Have I missed something here? It doesn't sound like anything really happened at all? He only managed a grope here or there.
Have I missed something here? It doesn't sound like anything really happened at all? He only managed a grope here or there.
Anh, you are welcome. Tweety, Smurf, Crazee, I guess you are right, Jin Yong did not intend to create explicit scene. Athon, CFT, WXB himself did not know which one (or ones) he raped (of course in his mind it was not ‘rape’). So, no, you did not miss anything.
Short update, end of Chapter 39. Such a long chapter … sigh …
The officers looked at each other in dismay; they were all shocked. The Imperial Envoy Minister was beaten in public. As the officers, it was their official duty to protect him with all their might. But the person beating and disgracing him was the Imperial Envoy Minister’s own lawful wife; they could not step forward to stop her with force, but shouting to berate her also did not seem to be the proper thing to do. For a moment they were at a loss.
Caressing half of his face which was hit, Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “How can I be willing to part with you by killing you? Niangzi needs not be angry, otherwise I’ll have my men kill Zheng Gongzi.” He raised his voice to ask, “Where is the man arrested at the Lovely Spring Courtyard?”
A Zuoling [Company Commander] replied, “Reporting to Dutong [Commander]: this fellow has his hands and feet shackled and is being guarded well.”
“Very good,” Wei Xiaobao said, “If he wants to run away, chop his left leg first, and then cut his right leg …”
Ah Ke was scared. “Don’t … don’t … cut his legs,” she called out anxiously, “He … he won’t run away.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “If you want to run away, I will chop Zheng Gongzi’s hands.” Sweeping his gaze on Fang Yi, Mu Jianping, and the others, he said, “If these first concubine, second concubine of mine ran away, cut Zheng Gongzi’s ears and nose.”
Ah Ke anxiously said, “You … you … what do these women have to do with Zheng Gongzi? Why do you put the blame on him?”
“Naturally they have something to do with him,” Wei Xiaobao replied, “My women all have countenance of a flower, face like the moon, while Zheng Gongzi is a sex maniac. If he saw them, he would definitely harbor evil designs.”
Ah Ke thought, “It’s still not his responsibility.” But she knew that this person spoke without reason; it was useless to argue with him. In her anxiety, she broke into crying again.
Wei Xiaobao said, “The women with manacles, take them away and guard them well, put fetters on their legs. Tell the kitchen to set up a banquet, the good Miss without manacles are to accompany me drinking wine in here.” The personal guards complied with loud voice.
Still crying, Ah Ke said, “I … I don’t want to accompany you to drink. Just put shackles on my hands.”
Without saying anything Zeng Rou walked out with her head hung low. “Hey,” Wei Xiaobao called, “Where are you going?”
Zeng Rou turned her head around and said, “You … you are really shameless! I don’t want to see you again!”
Wei Xiaobao was startled. “Why?” he asked.
“You … you still ask me why?” Zeng Rou said, “Others are not willing to marry you, you compel them to. You are a high-ranking official, do you think you can bully common people like this? Previously I thought you were a … a hero, who would have thought …”
“Who would have thought what?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Suddenly Zeng Rou broke into crying; covering her face, she said, “I don’t know! You … you are an evil man, not a good person.” While saying that she ran toward the door.
Two military officers raised their saber to block; they shouted, “You insulted Imperial Envoy, you must not leave. Wait for Imperial Envoy Daren’s decision on how to punish you.”
Reprimanded by Zeng Rou like that, the happiness in Wei Xiaobao’s heart immediately vanished into the thin air; he thought that what she said actually made a lot of sense. Being a Tatar high-ranking officer, he was relying on force to bully others, thus he was no different from the treacherous court officials and evil tyrants that the storytellers were talking about. He thought, “I can’t be a hero; that’s fine. But I must not be a treacherous court official.”
Heaving a deep sigh he said, “Miss Zeng, please come back, I want to say something.”
Zeng Rou turned her head and boldly said, “I offended you, you might as well chop my head.”
Shuang’er had a good relationship with her; she hastily urged, “Zeng Jiejie, don’t be angry, Xianggong can’t possibly kill you.”
Wei Xiaobao low-spiritedly said, “You are right, if I force them to marry me, I am like the painted face treacherous court official (in the opera) seizing common people’s daughter, just like the Tiger Wang kidnapping the bride in the ‘Three Laughing Marriage Affinities’.”
Pointing to Ah Ke, he said to the Zuoling, the captain of his personal guards, “Take this Miss out, also release that man surnamed Zheng, let them go and be husband and wife.” When speaking those words, he was extremely grieving. He also pointed to Fang Yi and said, “Take her manacles off, release her as well, let her go find her beloved Liu Shige. Ay, my lawful wife loves her lover, my first concubine also loves her lover. Damn it, what kind of Imperial Envoy Daren, Dutong Daren am I? I am a double cuckold Daren.”
Seeing Wei Xiaobao was throwing a fit, the Zuoling was so scared that he stood with head hung low; he did not dare to make any noise. Wei Xiaobao said, “Quickly take these two women out.” The Zuoling complied, he escorted Ah Ke and Fang Yi out.
Wei Xiaobao looked at the two women’s back; in his heart he was really reluctant to let them go. As they walked out, Fang Yi and Ah Ke did not even turn their heads; there was not a word of thanks, there was not a single grateful glance.
Zeng Rou took two steps forward and said in a low voice, “You are a good person! You … please punish me.” There was a deep regret on her tender face.
