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Title: Fifteen Years Among the Top-Knots - Life in Korea
Author: Underwood, L. H.
Language: English
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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.

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[Illustration: SENTINEL GATE AT PALACE. _Frontispiece_]



  FIFTEEN YEARS

  _AMONG_

  THE TOP-KNOTS

  _OR_

  _LIFE IN KOREA_

  _By_

  L. H. UNDERWOOD, M.D.

  _With Introduction

  by_

  FRANK F. ELLINWOOD, D.D., LL.D.

  SECOND EDITION
  REVISED AND ENLARGED

  [Illustration]

  YOUNG PEOPLE’S MISSIONARY MOVEMENT
  OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA
  NEW YORK


  Copyright, 1904,

  BY AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY.

         *       *       *       *       *

  Copyright, 1908,

  BY AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY.


  THIS LITTLE VOLUME
  IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED TO

  MY HUSBAND

  IN MEMORY OF
  FIFTEEN HAPPIEST YEARS



INTRODUCTION


It may be said at once, that Mrs. Underwood’s narrative of her
experience of “Fifteen Years Among the Top-Knots” constitutes a book of
no ordinary interest. There is no danger that any reader having even
a moderate sympathy with the work of missions in the far East will be
disappointed in the perusal. The writer does not undertake to give a
comprehensive account of missions in Korea, or even of the one mission
which she represents, but only of the things which she has seen and
experienced.

There is something naive and attractive in the way in which she
takes her readers into her confidence while she tells her story, as
trustfully as if she were only writing to a few relatives and friends.
Necessarily she deals very largely with her own work, and that of
her husband, as of that she is best qualified to speak. Everywhere,
however, there are generous and appreciative references to the heroic
labors of associate missionaries. Nor does she confine these tributes
to members of her own mission. Some of her highest encomiums are given
to members of other missions, who have laboured and died for the Gospel
and the cause of humanity in Korea.

Mrs. Underwood, then Miss Lillias Horton, of Chicago, went to Korea as
a medical missionary in 1888. As a Secretary of the Presbyterian Board,
accustomed to visit our candidates before appointment, I found her a
bright young girl of slight and graceful figure in one of the Chicago
hospitals, where she was adding to her medical knowledge some practical
experience as a trained nurse. There was nothing of the consciousness
of martyrdom in her appearance, but quite the reverse, as with cheerful
countenance and manner she glided about in her white uniform among the
ward patients. It was evident that she was looking forward with high
satisfaction to the work to which she had consecrated her life.

The story of her arrival at Chemulpo, of her first impressions of
Korea, is best told in her own words. The first arrival of a missionary
on the field is always a trying experience. The squalid appearance of
the low native huts, whose huddled groupings Mrs. Underwood compares
to low-lying beds of mushrooms, poorly clad and dull-eyed fishermen
and other peasantry, contrasting so strongly with the brighter scenes
of one’s home land, are enough to fill any but the bravest with
discouragement and despair. But our narrator passed this trying ordeal
by reflecting that she was not a tourist in pursuit of entertainment,
but an ambassador of Christ, sent to heal the bodies and enlighten the
souls of the lowly and the suffering.

As a young unmarried woman and quite alone, she found a welcoming home
with Dr. and Mrs. Heron, and began at once a twofold work of mastering
the language, and of professional service at the hospital. Not long
after her arrival she was called to pay a visit to the queen, who
wished to secure her services as her physician. The relation soon grew
into a mutual friendship, and Mrs. Underwood from that time till the
assassination of the unfortunate queen was her frequent visitor, and in
many respects her personal admirer. She does not hesitate to express
her appreciation of the queen, as a woman of kind-hearted and generous
impulses, high intellectual capacity, and no ordinary diplomatic
ability. Of stronger mind and higher moral character than her royal
husband, she was his wise counsellor and the chief bulwark of his
precarious power.

Though Mrs. Underwood’s book is of the nature of a narrative, yet its
smoothly running current is laden with all kinds of general information
respecting the character and customs of the people, the condition
of the country, the native beliefs and superstitions, the social
degradation, the poverty and widespread ignorance of the masses. The
account of missionary work is given naturally, its pros and cons set
forth without special laudation on the one hand, or critical misgiving
on the other. It is simply presented, and left to speak for itself,
and it can scarcely fail to carry to all minds a conviction of the
genuineness and marked success of the great work which our missionaries
in Korea are conducting.

Mrs. Underwood’s marriage to Rev. H. G. Underwood, who had already been
four years in the country, is related with simplicity and good sense,
and the remarkable bridal tour, though given more at length, is really
a story not of honeymoon experiences, but rather of arduous and heroic
missionary itineration. It was contrary to the advice and against the
strong remonstrances of their associates and their friends in the U.
S. legation that the young couple set out in the early spring of 1889
for a pioneering tour through Northern Korea.

Fortunately for the whole work of our Protestant missions, the most
favorable impression had been made upon the Korean Court and upon
the people by the striking and most valuable service which had been
rendered by Dr. H. N. Allen, our first medical missionary, and now U.
S. Minister in Korea. He had healed the wounds of some distinguished
Koreans, who had been nearly killed in a midnight conflict between the
Chinese and Japanese garrisons at Seoul.

Although there were strong prohibitory decrees against the admission
of foreigners in the interior, Mr. and Mrs. Underwood ventured to
presume upon the connivance of the officials at their proposed journey
to the far north. Traveling as missionaries and without disguise, it
was a plucky undertaking for the young bride, since, so far as known,
she was the first foreign woman who had made such a tour. The journey
was a protracted one and involved all kinds of hardship and privation.
Nothing worthy of a name of inn was to be found, but only some larger
huts in which travelers were packed away amid every variety of filth
and vermin.

The curiosity of the people to see a foreign woman was such that the
mob everywhere scrupled not to punch holes through the paper windows
and doors to get a peep. After having been borne all day in a chair,
not over roads, but through tortuous bridle paths, over rocks and
through sloughs, it was found well-nigh impossible to rest at night.
All sorts of noises early and late added to their discomfort. As to
food, the difficulty of subsisting on such fare as the people could
furnish may be well imagined. They were not wholly free from the fear
of wild animals, for some districts through which they passed were
infested by tigers and leopards. But their greatest danger was that of
falling into the hands of roaming bands of robbers. Mrs. Underwood’s
account of one experience of this kind will be read with thrilling
interest.

Fortunately, Mr. Underwood had already made one or two shorter tours
through the country alone, and had baptized a few converts here and
there. The passports also which he carried with him secured the favor
of some of the district magistrates, so that the two were not exposed
wholly to hostile influences.

It is impossible in few words to do justice to the story related in
this interesting book, which was prepared by Mrs. Underwood at the
request of the American Tract Society, or do anything more than commend
in general terms its various presentations. One of these relating to
the experiences of a severe cholera season, during which missionaries,
not only medical but also clerical, remained faithfully at their posts,
unmindful of the personal risks and of the heat, filth and discomfort
of an unsanitary city in the most sickly months, in order to do all in
their power to save the lives and mitigate the sufferings of the poor
and despairing people. The account is given with great simplicity,
and without ostentatious claims of heroism, and may be regarded as a
true representation of the faithful service often rendered by our
missionaries in times of trial and great suffering.

Mrs. Underwood’s book will be read with peculiar interest at this
time, when all attention is turned to the far East and especially to
Korea, which seems likely to be the battleground in the war between
Russia and Japan. The position of the poor Koreans, government and
people, is calculated to elicit the sympathy of all Christians and all
philanthropists. Every one wonders what will be the outcome for poor
Korea. It is indeed a time for earnest prayer that the God of nations
will overrule all current events for the best good of this beleaguered
people and for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.

  F. F. ELLINWOOD.

  NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 1904.



PREFACE


The chapters which are here given to the public are simply reminiscent,
a brief story of a few years of the writer’s life in one of the most
unique and interesting of all the Eastern countries, among a people who
are singularly winning and lovable.

I beg that in reading these pages it may be remembered that this book
makes no pretense whatever to being a text or reference book on Korea,
or in any respect a history of Korean missions. The writer has simply
strung together a few events which have fallen under her own personal
observation during the last fifteen years. If more frequent reference
is made to the work carried on by my husband and myself than to others,
it is simply because it is only with regard to that which has been
woven into the web of my own experience that I can speak with exactness
and authority. All it is hoped to accomplish is, that sufficient
insight into the customs and character of the people, and their moral
and political atmosphere, with the results, opportunities and possible
limitations of mission work, may be given to induce the reader to study
further, and perchance to question what his relation to it all is.

I must acknowledge my great indebtedness to Dr. H. N. Allen’s
chronological index, by which I have been able to verify many dates.

I am also indebted to the “Korean Repository,” and to the “Life of
Dr. James Hall,” for part of the story of the events connected with
his work in Pyeng Yang, both before and after the war, and for the
official report of the trial of the queen’s murderers at Hiroshima.
More than all, I am obliged to my husband, by whose assistance I have
obtained from Koreans the particulars relating to the Emeute of 1884,
the Tonghaks, the Pusaings, the Independents, and the Romanists. He has
also given me many of the anecdotes of native Christian life, and as we
lived it all out ourselves, this volume is as much his as mine.

  LILLIAS H. UNDERWOOD.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I

        PAGE

  First Arrival--First Impressions--The City of Seoul--Korean
  Houses--Mission Homes--Personnel of Mission
  in 1888--Beginnings of Work--Difficulties in Attaining the
  Language--Korean Religions--Palace Women--First Interview
  with Palace Women--Entertainment Given in my
  Honor by President of Foreign Office--The Interdict--Confidence
  Exhibited by Government in Protestant Missionaries--The
  “Baby Riots”--Babies Reported to Have Been Eaten
  at Foreign Legations--Restoring Confidence--The Signal--First
  Invitation to Palace      1


  CHAPTER II

  The Palaces--The Stone Dogs--The Fire God’s Defeat--The
  Summer Pleasure House--Royal Reception Hall--Court
  Dress of Noblemen--First Impression of the King--Appearance
  of the Queen--The Queen’s Troubles--The
  Queen’s Coup d’État--The Verb Endings--The Queen’s
  Generosity--Stone Fight--Gifts--The Quaga--Poukhan--Its
  Impregnability--Picturesque Surroundings of Seoul--Pioneer
  Work--Progress of Work--The Queen’s Wedding
  Gift--Our Wedding--Opposition to my Going to the Interior--My
  Chair--The Chair Coolies      20


  CHAPTER III

  We Start on our Wedding Journey--Songdo--Guards at
  our Gates--Crossing the Tai-tong--Difficulties in Finding an
  Inn--Korean Launderings--An Old Man Seeks to be Rid of
  Sin--Mob at an Inn--A Ruffian Bursts Open my Door--Fight
  in the Inn Yard--Pat Defies the Crowd--Convenience
  of Top-Knots--A Magistrate Refuses to Shelter Us--The
  “Captain” to the Rescue--Pack-ponies--We Lay a Deep
  Scheme--Torch Bearers--A Mountain Hamlet--Tiger
  Traps--Tigers--A Band of Thirty Conspire to Attack us--Guns
  Used by Native Hunters--A Tiger Story      38


  CHAPTER IV

  Leaving Kangai--We Choose a Short Cut--Much Goitre
  in the Mountains--A Deserted Village--The Jericho Road--We
  are Attacked by Robbers--A Struggle in the Inn Yard--Odds
  too Great--Our Attendants are Seized and Carried
  Off--The Kind Inn-Keeper--Inopportune Patients--A Race
  for Life--A City of Refuge--A Beautiful Custom--Safe at
  Last--The Magistrate Turns Out to be an Old Friend--The
  Charge to the Hunters      60


  CHAPTER V

  Our Stay in Wewon--We Give a Dinner--Our Guests--Magistrates
  Propose that we Travel with a Chain-Gang--Our
  Trip Down the Yalu--The Rapids--Contrast Between
  Korean and Chinese Shores--We Enter Weju--The Drunken
  Magistrate--Presents and Punishments--Unpleasant Experiences
  with Insincere People--Rice Christians--The Scheming
  Colporter--The Men Baptized in Weju--The Lost Passport--Another
  Audience at the Palace--Queen’s Dress and
  Ornaments--Korean Summer House--The Pocket Dictionary--Our
  Homes      77


  CHAPTER VI

  An Audience at the Palace--Dancing Girls--Entertainment
  Given after the Audience--Printing the Dictionary and
  Grammar--A Korean in Japan--Fasting to Feast--Death of
  Mr. Davies--Dr. Heron’s Sickness--Mrs. Heron’s Midnight
  Ride--Dr. Heron’s Death--Difficulty in Getting a Cemetery
  Concession--Forced Return to America--Compensations--Chemulpo
  in Summer--The “Term Question” in China,
  Korea and Japan--Difficulties in the Work      93


  CHAPTER VII

  The Mission in 1893--“The Shelter”--Opening of Japanese
  War--Seoul Populace Panic Stricken--Dr. and Mrs. Hall in
  Pyeng Yang--Heroic Conduct of Native Christians--Condition
  of Pyeng Yang after the War--Dr. Hall’s Death--Preaching
  the Gospel at the Palace--The Queen Seeks to
  Strengthen Friendly Relations with Europeans--Her
  Majesty’s Generosity--A Little Child at the Palace--The
  Slaves of the Ring--A Christmas Tree at the Palace--The
  Queen’s Beneficent Plans--The Post-office Emeute of 1884--A
  Haunted Palace--The Murder of Kim Oh Kiun      106


  CHAPTER VIII

  Mr. McKenzie--The First Church Built by Natives--Mr.
  McKenzie’s Sickness--His Death--Warning to New Missionaries--The
  Tonghaks--Mr. Underwood’s Trip to Sorai in
  Summer--Native Churches--Our Use of Helpers--Christians
  in Seoul Build their Own Church--Epidemic of Cholera--Unhygienic
  Practices--Unsanitary Condition of City      123


  CHAPTER IX

  Difficulty of Enforcing Quarantine Regulations--Greedy
  Officials “Eat” Relief Funds--Americans Stand Alone to
  Face the Foe--The Emergency Cholera Hospital--The Inspection
  Officers--We Decide to Use the “Shelter”--A
  Pathetic Case--The Jesus Man--Gratitude of the Koreans--The
  New Church--The Murder of the Queen--Testimony of
  Foreigners--The Official Report      136


  CHAPTER X

  The Palace after the Murder--Panic--Attitude of Foreign
  Legations--The King’s Life in Hourly Danger--Noble
  Refugees--Americans on Guard--Mistakes of the New Government--Objectionable
  Sumptuary Laws--A Plan to Rescue
  the King--One Night at the Palace--Forcing an Entrance--Our
  Little Drama--Escape of General Yun      153


  CHAPTER XI

  Customs Centering around the Top-Knot--Christians
  Sacrificing Their Top-Knots--A Cruel Blow--Beginning of
  Christian Work in Koksan--A Pathetic Appeal--People Baptize
  Themselves--Hard-Hearted Cho--The King’s Escape--People
  Rally Round Him--Two Americans in the Interior--In
  the Midst of a Mob--Mob Fury--Korea in the Arms of
  Russia--Celebrating the King’s Birthday--Patriotic Hymns--Lord’s
  Prayer in Korean      167


  CHAPTER XII

  A Korean Christian Starts Work in Haing Ju--Changed
  Lives of Believers--A Reformed Saloon-Keeper--The Conversion
  of a Sorceress--Best of Friends--A Pleasant Night
  on the Water--Evidence of Christian Living--Our Visit in
  Sorai--A Korean Woman’s Work--How a King Acts at
  Times--Applicants for Baptism--Two Tonghaks--In a Strait
  betwixt Two--Midnight Alarms--Miss Jacobson’s Death      183


  CHAPTER XIII

  Our Mission to Japan--Spies--One Korean Summer--The
  Queen’s Funeral--The Procession--The Burial by
  Starlight--The Independents--The Pusaings--The Independents
  Crushed      201


  CHAPTER XIV

  Itineration Incidents--Kaiwha--Christian Evidences--Buying
  Christian Books instead of an Office--Seed Sowing--Moxa’s
  Boy in the Well--Kugungers Again--Pung Chung--Pyeng
  Yang--The Needs of the Women      216


  CHAPTER XV

  Another Itineration--Christians in Eul Yul--A Ride in an
  Ox-Cart--Keeping the Cow in the Kitchen--Ox-Carts and
  Mountain Roads--The Island of White Wing--A Midnight
  Meeting--Thanksgiving Day in Sorai--The Circular Orders--New
  Testament Finished--All in the Day’s Work--The
  Korean Noble--Meetings of the Nobility      237


  CHAPTER XVI

  Furloughs--Chong Dong Church--Romanists in Whang
  Hai--Missionaries to the Rescue--Romanists Annoy and Hinder
  the Judge--Results--Interview between Governor and
  Priest--The Inspector’s Report--Women’s Work in Hai Ju--Death
  of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Miller      254


  CHAPTER XVII

  Historical Review--Korean Characteristics--Football between
  Japan, China and Russia--Ill-advised Movements--Unrest
  and Excitement--Korea Allied to Japan--Japanese in
  Korea--Po an Whai--Kaiwha--Railroad Extension--Japanese
  Protectorate--Petition to President Roosevelt--Removal
  of American Legation--Education in Korea--Righteous
  Army--True Civilization      272


  CHAPTER XVIII

  Present Status of Missions--Wonderful Progress--Education
  for Girls--Medical Missions--Denominational Comity--Christianity
  Spreading--Individuals at Work--Christian
  Heroes--Character of Korean Christians--How the Work
  Grows--Christian Influence--Training Classes--Circuit Work--Statistics--Rapid
  Extension--Evangelistic Work--Joy and
  Triumph--The Nation being Evangelized      300


  CHAPTER XIX

  Pentecostal Blessing--Special Meetings--Prayer Answered--Confession
  of Sin--Revival in Schools--Great Meetings--Bible
  Study--Effects of Blessings--Transforming Power--Holy
  Spirit Revival--Comparative Statement of Growth--Features
  of the Great Work--Union of Christians in Korea      335



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


  SENTINEL GATE AT PALACE      _Frontispiece_

  CITY OF SEOUL                                Opposite page      1

  MAIN ENTRANCE TO PALACE                           “    “       10

  KOREAN OFFICIAL IN CHAIR                          “    “       16

  KOREAN STONE DOG IN FRONT OF PALACE GATES         “    “       20

  THE KING OF KOREA                                 “    “       24

  THE GREAT MARKET AT CHEENJU                       “    “       32

  SURROUNDINGS OF SEOUL                             “    “       32

  A STREET CROWD                                    “    “       36

  TAI-TONG RIVER                                    “    “       44

  FERRY BOAT                                        “    “       44

  METHOD OF IRONING                                 “    “       48

  PRINCE YU CHAI SOON, COUSIN OF KING               “    “       60

  HIGH KOREAN OFFICIAL, KIM YAN SIK                 “    “       60

  CARRIER OX                                        “    “       64

  THE OX-CART OR TALGOOGY                           “    “       64

  A KOREAN VILLAGE                                  “    “       68

  A BUTCHER SHOP                                    “    “       82

  BASKET SHOP                                       “    “       82

  PLEASURE HOUSE                                    “    “       90

  GATE IN THE WALL OF NAMHAN                        “    “       98

  HOUSE USED BY MISSIONARIES ON TOP OF NAMHAN       “    “      104

  DESERTED ROYAL DINING HALL                        “    “      112

  MR. CHAY CHO SI                                   “    “      120

  ELDER YANG AND FAMILY                             “    “      120

  PARTY STARTING OUT IN MORNING FROM THATCHED INN   “    “      124

  CHURCH AT SORAI                                   “    “      124

  THE THREE STAGES OF MAN IN KOREA                  “    “      128

  THE ROUND GATE, SEOUL                             “    “      146

  A KOREAN TOP-KNOT                                 “    “      166

  RUSSIAN LEGATION HOUSE                            “    “      172

  INDEPENDENCE ARCH                                 “    “      172

  KOREAN WOMEN AT WORK                              “    “      188

  SCHOOL BOYS                                       “    “      192

  GIRLS SEWING AND WRITING WITH NATIVE TEACHER      “    “      192

  KOREAN STREET                                     “    “      198

  HORSES IN AN INN YARD                             “    “      198

  CANDY BOY                                         “    “      218

  ELDER SAW OF SORAI AND HIS FAMILY                 “    “      234

  MRS. KIM OF SORAI AND HER FAMILY                  “    “      242

  CARRIERS WITH JIKAYS                              “    “      258

  WOMAN WITH BUNDLE OF WASHING ON HER HEAD          “    “      258

[Illustration: CITY OF SEOUL. PAGE 3]



FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS



CHAPTER I

    First Arrival--First Impressions--The City of Seoul--Korean
    Houses--Mission Homes--Personnel of Mission in 1888--Beginnings
    of Work--Difficulties in Attaining the Language--Korean
    Religions--Palace Women--First Interview with Palace
    Women--Entertainment Given in my Honor by President of Foreign
    Office--The Interdict--Confidence Exhibited by Government in
    Protestant Missionaries--The “Baby Riots”--Babies Reported to
    have been Eaten at Foreign Legations--Restoring Confidence--The
    Signal--First Invitation to Palace.


I landed in Korea at the port of Chemulpo on a cloudy, windy March day,
in 1888. My eyes fell on a rocky shore, back of which the bare sharp
outline of low hills, whitened with patches of snow, was relieved by
no trees to break the monotony of the scene. Dreary mud flats, instead
of a sandy beach, lay reeking and slimy along the water’s edge. As our
boat neared the shore, for there was and is no pier, and ships even
at high tide cannot approach very near, wild and strange-looking men,
uttering wild and strange-sounding speech, came hurrying down the hill
to inspect us.

Their coarse black hair was long and dishevelled, in some instances
braided in a single pigtail, in most cases, however, tied on top of
the head, where a careless attempt at a top-knot had been made, but
elf-locks straying round the neck and face gave a wolfish and unkempt
appearance. They were Mongolians with all the race features, not
differing much from Chinese or Japanese except in dress, and being in
the main rather taller than the latter people. Their garments appeared
to consist of a short loose jacket and long baggy trousers, of a dirty
white native cloth. These garments among the poorer classes are never
changed oftener than twice in a month.

These were the people among whom I had come to work--this the country
which I had chosen instead of the “groves and templed hills” of my own
dear native land. My heart swelled, and lifted up an earnest prayer
that it might not be in vain.

In justice to the Koreans, however, I ought to say here, that the
people whom I saw that morning were of the lowest and roughest class,
their dress the poorest sort, and that Chemulpo, especially in March,
is perhaps the most forbidding and unsightly place in Korea. Being
the main port for the capital, it is made up, as ports often are,
very largely of a mixture of various nationalities. Many sailors and
traders, and especially Chinese and Japanese merchants, have built
their poor houses and shops in the main town.

The trip from Chemulpo to Seoul, about twenty-eight miles, was made
the following day, in a Sedan-chair carried by four coolies. The road,
although a much traveled one, was very bad, but is now replaced by a
railroad which accomplishes the distance in about two hours and a half.
The country I found pleasantly rolling--comparatively few trees were
seen, and the population thereabout seemed quite sparse. Here and there
were squalid mud huts thatched with straw. I found on inquiry that this
little land, lying west of Japan, attached at its northern extremity to
China and Siberia, has an area of about ninety thousand square miles
and a population of over fourteen millions of people, with a climate
varying from that in the north, like northern New York, to that in the
extreme south, like southern Virginia.

We approached Seoul about four o’clock in the afternoon, and I was
thrilled at the sight of the first walled town I had ever beheld. The
walls are very picturesque--built of great blocks of stone--hung with
ivy, and give an impression of great age.

At the time of my arrival, and for some few years after, a very
interesting custom was in vogue with regard to the closing of these
gates. Korea had for centuries a signal fire service, by which news of
peace or war was with telegraphic rapidity conveyed to Seoul, and by
number, frequency of repetition and other expedients a tolerably useful
code had been established. On the south mountain, within the walls,
were four beacons, one for each point of the compass, to which these
lines converged. Every evening as soon as the sun had set, when the
bright glow of these four beacon fires published the fact that all was
well in his majesty’s dominions, four officials, whose business it was
to report to the king the message of the fires, presented themselves
at the palace, and with low obeisance, each announced that all was
well in the north--in the south--the east--and the west. On this, the
palace band struck up its gayest airs, and when this music was heard,
the signal was given for the tolling of the great curfew bell in the
center of the city. When the extremely sweet and solemn, low and yet
penetrating tones of this bell were heard, the ponderous gates were
swung to and barred, not to be reopened till the ringing of the same
bell at the first streak of dawn gave the signal to the keepers.

Entering through these gates, fortunately not yet closed, we saw
narrow, filthy streets, flanked by low mud houses, either thatched with
straw, or tiled. It has been aptly said that the city looks like a vast
bed of mushrooms, since none of the Korean houses are built more than
one story high.

The common people are very poor and their homes seem to an American
wretchedly poor and comfortless, and yet, compared with the most
destitute of London or New York, there are few who go cold or hungry
in Seoul. Each dwelling is so arranged that the part of the house
occupied by the women, which is called the _anpang_, or inner room,
shall be screened from sight from the street and from those entering
the gate--for every house has at least a tiny courtyard, part of which
is also screened off (either by another wall, or by mats, or trees and
bushes) for the women’s use.

Many of the homes of the poor consist of but one room, with a sort of
outer shed, which is used as kitchen. Such a place often has no window,
or at most only a tiny one, and both window and door are covered with
white paper instead of glass. These doors are usually very low and
narrow, so that even a small woman must stoop to enter, and within it
is not always possible to stand upright except in the center, where
the roof is highest. These small rooms are easily heated by means
of a system of flues built under the floor, which consists of stone
and mud. A fire of brush and twigs is kindled under one side of the
house, and as the chimney opens at the other side, the draft naturally
carries smoke and heat through the flues, the floor becomes very hot,
and the whole room is quickly warmed. The fireplace is built in with
pots for boiling the rice--so that a great advantage is obtained in
the matter of economy, the one fire booth cooks and warms. Wherever
it can be afforded, a _sarang_, or men’s sitting room, which opens
directly on the street or road, or upon the men’s court, is part of the
establishment. Here any man may enter; male guests are entertained, and
fed, and here they sleep. No men not members of the family or relatives
ever enter the _anpang_.

It is needless to say that everything in connection with these houses
is fearfully unsanitary, and many of them are filthy and full of
vermin. All sewage flows out into the unspeakable ditches on either
side of the street. Of late years efforts have been made to alter this
state of things, better streets have been laid, and the open sewers,
which have existed for many years, are sluiced out by the summer rains,
which are the salvation of the city.

It was a great and delightful surprise when suddenly, entering a gate
in a mud wall, we left behind us these dirty streets and saw around us
a lovely lawn, flower beds, bushes and trees, and a pretty picturesque
mission home. It was like magic. I found our mission in possession of
native houses which had been occupied in past years by wealthy but now
ruined or banished noblemen. They had been purchased at a ridiculously
low price in a condition of dilapidation, repaired at little expense
and the interiors more or less Europeanized. The one which I entered
had, with great good taste, been left without other ceiling than its
quaint and massive beams and rafters of blackened wood, the walls were
prettily papered, and rugs and comfortable furniture and a few pictures
and ornaments gave a homelike air. The rooms were spacious, and having
been the dwelling of the rich, they were not so low or dark as those I
have just described.

Our mission, which at that time had been established about four years,
was high in favor with the government. Dr. Allen first, and later Dr.
Heron, were the official physicians to the king, who had established
a government hospital, over which he had placed them in charge. Miss
Ellers, lately married, had been appointed medical adviser to the
queen and had been placed in charge of the women’s department of the
hospital, both of which positions she had resigned after her marriage,
and to both of which I had been appointed to succeed. The members of
the mission whom I found were Dr. and Mrs. Heron, Rev. H. G. Underwood
and Mrs. Bunker (formerly Miss Ellers). Dr. and Mrs. Allen had returned
to America on an official mission.

Work had been well started, the hospital was daily crowded with
patients, in addition to which Dr. Heron had a large foreign and native
practice, as well as a hospital school for the instruction of future
drug clerks and medical students. Mr. Underwood had established an
orphan boys’ home and school, had assisted Dr. Allen in his clinics
till the arrival of Dr. Heron, and was at that time, in addition to
the entire care of the orphanage, teaching in the government hospital
school, which it was hoped might be the stepping stone to a medical
school. He was holding regular religious services, and about thirty had
been baptized. He had made a long trip into the interior, up to the
northern borders, selling tracts and preaching everywhere. Language
helps were in preparation, and the Gospel of Mark in a tentative form
had been translated. Miss Ellers was in charge of women’s medical
work up to my arrival, and was high in favor with the queen, who had
bestowed rank upon her, and many costly presents. She had also begun to
work and train the first member of the girls’ school.

I found that help was much needed on all sides. The day after my
arrival saw me installed at the hospital with an interpreter at my
side. Here work usually lasted about three hours. My home was with Dr.
and Mrs. Heron, who with warmest kindness had fitted up a sunny room
for me. Here Dr. Heron and I had a joint dispensary, and here I was
besieged at all hours by women desiring medical attention. I soon found
that language study was continually interrupted very seriously by these
applicants, who respected not times or seasons. I was of course called
upon to visit patients in their homes, one of whom, the wife of the
Chinese minister of state, Prince Uan (now a very prominent personage
in Chinese matters), must be seen every day with an amount of ceremony
which took not a little of my precious time. However, finding that
others were being overworked, I consented to give two hours each day to
teaching the little orphans arithmetic and English.

Of course we made slow progress, and floundered not a little when the
teacher knew no Korean, and the pupils no English. This institution
had the unqualified favor of the king, and except the hospital was the
first institution in Korea which illustrated the loving-kindness of the
Lord. We hoped it might become a successful school, where souls might
be saved, ere they had been steeped for years in vice, and the first
steps taken in the preparation of evangelists and preachers. Our duty
and chief desire was of course to acquire the language, but this was
much interrupted by this other work. As we stood there, such a little
company among these dying millions, we could not realize that hours of
preparation then meant doubled usefulness in years to come, and so time
and energy, that should have been spent mainly in study, were poured
out in hospital, dispensary and schools.

The new missionaries of these later days are put in a language
incubator as soon as they arrive and kept there till they emerge
full-fledged linguists, who have passed three searching examinations
by the language committee of the missions. Then we sat down with an
English-Chinese dictionary (most scholarly Koreans know a little
Chinese), a Korean-French dictionary, a French grammar and a Korean
reader with a small English primer on Korean, the Gospel of Mark and
a Korean catechism for text books. We were presented to a Korean
gentleman knowing not one syllable of English, or the first principles
of the constructions of any language on earth, or even the parts of
speech, and without the glimmering of an idea as to the best methods
or any method of teaching, who yet was called, probably ironically,
“a teacher,” from whom we were expected to pump with all diligence
such information on the language as he was able to bestow. With
scanty knowledge of French, more than rusty from long disuse, I
labored and floundered, trying now this plan, now that, with continual
interruptions and discouragements.

Before I could more than stammer a few sentences I was called upon to
begin religious teaching, so undertook a Sunday school service with the
little boys, using a catechism which I could not yet translate, but
(knowing the sounds) could hear the boys recite. Soon after I began
holding a Bible class with a few women, with the aid of a little native
boy who had learned English and a former sorceress who could read the
Chinese Scriptures. This woman would read the chapter, we all united
in the Lord’s prayer and in singing the few hymns then translated, and
I talked to the women through the medium of my little interpreter. I
struggled and stumbled. The women were patient and polite, but to our
Father it must have looked the spoiled tangled patchwork of the child
who wished to help, with ignorant, untaught hands, and made a loving
botch of it all.

Perhaps right here a few words about the Korean religions may be in
place. Confucianism, Buddhism and Taouism all hold a sort of sway
over the natives, and yet all have lost, to a great extent, the
influence they once had. The majority have very little faith in any
religion. Confucianism, otherwise a mere philosophical system of
morals, has the strongest hold upon the people in the laws it enjoins
for ancestor worship. This custom, enforced by the strongest and most
widespread superstitions in the minds of the Koreans, binds them
with fetters stronger than iron. If ancestors are not worshiped with
most punctilious regard to every smallest detail of the law, dire
calamities will befall, from the wrath of irate and neglected spirits.
The servitude thus compelled is hard and wearisome, but not one jot or
tittle must be omitted, and woe to the wretch who, embracing another
doctrine, fails to perform these rites. He or she is looked upon as
more than a traitor to home and friends, false to the most sacred
obligations. Buddhism has fallen low, until very lately its priests
were forbidden to enter the capital, and they rank next to the slayer
of cattle, the lowest in the land.

A few Buddhist temples are maintained at government expense or by
endowment, and women and children, and all the more ignorant, still
worship and believe, to some extent. The same classes also worship and
fear an infinite number of all sorts of evil deities--gods or demons,
who infest earth, air and sea, gods of various diseases, and all
trades; these in common with Satan himself must be propitiated with
prayers and sacrifices, beating of drums, ringing of bells and other
ceremonials too numerous to mention.

Over all other objects of worship, they believe, is the great Heavens,
the personification of the visible heavens, who, as nearly as I can
discover, is identical with the Baal referred to in the Old Testament;
but everywhere their faith waxes more and more feeble in these old
worn-out superstitions. In many cases only respect for ancient customs
and public opinion keeps them even in appearance to the outward
forms of worship. They are as sheep without a shepherd, lost in the
wilderness, “faint and hungry, and ready to die,” and so when the
gospel comes, it finds many weary souls, ready to take Christ’s yoke
upon them and find his rest.

And yet how hopeless looked the task we had before us in those days,
a little company of scarce a dozen people, including our Methodist
brethren, many of us able to stammer only a few words of the language
as yet, attempting to introduce Christianity into a nation of fourteen
or more millions of people, in the place of their long established
religions; and beginning with a few poor farmers and old women. But the
elements of success, the certainty of victory, lay in the divine nature
of the religion, and in the Almighty God who sent us with it. This
knowledge inspired us and this alone.

A few days after my arrival in Seoul a messenger came from the queen,
to bid me welcome, and inquire if I had had a pleasant journey, and
shortly after Mrs. Heron asked some of the queen’s attendants to meet
me at luncheon. These women are not, as in other courts, ladies of
high rank, for such could never, under Korean customs, endure the
publicity of the palace, but are taken as children and young girls from
the middle and lower classes, and entirely separated from all others,
to the service of their majesties. They usually hold no rank, and are
treated with respect, only on account of their relations to the royal
family. They wear on all state occasions immense quantities of false
hair, which gives them a peculiarly grotesque appearance; are much
powdered and perfumed, with pencilled and shaven eyebrows; wear long
flowing silken robes, gilded ornaments in their hair and at their
waists; and present the sad spectacle of women whose very decorations
seem only to add to and emphasize their painful uncomeliness.

[Illustration: MAIN ENTRANCE TO PALACE. PAGE 20]

Korean women as a rule are not beautiful. I, who love them as much as
any one ever did, who look upon them as my own sisters, must confess
this. Sorrow, hopelessness, hard labor, sickness, lovelessness,
ignorance, often, too often, shame, have dulled their eyes, and
hardened and scarred their faces, so that one looks in vain for a
semblance of beauty among women over twenty-five years of age. Among
the little maids and young wives (saixies), who do not yet show the
effects of the heavy hand of care and toil, one often finds a sweet
bright gentle face that is pretty, winning, and very rarely even
beautiful. But these poor palace women come not under that class;
hardened, coarse and vulgar, their appearance only calls forth
compassion. I found to my surprise that they were all smokers, and
they were equally surprised that I would not accept their invitation
to join them in this indulgence. They examined my dress and belongings
with childish curiosity, and deluged me with questions as to my age,
why I had never married, whether I had children, and why not, and other
things equally impertinent and hard to answer; but were after all good
natured, friendly and well meaning.

This was my first introduction to Korean officialdom, and following
this within a very short time came another, in the form of a luncheon
and acrobatic entertainment given for me by the President of the
Foreign Office, Kim Yun Sik. This invitation came for the following
Sunday--and troubled me, because I was afraid the official (who
was quite ignorant of our customs and was offering me a flattering
evidence of courtesy and good will) would be hurt by my refusal to
accept an invitation for that day, and would very likely misunderstand
it. However, there was nothing else to be done, and with suitable
explanations, I announced my extreme regret at being obliged to refuse
his kindness.

With great good feeling, he then changed the day, and I was given
_carte blanche_ to invite my friends, and of course asked the ladies
of the Methodist mission, as well as our own. Several Korean gentlemen
of high rank, including those in connection with the hospital, and
others, had also been invited by my host. The table, for in deference
to our foreign custom, one long table, instead of a number of small
ones, had been arranged--was piled high with Korean dainties.
Chicken, pheasant and other cold meats, fish, eggs, nuts and fruits
prepared in many fanciful ways, Chinese preserved fruits and candies,
a gutta-percha-like delicacy called “dock,” made of rice and oil
pounded well together, an alcoholic native beverage called sül, and
champagne and cigars. It is needless to say that we Americans did not
partake of these latter additions to the _menu_. A vast crowd from
the streets poured into the large courtyard, to see the acrobats,
who were a strolling band hired for the occasion. Their performance
consisted chiefly in tight-rope walking and tumbling, and was in no
way remarkable. It lasted, however, nearly three hours, during all of
which time we listened to the monotonous whining of the Korean band,
more like a Scotch bagpipe (dear cousins, forgive) than anything else
I know of; and learned the Korean verb “anchera” (sit down), which I
heard that day repeated a thousand times, in all its moods, tenses and
case endings, in tones of exasperation to the irrepressible Korean boy,
who _would_ stand up to see, just for all the world like some boys of
whiter skin, nearer home.

Just before this, Mr. Underwood and Mr. Appenzeller had started on a
long itinerating trip toward the north, the second Mr. Underwood had
undertaken. While they were absent the wrath of the Korean king and
cabinet against the Romanists reached the boiling point, and culminated
in a decree forbidding the further teaching of foreign religions in the
ports. The country was not open to us (as it is not to-day, except by
special passports). The Romanists, with their well-known love of chief
seats and high places, failing to profit by their former experiences
of trouble from similar causes in China, insisted upon choosing as
the site for their future cathedral one of the highest points in the
city, overlooking the palace, and adjoining the temple holding royal
ancestral tablets. The property had been obtained unknown to the king,
through the medium of Korean agents, and though he used his utmost
endeavors, both with the priests and with the French legation, to
induce them to change this for any other site, they remained obdurate,
utterly refused to yield, and proceeded to lay the foundation of
their church. The decree immediately followed, and the American
minister advised, nay ordered, us to recall our missionaries, who most
unwillingly returned. There were, indeed, those who asserted that this
early attempt to carry the Gospel into the interior had been, at least
in part, the cause of the obnoxious decree, which made it look as if
our work was, for a time at least, at an end. That this was not so was
proved by the fact that Mr. Underwood had hardly returned ere he was
waited upon by a committee consisting of high Korean nobles and members
of the cabinet, offering him the entire charge of their government
school, with a generous salary, and with the full understanding that
he would not hesitate to teach Christianity to the pupils.

This offer, displaying the great confidence, instead of the displeasure
and suspicion which foreigners assured us was the feeling of the
Koreans toward our evangelistic workers, was taken into serious
consideration, but was finally refused on account of its interference
with other work, and for other reasons equally important.

It remained to us all to decide upon our course of conduct with regard
to the prohibitory decree. Some of our number--the majority--argued,
that as it was the law of the land, nothing remained for Christian
law-abiding people but to obey it, to stop holding even morning prayers
in our schools, to hold no religious services with Koreans, but to
wait and pray, until God should move the king’s heart, and have the
decree rescinded. By this course they believed we should win favor with
the authorities, while defiance or disobedience might cause our whole
mission to be expelled from the country.

A small minority, however, Mr. Appenzeller, now with the Lord, his
wife, Mr. Underwood and myself, held that the decree had never been
issued against us or our work, and that even if it had, we were under
higher orders than that of a Korean king. Our duty was to preach and
take the consequences, resting for authority on the word of God, spoken
through Peter, in Acts, 4:19, to the rulers who forbade the apostles to
preach, “_Whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you,
more than unto God, judge ye, for we cannot but speak the things which
we have seen and heard._” Others might stop, as they did, with sorrow,
conscientiously believing that to be the best course; we continued to
teach and preach, in public and private, singing hymns, which could
be heard far and near, in the little meeting-house. No attempt was
ever made in any way to hinder us. Christians and other attendants on
services came and went unmolested. Christianity has grown much since
then, and is acknowledged as a factor in the politics of more than one
province. No one ever thinks now of disguising or in any way concealing
our work, yet _that law has never to this day been rescinded_. This is
exactly in accord with Eastern customs. Laws become a dead letter, and
pass into disuse; they are not often annulled.

Another event of interest, which occurred during these first months
after my arrival in Korea, was the excitement culminating in what were
called “the baby riots.” Similar troubles in Tientsin, China, had some
years previously resulted in the massacre of a number of foreigners,
including Jesuit priests, nuns and two or three French officials.

Some person or persons, with malicious intent, started a rumor which
spread like wild-fire, that foreigners were paying wicked Koreans to
steal native children, in order to cut out their hearts and eyes, to
be used for medicine. This crime was imputed chiefly to the Japanese,
and it was supposed the story had been originated by Chinese or others
especially inimical to the large numbers of Japanese residents in
the capital. Mr. Underwood acquainted the Japanese minister with the
rumors, in order that he might protect himself and his people; which he
promptly did by issuing, and causing to be issued by the government,
proclamations entirely clearing his countrymen of all blame in the
matter, which it was left to be understood was an acknowledged fact,
and consequently the work of other “vile foreigners,” namely, ourselves
and the Europeans. The excitement and fury grew hourly. Large crowds of
angry people congregated, scowling, muttering, and threatening. Koreans
carrying their own children were attacked, beaten, and even killed,
on the supposition that they were kidnapping the children of others;
and a high Korean official, who tried to protect one of these men, was
pulled from his chair, and narrowly escaped with his life, although he
was surrounded by a crowd of retainers and servants. It was considered
unsafe for foreigners to be seen in the street. Marines were called up
from Chemulpo to guard the different legations, and some Americans even
packed away their most necessary clothing and valuables, preparatory
to fleeing to the port. The wildest stories were told. Babies, it was
said, had been eaten at the German, English, and American legations,
and the hospital, of course, was considered by all the headquarters of
this bloodthirsty work, for there, where medicine was manufactured and
diseases treated, the babies must certainly be butchered.

One day, when returning from my clinic, my chair was surrounded by
rough-looking men, who told my bearers that they should all be killed
if they carried me to the hospital again; and such was the terror
inspired, that these men positively refused to take me thither the
following day. So I rode on horseback through the city to the hospital,
Mr. Underwood, who also had duties at the hospital school, acting as
my escort. We went and returned quite unmolested, and it has been
my experience then and later, that a bold front and appearance of
fearlessness and unconcern in moments of danger impress Asiatics, and
act as a great safeguard for the foreigner.

In the meanwhile, however, the European foreign representatives
had awakened to the fact that a very real danger threatened our
little community, and might ripen at any moment into destruction.
Proclamations from the Foreign Office were posted everywhere, but the
earliest of these were mistakenly worded, leaving the impression
still that possibly some “vile foreigner” had instituted these awful
deeds, and that should he be discovered sore punishment would follow.
At last, however, a notice appeared, written at the dictation of these
same “vile foreigners,” in which it was positively stated that not only
had no such thing been done by any foreigners, but that should any one
be caught uttering these slanders, he would be at once arrested, and
unless able to prove the truth of his tales, be punished with death.
Detectives and police officers were scattered everywhere through the
city, people were forbidden to stand in groups of twos and threes, a
few arrests were made, and the riots were at an end.

[Illustration: KOREAN OFFICIAL IN CHAIR. PAGE 16]

Before calm was restored, however, we had some uncertain, not to say
uneasy, hours. On the evening of the day when the excitement had been
at its highest, we received word from the American legation that should
there be evidence that the mob were intending to attack our homes, a
gun would be fired in the legation grounds as a signal, and we were
then to hasten thither for mutual safety and defense.

It was a calm starlit July night. We sat in the little porch leading
into our compound, enjoying the cool evening air, when suddenly a
terrific illumination of blazing buildings lit up the horizon, and
a fearful hubbub of a shouting, yelling mob assailed our ears. With
beating hearts we watched and listened. Some one said Korean mobs
always began by burning houses, and while we waited, wondering what it
all meant, the air was rent by the sharp, quick report of a gun from
the American legation.

This seemed to leave no doubt as to the real state of affairs, and Mr.
Underwood and Mr. Hulbert at once repaired to the legation to make sure
that there was no mistake, but soon returned, with the welcome news,
that the firing of the gun had been accidental. The burning buildings
also proved to have been only a coincidence, and the noise nothing more
than common with a Korean crowd round a fire. In a way that still seems
to be miraculous, the raging of the heathen was quieted, God was round
about us, the danger that looked inevitable passed away, and all was
calm.

Not long after this came the first request from the palace for me to
attend on the queen, to which I responded not without some anxiety,
lest through some unlooked-for occurrence some misstep on my part,
the work of our mission so auspiciously begun should be hindered or
stopped. As yet somewhat uncertain of our foothold, ignorant to a
large extent of the people with whom we had to deal, we trembled lest
some inadvertence might close the door, only so lately and unwillingly
opened. I had been told I must always go in full court dress, but
when I came to open the boxes, which contained the gowns prepared
for this purpose, I found that both had been ruined in crossing the
Pacific and could not be worn. Alas! how inauspicious to be obliged to
appear before royalty in unsuitable attire, which might be attributed
to disrespect! But a far more serious trouble than this weighed upon
my mind as my chair coolies jogged me along the winding streets and
alleys to the palace grounds. I had been strictly warned not to say
anything to the queen on the subject of religion. “We are only here on
sufferance,” it was urged, “and even though our teaching the common
people may be overlooked and winked at, if it is brought before the
authorities so openly and boldly, as it would be to introduce it into
the palace, even our warmest friends might feel obliged to utterly
forbid further access to the royal family, if not to banish us
altogether from the country.” “Wait,” it was said, “until our footing
is more assured; do not risk all through impatience.”

I saw the logic of these words, though my heart talked hotly in a very
different way; but I went to the palace with my mouth sealed on the one
subject I had come to proclaim.



CHAPTER II

    The Palaces--The Stone Dogs--The Fire God’s Defeat--The
    Summer Pleasure House--Royal Reception Hall--Court Dress of
    Noblemen--First Impression of the King--Appearance of the
    Queen--The Queen’s Troubles--The Queen’s Coup d’état--The
    Verb Endings--The Queen’s Generosity--Stone Fight--Gifts--The
    Quaga--Poukhan--Its Impregnability--Picturesque Surroundings
    of Seoul--Pioneer Work--Progress of Work--The Queen’s Wedding
    Gift--Our Wedding--Opposition to my Going to the Interior--My
    Chair--The Chair Coolies.


The palaces, of which there were at that time three, and are now four,
within the city walls, consist of several groups of one-story bungalow
buildings, within large grounds or parks, which are surrounded by fine
stone walls, twelve or fifteen feet high, of considerable thickness.
Within these in closures were barracks for soldiers, and quarters for
under-officials and servants. A special group of houses stood separated
from the others for women’s apartments, and here might be seen the
aged and rather infirm dowager queen, who died about a year after my
arrival. The main gates in the walls of the palace I was about to visit
are three, facing on the great main thoroughfare of the city. The
central one, larger than the others, was used only for royalty; even
ministers of foreign states are expected to enter by one of the two
smaller ones on either side.

The fact that on one occasion the central gate had by special royal
order been thrown open for the American minister is an illustration of
the kindness and favor always shown to our representatives. These
entrances are approached by broad, stone steps and a platform with
handsome, carved stone balustrade, which is surmounted as well as the
lofty gates by crudely chiseled stone images of various mythological
animals. Some ten or more paces in front of these steps, and on either
side, are the great stone dogs, so called for want of a better name,
for they no more resemble dogs than lions. The story of their origin
is as follows: The fire god, it was said, had a special enmity against
this palace, and repeatedly burned it down; various efforts had been
made to propitiate or intimidate him with little success; at length an
expensive dragon was brought from China and placed in a moat in the
grounds. While he lived all was well, but one ill-fated day an enemy
poisoned this faithful guardian, and that night the palace was again
burned. Finally some fertile brain devised these animals, no poison
could affect their stony digestion, no fear or cajoling could impress
their hard hearts; so there they stand on their tall pedestals--fierce
and uncompromising, facing the quarter whence the fire god comes,
always on guard, never sleeping in their faithful watch, and, as
might be expected, he has never been able to burn the buildings thus
protected.

[Illustration: KOREAN STONE DOG IN FRONT OF PALACE GATES. PAGE 21]

I was conducted, however, through neither of these three main gates,
but as a very strict rule was then in existence that no chair coolies
should be allowed within the palace walls, my chair was carried to
a small gate, much nearer the royal apartments, so that we should
not be obliged to walk so far. Mrs. Bunker and Dr. Heron accompanied
me, and we were met by gentlemanly Korean officials, and taken to a
little waiting room, furnished with European chairs, and a table,
upon which were little cakes, cigars and champagne, all of which were
offered to us ladies, though after a better acquaintance with us,
tea was substituted in place of the tobacco and wine. It would take
far too long to describe all that engaged my eager interest as we
walked through the palace grounds. A beautiful and interesting summer
pleasure house--perhaps one of the most unique and remarkable in the
world--stands in the center of a large lotus pond. It has an upper
story and roof supported on forty-eight monoliths, the outer row being
about four feet square at the base; the inner columns are rounded, of
about the same diameter, and sixteen or eighteen feet high; the upper
story is of wood, elaborately carved, and brightly decorated; most
of these buildings are covered with a beautiful green glazed tile,
peculiar to royal edifices.

There were many other interesting buildings, among which the royal
reception hall was probably the finest. We saw a great number of
officials, eunuchs, chusas, noblemen and soldiers, each kind and grade
wearing a different attire from all the others.

The dress of the common soldiers was intended to be an imitation of
European military costume adapted to the ideas of the Koreans. The
result was a hybrid which had neither the dignity nor the usefulness of
the one or the other. It consisted of a loose blouse jacket, and badly
fitting, baggy trousers, made of thin black cotton cloth, with scarlet
trimmings. The jacket was belted in, and a black felt hat surmounted
the top-knot, and was fastened insecurely beneath the chin by a narrow
band. This unbecoming uniform has now been changed, and the Emperor’s
soldiers are as well dressed as those of any European nation.

Korean noblemen when in attendance at the palace wear a dark blue coat,
with a belt which is far too large and forms a sort of hoop in front
of the person. An embroidered breastplate is worn over the chest,
representing a stork for civil office and a tiger for military rank.
The head-dress is a kind of hat woven of horsehair, with wings at
either side, curved forward, as it were in order to catch every word
uttered by royalty. Nobles and officials wear on the hat band, just
back of the ears, buttons of various styles made of gold or jade, which
indicate the degree of the wearer’s rank.

When the royal family were ready to see us, Mrs. Bunker and I were
conducted through the grounds a short distance, passed through several
gateways, and at length stood at the entrance of an anteroom half
filled with nobles, eunuchs and palace women, beyond which, in a very
small inner room, were the king and queen, and their son, a youth about
sixteen years of age. We passed forward to the audience-room, bowing
frequently and very low to the smiling party of three who awaited us.

Never before had I, an American--a descendant of colonial ancestors who
had cast off the shackles of tyranny--bowed so low. Never had I thought
to feel as I felt when first entering the presence of a real live king
and queen. The royal family had most graciously risen to greet us,
and at once invited us to be seated. At that time, at least, Korean
nobles never entered the royal presence without prostrating themselves
to the ground, and such a piece of presumption as sitting was never
dreamed of; so we refused the offered chairs, having been especially
warned that not to do so might awaken jealousy and make enemies to
the cause of Christianity. The point, however, was insisted upon to
such an extent that we could no longer with politeness refuse, and so
we found ourselves sitting face to face in a chatty sort of way, in a
little eight by ten room, with the king and queen of Korea. The king
impressed me at that and every subsequent meeting as a fine-looking
genial gentleman. He was attired in a long touramachi, or coat of rich
red silk (the royal color), with a cap or head-dress like those worn
by the noblemen, except that the wings turned back rather than forward
like theirs.

The queen, of course, excited my deepest interest. Slightly pale and
quite thin, with somewhat sharp features and brilliant piercing eyes,
she did not strike me at first sight as being beautiful, but no one
could help reading force, intellect and strength of character in that
face, and as she became engaged in conversation, vivacity, naïveté,
wit, all brightened her countenance, and gave it a wonderful charm, far
greater than mere physical beauty; and I have seen the queen of Korea
when she looked positively beautiful.

She possessed mental qualities of a high order, as I soon learned,
and although, like all Asiatics, her learning consisted chiefly in
the Chinese classics, she possessed a very intelligent idea of the
great nations of the world and their governments, for she asked many
questions, and remembered what she heard. She was a subtle and able
diplomatist and usually outwitted her keenest opponents; she was,
moreover, a sovereign of broad and progressive policy, patriotic,
and devoted to the best interests of her country and sought the good
of the people to a much larger extent than would be expected of an
Oriental queen. In addition, she possessed a warm heart, a tender love
for little children, a delicacy and consideration in her relations,
at least with us missionaries, which would have done honor to any
European lady of high rank. The queen, though a Korean who had never
seen the society of a foreign court, was a perfect lady. It was with
surprise that I learned that as much difference exists in Korea between
the people of high birth and breeding and the common coolie as is
found between the European gentleman and the day laborer. Their
majesties kindly inquired about my trip to Korea, my present comfort,
and my friends and family in America, showing the kindest interest
in what concerned me most. The conversation was carried on through
an interpreter, who stood behind a tall screen, his body bent nearly
double in reverence, never raising his eyes.

[Illustration: THE KING OF KOREA. PAGE 23]

I learned later that Korean doctors, always men, who had treated
the queen, felt (?) her pulse by using a cord, one end of which was
fastened about her wrist, and the other carried into the next room
was held in the doctor’s fingers. The royal tongue, I was told, was
protruded through a slit in a screen for the physician’s observation.
I found the queen’s trouble nothing more serious than a small furuncle
which needed lancing; but as the mere suggestion of approaching her
sacred person with any sort of surgical instrument was looked upon
with unspeakable horror and indignation by all who surrounded her, and
was flatly forbidden by the king, patience and slower measures were
necessarily resorted to.

It was hardly to be wondered at that all the queen’s friends were so
over-cautious and fearful for her safety. She had suffered long and
malignant persecution at the hands of a cruel father-in-law, whose
wicked ambitious schemes and greed of power she had balked, and nothing
that a fertile brain and hate combined with wealth and influence could
contrive was left undone to bring about the ruin of this unhappy
lady. Slander, assassins, insurrection, fire, conspiracy with hostile
nations--were all resorted to; many and thrilling were her hairbreadth
escapes. Once disguised and carried on the back of a faithful retainer,
she was taken from one end of the city to the other, and once in a
common native woman’s chair she was borne to a place of concealment
and safety. Nearly her whole immediate family were destroyed at one
fell blow, by means of an infernal machine cunningly devised, sent as
a present of great value from a supposed hermit, to be opened only in
the presence of every member of the family. Through some fortunate
circumstance the queen was detained away, but all present were
instantly killed and horribly mutilated. To understand the reason for
this ferocious enmity, one needs to know a little of the royal history.

The present king was the adopted son of a former childless king. His
widow appointed the present king’s father to act as regent until
the majority of his son. The older man was greedy of power, keen
and crafty, and not inclined to hand over the reins of government;
he therefore selected a wife for his son from a family of his near
friends, choosing a woman he supposed he could easily control; but he
was mistaken in her character and gifts. Years slipped by and time had
long been over-ripe for the king to assume the government, and yet the
“Tai-won-kun” gave no sign of relinquishing his clutch upon the reins
of power; but the king, gentle and submissive to his father, as all
Koreans are taught to be, was unwilling to force a resignation. One
morning, however, through a _coup d’état_ of the queen, the old man
found himself displaced, and a new cabinet and set of advisers selected
from the friends and cousins of the queen. His rage knew no bounds,
and from that time forth he planned her destruction. How he finally
succeeded in carrying out his malicious intentions must be related
later. Thus far, the queen, equally shrewd and fortunate, had escaped
his toils.

To return to our palace visit, however. After examining into her
majesty’s trouble, and prescribing a course of treatment, we took our
leave, backing and bowing ourselves out of the royal apartments as if
we had been born and bred hangers-on of courts. I soon learned that
all my verbs must wear a long train of “_simnaitas_,” “_simnikas_,”
and “_sipsios_,” the highest honorific endings when visiting the
palace. Each Korean verb has a generous collection of these endings,
from which the confused and unwary stranger must select at his peril,
when addressing natives of different ranks; but there is no doubt,
fortunately, about what must be used at the palace, and one feels quite
safe if every verb is tipped with a “_simnaita_” or “_simnika_.” To be
sure, there are high Chinese-derived words, which natives always use
there, instead of the simpler Anglo-Saxon--I should say, Korean--but
uninitiated foreigners are not expected to know them, and are really
most generously excused for all mistakes. Koreans are in this respect
models of kindness and politeness, and will often hear newcomers make
the most laughable and absurd mistakes without a single spasm of
countenance to show that they have taken note of the blunder.

Not many days after this visit to the palace, an official appeared
at my home with a number of interesting and beautiful gifts from the
queen, including a fine embroidered screen, embroidered pillow, and bed
cushions, native silks, linens, cotton materials, fans, pockets and
various other articles.

Her majesty was extremely generous, and it was nothing unusual for her
thus to bestow in most munificent fashion gifts upon the members of our
mission whom she had met, and upon the ladies of the legations. Every
Korean New Year’s day any of us who were in the slightest way connected
with the palace or government institutions received many pheasants,
bags of nuts, pounds of beef, large fish, hundreds of eggs and pounds
of dried persimmons.

On the royal birthdays, too, dainties were sent to us, and at the
beginning of each summer dozens of fans and jars of honey water were
presented. This open-handed generosity indicated not only the queen’s
kind disposition, but the favor with which all Americans were regarded
by the Korean authorities, due largely to the favorable impression
which Dr. Allen had made, and also perhaps to the fact that we belonged
to a large and powerful nation, which had no object in interfering in
Eastern politics in any way to the detriment of Korea, and which might
become an efficient ally and defender.

During my first year I had the exciting and doubtful privilege of
being present at a native sectional or stone fight, an experience
which few covet even once--and which the wise and informed, at least
of womankind, invariably forego. Once a year at a certain season,
where two neighborhoods or sections have grievances against each
other, they settle them by one of these fights. They choose captains,
arrange the opposing parties, and begin firing stones and tiles at
each other. As one crowd or the other is by turns victorious, and the
pursued flee before their enemies, and as those who are at one moment
triumphant are often the very next the vanquished, hotly chased, it
is almost impossible to find any safe point of vantage from which to
view the conflict. At any instant the place one has chosen, as well
removed and safe, may become the ground of the hottest battle. Very
large stones are often thrown, and people are fatally injured, though
not as frequently as one would think. It is a wonder that hundreds
are not killed or wounded. In going from my home to visit a friend
one day, a few weeks after my arrival, I was obliged to pass a large
crowd of men, who seemed divided into two parties, and were very noisy
and vociferous. I remarked upon this to my friend, and sending to
inquire, we found it was the preliminaries of a stone fight which I
had witnessed. Her husband said it would not be safe for me to return
alone, and therefore to my lasting gratitude offered to see me through
it.

We soon found that the stones and missiles were coming our way, and
were forced to run for shelter to a Korean house. For a few moments
the fight was hot around us, and then as it seemed to have passed
on--quite far down the street--we ventured forth, only to find that
the tide had again turned, and the whole mob were tearing in our
direction. Mr. Bunker, for it was he, said there was nothing for it but
to scale a half-broken wall into an adjacent compound, and run for it
to the house of Mr. Gilmore, not far distant. So, reckless of my best
gown, I scaled the wall with great alacrity, and we ran for it quite
shamelessly. Missiles of considerable size were raining around us,
and the possibility, or rather probability, that one would soon light
on our heads, accelerated our speed to no small degree. These affairs
are often funny in retrospect, but smack strongly of the tragic at the
time, while the outcome is so decidedly uncertain. However, by much
dodging and circling, frequently sheltering ourselves under the wall,
we at length reached Mr. Gilmore’s house, when, in a somewhat ruffled
and perturbed condition, I waited till the coast was quite clear and
found my way home, a wiser and deeply thoughtful woman.

On one occasion not long since an affair of this kind threatened very
serious results for a hot-headed young compatriot of ours, who went to
photograph one of these fights. A cool-headed American recently snapped
his camera on a tiger here before shooting it, and it may have been
in emulation of him, that our young friend made this attempt. He soon
became convinced that he was the object at which all the missiles were
sent, and that the bloodthirsty ruffians were all seeking his life.
Being unfortunately as well as unlawfully armed with a six-shooter,
over-excited and alarmed, he fired into the crowd and fled. His
bullet entered the fleshy part of the leg of one of the natives, who
fell, as most of them supposed, mortally wounded; and now indeed the
wrath of the crowd on both sides was directed at its hottest against
the thoroughly frightened young man. He ran for his life--the crowd
pursuing with yells of fury. Camera and overcoat were flung away--he
had nearly a mile to go to reach shelter in the American legation,
which he at length managed to do, panting and almost exhausted. As his
victim was not seriously hurt, he escaped with the payment of a fine, a
few weeks’ imprisonment, a most severe reprimand, and a polite request
to leave the country.

The Koreans often evince considerable military skill in the tactics
of these civil battles. Sharpshooters armed with slings will take
possession of some high point, and others are sent to take them by
surprise and dislodge them, suddenly creeping upon them from the rear,
or scaling the rampart in the face of the enemy’s fire. These natives
repeatedly prove themselves good fighters and no cowards, when armed
and facing not too unequal numbers.

During this my first summer in Korea I was invited to attend a royal
Quaga. This was a very interesting assemblage of Korean scholars, who
met in the palace grounds, and there in little tents or booths wrote
theses in Chinese on some subject given by the king. Those whose
papers passed a successful examination were rewarded with some civil
rank, supposed to be proportioned to the excellence of their standing.
I should think that more than a thousand men from all parts of the
country were gathered in these grounds, busily writing or copying
their papers, some of which were then being handed to the judges.

I was told, however, that in nearly all the successful cases money was
necessary to aid the judgment and clarify the minds of the judges. We
were treated with great kindness, invited to a fine pavilion, and later
offered refreshments in the royal dining hall. This old-time (shall I
say, dishonored) institution has now fallen into disuse for some years.
No doubt in its honest beginnings a truly competitive examination for
office, it was good and useful, but abuses creeping in, rendered it an
empty form to be finally abolished as a useless and effete remnant of
ancient days.

Another event of the summer was a little trip made to Poukhan, or the
northern fortress, about ten miles distant from Seoul. It is said by
Koreans that a secret underground road leads from it to the palace in
Seoul, so that in case of any danger, or the investment of the city by
enemies, the royal family could flee hither for safety. It is in truth
an ideal spot for such a purpose. European soldiers have said that
properly fortified it would be for months, perhaps years, impregnable.
Our visit was made in Korea’s loveliest season, the month of May, which
is, if possible, more beautiful than in any other land. Wild flowers of
the most exquisite hue and odor abound everywhere, but at Poukhan they
seemed to be in greater quantities and lovelier colors. The mountain
rises bold and rugged in outline, and its scenery is wild and in places
almost forbidding, but a beautiful brook dashes down its sides, leaping
over huge boulders and turning everything into luxuriant beauty, like
the lovely maids of fairy lore, in whose footsteps the sweetest flowers
sprang and from whose lips dropped fairest gems.

