Fei Ch'i-hao was a Chinese Christian.
Here he recounts the activities of the millenialist "Boxers" in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.
THE GATHERING OF THE STORM
The people of Shansi are naturally timid and gentle, not
given to making disturbances, being the most peaceable people in China. So our Shansi
Christians were hopeful for themselves, even when the reports from the coast grew more
alarming. But there was one thing which caused us deep apprehension, and that was the fact
that the wicked, cruel YU Hsien, the hater of foreigners, was the newly appointed Governor
of Shansi. He had previously promoted the Boxer movement in Shantung, and had persuaded
the Empress Dowager that the Boxers had supernatural powers and were true patriots.
Early in June my college friend K'ung Hsiang Hsi came back from
T'ungchou for his vacation, reporting that the state of affairs there and at Peking was
growing worse, that the local officials were powerless against the Boxers, and that the
Boxers, armed with swords, were constantly threatening Christians scattered in the
From this time we had no communication with Tientsin or Peking. All
travellers were searched, and if discovered bearing foreign letters they were killed. So
though several times messengers were started out to carry our letters to the coast, they
were turned back by the Boxers before they had gone far. It was not long before the
Boxers, like a pestilence, had spread all over Shansi. School had not closed yet in Fen
Chou Fu, but as the feeling of alarm deepened, fathers came to take their boys home, and
school was dismissed before the end of June.
Mr. and Mrs. Lundgren and Miss Eldred of the China Inland Mission had
come to Mrs. Price's about the middle of June, and after the Boxer trouble began they were
unable to leave. Mr. and Mrs. Lundgren soon heard that their mission at P'ing Yao had been
During the two long months that followed not a word reached us from
beyond the mountains. The church in Shansi walked in darkness, not seeing the way before
The wicked Governor, Yü Hsien, scattered proclamations broadcast.
These stated that the foreign religions overthrew morality and inflamed men to do evil, so
now gods and men were stirred up against them, and Heaven's legions had been sent to
exterminate the foreign devils. Moreover there were the Boxers, faithful to their
sovereign, loyal to their country, determined to unite in wiping out the foreign religion.
He also offered a reward to all who killed foreigners, either titles or office or money.
When the highest official in the province took such a stand in favor of the Boxers, what
could inferior officials do? People and officials bowed to his will, and all who enlisted
as Boxers were in high favor. It was a time of license and anarchy, when not only
Christians were killed, but hundreds of others against whom individual Boxers had a
Crowds of people kept passing our mission gate to see what might be
happening, for the city was full of rumors. "The foreigners have all fled."
"Many foreigners from other places have gathered here."
"A great cannon has
been mounted at the mission gate."
"The foreigners have hired men to poison
wells, and to smear gates with blood."
I was staying in the compound with the Prices, inside the west gate of
the city, and Mr. and Mrs. Atwater, with their children, Bertha and Celia, lived near the
east gate. On the 28th of June all day long a mob of one or two hundred roughs, with
crowds of boys, stood at the gate of the Atwater place, shouting:
"Kill the foreigners, loot the houses."
Mr. Atwater came out once and addressed the crowd:
"Friends, don't make this disturbance; whoever
would like to come in, I invite to come, and we will talk together."
When the crowd saw Mr. Atwater come out, they all retreated, but when
he shut the gate they thronged back again with mad shouts. This happened several times. By
six or seven in the evening the crowd had increased and gathered courage. The gate was
broken down and they surged in, some shouting, some laying hands on whatever they could
find to steal, some throwing stones and brickbats at the windows. As they rushed in, Mr.
Atwater and his family walked through their midst and took refuge in the Yamen of the
District Magistrate, which was near by. The Magistrate, not even waiting for his official
chair, ran at once to the mission and arrested two men with his own hands. His attendants
followed close behind him, and the mob scattered. The Magistrate then sent soldiers to
stand guard at the mission gate, and the Atwaters came to live with the Prices. We
expected the mob to make an attack on us that same night, but we were left in peace...
