Part 2 out of 3
band of Christians in Go-ko-khi, and two of the young people were
about to be married. It was the first Christian marriage in the
place and Kai Bok-su was called upon to officiate. There was a
great deal of opposition raised among the heathen, but after
seeing the ceremony, they all voted a Christian wedding
everything that was beautiful and good.
CHAPTER VII. BESIEGING HEAD-HUNTERS
When they returned from their trip, Mackay and A Hoa with the
assistance of some of their Christian friends set about looking
for a new house in a more wholesome district. It was much easier
for the missionary to rent a place now, and he managed to secure
a comfortable home upon the bluff above the town. It was a dryer
situation and much more healthful. Here one room was used as a
study and every morning when not away on a tour a party of young
men gathered in it for lessons. Sometimes, what with traveling,
preaching, training his students, visiting the sick, and pulling
teeth, Mackay had scarcely time to eat, and very little to sleep.
But always as he came and went on his travels, his eyes would
wander to the mountains where the savages lived, and with all his
heart he would wish that he might visit them also.
His Chinese friends held up their hands in dismay when he
broached the subject. To the mountains where the Chhi-hoan lived!
Did Kai Bok-su not know that every man of them was a practised
head-hunter, and that behind every rock and tree and in the
darkness of the forests they lay in wait for any one who went
beyond the settled districts? Yes, Kai Bok-su knew all that, but
he could not quite explain that it was just that which made the
thought of a visit to them seem so alluring, just that which made
him so anxious to tell them of Jesus Christ, who wished all men
to live as brothers. A Hoa and a few others who had caught the
spirit of the true soldier of the cross understood. For they had
learned that one who follows Jesus must be ready to dare
anything, death included, to carry the news of his salvation to
the dark corners of the world.
But the days were so filled with preaching, teaching, and
touring, that for some time Mackay had no opportunity for a trip
into the head-hunters' territory. And then one day, quite
unexpectedly, his chance came. There sailed into Tamsui harbor,
one hot afternoon, a British man-of-war, named The Dwarf. Captain
Bax from this vessel visited Tamsui, and expressed a desire to
see something of the life of the savages in the mountains. This
was Mackay's opportunity, and in spite of protests from his
friends he offered to accompany the captain. So together they
started off, the sailor-soldier of England and the soldier of the
cross, each with the same place in view but each with a very
It took three days journey from Tamsui across rice-fields and up
hillsides to reach even the foot of the mountains. Here there
lived a village of natives, closely related to the savages. But
they were not given to head-hunting and were quite friendly with
the people about them. Mackay had met some of these people on a
former trip inland, and now he and Captain Bax hired their chief
and a party of his men to guide them up into savage territory.
The travelers slept that night in the village, and before dawn
were up and ready to start on their dangerous undertaking. Before
them in the gray dawn rose hill upon hill, each loftier than the
last, till they melted into the mountains, the territory of the
dreaded head-hunters. They started off on a steady tramp, up
hills, down valleys, and across streams, until at last they came
to the foot of the first mountain.
Before them rose its sheer side, towering thirty-five hundred
feet above their heads. It was literally covered with rank growth
of all kinds, through which it was impossible to move. So a plan
of march had to be decided upon. In front went a line of men with
long sharp knives. With these they cut away the creepers and
tangled scrub or undergrowth. Next came the coolies with the
baggage, and last the two travelers. It was slow work, and
sometimes the climb was so steep they held their breath, as they
crept over a sheer ledge and saw the depth below to which they
might easily be hurled. The chief of the guides himself collapsed
in one terrible climb, and his men tied rattan ropes about him
and hauled him up over the steepest places.
During this wearisome ascent the most untiring one was the
missionary; and the sailor often looked at him in amazement. His
lithe, wiry frame never seemed to grow weary. He was often in the
advance line, cutting his way through the tangle, and here on
that first afternoon he met with an unpleasant adventure.
The natives had warned the two strangers to be on the lookout for
poisonous snakes, and Mackay's year in Formosa had taught him to
be wary. But he had forgotten all danger in the toilsome climb.
He was soon reminded of it. They were passing up a slope covered
with long dense grass when a rustling at his side made the young
missionary pause. The next moment a huge cobra sprang out from a
clump of grass and struck at him. Mackay sprang aside just in
time to escape its deadly fangs. The guides rushed up with their
spears only to see its horrible scaly length disappear in the
That was not the only escape of the young adventurer, for there
were wild animals as well as poisonous snakes along the line of
march, and the man in the front was always in danger. But at the
front Mackay must be in spite of all warning. Nobody moved fast
enough for him.
At last they reached the summit of the range. They were now on
the dividing line between Chinese ground and savage territory,
and the men who dared go a step farther went at terrible risk.
The head-hunters would very likely see that they did not return.
But Mackay was all for pushing forward, and Captain Bax was no
less eager. So they spent a night in the forest and the next day
marched on up another and higher range. As they journeyed, the
travelers could not but burst into exclamations of delight at the
loveliness about them. Behind those great trees and in those
tangles of vines might lurk the head-hunters, but for all that
the beauty of the place made them forget the dangers. The great
banyan trees whose branches came down and took root in the earth,
making a wonderful round leafy tent, grew on every side. Camphor
trees towered far above them and then spread out great branches
sixty or seventy feet from the ground. Then there was the rattan
creeping out over the tops of the other trees and making a thick
canopy through which the hot tropical sun-rays could not
And the flowers! Sometimes Mackay and Bax would stand amazed at
their beauty. They came one afternoon to an open glade in the
cool green dimness of the forest. On all sides the stately
tree-ferns rose up thirty or forty feet above them, and
underneath grew a tangle of lovely green undergrowth.
And upon this green carpet it seemed to their dazzled eyes that
thousands of butterflies of the loveliest form and color had just
alighted. And not only butterflies, but birds and huge insects
and all sorts of winged creatures, pink and gold and green and
scarlet and blue, and all variegated hues. But the lovely things
sat motionless, sending out such a delightful perfume that there
could be no doubt that they were flowers,--the wonderful orchids
of Formosa! Mackay was a keen scientist, always highly interested
in botany, and he was charmed with this sight. There were many
such in the forest, and often he would stop spellbound before a
blaze of flowers hanging from tree or vine or shrub. Then he
would look up at the tangled growths of the bamboo, the palm, and
the elegant tree-fern, standing there all silent and beautiful,
and he would be struck by the harmony between God's work and
Word. "I can't keep from studying the flora of Formosa," he said
to Captain Bax. "What missionary would not be a better man, the
bearer of a richer gospel, what convert would not be a more
enduring Christian from becoming acquainted with such wonderful
works of the Creator?"
At last they stood on the summit of the second range and saw
before them still more mountains, clothed from summit to base
with trees. They were now right in savage territory and their
guide clambered out upon a spur of rock and announced that there
was a party of head-hunters in the valley below. He gave a long
halloo. From away down in the valley came an answering call,
ringing through the forest. Then far down through the thicket
Mackay's sharp eyes descried the party coming up to meet them.
Just then their own guide gave the signal to move on, and the
missionary and Captain Bax walked down the hill--the first white
men who had ever come out to meet those savages.
Half-way down the slope the two parties came face to face. The
head-hunters were a wild, uncouth-looking company, armed to the
teeth. They all carried guns, spears, and knives and some had
also bows and arrows slung over their backs. Their faces were
hideously tattooed in a regular pattern, while they wore no more
clothes than were necessary. A sort of sack of coarse linen with
holes in the sides for their arms, served as the chief garment,
and generally the only one. Every one wore a broad belt of woven
rattan in which was stuck his crooked pointed knife. Some of the
younger men had their coats ornamented with bright red and blue
threads woven into the texture. They had brass rings on their
arms and legs too, and even sported big earrings. These were ugly
looking things made of bamboo sticks. The head-hunters were all
barefooted, but most of them wore caps--queer-looking things,
made of rattan. From many of them hung bits of skin of the boar
or other wild animals they had killed. They stood staring
suspiciously at the two strangers. Never before had they seen a
white man, and the appearance of the naval officer and the
missionary, so different from themselves, and yet so different
from their hated enemies, the Chinese, filled them with amazement
and a good deal of suspicion. After a little talk with the
guides, however, the visitors were allowed to pass on. As soon as
they began to move, the savages fell into line behind them and
followed closely. The two white men, walking calmly onward, could
not help thinking how easy it would be for one of those
fierce-looking tattooed braves to win applause by springing upon
both of them and carrying their heads in triumph to the next
As they came down farther into the valley, they passed the place
where the savages had their camp. Here naked children and
tattooed women crept out of the dense woods to stare at the
queer-looking Chinamen who had white faces and wore no cue.