This brook flows from a spring which bubbles up in the top of the
mountain, so that any garrison stationed there need never surrender for
want of water, nor indeed of food, for after a steep ascent of about a
mile, the path suddenly pierces the rocks, and entering a picturesque
gate in a more picturesque wall, all hung with ivy, dips into a verdant
valley surrounded on all sides by lofty barriers of rock. Here are
fertile fields where food can easily be raised and stored against an
evil time.

Some of our missionaries often come here, and spend the hot and
unhealthy summer weeks among the cool shades of these lofty rocks--in
some of the Buddhist temples. There are some delightful little
pavilions, near clear, cool pools of water, with scenery on all sides
very wild, beautiful, and picturesque.

At that time, in the history of our mission nearly every foreigner
possessed a horse, most of them Chinese ponies, very gentle and easy
to ride. Utterly unacquainted with the nature of the people, it was
feared by many that danger might suddenly arise, and that we ought to
have means of escape at hand. We found them very useful and pleasant
accessories, and often when the hot afternoon sun was low we explored
some of the pretty and interesting surroundings of Seoul.

This city lies encircled by low mountains, whose treeless and bare
outlines cut the blue horizon with a bold abruptness. Among the hills
and mountain passes are pretty woods and groves--and here lies nestled
many a little hamlet, entered through some charming lane, bordered
with blossoming bushes of clematis, eglantine, hawthorn or syringa,
in richest profusion. Mr. Underwood was often my guide on these
excursions; sometimes we walked on the city wall, and saw the distant
mountains and the sleeping villages beneath us, bathed in glorious
moonlight, and thanked God for casting our lives in a land of so
much beauty and among a people so kindly and teachable.

[Illustration: THE GREAT MARKET AT CHEENJU]

[Illustration: SURROUNDINGS OF SEOUL. PAGE 32]

During all these months and the following winter foundations were still
busily laying, language helps and Bible translations were under way,
and through hospital and school, as well as by direct evangelistic
effort, people were being reached. The number of attendants upon the
services in the little chapel was daily increasing, and reports came
from the natives working in the country of inquirers and converts
there, which made it seem necessary to make another extended trip as
soon as possible. A second trip had already been made by Mr. Underwood,
selling books and simple medicines, and gathering in here and there
a little handful of converts. He met with great encouragement, but
baptized few. During his first trip he traveled to the northern border
of Korea, stopping in all the large towns, Songdo, Anju, Pyeng Yang,
Kangai, Haiju, Ouiju. During the entire year less than twenty-five were
baptized, and from the first altogether up to that time hardly fifty,
while Methodists and Presbyterians together up to 1889 numbered only
a little over one hundred. In April of 1888 he baptized seven men at
Sorai, a village in Whang Hai, where the Gospel had been brought in
from China by a Mr. Saw Sang Hyen, a convert of Mr. Ross’. Some of
these men had come to the capital in the spring of 1887 and three had
been baptized after careful examination.

The seven who were received in their own village had been for more than
a year in preparation, and then were baptized only after Mr. Underwood
had spent ten days in their village, talking with and examining them.
This is mentioned to show that extreme caution was used in making the
first admissions to the native church, in order that its foundations
might be laid securely, if slowly. In the trip made in November, 1888,
certain Koreans had been placed in a few localities to instruct, sell
tracts and pave the way for the work of the foreigner on a succeeding
visit. One of these men was stationed at Pyeng Yang, one at Chang Yun,
and one at Ouiju. Extremely encouraging, but in some cases exaggerated
reports came from all these places as to the increasing number of
hopeful inquirers, and it seemed imperative that a trip should be
taken as soon as spring opened, for the examination, encouragement and
instruction of these new believers, and to oversee the work of the
employed agents, who were necessarily unproved as yet.

Mr. Underwood and I had been engaged since the early fall, and we had
arranged to be married, and to start for the country on the fourteenth
of March. The whole foreign community seemed to vie with each other in
tokens of kindness and good will towards us on that occasion.

On the morning of the eventful day, the jingling bells of many
pack-ponies was heard in our courtyard, and I soon discovered that
quite a train of the little animals had arrived with the gift of her
majesty. One million cash! It sounds like “Arabian Nights,” but as at
that time 2,500 to 3,000 cash went to the making of the dollar, it
was not, after all, more than a generous Korean queen might easily
give, or a missionary easily dispose of. Their majesties arranged for
several people from the palace to be present at the ceremony, the army
was represented by General Han Ku Sul, a nobleman of the highest rank,
and the cabinet by Min Yeng Whan, a near relative of the queen, and in
highest favor with their majesties.

A number of palace women were also present, behind screens, and of
course some of the native Christians. The whole foreign community gave
us their good wishes, and cable messages were put in our hands just
after the ceremony, from each of our respective homes in America.

Early on the morning of the 14th of March, 1889, we set out on our
wedding trip.

Everything except force had been resorted to by missionaries and
foreigners residing in Seoul to prevent my taking this journey. No
European woman had, as yet, ever traveled in the interior of Korea,
and not more than four or five men had ever ventured ten miles outside
the walls, except to the port. Tigers and leopards were known to exist
in the mountains; the character of the natives was not well understood
by most people; contagion in the inns, the rudeness of mobs, the
difficulty of obtaining good water, no means of speedy communication
with Seoul, the necessity at times of long marches, were all possible
dangers, but were greatly overestimated. It was freely and frequently
predicted, that if I came back at all, it would be in my coffin,
and my poor husband fell under the heaviest of public censure for
consenting to take me. As he had made two trips and saw no difficulty,
I felt I could trust his judgment, and as country work was exactly
what I had longed to do, and what had been my ideal from the first,
I looked forward with the greatest pleasure to a journey through a
lovely country, to be filled with blessed service; it seemed to me no
honeymoon so rich in delight could ever have been planned before.

It was arranged that I should go in a native chair, which consisted of
a sort of box frame, high enough for me to sit in Turkish fashion; it
had a roof of bamboo covered with paper oiled and painted, the sides
were closed in with blue muslin, and there were little windows of
stained glass on either side. A curtain in the front could be raised or
buttoned down to keep out the chill or the disagreeable piercing eyes
of the curious sightseers or _kugungers_, as they are called in Korea.
My conveyance was made more comfortable by cushions beneath and behind
my seat, a shawl was draped around the inside to keep out draughts, and
with a hot-water bottle and foot-muff at my feet, I felt positively
steeped in luxury, and quite too much babyfied for a hardy missionary.

I was carried by a couple of strong chair coolies, the poles on which
the chair was placed resting in straps, which hung from the shoulders
of the carriers, so that its main weight came on them, rather than on
the hands, which grasped the poles. There were four bearers, two who
carried, and two who, by placing a strong rod under the chair, lifted
its weight from the tired shoulders, for half a minute or so, once
every ten minutes. At the end of every three miles these lifting men
and the others changed places, and so we easily made thirty miles or
more every day, without much fatigue on the part of these hardy men,
whose profession this had been for years.

I’m afraid they were a very rough set of customers, and undoubtedly
got us into trouble on more than one occasion. They were full of fun
and spirits, and told long and fishy yarns, to the country folks, and
occasionally played off practical jokes on these simple swains, to
beguile the tedium of the road. They aroused the awe and admiration of
the natives in the country villages, by telling them what wonderful
things we carried in our packs. There was nothing, according to them,
that we could not do, or had not got. “Why, even a boat,” said they,
“is in that trunk. It folds up very small, but one blows into it,
and it gradually grows hard and large, and lo! a boat.” Thus was
magnified our rubber bath tub. That we finished our trip with so little
difficulty with such companions speaks well for the gentle good nature
of the natives.

[Illustration: A STREET CROWD. PAGE 35]

Of course, I walked as much as possible, but many weary miles must be
endured in the chair, with its tiresome jogging, interrupted regularly
with an upward jolt of several inches. The ordinary road soon came
to be quite tolerable, but when the bearers in the half light of
early dawn (or worse still, the evening, when tired with a long day’s
march) picked their way over the narrow foot-paths, slippery with
clay, between half-submerged rice fields, or jumped across intervening
ditches, the rear man going wholly by faith, I must say it was not easy
or pleasant.

We had quite a little train. Mr. Underwood was on his horse, with a
_mapoo_ to lead and care for it. These horses are all fed on a hot
food of beans and chopped hay, and very carefully attended to. We had
two or three pack-ponies which carried medicines, tracts, at that
time mostly Chinese, which only scholars could read, our blankets and
bedding, a few cooking utensils, and foreign food and our clothing.
The question of money and changes of horses was a difficult one, but
it had been solved by an order from the Korean Foreign Office, to the
country magistrates, to accept our receipt for any amount of money that
we might need, and also for horses in exchange for ours, all of which
bills we were to pay in Seoul on our return. The money was so extremely
bulky, it was impossible to take more than a couple of days’ supply on
our ponies. On previous trips Mr. Underwood had carried large lumps of
silver, which were exchanged in the towns for cash.

The little inns along the road never charge for rooms; the number of
tables of rice and the number of horses fed are usually the only items
in the landlord’s bill. In addition to chair coolies and mapoos, we had
a young Christian helper, a cook, and a kesu. The two latter left us at
Pyeng Yang and returned home.



CHAPTER III

    We Start on our Wedding Journey--Songdo--Guards at our
    Gates--Crossing the Tai-tong--Difficulties in Finding an
    Inn--Korean Launderings--An Old Man Seeks to be Rid of Sin--Mob
    at an Inn--A Ruffian Bursts Open my Door--Fight in the Inn
    Yard--Pat Defies the Crowd--Convenience of Top-knots--A
    Magistrate Refuses to Shelter Us--The “Captain” to the
    Rescue--Pack-ponies--We Lay a Deep Scheme--Torch Bearers--A
    Mountain Hamlet--Tiger Traps--Tigers--A Band of Thirty Conspire
    to Attack Us--Guns Used by Native Hunters--A Tiger Story.


We started on our trip at early dawn, turning directly north, on the
road passing under the arch, which then marked the spot where the
representatives of Korea yearly met the Chinese ambassadors who came to
receive tribute. This custom was maintained until Korea’s independence
was declared; in honor of which the old arch was then taken down and a
finer one erected. Beyond this arch lay the pass, a narrow, muddy and
stony way, leading through the mountain. It was crowded with oxen and
pack-ponies, going to and from Seoul. Shouting mapoos and coolies added
to the confusion, great rocks seemed just ready to fall from above and
crush the unlucky passers, and many which had fallen from time to time
impeded the road. Now a fine road has been made across the hill, and
the old way of danger and discomfort is closed up. From its darkness,
its fiendish noises, gruesome odors and bad going it would not have
been an unfit image of Bunyan’s Valley of the Shadow of Death. The
snow still remained in sheltered places, for it was only March, and the
morning air was sharp and chill, but we found a very fine road all the
way to Songdo.

We made our first halt at noon, at a small village between Seoul and
Songdo, and I had my first experience of a native inn. The Korean inn
is second only in filth, closeness, bad odors and discomfort to those
in the interior of China. There is usually only one room for women,
which has from one to four or five paper-covered doors or windows--they
are nearly always the same size and bear the same name--opening into
the kitchen, the court and the sarang. This room is often not more than
eight by ten or twelve feet large, and very low. The paper which covers
the door is commonly blackened with dirt, so that few indeed are the
rays of light which manage to struggle in a disheartened way into these
gloomy little apartments. They boast little or no furniture, perhaps a
chang or Korean cabinet (most unique and antique-looking chests, much
ornamented with brass or black iron hinges, locks, etc.) stands against
the wall, upon which are piled a great many bright-colored quilts and
pillows, not the wooden ones sometimes described and much used, but
like old-style long sofa pillows, and very much more comfortable. At
the center of the ceiling, just under the roof tree, may be seen a
bunch of dirty rags, feathers and sticks, where the household Lares and
Penates are supposed to roost. A wharrow or charcoal fire-pot with a
smouldering fire probably stands somewhere on the floor. This should
be promptly removed, as its presence often causes severe headache,
and sometimes asphyxia, from which one of the missionaries was only
resuscitated after repeated fainting and hours of effort on the part of
a companion.

In most of the inns very picturesque tall brass or wooden lamp-stands
are seen. They consist of a rod about two and a half feet high, on
a good solid base with a little bracket at the top for a saucer of
castor oil, and an ox horn hanging below containing the main supply of
oil. The lamp or saucer contains a small wick which yields a very tiny
light, just enough to emphasize and make visible the darkness. Often
these lamps have a special niche, or little cupboard in the wall, where
they are enclosed during the day. Nearly always a stout bar crosses the
room about a foot from the wall, and three or four feet from the floor,
on which garments may be hung, and as commonly there is a wide shelf
running around two or three sides of the apartment, very near the roof,
on which are sundry household utensils, winter vegetables, very likely
piles of yeast cakes for the manufacture of beer, and, in fact, a
heterogeneous collection, too numerous and varied to mention. Here lies
a dusty old book, there a work basket, and further on the wooden block
and clubs used for ironing, a bottle of medicine, a pile of rice bowls,
or a box of matches.

The mats which are placed over the oiled paper, or more likely directly
on the earth floor, are full of dust and vermin of all descriptions,
which run riot everywhere. It is best not to begin to think how many
people have, in that room and lying on these identical mats, been ill,
and died, of dysentery, small-pox, cholera or typhus fever, since the
room was even swept or the mats once shaken. A “really truly” cleaning
they are ignorant of. Fumigation and disinfection are as far beyond
the flights of their wildest imagination as the private life of the
man in the moon. The miracle over which we never cease to wonder and
admire is that so many people of clean antecedents who travel through
the interior are able to resist the microbes, bacteria, germs and all
similar enemies under whatsoever name which, according to all modern
science, ought to attack and destroy them in short order.

In most of the inns, tall earthen jars, from two to three, or rarely
four feet high, and two or three feet in diameter, in which Ali Baba’s
cutthroat thieves could easily hide, are ranged along the side of the
wall, but more frequently in the courtyard. They contain various kinds
of grain, pickles, beer, wine, and there are always several holding
_kimchi_ (a sort of sauerkraut), without which they never eat rice.

Numbers of dogs, cats, chickens, pigs and ducks are under foot in the
courtyard, oxen and ponies are noisily feeding in the stalls, under
the same roof with ourselves, only just outside the paper door, and if
one is to sleep it must be in spite of a combined grunting, squealing,
cackling, blowing and barking, anything but conducive to repose. Most
of the hotels have, as has been said, only one inner room, where it
is proper for a woman to stay. Our helper, chair-coolies, mapoos and
other travelers use the sarang, packed very likely like sardines in a
box, and the host’s family turn out, and go to a neighbor’s for the
night, unless the inn is a large one on the main road. A large and
fashionable inn in Korea would have perhaps five, or even six, sleeping
apartments--though I do not recollect having seen so many.

Now we travel with cot-beds which roll up and slip into heavy canvas
bags, and take up very little room on the pack. These blessings keep
us off the dirty floors, which are usually much too hot for health,
unless, indeed, one has come in wet, cold, and aching from a long
tramp, when they are a specific preventive of colds and rheumatism.
On that first journey, however, we had nothing of this sort, but we
sent out for some bundles of fresh clean straw used for thatch--one
thing, at least, of which there is plenty in every village--and piled
them at least a foot high. We spread thereon our bed, to the confusion
and defeat of our little enemies, ploughing their weary way uselessly
through the mazes of that straw all night. In this way we slept
peacefully, except when the floor became intolerably hot, and our bed
correspondingly so, then we rose, piled our straw in another place,
remade our couch, and composed ourselves again to slumber. We never did
this more than three times in one night, and it was a mere diversion.

The situation, however, develops into something quite beyond a joke,
as was hinted in a former chapter, when one is forced to travel in hot
weather. The rice and beans for men and animals must be cooked, which
means--in nine cases out of ten--that a fire must be built under your
room, and you must sleep on the stove, although the thermometer is
already in the seventies before it is kindled. The room, you remember,
is small and low, the windows opening to the court probably few. You
look longingly at the open porch or _maru_, but there are leopards and
tigers that prowl at night, or wanting these, no lack of rats, ferrets,
and snakes; there are foul smells and rank poisonous vapors, pools of
green water and sewage all about, a famous place in the damp night air
to soak a system full of malaria, more deadly than wild beasts; so with
a sigh you turn again to your oven, prepared for the worst. Up, up,
steadily climbs the thermometer, your pulses throb, your head snaps,
you gasp and pant for breath, and at length toward morning, when the
fire is dead, and the hot stones a little cooled, you fall into an
exhausted feverish sleep. But an early start is necessary to make the
next stage, and by four o’clock at least a new fire is built to cook
more rice, and you rush out of doors, to draw a whiff of pure air and
cool your burning temples.

So even if it were not for the rains, flooded roads, and overflowing,
unbridged rivers, we should not travel except from dire necessity
in the summer. Tents have not been found practicable among the
missionaries in the rainy season, and their use has been followed in
several instances by severe and even fatal illness. One of the chief
annoyances, especially on this our first trip, at the inns were the
_kugungers_ or sightseers. The paper doors are speedily made available
as peep-holes for the foe. From all quarters the word “foreigner,” and
above all “foreign woman,” spreads like wildfire. Never did a lion
or an elephant create such excitement in an American village. The
moment we entered an inn the house was instantly thronged, besieged,
invested. Every door was full of holes made by dampening the finger and
placing it with gentle pressure against the paper. It was dismaying,
when we fancied ourselves quite alone, to see all those holes filled
with hungry eyes. Never since have I cared to visit a show of wild
animals or human freaks. I sympathize with them so fully, that there
is no pleasure in the satisfaction of curiosity at such a cost. We
wished to meet the people, but we could not talk with such a mob, in
any satisfactory way, as their frantic curiosity about us made it
impossible for them to attend to what we had to tell until they were in
some measure satisfied. But to return to our trip.

Some twenty miles this side of Songdo the road crosses the Imgin river,
where a ferry boat is in readiness to carry the traveler and his
belongings to the other side. A story is told here of the patriotism
of a nobleman who lived in a magnificent summer house on the bluff
overlooking the river, at the time of the Hedioshi rebellion. His
king, fleeing from the Japanese, arrived here at midnight, and to light
him and his escort to the ferry this man set fire to his beautiful
home. As a result of this, the king crossed in safety, and escaped his
enemies. In token of his gratitude, he therefore ordered that a summer
house should be kept perpetually in memory of his loyal friend on the
site of the one which had been sacrificed, and loaded him with honors
and rewards.

The city of Songdo is one of the largest in Korea, and from a Korean
standpoint probably the most important commercially, as well as the
richest. Here is grown the ginseng, so highly prized by Koreans,
Chinese and Japanese, and sold--the best--at forty-five dollars a
pound; more than its weight in gold. Though Songdo was formerly the
nation’s capital, a successful rebel general, making himself king,
established his seat of government in Seoul.

We arrived in this ancient city about sundown, and shortly afterwards
met ten Christian inquirers. In a few days we sold all our books, and
medicines, which we expected would last for the entire trip, and had
to send back to Seoul for more. We were besieged by large crowds of
people during our stay, so that we were obliged to ask for a guard at
the gate. We admitted fifty at a time, and when their curiosity had
been sated, their diseases treated, and they had bought as many books
as they wanted, they were dismissed, to make room for another pushing,
struggling, eagerly curious fifty. Mr. Underwood baptized no one, but
met, examined and instructed inquirers, and directed and corrected his
native helper’s work.

Songdo is about forty-five miles from Seoul, and has about two hundred
thousand inhabitants. Thus far the Southern Methodists are the only
ones who have a station there, though just why we other missionaries
never started work in so important a center it would be hard to say;
except that it did not seem to develop there at first as promisingly,
shall I say, as insistently, as in some other places, where need was so
pressing we never could obtain workers enough to supply the demand, far
less start new centers.

[Illustration: TAI-TONG RIVER. PAGE 45]

[Illustration: FERRY BOAT. PAGE 43]

Songdo has no gates. It is said that they were removed, with the
privileges as well of the Quaga, because the people of that city so
persistently continued to despise and treat with contempt the authority
of Seoul. Whereas it is the custom to speak of going _up_ to Seoul,
they would refer to going _down_ to that city; they would not measure
their grain from right to left, as in Seoul, but from left to right;
and worst of all, from having constantly referred to the king as a pig,
they came to speak of a pig by the king’s name!

From Songdo, we proceeded north, by short stages to Pyeng Yang, which
was the next place of importance, where Mr. Underwood looked for
inquirers and where there were already a few Christians. We reached
the Tai-tong River, which lay just below the city gates between us and
it, in a driving snow storm. Long and loudly did the various members
of our party try their lungs in the effort to obtain a boat, but at
length, when patience was quite exhausted, the ferryman, or one of
them, arrived with a great flat-bottomed boat, which accommodated us
all--ponies, packs, coolies, chair, helpers and missionaries--and
landed us in mud and safety on the other side for a few cash. I had
almost forgotten, however, to speak of the beautiful road leading up
to this ferry, with its noble overarching trees and its variety of
beautiful bushes and flowers. Even at that bleak and wintry season
it was lovely, and a month later, when we returned, it was charming,
with its green woodland shade and its wealth of sweet-scented
blossoms. Now, alas! it is quite shorn of its beauty, for during the
Japanese-Chinese war, the trees were all cut down.

We were no sooner within the city gates than a very noisy and
constantly increasing crowd followed close at our heels, growing ever
more annoying and demonstrative, till its dimensions and behavior were
altogether too much like a mob. Respectable and frightened inn-keepers
one after another turned us from their doors until the uncomfortable
possibility of being obliged to spend the night in the streets
suggested itself. However, after a time we found a refuge, and with
the aid of a policeman from the magistracy we managed to keep the mob
at bay, seeing only a stated number at a time, as in Songdo. It rained
during most of our stay, and I could with no comfort or safety go out
even in a chair to see the town, for if I so much as peeped out, some
one caught sight of the foreign woman, and at once a crowd gathered
which made it impossible to move or to accomplish anything. Once before
we left I accompanied Mr. Underwood to a pleasant spot outside the
gates, which he thought would be a good site for a sub-station, and we
made a visit to the mother of one of our Christians. She was extremely
sick, and as she recovered not long after we were very happy in having
left a good impression and a grateful family behind us.

I had a practical illustration of the inconvenience of Korean methods
of laundry in this town, for giving out a number of articles to the
tender mercies of a Korean woman, they were returned minus all the
buttons. They had pounded the garments on a stone in some stream, and
as a precaution had removed all these little conveniences before doing
so. There was no starch, no bluing, and no ironing. Korean clothes
before ironing must be ripped, and are then pounded for hours on a
smooth piece of wood until they obtain a beautiful gloss. Koreans are,
however, not without _iron_ irons. They have quite a large one, which
holds hot charcoal, and two sorts of small ones, not more than half
an inch wide by two or three inches in length, with a long handle,
for pressing the seams of sleeves, and of garments which it is only
desirable to press on the seam.

After a stay of about a week in Pyeng Yang, during which time we saw
a great many visitors, most of whom came from curiosity, but none of
whom went away without a printed or spoken word about the gospel, we
again started out on our journey north. Oh, if one prophetic vision
might have been granted us of what was to be in such a few years! If
we could have seen those dreary and heart-sickening wastes of humanity
transformed into fields of rich grain waiting in harvest glory for the
sickle, if we could have seen the hundreds now gathered yearly into
the garner, how our hearts would have burned within us! “But the love
of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind,” and though we saw
visions and dreamed dreams, we hardly dared hope they would all be
fulfilled. God kept the future hidden as a sweet surprise. Just after
leaving this city an old man of seventy-six came three miles to inquire
of us “concerning the religion by which a man could be rid of sin,” one
of the first fruits of that later harvest, which God permitted us to
reap.

Ernsan, one of the small villages at which we spent the night, turned
out to be a very rough sort of place. We were obliged in many of these
towns to use the Foreign Office letter to obtain the shelter of the
magistracies, as often the inns would not receive us or would prove
no defense against the rudeness of the curious mobs, and we had no
Christian constituency to fall back upon. At this particular place the
magistrate was away, and the “_chabin duli_” (roughs) were not under
ordinary restraint.

In the morning, as the time for leaving drew near, a crowd of about one
hundred men and large boys assembled in the little courtyard waiting
for a _kugung_ (sight) of the two curiosities. My husband, well aware
that a woman who permits herself to be viewed by strange men is not
respected or respectable in Korea, had my chair brought into the house,
and the door closed, so that I might be shut in there and pass out
unseen. On finding themselves thus balked of perhaps the one great
opportunity of their lives to behold these strange, wild animals,
some of the baser fellows could not restrain their curiosity, and one
of them, probably egged on by the others, broke open the door of my
bedroom. Than this, no greater breach of law or propriety is recognized
in the land, and the guilty wretch is amenable to almost any punishment
the injured woman’s friends may choose to inflict. My husband, standing
near the door, lifted his foot as the proper member with which to
express his sentiments--the tongue being incapable of sufficient vigor
and the hand too good--and this, though only a demonstration--the man
was not touched--was sufficient encouragement to my chair coolies, who,
considering their own honor bound up with mine for the time being,
rushed forth to punish the “vile creature” who had insulted us all.

One of them, a brawny fellow whom we called Pat, from his resemblance
to gentlemen of the nationality which favors that name, at a bound had
singled out his prey from the midst of the crowd and dragged him forth
from his encircling friends and protectors.

He dragged him forth in the usual approved Korean method, under such
circumstances, by the top-knot, a very convenient and effective handle,
for a man once in the grasp of his enemy in this way is practically
at his mercy. He was soon on the ground being pummelled. But it must
be remarked that we were but a little party, four coolies, one helper,
one missionary, one woman, and they were a hundred or more strong. Our
calling and dearest hopes forbade our using severe measures, nor would
they, even firearms, have availed for long, but would only have served
to make enemies for us on all sides, supposing we had frightened this
crowd into order. So it behooved us to make peace, and speedily, for
there were black looks and angry and threatening murmurings as the
friends of the culprit drew near, preparing to defend him.

[Illustration: METHOD OF IRONING. PAGE 46]

So Mr. Underwood rushed down into the crowd, drew off our exasperated
coolie, and quieted the rising storm. But Patrick could not depart
without giving some expression to his indignation, and waving his chair
rod like a shillalah in the air around his head, he stood at the top of
the steps, his back to the crowd (the pure Korean method in quarrels),
vociferously announcing to whom it might concern his opinion of such
actions in general, and this one in particular, and bidding them, in
the spirit of James Fitz James at the ford

    “Come one, come all, this rock shall fly
    From its firm base as soon as I.”

But my husband saw that it would be best to get away while we could
without exasperating them further, and before the temper of the crowd
should change again for the worse. A similar occurrence in either China
or Japan would almost certainly have ended very differently for us.

The Koreans do not bear malice, nor are they very revengeful or cruel
without great provocation. We merely had to do with a rough crowd,
who gathered thinking we were probably a base sort of people; and
when they saw that we behaved as quiet, decent Koreans would do, they
respected our reserve and curbed their curiosity, though a few boys
threw stones and hooted, and they all followed us a few rods outside
the village, but we soon found ourselves peacefully alone.

Before passing on I must say a few words on the general effectiveness
of the top-knot method. It is a great pity men do not wear their hair
in this way in America. We women who favor women’s rights would soon
find it a mighty handle by which to manage them, for in the hands of a
discerning woman it is indeed an instrument of unlimited possibilities.
Who would care to wield a scepter abroad, who could wield a top-knot
at home? By one of these well-tied arrangements have I beheld a
justly irate wife dragging home her drunken husband from the saloon;
and firmly grasping this, I have seen more than one indignant female
administering that corporal punishment which her lord and master no
doubt richly deserved. The Korean wife stands and serves her husband
while he eats, she works while he smokes, but when family affairs come
to a certain crisis, she takes the helm (that is to say, the top-knot)
in hand, and puts the ship about.

At another of our stopping places on this road we found a magistrate
who had been so long in the interior and who was so ignorant and
illiterate that he neither knew the uses of a passport, nor could read
it when presented. This was serious, indeed, for here with a rough and
curious crowd to be refused the shelter of the magistracy might mean
our being subjected to mob violence, and would almost certainly insure
our passing the night on the road. Here we must exchange exhausted
pack-ponies for fresh ones, here we must obtain money for the next
stage, and food and fire for our tired coolies and ourselves. So when
our helper returned with the disquieting news that the magistrate would
none of us, “the captain” donned his harness, and passport in hand,
strode into the presence, gesticulated, I am afraid, stamped, waved the
passport in the air, flung it to the ground, and by dint of noise and
vehemence succeeded in impressing the astonished little official with a
sense of the dignity and importance of the Foreign Office passports in
the hands of strenuous Westerners.

He promptly and politely gave us rooms, money, ponies, everything we
needed, in order to rid himself of us and our arguments, I suppose,
and no doubt he still recalls us as the most remarkable and alarming
intruders who ever disturbed his quiet and uneventful life.

But although sheltered by the magisterial walls our annoyances were not
over. Word had been passed far and near of the arrival of foreigners,
and the crowds gathered thicker and thicker. They were only rude
and good-naturedly curious, but curiosity is a strange passion when
really aroused, as only those who have been its victims know. Men will
travel miles, will undergo unheard-of fatigues and surmount great
difficulties, and will pay very little regard to the convenience,
comfort or even safety of those who try to oppose them in their desires
to gratify this passion.

Aware that we were besieged, we hung shawls and rain coats round
the room, before the doors and windows, hoping to prevent the usual
peep-show made by perforating fingers, and thus fortified, seated
ourselves in front of our trunk, which served for a table, to partake
of our meal during the short respite thus gained. A smothered titter
made us look quickly around. Long slender rods had been pushed through
the peep-holes, the curtains lifted, multitudes of eyes applied to new
holes, and we were well in view. I must honestly confess that in some
of these baffled moments, in the hot fire of the enemy’s ungenerous
triumph, I have thought with glee of the execution which could be done
with a syringe well aimed at those eye-filled holes, if we were just
common travelers and not longing to win all hearts and ready to bear
all such small annoyances with patience for the love of these poor
people, even the most annoying of them. And now that I am more fully
seasoned, I endure these rude intrusions into my privacy with more
_sang froid_, excusing and understanding it.

About this stage in our journey our provisions ran very low, and among
other things sugar gave out. Natives do not have this article of food,
but we were able to get the Korean buckwheat honey, than which I have
never tasted any more delicious, and we found that it improved the
flavor of the finest tea.

Here in these far recesses of the interior, where we were uncertain of
the temper of the people, and where many more than doubtful characters
were known to be in hiding, the magistrates thought it necessary to
send at least one, sometimes two, officials with us.

At the town of Huiju we found the scenery growing quite wild, the hills
rising into mountains (though not very high ones), the road zig-zagging
up and up, while a brawling, hurrying brook ran noisily below. Here
we found the first spring flowers under the lingering snow, and above
the snow were butterflies darting about in the sunshine, quite sure
that they were in the right place, since the Father sent them, even
though it did look a little cold and bleak; and then if one only looked
up, there was the sun. Just here in the steepest, dizziest and most
difficult part of the ascent, two of those poor little pack-ponies
which I had been pitying all along for the terrible way their
relentless mapoos overloaded them, began fighting (loads and all),
and after kicking each other in the liveliest fashion for some time,
squealing like little fiends, while the poor mapoos were dancing and
vociferating around them trying to bring about a truce, they finally
scampered off in different directions, and then and there my heart
hardened, and never since has pity for these animals entered it. They
are, I firmly opine, as self-willed, spoiled, obstinate, quarrelsome,
uncertain, tricky and tough little beasts as ever carried a load.

Among many other people treated at this little village, a woman came
sixteen miles for medicine, and carried away as well the news of the
Great Physician. Thus the mission to the body proves effective to the
soul, and the seed is scattered far and wide. How that little seed
prospered He only knows who has promised that those who cast it upon
the water shall find it after many days.

Here, after we had eaten our supper, Mr. Underwood and I conceived a
deep scheme to escape the stuffy little cage-like room and take a walk
by moonlight in the midst of that lovely scenery. It would of course be
futile to go out of the gate, for then the alarm would be given, and we
should be hounded by the entire able-bodied portion of the populace.
But the wall was low, and waiting till we supposed every one had
retired for the night, we stealthily crept like a couple of criminals
out of our quarters, surmounted the wall, and were at last free, and
for once alone, away from staring eyes, to enjoy the sweet air and
each other’s company. But alas! we had hardly gone twenty paces when a
Korean cur (than which only a Korean pig is more detestable) espied or
nosed us, and at once set up a loud and continuous bark. We hurried on,
hoping to escape, but it was not to be; one white form after another
appeared at the doorways, soon a quickly swelling stream of people
were in our wake, and the game was up. We returned and retraced our
steps, attended by a long retinue, entered by the gate, and hid our
discomfiture within the walls of our little dungeon.

From Huiju our road led up farther, over a still higher mountain, and
here we were provided, according to the conditions of our passport,
with oxen instead of ponies to carry our loads (being stronger and
surer footed), and also, as for all travelers belated and overtaken
by darkness, torches of blazing pine knots or long grass carried by
some of the villagers to a certain distance, where it was the business
of others to meet us with new ones. The men who provide the oxen and
torches are given the use of certain fields by the government in
payment for such services, but often they are unfaithful. The belated
traveler pounds long at their gates in vain. Some neighbor appears to
say the man is sick or away. At length, when a reward has been given,
and when patience has not only ceased to be a virtue, but ceased to
exist at all, he or his wife appears and deliberately prepares the
long-desired torch.

On the other side of this mountain, as we descended into the valley, we
found a village which presented a very different aspect from any we had
yet seen. The houses were not made of a basket work of twigs filled in
with mud, like the ordinary native dwellings, but of heavy logs. The
little compounds surrounding each house were enclosed with high fences
made of strong timbers, each sharpened to a point at the top and firmly
bound together, instead of the usual hedge of blossoming bushes or
tile-covered mud wall. It all looked as if these farmers and foresters
were prepared for a siege, but from what enemy?

There were no Indians or wild tribes here. It was a most picturesque
place. The mountains rose grandly above us, all around were woods,
and a beautiful stream rippled along between them and the village. It
was a glorious moonlit night, the atmosphere seemed fairly to sparkle
with brilliancy. Again, after supper, we prepared to take a walk. Few
indeed had been our opportunities for such honeymoon observances as
this, which are supposed to be the peculiar privilege and bounden duty
of all the good newly married. As has been noted already, the large
crowds which watched our every movement, and from whose observation not
the smallest motion was lost, precluded any such folly on our part, but
here, far off in the wild recesses of the woods and mountains, in a
village whose inhabitants seemed nobly exceptional in the praise-worthy
habit of keeping at home, here we might wander at will, in the
enchanting light, listening anon to the silvery cadences of the stream.
So we sauntered along in the most approved fashion of honeymooners
until a few steps beyond the confines of the village, where woods
closed in on all sides.

We had observed here and there as we passed along what looked like
a sort of huge pen made of logs, weighted with great stones on top,
strangely constructed, as if for the housing of some large animal.
Now as we stood on the edge of the brook trying to decide whether to
cross into the woods, a sound as of heavy and yet stealthy footsteps
on the dry leaves in the shadow of the trees arrested our attention.
An uncanny mystery seemed to hang over everything. Slightly startled
by the sound, we awakened to the fact that the pens we had seen must
be tiger traps, that this was a famous tiger tramping ground (they
would naturally come to the brook to drink), that the enemy against
whom the village was so strongly fortified were these beasts of prey,
and that it would be in every way profitable to us to postpone our
moonlight rambles for some more propitious time and place. So with a
less lover-like and more business-like pace we returned to the prosaic
but welcome shelter of the huts.

Korean tiger skins are very fine when the animal has been killed in
the winter, but unfortunately the natives do not understand the proper
method of preserving them, and those which are taken away, as well as
the leopard skins, very soon become denuded of hair. The natives prize
the claws very highly, and often remove them as soon as the beast is
killed. They are found from the Manchurian border through the whole
country, among the mountains; more than once have they been seen in
the capital since my arrival, and only a few months after I landed a
leopard was seen in the Russian legation compound next to our house.
As our homes were all bungalows, and the extreme heat of summer nights
necessitated open windows, I often lay awake after this for hours
at night, certain that I heard the stealthy, heavy tread and deep
breathing of one of these creatures in my room.

But to return to our experiences in the tiger valley, which were not
yet done. While Mr. Underwood and I were taking a walk together that
evening we heard in the valley below us the sharp report of a gun. The
house in which we were was on the side of a hill, while our servants’
quarters, and indeed most of the village, was in the valley just below.
Shortly some one came running to tell us that a tiger had just been
shot. This was slightly exciting, but turned out later to have been
a mere excuse to quiet any alarm I might have felt on hearing the
explosion of the gun.

The real facts were, it seemed, that a band of some thirty men,
probably fugitives from justice, and robbers, had conspired to visit
us that night at midnight and destroy the vile foreigners who had
dared to intrude into the sacred precincts of this mountain land, and
thus warned, no more strangers should trouble their shores. They had
drunk together to the success of their plot, and the leader had rather
overdone this part of it. Far gone in intoxication, he had been too
much fuddled to keep to the plan, had come several hours in advance of
the time, had loudly boasted in the little inn of their intentions, and
fired his gun in a fit of bravado. At the command of the head of the
village he was immediately seized and locked up and his gun taken away.
It was a poor old-fashioned affair, arranged with a long fuse wound
around the bearer’s wrist, lighted when ready to fire, and inserted in
an arm held up by the trigger, the pulling of which raised and removed
a small cap which protected the priming powder and dropped the fuse
upon it, thus firing the gun. It is with these awkward and clumsy
weapons that the cool Korean hunters face and shoot the most formidable
leopards, tigers, wild boars and bears which abound in the mountains of
Korea. The Korean nobles use tiger and leopard skins on their carrying
chairs, and the teeth and claws for ornaments, while the bones, when
ground up, are supposed to be unrivalled as a tonic.

Many are the tiger stories told by Koreans; their folklore abounds
with them. One very brief one is all I have time to insert. Once
upon a time a fierce tiger crept stealthily into a village in search
of prey. But every one was in bed, the cattle and pigs well guarded
behind palisaded walls, not a child, a dog, or even a chicken lingered
outside. He was about to retire in despair of finding a supper there
when he spied through the small aperture at the bottom of a gate, such
as is found in all gates for the egress of dogs and cats, a small and
trembling dog. His majesty tried in vain to squeeze through this hole,
and finding it hopeless, took a careful survey of the wall. It was
high, it is true, and sharply spiked, but sharply set too was the royal
appetite, and he resolved to try the leap, after carefully reckoning
the height to be surmounted and his own strength. He was a great agile
fellow, and with the exertion of all his might he jumped, barely
escaping the spikes, and landed safely inside the inclosure, quite
ready for his supper, well aware that he must snatch it quickly and be
gone ere the hunter in the cottage should espy and shoot him. But puppy
had gathered his tail between his legs, and with loud and long kiyies
had slipped through the opening to the outer side of the wall. Nothing
remained for our hungry prowler but to try another leap, only to find
that his supper had again given him the slip. Alas, that his brains
were not equal to his perseverance and industry! I grieve to be obliged
to relate that this greedy fellow vaulted back and forth in pursuit of
his meal, his anger and appetite growing with every leap, until he died
of exhaustion and fell an ignominious prey to his small and elusive
foe, illustrating the fact that might does not always win and that the
small and weak need not always despair in the contest with size and
strength.

In the little hamlet where we met the adventure with the man who meant
to kill us we were treated to fine venison and delicious honey. All
through the woods we found anemones and other spring flowers and saw
specimens of the beautiful pink ibis, belonging to the same family as
the bird so often worshiped in Egypt. On the road hither and all around
us we saw stacked and ready for sale cords of fine dark hard woods, of
which we did not know the names, but much of which looked like black
walnut. No one who has traveled through this part of the country could
possibly say there was a dearth of trees in Korea, or of singing birds,
or sweet-scented flowers, or gorgeous butterflies.



CHAPTER IV

    Leaving Kangai--We Choose a Short Cut--Much Goitre in the
    Mountains--A Deserted Village--The Jericho Road--We are
    Attacked by Robbers--A Struggle in the Inn Yard--Odds too
    great--Our Attendants are Seized and Carried Off--The Kind
    Inn-Keeper--Inopportune Patients--A Race for Life--A City of
    Refuge--A Beautiful Custom--Safe at Last--The Magistrate Turns
    Out to be an Old Friend--The Charge to the Hunters.


Our next stopping place of importance was the town of Kangai. This was
a walled city of between ten and twenty thousand inhabitants in the
northern part of the province of Pyeng An Do. Being in the center of a
rather turbulent and independent community, at least at that time--and
when were mountaineers not so?--and quite near the Chinese border, its
governor was invested with almost provincial authority, had a large
number of soldiers always under arms, and surrounded himself with
the greatest possible show of power and state, having a numerous and
obsequious body-guard, a gun fired whenever he left his office, and a
great retinue of menials and officials who constantly attended him. He
told us that all this was necessary to overawe the people and establish
his prestige and dignity. He was a relative of the queen, and I had met
him at the palace.

As we approached the city and about three miles outside of it, we
saw in the distance a little company of soldiers with flying banners
and sounding trumpets, awaiting us apparently at the foot of a hill.
What this might portend we were at a loss to guess. It might mean
fetters and warder for intrusive foreigners, it might mean an order to
return, it might mean our immediate extinction, but so kind had been
our reception everywhere, barring sightseers, that we did not entertain
any serious misgivings, although greatly puzzled as to what the
demonstration could possibly signify. However, we marched right up, as
if this martial array concerned us not in the least. As soon as we came
within saluting distance the leader of the little company made us the
most profound obeisance and announced that he had been sent to escort
us to the city. So we proceeded with this rather cumbersome addition
to our modest suite, and not only this, for small boys are the same
all the world over, and a motley throng of them, attracted both by the
soldiers and the circus (or, shall we say, the menagerie?), closed in
around us. A mile farther on a second attachment of military, with its
inevitable corps of small boys, was awaiting us, and on we went, the
hubbub ever increasing, drums beating, trumpets sounding, flags flying,
wooden shoes clattering over the stones, louder, it seemed to me, than
all the rest, as I cowered in the shelter of my closely curtained chair.

[Illustration: PRINCE YI CHAI SOON, COUSIN OF KING.]

[Illustration: HIGH KOREAN OFFICIAL, KIM YAN SIK. PAGE 23]

Momentarily the formidable dimensions of the crowd increased, while
other bands of soldiers joined us at intervals, for which I was
devoutly thankful, for while the crowd seemed good-natured and simply
wildly curious, at the same time we were strangers, to whom Koreans
had the reputation of being inimical. With so large a crowd a small
matter may kindle a blaze of fury, and as we were rather inexperienced
and ignorant of the character of the people, I felt that whatever the
intentions of the magistrate might be, the hand of the responsible
official would be gentle compared with the hands of the mob. And
yet looking back on it all now, in the light of all that has since
occurred, it was not altogether inappropriate but in a way fitting,
that the first heralds of the gospel and the advent of Christianity to
this province should be with banners, trumpets and great acclaim. The
Kingdom had come, if only in its smallest beginnings, and had come to
stay.

The wonder of it, which will grow, I think, more and more through the
eternal ages, is that God should allow us, his poor creatures, to share
with him in a work far greater than the creation of a universe, even
the founding of an eternal and limitless kingdom of holiness, glory and
peace.

But to return to our noisy procession. Within the city the noise and
excitement (“yahdan” the Koreans would say, and nothing expresses it
so well) were far greater than ever. Dancing girls and hoodlums of
every description swelled the crowd, laughing, shouting, pushing,
jostling. High points of vantage were occupied to the last inch with
small boydom, booths or screened seats had been rented for the use of
the ladies, and the streets were hardly passable. I shivered. I felt
like a mouse in the power of a playful tiger. It is not a pleasant
thing to feel one’s self the object of desire--even if merely in a
sightseeing way--of thousands of strange people. Many in that crowd had
come more than ten miles to behold us. My husband to protect me from
the unpleasantness, to say the least, of falling into the hands of so
large and eager a mob, hastened to the gates of the magistracy, quickly
dismounted and bade the guards be ready to close them the instant my
chair had entered. This was promptly done, the gates well bolted and
guarded, and proud of our victory over the small boys, we hastily
retired to our rooms. But hark! what noise was that, like thundering of
a waterfall, or of a river dashing away its barriers? Alack! it was
the boys. They had scaled the wall on each other’s shoulders, and were
literally pouring over it into the compound.

I looked around the little room for some means of escape, like a hunted
animal. Its windows and doors were double, the inner one sliding into
the wall, but both were composed simply of a light frame of slender
sticks covered with stout paper, and already the dancing girls and boys
were tearing away the outer coat preparatory to forcing an entrance.
Suddenly I espied a small door, which I found opened into a long dark
closet, full of the dust and dirt of unclean centuries. Hither I fled,
cowering in its farthest recesses. Those who looked in the windows, and
saw nothing of the strange animal _genus Americanum_, concluded she
must be in some other place, and so a short respite was granted, which
Mr. Underwood and the deputy magistrate made good use of in guarding
our house doors. The deputy himself was obliged to take his station
there, and threatening with awful penalties any soldier who should
permit the “_chabin duli_” (roughs and crowd) to enter uninvited.
Henceforth during my stay in that town I was comparatively untroubled.

A very epidemic of diseases, however, seemed to have smitten the place.
Every one needed the doctor, and old, almost forgotten complaints were
resurrected and rubbed up, or if none existed new ones were invented
to furnish an excuse for an introduction. People stood in long rows
from morning till night to see this popular doctor, and had I been
medicining for money, I might have charged almost any price and filled
high our coffers; but I was only too glad to be able to tell them of
the great Physician, whose unspeakable gift is without money or price.

The magistrate treated us very kindly, and one day made a dinner
for Mr. Underwood at a little summer house outside the city. Here,
after partaking of various Korean dainties, he asked him a great many
questions about America and Americans. My husband had thus a fine
opportunity to enlighten the man on our own mission and work. He of
course listened politely, but the Korean noble is very difficult
to reach. He is bound so rigidly by so many social, religious and
political fetters, that he usually will not allow himself to consider
for a moment the possibility of casting them off.

We were much disappointed at not finding here any of the inquirers
of whom we had been told so much, and to examine and instruct whom
Mr. Underwood had turned so far aside from the main road to his final
destination, Weeju. We could only conclude that they had either been
too shy to approach us in the public quarters in which we were located
or that we had been entirely misinformed, and we were forced very
reluctantly to accept the latter as a fact.

The magistrate sent a number of presents to us ere we left--a box
of cigars, though we were not smokers, another of candied Chinese
ginger, honey, flour, beef, vinegar and potatoes. These were articles
which they found by diligent inquiry from our attendants that we were
fond of. They scoured the country for potatoes, though except in the
mountains, where rice will not grow, few Koreans cultivate or eat them.

On leaving Kangai we could either take a long road around the
mountains, well known and much traveled, or a short cut through and
over them, much less frequented, but which the magistrate assured us
was now quite safe, as he had recently passed through there himself
and believed that everything was now quiet and orderly. The locality
had a bad reputation, being off the main lines of travel in the
recesses of the mountains, where escaped criminals were wont to hide,
and where a band of robbers were said to have made their lair. But time
pressed, work was urgent, the magistrate’s statements were reassuring,
and we decided to take the shorter road. We were provided with a police
official and a soldier, who, our host told us, would be respected and
feared, and our entire safety would thus be assured.

[Illustration: CARRIER OX. PAGE 54]

[Illustration: THE OX-CART OR TALGOOGY. PAGE 197]

Our road on leaving Kangai passed directly over the mountains, through
a region more sparsely populated and more wildly beautiful than
anything we had yet seen. There were a few stray farms where sparse
crops of potatoes were raised, but the mountains hemmed us in closely
on all sides. They were covered with magnificent trees; here and there
a woodcutter was seen or heard, but the evidences of human life were
few. We had noticed with interest through the mountain districts a
large number of people for these sparsely settled regions who were
afflicted with goitre.

At night we reached a small village of scarce a half dozen houses,
established by the government as a place of rest for travelers, since
there was no other place within convenient marching distance. A subsidy
was given in return for which these natives were bound to provide
refreshments, horses, oxen, or torches for those who bore passports
or official orders. But travel was rare and they had come to consider
their duty a tyrannical exaction, their subsidy as their right; so when
we arrived an ominous silence reigned over the place, and we found it
had been completely deserted and that not long since everything had
been dropped and the people had fled and hidden. This inhospitable
reception was a very definite sign of ill will, a plain refusal to
give the shelter and assistance they were so well paid to bestow. Of
course it did not auger well, but there was nothing to be done for
the present but to try to supply our needs. Fires were built, horse
provender found, and rice for coolies, mapoos and attendants cooked,
while for ourselves we fared well on the contents of our box of stores.
Some of the villagers returned that night to their homes.

Early next morning, having paid for what we had used, we started away.
But the necessity for haste, as our stage that day was a long one,
and our want of suspicion of any serious danger led us into making a
mistake; we divided our small party, Mr. Underwood, the soldier and
myself hurrying on ahead on what we afterwards called the Jericho
road, leaving helpers and constable with the pack-ponies and mapoos,
which traveled more slowly, to follow at a distance of several miles.
We planned to reach our noon rest place early, and order food and
provender (which it always takes an hour to cook) in advance, so that
all might be ready on their arrival and a speedy departure insured.
The day was a very fine one, the mountain air exhilarating and
delightful, and there were no sightseers, so that Mr. Underwood and I
walked together a long distance, laughing and chatting and gathering
the pretty spring flowers, of which there were many, especially the
sweet-scented violets, which I was surprised to find growing thus wild
in the mountains. We arrived early at the little hamlet which was our
destination, and were immediately installed in the one tiny inn the
place could boast.

I am not sure how much time elapsed before our loads appeared, but it
was not very long, and when word was brought that they were coming
my husband slipped a small revolver (our only weapon) from our
traveling-bag into his pocket. I understood too little of the language
to know what message he had received, but he told me that some rough
fellows were coming with our party and that there might be trouble, in
which case he might need the revolver. He had received a message, while
on the way to the inn, that robbers had overtaken our people and were
following us. It seems that as soon as we were out of sight a number of
men had overtaken our loads and charged one of our mapoos with theft,
saying that they had come to reclaim their stolen property. They bound
his hands, took possession of our ponies and loads, and followed us
to our inn. I peeped out through a crack where the door stood ajar,
and saw what was not reassuring, a party of twenty or thirty country
fellows, wilder and ruder looking than any I had yet seen, their hair
falling in matted locks around their evil faces instead of being
fastened in the usual rough top-knot, and their angry eyes fierce and
bloodshot. Each carried a short stout club, and they were all shouting
in angry tones at once, while our mapoo, his hands bound, my husband,
the constable, soldier and helper stood in the midst of this wild
throng. The tiny place seemed filled with the men and the hubbub, while
the frightened villagers peeped in at the gate or over the wall; our
brave chair coolies had hidden away, for which we were later extremely
thankful.

The attacking party with loud and angry voices accused our mapoo
of having stolen their money, a hat and a bowl; and when asked for
evidence, pointed to the man’s own shabby old hat, then on his head, to
a rice bowl, placed on top of the packs (he said by their hands), and
to our own large and heavy bag of Korean cash, fastened and sealed just
as we saw it placed on the pony’s back in the morning. They refused to
release the mapoo unless these things were delivered up. Mr. Underwood
told them that the hat and money were ours, but that he would go with
them before a Korean magistrate and leave the whole matter to his
decision, only they must unbind our mapoo. This they would not hear
to and continued to insist on our giving them the money. My husband
absolutely refused to do this. Meanwhile, having placed himself, with
the brave little soldier at his side, in a narrow space wide enough
only for two, between the wall of the compound and the house, he bade
the latter cut the mapoo’s bands. The mob threatened to kill him if
he did so, but he turned to Mr. Underwood and said, “Does the great
man bid me cut?” and receiving the affirmative reply, he at once cut
the ropes which bound the mapoo. The ruffians made a rush, but Mr.
Underwood, hastily pushing the mapoo behind him, managed with the aid
of the soldier at his side in that narrow place to push one man back
against the others and keep them off for some time.

While his whole attention was thus engaged, however, with those in
front, some of the party found a way to the rear, and coming up quietly
behind, suddenly pinioned his arms back and held him helpless, while
the others carried off our poor mapoo away outside the village, their
voices dying away in the distance. In the awful silence that succeeded
the uproar we waited what would follow. After what seemed an age of
suspense they returned without the man and seized and carried off our
constable. Again that fateful silence, that agonizing suspense; again
another raid, and our other mapoo was dragged away. If these and our
other companions had shown half the courage of the little soldier and
made any effort to defend themselves and us, and especially had the
chair coolies stood by us, the ruffians would very likely have been
beaten off. As it was, we were practically helpless, the only question
was who was to be attacked next. Mr. Underwood was very doubtful of
the wisdom of producing the little revolver until the very last
extremity. One by one they carried away the members of our party till
only Mr. Underwood, the little soldier and I were left.

[Illustration: A KOREAN VILLAGE]

We learned afterward that they were a set of wild men, many of them
fugitives from justice, probably an organized band of robbers, into
whose hands we had fallen, and the fear that lay like ice at my heart
was that when all our friends and defenders were one by one removed
they would carry away and murder my husband too. So I waited, scarcely
breathing, for the next return. What I dreaded they did in fact propose
to do, saying it was the right way to treat foreigners. They said they
had robbed and killed a Japanese officer some years ago, and having
never been punished, would be quite safe in treating us in a similar
way. On our return to Seoul we found by inquiry that this was true,
that while the government had been forced to pay a heavy indemnity,
they had never been able to identify and punish the murderers. Had we
been overtaken before we reached the village perhaps our fate would
have been that of the Japanese; but when the affair reached this point
the villagers interfered and forbade. They said they had allowed
them to carry off our Korean servants and our money, but should we,
foreigners, known at the palace and carrying a passport, be killed
there, their village would have to bear the penalty, and we must be
spared. They were only a few men, but probably people who, knowing
the haunts of the criminals and able to identify them, had them to
some extent in their power. The men therefore sullenly filed away, or
at least most of them. One or two of the fiercest and most repulsive
still hung about, and one of them walked into my room (an insult in the
eyes of all Koreans) and insolently stared until my husband, entering,
ordered him out.

The inn-keeper was a little man not five feet high, who did all in
his power to reassure and make me comfortable, as if such a thing
were possible with our poor friends in distress, if not dead, and our
own fate only too uncertain. It was twenty-five English miles to the
nearest magistracy, and doing our best, it would be difficult to reach
it that night; but we knew that if any help was to be had for the
captives it must be secured at once, aside from the fact that we had
no assurance of safety with so small a party until within the walls of
the yamen. So it was decided to start as soon as possible. My scared
chair coolies had sneaked out of their hiding places in a sufficiently
well-preserved condition to be able to partake of a hearty meal, and
were soon ready to start. My husband had a Korean pony which possessed
the rare virtue of kicking and biting every one who attempted to touch
him, except his mapoo and his master; to which quality we were indebted
for his being left us that day. One other pony we were able to obtain,
but as it of course could carry only our rugs and bedding, the rest of
our belongings we were compelled to leave behind.

We asked the host to take them into his house and take charge of them,
to which he willingly consented. His son, in an agony of terror, begged
him not to do so, as the robbers had threatened to come and burn down
his house if he sheltered either us or our goods. The stout-hearted
little fellow, whose soul was much too large for his body, laughed
at the threat, and bidding one of the very men who had attacked us
give a lift, he carried our trunks into his house and said he would
take good care of them for us until we should send for them. In the
meanwhile Mr. Underwood had been urging me to eat, which I tried in
vain to do, as a large lump of something hard had become fixed in my
throat, would neither go up or down and no food could pass that way. In
fact, I may as well admit I was a very much frightened woman, and my
whole desire was to run away as fast and as far as possible from that
dreadful locality. It sounds, and is, disgraceful, but as this is a
narration of facts it may as well be confessed. My chief grief was that
we must leave our poor friends behind. That, indeed, seemed cruel and
unthinkable, yet there appeared to be no other way to relieve or help
them.

Just as we were ready to start two or three country people came and
asked for medicines for trifling complaints. Was anything ever so
ill-timed? Surely we could not wait then, when the lives of our poor
people as well as our own perhaps depended on our speedy departure. But
not so, counseled my husband. These men and women needed help which we
could give. It was our duty to show that we, as the servants of Jesus,
had come in a spirit of brotherhood and love, and it gave us a fine
opening to deliver a message and to distribute the printed Word--it
would not take long, and in any case were we not in God’s hands? So not
knowing what moment the ruffians might return to drag us away to share
the unknown fate of our attendants, perhaps death, surely torture, I
prescribed. Alas! I hope none of my patients were poisoned; but with
so distracted a mind did I work that it was very difficult to fix my
thoughts on afflicted eyes, ears and throats, etc. At length all had
been seen, the medicines repacked, when another patient appeared; again
we waited, I diagnosed and prescribed and Mr. Underwood prepared the
medicine; but still another and yet another appeared, till I began
to think we should not be able to leave that day at all. At last,
however, all were satisfied, and we started with our race with time,
considerably after two o’clock.

We had twenty-five English miles to travel before we could reach the
nearest magistrate, on a road leading through and over the mountains.
It was wild and exceedingly beautiful, but correspondingly rough and
difficult. Sometimes it was only the narrowest foot-path, running
along a ledge of rocks overhanging the stream; sometimes it was almost
lost among great boulders, which must be skirted or surmounted. The
loveliest wild flowers were all around us, but for once they did not
tempt us to linger. We had barely left the confines of the village
before we saw in the road before us the prostrate and apparently
inanimate body of a man, whom we soon recognized as our constable. He
proved to be not dead, but simply fainting from the cruel beating he
had received. He soon revived a little and begged us to hurry on for
aid. He was too much exhausted and bruised to be carried on with us,
unless we abandoned our purpose of reaching the magistracy that night,
which it seemed for the best good of all to do; so most reluctantly we
left him to the mercy of the villagers. It was a sore alternative, but
otherwise help for the others would have been delayed many hours.

When we had proceeded two or three miles farther we saw a line of armed
men half kneeling barring the road in front of us, with their guns
aimed apparently at us. I of course concluded that my last hour had
come, but we decided that to advance with no signs of fear or doubt
was the only course to pursue, and found a few minutes later that our
formidable-looking opponents were only some hunters waiting game that
was being driven towards them by others. Our road steadily ascended,
and was more and more difficult. Where it was worst I walked to relieve
the tired coolies, for even with four men and a light burden it is
no easy matter to carry a chair up the mountain side on a warm April
afternoon. When sunset was almost due, and we had many miles yet to go,
the coolies insisted on waiting for supper. I dreaded the possible
necessity of being obliged to spend a part of the night unsheltered in
a country that seemed so hostile, added to which the other thought of
the necessity for speed made it seem impossible and wicked to delay for
such a paltry thing as food.

Why the men who had seemed so bitter and cruel at noon had not followed
and attacked our weakened party I have never been able to entirely
explain. I can only surmise that, like most Asiatics, they were firmly
convinced that Mr. Underwood, in common with all foreigners, always
went heavily though secretly armed, and that any attempt to injure our
persons would result in awful calamity. In addition, our passport and
the well-known fact that we were on very friendly relations with the
palace may have made them fear the consequence of harming us, even
though they were more than half resolved to do so. More than this, the
villagers who forbade them to touch us probably knew their haunts and
would be able to hunt them out; and lastly, the fact that Mr. Underwood
stoutly resisted them and showed no signs of fear undoubtedly had a
marked effect upon their treatment of us. Witness the fact that even
the little soldier, the only man of our native party who fought them
and showed no fear, was the only one of the Koreans who escaped unhurt.
If we had at any moment shown ourselves afraid of them they would have
taken it as sure proof that we were defenseless. Had they seen our
little revolver, and known it for our only weapon, they would have
counted us, as we were, practically helpless, and our fate might have
been decided very differently.

At the time I felt certain they were not through with us, but having
weakened our party, they would attack us in the lonely road, far away
from the friendly village, and finish their work.

We could scarcely hope to distance them, handicapped as we were, but I
felt we could not put too much space between them and us, and many a
backward glance I cast, expecting to see them emerge any moment from
some rock or tree. Good for man or woman it is to feel one’s self cast
utterly on God’s mercy, and entirely in his hands, to know one’s self
beyond all human aid, with him alone to look to for succor. As I turned
to my husband that day and said, “Well, there’s nothing left to do but
to trust the Lord,” it flashed over us both how commonly we only trust
him when there is nothing else to do, as if his help were the last we
should ever invoke, a last forlorn hope. How far, far too much, we fall
into the habit of trusting in an arm of flesh and all the frail little
human makeshifts with which we encompass ourselves and fancy we are
safe. But how near he seems, how strong the uplift of the “everlasting
arms,” when the soul is left alone to him.

We were forced to wait some time while our tired coolies fed, the
darkness meanwhile coming on rapidly. At length, rather than waste
any more time, I started, walking in advance and leaving the coolies
to follow; eat I could not. Soon the road divided into two, one a
short cut over the mountain, the other a much longer one around it; we
decided to take the shorter road, which also leading through the woods
became extremely dark, so that in a short time we were obliged to call
for torches, the road too turning out to be very bad. It was barely a
foothold, circling and twisting down the precipitous mountain side.
Mr. Underwood soon concluded that he would rather trust his own feet
than his pony’s, as we heard the displaced stones go rattling down into
depths far below; but as for me, though I would have much preferred to
descend from my chair, which had some time before overtaken us, I was
now so tired that it would have delayed us too much and added nothing
to my safety.

Still it was rather an uncomfortable thing to be carried along on the
brink of a precipice, down a slippery, uncertain path, in a darkness
which was scarcely relieved, only made visible, by the flickering
torchlights, especially as they invariably burned out before the next
came up, and we were obliged at times to proceed a quarter of a mile
or more--it always seemed more--in total darkness; and yet worse than
this is probably often experienced by people traveling in the mountains
for pleasure. At last, however, after nine o’clock, Mr. Underwood came
to the chair and bade me look up. There above us on a hill in relief
against the starlit sky stood the walls and gate of the little city. A
city of refuge indeed, and we realized that night, a little at least,
of the joy of the hunted, who, closely pursued by the avenger of blood,
found himself safe within protecting walls. The gates were hospitably
open as our messenger had arrived, and we were expected.

We were told that it was a custom in many towns in the north to set a
lamp in each doorway as a token of welcome to expected guests who for
any reason were persons of importance. As we passed down the street and
saw these bright little beacons before each door our hearts were deeply
touched. Although it was too late for a formal audience, and the gate
of the magistracy was closed, my husband insisted on being admitted at
once. The request was granted and he hurried in and began the usual
ceremony of introducing himself, when a familiar voice exclaimed, “And
don’t you know me?” Then for the first he looked closely into the face
of the official before him, and found that he was an old friend from
Seoul, who had often been entertained at our house.

All was now easy. The events of the morning were carefully related,
with the request that the police should be sent at once to rescue and
bring back our people, reclaim our goods and arrest, if possible,
the criminals. This he promised to do at once, and in fulfillment,
immediately ordered up the hunters, a guild of brave men who know
the woods and mountains for miles around, and who fear nothing. His
spokesman then called out to them in loud tones, which thrilled through
the clear starlit night, the order to go at once, find and arrest the
robbers, and bring safely our attendants and goods in three days’ time,
or lose their heads. To which they replied in a sort of chant in a
minor key that they would so arrest, reclaim, and bring back in three
days’ time or would lose their heads. The last syllable long drawn,
rolled, rippled, and re-echoed, seeming to die away somewhere among
the stars. The condition about the loss of their heads was, of course,
merely for rhetorical effect, or very likely the echo of an old custom,
the address and reply being probably a form hundreds of years old.
At any rate, though they returned after three days had passed, their
mission not fully accomplished, there was no talk of beheading, or
thought of it in any quarter.

