On Sunday, June 18, we went to the bat cave to obtain a new supply of specimens. Upon our return, just as we were about to sit down to luncheon, four excited Chinese appeared with the following letter from Mr. Caldwell:


    There was quite a lively time in the city at an early hour this
    morning. The rebels have taken Yen-ping and it looks as though there
    was trouble ahead. Northern soldiers have been sent for and the chances
    are that either tonight or tomorrow morning there will be quite a
    battle. Bankhardt, Dr. Trimble and myself have just made a round of the
    city, visiting the telegraph office, post office and other places, and
    while we do not believe that the foreigners will be molested,
    nevertheless it is impossible to tell just what to expect. It is
    certain, however, that the Consul will order all of us to Foochow if
    news of the situation reaches there. Owing to the uncertainty, I think
    you had better come in to Yen-ping so as to be ready for any

    After talking the situation over with Dr. Trimble and Mr. Bankhardt, we
    all agreed that the wisest thing is for you to come in immediately. I
    am sending four burden-bearers for it will be out of the question to
    find any tomorrow, if trouble occurs tonight. The city gates are closed
    so you will have to climb up the ladder over the wall behind our
    compound. Best wishes.


    P.S. - Later: It is again reported that Northern soldiers are to arrive
    tonight. If they do and trouble occurs your only chance is to get to
    Yen-ping today.


The camp immediately was thrown into confusion for Da-Ming, the cook, and the burden-bearers were jabbering excitedly at the top of their voices. The servants began to pack the loads at once and meanwhile we ate a roast chicken faster than good table manners would permit - in fact, we took it in our fingers. We were both delighted at the prospect of some excitement and talked almost as fast as the Chinese.

In just one hour from the time Harry's letter had been received, we were on the way to Yen-ping. It was the hottest part of the day, and we were dripping with perspiration when we left the cool darkness of the ravine and struck across the open valley, which lay shimmering in a furnace-like heat. At the first rest house on the top of the long hill we waited nearly an hour for our bearers who were struggling under the heavy loads.

Three miles farther on a poor woman tottered past us on her peglike feet leaning on the arm of a man. A short distance more and we came to the second rest house. We had been there but a few moments when three panting women, steadying themselves with long staves and barely able to walk on feet not more than four inches long, came up the hill. With them were several men bearing household goods in large bundles and huge red boxes.

The exhausted women sank upon the benches and fanned themselves while the perspiration ran down their flushed faces. They looked so utterly miserable that we told the cook to give them a piece of cake which Mrs. Caldwell had sent us the day before. Their gratitude was pitiful, but, of course, they gave the larger share to the men.

It was not long before other women and children appeared on the hill path, all struggling upward under heavy loads, or tottering along on tightly bound feet. Probably these women had not walked so far in their entire lives, but the fear of the Northern soldiers and what would happen in the city if they took possession had driven them from their homes.

Farther on we had a clear view across the valley where a long line of people was filing up to a temple which nestled into the hillside. Half a mile beyond were two other temples both crowded with refugees and their goods. Hundreds of families were seeking shelter in every little house beside the road and were overflowing into the cowsheds and pigpens.

At six o'clock we stood on the summit of the hill overlooking the city and half an hour later were clambering up the ladder over the high wall of the compound, just behind Dr. Trimble's house. We were wet through and while cooling off heard the story of the morning's fighting. It seemed that a certain element in the city was in cooeperation with the representatives of the revolutionary organization. These men wished to obtain possession of Yen-ping and, after the rebellion was well started, to gather forces, march to Foochow, and force the Governor to declare the independence of the province.

The plot had been hatching for several days, but the death of Yuan Shi-kai had somewhat delayed its fruition. Saturday, however, it was known throughout the city that trouble would soon begin. Sunday morning at half past three, a band of one hundred men from Yuchi had marched to Yen-ping where they were received by a delegation of rebels dressed in white who opened to them the east gate of the city. Immediately they began to fire up the streets to intimidate the people and in a short time were in a hot engagement with the seventeen Northern soldiers, some of whom threw away their guns and swam across the river. The remaining city troops were from the province of Hunan and their sympathies were really with the South in the great rebellion. These immediately joined the rebels, where they were received with open arms. It was reported that the tao-tai (district mandarin) had asked for troops from Foochow and that these might be expected at any moment; thus when they arrived a real battle could be expected and it was very likely that the city would be partly destroyed.

We had a picnic supper on the Caldwell's porch and discussed the situation. It was the opinion of all that the foreigners were in no immediate danger, but nevertheless it was considered wise to be prepared, and we decided upon posts for each man if it should become necessary to protect the compound.

Hundreds of people were besieging the missionaries with requests to be allowed to bring their goods and families inside the walls, but these necessarily had to be refused. Had the missionaries allowed the Chinese to bring their valuables inside it would have cost them the right of Consular protection and, moreover, their compound would have been the first to be attacked if looting began.