The march through this valley, even without the head-hunters at
their heels, would not have been easy. The visitors clambered
over huge trunks blown across the path, and tore their clothes
and hands scrambling through the thorny bushes. The sun was still
shining on the mountain-peaks far above them, but away down here
in the valley it was rapidly growing dark and very cold. They had
almost decided to stop and wait for morning when a light ahead
encouraged them to go on. They soon came upon a big camp-fire and
round it were squatted several hundred savages. The firelight
gleaming upon the dark, fierce faces of the head-hunters and on
their spears and knives, made a startling picture.
They were round the visitors immediately, staring at the two
white men in amazement. The party of savages who had escorted
them seemed to be making some explanation of their appearance,
for they all subsided at last and once more sat round their fire.
The newcomers started a fire of their own, and their servants
cooked their food. The white men were in momentary danger of
their lives. But they sat on the ground before the fire and
quietly ate their supper while hundreds of savage eyes were fixed
upon them in suspicious, watchful silence.
The meal over the servants prepared a place for the travelers to
sleep, and while they were so doing, the young missionary was not
idle. He longed to speak to these poor, darkened heathen, but
they could not understand Chinese. However, he found several poor
fellows lying prostrate on the ground, overcome with malaria, and
he got his guide to ask if he might not give the sick ones
medicine. Being allowed to do so, he gave each one a dose of
quinine. The poor creatures tried to look their gratitude when
the terrible chills left them, and soon they were able to sink
Before he retired to his own bed of boughs, the young missionary
sang that grand old anthem which these lonely woods and their
savage inhabitants had never yet heard:
All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice.
But these poor people could not "sing to the Lord," for they had
never yet so much as heard his name.
All night the missionary lay on the ground, finding the chill
mountain air too cold for sleep, and whenever he looked out from
his shelter of boughs he saw hundreds of savage eyes, gleaming in
the firelight, still wide open and fixed upon him.
Day broke late in the valley, but the travelers were astir in the
morning twilight. The mountain-tops were touched with rosy light
even while it was dark down in these forest depths.
The chilled white men were glad to get up and exercise their
stiffened limbs. There were several of their party who could
speak both Chinese and the dialect of these mountaineers, and
through them Mackay persuaded the chief of the tribe to take them
to visit his village.
He seemed reluctant at first and there was much discussion with
his braves. Evidently they were more anxious to go on a head-hunt
than to act the part of hosts. However, after a great deal of
chatter, they consented, and the chief and his son with thirty
men separated themselves from the rest of the band and led the
way out of the valley up the mountainside. The travelers had to
stop often, for, besides the natural difficulties of the way, the
chief proved a new obstacle. Every mile or so he would apparently
repent of his hospitality. He would stop, gather his tattooed
braves about him and confer with them, while his would-be
visitors sat on the ground or a fallen tree-trunk to await his
pleasure. Finally he would start off again, the travelers
following, but no sooner were they under way than again their
uncertain guide would stop. Once he and his men stood motionless,
listening. Away up in the boughs of a camphor tree a little
tailor-bird was twittering. The savages listened as though to the
voice of an oracle.
"What are they doing?" Mackay asked of one of his men, when the
head-hunters stopped a second time and stared earnestly at the
"Bird-listening," explained the guide. A few more questions drew
from him the fact that the savages believed the little birds
would tell them whether or not they should bring these strangers
home. They always consulted the birds when starting out on a
head-hunt, he further explained. If the birds gave a certain kind
of chirp and flew in a certain direction, then all was well, and
the hunters would go happily forward. But if the birds acted in
the opposite way, nothing in the world could persuade the chief
to go on. Evidently the birds gave their permission to bring the
travelers home, for in spite of many halts, the savages still
They had been struggling for some miles through underbrush and
prickly rattan and the white men's clothes were torn and their
hands scratched. Now, however, they came upon a well-beaten path,
winding up the mountainside, and it proved a great relief to the
weary travelers. But here occurred another delay. The savages all
stopped, and the chief approached Mackay and spoke to him through
the interpreter. Would the white man join him in a head-hunting
expedition, was his modest request. There were some Chinese not
so far below them, cutting out rattan, and he was sure they could
secure one or more heads. He shook the big net head-bag that hung
over his shoulder and grinned savagely as he made his proposal.
If the white men and their party would come at the enemy from one
side, he and his men would attack them from the other, he said,
and they would be sure to get them all. The incongruity of a
Christian missionary being invited on a head-hunt struck Captain
Bax as rather funny in spite of its gruesomeness. This was a
delicate situation to handle, but Mackay put a bold front on it.
He answered indignantly that he and his friend had come in peace
to visit the chief, and that he was neither kind nor honorable in
trying to get his visitors to fight his battles.
The interpreter translated and for a moment several pairs of
savage eyes gleamed angrily at the bold white man. But second
thoughts proved calmer. After another council the savages moved
They were now at the top of a range, and every one was ordered to
halt and remain silent. Mackay thought that advice was again to
be asked of some troublesome little birds, but instead the
savages raised a peculiar long-drawn shout. It was answered at
once from the opposite mountain-top, and immediately the whole
party moved on down the slope.
Here was the same lovely tangle of vines and ferns and beautiful
flowers. Monkeys sported in the trees and chattered and scolded
the intruders. Down one range and up another they scrambled and
at last they came upon the village of the head-hunters.
It lay in a valley in an open space where the forest trees had
been cleared away. It consisted of some half-dozen houses or huts
made of bamboo or wickerwork, and the place seemed literally
swarming with women and children and noisy yelping dogs. But even
these could not account for the terrible din that seemed to fill
the valley. Such unearthly yells and screeches the white men had
never heard before.
"What is it?" asked Captain Bax. "Has the whole village gone
Mackay turned to one of his guides, and the man explained that
the noise came from a village a little farther down the valley. A
young hunter had returned with a Chinaman's head, and his friends
were rejoicing over it. The merrymaking sounded to the visitors
more like the howling of a pack of fiends, for it bore no
resemblance to any human sounds they had ever heard.
Fortunately they were invited to stop at the nearer village and
were not compelled to take part in the horrible celebration. They
were taken at once to the chief's house. It was the best in the
village, and boasted of a floor, made of rattan ropes half an
inch thick. All along the outside wall, under the eaves, hung a
row of gruesome ornaments, heads of the boar and deer and other
wild animals killed in the chase, and here and there mingled with
them the skulls of Chinamen. The house held one large room, and,
as it was a cold evening, a fire burned at either end of it. At
one end the men stood chatting, at the other the women squatted.
The visitors were invited to sit by the men's fire. There were
several beds along the wall, two of which were offered to the
strangers. But they were not prepared to remain for the night,
and had decided to start back before the shadows fell.
The whole village came to the chief's house and crowded round the
newcomers, men first, women and children on the outskirts, and
dogs still farther back. Several men came forward and claimed
Mackay as a friend. They touched their own breasts and then his,
in salutation, grinning in a most friendly manner. The young
missionary was at first puzzled, then smiled delightedly. They
were some of the poor fellows to whom he had given quinine the
evening before in the valley.
This greeting seemed to encourage the others. They became more
friendly and suddenly one man who had been circling round the
visitors touched the back of Mackay's head and exclaimed, "They
do not wear the cue! They are our kinsmen." From that moment they
were treated with far greater kindness, and on several other
visits that Mackay made to the head-hunters, they always spoke
with interest of him as kinsman.
But all danger was not over. The savages were still suspicious,
and at any moment the newcomers might excite them. So they
decided to start back at once, while every one was in a friendly
mood. They made presents to the chief and some of his leading
men; and left with expressions of good-will on both sides.
By evening they had reached the valley where they had first met
the savages and here they prepared to spend the night. They had
no sooner kindled their fires than from the darkness on every
side shadowy forms silently emerged,--the savages come to visit
them! They glided out of the black forest into the ring of
firelight and squatted upon the ground until fully five hundred
dusky faces looked out at the travelers from the gloom. It was
rather an unpleasant situation, there in the depths of the
forest, but Mackay turned it to good account. First he and
Captain Bax made presents to the headmen and they were as pleased
as children to receive the gay ornaments and bright cloth the
travelers gave them. And then Mackay called their interpreter to
his side and they stood up together, facing the crowd. Speaking
through his interpreter, the missionary said he wished to tell
them a story. These mountain savages were veritable children in
their love for a story, as they were in so many other ways, and
their eyes gleamed with delight.
It was a wonderful story he told them, the like of which they had
never heard before. It was about the great God, who had made the
earth and the people on it, and was the Father of them all. He
told how God loved everybody, because they were his children.
