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I Obtain an Edict

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I OBTAIN AN EDICT When I had been some weeks in Peking I heard from my friend at Jehol that the authorities had been told I was coming there to make maps and plans, and that I was not to be allowed within the Imperial Palace. This was proof the Chinese Officials did not understand what I wished to do, and I determined to try again. I went to the Legation and explained my theory to one of the taries, asking him if he could introduce me to a Chinese Official who might understand my work and be able to get it seen by members of the Grand Council, ing to them what I wished for, and to ask permission to paint at the Summer Palace. This programme was carried out with entire success. I was introduced to H.E. Lew Yuk Lin, a most enlightened gentleman, who has travelled much in Western countries and is a collector of objects of art. He was kind enough to interest himself at once in my work, and promised that he would endeavour to show specimens of it to the Grand Council at the same time he did not give me much hope. I was asked, " Supposing permission were granted, would I present the Empress Dowager with a picture ? " I acquiesced. I knew I was asking for such a privilege as had never before been granted ; and, for that very reason, I was more than ever determined to obtain it. After a few days my pictures were returned to the Legation, with the information that the Grand Council had seen and were much pleased with them— nothing more.

Just at this time a small exhibition of the works of various amateur artists of Peking was arranged at the Legation. With these were e ..;:**ted some of my pic tures, and I was surprised to d the interest taken, not only by the foreigners, but by the Chinese, many of whom visited the exhibition. I think all this helped to show the Chinese Officials my object, and I began to have hope of achieving my desire. Our Minister now informed me that H.E. Yuan Shi Ki had promised that he would approach the Empress Dowager on my behalf. The permit must come direct from her — no other could grant such a privilege ; and it was suggested to me that a request put forward empty handed was not so easy as when the hand was full. I said, as I had agreed to give a picture if permission were given to me, I might as well give it now ; and so, out of many one was chosen and sent to the Wai-wu-pu for the Empress Dowager.

Late one night I returned to my room to find a short note from Mr. Lew Yuk Lin, informing me privately that the Empress Dowager had that morning issued an edict allowing me access to the Summer [Extract from the Pekin Daily News (Pei Chung zih pao), issued on the 6th day of the roth moon in the 34th year of the reign of Kuang Hsii (3oth October 1908).] Permission by Imperial Edict given to a British painter to sketch in the I Ho Yuan (the Summer Palace).

Some days ago the British Minister informed the Wai-wu-pu (Chinese Foreign Office) in an official despatch that a painter of his own nationality named Li Te-erh (Liddell) wished to enter the Summer Palace to sketch the build ings and scenery, and that several days would be required to enable him to do as he wished. We now learn that the Foreign Office approached the Throne on the matter, and that they are in receipt of an Imperial Edict, in virtue of which permission is granted for him to enter the Summer Palace on the 5th day of the loth moon (29th October), and to live in the buildings of the Chinese Foreign Office there where he will be entertained.

Palace ; and in due course the same information was conveyed to me through our Legation. I was greatly pleased to attain the one thing I wanted above all others in China, and immediately arranged to make the most of it. I was uncertain where I could stay, as, through some misunderstanding, no intimation was conveyed to me of the full wording of the edict ; and I arranged to ride out to one of the villages near the palace to try to find quarters. I went to what I was told was the best inn in the village ; and, though I was determined to put up with anything so as to work at the palace, the quarters offered me were not inviting ; the rooms were not over clean, the floors stone, and as the cold weather was approaching this was a consideration. The courtyard seemed overflowing with noisy people, and, as I retraced my way to Peking, I was not very sanguine. But I hurried on to finish what work I had in hand, and get all ready for the day I had appointed to go to the palace.