Wei Xiaobao’s spirit was immediately aroused; he was beaming with joy as he laughed and said, “Right, right! I must punish you. Shuang’er, Xiao Junzhu, Miss Zeng, the three of you are good women. Come, let us go in and talk.”
He was about to take the three women into the inner hall and had some intimate time with them when a military officer walked in and said, “Reporting to Dutong Daren: there is someone outside, saying that he was sent by Hong Jiaozhu, asking to have an audience with Daren.”
Wei Xiaobao was scared out of his wits; he hastily said, “What Red Jiaozhu, Green Jiaozhu [the word ‘Hong’ sounds like ‘Red’, different characters]? I don’t want to see, I don’t want to see! Quickly kick him out.”
The officer bowed and said, “Yes!” He took a step backward, and then said, “That man also said that they have two men in their hands, they want to trade them with two women in Dutong Daren’s hands.”
“Trade with two women?” Wei Xiaobao said. His gaze swept on Madame Hong and Mao Dongzhu’s faces; he shook his head and said, “He must be joking! Such good merchandise, why do I want to trade?”
“Yes,” the military officer said, “Let lowly officer drive him away.”
Wei Xiaobao asked, “What kind of men he wanted to trade with? Damn it, what’s so good about men? Trading men for women, I will suffer too much loss.”
The officer said, “That man is talking nonsense, he said one was a Lama, the other was a Prince; they both are Dutong Daren’s sworn brothers.”
“Ah!” Wei Xiaobao exclaimed; he thought, “Turns out Sangjie Lama and Prince Galdan are caught by Hong Jiaozhu.” He said, “A Lama and a Prince, what am I supposed to do with them? Go tell that fellow, these two women, even if he offered two million men, I don’t want to trade.” The officer repeatedly said yes, then he withdrew.
Wei Xiaobao cast a glance to Zeng Rou; he thought, “Previously she said that I am an evil man, not a good person. I have to let my own wives go, to let them marry their lovers before she considered me a good person. Humph! To be a good man, the capital is indeed not small. Sangjie and Galdan, two men, have already sworn brotherhood with me, if I don’t trade them back, Hong Jiaozhu will definitely have them killed. Even if I keep Madame Hong, what do I do with her? Although she is extremely beautiful, she won’t agree to enjoy immortal good fortune together with me, to have live as long as the heaven’s with me. Damn it, paying more attention to a lover than friends is not a hero!” “Hold on!” he shouted.
“Yes!” the officer replied. He bowed to await the order.
Wei Xiaobao said, “Go tell him: have Hong Jiaozhu release those two men, I will return Madame Hong to him. This Madame has countenance of a flower, face like the moon; she is better than Xi Shi and Yang Guifei, she is the world’s priceless treasure. Originally even if he killed me I would not want to release her; to have me trade his two men with her, actually it is greatly advantageous to him. As for the other woman, although she is disappointing, I can’t let her go.” The officer complied and withdrew.
All along Madame Hong maintained a wooden expression; only this moment she showed a smiling expression as she said, “Imperial Envoy Daren really knows how to compliment others.”
“Madame,” Wei Xiaobao said, “You are seriously beautiful, why be modest? We must be good people to the end, if I have to eat into my capital, then so be it. Deliver the goods first, receive the payment later. Guards! Quickly open my boss’ manacles.” Receiving the key, he personally unlocked Madame Hong’s manacles and walked her out.
When they reached the main hall, they saw the officer was talking to Lu Gaoxuan. Wei Xiaobao said, “Mr. Lu, you must serve Madame well on her way back. Madame, your subordinate respectfully sends you, Senior, off in a triumphal return, wishes you and Jiaozhu will enjoy immortal good fortune forever, your long lives will be the same as the Heaven’s.”
Madame Hong giggled tenderly; she said, “And I wish Imperial Envoy Daren promotion and wealth, a life as long as Mount Nan, lovely wife and beautiful concubines, and to be rewarded nobility titles as Duke and Marquis for ten thousand generations.”
Wei Xiaobao sighed; he shook his head and said, “To be promoted and gain wealth is easy, to have lovely wife and beautiful concubines, that will be difficult.” Raising his voice he ordered, “Play the music, send the guest off, prepare a sedan chair.”
Amidst the sound of music, he personally walked her off to the main gate, and watched as Madame Hong climbed onto the sedan chair.
 Xi Shi (c. 450 BC), famous Chinese beauty, foremost of the Four legendary beauties, given by King Gou Jian of Yue as concubine to King of Wu as part of a successful plan to destroy Wu. Yang Yuhuan or Yang Guifei (719-756), famous Tang beauty, consort of Emperor Xuanzhong, blamed for extravagance and killed as a scapegoat during the Anshi rebellion.
Last edited by szfong; 07-31-12 at 12:41 AM. Reason: Spoiler
No I mean the moment where he actually did something just seems non-existent. One moment he's singing and groping, next moment ah ke wakes up, next moment there is this whole fight and poof. The reader would assume he did nothing more than play a bit of doctor.
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Thanks foxs for the hard work! One of the things I like about this passage is that it highlights just how much of a sociopath Xiaobao really is. He doesn't feel bad about what he's doing or what he's about to do. Instead, Xiaobao acts because of what he thinks that other people are thinking of him.
I love this little bit from Madame Hong. She hasn't been in the story all that much at this point, but her little bits of characterization stand out nicely.Originally Posted by foxs
"Heaven and Earth in confusion. After an unknown period of time had passed, the candle on the table went out, the room became completely dark."
