon her greatest mistake, her participation in the Boxer movement, which seems unjust, and has closed its eyes to the tremendous reforms which only her mind could conceive and her hand carry out. The great Chinese officials to a man recognized in her a mistress of every situation; the foreigners who have come into most intimate contact with her, voice her praise; while her hostile critics are confined for the most part to those who have never known her. It was for this reason that a more thorough study of her life was undertaken.

It has also been thought that the Emperor has been misunderstood, being overestimated by some, and underestimated by others, and this because of his peculiar type of mind and character. That he was unusual, no one will deny; that he was the originator of many of China's greatest reform measures, is equally true; but that he lacked the power to execute what he conceived, and the ability to select great statesmen to assist him, seems to have been his chief shortcoming.

To my wife for her help in the preparation of this volume, and to my father-in-law, Mr. William Sinclair, M. A., for his suggestions, I am under many obligations.

I. T. H.


CONTENTS

I. THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--HER EARLY LIFE

II. THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--HER YEARS OF TRAINING

III. THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS A RULER

IV. THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS A REACTIONIST

V. THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS A REFORMER

VI. THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS AN ARTIST

VII. THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS A WOMAN

VIII. KUANG HSU--HIS SELF DEVELOPMENT

IX. KUANG HSU--AS EMPEROR AND REFORMER

X. KUANG HSU--AS A PRISONER

XI. PRINCE CHUN--THE REGENT

XII. THE HOME OF THE COURT--THE FORBIDDEN CITY

XIII. THE LADIES OF THE COURT

XIV. THE PRINCESSES--THEIR SCHOOLS

XV. THE CHINESE LADIES OF RANK

XVI. THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE CHINESE WOMAN

XVII. THE CHINESE LADIES--THEIR ILLS

XVIII. THE FUNERAL CEREMONIES OF A DOWAGER PRINCESS

XIX. CHINESE PRINCES AND OFFICIALS

XX. PEKING--THE CITY OF THE COURT

XXI. THE DEATH OF KUANG HSU AND THE EMPRESS DOWAGER

XXII. THE COURT AND THE NEW EDUCATION


I The Empress Dowager-- Her Early Life

All the period since 1861 should be rightly recorded as the reign of Tze Hsi An, a more eventful period than all the two hundred and forty-four reigns that had preceded her three usurpations. It began after a conquering army had made terms of peace in her capital, and with the Tai-ping rebellion in full swing of success. . . .

Those few who have looked upon the countenance of the Dowager describe her as a tall, erect, fine-looking woman of distinguished and imperious bearing, with pronounced Tartar features, the eye of an eagle, and the voice of determined authority and absolute command. --Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore in "China, The Long-Lived Empire."

I  THE EMPRESS DOWAGER -- HER EARLY LIFE

One day when one of the princesses was calling at our home in Peking, I inquired of her where the Empress Dowager was born. She gazed at me for a moment with a queer expression wreathing her features, as she finally said with just the faintest shadow of a smile: "We never talk about the early history of Her Majesty." I smiled in return and continued: "I have been told that she was born in a small house, in a narrow street inside of the east gate of the Tartar city--the gate blown up by the Japanese when they entered Peking in 1900." The princess nodded. "I have also heard that her father's name was Chao, and that he was a small military official (she nodded again) who was afterwards beheaded for some neglect of duty." To this the visitor also nodded assent.

A few days later several well-educated young Chinese ladies, daughters of one of the most distinguished scholars in Peking, were calling on my wife, and again I pursued my inquiries. "Do you know anything about the early life of the Empress Dowager?" I asked of the eldest. She hesitated a moment, with that same blank expression I had seen on the face of the princess, and then answered very deliberately,--"Yes, everybody knows, but nobody talks about it." And this is, no doubt, the reason why the early life of the greatest woman of the Mongol race, and, as some who knew her best think, the most remarkable woman of the nineteenth century, has ever been shrouded in mystery. Whether the Empress desired thus to efface all knowledge of her childhood by refusing to allow it to be talked about, I do not know, but I said to myself: "What everybody knows, I can know," and I proceeded to find out.

I discovered that she was one of a family of several brothers and sisters and born about 1834; that the financial condition of her parents was such that when a child she had to help in caring for the younger children, carrying them on her back, as girls do in China, and amusing them with such simple toys as are hawked about the streets or sold in the shops for a cash or two apiece; that she and her brothers and little sisters amused themselves with such games as blind man's buff, prisoner's base, kicking marbles and flying kites in company with the other children of their neighbourhood. During these early years she was as fond of the puppet plays, trained mice shows, bear shows, and "Punch and Judy" as she was in later years of the theatrical performances with which she entertained her visitors at the palace. She was compelled to run errands for her mother, going to the shops, as occasion required, for the daily supply of oils, onions, garlic, and other vegetables that constituted the larger portion of their food. I found out also that there is not the slightest foundation for the story that in her childhood she was sold as a slave and taken to the south of China.

The outdoor life she led, the games she played, and the work she was forced to do in the absence of household servants, gave to the little girl a well-developed body, a strong constitution and a fund of experience and information which can be obtained in no other way. She was one of the great middle class. She knew the troubles and trials of the poor. She had felt the pangs of hunger. She could sympathize with the millions of ambitious girls struggling to be freed from the trammels of ignorance and the age-old customs of the past--a combat which was the more real because it must be carried on in silence. And who can say that it was not the struggles and privations of her own childhood which led to the wish in her last years that "the girls of my empire may be educated"?

When little Miss Chao had reached the age of fourteen or fifteen she was taken by her parents to an office in the northern part of the imperial city of Peking where her name, age, personal appearance, and estimated degree of intelligence and potential ability were registered, as is done in the case of all the daughters of the Manchu people. The reason for this singular proceeding is that when the time comes for the selection of a wife or a concubine for the Emperor, or the choosing of serving girls for the palace, those in charge of these matters will know where they can be obtained.

This custom is not considered an unalloyed blessing by the Manchu people, and many of them would gladly avoid registering their daughters if only they dared. But the rule is compulsory, and every one belonging to the eight Banners or companies into which the Manchus are divided must have their daughters registered. Their aversion to this custom is well illustrated in the following incident:

In one of the girls' schools in Peking there was a beautiful child, the daughter of a Manchu woman whose husband was dead. One day this widow came to the principal of the school and said: "A summons has come from the court for the girls of our clan to appear before the officials that a certain number may be chosen and sent into the palace as serving girls." "When is she to appear?" inquired the teacher. "On the sixteenth," answered the mother. "I suppose you are anxious that she should be one of the fortunate ones," said the teacher, "though I should be sorry to lose her from the school." "On the contrary," said the mother, "I should be distressed if she were chosen, and have come to consult with you as to whether we might not hire a substitute." The teacher expressed surprise and asked her why. "When our daughters are taken into the palace," answered the mother, "they are dead to us until they are twenty-five, when they are allowed to return home. If they are incompetent or dull they are often severely punished. They may contract disease and die, and their death is not even announced to us; while if they prove themselves efficient and win the approval of the authorities they are retained in the palace and we may never see them or hear from them again."

At first the teacher was inclined to favour the hiring of a substitute, but on further consideration concluded that it would be contrary to the law, and advised that the girl be allowed to go. The mother, however, was so anxious to prevent her being chosen that she sent her with uncombed hair, soiled clothes and a dirty face, that she might appear as unattractive as possible.

The prospects for a concubine are even less promising than for a serving maid, as when she once enters the palace she has little if any hope of ever leaving it. She is neither mistress nor servant, wife nor slave, she is but one of a hundred buds in a garden of roses which have little if any prospect of ever blooming or being plucked for the court bouquet. When, therefore, the gates of the Forbidden City close behind the young girls who are taken in as concubines of an emperor they shut out an attractive, busy, beautiful world, filled with men and women, boys and girls, homes and children, green fields and rich harvests, and confine them within the narrow limits of one square mile of brick-paved earth, surrounded by a wall twenty-five feet high and thirty feet thick, in which there is but one solitary man who is neither father, brother, husband nor friend to them, and whom they may never even see.

When therefore the time came for the selection of concubines for the Emperor Hsien Feng, and our little Miss Chao was taken into the palace, her parents, like many others, had every reason to consider it a piece of ill-fortune which had visited their home. The future was veiled from them. The Forbidden City, surrounded by its great crenelated wall, may have seemed more like a prison than like a palace. True, they had other children, and she was "only a girl, but even girls are a small blessing," as they tell us in their proverbs. She had grown old enough to be useful in the home, and they no doubt had cherished plans of betrothing her to the son of some merchant or official who would add wealth or honour to their family. Neither father nor mother, brother nor sister, could have conceived of the potential power, honour and even glory, that were wrapped up in that girl, and that were finally to come to them as a family, as well as to many of them as individuals. Their wildest dreams at that time could not have pictured themselves dukes and princesses, with their daughters as empresses, duchesses, or ladies-in-waiting in the palace. But such it proved to be.

 

II The Empress Dowager--Her Years of Training

The kindness of the Empress is as boundless as the sea. Her person too is holy, she is like a deity. With boldness, from seclusion, she ascends the Dragon Throne, And saves her suffering country from a fate we dare not own.

--"Yuan Fan," Translated by I. T. C.

II THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--HER YEARS OF TRAINING

The year our little Miss Chao entered the palace was a memorable one in the history of China. The Tai-ping rebellion, which had begun in the south some three years earlier (1850), had established its capital at Nanking, on the Yangtse River, and had sent its "long-haired" rebels north on an expedition of conquest, the ultimate aim of which was Peking. By the end of the year 1853 they had arrived within one hundred miles of the capital, conquering everything before them, and leaving devastation and destruction in their wake.

Their success had been extraordinary. Starting in the southwest with an army of ten thousand men they had eighty thousand when they arrived before the walls of Nanking. They were an undisciplined horde, without commissariat, without drilled military leaders, but with such reckless daring and bravery that the imperial troops were paralyzed with fear and never dared to meet them in the open field. Thousands of common thieves and robbers flocked to their standards with every new conquest, impelled by no higher motive than that of pillage and gain. Rumours became rife in every village and hamlet, and as they neared the capital the wildest tales were told in every nook and corner of the city, from the palace of the young Emperor in the Forbidden City to the mat shed of the meanest beggar beneath the city wall.

My wife says: "I remember just after going to China, sitting one evening on a kang, or brick bed, with Yin-ma, an old nurse, our only light being a wick floating in a dish of oil. Yin-ma was about the age of the Empress Dowager, but, unlike Her Majesty, her locks were snow-white. When I entered the dimly lighted room she was sitting in the midst of a group of women and girls--patients in the hospital--who listened with bated breath as she told them of the horrors of the Tai-ping rebellion.

" 'Why!' said the old nurse, 'all that the rebels had to do on their way to Peking, was to cut out as many paper soldiers as they wanted, put them in boxes, and breathe upon them when they met the imperial troops, and they were transformed into such fierce warriors that no one was able to withstand them. Then when the battle was over and they had come off victors they only needed to breathe upon them again, when they were changed into paper images and packed in their boxes, requiring neither food nor clothing. Indeed the spirits of the rebels were everywhere, and no matter who cut out paper troops they could change them into real soldiers.'

" 'But, Yin-ma, you do not believe those superstitions, do you?'

" 'These are not superstitions, doctor, these are facts, which everybody believed in those days, and it was not safe for a woman to be seen with scissors and paper, lest her neighbours report that she was cutting out troops for the rebels. The country was filled with all kinds of rumours, and every one had to be very careful of all their conduct, and of everything they said, lest they be arrested for sympathizing with the enemy.'

" 'But, Yin-ma, did you ever see any of these paper images transformed into soldiers?'

" 'No, I never did myself, but there was an old woman lived near our place, who was said to be in sympathy with the rebels. One night my father saw soldiers going into her house and when he had followed them he could find nothing but paper images. You may not have anything of this kind happen in America, but very many people saw them in those terrible days of pillage and bloodshed here.' "

Such stories are common in all parts of China during every period of rebellion, war, riot or disturbance of any kind. The people go about with fear on their faces, and horror in their voices, telling each other in undertones of what some one, somewhere, is said to have seen or heard. Nor are these superstitions confined to the common people. Many of the better classes believe them and are filled with fear.

As the Tai-ping rebellion broke out when Miss Chao was about fifteen or sixteen years of age, she would hear these stories for two or three years before she entered the palace. After she had been taken into the Forbidden City she would continue to hear them, brought in by the eunuchs and circulated not only among all the women of the palace, but among their own associates as well, and here they would take on a more mysterious and alarming aspect to these people shut away from the world, as ghost stories become more terrifying when told in the dim twilight. May this not account in some measure for the attitude assumed by the Empress Dowager towards the Boxer superstitions of 1900, and their pretentions to be able at will to call to their aid legions of spirit-soldiers, while at the same time they were themselves invulnerable to the bullets of their enemies?

It was when Miss Chao was ten years old that the conflict known as the Opium War was brought to an end. It has been said that when the Emperor was asked to sanction the importation of opium, he answered, "I will never legalize a traffic that will be an injury to my people," but whether this be true or not, it is admitted by all that the central government was strongly opposed to the sale and use of the drug within its domains. It is unfortunate, to say the least, that the first time the Chinese came into collision with European governments was over a matter of this kind, and it is to the credit of the Chinese commissioner when the twenty thousand chests of opium, over which the dispute arose, were handed over to him, he mixed it with quicklime in huge vats that it might be utterly destroyed rather than be an injury to his people. They may have exhibited an ignorance of international law, they may have manifested an unwise contempt for the foreigner, but it remains a fact of history that they were ready to suffer great financial loss rather than get revenue from the ruin of their subjects, and that England went to war for the purpose of securing indemnity for the opium destroyed.

The common name for opium among the Chinese is yang yen--foreign tobacco, and my wife says: "When calling at the Chinese homes, I have frequently been offered the opium-pipe, and when I refused it the ladies expressed surprise, saying that they were under the impression that all foreigners used it."

What now were the results of the Opium War as viewed from the standpoint of the Chinese people, and what impression would it make upon them as a whole? Great Britain demanded an indemnity of $21,000,000, the cession to them of Hongkong, an island on the southern coast, and the opening of five ports to British trade. China lost her standing as suzerain among the peoples of the Orient and got her first glimpse of the White Peril from the West.

Although the Empress Dowager was but a child of ten at this time she would receive her first impression of the foreigner, which was that he was a pirate who had come to carry away their wealth, to filch from them their land, and to overrun their country. He became a veritable bugaboo to men, women and children alike, and this impression was crystallized in the expression yang huei, "foreign devil," which is the only term among a large proportion of the Chinese by which the foreigner is known. One day when walking on the street in Peking I met a woman with a child of two years in her arms, and as I passed them, the child patted its mother on the cheek and said in an undertone,--"The foreign devil's coming," which led the frightened mother to cover its eyes with her hand that it might not be injured by the sight.

On one occasion a friend was travelling through the country when a Chinese gentleman, dressed in silk and wearing an official hat, called on him at the inn where he was stopping and with a profound bow addressed him as "Old Mr. Foreign Devil."

My wife says that: "Not infrequently when I have been called for the first time to the homes of the better classes I have seen the children run into the house from the outer court exclaiming, --'The devil doctor's coming.' Indeed, I have heard the women use this term in speaking of me to my assistant until I objected, when they asked with surprise,--'Doesn't she like to be called foreign devil?' " And so the Empress Dowager's first impression of the foreigner would be that of a devil.

Colonel Denby tells us that "A Frenchman and his wife were carried off from Tonquin by bandits who took refuge in China. The Chinese government was asked to rescue these prisoners and restore them to liberty. China sent a brigade of troops, who pursued the bandits to their den and recovered the prisoners. The French government thanked the Chinese government for its assistance, and bestowed the decoration of the Legion of Honour on the brigade commander, and then shortly afterwards demanded the payment of an enormous indemnity for the outrage on the ground that China had delayed to effect the rescue. The Chinese were aghast, but they paid the money."

This incident does not stand alone, but is one of a number of similar experiences which the Chinese government had in her relation with the powers of Europe, and which have been reported by such writers as Holcomb, Beresford, Gorst Colquhoun and others in trying to account for the feelings the Chinese have towards us, all of which was embodied in the years of training of our little concubine.

It should be remembered that many concubines are selected whom the Emperor never takes the trouble to see. After being taken in, their temper and disposition are carefully noted, their faithfulness in the duties assigned them, their diligence in the performance of their tasks, their kindness to their inferiors, their treatment of their equals, and their politeness and obedience to their superiors, and upon all these things, with many others, as we shall see, their promotion will finally depend.

When Miss Chao entered the palace, like most girls of her class or station in life, she was uneducated. She may have studied the small "Classic for Girls" in which she learned:

"You should rise from bed as early in the morning as the sun, Nor retire at evening's closing till your work is wholly done."

Or, further, she may have been told,

When the wheel of life's at fifteen, Or when twenty years have passed, As a girl with home and kindred these will surely be your last; While expert in all employments that compose a woman's life, You should study as a daughter all the duties of a wife."

Or she may have read the "Filial Piety Classic for Girls" in which she learned the importance of the attitude she assumed towards those who were in authority over her, but certain it is she was not educated.

She had, however, what was better than education--a disposition to learn. And so when she had the good fortune,--or shall we say misfortune,-- for as we have seen it is variously regarded by Chinese parents to be taken into the palace, she found there educated eunuchs who were set aside as teachers of the imperial harem. She was bright, attractive, and I think I may add without fear of contradiction, very ambitious, and this in no bad sense. She devoted herself to her studies with such energy and diligence as not only to attract the attention of the teacher, but to make herself a fair scholar, a good penman, and an exceptional painter, and it was not long until, from among all the concubines, she had gained the attention and won the admiration--and shall we say affection--not only of the Empress, but of the Emperor himself, and she was selected as the first concubine or kuei fei, and from that time until the death of the Empress the two women were the staunchest of friends.

The new favourite had been a healthy and vigorous girl, with plenty of outdoor life in childhood, and it was not long before she became the happy mother of Hsien Feng's only son. She was thenceforward known as the Empress-mother. In a short time she was raised to the position of wife, and given the title of Western Empress, as the other was known as the Eastern, from which time the two women were equal in rank, and, in the eyes of the world, equal in power.

The first Empress was a pampered daughter of wealth, neither vigorous of body nor strong of mind, caring nothing for political power if only she might have ease and comfort, and there is nothing that exhibits the Empress Dowager's real greatness more convincingly than the fact that she was able to live for thirty years the more fortunate mother of her country's ruler, and, in power, the mistress of her superior, without arousing the latter's envy, jealousy, anger, or enmity. Let any woman who reads this imagine, if she can, herself placed in the position of either of these ladies without being inclined to despise the less fortunate, ease-loving Empress if she be the dowager, or hating the more powerful dowager if she be the Empress. Such a state of affairs as these two women lived in for more than a quarter of a century is almost if not entirely unique in history.

Perhaps the incident which made most impression upon her was one which happened in 1860 and is recorded in history as the Arrow War. A few years before a number of Chinese, who owned a boat called the Arrow, had it registered in Hongkong and hence were allowed to sail under the British flag. There is no question I think but that these Chinese were committing acts of piracy, and as this was one of the causes of disturbance on that southern coast for centuries past, the viceroy decided to rid the country of this pest. Nine days after the time for which the boat had been registered, but while it continued unlawfully to float the British colours, the viceroy seized the boat, imprisoned all her crew, and dragged down the British flag. This was an insult which Great Britain could not or would not brook and so the viceroy was ordered to release the prisoners, all of whom were Chinese subjects, on penalty of being blown up in his own yamen if he refused.

Frightened at the threat, and remembering the result of the former war, the viceroy sent the prisoners to the consulate in chains without proper apologies for his insult to the flag. This angered the consul and he returned them to the viceroy, who promptly cut off their heads without so much as the semblance of a trial, and Britain, anxious, as she was, to have every door of the Chinese empire opened to foreign trade, found in this another pretext for war. We do not pretend to argue that this was not the best thing for China and for the world, but it can only be considered so from the bitter medicine, and corporal punishment point of view, neither of which are agreeable to either the patient or the pupil.

Britain went to war. The viceroy was taken a prisoner to India, whence he never returned. As though ashamed to enter upon a second unprovoked and unjust war alone, she invited France, Russia, and America to join her. France was quite ready to do so in the hope of strengthening her position in Indo-China, and with nothing more than the murder of a missionary in Kuangsi as a pretext she put a body of troops in the field large enough to enable her to checkmate England, or humiliate China as the exigencies of the occasion, and her own interests, might demand. America and Russia having no cause for war, no wrongs to redress, and no desire for territory, refused to join her in sending troops, but gave her such sympathy and support as would enable her to bring about a more satisfactory arrangement of China's foreign relations--that is more satisfactory to themselves regardless of the wishes, though not perhaps the interests, of China.

We know how the British and French marched upon Peking in 1860; how the summer palace was left a heap of ruins as a punishment for the murder of a company of men under a flag of truce; and how the Emperor Hsien Feng, with his wife, and the mother of his only son, our Empress Dowager, were compelled to flee for the first time before a foreign invader. Their refuge was Jehol, a fortified town, in a wild and rugged mountain pass, on the borders of China and Tartary, a hundred miles northeast of Peking. At this place the Emperor died, whether of disease, chagrin, or of a broken heart--or of all combined, it is impossible to say, and the Empress-mother was left AN EXILE AND A WIDOW, with the capital and the throne for the first time at the mercy of the Western barbarian.

This was the beginning of two important phases of the Empress Dowager's life--her affliction and her power, and her greatness is exhibited as well by the way in which she bore the one as by the way in which she wielded the other. In most cases a woman would have been so overcome by sorrow at the loss of her husband, as to have forgotten the affairs of state, or to have placed them for the time in the hands of others. Not so with this great woman. Prince Kung the brother of Hsien Feng, had been left in Peking to arrange a treaty with the Europeans, which he succeeded in doing to the satisfaction of both the Chinese and the foreigners.

On the death of the Emperor, a regency was organized by two of the princes, which did not include Prince Kung, and disregarded both of the dowagers, and it seemed as though Prince Kung was doomed. His father-in-law, however, the old statesman who had signed the treaties, urged him to be the first to get the ear of the two women on their return to the capital. This he did, and as it seemed evident that the regency and the council had been organized for the express purpose of tyrannizing over the Empresses and the child, they were at once arrested, the leader beheaded, and the others condemned to exile or to suicide. The child had been placed upon the throne as "good-luck," but now a new regency was formed, consisting of the two dowagers, with Prince Kung as joint regent, and the title of the reign was changed to Tung Chih or "joint government." Thus ended the Empress Dowager's years of training.

 

III The Empress Dowager--As a Ruler

That a Manchu woman who had had such narrow opportunities of obtaining a knowledge of things as they really are, in distinction from the tissue of shams which constitute the warp and the woof of an Oriental Palace, should have been able to hold her own in every situation, and never be crushed by the opposing forces about her, is a phenomenon in itself only to be explained by due recognition of the influence of individual qualities in a ruler even in the semi-absolutism of China. --Arthur H. Smith in "China in Convulsion."

III THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS A RULER

In considering the policy pursued by the Empress-mother after her accession to the regency, one cannot but feel that she was fully aware of the fact that she had been the wife of an emperor, and was the mother of the heir, of a decaying house. Of the 218 years that her dynasty had been in power, 120 had been occupied by the reigns of two emperors, and only seven monarchs had sat upon the throne, a smaller number than ever ruled during the same period in all Chinese history. These two Emperors, Kang Hsi and Chien Lung, the second and fourth, had each reigned for sixty years, the most brilliant period of the "Great Pure Dynasty," unless we except the last six years of the Empress Dowager's regency. The other ninety-eight years saw five rulers rise and pass away, each one becoming weaker than his predecessor both in character and in physique, until with the death of her son, Tung Chih, the dynasty was left without a direct heir.

The decay of the imperial house, the encroachments of the foreigner, and the opposition of the native Chinese to the rule of the Manchus, awoke the Empress Dowager to a realization of the fact that a stronger hand than that of her husband must be at the helm if the dynasty of her people were to be preserved. "It may be said with emphasis," says Colonel Denby, who was for thirteen years minister to China, "that the Empress Dowager has been the first of her race to apprehend the problem of the relation of China to the outer world, and to make use of this relation to strengthen her dynasty and to promote material progress." She was fortunate in having Prince Kung associated with her in the regency, a man tall, handsome and dignified, and the greatest statesman that has come from the royal house since the time of Chien Lung.

Here appears one of the chief characteristics of the Empress Dowager as a ruler--her ability to choose the greatest statesmen, the wisest advisers, the safest leaders, and the best guides, from the great mass of Chinese officials, whether progressive or conservative. Prince Kung was for forty years the leading figure of the Chinese capital outside of the Forbidden City. He appeared first, at the age of twenty-six, as a member of the commission that tried the minister who failed to make good his promise to induce Lord Elgin and his men-of-war to withdraw from Tientsin in 1858. The following year he was made a member of the Colonial Board that controlled the affairs of the "outer Barbarians," and a year later was left in Peking, when the court fled, to arrange a treaty of peace with the victorious British and French after they had taken the capital. "In these trying circumstances," says Professor Giles, "the tact and resource of Prince Kung won the admiration of his opponents," and when the Foreign Office was formed in 1861, it began with the Prince as its first president, a position which he continued to hold for many years.

It was he, as we have seen, who succeeded in outwitting and overthrowing the self-constituted regency on the death of his brother Hsien Feng, and, with the Empress Dowager, seated her infant son upon the throne, with the two Empresses and himself as joint regents. This condition continued for some years, with the senior Empress exercising no authority, and Prince Kung continually growing in power. The arrangement seemed satisfactory to all but one--the Empress-mother. To her it appeared as though he were fast becoming the government, and she and the Empress were as rapidly receding into the background, while in reality the design had been to make him "joint regent" with them. In all the receptions of the officials by the court, Prince Kung alone could see them face to face, while the ladies were compelled to remain behind a screen, listening to the deliberations but without taking any part therein, other than by such suggestions as they might make.

Being the visible head of the government, and the only avenue to positions of preferment, he would naturally be flattered by the Chinese officials. This led him to assume an air of importance which consciously or unconsciously he carried into the presence of their Majesties, and one morning he awoke to find himself stripped of all his rank and power, and confined and guarded a prisoner in his palace, by a joint decree from the two Empresses accusing him of "lack of respect for their Majesties." The deposed Prince at once begged their forgiveness, whereupon all his honours were restored with their accompanying dignities, but none of his former power as joint regent, and thus the first obstacle to her reestablishment of the dynasty was eliminated by the Empress-mother. To show Prince Kung, however, that they bore him no ill will, the Empresses adopted his daughter as their own, raising her to the rank of an imperial princess, and though the Prince has long since passed away his daughter still lives, and next to the Empress Dowager has been the leading figure in court circles during the past ten years' association with the foreigners.

During her son's minority, after the dismissal of Prince Kung as joint regent, the Empress-mother year by year took a more active part in the affairs of state, while the Empress as gradually sank into the background. She was far-sighted. Having but one son, and knowing the uncertainty of life, she originated a plan to secure the succession to her family. To this end she arranged for the marriage of her younger sister to her husband's younger brother commonly known as the Seventh Prince, in the hope that from this union there might come a son who would be a worthy occupant of the dragon throne in case her own son died without issue. She felt that the country needed a great central figure capable of inspiring confidence and banishing uncertainty, a strong, well-balanced, broad-minded, self-abnegating chief executive, and she proposed to furnish one. Whether she would succeed or not must be left to the future to reveal, but the one great task set by destiny for her to accomplish was to prepare the mind of a worthy successor to meet openly and intelligently the problems which had been too vast, too new and too complicated for her predecessors, if not for herself, to solve.

When her son was seventeen years old he was married to Alute, a young Manchu lady of one of the best families in Peking and was nominally given the reins of power, though as a matter of fact the supreme control of affairs was still in the hands of his more powerful mother. The ministers of the European countries, England, France, Germany, Russia and the United States, now resident at Peking, thought this a good time for bringing up the matter of an audience with the new ruler, and after a long discussion with Prince Kung and the Empress-mother, the matter was arranged without the ceremony of prostration which all previous rulers had demanded.

The married life of this young couple was a short one. Three years after their wedding ceremonies the young monarch contracted smallpox and died without issue, and was followed shortly afterwards by his young wife who heeded literally the instruction of one of their female teachers in her duty to her husband to

Share his joy as well as sorrow, riches, poverty or guilt, And in death be buried with him, as in life you shared his guilt.

That her nearest relatives did not believe, as has often been suggested, that there was any "foul play" in regard to her death, is evident from the fact that her father continued to hold office until the time of the Boxer uprising, at which time he followed the fleeing court as far as Paotingfu, where having heard that the capital was in the hands of the hated foreigners, he sent word back to his family that he would neither eat the foreigners' bread nor drink their water, but would prefer to die by his own hand. When his family received this message they commanded their servants to dig a great pit in their own court in which they all lay and ordered the coolies to bury them. This they at first refused to do, but they were finally prevailed upon, and thus perished all the male members of her father's household except one child that was rescued and carried away by a faithful nurse.

When Tung Chih died there was a formidable party in the palace opposed to the two dowagers, anxious to oust them and their party and place upon the throne a dissolute son of Prince Kung. But it would require a master mind from the outside to learn of the death of her son and select and proclaim a successor quicker than the Empress Dowager herself could do so from the inside. She first sent a secret messenger to Li Hung-chang whom she had appointed viceroy of the metropolitan province at Tientsin eighty miles away, informing him of the illness of her son and urging him to come to Peking with his troops post-haste and be ready to prevent any disturbance in case of his death and the announcement of a successor.

When Li Hung-chang received her orders, he began at once to put them into execution. Taking with him four thousand of his most reliable Anhui men, all well-armed horse, foot and artillery, he made a secret forced march to Peking. The distance of eighty miles was covered in thirty-six hours and he planned to arrive at midnight. Exactly on the hour Li and his picked guard were admitted, and in dead silence they marched into the Forbidden City. Every man had in his mouth a wooden bit to prevent talking, while the metal trappings of the horses were muffled to deaden all sound. When they arrived at the forbidden precincts, the Manchu Bannermen on guard at the various city gates were replaced by Li's Anhui braves, and as the Empress Dowager had sent eunuchs to point out the palace troops which were doubtful or that had openly declared for the conspirators, these were at once disarmed, bound and sent to prison. The artillery were ordered to guard the gates of the Forbidden City, the cavalry to patrol the grounds, and the foot-soldiers to pick up any stray conspirators that could be found. A strong detachment was stationed so as to surround the Empress Dowager and the child whom she had selected as a successor to her son, and when the morning sun rose bright and clear over the Forbidden City the surprise of the conspirators who had slept the night away was complete. Of the disaffected that remained, some were put in prison and others sent into perpetual exile to the Amoor beyond their native borders, and when the Empress Dowager announced the death of her son, she proclaimed the son of her sister, Kuang Hsu, as his successor, with herself and the Empress as regents during his minority. When everything was settled, Li folded his tent like the Arab, and stole away as silently as he had come.

The wisdom and greatness of the Empress Dowager were thus manifested in binding to the throne the greatest men not only in the capital but in the provinces. Li Hung-chang had won his title to greatness during the Tai-ping rebellion, for his part in the final extinction of which he was ennobled as an Earl. From this time onward she placed him in the highest positions of honour and power within sufficient proximity to the capital to have his services within easy reach. For twenty-four years he was kept as viceroy of the metropolitan province of Chihli, with the largest and best drilled army at his command that China had ever had, and yet during all this time he realized that he was watched with the eyes of an eagle lest he manifest any signs of rebellion, while his nephew was kept in the capital as a hostage for his good conduct. Once and again when he had reached the zenith of his power, or had been feted by foreign potentates enough to turn the head of a bronze Buddha, his yellow jacket and peacock feather were kindly but firmly removed to remind him that there was a power in Peking on whom he was dependent.

Li Hung-chang's greatness made him many enemies. Those whom he defeated, those whom he would not or could not help, those whom he punished or put out of office, and those whose enmity was the result of jealousy. When the war with Japan closed and the Chinese government sent Chang Yin-huan to negotiate a treaty of peace, the Japanese refused to accept him, nor were they willing to take up the matter until "Li Hung-chang was appointed envoy, chiefly because of his great influence over the government, and the respect in which he was held by the people." We all know how he went, how he was shot in the face by a Japanese fanatic, the ball lodging under the left eye, where it remained a memento which he carried to the grave. We all know how he recovered from the wound, and how because of his sufferings he was able to negotiate a better treaty than he could otherwise have done. Then he returned home, and only "the friendship of the Empress and his own personal sufferings saved his life," says Colonel Denby, for "the new treaty was urgently denounced in China" by carping critics who would not have been recognized as envoys by their Japanese enemies.

In 1896 he was appointed to attend the coronation of the Czar at Moscow, and thence continued his trip around the world. Never before nor since has a Chinese statesman or even a prince been feted as he was in every country through which he passed. When he was about to start, at his request I had a round fan painted for him, with a map of the Eastern hemisphere on one side and the Western on the other, on which all the steamship lines and railroads over which he was to travel were clearly marked, with all the ports and cities at which he expected to stop. He was photographed with Gladstone, and hailed as the "Bismarck of the East," but when he returned to Peking, for no reason but jealousy, "he was treated as an extinct volcano." The Empress Dowager invited him to the Summer Palace where he was shown about the place by the eunuchs, treated to tea and pipes, and led into pavilions where only Her Majesty was allowed to enter, and then denounced to the Board of Punishments who were against him to a man. And now this Grand Secretary whom kings and courts had honoured, whom emperors and presidents had feted, and our own government had spent thirty thousand dollars in entertaining, was once more stripped of his yellow jacket and peacock feather, and fined the half of a year's salary as a member of the Foreign Office, which was the amusing sum of forty-five taels or about thirty-five dollars gold, and it was said in Peking at the time that only the intercession of the Empress Dowager saved him from imprisonment or further disgrace.

During the whole regency of the Empress Dowager only two men have occupied the position of President of the Grand Council--Prince Kung and Prince Ching. While the former was degraded many times and had his honours all taken from him, the latter "has kept himself on top of a rolling log for thirty years" without losing any of the honours which were originally conferred upon him. The same is true of Chang Chih-tung, Liu Kun-yi and Wang Wen-shao, three great viceroys and Grand Secretaries whom the Empress Dowager has never allowed to be without an important office, but whom she has never degraded. Need we ask the reason why? The answer is not far to seek. They were the most eminent progressive officials she had in her empire, but none of them were great enough to be a menace to her dynasty, and hence need not be reminded that there was a power above them which by a stroke of her pen could transfer them from stars in the official firmament to dandelions in the grass. Not so with Yuan Shih-kai--but we will speak of him in another chapter.

All the great officials thus far mentioned have belonged to the progressive rather than the conservative party, all of them the favourites of the Empress Dowager, placed in positions of influence and kept in office by her, all of them working for progress and reform, and yet she has been constantly spoken of by European writers as a reactionary. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as we shall see. Nevertheless she kept some of the great conservative officials in office either as viceroys or Grand Secretaries that she might be able to hear both sides of all important questions.

One of these conservatives was Jung Lu, the father-in-law of the present Regent. When she placed Yuan Shih-kai in charge of the army of north China, she also appointed Jung Lu as Governor-General of the metropolitan province of Chihli. One was a progressive, the other a conservative. Neither could make any important move without the knowledge and consent of the other. Whether the Empress Dowager foresaw the danger that was likely to arise, we do not know, but she provided against it. We refer to the occasion when in 1898 the Emperor ordered Yuan Shih-kai to bring his troops to Peking, guard the Empress Dowager a prisoner in the Summer Palace, and protect him in his efforts at reform. The story belongs in another chapter, but we refer to it here to show how the Empress Dowager played one official against another, and one party against another, to prevent any such calamity or surprise. It would have been impossible for Yuan Shih-kai to have taken his troops to Peking for any purpose without first informing his superior officer Jung Lu unless he put him to death, much less to have gone on such a mission as that of imprisoning as important a personage as the Empress Dowager, to whom they were both indebted for their office.

Another instance of the way in which the Empress Dowager played one party against another was the appointment of Prince Tuan as a member of the Foreign Office. After his son had been selected as the heir-apparent it seemed to the Empress Dowager that for his own education and development he should be made to come in contact with the foreigners. Most of the foreigners considered the appointment objectionable on account of the "Prince's anti- foreign tendencies. But to my mind," says Sir Robert Hart, "it was a good one; the Empress Dowager had probably said to the Prince, 'You and your party pull one way, Prince Ching and his another--what am I to do between you? You, however, are the father of the future Emperor, and have your son's interests to take care of; you are also head of the Boxers and chief of the Peking Field Force, and ought therefore to know what can and what cannot be done. I therefore appoint you to the yamen; do what you consider most expedient, and take care that the throne of your ancestors descends untarnished to your son, and their empire undiminished! yours is the power,--yours the responsibility--and yours the chief interests!' I can imagine the Empress Dowager taking this line with the Prince, and, inasmuch as various ministers who had been very anti-foreign before entering the yamen had turned round and behaved very sensibly afterwards, I felt sure that responsibility and actual personal dealings with foreigners would be a good experience and a useful education for this Prince, and that he would eventually be one of the sturdiest supporters of progress and good relations."

 

IV The Empress Dowager--As a Reactionist

The most interesting personage in China during the past thirty years has been and still is without doubt the lady whom we style the Empress Dowager. The character of the Empress's rule can only be judged by what it was during the regency, when she was at the head of every movement that partook of the character of reform. Foreign diplomacy has failed, for want of a definite centre of volition and sensation to act upon. It had no fulcrum for its lever. Hence only force has ever succeeded in China. With a woman like the Empress might it not be possible really to transact business? --Blackwood's Magazine.

IV THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS A REACTIONIST

It was between November 1, 1897, and April 16, 1898, that Germany, Russia, France and England wrested from the weak hands of the Emperor Kuang Hsu the four best ports in the Chinese empire, leaving China without a place to rendezvous a fleet. The whole empire was aroused to indignation, and even in our Christian schools, every essay, oration, dialogue or debate was a discussion of some phase of the subject, "How to reform and strengthen China." The students all thought, the young reformers all thought, and the foreigners all thought that Kuang Hsu had struck the right track. The great Chinese officials, however, were in doubt, and it was because of their doubt--progressives as well as conservatives--that the Empress Dowager was again called to the throne.

Now may I request the enemies of the Empress Dowager to ask themselves what they would have done if they had been placed at the head of their own government when it was thus being filched from them? You say she was anti-foreign--would you have been very much in love with Germany, Russia, France and England under those circumstances? That she acted unwisely in placing herself in the hands of the conservatives and allying herself with the superstitious Boxers, we must all frankly admit. But what would you have done? Might you not--I do not say you would with your intelligence--but might you not have been induced to have clutched at as great a log as the patriotic Boxers seemed to present, if you had been as near drowning as she was?

