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through life. That is my doctrine, and I am no other
than the great Maou-en-show. By a hundred arts of
specious flattery and address, I have deceived the
emperor until he trusts to me alone; he listens to all
my words: he follows all my counsel. Who is there,
within the precincts of the palace, who bows not before
me, who does not tremble at my approach? And how
have I managed it all? By persuading him to keep
aloof from his wise counsellors, to follow only my
advice, and to seek all his pleasure among women.
Thus have I reached this pitch of power and greatness.
But there he comes.

The Emperor enters, and discourses at
tedious length about the grandeur of his
empire; of the four hundred districts of the
world which are possessed by his invincible
race; the peace and prosperity prevailing
everywhere; the happiness which all but
himself enjoy. Alas, the apartments which
should be occupied by a beloved princess are
solitary and untenanted. How can this be
endured? After discussing the subject, he
settles with the minister that the empire
shall be explored, and portraits brought to
him of all the loveliest damsels in the land
who are between the ages of fifteen and
twenty; that he may choose one for his wife.
The minister is himself appointed to perform
this duty.

In the second act, Maou-en-show gives us
some more of his reflections:

Grasp all you can, and keep it. That is my motto.
Why should I heed the seas of blood which flow from
violating the laws? During life, I am resolved to have
as much wealth as I can get. What need I care if men
send curses after me in death?

He has returned from his errand; having
scoured all the country round, and collected
ninety-nine portraits. The originals of these
are all assembled at one end of the palace;
there to abide the emperor's selection. But
where is the hundredth charmer; "the
brightness of whose charms is piercing as an
arrow?" She is of very poor familyso poor
that her parents were unable to give the
minister the required bribe of a hundred
ounces of gold; and even had relied so much
upon their daughter's beauty, that they
refused to pay him any premium at all, for
praising her. Angry at this, the statesman
first keeps the young lady's portrait-book;
then disfigures it, in order that it may not
meet with the emperor's approval.

He so far succeeds that the emperor is
dissatisfied with all the pictures, and does
not think it worth his while to see any of the
ladies. Disconsolate, he roams about the
palace, and so chances to pass near the
room full of collected maidens. At this time
Chaou-keun, the lady against whose success
treason has been plotted, happens to be
singing and playing upon the lute to these
sentiments:

Ah, wherefore have they brought me here
To sit and weep alone,—
Never my monarch's voice to hear,
Never approach his throne?
Yon lovely moon, those stars so bright,
Afford me no relief:
For I must pass the livelong night
In solitude and grief.
Ah, wherefore have they brought me here,
And left me lone and mute,
No friend my heart to cheer,
No solace but my lute?

The Emperor, hearing the music, sends a
messenger, and has her brought before him.
He finds her to be "a perfect beauty." But,
while he rejoices at the discovery, his anger
is aroused at the treachery which has been
practised upon him by Maou-en-show, and
which is now disclosed. He orders the base
minister to be executed, and makes the maid
his wife.

But Maou-en-show manages to escape; and,
in the third act, we see him presenting himself
before the Tartar Khan. The Khan is angry
because his envoy has returned from the
Emperor without a princess for him to marry;
both kings having been, it appears, of the
same mind at the same time. His wrath is
increased by the minister, who arrives
bearing with him a correct likeness of Chaou-
keun.

KHAN. Who and what are you?

MAOU-EN-SHOW. I am the minister of Hán. In the
palace of the emperor is a lady of rare and surpassing
charms. When your envoy, O, most mighty king!
came to demand a princess, this lady would have
answered your summons, but the emperor could not
bring himself to part with her, and refused to give her
up. Again and again I urged and expostulated,
imploring him not, for the sake of a woman's beauty,
to implicate the affairs of two mighty nations. But he
only grew angry with me for my importunity, and
commanded me to be beheaded. Whereupon I
escaped with her portrait, which I present, O great
king! to you. Should you send away an envoy with
the picture to demand her, there is no doubt that she
would be delivered up. Here is the portrait.

KHAN. O, how could so beautiful a female have
appeared in the world? If I can only obtain her, my
highest wishes are surpassed. Immediately a letter
shall be written, demanding her in marriage as the
only condition of peace.

The scene changes to the Chinese Court.
The princess is arranging her toilette, when,
the Emperor enters; having returned from
the hall of audience. Seeing her standing
before a round brass mirror, he remarks:
"Reflected in that round mirror she resembles
the lady of the moon!" But the tender
meeting is rudely interrupted by the entrance
of the President of the Council, who comes
to inform his master that Han-chan-yu, the
Khan, and leader of the northern foreigners,
has sent an envoy to demand Chaou-keun.
If refused he will invade the south with a
mighty army, and all the districts will be
exposed to great rapine. The Emperor
asks, not unreasonably, what is the use of
his vast armies and numerous officers, if
they cannot resist the barbarian's insolent
demand? It would seem, he adds, that for
the future, instead of men for ministers,

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