Shisun Rui said, “the moment is favorable. The Emperor has

Shisun Rui said, “the moment is favorable. The Emperor has just recovered from his illness, and we can dispatch an able talker to Meiwo to persuade Dong Zhuo to come here to discuss affairs. Meanwhile we will obtain a secret decree as authority for Lu Bu to lay an ambush just inside the Palace gates to kill Dong Zhuo as he enters. This is the best plan to adopt.”

“But who would dare to go?” said Huang Wan.

“Li Su, General of the Imperial Tiger Army, would go. He belongs to the same region as Lu Bu and is very angry with the Prime Minister for not advancing him. His going would assure us the plan would be completed.”

  “Good,” said Wang Yun. “Let us see what Lu Bu thinks of it.”

  When Lu Bu was consulted, he told them that this Li Su’s persuasion had led him to kill Ding Yuan, his former benefactor.

  “If Li Su refuses this mission, I will kill him,” said Lu Bu.

  So they sent for Li Su.

  When Li Su arrived, Lu Bu said, “Formerly you talked me into killing Ding Yuan and going over to Dong Zhuo. Now we find Dong Zhuo means evil for the Emperor and is an oppressor of the people. His iniquities are many, and he is hated by gods and humans. You go to Meiwo, say you have a command from the Emperor to summon the Prime Minister to the Palace. He will come, and he will be put to death. You will have the credit of being loyal and restoring the Hans. Will you undertake this?”

“I also wish to slay him,” was the reply. “But I could not find anyone

to assist me. How can I hesitate? Your intervention is directly from Heaven.”

And Li Su snapped an arrow in twain as register of his oath.

“If this succeeds, what glorious rank will be yours!” said Wang Yun.

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A wave of fierce wrath rolled up in Lu Bu Banging the

A wave of fierce wrath rolled up in Lu Bu. Banging the table he shouted and roared.

His host ostentatiously tried to calm him, saying, “I forgot myself. I should not have spoken like that. Do not be so angry, I pray!”

“I will kill the wretch, I swear it! In no other way can I wash away my shame.”

“No, no! Do not say such a thing,” said Wang Yun, putting his hand over the other’s mouth. “You will bring trouble on poor me and my family.”

  “When one is born GREat, one cannot be patient for long under another person’s domination,” said Lu Bu.

  “It needs someone GREater than the Prime Minister to limit the scope of such talents as yours.”

  Lu Bu said, “I would not mind killing the old wretch were it not for the relation in which we stand. I fear to provoke the hostile criticism of posterity.”

  Wang Yun shook his head, saying, “Your name is Lu Bu; his is Dong Zhuo. Where was the paternal feeling when he threw the halberd at you?”

  “I had been misled if you had not said that,” said Lu Bu hotly.

  Wang Yun saw the effect of his words and continued, “It would be a loyal deed to restore the House of Han, and history would hand down your name to posterity perpetually fragrant. If you lend your aid to Dong Zhuo, you will be a traitor and your name will be tainted through all ages.”

  Lu Bu rose from his place and bowed to Wang Yun.

  “I have decided,” said he. “You need not fear, Sir.”

“But yet you may fail and bring upon yourself misfortune,” said Wang Yun.

Lu Bu drew his dagger, pricking his arm, and swearing by the blood that flowed.

Wang Yun fell on his knees and thanked him.

“then the Han sacrifices will not be cut off, and you will be their savior.

But this must remain a secret,

and I will tell you how the plot shall be worked out.”

Lu Bu took leave with GREat emotion.

Wang Yun took into his confidence two colleagues,

Minister Shisun Rui and Imperial Commander Huang Wan.

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the order was given to journey to Meiwo and the whole body

the order was given to journey to Meiwo, and the whole body of officers assembled to add luster to the start. Diao Chan, from her carriage, saw Lu Bu among the crowd. She at once dropped her eyes and assumed an appearance of deepest melancholy. After the cavalcade started and when her carriage had almost disappeared in the distance, the disappointed lover reined in his steed on a mount whence he could watch the dust that rose around it. Unutterable sadness filled his heart.

Suddenly a voice said, “Why do you not accompany the Prime Minister, General, instead of standing here and sighing?”