.Late in july a proclamation of the
Governor was posted in the city in which occurred the words, "Exterminate foreigners,
kill devils." Native Christians must leave the church or pay the penalty with their
lives. Li Yij and I talked long and earnestly over plans for saving the lives of our
beloved missionaries. "You must not stay here waiting for death," we said. Yet
we realized how difficult it would be to escape. Foreigners with light hair and fair faces
are not easily disguised. Then where could they go? Eastward toward the coast all was in
tumult. Perhaps the provinces to the south were just as bad. Our best way would be to find
a place of concealment in the mountains. Li Y0 and I thought that the chances of escape
would be better if the missionaries divided into two companies; they must carry food,
clothing, and bedding, and the large company would surely attract attention. Moreover, if
they were in two parties, and one was killed, the other might escape. So Li Yü and I went
to talk the matter over with Mr. Han, the former helper, and a Deacon Wang. Both of these
men had recanted, but they still loved their foreign friends. Deacon Wang, who lived in a
village over ten miles from Fen Chou Fu, wished to conceal Mr. and Mrs. Price and little
Florence in his home for a day or two, and then take them very secretly to a broken-down
temple in the mountains. Li Yü said to me:
"If you can escape with Mr. and Mrs. Price to the mountains, I
will try to take the Atwaters, Mr. and Mrs. Lundgren, and Miss Eldred to another place in
But when I proposed this plan to Mr. and Mrs. Price, they said:
"We missionaries do not wish to be separated. We must be in one
place, and if we die we want to die together."
When I spoke to them again about going, they said:
"Thank you for your love, but we do not want to desert the other
"You will not be deserting them," I pleaded. "If you
decide to flee with me, Mr. Li will do his best to escape with the others."
Then I brought forward all my arguments to persuade them. Again all
consulted together, and decided to go. I think this was the last day of July-the very day
of the Tai Ku tragedy. Mr. and Mrs. Price made up two bundles of baggage and gave them to
Mr. Han, to be carried secretly to Deacon Wang's home. Mr. Han paid a large price for a
covered cart to wait for us secretly at ten o'clock in the evening at the gate of an old
temple north of the mission. We were to walk to the cart, as it would attract attention if
the cart stopped near the mission. We could not leave by the front gate, for the four
Yamen men were guarding it; and patrolling the streets in front by day and night were
twenty soldiers, ostensibly protecting us, but, as we surmised, stationed there to prevent
the escape of foreigners. I went privately to the back of the compound and unlocked an
unused gate, removing also a stone which helped to keep it shut. I had already made up a
bundle to carry with me, and asked Mr. Jen, a Chirstian inquirer, to take care of it while
I was helping Mr. and Mrs. Price to get ready. After I had opened the gate I asked Mr. Jen
to wait there until I went into the south court to call the Prices.
Man proposes, but God disposes. A Mr. Wang who had often come to the
mission knew that we were planning to escape that night and saw me give my bundle to Mr.
Jen. Thinking that it must contain some valuable things belonging to the Prices, an evil
thought entered his heart. He watched when Mr. Jen laid the bundle in a small empty room
close by the gate, and after he came out, Mr. Wang went into the room. Mr. Jen thought
nothing of this, supposing that Mr. Wang was a friend. But in a minute he saw Mr. Wang
rush out of the room, leap over the wall, and run away. Going at once into the room and
not finding the bundle, he lost his head completely, and set up a loud wail. His one
thought was that he had been faithless to his trust, and sitting down in the back gate
which I had opened so secretly, he cried at the top of his voice, thus bringing to naught
our carefully laid plans to escape. Up ran the four Yamen men and the soldiers from the
street. Everyone in the compound appeared on the scene. When I heard his outcry I thought
that he had received some serious injury. All gathered about him asking his trouble, but
overcome with emotion he jumped up and down, slapping his legs and crying lustily. Finally
he managed to say through his tears, "Mr. Fay [Fei], Mr. Wang has stolen the things
which you gave me.
