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Tartar raiders turned their ponies' heads and gal- The answer of the girl was as ready as it was unloped off along the road that skirted the yellow expected. waters of the swift-flowing Hwang-ho. Then a lit- “To be a boy, 0 master !” she replied. “Let tle yellow face peeped out of a cave farther up the the great Shang-ti, * whose might thou teachest, cliff, a black-haired, tightly braided head bobbed make me a man that I may have revenge.” and twitched with delight, and the next moment The good priest had found strange things in his the good priest was heartily thanking his small mission work in this far Eastern land, but this ally for so skillfully saving him from threatened wrathful demand of an excited little maid was full capture.
as strange as any. For China is and ever has It was a cool September morning in the days of been a land in which the chief things taught the the great Emperor Tai, twelve hundred and fifty children are,“ subordination, passive submission to years ago. And a great emperor was Tai-tsùng, the law, to parents and to all superiors, and a peacethough few, if any, of my young readers ever ful demeanor." heard his name. His splendid palace stood in the “ Revenge is not for men to trifle with, nor midst of lovely gardens in the great city of Chang- maids to talk of,” he said. “Harbor no such dean,- that old, old city that for over two thousand sires, but rather come with me and I will show thee years was the capital of China, and which you can more attractive things. This very day doth the now find in your geographies under its modern Great Emperor go forth from the City of Peace, t name of Singan-foo. And in the year 635, when to the banks of the Yellow River. Come thou our story opens, the name of Tai-tsûng was great with me to witness the splendor of his train, and and powerful throughout the length and breadth perchance even to see the great Emperor himself of Chùng Kwoh,- the “ Middle Kingdom," as the and the young Prince Kaou, his son." Chinese for nearly thirty centuries have called their “ That will I not then," cried the girl more hotly vast country,– while the stories of his fame and than before. “I hate this great Emperor, as men power had reached to the western courts of India do wrongly call him, and I hate the young Prince and of Persia, of Constantinople, and even of dis- Kaou. May Lũng Wang, the god of the dragons, tant Rome.
dash them both beneath the Yellow River ere It was a time of darkness and strife in Europe. yet they leave its banks this day.” Already what historians have called the Dark At this terrible wish on the lips of a girl, the good Ages had settled upon the Christian world. And master very nearly forgot even his most valuable among all the races of men the only nation that precept never to be surprised. He regarded his was civilized, and learned, and cultivated, and re- defiant young companion in sheer amazement. fined in this seventh century of the Christian era, “Have a care, have a care, my daughter!” he was this far eastern Empire of China, where said at length. “ The blessed Saint James telleth us schools and learning flourished, and arts and man- that the tongue is a little member, but it can kindle ufactures abounded, when America was as yet a great fire. How mayst thou hope to say such direundiscovered and Europe was sunk in degradation. ful words against the Son of Heaven and live?"
And here, since the year 505, the Nestorians, a “ The Son of Heaven killed the Emperor, my branch of the Christian Church, originating in father," said the child. Asia Minor in the Fifth Century, and often called • The Emperor thy father!” Thomas the Nes“the Protestants of the East,” had been spread- torian almost gasped in this latest surprise. “Is ing the story of the life and love of Christ. And the girl crazed or doth she sport with one who here, in this year of grace 635, in the city of seeketh her good ?” And amazement and perplexChang-an, and in all the region about the Yellow ity settled upon his face. River, the good priest Thomas the Nestorian, “The Princess Woo is neither crazed nor doth whom the Chinese called O-lo-pun-- the nearest she sport with the master," said the girl. “I do approach they could give to his strange Syriac but speak the truth. Great is Tai-tsủng. Whom name had his Christian mission-house, and was he will he slayeth, and whom he will he keepeth zealously bringing to the knowledge of a great alive.” And then she told the astonished priest and enlightened people the still greater, and more that the bannerman of the Dragon Gate was not helpful light of Christianity.
her father at all. For, she said, as she had lain “My daughter," said the Nestorian after his awake only the night before, she had heard enough words of thanks were uttered; “this is a gracious in talk between the bannerman and his wife to deed done to me, and one that I may not easily learn her secret,—how that she was the only daughrepay. Yet would I gladly do so, if I might. Tell ter of the rightful Emperor, the Prince Kúng-ti, me what wouldst thou like above all other things?” whose guardian and chief adviser the present EmAlmighty Being. | The meaning of Chang-an, the ancient capital of China, is "the City of Continuous Peace.”
| The “Son of Heaven" is one of the chief titles of the Chinese Emperor
peror had been; how this trusted protector had thousand Chinese boys received instruction under made away with poor Kûng-ti in order that he the patronage of the Emperor, while, just beyond might usurp the throne; and how she, the Prin- extended the long, low range of the archery school, cess Woo, had been flung into the swift Hwang-ho, in which even the Emperor himself sometimes came from the turbid waters of which she had been res- to witness, or take part in, the exciting contests. cued by the bannerinan of the Dragon Gate.