Chinese, white men beyond the sea like himself and Captain Bax,
the people of the mountains,--all were God's children. And so all
men were brothers, and should love God their Father and each
other. And because God loved his children so, he sent his Son,
Jesus Christ, to live among men and to die for them. He told the
story simply and beautifully, just as he would to little
children, and these children of the forest listened and their
savage eyes grew less fierce as they heard for the first time of
the story of the Savior.
The next day, after a toilsome journey, the travelers reached the
plain below. They had made their dangerous trip and had escaped
the head-hunters, but as fierce an enemy was lying in wait for
both, an enemy that in Formosa devours native and foreigner
alike. Captain Bax was the first to be attacked. All day, as they
descended the mountain, the rain came down in torrents, a real
Formosan rain that is like the floodgates opening. The travelers
were drenched and chilly, and just as they emerged from the
forest Captain Bax succumbed to the enemy. Malaria had smitten
Shaking with chills and then burning with fever, he was placed in
a sedan-chair and carried the remainder of the way, three days'
journey, to the coast, where the medical attendants on board his
ship cured him. Mackay was feeling desperately ill all the way
across the plain, but with his usual determination he refused to
give in until he almost staggered across the threshold of his
The house had been closed in his absence. It was now damp and
chilly and everything was covered with mold. He lay down in his
bed, alternately shivering with cold and burning with fever. In
the next room A Hoa, who had gone to bed also, heard his teeth
chattering and came to him at once. It was a terrible thing to
the young fellow to see his dauntless Kai Bok-su overcome by any
kind of force. It seemed impossible that he who had cured so many
should become a victim himself. A Hoa proved a kind nurse. He
stayed by the bedside all night, doing everything in his power to
allay the fever. His efforts proved successful, and in a few days
the patient was well. But never again was he quite free from the
dreaded disease, and all the rest of his life he was subject to
the most violent attacks of malaria, a terrible memento by which
he was always to remember his first visit to the headhunters.
CHAPTER VIII. CITIES CAPTURED AND FORTS BUILT
Up the river to Go-ko-khi! That was always a joy, and whenever
Mackay could take a day from his many duties, with A Hoa and one
or more other students, he would go up and visit old Thah-so and
the kindly people of this little village.
One day, after they had preached in the empty granary and the
rain had come in, Mr. Tan, the headman, walked up the village
street with them, and he made them an offer. They might have the
plot of ground opposite his house for a chapel-site. This was
grand news. A chapel in north Formosa! Mackay could hardly
believe it, but it seemed that there really was to be one. There
were many Christians in Go-ko-khi now, and each one was ready for
work. Some collected stones, others prepared sun-dried bricks,
others dug the foundation, and the first church in north Formosa
Now Go-ko-khi was, unfortunately, near the great city of
Bang-kah. This was the most hostile and wicked place in all that
country, and A Hoa and Mackay had been stoned out of it on their
visit there. The people in Bang-kah learned of the new church
building, and one day, when the brick walls were about three feet
high, there arose a tramp of feet, beating of drums, and loud
shouts, and up marched a detachment of soldiers sent with orders
from the prefect of Bang-kah to stop the building of the chapel.
Their officers went straight to the house of the headman with his
commands. Mr. Tan was six feet two and he rose to his full height
and towered above his visitor majestically. The "mayor" of
Go-ko-khi was a Christian now, and on the wall of his house was
pasted a large sheet of paper with the ten commandments printed
on it. He pointed to this and said: "I am determined to abide by
these." The officer was taken aback. He was scarcely prepared to
defy the headman, and he went away to stir up the villagers. But
everywhere the soldiers met with opposition. There seemed no one
who would take their part. The officer knew he and his men were
scarcely within their rights in what they were doing; so, fearing
trouble, he marched back to the city, reporting there that the
black-bearded barbarian had bewitched the villagers with some
The prefect of Bang-kah next sent a message to the British
consul. The missionary was building a fort at Go-ko-khi, he
declared in great alarm, and would probably bring guns up the
river at night. He was a very bad man indeed, and if the British
consul desired peace he should stop this wicked Kai Bok-su at
once. And the British consul down in his old Dutch fort at Tamsui
laughed heartily over the letter, knowing all about Kai Bok-su
and the sort of fort he was building.
So, in spite of all opposition, the little church rose steadily
up and up until it was crowned with a tiled roof and was ready
for the worshipers.
That was a great day for north Formosa and its young missionary,
the day the first church was opened. The place was packed to the
doors, and many stood outside listening at the windows. And of
that crowd one hundred and fifty arose and declared that from
henceforth they would cast away their idols and worship only the
one and true God. Standing up there in his first pulpit and
looking down upon the crowd of upturned faces, and seeing the new
light in them which the blessed good news of Jesus and his love
had brought, Kai Bok-su's heart swelled with joy.
He stayed with them some time after this, for, though so many
people had become Christians, they were like little children and
needed much careful teaching. Especially they must learn how to
live as Jesus Christ would have his followers live. Many heathen
as well as the Christians came to his meetings and listened
eagerly. At first the people found it almost impossible to sit
quiet and still during a service. They had never been accustomed
to such a task, and some of the missionary's experiences were
very funny. When they had sung a hymn and had settled down to
listen to the address, the preacher would no sooner start than
out would come one long pipe after another, pieces of flint would
strike on steel, and in a few minutes the smoke would begin to
ascend. Mackay would pause and gently tell them that as this was
a Christian service they must not do anything that might disturb
it. They were anxious to do just as he bade, so the pipes would
disappear, and nodding their heads politely they would say, "Oh,
yes, we must be quiet; oh, yes, indeed."
One day when the congregation was very still and their young
pastor was speaking earnest words to them, one man less attentive
than the others happened to glance out of the window. Instantly
he sprang to his feet shouting, "Buffaloes in the rice-fields!
Buffaloes in the rice-fields!" and away he went with a good
fraction of the congregation helter-skelter at his heels.
The missionary spoke again upon the necessity of quiet, and his
hearers nodded agreeably and murmured, "Yes, yes, we must be
They were very good for the next few minutes and the minister had
reached a very important point in his address, when there was a
great disturbance at the door. An old woman came hobbling up on
her small feet and poking her head in at the church door
screamed, "My pig has gone! Pig has gone!" and away went another
portion of the congregation to help find the truant porker.
But, in spite of many interruptions, the congregation at
Go-ko-khi learned much of the beautiful truth of their new
religion. Their indulgent pastor never blamed his restless
hearers, but before the church was two months old he had trained
them so well that there was not a more orderly and attentive
congregation even in his own Christian Canada than that which
gathered in the first chapel in north Formosa.
But the day came at last when he had to leave them, and the
question was who should be left over them. The answer seemed very
plain,--A Hoa. The first convert placed as pastor over the first
church! It was very fitting. Some months before, down in Tamsui,
when A Hoa had been baptized and had taken his first communion,
he had vowed to give his life more fully to his Master's service.
So here was his field of labor, and here he began his work. He
was so utterly sincere and lovable, so bright and jovial, so firm
of purpose and yet so kindly, that he was soon beloved by all the
Christians and respected by the heathen. And one of his greatest
helpers was widow Thah-so, who had been instrumental in bringing
the missionary with his glad tidings to her village.
Mackay missed A Hoa sorely at first, but he had his other
students about him, and often when bent upon a long journey would
send for his first convert, and together they would travel here
and there over the island, making new recruits everywhere for the
army of their great Captain.
The little church at Go-ko-khi was but the first of many. Like
the hepaticas that used to peep forth in the missionary's home
woods, telling that spring had arrived, here and there they came
up, showing that the long cruel winter of heathenism in north
Formosa was drawing to an end.
Away up the Tamsui river, nestled at the foot of the mountains,
stood a busy town called Sin-tiam. A young man from this place
sailed down to Tamsui on business one day and there heard the
great Kai Bok-su preach of the new Jehovah-God, he went home full
of the wonderful news, and so much did he talk about it that a
large number of people in Sin-tiam were very anxious to hear the
barbarian themselves. So one day a delegation came down the river
to the house on the bluff above Tamsui. They made this request
known to the missionary as he sat teaching his students in the
study. Would he not come and tell the people of Sin-tiam the
story about this Jesus-God who loved all men? Would he go? Kai
Bok-su was on the road almost before the slow-going Orientals had
finished delivering the message.
