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head for such a suggestion but her majesty immediately ordered the throne moved, and when it was in place and my easel set up in front of it, she mounted the dais and said the hour for beginning was soon to sound and before she had finished speaking the eighty-six clocks in this throne-room began to strike the auspicious hour! Her majesty fixed her wonderful, penetrating eyes upon me and held up her hand for me to begin—and there I stood with the princesses in a row behind me and behind them a crowd of palace eunuchs, all watching me! I simply could not raise the charcoal to the canvas for a few seconds. I was ignominiously afraid; but I soon got some mastery over myself and began. It seemed to me I had drawn but a few moments when her majesty held up her hand and said the sitting was over. Aided by the princesses and ennuchs she descended from the dais and came to look at the portrait. I too looked at it; now with eyes that saw, and I realized how far I had fallen short of what I should have done. After looking at it for some time, though I am sure as fully conscious as myself of its shortcomings, she pronounced herself as satisfied with the beginning; and then turning to me said, "How would you like to stop in the palace and paint this at your leisure and my convenience?" I hastened to accept this most unexpected invitation and thus began my eleven months in the different palaces of the Empress Dowager, and my delightful experiences as a member of her household; not quite as a member of her household, for though I had a day domicile within the precincts, she installed me in the palace of the Emperor's father near the summer palace. My domicile had beautiful grounds, numerous pavilions, lakes, summer houses and its own theater, she gave me a retinue of servants (three hundred, I learned later) also carts, horses, outriders: in short, entertained me in quite royal fashion.

What most impressed me at first in the Empress Dowager was her extreme simplicity. I had always thought of her as the central figure in a continuous pageant, as never laying aside formality, as always rigid in the traditions of her old and conservative court; and I found her simple, womanly, and human in the best sense, interested in all that surrounded

her, in nature, in people and in art. Her passion for flowers was extraordinary, and her dogs were great favorites, and she loved to amuse herself with them in her leisure moments. She was an early riser, and as all Chinese court functions are held before mid-day, she was early to bed as well. She rose at half past five and had her tea, then the young Empress and the ladies came and assisted at her levée. On entering her bedroom they knelt and said together the usual greeting, "Lao-tze-tseng chee-siang." May the Holy mother be happy," and unless they were dismissed, all remained during her morning toilette which was the most elaborate of the day, as she dressed then for the audience or for any ceremony there happened to be. After the toilette was completed the Emperor came in and paid his respects. Then the two, in their imperial robes of state, went to the audience chamber followed by a large retinue of their respective attendants.

The audience hall was in another building, for the Chinese palaces, instead of being one great building as in Europe, consist of a number of pavilions divided by courts and connected by covered archways. The Emperor had his own pavilion and his own throne room quite apart from the Empress Dowager's in all the imperial palaces. The audience hall was in common. There they held their joint audiences. On their approach to the audience hall a band of Chinese musicians dressed in gala robes of red played a minor air on their curious instruments in the rhythm of a Gregorian chant. I called this the imperial hymn for it was always played when their majesties passed for a ceremony or to hold audience! The government in China under the Empress Dowager and the old régime was a complicated affair. Every Province had its own and every city a number of boards, and the heads of all these departments reported to their majesties' grand council at Peking several times a year, and their majesties received the members of the council or some officials everyday in audience. Audiences were held whether at the summer, sea, or winter palaces. I was, of course, never present in the hall while audience was being held. During the audience the young Empress and

the Princesses and ladies who had accompanied the Empress Dowager to the door, sat outside on the verandah, smoked cigarettes, and gossiped, and I sometimes made one of that frivolous throng. After the audience their majesties took their respective ways followed by their respective suites to their own quarters. On arrival in her throne room the Empress Dowager had her robes of state removed, her imperial head dress with its flowers and jewels was taken off and she was then clothed in a simple gown and her hair arranged quite simply, close to her head with a single flower or one jewelled ornament. After this she sat down to rest and talk with the ladies. Then she would pose an hour for her portrait. I painted the first portrait in her throne room where she sat when her meals were served and out of which opened her bedroom and boudoir. During these sittings for the portrait she would sip tea from time to time or eat candied fruits, and now and then smoke cigarettes held in a jewelled mouthpiece. After an hour's sitting she would tire and say we must rest and when I protested I was not tired and could easily go on for an hour she would insist that if she were tired sitting, doing nothing, I must be, standing and working, that if she needed rest, I did also. Thus for the first three months I was not allowed to work except when she could sit, as the Throne room where I had to paint was her sitting room. When the sitting was finished the eunuchs removed the "holy picture" as the portrait was called; my brushes and palette were taken away to be cleaned, my easel removed and the throne room resumed its usual aspect, save for the throne which kept the place near the door where I had asked to have it moved that first day, and the great yellow covered box which had been made, at the Empress Dowager's order, to hold my brushes, palette, oils, etc.