Thanks Foxs! So much updates for me to read heehee but I lost track of some of the women mentioned, guess I have to reread someday
@athlonkmf ya me too lol, I assumed he didn't do anything, other than groping...
Hmmmm...A hero or a villain??? Maybe we should have a poll for this..And perhaps polls to:
1. guess how many of his wives did he grope? (I guess six)
2. who should be his wife and who should be his concubines? (Wife - A tie between Shuang'er and Madame Hong. Shuang'er because she is so accomodating and Madame Hong because of Lin Ching Hsia)
"I may walk slowly but I'm walking forward"
I'm quite surprised by how closely the Tony Leung TVB version follows the book. The written depiction is exactly how it unfolds on screen minus the no lighting plus lots of clothing.
1. Ah Ke - Dressed as a man; drugged
2. Shuang'er - Dressed as a soldier; paralyzed
3. Zeng Rou - Dressed as a soldier; paralyzed
4. Mu Jian Ping - Dressed as a prostitute; drugged
5. Fang Yi - Dressed as a prostitute; drugged
6. Madame Hong - Dressed as a prostitute; drugged
7. Fake Dowager Mao Dongzhu - Dressed as a prostitute; drugged
8. Ah Qi - Dressed as a man; paralyzed; not on the bed
Conversely, it's really difficult to have a Wei Xiaobao that reflects the novel very well. There's no way that Huang Xiaoming is going to convince anyone that he's supposed to be playing a teenager for almost the entire story, and that's a crucial element to the character.
Szfong, hmm, I’ve never heard about that. But I have not finished reading the original, so following Toasted’s suggestion, I guess we’ll see together. Athlon, owlhoot, indeed it was only a sentence. You blink, and you’ll miss it. Lorry, judging from the reaction of those women, I think he did not touch Shuang’er, Zeng Rou and Xiao Junzhu. Even Madame Hong did not seem to resent him. But perhaps those women thought nothing of what he did? They thought that it was a norm? I don't know. What do you think? Anh, you are welcome. Smurf, Crazee, aww … you guys made me blush. But thanks for the compliment. It was not me, it was Jin Yong, only the other translator and the adaptation did not or could not capture these nuances.
New chapter. I am having a hard time translating things like this. Why, oh why did I take this project? Why didn’t I pick story with less classical quotation and more ‘action’, like Huang Yi that you guys were raving about … ?? Oh well, too late to back off now, I will have to finish it. Only 11 more chapters to go (12, counting Chapter 1).
Chapter 40 – The wait for rabbit suspecting the tree trunk can be guard against, the search for fish regretting the tree is difficult to foretell.
(Translated by Foxs)
The sedan chair carrying Madame Hong had just left, Wei Xiaobao was just about to turn around to go inside, a large sedan chair arrived at the main gate; Yangzhou Prefectural Magistrate had come to pay his respect. Seeing that the beauties he had in his hand left one by one, Wei Xiaobao was in a particularly bad mood, he had no interest to chitchat. “What do you want?” he asked.
Prefectural Magistrate Wu Zhirong paid his respect and saluted before saying, “Lowly officer has some classified military intelligence to report to Daren.”
Only after hearing the words ‘classified military intelligence’ did Wei Xiaobao let him come in. He said in his heart, “If it is not important classified matter, I will beat your butts.”
When they got to the inner study room, Wei Xiaobao sat down, but did not offer any seat to Wu Zhirong. “What classified military intelligence?” he asked.
Wu Zhirong said, “Would Daren please dismiss these people?” Wei Xiaobao waved his hand to order the personal guards to go out.
Wu Zhirong walked over and said in a low voice, “Imperial Envoy Daren, this is a very important matter, if Daren submits a memorial to the Emperor, your merit will be extraordinarily big. Lowly officer will also receive the benefit of the light behind the shade of Daren’s good fortune. Therefore, lowly officer was thinking of not reporting this to Futai [inspector-general (old)] and Fantai [vassal state governor (old)], the two Daren just yet.”
Wei Xiaobao frowned, “What important matter?” he asked, “Why is it so urgent?”
Wu Zhirong said, “Reporting to Daren: only because His Majesty’s good fortune is great, Daren’s good fortune is great that lowly officer managed to obtain this information.”
“Humph,” Wei Xiaobao said, “You, Wu Daren’s good fortune is also great.”
“I don’t dare, I don’t dare,” Wu Zhirong replied, “Lowly officer has received His Majesty’s grace and Imperial Envoy Daren’s promotion that day and night I always think about how to repay the great kindness. After accompanying Daren enjoying the Chinese peony outside the Chanzhi Temple yesterday, I thought about Daren talking about elegant styles, the admiration in my heart is exceedingly great, I only wish that I can work for Daren every day, to receive Daren’s advice at all times.”
“That’s great,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Then you don’t need to be a prefectural magistrate. I can see that you are clever and quick-witted, it would be better to … be better to …”
Wu Zhirong was greatly delighted; busily he bowed with cupped fist, “Thank you for Daren’s benefaction.”
Wei Xiaobao smiled and said, “It would be better for you to be my door keeper, or else my sedan chair carrier. Every day when I go out, you will be able to see me. Ha ha, ha ha …!”
Wu Zhirong was furious; his countenance changed slightly, but immediately he said with a forced laugh, “That will be wonderful. Being Daren’s door keeper is definitely better than being a prefectural magistrate in Yangzhou. Lowly officer usually sends quite a lot of idle people to make discreet inquiry and find information everywhere, if there is someone who harbor the desire to rebel or slander His Majesty, disparage cabinet minister, lowly officer will find out immediately. This kind of heresy confuses the people and incites those who hear it; it is a major crime, lowly officer always take more rigorous precautions to administer justice.”
