The Boxer Rebellion: The Dramatic Story of China's War on Foreigners That Shook the World in the Summer of 1900

By Diana Preston | Go to book overview

12
The Half-Armistice

No sensation is lacking among us. -- Luella Miner

THE truce of 17 July seemed a little surreal to the besieged of the Peking Legations, who felt as if they had been plunged into "a state of amazed suspense." The sudden silence was disconcerting rather than comforting, so that some found it difficult to sleep. The Chinese began replacing their brilliant-colored war banners with white flags, and hundreds of heads could be seen cautiously peeping over the barricades. Then they began to climb up on to their barricades, waving white cloths and shouting. Warily, the defenders scrambled onto their own fortifications and gazed at the desolate landscape around them. The ground beyond the defensive perimeter was littered with human bones -- all that remained of corpses devoured by gaunt wolflike pariah dogs. Once familiar buildings had been reduced to heaps of rubble and ashes.

As their confidence grew, the Chinese soldiers began to surge toward the defenders' positions and there was some bizarre fraternization. At one of the French barricades, the ever-hospitable hotelier Monsieur Chamot found himself offering cups of tea to yesterday's attackers. One of Sir Robert Hart's former bandsmen appeared with his ear partially severed. In some embarrassment he explained that he was now a regimental bugler in the Imperial army and that his officer had struck him with his sword "because he did not blow his horn loud enough to suit him." He had come

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The Boxer Rebellion: The Dramatic Story of China's War on Foreigners That Shook the World in the Summer of 1900
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue ix
  • Part I - The Poison in the Well 1
  • 1 - Thousand Deaths 3
  • 2 - Boxer and Devils 22
  • 3 - The Approaching Hour 33
  • 4 - Rats in a Trap 51
  • 5 - Sha! Sha! 66
  • Part II - Death and Destruction to the Foreigner! 87
  • 6 - A Failed Rescue 89
  • 7 - City of Mud and Fire 105
  • 8 - Behind the Tartar Wall 124
  • 9 - The Drifting Horror 146
  • 10 - The Darkest Night 165
  • Part III - War and Watermelons 175
  • 11 - A Truce and a Triumph 177
  • 12 - The Half-Armistice 190
  • 13 - Horsemeat and Hope 213
  • 14 - In Through the Sluice Gate 233
  • Part IV - Murder, Rape, and Exile 251
  • 15 - Tour of Inspection 253
  • 16 - The Osland of the Peitang 262
  • 17 - Tke Faith and Fate of the Missionaries 275
  • 18 - The Spoils of Peking 283
  • Part V - Another Country 297
  • 19 - The Treaty 299
  • 20 - The Court Returns 312
  • 21 - . . and the Foreigner Departs 320
  • 22 - The Boxer Legacy 335
  • Epilogue 353
  • Acknowledgments 361
  • Notes and Sources 363
  • Bibliography 402
  • Art Credits 409
  • Index 410
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