It may be noted that not much has been told in this chapter of
Christian work and its results, but it must be remembered that
conditions were somewhat unfavorable. Owing to the fears of our
American minister, Mr. Underwood had been forbidden to preach in the
country at this time, so that his work was limited to studying the
country and the people and their possibilities, laying plans for future
work, examining, instructing and encouraging converts and supervising
and testing the work of native helpers. As for me, the effort to make
a favorable impression through the treatment of the sick and the
distribution of tracts was the limit of my usefulness.



CHAPTER V

    Our Stay in Wewon--We Give a Dinner--Our Guests--Magistrates
    Propose that we Travel with a Chain-Gang--Our Trip down
    the Yalu--The Rapids--Contrast between Korean and Chinese
    Shores--We Enter Weju--The Drunken Magistrate--Presents
    and Punishments--Unpleasant Experiences with Insincere
    People--Rice Christians--The Scheming Colporter--The Men
    Baptized in Weju--The Lost Passport--Another Audience at the
    Palace--Queen’s Dress and Ornaments--Korean Summer House--The
    Pocket Dictionary--Our Homes.


Here, then, in the hospitable little town of Wewon we rested, made
friends whom we hoped to draw into the friendship of our Leader, and
ministered to sick bodies and souls, as opportunity was given. Here in
a few days were brought our boxes and a few of the men who had attacked
us. Still later, for they were unable to travel for some time, came our
poor attendants, who had twice been cruelly beaten with clubs and left
tied up all night in a painful and agonizing position. The mapoo’s arm
was broken, and our helper never entirely recovered from the injury his
back had suffered. Those of the criminals who were found were sent up
to the provincial capital to be punished by the governor.

Before leaving Wewon we gave a dinner to the magistrate in order to
gratify his curiosity and that of his friends. We wished to show in
some way our appreciation of his kindness and hospitality, and Mr.
Underwood, who had considerable experience and much skill in camp and
bachelor cooking, undertook, in the face of some odds, to manage the
matter; and we found our ingenuity well taxed in evolving a feast from
the now scanty remnants of our larder and the few obtainable native
articles out of which a foreign meal could be manufactured. However,
we prided ourselves that we did quite well, with some six courses,
including soup, fish, a bewitching little roast pig, well decorated
with wreaths and berries, served with apple sauce and stuffed with
potatoes, chestnuts and onions. Our dessert, marmalade spread on
crackers, was sufficiently light to please the most æsthetic, and we
introduced a novelty, coffee sweetened with honey, never whispering
that our sugar was gone. The magistrate came with a huge crowd of
retainers, who filled our tiny room and flowed over into the kitchen,
peered into and fingered everything, and nearly wrecked the courses,
which our overtried servant was attempting under many difficulties to
serve. With nothing but a bowl of charcoal in lieu of a stove, and no
proper kitchen utensils, it was by no means easy to achieve such a feat
of culinary art in the far interior of the hermit kingdom, but we did
not stop to consider a little inconvenience or bother, nor regret a
little extra work where we could thereby make or strengthen friendship
with Koreans. Trifling as it may look for missionaries to be planning
_menus_ and giving dinners to country magistrates, there are more ways
of furthering the cause than preaching only. The hearts of the people
must be won, and he who wins most friends wins the readiest and most
attentive audience, one inclined in advance to favor and accept what he
has to teach, and nothing is trifling which helps.

After the return of our men and belongings, and as soon as the former
were able to travel, we felt we must hurry on to Weju. The magistrate
of Wewon proposed that when we departed, the eight criminals who had
been captured should be chained together, two and two, and led in
advance of our company during the rest of our journey. Thus should we
march through the land like conquerors, instilling awe and terror in
all hearts, and none who looked on this tableau would ever again dare
assail a foreigner. Now this was of course exactly the impression that
we wished to produce as missionaries! We pictured ourselves going about
preaching the cross, with such an object lesson as this, trying to win
the hearts of the people, while driving their compatriots before us in
chains, and we enjoyed the vision hugely. It would hardly have been
possible to have obtained the relief of our Koreans without the arrest
of the criminals, several of whom were identified as notorious men,
whose seizure was necessary to the peace and safety of the community.
But we never would have had them punished on our own account or to
gratify revenge, so we politely thanked the magistrate for his tactful
suggestion, but begged to be excused.

We found the town of Chosan, where we stopped on the evening after
leaving Wewon, quite a unique and interesting little place. It is
situated near the Yalu, or, as the Chinese call it, the Amno River,
which forms the boundary line between Korea and China. Two “_kisus_,”
a sort of soldier police, were sent out three miles to meet us, and
preceded us into the town, blowing trumpets all the way, to our
helpless annoyance and disgust, for they either could not or would not
understand that this sort of demonstration was most distasteful to us
both.

As at Kangai, more and more soldiers met us at intervals. There were
flags, music, crowds, and again we entered the town like a circus. The
crowds, however, were kept well back, the place was much smaller, and
we were undisturbed at the magistracy. As soon as we entered the house
a small tray was brought, with cups of hot ginger tea, most restful and
refreshing, the kind thought of the magistrate, who, unlike others, did
not force himself at once upon us, but considerately waited until we
were a little rested and refreshed. We found here a custom which we had
not met elsewhere, that of sounding a bell every morning at a certain
hour, when all morning fires must be extinguished, not to be relit
until late in the afternoon.

We were compelled to go on some miles farther to obtain a boat for our
short trip down the Yalu. In rainy weather the rapids between this
point and Weju are rather dangerous, but at this time it was only a
swift current, which made the trip the pleasanter. We found a Korean
junk, which served our purpose as well as any that were to be had,
which was flat-bottomed, and thirty feet long by three wide. This would
carry our attendants, our packs, two or three boatmen and ourselves.
Some mats were rigged on bamboo poles above us for an awning, and
others stretched across the middle of the boat for a partition, which
left one half for the use of the natives, while we reserved the other
for ourselves. Here we spent three days and nights; during the latter,
however, we always anchored near the shore. Provisions in plenty were
obtained from the villages we passed, when a great many people came out
to kugung; but here we had the advantage, and while quite able to talk
to them from the boat, were not forced to permit more than we liked to
examine us and our belongings.

One night we were wakened with the cry of “Pull, pull!” “Fire, fire!”
and found the boat was on fire. Some one had fallen asleep while
smoking and dropped hot ashes among combustibles; but we were close to
the shore, there was plenty of water and people to use it. The blaze
was soon out, and nothing thrilling came to pass. Thus was it ever with
our adventures. While danger in one form or another made itself known,
as if to prove beyond a doubt our Father’s care, we were kept as safe
and unharmed as a child in its mother’s arms; and were we not with the
everlasting arms underneath us?

As we drifted down the Amno those lovely spring days, with China
lying on one side of us and Korea on the other, the contrast was
wonderfully marked, almost as much, indeed, as if the two nations had
been separated by oceans rather than a river. This difference too was
almost as marked in the physical features of the country as in national
customs. On the Korean shore the trees were mostly of pine; on the
China side, of oaks and other deciduous varieties. The Korean peasants’
huts were of mud, straw thatched; the Chinese houses of brick or stone,
roofed with tile. Koreans dressed in white were plowing with oxen;
Chinese farmers in blue were plowing with horses. Rhododendrons gave
a lovely roseate tinge to the rocks and hills on either side. It was
easy for the passing traveler to see which country bore the greater
appearance of prosperity and thrift.

On the evening of the 27th of April we reached Weju. Fortunately no
official notice had gone before, and there were no trumpets, drums,
harps, sackbuts, psalteries and all kinds of music at hand to make our
lives a burden. A chair was hired for Mr. Underwood, and in the kindly
protection of the deepening twilight we surreptitiously entered these
conveyances and were carried into the city as quietly and unobtrusively
as happy common folks.

And now, to return a little, soon after leaving Pyeng Yang we had met
a Mr. Yi, of Weju, an agent of the Bible Society, then on his way to
Seoul; but when he heard where we were going he concluded to return
with us. Mr. Underwood was at that time trying to decide whether
Weju or Pyeng Yang would be the better place for a sub-station, with
a half-formed plan to purchase a house, to which we could go when
itinerating, in charge of which we might place a care-taker, who would
also be helper, intending to select from among the converts in that
region, if possible, one of the most capable and earnest. This plan
was in part communicated to Mr. Yi, and seemed to strike him most
favorably. He shortly proposed to precede us to Weju and select such
a place. Mr. Underwood, however, told him plainly that he must on no
account purchase or promise to purchase any such house for us; that, as
our plans were indefinite, we could not buy until we had seen the city
and the Christians, and, in a word, until we had some data by which to
decide whether we needed such a house there at all. And even then the
locality and the house must first be seen by us.

We, however, consented that he should go in advance and arrange at
some inn or Christian home for our entertainment, so that we could be
quietly and quickly housed on entering the town. We also consented
that some inquiries should be made as to what houses in localities
convenient for work were purchasable, and at what price, so that
we might have something definite to consider on reaching there.
Accordingly he left us before we reached Kangai and hurried on to Weju.
When we arrived, therefore, he met us and conducted us with much éclat
to a very commodious and nice bungalow, which he said was his own. Here
we were introduced to his consumptive wife, his aged father, and his
little children.

According to custom, we sent our passport to the magistrate as soon as
we arrived. This scarcely reached his office before an order was sent
out for the arrest of our servants and helper, who were forthwith
dragged off to the yamen, beaten and locked up. We had hardly received
this disconcerting news when it was announced that some messengers had
arrived from his excellency with a very generous present of chickens,
eggs, nuts, fruit and other edibles. These articles again had barely
been received and the messengers not well out of sight when officers
arrived with orders to arrest our host and have him beaten. This very
contradictory conduct was certainly disquieting, and we were at a loss
to conjecture what it meant.

[Illustration: A BUTCHER SHOP]

[Illustration: BASKET SHOP]

However, we had not long to wait. The deputy or vice-magistrate
was shortly afterwards announced, and before he left, he gave Mr.
Underwood to understand that his honor the magistrate had been imbibing
rather freely and was not altogether responsible for his honorable
(?) conduct, and that he, the deputy, hoped, therefore, that we
would overlook his slight playfulness in arresting and beating our
poor innocent people. These little aberrations were, he said, quite
frequent, and of course when once we understood what was to be expected
and the reason, no concern need be felt. We were, of course, immensely
comforted and soothed by this explanation, and rested with quiet minds
in the happy consciousness that it was entirely uncertain what sort of
magisterial and honorable earthquake or cyclone might strike us next;
assured it would be all right, as he intended no harm in his sane
moments. The poor deputy, in a strait betwixt two (the magistrate near
at hand, and the Foreign Office in Seoul, represented by our passport),
had been trying to smooth over the magistrate’s uncivil reception of
the passported foreigners, by offerings of said chickens, eggs, etc.,
and this was the explanation of the strange combination of presents and
punishments.

Drunkenness is, I am sorry to say, very common in Korea. The people
do not, as in Japan and China, raise tea, and even the wealthiest have
apparently only recently learned the use of either tea or coffee, which
the common people are far too poor to buy. Milk, strange to say, they
have never used, and they are therefore without a harmless beverage
which they can offer their friends on convivial occasions. As it is,
they resort only too generally to wines and some very strong alcoholic
drinks, which they make themselves.

We had had Christian workers at Weju for some months, one of whom Mr.
Underwood had appointed and two who had constituted themselves such, of
whom we were doubtful then, and later had cause to be more so, and who
now hoped to prove themselves so useful to us that we would give them
some good-paying position in the mission. Several of our experiences
at Weju were very bitter and disappointing to us, for the insincerity
of men whom we trusted was made clear, and yet at the same time they
were instructive, for they taught us to be very slow and cautious in
investing men with responsibility, and to be very guarded both in
receiving converts and in using money, and helped to strengthen us in
those ideas of rigid self-support which Mr. Underwood had already,
from the study of Dr. Nevius’ book, begun to consider deeply and to
some extent follow. One of the self-appointed begged us to start a
Christian school in a place where as yet there was no opening for it,
and to put him in as teacher with a good salary. “But,” Mr. Underwood
objected, “we are not yet ready for such a school, and I cannot start
a school merely to give you a living.” Such unconcern for his material
interest grieved him sorely. Long he pleaded his need and begged with
great naïveté that we would then inform him how he was to subsist, with
refreshing guilelessness rolling the whole of the responsibility of his
existence upon us. We were obliged to tell him with some emphasis that
we were not here to provide incomes for indolent men, but to further
the gospel.

Another man whom we had trusted had given us altogether exaggerated,
and we feared intentionally false, accounts of the interest in Kangai,
of which we had failed to find any signs. He did not suppose we would
go there to verify the reports which were to accrue to his credit.
But another and still more annoying experience awaited us. The agent
Yi told us that the house we were in belonged to us, that in spite of
our repeated injunctions he had bought it for us, and had sold his own
little home in part payment and installed his family here. This was now
the only shelter of his aged father, his sick wife and his helpless
little ones. The scheming fellow had indeed placed us in a serious
predicament. To turn these weak and helpless people into the street
for the sins of this man was not to be thought of; to allow the man
to profit by his dishonest trick would be to encourage every covetous
hypocrite who sought to make gain out of the church and to misuse
consecrated funds. Fortunately within ten days after a sale the money
or deeds may be demanded back, and so we made him ask back his own
house and return the one we had used, with a slight extra payment, to
the original owner. It is due to the British Bible Society to say that
they were of course deceived in this man, as we are all liable to be at
times, no matter how careful. The distance from his employers at which
he was working made supervision almost impossible.

We were visited by a great many people, mostly men, who seemed deeply
interested in Christianity and eager for baptism. Over one hundred
such applicants presented themselves. Mr. Underwood examined them with
great care, and found that all had studied the Scriptures and tracts
with great assiduity, and nearly all were well informed in the cardinal
truths of the gospel. One man was quite a phenomenon of a rather
useless kind of Biblical erudition. He knew the number of chapters and
verses in the Old and New Testament (Chinese, of course), the number
of characters, the number of times the name of God and Christ occur,
and a variety of similar facts, showing he had an extremely facile
memory, but proving nothing with regard to his conversion. I could not
help regarding the poor man with compassion. It seemed too bad that he
should have taken so much pains and spent so many hours of toil to gain
non-essentials when the sweet bread of life and honey out of the rock
might have been had so simply and easily, had he only really wanted
them, had he learned enough of their wondrous value to desire them.
I am afraid that this man and some of the others that we questioned
had no inkling of what Christianity really is, but supposed it was a
philosophy, fine and good, no doubt, which if adopted would bring them
in touch with rich and influential foreigners, and find them speedy
employment as teachers, helpers and what not.

What we anxiously, longingly sought for in these applicants were the
signs of a sincere change of heart, of a real love for the God who was
crucified to save them, and of the fruit of this belief in a change
of life and character. Out of the hundred applicants we selected
thirty-three, not those who answered most glibly or showed the greatest
information, but those who gave almost unmistakable evidence of
sincerity of heart and true knowledge of Jesus. I say almost, for it is
well-nigh impossible not to make mistakes at times.

We had been forbidden to baptize in Korea, under our passport, and we
all crossed the river into China, and there held a communion service, a
very solemn and deeply felt occasion to us, and Mr. Underwood baptized
these men, the only ones baptized during the whole trip, a larger
number than he ever received before, or after that, for some years.
These numbers, rather large so early in the history of the mission,
were afterward much exaggerated by rumor. No one was able to visit this
little company of newborn souls for two years. No response from the
church at home to urgent pleas for help; exacting demands of work in
Seoul, sickness which took us to America, made it impossible for any
one to go and strengthen, encourage and uphold them. With no pastor,
few books but Chinese, they were sadly neglected, and humanly speaking,
it would hardly be surprising if they were scattered and lost as sheep
without a shepherd. We had hoped to visit them at least once a year,
but had no idea how the work near home would grow and how impossible
it would be to leave. These men were not of the city of Weju, but from
some little hamlets at some distance, some of them fifteen or twenty
miles away. Several of the men were already well known to Mr. Underwood
and had been under instruction for more than a year, and some had been
reported ready for baptism by Mr. Saw, who had been employed by Mr.
Ross when he came to Seoul three years before.

This is to show that a horde of new professors, of whom we knew
nothing, were not rashly baptized in zeal to increase the list of
church-members, as was stated by persons who were ignorant of the real
facts. All were rigidly examined, all had been long prepared, and
although two missionaries who paid a visit to Weju on their way to
China two years later, and one who made a long stay eight or nine years
later, said they found none of these Christians, we believe God was
able to keep his own. It would not be easy, knowing neither the names
of the men nor the villages where they lived, to find them, especially
when we remember the roving, almost nomadic character of the people,
most of whom had probably moved quite away, the Japanese war having
worked marvelous changes. More than half of the population of Weju and
vicinity seemed to melt away during that disastrous war.

When our work in Weju was done we started on our return trip to many
waiting duties in the capital. The magistrate had not restored our
passport, so we sent for it, but it was not forthcoming. We waited some
time, and again meekly requested it; still it was withheld, and at
length we learned that on the night of our arrival the magistrate had
been in such an irresponsible condition that he had no recollection to
whose care he had confided it, and, in fact, _the passport was lost_.
This was indeed a serious state of affairs! To travel without one would
involve great risk, to wait for another from Seoul would take more
time than we could afford to spare. And, indeed, whether we should
believe that it was really lost, or that this was only the excuse of an
inimical magistrate who meant to detain us there for some dark purpose,
was a question. After some annoying delay, however, it was found and
duly returned, and with sad farewells from our friends, but with the
hope and intention of returning soon to feed these lambs of God’s fold
we left Weju, to _which we have never as yet been permitted to go back_.

Mr. Underwood and I discussed long and earnestly on our return trip
the comparative merits of Pyeng Yang and Weju for the establishment
of a sub-station. In the one the opening was more hopeful, the other
held the more advantageous position. We at length concluded to leave
the matter open and allow future events to decide where we should
start our station. We returned to Seoul by the main road, with as few
delays as possible, and had an uneventful trip, troubled by no mobs or
robbers. The season was somewhat advanced and the inns were very hot,
but the country was beautiful, with many varieties of the loveliest
flowers. Lilies of the valley we found growing in masses not ten feet
from the roadside, lilacs, eglantine, sweet violets and quantities of
other sweet-scented flowers filled my chair. We found ourselves safely
at home near the middle of May, having been absent over two months,
traveled more than a thousand miles, treated over six hundred patients,
and talked with many times that number.

We were dismayed to find on our return that one of the too loyal
missionaries had, in supposed obedience to the edict, closed the little
room, where services had been held with the natives, and they were
worshiping secretly in one or another of their own little homes. We at
once threw open our own house and regularly gathered the Christians
there, till all the mission were willing to use the little chapel again.

Shortly after our return the queen invited me to a private audience, in
order to give me a very unique pair of gold bracelets, which she had
ordered made for a wedding present, and which had not been ready before
we went to the country. She also gave a ring set with a beautiful
pearl for my husband. She kindly asked about our trip, and was, as
usual, all that was friendly and considerate. I wish I could give the
public a true picture of the queen as she appeared at her best, but
this would be impossible, even had she permitted a photograph to be
taken, for her charming play of expression while in conversation, the
character and intellect which were then revealed, were only half seen
when the face was in repose. She wore her hair like all Korean ladies,
parted in the center, drawn tightly and very smoothly away from the
face and knotted rather low at the back of the head. A small ornament
(indicating her rank, I suppose, as I have never seen any other woman
wear one) was worn on the top of the head; fastened by a narrow black
band. One or two very ornamental long hairpins of gold filigree set
with coral, pearls or jewels were stuck through the knot of hair at the
back. She usually wore a yellow silk _chogerie_, or jacket waist, like
those worn by all Korean women, fastened with a pearl or amber button
and a very long flowing blue silk skirt. All her garments were of silk,
exquisitely dainty.

Her majesty seemed to care little for ornaments, and wore very few. No
Korean women wear earrings (except young girls in the north, who wear
a large silver hoop), and the queen was no exception, nor have I ever
seen her wear a necklace, a brooch, or a bracelet. She must have had
many rings, but I never saw her wear more than one or two of European
manufacture, set with not so many nor so large diamonds as numbers of
American women of moderate means and station often display. She had any
number of beautiful watches, which she never wore. According to Korean
custom, she carried a number of filigree gold ornaments decorated
with long silk tassels fastened at her side. So simple, so perfectly
refined were all her tastes in dress, it is difficult to think of her
as belonging to a nation called half civilized.

On the occasion of this visit she gave me a fresh proof of her
thoughtful kindness. I was wearing my wedding dress and very thin satin
slippers, and as I was leaving it suddenly began to rain. My chair
was nearly half a mile distant, waiting outside the gate, according
to rule. The queen, whom nothing escaped, noted the rain, and my
difficulty. She came in person to the window and imperatively ordered
word to be sent to the gate for my chair to be brought to the waiting
room.

[Illustration: PLEASURE HOUSE. PAGE 22]

But this was too much. The officials who attended me there said that
such an exception as this in my favor would awaken bitter criticism
and jealousy, that one of the highest officials in the land was at
that moment waiting at the gate for the shower to pass so that he
could attend at an audience, and would be obliged to walk through the
rain. They therefore begged that I would wave the fulfilment of the
queen’s order and walk to my chair. I saw the reason and the good sense
in their protest, and of course at once consented, as much comforted
by the queen’s kind intention as if my slippers and silk gown had
been well protected. This rule for the exclusion of chair coolies
was changed soon after, and my chair was brought close to the royal
apartments.

That summer was passed on a high bluff on the banks of the river, in a
Korean summer house, which belonged to the king, which their majesties
had allowed our mission to use a previous year, and which favor was
now extended to us. It was situated on the rocks about fifty feet
above the water, and was one of those charming, cool and picturesque
summer refuges which Koreans understand building to perfection. Its
roof, with artistically upward curving corners, was supported on
several stout pillars, but its walls were all windows of light wood,
in fancy open-work designs, which were covered with paper on one side,
and which, being made to swing out and hook to the roof, formed a
very effective awning. Here with a breeze always sweeping through,
effectively screened from the sun, with a perfect view of the mountains
and the Han River, with its lovely green valley, Mr. Underwood worked
nearly all summer on his small dictionary, Mr. Gale or Mr. Hulbert
giving him much useful help at times. My husband had been at work on a
larger dictionary, which he planned to make a very full and complete
one, for nearly three years, and had already many thousands of
definitions of words with synonyms. It was to be both Korean-English
and English-Korean, not like the French, merely the Korean into the
foreign tongue. It was a darling scheme of his heart, on which he was
putting all the time that could be spared from direct mission work; but
persuaded by his brethren that something was sorely needed immediately
by missionaries now beginning to arrive, he laid his _magnum opus_
aside for the present, not without regret, but without a backward look,
and working without cessation from early dawn into the night hours all
that long summer, prepared and finished the small dictionary, for the
convenience at the present indigent moment of those who were struggling
with the language.

The following fall, the loved secretary, Dr. Mitchell, and Mrs.
Mitchell visited our mission and gave us all much advice and help, for
which we were most grateful. We were not then quite so well housed as
now. Our homes were mud-walled and rather damp, often leaking badly in
rainy season and admitting much frosty air through numerous cracks in
the winter. Many of our windows were not glazed, but merely covered
with paper. During the doctor’s visit there came one night a heavy
storm of wind and rain, which beat against the window near our bed,
and thoroughly demolished it, the rain pouring in on the floor. The
roof leaked over us, but with umbrellas and waterproofs we kept quite
dry. In the morning, however, at the sight of the flooded floor and
the paper windows hanging in shreds, Dr. Mitchell gave us a severe
reprimand for our carelessness, warning us that missionaries are far
too expensive commodities to be so ill protected. A lesson it were well
for all young missionaries to learn, but which, as a rule, alas! they
are too slow to heed.



CHAPTER VI

    An Audience at the Palace--Dancing Girls--Entertainment Given
    after the Audience--Printing the Dictionary and Grammar--A
    Korean in Japan--Fasting to Feast--Death of Mr. Davies--Dr.
    Heron’s Sickness--Mrs. Heron’s Midnight Ride--Dr. Heron’s
    Death--Difficulty in Getting a Cemetery Concession--Forced
    Return to America--Compensations--Chemulpo in Summer--The “Term
    Question” in China, Korea and Japan--Difficulties in the Work.


Early in the fall of 1889 I was invited to another audience at the
palace, with some of the foreign state officials and their wives.
After the audience a dinner was served, and later, a performance by
dancing girls was given. And right here I must say, that although on
several occasions at the palace I have seen dancing girls in these
entertainments, I have never beheld anything at such times in their
actions that was improper or even undignified. Their motions are
graceful, usually slow, circling around hand in hand or in various
combinations of pretty figures. They wear high-necked and long-sleeved
jackets or coats, and long skirts, the figure quite concealed by the
fashion of the dress. And yet, thus to appear in public, allowing their
faces to be seen by strangers, is the gravest breach of propriety in
the eyes of all Koreans, and these girls are, alas! as depraved as
women can be. Like those of their class in all countries, they are the
most pitiable and hopeless of women, but unlike those who have thrown
themselves away, they deserve small blame mixed with the compassion one
feels for them, for these poor girls have been sold by their parents
into their awful lives, and were given no choice of their destiny. Many
a poor little Korean child is sold into slavery for a few bags of rice,
to be trained as a dancing girl, used as a common drudge, or married to
a man she has never seen, while she is hardly larger than our little
ones playing with their dolls in the nursery.

But to return to our palace entertainment, from which I have made a
rather long digression. The guests were seated on the veranda, or
“maru,” in front of the dining hall, and in the grounds before us
appeared a pretty boat with wide spread sails, in which were seated
some gaily dressed girls. Others now appeared, dancing to slow native
music, a stately figure, almost in minuet fashion, with waving of
flowing sleeves and banners. They were evidently the spirits of the
wind, and the boat was waiting the favoring breeze. The music grew
quicker, while faster and faster stepped the dancers, more and more
swiftly fanning the sails with sleeves, skirts and scarfs, till at last
the boat slowly moved forward, and with its attendants moved out of
sight. When the boat had been thus gracefully fanned away, a couple of
mammoth lotus plants were brought out, with great closed blossoms seen
among the leaves.

Following them came a pair of gigantic storks, extremely well
simulated. The birds came forward slowly, advancing, retreating,
sideling, mincing, waiving their heads and long bills about, all in
tune to the music, wavering and uncertain, yet evidently with some
definite, not to be resisted, purpose in mind. At length, after long
hesitation, one of them plucked up courage and gave a vigorous peck
at a lotus bud, which forthwith burst open and released a pretty
little child, who had been curled up at its heart. The other stork,
with similar good fortune, discovered another little one. I was much
interested to find this stork and baby myth here in Korea, centuries
old; but those hoary nations of the East are ever reaching down into
the apparently limitless depths of their remote past, and dragging
forth some fresh surprise whereby to convince us there is nothing new
under the sun.

Late in November of the same year we went to Japan to publish Mr.
Underwood’s grammar and dictionary, as there were no means of printing
such books in Seoul. In Japan we were forced to wait while type was
made, and during this delay Mr. Underwood perfected the grammar, adding
what is now the first part. A Korean teacher or scholar accompanied us,
but great was his distaste for Japan and all her ways, and herculean
our toils and efforts, as each steamer sailed to prevent his returning
to Korea.

Rice is the staple article of food in China, Korea and Japan, but it
is cooked and eaten differently in all three countries, and no one
of either will, except under dire necessity, eat the rice prepared
by one of the other nationalities. Our literary assistant was of the
_Yangban_, or noble class, he had never soiled his hands in labor, or
cooked anything for himself, but after enduring a Japanese hotel with
many and doleful complaints for a very short time, he begged us to
find him a room and let him keep house for himself. That a _Yangban_
should make a proposition like this showed to what straits he had been
brought, so we at once complied with his request, and from that time on
he prepared his rice with his own gentlemanly hands. He was a Chinese
scholar of fine attainments, and his learning was much respected in
high Japanese circles. He was often invited out, and was distinguished
by an invitation to the house of the governor of the city.

Now, when Koreans attend a feast, they expect to finish an incredible
amount of food on the spot (nor is it altogether unusual, in addition,
to carry away as much in their sleeves and hands as strength will
permit). Sometimes they fast for several days previous in order to
do full justice to the entertainment, and generally, I believe,
quantity is considered of far more import than quality. Not so with
the Japanese, among whom our teacher visited. If his word was to be
believed, they had developed the æsthetic idea quite to the other
extreme, and provided a few tiny cups and dishes of supposedly delicate
and rare viands for their guests. So on this occasion to which I refer,
it was almost pathetic, the poor Korean fasting to feast, with visions
of quarts of rice and vermicelli soup, pounds of hot rice bread, nuts,
fruits, fresh, dried and candied; meats with plenty of hot sauce,
“_kimchi_,” or sauerkraut, etc., etc. Alack the day! A few microscopic
cups of tea, a few tiny dishes of articles which knew not Korea (among
them no doubt raw fish), and for the rest, a feast of reason and
flow of soul. Next day, a wiser and a thinner man, he sadly told Mr.
Underwood that he now understood why Japanese prospered, while Koreans
grew poor. “Koreans,” said he, “earn a hundred cash a day and eat a
thousand cash worth, while Japanese, on the contrary, earn a thousand
cash a day and eat a hundred cash worth.” Never were truer words
spoken, with regard to the Japanese at least. If these people have a
virtue, which their worst enemies cannot gainsay, it is their industry
and thrift.

Just what is the ordinary number of slight earthquakes in Japan per
month or year, I do not know, but during the six months of our stay
they averaged one every three days. During one twenty-four hours of
our experience there were eleven. They were not, of course, severe,
but sufficient to swing doors, set chandeliers clattering and rocking
chairs in motion,, and to convince me more than once that the house was
on the point of tumbling about our ears.

Just before we returned to Korea we were shocked to hear of the sudden
death by smallpox of Rev. Mr. Davies, a brother greatly beloved in the
Lord, who had arrived early the previous summer and had made phenomenal
progress in the language, whose gifts and learning were unusual, but
were all excelled by his spirituality and consecration. His zeal never
permitted him to spare himself in the least. He seemed to link himself
at once, heart to heart, with Mr. Underwood, and together they planned,
studied, worked and prayed for the salvation of the people. It was as
if death had entered our own family when news came of his loss, and a
black pall seemed to lie across our path. We knew God does all things
well, and his ways are not our ways, nor his thoughts ours, and yet in
the weakness of the flesh, which cannot see, with all those unsaved
millions dying around us, we felt we could not spare Mr. Davies, and to
us, to whom he had been confidant, sympathizer, counselor and friend,
the personal loss was bitter. But we have learned that often when we
think, or come in any way to feel that his cause depends on a man, God
removes him, to teach us that his cause depends on no man, that he can
bless the efforts of the weakest and poorest and feed five thousand
from the basket of a little boy.

On April 26, 1890, the books were finished, and we started at once for
Korea, reaching here in May. Soon after our return from Japan we were
visited by Dr. and Mrs. Nevius. We all recognized Dr. Nevius as a king
among men, with a mind so clear and broad, a spirit so genial, a heart
so full of charity and with a record of such long years of faithful
labor that we were glad to sit at his feet. The sense of ignorance,
incompetence, inexperience, combined with a realization of awful
responsibility, is almost overwhelming to the young missionary on a new
field, and it is only by constantly leaning on the almighty arm that he
is kept from despondence and despair. At such times the advice of such
an elder brother is invaluable.

The little missions had by this time been reinforced by several
arrivals, and the following summer, which was very warm, many of them
went to Namhan (Southern fortress) to spend the hot months. Seoul
lies in a basin, encircled by mountains, and is extremely unhealthy
in summer, its festering pools and ditches overflowing with filth,
steaming a very witches brew of evils upon the sickened air, with
odors unspeakable and undreamed of in civilized lands. Namhan is about
seventeen miles distant from Seoul, on top of a mountain, not quite
two thousand feet high. It lies on the further side of the Han River,
but is fairly easy of access, reached by a steep road winding up the
mountain.

Dr. Heron had taken his family there, and frequently traveled back
and forth to his duties in Seoul, which was doubtless too much for
his strength in those hot and humid days. He was soon attacked by
dysentery, which did not at first seem serious, and was consequently
ignored too long. It finally developed into the most malignant form
of the disease, which resisted every effort of the physicians, Drs.
Scranton and MacGill, who were unremitting in the struggle in which
they were steadily worsted. As soon as the symptoms began to look grave
Mrs. Heron was sent for. In great distress and alarm, she set off that
very evening, in a terrible storm of rain and wind, a very carnival, no
torch or lantern could be kept alive, the wind howling around the frail
chair as if to tear it from its bearers’ hands. The roads, steep
and difficult in pleasant weather, were really dangerous when slippery
with mud and water, in darkness so absolute that not one step in
advance could be seen, while in the woods and valleys the coolies were
sometimes up to their waists in water. Drenched to the skin, this poor
afflicted young wife arrived at her home near morning, after traveling
all night in this terrible storm, to find her husband fatally ill.
After a little more than three weeks’ sickness and great suffering,
Dr. Heron passed away, to the grief and loss of the whole foreign
community, as well as that of the Koreans (and they were many) with
whom he had come in contact, to all of whom he had endeared himself by
untiring kindness.

[Illustration: GATE IN THE WALL OF NAMHAN. PAGE 98]

The government had never set aside any land for a foreign cemetery near
Seoul, although in accordance with the treaty they should have done so
long before. A strong superstition and very rigid law forbid the burial
of the dead within the city walls, and hitherto the few Europeans
who had died had been buried in the cemetery near Chemulpo. But to
carry remains thirty miles in the heat of July, to the port, with no
conveyances but chairs, to be forced to bury our dead so far away,
was unnecessary, inconvenient and expensive, as well as an additional
trial to hearts already sore. As soon, therefore, as Dr. Heron’s death
seemed inevitable, a request was made that the government would set
apart a place near the city for this purpose. This, with characteristic
procrastination, they failed to do.

On the day of Dr. Heron’s death they offered a place which we found
altogether impossible, beyond the sand beds across the river, a
long distance off, in very low ground. It was then decided that as
something immediate must be done, we would make a temporary resting
place on a piece of ground belonging to our mission, where there was
a small house, occupied just then by Mr. Underwood’s and Dr. Heron’s
literary helpers. As soon as they heard of this plan they objected
most strongly, saying it was against the law, and as the body must be
carried through the streets to reach there, there would probably be a
good deal of excitement and trouble.

We then ordered the grave dug on Dr. Heron’s compound, back of his
house, sending word to the Foreign Office that as they had provided no
other place, we were forced temporarily at least to make this disposal
of the remains. The time for the funeral was set for three o’clock, and
about a half hour before the literary helpers again came to us in a
state of the wildest excitement and terror, tearing their hair, weeping
and trembling. They averred that the people in that quarter were
planning to mob us all, to burn down their house, beat and kill them,
and very likely kill us too, if the body was buried within the walls.

It seemed cruel that no place could be found where we could lay our
dead. Our hearts were torn with grief for the poor burdened sister,
who ought to have been able to claim a quiet and decent burial for
her dear one’s remains, as well as the sympathy of every one, that
she must be refused a place for his repose, and assailed by all this
wrangling and confusion. We were hotly indignant with the teachers, who
we thought ought to have risen above heathen superstition on their own
part and kept the secret from the people. It was now uncertain where
Dr. Heron’s remains could be laid, and they were therefore embalmed and
hermetically sealed. The Foreign Office, however, on hearing that it
was our intention to bury on the compound, at once came to terms and
gave us a large field on a fine bluff overlooking the river, about five
miles from Seoul. This was obtained through the indefatigable efforts
of Dr. Allen of the United States legation, who besieged the foreign
office and insisted on this concession.

During all these months the work was steadily going forward; more
than we had dared to hope were added to the number of believers
and inquirers; a Bible translating committee, of which Dr. W. B.
Scranton of the M. E. Mission and Mr. Underwood were members, had been
appointed; a girls’ school in each of the two missions had been started
long before, and both were steadily growing (though the Methodists
were far in advance here), the boys’ orphanage had been changed to
a boys’ school, and hospital and dispensary work in both missions
was flourishing; with an increase of confidence of the people in our
friendship and trustworthiness.

In the early fall a new member of the mission appeared in our family,
making life richer, in a measure absurdly disproportionate to his
dimensions and weight. Some months after this, sickness, growing more
and more threatening and intractable, followed, until the doctors’
verdict was that a return to America was the only condition, and (that
a doubtful one) on which life could be saved. The kindness and goodness
of the whole community shown to me were beyond expression. Here in the
East, where the ordinary conveniences of large cities are not to be had
for money, where we are very dependent on each other’s kind offices,
mutual love and service draw and bind us very closely together.

I was nursed, and friends and neighbors helped my husband pack away
our goods, for a year’s absence means that everything must be nailed
or locked or sealed up from mildew, moth, rust, rats and robbers.
Furniture must be compactly stowed away so that the house may be
occupied by other homeless missionaries waiting for an appropriation
for a house. They sewed for baby and me, and spared neither pains nor
trouble to help us. Two of the ladies, Mrs. Bunker and Miss Rothweiler,
went with us to Chemulpo, a journey which I made, carried by six
coolies to ensure steadiness, on a long steamer chair, stopping over
night, half way, at a primitive Japanese hotel.

I can never tell with what regret, shame and pain I left Korea. I had
looked forward with pleasure to a return after a long period of years,
when the work had been well begun and the appointed time had come,
when something had been accomplished, but to go _now_, a _failure_, to
leave my work scarcely begun, perhaps never to return, was bitter. But
more bitter still was the thought that I was dragging my husband, in
the freshness of his health and vigor, back from a life of usefulness,
where workers were pitiably few and calls for help from all sides were
many and loud. Christian tracts and hymn books were needed, the Bible,
as yet not translated, the dictionary not half finished, schools to
be established, a fast growing band of Christians to be nourished and
taught, and when I thought of it all, it looked dark.

But God brought a blessing out of it, as he always does from every
seeming misfortune, for through that return to America several
missionaries were obtained, a new mission established and greater
interest in Korea aroused in the minds of American, Canadian and
English Christians.

    “Man’s weakness waiting upon God its end can never miss,
    For man on earth no work can do more angel-like than this.
    He always wins who sides with God--to him no chance is lost;
    God’s will is sweetest to him when it triumphs at his cost.
    Ill that he blesses is our good, and unblest good is ill,
    And all is right that seems most wrong, if it be His sweet will.”

On our return to Korea most of the summer was spent at Chemulpo, as
our baby was very sick. We stopped in a so-called “hotel,” kept by
Chinamen. The long hot nights were rendered almost intolerable by the
noise and odors of such a place. From early in the evening till past
midnight we were tortured by the high falsetto singing of the actors
in a Chinese theatre across the street. The sailors returning to the
gunboats in the bay kept the dogs in fits of frenzied barking, which
would have effectually murdered sleep had it ever ventured near. By the
time the dogs had begun to regain their composure, the Japanese venders
of vegetables, fish, etc., with a devotion to business which under any
circumstances ought to have won high praise, began with loud strident
voices to call their wares under my window until it was time to rise
and face a new day.

All day I brooded over my starving little son with an aching heart,
looking out across the long reaches of dreary mud flats to the sea,
watching for the steamer that was bringing the only food that he could
digest, and prayed it might not come too late. Day by day the little
life trembled in the balance, but at last the ship came in, and never
was argosy from the Indies laden with gems and treasures untold half so
welcome. Never could ship come to me with half so precious a cargo as
that which brought my baby strength and life.

In the meanwhile Mr. Underwood toiled in the city, overseeing the
repairs on our house, for we must be builders, contractors, carpenters,
gardeners and jack of all trades, and throughout the summer working
unremittingly on a hymn book which the little church now greatly needed.

The “term question” is a vexed problem which as yet has failed to find
a solution that secures the assent of all missionaries. This question
relates to the proper word to be used for God. China, Japan and Korea
alike use the Chinese characters and have words which mean “gods,” or
things worshiped, but they do not have either a definite article or
capitals, such as those by which in English we can change “gods” into
“the God” or “God.” They also have _names_ (quite a different matter)
signifying the chief god of heaven (Sangchai or Hannanim), the god of
earth (Tangnim) and others.

Some missionaries hold that by using this name of the chief god of
heaven and explaining it by instructing the people in the character and
attributes of him whom they ignorantly worship, they will more easily
understand and more readily accept our teaching. Many also believe that
the name really refers to the great God of heaven, although of course
it is impossible to claim that it refers to the one only God, since all
the heathen who worship this one also worship countless other smaller
deities.

On the other hand are those who conscientiously believe that the
personal name of a heathen deity should not in any way be applied to
the Eternal Jehovah, that such a course is in direct conflict with
God’s own word. Then aside from their convictions on this matter they
believe that the use of a heathen cognomen of one of these gods, be
he of heaven or earth, applied to the great “I am” may, in addition
to being forbidden, lead to dangerous mistakes in the minds of the
members of the infant native church. They believe, in short, that a
false thing can never be right, and that to address Jehovah by a name
not his, but another’s, cannot be right or result well in the end. This
view has been adopted by missionaries of all creeds in Japan, a large
minority of Protestants, and all Romanists in China, and by all the
Episcopalians and Romanists in Korea. They use the name Jehovah for
God.

[Illustration: HOUSE USED BY MISSIONARIES ON TOP OF NAMHAN. PAGE 98]

Almost the entire body of the Presbyterian and Methodist missionaries
in Korea, and a majority of them in China, belong to the other party,
although quite essentially different words are used by the Chinese
missionaries from those used in Korea. The Chinese use Sangchai; the
Koreans, Hannanim.

It is with no controversial intent that this matter is referred to
here. It is indeed a vexed question, but one whose satisfactory
settlement is to be devoutly hoped for. No little feeling has been
awakened, because it is a question which has involved in the minds of
many some very deep principles.

The only reason for referring to this matter is that men and women in
Christian lands may gain a little glimpse of some of the difficult and
perplexing problems which confront the workers in some of the mission
fields. These problems vary in different countries, but they all have
their difficulties.

Immediately after our return Mr. James Gale’s Grammatical Forms was
published, and about a year later his Korean-English dictionary, so
that the mission was now supplied with several language helps. Much
stress had been laid from the first upon securing a thorough mastery
of Korean, and each missionary was required to pass three very rigid
annual examinations. A course of study for first, second and third
grades was made out for each year, to assist students, and members of
the examination committee and others were appointed to oversee and aid
the language study of the newcomers.


CHAPTER VII

    The Mission in 1893--“The Shelter”--Opening of Japanese
    War--Seoul Populace Panic Stricken--Dr. and Mrs. Hall in Pyeng
    Yang--Heroic Conduct of Native Christians--Condition of Pyeng
    Yang after the War--Dr. Hall’s Death--Preaching the Gospel at
    the Palace--The Queen Seeks to Strengthen Friendly Relations
    with Europeans--Her Majesty’s Generosity--A Little Child at
    the Palace--The Slaves of the Ring--A Christmas Tree at the
    Palace--The Queen’s Beneficent Plans--The Post Office Emeute of
    1884--A Haunted Palace--The Murder of Kim Oh Kiun.


In the fall of 1893 we moved too early into a house recently repaired
and not yet completed, with wet mud walls and no windows fitted in some
of the rooms. It seemed a necessity, but resulted in continued sickness
through the entire winter for the little one and myself, so that I was
largely debarred from the good work going on among the Koreans. Many
of the middle and lower classes were coming into the church, men’s and
women’s meetings were well attended, and even the little boys in the
school seemed full of Christlike zeal, and spent some of their holiday
and play hours in telling the good tidings and distributing tracts. One
of our missionaries, Dr. Moffett, had been appointed to Pyeng Yang,
other appointments of Presbyterians to the same place soon following,
as well as that of Dr. and Mrs. Hall from the Methodist Mission.

On my own part, a little, very interrupted medical work was done, and
women’s meetings were begun and carried on with great difficulty on
account of deficient knowledge of the language, but little by little,
in trying ever so lamely to use what I had, I rapidly gained more and
more, so that I could soon talk and pray with freedom, if not always
with perfect elegance and correctness, and as my chief aim was to be
understood by the Koreans, not to display myself as an accomplished
linguist, I was satisfied and happy when I had proof of this. Other
women by this time were prepared to do this work well, in all three
missions; and our poor native sisters were being reached in various
quarters. I had been invited to the palace several times, my child was
also asked there, and petted and loaded with kindness.

The Bible translating committee had been enlarged and now included Rev.
H. G. Appenzeller (M. E.) and Mr. James S. Gale (Presby.), in addition
to Dr. Scranton and Mr. Underwood. Lesson leaves were prepared for our
Bible classes, and a number of tracts were being translated by various
missionaries. Before our return to America in 1891, and for some years
after, it was the cruel custom among wealthy natives to put servants,
dependents or strangers at once on the street, if afflicted with any
infectious disease, and it was the commonest occurrence to find poor
people lying by the roadside, either exposed to the bitterest blasts
of winter or the blazing heat of midsummer. Sometimes a friend or
relative had erected a rude hut of thatch over the sufferer, sometimes
a whole family together occupied such a hut, the dead and living lying
together. It was our heart’s desire to obtain in some way the means to
buy or build a hospital for such cases. While we were in America small
sums were put at odd times into our hands “for the work,” and as these
sums increased we decided to use the money for this long-cherished
purpose.

Soon after our return, we were able, at a very low price, to buy a
beautiful piece of ground on a breezy hillside, covered with fine
trees and with a good tiled house having six or seven rooms. This
was large enough for our present purpose, and money in hand was not
sufficient to build the sort of hospital of which we dreamed. So we
repaired the old building and added a caretaker’s quarters. We made the
institution undenominational, arranging that any one might place cases
of infectious disease there, which should be attended by any doctor
desired. At the same time a little dispensary, given in memory of her
only son by Mrs. Hugh O’Neil, of New York, was opened not far from the
“Shelter,” as it was called, on the main road to the north. Here, in
addition to medical work in a small way, women’s Bible classes were
held, men’s and women’s evening prayer meetings, and often Sabbath
morning services. July of 1894 saw the beginning of the China-Japan war
in Korea, and the capture of Seoul by the Japanese. We were awakened
one morning by the sound of firing, and soon learned that the palace
was in possession of the Japanese. Excitement rose quite high among
both foreigners and natives.

All the legations ordered up troops from the port where our gunboats
lay, for our protection, although it is difficult to see how, in a
case of serious danger, such small numbers would be of any service.
There were fifty Russians, forty Americans, forty English and nine
German marines. The natives, high and low, were in a state of panic.
The nobility fled from their homes in large numbers and in all sort
of disguises, and sought refuge at the foreign legations, or in the
country; and to the country the common people started _en masse_. Every
shop was closed, the city had the look of a plague-infested place. A
solemn procession of men, women, chairs, pack-ponies, a continuous
throng, in dead silence, with rapid steps, and set, terror-stricken
faces, poured through the main thoroughfares and out of the gates.
Many pathetic little groups were to be seen; little children, whose
parents in wild fear had deserted or lost them in the crowd, trotting
along with tear-stained faces, alone; women with babies on their backs
and babies hanging at their skirts; men carrying all their worldly
goods on their shoulders, here and there coolies with the chair of
some frightened rich man or fine lady, shoving aside the crowd. High
and low, rich and poor, hurrying away from the dreaded Japanese, the
ancient enemy of their nation. How it made one realize the great
multitude of unsaved peoples, pushing its way along the broad road and
through the wide gate that leads to destruction. “And when he beheld
the multitudes he had compassion on them as sheep having no shepherd.”
The servants in every family gave notice; they dared not stay, they
said, since to remain would be to be killed by Chinese or Japanese. We
reminded them that we were neither afraid nor making any preparations
for flight, and at last only persuaded some of them to remain by
promising that we would never go and leave them, which we had fully
decided upon on account of the native Christians.

Some very exciting and trying events had in the meanwhile been taking
place in Pyeng Yang. In the previous May Dr. William James Hall of the
M. E. Mission took his wife and baby to that city to start a station,
and to take up a permanent residence. They were almost mobbed by the
curious throngs, whom they were unable to control. No police could be
obtained from the governor, who in addition, on the second or third day
after their arrival, arrested and threw into jail Dr. Hall’s helper and
the man from whom he had bought his house. This is the approved method
of forcing a man to give up a house or piece of ground to which he
holds a good title, but which Korean officials object, for any reason,
to his keeping.

Dr. Hall had selected this property because it was in a thickly
populated part of the town, where he believed he could do most good,
but he had positively refused to pay a tax, which former owners had
always paid to a certain devil-worship and sorceress house in the
vicinity.

Dr. Moffett’s helper and the former owner of his house were also cast
in jail, and his native Christians cruelly beaten, at the time when
Dr. Hall’s men were seized. It was evident missionaries were not to be
tolerated in Pyeng Yang. One or two other M. E. native Christians were
then also arrested and beaten. Dr. Moffett was in the capital, and the
Halls were quite alone in this large town, among many enemies, several
days’ journey from Seoul and help. The situation was grim. Dr. Hall was
obliged to leave his helpless wife and baby alone in the unprotected
house while he visited the governor, or the Chinese telegraph office
(both long distances away), or in trying to relieve or help the
Christians in the jail.

As soon as his first message arrived in Seoul, a general meeting
of all the missionaries was called at our house for united prayer
for the Halls and our poor tortured native brethren. Dr. Scranton,
Dr. Moffett and Mr. Underwood at once hastened to the American and
English legations, and obtained through them an order from the Foreign
Office to the governor, to release the Christians and pay damages
for the injured property. Although this was wired at once to Pyeng
Yang, the only apparent result was that the natives were more cruelly
beaten and water-carriers forbidden to take water to the Halls, their
house stoned and the walls torn down. The natives bore their cruel
treatment heroically, and refused to give up their faith; they were
then removed to the death cell, and the governor sent them word of his
intention to execute them. Two despatches from Seoul had been received
by the governor, but still no signs of change. In the meanwhile it
was decided that some of the missionaries from Seoul should go to
Dr. Hall’s help. Mr. Moffett claimed the right to go, as his native
Christians were there in trouble, and Mr. McKenzie, from Canada, was
allowed to accompany him, being an unmarried man, although several
others stoutly urged the best reasons why they should go, like boys
begging for a holiday rather than men going to face a very serious and
doubtful situation.

We all feared that Dr. and Mrs. Hall, as well as the Christians’ lives,
would be sacrificed to the malice of the mob and the governor before
sufficient influence could be brought to bear by our legations through
the Foreign Office to save them. By the time the two men from Seoul
had arrived there, however, five days later, the Christians had been
released, after being again badly beaten and stoned. Dr. and Mrs.
Hall for a month following treated patients and preached the Word,
but when war seemed imminent they were ordered back to Seoul, where
they returned, as well as Mr. McKenzie, Dr. Moffett following somewhat
later, having lingered as long as possible to encourage and hearten the
Christians. Pyeng Yang was now in the hands of the Chinese, and Seoul
in those of the Japanese. The summer was a very hot and unhealthy one,
and there was scarce a family among the foreigners where there was not
one or more cases of severe and prostrating sickness. Two little ones
died, and there were long hours of agonized watching, when dear lives
seemed for hours to be slipping over the brink. None of us could leave
the city to seek for purer air or water, no pure milk could be had, and
one poor young father, whose little child was literally starving for
digestible nourishing food, remembering his father’s farm with its good
milk cows, remarked pathetically, “In my father’s house there is food
enough and to spare, while I perish with hunger.”

On the first of October, after the defeat of the Chinese, the
Presbyterian missionaries and Dr. Hall returned to Pyeng Yang to look
after the interests of the stations left so long, in a city which had
passed through such a hard experience.

Pyeng Yang was in a fearfully unhealthy condition. One of the
missionaries wrote, “The decaying bodies of men, horses and cattle were
so numerous, that no matter whatever direction we went we came across
them constantly, so that the atmosphere was foul beyond expression.”
Another wrote, “In one place I counted over twenty bodies, literally
piled one on top of another, lying just as they had been shot down....
In another place, where a body of Manchurian cavalry ran into an ambush
of Japanese infantry, the carnage was frightful, several hundred bodies
of men and horses lying just as they had fallen made _a swath of bodies
nearly a quarter of a mile long and several yards wide_. It was three
weeks after the battle and the bodies were all there unmolested.”

According to a native superstition that the city is a boat, and to
dig wells would sink the boat, there were no wells in Pyeng Yang; but
a large number of bodies of men and horses were lying in the river,
polluting for weeks the only water supply. In this dreadful situation
our brave missionaries remained and worked, and on October 17th Dr.
Hall wrote the following cheerful words, “We have very interesting
services, the hymns of praise that less than a year ago brought cursing
and stones are now listened to with delight, and carry with them a
feeling of security similar to the sound of a policeman’s whistle in
New York. Comparatively few of the Koreans have returned to their
homes, but every day brings fresh additions. Every day numbers of those
who have returned and those from the surrounding villages and towns
visit us. They buy our books and seem far more interested in the gospel
than I have ever seen them before.”

[Illustration: DESERTED ROYAL DINING HALL. PAGE 121]

Very soon after writing these words Dr. Hall returned to Seoul;
the boat on which he came was full of sick Japanese soldiers.
There were cases of typhus fever and army dysentery, the water was
doubtless poisoned, and he reached Seoul, after numerous most trying
vicissitudes, fatally ill with typhus fever. Quite early, articulation
became very difficult, but every halting sentence spoke of perfect
peace and joy, and almost his last words were, “I’m sweeping through
the gates.” Tears dim my eyes while I write, for we all not only loved,
but reverenced Dr. Hall, and we felt that he possessed a larger share
of the Master’s spirit than most of us. His very entrance into a room
seemed to bring the Lord nearer, and his looks, words and conduct
unexceptionally revealed the power and beauty of Christ. No one ever
heard Dr. Hall speak a harsh or bitter word, no one ever heard him
criticise a brother Christian, no one, to the best of my information,
ever knew of him anything that was not noble, true, faithful and
Christlike. His face beamed with a celestial light, and without his
ever assuming to be in any way better than others, we all felt he was a
holy man. Europeans and natives alike testified to the same impressions
of him, the same love for him, his sweet spirit drew all hearts to him,
so that he was both universally loved and honored.

While we who were in Seoul had all suffered more or less from ill
health, everything was quiet and orderly, and the Japanese deserve
great credit for the fine discipline of the army, and the good order
and comfort of natives and foreigners in a city entirely at the mercy
of the victorious troops of an Eastern nation.

During the fall and winter of ’94 and spring of ’95 the queen sent for
me very often, asking many questions about foreign countries and their
customs, and chatting most affably. Frequently we dispensed altogether
with the formality of an interpreter, and the king and crown prince,
who were often present, were quite as frequently elsewhere, so with
her majesty so friendly and kind, I at times almost forgot that I was
not having a _tête à tête_ with an intimate friend. I of course felt
my great responsibility heavily, and was overwhelmed at times with the
thought of my duty and inefficiency. At length I asked the prayers of
the missionaries that an opportunity to speak to the queen about Christ
might be given me, and that I might realize it and make the best use of
it. And now my anxiety and trouble of mind passed away and a restful
contentedness took its place. I felt sure that I was to be guided and
led at the right time.

On the day before Christmas the queen sent for me and asked me to
tell her about our great festival, its origin and meaning, and how
celebrated. Could any one ask clearer guidance or a better opportunity?
It would be impossible not to tell the gospel story under such
circumstances, and so I told her of the angels’ song, and the star,
and the little babe that was laid in a manger, of the lost world to be
redeemed, of the one God who so loved the world, and the Redeemer who
came to save his people from their sins.

She listened intently, and with deep interest, turning from time to
time and repeating it in a most animated and sympathetic way to the
king and prince, who did not understand my accent so well.

A few days later, after asking many questions about my own country,
she said rather sadly, “Oh, that Korea were as happy, as free and as
powerful as America!” Here was another opportunity which I tried to
improve by saying, that America, though rich and powerful, was not the
greatest or the best, attempting to picture that better land without
sin, pain or tears; a land of endless glory, goodness and joy. “Ah!”
exclaimed the queen, with unspeakable pathos, “how good it would be if
the king, the prince and myself might all go there!”

Poor queen! her kingdom threatened on all sides, at that time in the
hands of an ancient foe, traitors and relentless enemies among her
own people and kindred, and some of the men whom she had raised and
advanced ready and plotting then to betray her to death. No wonder she
sighed for that haven of peace and rest. But I was forced to tell her
very sadly, that no sinners might enter there. “No sinners!” Her face
fell, the bright look faded, for she knew, accustomed though she was
to almost divine honors, that she was a sinner. Then as silence fell
in the room, I told her the good tidings, that all who would trust in
Jesus were forgiven and purified through him, and so made holy and fit
for that country. She listened very thoughtfully, and though no other
opportunity came to talk further on this subject, I was unspeakably
thankful that I had been permitted on these occasions to point out
clearly the way of salvation.

I think that in this time, when her nation’s helplessness and weakness
were emphasized, the queen sought to strengthen friendly relations with
European and Americans. She gave several formal audiences to European
and American ladies, and all who met her felt her powerful magnetic
charm and became at once her friends and well-wishers. Twice during
that winter the queen bade me ask all my friends to skate on the pond
in the palace gardens, graciously asking me to act as hostess in her
place and serve tea in the little pavilion near-by.

On Christmas day her majesty sent a beautiful sedan-chair, which had
been her own, covered with blue velvet and lined with Chinese brocaded
silk, and with it any number of screens, mats, rolls of cloth and
interesting and curious articles of Korean manufacture, with great
quantities of eggs, pheasants, fish, nuts and dates, and on the Korean
New Year’s day five hundred yen, which the queen requested me to use in
the purchase of pearls, or something similar, for myself, and a gift as
well for my little son.

He was then between four and five years of age, and the palace women
were constantly urging me to bring him with me to the palace. This, of
course, I would not do without a special request from their majesties,
and at length one day the queen asked why I had never brought him,
expressed surprise that I considered an invitation necessary, and
bade me bring him next day. I therefore took him to the palace, and
no sooner had the coolies lowered my chair than the women, who were
evidently on the watch for us, clutched him up and bore him away in
triumph, I, his mother, knew not whither. Some few minutes elapsed
before I was asked to go from the waiting room to the audience, during
which I employed my time in lively conjectures as to what was happening
to my kidnapped son. When I was called for a little later I found him
with the royal party, the center of an admiring circle.

Both the king and queen have always shown a passionate fondness for
children. Only a few months ago the king spent nearly four hundred
thousand dollars on sorcerers and temples in trying to mollify the
smallpox god, which had attacked the youngest son, a boy of about six.
So no wonder they were kind to the small American. The queen ordered
nuts and candies brought in, and insisted on his eating then and
there, although, knowing that it was bad form in the eyes of Koreans
as well as of foreigners to eat in the royal presence, and fearing for
his health as well (for he had never as yet eaten nuts), I begged her
majesty to allow this treat to be postponed. His looks and actions
were praised far beyond their deserts, and every expression noted and
remarked upon. The queen drew the child to her side in a motherly
fashion, placing her hand on his forehead, remarked anxiously that it
was too hot.

When we were ready to go, the king, to my amazement, actually knelt
down in front of the baby, and with his own “jade” fingers buttoned
on the little coat and made a brave attempt to tie the cap strings,
one of which, I blush to confess, in the unfamiliar tug was quite torn
from its moorings. Of course I was overwhelmed with confusion over the
bad conduct of the ribbon on such an occasion, but the king overlooked
it, and farewells were said and again the child was spirited swiftly
away by the palace women. I found him in the women’s quarters handed
round like a curio from one to another, petted, caressed, discussed,
half-frightened, but demure.

Poor palace women! with no homes or children, living such an aimless,
shut-in life, a child in their midst was a godsend indeed. But all
Koreans are extremely fond of children. A child is an open sesame to
their hearts and homes at all times. God blesses the missionary babies,
and these little preachers open doors that yield to no other touch
than their little dimpled fingers. From palace to hovel I never found
a woman whose heart would not soften, whose eyes would not brighten,
whose interest could not at once be enlisted by the sight of a child.

That evening as we returned home through the narrow and winding streets
of Seoul we were quite an imposing procession. A number of palace
lantern bearers accompanied us, each carrying the gayly-colored silk
official lanterns of their majesties, and preceding us were a train of
servants, carrying on their heads great trays of oranges, nuts, dried
persimmons and candies. It took little imagination, looking at those
men in their Eastern attire, at the lanterns and streets, and even
our own chair with its oriental splendor, to transport ourselves into
the middle of a chapter of the Arabian nights, with a little Aladdin
sitting in my lap and the slaves of the ring attending us home.

Soon after Christmas I dressed a Christmas tree for the royal family,
but to my great vexation, the effect was quite spoiled because their
majesties were too impatient to wait till dark to view it, and one
cannot lock the doors on kings and queens and forbid them to do as
they will in their own palaces. There were no heavy hangings or means
of darkening the room, and so the poor little candles flickered in a
sickly way in the glaring daylight, and I felt that Western customs
were lightly esteemed in the critical eyes of the East.

Indeed, in our superb self-satisfaction we often deceive ourselves in
fancying that Orientals view with open-mouthed admiration everything
European or American. I am reminded of a Korean nobleman, who, on being
asked, after his return to Seoul from America, how he liked New York,
replied, “Oh, very well, _except the dirt and the smells, which were
horrible_.” Another similar instance was that of one of the Koreans who
went with us to Chemulpo and Fusan, who saw the two-story houses, the
ships in the harbor and various wonders of civilization, and exclaimed,
“Poor Korea, poor Korea;” but when he heard a foreign band play at the
Japanese consulate, remarked with delight, “At least there is one thing
in which Japan cannot rival or compare with us, our music!”

Through the whole winter I was at the palace very often, as were the
ladies of the American and Russian legations, and Dr. Avison of our
mission, who was physician to the king, was frequently consulted, and
the recipient also personally of many royal favors. In the spring the
prime minister came, saying the queen had sent him to ask Mr. Underwood
to draw up plans and estimate the cost of a school for the sons of the
nobility. The site selected was between the east and west palaces. Her
majesty proposed to erect dwellings for the teachers, whom my husband
was asked to recommend and send for to America. The queen was prepared,
the minister said, to give at once thirty thousand dollars for the
school, and twenty or thirty thousand dollars a year for the running
expenses.

Mr. Underwood drew up the first plans and made estimates, which were
sent for her majesty’s criticism and approval. These were again
referred to Mr. Underwood, the final plans were being prepared, and
only two weeks before they were to be sent for the queen’s approval the
great blow fell which put an end to all her beneficent and enlightened
schemes for the advancement of her people.

Before proceeding further I must go back a few years and recall one or
two events which occurred before my arrival, in 1884, in order that my
readers may understand more clearly some of the events which are to be
related in the next two or three chapters.

In that year the progressive or reform party in Korean politics was
led by a man called Kim Ok Kiun, but they were continually foiled in
all their attempts towards advance and reform by the conservatives,
and at length received reliable information (so they claimed) that a
plan had been formed to murder all their prominent leaders at midnight,
on December the fourth. On this evening a banquet was to be given in
honor of the opening of the Korean post-office, and the progressives
resolved to forestall the plans of their opponents, and just before
the dinner they cut down Min Yung Ik, the queen’s cousin, and the most
influential man in the kingdom. He would have died had it not been for
the prompt assistance given by Dr. Allen, then of our mission. The
other conservative leaders were then ordered to the palace, as they
supposed, by royal command, but were there (five of them) assassinated
by the progressive party, who, headed by Kim Ok Kiun, then seized the
palace. The post-office was burned on the same night, and with it the
new stamps which had been used only once.