It was Wang Yun.

  “I have been confined to the house by illness these few days,” continued he, “so I have not seen you. But I had to struggle out today to see the Prime Minister set off. This meeting is most fortunate. But why were you sighing?”

  “Just on account of that daughter of yours,” said Lu Bu.

  Feigning GREat astonishment, Wang Yun said, “So long a time and yet not given to you!”

  “the old ruffian has fallen in love with her himself.”

  “Surely this cannot be true.”

  Lu Bu related the whole story while Wang Yun listened, silent, but stamping on the ground as with irritation and perplexity.

  After a long time Wang Yun said, “I did not think he was such a beast.”

  Taking Lu Bu by the hand, Wang Yun said, “Come to my house, and we will talk it over.”

So they went away together to the house and retired to a secret room. After some refreshments, Lu Bu told the whole story of the episode in Phoenix Pavilion just as it happened.

Wang Yun said, “He seems to have corrupted my little girl and has stolen your wife.

He will be an object of shame and ridicule to the whole world.

And those who do not laugh at him will laugh at you and me. Alas!

I am old and powerless and can do nothing. More pitied than blamed!

But you, General, you are a warrior, the GREatest hero in the world.

Yet you have been put to this shame and exposed to this contempt.”

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“Suppose I send you to him,” said Dong Zhuo.

“Suppose I send you to him,” said Dong Zhuo.

Stunned, she pleaded with tears, “What have thy handmaid done? My honor of serving only Your Highness could not bear being given to a mere underling! Never! I would rather die.”

  And with this she snatched down a dagger hanging on the wall to kill herself.

  Dong Zhuo plucked it from her hand and, throwing his arms about her, and cried, “I was only joking!”

  She lay back on his breast hiding her face and sobbing bitterly.

  “This is the doing of that Li Ru,” said she. “He is much too thick with Lu Bu. He suggested that, I know. Little he cares for the Imperial Rector’s reputation or my life. Oh! I could eat him alive.”

  “Do you think I could bear to lose you?” said Dong Zhuo.

  “Though you love me yet I must not stay here. That Lu Bu will try to ruin me if I do. I fear him.”

  “We will go to Meiwo tomorrow, you and I, and we will be happy together and have no cares.”

  She dried her tears and thanked him. Next day Li Ru came again to persuade Dong Zhuo to send the damsel to Lu Bu.

“This is a propitious day,” said Li Ru.

“He and I standing in the relation of father and son. I cannot very well do that,” said Dong Zhuo. “But I will say no more about his fault. You may tell him so and soothe him as well as you can.”

“You are not being beguiled by the woman, are you?” said Li Ru.

Dong Zhuo colored, saying, “Would you like to give your wife to some body else? Do not talk about this any further. It would be better not to.”

Li Ru left the chamber. When he got outside, he cast his eyes up to heaven, saying, “We are dead people, slain by the hand of this girl!”

When a scholar of history reached this episode he wrote a verse or two:

[hip, hip, hip] Just introduce a woman,

Conspiracies succeed;Of soldiers, or their weapons,

There really is no need. They fought their bloody battles,

And doughty deeds were done;

But in a garden summer house The victory was won. 

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the person who collided with the irate Dong Zhuo

the person who collided with the irate Dong Zhuo was his most trusty adviser Li Ru. Li Ru had not fallen in spite of the shock and at once scrambled to help Dong Zhuo to regain his feet and led him inside to the library, where they sat down.

“What were you coming about?” said Dong Zhuo.

“Happening to be passing your gates, I heard that you had gone into your private garden to look for your adopted son. then came Lu Bu running and crying out that you wanted to kill him, and I was coming in as fast as I could to intercede for him when I accidentally collided with you. I am very sorry. I deserve death.”

“the wretch! How could I bear to see him toying with my fair one? I will be the death of his yet.”