"It is generally supposed," says one of her critics, "that Kang Yu-wei suggested to the Emperor, that if he would render his own position secure, he must retire the Empress Dowager, and decapitate Jung Lu." If that be true, and I think it very reasonable, the condition must have been desperate, when the reformers had to begin killing the greatest of their opponents, and imprisoning those who had given them their power, though neither of these at that time had raised a hand against them. Have you noticed how ready we are to forgive those on our side for doing that for which we would bitterly condemn our opponents? The same people who condemn the Empress Dowager for beheading the six young reformers stand ready to forgive Kuang Hsu for ordering the decapitation of Jung Lu, and the imprisonment of his foster-mother.

There were two powerful factions in Peking, the progressives, headed by Prince Ching; and the conservatives, headed by Jung Lu. Now the Empress Dowager may have reasoned thus: "The progressives and reformers have had their day. They have tried their plans and they have failed. The only result they have secured is peace--but peace always at the expense of territory. Now I propose to try another plan. I will part with no more ports, and I will resist to the death every encroachment." She therefore took up Li Ping-heng, who had been deposed from the governorship of Shantung at the time of the murder of the German missionaries, and appointed him Generalissimo of the forces of the Yangtse, where he no doubt promised to resist to the last all encroachments of the foreigners in that part of the empire while Jung Lu was retained in Peking as head of all the forces of the province of Chihli and the Northern Squadron. She then appointed Kang Yi, another conservative, equally as anti-foreign as Li Ping-heng, to inspect the fortifications and garrisons of the empire, and to raise an immense sum of money for the depleted treasury. In his visits to the southern provinces, Kang Yi at this time raised not less than two million taels, which was no doubt spent in the purchase of guns and ammunition and other preparations for war. Yu Hsien, another equally conservative Manchu, she appointed Governor of Shantung to succeed Li Ping-heng, and it is to him the whole Boxer uprising is due. Moreover when he, at the repeated requests of the foreigners, was removed from Shantung, she received him in audience at Peking, conferred upon him additional honours and appointed him Governor of the adjoining province of Shansi, where, and under whose jurisdiction, almost all the massacres were committed. Indeed Yu Hsien may be considered the whole Boxer movement, for this seems to have been his plan for getting rid of the foreigners.

But while thus allying herself with the conservatives, the Empress Dowager did not cut herself off from the progressives. Li Hung-chang was appointed Viceroy of Kuangtung, Yuan Shih-kai Governor of Shantung and Tuan Fang of Shensi while Liu Kun-yi, Chang Chih-tung, and Kuei Chun were kept at their posts, so that she had all the greatest men of both parties once more in her service. Then she began sending out edicts, retracting those issued by Kuang Hsu, and what could be more considerate of the feelings of the Emperor, or more diplomatic as a state paper than the following, issued in the name of Kuang Hsu, September 26, 1898.

"Our real desire was to make away with superfluous posts for the sake of economy: whereas, on the contrary, we find rumours flying abroad that we intended to change wholesale the customs of the empire, and, in consequence, innumerable impossible suggestions of reform have been presented to us. If we allowed this to go on, none of us would know to what pass matters would come. Hence, unless we hasten to put our present wishes clearly before all, we greatly fear that the petty yamen officials and their underlings will put their own construction on what commands have gone before, and create a ferment in the midst of the usual calm of the people. This will indeed be contrary to our desire, and put our reforms for strengthening and enriching our empire to naught.

"We therefore hereby command that the Supervisorate of Instruction and other five minor Courts and Boards, which were recently abolished by us and their duties amalgamated with other Boards for the sake of economy, etc., be forthwith restored to their original state and duties, because we have learned that the process of amalgamation contains many difficulties and will require too much labour. We think, therefore, it is best that these offices be not abolished at all, there being no actual necessity for doing this. As for the provincial bureaus and official posts ordered to be abolished, the work in this connection can go on as usual, and the viceroys and governors are exhorted to work earnestly and diligently in the above duty. Again as to the edict ordering the establishment of an official newspaper, the Chinese Progress, and the privilege granted to all scholars and commoners to memorialize us on reforms, etc., this was issued in order that a way might be opened by which we could come into touch with our subjects, high and low. But as we have also given extra liberty to our censors and high officers to report to us on all matters pertaining to the people and their government, any reforms necessary, suggested by these officers, will be attended to at once by us. Hence we consider that our former edict allowing all persons to report to us is, for obvious reasons, superfluous, with the present legitimate machinery at hand. And we now command that the privilege be withdrawn, and only the proper officers be permitted to report to us as to what is going on in our empire. As for the newspaper Chinese Progress, it is really of no use to the government, while, on the other hand, it will excite the masses to evil; hence we command the said paper to be suppressed.

"With regard to the proposed Peking University and the middle schools in the provincial capitals, they may go on as usual, as they are a nursery for the perfection of true ability and talents. But with reference to the lower schools in the sub-prefectures and districts there need be no compulsion, full liberty being given to the people thereof to do what they please in this connection. As for the unofficial Buddhist, Taoist, and memorial temples which were ordered to be turned into district schools, etc., so long as these institutions have not broken the laws by any improper conduct of the inmates, or the deities worshipped in them are not of the seditious kind, they are hereby excused from the edict above noted. At the present moment, when the country is undergoing a crisis of danger and difficulty, we must be careful of what may be done, or what may not, and select only such measures as may be really of benefit to the empire."

I submit the above edict to the reader requesting him to study it, and, if necessary to its understanding, to copy it, and see if the Empress Dowager has not preserved the best there is in it, viz., "the Peking University, and the middle schools in the provincial capitals," "full liberty being given to the people with reference to the lower schools in the sub-prefectures and districts to do as they please." How much oil would be cast on how many troubled waters can only be realized by the unfortunate priests and dismissed officials and people upon whom "there need be no compulsion"!

Three days after the foregoing, on September 29th, she issued another edict purporting to come from the Emperor, ordering the punishment of Kang Yu-wei and others of his confreres. Now, if it is true that Kang Yu-wei advised the Emperor to behead Jung Lu and imprison the Empress Dowager, for no cause whatsoever, how would you have been inclined to treat him supposing you had been in her place? The decree says:

"All know that we try to rule this empire by our filial piety towards the Empress Dowager; but Kang Yu-wei's doctrines have always been opposed to the ancient Confucian tenets. Owing, however, to the ability shown by the said Kang Yu-wei in modern and practical matters, we sought to take advantage of it by appointing him a secretary of the Foreign Office, and subsequently ordered him to Shanghai to direct the management of the official newspaper there. Instead of this, however, he dared to remain in Peking pursuing his nefarious designs against the dynasty, and had it not been for the protection given by the spirits of our ancestors he certainly would have succeeded. Kang Yu-wei is therefore the arch conspirator, and his chief assistant is Liang Chi-tsao, M. A., and they are both to be immediately arrested and punished for the crime of rebellion. The other principal conspirators, namely, the Censor Yang Shen-hsin, Kang Kuang-jen--the brother of Kang Yu-wei--and the four secretaries of the Tsungli Yamen, Tan Sze-tung, Liu Hsin, Yang Jui, and Liu Kuang-ti, we immediately ordered to be arrested and imprisoned by the Board of Punishments: but fearing that if any delay ensued in sentencing them they would endeavour to entangle a number of others, we accordingly commanded yesterday (September 28th) their immediate execution, so as to close the matter entirely and prevent further troubles."

This with the execution of one or two other officials is the greatest crime that can be laid at the door of the Empress Dowager--great enough in all conscience--yet not to be compared to those of "good Queen Bess."

We now come to what is said to have been a secret edict issued by the Empress Dowager to her viceroys, governors, Tartar generals and the commanders-in-chief of the provinces, dated November 21, 1899. And this I regard as one of the greatest and most daring things that great woman ever undertook.

After the Empress Dowager had taken the throne, Italy, following the example set by the other powers, demanded the cession of Sanmen Bay in the province of Chekiang. But she found a different ruler on the throne, and to her great surprise, as well as that of every one else, China returned a stubborn refusal. Moreover, she began to prepare to resist the demand, and it soon became evident that to obtain it, Italy must go to war. This she had not the stomach for and so the demand was withdrawn. This explanation will go far towards helping us to understand the following secret edict of November 21st, to which I have already referred.

"Our empire is now labouring under great difficulties which are becoming daily more and more serious. The various Powers cast upon us looks of tiger-like voracity, hustling each other in their endeavours to be the first to seize upon our innermost territories. They think that China, having neither money nor troops, would never venture to go to war with them. They fail to understand, however, that there are certain things that this empire can never consent to, and that, if hardly pressed upon, we have no alternative but to rely upon the justice of our cause, the knowledge of which in our breasts strengthens our resolves and steels us to present a united front against our aggressors. No one can guarantee, under such circumstances, who will be the victor and who the vanquished in the end. But there is an evil habit which has become almost a custom among our viceroys and governors which, however, must be eradicated at all costs. For instance, whenever these high officials have had on their hands cases of international dispute, all their actions seem to be guided by the belief in their breasts that such cases would eventually be 'amicably arranged.' These words seem never to be out of their thoughts: hence, when matters do come to a crisis, they, of course, find themselves utterly unprepared to resist any hostile aggressions on the part of the foreigner. We, indeed, consider this the most serious failure in the duty which the highest provincial authorities owe to the throne, and we now find it incumbent upon ourselves to censure such conduct in the most severe terms.

"It is our special command, therefore, that should any high official find himself so hard pressed by circumstances that nothing short of war would settle matters, he is expected to set himself resolutely to work out his duty to this end. Or, perhaps, it would be that war has already actually been declared; under such circumstances there is no possible chance of the imperial government consenting to an immediate conference for the restoration of peace. It behooves, therefore, that our viceroys, governors, and commanders-in-chief throughout the whole empire unite forces and act together without distinction or particularizing of jurisdictions so as to present a combined front to the enemy, exhorting and encouraging their officers and soldiers in person to fight for the preservation of their homes and native soil from the encroaching footsteps of the foreign aggressor. Never should the word 'Peace' fall from the mouths of our high officials, nor should they even allow it to rest for a moment within their breasts. With such a country as ours, with her vast area, stretching out several tens of thousands of li, her immense natural resources, and her hundreds of millions of inhabitants, if only each and all of you would prove his loyalty to his Emperor and love of country, what, indeed, is there to fear from any invader? Let no one think of making peace, but let each strive to preserve from destruction and spoliation his ancestral home and graves from the ruthless hands of the invader."

One of her critics, referring to the last sentence of the above edict, asks: "Do not these words throw down the gauntlet?" And we answer, yes. Did not the thirteen colonies throw down the gauntlet to England for less cause? Did not Japan throw down the gauntlet to Russia for less cause than the Empress Dowager had for desiring that "each strive TO PRESERVE FROM DESTRUCTION AND SPOLIATION HIS ANCESTRAL HOME AND GRAVES"? It was not for conquest but for self-preservation the Empress Dowager was ready to go to war; not for glory but for home; not against a taunting neighbour, but against a "ruthless invader." Her unwisdom did not consist in her being ready to go to war, but in allowing herself to be allied to, and depend upon, the superstitious rabble of Boxers, and to believe that her "hundreds of millions" of undisciplined "inhabitants" could withstand the thousands or tens of thousands of well-drilled, well-led, intelligent soldiers from the West.

That she was ready to go to war rather than weakly yield to the demands for territory from the European powers is further evidenced by the following edict issued by the Tsungli Yamen to the viceroys and governors:

"This yamen has received the special commands of her Imperial Majesty the Empress Dowager, and his Imperial Majesty the Emperor, to grant you full power and liberty to resist by force of arms all aggressions upon your several jurisdictions, proclaiming a state of war, if necessary, without first asking instructions from Peking; for this loss of time may be fatal to your security, and enable the enemy to make good his footing against your forces."

In order to strengthen her position she appointed two commissioners whom she sent to Japan in the hope of forming a secret defensive alliance with that nation against the White Peril from the West. For once, however, she made a mistake in the selection of her men, for these commissioners, unlike what we usually find the yellow man, revealed too much of the important mission on which they were bent, and were recalled in disgrace, and the treaty came to naught.

 

V The Empress Dowager--As a Reformer

Taught by the failure of a reaction on which she had staked her life and her throne, the Dowager has become a convert to the policy of progress. She has, in fact, outstripped her nephew. "Long may she live!" "Late may she rule us!" During her lifetime she may be counted on to carry forward the cause she has so ardently espoused. She grasps the reins with a firm hand; and her courage is such that she does not hesitate to drive the chariot of state over many a new and untried road. She knows she can rely on the support of her viceroys--men of her own appointment. She knows too that the spirit of reform is abroad in the land, and that the heart of the people is with her. --W. A. P. Martin in "The Awakening of China."

V THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS A REFORMER

In June, 1902, soon after the return of the court from Hsian to Peking, a company of ladies from the various legations in Peking who had received invitations to an audience and a banquet with the Empress Dowager were asked to meet at one of the legations for the purpose of consultation. The meeting was unusual. Many of those who were present had no higher motive than the ordinary tourist who goes sightseeing. With the exception of one or two who had been in once before, none of these ladies had ever been present at an audience. Several of them however had passed through the Boxer siege of 1900, had witnessed the guns from the wall of the Imperial City pouring shot and shell into the British legation, where they were confined during those eight memorable weeks of June, July and August, and had come out with their hearts filled with resentment. One of them had received a decoration from her government for her bravery in standing beside her husband on the fortifications when buildings were crumbling and walls falling, and her husband was buried by an exploding mine, and then vomited out unhurt by a second explosion. Among the number were several recent arrivals in Peking who had had none of these bitter experiences, but had heard much of the Empress Dowager, and above all things else they were anxious to see her whom they called the "She Dragon."

The presiding officer had been longest in Peking, and as doyen of these diplomatic ladies, she acted as chairman of the meeting. The first question to be decided was the mode of conveyance to the "Forbidden City." Without much discussion it was decided to use the sedan chair, as being the most dignified, and used only by Chinese ladies of rank. The chairman then called for an expression of opinion as to the method of procedure in presentation to the throne. One suggested that they have no ceremony about it, but all go up to the throne together, for in this way none would take precedence, but all would have an equal opportunity of satisfying their curiosity and scrutinizing this female dragon ad libitum. Another said: "It will be broiling hot on that June day, and it will be better to keep at a safe distance from her, with plenty of guards to protect us, or we may be broiled in more senses than one." The chairman looked worried at these suggestions, but still kept her dignity and her equilibrium. Then a mild voice suggested that it was customary in all audiences for those presented to courtesy to the one on the throne. "Courtesy!" broke in an indignant voice, "it would be more appropriate for her to prostrate herself at our feet and beg us to forgive her for trying to shoot us, than for us to courtesy to her." It was finally decided, however, that the same formalities be observed as were followed by the ministers when received at court. I give these incidents to show the temper that prevailed among the members of some of the legations at Peking at the time of this first audience.

"When a few days later we followed the long line of richly-robed princesses into the audience-hall, all this was changed. As we looked at the Empress Dowager seated upon her throne on a raised dais, with the Emperor to her left and members of the Grand Council kneeling beside her, and these dignified, stately princesses courtesying until their knees touched the floor, we forgot the resentful feeling expressed in the meeting a few days before, and, awed by her majestic bearing and surroundings, we involuntarily gave the three courtesies required from those entering the imperial presence. We could not but feel that this stately woman who sat upon the throne was every inch an empress. In her hands rested the weal or woe of one-third of the human race. Her brilliant black eyes seemed to read our thoughts. Indeed she prides herself upon the fact that at a glance she can read the character of every one that appears before her."

After the ladies had taken their position in order of their rank, the doyen presented their good wishes to Her Majesty, which was replied to by a few gracious words from the throne. Each lady's name was then announced and as she was formally presented she ascended the dais, and as she courtesied, the Empress Dowager extended her hand which she took, and then passed to the left to be introduced in a similar way to the Emperor.

It was thus she began her reforms in the customs of the court, which up to this time had kept her ever behind the screen, compelled to wield the sceptre from her place of concealment, equally shut out from the eyes of the world and blind to the needs of her people. Up to her time the people and the nation were the slaves of age-old customs, but before the power of her personality rites and ceremonies became the servants of the people. In the words of the poet she seemed to feel that

"Rules Are well; but never fear to break The scaffolding of other souls; It was not meant for thee to mount, Though it may serve thee."

Without taking away from the Emperor the credit of introducing the railroad, the telegraph, the telephone, the new system of education, and many other reforms, we must still admit that it was the personality, power and statesmanship of the Empress Dowager that brought about the realization of his dreams. The movement towards female education as described in another chapter must ever be placed to the credit of this great woman. From the time she came from behind the screen, and allowed her portrait to be painted, the freedom of woman was assured.

One day when calling at the American legation I was shown two large photographs of Her Majesty. One some three feet square was to be sent to President Roosevelt, the other was a gift to Major Conger. Similar photographs had been sent to all the ministers and rulers represented at Peking, and I said to myself: "The Empress Dowager is shrewd. She knows that false pictures of her have gone forth. She knows that the painted portrait is not a good likeness, and so she proposes to have genuine pictures in the possession of all civilized governments." This shrewdness was not necessarily native on her part, but was engendered by the arguments that had been used by those who induced her to be the first Chinese monarch to have her portrait painted by a foreign artist.

A few years ago the Empress Dowager had a dream, which, like every act of hers, was greater than any of those of her brilliant nephew. This dream was to give a constitution to China. Of course, if this were done it would have to be by the Manchus, as the government was theirs, and any radical changes that were made would have to be made by the people in power. The Empress Dowager, however, wanted the honour of this move to reflect upon herself, and hoped to be able to bring it to a successful issue during her lifetime.

There was strenuous opposition, and this most vigorous in the party in which she had placed herself when she dethroned Kuang Hsu. The conservatives regarded this as the wildest venture that had yet been made, and were ready to use all their influence to prevent it; nevertheless the Empress Dowager called to her aid the greatest and most progressive of the Manchus, the Viceroy Tuan Fang, and appointed him head of a commission which she proposed to send on a tour of the world to examine carefully the various forms of government, with the purpose of advising her, on their return, as to the possibility of giving a constitution to China.

A special train was provided to take the commission from Peking to Tientsin. It was drawn up at the station just outside the gate in front of the Emperor's palace. The commission had entered the car, and the narrow hall or aisle along the side was crowded with those who had come to see them off, when, BANG, there was an explosion, the side of the car was blown out, several were injured, including slight wounds to some of the members of the commission, and the man carrying the bomb was blown into an unrecognizable mass. For a few days the city was in an uproar. Guards were placed at all the gates, especially those leading to the palace, and every possible effort was made to identify the nihilist. But as all efforts failed, and nothing further transpired to indicate that he had accomplices, the commission separated and departing individually without display, reunited at Tientsin and started on their tour of inspection.

This commission was splendidly entertained wherever it went, given every possible opportunity to examine the constitutions of the countries through which it passed, and on its return to Peking the report of the trip was published in one hundred and twenty volumes, the most important item of which was that a constitution, modelled after that of Japan, should be given to China at as early a date as possible.

The leader of this expedition, His Excellency the Viceroy Tuan Fang, is one of the greatest, if not the greatest living Manchu statesman. Like Yuan Shih-kai, during the Boxer uprising, he protected all the foreigners within his domains. That he appreciates the work done by Americans in the opening up of China is evidenced by a statement made in his address at the Waldorf Astoria, in February, 1906, in which he said:

"We take pleasure this evening in bearing testimony to the part taken by American missionaries in promoting the progress of the Chinese people. They have borne the light of Western civilization into every nook and corner of the empire. They have rendered inestimable service to China by the laborious task of translating into the Chinese language religious and scientific works of the West. They help us to bring happiness and comfort to the poor and the suffering, by the establishment of hospitals and schools. The awakening of China, which now seems to be at hand, may be traced in no small measure to the influence of the missionary. For this service you will find China not ungrateful."

Some may think that this was simply a sentiment expressed on this particular occasion because he happened to be surrounded by secretaries and others interested in this cause. That this is not the case is further indicated by the fact that since that time he has on two separate occasions attended the commencement exercises of the Nanking University, on one of which he addressed the students as follows:

"This is the second time I have attended the commencement exercises of your school. I appreciate the good order I find here. I rejoice at the evidences I see of your knowledge of the proprieties, the depth of your learning, and the character of the students of this institution. I am deeply grateful to the president and faculty for the goodness manifested to these my people. I have seen evidences of it in every detail. It is my hope that when these graduates go out into the world, they will remember the love of their teachers, and will practice that virtue in their dealing with others. The fundamental principle of all great teachers whether of the East or the West is love, and it remains for you, young gentlemen, to practice this virtue. Thus your knowledge will be practical and your talents useful."

I have given these quotations as evidences of the breadth of the man whom the Empress Dowager selected as the head of this commission. It is not generally known, however, that Duke Tse, another important member of this commission, is married to a sister of the young Empress Yehonala, and consequently a niece of the Empress Dowager. Such relations existed between Her Majesty and the viceroy, as ruler and subject, that it would be impossible for him to give her the intimate account of their trip that a relative could give. It would be equally impossible, with all her other duties, to wade through a report such as they published after their return of one hundred and twenty volumes. But it would be a delight to call in this nephew-in-law, and have him sit or kneel, and may we not believe she allowed him to sit? and give her a full and intimate account of the trip and the countries through which they passed. She was anxious that this constitution should be given to the people before she passed away. This, however, could not be. Whether it will be adopted within the time allotted is a question which the future alone can answer.

The next great reform undertaken by the Empress Dowager was her crusade against opium. The importance of this can only be estimated when we consider the prevalence of the use of the drug throughout the empire. The Chinese tell us that thirty to forty per cent. of the adult population are addicted to the use of the drug.

One day while walking along the street in Peking, I passed a gateway from which there came an odour that was not only offensive but sickening. I went on a little distance further and entered one of the best curio shops of the city, and going into the back room, I found the odour of the street emphasized tenfold, as one of the employees of the firm had just finished his smoke. I left this shop and went to another where the proprietor had entirely ruined his business by his use of the drug, and it was about this time that the Empress Dowager issued the following edict:

"Since the first prohibition of opium, almost the whole of China has been flooded with the poison. Smokers of opium have wasted their time, neglected their employment, ruined their constitutions, and impoverished their households. For several decades therefore China has presented a spectacle of increasing poverty and weakness. To merely mention the matter, arouses our indignation. The court has now determined to make China powerful, and to this end we urge our people to reformation in this respect.

"We, therefore, decree that within a limit of ten years this injurious filth shall be completely swept away. We further order the Council of State to consider means of prohibition both of growing the poppy and smoking the opium."

The Council of State at once drew up regulations designed to carry out this decree. They were among others:

That all opium-smokers be required to report and take out a license.

Officials using the drug were divided into two classes. Young men must be cured of the habit within six months, while for old men no limit was fixed. But both classes, while under treatment, must furnish satisfactory substitutes, at their own expense, to attend to the duties of their office.

All opium dens must be closed within six months, after which time no opium-pipes nor lamps may be either made or sold. Though shops for the sale of the drug may continue for ten years, the limit of the traffic.

The government promises to provide medicine for the cure of the habit, and encourages the formation of anti-opium societies, but will not allow these societies to discuss other political matters.

Next to China Great Britain is the party most affected by this movement towards reform. When this edict was issued Great Britain was shipping annually fifty thousand chests of opium to the Chinese market, but at once agreed that if China was sincere in her desire for reform, and cut off her own domestic productions at the rate of ten per cent. per annum, she would decrease her trade at a similar rate. It is unfortunate that the Empress Dowager should have died before this reform had been carried to a successful culmination, but whatever may be the result of the movement the fact and the credit of its initiation will ever belong to her.

Such are some of the special reform measures instituted by the Empress Dowager, but in addition to these she has seen to it that the Emperor's efforts to establish a Board of Railroads, a Board of Mines, educational institutions on the plans of those of the West, should all be carried out. She has not only done away with the old system of examinations, but has introduced a new scheme by which all those who have graduated from American or European colleges may obtain Chinese degrees and be entitled to hold office under the government, by passing satisfactory examinations, not a small part of which is the diploma or diplomas which they hold. Such an examination has already been held and a large number of Western graduates, most of them Christian, were given the Chu-jen or Han-lin degrees.

 

VI The Empress Dowager--As an Artist

There is no genre that the Chinese artist has not attempted. They have treated in turn mythological, religious and historical subjects of every kind; they have painted scenes of daily familiar life, as well as those inspired by poetry and romance; sketched still life, landscapes and portraits. Their highest achievements, perhaps, have been in landscapes, which reveal a passionate love for nature, and show with how delicate a charm, how sincere and lively a poetic feeling, they have interpreted its every aspect. They have excelled too at all periods in the painting of animals and birds, especially of birds and flying insects in conjunction with flowers. --S. W. Bushell in "Chinese Art."

VI THE EMPRESS DOWAGER--AS AN ARTIST

One day the head eunuch from the palace of the Princess Shun called at our home to ask Mrs. Headland to go and see the Princess. While sitting in my study and looking at the Chinese paintings hanging on the wall, two of which were from the brush of Her Majesty, he remarked:

"You are fond of Chinese art?"

"I am indeed fond of it," I answered.

"I notice you have some pictures painted by the Old Buddha," he continued, referring to the Empress Dowager by a name by which she is popularly known in Peking.

"Yes, I have seven pictures from her brush," I answered.

"Do you happen to have any from the brush of the Lady Miao, her painting teacher?" he inquired.

"I am sorry to say I have not," I replied. "I have tried repeatedly to secure one, but thus far have failed. I have inquired at all the best stores on Liu Li Chang, the great curio street, but they have none, and cannot tell me where I can find one."

"No, you cannot get them in the stores; she does not paint for the trade," he explained.

"I am sorry," I continued, "for I should like very much to get one. I am told she is a very good artist."

"Oh, yes, she paints very well," he went on in a careless way. "She lives over near our palace. We have a good many of her paintings. They are very easily gotten."

"It may be easy for you to get them," I replied, "but it is no small task for me."

"If you want some," he volunteered, "I'll get some for you."

"That would be very kind of you," I answered, "but how would you undertake to get them?"

"Oh, I would just steal a few and bring them over to you."

It is hardly necessary to assure my readers as I did him that I could not approve of this method of obtaining paintings from the Lady Miao's brush. However he must have told the Princess of my desire, for the next time Mrs. Headland called at the palace the Princess entertained her by showing her a number of paintings by the Lady Miao, together with others from the brush of the Empress Dowager.

"And these are really the work of Her Majesty?" said Mrs. Headland with a rising inflection.

"Yes, indeed," replied the Princess. "I watched her at work on them. They are genuine."

It was some weeks thereafter that Mrs. Headland was again invited to call and see the Princess, and to her surprise she was introduced to the Lady Miao, with whom and the Princess she spent a very pleasant social hour or two. When she was about to leave, the Princess, who is the youngest sister of the Empress Yehonala, brought out a picture of a cock about to catch a beetle, which she said she had asked Lady Miao to paint, and which she begged Mrs. Headland to receive as a present from the artist and herself.

During the conversation Mrs. Headland remarked that the Empress Dowager must have begun her study of art many years ago.

"Yes," said Lady Miao. "We were both young when she began. Shortly after she was taken into the palace she began the study of books, and partly as a diversion, but largely out of her love for art, she took up the brush. She studied the old masters as they have been reproduced by woodcuts in books, and from the paintings that have been preserved in the palace collection, and soon she exhibited rare talent. I was then a young woman, my brothers were artists, my husband had passed away, and I was ordered to appear in the palace and work with her."

"You are a Chinese, are you not, Lady Miao?"

"Yes," she replied, "and as it has not been customary for Chinese ladies to appear at court during the present dynasty, I was allowed to unbind my feet, comb my hair in the Manchu style, and wear the gowns of her people."

"And did you go into the palace every day?"

"When I was young I did. Ten Thousand Years"--another method of speaking of the Empress Dowager--"was very enthusiastic over her art work in those days, and often we spent a large part of the day either with our brushes, or studying the history of art, the examples in the books, or the works of the old masters in the gallery. One of her favourite presents to her friends, as you probably know, is a picture from her own brush, decorated with the impress of her great jade seal, the date, and an appropriate poem by one of the members of the College of Inscriptions. And no presents that she ever gives are prized more highly by the recipients than these paintings."

I had seen pictures painted by Her Majesty decorating the walls of the palaces of several of the princes, as well as the homes of a number of my official friends. Some of them I thought very attractive, and they seemed to be well done. They were highly prized by their owners, but I was anxious to know what the Lady Miao thought of her ability as an artist, and so I asked:

"Do you consider the Empress Dowager a good painter?"

"The Empress Dowager is a great woman," she answered. "Of course, as an artist, she is an amateur rather than a professional. Had she devoted herself wholly to art, hers would have been one of the great names among our artists. She wields her brush with a power and precision which only genius added to practice can give. She has a keen appreciation of art, and it is a pity that the cares of state might not have been borne by others, leaving her free to develop her instinct for art."

The Empress Dowager kept eighteen court painters, selected from among the best artists of the country, and appointed by herself, whose whole duty it was to paint for her. They were divided into three groups, and each group of six persons was required to be on duty ten days of each month. As I was deeply interested in the study of Chinese art I became intimately acquainted with most of the court painters and knew the character of their work. The head of this group was Mr. Kuan. I called on him one day, knowing that he was not well enough to be on duty in the palace, and I found him hard at work. Like the small boy who told his mother that he was too sick to go to school but not sick enough to go to bed, so he assured me that his troubles were not such as to prevent his working, but only such as make it impossible for him to appear at court. Incidentally I learned that the drain on his purse from the squeezes to the eunuchs aggravated his disease.

"When Her Majesty excused me from appearing at the palace," he explained, "she required that I paint for her a minimum of sixty pictures a year, to be sent in about the time of the leading feasts. These she decorates with her seals, and with appropriate sentiments written by members of the College of Inscriptions, and she gives them, as she gives her own, as presents during the feasts." Mr. Kuan and I became intimate friends and he painted three pictures which he presented to me for my collection.

One day another of the court painters came to call on me and during the conversation told me that he was painting a picture of the Empress Dowager as the goddess of mercy. Up to that time I had not been accustomed to think of her as a goddess of mercy, but he told me that she not infrequently copied the gospel of that goddess with her own pen, had her portrait painted in the form of the goddess which she used as a frontispiece, bound the whole up in yellow silk or satin and gave it as a present to her favourite officials. Of course I thought at once of my collection of paintings, and said:

"How much I should like to have a picture of the Empress Dowager as the goddess of mercy!"

"I'll paint one for you," said he.

All this conversation I soon discovered was only a diplomatic preliminary to what he had really come to tell me, which was that he had been eating fish in the palace a few days before, and had swallowed a fish-bone which had unfortunately stuck in his throat. He said that the court physicians had given him medicine to dissolve the fish-bone, but it had not been effective; he therefore wondered whether one of the physicians of my honourable country could remove it. I took him to my friend Dr. Hopkins who lived near by, and told him of the dilemma. The doctor set him down in front of the window, had him open his mouth, looked into his throat where he saw a small red spot, and with a pair of tweezers removed the offending fish-bone. And had it not been for this service on the part of Dr. Hopkins, I am afraid I should never have received the promised picture, for he hesitated as to the propriety of him, a court painter, doing pictures of Her Majesty for his friends. However as he often thereafter found it necessary to call Mrs. Headland to minister to his wife and children he came to the conclusion that it was proper for him to do so, and one day he brought me the picture.

The Empress Dowager not only loved to be painted as the goddess of mercy, but she clothed herself in the garments suitable to that deity, dressed certain ladies of the court as her attendants, with the head eunuch Li Lien-ying as their protector, ordered the court artists to paint appropriate foreground and background and then called young Yu, her court photographer, to snap his camera and allow Old Sol the great artist of the universe with a pencil of his light to paint her as she was.

One day while visiting a curio store on Liu Li Chang, the great book street of Peking, my attention was called by the dealer to four small paintings of peach blossoms in black and white, from the brush of the Empress Dowager. These pictures had been in the panels of the partition between two of the rooms of Her Majesty's apartments in the Summer Palace, and so I considered myself fortunate in securing them.

"You notice," said he, "that each section of these branches must be drawn by a single stroke of the brush. This is no easy task. She must be able to ink her brush in such a way as to give a clear outline of the limb, and at the same time to produce such shading as she may desire. Should her outline be defective, she dare not retouch it; should her shading be too heavy or insufficient, she cannot take from it and she may not add to it, as this would make it defective in the matter of calligraphy. A stroke once placed upon her paper, for they are done on paper, is there forever. This style of work is among the most difficult in Chinese art."

After securing these paintings, I showed them to a number of the best artists of the present day in Peking, and they all pronounced them good specimens of plum blossom work in monochrome, and they agreed with Lady Miao, that if the Empress Dowager had given her whole time to painting she would have passed into history as one of the great artists of the present dynasty.

One day when one of her court painters called I showed him these pictures. He agreed with all the others as to the quality of her brush work, but called my attention to a diamond shaped twining of the branches in one of them.

"That," said he, "is proof positive that it is her work."

"Why?" I inquired.

"Because a professional artist would never twine the twigs in that fashion."

"And why not?"

"They would not do it," he replied. "It is not artistic."

"And why do not her friends call her attention to this fact?" I inquired.

"Who would do it?" was his counter question.

 

VII The Empress Dowager--As a Woman

The first audience given by Her Imperial Majesty to the seven ladies of the Diplomatic Corps was sought and urged by the foreign ministers. After the troubles of 1900 and the return of the court, Her Majesty assumed a different attitude, and, of her own accord, issued many invitations for audiences, and these invitations were accepted. Then followed my tiffin to the court princesses and their tiffin in return. This opened the way for other princesses and wives of high officials to call, receive calls, to entertain and be entertained. In many cases arrangements were made through our mutual friend Mrs. Headland, an accepted physician and beloved friend of many of the higher Chinese families; and through her innate tact, broad thought, and great love for the good she may do, I have been able to come into personal touch with many of these Chinese ladies. --Mrs. E. H. Conger in "Letters from China.

VII THE EMPRESS DOWAGER-AS A WOMAN

Although the great Dowager has passed away, it may be interesting to know something about her life and character as a woman as those saw her who came in contact with her in public and private audiences. In order to appreciate how quick she was to adopt foreign customs, let me give in some detail the difference in her table decorations at the earlier and later audiences as they have been related by my wife.

"At the close of the formalities of our introduction to the Empress Dowager and the Emperor at one of the first audiences, we, with the ladies of the court, repaired to the banqueting hall. After we were seated, each with a princess beside her, the great Dowager appeared. We rose and remained standing while she took her place at the head of the table, with the Emperor standing at her left a little distance behind her. As she sat down she requested us to be seated, though the princesses and the Emperor all remained standing, it being improper for them to sit in the presence of Her Majesty. Long-robed eunuchs then appeared with an elaborate Chinese banquet, and the one who served the Empress Dowager always knelt when presenting her with a dish.

"After we had eaten for some little time, the doyen asked if the princesses might not be seated. The Empress Dowager first turned to the Emperor, and said, 'Your Majesty, please be seated'; then turning to the princesses and waving her hand, she told them to sit down. They sat down in a timid, rather uncomfortable way on the edge of the chair, but did not presume to touch any of the food.

"The conversation ran upon various topics, and, among others, the Boxer troubles. One of the ladies wore a badge. The Empress Dowager noticing it, asked what it meant.

" 'Your Majesty,' was the reply, 'this was presented to me by my Emperor because I was wounded in the Boxer insurrection.'

"The Empress Dowager took the hands of this lady in both her own, and as the tears stood in her eyes, she said:

" 'I deeply regret all that occurred during those troublous times. The Boxers for a time overpowered the government, and even brought their guns in and placed them on the walls of the palace. Such a thing shall never occur again.'

"The table was covered with brilliantly coloured oilcloth, and was without tablecloth or napkins properly so called, but we used as napkins square, coloured bits of calico about the size of a large bandana handkerchief. There were no flowers, the table decorations consisting of large stands of cakes and fruit. I speak of this because it was all changed at future audiences, when the table was spread with snow-white cloths, and smiled with its load of most gorgeous flowers. Especially was this true after the luncheons given to the princesses and ladies of the court by Mrs. Conger at the American legation, showing that the eyes of these ladies were open to receive whatever suggestions might come to them even in so small a matter as the spreading and decoration of a table. The banquets thereafter were made up of alternating courses of Chinese and foreign food.

"With but one exception, the Empress Dowager thereafter never appeared at table with her guests. But at the close of the formal audiences, after descending from the throne, and speaking to those whom she had formerly met, she requested her guests to enter the banquet hall and enjoy the feast with the princesses, saying that the customs of her country forbade their being seated or partaking of food if she were present. After the banquet, however, the Empress Dowager always appeared and conversed cordially with her guests.

"Her failure to appear at table may have been influenced by the following incident: One of the leading lady guests, anxious, no doubt, to obtain a unique curio, requested the Empress Dowager to present her with the bowl from which Her Majesty was eating--a bowl which was different from those used by her guests, as the dishes from which her food was served were never the same as those used by others at the table!

"After an instant's hesitation she turned to a eunuch and said:

" 'We cannot give her one bowl [the Chinese custom being always to give things in pairs]; go and prepare her two.'

"Then, turning to her guests, she continued apologetically:

" 'I should be glad to give bowls to each of you, but the Foreign Office has requested me not to give presents at this audience.' It had been her custom to give each of her guests some small gift with her own hands and afterwards to send presents by her eunuchs to their homes.

"On another occasion the lady referred to above took an ornament from a cabinet and was carrying it away when the person in charge of these things requested that it be restored, saying that she was responsible for everything in the room and would be punished if anything were missing.

"The above incidents do not stand alone. It was not uncommon for some of the Continental guests, in the presence of the court ladies, to make uncomplimentary remarks about the food, which was Chinese, and often not very palatable to the foreigner. These remarks, of course, were not supposed to be understood, though the Empress Dowager always had her own interpreter at table. One often felt that some of these ladies, in their efforts to see all and get all, forgot what was due their own country as well as their imperial hostess.

"One can understand the enormity of such an offense in a court the etiquette of which is so exacting that none of her own subjects ever dared appear in her presence until they had been properly instructed in court etiquette in the 'Board of Rites,' a course of instruction which may extend over a period of from a week to six months. These breaches of politeness on the part of these foreign ladies may have been overlooked by Her Majesty and the princesses, but, if so, it was on the old belief that all outside of China were barbarians.

