This is Part 6 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.
廿六日，頃之，火勢稍息。 On the 26th, shortly after, the force of the flames lessened somewhat.
天漸明，复乘高升屋躲避，已有十數人伏天溝內。 The sky gradually lightened, and again we climbed up high onto the rooftop to hide, and found there were already more than ten people concealing themselves in the rain gutters.
忽東廂一人緣牆直上，一卒持刃隨之，追躡如飛; Suddenly from the eastern room a man emerged and climbed up the wall; a soldier holding a blade was chasing him, following behind him as if flying.
望見予眾，隨舍所追而奔予。 When he saw us, he thereupon abandon the man he was chasing and ran after me.
予惶迫，即下竄，兄繼之，弟又繼之，走百馀步而後止。 I was terrified and fled downwards with my elder brother following me and my younger brother following him; we ran more than a hundred paces and then stopped.
自此遂與婦子相失，不復知其生死矣。 From then on I did not know had happened to my wife and son, having been separated from them; neither did I know if they were alive or dead.
諸黠卒恐避匿者多，紿眾人以安民符節，不誅，匿者競出從之，共集至五六十人，婦女參半，兄謂余曰： Those crafty soldiers, fearing that those hiding were many, deceived the masses with an "assuage the people" notice, saying they would not execute people, so those in hiding vied to come out and comply with it; in total fifty or sixty people gathered, half of them women; my brother said to me:
“我落落四人，或遇悍卒，終不能免； "If we lone four people encounter fierce soldiers, will not be able to avoid death;
不若投彼大群勢眾則易避，即不幸，亦生死相聚，不恨也。” it'd be better to throw our lot in with that large group - the power of the group makes it easier to escape; even if we are unlucky, we will still die together, and have no regrets."
當是時，方寸已亂，更不知何者為救生良策？ At that moment, our minds were in disorder, and what other good ideas did we have for saving our lives?
共曰唯唯，相與就之。 So together we agreed on it, and joined with them;
領此者三滿卒也，遍索金帛，予兄弟皆罄盡，而獨遺予未搜； The three Manchu soldiers leading this group were thoroughly searching for money and silk; my elder brother and younger brother both got searched, and only I alone was not searched.
忽婦人中有呼予者，視之乃余友朱書兄之二妾也，予急止之。 Suddenly there were some women calling out to me; I looked at them and they were the two concubines of my friend Zhu Shu; I anxiously stopped them.
二妾皆散發露肉，足深入泥中沒脛，一妾猶抱一女，卒鞭而擲之泥中，旋即驅走。 The two concubines' hair was scattered and their bodies were exposed; their feet were deep in mud that came up to their calves; one of the concubines was still holding a girl, and a soldier whipped her and threw her in the mud, driving her away soon after.
一卒提刀前導，一卒橫槊後逐，一卒居中，或左或右以防逃逸。 One soldier took out a blade and led the way, one soldier levelled his spear behind us, and one soldier was stationed in the middle, going to the left and the right to prevent people fleeing.
數十人如驅犬羊，稍不前，即加捶撻，或即殺之； We several dozen people were herded like sheep with a dog; if people lagged they were immediately beaten and whipped, or immediately killed;
諸婦女長索系頸，累累如貫珠，一步一蹶，遍身泥土； All the women were bound with a large rope by the neck, clustered like a string of pearls, stumbling with each step, and all of their bodies covered in mud;
滿地皆嬰兒，或襯馬蹄，或藉人足，肝腦塗地，泣聲盈野。 the entire ground was covered with infants, either crushed by horses' hooves or trampled under foot by people; some people had offered their lives in sacrifice, and the sound of sobbing filled the space.
行過一溝一池，堆屍貯積，手足相枕，血入水碧赭，化為五色，塘為之平。 Every gutter or pond that we walked past had piled bodies amassed in it, they hands and feet resting on each other, and the blood flowing into the water to make red and green, become multi-coloured; the canals had been levelled too.
至一宅，乃廷尉永言姚公居也，從其後門直入，屋宇深邃，處處皆有積尸，予意此間是我死所矣； We arrived at a house, and it was the official residence of the Commandant of Justice Yao Yongyan; we went straight in through the back door, and in the spacious rooms, everywhere there were piled up bodies; I thought that room would be the place of my death;
乃逶迤達前戶，出街復至一宅，為西商喬承望之室，即三卒巢穴也。 Then we wound our way through to the front door, out onto the street and into another house, which was the home of the merchant from the west Qiao Chengwang; it was the lair of the three soldiers.
入門，已有一卒拘數美婦在內簡檢筐篚彩緞如山，見三卒至，大笑，即驅予輩數十人至後廳，留諸婦女置旁室； We went through the door, and there was already a soldier who had captured several beautiful women and was rooting through the baskets and chests, making a mountain of brightly coloured satin; when he saw the other three soldiers arrived he laughed loudly, and then drove us several dozen people into the rear hall, leaving all the women in a room to the side;
中列二方幾，三衣匠一中年婦人製衣； in there were two square tables and three dressmakers, of which one was a middle-aged woman making clothes;
婦揚人，濃抹麗妝，鮮衣華飾，指揮言笑。 this woman was from Yangzhou, with thick make-up and gaudily dressed and ornamented; she spoke, laughed and gestured.
欣然有得色，每遇好物，即向卒乞取，曲盡媚態，不以為恥； She was happy and pleased with herself, and whenever the soldiers came across a fine item, she would immediately beg them for it, using to the utmost a charming attitude, without any shame;
予恨不能奪卒之刀，斷此淫孽。 I was desperate to grab one of the soldier's blades and sever this wanton good-for-nothing.
卒嘗謂人曰：“我輩徵高麗，擄婦女數万人，無一失節者，何堂堂中國，無恥至此？” One of the soldiers at one point remarked on her saying: "We campaigned in Korea and captured tens of thousands of women, but not one of them lost her chastity; how is it that the magnificent China is without any sense of shame?"
嗚呼，此中國之所以亂也。 Alas, this is why China has been thrown into disorder.
Series: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 1
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 2
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 3
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 4
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 5
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 6 (this article)
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 7
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 8
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 9
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 10
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 11
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 12
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 13
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 14
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 15
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 16
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 17
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 18
- 揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 19