It was the season of a feast to their idols in Sin-tiam when the
missionary and his party arrived. Great crowds thronged the
streets, and the barbarian with his white face and his black
beard and his queer clothes attracted unusual attention. The
familiar cry, "Foreign devil," was mingled with "Kill the
barbarian," "Down with the foreigner." The crowd began to surge
closer around the missionary party, and affairs looked very
serious. Suddenly a little boy right in Mackay's path was struck
on the head by a brick intended for the missionary. He was picked
up, and Mackay, pressing through the crowd to where the little
fellow lay, took out his surgical instruments and dressed the
wound. All about him the cries of "Kill the foreign devil"
changed to cries of "Good heart! Good heart!" The crowd became
friendly at once, and Mackay passed on, having had once more a
narrow escape from death.
The work of preaching to these people was carried on vigorously,
and before many months had passed the Christians met together and
declared they must build a chapel for the worship of the true
God. So, close by the riverside, in a most picturesque spot, the
walls of the second chapel of north Formosa began to rise. It was
not without opposition of course. One rabid idol-worshiper
stopped before the half-finished building with its busy workmen,
and, picking up a large stone, declared that he would smash the
head of the black-bearded barbarian if the work was not stopped
that moment. Needless to say, the missionary, standing within a
good stone's throw of his enemy, ordered the workers to continue.
George Mackay was not to be stopped by all the stones in north
This stone was never thrown, however, and at last the chapel was
finished. Once more a preacher was ready to be its pastor. Tan
He, a young man who had been studying earnestly under his leader
for some time, was placed over this second congregation, and once
more there blossomed out a sure sign that the spring had indeed
come to north Formosa.
Tek-chham, a walled city of over forty thousand inhabitants, was
the next place to be attacked by this little army of the King's
soldiers. The first visit of the missionary caused a riot, but
before long Tek-chham had a chapel with some of the rioters for
its best members, and a once proud graduate and worshiper of
Confucius installed in it as its pastor.
Ten miles from Tek-chham stood a little village called Geh-bai.
The missionary-soldiers visited it, and to their delight found a
church building ready for them. It was quite a wonderful place,
capable of holding fully a thousand people without much crowding.
Its roof was the boughs of the great banyan tree; its one pillar
the trunk, and its walls the branches that bent down to enter the
ground and take root. It made a delightful shelter from the
broiling sun. And here Kai Bok-su preached. But a banyan does not
give perfect shelter in all kinds of weather, so when a number of
people had declared themselves followers of the Lord Jesus, a
large house was rented and fitted up as a chapel, with another
native pastor over it.
Away over at Kelung a church was founded through a man who had
carried the gospel home from one of the missionary's sermons.
Here and there the hepaticas were springing up. From all sides
came invitations to preach the great news of the true God, and
the young missionary gave himself scarcely time to eat or sleep.
He worked like a giant himself, and he inspired the same spirit
in the students that accompanied him. He was like a Napoleon
among his soldiers. Wherever he went they would go, even though
it would surely mean abuse and might mean death. And, wherever
they went, they brought such a wonderful, glad change to people's
hearts that they were like slave-liberators setting captives
The most lawless and dangerous region in all north Formosa was
that surrounding the small town of Sa-kak-eng. In the mountains
near by lived a band of robbers who kept the people in a constant
state of dread by their terrible deeds of plunder and murder.
Sometimes the frightened townspeople would help the highwaymen
just to gain their good-will, and such treatment only made them
bolder. Bands of them would even come down into the town and
march through the streets, frightening every one into flight.
They would shout and sing, and their favorite song was one that
showed how little they cared for the laws of the land.
You trust the mandarins,
We trust the mountains.
So the song went, and when the missionary heard it first he could
not help confessing that after all it was a sorry job trusting
the mandarins for protection.
The first time he visited the place with A Hoa they were stoned
and driven out. But the missionaries came back, and at last were
allowed to preach. And then converts came and a church was
established. The robber bands received no more assistance from
the people, and were soon scattered by the officers of the law.
And Sa-kak-eng was in peace because the missionary had come.
But there was one place Mackay had so far scarcely dared to
enter. Even the robber-infested Sa-kak-eng would yield, but
Bang-kah defied all efforts. To the missionary it was the
Gibraltar of heathen Formosa, and he longed to storm it. North,
south, east, and west of this great wicked city churches had been
planted, some only within a few miles of its walls. But Bang-kah
still stood frowning and unyielding. It had always been very
bitter against outsiders of all kinds. No foreign merchant was
allowed to do business in Bang-kah, so no wonder the foreign
missionary was driven out.
Mackay had dared to enter the place, being of the sort that would
dare anything. It was soon after he had settled in Formosa and A
Hoa had accompanied him. The result had been a riot. The streets
had immediately filled with a yelling, cursing mob that pelted
the two missionaries with stones and rotten eggs and filth, and
drove them from the city.
But "Mackay never knew when he was beaten," as a fellow worker of
his once said, and though he was taking desperate chances, he
went once more inside the walls of Bang-kah. This time he barely
escaped with his life, and the city authorities forbade every
one, on pain of death, to lease or sell property to him or in any
way accommodate the barbarian missionary.
But meanwhile Kai Bok-su was keeping his eye on Bang-kah, and
when the territory around had been possessed, he went up to
Go-ko-khi and made the daring proposition to A Hoa. Should they
go up again and storm the citadel of heathenism? And A Hoa
answered promptly and bravely, "Let us go."
So one day early in December, when the winter rains had commenced
to pour down, these two marched across the plain and into
Bang-kah. By keeping quiet and avoiding the main thoroughfare,
they managed to rent a house. It was a low, mean hovel in a
dirty, narrow street, but it was inside the forbidden city, and
that was something. The two daring young men then procured a
large sheet of paper, printed on it in Chinese characters "Jesus'
Temple," and pasted it on the door. This announced what they had
come for, and they awaited results.
Presently there came the heavy tramp, tramp of feet on the stone
pavement. Mackay and A Hoa looked out. A party of soldiers, armed
with spears and swords, were returning from camp. They stopped
before the hut and read the inscription. They shouted loud
threats and tramped away to report the affair to headquarters.
In a short time, with a great noise and tramping, once more
soldiers were at the door. Mackay waked out and faced them
quietly. The general had given orders that the barbarian must
leave this house immediately, the soldier declared in a loud
voice. The place belonged to the military authorities.
"Show me your proof," said Mackay calmly. His bold behavior
demanded respectful treatment, so the soldier produced the deed
for the property.
"I respect your law," said Mackay after he examined it, "and my
companion and I will vacate. But I have paid rent for this place,
therefore I am entitled to remain for the night. I will not go
out until morning."
His firm words and fearless manner had their effect both on the
soldiers and the noisy mob waiting for him outside, and the men,
muttering angrily, turned away. That night Mackay and A Hoa lay
on a dirty grass mat on the mud floor. The place was damp and
filthy, but even had it been comfortable they would have had
little sleep. For, far into the night, angry soldiers paraded the
street. Often their voices rose to a clamor and they would make a
rush for the frail door of the little hut. Many times the two
young fellows arose, believing their last hour had come. But the
long night passed and they found that they were still left
They rose early and started out. Already a great mob filled the
space in front of the house. Even the low roofs of the
surrounding houses were covered with people all out early to see
the barbarian and his despised companion driven from Bang-kah,
and perhaps have the added pleasure of witnessing their death.
The two walked bravely down the street. Curses were showered upon
them from all sides; broken tiles, stones, and filth were thrown
at them, but they moved on steadily. The mob hampered them so
that they were hours walking the short distance to the river.
Here they entered a boat and went down a few miles to a point
where a chapel stood, and where some of Mackay's students awaited
But the man who "did not know when he was beaten" had not turned
his back on the enemy. He gathered the group of students around
him in the little room attached to the chapel. Here they all
knelt and the young missionary laid their trouble before the
great Captain who had said, "All power is given unto me." "Give
us an entrance to Bang-kah," was the burden of the missionary's
prayer. They arose from their knees, and he turned to A Hoa with
that quick challenging movement his students had learned to know
"Come," he said, "we are going back to Bang-kah."
And A Hoa, whose habit it was to walk into all danger with a
smile, answered with all his heart:
"It is well, Kai Bok-su; we go back to Bang-kah."
And straight back to this Gibraltar the little army of two
marched. It was quite dark by the time they entered. A Formosan
city is not the blaze of electricity to which Westerners are
accustomed, and only here and there in the narrow streets shone a
dim light. The travelers stumbled along, scarcely knowing whither
they were going. As they turned a dark corner and plunged into
another black street they met an old man hobbling with the aid of
a staff over the uneven stones of the pavement. Mackay spoke to
him politely and asked if he could tell him of any one who would
rent a house. "We want to do mission work," he added, feeling
that he must not get anything under false pretenses.
The old man nodded. "Yes, I can rent you my place," he answered
readily. "Come with me."