"When I heard this I could neither laugh nor cry nor storm at him. The
Yamen men and soldiers at once picked up their lanterns and began to search. When they saw
that the back gate had been unlocked and the stone removed, not knowing that I had done
it, they began to scold and mutter:
"These things! How contemptible they are! When did they open this
gate in order to steal the foreigners' things?"
As they muttered they locked the gate and replaced the stone, then left
two men to guard it.
It was after midnight when this commotion was over, and every gate was
guarded. Mr. Price and I saw that it would be impossible to get out that night. Even if we
could leave the compound, we could not reach Deacon Wang's before daylight. If we
attempted it, the Prices would not be saved, and Deacon Wang's whole family would be
So I went alone outside the compound to tell Mr. Han to dismiss the
cart. As soon as he saw me, he said quickly:
"It is indeed well that the Prices have not come. I just came
across several thieves, and was mistaken for one of their company. One of them said to me,
'If you get anything, you must divide with me.' If the Prices had come out, I fear they
would have been killed."
The next day we consulted again about flight. Li Yii said:
"Let us flee all together to the mountains from thirty to sixty
So we hired a large cart and loaded it with food and other necessities,
and sent it ahead of us into the mountains. Two Christian inquirers went with the cart to
guard it. When it had entered the mountains about seven miles from the city, suddenly a
man ran up and said to the inquirers:
"Run quick for your lives! Your mission in the city is burning,
and the foreigners have all been killed."
As soon as they had jumped down from the cart and run away, rascals
came up and stole all that was on the cart.
When we heard this we gave up all hope of escape, especially as we were
told that bad men in the city had heard of our intention, and were hiding outside the city
day and night ready to kill and rob the foreigners if they should appear. So we talked no
more of fleeing, but committed our lives into the hands of our Heavenly Father, to do as
seemed to Him best. We had little hope that we would be saved. Still we kept guard every
night, Mr. Atwater and Mr. Lundgren being on duty the first half of the night, and Mr.
Price and I the last half. At that time all of the servants had left us, and Mrs. Price
did all the cooking, Mrs. Lundgren and Miss Eldred helping her. It was the hottest time in
summer, and Mrs. Price stood over the stove with flushed face wet with perspiration. Li Y0
and I were so sorry for her, and wanted to help her, but alas! neither of us knew how to
cook foreign food, so we could only wash the dishes and help to wash the clothes.
Li Yü was so helpful those days. He alone went outside the compound to
see the Magistrate, to transact business, to purchase food, and every day to get the news.
August had come, and we were still alive. Could it be that God wishing
to show His mighty power, would out of that whole province of Shansi save the missionaries
at Fen Chou Fu and Tai Ku?The second day of August, a little after noon, a man came into our
compound with the saddest story that our ears had heard during those sad summer days. He
was Mrs. Clapp's cook, and two days before, in the afternoon, he had fled from the Tai Ku
compound when flame and sword and rifle were doing their murderous work. As he fled he saw
Mr. Clapp, Mr. Williams, and Mr. Davis making a last vain effort to keep back the mob of
hundreds of soldiers and Boxers, and saw Mrs. Clapp, Miss Partridge, Miss Bird, and Ruth
taking refuge in a little court in the back of the compound. Miss Bird had said to him as
"Be quick! be quick! "
Over the compound wall, then the city wall, he had taken shelter in a
field of grain, where he still heard the howling of the mob and saw the heavens gray with
smoke from the burning buildings. He hid in the grain until morning broke, then started on
his journey to Fen Chou Fu.
So to our little company waiting so long in the valley of the shadow of
death, came the tidings that our Tai Ku missionaries had crossed the river. Several native
Christians who counted not their lives dear unto themselves, had gone with the martyr
band. Eagerly I asked about my sister, her husband and child. The messenger did not know
whether they were living or dead---only that they had been staying in the mission
buildings outside the city. Two days later full accounts of the massacre reached us, and I
knew that they were among the slain.
