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having my name carved with the title of “E,”

which means “Righteousness,” and designates the fourth official rank under that of a prince, which is the first. My title was written out on a piece of yellow satin stamped with the official seal of the Kan Wong. I was placed in a quandary and was at a loss to know its purport, — whether it was intended to detain me in Nanking for good or to commit me irretrievably to the Taiping cause, nolens volens. At all events, I had not been consulted in the matter and Kan Wong had evidently acted on his own responsibility and taken it for granted that by conferring on me such a high rank as the fourth in the official scale of the Taipings, I might be induced to accept and thus identify myself with the Taiping cause — of the final success of which I had strong doubts, judging from the conduct, character and policy of the leading men connected with it. I talked the matter over with my associates, and came to the decision that I must forthwith return the seal and decline the tempting bauble. I went in person to thank Kan Wong for this distinguished mark of his high consideration, and told him that at any time