Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: James Gilmour of Mongolia - His diaries, letters, and reports
Author: Gilmour, James, 1843-1891
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "James Gilmour of Mongolia - His diaries, letters, and reports" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



project.)



Transcriber's Note:

Minor spelling and typographical errors have been corrected without
note. Some illustrations have been slightly relocated for better flow.
In some of the Chinese or Mongolian names, the character 'u' with a
breve appears frequently. This appears in the text as [)u].


[Illustration]



JAMES GILMOUR OF MONGOLIA

HIS DIARIES LETTERS AND REPORTS


EDITED AND ARRANGED BY
RICHARD LOVETT, M.A.
AUTHOR OF 'NORWEGIAN PICTURES' ETC

WITH A PORTRAIT, TWO MAPS AND
FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS

THIRD AND CHEAPER EDITION

LONDON
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY
56 Paternoster Row, 65 St Paul's Churchyard
1895


  O Christ, in Thee my soul hath found,
    And found in Thee alone,
  The peace, the joy I sought so long,
    The bliss till now unknown.

  I sighed for rest and happiness,
    I yearned for them, not Thee;
  But while I passed my Saviour by,
    His love laid hold on me.

  Now none but Christ can satisfy,
    None other name for me;
  There's love, and life, and lasting joy,
    Lord Jesus, found in Thee.



PREFACE


This book in its more expensive forms has been before the public for
nearly two years. It has been very widely read, and it has received
extraordinary attention from many sections of the press. The author has
received from all parts of the world most striking testimonies as to the
way in which this record of James Gilmour's heroic self-sacrifice for
the Lord Jesus and on behalf of his beloved Mongols for the Master's
sake has touched the hearts of Christian workers. It has deepened their
faith, strengthened their zeal, nerved them for whole-hearted
consecration to the same Master, and cheered many a solitary and lonely
heart.

Many requests have been received for an edition at a price which will
place the book within the reach of Sunday School teachers, of those
Christian workers who have but little to spend upon books, and of the
elder scholars in our schools. The Committee of the Religious Tract
Society have gladly met this request at the earliest possible moment.

In this new form their hope and prayer is that James Gilmour, being
dead, may yet speak to many hearts, arousing them to diligent, and
faithful, and self-denying service for Jesus Christ.

The book, in this its newest form, is identical in all respects with the
first and second editions, except that only one portrait is given and
the appendices are left out.



CONTENTS

  CHAPTER                                                       PAGE

  I.    EARLY YEARS AND EDUCATION                                 15

  II.   BEGINNING WORK                                            46

  III.  MONGOLIAN APPRENTICESHIP                                  55

  IV.   THE FIRST CAMPAIGN IN MONGOLIA                            88

  V.    MARRIAGE                                                  98

  VI.   'IN JOURNEYINGS OFTEN, IN PERILS OF RIVERS'              105

  VII.  THE VISIT TO ENGLAND IN 1882                             134

  VIII. SUNSHINE AND SHADOW                                      154

  IX.   A CHANGE OF FIELD                                        176

  X.    PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS AS ILLUSTRATED BY
            LETTERS TO RELATIVES AND FRIENDS                     228

  XI.   CLOSING LABOURS                                          256

  XII.  THE LAST DAYS                                            298


  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

  PORTRAIT OF JAMES GILMOUR FROM A PHOTOGRAPH TAKEN
        AT TIENTSIN ON APRIL 1891                     _Frontispiece_

  A MONGOL ENCAMPMENT                                            109

  A MONGOL CAMEL CART                                            139

  A CHINESE MULE LITTER                                          156

  JAMES GILMOUR EQUIPPED FOR HIS WALKING EXPEDITION
        IN MONGOLIA IN FEBRUARY 1884                             159

  JAMES GILMOUR'S TENT                                           245


  MAPS

  1. MAP ILLUSTRATING JAMES GILMOUR'S JOURNEYS ON THE
        GREAT PLAIN OF MONGOLIA                                   54

  2. MAP ILLUSTRATING JAMES GILMOUR'S LABOURS IN EASTERN
        MONGOLIA                                                 179

     For readers of _James Gilmour of Mongolia_ not familiar with _Among
     the Mongols_, a new Edition of that Work has been prepared and
     published, price Two Shillings and Sixpence.



JAMES GILMOUR OF MONGOLIA



CHAPTER I

EARLY YEARS AND EDUCATION


James Gilmour, of Mongolia, the son of James Gilmour and Elizabeth
Pettigrew his wife, was born at Cathkin on Monday, June 12, 1843. He was
the third in a family of six sons, all but one of whom grew up to
manhood. His father was in very comfortable circumstances, and
consequently James Gilmour never had the struggle with poverty through
which so many of his great countrymen have had to pass. Cathkin, an
estate of half a dozen farms in the parish of Carmunnock, is only five
miles from Glasgow, and was owned by Humphrey Ewing Maclae, a retired
India merchant, who resided in the substantial mansion-house on the
estate. There were also the houses of a few residents, and a smithy and
wright's workshops, for the convenience of the surrounding district.
James Gilmour's father was the occupant of the wright's shop, as his
father had been before him.

His brother John, one of three who have survived him, has furnished the
following interesting sketch of the family life in which James Gilmour
was trained, and to which he owed so much of the charm and power which
he manifested in later years:--

'Our grandfather, Matthew Gilmour, combined the trades of mason and
wright, working himself at both as occasion required; and our father,
James Gilmour, continued the combination in his time in a modified
degree, gradually discarding the mason trade and developing the
wright's. Grandmother (father's mother) was a woman of authority, skill,
and practical usefulness among the little community in which she
resided. In cases requiring medical treatment, she was always in
request; and in order to obtain the lymph pure for the vaccination of
children she would take it herself direct from the cow. She was also a
neat and skilful needlewoman.

'Matthew Gilmour and his wife were people of strict integrity and
Christian living. They walked regularly every Sunday the five miles to
the Congregational Church in Glasgow, though there were several places
of worship within two miles of their residence. I have often heard the
old residents of the steep and rough country road they used to take for
a short cut when nearing home tell how impressed they have been by the
sight of the worthy couple and their family wending their way along in
the dark winter Sabbath evenings by the light of a hand-lantern. Our
parents continued the connection with the same body of worshippers in
Glasgow as long as they resided in Cathkin, being members of Dr. Ralph
Wardlaw's church. It was under his earnest eloquence, and by his wise
pastoral care, we were trained.

'The distance of our home from the place of worship did not admit of our
attending as children any other than the regular Sabbath services; but
we were not neglected in this respect at home, so far as it lay in our
parents' ability to help us. We regularly gathered around our mother's
knee, reading the impressive little stories found in such illustrated
booklets as the _Teacher's Offering_, the _Child's Companion_, the
_Children's Missionary Record_ (Church of Scotland), the _Tract
Magazine_, and Watts' _Divine Songs for Children_. These readings were
always accompanied with touching serious comments on them by mother,
which tended very considerably to impress the lessons contained in them
on our young hearts. I remember how she used to add: "Wouldn't it be
fine if some of you, when you grow up, should be able to write such nice
little stories as these for children, and do some good in the world in
that way!" I have always had an idea that James' love of contributing
short articles from China and Mongolia to the children's missionary
magazines at home was due to these early impressions instilled into his
mind by his mother. Father, too, on Sabbath evenings, generally placed
the "big" Bible (Scott and Henry's) on the table, and read aloud the
comments therein upon some portion of Scripture for our edification and
entertainment. During the winter week-nights some part of the evening
was often spent in reading aloud popular books then current, such as
_Uncle Tom's Cabin_.

'Family worship, morning and evening, was also a most regular and sacred
observance in our house, and consisted of first, asking a blessing;
second, singing twelve lines of a psalm or paraphrase, or a hymn from
Wardlaw's Hymn-book; third, reading a chapter from the Old Testament in
the mornings, and from the New in the evenings; and fourth, prayer. The
chapters read were taken day by day in succession, and at the evening
worship we read two verses each all round. This proved rather a trying
ordeal for some of the apprentices, one or more of whom we usually had
boarding with us, or to a new servant-girl, as their education in many
cases had not been of too liberal a description. But they soon got more
proficient, and if it led them to nothing higher, it was a good
educational help. These devotional exercises were not common in the
district in the mornings, and were apt to be broken in upon by callers
at the wright's shop; but that was never entertained as an excuse for
curtailing them. I suppose people in the district got to know of the
custom, and avoided making their calls at a time when they would have to
wait some little while for attention. Our parents, however, never
allowed this practice or their religious inclinations to obtrude on
their neighbours; all was done most unassumingly and humbly, as a matter
of everyday course.

'Our maternal grandfather, John Pettigrew by name, was a farmer and
meal-miller on the estate of Cathkin, and was considered a man of
sterling worth and integrity. Having had occasion to send his minister,
the parson of Carmunnock parish, some bags of oatmeal from his mill, the
minister suspected from some cause or other that he had got short weight
or measure. The worthy miller was rather nettled at being thus impeached
by his spiritual overseer, and that same night proceeded to the manse
with the necessary articles required for determining the accuracy of the
minister's suspicions. When this was done, it was found there remained
something to the good, instead of a deficiency; this the miller swung
over his shoulder in a bag and took back with him to the mill, as a
lesson to the crestfallen divine to be more careful in future about
challenging the integrity of his humble parishioner's transactions.

'While James was quite a child the family removed to Glasgow, where our
father entered into partnership with his brother Alexander as timber
merchants. During this stay in Glasgow mother's health proved very
unsatisfactory, and latterly both she and father having been prostrated
and brought to death's door by a malignant fever, it was decided to
relinquish the partnership and return to their former place in the
country. James was five years old at that time. When he was between
seven and eight he was sent with his older brothers to the new
Subscription School in Bushyhill, Cambuslang, a distance of two miles.
Here he remained till he was about twelve, when he and I were sent to
Gorbals Youths' School in Greenside Street, Glasgow. We had thus five
miles to go morning and evening, but we had season-tickets for the
railway part of the distance, viz. between Rutherglen and Glasgow.
Thomas Neil was master of this school. We were in the private room,
rather a privileged place, compared with the rest of the school, seeing
we received the personal attentions of Mr. Neil, and were almost free
from corporal punishment, which was not by any means the case in the
public rooms of the school--Mr. Neil being, I was going to say, a
_terror to evildoers_, but he was in fact a terror to all kinds of
doers, from the excitability of his temper and general sternness.

'Here James usually kept the first or second place in the class, which
was a large one; and if he happened to be turned to the bottom (an event
which occurred pretty often to all the members of the class with Mr.
Neil), he would determinedly endeavour to stifle a tearful little "cry,"
thus demonstrating the state of his feelings at being so abased. But he
never remained long at the bottom; like a cork sunk in water, he would
rise at the first opportunity to his natural level at the top of the
class. It was because of his diligence and success in his classes while
at this school, I suppose, more than from any definite idea of what
career he might follow in the future, that after leaving he was allowed
to prosecute his studies at the Glasgow High School, where he gained
many prizes, and fully justified his parents' decision of allowing him
to go on with his studies instead of taking him away to a trade. At home
he prosecuted his studies very untiringly both during session and
vacation.

'After entering the classes of the Glasgow University he studied in an
attic room, the window of which overlooked an extensive and beautiful
stretch of the Vale of Clyde. I remember feeling compassion for him
sometimes as he sat at this window, knowing what an act of self-denial
it must have been to one so boisterous and full of fun as he was to see
us, after our work was over of an evening, having a jolly game at
rounders, or something of that sort, while he had to sit poring over his
books.

'James was not a serious, melancholy student; he was indeed the very
opposite of that when his little intervals of recreation occurred.
During the day he would be out about the workshop and saw-mill, giving
each in turn a poking and joking at times very tormenting to the
recipients. If we had any little infirmity or weakness, he was sure to
enlarge upon it and make us try to amend it, assuming the _rôle_ and
aspect of a drill-sergeant for the time being. He used to have the
mid-finger of the right hand extended in such a way that he could nip
and slap you with it very painfully. He used this finger constantly to
pound and drill his comrades, all being done of course in the height of
glee, frolic, and good-humour. This finger, no doubt by the unlawful use
to which he put it, at one time developed a painful tumour, to the
delight of those who were in the habit of receiving punishment from it.
James pulled a long face, and acknowledged that it was a punishment sent
him for using the finger in so mischievous a manner.

'There was a pond or dam in connection with the sawmill. In this James
was wont to practise the art of swimming. I remember he devised a plan
of increasing his power of stroke in the water. He made four oval pieces
of wood rather larger than his hands and feet, tacking straps on one
side, so that his hands and feet would slip tightly into them. But my
recollection is that they were soon discarded as an unsuitable addition
to his natural resources. He was fond of hunting after geological
specimens, getting the local blacksmith to make him a pocket hammer to
take with him on his rambles for that purpose. He seldom cared for
company in these wanderings among the mountains, glens, and woods of his
native place and country. He would start early in the morning, and
accomplish feats of walking and climbing during the course of a day.
Indeed, none of his brothers ever thought of asking James to go with
them in their little holiday trips, knowing that anything not the
conception of his own fancy was but very rarely acceptable to him; and
he was never one who would pander to your gratification merely to please
you.

'James was fond of boating. Once he hired a small skiff near the
suspension-bridge at Glasgow Green, and proceeded with it up the river.
Having gone a good way up, the idea appears to have taken him to
endeavour to get the whole way to Hamilton, where, father having retired
from business in 1866, our parents were now residing. This proved to be
a very arduous task, as in a great many places on that part of the Clyde
there is not depth of water to carry a boat. He managed, however, to
accomplish the task by divesting himself of jacket, stockings, and
shoes, and pulling the boat over all such shallow and rocky places
(including the weir at Blantyre Mills, where the renowned African
missionary and explorer, Dr. Livingstone, worked in his boyhood), until
he reached the bridge on the river between Hamilton and Motherwell, a
distance of eleven miles or more from Glasgow in a straight line, and
much more following the numerous bends of the river. Here he made the
boat secure and proceeded home, a distance of a mile, very tired and
ravenously hungry. The great drawback to his satisfaction in this feat
was his fear of the displeasure the boat-owner might feel at his not
having returned the same night, and the rough usage to which he had
subjected the boat in hauling it over the rocky places. He was much
delighted, when he arrived with the boat down the river during the day,
to find that the man was rather pleased than otherwise at his plucky
exploit, telling him that he only remembered it being attempted once
before.

'During part of the time James attended college at Glasgow University,
the classes were at so early an hour that he could not take advantage of
the railway, and so had to walk in the whole way. This was an anxious
time for his mother, who was ever most particular in seeing to the
household duties herself, and always careful that her children should
have a substantial breakfast when they went from home. I remember some
of those winter mornings. Amidst the bustle of making and partaking of
an early breakfast so as to be on the road in time, mother would press
him to partake more liberally of something she had thoughtfully prepared
for him; he would ejaculate: "Can't take it--no time!" and if she still
insisted he would add in a solemn manner: "_Mother_, what if the door
should be shut when I get there?" which, being understood by her as a
scriptural quotation, was sufficient to quench her solicitations.

'To avoid the worry of getting up so early, it was decided after a time
that he should take advantage of an unlet three or four apartment house
in a tenement which belonged to father in Cumberland Street, Glasgow. So
a couple of chairs, table, bed, and some cooking-utensils were got
together, and James entered into possession, cooking his own breakfast,
and getting his other meals there or outside as his fancy or inclination
prompted. Here I think he enjoyed himself very much. He had plenty of
quiet time for study, and he could roam about the city and suburbs for
experience, recreation, and instruction, visiting mills and other large
manufacturing industries as he was inclined.

'After our parents had removed to Hamilton, James took lodgings in
George Street, a regular students' resort when the old college was in
the High Street. It is now removed to the magnificent pile of buildings
at Gilmorehill, in the western district of the city. The site of the old
one in the High Street which James attended is now occupied by the
North British and Glasgow and South-Western Railway Companies.'

James Gilmour left England to begin his Mongolian life-work in February
1870, and then commenced keeping a diary, from which we shall often
quote, and which he carefully continued amid, oftentimes, circumstances
of the greatest difficulty until his death. He gives the following
reasons for this practice at the time when he was living in a Mongol
tent learning the language, hundreds of miles away from his nearest
fellow-worker:--

     'I think it a special duty to my friends, specially my mother, to
     keep this diary, and to be particular in adding my state of mind in
     addition to my mere outward circumstances. In my present isolated
     position, which may be more isolated soon, any accident might
     happen at any moment, after which I could not send home a letter,
     and I think that by keeping my diary punctually and fully my
     friends might have the melancholy satisfaction of following me to
     the grave, as it were, through my writing.'

In the record of his first outward voyage he included a sketch of his
early life, which we briefly reproduce here, as the correlative and
complement of the picture outlined by his brother:--

     'The earliest that I can remember of my life is the portion that
     was spent in Glasgow, before I came with my parents out to the
     country. Of this time I have only a vague recollection. Then
     followed a number of years not very eventful beyond the general lot
     of the years of childhood. One circumstance of these years often
     comes up to my mind. One Sabbath all were at church except the
     servant, Aggie Leitch, and myself. She took down an old copy of
     Bunyan's _Pilgrim's Progress_, with rude plates, and by the help
     of the pictures was explaining the whole book to me. I had not
     heard any of it before, and was deeply interested. We had just got
     as far as the terrible doings of Giant Despair and the horrors of
     Doubting Castle, when all at once, without warning, there came a
     terrible knock at our front door. I really thought the giant was
     upon us. It was some wayfaring man asking the way or something, but
     the terror I felt has made an indelible impression on me.

     'When of the approved age I went to school, wondering whether I
     should ever be able to learn and do as others did. I was very
     nervous and much afraid, and wrought so hard and was so ably
     superintended by my mother that I made rapid progress, and was put
     from one class to another with delightful rapidity. I was
     dreadfully jealous of any one who was a good scholar like myself,
     and to have any one above me in class annoyed me to such a degree
     that I could not play cheerfully with him.

     'The date of my going to college was, I think, the November of the
     year 1862, so that my first session at Glasgow University was
     1862-63. The classes I took were junior Latin and junior Greek. In
     Latin I got about the twelfth prize, and in Greek I think the
     third. The summer I spent partly in study, partly in helping my
     father in his trade of a wright and joiner.

     'During 1863 and 1864 I lived in Glasgow, and worked very hard,
     taking the first prize in middle Greek and a prize in senior Latin,
     as well as a prize for private work in Greek, and another for the
     same kind of work in Latin. This last I was specially proud of, as
     in it I beat the two best fellows in the Latin class. Next session
     (1864-65) I took a prize in senior Greek. I got nothing in the
     logic, but in moral philosophy in 1865 I was one of those who took
     an active part in the rebellion against Dr. Fleming, who, though he
     was entitled to the full retiring pension, preferred to remain on
     as professor, taking the fees and appointing a student to do the
     work. We made a stand against this, and were able to bring him out
     to his work; but it was too much for him, and he died in harness,
     as he had wished.

     'In English literature I made no appearance in the pieces noted by
     the students, but came out second in the competitive examination,
     which of course astonished a good deal some of the noisy men who
     had answered so much in the class and yet knew so little. I was
     really proud of this prize, as I was sure it was honestly won, and
     as I also felt that from my position in class I failed to get
     credit for anything like what I knew. This session I went in for
     the classical and philosophy parts of the degree, and got them. I
     enjoyed a happy week after it was known that I had passed; and the
     next thing I had to look forward to was going to the Theological
     Hall of the Congregational Church of Scotland, which met in
     Edinburgh in the beginning of May. The session at Edinburgh I
     enjoyed very much. I had not too much work, and used at odd times
     to take long walks and go long excursions. I was often on the
     heights, and about Leith and Portobello.'

The Rev. John Paterson of Airdrie, N.B., Gilmour's most intimate college
friend at Glasgow, thus records his recollections of what he was in
those days:--

     'I first made James Gilmour's acquaintance in the winter session of
     1864-5 at Glasgow University. He came to college with the
     reputation of being a good linguist. This reputation was soon
     confirmed by distinction in his classes, especially in Latin and
     Greek. Though his advantages had been superior to most of us, and
     his mental calibre was of a high order, he was always humble,
     utterly devoid of pride or vanity. No doubt he was firm as a rock
     on any question of conviction, but he was tender in the extreme,
     and full of sympathy with the struggling. He was such a strong man
     all round that he could afford to give every one justice, and such
     a gentleman that he could not but be considerate. One day a country
     student through sheer nervousness missed a class question in the
     Junior Humanity, though the answer was on his tongue: the answering
     of such a question would have brought any man to the front, and
     with a sad heart he told his experience to Gilmour, whose look of
     sympathy is remembered to this day. He always seemed anxious to be
     useful, and he succeeded. During our second session, a brother of
     mine married a cousin of his, and this union led to a closer
     intimacy between us, and in future sessions we lodged together.

     'Throughout his college career Gilmour was a very hard-working
     student; his patience, perseverance, and powers of application were
     marvellous; and yet, as a rule, he was bright and cheerful, able in
     a twinkling to throw off the cares of work, and enter with zest
     into the topics of the day. He had a keen appreciation of the
     humorous side of things, and his merry laugh did one good.
     Altogether he was a delightful companion, and was held in universal
     esteem. One of Gilmour's leading thoughts was unquestionably the
     unspeakable value of time, and this intensified with years. There
     was not a shred of indolence in his nature; it may be truthfully
     said that he never wilfully lost an hour. Even when the college
     work was uncongenial, he never scamped it, but mastered the
     subject. He could not brook the idea of skimming a subject merely
     to pass an examination, and there were few men of his time with
     such wide and accurate knowledge.

     'Unlike many of his fellows, he did not relax his energies in
     summer. During the recess he might have been seen wending his way
     from the old home at Cathkin to the college library, and returning
     laden with books. His superior scholarship secured for him
     excellent certificates and many prizes, both for summer and winter
     work, and it was noticeable that he shone most in written
     examinations. On one occasion, in the Moral Philosophy class, which
     then suffered from the failing health of the professor, the teacher
     _pro tem._ appended, as a criticism of an essay of Gilmour's on
     Utilitarianism, the words, "Wants thoroughness." This was a problem
     to the diligent student, who tackled his critic at the end of the
     hour, and apparently had the best of the argument; for he told me
     afterwards that he had puzzled the judge to explain his own
     verdict. There was a strong vein of combativeness in him; he liked
     to try his strength, both mentally and physically, with others; and
     it was no child's play to wrestle with him in either sense, though
     he never harboured ill-feeling. He had the advantage of being in
     easy circumstances, but was severely economical, wasting nothing.
     He had quite a horror of intoxicating drinks. On one occasion,
     perhaps for reasons of hospitality, some beer had found its way
     into our room: he quietly lifted the window and poured the
     dangerous liquid on the street, saying, "Better on God's earth than
     in His image."

     'As the close of his career in Glasgow drew near, some of us could
     see that all through he had been preparing for some great work on
     which the whole ambition of his life was set. He always shrank
     from speaking about himself, and in those days was not in the habit
     of obtruding sacred things on his fellow-students. His views on
     personal dealing then were changing, and became very decided in
     after years. Earnest, honest, faithful to his convictions, as a
     student he endeavoured to influence others for good more by the
     silent eloquence of a holy life than by definite exhortations, and
     I feel sure his power over some of us was all the greater on that
     account. When it became known that Gilmour intended to be a foreign
     missionary, there was not a little surprise expressed, especially
     among rival fellow-students--men who had competed with him to their
     cost. The moral effect of such a distinguished scholar giving his
     life for Christ among the heathen was very great indeed. To me his
     resolve to go abroad, though it induced a painful separation,
     proved an unspeakable blessing. The reserve which had so long
     prevailed between us on sacred things began to give way, and much
     of our correspondence during his residence at Cheshunt College was
     of a religious turn, though still more theological than practical.

     'The last evening we spent together before he left for China can
     never be forgotten. We parted on Bothwell Bridge. We had walked
     from the village without speaking a word, burdened with the sorrow
     of separation. As we shook hands, he said with intense earnestness,
     "Paterson, let us keep close to Christ." He knew Him and loved Him
     much better than I did then; but about nine years ago, after
     hearing good news from me, he wrote to say that for twelve years he
     had prayed for me every day, and now praised God for the answer.'

In the diary from which we have already quoted Gilmour thus concludes
the sketch of his education:--

     'Near the close of the session of 1867 I opened negotiations with
     the London Missionary Society, the consequence of which was that I
     was removed to Cheshunt College in September of that same year.
     Here (1867-1868) a new experience awaited me--resident college
     life. At Glasgow we dined out, presented ourselves at classes only,
     and did with ourselves whatever we liked in the interval. At
     Cheshunt it was different. All the students live in the buildings
     of the college, which can accommodate forty. Of course I felt a
     little strange at first, and even long after had serious doubts as
     to the settlement of the question, Which is better, life in or out
     of college? The lectures, as a rule, were all in the forenoon.

     'The summer vacation I spent in studying for the Soper scholarship,
     value twenty pounds, which was to be bestowed after examination.

     'I commenced the 1868 and 1869 session at Cheshunt, very busily,
     and in addition to the class work and the Soper work, read some
     books which gave almost a new turn to my mind and my ideas of
     pastoral or missionary life. These books were James's _Earnest
     Ministry_, Baxter's _Reformed Pastor_, and some of Bunyan's works,
     which, through God's blessing, affected me very much for good.

     'The Soper examination should have come off before Christmas, but
     it did not, so that I remained over Christmas at Cheshunt, grinding
     away as hard as I could. I was longing eagerly for the time when
     the examination would be over, that I might the more earnestly
     devote myself to the work of preaching and evangelising. Well, the
     examination came and passed off satisfactorily, and I got the
     twenty pounds.

     'Now was the decisive point. Now had I come to another period,
     when there was an opportunity of going on a new tack; but I found
     myself tempted to seek after another honour, the first prize in
     Cheshunt College. In my first session I had got the second only,
     and now I had an opportunity of trying for the first. It was a
     temptation indeed, but God triumphed. I looked back on my life, and
     saw how often I had been tempted on from one thing to another,
     after I had resolved that I would leave my time more free and at my
     disposal for God, but always was I tempted on. So now I made a
     stand, threw ambition to the winds, and set to reading my Bible in
     good earnest. I made it my chief study during the last three months
     of my residence at Cheshunt, and I look back upon that period of my
     stay there as the most profitable I had.

     'In September, 1869, I entered the missionary seminary at Highgate,
     and also studied Chinese in London with Professor Summers. I went
     home again at Christmas, and on returning to London learned that I
     could go to China as soon as I liked. I said I would go as soon as
     the necessary arrangements could be made, and February 22, 1870,
     was fixed upon as the date of my departure.'

In this brief and rapid manner James Gilmour sketched, with not a few
most characteristic touches, the first twenty-six years of his life. He
enables us to see the quick, merry, receptive lad, developing, after a
brilliant collegiate course and a careful training in theology and in
practical Christian life, into the strong, resolute missionary. No one
who knew him during this time failed to perceive the force of his
character and the charm of his personality. The writer first came under
his influence during his second session at Cheshunt. He was then in the
prime of his early manhood, in the full possession of physical and
intellectual vigour, and his soul was aflame with love to the Saviour
and to the perishing heathen.

He retained, moreover, the love of fun, the high spirits, the keen
enjoyment of a good joke, and the constant readiness for an argument
upon any subject under the sun, which had endeared him to his comrades
in Glasgow. Every Cheshunt man of that day readily recalls, and rejoices
as he does so, the memory of his good-natured practical joking, of his
racy and pointed speeches upon all momentous 'house questions,' of his
power as a reciter, and of his glowing personal piety. To know him even
slightly was to respect him; and to enter at all into sympathy with him
was to love him as long as life lasted.

There are many reminiscences of those Cheshunt days, from which we can
cull only a sufficient number to enable the reader to understand what
manner of man he then was. These are drawn from the letters of his
fellow-students, and from their recollections of his sayings and doings.
'How well,' writes one, 'I remember his coming to Cheshunt! I was
acting-senior at the opening of that session, and, according to custom
with the new men, went to his room to shake hands with him. He said,
"Who are you?" I told him. "What do you want?" I told him I had come
according to custom to welcome him, and held out my hand, whereupon he
put his hands behind him and said, "Time eno' to shake hands when we've
quarrelled. But where do you live?" "Immediately over your head." "Then
look here," said he, "don't make a row;" and so we parted. Dear old
fellow! his memory makes life richer.'

Another writes: 'He was a good elocutionist. He was also a keen debater,
and so fond of argument that he would not hesitate to take opposite
ground to his own cherished convictions and beliefs, simply for the sake
of provoking discussion. So earnestly and logically (for he was a good
dialectician) would he carry on the discussion that it was difficult to
believe that he did not really hold the opinions for which he so
pertinaciously contended. Sometimes this habit of mind reacted very
amusingly upon himself, as the following will show. The subject fixed
one Friday evening for debate in the discussion class was, "Have animals
souls?" Though fully accepting the common belief that they have not,
Gilmour, purely for the sake of argument, took the affirmative, and with
such enthusiasm pleaded his cause that he brought himself to believe, as
he told me afterwards, that animals have souls.'

'At no time during his residence at Cheshunt could there have been any
doubt as to Gilmour's piety or consecration to the great work of his
future life; but during the second year it must have been manifest to
all who knew him intimately that there was a deepening and broadening of
his spiritual life. As I look back over the interval of years I can see
that it was then he began to reach the high-water mark in Christian life
and devotion which was so steadily maintained throughout his career in
China and Mongolia. An apostolic passion for the salvation of his
fellow-men took hold upon him. He would go out in the evening, mostly
alone, and conduct short open-air services at Flamstead End, among the
cottagers near Cheshunt railway station; seize opportunities of speaking
to labourers working by the roadside or in the field through which he
might be passing. He became very solicitous for the conversion of
friends in Scotland, and would come to my study and ask me to kneel
and pray with him that God's grace might be manifested to them, and that
His blessing might rest upon letters which he had written and was
sending to them. The ordinary style of preaching towards which students
usually aspire lost its attractions for him, and his sermons assumed
more and more the character of earnest exhortations, and addresses to
the unconverted. When he knew what was to be his field of labour after
his college course was over, how solicitous he was to go out fully
prepared and fitted in spiritual equipment! The needs of the perishing
heathen were very real and weighed heavily upon his heart, and he was
very anxious to win volunteers among his college friends for this
all-important work. How he longed and prayed for China's perishing
millions only his most intimate friends know.'

The Rev. H. R. Reynolds, D.D., for the past thirty years the honoured
President of Cheshunt College, has recalled some of his early
recollections of James Gilmour.

'Though brusque and outspoken in manner, he was in many respects
reserved and shy, and very slow to show or accept confidence. We all
felt, however, that underneath a canny demeanour there was burning a
very intense enthusiasm, and that a character of marked features was
already formed, and would only develop along certain lines, settled, but
not as yet fully disclosed to others.

There was not a particle of make-believe in his composition. He shrank
from praise, and was obviously anxious not to appear more reverential or
wise or devoted than he knew himself to be. He even used, because it was
natural to him, a rugged style of expression when speaking of things or
persons or institutions which for the most part uplift our diction and
generally induce us to adorn or make careful selection of our
vocabulary. He rapped out expressions which might have suggested
carelessness or irreverence or suppressed doubt, but I soon found that
there was an intense fire of evangelistic zeal and an almost stormy
enthusiasm for the conversion of souls to Christ.

'Some special services were held at Cheshunt Street Chapel, in which
Gilmour took part, and the part was at least as demonstrative, perhaps
more so, except the music, as that of the modern Salvation Army ensign
or commissioner. He started from the chapel entrance, on the Sunday
evening, when considerable numbers were as usual parading the country
street, and bare-headed approached every passer-by with some piquant,
vigorous inquiry, or message or warning. In the main, his bold summons
was, "Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?" The entire population in
the thoroughfare was stirred, and uncomplimentary jeers mingled with
some awe-struck impressions that were then produced.

'During the year 1869 he had those interviews with the late Mrs. Swan,
of Edinburgh, which led to his choice by the London Missionary Society,
at her instance, to reopen the long-suspended mission in Mongolia. For a
while he remained in Peking preparing himself by familiarity with the
people, their ideas, their language, and religion, for those almost
historic bursts into the great desert and across the caravan routes to
the huge fairs, and the renowned temples, to the living lamas and famous
shrines of the nomadic Mongols, incessantly acting the part of
travelling Hakim, itinerant book vendor, and fiery preacher of the
Gospel of Christ.'

In the year 1869 the policy of the London Missionary Society in the
education of its students was very different from that which now
obtains. After a course at a theological college of two, three, or four
years, according to the literary attainments of the man at the time of
his acceptance by the Directors, he was sent to the institution at
Highgate designed to give training suitable for the special requirements
of the embryo missionaries. In theory this institution was admirable; in
practice Gilmour and others, much as they esteemed the principal, the
Rev. J. Wardlaw, found it--or thought they found it--very largely a
waste of time. The year 1869 saw the beginning of an investigation which
ended in closing the missionary college at Highgate, and in the steps
that led to the enquiry Gilmour took a leading part. One of his
contemporaries at Highgate has thus described his influence upon both
his fellow-students and the institution to which they belonged.

'I first met Gilmour at Farquhar House, Highgate, the London Missionary
Society's Institution, where in those days missionary students spent
their last six months before going to the field. Some spent the time in
studying the elements of the language of the land to which they were
going; others attended University College Hospital, for the purpose of
getting a little medical knowledge; while all tried to make themselves
acquainted with the history of the people among whom they were to
labour. Courses of special missionary lectures, which were highly valued
by the men, were delivered by the Rev. J., afterwards Dr., Wardlaw.

'Some of us were at Highgate a day or two before Gilmour came up from
Scotland; and as his fame, or rather reports about him, had reached us
from Cheshunt College, we were all very anxious to meet with him. When
he did arrive we were, I think, all more or less disappointed, and yet I
doubt if any of us could have told why, except that he was not the man
we had pictured from the reports we had heard. When he walked quietly
into the library I, for one, could hardly believe that the almost
boyish-looking, open-faced, bright-eyed young man was really Gilmour.
His dress made him appear even more youthful than he was, while there
was an aspect of good humour about his face and a glance of his eye
revealing any amount of fun and frolic. A great writer has said: "Nature
has written a letter of credit on some men's faces, which is honoured
almost wherever presented." James Gilmour's was a face on which Nature
had written no ordinary letter of credit; for there was a sense in which
one might very truly have said that his "face was his fortune." Honesty,
good nature, and true manliness were so stamped upon every feature and
line of it, that you had only to see him to feel that he was one of
God's noblest works, and to be drawn to the man as by a magnetic
influence.

'Gilmour was a puzzle to most of our fellow-students, and they could not
quite make him out. By some he was: regarded as very eccentric, which is
another way of saying that he preserved a very marked individuality, and
always had the courage of his convictions. They did not seem to
understand how so much playfulness and piety, fervour and frolicsomeness
could dwell in the same person. Long before we parted, however, in
January, 1870, I feel certain that all had come to have not only a
profound respect, but also a real heart-love for "dear old Gillie"!

'The night before Gilmour left Highgate for the Christmas vacation we
were all in his study, when someone, remarking on the risk he was
running in going home to Scotland by sea, instead of by train, said in a
jocular way: "Suppose the steamer is wrecked and you get drowned, to
whom do you leave your books, Gilmour?" "Yes," he said at once, "that is
well thought of. Come along, you fellows, and pick out the books you
would like to keep in memory of me, if I never return." Of course we
only laughed and said it was all a joke; but he said, "It is no joke
with me, I mean what I say;" and so he did. He was in dead earnest, and
nothing would satisfy him but that each should pick out the book or
books he would like to have if he never returned. He then turned to me
and said: "Now, I leave the rest to your care, and if I never return I
want all on this shelf sent to my father and mother, and you can do
anything you like with the rest." Had anyone else acted in that way, we
should have certainly suspected that he had gone "_queer_"; but it was
Gilmour, and we all understood the straight, matter-of-fact way in which
he went about everything he did.

'Through a misunderstanding, as we afterwards discovered, the students
at Highgate came into collision with the Directors of the Society over
the studies to be prosecuted. Additional classes were arranged, and
these some of us declined to attend. This act of rebellion, as it was
regarded at the Mission House, had to be put down with a firm hand, and
a special meeting of the Board of Directors was called to deal with us.

'The night before we were to meet the Board we met in Gilmour's study,
to settle what we were to say to the Directors when we met them. One
only of our number, when he saw that there was likely to be a rather
serious interchange of ideas between us and the Directors, caved in
completely, and would have nothing further to do with our resistance.

'When we met the Board Gilmour made his defence in his frank,
straightforward way, and, I am afraid, upset some of the Directors very
much by his plain speaking. They did not know the man, and regarded him
as one of the ringleaders in rebellion, and, of course, were not in the
humour to do him justice. But when we met the subcommittee appointed to
deal with us the misunderstanding came to an end, and they admitted that
we had been in the right in objecting to the extra classes thus
imposed.'

During these last months in England James Gilmour paid much earnest heed
to the culture of his soul. Just before he sailed for China, he set
forth his inner experience and his keen sense of the difficulties of the
course upon which he was embarking in the following letter to a Cheshunt
friend:--

     'Companions I can scarcely hope to meet, and the feeling of being
     _alone_ comes over me till I think of Christ and His blessed
     promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world."
     No one who does not go away, leaving all and going alone, can feel
     the force of this promise; and when I begin to feel my heart
     threatening to go down, I betake myself to this companionship, and,
     thank God, I have felt the blessedness of this promise rushing over
     me repeatedly when I knelt down and spoke to Jesus as a present
     companion, from whom I am sure to find sympathy. I have felt a
     tingle of delight thrilling over me as I felt His presence, and
     thought that wherever I may go He is still with me. I have once or
     twice lately felt a melting sweetness in the name of Jesus as I
     spoke to Him and told Him my trouble. Yes, and the trouble went
     away, and I arose all right. Is it not blessed of Christ to care so
     much for us poor feeble men, so sinful and so careless about
     honouring Him? the moment we come to Him He is ready with His
     consolations for us!

     'I have been thinking lately over some of the inducements we have
     to live for Christ, and to confess Him and preach Him before men,
     not conferring with flesh and blood. Why should we be trammelled by
     the opinions and customs of men? Why should we care what men say of
     us? Salvation and damnation are _realities_, Christ is a reality,
     _Eternity_ is a reality, and we shall soon be there in reality, and
     time shall soon be finished; and from our stand in eternity we
     shall look back on what we did in time, and what shall we think of
     it? Shall we be able to understand why we were afraid to speak to
     this man or that woman about salvation? Shall we be able to
     understand how we were ashamed to do what we knew was a Christian
     duty before one whom we knew to be a mocker at religion? Our
     cowardice shall seem small to us then. Let us now measure our
     actions by the standard of that scene, let us now look upon the
     things of time in the light of eternity, and we shall see them
     better as they are, and live more as we shall wish then we had
     done. It is not too late. We can secure yet what remains of our
     life. The present still is ours. Let us use it. It may be that we
     can't be great, let us be good; if we can't shine as great lights,
     let us make our light shine as God has made it to shine. Let us
     live lives as in the presence of Christ, anxious for His approval,
     and glad to take the condemnation of the world, and of Christ's
     professed servants even, if we get the commendation of angels and
     our Master. The "well done!" is to the faithful servant--to the
     _faithful_, not the great. Let us watch and pray that we may be
     faithful. It is a little hard to be this, and to care little for
     man.

     'Yesterday afternoon I preached here at home, and took the most
     earnest sermon I had, "_Behold, I stand at the door and knock_."
     Well, in doing so, I thought I was acting quite independently of
     man; and even after I had preached it, thought I would not care for
     man. But one man praised it, and I felt pleased, and, as might then
     be expected, felt a little hurt when a friend called this morning
     and told me that what I gave them yesterday was _no sermon at all_.
     Now, if I had been regarding Christ alone, I would not have been
     moved by either the one or the other of these criticisms; and I
     wish that I could get above this sort of thing, and get beyond the
     attempt at pleasing men at all. Why should we confer with men?'

James Gilmour was ordained as a missionary to Mongolia in Augustine
Chapel, Edinburgh, on February 10, 1870, and, in accordance with
Nonconformist custom, he made a statement about the development of his
religious life from which we take the following extract:--

     'My conversion took place after I had begun to attend the Arts
     course in the University of Glasgow. I had gone to college with no
     definite aim as to preparing for a profession; an opportunity was
     offered me of attending classes, and I embraced it gladly,
     confident that whatever training or knowledge I might there acquire
     would prove serviceable to me afterwards in some way or other.

     'After I became satisfied that I had found the "way of life," I
     decided to tell others of that way, and felt that I lay under
     responsibility to do what I could to extend Christ's kingdom. Among
     other plans of usefulness that suggested themselves to me was that
     of entering the ministry. But, in my opinion, there were two things
     that everyone who sought the office of the ministry should have,
     viz., an experimental knowledge of the truth which it is the work
     of the minister to preach, and a good education to help him to do
     it; the former I believed I had, the latter I hoped to obtain. So I
     quietly pursued the college course till I entered on the last
     session, when, after prayerful consideration and mature
     deliberation, I thought it my duty to offer myself as a candidate
     for the ministry.

     'Having decided as to the capacity in which I should labour in
     Christ's kingdom, the next thing which occupied my serious
     attention was the _locality_ where I should labour. Occasionally
     before I had thought of the relative claims of the home and foreign
     fields, but during the summer, session in Edinburgh I thought the
     matter out, and decided for the mission field; even on the low
     ground of common sense I seemed to be called to be a missionary. Is
     the kingdom a harvest field? Then I thought it reasonable that I
     should seek to work where the work was most abundant and the
     workers fewest. Labourers say they are overtaxed at home; what then
     must be the case abroad, where there are wide stretching plains
     already white to harvest, with scarcely here and there a solitary
     reaper? To me the soul of an Indian seemed as precious as the soul
     of an Englishman, and the Gospel as much for the Chinese as for the
     European; and as the band of missionaries was few compared with the
     company of home ministers, it seemed to me clearly to be my duty to
     go abroad.

     'But I go out as a missionary not that I may follow the dictates of
     common sense, but that I may obey that command of Christ, "_Go into
     all the world and preach_." He who said "_preach_," said also, "Go
     ye into and _preach_," and what Christ hath joined together let not
     man put asunder.

     'This command seems to me to be strictly a missionary injunction,
     and, as far as I can see, those to whom it was first delivered
     regarded it in that light, so that, apart altogether from choice
     and other lower reasons, my going forth is a matter of obedience to
     a plain command; and in place of seeking to assign a reason for
     going abroad, I would prefer to say that I have failed to discover
     any reason why I should stay at home.'

On February 22, 1870, James Gilmour embarked at Liverpool upon the
steamship Diomed, and thus fairly started on the work of his life. Among
his extant correspondence is a long letter which describes the voyage to
China, and the way in which he utilised the opportunities it afforded
for trying to do his Master's will.

     'We sailed from Liverpool, and my father saw me off. The passengers
     were few--nine or ten. We had a cabin each. There was a Wesleyan
     medical missionary named Hardey going out to Hankow. We soon drew
     together. The doctor of the ship was a young fellow from Greenock,
     and had been at Glasgow College when I was there last. Among the
     1,200 we had not stumbled upon each other. The married man was
     something or other in the Consular service. A young lady passenger
     was the daughter of a judge in China. A young man was going out to
     try his fortune in China: his qualifications were some knowledge of
     tea and a love of drink. Another decent young fellow was going out
     to China as a tea-taster. Another young fellow was going out to
     Australia _viâ_ Singapore. Thus, you see, I was the only parson on
     board; and as the ship's company was High Church, and I a
     Dissenter, it may be seen that we did not fit each other exactly.
     Some of the passengers were so High Church that one of them told me
     he thought we Dissenters were sunk more deeply in error than the
     Papists.

     'The captain was a sensible kind of rough seaman, and I at once
     volunteered my services as chaplain, and was accepted, though with
     some caution. He evidently thought me too young to be trusted with
     a sermon; the Church of England prayers I might read, and he put
     into my hands a book with a sermon for any Sunday and holy-day in
     the year. I took the book and said I would look through it. The Bay
     of Biscay was calm when we crossed it, but on Sunday morning we
     were tumbling about off the Rock of Lisbon. As I could hardly keep
     my legs, I did not think we should have had service; but we crowded
     into the smoking-saloon (we were afraid to venture below, for
     sickness), and I read prayers. Next Sunday I read a sermon from the
     book. All the Sundays after that I gave them my own, and, as I was
     under the impression that they had not heard much plain preaching,
     did my best to let them hear the gospel pure and simple. I half
     suspected they did not quite like it. It was hinted to me that they
     complained of my preaching. The next Sunday came, and, under the
     impression it might be the last time I would have the opportunity,
     I made the most earnest and direct appeal to them I possibly could.
     I was not a little thankful and astonished when, soon after, in
     place of being asked to shut up, I was thanked for it, and assured
     it was the best I had given them, and told that it was a waste of,
     &c., &c., for me to go out as a missionary--I should have stopped
     at home. After that I had no trouble with the passengers, and we
     got on well together.

     'As for the men, from captain to cabin-boy there were about sixty.
     Among these was one earnest Christian man, a German and a Baptist.
     He was a quarter-master. He was a little peculiar in appearance,
     and spoke English not quite smoothly. On one occasion, when some of
     the passengers were laughing at something he had done and said, the
     captain happened to pass, and, seeing what was up, remarked that
     the man was a first-rate fellow--he never caught him idle. If you
     except this man, the captain, and the boy, the whole ship's
     company swore like troopers. So universal was the vice that the
     men, I almost think, were hardly aware that they did swear. I was
     puzzled. Sometimes when I went out in the morning I would hear a
     volley of oaths coming from the mouth of a man who had been talking
     quite seriously with me over-night.

     Few of the men came to the service, and as they would not come to
     us we went to them. Hardey and I, usually in the evenings,
     conducted short little services in the forecastle as often as we
     thought desirable. We were always well received and listened to
     respectfully. I think I may say safely that all on board had
     repeated opportunities of hearing the gospel as plainly as I could
     put it, and a good many had something more than mere opportunities.
     After it was dark I used to go out and get the men one by one, as
     they sat in corners during their watch in the night. All they had
     to do was to be within call when wanted, and many a good long talk
     I have had with a good many of them. Of course, my object in
     accosting them was religious conversation, and this I usually
     succeeded in having; but on many occasions, that we might be quite
     on a footing of equality, I had in return to listen to their yarns.
     The man on the look-out was a frequent victim. I was always sure to
     find a man there, generally alone, and never asleep. The man, also,
     was changed at regular intervals, so that I knew exactly when I
     would find a fresh man. When I talked to the look-out man, I used
     to keep a sharp lookout myself, lest by distracting his attention I
     should get him into trouble. Many a good hour have I stood at the
     prow as we passed through the warm Indian Ocean, till my clothes
     were wet with the dew of night; and then I would find my way down
     to my cabin about midnight, with my head so full of the
     ghost-stories I had just heard that I was really afraid I might
     meet a real ghost coming out of my cabin.'



CHAPTER II

BEGINNING WORK


In 1817 two missionaries, the Rev. E. Stallybrass and the Rev. W. Swan,
left England to begin Christian work among the Buriats, a Mongolian
tribe living under Russian authority. At Selenginsk and at Onagen Dome
they laboured for many years; but in 1841 the Russian Emperor ordered
them to leave the country. From the command of the autocrat there was no
appeal, and the mission came to an end. But in the good providence of
God the two missionaries had translated the whole Bible into Buriat; the
Old Testament being printed in Siberia in 1840, the New Testament in
London in 1846. Notwithstanding the suppression of the mission, the Word
of God in the Mongol tongue continued to circulate among the people.

It was to the reopening and development of this missionary work among
the Mongol tribes that James Gilmour consecrated his life. He was
appointed, in the first instance, to the London Mission at Peking, and
that centre formed his first base of operations. He continued also a
member of that mission until the close of his life. He reached the
Chinese capital on May 18, 1870. At once he settled down to hard and
continuous work at the Chinese language, endeavouring also from the
first to discover the best means of restarting the Mongol Mission. The
very full diary which he kept lies before us as we write, and enables us
to understand the varying progress and hindrance, encouragement and
despondency of this time.

     '_June 11, 1870._--Mr. Gulick advises me to pay little attention to
     the Chinese and go in hot and strong for the Mongolian. I am not
     quite sure that he is not right, after all. However, I mean to
     stick into the Chinese yet for a time to come with my teacher and
     to mix among the people as much as I can. I went out to-night and
     with the gate-keeper and two of his companions had a lot of talk,
     in which I learned a good lot. I hope to benefit largely by this
     pleasant mode of study. Perhaps by this means I may be able to do
     them good. Lord grant it!'

     '_June 12, 1870._--I am to-day twenty-seven years of age, and what
     have I done? Let the time that is past suffice to have wrought the
     will of the flesh. The prospect I have before me now is the most
     inspiriting one any man can have. Health, strength, as much
     conscious ability as makes one hope to be able to get the language
     of the people to whom I am sent, a new field of work among men who
     are decidedly religious and simple-minded, left pretty much to my
     own ideas as to what is best to be done in the attempted
     evangelization of Mongolia, friends left in Britain behind me
     praying for me, comfort and peace here in the prosecution of my
     present studies, the idea that what I do is for eternity, and that
     this life is but the short prelude to an eternal state, the thought
     that after death there shall break on my view a thousand truths
     that now I long in vain to know--these thoughts and many others
     make my present life happy, and in a manner careless as to what
     should come. In time may I be able to do my part as I ought, and
     may God have great mercy upon me!'

On June 22, 1870, the news of the Tientsin massacre reached Peking. A
Roman Catholic convent had been destroyed and thirteen French people
killed. Very great uncertainty prevailed as to whether this indicated a
further purpose of attacking all missions and all foreigners, and for a
while things looked very dark. It was a time in which the nerve and
courage and faith of men were severely tried, and splendidly did Gilmour
endure the test. While unable to escape wholly from the fears common to
all, his reply to the counsels of worldly prudence and selfish dread was
advance in his work. When others were wondering whether they might not
have to retreat, he, alone, in almost total ignorance of the language,
entirely unfamiliar with the country, went up to the great Mongolian
plain, and entered upon the service so close to his heart--personal
intercourse with and effort for the Mongols.

How trying a season this was his diary reveals. Under date of June 23,
1870, the day after the first tidings of the outbreak had been received,
he writes:--

     'The Roman Catholic missionaries have suffered severely, and the
     Protestant missionaries are not in a very safe condition. We are
     living on the slope of a volcano that may put forth its slumbering
     rage at any moment. For example, people ask why there is no rain,
     and blame the foreigners for it; and should a famine ensue, we may
     fare hard for it. Now is the time for trying what stuff a man's
     religion is made of. We may be all dead men directly; are we afraid
     to die? Our death might further the cause of Christ more than our
     life could do. We must die some time or other; now that we have a
     near view of its possibility, how can we look forward to it? God!
     do Thou make my faith firm and bright, so that death may seem
     small and not to be feared. Help me to trust Thee and Christ
     implicitly, so that with calm mind I may work while Thou dost let
     me live, and when Thou dost call me home, let me come gladly.'

The further entries in his Diary at this time depict his inner
experience from day to day:--

     '_July 10._--Rose 6.20. Dull morning, rained a little. Felt
     uncomfortable at the idea of being killed; felt troubled at the
     idea of leaving Peking. How am I to pack and carry my goods? Felt
     troubled at remaining in the midst of a troubled city, with a
     government weak and stupid. How is my mission to get on beginning
     thus? O God, let me cast all my care upon Thee, and commit my soul
     also to Thy safe keeping. Keep me, O God, in perfect peace! Rain
     made a thin meeting this morning, but all was quiet. In afternoon
     went with Mr. Edkins to the west; things uncommonly quiet and
     peaceful.

     '_July 12._--While others are writing to papers and trying to stir
     up the feelings of the people, so that they may take action in the
     matter, perhaps I may be able to do some good moving Heaven. My
     creed leads me to think that prayer is efficacious, and surely a
     day's asking God to overrule all these events for good is not lost.
     Still, there is a great feeling that when a man is praying he is
     doing nothing, and this feeling, I am sure, makes us give undue
     importance to work, sometimes even to the hurrying over or even to
     the neglect of prayer.