“Oh,” Wei Xiaobao said, thinking that this man was capable of skirting the issue of being door keeper or sedan chair carrier in just one sentence; he really knew how to be a government official, very amazing.
Wu Zhirong said, “If it were peddlers and carriers, lowly people of marketplace babbling some nonsense, it would not create much harm; the ones we must be most vigilant are the intelectuals. This kind of people compose poems and write essays, oftentimes they take events from the past to mock the imperial court politics, when ordinary people read it, oftentimes they do not know that these scholars are having malicious intention by using the past to disparage the present.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “If others read it and don’t understand, then there’s no harm done.”
“Yes, yes,” Wu Zhirong said, “Although that is true, in the end this malicious intention must be punished. These poisonous poetry and literature of treason and heresy must never be allowed to spread throughout the world.” From his sleeve he took out a piece of letter and presented it with both hands. “Daren please take a look,” he said, “This is a poetry antology lowly officer obtained yesterday.”
If he fetched a stack of banknotes from his sleeve, Wei Xiaobao’s countenance would immediately show favorable expression toward him, but seeing that it was a document, he was quite disappointed, when he heard that it was a poetry anthology, immediately he yawned big. Without receiving the document, he looked up and did not pay him any attention.
Wu Zhirong felt rather awkward; he slowly withdred his hands that were holding the poetry anthology. “During the banquet yesterday,” he said, “There was a woman singing a new poetry depicting peasant women of Yangzhou, Daren was not too happy listening to it, hence lowly officer went out to investigate the poetry anthology from which the song came. I found quite a number of offensive and heretical sentences.”
“Is that so?” Wei Xiaobao lazily said.
Wu Zhirong opened up the book and pointed to a poem, “Daren, please look at this,” he said, “The title of this poem is ‘Hongwu’s Copper Cannon Song’ written by Zha Shenxing; it was about the previous dynasty’s Zhu Yuanzhang using copper cannon.”
When he heard this, Wei Xiaobao’s interest was mildly piqued. “Did Zhu Yuanzhang also use cannon?” he asked.
“Yes, yes,” Wu Zhirong replied, “Presently our Great Qing’s Holy Sage Son of Heaven is on the throne, yet this man surnamed Zha wrote a song to praise Zhu Yuanzhang’s copper cannon; won’t that incite everybody to cherish the memory of the previous dynasty? This poem exaggerates Zhu Yuanzhang’s power and prestige, this is not right. The last four sentences say, ‘I have come to see you in thistles and thorns, not at all like the rivers and mountain in my memory. Golden low-ranking public official gently wipe the everflowing tears, passionately strive for and endure the ever-rising ascend to gaze afar.’ The content of this man’s heart cannot be more clear than this. Our Great Qing received the Mandate of Heaven to drive out the Zhu’s Ming, all common people are overjoyed to no end, but why did this man look at Zhu Yuanzhang’s cannon and want to visit the rivers and mountains of his memory? Why must he shed tears?”
(Book note: Zha Shenxing’s earlier poem had considerable reminiscent of the previous Ming; later on Kangxi’s literature chamberlain minister changed the style of the poem.)
“Where is this copper cannon?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “I want to see it. Can you locate it? His Majesty loves cannon very much.”
Wu Zhirong replied, “According to the poem, these copper cannon are in Jingzhou.”
With a wooden expression Wei Xiaobao said, “Since they are not in Yangzhou, why do you bother? You are the Prefectural Magistrate of Yangzhou, not the Prefectural Magistrate of Jingzhou. Wait till you become the county head magistrate of Jingzhou before you investigate these copper cannon.”
Wu Zhirong was greatly shocked; being the county head magistrate of Jingzhou would mean that he was being demoted. He must not raise this subject anymore; hence he put the poetry anthology back into his sleeve and took out two other books. “Imperial Envoy Daren,” he said, “That Zha Shenxing’s book has slight improper tone; by Daren’s grace we won’t make further investigation. But these two books absolutely must not be ignored.”
Wei Xiaobao frowned, “Which fellow wrote them?” he asked.
Wu Zhirong replied, “One was written by Zha Yihuang, called ‘The Diary of a Country’, the content is a full commendation of the anti-Qing movement. The other is Gu Yanwu’s poetry anthology; it is even more extremely disregarding the ruler and superior, disregarding the law and natural morality.”
Wei Xiaobao was secretly shocked. “Mr. Gu Yanwu and my Shifu are the military strategists of the Turtle Slaying Assembly,” he mused, “How did his book fall into this government official’s hands? I wonder if our Tian Di Hui is mentioned there?” He asked, “What is written in the book? Tell me in detail.”
Seeing that Wei Xiaobao was suddenly interested, Wu Zhirong’s spirit was boosted. He opened up the book ‘Diary of a Country’ and said, “Reporting to Daren: this book is calling all the anti-Qing rebels as loyal subjects and patriots. In this chapter, ‘The Narrative on the Investigation of Master of the Ministry of War On Bestowing Supervisory Authority To The Imperial Censor’, he is talking about his [paternal male] cousin Zha Meiji fighting our Great Qing, about how he conspired with the insurgents, how he placed himself in opposition to our elite troops.”
