KUANG HSU, THE ILLUSTRIOUS SUCCESSOR
 TAKEN from his father and mother when he was only three and a half years old, the poor little boy was brought to
that immense Purple Forbidden City; a city by itself indeed. To worship and to be worshiped,—such were
his duties and his burdens. The dead and gone emperors of China were now his ancestors, and he must worship at
their tablets, or their spirits would have no rest. He must worship the Tsze Hsi An; that was a duty impressed
upon the child from his babyhood. But every one of the palace officers, and of the five thousand palace
servants must worship him, for to them he was the Tien-tsz', the Son of Heaven.
Poor little fellow! Even if he did have a "whipping boy," who was to receive all the punishment which the
little Emperor had deserved, what boy would not rather take his own whipping? But Kuang Hsu had no choice. He
was watched by day and by night. Did he ever have any fun? It is difficult for a foreigner to find out what
passes behind those high walls enclosing the Purple Forbidden City. The Court Records, or the Peking
Gazette, of the time when Kuang Hsu was still a boy, has some curious notices. One day a pony was
presented to him. All boys like ponies, and I suppose he did. At all events, the Peking Gazette
says that the pony was quiet and gentle, and, therefore, he had given
 it the name of: "The Pearl that flies like a bird." The Gazette does not tell how long the pony
with such a long name lived.
When Kuang Hsu was sixteen years old, it was time for him to marry. The Tsze Hsi An, or Empress-Dowager, as
she is improperly called, selected his bride for him. This was Ye-ho-na-la (yay-hoh-nah-lah), one of her own
Kuang Hsu now ascended the throne and began to use the vermilion pencil. It is supposed that a certain degree
of liberty was allowed him in unimportant matters; but it is certain that he was compelled to consult his
imperious adoptive mother in every affair of moment. It is very probable that the decisions of the council
were laid before the Empress before they were submitted to him. But Li Hung Chang stood between the throne and
the outside barbarians, and if Kuang Hsu had any serious troubles, they were kept hidden from the world.
The world, in the first eight years of Kuang Hsu's reign, did not take much interest in him or in China. But
suddenly, in 1894, a change came. A dispute arose between China and Japan in regard to Korea. The King of
Korea asked the assistance of China to help him subdue a rebellion in his country. Japan thereupon claimed
that Korea was an independent State, and that China had no right to interfere. Japan then began to send large
bodies of soldiers to Korea.
It has been stated that the Tsze Hsi An, who was that year to celebrate her sixtieth birthday, wished to add
splendor to it by defeating Japan. It is more probable that Japan's warlike preparations had attracted Li Hung
Chang's attention. For several years he had been successful in
de-  fending China, by using one nation's jealousy to keep the other in check. He may have thought that Russia or
England would not permit Japan to fight. He should have known that China had no soldiers beyond what remained
of his own "Ever-Victorious Army." Whosoever or whatsoever was the cause of the war, it ended the peaceful
existence of China.
Poor Kuang Hsu, on the 1st of August, 1894, ordered his generals to drive the so-called Japanese pigmies back
into their lair. Instead of that, the undrilled, half-starved, ill-armed Chinese coolies, hired for the
purpose of cutting off Japanese heads, gladly followed their officers when they set the example of running
away from the enemy. Tsze Hsi An did not celebrate her birthday that year. Instead, there was fear in the
Purple Forbidden City. Yellow jackets and peacock feathers, the tokens of rank and power, were given and taken
away, and still those little pigmies drew nearer and nearer to the capital. Poor Kuang Hsu! If common report
at Peking at that time be true, he did feel the disgrace to his country and to himself, but he did not know
what to do, nor which way to turn.
The Japanese gained one success after another; they had half destroyed the Chinese navy in a great battle at
the mouth of the Yahu River, and had captured Port Arthur, the strongest fortress in China, with its great
stores of war material. A combined attack by army and navy was made on the forts which protected the harbor of
Wei-hai-wei. The Chinese admiral finally gave up his shattered fleet, and then killed himself.
Peace proposals were now being made by the Chinese, and at length Li Hung Chang was called to Peking and
 received orders to proceed to Japan with full powers to conclude a treaty of peace.
The journey almost cost him his life, for he was shot at by a Japanese ruffian and the ball wounded him in the
cheek. The Mikado, or Emperor, of Japan, ordered all fighting to stop, and after much negotiation a treaty of
peace was concluded.
China was forced to agree to Japan's demands, and Li Hung Chang returned to Peking with the Treaty of
Shimonoseki that humbled China before the whole world.
Peace was made. What next? That was the question. If China was to keep her place among the nations, reforms
must be instituted. Railroads must be built, schools must be opened, and what had been done by Japan must be
done by China.
In the meantime a new Czar of Russia was to be crowned in the old imperial City of Moscow, and Li Hung Chang
was sent to represent Kuang Hsu, and the old man began his long journey around the world.
How could he even describe to his fellow-countrymen what he had seen? The Chinese language itself has no name
for many of our modern improvements.
Li Hung Chang, while in the United States, visited many places of interest, and bowed before Grant's tomb.
Here, at least, was something which he could understand.
He returned to China, and upon his arrival at Peking, knowing who was the real ruler, he went in his chair to
the E-ho Park Palace, to pay his respects to the Tsze Hsi An, and came near losing his head for it. The
Peking Gazette announced the very next day that Li would be severely punished for his lack of
respect in not visiting the
 Emperor first. It took all the influence of the Tsie Hsi An and all Li's diplomacy to save his life. He
withdrew to Pao-ting-fu (pah-oh ting-fu), the capital of the province, and would no more take office.
Kuang Hsu was in earnest in his desire for reforms. China must wake up from her long sleep; railroads must be
built; schools must be established.
But when he ordered his officers to do all this, they kow-towed and said: "We have no money!" Then Russia
stepped in, and wanted to build a railroad, and China was forced to yield. When the order was given that
Chinese boys and girls must be sent to school to learn what our boys and girls are learning, the whole of
China stood aghast. What was to become of those hundreds of thousands of men who had spent their lives in
learning by heart the books of Confucius and Mencius? Would they, too, have to go to school and learn our a,
Every officer and every one of the literati thought that the Emperor was mad. The people thought so, too,
especially when the railroads upset the Feng Shui of the whole country, and disturbed the "luck" of every
family. But Kuang Hsu was in earnest, and the Peking Gazette announced that he, the Son of
Heaven, would go himself to open the new railroad between Peking and Tientsin.
What was the Tsze Hsi An doing all this time? She saw that if Kuang Hsu was premitted to go on, whatever
might be the fate of China, her power would be lost. She pretended to be satisfied with the reforms, and even
announced in the Gazette that she, too, would visit Tientsin in a rail-road carriage. But she
consulted secretly with her Manchu friends, and bribed the palace officials, and formed a plot
 against the Emperor's life. But one who was loyal to the poor Emperor warned him of his danger, and Kuang Hsu
was on the point of leaving the Purple Forbidden City to seek shelter in the British Legation, when he was
dragged back and taken to the E-ho Park Palace, where he was confined upon a little island. He would have been
poisoned if the foreign ministers had not heard of the outrage and interfered. They demanded to see the
Emperor, and at last the physician of the French Legation was admitted. The young Emperor looked as if he were
just recovering from a dose of poison.
The foreign ministers could do nothing for him, as their respective governments did not desire to go to war
with China, and so Kuang Hsu was kept in confinement and the Tsze Hsi An was the real ruler once more.