  “Your Graciousness is making a mistake. It is the ‘plucked tassel’ story over again. But if you remember the banquet of old time where all guests were to tear the tassels of their hats. In that banquet, King Zhuang of Chu made no fuss about the liberties taken with his queen, although the hat-tassel in her hand betrayed the culprit Jiang Xiong. His restraint stood him good stead, for the same Jiang Xiong saved his life when he was hemmed in by the soldiers of Qin. After all Diao Chan is only a handmaid, but Lu Bu is your trustiest friend and most dreaded commander. If you took this chance of making the girl over to him, your kindness would win his undying gratitude. I beg you, Sir, to think over it well.”

  Dong Zhuo hesitated a long time. He sat murmuring to himself. Presently he said, “What you say is right. I must think over it.”

  Li Ru felt satisfied. He took leave of his master and went away. Dong Zhuo went to his private rooms and called Diao Chan.

“What were you doing there with Lu Bu?” said he.

She began to weep, saying, “Thy handmaid was in the garden among the flowers, when he rushed in on me. I was frightened and ran away. He asked why I ran away from a son of the family and pursued me right to the pavilion, where you saw us. He had that halberd in his hand all the time.

I felt he was a vicious man and would force me to his will,

so I tried to throw myself into the lily pond,

but he caught me in his arms and held me so that I was helpless.

Luckily just at that moment you came and saved my life.”

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Thus speaking she seized the curving rail and started into

Thus speaking she seized the curving rail and started into

the lily pond. Lu Bu caught her in his

strong arms and wept as he held her close.

“I knew it: I always knew your heart,” he sobbed. “Only we never had a chance to speak.”

She threw her arms about Lu Bu.

“If I cannot be your wife in this life, I will in the ages to come,” she whispered.

“If I do not marry you in this life, I am no hero,” said he.

“Every day is a year long. O pity me! Rescue me! My lord!”

  “I have only stolen away for a brief moment, and I am afraid that old rebel will suspect something, so I must not stay too long,” said Lu Bu.

  Diao Chan clung to his robe, saying, “If you fear the old thief so much, I shall never see another sunrise.”

  Lu Bu stopped.

  “Give me a little time to think,” said he.

  And he picked up his halberd to go.

  “In the deep seclusion of the harem, I heard the stories of your prowess. You were the one man who excelled all others. Little did I think that you of all heroes would rest content under the dominion of another.”

  And tears rained again!

  A wave of shame flooded his face. Leaning his halberd against the railing, he turned and clasped the girl to his breast, soothing her with fond words. The lovers held each other close, swaying to and fro with emotion. They could not bring themselves to say farewell.

  In the meantime Dong Zhuo missed his henchman, and doubt filled his heart. Hastily taking leave of the Emperor, he mounted his chariot and returned to his palace. There at the gate stood Lu Bu’s well known steed Red Hare, riderless. Dong Zhuo questioned the doorkeepers, and they told him the General was within. He sent away his attendants and went alone to the private apartments. Lu Bu was not there. He called Diao Chan, but there was no reply. He asked where she was, and the waiting maids told him she was in the garden among the flowers.

  So Dong Zhuo went into the garden, and there he saw the lovers in the pavilion in most tender talk. Lu Bu’s trident halberd was leaning on the railing beside him.

A howl of rage escaped Dong Zhuo and startled the lovers. Lu Bu turned, saw who it was, and ran away. Dong Zhuo caught up the halberd and ran in pursuit. But Lu Bu was fleet of foot while his master was very stout. Seeing no hope of catching the runaway, Dong Zhuo hurled the halberd. Lu Bu fended it off and it fell to the ground. Dong Zhuo picked it up and ran on. But by this time Lu Bu was far ahead. Just as Dong Zhuo was running out at the garden gate, he dashed full tilt against another man running in, and down he went.

[hip, hip, hip] Surged up his wrath within him as

the billows heavenward leap. Crashed his unwieldy body

to earth in a shapeless heap. [yip, yip, yip]

We shall presently see who the other runner was

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He angrily rebuked his son, saying, “Dare you make love to my

He angrily rebuked his son, saying, “Dare you make love to my beauty?”

He told the servants to turn Lu Bu out, shouting, “Never let him enter here again!”

Lu Bu went off home very wrath. Meeting Li Ru, he told Li Ru the cause of his anger.

the adviser hastened to see his master and said, “Sir, you aspire to be ruler of the empire. Why then for a small fault do you blame the General? If he turns against you, it is all over.”

