The eunuchs persuaded the ladies to retire.
But in the night Empress He summoned her
brother into the Palace and told him what had occurred.
He went out and took counsel with the principal officers of state.
Next morning a court was held and a memorial was presented, saying:
“Empress Dong, being the foster mother of Liu Xian,
Prince of Chenliu, a regional prince—only a collateral—cannot properly
occupy any part of the Palace. She is to be removed into her
riginal fief of Hejian and is to depart immediately.”
And while they sent an escort to remove Empress Dong,
a strong guard was placed about the Imperial Uncle Dong Chong’s
dwelling. They took away his seal of office and he, knowing this
was the end, killed himself in his private apartments. His dependents,
who wailed his death, were driven off by the guards.
The eunuchs Zhang Rang and Duan Gui, having lost their patroness,
sent large gifts to He Jin’s younger brother, He Miao, and his mother,
Lady Wuyang, and thus got them to put in a good word to
Empress He so as to gain her protection.
And so they gained favor once more at court.
In the sixth month of that year, the secret emissaries of He Jin
poisoned Empress Dong in her residence in the country.
Her remains were brought to the capital and buried in Wen Tombs*.
He Jin feigned illness and did not attend the funeral.
Commander Yuan Shao went one day to see He Jin, saying, “
The two eunuchs, Zhang Rang and Duan Gui, are spreading the
report outside that you has caused the death of the late empress and
is aiming at the throne. This is an excuse for you to destroy them.
Do not spare them this time, or you will pay like Dou Wu and Chen Fan,
who in the previous reign missed their chance because the secret had not
been kept, and they paid by their own deaths. Now you and
your brother have many commanders and officers behind,
so that the destruction of the eunuchs can be but an ease.
It is a heaven-sent opportunity. Delay no further!”