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揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 4

This is Part 4 in an annotation of 揚州十日記(‘Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou’). Like 吳城日記, it’s a daily log 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).

This diary covers the Yangzhou massacre (also known as “The Ten Days of Yangzhou”) , and was written by 王秀楚(Wang Xiuchu). You can read about these events, as well as see more translations of the text, in Lynn A. Struve’s book on the topic.

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

吳城日記

← Part 3 · Part 4 · Part 5 →

予廳後面城,從窗隙中窺見城上兵循南而西,步武嚴整,淋雨亦不少紊,疑為節制之師,心稍定。 Behind the hall of my own home is the city wall, and peering out through a gap in the window I saw soldiers on the city wall to the south going west; their marching was strictly in order, and despite getting soaked in the rain they were not disordered at all, so I thought they were well-regimented troops [i.e. Shi Kefa's troops] , and my heart was somewhat settled.

忽叩門聲急,則鄰人相約共迎王師,設案焚香,示不敢抗,予雖知事不濟,然不能拂眾議,姑應曰唯唯。 Suddenly there was the sound of urgent knocking at my door; it was the neighbours, who had agreed to unite in welcoming the royal [Qing] troops; they set up a table with incense, to demonstrate that they would not dare to resist; although I knew that these things were no use, I could not not go against the majority opinion, and so I agreed, saying yes, yes.

於是改易服色,引領而待,良久不至。 Thereupon I changed into another style of clothes, craning my neck and waiting, but a long while passed and they did not arrive.

予復至後窗窺城上,則隊伍稍疏或行或止; I went back to the rear window and peeped out onto the wall, where a troop of soldiers was was somewhat spread out, with some walking and some stopped;

俄見有擁婦女雜行,闞其服色皆揚俗,予始大駭。 suddenly I saw that they were carrying along with them various women, and looking at their clothing style they were all of Yangzhou; I was for the first time greatly startled.

還語婦曰:“兵入城,倘有不測,爾當自裁。” I turned and said to my wife: "The soldiers have entered the city - if things go wrong, you should cut short your own life."

婦曰諾。 My wife said "Yes."

吟曰:“前有金若干付汝置之,我輩休想復生人世矣!” Sobbing, she said: "From before I have a small amount of money - I'll give it to you now to put to one side. My generation would never want to be reborn into the human world!"

涕泣交下,盡出金付予。 Her tears fell down, and she took out all the money and gave it to me.

值鄉人進,急呼曰:“至矣,至矣!” Just then someone from the countryside rushed in, urgently yelling: "They've arrived! They've arrived!"

予趨出,望北來數騎皆按轡徐行,遇迎王師者,即俯首若有所語。 I rushed out, and saw several cavalrymen coming from the north, all pulling on the reins and trotting slowly; those welcoming the royal [Qing] troops thereupon bowed their heads as if to express this.

是時,人自為守,往來不通,故雖違咫尺而聲息莫聞,迨稍近,始知為逐戶索金也。 At that moment, people were protecting themselves, and there was no contact between them, so even though we were only feet apart, not a single sound could be heard; we waited until they got nearer, and that was when we first knew that they were going to houses one by one to demand money.

然意頗不奢,稍有所得,即置不問,或有不應,雖操刀相向,尚不及人,後乃知有捐金萬兩相獻而卒受斃者,揚人導之也。 But their expectations were not extravagant, and once they'd got a little, they would then let people off; if people refused, although they would brandish their blades at them, they had not yet struck anyone; later I learnt that someone had donated ten thousand taels, but had still been killed by the soldiers, because people from Yangzhou had encouraged them to.

← Part 3 · Part 4 · Part 5 →

Sources

Series: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou

  1. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 1
  2. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 2
  3. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 3
  4. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 4 (this article)
  5. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 5
  6. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 6
  7. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 7
  8. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 8
  9. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 9
  10. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 10
  11. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 11
  12. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 12
  13. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 13
  14. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 14
  15. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 15
  16. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 16
  17. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 17
  18. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 18
  19. 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 19

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