Full of amazement and gratitude the two adventurers groped their
way after him, stumbling over stones and heaps of rubbish. They
could not help realizing, as they got farther into the city, that
should the old man prove false and give an alarm the whole
murderous populace of that district would be around them
instantly like a swarm of hornets. But whether he was leading
them into a trap or not their only course was to follow.
At last he paused at a low door opening into the back part of a
house. The old man lighted a lamp, a pith wick in a saucer of
peanut oil, and the visitors looked around. The room was damp and
dirty and infested with the crawling creatures that fairly swarm
in the Chinese houses of the lower order. Rain dripped from the
low ceiling on the mud floor, and the meager furniture was dirty
But the two young men who had found it were delighted. They felt
like the advance guard of an army that has taken the enemy's
first outpost. They were established in Bang-kah! They set to
work at once to draw out a rental paper. A Hoa sat at the table
and wrote it out so that they might be within the law which said
that no foreigner must hold property in Bang-kah. When the paper
was signed and the money paid, the old man crept stealthily away.
He had his money, but he was too wary to let his fellow citizens
find how he had earned it.
As soon as morning came the little army in the midst of the
hostile camp hoisted its banner. When the citizens of Bang-kah
awoke, they found on the door of the hut the hated sign, in large
Chinese characters, "Jesus' Temple."
In less than an hour the street in front of it was thronged with
a shouting crowd. Before the day was past the news spread, and
the whole city was in an uproar. By the next afternoon the
excitement had reached white heat, and a wild crowd of men came
roaring down the street. They hurled themselves at the little
house where the missionaries were waiting and literally tore it
to splinters. The screams of rage and triumph were so horrible
that they reminded Mackay of the savage yells of the
When the mob leaped upon the roof and tore it off, the two hunted
men slipped out through a side door, and across the street into
an inn. The crowd instantly attacked it, smashing doors, ripping
the tiles off the roof, and uttering such bloodthirsty howls that
they resembled wild beasts far more than human beings. The
landlord ordered the missionaries out to where the mob was
waiting to tear them limb from limb.
It was an awful moment. To go out was instant death, to remain
merely put off the end a few moments. Mackay, knowing his source
of help, sent up a desperate prayer to his Father in heaven.
Suddenly there was a strange lull in the street outside. The
yells ceased, the crashing of tiles stopped. The door opened, and
there in his sedan-chair of state surrounded by his bodyguard,
appeared the Chinese mandarin. And just behind him--blessed sight
to the eyes of Kai Bok-su--Mr. Scott, the British consul of
Without a word the two British-born clasped hands. It was not an
occasion for words. There was immediately a council of war. The
mandarin urged the British consul to send the missionary out of
"I have no authority to give such an order," retorted Mr. Scott
quickly. "On the other hand you must protect him while he is
here. He is a British subject."
Mackay's heart swelled with pride. And he thanked God that his
Empire had such a worthy representative.
Having again impressed upon the mandarin that the missionary must
be protected or there would be trouble, Mr. Scott set off for his
home. Mackay accompanied him to the city gate. Then he turned and
walked back through the muttering crowds straight to the inn he
had left. He stopped occasionally to pull a tooth or give
medicine for malaria, for even in Bang-kah he had a few friends.
The mandarin was now as much afraid of the missionary as if he
had been the plague. He knew he dared not allow him to be
touched, and he also knew he had very little power over a mob. He
was responsible, too, to men in higher office, for the control of
the people, and would be severely punished if there was a riot.
He was indeed in a very bad way when he heard that the
troublesome missionary had come back, and he followed him to the
inn to try to induce him to leave.
He found Mackay with A Hoa, quietly seated in their room. First
he commanded, then he tried to bribe, and then he even descended
to beg the "foreign devil" to leave the city. But Mackay was
"I cannot leave," he said, touched by the man's distress. "I
cannot quit this city until I have preached the gospel here." He
held up his forceps and his Bible. "See! I use these to relieve
pain of the body, and this gives relief from sin,--the disease of
the soul. I cannot go until I have given your people the benefit
The mandarin went away enraged and baffled. He could not persuade
the man to go; he dared not drive him out. He left a squad of
soldiers to guard the place, however, remembering the British
In a few days the excitement subsided. People became accustomed
to seeing the barbarian teacher and his companion go about the
streets. Many were relieved of much pain by him too, and a large
number listened with some interest to the new doctrine he taught
concerning one God.
He had been there a week when some prominent citizens came to him
with a polite offer. They would give him free a piece of ground
outside the city on which to build a church. Kai Bok-su's
flashing black eyes at once saw the bribe. They wanted to coax
him out when they could not drive him. He refused politely but
"I own that property," he declared, pointing to the heap of ruins
into which his house had been turned, "and there I will build a
They did everything in their power to prevent him, but one day,
many months after, right on the site where they had literally
torn the roof from above him, arose a pretty little stone church,
and that was the beginning of great things in Bang-kah.
And so Gibraltar was taken,--taken by an army of two,--a Canadian
missionary and a Chinese soldier of the King, for behind them
stood all the army of the Lord of hosts, and he led them to
CHAPTER IX. OTHER CONQUESTS.
Away over on the east of the island ran a range of beautiful
mountains. And between these mountains and the sea stretched a
low rice plain. Here lived many Pe-po-hoan,-- "Barbarians of the
plain." Mackay had never visited this place, for the Kap-tsu-lan
plain, as it was called, was very hard to reach on account of the
mountains; but this only made the dauntless missionary all the
more anxious to visit it.
So one day he suggested to his students, as they studied in his
house on the bluff, that they make a journey to tell the people
of Kap-tsu-lan the story of Jesus. Of course, the young fellows
were delighted. To go off with Kai Bok-su was merely transferring
their school from his house to the big beautiful outdoors. For he
always taught them by the way, and besides they were all eager to
go with him and help spread the good news that had made such a
difference in their lives. So when Kai Bok-su piled his books
upon a shelf and said, "Let us go to Kap-tsu-lan," the young
fellows ran and made their preparations joyfully. A Hoa was in
Tamsui at the time, and Mackay suggested that he come too, for a
trip without A Hoa was robbed of half its enjoyment.
Mackay had just recovered from one of those violent attacks of
malaria from which he suffered so often now, and he was still
looking pale and weak. So Sun-a, a bright young student-lad, came
to the study door with the suggestion, "Let us take Lu-a for Kai
Bok-su to ride."
There was a laugh from the other students and an indulgent smile
from Kai Bok-su himself. Lu-a was a small, rather stubborn-looking donkey with meek eyes and a little rat
tail. He was a
present to the missionary from the English commissioner of
customs at Tamsui, when that gentleman was leaving the island.
Donkeys were commonly used on the mainland of China, and though
an animal was scarcely ever ridden in Formosa, horses being
almost unknown, the commissioner did not see why his Canadian
friend, who was an introducer of so many new things, should not
introduce donkey-riding. So he sent him Lu-a as a farewell
present and leaving this token of his good-will departed for
Up to this time Lu-a had served only as a pet and a joke among
the students, and high times they had with him in the grassy
field behind the missionary's house when lessons were over. In
great glee they brought him round to the door now, "all saddled
and bridled" and ready for the trip. The missionary mounted, and
Lu-a trotted meekly along the road that wound down the bluff
toward Kelung. The students followed in high spirits. The sight
of their teacher astride the donkey was such a novel one to them,
and Lu-a was such a joke at any time, that they were filled with
merriment. All went well until they left the road and turned into
a path that led across the buffalo common. At the end of it they
came to a ravine about fifteen feet deep. Over this stretched. a
plank bridge not more than three feet wide. Here Lu-a came to a
sudden stop. He had no mind to risk his small but precious body
on that shaky structure. His rider bade him "go on," but the
command only made Lu-a put back his ears, plant his fore feet
well forward and stand stock still. In fact he looked much more
settled and immovable than the bridge over which he was being
urged. The students gathered round him and petted and coaxed.
They called him "Good Lu-a" and "Honorable Lu-a" and every other
flattering title calculated to move his donkeyship, but Lu-a
flattened his ears back so he could not hear and would not move.
So Mackay dismounted and tried the plan of pulling him forward by
the bridle while some of the boys pushed him from behind. Lu-a
resented this treatment, especially that from the rear, and up
went his heels, scattering students in every direction; and to
discomfit the enemy in front he opened his mouth and gave forth
such loud resonant brays that the ravine fairly rang with his
A balking donkey is rather amusing to boys of any country, but to
these Formosan lads who had had no experience with one the sound
of Lu-a's harsh voice and the sight of his flying heels brought
convulsions of merriment. "He's pounding rice! He's pounding
rice!" shouted the wag of the party, and his companions flung
themselves upon the grass and rolled about laughing themselves
With his followers rendered helpless and his steed continuing
stubborn, Mackay saw the struggle was useless. He could not
compete alone with Lu-a's firmness, so he gave orders that the
obstinate little obstructer of their journey be trotted back to
"And to think that any one of us might have carried the little
rascal over!" he cried as he watched the donkey meekly depart.
