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Text on page 213
THE OATH OF YUAN-SHI-KAI
assume the duties of Prime Minister. Wang-Tchao-Ming has likewise left, and I really hope to see him in Rome on his next voyage to Europe. Actually, he is but an assassin, but in his desiring to kill the Regent was certainly noble (one must remember that China is many centuries behind us), and this one sees from the way in which his ideas are now appreciated by the old officials of the Empire.
Tenderly for to-day,
Monday, 18th March, 1912.
Great excitement last night! Oneatwo fires far away on the western hills. What will it be ? Suppositions of every kind. Temples sacked and burned. Beacon fires signalling the Mongolian or Manchu troops marching on Pekin. A fire seems to blaze in the direction of the Summer Palace. Good Heavens! The Summer Palace in flames? Some one thinks that the electric lights, for the forthcoming removal of the court to the residence, are being tried. What an enormous electric light it would have to be. . . .
Anyhow, we retired for the night without learning anything. This morning the majority maintain that it was all caused by bonfires lighted by peasants for a certain agrarian religious festivity which always takes place at this period. Certainly the Republic, above all in the north, is not yet consolidated, and something of interest may still happen.
I received a letter of the 1st Marchaalas ! three days missed !