     '_July 22._--A good deal troubled about the present state of
     matters. I don't exactly know how to estimate rumours and reports,
     and this may cause me more uneasiness than there is any need for.
     Still, I don't know. At times I feel a great revulsion from being
     killed, at other times I feel as if I could be killed quietly, and
     not dislike the thing much. Sometimes the tone of those about us is
     hopeful, and that causes hope also. Sometimes the prospect of a
     speedy removal, a half flight, comes upon me with great force, and
     to see all its annoyance, not to speak of the danger, is not
     pleasant at all. Oh for the simple, childlike faith that can trust
     all things to God and leave all care upon Him! Ought we not to have
     it? Is God not the same God now that He was when He delivered His
     people from Egypt, and His saints from the hands of their enemies,
     from the mouth of the lions, and the fiery furnace? Cannot God keep
     us yet--will He not do it? But then comes the thought, perhaps God
     does not wish us to live, but to die. Often has He allowed His
     saints to be slain. What then? Well, as the men in the furnace said
     of God, "Will He care to defend us? if not, be it known unto you we
     will not yield." I might have died in childhood, in youth, before
     conversion, and if then, alas! alas! I can remember the time when
     the pains of hell got such a terrible hold upon me that I would
     have gladly changed places in the world with anyone who had the
     hope of salvation. Death, life, prospects, honour, shame, seemed
     nothing compared with this hope of salvation, which I was then
     without. "Could I ever be saved?" was the question; "would I ever
     have the hope that I knew others had?" Had I died in darkness--God
     be thanked, the light has shined forth, and I have the hope of
     eternal life. May God make me more Christlike, and give me stronger
     hope! Well, then, this hope I have; from this fearful pit I have
     been delivered; in the light I now walk. God I call my Father,
     Christ my Saviour, heaven my home, earth and the life here the
     entrance to real life. If there is anything in our faith or in our
     belief, then heaven is as much better than earth as it is higher
     than earth, and our souls life is insured from all harm. If a man
     is insured against all possible harm, why should he be afraid? Not
     one hair of our head shall perish! O Lord, help me to live this
     faith and to be in this frame of mind. In this city are many
     foreigners, who came here to learn the language, &c., and many of
     them have no great hope of heaven. They seem calm enough, and are
     no doubt calm enough; shall the courage of the world, shall the
     courage of scepticism, shall the courage of carelessness be greater
     and produce better fruit than the courage of the Christian? O Lord,
     preserve me from the sin of dishonouring Thy name through fear and
     cowardice! Let us be bold in the Lord!'

By the end of July 1870, Gilmour had reached a fixed resolution to go to
Mongolia as soon as the necessary arrangements could be made. A severe
test had been applied to him, and the way in which he met it gives the
key to the whole of his after life. He used the trial as a help onwards
in the path of duty, and the chain of events which would have led many
men to postpone indefinitely the beginning of a new and hard work only
drove him the more eagerly into new fields. The reasons that influenced
him are set forth in his official report written many months later.

     'After the massacre at Tientsin, very grave fears prevailed at
     Peking; no one could tell how far the ramifications of the plot
     might extend, and it was impossible to sift the matter. The people
     openly talked of an extermination, and claimed to have the tacit
     favour of the Government in this; nay more, the Government itself
     issued ambiguous, if not insinuating, proclamations, which fomented
     the excitement of the populace to such an extent that the days were
     fixed for the "Clearing of Peking." The mob was thoroughly quieted
     on the first of the days fixed by a twenty hours' pour of
     tremendous rain, which converted Peking into a muddy, boatless
     Venice, and kept the people safely at home in their helpless felt
     shoes, as securely as if their feet had been put into the stocks.
     This was Friday. Tuesday was the reserve day; Saturday and Sabbath
     one felt the tide of excitement rising, and on Monday morning the
     Peking Gazette came out with an Imperial edict that at once allayed
     the excitement, and assured us that there was no danger for the
     present.

     'We had then to draw breath and look about us calmly, and the
     general conclusion that the "Old Pekingers" came to was that the
     French would be compelled to resort to force of arms to gain
     redress. The attitude of the Chinese people and Government made
     them think so, and so they determined to wait on quietly in Peking
     till things should get thick, and then it would be time to go
     south. I think I may safely say that everyone drew out an inventory
     of his things, and not a few had their most necessary things packed
     "on the sly," and were ready to start on short notice.

     'Up to this point I stood quietly aside; but now was my time to
     reason, and on the data they supplied I reasoned thus: "If I go
     south, no Mongol can be prevailed on to go with me, and so I am
     shut out from my work, and that for an indefinite time. If I can
     get away north, then I can go on with the language, and perhaps
     come down after the smoke clears away, knowing Mongolian, and
     having lost no time." I felt a great aversion to travelling so far
     alone, and with such imperfect knowledge of the language, but as I
     thought it over from day to day I was more and more convinced that
     to run the risk of having to go south would be to prove unfaithful
     to duty, and so I conferred no longer with likings or dislikings,
     resolved to go should an opportunity offer, and in the meantime
     worked away at Chinese.

     'By-and-by a Russian merchant turned up; he was going to Kiachta,
     so I started with him. I could not go sooner, as it was not safe to
     travel in the country before the Imperial edict was issued; to wait
     longer was to run the risk of not going at all.'


[Illustration: MAP ILLUSTRATING JAMES GILMOUR'S JOURNEYS ON THE GREAT
PLAIN OF MONGOLIA]



CHAPTER III

MONGOLIAN APPRENTICESHIP


The name Mongolia denotes a vast and almost unknown territory situated
between China Proper and Siberia, constituting the largest dependency of
the Chinese Empire. It stretches from the Sea of Japan on the east to
Turkestan on the west, a distance of nearly 3,000 miles; and from the
southern boundary of Asiatic Russia to the Great Wall of China, a
distance of about 900 miles. It consists of high tablelands, lifted up
considerably above the level of Northern China, and is approached only
through rugged mountain passes. The central portion of this enormous
area is called the Desert of Gobi.

A kind of highway for the considerable commercial traffic between China
and Russia runs through the eastern central part of Mongolia, leaving
China at the frontier town of Kalgan, and touching Russia at the
frontier town of Kiachta. Along this route during all but the winter
months, caravans of camel-carts and ox-carts attended by companies of
Mongols and Chinese are constantly passing. The staple export from China
is tea; the chief imports are salt, soda, hides, and timber.

The west and the centre of Mongolia is occupied by nomad Mongols. They
have clusters of huts and tents in fixed locations which form their
winter dwellings. But in summer they journey over the great plains in
search of the best pasturage for their flocks and herds. They are
consequently exceedingly difficult to reach by any other method than
that of sharing their roving tent life. In the southeastern district of
Mongolia there are large numbers of agricultural Mongols who speak both
Chinese and Mongolian. The towns in this part are almost wholly
inhabited by Chinese.

The winter in Mongolia is both long and severe; in the summer the heat
is often very oppressive, and the great Plain is subject to severe
storms of dust, rain and wind.

Buddhism is all-powerful, and the larger half of the male population are
lamas or Buddhist priests. 'Meet a Mongol on the road, and the
probability is that he is saying his prayers and counting his beads as
he rides along. Ask him where he is going, and on what errand, as the
custom is, and likely he will tell you he is going to some shrine to
worship. Follow him to the temple, and there you will find him one of a
company with dust-marked forehead, moving lips, and the never absent
beads, going the rounds of the sacred place, prostrating himself at
every shrine, bowing before every idol, and striking pious attitudes at
every new object of reverence that meets his eye. Go to Mongolia itself,
and probably one of the first great sights that meet your eye will be a
temple of imposing grandeur, resplendent from afar in colours and gold.'

'The Mongol's religion marks out for him certain seemingly indifferent
actions as good or bad, meritorious or sinful. There is scarcely one
single step in life, however insignificant, which he can take without
first consulting his religion through his priest. Not only does his
religion insist on moulding his soul, and colouring his whole spiritual
existence, but it determines for him the colour and cut of his coat. It
would be difficult to find another instance in which any religion has
grasped a country so universally and completely as Buddhism has
Mongolia.'[1]

[1] _Among the Mongols_, p. 211.

It was to the herculean task of attempting single-handed to evangelise a
region and a people like this that James Gilmour addressed himself. His
early journeys are fully set forth in _Among the Mongols_, and we do not
propose to repeat them here. Our object rather is to depict, so far as
possible, the inner life of James Gilmour, and the real nature of the
work he accomplished. He left Peking on August 5, and reached Kalgan
four days later. On August 27 he started for his first trip across the
great plain of Mongolia to Kiachta. A Russian postmaster was to be his
companion, but, to avoid travelling on Sunday, Gilmour started a day
ahead, and then waited for the Russian to come up. Here is his first
view of scenes he was so often in later life to visit.

     '_Sabbath, August 28._--Awoke about 5 A.M. just as it was drawing
     towards light, and saw that we were right out into the Plain.

     'I am writing up my diary, with a lot of people looking into my
     cart. I have just given them a Mongol Catechism, and I hope it may
     do them good. God, do Thou bless it to them! Would I could speak to
     them, but I cannot. I am glad to be saved the trouble of travelling
     to-day. My mind feels at rest for the present. I am looking about
     me, and having my first look at the life I am likely to lead.
     There are several more Mongol dwellings within sight, plenty of
     camels, horses, and oxen. The Mongols have a tent of their own, and
     the "commandant's" tent has also been put up. A Mongol has just
     come up and changed his dress, his cloak serving him as a tent
     meantime. I am hesitating whether to try to read in my cart or go
     off a little way with my plaid and umbrella.

     'Had not a very intellectual or spiritual day after all. Went in
     the afternoon away to the east. Had a good view and a time of
     devotion at a cairn from which an eagle rose as I approached.
     Returned to the camp and bought milk and some cheese. Intended to
     make porridge, but the fire was not good on account of the blowing,
     so I drank off my milk, ate some bread, and went to sleep.'

The journey across the desert, including a visit to Urga, occupied a
month. It was full of intense interest for the traveller, and many of
the most abiding impressions of his life and work were then received.
His diary reveals the deep yearnings of his heart for the salvation of
the Mongols. Under the date September 11, 1870, he writes:--

     'Astir by daybreak. Camels watering; made porridge and tea. This is
     the Lord's day; help me, O Lord, to be in the spirit, and to be
     glad and rejoice in the day which Thou hast made! Several huts in
     sight. When shall I be able to speak to the people? O Lord, suggest
     by the Spirit how I should come among them, and guide me in gaining
     the language, and in preparing myself to teach the life and love of
     Christ Jesus! Oh, let me live for Christ, and feel day by day the
     blessedness of a will given up to God, and the happiness of a life
     which has its every circumstance working for my good!'

     His constant rule was to rest from all journeying, so far as
     possible, on the Sabbath. After another week's experience, on
     September 18 he thus records his impressions:--

     'Encamped just over the plain we saw at sunset last night. We are
     some distance from the real exit, but not far. This is the Lord's
     day; God help me to be in the spirit notwithstanding all
     distractions. Oh that God would give me more of His Spirit, more of
     His felt Presence, more of the spirit and power of prayer, that I
     may bring down blessings on this poor people of Mongolia! As I look
     at them and their huts I ask again and again how am I to go among
     them; in comfort and in a waggon, with all my things about me; or
     in poverty, reducing myself to their level? If I go among them
     rich, they will be continually begging, and perhaps regard me more
     as a source of gifts than anything else. If I go with nothing but
     the Gospel, there will be nothing to distract their attention from
     the unspeakable gift.

     '8.15 A.M.-3.15 P.M. Good long walk. Met camels and came upon a
     cart encampment, estimated at one hundred and seventy. Know where I
     am on the map. There is a camel encampment where we are. Two huts
     from which comes fuel. Read to-day in II Chronicles xvi. God never
     failed those who trusted in Him and appealed to Him. God was
     displeased with the King of Judah because, after the deliverance
     from the Lubims, Ethiopians, &c., he trusted to the arm of flesh to
     deliver him from the Syrians. Do we not in our day rest too much on
     the arm of flesh? Cannot the same wonders be done now as of old? Do
     not the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth,
     still to show Himself strong on behalf of those who put their trust
     in Him? Oh that God would give me more practical faith in Him!
     Where is now the Lord God of Elijah? He is waiting for Elijah to
     call on Him. God give me some of Elijah's spirit, and let my power
     be of God, and my hope from Him for the conversion of this people.

     'It is nothing to the Lord to save by many or by them that have no
     power. Help me, O God, for I rest on Thee, and in Thy name I go
     against this multitude!'

Kiachta, on the southern frontier of Siberia, was reached September 28,
1870, and there Gilmour was at once plunged into a series of troubles.
The Russian and Chinese authorities would not recognise his passport,
and he had to wait months before another could be obtained from Peking.
He found absolutely no sympathy in his work. He knew next to nothing of
the Mongol language. Yet with robust faith, with whole-hearted courage,
with a resolution that nothing could daunt, he set to work. A Scotch
trader, named Grant, was kind to him, and found accommodation for him at
his house. At first he tried the orthodox plan of getting a Mongol
teacher to visit and instruct him. Before he secured one he used to
visit such Mongols as he found in the neighbourhood, trying to acquire a
vocabulary from them, asking the names of the articles they were using,
their actions, and all such other matters as he could make them
understand. But his loneliness, his ignorance of the language, the
inaction to which he was condemned, partly by his difficulty in getting
a suitable teacher, and partly by the uncertainty as to whether the
authorities would allow him to remain, told upon his eager spirit as
week after week passed by, and he became subject to fits of severe
depression. Here is a picture of one of these early days. He had been
trying to talk with a Buriat carpenter, in a place called Kudara, not
far from Kiachta:--

     'After getting my quota of words I walked through the town. The
     main object in it is the church, a large whitewashed structure
     built by Mr. Grant's father-in-law when he was a rich man. He was
     made poor, comparatively speaking, in one night by a great fire
     which burnt up all before it. In addition to the church are some
     streets of Cossack houses, desolate enough looking, the streets
     desolate enough at best, but rendered much more so this morning by
     the snow melting in the sun, which is still high, and manages to
     thaw away all the snow that falls in places where it shines, though
     it was frost all day in the shade. Passing the town I made for the
     river, which rolled on quiet and cold. Passed through large
     orchards of apple(?) trees; doubled about, went to the extreme
     west, got on a hill, and came round home again in time for dinner
     at 4 P.M. I felt very lonely, and not having a teacher I am thrown
     idle, as it were, a great part of the day after I get my words. It
     is true I am taking notice of all I see, but it always occurs to me
     that this is not furthering the Mongolian Mission in any direct
     way. I often think of what Dr. Alexander said in his charge at my
     ordination: "_You do not go to discover new countries._" Would I
     had a teacher, that the language might go on full swing! To-day I
     felt a good deal like Elijah in the wilderness, when the reaction
     came on after his slaughter of the priests of Baal. He prayed that
     he might die. I wonder if I am telling the truth when I say that I
     felt drawn towards suicide. I take this opportunity of declaring
     strongly that on all occasions two missionaries should go together.
     I was not of this opinion a few weeks ago, but I had no idea how
     weak an individual I am. My eyes have filled with tears frequently
     these last few days in spite of myself, and I do not wonder in the
     least that Grant's brother shot himself. _Oh! the intense
     loneliness of Christ's life_, not a single one understood Him! He
     bore it. O Jesus, let me follow in Thy steps, and have in me the
     same Spirit that Thou hadst!

     'Read papers in the evening (Oct 5). So Jones of Singrauli is dead!
     I heard him in Exeter Hall, May, a year or two ago, and heard a
     good deal of him through Dr. Evans, of Chestnut College. I am
     persuaded he was a missionary among a thousand. When he returned to
     his station he found that during his absence matters had got out of
     order a good deal, and he set about putting them right. Now he is
     dead! How prodigal God seems of His workers--Hartley, Jones, both A
     1, both gone. God's ways are not ours. We would have preserved
     these two at all risk and expense, but God _takes_ them away, and
     it seems to us as if He were hurting His own cause. God knows best,
     but to _us_ it is a great mystery.'

Two days later he received a letter telling him of the death of a
brilliant young Glasgow student, and he enters in his diary comments
which received only too complete an illustration in his own subsequent
career:--

     'Another splendid student going from college to the grave. This is
     a thing of common occurrence with reference to Glasgow College,
     and, if I am not mistaken, I have seen it somewhere publicly
     commented on. Men, poor it may be, strive through college with a
     mind and determination beyond their circumstances and bodily
     strength, fight a great battle with poverty and more clever
     students, resolute to take the first place if possible, and just as
     the college is finished with them, and sending them forth to the
     field of life decorated with all the honours it can bestow, the
     fond Alma Mater has to keep on mourning and drop her tear over an
     early grave.

     'Are the young men to blame? Who can be restrained by the
     cold-blooded calculation of preserving health? "There is my
     opponent, I'll thrash him if I can; better to toil out my
     life-blood drop by drop than let it mount to my cheek as a mantle
     of shame when I find myself defeated when I might have been
     victorious." Then they conscientiously work themselves to death. If
     they did not work as hard as they do, and refrain from recreation
     as they do, they would have in their breasts the uneasy feeling
     that they have not done as much as they might have done; and what
     noble nature can be content to live under that accusation written
     against them by the supreme court in their own breasts?

     'Several times I have resolved to refrain for health's sake, but in
     a short time found such an uneasy feeling about not doing as much
     as I might, that I had to give it up and go at it. I _never_ feel
     that I have done as much as I might, and when I am doing most I
     feel best.'

Very dissatisfied with his progress, and stung one day by a remark of
Grant's to the effect that he did not seem to speak Mongolian readily,
Gilmour changed his plans. He resolved to go out upon the Plain, and
persuade some Mongol to allow him to share his tent. On December 13,
1870, he left Kiachta and journeyed out into Mongolia to the first
cluster of tents, named Olau Bourgass. There he found a friendly Mongol.
'Grant's contractor. Found him at his prayers. He motioned me to sit
down, and when his devotions were finished he gave me a warm welcome. He
lives alone in his tent, having nothing to care for but the horses for
the courier service, and a couple of lamas[2] to attend to his wants,
one of whom goes with the letters when they come. We talked, and I
learned a great deal, when at last I broke my mind to him, and was glad
to find that he received it favourably. I settled to remain there during
the night. Nothing very remarkable happened except that we were invaded
by a great blustering lama, intoxicated. He came ramping into the tent
as if he would have knocked everything down. After a time he went away
and lodged in the next hut. I went to bed about ten and slept well,
though my feet were cold towards morning.'

[2] A lama is a priest of the lama section of Buddists. More than half
the population of Mongolia are lamas.

The next three months were passed mainly in this tent. Gilmour used,
whenever possible, to return to Kiachta to spend the Sunday at Grant's
house; but by enduring the hardships and suffering all the
inconveniences of ordinary Mongol life he rapidly acquired the
colloquial, and he also made an indelible impression upon the minds and
hearts of the natives, who ever afterwards spoke of him as 'Our
Gilmour.' He saw Mongol life as it was, free from all the illusion and
romance sometimes thrown around it. He became intimately acquainted with
the various Mongol types, and he began to enter into the native habits
of thought. His diary contains many a scene like the following:--

     'I gave the lama a book on Saturday, and when I came back on
     Tuesday I found he had read it through twice. He set upon me with
     questions, getting me to admit premises, and then reasoned from
     them. Christ being at the right hand of God was a great point with
     him. If God has no form, how can anyone be at His right hand? Then,
     again, if God is everywhere, Christ is everywhere right and left of
     God, and how can that be?

     'The omnipresence was a staggerer. Was God in that pot, in the
     tent, in his boot? Did he tread upon God? Then was God inside the
     kettle? Did the hot tea not scald Him? Again, if God was inside the
     kettle, the kettle was living! And so he held it up to the laughing
     circle as a new species of animal. I asked him if a fly were inside
     the kettle, would the kettle be alive? "No," he said; "but a fly
     does not fill the space as God must do." "Well, then," said I, "is
     my coat alive because I fill it?" This settled the question.'

In March 1871 he visited Selenginsk and Onagen Dome, the scene of the
labours of Stallybrass and Swan from 1817 to 1841, and then he took a
run into Siberia, crossing Lake Baikal and visiting Irkutsk. At the
latter place he reviews the past few months:--

     'Another week has passed over my head with many hopes and fears.
     This day, a week ago, I was nearing Ana in doubt as to many things;
     now I am in Irkutsk, having my path marked with mercies. In many
     points of my journey I expected difficulties which might have
     stopped me short in my path, but all these have disappeared, and I
     am here, having succeeded beyond expectations. One thing is not
     right: my readiness to forget the ways in which God has helped me.
     Sometimes for weeks and months I look forward to some crisis which
     is coming; it comes off well, and in two days I am as if I had
     forgotten that to which I had looked forward with so much
     apprehension. In this manner I am not only guilty of ingratitude,
     but lose much joy and strength of faith and hope. What should make
     me more happy than the thought of the helps and deliverances that
     God has vouchsafed me; and in troubles present and to come, what
     can give me more faith and courage than to remember that out of
     such troubles I was delivered before?

     'One thing I sometimes think of. I left Britain with no intention
     of travelling; I expected to settle down quietly and confine myself
     to a circle I could impress. This plan has been completely changed
     and overruled. Two months have I been in Peking; two weeks have I
     been in Kalgan; a month have I been in the desert; a month have I
     been in Kudara, a small Russian frontier military post; a month and
     a half have I been in Kiachta; two months have I been in Mongolia;
     and now two weeks have I been travelling in Russia. A year and a
     month have elapsed since I left home, and during that time I have
     been walking to and fro on the face of the earth, and going up and
     down in it. In this way I have not found my life at all dull, but
     very stirring. Indeed, many people would have left home to travel
     as I have done. I sought it not; it came, and I took it. So as yet
     I have no hardships to complain of. To see the places and things I
     have seen--Liverpool, Wales, Rock of Lisbon, Gibraltar, Malta,
     Egypt, Port Said, Canal, Suez, Red Sea, Cape Gardafui, Indian
     Ocean, Penang, Straits of Malacca, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai,
     Tientsin, Peking, Kalgan, Desert, Urga, Kiachta, Russia, Baikal,
     Irkutsk--only even to see these, men will make long journeys. I
     have seen them all without seeking them, with the exception of
     Baikal and Irkutsk. These are all by the way, and I dwell upon them
     as proofs that God, in sending His servants from home and kindred,
     often gives them pleasure and worldly enjoyment on the way, which
     He does not promise, and which they have no right to expect.'

After another but briefer sojourn at Olau Bourgass he set out on his
return journey, visited Urga, then crossed the great plain on horseback
in the course of fourteen days, and reached Kalgan on June 11. After a
rest there he made two excursions into Mongolia, visiting Lama Miao,
one of the great Mongol religious centres, in the first; and occupying
some weeks with a further spell of Mongol tent life during the second.

His diary, under date of September 22, 1871, while he was resting at
Kalgan, thus sums up his experiences:--

     'I desire to-day to look back on the way by which the Lord has led
     me for the last year. In September 1870 I was looking out eagerly,
     anxiously for someone who was going to Russia, that I might go with
     him. I could find no one. I made it a subject of prayer, and at
     last, when I was on my knees, in came McCoy to tell me of a Russian
     who was going up without delay. I saw the Russian, and arranged to
     go, and started. "While they are speaking I will answer them."

     'On the journey between Peking and Kalgan I was alone, I may say,
     and could speak little Chinese, yet I got on very well; and though
     my money was in a box on the back of a donkey, yet it came in all
     safe, none lost. In Kalgan I had difficulty at first about finding
     camels, but at length the Russian postmaster turned out to be going
     home. The time when was uncertain, quite; his departure depended on
     the coming of his successor. I prayed about this, and one day was
     informed that the successor had arrived much sooner than was
     expected, and that we were to start in a day or two. We did start,
     and after a prosperous journey arrived safely at Kiachta.

     'There I found Grant and Hegemann, two Englishmen. I went to live
     in Grant's country house at Kudara. A difficulty arose about a
     teacher. I prayed about this, and strolling along came upon a tent
     in which was a man who was out of employment, and he being
     educated, I engaged him to be my teacher. In Kiachta, after some
     delay, I got a teacher, but not to my satisfaction. After I had
     been with him a time Grant remarked one day that I did not seem to
     be making much progress in the language. This stung me to the
     quick, and made me go down into Mongolia. Here I was directed to
     the tent of Grant's contractor, and with him I made arrangements to
     live. I thank God for not permitting me to get a good teacher in
     Kiachta. Had I got a good teacher there, I would simply have
     remained there, and I am sure would not have learned half as much
     of the language as I did in the tent at Mongolia, would have got
     none of the insight I gained into the style of Mongolian life, and
     would not have got the introduction I had there to numerous
     Mongols. At the time I was immensely chagrined that I could not get
     a proper teacher, but now, after the lapse of only a few months, I
     can see good reason for thanking God for leading me by that way.
     This should teach me to trust God more than I do when things seem
     to thwart my purpose.

     'Again, I was under a great disappointment about the delay that
     occurred in the sending of my passport from Peking. In consequence
     of its not coming I was unable to go to Urga with Lobsung and
     Sherrub in February. I felt it much at the time, but some months
     after (in June) I learned that these men with whom I wanted to go
     suffered excessively on the road; so much so that, had I gone with
     them, I might have got my feet frozen and died with the cold. Here
     again I have to praise God for not giving me my own way.

                      "Thy way, not mine, O Lord;
                         However dark it be."

     'Then, again, I had long desired to visit the scene of the former
     Siberian Mission, and through the mercy of Providence I was
     permitted to do this. My journey back through the desert also was
     marked by mercies. Truly I may stand and say,

                      "When all Thy mercies, O my God,
                        My rising soul surveys,
                      Transported with the view, I'm lost
                        In wonder, love, and praise."'



After his wanderings even Kalgan was a haven of rest, and he had secured
there a base of operations. 'Now,' he writes, 'that I have got my study
window pasted up, and a nice little stove set going, it seems so
comfortable that it would be snug to stay where I am. But comfort is not
the missionary's rule. My object in going into Mongolia at this time is
to have an opportunity of reviewing and extending my knowledge of the
colloquial, which has become a little rusty consequent upon its disuse
to a great extent while here, trying to get up the written.'

All who are even superficially acquainted with Chinese matters know how
difficult it is to acquire the colloquial, and still more the written
language. Mongolian is not nearly so difficult, but it presents a task
needing vigour of intellect and strength of will. Both of these Gilmour
possessed in a measure far above the average.

'In the written,' he states on October 7, 1871, 'I am still far from at
home. Most of the Bible I can read slowly and at sight. Many words I can
write. I think I could write a bad letter myself alone. The other day I
did so. My teacher said it was well written, and said also he rejoiced
in the progress of his scholar; but I put this down to mere politeness.'

During this visit he stayed in the tent of a Mongol named Mahabul, who
lived there with his wife and an only son, a lama. They were all much
addicted to the use of whisky.

     '_October 14, '71._--To-day rose before the sun, read words, wrote
     at the account of my journey from Urga, went to the mountain for
     devotion, revisited the silver worker, who is making the bride's
     ornaments, dined, visited the Norying's lama son, who fell from a
     horse and broke his leg, had tea, and went to visit tents a mile or
     two to the south. There found, as master of the tent, a blackman (a
     layman) I had seen before, and as visitor a lama I had left in
     Mahabul's tent when I went out. From one thing to another we got to
     speak of God and His book. At last they asked me to read them a
     portion. I read in English a few verses, and then gave them the
     parable of the Prodigal Son in Mongol colloquial. I also gave them
     a specimen of a sermon, and explained shortly the nature of God,
     when they all seemed pleased. The lama finished up the thing by
     saying, "Your outward appearance differs from us, but inwardly you
     agree with us." Coming home I felt amply repaid for all the
     uncomfort and solitude, and leading a Mongol life, by the
     comparative ease with which I can converse with them, and the
     manner in which they wonder at my proficiency in the colloquial.'

In his official report he rapidly summarises the achievements of the
last nine months:--

     'By the middle of February I had a limited knowledge of the
     colloquial, picked up from listening to and joining in the
     conversation going on among the inmates of the tent at Olau
     Bourgass, and those with the numerous visitors who took occasion to
     call on my lama, who was rather a famous man. At the end of
     February the lama returned south to Urga, and I went back into
     Russia, and got a Buriat teacher. This individual, however, turned
     out so incredibly lazy, and I felt so dull alone in my large
     comfortable rooms, after the friendly bustle and crowd of the
     little tent, with its cheery fire, that I could not stand it. So I
     got my teacher and myself into a tarantass, and went off to visit
     the scenes of the former mission in Siberia. My teacher proved very
     useful. He spoke Russian very well, I spoke Mongolian to him, and
     thus we travelled, the doubtful wonder of all Russians, who could
     not understand how a man not born a Buriat could get acquainted
     with that language, and yet know no Russian. After visiting the
     converts, partly for the sake of diverting the curious eyes of the
     Russians from the great aim of my journey and partly in the
     traveller's spirit, I turned westward and crossed the Baikal on the
     ice, and remained a few days in the capital of Siberia, Irkutsk. On
     returning to Kiachta I found another teacher, and went out for
     another month into Mongolia and tent life. All the while that I was
     in Mongolia I used to return to Kiachta once a week, usually on
     Saturday, and abide in the land of habitations till Monday.

     'Early in May I started for the south. I had intended to remain
     over the summer in Urga, but unexpected difficulties turned up, and
     led me to decide on going down to Kalgan at once. From Urga to
     Kalgan (600 miles) was done on horseback, accompanied by a single
     Mongol; and as we carried no luggage, we had to depend on the
     hospitality of the Mongols for lodging and cooking, or, as they
     call the latter, "pot and ladle."

     'In this way I saw a very great deal of tent life during the twelve
     or thirteen days the ride lasted. I got into Kalgan just two days
     before the rainy season came on (June 15), and having, after
     difficulty, secured a teacher, passed the summer in Kalgan studying
     the book language and practising writing. In October I went up
     again to the grassland and spent some weeks revising my knowledge
     of the colloquial and observing the difference between the northern
     and southern manner of speaking. I finally left Mongolia in a
     furious storm on the morning of November 1, and re-entered Peking
     November 9.'

Gilmour on his return was naturally an object of great interest to all
the missionary and to some of the official community. He soon settled
down to the study of Chinese, and to such mission work as he could
usefully engage in during the winter at Peking. A letter to the writer,
under date of January 21, 1872, enables us to realise somewhat the life
of this period:--

     'My dear Lovett,--Though I acknowledged receipt of your last
     welcome epistle, I am aware I owe you a return, and here it is ...
     I have thought that perhaps an account of how a Sabbath goes in
     Peking might not be uninteresting, and I'll just confine myself to
     to-day. Well, this morning, on getting up, I found my stove was
     out. This is a very unusual thing, but it just happens once, say,
     in three weeks. The thermometer was about 5°. The first thing after
     getting dressed was not to call my servant, as you might suppose,
     but to go in quest of letters. A mail had come in the night before,
     but I had returned home too late last night to see it. So I went
     over to Dr. Dudgeon's house before he was up, prowled about till I
     found the mail, but there was nothing for me. I returned to my cold
     room, and was there till the breakfast-bell rang. I board with
     Edkins, and to go there is a pleasant break in the monotony.

     'On coming back to my quarters I found the room full of smoke,
     doors and windows open, my boy on his knees fussing about the
     stove, and saying, _Moo too poo shing_--"the wood won't do." I saw
     at once that that would not do for me, so I buttoned up my coat and
     went out on to the great street for a walk. The street on which we
     live, the Ha Ta Mun (great street), runs north and south, and a
     cold wind was blowing down the road, carrying clouds of dust with
     it. Through the dust, however, were visible the paraphernalia of
     two funerals, one going north, the other going south. They met just
     opposite our place. That going south was much the grander of the
     two, and had a long procession of people carrying emblematical
     devices, honorific umbrellas, drums, gongs, and musical
     instruments. Ever and anon a man took quantities of paper discs
     with square holes cut in the centre and scattered them to the north
     wind. The papers are supposed to represent cash, and were scrambled
     for eagerly by the urchins, though they could be valuable only as
     waste paper. In the procession also was carried the chair in which
     the deceased used to ride, his mule cart also figured conspicuous,
     and then came the mourners.

     'As you know, mourning garb in China is _white_, and I noticed that
     some of the mourners had adopted a neat device. All Chinamen who
     can afford to be warm in winter wear robes lined inside with fur. A
     rich robe is lined with fine material, but the common thing is
     white lambskin. Well, these fellows simply become turn-coats for
     the time, and put on their fur robes inside out, and thus were in
     the fashion. The coffin itself was laid in a magnificent bier
     towering high, surmounted by a gilt top piece, hung with silks, and
     borne by forty-eight bearers.

     'Of course everything has to make way for the funeral. The Peking
     streets are very wide, and at the same time very narrow. In the
     centre and high up is a cart road with an up and a down line, along
     the sides of this are ditches and holes, beyond these ditches and
     holes is another way more or less passable, and beyond that again
     the shops. The funeral procession took the crown of the road, crept
     along at its snail's pace, while the traffic took to the side
     roads.

     'After a good long walk among stalls and wheelbarrows I got back to
     my abode, found a good fire, and that it was high time to go to the
     Chinese service. I don't understand all I hear, but I understand
     some, and make a point of hearing one and sometimes two Chinese
     sermons on the Sabbath. An old Chinaman was preaching, and I could
     see from the manner of the congregation that he was securing the
     fixed attention of his hearers. Before the sermon was ended there
     was a bustle at the door, and in came three Mongols with my Chinese
     card. They were asked to wait till the service was concluded, then
     I took them to my quarters and had some conversation with them. One
     of them had come for the doctor, and wished to get cured of so
     prosaic a disease as the itch.

     'Before I was finished with them, my servant came to say that
     another Mongol had called for me and was waiting for me in
     Edkins's. When I went over I found an old Mongol, a blackman,
     fifty-eight years of age. This layman was named Amäsa, and has been
     in the habit of paying Mr. Edkins visits every winter when he comes
     down to Peking. Last year he did not come, and we were concluding
     that he had died. Of course we were glad to see him. I got him into
     my room and we had quite an afternoon of it. The old man knew a
     good deal about Christianity, and I gave him what additional
     instruction I could. Of all the Mongols I have seen he is, perhaps,
     the most ready to receive instruction.

     'It was quite late in the afternoon before he left, and I had just
     time to take a walk at sunset and be back in time for dinner.
     Immediately after that the people began to assemble for evening
     service. This is held every Sabbath evening in Mr. Edkins's
     parlour. Upwards of twenty usually compose the congregation. The
     missionaries take the service in turn. After service the mass of
     the congregation separated, but one man came with me to my room,
     and there we sat talking till midnight, when my visitor rose to
     depart.

     'There, you see, I have given you the history of one Sabbath in
     Peking. It is a pretty fair sample of what goes on here very
     frequently. However, when I find myself free on the afternoon I
     accompany Mr. Edkins to some one of the two chapels, which are in
     distant parts of the city. I do not go so much to hear him preach
     as to have his conversation on the way there and back, and, as you
     may suppose, we sometimes stumble upon an argument, and this makes
     it quite lively.'

The self-denying and arduous labours of his first sojourn in Mongolia
had given to James Gilmour a knowledge of the language and an
acquaintance with the nomadic Mongols of the Plain far in excess of that
possessed by any other European. But even then, as also at a later date,
the question was raised whether more fruitful work might not be done
among the agricultural Mongols inhabiting the country to the north-east
of Peking. Hence, on April 16, 1872, he started on his first journey
through the district in which in later years the closing labours of his
life were to be accomplished. He spent thirty-seven days in this
preliminary tour, and travelled about 1,000 miles.

Gilmour's first estimate of this region as a field of missionary
enterprise, expressed on April 25, 1872, remained true to the end, even
though in later years the exceptional difficulties of work among the
nomads induced him at last, as we shall see, to settle among the
agricultural Mongols:--

     'Though I saw a good many Mongol houses, yet I must say, I do not
     feel much drawn to them in preference to the nomad Mongols. The
     only possible recommendation I can think of is that, coming among
     them, I might go and put up for some days at a time in a Chinese
     inn. This would save me from great trouble in getting
     introductions, and it might be less expensive. The great objection
     I have to them is that, though a mission were established among
     them, it would be more a mission in China than anywhere else. The
     Mongols in these agricultural villages speak Chinese to a man, and
     I cannot help feeling that, since there are so many missionaries in
     Peking speaking the Chinese language, these Mongols fall to them,
     and not to me.'

Soon after his return from this trip into Eastern Mongolia, Mr. Gilmour
sent home an elaborate report upon the conditions and prospects of the
Mongol Mission. He deals with the whole question of the work, showing
why, in his opinion, the _agricultural_ Mongols should be evangelised by
Chinese missionaries. Mr. Edkins and others thought that Gilmour should
undertake that labour, but after having seen more than any missionary of
both regions and classes of Mongols, on the ground that he was the man
'who had to go and begin,' he decided for the Plain.

Even at this early date Mr. Gilmour urged repeatedly and strenuously
upon the Directors the pressing need he felt for a colleague. And thus
early began the long series of seeming fatalities that prevented him
from ever receiving this joy and strength. Partly from the needs of the
Peking Mission, and partly from respect to a notion which the American
Board of Foreign Missions had that their occupancy of Kalgan, on the
extreme southern limit, constituted _all_ Mongolia into one of their
fields of work, the Rev. S. E. Meech, Mr. Gilmour's old college friend,
who had been designated as his first colleague, was stationed at Peking.
With reference to this, in closing the report above referred to, Gilmour
wrote:--

     'Mr. Meech's perversion from Mongolia to China is much to be
     deplored. I think it would be wrong in me not to inform you of the
     true state of matters, and to remind you that it is little short of
     nonsense to speak of reopening the Mongolian Mission so long as
     there is only one man in the field. I am fully aware of the
     difficulty of finding suitable men, and most fully sympathise with
     you, but don't let us delude ourselves with the idea of Mongol
     Mission work progressing till another man or two come and put their
     shoulder to the wheel. All that I can do I am quite willing to do,
     but my own progress is most seriously hampered because I am alone.'

His whole subsequent life is evidence of the splendid way in which
Gilmour justified these words, yet perhaps no legitimate blame can be
laid at the door of the Directors of the London Missionary Society. Both
the friends and the critics of missions are sometimes more ready to
tabulate converts than to ponder and estimate aright the difficulties
and drawbacks of the work. But in any estimate of the comparative
success and failure of the Mongol Mission it should be borne in mind
that Gilmour never really had a colleague. He never even had a companion
for his work on the Plain, except his heroic and devoted wife. And in
later years circumstances over which the Directors could exercise little
or no control successively deprived him of the fellowship, after a very
brief experience, of Dr. Roberts and Dr. Smith.

In the summer of this year, in the company of Mr. Edkins, he visited the
sacred city of Woo T'ai Shan, a famous place of Mongol pilgrimage.

An amusing illustration of his well-known love of argument occurred on
this trip. In Mr. Edkins he found a foeman in all respects worthy of
his dialectic steel. Chinese mules will only travel in single file, even
where the roads are wide enough to allow of their travelling abreast,
and as Gilmour's went in front of that ridden by Mr. Edkins, he used to
ride with his face to the tail of his beast, and thus the more readily
and continuously conduct the argument then engaging their attention.

In November he tried the experiment of living at the Yellow Temple in
Peking during the winter, in order that he might meet and converse with
the numerous Mongols who visit the capital every year. Here he not only
made new friends, but he also frequently renewed acquaintance with those
he had met on the Plain. These visited him in his compound, and were
occasionally a weariness and vexation to him, inasmuch as they very
frequently severely tried his patience, without affording him the
comfort of knowing that the good tidings of the 'Jesus book' were
finding an entrance into their dark minds and hard hearts.

In a letter to an intimate college friend, the Rev. T. T. Matthews of
Madagascar, which he wrote, November 21, 1872, he vividly describes this
part of his work, giving some of his typical experiences:--

     'I am writing in the Yellow Temple, about a mile and a half from
     Peking, and three or four miles from our mission premises. I have
     rented a room, brought my Chinaman servant, and live as a Chinaman,
     all but the clothes and the paganism. The reason of all this is
     that near here, and in this temple, numerous Mongols put up when
     they come from Mongolia to Peking. Our premises being three or four
     miles away, and in a busy part of the town, the Mongols can't
     easily find our place; so if they can't come to me I just go to
     them. I came here yesterday, and can't tell yet how I may get on.
     Mongols are shy in Peking, and even out here a little difficult of
     access; but I must do what I can, and have patience.

     'Just now a company of eight or ten have arrived and put up, three
     or four of them in the same court with me, the others in a place
     close by. These are likely enough to come to see me; of course I'll
     go and see them. You in Madagascar, I suppose, can't realise what
     it is to be a missionary to a people whom you can't approach
     without difficulty. Here the difficulty does not end; those I can
     catch don't care one straw for Christianity. They have a system
     which quite satisfies them, and what more do they want? Such is
     their feeling, so you see I have got quite plenty to do; a hard
     enough task, even the human part of it. But don't mistake, I am not
     bewailing my lot, for that I have neither time nor inclination; I
     am only telling you about my state.

     'I don't believe much in people talking about what they mean to do
     in the future, but perhaps you will permit me to say that I would
     like to start for Mongolia again in February or March. I have got a
     sheepskin coat, so need not fear the cold. I perhaps may take with
     me a stock of made-up medicines for specific diseases which are
     common, and this may make an introduction in some cases at least.
     Dr. Dudgeon has on our premises in Peking a hospital well attended
     by Chinamen, and I go there sometimes and see how he doses them.

     'Now let me tell you a little about the inner life of Mongols.
     People travelling through Mongolia wake up in the morning as their
     camel-cart passes some rural encampment; they rub their eyes and
     say, "How pleasant it would be to live in Mongolia like these
     Mongols, free from care and the anxiety of busy life. They have
     only their sheep, &c., to look after." This reflection is
     accompanied with a sigh when they reflect on their own hard lot.
     Now the fact of the matter is, these travellers know nothing about
     it. They may print as much as they like about the pastoral felicity
     of the simplicity of Mongol life; it is all humbug. Last night, two
     Mongols whom I know well, a petty chief named "Myriad Joy" and his
     scribe named "Mahabul" (I can't translate this last), came into my
     room, and we had a tea-spree there and then. The two have been for
     fifteen days in Peking on Government duty, and last night their
     business was finished, and they were to mount their camels and head
     north this morning. The chief gets from Peking about 30_l._ a year,
     the scribe about 4_l._; and when they come thus on duty their
     allowances, though small, enable them to make a little over and
     above their salaries. The chief can stand no small amount of
     Chinese whisky. I suspect he is deep in debt, and am sure that he
     could pay his debt two or three times over if he only had the money
     it took to paint his nose. The scribe was one of my teachers in
     Mongolia. I lived in his house some time, and know only too well
     about his affairs. He is hopelessly in debt. He had a large family
     once, but now they are all dead except one married daughter and one
     lama son about seventeen years of age, and good for nothing. His
     "old woman," as the Mongol idiom has it, is still alive, and fond
     of whisky, like her husband. If they had only been teetotalers they
     might have now been comfortable; such, at least, is my impression.
     I shall say nothing about what I saw in his tent, and confine
     myself to last night and this morning.

     'Drinking my tea last night, Mahabul (the scribe) says to me: "My
     chief here won't lend me nine shillings to buy a sheepskin coat for
     my old woman, therefore she must be frozen to death in the winter;
     my chief won't lend _me_ anything, other people he lends." The
     chief said nothing for a while; but the scribe went on harping on
     this string, till at last the chief launched out right and left on
     his scribe, shouting loud enough for all the compound to hear. The
     scribe took it coolly, and stopped him, saying: "Enough, enough; it
     is past, it is past; my old woman can die, all die; no matter."
     This did not soothe the irate chief at all, and a minute or two
     later a furious quarrel broke out between them about something
     else. The storm raged a long time, and in my room too, while they
     were my guests! After some time the scribe left the room to attend
     to the camels, when the chief confided to me his opinion of his
     scribe. Later the chief left the room, and the scribe confided to
     me his opinion of his chief; and I must say that the two seemed
     well matched, with very little to choose between. The freedom with
     which they spoke of each other was partly to be accounted for by
     the fact that both were more or less drunk.

     'The chief squared up his accounts with the people about here, and
     showed me in the scribe's absence a small parcel of silver which he
     had reserved for use on the road. He showed it me under strict
     injunctions not to tell the scribe. The scribe had more difficulty
     in squaring up _his_ account. The last item that stuck in his
     throat was a little bill his son had left. This son had started a
     day or two before, and of course the father was responsible for the
     debt. How he was to pay it he did not know, as he had not a single
     cash about him. The Chinaman of the place threatened to detain him,
     and the scribe laughed a bitter laugh at the idea. After a great
     row they went off to sleep.

     'This morning early the scribe was at me before I was dressed. It
     was the small debt again. The Chinaman knew better than to seize
     the man; that would not have paid; he seized his coat, and actually
     was detaining that as ransom for a sum equal to fourpence English!
     He made a direct appeal to me to pay it, and of course I did it;
     though I was a little disgusted with the man's meanness, as I had
     given him a present of money amounting to about 1_l._ a few days
     before. This son of his is a great eyesore to me. He is a young
     lama, about as wicked a boy as I know. His brothers died of
     consumption, and this fact enables him to do anything he likes with
     his parents. If they refuse anything, he has only to feign
     sickness, and they are in a huge state over him. He is a thoroughly
     bad lad. Will not work, will not study, will do nothing but make
     trouble and expense for his parents. Just fancy! His father and
     mother are poor as church mice; and when his father was coming to
     Peking the boy must beg to come too, and the father like a fool
     must take him, and be at great expense for travelling, &c. One
     thing made me furious. Out of the money I gave him he spent about
     4_s._ or more buying his good-for-nothing son an elegant
     snuff-bottle. In short, the man's folly makes it utterly useless to
     help him. I once before relieved him from threatened detention for
     debt for the amount of twopence-halfpenny, just after I had made
     him a present, and I expect perhaps to have to do so again. What
     astonishes me is that the Mongols _can_ get into debt so far. I
     don't believe my Mongol can pass a single man he knows without
     being in danger of being dunned for some hopeless debt or other.
     And yet his debt does not seem to distress him. He is most
     distressed because people will not lend him more money.

     'The last of the chiefs was rather rich. He is (he says) to have a
     profitable piece of Government work in hand in spring, and on the
     strength of that wanted me to lend him now a shoe of silver, about
     15_l._, to be repaid to me in spring. Of course I did not. He then,
     though my guest, kept on saying, "Heart small, heart small," which
     pretty much amounts to saying, "Coward, coward." He finally took
     revenge by offering to lend _me_ a shoe of silver in spring, but
     of course I declined. A pretty pair they are! If what they say be
     true, in spring they may make a good thing of it; but this has
     happened to the scribe before, and in two months after he was as
     poor as ever. In short, they are foolish and thriftless.

     'While I have been writing this letter I have overheard my Chinese
     servant saying, in reply to a question from a Chinaman, "There is
     such a thing as a preaching letter: you can preach by a letter." So
     I am going now to preach. Don't get weary; stick to it. Don't be
     lazy, but don't be in a hurry. Slow but sure; stick to it. We have
     no great effort to make, but rather to stick to it patiently. "_No
     good work is lost_," Sir William Thomson used to say in his
     philosophy class, and it is eminently true in our case. (I wish
     these Chinamen would hold their tongue.) All our good work will be
     found, there is no doubt about that. All I am afraid of is that our
     good work will amount to little when it is found. (These Chinamen
     are a bore.) I sometimes think that if all we say be true, as it
     is, that men at last shall stand before God--and we shall see them
     after they know that all we say is true--and they will pitch into
     us for not pitching into them more savagely; for not, in fact,
     taking them by the "cuff" of the neck and dragging them into the
     kingdom of God. I speak now of our countrymen and foreigners. As
     regards heathen, they too shall stand revealed; and their mud gods
     also, and rotten superstitions, shall stand revealed: how then
     shall we feel when they shall look at us and blame us for not
     waking them up more vigorously? An infidel has said that if he
     could believe that men's future state depended at all upon what was
     done in this life, he would let nothing hinder him from being up
     and at men. He would be content to be counted a madman--anything,
     if only he could do anything to make men's state better in the
     world to come. (I wish these Chinamen would shut up; I came here to
     meet Mongols, and I am like to be flooded out by Chinamen whose
     language I only half understand.)

     'Now, _we believe_: how much do we do? Are there not some men whom
     we might stir up who now escape? Could we do more? Are not souls
     valuable enough for us to face anything if only we can save some?
     Let us look to the end, or rather let us look at the present. In
     the room in which I now write (the Chinamen have gone) is Jesus,
     where you read this is Jesus: He stands and looks to us. He has
     given up the clean heaven, and walked here and lived among dirt and
     poverty, in solitude, misunderstood, without one intelligent
     friend; He has borne the scorn of men, He has been put to the
     horrible and shameful death of the cross, _all to save us_ and
     others. We trust Him, He saves us; and all He asks is that we
     should tell men about what He has done; and is there one man we
     meet to whom we shall not speak? shall Christ look to us in vain to
     declare simply what He has done? Perish the thought! Whatever may
     be between us and speaking to men, let us go through it. If it be a
     foreign language, remember Christ lived thirty years in
     preparation. If it be hardship, cold, poor food, scorn, slight,
     deaf ears--never mind, go ahead. Christ looks to us to go ahead, or
     _come_ ahead, for He has gone through it all. Trouble, hardship,
     trial, suffering,--all will soon pass and be done. And is there a
     trouble or hardship we have yet surmounted for Christ's sake that
     does not seem sweet to look back on? Then, come what likes, let us
     face it; or, if we be overwhelmed, let us be overwhelmed with
     undaunted faces looking in the right direction. By the mercy of God
     may we be saved; and if saved how splendid it will be--no trouble,
     no trial, no indigestible beef and brick-tea: everything _better
     than_ we could wish it, and complete joy.

     'All this is not imagination or rhetoric, but _really before_ us;
     so, by the strength which Christ gives, let us go on to it. Pray
     for me. I pray for you; and if we don't meet on earth, you know
     the trysting-place, "_the right-hand side_."'

It can readily be seen that, under conditions of the kind sketched in
this letter, time was not likely to hang heavily on his hands.
Interviews like the following were held from time to time, and were not
only encouraging and hopeful but reacted strongly upon his own heart and
brain:--

     'This afternoon (Sabbath, November 24), I met Toobshing Baier in
     the dispensary of the London Mission Hospital. At first I could not
     remember the man. The face I knew. After a time his name came out
     without, I flatter myself, his perceiving that I was fishing for
     it. He was most anxious to see the doctor's medical instruments and
     appliances. After he had seen quite a number of these, he came to
     my room, and we sat down for a talk which lasted nearly from 5 to 7
     o'clock. He began by reading a part of the rough draft of the new
     translation of St. Matthew in Mongolian, which happened to be lying
     on my table. He suggested that in place of "prophet," a word which
     has been transferred bodily, we should use _juoug beelikty_. He
     also remarked that our translation of "the foal of an ass" was not
     the thing, and gave the word he thought was right. He was
     accompanied by a young lama, who agreed with him in this
     suggestion. The lama seemed well up, read Mongolian as easily as
     Toobshing himself, and when Toobshing gave the Thibetan word for
     _juoug beelikty_, the lama looked over his shoulder, spied a book
     on a shelf, took it, found the place at once, and showed me the
     Thibetan and Mongolian side by side.

     'Shortly after this Toobshing set himself up and proposed questions
     and cases such as:

     '"Is hell eternal?

     '"Are all the heathen who have not heard the Gospel damned?

     '"If a man lives without sin, is he damned?

     '"If a man disregards Christ, but worships a supreme God in an
     indefinite way, is he saved or not?

     '"How can Christ save a man?

     '"If a man prays to Christ to save him morn and even, but goes on
     sinning meantime, how about him?

     '"If a man prays for a thing, does he get it?

     '"Do your unbelieving countrymen in England all go to hell?

     '"Are there prophets now?

     '"Is a new-born child a sinner?

     '"Is one man then punished for another's fault?

     '"Has anybody died, gone to heaven or hell, and come back to
     report? [A Mongol has!]

     '"Did Buddha live?" and so forth.

     '[Answer, He lived, but did not do what is now said of him.]

     '"If so, how do you know that the account of Christ is not made up
     in the same way? Could not the disciples conspire to make the
     Gospels?

     'To these and all other questions I endeavoured to give proper
     answers; and this, our most delightful and profitable talk, lasted
     till there was just time for me to snatch a hasty meal before the
     usual service at 7.30 P.M.'

Discussions of this nature were calculated to deepen thought and to
promote heart-searching on the part of the Christian worker. They also
illustrate some of the special difficulties which missionaries in China
and India have to meet. With an elaborate religious ritual and
literature, both Buddhist and Hindu can often, and do often, object
against Christianity many of those, sometimes obvious, sometimes
subtle, difficulties which the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone can remove,
and which it removes by sanctifying and dominating the heart.

In February 1873 Gilmour visited Tientsin for the first time since he
passed through it on his arrival in China. Here he took part in several
readings, temperance meetings, and religious services. At one of the
readings:--

     'One joke happened. I was asked to give a recitation at a penny
     reading for sailors. The piece was "The Execution of Montrose." I
     got up in tragic style, said,

                      "Come hither, Evan Cameron,"

     with the appropriate beckoning action, when a sailor in the middle
     of the audience responded to the call, pressed his way out of the
     passage, and was making for the platform. I could not stand this,
     so I uttered a yell, and rushed off to hide myself, and it was some
     time before the audience and speaker could compose themselves for a
     fresh start Next day we were told that the unfortunate sailor was
     beckoned to come hither from all parts of the ship.'