With his right hand index finger he pointed to the book and read, “’On the seventeenth of the fourth month, the Qing troops attacked Yuan Huaji, they retreated via Tong Yuan. Meiji supervised Ling, Yang, Zhou and Wang, various patriots, leading five hundred ships, more than five thousand men, all with white cloth wrapped around their heads, by the seventh earthly branch [between 11am – 1pm, noon] the battle was over, pursued the enemy to the end, beheading the first hundred or more low-rank troops, achieving great victory, striking fear to the enemy, they went ashore and ran.’ You see Daren, they called the rebels ‘patriots’, but called our Great Qing’s elite troops ‘the enemy’. Don’t you think he really deserve to die?”
Wei Xiaobao asked, “What did Gu Yanwu write in his book?”
Wu Zhirong put down the ‘Diary of a Country’ and picked up Gu Yanwu’s poetry anthology. Shaking his head he said, “The poems that this man wrote, not a single one does not speak of rebellion and conspiracy against the state. This poem’s title is ‘Qiang Hu’; this is clearly a slander against our Great Qing.”
His finger pointed to a verse and read, “Our country’s golden bowl was originally whole, it was thrown into confusion like a newborn from a barbarian concubine. Recruiting the troops to establish provinces, accumulating soldier’s pay to establish provinces. There’s concern over tribal chieftains rebelling against the Western Sichuan, a worry about bewitched people singing over Shandong, so much so that among Shenzhou’s [old name for China] half-banished thieves, whoever raise his voice and make a vow can be barbarian tribal chief. Four adjoining outskirts and boundary opressing Shandong culture, destroyed villages and massacred people uncountable. Cut open abdomen, broken intestines, snapped necks and fractured jaws, pile of corpse like a pond. Those fortunate enough were taken prisoners and join the barbarians. Barbarians speak ‘ya, ya’, like chisling tooth the mend the denture. Establishing worm banners, mounting thick weeds carriages. Looking at shedding blood in thousand cities, gathering beautiful women like flowers. Alas, the barbarians destroyed it like this, but speaking that it was the Heaven’s will for the country …”
Wei Xiaobao waved his hands and said, “Enough, stop reading. Yi yi ya ya, I don’t know what you are talking about.”
“Reporting to Daren,” Wu Zhirong said, “The poem says that we, the people of Manchuria, are barbarians, it says that it was in order to fight the war against Manchu people to keep the provinces that the Ming Dynasty recruited troops and raised the soldiers’ pay, inciting the whole country to rise in rebellion. It also says that we, Manchu people, massacred people, cut open their belly, broke their intestines, and seized beautiful women.”
“So that’s how it is,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Seizing beautiful women, that’s very good. When the Qing troops broke into Yangzhou, didn’t they kill a lot of common people? If not because of this matter, how could His Majesty exempt Yangzhou of three years’ land tax? Hm, this Gu Yanwu’s poem is so honest.”
Wu Zhirong was greatly shocked; he thought, “You are too young and do not know what’s important. Luckily it was you who said it; if it were from someone else’s mouth, I report it up, do you think the gauze hat [i.e. job as an official] you are wearing would stay steady on your head?” But he knew that Wei Xiaobao was the Emperor’s most favorite person; how could he dare to set himself against the Imperial Envoy Minister? Repeatedly he said several ‘yes’, and with a forced laugh said, “Indeed Daren has wise opinion; lowly officer was in murky darkness and suddenly it opens. Would Daren please give direction on this poem, ‘Song of the history of the heart inside the well’? This poem has a rather lengthy preface; it is indeed wildly rebellious.”
Holding the book up, his head swayed in time with his reading: “In the winter of Chongzhen’s eleventh year, the drought of the well in the Chengtian [lit. bearing (the load) of heaven] Temple in Suzhou’s capital had already deepened; obtaining a case, on the outside was written ‘The Great Song (Dynasty) Iron Case Sutra’, and it was very heavy …”
(“Daren, it tells about finding an iron box inside the well.”
“Iron box?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “Was there any gold, silver or treasure inside?”)
“Inside there was a scroll of book, the title was ‘Xin Shi’ [history of the heart], it said ‘the solitary minister of the Great Song Zheng Sixiao’s hundred song of worship’. The nickname ‘Sixiao’ actually means ‘south’, the Song lost its people, its reputation was recorded in ancient history book. The days of the book collection enjoyed divine protection were nine years. After the demise of Song, just as day and night expecting Prime Minister Chen, Zhang Shaobao [junior guardian] gathered the troops overseas, trying to restore the Great Song’s three hundred years of soil.”
(“Daren, the essay was talking about the Song Dynasty, but actually he was referring to the Great Qing. Gu Yanwu is hoping that Taiwan’s rebel Zheng would gather the troops overseas to restore the soil of the Great Ming.”)
“Not yet repelling the barbarian Yuan back to the northern desert, could only weep in bitter tears, and pray to the Heaven and the Earth, submitting oneself to the Great God, speech failed, attention diverted, certainly there would be a day the barbarians will turn into summer.”
(“Daren, he cursed us, Manchurian Qing as Tatars, he wanted to repel us out.”
“Are you a Manchu?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“This … this … lowly officer is a servant of His Majesty of the Great Qing, a subordinate of Manchu Daren, indeed I am concentrating my thoughts and my efforts in dedication to Manchu people.”)
“Thereupon when the people of the country saw this, none did not bow their head in amazement. The Xunfu [inspector general] Duke Du Yuanzhang preserved the writing for later time, as well as set up a memorial hall in the south, and hid the box in the memorial hall. Before long, the country met with difficulties, just like the final years of the divine protection. Alas, what a sorrow!”