Bitter were the tears which we shed together that afternoon. It seemed
as if my heart was breaking as I thought of the cruel death of those whom I loved so much,
and whom I should never again see on earth. What words can tell my grief? I could not
sleep that night, nor for many nights following. I thought how lovingly Mr. and Mrs. Clapp
had nursed me through my long illness. I wept for Miss Bird, who had sympathized with me
and helped me. "My dear ones, my dear ones, who loved and helped me as if I were your
very flesh and blood, who brought so much joy and peace to the lonely one far from his
home, who worked so earnestly for God, who pitied and helped the suffering and poor, would
that I could have died for you! Could my death have saved one of You, gladly would I have
laid down my life.
"The Tai Ku missionaries were gone, the Christians were killed or
scattered, the buildings were all burned. We of Fen Chou Fu alone were left. We all
thought that our day was at hand, but God still kept us for nearly two weeks. And now I
want to tell you the story of those remaining days.
VLAST DAYS AT FEN CHOU FU
The next day after we heard of the Tai Ku tragedy a man ran in to tell
us that several hundred Boxers were coming from the east. They were those who had killed
the missionaries at Tai Ku, and now they were resting in a village outside the east gate,
prepared to attack our mission that afternoon. We all believed this report, for we were
hourly expecting death. There was nothing the foreigners could do but to wait for the end.
Mr. Price urged me to leave them at once and flee. Mr. Price, Mrs. Atwater, Mrs. Lundgren,
and Miss Eldred all gave me letters to home friends. All of my foreign friends shook hands
with me at parting, and Mrs. Atwater said, with tears in her eyes:"May the Lord preserve your life, and enable you to tell our story
to others."Miss Eldred had prepared for herself a belt into which was stitched
forty taels of silver. She thought that she was standing at the gate of death and would
have no use for money, so she gave it to me for my travelling expenses. Mrs. Price gave me
her gold watch and an envelope on which an address was written, and asked me to take the
watch to Tientsin and find someone who would sent it to her father. Before I went out of
the I gate I saw Mrs. Price holding her little daughter to her heart, kissing her through
her tears, and heard her say:
"If the Boxers come today, I want my little Florence to go before
My heart was pierced with grief as I saw the sad plight of my friends,
but I could do nothing for them. Had I died with them it could not have helped them. So we
parted with many tears.
While I was away the Magistrate had sent for Li Yü and demanded that
all the firearms of the foreigners be given up to him. Li Yü replied, "I know the
missionaries will use their weapons only in self-defense.
"The Magistrate was very angry, and ordered that Li Yü be beaten three
hundred blows, with eighty additional blows on his lips because he had used the word 'I'
in speaking to the Magistrate, instead of the humble "little one" which was
customary. Li Yü was then locked in the jail, and the Magistrate sent men to the mission
to demand the firearms. The missionaries could not refuse to comply, so their two shotguns
and two revolvers were given up.
In this time of need two Christians named Chang and Tien came to help
the missionaries. They worked for Mrs. Price to the last. The sufferings of the
missionaries were indeed sore. Their patience and perfect trust in God greatly moved my
heart. In the summer heat Mrs. Price three times a day hung over the stove preparing food
for her family of ten, yet I never heard a word of complaint. Her face was always
peaceful, and often she sang as she went about her work. One evening when we were all
standing in the yard together Mrs. Price said to me:
"These days my thoughts are much on 'the things above.' Sometimes
when I think of the sufferings through which my loved friends passed it seems as if a
voice from heaven said to me, 'Dear sister, see how happy we are now; all of earth's
sufferings are over, and if our sorrows on earth are compared with our bliss in heaven,
they are nothing, nothing."'
Miss Eldred was very young, and had come from England only a year or
two before, so she could speak little Chinese. The expression of her gentle face moved one
to pity. When she was not helping Mrs. Price, she played outdoors with the three children,
and gave Mrs. Price's little daughter music lessons.