The Japanese minister and other foreign officials were now invited
to the palace, which invitation was accepted only by the former, who
brought one hundred and forty soldiers. Here the Japanese and the
progressive party were attacked by three thousand Koreans and between
two and three thousand Chinese. As the event grew more than doubtful,
the king was allowed to go over to the other party, in the belief that
if he was released the fighting would cease. Although this was not the
case, the little party of Japanese fired a mine, dispersed a large
number of the allies, and then forming a square, with the progressive
leaders and the Japanese minister in the center, fought their way
through the enemy, and the hostile streets, first to the Japanese
legation, and after that to the river, with the loss of only five men.
After much difficulty in obtaining boats, they crossed the river, made
their way to Chemulpo, and from there escaped safely to Japan.

The picturesque palace, with the remarkably beautiful park which
surrounds it, was not occupied again by the queen. Her majesty averred
that it was impossible to sleep there at night for the mournful wailing
of the voices of her murdered friends, which she heard continually
crying, “Why was I killed, why was I killed?” So now the wind whistles
and moans through the deserted rooms, grass and weeds push their way
through the crevices of the beautiful marble steps, green mould grows
thick on the once lovely lotus pond, and the charming little summer
pavilions are falling to ruins, while snakes and lizards slide about
the stone seats. The wide reaches of lawn are overgrown with long
grass, and tigers and leopards are said to make their lairs in the
noble woods and grottoes. The gateways fashioned in various charming
designs to form frames as it were for the beautiful vistas beyond, are
choked with a wild overgrowth of vines and weeds. Fancy has not to look
far, or listen long, to read in all this deserted and neglected beauty
the story of that one night of blood and horror, and to hear in every
chilled whisper of shuddering foliage the word “haunted.”

[Illustration: MR. CHOY CHO SI]

[Illustration: ELDER YANG AND FAMILY]

Ten years had passed, the refugees were still in Japan, but Eastern
vengeance does not tire or sleep, least of all forget. A man named
Hong, probably employed by the government, went to Japan, ingratiated
himself with Kim Ok Kiun, decoyed him to Shanghai, and there murdered
him, and on April the 12th, 1894, a Chinese gunboat brought the
assassin and his victim’s remains to Chemulpo. Arrived in Korea,
the body of the murdered man was divided and sent through the eight
provinces. Two of the other refugees had gone to America, and one Pak
Yung Ho remained in Japan. All three are to be heard from again. While
we all shuddered at and deplored this revolting deed, a stain upon
any government, it must be remembered that the man was a political
criminal of the blackest dye, and that while any nation would under
similar circumstances, if possible, have executed him as a traitor
and assassin, the Korean government was that of unenlightened Eastern
people who have not learned that revenge has no place in just
punishment.



CHAPTER VIII

    Mr. McKenzie--The First Church Built by Natives--Mr. McKenzie’s
    Sickness--His Death--Warning to New Missionaries--The
    Tonghaks--Mr. Underwood’s Trip to Sorai in Summer--Native
    Churches--Our Use of Helpers--Christians in Seoul Build
    their Own Church--Epidemic of Cholera--Unhygienic
    Practices--Unsanitary Condition of City.


In the meanwhile, in the fall of 1894, Mr. McKenzie, who had arrived
from Canada in the winter of 1893, and, as we have said, had gone to
Dr. Hall’s relief, after his return decided to go to the interior, the
better to learn the language and people, and to live there as much as
possible in every way like a native. Mr. Underwood advised him to go
to the village of Sorai, or Song Chun, then under his care, where he
had baptized almost the first converts ever received in the Korean
church. Here he found a few Christians who received him as a brother.
He made his home with one of them, and at once began to preach Christ
by example. Long before the people understood his broken Korean they
read his beautiful life, and little by little a change came over the
whole community. We all thought of him often in his loneliness in that
far-off hamlet, where, though he was a great light to the people, there
was no real companionship for him. At Christmas we sent him a box of
home-made bread, plumb-cake, canned fruits and vegetables, tea and milk
and sugar, for we knew he had no foreign food and that he was living
solely on Korean diet, but we did not know that it consisted of rice
chiefly, with a chicken once a week, and occasionally a few eggs.

When our box reached him, he handed the contents all over to the
Koreans. He wrote that he _dared_ not taste them, knowing that if he
did it would be impossible to go back to native food. Meanwhile one
and another of the villagers and people in the vicinity were giving up
their old heathen idols and turning to Christ.

Some years before the Christians of that village had asked Mr.
Underwood to give them a church, but, like the young man who came
to Jesus, they went away sorrowful, when told they must build it
themselves. Now, however, they again took up the idea in a different
spirit. Near the village was a rising piece of ground on which stood
a little grove, in midst of which had been for many years the shrine
where the village deities were worshiped. This had long been neglected
and destroyed, and here it was decided to build the new church. Every
one gave as the Lord had prospered him, gladly, enthusiastically, and a
heathen master builder undertook to direct the erection of the building
on half pay, because it was for the great “chief God of heaven,” as he
understood. Very likely he knew little enough of the one only God for
whose service it was raised, but not very long after he learned both to
know and love him.

The little meeting house was not a very imposing or lofty structure.
It could boast nothing of the magnificence of our American churches,
no doubt it would blush to be called a church at all in such a stately
company, so I will call it a chapel, and even then it was an humble and
unpretentious one, _but it was the best building in the place_. The
poor people put into it their best wood, stones and tiles, the loving
labor of their own hands, with fervent prayer. When it was finished no
debt hung over it, and God, who does not see as man sees, blessed
and honored it by filling it to overflowing with simple-minded,
sincere, earnest people, who came with hearts ready to receive with
meekness his word.

[Illustration: PARTY STARTING OUT IN MORNING FROM THATCHED INN. PAGE
199]

[Illustration: CHURCH AT SORAI. PAGE 124]

In the early summer of 1895, Mr. McKenzie wrote, asking Mr. Underwood
to go and dedicate the church and receive a number of applicants for
baptism. This he promised to do, but just before he was to start, one
sad day in July, when a number of us had met to hold a day of fasting
and prayer, a messenger came with the news of the deadly illness of our
dear brother, Mr. McKenzie. The pitiful letter, written with his own
trembling fingers, showing in every sentence the evidence of terrible
suffering and of a mind already unhinged, was followed immediately by
the shocking news of his death. The blow fell like a thunderbolt. Such
zeal, consecration and usefulness cut short so soon!

It was strange, and yet there was a lesson in it for the noblest class
of missionaries. And here let me say just a few words of warning to
some who may have the foreign field in view, and to some who are
perhaps already on the field. There are men and women, who, being
John the Baptist sort of people, enter the work with such zeal and
enthusiasm and allow themselves to become so overwhelmed with the
awful responsibility for these dying millions (which indeed every true
missionary feels only too heavily), that they forget the just demands
of the body of this death. They forget that a solitary life gradually
unseats the intellect, and that a body which has reached maturity, fed
on plenty of nutritious food, cannot suddenly be shifted to a meagre,
unaccustomed and distasteful diet of foreign concoction, and retain
its power to resist disease, and to accomplish the heavy work they
mercilessly exact from it, like Egyptian taskmasters demanding brick
without straw. They forget that the spirit cannot remain united to the
body unless the claims of the latter (in which are included those of
the brain) are satisfied, and so they drop, one by one, our noblest and
most needed laborers. But even so, they do not die entirely in vain,
they leave an example of Christlikeness and devotion which preaches
eloquently, and is an inspiration to all their brethren.

And yet if they could only have gone on living and preaching, as
they might, had they been able to mix with their enthusiasm and
consecration, wisdom and temperance! During my short experience I have
seen several illustrations of what Mr. McKenzie’s death brought home so
startlingly to us all. We learned afterwards that he had been sick for
some weeks, his mind had been somewhat affected early in the history of
the disease, the progress of which had not been very rapid, but as he
had no companion who could observe the danger signals, and no doctor to
help, his invaluable life was lost.

The more intelligent natives urged him to send for a doctor, but he
hesitated to call others from their work to undertake a long difficult
trip in the unhealthy summer season, lest it should prove to be only a
passing temporary ailment. And so he went on doctoring himself (just
as any missionary alone in the interior is tempted to do), delaying to
call for help, from his very unselfishness and conscientious fear of
giving trouble.

z“Take care of your head. Don’t work too long in the sun,” he said to
an old woman by the roadside, “or you may lose your mind as I have.”

He related to his friend, the Korean leader, accounts of long nights
of anguished struggle with Satan, and then again of hours of ecstatic
joy with his Saviour. The intolerable agony in his head grew steadily
worse, until the end. The Koreans felt the terrible blow deeply, but
they have never ceased to love and revere Mr. McKenzie’s memory. They
cannot speak of him now after a lapse of several years without tears.
Their loving hands prepared him for the grave and covered his bier
with flowers. They held a funeral service as best they knew, after our
custom, with prayers and hymns, and laid his loved remains in a quiet
place, not far from the little church which he had been the instrument
in God’s hands of building. His influence is still felt in the village
and for miles around. He lived Christ and laid the foundations of that
church on a rock. He had a reputation for great courage and prowess,
and it is said that his presence alone saved Sorai from invasions of
Tonghaks.

This society played a conspicuous part in the opening of the
China-Japan war, its name means literally Eastern doctrine, and its aim
was in brief, “the East for Easterners,” or “Korea for Koreans.” They
declared their desire and intention to down all Westerners, Western
ideas, reforms and changes, and to restore and re-establish old laws
and customs. The sudden organization and wonderful popularity of this
society was doubtless caused by the outrageous conduct of many corrupt
officials, who ground down the people mercilessly with unjust taxation
and brought about a general feeling of unrest and bitter discontent.

They were in many respects like the Boxers of China, and believed
they had immunity from death and could not be hurt by bullets. They
soon spread all over the land, a terror to officials, and the Korean
government was powerless to stop them. They gave up the worship of all
minor deities and honored only the Lord of the heavens. They forced
people everywhere to join their ranks and subscribe for their support,
levying taxes on small and great. Starting like many other movements,
in a good and patriotic determination to do away with abuses and
institute reforms, it grew into a great evil and terror in the whole
land. Bad and unprincipled men, of whom there are plenty in all
climes, who are restless and ready to throw themselves into anything
which promises a change, knowing that no change can be for the worse
for them, joined in large numbers, and many companies of Tonghaks
differed only in name from bands of robbers. As has been said, the
government could make no headway against them, and whether or not the
aid of China was officially sought, I am not prepared to say, but the
fact that China did send troops to Korea, nominally to control this
uprising, was used by the Japanese, who claimed that a mutual agreement
existed between Japan and China that neither should introduce troops
into Korea without the consent of the other, as a _casus belli_, and
they forthwith sent an army to Korea, seized the palace, and sunk a
transport bringing Chinamen to Chemulpo.

So much for a brief explanation of the Tonghaks. Large companies of
these men threatened on three different occasions to raid Sorai while
Mr. McKenzie was there. To show that he leaned on no earthly defense,
but only on the arm of the almighty God, he took his gun all to pieces
when he heard of their approach. They were told of this, and were
deeply impressed; and were so thoroughly convinced that if he was
leaning on some mysterious power with such strong confidence, it would
be useless and worse to attack him, that they gave up their plan. The
third time they decided to attack the place they were said to be ten
thousand strong, but after coming part way, they turned back, and never
again threatened Sorai, which was the only village in that section
which was never raided.

One day Mr. McKenzie heard that a tiger was prowling around in the
vicinity, and started out with his shotgun to hunt the beast, but
fortunately did not have a chance to try conclusions with that weapon,
which, however useful in killing partridges, would not be likely to do
more than tease a tiger. As soon as we received news of his death, Mr.
Underwood and Dr. Wells started that very day for Sorai, to arrange
his effects, make sure the death had been as reported, and comfort and
encourage the native Christians. Before they returned, Mr. Underwood
dedicated the little church, which was packed almost to suffocation,
with crowds standing around the doors and windows. He baptized on that
day quite a little company, as well as admitted a large number of
catechumens and held a memorial service for Mr. McKenzie.

[Illustration: THE THREE STAGES OF MAN IN KOREA

1. MARRIED MAN 2. ENGAGED BOY. 3. YOUNG BOY]

Mr. Underwood was kept longer than I expected on this trip, and there
were no means of postal or telegraphic communication. We women, whose
husbands go hundreds of miles into the interior, realize that we must
take strong hold on God, and learn patience and faith. When the time
for Mr. Underwood’s return had passed, and no news came, I remembered
flooded rivers, bands of Tonghaks, the various forms of deadly disease
that may attack the man who travels in the country in July or August,
and the waiting and suspense grew harder every day.

Every morning I looked up the road, where it curves around the hill, to
see if he were coming. Every evening when the hateful twilight hurried
into darkness, I strained my aching vision along the awful emptiness
of that road, and all night long I listened for the plash of oars on
the river, or almost fancied I heard his voice as the boats rounded the
point, for he might come in a boat. Sometimes I saw Japanese coming
in the distance, and deceived by their dark clothes, thought it was
he. Once a native chair came up the road near the house, and they told
me he had come, but it was only a stranger, and the chair passed on.
Yet my case was not harder than that of many women in the homelands
who must all learn what anxious suspense and long vigils mean, but at
length, fearing he was seriously sick, I concluded that I would go and
find him.

To do this secrecy was necessary, for none of my foreign friends would
allow me to go at that season, if they were informed of my intention.
So I called up Mr. Underwood’s trusted literary assistant, and arranged
with him to hire ponies. I planned to start from our house in Seoul (we
were then at the river cottage), and as nearly every one was out of
town, expected to be able to get away without any one’s knowledge. But
on the very day, word came that he had already started, and was well
on his way home, his ponies had returned, and he, coming by water, was
almost due. No use to go now, and in a day or two he was safe among us
again, and again in contrition I heard the gentle rebuke, “Oh ye of
little faith, wherefore did ye doubt?”

The church in Sorai was the first built and paid for by the natives,
was in fact the first Presbyterian church built in Korea. The Christian
natives in Seoul had met in a little guest-house on our place, and
in similar rooms in other sub-stations. So, Sorai in the van set the
marching order, and all others, with almost no exceptions (in the
Presbyterian missions), have followed in their lead.

Paid pastors none of them have, but all the stronger ones employ
evangelists, whom they often pay in rice or fields or wood, to
systematically carry the gospel to their heathen neighbors. It is our
custom to select in each church the most earnest and intelligent of the
Christians as a leader, who takes charge of the services, and oversight
of the flock, and reports progress to the missionary in charge. The
leaders are gathered once a year, at the time when farmers have most
leisure, at some central place, and instructed in the doctrines of the
Bible, church government and history, and careful exegetical Bible
study. They are carefully trained in conducting religious services and
in preparing illustrated Bible readings. In every way possible the
missionary tries to fit these men for their duties. Mr. Underwood is
accustomed to hold one of these classes in the city for those who live
near enough, and one in the country for those who are at too great a
distance to attend the city class, and I believe nearly all the others
do the same.

Such is the interest felt in the gatherings and the thirst for more
light, that many who are not invited, and who hold no office in the
church, travel many miles, bringing their own rice, to attend these
classes, which are often crowded to overflowing. The church leaders are
rarely paid any salary, even by the natives. Each missionary engaged in
evangelistic work is allowed one paid helper, at five dollars a month.
This man employs his whole time in this way, and some missionaries who
have a large field under their care are allowed two such assistants.

Mr. Underwood has always had a good many men, who freely gave the
greater part of their time to the work, or who were paid by the native
Christians, or were provided by him with some means of gaining their
living which would admit of their giving much time to the work. Some
would peddle quinine, at sufficient profit to make a good living.
Each bottle is wrapped with a tract, and pains were taken to insure
only the best article being placed in the hands of these dealers.
Some of these men are placed in charge of little book shops, without
any salary, some in charge of a chapel or dispensary, the privilege
of occupying the house their only pay. There are always a number of
young men around him glad and proud to be asked to serve on a special
mission here or there, and the young men’s missionary societies band
themselves together for systematic gospel work, so that they each week
visit some village, distributing tracts and preaching. All these, with
the leaders, who are always at his disposal for work in their own
vicinity, form a valuable corps of helpers. This plan, or something
like it, I believe, is carried out by all the evangelistic missionaries
in the Presbyterian missions. Mr. Underwood, also, copying from the
Methodists, established a circle of class meetings among the Christians
under his care in and around Seoul.

The class leaders meet with him once a week, each bringing his
book, make a report of attendances, absences, sickness, removals,
backslidings, deaths and conversions. The class leader, being, as far
as we know, the best man in his class, and in a way responsible for it,
becomes again a very useful helper.

During the spring of 1895 the Presbyterian church in Chong Dong, Seoul,
decided to build themselves a place of worship. The people were all of
them poor, even according to Korean ideas, paper-hangers, carpenters,
small retail shopkeepers, farmers, policemen, soldiers, interpreters,
writers, copyists, even chair coolies, gardeners and peddlers, the
richest of them rarely earning more than five dollars in gold a month.
So we missionaries decided to raise the most of the two thousand yen
necessary among ourselves, encouraging the natives to give as much as
they could.

Mr. Underwood, however, in trying to impress them with the duty of
supporting the Lord’s work liberally, was met one day with the remark,
that this was called a foreign religion, and so it was difficult to
convince natives that foreigners should not pay its way. “And so it
will continue to be regarded,” said my husband, “just as long as you
allow foreign money to be used in carrying it forward. When you build
and own your churches, send out your own evangelists, and support your
own schools, then both you and others will feel and realize it is not a
foreign affair, but your own.”

“Then,” said the deacon, “we will build the Chong Dong church
ourselves.” Mr. Underwood was astonished. “How can you build such
a church?” said he. The deacon replied, “Does the pastor ask such
a question of what relates to God’s work? With God all things are
possible.” Nothing, of course, remained to be said. The missionaries
decided that it would be wiser for them to own the land, in case of
possible political complications, but the building itself would cost
the whole of one thousand yen. The people went to work with a will, the
pastor and one or two other missionaries took off their coats and lent
a hand at the work, boys hauled stones, Korean gentlemen, scholars,
and teachers who had never lifted anything heavier than a pen, set
themselves to work on the building, carpenters gave their skilled labor
every alternate day, working for their own living only one out of
every two, women saved a little rice from each bowl prepared for the
family until enough was laid aside to be sold, and gave the money thus
earned, and so in manifold ways the money came in and the work grew. At
length, however, there were no more funds and the building came to a
standstill. No one was willing to go into debt, even to borrow of the
missionaries, and it was decided to wait until the way opened.

Just when everything seemed hopelessly blocked, the epidemic of Asiatic
cholera broke out. Why Koreans do not have this every summer raging
through the whole country is one of the unsolved problems. All sewage
runs into filthy, narrow ditches, which are frequently stopped up with
refuse, so as to overflow into the streets, green slimy pools of water
lie undisturbed in courtyards and along the side of the road, wells are
polluted with drainage from soiled apparel washed close by, quantities
of decaying vegetable matter are thrown out and left to rot on the
thoroughfares and under the windows of the houses. Every imaginable
practice which comes under the definition of unhygienic or unsanitary
is common. Even young children in arms eat raw and green cucumbers,
unpeeled, acrid berries and heavy soggy hot bread. They bolt quantities
of hot or cold rice, with a tough, indigestible cabbage, washed in
ditch water, prepared with turnips and flavored with salt and red
pepper. Green fruit of every kind is eaten with perfect recklessness
of all the laws of nature, and with impunity (and I must say, an
average immunity from disastrous consequence) which makes a Westerner
stand aghast. Any of us would surely die promptly and deservedly if
we presumed to venture one-tenth of the impertinences and liberties
with Dame Nature which a Korean smilingly and unconcernedly takes for
granted as his common right.

The only solution I have ever reached, and that I hold but weakly, is,
that in accordance with the law of the survival of the fittest, none
but exceptionally hardy specimens ever reach adolescence, or even early
childhood, and that having survived the awful tests of infancy, they
are able to endure most trials which befall later.

But even these, so to speak, galvanized-iron interiors are not always
proof. It takes time, but every five or six years, by great care and
industry, a bacillus develops itself, so hardened, so well armed, so
deeply toxic, that even Koreans must succumb, and then there is an
epidemic of cholera. Eight years before, in 1887, the plague swept
through the land, and thousands fell. Christians, both missionaries
and natives, united in prayers that God would stay the scourge.
Physicians pronounced it contrary to the laws of nature that it
should stop before frost came to kill the bacilli, but, in wonderful
justification of faith, the ravages of the plague were abruptly checked
in the midst of the terrible heat of the last days of August and the
first of September.



Chapter IX

    Difficulty of Enforcing Quarantine Regulations--Greedy
    Officials “Eat” Relief Funds--Americans Stand Alone to Face
    the Foe--The Emergency Cholera Hospital--The Inspection
    Officers--We Decide to Use the Shelter--A Pathetic Case--The
    Jesus Man--Gratitude of the Koreans--The New Church--The Murder
    of the Queen--Testimony of Foreigners--The Official Report.


And now again the rod was to fall. The disease began with terrible
violence, men in full vigor in the morning were corpses at noon,
several members of the same family often dying the same day. It cropped
out in one neighborhood after another with a steadily marked increase
every day, that was frightful in its unrelenting, unswerving ferocity.
The Japanese and many of the more enlightened Koreans took the alarm
early, and seeking the counsel of European and American physicians
planned to establish quarantine and sanitary regulations for the whole
country, but as an astute young Korean sadly remarked, “It is easy
enough to make the laws, it is more than doubtful whether they can be
enforced.”

If officials and soldiers are sent to enforce quarantine, there is
little doubt among those who know customs and people that only too many
of them will be susceptible to a very small bribe. When the necessity
for quarantining Seoul from Chemulpo was mentioned, the high officials
themselves said it would be impossible on account of the importance
of the trade between the two places. One instance will show the
hopelessness of the attempt to carry out sanitary regulations.

In the effort to prevent the enormous and insane consumption of green
apples, melons and cucumbers, the sale of these articles was forbidden
with a penalty for buyer and seller, and notices of the law posted
everywhere. And yet, soon after, my husband passed a stand where they
were being sold in large numbers, over which one of these very notices
was hung, and several policemen among the buyers were munching the
forbidden fruit with a calm relish, edifying to behold. It is due to
the government to say that they seemed thoroughly awakened to the
situation and were doing all in their power, but were handicapped by
the deplorable corruption of many officials. Twenty thousand yen (ten
thousand dollars) were granted to fix up a temporary emergency cholera
hospital, enforce sanitary laws and prevent the advance of the plague,
but this money was, to use a common Korean phrase, “eaten” by greedy
underlings on all hands. In the preparation of the hospital, more
than twice the number of carpenters needed were employed, and these
men passed their time making little articles for private sale, or in
standing about doing nothing. A number of petty officials were hired
to do little, and improved on their commission by doing nothing but
receive their pay.

At a general meeting of the physicians then in the city, European,
American and Japanese, Dr. Avison having been chosen by vote director
of this emergency hospital and the sanitary work, the Japanese all
withdrew, saying they did not care to work under a Westerner, and in
the end the Americans only were left to face the foe.

After many discouragements and hindrances an old barracks building
was roughly prepared to receive patients, and a corps of nurses and
doctors, composed of quite a number of missionaries (Methodists,
Baptists and Presbyterians, with the assistance of hired Koreans) was
formed. The building was very poorly fitted up for such an exigency,
the haste with which it was necessary to get it ready, and the
character of the place, precluded the possibility of making it very
suitable for the purpose. It was open, damp and chilly, with no means
of warming or secluding the patients. It was only scantily furnished
with such absolute necessities as could be had at short notice in the
city. And think not, Oh civilized medical community in America! that
“necessities” according to your ideas are synonymous with “necessities”
according to our possibilities in Asia. Perhaps you have a fossilized
idea that beds and sheets and pillows are necessities. By no means. Our
patients lay on the floor, covered with small cotton wool rugs, and
back-breaking business it was to nurse them.

But the discouragements connected with our work was not merely the lack
of conveniences and almost dire necessities, or the want of proper
enforcement of sanitary regulations and of co-operation, and although
Dr. Avison and the foreign staff under him worked heroically, and with
unwearied devotion, it was an unequal struggle. The majority of natives
are not willing to go to hospitals, and it would have been dangerous
to try to force them, while many will not permit foreign doctors to
treat them even in their homes, or else use Korean medicines with ours.
But alas! in many cases the disease is so violent as to defy all that
science, aided by every advantage, can do.

It is the most desperately, deadly thing I ever saw, and often
medicines seem useless to do more than slightly defer the ultimate
result. The poison attacks the nerve centers at once, and every
organ is affected. Terrible cramps contract the muscles, the heart
fails, the extremities grow cold, the pulse becomes imperceptible,
the mind wanders, or suddenly, without previous symptoms, the victim
falls and dies at once. Or, after the most violent symptoms of the
disease have disappeared, vomiting and pain have ceased, the pulse has
become almost normal and the patient nearly ready to be discharged, a
mysterious change comes, and the poor victim dies of pneumonia, uræmic
convulsions, or some of the other sequellæ of this frightful disease.

Mr. Underwood was placed in charge of inspection offices, which were
opened in different districts over the whole city, and all cases
reported there received immediate attention. Several of his young
Christians were trained by him to carry on this work, he himself at
first going out with them, hunting up infected localities, using
disinfectants, and teaching the helpers and residents how to purify
the premises. These young men worked indefatigably, with intelligence,
enthusiasm and courage. The inspectors and all the doctors and nurses
wore a badge, consisting of the red cross over the Korean flag, so that
even in heathen Korea the sign of the cross was carried everywhere, and
dominated the emblem of the Korean government.

The people picked up the idea that lime was a mysterious agent in
preventing disease, so it was not uncommon to see a handful of it
scattered, a few grains here and there, along the edges of some of the
filthiest ditches, or a gourd whitewashed with lime hanging by the door
as a sort of charm to drive away cholera.

Koreans call it “the rat disease,” believing that cramps are rats
gnawing and crawling inside the legs, going up till the heart is
reached; so they offer prayers to the spirit of the cat, hang a
paper cat on the house door, and rub their cramps with a cat’s skin.
They offered prayers and sacrifices in various high places to the
heavens--Hananim--and some of the streets in infected districts were
almost impassable on account of ropes stretched across, about five feet
high, at intervals of about every twenty-five feet, to which paper
prayers were attached. As my coolies, trying to pass along with my
chair, broke one of these, I could not help admonishing the owner who
came to its rescue, “_Better put them up a little higher_.”

Aye, put them up higher, poor Korean brother, they are far too near the
earth! One of the most pathetic sights in connection with this plague
were these poor, wind-torn, rain-bedraggled, paper prayers, hanging
helplessly everywhere, the offering of blind superstition to useless
dumb gods who can neither pity nor hear.

    “They reach lame hands of faith and grope
      And gather dust and chaff.”

Early in August it was decided, as the plague seemed on the increase,
to fill the “Shelter” with cholera patients, and Dr. Avison assigned to
Dr. Wells, Mr. Underwood and myself the supervision and care of this
place.

The “Shelter,” situated on a good high site outside the walls, with a
number of comfortable rooms, with the possibility of hot floors (which
proved an unspeakable benefit to the poor cold, pulseless sick), seemed
an ideal place for the purpose. It was not very large, it is true, but
as most of our patients were either quickly cured or quickly succumbed,
we were able to receive a goodly number. Mr. Underwood and Dr. Wells
worked indefatigably, stocking it with everything obtainable which
could be of use.

My husband arranged for a corps of voluntary native nurses. As the only
missionaries available were at work elsewhere, and we had seen too
much of hired native official nurses, he decided to ask some of his
Christian helpers to do this service for the love of Christ. Cholera is
a loathsome disease, only love makes it easy to nurse faithfully and
tenderly these poor afflicted creatures, without overwhelming disgust.

Some of the men thus approached belonged to the scholar and gentlemen
class, who had never done manual work of any kind, and at first they
hesitated. However, they at last decided to undertake the task, and
with willing hands and a little training, they turned out to be very
satisfactory nurses, faithful and devoted, never shirking the most
difficult and repelling work. Every evening a service of prayer and
song was held in the central court of the Shelter, where all who were
conscious could hear, and we believe that the blessing on that work
came in answer to these united prayers, and the public acknowledgment
of absolute dependence in God. Here, too, the workers gained new
enthusiasm and the strength born of faith and hope.

Dr. Wells’ brilliant management deserves the highest praise. The
necessity of caring for my little one, lying sick five miles away,
allowed me only alternate nights of service at the hospital, so the
labor for the other two members of our trio was severe, but while the
need lasted strength was given.

Unspeakably pathetic were many of the scenes we were forced to witness.
One poor woman, only that day widowed, with three little ones to care
for, was brought in cold and almost pulseless. We spent the night
trying to save this poor mother. Early in the morning her eldest, a
dear little fellow of eleven, came to watch with and take care of
her. To see the anxious little face (a child’s face in the shadow of
a great sorrow is the saddest thing on earth) as he chafed her hands
and affirmed, half interrogatively, how much warmer they were now
than before, and as he looked eagerly to us, every time we entered
saying, “Will she live, will she live?” was enough to make one ready
to die for that life. We felt that woman must live. And yet--. After a
long contest the pulse revived, the extremities grew warm, nearly all
untoward symptoms disappeared, we all dared to hope. “She will live
now,” joyfully said the child. “Oh, if I could live, it would be good!”
said the now conscious mother. But alas! next day the three little
ones were motherless and fatherless, and another sad funeral, with one
drooping little mourner, joined the awful procession, which nightly
filed through the city gates, and covered the surrounding hills with
new-made graves. One poor old father watched and tended his boy of
fourteen with agonized devotion. The only one left to his old age of
what was a few days before a large family. We all worked over the lad
with strong hopes, so young, and many of the old had recovered, so much
needed, surely he would be spared, but at length the cold young form
grew a little colder, the tired little pulse ceased to flutter, and a
broken old man followed his last hope to the grave.

And yet we had great cause for devout thankfulness that so many of
our patients were spared. Sixty-five per cent of recoveries is almost
unheard of, and yet this was our record at the Shelter.

Under God we ascribed this large percentage of cures, mainly to the
three following causes: The use of salol as early and in as large doses
as possible. Keeping the patients on the very hot floor till warmth
returned and circulation improved. And the conscientious and untiring
nursing by the native Christians.

Of course this is not the place, nor have I the time, to go into a
minute description of the various remedies and forms of treatment used.
We believed we were reaching the case with salol, but various other
remedies also were used to control the symptoms. In fact, everything
we knew was done, and all must be done quickly or not at all. Many of
the cases brought to us were in a state of collapse when they arrived.
Often the pulse was not perceptible, and yet repeatedly, where we felt
that treatment was hopeless, the hot floor and vigorous chafing, with
hypodermic administration of stimulants, brought about sufficient
reanimation to make it possible to take the salol, and this seemed to
act miraculously. It was in obedience to Dr. Wells’ suggestion that
we tried this drug which proved such a blessing. In one case, that
of a young man of high rank, his family despaired of his life from
the first, and finally went home to prepare his grave clothes, but
on returning with them in the morning, found him, to their joy and
amazement, quite out of danger. Another striking case was that of an
old lady nearly seventy years of age. Her son and daughter, as a last
resort, but quite hopelessly, brought her to us. She was far gone,
unconscious, and almost pulseless. We rubbed her cold extremities
with alcohol, keeping her quite warm on a fine hot floor (she lay
practically on a stove all night), and to the astonishment of all,
after a few hours, steady improvement began and she was soon restored
to her delighted friends.

I insert here our medical record, for the benefit of medical readers,
giving all the uninterested the privilege of skipping. We received
altogether 173 patients, of whom 61 died; of those received, 18 arrived
dying or dead; 95 were taken in rigid, of whom only 42 died; 35 were
verging on collapse, of whom 2 died; 4 were in partial collapse, of
whom none died; 20 were in the first stage, of whom none died. Of
those who died, 25 never reacted, 2 had puerperal complications, 2 were
already affected with tuberculosis, 3 developed cerebral meningitis, 1
complication of chronic cystitis, 1 chronic nephritis, and 2 received
no salol.

All these recoveries made no little stir in the city, especially as
elsewhere nearly two-thirds of those affected died. Proclamations
were posted on the walls, telling people there was no need for them
to die when they might go to the Christian hospital and live. People
who watched missionaries working over the sick night after night said
to each other, “How these foreigners love us, would we do as much for
one of our own kin as they do for strangers?” Some men who saw Mr.
Underwood hurrying along the road in the gray twilight of a summer
morning remarked, “There goes the Jesus man, he works all night and all
day with the sick without resting.” “Why does he do it?” said another.
“Because he loves us,” was the reply. What sweeter reward could be had
than that the people should see the Lord in our service. Surely the
plague was not all evil when it served to bring the Lord more clearly
to the view of the souls he died to save.

A tolerably fair count of the deaths inside the walls each day was
possible, since all the dead are carried through two or three gates.
The numbers rose gradually to something over three hundred a day and
then gradually declined, the plague lasting not quite six weeks.
The extra-mural population is probably as large as the intra-mural,
including the people within the two miles radius outside the walls. All
taken together there are between three and four hundred thousand people.

When the plague was nearly over the following very grateful letter of
thanks from the Korean office of Foreign Affairs was sent through the
American minister.

  THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
  504th Year, 7th Moon, 3d Day.

  August 22d, 1895.

  _Kim, Minister of Foreign Affairs,
  to Mr. Sill, United States Minister._

    SIR: I have the honor to say that my government is deeply
    grateful to ---------- and his friends who have spent a great
    deal of money for medicines and labored in the management of
    cholera, resulting in the cure of many sick people. I trust
    your excellency will kindly convey an expression of thanks to
    them on behalf of my government. I am, etc., etc.

  (_Signed_)      KIM YUN SIK.

Gifts were sent to the missionaries, who had assisted at the hospitals,
of rolls of silk, fans, little silver inkstands, having the name of the
Home Office and the recipient engraved upon them, and most interesting
of all, a kind of mosaic mats made of a peculiar sort of reeds grown
for the purpose at the island of Kang Wha. These mats have bits of
the reeds of different colors skilfully inlaid to form the pattern,
and that on those which were given to us was at one end the national
emblem, at the other the red cross and the name of the Home Office.

This was of course extremely gratifying. No, more, it was a thing for
which to be profoundly grateful that government and people recognized
that we, the representatives of our Lord (however inefficient and
unworthy), were their friends, and, as far as in us lay, their helpers.

The best, however, was to come. The names of the Koreans who had nursed
and served at the Shelter and inspection offices were asked for, and
the intention to pay them stated. We told them that the men had done
this with no expectation of pay, but to this they would not listen
and insisted on rewarding them handsomely. On the receipt of this
unexpected, and, for them, large sum, almost all the Christians (quite
voluntarily, and to our surprise) put it all into the fund for the new
church, considering it a gift of God, specially sent in answer to
prayer, to help them in the enterprise undertaken in faith.

They were, therefore, now able to go on and finish the church, which
accommodates, with crowding, two hundred people. It is an unpretentious
building, entirely native, substantial as possible with mud walls,
tiled roof and paper windows, yet built and finished much in the style
of the best Korean houses, none of which knew, at that time, what it
was to boast of a pane of glass, or brick or stone walls. Into it the
little congregation flocked, and with glad hearts dedicated to God the
work of their hands, which through sacrifice, love, faith and prayer
was more costly and precious in his sight than gold or ivory, which had
not been so sanctified.

Not long after the cholera epidemic, and the events connected with it,
occurred the tragedy at the palace--the murder of the brilliant and
progressive queen, the friend of progress, civilization and reform.

Her majesty was a brilliant diplomatist, and usually worsted her
opponents. The Japanese, after the war, had indeed proclaimed the
independence of Korea, yet seemed in practice to desire to establish
a sort of protectorate and to direct her policy at home and abroad.
Many public offices were filled with citizens of Japan, or Japanese
sympathizers as far as possible, and a large body of the Korean troops
were drilled by and under the command of Japanese officers.

Realizing that in the patriotic and brilliant queen they had to meet
one who would not readily submit to their plans for the Japanizing of
Korea, they objected to her participation at all in the affairs of
government, and were promised, under compulsion we were told, that
these orders should be obeyed. Naturally this was not done, and the
queen continued to be a source of confusion and rock of offense
to them and their plans. Finally a decided change was made in the
personnel of the Japanese embassy. Count Inoye, who, in the name of
his government, had hitherto promised to the queen the support and
protection of Japan was recalled. He was replaced by Count Miura, who
was a man of very different tendencies. Count Miura was a very strong
Buddhist, and passionately devoted to the supposed interests of Japan
as against those of any other nation.

[Illustration: THE ROUND GATE, SEOUL]

One morning, the 8th of October, 1895, we heard firing at the palace.
This was in time of peace, and such sounds we knew must be portents
of evil. All was confusion, nothing definite could be learned, except
that certain Japanese troops had arrived at about three in the morning,
escorting the Tai Won Kun (the king’s father and the queen’s bitter
enemy), and had driven out the native royal guard under General Dye
(an American) and were now guarding the palace gates. The air was full
of ominous suspicions and whispers, but nothing more definite could
we learn till afternoon, when meeting a Korean noble, he told us with
face all aghast, that it was currently reported that the queen had been
murdered.

In a few hours this news was confirmed with particulars. The Tai
Won Kun was at that time under guard, in exile from the court, at
his country house, for conspiracy against the king in favor of his
grandson, and he of course readily consented to become the leader of
the plotters against the queen, to enter the palace at the head of
their troops and take possession of the persons of their majesties (and
the government incidentally), necessarily, of course, doing away with
the queen. The troops therefore marched with the old man in his chair
to the palace gates, where all had been made ready. Ammunition had been
secretly removed, native troops trained by Americans had been mostly
exchanged for those trained by Japanese, and after a few shots, and
scarcely a pretence of resistance, the attacking party entered. It was
some distance to the royal apartments, and the rumor of disturbance
reached there some time before the attacking party. Her majesty was
alarmed. She was a brave woman, but she knew she had bitter, powerful
and treacherous foes, and that, like Damocles, a sword suspended by
only too slight a thread hung over her life.

The king’s second son, Prince Oui-wha, begged her to escape with him by
a little gate which yet remained unguarded, through which they might
pass disguised to friends in the city. The dowager queen, however, was
too old to go, and her majesty nobly refused to leave her alone to
the terror which occupation of the palace by foreigners would insure,
trusting no doubt to the positive assurances of protection that had
been made to her through Count Inoye, and the more so, as one of the
courtiers in waiting, a man by the name of Chung Pung Ha, had assured
her that whatever happened she might rest confident that the persons
of their majesties would be perfectly safe. This man was a creature of
low origin, whom the queen had raised and bestowed many favors upon,
and in whom she placed great reliance. He advised her not to hide,
and kept himself informed of all her movements. With no code of honor
wider or higher than his pocket, he of course became a ready tool of
the assassins, and there is much evidence to show he was a party to the
conspiracy.

The queen therefore remained in a good deal of uneasiness and anxiety,
but only when the Tai Won Kun and the hired assassins rushed in,
calling for the queen, did she attempt, alas! too late, to hide.

There was some confusion, in the numerous verbal reports which reached
us, but two foreigners, a Russian, Mr. Sabbatin, and an American,
General Dye, who were eye-witnesses of nearly all that occurred, both
agreed in the statement, that Japanese troops under Japanese officers
surrounded the courtyard and buildings where the royal party were, and
that the Japanese officers were in the courtyard, and saw the outrages
which were committed, and knew all that was done by the Japanese
_soshi_ or professional cutthroats. About thirty of these assassins
rushed into the royal apartments crying, “The queen, the queen, where
is the queen?”

Then began a mad and brutal hunt for their prey, more like wild beasts
than men, seizing the palace women,[1] dragging them about by their
hair and beating them, trying to force them to tell where the queen
was. Mr. Sabbatin was himself questioned and threatened with death. The
_soshi_ and officers who wore the Japanese uniform passed through the
room where his majesty stood trying to divert attention from the queen.
“One of the Japanese caught him by the shoulder and pulled him about,
and Yi Kiung Chick, the minister of the royal household, was killed by
the Japanese in his majesty’s presence. His royal highness, the crown
prince, was seized, his hat torn off and broken, and he was pulled
about by the hair, the _soshi_ threatening him with their swords while
demanding where the queen was.”[2] At length they hunted the poor queen
down, and killed her with their swords. They then covered her body,
and bringing in various palace women, suddenly displayed the corpse,
when the women shrieked with horror, “The queen, the queen!” This was
enough; by this ruse the assassins made sure they had felled the right
victim.

[1] “Korean Repository,” 1895.

[2] From official report of “Korean Repository.”

Soon after, the remains were taken to a grove of trees not far off,
kerosene oil poured over them, and they were burned, only a few bones
remaining.

Later developments all went to prove that the murderers were actually
guilty of the inconceivable folly of imagining that by this means it
would be possible to conceal the crime and their share in it.

Stories of all sorts were circulated, as that her majesty had escaped
and was lying concealed, or that she had simply been removed for a
time by the Japanese, who could bring her back at any moment. In the
official account of the murder, and of the trial of Count Miura and
the _soshi_, held in Hiroshima, Japan, for which I am indebted to
“The Korean Repository” for 1895, the following words occur: “The
accused Miura Gow assumed his official duties ... on September 1, 1895.
According to his observation, things in Korea were tending in the
wrong direction, the court was daily growing more and more arbitrary,
and attempting wanton interference with the conduct of State affairs.
Disorder and confusion were in this way introduced into the system of
administration that had just been reorganized under the guidance and
advice of the Imperial government. The court went so far in turning its
back upon Japan that a project was mooted for disbanding the _Kurentai_
troops (Koreans under Japanese officers) and punishing their officers.
Moreover, a report came to the said Miura that the court had under
contemplation a scheme for usurping all political power by degrading
some and killing others of the cabinet ministers suspected of devotion
to the cause of progress and independence. Under these circumstances
he was greatly perturbed, inasmuch as he thought that the attitude
assumed by the court not only showed remarkable ingratitude towards
this country, which had spent labor and money for the sake of Korea,
but was also calculated to thwart the work of internal reform and
‘jeopardize the independence of the kingdom.’”

The report then proceeds to state that the accused felt it necessary
to apply a remedy which would on the one hand “secure the independence
of the Korean kingdom, and on the other _maintain the prestige of this
empire in that country_!” The report further proceeds to state, that
conferences were held with the Tai Won Kun and with Japanese officials,
at one of which, October 3rd, “The decision arrived at on that occasion
was that assistance should be rendered to the Tai Won Kun’s entry
into the palace by making use of the _Kurentai_, who, being hated by
the court, felt themselves in danger, and of the young men who deeply
lamented the course of events, and also by causing the Japanese troops
stationed in Seoul to offer their support to the enterprise. It was
further resolved that this opportunity should be availed of for taking
the life of the queen, who exercised overwhelming influence in the
court.”

After further particulars in the completion of the plan the Japanese
document continues: “Miura told them (the men who were to escort
the Tai Won Kun) that on the success of the enterprise depended the
eradication of the evils that had done so much mischief to the kingdom
for the past twenty years, and instigated them to despatch the queen
when they entered the palace.” The report then goes on at some length,
describing the various steps taken in carrying out the conspiracy,
and continues: “Then slowly proceeding toward Seoul the party met the
_Kurentai_ troops outside the west gate of the capital, where they
waited some time for the Japanese troops.... About dawn the whole party
entered the palace through the Kwang-hwa gate, and at once proceeded to
the inner chambers. Notwithstanding these facts there is no sufficient
evidence to prove that any of the accused actually committed the crime
originally meditated by them.... For these reasons, the accused, each
and all, are hereby discharged.... The documents and other articles
seized in connection with this case are restored to their respective
owners.

  Given at Hiroshima local court by
  YOSHIDA YOSHIDA,
  Judge of Preliminary inquiry,
  TAMURA YOSHIHARU,
  Clerk of the court.

Dated 20th day of the first month of the twenty-ninth year of Yeiji.

This copy has been taken from the original text.

  Clerk of the local court of Hiroshima.”

This document needs no comment. Count Miura was recently restored to
all his titles and dignities which had been temporarily removed.



CHAPTER X

    The Palace after the Murder--Panic--Attitude of Foreign
    Legations--The King’s Life in Hourly Danger--Noble
    Refugees--Americans on Guard--Mistakes of the New
    Government--Objectionable Sumptuary Laws--A Plan to Rescue the
    King--One Night at the Palace--Forcing an Entrance--Our Little
    Drama--Escape of General Yun.


In the meantime the king and crown prince were held prisoners in their
own palace by a cabinet composed of Koreans who were favorable to the
Japanese government. Immediately after the death of the queen, before
the soldiers and assassins had dispersed, the Japanese minister had
come to the palace and requested an audience. According to the official
report, Count Miura, with his secretary, Mr. Sugimma,[3] the Tai Won
Kun, and a Japanese, who had led the _soshi_, were all present at
this audience, and presented three papers to the king for signature,
one being that the cabinet should henceforth manage the affairs of
the country, one that Prince Yi Chai Miun should be minister of the
royal household, and the other appointing a vice-minister of the
household. The king shaken by the events of the night, and helpless in
the hands of his enemies, signed all three. Then the Japanese troops
were withdrawn, and the _Kurentai_ alone left on guard. Soon after the
ministers of war and police departments were changed for pro-Japanese,
“so that all the armed forces of the government, and even the personal
attendants of his majesty” were under the control of the opponents of
the royal person and family.

[3] See “Korean Repository” official account of the murder of the queen.

Mr. Waeber, the Russian minister, and Dr. Allen, Chargé d’Affaires of
the United States, having heard the firing, arrived at the palace,
while the Japanese minister was still there, and were made acquainted
by the king to some extent concerning the occurrences which had just
taken place. The poor king was in a state of shock amounting to almost
complete prostration, which was pitiable to behold, after the awful
experiences of the night and the brutal murder of his idolized queen.

The friends and connections of the royal family, officials, soldiers,
servants and hangers on about the palace, of whom there were several
thousands, were all in the wildest panic. Every one was rushing in
mad haste to escape from the confines of the palace grounds, and
uniforms or anything that could distinguish men as belonging to the
court were recklessly torn off and thrown away. The American, Russian
and English legations were thronged with people, anxious for shelter
from the hands of those who composed the band of Korean traitors. The
foreign representatives felt and showed much indignation over the cruel
assassination of her majesty and sympathy for the king.

For some time they visited the palace every day. As they refused to
recognize the rebel government, they probably felt obliged to see his
majesty personally, in order to know his wishes and policy, and it is
also most likely that, feeling much uncertainty as to the intentions of
the persons in whose hands the king was, they wished to keep themselves
informed, and perhaps to keep in check any plans of violence toward the
remaining members of the royal family. Mr. Underwood was requested to
accompany the United States minister as interpreter, while the French
bishop acted in the same capacity for the representative of France,
since none of the native interpreters could be trusted under such
circumstances.

And right here I would stop to ask, why is it that in matters of such
extreme importance as the affairs of state between our own government
and Eastern nations, there have been up to this time no trained
American interpreters, and our highest officials are obliged to depend
upon the more than doubtful native interpreters, who even when not
wilfully for their own purposes, or through their own cowardice,
misrepresenting communications of the greatest importance, may through
incapability entirely misconceive the idea to be expressed, or through
carelessness omit the most significant part of the whole sentence?

The king was to be seen only under the strictest surveillance of the
cabinet, and apparently was under extreme coercion, so that he did not
consider it expedient to say anything contrary to their orders and
policy. On rare occasions, when their attention was called for a few
moments by some of the visiting party, his majesty contrived to convey
to Mr. Underwood a whispered message, a sign, a tiny note slipped in
his palm, by which he briefly communicated his desires, or plans, or
his real replies to questions which had already been answered publicly
in accordance with the views of his enemies. As the king stood in
hourly fear of poison, and not without reason, since his unscrupulous
and unnatural father, the Tai Won Kun, was most desirous to replace
him by his grandson, through another son, and as so many of the
conspirators surrounding the king had now so much at stake, were in so
dangerous a position, and were men who had already proved they would
stop at nothing where their own interest was concerned, he would take
no food for some time but condensed milk brought in sealed cans and
opened in his presence, or eggs cooked in the shells. Hearing of this,
and glad to take advantage of an opportunity however small to show our
sympathy, the ladies from one of the European legations and myself
alternated in sending specially prepared dishes, such articles as
contained the greatest amount of nourishment, as well as of agreeable
taste.

They were sent in a tin box, provided with a Yale lock. Mr. Underwood,
who was now going as interpreter and messenger between the legations
and palace, sometimes twice a day, carried the key, and placed it in
the king’s own hand, while the box was carried in at any convenient
time by the ordinary officials. It was only a small service, but it was
to some extent a relief to be allowed to do anything for those who had
a claim upon our loyalty, and who had been so shockingly outraged.

One day as Mr. Underwood was going in to his majesty he met the old
Tai Won Kun, who said, “Why do you take all that good food in to him?
He doesn’t need it. I am old, my teeth are gone, I need it far more
than he.” The crafty and cruel old human tiger’s teeth and claws were
still only too serviceable, alas! For a long time after the death of
the queen, nearly seven weeks, Americans, one or two at a time, were
asked to be at the palace every night, as it was thought that with
foreigners there as witnesses, the conspirators, whoever they might
be, would hesitate to commit any further outrages. There is little
doubt that had they thought it necessary to commit regicide, the lives
of the witnesses would have been sacrificed as well, but Easterners
stand in considerable fear of the wrath of the Western nations, when
their citizens are killed, and no doubt the chances of violence to
his majesty and the crown prince were somewhat diminished by the
presence of the missionaries, who night after night, two and two,
left the congenial task of preaching the gospel of peace to insure the
continuance of it (or that small fraction which at that time was left
to poor Korea).

We wives at home, keeping lonely vigil, while our husbands sentineled
the palace, listened with sharpened ears for sounds of ill-omen from
that direction. But both they and we were glad of this service,
rejoicing to prove that we were the friends of the people and the
rightful ruler, from highest to lowest, and we were specially glad
that those who had been called disloyal, because they refused to obey
the decree which forbade preaching the gospel, were now able to show
themselves the most active and unwearied in serving the king.

The day after the assassination, the king’s second son, Prince Oui-wha,
sent to ask refuge in our house, where, this being American property,
he would be safe from arrest. The legations were all full of refugees
of high rank, and several were staying in our Korean _sarang_ or guest
room. We were, of course, delighted to receive the young prince, and
also to have this further opportunity to prove our regard for him. In
consequence of the presence of these refugees we were honored by being
kept under continual espionage by the pseudo-government, our compound
constantly watched by spies at all exits, by day and night. It seemed
monstrous to me, who had never known any of the class whose movements
are watched by detectives, nor ever dreamed of coming in any way
into collision with any government (much less of being of sufficient
importance to do so), but perhaps it was the spirit of revolutionary
forefathers which made me believe, that if governments were wrong,
right-minded people must oppose them, and that if sheltering the
friends of the just and lawful ruler from a company of conspirators
and traitors was standing in an attitude of hostility to the powers
that be, it was both right and our unavoidable duty to do what we could
to shield them from violence and death.

In the meanwhile the new government was appointing new officials,
trying, torturing and executing innocent people as the accused
murderers of the queen, in order to shield themselves--useless crimes
which deceived no one--making a number of new offices and placing
Japanese in them on large salaries, and making new and farcical,
as well as injurious and objectionable, laws. Women were not to be
allowed to go on the street with covered faces, pipes must be of a
certain length, sleeves must be shortened and narrowed, coats must
be of a particular color, and hat brims a certain width. This was
called “Kaiwha” or reform. Large numbers of Japanese flocked to this
country and made their way to the capital or into the interior, in the
industrious pursuit of wealth, which we were informed was not always
limited to legitimate measures, or the possession of sinecures.

Missionaries returning from the interior reported that they had heard
lamentable tales on all hands, of farmers strung up by the thumbs,
for the extortion of money or deeds of lands and of women dealt with
brutally. The poor country people were like sheep in the midst of
wolves, their shepherd gone, their fold broken down.

One of the measures taken by the pro-Japanese government, which excited
great feeling and probably did more than anything else to arouse
protest, because so cruelly calculated to wound the desolate and
stricken king, was a decree sent through the whole land in the king’s
name declaring the queen a wicked woman and degrading her to the lowest
rank. This they asked the king to sign and seal, but shaken as he was,
he absolutely refused so to insult his dead consort, and the cabinet
were obliged to forge his signature, and seal the paper themselves.
This act bore the stamp of the Tai Won Kun, whose insatiable hate was
not satisfied with the murder of the queen, but followed her with
insults to the grave.

In the midst of these days of confusion and excitement, the loyalist
party, or at least some of them, made an attempt to rescue the king.
This all his friends ardently desired, but it was very difficult to
accomplish, as his majesty was surrounded constantly by spies and
guards, whose interest as well as whose business it was to keep him
under the strictest surveillance.

Numbers of Koreans came to my husband with various schemes for the
accomplishment of the king’s release, seeking his advice and aid, but
while he was very willing to express his sympathy with their object and
his disapproval of the rebel government, he did not consent to any part
in any of their projects, partly because he did not know whom to trust,
and partly because none were such as he, a missionary, could take part
in or support. I do not doubt, however, that if he could have seen a
way to do so, he would gladly have sacrificed much to have assisted the
king to escape to a place of safety, where he could establish his own
government without fear of the combinations formed against him.

The plans of the rescue party were made very secretly, so that none
of the missionaries at least knew anything of them, though two of the
leaders, General Yun and another, were in our house till a late hour
the previous night, and perhaps to this fact was due the conviction
which a number of people entertained that my husband was concerned
in the loyal but unfortunate plot. The enemies of the king, however,
got wind of the plans of his friends, and through spies and treachery
ferreted it all out, and prepared themselves fully. One of the
traitors, an army officer, who pretended to be ready to open the gates
and assist the rescue party from within, really disclosed everything to
the false cabinet, and was prepared with troops to receive and repel
the loyalists. On the evening set for the rescue of the king, just
before my husband’s return from the palace, where he had been all the
afternoon, he found Dr. Avison, of our mission, here at his home, with
news that the Koreans were preparing to attack the palace that very
night, as he had just learned from one of the party. Mr. Underwood
was hardly willing to credit the idea, sure that all his feelings
and sympathies were so well understood, he would have been informed
had this been the case; but while Dr. Avison was still in the house,
the secretary of the American legation called, at the request of the
American minister, to say that they had authoritative information of
the same thing, and as the king would no doubt be much alarmed, and
would be in great danger from the traitors, should the attack succeed,
the American minister asked that Mr. Underwood would spend the night
near the king’s person.

As the gate would probably be closed and admittance refused to every
one, the minister had sent his card for Mr. Underwood to present in
order to gain admission. It was of course understood that this was
only a suggestion, and that Mr. Underwood was perfectly at liberty
to refuse, but he was really glad to go, and felt honored in being
selected for this service, so he at once consented, and asked Mr.
Hulbert, now of the government school, to accompany him. Dr. Avison
having been called for professionally, also joined them, and the three
men met at the palace gates, where the guard at once refused to admit
them, positive orders having been sent forbidding the entrance of any
one. Our minister’s card was shown to no apparent effect, except that
the officer on guard offered to go up to the palace with it and obtain
permission. This Mr. Underwood knew would be futile, for the cabinet
would almost certainly refuse, so he replied, “No, I must be admitted
at once and without delay, I came at the request of the United States
minister, and if you choose to refuse his card, and his messenger, you
must take the responsibility; I shall return at once and give him your
reply.” As an officer had been severely punished only a few days before
for refusing entrance to a foreign diplomat, who had left the palace
gates in awful wrath, the men now on guard hesitated. “Decide, and at
once,” said Mr. Underwood sternly. This conquered, and the Americans
hurried in. They went directly to the king, and making known that they
had come for the night, asked his wishes, and were requested to wait in
General Dye’s rooms, close at hand, to be ready on the first alarm to
take their places near his person.

The _three guardsmen_ then repaired to the general’s room to await
developments, where Mr. Underwood had some conversation with General
Dye, and the traitorous Korean officer, who even then suspecting that
Mr. Underwood had some part in the friendly plot, tried to entrap him
and to induce him to betray himself and the others. But as my husband
knew nothing of the persons engaged, or any of their plans, and was
himself quite innocent of any complicity in their scheme, it was
impossible for any information to be elicited from him. Suddenly at
twelve o’clock the report of a gun was heard, springing up, he ran to
the king’s apartments, followed closely by the other two. A line of
soldiers was drawn up, standing shoulder to shoulder along the path,
who called “Halt,” sharply, as he approached; paying no attention
he ran swiftly past them, and before they had time to realize, or
to decide what to do, Dr. Avison and Mr. Hulbert had followed. At
the door just beyond stood a couple of officers with drawn swords
crossed. Mr. Underwood struck the swords up with his revolver and
rushed through, the other two men entering immediately behind him, just
as they heard the king calling, “Where are the foreigners, call the
foreigners.” “Here, your majesty. Here we are,” replied the three men,
entering the room, where the king grasped them by the hand, and kept
them on either side of him the whole night.

As for the poor half-armed party of the king’s friends, they were
allowed to proceed until well within the prepared ambush, and when they
discovered the trap, it was almost impossible to escape. Many were
captured, some killed, the rest fled in all directions. This of course
seated more firmly in power the rebels whose position had till now been
more than questionable. Many arrests were made, and executions and the
severest punishments meted out to those who were convicted of having
dared to attempt the restoration of the king.

While Mr. Underwood was at the palace we were having our own little
drama at home. A new missionary, a tall Westerner, had undertaken the
protection of the household, and armed with a big six-shooter, we
doubted not, he was more than equal to any ordinary emergency. Our
chief source of anxiety (as far as our home was concerned) was the
safety of the prince, who with one attendant only, occupied a room in
an ell at the further end of the house, distant from our apartments.
What if when all attention was concentrated upon the palace, he should
be carried away or murdered in our home, by the enemies of the country!
We felt we were a lamentably small party of defense, still we hoped our
nervous fears were groundless.

Just as we were about to retire, however, at about ten thirty, a
sharp rap came at the door of our missionary guest’s room, which
opened to the garden. This was evidently some stranger, as any of our
acquaintances would have come to the main entrance. I was called at
once, with the added information that a Japanese officer was waiting to
see me!

I found a fully armed Japanese in uniform, who asked for the prince.
My suspicions were of course aroused, especially as I could only
conjecture how many battalions he might have concealed around the
corner of the house. I inquired who he was and why he came at that
hour to see the prince. He replied in good Korean, that he was his
particular friend, and gave me a name which was that of a Korean whom I
knew to be a friend of our guest, adding that he had dined at our house
that day, handing me a card engraved with Chinese characters. This was
palpably false, as the friend of the prince had long hair, done in a
top-knot, with a Korean hat above it, this man’s hair was cut short
like a Japanese. The Korean wore white silk garments, this man was from
head to foot a Japanese soldier.

“This card is Chinese, I cannot read it,” I replied coldly. “You are
a Japanese officer whom I have never seen before, you cannot see the
prince at this hour, you must go away and return in the morning if
you have business with him.” The man, however, was very insistent
on seeing the prince then, in fact he seemed determined to take no
denials, and the more he persisted, the more I became convinced that
once acquainted with the prince’s whereabouts in our house, he would
call up his concealed assassins and arrest or kill him. With the
strengthening of suspicion, my temper rose, and my verbs took on lower
and lower endings, until I finally ordered him with the most degrading
terminations in the grammar, to leave on short order. All through
this conversation our Westerner, who understood no Korean, had been
repeating at intervals, “Shall I shoot, Mrs. Underwood? If you say so,
I’ll shoot,” brandishing his big revolver in an excited way, dangerous
to all concerned. So at last our visitor considering his attempt to
find the prince hopeless, reluctantly went away. We felt we had won a
great victory, and covered ourselves with glory, in thus dispersing the
enemy.

In the meanwhile the prince, whose door opened also in the garden,
just opposite the one where we stood, heard the arrival, the long
conference, the clash of a sword against the steps, and stood guarding
his chamber door, while his attendant with drawn sword guarded that
of the closet, which happening to be locked they supposed also opened
on the garden. Next morning, when I showed the prince the card, he
recognized with high glee the name of his Korean friend, and shortly
afterwards the individual himself appeared. He had for purposes of
disguise cut his hair that very day, and had donned garments which
completely changed his appearance. It was owing to the success of this
disguise that he had been ordered from our door with most injurious
verb endings. I did not apologize very abjectly, however, for aside
from the fright he had put me in, he had robbed me of all my glory, and
the occasion of all its romance, and dropped it to the level of low
comedy, and while the laughter of the family was ringing in my ears, I
felt I could not forgive him.

The morning after the attack on the palace found General Yun, the
leader and promoter, in our sarang, whither he had fled for shelter,
well knowing it would be worse than useless to go to his own, or any
Korean house. He inquired who had been captured, and on learning how
many there were, remarked, “Then I am a dead man,” well knowing the
most merciless torture would be used to extract from the prisoners
the names of all concerned, and if his whereabouts were known, the
American minister would be compelled to give search warrants to the
police. He was an old friend of my husband, who promised to conceal him
as long as possible, and get him out of the country soon. The Russian
minister, who espoused the king’s cause as warmly as any of us, and
who had refused to recognize the new government, was consulted, and
a plan was formed to get General Yun to China. Next to our house lay
that of another Presbyterian missionary, and adjoining that the Russian
legation, just beyond which is a kind of diplomatic club-house, and
only a few steps further one of the smaller city gates.

So Mr. Yun was lodged in the Rev. Mr. M----’s gate-quarters (between
his house and ours), and that night Mr. Underwood shaved and dressed
the general and his friend in Mr. M----’s and his own clothes, a fur
cap well drawn down concealed his face. Mr. Underwood conducted the two
men thus disguised through the Russian legation, the club grounds and
then through the gates, where they were never suspected to be other
than what they looked. A short distance beyond the gates chairs were in
waiting. Mr. M---- and a Bible Society agent met them and escorted them
to Chemulpo, where they were met by a guard from a Russian gunboat, on
which they were conveyed to Chefoo, and there transhipped, and finally
landed safe in Shanghai, where they were gladly received and hospitably
entertained in the house of a M. E. missionary, until the king was
restored to power.

Mr. Underwood was bitterly accused in Japanese newspapers of having
promoted, and even led the harmless attack on the palace, and though as
he was not only absolutely innocent, but ignorant of it, and not one
particle of evidence could be found, he was obliged to endure a great
deal of slander, which he would not have considered worth a second
thought had it not been made to reflect on his profession and the cause
he lives only to forward. The two facts that General Yun was at our
house the night before, and that Mr. Underwood, at the request of our
minister and the king, was at the palace on the eventful night, were
used to give a show of probability to stories widely circulated, and
allowed to remain uncontradicted by those who knew the facts.

The conspirators having defeated the restoration party, now carried
things with a high hand indeed, and among the other obnoxious and
tyrannical sumptuary laws, which they proclaimed as furthering
“Kaiwha,” they ordered the summary removal of all top-knots, from
the palace to the hovel, and it was reported that even the highest
personages were compelled, in spite of useless protests, to undergo
this humiliating treatment, and certain it is that the attempt was made
to shear every sheep in the flock. The explanation of what this meant
must be reserved for another chapter.

[Illustration: A KOREAN TOP-KNOT. PAGE 167]



CHAPTER XI

    Customs Centering around the Top-Knot--Christians
    Sacrificing their Top-Knots--A Cruel Blow--Beginning of
    Christian Work in Koksan--A Pathetic Appeal--People Baptize
    Themselves--Hard-hearted Cho--The King’s Escape--People Rally
    around Him--Two Americans in the Interior--In the Midst of a
    Mob--Mob Fury--Korea in the Arms of Russia--Celebrating the
    King’s Birthday--Patriotic Hymns--Lord’s Prayer in Korean.