His students looked at the little beast with something like
respect. Lu-a had beaten the dauntless Kai Bok-su who had never
before been beaten by anything. He was indeed a marvelous donkey!
So the journey to the Kap-tsu-lan plain was made on foot. It was
a very wearisome one and often dangerous. The mountain paths were
steep and difficult and the travelers knew that often the
head-hunters lurked near. But the way was wonderfully beautiful
nevertheless. Standing on a mountain height one morning and
looking away down over wooded hills and valleys and the lake-like
terraces of the rice-fields, Mackay repeated to his students a
line of the old hymn:
Every prospect pleases and only man is vile.
Around them the stately tree-fern lifted its lovely fronds and
the orchids dotted the green earth like a flock of gorgeous
butterflies just settled. Tropical birds of brilliant plumage
flashed among the trees. Beside them a great tree raised itself,
fairly covered with morning-glories, and over at their right a
mountainside gleamed like snow in the sunlight, clothed from top
to bottom with white lilies.
But the way had its dangers as well as its beauties. They were
passing the mouth of a ravine when they were stopped by yells and
screams of terror coming from farther up the mountainside. In a
few minutes a Chinaman darted out of the woods toward them. His
face was distorted with terror and he could scarcely get breath
to tell his horrible story. He and his four companions had been
chipping the camphor trees up in the woods; suddenly the armed
savages had leaped out upon them and he alone of the five had
At last they left the dangerous mountain and came down into the
Kap-tsu-lan plain. On every side was rice-field after rice-field,
with the water pouring from one terrace to another. The plain was
low and damp and the paths and roads lay deep in mud. They had a
long toilsome walk between the rice-fields until they came to the
first village of these barbarians of the plain. It was very much
like a Chinese village,--dirty, noisy, and swarming with
wild-looking children and wolfish dogs.
The visitors were received with the utmost disdain. The Chinese
students were of course well known, for these aborigines had long
ago adopted their customs and language. But the Chinese visitors
were in company with the foreigners, and all foreigners were
outcaste in this eastern plain. The men shouted the familiar
"foreign devil" and walked contemptuously away. The dirty women
and children fled into their grass huts and set the dogs upon the
strangers. They tried by all sorts of kindnesses to gain a
hearing, but all to no effect. So they gave it up, and plodded
through the mud and water a mile farther on to the next village.
But village number two received them in exactly the same way.
Only rough words and the barks of cruel dogs met them. The next
village was no better, the fourth a little worse. And so on they
went up and down the Kap-tsu-lan plain, sleeping at night in some
poor empty hut or in the shadow of a rice strawstack, eating
their meals of cold rice and buffalo-meat by the wayside, and
being driven from village to village, and receiving never a word
And all through those wearisome days the young men looked at
their leader in vain for any smallest sign of discouragement or
inclination to retreat. There was no slightest look of dismay on
the face of Kai Bok-su, for how was it possible for a man who did
not know when he was beaten to feel discouraged? So still
undaunted in the face of defeat, he led them here and there over
the plain, hoping that some one would surely relent and give them
One night, footsore and worn out, they slept on the damp mud
floor of a miserable hut where the rain dripped in upon their
faces. In the morning prospects looked rather discouraging to the
younger members of the party. They were wet and cold and weary,
and there seemed no use in going again and again to a village
only to be turned away. But Kai Bok-su's mouth was as firm as
ever, and his dark eyes flashed resolutely, as once more he gave
the order to march. It was a lovely morning, the sun was rising
gloriously out of the sea and the heavy mists were melting from
above the little rice-fields. Here and there fairy lakes gleamed
out from the rosy haze that rolled back toward the mountains.
They walked along the shore in the pink dawn-light and marched up
toward a fishing village. They had visited it before and had been
driven away, but Kai Bok-su was determined to try again. They
were surprised as they came nearer to see three men come out to
meet them with a friendly expression on their faces.
The foremost was an old man who had been nicknamed "Black-face,"
because of his dark skin. The second was a middle-aged man, and
the third was a young fellow about the age of the students. They
saluted the travelers pleasantly, and the old man addressed the
"You have been going through and through our plain and no one has
received you," he said politely. "Come to our village, and we
will now be ready to listen to you."
The door of Kap-tsu-lan had opened at last! The missionary's eyes
gleamed with joy and gratitude as he accepted the invitation. The
delegation led the visitors straight to the house of the headman.
For the Pe-po-hoan governed their communities in the Chinese
style and had a headman for each village. The missionary party
sat down in front of the hut on some large flat stones and talked
over the matter with the chief and other important men. And while
they talked "Black-face" slipped away. He returned in a few
moments with a breakfast of rice and fish for the visitors.
The result of the conference was that the villagers decided to
give the barbarian a chance. All he wanted it seemed was to tell
of this new Jehovah-religion which he believed, and surely there
could be no great harm in listening to him talk.
In the evening the headman with the help of some friends set to
work to construct a meeting-house. A tent was erected, made from
boat sails. Several flat stones laid at one end and a plank
placed upon them made a pulpit. And that was the first church on
the Kap-tsu-lan plain! There was a "church bell" too, to call the
people to worship. In the village were some huge marine shells
with the ends broken off. In the old days these were used by the
chiefs as trumpets by which they called their men together
whenever they were starting out on the war-path. But now the
trumpet-shell was used to call the people to follow the King.
Just at dark a man took one, and walking up and down the
straggling village street blew loudly-- the first "church bell"
in east Formosa.
The loud roar brought the villagers flocking down to the
tent-church by the shore. For the most part they brought their
pews with them. They came hurrying out of their huts carrying
benches, and arranging them in rows they seated themselves to
Mackay and the students sang and the people listened eagerly. The
Pe-po-hoan by nature were more musical than the Chinese, and the
singing delighted them. Then the missionary arose and addressed
them. He told clearly and simply why he had come and preached to
them of the true God. Afterward the congregation was allowed to
ask questions, and they learned much of this God and of his love
in his Son Jesus Christ.
The wonder of the great news shone in the eyes upturned to the
preacher. In the gloom of the half-lighted tent their dark faces
took on a new expression of half-wondering hope. Could it be
possible that this was true? Their poor, benighted minds had
always been held in terror of their gods and of the evil spirits
that forever haunted their footsteps. Could it be possible that
God was a great Father who loved his children? They asked so many
eager questions, and the story of Jesus Christ had to be told
over and over so many times, that before this first church
service ended a gray gleam of dawn was spreading out over the
It was only the next day that these newly awakened people decided
that they must have a church building. And they went to work to
get one in a way that might have shamed a congregation of people
in a Christian land. This new wonderful hope that had been raised
in their hearts by the knowledge that God loved them set them to
work with glad energy. Kai Bok-su and his men still preached and
prayed and sang and taught in the crazy old wind-flapped tent by
the seashore, and the people listened eagerly, and then, when
services were over, every one,--preacher, assistants, and
congregation,--set bravely to work to build a church. Brave they
certainly had to be, for at the very beginning they had to risk
their lives for their chapel. A party sailed down the coast and
entered savage territory for the poles to construct the building.
They were attacked and one or two were badly wounded, though they
managed to escape. But they were quite ready to go back and fight
again had it been necessary. Then they made the bricks for the
walls. Rice chaff mixed with clay were the materials, and the
Kap-tsu-lan plain had an abundance of both. The roof was made of
grass, the floor of hard dried earth, and a platform of the same
at one end served as a pulpit.
When the little chapel was finished, every evening the big shell
rang out its summons through the village; and out from every
house came the people and swarmed into the chapel to hear Kai
Bok-su explain more of the wonders of God and his Son Jesus
Mackay's home during this period was a musty little room in a
damp mud-walled hut; and here every day he received donations of
idols, ancestral tablets, and all sorts of things belonging to
idol-worship. He was requested to burn them, and often in the
mornings he dried his damp clothes and moldy boots at a fire made
from heathen idols.
For eight weeks the missionary party remained in this place,
preaching, teaching, and working among the people. It was a
mystery to the students how their teacher found time for the
great amount of Bible study and prayer which he managed to get.
He surely worked as never man worked before. Late at night, long
after every one else was in bed, he would be bending over his
Bible, beside his peanut-oil lamp, and early in the morning
before the stars had disappeared he was up and at work again.
