Among the natives of this district bamboo fences and wooden partitions were in general use,
and these too proved a source of calamity so ordained by fate (to consummate this decree).
With promptness (the fire) extended to two buildings, then enveloped three, then dragged four (into ruin),
and then spread to five houses, until the whole street was in a blaze, resembling the flames of a volcano.
Though both the military and the people at once ran to the rescue, the fire had already assumed a serious hold,
so that it was impossible for them to afford any effective assistance for its suppression.
It blazed away straight through the night, before it was extinguished, and consumed, there is in fact no saying how many dwelling houses.
Anyhow, pitiful to relate, the Chen house, situated as it was next door to the temple, was, at an early part of the evening,
reduced to a heap of tiles and bricks; and nothing but the lives of that couple and several inmates of the family did not sustain any injuries.
Shih-yin was in despair, but all he could do was to stamp his feet and heave deep sighs. After consulting with his wife,
they betook themselves to a farm of theirs, where they took up their quarters temporarily. But as it happened that water had of late years been scarce,
and no crops been reaped, robbers and thieves had sprung up like bees, and though the Government troops were bent upon their capture,
it was anyhow difficult to settle down
quietly on the farm. He therefore had no other resource than to convert, at a loss,
the whole of his property into money,
and to take his wife and two servant girls and come over for shelter to the house of his father-in-law.