Many of the most revered, common, and firmly settled of the customs
and superstitions of the people of Korea are, as it were, woven,
braided, coiled and pinned into their top-knots, on which, like a hairy
keystone, seem to hang, and round which are centered society, religion
and politics. The pigtail of China is nothing like as important, for
it is really a mark of servitude, or was such in its origin, a badge
laid on the conquered by the conquering race. But not so the top-knot,
which is many centuries old, and which, according to ancient histories,
pictures, pottery and embroideries, goes as far back as the existence
of the nation.

When a boy becomes engaged, or is on the point of being married, a
solemn ceremony is performed. In the presence of proper witnesses,
and at the hands of proper functionaries (among whom are astrologers
or soothsayers), the hair, which has hitherto been parted like a
girl’s and worn in a long braid down the back, is shaved from a small
circular spot on the top of his head, and the remaining long locks
combed smoothly upward, and tied very tightly over the shaved place.
They are then twisted and coiled into a small compact knot, between
two and three inches high and about one in diameter. An amber, coral,
silver, or even gold or jewelled pin is usually fastened through it.
The _Mangan_, a band of net, bound with ribbon, is then fastened on
round the head below the top-knot and above the ears, holding all stray
hairs neatly in place (when a man obtains rank a small open horse-hair
cap is placed over the top-knot), and over all the hat, which (being
also of open work, bamboo splints, silk or horsehair) permits it to be
seen. Fine new clothes are then donned, especially a long coat, and the
boy has become a man! A feast is made, and he goes forth to call upon
and be congratulated by his father’s friends. Either on that day or the
following he is married, although, as has been said, some boys have
their hair put up when they become engaged.

No matter how old one is, without a top-knot he is never considered
a man, addressed with high endings, or treated with respect. After
assuming the top-knot, no matter how young, he is invested with the
dignities and duties of a man of the family, takes his share in making
the offerings and prayers at the ancestral shrines, and is recognized
by his ancestors’ spirits as one of the family who is to do them honor,
and whom they are to protect and bless. And right here, to digress a
little, it is interesting to note that so intimately is this custom
concerned with their religion that many of the Christian converts are
now cutting off their top-knots when they become converted, regarding
that as the one step (after destroying their idols) which most
effectually cuts off the old life and its superstitions, and marks them
as having come out from their family and acquaintances as men set apart.

They have begun doing this quite of their own accord, with no
suggestion from the missionaries, and in some cases in opposition to
the advice of some of us, who dislike to see them laying aside old
customs needlessly. But it is growing more and more general among new
believers to sacrifice this dear object of pride and veneration, and
one young fellow told my husband it was impossible to break away from
his old evil associates until he cut his hair. They then believed he
was in earnest and let him alone. But it costs much, and in these cases
is done quite voluntarily, not in forced obedience to the mandates of
conquerors and traitors, which is a very different matter.

Again, far down in the social scale, lower than the boy with the
pigtail, whom every one snubs, ranking next to the despised butcher,
who daily defiles his hands with blood and gore, and with the touch
of dead bodies, is the Buddhist priest _who wears his hair shaved_, a
creature so low, that he was not at that time allowed to defile the
capital city by entering its gates. To this grade were all the sons of
Korea now to be reduced. Tender associations of early manhood, honored
family traditions, ghostly superstition, the anger and disgust of
ancestral spirits, the iron grip of long custom, the loathing of the
effeminate, sensual and despised Buddhist priests, all forbade this
desecration. Their pride, self-respect and dignity were all assailed
and crushed under foot. Sullen angry faces were seen everywhere, sounds
of wailing and woe were heard continually in every house, for the women
took it even harder than the men. Farmers and carriers of food and
fuel refused to bring their produce to market, for guards stood at the
gates, and cut off with their swords every top-knot as it came through.
Men were stationed also in all the principal streets, cutting off every
top-knot that passed, and all public officials and soldiers were at
once shaved. There was a voice heard, lamentation and mourning and
great weeping.

It was a cruel blow at personal liberty, which Anglo-Saxons would die
rather than suffer, and which the helplessness of this weak nation made
the more pitiful and inexcusable. It was struck shrewdly too, at one
of the specially distinguishing marks of Koreans, setting them apart
from Japanese and Chinese, designed, we could not help thinking, as
one of the first and important parts of a scheme to blot out Korea’s
national identity, and merge her into one with Japan; but if this was
the intention, never was anything more mistakenly planned. It was hotly
resented to the very heart of the country, and added still deeper dye
and bitter flavor to the long-nourished hatred Koreans felt for their
ancient conqueror and foe. As for us (some of us), we put ourselves
in the Korean’s place, recalled our national experience and harbored
numbers of Koreans on our place, protecting them from the knife as long
as possible. The cup of iniquity was nearly full. The queen, looked
upon as the mother of her people, had been murdered, the king virtually
imprisoned, the country ruled by the dictum of conspirators and tools
of her conquerors, and now this last blow at every family in the nation
was too much. A deep spirit of anger and revolt stirred the whole
country; yet they had no leaders, no arms, no organization and knew not
what to do, a poor down-trodden simple folk, who knew not on whom to
lean for help, and who had not learned to cry to him who hears, defends
and takes up the cause of the poor and needy.

Bands of Tonghaks again ranged the country, insurrections broke out
in various localities, some of the shaved magistrates who went to the
country were sent back by the mobs, who refused to receive them as
rulers, some were actually killed, and the magistracies destroyed, the
soldiers were powerless to subdue the disturbances, and things seemed
to be growing from bad to worse. Marines were ordered to the legations
from Chemulpo (where there were many foreign gunboats and war vessels),
and no one knew what next to expect, when suddenly an entire change in
the whole situation took place.

But now I must return for a while to other matters. In the district
of Koksan, in northern Whang Hai Do (Yellow Sea Province), about two
hundred miles north from Seoul, a very interesting Christian work had
started, as so much of our work has, through God’s own direct dealings
with the people, by his word and Spirit. A man from that place having
come up to Seoul on business, and receiving some small kindness from
Mr. Underwood, which he desired to acknowledge, felt that he could do
nothing more delicately complimentary and grateful than to make a show
of interest in his “doctrine,” and so bought four gospels in Chinese,
which he took home in his pack, and forthwith shelved unread. Here they
remained for months, I am not sure how long.

Finally one day, a friend noticed them, took them down, all grimy with
dust, and asked what they were and whence they came. The owner replied
that he had never read them, but that they were books containing a
new doctrine taught by foreigners in Seoul. Dr. Cho’s curiosity was
aroused, he borrowed, took them home and fell to reading with more
and more avidity the further he proceeded. I would not give up the
priceless heritage of Christian ancestry, the struggles, prayers and
victories of godly forefathers, and all that Christian training from
one generation to another for centuries means, but yet I would give
much to have been able once to read the four gospels as that heathen
read them, with no preconceived opinions, no discolorations of red,
green or even blue theological glasses, no criticisms or commentaries
of “Worldly Wisemen,” or bigoted fanatics, reading their own ideas
between the lines, but with an absolutely unbiased mind so as to be
able to receive that wonderful revelation as a sweet glad surprise;
sentence after sentence, truth after truth blooming into sudden glory,
where the darkness of ignorance had reigned.

One almost envies that heathen his compensations. He received the
word with joy, wondered and adored. Here was a man well read in the
philosophical teachings, the empty husks of Confucianism and Buddhism,
but who had never heard one word from any Christian teacher. Here was a
mind free from prejudice, and this was the result of contact with God’s
Word. He believed and accepted it for God’s truth with all his heart,
and gave himself unreservedly to Christ, turning completely away from
his old superstitions and systems of philosophy. Quickly the good news
spread, not more from his glad telling of his new-found joy than from
the wonderful change in the man himself.

Others also soon believed, and an appeal was sent to Seoul for
some one to come and teach them more, lest something should remain
misunderstood, or unfulfilled of their dear Lord’s commands. But in
Seoul, and elsewhere, workers were few, hands were reaching out from
all directions for help, the Macedonian cry was ringing pathetically
from many quarters, the harvest great, the laborers few. The Bible must
be translated, work already started must be cared for and watched, in
a word, there was no one who could go. Again and again came that call,
and at last a letter which brought tears to our eyes. “Why,” said they,
“will no one come to help us, is no one willing to teach us, have we
so far sunk in sin that God will not allow us to have salvation?”
Mr. Underwood started almost at once, with Dr. Avison, about one month
after the promulgation of the laws for cutting the top-knots. The
excitement had somewhat abated in the city, and the call from Koksan
admitted of no delay. Making short stops along the road for medical and
evangelistic work, going on foot, they reached Koksan about three weeks
after leaving Seoul.

[Illustration: RUSSIAN LEGATION HOUSE. PAGE 174

[Illustration: INDEPENDENCE ARCH. PAGE 38]

They found a little company of earnest simple-hearted believers, who
had thrown away their idols, ceased their ancestor worship, and were
in all things, as far as they knew, obeying the Lord. But “the washing
rite,” as baptism was translated, puzzled them. “_He that believeth and
is baptized shall be saved._” What then was this? They pondered and
studied. God showed them it was in some way a sign of washing from sin,
and when after long waiting, no teacher came, they agreed that each
going to his own home should wash himself in the name of the Father,
the Son and the Holy Ghost, praying for himself and his brethren, that
if in anything they had sinned in this rite, God would forgive them.
And so the missionaries found them, and though for the sake of due
order they were baptized in the prescribed way, it was felt that in
God’s sight it had already been done.

When for the first time they all sat down to commemorate the Lord’s
death in the service of bread and wine, there was not a dry eye in the
room. Tears streamed from the face of Dr. Cho, and later one of his
neighbors said, when speaking in an experience meeting, “Old Cho, known
as ‘hard-hearted Cho,’ who as a boy never uttered a cry when his father
flogged him, who never wept when he laid his aged mother in the grave,
whose eyes never moistened when his beloved wife died, or when he
buried his eldest son, on whose cheek man never saw a tear, Cho weeps.
What miracle has brought tears to his eyes?”

While Dr. Avison and Mr. Underwood were in Koksan, wondering and
worshiping over the proofs of how God blesses his word, applied to
simple hearts, startling things were taking place in Seoul. The king,
who had now been four months helpless in the hands of his enemies,
suddenly made good his escape to the Russian legation!

The story, as we heard it from one near the king, was as follows:
Wearied and sick at heart of affairs of state, his majesty retired to
the women’s apartments, where he spent his entire time, escaping thus
to some extent the detestable espionage of his enemies, who delegated
two elderly women, one the wife of the Tai Won Kun, and another, whose
duty it was to watch his majesty in turn, one by day, the other by
night. Their vigilance was, however, in some way sufficiently eluded,
so that a plan for the royal prisoner’s escape was arranged with two of
the palace women, which was successfully carried out as follows:

On a certain birthday festival, both of the duennas who, as was said,
took turns, watching and sleeping, were invited to celebrate with
the king, and to partake of a great feast, with plenty of wine and
prolonged amusements. All night the king’s watchers revelled, both
falling into a heavy sleep before dawn. This is the story, but I like
to think that as one of the women was probably the king’s mother, her
heart was tender toward her unhappy son, and that she purposely relaxed
her watch. It would gild a little the long dark tale of all that
preceded to find a touch of sweet human affection right here. At any
rate, when every one in the palace was off guard, supposing the king
and crown prince asleep, they entered a couple of women’s chairs which
were waiting. The bearers of these chairs had been specially selected
and paid with a view to their carrying two, and thought nothing of it,
as the palace women often went out to their homes in this way. So in
each chair a woman sat in front of its royal occupant, screening him
from view should any one glance in. The sentinels at the gate had been
provided with hot refreshments and plenty of strong drink, and were so
fully occupied that the chairs with their valuable burden passed out
unnoticed and unhindered. They were expected at the Russian legation,
where one hundred and sixty marines from the port had just been called
up, and there they speedily made their way, arriving at about seven or
eight in the morning of February 11, 1896.

This meant the downfall of the usurpers. With the king’s person went
all their claim to authority and power, and it also meant that Japanese
influence in Korean affairs was over for a time, and that the country
had been almost thrown into the arms of Russia, by the short-sighted
policy of the minister, who had desired to “establish the prestige of
Japan.”

As our compound was very close to the Russian legation, and fronting
on the same street, we were soon aware that something very unusual had
occurred. The whole road, as far as the eye could reach, was filled
with a surging mob of soldiers, commoners, and the chairs and retainers
of the nobility. Guards and sentinels were stationed every few paces
along our street, and there was a loud and almost terrifying babel of
shouting voices, in the din and confusion of which it was impossible to
distinguish anything. I sent at once for one or two of Mr. Underwood’s
writers and literary helpers, who told me that the king had arrived a
short while before at the Russian legation, and had assumed the reins
of government, and that the army, officials and people were rallying
around him, each anxious to precede the other in protestations of
loyalty and devotion.

Then I thought rather busily for a few seconds. My first reflection
of course was, “How will this affect the absent missionaries?” How
would it affect Japanese (now distrusted) and through them all
foreigners in the interior? Would the people in the country not be
likely to wreak the vessels of their wrath upon them, and would they
discriminate between them and others wearing similar clothing? I
feared not, and that the probabilities were that Dr. Avison and Mr.
Underwood might be in considerable danger, as soon as the news of the
king’s escape, and the fall of the pro-Japanese party became known.
Word must then be sent, and soon, in order if possible to reach them
before the news reached the natives. I sent a letter to our very kind
friend, the Russian minister, with a message to his majesty, inquiring
whether anything could be done for the protection and safe return
of the two missionaries. I knew an immediate reply could hardly be
expected, such was the rush of business, and the number of visitors
and claimants on their time, so, to leave no means untried, I called
up one of the copyists, informed him of the necessity for speed, and
had the satisfaction of seeing him start that very hour with a letter
and warning message to my husband. A short time after, fearing that
something might occur to detain one messenger, I sent another by a
different road. The second man was stopped by Tonghaks, looking for
foreigners, who for some reason suspected him, searched him, ripped
open his clothes, where they found my letter (which of course they
could not read), and forced him to go back to Seoul.

On the day following that on which my messengers had started, a kind
letter from the Russian legation came, saying that the king would at
once send a guard to Koksan to bring back the two Americans, and at
about the same time, a wealthy nobleman in Songdo, a friend of both,
and brother-in-law of General Yun, knowing where they were, and fearing
for them, also sent a special posse of men to see them safely home.

Having done all that I could, the most difficult of all tasks, that of
waiting, remained, but I remembered that I had a sister in the same
situation, only that she probably was not quite as well informed as
myself of the exact state of affairs, and did not know that any word
had been sent to our husbands. The street running in front of our house
was packed with excited people, but I decided to make my way through
them in my chair and go down to Mrs. Avison, where she was living at
a long distance from the rest of us, and try to set her mind at rest
by telling her what measures had been taken for the safety of the
absentees, and of what was happening at our end of the town. I soon
passed the crowd in our neighborhood, who were in no way concerned with
me, and in a little while reached the great street, which runs toward
the palace, and crosses that on which the hospital and Dr. Avison’s
home stood.

As we reached the corner, I saw a great mob of the roughest and wildest
looking men, with flushed faces and dishevelled hair. They came tearing
towards us shouting to each other, “The Japanese soldiers are coming,
they are firing. Run, run, run!” I did not fancy the company of these
gentlemen any more than their looks, nor did I care to be a target
for Japanese troops, who were supposed to be chasing them. So I also
adjured my chair coolies with some emphasis to “run.” The whole mob
came sweeping round the corner, into the thoroughfare on which we
were. It was not a dignified or desirable situation, a Presbyterian
missionary in the midst of a wild scramble, and with a panic-stricken
crowd of roughs escaping for dear life, from the avengers of justice,
but there was no help for it. My coolies needed no urging, they were
as anxious to get away as any of us, but they certainly deserved great
credit, that under the circumstances they did not leave me to my fate,
and try to save only themselves. A few moments running brought us to
the hospital gates, where we turned in hastily, and were safe. It was
not cold, and yet I found myself shivering like an aspen. Strange!

Mrs. Avison and I were soon laughing, however, over my late escapade,
and as soon as my errand was finished I hurried home another way, none
too soon, for the streets were full of angry-looking men, some of whom
scowled at me, and muttered, “foreigner.” That night we learned that
two of the pro-Japanese cabinet had been killed on the street and torn
to pieces by the mob; that mob which, having finished its awful work,
accompanied me down the street that afternoon. A young Japanese was
also stoned to death on the street that day. In a few days Dr. Avison
and Mr. Underwood were with us quite safe. My faithful and fleet-footed
messenger had taken a short cut, and reached Koksan in an amazingly
short time.

The news filled our husbands with anxiety for us, not knowing how far
mob violence might go, and they made the distance of near two hundred
miles in sixty hours, walking nearly all the way (the pack-ponies go
much too slow), sleeping only an hour or so at night, and eating as
they walked. They missed both the king’s guard and the posse from
Songdo, which had taken a different road, but met many poor frightened
natives along the road, who knew not where to turn or to whom to look
for protection, with Tonghaks on the one hand and pro-Japanese on
the other. Later we heard of many sad tales of Japanese citizens,
overtaken in the country, who were very summarily dealt with by the
exasperated people. Japanese troops were sent by their minister to
bring back all who could be found, and large sums were demanded from
the Korean government in payment for the lives thus sacrificed. To
which demand, it has been suggested, the reply might have been made,
“Who is to indemnify Korea for the life of her queen?”

Thus ended for a time the unhappy reign of the Japanese, which, after
their victories over the Chinese, had seemed to begin so auspiciously,
and which, had they been contented with a temperate and conciliating
policy, would probably have grown stronger and stronger.

The king remained for a year at the Russian legation, where he was
treated with the truest courtesy, for instead of being in any way
coerced or influenced for the benefit of Russian interests, he was
allowed the most perfect liberty and interfered with in no particular.
To such an extent did the true gentleman who acted as the king’s host
carry his scruples, that he refused to advise his majesty in any way
even when requested to do so. On the occasion of the king’s birthday,
which came in September, it occurred to my husband that it would be
a good opportunity to give the Christians a chance to express their
loyalty, and at the same time advertise Christianity more widely than
ever before at one time. The idea did not occur until a day or two
before the time when we were reminded that the royal birthday was close
at hand.

The time was short, but permission was obtained to use a large
government building near the Independence Arch, which would hold over
one thousand people, and advertised widely that a meeting of prayer and
praise would be held there by the Christians to celebrate the king’s
birthday. A platform was erected, the building draped with flags, and
speakers obtained, among whom were members of the cabinet, several
gifted Koreans, and foreign missionaries.

He sat up all night preparing tracts, of which thousands were printed
at the M. E. Mission Press for that special occasion, and also a hymn,
to be set to the tune “America.”


I.

    For my dear country’s weal,
    O God to Thee I pray,
    Graciously hear.
    Without Thy mighty aid
    Our land will low be laid.
    Strengthen Thou this dear land,
    Most gracious Lord.


II.

    Long may our great king live,
    This is our prayer to-day
    With one accord.
    His precious body guard,
    Keep it from every ill.
    Heavenly Lord and King,
    Grant him Thy grace.


III.

    By Thy almighty power,
    Our royal emperor
    Has been enthroned.
    Thy Holy Spirit grant
    Our nation never fail.
    Long live our emperor,
    Upheld by Thee.


IV.

    For this Thy gracious gift,
    Our independence, Lord,
    Bless we thy name.
    This never ceasing be,
    While as a people we,
    Nobles and commons all,
    United pray.


V.

    To Thee, the only Lord,
    Maker and King Divine,
    We offer praise.
    When all shall worship Thee,
    Happy our land shall be,
    Powerful, rich and free,
    Beneath Thy smile.

Early in the day Christian men and boys were distributing copies of the
tract and hymns throughout the whole city, and long before the hour of
meeting men of all classes began flocking toward that vicinity, and
when the speakers and missionaries arrived it was almost impossible
to obtain access. The building was soon packed with a solid mass of
standing people, and all the wide exits were thronged, the steps and
the immediate vicinity.

The services were opened with prayer, addresses (mainly religious) were
made, hymns were sung, and finally were closed by the Lord’s prayer,
repeated in concert. It was thrilling to hear those words repeated
reverently by so large a number of people.

I will give an interlinear translation of the prayer, so that readers
may know just what are the words used by Korean Christians:

  Hanalau Kaysin oori abbachi-sin jah yeh, Ihrahme keruk

   _Our   Father,   who art in heaven,        hallowed_

  hahsime natanah op se myh, narahhe im haopse myh, tutse

       _be     Thy      name.    Thy kingdom come.   Thy_

  Hanalaya-saw chirum dahaysoh deh iroyohgeita, onal nal

    _will be done on earth as it is in heaven.    Give_

  oori ai gay il young hal yang sik eul, choo apsego, oori ga

   _us      this   day       our    daily     bread.    And_

  oorigay teuk chay han charal, sah hayah choonan kot

     _forgive     us         our    debts     as_

  katchi, oori chayral, sah hayah chu up se myh. Oori ga

       _we      forgive    our    debtors,   and  lead_

  seeheumay teul jee mal kay hah up seego, tahman, ooriral,

      _us      not     into     temptation,      but_

  heung ak ay saw, ku ha ap soh soh. Tai kay, nara wha,

     _deliver    us       from  evil,    for Thine_

  quansay wha, eing guanqhi, choo kay, eng wani it

    _is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,_

  sa-ap-nay-ita Amen.

   _for ever.   Amen._



CHAPTER XII

    A Korean Christian Starts Work in Haing Ju--Changed Lives
    of Believers--A Reformed Saloon-keeper--The Conversion
    of a Sorceress--Best of Friends--A Pleasant Night on the
    Water--Evidence of Christian Living--Our Visit in Sorai--A
    Korean Woman’s Work--How a Kang Acts at Times--Applicants
    for Baptism--Two Tonghaks--In a Strait betwixt Two--Midnight
    Alarms--Miss Jacobson’s Death.


In the late fall of the same year Mr. Underwood and I started again
on a trip to the interior, the first we had made together since
our wedding journey, but now we were accompanied by our child, six
years old, and a native woman, who acted as cook, nurse and general
assistant. She rode in a native “_pokyo_” or chair with the child, I in
another, while Mr. Underwood walked or rode his bicycle, as opportunity
permitted. Our first destination was Haing Ju, a dirty little fishing
village on the river, about ten miles from the capital. Work had
started here just after the cholera in the fall of 1895 through the
teaching of a native named Shin Wha Suni, a poor fellow who had,
according to his own confession, been hanging around us for some time,
pretending to be interested in Christianity, in the hope of getting
some lucrative employment in connection with church work.

After the cholera hospital was opened, he was there on several
occasions, and was much surprised to find that foreign women would
spend whole nights nursing sick Korean coolies. When he chanced to see
one weeping over a poor man, whom all her efforts had failed to save,
he went away astonished and impressed with the idea that “there is
something in that religion that makes them love us like that, something
that forgets self, something that I have never dreamed of before,
something mysterious, glorious, oh, that it were mine!”

He hungered and God fed him. He sought and found the Saviour, and
when he had found him, he set forth at once to tell the good news to
others. Taking a jikay, the frame which Koreans wear on their backs to
facilitate the carrying of heavy loads, and which all native carriers
use, he started forth to the country to earn his living in this humble
way while _chandohaoing_ or “passing on the Word.” He went as far as
Haing Ju, and there on the sand of the river bank he talked to scoffing
people all day.

At night, when it was dark, one of the men who had seemed to treat
his message lightly, came and asked him to come to his house and talk
the matter over at more length. He went, and soon another believer
was gained. “Oh, it was good, the taste of a soul saved,” said the
new preacher. “Now it seemed to me I could never be satisfied with
anything else; could never rest until I had more.” The man who had been
converted offered the use of his house as a preaching place. The men
gathered in one room, the women in another, and Shin read the gospels
and the tracts and taught them the catechism and hymns. The number
of Christians grew from week to week, and the little meeting place
became too small and had to be enlarged. The whole tone of the village
gradually changed, and from being known as one of the hardest and most
disreputable places on the river, it now became a model of decency and
respectability.

Testimony to this effect was offered by some farmers, who appeared
one day in my husband’s study and asked him if he had anything to do
with the Christians in Haing Ju. He replied in the affirmative, half
afraid the people had come with some charge against them. “Well,”
the strangers said, “we should like to buy the books which teach the
doctrine they are practicing there, we want to learn that doctrine in
our village too.”

Their village, Sam Oui, was not quite three miles away, and in former
times they had been much troubled by the brawls and bad character of
Haing Ju. Their vegetables had been stolen from the fields, their fruit
and chestnuts from the trees, “but now,” said they, “the people not
only do not climb the trees for the nuts, but the boys leave those on
the ground untouched.”

Here was power in a faith which kept hungry boys from carrying off
even nuts lying temptingly in reach. This was something the like
of which they had never seen or heard; they had been taught not to
steal, especially if likely to be discovered, but a power that could
prevent men and boys from wishing to steal was miraculous. One of the
saloon-keepers of Haing Ju, a man whose only source of livelihood
was in this trade, became thoroughly converted, and at once realized
that he could no longer sell drink to his neighbors, nor could he
conscientiously dispose of his stock in trade at wholesale to other
dealers, so he emptied it all on the street. He was able to obtain
a little work now and then, but he was not strong enough for coolie
labor. He had no trade and no farm, and at times his need was great,
and often the family were on the verge of starvation, but the man’s
faith never failed, he never gave up his hold on God. Finally sickness
attacked him, he became very lame, and hearing of the hospital in
Seoul, managed to be conveyed thither, and while there we heard his
story, and as I needed just then a caretaker for my dispensary, we
engaged him and his wife to live on the place and do the light work
necessary. His leg did not improve much at the hospital, nor did the
doctor give him much hope, but this, too, he made a subject of prayer
and faith, and erelong rejoiced in a complete recovery.

This is the character of the faith of these hardy fishermen and farmers
on the river. As we approached the village we were astonished to hear
the strains of a Christian hymn, “Happy day, happy day, when Jesus
washed my sins away.” It was a band of little boys whom Shin had been
training, and who had come out to meet us. We spent two or three days
in this place, women and men crowding into the little building to every
meeting. Mr. Underwood baptized thirty-eight people, a young couple
were married, one hundred and thirteen catechumens were received, and
some babies baptized.

Speaking of babies reminds me of a sad little incident which occurred
while I was holding the first meeting there with the women. Hoping to
win their interest, knowing how many little dead babies are carried
away from Korean homes, I told them of the Saviour’s love for little
ones, that he held them in his arms and caressed them when on earth,
and had said that the spirits of these little ones do always behold
the face of the Father; so that would they only believe and give their
hearts to him, they should see their little ones again in heaven.

A great sob broke from one of the women who commenced passionately
weeping. As soon as she could speak, she told me, her voice broken with
violent emotion, that she had been a sorceress, and in a moment of
frenzy had dashed her only child, a baby, to the floor and killed it.
She, a mother, had killed her child, and could she ever be happy again,
could God forgive such as she, could she ever be permitted to see her
murdered child again? She feared she was too wicked. All of us wept
with her, and she was told of the great mercy and pardoning love of
God, and found peace in Christ.

Mr. Underwood also visited Sam Oui, the village which had learned of
Christ through the example of Haing Ju, and baptized a handful of
Christians there, enrolling a number of catechumens. When people do
not seem quite ripe for baptism, yet have put away idolatry, keeping
the Sabbath, putting away concubines, and living a life of apparent
conformity with the ten commandments, they are enrolled in this class
of catechumens. While I was engaged during the morning with the women,
the “amah” was charged to take care of our little boy, but when the
service was over, as he was nowhere to be seen, we started out to find
him. As we walked down the lane we saw coming toward us a row of some
seven or eight boys of his age (the dirtiest in the town, I am sure),
he in the center, an arm around one on either side, all chatting and
laughing together in the merriest mood possible. How could we help
laughing, how help being half pleased, even while horrified at what
such contact might portend, how many varieties of microbes, not to
mention other things.

From Haing Ju we took a Korean junk down the river to Pai Chun. We went
on board at night, and as it was bitterly cold, we were told we must
go down under the deck, as there was absolutely no sheltered place
above where we could sleep. The hole to which we were relegated was
not attractive. There were odors of fish ages old, the space was not
high enough even to sit upright in, and barely wide enough for Mr.
Underwood, our child, our “amah” and myself to lie packed side by side
(no turning or moving about) in the stern.

A lantern glimmered at the other end, it looked very far. There was
water there, and perhaps rats, and certainly great water beetles and
cockroaches, and sometimes, hours and hours after we had been packed
in that gruesome place, a boatman came and crawled over us, and dipped
out buckets of water. Men were tramping back and forth over our heads
all night. I felt sure that some of them would come through, and there
seemed to be enough racket to indicate a storm at sea, a collision or a
fire--at times I was almost convinced it was all three. If it had been,
we certainly could never have made our escape from the trap in which we
were wedged like sardines. However, as we were merely sailing down a
broad, but not very deep river, and could easily have neared the shore
before sinking in most circumstances, things were not so bad as they
seemed, and next morning when we emerged into the bright sunlight what
had been a night fraught with awful probabilities was now simply an
amusing episode.

All day Sunday we sat on the deck in the sun, singing and enjoying the
brilliant atmosphere. From Pai Chun we proceeded on foot or in chairs
to Hai Ju, and thence to Sorai, where a theological leader’s class was
waiting for Mr. Underwood. Everywhere the warm-hearted welcome which
awaited us was a delightful surprise to me. People, even women and
children, came out miles to meet us, and followed us in crowds when we
left, as if they could not bear to let us go.

There were only a few beginnings of work in Hai Ju at that time. It
is the capital of the province and rather a demoralized town, even
in a heathen country, full of hangers-on of government officials,
people accustomed to getting a living out of the people through fraud,
bribery, oppression, “_squeezing_” and all sorts of political dirty
work and corruption; evil men and still more evil women spreading the
cancerous disease through the little town, until every one appears to
be steeped in “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the
pride of life,” and worshipers of the god of this world.

[Illustration: KOREAN WOMEN AT WORK. PAGE 191]

As a special day had been set for the beginning of the class in Sorai,
and people were coming from all directions to meet us there, we
hastened on to be in time. Walking along the main road thither, Mr.
Underwood overtook a young farmer, with whom he opened conversation
in a friendly way, and asked if he had heard of the Jesus religion.
“_Yayso Kyo?_” “Oh, yes,” was the reply, “I have heard much of it,
many people in this province do that doctrine, it is very good.” “Do
you believe also?” said my husband. “Oh, no, I cannot be a believer,”
replied the man. “These Christians spend their time and money doing
good to others, I must do for myself, I cannot afford to practise this
doctrine.” This was unintentional witness borne to the fair fruit of
Christianity in the man’s believing friends and neighbors. A little
further on, as my chair was set down to rest the coolies, an old
woman ran out of a neighboring shanty to _kugung_ the foreigner. I
told her who I was and why I had come, and asked if she knew of this
doctrine. “Oh, yes, it was good, very good.” “Then why do you not
believe?” “Oh, I sell liquor, that is my business. I cannot do that
and be a Christian.” Another involuntary testimony to the lives of the
Christians of Whang Hai, and to the sincerity of those who had been
taught that the way must be made straight and clean for the coming of
the Lord.

When we arrived at Sorai I found the Christian women all gathered to
meet me in the house of one whom I had known before in Seoul. They
offered refreshments of their best, persimmons, pears, chestnuts and
eggs, and expressed their pleasure over our coming in the most cordial
and heart-warming way. Most of them I had never seen before, but we
seemed to love each other at first sight, for the bond in Christ is a
very strong one.

Mr. Kim Yun O, the wealthy man of the village, one who had been a
great sinner but was now one of the strongest and most earnest of the
leaders, had invited us to occupy his new sarang or guest room. It was
quite a commodious sunny room, and we were pleased to find it was quite
new, so we need fear few of our little enemies.

While Mr. Underwood was holding his classes with the men in the church
all day, patients of all kinds came to me in the mornings for several
hours. Then I taught the girls and boys how to sing the hymns, for they
had never known what it means to sing, and though they made a joyful
noise to the Lord, it was not joyful to the fleshly ear at all, but a
most awful combination of discords, flats and sharps, mixed up in the
most hopeless confusion, whole bunches of keys on one string, moanings,
groanings, sounds of woe as if all the contents of the pit had come
forth before the time, or all the evil spirits exorcised from the
village had returned to spoil their praise.

The young people were the most hopeful to begin with, and were
soon doing remarkably well. Every afternoon we women had a Bible
class together. Most of those who came were baptized Christians or
catechumens, though some unbelievers were always present. About
twenty-five crowded into Mr. Kim’s anpang each day. It is delightful to
be allowed to teach such women, so hungry for truth, so eager to learn,
so full of humble loving interest in every word, with such a spirit of
childlike faith.

Mrs. Kim, in whose house we were staying, was a busy woman, and her
life was not an easy one. She was small and frail, with two children,
her husband and old mother to work for, with one servant to help. The
preparation of food for her own family and many Korean guests (for a
Korean gentleman’s guest house is always well filled at meal time) was
in itself no light matter. The rice comes in very rough, only partly
husked, and must be pounded a long while in a great wooden vessel, with
a heavy club, larger at either end, which is almost all that a woman
can lift (a fine exercise for athletic women’s clubs). Water is usually
brought in on the head from quite a distance, brass bowls and spoons
kept bright, garments must be washed and smoothed, with what pains I
have already described, animals cared for, fires made.

But the country women work in the fields, too, helping to sow the
cotton, tobacco, rice and barley. When the cotton is ripe they pick
and prepare it, and only after much toil is it ready for use. Then
they weave their own cloth and make up their own garments, in the dark
little rooms in which the women live and work. They prepare and dry
certain vegetables for winter’s use, and with much labor, themselves
press out the castor oil which they use in their tiny lamps. In the
fall they make their kimchi for the whole year.

Timely hints dropped now and then, and the example of a Christian
husband’s care for his wife, have done wonders among the native
Christian homes, and much lightened the hard lot of the women. Of
course we did our own cooking in all these little villages, our
personal entertainment adding nothing to the work of the poor house
wife. The people at Sorai are extremely generous and were constantly
bringing us presents of chickens, eggs, persimmons, etc. We were much
embarrassed by all this bounty, for we knew the people were poor and
that such gifts cost a large sacrifice on their part.

When one’s wages are not more than ten cents a day a chicken means
quite a good deal of money. Yet we could not refuse their offerings,
for when we tried to do so they felt so hurt we found it was
impossible. The people already at that time were paying the running
expenses of a Christian day school, which they had endowed, by setting
apart the income from certain fields for this purpose, and if the crop
was poor and the income insufficient, they made it up to the required
amount.

While here in Sorai we had a new and rather unpleasant experience with
the working of the Korean _kang_, which we thought we knew well. In the
midst of winter the wind suddenly turned in the wrong direction for our
fires. The fire being built at one side of the house and the chimney
opening at the other, we made the very chilling discovery, that when
the wind blows into the smoke vent a fire cannot be coaxed to light.
Our room was bitterly cold, and it is surprising how a floor, which can
become intolerably hot, can also under the proper circumstances become
so cold and damp. I was obliged to wrap my rheumatic frame in furs and
rugs, while they brought in a great bowl or wharrow full of glowing
charcoal fire, with which I was comparatively unacquainted. However,
that night the room began dancing about in the giddiest kind of way,
all grew dark--and my husband spent several hours with me in the cold
night air outside our room, in the effort to ward off successive
fainting attacks. When our child, too, complained of headache and
giddiness, we no longer questioned the cause, and henceforth preferred
pure cold air to carbon dioxide.

It was interesting in the cold, sleety, snowy weather to see how the
Christians managed to attend church, even from long distances. The
women would fold up their clean skirts and put them with their shoes
and stockings on their heads, roll up their pajies or divided skirts
quite high out of the reach of wet, and with a thin cotton apron, or
no outer wrap at all over their heads and shoulders, trudge miles
through snow and mud, facing a cutting wind. Quite a number of people
were examined for baptism while we were there. One old woman, whose
case seemed rather doubtful on account of her ignorance, was asked
what was her dearest wish. “That I may be with Jesus always” was the
reply. “And how do you know you will always be with him?” “Because I am
holding close to him now, and will hold close all the way.” She had at
least learned that Jesus supplies the soul’s whole need, that to be in
his felt presence is heaven, and that to hold and be held by him is the
only way to reach and be kept there. Surely she had the end and aim of
all theology in a nutshell.

[Illustration: SCHOOL BOYS.

[Illustration: GIRLS SEWING AND WRITING WITH NATIVE TEACHER. PAGE 191]

I will copy a few notes from my diary on the testimony given by some of
the people who applied for baptism at this time.

No. 15, Mrs. Kim: Said her relatives and friends had all been trying
to induce her to believe, but her heart had grown harder and harder,
and she had determined she would not be a Christian; but suddenly one
night she saw herself with awful clearness, a great sinner, had that
moment yielded her heart, almost involuntarily (so irresistible was
the impulse), to Christ, and from that time had had perfect peace and
blessedness. Asked if she had spoken on this subject to unbelievers,
replied in affirmative. Has now been trusting Christ a year and three
months. This woman has done since then much devoted voluntary service
for her Master.

Another: At a time when those who wished for prayer were asked to raise
their hands, she says she raised hers, and at that moment felt as it
were a knife through her heart. From that time she has felt that she
belonged to Christ, and since then her mind has been at peace. She
prays regularly three times a day, but is praying all the time in her
heart. While she is praying she never falls into sin, but if through
some inadvertence and lack of prayer she sins, she asks God to pardon,
knowing that he will.

Another, No. 5: “Why do you believe?” “Because Jesus forgave me and
died for me.” “How do you know you are forgiven?” “Because the Bible
says he will forgive all that come to him.” Said he used to have a
wicked heart and worshiped devils, but now his heart and mind were
quite changed. Asked what repentance is, replied that it “was mending
one’s conduct and eating a new mind.” Asked if he had told the good
news to others, said he had, but no one in his neighborhood yet
believes. He cannot read, and asked who Jesus is, says he is God’s
only son. Asked why he died for us, says he doesn’t know. “Do your
neighbors know that you do not sacrifice any more?” “Yes.” “Do you
know you cannot have a concubine?” “Yes.” “Have you suffered anything
for Christ?” “They abuse me behind my back.” (He was the richest and
chief man of his district.) “If you have to suffer severely what will
you do?” “I will bear it, God will help me.” He pays the expenses of
well-taught Christians to go to his home and preach to his neighbors.
He comes a long distance to Sorai to church and seems anxious about his
neighbors’ souls. He came to the class bringing his own rice.

No. 6: Says he trusts Jesus because he knows he has forgiven his
sins. Knows they are forgiven because his heart is changed, his old
covetousness is all gone, it is now easy to do what Jesus commands. “Do
you ever forget Jesus?” “How could I forget him? How could I forget my
Lord?”

Another: Says that since spring, when Christ came into her heart, all
has been at peace. Asked, “Who is Jesus?” Replies, “God’s only son.”
“What is he to you?” “We are brethren since we have one Father.” “How
is God your Father?” “All believers are now his children.” “Are your
sins forgiven?” “Entirely forgiven.” “How do you know it?” “My mind is
now at peace. I am entirely happy.” “Are you not sad since your husband
died?” “Since after death we shall all live again at God’s right hand I
feel no anxiety.” “What if difficulties should arise?” “_I don’t know
about the future, but God takes care of me now, and I think he will
continue to do so._ I’ll tell Jesus and ask his help.” “Do you commit
sins now?” “On account of the flesh I cannot escape from sin, I cannot
say I do no sin.” Her father-in-law is not a believer, but though she
lives in his house she keeps the Sabbath and attends worship regularly.

No. 37 was a Tonghak, rebel and robber. Has believed nearly two years.
“Who is Jesus?” “He is God’s son.” “What has he done for us?” “He died
on the cross, and through his precious blood my sins are forgiven.” “Do
you know this?” “I know it.” “How do you know it?” “I cannot read the
Bible, but as I was a criminal, and Jesus has made me live, I know I am
forgiven.” “Where is Jesus?” “At God’s right hand.” “Anywhere else?”
“There is no place where he is not.” “What is Jesus doing for us?”
“I don’t know, I only know I am saved.” “Have you told others about
Jesus?” “I am always saying, Here was I a criminal, and Jesus forgave
me, and saved me from punishment, and gave me peace of mind, how can I
help but believe.”

This man comes ten miles to church in all weather. Even when twenty
miles away at work, he would come in late Saturday night to be at
church, stay all day, without his food, and go back at night over a
high mountain pass. He was one of two rebels, who came to the leader
and said they wanted to be followers of Christ and be baptized.
The leader said that if they were sincere Christians they must make
restitution by giving themselves up to justice. One of the two then
went to the Romanists, and is now one of the most notorious of the gang
of robbers and desperados under the lead of Father Wilhelm. The other,
this applicant, gave himself up, was thrown into jail and condemned
to death. While in jail he astounded the jailers and prisoners by
continually singing hymns of joy and praise. The prisoners declared he
was mad, as no one could sing like that in such a case. While he was
in jail the king escaped to the Russian legation, all prisoners were
set free and he was released. He has been a happy, consistent Christian
ever since.

Another is a young man of nineteen, has only lately begun to trust in
Christ. His father is a believer, his mother and wife are not. Baptism,
he says, is a sign of faith in Christ. He thinks it would never do not
to be baptized, but insists he is saved now. Says he knows and feels
it in his heart. He has destroyed all idols, and keeps the Sabbath. He
goes over the mountain three miles to church and allows no laborers to
work for him on Sunday, though he is obliged to pay them for the day’s
work as though they had. He comes at his own expense to attend the
class.

The above are given merely as a few specimens of the kind of questions
and replies commonly heard at these examinations. Only those whose
changed lives were witnessed to by leading Christians who know them
were baptized. After a delightful stay with these simple-hearted
Christians, where the world and all its evils seemed far removed, and
God very near, we were obliged at the close of the class to start back
to the capital. Our three temporarily hired coolies had forsaken us,
disliking to wait so long (about three weeks) without work, and it was
an impossibility to replace them in that neighborhood, where nobody
ever rides in a chair.

So we had to hire an ox-cart or _talgoogy_, the most primitive of all
possible wheeled conveyances, and in it, with our loads tucked in with
all our mattresses, quilts, rugs and pillows, was placed our little
treasure, our only child, with the woman servant.

With great difficulty a man was found who consented to help my own
servant carry my chair. But soon an unlooked-for difficulty arose. I
found the ox-cart had gone by a different road from that on which I had
come in my chair, for the former could not cross the narrow bridges
(mere footpaths for one) over the rivers, but must take the fords, far
too long a distance for the chair coolies. Nor could the cart take
the narrow paths over precipitous passes, which the chair must follow
to shorten the road for the carriers. I was assured that all would be
well, the helpers and Christians were with the child, and was forced to
submit to what could not now be helped. Mr. Underwood, after seeing me
well started, paced at a flying rate across to the other road to see
that all was well with the boy, and then back again to the wife.

At about five o’clock we reached a place where the two roads meet,
but no signs of the _talgoogy_. It was fast growing dark, a mountain
pass lay yet before us, the road was wild and lonely, we wished our
little one was with us. At length we went on to the village just beyond
the pass and waited. Time passed, but no tidings of the cart and its
precious contents. Darkness fell, the cold was bitter. Koreans were
sent out with lanterns to light the way for the belated, or render any
needed help. Still no word. At length Mr. Underwood himself, unable to
wait longer, went out to look for the party. And now with them both in
the lonely mountain, and night upon us, I had double need to trust in
God. One always knows that all will be well, will be for the best, but
as one cannot see whether that _best_ means God’s rod or his staff, the
heart will flutter in dread of the pain. Just to wait without fear upon
him, takes a calm, strong soul, and a full measure of grace.

At last, thank God, they both came back quite unharmed, only hungry and
cold, but the thought of tigers, leopards and robbers, that might have
met them, only made me realize more fully the mercy which brought them
safe to my arms.

That night we slept in a small Korean inn quite like all the rest,
only a little smaller and dirtier than most, with domestic animals
and fowls of all sorts quartered round us, the paper door of our room
only separating between them and us. Suddenly, about two or three in
the morning, we were startled out of our sleep by the most terrific
roaring, and the sounds of a general panic in the inn; the excited
shouts of men, women shrieking, and such a chorus of barking, yelping,
cackling, squealing as cannot be described. But the awful roaring,
and a stamping and hustling distinguishable above all, made it seem
probable that one or more wild animals of some sort had invaded the
hostel. Mr. Underwood hastily extinguished our light, which shining
through our door, might attract notice, and went out to discover the
cause of the uproar. He soon came back, saying that a couple of oxen,
usually so meek and tractable, had been fighting, had pulled themselves
loose from their stalls, and had now escaped, one chasing the other
out of the inn. They are enormous creatures, at times like this as
dangerous as any wild beast, and it was remarkable that no one in the
inn was seriously hurt, as they could hardly have escaped being, had
the oxen remained fighting in the cramped confines of that little
place.

[Illustration: KOREAN STREET. PAGE 18]

[Illustration: HORSES IN AN INN YARD. PAGE 198]

Nothing worthy of note occurred during the remainder of our return
trip, except one night, when camped in the tiniest and most comfortless
little room, we were again wakened by an awful roaring. The sort of
roar that every mother hears with a quaking heart, and knows right well
what it imports. She knows it comes from a wild beast in her child’s
throat, and jumps to the rescue. Croup in a hut with paper doors and
windows full of cracks and holes, where the wind steals in on all
sides, many miles from home, is not too easily defied. But we soon had
a wharrow fire and hot water, a croupy child’s mother always has ipecac
and flannels close at hand, and while we changed hot applications
for an hour or so, we were forced to draw on our benumbed inventive
faculties for novel stories to interest the half-suffocated child. The
following day we were obliged to continue our journey, for exposure and
discomfort there exceeded what must be met on the road, but the child,
usually slow in rallying from those attacks, on this occasion made an
especially quick and favorable recovery.

In April of this year, 1896, Dr. J. McLeavy Brown, of the English
Custom’s Service, was placed in charge of the nation’s finance by a
royal decree, a post which he continued to fill for a long time to the
benefit of all concerned, except the squeezing officials, who, now that
their opportunities in that line were curtailed, proceeded to squeal
lustily instead.

In the summer of 1896, Miss Jacobson, an enthusiastic young missionary
nurse, who had learned the language with wonderful quickness, and won
the hearts of Koreans on all sides, was very ill with dysentery for
several weeks. She recovered apparently and returned to her work, but
was soon attacked by violent fever, which refused to yield to the usual
remedies, until at length the existence of a local organic disease
was developed, which in spite of every effort carried our dear sister
away. But her deathbed was a place of rejoicing rather than mourning.
More than one exclaimed it was good to be there. Bitterly as we knew we
should feel the loss of so helpful and sympathetic a sister later, we
could but enter into her joy at that hour. Her bedroom seemed like the
ante-room to the throne-room itself. Her face was wreathed in smiles,
and a look of unearthly glory lay upon it. Her words were all of joy
and hope, and full of the rapture the realized presence of the Lord
only can give.

We felt we had no right to make place for selfish mourning there, she
was so manifestly happy, and to depart was so far, far better. When
her remains were taken to the cemetery, now becoming rich with much
precious dust, her casket was carried on the shoulders of the native
Christians, who sang joyful songs of the better land all the way. It
was like the return of a conqueror, and the country people, as they saw
and heard, asked what kind of death or funeral was this, all triumph
and joy? Where were the signs and sounds of despair that follow a
heathen corpse?

To carry a dead body is looked upon as very degrading. So the fact that
the native Christians insisted on doing this, and would not allow hired
bearers to touch the dear form, showed how they all loved and honored
Miss Jacobson; and I have told it to show the kind of feeling which
exists between the people and their foreign teachers, as well as to lay
a little tribute to the memory of a noble and devoted fellow-worker.



CHAPTER XIII

    Our Mission to Japan--Spies--One Korean Summer--The Queen’s
    Funeral--The Procession--The Burial by Starlight--The
    Independents--The Pusaings--The Independents Crushed.


In the following spring Mr. Underwood was asked to go to Japan, with
instructions to assist his highness, the second prince, to leave for
America.

It was thought best that he should there, under Christian tutors,
prepare for college, or a military training, and my husband, realizing
of what immense importance this plan well carried out might be to Korea
in the future, gladly consented to accept the mission. All arrangements
were made by the government in Seoul, and Mr. Underwood was instructed
exactly as to the wishes of his majesty. To our combined amusement
and indignation, we soon discovered we were followed everywhere by
spies from the day we left home. Mr. Underwood’s letters to gentlemen
in Tokyo, although mailed with care and secrecy, were read by others
before they reached the hands of those to whom they were addressed. We
were shadowed everywhere, and even had the creepy pleasure of knowing
that a detective slept on the landing just below our room.

Thus for the second time in our lives were we honored by being made
the special objects of espial, connected in the respectable mind with
criminal courts, jails and all sorts of ill odors and combinations of
the unutterable. However, as we had nothing on our consciences, I
believe we rather enjoyed our detectives, aside from a slight indignant
sense of insult. We certainly took a mischievous pleasure in the hunt.
There were undoubtedly those who considered it to their interest to
keep the prince in Japan, but when the king’s commands were fully
understood, no further difficulty was made, and the long-desired end
was gained, as far as a departure for America was concerned, but as
through influence beyond our control, and without our knowledge till
later, a Romanist interpreter was sent with him, the plans and hopes
for his royal highness in America were destined to disappointment.

In the following summer sickness entered our home, a debilitating fever
which would not yield to treatment kept my husband week after week
confined to his bed. His strength of course steadily failed, he became
extremely emaciated and unable to retain nourishment in any form. We
were at the river Han, in a house on a bluff, where we usually spend
the hot and rainy season; but it was several miles distant from the
city, advisers and remedies. It was lonely work, not knowing what turn
the disease might take, with friends and helpers so far away.

At length, one night my trials seemed to reach a climax. The rain
poured down, more like a foe with iron blows besieging a fort than
water from the clouds. The wind blew with almost hurricane fury and the
lightning was constantly accompanied by terrific claps of thunder. My
husband was too ill to notice and in a heavy stupor. Soon, however, the
poor thatched roof began leaking like a sieve, while water flowed in
around the window and door casements.

The invalid lay in a heavy bed, extremely difficult at any time to
move, still more so with his weight and the necessity of moving it as
gently as possible. Our cousin, a lady of no great size or strength,
and I managed by exerting all our combined force to shove the lumbering
piece of furniture to a place where water did not drip on it and the
invalid; and then ran to find pieces of sacking, bath towels, sheets,
waterproofs, etc., to soak up the flood that was constantly pouring in
everywhere and dripping through from the second floor to the first.

The kitchen was almost emptied of utensils, which were placed under the
waterfalls all over the house. While every now and then my husband’s
bed must be pushed or dragged to a new place. The frail house rocked
as if it must surely fall before the fury of the storm. It was one of
those occasions which probably every one experiences, once or twice
in a lifetime, when inanimate nature seems to join with untoward
circumstance, and even God himself seems to have hidden his face, and
all the seen and unseen powers of the universe to have combined against
body and soul. But he who has drunk the very dregs of every bitterness
we ever taste never forsakes us no matter how dark things look, and I
knew on that awful night we were not as desolate as we seemed.

In the morning Dr. Avison came out from the city and kindly invited me
to have Mr. Underwood taken there to his home, which was on a hill with
plenty of breeze, and where I should have advice and medicines close at
hand. So our sick man, placed on a long cane chair with poles attached
to each side, covered with waterproofs, blankets and umbrellas, and
carried by eight coolies, was taken back to Seoul.

Not more than a week later our little one was stricken with the
same fever. Both father and child were desperately sick for another
fortnight, but both were spared, and after weeks of prostration moved
about like pale skeletons, whom nobody found it easy to recognize.

About this time a great deal of uneasiness was beginning to be felt
among certain classes over the king’s long stay in a foreign legation,
especially by all pro-Japanese, and in October, 1896, the king was
formally requested by a Council of State to change his residence. In
the following February, at about the time when Mr. Waeber was leaving
the country and another Russian representative coming to take his
place, the royal household was removed to the Chong Dong palace, near
the English consulate and American legation. Russian officers were in
charge of all Korean troops, and Russian influence predominant.

In October of 1897 the king assumed the title of emperor, and
immediately after the dead queen’s rank was raised to that of empress.
In the following November, her imperial highness’ funeral took place.
It is common among people of high rank to keep the honored remains
embalmed and sealed for months, or even years, until a suitable time
and place for burial has been pronounced by soothsayers, and so two
years after decease, after repeated consultations with these costly and
ghostly advisers, who repeatedly changed their directions, a grave site
was finally decided upon and prepared and a day set.

Two weeks before this, daily sacrifices were offered in Kyeng-won
palace, and on the first and fifteenth of each month since her death
special sacrifices had been offered. All court officials wore heavy
mourning and all citizens wore half mourning.

The grounds selected for the grave site were about three or four miles
from the east gate outside the city, and many acres in extent. Money
flowed like water, and no pains or expense were spared to make the
service and everything connected with it as magnificent and stately as
the queen’s rank and the king’s devotion to her memory required. The
grave was prepared of solid masonry at the summit of a mound fifty
feet high, a costly temple for the temporary shelter of the remains,
where the last rites were to be performed, was erected near its foot,
and a number of other buildings were put up for the accommodation of
the court, the foreign legations and other invited guests, for the
funeral was to be held at night. Refreshments and entertainment was
provided for Koreans and foreigners, officials, friends, soldiers and
servants to the number of several thousands.

A courteous invitation was sent from the Foreign Office to the
legations, inviting the private residents (foreigners) of Seoul to
share this hospitality. The casket in a catafalque was carried from
the palace at eight o’clock on the morning of the 21st of November,
attended by five thousand soldiers, four thousand lantern bearers,
six hundred and fifty police, and civil and military dignitaries of
innumerable grades. The scene was one of extreme and varied interest.
Thousands of people crowded the streets, arches were erected over
the road at intervals. There were numberless scrolls recounting the
queen’s virtues, magnificent silk banners, beautiful small chairs,
wooden horses (for use in the spirit world), which, with all the varied
accoutrements of ancient and modern arms, and the immense variety in
the dress and livery of court and other officials, retainers, menials,
chair coolies and mapoos, made a scene quite beyond description.

The emperor and crown prince did not follow the bier until one o’clock
in the afternoon. His majesty had sent us a special invitation to be
present and go in the procession, but we preferred to go quietly later,
as humble private mourners for a loved and deeply lamented friend, in a
spirit which had nothing in common with the brilliant procession.

When we arrived at nearly eight o’clock in the evening, we found the
extensive grounds lighted by red and yellow (the royal and imperial
colors) native lanterns, not two feet apart, in double rows, along a
winding and circling road for a distance of three miles. Brilliant
banners streamed forth on the air, and here and there all over the
field were brightly blazing fires of fagots, where groups of soldiers
stood warming themselves, for it was bitterly cold. It was a starlit
night of crystal, sparkling clearness.

There is much that is fitting in this custom of holding funerals in
these calm and holy hours of night, when things of time and sense
dwindle and look insignificant, when the world’s bustle is all
hushed, when the unsympathetic glare of happy day is veiled, and
only the soothing balm of the quiet and darkness in harmony with the
sorrow-stricken heart is to be felt. In that hour the divine presence
seems to be most imminent, or more fully realized, and eternity and the
spirit world close around us.

After six sets of prayers and sacrifices, and a final ceremony of
farewell, the remains were to be interred. At three o’clock A.M.
everything was in readiness. A beautiful yellow silk imperial
carrying-chair, for the use of the royal spirit, was first taken up the
hill in great state, by the appointed bearers. Then followed another of
green silk, and lastly the royal casket on its bier. Long ropes were
attached to the latter, held by men standing as closely as possible to
each other, along the whole length, in order to insure the greatest
steadiness. In addition, of course, were the regular bearers, while one
stood on the front of the bier directing and guiding all. Everything
was done with beautiful precision, there was not a misstep nor a jar.
It is said that on such occasions a bowl filled to the brim with water
is placed on the bier, and if a drop overflows severe punishment and
disgrace falls upon the carriers.

A solemn and stately procession of soldiers and retainers, bearing
banners and lanterns of alternate red and yellow, accompanied and
followed the casket, marching in double file on either side and in
close ranks, all uttering in unison a low and measured wailing as they
advanced. Thus all that remained of our brilliant queen was carried to
its rest.

Nothing could be more impressive, solemn and beautiful than this
procession, circling up the hill, beneath the clear faithful watch of
the stars and the fathomless depths of limitless space, in that dark
hour just before day. After the bier followed the king and prince, who
personally superintended the lowering of the precious remains into the
tomb, even entering the crypt to see that the casket was well rolled
back under the great block of granite which covered it.

Sacrifices and prayers were again offered, the gigantic wooden horses
were burned, and the mourners retired. An audience given to all the
diplomats and invited guests, for the expression of farewells and
condolences, ended the ceremonies at about eight o’clock in the morning.

For some time before and after the removal of the king to his own
palace in Chong Dong, a growing feeling of anxiety and distrust
was felt over the preponderance of Russian influence, which found
expression in the formal request made to the king to leave the legation.

While his majesty was still residing there, and before the uneasiness
with regard to Russia had arisen, the “Independent Club” had been
organized by Mr. So Jay Peel, with the consent of the king, to
emphasize Korea’s independence of China. The old columns, where tribute
collectors from that nation were received, were pulled down and a
new Independence Arch erected, as well as a large building for the
official business of the club, called Independence Hall. The crown
prince contributed a thousand dollars for this purpose. The club was
immensely popular with all classes and many of the nobility as well
as the commoners were members. But the real object of the club was
to keep Korea independent of _all_ foreign powers in general, and of
Russia and Japan, as well as China, in particular; to protest against,
and prevent, if possible, the usurpation of office and influence by
foreigners, to stand for the rights of the people, the autonomy of the
nation, its gospel being in a word, “Korea for the Koreans.”

So that now, when the menace seemed to shift its quarters from the west
to the north, the Independence Club began to make itself heard against
Russia.

A word with regard to one or two of its leaders may be of interest.
Mr. So Jay Peel had previously belonged to the progressive party, and
had been obliged to flee to Japan, where after a short residence he
went to America. He was of very high rank and a wealthy family, but
his property having been confiscated he worked his own way, graduating
from a first-class college with highest honors. Then taking a civil
service examination, he had become an American citizen. He obtained a
government position, which gave him light work with sufficient salary
to enable him to take a course in medicine, after which he received a
very fine government medical appointment, on a competitive examination.

But his heart turned to his country, and after the Japanese war and
the establishment of Japanese prestige, he returned to Korea, where
he became adviser to the king, and soon after started a newspaper
called the “Independent,” which was printed half in English and half
in the native character. Mr. So proved himself a gifted, brilliant and
eloquent man, full of enthusiastic devotion to the emancipation and
welfare of his country, perhaps too impatient and precipitate in trying
to hasten the accomplishment of these great ends, a fault common
with young and ardent patriots. Mr. So was the first president of the
club, and was succeeded by Mr. Yun Chee Ho, a son of General Yun, who
had led the attack on the palace for the rescue of the king. Like Mr.
So, he had been for some years away from Korea, having been educated
partly in China in an American Methodist Mission school, and partly
under the same auspices in America. Both he and Mr. So are members of
American Protestant churches. Mr. Yun, who, however, still retains his
Korean citizenship, is also both a fine writer and speaker, and an
enthusiastic patriot and progressionist. He afterwards succeeded Mr.
So in the editorship of the “Independent.” Their following consisted
quite largely of impulsive, eager young men, many of them Christians,
very many of them students, and probably included the majority of the
brilliant, energetic, and sincerely patriotic young men of the capital.

As has been said, after Mr. Waeber’s removal and the king’s departure
from the Russian legation, and a new Russian minister had arrived,
Korea became more than ever subject to Russian influence. Russians
swarmed in the palace, the army and the treasury were completely in
their hands, and their absolute supremacy seemed only a question of a
few brief weeks or months.

At this time, February, 1898, the Independence Club offered a
petition to the king asking the removal of all Russians from the army
and government offices. The Russian minister requested the king to
state his wish in this matter, and soon after, being informed in the
affirmative, the Russians were all withdrawn for the time. April 12,
1898, coincident with this, Port Arthur was ceded to the Russians by
Japan, a fact which it was thought by many had much to do with the
retirement from Korea. It is most improbable that the action of Russia
was in this case out of consideration for the preferences of Koreans.

The Independence Club now grew more and more popular and held frequent
loud and clamorous meetings, at which public affairs were discussed
with great freedom, the wrong doings of high officials severely
censured and held up to public scorn, and unpopular laws sharply
criticised and bitterly inveighed against. They were full of hope and
patriotism, their aim and expectation seeming to be to have all wrongs
righted, all abuses done away with, and Korea remade in a day a free
government and people.

The Independence Club held large mass meetings. The shops were closed,
the whole population was stirred, and even women held meetings,
incredible as it may seem. As a result of which a written petition was
sent to the government, asking for seven reforms, abolishing torture
and other objectionable customs, and granting more liberties.

The cabinet approved the request, the king added six more new rules for
reform, and Yun Chee Ho was made vice-president of the Privy Council.
At once another general meeting of the public was held, and a committee
appointed by them printed tens of thousands of copies of the new laws,
and distributed them everywhere. Among the thirteen new rules, it was
suggested and consented to that there should be established a sort of
popular congress, a law-making body, with powers advisory (certainly
very limited), composed of one hundred people, fifty of whom were to be
elected by the popular vote, and fifty to be appointed by the king. But
now the government began to take the alarm and to realize that they had
opened the sluice gates of a flood which threatened to overwhelm them.

The night before the first election to this body was to have taken
place at Independence Hall, seventeen leading members of the club were
arrested. It was the intention of the minister of law to put these
people to death, but the populace rose _en masse_, crowded and excited
meetings were held everywhere, and so much feeling shown, that the
decision was changed, and they were sentenced to banishment instead.
But the populace continued to rage. Large masses of people, who, while
they did not arm themselves or resort to violence, were angry and
threatening, gathered in front of the government offices in all public
places, demanding the release of the seventeen or that they themselves
should be arrested. At length, after five days’ of threatening
demonstrations and angry mobs, the seventeen were released. Now,
indeed, the Independents felt they had gained a victory, the government
had been defeated, and the people henceforth could accomplish anything.

The demand for the fulfilment of the king’s still unfulfilled promises
of thirteen reforms was again renewed. On this the officials in person
presented themselves before the crowds, commanding them to disperse and
promising everything that was asked if they would do so, as a result of
which the people quietly dispersed.

After long and patient waiting, without result, no promises kept or
reforms instituted, and on the contrary, the bad officials who had
been put out of office again reinstated, the people assembled again
one month later at Chong No (the great thoroughfare) to renew their
demands. The police were then called up by their chief and told to go
to Chong No, and regardless of consequences draw their swords and put
to death all of the unarmed multitude who would not disperse. Almost to
a man, the police began throwing off their official badges, saying they
were one with the people, and absolutely refusing to obey such orders.

The soldiers were then called out, large bodies of troops stationed in
the main thoroughfares, and the crowds dispersed at the point of the
bayonet.

The Independents then asserted it must be bad officials, and not
the king, who were thus oppressing them, and that their petitions
could never have reached his majesty. They, therefore, according to
long-established custom with petitions for royal favors, all convened
in front of the palace. Thousands of men sat there quietly, night and
day, for fourteen days waiting to be heard.

It was a thrilling and impressive sight. There was nothing laughable
about those rows of silent, patient, determined citizens. Many had
their food brought to them, some had little booths or tents where they
prepared meals or slept, while others watched and waited, a few went
away to take food, only to return as speedily as possible. The people
had come to the palace to stay, until an answer could be had from the
king.