Four hours' sleep was all his restless, active mind could endure,
and with that he could do work that would have killed any
One evening some new faces looked up at him from his congregation
in the little brick church. When the last hymn was sung the
missionary stepped down from his pulpit and spoke to the
strangers. They explained that they were from the next village.
They had heard rumors of this new doctrine, and had been sent to
find out more about it. They had been charmed with the singing,
for that evening over two hundred voices had joined in a ringing
praise to the new Jehovah-God. They wanted to hear more, they
said, and they wanted to know what it was all about. Would Kai
Bok-su and his students deign to visit their village too?
Would he? Why that was just what he was longing to do. He had
been driven out of that village by dogs only a few weeks before,
but a little thing like that did not matter to a man like Mackay.
This village lay but a short distance away, being connected with
their own by a path winding here and there between the
rice-fields. Early the next evening Mackay formed a procession.
He placed himself at its head, with A Hoa at his side. The
students came next, and then the converts in a double row. And
thus they marched slowly along the pathway singing as they went.
It was a stirring sight. On either side the waving fields of
rice, behind them the gleam of the blue ocean, before them the
great towering mountains clothed in green. Above them shone the
clear dazzling sky of a tropical evening. And on wound the long
procession of Christians in a heathen land, and from them arose
the glorious words:
O thou, my soul, bless God the Lord,
And all that in me is
Be stirred up his holy name
To magnify and bless.
And the heathen in the rice-fields stopped to gaze at the strange
sight, and the mountains gave back the echo of that Name which is
above every name.
And so, marching to their song, the procession came to the
village. Everybody in the place had come out to meet them at the
first sound of the singing. And now they stood staring, the men
in a group by themselves, the women and children in the
background, the dogs snarling on the outskirts of the crowd.
The congregation was there ready, and without waiting to find a
place of meeting, right out under the clear evening skies, the
young missionary told once more the great story of God and his
love as shown through Jesus Christ. The message took the village
by storm. It was like water to thirsty souls. The next day five
hundred of them brought their idols to the missionary to be
And now Mackay went up and down the Kap-tsu-lan plain from
village to village as he had done before, but this time it was a
triumphal march. And everywhere he went throngs threw away their
idols and declared themselves followers of the true God.
He was overcome with joy. It was so glorious he wished he could
stay there the rest of his life and lead these willing people to
a higher life. But Tamsui was waiting; Sin-tiam, Bang-kah,
Kelung, Go-ko-khi, they must all be visited; and finally he tore
himself away, leaving some of his students to care for these
people of Kap-tsu-lan.
But he came back many times, until at last nineteen chapels
dotted the plain, and in them nineteen native preachers told the
story of Jesus and his love. Sometimes, in later years, when
Mackay was with them, tears would roll down the people's faces as
they recalled how badly they had used him on his first visit.
It was while on his third visit here that he had a narrow escape
from the head-hunters. He was staying at a village called "South
Wind Harbor," which was near the border of savage territory.
Mackay often walked on the shore in the evening just before the
meeting, always with a book in his hand. One night he was
strolling along in deep meditation when he noticed some extremely
large turtle tracks in the sand. He followed them, for he liked
to watch the big clumsy creatures. These green turtles were from
four to five feet in length. They would come waddling up from the
sea, scratch a hole in the sand with their flippers, lay their
eggs, cover them carefully, and with head erect and neck
out-thrust waddle back. Mackay was intensely interested in all
the animal life of the island and made a study of it whenever he
had a chance. He knew the savages killed and ate these turtles,
but he supposed he was as yet too near the village to be molested
by them. So he followed the tracks and was nearing the edge of
the forest, when he heard a shout behind him. As he turned, one
of his village friends came running out of his hut waving to him
frantically to come back. Thinking some one must be ill, Mackay
hurried toward the man, to find that it was he himself who was in
danger. The man explained breathlessly that it was the habit of
the wily savages to make marks in the sand resembling turtle
tracks to lure people into the forest. If Kai Bok-su had entered
the woods, his head would certainly have been lost.
It was always hard to say farewell to Kap-tsu-lan, the people
were so warm-hearted, so kind, and so anxious for him to stay.
One morning just before leaving after his third visit, Mackay had
an experience that brought him the greatest joy.
He had stayed all night at the little fishing village where the
first chapel had been built. As usual he was up with the dawn,
and after his breakfast of cold boiled rice and pork he walked
down to the shore for a farewell look at the village. As he
passed along the little crooked street he could see old women
sitting on the mud floors of their huts, by the open door,
weaving. They were all poor, wrinkled, toothless old folk with
faces seamed by years of hard heathen experience. But in their
eyes shone a new light, the reflection of the glory that they had
seen when the missionary showed them Jesus their Savior. And as
they threw their thread their quavering voices crooned the sweet
There is a happy land
Far, far away.
And their old weary faces were lighted up with a hope and
happiness that had never been there in youth.
Kai Bok-su smiled as he passed their doors and his eyes were
misty with tender tears.
Just before him, playing on the sand with "jacks" or tops, just
as he had played not so very long ago away back in Canada, were
the village boys. And as they played they too were singing, their
little piping voices, sweet as birds, thrilling the morning air.
And the words they sang were:
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
They nodded and smiled to Kai Bok-su as he passed. He went down
to the shore where the wide Pacific flung long rollers away up
the hard-packed sand. The fishermen were going out to sea in the
rosy morning light, and as they stood up in their fishing-smacks,
and swept their long oars through the surf, they kept time to the
motion with singing. And their strong, brave voices rang out
above the roar of the breakers:
I'm not ashamed to own my Lord,
Or to defend his cause.
And standing there on the sunlit shore the young missionary
raised his face to the gleaming blue heavens with an emotion of
unutterable joy and thanksgiving. And in that moment he knew what
was that glory for which he had so vaguely longed in childish
years. It was the glory of work accomplished for his Master's
sake, and he was realizing it to the full.
CHAPTER X. REENFORCEMENTS
Some of Mackay's happiest days were spent with his students. He
was such a wonder of a man for work himself that he inspired
every one else to do his best, so the young men made rapid
strides with their lessons. No matter how busy he was, and he was
surely one of the busiest men that ever lived, he somehow found
time for them.
Sometimes in his house, sometimes on the road, by the seashore,
under a banyan tree, here and there and everywhere, the
missionary and his pupils held their classes. If he went on a
journey, they accompanied him and studied by the way. And it was
a familiar sight on north Formosan roads or field paths to see
Mackay, always with his book in one hand and his big ebony stick
under his arm, walking along surrounded by a group of young men.
Sometimes there were as many as twenty in the student-band, but
somewhere in the country a new church would open, and the
brightest of the class would be called away to be its minister.
But just as often a young Christian would come to the missionary
and ask if he too might not be trained to preach the gospel of
Whether at home or abroad, pupils and teacher had to resort to
all sorts of means to get away for an uninterrupted hour
together. For Kai Bok-su was always in demand to visit the sick
or sad or troubled.
There was a little kitchen separate from the house on the bluff,
and over this Mackay with his students built a second story. And
here they would often slip away for a little quiet time together.
One night, about eleven o'clock, Mackay was here alone poring
over his books. The young men had gone home to bed except two or
three who were in the kitchen below. Some papers had been dropped
over a pipe-hole in the floor of the room where Mackay was
studying, and for some time he had been disturbed by a rustling
among them. At last without looking up, he called to his boys
below: "I think there are rats up here among my papers!"
Koa Kau, one of the younger of the students, ran lightly up the
stairs to give battle to the intruders. What was his horror when
he saw fully three feet of a monster serpent sticking up through
the pipe-hole and waving its horrible head in the air just a
little distance from Kai Bok-su's chair.
The boy gave a shout, darted down the stair, and with a sharp
stick, pinned the body of the snake to the wall below. The
creature became terribly violent, but Koa Kau held on valiantly
and Mackay seized an old Chinese spear that happened to be in the
room above and pierced the serpent through the head. They pulled
its dead body down into the kitchen below and spread it out. It
measured nine feet. The students would not rest until it was
buried, and the remembrance of the horrible creature's visit for
some time spoiled the charm of the little upper room.
The rocks at Kelung harbor were another favorite spot for this
little traveling university to hold its classes. Sometimes they
would take their dinner and row out in a little sampan to the
rocks outside the harbor and there, undisturbed, they would study
the whole day long.
They always began the day's work with a prayer and a hymn of
praise, and no matter what subjects they might study, most of the
time was spent on the greatest of books. After a hard morning's
work each one would gather sticks, make a fire, and they would
have their dinner of vegetables, rice, and pork or buffalo-meat.
Then there were oysters, taken fresh off the rocks, to add to
their bill of fare.
