Moment in Peking Chapter I 京华烟云 第一章 007
And so with a waddle-ho! and ta...tr! and crackings of whips, the party started. The children were all excited, for it was their first trip to their Hangchow home, about which they had heard their parents speak so often.
Mulan greatly admired her father. He had refused to flee from Peking until the evening of the eighteenth; and, now that they had decided to seek safety in their home at Hangchow, he had made extremely cool and unperturbed preparations for the departure. For Mr.Yao was a true Taoist, and refused to be excited.
"Excitement is not good for the soul," Mulan heard her father say. Another argument of his was: "When you yourself are right, nothing that happens to you can ever be wrong." In later life Mulan had many occasions to think about this saying of her father's, and it became a sort of philosophy for her, from which she derived much of her good cheer and courage. A world in which nothing that happens to you can ever be wrong is a good, cheerful world, and one has courage to live and to endure.
War clouds had been in the air since May. The allied foreign troops had taken the fort at the seacoast, but the railway to Peking had been destroyed by the Boxers who had grown in power and popularity and swarmed over the countryside.
The Empress Dowager had hesitated between avoiding a war with the foreign powers and using the Boxers, a strange, unknown, frightening force whose one object was to destroy the foreigners in China and who claimed magical powers and magic protection against foreign bullets. The Court issued orders one day for the arrest of the Boxer leaders, and the next day appointed the pro-Boxer Prince Tuan as minister for foreign affairs. Court intrigue played an important part in this reversal of the decision to suppress the Boxers. The Empress Dowager had already deprived her nephew the Emperor of his actual power, and was planning to depose him. She favored Prince Tuan's son, a worthless rascal, as successor to the throne. Thinking that a foreign war would increase his personal power and obtain the throne for his son, Prince Tuan encouraged the Empress Dowager to believe that the Boxers' magic actually made them proof against foreign bullets. Besides, the Boxers had threatened to capture "One Dragon and two Tigers' to sacrifice to heaven for betrayal of their nation, the "Dragon, being the reformist Emperor whose "hundred days of reform" two years earlier had shocked the conservative mandarinate, and the "Tigers" being the elderly Prince Ching and Li Hungchang, who had been in charge of the foreign policy.
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