We still patrolled the place at night, I continuing to take my turn
with Mr. Price in the last half of the night. So I had an opportunity for forming a most
intimate friendship with Mr. Price. He told me many things during those long hours,
sometimes relating his own experiences when a soldier during the American Civil War.
Every day at sunset I played with Florence Price and Celia and Bertha
Atwater. Ever since I had come to Fen Chou Fu I had played an hour with Florence. This had
been good for both of us, for me because I learned English by talking with her, and for
Florence because she had no children for companions and was very lonely. If there was a
day when something prevented my going to her as usual, she would come or send for me. When
Mr. Atwater moved to the same place his two little girls were very fond of romping with me
too. I often carried the children on my shoulder, and they loved me very much. At seven
o'clock, when their mothers called them to go to bed, all three would kiss me, saying:
"Good-night, Mr. Fay, good-night. Pleasant dreams, pleasant dreams." So it was
until the day when they left the earth.
At this time it seemed as if the Boxer trouble might be over. There
were few rumors on the streets, and there had never been organized Boxer bands in Fen Chou
Fu. So our hearts were more peaceful. Perhaps it was God's will after all to save our
little band. Still no word reached us from the outside world. We walked on in the
darkness. It was because of the friendliness of the Fen Chou Fu Magistrate that the little
Christian community there was preserved so long after the floods of destruction had swept
over every other mission in the province. His superior officer, the Prefect, a weak old
man, died July 27. Upon the character of his successor might depend the life or death of
On August 12 the new Prefect appointed by the Governor arrived from Tai
Yuan Fu. He was a man of great leaming but little practical ability, the tool of the
Governor, who had sent him expressly to murder the foreigners. So he made their
extermination his first business on reaching Fen Chou Fu. It was the 13th when he took the
seals of office, and that same day he went to the Magistrate and upbraided him for his
remissness in the work of massacre....
VIOUTSIDE THE CITY WALL
It was a clear, beautiful day, with a gentle wind blowing, a bright sun
shining, and not a cloud within sight. As we drove out of the gate we saw the streets
packed with a dense crowd of spectators. From the mission to the North Gate of the city
they seemed a solid mass, while house roofs and walls swanned with men and women eager for
a sight of us. There were tens of thousands, and when we left the city gate behind, many
flocked after us and stood watching until we were out of sight. So we left Fen Chou Fu on
that fateful morning, August 15.
We had been imprisoned within walls for two or three months, and our
hearts had all the time been burdened and anxious. Now suddenly we were outside the city
in the pure, bracing air, in the midst of flowers and trees, luxuriant in summer beauty,
riding through fields ripe for the harvest. It was all so beautiful and peaceful and
strength-giving. So as soon as we were out in the country air our spirits rose and fresh
life and joy came to us.
In the front of our cart sat Mr. Atwater with the carter, behind him
were Mrs. Atwater and Mrs. Lundgren, and I sat in the back of the cart with the two little girls. On both sides, before and behind, walked the twenty soldiers, while in
front of all, mounted on my white horse, with chin held high and a very self-satisfied
manner, rode the leader. After ten o'clock the sun's rays grew warmer, and Mrs. Lundgren
handed her umbrella to a soldier, asking him to offer it to the leader to shield him from
We talked as we rode along. Mrs. Lundgren remarked: "What a
beautiful day it is!" Mrs. Atwater said, "Who would have thought that when we
left Fen Chou Fu we would have such an escort?" "See the soldiers' uniforms, gay
with red and green trimmings," said Mrs. Lundgren.
So the light conversation went on. Mrs. Atwater said to me, "I'm
afraid they'll not give your horse back to you at P'ing Yao."
"I'm afraid not," I replied.
Then the two ladies tumed and talked in English with Mr. Atwater, and I
talked and laughed with the two children close beside me. We played a finger game, and
they prattled ceaselessly.
"Mr. Fay, please tell us where we are going,"
After a while little Bertha grew sleepy, and nestled to rest in her
When we left Fen Chou Fu we thought that we might meet Boxers or
robbers by the way, but we said, "If any danger comes, these soldiers will protect us
with all their might."
