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huh off.

" De ol' lame yallah-laig kindah move roun'
in de baskit, an' all a suddin 1 see how I
gwinetah save dat ten dollahs o' mine an' let
Mandy beat ol' Aunt Say Ann to boot. But
1 did n't say nothin' 't all to Mandy; 1 des
lay low an* study hahd. By-m-by Mandy she
git tired o* jawin' an' go to baid ; den 1 sot
still tell 1 hyeahed huh breavin' sof an' easy
lak. Den 1 pull off mah boots an' crope out
easy an' keerful. 1 git a soap-box an' some
straw down to de stable an' fetch 'em back to
de house. Mandy she ain* move. I tuk de
ol' lame yallah-laig roostah out de baskit an*
sot him on de aigs whut I put in de nes* I
done made in de box wid dat straw. Co'se
dat roostah hattah set dah, *ca'se he ain* got
no mo* laigs an' can't walk 't all. You des
oughtah seed dat ol' yallah-laig w'en he
'spicioned whut I gvvinetah do wid him ! He
looked mighty droopy-lak, but I did n' keer,
'ca'se I wuz aftah savin' dat ten dollahs fuh
mah burryin'. Aftah he kindah settled down
lak an' mek up his min' dat he hattah stay
dah, 1 pulled off mah boots an' crope intah
baid mighty easy, so 's not to wake mah ol'
woman up.

" De nex' mawnin' wuz puty an* clah, an*

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I oughtah be*n out wukin' ; but I kindah loaf
roun' to see de fun. Wen Mandy git frough
de breakfas* deeshes, she come ovah wid de
leavin's to feed oV yallah-laig. He war n* in
de baskit. She look roun', an* at las* she fin'
him in de soap-box, an* she up an* say to me :

" * Abe, dat dah roostah gwinetah git roun*
yit; he done crawled ovah to dat soap-box
las* night.'

" But I ain' say nothin* 't all. Wen Mandy
picked up dat ol' roostah fuh to feed him an'
seed de aigs undah him, but you des oughtah
seed huh face ! At fust she look lak she don'
know sca'sly whut to think ; an* den she look
at me an* kindah grin. Den she *gin to laf,
an* she come mighty nigh havin* one o* dese
heah reg*lah ol'-fashion* kemipsion fits den
an' dah, sho, mun. W *en she git frough laffin*
she look up at me an* say mighty proud-lak :

" * You got a sight mo* sense dan I fought
you had, Abe.'

" Wen Mandy tuk ol* yallah-laig off de
aigs an' put him on de flo' to eat, he crowed
a little an' kindah fix his feathahs up lak an'
look peart-lak. But w'en Mandy put him back
on de aigs, he look lak he mighty droopy 'g'in.
Mandy she tried powerful hahd to lu'n him to
tu'n de aigs ovah des same ez a hen do, but
ol' yallah-laig he drawed de line right dah.
Mandy she were mighty 'termined to mek a
good settah o' him, an* ev'y day she *d tek

his haid an* push de aigs ovah wid his bill.
But, bless de Lawd, hit war n* no use. He 'd
set dah *ca*se he ain' got no laigs an' can't
he'p hisse'f, but he won't tu'n no aigs.

" At night w'en I wuz a-settin* *fo* de fiah,
I watch dat ol' yallah-laig roostah des to see
how he gwinetah tek dat settin* business. Fuh
'bout a week er two he look fuh all de wurrild
lak he gwinetah die. He look des prezac'ly
lak a yo'ng niggah whut think he *s a man,
w*en you put a ap'on on him an' mek him
he'p his mammy wid huh wash. But aftah a
w'ile de ol* yallah-laig git sortah use* to hit,
an* by de time de fus aigs hatched he *gun
to look right peart. Bless gracious, but you
des oughtah seed dat ol* roostah w*en de fus aig
hatch ! Wen he hyeahcd de chicken ^Ay peep-
peep right dah undah hisse'f, he look lak he
wuz scared 'mos' to death, sho, mun. But
den, w'en he foun' out dat dey his own chil-
luns, he look mighty proud lak.