“then what can I do?” said Dong Zhuo.

  “Recall him tomorrow; treat him well; overwhelm him with gifts and fair words; and all will be well.”

  So Dong Zhuo did so. He sent for Lu Bu and was very gracious and said, “I was irritable and hasty yesterday owing to my illness and I wronged you, I know. Forgive me.”

  He gave Lu Bu three hundred ounces of gold and twenty rolls of brocade. And so the quarrel was made up. But though Lu Bu’s body was with his adopted father Dong Zhuo, his heart was with his promised bride Diao Chan.

  Dong Zhuo having quite recovered went to court again, and Lu Bu followed him as usual. Seeing Dong Zhuo deep in conversation with the Emperor, Lu Bu, armed as he was, went out of the Palace and rode off to his chief’s residence. He tied up his steed at the entrance and, halberd in hand, went to the private apartment to seek his love. He found Diao Chan, and she told him to go out into the garden where she would join him soon. He went, taking his halberd with him, and he leaned against the rail of the Phoenix Pavilion to wait for Diao Chan.

After a long time she appeared, swaying gracefully as she made her way under the drooping willows and parting the flowers as she passed. She was exquisite, a perfect fairy from the Palace of the Moon.

Tears were in her eyes as she came up and said, “Though I am not the Minister’s real daughter, yet he treated me as his own child. The desire of my life was fulfilled when he plighted me to you. But oh! to think of the wickedness of the Prime Minister, stealing my poor self as he did. I suffered so much. I longed to die,

only that I had not told you the real truth. So I lived on,

bearing my shame as best as I could but feeling it mean still to live.

Now that I have seen you, I can end it all. My poor sullied body is

no longer fit to serve a hero. I can die before your eyes and so prove how true I am!”

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“Of course you do not understand. Yesterday when I was at court

“Of course you do not understand. Yesterday when I was at court, the Prime Minister told me he had something to talk to me about in my own house. So naturally I prepared for his coming, and while we were at dinner he said, ‘I have heard something of a girl named Diao Chan whom you have promised to my son Lu Bu. I thought it was mere rumor so I wanted to ask if it was true. Beside I should like to see her.’ I could not say no, so she came in and made her bow to the lord of lords. Then he said that it was a lucky day and he would take her away with him and betroth her to you. Just think, Sir: When the Prime Minister had come himself, could I stop him?”

“You were not so very wrong,” said Lu Bu. “But for a time I had misunderstood you. I owe you an apology.”

“the girl has a small trousseau, which I will send as soon as she has gone over to your dwelling.”

  Lu Bu thanked him and went away. Next day he went into the palace to find out the truth, but could hear nothing. Then he made his way into the private quarters and questioned the maids. Presently one told him that the Prime Minister had brought home a new bedfellow the night before and was not up yet. Lu Bu was very angry. Next he crept round behind his master’s sleeping apartment.

  By this time Diao Chan had risen and was dressing her hair at the window. Looking out she saw a long shadow fall across the little lake. She recognized the headdress, and peeping around she saw it was indeed no other than Lu Bu. Thereupon she contracted her eyebrows, simulating the deepest grief, and with her dainty handkerchief she wiped her eyes again and again. Lu Bu stood watching her a long time.

  Soon after he went in to give morning GREeting. Dong Zhuo was sitting in the reception room. Seeing his henchman, Dong Zhuo asked if there was anything new.

“Nothing,” was the reply.

Lu Bu waited while Dong Zhuo took his morning meal. As he stood beside his master, he glanced over at the curtain and saw a woman there behind the screen showing a half face from time to time and throwing amorous glances at him. He felt it was his beloved, and his thoughts flew to her. Presently Dong Zhuo noticed his expression and began to feel suspicious.

“If there is nothing, you may go,” said Dong Zhuo.

Lu Bu sulkily withdrew.

Dong Zhuo now thought of nothing but his new mistress and for more than a month neglected all affairs, devoting himself entirely to pleasure. Once he was a little indisposed, and Diao Chan was constantly at his side, never even undressing to show her solicitude. She gratified his every whim. Dong Zhuo GREw more and more fond of her.