(“Daren, the Great Qing’s army entered the Pass, it was to console the people and punish the tyrant, yet this Gu Yanwu said that the country met with difficulties, he also said ‘alas, what a sorrow’; can we bear not to question this man’s intention?”)
 Qiang – ethnic group of northwestern Sichuan, Hu – non-Han people, barbarian.
 The word ‘banner’ here refers to Manchurian ruling class (Eight Banners).
 Wu Zhirong read ‘yi’ – barbarians, Wei Xiaobao said ‘yi’ – onomatopoeia.
I'm afraid I am uncouth and illiterate in Chinese lit as WXB because poetry in general can bore me to tears. Wu Zhirong is pretty despicable trying to report and condemn somebody of treason based on a couple of published history books.
Foxs - you are wonderful translator. Huang Yi books are a different type of monster. Gathering from the comments A Step into the Past is one of the "shorter" ones and I think we just hit Year 5 on the translation and only 1/2 way thru the book.
Last edited by smurf120; 08-02-12 at 11:44 AM.
Thanks Foxs I am glad it is you translating this. We always have something to read every week or more often. And, Yes I do appreciate the translators that go much slower.
Thanks foxs....not so interesting episode I must say, this chapter ( at least for now ) ...is it because I don't appreciate the literary beauty of poetry ?? Well, I used to sleep in class when we had it in my schools days but the teacher usually made a big fuss on how beautifully it was written but I all see is the ABCs....heh heh heh.
What to expect from an uncouth boor ???
Oh ho ... now you are saying that I can't handle the truth, I mean, Huang Yi ... Thank you very much Smurf. (Nah, I guess you are right, I can't handle Jin Yong either ... I hate translating Jin Yong ...) Anh, I want to finish this as soon as I can, but sometimes I don't have much time to translate. Crazee, that makes two, thee and me. This part is still boring, no wonder the official version just skipped it. Come to think about it, the farther along we go, the more I have a feeling that the official translation is more and more like a summary rather than the real story. Anyway, my apology for weird sentences ...
“The number of books trasmitted to the north was less, and after the misfortune, many have become taboo, hence these books were not seen in the last thirty years or so; nowadays it resurfaces at the Zhu Clan of Fuping [county, Weinan, Shanxi]. When this book first appeared in the past, the Taicang [county, Suzhou, Jiangsu] Guard Regiment’s Qian Jun respectfully composed two chapters of poetry, Kunshan’s [county, Suzhou, Jiangsu] Gui Sheng solemnly added eight chapters. When Zhejiang East fallen, Duke Zhang returned to Dongyang [county, Jinhua, Zhejiang]; he went to the moat and died there. Qian Jun escaped overseas, and died on Lang Qi Mountain. Gui Sheng changed his name to Zuo Ming, and continued to be particularly fervent and intense, until in the end he died of exhaustion and hunger.”
(“Daren, these three rebels did not acknowledge allegiance to our Great Qing, fortunately they died early, otherwise, they would definitely be executed along with their families unto the third generation.”)
“Only the untalented me, drifting along in this life, heading toward the grieving years, enduring the net that is getting tighter and tighter.”
(“Daren, he said that the imperial court supresses essays with rebellious intent, it’s getting harder and harder; yet this fellow is clearly has the audacity [orig. ‘hair grows on his guts’] and is unafraid.”)
“See whatever is worthy, think to imitate; standing alone without fear, expressing this matter, showing the ministers how to change in conducting themselves, pretending to write this song.”
As he was listening to this, Wei Xiaobao repeatedly yawn; he only wanted to know what was written in Gu Yanwu’s book, hence he endured patiently until Wu Zhirong finished reading the lengthy preface. “Are you done?” he asked.
“Next comes the poem,” Wu Zhirong said.
“If there is nothing important, you don’t need to read,” Wei Xiaobao said.
“Very important, very important,” Wu Zhirong replied. He read, “Minister Zheng Sixiao of the late Song, cried bitterly over barbarian Yuan [i.e. Mongol] moving nine ancestral shrines, all by himself holding on to Han cauldron with difficulty, alone devotedly desiring and wishing with lamentation on the weary Hunan. Writing a book, roll by roll to become ‘Xin Shi’, the content of ten thousand ancient hearts. A thousand searches hidden away inside the iron case in the well, a hundred worship songs that have yet to die today. In barbarian captivity not even a hundred years, perhaps by chance the divine ancestor would re-open the Heaven …”
(“Daren, by saying this sentence ‘In barbarian captivity not even a hundred years’, he is really really deserve to die. He is cursing our Great Qing to reign not even a hundred years, saying that Han people may have some ‘divine ancestor’, which will come to open the Heaven. What opening the Heaven? He is thinking of overthrowing our Great Qing!”)
“I heard His Majesty said,” Wei Xiaobao spoke up, “Only if the Great Qing treats the common people well will our rivers and mountain be steady. Otherwise any empty talk of thousand years, ten thousand years, everything will be in vain. There is a foreigner by the name Tang Ruowang, he is the Director of Imperial Observatory; do you know him?”
“Yes,” Wu Zhirong replied, “Lowly officer has heard about him.”