" Dat dah yeah Mandy she beat ol* Aunt
Say Ann all hollah, an* she sol* 'five dollahs'
wu'th o* extry ully fryin' chickens. She han'
dat dah money to me to put in dat ol' sock
fuh mah burryin', 'long wid de ten whut I
hab. An' w*en Mandy gi'e dat money to me,
she grin lak an* say :

"*Abe, dat *s fuh dat dah *cubatah whut
you got fuh me.' **

James Speed.

Drawn by B. Cory Kilvert


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Vol. LXX OCTOBER, 1905 No. 6





Miss Katharine A, Carl, the American artist who painted the portrait of the Empress
Dowager of China which was exhibited at St. Louis and has been presented by the
Empress to the American government, has written an account of her life with the Em-
press, portions of which we are permitted to place before the readers of The Century
in a series of articles.

Throughout all history no other person from the Western world has been received
into the intimacy of the imperial palaces. Miss Carl lived for nearly a year in the dif-
ferent imperial palaces of Peking, seeing the Empress daily and associating constantly
with the ladies of the court. She was present at all the state and religious functions
that took place diuing her residence and received many marks of the Empress's con-
fidence and favor.

It was in 1903 that Miss Carl received a letter from Mrs. Conger, wife of the min-
ister of the United States to Peking, stating that there was a question of her Majesty
the Empress Dowager having her portrait painted, and hoping that, if the matter could
be arranged, the portrait might, with the consent of her Majesty, be sent to the exposi-
tion at St. Louis. In the event. Miss Carl painted not only the portrait for the St.
Louis Exposition, but three others of her Majesty. Unique as were her experiences at
the different palaces, she concluded, after she had lived at court for a few months, that
she would never make these experiences public, out of respect for Chinese prejudices
and in order to conform to their ideas of propriety ; but, says Miss Carl :

" After I retxuTied to America, I was constantly seeing in newspapers (and hearing
of) statements ascribed to me which I never made. Her Majesty was represented as
having stood over me in threatening attitudes, forcing me to represent her as a young
and beautiful woman ! It was reported that she refused to give me any compensation

Copyright. i9:>5, by Thb CbnturY Co. All hghU/Mcnred.

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for the portraits, and a number of other statements equally false were daily appearing
in the papers. The London * Times ' in speaking of the Empress Dowager said, * Some
one has said "she has the soul of a tiger in the body of a woman," and Miss Carl
found the old lady shrewd and tempestuous.' The latter statement, which I never
made, seemed to me enough to have on my shoulders ; but the article was copied in
American papers and I was put down as the author of the first as well as of the second
statement. . . . These erroneous statements continue to appear, and I have finally
decided that, in justice to my august patroness as well as to my humbler self, it is
incumbent upon me to correct them, and it seems to me the only proper way to do so
is to write a full and true relation of my life at the palace and my experiences while
painting the portraits of her Majesty the Empress Dowager.

" I know 1 publish this account at the risk of offending the sensibilities of my Chi-
nese friends, for many of them will never know what called it forth. I know that by so
doing I may change any favorable opinion they may have formed as to my good
breeding and discretion. I was on sufficiently intimate terms with her Majesty and the
ladies of the court to know that this account will be looked upon by them as an * in-
discretion,' to say the least of it.

"In this story of my life at the palace I must naturally give some description of their
Majesties and necessarily make some comment upon their characters. In doing this, 1
will transgress another long-established rule of Chinese propriety, which makes any
comment, favorable or unfavorable, upon the sacred persons of their Majesties a gross
breach of etiquette. No act of theirs is ever criticised, no report in reference to them
is ever explained, no slander about them is ever refuted by loyal Chinese, and the
generality of Chinese are loyal. Thus the falsest statements, not being refuted by
those in a position to know, gain in credence until they are reported as facts.

"If my comment on their Majesties and discussion of their acts be favorable, this
will be no palliation from the Chinese standpoint. Any sort of comment will be looked
upon as a breach of hospitality. I have absolutely nothing to gain, should I suppress
any disagreeable facts I may have learned as to her Majesty. Should I be willing to
sacrifice the truth, in order to please my Chinese friends, this would avail me nothing,
for should my account of her Majesty be construed by them into an apology for her,
I should be considered most presumptuous and the enormity of my offense would be
aggravated. Thus I am between two fires. Those who read my account may imagine
I am trying to justify her Majesty and thereby gain her favor, and should the Chinese
put this construction on it, my indiscretion will become an offense. Knowing all this,
and with the memory of the charming consideration I received at the Chinese court,
I nevertheless feel it is my duty to publish a simple and truthful narrative of my ex-
periences, and I hope I may be pardoned for thus breaking Chinese conventions.

