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Lloyd Lofthouse

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Our Hart, Episode 26
By Lloyd Lofthouse
Posted: Monday, December 14, 2009
Last edited: Tuesday, March 02, 2010
This short story is rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent stories by Lloyd Lofthouse
· Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, Scene 13
· Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, Scene 12
· Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, Scene 11
· Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, Scene 10
· Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, Scene 9
· Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, Scene 8
· Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, Scene 7
           >> View all 97
Robert Hart arrived in China in 1854. By the time he left in 1908, he was the most powerful Westerner in China's history and the only foreigner the Emperor of China trusted. His love and dedication to China was born from the love for one woman—a love story Robert wanted to hide from the world. I spent a decade exploring China and Hart's life to discover this story.

_________________________

For the next few months, Robert tried not to think about Ayaou. He buried himself with work. He wanted desperately to help stabilize the situation with the Chinese government, so he could be with Ayaou again. He glued himself to Parkes. They went everywhere together as battles raged in and around Canton.

The world turned to black and white with occasional violent flashes from the British and French cannons and rebel rockets. Without Ayaou, there was no color in his life. Even the food lost flavor. He couldn’t tell the difference between a sip of water and sweet plum pudding.
 
He thought about Payne Hollister often. Determined to deal with him, he contacted people in Hong Kong. They found an address. He wrote a letter.
 
“Hollister, I read your lies. I find it amazing that you still hold a grudge after all these years.
“Yes, I admit that something happened with Me-ta-tae. Something I regret. It happened once and was over in moments.
“If forcible intercourse with Shao-mei wasn’t enough to satisfy your anger and you still want revenge, I’m willing to offer you satisfaction. Your choice, swords or pistols? Be a man. Name the time and place. I will be there.”
 
To prepare himself, he improved his sword skills by practicing with a British major. They worked for hours most evenings until Robert was drenched with sweat. He didn’t worry about his skill with a pistol. He’d always been a good shot. Even as a child, he’d been a better shot than his father had.
 
His motivation ran deeper than he wanted to admit. Every time he practiced, he imagined what it would feel like to kill Hollister and make him suffer. He wanted revenge for what Hollister had done to Shao-mei.
 
*    *    *
 
Weeks went by and there was no reply from Hollister. Robert had no way to know if the letter had reached him. One good thing came of it—writing that letter and sending it put the episode concerning Me-ta-tae behind him.
 
Confronting his guilt regarding the seduction of Me-at-tae and his willingness to risk death to atone for it helped him shed that sin.
 
He continued to practice with the sword. After all, Hollister might appear any day.
 
*    *    *
 
A court-martial commenced for three Royal marines. Robert acted as the interpreter for the Chinese witnesses. Seventeen charges had been brought against these men—charges for assault, attempted rape, robbery and murder. During their questioning, it became apparent that they believed they could do anything they wanted to the locals.
 
The affair disgusted him, but he kept his opinions to himself since most British and French didn’t feel the way he did.
 
Their punishment was light compared to the crimes they had committed. Their victims could have included Ayaou or Guan-jiah. Those soldiers should have been shot. Instead, they were reduced in rank, spent thirty days in the stockade and sent back to duty. The message said a Chinese life was worthless.
 

Web Site: Our Hart, Elegy for a Concubine  

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Reviewed by Gene Williamson 12/16/2009
Lloyd, I look forward to the swordplay if it occurs. -gene.
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 12/14/2009
Excellent addition to this series, Lloyd; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D


Books by
Lloyd Lofthouse



Running with the Enemy

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Crazy is Normal a classroom exposé

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My Splendid Concubine, 3rd edition

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