“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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“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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Some few days later when Wang Yun was at court and Lu Bu was

Some few days later when Wang Yun was at court and Lu Bu was absent, Wang Yun bowed low before Dong Zhuo and said, “I wish that you would deign to come to dine at my lowly cottage: Could your noble thought bend that way?”

“Should you invite me, I would certainly hasten,” was the reply.

Wang Yun thanked him. then Wang Yun went home and prepared in the reception hall a feast in which figured every delicacy from land and sea. Beautiful embroideries surrounded the chief seat in the center, and elegant curtains were hung within and without. At noon next day, when the Prime Minister arrived, Wang Yun met him at the gate in full court costume. Wang Yun stood by while Dong Zhuo stepped out of his chariot, and Dong Zhuo and a host of one hundred armed guards crowded into the hall. Dong Zhuo took his seat at the top, his suite fell into two lines right and left, while Wang Yun stood humbly at the lower end. Dong Zhuo bade his people conduct Wang Yun to a place beside himself.

  [e] Yi Yin was was helper and prime minister of King Tang, the founder of Shang Dynasty. After King Tang’s death, Yi Yin served his sons and grandson. Soon after Tai Jia, King Tang’s grandson, ascended the throne, he committed many faults, and Yi Yin, acting as regent, exiled Tai Jia to Tong Palace——the burial place of King Tang. After three years Yi Yin returned him the throne. Tai Jia eventually became an enlightened emperor. Shang Dynasty lasted for 650 years (BC 1700-1050)。 It was this act of Yi Yin rather than his services in building up an empire that has made him immortal. Whether he did right in temporarily dethroning the king was open to question, until a final verdict was rendered by Mencius who thought that his ends amply justified his means. This historical event attests the extent of the power exercised by a prime minister in those days. ……

[e] Duke of Zhou was brother of King Wu, who was the founder of Zhou Dynasty. After King Wu’s death, the Duke of Zhou served his young son as regent. The Duke of Zhou completely ended the Shang domination, and he helped establish the Zhou administrative framework, which served as a model for future Chinese dynasties. Zhou Dynasty lasted for 800 years (BC 1050-221)。 ……

[e] King Yao, King Shun, and King Yu (BC 2400-2200) were the three ideal rulers in ancient China. They ascended the throne by their virtues and merits, and not by heritage. King Yu was also the founder of the Xia Dynasty. ……

Said Wang Yun, “the GREat Prime Minister’s abundant virtue is as the high mountains. Neither the ancient sages——Yi Yin* and the Duke of Zhou*——could attain thereto.”

Dong Zhuo smiled. they bore in the dishes and the wine, and the music began. Wang Yun plied his guest with assiduous flattery and studied deference. When it GREw late and the wine had done its work, Dong Zhuo was invited to the inner chamber. So he sent away his guards and went.

Here the host raised a goblet and drank to his guest, saying, “From my youth up I have understood something of astrology and have been studying the aspect of the heavens. I read that the days of Han are numbered, and that the GREat Prime Minister’s merits command the regard of

all the world, as when King Shun succeeded King Yao,

and King Yu continued the work of King Shun*,

all by the strength of their own merits

, conforming to the mind of Heaven and the desire of people.”

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And the girl said, “Thy handmaid has been the recipient

And the girl said, “Thy handmaid has been the recipient of bountiful kindness. She has been taught to sing and dance and been treated so kindly that were she torn in pieces for her lord’s sake, it would not repay a thousandth part. She has noticed lately that her lord’s brows have been knit in distress and knows it is on account of the state troubles. But she has not dared to ask. This evening he seemed sadder than ever, and she was miserable on her lord’s account. But she did not know she would be seen. Could she be of any use she would not shrink from a myriad deaths.”

A sudden idea came to Wang Yun, and he stuck the ground with his staff. And he said, “Who would think that the fate of Han lay on your palm? Come with me!”

the girl followed him into the house. Then he dismissed all the waiting attendants, placed Diao Chan on a chair and bowed before her. She was frightened and threw herself on the ground, asking in terror what it all meant.

Said Wang Yun, “You can sympathize with the people of Han,” and the fount of his tears opened afresh.

