Page:My life in China and America.djvu/153

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In 1863, I was apparently prospering in my business, when, to my great surprise, an unexpected letter from the city of Ngan Khing, capital of An Whui province, was received. The writer was an old friend whose acquaintance I had made in Shanghai in 1857. He was a native of Ningpo, and was in charge of the first Chinese gunboat owned by the local Shanghai guild. He had apparently risen in official rank and had become one of Tsang Kwoh Fan's secretaries. His name was Chang Shi Kwei. In this letter, Chang said he was authorized by Viceroy Tsang Kwoh Fan to invite me to come down to Ngan Khing to call, as he (the Viceroy) had heard of me and wished very much to see me. On the receipt of the letter I was in a quandary and asked myself many questions: What could such a distinguished man want of me? Had he got wind of my late visit to Nanking and of my late enterprise to the district of Taiping for the green tea that was held there by the rebels?