After the Independents had been camped for some days thus in front of
the palace, the “_Pusaings_,” or “Peddlers Guild,” gathered and camped
in another part of the city, with the avowed intention of attacking
them.

The “_Pusaings_” are, as their name indicates, a guild of peddlers,
bound together as a secret society for mutual benefit and protection.
They have connections and branches all over the country, and are sworn
to render each other assistance whenever needed. Like the Masons, they
have secret passwords and signs, by which they make themselves known to
each other, and any member of this great guild meeting another, even
for the first time, is bound to help him to the full extent of his
ability. In this way they soon become extremely powerful, and feared
by high and low, rich and poor. They could assemble a formidable army
at short notice, and their reputation as a ruffianly body of men has
long been established. During the reign of the Tai Won Kun, that crafty
and astute old politician decided to make friends of this dangerous
guild, rather than antagonize them, and accordingly granted them a
number of special privileges, one of which was the right to collect
taxes of certain kinds of merchandise, in return for which they were to
be regularly organized by the government and to place themselves under
the control of governors of provinces and other officials, holding
themselves ready for service at any time. They wear a peculiar straw
hat and a somewhat different dress from other Koreans, so that they are
easily recognized where ever seen.

On the appearance of this large body of “_Pusaings_” the king sent
word to the people, in order to calm their suspicions, that they need
have no fear of the Peddlers, as the police should be ordered to keep
them back, and a cordon of police was therefore drawn around the
petitioners. At length, however, the “_Pusaings_” made an attack one
day at an early hour in the morning, when some of the Independents,
who had retired during the night or had gone to their breakfast, were
away, and the number considerably reduced. The police were immediately
withdrawn, and the whole assemblage of Independents were driven away,
and many of them seriously injured. When they attempted to return the
way was barricaded by soldiers, and their enemies, the “_Pusaings_”
were being feasted with food sent out from the palace. The populace
then assembled in large numbers, with the determination to drive away
the Peddlers, which they did, wounding and killing a few. Shortly
after, however, a second battle was fought, in which the people were
forced to retreat and one of the Independents was killed.

The people’s party then again assembled at Chong No, when the king
again sent, promising he would give all they asked if they would
disperse, which they accordingly did once more. Ten days later the king
called them to meet before the palace. On that occasion he came out to
them, standing on a platform built for the purpose, with his officials
around him, and the members of the foreign legations occupying a tent
at one side, and a large number of other foreigners also present. This
was indeed a new thing in the history of so hoary a nation for the
king to come out to confer with the populace on matters of state. The
president of the Independents at that time, Kung Yung Kun, and the
ex-president, Yun Chee Ho, were called up and presented by the king
with a document printed on yellow imperial paper, in which he solemnly
promised the establishment of the thirteen reforms.

The meeting then dispersed, and the people waited another thirty
days, _but nothing came to pass_. With wonderful determination and
persistence, worthy of success like the widow in our Lord’s parable,
who waited long on the unjust judge till by continual coming she
wearied him and obtained her desire, they again assembled at Chong No
and renewed their demands.

Had they only possessed a Hampton, a Cromwell, a Washington, or a
Roland, history might have repeated itself once more. And yet perhaps
it was no more the want of leaders of the right fearless stamp, than
the need of thousands of such determined dauntless, unconquerable souls
as those who stood back of Cromwell and Washington.

They, however, renewed their requests, and insisted they would allow
no government business to be done until the king’s promises were
fulfilled. Soldiers were sent out from time to time and dispersed them,
but they gathered again and again.

At length the government accused them of scheming to establish a
republic and elect a president, and bodies of soldiers and police were
placed all over the city. Wholesale arrests were made, little groups of
even three or four were dispersed by the use of detectives and a very
wide system of espionage, meetings were prevented, the Independents
crushed, and their buildings and property confiscated. Thus, for the
time at least, ended what looked like the beginnings of a revolution,
but the people were not ready and the time not ripe.



CHAPTER XIV

    Itineration Incidents--Kaiwha--Christian Evidences--Buying
    Christian Books instead of an Office--Seed Sowing--Moxa’s Boy
    in the Well--Kugungers Again--Pung Chung--Pyeng Yang--The Needs
    of the Women.


Another long trip into the interior was taken the following year, some
newly arrived missionaries from Canada who wished to study methods and
people accompanying us. Just before this Mr. Underwood had revisited
the river villages where there were Christians under his oversight,
and found as usual a steady growth everywhere, not that there are no
drawbacks, none who have backslidden or proved insincere, but that such
instances are marvelously rare, and that the encouragements far exceed
the discouragements, that the little groups are steadily growing in
numbers, in enlightenment and the home life is vastly higher in tone.
At Haing Ju a commodious new chapel had been built, a fact which the
people had kept as a surprise for the missionary. As usual he found new
groups of believers which had sprung into life since his previous visit.

The beginning of one of these at Kimpo, as related by Mr. Shin, was
very interesting. Mr. Shin said that one night as he lay asleep he
thought he saw the Moxa come up to him, with the long walking-stick
in his hand which he uses on his country trips. Prodding the sleeper
vigorously with it, he said, “Come, come, why don’t you go to work; get
up and go over there (pointing across the river to Kimpo) and pass
on the Word.” Shin woke up, but fell asleep again, and again the Moxa
came back and even more urgently bade him get up, and go and carry the
gospel to Kimpo. Again he awoke, and the third time fell asleep, and
dreamed as before. He knew no one at Kimpo and had no reason to think
there was any more hopeful opening there than elsewhere, but the dream
impressed him so strongly, that he felt he must go. When he reached
there, he found one or two families whose interest had become awakened
through some books, and who were longing for some one to come and
teach them more. One man, once a burly and notorious prize-fighter, is
now the leader among the Christians in that vicinity, and one of the
shining lights among the river villages, and this same Kimpo is one of
the most promising centers of work.

The training class, the instruction of which was part of Mr.
Underwood’s business in the interior that fall, was to be held in Hai
Ju. The class was taught five hours each day, and women who would come
were met and taught by me in my room. One hour after the men’s class in
the afternoon was given to street preaching, our Canadian friends, Dr.
Grierson and Mr. McRae, helping immensely with music and singing and
in the distribution of tracts. A general meeting for prayer and Bible
study was held in the class room every evening.

When the class had adjourned, we proceeded to make the usual circuit of
the part of the province under our care. As on the river, so here along
the sea and in the mountains, the numbers of new centers of gospel
growth were amazing. “It springeth up he knoweth not how.” In one place
a couple of old men, travelling along rather weary, sat down by the
roadside and as they rested sang a hymn. A farmer whose house was near,
overhearing the strange words of the song, came and questioned, and
ere long became a believer, with his family. From this household the
blessing overflowed for neighbors and friends. In another case a young
bride made a strong stand for Christ in the heathen family into which
she had married, until she had won over the entire family to the same
faith, and they again had brought others. These are only a couple of
examples that were paralleled in many communities.

Some of the answers of these poor half-taught people when catechised
were given in a previous chapter, another that of an old woman I
thought significant and touching. When asked where Jesus was, she said
promptly, “He’s right here with me all the time.” “Yes, but where else
is he?” Confused and troubled that she could not satisfy the Moxa, she
said, “I’m only a poor ignorant old woman, I don’t know where else
he is, but I _know_ he is right here in my house all the time.” The
devotion of the people to us, because through our hands had come the
bread of life, was to me exceedingly affecting, and everywhere the
relation existing between the people and their Moxas is a peculiarly
close and tender one. When one of the missionaries was sick for some
time, the women in the country villages through a large section held
united daily prayer for her for several weeks. This without her
knowledge, quite spontaneously, and without prearrangement among the
different localities.

The following year I was providentially hindered from making the
trip to the country with my husband, but in 1900, with Dr. Whiting,
Mr. Underwood and our little son, I was again able to go to Whang
Hai province. We started in February, and as there was now a little
steamer which had begun to ply between Hai Ju and Chemulpo, we decided
to profit by it, as this would be both easier and cheaper than the
old way. _Kaiwha_ (as they call progress) had “_twessoed_” (become)
considerably since our last trip. A railroad had been laid between
Seoul and Chemulpo, with trains traveling about fifteen miles an
hour. The steamers referred to are a marvel also as specimens of said
_kaiwha_. About the size of an ordinary despatch boat, or small tug,
they are not too commodious.

[Illustration: CANDY BOY]

There are two cabins, neither of which is high enough for tall people
to stand erect in, one of which, with hardly room for three or four
to occupy it with comfort, is packed with the unhappy second-class
passengers. The other is somewhat larger, about twelve feet long by six
wide. This room contains a table and six chairs, and in it are often
stowed from ten to twenty first-class passengers. Here one meets “the
world.” Korean officials, Korean, Chinese or Japanese merchants, French
Romanist priests, strolling acrobats, singers, dancing girls, and
Protestant missionaries. All except the latter smoke until the air will
slice nicely, and many of them indulge in native or foreign liquor till
their society is almost past endurance.

The boat follows the river northward past the historical island of
Kangwha, with its picturesque walls and gates, till it flows into the
sea, an arm of which our course crosses at this point to reach the
shore on which lies the little village which is the port for the city
of Hai Ju. On the day in question, when we profited for the first by
all these contrivances of _kaiwha_, the ice was still in the river,
ours being only the second trip made since it began to break. Nothing
could be seen on all sides but great blocks of ice, much larger than
our little craft, and all in a conspiracy apparently to prevent our
advance, banging and pushing us, now on one side and now on the other.
With much panting and puffing, occasionally sustaining a pretty severe
shock but quickly gaining advantage lost and shoving aside her clumsy
opponents, our boat steadily forced her passage onward and gradually
gained the clear waters of the sea. This trip lasted only sixteen
hours, while it would have taken three days overland.

We landed at half past eight on the edge of a long stretch of mud
flats, covered with slimy boulders and stones, all of which now lay
under a foot of half frozen snow, which hid the rocks and made the
going very precarious in the darkness. There was only one warm room to
be had and no food, while the “warm room” was only a little less cold
than out of doors. Thoroughly chilled, tired and hungry, and somewhat
dispirited, as hungry folks are apt to be, we all retired to the floor,
to rest finely, and waken in a better mind next morning, none the worse
for our seafaring.

At Hai Ju the believers gathered around us with the warmest welcome.
They were all mourning the loss of a beloved leader who had died a
short time before. We of course held meetings with them during the two
days, which were all we could spare at that time, saw and talked with
all who would come, trying to strengthen and comfort the believers, and
promising if possible to remain longer with them on our return. One
poor young wife whose husband had given up Christianity and gone back
to the his old life, and whose heathen mother-in-law was persecuting
her cruelly, excited our pity. Pale, emaciated and tearful, she came
begging our advice and help.

From Hai Ju we proceeded to Chang Yun Eub, where the training class
of leaders was to be held this year, and where Dr. Whiting and I
had planned to hold a somewhat similar class for women. On the way
a stranger, seeing my husband was an American, asked if he knew “a
certain ’_Un Moxa_’ (Preacher Underwood) who sometimes came down that
way and taught people to be good and kind to each other,” showing that
he had been reading from the book of native Christian practice. All
along this road, where only a few years before there was absolute
ignorance of the gospel, we found evidences of the dawning light. Here
and there in a wayside inn we found a Christian book, or a family
half timidly beginning to believe. Everywhere they had heard of “the
doctrine,” and heard well of it.

Everywhere there was a pleasant welcome for us and a ready ear for our
story. At Chang Yun Eub, quite a number of Christian women had gathered
to meet and welcome us. One or two days after reaching there I took a
ten-mile ride in a bitter wind to visit a sick woman, which resulted in
severe influenza and bronchitis, which, though I managed to fight off
for five days, at length confined me to my room and bed for three long
weeks. Many of the women had come from five to twenty miles on foot
to study with us, so it was bitterly disappointing, but Dr. Whiting
did her own part and mine, too, nobly. Nearly all the villages in that
district were represented by the local leaders and pastors at Mr.
Underwood’s class. They at this time organized a missionary society,
which they themselves originated and planned in part, before our
arrival. They perfected their scheme with Mr. Underwood’s advice.

Taking a map of the district, they arranged to work in couples, and to
each man was assigned four heathen villages, each to be visited once a
month, each man pledging himself to do this work every Sunday during
the year. Two superintendents were appointed to oversee the general
work, advise and help these missionaries, and report to Mr. Underwood.
All were to go at their own expense.

By the time the class was over I was able to be carried along the road
in my chair, and only one who has been shut in for three weeks, in a
tiny room not eight feet high, without a pane of glass in it, quite
alone most of the time, can realize how glad I was to be released into
the fresh, sweet air and sunshine. Before leaving Chang Yun we bade a
long farewell to one of the Christian women, who with a smile and the
sweet words, “It’s all grace, it’s all love,” fell gently asleep in
Jesus. Dr. Whiting, in accordance with previous plans, did not go with
us further, but returned to Seoul. After leaving Chang Yun, our first
stop was made at the village of On Chang, where we met quite a little
handful of believers. One of these, a woman who was the first convert
in that place, had been much troubled and burdened with a sense of
guilt. At length she heard that in Chang Yun there were people that
could tell her of One who could forgive sins. She went forthwith and
learned of Jesus and found peace and pardon, and came back to spread
the good tidings and “pass on the word” to her neighbors.

One of these women was a peddler, a class who have to make some
sacrifices to keep the Sabbath. Nearly all their business is done at
the little fairs or market days, which take place every five days at
one or another of the hamlets in a certain circuit. Quite often one of
these days falls on a Sunday, and so a whole five days’ profit is lost.
But this makes no difference, the day is cheerfully kept; another who
kept an inn as cheerfully decided to sell no more liquor, her chief
source of profit.

Our next stopping place was at Cho Chun, and as soon as we neared the
vicinity, we were met by men, women and children, who had walked out
to meet us and conduct us to the home of the leader, in this case the
richest and chief man of the whole neighborhood. People professing
Christianity gathered here from several small villages, were examined
and many baptized. It seemed too hard that we had only so short a time
to stay in these places where we were needed so much. Most of the
women actually wept when we were obliged to say farewell, and the men
and boys followed us miles, sometimes to the next stage in our journey.
They are touchingly grateful for the little we do for them, while we
thank God for allowing us to learn from them, their simple childlike
faith and entire dependence on him.

Mrs. Ha, the wife of the leader, was the only one in the village who
could read, and she taught the other women beautifully. Calm, strong,
intelligent, she seemed to me a rare type of a Korean woman, and one
who was destined to be very useful if she were only better instructed.
She was well acquainted with the Gospels and Acts, the only Scriptures
till quite lately in their hands, and with nearly all the hymns. But
her opportunities for study and instruction were also very few.

After leaving Cho Chun nearly twelve miles distant was our next
destination, a little country town of about two thousand people, which
we reached after a few hours’ travel. Here we lodged in a neat and
comfortable little building consisting of two rooms, with a lean-to
kitchen, which the natives had built for us near to the church, half at
their own expense. The steps by which we ascended to our rooms were the
family ancestral worship stones, which the Christians had once greatly
treasured, but for which they had no further use. The women flocked in
to greet me, and next day I had the larger room, sixteen by twenty-four
feet, crowded with heathen women who came to see the foreign woman and
child, but were willing to hear about Christ. Gifts of candies, fruits
and other food poured in as usual.

Many were examined for baptism, and gave most satisfactory evidence of
conversion, but among them all one deaf old woman interested me most.
She was very deaf and stupid. It seemed almost impossible for even the
Korean leader to make her hear or understand the questions. She was
most anxious to be baptized, but how to learn whether she knew enough
of the gospel, we were at a loss to discover.

At last a question seemed to reach her, “Where are you going when you
die?” Her face brightened and the answer came, “I’m going to Jesus.”
Mark, not heaven, but Jesus. This is the keynote that is always struck,
Jesus, their stay now, and hope hereafter, their wisdom, righteousness,
and sanctification.

The first news of the gospel was brought here to Eul Yul by a man of
high family, considerable wealth and official connections, who went to
Seoul with the intention of buying an office. He heard about Christ,
however, while there, and instead of an office, bought a donkey load of
books, which he took back to Eul Yul, and there distributed among his
neighbors. About the same time a certain magistrate, just appointed,
and going down there to his office, who was a friend of my husband’s,
invited him to visit him at Eul Yul when in the country. Mr. Underwood
thanked him, but replied, “You know if I go it will be only with the
one purpose of preaching.” “Certainly, come and preach,” was the answer.

So Mr. Underwood promised he would do so if his friend, the magistrate,
would see that a large and convenient official building was placed at
his disposal for services while there. This was willingly promised at
once, so the class was appointed to be held there that year, and with
the rally of Christian leaders, and the earnest preparatory work of
the man who had preferred Christ to an office (of which Mr. U. had
not previously been informed), Christianity in Eul Yul began most
auspiciously. Up to the present time, however, he who had been so
earnest in preaching the gospel, and so generous in supporting it,
had never been baptized. The difficulty was that he had two wives,
with neither of whom could he bring himself to part. These concubines
have a strong hold, and justly so, on the men who had made them
part of their family, and on whom they are dependent. All a man’s
magnanimity, generosity and tenderness are appealed to on behalf of
these women, who, unlike the dancing girls, have in the eyes of the
community a certain share of respectability, and are usually not bad
or unprincipled, but have been taught to look with toleration and
complaisance on such a life, the common custom.

However, now, at last, he decided while we were there to take the step
and put away the second wife, providing her with a home and fields
enough to give her a good income. So he and his wife and baby, and
his grown son with his wife and little one, in company with a number
of others, were baptized. The people of Eul Yul had built their own
church, as well as one-half of the guest house, for their missionary.
When we left, every believer who could walk came to bid us farewell,
“_Pyeng anikasio_” (Go in peace). We had a last prayer and praise
service, and parted with mutual good wishes and regrets, a long train
of men and boys as usual streaming out along the road, with and behind
us.

Our next station was Pak Chun, six miles away (the distances used to
be twenty and thirty miles, now six, eight or twelve), but before we
reached there we must stop and meet a little band of Christians at
a farm where seed had been dropped by passing believers and where a
whole family had been converted. Here we met a young bride from another
hamlet not far distant, who with her husband had lately become a
believer. At Pak Chun we were received with the usual hearty welcome.
Here I found Mrs. Kim of Sorai like a ministering angel going her
rounds of self-appointed, unpaid ministration of the Word, teaching
the gospel to these poor women, not one of whom could read. A good
many from neighboring villages were examined here, and we held a
baptismal and communion service just before leaving. The church was as
yet unfinished and extremely damp and cold, as well as uncomfortably
crowded, so I sent our little son out of doors to play until we should
finish. But scarcely had the meeting well begun when word came that
“the Moxa’s child had fallen in the well.” Mr. Underwood rushed to
the rescue, giving out a long hymn as he started, to keep the crowd
occupied. However, by the time we reached the scene he had emerged from
his cold bath and been taken to our room.

The ox-cart with all our packs was standing at the door, just about
to start for the next place. It was the work of a few moments to pull
down the whole load, open our trunks, and get out dry garments, only
too thankful that it had not already trundled several miles on. I
found a dripping, shivering little animal awaiting me as I rushed into
our quarters, but no harm was done, he was soon quite dry and warm,
his wet apparel dangling from the ox-cart acting as an excellent road
sprinkler. Just before leaving I saw a child quite naked, covered with
smallpox pustules in full bloom, standing near our door. I asked one
of the natives if there was much of that disease in the village at
present. “In every house,” was the concise reply. “Why there is none
in the house we are in,” said I, with confidence. “Oh, no, they took
the child out the day you came in order to give you the room,” was
the reassuring answer. We had eaten and slept in that infected little
room, our blankets all spread out there, our trunks opened, everything
we had exposed. We had even used their cooking utensils and spoons and
bowls before our own packs had arrived. For ourselves we had been
often exposed, and believed ourselves perfectly immune. Mr. Underwood
had nursed a case of the most malignant type, and I had been in contact
with it among my patients, but our child! So we sent a swift messenger
with a despatch to the nearest telegraph station, twenty-four hours
away, to Dr. Wells, in Pyeng Yang. He at once put a tube of virus into
the hands of a speedy runner, who arrived with it a week later.

We found the country full of smallpox, measles, and whooping cough, and
added to our smallpox experience, an exactly similar one with measles.
The record of one of these little villages is much like another. At
Pung Chun, a place with a magistracy, we found the crowds almost
unbearable, especially as the magistrate was away and his substitute
unwilling to help us. No foreign woman or child had ever yet been
there, and we were fairly besieged by people who after any fashion,
lawful or otherwise, were determined to see the curiosities. Too tired
that night to do more than hold a brief meeting with the few Christians
who lived there, we barred, barricaded and curtained ourselves in.
How often under such circumstances I have been able to sympathize as
never before with our blessed Lord, who was forced to withdraw to
the mountains and desert places for a little rest and quiet from the
importunity of the eager selfish crowds, who thronged him and followed
him even there in thousands. We read “They had no leisure as much as
to eat,” and that he forbade the people he healed to spread the news
abroad. Quite uselessly. What weariness, what longing he must at times
have felt for a few hours of quiet and peace, only the hunted can
realize, yet how patient, gentle and compassionate he was!

The next day I talked to a room packed full of heathen women, those who
could not force an entrance crowding around the doors and windows,
as many as could get a view or hearing. They listened with interest
and attention for more than an hour, asking intelligent questions
occasionally, and treating me with perfect respect.

In the afternoon I had another and smaller company of those whom Mrs.
Kim of Sorai had culled from among those she had been visiting and
teaching as the most hopeful cases. With these we talked, sang and
prayed, trying as usual to make the most of the few hours we could be
with them. A few people were examined and two or three baptized of
those who had been believing for some time.

From Pung Chun we passed through a lovely valley and over a beautiful
mountain pass to a village nestled right up in the mountains. Here the
interest had extended to two villages of hardy mountaineers, all of
which had been started by an old woman from Sorai. She cannot read, but
she continually preaches Christ to every one whom she meets. Her son is
the local leader, and his family are all Christians.

Thus far Mr. Underwood had during our circuit examined one hundred
and fifty people and baptized seventy-five. About half of the other
seventy-five were received as catechumens. At Pung Chun we were greatly
interested to learn that the Koreans have a custom of sprinkling
blood on the door posts, and above the door of the home to drive away
evil spirits. When I told my class at Chang Yun how the Jews did this
before leaving Egypt, and what it meant, they looked at each other and
exclaimed with surprise, “Why, that is our custom, too.” But at Pung
Chun we found that it had only recently been done at the very inn where
we stopped, and were told that it was quite a common custom in that
part of the country. The natives also have a cold rice festival, much
like the feast of unleavened bread.

The scenery from Chil Pong to Won Tong is very beautiful. The road
winds through the mountains, accompanied by a charming little river
most of the way. There is a wonderful restfulness in the quiet of these
mountains, where no rattle of the world intrudes to break the divine
silences, or to interrupt the voices of nature, which only emphasize
the peacefulness that envelops one. One feels God near and communion
with him easy. The heart lifts itself with no effort in scenes like
these.

From Won Tong we passed to Sorai or Song Chun, to which reference has
already been often made in these pages. We were lodged in the school
room next the church, a sunny, pleasant apartment. This Sorai school
was already famed through all the country round, and Christians were
sending their boys from other villages to obtain the advantage of
Christian teaching. Next morning early a company of little girls and
boys were waiting outside my door, dressed in new clean garments of the
brightest possible colors (starched, dyed, and pounded to a miraculous
crispness, gloss and glory of tint, chiefly scarlet, green and yellow),
especially for this occasion. We had a singing class with them every
morning after that, and a Bible story was told and explained, too. The
women’s class was held immediately after the children’s, but many women
came to the children’s class, and most of the children came to that
held for the women. In the afternoon the women came again for another
Bible lesson, and in the evening men, women and children met for united
prayer, praise and Bible study with Mr. Underwood.

I was again taken very sick here at Sorai, but recovered when that
result seemed most unlikely, through God’s answer to the prayers of
our native Christians, one of whom, Mrs. Kim, spent the whole night in
prayer for me. Such love and devotion makes the tie between pastor and
people very strong.

As soon as I was able to travel we hurried back to Hai Ju and Seoul,
for word had come, bringing the sad news of the death of Mr. Gifford in
one of the country villages about sixty miles from Seoul. He had gone
alone with a Korean helper, and after a brief illness had passed away
suddenly at night, probably scarcely aware that he was seriously ill.
He was loved by all the Koreans, who could not fail to recognize his
spirituality and consecration. Mrs. Gifford was then in an extremely
weak state, having never recovered her strength after a violent attack
of Asiatic dysentery the preceding summer. She had just begun to
improve a little, and we to hope that at last we might look for her
return to perfect health.

A native messenger, all unannounced, rushed into her presence and told
her that her husband was dead. She never saw his face again, or had
the sad comfort of a message, or one of these little souvenirs which
women prize and console their aching hearts withal. She wilted like a
lily, rudely snapped from the stem. When the first shock was over and
her mind became a little composed, several days later, after friends
had left her for a peaceful soothing night’s rest, a Korean servant
entered the room and told her that her husband had been neglected and
slighted in his last illness, and had died alone quite uncared for.
She never rallied from this blow. Sweet, calm, uncomplaining, she grew
weaker and weaker, and only one month after her beloved husband passed
away her gentle spirit followed. They had been extremely congenial and
well suited, and it seemed a gracious providence that they were so soon
reunited.

Mrs. Gifford was a woman greatly beloved by every one, and one of
the most effective and consecrated women workers on the field, with
a modest unassuming quiet spirit, but with untiring devotion and
self-effacement. She worked here ten years for Christ. The Koreans,
whom she had loved so well and served so faithfully, bore her to her
grave and laid her beside her husband. We all felt that the loss to the
work was beyond expression, and from a human view point irreparable.

In the following fall we visited Pyeng Yang for the first time since
our wedding journey in 1889. The annual meeting of all the mission
(now grown quite extensive) for the discussion and settlement of plans
for work for the coming year was to be held there; so we all risked
our lives on a crazy little steamer, which, however, contrary to
probabilities, landed us safely not far from our destination.

Great were the changes we beheld. Missionaries in comfortable pleasant
homes, a large church (paid for with native money), newly built,
able to accommodate nearly two thousand people, and great gatherings
of simple earnest farmer folk, which it did one’s soul good to see
and hear. To us, who on our last visit looked on that great waste of
heathenism, and discussed the advisability, or otherwise, of starting
a sub-station there, it was almost overwhelming. To us, one of whom at
least had come to the country in the very beginning of the history of
our Protestant missions, and to whom in the light of the records of
work in other fields the task looked so stupendous, so overwhelming,
to find here in the far interior the wonderful evidences of the power
and goodness of God filled our hearts with joy and awe. How could we
ever shrink or doubt, or fear again, or do aught but ascribe “glory and
honor, dominion and power, to him who sits upon the throne and to the
lamb for ever.”

I regret that I have not personally seen more of the work of God in
northern Whang Hai and in Pyeng Yang provinces, so that I might give
interesting incidents which would put my readers more in touch with the
Christians there, but I copy from the reports of Pyeng Yang and Syen
Chyun stations for the year 1901 and 1902 the following:

“In the whole territory covered by this station, Pyeng Yang, there are
3,100 baptized adults, 3,737 catechumens enrolled, and over 12,000 who
attend more or less regularly and in various ways come in touch with
the gospel. The total number baptized this year is 642, and the number
of catechumens received 1,363. There are in the Pyeng Yang city church
1,153 members and catechumens, with a congregation of from 1,200 to
1,600 on the Sabbath.

“There are besides this eight country circuits, including Ool Yul
circuit, in the Seoul station work, and 184 out-stations, with 5,684
members and catechumens.

“There are 40 primary schools, one academy and 42 teachers--37 men
and 5 women--with an attendance of 740 pupils. Thirteen schools
were organized this year. All the country schools but one are
self-supporting, and that nearly so. There were 9,094 persons in
attendance at the hospital, also a medical class consisting of 4
members.

“Apart from those held in Pyeng Yang, 107 special Bible classes were
held, bringing about 2,300 under instruction; 20 were taught by the
missionaries, 87 by native helpers and leaders. All these classes were
carried on at the expense of the Koreans.

“There are now 136 chapels, 21 having been built this year, at a cost
of 5,367 nyang contributed by the Christians unaided.

“The total native contributions for all purposes (excluding the
hospital) amount to 43,949 nyang, about 5,860 yen (or $2,930 United
States gold).

“The working force to look after and carry on this work consists of
7 ordained missionaries (one on furlough and one newly arrived on the
field), one medical missionary, 4 single lady missionaries and 7 wives
of missionaries.

“There are also 21 unordained native preachers or helpers, 7 Bible
women and 15 colporters and other assistants doing evangelistic work.”

From the general report of the Syen Chyun station for 1901-2 I also
quote, “We now have organized groups in 15 of the 21 counties of the
province, and believers in at least 4 more of the other 6. The groups
that have been organized by a missionary’s visit, and organized with a
separate roll and church officers, number 44, but there are at least
8 other places where Christians gather for worship every Sabbath, and
where the helpers visit regularly.

“The number of persons baptized during the year, July to July, was
267, which is the largest ingathering we have yet been permitted to
see in one year. All of these 267, with the possible exception of 3 or
4 old persons, had been catechumens on probation for at least a year.
The harvest would have been much larger had it been possible to visit
the western Eui Ju Circuit this spring, where a very large number of
candidates are waiting for baptism.

“The number of infants baptized was 15. The number of catechumens
received amounted to 696. All of these had been believers at least for
two months, and in most cases for a very much longer time, and were
received only after a very careful examination, under which, at the
very lowest estimate, 150 candidates were deferred. During the same
time 5 church members were suspended and 5 excommunicated, and 16
catechumens dropped.

“July first, therefore, there were on the church rolls 677 church
members, 25 baptized infants and 1,340 catechumens, or a total of 2,042
enrolled Christians, who with the unenrolled believers make a total
of 3,429 adherents in all. But of the above church members, 11 are
under suspension, and 8 more, unless they show signs of repentance,
will be disciplined when the missionary next visits their groups. These
19 amount to 2.8 per cent of the church membership. Amongst the 1,340
catechumens there are 109, or 8.1 per cent, whose names are retained
on the books, although at present they have lost their interest in
Christianity. Experience has taught us that it is well to retain such
for at least three years, unless they have been guilty of some grave
sin whereby the church is brought into disrepute, as many of them
coming under some new influences are often won back to a Christian
life.”

The above quotations show how the church is growing, and, especially
the Pyeng Yang report, how well they are giving both in labor and money
for the support of the gospel, and for its advancement among their
heathen neighbors. I will also insert a paragraph taken from the above
report for the same year, on the subject of self-support.

“Just as soon as the native church produces ordained pastors she must
support them. For this the church is being prepared. In this station
but one helper is entirely supported with foreign money, and four or
five receive a part only; all the rest of our unordained preachers or
helpers are entirely supported by the native church. With a single
exception, all of the thirty-five country schools are entirely
supported by the native groups where such schools are carried on. It
has long since been the rule for the native Christians to provide
their own house of worship, the only exception being a few cases where
a little help seemed wise. Every possible means is being employed
to develop the same idea in the academy, thus putting the highest
possible value upon education, creating the sentiment that it is an
acquirement for which the student may well labor or pay. It is being
appreciated, too, so far as it has been acquired at a respectable cost.
Even the hospital is on a fair way to become self-supporting to the
extent of paying for medicines and treatment.

[Illustration: ELDER SAW OF SORAI AND HIS FAMILY. PAGE 230]

“In every way the Korean Christians have shown themselves not only
able, even during a famine year, but also willing to bear their share
along the line of support. They have not only borne the running
expenses of the various groups, supported their own country primary
schools, contributed to the academy, paid the salaries of the
unordained preachers, sent representatives to the training classes at
Pyeng Yang, and delegates to the council at Seoul, but have given a
considerable amount to help the poor and contributed liberally to the
Committee of Missions.”

One more extract from these reports, that of Miss Chase of Syen Chyun,
I feel must not be omitted. It ought to touch the heart of every
Christian woman who reads it. It is as follows:

“There are 199 baptized and 588 catechumen women, and as a conservative
estimate 1,200 Christian women, in north Pyeng An province. I have been
able to go to the merest fraction of this number. Those whom I have met
are much that we desire to have them be, and much not to be desired,
but as I think of them individually and collectively, every other
thought is eclipsed by the deep impressions they have made upon me by
their yearning to be taught. The need for another for this field speaks
for itself. We request the mission to consider the urgent need. In some
places there has been manifest murmuring among the people. They say
they have waited long for a visit from their pastor, they have waited
long to receive the examination for the catechumenate, they have waited
long for a woman to teach them. Every time that women come in from
distant places they beseech me to promise to visit their groups the
next time I leave Syen Chyun.

“Many a woman who has attended my classes has said with tear-stained
face, ‘As for believing, I believe. I am clinging to Christ for
salvation. I have no desire for any trust but in him, but I am so
ignorant. I know so little about my Bible. I know not how to read its
thoughts with my dark mind. I know so little about the great Jesus
doctrine. How can God be pleased to call me his child, when I know
not how to glorify him?’ They say the men stand out far on the other
side of the curtain[4] and teach great and wonderful things which they
cannot comprehend, but a woman can sit in their midst and listen to all
of their unlearned questions, and they are not ashamed to let a patient
woman see how little they know! It is not easy to hear these heart-felt
burdens and be helpless to meet their need in any adequate manner.”

[4] Churches are divided by a curtain down the center, with men on one
side and women on the other. The preacher can see both sides.



CHAPTER XV

    Another Itineration--Christians in Eul Yul--A Ride in an
    Ox-Cart--Keeping the Cow in the Kitchen--Ox-Carts and
    Mountain Roads--The Island of White Wing--A Midnight
    Meeting--Thanksgiving Day in Sorai--The Circular Orders--New
    Testament Finished--All in the Day’s Work--The Korean
    Noble--Meetings of the Nobility.


We left Pyeng Yang about the 26th of September, 1900, by one of the toy
Japanese steamers, and reached Chinampo, a half-Japanese, half-Korean
port, at night. We were accompanied by three young ladies, one of whom,
a new arrival, wished to study methods; one who needed the bracing
effect of out-of-door country life in the north for a few weeks; and
one who had previously arranged with me to carry on a women’s training
class in Eul Yul that fall. We were obliged to spend the night in
Chinampo, but arriving late, we did not know where to find an inn, till
we met an old friend, Rev. Mr. Smart, of the Church of England mission,
who kindly found us a Japanese hotel. Here, after telling them our
nationality, our ages, our condition, past lives and future intentions,
and having been forced in spite of all protests to remove our shoes,
they condescended to receive us as guests, at an outrageous price. We
must not use our own camp beds, but the mats which had served no one
knew whom before us; nor might we have water in our rooms, but must
perform all our ablutions in the public hall on the lower floor.

Next morning we gladly bade our too particular hosts farewell, and
crossed the river in a wretched old junk, which looked as if it
were on the brink of dissolution. Fortunately, the weather was fine
and mild, and the river calm, else I am sure we should all have been
dipped, for even I had never yet beheld so dilapidated a craft. We were
all day on the river, only able to land after dark, thanks partly to
the nature of our vessel and partly to the tides, for which we were
forced to wait before landing.

The following night was hot, the inns nothing more or less than ovens,
and morning found us all in an unusually wilted condition, and to add
to the general misery, the young ladies of our party had made important
additions to their luggage, which threw us all four into the utmost
consternation. That evening we reached Eul Yul, where both men’s and
women’s classes were to be held. As usual the people crowded in to meet
us as soon as we arrived. Although harvesting was on and it was one of
the busiest times of the year, quite a number of women came to study
with us. They were so bright and receptive, it was a pleasure to teach
them. I had some very interesting visits with the women in their own
homes, and was edified to see the bright and practical way in which the
Christian who accompanied us talked with some of the unbelievers. One
woman was hesitating, fearing she was too ignorant or too wicked to
receive salvation, to which our native friend said, “Why, if you are
hungry, and a bowl of rice is set before you, you eat right then, and
just so if you want salvation, you have only to take and eat.”

The listener’s eyes filled with tears, it seemed too good. All the
time we were talking, another Christian woman sat with bowed head
asking God’s blessing on the word. In the examination of applicants for
baptism, I was much interested to see how carefully our native leaders
questioned them. “You say you sin daily, but ask God to forgive, and
so have a happy and calm mind. Is it then no matter that you sin?”
Again, to a woman who said her past sins were forgiven, and her present
sins were confessed every day, he said, “Well, then, what sin have you
committed to-day?” She could or would only speak in a general way, and
after various questions, mentioned nothing in particular. “But,” said
Kim, “is that honoring God, to go and confess you have sinned, and
ask him to forgive you know not what?” On Sunday twenty people were
baptized. During the communion service all eyes were streaming, and
some sobbed like children at the thought of what the Lord had suffered
for them.

In the afternoon our native elder, Mr. Saw, gave us a delightful
illustrated Bible lesson on the Christian armor, with illustrations
drawn and colored by himself, and with most appropriate references.
The native Christian was first represented in ordinary dress all
unarmed, and in succeeding pictures, one after another of the needed
articles, helmet, shield, sandals, breastplate and sword were added.
These illustrations were unique to the last degree and extremely well
drawn. In the evening an experience meeting was held, when one after
another told what the Lord had done for them. Some had been the slaves
of drink, and had fallen again and again after repeated attempts to
resist, in their own strength, but now for years had been free men in
Christ, and were looked upon as miracles of grace by their friends and
neighbors.

One man told something of his home life. He had been a dissolute
gambling fellow, whose reputation was well known through all the
surrounding counties. When he went home at night, after days of absence
and dissipation, his angry wife would scold and reproach him, and he
in return would beat and maltreat the poor little woman. “It was all
misery and discomfort, but now, all peace and love.” A neighbor who
came in often remarked on this exceptionally happy home life, wishing
hopelessly for something like it in her lot. She could not believe the
happy wife when she told her it had once been so different, and that
all this came through Jesus.

Then Mrs. Kim called in her husband and bade him tell if this was
true. “Why,” said he, “I’ll do more, I’ll give my bond for it, bring
paper and pen and I’ll write a bond to any amount you choose to name,
that if Jesus comes into your home there’ll be peace there.” “Why,”
said he, “people say if the Lord were only here now to do some of his
miracles every one would believe, but I tell you the Lord is doing
greater miracles now than he ever did on earth when he takes a vile
wretch like me and changes his heart.” One man had been afflicted with
an apparently incurable disease for over forty years, and now the Lord
had healed him; and one had been such a liar that no one believed his
honest statements, and yet now was implicitly trusted by every one.

It was decided before we left Eul Yul that the native Christians of
that district should employ two helpers or evangelists to work among
the ignorant believers of that vicinity, and that twelve Bible or
training classes should be held in the different districts in that
province during the year, six to be in charge of Mr. Saw, and six
taught by Mr. Kim Yun Oh, our most intelligent leader. From Eul Yul we
went to Pung Chun, while Mr. Underwood visited several smaller places
more difficult of access. Miss Chase and I divided the meetings, and
were most thoughtfully and attentively heard, the little room being
packed whenever we announced a service.

Our quarters were not of the best, as the only place assigned us for
preparing our food was a little corner of the cow’s stable. We have
heard of people who “keep the pig in the kitchen,” but to keep the cow
there was certainly a degree worse than our flightiest fancy, and we
at length rebelled, with the result that a more sanitary place was
found for our culinary performances.

After Mr. Underwood arrived, eleven people were baptized here. The
first public service for all was held in a hired room in the largest
inn in the place. The chief man, after listening to all that had been
said, arose and spoke to the crowd as follows: “We all know that what
we have heard is true, there is nothing left for us to say but that
from to-day on we will believe.” Some of the men who attended this
meeting remained outside the door at first, unwilling to be seen in
such company, as they were respectable gentlemen. After listening
awhile they condescended to step inside, and before the service was
over they had seated themselves in the front row, and admitted it was
very good.

Aside from our kitchen arrangements, and a little anxiety lest the cow
should conclude to visit us in our bedroom at night, and the persistent
cock crowing at my head from two in the morning, we had a lovely time
at Pung Chun.

Again at one of the little villages up in the mountains some of our
chair coolies deserted us, and there was nothing left for it but for
our two young ladies to ride in an ox-cart. They were a little doubtful
about this new mode of procedure, but the Koreans assured us it was
quite safe, and as our little son had traveled miles that way, we
encouraged them to try it, especially as it was a last resort. So with
many misgivings they perched themselves on top of the loads, and the
ox, a great spirited animal, was brought up. When Miss Chase asked if
he was to be trusted, they assured her with the statement that he could
fight any ox in the country. It was supposed a good deal of harnessing
would follow, but when a noose was merely slipped over a hook, and
with no warning the steed literally galloped off, we were all somewhat
startled, and the young ladies gave themselves up, with such a team
running away.

The ox-cart is extremely primitive, its two wheels have only the
clumsiest attempt at heavy wooden tires. The soft mud roads are full of
deep ruts, so that under the most favorable circumstances the bumping
and jolting are unspeakable. When therefore their mettlesome animal was
at length of a mind to pause a little in his mad career, they lost no
time in the order of their descent from that vehicle, and started off
at a brisk pace, evidently decided to walk all the way back to Seoul
rather than jeopardize their lives in such a contrivance and behind
such a creature again. However, the way was long, and before night
they changed their minds and resigned themselves to the ox-cart, when
his bovine spirits were a little subdued by his journey, and he was
somewhat less light and frisky than in the morning.

We arrived at Chil Pong, one of the villages perched up in the
mountains, early in the evening, but not so our loads, which the
country people manage in some miraculous way to drag up the steep
mountain roads on the ox-carts.

It turned out that the ox-cart in use that day was a very weak one and
gave out entirely, breaking down half way up the mountain. Another
had to be brought from a distance, and long delays ensued, where the
average speed is a snail’s pace, in spite of the experience with the
lively animal the day before. Fortunately by this time we had obtained
more coolies for the young ladies, so that our party were all together;
the little son having become such a walker that he seldom patronized
either chair or cart, and often walked twenty miles a day. One of the
helpers, Mr. Shin, said, as he came up with the loads, supperless
and quite tired out, at twelve o’clock that night, that had it not been
that he was determined the pastor’s wife must not go without her bed
and pillows, the cart would not have arrived at all. So tenderly do the
people care for the needs of their teachers.

[Illustration: MRS. KIM OF SORAI AND HER FAMILY. PAGE 244]

We found the mountains more beautiful, if possible, than ever. It
was October, and hills that in the previous spring were rosy with
rhododendrons and peach blossoms, were now scarlet, gold and purple
with the magnificence of autumn foliage, asters and golden-rod. There
was displayed on all sides some of the most brilliant coloring I ever
saw. There were quantities of bitter-sweet wreathing all over trees and
rocks, berries of many varieties, and bushes reminding me of that which
Moses saw in Horeb, burning but not consumed. And though in a different
way, still I too felt that the ground was holy with the unseen but felt
presence, and that it would be well to remove one’s worldly shoes,
which figuratively I did.

A few days later we crossed a mountain pass at over two thousand feet
elevation, where we found the scenery more and more beautiful and
wild. The gallant and unwearied “Captain” almost carried the rheumatic
partner of his travels up the last steep ascent. The alternative was to
sit in a chair and trust one’s self to a couple of tired coolies, who
might stumble and dash one to atoms; or with chipangi (alpenstock) in
hand, slowly drag one’s self up and then down over the rocks and steep
slippery road. Arriving at the foot on the other side, we were once
again in dear Sorai, where a good hot floor soon took out all the pain
and weariness.

It had been decided that from Sorai we were to visit a certain island
called Pang Yeng, or “_White Wing_,” where quite a number of people
were believing through the teaching of some of the natives. The story
is worth telling. A man, who had been banished to this island for a
political offense, had received a Christian book from his nephew, a
Methodist, just before his departure. The young man told his uncle that
this religion was the basis of all civil liberty and civilization,
so that the banished man in his loneliness proceeded to read it, and
to publish and teach its doctrines among the islanders. He had been
informed that on the opposite shore at Sorai lived people who could
further explain the book and its doctrines, so one of the natives, the
oldest and most honorable in the village, made a trip to Sorai, and
begged Elder Saw to return with him and teach them.

They were lamentably ignorant, and while believing in Jesus were still
carrying on heathen worship; they were as blind people only partly
restored, who saw men as trees walking. Saw was not able to go at
once, but after some time, when he visited them, he found the whole
village assembled with all preparations made for offering their heathen
sacrifices. He talked to them very earnestly and faithfully, and they
then at once gave up all their idolatrous worship, and in a body
promised only to serve the one true God.

The elder could not, however, remain long, and several months later,
when Mrs. Kim, the indefatigable voluntary evangelist, visited
them, she found that many of them seemed to have fallen back almost
completely into old practices and beliefs. At first no one would
receive her in their homes, but she talked to the women outside the
houses so sweetly and winningly, that they at length invited her in,
and gathered around her to listen. A great change was wrought through
her teaching.

We made the trip in a little Korean sailing junk, which was rather
small and uncomfortable for bad weather, but not at all out of the way
on such a day as that on which we started, with blue sky above, blue
and sparkling water below, and charming islands studding the sea like
jewels.

We found that White Wing measured about twenty miles round the coast
line and was nine miles long, with a capital and several hamlets. It
is extremely beautiful and fertile, well fortified by bold picturesque
cliffs along the coast, with delightful valleys and gently rolling
country snugly nestled behind them. The people are all farmers, living
in the simplest and most primitive way. Money is rarely seen, there is
indeed no need for it, with no fairs or stores. Their wants are few,
they raise what they need for food, clothing, warmth and light on their
little farms, bartering among each other to supply such simple articles
as their own labor has not provided.

All appeared to have plenty of rice and firewood, and to be quite
content. Drunkenness and dishonesty are almost unknown. The magistrate
told us they rarely needed even the slightest punishment, but were as
they seemed to us, a gentle, kindly, simple, honest farmer and fisher
folk.

We found a small church built on the hillside, and a little company of
believers, who were waiting for examination and baptism. Although very
ignorant, they were most anxious to be taught, and Mrs. Kim, who had
gone with me from Sorai, and I were kept busy instructing the women.
Like the women everywhere in Korea, they especially enjoyed the hymns,
and were most eager to learn them. The words were comparatively easy,
but the tunes were quite another matter. We realized the advantage
in their learning them, both as a means of fixing divine truth and
publishing it to others.

We were to leave very early in the morning to catch the tide, and the
night before we had a farewell service in the little church. When this
was over, and good-byes said, I went to the tiny room to pack our
belongings, and Mr. Underwood to one of the Christian houses to give
last directions and counsel with the leaders. About ten o’clock Mrs.
Kim came to my door with one of the women, asking very humbly if I
would go to one of their homes and teach them a little more this one
last time, though it was late. “We are so ignorant and have none to
guide and teach us,” said they pathetically. Of course I was delighted
to go, and followed them to a farmer’s thatched cottage. It was one of
the poorest and rudest of the native homes; in one corner a farm hand
was lying asleep, in another a tiny wick burning in a saucer of oil
was the only light in the room. We sat down under this, and the poor,
rough, hard-working women clustered round us as closely as possible.
Their faces and hands bore the marks of care, toil, hard lives and few
joys, but they were lighted with a glorious hope which transformed
them, and this with the awakening desire for knowledge had banished the
look of wooden stolidity, which so many Korean women wear.

While we talked of our Lord and his teachings and conned again and
again the hymns, a cough was heard at the door, and it was found that
a number of “the brethren” were standing out there in the cold, frosty
air of the November night, listening to such scraps of good words as
they could catch. So when one of the women asked if they might come in,
although generally out of regard for Korean custom and prejudice, I not
only teach no men, but keep as much out of sight as possible, there
were on this occasion no two ways about it, they must come, and in they
thronged. It was a picture which I shall never forget, the dark eager
faces, every one leaning forward in eager attitude, all seeking more
knowledge of divine truth, hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
A little dim humble room, and only such a poor feeble wick to light
them all. Such a poor feeble wick was I, and all were looking to me for
God’s light. “Feed my lambs,” was his last command, and yet in many a
hut and hamlet his hungry little ones are starving.

Next morning at the first streak of dawn they again came, and with
tears streaming down their faces, begged me to come soon again. “Oh, we
are so ignorant, and so weak, how can we escape the snares of Satan,
with no one here to lead and teach us!” they exclaimed.

Our return trip was very different from our first crossing. A severe
storm of wind and rain came up, the little ship was tossed about on
the waves like a plaything, and Mrs. Kim and I were miserably sick,
not to mention being drenched with rain. It was impossible to make our
port, and we were obliged to attempt the nearest coast, which offered
no shelter from the wind, in addition to which, the tide being out,
our boat was bumped about mercilessly on the rocks and stones with no
chance of a landing for some hours.

However, all things come to an end sometime, and we at length effected
a safe landing, and were soon dried, warmed and fed in a fishing
village at hand, and reached Sorai next day. Before we left Sorai, the
Christians held their annual Thanksgiving service. The church being too
small to hold all the people, a tent was spread outside. After thanking
God for their bountiful harvests and growing prosperity, they offered
thanks for the spiritual harvest he had given.

During the year over two hundred and fifty people of the neighboring
villages had been baptized through the missions and labors of this
one little church, not counting a much larger number of catechumens
received. They had enlarged and repaired their church and school rooms,
built a house for their school teacher, one for their evangelist and
another for the entertainment of strangers, who come from a distance to
the Sabbath services.

They are an open-handed people, and when they read of the famine in
India they took up a collection, amounting to fifty yen. As their daily
wage rarely amounts to more than ten cents gold, and as the community
is small, this was a large gift. Several of the women who had no money
put their heavy silver rings in the plate. These rings are in many
cases their only ornaments, and are most highly prized, so that when
they were given, we knew that our people were giving till they felt it
deeply.

In the famine so severe in many counties last year, Sorai, which was
more blessed, helped many of its sister communities. On our return to
Hai Ju we had some interesting visits with the women both in their own
homes and at our rooms. We were allowed to help prepare the “dock,”
or bread, which we found them making in one of the houses, for a
prospective wedding. They were having a “bee,” a number of friends
had come in to help, and they seemed much amused and pleased when we
asked to be allowed to assist. We were very clumsy and awkward, but we
gained our end by making them feel we were one with them. Later we were
invited to the wedding, and forced to swallow an amount of indigestible
food, which at other times we should consider as simply suicidal. But
when it is a duty, one simply shuts one’s eyes to consequences, takes
all risks, and comes through with an immunity which I verily believe is
miraculous.

One old woman, who attended the meetings very regularly and was very
devout, is quite a character. With a loud strong voice, but not the
remotest glimmering of a notion of harmony, time or tune, she shouts
away several lines and bars before or behind the rest, no consequence
which, and quite often, if the hymn chosen is not in her book or
according to her mind, she chooses another and proceeds as zealously
as ever. When gently remonstrated with, she replies, “_Oh, that is no
matter, I’m not following you, I’m singing (?) by myself._”

We had only been in Hai Ju a few days when a fleet-footed messenger
from Eul Yul arrived with a letter containing the news that a secret
royal edict was being sent round to the various magistracies in that
province, commanding all Confucianists to gather at night on the second
of the next month (about fifteen days later), each at his nearest
worshiping place in his district, and from thence to go in a body and
kill all Westerners and followers of Western doctrine, and destroy
their houses, churches and schools. A friend in the magistrate’s
office, holding some petty position, happened to be present when this
arrived, noted the excitement and agitation which the official evinced
on reading it and the care with which it was guarded, and determined to
learn its contents. He contrived an opportunity to read it unseen, and
as some of his near relatives were Christians, he at once communicated
the terrible news to them. One of the same family, a young man who was
a fleet-footed runner, was instantly sent to us with a copy of the
edict.

No words can express our state of mind on receiving the news. Thought
flew back to one peaceful little community after another, which we
had so lately visited, all rejoicing in the beautiful new life, all
growing up toward Christ, like flowers reaching up to the sun, with the
light of a glad hope in their faces, happy, harmless, kindly people,
the aged, the little toddling children, helpless women, unsuspecting
farmers, all consigned to utter destruction. As for ourselves, we were
in one of the worst of Korean cities, it was impossible to make the
slightest movement without attracting the notice of every one, for we
were constantly the center of the observation of the whole town. It
would be impossible to make our escape if any one wished to detain us.
To make matters much worse, we had two young ladies and a child in our
party. Probably little danger threatened us personally, as the governor
was friendly, but our first duty was to send word to the American
minister in Seoul, and it must be done quickly. To send a dispatch in
any Eastern or European language would be futile, as, if suspicion was
aroused, there were means of interpreting any of them. We at length
concluded to send a Latin message, not to our minister, but to one
of our mission, as less likely to attract attention either in Hai Ju
or Seoul. This was done, and the message was at once carried to the
American legation.

The news was at first received with incredulity, so friendly had the
attitude of the government always been, but when it was remembered
that recent Boxer disturbances in China might have suggested a similar
course here, and that there were strong Buddhists high in influence
at the palace who might have caused this strange measure, and when
at the Foreign Office, through admissions and contradictions, it was
made evident that the circulation of such an edict was not unknown to
them, all doubt was over. Not long after it developed that from similar
sources (that is, friends of Christians or of missionaries) the news
had been carried to missionaries in Kang Wha and in Pyeng Yang. That
it was unadvisedly done, and speedily repented, was proved by the fact
that a few days later another edict rescinding the first was sent
everywhere. Nevertheless and notwithstanding, I breathed freely and
slept well for the first time since hearing the bad news, when I found
myself on the little Japanese steamer well started on my way back to
Seoul. The supposed authors of the order were put under arrest, and I
believe punished, the Korean officials vigorously protesting that it
was all a mistake and sent without the knowledge of the king or the
government.

These trips to Whang Hai province usually occupied six or eight weeks
of our time, and full of delightful incidents and experiences as they
always were, did not represent more than a fraction of the work. In
the fall of 1900 the whole New Testament was given to the people. To
celebrate this event a large meeting was held in the Methodist church,
the largest audience hall in Seoul, composed of as many natives and
Christians as could be packed within its walls. A suitable thanksgiving
service was held, and the board of translators and their native
literary helpers were presented by the American minister with copies of
the book, with very kind remarks on their work. The board now consisted
of Rev. H. G. Appenzeller, Dr. Scranton, Rev. W. D. Reynolds, Rev.
James S. Gale and Mr. Underwood.

In addition to the editorship of a weekly religious newspaper, Bible
translation, preparation of tracts and hymns, city training classes,
weekly religious services and meetings, supervision of schools and
language class for missionaries, Mr. Underwood felt that a special
effort ought to be made for the nobility and gentry, the hardest people
in the country to reach with the gospel. This is the case, partly
because officials who would retain office must go at regular intervals
and offer certain prayers and sacrifices at royal shrines, partly that
the ideas of caste are so strong that the nobility are unwilling to
seat themselves on the floor in our churches among farmers, peddlers,
coolies, merchants or even scholars, to listen to the gospel; and in
addition, that their family life is grounded and interwoven on and in
the concubine system. All of them have two or more families, some of
them many. These numerous wives, their parents and progeny would make
life intolerable should the husband put them aside. His friends and
relatives would look upon him as too evil to live should he neglect
to worship the ancestral tablets, and the spirits of his ancestors
themselves would follow him like harpies, with all sorts of misfortunes
and diseases.

Each man, too, looks forward with great complacency to being honored
in his time as he has honored his dead parents, and seems to be
overwhelmed with something like terror at the idea of having no one
to worship his memory and offer sacrifices before his tablets, so
that childless men usually adopt sons to keep their memory green. The
ladies of this class, the first wives, are, as I think I have said
before, very closely secluded, and are never seen except in their own
apartments or the anpang of their kin, whither they are carried in
closely covered chairs.

In such a state of affairs it is not strange that men should hesitate
to listen to the doctrines of a religion which would turn their whole
social world upside down, wreck their homes, cast upon them the
blackest stigma, turn them outside the pale of court and official life,
rob them of their income, and rank them with the common people. Knowing
that it was almost impossible to induce them to attend church, an
invitation was therefore issued, asking a large number of them to come
to our house to talk over religious matters. To our surprise the call
was most heartily responded to, and two large rooms were crowded with
high Korean gentlemen, all of whom came no doubt from politeness or
curiosity.

There were princes, generals, members of the cabinet, all men of the
highest rank and birth. All listened with the closest attention, many
of them asking thoughtful questions, which showed their real interest
in what was said by the missionaries who came to assist Mr. Underwood
in receiving and talking with them. Some asked for books, and many came
repeatedly to talk over these matters in private. Meetings were held
regularly Sunday afternoons, and a stereopticon exhibition was given,
showing a series of scenes from the life of Christ.

One result of these meetings was that Mr. Underwood was approached with
the suggestion that he should establish a Presbyterian state church. We
were told that a large number of officials would prefer (if they were
to be forced into giving up their own religion and joining a foreign
church, as at that time seemed likely) to make it one of their own
choosing, and connected with Americans rather than Russians. They were,
of course, informed that we could not organize churches in that way,
nor baptize men for state and political purposes. The suggestion was
not official, but if we had been willing to use opportunities of this
sort, the roll-call among the high class of nominal members might have
been greatly swelled.



CHAPTER XVI

    Furloughs--Chong Dong Church--Romanists in Whang
    Hai--Missionaries to the Rescue--Romanists Annoy and Hinder
    the Judge--Results--Interview between Governor and Priest--The
    Inspector’s Report--Women’s Work in Hai Ju--Deaths of Mr. and
    Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Miller.


In 1901 we took another furlough, during which we were brought in touch
with American Christians in nearly every large city in the country, and
thus were able to make the church aware of God’s wonderful dealings
in Korea and to enlighten the public on the needs of this country. On
our return, we missed among the faces of dear old friends who came
to welcome us that of our work-fellow and beloved brother, Rev. H.
G. Appenzeller. Mr. Appenzeller, the first evangelistic worker of
his mission, had labored with my husband, heart and hand, for over
sixteen years, and they had taken their earliest itinerations to the
country in company. The loss fell heavily upon both native and foreign
community, and seems to grow, as we feel the need of the enthusiastic
and ready service everywhere. On our return our first attention was
given to our dear Chong Dong (city) church, the members of which have
from the first been marked as energetic, generous and full of faith.
With a membership, as has been said, of two hundred and nineteen,
they carry on five missions near the city, within a radius of five
miles. These are places where chapels have been built--but they have
also several other missions in districts where services are held in
private dwellings. The church members conduct and take charge of all
these services. They have contributed during the past year (1902-1903),
reckoned in gold dollars:

  For their school                $75.80
  Church running expenses          75.40
  Evangelistic work                45.82
  Charity                          20.66
  Gifts of City Mission Society    50.50
                                 -------
  Total                          $268.18

This total, however, is not a complete report, not including the gifts
of the largest mission, that of Chandari, a (from a Korean standpoint)
prosperous little farming community outside the city. For the women and
girls, beside Sabbath services and regular prayer meetings, six weekly
Bible classes are held in different neighborhoods, all but two of which
are well attended. There are a number of these women well fitted for
Christian teaching, and one or another of them has repeatedly gone
off on a six-weeks’ trip, with some of the lady missionaries, asking
nothing more than her bare expenses. They often go away on evangelistic
trips quite at their own instance, visiting village after village,
distributing tracts which they themselves have bought for the purpose,
and teaching the country women who cannot read.

Very soon after our return to Korea my husband was requested by the
American minister and the members of our mission to visit Hai Ju, in
the province of Whang Hai, on a mission of very serious importance. We
were sent to Hai Ju in February, and since the preceding September,
it had come to be a matter of common report that the native Romanists
(of whom there are said to be twenty thousand in that province)
had, under the lead of the French priests, been robbing, torturing
and blackmailing the poor people of the province “for money to build
churches,” resisting with arms, maiming, beating and even imprisoning
officers of the law sent to stop them, and establishing a veritable
reign of terror through the whole district; so that the weaker
magistrates dared not lift a finger against any criminal favored by the
priests, or belonging to that church, and fairly trembled for fear of
them, obeying with the alertness of terror their slightest behest.

The state of affairs grew so bad at length that the governor sent a
manifesto to Seoul, saying he could no longer carry on the government
of the province in such a state of insurrection and anarchy. The
following is a translation, made for the Korea _Review_, of the
official copy of a part of the governor’s complaint:

“In the counties of Sin-ch’un, Cha-ryung, An-ak, Chang-yun, Pong-san,
Whang-ju, and Su-heung, disturbances created by the Roman Catholics are
many in number, and petitions and complaints are coming in from all
quarters.

“In some cases it is a question of building churches and collecting
funds from the villages about. If any refuse to pay, they are bound
and beaten and rendered helpless. When certain ones, in answer to
petition, have been ordered arrested, the police have been mobbed
and the officers of the law have been unable to resist it. While
investigating a case on behalf of the people, I sent police to arrest
Catholics in Cha-ryung. They raised a band of followers, beat off the
police, arrested them, and dismissed them with orders not to return.
Then I sent a secretary to remonstrate with them. At that the Sin-ch’un
Catholics, a score or more of them, armed with guns, arrested the
secretary, insulted him, etc.”

One of the priests, who is apparently most influential and has been
most notorious, whose Korean name is Hong, and who is known among
foreigners as Father Wilhelm, told my husband that the native Romanists
were not to be blamed for all this, for they had only obeyed his
orders. Mr. Underwood had had a slight acquaintance with this priest
for some years, meeting him occasionally and knowing little of his
life, but supposing he was doing an earnest if mistaken work of
self-sacrifice, he was unable to believe that the priest was cognizant
of all that was being done by his followers, until he had both written
and had a personal interview with him, when he was sorrowfully forced
to see that rumor had not misrepresented his conduct.

This sad condition of things might have gone on, no one knows how
long, but some of the people so robbed and tortured were Presbyterian
Christians, and there is something about Protestant Christianity that
resists oppression and favors a growth of sturdy independence and a
love of freedom and fair play. One of these men was a particularly
determined fellow who had been persistently seeking justice ever
since, and would not be discouraged or daunted. He first went to the
missionaries, who told him to take the matter to the Korean courts, but
as the provincial courts were quite helpless against such a giant evil,
he went up to the capital. The officials at the capital, probably in
awe of the French, dared not interfere. He and his companion, another
sturdy farmer like himself, went from one missionary to another in
Seoul, all of whom put them off, disliking to take up native quarrels,
and on principle opposed to using influence with Korean officials, and
none of them realizing to what threatening dimensions the affair had
grown.

These poor men were not eloquent, they could only tell a plain, simple
story, but they knew that they and thousands of others were deeply
wronged and were able to do one thing well, namely, to persist. Persist
they did with unwearied resolution.

Failing to obtain any help or satisfaction, they at length decided to
go directly to the French legation and seek justice and relief there.
They were received, attentively heard, carefully questioned, given
a promise of redress, and sent politely away. They waited long and
patiently, but no redress came, nor any sign of it. Again and again
they sought the fulfilment of the promises of the representative of
France, only to be put off repeatedly with fair words and indefinite
assurances.

So at length they published their whole story in the leading Korean
newspaper in Seoul. Then the French minister did indeed begin to act.
He immediately requested the Korean Foreign Office to have the men
beaten and imprisoned, _on the ground that conduct like theirs had
caused the Boxer trouble in China_.

When affairs came to this crisis, the Protestant missionaries awoke to
the situation. Rev. Mr. Gale and Mr. Underwood went to the office of
Foreign Affairs and pled for the men, and also laid the matter before
the American minister, Dr. Allen. He gave it his careful attention and
succeeded in having a commission appointed by the Korean government
to go to Hai Ju and investigate the charges. Dr. Moffett, of Pyeng
Yang, and Mr. Underwood were also requested to be present and attend
the trials. From the beginning to the end of this attempt to bring the
truth to light, the French priests by every art in their power tried to
block and delay the proceedings of the judge, to annoy and overawe him
in Hai Ju, and (we were informed) by letters, special messengers and
telegrams, to limit his power, hinder his plans, and undermine him in
Seoul.

