As the dust settled there were a few Chinese and Manchu officials who found themselves unexpectedly popular, considering that the colleagues who had shared their anti-Boxer views were long since dead. The tables were turned now and pro-Boxers were losing their heads at such a rate that it seemed as if there would not be enough officials to do the work, but Tzu-hsi knew she could depend, even at long distance, on at least three men: Yuan Shih-k'ai, Jung-lu, and Li Hung-chang. Yuan, supple as ever, had managed to sidestep the issue, and though he never approved of the siege or the murders he avoided saying so. Jung-lu had spoken his mind, but he had a favored position and there was never a chance that he would put himself in danger. The surprising one was old Li Hung-chang, who did not scruple to scold the Empress quite rudely before she was forced to run for her life. She had just appointed him Viceroy of Chihli, the same post he had held with honor and success for years, until the Korea affair brought him down in disgrace. This appointment, made in haste because Tzu-hsi needed him once more, was accompanied by one of her peremptory commands to come to Peking forthwith. Li had gone as far as Shanghai before sending a blunt message which read in part,
"I am sincerely grateful for Your Majesty's gratifying confidence in me, but cannot help recalling to mind the folly which has now suddenly destroyed that structure of reformed administration which, during my twenty years' term of office as Viceroy of Chihli, I was able to build up not unsuccessfully. I fear it will not be possible for me to resume the duties of this difficult post at a time of crisis like the present. . . ."
Again Tzu-hsi commanded him to come to Peking. Li would not. He gave an interview to the London Times correspondent in Shang