On Monday morning while we were sitting on the porch of Mr. Caldwell's house preparing some bird skins, there came a sharp crackle of rifle fire and then a roar of shots. Bullets began to whistle over us and we could see puffs of smoke as the deep bang of a black powder gun punctuated the vicious snapping of the high-power rifles. The firing gradually ceased after half an hour and we decided to go down to the city to see what had happened, for, as no Northern troops had appeared, the cause of the fighting was a mystery.

We went first to the mission hospital which lay across a deep ravine and only a few yards from the quarters of the soldiers. At the door of the hospital compound lay a bloody rag, and we found Dr. Trimble in the operating room examining a wounded man who had just been brought in. The fellow had been shot in the abdomen with a 45-caliber lead ball that had gone entirely through him, emerging about three inches to the right of his spine.

From the doctor we got the first real news of the puzzling situation. It appeared that all the men who had arrived Sunday morning from Yuchi to join the Yen-ping rebels were in reality brigands and, to save their own lives, the Hunan soldiers quartered in the city had played a clever trick. They had pretended to join the rebels but at a given signal had turned upon them, killing or capturing almost every one. Although their sympathies were really with the South, the Hunan men knew that the rebels in Yen-ping could not hold the city against the Northern soldiers from Foochow and, by crushing the rebellion themselves, they hoped to avert a bigger fight.

As we could not help the doctor he suggested that we might be of some assistance to the wounded in the city, and with rude crosses of red cloth pinned to our white shirt sleeves we left the hospital, accompanied by four Chinese attendants bearing a stretcher. In the compound we met a chair in which was lying an old man groaning loudly and dripping with blood. Beside him were his wife and several boys. The poor woman was crying quietly and, between her sobs, was offering the wounded man mustard pickles from a small dish in her hand! Poor things, they have so little to eat that they believe food will cure all ills!

The bearers set the chair down as we appeared and lifted the filthy rag which covered a gaping wound in the man's shoulder, over which had been plastered a great mass of cow dung. Just think of the infection, but it was the only remedy they knew!

We took the man upstairs where Dr. Trimble was preparing to operate on the fellow who had been shot in the abdomen. The doctor was working steadily and quietly, making every move count and inspiring his native hospital staff with his own coolness; the way this young missionary handled his cases made us glad that he was an American.

On the way down the hill several soldiers passed us, each carrying four or five rifles and slung about with cartridge belts - plunder stripped from the men who had been killed. A few hundred yards farther on we found two brigands lying dead in a narrow street. The nearest one had fallen on his face and, as we turned him over, we saw that half his head had been blown away; the other was staring upward with wide open eyes on which the flies already were settling in swarms.

There was little use in wasting time over these men who long ago had passed beyond need of our help, and we went on rapidly down the alley to the main thoroughfare. Guided by a small boy, we hurried over the rough stones for fifteen minutes, and suddenly came to a man lying at the side of the street, his head propped on a wooden block. An umbrella once had partly covered him but had fallen away, leaving him unprotected in the broiling sun. His face and a terrible wound in his head were a solid mass of flies, and thousands of insects were crawling over the blood clots on the stones beside him. At first we thought he was dead but soon saw his abdomen move and realized that he was breathing. It did not seem possible that a human being could live under such conditions; and yet the bystanders told us that he had been lying there for thirty hours - he had been shot early the previous morning and it was now three o'clock of the next afternoon.

The man was a poor water-carrier who lived with his wife in the most utter poverty. He had been peering over the city wall when the firing began Sunday morning and was one of the first innocent bystanders to pay the penalty of his curiosity. I asked why he had not been taken to the hospital, and the answer was that his wife was too poor to hire anyone to carry him and he had no friends. So there he lay in the burning sun, gazed at by hundreds of passers-by, without one hand being lifted to help him.

Our hospital attendants brushed away the flies, placed him in the stretcher and started up the long hill, followed by the haggard, weeping wife and a curious crowd. On every hand were questions: "Why are these men taking him away?" "What are they going to do with him?" But several educated natives who understood said, "Ing-ai-gidaiie " (A work of love). They got right there a lesson in Christianity which they will not soon forget. It is seldom that Chinese try to help an injured man, for ever present in their minds is the possibility that he may die and that they will be responsible for his burial expenses.

We left the stretcher bearers at the corner of the main street with orders to return as soon as they had deposited the man in the hospital and, under the guidance of a boy, hurried toward the east gate where it was said seven or eight men had been shot. Our guide took us first to a brigand who had been wounded and left to die beside the gutter. The corpse was a horrible sight and with a feeling of deathly nausea we made a hurried examination and walked to the gate at the end of the street.

A dozen soldiers were on guard. We learned from the officer that there were no wounded in the pile of dead just beyond the entrance, so we turned toward the river bank and rapidly patrolled the alleys leading to the tao-tai's yamen (official residence) where the firing had been heaviest. The yamen was crowded with soldiers, and we were informed that the dead had all been removed and that there were no wounded - a grim statement which told its own story.