“My lord, as thy handmaid said just now, use her in any way: Thy handmaid will never shrink,” said the girl.

  Wang Yun knelt, saying, “the people are on the brink of destruction, the prince and his officers are in jeopardy, and you, you are the only savior. That wretch Dong Zhuo wants to depose the Emperor, and not a person among us can find means to stop him. Now he has a son, a bold warrior it is true, but both father and son have a weakness for beauty, and I am going to use what I may call the ‘chaining’ plan. I shall first propose you in marriage to Lu Bu and then, after you are betrothed, I shall present you to Dong Zhuo, and you will take every opportunity to force them asunder and turn sway their countenances from each other, cause the son to kill his adopted father and so put an end to the GREat evil. Thus you may restore the altars of the land that it may live again. All this lies within your power: Will you do it?”

“Thy handmaid has promised not to recoil from death itself. You may use my poor self in any way, and I must do my best.”

“But if this gets abroad then we are all lost!”

“Fear not,” said she. “If thy handmaid does not show gratitude, may she perish beneath a myriad swords!”

“Thank you, thank you!” said Wang Yun.

then Wang Yun took from the family treasury many pearls

and bade a cunning jeweler make therewith a fine golden

headdress, which was sent as a present to Lu Bu. He was

delighted and came to thank the donor. When Lu Bu arrived,

he was met at the gate by Wang Yun himself and within found a

table full of dainties for his delectation. He was conducted into

the private apartments and placed in the seat of honor.

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On one occasion Dong Zhuo spread a GREat feast for all

On one occasion Dong Zhuo spread a GREat feast for all those assembled to witness his departure; and while it was in progress, there arrived a large number of rebels from the north who had voluntarily surrendered. The tyrant had them brought before him as he sat at table and meted out to them wanton cruelties. The hands of this one were lopped off, the feet of that; one had his eyes gouged out; another lost his tongue. Some were boiled to death. Shrieks of agony arose to the very heavens, and the courtiers were faint with terror. But the author of the misery ate and drank, chatted and smiled as if nothing was going on.

Another day Dong Zhuo was presiding at a GREat gathering of officers who were seated in two long rows. After the wine had gone up and down several times, Lu Bu entered and whispered a few words in his master’s ear.

  Dong Zhuo smiled and said, “He was always so. Take Minister Zhang Wan outside.”

  the others all turned pale. In a little time a serving man brought the head of their fellow guest on a red dish and showed it to their host. They nearly died with fright.

  “Do not fear,” said Dong Zhuo smiling. “Minister Zhang Wan was in league with Yuan Shu to assassinate me. A letter he wrote fell by mistake into the hands of my son, so I have had him put to death. You gentlemen, who have no reason, need have no fear.”

  the officials hastened to disperse. One of them, Minister of the Interior Wang Yun, who had witnessed all this, returned to his palace very pensive and much distressed. The same evening, a bright moonlight night, he took his staff and went strolling in his private garden. Standing near one of the creeper trellises, he gazed up at the sky and the tears rolled down his cheeks. Suddenly he heard a rustle in the Peony Pavilion and someone sighing deeply. Stealthily creeping near, he saw there one of the household singing girls named Diao Chan.

  This maiden had been brought up in his palace, where she had been taught to sing and dance. At twenty-one, she was then just bursting into womanhood, a pretty and clever girl whom Wang Yun regarded more as a daughter than a dependant.

After listening for some time, Wang Yun suddenly called out, “What mischief are you up to there, you naughty girl?”

the maiden dropped on her knees in terror, saying,

“Would thy unworthy handmaid dare to do anything wrong?”

“then what are you sighing about out here in the darkness?”

“May thy handmaid speak from the bottom of her heart?”

“Tell me the whole truth. Do not conceal anything.”

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This is what Kuai Liang said, “Sun Jian is now gone

This is what Kuai Liang said, “Sun Jian is now gone, and his children are but youths. Seize this moment of weakness to break into Changsha, and it is yours in one beat of the drum. If you return the corpse and make peace, you give them time to grow powerful, and evil will ensue to Jingzhou.”

“How can I leave Huang Zu in their hands?” said Liu Biao.

“Why not sacrifice this blundering warrior for a region?”