After the sitting the Empress Dowager sometimes took a walk before ordering the luncheon or "early rice." For this, a long table was set with its one cover at the end for her majesty, for she took it alone. The table was loaded with yellow dishes, filled with the different meats, fish, soups and vegetables, and covered with curiously chased pyramidal


silver covers which were removed by an army of eunuchs when her majesty took her seat at the head. The meal, though the table was so bountifully set, was soon finished, for though she had a normal appetite the Empress Dowager was not a great eater. After the meal her golden rincebouche was brought, then a great silver basin with silken towels when she washed her hands.

After luncheon she took her siesta and was read to, when that was over there was a promenade through the grounds accompanied by the eunuchs bearing chairs, so that, if fatigued her majesty and the ladies could be carried over the rest of the ground. Sometimes she would be rowed on the lake in the imperial barge for the afternoon exercise. There was quite a fleet on the lake when she elected to go in her barge. This, with her throne chair covered with yellow, in the center of the raised platform, was drawn by two other boats of twenty-four standing rowers! The army of eunuchs who always accompanied the Empress Dowager and Emperor on their walks or when they went on the lake, stood in six or seven other boats which followed the imperial barge. She sat in her throne chair, the ladies sitting or reclining on cushions on the platform of the barge. When the Emperor elected to accompany her majesty, which he often did, he sat quite simply at her left on a cushion with no more ceremony than was accorded the ladies, the only difference being that his cushion was yellow, while the ladies had red ones. His and the Empress Dowager's chief eunuchs stood behind them on the barge. These often served tea or sweets while we were gliding over the waters of the lake. We sometimes landed at one of the landing places far from the throne room court, and the chairs met us and we were carried back. Sometimes the barge would be brought to the imperial landing place flanked by the great painted columns bearing the imperial pennants, and we would disembark in front of the throne room. On our return from the promenade Wahn Fahn or late rice was served in her majesty's throne room. This, the dinner, was no more elaborate than luncheon. It could not be! There was the same long table laden with the yellow porcelain silver-covered dishes, filled with the

same rare and tempting food. Bird's nest soup, shark's fins, preserved eggs, white shrimps, boneless capons and ducks, bamboo shoots, salads and all the wonderful dishes that make the Chinese menu the most recherché and elaborate in the world. It seemed a strange anomaly to call these repasts, worthy of Lucullus, by such simple names as early and late rice!

After dinner (rarely later then six o'clock) when her majesty made the sign, I bade her good-night and, accompanied by the Ladies Yu Keng and the eunuchs set aside for our service while in the palace, we were carried in our chairs to the outer gates, thence to our palace in our own carts and chairs.

The Empress Dowager was a great purist as to language. She had a fine musical ear and detected at once and deplored any misuse of words or misplacing of the tonic accent, so important in speaking Chinese. It was a beautiful language as spoken by her, with her silvery voice and clear intonation. She bemoaned the fact of so many dialects being spoken in China. Even Mandarin (official) Chinese is marred by the many and varied accents of the different provinces; some of which were very trying to the ears of the Empress Dowager. She longed to have one language for China, spoken as well as written, and she would have welcomed with delight the reform the Republic is instituting, in the unification of spoken Chinese.

Thinking my stay in the palace would be short I decided I would not try to learn Chinese as there were three good interpreters always ready to translate. The Empress Dowager, probably dreading another shock to her sensitive ear, did not encourage my learning. She said the foreigners studied it for a lifetime and then rarely spoke it well and it would be better if I tried Manchu as that was more analogous to a European language as it has an alphabet. But after I had learned a few phrases of greeting in Chinese with an accent not too offensive she thought I might try to learn it and asked if the foreigners had not some simple books for beginners, I got two. One compiled by the missionaries for the use of novices for household needs; naturally

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