"All the ladies who attended these audiences, however, were not of this character. There were those who realized the importance of those occasions in the opening up of China, and were scrupulous in their efforts to conform to the most exacting customs of the court. And who can doubt that the warm friendship which the Empress Dowager conceived for Mrs. Conger, the wife of our American minister, who did more than any other person ever did, or ever can do, towards the opening up of the Chinese court to the people of the West, was because of her appreciation of the fact that Mrs. Conger was anxious to show the Empress Dowager the honour due to her position.

"It was in her private audiences that this great woman's tact, womanliness, fascination and charm as a hostess appeared. Taking her guest by the hand, she would ask in the most solicitous way whether we were not tired with our journey to the palace; she would deplore the heat in summer or the cold in winter; she would express her anxiety lest the refreshments might not have been to our taste; she would tell us in the sincerest accents that it was a propitious fate that had made our paths meet; and she would charm each of her guests, even though they had been formerly prejudiced against her, with little separate attentions, which exhibited her complete power as a hostess.

"When opportunity offered, she was always anxious to learn of foreign ways and institutions. On one occasion while in the theatre, she called me to her side, and, giving me a chair, inquired at length into the system of female education in America.

" 'I have heard,' she said, 'that in your honourable country all the girls are taught to read.'

" 'Quite so, Your Majesty.'

" 'And are they taught the same branches of study as the boys?'

" 'In the public schools they are.'

" 'I wish very much that the girls in China might also be taught, but the people have great difficulty in educating their boys.'

"I then explained in a few words our public-school system, to which she replied:

" 'The taxes in China are so heavy at present that it would be impossible to add another expense such as this would be.'

"It was not long thereafter, however, before an edict was issued commending female education, and at the present time hundreds of girls' schools have been established by private persons both in Peking and throughout the empire.

"On another occasion, while the ladies were having refreshments, the Empress Dowager requested me to come to her private apartments, and while we two were alone together, with only a eunuch standing by fanning with a large peacock-feather fan, she asked me to tell her about the church. It was apparent from the beginning of her conversation that she made no distinction between Roman Catholics and Protestants, calling them all the Chiao. I explained to her that the object of the church was the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of the people, making them both better sons and better subjects.

"Few women are more superstitious than the Empress Dowager. Her whole life was influenced by her belief in fate, charms, good and evil spirits, gods and demons.

"When it was first proposed that she have her portrait painted for the St. Louis Exposition, she was dumfounded. After a long conversation, however, in which Mrs. Conger explained that portraits of many of the rulers of Europe would be there, including a portrait of Queen Victoria, and that such a painting would in a way counteract the false pictures of her that had gone abroad, she said that she would consult with Prince Ching about the matter. This looked very much as though it had been tabled. Not long thereafter, however, she sent word to Mrs. Conger, asking that Miss Carl be invited to come to Peking and paint her portrait.

"We all know how this portrait had to be begun on an auspicious day; how a railroad had to be built to the Foreign Office rather than have the portrait carried out on men's shoulders, as though she were dead; how she celebrated her seventieth birthday when she was sixty-nine, to defeat the gods and prevent their bringing such a calamity during the celebration as had occurred when she was sixty, when the Japanese war disturbed her festivities. On her clothes she wore the ideographs for 'Long Life and 'Happiness,' and most of the presents she gave were emblematic of some good fortune. Her palace was decorated with great plates of apples, which by a play on words mean 'Peace,' and with plates of peaches, which mean 'Longevity.' On her person she wore charms, one of which she took from her neck and placed on the neck of Mrs. Conger when she was about to leave China, saying that she hoped it might protect her during her journey across the ocean, as it had protected herself during her wanderings in 1900, and she would not allow any one to appear in her presence who had any semblance of mourning about her clothing.

"It is a well-known fact that no Manchu woman ever binds her feet, and the Empress Dowager was as much opposed to foot-binding as any other living woman. Nevertheless, she would not allow a subject to presume to suggest to her ways in which she should interfere in the social customs of the Chinese, as one of her subjects did. This lady was the wife of a Chinese minister to a foreign country, and had adopted both for herself and her daughters the most ultra style of European dress. She one day said to Her Majesty, 'The bound feet of the Chinese woman make us the laughing-stock of the world.'

" 'I have heard,' said the Empress Dowager, 'that the foreigners have a custom which is not above reproach, and now since there are no outsiders here, I should like to see what the foreign ladies use in binding their waist.'

"The lady was very stout, and had the appearance of an hour-glass, and turning to her daughter, a tall and slender maiden, she said:

" 'Daughter, you show Her Majesty.'

"The young lady demurred until finally the Empress Dowager said:

" 'Do you not realize that a request coming from me is the same as a command?'

"After having had her curiosity satisfied, she sent for the Grand Secretary and ordered that proper Manchu outfits be secured for the lady's daughters, saying:

" 'It is truly pathetic what foreign women have to endure. They are bound up with steel bars until they can scarcely breathe. Pitiable! Pitiable!'

"The following day this young lady did not appear at court, and the Empress Dowager asked her mother the reason of her absence.

" 'She is ill to-day,' the mother replied.

" 'I am not surprised,' replied Her Majesty, 'for it must require some time after the bandages have been removed before she can again compress herself into the same proportions,' indicating that the Empress Dowager supposed that foreign women slept with their waists bound, just as the Chinese women do with their feet."

The first winter I spent in China, twenty years ago, was one of great excitement in Peking. The time of the regency of the Empress Dowager for the boy-emperor had ended. I have explained how a prince is not allowed to marry a princess because she is his relative, or even a commoner his cousin for the same reason. That is the rule. But rules were made to be broken, and when the time came for Kuang Hsu's betrothal the Empress Dowager decided to marry this son of her sister to the daughter of her brother. It mattered not that the young man was opposed to the match and wanted another for his wife. The Empress Dowager had set her heart upon this union, and she would not allow her plans to be frustrated, so an edict was issued that all people should remain within their homes on a certain night, for the bride was to be taken in her red chair from her father's home to the palace. So that in this as in all other things her will was law for all those about her.

She was a bit below the average height, but she wore shoes, in the centre of whose soles there were--heels, shall we call them?--six inches high. These, together with her Manchu garments, which hang from the shoulders, gave her a tall and stately appearance and made her seem, as she was, every inch an empress. Her figure was perfect, her carriage quick and graceful, and she lacked nothing physically to make her a splendid type of womanhood and ruler. Her features were more vivacious and pleasing than they were really beautiful; her complexion was of an olive tint, and her face illumined by orbs of jet half hidden by dark lashes, behind which lurked the smiles of favour or the lightning flashes of anger.

When seated upon the throne she was majesty itself, but the moment she stepped down from the august seat, and took ones hand in both of hers, saying with the most amiable of smiles: "What a kind fate it is that has allowed you to come and see me again. I hope you are not over-weary with the long journey," one felt that she was, above all, a woman, a companion, a friend--yet for all that the mistress of every situation, whether diplomatic, business, or social.

I wish her mental characteristics could be described as completely as Japanese and other photographers have given us pictures of her person. But perhaps if this were possible she would seem less interesting. And it may be that in the relation of these few incidents of her career there may have been revealed something of the patriotism, the statesmanship, the imperious will, and the ambitions that brought about the reeestablishment and the continuation of the dynasty of her people. We have seen how the enemies of her country fell before her sword. Dangerous statesmen fell before her pen, and if they were fortunate enough to rise again with all their honour it was to be divested of all their former power. Every obstacle in her path was overcome either by diplomacy or by force.

The Empress Dowager has no double in Chinese history, if indeed in the history of the world. She not only guided the ship of state during the last half century, but she guided it well, and put into operation all the greatest reforms that have ever been thought of by Chinese statesmen. Compared with her own people, she stands head and shoulders above any other woman of the Mongol race. And what shall we say of her compared with the great women of other races? In strength of character and ability she will certainly not suffer in any comparison that can be made. We cannot, therefore, help admiring that young girl, who formerly ran errands for her mother who, being made the concubine of an emperor, became the mother of an emperor, the wife of an emperor, the maker of an emperor, the dethroner of an emperor, and the ruler of China for nearly half a century--all this in a land where woman has no standing or power. Is it too much to say that she was the greatest woman of the last half century?

 

VIII Kuang Hsu--His Self-Development

The Emperor Kuang Hsu is slight and delicate, almost childish in appearance, of pale olive complexion, and with great, melancholy eyes. There is a gentleness in his expression that speaks rather of dreaming than of the power to turn dreams into acts. It is strange to find a personality so etherial among the descendants of the Mongol hordes; yet the Emperor Kuaug Hsu might sit as a model for some Oriental saint on the threshold of the highest beatitude. --Charles Johnston in "The Crisis in China."

VIII KUANG HSU--HIS SELF-DEVELOPMENT

On the night that the son of the Empress Dowager "ascended upon the dragon to be a guest on high," two sedan chairs were borne out of the west gate of the Forbidden City, through the Imperial City, and into the western part of the Tartar City, in one of which sat the senior Empress and in the other the Empress-mother. The streets were dimly lighted, but the chairs, each carried by four bearers, were preceded and followed by outriders bearing large silk lanterns in which were tallow-candles, while a heavy cart with relays of bearers brought up the rear. The errand upon which they were bent was an important one--the making of an emperor--for by the death of Tung Chih, the throne, for the first time in the history of the dynasty, was left without an heir. Their destination was the home of the Seventh Prince, the younger brother of their husband, to whom as we have already said the Empress Dowager had succeeded in marrying her younger sister, who was at that time the happy mother of two sons.

She took the elder of these, a not very sturdy boy of three years and more, from his comfortable bed to make him emperor, and one can imagine they hear him whining with a half-sleepy yawn: "I don't want to be emperor. I want to sleep." But she bundled little Tsai Tien up in comfortable wraps, took him out of a happy home, from a loving father and mother, and a jolly little baby brother,--out of a big beautiful world, where he would have freedom to go and come at will, toys to play with, children to contend with him in games, and everything in a home of wealth that is dear to the heart of a child. And for what? She folded him in her arms, adopted him as her own son, and carried him into the Forbidden--and no doubt to him forbidding--City, where his world was one mile square, without freedom, without another child within its great bare walls, where he was the one lone, solitary man among thousands of eunuchs and women. The next morning when the imperial clan assembled to condole with her on the death of her son, she bore little Tsai Tien into their midst declaring: "Here is your emperor."

At that time there were situated on Legation Street, in Peking, two foreign stores that had been opened without the consent of the Chinese government, for in those days the capital had not been opened to foreign trade. As the stores were small, and in such close proximity to the various legations, the most of whose supplies they furnished, they seem to have been too unimportant to attract official attention, though they were destined to have a mighty influence on the future of China. One of them was kept by a Dane, who sold foreign toys, notions, dry-goods and groceries such as might please the Chinese or be of use to the scanty European population of the great capital. By chance some of the eunuchs from the imperial palace, wandering about the city in search of something to please little Tsai Tien, dropped into this store on Legation Street and bought some of these foreign toys for his infant Majesty.

They had already ransacked the city for Chinese toys. They had gone to every fair, visited every toy-shop, called upon every private dealer, and paid high prices for samples of their best work made especially for the royal child. There were crowing cocks and cackling hens; barking dogs and crying infants; music balls and music carts; horns, drums, diabolos and tops; there were gingham dogs and calico cats; camels, elephants and fierce tigers; and a thousand other toys, if only he had had other children to share them with him. But none of them pleased him. They lacked that subtile something which was necessary to minister to the peculiar genius of the child.

Among the foreign toys there were some in which there was concealed a secret spring which seemed to impart life to the otherwise dead plaything. Wind them up and they would move of their own energy. This was what the boy needed,--something to appeal to that machine-loving disposition which nature had given him, and Budge and Toddy were never more curious to know "what made the wheels go round" than was little Tsai Tien. He played with them as toys until overcome by curiosity, when, like many another child, he tore them apart and discovered the secret spring. This was as much of a revelation to the eunuchs as to the child, and they went and bought other toys of a more curious pattern, and a more intricate design, and it was not long until, at the instigation of the enterprising Dane, the toy-shops of Europe were manufacturing playthings specially designed to please the almond-eyed baby Emperor in the yellow-tiled palace in Peking.

As the child grew the business of the Dane shopkeeper increased. His stock became larger and more varied, and Tsai Tien continued to be a profitable customer. There were music boxes and music carts--real music carts, not like those from the Chinese shops,--trains of cars, wheeled boats, striking clocks and Swiss watches which, when the stem was pulled, would strike the hour or half or quarter, and all these were bought in turn by the eunuchs and taken into the palace. As the Emperor grew to boyhood the Danish shopkeeper supplied toys suitable to his years from his inexhaustible shelves, until all the most intricate and wonderful toys of Europe, suitable for a boy, had passed through the hands of Kuang Hsu,--"continued brilliancy," as his name implied--and he seemed to be making good the meaning of his name.

We would not lead any one to believe that Kuang Hsu was an ideal child. He was not. If we may credit the reports that came from the palace in those days, he had a temper of his own. If he were denied anything he wanted, he would lie down on his baby back on the dirty ground and kick and scream and literally "raise the dust" until he got it. My wife tells me that not infrequently when she called at the Chinese homes, and they set before her a dish of which she was especially fond, and she had eaten of it as much as she thought she ought, the ladies would ask in a good-natured way in reply to some of her remarks about her voracious appetite, "Shall we get down and knock our heads on the floor, and beg you not to eat too much, and make yourself sick, like the eunuchs do to the Emperor?" There is nothing to wonder at that Kuang Hsu, without parental restraint, and fawned upon by cringing eunuchs and serving maids, should have been a spoiled child; the wonder is that he was not worse than he was.

One day in 1901 while the court was absent at Hsian, and the front gate of the Forbidden City was guarded by our "boys in blue," I obtained a pass and visited the imperial palace. The apartments of the Emperor consisted of a series of one-story Chinese buildings, with paper windows around a large central pane of glass, tile roof and brick floor. The east part of the building appeared to be the living-room, about twenty by twenty-five feet. The window on the south side extended the entire length of the room, and was filled with clocks from end to end. There were clocks of every description from the finest French cloisonne to the most intricate cuckoo clocks from which a bird hopped forth to announce the hour, and each ticking its own time regardless of every other. Tables were placed in various parts of the room, on each of which were one, two or three clocks. Swiss watches of the most curious and unique designs hung about the walls. Two sofas sat back to back in the centre of the room, and a beautiful little gilt desk on which was the most wonderful of all his clocks, with several large foreign chairs upholstered in plush and velvet, completed the furniture. I sat down in one of these chairs to rest, for it was a hot summer day, and immediately there proceeded from beneath me sweet strains of music from a box concealed beneath the cushion. It was not only a surprise, it was soothing and restful; and I was prepared to see an electric fan pop out of somewhere and fan me to sleep. It was really an Oriental fairy tale of an apartment.

As Kuang Hsu grew to boyhood he heard that out in this great wonderful world, which he had never seen except with the eyes of a child, there was a method of sending messages to distant cities and provinces with the rapidity of a flash of lightning. For centuries he and his ancestors had been sending their edicts, and their Peking Gazette or court newspaper--the oldest journal in the world--by runner, or relays of post horses, and the possibility of sending them by a lightning flash appealed to him. He believed in doing things, and, as we shall see later, he wanted to do them as rapidly as they could be done. He therefore ordered that a telegraph outfit be secured for him, which he "played with" as he had done with his most ingenious toys, and the telegraph was soon established for court use throughout the empire.

One day a number of officials came to us at the Peking University and in the course of a conversation they said:

"The Emperor has heard that the foreigners have invented a talk box. Is that true?"

"Quite true," we replied, "and as we have one in the physical laboratory of the college we will let you see it."

We had one of the old Edison phonographs which worked with a pedal, and looked very much like a sewing-machine, and we took them to the laboratory, allowed one of them to talk into it, and then set the machine to repeating what had been told it. The officials were delighted and it was not long until they again appeared and insisted on buying it as a present for the Emperor, for in this way better than any other they might hope to obtain official recognition and position.

The Emperor then heard that the foreigners had invented a "fire-wheel cart," but whether he had ever been informed that they had built a small railroad at Wu-Sung near Shanghai, and that the Chinese had bought it, and then torn it up and thrown it into the river we cannot say. There are many things the officials and people do which never reach the imperial ears. However that may be, when Kuang Hsu heard of the railroad and the carts that were run by fire, he wanted one, and he would not be satisfied until they had built a narrow gauge railroad along the west shore of the lotus lake in the Forbidden City, and the factories of Europe had made two small cars and an engine on which he could take the court ladies for a ride on this unusual merry-go-round. The road and the cars and the engine were still there when I visited the Forbidden City in 1901, but they were carried away to Europe by some of the allies as precious bits of loot, before the court returned.

Not long after he had heard of the railroads, he was told that the foreigners also had "fire-wheel boats." Of course he wanted some, and as I crossed the beautiful marble bridge that spans the lotus lake, I saw anchored near by three small steam launches which had evidently been used a good deal. I saw similar launches in the lake at the Summer Palace, and was told that in the play days of his boyhood, Kuang Hsu would have these launches hitched to the imperial barges and take the ladies of the court for pleasure trips about the lake in the cool of the summer evenings, as the Empress Dowager did her foreign visitors in later times.

The Emperor in those days was on the lookout for everything foreign that was of a mechanical nature. Indeed every invention interested him. In this respect he was diametrically opposite to the genius of the whole Chinese people. Their faces had ever been turned backward, and their highest hopes were that they might approximate the golden ages of the past, and be equal in virtue to their ancestors. This feeling was so strong that a hundred years before he mounted the throne, his forefather, Chien Lung, when he had completed his cycle of sixty years as a ruler, vacated in favour of his son lest he should reign longer than his grandfather. Kuang Hsu was therefore the first occupant of the dragon throne whose face was turned to the future, and whose chief aim was to possess and to master every method that had enabled the peoples of the West to humiliate his people.

When he heard that the foreigners had a method of talking to a distance of ten, twenty, fifty or five hundred miles, he did not say like the old farmer is reported to have said,--"It caint be trew, because my son John kin holler as loud as any man in all this country, an' he caint be heerd mor'n two miles." Kuang Hsu believed it, and at once ordered that a telephone be secured for him.

In 1894 the Christian women of China decided to present a New Testament to the Empress Dowager on her sixtieth birthday which occurred the following year. New type was prepared, the finest foreign paper secured, and the book was made after the best style of the printer's art, with gilt borders, gilt edges, and bound in silver of an embossed bamboo pattern and encased in a silver box. It was then enclosed in a red plush box,--red being the colour indicating happiness, --which was in turn encased in a beautifully carved teak-wood box, and this was enclosed in an ordinary box and taken by the English and American ministers to the Foreign Office to be sent in to Her Majesty

The next day the Emperor sent to the American Bible Society for copies of the Old and New Testaments, such as were being sold to his people. A few days thereafter a Chinese friend--a horticulturist and gardener who went daily to the palace with flowers and vegetables--came to me in confidence as though bearing an important secret, and said:

"Something of unusual importance is taking place in the palace."

"Indeed?" said I; "what makes you think so?"

"Heretofore when I have gone into the palace," said he, "the eunuchs have treated me with indifference. Yesterday they sat down and talked in a most familiar and friendly way, asking me all about Christianity. I told them what I could and they continued their conversation until long after noon. I finally became so hungry that I arose to come home. They urged me to stay, bringing in a feast, and inviting me to dine with them, and they kept me there till evening. One of them told me that the Emperor is studying the Gospel of Luke."

"How does he know that?" I inquired.

"That is what I asked him," he answered, "and he told me that he is one of the Emperor's private servants, and that His Majesty has a part of the Gospel copied in large characters on a sheet of paper each day, which he spreads out on the table before him, and this eunuch, standing behind his chair, can read what he is studying."

On further inquiry I discovered that there was no other way that the eunuch could have learned about the Gospel, except in the way indicated. This man was invited to dine with the eunuchs day after day until he had told them all he knew about Christianity, after which they requested him to bring in the pastor of the church of which he was a member, and who was one of my former pupils, to dine with them and tell them more about the Gospel. The pastor hesitated to accept the invitation, but as it was repeated day after day, he finally accompanied the horticulturist.

When offered wine at dinner the pastor refused it, at which the eunuch remarked: "Oh, yes, I have heard that you Christians do not drink wine," and like a polite host, the wine was put aside and none was drunk at the dinner. During the afternoon they took their guests to visit some of the imperial buildings, advanced the sum of three hundred dollars to the horticulturist to enlarge his plant, and gave various presents to the pastor.

It must not be inferred from this that the Emperor was becoming a Christian. Very far from it, though the interest he took in the Christian doctrine set the people to studying about it, not only in Peking but throughout many of the provinces, as was indicated at the time by the number of Christian books sold. As early as 1891 he issued a strong edict ordering the protection of the missionaries in which he made the following statement: "The religions of the West have for their object the inculcation of virtue, and, though our people become converted, they continue to be Chinese subjects. There is no reason why there should not be harmony between the people and the adherents of foreign religions." The Chinese reported that he sometimes examined the eunuchs, lining them up in classes and catechising them from the books read.

One day three of the eunuchs called on me with this same horticulturist, for the purpose no doubt of seeing a foreigner, and to get a glimpse of the home in which he lived. One of them was younger than the other two and above the average intelligence of his class. A few days later the horticulturist told me a story which illustrates a phase of the Emperor's character which we have already hinted at--his impulsive nature and ungovernable temper. He had ordered a number of the eunuchs to appear before him, all of whom except this young man were unable to come, because engaged in other duties. When the eunuch got down on his hands and knees to kotow or knock his head to His Majesty, the latter kicked him in the mouth, cutting his lip and otherwise injuring him, and my informant added:

"What kind of a man is that to govern a country, a man who punishes those who obey his orders?" Indeed there was a good deal of feeling among the Chinese at that time that the Empress Dowager ought to punish the Emperor as a good mother does a bad child, though in the light of all the other things he did, he was to be pitied more than blamed for a disposition thus inherited and developed.

It was about this time he began the study of English. He ordered that two teachers be appointed, and contrary to all former customs he allowed them to sit rather than kneel while they taught him. At the time they were selected I was exchanging lessons in English for Chinese with the grandson of one of these teachers, and learned a good deal about the progress the young man was making. He was in such a hurry to begin that he could not wait to send to England or America for books, and so the officials visited the various schools and missions in search of proper primers for a beginner. When they visited us we made a thorough search and finally Dr. Marcus L. Taft discovered an attractively illustrated primer which he had taken to China with him for his little daughter Frances, and this was sent to Kuang Hsu.

One day a eunuch called on me saying that the Emperor had learned that the various institutions of learning, educational associations, tract and other societies had published a number of books in Chinese which they had translated from the European languages. I was at that time the custodian of two or three of these societies and had a great variety of Chinese books in my possession. I therefore sent him copies of our astronomy, geology, zoology, physiology and various other scientific books which I was at that time teaching in the university.

The next day he called again, accompanied by a coolie who brought me a present of a ham cooked at the imperial kitchen, together with boxes of fruit and cakes, which, not being a man of large appetite, I thanked him for, tipped the coolie, and after he had gone, turned them over to our servants, who assured me that imperial meat was very palatable. Day after day for six weeks this eunuch visited me, and would never leave until I had found some new book for His Majesty. They might be literary, scientific or religious works, and he made no distinction between the books of any sect or society, institution or body, but with an equal zeal he sought them all. I was sometimes reduced to a sheet tract, and finally I was forced to take my wife's Chinese medical books out of her private library and send them in to the Emperor. I learned that other eunuchs were visiting other persons in charge of other books, and that at this time Kuang Hsu bought every book that had been translated from any European language and published in the Chinese.

One day the eunuch saw my wife's bicycle standing on the veranda and said:

"What kind of a cart is that?"

"That is a self-moving cart," I answered.

"How do you ride it?" he inquired.

I took the bicycle off the veranda, rode about the court a time or two, while he gazed at me with open mouth, and when I stopped he ejaculated:

"That's queer; why doesn't it fall down?"

"When a thing's moving," I answered, "it can't fall down," which might apply to other things than bicycles.

The next day when he called he said:

"The Emperor would like that bicycle," and my wife allowed him to take it in to Kuang Hsu, and it was not long thereafter until it was reported that the Emperor had been trying to ride the bicycle, that his queue had become entangled in the rear wheel, and that he had had a not very royal tumble, and had given it up,--as many another one has done.

 

IX Kuang Hsu--As Emperor and Reformer

In 1891 the present Emperor Kuang Hsu issued a very strong edict commanding good treatment of the missionaries. He therein made the following statement: "The religions of the West have for their object the inculcation of virtue, and, though our people become converted, they continue to be Chinese subjects. There is no reason why there should not be harmony between the people and the adherents of foreign religions." --Hon. Charles Denby in "China and Her People."

IX KUANG HSU--AS EMPEROR AND REFORMER

AS a man, there are few characters in Chinese history that are more interesting than Kuang Hsu. He had all the caprices of genius with their corresponding weakness and strength. He could wield a pen with the vigour of a Caesar, threaten his greatest viceroys, dismiss his leading conservative officials, introduce the most sweeping and far-reaching reforms that have ever been thought of by the Chinese people, and then run from a woman as though the very devil was after him.

He has been variously rated as a genius, an imbecile and a fool. Let us grant that he was not brilliant. Let us rate him as an imbecile, and then let us try to account for his having brought into the palace every ingenious toy and every wonderful and useful invention and discovery of the past twenty or thirty years with the exception of the X-rays and liquid air. Let us try to explain why it was that an imbecile would purchase every book that had been printed in the Chinese language, concerning foreign subjects of learning, up to the time when he was dethroned. Let us tell why it was that an imbecile would study all those foreign books without help, without an assistant, without a teacher, for three years, from the time he bought them in 1895 till 1898, before he began issuing the most remarkable series of edicts that have ever come from the pen of an Oriental monarch in the same length of time. And let us explain how it was that an imbecile could embody in his edicts of two or three months all the important principles that were necessary to launch the great reforms of the past ten years.

I doubt if any Chinese monarch has ever had a more far-reaching influence over the minds of the young men of the empire than Kuang Hsu had from 1895 till 1898. The preparation for this influence had been going on for twenty or thirty years previously in the educational institutions established by the missions and the government. From these schools there had gone out a great number of young men who had taken positions in all departments of business, and many of the state, and revealed to the officials as well as to many of the people the power of foreign education. An imperial college had been established by the customs service for the special education of young men for diplomatic and other positions, from which there had gone out young men who were the representatives of the government as consuls or ministers in the various countries of Europe and America.

The fever for reading the same books that Kuang Hsu had read was so great as to tax to the utmost the presses of the port cities to supply the demand, and the leaders of some of the publication societies feared that a condition had arisen for which they were unprepared. Books written by such men as Drs. Allen, Mateer, Martin, Williams and Legge were brought out in pirated photographic reproductions by the bookshops of Shanghai and sold for one-tenth the cost of the original work. Authors, to protect themselves, compelled the pirates to deliver over the stereotype plates they had made on penalty of being brought before the officials in litigation if they refused. But during the three years the Emperor had been studying these foreign books, hundreds of thousands of young scholars all over the empire had been doing the same, preparing themselves for whatever emergency the studies of the young Emperor might bring about.

One day during the early spring a young Chinese reformer came to me to get a list of the best newspapers and periodicals published in both England and America. I inquired the reason for this strange move, and he said:

"The young Chinese reformers in Peking have organized a Reform Club. Some of them read and speak English, others French, others German and still others Russian, and we are providing ourselves with all the leading periodicals of these various countries that we may read and study them. We have rented a building, prepared rooms, and propose to have a club where we can assemble whenever we have leisure, for conversation, discussion, reading, lectures or whatever will best contribute to the ends we have in view."

"And what are those ends?" I inquired.

"The bringing about of a new regime in China," he answered. "Our recent defeat by the Japanese has shown us that unless some radical changes are made we must take a second place among the peoples of the Orient."

"This is a new move in Peking, is it not?"

"New in Peking," he answered, "but not new in the empire. Reform clubs are being organized in all the great cities and capitals. In Hsian, books have been purchased by all classes from the governor of the province down to the humblest scholar, and the aristocracy have organized classes, and are inviting the foreigners to lecture to them. Every one, except a few of the oldest conservative scholars, are discarding their Confucian theories and reconstructing their ideas in view of present day problems. There is an intellectual fermentation now going on from which a new China is certain to be evolved, and we propose to be ready for it when it comes."

The leader of this reform party was Kang Yu-wei, a young Cantonese, who had made a thorough study of the reforms of Peter the Great in Russia, and the more recent reforms in Japan, the history of which he had prepared in two volumes which he sent to the Emperor. He had made a reputation for himself in his native place as a "Modern Sage and Reformer," was hailed as a "young Confucius," was appointed a third-class secretary in the Board of Works, and as the Emperor and he had been studying on the same lines, Kang, through the influence of the brother of the chief concubine, was introduced to His Majesty. He had a three hours' conference with the Foreign Office, in which he urged that China should imitate Japan, and that the old conservative ministers and viceroys should be replaced by young men imbued with Western ideas, who might confer with the Emperor daily in regard to all kinds of reform measures.

This interview was reported to Kuang Hsu by Prince Kung and Jung Lu, who both being old, and one of them the greatest of the conservatives, could hardly be expected to approve of his theories. Kang, however, was asked to embody his suggestions in a memorial, was later given an audience with the Emperor, and finally called into the palace to assist him in the reforms he had already undertaken. And if Kang Yu-wei had been as great a statesman as he was reformer, Kuang Hsu might never have been deposed.

The crisis came during the summer of 1898. I had taken my family to the seashore to spend our summer vacation. A young Chinese scholar--a Hanlin--who had been studying in the university for some years, and with whom I was translating a work on psychology, had gone with me. He took the Peking Gazette, which he read daily, and commented upon with more or less interest, until June 23d, when an edict was issued abolishing the literary essay of the old regime as a part of the government examination, and substituting therefor various branches of the new learning. "We have been compelled to issue this decree," said the Emperor, "because our examinations have reached the lowest ebb, and we see no remedy for these matters except to change entirely the old methods for a new course of competition."

"What do you think of that?" I asked the Hanlin.

"The greatest step that has ever yet been taken," he replied.

This Hanlin was not a radical reformer, but one of a long line of officials who were deeply interested in the preservation of their country which had weathered the storms of so many centuries,--storms which had wrecked Assyria, Babylonia, Media, Egypt, Greece and Rome, while China, though growing but little, had still lived. He was one of those progressive statesmen who have always been found among a strong minority in the Middle Kingdom.

The Peking Gazette continued to come daily bringing with it the following twenty-seven decrees in a little more than twice that many days. I will give an epitome of the decrees that the reader at a glance may see what the Emperor undertook to do. Summarized they are as follows:

1. The establishment of a university at Peking.

2. The sending of imperial clansmen to foreign countries to study the forms and conditions of European and American government.

3. The encouragement of the arts, sciences and modern agriculture.

4. The Emperor expressed himself as willing to hear the objections of the conservatives to progress and reform.

5. Abolished the literary essay as a prominent part of the governmental examinations.

6. Censured those who attempted to delay the establishment of the Peking Imperial University.

7. Urged that the Lu-Han railway should be prosecuted with more vigour and expedition.

8. Advised the adoption of Western arms and drill for all the Tartar troops.

9. Ordered the establishment of agricultural schools in all the provinces to teach the farmers improved methods of agriculture.

10. Ordered the introduction of patent and copyright laws.

11. The Board of War and Foreign Office were ordered to report on the reform of the military examinations.

12. Special rewards were offered to inventors and authors.

13. The officials were ordered to encourage trade and assist merchants.

14. School boards were ordered established in every city in the empire.

15. Bureaus of Mines and Railroads were established.

16. Journalists were encouraged to write on all political subjects.

17. Naval academies and training-ships were ordered.

18. The ministers and provincial authorities were called upon to assist--nay, were begged to make some effort to understand what he was trying to do and help him in his efforts at reform.

19. Schools were ordered in connection with all the Chinese legations in foreign countries for the benefit of the children of Chinese in those places.

20. Commercial bureaus were ordered in Shanghai for the encouragement of trade.

21. Six useless Boards in Peking were abolished.

22. The right to memorialize the throne in sealed memorials was granted to all who desired to do so.

23. Two presidents and four vice-presidents of the Board of Rites were dismissed for disobeying the Emperor's orders that memorials should be allowed to come to him unopened.

24. The governorships of Hupeh, Kuangtung, and Yunnan were abolished as being a useless expense to the country.

25. Schools of instruction in the preparation of tea and silk were ordered established.

26. The slow courier posts were abolished in favour of the Imperial Customs Post.

27. A system of budgets as in Western countries was approved.

I have given these decrees in this epitomized form so that all those who are interested in the character of this reform movement in China may understand something of the influence the young Emperor's study had had upon him. Grant that they followed one another in too close proximity, yet still it must be admitted by every careful student of them, that there is not one that would not have been of the greatest possible benefit to the country if they had been put into operation. If the Emperor had been allowed to proceed, making them all as effective as he did the Imperial University, and if the ministers and provincial authorities had responded to his call, and had made "some effort to understand what he was trying to do," China might have by this time been close upon the heels of Japan in the adoption of Western ideas.

As the edicts continued to come out in such quick succession my Hanlin friend became alarmed. He came to me one day after the Emperor had censured the officials for trying to delay the establishment of the Imperial University and said:

"I must return to Peking."

"Why return so soon?" I inquired.

"There is going to be trouble if the Emperor continues his reform at this rate of speed," he answered.

It was when the Emperor had issued the sixth of his twenty-seven decrees that this young Chinese statesman made this observation. If his most intimate advisers had had the perspicuity to have foreseen the final outcome of such precipitance might they not have advised the Emperor to have proceeded more deliberately? When one remembers how China had been worsted by Japan, how all her prestige was swept away, how, from having been the parent of the Oriental family of nations, a desirable friend or a dangerous enemy, she was stripped of all her glory, and left a helpless giant with neither strength nor power, one can easily understand the eagerness of this boy of twenty-seven to restore her to the pedestal from which she had been ruthlessly torn.

Another reason for his haste may be found in the seizure of his territory by the European powers. A few months before he began his reforms two German priests were murdered by an irresponsible mob in the province of Shantung. With this as an excuse Germany landed a battalion of marines at Kiaochou, a port of that province, which she took with fifty miles of the surrounding territory. As though this were not enough, she demanded the right to build all the railroads and open all the mines in the entire province, and compelled the Chinese to pay an indemnity to the families of the murdered priests and rebuild the church and houses the mob had destroyed. China appealed to Russia who had promised to protect her against all invaders. Instead of coming to her aid, however, Russia demanded a similar cession of Port Arthur, Talienwan and the surrounding territory which she had refused to allow Japan to retain two years before. Not to be outdone by the others, France demanded and received a similar strip of territory at Kuang-chou-wan; and England found that Wei-hai-wei would be indispensable as a kennel from which she could guard the Russian bear on the opposite shore, but why she should have found it necessary also to demand from China four hundred miles of land and water around Hongkong was no doubt difficult for Kuang Hsu to understand.

When the Empress Dowager turned over the reins of government to her nephew she did it very much as a father would place the reins in the hands of a child whom he was teaching to drive an important vehicle on a dangerous road --she sat behind him still holding the reins. Among the things reserved were that he should kotow to her once every five days whether she were in Peking or at the Summer Place, and she reserved such seals of office as made it necessary for all the highest officials to come and express their obligations to her at the same time they came to thank the Emperor. While Kuang Hsu may have been reconciled to the performance of these duties at eighteen, they became irksome at twenty-seven and he demanded and received full liberty in the affairs of state.

We have seen how he used his liberty,--not wisely, perhaps, as a reformer, and yet the reformation of China can never be written without giving the credit of its inception to Kuang Hsu. He was very different from Hsien Feng, the husband of the Empress Dowager, before whose death we are told "the whole administrative power was vested in the hands of a council of eight, whilst he himself spent his time in ways that were by no means consistent with those that ought to have characterized the ruler of a great and powerful nation." Whatever else may be said of Kuang Hsu, he cannot be accused of indolence, extravagance, or indifference to the welfare of his country or his people.

Appreciating the difficulty of securing an expression of opinion from those opposed to his views, and thus getting both sides of the question, in his fourth edict he requested the conservatives to send in their objections to his schemes for progress and reform, and then as if to get the broadest possible expression of opinion he adopted a Shanghai journal called Chinese Progress as the official organ of the government. But lest this be insufficient, in his twenty-second edict he gave the right to all officials to address the throne in sealed memorials.

There was at this time a third-class secretary of the Board of Rites named Wang Chao who sent in a memorial in which he advocated:

1. The abolition of the queue.

2. The changing of the Chinese style of dress to that of the West.

3. The adoption of Christianity as a state religion.

4. A prospective national parliament.

5. A journey to Japan by the Emperor and Empress Dowager.

The Board of Rites opened and read this memorial, and, astounded at its boldness, they summoned the offender before them, and ordered him to withdraw his paper. This he refused to do and the two presidents and four vice-presidents of the Board accompanied it with a counter memorial denouncing him to the Emperor as a man who was making narrow-minded and wild suggestions to His Majesty.

Partly because they had opened and read the memorial and partly because of their effort to prevent freedom of speech, Kuang Hsu issued another edict explaining why he had invited sealed memorials, and censuring them for explaining to him what was narrow-minded and wild, as if he lacked the intelligence to grasp that feature of the paper. He then turned them all over to the Board of Civil Office ordering that body to decide upon a suitable punishment for their offense, and assuring them that if they made it too mild, his righteous wrath would fall upon them. The latter decided that they be degraded three steps and removed to posts befitting their lowered rank, but the Emperor revised the sentence and dismissed them all from office, and this was the beginning of his downfall.

The Empress Dowager had been spending the hot season at the Summer Palace, and during the two months and more that the Emperor had been struggling with his reform measures, she gave no indication, either by word or deed, that she was opposed to anything that he had done. And I think that all her acts, from that time till the close of the Boxer insurrection, can be explained without placing her in opposition to his theories of progress and reform.

So long as the Emperor devoted himself to the creation of new offices he found little active opposition on the part of the conservatives, while the reformers did everything in their power to encourage him. The extent of the movement it is not easy to estimate. It opened up the intensely anti-foreign province of Hupeh, and transformed it into a section where railroads were to be built connecting the north with the south. It opened up the great mining province of Shansi and the lumber regions of Manchuria. It started railroads which are now lines of trade for the whole empire.

When he issued the fifth edict substituting Western science for the literary essay in the great examinations, letters and telegrams began to pour in upon us at the Peking University from all parts of the empire, asking us to reserve room for the senders in the school. Their tuition was enclosed in their letters, and among those who came were the grandson of the Emperor's tutor, graduates of various degrees, men of rank, and the sons of wealthy gentlemen who had not yet obtained degrees. Numerous requests came to our graduates to teach English in official families, one being employed to teach the grandson of Li Hung-chang, and another the sons of a relative of the royal family.