Drawing about her shoulders the yellow sash “This may or may not be so," Thomas the Nes- that denoted alliance with royalty, the Princess torian said, uncertain whether or not to credit the Woo, without a moment's hesitation, walked girl's surprising story; “but even were it true, my straight through the palace gateway, past the wondaughter, how couldst thou right thyself? What dering guards, and into the boundaries of the can a girl hope to do?"
archery court. The young Princess drew up her small form Here the young Prince Kaou, an indolent and proudly. “Do?” she cried in brave tcnes, “I can lazy lad of about her own age, was cruelly goaddo much, wise 0-lo-pun, girl though I am! Did noting on his trained crickets to a ferocious fight witha girl save the divine books of Confucius, when the in their gilded bamboo cage, while, just at hand, great Emperor Chi-Hwang-ti did command the the slaves were preparing his bow and arrows for burning of all the books in the empire ? Did not a his daily archery practice. girl-though but a soothsayer's daughter-raise Now, among the rulers of China there are three the outlaw Liù Pang straight to the Yellow Throne ? classes of privileged targets — the skin of the bear And shall I, who am the daughter of Emperors, for the Emperor himself, the skin of the deer for fail to be as able or as brave as they?”
the princes of the blood, and the skin of the tiger for The wise Nestorian was shrewd enough to see the nobles of the court; and thus, side by side, in that here was a prize that might be worth the fos- the Imperial Archery School at Chang-an, hung tering. By the assumption of mystic knowledge, the three targets. he learned from the bannerman of the Dragon The girl with the royal sash and the determined Gate, the truth of the girl's story, and so worked face walked straight up to the Prince Kaou. The upon the good bannerman's native superstition boy left off goading his fighting crickets, and and awe of superior power as to secure the custody looked in astonishment at this strange and highly of the young Princess, and to place her in his mis- audacious girl, who dared to enter a place from sion-house at Tùng-Chow for teaching and guid- which all women were excluded. Before the guards ance. Among the early Christians, the Nestorians could interfere, she spoke. held peculiarly helpful and elevating ideas of the “Are the arrows of the great Prince Kaou so worth and proper condition of woman. Their pre- well fitted to the cord,” she said, “ that he dares cepts were full of mutual help, courtesy, and fra- to try his skill with one who, although a girl, hath ternal love. All these the Princess Woo learned yet the wit and right to test his skill?” under her preceptor's guidance. She grew to be even The guards laid hands upon the intruder to more assertive and self-reliant, and became, also, drag her away, but the Prince, nettled at her expert in many sports in which, in that woman- tone, yet glad to welcome anything that promised despising country, only boys could hope to excel. novelty or amusement, bade them hold off their
One day, when she was about fourteen years old, hands. the Princess Woo was missing from the Nestorian “No girl speaketh thus to the Prince Kaou mission-house, by the Yellow River. Her troubled and liveth," he said insolently. “Give me instant guardian, in much anxiety, set out to find the test of thy boast or the wooden collar, * in the truant; and, finally, in the course of his search, palace torture-house, shall be thy fate." climbed the high bluff from which he saw the “Give me the arrows, Prince," the girl said, massive walls, the many gateways, the gleaming bravely, “and I will make good my words.” roofs, and porcelain towers of the Imperial city of At a sign, the slaves handed her a bow and Chang-an — the City of Continuous Peace.