Little did we dream that these very soldiers were to murder us.
We passed through several villages, and every man, woman, and child was
out to stare at us. Then we came to a large village. It was nearly noon and very hot, so
we stopped to rest a while, and the carters watered their mules. A man happened to be
there peddling little sweet melons. We were all thirsty, so we bought some, and as Mr.
Atwater had no change handy I paid for them with the cash in my bag. We passed some back
to those in the other cart, and Mrs. Lundgren took out a package of nice foreign candy and
passed some to us. After a few minutes we were on our way again.
As we travelled the young soldier who had taken my horse away walked
close behind my cart, never taking his eyes off me. I thought that he was angry because I
had objected to giving him the horse, so I gave little attention to it. Then I noticed
something strange in his way of looking at me, as if there was something he wished to say
After we had gone on a little farther with the soldier walking behind
the cart, still keeping his eyes on me, he heaved a great sigh, and said:
"Alas for you-so very young!"
The soldier walking at the side looked sternly at the speaker and said
something to him which I could not hear, but I heard the reply:
"This is our own countryman, and not a foreigner."
When I saw the expression on their faces and heard these words,
suddenly it flashed across me that they had some deep meaning, and I asked the young
soldier what was up.
"I don't know," he replied.
"If anything is going to happen," I said, "please tell
He hung his head and said nothing, but followed still close to the
cart, and after a while said to me plainly:
"You ought to escape at once, for only a short
distance ahead we are to kill the foreigners."
I jumped down from the cart, but another soldier came up: saying,
"Don't go away."Then I began to think it was true that the foreigners were to be
killed, and wanted to get farther away from the cart, but the soldier who had first talked
with me, said:
"You can't go yet; you must first leave your money
I said, "I have only a little, barely enough for my
But I knew that they would not let me off without money, so I gave my
watch to the soldier who had taken my horse. Another soldier demanded money, saying:
"If you have no money you may give me your
So I took off my newly purchased boots and gave them to him putting on
the well-worn shoes which he gave me in exchange. Another soldier took away my straw hat
and the whip which I carried in my hand. It happened that at just this point a little pad
branched off from the main road through a field of sorghum higher than my head. I started
off on the path. While I had been talking with the soldiers Mr. Atwater had conversed with
the two ladies and had not noticed our words. As I left my friends I took alas look at
them, saying in my heart:
"I fear that I shall never again on earth see your
I had no chance to speak to them, for the village where they were to be
killed was only a quarter of a mile away, the carts had not stopped, and many people were
following close behind. A crowd was also coming out from the village which they were
I had walked only a short distance on the little path when I heard
footsteps following, and looking back saw that it was the two soldiers hastening after me.
My heart stood still, for I thought that they were coming to prevent my escape and kill
me. I did not dare to run, for they had rifles in their hands. Soon they overtook me, one
seizing my queue and another my arm, and saying:
"You must have some money; we'll only let you escape with
your life; your money must be given to us."
Before I had time to answer, the soldier snatched from
my purse all the silver which Mr. Price had given me. I made an effort to get it back, but
the soldier said:
"If we kill you, nothing will be yours.
If we let
you escape with your life, should not your silver be given to us?"
There was some reason in their talk, so I only entreated them to leave
me a little money, for I had many hundred miles to travel before I would reach my home.
The soldiers had a little conscience, for dividing the silver between them they took out a
small piece amounting to about a tael, and gave it to me.
The young soldier who had first talked with me said:
"Don't go far away yet. Wait until you see whether
we kill the foreigners or not. If we don't do it, hunt me up and I'll give you your watch
and all of your silver. If we kill them consider that we did not take your money without
They then hurried back to the road.
When I had gone on a little farther I heard a loud rifle report.
By that time I was almost convinced that they were indeed going to kill the foreigners. So
I ran with all my might. It was about one o'clock and the sun beat down fiercely. After I
had gone several miles I felt very weary, and though I was not afraid, my heart still
fluttered and my flesh crept.
