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揚州十日記 translation: Diary of the Ten Days of Yangzhou, Part 9

This is Part 9 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 8 · Part 9 · Part 10 →

宅門閉不敢遽叩,俄聞婦人聲,知為吾嫂,始輕擊,應門者即予婦也。 The door to the house was closed and I didn't dare to knock at first, then suddenly I heard a woman's voice and knew that it was my sister-in-law's, and only then did I knock lightly; the person who answered the door was my wife.

伯兄已先返,吾婦子俱在,予與伯兄哭,然猶未敢遽告仲兄季弟之被殺也。 My second elder brother had returned earlier, and my wife and son were both there; I sobbed with my second elder brother; but I still did not dare to tell my second elder brother too hurriedly about our other two brothers being killed.

嫂詢予,予依違答之。 My sister-in-law asked me, but I did not tell her about it.

予詢婦何以得免? I asked my wife how she had escaped.

婦曰:“方卒之追逐也,子先奔,眾人繼之,獨遺我,我抱彭兒投屋下不得死,吾妹踢傷足亦臥焉。 She said: "When the soldier chased us and you fled, the group followed after, leaving my behind alone; I held our son Peng and jumped from the roof but did not die; my younger sister tripped and injured her foot and also lay there.

卒持我二人至一室,屋中男婦幾十人皆魚貫而縛之。 A soldier came and took the two of us into a room; in the room there were several dozen men and women, all bound up like fish on a string.

卒因囑我於諸婦曰: The soldier instructed me and the other women, saying:

'看守之,無使逸去。' 'Keep an eye on these - do not let them escape.'

卒持刀出,又一卒入,劫吾妹去; The soldier took his blade and left, and another soldier came in, seized my sister and left;

久之,不見前卒至,遂紿諸婦得出。 For a long time I didn't see any soldiers arriving, so I deceived the other women and got away.

出即遇洪嫗,相攜至故處,故幸免。” When I got out I ran into Old Mrs Hong, and we helped each other back to our former place, thus luckily escaping."

洪嫗者仲兄內親也。 Old Mrs Hong was a relative of my second elder brother's wife.

婦詢予,告以故,唏噓良久。 My wife asked me and I told her what happened, and we sobbed for a long time.

洪嫗攜宿飯相勸。 Old Mrs Hong brought rice to our home and urged us to eat some.

哽咽不可下。 Choking with sobs, we couldn't get it down.

外复四面火起,倍於昨夕,予不自安,潛出戶外,田中橫屍交砌,喘息猶存; Outside there were again fires in all directions, many more than the previous night; I could not stay calm, and hid outdoors, flat in the grass like a corpse, gasping for breath and still alive;

遙見何家墳中,樹木陰森,哭音成籟,或父呼子,或夫覓妻,呱呱之聲,草畔溪間,比比皆是,慘不忍聞。 in the distance I could hear from the He family graveyard, in the gloom amongst the trees, the sound of crying or a father calling for his son, or a husband looking for his wife - a crying sound, on the grassy banks of the creek, it could be heard everywhere, too horrible to describe.

回至兄宅,婦謂予曰: I went back to my elder brother's house, and my wife said to me:

“今日之事,惟有一死,請先子一死,以絕子累; "What happens today, there is only death, I only ask to die before you, so that you are not wearied;

彭兒在,子好為之!” our son Peng is here, you must be good to him!"

予知婦之果於死也,因與語竟夜,不得間,東方白矣。 I knew that my wife was fated to die, because on the night of her saying that, *[????]*.

← Part 8 · Part 9 · Part 10 →

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
  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 (this article)
  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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