The yamen is but a short distance from the hospital so we climbed the hill to the compound. The sun was simply blazing and I realized then what the wounded men must have suffered lying in the heat without shelter. We returned to the house and were resting on the upper porch when suddenly, far down the river, we saw the glint of rifle barrels in the sunlight, and with field glasses made out a long line of khaki-clad men winding along the shore trail. At the same time two huge boats filled with soldiers came into view heading for the water gate of the city. These were undoubtedly the Northern troops from Foochow who were expected Monday night.

Even as we looked there came a sudden roar of musketry and a cloud of smoke drifted up from the barracks right below us - then a rattling fusillade of shots. We could see soldiers running along the walls firing at men below and often in our direction. Bullets hummed in the air like angry bees and we rushed for cover, but in a few moments the firing ceased as suddenly as it began.

We were at a loss to know what it all meant and why the troops were firing upon the Northern soldiers whom they wished to placate. It was still a mystery when we sat down to dinner at half past seven, but a few minutes later Mr. Bankhardt rushed in saying that he had just received a note from the tao-tai. The mandarin's personal servant had brought word that the Northern soldiers, who had just entered the city, were going to kill him and he begged the missionaries for assistance. Bankhardt also told us of the latest developments in the situation. It seems that the city soldiers supposed the Northern troops to be brigands and had fired upon them and killed several before they discovered their mistake. A very delicate situation had thus been precipitated, for the Northern commander believed that it was treachery and intended to attack the barracks in the morning and kill every man whom he found with a rifle, as well as all the city officials.

The story of the way in which the missionaries acted as peacemakers, saved the tao-tai, and prevented the slaughter which surely would have taken place in the morning, is too long to be told here, for it was accomplished only after hours of the talk and "face saving" so dear to the heart of the Oriental. Suffice it to say that through the exercise of great tact and a thorough understanding of the Chinese character they were able to settle the matter without bloodshed.

The following day twenty brigands were given a so-called trial, marched off to the west gate, beheaded amid great enthusiasm, and the incident was closed. In the afternoon a messenger called and delivered to each of us an official letter from the commander of the Northern troops thanking us for the part we had played in averting trouble and bringing the matter to a peaceful end.

An interesting sidelight on the affair was received a few days later. A young man, a Christian, who was born in the same town from which a number of the brigands had come, went to his house on Monday night after the fight and found seven of the robbers concealed in his bedroom. He was terrified because if they were discovered he and all his family would be killed for aiding the bandits. He told them they must leave at once, but they pleaded with him to let them stay for they knew there were soldiers at every corner and that it would be impossible to get away.

While he was imploring them to go, a knock sounded at the door. He pushed the brigands into the courtyard, and opened to three soldiers. They said: "We understand you have brigands in your house." He was trembling with fear, but answered, "Come in and see for yourself, if you think so."

The soldiers were satisfied by his frank open manner and, as they knew him to be a good man, did not search the house, but went away. The poor fellow was frightened nearly to death, but as his place was being watched it was impossible for the brigands to leave during the day.

At night they stripped themselves, shaved their heads, and dressed like coolies, and were able to get to the ladder down the city wall just below the mission compound where they could escape into the hills.

The day after this occurrence, about four o'clock in the afternoon, a breathless Chinese appeared at the house with a note to Mr. Bankhardt saying that his Chinese teacher and the mission school cook had been arrested by the Northern soldiers and were to be beheaded in an hour. We hurried to the police office where they were confined and found that not only the two men but three others were in custody.

The mission cook owned a small restaurant under the management of one of his relatives and, while Bankhardt's teacher and the other man were sitting at a table, some Northern soldiers appeared, one of whom owed the restaurant keeper a small amount of money. When asked to pay, the soldier turned upon him and shouted: "You have been assisting the brigands. I saw some of them carrying goods into your house." Thereupon the soldiers arrested everyone in the shop.

The police officials were quite ready to release the teacher and the other man upon our statements, but they would not allow the cook to go. His hands were kept tightly bound and he was chained to a post by the neck. The soldier who arrested him was his sole accuser, but of course, others would appear to uphold him in his charge if it were necessary.

The cook was as innocent as any one of the missionaries, but it required several hours of work and threats of complaint to the government at Foochow to prevent the man from being summarily executed.

We were not able to get any mail from Foochow during the rebellion because the constant stream of Northern soldiers on their way up the river had paralyzed the entire country to such an extent that all the river men had fled.

The soldiers were firing for target practice upon every boat they saw on the river and dozens of men had been killed and then robbed. The Northern commander told us frankly that this could not be prevented, and when we announced that we were going to start will all the missionaries down the river on the following day, he was very much disturbed. He insisted that we have American flags displayed on our boats to prevent being fired upon by the soldiers.

Although it had taken eight days to work our way laboriously through the rapids and up the river from Foochow to Yen-Ping, we covered the same distance down the river in twenty-four hours and had breakfast with Mr. Kellogg at his house the morning after we left Yen-Ping. In two days our equipment was repacked and ready for the trip to Futsing to hunt the blue tiger.