But when his reforms led the Emperor to dispense with useless offices, as in his twenty-first, twenty-fourth and twenty-sixth edicts, for the purpose of retrenchment, and to dismiss recalcitrant officials for disobedience to his commands, a howl arose which was heard throughout the empire. The six members of the Board of Rites dismissed in edict twenty-three, with certain sympathizers to give them face, went to the Empress Dowager at the Summer Palace, represented to her that the boy whom she had placed upon the throne was steering the ship of state to certain destruction, and begged that she would come and once more take the helm. She listened to them with the attention and deference for which she has always been famed, and then dismissed them without any intimation as to what her course would be.

When the Emperor heard what they were doing, he sent a courier post-haste to call Yuan Shih-kai for an interview at the palace. When Yuan came, he ordered him to return to Tien-tsin, dispose of his superior officer, the Governor-General Jung Lu, and bring the army corps of 12,500 troops of which he was in charge to Peking, surround the Summer Palace, preventing any one from going in or coming out, thus making the Empress Dowager a prisoner, and allowing him to go on with his work of reform.

It is just here that we see the difference in the statesmanship of the Empress Dowager and the Emperor. When she appointed these two officials, one a liberal in charge of the army, she placed the other, a conservative, as his superior officer, so that one could not move without the knowledge and consent of the other, thus forestalling just such an order as this. To obey this order of the boy Emperor, Yuan must commit two great crimes, murder and treason, the one on a superior officer, and the other against her who had appointed him to office and who had been the ruler of the country for thirty-seven years, either of which would have been sufficient to have execrated him not only in the eyes of his own people but of history and of the world. Nay more, had he obeyed this order, the conservatives would have raised the cry of rebellion, and an army ten times greater than he could have mustered, would have crushed Yuan and his little company of 12,500 men, on the plea that he was about to take the throne.

Yuan then did the only wise thing he could have done. He went to Jung Lu, without whose consent he had no right to move, showed him the order, and asked for his commands. Jung Lu told him to leave the order with him, and as soon as Yuan had departed he took the train for Peking, called on Prince Ching, and they two went to the Summer Palace and showed the order to Her Majesty, suggesting to her that it might be well for her to come into the city and give him a few lessons in government.

As the Empress Dowager had been behaving herself so circumspectly during all the summer months, allowing the Emperor to test himself as a ruler, one can scarcely blame her for not wanting to be bottled up in the Summer Palace when she had done nothing to deserve it. When therefore this second delegation of officials, consisting of the two highest in rank in the empire, came to request her to once more take charge of the government, she called her sedan chair and started for the capital. She went without an army, but was accompanied by those of her palace eunuchs on whom she could implicitly depend, and enough of them to overcome those of the Emperor in case there should be trouble. That force was necessary is evident from the fact that she condemned to death a number of his servants after she had taken the throne.

When the Emperor heard that she was coming he sent a messenger with letters urging Kang Yu-wei to flee, and to devise some means for saving the situation, while he attempted to find refuge for himself in the foreign legations. This however he failed to do, but was taken by the Empress Dowager, and his career as a ruler ended, and his life as a prisoner began.

 

X Kuang Hsu--As a Prisoner

Kuang Hsu deserves a place in history as the prize iconoclast. He sent a cold shiver down the spine of the literati by declaring that a man's fitness for office should not depend upon his ability to write a poem, or upon the elegance of his penmanship. This was too much. The literati argued that at the rate at which the Emperor was going, it might be expected that he would do away with chop-sticks and dispense with the queue. --Rounsevelle Wildman in "China's Open Door."

X KUANG HSU--AS A PRISONER

The year that Kuang Hsu ascended the throne a great calamity occurred in Peking. The Temple of Heaven--the greatest of the imperial temples, the one at which the Emperor announces his accession, confesses his sins, prays and gives thanks for an abundant harvest, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. When the Emperor worships here it is as the representative of the people, the high priest of the nation, and his prayers are offered for his country and not for himself. There are no idols in this temple, and his prayers go up to Shang-ti the Supreme Being "by whom kings reign and princes decree justice." When therefore instead of giving rain Heaven sent down a fiery bolt to destroy the temple at which the Son of Heaven prays, the people were struck with dismay.

The pale faces of the women, the apprehensive noddings of the men, and the hushed voices of our old Confucian teachers as they spoke of the matter, indicated the concern with which they viewed it. Here was a boy who had been placed upon the throne by a woman; he was the same generation as the Emperor who had preceded him, and hence could not worship him as his ancestor. It augured ill both for the Emperor and the empire, and so the boy Emperor began his reign in the midst of evil forebodings.

During the nine years that Kuang Hsu had nominal control of affairs a series of dire calamities befell the empire. Famines as the result of drought, floods from the overflow of "China's Sorrow," war with Japan, filching of territory by the European countries, while editorials appeared daily in the English papers of the port cities to the effect that China was to be divided up among the powers. Then too Kuang Hsu was childless and there was no hope of his giving an heir to the throne.

Times and seasons have their meanings for the Chinese. Anything inauspicious happening on New Year's day is indicative of calamity. Mr. Chen, a friend of mine, had become a Christian contrary to his mother's wishes. When his first child was born it was a girl, born on New Year's day. His mother shook her head, looked distressed, and said that nothing but calamity would come to his home. His second child was a boy, but the old woman shook her head again and sighed saying that it would take more than one boy to avert the calamity of ones first baby being a girl born on New Year's day, and it was not until he had five boys in succession that she was finally convinced.

There was an eclipse of the sun on New Year's day of 1898 which foreboded calamity to the Emperor. During the summer of this year he began his great reform, and in September the Empress Dowager took control of the affairs of state and Kuang Hsu was put in prison, never again to occupy the throne. His prison was his winter palace, where, for many months, he was confined in a gilded cage of a house, on a small island, with the Empress Dowager's eunuchs to guard him. These were changed daily lest they might sympathize with their unhappy monarch and devise some means for his liberation. Each day when the guard was changed, the drawbridge connecting the island with the mainland was removed, leaving the Emperor to wander about in the court of his palace-prison, or sit on the southern terrace where it overlooked the lotus lake, waiting, hoping and perhaps expecting that his last appeal to Kang Yu-wei in which he said: "My heart is filled with a great sorrow which pen and ink cannot describe; you must go abroad at once and without a moment's delay devise some means to save me," might bring forth some fruit.

Whether this confinement interfered with the health of the Emperor or not it is impossible to say, but from the first he was made to pose as an invalid. As his failing health was constantly referred to in the Peking Gazette, the foreigners began to fear that it was the intention to dispose of the Emperor, and such pressure was brought to bear on the government as led them to allow the physician attached to the French legation to enter the palace and make an examination of His Majesty. He found nothing that fresh air and exercise would not remedy and assured the government that there was no cause for alarm, and from that time we heard nothing more of his precarious condition.

One day not long after the coup d'etat a eunuch came rushing into our compound, his face scratched and bleeding, and knocking his head on the ground before me, begged me to save his life.

"What is the matter?" I inquired.

"Oh! let me join the church!" he pleaded.

"What do you want to join the church for?" I asked.

"To save my life," he answered.

"But what is this all about?" I urged, raising him to his feet.

"You know the eunuch who came to you to buy books," he said.

I assured him that I knew him.

"Well," he continued, "I am a friend of his. The Empress Dowager has banished him, burned all the books he bought for the Emperor, and I am in danger of losing my head. Let me join the church, and thus save my life."

All I could do was to inform him that this was not the business of the church, and after further conversation he left and I never saw him again.

Day after day as the Emperor received the Peking Gazette on his lonely island he saw one after another of his coveted reforms vanish like mist before the pen of his august aunt. Nor was this all, for often the rescinding edicts appeared under his own name, and by the New Year, when he was brought forth to receive the foreign ministers accredited to his court, scarcely anything remained of all his reforms but the Peking University and the provincial and other schools. It is not to be wondered at therefore that he was reticent and despondent. What promises of good behaviour it was necessary for him to make before he was even allowed this much liberty, it is useless for us to conjecture.

Following this audience the Empress Dowager, who up to this time had been seen by no foreigner except Prince Henry of Prussia, decided to receive the wives of the foreign ministers. Her motives for this new move it is impossible to determine. It may have been to ascertain how the foreign governments would treat her who had been reported to have calmly ousted "their great and good friend the Emperor," to whom their ministers were accredited. Or it may have been that she hoped by this stroke of diplomacy to gain some measure of recognition as head of the government. She would at least see how she was regarded.

The audience was an unqualified success. The seven ladies received were charmed by the gracious manner of their imperial hostess, who assured them each as she touched her lips to the tea which she presented to them that "we are all one family," and up to that period of her life there was nothing to indicate that she did not feel that the sentiment she expressed was true. Up to the time of the coup d'etat, as Dr. Martin says, "she herself was noted for progressive ideas." "It will not be denied by any one," says Colonel Denby, "that the improvement and progress" described in his first volume, "are mainly due to the will and power of the Empress Regent. To her own people, up to this period in her career, she was kind and merciful, and to foreigners she was just." From the time of her return to the capital after their flight in 1900 till the time of her death she became one of the greatest reformers, if not the greatest, that has ever sat upon the dragon throne. One cannot but wish therefore in the interests of sentiment that it were possible to overlook many things she did from 1898 to 1900, which in the interests of truth it will be impossible to disregard. Nevertheless we should remember that she was driven to these things by the filching of her territory by the foreigners, and by the false pretentions of the superstitious Boxers and their leaders, and in the hope of preserving her country.

Her first act after imprisoning Kuang Hsu was to offer a large reward for his adviser Kang Yu-wei either alive or dead. Failing to get him, "she seized his younger brother Kang Kuang-jen, and with five other noble and patriotic young men of ability and high promise, he was beheaded September 28th, while protesting that though they might easily be slain, multitudes of others would arise to take their places." One of my young Chinese friends who watched this procession on its way to the execution grounds told me that,--

"The scene was impossible to describe. These five young reformers," after expressing the sentiments quoted above from Dr. Smith, "reviled the Empress Dowager and the conservatives in the most blood-curdling manner."

I have already spoken of Wang Chao the secretary of the Board of Rites who presented the memorial which caused the dismissal of the six officials of that body, and, indirectly, the fall of the Emperor. Some time before writing this petition he called at our home requesting Mrs. Headland to go and see his mother who was ill. When his mother recovered he sent her to Shanghai, and at the time of the coup d'etat he failed to get out of the city and went into hiding. Some days afterwards a closed cart drove up to our home and to our astonishment he stepped forth. We expressed our surprise that he was still in Peking, and asked:

"Has the Empress Dowager ceased prosecuting her search for you reformers?"

"Not yet," he answered.

"And what is she doing?" we inquired.

"Killing some, banishing others, driving many away from the capital, while still others are going into self-imposed exile."

"Does the Emperor know anything about this?" we inquired.

"No doubt," he replied. "Everybody knows it, why not he?"

"That will make his imprisonment all the harder to bear," we suggested.

"Quite right," he answered.

"There is general alarm in the city that the Emperor himself will be disposed of; what do you think about it?"

"Who can tell? He has not a friend in the palace except the first concubine, and, I am told, that she like himself is kept in close confinement. The Empress stands by her aunt, the Empress Dowager, while the eunuchs now are all her tools. The officials who go into the palace to audiences are all conservative and hence against him, though I suppose they never see him."

"Do you suppose he ever sees the edicts issued in his name?"

"Not at all. They are made by the conservatives and the Empress Dowager and issued without his knowledge."

"And what do you propose to do?" we inquired.

"I shall leave for Shanghai as soon as I can safely do so," he replied.

Before the year had passed the Empress Dowager had been induced or compelled to select a new Emperor. We cannot believe that she did it of her own free will, and for several reasons. First, the child selected was the son and the grandson of ultra conservative princes, and we cannot but believe that as she had placed herself in the hands of the conservative party, it was their selection rather than hers. Second, it must have been a humiliation to her ever since she discovered that her nephew, whom she had selected and placed upon the throne in order to keep the succession in her own family, being the same generation as her son who had died, could not worship him as his ancestor, and hence could not legally occupy the throne, though as a matter of fact such a condition is not unknown in Chinese history.

But if her humiliation was great, that of our boy-prisoner was still greater, for he was compelled to witness an edict, proclaimed in his own name, which made him say that as there was no hope of his having a child of his own to succeed him, he had requested the Empress Dowager to select a suitable person who should be proclaimed as the successor of Tung Chih, his predecessor, thus turning himself out of the imperial line. That this could not have been her choice is evidenced, further, by the fact that just as soon as she had once more regained her power, she surrounded herself with progressive officials, turned out all the great conservatives except Jung Lu, and dispossessing the son of Prince Tuan, at the time of her death selected her sister's grandchild and proclaimed him successor to her son and heir to the Emperor Kuang Hsu, in the following edict:

"Inasmuch as the Emperor Tung Chih had no issue, on the fifth day of the twelfth moon of that reign (January 12, 1875) an edict was promulgated to the effect that if the late Emperor Kuang Hsu should have a son, the said Prince should carry on the succession as the heir of Tung Chih. But now the late Emperor has ascended upon the dragon to be a guest on high, leaving no son, and there is no course open but to appoint Pu I, the son of Tsai Feng, the Prince Regent, as the successor to Tung Chih, and also as heir to the Emperor Kuang Hsu," which is quite in keeping with the conduct and character of the Empress Dowager all her life except those two bad years.

During the days and weeks following the dispossession of Kuang Hsu of the throne, in 1899 many decrees appeared which signified that at no distant date he would be superseded by the son of Prince Tuan. The foreign ministers began again to look grave. They spoke openly of their fear that Kuang Hsu's days were numbered. They pressed their desire for the usual New Year's audience, and once more the imprisoned monarch was brought forth and made to sit upon the throne and receive them. But when the ladies asked for an audience they were refused, the Empress Dowager being too busy with affairs of state. She was at that time seriously considering whether or not the government should cast in its lot with the Boxers and drive all the foreigners with all their productions into the eastern sea.

One of the princesses told Mrs. Headland that before coming to a decision the Empress Dowager called the hereditary and imperial princes into the palace to consult with them as to what they would better do. She met them all face to face, the Emperor and Prince Tuan standing near the throne. She explained to them the ravages of the foreigners, how they were gradually taking one piece after another of Chinese territory.

"And now," she continued, "we have these patriotic braves who claim to be impervious to swords and bullets; what shall we do? Shall we cast in our lot with their millions and drive all these foreigners out of China or not?"

Prince Tuan, as father of the heir-apparent, uneducated, superstitious and ignorant of all foreign affairs, then spoke. He said:

"I have seen the Boxers drilling, I have heard their incantations, and I believe that they will be able to effect this much desired end. They will either kill the foreigners or drive them out of the country and no more will dare to come, and thus we will be rid of them."

The hereditary princes were then asked for an expression of opinion. The majority of them knew little of foreigners and foreign countries, and as Prince Tuan, the father of the future Emperor, had expressed himself so strongly, they hesitated to offer an adverse opinion. But when it came to Prince Su, a man of strong character, widely versed in foreign affairs, and of independent thought, he opposed the measure most vigorously.

"Who," he asked, "are these Boxers? Who are their leaders? How can they, a mere rabble, hope to vanquish the armies of foreign nations?'

Prince Tuan answered that "by their incantations they were able to produce heaven-sent soldiers."

Prince Su denounced such superstition as childish. But when after further argument between him and Prince Tuan the Empress Dowager assured him that she had had them in the palace and had witnessed their prowess, he said no more.

The imperial princes were then consulted, but seeing how Prince Su had fared they were either in favour of the measure or non-committal. Finally the Empress Dowager appealed to Prince Ching who, more diplomatic than the younger princes, answered:

"I consider it a most dangerous undertaking, and I would advise against it. But if Your Majesty decides to cast in your lot with the Boxers I will do all in my power to further your wishes."

It is not a matter of wonder therefore that the Empress Dowager should be led into such a foolish measure as the Boxer movement, when the Prince who had been president of the Foreign Office for twenty-five years could so weakly acquiesce in such an undertaking.

"The Emperor," said the Princess, "was not asked for an expression of his opinion on this occasion, but when he saw that the Boxer leaders had won the day he burst into tears and left the room."

Similar meetings were held in the palace on two other occasions, when the Emperor implored that they make no attempt to fight all the foreign nations, for said he, "the foreigners are stronger than we, both in money and in arms, while their soldiers are much better drilled and equipped in every way. If we undertake this and fail as we are sure to do, it will be impossible to make peace with the foreigners and our country will be divided up amongst them." His pleadings, however, were disregarded, and after the meeting was over, he had to return to his little island, where for eight weeks he was compelled to sit listening to the rattling guns, booming cannons and bursting firecrackers, for the Boxers seemed to hope to exterminate the foreigners by noise. He must have felt from the books he had studied that it could only result in disaster to his own people.

When the allies reached Peking and the Boxers capitulated the Emperor was taken out of his prison and compelled to flee with the court.

"What do you think of your bullet-proof Boxers now?" one can imagine they hear him saying to his august aunt, as he sees her cutting off her long finger nails, dressing herself in blue cotton garments, and climbing into a common street cart as an ordinary servant. "Wouldn't it have been better to have taken my advice and that of Hsu Ching-cheng and Yuan Chang instead of having put them to death for endeavouring in their earnestness to save the country? What about your old conservative friends? Can they be depended upon as pillars of state?" Or some other "I-told-you-so" language of this kind.

From their exile in Hsian decrees continued to be issued in his name, and when affairs began to be adjusted, and the allies insisted on setting aside forever the pretentions of the anti-foreign Prince Tuan and his son, banishing the former to perpetual exile, our hopes ran high that the Emperor would be restored to his throne. But to our disappointment the framers of the Protocol contented themselves with the clause that: "Rational intercourse shall be permitted with the Emperor as in Western countries," and with the return of the court in 1902 he was still a prisoner.

Every one who has written about audiences with the Empress Dowager tells how "the Emperor was seated near, though a little below her," but they never tell why. The reason is not far to seek. The world must not know that he was a prisoner in the palace. They must see him near the throne, but they may not speak to him. The addresses of the ministers were passed to her by her kneeling statesmen, and it was they who replied. No notice was taken of the Emperor though he seemed to be in excellent health. The Empress Dowager however still relieved him of the burdens of the government, and continued to "teach him how to govern."

"I have seen the Emperor many times," Mrs. Headland tells me, "and have spent many hours in his presence, and every time we were in the palace the Emperor accompanied the Empress Dowager--not by her side but a few steps behind her. When she sat, he always remained standing a few paces in the rear, and never presumed to sit unless asked by her to do so. He was a lonely person, with his delicate, well-bred features and his simple dark robes, and in the midst of these fawning eunuchs, brilliant court ladies, and bejewelled Empress Dowager he was an inconspicuous figure. No minister of state touched forehead to floor as he spoke in hushed and trembling voice to him, no obsequious eunuchs knelt when coming into his presence; but on the contrary I have again and again seen him crowded against the wall by these cringing servants of Her Majesty.

"One day while we were in the palace a pompous eunuch had stepped before the Emperor quite obliterating him. I saw Kuang Hsu put his hands on the large man's shoulders, and quietly turn him around, that he might see before whom he stood. There were no signs of anger on his face, but rather a gentle, pathetic smile as he looked up at the big servant. I expected to see him fall upon his knees before the Emperor, but instead, he only moved a few inches to the left, and remained still in front of His Majesty. Never when in the palace have I seen a knee bend to the Emperor, except that of the foreigner when greeting him or bidding him farewell. This was the more noticeable as statesmen and eunuchs alike fell upon their knees every time they spoke to the Empress Dowager.

"The first time I saw him his great, pathetic, wistful eyes followed me for days. I could not forget them, and I determined that if I ever had opportunity I would say a few words to him letting him know that the world was resting in hope of his carrying out the great reforms he had instituted. But he was so carefully guarded and kept under such strict surveillance that I never found an opportunity to speak to him. Nor did he ever speak to the visitors, court ladies, the Empress Dowager, or attendants during all the hours we remained.

"One of the ministers told me that one day after an audience, when the Empress Dowager and the Emperor had stepped down from the dais, Her Majesty was engaged in conversation with one of his colleagues, and as the Emperor stood near by, he made some remark to him. Immediately the Empress Dowager turned from the one to whom she had been talking and made answer for the Emperor.

"On one occasion when there were but four of us in the palace, and we were all comfortably seated, the Emperor standing a few paces behind the Empress Dowager, she began discussing the Boxer movement, lamenting the loss of her long finger nails, and various good-luck gourds of which she was fond. The Emperor, probably becoming weary of a conversation in which he had no part, quietly withdrew by a side entrance to the theatre which was playing at the time. For some moments the Empress Dowager did not notice his absence, but the instant she discovered he was gone, a look of anxiety overspread her features, and she turned to the head eunuch, Li Lien-ying, and in an authoritative tone asked: 'Where is the Emperor?' There was a scurry among the eunuchs, and they were sent hither and thither to inquire. After a few moments they returned, saying that he was in the theatre. The look of anxiety passed from her face as a cloud passes from before the sun--and several of the eunuchs remained at the theatre.

"I am told that at times the Empress Dowager invites the Emperor to dine with her, and on such occasions he is forced to kneel at the table at which she is seated, eating only what she gives him. It is an honour which he does not covet, but which he dare not decline for fear of giving offense.

 

XI Prince Chun--The Regent

Prince Chun the Regent of China gave a remarkable luncheon at the Winter Palace to-day to the foreign envoys who gathered here to attend the funeral ceremonies of the late Emperor Kuang Hsu. The repast was served in foreign style. Among the Chinese present were Prince Ching, former president of the Board of Foreign Affairs and now adviser to the Naval Department; Prince Tsai Chen, a son of Prince Ching, who was at one time president of the Board of Commerce; Prince Su, chief of the Naval Department; and Liaing Tung-yen, president of the Board of Foreign Affairs. After the entertainment the envoys expressed themselves as unusually impressed with the personality of the Regent. --Daily Press.

XI PRINCE CHUN--THE REGENT

The selection of Prince Chun as Regent for the Chinese empire during the minority of his son, Pu I, the new Emperor, would seem to be the wisest choice that could be made at the present time. In the first place, he is the younger brother of Kuang Hsu, the late Emperor, and was in sympathy with all the reforms the latter undertook to introduce in 1898. If Kuang Hsu had chosen his successor, having no son of his own, there is no reason why he should not have selected Pu I to occupy the throne, with Prince Chun as Regent, for there is no other prince in whom he could have reposed greater confidence of having all his reform measures carried to a successful issue; and a brother with whom he had always lived in sympathy would be more likely to continue his policy than any one else.

But, in the second place, as we may suppose, Prince Chun was selected by the Empress Dowager, whatever the edicts issued, and will thus have the confidence of the party of which she has been the leader. It is quite wrong to suppose that this is the conservative party, or even a conservative party. China has both reform and conservative parties, but, in addition to these, she has many wise men and great officials who are neither radical reformers nor ultra-conservatives. It was these men with whom the Empress Dowager allied herself after the Boxer troubles of 1900.

These men were Li Hung-chang, Chang Chih-tung, Yuan Shih-kai, Prince Ching, and others, and it is they who, in ten years, with the Empress Dowager, put into operation, in a statesmanlike way, all the reforms that Kuang Hsu, with his hot-headed young radical advisers, attempted to force upon the country in as many weeks. There is every reason to believe that Prince Chun, the present Regent, has the support of all the wiser and better element of the Reform party, as well as those great men who have been successful in tiding China over the ten most difficult years of her history, while the ultra-conservatives at this late date are too few or too weak to deserve serious consideration. We, therefore, think that the choice of Pu I as Emperor, with Prince Chun as Regent, whether by the Empress Dowager, the Emperor, or both, was, all things considered, the best selection that could have been made.

Prince Chun is the son of the Seventh Prince, the nephew of the Emperor Hsien Feng and the Empress Dowager, and grandson of the Emperor Tao Kuang. He has a fine face, clear eye, firm mouth, with a tendency to reticence. He carries himself very straight, and while below the average in height, is every inch a prince. He is dignified, intelligent, and, though not loquacious, never at a loss for a topic of conversation. He is not inclined to small talk, but when among men of his own rank, he does not hesitate to indulge in bits of humour.

This was rather amusingly illustrated at a dinner given by the late Major Conger, American minister to China. Major and Mrs. Conger introduced many innovations into the social life of Peking, and none more important than the dinners and luncheons given to the princes and high officials, and also to the princesses and ladies of the court. In 1904, I was invited to dine with Major Conger and help entertain Prince Chun, Prince Pu Lun, Prince Ching, Governor Hu, Na T'ung, and a number of other princes and officials of high rank. I sat between Prince Chun and Governor Hu. Having met them both on several former occasions, I was not a stranger to either of them, and as they were well acquainted with each other, though one was a Manchu prince and the other a Chinese official, conversation was easy and natural.

We talked, of course, in Chinese only, of the improvements and advantages that railroads bring to a country, for Governor Hu, among other things, was the superintendent of the Imperial Railways of north China. This led us to speak of the relative comforts of travel by land and by sea, for Prince Chun had gone half round the world and back. We listened to the American minister toasting the young Emperor of China, his princes, and his subjects; and then to Prince Ching toasting the young President of the United States, his officials, and his people, in a most dignified and eloquent manner. And then as the buzz of conversation went round the table again, and perhaps because of their having spoken of the YOUNG Emperor and the young President, I turned to Governor Hu, who had an unusually long, white beard which reached almost to his waist as he sat at table, and said:

"Your Excellency, what is your honourable age?"

"I was seventy years old my last birthday," he replied.

"And he is still as strong as either of us young men," said I, turning to Prince Chun.

"Oh, yes," said the Prince; "he is good for ten years yet, and by that time he can use his beard as an apron."

"It is an ill wind that blows no one good," says the proverb, and this was never more forcibly illustrated than in the case of the death of the lamented Baron von Kettler. Had it not been for this unfortunate occurrence, Prince Chun would not have been sent to Germany to convey the apologies of the Chinese government to the German Emperor, and he would thus never have had the opportunity of a trip to Europe; and the world might once more have beheld a regent on the dragon throne who had never seen anything a hundred miles from his own capital.

Prince Chun started on this journey with such a retinue as only the Chinese government can furnish. He had educated foreign physicians and interpreters, and, like the great Viceroy Li Hung- chang, he had a round fan with the Eastern hemisphere painted on one side and the Western on the other, and the route he was to travel distinctly outlined on both, with all the places he was to pass through, or to stop at on the trip, plainly marked. He was intelligent enough to observe everything of importance in the ports through which he passed, and it was interesting to hear him tell of the things he had seen, and his characterization of some of the people he had visited.

"What did Your Highness think of the relative characteristics of the Germans and the French, as you saw them?" I asked him at the same dinner.

"The people in Berlin," said he, "get up early in the morning and go to their business, while the people in Paris get up in the evening and go to the theatre."

This may have been a bit exaggerated, but it indicated that the Prince did not travel, as many do on their first trip, with his mouth open and his eyes closed.

After his return to Peking he purchased a brougham, as did most of the other leading officials and princes at the close of the Boxer troubles, and driving about in this carriage, he has been a familiar figure from that time until the present. As straws show the direction of the wind, these incidents ought to indicate that Prince Chun will not be a conservative to the detriment of his government, or to the hindrance of Chinas progress.

It is a well-known fact that the Empress Dowager, in addition to her other duties, took charge of the arrangement of the marriages of all her nieces and nephews. One of her favourite Manchu officials, and indeed one of the greatest Manchus of recent years, though very conservative, and hence little associated with foreigners, was Jung Lu. As the affianced bride of Prince Chun had drowned herself in a well during the Boxer troubles, the Empress Dowager engaged him to the daughter of the lady who had been Jung Lu's first concubine, but who, as his consort was dead, was raised to the position of wife.

"This Lady Jung," says Mrs. Headland, "is some forty years of age, very pretty, talkative, and vivacious, and she told me with a good deal of pride, on one occasion, of the engagement of her son to the sixth daughter of Prince Ching. And then with equal enthusiasm she told me how her daughter had been married to Prince Chun, 'which of course relates me with the two most powerful families of the empire.'

"I have met the Princess Chun on several occasions at the audiences in the palace, at luncheons with Mrs. Conger, at a feast with the Imperial Princess, at a tea with the Princess Tsai Chen, and at the palaces of many of the princesses. She is a very quiet little woman, and looked almost infantile as she gazed at one with her big, black eyes. She is very circumspect in her movements, and with such a mother and father as she had, I should think may be very brilliant. Naturally she had to be specially dignified and sedate at these public functions, as she and the Imperial Princess were the only ones belonging to the old imperial household, the descendants of Tao Kuang, who were intimately associated with the Empress Dowager's court. She is small, but pretty, and, as I have indicated, quiet and reticent. She was fond of her father, and naturally fond of the Empress Dowager, who selected her as a wife for her favourite nephew, Prince Chun, to whom she promised the succession at the time of their marriage. After her father's death, and while she was in mourning, she was invited into the palace by the Empress Dowager, where she appeared wearing blue shoes, the colour used in second mourning.

" 'Why do you wear blue shoes?' asked Her Majesty.

" 'On account of the death of my father,' replied the Princess.

" 'And do you mourn over your dead father more than you rejoice over being in the presence of your living ruler?' the Empress Dowager inquired.

"It is unnecessary to add that the Princess 'changed the blue shoes for red ones while she remained in the palace, so careful has the Empress Dowager always been of the respect due to her dignity and position."

Having promised the regency to Prince Chun, we may infer that the Empress Dowager would do all in her power to prepare him to occupy the position with credit to himself, and in the hope that he would continue the policy which she has followed during the last ten years. Whenever, therefore, opportunity offered for a prince to represent the government at any public function with which foreigners were connected, Prince Chun was asked or appointed to attend. I have said that it was the murder of the German minister, Baron von Kettler, that gave Prince Chun his opportunity to see the world. And just here I might add that an account of the massacre of Von Kettler, sent from Canton, was published in a New York paper three days before it occurred. This indicates that his death had been premeditated and ordered by some high authorities,--perhaps Prince Tuan or Prince Chuang, Boxer leaders,--because the Germans had taken the port of Kiaochou, and had compelled the Chinese government to promise to allow them to open all the mines and build all the railroads in the province of Shantung.

After the Boxer troubles were settled, the Germans, at the expense of the Chinese government, erected a large stone memorial arch on the spot where Von Kettler fell. At its dedication, members of the diplomatic corps of all the legations in Peking were present, including ladies and children, together with a large number of Chinese officials representing the city, the government, and the Foreign Office, and Prince Chun was selected to pour the sacrificial wine. He did it with all the dignity of a prince, however much he may or may not have enjoyed it. On this occasion he used one of the ancient, three-legged, sacrificial wine-cups, which he held in both hands, while Na Tung, President of the Foreign Office, poured the wine into the cup from a tankard of a very beautiful and unique design. It is the only occasion on which I have seen the Prince when he did not seem to enjoy what he was doing. I ought to add just here that I have heard the Chinese refer to this arch as the monument erected by the Chinese government in memory of the man who murdered Baron von Kettler!

It is a well-known fact that the Boxers destroyed all buildings that had any indication of a foreign style of architecture, whether they belonged to Chinese or foreigner, Christian or non-Christian, legation, merchant, or missionary. In the rebuilding of the Peking legations, missions, and educational institutions, there were naturally a large number of dedicatory services. Many of the Chinese officials attended them, but I shall refer to only one or two at which I remember meeting Prince Chun. I believe it was the design of the Empress Dowager, as soon as she had decided upon him as the Regent, to give him as liberal an education in foreign affairs as the facilities in Peking would allow.

For many years the Methodist mission had tried to secure funds from America to erect a hospital and medical school in connection with the mission and the Peking University. This they found to be impossible, and finally Dr. N. S. Hopkins of Massachusetts, who was in charge of that work, consulted with his brother and brother-in-law, who subscribed the funds and built the institution. This act of benevolence on the part of Dr. Hopkins and his friends appealed to the Chinese sense of generosity, and when the building was completed, a large number of Chinese officials, together with Prince Chun and Prince Pu Lun, were present at its dedication. A number of addresses were made by such men as Major Conger, the American minister, Bishop Moore, Na Tung, Governor Hu, General Chiang, and others of the older representatives, in which they expressed their appreciation of the generosity which prompted a man like Dr. Hopkins to give not only himself, but his money, for the education of the Chinese youth and the healing of their poor. And I might add that Dr. Hopkins is physician to many of the princes and officials in Peking at the present time.

During this reconstruction, a number of the colleges of north China united to form a union educational institution. One part of this scheme was a union medical college, situated on the Ha- ta-men great street not a hundred yards north of the Von Kettler memorial arch. To the erection of this building the wealthy officials of Peking subscribed liberally, and the Empress Dowager sent her check for 11,000 taels, equal to $9,000 in American gold, and appointed Prince Chun to represent the Chinese government at its dedication. At this meeting Sir Robert Hart made an address on behalf of the foreigners, and Na Tung on behalf of the Chinese. Although Prince Chun took no public part in the exercises, he privately expressed his gratification at seeing the completion of such an up-to-date hospital and medical school in the Chinese capital.

I have given these incidents in the life of Prince Chun to show that he has had facilities for knowing the world better than any other Chinese monarch or regent that has ever sat upon the dragon throne, and that he has grasped the opportunities as they came to him. He has been intimately associated with the diplomatic life of the various legations, which is perhaps the most important knowledge he has acquired in dealing with foreign affairs, as these ministers are the channels through which he must come in contact with foreign governments. He has been present at the dedication of a number of missionary educational institutions, and hence from personal contact he will have some comprehension of the animus and work of missions and the character of the men engaged in that work. He may have as a councillor, if he so desires, the Prince Pu Lun, who has had a trip around the world, with the best possible facilities for seeing Japan, America, Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy, and who has been in even more intimate contact with the diplomats and other foreigners than has Prince Chun himself. My wife and I have dined with him and the Princess both at the American legation and at his own palace, and when we left China, they came together in their brougham to bid us good-bye, a thing which could not have happened a few years ago, and an indication of how wide open the doors in China are now standing.

On the whole, therefore, Prince Chun begins his regency with a brighter outlook for his foreign relations than any other ruler China has ever had. What shall we say of his Chinese relations? Being the brother of Kuang Hsu, and himself a progressive young man, he ought to have the support of the Reform party, and being the choice of the Empress Dowager, he will have the support of the great progressive officials who have had the conduct of affairs for the last quarter of a century and more, and especially for the past ten years, since the Emperor Kuang Hsu was deposed.

 

XII The Home of the Court--The Forbidden City

The innermost enclosure is the Forbidden City and contains the palace and its surrounding buildings. The wall is less solid and high than the city wall, is covered with bright yellow tiles, and surrounded by a deep, wide moat. Two gates on the east and west afford access to the interior of this habitation of the Emperor, as well as the space and rooms appertaining, which furnish lodgment to the guard defending the approach to the dragon's throne. --S. Wells Williams in "The Middle Kingdom."

XII THE HOME OF THE COURT--THE FORBIDDEN CITY

During the past ten years, since the dethronement of the late Emperor Kuang Hsu, I have often been asked by Europeans visiting Peking:

"What would happen if the Emperor should die?"

"They would put a new Emperor on the throne," was my invariable answer. They usually followed this with another question:

"What would happen if the Empress Dowager should die?"

"In that case the Emperor, of course, would again resume the throne," I always replied without hesitation. But during those ten years, not one of my friends ever thought to propound the question, nor did I have the wit to ask myself:

"What would happen if the Emperor and the Empress Dowager should both suddenly snap the frail cord of life at or about the same time?"

Had such a question come to me, I confess I should not have known how to answer it. It is a problem that probably never presented itself to any one outside of that mysterious Forbidden City, or the equally mysterious spectres that come and go through its half-open gates in the darkness of the early morning. There are three parties to whom it may have come again and again, and to whom we may perhaps be indebted both for the problem and the solution.

When the deaths of both of their Imperial Majesties were announced at the same time, the news also came that the Japanese suspected that there had been foul play. With them, however, it was only suspicion; none of them, so far as I know, ever undertook to analyze the matter or unravel the mystery. There is no doubt a reasonable explanation, but we must go for it to the Forbidden City, the most mysterious royal dwelling in the world, where white men have never gone except by invitation from the throne, save on one occasion.

In 1901, while the court was in hiding at Hsianfu, the city to which they fled when the allies entered Peking, the western half of the Forbidden City was thrown open to the public, the only condition being that said public have a certificate which would serve as a pass to the American boys in blue who guarded the Wu men, or front gate. I was fortunate enough to have that pass.

My first move was to get a Chinese photographer--the best I could find in the city--to go with me and take pictures of everything I wanted as well as anything else that suited his fancy.

The city of Peking is regularly laid out. Towards the south is the Chinese city, fifteen miles in circumference. To the north is a square, four miles on each side, and containing sixteen square miles. In the centre of this square, enclosed by a beautifully crenelated wall thirty feet thick at the bottom, twenty feet thick at the top and twenty-five feet high, surrounded by a moat one hundred feet wide, is the Forbidden City, occupying less than one-half a square mile. In this city there dwells but one male human being, the Emperor, who is called the "solitary man."

There is a gate in the centre of each of the four sides, that on the south, the Wu men, being the front gate, through which the Emperor alone is allowed to pass. The back gate, guarded by the Japanese during the occupation, is for the Empress Dowager, the Empress and the women of the court, while the side gates are for the officials, merchants or others who may have business in the palace.

Through the centre of this city, from south to north, is a passageway about three hundred feet wide, across which, at intervals of two hundred yards, they have erected large buildings, such as the imperial examination hall, the hall in which the Emperor receives his bride, the imperial library, the imperial kitchen, and others of a like nature, all covered with yellow titles, and known to tourists, who see them from the Tartar City wall, as the palace buildings. These, however, are not the buildings in which the royal family live. They are the places where for the past five hundred years all those great diplomatic measures--and dark deeds--of the Chinese emperors and their great officials have been transacted between midnight and daylight.

If you will go with me at midnight to the great gate which leads from the Tartar to the Chinese city--the Chien men--you will hear the wailing creak of its hinges as it swings open, and in a few moments the air will be filled with the rumbling of carts and the clatter of the feet of the mules on the stone pavement, as they take the officials into the audiences with their ruler. If you will remain with me there till a little before daylight you will see them, like silent spectres, sitting tailor-fashion on the bottom of their springless carts, returning to their homes, but you will ask in vain for any information as to the business they have transacted. "They love darkness rather than light," not perhaps "because their deeds are evil," but because it has been the custom of the country from time immemorial.

