"Why is it," she asked, "that he was beaten just now without the least provocation; and that you didn't run over soon to tell me a word about it?" "It happened," answered Pei Ming in great perplexity, "that I wasn't present. It was only after he had given him half the flogging that I heard what was going on, and lost no time in ascertaining what it was all about.
"You go first," I replied. "You most need to know." 'March 8. Terrible feet. Got to Chagan Hauran. 'March 14. Boyinto accompanied me to Chagan Balgas with his pony. Saw him sitting as long as I was in sight. Feet bad. 'March 21. Left Pei Kuan at 4 A.M. Dark and snow. Terrible march over slippery stones. Nan Kou at 7 A.M. No donkey on such a snowy day. Hired the next twenty-seven li.
After Pei Ming's departure, Pao-yue continued on pins on needles and on the tiptoe of expectation. Into such a pitch of excitement did he work himself, that he felt like an ant in a burning pan. With suppressed impatience, he waited and waited until sunset. At last then he perceived Pei Ming walk in, in high glee. "Have you discovered the place?" hastily inquired Pao-yue.
The present incumbent of the Princedom of Pei Ching, Shih Jung, had not as yet come of age, but he was gifted with a presence of exceptional beauty, and with a disposition condescending and genial.
The result was that, from about A.D. 150, events at court steadily lost importance, the lead being taken by the generals commanding the provincial troops. It would carry us too far to give the details of all these struggles. The provincial generals were at first Ts'ao Ts'ao, Lü Pu, Yüan Shao, and Sun Ts'ê; later came Liu Pei.
Vat can you expect for to come to, Master Caxton, if you don't pay de care dat is proper to your own dood name, de e, and de o? Ach? let me see no more of your vile corruptions! Mein Gott! Pi! ven de name is Pei!" The next post brought a sad damper to my scholastic exultation. The letter ran thus:
In the event of any one wishing to start in search of me, bid him place every obstacle in the way, as all inquiries can well be dispensed with! Let him simply explain that I've been detained in the Pei mansion, but that I shall surely be back shortly." Pei Ming could not make out head or tail of what he was driving at; but he had no alternative than to deliver his message word for word.
That created such consternation that several of us considered backing out. We were all to meet at the Pei Hei Gate at two o'clock, so we started early, for we had a long distance to travel.
The smart Americans went in motors, as was fitting, but the rest of us made a long procession of rickshaws, and jogged happily along the dusty streets, out through the gates of the legation quarter, past the North Glacis, through the gates of the Imperial City, and finally, after half an hour's run, reached the Pei Hei Gate, leading into the old and abandoned Winter Palace.
"You employ such a lot of people in here that they all lead a lazy life and have nothing to put a hand to, and were I also now to introduce some more, that tribe will look even upon me with utter contempt. But let me think of some one for you. There's in the I Hung court, an old dame Yeh; she's Pei Ming's mother.