Wei Xiaobao said, “This man wrote an almanac, his projection is for 200 years. Some people accused him, saying that the Great Qing’s dominion will last for tens of thousands of years; why did he project only 200 years? At that time Oboi was in charge of the nation, he was completely muddleheaded, unexpectedly he was going to chop his head. Fortunately His Majesty is an enlightened sage, he reprimanded Oboi severely, and had the person who lodged the complain executed, along with his entire family unto the third generation. His Majesty dislikes the most people who wrongly accused good people, by saying nonsense about the Great Qing dominion lasts for a hundred years, or two hundred years to harm others. His Majesty said that really good ministers will cherish common people, and work diligently for the imperial court. As for people who love to lodge false accusation against others, always pick mistakes inside a poem or an essay, which is called ‘seeking for bone inside the egg’, definitely those people are the painted face treacherous officials [in the property], he ordered me if I see this kind of fellow, to immediately tie him up and chop his damn head.”
Wei Xiaobao was determined to protect Gu Yanwu at all cost, he was afraid that Wu Zhirong reported to him but failed, he might go to different government official and raise some noise. Thereupon Wei Xiaobao spoke more and more harshly, trying to scare Wu Zhirong that henceforth he would not dare to raise this matter anymore.
He did not know that Wu Zhirong obtained his prefectural magistrate position entirely because he reported the ‘Ming Shi’ [history of the Ming Dynasty], the writing of Zhuang Tinglong of Huzhou, Zhejiang, which talked about the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, which had words and sentences that were disrespectful toward the Qing Dynasty. Provoking literrary inquisition to seek fame and fortune was this man’s expertise.
This time Wu Zhirong found some flaws in the literary work of Gu Yanwu, Zha Yihuang and the others, he was unable to contain his joy. He believed that he found heaven-sent wealth and promotion, he might even gain three classes of promotion at once; who would have thought that the Imperial Envoy Minister would talk to him like that? In that instant, cold sweat started to drench his back; he thought, “In the ‘Ming Shi’ case, Oboi Daren personally handled this matter. Now Oboi Daren has been deposed by His Majesty, it seems that His Majesty’s temper is totally different from Oboi Daren; this time I am indeed in a very bad situation.”
On how Kangxi captured Oboi, since it was not too honorable, it was not openly discussed. The high-ranking ministers racked their brains with ideas, but among the government officials, very few talked about it. Wu Zhirong’ official rank was rather low, plus he was stationed in a prefecture far away from Beijing, thereupon he did not know that the only connection he had in the high place, Oboi Daren was dead precisely in the hand on this Wei Daren in front of his eyes. Otherwise, he would be even more terrified.
Seeing his earthly gray countenance and his trembling body, Wei Xiaobao was secretly delighted; he asked, “Have you finished reading?”
Wu Zhirong replied, “This poem, there is still … still … half.”
“So, what does it say?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Trembling with fear, Wu Zhirong continued reading, “The Yellow River did not wait for clear person [Qing], the deep water retain its splendor. Suddenly appeared strange book out of the world, alarming the barbarian riders filling the rivers and mountains. The Heaven knows the way of the world will be repeated, hence this book revealed the goal of the government ministers. To meet again more than thirty years later, with one heart one mind restore at the same time. Duke Lu died at the cliff’s door, those who trust the country sacrifice their lives at swallow market. In olden days reciting poetry lamenting people of old, in secluded bamboo groove and restful woods worrying about mountain ghosts. Alas, cattail yellow’s [蒲黄 - ‘pu huang’, cattail pollen or pollen typhae] lifetime is so long! How would the South see it?” He read it without taking a breath, and he did not dare to add explanation either; with great difficulty he finally finished reading, his sweats dripped on the pages of the book.
Wei Xiaobao laughed and said, “There is nothing out of ordinary in the poem. It talks about some mountain ghosts, some faded old woman [黄脸婆 – ‘huang lian po’ (yellow-faced old woman)]; it’s really amusing.”
Wu Zhirong said, “Reporting to Daren: the ‘pu huang’ in the poem was referring to Song Dynasty’s high-ranking ministers Pu Shougeng and Huang Wanshi who surrendered to the Yuan Dynasty; it is a ridicule to the Han people who become government officials of the Great Qing.”
Wei Xiaobao’s countenance sank. “I said it was ‘huang lian po’, then it is faded old woman,” he said sternly, “Is your wife’s [lao po, same ‘po’ character] face very yellow? Why did anybody write a poem to make fun of faded old woman and you cannot stand it?”
Wu Zhirong took a step back, his hands trembling, ‘pat!’ the book in his hands fell. “Yes, yes,” he said, “Lowly officer deserves to die.”
Wei Xiaobao seized the opportunity to flare-up; he shouted, “What a nerve! I courteously recited His Majesty’s imperial edict to enlighten you. You are a very minor government official, yet you dare to throw things at me, to lose your temper at me! You look down upon His Majesty’s imperial edict; aren’t you rebelling?”
‘Bonk!’ Wu Zhirong dropped on his knees and repeatedly kowtowed. “Da … Daren please spare my life, forgive … forgive Xiaoren’s muddleheadedness.”
With a cold laugh Wei Xiaobao said, “You threw things at me, you lost your temper, that’s fine, at most you will be charged with humiliating the Imperial Envoy. Heavy punishment would be beheading, light punishment would be banishment; it’s a trivial matter …”
Hearing the charge was getting heavier, from banishment to beheading, Wu Zhirong kowtowed even more fervently, his head was like pounding on garlic. “Daren, please be magnanimous, Xiao … Xiaode [lowly one] knew my guilt.”
“You look down on His Majesty’s imperial edict,” Wei Xiaobao barked, “Can I let it pass just like that? Your family, wife, sister-in-law, son, daughter, mother-in-law, paternal aunt, servant girl, mistress, a bunch of heads must be chopped down.”