[Illustration: CARRIERS WITH JIKAYS. PAGE 184]

[Illustration: WOMAN WITH BUNDLE OF WASHING ON HER HEAD. PAGE 246]

He was a sturdy, clear-headed, determined man, who had had long
intercourse with Europeans in his post in the Foreign Office, and held
his own with much self-possession and _sang-froid_. It was said of him
that he carried on the trials more fairly and more in accordance with
equity than had ever been seen before in Korea.

The priests arrested and tortured a policeman who had been sent to
bring some of the accused to the court, hanging him by his wrists. They
used all the influence they possessed in Seoul, through the French, to
force the Korean government to order the commission to yield to their
demands for the release of prisoners already in the hands of the law,
and for the remittance of punishment as they should dictate.

They induced the commissioner to promise that he would not try to
arrest any one for a week, on the solemn assurance that they would
themselves bring all the accused to court, and then, although they had
two of the most notorious malefactors in their house for several days
before the week expired, they allowed them to escape.

They forced themselves into the commissioner’s presence and with bluff
and reiterated demands wearied him into sending his resignation to
Seoul, which, however, the king refused to accept.

“Father Wilhelm’s” church is in a valley about ten miles from Hai Ju,
entirely surrounded by high hills. The entrance to the valley at that
time was guarded by sentinels, and the points of vantage on the hill
tops were occupied in the same way. When any one is seen approaching, a
signal is given, and the people (for the village is full of fugitives
from justice) flee into the church, which it will be seen serves the
triple purpose of a court with torture chamber, a citadel, and a place
of worship.

When police were sent there with warrants of arrest for some of the
worst miscreants, Father Wilhelm met them at the door with a revolver,
demanding what they wanted. When told, he requested to see the
warrants, denied that any such persons were there, would not allow them
to enter, nor would he return the warrants, but with threats bade them
begone. On more than one occasion posses of armed men were sent by him
to rescue criminals who had been seized.

The cruelest forms of torture, such as are used only by Korean
officials in cases of murder and treason, were used by the priests
in their churches to force poor peasants to give over their money or
the deeds of their houses and farms. Mr. Underwood and Dr. Moffett
spent some weeks in Hai Ju, carefully studying these matters and in
close attendance at the trials. In addition to the above facts they
discovered that this was not a persecution waged upon Protestants by
Catholics, but a system of blackmail laid on the whole community, and
that the number of complaints brought in by non-Christian natives were,
compared to those from Christians, as twenty to one. Again, that the
French priests were (in the present instance, at least) demanding,
as in China, a right to sit with a judge in a court of justice and
modify sentences. We learned further that the people were tormented
to the verge of insurrection, and had planned to rise on a certain
day, when the news that a commission had been appointed, and that the
missionaries had come down to see fair play at the investigations,
calmed and decided them to await further developments.

The results of the trials were very unsatisfactory. With the small
force of men at his command, with the priests foiling every effort
to make arrests, few men were apprehended. Those who were brought to
trial, by their own admissions and self-contradictions, and by the
consistent and overwhelming testimony of many witnesses, were all
proved guilty of the charges laid against them. The priests, and by
far the majority of the miscreants, including the ringleaders, who
could not be caught, went scot free. The commissioner made a report to
the Korean government, asking for the deportation of the two priests,
Wilhelm and Le Gac, which the Korean government did not ask, but
which it would have been thought should hardly have been necessary.
Were not the Koreans long suffering to a remarkable degree, as well
as a feeble power, they would long since have risen and cast out all
foreigners from their desecrated shores. In the light of what we have
seen and heard here, the cause of the Boxer troubles in China is not
far to seek. Thus is national sentiment aroused against us; for long
persistence in conduct similar to this was foreign blood spilled like
water there, and for such reasons are the gates of Thibet barred to the
gospel.

The following official report of the interview between the priest and
the governor of Whang Hai province, in the presence of the inspector
sent by the king, will show what a state of affairs existed.

“Translation of the official report of the interview held between the
governor of Whang Hai Do and Father Wilhelm, in the presence of the
Inspector Yi Eung Ik. Eighth day 2d Moon Koang Mu.

“In the seventh year of Quang Mo in the second moon and eighth day, the
governor of Whang Hai Do, Yi Yung Chick, and the French teacher, Hong
Sok Ku (Mons. Wilhelm), conferred. Hong Sok Ku said, ‘The controversy
between the governor and myself arose from the governor’s not appeasing
my wrath by arresting Mr. Pak Chang Mou of Whang Ju, and punishing him.
This Pak, at night after dark, had thrown stones at the church of Han
Sinpu (a native Korean priest), and I therefore had spoken to the local
magistrate of Whang Ju and asked to have him arrested and imprisoned,
but Pak, through his local influence, had returned undisturbed to his
home, and as there seemed no other means of having him punished, I
wrote a letter to the governor, asking that he would have Pak brought
up to the provincial town of Hai Ju and severely punished. The governor
replied _that he could not have the people of local magistracies
brought up to Hai Ju_, and I therefore supposed that the governor had
no power to arrest the people of outside local magistracies, and when
I learned to my surprise that there was an order for the arrest of
some of the Christians (Romanist) of Shinampo by the governor, feeling
sure that it was a false order, I released by force all those whom the
police were arresting, and at once ordered all my Christians, if any
one came out to arrest them again, to resist it utterly.’”

The governor replied: “As for the business of Pak of Whang Ju, since
he had been already arrested and imprisoned in Whang Ju, and there was
therefore no reason why he should be brought up to Hai Ju, I did not
do so as you had asked, and as for my reply in my former letter, that
I could not arrest him, it was in accordance with the _Chibang Cheido_
(Book of Laws) in regard to local and provincial jurisdiction, and the
reason why, _after my people have appealed_, I can order them arrested
to try the case, is in accordance with the _Chaipan Chang Chung_, or
book of rules for courts of justice, and if you had any doubts about
the earlier or later affair, while it would not have been out of the
way to have asked a question, is it right with your followers to gather
a crowd and organize a band to arrest and carry off policemen, to
release and set free those who have broken the laws, and to order your
followers to resist authority, so making your people fall into sin,
and making it impossible for the appointed authorities to administer
justice?

“Desirous of instructing these ignorant people, I sent one of
the Chusas (high official next to the governor) attached to this
governorship, but you sent out a company of men with firearms, twelve
miles, and after dark seized and carried off this official. A Chusa is
a national government officer, military arms are outrageous things;
leaning upon what authority did you do such things as these, and
by whose authority do you arrest and carry off Koreans and try to
administer justice?”

Mons. Wilhelm replied: “I myself know that these things are not right,
and did them purposely. As far as the book _Chaipan Chang Chung_ is
concerned, I know nothing about it, but I simply relied upon the
previous letter which you had sent. I desired to understand the matter,
and sent you another letter, and because you sent my letter back to me
I still feel very angry.”

The governor replied: “But your saying that you only recognized my
first letter shows you simply know one thing and cannot know two; as
for your letter and my returning it without an answer, it was because,
after the arrest of my Chusa, I had sent by special messenger a letter
to you, and you had given no answer and sent the man back emptyhanded,
I was indignant. As I had no reply to my letter to you in regard to the
Chang Yung affair, why should I only answer letters? Because I thought
it would be wrong for me to keep your letter that I did not answer, I
returned it.”

Father Wilhelm replied: “Because in the governor’s last letter on the
envelope he had written _Saham_ I did not answer the letter.” _Saham_
is written outside of letters which are replies from one slightly
superior in rank.

The governor replied: “Is it right to allow questions to go
unanswered; is it because you have nothing to say that you fail to
answer all these questions?”

Father Wilhelm replied: “When Pak Chang Mou’s wrong-doings had not yet
been punished, is it right that he should have been made one of the
tax collectors? When you have arrested and brought him to Hai Ju and
severely punished him, then only will my wrath be appeased.”

The governor then said: “In the eighth moon of last year when I went to
Whang Ju, I looked carefully into this affair of Pak’s. _Although it
was stated that he had thrown stones, there was no sure proof, and yet
he had been locked up in the local jail and had been punished, during
the investigation_, how, then, can you say that he has gone unpunished?
How can you claim that giving him a petty office several months later
is an injustice? Then, too, you took this man to your church and there
beat him, and still claim that your wrath has not been appeased.
Would you have me arrest him, bring him here and make him and the
complainants face each other?”

Père Wilhelm answered: “Although I did have him beaten with ten
strokes, it was not a punishment for his main crime, but because when
his magistrate sent Pak to confess his sins he was on the contrary
impudent, and therefore I punished him, but his former offence still
existed.”

The governor replied: “When you are not a Korean official, is it right
that you should arrest and beat Koreans?”

Father Wilhelm said: “It is because if I did not beat them I could not
hold my position as superior that I do it.”

The governor answered: “You, a private citizen, arresting and beating
Koreans and doing wrong, and your written orders to your people, have
caused them to break the laws in eight different ways. They resist the
authority of the government, beat the underlings, and refuse to pay
their taxes.

“In addition, at their churches and meeting places they establish
courts of justice.

“Still further, without order, in companies they rush into the presence
of magistrates to terrify them.

“Still again, of their own accord they arrest, beat and imprison the
people.

“Again, calling it money for the building of churches, they extort
contributions by force from the people.

“Furthermore, at their own desire they cut down trees used for Korean
spirit worship, they organize bands to forcibly bury the dead and move
graves; and still further, they force people, who have no desire to do
so, to enter their church.”

Father Wilhelm replied: “I will with great care stop these eight
offences and will not allow them to do as before; have no fear.”

Thus ends the report of this unique interview between the governor of
one of the most populous provinces of Korea and the French missionary.
It is to be regretted, however, that his ready promise in regard to
nearly all the eight offenses was repeatedly broken within a very short
time after it was made. I will add one or two other transcriptions from
the official documents, which came directly from the commissioner’s
office to our hands, and which translations appeared in the Korea
_Review_, March, 1903. The first report of the imperial inspector to
the government:

“I have looked carefully into the disturbances among the people in the
different counties, and the various crimes up to this date noted in
the public records are only one or two in hundreds. Outside of two or
three counties, all the magistrates have been under this oppression,
and with folded hands, are unable to stir. The poor helpless people
sit waiting for doom to overtake them. Receiving imperial orders to
look into the matter, I have undertaken the task, and daily crowds with
petitions fill the court. There are no words to express the sights one
sees, the stories one hears. Depending on the influence of foreigners
(French), the Catholics’ issuing of orders to arrest is of daily
occurrence; their runners are fiercer than leopards, and the torture
they inflict is that reserved for only thieves and robbers; life is
ground out of the people, goods and livelihood are gone. Unless this
kind of thing is put down with strong hand, thousands of lives will be
lost in the end.

“A French priest by the name of Wilhelm, living in Chang-ke-dong in
Sin-ch-un, a retired spot among the hills, has gathered about him a
mob of lawless people. Their houses number several hundred. Many of
them carry foreign guns, so that country people are afraid, and dare
not take action. A number of those already arrested have been set free
by this priest. Most of those who have slipped the net have escaped
there, and now form a band of robbers. There is no knowing where
trouble will next arise, and it is a time of special anxiety. Those who
assemble there at the ‘call of the whistle’ (bandit) are outlaws, and
must be arrested. They may, however, make use of dangerous weapons, so
we cannot do otherwise than be prepared for them. This is my report.
Look carefully into it. Send word to the office of generals. Wire me
permission to use soldiers, and as occasion offers lend me a helping
hand.”

While this painful business was on, and my husband was daily attending
the trials and listening to the harrowing tales of the poor, tortured
and robbed people, and seeing heartrending evidences of the cruelties
inflicted upon them, I was holding meetings with the Christian women
who came every morning to study the Bible. One visit only was made to a
small village a short distance outside the city, where there were quite
a number of Christian families.

All the Christian women quickly assembled at the house of my hostess,
a wholesome farmer’s wife, who came out to the road to welcome me,
took both my hands in hers with a long gentle pressure, and a look of
gladness as bright as if I had been a radiant angel from heaven, or a
returned apostle. Her small rooms were soon filled with Christians and
others, who listened while we held a service and talked of the things
concerning the kingdom.

Then they, with bounteous hospitality, brought in a store of the
best their homes contained of dainties. They feasted my two native
companions and myself and all the visitors, both Christians and mere
sightseers, and even my chair coolies were given as much as they could
eat, which is no mean amount.

One woman said that her eldest son had just returned from Sorai and was
urging his father to sell his good farm and home and move there with
his family, so that he and his brothers might attend that school and
church and learn more about God and his will.

The work in this hamlet all started through the instrumentality of a
young girl in Hai Ju, not seventeen years old, who, having formerly
lived here, after her marriage into a Christian household in the city,
and after her conversion, often returned to her old home and begged her
family to believe and accept Christ.

Though they scoffed and reviled at first, after a while they began to
listen, and finally one, then another, yielded their hearts. After the
manner of Korean Christians, they “passed on the word,” and so at
length seven families were trusting Christ.

After seven weeks in Hai Ju we returned to Seoul, having done all that
was possible in the matters we had been sent there to look after, and
having made it plain that Americans would not stand by and see the
natives persecuted and wronged without a strong protest; for while
we try not to interfere between them and their rulers (and this is
at times extremely difficult), we do not feel the same obligation in
the case of French priests. Our hope now is that these outrages will
henceforth be somewhat restricted and that Protestants will at least
remain unmolested, as the mere advertisement and bringing to the light
of the evil would do much to prevent its repetition, the children of
darkness having an ancient dislike of the light.

Before we returned from Hai Ju we learned of the death by smallpox of
our dear brother, Mr. W. V. Johnson, who had arrived early in February
of that year, his consecrated young wife having died on the way to the
field, in Kobe, Japan.

We all felt the sweet devoted spirit of the earnest young brother, and
knew that these two valuable lives were not given in vain, but that God
has accepted their sacrifice as if they had done all they planned, and
has chosen to call them to reward a little earlier, because they will
better so fulfil his purpose, for, through and in them. Again, only a
few months later, we were all called to part with a dear sister, Mrs.
F. S. Miller, whose loving sympathy and patient endurance of sickness
and pain had endeared her to missionaries and native Christians alike.
Not a month before her own death, her hands prepared the casket for
the cold little form of one of the dear little missionary babies, of
whom so many are now in heaven. And so, as was said at the time of her
release, “Korea seems a gate to heaven.” Sure it is good to go from
service to the vision of the King.

This little chain of reminiscences is now at an end. Its object has
simply been to interest Christian people in this most interesting
country, and to show what God is working here.

It has been necessarily limited, mainly to the experience of one pair
of missionaries, because the writer has neither the knowledge nor the
liberty to speak freely of the lives and work of all, and neither the
ability nor the space to write a complete history of mission work in
Korea. It is hoped that although so restricted, as to be a mere glimpse
of a small fraction of what is being done, it will serve to make plain
what grand opportunities are theirs (_at present_) who would lead a
nation out of bondage into liberty, the only liberty worth calling the
name, or that sinful mortals can use, “the liberty of Christ.”

Korea, lying as she does so close to China (whose future is fraught
with such mighty possibilities of good or evil to the whole world),
with such close affinities and wide sympathies for that people, is, we
hope, to be a polished shaft in God’s quiver in conquering that great
nation for his kingdom. But whatever his eternal purpose may be, there
is no doubt as to our present privilege and “power to the last particle
is duty.”

If in these pages you have seen much that leads you to think the land
is a difficult one in which to live, if you have read of political
unrest, bad government, riots, robbers and plagues; if you have learned
that missionaries have died of typhus fever, smallpox, dysentery and
other violent forms of disease, this will only serve to remind you that
the more valuable the prize to be won, the greater the difficulty and
cost. If you desire to share in the joy of this great harvest, and are
worthy, you will fear no danger, shrink from no obstacles, either for
yourselves or for your loved ones, whom you are asked to give to the
work.

God placed an angel with a flaming sword which turned every way at the
gate of paradise. Is the kingdom still thus guarded? Must we all who
would enter follow him who was made perfect through suffering? What
was our Lord’s meaning when he said, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth
violence, _and the violent take it by force_.” Some of us are ready
to pray that God would place another such flaming sword at the gate
of our mission fields, so that no man or woman who could or would
not brave such baptism of fire should enter. There is no more place
on the mission field for the fearful and unbelieving than in heaven
itself. Like Gideon’s army, let the applicants be reduced till only the
resolute, the consecrated, those who believe in God, the people and
themselves, are accepted for this mighty privilege, this high calling.

Let it only be remembered by all who would enter the Lord’s army to
wrest the kingdom of heaven from the rulers of darkness, that he, whose
we are, and whom we serve, he who never faltered on the thorny road
that led to Calvary, who trod the wine press alone, who came with dyed
garments through the conflict to victory, has bidden those who profess
to love him, as one of his last commands, thrice repeated, feed his
sheep.

    “Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep.”
    “Lovest thou me? Feed my sheep.”
    “Lovest thou me? Feed my lambs.”


I.

    Oh, never swear thou lovest me,
      Who lovest not my sheep;
    For he who would my servant be
      My treasured flock will keep.


II.

    Oh, never vow thou lovest me,
      As follower leal and true,
    Who shrinkest in my paths to be,
      Or fearest my will to do.


III.

    Oh, never weep thou lovest me,
      My lambs who feedest not;
    Who wouldst my crowning glory see,
      But hast the cross forgot?


IV.

    Nay, if thou lovest, feed my sheep,
      On desert moors astray;
    The charge I gave thee surely keep,
      Until the final day.


V.

    Yea, if thou lovest me, thy Lord,
      My feeble lambs feed thou;
    They wander o’er the world abroad,
      Many lie fainting now.


VI.

    Then never swear thou lovest me,
      Who loves not these of mine;
    Who would my true disciple be,
      Shall prove his love divine.



CHAPTER XVII

    Historical Review--Korean Characteristics--Football between
    Japan, China and Russia--Ill-advised Movements--Unrest
    and Excitement--Korea Allied to Japan--Japanese in
    Korea--Po an Whai--Kaiwha--Railroad Extension--Japanese
    Protectorate--Petition to President Roosevelt--Removal of
    American Legation--Education in Korea--Righteous Army--True
    Civilization.


Before making a brief review of events which have taken place during
the five years that have elapsed since the previous chapters were
written, let us look a little further at the character of the Korean
people so that we may understand them perhaps somewhat better and judge
them a little more fairly as we scan their actions in reference to the
conditions that follow.[5]

[5] I have to thank Mr. Homer B. Hulbert for many of these facts and
dates, having refreshed my memory by frequent reference to his “History
of Korea” and “The Passing of Korea.”

Although through the influence of their progressive Queen the country
had been opened to foreigners in 1882, and although missionaries had
been there since 1884, the impression made upon the people as a whole
was very slight, owing to the lack of newspapers and other means of
appeal to the public, and though in the capital a few progressionists
had begun to feel the need of reform, the nation as such was still in
a kind of stupor under the baleful charm of the example of China, and
the influence of her classics and her civilization. Shut up for long
centuries in complete seclusion--even Japan had been open twenty years
to the stimulating influences of the civilization of the West--still
Korea in her belated “Morning Calm” slept on; while Japan had been up
and catching her worms with the “Rising Sun,” and the first rude shock
which startled her from this slumber and made her begin to look about
was the defeat of China by her little neighbor.

Coincidentally with the rapid march of political events, the Gospel
was making advances with constantly increasing momentum and where the
Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty of thought and action, and
to-day, stung into life by the sharp lash of adversity, Korea is awake,
wide awake, to sleep no more, for her Macbeth has effectually murdered
sleep.

The Koreans have been frequently spoken and written of as listless,
dull, stupid, lazy, an inferior race; but I submit this has been said
mainly by travellers who did not know them, or by those who were their
enemies and had an object in making the world think them worthless,
or by those who had contented themselves with looking merely on the
surface and had not studied them with a wish to know them at their
best. There is a certain excuse for these views, if one observes only
the rough coolies in the ports or the idle worthless “boulevardiers”
who lounge about the streets of Seoul, or live by sponging on the
generosity of some relative better off than themselves. But such a
class can be found almost anywhere, even among the most advanced
European nations.

To the writer it seems that there is a close parallel between the
Irishman and the Korean. Both are happy-go-lucky, improvident,
impulsive, warm-hearted, hospitable, generous. Take either in the midst
of his native bogs, untutored, without incentive--he is thoughtless,
careless, dirty; drinking, smoking and gambling away his time with
apparently little ambition for anything better. Remove this same man,
be he Irishman of Great Britain, or Irishman of the East--Korea--place
him in a stimulating environment, educate him, instil the principles
of Protestant Christianity, give him a chance to make a good living,
and a certainty that he may keep his own earnings, and you will not
find a better citizen, a more brilliant scholar, a finer Christian.
Look at the men of North Ireland and tell me if this is not so? Look at
the Christian Korean, self-supporting, independent, sober, faithful,
industrious, eager to study. Hear the testimony of the missionaries of
all denominations.

Hear the testimony even of the foreign mining companies, who avow the
Koreans are the best workmen of any nationality they have employed.

Hear the testimony of the American planters in Hawaii, who say that the
Koreans are the best workmen, the most sober, well-behaved, cleanly,
domestic, peaceful and thrifty they have ever used, far superior to the
Japanese, who are quarrelsome and unstable--or even the Chinese.

Witness the young Koreans who have graduated from our American colleges
and medical schools side by side with Americans, often carrying away
the honors.

Let us keep these facts in mind and remember that if Korea has been
caught in the toils and has allowed her country to be usurped, she was
caught napping. The whole nation was still in the bogs, and twenty-five
years behind the rest of the world, in a time when a thousand years
is as one day and one day as a thousand years. When China, the Titan,
found herself helpless in the hands of the new régime, what could be
expected of little Korea when she suddenly awoke to find herself shut
in a trap with a foreign army in her capital and foreign guns at her
palace gates?

The most brilliant speaker at the great international conference in
Tokio two years ago was unanimously by Japanese newspapers conceded
to be a Korean, and an American told the writer that the grandest
sermon he had ever listened to--and he had heard John Hall and the
great Western divines--was preached in Korea by another Korean. The
writer also recalls at this moment still two others who are capable of
carrying any audience along enraptured, and whom she would not hesitate
to rank with the best, most inspiring public speakers she has ever
listened to.

We know many Koreans who have been given opportunity, environment,
advantage, who have ability, energy, initiative and resource equal to
that of the foremost Americans and Europeans. They are not, perhaps,
_par excellence_, fighters like the Japanese or merchants like the
Chinese. They have not the volatility and headlong impulsiveness of the
one nor the stolid conservatism of the other, but they are the equals
if not the superiors of either. Which of the three evolved an alphabet
and a constitutional form of government?

This is the conscientious opinion of one who has known them for
twenty years, closely, in every-day contact, through all sorts of
circumstances, in city and country, and it is an opinion almost
the opposite of that which was formed during the first years of
acquaintance with them. It is the result of the developments of
character seen in individuals and the nation. That they are friendly,
hospitable, long-suffering, patient, any one who studies them without
prejudice for a short time will admit, but those of us who know
them best know that they have brilliant gifts and a high grade of
intellectuality. The old simile of the rough diamond is a good one
to apply to Koreans who seem perhaps worthless stones to the ignorant
careless observer, but, when polished, they shine as brilliant jewels
for the Redeemer’s crown.

Considerable space has been given to this question of Korean ability
because much has been made of the other side, as an excuse for what
might be thought otherwise inexcusable, and because it is right that
the public should know they are not unworthy of its sympathy and
interest. Nor should they be called cowardly because taken unaware by
the rapid succession of cataclysmic political events which have whirled
them along during the last few years. The “Morning Calm” is forever
gone.

Korea has for many years been in a diplomatic way a sort of football
between Japan, China and Russia, and in 1903 affairs were rapidly
culminating toward the Russo-Japanese war. Yi Yong Ik, the Korean
prime minister, who had then lately returned from Port Arthur and was
zealously pro-Russian, like most of the court and officials, now began
a series of attacks on Japanese interests.

Koreans had always regarded their neighbors on the East with the
distrust which their not infrequent invasions warranted, and they
believed that Russia, while she might invade, would not seek to
Russianize; while she might plunder, would not colonize, or interfere
at least more than incidentally or occasionally with personal right or
private concerns as the others were almost certain to do.

Whenever trouble seemed brewing between Japan and other powers,
whatever may have been the reason, the Korean government at least
almost invariably went with the other side, and at this time Korea and
her royal family counted a long score of injuries and wrongs from Japan.

The murder of their Queen, the cutting of the top-knots, and the
hard and burdensome laws enacted at that time, the indignities the
Emperor had suffered in practical confinement and the insults heaped
upon the dead Queen could not be forgotten. On the other hand Russia
had sheltered and protected the King on his escape, had favored his
complete freedom of action even while he resided in her Legation,
and when patriotic Koreans had complained that Russian influence was
becoming too great, had withdrawn all the causes of complaint, removed
her bank, and the obnoxious officials, favored the departure of the
King to his own palace and left everything in the hands of the Koreans.

Such conduct, whatever its motive, could not but excite gratitude,
and add to this the degree of certitude with which nearly the whole
East awaited the speedy defeat of the Japanese by mighty, all-powerful
Russia, it is not hard to see why the Korean government were so
strongly pro-Russian.

This, then, by way of partial explanation of the attitude of Yi Yong
Ik and the Korean court and government and in fact of a great many of
the Korean people, though just here it may be said that multitudes of
the Koreans with all the Americans and Europeans, except perhaps the
French, were pro-Japanese, believing that they would prove the saviors
of Korea from all-absorbing Russia, that reform and progress, good
government and order would follow in their train, and warm were our
good wishes and hearty the delight with which we witnessed Japanese
successes at the opening of the war.

This attitude of the Korean government continued without change from
the beginning to the end of the war, and now was the time when they
might venture to show their real feeling and attempt some reprisals
upon Japan.

First of all, then, the minister took the ill-advised measure of
forbidding the use of the notes of the Japanese bank in Seoul, causing
a run which came very near wrecking it. As the Japanese were in a
position to retaliate, this resulted in apologies and withdrawals by
the native government, but left a debt uncancelled for the Japanese to
remember by and by.

The Russians were next given a concession to cut timber along the Yalu
and soon after, on their asking the privilege of the use of the port of
Yengampo in using this concession, it was granted.

As is well known, Japan and the foreign powers now urged the opening
of this port to all foreign trade, Russia opposing, and the Korean
government steadily refused. When, in addition, they soon after refused
also to open Wi Ju in accordance with the objections of Russia, it
became quite evident that war alone would ever make Russia retire from
Korean soil.

In October, Japanese merchants in Korea began calling in outstanding
moneys and from this time on the Koreans were in daily, hourly
suspense, awaiting the war which could bring, in any event, nothing
but disaster and loss, the only thing which they might hope for, being
a degree less of distress, humiliation and misery, in one case than
the other. Their country was to be the spoil of war, as well as its
probable seat, and devastation, rapine and bloodshed loomed darkly
before them. The action of the Korean pawnbrokers, refusing to lend
money at this time, added to the general distress, for many of the
poor are obliged to pawn some of their belongings in the fall, in
order to provide fuel and clothing for the winter, and it was now
feared that an uprising against all foreigners would take place, so
great was the excitement and discontent. Guards were called to the
different Legations to protect their countrymen, and missionaries and
others were warned to come in from the country. “There was a great
deal of disaffection among the poorly paid Korean troops in Seoul. The
Peddlers’ Guild were threatening and capable of any excess and the
unfriendly attitude of Yi Yong Ik toward western foreigners except
French and Russians was quite sufficient reason for these precautionary
measures.”[6]

[6] Hulbert’s “History of Korea.”

It was at this time that an American vessel was sent to a northern port
with a message from the Legation to the missionaries to come to Seoul,
but while a few, for various very good reasons, did this, most of these
devoted men and women decided to remain and brave what war might bring
in order to encourage, help and comfort the native Christians.

The same unrest and excitement which were evident in Seoul, were felt
in the country and a serious movement began in two southern provinces
where it was reported that a formidable insurrection was brewing.
Reports came from the north as well of the banding together of the
disaffected, and many wealthy natives in Seoul began removing their
valuables and families to the country.

And now the distraught and corrupt government took another step at the
bidding of Russia, and quite in keeping with the traditions of the East
and the self-defensive, evasive diplomacy of the weak. They announced
a neutrality which seemed from subsequent developments to have been
a mere pretense in order to keep Japan out. While this neutrality was
being insisted upon the Japanese announced the arrest of Koreans at
different times, said to be carrying messages from the Korean Emperor
and his government to Russia, asking for aid in the form of troops and
ammunition of war. This is not at all unlikely, yet such are the dark
ways and devious devices of the East, that it would have been quite
as possible for those who wished to make an excuse to prove that the
neutrality was a mere pretense, to have made it, if necessary. There
is nothing more certain, however, than that at that time the Korean
government was at heart wholly pro-Russian, of whatever overt acts she
may or may not have been guilty in breaking her neutrality. Whatever
were the facts, a most laudable excuse for the direct invasion of her
neighbors’ soil was now presented to Japan.

The beginning of 1904 was marked by the making of Japanese military
stations every fifteen miles between Fusan and Seoul and the sending
of a well-known Japanese general to Seoul as military attaché to the
Japanese Legation. Notices were posted in the city assuring Koreans
that their property and personal rights would be respected, promising
immediate justice if any complaint were made, and from this time on
Chemulpo harbor was blocked. Korean students had previously been
recalled from Japan and now the Japanese began rapidly landing troops
in two southern ports of Korea. After the battle of Chemulpo, which
soon took place, the Japanese landed all their troops further north and
work was rapidly pushed on the Seoul-Fusan railway and also begun on
the road to Wi Ju.

On February 23d a protocol was signed by Japan and Korea, by virtue
of which Korea practically allied herself with Japan. She granted
the latter the right to use her territory as a road to Manchuria and
engaged to give them every possible facility for prosecuting the war.
On the other hand, Japan guaranteed the independence of Korea and the
safety of her imperial family. It was, of course, on Korea’s side a
case of necessity, though many Koreans really accepted the Japanese
as their friends and believed they would preserve their independence.
However, willy-nilly, there was nothing to do under the circumstances
but to acquiesce for the time being, though the government and court
were still assured that Russia would undoubtedly be the ultimate
victor and the Russians were continually making use of corrupt Korean
officials who served only to complicate affairs with Japan.

It is more than doubtful whether this protocol, backed by arms, wrung
out of the unwilling Koreans, was ever worth the paper on which it was
written, even to keep up appearances to a people so unsophisticated at
that time as the Koreans. The Japanese were ready at almost any moment
during the war to enforce it and punish its violation, and the native
government were very likely quite as ready to avail themselves of every
opportunity which might offer to break it openly, could either Russia
or China have been depended on to assist. But let us not forget that
these were the acts of a corrupt government and not of the people,
and that their sprightly neighbor had long odds, thanks to the almost
forcible opening of their country thirty years earlier.

Mr. Hulbert says, “The Japanese handled the situation in Korea
with great circumspection,” which they certainly did. The expected
punishment did not fall on the pro-Russian officials. The perturbation
of the court was quieted and Marquis Ito was sent with friendly
messages to the Emperor. The northern ports of Wi Ju and Yonganpo were
opened and soon Yi Yong Ik who was a large factor in the conspiracies
against Japan was invited to visit that country. The Japanese soldiers
were remarkably orderly and well behaved, a great contrast in this
respect to the Cossacks and Russian guard who had been at the Legation,
who conducted themselves most outrageously, so that they won the hate
and fear of the whole native community, and the disgust and horror of
all western foreigners.

The Japanese soldiers, we are told by Mr. Hulbert, all belong to the
upper middle classes. “No low class man can stand in the ranks,” and
this being the fact, the wide difference between their behavior and
that of the colonists can be well understood. Suffice it to say that
in the main they did great credit to their country and their conduct
reassured the Koreans and won for them as a rule tolerance and often
real good will.

However, the reforms which the pro-Japanese had so hopefully expected
did not come. The monetary affairs about which the Japanese had
complained as being so bad were not altered when they came into power,
and in addition they now began to demand all sorts of privileges which
became no small hardship to the Koreans. In Fusan the Japanese Board of
Trade asked their government to secure the maritime customs service,
permission for extra territorial privileges, the establishment of
Japanese agricultural stations, etc.

In the meanwhile the tide of Japanese immigration was daily rising
higher and higher as to quantity, but the friends of Japan would
certainly like to think that the people who came could have represented
only her worst classes. This is not the place, nor are missionaries
the people to animadvert upon them or their conduct; nor perhaps did
it seem possible with the war on their hands at first, and a hostile
native people to keep in check later, for the few Japanese officials
to look into the cases brought before them, and deal out justice to
their own offending countrymen. But I do say that had they been able to
do so, their task in Korea would be an easier one to-day, for Koreans
are a long-suffering people. Moreover, when loud complaints concerning
the Koreans’ unwillingness to yield to “legally constituted authority”
(?) are heard, let the reader bear in mind that this same “legally
constituted authority” seldom, if ever, so far as the writer is aware,
has protected the Korean in his rights, or made him safe and inviolate
in his home, when a home was left to him. We are not accusing the
Japanese. They have undertaken a difficult task, in which older and
more civilized, more Christian nations have failed, and when we look
at Poland and elsewhere, we do not see that they are more to be blamed
than the illustrious examples they have followed, but we do say, “Do
not judge the Korean too hardly if he rises in self defense to do what
he can to make reprisals on invaders and to defend his own rights.”

In connection with the laying of the railroads, large tracts of some
of the best land in the country were practically confiscated, and in
Seoul large blocks of the most valuable property in the city were taken
at a merely nominal price, and hundreds of people lost practically all
they had in the world. In the north, where soldiers were quartered on
Koreans, many of the women, whose custom it is never to be seen by
strangers, fled to the mountain recesses at a most inclement season and
incurred untold suffering. Still the Koreans bore all these trials with
remarkable patience and few complaints.

Many, however, of the malcontents and those who had suffered loss
joined the robbers, and large bands made frequent and destructive raids
upon the smaller towns and villages, adding to the general distress of
the poor people who actually had no one to look to but the missionaries
and Americans whom they regarded as their only friends, who could do
little enough, alas, to help, but who could point them to God who
pities the helpless, and bid them hope in Him.

Although many of the best Koreans who had trusted in the Japanese had
been disappointed to see none of the promised reforms, great was their
added anger and alarm when on the seventeenth of June the Japanese
authorities made the suggestion “that all uncultivated land in the
Peninsula as well as all other national resources should be open to
the Japanese. The Koreans now indeed raised a storm of protest. The
time was unpropitious. Koreans recognized that the carrying out of this
would result in a Japanese protectorate, though the latter had probably
not believed the Koreans capable of following out the logic of this.”[7]

[7] Hulbert’s “History of Korea.”

They however, not being prepared at that time to carry matters
to extremes, after repeated attempts at a compromise, at length
temporarily dropped it.

The Koreans, in order to oppose the encroachments of the Japanese,
had organized a society “for the promotion of peace and safety” (Po
an Whai) and many exciting discussions took place as to how to defeat
the purposes of the Japanese, while continually a stream of memorials
poured in to the Emperor, beseeching him not to yield to the demands
of the invaders. The latter, therefore, forcibly broke in on one of
the meetings and carried leading members to the police station, and
at other times raided the meeting-place, arrested other members and
confiscated their papers. They further warned the Korean government
that these doings must be firmly put down, and insisted that those who
kept on sending memorials against the Japanese must be arrested and
punished. The position of the Emperor at that time, as ever since,
was certainly not an enviable one, and then if ever was it true that
“uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” Indeed the poor Korean
Emperor’s crown was sitting very loosely just then and there seemed no
way in sight to keep it from rolling quite away.

Japanese troops in Seoul were increased at this time to six thousand.
The members of the Po an Whai, on the other hand, sent circular letters
throughout the country. News spreads in a marvellous way in Korea,
faster than by mail, almost as by telegraph the human wireless flies
from mouth to mouth, from hand to hand, and thousands of members were
enrolled in every province.

In August Japanese military authorities asked for six thousand coolies
to work on the railroad at handsome wages, but the report got out that
these men were to be on the fighting line. Perhaps they distrusted
their employers, but, whatever the reason, only two thousand men could
be obtained and there were frequent bloody fights in the villages when
the effort was made to force men to work.

The tide of public opinion was now running high against them on account
of the waste land measure and the violation of the right of free
speech, which had hitherto rarely been interfered with by their own
government in spite of all its faults.

The Po an Whai still continued to carry on its propaganda, so the
Japanese started another, called the Il Chin society, protected
by Japanese police and having only such members as were properly
accredited by them; and following this another society was organized
as the Kuk Min or National People’s Club. Although their plans were
good, having no means whereby to carry them out they were laughed at by
some, but nevertheless they served to strengthen and unify patriotic
feeling, develop progressive ideas, and sow broadcast through the land
a general desire for advance and reform; to bid the people awake to the
dangers threatening them and to stir up a general spirit of inquiry as
to the best method to strengthen their country and finally deliver her.
Perhaps not much wisdom was wasted here. The members were all more or
less ignorant of such things, of almost anything, in fact, but Chinese
classics, but nevertheless a beginning must always be made, and this
was at least something.

And now in connection with the societies and the universal cry of
“Kaiwha”--progress--one began to see everywhere a distressing admixture
of foreign and native dress. Koreans had been for some time cutting
their hair. Now hundreds were wearing foreign caps and shoes which with
their own long white coats gave the painfully ridiculous appearance of
some one going abroad in night attire, having stopped only for foot and
head gear. Some wore no coats at all but very gaily colored foreign
vests, with their baggy white trousers below. The transition stage in
the dress of eastern peoples is sad to a degree to the foreigner who
loves them and holds their dignity and respectability dear as his own.
The more he cares for the people the more bitterly does he resent the
harrowing and pitiful variety of incongruities evolved by the natives
in their zealous efforts to imitate the foreigner.

Thus progress and pro-Japanese societies--names by some considered
synonymous--multiplied, but the poor common people were as sheep
without a shepherd, a prey to the wolves and robbers on all hands.

During that summer the Japanese made their first suggestions that
Korea should recall her foreign representatives and that all Korean
diplomatic business be transacted through the Japanese Legation. This
was not, however, pushed at this time, but was simply a forecast of
what was in store.

A little later a Mr. Stevens,[8] an American citizen, was nominated by
them as adviser to the Korean foreign office. This was a move of great
discernment, for Americans have always been particularly favored by the
Korean court and people from the Emperor to the coolie, and the advice
of an American would meet a far readier hearing at that time than that
of a Japanese. This man, being the Japanese appointee and dischargeable
only by them, was more than likely, as it chanced, to advise Koreans
according to the wishes of the Japanese, indeed, for what other purpose
could his patrons have placed him there?

[8] On March 23, 1908, a Korean member of the Religious Army attempted
to assassinate Mr. Stevens at San Francisco, wounding him so seriously
that he died a few days later.

In accordance with this advice the Korean Emperor disbanded and
dismissed most of the fifty thousand troops he then had under arms, as
he was reminded they were a needless expense. The Japanese had assured
Korea’s independence and a small body-guard was all that was needed.

About this time, partly in response to the fast growing feeling of the
Koreans themselves that one of their heaviest drawbacks was a lack
of knowledge of Western sciences, a number of foreigners, including
nearly all the missionaries, formed an educational association of
Korea, their object being to prepare text-books for Korean schools.
A little later a large number of Koreans also founded an educational
society which did not attempt to do with politics but gathered together
those who believed education must be one of the important factors in
putting Korea on her feet.

In September, 1904, the twentieth anniversary of the founding of
Protestant Missions was celebrated.

The Seoul-Fusan Railroad was completed during this year and the
Seoul-Wi Ju Railroad well under way, and although they were put through
in the interests of the Japanese, missionaries cannot but believe that
unconsciously they were the agents of the Almighty making straight
paths for His own kingdom. The missionaries of the Cross were, with the
Japanese troops, the first people to use these roads while they were
still in construction.

As the year advanced Japanese kept at work gathering the material
resources of the country. The offices of the high Japanese officials
were said to be literally besieged by their insistent countrymen who
had no doubt come to Korea to make a great fortune one and all under
the ægis of their own victorious troops and there is little doubt that
the task of these officials, between their own rapacious nationals
on the one hand and the Koreans who must be kept quiet for a time at
least, till the army had done with Russia, was not too easy. Fishing
rights along the whole coast were demanded and given, and next trading
and riparian rights were seized.

The signing of the treaty of peace with Russia was the signal for a
still more active policy in Korea, and then immediate steps were taken
for the establishment of a protectorate.

It is a well understood and by a certain class of politicians well
practised proverb that “To the victor belong the spoils,” and had Japan
simply seized Korea at this time, it would neither have surprised
nor greatly shocked the world at large, or the readers of universal
history. But the somewhat clumsy attempt to place the Koreans in the
position of suing for this, was on the part of the usually astute
Japanese a strange proceeding. It seems as incredible that they could
have expected to hoodwink the world as it was unnecessary. They
may have wished to produce a certain impression, to create a given
effect on the large party among their own best people who desired the
practical independence of Korea to be preserved and faith kept with
them. Whatever their reasons, the sheep’s clothing was inadequate, and
the grim fact was only too patent to those who were concerned to know
about the matter.

Early in the autumn of 1905 the Emperor had been approached with the
suggestion of a protectorate. He was willing to recognize Japanese
predominance in Korea, even acquiesced in Japanese advisorships, but
when it came to turning the whole country over he refused. He knew that
if he remained firm it could not be done without arousing indignation
and perhaps some interference in his favor. He determined to lodge a
protest at Washington, turning naturally, as all Koreans do, first to
America and England, but England’s treaties with Japan were so sweeping
that he knew it would be useless to look there. America’s treaty,
however, has the following clause, “That if either of the contracting
parties is injured by a third party, the other shall interfere with
her good offices to effect an amiable settlement.” This could not
be done through the regular channel of the Foreign Office, as the
before mentioned American agent of the Japanese was in charge there. A
personal and private letter was therefore sent direct to the President,
asking him to investigate and help. This message was carried by an
American resident, but the Japanese, probably surmising what was being
done, hurried on the completion of their plans. Marquis Ito was sent to
Seoul with definite instructions. Korea was to be induced or forced to
sign away her existence “voluntarily” (?).

Though many conferences with the Cabinet took place, there was no
result. The Koreans stood fast for the treaty of 1904 in which Japan
guaranteed independence. Not a member of the Cabinet consented. It
is unnecessary to go into all the painful details, but at last by
surrounding the Cabinet and the palace with soldiers, by having
previously secured the consent of two or three men who were venal,
after repeated efforts and long discussions, show of armed force and
having forcibly removed Han Kyu Sul, the strong Prime Minister (without
whose signature no measure can be legally passed) they managed to gain
a majority of one, and the seal being illegally fixed by the envoy,
the fact was declared accomplished and the authorities immediately
announced in Washington that Korea had voluntarily entered into an
agreement granting Japan a protectorate. The American government almost
immediately recognized Japan’s claim and removed the Legation from
Seoul. The petition of the Emperor arrived in Washington before action
had been taken, but though its arrival was announced to the President,
it was not received till too late.

“For twenty-five years American representatives and residents had
been reiterating that we stood for right against mere brute force,
and Korea had a right to regard our government as the one above all
others to demur at any encroachment on her independence. But when the
time of difficulty approached we deserted her with such celerity,
such cold-heartedness and such refinement of contempt, that the blood
of every decent American citizen boiled with indignation. While the
most loyal, patriotic, cultured of Korean nobility were committing
suicide one after another, because they would not survive the death
of their country, the American Minister (Mr. Morgan) was toasting the
perpetrators in bumpers of champagne, utterly indifferent to the death
throes of an empire which had treated American citizens with a courtesy
and consideration they had enjoyed in no other Oriental country.”[9]

[9] Hulbert’s “Passing of Korea.”

News of this action was carried that night to the editors of one of the
Korean dailies. They worked all night, well knowing that the result of
their action would be confiscation of their presses and imprisonment
at least, but thousands of copies of the paper containing a detailed
report of all that had happened were in the hands of the people
scattered broadcast beyond possibility of recall before the Japanese
were aware. Every effort was made to destroy this publication and to
prevent the spread of this story to other countries but it was too
late. Members of the Cabinet and Court told the story to Americans, and
though there existed a rigid censorship of telegraph lines and mails,
it was carried by foreigners to China, so that even in the minds of
those who lend the most willing ear to the story told by the Japanese,
there must always remain at least a moiety of doubt.

When, as soon as the fact of the protectorate was announced, the
American Legation was so suddenly removed, there went up as it were
a great cry from the heart of the people, “Et tu, Brute.” It seemed
the seal of their misfortunes, the certainty that their best friend
remorselessly and with hopeless finality had deserted them.

Strong men were sobbing, moaning, crying like women or little children.
Many committed suicide. Shops were closed with emblems of mourning. A
nation was in sackcloth and ashes, on its face in the dust. It was a
bitter hour for Korea and for the humiliated Americans who for once
were not proud of their government so far as its policy in Korea was
concerned. Well was it for the cowards who had signed the agreement
that when they ventured through the streets it was with a strong
guard of Japanese, for the people would have torn them to pieces, and
as it was, numerous attempts were made on their lives. One of them
attempted or pretended to attempt suicide, and to this step they were
all advised by their compatriots. Japanese troops and artillery were
paraded through the capital, with great show of power. Heavy guards
were stationed at various points, though no attempt at resistance was
made by the unarmed, unorganized, uncaptained mass of the citizens,
against the victorious conquerors of Russia. Pro-Japanese societies and
clubs suddenly collapsed. The party that had believed all along that
Japan would keep her treaty and help Korea maintain her independence,
was now disillusioned, horror-struck and indignant. The missionaries
unanimously did all in their power to quiet the unhappy people, to
prevent useless uprisings and bloodshed, and to comfort them in their
sore distress. Some of them were inclined to resent these efforts to
prevent revolt and to think and say that these missionaries were false
friends who did not care for the welfare of the nation. Who could blame
them for casting such a reproach upon us, when our own government had
deserted them without even a word of commiseration or regret?

To add to the distress an epidemic of malarial fevers with typhus and
typhoid, took place, on account of the way in which the city drains
had been closed. The city had always been drained by open ditches
which empty into a large drain flowing out under the walls. These
small ditches were, in addition, periodically cleaned out by men who
gather fertilizers; and, purified by sun and air, and washed out by
the rains, they were not so great a source of evil as they looked.
But the new-comers, by way of reform, and with the inevitable eye to
appearances, ordered all these ditches covered. A protest, private
and public, went up from every physician in Seoul. Appeals were made,
but in vain. The ditches were covered with boards and sod and left to
ferment and breed countless colonies of germs, with the result just
mentioned.

Japanese colonists were still pouring into the country by thousands[10]
and the class who came, and came as conquerors, was such (as has been
noted) as to entail inevitable hardships on the natives. There is an
impression abroad that all Japanese are now civilized. This is a great
mistake. While in the cities there are large schools and universities
of Western learning, it must be remembered there are forty million of
people, most of whom live in the country and are very poor, who have
never been touched by the wave of civilization that has swept over
Tokio, Yokohama, Osaka, Nagasaki and the great cities. They are little
if any different from their grandfathers as Commodore Perry found
them, and their customs of dress, their ideas as to the seclusion of
women, their morals, their habits of thought, their animus is in every
way diametrically opposite to that of the Koreans. Easier would it be
to mix oil and water than these peoples.

[10] There are now over 100,000 Japanese in Korea and they are coming
at the rate of 50 to 100 a day (1908).

Some Japanese schools were started by the protectors but the Koreans
were hardly prepared to profit by these, as the teaching was in
Japanese, a language they could not understand, and yet it has been
said that the Koreans did not care for education and were not willing
or fit to make use of the advantages offered them.

But every little village has its schools, and among the Christians
nearly every little group has its self-supporting parochial school,
where the elements of Western learning are taught and the people are
eagerly begging American missionaries for colleges and high schools
which, as fast as provided, are thronged with students and could be
easily thronged were the capacity doubled. The attitude of the people
toward Christianity is stated in another chapter. Let it suffice to say
that now is the accepted time to push forward with the standard of the
Cross in Korea.

A young woman graduate of one of our largest American women’s colleges
wrote, “Of one thing I am certain, that Christianity is the force for
good and for enlightenment in Korea, in spite of all that may be said
concerning Japanese reforms, governmental, educational, social.”

Another writes from Korea: “The whole country is ripe for the picking.
The direful political conditions have turned the people toward the
missionaries and their message is the only succor in sight. The leaders
are openly declaring that in Christianity alone is to be found the
political and social salvation of the nation. In their extremity the
Koreans are ready to turn to the living God. It may not be so two years
hence. _Conditions of which I dare not write are changing the character
of Korea._[11] If the Christian Church has any conception of strategy
and appreciation of opportunity, any sense of relative values, she will
act at once--not next year, but _now_.”

[11] Morphine is being introduced with fearful success by Japanese,
hundreds of immoral characters are plying their trade and the character
of the people seriously changed. L. H. U.

Just before the meeting of The Hague the Emperor decided to send an
appeal thither for Korea. He was warned that if he did so it would
result in his death or abdication, but he held firm. He replied that
he knew that would be the case but that the appeal must be made. This
was done and the abdication followed as predicted. Since then the
rebellious among the people, many of those who have sore grievances,
who have lost their homes, perhaps their all, and have been driven
to desperation, have joined hands with the bandits, and form large
companies of insurrectionists, called the Righteous Army, who keep up a
kind of guerrilla warfare, giving the Japanese no rest.

A newspaper correspondent writes “The whole country is ablaze with
_eui-pyung_ (righteous soldiers.) Their professed object is to protest
against Japanese rule and free the land from it.... As I take up
to-day’s paper it reads ‘Modol (twenty miles west of Seoul) Dec. 7.
Company fifty-one of the Japanese fought with one hundred and fifty
rebels (_eui-pyung_) and drove them off. Su Won (twenty miles south of
Seoul) Dec. 2. _Eui-pyung_ entered the town, robbed, plundered and made
off toward Namyang. Idong (twenty-five miles southeast of Seoul) Dec.
4. _Eui-pyung_ entered and carried off the two chief men. Puk-chung
(three hundred and seventy miles north of Seoul) Dec. 4. After much
effort on the part of government (Japanese) troops, the _eui-pyung_
have been dispersed. Chechun (one hundred miles south of Seoul) Dec.
2. Three hundred _eui-pyung_ were followed, brought to a fight and
thirteen killed. Changyim (seventy miles north of Seoul) Dec. 1. Fifty
_eui-pyung_ were encountered and in the fight six were killed. Eumsung
(thirty miles southeast of Seoul) Dec. 4. An attack was made on the
_eui-pyung_, two were killed and five wounded,’ etc.”

“All the while every Japanese wayfarer is marked, followed and done
to death. The _eui-pyung_ are everywhere. In the twinkling of an eye
they gather, they separate. To-day five hundred are here. To-morrow
no one knows where they have been spirited away to. Seoul and the
larger cities alone are safe from their attack.... The task before the
government grows daily more formidable.”

It has been reported that along the line of some of the railways the
Japanese have been obliged to establish a continuous line of fortified
posts with resident troops to prevent the constant destruction of the
bridges and road bed by the _eui-pyung_, but in these reports coming
from the government we are not told the numbers of their troops killed
and wounded in these encounters, presumably too small to be worth
mentioning. It is nevertheless evident that there is in the minds of a
large number of Koreans objection to the present order which they are
taking this means of recording.

As for the large body of Christians, they remain the most orderly,
reliable and peaceable of the whole native population. The
missionaries, one and all, whether from a wish to uphold Japanese rule,
or a desire to save useless bloodshed, are unanimous in using all
their influence to quiet the Christians and to induce them to prevent
uprisings and revolts, and after the abdication the Christians in Pyeng
Yang went through the streets counselling forbearance and patience.

These Christians are, however, no less patriotic than their more
demonstrative compatriots. They are eager for progress, for education,
for uplift, because they believe and openly declare that in Christian
education and Christianity alone is to be found the political and
social salvation of the country.

They are seeking “Kaiwha” more diligently than ever, and they are
learning that progress and civilization do not consist in altering the
cut and color of a man’s coat or the length of his hair; that it is
not a matter of tramways, wide streets, tall houses, gunboats, well
drilled armies, factories, arts, luxuries, hideous European clothes,
etc. Most Eastern countries have all or many or some of these things,
but even where they are in greatest profusion one feels that something
is wanting. It is as like true civilization as a graphophone is like
the true voice of a friend. There is a hollow, brassy ring about it. It
does not come from a warm, living _heart_ but is only a poor caricature
out of an empty shell. They are learning that true civilization is
not a veneer; it is the solid ringed growth of centuries reaching its
leaves and blossoms unto Heaven. Some of its outgrowths are the things
these people copy so marvellously in paper and wax that we can scarcely
tell the difference.

At a great fête given in an Eastern city they built most cunningly out
of boards and canvas a grand old tree; they painted it with wonderful
skill and crowned it with paper leaves and blossoms. It was a marvel
whereat the world stood open mouthed for a day, but the rain descended
and the floods came and the wind blew and beat upon the tree and it
fell _for it had no roots_.

The Korean Christians are learning fast, we hope, that better
civilization of which our dictionaries give but one or two definitions:
“_The humanization of man in society; the satisfaction for him in
society of the true law of human nature_,” and “_The lifting up of men
mentally, morally and socially_.”

This never was, never will be done by tramways and new clothes. It can
never be brought about by armies and men of war. It will not follow in
the train of art and of luxuries, though they follow it. Men, however
well dressed and well informed, may be after all no better than the
manufactured tree, without the _vital principle of life_ that is in
Christianity to “lift them up mentally, morally and socially” above the
material and sensual and hold them there unshakenly rooted in the rock.

They are learning that all that is best in Western civilization, the
motor power that stirs the energies of men and brings out the choicest
results is Christian faith and love. Christian principle, and that
where this principle is implanted, this spirit breathed, there is a
civilization made or making, for the choice things of which heathenism
has often not even a word whereby they may be expressed. Test them by
such words as God, Heaven, Home, Love, Faith or Sin--where do they
stand?

This is the reason that to-day Korean statesmen are saying that in
Christianity is the only hope for Korea’s national salvation.

And here let me quote Dr. J. D. Davis of Kyoto who says, “If this work
of Christianity can go on unchecked and unchilled Korea will be rapidly
evangelized and filled with millions of happy, enlightened Christian
homes and this little kingdom, despised though it has been, will give
to the world a priceless example of the way and the only way that the
Gospel can be carried to the whole world during the present generation.”

Again Mrs. Curtis, another American missionary to the Japanese, writes,
“By God’s blessing, within the next ten years, if the Church in America
will do its part, this whole nation (Korea) may be reached with the
Gospel. Korea is fast becoming Christian, and, if Japan does not soon
respond to God’s call to her, there is the prospect of a Christian
people, producing the first-fruits of true life, brought under the sway
of a nation yet dead, who have appropriated the fruits of centuries
of Christian growth, but who refuse to share the life which alone can
make those fruits sweet and wholesome and bring them to perfection. A
Christian nation ruled by another whose real God is National Glory! It
will be laid to the charge of the Christian Church if this becomes a
fact. Every man and woman who is ‘looking for the kingdom of God’ and
faithfully seeking to hasten its coming ought to consider this.”[12]

[12] Missionary review, March 1908.

Books which may be relied upon to give trustworthy accounts of
conditions in Korea during the period above referred to are: Hulbert’s
“Passing of Korea,” Doubleday, Page & Co.; McKenzie’s “Unveiled East,”
Hutchinson & Co.; Story’s “To-morrow in the Far East,” Chapman & Hull,
H. G. Underwood’s “The Call of Korea,” Revell (Mission study book);
Hulbert’s “History of Korea.”



CHAPTER XVIII

PRESENT STATUS OF MISSIONS IN KOREA.

    Present Status of Missions--Wonderful Progress--Education for
    Girls--Medical Missions--Denominational Comity--Christianity
    Spreading--Individuals at Work--Christian Heroes--Character
    of Korean Christians--How the Work Grows--Christian
    Influence--Training Classes--Circuit Work--Statistics--Rapid
    Extension--Evangelistic Work--Joy and Triumph--The Nation being
    Evangelized.


What has been previously written in this book regarding missions has
become ancient history already in the swift onward march of events in
Korea. Great political changes have occurred, referred to elsewhere,
and these have doubtless been used in the Providence of God to turn the
people toward the American teachers whom they have learned to trust.
They have been humiliated, afflicted, distressed and perplexed and in
their trouble and anxiety they have been eagerly searching on all sides
for some light on a dark problem. Their cry has been, “What shall we as
a nation do to be saved?” Some of their advisers have said, “Educate
your people;” others, “Make friends with English and Americans;” others
again have said, “Our old religions have never helped us. Perhaps this
doctrine taught by the missionaries is the truth. If so, we have for
centuries been offending the Almighty. He has permitted this curse to
fall upon us. Let us hasten to repent and obey and worship only Him
and perhaps He will be gracious and restore to our nation her ancient
place and name and deliver us.”

But whatever the remedy suggested, the relief seemed to lie, for
one cause or another, as was said in a previous chapter with the
missionaries, and so the people have been groping, reaching out
lame hands of faith towards what seemed to them the only hope, and
turning in increasing numbers to the missions, to those who are there
to “bind up the broken-hearted, to bid the oppressed go free, and
to publish the acceptable year of the Lord,” and those who come to
find help have found far more than they sought; for earthly freedom,
fellow-citizenship with the saints of the household of God; for their
ignorance they receive the wisdom that knows the love of Christ that
passeth knowledge; and instead of their poverty and emptiness, all the
fullness of God.

As we try to give some idea of the religious status of the people,
perhaps it would be as well to consider the field at first station
by station. Let us begin, then, with Seoul, the oldest station, the
largest city, and looked at from many points, the most difficult, and
also in some respects the most interesting.

It is most difficult because here for centuries have been the
headquarters of a corrupt government. Here reside numberless officials
with their retainers and sycophants, their concubines and dancing
girls, and round them seems to revolve most of the political, social,
religious and business life of the majority of the citizens. Graft
plays a large part in the life of Seoul. Multitudes of its people are
living in the hope of making money out of the government or some of its
officials, the idle and the wicked of all classes and both sexes seem
to gravitate naturally toward the capital and now it is crowded with
thousands of foreigners of the most depraved morality. Yet here the
first missionaries settled, perhaps as much because no other center was
then open as for any other reason.

Here the Presbyterians have now three flourishing churches, the
Northern Methodists have four, the Southern Methodists two, the English
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel have a Mission and the
Romanists also two or three churches. None of these churches would be
recognized to-day for those which were in existence five years ago.
They are all far too small for their congregations, though these are
divided, the men worshipping at one hour, the women at another. If
we are a little late in visiting them we shall not be able to enter,
for doors and windows are crowded and there is not an inch of space
anywhere within hearing of the speaker’s voice.

In this city the largest congregation is probably that of the Yun
Mot Kol church, which numbers eleven hundred people. The growth here
is remarkable because not four years ago this was the weakest of the
Presbyterian churches, not only numerically but in the character of
its people. They seemed jealous, quarrelsome and niggardly. They were
apparently unable to work in full harmony with the other Presbyterian
churches of the city and unwilling to give in proportion to their
numbers as the others gave, either for the support of their own work
or of the general work of the three carried on in city and country.
But now all is changed. This is now the largest church in the city and
what rejoices all hearts is that it is gathering in large numbers of
the nobility, most of whom live in that quarter. This class of people
we have almost despaired of reaching for many reasons. The habit of
keeping concubines is general among them and it is a terrible ordeal
to wrench away from a woman dearly loved as a wife, and her little
ones, for Koreans are exceedingly fond of their children and family
ties are strong. Again, the Korean noble feels more than the lower
classes, as a religious duty due to family and clan, the obligation
of ancestor worship, and he is cutting himself loose from his place
in social and family life when he abjures this. Still further, all
officials holding office or attending the court must bow before certain
royal tablets, and perform religious duties on certain national
holidays. If this is given up his office must also be resigned. So we
see that for a nobleman to become a Christian he must break the ties
of family, of social and of political life and sacrifice whatever
emoluments he is gaining thereby, and to some of these men it is all
their living. Yet during the last three years a large number of the
nobility have taken this step and their women, who have always been
bound by the custom of seclusion, go in their chairs or even on foot,
well veiled, to the Sabbath services.

The three Presbyterian churches, as has been said, work together as
one for the evangelization of the heathen population of the city and
surrounding country districts.

As for schools, both boys’ and girls’, they are all overcrowded; many
applicants must be sent away. The churches have their own parochial
primary schools for girls and boys which they, of course, support as
well as their own church work, and there are boarding schools more
advanced, corresponding to academies, connected with the different
missions, for the reception of pupils who graduate from the lower
schools and also for the children of Christians from the country.

A noted feature of the change in the spirit of the people is the way in
which all are demanding education for their girls. Twenty years ago
it was almost impossible to get any girls into our schools except the
friendless and sick, little homeless waifs and orphans whom no one else
cared for or wanted. It is interesting to see the way in which these
changes have taken place. Little by little the daughters of Christians
were allowed to attend if the Mission paid all expenses; then the
country Christians began paying for the board and clothing of their
daughters; then the unbelievers began to ask us to take in their girls
and now the nobility are insisting on schools for their young women
and are allowing some of them to mix with the lower caste girls in the
ordinary schools. Mrs. Campbell, in charge of the girls’ school of the
Southern Methodist Mission, who lives in a neighborhood where dwell a
great many of the upper classes, has been literally besieged by wealthy
and high caste ladies who beg her to establish a school for their
young women and girls. Two such schools have been established in the
city under non-Christian auspices and so determined are the people for
education that they will provide it for themselves in these ways if we
do not give them Christian schools. There are now three large mission
boarding-schools for girls in Seoul, which cannot accommodate half the
girls who are applying for admittance.

The story of the boys’ school is much the same. The English
Episcopalians as well as the Presbyterians and Methodists have
established boys’ schools, although the former are near the river, and
there are also government native schools and Japanese schools of a
non-Christian character. It has been and still is the hope that these
schools of the Methodists and Presbyterians may in the future be united
and thus effect a considerable saving in money, time and effort.

There is little doubt that in the future the strategic point for our
largest colleges and academies must be in or near Seoul, which is
geographically, politically and socially the center of the peninsula,
and with great fields of mission work north, south and east of it, and
of easy access from all parts of Korea both by rail and water way.

The medical mission work centers in the Severance Hospital, just
outside the South Gate. This is a modern hospital, fitted up in every
way according to the usages of modern medical and surgical science.
There is a corps of nurses and assistants under the care of an American
trained nurse. Young men are being prepared to practice medicine under
the instruction of our doctors and the hospital and dispensary are
crowded with patients, most of whom pay something for their medicine.
Here again we see the change in the attitude of the people; for whereas
at first people were not often willing to pay anything, and the women
of high class not only would not visit the male physicians, but would
not see them in their own homes except in the direst straits, now
most of them are willing to see the doctors, many of them will go
to the hospital, and gentlemen of high rank are willing to go there
for treatment or operations, take private rooms, pay well for their
care and often express themselves with overflowing gratitude for the
kindness shown them, sending handsome presents, in addition, to their
physicians and nurses, but what is far more important, go away either
converted men or strongly favoring Christianity and the mission work.