Immediately to the north of this row of imperial palace buildings, and just outside the north gate, there is an artificial mound called Coal Hill, made of the dirt which was removed to make the Lotus Lakes. It is said that in this hill there is buried coal enough to last the city in time of siege. This, however, was not the primary design of the hill. It has a more mysterious meaning. There have always been spirits in the earth, in the air, in every tree and well and stream. And in China it has ever been found necessary to locate a house, a city or even a cemetery in such surroundings as to protect them from the entrance of evil spirits. "Coal Hill," therefore, was placed to the north of these imperial palace buildings to protect them from the evil spirits of the cold, bleak north.

Just inside of that north gate there is a beautiful garden, with rockeries and arbours, flowering plants and limpid artificial streams gurgling over equally artificial pebbles, though withal making a beautiful sight and a cool shade in the hot summer days. In the east side of this garden there is a small imperial shrine having four doors at the four points of the compass. In front of each of these doors there is a large cypress-tree, some of them five hundred years old, which were split up from the root some seven or eight feet, and planted with the two halves three feet apart, making a living arch through which the worshipper must pass as he enters the temple. To the north of the garden and east of the back gate there is a most beautiful Buddhist temple, in which only the members of the imperial family are allowed to worship, in front of which there is also a living arch like those described above, as may also be found before the imperial temples in the Summer Palace. This is one of the most unique and mysterious features of temple worship I have found anywhere in China, and no amount of questioning ever brought me any explanation of its meaning.

Now if you will go with me to the top of Coal Hill I will point out to you the buildings in which their Majesties have lived. There are six parallel rows of buildings, facing the south, each behind the other, in the northwest quarter of this Forbidden City, protected from the evil spirits of the north by the dagoba on Prospect Hill.

Perhaps you would like to go with me into these homes of their Majesties--or, as a woman's home is always more interesting than the den of a man, let me take you through the private apartments of the greatest woman of her race--the late Empress Dowager. She occupied three of these rows of buildings. The first was her drawing-room and library, the second her dining-room and sleeping apartments, and the third her kitchen.

One was strangely impressed by what he saw here. There was no gorgeous display of Oriental colouring, but there was beauty of a peculiarly penetrating quality--and yet a homelike beauty.

No description that can be written of it will ever do it justice. Not until one can see and appreciate the paintings of the old Chinese masters of five hundred years ago hanging upon the walls, the beautiful pieces of the best porcelain of the time of Kang Hsi and Chien Lung, made especially for the palace, arranged in their natural surroundings, on exquisitely carved Chinese tables and brackets, the gorgeously embroided silk portieres over the doorways, and the matchless tapestries which only the Chinese could weave for their greatest rulers, can we appreciate the beauty, the richness, and the refined elegance of the private apartments of the great Dowager.

I went into her sleeping apartments. Others also entered there, sat upon her couch, and had their friends photograph them. I could not allow myself to do so. I stood silent, with head uncovered as I gazed with wonder and admiration at the bed, with its magnificently embroidered curtains hanging from the ceiling to the floor, its yellow-satin mattress ten feet in length and its great round, hard pillow, with the delicate silk spreads turned back as though it were prepared for Her Majesty's return. On the opposite side of the room there was a brick kang bed, such as we find in the homes of all the Chinese of the north, where her maids slept, or sat like silent ghosts while the only woman that ever ruled over one-third of the human race took her rest. The furnishings were rich but simple. No plants, no intricate carvings to catch the dust, nothing but the two beds and a small table, with a few simple and soothing wall decorations, and the monotonous tick-tock of a great clock to lull her to sleep.

If Shakespeare could say with an English monarch in his mind, "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown," we might repeat it with added emphasis of Tze Hsi. For forty years she had to rise at midnight, winter as well as summer, and go into the dark, dreary, cold halls of the palace, lighted much of the time with nothing but tallow dips, and heated only with brass braziers filled with charcoal, and there sit behind a screen where she could see no one, and no one could see her, and listen to the reports of those who came to these dark audiences. Then she must, in conjunction with them, compose edicts which were sent out to the Peking Gazette, the oldest and poorest newspaper in the world, to be carved on blocks, and printed, and then sent by courier to every official in the empire. Ruling over a conquered race, she must always be watching out for signs of discontent and rebellion; being herself the daughter of a poor man, and beginning as only the concubine of an emperor, and he but a weak character, she must be alert for dissatisfaction on the part of the princes who might have some title to the throne. She must watch the governors in the distant provinces and the viceroys who are in charge of great armies, that they do not direct them against instead of in defense of the throne.

When her husband died while a fugitive two hundred miles from her palace, she must see to it that her three-year-old child was placed upon the throne with her own hand at the helm, and when he died she must also be ready with a successor, who would give her another lease of office. Even when he became of age and took the throne she must watch over him like a guardian, to prevent his bringing down upon their own heads the structure which she had builded. Nay, more, when it became necessary for her to dethrone him and rule in his name, banishing his friends and pacifying his enemies, keeping him a prisoner in his palace, it required a courage that was titanic to do so. But she never flinched, though we may suppose that many of her poorest subjects, who could sleep from dark till daylight with nothing but a brick for a pillow, might have rested more peacefully than she.

She had a myriad of other duties to perform. She was the mother-in-law of that imperial household, with the Emperor, the Empress, sixty concubines, two thousand eunuchs, and any number of court ladies and maid-servants. Their expenses were enormous and she must keep her eye on every detail. The food they ate was similar to that used by all the Chinese people. I happen to know this, because one of her eunuchs who visited me frequently to ask my assistance in a matter which he had undertaken for the Emperor, often brought me various kinds of meat, or other delicacies of a like nature, from the imperial kitchens.

I want you to visit three of the imperial temples in these beautiful palace grounds. The first is a tall, three-story building at the head of that magnificent Lotus Lake. In it there stands a Buddhist deity with one thousand heads and one thousand arms and hands. Standing upon the ground floor its head reaches almost to the roof. Its body, face and arms are as white as snow. There is nothing else in the building--nothing but this mild-faced Buddhist divinity for that brilliant, black-eyed ruler of Chinas millions to worship.

Standing near by is another building of far greater beauty. It is faced all over with encaustic tiles, each made at the kiln a thousand miles away, for the particular place it was to occupy. Each one fits without a flaw, a suggestion to American architects on Chinese architecture.

The second of these temples stands to the west of the Coal Hill, immediately to the north of the homes of their Majesties. One day while passing through the forbidden grounds I came upon this temple from the rear. In the dome of one of the buildings is a circular space some ten feet in diameter, carved and gilded in the form of two magnificent dragons after the fabled pearl. It is to this place the Emperor goes in time of drought to confess his sins, for he confesses to the gods that the drought is all his doing, and to pray for forgiveness, and for rain to enrich the thirsty land. The towers on the corners of the wall of the Forbidden City are the same style of architecture as the small pavilion in the front court of this temple.

Now as the buds of spring are bursting and the eaves on the mulberry-trees are beginning to develop, will you go with the Empress Dowager or the Empress into a temple on Prospect Hill, between the Coal Hill and the Lotus Lake, where she offers sacrifices to the god of the silkworm and prays for a prosperous year on the work of that little insect? Above it stands one of the most hideous bronze deities I have ever seen--male and naked--in a beautiful little shrine, every tile of which is made in the form of a Buddha's head. During the occupation tourists were allowed to visit this place freely, and their desire for curios overcoming their discretion, they knocked the heads off these tiles until, when the place was closed, there was not a single tile which had not been defaced.

One other building in the Forbidden City is worthy of our attention. It is the art gallery. It is not generally known that China is the parent of all Oriental art. We know something of the art of Japan but little about that of China. And yet the best Japanese artists have never hoped for anything better than to equal their Chinese teacher. In this art gallery there are stored away the finest specimens of the old masters for ten centuries or more, together with portraits of all the noted emperors. Among these portraits we may now find two of the Empress Dowager, one painted by Miss Carl, and another by Mr. Vos, a well-known American portrait painter.

 

XIII The Ladies of the Court

I love to talk with my people of their Majesties, the princesses, and the Chinese ladies, as I have seen and known them. Your friendship I will always remember. Her Majesty, your imperial sister, found a warm place in my heart and is treasured there. Please extend to the Imperial Princess my cordial greetings and to the other princesses my best of good wishes. --Mrs. E. H. Conger, in a letter to the Princess Shun.

XIII THE LADIES OF THE COURT

The leading figure of the court is Yehonala, wife of the late Emperor Kuang Hsu. She has always been called the Young Empress, but is now the Empress Dowager. After the great Dowager was made the concubine of Hsien Feng, she succeeded in arranging a marriage, as we have seen, between her younger sister and the younger brother of her husband, the Seventh Prince, as he was called, father of Kuang Hsu and the present regent.

The world knows how, in order to keep the succession in her own family, she took the son of this younger sister, when her own son the Emperor Tung Chih died, and made him the Emperor Kuang Hsu when he was but little more than three years of age. When the time came for him to wed, she arranged that he should marry his cousin, Yehonala, the daughter of her favourite brother, Duke Kuei. This Kuang Hsu was not inclined to do, as his affections seem to have been centred on another. The great Dowager, however, insisted upon it, and he finally made her Empress, and to satisfy,--or shall we say appease him?--she allowed him to take as his first concubine the lady he wanted as his wife; and it was currently reported in court circles that when Yehonala came into his presence he not infrequently kicked off his shoe at her, a bit of conduct that is quite in keeping with the temper usually attributed to Kuang Hsu during those early years. This may perhaps explain why she stood by the great Dowager through all the troublous times of 1898 and 1900, in spite of the fact that her imperial aunt had taken her husband's throne.

Mrs. Headland tells me that "Yehonala is not at all beautiful, though she has a sad, gentle face. She is rather stooped, extremely thin, her face long and sallow, and her teeth very much decayed. Gentle in disposition, she is without self-assertion, and if at any of the audiences we were to greet her she would return the greeting, but would never venture a remark. At the audiences given to the ladies she was always present, but never in the immediate vicinity of either the Empress Dowager or the Emperor. She would sometimes come inside the great hall where they were, but she always stood in some inconspicuous place in the rear, with her waiting women about her, and as soon as she could do so without attracting attention, she would withdraw into the court or to some other room. In the summer-time we sometimes saw her with her servants wandering aimlessly about the court. She had the appearance of a gentle, quiet, kindly person who was always afraid of intruding and had no place or part in anything. And now she is the Empress Dowager! It seems a travesty on the English language to call this kindly, gentle soul by the same title that we have been accustomed to use in speaking of the woman who has just passed away."

My wife tells me that,--"A number of years ago I was called to see Mrs. Chang Hsu who was suffering from a nervous breakdown due to worry and sleeplessness. On inquiry I discovered that her two daughters had been taken into the palace as concubines of the Emperor Kuang Hsu. Her friends feared a mental breakdown, and begged me to do all I could for her. She took me by the hand, pulled me down on the brick bed beside her, and told me in a pathetic way how both of her daughters had been taken from her in a single day.

" 'But they have been taken into the palace,' I urged, to try to comfort her, 'and I have heard that the Emperor is very fond of your eldest daughter, and wanted to make her his empress.'

" 'Quite right,' she replied, 'but what consolation is there in that? They are only concubines, and once in the palace they are dead to me. No matter what they suffer, I can never see them or offer them a word of comfort. I am afraid of the court intrigues, and they are only children and cannot understand the duplicity of court life--I fear for them, I fear for them,' and she swayed back and forth on her brick bed.

"Time, however, the great healer with a little medicine and sympathy to quiet her nerves, brought about a speedy recovery, though in the end her fears proved all too true."

In 1897 the brother of this first concubine met Kang Yu-wei in the south, and became one of his disciples. Upon his return to Peking, knowing of the Emperor's desire for reform, and his affection for his sister, he found means of communicating with her about the young reformer.

At the time of the coup d'etat, and the imprisonment of the Emperor, this first concubine was degraded and imprisoned on the ground of having been the means of introducing Kang Yu-wei to the notice of the Emperor, and thus interfering in state affairs. She continued in solitary confinement from that time until the flight of the court in 1900 when in their haste to get away from the allies she was overlooked and left in the palace. When she discovered that she was alone with the eunuchs, fearing that she might become a victim to the foreign soldiers, she took her life by jumping into a well. On the return of the court in 1902, the Empress Dowager bestowed upon her posthumous honours, in recognition of her conduct in thus taking her life and protecting her virtue.

Some conception of the haste and disorder with which the court left the capital on that memorable August morning may be gleaned from the fact that her sister was also overlooked and with a eunuch fled on foot in the wake of the departing court. She was overtaken by Prince Chuang who was returning in his chair from the palace, where, with Prince Ching, he had been to inform their Majesties that the allies were in possession of the city. The eunuch, recognizing him, called his attention to the fleeing concubine, who, when he had alighted and greeted her, begged him to find her a cart that she might follow the court. Presently a dilapidated vehicle came by in which sat an old man. The Prince ordered him to give the cart to the concubine and sent her to his palace where a proper conveyance was secured, and she overtook the court at the Nankow pass.

At the audiences, this concubine was always in company with the Empress Yehonala, standing at her left. She, however, lacked both the beauty and intelligence of her sister.

The ladies of the court, who were constantly associated with the Empress Dowager as her ladies in waiting, are first, the Imperial Princess, the daughter of the late Prince Kung, the sixth brother of the Empress Dowager's husband. Out of friendship for her father, the Empress Dowagers adopted her as their daughter, giving her all the rights, privileges and titles of the daughter of an empress. She is the only one in the empire who is entitled to ride in a yellow chair such as is used by the Empress Dowager, the Emperor or Empress. The highest of the princes--even Prince Ching himself--has to descend from his chair if he meet her. Yet when this lady is in the palace, no matter how she may be suffering, she dare not sit down in the presence of Her Majesty.

"One day when we were in the palace," says Mrs. Headland, "the Imperial Princess was suffering from such a severe attack of lumbago, that she could scarcely stand. I suggested to her that she retire to the rear of the room, behind some of the pillars and rest a while.

" 'I dare not do that,' she replied; 'we have no such a custom in China.' "

She is austere in manner, plain in appearance, dignified in bearing, about sixty-five years of age, and is noted for her accomplishment in making the most graceful courtesy of any lady in the court.

During the Boxer troubles and the occupation, her palace was plundered and very much injured, and she escaped in her stocking feet through a side door. At the first luncheon given at her palace thereafter, she apologized for its desolate appearance, saying that it had been looted by the Boxers, though we knew it had been looted by the allies. At later luncheons, however, she had procured such ornaments as restored in some measure its original beauty and grandeur, though none of these dismantled palaces will regain their former splendour for many years to come.

Next to the Imperial Princess are the two sisters of Yehonala, one of whom is married to Duke Tse, who was head of the commission that made the tour of the world to inquire as to the best form of government to be adopted by China in her efforts at renovation and reform. It is not too much to suppose that it was because the Duke was married to the Empress Dowager's niece that he was made the head of this commission, which after its return advised the adoption of a constitution. The other sister is the wife of Prince Shun, and is the opposite of the Empress. She is stout, but beautiful. She has always been the favourite niece of the Empress Dowager, appeared at all the functions, and though very sedate when foreign ladies were present at an audience, I was told by the Chinese that when the imperial family were alone together she was the life of the company. She would even stand behind the Empress Dowager's chair "making such grimaces," the Chinese expressed it, as to make it almost impossible for the others to retain their equilibrium. As she was the youngest of the three sisters, and because of her happy disposition, the Chinese nicknamed her hsiao kuniang, "the little girl." These three sisters are all childless.

The Princess Shun and Princess Tsai Chen, only daughter-in-law of Prince Ching, herself the daughter of a viceroy, were very congenial, and the most intimate friends of all those in court circles. The latter is beautiful, brilliant, quick, tactful, and graceful. Of all the ladies of the court she is the most witty and, with Princess Shun, the most interesting. These two more than any others made the court ladies easy to entertain at all public functions, for they were full of enthusiasm and tried to help things along. They seemed to feel that they were personally responsible for the success of the audience or the luncheon as a social undertaking.

Lady Yuan is one of two of these court ladies who dwelt with the Empress Dowager in the palace, the other being Prince Ching's fourth daughter. She is a niece by marriage of the Empress Dowager, though she really was never married. The nephew of the Empress Dowager, to whom she was engaged, though she had never seen him, died before they were married. After his death, but before his funeral, she dressed herself as a widow, and in a chair covered with white sackcloth went to his home, where she performed the ceremonies proper for a widow, which entitled her to take her position as his wife. Such an act is regarded as very meritorious in the eyes of the Chinese, and no women are more highly honoured than those who have given themselves in this way to a life of chastity.

The second of these ladies who remained in the palace with the Empress Dowager is the fourth daughter of Prince Ching. Married to the son of a viceroy, their wedded life lasted only a few months. She was taken into the palace, and being a widow, she neither wears bright colours nor uses cosmetics. She is a fine scholar, very devout, and spends much of her time in studying the Buddhist classics. She is considered the most beautiful of the court ladies.

The Empress Dowager took charge of most of the domestic matters of all her relatives, taking into the palace and associating with her as court ladies some who were widowed in their youth, and keeping constantly with her only those whom she has elevated to positions of rank, or members of her own family. Nor was she too busy with state affairs to stop and settle domestic quarrels.

Among the court ladies there was one who was married to a prince of the second order. Her husband is still living, but as they were not congenial in their wedded life, the Empress Dowager made herself a kind of foster-mother to the Princess and banished her husband to Mongolia, an incident which reveals to us another phase of the great Dowager's character--that of dealing with fractious husbands.

 

XIV The Princesses--Their Schools

The position accorded to woman in Chinese society is strictly a domestic one, and, as is the case in other Eastern countries, she is denied the liberty which threatens to attain such amazing proportions in the West. There is no reason to suppose that woman in China is treated worse than elsewhere; but people can of course paint her condition just as fancy seizes them. They are rarely admitted into the domestic surroundings of Chinese homes, therefore there is nothing to curb the imagination. The truth is that just as much may be said on one side as on the other. Domestic happiness is in China--as everywhere else the world over--a lottery. The parents invariably select partners in marriage for their sons and daughters, and sometimes make as great blunders as the young people would if left to themselves. --Harold E. Gorst in "China."

XIV THE PRINCESSES--THEIR SCHOOLS[1]

[1] Taken from Mrs. Headland's note-book.

One day while making a professional call on the Princess Su our conversation turned to female education in China. I was deeply interested in the subject, and was aware that the Prince had established a school for the education of his daughters and the women of his palace, and was naturally pleased when the Princess asked:

"Would you care to visit our school when it is in session?"

"Nothing would please me more," I answered. "When may I do so?"

"Could you come to-morrow morning?" she inquired.

"With pleasure; at what time?"

"I will send my cart for you."

The following morning the Prince's cart appeared. It was lined with fur, upholstered in satin, furnished with cushions, and encircled by a red band which indicated the rank of its owner. A venerable eunuch, the head of the palace servants, preceded it as an outrider, and assisted me in mounting and dismounting, while the driver in red-tasselled hat walked decorously by the side.

The school occupies a large court in the palace grounds. Another evidence of Western influence in the same court is a large two-story house of foreign architecture where the Prince receives his guests. Prince Su was the first to have this foreign reception hall, but he has been followed in this respect by other officials and princes as well as by the Empress Dowager.

"This is not unlike our foreign compounds," I remarked to the Princess as we entered the court.

"Yes," she replied, "the Prince does not care to have the court paved, but prefers to have it sodded and filled with flowers and shrubs."

The school building was evidently designed for that purpose, being light and airy with the whole southern exposure made into windows, and covered with a thin white paper which gives a soft, restful light and shuts out the glare of the sun. The floor is covered with a heavy rope matting while the walls are hung with botanical, zoological and other charts. Besides the usual furniture for a well-equipped schoolroom, it was heated with a foreign stove, had glass cases for their embroidery and drawing materials, and a good American organ to direct them in singing, dancing and calisthenics.

I arrived at recess. The Princess took me into the teacher's den, which was cut off from the main room by a beautifully carved screen. Here I was introduced to the Japanese lady teacher and served with tea. She spoke no English and but little Chinese, and the embarrassment of our effort to converse was only relieved by the ringing of the bell for school. The pupils, consisting of the secondary wives and daughters of the Prince, his son's wife, and the wives and daughters of his dead brother who make their home with him, entered in an orderly way and took their seats. When the teacher came into the room the ladies all arose and remained standing until she took her place before her desk and made a low bow to which they all responded in unison. This is the custom in all of the schools I have visited. Even where the superintendent is Chinese, the pupils stand and make a low Japanese bow at the beginning and close of each recitation.

"How long has the school been in session?" I asked the Princess.

"Three and a half months," she replied.

"And they have done all this embroidery and painting in that time?"

"They have, and in addition have pursued their Western studies," she explained.

In arithmetic the teacher placed the examples on the board, the pupils worked them on their slates, after which each was called upon for an explanation, which she gave in Japanese. While this class was reciting the Prince came in and asked if we might not have calisthenics, evidently thinking that I would enjoy the drill more than the mathematics. It was interesting to see those Manchu ladies stand and go through a thorough physical drill to the tune of a lively march on a foreign organ. The Japanese are masters in matters of physical drill, and in the schools I have visited I have been pleased at the quiet dignity, and the reserve force and sweetness of their Japanese teachers. The precision and unanimity with which orders were executed both surprised and delighted me. Everything about these schools was good except the singing, which was excruciatingly poor. The Chinese have naturally clear, sweet voices, with a tendency to a minor tone, which, with proper training, admit of fair development. But the Japanese teacher dragged and sang in a nasal tone, in which the pupils followed her, evidently thinking it was proper Western music. I was rather amused to see the younger pupils go through a dignified dance or march to the familiar strains of "Shall we gather at the river," which the eldest daughter played on the organ.

"The young ladies do not comb their hair in the regular Manchu style," I observed to the Princess.

"No," she answered, "we do not think that best. It is not very convenient, and so we have them dress it in the small coil on top of the head as you see. Neither do we allow them to wear flowers in their hair, nor to paint or powder, or wear shoes with centre elevations on the soles. We try to give them the greatest possible convenience and comfort."

They were proud of their bits of crocheting and embroidery, each of which was marked with the name of the person who did it and the date when it was completed. Many of them were made of pretty silk thread in a very intricate pattern, though I admired their drawing and painting still more.

"Of what does their course of study consist?" I asked the Princess.

She went to the wall and took down a neat gilt frame which contained their curriculum, and which she asked her eldest daughter to copy for me. They had five studies each day, six days of the week, Sunday being a holiday. They began with arithmetic, followed it up with Japanese language, needlework, music and calisthenics, then took Chinese language, drawing, and Chinese history with the writing of the ideographs of their own language, which was one of the most difficult tasks they had to perform. The dignified way in which the pupils conducted themselves, the respect which they showed their teacher, and the way in which they went about their work, delighted me. The discipline it gave them, the self-respect it engendered, and the power of acquisition that came with it were worth more perhaps than the knowledge they acquired, useful as that information must have been.

The Princess Ka-la-chin, the fifth sister of Prince Su, is married to the Mongolian Prince Ka-la. It is a rule among the Manchus that no prince can marry a princess of their own people, but like the Emperor himself, must seek their wives from among the untitled. These ladies after their marriage are raised to the rank of their husbands. It is the same with the daughters of a prince. Their husbands must come from among the people, but unlike the princes they cannot raise them to their own rank, and so their children have no place in the imperial clan. Many of the princesses therefore prefer to marry Mongolian princes, by which they retain their rank as well as that of their children.

Naturally a marriage of this kind brings changes into the life of the princess. She has been brought up in a palace in the capital, lives on Chinese food, and is not inured to hardships. When she marries a Mongol prince, she is taken to the Mongolian plains, is not infrequently compelled to live in a tent, and her food consists largely of milk, butter, cheese and meat, most of which are an abomination to the Chinese. They especially loathe butter and cheese, and not infrequently speak of the foreigner smelling like the Mongol--an odour which they say is the result of these two articles of diet.

Prince Su's fifth sister was fortunate in being married to a Mongol prince who was not a nomad. He had established a sort of village capital of his possessions, the chief feature of which was his own palace. Here he lives during the summers and part of the winters; though once in three years he is compelled to spend at least three months in his palace in Peking when he comes to do homage to the Emperor.

During one of these visits to Peking the Princess sent for me to come to her palace. I naturally supposed she was ill, and so took with me my medical outfit, but her first greeting was:

"I am not ill, nor is any member of my family, but I wanted to see you to have a talk with you about foreign countries."

She had prepared elaborate refreshments, and while we sat eating, she directed the conversation towards mines and mining, and then said:

"My husband, the Prince, is very much interested in this subject, and believes that there are rich stores of ore on his principality in Mongolia."

"Indeed, that is very interesting," I answered.

"You know, of course, it is a rule," she went on to say, "that no prince of the realm is allowed to go more than a few miles from the capital without special permission from the throne."

"No, I was not aware of that fact."

She then went on to say that her husband was anxious to attend the St. Louis Exposition, and study this subject in America, but so long as these hindrances remained it was impossible for him to do so. She then said:

"I am very much interested in the educational system of your honourable country, and especially in your method of conducting girls' schools."

"Would you not like to come and visit our girls' high school?" I asked.

"I should be delighted," she replied.

This she did, and before leaving the capital she sent for a Japanese lady teacher whom she took with her to her Mongolian home, where she established a school for Mongolian girls.

In this school she had a regular system of rules, which did not tally with the undisciplined methods of the Mongolians, and it was amusing to hear her tell how it was often necessary for the Prince to go about in the morning and wake up the girls in order to get them into school at nine o'clock.

The next time she came to Peking she brought with her seventeen of her brightest girls to see the sights of the city and visit some of the girls' schools, both Christian and non-Christian. Everything was new to them and it was interesting to hear their remarks as I showed them through our home and our high school. When the Princess returned to Mongolia she took with her a cultured young Chinese lady of unusual literary attainments to teach the Chinese classics in the school. This is the only school I have known that was established by a Manchu princess, for Mongolian girls, and taught by Chinese and Japanese teachers. This young lady was the daughter of the president of the Board of Rites, head examiner for literary degrees for all China, and was himself a chuang yuan, or graduate of the highest standing. Before going, this Chinese teacher had small bound feet, but she had not been long on the plains before she unbound her feet, dressed herself in suitable clothing, and went with the Princess and the Japanese teacher for a horseback ride across the plains in the early morning, a thing which a Chinese lady, under ordinary circumstances, is never known to do. The school is still growing in size and usefulness.

Prince Su's third sister is married to a commoner, but as is usual with these ladies who marry beneath their own rank, she retains her maiden title of Third Princess, by which she is always addressed.

"How did you obtain your education?" I once asked her.

"During my childhood," she answered, "my mother was opposed to having her daughters learn to read, but like most wealthy families, she had old men come into the palace to read stories or recite poetry for our entertainment. I not infrequently followed the old men out, bought the books from which they read, and then bribed some of the eunuchs to teach me to read them. In this way I obtained a fair knowledge of the Chinese character."

She is as deeply interested in the new educational movement among girls as is her sister. When this desire for Western education began, she organized a school, in which she has eighty girls or more, taken from various grades of society, whom she and some of her friends, in addition to employing teachers and providing the school-rooms, gave a good part of their time to teaching the Chinese classics, while a Japanese lady taught them calisthenics and the rudiments of Western mathematics.

She is aggressively pro-foreign, and is ready to do anything that will contribute to the success of the new educational movement, and the freedom of the Chinese woman. On one occasion when the Chinese in Peking undertook to raise a fund for famine relief, they called a large public meeting to which men and women were alike invited, the first meeting of the kind ever held in Peking. Such a gathering could not have occurred before the Boxer rebellion. The Third Princess, having promised to help provide the programme, took a number of her girls, and on a large rostrum, had them go through their calisthenic exercises for the entertainment of the audience. On another occasion she took all her girls to a private box at a Chinese circus, where men and women acrobats and horseback riders performed in a ring not unlike that of our own circus riders. In this circus small-footed women rode horseback as well as the women in our own circus, and one woman with bound feet lay down on her back, balanced a cart-wheel, weighing at least a hundred pounds, on her feet, whirling it rapidly all the time, and then after it stopped she continued to hold it while two women and a child climbed on top. The Princess was determined to allow her girls to have all the advantages the city afforded.

At the school of this Third Princess I once attended a unique memorial service. A lady of Hang Chou, finding it impossible to secure sufficient money by ordinary methods for the support of a school that she had established, cut a deep gash in her arm and then sat in the temple court during the day of the fair, with a board beside her on which was inscribed the explanation of her unusual conduct. This brought her in some three hundred ounces of silver with which she provided for her school the first year. When it was exhausted and she could get no more, she wrote letters to the officials of her province, in which she asked for subscriptions and urged the importance of female education, to which she said she was willing to give her life. To her appeal the officials paid no heed, and she finally wrote other letters renewing her request for help to establish the school, after which she committed suicide. The letters were sent, and later published in the local and general newspapers. Memorial services were held in various parts of the empire at all of which funds were gathered not only for her school but for establishing other schools throughout the provinces.

The school of the Third Princess at which this service was held was profusely decorated. Chinese flags floated over the gates and door-ways. Beautifully written scrolls, telling the reason for the service and lauding the virtues of the lady, covered the walls of the schoolroom. At the second entrance there was a table at which sat a scribe who took our name and address and gave us a copy of the "order of exercises." Here we were met by the Third Princess, who conducted us into the main hall. Opposite the doorway was hung a portrait of the lady, wreathed in artificial flowers, and painted by a Chinese artist. A table stood before it on which was a plate of fragrant quinces, candles, and burning incense, giving it the appearance of a shrine. Pots of flowers were arranged about the room, which was unusually clean and beautiful. The Chinese guests bowed three times before the picture on entering the room, which I thought a very pretty ceremony.

The girls of this school, to the number of about sixty, appeared in blue uniform, courtesying to the guests. Sixteen other girls' schools of Peking were represented either by teachers or pupils or both. One of the boys' schools came en masse, dressed in military uniform, led by a band, and a drillmaster with a sword dangling at his side. Addresses were made by both ladies and gentlemen, chief among whom were the Third Princess and the editress of the Woman's Daily Newspaper, the only woman's daily at that time in the world, who urged the importance of the establishment and endowment of schools for the education of girls throughout the empire.

 

XV The Chinese Ladies of Rank

Though your husband may be wealthy, You should never be profuse; There should always be a limit To the things you eat and use. If your husband should be needy, You should gladly share the same, And be diligent and thrifty, And no other people blame. --"The Primer for Girls," Translated by I. T. H.

XV THE CHINESE LADIES OF RANK[2]

[2] Taken from Mrs. Headland's note-book.

The Manchu lady's ideal of beauty is dignity, and to this both her deportment and her costume contribute in a well-nigh equal degree. Her hair, put up on silver or jade jewelled hairpins, decorated with many flowers, is very heavy, and easily tilted to one side or the other if not carried with the utmost sedateness. Her long garments, reaching from her shoulders to the floor, give to her tall figure an added height, and the central elevation of from four to six inches to the soles of her daintily embroidered slippers, compel her to stand erect and walk slowly and majestically. She laughs but little, seldom jests, but preserves a serious air in whatever she does.

The Chinese lady, on the contrary, aspires to be petite, winsome, affable and helpless. She laughs much, enjoys a joke, and is always good-natured and chatty.

One of their poets thus describes a noted beauty:

"At one moment with tears her bright eyes would be swimming, The next with mischief and fun they'd be brimming. Thousands of sonnets were written in praise of them, Li Po wrote a song for each separate phase of them.

"Bashfully, swimmingly, pleadingly, scoffingly, Temptingly, languidly, lovingly, laughingly, Witchingly, roguishly, playfully, naughtily, Willfully, waywardly, meltingly, haughtily, Gleamed the eyes of Yang Kuei Fei.

"Her ruby lips and peach-bloom cheeks,

Would match the rose in hue, If one were kissed the other speaks, With blushes, kiss me too."

She combs her hair in a neat coil on the back of her head, uses few flowers, but instead prefers profuse decorations of pearls. Her upper garment extends but little below her knees, and her lower garment is an accordion-plaited skirt, from beneath which the pointed toes of her small bound feet appear as she walks or sways on her "golden lilies," as if she were a flower blown by the wind, to which the Chinese love to compare her. Her waist is a "willow waist" in poetry, and her "golden lilies," as her tiny feet are often called, are not more than two or three inches long--so small that it not infrequently requires the assistance of a servant or two to help her to walk at all. And though she may not need them she affects to be so helpless as to require their aid.

Until very recently education was discouraged rather than sought by the Manchu lady. Many of the princesses could not read the simplest book nor write a letter to a friend, but depended upon educated eunuchs to perform these services for them. The Chinese lady on the contrary can usually read and write with ease, and the education of some of them is equal to that of a Hanlin.

Socially the ladies of these two classes never meet. Their husbands may be of equal rank and well known to each other in official life, but the ladies have no wish to meet each other. One day while the granddaughter of one of the Chinese Grand Secretaries was calling upon me, the sisters of Prince Ching and Prince Su were announced. When they entered I introduced them. The dignity of the two princesses when presented led me to fear that we would have a cold time together. I explained who my Chinese lady friend was, and they answered in a formal way (wai t ou tou jen te, li to'u k'e pu jen te) "the gentlemen of our respective households are well acquainted, not so the ladies," but the ice did not melt. For a time I did my best to find a topic of mutual interest, but it was like trying to mix oil and water. I was about to give up in despair when my little Chinese friend, observing the dilemma in which I was placed, and the effort I was making to relieve the situation, threw herself into the conversation with such vigour and vivacity, and suggested topics of such interest to the others as to charm these reserved princesses, and it was not long until they were talking together in a most animated way.

One of the Manchu ladies expressed regret at the falling of her hair and the fact that she was getting bald. "Why," said my little Chinese friend, "after a severe illness not long since, I lost all my hair, but I received a prescription from a friend which restored it all, and just look at the result," she continued turning her pretty head with its great coils of shiny black hair. "I will be delighted to let you have it." The Manchu princesses finally rose to depart, and in their leave-taking, they were as cordial to my little Chinese friend, who had made herself so agreeable, as they were to me, for which I shall ever be grateful.

After they had gone I asked:

"Why is it that the Manchu and Chinese ladies do not intermingle in a social way?"

"The cause dates back to the beginning of the Manchu dynasty," she responded. "When the Chinese men adopted the Manchu style of wearing the queue, it was stipulated that they should not interfere with the style of the woman's dress, and that no Chinese should be taken to the palace as concubines or slaves to the Emperor. We have therefore always held ourselves aloof from the Manchus. Our men did this to protect us, and as a result no Chinese lady has ever been received at court, except, of course, the painting teacher of the Empress Dowager, who, before she could enter the palace, was compelled to unbind her feet, adopt the Manchu style of dress and take a Manchu name."

"Is not the Empress Dowager very much opposed to foot-binding? Why has she not forbidden it?"

"She has issued edicts recommending them to give it up, but to forbid it is beyond her power. That would be interfering with the Chinese ladies' dress."

"Do the Manchus consider themselves superior to the Chinese?"

"It is a poor rule that will not work both ways. Have you never noticed that in his edicts the Emperor speaks of his Manchu slaves and his Chinese subjects?"

Among my lady friends is one whose father died when she was a child, and she was brought up in the home of her grandfather who was himself a viceroy. She had always been accustomed to every luxury that wealth could buy. Clothed in the richest embroidered silks and satins, decorated with the rarest pearls and precious stones, she had serving women and slave girls to wait upon her, and humour her every whim. One day when we were talking of the Boxer insurrection she told me the following story:

"Some years ago," she said, "my steward brought me a slave girl whom he had bought from her father on the street. She was a bright intelligent and obedient little girl, and I soon became very fond of her. She told me one day that her grandmother was a Christian, and that she had been baptized and attended a Christian school. Her father, however, was an opium-smoker, and had pawned everything he had, and finally when her grandmother was absent had taken her and sold her to get money to buy opium. She asked me to send a messenger to her grandmother and tell her that she had a good home.

"I was delighted to do so for I knew the old woman would be distressed lest the child had been sold to a life of shame, or had found a cruel mistress. Unfortunately, however, my messenger could find no trace of the grandmother, as the neighbours informed him that she had left shortly after the disappearance of the child.

"As the years passed the child grew into womanhood. She was very capable, kind and thoughtful for others and I learned to depend upon her in many ways. She was very devoted to me, and sought to please me in every way she could. She always spoke of herself as a Christian and refused to worship our gods. When the Boxer troubles began I took my house-servants and went to my grandfather's home thinking that the Boxers would not dare disturb the households of such great officials as the viceroys. But I soon found that they respected no one who had liberal tendencies.

"One day there was a proclamation posted to the effect that all Christians were to be turned over to them, and that any one found concealing a Christian would themselves be put to death. My grandmother came to my apartments and wanted me to send my slave girl to the Boxers. We talked about it for some time but I steadfastly refused. When the Boxers had procured all they could by that method they announced that they were about to make a house-to-house search, and any household harbouring Christians would be annihilated."

"But how would they know that your slave was a Christian?" I inquired.

"Have you not heard," she asked, "that the Boxers claimed that after going through certain incantations, they could see a cross upon the forehead of any who had been baptized?"

"And did you believe they could?"

"I did then but I do not now. Indeed we all did. My grandmother came to me and positively forbade me to keep the slave in her home. After she had gone the girl came and knelt at my feet and begged me to save her! How could I send her out to death when she had been so kind and faithful to me? I finally decided upon a plan to save her. I determined to flee with her to the home of an uncle who lived in a town a hundred miles or more from Peking, where I hoped the Boxers were less powerful than they were at the capital.

"This uncle was the lieutenant-governor of the province and had always been very fond of me, and I knew if I could reach him I should win his sympathy and his aid. But how was this to be done? All travellers were suspected, searched and examined. For two women to be travelling alone, when the country was in such a state of unrest, could not but bring upon themselves suspicion, and should we be searched, the cross upon the forehead would surely be found, and we would be condemned to the cruel tortures in which the Boxers were said to delight.

"After much thought and planning the only possible method seemed to be to flee as beggars. You know women beggars are found upon the roads at all times and they excite little suspicion. Then in the hot summer it is not uncommon for them to wrap their head and forehead in a piece of cloth to protect them from the fierce rays of the sun. In this way I hoped to conceal the cross from observation in case we came into the presence of the Boxers. We confided our plans to a couple of the women servants whom we could trust, and asked them to procure proper outfits for us. They did so, and oh! what dirty old rags they were. The servants wept as they took off and folded up my silk garments and clad me in this beggar's garb."

"But your skin is so soft and fair, not at all like the skin of a woman exposed to the sun; and your black, shiny hair is not at all rusty and dirty like the hair of a beggar woman. I should think these facts would have caused your detection," I urged.