CHAPTER IV

THE FIRST CAMPAIGN IN MONGOLIA


In 1873 Gilmour resumed his visits to the Plain and on March 15 he was
at Kalgan, writing, 'No appearance of getting away to the north. I
promenade daily the streets and accost Mongols, but with no success as
to getting camels, or even a horse to hire as far as Mahabul's. A day or
two later Mahabul arrived in Kalgan on his way to Peking, and by his aid
Gilmour secured two camels, and on March 24 he started north, reaching
Mahabul's tent on the 28th. He at once endeavoured to secure the
services of a Mongol named Lojing, and the usual series of delays and
vexations occurred.

     'To-day (March 29) I got impatient and went for a walk. Came back,
     and Lojing came and said he would go. Felt relieved; he wants me to
     come back this way, and I consent, though I would rather not. He
     came back in the afternoon, saying that he could not get off his
     engagement to read prayers with some other lama for Gichik's
     soul,[3] so that we cannot start before Thursday at noon. Mahabul's
     wife gave him some whisky, and he went to the officers and got
     drunk. He waited for a camel which was offered for sale. The camel
     came when I was out. He was drunk, did not watch it, so it drifted
     away before the storm. A boy on horseback was sent after it. When
     it came it was a perfect object, yet they asked twenty taels for
     it. He is to go after a camel to-morrow. He was so drunk that,
     remembering Gichik's fate, I am uneasy to think of his riding my
     tall camel. O Lord, give me patience!'

[3] The son of the chief referred to on page 80, who had recently been
killed by a fall from his horse.

This and the three subsequent journeys over the Plain, made in the
course of 1873, were full of incident illustrative of the difficulties
of the work, the peculiarities of the people, and the restless energy
and indomitable perseverance of the missionary. But the limitations of
space forbid us to linger; we extract a few notes from the diary. It was
on the second of these journeys, while at Lama Miao, that he witnessed
the 'Mirth of Hell,' as he calls it, described in _Among the Mongols_,
Chapter XI.

     '_April 19, 1873._--To-day had more provocation from my Mongol, and
     my earnest prayer is that I may be able to stand it all, and not
     get soured in temper and feeling against the Mongols. I must have
     patience. Some knowledge of camel's flesh also would help me not a
     little. As it stands, I feel an incompetent "duffer."'

     '_May 6._--Travelled parallel to the road in a stupid manner over
     hill and dale, because Lojing chose to consider it a nearer way.
     The way was no nearer at all and much more steep. At last got to a
     lot of tents down in a hollow, called the "Great Water" (_Ihha
     Osso_). Had quite a lot of people. One lama the most provoking
     child (25 years old) I think I ever met. He was a perfect nuisance;
     even the tone of his voice I could not abide. This individual came
     to my tent even after I was down in bed. I was glad he was done for
     once. Next morning he was in my tent before I was up, remarking,
     "What a great sleeper you are!' Last night he had remarked, "How
     early you go to bed!" I am afraid he is the most empty, poor fellow
     I have known.'

     '_May 13._--To-day also occurred another of my lama's conspicuous
     stupidities; after asking the road to a set of tents where dwelt
     friends of his own, he suddenly left the road and began the ascent
     of a steep hill. I asked where he was going. He said to the tents.
     I followed some distance, and then from the convergence of paths
     judged that there was no pass where he was going, and accordingly
     shouted to him to stop. Stop he did, and also looked thunder. I
     asked him, "Have you travelled this way before?" "No," said he.
     "Come this way, and follow the road." "You go that road," said he,
     "I go this road." "Nothing of the kind," said I. "You come here,
     and we'll get to tents." He came; but then and there began one of
     his intolerable tirades against me, saying how disobedient I was,
     and that _this was his own native place_, he knew. What a bad man I
     was! He had hardly finished his fury when lo, behold, close before
     us, right in our path, the very tents we were looking for! He is,
     to use a Mongol idiom, "Stupider than stupid."'

     '_Sept. 12._--We are now in a diphtheria district. I go into it,
     and hope to remain some time, trusting myself to the hands of God.
     I am safe enough in His hands. If He can forward mission work more
     by my death than by my life, His will be done.'

     '_Sept. 18._--To-day let pass me, as all were starting from the
     temple, about six men and three women without telling them of
     Jesus.'

At the close of the year Mr. Gilmour sent home another elaborate report,
a large portion of which appeared in the _Chronicle of the London
Missionary Society_ for December 1874. We extract here a few paragraphs
not then printed for obvious reasons. There was still a difficulty with
the American Board, and there was still in London some inability to
grasp the exact bearing and the full needs of the situation. The first
extract is given here simply because it illustrates the noble
unselfishness of Gilmour's character, and the way in which he
persistently refused to be stopped by hindrances that would have barred
the road against most men. He supplied a statement of account showing
that even with the most rigid economy he had exceeded his allowance by
110 taels, equivalent to from 25_l._ to 30_l._

     'This leaves me with a deficit of 110 taels 63 cents, and explains
     how it is that I ask next year's (1874) grant to be raised to 150
     taels at least. I had only two courses open to me, either to use up
     the grants for 1872 and 1873, and stop without accomplishing all I
     could, or to make full proof of my ministry and exceed the grants.
     Considering the cause more important than silver, I chose the
     latter course, and, despite the most rigid economy, exceeded to the
     above amount. Present circumstances enable me to make up the
     deficit from my own private purse, and I don't ask to be refunded,
     but I don't know that I shall be flush of money next year, and _do_
     ask that the grant may be not less than 150 taels, which is the
     lowest estimate I can make.

     'As proof of the reasonableness of my request, and of my anxiety to
     avoid drawing on the funds of the Society beyond what is absolutely
     necessary, I may be allowed to state that this year, in addition to
     making up the lacking 110-63 taels, I walked afoot behind my
     caravan in the desert for _weeks_, to avoid the expense of
     purchasing another camel.'

On the question of Christian literature he placed on record some wise
words, as needful now almost as when he penned them, in order to correct
the notion that it is enough simply to place into the hands of a heathen
a copy of the Word of God in his native tongue. The reply of Candace's
eunuch, 'How can I understand unless someone shall guide me?' meets the
missionary of to-day, as it met Philip in the days of old. The
practically unanimous opinion of the Shanghai Conference held in 1890
shows that the same need is still strongly felt by the missionaries of
all the societies.

     'In addition to the Scriptures and the Catechism, I think small
     simple books containing little portions of Scripture history or
     little portions of Scripture teaching would be very useful. The
     Bible is all very well for those who have advanced a little, but
     there is very little of the narrative portions even--the simplest
     parts of the whole book--which you can read without encountering
     terrible names of persons or places, or quotations from the prophet
     Isaiah or Jeremiah. When a Mongol comes upon these he feels
     inclined to give up in despair. Even in China my experience has
     been that people are slow to buy a complete gospel, even at less
     than the paper on which it is printed costs, while they will buy
     with avidity very small books at almost their full value.

     'Chinamen themselves notice this, and when surrounded by a crowd I
     have heard them remark laughingly, "Small books go quick."
     Remembering my instructions, which among other things say, "Pause
     before you translate," I have hitherto refrained, but now have a
     very small illustrated narrative in the press, another also
     illustrated in manuscript, and other two not illustrated in
     contemplation. If I find funds--the Peking branch of the Tract
     Society is bankrupt just now--and get them out, you shall have
     specimens. Probably they won't look well, being first attempts, but
     you need not be ashamed of the Mongol of them, as they have been
     written under my direction by a "crack" native scholar, and
     carefully revised by Schereschewsky, who is a general linguist of
     good ability, and has paid so much attention to Mongolian that he
     revised the Gospel by Matthew in conjunction with Mr. Edkins, and
     is at present at work on a Mongol dictionary.'

Medical missions were only in their infancy in 1874, and Gilmour in the
same report describes what many another has felt. He illustrates also
one of his fixed principles, viz., always do _something_; and never let
the work stop simply because you cannot do what is ideally the best.

     'I know very little about diseases and cures, but the little I _do_
     know is extremely useful. Almost every Mongol, man and woman and
     child, has something that wants putting right. To have studied
     medicine at home would have been a great help, but though I cannot
     hope now ever to gain a scientific knowledge of the subject, I am
     glad that in our hospital here I have a good opportunity of
     learning much from Dr. Dudgeon, and all I can do now is to make the
     best of this good opportunity. I am told that professional men at
     home are suspicious of giving a little medical knowledge to young
     men going out as missionaries. I sided with them till I came here,
     but here the case is different. At home it is all very well to
     stand before the fire in your room, within sight of the brass plate
     on the doctor's door on the opposite side of the street, and talk
     about the danger of little knowledge; but when you are two weeks'
     journey from any assistance, and see your fellow-traveller sitting
     silent and swollen with violent toothache for days together, you
     fervently wish you had a pair of forceps and the _dangerous_
     amount of knowledge. And when in remote places you have the choice
     of burying your servant or stopping his diarrh[oe]a, would you
     prefer to talk nonsense about professional skill rather than give
     him a dose of chlorodyne, even though it should be at the risk of
     administering one drop more or less than a man who writes M.D. to
     his name would have done?

     'I speak earnestly and from experience. No one has more detestation
     than I have for the quack that patters in the presence of trained
     skill; but from what I have seen and known of mission life, both in
     myself and others, since coming to North China, I think it is a
     little less than culpable homicide to deny a little hospital
     training to men who may have to pass weeks and months of their
     lives in places where they themselves, or those about them, may
     sicken and die from curable diseases before the doctor could be
     summoned, even supposing he could leave his post and come.'

During the summer of 1874 James Gilmour continued his itinerating work
among the nomads of the Plain. He met with much to discourage him, but
he steadily enlarged his knowledge of the people and his acquaintance
with the best methods of work among them. How difficult it was to adapt
ordinary methods of teaching to their habits may be judged from the
following sketch:--

     'My tent is not only my dwelling-house and dispensary, but also my
     chapel. I always endeavour to instruct the visitors and patients as
     far as I can. Preaching to Mongols is a little different from
     preaching at home--a little different from preaching in China even.
     You can get a congregation of heathen Chinese to listen for, say,
     twenty minutes, or half an hour, or even longer; but begin to
     preach to a lot of Mongols, and they begin to talk to each other,
     or perhaps to ask you questions about your dress and your country.

     'The nature of their own service is partly to blame for this. When
     a Mongol sends for a lama or two to read prayers in his tent, the
     inmates, though present, don't think it necessary to attend much to
     what is going on. Though they did attend, they would not be able to
     understand, so talking goes on among them pretty much as usual. If
     I were to stick myself up and begin, and start off sermonising to
     them, I would be treated much as they treat their own lamas; so I
     confine my preaching to conversations and arguments--a style of
     teaching which I find secures their attention'.

Many, too, are the sketches in his letters and diaries of the men he
met. They are all drawn with that remarkable and largely unconscious
power, which he possessed so fully, of being able to see very vividly
the striking points and details of passing events, and of enabling those
to whom he wrote, by his aptly chosen words, also to see exactly what
passed before his eyes. One or two out of many examples must suffice:--

     'This season (1874) I met a deaf and dumb man. He was uneducated,
     but of great quickness and intelligence. He could converse easily
     and readily with his fellow-Mongols by signs, and I could ask many
     simple questions and understand his answers without trouble. His
     perception was remarkable. While sitting in the dusk outside my
     tent, a messenger came from his father's tent to tell him that some
     of the sheep were missing. A single turn of the hand followed by a
     glance around, as if searching for something, was all that was
     required. He had been sitting quietly in the circle, looking at us
     talking; but the moment the communication was made he uttered an
     inarticulate sound betraying great excitement, knocked the ashes
     out of his pipe, stuck it into his boot, threw himself into the
     saddle, and rode off into the gathering darkness to search for the
     lost sheep. All agreed that he had an extra share of intelligence,
     and he was evidently regarded as a capable and useful member of the
     community.

     'One of the sad sights seen was that of a sick Chinaman near his
     end. He was one of a company of four, who went about dressing skins
     of which the Mongols make garments. He had been an opium taker, and
     an incurable diarrh[oe]a had seized him. At the time he was lodging
     with the Mongol for whom the party had come to dress skins; but the
     Mongol, seeing he would die, and fearing trouble and expense over
     his death, ordered him off the premises. Borrowing an ox cart, his
     companions had him conveyed away some five or ten miles, jolted in
     the rude vehicle and suffering from the blazing sun, to a place
     where some Chinese acquaintances were digging a well. They had a
     tent of their own, most likely a poor ragged white cloth affair,
     open to the winds and pervious to the rain; and in this the poor
     man hoped he might be permitted to die. It was the dark side of the
     picture. The glorious summer, the green and flowery plains, the
     fattening flocks, the herds exulting in the deep pastures, the gay
     Mongols riding about, the white tents bathed in the sunlight and
     gleaming from afar. In the midst of all this, a feeble man, far
     from home and kin, sick unto death, cast forth from his poor
     lodging, and seeking for a place to lie down and die in. The
     Mongols are a hospitable race, but pray ye that ye may not get sick
     on their hands.

     'On the whole I have been very well received everywhere, and have
     been treated with great confidence. I have sometimes wondered at
     the readiness with which they take medicine from the hand of an
     utter stranger. One reason why they are ready to trust me,
     doubtless, is that going among them, they can go round my tent and
     see that there is nothing secret and terrible behind it; they enter
     it and see all that is in it. They know and see that I am utterly
     in their power, and, perhaps, reason that I am there with no intent
     to harm, because if I made trouble I could not move another step
     without their consent.

     'In the shape of converts I have seen no result. I have not, as far
     as I am aware, seen any one who even _wanted_ to be a Christian;
     but by healing their diseases I have had opportunity to tell many
     of Jesus, the Great Physician.'



CHAPTER V

MARRIAGE


During the year 1873 James Gilmour devoted much thought to the natural
and all-important question of marriage. Uncommon as he was, in so many
ways, it was, perhaps, to be expected that in this great undertaking he
would depart from ordinary methods. The Rev. S. E. Meech had married, in
1872, Miss Prankard, of London. After the return of Mr. Edkins to
England, in May 1873, Mr. Gilmour went to board with Mr. and Mrs. Meech.
There he saw the portrait of Mrs. Meech's sister, and often heard her
referred to in conversation. Towards the close of 1873 he took Mrs.
Meech into his confidence, and asked permission to enter into
correspondence with her sister. The following most characteristic
letters show the course of subsequent events:--


                                          'Peking, January 14, 1874.

     'My dear Parents,--I have written and proposed to a girl in
     England. It is true I have never seen her and I know very little
     about her; but what I do know is good. She is the sister of Mrs.
     Meech, and is with her mother in London. Her mother supports
     herself and daughter by keeping a school. One of the hindrances
     will be perhaps that the mother will not be willing to part with
     her daughter, as she is, no doubt, the life of the school. I don't
     know, so I have written and made the offer, and leave them to
     decide. If she cannot come, then there is no harm done. If she can
     arrange to come, then my hope is fulfilled. If the young lady says
     "Yes," she or her friends will no doubt write you, as I have asked
     them to do.... You may think I am rash in writing to a girl I have
     never seen. If you say so, I may just say that I have something of
     the same feeling; but what am I to do? In addition I am very
     easy-minded over it all, because I have exercised the best of my
     thoughts on the subject, and put the whole matter into the hands of
     God, asking Him, if it be best to bring her, if it be not best to
     keep her away, and He can manage the whole thing well.'

By some mischance this letter was delayed, and Mr. Gilmour's relatives
were startled, one March day in 1874, by receiving from an entirely
unknown lady in London a letter, containing the unlooked-for statement:
'Your son, Mr. Gilmour, of Peking, has asked my daughter to write to
you, telling you of her decision to join him as his wife. She has wished
me to write to you for her, and will be pleased to hear from you when
you feel inclined to write.'

The friendly intercourse that followed soon convinced Mr. Gilmour's
family, as any knowledge of Emily Prankard herself soon convinced all
who made her acquaintance, that, however unusual it might appear, this
was indeed one of the marriages made in heaven. By both parties God's
blessing and guidance were invoked, upon both His benediction rested,
and, after a brief separation in this world, they are now both enriched
with the fuller knowledge and the perfect joy of the life beyond.

No time was lost in the arrangements for Miss Prankard's departures to
China. In a letter to his mother, dated October 2, 1874, Mr. Gilmour
writes:--

     'You have seen Miss Prankard, but you have not told me what you
     think of her. She was delighted with her visit to Scotland and with
     you all. You will be glad to hear that I have had some delightful
     letters from her. I wrote her, and she has written me in the most
     unrestrained way concerning her spiritual hopes and condition, and
     though we have never seen each other, yet we know more of each
     other's inmost life and soul than, I am quite certain, most lovers
     know of each other even after long personal courtship. It is quite
     delightful to think that even now we can talk by letter with
     perfect unreserve, and I tell _you_ this because I know you will be
     glad to hear it. I knew she was a pious girl, else I would not have
     asked her to come out to be a missionary's wife, but she turns out
     better even than I thought, and I am not much afraid as to how we
     shall get on together.'

In the course of the autumn of 1874 Miss Prankard sailed, and in a
letter to the writer, December 13, 1874, Gilmour thus refers to the
close of his unusual but satisfactory courtship:--

     'I was married last week, Tuesday, December 8!

     'Mrs. Meech's sister is Mrs. Gilmour. We never saw each other till
     a week before we were married, and my friends here drew long faces
     and howled at me for being rash and inconsiderate. What if you
     don't like each other? How then? It is for life! As if I did not
     know all this long ago. Well, the time came, the vessel was due at
     Shanghai, but would not come. Mr. Meech and I went down to Tientsin
     and waited there a fortnight, but no tidings. At last on the
     evening of Sabbath, November 29, a steamer's whistle was heard
     miles away down the river. It was Mr. Meech's turn to preach. After
     sermon he and I walked away down the river side to see what we
     could see. After a while a light hove round the last bend, then a
     green light, then the red light, then came the three lights of the
     steamer! We listened. It was the high-pressure engine of the steam
     launch which is used to lighten the deep-sea steamers before coming
     up the narrow river. Fifteen minutes more and she was at the
     landing stage. A friend went on board. Miss Prankard was on board
     the Taku, which was still outside the bar, waiting for water to
     bring her over and up to the settlement. The lighter was going to
     unload and start down the river at five A.M., and Meech and I went
     in her. About eight A.M. we met the steamer coming up, and when she
     came abreast we saw Miss Prankard on board, but could not get from
     our vessel to hers. The tide was favourable for running up, and
     they were afraid to lose a minute, so would not stop the steamer;
     we did not get on board till we reached the bund at Tientsin about
     eleven A.M. We started for Peking next day, got there on Thursday,
     and were married following Tuesday.

     'Our honeymoon is now almost over. I am to have only a week of it.
     I hope to start with Meech on a mission trip to the country on
     Tuesday next.'

Miss Prankard's first view of her future husband was hardly what she
might have expected. Mr. Meech has also sketched that scene on the
river.

'The morning was cold, and Gilmour was clad in an old overcoat which had
seen much service in Siberia, and had a woollen comforter round his
neck, having more regard to warmth than to appearance. We had to follow
back to Tientsin, Gilmour being thought by those on board the steamer to
be the engineer!'

Two letters may be quoted in this connection. The first was to one of
his most intimate Scotch friends.


                                          'London Mission, Peking,
                                                    'January 31, 1875.

     'My dear----, Your kind, long, and much-looked-for letter dated May
     12, 1873, and August 21, 1874, reached me on January 9, 1875. Many
     thanks for it, but I think it would be quite as well in future to
     send me half the quantity in half the time, if you really find you
     cannot write me oftener. As I was married on December 8, 1874, to
     Mrs. Meech's sister, that lady, Mrs. Gilmour, had the great
     pleasure of reading your earnest, long, and reiterated warning to
     me not to have her. Your warning came too late. Had you posted your
     letter on May 12, 1873, it might have been in time, as the first
     letter that opened our acquaintance was written in January 1874. If
     nothing else will have effect with you, perhaps the thought that
     you might have saved me from the fate of having an English wife may
     have some effect in moving you to post your letters early, even
     though they should not be so long and full.

     'About my wife: as I want you to know her, I introduce you to her.
     She is a jolly girl, as much, perhaps more, of a Christian and a
     Christian missionary than I am. I don't know whether I told you how
     it came about. I proposed first to a Scotch girl, but found I was
     too late; I then put myself and the direction of this affair--I
     mean the finding of a wife--into God's hands, asking Him to look me
     out one, a good one too, and very soon I found myself in a position
     to propose to Miss Prankard with all reasonable evidence that she
     was the right sort of girl, and with some hope that she would not
     disdain the offer. We had never seen each other, and had never
     corresponded, but she had heard much about me from people in
     England who knew me, and I had heard a good deal of her and seen
     her letters written to her sister and to her sister's husband. The
     first letter I wrote her was to propose, and the first letter she
     wrote me was to accept--romantic enough!

     'I proposed in January, went up to Mongolia in spring, rode about
     on my camels till July, and came down to Kalgan to find that I was
     an accepted man! I went to Tientsin to meet her; we arrived here on
     Thursday, and were married on Tuesday morning. We had a quiet week,
     then I went to the country on a nine days' tour, and came back two
     days before Christmas. We have been at home ever since. Such is the
     romance of a matter-of-fact man.

     'You will see that the whole thing was gone about simply on the
     faith principle, and from its success I am inclined to think more
     and more highly of the plan. Without any gammon, I am much more
     happy than ever even in my day-dreams I ventured to imagine I might
     be. It is not only me that my wife pleases, but she has gained
     golden opinions from most of the people who have met her among my
     friends and acquaintances in Scotland and China. My parents were
     scared one day last year by receiving a letter from a lady in
     England, a lady whose name even they had not known before, stating
     that her daughter had decided to become _my wife_. Didn't it stir
     up the old people! They had never heard a word about it! My letter
     to them, posted at the same time with the proposal, had been
     delayed in London. The young lady went to Scotland, and was with
     them two weeks, and came away having made such an impression on
     them that they wrote me from home to say that "though I had
     searched the country for a couple of years I could not have made a
     better choice."

     'Perhaps I am tiring you, but I want to let you know all about it,
     and to assure you that you need not be the least shy of me or of my
     English wife. She is a good lassie, any quantity better than me,
     and just as handy as a Scotch lass would have been. It was great
     fun for her to read your tirade about English wives and your
     warning about her. She is a jolly kind of body, and does not take
     offence, but I guess if she comes across you she will wake you up a
     bit.'

The other letter was to Miss Bremner, and referred to the part Gilmour
was to take in her marriage in 1883 to his brother Alexander:--

     'Now as to your affair, a much more serious matter. Alex has said
     something about my part. I want to take part, but only such a small
     part as will make it true to say, "assisted by the brother of the
     bridegroom." It is for you and Dr. Macfadyen to say what that
     _small_ part shall be; all I have to say about it, the smaller the
     better.

     'My experiences of the ceremonies of social Christianity have been
     mixed a little. In England I baptised a child by a wrong name, and
     had actually to do it again. In China on a similar occasion I began
     by saying, "Friends, God has given you this child," when the
     seeming father stopped me, and explained that God had not given
     them this child, but he himself had picked it up in a field where
     it had been exposed.

     'I think I married only one Chinese couple, and to this day I doubt
     if either the one or the other uttered a syllable where they should
     have said, "I do." In my own case I think I must have said "I will"
     in a feeble voice, for my wife when her turn came sung out "I will"
     in a voice that startled herself and me, and made it ominous how
     much _will_ she was going to have in the matter. Wishing you all
     blessings,

                                          'Believe me yours truly,
                                                        'JAMES GILMOUR.'



CHAPTER VI

'IN JOURNEYINGS OFTEN, IN PERILS OF RIVERS'


The year following the marriage, owing to the absence of Dr. Dudgeon on
furlough, was spent almost entirely in Peking. In his absence Mr.
Gilmour took charge of what may be called the unprofessional work of the
hospital, the purely medical superintendence being in the hands of Dr.
Bushell of the British Legation. He varied this work and the routine of
ordinary mission duties by an occasional trip to other centres where
fairs were being held, in the company of Mr. Murray, of the National
Bible Society of Scotland, for the purpose of selling Christian books.
There was often a very keen friendly rivalry as to which could sell the
most, and not unfrequently very large quantities of tracts and booklets
were thus put into circulation.

Early in 1875, with the object of enabling his colleagues and his
friends among the other missions which have centres in Peking the better
to realise what life in Mongolia was like, he set up his Mongol tent in
the compound, and invited them in companies of five or seven to partake
of a Mongol dinner, cooked in Mongol fashion, and served as on the
Plain. His diary records that five such entertainments were necessary,
the utmost limit of the tent accommodation being reached on each
occasion.

'The guests came,' we are told, 'at the appointed time, and the fire of
wood was lighted in the middle of the tent. While the guests sat around
on felt spread upon the ground, Gilmour proceeded to cook the millet and
the mutton which furnished the feast. When all was ready a blessing was
asked and the meal was eaten. On one occasion a reverend gentleman was
called on to ask the blessing, but declined, feeling apparently that
what he was expected to eat was not of such a quality that he could ask
a blessing on it. Gilmour used often to refer to this with much
amusement, though at the time he felt some chagrin.'

In 1876 the Mongolian trips were resumed. No colleague had yet been
secured for him, and, with a bravery and consecration beyond all praise,
Mrs. Gilmour accompanied him. This she did not once simply. For the
first journey the novelty of the experience and the conviction that she
could at any rate help to preserve her husband from the feeling of utter
loneliness, which had been so hard to bear in past years, were powerful
reasons. But she went a second and a third time. She went after the
novelty had worn off, after she had learned by very stern experience how
hard and rough the life was, after previous exposure had told but too
severely upon her physical strength. And thus she deserves the eulogy
passed upon her by her husband: 'She is a better missionary than I.'
Comparisons of this kind are obviously out of the question. But it would
be hard to find a more beautiful illustration of true wifely affection
than the love for her husband that made her willing to share his Mongol
tent as readily as the Peking compound. And if James Gilmour
manifested a Christlike love for the ignorant and stolid Mongols, so
also did the delicately nurtured and refined lady who, in order to do
her part in winning them to the Saviour, endured privations, faced
perils, and bore a daily and hourly series of trials so irksome and so
repugnant that no motive short of all-absorbing love to Jesus Christ is
strong enough to account for her endurance.

Here are some pictures of what this life meant to Mrs. Gilmour. The
first journey which they took together lasted from April 4 until
September 23, 1876, one hundred and thirty-six days being passed in
Mongolia itself.

     'On the evening of April 25 we came upon our servants' tent,
     already pitched beside some Mongol tents near a stream. Our things
     were unloaded from the Chinese cart, which soon drove off and left
     us fairly launched out on the Plain. We had two tents--one for
     ourselves and one for our servants. They were both alike, made of
     common blue Chinese cloth outside, and of commoner white Chinese
     cloth inside. It was originally intended that our tent should be
     private for our retirement and for Mrs. Gilmour's use; but we soon
     found that this idea could not be carried out. The Mongols are so
     much in the habit of going freely into everybody's tent in Mongolia
     that we found we could not retain our tent to ourselves without
     running risk of offending them by our seeming haughtiness. That
     they should think us uncongenial and distant would have been an
     obstacle to our success among them. So we made a virtue of
     necessity, and kept open house in the literal sense of the word. At
     our meals, our devotions, our ablutions, there they were--much
     amused and interested, of course. It was sometimes annoying to have
     them so much and so constantly about, but there was no help for it,
     and soon we began to care little for them, and took their
     presence not only as a matter of course, but without being
     disturbed by it.

     'One advantage of this sort of public life was that Mrs. Gilmour,
     being almost constantly in the presence of the spoken language,
     picked it up very accurately and very rapidly. It is hardly
     possible to conceive a better plan of becoming easily and well
     acquainted with any language than that of thus living where it is
     impossible not to hear it in almost constant use.

     'Another advantage of this sort of public life was that one gained
     the friendship of the people. This perfect freedom of intercourse
     pleased them much, and even conciliated those not very friendly
     inclined. It was quite common to hear visitors remark that, while
     other foreigners in Mongolia are distant and harsh, these people
     were gentle and accessible, and that such friendly people did a
     great deal to remove the unfavourable impressions made by other
     less considerate travellers.

     'Our sojourn extended to the end of August, giving us a little over
     four months at a stretch of tent life. In that time we had
     experience of many kinds of weather. At first it was cold. Even in
     May ice was to be seen in the mornings. Then came heat, premature
     and burning, and all the more trying for ourselves and cattle on
     account of the lack of rain. Then we had a furious tempest, which
     raged for about thirty-six hours, overturning our covered cart and
     threatening to sweep ourselves and our tents away. We had to load
     down our tent ropes with bags of earth, stones, sod, the bodies of
     our carts, wheels, boxes, and anything we could find, and even then
     we had but a precarious existence. Every now and then, by day and
     by night, there would arise a shout from the one tent or the other,
     and amid the roar of the wind we heard cries for the hammer and the
     spare tent pins. We managed to fix ourselves without being blown
     away, and when the storm was over we patched our riven tents,
     and were thankful we had weathered it so well. Then came the summer
     rains--late in season, it is true, but great in strength--pouring
     and lashing and roaring, the great drops bursting through our rent
     cloth, broken up into spray and looking like pepper shaken from a
     box. We had waterproof sheets, but it was next to impossible to
     keep anything dry. While the rain lasted we sat huddled in our rain
     cloaks, or, spade in hand, cut new channels for suddenly
     extemporised streams and pools that grew larger and continued to
     come closer to our bedding and boxes. As soon as the sun returned,
     there was a general drying of garments, mattresses, and sheepskin
     robes. The heat was perhaps the most trying of our meteorological
     experiences; but even that passed away at last, and before we had
     left the plains night frost had reappeared, covering the pools
     about well mouths with thin sheets of ice.

[Illustration: A MONGOL ENCAMPMENT]

     'Later in the season, one afternoon, the loungers in the tent
     looked out and remarked, "The Mandarin has come," and gave place to
     a richly dressed, corpulent Mongol, who entered the tent, followed
     by one of his servants. Salutations over, he soon showed his
     colours and unmasked his batteries. He had come to fight, and we
     both went at it tooth and nail. He had read a good deal, and had
     come evidently prepared and primed, not in any spirit of
     unfriendliness, but under the evident conviction that a better case
     could be made out for Buddhism than for Christianity. The tent was
     crammed with eager listeners, and we reasoned together from the
     Creation to the finish, including all manner of side issues and
     important questions. It was a long time before he could be
     convinced that our Jesus was not spoken of and made known in the
     Buddhist classics. When he was at length satisfied (on that point),
     he wanted to know about the Trinity; how men could get good; how it
     was right that men should escape punishment due to their misdeeds
     by praying to Jesus; why God allowed animals, such as starving
     dogs, to lead a life of suffering; why God did not keep sin from
     entering the world; how could Jesus come, when it is said He is
     always with us; and how about the souls who died before Jesus came.

     'At last the sun got low, and the Mandarin, with many words of
     friendship, rode away, promising to come another day. But he never
     came.'

In a later journey they had a very narrow escape from one of the
frequent perils of this tent life:--

     'In Mongolia we had one rather serious adventure. The south edge of
     the Plain is famed for storms, and the night we camped there, just
     after dark, began one of the fiercest thunderstorms I can remember
     having seen. The wind roared, the rain dashed, the tent quivered;
     the thunder rattled with a metallic ring, like shafts of iron
     dashing against each other, as it darted along a sheet-iron sky;
     the water rose in the tent till part of our bed was afloat. It was
     hardly possible to hear each other speak; but amid and above all
     the din of the tempest rose one sound not to be mistaken, the roar
     of rushing water. There was a river to right of us, but the sound
     came more from the left. Venturing out, I found there was a great
     swift-flowing river on both sides of us; that we could not move
     from the little piece of elevated land plain on which we had our
     tent; and that a few inches more water, or an obstacle getting into
     the path of the upper river, would send the full force of the
     current down on our tents. Flocks, herds, men are said to be swept
     away now and again in Mongolia, and for an hour our case seemed
     doubtful; but about 11 P.M. the storm ceased and the danger was
     over, and, though we had hardly anything left, we went to sleep,
     thanking God for His preserving mercy.'

Courageous, undoubtedly, Mrs. Gilmour was; her example of self-sacrifice
in the Master's cause was lofty in itself, and is stimulating to every
Christian mind. Yet it is to be greatly feared that the first of these
journeys aggravated, if it did not actually develope, the disease from
which she ultimately died. She found the ceaseless round of millet and
mutton so unpalatable as at the last to be able hardly to eat at all;
and experience of tent life was needful before she could realise how
absolutely devoid it was of almost everything that a European lady looks
upon as essential to daily existence, and thus make adequate preparation
for the life. Yet, in 1878, she not only accompanied her husband again,
better equipped by reason of previous experience, but she also took with
her their infant boy.

The winter of 1876 in Peking was devoted to work more or less directly
bearing upon the Christian conquest of the nomad tribes.

     'Since returning from Mongolia I have had here a teacher whom I had
     come from the plains. I read some Buddhist classics with him, then
     had him write to my dictation some of the more striking incidents
     narrated in the Book of Daniel; then finally had him write for me
     an explanation of the way of salvation through Jesus. The extracts
     from Daniel were written mostly with the idea of accustoming him to
     my dictation; but the explanation of Christianity was a tract that
     I had long wanted to write, in which I sought to make it as plain
     as possible, not only that Jesus does save, but also that there is
     no salvation through any other name. The Religious Tract Society
     has consented to print for me both the extract from Daniel and the
     explanation of Christianity.'

During 1877 the ever-recurring question, inevitable, perhaps, and yet
very paralysing to any steady progress, as to whether it was really
worth while to continue labour in such a sterile field, came up once
more for discussion. In an elaborate report, designed rather to elicit
the views of the home authorities than to express his own, dated August
18, 1877, Mr. Gilmour depicts rapidly and clearly his relations, on the
one hand, to the workers in the station of the American Board at Kalgan,
and, on the other, to his colleagues of the North China Committee of the
London Society. The American Board had sent out another missionary, and
Mr. Gilmour was at first inclined to the view that, although working
independently, they might yet act practically as colleagues.

     'In addition, the new man, Rev. W. P. Sprague, and I one day
     undertook to climb a mountain together, and, by the time we got
     half-way up, we discovered that our ideas about working together
     quite agreed, and that there was a fair and good prospect of our
     making good harmonious colleagues in one work, though we belonged
     to different societies and hailed from different nations. Here,
     then, the thing seemed to be accomplished; here was a colleague
     ready to my hand, or I to his.'

But Mrs. Gulick, a most energetic and enthusiastic missionary to the
Mongols, died, her husband was invalided to Japan, and Mr. Sprague found
himself with the whole mission on his shoulders.

     'If things are to remain as they are, it amounts pretty much to
     this, that in the warmer months of the year I can travel through
     parts of Mongolia teaching the Gospel and dispensing medicines; the
     rest of the year I can turn my attention to Chinese work in
     Peking. This is a pleasant enough arrangement for me, but it is not
     a very vigorous prosecution of the work of the Mongol mission. On
     the other hand, such is the fewness of people to be reached in
     Mongolia that it is only by alternating these periods of
     deprivation with seasons of activity among the Chinese that a man
     can keep his spirit alive.

     'As regards the opinion of other members of the Committee here, I
     have never called for any formal expression of it, nor have they
     (the members of Committee) ever been invited to discuss the
     question of the Mongol mission in committee, but I know their
     individual opinions in an informal way. Messrs. Meech and Barradale
     don't say much; Mr. Owen thinks we will never do much in Mongolia
     working upon so distant a base as Peking; Mr. Lees thinks it a pity
     to take up such a seemingly unproductive field while so many more
     promising fields call for attention; he moreover thinks that the
     only way to do much for Mongolia is through China; Dr. Edkins
     thinks I spend too much time and labour over the Mongols, his idea
     being seemingly a combination of Mongol and Chinese work, with a
     preponderating tendency towards Chinese; Dr. Dudgeon has always
     regarded the Mongol mission as hardly practicable.

     'On the principle, however, of _Sow beside all waters_, and _Thou
     knowest not which shall prosper, this or that_, perhaps it is well
     that the Gospel should be exhibited to the Mongols also, and if
     anyone is to go to Mongolia, perhaps many people would have more
     disqualifications than myself.'

In 1877 there was what seemed to be a very hopeful development of
Christian work in Shantung, and Mr. Gilmour and Mr. Owen visited that
district and baptized a large number of converts. Still later, Dr.
Edkins and Mr. Owen, on another visit, baptized some two hundred
people. With reference to this latter ingathering Mr. Gilmour wrote, 'I
much regret that we have not some definite system of putting men on a
period of probation.... About these two hundred I have nothing to say,
but of the hundred odd Mr. Owen and I baptized in November I have to
admit that, making all allowances, some of them cause me more anxiety
than satisfaction.' There was, unfortunately, only too much ground for
this fear. Ultimately the movement dwindled almost as rapidly as it had
developed, and with little permanent benefit to the missionary cause.
Shantung had been devastated by famine, locusts, and cholera.
Missionaries brought relief to the stricken people, giving both money
and food. Large numbers were drawn towards the new religion by this
example of its deeds, and most of the converts had professed
Christianity in the hope of getting something by its means. But this
incident brought to a head a divergence of view as to the whole conduct
of affairs in the Peking mission between the two older missionaries, Dr.
Edkins and Dr. Dudgeon, and their three younger colleagues, Mr. Gilmour,
Mr. Owen, and Mr. Meech. Into this strenuous and protracted controversy
we do not propose to enter. Both parties were actuated by high and
honourable motives; both were able to express their views pointedly, and
with all appropriate force. In the end the view advocated by Mr. Gilmour
triumphed. This was that, so far as possible, no pecuniary inducement
whatever, either by way of payment for services, or even employment in
connection with the mission, should be allowed to influence a Chinaman's
judgment in the acceptance of Christianity. Gilmour could take an active
part in the discussions only during his winter residence in Peking. But
the reader who has followed its history so far will be quite prepared to
learn that he made up for the infrequency of his participation in the
controversy by the energy which he displayed when he did so. And in
depicting Gilmour as he was, it is essential that he should be seen when
opposing no less than, as he much preferred to be in all matters
affecting the welfare of the mission, in the heartiest concord with his
colleagues. And yet his keenest opponents would cordially assent to the
following statement by one who took an active part in all the
discussions. It is mainly for the purpose of emphasising this testimony
that the matter is referred to here.

'When in Peking Gilmour took his full share in the debates which were
constantly arising. Although he could and did argue to the extremest
point, and very hot and sharp words might be spoken during the
discussion, he harboured no bitterness of feeling against his opponents.
After excited argument he would get up and say, "Nevertheless I love
you." Nor were these empty words. He was kind, and willing to help all,
and was doing acts of service continually for those who opposed him
most.'

Towards the close of 1878 the Rev. J. S. Barradale, of the Tientsin
Mission, died, leaving the Rev. J. Lees alone without a Chinese-speaking
helper. Mr. Gilmour sympathised deeply with him in his loss, and wrote
to say that, so long as Mr. Lees was thus left alone, he would be glad
to make two trips annually to his country stations, either _with_ him or
_for_ him. Mr. Gilmour's journal of this work is not only a record of
the willingness with which he added gladly to his own heavy labours in
order to assist a colleague; but it also gives some most realistic
pictures of what ordinary life in China is like, and under what
conditions evangelistic itineration there is carried on. Some of the
districts visited had just been devastated by a severe famine.

     'From Tientsin to Hsiao Chang is five days' journey. Three hours
     out from Tientsin we came upon some dogs feasting on a corpse lying
     at a cross-road. The dogs belonged to cottagers near, but no
     attempt was made by the owners to keep them away; no one took the
     trouble to bury the body or cover it up even. Later on we passed
     through one famine-devastated district. Half the houses in the
     villages were unroofed; large tracts of land were untilled; the
     landscape was almost entirely destitute of animal life; travellers
     were nowhere to be seen; round the villages the little stacks of
     straw and fuel were not to be seen; the lanes were silent; no dogs,
     no cocks and hens, no pigs; no groups of children playing or
     running after the foreigner as he passed by; and the words of
     Scripture came to my mind, "the land desolate without inhabitant."
     We continued to pass these desolations for about sixty English
     miles. We stopped a night in one of these ruined villages, and Mr.
     Lees took me round the place to see the nature and extent of the
     destruction. Closer inspection revealed even more ruin than a mere
     traveller's passing look would detect; for, evidently, some care
     had been taken to leave house walls and boundary walls on the
     street standing, so as to hide some part of the destruction, and
     thus make things look better than they really were.

     'Natives of the place gave us numbers, which showed the population
     was then estimated at not much, if any, more than half the former
     population. It was expressly stated, however, that the missing half
     were not regarded as all dead; very many were dead, had died in the
     place, but many had gone elsewhere--in most cases no one knew
     where. Of these some few would doubtless return; but it is to be
     feared that the mortality in a hard year among famine refugees is
     very large, and of those who left their homes and native places,
     the few that may eventually return will be very few, I fear.

     'Doesn't the Bible say that it is a harder fate to die of famine
     than to die by the sword--to die stricken through for want of the
     fruits of the earth? But of all those who died in the famine in
     North China there is one class whose case is perhaps more
     distressing than ordinary. A large number of people seem to have
     died just as the harvest--a plentiful one--ripened. Through all
     these hard dreary months, when, day after day, month after month,
     they looked for and longed for rain, those I now speak of struggled
     through, kept up hope, fared hard, hoped eagerly, and at last saw
     the rain come, saw the crops flourishing, saw them beginning to
     ripen, congratulated themselves and others on the prospect of
     abundant food and better days. But they were to see it with their
     eyes, but not to eat thereof. As far as could be gathered from the
     natives themselves, the case would seem to be thus.

     'The great mass of the population was much reduced in bodily
     strength by the long period of half-starvation they went through;
     summer and early autumn came with the rains and the attendant ague,
     which last--the ague--still more reduced the strength of their
     already emaciated frames. You can imagine them, with lean faces and
     hungry eyes, tottering about the fields, and counting the days that
     must yet elapse before the grain would ripen. The rage of hunger
     was no longer to be borne; they anticipated by a few days the
     ripening; took the grain, still a little green--perhaps sometimes
     very green--and put it into the pot. But here again was another
     difficulty. The fuel used is grain stalks, and the famine deprived
     them at once of food and fuel. Green grain they might cook, but
     green-grain stalks would not burn. Fuel was thus deficient; and
     was it wonderful if, as they stood round the pot, and the fuel was
     deficient, their patience should fail them and they should fall
     upon the food half cooked? That was bad enough; but that is not
     all. The Chinese have nearly as little self-control as children;
     and is it to be wondered at if, when at last, after long months of
     the slow torture of unappeased hunger, they found a full meal
     before them, they should have eaten to the full? When a man
     emaciated from having gone through a famine, and further enfeebled
     after repeated prostrations by ague, at length rises up and gorges
     himself with farinaceous food, half ripe and half cooked, the
     consequences are not difficult to divine. Diarrh[oe]a and dysentery
     set in, and became fearfully prevalent--not only prevalent, but
     peculiarly fatal. To make matters worse, medicines in that part of
     the country are dear; the people were too poor to get medical help,
     and great numbers who had lived to see the famine end and
     prosperity return lived only to see the prosperity, and to die when
     it touched them. The famine fever in summer seems to have been
     fearfully prevalent. It is said that in a single courtyard two or
     three people would be lying about the gate, two or three under the
     shadow of some house, two or three more inside the house--all
     stricken down with fever. The air of some villages is said to have
     been loaded with the effluvia to such an extent that one riding
     along the street perceptibly discerned the taint in the atmosphere.
     The fever was deadly too, but evidently not so deadly in proportion
     as the autumn dysentery. Frequently, when talking to a boy, we
     would hear he was an orphan, and, on inquiry, he told that his
     father had died in autumn; frequently, in talking to a woman, we
     would hear that she was a widow, and, on asking when her husband
     died, the reply was, "Autumn."

     'We reached Hsiao Chang in a snowstorm on Saturday afternoon. A few
     of the people, doubtless, heard of our arrival; but those of the
     other villages probably did not know we had come; so that our being
     there, perhaps, did not materially increase the number of the
     congregation that assembled next day (Sunday). Sunday was a dull,
     uncomfortable day; the ground covered with snow; the sky still
     covered with clouds; no sunshine; yet there was a congregation of
     about one hundred and thirty, of whom eighty (about) would be
     women, and fifty (about) be men. The next Sabbath, January 26, was
     still dull; the congregation numbered about two hundred and
     eighty--men, say, one hundred and thirty; women, say, one hundred
     and fifty. Mr. Lees took the women into the chapel. I took the men
     outside in another court, and preached to them from a terrace which
     gave me a commanding view of my congregation. Mr. Lees had too
     little ventilation, I had too much of it; but both of our
     congregations listened well, though there was no sun, though the
     cold was intense, and though stray flakes of snow wandered slowly
     down among us as we worshipped. The next Sabbath, February 2, was
     fine. All except adherents were excluded, and the congregation
     numbered about eighty men, and one hundred and twenty women. Twelve
     men and seven women were baptized.

     'The most novel feature of the work I noticed was the eagerness
     displayed to learn and sing hymns. Sometimes poor old women, from
     whom we could not extract much Catechism information about the
     unity in trinity and other theological mysteries, brightened up
     their old wrinkled faces when asked if they could sing, and when
     asked to give us a specimen of their singing, would raise their
     cracked and quavering voices and go through "There is a happy
     land," or "The Great Physician," or "Safe in the arms of Jesus," a
     good deal out of tune here and there, it is true, but on the whole
     creditably as regards music, and with an apparent earnestness and
     feeling that was hard to witness with dry eyes. And if the old
     women sang thus, what of the young people? They seemed to revel in
     hymns. The old, big, orthodox hymn-book used in our chapels got a
     good deal of patronage and attention; but their great favourites
     were those in a small collection of the Sankey revival hymns
     translated (with a few exceptions) and published by Mr. Lees. These
     hymns contain good gospel, seem to be easily learned, and are set
     to tunes which the Chinese seem never to sing themselves tired of.
     The preachers have mastered a goodly number of them, and teach them
     to all comers; but, Mr. Lees being a singer, of course, when he
     arrived, there were high singing festivals, and the practice at
     evening prayers was sometimes so vigorous and prolonged that the
     tympanum of one of my ears began to show symptoms of defeat. These
     hymns I regard as a most powerful auxiliary to the other Gospel
     agencies at work, and I hope a great deal of good from them.

     'Every Chinaman wants looking after. Even the best and most
     trustworthy men are all the better for being well and carefully
     superintended. In fact, the better a man is, the better he pays for
     being well looked after. The present state of country mission work
     in North China calls for careful supervision in an especial degree.
     Unforeseen circumstances arise that need prompt action where a
     wrong course of action may be disastrous; something or other
     happens that dismays the whole of the little Christian community;
     something or other happens that lifts them up into pride; the
     Christians are like little islands of Christianity isolated in a
     vast ocean of heathenism, and the waves seem to threaten to swallow
     them up. The missionary, simply by going and putting in an
     appearance, or by giving a little simple advice, or by speaking a
     few words of encouragement, or by devising a few simple methods, or
     making a few simple arrangements, can often keep the Church out of
     moral danger, infuse new hope and courage to the members and
     preachers, and, under God, put fresh life and vigour into the whole
     concern. As iron sharpeneth iron, so doth a man the face of his
     friend; and this is true in an especial degree of a missionary and
     his preachers and converts.'

In the course of a subsequent tour in the same district, in 1880, he
gives in his diary a sketch of a sermon preached by Liu, his Chinese
helper, one which may be taken as a specimen of the best class of
address given by a converted Chinaman to his fellow-countrymen.

     'Liu's subject was from Revelation, "Whosoever will, let him take
     of the water of life freely." He went into an elaborate detail
     about the use of water, washing, laying the dust in a room being
     swept out, (à la Bunyan) making a sinking sand hard and good for a
     cart and man to travel on. Finally, he got to a couple of good
     stories about a man who got drunk and had his face blackened, so
     that when he came home his own father did not know him and would
     not let him in, and when he saw himself accidentally in a mirror he
     did not know himself. His drunkenness had completely changed his
     appearance and voice even.

     'So God made us in His own image, but sin has terribly changed us.
     Purified by the Holy Ghost we may again be like ourselves and God.

     'The service lasted about two hours and ten minutes. The story
     parts of the sermon were very effective.'

A later entry in the diary runs: 'Had service. Preached "Jesus saves,"
the sermon for the heathen of that name.' One who often heard him preach
in China gives the following estimate of his power and method in
delivering his message:--

     'As a preacher Gilmour was most unconventional. His sermons were
     direct talks, without any attempt at rhetoric. They were
     plentifully illustrated, largely from events in his own experience.
     Laughable allusions or quaint ways of putting things were
     frequently used. While there was not much attractive in the manner
     of the preacher, the directness of his remark and his evident
     earnestness always made his sermons appreciated and enjoyed. The
     Chinese were always glad to hear him, and words he used to speak
     are often referred to.'

Writing on one occasion to a friend in England being educated for the
Christian ministry, who had just taken one of the higher degrees at the
London University, he said:--

     'I don't think our work is so much unlike, after all. You witness
     for Christ, so do I; and though you are in a Christian country and
     I in a heathen land, human nature is human nature, and not so
     different as might be supposed. You may, pray you may, see more
     fruit of your work than I do, but your trials, and difficulties,
     and temptations will be, no doubt are, pretty much the same as
     mine. May the Lord help you and bless you now and for ever! I hope
     He will help you to have ever a heart ready to preach simply the
     simple Gospel to your hearers, half of whom, perhaps, know almost
     nothing of salvation, though they have been listening to sermons
     about it all their lives, and would not know in the least to which
     hand to turn if they were aroused and became anxious to be saved.
     I'll give you a text, which I think peculiarly suitable for you,
     now a graduate. Isaiah 1. 4--"The Lord God hath given me the tongue
     of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to
     him that is weary." I like to dwell on this text. Learning should
     not make deep sermons, hard to be understood; on the contrary, it
     should be all employed to make the road simple and clear. Forgive
     me for exhorting you so, but I can't refrain from it when I think
     of the many learned men I know at home and here who employ their
     learning in giving learned sermons, _not_ in making the way simple
     and plain.'

The sermon referred to in the extract quoted above from the diary is
based on Matt. i. 21. It was never written out; but the notes of it lie
before us, and we quote them as an illustration of his way of addressing
both Chinese and English audiences. It may interest the reader to
endeavour to make out from it the line of thought, and any who may have
heard him preach or speak will find it easy to recall _how_ he preached
it.

     'Matt. i. 21. 'He shall save people from their sins.'

     'Talk to a man, he admits he is sinner; by-and-by he will break off
     and become good.

     'He does not really know what sin is. Egypt!

     'It is a _disease_; if you get it can you leave it off? Your blood
     is tainted.

     'It is a _fire_; once light it, you can't quench it, it smoulders
     and breaks out afresh.

     'It is an _evil root_, evil weed, can easy sow, not extirpate.

     'Sin is like the current above Niagara.

     'It becomes a _habit_. Indulgence makes habit grow.

     'It is like a _spider_; one thread after another binds up a fly.

     'Such is sin--murder, robbery, theft, adultery, uncleanness, lying,
     covetousness, hatred, anger, malice, want of love to God or man.

     'Many of these sins you not accused of, but you have sin: sin is
     fatal, can you free yourself? _Jesus is to do it._

     'Disease, fire, root, current, habit, fly. _The man cannot free
     himself: Jesus must set him free._

     'Not only from _Hell_, but from sin.

     'Suppose you were freed only from Hell, and transported to Heaven,
     could you be happy? Who would be your companions?

     'Ignorant (wicked) man in company of learned (holy).

     '_A Tientsin vagrant_ became chair-bearer; had clothes, etc., but
     only for a day; he was soon naked again.

     'Christ does not transport to Heaven only.

     '_Disease._--Not die from it; He cures it.

     '_Fire._--Not consumed by it; He quenches it.

     '_Root_ of evil; He clears from the ground.

     '_Niagara._--He lifts you out of the current on to an island.

     '_Habit._--He sets you free from it.

     '_Spider's fly._--He not only takes from the spider; but He sets it
     free from the toils.

     '_Jesus gives_ second nature; you are born again.

     'But upon one _condition_, your consent. The _disease_ is severe:
     you must obey doctor; if you do not submit to operation; not take
     bitter drugs; then he does not heal.

     '_Lead_ a man to Peking: not come, not follow: leave him: lead to
     heaven, paths of holiness not follow, not reach.

     'Has Christ saved you? If yes, visible to self and others. He is
     not only an object of respect, admiration: He is the doctor into
     whose hands you put your soul for treatment.

     '_Two brothers_, Kite, Loe, Pet Dog.

     '_John of Hankow's Liu_, see Chronicle; dead _v._ alive; sick (of
     fever) _v._ whole. Is it last time? Mongols feel queer.

     '_Missionaries._ Mongol doctor who had not courage to treat
     himself.

     '_S. S. Teacher_: Paul: be a castaway,

     'Christ Matt. i. 21-23.

     'Any religion good enough. No: no religion breaks bondage of sin:
     go down to death in sin's slavery. Only Jesus can save from sin.
     _Ask, and He'll do it._'

During the winters in Peking he still used every effort to get at the
Mongols frequenting the capital.