“But he is my dear friend and to abandon him is wrong.”

So Huan Ji was allowed to return to his own side with the understanding that Sun Jian’s dead body should be given in exchange. Sun Ce freed his prisoner, brought away his father’s coffin, and the fighting ceased. Sun Jian was interred in the plains of Que. When the ceremonies were over, Sun Ce led his army home again.

[e] the Yangtze or Yangzi river, which flows from west to east to the Pacific at Shanghai.

  In Changsha, the southern territory of the GREat River*, Sun Ce set himself to the task of ruling well. Being humble and generous, he invited to his side humans of wisdom and valor and so bore himself that all the best and bravest of the country gathered about him.

  Meanwhile, Dong Zhuo at Capital Changan, when he heard of the death of the turbulent Sun Jian, said, “An evil that pressed hard upon my heart has been removed!”

  He asked what children Sun Jian had left, and when they told him the eldest was but seventeen, he dismissed all anxiety from his thoughts.

  From this time forward his arrogance and domineering spirit waxed worse and worse. He styled himself “Imperial Rector,” a name full of honor, and in all his behavior aped imperial state. He created his younger brother, Dong Min, Lord of Huazhou and made him Commander of the Left Army. A nephew, Dong Huang, was made Court Counselor and placed in command of the Palace Guard, and everyone of his clan, young or old, was ennobled. Eighty miles from the capital Dong Zhuo laid out a city called Meiwo, an exact replica of Changan, with its palaces, granaries, treasuries, and magazines, and employed a quarter of a million people to build it. Here he accumulated supplies sufficient for twenty years. He selected eight hundred of the most beautiful maidens and sent them to dwell in his new city. The stores of wealth in every form were incalculable. All his family and retainers found quarters in this new city.

Dong Zhuo visited his city at intervals of a month or so,

and every visit was like an imperial proGREss,

with booths by the roadside to refresh the officials and courtiers who

attended him to the northwest Royal Gate and saw him start.

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Gongsun Zan replied, “Formerly you were regarded

Gongsun Zan replied, “Formerly you were regarded as loyal and public spirited, and we chose you chief of the confederacy. Now your deeds prove you cruel and base and wolf-hearted in behavior. How can you look the world in the face?”

“Who will capture him?” cried Yuan Shao in a rage.

  At once Wen Chou rode out with his spear set. Gongsun Zan rode down the bridge to the enemy’s side, where the two engaged. Ten bouts showed Gongsun Zan the terrible power of Wen Chou, and so he drew off. The enemy came on. Gongsun Zan took refuge within his formation, but Wen Chou cut his way in and rode this way and that, slaying right and left. The four best of Gongsun Zan’s generals offered joint battle, but one fell under the first stroke of the doughty warrior, and the other three fled. Wen Chou followed clearing through to the rear of the army. Gongsun Zan made for the mountains.

Wen Chou forced his horse to its utmost pace, crying hoarsely, “Down! Dismount and surrender!”

Gongsun Zan fled for life. His bow and quiver dropped from his shoulders, his helmet fell off, and his hair streamed straight behind him as he rode in and out between the sloping hills. Then his steed stumbled and he was thrown, rolling over and over to the foot of the slope.

  Wen Chou was now very near and poising his spear for the thrust. Then suddenly came out from the shelter of a grassy mound on the left a general of youthful mien, but sitting his steed bravely and holding a sturdy spear. He rode directly at Wen Chou, and Gongsun Zan crawled up the slope to look on.

  the new warrior was of middle height with bushy eyebrows and large eyes, a broad face and a heavy jowl, a youth of commanding presence. The two exchanged some fifty bouts and yet neither had the advantage. Then Gongsun Zan’s rescue force came along, and Wen Chou turned and rode away. The youth did not pursue.

  Gongsun Zan hurried down the hill and asked the young fellow who he was.

He bowed low and replied, “My name is Zhao Yun from Changshan. I first served Yuan Shao; but when I saw that he was disloyal to his prince and careless of the welfare of the people, I left him and I was on my way to offer service to you. This meeting in this place is most unexpected.”

Gongsun Zan was very pleased, and the two went together to the camp, where they at once busied themselves with preparations for a new battle.