"That was easily remedied. We stained our faces, necks, hands and arms, and we took down our hair and literally rolled it in dust which the servants brought from the street. Oh! but it was nasty! such an odour! It was only the saving of the life of that faithful slave that could have induced me to do it. I had to take off my little slippers and wrap my feet in dirty rags such as beggars wear. We could take but a little copper cash with us. To be seen with silver or gold would have at once brought suspicion upon us, while bank-notes were useless in those days.

"In the early morning, before any one was astir we were let out of a back gate. It was the first time I had ever walked on the street. I had always been accustomed to going in my closed cart with outriders and servants. I shrank from staring eyes, and thought every glance was suspicious. My slave was more timid than I and so I must take the initiative. I had been accustomed to seeing street beggars from behind the screened windows of my cart ever since I was a child and so I knew how I ought to act, but at first it was difficult indeed. Soon, however, we learned to play our part, though it seems now like a hideous dream. We kept on towards the great gate through which we passed out of the city on to the highway which led to our destination.

"The first time we met a Boxer procession my knees knocked together in my fear of detection but they passed by without giving us a glance. We met them often after this, and before we finished our journey I learned to doubt their claim to detect Christians by the sign of the cross.

"We ate at the roadside booths, slept often in a gateway or by the side of a wall under the open sky, and after several days' wandering, we reached the yamen of my uncle. But we dare not enter and reveal our identity, lest we implicate them, for we found the Boxers strong everywhere, and even the officials feared their prowess. We hung about the yamen begging in such a way as not to arouse suspicion, until an old servant who had been in the family for many years, and whom I knew well, came upon the street. I followed him begging until we were out of earshot of others, and then told him in a singsong, whining tone, such as beggars use, who I was and why I was there, and asked him to let my uncle know, and said that if they would open the small gate in the evening we would be near and could enter unobserved.

"At first he could not believe it was I, for by this time we indeed looked like veritable beggars, but he was finally convinced and promised to tell my uncle. After nightfall he opened the gate and led us in by a back passage to my aunt's apartments where she and my uncle were waiting for me. They both burst into tears as they beheld my plight. Two old serving women, who had been many years in the family, helped us to change our clothes and gave us a bath and food. My feet had suffered the most. They were swollen and ulcerated and the dirty rags and dust adhering to the sores had left them in a wretched condition. It took many baths before we were clean, and weeks before my feet were healed.

"We remained with my uncle until the close of the Boxer trouble, and until my grandfather's return from Hsian where he had gone with the Empress Dowager and the court, and then I came back to Peking."

"Your grandmother must have felt ashamed when she heard how hard it had gone with you," I remarked.

"We never mentioned the matter when talking together. That was a time when every one was for himself. Death stared us all in the face."

"Where is your slave girl now? I should like to see her," I remarked.

"After the troubles were over I married her to a young man of my uncle's household. I will send for her and bring her to see you."

She did so. I found she had forgotten much of what she had learned of Christianity, but she remembered that there was but one God and that Jesus Christ was His Son to whom alone she should pray. She also remembered that as a small child she had been baptized, and that in school she had been taught that "we should love one another"; this was about the extent of her Gospel, but it had touched the heart of her charming little mistress and had saved her life.

There were sometimes amusing things happened when these Chinese ladies called. My husband among other things taught astronomy in the university. He had a small telescope with which he and the students often examined the planets, and they were especially interested in Jupiter and his moons. One evening, contrary to her custom, this same friend was calling after dark, and when the students had finished with Jupiter and his moons, my husband invited us to view them, as they were especially clear on that particular evening.

After she had looked at them for a while, and as my husband was closing up the telescope, she exclaimed: "That is the kind of an instrument that some foreigners sent as a present to my grandfather while he was viceroy, but it was larger than this one."

"And did he use it?" asked my husband.

"No, we did not know what it was for. Besides my grandfather was too busy with the affairs of the government to try to understand it."

"And where is it now?" asked Mr. Headland, thinking that the viceroy might be willing to donate it to the college.

"I do not know," she answered. "The servants thought it was a pump and tried to pump water with it, but it would not work. It is probably among the junk in some of the back rooms."

"I wonder if we could not find it and fix it up," my husband persisted.

"I am afraid not," she answered. "The last I saw of it, the servants had taken the glass out of the small end and were using it to look at insects on the bed."

One day when one of my friends came to call I said to her: "It is a long time since I have seen you. Have you been out of the city?"

"Yes, I have been spending some months with my father-in-law, the viceroy of the Canton provinces. His wife has died, and I have returned to Peking to get him a concubine."

"How old is he?" I inquired.

"Seventy-two years," she replied.

"And how will you undertake to secure a concubine for such an old man?"

"I shall probably buy one."

A few weeks afterwards she called again having with her a good-looking young woman of about seventeen, her hair beautifully combed, her face powdered and painted, and clothed in rich silk and satin garments, whom she introduced as the young lady procured for her father-in-law. She explained that she had bought her from a poor country family for three hundred and fifty ounces of silver.

"Don't you think it is cruel for parents to sell their daughters in this way?" I asked.

"Perhaps," she answered. "But with the money they received for her, they can buy land enough to furnish them a good support all their life. She will always have rich food, fine clothing and an easy time, with nothing to do but enjoy herself, while if she had remained at home she must have married some poor man who might or might not have treated her well, and for whom she would have to work like a slave. Now she is nominally a slave with nothing to do and with every comfort, in addition to what she has done for her family."

While we were having tea she asked to see Mr. Headland, as many of the older of my friends did. I invited him in, and as he entered the dining-room the young woman stepped out into the hall.

My friend greeted my husband, and with a mysterious nod of her head in the direction of the young woman she said: "Chiu shih na ke,--that's it."

 

XVI The Social Life of the Chinese Woman

The manners and customs of the Chinese, and their social characteristics, have employed many pens and many tongues, and will continue to furnish all inexhaustible field for students of sociology, of religion, of philosophy, of civilization, for centuries to come. Such studies, however, scarcely touch the province of the practical, at least as yet, for one principal reason--that the subject is so vast, the data are so infinite, as to overwhelm the student rather than assist him in sound generalizations. --A. R. Colquhoun in "China in Transformation."

XVI THE SOCIAL LIFE OF THE CHINESE WOMAN

The home life of a people is too sacred to be touched except by the hand of friendship. Our doors are closed to strangers, locked to enemies, and opened only to those of our own race who are in harmony and sympathy with us. What then shall we say when people of an alien race come seeking admission? They must bring some social distinction,--letters of introduction, or an ability to help us in ways in which we cannot help ourselves.

In the case of a people as exclusive as the Chinese this is especially true, so that with the exception of one or two women physicians and the wife of one of our diplomats no one has ever been admitted in a social as well as professional way to the women's apartments of the homes of the better class of the Chinese people.

A Chinese home is different from our own. It is composed of many one-story buildings, around open courts, one behind the other, and sometimes covers several acres of ground. Then it is divided into men's and women's apartments, the men receiving their friends in theirs and the women likewise receiving their friends by a side gate in their own apartments, which are at the rear of the dwelling. A wealthy man usually, in addition to his wife, has one or more concubines, and each of these ladies has an apartment of her own for herself and her children,--though all the children of all the concubines reckon as belonging to the first wife.

I have heard Sir Robert Hart tell an amusing incident which occurred in Peking. He said that the Chinese minister appointed to the court of Saint James came to call on him before setting out upon his journey. After conversing for some time he said:

"I should be glad to see Lady Hart. I believe it is customary in calling on a foreign gentleman to see his lady, is it not?"

"It is," said Sir Robert, "and I should be delighted to have you see her, but Lady Hart is in England with our children, and has not been here for twenty years."

"Ah, indeed, then perhaps I might see your second wife."

"That you might, if I had one. But the customs of our country do not allow us to have a second wife. Indeed they would imprison us if we were to have two wives."

"How singular," said the official with a nod of his head. "You do not appreciate the advantages of this custom of ours."

That there are advantages in this custom from the Chinese point of view, I have no doubt. But from certain things I have heard I fear there are disadvantages as well. One day the head eunuch from the palace of one of the leading princes in Peking came to ask my wife, who was their physician, to go to see some of the women or children who were ill. It was drawing near to the New Year festival and, of course, they had their own absorbing topics of conversation in the servants' courts. I said to him:

"The Prince has a good many children, has he not?"

"Twenty-three," he answered.

"How many concubines has he?" I inquired.

"Three," he replied, "but he expects to take on two more after the holidays."

"Doesn't it cause trouble in a family for a man to have so many women about? I should think they would be jealous of each other."

"Ah," said he, with a wave of his hand and a shake of his head, "that is a topic that is difficult to discuss. Naturally if this woman sees him taking to that woman, this one is going to eat vinegar."

They do "eat vinegar," but perhaps as little of it as any people who live in the way in which they live, for the Chinese have organized their home life as nearly on a governmental basis as any people in the world.

In addition to the wife and concubines, each son when he marries brings his wife home to a parental court, and all these sisters-in-law, or daughters-in-law add so much to the complications of living, for each must have her own retinue of servants.

Young people in China are all engaged by their parents without their knowledge or consent. This was very unsatisfactory to the young people of the old regime, and it is being modified in the new. One day one of my students in discussing this matter said to me:

"Our method of getting a wife is very much better than either the old Chinese method or your foreign method."

"How is that?" I asked.

"Well," said he, "according to the old Chinese custom a man could never see his wife until she was brought to his house. But we can see the girls in public meetings, we have sisters in the girls' school, they have brothers in the college, and when we go home during vacation we can learn all about each other."

"But how do you consider it better than our method?" I persisted.

"Why, you see, when you have found the girl you want, you have to go and get her yourself, while we can send a middleman to do it for us."

I still argued that by our method we could become better acquainted with the young lady.

"Yes," he said, "that is true; but doesn't it make you awfully mad if you ask a lady to marry you and she refuses?" and it must be confessed that this was a difficult question to answer without compromising one's self.

The rigour of the old regime was apparently modified by giving the young lady a chance to refuse. About ten days before the marriage, two ladies are selected by the mother of the young man to carry a peculiar ornament made of ebony and jade, or jade alone, or red lacquer, to the home of the prospective bride. This ornament is called the ju yi, which means "According to my wishes." If the lady receives it into her own hands it signifies her willingness to become his bride; if she rejects it, the negotiations are at an end, though I have never heard of a girl who refused the ju yi.[3]

[3] The remainder of the chapter is from Mrs. Headland's note-book.

Very erroneous ideas of the life and occupations of the Chinese ladies of the noble and official classes are held by those not conversant with their home life. The Chinese woman is commonly regarded as little better than a secluded slave, who whiles away the tedious hours at an embroidery frame, where with her needle she works those delicate and intricate pieces of embroidery for which she is famous throughout the world. In reality, a Chinese lady has little time to give to such work. Her life is full of the most exacting social duties. Few American ladies in the whirl of society in Washington or New York have more social functions to attend or duties to perform. I have often been present in the evening when the head eunuch brought to the ruling lady of the home (and the head of the home in China is the woman, not the man) an ebony tablet on which was written in red ink the list of social functions the ladies were to attend the following day.

She would select from the list such as she and her unmarried daughters could attend,--the daughters always going with their mother and not with their sisters-in-law,--then she would apportion the other engagements to her daughters-in-law, who would attend them in her stead.

The Chinese lady in Peking sleeps upon a brick bed, one half of the room being built up a foot and a half above the floor, with flues running through it; and in the winter a fire is built under the bed, so that, instead of having one hot brick in her bed, she has a hundred. She rises about eight. She has a large number of women servants, a few slave girls, and if she belongs to the family of a prince, she has several eunuchs, these latter to do the heavy work about the household. Each servant has her own special duties, and resents being asked to perform those of another. When my lady awakes a servant brings her a cup of hot tea and a cake made of wheat or rice flour. After eating this a slave girl presents her with a tiny pipe with a long stem from which she takes a few whiffs. Two servants then appear with a large polished brass basin of very hot water, towels, soaps, preparations of honey to be used on her face and hands while they are still warm and moist from the bathing. After the bath they remove the things and disappear, and two other women take their places, with a tray on which are combs, brushes, hair-pomades, and the framework and accessories needed for combing her hair. Then begins a long and tedious operation that may continue for two hours. Finally the hair is ready for the ornaments, jewels and flowers which are brought by another servant on a large tray. The mistress selects the ones she wishes, placing them in her hair with her own hands.

Some of these flowers are exquisite. The Chinese are expert at making artificial flowers which are true to nature in every detail. Often above the flower a beautiful butterfly is poised on a delicate spring, and looks so natural that it is easy to be deceived into believing it to be alive. When the jasmine is in bloom beautiful creations are made of these tiny flowers by means of standards from which protrude fine wires on which the flowers are strung in the shape of butterflies or other symbols, and the flowers massed in this way make a very effective ornament. With the exception of the jasmine the flowers used in the hair are all artificial, though natural flowers are worn in season--roses in summer, orchids in late summer, and chrysanthemums in autumn.

The prevailing idea with the Chinese ladies is that the foreign woman does not comb her hair. I have often heard my friends apologizing to ladies whom they have brought to see me for the first time, and on whom they wanted me to make a good impression, by saying:

"You must not mind her hair; she is really so busy she has no time to comb it. All her time is spent in acts of benevolence."

At the first audience when the Empress Dowager received the foreign ladies, she presented each of them with two boxes of combs, one ivory inlaid with gold, the other ordinary hard wood, and the set was complete even to the fine comb. One cannot but wonder if Her Majesty had not heard of the untidy locks of the foreign woman, which she attributed to a lack of proper combs.

After the hair has been properly combed and ornamented, cosmetics of white and carmine are brought for the face and neck. The Manchu lady uses these in great profusion, her Chinese sister more sparingly. No Chinese lady, unless a widow or a woman past sixty, is supposed to appear in the presence of her family without a full coating of powder and paint. A lady one day complained to me of difficulty in lifting her eyelids, and consulted me as to the reason.

"Perhaps," said I, "they are partially paralyzed by the lead in your cosmetics. Wash off the paint and see if the nerves do not recover their tone."

"But," said she, "I would not dare appear in the presence of my husband or family without paint and powder; it would not be respectable."

The final touch to the face is the deep carmine spot on the lower lip.

The robing then begins. And what beautiful robes they are! the softest silks, over which are worn in summer the most delicate of embroidered grenadines, or in winter, rich satins lined with costly furs, each season calling for a certain number and kind. She then decorates herself with her jewels,--earrings, bracelets, beads, rings, charms, embroidered bags holding the betel-nut, and the tiny mirror in its embroidered case with silk tassels. When these are hung on the buttons of her dress her outfit is complete, and she arises from her couch a wonderful creation, from her glossy head, with every hair in place, to the toe of her tiny embroidered slipper. But it has taken the time of a half-dozen servants for three hours to get these results.

To one accustomed to the Chinese or Manchu mode of dress, she appears very beautiful. The rich array of colours, the embroidered gowns, and the bright head-dress, make a striking picture. Often as the ladies of a home or palace came out on the veranda to greet me, or bid me adieu, I have been impressed with their wonderful beauty, to which our own dull colours, and cloth goods, suffer greatly in comparison, and I could not blame these good ladies for looking upon our toilets with more or less disdain.

It is now after eleven o'clock and her breakfast is ready to be served in another room. Word that the leading lady of the household is about to appear is sent to the other apartments. Hurried finishing touches are given to toilets, for all daughters, daughters-in-law and grandchildren must be ready to receive her in the outer room when she appears leaning on the arms of two eunuchs if she is a princess, or on two stout serving women if a Chinese.

According to her rank, each one in turn takes a step towards her and gives a low courtesy in which the left knee touches the floor. Even the children go through this same formality. All are gaily dressed, with hair bedecked and faces painted like her own. She inclines her head but slightly. These are the members of her household over whom she has sway--her little realm. While her mother-in-law lived she was under the same rigorous rule.

In China where there are so many women in the home it is necessary to have a head--one who without dispute rules with autocratic sway. This is the mother-in-law. When she dies the first wife takes her place as head of the family. A concubine may be the favourite of the husband. He may give her fine apartments to live in, many servants to wait on her, and every luxury he can afford; but there his power ends. The first wife is head of the household, is legally mother of all the children born to any or all of the concubines her husband possesses. The children all call her mother, and the inferior wives recognize her as their mistress. She and her daughters, and daughters-in-law, attend social functions, receive friends, extend hospitality; but the concubines have no place in this, unless by her permission. When the time comes for selecting wives for her sons, it is the first wife who does it, although she may be childless herself. It is to her the brides of these sons are brought, and to her all deference is due. In rare cases, where the concubine has had the good fortune to supply the heir to the throne or to a princely family, she is raised to the position of empress or princess. But this is seldom done, and is usually remembered against the woman. She is never received with the same feeling as if she had been first wife.

One day I was asked to go to a palace to see a concubine who was ill. In such cases I always went directly to the Princess, and she took me to see the sick one. As we entered the room there was a nurse standing with a child in her arms, and the Princess called my attention to a blemish on its face.

"Can it be removed?" she asked.

I looked at it and, seeing that it would require but a minor operation, told her it could.

While attending to the patient, the nurse, fearing that the child would be hurt, left the room and another entered with another child.

"Now," said the Princess when we had finished with the patient, "we will attend to the child." And she called the woman to her.

"But," said the woman, "this is not the child."

"There," said the Princess, "you see I do not know my own children."

But I left our friend receiving the morning salutations of her household. These over, she dismisses them to their own apartments, where each mother sits down with her own children to her morning meal, waited on by her own servants. If there are still unmarried daughters, they remain with their mother; if none, she eats alone.

Since Peking is in the same latitude as Philadelphia my lady has the same kinds of fruit--apples, peaches, pears, apricots, the most delicious grapes, and persimmons as large as the biggest tomato you ever saw; indeed, the Chinese call the tomato the western red persimmon. She has mutton from the Mongolian sheep (the finest I have ever eaten), beef, pork or lamb; chicken, goose or duck; hare, pheasant or deer, or fish of whatever kind she may choose. Of course these are all prepared after the Chinese style, and be it said to the credit of their cooks that our children are always ready to leave our own table to partake of Chinese food.

After her meal she lingers for a few minutes over her cup of tea and her pipe. In the meantime her cart or sedan chair is prepared. Her outriders are ready with their horses; the eunuchs, women and slave girls who are to attend her, don their proper clothing and prepare the changes of raiment needed for the various functions of the day. One takes a basin and towels, another powder and rouge-boxes, another the pipe and embroidered tobacco pouch, not even forgetting the silver cuspidor, all of which will be needed. When she eats, a servant gives her a napkin to spread over her gown; after she has finished, another brings a basin of hot water, from which a towel is wrung with which she gently wipes her mouth and hands. Another brings her a glass of water, or she washes out her mouth with tea, and finally with the little mirror and rouge-box, while she still sits at table, she touches up her face with powder and she puts the paint upon her lip if it has disappeared.

When ready to start, her cart or chair is drawn up as close as possible to the gate of the women's apartments. A screen of blue silk eighteen or twenty feet long and six feet high, fastened to two wooden standards, is held by eunuchs to screen her while she enters the cart. The chair can be used only by princesses or wives of viceroys or members of the Grand Council. But whether chair or cart it is lined and cushioned with scarlet satin in summer, and in winter with fur. It is an accomplishment to enter a cart gracefully, but years of practice enable her to do so, and as soon as she is seated in Buddhist fashion, the curtain is dropped; her attendant seats herself cross-legged in front; several male servants rush up, seize the shafts of the cart, place the mule between them, fasten the buckles (it reminds one of the fire department), the driver takes his place at the lines, two other male servants take hold of the sides of the mule's bridle, and all is in readiness to start. Female servants and slave girls crowd into other carts, outriders mount their mules, and the cavalcade starts with my lady's cart ahead.

As they pass along the streets they are remarked upon by all foot-passengers, and as they near their destination, a courier on horseback spurs up his steed, makes a wild dash forward, leaps from his horse, and announces to the gate-keeper that the Princess will soon arrive. The news is at once taken to the servants of the women's apartments, where the name is given to a eunuch, who bears it to his mistress.

In the meantime the party has arrived. The mule is unhitched, cart drawn to the gate, screen spread, servant descends from front, and the Princess with the help of a couple of eunuchs is escorted through a long covered walk into the court, where the ladies of the household are waiting on the veranda to receive her. As she enters the gateway the hostess begins slowly to descend the steps. The others follow, and they meet in the centre of the court. Low courtesies are made by each and formal inquiries as to each other's health. There is a short stop and certain formalities before the guest will ascend the steps ahead of the hostess. The same occurs again on entering the reception hall, and taking the seat of honour. The luckless foreigner sometimes makes the mistake of conceding to her guest's modesty and allows her to take a lower seat, which is a grievous offense, and she is only pardoned on the plea that she is an outside barbarian, and does not understand the rules of polite society.

After she is seated tea is served, and servants bring in trays of sweetmeats, fruit, nuts, dried melon seeds, candied fruits and small cakes. One of these nuts is unique. It is an "English walnut" in which, after the outer hull is removed, the shell is self-cracked, and folds back in places so that the kernel appears. While partaking of these delicacies the object of the visit is announced, which is that her son is to be married on a certain date. Of course official announcements will be sent later, but she wishes to ask if her hostess will act as one of her representatives to carry the ju yi to the young lady's home.

After the ladies have chatted for a time about the latest official appointments, some court gossip, the latest fashion in robe ornamentation, and the newspaper news at home and abroad--for the Chinese have ten or a dozen newspapers in Peking, among which is the first woman's daily in the world--the hostess invites her guest to see her garden. They pass through a gateway into a court in which are great trees, shrubbery, fish-ponds spanned by marble bridges, covered walks, beautiful rockeries, wisteria vines laden with long clusters of blossoms, summer-houses, miniature mountains, and flowers of all kinds--a dream of beauty and loveliness. After returning to the house another cup of tea is served, and the guest rises to leave. But before doing so her servants bring in a bundle of clothing, and there in the presence of her hostess her outer robes are changed for others of a more official character.

Her next call is at the birthday celebration of the mother of one of the highest officials in the capital. I was present when she arrived. Instead of entering by the front gate, she went by a private entrance directly to the apartments of her hostess. Many guests (all gentlemen) were assembled in the front court, which was covered by a mat pavilion and converted into a theatre. The court was several feet lower than the adjoining house, the front windows of which were all removed and it was used for the accommodation of the lady guests. On the walls of the temporary structure hung red satin and silk banners on which were pinned ideographs cut out of gold foil or black velvet, expressive of beautiful sentiments and good wishes for many happy returns of the day. The Emperor, wishing to do this official honour, has informed him that on his mother's birthday an imperial present will be sent her which is a greater compliment than if sent to the official himself.

It was a gala scene. Fresh guests arrived every minute. The ladies in their most graceful and dignified courtesies were constantly bending as other guests were announced, while the gentlemen, with low bows and each shaking his own hands, received their friends. The clothes of the men, though of a more sombre hue, were richer in texture than those of the women. Heavy silks and satins, embroidered with dragons in gold thread, indicated that this one was a member of the imperial clan, while others equally rich were worn by the other gentlemen, each embroidered with the insignia of his rank. Hats adorned with red tassels, peacock feathers in jade holders, and the button denoting the rank of the wearer, were worn by all, as it would be a breach of etiquette to remove the hat in the presence of one's host.

It would also be bad form for the gentlemen to raise their eyes to where the ladies were seated; just as the latter, who must look over the heads of the men to view the theatre, would not be caught allowing their eyes to dwell upon any one. But no doubt these gentle little ladies have their own curiosity, and some means of finding out who's who among that court full of dragon- draped pillars of state; for I have never failed to receive a ready answer when I inquired as to the name of some handsome or distinguished-looking guest whose identity I wished to learn.

The theatre goes on interminably. Like my lady, they change their clothes, and the scenery, in full view of the audience. The plays are mostly historical, the women's parts being taken by men, as women are not allowed to go on the stage. One daring company, in imitation of the foreign custom, had a woman take one of the parts; but a special order from the viceroy put the company out of commission, and the leader in prison.

The guests were not expected to sit quietly watching the play, but moved about greeting each other and chatting at will. Servants brought tea and sweetmeats and finally a banquet was served. Near the close of the feast it was announced that the imperial present was coming, and the members of the household disappeared. The deep boom of the drums and the honk of the great horns were heard distinctly as they entered the street, and soon the yellow imperial chair, with its thirty-six bearers in the royal livery, moved slowly towards us between two rows of the male members of the household who had gone out and were kneeling on both sides of the street, knocking their heads as the chair passed them. The great gates were thrown open and there in the gateway the female members of the family knelt and kotowed as the chair passed by.

The presents were taken into a room specially prepared for their reception. The head imperial eunuch placed them in position, and, with a low obeisance, departed, the richer by several hundred ounces of silver. The gentlemen guests were first invited to view these tokens of imperial favour. In order of their rank they entered, prostrating themselves before them. Later we ladies were invited into the room, where the Chinese all kotowed. What now were these wonderful gifts before which these men and women of rank and noble birth were falling upon their faces?

They were two squares of red paper, eighteen inches across, printed in outline of the imperial dragon, on which the characters for long life and happiness were written with the imperial pen; and a small yellow satin box in which sat a little gold Buddha not more than an inch in height! It was the thought, not the value, which elicited all this appreciation.

Shall we go with this busy little princess to another festal occasion? I was with her again. It was at the home of the sister of one of the sweetest little princesses in the whole empire. Her baby was a month old and she was celebrating what they call the full month feast. Instead, however, of having the usual feasting and theatricals, the mother, who, for days after her child was born, lay at death's door, sent out invitations to her friends to come and fast and give thanks to the gods for sparing her life.

Though the child was a month old the mother was too wan and weak to leave her couch. She was dressed, however, in festal robes, and received her guests with many gracious words and apologies. Of course only ladies were present. The great covered court was converted into a large shrine. One could imagine they were looking into the main hall of a temple, only that everything was so clean and beautiful. From the centre of the shrine a Goddess of Mercy looked down complacently upon the array of fruit, nuts, sweetmeats and cakes spread out before her. Many candles in their tall candlesticks were burning on every side. Before her was a great bronze incense-burner, from which many sticks of incense sent out their fragrant odour on the air. As each guest passed through the court, she took a stick from the pile, lit it, and, with a word of prayer, added it to the number.

After the guests had all arrived a princess--sister of the hostess--accompanied by two of the leading guests, descended into the paved court and took her place before the altar. Deep-toned bells were touched by small boys whose shaven heads and priestly robes denoted that they, like little Samuel, were being brought up within the courts of the temple. The Princess took a great bunch of incense in her two hands, one of her attendants lit it with a torch prepared for that purpose, the flame and smoke ascended amid the deep tones of the bells, as she prostrated herself before the goddess. She looked like a beautiful fairy herself as she stood with the flaming bunch of incense held high above her head. Three times she prostrated herself and nine times she bent forward, fulfilling all the requirements of the law.

At the close of this ceremony the ladies were invited to partake of a feast prepared wholly of vegetables and vegetable oils. It requires much more skill to prepare such a feast than when meat and animal oils are used. The food furnished interesting topics for discussion. Most of it was prepared by various temples, each being celebrated for some particular dish, which it was asked to provide for the occasion.

It is not uncommon for a Chinese lady to take upon herself a vow in which she promises the gods to observe certain days of each month as fast days, on condition that they restore to health a mother, father, husband or child. No matter what banquet she attends she need only mention to her hostess that she has a vow and she is made the chief guest, helping others but eating nothing herself. After this full month feast the baby was seen, its presents admired, the last cup of tea drunk, the farewells said, and we all returned home.

 

XVII The Chinese Ladies--Their Ills

My home is girdled by a limpid stream, And there in summer days life's movements pause, Save where some swallow flits from beam to beam, And the wild sea-gull near and nearer draws.

The good wife rules a paper board for chess; The children beat a fish-hook out of wire; My ailments call for physic more or less, What else should this poor frame of mine require? --"Tu Fu," Translated.

XVII THE CHINESE LADIES--THEIR ILLS[4]

[4] Taken from Mrs. Headland's note-book.

One day a eunuch dashed into the back gate of our compound in Peking, rode up to the door of the library, dismounted from his horse, and handed a letter in a red envelope to the house servant who met him on the steps.

"What is the matter?" asked the boy.

"The Princess is ill," replied the servant.

"What Princess?" further inquired the boy.

"Our Princess," was the reply.

"Oh, you are from the palace near the west gate?"

"Yes," and the boy and the servant continued their conversation until the former had learned all that the letter contained, whereupon he brought me the message.

I opened the letter, written in the Chinese ideographs, and called the messenger in.

"Is the Princess very ill?" I inquired.

"Not very," he answered, "but she has been indisposed for several days."

"When does she want me to go?" I inquired, for I had long ago learned that a few inquiries often brought out interesting and valuable information.

"At once," he answered; "the cart will be here in a few minutes."

By the time I had made ready my medical outfit the cart had arrived. It was very much like a great Saratoga trunk on two wheels. It was without seat and without springs, but filled with thick cushions, and as I had learned to sit tailor fashion it was not entirely uncomfortable to ride in. It had gauze curtains in summer, and was lined with quilted silk or fur in winter, and was a comfortable conveyance.

When I reached the palace I was met by the head eunuch, who conducted me at once to the apartments of the Princess. Her reception room was handsomely furnished with rich, carved, teak-wood furniture after the Manchu fashion, with one or two large, comfortable, leather-covered easy chairs of foreign make. Clocks sat upon the tables and window-sills, and fine Swiss watches hung on the walls. Beautiful jade and other rich Chinese ornaments were arranged in a tasteful way about the room. On the wall hung a picture painted by the Empress Dowager, a gift to the Prince on his birthday.

After a moment's waiting the Princess appeared attended by her women and slave girls.

"I beg your pardon for not having my hair properly dressed," she said, as she took my hands in hers, the custom of these Manchu princesses and even the Empress Dowager herself, in greeting foreign ladies. "I welcome you back to Peking after your summer vacation."

When the usual salutations had been passed she told me her trouble and I gave her the proper medicine, with minute instructions as to how to take it, which I also repeated to her women.

"The cause of my illness," she explained, "is over-fatigue. I had to be present at court on the eighth of the eighth month and I became very tired from standing all day."

"But could you not sit down?" I asked.

"Not in the presence of the Empress Dowager," she replied.

"Of course, I know you could not sit down in the presence of Her Majesty, but could you not withdraw and rest a while?" I inquired.

"Not that day. It was a busy and tiresome day for us all," she replied.

While we were talking the young Princess, her son's wife, came in and greeted her mother-in-law in a formal but kindly way, and gave her hands to me just as the Princess had done. She remained standing all the time she was in the room, as did four of the secondary princesses or wives of her husband. They were all beautifully dressed, but they are beneath the Princess in rank, and so must stand in her presence. If the Prince's mother had come in, as she often did when I was there, the Princess would have to stand and wait on her. All Manchu families are very particular in this respect.

"You will be interested," said the Princess, "in one phase of our visit to the palace." Then turning to one of her women she said: "Bring me those two pairs of shoes."

"These," she explained, "are like some made by my mother-in-law and myself as presents for the Empress Dowager. On the eighth of the eighth month we have a feast, when the ladies of the royal household are invited into the palace, and our custom is for each of us to present Her Majesty with a pair of shoes."

The shoes were daintily embroidered, though not so pretty as some I have seen the Empress Dowager wear. Some of her shoes are decorated with beautiful pearls and others are covered with precious stones.

"The Empress Dowager," continued the Princess, "is very vain of her small feet; though," she continued, as she put her own foot out, encased in the daintiest little embroidered slipper of light-blue satin, "it is not so small as my own."

It seemed very human to hear this delicate little Princess make a remark of this kind. Of course, both she and the Empress Dowager have natural feet.

It was late in the afternoon, some months after my visit to the Princess, that a very different call came for my services.

The boy came in and told me that a man wanted me to go to see his wife, who lived in the southern city outside the Ha-ta gate. It has always been my custom never to refuse any one whether they be rich or poor, and so I told him to call a cart.

It was in midwinter and a bitter cold night, the room was without fire and yet there was a child of three or four toddling about upon the kang or brick bed whose only garment was a long coat.

"You should put a pair of trousers on that child," I said, "or it will catch cold and I will soon have to come again."

"Yes," they said, "we will put trousers on it."

"You had better do it at once," I insisted.

"Yes," they continued, "we will see that it is dressed."

After attending to the woman, and again urging them to dress the child, I wrapped my warm cloak around me and started home, though I could not forget the child.

"It is a cold night," I said to the driver as we started on our way.

"Yes," he answered, "there will be some uncomfortable people in the city to-night."

"In that house we just left," I continued, for I could not banish the child from my thoughts, "there was a little child playing on the bed without a shred of trousers on."

"Quite right," said he; "they pawned the trousers of that child to get money to pay me for taking you to see the sick woman."

"To pay you!" said I, with indignation, and yet with admiration for the character of the people for whom I was giving my services--"to pay you! Then drive right back and give them their money and tell them to go and redeem those trousers and put them on the child!"

"The city gate will be closed before we can reach it if I return," said he, "and we will not be able to get in to-night."

"No matter about that," I insisted, "go back and give them the money."

He turned around with many mutterings, lashed up his mule at the top of his speed, gave them the money, and then started on a gallop for the city gate. It was a rough ride in that springless cart over the rutty roads. But my house seemed warmer that night and my bed seemed softer after I had paid the carter myself.

Among my friends and patients none are more interesting than the Misses Hsu. They are very intelligent, and after I had become well acquainted with them I said to them one day:

"How is it that you have done such wide reading?"

"You know, of course," they said, "that our father is a chuang yuan."

I asked them the meaning of a chuang yuan. Then I learned that under the Chinese system a great many students enter the examinations, and those who secure their degree are called hsiu tsai; a year or two later these are examined again, and those who pass are given the degree of chu jen; once more these latter are examined and the successful candidates are called chin shih, and are then ready for official position. They continue to study, however, and are allowed to go into the palace, where they are examined in the presence of the Emperor, and those who pass are called han lin, or forest of pencils. Once in three years these han lins are examined and one is allowed to obtain a degree--he is a chuang yuan.

Out of four hundred million people but one is allowed this degree once in three years.

"Your father must be a very great scholar," I remarked.

"He has always been a diligent student," they answered, modestly.

"What is his given name?" I inquired, one day.

"If you will give me a pencil I will write it for you; we never speak the given name of our father in China," said the eldest, and she wrote it down.

"How many sisters are there in your family--eight, are there not?"

"Yes. You know, of course, that number five was engaged when a child of six to the son of Li Hung-chang."

"No, I was not aware of the fact; and were they married?"

"No, they were never married. The young man died before they were old enough to wed. When word of his death was brought to her, child that she was, she went to our mother and told her she must never engage her to any one else, as she meant to live and die the widow of this boy."

"And did she go to Li Hung-chang's home?"

"No, the old Viceroy wanted to take her to his home, build a suite of rooms for her, and treat her as his daughter-in-law, but our parents objected because she was so young. The Viceroy loved her very much, and his eyes often filled with tears as he spoke of her and the son who had passed away. When the Viceroy died she wanted to go and kotow at his funeral, and all his family except the eldest son were anxious to have her do so, and thus be recognized as one of the family. But this son objected, and though Lady Li knocked her head on the coffin until it bled he would not yield, lest she might want her portion."

"And what has become of your sister? How is it that I have never seen her?"

"She withdrew to a small court, where she has lived with none but her women servants, not even seeing our father or brothers, and not allowing a male servant to go near her. And she will not permit the word Li to be spoken in her presence."

"And what does she do?" I asked. "How does she employ herself?"

"Studying, reading, painting, and embroidery. When young Li refused to allow her to attend his father's funeral her sense of self-respect was outraged and she cut off her hair and threatened to commit suicide. She often fasts for a week, and has tried on several occasions to take her own life."

I asked them if they did not fear that she might succeed finally in this attempt to kill herself.

"Yes, we have constant apprehensions. But then, what if she did? It would only emphasize her virtue."

It was some months after the young ladies told me what I have just related that they called, for they had taken up the study of English and I had agreed to help them a bit.

"How is your sister?" I inquired, for the sad fate of this young girl weighed like a burden on my heart.

"She fasted more than usual during the early summer, but she bathed daily and changed her clothes, dressing herself in her most beautiful garments. She had not been sleeping well for some time, and one day she ordered her women to leave her and not return until they were called. They remained away until a married sister and a sister-in-law-a niece of Li Hung-chang--called and wanted to see her. We went to her room but found it locked. We knocked but received no answer. We finally punched a hole through the paper window and saw her sitting on her brick bed, her head bolstered up with cushions and her eyes closed. We supposed she was sleeping, but on forcing open the door we found that she had gone to join her boy husband, though her colour and appearance was that of a living person."

"And are you sure she had not swooned?"

"She remained in this condition for twenty-two hours without pulse or heart beat, and so we put her in her casket."

I could not but feel sad that I had not been in the city, and had had an opportunity to help them to ascertain whether her life had really gone out. But the girls seemed proud of the distinction of having had a sister of such consummate virtue. Numerous embroidered scrolls and laudatory inscriptions were sent her from friends of the Li family as well as of their own, and it is expected that the throne will order a memorial arch erected to her memory.

On another occasion I was requested to go to the palace of one of the princes. The fourth Princess, a beautiful little child of five, was ill with diphtheria, and the first greeting of the mother as I went in was that she "was homesick to see me." The child had been ill for several days before they sent for me, and I told them at once that the case was dangerous. I wanted to do all I could for them and at the same time protect my own children from the danger of infection. After the first treatment with antitoxin she seemed to rally, her throat cleared up, but I soon found that the poison had pervaded her entire system, and so I stayed with her day and night.

I found that the child had contracted the disease from another about her own age, who was both her playmate and her slave. It is the custom among the wealthy to purchase for each daughter a companion who plays with her as a child, becomes a companion in youth and her maid when she marries. These slaves are usually treated well, and when this one became ill the members of the family visited her often, taking her such dainties as might tempt her appetite. As a result I had to administer antitoxin to eight of the younger members of the household, so careless had they been about the spread of this disease; indeed I have found that the isolation of patients suffering from contagious diseases is wholly unknown in China.

One of the most attractive of all my Chinese lady friends and patients is the niece of the great Viceroy, Li Hung-chang, the daughter of his brother, Li Han-chang, who is himself a viceroy. I have been her physician for eighteen years or more and hence have become intimately acquainted with her. She has visited me very often in my home and, of all the women I have ever known, of any race or people, I have never met one whom I thought more cultured or refined than she. This may seem a strange statement, but the quiet dignity that she manifested on all occasions and her charming manners are not often met with. I have never felt on entering a drawing-room such an atmosphere of refinement as seemed to surround her.

That the Chinese take very kindly to foreign medicine there is no doubt, though it is sometimes amusing how they go back to their own native methods.

One day my husband brought home a physiological chart about the size of an ordinary man. It was covered with black spots and I asked him the reason for them.