But, as she tried the cord and glanced But even before he had entered its northern along the polished shaft, the Prince said: gate, a little maid in loose silken robe, peaked сар, “Yet, stay, girl ; here is no target set for thee. and embroidered shoes, had passed through that Let the slaves set up the people's target. These very gateway, and slipping through the thronging are not for such as thou.” streets of the great city, approached at last the “Nay, Prince, fret not thyself,” the girl coolly group of picturesque and glittering buildings that replied. “My target is here!” and while all composed the palace of the great Emperor Tai. looked on in wonder, the undaunted girl deliber
Just within the main gateway of the palace rose ately toed the practice line, twanged her bow, and the walls of the Imperial Academy, where eight with a sudden whiz, sent her well aimed shaft
* The "wooden collar" was the “ kia or “cangue,"— a terrible instrument of torture used in China for the punishment of criminals,
quivering straight into the small white center of Thomas, the Nestorian. He had traced his missthe great bearskin — the Imperial target itself! ing charge even to the Imperial Palace, and now
With a cry of horror and of rage at such sacri- found her in the very presence of those he deemed lege, the guards pounced upon the girl archer, and her mortal enemies. Prostrate at the Emperor's would have dragged her away. But with the same feet, he told the young girl's story, and then quick motion that had saved her from the Tartar pleaded for her life, promising to keep her safe robbers, she sprang from their grasp and, standing and secluded in his mission-hoine at Tùng Chow. full before the royal target, she said commandingly: The Emperor Tai laughed a mighty laugh, for
“Hands off, slaves; nor dare to question my the bold front of this only daughter of his former right to the bearskin target. I am the Empress!” master and rival, suited his warlike humor. But
It needed but this to cap the climax. Prince, he was a wise and clement monarch withal. guards, and slaves looked at this extraordinary “ Nay, wise ()-lo-pun,” he said. “Such rivals girl in open-mouthed wonder. But ere their to our throne may not be at large, even though speechless amazement could change to instant sheltered in the temples of the hûng-mao. I The seizure, a loud laugh rang from the Imperial door- royal blood of the house of Sui ý flows safely only way and a hearty voice exclaimed, “Braved, and within palace walls. Let the proper decree be regisby a girl! Who is thy Empress, Prince? Let me, tered, and let the gifts be exchanged, for to-morrow too, salute the Tsih-tien !"* Then a portly figure, thy ward, the Princess Woo, becometh one of our clad in yellow robes, strode down to the targets, most noble queens." while all within the archery lists prostrated them- And so at fourteen, even as the records show, selves in homage before one of China's greatest this strong-willed young girl of the Yellow River monarchs—the Emperor Tai-tsûng, Wun-woo-ti.f became one of the wives of the great Emperor Tai.
Before even the Emperor could reach the girl, She proved a very gracious and acceptable stepthe bamboo screen was swept hurriedly aside, and mother to young Prince Kaou, who, as the records into the archery lists came the anxious priest, also tell us, grew so fond of the girl queen that, *"The Sovereign Divine” - an Imperial title.
"Our Exalted Ancestor – the Literary-Martial Emperor." The “light-haired ones"- '- an old Chinese term for the western Christians. $ The name of the former Dynasty.
within a year from the death of his great father, She never forgot her good friend and protector and when he himself had succeeded to the Yellow Thomas, the Nestorian. During her long reign Throne, as Emperor Supreme, he recalled the of almost fifty years, Christianity strengthened in Queen Woo from her retirement in the mission- the kingdom and obtained a footing that only the house at Tùng Chow and made her one of his great Mahometan conquests of five centuries later royal wives. Five years after, in the year 655, she entirely destroyed; and the Empress Woo, so the was declared Empress, and during the reign of her chronicles declare, herself “ offered sacrifices to lazy and indolent husband, she was “the power the great God of all.” When, hundreds of years behind the throne.” And when, in the year 683, after, the Jesuit missionaries penetrated into this Kaou-tsûng died, she boldly assumed the direction most exclusive of all the nations of the earth, they of the government, and, ascending the throne, found near the palace at Chang-an the ruins of the declared herself Woo How Tsih-tien – Woo, the Nestorian mission church with the cross still standEmpress Supreme and Sovereign Divine !
ing and, preserved through all the changes of History records that this Zenobia of China dynasties, an abstract in Syriac characters of the proved equal to the great task. She “governed Christian law, and with it the names of seventy-two the empire with discretion," extended its borders, attendant priests who had served the church estaband was acknowledged as Empress from the shores lished by ()-lo-pun. of the Pacific to the borders of Persia, of India, Thus, in a land in which from the earliest ages and of the Caspian Sea.
