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吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 11

This is Part 11 in an annotation of an extract from 吳城日記 (‘Diary of Inner City Suzhou’). It’s the official log of Suzhou (specifically the small, walled area in the centre) from the year 1645, a year after the Manchus took Beijing, marking the end of the Ming dynasty and the beginning of the Qing (明末清初).

As always, if you notice a mistake or have any suggestions, please share them in the comments at the end of the page.

← Part 10 · Part 11 · Part 12 →

吳城日記

十五日,撥兵往葑門出,其在途橫暴,有所知者一事,蘇人王惠伯現為軍門標下職官,兵丁擁入其家,執家屬一人,斬為三段,擄其婦女數口,惠伯亦被縛,將加之刃,財物細軟掠盡,適軍門正差官來喚王君領兵,兵聞令乃釋縛,並還其婦女,然貲賄烏有矣。 On the fifteenth day, soldiers were allocated to leave through the Feng Gate, on the way they committed violence, and there was one incident which is known of; Wang Huibo of Suzhou is a functioning official under military command at the garrison; the soldiers surged into his house, seized a member of his household, cut them into three pieces and raped his wife and several of his daughters; Huibo was also tied-up and they were going to apply a blade to him, and his property and jewellery were completely plundered; it so happened that an official who had just been sent by the garrison to lead the troops; when the soldiers heard this order they untied him and gave back his wife and daughters, but none of his money. (職官 is a 'functioning official'. 標下 means 'under military command'.)

惠伯急徙居避去。 Huibo rushed to change his residence and fled.

總云城中東南隅,其被搶掠取殺之害殊多,非如西北之無擾。 In the south-east corner of the city, particularly many people had been looted and wantonly killed; totally unlike the carefree north-west.

一城之內,便隔天淵,真有幸有不幸。 Within one city to have the difference of Heaven and Earth; there really were those who were fortunate and those who were unfortunate.

是晚,並將各城門壘石塞,以便守禦。 That night, they piled up stone barricades to block each city gate, to make it easier to defend.

至暮,民家各懸燈於門,擊柝支更,自此夕始。 By evening, every residence of the common people had hung a lamp at the door; the strike of the watchman's rattle at the changing of the hour began at evening. (支更 is 'the changing of the hour'.)

十六日,各門外窺伺出沒之眾未已,且怒城中人拒守,交口辱罵,閶門外有堆乾柴於木筏,欲燒水門者,城上有山西客商善射者三四十人,一面發矢射之,一面縋人下城殺去,傷彼數人,才退。 On the sixteenth day, outside each of the gates people continued to spy on the crowds coming and going endlessly; they were angry at people inside the city wall who were defending it; they exchanged insults; outside the Chang Gate there was a pile of dry firewood by the barricades; there were those who were about to burn the water gate; on the city walls there were thirty or forty travelling merchants from Shanxi who were good at archery; they shot at them whilst letting people down the wall on ropes; they injured several enemies and then retreated. (窺伺 means 'to spy on' [?].)

晚間發兵幾百,出葑門剿亂,行至黃石橋,得勝而還。 In the night several hundred soldiers were sent out by the Feng Gate to suppress the riots; they walked to Huangshi Bridge, gained victory and went back.

是夜黃昏,月蝕至九分,更餘復明,深夜提兵,捉獲放火二人斬訖,傳聞有城中打糧之說,眾懼憂害,議令每圖各具酒二壇、豬羊雞鵝乾面等物,白米一石。 That day at dusk, there was a lunar eclipse to the ninth degree, and then it became bright again; in the middle of the night, two arsonists were arrested and beheaded; there were rumours that in the city walls a grain tax might be collected; the masses feared they would suffer; it was decided to order every subsection to prepare two jars of wine, a pig, a goat, a chicken, a goose, dried noodles and so on, and ten pecks of white rice. (月蝕 is 'lunar eclipse'.)

皆溫飽之家湊出,投揭送為供應,亦不得已計也。 All adequately off households gathered it together, they then sent them as provisions with extras; they had no choice but to scheme.

← Part 10 · Part 11 · Part 12 →

Full text of 吳城日記.

Series: Diary of Inner City Suzhou

  1. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 1
  2. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 2
  3. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 3
  4. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 4
  5. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 5
  6. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 6
  7. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 7
  8. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 8
  9. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 9
  10. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 10
  11. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 11 (this article)
  12. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 12
  13. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 13
  14. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 14
  15. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 15
  16. 吳城日記 translation: Diary of Inner City Suzhou, Part 16

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