Next day Gongsun Zan prepared for fight by dividing his army into two wings. He had five thousand cavalry in the center, all mounted on white horses. Gongsun Zan had formerly seen service against the northern frontier tribes, the Qiang Peoples, where he always placed his white horses in the van of his army, and thus he had won the sobriquet of General Who Commands White Horses.

The tribes held him so much in fear that they

always fled as soon as the white horses,

their sacred creatures, appeared.

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Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons

Liu Biao was friends with all these. He had three famous persons who helped him in the government of his region. They were Kuai Liang and Kuai Yue from Yanping, and Cai Mao from Xiangyang.

  When Yuan Shao’s letter detailing the fault of Sun Jian arrived, Liu Biao ordered Kuai Yue and Cai Mao with ten thousand soldiers to bar the way. When Sun Jian drew near, the force was arranged in fighting order and the leaders were in the front.

  “Why are you thus barring the road with armed troops?” asked Sun Jian.

  “Why do you, a servant of Han, secrete the Emperor’s special seal? Leave it with me at once and you go free,” said Kuai Yue.

  Sun Jian angrily ordered out General Huang Gai. On the other side Cai Mao rode forth with his sword set to strike. But after a few bouts Huang Gai dealt Cai Mao a blow with the iron whip on the armor just over the heart. Cai Mao turned his steed and fled, and Sun Jian got through with a sudden rush.

However, there arose the sound of gongs and drums on the hills behind, and there was Liu Biao in person with a large army.

Sun Jian rode straight up to him and bowing low spoke, “Why did you, on the faith of a letter from Yuan Shao, try to coerce the chief of a neighboring region?”

“You have concealed the state jewel, and I want you to restore it,” was Liu Biao’s reply.

“If I have this thing, may I die a violent death!”

“If you want me to believe you, let me search your baggage.”

“What force have you that you dare come to flout me thus?”

And only Liu Biao’s prompt retirement prevented a battle. Sun Jian proceeded on his way. But from the rear of the second hill an ambush suddenly discovered itself, and Kuai Yue and Cai Mao were still pursuing.

Sun Jian seemed entirely hemmed in.

[hip, hip, hip]What does a man

to hold the state jewel for,

If its possession lead to strife?

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Cao Cao said, “This moment was most propitious

Cao Cao said, “This moment was most propitious in the utter confusion that reigned——palaces burned, the Emperor abducted, the whole world upset, and no one knowing whither to turn. The villain will soon be ended, and a single blow could exterminate Dong Zhuo. Why not pursue?”

But all the confederate lords seemed of one mind, and that mind was to postpone action. So they did nothing.

“Those unworthy people cannot discuss worthy thing!” cried Cao Cao.

then, he and his six generals——Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren, Cao Hong, Li Dian, and Yue Jing——and ten thousand troops started in pursuit.

the road to the new capital led through Yingyang. When Dong Zhuo reached it, Governor Xu Rong went to welcome the cavalcade.

  Li Ru said, “As there is some danger of pursuit, it would be well to order the Governor of this place to lay an ambush outside the city. He is to let the pursuers pass and be ready to cut off their retreat, when our army beats them off. That will teach any others not to follow.”

  then Dong Zhuo ordered Lu Bu to command the rear guard. Very soon they saw Cao Cao coming up, and Lu Bu laughed at his colleague’s foresight. He set out his troops in fighting order.

  Cao Cao rode forward, crying, “Rebels, abductors, drovers of the people, where are you going?”

Lu Bu replied, “Treacherous simpleton, what mad words are these?”

then from Cao Cao army rode forth Xiahou Dun with his spear set, and Lu Bu and Xiahou Dun engaged. The combat had hardly begun when Li Ru with a cohort came in from the left. Cao Cao bade Xiahou Yuan meet this onslaught. However, on the other side appeared Guo Si and his company. Cao Cao sent Cao Ren against Guo Si. The onrush on three sides was too much to withstand, and Lu Bu’s army was overwhelming, so Xiahou Dun had to retire to the main line.

Thereupon Lu Bu’s armored troops

attacked and completed the defeat.

The beaten army of Cao Cao turned toward Yingyang.

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