"That is what I asked the dealer from whom I bought it," he replied, "and he told me that those spots indicate where the needle can be inserted in treatment by acupuncture without killing the patient."

When a Chinese is ill the doctor generally concludes that the only way to cure him is to stick a long needle into him and let out the pain or set up counter irritation. If the patient dies it is evident he stuck the needle into the wrong spot. And this chart has been made up from millions of experiments during the past two or three thousand years from patients who have died or recovered.

This was practically illustrated by a woman who was brought to the hospital. Having had pain in the knee she sent for a Chinese physician who concluded that the only method of relieving her was by acupuncture. He therefore inserted a needle which unfortunately pierced the synovial sac causing inflammation which finally resulted in complete destruction of the joint. Such cases are not infrequent both among adults and children in all grades of society, due to this method of treatment.

One day I was called to see a lady who was in immediate need of surgical treatment. She had three sons who were in high official positions in the palace, and if their mother died they would have to withdraw from official life and go into mourning for three years. When men are thus compelled to resign the new incumbent is not inclined to restore the office when the period of mourning is over. They were therefore doubly anxious to have their mother recover. They had tried all kinds of Chinese physicians and finally sent for me.

I explained the nature of the operation necessary, and gave them every reason to hope for a speedy recovery, while without surgical treatment she must surely die. They consented and the operation was successful. She recovered rapidly for a few days until I regarded her as practically out of danger. But one day when I called I found her bathed in perspiration, shaking with fear, weeping and depressed. Her wound was in an excellent condition and I could find no reason for her despondency. I cheered her up, laughed and talked with her, gave her such articles of diet as she craved, and left her happy. The next day I again found her in the same nervous condition.

"Something is wrong with your mother of which you have not told me," I said to her son.

"Before we sent for you," he said, "we had called a spirit doctor, who went into a sort of trance, claimed to have descended into the spirit world where he saw them making a coffin which he said my mother would occupy before the fifteenth of the month. It is because that time is approaching that she is filled with fear."

I talked with the lady, showed her how her wound was healing, encouraged her to rest easy until the fifteenth, when I would spend the day with her, after which she immediately began gaining strength and soon recovered.

At another time I was called to see the wife of the president of the Board of Punishments. I found an operation necessary. The next day I found the patient delirious with a fever, and asked the husband if my directions had been followed.

"I assure you they have," he answered. "But the cause of the fever is this: Last evening while the servants were taking their meal she was left alone for a short time. While they were absent, her sister who lived on this street, a short distance from here, committed suicide. When the servant discovered it she ran directly to my wife's room, and told her of the tragedy. My wife began to tremble, had a severe chill, and soon became delirious. I suspect that her sister's spirit accompanied the servant and entered my wife."

In spite of this explanation I cleaned and dressed the wound and left her more comfortable. The next morning she was somewhat better, without fever and in her right mind.

"What kind of a night did she have?" I asked her husband.

"Oh, very good," he answered. "I managed to get the spirit out of her."

"How did you do it?" I inquired.

"Soon after you left yesterday, I dressed myself in my official garments, came into my wife's apartments, and asked the spirit if it would not like to go with me to the yamen, adding that we would have some interesting cases to settle. I felt a strange sensation come over me and I knew the spirit had entered me. I got into my cart, drove down to the home of my sister-in-law, went in where the corpse lay, and told the spirit that it would be a disgrace to have a woman at the Board of Punishments. 'This is your place,' I said, in an angry voice; 'get out of me and stay where you belong.' I felt the spirit leaving me, my fingers became stiff and I felt faint. I had only been at the Board a short time when they sent a servant to tell me that my wife was quiet and sleeping. When I returned in the evening the fever was gone and she was rational."

 

XVIII The Funeral Ceremonies of a Dowager Princess

There are five degrees of mourning, as follows:--For parents, grandparents and great-grandparents; for brothers and sisters; for uncles and aunts; and for distant relatives. In the first sackcloth without hem or border; in the second with hem or border; in the third, fourth and fifth, pieces of sackcloth on parts of the dress. When sackcloth is worn, after the third interval of seven days is over the mourners can cast it off, and wear plain colours, such as white, gray, black and blue. For a parent the period is nominally three years, but really twenty-seven months, during all which time no silk can be worn; during this time officials have to resign their appointments, and retire from public life. --Dyer Ball in "Things Chinese."

XVIII THE FUNERAL CEREMONIES OF A DOWAGER PRINCESS[5]

[5] Taken from Mrs. Headland's note-book.

One day I received a large sheet of white paper on which was written in Chinese characters the announcement of the death of the Dowager Princess Su, and inviting me to the "third-day exercises." The real meaning of this "chieh san" I did not comprehend, but I knew that those who were invited sent presents of cakes or fruit, or baskets of paper flowers, incense, gold and silver ingots made of paper, or rolls of paper silk, all of which were intended for the use of the spirit of the departed. The paper presents were all burned on the evening of the third day, while the spirit feasted upon the flavour of the fruit and cakes.

As I did not feel that it was appropriate for me to send these things, I had a beautiful wreath of white chrysanthemum flowers made, and sent that instead. While I appreciated the invitation, I thought it was probably given only as a matter of form, and that I was not expected to attend the exercises, and so I sent my Chinese maid with the wreath, saying that as I did not understand their customs I would not go.

It was not long until the maid returned saying that they were anxious to have me come, that under no circumstances must I refuse, as they wished me to see their funeral ceremonies. The Princess sent her cart for me, and according to the Chinese custom, I took my maid seated upon the front, and set out for Prince Su's palace. As we neared our destination we passed numerous carts and chairs of princes who had been at the palace to pay their respects. The street leading off the great thoroughfare was filled with carts, chairs, servants and outriders, but the utmost order prevailed. There were scores of soldiers and special police, the latter dressed in long garments of gray with a short jacket of white on the breast of which was his number in black. These gray and white uniforms were mourning colours, and were given by the Prince.

As we entered the gate we saw white-robed servants everywhere, each with a sober face and a dignified bearing, waiting to be of use. My name was announced and two servants stepped out from the crowd, clothed from head to feet in white sackcloth, one presenting his arm to help me through the court, as though I were a bound-footed woman, and the other led the way. We were taken by a roundabout path, through numerous courts and passages, the front being reserved for the male guests, and were finally ushered into a room filled with white-robed women servants, who with one accord bent their knee in a low courtesy.

We were there met by the first and third Princesses, daughters of the Dowager who had just passed away. They were dressed in white, their hair being put up in the Manchu fashion. Instead of the jewels and bright flowers, however, it was crossed and recrossed with bands of white folded sackcloth. As these two ladies were married daughters, and had left this home, their sackcloth was not so coarse as that of the daughters-in-law and granddaughters who dwelt in the palace. It was they who received the guests and conducted them into the room where the mourners were kneeling.

As the white door screen was raised I saw two rows of white-robed figures kneeling on the floor, and as I entered they all bent forward and touched their head to the ground, giving forth as they did it a low, wailing chant.

Not knowing their customs I went up and stooped over, speaking first to the Princess and then to the ladies as best I could. I afterwards watched the other lady visitors and saw that they put their right hand up near their head as our soldiers salute, and courtesied to the Princess, her daughter-in-law and her eldest daughter. They then went over to a little table on which was a silver sacrificial set, consisting of a wine tankard, a great bowl, and a number of tiny cups holding but two tablespoonfuls. They took the cup in its little saucer, and, facing the beautiful canopied catafalque where the Dowager Princess was lying in state, they raised the cup as high as their head three times, emptying and refilling it each time. The mourners prostrated themselves and gave forth a mournful wail each time the cup was poured, after which the visitor arose and came over to where we were, and the ceremony was over.

The third daughter of the late Dowager seemed to regard me as her special friend and guest, and insisted on my coming over to a white curtain that separated us from the view of the gentlemen, and from there I watched the proceedings of princes and officials who went through a similar ceremony. There was this difference with them, however, as they entered through the great canopied court, they were conducted by white-robed servants directly to the altar, and there kneeling, they made their obeisance to the spirit of the departed, after which they went into the room where the Prince and the other male descendants of the dead Dowager were kneeling and prostrating themselves.

There was a heavy yellow curtain over the door that led into the sacrificial hall, and when the servants from without announced a visitor, this curtain was drawn aside, and as the guest and a flood of light entered, the mourners began their wailing which they continued until he had departed. These visitors remained but a moment, while the ladies who were there were all near relatives, and were dressed either entirely or partially in sackcloth.

The room in which these ladies knelt was draped in white. The cushions were all covered with white, and all porcelain and other decorations had been removed. The floor was covered with a heavy rope matting, on which the ladies knelt--all except the Princess, for whom was prepared a small dark blue felt cushion. The Princess knelt at the northwest corner of the room, directly in front of the curtain which separated them from the sacrificial hall. Several of the very near male relatives entered and gave the low Manchu courtesy to the Princess, the son's wife, and the eldest daughter, though none of the other kneeling ladies were recognized. They left immediately without, so far as I noticed, raising their eyes.

The Prince, his sons and the other mourners in the men's room were clothed in white fur, and the servants too, who stood in the sacrificial hall, and at intervals along the way towards the hall, wore white fur coats instead of sackcloth.

To the left of the Princess there knelt in succession all the secondary wives of Prince Su, and if I mistake not there were five of these concubines. Behind the Princess knelt her son's wife--the future Princess Su, and on her left, the daughters and granddaughters of the Prince knelt in succession. The Princess and secondary princesses had bands of sackcloth wound around their heads, though their hair hung down their backs in two long braids, and as I had never seen these princesses except when clothed in beautifully embroidered satin garments, with hair put up in elaborate coiffures, decked with jewels and flowers, and faces painted and powdered in the proper Manchu fashion, it was not easy to recognize them in these white-robed, yellow-faced women, with hair hanging down their backs.

The grandson's wife and granddaughters, on the other hand, had their hair combed, but the long hairpin was of silver instead of jade or gold, and instead of being decorated with jewels and flowers, and a red cord, it was crossed and recrossed with bands of folded sackcloth an inch and a half in width. It was neat and very effective--the black hair and white cloth making a pretty contrast to the Western eye, though it would probably not be so considered by the Chinese.

After I had watched them for a few moments I said to the princess who accompanied me:

"I must not intrude upon your time longer; you have been very kind to allow me to witness all these interesting customs."

"Oh, but you must not go now," she insisted; "you must remain and see the arrival of the priests, and the burning of the paper houses, goods, chattels, and images on the great street. I want you to understand all our customs, and this is the greatest and most interesting day of the funeral ceremonies."

I urged that I ought not to intrude myself upon them at this time.

"No, no," she said, "you must not say that. It is not intrusion; you must stay and dine with us this evening."

When I still insisted upon going she said that if I went they would feel that I did not care for them, and she was so persistent that I consented to remain if the maid might be sent home to the children, which they at once arranged for.

In the interval between the arrival of male guests, the ladies took me out into a large canopied court to see the decorations, and into the sacrificial hall. These ceremonies were all conducted in the house and court which the Dowager Princess had occupied, and where I had often gone to see her when she wanted to thank me for some medical attention I had given her children or grandchildren.

As we passed through the great gate, I noticed that the court was covered with a mat pavilion making a room about one hundred and fifty feet square, lighted by great squares of glass near the top, and decorated with banners of rich brocade silks or satins, of sober colours, blue, gray or white, on which were texts extolling the virtues of the late Dowager or her family. These were the gifts of friends, who had been coming and would continue to come for days if not weeks.

At the north end as one came in at the gate was a gallery running the whole length of the northern court, fitted up with special hangings which separated it into different compartments. Many elegant banners and decorations gave it a striking effect. This was the place where the priests, who had not yet arrived, were to say their prayers day and night until the funeral ceremonies were over.

Directly in front of the catafalque, in the gallery, there was a table on which I afterwards saw the priests place a silver vessel which the head priest carried, and the others regarded with much solemnity.

From the gateway leading into the sacrificial hall the floor of the court had been raised even with the door of the house and the gate, a height of about five feet, and forty feet wide, and was covered with the same kind of rope matting that was on the floors. On the canopied verandas there were stacks of cakes, incense, fruit and money. These were the most novel sights I have ever seen in China. They were ten or twelve feet high. They were a very pretty sight, and it required some scrutiny to discover that they were made of cakes and fruit. How they were able to build them thus, tier upon tier, and prevent their falling when they were touched is beyond my comprehension. What magic there is in it I do not know.

As one entered the door of the sacrificial hall, towering above everything else, was the great catafalque, draped in cloth of gold, and in front of it were stacks of these sacrificial cakes. Near them there was a table on which there were great white, square candles, five inches or more in diameter, the four sides of which were stamped with figures of fairies and immortals. On this table there were also various savoury dishes, together with cakes and fruit, prepared to feed the spirit of the dead. In front of this table again there was another about a foot high on which were placed the sacrificial wine vessels, and before which the guests knelt. As we entered I saw the gentlemen kneeling to the left, while the ladies, separated from them by white curtains, were kneeling to the right.

After we had seen the various customs without, I was taken into the dining-room, where I sat down with the young Princess and her two aunts, daughters of the Dowager. They were very kind and polite, and did all in their power to make me feel at home. We were attended by white-robed eunuchs, who knelt when they spoke to the Princess. There was such a lot of them.

"How many servants do you use ordinarily?" I asked the eldest daughter.

"About four hundred," she replied.

I thought of the task of robing four hundred servants in new white sackcloth, and attending to all the other things that I had seen, in the forty-eight hours since the death of the Dowager Princess. Even the bread, instead of being dotted with red as it is ordinarily, was dotted with black!

As we were finishing our supper we heard the horns of the priests and went to see them arrive. Prince Su, and the other male members of the family, went out to the door to receive them, but we remained within. They first went to the gallery, then the head priest came down into the sacrificial hall and made nine prostrations before the catafalque, without, however, pouring or offering wine. After each third prostration he stood up and raised his clasped hands to a level with his eyes. They then began their weird music, standing on the two sides of the raised platform between the gate and the house, thus allowing a passageway between them for the guests.

The Princess told me that they were about to form a procession to go to the great street. I therefore took my leave in order that I might precede them and see the procession arrive, and witness the burning of the presents for the spirit.

When I arrived on the great street I there beheld a paper cart and horses which were intended to transport the spirit to the eastern heaven. There was a sedan chair for her use after her arrival, numerous servants, money, silk, and a beautiful, big house for her to dwell in, all made of paper. I had not long to wait for the procession, which was headed by the priests playing mournful, wailing music on large and small horns and drums. The priests were followed by the mourners and their friends. When they arrived at the place of the burning, the mourners prostrated themselves upon white cushions before the paper furnishings amid the shrieks of the instruments, the wailing of the hired mourners, and the petitions of the priests for the spirits to assist the departed on her way.

While this was going on, fire was applied to various parts of the paper pile, and in a moment a great flame sprang up into the air--a flame that could be seen from miles around, and in less time than it takes to tell it the whole was a heap of glowing ashes, the mourners had departed, and the little street children were stirring it up with long sticks.

The first three days after death, the spirit is supposed to visit the different temples, going, as it were, from official court to official court receiving judgment, and cards of merit or demerit to take with it, for the deeds done in the body. On the third day it returns to say farewell to the home, and then leaves for its long journey, and all this paper furniture is sent on ahead.

They continue forty-nine days of prayers by the priests, alternating three days by the Buddhists, three by the Lamas, and three by the Taoists, after which the Buddhists take their turn again. Everything else remains much as I have described it. The family, servants, everybody in mourning, and all business put aside to make way for this ceremony of mourning, mourning, mourning, when they ought to be rejoicing, for the poor old Princess had been a paralytic for years and was far better out of her misery.

The Princess frequently sent her cart for me during these days. Once when I was going through the court where there were vast quantities of things to be burned for the spirit, all made of paper, I noticed some that were so natural that I was unable to distinguish between them and the real things. Especially was this true of the furniture and flowers like that which had been in her apartments. There were great ebony chairs with fantastically marked marble seats, cabinets, and all the furniture necessary for her use. Among these things I noticed on the table a pack of cards and a set of dice, of which she had been very fond, and a chair like the one in which the eunuchs had carried the crippled old Princess about the court, and I said to the young Princess who accompanied me:

"You do not think your grandmother will require these things in the spirit world, do you?"

"Perhaps not," she replied, "but she enjoyed her cards and dice, and the chair was such a necessity, that, whether she needs them or not, it is a comfort to us to get and send her everything she liked while she lived, and it helps us bear our sorrows."

 

XIX Chinese Princes and Officials

In any estimate of the forces which lead and control public opinion in China, everywhere from the knot of peasants in the hamlet to the highest officers of state and the Emperor himself, the literati, or educated class, must be given a prominent position. They form an immense body, increased each year by the government examinations. They are at the head of the social order. Every civil officer in the empire must be chosen from their number. They constitute the basis of an elaborate system of civil service, well equipped with checks and balances which, if corrected and brought into touch with modern life and thought, would easily command the admiration of the world. --Chester Holcomb in "The Real Chinese Question."

XIX CHINESE PRINCES AND OFFICIALS

One day while the head eunuch from the palace of one of the leading princes in Peking was sitting in my study he said:

"It is drawing near to the New Year. Do you celebrate the New Year in your honourable country?"

"Yes," I replied, "though not quite the same as you do here."

"Do you fire off crackers?"

"Yes, in the matter of firecrackers, we celebrate very much the same as you do."

"And do you settle up all your debts as we do here?"

"I am afraid we do not. That is not a part of our New Year celebration."

"Our Prince is going to take on two more concubines this New Year," he volunteered.

"Ah, indeed, I thought he had three concubines already."

"So he does, but he is entitled to five."

"I should think it would make trouble in a family for one man to have so many women," I ventured.

He waved his hand in that peculiar way the Chinese have of saying, don't mention it, as he answered:

"That is a difficult matter to discuss. Naturally if this woman sees the Prince talking to that one, this one is going to eat vinegar," which gives us a glimpse of some of the domestic difficulties in Chinese high life. However it is a fact worth remembering that the Manchu prince does not receive his full stipend from the government until he has five concubines, each of whom is the mother of a son.

The leading princes of the new regime are Ching, Su, and Pu-lun. Prince Ching has been the leader of the Manchus ever since the downfall of Prince Kung. He has held almost every office it was in the power of the Empress Dowager to give, "though disliked by the Emperor." He was made president of the Tsung-li Yamen in 1884, and from that time until the present has never been degraded, or in any way lost the imperial favour. He is small in stature, has none of the elements of the great man that characterized Li Hung-chang and Chang Chih-tung, or Prince Kung, but he has always been characterized by that diplomacy which has kept him one of the most useful officials in close connection with the Empress Dowager. It is to his credit moreover that the legations were preserved from the Boxers in the siege of 1900.

Prince Su is the only one of the eight hereditary princes who holds any office that brings him into intimate contact with the foreigners. During the Boxer siege he gave his palace for the use of the native Christians, and at the close was made collector of the customs duties (octoroi) at the city gates. Never had there been any one in charge of this post who turned in as large proportion of the total collections as he. This excited the jealousy of the other officials, and they said to each other: "If Prince Su is allowed to hold this position for any length of time there will never be anything in it for any one else." They therefore sought for a ground of accusation, and they found it, in the eyes of the conservatives, in the fact that he rode in a foreign carriage, built himself a house after the foreign style of architecture, furnished it with foreign furniture, employed an Englishman to teach his boys, and as we have seen opened a school for the women and girls of his family. He therefore lost his position, but it is to the credit of Prince Chun, the new Regent, and his progressive policy, that Prince Su has been made chief of the naval department, of which Prince Ching is only an adviser.

The most important person among either princes or officials that has been connected with the new regime is Yuan Shih-kai. He was born in the province of Honan, that province south of the Yellow River which is almost annually flooded by that great muddy stream which is called "China's Sorrow." As a boy he was a diligent student of the Chinese classics and of such foreign books as had been translated into the Chinese language, but he has never studied a foreign tongue nor visited a foreign country. Here then rests the first element of his greatness--that without any knowledge of foreign language, foreign law, foreign literature, science of government, or the history of progress and of civilization, he has occupied the highest and most responsible positions in the gift of the empire, has steered the ship of state on a straight course between the shoals of conservatism on the one hand and radical reform on the other until he has brought her near to the harbour of a safe progressive policy.

He has always been what the Chinese call the tu-ti or pupil of Li Hung-chang, and it may be that it was from him he learned his statecraft. Certain it is that he always basked in the favour of the great Viceroy, and it may be that he had more or less influence with him in his earlier appointments, for he rose rapidly and in spite of all other officials.

On his return from Korea he was made a judge. He was then put in charge of the army of the metropolitan province, and with the assistance of German officers he succeeded in drilling 12,500 troops after the European fashion.

It was about this time that the Emperor conceived the plan of instituting and carrying out one of the most stupendous reforms that has ever been undertaken in human government--that of transforming four thousand years of conservatism of four hundred millions of people in the short space of a few months.

Given: A people who cannot make a nail, to build a railroad.

Given: A people who dare not plow a deep furrow for fear of disturbing the spirits of the place, to open gold, silver, iron and coal mines.

Given: A people who in 4,000 years did not have the genius to develop a decent high school, to open a university in the capital of every province.

These are three of the score or more of equally difficult problems that the Emperor undertook to solve in twice as many days. In order to the solution of these problems there was organized in Peking a Reform Party of hot-headed, radical young scholars not one of whom has ever turned out to be a statesman. They were brilliant young men, many of them, but they so lost their heads in their enthusiasm for reform that they forgot that their government was in the hands of the same old conservative leaders under whom it had been for forty centuries.

They introduced into the palace as the private adviser of the Emperor, Kang Yu-wei, as we have already shown, to whom was thus offered one of the greatest opportunities that was ever given to a human being--that of being the leader in this great reform. He was hailed as a young Confucius, but his popularity was short-lived, for he so lacked all statesmanship as to allow the young Emperor to issue twenty-seven edicts, disposing of twenty-seven difficult problems such as I have given above in about twice that many days, and it is this hot-headed and unstatesman-like young "Confucius" who now calls Yuan Shih-kai an opportunist and a traitor because he did not enter into the following plot.

After the Emperor had dismissed two conservative vice-presidents of a Board, two governors of provinces, and a half dozen other useless conservative leaders, they plotted to overthrow him by appealing to the ambition of the Empress Dowager and induce her to dethrone him and again assume the reins of government. They argued that "he was her adopted son, it was she who had placed him on the throne, and she was therefore responsible for his mistakes." They complimented her on "the wisdom which she had manifested, and the statesmanship she had exhibited" during the thirty years and more of her regency. To all which she listened with a greedy ear, but still she made no move.

During this time were the Emperor and his young "Confucius" idle? By no means. They had hatched a counterplot, and had decided that what they could not do by moral suasion and statesmanship they would do by force, and so they sent an order to Yuan Shih-kai, who as we have said had drilled and was in charge of 12,500 of the best troops in the empire, urging him to "hasten to the capital at once, place the Empress Dowager under guard in the Summer Palace so that she may not be allowed to interfere in the affairs of the government, and protect him in his reform measures."

The Emperor knew that nothing could be done without the command of the army which was largely in the hands of a great conservative friend of the Empress Dowager (Jung Lu) the father-in-law of the present Regent. Yuan was in charge of an army corps of 12,500 troops, but for him to have taken them even at the command of the Emperor, without informing his superior officer, would have meant the loss of his head at once. The first thing then for him to do was to take this order to Jung Lu. Yuan was in favour of reform, though he may not have approved of the Emperor's methods. Jung Lu hastened to Prince Ching and they two sped to the Empress Dowager in the Summer Palace where they laid the whole matter before her. She hurried to Peking, boldly faced and denounced the Emperor, took from him his seal of state, and confined him a prisoner in the Winter Palace. Kang Yu-wei, the young "Confucius," fled, but the Empress Dowager seized his brother and five other patriotic young reformers, and ordered them beheaded on the public execution grounds in Peking.

Naturally the Empress Dowager approved of the "wise and statesmanlike methods" of Yuan in thus protecting instead of imprisoning her, and thus placing the reins of government once more in her hands, and she appointed him Junior Vice-President of the Board of Works, and when she was compelled to remove the Governor of Shantung who had organized the Boxer Society, she appointed Yuan Acting Governor in his stead. "Yuan," says Arthur H. Smith, was "a man of a wholly different stripe" from the one removed, and "if left to himself he would speedily have exterminated the whole Boxer brood, but being hampered by 'confidential instructions' from the palace, he could do little but issue poetical proclamations, and revile his subordinates for failure to do their duty."

When Yuan was made Governor of Shantung a number of the Boxer leaders called upon him expecting to find in him a sympathizer worthy of his predecessor. They told him of their great powers and possibilities, and of how they were proof against the spears, swords and bullets of their enemies. Yuan listened to them with patience and interest, and invited them to dine with him and other official friends in the near future.

During the dinner the Governor directed the conversation towards the Boxer leaders and their prowess, and led them once more to relate to all his friends their powers of resistance. He fed them well, and after the dinner was over he suggested that they give an exhibition of their wonderful powers to the friends whom he had invited. This they could not well refuse to do after the braggadocio way in which they had talked, and so the Governor lined them up, called forth a number of his best marksmen, and proceeded with the exhibition, and it is unnecessary to add that if the Empress Dowager had invited Yuan to the meeting with the princes when they discussed the advisability of joining the Boxers on account of a belief in their supernatural powers, she might have been spared the humiliation of 1900.

We shall soon see that Yuan cared no more for the "confidential instructions" of the Empress Dowager, when his statesmanship was involved, than for the orders of the Emperor. His business was to govern and protect the people of his province, and thanks to his wise statesmanship and strong character "there was not only no foreigner killed during the troubled season of anxiety and flight" of 1900, and "comparatively little of the suffering elsewhere so common."

And now we come to another plot which indicates the character of Yuan and two other great viceroys, Chang Chih-tung, now Grand Secretary, and Liu Kun-yi, Viceroy of the Yangtse-kiang provinces. It is a well-known fact that during the Boxer rebellion the Empress Dowager was so influenced by the promises of the Boxers to drive out all the foreigners that she sent out some very unwise edicts that they should be massacred in the provinces. Yuan and his two confreres secretly stipulated that if the foreign men of war would keep away from the ports of their provinces they would maintain peace and protect the foreigners no matter what orders came from the throne. So that when these confidential instructions came from the palace to massacre the foreigners, in order to gain time they pretended to believe that no such orders could have come from the throne. They must be forgeries of the Boxers. They therefore refused to believe them until they had sent their own special messenger all the way to Peking to get the edict from the hands of Her Majesty and bring it to them in their provinces. This messenger was also secretly instructed to find out what the contents of the edict were, and if it was contrary to the desires of the Governor, he was to dilly-dally on the way home until the Boxer trouble was ended or until the foreigners had all been removed from the territory. And it was such conduct as this on the part of three Chinese and one Manchu viceroys that saved China from being divided up among the Powers in 1900, a fact which the Empress Dowager was not slow to understand and reward.

In 1900 Yuan was made Governor of the Shantung province, and the court was compelled to flee to Hsian. It was while the court was thus in hiding that an incident occurred which indicates the fertility of the Empress Dowager and the elasticity of all Chinese social customs. Governor Yuan's mother died. In a case of this kind customs dictate, and the rules of filial affection demand, that a man shall resign all his official positions and go into mourning for a period of three years. Yuan therefore sent his resignation to the Empress Dowager, while "weeping tears of blood."

The country was of course in desperate straits and could ill afford to lose, for three years, for a mere sentiment, the services of one of her greatest and most powerful statesmen. However much he may have regretted to give up such a brilliant career which was just well begun, Yuan no doubt expected to do so. What was his surprise therefore to receive from Her Majesty a message of condolence in which she praised his mother in the highest terms for having given the world such a brilliant and able son. Under the circumstances, however, it would be impossible to accept his resignation as his services to the country just at this juncture were indispensable. She would, however, appoint a substitute to go into mourning for him, and this with the knowledge that she had borne a son whose services were so necessary to the safety of the government and the country, would be a sufficient comfort to the spirit of his departed mother, and Yuan was forced to continue in his official position as Governor of the province without the intermission of a single day of mourning. Such is the elasticity and adaptability of the unchanging laws and customs of the Oriental when in the hands of a master--or a mistress--like Her Majesty the Empress Dowager.

One can imagine that in proportion as the Empress Dowager was pleased with the statesmanship manifested by Yuan Shih-kai in unintentionally reseating her upon the throne, in a like proportion the Emperor would be dissatisfied with it as being the cause of his dethronement. This was not, however, against Yuan alone but against the father-in-law of the present Regent and even Prince Ching as well. During the whole ten years, from 1898 until his death, while he was a prisoner "his heart boiled with wrath" against those who had been the cause of his downfall.

It was not until the Boxer troubles of 1900 were over, and Yuan, by the masterly way in which he had disregarded the imperial edicts, had protected and preserved the lives of all the foreigners in his province, keeping peace the while, that honours began to be heaped upon him. And this not without reason as we shall proceed to show.

In 1901 he was made Governor-General of the metropolitan province, and Junior Guardian of the Heir Apparent. In 1902 he was decorated with the Yellow Jacket, placed in charge of the affairs of the Northern Railway, and consulting minister to counsel the government. Wherever he was he gave as much attention to the city government as to that of the province or the nation, and in spite of his having no foreign education himself, he began building up a system of public schools in his province like which there is nothing else in the whole of China. Let us remember also that during ail this time there was suspended over his head, from the palace, a sword of Damocles which was liable to fall at any time. But we will explain that further on as it is the last act of the drama.

When Yuan went to Tientsin as Viceroy of the metropolitan province he found there Dr. C. D. Tenny, the president of the Tientsin University which had been begun by Li Hung-chang some ten or a dozen years before. It had a good course of study and was turning out a large number of young graduates for whom there ought to be a better future than that of interpreters in the various business houses of that and other cities. He therefore called Dr. Tenny to him and inquired particularly about the system of public school education throughout the United States.

"What is to prevent our putting into operation such a system throughout this province?" asked the Viceroy.

"Nothing," answered Dr. Tenny, "except to be willing to submit to the conditions."

"And what are those conditions?" asked His Excellency.

"They are that you open schools in every important town, place in them well-educated, competent teachers, whom you are willing to pay a salary equal to what they may reasonably expect to get if they enter business."

"May I ask if you would be willing to undertake the development of such a system?" he asked further.

"On one condition," answered Dr. Tenny.

"And what is that?"

"That you allow me to open a school wherever I think there should be one, call my teachers from whatsoever source I please to call them, pay them whatever salary I think they deserve, sending all the bills to Your Excellency, and you pay them without question."

The Viceroy had known Dr. Tenny for years, had always had the most implicit confidence both in his ability and his honesty, and so, lightening up his duties in the Tientsin and Paotingfu Uni- versities, he commissioned him to establish what may be termed the first public school system of education on modern lines in the whole empire. This one act, if he had done no other, was reason enough for a wise regent to have continued him in office even though he "had rheumatism of the leg." But it may be that there are extenuating circumstances in this act of the Regent as we shall point out later.

There is one phase of the Boxer uprising that I have never yet seen properly represented in any book or magazine. We all know how the ministers of the various European governments with their wives and children, the customs officials, missionaries, business men, and tourists who happened to be in Peking at the time, with all the Chinese Christians, were confined in the British legation and Prince Su's palace. We know how they barricaded their defense. We know how they were fired upon day and night for six weeks by the Boxer leaders and the army of the conservatives under the leadership of their general, Tung Fu-hsiang. But the thing which we do not know, or at least which has not been adequately told, is the most interesting secret plot of the liberal progressives, under the leadership of "Prince Ching and others," to thwart the Empress Dowager and the Boxer leaders, the conservatives and their army, and protect the most noted company of prisoners that have ever been confined in a legation quarter. The plot was this:

When Prince Ching and his progressive associates in Peking discovered that they could not vote down the Boxer princes, they dared not openly oppose them, but they secretly decided that the representatives of the Powers must not be massacred else the doom of China was sealed. When they discovered that Yuan Shih-kai and the other great viceroys had decided by stratagem to foil the Boxers even though they must set all the imperial edicts at naught, they decided, for the sake of the protection of the legations and the preservation of the empire, that they would do the same. They secretly sent supplies of food to the besieged, which the latter feared to use lest they be poisoned. But more than that they kept their own armies in Peking as a guard and as a final resort in case there was danger of the legation being overcome, and as a matter of fact there were regular pitched battles between the troops of Prince Ching and his associates and those of the Boxer leader, Tung Fu-hsiang. Had the Boxers finally succeeded, Yuan Shih-kai and Prince Ching and their associates would have lost their heads, but as the Boxers failed it was they who went to their graves by the short process of the executioner's knife.

So Yuan was between two fires. He had disobeyed the commands of the Emperor in not coming to Peking and had therefore incurred his displeasure and caused his downfall. He had disobeyed the Empress Dowager in not putting to death the foreigners in his province, and if the Boxers were successful he would surely lose his head on that account. The Boxers, however, were not successful and as his disobedience had helped to save the empire, Yuan, so long as the Dowager remained in power, was safe.

But a day of reckoning must inevitably come. The Empress Dowager was an old woman, the Emperor was a young man. In all human probabilities she would be the first to die, while his only hope was in her outliving the Emperor, who had sworn vengeance on all those who had been instrumental in his imprisonment.

I have a friend in Peking who is also a friend of one of the greatest Chinese officials. This official has gone into the palace daily for a dozen years past and knows every plot and counterplot that has been hatched in that nest of seclusion during all that time, though he has been implicated in none of them. He has held the highest positions in the gift of the empire without ever once having been degraded. One day when he was in the palace the Emperor unburdened his heart to him, thinking that what he said would never reach the ears of his enemies.

"You have no idea," said the Emperor, "what I suffer here."

"Indeed?" was the only reply of the official.

"Yes," continued the Emperor, "I am not allowed to speak to any one from outside. I am without power, without companions, and even the eunuchs act as though they are under no obligations to respect me. The position of the lowest servant in the palace is more desirable than mine." Then lowering his voice he continued, "But there is a day of reckoning to come. The Empress Dowager cannot live forever, and if ever I get my throne again I will see to it that those who put me here will suffer as I have done."

It is not unlikely that this conversation of the Emperor reached the ears of Yuan Shih-kai. Walls have ears in China. Everything has ears, and every part of nature has a tongue. If so, here was the occasion for the last plot in the drama of the Emperor's life, and next to the last in the official life of Yuan Shih-kai.

The problem is to so manipulate the laws of nature as to prevent the Emperor outliving the Empress Dowager, and not allow the world to know that you have been trifling with occult forces. He must die a natural death, a death which is above suspicion. He must not die one day after the Empress Dowager as that would create talk. And he ought to die some time before her. The death fuse is one which often burns very much longer than we expect-- was it not one of the English kings who said "I fear I am a very long time a-dying, gentlemen" --and sometimes it burns out sooner than is intended. There were two imperial death fuses burning at the same time in that Forbidden City of Peking. The Empress Dowager had "had a stroke." Hers was undoubtedly nature's own work. But the enemies of Yuan Shih-kai tell us that the Emperor had "had a Chinese doctor," to whom the great Viceroy paid $33,000 for his services. We are told that the Empress Dowager in reality died first and then the Emperor, though the Emperor's death was first announced, and the next day that of the Dowager.

What then are we to infer? That the Emperor was poisoned? Let it be so. That is what the Japanese believed at the time. But who did it? Most assuredly no one man. One might have employed a Chinese physician for him, but the last man whose physician the Emperor would have accepted would have been Yuan Shih-kai's. Had you or I been ill would we have allowed the man who was the cause of our fall to select our physician? But granted that Yuan Shih-kai did employ his physician, and that his death was the result of slow poisoning, could Yuan Shih-kai have so manipulated Prince Ching, the Regent (who is the late Emperor's brother), the ladies of the court, and all those thousands of eunuchs, to remain silent as to the death of the Empress Dowager until he had completed the slow process on His Majesty? No! If the Emperor was poisoned--and the world believes he was--there are a number of others whose skirts are as badly stained as those of the great Viceroy, or long ere this his body would have been sent home a headless corpse instead of with "rheumatism of the leg."

What then is the explanation? It may be this, that the court, and the officials as a whole, felt that the Emperor was an unsafe person to resume the throne, and that it were better that one man should perish than that the whole regime should be upset. They even refused to allow a foreign physician to go in to see him, saying that of his own free will he had turned again to the Chinese, all of which indicates that it was not the plot of any one man.

Why then should Yuan Shih-kai have been made the scapegoat of the court and the officials, and branded as a murderer in the face of the whole world? That may be another plot. The radical reformers, followers of Kang Yu-wei, have been making such a hubbub about the matter ever since the death of the Emperor and the Empress Dowager that somebody had to be punished. They said that Yuan had been a traitor to the cause of reform, that he had not only betrayed his sovereign in 1898, but that now he had encompassed his death.

Now to satisfy these enemies, the Prince Regent may have decided that the best thing to do was to dismiss Yuan for a time. I think that the trivial excuse he gives for doing so favours my theory--with "rheumatism of the leg," to which is added, "Thus our clemency is manifest"--a sentence which may be severe or may mean nothing, and when the storm has blown over and the sky is clear again, Yuan may be once more brought to the front as Li Hung-chang and others have been in the past. Which is a consummation, I think, devoutly to be wished.

XX Peking--The City of the Court

The position of Peking at the present time is one of peculiar interest, for all the different forces that are now at work to make or mar China issue from, or converge towards, the capital. There, on the dragon throne, beside, or rather above, the powerless and unhappy Emperor, the father of his people and their god, sits the astute and ever-watchful lady whose word is law to Emperor, minister and clown alike. There dwell the heads of the government boards, the leaders of the Manchu aristocracy, and the great political parties, the drafters of new constitutions and imperial decrees, and the keen-witted diplomatists who know so well how to play against European antagonists the great game of international chess. --R. F. Johnston in "From Peking to Mandelay."

XX PEKING--THE CITY OF THE COURT

In the place where Peking now stands there has been a city for three thousand years. Five centuries before Christ it was the capital of a small state, but was destroyed three centuries later by the builder of the great wall. It was soon rebuilt, however, and has continued from that time until the present, with varied fortunes, as the capital of a state, the chief city of a department, or the dwelling-place of the court.

It is the greatest and best preserved walled city in the empire, if not in the world. The Tartar City is sixteen miles in circumference, surrounded by a wall sixty feet thick at the bottom, fifty feet thick at the top and forty feet high, with six feet of balustrade on the outside, beautifully crenelated and loopholed, and in a good state of preservation. The streets are sixty feet wide,--or even more in places,--well macadamized, and lit with electric light. The chief mode of conveyance is the 'ricksha, though carriages may be hired by the week, day or hour at various livery stables in proximity to the hotels, which, by the way, furnish as good accommodation to their guests as the hotels of other Oriental cities.

