the person who collided with the irate Dong Zhuo was

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.”

“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.

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