     'The Mongols who visit Peking connect themselves with two great
     centres. "The Outside Lodging," which is about a mile or more north
     of the north wall of Peking, and is also called the "Halha
     Lodging," because it is the great resort of the Northern Mongols,
     and the "Inside Lodging," which is near the inside of the south
     wall of the Manchu City of Peking, is situated close behind the
     English Legation, and is also called the "Cold Lodging;" this name
     being probably due to the fact that in the open space in this
     "Inside Lodging" a good many Mongols camp out in their tents, in
     place of hiring courts and rooms from the Chinese. These are the
     two great _centres_ for Mongols in Peking. Many of them lodge in
     the immediate neighbourhood, and even those who lodge in other
     parts of the city frequent these two centres; so that, if any one
     wants to know whether or not any individual Mongol has come to
     Peking, he seeks him at one or other of these marts.

     'In the winter of 1879-80 I set up a book-stall, with a Chinaman to
     care for it, at the Outside Lodging, going myself, as a rule, every
     second day. This winter I followed the example of the pedlars, and,
     hanging two bags of books from my shoulders, hunted the Mongols
     out, going not only to the trading places, but in and out among the
     lanes where they lodged, visiting the Outside Lodging first and the
     Inside Lodging later in the day. The number of Mongols outside the
     city became latterly so small that it was not visited very often;
     but during the Chinese eleventh and the first part of the twelfth
     month, the number of Mongols to be met with at the Inside Lodging
     was fair, and the number of books disposed of altogether, both
     outside and inside the city, amounted to seven hundred and
     fourteen.

     'In many cases the Mongols, before buying, and not unfrequently
     after buying, would insist on having the book read, supposing that
     they got more for their money when they not only had the book, but
     had me let them hear its contents. Of course I was only too glad to
     have the opportunity of reading, which readily changed to
     opportunity for talking; and in this way, from time to time, little
     groups of Mongols would gather round and listen to short addresses
     on the main doctrines of Christianity. Several men whom I accosted
     seemed familiar with the name of Jesus, and had some knowledge of
     Christianity. Some bought the books eagerly; some not only did not
     buy themselves, but exhorted others not to buy; some openly spoke
     against Christianity; but a great many of those who listened to an
     address or took part in a conversation evinced interest in the
     subjects spoken of, and remarked that salvation by another bearing
     our sin was a reasonable doctrine. As the purchasers of these books
     hailed from all parts of Mongolia, the tracts thus put into their
     hands will reach to even remote localities in the west, north, and
     east, and my prayer is that the reading of them may be the
     beginning of what shall lead to a saving knowledge of the truth in
     some minds. Hoping for some good result, I had my address stamped
     on many of the books, to enable such as might wish to learn more to
     know where to come.

     'In some cases, Mongols wishing to buy books had no money, but were
     willing to give goods instead; and thus it happened that I
     sometimes made my way home at night with a miscellaneous collection
     of cheese, sour-curd, butter and millet cake and sheep's fat,
     representing the produce of part of the day's sales.'

A short time before he returned to England on his first furlough he drew
up a report, in which he places on record some of the results of his ten
years' experience of Mongol life and habits.

     'On one occasion I was living some weeks in a Mongol's tent. It was
     late in the year. Lights were put out soon after dark. The nights
     were long in reality, and, in such unsatisfactory surroundings as
     the discomforts of a poor tent and doubtful companions, the nights
     seemed longer than they were. At sunrise I was only too glad to
     escape from smoke and everything else to the retirement of the
     crest of a low ridge of hills near the tent. This, perhaps the most
     natural thing in the world for a foreigner, was utterly
     inexplicable to the Mongols. The idea that any man should get out
     of his bed at sunrise and climb a hill for nothing! He must be up
     to mischief! He must be secretly taking away the luck of the land!
     This went on for some time, the Mongols all alive with suspicion,
     and the unsuspecting foreigner retiring regularly morning after
     morning, till at length a drunken man blurted out the whole thing,
     and openly stated the conviction that the inhabitants had arrived
     at, namely, that this extraordinary morning walk of the foreigner
     on the hill crest boded no good to the country. To remain among the
     people I had to give up my morning retirement.

     'The Mongols are very suspicious of seeing a foreigner writing.
     What _can_ he be up to? they say among themselves. Is he taking
     notes of the capabilities of the country? Is he marking out a road
     map, so that he can return guiding an army? Is he, as a wizard,
     carrying off the good luck of the country in his note-book? These,
     and a great many others, are the questions that they ask among
     themselves and put to the foreigner when they see him writing; and
     if he desires to conciliate the good-will of the people, and to win
     their confidence, the missionary must abstain from walking and
     writing while he is among them.

     'On another point, too, a missionary must be careful. He must not
     go about shooting. Killing beasts or birds the Mongols regard as
     peculiarly sinful, and anyone who wished to teach them religious
     truth would make the attempt under great disadvantage if he carried
     and used a gun. This, however, is a prejudice that it is not so
     difficult to refrain from offending.

     'The diseases presented for treatment are legion, but the most
     common cases are skin diseases and diseases of the eye and teeth.
     Perhaps rheumatism is _the_ disease of Mongolia; but the manner of
     life and customs of the Mongols are such that it is useless to
     attempt to cure it. Cure it to-day, it is contracted again
     to-morrow. Skin diseases present a fair field for a medical
     missionary. They are so common, and the Mongolian treatment of them
     is so far removed from common-sense, that anyone with a few
     medicines and a little intelligence has ample opportunity of
     benefiting many sufferers. The same may be said of the eye. The
     glare of the sun on the Plain at all seasons, except when the grass
     is fresh and green in summer, the blinding sheen from the snowy
     expanse in winter, and the continual smoke that hangs like a cloud
     two or three feet above the floor of the tent, all combine to
     attack the eye. Eye diseases are therefore very common. The lama
     medicines seem to be able to do nothing for such cases, and a few
     remedies in a foreigner's hands work cures that seem wonderful to
     the Mongols.

     'In many cases, when a Mongol applies to his doctor, he simply
     extends his hand, and expects that the doctor, by simply feeling
     his pulse, will be able to tell, not only the disease, but what
     will cure it. As soon as the doctor has felt the pulse of one
     hand, the patient at once extends the other hand that the pulse may
     be felt there also, and great surprise is manifested when a
     foreigner begins his diagnosis of a case by declining the proffered
     wrist and asking questions.

     'The question of "How did you get this disease?" often elicits some
     curiously superstitious replies. One man lays the blame on the
     stars and constellations. Another confesses that when he was a lad
     he was mischievous, and dug holes in the ground or cut shrubs on
     the hill, and it is not difficult to see how he regards disease as
     a punishment for digging, since by digging worms are killed; but
     what cutting wood on a hill can have to do with sin it is harder to
     see, except it be regarded as stealing the possessions of the
     spiritual lord of the locality. In consulting a doctor, too, a
     Mongol seems to lay a deal of stress on the belief that it is his
     _fate_ to be cured by the medical man in question, and, if he finds
     relief, often says that his meeting this particular doctor and
     being cured is the result of prayers made at some previous time.

     'One difficulty in curing Mongols is that they frequently, when
     supplied with medicines, depart entirely from the doctor's
     instructions when they apply them; and a not unfrequent case is
     that of the patient who, after applying to the foreigner for
     medicine and getting it, is frightened by his success, or scared by
     some lying report of his neighbours, or staggered at the fact that
     the foreigner would not feel his pulse, or feel it at one wrist
     only, lays aside the medicine carefully and does not use it at all.

     'In Mongolia, too, a foreigner is often asked to perform absurd,
     laughable, or impossible cures. One man wants to be made clever,
     another to be made fat, another to be cured of insanity, another of
     tobacco, another of whisky, another of hunger, another of tea;
     another wants to be made strong, so as to conquer in gymnastic
     exercises; most men want medicine to make their beards grow; while
     almost every man, woman, and child wants to have his or her skin
     made as white as that of the foreigner.

     'When a Mongol is convinced that his case is hopeless he takes it
     very calmly, and bows to his fate, whether it be death or chronic
     disease; and Mongol doctors, and Mongol patients too, after a
     succession of failures, regard the affliction as a thing fated, to
     be unable to overcome which implies no lack of medical ability on
     the doctor's part.

     'Of all the healing appliances in the hands of a foreigner none
     strikes the fancy of a Mongol so much as the galvanic battery, and
     it is rather curious that almost every Mongol who sees it and tries
     its effect exclaims what a capital thing it would be for examining
     accused persons. It would far surpass whipping, beating, or
     suspending. Under its torture a guilty man could not but "confess."
     Some one in England has advocated the use of the galvanic battery
     in place of the cat in punishing criminals, and it is rather
     curious to note the coincidence of the English and Mongol mind.

     'The Mongol doctors are not, it would seem, quite unacquainted with
     the properties of galvanism. It is said that they are in the habit
     of prescribing the loadstone ore, reduced to powder, as efficacious
     when applied to sores, and one man hard of hearing had been
     recommended by a lama to put a piece of loadstone into each ear and
     chew a piece of iron in his mouth!

     'Divination is another point on which Mongols are troublesome. It
     never for a moment enters their head that a man so intelligent and
     well fitted out with appliances as a foreigner seems to them to be
     cannot divine. Accordingly they come to him to divine for them
     where they should camp to be lucky and get rich, when a man who has
     gone on a journey will return, why no news has been received from a
     son or husband who is serving in the army, where they should dig a
     well so as to get plenty of good water near the surface, whether it
     would be fortunate for them to venture on some trading speculation,
     whether they should go on some projected journey, in what direction
     they should search for lost cattle, or, more frequently than any of
     the above, they come, men and women, old and young, to have the
     general luck of their lives examined into. Great is their amazement
     when the foreigner confesses his ignorance of such art, and greater
     still is their incredulity.

     'The great obstacles to success in doctoring the Mongols are
     two:--First: most of the afflicted Mongols suffer from chronic
     diseases for which almost nothing can be done. Second: in many
     cases, where alleviation or cures are effected, they are only of
     short duration, as no amount of explanation or exhortation seems
     sufficient to make them aware of the importance of guarding against
     causes of disease. But, notwithstanding all this, many cures can be
     effected on favourable subjects, and the fact that the missionary
     carries medicines with him and attempts to heal, and that without
     money and without price, aids the missionary cause by bringing him
     into friendly communication with many who would doubtless hold
     themselves aloof from any one who approached them in no other
     character but that of a teacher of Christianity.'



CHAPTER VII

THE VISIT TO ENGLAND IN 1882


From 1880 onwards Mrs. Gilmour suffered severely from illness, and
medical advisers recommended at length the rest and change of a visit to
England. Mr. Gilmour's furlough was also nearly due. Consequently, in
the spring of 1882, he and his family returned to England. This visit
was helpful and memorable in many ways. The rest so thoroughly well
earned was greatly enjoyed. The return to civilisation, the society of
loved relatives and friends, the comforts of ordinary English life, and
the change of thought and occupation which these involved--all reacted
happily and refreshingly upon both Mr. Gilmour and his wife.

But a sojourn at home is not by any means a season of entire rest for
the jaded worker. The Churches constantly need the stimulus and
awakening that are best supplied by the men who have been filling the
hard places in the field. Gilmour also was so full of enthusiasm for his
work, and so eager in his desire to benefit the Mongols, that he would
doubtless have found for himself many opportunities of pleading their
cause, had not the authorities of the London Missionary Society,
following their usual custom, furnished him with a long list of
deputation engagements, Into these he threw himself with an energy that
very greatly enlarged the circle of his friendship, secured very many
new supporters for the missionary cause, and obtained for himself, on
the part of many, a devout, prayerful sympathy for the remainder of his
earthly service.

He had brought with him a large quantity of manuscript material dealing
with his twelve years of Mongol life and experience. From this he
prepared the volume which was published by the Religious Tract Society
in April 1883, under the title of _Among the Mongols_.

The book was very cordially welcomed by the press, and we single out for
quotation a portion of one review which stands out pre-eminent not only
for its literary quality, but also as placing on record the impression
James Gilmour was able to make upon men entirely ignorant of him and his
work by the simple narrative of his experiences. It appeared in the
_Spectator_ for April 28, 1883.

     'We have a difficulty in passing judgment on this book. It is
     possible, even probable, that the impression it has made on us is
     individual to this reviewer, and due to an accident which, with
     other readers, will not repeat itself. Having time, and an interest
     in nomads, he read a page or two, and read on, and read on, for
     five hours, till he had finished the book,--which is much too
     short,--fascinated, lost, carried out of himself and England. He
     was in Mongolia, sitting under a blue-cloth tent, with savage dogs
     howling around, and gazing outside, through the doorless doorway,
     on a vast panorama of poor tufted grass, stretching away to huge
     black hills in the distance, and Tartars on camels, Tartars on
     horses, Tartars on springless, unbreakable ox-carts, hastening up
     to the encampment; while inside he listened to a quiet Scotchman,
     resignedly yet clearly explaining everything in a voice---- there
     was the puzzle. Where in the world had the reviewer heard that
     voice before, with its patient monotone, as well known as his
     oldest friend's, its constant digressions and "reflections," its
     sentences so familiar, yet so new, sentences which, as each topic
     came up, he could write before they were uttered. "James Gilmour,
     M.A." Never knew him, or heard of him; yet here was he, talking
     exactly as some one else had years ago talked a hundred times. So
     oppressive at last became the will-o'-the-wisp reminiscence, that
     the reviewer stopped, after an account of the Desert of Gobi, and
     deliberately read it through again, in search of a clue which might
     reawaken his memory. It was all in vain, and it was not till
     another hundred pages had been passed, always under the impression
     of that bewildering reminiscence, that he exclaimed to himself,
     "That's it! Robinson Crusoe has turned missionary, lived years in
     Mongolia, and written a book about it." That is this book. To any
     one who, perhaps from early neglect, does not perceive this truth,
     our judgment will seem erroneous; but to any one who does, we may
     quite fearlessly appeal. The student of _Robinson Crusoe_ never
     expected that particular pleasure in this life, and he will never
     have it again; but for this once he has it to the full. Mr. James
     Gilmour, though a man of whom any country may be proud, is not a
     deep thinker, and not a bright writer, and not a man with the gift
     of topographical, or, indeed, any other kind of description. He
     thinks nothing extraordinary, and has nothing to say quotable.
     There is a faint, far-off humour in him, humour sternly repressed;
     but that, so far as we know, is the only quality in his writing
     which makes him _littérateur_ at all. But Heaven, which has denied
     him many gifts, has given him one in full measure,--the gift of
     Defoe, the power of so stating things that the reader not only
     believes them, but sees them in bodily presence, that he is there
     wherever the author chooses to place him, under the blue tent,
     careering over the black ice of Lake Baikal, or hobnobbing in tea
     with priests as unlike Englishmen as it is possible for human
     beings to be, yet, such is his art, in nowise unintelligible or
     strange. It may be, as we have said, that it is an individual
     impression, but we never read, save once, the kind of book in our
     lives, did not deem it possible ever again to meet with this
     special variety of unconscious literary skill. We are aware of a
     dozen shortcomings, of a hundred points upon which Mr. Gilmour
     ought to have given light, and has not; but there has been, if our
     experience serves us at all, no book quite like this book since
     _Robinson Crusoe_; and _Robinson Crusoe_ is not better, does not
     tell a story more directly, or produce more instantaneous and final
     conviction. Heaven help us all, if Mr. Gilmour tells us that he has
     met any unknown race in Mongolia, say, people with the power of
     making themselves invisible, for Tyndall will believe him, and
     Huxley account for them, and the _Illustrated London News_ publish
     their portraits--in the stage of invisibility. We do not say the
     book is admirable, or perfect, or anything else superlative; but we
     do say, and this with sure confidence, that no one who begins it
     will leave it till the narrative ends, or doubt for an instant,
     whether he knows Defoe or not, that he has been enchained by
     something separate and distinct in literature, something almost
     uncanny in the way it has gripped him, and made him see for ever a
     scene he never expected to see.

     'We do not know that we have any more to say about the book. Its
     merit is that, and no other; and we do not suppose anybody ever
     proved _Robinson Crusoe's_ value by extracts. But we must say a
     word or two about the author and his subject. Mr. Gilmour, though a
     Scotchman, is apparently attached to the London Mission, and seems
     to have quitted Peking for Mongolia on an impulse to teach Christ
     to Tartars. He could not ride, he did not know Mongolian, he had an
     objection to carry arms, and he had no special fitness except his
     own character, which he knew nothing about, for the work.
     Nevertheless, he went, and stayed years, living on half-frozen
     prairies and deserts under open tents, on fat mutton, sheep's tails
     particularly, tea, and boiled millet, eating only once a day
     because Mongols do, and in all things, except lying, stealing, and
     prurient talk, making himself a lama. As he could not ride, he rode
     for a month over six hundred miles of dangerous desert, where the
     rats undermine the grass, and at the end found that that difficulty
     has disappeared for ever. As he could not talk, he "boarded out"
     with a lama, listened and questioned, and questioned and listened,
     till he knew Mongolian as Mongols know it, till his ears became so
     open that he was painfully aware that Mongol conversation, like
     that of most Asiatics, is choked with _doubles entendres_. As for
     danger, he had made up his mind not to carry arms, not to be angry
     with a heathen, happen what might, and--though he does not mention
     this--not to be afraid of anything whatever, neither dogs nor
     thieves, nor hunger nor the climate; and he kept those three
     resolutions. If ever on earth there lived a man who kept the law of
     Christ, and could give proofs of it, and be absolutely unconscious
     that he was giving them, it is this man, whom the Mongols he lived
     among called "our Gilmour." He wanted, naturally enough, sometimes
     to meditate away from his hosts, and sometimes to take long walks,
     and sometimes to geologise, but he found all these things roused
     suspicion--for why should a stranger want to be alone; might it not
     be "to steal away the luck of the land"?--and as a suspected
     missionary is a useless missionary, Mr. Gilmour gave them all up,
     and sat endlessly in tents, among lamas. And he says incidentally
     that his fault is impatience, a dislike to be kept waiting!'

[Illustration: A MONGOL CAMEL CART
(_From a Native Sketch_)]

The book met with a ready and wide acceptance. It soon 'found its
public.' It was only to be expected that many of the friends and
supporters of the London Missionary Society would welcome it. And there
are others, like the reviewer, who 'have time and an interest in
nomads,' who were certain to consult it. But in addition to these
special classes the book did good service in some cases, by deepening
the impression already made by other first-rate delineations of
missionary enterprise and endurance, and in others by creating respect
for missions and missionaries in minds hitherto strange to that feeling.
In various editions very many thousands of the book have been sold
during the nine years which have passed since the publication of the
first edition.

The success of his book led to the suggestion that he might easily find
much useful employment for his pen. He did contribute some papers to the
_Sunday at Home_, _Pall Mall Gazette_, and other publications. But in
this, as in all other enterprises, loyalty to the great work of his life
ruled him. He soon came to the conviction that he ought not to take time
from the work of winning souls, and spend it in writing papers and
books--and from the moment of that decision he put mere literary work
resolutely aside.

     'I feel keenly,' he wrote in 1884, on his return to Peking, 'that
     there is here more than I can do, and writing must go to the wall.'
     And as late in his life as 1890 he added, 'I could have made, and
     could now make, I believe, money by writing, but I do not write. I
     settle down to teach illiterate Chinamen and Mongols, heal their
     sores, and present Christ to them.'

Towards the end of 1882 James Gilmour entered upon a long series of
meetings on behalf of the London Missionary Society, consisting of
sermons and addresses to Sunday School children on the Sunday, and
speeches at public meetings during the week. A long series of his
letters written to his wife between November 1882 and March 1883 is
still extant, and they form an impressive record of the work considered
suitable for a wearied missionary at home in search of rest and change.
He visited Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Liverpool, Kilsyth, Hamilton,
Paisley, Dundee, St Andrews, Arbroath, Lytham, Aberdeen, Montrose,
Manchester, Hingham, Cambridge, Norfolk, and Southampton. And this list
exhausts only a portion of his excursions on the effort to stimulate and
develope the faith and the zeal of the churches at home. His wanderings
brought him into contact sometimes with relatives, sometimes with old
college friends, now grave pastors fast hastening towards middle life.
The meetings he attended always added to the circle of his friends, for
none could hear his ringing voice, and feel the clasp of his hand, and
pass under the influence of his ardent enthusiasm on behalf of the great
enterprise of the modern Christian Church without receiving an
impression never likely to be effaced.

He in turn experienced a strong and abiding spiritual refreshment from
this renewal, after twelve years' absence, of touch and fellowship with
the Christian life of Great Britain. His earnestness deepened, he
studied with intensest interest movements like the Salvation Army, then
coming into great prominence, and other agencies for improving the
religious life of the nation, and he rejoiced in all fellowship with
other disciples of the Lord Jesus which had for its aim the
strengthening of the life of faith.

He rejoiced greatly when at infrequent intervals a Sunday came upon
which he was entirely free from engagements. Such rare occasions he
utilised very fully for spiritual edification. He was somewhat hampered
in his possibilities on these days by the fact that his temporary home
was at Bexley Heath, and his strong Sabbatarian views never permitted
him to travel by rail or omnibus on the Lord's Day. The following letter
shows how he passed one of these days.

     'Yesterday being a fine day I left home at 7.15 A.M., walked to
     London (twelve miles), got to Spurgeon's at 10.30. Had a permit
     from a seat-holder, was close to the platform, heard a good earnest
     sermon, was introduced to Spurgeon in the vestry after service,
     went home to one of his deacons for dinner, there met an American
     who had under Mr. Moody been converted from drunkenness to God, and
     whose craving for drink was as instantaneously and as thoroughly
     expelled as the devils by Christ of old. After dinner visited
     Spurgeon's Stockwell Orphanages, then walked to Camberwell and
     dropped in, in passing, at the Catholic Apostolic Church and heard
     a sermon from a man who would have described himself as an Apostle,
     I suppose, and who ridiculed in a gentle and mild way the idea that
     all men were to be partakers of the Gospel blessings which he
     seemed to think were the special property of what he called "The
     Church"; walked on to Lewisham, heard Morlais Jones: and then
     walked home in the moonlight, arriving here footsore and weary
     about 10.20 P.M. I enjoyed the day very much, all but the last four
     or five miles home at night. I am thankful to find myself so
     strong. I had a warm bath and slept like a top.'

Those who were privileged to entertain James Gilmour, if congenial, and
the old friends who were fortunate enough to secure him for even a brief
period, often experienced his power of vivid and entrancing narration.
His twelve years of service had been very full of varied and uncommon
experience, and when in the vein he could make the hours pass almost as
minutes. 'During this furlough,' writes Dr. Reynolds, 'I had several
opportunities of intercourse with him, and listened to several of his
addresses on the progress and need of missionary enterprise in the north
of China and Mongolia, and was profoundly impressed by his earnestness,
but I was more deeply moved when in quiet _tête-à-tête_ he unveiled some
of his special experiences. I should like to mention one. He once had
great hope of the conversion to God of a Mongol, who had given him his
entire confidence, and who was suffering from cataract in both eyes.
Gilmour felt that this was a case in which surgical help might restore
the sufferer to at least partial sight, and he made arrangements that in
the escort of a Mongol the patient should find his way to the medical
institution at Peking. He started on the pilgrimage when Gilmour, with
his brave young wife, were encamped in a great temporary settlement of
Mongols, who were in a state of considerable fanatical excitement
against the new faith and its foreign teacher. Gilmour said, "We prayed
night and day for the success of this experiment, and we arranged to
cover all expenses connected with the arrangement." Alas! wind laden
with dust, and blinding heat and other apparent accidents conspired
against the poor sufferer, and when the necessary time had elapsed after
the operation and the bandages were removed, the patient was found to
be _stone blind_. The Mongol companion stirred up the poor fellow's
suspicion by telling him that he knew why the Missionary had sent him to
Peking. "I saw," said he, "the jewel of your eye in a bottle on the
shelf. These Christians can get hundreds of taels for these jewels which
they take out of our eyes."

'When the blind man was brought back to Gilmour, his companion spread
his suspicions and exasperating story in the entire district, and the
fanatical hatred was augmented into seething and murderous passion, and
our dear friends were in imminent peril for several weeks. If they had
ventured to escape, it would have been a confession of a vile conspiracy
with the Peking doctors, and a signal for their massacre. They remained
to live down the ominous and odious charge, and in continuous effort to
justify the simplicity of their motives and the purity and beneficence
of their mission.

'Deeply moved, as I was, by the story of this hairbreadth escape, I
asked Mrs. Gilmour more about those fearful weeks of suspense, and she
assured me that they had been perfectly calm, and that they were
entirely resigned to God's will, whatever it might be.'

'Many other trials of faith and patience were described by Gilmour,
without one touch of self-approval or self-admiration, and the only
trouble that haunted him was that the results of his long journeys and
of his various missionary enterprises had been apparently so few.'

It was certain that James Gilmour's power as a speaker would be utilised
for the great event of the London Missionary Society's year, the annual
meeting at Exeter Hall. This fell, in 1883, on May 10, and he was the
last speaker. This involved waiting about two hours and a half for his
speech, and corresponding exhaustion on the part of the audience. But
none who were present will forget the rapid way in which he secured the
attention of his hearers, and the ease with which he held it to the
close. He chose to speak of work in China, rather than in Mongolia; the
recent publication of his book helping among other reasons to determine
this choice. Part of the speech deserves reproduction here, because it
outlines very sharply the work that engaged much of his time while
resident in Peking, and because nowhere else can such a realistic,
sparkling, and lifelike picture of the preaching work of the Peking
mission, and consequently more or less of all preaching in great Chinese
cities, be found.

     'In Peking we have three chapels. A chapel there is merely a
     Chinese shop, put into decent repair, and a signboard stuck over
     the top. The Chinese are very fond of giving themselves very high
     names. You will come to a man sitting in a little box scarcely big
     enough for himself to turn round in, and if you read his sign, it
     is some flowing name about a hall; it may be the "Hall of Continual
     Virtue," or something of that kind, or the "Hall of the Five
     Happinesses." So our title above our chapel just runs in the native
     idiomatic style, and it is the "Gospel Hall.' Inside there is not
     very much to see. The counter has been cleared away and the
     shelves, and, in place of the mud, a brick floor has been put down;
     and then there are forms arranged for the sitters, and there is a
     low platform for the speaker. I do not know how it happens, but it
     does happen, that up in the left-hand corner of the chapel--and it
     is always the left-hand corner--there is a table and two chairs,
     and on that table there is a teapot and set of cups, because in
     China everything is done with tea. You must always begin in that
     way. These chapels are open six days in the week in the afternoon.

     'Now, supposing you come in at the door, the natural thing for the
     missionary seems to be just to walk up to this table and sit down,
     and then the next thing is to get a congregation. Sometimes there
     is no difficulty about getting it, if it happens to be a fair day
     or there is a crowd in the streets. They simply pour in: but the
     tide goes different ways sometimes, and does not pour in always
     like that. I want to give you just a fair, square, honest idea of
     what the thing is. Sometimes the congregation will not come in, and
     sometimes, after a little while, one man looks in at the door and
     sees a foreigner, and he is off. He has seen quite enough and does
     not want to see any more; and if you were to ask him what he had
     seen, he would not say he had seen a foreigner; no, he would say he
     had seen "a foreign devil." And, friends, you would not be very
     much astonished that some of those ignorant men coming from the
     country are alarmed when they see a foreigner, if you could only
     imagine the terrible lies that they circulate about us there; about
     how we take out people's hearts for the purposes of magic, and
     steal people's eyes to make photographic chemicals, and administer
     medicines to bewitch them generally. I say that, if the first man
     who comes to a chapel on an afternoon is a man who has heard these
     things, you cannot be astonished that all you see of that man is
     his back and his pigtail as he goes away.

     'Another man sometimes comes--a bolder man, and he comes in, and
     the most natural thing for him seems to be to walk up to the table
     and sit down on the other side, and there you and he are a pair.
     The proper thing is to pour him out a cup of tea: that is
     etiquette, and the etiquette seems to be that he should not drink
     it. Sometimes, after the service begins, I see the native preacher
     come slyly up, as if he did not mean anything at all; and he walks
     up to the teapot, and lifts the lid quite quietly, and slips that
     tea back into the pot again, and puts on the lid and warms it up,
     and it is ready for the next man who comes.

     'If you get into conversation with one man, the congregation is,
     for the most part, practically secured, because, though a Chinaman
     is very much afraid of being spoken to directly by a foreigner,
     most Chinamen are very curious to overhear any conversation that
     may be carried on; so if you are speaking to him, in comes another
     man to listen, and if you can get other men to come in and listen
     over each other's backs, very soon more come in than the original
     speaker cares to overhear his private conversation; and when that
     step is reached, it is time to go to the platform and ask the
     hearers to sit down and begin the regular service. Sometimes nobody
     comes in, and then you have to try something else, and that is to
     go and sit down a little nearer the door, and sometimes, in that
     way, gradually a few people come in. But then in Peking sometimes
     there is a great north-west wind blowing; and I think that is about
     the hardest thing on a man's congregation before he gets it,
     because, when the weather is unfavourable, there are not many
     people about, and so we have to adopt another plan. We do not go on
     to the streets, but inside the chapel the native preacher and I do
     our best to sing a hymn. I say do our best, because sometimes these
     native preachers do not succeed in singing very well; however, we
     succeed in making a noise, and that is the thing that draws. The
     people look in, and see what they suppose to be a foreigner and a
     native chanting Buddhist prayers. In they come; they have not seen
     that before, and they sit down, and, as soon as the hymn is
     through, we have the opportunity of telling them the contents of
     the hymn; and there you have your sermon ready to your hand.

     'But suppose you have got your congregation, it is not all
     smooth-sailing water. Sometimes there are interruptions. Sometimes,
     just when you have the ear of your audience, all at once a
     tremendous row happens just outside the door, and the congregation
     jump to their feet and rush out to see what is going on. I could
     have told them if they had only asked me. No doubt, some unwise
     Chinaman, in place of coming straight in and sitting down, stood on
     the outskirt of the crowd on tiptoe. A city thief coming along
     says, "Ah, there is my man," and he walks quietly up to him with a
     pair of sharp scissors, cuts off his tobacco pouch, and goes off
     with it. Of course, as soon as the man misses the pouch, his first
     impulse is to grab his next neighbour; that neighbour remonstrates,
     and then a fight commences.

     'Sometimes a funeral passes, and that is almost as serious an
     interruption as a fight; because, although a Chinaman does not
     think much about his soul after he dies, he thinks a vast deal
     about his dead body, and, in order to be perfectly sure that he
     will not be cheated by the undertaker, he buys his coffin before he
     is sick, and sees that he has a good bargain. And so, having a good
     coffin, he wants a good funeral; and it is said some men spend
     nearly half of their fortune in having a grand procession when they
     are carried to their grave. When one of these enormous funerals,
     with a procession sometimes a quarter of a mile long, comes by, it
     is a very bad job for your congregation. Out they go to have a look
     at it.

     'Then the interruption is sometimes another thing, and this last
     one is a more difficult case to settle. When one of the upper ten
     thousand in China has a marriage, they want to have a great
     exhibition; and after they have bought the furniture, they get and
     hire a great many men, and have them dressed to carry that
     furniture in procession along the streets and show it to their
     neighbours. First comes a great wardrobe, and then a little
     cupboard, a washstand, a square table, and all sorts of furniture.
     Now when that comes, what are you to do? They have been at the
     expense of paying for an exhibition for their neighbours to see,
     and they feel that it would be unneighbourly if they did not step
     to the door and look out and see the things carried past, and there
     goes your congregation. Sometimes unusual interruptions happen. I
     remember once a woman put her head in at the door. Women do not
     come to these chapels often--I am very glad they do not. That woman
     put her head in at the door, and I saw danger. She glared round the
     place, and then she spied one man, and she shouted out something at
     him: "Come out of that!" and, friends, he came out of that, in a
     big hurry, too. He disturbed us very considerably. It was not the
     woman so much as the man--we all pitied him as he went out.

     'Those audiences are very mixed, and they are very curious to your
     eyes. Sometimes I see those audiences, most of whom we do not know
     anything about, listening to what I have to tell them, quite as
     still as you are now--their pipes out, the smoke cleared away. They
     lean forward and listen just as still as audiences in this country
     sometimes listen when the preacher, in an interesting discourse, is
     coming up to a division of his subject. And, friends, let me tell
     you what it is that makes them listen best of all--it is the
     central doctrine of the truth of Christianity. When we come to tell
     them of how Christ left the surroundings of heaven, and came to
     spend so many years in such very poor, unsympathetic company on
     earth (and that is a subject that a missionary sometimes can talk
     feelingly upon when he has been in a foreign country for some
     time), when we can tell them that, and then come to the last and
     greatest part of all: how Christ allowed Himself, for love of man,
     to be nailed to the cross, and not only that, but kept in Him that
     gentle spirit that made Him pray for those who were putting Him to
     death--oh, friends, when we come to that and tell them of it--I
     know that a Chinaman is degraded, corrupt, sensual, material, but
     he has a human heart; and when you can get at the heart, it
     responds to the story of the Cross. We want to do something in
     drawing the net, and so, on this table in the corner, there is a
     pile of books, and as it gets towards the time to close, I say to
     the friends, "Now, you will soon be going away to your evening
     meal; and as I am a foreigner, probably you have not understood all
     that I have said;" and then I say, "Now, before you go, there are a
     number of books upon this table, where you will find the whole of
     this subject put down in black and white; will you just come up and
     have a look at the books before you go?" We want, if possible, to
     establish a point of contact with them, and so to get a little
     private conversation, as it were. If you ask them to come up and
     look at a book, and they ask the price of it, you have an
     opportunity of talking to them, and some of these men not only buy
     the books, but they read them and come back for others.

     'Now, how does the matter stand? These heathen have been in our
     chapel, and we have taken the opportunity of putting some of the
     truth into their hearts; but I know a good part, much, it may be,
     of what the man has heard when he goes out--well, it is stolen
     away, or it is trampled under foot; but some part of it remains.

     'And now I can come to the practical part. I have not been trying
     to entertain you, but I have been trying to interest you, and what
     I want to impress upon you is this: after those men have left the
     chapel you can do as much for their conversion as we can do in
     China. I want you to pray for the conversion of these men to whom
     we in Peking, and others in other parts of the world, are the means
     of communicating these truths of Christ. I believe it is not only
     the earnestness of the missionary that is going to produce results,
     but it is your earnestness here. We are your agents, and I
     believe, fervently, we shall have results there in direct
     proportion to the measure of your earnestness here. I believe I am
     speaking to the right people when I ask you to pray. Unprayed for,
     I feel very much as if a diver were sent down to the bottom of a
     river with no air to breathe, or as if a fireman were sent up to a
     blazing building and held an empty hose; I feel very much as a
     soldier who is firing blank cartridge at an enemy, and so I ask you
     earnestly to pray that the Gospel may take saving and working
     effect on the minds of those men to whose notice it has been
     introduced by us. Not long ago, at the close of a local
     anniversary, when we had been having a meeting, as we were going
     home, three of us got off a tram-car--two ministers of the locality
     and myself--and, as we were walking along, one said: "Ah, Gilmour,
     it is all the same over again; it is just the old thing; you
     missionaries come, and you have an anniversary, and the people's
     earnestness seems to be stirred up, and you ask their prayers, and
     it looks as if you would get them, but," he said, "you go away, and
     the thing passes by and is just left where it was before." I do not
     think that was quite correct. I think my brother was labouring
     under a temporary fit of the blues, and I was very glad to find his
     companion said it was not quite correct. What I want is this, to go
     back to my work feeling that there are those behind us who are
     praying earnestly that God's Spirit would work effectually in the
     hearts of those to whom we have the privilege of preaching. If you
     pray earnestly you can but work earnestly, and then you will also
     give earnestly; and I do not think we can be too earnest in the
     matter for which Christ was so much in earnest that He laid down
     His own life.'

The month of June and part of July was spent at Millport, a
watering-place on the west coast of Scotland, near the lovely scenery
of Arran. On July 4 he ascended Goatfell, and in so doing had an
adventure which might have had very serious consequences. He started
late, lost his way, but finally reached the summit at 8.45 P.M., and
then, as he notes in his diary: 'Fog came on nearly at once with rain
and thunder. Sat in the lee of a dripping rock on a wet stone and looked
at a couple of acres of fog and granite boulders. Very dark and cold
about midnight, the time wore on very slowly, more rain dripping, and
fog. At 2 o'clock A.M. I began the descent, and in a short while it was
light enough to see. Came on all right, and saw where I had missed the
way.... I have not caught cold. I was wet all night, but kept wrapt up
in my plaid and as warm as I could manage. Next day the minister
congratulated me on being seen alive after my Goatfell adventure.'

On September 1 the return voyage to China began, and Peking was reached
on November 14.



CHAPTER VIII

SUNSHINE AND SHADOW


In Peking the old familiar round of mission duties recommenced. Gilmour
after his absence of eighteen months was the same man, and yet not the
same. He yearned for fruit in the conversion of souls, and he began to
devote himself with more eager self-denial than ever to the winning of
Chinamen's hearts for the Saviour. The winter of 1883-1884 was spent in
Peking, and his diary is full of incidents illustrative of the time and
effort he gave to dealing with individuals.

In February, 1884, he made one of the most remarkable of his Mongolian
journeys. He visited the Plain, travelling on foot, and thus subjecting
himself to risks and hardships of a very serious order. But he had good
reasons for his method, and he sets them forth with his usual clearness.
Possibly no other journey of his life more strikingly testifies to his
strict sense of duty, the unsparing way in which he spent himself in its
discharge, and his eager desire to win souls.

     'On this occasion, partly owing to the shortness of the time at my
     disposal, which made it hardly worth while to set up an
     establishment, and partly owing to the peculiar season of the year,
     which would have made it difficult to find pasture for travelling
     cattle, I determined to go on foot, without medicines, in a
     strictly spiritual capacity, and not seeking so much to make fresh
     acquaintances or open up new ground as to revisit familiar
     localities and see how far former evangelistic attempts had produced
     any effect. In addition there were some individual Mongols who have
     been taught a good deal about Christianity, and on whom I wished
     once more, while there was still opportunity, to press the claims
     of Christ.

[Illustration: A CHINESE MULE LITTER]

     'Five cold days in a mule litter brought me to Kalgan, and another
     day in a cart took me up over the pass and landed me in a Chinese
     inn on the Mongolian plain. This inn has no separate rooms; the
     guests all share the ample platform of the kitchen, and sleep on
     straw mats laid over the brickwork, which is heated by flues
     leading from fires on which their meals are cooked. The Chinese
     innkeeper was an old friend of mine, and he permitted me to share
     his room with him. From this, as a centre, I was able to make
     expeditions to four Mongolian settlements.

     'My first visit was made to a lama whom I have known for years, and
     who has been instructed in Christianity by others, both before and
     since I made his acquaintance. He is a man of influence, wealth,
     and leisure, and, though a priest, has a wife and child. I spent
     almost a whole day with him, and hardly know what to think about
     him. He seems to admit that there must be a God of the universe,
     and admits that Christ may be a revelation of Him, but in the same
     sense in which Buddha was. From one part of his conversation I was
     almost led to believe that he had been praying to Jesus, but I
     could get him to make no such admission. I fear that the inquiring
     spirit of former years has given place to a spirit of indifference.
     He has everything he wants, he has little or no care, seemingly; he
     is content to let things drift, and keeps his mind easy. If he were
     only waked up he might do much for his countrymen.

     'My second visit was to a temple and cluster of tents, where I
     found some old acquaintances; was politely received, but nothing
     more.

     'My third visit was to another cluster of tents, where I was at
     once hailed as the doctor, and, _nolens volens_, compelled to
     examine and prescribe for a number of diseases. Some cures
     accomplished years before explained the enthusiasm of the friends
     there, but for spiritual results I looked in vain.

     'My next expedition was to a place some miles--say eight--away.
     Some years ago, in stormy weather, Mrs. Gilmour and I, soaked out
     of our tent, had found shelter in the mud-house of a Mongol, who
     refused to take anything for the use of his building, remarking
     that we would be going and coming that way afterwards, and that
     then we might give him a present of some foreign article or other.
     I had sent him a few things, but had never since personally visited
     him, and when I reached the settlement I was grieved to find that
     the old man was dead. His son, a lad of twenty-three, had succeeded
     to his estate, and his small official dignity and emoluments, and
     received me in a most remarkably friendly way. He was just starting
     from home, but on seeing me gave up all idea of his going away,
     and, insisting on my staying in his tent for the night, spent the
     remainder of the day with me.

     'Next day, slinging on one side a postman's brown bag containing my
     kit and provisions; on the other an angler's waterproof bag, with
     books, &c.; and carrying from a stick over my shoulder a Chinaman's
     sheepskin coat, I left my landlord drinking the two ounces of hot
     Chinese whisky which formed the invariable introduction to his
     breakfast turned my face northwards, and started for a twenty-three
     miles' walk to the settlement which, for some summers in
     succession, has furnished me with men and oxen for my annual
     journeys. Now the Mongols are familiar with the

     Russians, who, as tea-agents, reside in Kalgan; they have seen many
     passing foreign travellers on horses, camels, and in carts; they
     have seen missionary journeys performed on donkeys and ox-carts;
     but I think that that morning for the first time had they seen a
     foreigner, with all his belongings hung about him, tramping the
     country after the manner of their own begging lamas. There were few
     people to meet on the road, but those I did meet asked the
     customary questions in tones of great surprise, received my answers
     with evident incredulity, and, for the most part rode away
     muttering to themselves, _You eldib eem_, which may be translated
     to mean, "Strange affair." My feet, through want of practice, I
     suppose, soon showed symptoms of thinking this style of travelling
     as strange as the Mongols did, and were badly blistered long before
     the journey was over.

[Illustration: JAMES GILMOUR EQUIPPED FOR HIS WALKING EXPEDITION IN
MONGOLIA IN FEBRUARY 1884]

     'An occasional rest and a bite of snow varied the painful monotony
     of the few last long miles; the river was reached at last, and,
     crossing it, I was soon in front of the cluster of huts I had come
     to visit, and on looking up I was agreeably astonished to find that
     the first man to come out to meet me was the mandarin of the
     district. He was soon joined by others, and, rescued from the dogs,
     I was escorted to his tent, seated before the fire, and supplied
     with a cup and full tea-pot. I had intended to drink tea in his
     tent only for form's sake; but his tea was good, the snow seemed
     only to have increased my thirst, the man himself was sincerely
     friendly; under the circumstances my stoicism broke down, and the
     mandarin's tea-pot was soon all but empty. Meanwhile, his tent had
     been filling with friends and neighbours, to whom the news of my
     arrival had spread, and in a little while I had round me a
     representative from nearly every family in the village. Among the
     others came my two servants--the priest and the layman who had
     driven my ox-carts for me. Escorted by these I went to another
     tent, rested there awhile, and then moved into a mud-built house.
     The priest I had come to visit was busy lighting a fire which would
     do nothing but smoke, and the room was soon full. Finding him
     alone, I told him that I had come to speak to him and my other
     friends about the salvation of their souls, and was pressing him to
     accept Christ, when a layman I also knew entered. Without waiting
     for me to say anything, the priest related the drift of our
     conversation to the layman, who, tongs in hand, was trying to make
     the fire blaze. Blaze it would not, but sent forth an increasing
     volume of smoke, and the layman, invisible to me in the dense
     cloud, though only about two yards away, spoke up and said that for
     months he had been a scholar of Jesus, and that if the priest would
     join him they would become Christians together. Whether the priest
     would join him or not, his mind was made up, he would trust the
     Saviour. By this time the cloud had settled down lower still. I was
     lying flat on the platform, and the two men were crouching on the
     floor--I could just see dimly the bottom of their skin coats--but
     the place was beautiful to me as the gate of heaven, and the words
     of the confession of Christ from out the cloud of smoke were
     inspiriting to me as if they had been spoken by an angel from out
     of a cloud of glory.

     'But neighbours came in, duty called the blackman (layman) away,
     the evening meal had to be prepared and eaten, and it was not till
     late at night that I had opportunity for a private talk with him
     who had confessed Christ; and even then it was not private, because
     we were within earshot of a family of people in their beds.

     'Of all the countries I have visited Mongolia is the most sparsely
     peopled, and yet it is, of all the places I have seen, the most
     difficult to get private conversation with any one. Everybody, even
     half-grown children, seems to think he has a perfect right to
     intrude on any and all conversation. Bar the door and deny
     admittance, and you would be suspected of hatching a plot. Take a
     man away for a stroll that you may talk to him in quiet, and you
     would be suspected of some dangerous enchantment. Remembering that
     one must always have some definite message or business to perform
     when he travels, and hoping to be able to do something with this
     same blackman, I had purposely left, in the Chinese inn, some
     presents which I could not well carry with me, and after a day's
     rest the blackman and I started to bring them. That gave us
     twenty-three miles' private conversation, and a good answer to give
     to all who demanded, "Where are you going?" "What to do?" He gave
     me the history of the origin and growth of his belief in Christ. I
     taught him much he did not know, and at a lonely place we sat down
     and lifted our voices to heaven in prayer. It was the pleasantest
     walk I ever had in Mongolia, and at the same time the most painful.
     My feet broke down altogether. It was evident I could not walk back
     again the next day, so, acting on my follower's advice, by a great
     effort I walked into the inn as if my feet were all right; we
     bargained for a cart and, the Chinaman not suspecting the state of
     my feet, we got it at a reasonable rate. Mongols and Chinese joined
     in explaining to me how much time and labour I would have saved if
     I had hired a cart at first, taken everything with me, and not
     returned to the inn at all. From their point of view they were
     right; but the blackman and I looked at the thing from a different
     standpoint. We had accomplished our purpose, and felt that we could
     afford to let our neighbours plume themselves on their supposed
     superior wisdom.

     'Another day's rest at this place gave me what I much wanted--an
     opportunity for a long quiet talk with the mandarin of this small
     tribe. I was especially anxious to explain to him the true nature
     of Christianity, because the Mongol who professes Christianity
     lives under his jurisdiction, and I felt sure that a right
     understanding of the case might be of service in protecting the
     professor from troubles that are likely to come to him through men
     misunderstanding his case. The mandarin came. On my last visit I
     had been the means of curing him of a troublesome complaint over
     which he had spent much time and money; in addition, I had brought
     him a present from England. He was perfectly friendly and
     exceedingly attentive, and at the close of the conversation asked
     some questions which I thought evinced that he had somewhat entered
     into the spirit of the conversation. He is a man of few words, but
     from what he said I hope that he feels something of the truth of
     Christianity.

     'My next expedition was to a mandarin of wealth and rank, whose
     encampment occupies a commanding site on a mountain-side
     overlooking a large lake. I found him at home, and, as he knows
     well the main doctrines of Christianity, my main mission to him at
     this time was to try and rouse him to earnestness of thought and
     action in regard to his personal relation to Christ. We spent great
     part of the afternoon in earnest talking, and I was much pleased
     with the manner in which he, from time to time, explained to
     another mandarin, who was there as guest, doctrines and facts which
     were alluded to in our conversation. Next morning he started on a
     journey connected with the business of his office, and I returned
     to my friendly quarters where I had left my belongings.

     'I felt it laid upon me to visit two lamas at a temple some seventy
     miles from where I was, and started next day. I reached the temple
     in three days, and found that both the lamas I had come to see were
     dead. So, as far as they were concerned, I was too late. Both on
     the road, however, and at the temple itself, I had good
     opportunities for preaching and teaching. I met some interesting
     men, and not only in tents where I was entertained as guest, but
     sometimes out in the open desert, stray travellers would meet me,
     dismount from their horses, and give me occasion for Christian
     conversation. Five days completed this round, and after another
     day's rest I started back for Kalgan, escorted for ten miles by him
     who had professed Christ. We walked slowly, as we had much to say.
     Arrived at the parting place, we sat down and prayed together. I
     then left, and the last I saw of the poor fellow, there he was,
     sitting in the same place still. I reached Kalgan without
     adventure, and returned to Peking on March 21, having been away
     just over a month.'

Possibly the most touching comment upon this extraordinary journey is to
give some of the brief entries which refer to it in the diary.

     '_February 19, 1884._--Started in a litter for Mongolia. Good talk
     in inn with innman.'

     '_February 23._--Went to Mr. Williams. My letter had not reached
     them. No one knew I was coming.'

     '_February 25._--Over the Pass to Barosaij.'

     '_February 26._--Spent the day with Tu Gishuae. Urged on him the
     internal proof of Christianity--the change of heart.'

     '_February 28._--Shabberti. Boyinto Jauggé has desire to become
     scholar of Jesus.'

     '_March 1._--Walked here. Feet terribly bad. Snow on the road.
     Great thirst. Badma Darag met me. Tea in his tent. Boyinto's
     confession in the smoke of the _baishin_.'[4]

[4] Fire in the centre of the tent.

     '_March 2._--Sabbath. Quiet day. Much talk with all. The Lord
     opened my lips.'

     '_March 3._--Walked to Barosaij with Boyinto to bring my presents.
     Talk about Christianity. Prayer in the desert. Feet terribly bad,
     oh, such pain in walking.'

     '_March 4._--Carted back.'

     '_March 7._--Hara Oss. Walked back here. Called on Tu Lobsung.
     Talk. He knew the way to heaven, but said, "Tell it to some of the
     younger ones." "You go first," I replied. "You most need to know."'

     '_March 8._--Terrible feet. Got to Chagan Hauran.'

     '_March 14._--Boyinto accompanied me to Chagan Balgas with his
     pony. Saw him sitting as long as I was in sight. Feet bad.'

     '_March 21._--Left Pei Kuan at 4 A.M. Dark and snow. Terrible march
     over slippery stones. Nan Kou at 7 A.M. No donkey on such a snowy
     day. Hired the next twenty-seven li. Stiff march. Shatto at 11.35.
     Terrible march to Ching Ho at 3 P.M. Terrible march to Tê Sheng
     Mên. Home at 6.10. Prayer Meeting. Thanks be unto God for all His
     mercies.'

Early in 1885 Mr. Gilmour's heart was rejoiced by the tidings of the
baptism of Boyinto, the Mongol to whom reference has been repeatedly
made above. Although Gilmour's was not the hand to administer the rite,
undoubtedly the conversion was the result of his work. On January 26,
1885, he received a letter from the Rev. W. P. Sprague, of the American
Mission at Kalgan, part of which we quote.


                                          'Kalgan: Jan. 14, 1885.

     'Dear Brother Gilmour,--I hasten to tell you the very good news.
     Boyinto of Shabberti was baptized by my hand this day into the
     Church of Christ, here at Kalgan, in the presence of our assembled
     church and congregation. I'm sure you will rejoice and thank God
     more than any of us. And I never saw our Christians so happy to
     receive any one into the Church. The only thing I regret is that
     it should not be your hand instead of mine to administer the sacred
     rite.

     'I wrote you of his visit to us a month ago, and his application to
     join the Church here, and our satisfaction with his appearance. He
     turned up again yesterday morning, and spent all day with us. In
     the afternoon we had, by previous appointment, a union meeting of
     upper and lower city congregations, as a continuation of week of
     prayer meeting, because the interest was so great. Mr. Roberts
     preached, and in the after part of meeting, when two or three
     others had risen for prayers, I asked Boyinto if he wanted to ask
     Christians to pray for him, and he arose and expressed his desires,
     including wanting to be baptized very plainly. We called church
     meeting at close of the service, and proceeded to examine him for
     admission to Church. He answered so well as to please every one,
     making some happy hits, as when asked what sort of a place heaven
     was, replied, "I haven't been there--how can I tell?" Then said,
     "Would any one pray to go there if it were not a good place?" But
     his straightforward, open simplicity was refreshing. There seemed
     no reason for thinking he was other than an honest
     believer--seeking to follow Jesus in all things. The native church
     members first responded with enthusiasm that he was a most fit
     candidate for receiving to the Church, and expressed great delight
     at finding a Mongol who loved and trusted our Saviour. So we felt
     with Peter, "Can any man forbid water that these should not be
     baptized?" The others then asked me to baptize him on the morrow,
     when we were to have another union meeting at our place. And could
     you have seen his rising and answering my questions, give assent to
     creed and covenant, and then see him remove his cap and bow his
     head reverently and receive the water of baptism, your heart would
     overflow with gratitude and praise to God for this first fruit
     from Mongolia. After prayer we sang "From Greenland's icy
     mountains," changed to "From Mongolia, &c," and we felt it as never
     before.

     'Though God has thus given us great pleasure in gathering this
     first fruit, still I feel, and we all feel, that the honour of the
     work belongs to God, and the reward to you and others.'