" The Boxer rebellion was a frequent topic of conversation at the palace, and I heard
a great deal about it from the ladies of the court. It was not considered at all indis-
creet to ask questions on this subject, and I did not hesitate to inform myself by asking
about things I wished to know. If it be true, as the philosophers say, that, * The proper
study of mankind is man under his own environment,' 1 had an opportunity of study-
ing her Majesty on the right principles. My account of her should, therefore, have
some little value, for I am the only European who has ever had a chance to study this
remarkable woman in her own milieu, or to look upon the facts of her life from the
standpoint within her own circle."

At the present crisis in Oriental affairs, it is hardly necessary to call attention to the
unique value and importance of this intimate account of the mysterious ruler of the
Chinese people.— The Editor.

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Half tune plate engraved by H. Davidsou


This portrait, the first ever made of the Empress Dowager, was exhibited at the St. T^onis Exposition, wa-
tne EmprcM Dowager i<. the United States guvcrnmcnt, and at present is in the Natjiaial Museu .

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HE day of my first audience
at the Chinese court, Au-
gust 5, we were up betimes
at the American Legation;
for it takes full three hours
to drive out to the Summer Palace from
Peking, and punctuality is the etiquette
of Oriental as well as of Occidental po-
tentates. Our audience was for half-past
ten o'clock, and the portrait of the Em-
press Dowager was to be begun at eleven,
that hour, as well as the day and the
month, having been chosen, after much
deliberation and many consultations of the
almanac, as the most auspicious for begin-
ning work on the first likeness ever made
of her Majesty.

We left the legation at 7 a. m. in the trap
of the United States legation guard, that
being the only vehicle available large
enough to carry the party— Mrs. Conger
and her interpreter and myself, with my
painting-materials, which included a large
canvas and a folding easel. After leaving
the city, the drive out to the Summer
Palace is through fertile fields and a fair,
smiling landscape. It had rained the night
before and everything was beautifully fresh.
The wet, stone-paved road stretched ahead
like a shining stream ; the wheat and corn
fields along the road were of a brilliant
green, with here and there the somber note
of a clump of arbor- vitse, out of which rose
the walls of a temple. The distant hills,
where lay the Summer Palace, were deli-
cately Hmned against a soft blue-gray sky,
and the whole made an entrancing picture.
Soon after leaving Peking, the mounted
ofllicial legation servants that followed Mrs.
Conger's carriage were joined by a Chinese
guard of honor sent by the Wai-Wu-Pu
(Foreign OfEce) to escort us to the palace.
After a drive of an hour and a half we
rattled through a busy village, past the
yellow ruins of a great lama temple, and
along the park walls of the summer homes
of several princes of the imperial family,
and soon came within sight of the beauti-
ful grounds of the Summer Palace, with
its hills, valleys, canals, and lakes, the hills
crowned with tea-houses and temples, the
waters of the canals lapping the marble

terraces of the palaces. The red walls, the
glazed tiles of the yellow and green roofs,
the brilliant foliage, freshened by the rain,
made a gay picture; and the temples,
arches, pagodas, and the many buildings
that constitute a Chinese palace, gave it the
appearance of a whole town rather than of
a single palace.

As in all Oriental palaces, upon the very
threshold of the outer courts sit the beg
gar, the lame, the halt, and the* blind,
gathering rich harvests from the generosity
of the high nobles and officials and their
myriad retainers as they pass in and out
of the Foreign Office and the outer courts
of the palace. The Foreign Office, during
the residence of the court at the Summer
Palace, sixteen miles from the capital, has
offices on the left of the great imperial
entrance, in order that state business may
be more easily transacted while their Maj-
esties are in villeggiatura.

