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"But I do not wish to exile him," said Yüan-tê.
“He lost his prestige through weakness. If you are effeminately weak and undecided you also will not last long."
Yüan-tê saw his advice was good, and so he gave a great banquet whereat he begged Liu Chang to pack up his treasures and prepare to move. He gave the dispossessed Prefect the title Chên-wei Chiang-chün (Captain of Wide-spread Prestige). Liu Chang went away to Chingchou, taking with him his family and all his possessions.
Yüan-tê thus became Governor of Ichou. He conferred gifts on the inferior officers who joined him, confirming their ranks and titles. Yen Yen was given a high rank in the army. Fa Chêng became Prefect of the District of Shu. Others of the Shu officers whose aid had been conspicuous were given high ranks and finer titles under the new rule, while the services of minor men to the number of three score or more were well rewarded.
Naturally, honours were distributed freely to Yüan-tê's immediate helpers, to whose efforts he owed his position. Chuko Liang became Master of the Forces; Kuan Yü, Tangk'ou Chiang-chün (General, Destroyer of Rebels) and a Marquis; Chang Fei, General, Assailant of the West, and a Marquis; Chao Yün, General, Guardian of the Distant; Huang Chung, General, Guardian of the West; Wei Yen, General, Wager of Successful War; Ma Ch'ao, General, Pacificator of the West. All the others, many of whom had come to Yüan-tê from Chingchou and Hsiangjang, received promotion and rewards.
In addition, a special gift of five hundred "axes” (catties) of gold, a thousand "axes” of silver, much copper money and a thousand rolls of Ssūch'uan silk, was sent to Kuan Yü. And all the military men were given appointments. Huge numbers of oxen and horses were slaughtered for banquets to the army. and the contents of the granaries were given to the common people. So that there were great rejoicings.
Ichou being settled, Yüan-tê next desired to confiscate the lands of the more famous of the inhabitants about the capital and divide them among his officers. But here Chao Yün and others dissuaded him, saying that the sufferings of the people had been severe and losses great; it would be wise policy to let them settle down to their occupations as soon as possible. "It would be wrong to reward his own men at the expense of these persons.” Yuan-tê listened and gave in with good grace.
To Chuko Liang he assigned the revision of the laws, the punishments to be made, on the whole, heavy. Then Fa Chêng spoke up, "The founder of the Hans drew up three chapters of law, and the people were all profoundly affected by his virtue. I would rather that the laws be few and liberal that people may be comforted."
K'ung-ming replied, "You only look at one side. The laws of Ts'in were fiercely cruel and provoked resentment among the people; it was fitting that Kao Tsu should temper them with kindness. Under the weak administration of the late ruler there has never been an efficient government and there is a lack of respect for the law. The proper relationship between ruler and minister has been gradually obscured. Favour has been the means of rising, and the highest in rank have been the basest: kindness has been extended into licence and the most benefited have been the most contemptuous. And thereby have crept in many evils. Now I mean to inculcate respect for the dignity of the law, and kindness shall follow its attainment: there shall be moderation in conferring rank, but honour shall really follow on such promotion. In the mutual co-operation of kindness and honour and in proper distinction between superiors and inferiors lies the efficiency of a government.
Fa Chêng had no argument to oppose. In due time all became perfectly tranquil, and all the forty-and-one districts, with their respective garrisons, were peaceful and contented.
As Prefect of the metropolitan district, Fa Chêng earned much hatred, caring for no one but himself, and one man told of the complaints to Kʻung-ming, urging his dismissal.
But K‘ung-ming referred to his meritorious services. “When my lord was in Chingchou, fearful of his enemy on the north and trembling lest he be attacked from the east, Fa Chêng was his sure support. In these prosperous days one can hardly begin to discipline him. Could we reasonably forbid him following somewhat his own way?”
So no investigation was made, but Fa Chêng heard of the complaints and corrected his faults.
One day, when Yüan-tê and K‘ung-ming were resting and at leisure, Kuan P‘ing arrived with a letter from his father, thanking his elder brother for the handsome gifts. Handing in his letter, the son said his father was anxious to come into Ch'üan to try conclusions with Ma Ch'ao.
Said Yüan-tê, “If he were to come and fight I fear they would not both survive."
"There is nothing to be anxious about,” said K'ung-ming. "I will write to Kuan Yü."
Yüan-tê feared that his brother's impulsive temperament might lead to trouble, so he told K‘ung-ming to compose a letter and send back by Kuan P'ing.
When Kuan P‘ing came again to his father the first question was about the contest with Ma Ch'ao. Then the letter was produced, and this is what it said: "I hear you are anxious to decide whether of the twain, Ma Ch'ao and yourself is the better man. Now I can measure Ma Ch'ao. He may be unusually brave and bold, but he is only of the class of Ching
Pu and P'êng Yüeh. He might be a worthy rival of your younger brother, but he is far from the standard set by you, O Duke of the Beautiful Beard. You have a most important charge. If you come into Ssắchʻuan, and Chingchou should be lost, would you not be guilty of a terrible failure? I think you will see this."