During 1884 and 1885 the regular work of the Peking mission occupied
almost the whole of his time, the Rev. S. E. Meech being in England on
furlough, and most of his duties therefore falling upon Mr. Gilmour.
During his stay in England he had attended many of the Salvation Army
meetings, and had caught much of their spirit. He had also come to the
conviction that men needed to be dealt with individually rather than in
the mass. Hence he gave much time to conversation, to teaching single
persons the Christian catechism and the New Testament, and endeavouring,
by talking and praying with them, to lead them to a knowledge of the
truth. From six in the morning until ten at night he was at the service
of all comers. In the afternoon he attended one or both of the Peking
chapels, preaching if there were the opportunity, but always eagerly on
the alert for any individuals showing signs of interest in the Gospel.
It had been the custom of the missionaries to reserve the Sunday evening
for an English service, devoted to their own spiritual refreshment.
This, which was held in the mission compound, he ceased to attend, even
although his absence sometimes made it impossible to hold the service,
in order that he might find time to read and talk and pray with his
Chinese servants. Frequently the meal-time would find him thus engaged,
but the meal had to wait until his visitor had left, or until the
interview came to its natural close. He ceased to read all newspapers
except those distinctively Christian. He found no time for books, as he
felt that direct work for the Chinese should fill the hours he might
otherwise devote to reading. He became more wholly than ever the man of
one book--the Bible--and so absorbed did he grow in this close dealing
with souls that in the earlier stages of his wife's illness he felt
constrained to place it before even her wish that he would remain by her
at periods of severe suffering and weakness.

     '_December 9, 1883._--At chapel met Wang from a place 300 li away
     down in the country. He had heard a sermon there two or three years
     before which he remembered, and could quote. I began the service,
     and brought him up here to my study. We were talking when another
     man, Jui, came in from 130 li north of Peking. He had to run away
     from home on account of misconduct. These two kept me till dark.'

In a letter to the Rev. S. E. Meech, dated November 9, 1885, Mr. Gilmour
refers to a number of these individual cases in which he has been
interesting himself, and the way in which he has dealt with them. It
illustrates his method of close and careful dealing with each native.

     'Ch'ang attends Sunday and Friday services. My opinion about Ch'ang
     is that he wants mission employ. He has no expectation of that from
     me, and little from Rees. I think, too, that he does not mean to
     break with Christianity or with us, and I faintly hope that his
     experiences with us will do us good, though they have been most
     painful to us. I think you'll find him much more tractable than he
     would have been had he not been through these troubles with us.

     'Hsing has had the devil putting philosophic doubts into him. I
     have pressed him to pelt the devil with Scripture, as our Master
     did.

     'Li, shoemaker, I _do_ like. He cannot stay to Sunday service. I
     take him before service therefore.

     'Fu does well. Last Friday he remained after prayer-meeting, and
     talked till 9.40 about all manner of things secular and sacred. He
     has most pleasant remembrances of Emily--Emily, too, liked him.

     'Jui Wu, the powder magazine man, is in a more hopeful case. He may
     come all right yet.[5]

[5] Fu is now (1892) an evangelist, and Jui Wu a dispenser, in the
Chi Chou Mission.

     'Old Tai nearly went, but will now, I think, remain till you come.
     He wants to tiffin with me on Sundays, and enjoys much four, five,
     or six small cups of good strong tea with milk and sugar. He is
     growing in grace.

     'Young Tai I am detaining after his father goes and reading with
     him and teaching him. He gives up his trade for the day, and I want
     to give him a good day.

     'Chao Erh attends well and is improved in circumstances.

     'Lu Ss[)u] is in his old trade, and doing well. He comes on Sundays
     when he comes. He was the man I hoped least of, and as yet he
     pleases me almost most.

     'Lama comes to-morrow to finish reconstructing Mongol catechism. I
     may go on a two months' journey to Mongolia, starting in December.
     I'll have to see the children to Tientsin in February, and want to
     meet you.

     'Hsüs as they were.[6]

[6] Father and son; the only native preachers in the West City of
Peking at that time.

     'I am very much encouraged and thankful about the little Church. I
     can honestly say that I have tried to do my best for it during
     your absence, and God has encouraged me a good deal in it. I have
     reaped some that you have sown, and have endeavoured to sow
     something for you to reap when you return.

     'I sometimes have deep fits of the blues when I think of the
     children, but their mother was able to trust Jesus with them, and
     why should not I?

     'The Mongol work, too, has entered on a new phase, and that opens
     up a new future for me. It is a formidable affair. I don't think
     I'll go to Kalgan or that region. I fear no doctor would stay with
     me there. I may go away North-east. I can hardly tell yet.
     Meantime, with God's help, I hope to do another month's work in
     Peking, and then hand the thing over to Rees once for all. Most of
     my books I'll sell. What use are they to me? I never have time to
     read them, and am not likely ever to have.'

The letter just quoted was written after the sad event to which we must
now refer. Towards the close of the summer of 1885 Mr. Gilmour awoke to
the fact that one of the heaviest sorrows of his life was coming upon
him. For some years past Mrs. Gilmour had been subject to severe attacks
of pain. The visit to England and the rest and change of the old home
life had in a measure restored her. But hardly were they comfortably
established in their old Peking quarters ere some of her most trying
symptoms reappeared. With that brave heart and resolute spirit
characteristic of her whole missionary career, for a time she gave
herself to the duties of the mission and bore her full share of its
anxieties and toils. But gradually she was constrained to recognise that
her active work was over. From the first she had thrown herself
whole-heartedly into missionary Service. She could converse fluently
with the Mongols, having acquired their language in the same way as her
husband, by enduring repeatedly all the privations of life in a Mongol
tent. She had impressed them by her fondness for animals, by her
gentleness of spirit, and by her evident interest in all that bore upon
their own welfare. In Peking she had laboured hard among the women and
girls, both in the matter of education and also of direct religious
instruction. A very bitter element in her cup of sorrow was the
conviction gradually forced upon her that her power to do this work was
fast slipping away. In a letter to her sister, Mrs. Meech, then in
England, dated May 2, 1885, she gives the first clear expression to this
feeling: 'I would have written before, but I have been ill for about six
weeks; not actually ill, except one week, but not able to do anything
except the children's lessons and the harmonium on Sundays sometimes.
All the rest has had to go. I am sorry, but it can't be helped. How long
it will last I don't know. I can't get stronger, so I must be content to
be tired. I am nothing more than weak, and a great many people are that.
There has been a grand revival here. It seemed to pass like a mountain
torrent, while I had only to look on and see. My only wonder was that
people had lived so long without the happiness that they might have had
for the taking. I didn't want to go to the meeting, I felt so weak and
unable to bear the tension of spiritual excitement. But as it was it
didn't tire me at all, but made me love a lot of the people. May the
Chinese feel the flood tide of new life that has come into Peking! And
they must, there can be nothing to hinder it.'

The reference in the last part of this letter is to a great deepening
of spiritual life that took place among the missionaries, and also among
some of the European residents in Peking.

The first explicit reference by Mr. Gilmour to his coming sorrow occurs
in the Diary; but in his report, sent home a month later, and dated
August 4, 1885, he wrote: 'Mrs. Gilmour is very ill, and now very weak.
I fear all hope of her recovery is taken away. Her trouble is a
run-down, but the serious complication is her lungs. We are at the hills
in a temple with another family, the Childs. Mrs. Child came out in the
same ship with Mrs. Gilmour, when, as Miss Prankard, she came first to
China. Mrs. Child renders invaluable service to the sick one.'

In the Diary the following entries show the course of sorrowful
events:--

     '_July 4, 1885._--It really dawns upon me to-day in such a way that
     I can feel it that my wife is likely to die, and I too feel
     something of how desolate it would be for me with my motherless
     children sent away from me. Eh, man!'

     '_August 22._--Emily spoke of being sometimes _so_ happy. She is
     quite aware now she cannot recover.'

     '_September 13_, Sunday, Peking.--Emily saw all the women. She felt
     very weak to-day. Remarked at 7 P.M.: "Well, Jamie, I am going, I
     suppose. I'll soon see you there. It won't be long." I said she
     would not want me much there. She said fondly she would. "I think
     I'll sit at the gate and look for you coming." Said she has been
     out for the last time. Asked me not to go to chapel, but went.'

     '_September 17._--To-day, in the morning, I promised Emily that I
     would remain home from the chapel and give her a holiday. She was
     _so_ pleased. We had a most enjoyable afternoon. She was so happy.
     She sat up for an hour or so, and we conversed about all things,
     the use of the beautiful in creation, &c.'

All the next day Mrs. Gilmour slowly sank, and soon after the midnight
of September 18 passed peacefully within 'the gate.' The story of the
closing scene was thus told by her husband:--


                                'Peking: Saturday, September 19, 1885.

     'My dear Meech,--Emily crossed the river last night, or this
     morning rather at 12.15.

     'I was called in from the Friday evening prayer meeting just as it
     was concluding, and found her with laboured breath and fixed eyes.
     For a time we thought it was all to end at once. After a time she
     got over it.

     '10 P.M. was a repetition of 8 P.M.'s experience.

     'At 12 midnight she was labouring much in her breath, coughed a
     very little cough, and all at once the rapidity of her breath
     nearly doubled, suddenly her hand fell over powerless, her eyes
     became fixed, there was some difficult breathing, and with Mrs.
     Henderson on the one side of the bed, which had been moved when we
     came from the hills into the sitting-room, she departed.

     'During these four hours she spoke little; once or twice she called
     for milk, but for the most part contented herself with assenting or
     dissenting to and from my remarks and suggestions by moving the
     head.

     'At 10.30, seeing me sleepy and desiring to sleep herself, she
     asked me to go and lie down, but I said I would not do so while she
     was so ill.

     'I asked her if she felt all safe in the hands of Jesus. She nodded
     her assent.

     'Some month or six weeks ago we two had talked about everything to
     be done in case of her death, the children, etc., and not only
     then, but more than once we had talked over spiritual things,
     because we feared that when the end came she might not be able to
     speak. I am glad we did so. During these four hours she was either
     in such great distress, or, when free from distress, was so tired
     and eager to sleep, that talking was hardly possible.

     'The "Rest" she so longed for she has now got.

     'I treasure what she said one day when she had been, I think,
     reading her wall text, "T_o me to live is Christ, to die is gain_,"
     when I asked her if _she_ felt it so. She said she did, and often
     would remark that to go would be far better for her, but she was so
     eager to get well for my sake and that of the children. For
     herself, too, she was more and more enchanted with the beauty God
     had put in the world. On Friday I went in, she waved her hand and
     said, "What beauty!" It was some flowers on the table. A bunch of
     grapes, a beauty, filled her mouth with praise to God for all His
     goodness to her. The post waits. Funeral Monday.

                                          'Yours in sorrow,
                                                    'J. GILMOUR.'


Mrs. Gilmour was buried on September 21. Her faith was clear and strong.
Uncommon as their courtship had been, the subsequent married life was
very happy. She was the equal of her husband in missionary zeal and
enthusiasm, and he himself bears testimony to the unerring skill which
she possessed in gauging the moral qualities of the Chinese. She gave
much time and labour to Christian work among the women and girls in
Peking; and her husband was greatly helped in his work during the nearly
eleven years of married life by her sound judgment, her strong
affection, her loving Christian character, and her entire consecration
to the Lord Jesus Christ.



CHAPTER IX

A CHANGE OF FIELD


During 1885 James Gilmour gradually reached the conclusion that a change
of field was desirable. He was aware that friends and colleagues more or
less qualified to form an opinion had urged upon him the advisability of
labouring in Eastern Mongolia among the agricultural Mongols. No one
knew so well as himself the advantages and the disadvantages of this
plan. The reasons that finally led him to a decision were noble and
characteristic. It was a hard field, and no one else could or would go.
The Mongols of the Plain were to some extent benefited by the American
Mission at Kalgan; those dwelling in Eastern Mongolia were without a
helper. Considerations like these, as he tells us, decided his new
course of action.

     'In these circumstances my mind has turned away north-east from
     Peking, where people are not so scarce, and where the Mongols live
     as farmers. I have been to that region twice. I knew some people
     who came from that region. As soon as Mr. Rees returns from Chi
     Chou I hope to go again. A doctor might be induced to settle
     somewhere there, and though it would be hard a bit, a family might
     live there too, which I don't think would be possible on the plain
     beyond Kalgan.

     'I am fully aware of the difficulties. They are:--

     '1. I have no proper Chinaman to take with me. More than half the
     population is Chinese, and I could not do well without a Chinaman.

     '2. It is a new district and will take time to work up.

     '3. It is not easily reached from Peking or anywhere else, and will
     be a very isolated part.

     '4. It is rather a rough and unsafe district.

     'I know all these, but feel, in reliance on God, like facing the
     thing as the best and proper thing to do. There are inns all about,
     and though for some time a private location may not be secured, we
     can still go about among the people. My main hope, though, is in
     settling down somewhere as a head centre, in close contact with the
     people, so that I earnestly desire that the doctor should come. If
     he is unmarried I would be glad to see him to-morrow. Could you not
     get a doctor who would be willing to remain single till a location
     could be secured? After a location has been secured let him marry
     if he likes.

     'I think that the region I have in my mind would make a good centre
     for a doctor, and that he would have plenty of practice among
     Mongols and Chinese, especially if he could start a hospital for
     in-patients.

     'I am very glad that the Mongolian region around Kalgan has shown
     signs of bearing fruit. It has strengthened my faith much. I am
     also glad that God has acknowledged in some degree my work here in
     Peking, and I feel more hopeful than ever I did. God, too, has cut
     me adrift from all my fixings, so that I feel quite ready to go
     anywhere if only He goes with me.'

Mr. Gilmour entered upon this new departure on the understanding that a
medical colleague should be sent to him at the earliest possible moment.
This responsibility the London Board assumed and endeavoured to
discharge. The result was a severe trial to the faith, not only of the
solitary worker but to all interested--and they were many--in the fate
of the new mission. As we shall see later on, when a congenial and
competent medical colleague reached him, and was entering with vigour
and hope upon the work, Dr. Mackenzie of Tientsin suddenly died, and
before the immediate and urgent claims of Tientsin the claims of
Mongolia had to give way. But in estimating the success of both
missions, that on the Plain, and that in Eastern Mongolia, it must never
be forgotten that what Gilmour considered _essential_, the presence and
help of a medical colleague, was never in the Providence of God granted
to him for any length of time. In the account he gives of his first
visit to the region as its missionary--he had been twice before on
visits of inspection--he dwells upon this necessity.

     'I left Peking December 14, 1885, and re-entered Peking February
     16, 1886, so that my absence from here was just two months. The
     part of Mongolia I went to is situated 800 li, or say 270 English
     miles, north-east by east of Peking, and, at the usual rate of 90
     li (or 30 miles) a day, is nine days distant. This is not the part
     of Mongolia near Kalgan. Kalgan is north-north-west of Peking, five
     days' journey.

[Illustration: MAP ILLUSTRATING JAMES GILMOUR'S LABOURS IN EASTERN
MONGOLIA]

     'Whilst I was considering my plans a Mongol appeared in Peking who
     was willing to take me to his home, and I went with him, hoping
     thus to get introduced to a district of country, an introduction
     being both necessary and helpful. Ta Chêng Tz[)u] is the name of
     the place where, through his introduction, I was located from
     December 23, 1885 to February 9, 1886. I had a room in an inn. I
     spent some days at the home of my Mongol friend and made two
     journeys to other places, but Ta Chêng Tz[)u] was my headquarters.
     It is a small market town, with a daily fair. The surrounding
     neighbourhood is peopled with Mongols and Chinese in about equal
     proportions. The Mongols are mostly lords of the soil, and style
     the Chinese slaves, that is in the country. The real trade of the
     whole locality is in the hands of the Chinese. The Mongols all
     speak Chinese, and the town resident Mongols have, many of them,
     forgotten Mongolian, and laugh at themselves as not being able to
     speak their own language.

     'The country is like Wales in this respect, that, though Mongolian
     is the native language, the coming language and the language that
     is affected and sought after, is Chinese. Well-to-do Mongols have
     Chinese teachers for their children, and read Chinese well. During
     my stay there I sold more Chinese than Mongolian books, and talked
     more Chinese than Mongolian, though my intercourse was largely with
     Mongols.

     'Opium is largely grown there, so is tobacco, and large quantities
     of whisky are manufactured and consumed. It was partly a famine
     year. At a little distance from Ta Chêng Tz[)u] the harvest had
     failed, and I think the line of preaching that seemed to impress
     the hearers most was one that reasoned with them about the growth,
     manufacture, and use of these three, being so contrary to Heaven's
     design in giving land and rain to grow food, that it was not to be
     wondered at if, seeing how the land and rain were perverted, God
     should send short rations. Evil speaking, vile language, made a
     fourth subject which naturally came in for notice, and on all these
     four subjects I scarcely ever spoke without gaining the nearly
     universal concurrence of my little audiences.

     'The great theme, however, was Christ, and I think that most men in
     that little market town, and a great many of those who used to
     come to the fair, both heard and understood the great gospel truth
     of salvation in Jesus.

     'Eager to see some more of the country, and in the hope that I
     might be able to talk to him on the way, I hired a Mongol to carry
     my bedding and books, and made a descent on a village thirty miles
     away. The general cold of the winter was aggravated by a snowstorm
     which overtook us at the little market town, and I have no words to
     tell you how the cold felt that day as I paraded that one street. I
     sold a fair number of books, though my hands were too much benumbed
     almost to be able to hand the books out. I made some attempts at
     preaching, but the muscles were also benumbed--that day _was_ a
     _cold_ day.

     'I was turned out of two respectable inns at Bull Town because I
     was a foot traveller, had no cart or animal, that is, and had to
     put up in a tramps' tavern because I came as a tramp!

     'Next journey I made I hired a man and a _donkey_. The donkey was
     my passport to respectability, and I was more comfortable too,
     being able to take more bedding with me. I was warned against going
     to Ch'ao Yang, sixty miles, the roads being represented as unsafe;
     but I went and found no trouble, though there was a severe famine
     in the district. I spent a day each at two market towns on the way,
     and two days in Ch'ao Yang itself.

     'The journey home I made on foot, a donkey driven by a Mongol
     carrying my bedding and books. I adopted this plan mainly to bring
     myself into close contact with the Mongol. He proved himself a
     capital fellow to travel with, but as yet has shown no signs of
     belief in Christ. As we did long marches my feet suffered badly.'

In a private letter written at this time he enters a little more fully
into what he had to endure.

     'I had a good time in Mongolia, but oh! so cold. Some of the days I
     spent in the markets were so very cold that my muscles seemed
     benumbed, and speech even was difficult. I met with some spiritual
     response, though, and with that I can stand cold. Eh! man, I have
     got thin. I am feeding up at present. I left my medicines, books,
     &c., there, and walked home here, a donkey carrying my baggage, a
     distance of about three hundred miles, in seven and a half days, or
     about forty miles a day, and my feet were really very bad.

     'At night I used to draw a woollen thread through the blisters. In
     the morning I "hirpled" a little, but it was soon all right. I
     walked, not because I had not money to ride, but to get at the
     Mongol who was with me.'

These graphic pictures enable us to realise how Mr. Gilmour began the
last great missionary enterprise of his life. He returned to Peking, and
then had to pass through that severe trial which comes to almost all
missionaries in the foreign field, which is often one of their heaviest
crosses. His two eldest boys were sent home for education. They sailed
from Tientsin March 23, 1886, the diary for that day containing the
brief but significant reference: 'At 6.45 A.M. came all the friends once
more, at 7.30 cast off, and the vessel slowly fell out into the middle
of the river. Oh! the parting!' But at 8.30 on the same morning the
sorrowful father had started on his solitary return journey to Peking.
Bereft now of both wife, and boys he was to pass the rest of his career
in China, except for the brief intervals of residence in Peking, in the
cheerless, noisy, uncongenial quarters of an ordinary Chinese inn. The
return of the Rev. S. E. Meech in April 1886 set him entirely free from
mission work in the capital. He had already acquired the needful
experience of his new field of labour, and on April 22, 1886, he started
anew for Eastern Mongolia. It is neither necessary nor desirable to
enter into any very detailed description of the next three years. In
many respects day after day was occupied with the round of ever
recurring and similar duties, but it is desirable to enter, if we can,
with some minuteness into his inner life, and to lay bare the spiritual
sources and springs of his outward actions. It is in these, in our
judgment, that the true beauty, the abiding lesson, and the great
success of his life consist. And this he has enabled us to do. In a
private, not an official, letter to the Rev. R. Wardlaw Thompson, the
Foreign Secretary of the London Missionary Society, he indicates his
actions and the motives that were impelling him so to act, during the
summer of 1886. Differences of opinion arose with his fellow
missionaries as to the wisdom of his methods and the soundness of his
judgment. Those who differed most strongly from him knew little or
nothing by personal observation and experience of the conditions of work
either on the Plain or at Ch'ao Yang. But no question ever did or ever
could arise as to the absolute consecration of his heart and life to the
work of winning souls. The truth of the words in one of his official
reports was manifest to all: 'Man, the fire of God is upon me to go and
preach.'

     'The past four and a half months has been a time of no small trial
     and spiritual tension. Since April 22 I have had no tidings of the
     outer world. An agent of the Bible Society, who was selling books
     in the district, was with me for a month, but he had gone out
     before me, so that when we met he had no news for me, but wanted
     news from me.

     'Some men, who gave promise of believing in Jesus, have fallen
     away, and I have a haunting suspicion that it was one such man who,
     on the morning of Sunday, June 6, stole my beautiful copy of the
     revised Bible, leaving me till now with only a New Testament in
     English. I had much difficulty in procuring that Bible, and wasn't
     it heartless of a Chinaman to steal it for the leather binding, for
     which even he could have hardly any use? I said not a single word
     to anyone in the town about it, as I feared that making trouble
     over it would hinder me in future, by making innkeepers afraid to
     receive me, lest they should be held responsible for such losses. I
     can hardly say though, that, at first at least, I took joyfully the
     spoiling of my goods. Secret tears testified to my sense of the
     loss, but falling back on the faith that all things work together
     for my good, I was comforted, and gave the more earnest heed to the
     New Testament.

     'Then the Chinese would ask, "How many people have believed and
     entered the religion since you left Peking?" and such questions
     kept before my mind painfully how slowly things move, and drew out
     my soul in more painful longing for God's blessing in the
     conversion of men.

     'In the beginning of July I must have got a touch of the sun.
     Nearly all that month I was ill, but just then was the great annual
     fair at Ch'ao Yang, so, ill and all, I had the tent put up daily
     and dispensed medicines. My assistant, however, had to do most of
     the preaching; I had not much strength for that. The first three
     weeks in August I had diarrh[oe]a and dysentery. I was at Ta Chêng
     Tz[)u]. There was no fair, and but poor market gatherings, but,
     weather permitting, we put up our tent daily and did good work.
     Paul says (Gal. iv. 19), "My little children, of whom I am again in
     travail until Christ be formed in you," and he is right. It is a
     carrying of men in prayer until the image of Christ is formed in
     them; and how many of them prove abortions.

     'One of the converts at Ta Chêng Tz[)u] caused me no little
     anxiety. I knew that he professed to be impressed last winter. He
     said he wanted to call on me in my inn and tell me his
     difficulties. I was eager to get home, but as he said he would have
     no leisure before a certain date, I waited till then, nearly a
     week, for almost no other purpose than to see him. He never came,
     and I trudged back to Peking downcast about him.

     'This year when we came to Ta Chêng Tz[)u] on our way to Ch'ao
     Yang, on going to his place for breakfast (he is one of two
     brothers who own and manage a restaurant, and both of them, and a
     third brother, are members of a sect which forbids opium, whisky,
     and tobacco), we were shown into the more private part, and he and
     his brother and the cook set upon us to inquire more fully about
     Christianity, how to enter it, etc, etc. This took me by surprise,
     and made me so glad that my breakfast for the most part remained
     uneaten, though we had travelled eight hours that morning. In the
     evening I did not go for a meal, and my assistant on going was met
     at the door by the inquirers, and so engaged in conversation about
     Christianity that darkness set in, the cooking range was closed,
     and the establishment shut for the day before they were finished.
     My man had no dinner. Next day we went on towards Ch'ao Yang
     thankful and happy. These restaurant people had a few days before
     been visited by the Bible Society's agent, and had derived much
     Christian benefit from his Chinese assistant.

     'Our interview with the restaurant men was on Monday. In Ch'ao Yang
     next Sunday, just six days after being, so to speak, on the mount
     of transfiguration with these Chinamen, on dismissing the few
     hangers-on that remained at the close of the afternoon preaching,
     and stepping down from the little vantage-ground from which I had
     been speaking, one of the audience said he would go home with me to
     my inn, as he had come with a letter to me from Ta Chêng Tz[)u]
     from the Bible agent. I went to the inn, read the letter, and found
     that he and his Chinese helper had differed, and he had come to Ta
     Chêng Tz[)u] seeking me. He needed and asked my help, so next day I
     started for Ta Chêng Tz[)u], and on arriving there found that the
     little place was full of the news of the quarrel between the
     Christian foreigner and the Christian native. That was bad, but,
     worse still, on going to the restaurant I found the earnestness of
     the inquirers gone, and one of them said openly, "If this is the
     sort of fruit that Christianity bears, what better is it than any
     other religion?"

     'In a later visit paid in May they seemed colder still, and the
     place where I had hoped to gather fruit seemed barren and hopeless.

     'In August we again visited Ta Chêng Tz[)u]. I was blue. The fever
     of July, the defection of the Mongol donkey man, who failed to come
     for us, the diarrh[oe]a, which on the journey changed to dysentery,
     being baffled in attempting to find suitable quarters in Ta Chêng
     Tz[)u], and the chilled hearts of the restaurant men, made our
     entrance not cheerful. On the way my assistant and I had talked
     over matters, and resolved by prayer and endeavour to see what
     could be done for the restaurant men. Just ten days after our
     arrival the eldest brother called on me in my inn and said,
     "To-night I dismiss my gods, henceforth I am a Christian. I am
     ready to be baptized any day you may be pleased to name."

     'I cannot say what a relief these words brought me. There still
     remained anxieties in his case, but in a day or two things came out
     all right, and day by day in public in the restaurant he might be
     seen studying his catechism when unemployed, and speaking for
     Christianity to all who asked what book that was.

     'He is a leading spirit, though a poor scholar, and was the deacon
     or head of the branch of the sect in Ta Chêng Tz[)u], called Tsai
     li ti. There are some twelve or sixteen members. Most of them
     joined the sect through his endeavours, and he is eager to rear up
     Christianity in the same way. You will partly understand now how
     anxious I am about him. If he goes on all right, we may soon have a
     little company of believers there. If he falls away--well, all
     things work together for my good.

     'One thing that moved these restaurant men towards Christianity was
     an incident which happened in their establishment last winter. A
     half-drunk Chinaman reviled me badly one evening at dinner. He laid
     to my charge many bad and grievous things. Though they were utterly
     false as regards me, they might be quite true of some other
     foreigner whom he may have met. It was useless to reason with a
     drunken man over a case of mistaken identity, so I said nothing,
     ate my dinner, paid my bill, and went to my inn. The restaurant men
     were very wroth with the man, they told me afterwards, and felt
     like "going for" him themselves, and never forgot what they were
     pleased to call my patience. In God's providence this little
     incident seems to have been an important factor in impressing them
     with favourable ideas of Christianity.

     'Another thing which seems to have impressed them was their seeing
     me this August, day by day at my post in my tent, carrying on the
     work, when they knew I was ill, and, according to their ideas,
     should have been in bed. I was not really so ill as all that, but
     that was their idea. I would be very glad to have another reviling
     and another attack of dysentery if the same results would follow.

     'The profession of the other adherent at Ta Chêng Tz[)u], and the
     moving of the hearts, seemingly at least, of other two men who
     live at a distance, and had to leave for home suddenly before
     receiving full instruction, but of whom I try to have hope, have
     all moved my heart and seem answers to a great longing I had been
     crying to God about, namely, that He would give me power to move
     these heathen. Oh that He would do it!

     'I have felt it my duty to become a vegetarian on trial. I don't
     know whether I can carry it out. The Chinese look up so much to
     this supposed asceticism that I am eager to acquire the influence a
     successful vegetarianism would give me, and I am trying it in true
     Chinese style, which forbids eggs, leeks and carrots, &c. As far as
     I have gone all is well. I am a little afraid that the great
     appetite it gives may drive me to eat till I become fat. We'll see.

     'The mothers bringing their babies moves me much. It reminds me of
     scenes in Peking when another and more skilful hand ministered to
     their diseases; then the picture of the family surroundings fills
     itself up, and I have to seek a place where to weep.

     'Altogether it is a sowing in tears. The district is not an easy
     one, the life which the work entails is a hard one. There is no
     hardship or self-denial I am not ready to "go in for," but I want
     you to understand me and let me have your sympathy.'

This long extract, not too long we venture to think, as enabling us to
see into the heart of the man, raises several points of great moment.
Nothing could illustrate better his eagerness to get into close touch
and perfect sympathy with the people. He had long before adopted the
native dress of an ordinary shopkeeper or respectable workman. He now
adapted himself, as far as possible, to the native food. He lived on
such as the poor eat. Often he would take his bowl of porridge, native
fashion, in the street, sitting down upon a low stool by the boiler of
the itinerant restaurant keeper. The vegetarianism referred to was, as
he indicates, very thoroughgoing and in accord with Chinese ideas.

The great poverty of the people also pressed upon his attention the
enormous waste induced by whisky drinking, and by the smoking of tobacco
and opium. The sect Tsai li ti referred to was a small organisation
among the Chinese for endeavouring to secure entire abstinence from all
three. It did not seem tolerable to him that the level of Christian
morality and practice with regard to these things should be lower than
that of the heathen. Famine often visited those parts, and he came to
hold the view that men could hardly pray, 'Give us this day our daily
bread,' with any hope of a favourable answer, or even reasonably expect
God's blessing upon their tillage of the soil, while they continued to
use a large part of the grain produced in the manufacture of strong
drink, and while they continued to set apart large districts for the
cultivation of tobacco and opium. Hence, at first, he made entire
abstinence from all three an indispensable requisite for admission into
the Christian Church.

It was hardly to be expected, perhaps, that his colleagues in the North
China Mission would be able to see eye to eye with him on these points.
With regard to opium the opinion as to abstinence is unanimous. With
regard to the other two, the prevailing opinion was that, however
desirable entire abstinence may be, it is not authoritatively commanded,
and ought not to be made an indispensable qualification for baptism.

It seemed to some of them that there was danger of the heathen
confusing Christianity with their own Tsai li ti. In reply to such a
suggestion Gilmour wrote: 'My hearers not know the difference between
Tsai li ti and Christianity! Thanks be to God, this whole town and
neighbourhood has rung with the truths of Christianity. Children, men,
shop-boys, and, of all people in the world, a lad gathering grain stumps
in the fields a long way off--it has been my lot to hear them repeat
sayings of mine, when they saw me, and did not think I could hear them.'

Into this controversy as a mere discussion we have no desire to enter.
But to enable the reader to know Mr. Gilmour exactly as he was it
deserves more than a passing reference. The following may be taken as an
example of many letters that passed on this subject.

     'I start perhaps on Tuesday. Pardon me for expressing myself on one
     matter--the Chinese teetotal business. You and some of my
     colleagues seem to me as if I could not move you on this question.
     It is a great grief to me. I think you are not right in your ideas
     about this. I suppose you can beat me in argument. I am still more
     than ever convinced that teetotalism is _right_ and _needful_ for
     the success of native Christian life in China. We have some painful
     instances here of that among the natives--specially two--one of the
     two hailing from Tientsin.

     'I don't know your Tientsin Church history, but if it is anything
     like ours here you would find men standing nowhere almost as to
     Christian character, who but for drink and its concomitants might,
     humanly speaking, have shone. And yet these are men to get whom out
     of sin Christ died--brethren, for whom Christ died.

     'Pardon me again when I take a short cut to what I want to say: "_I
     believe were Christ here now as a missionary amongst us He would
     be an enthusiastic teetotaller and a non-smoker._"

     'Tobacco is comparatively a harmless matter, but it is not so
     unimportant as it seems to us foreigners. Whisky should go, and I
     feel that the Chinese would be quite ready, if led, to turn both
     whisky and tobacco out together. They are born brothers in China,
     _useless_, and _acknowledged_ to be such; harmful as far as they
     are anything, and comparatively expensive.

     'I would like to see you start in your church an anti-tobacco and
     whisky society; voluntary, of course, in a church established as
     yours on the old lines. Though I stand alone, I believe the flowing
     tide is with me.

     'Wishing you many souls in 1887, and eager that no minor difference
     of opinion should hinder our prayers.

                                 'Yours I-hardly-know-how-to-say-what,
                                            'JAMES GILMOUR.'


In the _Chinese Recorder_, for which he had been in the habit of writing
for many years, he published a paper in which he set forth with great
clearness and fulness his views on this important matter. It deserves a
place in the story of his life because in it he has sketched, as no one
else could, himself, and some of his later methods of evangelistic
address.

     'In December, 1885, in a district of North China new to me, I found
     myself preaching to a small crowd of Chinese and Mongols in a small
     market town. I was in a lane leading on to the main street. At my
     back was a mud wall, in front and at both sides was the audience,
     within hearing was the main street, above, a bright sun made the
     place warm and cheerful. After listening a while the audience
     wanted to know how good seasons could be secured. To the truths I
     had been preaching they had listened with respect and fair
     attention, but at the first opportunity for speaking they wanted to
     know how to get a good harvest.

     'At first I paid little attention to this question, but after a
     little while it was asked again, and that by several men in
     succession, and I soon found that the people of the place had
     little room for anything else in their thoughts. There was good
     reason for it too. Their last harvest had been a poor one.
     Three-tenths was about the yield. They too with their three-tenths
     were comparatively well off. Some distance from them the yield had
     not been more than two-tenths, and a little beyond that again,
     there were fields which had been sown, but never reaped. There had
     been nothing to reap. Nothing had grown. I passed some of these
     fields afterwards and saw them. Was it wonderful then that the main
     thought in their minds should be the harvest failure, and that they
     should be mainly anxious to know how to secure a good season next
     year? Looking at my audience I saw that nine-tenths of them were
     poorly clad. Nearly one-half of them were quite insufficiently
     clothed, and many were in garments suited to summer weather only. I
     was in a sheepskin coat and felt shoes, and even thus was not too
     warm, and could not help thinking how cold they must be, in their
     torn clothes and ordinary shoes. In addition to this they seemed
     hungry. I dare say perhaps one-half of them were in actual
     suffering from deficiency of food.

     'Taking these things into consideration, I did not regard their
     great and often-repeated question, "How about the harvest?" as
     impertinent, and set myself to answer it. When the question was
     again asked I replied by asking another, namely, "_Do you think you
     deserve good harvests?_" This question usually made them stare and
     ask, "Why should not we deserve good harvests?" and I would reply,
     "In the first place, because of that _tobacco pipe in your mouth_."
     A laugh of incredulity would usually pass round the audience, but
     when done laughing, and asked to consider the folly of spending
     money buying a pipe and tobacco when the smoker was shivering in
     his rags, and hungry, and especially when asked what was the good
     of smoking, they laughed no more. When pressed to say where the
     tobacco came from, they would admit that the cultivation of tobacco
     took up no small proportion of their better-class land, and when
     pressed to say how much land was given up to tobacco cultivation,
     they would admit, what did not seem to have occurred to them
     before, that the amount of land given up to tobacco cultivation was
     very large. How large it was I had no conception till the following
     summer, when, walking round the suburbs, I would look over the low
     mud walls of their gardens, and be amazed at the expanse of land
     covered with the great, broad green leaf of the flourishing tobacco
     plant.

     'Putting these things before my audience, they would admit that the
     cultivation of tobacco was a misuse of a large portion of their
     better land, that in cultivating and using tobacco they were doing
     what was wrong, and hindering heaven from feeding them. Heaven had
     given them good land and good rains for the purpose of growing
     food. The growth of tobacco was defeating heaven's purpose, and as
     long as they did so, what face had they to ask for good seasons? To
     take good land and plant it with tobacco, with what face could they
     ask heaven to send rain, seeing that if rain came, what grew would
     not be grain but tobacco, a thing which they themselves to a man
     admitted was no use at all? And so my audience would admit that as
     preliminary to getting or even expecting a good harvest was the
     discontinuance of the use and growth of tobacco.

     'In the course of a year and a half of outdoor preaching in streets
     and at fairs, and private conversation with individuals, I never
     met an audience that defended tobacco as useful, and do not think I
     met more than three individuals who had anything to say in its
     defence. Almost everyone, smokers included, admitted its
     uselessness. Many do not seem to have thought the cultivation and
     use of it any harm, or having any bearing on the question of food
     supply and good harvests; they usually regarded it as simply a
     piece of extravagance on their own part, which had no bearing on
     anything or anybody beyond themselves. But when pointed out to them
     they readily admit that tobacco cultivation lessens the production
     of grain, and as readily admit that the wrongdoing in this misuse
     of land is likely to further harm the harvest by offending heaven
     into being unwilling to send rain. I myself never used to look on
     smoking as any great evil, till led into this district, and thus
     forced to study the subject. In England I had never seen tobacco
     grown. A smoker there spends a few coppers, and smokes; what harm
     does he do? Does not he increase trade and help the revenue? His
     smoking seems to harm no one but himself. Such were my thoughts.
     But in this district I see the cultivation of tobacco limiting the
     supply of grain, thus raising the price of food, and consequently
     making men go hungry. In addition I see men, women, and sometimes
     children, in rags and hungry even, with pipes and tobacco, and when
     they complain of heaven not supplying them with enough food to eat,
     it would be less than honest not to point out to them that the
     fault lies not with heaven, but with themselves, and that part at
     least of the scarcity of grain they experience is due to the
     cultivation and use of tobacco, which throughout that whole region
     is very excessive.

     'I have dwelt thus at length on the tobacco question, not because
     it is the most important of the three things here spoken of, but
     because many good brethren have not been able to see with me on
     this point. They feel, as I used to do before I went to that
     region, that tobacco smoking is a small affair, not worth raising
     into prominence or the region of conscience or Christian duty at
     all. These brethren have not _seen_ how things work. I feel sure
     that almost any missionary placed as I was would have done exactly
     what I have done, taken a stand against this excessive growth and
     more excessive use of tobacco, for, not content with what they
     grow, they actually import quantities of it. Tobacco is not the
     greatest cause of poverty and hunger in the district, but it is a
     much greater factor in poverty than would at first be supposed. But
     for its use in that district a large number of men, women, and
     children, who are deficiently clothed and fed, would be warm and
     sleek. Christ taught men to pray, "Give us this day our daily
     bread." It must be wrong to make hundreds of men, women, and
     children go half clad and half fed, simply that eighty or ninety
     per cent. of the adults of that district may indulge in tobacco, a
     thing, according to their own admission, utterly without use, and
     for the continuance of which they can give no reason, further than
     that they have acquired the habit and find it difficult to give it
     up.

     'A more serious question, however, is the whisky. In going into
     that region I was amazed at the quantity of whisky used. I used to
     lodge in an inn and take my meals in an eating-house. There, twice
     a day, I had an opportunity of studying the drinking habits of the
     country. Almost every man who entered the eating-house first called
     for a whisky warmer. Supplied with that, he would go out and buy
     his whisky, coming back he would set it in the charcoal fire to
     warm, and then slowly drink it from the tiny wine cups common in
     China, inviting me to join him, and wondering at a man who could
     evidently afford it, not treating himself to two ounces of whisky,
     and wondering still more when he learned that I did not use
     tobacco. It would be an exaggeration, but not a great
     exaggeration, to say that every man who entered the eating-house
     began his meal by drinking whisky. In replying to the question put
     by my street audiences as to how they were to get good harvests, I
     would ask them, after finishing the tobacco question, "How about
     your whisky drinking?" Frequently they would anticipate me in this,
     and say, "If tobacco is wrong, how about whisky?" To convince them
     of the wrong of whisky was never difficult. To ask good harvests
     from heaven, then take grain given by heaven for food, and turn it
     into whisky, they did not need me to tell them this was wrong. And
     there in that district it is a very crying wrong. The quantity used
     is immense. Not only does it seem so to me, but natives from other
     parts of China are struck by the excessive use of it.

     'The first time I travelled in the district, I was struck by the
     manner in which they described the size and amount of trade of
     towns about which I made inquiries. Such and such a place had or
     had not a distillery and pawnshop. Such and such a town had so many
     distilleries, and so many pawnshops. One travelling about the
     country soon notes that nearly every imposing trading establishment
     with grand premises seen from afar is either a distillery or a
     pawnshop, or both combined. The bank notes current among the people
     are issued, at but a small percentage, by distilleries and
     pawnshops. The first crop to ripen in the district is barley, and
     that, the natives will tell you, all goes to the distillery. On the
     road you will meet large carts drawn by six or seven mules. The
     load is grain, and of these carts a large number are owned by
     distilleries, and go round the country collecting grain, from which
     to brew whisky. One of the first things to be heard in the morning
     after daylight, in a quiet market town, is a peculiar beating of a
     wooden drum. Ask what it means, and you will be told it is such
     and such a distillery calling its hands to breakfast. Ask how many
     hands they have, and you may find that one establishment has some
     sixty or seventy men who eat their food! The whisky trade is simply
     enormous. It is out of all proportion to every other trade. The
     women as a rule do not drink, the men do all the drinking--the
     males I should say, for not a few boys acquire the habit of taking
     whisky to their meals long before they can be called men. A very
     few men do not use whisky at all. The poorer agricultural labourers
     drink it only when they can get it, and just as much or as little
     as they can get. Many men take regularly two ounces--Chinese
     ounces--to each meal. Many take more. Many well-to-do people drink
     half a catty per day. Others drink a whole catty.[7] Some drink a
     catty and a half a day. A small proportion of the male population
     find drinking a greater necessity than eating. These are usually
     elderly men, but as I write I can think of two men, both young, and
     both Mongols, one a priest, the other a layman, who have arrived at
     this advanced stage of whisky drinking.

[7] A Chinese weight equal to one pound and a third.

     'This excessive use of whisky has impoverished many families, and
     has demoralised many men. It has caused many quarrels, and given
     rise to many lawsuits. The evil caused by whisky is apparent to
     all, but custom requires that friends should be honoured by being
     offered whisky, business should be transacted over whisky, and the
     general saying is that without whisky nothing can be done. A
     farmer, for example, adding a few rooms to his buildings must
     supply his masons and joiners with whisky. Thus in universal use,
     the quantity consumed is immense. The quantity of grain used in the
     distilleries is almost beyond computation, and I don't remember
     ever meeting a Chinaman who did not admit that to distil whisky was
     to do evil. They ask me how to get good harvests. I tell them;
     "Give up abusing the grain you have got, before you ask for more.
     If heaven sees you taking a large part of your superior land for
     raising the useless tobacco, and taking a very large proportion of
     the grain sent you as food, and using it not to eat, nor to feed
     animals, but distilling it into the hurtful whisky, do you think
     heaven, seeing all this waste going on, is likely to hear your
     petitions and increase the supply of what you now waste so large a
     proportion? If you bought food for your child, and he ate only half
     and threw the other half to the pig, would you be likely to buy him
     more just then, even though he might say he was hungry?" This
     reasoning seems quite satisfactory and convincing to them, and
     never fails to secure their expressed assent.

     'As to opium I never find it necessary to say much. All admit it to
     be only and wholly bad. Yet the quantity grown in the district is
     immense. In the early spring the very first movement of cultivation
     is the irrigation and working of the opium land, and at the season
     nearly all the best land blazes with bloom of the poppy. It is a
     sight to see the country people going to the markets with the
     "_milk_" in bowls and basins, and the buyers and sellers of it
     riding along, each with a weighing-balance stuck in his belt.
     Government restriction there is none, the duty imposed is not very
     heavy, and public opinion raises no voice against it. It was
     originally grown, say the natives, so as to keep money from going
     out of the district in buying imported opium, but the more it was
     grown the more it was used, and now the quantity raised and smoked
     is immense. There is a small proportion of farmers who have good
     land, suitable for growing opium, but who do not grow it. But these
     men are few, and as a general rule the very best pieces of land are
     set apart for the cultivation of opium. The common conscience of
     the people tells them this is a wrong thing. When therefore they
     ask how to get a good harvest, they themselves acknowledge that
     the reply is just, which says, "First leave off the waste of
     heaven's grace involved in the growth and manufacture of opium,
     whisky, and tobacco, and then, and not till then, will it be
     reasonable for you to ask heaven for more bountiful harvests."

     'In connection with all this, there is another fact that must not
     be forgotten. Drinkers of whisky, and smokers, especially of opium,
     the better the year is, the more they indulge. In a poor year they
     use less whisky and opium; the better the year, and the cheaper
     tobacco, whisky, and opium are, the more they use, so that in place
     of making a proper return to heaven for a good year, they only take
     the opportunity afforded them of running deeper into waste and
     wrong-doing. Is this the way to get better harvests? Considering
     the excessive growth and consumption of tobacco and opium, and the
     excessive manufacture and use of whisky, what could any honest,
     straightforward man say to the people, when they earnestly asked
     how they were to get good harvests, but "_Repent, and cease this
     great waste_"? And thus from no deliberate plan of mine, but from
     the plain leading of circumstances, it came to pass that I felt
     compelled to call upon the inhabitants of the district to lay aside
     the use of not only opium but also of whisky and tobacco, as one of
     the first steps toward worshipping the true God. Many friends have
     demurred to my making teetotalism an essential of Christianity, and
     many more have still more strongly demurred to my taking such a
     pronounced stand against the use of tobacco. The position of my
     friends is exactly the position I held myself before going into
     that region, but after going to that region and seeing just how
     things were, no other course seemed open to me, but to demand in
     all who wanted to do right the abandonment of the whole three; and
     I am convinced that almost any other missionary placed in the same
     circumstances would have taken the same stand.

     'This position too commends itself to the native mind, and the
     native mind, quite apart from me, and before my going into the
     district, had already risen up in protest against these abuses,
     and, in some parts of the country there, the Tsai li ti sect boasts
     not a few members. The main practical doctrine of this sect is,
     _Yen chiu pu tung_--abstinence from tobacco, whisky, and opium. The
     very existence of this sect, and its flourishing condition there,
     is a plain indication of what serious-minded natives felt about the
     excessive use of these three things. Friends say that I am putting
     this self-righteousness in place of faith in Christ and the
     practice of higher duties. I do nothing of the sort. Beginning with
     the Chinaman where I find him, and answering the questions which he
     insists on asking first, I appeal to him to give up what he admits
     to be wrongdoing, sin (_tsao nieh_), as the first step in ceasing
     to do evil learning to do well, and coming into right relationship
     with God through Christ. Some friends are much alarmed lest this
     should lead to self-righteousness. There is no danger of that. The
     danger lies all the other way. To leave Christians drinking whisky
     and smoking tobacco in that region, would be to preach forgiveness
     of sin through Christ to men who were still going on in the
     practice of what their conscience told them was sin, and all must
     admit that this would never do. The condition of things in that
     region is such that I have no hesitation in saying that a man, to
     be honest in obeying God by refraining from what is wrong, must
     throw up his connexion with these three things, tobacco, whisky,
     opium.

     'In _that region_. It will be noticed that I have carefully
     confined my remarks to the state of things in _that region_. _That
     region_ is peculiar in producing within its own bounds almost all
     that is necessary for life and luxury even. It is peculiar too in
     having just exactly as many inhabitants as it can support, no more,
     no less. When the population increases too much it overflows into
     Manchuria. When the population is less than the full complement, it
     is instantly replenished by fresh arrivals from the South. The
     production of tobacco, whisky, and opium, not only reduces a large
     proportion of the inhabitants from comfort to misery, but also
     reduces sensibly the number of inhabitants. But for these three
     things many more men could find a living within the bounds of the
     district Is not that little district an epitome of the world? Is
     what is true of that district not true of the whole world? Opium is
     a bad thing anywhere and everywhere. About that there need be no
     debate. Whisky and tobacco reduce the comforts and the number of
     the population there--is their effect not the same on the world in
     general? Is it not true that but for tobacco and whisky there would
     be food and clothes for a much larger population? And if so, do not
     tobacco and whisky take the bread out of men's mouths and the
     clothes off their backs? And if so, has not every smoker and
     drinker a part in this sin? Christians pray, "_Give us this day our
     daily bread._" Does not consistency require them to desist from
     defeating this prayer by smoking and drinking, and thus reducing
     the amount of the total production of the necessaries of life?

     'Tobacco seems harmless. It is less harmful than opium and whisky
     by a long way. But its production sensibly reduces the supply of
     grain and cotton, and thus hinders the feeding of the hungry and
     the clothing the naked. Good earnest Christian men smoke and drink.
     Evangelists and pastors owned of God in the salvation of souls
     smoke and see no harm in it. The reason is they have never seen how
     the thing works, and don't know the harm it does. I feel sure that
     if they could see with their own eyes men, women, and children,
     hungry and in rags, when but for tobacco and whisky they might be
     well fed and well clothed, these same good brethren, whose example
     is quoted against my position, would be the first and most earnest
     to say, "I will neither smoke tobacco nor drink whisky while the
     world stands."'

At a later date, not from any change in his views, but in deference to
the views of others, with whom he was always anxious to work in harmony,
he modified his plans so far as not to make the use of whisky and
tobacco absolute bars to admission into the Christian Church.

His brethren also were opposed to the ascetic mode of life he adopted,
and the extreme of hardship which he so often and so willingly
encountered in his work. But he himself often said, and there are many
references in his diary to the same effect, that the kind of life he was
living in the interior was quite as healthy, and quite as conducive to
longevity, as the ordinary and certainly much more comfortable life of a
missionary at Peking. While it may be true that the exposure and
sufferings of twenty years had so weakened him as to leave him powerless
when seized by the last illness, yet the labours of twenty such years
spent in the service of God and the service of man are surely the seeds
from which there shall yet spring a rich harvest to the glory of God and
to the blessing of the dark and degraded Mongols and Chinese.

By the close of 1886 three main centres of work had been selected in the
new district--Ta Chêng Tz[)u], Tá Ss[)u] Kou, and Ch'ao Yang--all three
being towns of some importance. Mr. Gilmour used to spend a month or so
in each town, visiting also the neighbourhood, especially those places
where fairs were held, and where consequently the people came together
in large numbers. He had a tent which he used to put up in a main
thoroughfare, and there he stood from early morn until night healing the
sick, selling Christian books, talking with inquirers, preaching at
every opportunity the full and free Gospel of salvation. His constant
and consistent life of Christlike self-denial in the effort to bless
them told even more upon the beholders than all these other things
combined. His correspondence is full of sharp and clear pictures of his
daily toil, and of his spiritual experiences.

     '_Ch'ao Yang, May 14, 1886._--The people are very poor here. Last
     year the crops were not good. When the leaves come out on the
     trees, the poor people break off branches and eat the seeds of the
     elm-trees. I saw one woman up a high tree, taking down the seeds.
     She took off half the door, laid it up against the tree, went on
     the cross-bars like a ladder, and so got up. She threw down the
     little branches and twigs, and her three children below gathered
     them up. The elm seeds are just ripe now. They are the size of
     large fish-scales; when the wind blows they come down like snow.

     'I met three lamas going to a far-off place to worship. Every two
     or three steps they lay down flat on the ground, then got up other
     two or three steps, then prostrated themselves again. They did not
     know about Jesus saving people, and thought they would save
     themselves in that way. Poor people! yet they don't like to hear
     about Jesus saving people. They want the credit of thus saving
     themselves.

     '_September 3._--At Ta Chêng Tz[)u] we had seven days and seven
     nights' rain. It was a great flood. The river rose and washed away
     about a hundred acres of land and forty or fifty houses. For two
     days the river floated down house-roof timbers, beams, &c. One poor
     man pulled down his house to save his timbers, and the house fell
     on him and killed him. It was pitiful to see the river washing away
     good land, two square yards falling into the roaring flood at a
     time. The Chinamen did nothing: only stood and looked at it. Lots
     of walls and many houses fell down. One house in the court next our
     own fell down one morning after the rain was all over. The people
     had just time to jump out at the window. No one was hurt. Our room
     did not leak much, but the outside of the wall towards the street
     fell down. The inside of the wall still stood, so our room was
     whole. Chinese walls are all built in two skins. The one may fall
     and the other stand.

     '_October 25._--God has given the hunger and thirst for souls: will
     He leave me unsatisfied? No, verily. I am reading at night, before
     going to bed, the Psalms in a small-print copy of the Revised
     Bible, holding it at arm's length almost, close up to a Chinese
     candle, to suit my eyes; for I cannot see small print well now, and
     I find much strength and courage in the old warrior's words.
     Verily, the Psalms are inspired. No doubt about that. None that
     wait on Him will be put to shame. He is here with me.

     '_November 17._--We start about the fifth watch (6 A.M.), get to
     the fair early, spend the day on the street; it is late before we
     get quiet, and I fear it is now well on towards the third watch. I
     am in first-class health, though my feet and socks are in a
     decidedly bad way. The country is not at all safe, but we have as
     yet been preserved. Some days ago, two men who slept on the same
     kang with us, and started a little earlier than we did, were
     robbed. We overtook the travellers arranging themselves after the
     interview. I was annoyed at not getting away as soon as they left.
     God so arranged it, you see.

     'I have got a step nearer to God lately. It is this: I do not now
     strive to get near Him; I simply ask Christ to _take me nearer
     Him_. Why shouldn't I? Does not Christ save men from distance from
     God and bring us near? _Peace, Blessing, and Power_, by Haslam,
     sent me by an old college mate in Scotland, was the means used.
     This chum tried my soul much when I was at home last. I think I was
     of use to him, and now he has been of much use to me. Let us sow
     beside all waters.