We alighted at the Foreign Office and
were met by a number of officials with
their interpreters, who came out to receive
us. After readjusting ourselves in the
waiting-room, we were met, on coming
out, by the chief eunuch of the palace,
who conducted us to the red-covered
palace chairs, each carried by six men.
They bore us past the imperial gateway
(used only for their Majesties), through a
door of entrance at the left, when we were
within the sacred precincts of one of the
residences of the Sons of Heaven and
within the walls of the favorite palace of
the Empress Dowager. Before we could
take in our surroundings, we had been
rapidly carried through various courts and
gardens, and had come at last to a larger,
quadrangular court, filled with pots of rare
blooming plants and many beautiful grow-
ing shrubs. Here the bearers put down
our chairs; we descended, and walked
through the court, preceded and followed
by a number of eunuchs. The great plate-
glass doors of the palace in front of us,
blazing with the huge red character *' Sho "
(longevity), were swung noiselessly back,
and we were at last within the throne-room
of her Imperial Majesty the Empress
Dowager of China.

A group of princesses and ladies-in-wait-
ing stood to receive us. The Ladies Yu-
Keng, wife and daughter of a former
Chinese minister to France, stood near the
princesses ; and their perfect knowledge of

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both Chinese and English rendered them
delightful mediums of communication be-
tween the princesses and ourselves. Hav-
ing known these ladies in Paris, it was

so simply made, so unobtrusive, that the first
I knew of it, noticing a sudden lull, I looked
around and saw a charming little lady,
with a brilliant smile, greeting Mrs. Conger

From a sketch by Kathariiic A. Carl. HaH-tone plate enjjraved by S. Davis

almost like seeing old friends. They
seemed a link between the real, every-day
world and this Arabian Nights palace into
which we had been wafted. As we arrived
at a quarter-past ten, we were in the
throne-room a few moments before their
Majesties appeared. Their entrance was

very cordially. One of the Ladies Yu-Keng
whispered, " Her Majesty " ; but even after
this it seemed almost impossible for me
to reahze that this kindly-looking lady, so
remarkably youthful in appearance, with
so winning a smile, could be the so-called
cruel, implacable tyrant, the redoubtable

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" old '* Empress Dowager, whose name had
been on the lips of the world since 1900.
A young man, almost boyish in appearance,
entered the throne-room with her : this was
the Son of Heaven, the Emperor of China.

that he, too, was closely scrutinizing me
as his shrewd glance swept my person.

After a few moments' conversation,
interpreted l)y the Ladies Yu-Keng,
her Majesty ordered my painting-things



From a sketi h b> Katltariiie A. Carl. Half-tone plate engraved by S. Darts

After greeting Mrs. Conger, the Empress
Dowager looked toward me, and 1 ad-
vanced with a reverence. She met me
half-way and extended her hand with an-
other brilliant smile, which quite won me,
and 1 spontaneously raised her dainty
fingers to my lips. This was not in the
protocol program. It was an involuntary
and surprised tribute on my part to her
unexpected charm. She then turned and,
with graceful gesture, extended her hand
toward the F.mperor and murmured, '* The
Emperor," and watched me closely while
I made his Majesty the formal reverence.
He acknowledged the salutation by a slight
bow and a stereotyped smile, but 1 felt

brought in, while she retired to be dressed
in the gown she had decided upon as ap-
propriate for the portrait.

After she had left the throne-room, I
tried to take in the conditions of the place
for painting. The hall was large and spa-
cious, but the light was false, the upper
parts of the windows being covered with
paper shades. The only place where there
was any S(jrt of light for painting was in
front of the great plate-glass doors, and
this was only a small space in which to be-
gin so large a picture. To get a light upon
the portrait, as well as upon the Empress
Dowager, I should be forced to place my
canvas very near the throne where she was

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From the sketch-book of Katharine A. Carl




to sit ; and, with so large a portrait as I was
to paint, this would be a great disadvan-
tage. When I thought that I must paint
here, and begin at once upon the canvas
which was to be the final picture, my heart
fell. Her Majesty wished, above all, to
have a large portrait, and I was told she
would not imderstand my beginning on a
small canvas or making any preliminary
studies, and if I did not begin on the
big canvas at once she would probably
not give me any more sittings ; in fact, we
had that morning been told at the Foreign
Office that her Majesty was to give me
only two sittings, so there was no alterna-
tive. There could be no preliminary poses,
no choice from several sketches, and only
a few moments in which to choose the
pose which must be final— and I totally
ignorant of the possibilities of my sitter or
her characteristics.