The sun was sinking westward, and I looked up to the sky with a sigh.
The atmosphere was clear, wind and light were fair, and I asked myself:
"Can the great Lord who rules heaven and earth
permit evil men under this bright heaven, in this clear light of day, to murder these
innocent men and women, these little children? It cannot be. Perhaps I can still reach
P'ing Yao, and look in the faces of those whom I love."
Then I thought that if the soldiers had really killed them in that village, as they
said they would, they were no longer on the earth, but were happy with God.
When this thought came I lifted my face toward heaven, saying:
"My beloved Mr. and Mrs. Price and other dear
friends, if you are truly in heaven now, do you see my trouble and distress?"
So I walked on, my heart now in heaven, now on earth, a thousand
thoughts entangling themselves in my bewildered mind.
I was weary and would walk a mile or two, then rest. I
came to the bank of the Fen River, five miles from P'ing Yao, and waited some time at the
ferry to hear what men were saying; for if the foreigners had not been killed they must
certainly cross by this ferry, and everyone would be talking about it. But though I stood
there a long time I heard no one mention the subject, and the dread that my friends had
been killed took full possession of my heart. Then I crossed on the ferry with others, and
strange to say the ferryman did not ask me for money.
Once across the river I reached a small inn outside the wall of
P'ing Yao. I had walked twenty miles that day-the longest walk I had ever taken, and I
threw myself down to sleep without eating anything. Often I awoke with a start and turned
my aching body, asking myself, "Where am I? How came I here? Are my Western friends
indeed killed? I must be dreaming."
But I was so tired that sleep would soon overcome me again.
The sun had risen when I opened my eyes in the morning. I forced myself
to rise, washed my face, and asked for a little food, but could not get it down. Sitting
down I heard loud talking and laughter among the guests. The topic of conversation was the
massacre of foreigners the day before! One said:
"There were ten ocean men killed, three men, four
women, and three little devils." Another added, "Lij Cheng San yesterday morning came ahead
with twenty soldiers and waited in the village. When the foreigners with their soldier
escort arrived a gun was fired for a signal, and all the soldiers set to work at
Then one after another added gruesome details, how the cruel swords had
slashed, how the baggage had been stolen, how the very clothing had been stripped from the
poor bodies, and how they had then been flung into a wayside pit.
"Are there still foreigners in Fen Chou FuT' I
"No, they were all killed yesterday."
"Where were they killed?"
"In that village ahead-less than two miles from
here," he said, pointing as he spoke. "Yesterday about this time they were all
"How many were there?" I asked.
He stretched out the fingers of his two hands for an answer.
My heart was leaden as I rode on the cart, with my face turned toward
Fen Chou Fu. It was eight when the carter drove up to an inn in the east suburb of Fen
Chou Fu, and I walked on into the city. Fortunately it was growing dark, and no one saw my
face plainly, as, avoiding the main street, I made my way through alleys to the home of a
Mr. Shih, a Christian who lived near the mission. When I knocked and entered Mr. Shih and
his brother started up in terror and amazement, saying:
"Were there none of our people?"
"No, they were all foreigners."
"How could you get here?"
We three went in quickly, barring the gate, and when we were seated in
the house I told my sad story. Sighing, Mr. Shih said:
"We knew when the foreigners left yesterday that
death awaited them on the road. Not long after you had gone the Prefect and the Magistrate
rode in their chairs to the gate of the mission, took a look inside without entering, and
then sealed up the gate."
Mr. Shih told me also how the Prefect, as soon as he had
returned to his Yamen, had ordered Li Yü brought before him, and inflicted more cruel
blows on his bruised body. Then he told details of the massacre. There was one young
soldier named Li who had studied several years in the mission school, and whose sword took
no part in the carnage. When the leader knew this he beat him from head to foot with his
great horsewhip. The poor remains of the missionaries would have been left on the village
street had not the village leaders begged that they be taken away. So the soldiers dragged
them to a pit outside the city, where they found a common grave.