In the centre of the Tartar City is the Imperial City, eight miles in circumference, encircled by a wall six feet thick and fifteen feet high, pierced by four gates at the points of the compass; and in the centre of this again is the Forbidden City, occupying less than half a square mile, the home of the court.

Fairs are held, at various temples, fourteen days of every month, distributed in such a way as to bring them almost on alternate days, while at certain times there are two fairs on the same day. It is a mistake to suppose that the Chinese women in the capital are very much secluded. They may be seen on the streets at almost any time, while the temple courts and adjacent streets, on fair days, are crowded with women and girls, dressed in the most gorgeous colours, their hair decorated with all kinds of artificial flowers, followed by little boys and girls as gaily dressed as themselves. Here they find all kinds of toys, curios, and articles of general use, from a top to a broom, from bits of jade or other precious stones, to a snuff bottle hollowed out of a solid quartz crystal, or a market basket or a dust-pan made of reeds.

Peking being the city of the court, and the headquarters of many of the greatest officials, is the receptacle of the finest products of the oldest and greatest non-Christian people the world has ever known. China easily leads the world in the making of porcelain, the best of which has always gone to Peking for use in the palace, and so we can find here the best products of every reign from the time of Kang Hsi, as well as those of the former dynasties, to that of Kuang Hsu and the Empress Dowager. The same is true of her brass and bronze incense-burners and images, her wood and ivory carvings, her beautiful embroideries, her magnificent tapestries, and her paintings by old masters of six or eight hundred years ago. Here we can find the finest Oriental rugs, in a good state of preservation, with the "tone' that only age can give, made long before the time of Washington.

There is no better market for fine bits of embroidery, mandarin coats, and all the better products of needle, silk and floss, of which the Chinese have been masters for centuries, than the city of the court. The population consists largely of great officials and their families, whose cast-off clothing, toned down by the use of years, often without a blemish or a spot, finds its way into the hands of dealers. The finest furs,--seal, otter, squirrel, sable and ermine,--are brought from Siberia, Manchuria and elsewhere, for the officials and the court, and can be secured for less than half what they would cost in America. Pearls, of which the Chinese ladies and the court are more fond than of diamonds, may be found in abundance in all the bazars, which are many, and judging from the way they are purchased by tourists, are both cheaper and better than elsewhere.

The Chinese have little appreciation of diamonds as jewelry. On one occasion there was offered to me a beautiful ring containing a large sapphire encircled by twenty diamonds. When I offered the dealer less than he asked for it, he said: "No, rather than sell it for that price, I will tear it apart, and sell the diamonds separately for drill-points to the tinkers who mend dishes. I can make more from it in that way, only I dislike to spoil the ring." The Empress Dowager during her late years, and many of the ladies and gentlemen of the more progressive type, affected, whether genuinely or not, an appreciation of the diamond as a piece of jewelry, especially in the form of rings, though coloured stones, polished, but not cut, have always been more popular with the Chinese. The turquoise, the emerald, the sapphire, the ruby and the other precious stones with colour have, therefore, always graced the tables of the bazars in the capital, while the diamond until very recently was relegated to the point of the tinker's drill.

There is another method of bringing bits of their ancient handiwork to the capital which most of those living in Peking, even, know nothing about. A company, whose headquarters is at an inn, called the Hsing Lung Tien, sends agents all over the empire, to purchase and bring to them everything in the nature of a curio, whether porcelain, painting, embroidery, pottery or even an ancient tile or inkstone, which they then, at public auction, sell to the dealers. The sale is at noon each day. The first time I visited it was with a friend from Iowa who was anxious to get some unique bits of porcelain. The auctioneer does not "cry" the wares. Neither buyer nor seller says a word. Nobody knows what anybody else has offered. The goods are passed out of a closed room from a high window where the crowd can see them, and then each one wanting them tries to be first in securing the hand of the auctioneer, which is ensconced in his long sleeve, where, by squeezing his fingers, they tell him how much they will give for the particular piece. It is the only real case of "talking in the sleeve' I have ever seen, and each piece is sold to the first person offering a fair profit on the money invested, though he might get much more by allowing them to bid against each other.

Among the attractive sights in Peking, none are quite so interesting as the places where His Majesty worships, and of these the most beautiful in architecture, the grandest in conception, and the one laid out on the most magnificent scale, is the Temple of Heaven.

Think of six hundred and forty acres of valuable city property being set aside for the grounds of a single temple, as compared with the way our own great churches are crowded into small city lots of scarcely as many square feet, and over-shadowed by great business blocks costing a hundred times as much, and we can get some conception of the magnificence of the scale on which this temple is laid out. A large part of the grounds is covered with cedars, many of which are not less than five hundred years old, while other parts are used to pasture a flock of black cattle from which they select the sacrifice for a burnt offering. The grounds are not well kept like those of our own parks and churches, but the original conception of a temple on such a large scale is worthy of a great people.

The worship at this temple is the most important of all the religious observances of the empire, and constitutes a most interesting remnant of the ancient monotheistic cultus which prevailed in China before the rationalism of Confucius and the polytheistic superstition of Buddhism predominated among the people. While the ceremonies of the sacrifices are very complicated, they are kept with the strictest severity. The chief of these is at the winter solstice. On December 21st the Emperor goes in a sedan chair, covered with yellow silk, and carried by thirty-two men, preceded by a band of musicians, and followed by an immense retinue of princes and officials on horseback. He first goes to the tablet-chapel, where he offers incense to Shang Ti, the God above, and to his ancestors, with three kneelings and nine prostrations. Then going to the great altar he inspects the offerings, after which he repairs to the Palace of Abstinence, where he spends the night in fasting and prayer. The next morning at 5:45 A. M. he dons his sacrificial robes, proceeds to the open altar, where he kneels and burns incense, offers a prayer to Shang Ti, and incense to his ancestors whose shrines and tablets are arranged on the northeast and northwest portions of the altar.

There are two altars in the temple, a quarter of a mile apart, the covered and the open altar, and this latter is one of the grandest religious conceptions of the human mind. It is a triple circular marble terrace, 210 feet wide at the base, 150 feet in the middle, and ninety feet at the top, ascended at the points of the compass by three flights of nine steps each. A circular stone is in the centre of the top, around which are nine stones in the first circle, eighteen in the second, twenty-seven in the third, etc., and eighty-one in the ninth, or last circle. The Emperor kneels on the circular stone, surrounded by the circles of stones, then by the circles of the terraces, and finally by the horizon, and thus seems to himself and his retinue to be in the centre of the universe, his only walls being the skies, and his only covering, the shining dome.

There are no images of any kind connected with the temple or the worship, the only offerings being a bullock, the various productions of the soil, and a cylindrical piece of jade about a foot long, formerly used as a symbol of sovereignty. Twelve bundles of cloth are offered to Heaven, and only one to each of the emperors, and to the sun and moon. The bullocks must be two years old, the best of their kind, without blemish, and while they were formerly killed by the Emperor they are now slaughtered by an official appointed for that purpose.

The covered altar is, I think, the most beautiful piece of architecture in China. It is smaller than the one already described but has erected upon it a lofty, circular triple-roofed temple ninety-nine feet in height, roofed with blue tiles, the eaves painted in brilliant colours and protected from the birds by a wire netting. In the centre, immediately in front of the altar, is a circular stone, as in the open altar. The ceiling is covered with gilded dragons in high relief, and the whole is supported by immense pillars. It was this building that was struck by lightning in 1890, but it was restored during the ten years that followed. Being made the camp of the British during the occupation of 1900, it received some small injuries from curio seekers, but none of any consequence. The Sikh soldiers who died during this period were cremated in the furnace connected with the open altar.

The Chinese have been an agricultural people for thirty centuries or more, and this characteristic is embodied in the Temple of Agriculture, which occupies a park of not less than three hundred and twenty acres of city property opposite the Temple of Heaven. It has four great altars, with their adjacent halls, to the spirits of Heaven, Earth, the Year, and the Ancestral Husbandman, Shen Nung, to whom the temple is dedicated. It was used as the camp of the American soldiers in 1900, and was well cared for. At one time some of the soldiers upset one of the urns, and when it was reported to the officer in command, the whole company was called out and the urn properly replaced, after which the men were lectured on the matter of injuring any property belonging to the temple.

There are several large plots of ground in this enclosure, one of which the Emperor ploughs, while another is marked "City Magistrate," another "Prefect," and on these bits of land the "five kinds of grain" are sown. One cannot view these imperial temples without being impressed with the potential greatness of a people who do things on such a magnificent scale. But one, at the same time, also feels that these temples, and the great Oriental religions which inspire and support them have failed in a measure to accomplish their design, which ought to be to educate and develop the people. This they can hardly be said to have done, especially if we consider their condition in their lack of all phases of scientific development, for as the sciences stand to-day they are all the product of the Christian peoples.

There are three other imperial temples on the same large scale as those just described. The Temple of the Sun east of the city, that of the Moon on the west, and that of the Earth on the north, though it must be confessed that the worship at these has been allowed to lapse. In the Tartar City there are two others, the Lama Temple and the Confucian Temple, in the former of which there is a statue of Buddha seventy-five feet high, and from thirteen to fifteen hundred priests who worship daily at his shrine. This statue is made of stucco, over a framework, and not of wood as some have told us, and as the guide will assure us at the present day. One can ascend to a level with its head by several flights of stairs, where a lamp is lit when the Emperor visits the temple. In the east wing of this same building is a prayer-wheel, which reaches up through several successive stories, and is kept in motion while the Emperor is present.

In the east side buildings there are a few interesting, though in some cases very disgusting idols, such for instance as those illustrating the creation, but over these draperies have been thrown during recent years, which make them a trifle more respectable.

The temple is very imposing. At the entrance there are two large arches covered with yellow tiles, from which a broad paved court leads to the front gate, on the two sides of which are the residences of the Lamas or Mongol priests. At the hour of prayer, which is about nine o'clock, they may be seen going in crowds, clothed in yellow robes, to the various halls of worship where they chant their prayers.

Very different from this is the Confucian Temple only a quarter of a mile away. Here we find neither priest nor idol--nothing but a small board tablet to "Confucius, the teacher of ten thousand ages" with those of his most faithful and worthy disciples. In the court on each side are rows of buildings--that on the east containing the tablets of seventy-eight virtuous men; that on the west the tablets of fifty-four learned men; eighty-six of these were pupils of the Sage, while the remainder were men who accepted his teachings. No Taoists, however learned; no Buddhists, however pure; no original thinkers, however great may have been their following, are allowed a place here. It is a Temple of Fame for Confucianists alone.

I have been in this temple when a whole bullock, the skin and entrails having been removed, was kneeling upon a table facing the tablet of the Sage, while sheep and pigs were similarly arranged facing the tablets of his disciples.

For twenty-four centuries China has had Taoism preached within her dominions; for twenty-three centuries she has worshipped at the shrine of Confucius; for eighteen centuries she has had Buddhism, and for twelve centuries Mohammedanism: and during all this time if we believe the statements of her own people, she has slept. Does it not therefore seem significant, that less than a century after the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been preached to her people, and the Bible circulated freely throughout her dominions, she opened her court to the world, began to build railroads, open mines, erect educational institutions, adopt the telegraph and the telephone, and step into line with the industrial methods of the most progressive nations of the Western world?

 

XXI The Death of Kuang Hsu and the Empress Dowager

Who knows whether the Dowager Empress will ever repose in the magnificent tomb she has built for herself at such a cost, or whether a new dynasty may not rifle its riches to embellish its own? Tze-Hsi is growing old! According to nature's immutable law her faculties must soon fail her; her iron will must bend and her far-seeing eye grow dim, and after her who will resist the tide of foreign aggression and stem the torrent of inward revolt? --Lady Susan Townley in "My Chinese Note Book."

XXI THE DEATH OF KUANG HSU AND THE EMPRESS DOWAGER

During mid-November of 1908 the Forbidden City of Peking was a blind stage before which an expectant world sat as an audience. It had not long to wait, for on the fifteenth and sixteenth it learned that Kuang Hsu and the Empress Dowager, less than twenty-four hours apart, had taken "the fairy ride and ascended upon the dragon to be guests on high." The world looked on in awe. It expected a demonstration if not a revolution but nothing of the kind happened. But on the other hand one of the most difficult diplomatic problems of her history was solved in a quiet and peaceable, if not a statesman-like way, by the aged Dowager and her officials, and China once more had upon her throne an emperor, though only a child, about whose succession there was no question. And all this was done with less commotion than is caused by the election of a mayor in New York or Chicago, which may or may not be to the credit of an absolute monarchy over a republican form of government.

The world has speculated a good deal as to what happened in the Forbidden City of Peking during the early half of November. Will the curious world ever know? Whether it will or not remains for the future to determine. We have, however, the edicts issued to the foreign legations at Peking and with these at the present we must be content. From them we learn that it was the Empress Dowager and not Kuang Hsu who appointed Prince Chun as Regent, and that this appointment was made--or at least announced--twenty-four hours before the death of the Emperor.

On the thirteenth of November the foreign diplomatic representatives received the following edict from the great Dowager through the regular channel of the Foreign Office of which Prince Ching was the president:

"It is the excellent will of Tze-hsi-kuan-yu-k'ang- i-chao-yu-chuang-ch'eng-shou-kung-ch'in-hsien-chung-hsi, the great Empress Dowager that Tsai Feng, Prince of Chun, be appointed Prince Regent (She Chang-wang)."

The above edict was soon followed by another which stated that "Pu I, the son of Tsai Feng, should be reared in the palace and taught in the imperial schoolroom," an indication that he was to be the next emperor, and that Tsai Feng and not Kuang Hsu was to occupy the throne, and all this by the "excellent will" of the Empress Dowager.

On the morning of the fourteenth the following edict came from the Emperor himself:

"From the beginning of August of last year, our health has been poor. We formerly ordered the Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors of every province to recommend physicians of ability. Thereupon the viceroys of Chihli, the Liang Kiang, Hu Kiang, Kiangsu and Chekiang recommended and sent forward Chen Ping-chun, Tsao Yuen-wang, Lu Yung-ping, Chow Ching-tao, Tu Chung-chun, Shih Huan, and Chang Pang-nien, who came to Peking and treated us. But their prescriptions have given no relief. Now the negative and positive elements (Yin-Yang) are both failing. There are ailments both external and internal, and the breath is stopped up, the stomach rebellious, the back and legs painful, appetite failing. On moving, the breath fails and there is coughing and panting. Besides, we have chills and fever, cannot sleep, and experience a general failure of bodily strength which is hard to bear.

"Our heart is very impatient and now the Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors of every province are ordered to select capable physicians, regardless of the official rank, and to send them quickly to Peking to await summons to give medical aid. If any can show beneficial results he will receive extraordinary rewards, and the Tartar generals, viceroys, and governors who recommend them will receive special grace. Let this be published."

This was followed on the same day by the following edict:

"Inasmuch as the Emperor Tung Chih had no issue, on the fifth day of the twelfth moon of that reign (January 12, 1875) an edict was promulgated to the effect that if the late Emperor Kuang Hsu should have a son, the said prince should carry on the succession as the heir of Tung Chih. But now the late Emperor has ascended upon the dragon to be a guest on high, leaving no son, and there is no course open but to appoint Pu I, the son of Tsai Feng, the Prince Regent, as the successor to Tung Chih and also as heir to the Emperor Kuang Hsu."

The next day--the fifteenth--another edict, purporting to come from little Pu I, but transcribed by Prince Ching, was sent out to the diplomatic body and to the world. It is as follows:

"I have the honour to inform Your Excellency that on the 21st day of the 10th moon [Nov. 14, 1908] at the yu-ke [5-7 P. M.] the late Emperor ascended on the dragon to be a guest on high. We have received the command of Tze-hsi, etc., the Great Empress Dowager to enter on the succession as Emperor. We lamented to Earth and Heaven. We stretched out our hands, wailing our insufficiency. Prostrate we reflect on how the late Emperor occupied the Imperial Throne for thirty-four years, reverently following the customs of his ancestors, receiving the gracious instruction of the Empress Dowager, exerting himself to the utmost, not failing one day to revere Heaven and observe the laws of his ancestors, devoting himself with diligence to the affairs of government and loving the people, appointing the virtuous to office, changing the laws of the land to make the country powerful, considering new methods of government which arouse the admiration of both Chinese and foreigners. All who have blood and breath cannot but mourn and be moved to the extreme point. We weep tears of blood and beat upon our heart. How can we bear to express our feelings!

"But we think upon our heavy responsibility and our weakness, and we must depend upon the great and small civil and military officials of Peking and the provinces to show public spirit and patriotism, and aid in the government. The viceroys and governors should harmonize the people and arrange carefully methods of government to comfort the spirit of the late Emperor in heaven. This is our earnest expectation."

On the sixteenth day of November, three days after she had appointed the regent, and two days after she had appointed Pu I, the diplomatic representatives received the following from Prince Ching:

"Your Excellency:

"I have the honour to inform Your Excellency that we have reverently received the following testamentary statement of Her Imperial Majesty Tze-hsi, etc., the Great Empress Dowager:

" 'Although of scanty merit, I received the command of His Majesty the Emperor Wen Tsung-hsien (the posthumous title of Hsien Feng) to occupy a throne prepared for me in the palace. When the Emperor Mu Tsung I (Tung Chih) as a child succeeded to the throne, violence and confusion prevailed. It was a critical period of suppression by force. "Long-hairs" (Tai-ping rebels) and the "twisted turbans" (Nien Fei) were in rebellion. The Mohammedans and the aborigines had commenced to make trouble. There were many disturbances along the seacoast. The people were destitute. Ulcers and sores met the eye on every side. Cooperating with the Empress Dowager Hsiao Chen-hsien, I supported and taught the Emperor and toiled day and night. According to the instructions contained in the testamentary counsels of the Emperor Wen Tsung-hsien (Hsien Feng) I urged on the officials of Peking and the provinces and all the military commanders, determining the policy to be followed, diligently searching the right way of governing, choosing the upright for official positions, rescuing from calamity and pitying the people, and so obtained the protection of Heaven, gaining peace and tranquillity instead of distress and danger. Then the Emperor Mu Tsung I (Tung Chih) departed this life and the late Emperor succeeded to the throne. The times became still harder and the people in still greater straits, sorrow within and calamity without, confusion and noise; I had no recourse but to give instruction in government once more.

" 'The year before last the preparatory measures for the institution of constitutional government were published. This year the time limits for the measures preparatory to constitutional government have been promulgated. Attending to these myriad affairs the strength of my heart has been exhausted. Fortunately my constitution was originally strong and up to the present I have stood the strain. Unexpectedly from the summer and autumn of this year I have been ill and have not been able to assist in the multitudinous affairs of government with tranquillity. Appetite and the power to sleep have gone. This has continued for a long time until my strength is exhausted and I have not dared to rest for even a day. On the 21st of this moon [November 14th] came the sorrow of the death of the late Emperor, and I was unable to control myself, so that my illness increased till I was unable to rise from my bed. I look back upon our fifty years of sorrow and trouble. I have been continually in a state of high tension without a moment's respite. Now a reform in the method of government has been commenced and there begins to be a clue to follow. The Emperor now succeeding to the throne is in his infancy. All depends upon his instruction and guidance. The Prince Regent and all the officials of Peking and the provinces should exert themselves to strengthen the foundations of our empire. Let the Emperor now succeedings to the throne make his country's affairs of first importance and moderate his sorrow, diligently attending to his studies so that he may in future illustrate the instruction which he has received. This is my devout hope. Let the mourning period be for twenty-seven days only. Let this be proclaimed to the empire that all may know.' "

Still one more edict was necessary to complete this remarkable list, and this was sent to the legations on the 17th of November. It is as follows:

"I have the honour to inform Your Excellency that on the 22d of the moon [November 15, 1908] I reverently received the following edict:

"We received in our early childhood the love and care of Tze-hsi, etc., the Great Empress Dowager. Our gratitude is boundless. We have received the command to succeed to the throne and we fully expected that the gentle Empress Dowager would be vigorous and reach a hundred years so that we might be cherished and made glad and reverently receive her instructions so that our government might be established and the state made firm. But her toil by day and night gradually weakened her. Medicine was constantly administered in the hope that she might recover. Contrary to our hopes, on the 21st day of the moon [November 14th] at the wei-k'o [1-3 P.M.] she took the fairy ride and ascended to the far country. We cried out and mourned how frantically! We learn from her testamentary statement that the period of full mourning is to be limited to twenty-seven days. We certainly cannot be satisfied with this. Full mourning must be worn for one hundred days and half mourning for twenty-seven months, by which our grief may be partly expressed. The order to restrain grief so that the affairs of the empire may be of first importance we dare not disregard, as it is her parting command. We will strive to be temperate so as to comfort the spirit of the late Empress in Heaven."

We call attention to the fact that according to the fourth of these edicts the death of the Emperor is put at from 5 to 7 P. M on the evening of the 14th of November, while that of the Empress Dowager is from 1 to 3 P. M. of the same day at least two hours earlier, and that in her last edict she is made to speak of the death of Kuang Hsu. Whether these dates have become mixed in crossing to America we have not been able to ascertain, though we think it more than likely that her death occurred on November 15th instead of the 14th.

 

XXII The Court and the New Education

Abolish the eight-legged essay. Let the new learning be the test of scholarship, but include the classics, history, geography and government of China in the examinations. The true essay will then come out. If so desired, the eight-legged essay can be studied at home; but why trouble the school with them, and at the same time waste time and strength that can be expended in something more profitable? --Chang Chih-tung in "Chinas Only Hope,"

XXII THE COURT AND THE NEW EDUCATION

The changes in the attitude of the court towards a new educational system began, as do many great undertakings, in a very simple way. We have already shown how the eunuchs secured all kinds of foreign mechanical toys to entertain the baby Emperor Kuang Hsu; how these were supplemented in his boyhood by ingenious clocks and watches; how he became interested in the telegraph, the telephone, steam cars, steamboats, electric light and steam heat, and how he had them first brought into the palace and then established throughout the empire: and how he had the phonograph, graphophone, cinematograph, bicycle, and indeed all the useful and unique inventions of modern times brought in for his entertainment.

He then began the study of English. When in 1894 a New Testament was sent to the Empress Dowager on the occasion of her sixtieth birthday, he at once secured from the American Bible Society a copy of the complete Bible for himself. He began studying the Gospel of Luke. This gave him a taste for foreign literature and he sent his eunuchs to the various book depositories and bought every book that had been translated from the European languages into the Chinese. To these he bent all his energies and it soon became noised abroad that the Emperor was studying foreign books and was about to embrace the Christian faith. This continued from 1894 till 1898, during which time his example was followed by tens of thousands of young Chinese scholars throughout the empire, and Chang Chih-tung wrote his epoch-making book "China's Only Hope" which, being sent to the young Emperor, led him to enter upon a universal reform, the chief feature of which may be considered the adoption of a new educational system.

But now let us notice the animus of Kuang Hsu. He has been praised without stint for his leaning towards foreign affairs, when in reality was it not simply an effort on the part of the young man to make China strong enough to resist the incursions of the European powers? Germany had taken Kiaochou, Russia had taken Port Arthur, Japan had taken Formosa, Great Britain had taken Weihaiwei, France had taken Kuangchouwan, and even Italy was anxious to have a slice of his territory, while all the English papers in the port cities were talking of China being divided up amongst the Powers, and it was these things which led the Emperor to enter upon his work of reform.

In the summer of 1898 therefore he sent out an edict to the effect that:

"Our scholars are now without solid and practical education; our artisans are without scientific instructors; when compared with other countries WE SOON SEE HOW WEAK WE ARE. DOES ANY ONE THINK THAT OUR TROOPS ARE AS WELL DRILLED OR AS WELL LED AS THOSE OF THE FOREIGN ARMIES? OR THAT WE CAN SUCCESSFULLY STAND AGAINST THEM? Changes must be made to accord with the necessities of the times. . . . Keeping in mind the morals of the sages and wise men, we must make them the basis on which to build newer and better structures. WE MUST SUBSTITUTE MODERN ARMS AND WESTERN ORGANIZATION FOR OUR OLD REGIME; WE MUST SELECT OUR MILITARY OFFICERS ACCORDING TO WESTERN METHODS OF MILITARY EDUCATION; we must establish elementary and high schools, colleges and universities, in accordance with those of foreign countries; we must abolish the Wen-chang (literary essay) and obtain a knowledge of ancient and modern world-history, a right conception of the present-day state of affairs, with special reference to the governments and institutions of the countries of the five great continents; and we must understand their arts and sciences."

The effect of this edict was to cause hundreds of thousands of young aspirants for office to put aside the classics and unite in establishing reform clubs in many of the provincial capitals, open ports, and prefectural cities. Book depots were opened for the sale of the same kind of literature the Emperor had been studying, magazines and newspapers were issued and circulated in great numbers, lectures were delivered and libraries established, and students flocked to the mission schools ready to study anything the course contained, literary, scientific or religious. Christians and pastors were even invited into the palace by the eunuchs to dine with and instruct them. But the matter that gave the deepest concern to the boy in the palace was: "How can we so strengthen ourselves that we will be able to resist the White Peril from Europe?"

Among the important edicts issued in the establishment of the new education was the one of June 11, 1898, in which he ordered that "a great central university be established at Peking," the funds for which were provided by the government. Among other things he said: "Let all take advantage of the opportunities for the new education thus open to them, so that in time we may have many who will be competent to help us in the stupendous task of putting our country on a level with the strongest of the western powers." It was not wisdom the young man was after for the sake of wisdom, but he wanted knowledge because knowledge was power, and at that time it was the particular kind of power that was necessary to save China from utter destruction.

On the 26th of the same month he censured the princes and ministers who were lax in reporting upon this edict, and ordered them to do so at once, and it was not long until a favourable report was given and, for the first time in the history of the empire, a great university was launched by the government, destined, may we not hope, to accomplish the end the ambitious boy Emperor had in view.

Kuang Hsu was aware that a single institution was not sufficient to accomplish that end. On July 10th therefore he ordered that "schools and colleges be established in all the provincial capitals, prefectoral, departmental and district cities, and allowed the viceroys and governors but two months to report upon the number of colleges and free schools within their provinces," saying that "all must be changed into practical schools for the teaching of Chinese literature, and Western learning and become feeders to the Peking Imperial University." He ordered further that all memorial and other temples that had been erected by the people but which were not recorded in the list of the Board of Rites or of Sacrificial Worship, were to be turned into schools and colleges for the propagation of Western learning, a thought which was quite in harmony with that advocated by Chang Chih- tung. The funds for carrying on this work, and the establishment of these schools, were to be provided for by the China Merchants' Steamship Company, the Telegraph Company and the Lottery at Canton.

On August 4th he ordered that numerous preparatory schools be established in Peking as special feeders to the university; and on the 9th appointed Dr. W. A. P. Martin as Head of the Faculty and approved the site suggested for the university by Sun Chia-nai, the president. On the 16th he authorized the establishment of a Bureau for "translating into Chinese Western works on science, arts and literature, and textbooks for use in schools and colleges"; and on the 19th he abolished the "Palace examinations for Hanlins as useless, superficial and obsolete," thus severing the last cord that bound them to the old regime.

What, now, was the Empress Dowager doing while Kuang Hsu was issuing all these reform edicts, which, we are told, were so contrary to all her reactionary principles? Why did she not stretch forth her hand and prevent them? She was spending the hot months at the Summer Palace, fifteen miles away, without offering either advice, objection or hindrance, and it was not until two delegations of officials and princes had appeared before her and plead with her to come and take control of affairs and thus save them from being ousted or beheaded, and herself from imprisonment, did she consent to come. By thus taking the throne she virtually placed herself in the hands of the conservative party, and all his reform measures, except that of the Peking University and provincial schools, were, for the time, countermanded, and the Boxers were allowed to test their strength with the allied Powers.

Passing over the two bad years of the Empress Dowager, which we have treated in another chapter, we find her again, after the failure of the Boxer uprising, and the return of the court to Peking, reissuing the same style of edicts that had gone out from the pen of Kuang Hsu. On August 29, 1901, she ordered "the abolition of essays on the Chinese classics in examinations for literary degrees, and substituted therefor essays and articles on some phase of modern affairs, Western laws or political economy. This same procedure is to be followed in examination of candidates for office."

And now notice another phase of this same edict. "The old methods of gaining military degrees by trial of strength with stone weights, agility with the sword, or marksmanship with the bow on foot or on horseback, ARE OF NO USE TO MEN IN THE ARMY, WHERE STRATEGY AND MILITARY SCIENCE ARE THE SINE QUA NON TO OFFICE, and hence they should be done away with forever." It is, as it was with Kuang Hsu, the strengthening of the army she has in mind in her first efforts at reform, that she may be able to back up with war-ships and cannon, if necessary, her refusal to allow Italy or any other European power to filch, without reason or excuse, the territory of her ancestors.

September 12, 1901, she issued another edict commanding that "all the colleges in the empire should be turned into schools of Western learning; each provincial capital should have a university like that in Peking, whilst all the schools in the prefectures and districts are to be schools or colleges of the second or third class," neither more nor less than a restatement of the edict of July 10, 1898, as issued by the deposed Emperor, except that she confined it to the schools without taking the temples.

September 17, 1901, she ordered "the viceroys and governors of other provinces to follow the example of Liu Kun-yi of Liang Kiang, Chang Chih-tung of Hukuang, and Kuei Chun (Manchu) of Szechuan, in sending young men of scholastic promise abroad to study any branch of Western science or art best suited to their tastes, that in time they may return to China and place the fruits of their knowledge at the service of the empire." Such were some of the edicts issued by the Emperor and the Empress Dowager in their efforts to launch this new system of education which was to transform the old China into a strong and sturdy youth. What now were the results?

The Imperial College in Shansi was opened with 300 students all of whom had already taken the Chinese degree of Bachelor of Arts. It had both Chinese and foreign departments, and after the students had completed the first, they were allowed to pass on to the second, which had six foreign professors who held diplomas from Western colleges or universities, and a staff of six translators of university textbooks into Chinese, superintended by a foreigner. In 1901-2 ten provinces, under the wise leadership of the Empress Dowager, opened colleges for the support of which they raised not less than $400,000.

The following are some of the questions given at the triennial examinations of these two years in six southern provinces:

1. "As Chinese and Western laws differ, and Western people will not submit to Chinese punishments, what ought to be done that China, like other nations, may be mistress in her own country?"

2. "What are the Western sources of economic prosperity, and as China is now so poor, what should she do?"

3. "According to international law has any one a right to interfere with the internal affairs of any foreign country?"

4. "State the advantages of constructing railways in Shantung."

5. "Of what importance is the study of chemistry to the agriculturist?"

While Yuan Shih-kai was Governor of Shantung he induced Dr. W. M. Hayes to resign the presidency of the Presbyterian College at Teng Choufu and accept the presidency of the new government college at Chinanfu the capital of the province. Dr. Hayes drew up a working plan of grammar and high schools for Shantung which were to be feeders to this provincial college. This was approved by the Governor, and embodied in a memorial to the throne, copies of which the Empress Dowager sent to the governors and viceroys of all the provinces declaring it to be a law, and ordering the "viceroys, governors and literary chancellors to see that it was obeyed."

Dr. Hayes and Yuan Shih-kai soon split upon a regulation which the Governor thought it best to introduce, viz., "That the Chinese professors shall, on the first and fifteenth of each month, conduct their classes in reverential sacrifice to the Most Holy Confucius, and to all the former worthies and scholars of the provinces." Dr. Hayes and his Christian teachers withdrew, and it was not long until those who professed Christianity were excused from this rite, while the Christian physicians who taught in the Peking Imperial University were allowed to dispense with the queue and wear foreign clothes, as being both more convenient and more sanitary.

When Governor Yuan was made viceroy of Chihli, he requested Dr. C. D. Tenny to draw up and put into operation a similar schedule for the metropolitan province. This was done on a very much enlarged scale, and at present (1909) "the Chihli province alone has nine thousand schools, all of which are aiming at Western education; while in the empire as a whole there are not less than forty thousand schools, colleges and universities," representing one phase of the educational changes that have been brought about in China during the last dozen years.

The changes in the new education among women promise to be even more sweeping than those among men. Dr. Martin, expressing the sentiments then in vogue, said, as far back as 1877, "that not one in ten thousand women could read." In 1893 I began studying the subject, and was led at once to doubt the statement. The Chinese in an offhand way will agree with Dr. Martin. But I found that it was a Chinese woman who wrote the first book that was ever written in any language for the instruction of girls, and that the Chinese for many years have had "Four Books for Girls" corresponding to the "Four Books" of the old regime, and that they were printed in large editions, and have been read by the better class of people in almost every family. In every company of women that came to call on my wife from 1894 to 1900, there was at least one if not more who had read these books, while the Empress Dowager herself was a brilliant example of what a woman of the old regime could do. Where the desire for education was so great among women, that as soon as it became possible to do so, she launched the first woman's daily newspaper that was published anywhere in the world, with a woman as an editor, we may be sure that there was more than one in ten thousand during the old regime that could read. What therefore may we expect in this new regime where women are ready to sacrifice their lives rather than that the school which they are undertaking to establish shall be a failure?

End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Court Life in China

 


Project Gutenberg Small Print

*******The Project Gutenberg Etext of Court Life in China*******

#2 in our series by Isaac Taylor Headland

Copyright laws are changing all over the world, be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before posting these files!! Please take a look at the important information in this header.We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an electronic path open for the next readers. Do not remove this.

**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and further information is included below. We need your donations. Court Life in China by Isaac Taylor Headland May, 1996 [Etext #523]

*******The Project Gutenberg Etext of Court Life in China*******

*****This file should be named dclchi0.txt or clchi10.zip******

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, clchi11.txt.

VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, clchi10a.txt.

We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance of the official release dates, for time for better editing. Please note: neither this list nor its contents are final till midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement. The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month. A preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment and editing by those who wish to do so. To be sure you have an up to date first edition [xxxxx10x.xxx] please check file sizes in the first week of the next month. Since our ftp program has a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to fix and failed] a look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a new copy has at least one byte more or less. Information about Project Gutenberg (one page) We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work. The fifty hours is one conservative estimate for how long it we take to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc. This projected audience is one hundred million readers. If our value per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2 million dollars per hour this year as we release thirty-two text files per month: or 400 more Etexts in 1996 for a total of 800. If these reach just 10% of the computerized population, then the total should reach 80 billion Etexts. The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext Files by the December 31, 2001. [10,000 x 100,000,000=Trillion] This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers, which is only 10% of the present number of computer users. 2001 should have at least twice as many computer users as that, so it will require us reaching less than 5% of the users in 2001.

We need your donations more than ever!

All donations should be made to "Project Gutenberg/IBC", and are tax deductible to the extent allowable by law ("IBC" is Illinois Benedictine College). (Subscriptions to our paper newsletter go to IBC, too)

For these and other matters, please mail to:

Project Gutenberg

P. O. Box 2782

Champaign, IL 61825

When all other email fails try our Michael S. Hart, Executive Director: hart@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu (internet) hart@uiucvmd (bitnet)

We would prefer to send you this information by email (Internet, Bitnet, Compuserve, ATTMAIL or MCImail).

******

If you have an FTP program (or emulator), please FTP directly to the Project Gutenberg archives:

[Mac users, do NOT point and click. . .type]

ftp uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu

login: anonymous

password: your@login

cd etext/etext90 through /etext96

or cd etext/articles [get suggest gut for more information]

dir [to see files]

get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]

GET INDEX?00.GUT

for a list of books and GET NEW GUT for general information and MGET GUT* for newsletters.

**Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor**

(Three Pages)

 

***START**THE SMALL PRINT!**FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS**START***

Why is this "Small Print!" statement here? You know: lawyers. They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our fault. So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement disclaims most of our liability to you. It also tells you how you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

*BEFORE!* YOU USE OR READ THIS ETEXT

By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept this "Small Print!" statement. If you do not, you can receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person you got it from. If you received this etext on a physical medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.

ABOUT PROJECT GUTENBERG-TM ETEXTS

This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etexts, is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor Michael S. Hart through the Project Gutenberg Association at Illinois Benedictine College (the "Project"). Among other things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and distribute it in the United States without permission and without paying copyright royalties. Special rules, set forth below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark. To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain works. Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any medium they may be on may contain "Defects". Among other things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

LIMITED WARRANTY; DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES

But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below, [1] the Project (and any other party you may receive this etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including legal fees, and [2] YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR UNDER STRICT LIABILITY, OR FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY OR CONTRACT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any) you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that time to the person you received it from. If you received it on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement copy. If you received it electronically, such person may choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to receive it electronically. THIS ETEXT IS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO YOU "AS-IS". NO OTHER WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE TO YOU AS TO THE ETEXT OR ANY MEDIUM IT MAY BE ON, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you may have other legal rights.

INDEMNITY

You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors, officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause:

[1] distribution of this etext, [2] alteration, modification, or addition to the etext, or [3] any Defect. DISTRIBUTION UNDER "PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm" You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this "Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,

or:

[1] Only give exact copies of it. Among other things, this requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the etext or this "small print!" statement. You may however, if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form, including any form resulting from conversion by word processing or hypertext software, but only so long as

*EITHER*:

[*] The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and does *not* contain characters other than thoseintended by the author of the work, although tilde (~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters maybe used to convey punctuation intended by the author, and additional characters may be used to indicate hypertext links; OR [*] The etext may be readily converted by the reader at no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent form by the program that displays the etext (as is the case, for instance, with most word processors);

OR

[*] You provide, or agree to also provide on request at no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of theetext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC or other equivalent proprietary form). [2] Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this "Small Print!" statement. [3] Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the net profits you derive calculated using the method you already use to calculate your applicable taxes. If you don't derive profits, no royalty is due. Royalties are payable to "Project Gutenberg Association / Illinois Benedictine College" within the 60 days following each date you prepare (or were legally required to prepare) your annual (or equivalent periodic) tax return. WHAT IF YOU *WANT* TO SEND MONEY EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO? The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time, scanning machines, OCR software, public domain etexts, royalty free copyright licenses, and every other sort of contribution you can think of. Money should be paid to "Project Gutenberg Association / Illinois Benedictine College". *END*THE SMALL PRINT! FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS*Ver.04.29.93*END* Scanned by Charles Keller for Sarah with OmniPage Professional OCR software donated by Caere Corporation, 1-800-535-7226. Contact Mike Lough <Mikel@caere.com>


Source

Isaac Taylor Headland,  1859-1942:  Court life in China: the capital, its officials and people, (New York, F.H. Revell, c1909), Project Gutenberg Etext 523

HTML by Paul Halsall


This text is part of the Internet East Asian History Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts for introductory level classes in modern European and World history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use of the Sourcebook.

© Paul Halsall, July1998
halsall@murray.fordham.edu