     'My attitude now here is that of Psalm cxxiii. 2-4. I feel that God
     can _perform_ for, by, or rather use me as His instrument in
     performing, if He has a mind to; so I am looking for His hand,
     gazing about among the people that come to my stand to see the ones
     God has sent. I feel as helpless as a Chinese farmer in a drought;
     but when God opens the heavens, down it will come. Amen.'

Mr. Gilmour returned to Peking on December 13, having been away nearly
eight months. The tabulated results of this missionary campaign were:

  Patients seen (about)                                    5,717
  Hearers preached to                                     23,755
  Books sold                                               3,067
  Tracts distributed                                       4,500
  Miles travelled                                          1,860
  Money spent            120.92 taels = (about) 30_l._ to 40_l._

He adds, 'And out of all this there are only two men who have openly
confessed Christ. In one sense it is a small result; in another sense
there is much to be grateful for. I have to part with my assistant, and
am uncertain about whom to take in his place. My travelling arrangements
have broken down, and I am perplexed in more ways than I have patience
to write about; but

                      Where He may lead I'll follow,
                        In Him my trust repose,
                      And every hour in perfect peace
                        I'll sing, "He knows, He knows."

After a visit to Tientsin and a brief rest in Peking, largely occupied
with preparations for his next sojourn in Mongolia, he started on
January 25, 1887. At Ta Chêng Tz[)u] he secured a kind of home, so as
not to be exposed to all the discomforts and drawbacks of inn life,
hoping also that a fixed centre might forward the preaching of the
Gospel. Two rooms were taken for a year. They were situated at the inner
end of a little trading court, around which were a tin-shop, a
rope-spinner's room, and a stable. In one corner there was a pigsty.
'When first I saw it I almost refused to occupy it; but really there is
no help for it, and finally we took it for a year.' It is always
difficult to secure premises in a Chinese town, and exceptionally so
under the limitation of money and of suspicion and dislike to which
Christian missionaries are always exposed. 'It is only a lodging for
me,' Mr. Gilmour continues, 'convenient for seeing converts or
inquirers. The court is much too small, and the place not sanitary. But
don't be in the least uneasy. My health is quite as safe there as in the
best premises in Peking. I intend to occupy them for a month at the
beginning of the Chinese year, and ten or fifteen days in the fourth,
seventh, and tenth months. I hope also to come to some arrangement for a
lodging in Ch'ao Yang. In Tá Ss[)u] Kou I am simply in an inn, and pay
at the usual rate for the nights I am there.'

A letter to his boys, dated March 24, 1887, depicts the kind of scene he
so often witnessed, and the routine of work which would have proved so
irksome but for the love and peace with which the Saviour filled his
soul.

     'Mai Li Ying Tz[)u] is a very wicked place. There were no less than
     fourteen large tents set up for gambling, and, in addition, some
     thirty or forty mat-tents for gambling. I was there three days. The
     first day people were shy. The second day they were not much
     afraid. The third day I had quite a lot of patients. We sold a good
     few books, preached a good deal, and doctored a number of patients.
     From there we went to Bo-or-Chih, starting in the dark and
     travelling seventeen English miles before breakfast. After we had
     travelled ten miles we came to a little town just as people were
     opening their doors. A seller of _chieh jao_, that sticky stuff,
     had just set out his wheelbarrow with his pudding. We each bought a
     great piece, wrapped it in a _chien ping_ (a thin scone), and
     travelled on, eating it. That was our breakfast. Arrived at
     Bo-or-Chih, we set up our table at once, and, after preaching for a
     short time, patients came round us in crowds, and kept us busy till
     late in the afternoon.

     'The inn in which I am staying now is owned by two men, brothers,
     both of whom are opium smokers. The inn has a good trade, but it is
     all no use: it all goes to opium, and no good comes of it. There
     are two barbers connected with the place, and they both drink and
     gamble, so that they are in rags and poverty, though they have a
     fairly good business. It is so painful to see men degraded thus
     when, but for drink and gambling, they might be well off.

     '_April 28, 1887._--For the last week I have been very busy at a
     great temple gathering, which lasted six days. Such crowds of
     people came, though it was only a country district. It was the
     great religious event of the year for the neighbourhood, and how do
     you think they do? They hire a theatrical company to come and act
     six days in a great mat stage, put up for the occasion in front of
     the temple. Theatrical exhibitions are the religion of China. These
     shows are supposed to be in honour of the idols in the temple. The
     people think the gods will thus be pleased, and give them good
     seasons, health, etc.

     'What a crowd of women came to worship at the temple on the great
     day of the festival! Till noon that day women only were allowed to
     enter: no men. How the women were dressed--in all the colours of
     the rainbow, red trousers being especially prominent! How they
     moved along on their little feet! Walk you along on your heels--as
     I have seen you do--and that is just how they move.

     'No end of gamblers came too. There were twenty-six, or so, large
     tents put up to gamble in, and about as many straw-mat booths, and
     they all had plenty of trade. Eh, man, it is sad to see the utter
     worldliness of these Chinese. They soon found me out. I had my tent
     put up in a quiet place away from the bustle.[8] In front is the
     great flying sign, "The Jesus Religion Gospel Hall." At the one
     end, "God the Heavenly Father;" at the other, "Jesus the Saviour."
     They found me out, not because they wanted to hear me preach, but
     to get medicine. Oh, the numbers of suffering people I saw and
     attended to! I used to go out early in the morning, and be there
     all day, most of the time so busy that there was no time to eat. To
     get food I had to steal away because everyone would want me just to
     attend to him or her before I went. When I had attended to that one
     there was another, and so on. I was able to cure a number of them,
     and got preaching a good deal too. I sold a number of books. It was
     the first time that a missionary had ever been there, and it was
     difficult to make them understand.'

[8] See the illustration on p. 245.

It is, as a rule, by direct dealing with individuals that the best
results of Christian work in China are obtained, and to this Mr. Gilmour
was always ready to make everything give way. In season and out of
season, at any hour of the day or night, he was at the service of
inquirers. The sight of a seeking face could banish his most exhausting
feeling of fatigue, and nothing so swiftly dispelled the depression,
from which he so often and so severely suffered, as the sight of a
heathen coming to be more perfectly instructed about 'the doctrine.'
Here are one or two such scenes:--

     'In the eighth month we had great pleasure in finding Mr. Sun much
     advanced in knowledge, and confessing his Christianity with great
     boldness. Before we left he was baptized, and one or two others
     were coming forward as inquirers--notably one man, who is a member
     of a sect, was making earnest inquiries. These men seem to be
     following after righteousness in their own half-instructed fashion.
     These sects are strong in numbers in some parts of the district,
     and, if God should give us some of these men as converts, we might
     hope for rapid progress among their companions. The last that I
     heard of this man, he was coming to Mr. Sun, asking many questions.
     He lodged with us one night, and I invited him to breakfast with me
     in the morning. He was declining on the plea that he was a
     vegetarian. It was with much satisfaction that I was able to say in
     reply, "So am I."

     'The Tsai li ti are strong in Ch'ao Yang. I have been praying and
     working to gain them for a year and more. One evening a deputation
     of two men called upon me in my inn, and said they had come
     representing many who wanted to know about Christianity. They, the
     Tsai li ti, had been watching me ever since I had come to Ch'ao
     Yang. They had listened much and often to our preaching, and now
     they had come to make formal inquiries. I gave them such
     information as I thought they needed, and we got on well enough
     till they asked me to refute a slander. The slander was to the
     effect that in a chapel in Peking, the preacher would, when he
     finished preaching, get down off the platform and have a smoke! I
     had to admit that this was no slander, but a true statement. I had
     a good deal to say in explanation of it; but, alas! the men came no
     more.'

To form any just estimate of Mr. Gilmour's work in Eastern Mongolia, it
is needful constantly to bear in mind that it was practically a new
departure. So far as we know, he is the only missionary in China
connected with the London Missionary Society who adopted _in toto_ not
only the native dress, but practically the native food, and, so far as a
Christian man could, native habits of life. His average expense for food
during his residence in his district was _threepence a day_. This rate
of expenditure was, of course, possible only because he adopted
vegetarianism. His practice acted and reacted upon his thought, and he
came at this time to hold the view, for and against which a great deal
may be said, that it was a mistake for Chinese missionaries to live as
foreigners--that is, to wear foreign dress, arrange their houses and
furniture as nearly as possible in European style, and eat European
food. Both on its economical side and also as impressing the mind and
heart of the Chinese, he believed that his was the more excellent way.

Most of his co-workers at Peking and Tientsin did not agree with him. As
agreement would have involved, perhaps, following his example, under
conditions that differed widely from those of Ta Chêng Tz[)u] and Ch'ao
Yang, this difference of opinion was only what was to be expected. It is
referred to here only as a well-known fact, and no story of Mr.
Gilmour's life could be trustworthy which did not represent the decided
way in which, when he felt that loyalty to his work and loyalty to his
Master constrained him, he could and did act in direct opposition to the
wishes and views of brethren whom he fervently loved.

It became needful from time to time for him to justify his actions to
the home authorities. Not that this was in any way needful from any
doubt or lack of support on their part. But with regard to methods upon
which there was marked divergence of view in the missionary committees
abroad it was needful that a man like Gilmour should put his motives and
reasons clearly before the governing powers. It is doing him bare
justice to say that from this task he never shrank. The following
extracts are from letters to the home officials of the London Missionary
Society and they enable us to appreciate accurately the standpoint of
the man whose thought they express. Writing in the light of the
suggestion that perhaps he was putting a more severe strain upon his
health than the efficient discharge of his difficult duty demanded, he
says:--

     'I feel called to go through all this sort of thing, and feel
     perfectly secure in God's hands. It is no choosing of mine, but
     His; and, following His lead, I have as much right to expect
     special provision to be made for me as the Israelites of old had in
     the matters of the Red Sea, the manna and water in the desert, the
     crossing Jordan, and the fall of Jericho.

     'One thing I am sure of. The thousands here need salvation; God is
     most anxious to give it to them: where, then, is the hindrance? In
     them? I hardly think so. In God? No. In me, then! The thing I am
     praying away at now is that He would remove that hindrance by
     whatever process necessary. I shall not be astonished if He puts me
     through some fires or severe operations, nor shall I be sorry if
     they only end by leaving me a channel through which His saving
     grace can flow unhindered to these needy people. I dare not tell
     you how much I pray for.

     'It is the foreign element in our lives that runs away with the
     money. The foreign houses, foreign clothes, foreign food, are
     ruinous. In selecting missionaries, physique able to stand native
     houses, clothes, and food, should be as much a _sine quâ non_ as
     health to bear the native climate. Native clothes are, I believe,
     more safe for health than foreign clothes; they are more suited to
     the climate, more comfortable than foreign clothes, and so dressed,
     a Chinese house is quite comfortable. In past days I have suffered
     extreme discomfort by attempting to live in foreign dress in native
     houses.'

And yet James Gilmour had nothing of the fanatic or bigot about him. At
the period of his life with which we are now dealing, his severest trial
was the loneliness due to his having no colleague. Whenever his brethren
ventured to address remonstrances to him, they were due largely to the
conviction that entire isolation, such as he had to endure throughout
his Mongolian career, must tell adversely upon his temperament. But in
judging the character of the man it only heightens our love and respect
for him that he did not allow the utter and successive failures of all
efforts to secure him a colleague to hinder the work. No man more
readily and more constantly acted upon the principle of doing the next
best thing. His idea of satisfactory conditions for the work was never
reached; but this never led him for one day to relax his own efforts or
to loosen the strong hand of his self-discipline.

To any reader who has carefully followed the previous pages it must have
become abundantly evident that Mr Gilmour believed in God's present and
immediate influence in the passing events of daily life, and that the
right attitude of life is one of absolute dependence upon, and
submission to, the will of God. His diaries abound with proofs of this.
He is delayed one morning in starting from his inn, and is annoyed. An
hour or so later he overtakes the travellers who started earlier, and
finds them just recovering from the assault of a band of robbers. The
delay was God's providential care protecting him from robbery. And yet
no man was ever less under the spell of religious fatalism. All that
active effort and promptitude of mind and body could effect in the
service of life he freely and constantly expended in his work. And
indeed there lies before us a long letter written at Tá Ss[)u] Kou on
March 15, 1888, asking for an official proclamation from the Chinese
authorities at Peking affirming 'that Christian worship is an allowed
thing, and that native Christians are not required to contribute, or are
exempted from contributing, to idol and heathen ceremonies, such as
theatricals, or the building and repair of temples.' The proper official
document was applied for at Peking, and in due time obtained.

On March 24, 1888, James Gilmour was rejoiced by the seeming fulfilment
of his heart's most eager desire--the arrival at Tá Ss[)u] Kou of a
fully qualified medical colleague, Dr. Roberts. We have seen how
repeated had been his entreaties, how earnest his yearnings after this
essential factor in the success of his mission. For a month he enjoyed
to the full the uplifting of congenial fellowship and of skilled help.
Then came a blow, harder almost to endure than the previous solitude.

     'Two days ago,' he writes under date of April 21, 1888, 'a man
     pushed himself in among the crowd round my table as I was
     dispensing medicines in the market-place here, and announced
     himself as a courier from Tientsin. When asked what his news was,
     he was silent, so I led him away towards my inn. Oh the way I again
     asked what his news was. He groaned. I began to get alarmed, and
     noticed that he carried with him a sword, covered merely with a
     cloth scabbard. This looked warlike, and I wondered if there could
     have been another massacre at Tientsin. Coming to a quiet place in
     the street I _demanded_ his news, when he replied, "_Dr. Mackenzie
     is dead, after a week's illness._" At the inn we got out our
     letters from the bundle, and found the news true. In a little Dr.
     Roberts looked up from a letter he was reading and said he was
     appointed to the vacancy. _Then_ the full extent of my loss flashed
     upon me. Mackenzie dead--Roberts to go to Tientsin! One of my
     closest friends dead--my colleague removed!

     'Forty-eight hours have elapsed, and I am just coming right again.
     I have been like a ship suddenly struck in mid-ocean by a mountain
     sea breaking over it. You know in that case a ship staggers a bit,
     and takes some time to shake clear and right herself.

     'As to Mackenzie. His friendship I very keenly appreciated. The
     week of prayer in January 1887 we spent together in Peking. The
     week of prayer in January 1888 we spent together in Tientsin. These
     were seasons of great enjoyment. On parting we spoke of having a
     week together again in April 1889. That is not to be. The full
     extent of the loss will take some time to realise.

     'The prospect of Dr. Roberts settling permanently here in the
     autumn gave light and brightness to the outlook. My faith is not
     gone, but it would be untrue to say that I am not walking in the
     dark. I shall do my best to hold on here single-handed; but I
     earnestly hope that I am not to be alone much longer. Something
     must be done. There is a limit to all human endurance.

     'Amid many storms we are holding on our way, and making progress
     among the Chinese. Of the Mongols I have nothing cheering to
     report. They come around and daily hear the Gospel; but, as yet at
     least, there it ends. I look into their faces to see whom the Lord
     is going to call, but have not seen him yet apparently. Meantime, I
     am getting deeper and deeper into Chinese work and connections, and
     sometimes the thought crosses my mind that my knowledge of
     Mongolian is not employed to its best advantage here. On the other
     hand, I see more Mongols here than I could see anywhere on the
     Plain.'

God's ways of dealing with His work and the workers are often very dim
and obscure to finite understanding. Humanly speaking, no man in China
could less easily be spared than Dr. Mackenzie; no man in all that vast
empire more needed the joy of fellowship than he to whom it had just
been granted. But the indomitable spirit shines clearly through the
words of Gilmour: 'It would be untrue to say that I am not walking in
the dark. I shall do my best to hold on here single-handed.' Seeing
God's hand, as he did, in these sorrowful events, and believing that Dr.
Roberts also was following the path of God's will, he turned again to
his lonely tasks. But it was at a heavy cost. His health was giving way
faster than he realised. The views of his brethren at Peking, that he
would break down under the strain of the isolation, were to some extent
justified. The home authorities did what they could, but nearly a year
elapsed before Dr. Smith, who was appointed to succeed Dr. Roberts,
reached Mongolia, and when he did so his first duty he felt was to order
Mr. Gilmour to visit England for rest and change. But meanwhile he went
bravely on. Like his Master, 'he endured the contradiction of sinners
against himself,' and when 'he was reviled, he reviled not again.'

     'We left Ch'ao Yang,' he writes under date of September 3, 1888,
     'August 10, attended markets, got much rained in, and reached Ta
     Chêng Tz[)u] August 20. There I found that one of the Christians
     had possessed himself of my bank book and drawn about fifteen taels
     of my money which I had banked at the grocer's. The delinquent
     turned up next day, walked in, and hung up his whip as if nothing
     had happened. At the moment I was dining, and he sat down beside
     me. I asked him quietly why he had treated me so. He said I might
     be easy in mind; he had money and cattle he would pay me. "Go,
     then, and bring me the money; till you do so, don't come to me
     again." Off he went. Days passed and nothing was done to repair the
     mischief. Meantime, the scandal was the talk of the small town, and
     the scornful things said were so keen that Liu, my assistant, got
     quite wild. He was indignant that I did not go to law with the man,
     who all the while was swelling about on a donkey bought with the
     money he stole from me, and using the most defiant and abusive
     language towards me (not to my face, happily). The roughs of the
     place began to be insolent, and a drunken man came and made a scene
     in our quarters. Liu redoubled his attack on me, and even
     threatened to go home to Shantung if I would do nothing but pray--a
     course of action on my part which irritated him much. Li San, the
     head Christian there, joined him in saying I ought to make a show
     of power. I asked the two to read at their leisure Matt. v. 6, 7.
     Liu warned me that I was in personal danger. The man was
     panic-struck and highly nervous. I arranged an expedition to a
     place some 90 li away, but got rained in and could not go. Finally,
     the offender sent an embassy desiring peace, and, the day before we
     left, a respectable deputation of mutual friends, Christian and
     heathen, found its way one by one to my room, coming thus not to
     attract attention, and last of all came the thief. According to
     pre-arrangement I asked him, as he entered, what he had come for.
     He walked up to the wall, knelt down, and confessed his sin in
     prayer to God. The end of the matter is, he gives me one donkey and
     the promise of another, is suspended as to membership for twelve
     months, and is forbidden the chapel for three months.

     'I am not bright about Ta Chêng Tz[)u], as you may suppose. Worse
     than the stealing case is that of the head man, Li San, who says
     that he was promised employment before he became a Christian! The
     ten days we passed there we were the song of the drunkard and the
     jest of the abjects; but the peace of God _passes all
     understanding_, and that kept my heart and mind. We put a calm
     front on; put out our stand daily, and carried ourselves as if
     nothing had happened.

     'The great thought in my mind these days, and the great object of
     my life, is to be like Christ. As He was in the world, so are we to
     be. He was in the world to manifest God; we are in the world to
     manifest Christ. Is that not so? Iniquities, I must confess,
     prevail against me; but as contamination of sin flows to us from
     Adam, does not regenerating power flow into us from Christ? Is it
     not so?'

Meanwhile work was going steadily forward and some impression was being
made. He made a flying visit to Tientsin and Peking in the autumn, but
was soon back at his post. In his report of work for the year he is able
to point to progress.

     '1888 has been a tumultuous year. In December, at Ch'ao Yang, there
     was a sudden irruption of men and boys to learn the doctrine.
     Evening after evening we had from twenty to fifty people in our
     rooms to evening worship. We hardly knew how to account for it, but
     did all we could to teach as many as we could. The cold weather
     finally did much to stop the overcrowding, but there was good
     interest kept up among many till the end of the year.

     'The baptisms for the year were, at Ta Chêng Tz[)u], two; Tá Ss[)u]
     Kou, two; Ch'ao Yang, eight; total, twelve adults, all Chinese.

     'One man has been put out, so that the numbers stand as follows: Ta
     Chêng Tz[)u], four; Tá Ss[)u] Kou, three; Ch'ao Yang, nine; total,
     sixteen, all Chinese.

     'Three adults, Chinese, were baptized ten days ago, and I hope to
     baptize two children next Sunday; but we have almost no promising
     adherents here at present. There are three entire families
     Christian, with Christian emblems on their door-posts; another
     family is Christian, but cannot fly the colours on the door-posts
     because the grandfather who has half the building is a heathen.

     'In still another family, where only the husband is Christian, they
     have the Christian colours, but the family is heathen.

     'My heart is set on reinforcements. Can they not be had? I had
     hoped Dr. Smith would have spent the winter with me, but he did
     not. All the grace needed has been given me abundantly, but I don't
     think there should be any more solitary work. I don't think it
     pays in any sense.

     'In addition, it is almost time I had a change. My eyes are bad.
     Doctors hesitate over my heart, say it is weak, and that its
     condition would affect seriously an application for life assurance.
     This winter I have gone in for a cough, which is not a good thing
     at all, and it would be well for the continuity of the work that
     there should be a young man on the field.

     'Don't be alarmed, though, and don't alarm my friends. The above is
     for your own private information and guidance. I still regard
     myself as in first-rate health.

     'I am not satisfied that we seem drifting away from the Mongols. At
     present, though lots of Mongols are around, our work is all but
     entirely Chinese. I am still of opinion that our best way to reach
     them is from a Chinese basis. This may involve a matter of years
     ahead, and therefore it is that I am eager to see the future of the
     work provided for by being joined by a younger man or men.

     'Meantime I am trying to follow very fully and very faithfully the
     leadings and indications of God. I have had times of sore spiritual
     conflict and times of much spiritual rest, and my prayer is that
     you and the Board may in all your arrangements and plans for
     Mongolia be fully guided by Him. Oh that His full blessing would
     descend richly on this district!'

Dr. Smith reached Mongolia in March 1889, and for the first time met his
colleague. He has placed on record for use in this biography his account
of that first meeting. On reaching Ch'ao Yang, Dr. Smith found that Mr.
Gilmour was not there. 'I followed the innkeeper,' he writes, 'to see
the spot where my devoted colleague had spent so many lonely hours. We
came to a little outhouse, with a kind of little court in front of it,
not many yards wide. The outer door was locked by means of a padlock;
but the innkeeper soon found an entrance by simply lifting the door off
its wooden hinges, and then we were in the anteroom or rather kitchen.
In it was a built-in cooking-pan, an earthenware bowl, and a wooden
stick resembling a Scotch porridge-stick; and some brushwood which had
been brought in to be in readiness when he next arrived at that inn. One
of the two rooms, which lay on each side of this ante-room, was locked,
and we could not open it, but through the chinks of the door I could see
abundant traces of Gilmour. It was specially refreshing to see some
genuine English on one of the boxes; it was "Ferris, Bourne, & Co.,
Bristol," the people from whom he used to order his drugs. My servant
and I decided to take up our quarters in the next room, which was
evidently the servant's room. We soon managed to make ourselves very
comfortable, and there was an unspeakable relief in at last being in a
place which belonged to the London Mission, rented of course. We had to
spend the Sunday there. Mr. Sun, the box-maker, soon came round, and
seemed genuinely glad to see me, and offered to make all arrangements
for the further stage of our journey. We then discharged our carts, and
I sent with them my letters for home.

'After spending the Sunday in company with the Christians there, we set
out on the Monday morning with a local carter for Ta Chêng Tz[)u], a
distance of about twenty-three miles. We crossed a hilly and sparsely
populated district, reminding me of some of the bleaker scenery in
Scotland. On reaching the town we at once drove to the new private
mission premises. It was a little house surrounded by a straw fence.
Quite a crowd of rough-looking people followed us in. One of the doors
had been stolen, and altogether it looked so unprotected that I decided
to take up my quarters in a little Mongol inn, where Mr. Gilmour
formerly lived. Next day I expected to meet Gilmour, and the two
Christians there were fully expecting him. In the evening we had quite a
levee; Li San and the other Christian, whom Gilmour used to call "Long
Legs," sat drinking tea in my room for some time, and were very
friendly; they were evidently trying to ingratiate themselves with me; I
did not then know how disgracefully they had behaved to Gilmour, nor did
I know the anxious business which was bringing Gilmour there at that
time.

'Next day or the following, I forget exactly which, I was sitting in my
room, when a young man arrived, my servant being out at the time. I
could not make him out at first, not being able to understand what he
said; but he had such an evident air about him that he had some kind of
business with me that it at last dawned upon me that he must be Mr.
Gilmour's servant, and this was at once confirmed on the arrival of Lin
Seng, my servant. He had been sent on ahead to announce Gilmour's
arrival. It had been blowing a dust-storm all day, and on that account I
hardly expected Gilmour, but now there was no doubt.

'About four o'clock that afternoon Gilmour arrived, and I shall never
forget that first meeting. I had pictured quite a different-looking man
to myself. I saw a thin man of medium height, with a clean shaven face,
got up in Chinese dress, much the same as the respectable shop-keepers
in that part of the country wear. On his head was a cap lined with cat's
fur. I was struck by the kindly but determined look on his face. He
greeted me most cordially, and I remember he said, "I am glad to see
you." He looked worn out and ill. I at once gave him his letters.

'After arranging his things and seeing his men comfortably settled and
getting over his first interview with the Christians there, he came up
to my room in order to spend the night with me. We sat to all hours of
the morning, chatting about things at home, and about his boys, whom I
had seen before leaving Scotland.

'For the next day he arranged the dreaded interview with Li San down at
the mission premises. Gilmour warned me that it would be a long-winded
affair, and wished me not to expect his return for a good number of
hours. After waiting a long time I went down to see how the interview
was progressing. Li San and Gilmour were sitting on the kang, in tailor
fashion on each side of a low table, and Li San was singing hymns; but
there was a strange look upon his face, as if he did not altogether feel
like singing. Gilmour said to me in English that they had not come to
business yet, and Gilmour was determined that Li San was to say the
first word, so Gilmour invited him to sing hymn after hymn, and then I
left. The whole idea seemed to be to get money out of Gilmour, and when
he found that impossible he threatened to come down to Tientsin to
accuse Gilmour to his missionary colleagues, of having broken his
promise to give him employment. Gilmour had no recollection of having
done so; he said to me that possibly one of his previous assistants may
have on his own responsibility led Li San to form that idea.

'Long Legs was also dogging Gilmour for money, and altogether they
worried him; but he settled up everything. The premises were resold, and
as Gilmour put it, "it was the funeral of that little church." They were
threatening to prevent our leaving the town, as there seemed some doubt
in Gilmour's mind as to whether we would be able to get a cart; these
fears were disappointed; Li San got a cart for us.'

Before Dr. Smith had passed many days in the society of Mr. Gilmour it
became clear to the practised eye of the medical man that his colleague
had been overstraining his health and strength. Notwithstanding his
buoyancy and occasional high spirits all through his long years of work,
James Gilmour had been subject to spells of severe depression. There are
a very large number of brief entries in his diary to that effect. 'Felt
blue to-day' is a frequent phrase, followed soon in the great majority
of instances by words indicating a speedy recovery. Special events, that
from time to time had a direct adverse influence upon his work,
developed this state of mind rapidly and profoundly. The inevitable
recall of Dr. Roberts, already described, is a case in point, and the
diary at that season contains entries like these:

     '_April 26, 1888._--These last days have been full of blessing and
     peace in my own soul. I have been able to leave things at Ta Chêng
     Tz[)u];, and my colleagues all in God's hands.'

     '_May 7._--Downcast day. No one to prayer.'

     '_May 9._--In terrible darkness and tears for two days. Light broke
     over me at my stand to-day in the thought that Jesus was tempted
     forty days of the devil after His baptism, and that He felt
     forsaken on the cross.'

     '_May 27, Sunday._--Service, Romans xii. Present, four Christians.
     Great depression.'

The most constant force acting in the direction of mental depression was
what appeared to him like the want of immediate success. He longed with
an eager and almost painful intensity for signs that Gospel light had
broken in upon the mental darkness of the men with whom he was in daily
contact. He yearned for evidence that the love of Christ was winning the
love of Chinese and Mongol hearts, as a mother yearns over her children.
Hope deferred as to his medical colleague, ever recurring difficulties
defeating all his efforts to secure suitable premises for his work,
failure on the part of natives whom he had begun to trust, and all these
things over and above the ceaseless strain of his daily toil, are more
than sufficient to account for the state in which Dr. Smith found him.

To those who knew him best, and who could appraise at their true value
the toils and trials and disappointments of his daily lot, the wonder
was not that he broke down; it was rather that physical collapse had not
overtaken him sooner. There are many kinds of heroism, but it may be
doubted whether any touches a higher level than that exhibited by this
patient sower of the seed of life on the sterile field of Mongolia,
bravely continuing to do so until imperatively urged to cease for a
season, not by his consciousness of failing power, but by the alarm and
influence of his medical co-worker.

When the decision was once taken, it was acted upon promptly. March 26,
1889, was the day, and Peking the place. On April 4 he left Peking, and
on the 20th he sailed from Shanghai. He arrived in London on May 25.

This visit to England in 1889 was a great refreshment bodily, mental,
and spiritual, to the overwrought labourer. The voyage itself, enforcing
rest from all ordinary avocations, by removing Mr. Gilmour from the
depressing surroundings amid which he had spent so much of the last
three years, began the restorative process. He was beginning to feel in
himself great benefit from the change even by the time he reached
London. But the six years which had passed since he last walked the
London streets had left their mark upon him. He had drawn to the utmost
upon his physical and spiritual strength in the service of those for
whose conversion he lived and toiled. He had been through the deep
waters of personal affliction when his wife passed into the sinless
life. The many toils and hardships of the passing years had drawn deep
furrows upon the cheery face, and the eyes showed evidence of the mental
and spiritual strain.

So sudden was the resolution to return, and so prompt his action upon
it, that few knew even of the probability until he was actually here. On
May 27, 1889, the writer was sitting in his room, overlooking the
pleasant garden that brightens up the north-eastern corner of St Paul's
Churchyard, in conversation with a gentleman, when a knock came at the
door and a head appeared. Not seeing it very clearly, and at the same
time asking for a minute's delay while the business in hand was
completed, the head disappeared. As soon as the first visitor departed a
man entered and stood near the door. I looked at him with the
conviction that I knew him, and yet could not recall the true mental
association, when the old smile broke over his face, and he burst into a
laugh, saying, 'Why, man, you don't know me' 'Yes, I do,' I replied,
'you're Gilmour; but I thought that at this moment you were in
Mongolia.' But when I was able to scrutinise him closely I was shocked
to see how very evident were the signs of stress and strain. It was not
wholly inexcusable, even in an old friend, to fail to instantly
recognise in the worn and apparently broken man, thought to be hard at
work many thousands of miles away, the strong and cheery Gilmour of
1883.

Carrying him off home, we talked far into the night, not because his
host thought it a good thing for the invalid, but because he was so full
of his work and its difficulties and its pressing needs, and what he
hoped to do on behalf of Mongolia by his visit home, that there seemed
no possible alternative but to let him talk himself weary. And how
splendidly he talked! He pictured his life at a Mongol inn. He ranged
over the whole opium and whisky and tobacco controversy. He gave, with
all the dramatic effect of which he was so great a master, the story of
how he forced home upon the Chinese and Mongols, until even _they_
admitted the force of the reasoning, how natural it was that famine
should visit them when they gave up their land to opium, and their grain
to the manufacture of whisky. He gave in rapid dialogue his own
questions, the native rejoinders, and he so vividly pictured the scene
that his hearer could fancy himself standing under the tent, surrounded
by Chinese and Mongols, and assenting, as they did, to the earnest and
far-reaching conclusions of the speaker.



CHAPTER X

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS AS ILLUSTRATED BY LETTERS TO RELATIVES AND
FRIENDS


This break in active work affords a convenient occasion for exhibiting
in a still stronger light, by means of selections from his
correspondence, some important sides of James Gilmour's character. He
was a good correspondent and wrote freely to his relatives and friends.
We have quoted largely hitherto from his official reports and from
letters that refer to the condition and progress of his life-work. But
it is in the letters addressed to the circle of relatives and most
intimate friends that he reveals more fully the deeper side of his life,
and the strong and tender affection of his nature.

He corresponded regularly with his parents until the earthly tie was
broken by the death of his mother in 1884 and of his father in 1888. His
letters to the latter were very beautiful, especially those designed to
strengthen his faith in the closing years when he had passed the
eightieth milestone. The tone of the correspondence may be judged from
the following examples:--


                                    'Peking: Friday, January 23, 1885.

     'My dear Father,--So this must in future be the heading of my
     letters--no longer my dear parents. Mother has gone. Yours of
     November 21 reached me this afternoon, or evening rather. As I
     came home from the chapel I found a beggar waiting at the gate. I
     thought he was going to beg, but he did not. Inside I found the
     gate-keeper waiting at our house door for a reply note, to say that
     the letter had been delivered. I went to my study, and was praying
     for a blessing on the chapel preaching when Emily came. I let her
     in. She had your letter in her hand. It had come by Russia, and the
     Russian post sometimes sends over our mail by a Peking beggar,
     paying him of course.

     'I have not had time to think yet. On my heels came in men for the
     prayer-meeting we hold in our house on Friday evening, and till now
     I have been almost continuously engaged. It is now 10.20 P.M. It so
     happens that this week I am much behind in my sermon preparation
     for Sunday, and it also happens that I am going to preach on _whole
     families_ believing on Christ. What brought this subject to my mind
     is one of our old Christians who is dying, the only Christian in
     his whole family. His great grief is that they (his family) remain
     heathens. In addition, too, a Christian father admitted to a
     missionary the other day that he had not taught Christ to his
     daughter who had just died. Preaching on this subject I will have
     something to say about my own dear, good, anxious mother, and of
     how she used to say when I was a boy, "_What a terrible thing it
     will be if I see you shut out of heaven!_" She did not say
     terrible; "unco" was her word.

     'I have not yet had time to realise my loss, and cannot think of
     the Hamilton house as being without her. Eh, man! you know how good
     a mother she was to us, and I have some idea of what a companion
     and help she was to you. You two had nearly fifty years together.
     You must feel lonely without her. Fathers and mothers are thought
     much of by the Chinese, and you, at my suggestion, were most
     heartily and feelingly prayed for by the Chinese at our
     prayer-meeting to-night. You would have felt quite touched could
     you have heard and understood them.'

There is a special interest attaching to the sentence used frequently by
his mother. On page 41 he refers to his conversion, but no record
appears to have been preserved, giving any detail or fixing with any
exactness the date. But his brothers have a conviction that his constant
recollection of the oft-repeated and well-remembered words, 'What an
unco thing it will be if I see you shut out of heaven!' was one of the
most potent influences in bringing about his conversion. The letters
immediately following were written during the last two years of his
father's life.

     'Let us not be disturbed at all about our not having more
     communication. I pray often for you and remember you more
     frequently still, and feel more and more that earth is a shifting
     scene, that here we have no permanent place, that heaven is our
     home, that your wife--my dear mother--has gone there, that my wife
     has gone there and is now in the Golden City, and that, sooner or
     later, you and I will be there, and that, when there, we'll have
     plenty of time to sit about and talk all together in a company.
     Lately I have come to see that we have but to put ourselves into
     the hands of Jesus and let Him do with us as He likes, and He'll
     save us _sure and certain_. He can make us willing even to let Him
     change us and train us.

     'You are eighty years old. I am proud of you. I like to think of
     your life. Mother told me, when I was a lad, of some of your early
     struggles. God has been with you and guided you on through all to a
     good old age of honour and respect and love. Trust Him and He'll
     not leave you. Depend upon it, God has something better for us in
     the world to come than He has ever given us here. And it is not
     difficult to get it. God wants to give it to us all; offers it to
     us, and is distressed if we don't take it. We have only to go to
     Christ and ask Jesus to make it all right for us, and He'll do it.
     I know you are in earnest. Jesus will turn away no earnest man.'

Mr. Gilmour senior acted as steward of the little store which his son by
rigid economy was amassing for the benefit of his children. Scotch
thrift was well exemplified in them both. But in the course of 1887
James Gilmour became troubled about this accumulation of even that small
sum which he could call his own. In his lonely introspective Mongolian
life the possession of money came to wear in his view the aspect of
distrusting God. At this juncture the London Missionary Society was in a
somewhat serious state as regards funds. A special appeal had been sent
out indicating that if additional funds were not forthcoming, some
fields of work might have to be given up. James Gilmour's response was
an order to pay over anonymously the sum of 100_l._ to the general funds
of the Society, and 50_l._ to that set apart for widows and orphans.


                                                      'March 16, 1887.

     'My dear Father,--Some explanation is due to you of the order to
     pay the London Missionary Society 100_l._ of my money as a
     contribution to their funds.

     'The money that I have in the bank is the result of long and, much
     of it, of self-denying savings on my part and the part of my late
     wife--more on hers than mine, perhaps. When she died, and I was
     going off to this remote and isolated field, it was a comfort to me
     to think that in the event of my death there was a little sum laid
     past which would help my sons to get an education. I have added to
     that sum all I could from my house-furniture sale, &c., and it has
     reached a good figure--the exact sum I cannot yet tell--I have not
     yet had your account for 1886.

     'Some time ago God seemed to say, "_Entrust that money to My
     keeping!_" and, as days went on, the command seemed to get more
     loud and be ever present, so much so that finally I could not read
     my Bible for it or pray. I had no resource left but to obey; I did
     not like to give it up; but finally it has appeared to me that God
     is only keeping the funds for the lads and that He will arrange for
     them to have them all right when they are needed. How He can do
     this I need not ask. He may, for instance, keep me alive for the
     sake of the lads. In one sense it seems an unwise thing not to be
     laying up something for the children's education; but that is only
     one side of it. God seems to ask me to trust Him with my children,
     and I trust Him with them. They are far from my care and control,
     and I know such painful cases of the children of missionaries
     growing up unbelievers that I dare not do anything that seems to me
     not to be putting them fully into God's care and up-bringing.

     'In addition, I am exhorting people here to become Christians, by
     doing which they throw themselves and their children outside of the
     community. I tell them to do it, and trust God's protecting them in
     troubles and helping them in difficulties; and I can hardly do that
     if I have not faith in God myself for me and mine.

     'Again, I need God's help and blessing much in my work here, and I
     do not seem to myself to be able to expect it if I do not trust
     Him. So please regard the money removed as not lost, only put into
     a safer bank.'

The following letter, also dealing with money matters from the Christian
point of view, is so striking in many ways that it has been deemed
advisable to quote it _in extenso_:--


                                    'Ch'ao Yang, Mongolia: May 6, 1888.

     'My dear Father,--Enclosed please find some directions about the
     disposal of my money. These arrangements are so contrary to my
     previous arrangements that some explanation is due to you and to my
     brothers. Here they are.

     'In my mission work out here I am much thrown upon God. The field
     is a very hard one. The superstitions are like towns walled up to
     heaven. The power of man avails nothing against them. As far as man
     is concerned I am almost alone. I turn to God. I hear the words,
     "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit," saith the Lord. I
     trust Him. I call upon Him. I commune with Him. He comes near me. I
     ask Him to convert men. There are conversions, a few true, as far
     as I can judge. But there seems some barrier between God and me to
     a certain extent. Thinking round to see what it can be, I hear a
     voice saying, "Can't you trust Me with the money you have laid up
     for your children?" I think over it I pray over it. I say, "I may
     die and the boys need the money." God replies, "If you trust Me
     with it, don't you think I'd give them it as they needed?" I say,
     "But my father and brothers might not see it so, and might not like
     the idea of destitute orphan children on their hands." God replies,
     "With _Me_ for their banker children are not destitute, and if you
     prefer father and brothers before Me, you are not worthy of Me."
     Then I say, "What will you have me do?" God says, "Give Me the
     money; I'll see they have all that is necessary." I dare not
     disobey. I don't want to disobey. I am so much exercised over the
     spiritual well-being of the boys, that I gladly do anything that
     will make them in any sense more specially protégés of God. I am
     alarmed at the fate of some missionaries' children who have not
     turned out godly men. Preserve the boys from this!

     'This is no sudden resolution. I have thought and prayed much over
     it. I can delay this step no longer without feeling I would be
     refusing to follow God's guidance. I feel, too, that God has so
     many ways in which He can bless the lads and me, that in making
     this arrangement I am running no risk. The only thing I am not
     quite clear about is the detailed disposition of the money.
     Meantime, it seems to me that I can best use it for God in this
     mission here. I mean to bank it in Peking, in the first instance,
     and use it for renting or buying premises.

     'As to the general principle of having money for ourselves or
     children, I do not think God asks us all to put all we may have or
     get thus in His keeping, or asks me even to put _all_ into His
     keeping in this especial manner. You know the money was originally
     saved from the salary given by the mission, and in this sense is
     peculiar. Money that I had earned by trade, or otherwise come by, I
     do not think God would ask me to dispose of it so. But His voice
     seems very plain in this present case.

     'My salary I shall still have paid to me, and the children's
     remittances shall come as usual. If I live I guess this will be
     enough for the education of the lads. If I die, the lads are not
     destitute. Even in a worldly sense, and quite apart from this sum
     which I am banking with God, and which I am sure He'll repay with
     compound interest when needed, if left orphans they would be in
     some sense provided for by the London Missionary Society, which,
     though it gives no pensions to any one, yet yearly raises funds and
     gives money to broken-down old missionaries, widows, and orphans. I
     don't suppose it is much or enough, but it is something. I say this
     that you may not be troubled should your faith be weak or waver.

     'I hope that these arrangements may not seem unwise to you, and
     will commend themselves to you far enough to have your consent if
     not your warm approval. For myself I am thankful that God has given
     me faith enough to trust Him so. It has taken time to come to this.
     Myself is a small matter--it takes more faith to trust for one's
     children. Just fancy old Abraham offering his Isaac. Just fancy,
     God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. Let us respond to
     God's love.

                                            'Your loving son,
                                                      'JAMES GILMOUR.'


In compliance with his wish a sum amounting to several hundred pounds
was sent out to Peking and there banked by him. Had not the many
difficulties which Chinese habits placed in the way prevented the
completion of negotiations, there is hardly any doubt that James Gilmour
would have himself spent this money on his own mission-field. He died
before any of the negotiations for premises which he had commenced
reached a successful issue. As he had not specified in his will that
this sum was to be devoted to mission work, the trustees of his boys
have had no alternative, and have felt it their duty to consider it a
part of his estate, the income of which should be devoted to the
education of his sons. But the intention of James Gilmour was clear and
well known, and it is to be hoped that the interest felt by many friends
in his life and work will prove strong enough to secure a permanent home
for the mission as a memorial of its founder, and on the site of his
glad and self-sacrificing toil.

A year or two later, in a letter to his boys, he seeks to enforce the
duty of careful, systematic giving to God.


                                          'Ch'ao Yang: August 19, 1890.

     'I wonder if you are giving a tenth of all the money you get to
     God. I think it is a right thing to do and a good thing. Mamma did
     it: I do it: and God never let us want for money. I would be glad
     if you would like to do it. But don't do it merely to please me.
     Don't do it except you can do it gladly. God likes people to do
     things gladly. I am quite sure you would get blessing by it. Money
     given to God is never lost. And it is easier to begin the habit now
     than later.

     'When you give it to God you can put it into the London Missionary
     Society box; it would only be fair to give some little part of it
     at the collection at the church to which you go. You could give
     some of it for destitute children. It does not matter much where
     you give it. I think the London Missionary Society has the best
     claim. Think over it, boys. Jesus died to save us: surely we can
     show our gratitude by giving Him some of our money?'

Later letters to his father outline for us his religious experience, and
enable us to realise something of the spiritual experience of these
years.


                                            'Ch'ao Yang: March 29, 1887.

     'I am wondering how you all are. God has been drawing me nearer to
     Him these last weeks, and I am living in the hope that He will
     bless me and my work largely some day. There is much ignorance to
     be removed, much suspicion, much misunderstanding of me as a
     foreigner, and I am hammering away as hard as I can. There are
     mountains of difficulty to be removed, but I am trusting in God to
     remove them, and these last days I have had much peace and joy in
     my heart thinking of God's love to me and the salvation of Jesus. I
     have no doubt at all about my being His, and sometimes the great
     hope is almost too much to realise. But I am often at the same time
     downcast that I cannot see more people here converted, and I think
     that, if God has a favour to me and delights in me, He can well
     move the hearts of these people to believe in His Son, and choose
     out people to come and help me in my work. I am sometimes lonely
     here, and wish I had a friend to talk to and tell all my troubles,
     and then I think that Jesus is such a friend, and so I tell Him all
     my griefs; but I would like to have a colleague.

     'I hope, my dear father, that your heart is contented and happy in
     Jesus. Only let Him arrange all things for you as regards your
     soul, and He'll do it all right. He can be trusted. Heaven is not
     far away; we'll soon be there; comfort your heart. Won't it be too
     blessed to be again with our wives, freed from all that is earthly,
     and suffering, and surrounded by nothing but what is nice! This is
     no dream: it is real; it is true; it is kept for us; it will be
     ours. We'll see it soon; you and I will be there together. It may
     be some time before we are there together; but years soon pass.
     Cheer up, my father!

     'We miss much by not living near to Jesus--taking Him at His word
     and expecting that He'll do all we need done for us both in saving
     us and in making our hearts good. Jesus is real and heaven is real,
     and our share in heaven, if we trust and follow Jesus, is real. You
     say you are busy: so am I. You have cares: so have I. Go ahead and
     look after your work and business; but you'll do it all the better
     that your heart is at peace with God and at rest in Jesus. I find
     that the closer I am to Jesus the better I can meet and bear all
     troubles, trials, and difficulties, and you will find the same true
     if you try.

     'I feel quite lifted up to-night. I have a room to myself. This is
     the first time I have had a room to myself since leaving Peking
     January 25. It is pleasant to be private a little. This room is
     private to me alone only after (say) 8 P.M., when I am left in
     peace. I hope to have this room for three weeks.

     'I am afraid, if you saw the room, you would not think it much of a
     place. To-night, too, I have a pillow. For over three weeks I have
     rested my head on some folded-up bag or article of dress: to-night
     I have a pillow. Christ had not where to lay His head. In all
     things I am still better off than He was. If I could only see souls
     saved I would not care for the roughing it.'

In a letter later in the same year to a missionary colleague in a
distant field Mr. Gilmour unveils still further his religious history:--


                                            'Mongolia: October 7, 1887.

     'Yours of May 31 to hand three or four days ago. The China Inland
     Mission has a lot of good men in it. It does a good work. It is
     warm-hearted devotion that wins souls and gets God's approval. My
     experience has been different from yours, happily. All along I have
     gone on the "headlong for Christ" way of things here, even when
     preaching to the most intellectual English and American audiences,
     and they have received me royally. Man, God has waked me up these
     last years to such an extent that I feel a different man. I
     sometimes wonder now if I was converted before. I suppose I was,
     but the life was a cold, dull one. Just the other day Jesus, so to
     speak, put out His hand and touched me as I was reading a hymn,
     something about desiring spiritual things and passing by Jesus
     Himself. I wanted His blessing more than I wanted Him. That is not
     right. Lately, too, I have become calm. Before I worked, oh so hard
     and so much, and asked God to bless my work. Now I try to pray more
     and get more blessing, and then work enough to let the blessing
     find its way through me to men. And this is the better way. It is
     the right way. And I work a lot even now. Perhaps as much as
     before; but I don't worry at the things I cannot overtake. I feel,
     too, more than I did, that God is guiding me. Oh! sometimes the
     peace of God flows over me like a river. Then it is so blessed,
     heaven is real. So is God: so is Jesus. Our lot is a great one.

     'Try not to fly around so much: take more time with God. Be more in
     private prayer with Him, and see if He will not give you a greater
     spiritual blessing for your people. After all, the great want, as I
     gather from your letters, is the spiritual blessing on the people.
     Ask it, man, and you'll get it. God's promises are sure. I am
     trying to combine the China Inland Mission, the Salvation Army, and
     the L.M.S. I have a great district, and a hard one, all to myself.
     There is said to be a young doctor on his way out to me. I am
     writing by this mail for three young laymen. Non-smoking and
     teetotalism are conditions of Church membership. I have seen no
     foreigner since January 25, and am not likely to see one till
     December 5. My mails take an enormous time to reach me, and two
     sent in June and July from Peking (eight days off) have never come
     to hand at all. I am baffled, battered and bruised in soul in many
     ways, but, thank God, holding on and believing that He is going to
     bless me.

     'Eh, man, never talk of not going back. Go back, though you can
     only do half work; go back, and work less and pray more. That is
     what you need. I have been a vegetarian for over a year. I find
     fasting helpful to prayer. Two books by Andrew Murray, Wellington,
     Cape Town--_Abide in Christ, With Christ in the School of
     Prayer_--have done me much good. May blessings be on your dear wife
     and children! Yours, hoping to have a good long holiday with you in
     heaven,

                                            'JAMES GILMOUR.'


Some years earlier in his career he had written a letter of brotherly
remonstrance to one who, in a moment of depression and without any
adequate cause, felt himself slighted. The same spirit breathes through
both, but is richer and fuller in the later letter. God had been
teaching James Gilmour in a hard, but a fruitful school.

     'I know of your zeal in working at home as well as abroad, and I am
     greatly grieved to find you think you are badly treated. I think it
     is very unfortunate that any agent should have that feeling about
     his Society, L.M.S. or other. I am alarmed, too, my dear fellow, to
     find you express yourself so strongly. It is hardly the thing.
     Would Christ have said that? I do hope you will pardon my speaking
     so, but you know sometimes a rash word does more harm than a deed
     even. And I am anxious that you should have a peaceful mind. _I_
     know your value, and wish to see you nearly perfect. Let me remind
     you of a thing we both believe, and a thought I have often been
     comforted by. Jesus has suffered even more for us than we can ever
     suffer for Him, and what you do in raising funds and endeavouring
     is done, not for L.M.S., but for Him, _for Him_, and He sees and
     knows and won't forget, but sympathises and appreciates, and at the
     end will speak up straight and open for His true men. I often lug
     portmanteaus, walk afoot, and, as the Chinese say, "eat
     bitterness," in China and in England. I am not thanked for it, but
     He knows. No danger of being overlooked. Now, don't be "huffed" at
     my lecturing you, and don't think I must think a lot of myself to
     suppose that I am running up a bill of merit, like a Buddhist, and
     think I am Jesus's creditor. My dear fellow, you know better than
     that. I point out to you and remind you of the only way I know to
     be persistently useful, and at the same time happy.'

But of all the relationships of life--son, brother, friend, ambassador
for Christ--that which most naturally, most profoundly, and most
beautifully reveals his very heart is when he writes as the loving
father to his distant motherless boys. A large number of his letters to
them have been entrusted to the hands of his biographer. Many of them
touch upon subjects too sacred for publication. They deal with those
closest of earthly ties in which not even intimate friends can
legitimately claim a share. But it was felt that they reveal a side of
his nature and character that ought not to be entirely hidden in any
picture of his life. For this reason a somewhat extensive selection has
been made from this tender and helpful correspondence. When it first
began the lads were too young to read the letters themselves, but he
wrote long accounts of his work to be read to them, and it is pleasant
to see how keen his eye became in noting such things as were likely to
amuse them and to arrest their attention. Some of the letters are
written in big letters resembling printed capitals. The brief, childlike
letters that were sent to him by them were bound up into a paper volume,
which he carried about with him during his Mongolian wanderings, and in
looking them over he found an unfailing solace and refreshment. He often
illustrated his own letters to them by rough but effective sketches of
persons and things which he saw. The death of their mother had brought
the lads and their father very near to one another, and although lost to
sight, they always thought and spoke of the dear one who had gone as
still of the family, as in perfect happiness, and waiting only God's
time to reunite them in the happy life of heaven.

When it was decided to entrust them to the care of an uncle in Scotland,
Mr. Gilmour set out the desires he cherished with regard to their
training. It is only to be regretted that similar plans are not formed
and acted upon in the training of all children.

     'The laddies are here with me now, and I am both father and mother
     to them. To-night I darned three stockings for them when they went
     to bed. You see I have been away two months, and in a week or two I
     may have to part from them for ten years, so I am having a little
     leisure time with them. I sometimes do feel real bad at the idea of
     the two orphan lads going away so far; but then the promise of
     Christ that no one leaves parents or children for His sake, without
     being repaid manifold, comforts me by making me believe that God
     will raise up friends to comfort them wherever they may be.

     'Cheer up! The two worlds are one, and not far separate. Mrs.
     Prankard, I hear, won't have Emily's name mentioned. We here go on
     the other tack, and the children are all day long talking about
     what mamma did and said, and adventures we had together. And why
     not? The tears come sometimes: let them, they do no harm, are a
     relief more than anything, and the time is coming when God will
     wipe away all tears from our eyes.

     'I wish them to be Christ's from their youth up. I wish them to get
     a good thorough education, not too expensive, to be able to read,
     write, and spell well. Should either of them turn out likely, I
     might be able to let both, or that one have a college education,
     but I don't want either of them to go there if they don't show
     adaptation for it.