One day Lu Bu went to inquire after his father’s health.

Dong Zhuo was asleep, and Diao Chan was sitting at the head of

his couch. Leaning forward she gazed at the visitor, with one hand

pointed to her heart, the other at Dong Zhuo asleep, and her tears fell.

Lu Bu felt heartbroken. Dong Zhuo drowsily opened his eyes;

and seeing his son’s gaze fixed on something behind him, he turned over and saw who it was.

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You stand, a dainty maiden, Your cherry lips so bright, Your teeth so

You stand, a dainty maiden, Your cherry lips so bright, Your teeth so

pearly white, Your fragrant breath love-laden;Yet is your tongue a sword;Cold death is the reward Of loving thee, O maiden. [yip, yip, yip]

  Dong Zhuo was delighted and praised her warmly. She was told to present a goblet of wine to the guest which he took from her hands and then asked her age.

  She replied, “Thy unworthy handmaid is twenty-one.”

  “A perfect little fairy!” said Dong Zhuo.

  then Wang Yun rose and said, “If the Prime Minister would not mind, I should like to offer him this little maid.”

  “How could I be grateful enough for such a kindness!”

  “She would be most fortunate if she could be your servant,” said Wang Yun.

  Dong Zhuo thanked his host warmly.

  then the orders were given to prepare a closed carriage and convey Diao Chan to the Prime Minister’s palace.

  Soon after Dong Zhuo took his leave, and Wang Yun accompanied him the whole way.

After he had taken leave, Wang Yun mounted to ride homeward. Half way he met two lines of guards with red lamps who were escorting Lu Bu who was on horseback and armed with his trident halberd.

Seeing Wang Yun, Lu Bu at once reined in, stopped, seized him by the sleeve, and said angrily, “You promised Diao Chan to me, and now you have given her to the Prime Minister: What foolery is this?”

Wang Yun checked him, saying, “This is no place to talk; I pray you come to my house.”

So they went together, and Wang Yun led Lu Bu into a private room.

  After the usual exchange of polite GREetings,

Wang Yun said, “Why do you find fault with me, General?”

“Somebody told me that you had sent Diao

Chan to the Prime Minister’s palace in a covered carriage: What does it mean?”

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“How dare I expect this?” said Dong Zhuo.

“How dare I expect this?” said Dong Zhuo.

  “From the days of old, those who walk in the way have replaced those who deviate therefrom; those who lack virtue have fallen before those who possess it. Can one escape fate?”

  “If indeed the decree of Heaven devolves on me, you shall be held the first in merit!” said Dong Zhuo.

  Wang Yun bowed. then lights were brought in and all the attendants were dismissed, save the serving maids to hand the wine. So the evening went on.

  Presently Wang Yun said, “the music of these everyday musicians is too commonplace for your ear, but there happens to be in the house a little maid that might please you.”

  “Excellent!” said the guest.

  then a curtain was lowered. The shrill tones of reed instruments rang through the room, and presently some attendants led forward Diao Chan, who then danced on the outside of the curtain.

  A poem praises her:

  [hip, hip, hip] For a palace this maiden was born, So timid,

so graceful, so slender, Like a tiny bird flitting at morn Over the

dew-laden lily buds tender. Were this exquisite maid only mine, For never a mansion I’d pine. [yip, yip, yip]

  Another poem runs thus:

  [hip, hip, hip] the music falls, the dancer comes, a swallow gliding in, A dainty little damsel, soft as silk;Her beauty captivates the guest yet saddens him within, For he must soon depart and leave her there. She smiles; no gold could buy that smile, no other smiled so, No need to deck her form with jewels rare. But when the dance is over and coy glances come and go, Then who shall be the chosen of the fair?

  [yip, yip, yip]

  the dance ended. Dong Zhuo bade them lead the maiden in, and she came, bowing low as she approached him. He was much taken with her beauty and modest grace.

  “Who is she?” said Dong Zhuo.

  “A singing girl. Her name is Diao Chan.”

  “then can she sing?”

  the master bade her sing, and she did so to the accompaniment of castanets. There is a measure describing her youthful beauty:

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