women have been regarded as little else but slaves, Her reign was one of the longest and most suc- did a self-possessed and wise young girl triumph cessful in that period known in history as the over all difficulties and rule over her many millGolden Age of China. Because of the relentlessions of subjects “ in a manner becoming a great native prejudice against a successful woman, in a prince.” . This, even her enemies admit. country where girl babies are ruthlessly drowned, sening the miseries of her subjects," so the hisas the quickest way of ridding the world of useless torians declare, she governed the wide Empire of incumbrances, Chinese historians have endeavored China wisely, discreetly, and peacefully; and she to blacken her character and undervalue her serv- displayed upon the throne, all the daring, wit, and ices. But later scholars now see that she was a wisdom that had marked her actions when, years powerful and successful queen, who did great before, she was nothing but a sprightly and detergood to her native land and strove to maintain mined little Chinese maiden, on the banks of the its power and glory.
turbid Yellow River.
BY FRANK R. STOCKTON.
is warm and pleasant, and everything gives the
idea of a lovely summer scene, while just above, in A MOUNTAIN-TOP AND HOW WE GET THERE. the hollow of a ravine, to which we could walk in
ten minutes, lies a great mass of white and glitterThe mountain to which we are now going is in ing snow, which never melts. Switzerland — that country which contains more Almost all persons who travel in Switzerland celebrated mountains, more beautiful mountains, have a great desire to go to the top of at least one more accessible mountains, and, I may add, more of the towering peaks they see about them; and useful mountains, than any other country in the mountain ascensions are very common and popuworld. There is no part of Switzerland where lar. Some go up one kind of mountain, and some mountains are not to be seen; and to travel in another; and the kind is generally determined by that country, it is generally necessary to cross the their spirit of enterprise, their general health, and mountains, to go around their sides, or to go the strength of their legs. There is such a choice through them. Switzerland, indeed, may be said of mountains in Switzerland, and such a variety to be a great deal larger than would be supposed, of ways of going to the top of them, that there are from the very limited extent of its boundary lines, few persons who can not make an ascension, if because so much of the surface is piled up into the they desire it. air, in the shape of mountains.
The highest of all the mountains in Europe is These vast eminences, which lie chains and Mont anc, which towers fifteen thousand seven groups all over the country, are called Alps, and hundred and thirty-one feet into the air. Although they are divided into three classes, the High Alps, this great mountain is not in Switzerland, but in the Middle Alps, and the Lower Alps. The first Savoy, it is very near the Swiss boundary line, of these divisions consists of those mountains, the and is plainly visible from Geneva. It is considtops of which rise above the snow line, which ered one of the principal sights of that charming is about eight thousand feet above the sea. little city, and many travelers never see it from The portions of a mountain which are higher than any other point. Although many people ascend this imaginary line are covered with snow which Mont Blanc every year, the undertaking requires never melts, even in summer. The Middle Alps a great degree of muscular as well as nervous are those which raise themselves above the height strength. The top of Mont Blanc can not be at which all trees cease to grow, or four thousand reached in less than two days, and fine weather is five hundred feet above the sea. The Lower Alps absolutely necessary, for in storms or fogs the are more than two thousand feet high, but do not climbers would be apt to lose their way, and this rise to the altitude of the last division.
would be very dangerous. Some years ago a party The word alp means a mountain pasture, and of eleven persons lost their lives on Mont Blanc in many of the lower mountains, as well as great consequence of being overtaken by a storm. The portions of the sides of the higher ones, are first day the traveler ascends about ten thousand covered with rich grass, on which, during the feet to a place called the Grands Mulets. Here, summer-time, great numbers of cattle graze. In in a little stone hut, he passes the night, or, rather, queer little chalets, or Swiss huts, which look as part of it, for he is obliged to start again in the if they were nearly all roof, scattered here and very small hours of the next morning. When the there upon the grassy sides of the mountains, top is reached, and one stards on the highest peak live the people who attend to the cattle, and of that vast mass of eternal snow, he has the proud make butter and cheese.
satisfaction of being there, but he does not find Nothing can be more picturesque than some of that the highest point in Switzerland gives him the these Alpine pastures, with their great slopes of rich grandest view. The surrounding mountains and green, dotted here and there with dark-red chalets. landscape are at so great a distance that someThe cattle wander about over the grass, and some- times they are not seen at all, and it is only in a times, on the rocks, we see a girl blowing a horn very clear atmosphere that you get an idea of the to call together her flock of goats. Beautiful flowers mountain chains which lie about Mont Blanc. of various colors spring up on every side ; the air The ascent is, also, not a cheap pleasure. No