     'What I want of you is something money cannot buy, motherly and
     fatherly care in Christ for the desolate lads, whose whole life in
     time and eternity too may largely depend on how they are trained
     and treated during the next few years. I am not rich, but I can
     support my boys. This Christian care and love, however, is what is
     not to be had for money, so I beg it.

     'I had five hours' conversation with one Chinaman at a stretch the
     other day. I think he was not far from the kingdom of God at first,
     and I believe he is nearer now. All these things take time, and I
     am most anxious to be with the children much these last days. Oh,
     it is hard to think of them going off over the world in that
     motherless fashion! We were at mamma's grave yesterday for the
     first time since September 21. We sang "There is a land that is
     fairer than day," in Chinese, and also a Chinese hymn we have here
     with a chorus, which says, "We'll soon go and see them in our
     heavenly home," and in English, "There is a happy land." The
     children and I have no reluctance in speaking of mamma, and we
     don't think of her as here or buried, but as in a fine place, happy
     and well.'

Here are a few short extracts from the earlier letters:--

     'Cheer up, my dear sonnies! We shall see each other some day yet.
     Tell all your troubles to Jesus, and let Him be your friend. I, out
     here, think often of mamma and her nice face, and how good she was
     to you and to me. You will not forget her. She sees you every day,
     and is so pleased when you are good lads. We'll all go some day and
     be with her, won't that be good? Meantime, Jesus is taking care of
     her, and will take care of us.

     'Sometimes, when I am writing a letter to you, and come to the foot
     of a page, and want to turn over the leaf, I don't take blotting
     paper and blot it, but kneel down and pray while it is drying.

     'I am going away, too, in a few days; then I'll have no one but
     Chinese to speak to. Never mind, I'll just tell Jesus all my
     affairs; I cannot go away from Him. He is never too busy to talk to
     me. Just you, too, tell Jesus all your troubles. He sees both you
     and me.'

From the longer letters we select three or four, and give them exactly
as they were written. From them the character of many others, from which
only brief extracts can be taken, may be judged.


                                            'Ch'ao Yang: April 10, 1887.

     'My dear Sons,--I am well and thankful for it. I am getting on well
     too, thank God. I have had terrible weather lately though. Daily I
     have my tent--it is only a cloth roof on six bamboo poles--put up
     in the market-place. We have had three days' wind. Eh, man, the
     first day the dust was terrible. But I had lots of patients and
     remained out all day. At last we had to take down our tent. It
     could not stand. The tent was carried to the inn, but we remained
     with our table till evening. You would hardly have known us for
     dust. But patients came all the time. Next day the tent was blown
     down twice. Once a man's head got such a smack with the bamboo tent
     pole, but he said nothing and took it quite pleasantly. A peep-show
     man near us got his show blown down and scattered about. He
     gathered it up and went home to his inn.

[Illustration: JAMES GILMOUR'S TENT]

     'I am so glad that the people like us and trust us and come about
     us for medicines. Women came too. Boys came too. Just now the
     school boys have holiday for the fair, and they stand for a long
     time together looking at me doctoring the people. What the boys
     like to see is a glass bottle of eye medicine which I bring out and
     set up. Then I dip a glass tube in and press an india-rubber
     bulb. The air comes out in the water in bubbles and rises up to
     the surface, and the boys are so delighted to see it bubbling. They
     will wait a long time and like to see it ever so often. They are
     sometimes troublesome, then I send them away. When they are good I
     shove the glass tube deep down into the bottle, and they are so
     delighted to see the air bubbling up from the bottom.

     'When a man comes to have a tooth pulled even the men are
     delighted, and advise him to have it out. They want to see the fun.
     Mothers send their little boys for medicine, and I am so pleased
     with some of the little lads. They are so modest and so polite,
     making a deep bow as they go away. Always be modest and polite, my
     sons, and people will love you and treat you well.

     'The boys buy a lot of books too, and I preach to them earnestly,
     because in ten years to come they will be men, and if they know
     about Jesus now they may more easily become Christians some day
     soon. You, Jimmie, know Jesus; does Willie? Teach him. Mamma is not
     here to teach him, and I am far away. You are his big brother.
     Teach you him like a good laddie as you are.

     'The other day when I was preaching a man was standing behind me
     with a little black pig under his arm. He wanted to hear me preach,
     but the pig would not be quiet. He held its mouth shut, but the
     little pig would still manage to give a squeak now and again. At
     last it would not be quiet at all, and he had to go away with it. I
     could not help smiling at him. There is an old man here in my inn.
     He is owner of the inn. His son manages the inn. The old man is not
     very old. He is about sixty-five. But he used to be a great opium
     smoker. A year or more ago he had a very serious illness and gave
     up his opium, but he had wrecked his health by his smoking. He
     cannot now live many months. He can hardly speak plainly now. He
     comes to see me in my room, and I try to tell him about Jesus,
     hoping that he may be saved. He listens, but he is not very bright
     in his mind. I hope he may pray to Jesus.

     'The other day I had to pull my own tooth. It was the back tooth
     and had been painful for days. There was no one who could do it for
     me, so I sat down with a little Chinese looking-glass before a
     candle, got a good hold of it with the forceps, and after a good
     deal of wrenching out it came. He _was_ a deep-pronged fellow, and
     he did bleed. I was so thankful that God helped me to get it out. I
     can sleep now all right.

     'Our Mongol donkeyman wants to be a Christian. I hope he is
     sincere, but he is very slow and dull at learning. There are three
     other men here who are learning about Jesus too, but it is too
     early yet to say much about them. A good many people learn some,
     then stop. But it is late and I must go to bed, else I won't be
     able to preach and doctor all day in the market-place at the fair
     to-morrow.

     'Praying that God may bless you, my sons, and sending you much
     love,

                                    'I am your affectionate Father,
                                            'JAMES GILMOUR.'


                                      'Ta Chêng Tz[)u]: Sept. 3, 1887.

     'My dear Sons,--I am well, and thankful for it. The three
     Christians here come daily to evening worship. There are here
     others who want to be Christians, but who have not courage enough.
     One man's wife won't let him be a Christian; she says she will kill
     herself if he does. Another man is in the same case. He is a
     Chinaman, his wife is a Mongol. Still another man has a Mongol
     wife, and she kept him back. The other day he came and confessed
     Christianity. His wife does not consent, only says: "We'll see."
     Another man's father hinders his son from Christianity. The lad is
     a very nice lad.

     'Yesterday was the day when people make offerings of food and
     fruit at the graves. One of the Christians was sent to do so. He
     brought the melon here, and we ate half of it with him.

     'Still another man is forbidden by his father to be a Christian.
     That is, in all, five men are Christians at heart, and read our
     books and are learning Christianity, but do not confess Christ in
     this one place. Do you know what Jesus says about such people
     (Matt. x. 32-39)? Jesus says that, if they obey others rather than
     Him, they are not worthy to be His disciples. I am praying for all
     these people. I ask you, too, to pray for these and all like them,
     that they may be able to confess Christ. It is difficult for men in
     China to be Christians. How different with you! We all want you to
     be Christians. Your father and friends all help you to be
     Christians, and if you are not Christians we are all distressed.

     'Boys, do be true to Jesus. In your words and deeds honour Him.
     Make _His_ heart glad. Jesus wants your love. He loves you and died
     for you. You cannot but love Him if you think how He loves you.
     Good-bye. Meantime I am just going to breakfast, and then for a day
     on the street, trying to tell the people about Jesus. God bless
     you, my dear lads!

     'It is now afternoon. I write a few lines. A lad in a shop here has
     a tame dove. He has painted it all over different colours. It looks
     absurd. I don't like to see it sitting about the shop. Doves look
     so happy flying about. Mamma, too, liked to see birds on the trees
     and houses wild, not kept in cages.

     'I guess you are just about getting your breakfast. Here it is
     about 4 P.M. With you it should be 8 A.M. Saturday; I wish I could
     see you. My love to you, my dear sons. May you always, both now and
     when grown, be boys and men that know and love Jesus! I pray for
     you. Your loving father,

                                            'JAMES GILMOUR.'


In August 1884 a third son was given to Mr. and Mrs. Gilmour, whom they
named Alexander. In 1887 spinal trouble developed, and in December of
that year he died. 'Though often ill,' wrote his father when announcing
the death to the uncle after whom he had been named, 'his life was a
happy one. It is now happier than ever. Thanks be to God that there is,
and that we know that there is, a bright and happy life beyond. Let us
make that the great meeting-place for ourselves and our children and
friends. May it stand before us as a joy! As ever and anon one and
another goes there, may we feel that we have more and more interest
there! Let us live looking to the joy set before us!' This baby-brother
is the Alick referred to in the following letter:--


                          'Ta Chêng Tz[)u], Mongolia: February 11, 1888.

     'My dear Sons,--I am well, and thankful for it. I got here two days
     ago. I had such a cold time of it on the road! I never felt the
     cold so much before.

     'People here are very busy. This is the last day of the Chinese
     year.

     'To-morrow is the first day of the Chinese year. Everybody is
     buying all sorts of food, because the shops do not open for some
     days after the new year. They are very busy, too, scraping off the
     old papers at the sides of their doors and pasting up new papers.
     They (the papers) are red, and look fine at first with the great
     black Chinese characters written on them. But the sun after a while
     takes the colour out of them.

     'They are busy, too, pasting up the new gods in their houses. They
     (the gods) are sheets of paper with pictures of gods on them. Every
     house has a god of the kitchen. They send him to heaven, as they
     think, by burning him. They burnt the old one last Saturday. They
     are putting up the new one now. They think that when he is burnt he
     goes to heaven and reports to a god what he has seen in the house
     during the year. I ask them if I burnt them would they think they
     were going to heaven? They buy sticky sugar-cakes to give him so
     that he may be pleased, and not tell on them for doing evil things.
     They think, too, that the sugar sticks his lips together, so that
     when he wants to tell on them he can't get his mouth open! Isn't it
     all very silly and very sad? The shopkeepers, too, paste up a "god
     of riches," thinking that thus they will become rich!

     'To-morrow (Sunday) I hope to baptize a man. He is a Chinaman. That
     will make four Christians here. They all have faults and
     weaknesses, and I am not very easy in my mind about them. Pray that
     God may make them better and make them grow in grace. Pray, too,
     that God may convert more of the people. Pray, too, that God may
     give us a house of our own to live in. People here are afraid to
     let us have a house. Now that Dr. Roberts is coming, we will need a
     house. He is coming in six or seven weeks. Then he stays two
     months, and goes back to Tientsin for a while again. We saw the
     Christian at Tá Ss[)u] Kou as we passed. The Ch'ao Yang man we have
     not seen yet.

     'I have made all your letters to me into a book, and have them with
     me. Your letters are nice to read, and show great improvement in
     the writing. I am going to keep all your letters this year too and
     bind them. You may like to see them when you grow big. The last
     letter from you is dated October 27.

     'My dear sons, I think of you often and pray for you much.

     'You have a photo of mamma's grave. Little Alick's little mound is
     close to mamma's, on the side nearer little Edie's. Mamma's and
     Alick's coffins touch down below. They lie together. But mamma and
     Alick are not there. They are in heaven, with its golden streets
     and its beautiful river, and its trees of life, and its beautiful
     gates, and its good, loving, kind people, and Jesus and God. They
     are having such a nice time of it there!

     'My boys, don't be afraid of dying. Pray to Jesus, do the things He
     likes, and if you die you will go to Him, to His fine place, where
     you'll have everything that is nice and good. I don't know whether
     you or I will go there first, but I hope that by-and-by we'll all
     be there, mamma and Alick and all. I like to think of this.
     Meantime let us be doing for Jesus all we can, telling people about
     Him and trying to persuade them to be His people. Are your
     schoolfellows Jesus' boys? Do you ever tell them of Him? Tell them,
     my dear sons.

     'I hope to get letters from you in about a month.

     'Good-bye, my dear boys.

     'May you be good and diligent, and then you'll be happy. Jesus can
     make you glad.

                                    'Your loving Father,
                                            'JAMES GILMOUR.'


Mrs. Meech had shown much motherly kindness to her little nephew
Alexander, and only a few months after he had died she herself lost a
little son. Mr. Gilmour, on hearing the sad tidings, wrote to her as
follows:--


                                            'Mongolia: March 25, 1888.

     'My dear Mrs. Meech,--Many congratulations and condolences with
     you. Your little son has gone to Emily. She'll look after the
     little man as you looked after her little man. Just fancy! we have
     family connections in heaven not a few, and ever increasing. I hope
     you are now getting better and going on all right.

     'I am much cheered by the good news of soul movements in the West
     Mission. May they continue and increase!

     'With many prayers for you all, and kept in constant remembrance of
     you all by the date block,

                                    'Yours in loving sympathy,
                                                    'JAMES GILMOUR.'


                                                      'May 30, 1888.

     'I am doctoring a little homeless lad's head here. I put on
     ointment all over it to-day. He cried. I said I had medicine that
     would stop the pain, and brought out six cash--one farthing--and
     told him to go and have a bowl of buckwheat meal strings. All
     laughed, he stopped crying, and did not seem to feel the pain after
     that. Most of the people in the town are much impressed with the
     improvement in the boy's head. Before he came to me I saw a Chinese
     medicine-man poking at the lad's head with a straw. When he came I
     rubbed on ointment with my finger. The bystanders were much pleased
     to see I was not averse to touching the poor dirty lad's sore head.
     Jesus touched a leper, and I like to do things like what Jesus
     would do. That is the right way, boys. Always think what Jesus
     would have done, and do like Him.'


                                            'Mongolia: Sept. 9, 1888.

     'My dear Sons,--I am out on a journey. I knew letters were being
     sent me, and hoped to meet them. A long way off I saw a red
     umbrella, the sun shining through the oilcloth. The thought passed
     through my mind, "Can that be the messenger?" But I forgot all
     about it, reading a book as I walked along. All at once I heard,
     "He's come," and looking up, saw the red umbrella close at hand. It
     _was_ him. The messenger returns to-morrow. I had had no letters
     for eighty days.

     'I wrote you last on August 2. Since then several men have
     professed Christ, and one man has been baptized.

     'One of the Christians at Ta Chêng Tz[)u] stole my bankbook and
     drew money of mine, amounting to about 3_l._ He says he is
     penitent, and we have put him on a year's probation to see how he
     does. He is a lazy man. Long ago I said, "If you are lazy, some day
     the devil will make you a sinner," and so he did. Had he been a
     diligent man he would not have been poor and would not have stolen.
     Diligence is a good thing, laziness is a bad thing. A good
     Christian cannot be lazy, because he knows Jesus does not like lazy
     people. I may write you again in a few days. Hoping next mail to
     get a letter from you (there was none this mail), and asking God to
     bless you in everything, and guide you in all your life,

                                    'I am your loving Father,
                                                    'JAMES GILMOUR'


                    'Ch'ao Yang, Mongolia: Saturday, November 17, 1888.

     'My dear Sons,--On the street to-day I saw a crowd standing. I went
     up to see what they were looking at, and found two Chinese
     gentlemen showing off a trained bird. One of the men stood down on
     the street. The other put three little flags so that they stuck on
     the wall. The bird then flew away, caught up a flag, and came
     flying back to its master in the street, carrying the flag in its
     bill. It looked very clever. Every time the bird brought a flag it
     was rewarded by being fed with some nice food which it liked. It
     was very pretty to see it. But after all it was a very trifling
     employment for two grown gentlemen to be engaged in. Even the crowd
     of ordinary Chinese seemed to think so.

     'I don't like to see birds in captivity. It is pretty to see them
     wild flying about, and to hear them singing, but I pity them in
     cages, and tied by string as the Chinese are fond of doing with
     them. When I see birds tied I often think of mamma who used so much
     to like to see them wild.

     'I remember one day in Mongolia mamma stopped me from plucking a
     flower; she said it looked so pretty growing. Another time a beetle
     flew and alighted somewhere; mamma said, "It is so glad that it is
     alive, don't hurt it."

     'I am a good deal distressed to see the boys in the market-place.
     They steal just as much as ever they can from the sellers of straw
     and fuel, pluck out handfuls from the bundles and run away not at
     all ashamed. If the owner does not chase them they get off with it.
     If he throws down his load and runs after them they drop the
     plunder, the owner picks it up, and no more is said about it.

     'In summer little naked boys follow people carrying fruit in open
     baskets and steal it as they can: it all seems so dishonest, and no
     one seems to care. On the street lots of people will see a thief
     stealing a man's pipe and never say a word, because it is not their
     business.'

     'I often think of you and pray for you. You do not forget mamma, I
     am sure. She is with Jesus. Be you His lads, and do your lessons
     well, and He'll guide you all through life. Be diligent and careful
     lads, and you'll grow up useful and honoured men. Constantly tell
     Jesus all your affairs.

                                  'Goodbye meantime, my boys.
                            'Much love from your affectionate Father,
                                                      'JAMES GILMOUR.'



CHAPTER XI

CLOSING LABOURS


James Gilmour remained in Great Britain less than eight months. The
society of his boys was a great delight to him. He rejoiced in renewed
intercourse with relatives and old friends. His religious convictions
and his own spiritual life deepened still more. He went to a
considerable number of meetings to speak on missionary work and needs,
and he everywhere produced a great impression.

Referring to this visit, and especially to his intercourse with the
boys, a near relative writes:--

'It was a time full of interest and pleasure. What a variety of moods,
from the frolicsome to the pathetic, he displayed! But evidently his
wife's death had laid hold upon his very soul, and there seemed so much
more of sadness and tenderness than on his former visit, when he had
enjoyed her bright companionship. On one occasion, referring to a
medical missionary who had brought his wife home from China hopelessly
ill, and who was expecting the end, he said: "Eh, man, he little knows
the _terrible_ dark valley he has to come through, and if Christ is not
with him he will be undone!" He spoke the words as though he were again
going through his own agony, and then added: "But if Christ is with him
he will come out of it with victory, and Christ will be dearer. But he
has _no_ idea what he has to face, though he thinks he has."

'He had looked forward to spending part of his time with his sons at
Millport, where he had spent June and July 1883 with his wife and boys
on his former visit. So we went there for a month, and they had a good
time boating, and walking, and reviving old memories of the happy home
circle. The thought of reunion was always made prominent. The boys must
ever remember his earnest efforts to lead their thoughts heavenward, and
they do think of heaven as a very real place.

'While at Millport he spent several nights in pasting up texts on every
place likely to catch the eye; on stones and gateways and fences all
round the island. He felt he must work while time was granted to him. I
had noticed him making paste, but thought nothing of it. I had heard the
sound of a softly closing door at midnight, but thought it must be
fancy. It had gone to my heart to feel his icy cold hand when he gave me
his morning greeting. I noticed the little texts pasted up, but never
thought of them as his work till the next day, when he began to make
more paste, and then the whole thing came to me like a flash. I begged
him with tears not to go out in the cold night air, and said that I knew
God would rather have him stay in his warm comfortable bed and get well
and strong. He answered so kindly: "Sister, it pains me to grieve you."
But he finished his work nevertheless.

'He was always wonderfully considerate, and grateful for any attention.
Sometimes, when he saw me unusually tired, he would go and get an extra
pillow and make me rest on the sofa, or when we came to the table he
would place me in a comfortable chair and pour out the tea himself, or
he would say: "Sister, take a cup yourself first, then you will be able
to help us."

'On the day before he left us to return to China he really said his
farewell. We had finished dinner, and when he went out he stood and
looked in through the window at the happy faces still around the table.
He threw a kiss, and then his feelings overcame him, his lip quivered,
the tears came to his eyes, and he hastened away. Later in the day, when
I was speaking hopefully of seeing him again, he answered: "I shall see
your face no more."

'I know he felt very much giving up the comforts of civilised life, but
he set his face to it. It touched me much the last evening he was with
us, when, after I had to remind him two or three times of some business
it was needful for him to attend to before he would go, he said: "I can
hardly drag myself away from this bright cosy scene."

'His was a rarely sensitive soul. It pained him to hear any one speaking
evil of another. I have seen him turn deadly pale when he has heard any
one impute a wrong motive. He longed for more of the spirit of Christ
among men. How he longed, too, for more workers in the Mission field!
Many a time he would say, after a walk through Hamilton on a Saturday
evening: "Just think! In a little town like this there are men preaching
at every other street corner, and I am alone in all of those hundreds of
square miles in Mongolia! What you people are thinking of I cannot
imagine!"'

In a correspondence which he conducted with the daughter of one of his
former professors there is very much that reveals how deep and strong
his religious life had become, and how he had noted the current of
renewed spirituality which is evident now in all sections of the
Evangelical Church.

From this correspondence we have been permitted to cull some beautiful
and helpful passages.


                                            'Glasgow: November 18, 1889.

     'May He Himself lead you into closer and closer communion with Him,
     and give you in very full measure His joy and His peace! For myself
     and for you, I pray that we may be more captivated with Him and His
     friendship. You know, I suppose, No. 565, "In the Secret of His
     Presence," in the 750 edition of Sankey. No. 328, "O Christ, in
     Thee my soul hath found," is one I like too, as being the
     expression of partly experience and partly aspiration. He is truly
     the true source of true satisfaction. May we be led to trust Him
     more largely in all the things of our lives! I am sure, too it will
     be the things where we have trusted Him most and been most
     consecrated in His service that we shall value most when we look
     back on life from the end. May you be largely satisfied with His
     blessing and Himself!'


                                                    'November 20, 1889.

     'I wonder if your experience is anything like mine--that I have
     often got less benefit than I had hoped from special withdrawals
     from common surroundings to get more into the presence of the Lord.
     One or two prominent instances of this have happened to me. I am
     glad He can be found anywhere, and that He is easy of access always
     with favourable or unfavourable surroundings.

     'About feeling--never mind that at all. Things are so whether we
     feel them or not. Let us take God at His word, and not consider
     our feelings. God refuses no one who comes to Him in sincerity. Let
     us be sure of this. I once heard Spurgeon say a good thing: "When
     doubts or the devil comes and says, 'You are not saved; you are not
     right with God,' I go to Him and say, 'If I never came before, I
     come now; if I never trusted before, I trust now.'" That cuts off
     all doubts about the present as standing on the past, and gives a
     fresh start.

     'All over the kingdom there is a hunger and thirst among many for a
     life of greater nearness to God; a feeling not only of the need of
     God being more of a daily, hourly reality and factor in our life,
     but that without Him more real and present life is not a
     satisfactory thing. When this feeling takes possession of one, we
     do not need to give up things as denying ourselves for Christ, so
     much as that we are changed in attitude towards many things. We
     drift away from them. Things that were gain to us we count loss for
     Christ. Our aims are different. May our lives be more fully taken
     captive thus! To a life lived thus, death is not a breaking off of
     anything; it is an enlargement of sphere.'


                                            'Hamilton: December 5, 1889.

     'All I know about the process is just going to God and telling what
     I want, and asking to be allowed to have it. "Seek, and ye shall
     find; ask, and ye shall receive." I know no secret but this.... God
     understands His scholars, and knows how to teach each one.
     Different scholars may require different ways. We may trust
     ourselves in His hands, only let us be earnest students. I have at
     different times been quite surprised how a book, or a friend, or a
     remark conveying just the teaching needed at the time has been
     brought into my way. Yes, none teach like Him.'

     '_December 25, 1889._--Oh that we may be more completely given over
     and up to Him to be used at His pleasure and as He pleases! Oh for
     more faith in Him! My lads are, I think, enjoying themselves; I
     commit them to Him; but eh!'

     '_January 1, 1890._--Just returned with my two lads after a day
     spent in London seeing my ship, the "Peshawur". The ship is full.
     My berth is not in a good place--but it is not bad, after all, and
     it is not for long.... You'll have lots of need of wisdom, and
     Jesus is made unto us wisdom as well as other things.... He'll
     teach you all right. Don't let us refrain for fear we make
     mistakes. The greatest mistake we could make would be to do
     nothing....

     'Everyone is amazed to see me look so well. It is remarked on all
     round. I feel remarkably well too....

     'May God be pleased to use me in His service!'


His heart was in Mongolia. At the very earliest moment which the medical
authorities and the Directors of the London Missionary Society would
sanction he returned. He sailed for China on January 9, 1890. As the
steamer was running down the English Channel he wrote a letter to an old
college friend just returning to England whom he had not seen for twenty
years, and whom he was very sorry to miss:--

     'In answer to yours of November 19 I directed an envelope to you
     long ago. It has lain in my writing-case ever since, often seen but
     always taken precedence of by the thing that stepped in before.
     Now's your turn. I'm sorry you'll not see me in England. I sailed
     yesterday My health has been restored, and I am off again.

     'You say you want reviving--Go direct to Jesus and ask it straight
     out, and you'll get it straight away. This revived state is not a
     thing you need to work yourself up into, or need others to help
     you to rise into, or need to come to England to have operated upon
     you--Jesus can effect it anywhere, and does effect it everywhere
     whenever a man or woman, or men and women ask it. Ask and ye shall
     receive.

     'My dear brother, I have learned that the source of much blessing
     is just to go to Jesus and tell Him what you need. I am delighted
     to hear you say you need blessing, because I know there is plenty
     and to spare with Jesus. Oh for an outpouring on all parts of the
     L.M.S. missions!

     'There is so much that I would like to say that it is hardly worth
     while beginning to say anything; so I'll simply commend you to
     Jesus in all His fulness.'

On January 21, 1890, when nearing Port Said, he wrote:--

     'We have excellent company on board. Never had such a very pleasant
     voyage. Some of the First Salooners come to our Bible readings.
     Those who are unfriendly to Christianity are careful to give no
     cause of offence and are polite. So far our voyage has been an
     exquisite picnic. Knowing well what is before us, we still rejoice
     in the present Elim and calmly trust for the future. I went on
     board with a "tremendous cold." So did two or three others. Mine,
     as I expected, went with the exposure.... No one teaches like Him
     who also was the first of preachers. In daily, hourly, humble
     communication with Him you will want for no wisdom and for no
     guidance and for no shepherding. Rejoice in that you have Him to
     manage everything for you.'

He reached Peking on March 14, 1890, and on March 24 started again for
Mongolia. He entered upon his last spell of work with a good heart and
with high hopes. Dr. Smith was to be his medical colleague. While in
England Mr. Gilmour had visited Cheshunt College, and had there fired
the heart of Mr. Parker with the desire and purpose of being his
colleague. He was looking forward to his speedy arrival. During his
absence in England Dr. Smith had paid one brief visit to Mongolia by
himself, and another, still briefer, in the company of the Rev. T.
Bryson of Tientsin. Meanwhile the work had been going on slowly and
steadily under the care of the native helper, Mr. Liu, and of some of
the converts. We now follow the story of this last year's work as it is
told in Mr. Gilmour's letters and reports. On May 9, 1890, he wrote to
the Rev. R. Wardlaw Thompson:--

     'I have been all over the district, spending a month at Ch'ao Yang.
     There we were privileged to baptize four adults, one a woman, and
     one child, all Chinese. Two of these were young men who have been
     under instruction for eight or nine months, and are very pleasing
     cases indeed. The other two were a man and his wife, who is the
     first woman who has had courage to be baptized in this district.
     These last are an outcome of the medical work. They live in a small
     hamlet where the first beginning of an interest in Christianity
     took its rise from a man who came to me in the market-place with a
     bad sore in his leg, which had been caused by a wound from his own
     harvest sickle. The sore was cured, and friendly relations sprung
     up with the whole hamlet, and I am thankful to hear that, though
     only one family has put away its idols, all the neighbours are
     friendly.

     'In Ch'ao Yang there are several inquirers. Some of the Christians
     give great satisfaction, others are not so satisfactory. One man, a
     Christian, tells me that his wife was possessed by an evil spirit,
     and to please her and cure her he had to allow the re-establishment
     of the worship of that spirit for her benefit. No sooner was this
     done than the woman was cured! Such things are firmly believed in
     by the Chinese.

     'A most pleasing incident in our experience at Ch'ao Yang was a
     visit from a well-to-do farmer who lives some twenty li from the
     town. He has been friendly and an inquirer from the first. He has
     made no profession of Christianity, but says he reads his New
     Testament regularly, and prays. He has also taught two men in his
     neighbourhood. The one is a carpenter. The other is a farmer. They
     know the Catechism, observe the Sunday, and meet with Mr. Fêng for
     worship. Both of these men we saw, and their story seems true. Fêng
     came and spent a day with us. I asked him why he did not make an
     open profession of Christianity. His reply was that he lives with
     his parents, as all Chinese do, and that he cannot arrange his
     house disregarding them, who with his wife and children are still
     heathen. He has been able only partially to do away with idols in
     his own house. Outside too of his own house heathen pressure is so
     great that, he says, were he to join Christianity it would be no
     use for him to live! He says he lacks the courage single-handed to
     meet all the persecution that would descend on him were he
     baptized. Meantime he is instructing those about him in the hope,
     apparently, that were there several together they could better
     stand the trouble. It is an interesting case, but not at all
     satisfactory. My hope about him is that, if he keeps conversant
     with the Word of God, the Spirit may give him no rest till he has
     courage to take his stand and make his confession.

     'We had a splendid month in the market-place. Chinese and Mongols
     in plenty, both to preach to and to heal. One Mongol betrayed a
     most intimate and full knowledge of Christianity. The drought gave
     good opportunity of speaking of many things, and in most cases we
     had respectful attention. It was a _hard_ month's work. Seven till
     noon or a little after was our market time; the afternoon private
     patients, the evening inquirers, makes a very long day, which
     begins at daylight and does not end till after the second watch of
     the night has been set. The Chinese usually secure a rest just
     after noon, but frequently just then some patient would turn up,
     and put an end to quiet. In most cases the strain is relieved by
     holidays through rain and storm; but even this was wanting this
     time, so we had almost uninterrupted work.

     'I am more than ever eager to have the medical work given over to a
     medical man. One day in Ch'ao Yang a man came swaggering across the
     open space in the marketplace. People pointed towards him and
     laughed. He was laughable, the ridiculous part of him being a straw
     hat which was an imitation, caricature rather, of a foreigner's
     hat. I could not help laughing. It was no laughing matter, though.
     He was a messenger from the cavalry camp just outside the town. He
     had come to take me to treat two soldiers who had received
     bullet-wounds in an encounter with Mongolian brigands. I had never
     seen a bullet-wound in my life, but I knew I could do more for the
     wounded men than any Chinese doctor; so I went. The wounds were
     then forty-eight hours old, and I dressed them as best I could,
     paying a daily visit for about a fortnight. Two wounds, though
     deep, were merely flesh; with these I had no difficulty. The third
     was a bone complication. I knew nothing of anatomy, had no books,
     absolutely nothing to consult; what could I do but pray? And the
     answer was startling. The third morning, when in the market-place
     attending to the ordinary patients, but a good deal preoccupied
     over the bone case, which I had determined should be finally dealt
     with that day if possible at all, there tottered up to me through
     the crowd a _live skeleton_, the outline of nearly every bone quite
     distinct, covered only with yellow skin, which hung about in loose
     folds. I think I see him yet--the chin as distinctively that of a
     skeleton as if it had bleached months on the plain. The man was
     about seventy, wore a pair of trousers, and had a loose garment
     thrown over his shoulders. He came for cough medicine, I think; if
     so, he got it; but I was soon engaged fingering and studying the
     bone I had to see to that afternoon. I was deeply thankful, but
     amidst all my gratitude the thing seemed so comical that I could
     not help smiling, and a keen young Chinaman in the crowd remarked,
     in an under tone, "That smile means something." So it did. It
     meant, among other things, that I knew what to do with the wounded
     soldier's damaged bone; and in a short time his wound was in a fair
     way of healing. I was and am very thankful; but, after all, I am
     more impressed than ever with the fact that things are badly out of
     joint when there are lots of Christian doctors at home, and abroad
     too, and I, knowledgeless, am left to do the doctoring in a large
     district like this quite beyond the reach of medical help, not only
     for the natives but even for myself should I need it.

     'A grim commentary on these wounds was the fact that in leaving
     Ch'ao Yang I was to pass through a brigand-infested district--so
     badly infested that travellers have abandoned the road. As saith
     the Scripture, "The highways were unoccupied, and the travellers
     walked through byways." I had avoided this road twice, and was
     ashamed to avoid it again, so we went straight through it. We saw
     no one to harm us, but a week ago it was just as likely that I
     should to-day have been lying on a Chinese kang, trying to dress my
     own wounds, as that I should have been sitting here writing to you.

     'I am at present waiting for Dr. Smith, whose last word to me,
     dated Tientsin, April 9, was that I should either see him or hear
     from him here between June 6 and 12.

     'Yesterday, Sunday, June 8, had a pleasant day. The three
     Christians here have grown. Two of them have been through a good
     deal of trouble and stood it well. The farmer, who has been very
     ill, guessing we would be here, came in and spent the day with us.
     They seem very earnest.'

The beneficial result of the home visit of 1889 was very evident at this
time. It had arrested the 'running down,' from which he had severely
suffered. It had enabled him to renew old friendships, and to form new
ones. His wholehearted devotion to the difficult work of his life and
the wonderful intensity and depth of his faith had touched the hearts of
many faithful men and women at home, who gladly responded to his
oft-repeated request, 'Pray for me and for the conversion of the Chinese
and the Mongols.' He renewed his interest in the broad current of the
world's life. We have seen how some years previously he gave up all
reading but the Bible. Now, while he studied the Bible with all his old
eagerness, he had various newspapers sent to him, he rejoiced in the
receipt of books sent by friends--especially those bearing upon the
culture of the soul--and he kept his eye upon the religious and social
movements of the day.

The selections from his correspondence which follow illustrate these
changes in him. He modified his mode of life in Mongolia. Having given
up vegetarianism on his homeward voyage he did not resume it upon his
re-entrance on Mongol life. He remained a total abstainer, and his
hatred of opium, whisky, and tobacco continued as strong as ever,
although he did not now make abstinence from the two latter a test of
Church membership. He reserved more of the Sunday as a day of rest,
taking only the religious services with the Christians and inquirers,
and not, as formerly, setting up his tent on the street. The old
careworn look disappeared, his form regained much of its former life and
spring, and his face filled out, his smile resumed the brightness of
old, and the voice came back to a good deal of its early clearness. All
these evidences of a change for the better served to augur many years of
happy work. In a letter to a friend he playfully alludes to the twenty
or thirty years of labour yet remaining, and he often--half in jest and
half in earnest--asserted that life in the interior was so healthy that
he should probably outlive his fellow-workers at Tientsin and Peking.

By the mail that conveyed the letter quoted on page 263 he also wrote to
an Edinburgh friend:--

     'Do you know Adolphe Monod's _Farewell_? It was sent to me lately
     by Rev. C. New, of Hastings, an old Cheshunt fellow-student. I have
     enjoyed it all, but most, I think, chapter xii., "Of Things not
     seen." A volume of sermons, entitled _The Baptism of the Spirit,
     and other Sermons_, by Mr. New, I have enjoyed intensely. To the
     meek child-like spirit desiring the sincere nourishing of the Word
     nothing, I think, could be more helpful.... If ever you send a book
     to the boys, let it be one that will do their souls good.

     'I may be filling my life too full, but between medical work and
     spiritual work I have barely time to sleep, and I find that, for
     any hope of continuance of work, I must have time to sleep. For the
     last month I have been getting up at 4.30 A.M., and our evening
     worship and after conversation was not over till, say, 9 or 9.15
     or 9.30, or even, once or twice, till 10 P.M. Then it would take us
     some time to square up the day's affairs, and spread out my
     bedding. In the daytime I used to bolt my door, determined on an
     hour's quiet; but often this was in vain. I would hear some poor
     cultivator come for medicine; he had a long way to go home, and I
     could not but let him in and attend to him.

     'Yesterday, as no one knew we were here, I escaped at 5.30 and made
     for the hot springs, twelve miles away. I walked there and back,
     and in consequence to-day am lame on my feet--badly blistered. I
     had a grand day--so quiet. Going, I sat down behind a mud wall and
     read the four first chapters of Hebrews. Arrived, I had my bath,
     then got an empty room in an inn, had sleep, dinner, tea, and read
     the rest of Hebrews. I never saw so much in Hebrews before.... On
     the road I had a four-mile conversation with a farmer, who finally
     said he believed Christianity was true. We have baptized six in all
     since I returned, five adults and one child--_all Chinese_. "Be not
     weary in well-doing. In due time we shall reap, if we faint not."
     We are on God's side. God has need of us. Oh let us be such as God
     can take pleasure in! Faithfulness and love to Him are what He
     wants. Surely we can let Him have these two. Oh that it might be
     that everyone in every contact with us might feel the spiritual
     touch! Would not this be ideal Christian life? May He work it in
     us!

     'Have you been to any Salvation Army efforts? I always felt better
     for going, but latterly did not go much--I could not stand the
     "row." I am eager that you should identify yourself with some
     soul-saving agency. If it really is a soul-saving concern, I don't
     think it matters very much what it is.'

On July 21, 1890, he wrote to the same friend:--

     'Since July 3 we have had most extraordinary weather for this
     part--rain and dull; there have been only four or five days when I
     could go on to the street with my tent. I am therefore not so busy.
     In addition, Dr. Smith has joined me, and as he does all the indoor
     medical work, I am still less busy, and so I can write you more at
     leisure than usual.

     'The rain reached a climax on Saturday night, July 19. Till then,
     roofs and walls held out well. There were leaks in places, but
     nothing serious. We thought it had cleared off. Not a bit of it.
     The wind changed, it is true, but then rain came down in torrents,
     the ceilings--all reeds and paper--began to give way. Ever and anon
     splash came a bag of water, as the paper burst in different places,
     and Dr. Smith and I had a lively time of it shifting our boxes and
     bedding to dry spots. By dusk it was serious. I was just about my
     wits' end when a Chinaman put his head into my room, and said with
     a grin, half in jest, half in earnest, "There is a tent standing
     idle out in that room, why not put it up in your room?" The idea of
     putting up a tent in your bedroom seemed so absurd that we had a
     good laugh over it; but after thinking over it awhile, and thinking
     out how the thing could be done, we actually did it. It covered
     two-thirds of my kang, and a little space on the floor where I put
     my boxes. The inner corner of the tent I put up to cover my stock
     of books and medicines, lit my lamp, brewed a pot of tea, and,
     squatting on my feet, called in Dr. Smith. He said I looked "just
     like an opium-smoker." Dr. Smith had a portable iron bedstead. On
     the top he put floor mats and a waterproof, and, without
     undressing, we went to bed. After a little a great crash was heard.
     Some part of the buildings had come down. In the rain and dark it
     was not easy to see what it was, but we at last found there had
     been more noise than real damage. We were thankful when day
     dawned.

     'The Chinese suffered much more than we did. Such a rain happens so
     seldom--once in three or four or five years--that houses are not
     roofed to resist it; the Chinese deeming it cheaper to take the
     wetting than to spend the extra money it would take to make the
     house stand such an extra rain.

     'In the wet weather I have been going into the Chinese Psalms, and
     have been much struck with the happy state of those who "fear the
     Lord," "trust in the Lord," and who, under a variety of
     expressions, are described as being on the Lord's side, and under
     His protection.

     'And all these promises we can take for ourselves. Did you see in
     _The Christian_ some time ago a story from Annan, of an old woman
     who was on the point of being sold out for not paying her rent? She
     had no money. Her son was in America. A neighbour, thinking it
     strange that her son had not sent her money, asked to see her
     letters. There was one with a Post-office Order for 7_l._ 10_s._ in
     it. She had had it for some time, but thought it was only a
     picture. When cashed she was in funds. Wasn't she a stupid old
     woman? To be bankrupt, with an uncashed P.O. Order in her
     possession! How often we are much more stupid than she! To be
     fearful, anxious, troubled, cast down, when we have all the
     promises of God in our possession, ready for our use.

     'Let us cash our cheques. Nay, we have not only God's promises, but
     God Himself for our portion. Why should we be spiritually bankrupt?

     'Another thing I notice is the difference subjective states make in
     reading the Psalms. Sometimes I go over a Psalm and see little in
     it. At another time I go over the same Psalm and find it full of
     richness. How important it is to have the light of the Holy Spirit
     in our Scripture reading!'

     '_July 30._--The little _Wordless Book_ you sent soon fell into the
     hands of a Chinese convert, who asked to be allowed to carry it
     off. He wants to speak from it. He likes it because it gives him
     _carte blanche_, and lets him say just what he likes....

     'How full the Psalms are! These days I am going through them in
     Chinese, as I said; I take one each morning and commit some verses
     of it carefully. Then, during the day, as time permits, I read a
     few more. How one the soul of man is! When dull and cold and dead,
     and feeling as if I could not pray, I turn to the Psalms. When most
     in the spirit, the Psalms meet almost all the needs of expression.
     And yet deluded men talk of the Bible as the outcome of the Jewish
     mind! The greatest proof of the Divine source of the book is that
     it fits the soul as well as a Chubb's key fits the lock it was made
     for.... Now I am off to the street with my tent.'


                                            'Mongolia: July 28, 1890.

     'My dear Meech,--Dr. Smith came here July 2. The rains set in
     immediately on his arrival, and we _have_ had it since. The
     spiritual rain has not come yet, nor are there any signs of it.
     When it does come may it come like the physical rain! Glad to see
     you have been having some. May you have much more! Make the valley
     full of ditches, brother, and then look out for the flood. Do you
     think we'll be able to go up to Him at last and say, "We did our
     part, but you did not do yours, Lord"? Eh, man! Elijah called down
     fire with a short prayer, but his servant made six vain journeys to
     the summit only to return with the discouraging news--nothing. May
     the good Lord, who knows our frame and remembers we are dust, give
     us a little now and again, at any rate, if only to keep us going
     meantime! Eh, man! there will be no lack on His part. He'll shine
     up all right, not only to perform, but to succour His servants who
     trust in Him.'


                                                      'July 28, 1890.

     'My dear Owen,--I know worry should be an unknown element in a
     believer's experience. I am eager to have done with it. I thank Him
     for much of its absence. But dissatisfaction with the present state
     of things is not worry, but legitimate soul-longing, and the death
     of that would be a bad thing.

     'I can hardly tell how I am; Since Dr. Smith came I have taken
     little note of inward things or outward either. It is very pleasant
     to have him here, and as the best sign of digestion is not to know
     one has a stomach or a digestion, is the best sign of spiritual
     health not to know one has a soul at all? I wonder is this so? His
     presence has made a difference. Duty has kept me living quietly in
     good lodgings, with only such work as I can easily do without any
     over-rush, and the prospect of another month like it! I fear I am
     not such company to him as he is to me.

     'We have had terrible rains; the rivers were not crossed for five
     or six days, and, even after that, two men were swept away on two
     separate days--four men, in all, from this one town alone.

     'I know you pray for us here. Eh, man! if the thing would move, if
     the rain would come! "_As the eyes of servants_," etc. (Psalms
     cxxiii., cxxvi.). I often read these Psalms together. And then I
     think what would please me best as a master would be to see my
     servant going ahead, energetically, and faithfully, and loyally
     with his work, not moping about downcast. Then is not this what God
     wants in us? So here goes cheerily and trustfully.'


                                                      'August 10, 1890.

     'I cannot say God gives me all the victories I want, but He keeps
     me in peace and faith, and that is not a little thing. My
     devotional reading lately has taken the form of the Chinese Psalms,
     and Schereschewsky's high Chinese notwithstanding (for which may he
     be forgiven), they are very refreshing and strong. How like are the
     heart-longings and soul-breathings of the old Judean hunted
     outlaw--brigand, if you like to call him so--to the heart and soul
     feelings of the educated Occidental of the nineteenth century! Poor
     old Moses, another outlaw, what a battered old life he led, but
     what a grand soul, and how wonderfully he outlived it all, and was
     quite hale when called to die! How his people troubled him!--so
     like the Chinese. Fancy Moses going up the mountain to die alone.
     It is so nice to have a later glimpse of him in the New Testament
     alongside of Elijah, who too was once under a cloud. God does not
     keep up things. "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath
     He removed our transgressions from us." Love to all.

                                                      'JAMES GILMOUR.'


                                        'Ch'ao Yang, August 19, 1890.

     'My dear Sons,--I have just got here after a very hard journey of
     four days. It is summer and the rains are on; the roads are very
     bad.

     'Our first adventure was in a deep narrow gully going up a
     mountain. We met a cart coming down. There was no room to pass and
     no room to turn back. What were we to do? One of the carts had to
     be pulled up the bank. Neither would go up. Both carters sat and
     looked at each other. Our cart was heavy, the other cart was light.
     After looking at each other awhile the other cart was pulled up and
     our carter helped him down again after we had passed.

     'Our next adventure was in a river. The leading mule sank in a
     quicksand. The carter, shoes and all, jumped into the water; in a
     few seconds I had stripped all but a cinglet and pants, and was in
     the river too. We got out after a little while.

     'Next day we stuck in a quagmire. We hitched the mules to the tail
     of the cart, pulled it out, then dug a new road in the side of the
     ravine and got past.

     'The third day we upset our cart in a very muddy place early in the
     morning, and got caught in a thunder-shower in the afternoon. The
     fourth day we stuck in a mud-hole half a mile from the end of our
     journey, and when we got to our inn found our rooms in possession
     of a crowd of people doing a wedding.

     'One thing made the journey very pleasant: it was this. Just as we
     were starting, one of the Christians, a Chinese farmer, but a man
     who is poor and dresses and eats very poorly, came and gave me two
     tiao, about 3_s._ 2_d._, to give to God. I was so glad to see him
     do it, and no doubt God was glad too. Then at the end of the
     journey, when we were stuck in the mud-hole and could not get out,
     up came one of the Christians, took off his stockings and shoes,
     went into the mud and helped us out. The country was very beautiful
     all the way--just at its best.'

In a letter to another correspondent he depicts what is involved in
Chinese travelling during the wet season:--

     'The last thing we had to do was to make a journey of eighty miles.
     You would soon do that in England. Here, in August, it is no easy
     matter. It is just the time when, on account of the rains, no one
     should travel, and no one does travel who can help it. Carts would
     not go. I had to find my way home from a cart inn the night before
     we started along a newly rained-on muddy Chinese street in the
     dark. Next day I had much brightness shed on the journey by one of
     the Chinese Christians--a poor man with, oh, so poor a
     coat--giving a donation to print Christian books. It amounted to
     about $1.00 (one dollar) in all, but it meant a lot of self-denial
     to him; and as I passed, a little later, the drought-parched
     district where he lived, and looked at the poor fields, I wondered
     where he got the money. I suppose God gave him the heart to give
     it. Starting a journey with such a bit of light made it cheery.

     'We travelled at those eighty miles four days, and rested one
     Sabbath, five days in all. Within three-quarters of a mile of the
     end of our journey our cart stuck in a mud-hole. We had passed,
     shortly before, the cottage of a Christian, and, after we had been
     some half-hour or more in that hole, this Christian suddenly
     appeared on the scene. He is a great fellow for being neat and
     clean. In a few moments he was in the mud, ordering about the
     carter, shouting at the mules, and lifting at the stern of the
     cart. Even the mules felt there was some new factor added to the
     problem. They made a new effort and out the cart came. Would you
     credit it? A cart had been upset there some days before; it was
     said they had lost some thirty shillings in silver. The natives,
     hoping to find the money, literally dug up the highway and left a
     pit there. We did not know this, thought it was an ordinary pool,
     and drove straight into it. The Christian touch at the beginning of
     the journey, and the little Christian adventure at the end, made
     the journey and its remembrance quite pleasant.

     'I am now reading Moule's _Veni Creator_, which came a few days
     ago. What helps me most just at present is the Psalms. I take a few
     verses every morning (almost), and learn off the Chinese
     translations of them. I never knew there was so much in the Psalms
     before. I believe that even at the end of a long life, this
     (discovery of more and more in God's Word) will hold true of all
     the Bible, and then for the beyond there is the Inexhaustible
     Himself--satisfaction for the present and plenty for the future.

     'The endless sorrows and sufferings of this people here come home
     much to me. I see much of their bodily suffering, and in some
     feeble measure bear their sorrows and carry their griefs without
     being able to relieve them much. How dead and dark they are to
     things spiritual!'

Dr. Smith, who spent some weeks with Mr. Gilmour during this summer, has
sent the following most interesting sketch of his daily life at this
period. They were together for the most part at Tá Ss[)u] Kou.

     'He always got up at daylight, folded up bedding, and then began
     reading. About six a man arrived, selling hot millet and bean
     porridge. He bought two bowls of this for early breakfast. He
     continued reading Chinese, generally aloud; and when he came to a
     difficult word he repeated it again and again, in order to impress
     it upon his memory. About eight he had breakfast, consisting of
     Chinese rolls and a cup of cocoa.

     'At nine he went to the street with his tent, Mr. Liu, the native
     preacher, accompanying him. One of the inn-servants assisted the
     latter in carrying tent and medicine boxes and in erecting same.
     The tent was erected in a broad street at the back of our inn,
     where a daily market was held. The medicine boxes were placed on a
     little table, in front of which stood a wooden form and another at
     the side. The patients were seated on these. Any difficult cases
     were sent to the inn to be treated by me. On the table were also a
     number of copies of various tracts and portions of Scripture. Mr.
     Gilmour dispensed medicines, talked and preached as the opportunity
     offered.

     'About one he returned to the inn, and had dinner, consisting of
     meat, etc., which was bought at a Chinese cook-shop. About three
     we generally took a walk to the country. We used to go out to look
     at the various crops, and Mr. Gilmour would chat away to one and
     another whom we met on the road. He was generally recognised, and
     in the most friendly way. I have a very pleasant recollection of
     these times; often our conversation would turn to home, to our boys
     and friends. Sometimes he would tell me about his student friends,
     while at other times he used to tell me of his deputation work at
     home, and about the various people he had met there.

     'Often a gentleman would come up and ask, "Where are you going?" to
     which Mr. Gilmour would reply, "We are cooling ourselves; we are
     going nowhere." It was always a mystery to people what we could
     possibly mean by taking walks to the country. One day two lads
     followed us for some miles across some low hills, anxious to know
     our business, and getting well laughed at by their friends, poor
     fellows, on their return to the town.

     'One thing about Mr. Gilmour always impressed me deeply--his
     wonderful knowledge of the little touches of Chinese politeness,
     and his wonderful power of observation. He loved the
     Chinese--looked upon them and treated them as brothers, and was a
     man who lived much in prayer; and in this lay his great power as a
     missionary.

     'When he met a Mongol he would exchange a few words of Mongol with
     him, and it was wonderful to see the man's face light up as he
     heard his own tongue. All the Mongols knew that he could speak
     their language, and as one of the few who did.

     'As we returned to the town and were walking along the street, many
     of the passers-by would bow; and here and there a shopkeeper would
     give him a friendly bow. Sometimes he would buy a few peaches or
     apples, and not unfrequently he would give a sweetmeat vendor two
     cash for two sweets, handing one to me.

     'About half-past four we returned to the inn, and then, as a rule,
     some people would be there waiting to see him. Mr. Sun, the
     box-maker, used often to come to read the Scriptures with Mr.
     Gilmour, and then they would discuss various points; Mr. Sun giving
     his opinion, and then Mr. Gilmour putting him right. Sometimes an
     outsider would drop in, and then, not unfrequently, Mr. Sun would
     talk to him about the Gospel.

     'About six Mr. Gilmour had some cocoa and bread. At the time of the
     lighting of the candles Mr. Gilmour had made it a rule for the
     Christians to assemble for evening prayers, and, accordingly, they
     all turned up then. A Chinese table was placed in the centre of Mr.
     Gilmour's room, and three wooden forms were placed round the table
     for the accommodation of the preacher and the Christians. Mr.
     Gilmour and I used to sit on chairs at the vacant side of the
     table. On the table stood two Chinese candlesticks, each surmounted
     by a Chinese candle. A Chinese candle is made from the castor bean,
     and is fixed to the candlestick by running the iron pin on the
     latter into a hollow straw in the end of the candle. Then we also
     had a Chinese oil lamp. The upper vessel is simply a little
     earthenware saucer, containing a little oil, and in it lie some
     threads of cotton (a cotton wick). This is made to project over the
     edge of the saucer and is then lighted. The lower part of the lamp
     is simply an earthenware receptacle, in which the oil for
     replenishing the lamp is kept, and, while in use, the little lamp
     is supported in it. This often used to remind me of the parable of
     the virgins, and in reading that parable by the light of such a
     lamp one is able to make it very realistic to Chinamen.

     'Our evening worship consisted in first singing a hymn, Mr. Gilmour
     leading. Then Mr. Gilmour offered up a short prayer; after which we
     read a chapter either in the Old or New Testament, reading verse
     about. Each man had a copy of the Scriptures. Then Mr. Gilmour
     gave a little address on the chapter; after which we had another
     prayer--one of the Christians being asked this time. Then another
     hymn and the benediction.

     'Usually one or more of the Christians would remain chatting with
     Mr. Gilmour. As soon as they had gone we had a cup of cocoa
     together. Then Mr. Gilmour and I used to have evening prayers
     together. He used to read a chapter from a little book by Mr.
     Moule, and then we both prayed.

     'After this we used to sit chatting together until bedtime, and so
     ended a day.'