Luckily, I had but a few moments to
consider all these adverse circumstances,
for the Empress Dowager soon returned.
She had been clothed in a gown of imperial
yellow, brocaded in the wistaria vine in
realistic colors and richly embroidered in
pearls. It was made, in the graceful Man-
chu fashion, in one piece, reaching from the
neck to the floor, and fastened from the right
shoulder to the hem with jade buttons.
The stuff of the gown was of a stiff, trans-
parent silk, and was worn over a softer
under-gown of the same color and length.
At the top button, from the right shoulder,
hung a string of eighteen enormous pearls
separated by flat pieces of brilliant, trans-
parent green jade. From the same button
was suspended a large, carved pale ruby,
which had yellow silk tassels terminating
in two immense pear-shaped pearls of rare
beauty. At each side, just under the arms,
hung a pale-blue, embroidered silk hand-
kerchief, and a scent-bag with long, black
silk tassels. Around her throat was a pale-
blue, two-inch-wide cravat, embroidered
in gold with large pearls. This cravat had
one end tucked into the opening on the
shoulder of her gown, and the other hang-

Her jet-black hair was parted in the
middle, carried smoothly over the temples,
and brought to the top of the head in a
large, flat coil.

Formerly all Manchu ladies, who have
marvelous hair, carried the hair itself out
from this coil over a gold, jade, or tor-

toise-shell, sword-like pin, into a large-
winged bow. The Empress Dowager and
the ladies of the court have sul^tituted
satin, instead of the hair, for this wing-like
construction, as being more practicable
and less liable to get out of order. So
satin-like and glossy is their hair that it is
difficult to tell where it ends and the satin
begins. A band of pearls, with an im-
mense " flaming pearl " in the center, en-
circled the coil. On each side of the
winged bow were bunches of natural
flowers and a profusion of jewels. From
the right side of the head-dress hung a
tassel of eight strings of beautiful pearls
reaching to the shoulder.

She wore bracelets and rings, and on
each hand had two nail-protectors, for she
wore her nails so long that the protectors
were necessary adjimcts. These nail-pro-
tectors were worn on the third and fourth
Angers of each hand; those on the left
being of brilliant green jade, while those
on the right hand were of gold, set with
rubies and pearls.

Her Majesty advanced with animation,
and asked me where the double-dragon
throne was to be placed. After the eunuchs
had put it where I said, she took her seat.
Although not more than five feet tall, as
she wears the Manchu shoes, with six-inch-
high, stilt-like soles, to avoid throwing the
knees up higher than the lap she must sit
upon cushions, and when she is seated she
looks a much larger woman than when

She took a conventional pose, and told
me I might make any suggestion I wished ;
but I had made up my mind that the pose
and surroundings must be as typical and
characteristic as possible, and as I had
had no time to study my august sitter I
thought she would know best as to her
position and accessories.

It was nearing eleven. Beginning any-
thing is momentous. Every artist knows
how the wonderful possibilities of the bare
canvas, in its virgin purity, standing before
him inspire him with almost a feeling of
awe; how he hesitates about beginning,
so great is the responsibility. This bare
canvas may become a masterpiece, the full
expression of his thought, or it may come
forth a maimed and distorted effort. To-
day, in these strange surroundings, with
these unusual and unfavorable conditions,
my hesitancy was greater than usual ; for

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upon this beginning depended my being
able to go on with the portrait.

My hands trembled. The inscrutable
eyes of the wonderful woman I was to
paint, fixed piercingly upon me, were dis-
concerting; but just then the eighty-five
clocks in this particular throne-room began
to chime, play airs, and strike the hour in
eighty-five different ways; the auspicious
moment had come. I raised my charcoal
and put the first stroke upon the canvas of
the first portrait that had ever been painted
of the Empress Dowager of Great China,
the powerful "Tze-Hsi." The princesses
and ladies-in-waiting, the high eunuchs
and attendants, stood around in breathless
silence, intently watching my every move-
ipent ; for everything touching her Majesty
is a solemnity.

For a few moments I heard the faintest
ticking of the eighty-five clocks as if they
were great cathedral bells clanging in my
ears, and my charcoal on the canvas
sounded hke some mighty saw drawn back
and forth. Then, happily, I became inter-
ested, and absolutely unconscious of any-
thing but my sitter and my work. I worked
steadily on for what seemed to be a very
short time, when her Majesty turned to the
interpreter and said that enough work had
been done for that day. The conditions

Online LibraryA. B. (Alfred Barton) RendleThe Century → online text (page 99 of 120)