Kuan Yü stroked his long beard and smiled as he read the letter. “He knows me thoroughly,” said he to himself.
He showed the letter to his clients and friends and thought no more of going westward.
The successes of Liu Pei in the west had been duly noted by Sun Ch'üan, who thought he was surely now going to obtain the much-coveted Chingchou. So he called in Chang Chao and Ku Yung to ask advice.
Chang Chao was ready with a scheme that would need no fighting: Yüan-tê would offer the place with both hands.
In Shu there shine new sun and moon,
Wu dreams Chingchou will be his soon. We shall see in the next chapter the scheme to recover the much-desired district.
KUAN YÜ GOES TO A FEAST ALONE, BUT ARMED;
FU HUANG-HOU DIES FOR THE STATE. The scheme which Chang Chao had in mind he laid before his master thus: “The one man upon whom Liu Pei relies most is Chuko Liang. Now his brother is in your service and in your power. All you have to do is to seize his family and send him west to see his brother and make him persuade Liu Pei to return Chingchou. If he refuse, the family will suffer, and Liang will not be able to resist the claims of brotherhood."
“But Chuko Chin is a loyal and true gentleman. I could not lay hands upon his family," said Sun Ch'üan.
"Explain the ruse to him; that will set his mind at rest," said Chang.
Sun Ch'uan consented and issued the command to confine the family of his retainer in the palace but not really imprison them. Then he wrote a letter for Chuko Chin to take with him on his mission. Before many days Chin reached Ch'êngtu and sent to inform Yüan-tê of his arrival. He at once sought the advice of his able counseller.
“Why think you your brother has come ?”
The plan of action being prepared, K‘ung-ming went out of the city to welcome his brother, but instead of taking him to his own residence he took him to the guest-house. When the greetings were over, the visitor suddenly lifted up his voice and wept.
"If you have any trouble, my brother, tell; why do you weep thus?” asked K‘ung-ming.
“Alas! my family are lost,” cried he.
"I suppose it is in the matter of the return of Chingchou? If your family have been seized on my account, how can I bear it calmly? But do not be anxious, my brother. I shall certainly find some way out of the difficulty.”.
This reply pleased Chuko Chin, and the two brothers went to visit Yüan-tê. The letter was presented, but when Yüan-tê had read it he said, angrily, "He is related to me by marriage and he has profited by my absence from Chingchou to steal away his sister. That is a sort of kindliness I find it hard to bear. When I am just going to lead my army to take vengeance is it likely he will get Chingchou out of me?"
At this point Kʻung-ming prostrated himself weeping at his lord's feet and said, "The Marquis of Wu has seized my brother's family, and he will put them all to death if the land be not given up. Can I remain alive if such a fate befall them? I pray my lord for my sake to give back the district and prevent any breach between my brother and me.”
But Yüan-tê refused. He seemed obdurate, but K'ung-ming persisted in his entreaty. Finally Yüan-tê reluctantly consented.
"Since things are so, and the Commander-in-chief pleads for it, I will return half,” said he. "I will give up Changsha, Lingling and Kueiyang."
“Then, as you have consented, prepare letters ordering Kuan Yü to yield these three districts," said Chin.
Yüan-tê said, "When you see my brother you must use most gracious words to him, for his nature is as a fierce fire, and I fear what he may do. So be very careful.”
Chuko Chin, having got the letter, took his leave and went straightway to Chingchou. He asked for an interview, and was received in the grand reception hall. When both were seated in their respective places, the emissary produced his letter, saying, “The Imperial Uncle has promised to return three districts to my master, and I hope, General, you will hand them over at once and let me return."
Kuan Yü's countenance changed, and he said, “The oath sworn in the Peach Garden bound me and my brother to support the Dynasty of Han. Chingchou is a portion of their domain, and how can any part be given to another? When a leader is in the field he receives no orders, not even those of his prince. Although you have brought letters from my brother, yet will I not yield the territory."
“But the Marquis of Wu has laid hands upon my family, and they will be slain if the land be not given up. I crave your pity, O General."
“This is but a ruse on his part, but it does not deceive me." "Why are you so pitiless ?''
Kuan Yü drew his sword, saying, "Let us have no more. This sword is pitiless.'
"It will put the Commander-in-chief to shame," said Kuan P‘ing. “I pray you not to be angry, my father.”
"Were it not for my respect for the Commander-in-chief, you would never go back to Wu,” said Kuan Yü.
Chuko Chin, overwhelmed with shame, took his leave, sought his ship and hastily returned to see his brother. But K‘ungming had gone away upon a journey. However, he saw Yuantê and related what had happened, and said that Kuan Yü was going to slay him.
“My brother is hasty," said Yüan-tê. "It is difficult to argue with him. But return home for the present, and when I have