Wu Zhirong was shaking all over, his teeth chattered, making a clicking noise, he no longer dare to say anything.
Seeing that he had scared him enough, Wei Xiaobao asked sternly, “Where is that Gu Yanwu now?”
Wu Zhirong replied in trembling voice, “Report … reporting to Daren … he … he … he is at …” his teeth bit his own tongue that his speech was not clear. After quite a while, he managed to continue, trembling with fear, “Lowly officer was too brazen, I had Gu Yanwu and that surnamed Zha, also … also one surnamed Lu, detained … detained at the yamen.”
“Have you torture and question them?” Wei Xiaobao asked, “What did they say?”
Wu Zhirong said, “Lowly officer only casually asked a few questions, the three of them were unwilling to confess.”
“Are they really unwilling to say anything?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
Wu Zhirong said, “They … they are not. But … but we found a letter in that surnamed Zha’s pocket; as a matter of fact, it carries great responsibility. Daren, please take a look.” From his side he took a cloth bundle, opened it to produce a letter, and presented it with both hands.
Wei Xiaobao did not take the letter, he asked, “What does it say? What kind of essay?”
“No, it’s not that,” Wu Zhirong said, “It was written by Guangdong Tidu [local commander] Wu … Wu Liuqi.”
When Wei Xiaobao heard ‘Guangdong Tidu Wu Liuqi’, seven characters, he was shocked. “Wu Liuqi?” he busily asked, “He also write poetry?”
“It’s not that,” Wu Zhirong replied, “Wu Liuqi is plotting rebellion, this letter is irrefutable evidence, he won’t be able to deny at all. When a while ago lowly officer mentioned military intelligence and that we will render great merit, I was talking about this matter.”
“Oh,” Wei Xiaobao said, while in his heart he groaned, “It’s bad!”
“Reporting to Daren,” Wu Zhirong continued, “Scholars compose poem or write articles with somewhat rebellious content, Daren bravely made decision that it was not a big deal; lowly officer is full of admiration. There’s a common saying: Xiucai [a person who has passed county level imperial exam] rebelling, three years won’t have any result. Presumably it’s not something we should be worried about. But this Wu Liuqi is in command of the entire province’s troops. If he wanted to rise in rebellion, and the imperial court did not gain the initiative by striking first, then … then it would desperately serious.” Talking about Wu Liuqi rising in rebellion, immediately his eloquence came back.
All along he had been kneeling on the floor; now that he saw Wei Xiaobao’s expression alternated between grim and clear, obviously he was very interested in this matter, Wu Zhirong slowly stood up. “Humph,” Wei Xiaobao snorted, and glowered at him. Wu Zhirong was startled; he immediately dropped down on his knees again.
“What does the letter say?” Wei Xiaobao asked.
“Reporting to Daren,” Wu Zhirong replied, “The writing in the letter is very obscure; he said something about the important event in the southwest, that the undertaking of the real men is in full swing. He invited the one surnamed Zha to visit Guangdong to give directions and principles of action. The letter says, ‘Passionately planning the matter of Zhong Shan [lit. central mountain], the great feat of Kaiping [county, Jiangmen, Guangdong], will not be accomplished without Mr. Qing Tian’s [lit. clear (rice) field; see next section] planning the operation.’ That was definitely a reference to rebellion.”
“You are talking rubbish again,” Wei Xiaobao said, “Do you know what important matter they are talking about? You are a minor official, how would you know His Majesty and the imperial court’s classified strategic decision?”
“Yes, yes,” Wu Zhirong replied, “But in his letter he clearly mentioned the plan to rebel; we really must not easily neglect it.”
Wei Xiaobao took the envelope and extracted the letter; he saw the paper was full of walnut-size characters. He could tell that the ink was very dense, the strokes were very coarse, but he did not recognize a single character. He said, “The letter did not mention anything about rebellion.”
“Reporting to Daren,” Wu Zhirong said, “About the rebellion, naturally he cannot write it openly. This Wu Liuqi wanted to be Zhong Shan King, Kaiping King, and he wanted that surnamed Zha to be Mr. Qing Tian; that is rebellion.”
Wei Xiaobao shook his head and said, “Rubbish! People who take official post, which one does not wish to become ‘King’ or ‘Duke’? Are you saying you don’t want to? This Wu Junmen [lit. army gate, no idea what it is] has rendered great merit, he wanted to set up another great service for the imperial court, hoping that His Majesty would grant him the title King, it is a sign of great loyalty.”
Wu Zhirong had a very awkward expression on his face; he thought, “Talking with an ignorant and incompetent disciple like you, I can’t make anything clear. Today I have offended you; if I do not set up a merit through this matter, my career will most likely not have any future.” Thereupon suppressing his temper, he forced a laughter and said, “Reporting to Daren: the Ming Dynasty had two great generals. One was called Xu Da, the other Chang Yuchun.”
Ever since he was little, Wei Xiaobao had heard mister storytellers talked about ‘The Great Ming’s Legend of Heroic Deeds'; he knew the stories surrounding the founding of the Ming Dynasty by heart [orig. ‘ripe as a melon that rolls from its vine’]. As soon as he heard Wu Zhirong mentioning Xu and Chang, two great generals, immediately his spirit was aroused, totally unlike when he was drowsily listening to him reciting poetry and literature. He laughed and said, “Those two great generals’ prestige is known in eight directions, they are indeed very formidable. Do you know what weapon Xu Da used? What weapon Chang Yuchun used?”