Chinese looters--Soldiers and Boxers in disguise--Disgusting greed--Buddhist priests--In official palaces--Digging for treasure--The less daring Chinamen--Flags of truce--Appealing inscriptions--A prevailing impression.
TAKING things all round, there is no doubt that those who mostly benefited by the looting of Tientsin were the Chinese themselves. There were crowds of them outside every house where looting went on, and they sneaked in and out, carrying away valuable things. They had the advantage of knowing where to find them. Even Boxers and Imperial soldiers had hastily thrown off their uniform coats, and returned to the city disguised as coolies or peaceful citizens. Their greed was disgusting, and among themselves they acted like wild beasts. When one of them came out of a house with some loot, they sprang on him en masse, overcame him, knocked him down, and his loot was divided among the bystanders, who in their turn were attacked by others behind, until in the mêlée many were injured, and the smarter ones got away with the goods. The Chinese whom one saw in Tientsin soon after its fall were ruffians of the very first water. Their faces alone were a sufficient certificate. What ghastly, murderous expressions were concealed under the servile, submissive manner towards every European that went by!