Page:My life in China and America.djvu/156

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As an answer to these letters, I wrote saying that in a couple of months I should be more at liberty to take the journey. But my second reply did not seem to satisfy the strong desire on the part of Tsang Kwoh Fan to see me. So in July, 1863, I received a third letter from Chang and a second one from Li. In these letters the object of the viceroy was clearly and frankly stated. He wanted me to give up my mercantile business altogether and identify myself under him in the service of the state government, and asked whether or not I could come down to Ngan Khing at once. In view of this unexpected offer, which demanded prompt and explicit decision, I was not slow to see what possibility there was of carrying out my educational scheme, having such a powerful man as Tsang Kwoh Fan to back it. I immediately replied that upon learning the wishes of His Excellency, I had taken the whole situation into consideration, and had concluded to go to his headquarters at Ngan Khing, just as soon as I had wound up my business, which would take me a complete month, and that I would start by August at the latest. Thus ended the correspondence which was really the initiatory step of my official career.

Tsang Kwoh Fan was a most remarkable