In August 1890 Dr. Smith lost his wife, who as Miss Philip had become
known and beloved by a large number of friends of the London Missionary
Society, both in Great Britain and Australia. He had also become so ill
that the ensuing weakness, together with the great shock of his wife's
sudden loss, compelled him, early in 1891, to return to England on a
visit. Before doing so he was able to take Mr. Parker, the young and
active colleague appointed to assist Mr. Gilmour, out to Mongolia,
reaching Tá Ss[)u] Kou on December 5. Greatly encouraged by the arrival
of his young helper, Mr. Gilmour was grievously disappointed by the
enforced return of Dr. Smith, and the indefinite postponement of the
hospital scheme that was so near to his heart, and upon which he always
asserted, in his judgment, the ultimate success of the mission depended.
But discipline of this kind only drove him back more entirely upon God.
In a letter to Mr. Owen, dated December 29, 1890, he writes:--

     About myself I have lots to be thankful for. I am mostly in the
     light, sometimes very sweetly. Sometimes, though, it is cold and
     dark; but I just hold on, and it is all right. Romans viii. I find
     good reading in dull spiritual weather, and the Psalms too are
     useful. When I feel I cannot make headway in devotion, I open at
     the Psalms and push out in my canoe, and let myself be carried
     along in the stream of devotion which flows through the whole book.
     The current always sets towards God, and in most places is strong
     and deep. These old men--eh, man! they beat us hollow, with all our
     New Testament and all our devotional aids and manuals. And yet I
     don't know. In the old time there were giants--one here and there.
     Now there are many nameless but efficient men of only ordinary
     stature.

     'Brother, let us be faithful. That is what God wants. What He
     needs. What He can use. I was greatly struck by one saying of Mrs.
     Booth's. It will not be so very different there (in heaven) to what
     it is here. I guess she is right. I guess there will be differences
     of occupation there as here, and I guess that our life here is a
     training for life and work there. Oh the mystery! How thin a wall
     divides it from us! How well the secret has been kept from of old
     till now! May the richest blessings be on you and yours and your
     work!

                                            'Yours affectionately,
                                                      'JAMES GILMOUR.'


The year 1891 found Mr. Gilmour hard at work as usual, in good health
and spirits, and with the hope and apparently the prospect of many years
of service before him. And yet, just as the summer was beginning, he was
called to the presence of the King, and to the perfect work and
fellowship of 'the Church of the firstborn.' Had he been able to choose
his fate he would hardly have wished it other than it was. His work in
Mongolia was steadily growing; slowly, it is true, but yet gaining a
strength and impetus that will abide, and has well begun the conquest of
Mongolia for Christ. Though practically without a medical colleague, and
actually without the hospital for which he had so toiled and prayed, he
was cheered and strengthened by the constant presence and fellowship of
Mr. Parker. His letters are all in a cheery and buoyant strain, and,
although referring not unfrequently to the future life, without a hint
or a suspicion that he was in any degree conscious of the rapid way in
which the days of his earthly life were running out. In a letter to Mr.
Thompson, dated January 7, he says, 'You will be glad to hear I am in
good health and spirits.'


To Mr. Owen he wrote on March 2:--

     'Does God not mean to have a medical man here? I wonder! Wondering,
     I tell Him as I tell you, and try to leave it with Him, and in very
     great part _do_ leave it to Him too. It is good to have His calm
     mercy and help. How's your soul, brother? I'll tell you how mine
     is--eager to experience more of the Almighty power inworking
     inside. Eager to be more transformed. Less conformed to the world.
     Eager to touch God more, and have Him touch me more, so that I can
     feel His touch.

     'I am distressed at so few conversions here. But again sometimes
     very fully satisfied in believing I am trying to do His will. That
     makes me calm. I am scared at our property venture, but again trust
     in God, and the fears subside. The world to come, too, sometimes
     looms up clear as not far distant, and the light that shines from
     that makes things seem different a good deal.'

From other letters that remain we catch glimpses of the course of his
action and thought during these last weeks. During the year 1869 he met
in Edinburgh Mrs. Swan, the widow of one of the pioneers of the Mongol
Mission of 1817 to 1841, and that interview gave the chief direction to
the work of his life. In March 1891 he heard of Mrs. Swan's death, and
he wrote to Miss Cullen, her niece, the following letter:--

     'I sent you a post-card acknowledging receipt of your kind letter
     of December 10, saying that Mrs. Swan had passed away on November
     22. I had not heard, and just then I had not time to write. I am
     now at the east end of my district, three days' journey from where
     the mail reached me.

     'I am much moved to think that letter to me was her last. And there
     is a fitness that it should be so. "Baptized for the dead," as the
     phrase is. In some sense I am successor to her work, and it was not
     out of keeping that her last letter should have been to the field
     which all along had such a large place and keen interest in her
     heart, where so many more good works found a place. I often think
     of all the kindness and friendship I have experienced at her hands,
     both on my visits to Edinburgh and through letters. Missionaries
     miss such lives much when they are removed. I need not speak to
     you, who knew her so well, of what a charming hostess she made, and
     of how, even in her old age, all her great and abiding earnestness
     had running through it all so much happy Scotch humour.

     'I had no idea Mrs. Swan was so old. Eighty-one, she did not look
     old except about the last time I saw her, and then I had no idea
     her age was so great. She has gone; but for many years to come, if
     I am spared, I shall from time to time revisit her in her house in
     Edinburgh, and see her at the table with the quiet Jane moving
     noiselessly around, or see her seated at her desk in the corner,
     writing letters. Remember me very kindly to your father--fit
     brother for such a sister. Their separation cannot be very long at
     the longest. For that matter of it, those of us who are here
     longest must soon be gone, and when the going comes, or looms
     before us, let us look not at the going, but at the being _there_.'

Having paid considerable attention to the work and methods of the
Salvation Army, the publication of _In Darkest England_ interested him
greatly, and on March 9 he sent in a letter the following trenchant
criticism, all the more noteworthy because of his strong sympathy with
much in the Army that others find it hard to accept.

     'Got here Saturday. Had a good Sunday with the Christians. To-day
     it snowed, and thus we have had time to put our house in order. I
     have read Booth's scheme in the _Review of Reviews_. I am greatly
     puzzled. It is _so_ far a departure from Booth's principle of doing
     spiritual work only. It reads well, but Booth must know just as
     well as I do that much of the theory will never work in practice.
     What I dislike most in it is, it is in spiritual things doing
     exactly what it attempts to do in secular things--namely, it
     threatens to swallow up in a great holy syndicate no end of smaller
     charities which have been and are working efficiently. Again, the
     finally impenitent are to be cast off. Yes, that is just the rub.
     It will leave the good-for-nothings, many of them cast out as
     before. Nor will Booth's despotism do in the long run. But I am for
     the scheme and for old Booth too; but, nevertheless, there is both
     a limit and an end to all despotism and despotisms. But I am more
     favourable to the scheme than these words would seem to indicate.'

Mr. Parker, who bids fair to be a successor after Gilmour's own heart,
in his first report of his experiences in Mongolia gave a bright and
hopeful view of his colleague.

     'On arriving at Tá Ss[)u] Kou we found Gilmour very well indeed;
     looking better than he did when I saw him in England. He was
     jubilant over our coming, and it has been a great source of
     happiness to me to know that God's sending me here has up till now
     given happiness and comfort to one of His faithful servants. I have
     had a slight taste of being left alone, and I must confess Gilmour
     has had something to endure during the last few years.

     'We are living in hired rooms of an inn. Gilmour is not in this
     courtyard. I have been alone here with my Chinese boy for the last
     five weeks (Dr. Smith being in Ch'ao Yang until a few days ago). I
     have been unable to get a proper teacher at present. Gilmour's
     student has been teaching me. He speaks distinctly. With him I have
     made very fair progress. I hope in a few days to secure a proper
     teacher.

     'Another thing which has taught me a good amount of the Chinese I
     know is having to give orders to my Chinese boy in house-keeping
     generally. I am thankful to God for past experiences in my life,
     though they were rather rough; for here I find they come in very
     usefully. I had to teach my boy how to cook and do things
     generally. It was rather an amusing piece of work, seeing that I
     knew nothing of the language. Each order I gave him was a comedy in
     two or three acts, all played out in dumb show. In telling him what
     I wished purchased I was obliged to imitate sounds which are
     peculiar to certain beasts and birds, which when he understood, he
     announced that fact by opening wide his eyes and emitting a loud
     "Ah!" which was generally followed by the name of the thing
     indicated bellowed forth at the top of his voice as if I were
     deaf. Also he in turn, when he had anything to tell me, always
     stood in the centre of the room and went through a whole
     performance. On one occasion, when he wished to tell me that a
     certain dog had stolen the day's meat, the performance was so
     amusing that, when he had got through, I asked him what he was
     trying to say, in order that I might once more see the fun.

     'Forgive me for taking up your time with such frivolous things. But
     I have picked up much of the language in that way, although at the
     cost of being grimed with soot and burning my fingers. All that is
     now past, and the boy is very useful, and, although now a heathen,
     I am hoping that by my influence he may be led to know the love of
     Jesus Christ. I am very glad that I came straight out here. I am
     sure I shall learn the language (of the _people_, perhaps _not_ of
     the _books_) better than in the frontier cities. I am constantly
     forced to try and speak. Every day I have some visitors here whom I
     must try and entertain. I feel stupid at times with them, and
     perhaps they think I am; but, nevertheless, each day's experience
     is adding to my vocabulary. And when so learnt, I know that people
     will understand me when I speak.

     'Gilmour is doing a valuable work. Every day he goes to the street
     and sets out his table with his boxes of medicines and books. He
     has three narrow benches, on one of which he sits, the other two
     being for his patients. Of the latter he has any amount, coming
     with all the ills to which humanity is heir. It is a busy street,
     not of the best repute, for it is where all the traders in
     second-hand clothes and dealers in marine stores spread out their
     wares.

     'For some weeks I went out at a certain hour to take care of
     Gilmour's stand while he went and got a "refresher" in the shape of
     some indigestible pudding made of millet-flour with beans for
     plums. He generally left me with a patient or two requiring some
     lotion in the eye or some wound to dress. Then I, being a
     new-comer and a typical "foreign devil" (being red of hair and in
     complexion), always brought a large following down the street with
     me, and attracted a great crowd round the stand. At first it was
     not pleasant to sit there and be stared at without being able to
     speak to them; but after a while I got very interested in the
     different faces that came round. On one occasion I noticed the
     crowd eagerly discussing something among themselves, giving me a
     scrutinising look now and then. Now and again one would turn to his
     fellow and rub his finger across his upper lip as if he was feeling
     for his moustache. I had only been here a week or so then, and knew
     very little of the language; but I listened attentively, and at
     last I heard them speaking the Chinese numerals, and then it all
     dawned upon me that they were inquiring about and discussing my
     age; so I up with my fingers indicating the years of my pilgrimage.
     I never saw a crowd so amused. "Ah, ah!" they said, and opened
     their eyes, highly delighted that I was able to tell them what they
     wanted to know. Then I had my turn, and, pointing to a man here and
     there in the crowd, I used what little of Chinese I had in guessing
     their ages.

     'But the sights of misery, suffering, and wretchedness which gather
     round Gilmour's stand are simply appalling. His work seems to me to
     come nearest to Christ's own way of blessing men. Healing them of
     their wounds, giving comfort in sickness, and at the same time
     telling them the gospel of Eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ.
     One day that I went I found Gilmour tying a bandage on a poor
     beggar's knee. The beggar was a boy about sixteen years of age,
     entirely naked, with the exception of a piece of sacking for a loin
     cloth. He had been creeping about, almost frozen with cold, and a
     dog (who, no doubt, thought he was simply an animated bone) had
     attacked him.

     'The people here are desperately poor, and the misery and
     suffering one sees crawling through the streets every day is
     heart-rending. I have not a doubt that I am in a real mission
     field, and thank God that He has given me the opportunity to do
     something towards alleviating some of this misery. But what about
     the work as regards the saving of souls and establishing of a
     Church? I can only speak of the work in Tá Ss[)u] Kou. It is in its
     initiatory stage. All the Christians and adherents can sit round
     the four sides of my table. But I am highly pleased with them.'

The letters of this period have a very tender and sacred association for
all who received them, since they reached England after the telegraphic
tidings of James Gilmour's death had brought sorrow to his many friends.
They came, in a sense, like a message from one 'within the veil.' Some
of these refer to the books he was reading, and from which he had
derived benefit; some depict phases of his experience; some bear
directly upon his work and its needs; all possess the solemn value and
are read in the clearer light imparted to them by Death.

The first was written to one of his brothers.

     'Do you know _In the Volume of the Book_, by Dr. Pentecost? It is A
     1. I have just read it. It is not a dear book. Read it, man, by all
     means. It gives zest to the old Bible. I am reading through the New
     Testament at about the rate of a gospel a day, or two epistles.
     Rapid reading has advantages. Close study of minute portions has
     other advantages. All sorts of reading are valuable. Go for your
     Bible, brother. There is no end more in it than ever you or I have
     yet seen. I am going for it both in Chinese and English, and it
     pays as nothing else does. In Jesus is all _fulness_. Supply
     yourself from Him. May the richest blessings be on you from Him!
     Heaven's ahead, brother. Hurrah!'

The next was to the Edinburgh correspondent from whose letters we have
previously taken extracts.

     'This mail was sent off February 2. It came back the same day. The
     man was scared by robbers. He leaves to-morrow. We are well. We are
     _idle_. Would you believe it? It is Chinese New Year time, and I
     cannot go on the street with my stand. No people: soon will be. We
     are thankful for the rest. It won't last long.... Oh, it is good to
     have Jesus to tell all to. May He be more of an intimate friend to
     you and to me! The troubles of this earthly life are not few. How
     many were Paul's! I am reading Farrar's _Life and Work of Paul_. It
     puts much new light on the epistles. What a time the man Paul had
     of it! Yet he called them "light afflictions." How much lighter are
     ours! And the same heaven he looked to is for us--the same
     crown--not to him only, but to all who love the appearing of
     Christ. You love Him. Rejoice and be glad. I _am_ so glad that the
     crown is not only for such as Paul, whom we cannot hope to imitate,
     but for those (ii. Timothy iv. 8) who have loved His appearing. We
     _do_ that, don't we? May the joy set before us enable us to endure,
     when endurance is needed! May your heart rest in Him! May your soul
     cling to Him! May His light always shine on your path! May I
     always, even in dark days and dark times, have His light in my
     heart and soul! Don't regard me as one always on the sunny heights,
     but as one often cast down, often in much feebleness, in much
     unworthiness, and falling so far short of my own ideal. But it is
     good to think that, in Christ, we are perfect, that He makes up
     all.

     'Parker and I read _Holy of Holies_, when together. It is a good
     book. Meantime, he and I are three days' journey separate, and may
     be so for a month to come yet. I hope he likes it. It is a little
     hard on him, but I had to come here on mission business, and, if
     needed, will return to him at any time. Looking again at Heb. vi.
     4-6.'

His correspondent had asked him about this passage.

     'It is said--it is impossible to "renew them again to repentance."
     Does it not seem clear that what is described cannot be the case of
     one who has the repentant heart? I think so decidedly, and that
     passage has no bearing on the sinner who repents.... No one will
     come to harm who commits himself to His keeping. And no one will
     lack leading who has God for his guide. If I could only hear of or
     from the friends I pray for, that they had given themselves over to
     God's keeping, I would be at rest and thankful. You are trusting in
     Him. You will not be ashamed. He will take care to supply every
     needed blessing at the right time and in the right way.

     'Some day, I believe we shall stand in Eternity and look back on
     Time. How ashamed we then shall be of any want of trust and of any
     unfaithfulness! May He help us to look at things now in _that_
     light, and how to do as we then shall wish we had done!...

     'I would be glad if you would send me half a dozen copies of the
     _Wordless Book_. Two copies fell into the hands of robbers and were
     thus lost....

     'I shall be glad to have the _Life of Faith_. You might mark any
     passages that strike you.'

In a letter to the Rev. J. Paterson, dated April 1, he writes:--

     'It helps me much out here to get the best consecrated literature,
     and to get it early. Men in the most difficult and dangerous fields
     should be the best armed and equipped. Some of these books open up
     new treasures to me in God's Word. I do not use them in place of
     God's Word, but as openers to the treasures.'

In almost the last letter from him received by his brother Alexander and
dated April 24, 1891, the following passage occurs:--

     '_The Practice of the Presence of God_, being conversations and
     letters of Brother Lawrence. Please send a copy to yourself, John,
     Matthew, Paterson, Miss Gowan, and ten copies to me, charging all
     costs to me, of course. It is by a Roman Catholic: don't imitate
     his Roman Catholicism, but his practice of the presence of God.'

In April Mr. Gilmour journeyed to Tientsin, and was unanimously elected
to preside over the annual meeting of the North China District Committee
of the London Missionary Society as chairman. His last communication to
the home Society, with the exception of one brief note upon a matter of
committee business, was a post-card, dated April 20, 1891, received in
London some weeks after the tidings of his death. It runs:--

     'Arrived here yesterday. The world keeps shrinking. Left Tá Ss[)u]
     Kou Monday 8 A.M. Tuesday noon dined in a border Mongol village, in
     a Mongol's inn, served by a Mongol waiter, in presence of a number
     of Mongols. Got to London Missionary Society's Compound, Tientsin,
     Saturday, 5 P.M. Our headquarters are just five days from the
     extended railway. Am in A 1 health, everybody says so here, and
     that truly. Meantime am in clover, physically and spiritually. With
     prayers for the home end of the London Missionary Society's work.

                                            'Yours truly,
                                                      'J. GILMOUR.'


Just thirty-one days later he was lying dead in the same compound. How
the interval passed is told by those who enjoyed those closing days of
lofty spiritual fellowship. Had it been foreseen that the end was so
near, the fervour and impressiveness and help of his presence could
hardly have been increased. Before, however, passing to the details of
this last month, the following letters are given _in extenso_ as they
form the last lengthy sketches of his work drawn by his own hand.


                                  'Tientsin, L.M.S.: April 20, 1891.

     My dear Mrs. Lovett,--I guess you are at the bottom of 10_l._ from
     Clapham Congregational Church Working Society (Ladies). Ar'n't you?
     If so, thanks. If not--I was going to say you ought to be--but my
     courage fails me. Anyhow, you can read and please forward the
     enclosed with my best thanks to the friends. I got here two days
     ago, and am here for a short time. The railway has gone out
     eastwards, is still going, and has now a station near me in
     Mongolia--near me being five long days' journey; but that is near,
     as near and far go here.

     'I have many grateful and many prayerful remembrances of England
     and English friends, and a vivid remembrance of your kindness when
     I was with you. My regards to your parents. I hope you and your
     husband and children are all well. I heard of Mr. Lovett being in
     America--_American Pictures_ on the stocks?

     'I had intended to write you a nice letter, but it won't come, and
     the letter must go as it is. Please read into the remaining blank
     sheet all the feelings and good wishes I should express and do
     feel, and next time I write you, may it not be in the ebb tide, at
     the end of a mail.

     'Your husband's a Director. I _do_ hope they are sending me a
     doctor. If he can do anything in the matter, I wish he would.

                          'Yours, dried up and feeling dumb,
                                                    'JAMES GILMOUR.'


Enclosed in the above was the following letter, dated March 10, and
addressed to 'The Clapham Congregational Church Ladies' Working
Society.'

     'Dear Friends,--Many thanks for your handsome donation (10_l._),
     notice of which has reached me last night. I am told you want to
     hear from me. All right. I am just back from a month's raid into
     Ch'ao Yang. Had a fine time. Good weather and plenty of work in the
     marketplace. Baptized four adults, three being women--all Chinese.
     It is the day of small things truly, but I am not a little
     encouraged, over the women especially. That now makes four
     Christian families in Ch'ao Yang or its immediate neighbourhood.
     The two wives baptized this time have Christian husbands. It has
     all along been our prayer that the unsaved relatives of the saved
     might be saved.

     'Mrs. Chu's husband was baptized a couple of years ago. She
     consented to his taking their two children to me to be baptized,
     but she herself would have nothing to do with Christianity or
     Christ. This time she got over her difficulties. I was much
     pleased, especially as she had annoyed her husband a good deal last
     year about his having been beaten about his Christianity. She also
     had her little child baptized. Pray that God may keep and help them
     in all the many complications that will arise on account of their
     Christianity, living as they do in a composite family, the ruling
     powers of which are heathen.

     'Mrs. Ning is a model wife. They are poor. Her husband cannot dress
     in good clothes, but is always as neat as a virtuous wife, skilful
     with her needle, can make him. She mends so neatly. I once
     discarded a vest (Chinese) and gave it to her husband. He took it
     home, and later on I saw him swelling about in it quite like a neat
     old gentleman, though I was almost ashamed to give it him.

     'They have had family worship in their home for a year or two--they
     say. We went to baptize her. It was such a small, poor house, but
     so very nice inside. Mother and grown daughters and little girl,
     with father and grown son, all sleep on a little brick platform,
     hardly big enough for me--one man. She and the grown daughter
     support the family by needlework--making horsehair women's head
     fittings, which the father sells, when he has nothing more to do.

     'The son is epileptic and can earn nothing, and is, in addition, a
     great eater. He is a good man and a Christian. As we entered, the
     son and daughter went out. The mother and little daughter were
     baptized. The father did not wish his big daughter baptized. When
     she is married she will get a heathen mother-in-law, who will go
     for her and make her worship idols. So said the father. In a few
     days the father came back, saying that out of fear of the coming
     mother-in-law he had not had his daughter baptized, but that his
     daughter had pressed him so hard that she was as formidable as the
     mother-in-law. The daughter says she'll stick to her God and let
     them stick to theirs, and so she was baptized. She has a hot time
     before her. Chinese mothers-in-law are no joke. Pray for the lassie
     that:--(_a_) she may be steadfast; (_b_) she may be wise; (_c_) she
     may be gentle in her resistance; (_d_) enabled by God to endure;
     and that the mother-in-law may be restrained. God can do all
     things.

     'Here, in Tá Ss[)u] Kou, two of the Christians have wives very
     much opposed to Christianity, and give their husbands hot times.
     Remember the husbands, please, and all such in their shoes, in
     prayer, and may the darkened women themselves be enlightened. You
     have no notion how deeply sunk in superstition the women are. Still
     another Christian has a wife whom he has to allow to worship a
     weasel, because the woman shows symptoms of being possessed by the
     beast if she does not worship it!

     'The other day a woman came to my stand in the market-place, saying
     that "Mr. Yellow" troubled her. "Mr. Yellow" turned out to be the
     weasel, and she firmly believed her sickness was due to the beast.

     'We are badly in want of a lady medical man in this district. Don't
     you know of one who would do? Are there none of you who could study
     medicine and go out as doctors to some of the many needy places?
     Much was hoped for this district from the late Mrs. Smith, but God
     took her. Any one who comes here should have good health, and not
     fear seclusion from foreign company. I would suggest that a couple
     should come, a medical and a non-medical. There is a house which
     could be got for such a couple, only I don't see how they could get
     on without knowing some Chinese. Perhaps some one of the Peking or
     Tientsin ladies already speaking Chinese would volunteer to be a
     medical lady's companion. Would that God would stir some of you up!
     Meantime, thanks for the money. Thanks also for the prayers which I
     take for granted you let us have. You might also pray for a woman
     who has a very good, quiet, Christian husband, but herself has such
     a temper that she cannot in decency take on a Christian profession.
     Eh, man! eh, man! it is curious that I, a widower, should be left
     to look after women's souls out here, when lots of women are
     competing for men's situations and businesses at home. I guess
     things will come right some day, though I may or may not see it.

                                  'Very gratefully,
                                            'Yours sincerely,
                                                      'JAMES GILMOUR.'


On May 8 he sent the following note to Mrs. Williams, the wife of the
Rev. Mark Williams of the American Board. Their Society happened to be
holding its annual meeting at the same time in Tientsin as the London
Society. Mr. Gilmour was just entering his fatal illness as he penned
these lines, the last, we believe, that he wrote. They are a beautiful
testimony to the strength of his affection for the Mongols to whom he
and his wife had ministered so well long before, and on whose behalf
they had suffered so much and so deeply. Standing as he was on the
borderland of the heavenly country, he recalls the hard toil of his
early days, and he leaves to those who must carry on to a successful
issue, not only his work, but also the great enterprise of winning all
China for Jesus Christ, this as a last legacy--the fruit of his prayer,
his faith, his toil and his utter self-sacrifice--namely, the conviction
that the need of China is 'good, honest, quiet, earnest, persistent work
in old lines and ways.'


                                            'Tientsin: May 8, Friday.

     'My dear Mrs. Williams,--Thanks for returning the photos. Not
     having delivered them to you personally, I feared that in the
     present whirl of people and business they might have been mislaid,
     or even not reached you.

     'It is a great pleasure to see you here at this time. Many memories
     of past times and days come up. Though never again likely to see
     Kalgan, I often in thought go along its narrow, hard streets, and
     its up and down sideways, call in at your house, see all your
     faces, even that of the youthful Stephen, and the studious Etta;
     and often go up over the Pass into the grass land.

     'It is like a rest for a little while beside the palms and wells of
     Elim to meet you all here.

     'Your peaceful, happy family fills me with gratitude to God. May He
     bless them all (your children), and lead them not only into paths
     of peace and pleasantness, but of useful service for Him! You and
     your husband seem well. May many useful years of ripely experienced
     labour be yours!

     'Lately, I am being more and more impressed with the idea that what
     is wanted in China is not new "lightning" methods so much as good,
     honest, quiet, earnest, persistent work in old lines and ways.

     'With many grateful memories of all old-time Kalgan kindness, and
     hoping to see a note from you, or Mr. Williams, say once a year or
     so, and with prayers for you and all Kalgan-wards Mongols,

                        'Yours, cheered by the vision of you all,
                                            'JAMES GILMOUR.'



CHAPTER XII

THE LAST DAYS


At Tientsin James Gilmour was the guest of Dr. Roberts--for too brief a
time his colleague in Mongolia--and the doctor's sister, who kept house
for him. The story of the closing days cannot be better told than in
their words. To Miss Roberts fell the sorrowful task of sending the news
of their irreparable bereavement to the two motherless lads in England.


                                            'Tientsin: June 6, 1891.

     'My dear Willie and Jimmie,--You will wonder who I am that call you
     by your names and yet have never known you.

     'But I think, when you hear that your dear father spent the last
     five weeks of his life with my brother, Dr. Roberts, and myself,
     perhaps you will not be sorry to get a few lines from an unknown
     friend. It is now many weeks since we received a letter from Mr.
     Gilmour saying he hoped to be able to attend the annual meetings in
     Tientsin, and who would take him in? My brother replied at once,
     saying what a real pleasure it would be if he would stay with us.
     And so he came, and about a fortnight before the time, of which we
     were all the more glad. He looked the very picture of health on his
     arrival, and was in excellent spirits; many remarked how very well
     and strong he looked.

     'I remember well the day he arrived, it was a Saturday afternoon.
     I suggested that he should have some dinner at once, but,
     thoughtful-like, as your father always was, he said, "No, thank
     you, I have already had all I want; I shall not require anything
     more till your next ordinary meal."

     'By-and-by we showed him his room, "whose windows opened to the
     sun-rising." We had made it as pretty and comfortable as we could,
     and brightened it with freshly cut flowers. The next day I noticed
     he had taken the tablecloth off his writing-table, and in the
     evening he handed it to me, saying, if I remember rightly, "Here,
     mademoiselle, is your tablecloth. I am afraid of inking it. You had
     better put it away." I was grieved, and begged he would use, and
     ink it, too, for the matter of that; but it was no use, not on any
     account would he spoil my cloth, and therefore would not use it.

     'He seemed very happy with us, and I think thoroughly appreciated
     the homelikeness of his surroundings after his lonely life in
     Mongolia, and the dismal rooms of a Chinese inn, and it was such a
     pleasure to minister to his comforts in every possible way we could
     think of.

     'He used to spend his days, as a rule, in the following way:--

     'After breakfast he would write letters. At 10.45, after a cup of
     cocoa, he would go over to the hospital, returning at 1 o'clock to
     dinner. This over, he would go back with my brother to see the
     in-patients. At 4.30 we would all have tea together, after which he
     would make calls, or go for a walk, or talk over committee matters
     with Mr. Lees or Mr. Bryson. Many evenings he would be invited out,
     or would be at a meeting, or would spend it quietly at home; and so
     the time went by till meetings began. Then the whole day till 4
     P.M. was spent in committee, and at six Mr. Gilmour had a
     Bible-class for an hour with the Chinese preachers who had come to
     attend some of the meetings.

     'These were nearly over when your father began to complain of
     feeling done up and of having fever. The following Sunday he was in
     bed. This was only eleven days before he died. On Monday, however,
     he was better. and up, and was able to be with us all day, and took
     the Communion with us all in the evening. Then we chatted together
     for some time and sang hymns, amongst others, "God be with you till
     we meet again!" No. 494 in Sankey's _Songs and Solos_.

     'In this connection let me tell you some of Mr. Gilmour's favourite
     hymns in the book just mentioned. Amongst these were Nos. 494, 535,
     150, 328. I dare say you would like to learn them and sing them for
     his sake.

     'Your dear father was only in bed ten days before the end came, and
     all this time he spoke but little. He was too feverish and ill to
     want to talk or to listen: he just lay quietly, bearing his
     sickness with remarkable patience. One day, observing he was a
     little restless, I went to his bedside and asked him if he wanted
     anything. "No, nothing," was his reply, "only that the Lord would
     deliver me out of this distress."

     'The last few days his mind was not clear, but all his wanderings
     were about his work. It was the last day but one of his life; he
     was more restless than usual, trying all the time to rouse himself,
     as if for a journey, when he looked up and said, "Where are we
     going?"

     '"To heaven," I answered, "to see the Lord."

     '"No," he replied, "that is not the address."

     '"Yes it is, Mr. Gilmour," I said again. "We are going to heaven;
     would you not like to go and see the Lord Jesus?"

     'Then he seemed to take in the meaning of my words, and reverently
     bowed his head in assent, his lips quivered, and his eyes filled
     with tears; and he was quieted, like a weary child who has lost his
     way and finds on inquiry that only a few more steps and he will be
     at rest and at home.

     'The next day, his last, was still more restless. At one time he
     seemed to be addressing an audience and earnestly gesticulating
     with his hands; and, with as much force as he could command, he
     said: "We are not spending the time as we should; we ought to be
     waiting on God in prayer for blessing on the work He has given us
     to do. I would like to make a rattling speech--but I cannot--I am
     very ill--and can only say these few words." And then he nodded his
     head and waved his hand, as if in farewell to his listeners.

     'It was seven o'clock in the evening when my brother saw the end
     was not far off, and at once we sent for all the other members of
     the Mission that all might watch with him in this last solemn hour.
     He was unconscious the whole time, and his breathing laboured.

     'The two doctors battled for an hour and a half to keep off Death's
     fatal grasp, but to no purpose: the Lord wanted His faithful
     worker, and we could not keep him, though we wanted him much, and
     knew that Willie and Jimmie in England needed him more.

     'Gradually the breathing became quieter and quieter, till at last,
     about 9.30, he just closed his eyes and "fell asleep," with the
     peace of Heaven resting on his face.'

In a letter sent by Dr. Roberts to Dr. Smith, who was then in England, a
few further particulars are given.

     'He preached one Sunday evening a very solemn sermon on "Examine
     yourself," and no one can soon forget the way he preached. During
     the annual meetings he was extra busy. Everyone remarked what a
     good chairman he made, and in the devotional meetings from 9 to
     9.30 A.M. he was always ready to lead in prayer or speak a few
     words. Freshness, to the point, and to the heart--characterised all
     he did or said. In the evenings he conducted services for the
     native preachers present at the annual gathering, and to these
     meetings he took one foreigner each night to assist in the
     speaking.

     'It was at the close of this busy week, when tired out, that he got
     the fever which eventually carried him home. The fever was very
     irregular in type, but after some days I felt it was an exceptional
     type of typhus fever. Great weakness of the heart was a
     characteristic feature all through his case, and but for this sad
     complication I believe he would have been alive to-day. Weak action
     of the heart was an old enemy of his. For the first week of his
     illness he did not feel very poorly, and we had many chats
     together, and some prayer and reading of God's Word every night
     nearly. But in the second week his temperature went up to 106°,
     and, though it came down under anti-pyretics, he seemed never to
     regain his former ground. His mind became more and more clouded.
     Parker took the night nursing, my sister the day, and I sat with
     him when time allowed. On Thursday, May 21, the day on which he
     died, he was very delirious all day, though he knew us all. I did
     not give up hope till 7 P.M., when his heart failed him in spite of
     active stimulation. It was then that we all gathered round his bed.
     I did my utmost with the help of Frazer to avert the sad end; but
     ere long, seeing our efforts were vain, we ceased, and sat in his
     room and saw him gradually and very peacefully pass away, his
     breath getting feebler and feebler till he closed his eyes and fell
     asleep in Jesus.'

The funeral took place towards evening on May 23, 1891. It was a lovely
afternoon, and the sun shining brightly lent additional force to the
words of John Bunyan which were printed upon the simple sheet containing
the hymn to be sung at the grave: 'The pilgrim they laid in an upper
chamber whose window opened towards the Sun-rising.' The coffin was
borne to the grave by two relays of bearers; the first consisted of
three European and three native preachers; the second, on the one side,
of the Rev. S. E. Meech, his brother-in-law; the Rev. J. Parker, his
colleague, and Dr. Roberts; and on the other Liu, his faithful Chinese
preacher and helper, Chang, the tutor of the theological class at
Tientsin, and Hsi, his courier, a native of Tá Ss[)u] Kou. His last
resting-place immediately adjoins that of his dearly loved friend, Dr.
Mackenzie, and the service at the grave was conducted by the Rev.
Jonathan Lees and the Rev. J. Parker. Chang offered prayer, and a
farewell hymn was sung.

            Sleep on, beloved, sleep, and take thy rest;
            Lay down thy head upon thy Saviour's breast;
            We love thee well; but Jesus loves thee best--
              Good night! Good night! Good night!

            Until the shadows from this earth are cast;
            Until He gathers in His sheaves at last;
            Until the twilight gloom be overpast--
              Good night! Good night! Good night!

            Until we meet again before His throne,
            Clothed in the spotless robe He gives His own,
            Until we know even as we are known--
              Good night! Good night! Good night!

Little Chinese boys who had known and loved Mr. Gilmour came forward and
threw handfuls of flowers into his grave, loving hands laid upon the
coffin a wreath of white blossoms on behalf of the now orphaned boys
far away, and the simple but beautiful service was closed by a
spontaneous act on the part of the Chinese converts present. Pressing
near the grave of him whose heart loved China and the Chinese with a
fervour and an enthusiasm that may have been equalled, but certainly
have never been surpassed, they sang in their own tongue the hymn
beginning, 'In the Christian's home in glory.'

The labourer had entered into the rest he had so often seen by the eye
of faith. 'There remains,' he wrote, less than a year before his death,
'a rest. Somewhere ahead. Not very far at the longest. Perfect, quiet,
full, without solitude, isolation, or inability to accomplish; when the
days of our youth will be more than restored to us; where, should
mysteries remain, there will be no torment in them. And the reunions
there! Continuous too, with no feeling that the rest of to-day is
to-morrow to be ended by a plunge again into a world seething with
iniquity, and groaning with suffering.'

Many pages might be filled with loving eulogies of James Gilmour. But
the best of all is the simple story of his life. Yet two or three
references to his work and influence must here find a place.

From the pen of Dr. Reynolds comes this weighty testimony:--

     'The end of his career came all too suddenly, and in gathering
     together my impressions of it as a whole, I am convinced that I
     have seldom seen a man so entirely possessed by a grand idea, so
     utterly persuaded that we had a debt to pay to the heathen world,
     so invincibly sure that Christian faith and life was the one
     supreme need of these regions beyond our circle of light. Few men
     have cast the bread upon greater waters, have sown the seed over a
     wider area, or had to mourn more sadly over those heart-breaking
     months which intervene between the seedtime and the harvest.
     Impartial critics have recognised the intense honesty, the shrewd
     wit, the faculty of vision, the power to tell the story of his rare
     experiences with such verisimilitude as to force upon the reader a
     ready acquiescence in every detail of his narrative. But his
     Christian brethren saw a deeper vein than this in Gilmour's
     achievements. He was ablaze from first to last with a passionate
     desire to set forth Christ in His majesty and mercy, in all His
     power to heal and to command. I had unexpected opportunities of
     finding how tender and affectionate his nature was; how grateful
     and enthusiastic his love to his Hamilton home, to his father,
     mother, and wife, and how faithful and loyal he was to the society
     and the brotherhood of his Alma Mater.'

The Rev. G. Owen, at a memorial service held in Peking very shortly
after Mr. Gilmour's death, gave a sketch of his character and work, and
thus summed up his life:--

     'He spared himself in nothing, but gave himself wholly to God. He
     kept nothing back. All was laid upon the altar. I doubt if even St.
     Paul endured more for Christ than did James Gilmour. I doubt, too,
     if Christ ever received from human hands or human heart more
     loving, devoted service.

     'If anyone asks, "Would it not have been better if Mr. Gilmour had
     taken more care of himself and lived longer?" I would answer: "I
     don't know. His life was beautiful, and I would not alter it if I
     could. A few years of such service as he gave Christ are worth a
     hundred years of humdrum toil. We need the inspiration of such a
     life as his. Heaven, too, is the richer for such a man and such a
     life. The pearly gates opened wide, I have no doubt, to receive
     him. Angels and men gave him glad welcome, and what a smile would
     light up the Saviour's face as He received His faithful servant
     home!"

     'And he being dead yet speaketh. He says, "Be faithful, work hard,
     for the night cometh when no man can work. Be earnest, for life is
     brief; be ready, for life is uncertain." But why did God call him
     away in the midst of life and work? I don't know. Possibly work
     here is not of such importance as we think. Or there is more
     important service elsewhere waiting for such men as Mr. Gilmour. He
     has been faithful over a few things; he has been made ruler over
     many things, and has entered into the joy of his Lord.'

Mr. Parker wrote to the sons of his late colleague on June 6, 1891:--

     'It is sad that my first letter to you should be to tell you about
     your father's death, of which no doubt you have heard long ago....
     The last photographs of yourselves which you sent out he always had
     where he could see them. Whenever he travelled he took them with
     him. At Tientsin during his last illness he had them on a low side
     table, just on a level with his bed, so that as he lay there he
     could see them.... He was very happy, and died like a faithful
     soldier who had finished his work. It is sad, dear boys, to lose a
     father such as he was, but it is a great blessing to have had such
     a father, one so brave, so courageous, one who for the sake of
     Christ suffered bodily discomfort and pain, suffered terrible
     loneliness that he might win some of God's sinning children back
     to their Father's arms. He lived and suffered for the Mongols, and
     though God denied him the honour of baptizing even one of them, yet
     so faithful was he to his work that he toiled on to the very last.
     "Faithful unto death" are words fully exemplified in your father's
     life.'

In his first letter from Mongolia after his prompt return to carry on in
a like spirit of faith and devotion the work from which Mr. Gilmour had
been summoned away Mr. Parker depicts the grief of the native Christians
on learning their loss. 'The sorrow of the converts here (Ch'ao Yang) at
the news of Gilmour's death was very touching Grown-up men burst into
tears and sobbed like children when they were told he was dead. All
along the route where Gilmour was such a familiar visitor, in the
market-place, and at their fairs, the first question they asked as soon
as they saw me was, "Has Mr. Gilmour come?" And at my reply there was
always great astonishment, accompanied by expressions of sorrow. Every
day at evening prayers I can hear Gilmour's name mingled with their
petitions. The Christians here have sent a letter of sympathy to his two
boys.

     'Here in Ch'ao Yang there are any amount of Mongols, not nomadic,
     tent-loving, but settled here, and hence they do not have to be
     sought. Right in the centre of the town is an immense Mongol temple
     with two or three hundred priests. Every day I have several of the
     priests in here, and yet I have heard again and again that this
     mission is misplaced. Some such words often pained the heart that
     is now still in death. But this is, and shall be, essentially a
     Mongol mission in this, that as the best efforts of dear Gilmour
     were for making Christ known to the Mongols, my best endeavours
     shall be to this end. But if some hungry Chinaman, standing by as I
     hold out the bread of life to his Mongol brother, seeks to eat of
     it, he shall have it, and be as welcome as the other.'

The letter to the children referred to in Mr. Parker's report is a
fitting description of James Gilmour's life, and he himself would have
desired no other panegyric. It came from the hearts of men on whose
behalf he had given his very best, and it shows how strong a hold he had
obtained upon their affection.

     'We respectfully enquire for the peace and happiness of your
     excellencies, our brothers Gilmour, also for the peace of your
     whole school. In the first place Pastor Gilmour in his preaching
     and doctoring at Ch'ao Yang, north of the Pass, truly loved others
     as himself, was considerate and humble, and had the likeness of
     (our) Saviour Jesus. Not only the Christians thank him without end,
     but even those outside the Church (the heathen) bless him without
     limit. We, who through Pastor Gilmour have obtained the doctrine of
     the second birth, and received the grace of Jesus, had hoped with
     Mr. Gilmour to have assembled on the earth until our heads were
     white and in the future life to have gone with him to heaven.
     Little did we think we should have been so unhappy. He has already
     gone to the Lord. We certainly know he is in the presence of the
     Lord, not only praying for us, but also for you our brothers.

     'We pray you, when you see this letter, not to grieve beyond
     measure. We hope that you will study with increased ardour, so as
     to obtain the heavenly wisdom, like Solomon, and that afterwards
     you may come to China, to this Ch'ao Yang, to preach the Gospel
     widely. As the father did, may the sons follow, is our earnest
     desire.

            'Signed by the Ch'ao Yang Christians,

            'LIU MAO LIN (preacher).
            P'ANG TIEN K'UEI.
            WANG SHENG.
            NING FU TUNG.
            CHANG WAN CH'UAN.
            CHANG KUEI.
            CHIANG SHENG.
            WANG HUI HSIEN.
            LIU I (your father's servant).
            SUNG KANG.
            CH'U WEN YUAN.
            CHANG CHEN.
            CHANG MAO CHI.
            NING KUANG CHEN.
            LIU CHO.
            T'IEN TE CH'UN.
            HU TE.'


Here, then, we leave him. If the story of his life fail to touch the
heart, to deepen faith, to exalt our estimate of renewed human nature,
and to revive enthusiasm in work for Christ at home and abroad, the
fault must be in him who has tried to tell it, and to set in order the
facts.

God's ways are ofttimes dark. James Gilmour had often felt this, and, to
those who knew him, it seemed as though he were taken just when God's
work needed him most, when the first-fruits of the coming harvest were
being gathered, when his knowledge of the Chinese and the Mongols, and
their knowledge of him and affection for him, were beginning to tell.
But God knows best, and nothing can deprive the Church of Christ of the
splendid self-sacrifice, of the noble perseverance in the path of duty
of the bright example of courage, devotion, enthusiasm for souls, and
patient continuance in well doing shining so clearly through all the
long, years of toil. Love, self-crucifixion, Jesus Christ closely
followed in adversity, in loneliness, in manifold perils, under almost
every conceivable form of trial and hindrance and resistance both
active and passive--these are the seeds James Gilmour has sown so richly
on the hard Mongolian Plain, and over its Eastern mountains and valleys.
'In due time we shall reap if we faint not.' His work goes on. He is now
doing the Master's bidding in the higher service. There, we must fain
believe, he is finding full scope for those altogether exceptional
spiritual affinities, and powers and capacities which stand out so
conspicuously all through the story of his inner life. Upon us who yet
remain rests the responsibility of carrying forward the work he began,
of reinforcing the workers, of bearing Mongolia upon our prayers until
Buddhism shall fade away before the pure truth and the perfect love of
Jesus Christ, and even the hard and unresponsive Mongols come to
recognise the truths James Gilmour so long and so faithfully tried to
teach them--that they need the Great Physician even more than they need
the earthly doctor, and that He is more able and willing to heal the
hurt of their souls than the earthly physician is to remove the disease
of their bodies.

Is not the real lesson of James Gilmour's life twofold? If it be looked
at from the point of view of results, it should give clear and vivid
ideas of the unwisdom of being cast down by the absence of results in
face of the difficulties of missionary work in China. It is to be feared
that there are still large numbers of good Christian people who believe
that for the conversion of Chinamen and Mongols all that is requisite is
to put into the hands of the heathen a copy of God's Word in their
native tongue, and then preach to them the good tidings of salvation. No
man in this, or in past generation, has done this more faithfully than
James Gilmour. No man ever believed more firmly in the truth that it is
'not by might nor by power,' but by the direct influence of the Holy
Spirit, that the intellect and conscience and heart of the heathen are
to be subdued to the Saviour. No man ever wrestled more eagerly and
fervently in prayer on behalf of the ignorant and sinful, and yet his
avowed converts can be numbered on the fingers. Does this prove that God
is unfaithful? Does this tend to show that the enterprise is hopeless?
Or has God been teaching us, by the life of one of His ablest and truest
servants, the lesson of patient continuance in the path of His commands,
whether He blesses or whether He withholds? Is He not proclaiming to His
Church the need of a self-sacrifice _in all its members_ commensurate
with that displayed by James Gilmour and others who like him have not
counted their lives dear unto themselves in the struggle with
heathenism? Some must go in the 'forlorn hope.' Some must lay down their
lives in preparing the highway of our God. 'Herein is the saying true,
One soweth and another reapeth.' But succeeding toilers in the Mongolian
field, as the direct result of James Gilmour's sowing, will be able in
days to come to apply to themselves our Lord's words, 'I sent you to
reap that whereon ye have not laboured:--others have laboured, and ye
are entered into their labour.'

If the life of James Gilmour be looked at altogether apart from the
results that can be entered in tables of statistics, how splendidly
inspiring it is! Faithful to his Master, faithful to his work, although
the Master _seemed_ to delay the blessing, although the work wore down
the worker. 'I,' said St. Paul to the thankless Corinthian Church,
'will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more
abundantly, am I loved the less? But be it so.' And in the Epistle to
the Romans he applied to the Jews who were resisting the Gospel the
ancient words of Isaiah: 'But as to Israel He saith, All the day long
did I spread out my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. I
say then, Did God cast off His people? God forbid.' Nor will God cast
off the Israel of China, or the Mongols who gave to the faithful teacher
respect, attention, and in a way the love of their hearts, but who as
yet have not surrendered those hearts to their true Lord. James Gilmour,
in season and out of season, in almost constant solitude, in
superabounding physical labours that often overburdened him, and once
nearly broke him down, in the long disappointment of the most cherished
hopes, and under the constant strain of what would have crushed any but
a giant in faith, lived a life which, if it taught no other lesson, was
yet well worth living to teach this--that Jesus Christ can and does give
His servants the victory over apparent non-success, after the most
vehement and long-sustained effort to secure success, and that this is
the greatest victory possible to renewed and sanctified human nature.


                                PRINTED BY
                  SPOTTISWOODE AND CO., NEW STREET SQUARE
                                  LONDON


                              CHEAP EDITION.

                      Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. cloth boards.


                              JAMES GILMOUR
                               OF MONGOLIA:

                  _HIS DIARIES, LETTERS, AND REPORTS._


[Illustration: Sincerely yours James Gilmour]


                          EDITED AND ARRANGED BY
                            RICHARD LOVETT, M.A.

       _Author of 'Norwegian Pictures,' 'The Printed English Bible,'
                          'London Pictures,' &c._


                PUBLISHED BY THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
                      56 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON.

                                                              [P.T.O.

                   *       *       *       *       *

                              Press Notices

                                    OF

                           THE LIFE OF GILMOUR.

'The story of James Gilmour will, if we mistake not, take a place of its
own in modern missionary literature. To a world devoted so much to
mercenary interests, and a Church too given to take things easily, the
life is at once a rebuke and an appeal not easily to be
forgotten.'--CHRISTIAN WORLD.

'We are sure that this work will be read with the deepest interest by
Churchmen as well as Nonconformists.'--RECORD.

'A notable addition to the number of impressive and fascinating
missionary books--a volume fit to stand on the same shelf with the
biographies of Paton and Mackay.'--BRITISH WEEKLY.

'James Gilmour may appear to some as a hero, to others as a deluded
enthusiast, but no one who takes up this account of his life and work
can fail to be fascinated by it.'--MANCHESTER GUARDIAN.

'Out of sight the most interesting and valuable missionary biography of
recent years.'--LITERARY WORLD.

'Not only deeply interesting as a record of missionary labour, but teems
with characteristic sketches of Chinese manners, customs, and
scenery.'--TIMES (WEEKLY).

'Unlike many missionary records, his letters and journals can be read.
Indeed, it is difficult to stop reading, once you have begun.' NATIONAL
OBSERVER.

'For an age which, as the editor remarks, likes "large and quick
returns" for its investments, the history of a man who had for many
years to possess his soul in patience has a real and permanent value.'
DAILY TELEGRAPH.

'From every point of view the book deserves the highest praise.' GLASGOW
HERALD.

'Not the least interesting portion of the book will be its strange
pictures of life amid Mongol surroundings.'--LIVERPOOL COURIER.

                 *       *       *       *       *

                          By JAMES GILMOUR.

                          AMONG THE MONGOLS.

                            BY THE LATE
                      REV. JAMES GILMOUR, M.A.

                With Engravings. 2s. 6d. cloth, gilt.

'There has been, if our experience serves us at all, no book quite like
this since "Robinson Crusoe"; and "Robinson Crusoe" is not better, does
not tell a story more directly, or produce more instantaneous and final
conviction. No one who begins this book will leave it till the narrative
ends, or doubt for an instant, whether he knows Defoe or not, that he
has been enchained by something separate and distinct in literature,
something almost uncanny in the way it has gripped him, and made him see
for ever a scene he never expected to see.'--THE SPECTATOR.

'Mr. Gilmour tells a story well, and though he tells it quite simply and
straightforwardly, he never misses the point of it. He writes, moreover,
after having had exceptional chances of gaining a thorough acquaintance
with the Mongolian character.'--THE GUARDIAN.

'There is a charm in the quiet way in which the modest missionary tells
of his life in Tartar tents, of the long rides across the grassy plain,
and of the daily life of the nomads among whom he passed so many years.'
FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW.

'Mr. Gilmour's volume is one of the most charming books about a strange
people that we have read for many a day.'--NATURE.

'Mr. Gilmour has lived _tête-à-tête_ with a Buddhist Lama under his own
movable roof; he has shared the hospitality of the desert caravan; he
has taken his turn in the night-watch against thieves; and he has dwelt
as a lodger in their more permanent abodes of trellis-work and felt. As
a picture of the raw material from which Chinese civilisation has been
finally evolved--the primitive stage of Tartar nomad communities--these
sketches possess a great sociological value; while from the point of
view of the reader for amusement alone they are full of liveliness and
local colouring.' PALL MALL GAZETTE.

'Although it appears in unpretentious form, this is a really remarkable
chronicle of travel and adventure.'--THE GLOBE.


                          By JAMES GILMOUR.

                 *       *       *       *       *


                        Crown 8vo. 5s. cloth.

                       MORE ABOUT THE MONGOLS.

  Selected and Arranged from Mr. GILMOUR'S Diaries and Papers
                      By RICHARD LOVETT, M.A.,
            _Author of 'James Gilmour of Mongolia' &c._

'The style of the writer and the novelty of the theme, and the heart
which so longs for "Mongols" showing itself on many a page, combine to
make the work intensely interesting, instructive, and impressive.'--THE
PRESBYTERIAN.

'The experiences of a devoted missionary, whose gift of circumstantial
narrative has not inaptly been likened to Defoe's.'--THE TIMES.

'It is indeed a delightful volume, which will be welcomed by all who
desire the extension of Christ's kingdom on earth.'--ENGLISH CHURCHMAN.

'Extracts from the diaries of one of the most adventurous and
self-denying of missionaries.'--SATURDAY REVIEW.

'Will be welcomed wherever the name of James Gilmour is known.' THE
RECORD.

'A fascinating volume of travels, and a series of observations on men
and manners which show the stuff of which our British missionaries are
made.' METHODIST TIMES.

'Will delight readers of all ages.'--CHRISTIAN WORLD.


                *       *       *       *       *

                  Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. cloth, gilt edges.

                      JAMES GILMOUR AND HIS BOYS.

                        By RICHARD LOVETT, M.A.

            With Facsimile Letters and many Illustrations.

'Ought to be in every Sunday School library.'--THE CHRISTIAN.

'It is full of curious passages of adventure; and has a strong religious
interest which will not fail to give young readers an intelligent
appreciation of the nature of foreign mission work.'--SCOTSMAN.

'It has been skilfully put together and will make an admirable
gift-book.' BRITISH WEEKLY.

'It should find a place in all Christian homes.' WESTERN MORNING NEWS.

'It is one that all boys, and girls too, will delight to read.' SCOTTISH
LEADER.

'A fascinating volume from beginning to end.'--BAPTIST.

                  *       *       *       *       *

              PUBLISHED BY THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
        56 Paternoster Row, London; and Sold by all Booksellers.

      _Spottiswoode & Co. Printers, New-street Square, London._





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "James Gilmour of Mongolia - His diaries, letters, and reports" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home