The woman’s hospital and dispensary under the care of the ladies
of the Methodist Mission has been just as flourishing, only it has
not been favored by having so generous a patron as the Severance
Hospital, but it is doing a good work and is known far and wide. The
devoted women in charge of it are heart and soul in favor of union and
undenominational mission work and they and we hope that all the medical
work in Korea may be united under one medical committee and carried
on in harmony with one plan, for the better economy of time, money
and effort, and for the better and happier spirit, the avoidance of
small jealousies and frictions, the uplift that comes to those who are
working together as one, according to our Lord’s will and command.

For the same reasons, until the happy time when there shall be in
all Korea but one united church of Jesus, the various missions have
gradually been coming to a certain degree of agreement as to division
of territory in Korea.

“Beginning from the south, we find the provinces of North and South
Chulla, together with a few counties in the southern part of Chung
Chong assigned exclusively to the Southern Presbyterians. The Southern
province of Kyeng Keui is divided by counties between the Australian
and American Northern Presbyterians, but North Kyeng Keui is left
exclusively to the Northern Presbyterians. The provinces of North and
South Chung Chong fall jointly to the American Northern Presbyterians
and Methodists and a careful division of the territory by counties
is under consideration. Kang Won is divided between the Southern
Methodists and Northern Presbyterians and the Church of England, but
even here there are mutual arrangements to prevent overlapping. The
provinces of North and South Ham Kyeng have been left almost entirely
to the care of the Canadian Presbyterian Church, while the other
three provinces of Whang Hai and North and South Pyeng An are jointly
worked by the American Northern Presbyterian and Methodist churches, a
division according to counties having been arranged for most of this
section and under advisement for the balance.”[13]

[13] From “Call of Korea” by H. G. Underwood.

We find then that Seoul is the center for a very large and important
country work, divided between the missions of the Northern and Southern
Methodists and the Northern Presbyterians and includes parts of the
Southern province of Kyeng Keui with all of Kyeng Keui North and South
Chung Chong and Kang Won, giving a population of considerably over
three million people, that assigned to the Presbyterians of Seoul
alone having 1,500,000 inhabitants, and consists of a belt practically
covering the whole width of the peninsula, comprising an area slightly
less than that of West Virginia and about the same latitude. The
Presbyterians have 123 self-supporting churches, 178 places of regular
meeting, 1612 communicants, of which 315 were added last year, and
7500 adherents, and in 44 schools, they have an enrolment of over
750 scholars. For the care and oversight of all this they have eight
clerical men, two doctors and four single ladies, but it must be
remembered that three men must give the most of their time to Bible
translation and literary work and Seoul being in a way the center for
the whole field no small amount of technical business and committee
work of the Mission devolves on these men, as well as the Mission
schools. The Tract Society and Young Men’s Christian Associations and
the Bible Societies have their agencies here and all these societies
must claim a good deal of the time of Seoul missionaries, so that we
may say that not more than five men are able to look after the needs of
the great Bishopric of over 1,500,000 souls, the share of the Northern
Presbyterians.

Chong Ju, though as yet considered part of Seoul station and its
reports of work given there, will be in the near future a separate
station and is now occupied by two clerical missionaries, one of whom
is married. The work there is increasingly promising and the new
station is in a very populous district. Mr. F. S. Miller writes, “The
year has been one of lengthening cords, so that instead of 26 groups
and meeting places we have now 44, instead of 46 communicants there
are now 102, instead of 68 catechumens there are now 260, instead of
five church buildings there are now fourteen, instead of $264.10 gold
contributions there are $408.63. The work now extends eighty miles
north, sixty miles south, seventy miles west and thirty-three miles
east. We have groups and meeting places in twelve of the seventeen
counties of the northern province and are working in twenty counties of
the southern province. It takes two months of solid itineration to make
_the round of the established work alone_. The Christians received much
benefit from the revivals which the Spirit worked first in the city
church and then in a succession of country classes till even the most
conservative helper found himself in charge of a revival where he saw
such conviction of sin as he had not thought possible before.”

The Northern Methodists connected with Seoul station have oversight of
nearly 100 churches with 4283 members and some 2851 seekers. More than
one million people inhabit the territory of this Mission around Seoul
and for the care of all these together with charge of their publishing
house, which undertakes work for the whole country, and for the schools
and Women’s Hospital, they have only six men and seven single ladies.

At Seoul the Southern Methodists have four ordained men and four
single ladies. The last statistics of this Mission show 181 churches
with 89 church buildings, 4998 members. Before turning to some of the
other large centers of Mission work we must not forget to mention the
Methodist Mission Press, which is the only mission press in Korea
except a small one in Pyeng Yang, and the Y. M. C. A., which is
accomplishing great things for the large numbers of young men of wealth
and rank as well as for those of poorer families. Early in the history
of the work we began to realize the need of some means of reaching
the very large class of young men who would not go to the churches
or the schools, to provide a pleasant and attractive gathering place
where they could find simple and innocent amusement and instruction,
to make it all sufficiently attractive to be a means of reaching these
young men with the gospel. This of course was its first, last and only
_raison d’être_. Forthwith the Y. M. C. A. in America were approached.
Shortly after an agent was sent and from the first this association
has been an untold blessing and a great success. Hundreds of young men
belong; thousands attend and receive the gospel; the Koreans themselves
have given thousands of dollars towards its support. One Korean
gentleman from whom we wished to purchase land made a present of it to
the Association and last year so great was the number attending one of
the meetings that even the new temporary building was insufficient and
the great throng were obliged to meet under a tent temporarily put up
for the purpose.

It must be remembered that Koreans have no theatres, concerts, operas,
lectures, or any other evening entertainments. They haven’t even any
attractive saloons or gambling places. They gamble and drink, it is
only too true, but in their own homes, so that an attractive place
for evening entertainments like the Y. M. C. A. met one of the very
most crying needs of the public. There are classes here for the study
of music, English and Japanese, and other branches of learning. There
are games, newspapers, books and frequent entertainments, musical and
literary, and so this institution is reaching out widely among the best
families of the land, winning a place and a hearing for the missionary
and the gospel he proclaims, reclaiming lost young men, yes, whole
families, and bringing them into the true fold. Whether it may or may
not be the best thing elsewhere, it is certainly a necessity in Seoul,
and it has had so long and far a start of Satan’s man-traps that we
believe they will never be able to overtake it in the race. And now
let me give a few quotations from the letters of some of the Seoul
missionaries before turning to another part of the field.

A Methodist missionary from Seoul writes to “The Korea Field” of 1907.
“In the early spring of 1899 I itinerated through the southeastern
section of the Kyeng Keui province and baptized a man and two of his
family. It was like putting a match to dry prairie grass. Thereafter
until the present day it has been a constant hustle to gather in the
groups of believers springing up all over the territory and organize
them into churches. Before I left on furlough in 1905 the number of
believers had already reached into the thousands; since my return last
fall it has been a continual struggle to organize the work and man it
with efficient leaders and get it ready for a grand rally all over the
district. The little group composed of a man and his family baptized
in an obscure village was the first of a mighty host, for the work
begun there has spread into five provinces and now, as it stands on
our rolls, numbers 298 groups, besides a number of those that are not
yet counted, enrolling 16,202 believers. Daily new groups are coming
into existence and _pleading for guidance and instruction_. Chapels
have been built all over the district by earnest believers _who never
think of asking for foreign aid_ (in money). School buildings have been
secured and schools are being conducted on a modern plan. In this short
while I cannot tell all the wonders that His grace has wrought in this
part of the field, when I think of all the things that I have seen
during the last six months, my heart grows warm and glad within me. For
the best part of it is that people are being saved and are entering
into a live experience of redeeming grace.” This district has a second
time within two years been deprived of the care of its missionary, the
one who wrote this letter having been laid low by violent sunstroke,
and now this great district is in the hands of a new young missionary
who has not yet learned the language.

Here are a few extracts from the letter of one of the Presbyterian
missionaries at Seoul, written to “The Korea Field” of July, 1907.
His district is in North Kyeng Keui. “The first place visited was a
village twenty miles south of Seoul where _no missionary has ever been
before. I found a group of over fifty believers_, all an outgrowth of
the work of native Christians. I was further surprised to find a chapel
almost completed. * * * From morning till late in the evening we spent
examining men, women and children for admission as catechumens and
accepted most of them.”

He continues, “Ten miles north is my Soti group, noted for its
missionary zeal. Only a year ago the people built a fine big church
with a room adjoining it especially for the use of the foreign
missionary on his visits. During the past year, through the efforts
of the four leading men and chiefly of deacon Paik three groups of
Christians have grown up within a radius of three miles. One of these
groups numbers about twenty-five and has already purchased a house to
be used for worship. Another group was just started and consists of
eighteen adherents, while about forty men and women make up the third
group that will soon have a church building of their own. Every Sunday
one or two men are detailed from Soti for each of these three groups
to lead the morning and afternoon services.” The leading man, deacon
Paik, is of untiring missionary zeal and great earnestness. He has
been blessed with a big, strong body and does not hesitate to use it
for the church. To carry heavy loads of lumber for miles on his back
and to spend days in making mortar and plastering when the church was
being built, to walk forty miles in the winter to Seoul for the sake of
getting material for preparing the church, to start out ahead of me to
the next group, ten miles away, to prepare them for my visit, to carry
my heavy country boxes himself when no coolie could be found--all these
tasks are looked upon by him not as burdensome duties but a pleasant
privilege.”

At Tang Mok Kol for several years past there had been but one
Christian. Every Sunday he went three miles to the nearest church to
worship. A year ago three more men became believers and last winter the
gospel began to spread very rapidly among the villages. One of the new
converts was especially impressed with the necessity of getting a place
large enough to accommodate all the worshippers. Rather than wait until
the new converts would be able to build a church he sold his big fine
working bull (a bull is a farmer’s chief dependence and most valuable
possession) and purchased with the proceeds a meeting place. When I
asked him what he would do when farming time came, he told me he had
a young animal and by its aid he hoped to manage his work. What would
we think of a farmer who would sell all his working teams for the sake
of buying a church? And yet no one among the Koreans thought this act
very wonderful, even though the giver had been professing Christianity
only a few months and was not even a catechumen. The self-sacrifice of
this man produced the natural result and when shortly after my winter’s
visit the church became too small, the people at once obtained the
necessary timber and with their own hands enlarged the building. On
this visit I found a house seating sixty people and comfortably filled.”

Mr. Pieters continues, “In another village composed largely of inns a
group was formed and shortly after a building purchased for a church.
One of the Christians worked so enthusiastically that their numbers
grew rapidly. People who had all their lives been making their living
by selling whiskey gave up this means of livelihood and turned to
farming. Further on, deep in the hills, is an isolated village where a
number of men have been led to Christ by a boy. The latter had heard
the gospel in one of our churches and by his own words as well as by
the aid of Christian books he led his parents to believe. Then he began
to invite people to their house, talked and read his books to them
until one by one the neighbors accepted Christ.

“All last winter these converts went down every Sunday to the church
where the boy had been converted ten miles away but since this spring
one of the church members has been sent up there to conduct the Sunday
services there. It is quite unusual in Korea for a boy to take the
lead, for the Confucian ethics require a boy in the presence of older
people to be silently respectful. Thus came true the prophet’s words,
‘A little child shall lead them.’ In my next church there were a year
ago only a few believers. The need of a school for their children was
felt most keenly and I recommended as the teacher an earnest Christian,
an old man. He went for a very meagre salary, but spent his spare time
preaching to the people and teaching a number of people to read. The
group grew by last winter to about fifty men and women. Most of the
winter they met for their services in two rooms and on the open porch
of the house of one of the Christians. _When the freezing weather
came, it became trying to sit for an hour and a half in the open air
during the services_, and the people decided to build a church. By
buying trees in the hills and cutting them and carrying them down, by
collecting loose stones, by preparing other materials and doing all
the work with their own hands and by other very strenuous efforts,
the people succeeded in putting up a fine church that will seat 120
persons. One part was partitioned off and fitted for a school, but it
can be thrown open during the services. Four boys of this school, each
less than ten years old, came every day a distance of three miles to
study. Last winter I met one day the four little figures trudging along
the muddy road carrying in their mittless hands bowls of cold rice for
their dinner. They were cheerful and seemingly quite content to walk
the six miles every day since it gave them the opportunity of study
that so many boys did not have.

“The average earning capacity of the majority of families that make up
the Christian constituency of this district is about thirty dollars a
year for a whole family. Keeping these facts in mind, we can easily
see,” says Mr. Pieters, “how a contribution of two dollars, which
is quite common here when a church is being built, gives forty-fold
measured by standards of values in America. In addition, none of these
have been professing Christianity more than two years and none of them
are yet baptized. These are the catechumens and adherents.”

But we must turn away from these incidents illustrating so thrillingly
as they do the wonderful work of God among the people and the kind of
Christians He is calling into His fold there. Their liberality, their
consecration, their zeal, their faith, all proclaim them preeminently
the work of the Spirit, and these particular provinces do not abound
more in these examples, than others of which every missionary can tell.
These, in fact, have never been considered so hopeful and progressive
as those in the North.

Time and space will not suffice to describe as carefully the work of
every station as of the larger centers and we must hasten on. Fusan
Station was started next after Seoul, but a series of deaths and
removals from one unavoidable cause after another almost seemed to
indicate that the will of God was that the station itself should be
removed to some other place. But houses and a fine hospital having
been built, the brave missionaries have endured discouragement and
disappointment, not in the natives, but in the constant depletion of
their forces, and to-day as everywhere in Korea the work is rapidly
growing and spreading. The Presbyterian Hospital here, built by some
generous Christians in America, is absolutely up-to-date, and the
physicians’ work is an immense factor in spreading the knowledge of the
love of Christ through all the surrounding country. During the year
there have been added to this comparatively small church an increase
of almost fifty per cent. The territory of this station comprises
the Province of South Kyeng Seng and considering the Australians who
share the work, there are left to be evangelized by the American
Presbyterian Mission here 750,000 people. There are 47 self-supporting
churches, 520 communicant members, with 2017 adherents. All this work
is under the care of two clerical workers and the assistance of an
overworked doctor who sees thousands of patients and performs hundreds
of serious operations with no assistants but Koreans. The Australian
Presbyterian Mission who share this work here have a good local church
and girls’ school at Fusan and have started a new station at Chin Ju.
They have three clerical missionaries, one of whom is a doctor, and
three single ladies.

After Fusan, Pyeng Yang was the next station to be established in
Korea. Its history in the early times has been already given in
another chapter. Perhaps because of the many trials its people have
had to endure in the course of the two Japanese wars and subsequent
colonization by aliens, perhaps because from the earliest times,
first from Manchuria and then from Seoul the gospel seeds were most
persistently and continuously sown here, perhaps because the people
of the north are more ready and receptive, we know not, but the work
during the last fifteen years has multiplied and spread with far more
amazing rapidity in the north than in the middle and southern portions
of Korea.

The same can hardly be said much longer. Witness Mr. Swearer’s letter,
just quoted, and the wonderful percentage of growth in other places.
The south has at last taken fire, too, but nevertheless, even to-day,
the greatest fruits of mission efforts are being gathered in our
northern stations.

This station was started in 1893 and has under its care the province
of South Pyeng Yang which, though small, is thickly populated, and
a portion of North Whang Hai, including about 800,000 people to be
evangelized. There are seven ordained Presbyterian ministers on whose
shoulders in addition to this evangelistic work rests a large share
of theological instruction, two large educational institutions, the
preparation of school text-books and books of all kinds as well as the
care and direction of eleemosynary institutions such as a school for
the blind and home for the friendless.

The institutional work for women is largely under the care of two
ladies and the evangelistic work for women is ably undertaken by the
wives of the missionaries who all devote to it a great deal of time and
faithful work.

“One part of the province of Whang Hai, at first coming under the care
of Pyeng Yang station, about two years ago was set off with a part of
that belonging to Seoul station to form the new station of Chai Ryong,
and a part of Northern Pyeng An province which also was at first a part
of Pyeng Yang territory, was set aside to form the Syen Chun station
as the work grew too heavy and was too distant to receive the careful
constant oversight needed from Pyeng Yang city. The territory and work
in this province is shared with the Northern Methodists. A division
according to counties has been arranged between these two denominations
for most of this section and a similar division is now under advisement
for the balance. The Methodists have at present only three ordained
clerical missionaries and one physician to care for their share of
the evangelistic work in this district which includes the province
of South Pyeng An with the entire province of Whang Hai, making this
mission’s share of the population in the neighborhood of one million,
for whom there are only four ordained men, one of whom must give his
entire time to educational work. As with the Presbyterians, the wives
of the missionaries take a full and active part in the evangelistic
work. In 1893, when these two denominations planted their stations
and organized their two churches neither could have counted more than
twenty baptized members--not seventy-five baptized persons in the whole
province, not four chapels in the extent of their district. Now, 1907,
the Presbyterians have 164 self-supporting churches with 258 regular
meeting places, 6089 communicants of whom 1106 were added during the
year and 20414 adherents. For the instruction of the children in those
churches there are 111 parochial schools of which 110 are entirely
self-supporting, with an attendance of 3075 pupils. In the city are
four churches, Central, South, North and East, with another church to
be set off in the West almost at once. Although three other churches
have already been set off from the Central Church it is still too small
and they are compelled to hold two services for the accommodation of
the one congregation, packing the building first with men, later with
women. “It is here that the great prayer-meetings of between eleven and
twelve hundred are held, while on the same night similar meetings are
held in the other churches, giving some three or four thousand people
for the week night services. This has also become an institutional
church, with its church house in the center of the city with recreation
and reading rooms, night schools and classes for educational training
and a large book shop for the dissemination of the printed Word.”[14]

[14] “Korea’s Challenge,” by H. G. Underwood.

To a large extent the better class of the people of the city have
been reached and to-day the whole city feels the effect of Christian
influence. A Christian sentiment rules and the actions of church
members have a reflex influence on the whole community. Not only
is this the case within the city walls but this influence reaches
far into the country. Its own evangelists sometimes paid by the
native church, sometimes voluntarily at their own expense, go freely
everywhere, preaching, establishing groups of Christians, which become
self-supporting churches, and holding Bible classes. Most of these
groups have their schools and in their turn as they gain strength send
out evangelists and workers, thus multiplying the influence of the
gospel and everywhere that this influence prevails saloons are closed,
the Sabbath is kept holy, gambling and vice of every kind is suppressed
and first of all idolatry is abolished. Let me here quote a few lines
from the letter of an American young lady who visited some of the
services held in Pyeng Yang.

“We visited eight Sunday Schools--Sunday Schools of small boys and
small girls, of big boys and older girls, of married women and of
married men, varying from one to three hundred pupils respectively.
Every room was flooded with sunlight and crowded with white, spotless
linen-dressed men or women, though nothing had been said to them on
the subject of their appearance or their dress; the Christians have
all adopted the custom of making valiant efforts, no matter how poor
they are, to appear in clean clothes each Sunday. You can imagine what
this means for women who toil all day every day but Sunday, and who
wear voluminous white dresses and white handkerchiefs tied around their
heads like Dutch caps. The effect is wonderful. Their faces shone like
the morning, their clothes glistened like white satin. There were six
hundred gathered in one church for special women’s service at eleven
o’clock. Seated close together on the floor, facing me (I was at the
organ on the platform), with their black hair securely tied back under
their handkerchiefs, their dark eyes full of expression, their white
teeth glistening as they smiled at me or the speaker--they were truly
beautiful.”

The country work is divided into seven circuits and in both local and
city work those whose assignment is educational or medical assist also.
One of these city churches will accommodate about fifteen hundred. In
the others about eight hundred to one thousand can be received.

The Methodists have two large city churches, one of which is the First
Church of Pyeng Yang and the other the Drew-Appenzeller Memorial
Church. They have four country circuits with a total membership of 4958
to which we must add 5308 seekers. They have 43 primary schools with
1405 pupils.

In medical work the Presbyterians in charge of the Caroline A. Ladd
hospital and the Methodists have almost complete union, and the
evangelistic opportunities of these hospitals and dispensaries can
scarcely be overestimated. Thousands of patients are treated here every
year. Mrs. R. S. Hall, M.D., Methodist, has charge of the Hall Memorial
Hospital for women. Women’s work is carried on by the Methodists
through their married ladies and four single lady missionaries, one of
whom is a native Korean, educated in America and having received the
degree of M.D. in an American university. These ladies are constantly
engaged in giving Biblical and secular teaching both in the city and in
the country districts.

In both the Presbyterian and Methodist missions one of the strongest
features here as indeed all through Korea, is the system of training
classes “which are similar to a Bible Institute in America and range
from those who are just learning to read to those who have studied
their Bibles for years. In the Presbyterian Mission the class for 1907
from the country districts of Pyeng An, meeting in Pyeng Yang City,
reached an enrolment of about 1000, the classes for the men of the city
about 800 hundred, that for country women 560, that for city women 300.
In addition to these classes which in the case of the men was mainly
for leaders, 182 classes were held in central places in the country,
the women missionaries having charge of ten with an enrolment of 685
men, making altogether 192 of these classes with an enrolment of 9650.
We are sorry not to be able to give the figures of similar classes held
by the Methodists. We thus have a complete system of Bible instruction
which is illustrated by the following simple diagram.

[Illustration]

The large spots at the end of the radii represent the country centers
and to these the people from the little villages round, represented by
the small dots, gather to the country classes, while the leaders from
all these places, large and small, and many laymen, go up to Pyeng Yang
once a year to the leaders’ Bible training classes.

In this station is the theological seminary for all the Presbyterian
missions working in Korea. Here students carefully selected from all
over the country are in regular attendance three months of each year,
the rest of their time being spent in active evangelistic work. The
instructors here are missionaries from all the stations and from each
Presbyterian Mission, but those residing in Pyeng Yang do a greater
portion of this work than others. A much more extended and complete
union in educational work between Methodists and Presbyterians has been
attained in Pyeng Yang than elsewhere. In the college and academic work
of this section there has been a tentative union, but those engaged
in this believe it will soon be a fixed arrangement. This educational
work is under the especial charge of the Presbyterian missionaries
assisted by other members of the station and by one of the Methodist
missionaries. The growth during the last year, especially, has been
very great.

Two single ladies have charge of the institutional work of the
Presbyterians. There are girls’ schools and women’s Bible classes in
both city and country districts.

A letter very recently received, February, 1908, giving a few reports
from the country circuits, will show something of the present progress
of missions there. Mr. Swallen, reporting for his itinerating work from
October to December, 1907, says in substance, “During a trip in which I
visited every point except one or two of the smallest ones I found the
work exceedingly encouraging. Especially through the central west all
the churches are growing rapidly. I made one visit to Pastor Seng’s,
holding a circuit class--Bible--in the latter section attended by two
hundred men and a leaders’ meeting with an attendance of nearly one
hundred. The work of the circuit is so great that it has been divided
and hereafter there will be two leaders’ meetings and two circuit
classes. Last year the district supported eleven helpers at a cost of
twelve hundred nyang each, thirteen nyang more than this sum being in
the Treasurer’s hands at the end of the year. Since then two of the
helpers have become pastors and are receiving thirty-six hundred nyang,
but in addition to this the people propose to support ten helpers and
have increased the salaries of all who are helpers of experience. Still
more, they have given enough money to send a helper to the new mission
field in the island of Quel Part, the mission field of Chu Chu. I
feel strongly the need of instruction for the multitudes coming in. I
preached every day and night but what is that when the need is so great
and much of my preaching is special instruction at the commemoration
of the Lord’s Supper. Even the helpers cannot spend much time in
instruction; there are so many places to visit they can scarcely know
all the people. There must be lay instruction and I feel very strongly
that _we must do something at once in the matter of teaching those
who are to give it_. At one class twenty of the leaders and deacons
alone expressed their desire to study for a month in Pyeng Yang in
preparation for this work. During the three months I have baptized
500 adults and 14 children and have received 799 catechumens. Thirty
women’s classes have been arranged for aside from the circuits in
charge of the two pastors, and during the first two weeks of the Korean
New Year forty-four classes for men will be held in the district.”
These classes are from a week to ten days’ duration. The same letter
goes on to say that “Mr. Bernheisel during fifty-five days in the
country travelled about 650 miles, visiting 43 groups of Christians....
There are now five helpers in this district. 164 adults were received
in baptism and 277 catechumens. In October Mr. Lee baptized 57 adults
in his Whang Chu circuit and found great advance in educational lines.
There are now eleven boys’ schools and one academy, seven night schools
and four schools for girls. The church in Whang Chu purchased for three
thousand nyang a fine tiled building, formerly a Roman Catholic church
to be used as their school.

“Early in November Mr. Moffett made his first visit to his Eastern
circuit in company with the newly ordained Pastor Han, they together
receiving in baptism 73 adults in three churches. In their district
four classes for women had an aggregate attendance of 123.”

Tai Ku, being the third largest city in Korea, in the midst of a very
densely populated province, that of North Kyeng Seng, of which it is
the capital, a station was opened here, in 1899. The missionaries
had taken their residence there in 1897. This province is said to
contain 1,750,000 people and is left entirely to our mission and here
in this city is a fairly well equipped hospital, a church with an
average attendance of between seven and eight hundred and an academy
which it is expected will meet the needs of Tai Ku and Fusan for some
years to come. “It is still pioneering work in this district. The
work is divided into that of the city and four country districts.
In the latter they have 85 entirely self-supporting churches with
564 communicants--of whom 280 were added during the year--and
6145 adherents. These churches have 49 schools, 46 being entirely
self-supporting, with an enrolment of 433 pupils. The numbers of
applicants and baptized have been nearly doubling themselves in this
station yearly for the past three or four years. All this work with the
responsibility for nearly two millions souls is on the shoulders of
four ordained men and one physician, their wives and one single woman.
“The responsibility,” I said, humanly speaking, for could they not cast
this burden on the Lord it would certainly crush them, but in addition
to the knowledge, the inspiring knowledge that they are workers
together with Him, they also realize that they have the earnest prayers
of brother missionaries and of Christians in home lands.

The members of the Southern Presbyterian Mission arrived in 1893 and
have always worked in harmony with the Northern church. They assisted
the Northern Mission for a few years while studying the language and
finally started their first station in Chun Ju, the adjacent territory
for which they are responsible having a population of five hundred
thousand. There are 60 out stations, 386 communicants, 4000 adherents
and there are ten schools of which nine are self-supporting. There is
only one missionary and his wife to work this territory. Kun Son is
really the port of Chun Ju and with its surrounding population has a
territory inhabited by five hundred thousand people with four clerical
men, one of whom is married, to care for them. They report 27 out
stations, 381 communicants, 1150 adherents, six schools and 125 pupils.

Mok Po and Quang Ju should be considered as one station, the one being
the port, the other the capital of this southern province and this
station has entire charge of the province of South Chulla Chulla, with
a population something over one million. Here are four missionaries,
three of whom are married and one single lady. They report 53 out
stations, 284 communicants, 3260 adherents and carry on three schools
with 66 pupils. Two million people are here left to be evangelized
by eight missionaries. Says the Rev. Mr. Preston, “The number of
recognized stations on my circuit has grown from seven to fourteen. A
chain of stations within easy distance of each other has been effected.
The growth has been very gratifying. I examined in all 331 people of
whom 74 received baptism and 193 were received as catechumens. The
total number in these groups is 120 baptized and 188 catechumens, as
against 49 baptized and 75 catechumens last September. It seems hard
to realize that only a year and a half ago this work consisted of Mok
Po with 27 baptized and 17 catechumens, Soo Yung with six catechumens
and Sadong with none. Mok Po is in a flourishing condition, the _growth
having been more than fifty per cent in the last nine months_. This,
too, is in the south, where it was said by some only a few years ago
that the people were so different from those in the north we could
never expect similar results among them.”

The Canadian Presbyterians, arriving in 1898, have by mutual agreement
been assigned the northern province of Ham Kyeng and have stations
at Won San, Ham Eung and one point still further north. They have at
present six clerical workers, one male physician, one lady doctor and
one other single woman. They have 62 self-supporting churches with
814 members, adherents 3830, who gave last year $2,573.34. Almost the
entire population of this province is left to their care.

Syen Chun was set aside as a station in 1901, when the work in North
Pyeng Yang was growing so rapidly that it was impossible to care
for it from the old center. The territory is about three hundred
miles long by one hundred and fifty wide and includes a population
of about eight hundred thousand, of whom fully five hundred thousand
are the Presbyterian allotment, for the Methodists located at Yeng
Byen have divided this with them. When this station was opened, the
enrolled membership including catechumens was 1800. There are now in
charge three married clerical missionaries, one doctor and his wife
and two single women. A new church to accommodate fifteen hundred
people has just been erected in this town which, with a men’s Sunday
School numbering eight hundred and a women’s numbering seven hundred
thirty-three, is only a part of the results since the station was
established.

The country work is divided into twenty-one circuits and during the
year twenty-four new groups have been started. Included in this
territory is the Kang Kei district to the north east. Here there are
three circuits with three helpers, thirteen school teachers, three home
missionaries and two colporteurs, all entirely supported by the native
church.

The difficulty of access and the great distance make it imperative
that a new station should be started here at Kang Kei as the people
are eager, intelligent and among the most responsive and progressive
in the province. For this new station at least two ordained men and a
physician will be necessary.

During the past year, 1906-7, this station reports 102 churches, all
self-supporting, with 4,639 communicants, of whom 1085 were added
last year and a total of adherents of 15,348. These churches support
103 schools with an enrolment of 2,290 pupils. The rapidly increasing
number of graduates from primary schools who demanded further
instruction and the insistence of their parents have made it necessary
to open temporary academies in various parts of the province but these
will be now united at Syen Chun, the necessary funds having been
generously given by a Christian woman in New York.

The two single ladies with the missionaries’ wives have women’s work in
charge which includes women’s training classes, girls’ schools and two
girls’ academies to be opened for a part of the year.

Chai Ryong station was started like Syen Chun because the rapidly
increasing work made it seem necessary to place resident missionaries
in their midst, so this station was opened in 1905-6 with three
married clerical men and one doctor and his wife. In this city the
natives have built and paid for a new church with a seating capacity
of one thousand. The missionaries report 98 self-supporting churches,
2,255 communicants, of whom 417 were added during the year and 7,420
adherents. These churches carry on 45 parochial schools with 771
pupils. It was this district with regard to which much that has been
written in previous chapters of this book had reference and here are
some of the oldest of the Christian communities.

A summary of the missions of the Northern Presbyterian Church in
Korea shows that she is solely responsible for six million seven
hundred thousand people and in carrying out this work she has one
embryo theological seminary, one college, three academies, three
hundred thirty-nine primary schools for girls and boys, and here we
are speaking rather of teachers and scholars than of buildings and
equipment.

They have 619 self-supporting churches, carrying on meetings in 767
places, have enrolled 15,079 communicants, of whom 3,421 were admitted
last year, giving a total of adherents of 59,787. (The others, making
about eighty thousand, belong to the other Presbyterian Church.) The
Southern Presbyterian Church has six hospitals and asks for two more at
once and an immediate reinforcement of missionaries.

As has been said, all the different missions of the Presbyterians
working in Korea form one united native church of Jesus and work
in every way as one mission, having a Council of Missions meeting
annually. With the consent of the governing bodies of these missions
an advance was made in 1907, when a Presbytery was organized to take
oversight of all the Presbyterian churches and was constituted with
Dr. S. A. Moffett in the chair at the city of Pyeng Yang on the
seventeenth of September, 1907. He writes, “The Presbytery had as
its representatives elders from thirty-six fully organized churches,
at least two other churches with elders not being represented. The
Presbytery then elected its officers and as its first work began
the examination of the seven men who had finished the theological
course of five years and proceeded to their ordination. At the night
meeting, in a very impressive service, the seven men were ordained. The
Presbytery consisted, after the ordination, of these men, of thirty-two
foreign missionaries and forty Korean ministers and elders. It has
ecclesiastical jurisdiction over a church with 17,890 communicants,
21,482 catechumens, 38 fully organized churches, 984 churches not fully
organized, adherents numbering 69,098, and day schools 402 with 8,611
pupils. This church contributed last year for all purposes $47,113.50.

The ordained men were appointed as pastors or copastors over groups of
churches except two, one of whom was called by the Central Church of
Pyeng Yang, and one was sent as a missionary to Quel Part, the whole
church to provide the money to send with him one or more helpers. Thus
the infant church, needing sorely more helpers at home, sends its first
foreign missionary abroad.

The Methodist Church has centered its work for North Pyeng An in the
city of Yeng Byen and has divided it into six circuits. The territory
is about three hundred miles long by one hundred fifty wide and has a
population of about eight hundred thousand, and of these at least three
hundred thousand are the Methodist allotment.

There are at the present time 551 members with 405 seekers. They have
nine primary schools with 185 pupils and for the care of all this work
only one man and his wife have been assigned.

The whole allotment, then, according to division of territory, of
the Methodist mission in Korea is about three million people to be
reached. There are several hospitals and dispensaries but not enough.
The Methodist Churches North and South have united along educational
lines in establishing the Biblical Institute of Korea for theological
instruction. The Northern Church unites with the Presbyterian in Pyeng
Yang in college and academic work, and it has established a college at
Seoul and has a large number of primary schools that center in a normal
institute meeting annually at the capital.

In the development of her evangelistic work there are 23,455 members
and probationers, 16,158 seekers and 113 schools with 4,267 pupils.

The Southern Methodist mission have already been frequently
referred to but their work at Song Do and Won Son has not yet been
mentioned, because it has been the desire to speak of the work of
all denominations as far as possible together, to show the force and
the strength of the whole church of Christ in these sections where
more than one mission was at work. But, as has already been said, the
Southern Methodists have a compact piece of territory, triangular in
shape, with Song Do, Seoul and Won Son at each apex, and Seoul being
the only place where they have work with other missions, Won Son and
Song Do have not yet been mentioned.

Song Do was the objective point of this mission at the start and there
they contemplate having their largest plant. There are two married men
and one single man for evangelistic work and two clergymen, one of
whom is a Korean gentleman educated in America, for their educational
institutions, and two doctors and three single ladies. They intend to
make this city the seat of large educational institutions for girls
and boys. They have in Song Do at present in their advanced school one
hundred and fifty students. At Won Son, the most northeasterly point of
their territory, they have two evangelistic workers, one educational,
one medical worker and three single ladies. They have here one city
church with a large number of country churches, a day school for boys,
a boarding school for girls and a dispensary. The last statistics of
the mission show 181 organizations with 89 churches or chapels, and
4,998 members, who gave last year $2,380.26.

The English Society for the Propagation of the Gospel has already
been mentioned. Besides their work in Seoul they have evangelistic
and medical missions at Chemulpo and Kang Wha and a substation at Su
Won. Their workers are fine, earnest and efficient people and we only
regret that they are so few and that we have not been able to get their
statistics in time for these chapters. We hope that although our forms
of worship are so different they and we may at no distant date be able
to enter into the same union in which we believe every true church of
our blessed Lord must come.

A few incidents have been related to show the attitude and
characteristics of the native Christians, and the manner in which the
gospel is being carried among the Koreans. One point which is very
marked is that they consider the work their own. They do not depend
on missionaries or leaders alone to preach and spread it abroad, but
each man, woman and child feels that it is his or her business as far
as possible to “pass on the Word.” While some of these people are
ignorant, some are well educated and some are brilliant young men
who have refused various inducements to accept high positions in the
political and mercantile world and who are devoting their best strength
and much or all of their time at tremendous sacrifice to serve their
Saviour.

The attitude of the Christians everywhere is that of joy and triumph.
Purified in the cleansing fires of the Holy Spirit during the great
revivals of a year ago, they are going forward with new enthusiasm,
devotion, consecration, aroused faith, as one man, to win and save
all their countrymen. The missionaries, too, were never so much one
in heart, thought and action, never so fully aroused and alert, never
so full of assurance and gratitude. Not a man or woman but thanks God
that they are privileged to live at this day and work with Him in this
place and see the glorious things that He is doing. Not one but feels
certain God has far greater things in store in the future than in the
past. Not one but believes more than ever in the power of prayer, but
believes that through prayer Korea may be, shall be won for Christ in
the near future. Pulses are quickening, blood is tingling with the
wonder and the glory of it and we ask ourselves how it is that we, _we_
are permitted to see and hear these things. “For the wilderness and the
solitary place shall be glad for them and the desert shall rejoice and
blossom as the rose.”

In the days of Moses God led His people out of Egypt and through the
desert with a series of awful judgments and wonderful miracles, and
established them in Canaan, under His own divine laws, as an object
lesson to the age of His mighty power and of His ideal of a nation,
a symbol and example to His Church. And it looks altogether possible
and probable that now, when faith seems to be growing cold, when
sceptics are so openly questioning the power of God’s pure Gospel, He
is intending to use one of the weakest and most despised of the peoples
to illustrate what the Gospel pure and simple can do to evangelize a
whole nation. One of the men of the New Theology asked me anxiously
whether we “were teaching the Koreans a theology that would soon
need revising.” Thank God the theology the Koreans are being taught
is not man made or man revised. Thank God He is vindicating the “old
time religion,” the old time theology, the old time Bible, as good
enough for Korea, powerful to the pulling down of heathen strongholds,
powerful to change wicked men into good men, heathen communities into
righteous, pure and good ones. Unto Higher Critics--a stumbling block,
unto liberal New Theologians--foolishness, but to those who take Him
simply as little children and His Word--the power of God and the wisdom
of God unto salvation, because the foolishness of God is wiser than
men, the weakness of God is stronger than men, and He is choosing the
foolish things of the world to confound the wise; He is choosing the
weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty, and He
is saying to the men who stand as the Jews and Greeks of our Western
Churches, “Here is base, despised Korea. Behold what the old Bible, the
old Gospel, with the teaching of the Spirit, received and believed, can
do for her.”

It is in this way the finger of God is pointing, it is in this way He
is leading, and we are following after, if we may apprehend that for
which we were apprehended by Christ Jesus; reaching forth, we press
toward the mark _for the prize of the high calling of God for the whole
nation of Korea_ in Christ Jesus.[15]

[15] All the facts and statistics given in this chapter are taken
from “The Call of Korea,” by H. G. Underwood, “The Korea Field,” and
personal letters, and recollections and Mission Official Reports.



CHAPTER XIX

    Pentecostal Blessing--Special Meetings--Prayer
    Answered--Confession of Sin--Revival in Schools--Great
    Meetings--Bible Study--Effects of Blessings--Transforming
    Power--Holy Spirit Revival--Comparative Statement of
    Growth--Features of the Great Work--Union of Christians in
    Korea.


The story of “How the Spirit Came to Korea” reads more like an extract
from the Acts of the Apostles than an account of what could have
happened in our modern matter-of-fact world. More than twenty-four
years ago mission work was begun in this country, but before we relate
that story of first beginnings, let us turn to the last page and look a
little, as best we may at a distance, and see how God had been crowning
and perfecting His work of grace there.

It seems to the writer, in looking back over the history of events for
beginnings and causes, that the beginning as far as can be told was at
the conference for prayer and consecration held by all the American
missionaries of both Methodist and Presbyterian denominations in Seoul,
August, 1904. There had then come upon all present, unexpectedly,
overwhelmingly, a powerful impulse toward closer fellowship and entire
union in work, and the conviction that the native Church in Korea ought
emphatically to be one. Men were swept away with an irresistible tide
of enthusiasm. No one wished or attempted to resist the mighty movement
of the Spirit. All who were present testified to the blessed sense of
the presence of the Spirit of Love. Hearts glowed; brother drew nearer
to brother; misunderstandings, differences, divergencies of method, of
creed, seemed trifling and insignificant; difficulties vanished away or
were brushed aside; and they voted unanimously for a Council of Union
of all the missions working in Korea, and for a United Native Church of
Christ.

It was a blessed experience, but, as might have been expected, the
powers of evil would never quietly submit without interference to a
measure so calculated for their overthrow, so in keeping with the
Lord’s will, and there forthwith sprang up in the minds of a few,
difficulties, doubts, mistrusts and hindrances. Nevertheless, a similar
meeting was held in August, 1905. A Union Council was then regularly
organized with officers and rules. Plans were made and various
committees formed to forward and perfect the organization of one United
Native Church of Christ in the near future. Again one Spirit seemed to
fill all hearts. One impulse of holy love to our Lord and to each other
seemed to move us all to one supreme consummation--obedience to the
dying command of the Master, and we all felt that He would follow this
with still greater blessings.

In the fall of that same year, Dr. Hardie and other missionaries of Won
San received a baptism of the Holy Spirit with power, characterized by
a deep and searching sense of sin and God’s awful holiness and majesty.
This experience was extended to the native Christians as well, and
with deep repentance came a new feeling of peace and a greater zeal
and consecration than ever before. To the other mission stations and
communities of native Christians the news of this came, as well as
thrilling accounts of what God was doing in Wales, in India and in
other parts of the world, and a great longing filled all souls. “Bless
me, even me, also, oh, my Father,” was the continued cry of their
longing hearts.

Dr. Hardie came to Seoul and held meetings with some of the native
Christians and the missionaries. Many felt that they had received a
blessing, but there was no very marked or general revival.

At the annual meeting of our Mission, 1905, there was one afternoon
set apart for a special meeting of the women missionaries for mutual
conference as to the best means of bringing Koreans and themselves into
closer and fuller walk with God, and to pray for renewed consecration.
It was a solemn heart-searching time. They seemed to realize that
all their efforts and prayers and desires had hitherto been but
half-hearted compared with what they should have been, and ere they
parted, they, on their knees, joined in a mutual promise to pray by
name every day for the quickening and full sanctification of each
other. It is not possible to put into words the deep impression made
on the minds of most of the women present by the Holy Spirit, in that
little meeting.

Not long after, a little printed pledge to pray daily for the
outpouring of the Spirit on the Korea missionaries, on the native
Christians and on the heathen communities, was sent by one of the
Southern Presbyterians to each missionary in Korea to be signed and
kept if he wished. It was simply putting into definite form the leading
of the Spirit in all our hearts, a united cry, “Bless me, even me,
also, oh, my Father.” It was the cry heard in our little circles of
prayer. It was the continued petition of our closets, the principal
thought and desire filling our conscious moments. The natives were
moved as one man with us. Some of the little churches held nightly
meetings of prayer for this blessing. For months, even years, some had
been holding these meetings before the foreigners began.

The women in some of the churches met regularly to pray for this. It
was the chief theme of their requests at all their services. How they
prayed in secret none but God knows, but each man and woman knew how he
or she was led to besiege the throne, with a spirit that would not be
denied, that with fasting and strong crying, continued in supplication
before God. It was prayer divinely led, for even as the blessing was
demanded, as it were, the weak flesh wondered how such large things as
we were irresistibly impelled to ask could possibly be expected. We
prayed that there should be Pentecostal outpourings; that thousands
should turn to Christ; that the great class of the nobility, (as yet
untouched), so bound down by caste, by custom and social usage, by
political requirements and family duties and bonds, should come into
the kingdom; that the church should be spiritualized; that Koreans,
intellectually converted, should realize the hideousness of sin; and
that we, natives and foreigners, might “comprehend with all saints what
is the height and depth and breadth and length and to know the love of
Christ that passeth knowledge and be filled with all the fulness of
God.”

These were the prayers that had been unitedly offered by all the
missions at the conferences held every year since August, 1904, at the
churches, native and foreign, at family worship, in little neighborhood
prayer-meetings, in the closet and as they walked the streets or went
about their work.

As has been said, the first blessings had fallen upon Won San. The
next report of which I have note is from Mokpo, where Mr. Gerdine held
services in October, 1906, twice a day for a week, from whence the
report came, saying:

“The word was like a scalpel, laying bare the secret sins and hidden
cancers of the soul. Strong men wept like children, confessing their
sins, and as they realized the Saviour’s forgiveness and peace with
God, their faces shone and the church rang with hymns of triumph. Men
stood six deep waiting to testify of blessing received, sins forgiven,
differences healed, victory over self, and baptism of the Spirit. From
the beginning the spirit of _prayer_, _intercession_ and _confession_
was poured out in a remarkable way.”

In August, 1906, a Bible and prayer conference was held at Pyeng Yang,
by the missionaries of that station, for the deepening of their own
spiritual life. Dr. Hardie, of Won San, was present and “helped them
greatly,” and Mr. Lee writes that there was born in their hearts the
desire that God would take complete control of their lives and use
them mightily in His service. Immediately after this, at Seoul, during
the Annual Meeting of the Presbyterian missionaries, many of them
received much blessing and aid in meeting Dr. Howard Agnew Johnson,
who had already been greatly used in helping the Seoul missionaries.
He went to Pyeng Yang later and stirred up fervent desire in the
hearts of native Christians by telling them of the wonderful blessing
poured into India, “and from that time natives and missionaries were
praying for the blessing, till it came,” says Mr. Lee. To one looking
back over the whole history of events, it had already begun. All the
previous fall and winter we had seen that something wonderful was
happening. A new spirit was abroad. There was a shaking and rustling
among the dry bones. Christians were not only praying but working.
Even those who had never done much hitherto, would go out into the
country and spend several days or even weeks at a time, preaching to
unbelievers and teaching Christians, the letters that came from other
missions and other stations in all parts of Korea to the capital as
booksellers and native helpers sent in their reports, all were of
the same nature; “Not enough books, tracts and hymn books for those
who want to buy,”--“The Bibles all gone. Unpublished new edition
all sold in advance,”--“Churches and chapels crowded,”--“Inquirers
multiplying,”--“Numbers of baptized and newly enrolled
catechumens far in advance of any previous time,”--“Missionaries
over-worked,”--“Hospitals paying their own running expenses better than
ever before,”--“Many new groups formed,” till our hearts thrilled and
we felt “this is surely the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous.” God was
answering the prayers of His people.

In our churches the sight of the increasing crowds every Sunday deeply
stirred us. To see the throngs which not only filled to suffocation
the little buildings but stood crowding the windows and doors, was to
us who had seen the first feeble timid beginnings of a little handful
of men and women, beyond power of description, glorious and thrilling.
We knew that this eager, anxious throng were there because _Jesus of
Nazareth was passing by_. At every service Christians came to the
missionaries bringing those who had made their decision for Christ;
from one or two to whole families. Idols were cast away and Christ was
chosen. We could hear the Master’s stately steppings and we felt that
the place whereon we stood was holy ground.

In Pyeng Yang, fervent prayer was continually offered for a special
manifestation of God’s power, by natives and missionaries in special
daily meetings as well as in private. Just before Christmas special
noon meetings were held by the missionaries for the Men’s Bible
Training Class. These men from the country, said by Mr. Swallen, who
had charge of the enrolment, to number about one thousand, had come up
for the winter Bible class, from many villages and distant districts.
Some had walked many miles, most of them bringing their supplies of
rice with them. On January 6th, evening meetings for the Class and the
people of the city began in the large Central Church which holds about
fifteen hundred. As it would have been much too small for an audience
of both sexes, it was arranged for the men only to meet in this
building and the women were asked to meet separately in four different
places, and the schoolboys in the Academy chapel. The Central Church
was full of men every night. The meetings grew in power until Saturday,
which was best day of the whole week. Sunday evening the expected
blessing was withheld, but on Monday night the wonderful manifestation
of God’s Presence came.

It was marked, as had been those in Won San and Mokpo, by “a spirit
of prayer,” conviction of sin, confession and intercession. Awful and
overwhelming conviction of sin was its most marked feature. Men wept,
groaned, beat their breasts, falling to the ground and writhing in
agony. Mr. Lee, speaking of one of those who confessed said, “In a
broken voice he began to pray and such a prayer I never heard before.
We had a vision of a human heart laid bare before its God. As he
prayed, he wept. In fact he could hardly control himself, and as he
wept, the audience wept with him. We all felt as if we were in the
presence of the living God.”

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, the same wonderful
manifestations, the same overwhelming sense of the immediate presence
of the awful glory of God. Mr. Hunt says of them, “Two or three most
earnest prayers were followed by such an outpouring of the Spirit
as I had never before witnessed--great strong men, half a dozen at
a time, pleading for forgiveness and confessing their sins in great
agony of spirit. From that day on there was not a day without some new
proof of His presence with us individually and collectively. There was
public confession of sin that brought agonized groans from the entire
congregation. There were private confessions to God which brought
strong men to tears. There were similar confessions to men, accompanied
by restoration or other real mending of wrong. It was a time of praying
such as we had never known before. The prayer meetings were crowded.
The meetings held each evening in the big church were crowded, men only
being admitted. Whole companies were reduced to tears. In the boys’
schools the work spread and to those at first most sceptical came the
most bitter suffering. Between these schools had sprung up some bitter
rivalry. By reason of the Spirit’s work among them, love and an earnest
spirit of intercession has taken its place.”

On the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the same manifestations of power
were felt in the advanced school for girls and women, and at the
Central Church Boys’ School, which had been experienced in the men’s
meetings. On Thursday the Spirit fell on the primary school for girls.
Mrs. Bernheisel went down to the girls’ school in the city and found
the Spirit there also; she wrote, “The Spirit of God literally fell on
us, and we couldn’t help but weep and confess our sins.” Saturday night
the power fell upon the women of the church.

“All through the class, the women had been meeting separately,” says
Mr. Lee, “but there had been no special manifestation among them, and
it was decided to hold special meetings for them also in the Central
Church on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings following. On
Saturday night the power was felt and the women agonized over their
sins and confessed as the others had done, and on Monday and Tuesday
evenings the meetings for women being continued, God’s mighty power
continued to be manifested. So great was the strain that one of the
women became unconscious.”

Mrs. Baird writes that “it was a matter of regret to all that the Pyeng
Yang college and academy was not in session at the time of the gracious
visitations described by Mr. Lee. Several of the resident students
were led through a very wonderful experience, and on all sides the
earnest hope was expressed and the prayer offered that the beginning
of the spring term might witness another wonderful manifestation of
God’s power and that not one of the students might be left unvisited.”
Several days before the opening of the school, “informal prayer
meetings, attended as well by several of the Korean members of the
school faculty were held in the Principal’s study. One morning, feeling
burdened, he sought out his fellow (missionary) worker who had been
much exercised in prayer and the two knelt together and prayed for the
descent of the Spirit upon the school. It was at that hour that the
storm broke in the study. Cries and sobs of anguish filled not only the
room but the whole house.”

For two wonderful weeks the work went on among the boys, with whom
meetings were held every day at four. “No attempt was made to lead
these meetings. Indeed, leadership would have been impossible. All
were prostrate on their faces and all alike except those who had
already received a blessing were in an agony of repentance. Sometimes
they beat their foreheads and heads against the floor, sometimes they
literally writhed in anguish,--then when there seemed no more power
of resistance left they would spring to their feet and with terrible
sobs and crying pour out their confessions. No human power could have
dragged these confessions to light.”

At the beginning of the school term the usual curriculum was laid
aside, the first week was devoted to Bible study and prayer, reserving
the evenings for devotional services with the whole school. On the
first evening one young man after another sprang to his feet and
testified to a sense of pardon, peace and joy. But these were only a
small part of the three hundred young men and boys present, and many
remained “cold and lumpish as ice.” The battle was between our God
and His forces on one hand and all the hosts of Satan on the other.
Students who had received a blessing spent hours of every day in prayer
and _some spent whole nights on their faces before God_.

At the meeting of the second evening, before ever the leader took his
place, the tide of prayer began rising and though three young men arose
one after another and attempted to lead in prayer, their voices were
not heard in the tumult of intercessory supplication that broke out. As
prayer continued, the building began to resound with groans and cries.
Many fell forward on their faces on the floor.

At this meeting and two that followed it was noted that while most
of the Presbyterian students had been reached, the body of Methodist
students was still largely untouched. The local Methodist preacher, an
unusually able man _had from the first been opposed to union in the
school or in any other way, and had used his influence against it_.
He had longed for a blessing on his people and when it fell first on
the Presbyterians was jealous and displeased, and it was feared in
several quarters that he was using his influence both in the pulpit
and the class room to throw discredit on the movement. Special prayer
was therefore made for him by native and foreign members of both
denominations. On Friday evening the break in the Methodist ranks
began. One young man after another, members of a band who had agreed
together that they would stand out against the prevailing influences,
gave up all pretence of resistance and cast themselves on the Lord for
mercy. At midnight there were as many as fifty risen to their feet
awaiting their turn to confess their sins. During the evening many
threw themselves on their knees before the preacher and confessed that
they had done wrong in yielding to his influence. Conviction seized
upon him and at the close of the meeting this proud man was weeping
in the arms of the missionaries and sobbing out penitent confessions
of coldness, wilfulness and jealousies. During the remaining evenings
there was little disposition to resist the Holy Spirit. Then the Lord
began pouring out His blessings upon the Methodist congregations in the
city and the same wonderful manifestations were exhibited here that had
been seen elsewhere.

Mr. McCune said of the men’s meetings. “The room full of men was filled
with voices lifted to God in prayer. I am sure that most of the men
in the room were praying aloud. Some were crying and pleading God’s
forgiveness for certain sins which they named to Him in prayer. All
were pleading for the infilling of the Holy Ghost. Although there were
so many voices there was no confusion at all. It was all a subdued
perfect harmony. I cannot explain it with words.”

“We missionaries had our union meetings with the Methodists one week
before the class began. They were a source of the richest blessing to
all of us and when we were closing Thursday evening it being suggested
that we continue the meetings for the next week or so at noontime, we
decided to do so. Daily we have been waiting there and praying for the
Holy Spirit. _We have no leader for the meeting. Each one who enters
the room quietly kneels down and as he is led prays._”

“We find that these meetings of ours are blessed _just in proportion
as we spend the whole time from first to last on our knees in prayer
or proffering requests for_ prayer or thanksgiving, _precluding much
conversation or discussion_, even upon the progress or incidents of the
revival.”

The blessing fell on both Methodists and Presbyterians, on missionaries
and natives. Mr. Noble, of the M. E. Church of Pyeng Yang says, “We are
having the most wonderful manifestations of the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit on the native churches that I have ever seen or heard. Perhaps
there has been no greater demonstration of Divine power since the
Apostles’ days. At every meeting the slain of the Lord are laid out all
over the church, men and women are stricken down and become unconscious
under the power of conviction. The whole city is mourning as people
mourn for their dead. Many spend whole nights in their homes agonizing
in prayer, either for their own pardon or in behalf of others. The
people break out in spontaneous prayer. Hundreds of voices fill the
church with a murmur that has no more discord than would the notes from
so many instruments of music.”

From Syen Chun Miss Samuels writes of the coming of the Spirit in
power in January. Mr. Clark wrote from Seoul, “During the past month,
February, the most marvellous working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts
of Christians in this city has been the subject of daily conversation.
Revival meetings have been in progress in all the churches. I am
reminded of the history which records the wonderful results that
followed the preachings of Whitfield and Wesley.”

So the power spread like wildfire from station to station and from
little country group to group, at the country classes and among both
Methodists and Presbyterians, time and space failing here to give
extracts from all the thrilling reports that were sent.

And now what were the results of this wonderful revival? Was it a mere
wave of emotionalism? Korea had known Christianity for many years but
never before had anything been seen like this.

What results can it show as a seal to its divine origin? “By their
fruits ye shall know them,” said our Lord. “Men do not gather grapes of
thorns or figs of thistles.” Satan does not cast out Satan, and here on
all sides we see following these revivals sinners converted, those who
had done wrong making confession and restitution of money and goods,
the churches crowded to overflowing with inquirers and new believers,
the coffers of the Lord’s treasury filled, and men of different
denominations lovingly joining hands, putting away old jealousies,
forwarding the Lord’s kingdom shoulder to shoulder. Let me quote again
a few particular instances mentioned by men working in different
denominations in various parts of the field.

Mr. J. Z. Moore, writing to “The Korea Field,” says, “Many incidents
could be told but two must suffice. A young man who had been a
Christian for some time received a strange new fire into his life and
went to his parents, who were not Christians, pleading with them in
tears. They gave up keeping the saloon they had had for twenty years
and are now earnest followers of Christ. In two large towns about
a half mile apart there were two quite strong groups. Ever since I
have had the work I have been trying to get them to unite and build a
church, but a church quarrel has always frustrated not only our plans
for the church but the Lord’s work in that section as well. The revival
came and there was great confession in agony and tears, of pride,
jealousy and hatred, and now they are united in the building of a large
tile-roofed church. Besides the Bible study classes, nearly every one
of the larger churches and some of the small ones have had revival
services lasting from one to three weeks. The native preachers having
taken part in the Pyeng Yang revival took the lead in this work, _which
has resulted in transforming churches all over the circuit_. These
meetings were times of heart-searching prayer, confession of sin and
restoration and straightening up of the past in so far as was possible.
This was followed by a real sense of sins forgiven, joy in the
assurance of the new birth and baptism of the Holy Spirit in cleansing
and power for service.”

“These revivals,” he continued, “have taught me two things. First,
the Korean is at heart and in all fundamental things at one with his
brother of the West. In the second place these revivals have taught
me _that in the matter of making all life religious, in prayer and
in a simple childlike trust the East not only has many things but
profound things to teach the West_ and until we learn those things
we will not know the full-orbed Gospel of Christ. Best of all,” he
adds, “this revival has written another unanswerable chapter of
Christian evidences. The old gospel of the cross and the blood and
the resurrection now has become a free, full and perfect salvation to
multitudes and has taken literally hundreds of lazy, shiftless and
purposeless Koreans and turned them into very dynamos of evangelistic
power. Not only this, but it is proven that Christianity does satisfy
the spiritual needs and hunger of the people.”

Mr. Clark writes from Seoul: “The most conspicuous thing, in the whole
church life for the year was the great Holy Spirit revival in February.
The church was shaken as never before and, purged as by fire, now under
the guidance of the Spirit they are reaching out for others. The three
city congregations were never so much one in thought as now. It has
been a beautiful year of growing together.”

Mr. Cram writes from Song Do: “I thank God that His mighty transforming
power is realized by the Korean heart in definite expression.”

Mr. McCune writes: “We have not been counting the new believers as
we did in previous years. There will surely be in all four churches,
Methodists and Presbyterian, in Pyeng Yang, at the close of the
meetings not less than two thousand new believers, if we may judge from
the way they seem to be coming now.”

Mr. Gerdine, of the Southern Methodist Mission, wrote, September, 1906,
“The past year has been one of large increase in numbers throughout the
church in Korea. It is probable that thirty thousand new believers have
come in during that time.[16] Our own church has shared in the general
prosperity and advancement. This is true not only of the district as a
whole but each circuit will show a good increase over last year. Here
is a comparative statement of growth:

[16] This refers to the whole Church, the 2000 above referred to being
in Pyeng Yang alone.

                               October
                             1905    1906
  Number of societies          46     129
  Adult baptisms              201     606
  Total membership            759    1227
  Probationers                457    1694
  Applicants                         1712
  Total number on rolls      1216    4623

  In 1907 there was an increase in membership of 756, in
  probationers of 1331, and there were forty-seven new
  churches.

This is the growth in one church after the revival spirit had fallen
upon many of its leaders in Won San and it has not been less wonderful
in many of the others.”

Mr. J. Z. Moore says there has been a gain of at least one third in
membership over the last year, (in many churches it has been 50 per
cent).

Mrs. Baird says, “The night schools in the city were shaken. There were
meetings in all the churches for the unconverted and between twelve
hundred and two thousand came out at that time for Christ among the
Presbyterians in Pyeng Yang alone. At the meetings of the missionaries
there were sacred times, all hearts melted in a wonderful solvent of
love. Work spreads to the country classes and churches like holy fire.”

The money given by the churches of the Presbyterian missions nearly
doubled the amount contributed the previous year.

Pledges for a certain number of days of evangelistic work have become
common and at one of the Bible classes held in Seoul, men promised in
addition to other Christian work and precious pledges, an average of
seventeen days apiece for the coming year,--enough in all to make one
man’s entire time for six years, and the rule is that these pledges are
more than kept, most of the people exceeding the time promised.

These are simply a few of the results of this great work of God in
Korea. In every station and village, in large cities and country
districts, the fruits are being gathered. Let those who are permitted a
share in it thank God.

Before finishing this very incomplete review, there are several
features of it which should be noted.

1st. It was preceded, as has been noted, for a period of three or more
years, by a constantly increasing desire and fervent united prayer of
missionaries and natives--desire and prayer undoubtedly inspired by Him
who intended to give--for the Gift of the Spirit.

2d. It simply fell upon the people waiting before God in insistent,
believing prayer, without having been worked up in any way by exciting
appeals to emotion.

3d. It came to a people who, during a knowledge of Christianity of
some twenty odd years, have never had anything of the kind in their
religious life, and have never shown signs of great excitability in
their deepest Christian experiences.

4th. It was marked, everywhere the same, by a realization of the awful
blackness of sin, consequent upon an acute sense of the immediate
Presence of the terrible Majesty of the Most High and followed by
agonizing repentance, confession and restitution.

5th. Wonder and regret have been expressed at the kind of sins
confessed by some of these native Christian people. It must be
remembered that they were Christians who had come out of heathenism
with no previous Christian training and breeding, that they were
living surrounded by heathenism, but poorly instructed, and some of
them, no doubt, had never been more than intellectually converted.

It must be remembered also that the Apostle Paul addressed admonitions
to early Christians, whom he evidently considered real Christians,
who had had the benefit of his inspired teaching and who had seen the
miracles, and perhaps been present at Pentecostal outpourings, who were
guilty of the darkest sins on the calendar.

Again, is it not a fact that when we come to God or our brother and
confess in a general indefinite sort of way to general indefinite sort
of sins, when nothing in particular seems to us to be an intolerable
burden of sin, there is little genuine repentance, only a half
pleasurable sentimental feeling of regret that we are not as perfect
as we could wish? This repentance means _nothing_. When men confess
particular sins they are really repentant. And again, one of our most
well known pastors in a large city said with deep emphasis, when this
wonder was expressed, that were the Spirit of God to come with the same
power to our American churches, the revelations of depths of sin would
not be one whit less appalling than those in Korea.

It is, however, greatly to be deprecated that those who have heard
these confessions should make them a subject of idle gossip. They
belong only to the confessor and his God and, perchance, the one who
was wronged. It seems to the writer an awful thing to meddle in such a
matter, sacred to the Holy Ghost.

6th. And this seems to the writer an intensely significant fact. This
revival was preceded, accompanied and followed by a burning desire on
the part of the great majority of all Christians of every denomination
and nationality in the country, for union, for one Church of Christ
in Korea, an uncontrollable, Heaven-inspired conviction that there
in Korea, then, at once, if possible, the Lord’s last prayer while
on earth for His Church must be fulfilled, and that we must be one
in effort, in aim, in name, as we were already in heart, that the
differences and old worn-out historical divisions of the Occident must
not be foisted upon the Orient, that in the words of the devoted Bishop
Harris, we missionaries had not gone across the Pacific to establish a
Methodist or a Presbyterian church, but to advance the kingdom of the
Master, that native Christians were not converted to Presbyterianism,
Methodism or any other sect but to the Lord Jesus. This was the spirit
which preceded and followed the revival and which in Pyeng Yang, where
the power was felt by the greatest number of people and perhaps in the
most overwhelming way, seemed more general than elsewhere, and right
here I feel impelled to quote the words of Mrs. Baird in regard to the
daily prayer-meeting of the missionaries alone of both denominations.

“_All denominational lines seem wiped out forever and we wonder that we
could ever have attached importance to them or have allowed ourselves
to be cramped by them._”

But everywhere small jealousies have to a great extent been put aside
and a beautiful spirit of mutual love and generosity prevails.

Thus hath God wrought. He has made bare His mighty arm and shown His
mercy to one of the weakest and most despised of the peoples, for that
is His will and way. He made His ways known unto Moses, a poor shepherd
of a despised race, His acts unto the children of Israel, a nation
of slaves, and He has glorified His Holy Name in little, enslaved,
despised Korea. “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many
wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the
wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the
things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which
are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring
to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence.”


THE END.


[Transcriber's Note:

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.]





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enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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