At five in the afternoon, when the strain of study was beginning
to tell, they would vary the program. One or two of the boys
would take a plunge into the sea and bring up a subject for
study,--a shell, some living coral, sea-weed, sea-urchins, or
some such treasure. They would examine it, and Kai Bok-su, always
delighted when on a scientific subject, would give them a lesson
in natural history. And he saw with joy how the wonders of the
sea and land opened these young men's minds to understand what a
great and wonderful God was theirs, who had made "the heaven and
the earth and the sea, and all that in them is."
When they visited a chapel in the country, they had a daily
program which they tried hard to follow. They studied until four
o'clock every afternoon and all were trained in speaking and
preaching. After four they made visits together to Christians or
heathen, speaking always a word for their Master. Every evening a
public service was held at which Mackay preached. These sermons
were an important part of the young men's training, for he always
treated the gospel in a new way. A Hoa, who was Mackay's
companion for the greater part of sixteen years, stated that he
had never heard Kai Bok-su preach the same sermon twice.
On the whole the students liked their college best when it was
moving. For on the road, while their principal gave much time to
the Bible and how to present the gospel, he would enliven their
walks by conversing about everything by the way and making it
full of interest. The structure of a wayside flower, the
geological formation of an overhanging rock, the composition of
the soil of the tea plantations, the stars that shone in the sky
when night came down upon them;--all these made the traveling
college a delight.
Although his days were crammed with work, Mackay found time to
make friends among the European population of the island. They
all liked and admired him, and many of them tried to help the man
who was giving his life and strength so completely to others.
They were familiar with his quick, alert figure passing through
the streets of Tamsui, with his inevitable book and his big ebony
cane. And they would smile and say, "There goes Mackay; he's the
busiest man in China."*
* See Chapter XIII. Formosa becomes Japanese territory.
The British consul in the old Dutch fort and the English
commissioner of customs proved true and loyal friends. The
representatives of foreign business firms, too, were always ready
to lend him a helping hand where possible. His most useful
friends were the foreign medical men. They helped him very much.
They not only did all they could for his own recovery when
malaria attacked him, but they helped also to cure his patients.
Traveling scientists always gave him a visit to get his help and
advice. He had friends that were ship-captains, officers,
engineers, merchants, and British consuls. Everybody knew the
wonderful Kai Bok-su. "Whirlwind Mackay," some of them called
him, and they knew and admired him with the true admiration that
only a brave man can inspire.
The friends to whom he turned for help of the best kind were the
English Presbyterians in south Formosa. They, more than any
others, knew his trials and difficulties. They alone could enter
with true sympathy into all his triumphs. At one time Dr.
Campbell, one of the south Formosan missionaries, paid him a
visit. He proved a delightful companion, and together the two
made a tour of the mission stations. Dr. Campbell preached
wherever they went and was a great inspiration to the people, as
well as to the students and to the missionary himself.
One evening, when they were in Kelung, Mackay, with his
insatiable desire to use every moment, suggested that they spend
ten days without speaking English, so that they might improve
their Chinese. Dr. Campbell agreed, and they started their
"Chinese only." Next morning from the first early call of "Liong
tsong khi lai," "All, all, up come," not one word of their native
tongue did they speak. They had a long tramp that morning and
there was much to talk about and the conversation was all in
Chinese, according to the bargain. Dr. Campbell was ahead, and
after an hour's talk he suddenly turned upon his companion:
"Mackay!" he exclaimed, "this jabbering in Chinese is ridiculous,
and two Scotchmen should have more sense; let us return to our
mother tongue." Which advice Mackay gladly followed.
His next visitor was the Rev. Mr. Ritchie from south Formosa, one
of the friends who had first introduced him to his work. Every
day of his visit was a joy. With nine of Mackay's students, the
two missionaries set out on a trip through the north Formosa
mission that lasted many weeks.
But the more pleasant and helpful such companionship was the more
alone Mackay felt when it was over. His task was becoming too
much for one man. He was wanted on the northern coast, at the
southern boundary of his mission field, and away on the
Kap-tsu-lan plain all at once. He was crowded day and night with
work. What with preaching, dentistry, attending the sick,
training his students, and encouraging the new churches, he had
enough on his hands for a dozen missionaries.
But now at last the Church at home, in far-away Canada, bestirred
herself to help him. They had been hearing something of the
wonderful mission in Formosa, but they had heard only hints of
it, for Mackay would not confess how he was toiling day and night
and how the work had grown until he was not able to overtake it
alone. But the Church understood something of his need, and they
now sent him the best present they could possibly give,--an
assistant. Just three years after Mackay had landed in Formosa,
the Rev. J. B. Fraser, M. D., and his wife and little ones
arrived. He was a young man, too, vigorous and ready for work.
Besides being an ordained minister, he was a physician as well,
just exactly what the north Formosan mission needed.
Along with the missionary, the Church had sent funds for a house
for him and also one for Mackay. So the poor old Chinese house on
the bluff was replaced by a modern, comfortable dwelling, and by
its side another was built for the new missionary and his family.
One room of Mackay's house was used as a study for his students.
After the houses were built and the new doctor was able to use
the language, he began to fill a long-felt want. Mackay had
always done a little medical work, and the foreign doctor of
Tamsui had been most kind in giving his aid, but a doctor of his
own, a missionary doctor, was exactly what Kai Bok-su wanted.
Soon the sick began to hear of the wonders the missionary doctor
could perform, and they flocked to him to be cured.
It must not be supposed that there were not already doctors in
north Formosa. There were many in Tamsui alone, and very
indignant they were at this new barbarian's success. But the
native doctors were about the worst trouble that the people had
to bear. Their medical knowledge, like their religion, was a
mixture of ignorance and superstition, and some of their
practises would have been inexcusable except for the fact that
they themselves knew no better. There were two classes of medical
men; those who treated internal diseases and those who professed
to cure external maladies. It was hard to judge which class did
the more mischief, but perhaps the "inside doctors" killed more
of their patients. Dog's flesh was prescribed as a cure for
dyspepsia, a chip taken from a coffin and boiled and the water
drunk was a remedy for catarrh, and an apology made to the moon
was a specific for wind-roughened skin. For the dreaded malaria,
the scourge of Formosa, the young Canadian doctor found many and
amazing remedies prescribed, some worse than the disease itself.
The native doctors believed malaria to be caused by two devils in
a patient, one causing the chills, the other the fever. One of
the commonest remedies, and one that was quite as sensible as any
of the rest, was to tie seven hairs plucked from a black dog
around the sick one's wrist.
But when the barbarian doctor opened his dispensary in Tamsui, a
new era dawned for the poor sick folk of north Formosa. The work
went on wonderfully well and Mackay found so much more time to
travel in the country that the gospel spread rapidly.
But just when prospects were looking so fair and every one was
happy and hopeful, a sad event darkened the bright outlook of the
two missionaries. The young doctor had cured scores of cases, and
had brought health and happiness to many homes, but he was
powerless to keep death from his own door.
And one day, a sad day for the mission of north Formosa, the
mother was called from husband and little ones to her home and
her reward in heaven.
So the home on the bluff, the beautiful Christian home, which was
a pattern for all the Chinese, was broken up. The young doctor
was compelled to leave his patients, and taking his motherless
children he returned with them to Canada.
The church at home sent out another helper. The Rev. Kenneth
Junor arrived one year later, and once more the work received a
fresh impetus. And then, just about two years after Mr. Junor's
arrival, Kai Bok-su found an assistant of his own right in
Formosa, and one who was destined to become a wonderful help to
him. And so one bright day, there was a wedding in the chapel of
the old Dutch fort, where the British consul married George
Leslie Mackay to a Formosan lady. Tui Chhang Mai, her name had
been. She was of a beautiful Christian character and for a long
time she had been a great help in the church. But as Mrs. Mackay
she proved a marvelous assistance to her husband.
It had long been a great grief to the missionary that, while the
men would come in crowds to his meetings, the poor women had to
be left at home. Sometimes in a congregation of two hundred there
would be only two or three women. Chinese custom made it
impossible for a man missionary to preach to the women. Only a
few of the older ones came out. So the mothers of the little
children did not hear about Jesus and so could not teach their
little ones about him.
But now everything was changed for them. They had a
lady-missionary, and one of their own people too. The Mackays
went on a wedding-trip through the country. Kai Bok-su walked, as
usual, and his wife rode in a sedan-chair. The wedding-trip was
really a missionary tour; for they visited all the chapels, and
the women came to the meetings in crowds, because they wanted to
hear and see the lady who had married Kai Bok-su. Often, after
the regular meetings when the men had gone away, the women would
crowd in and gather round Mrs. Mackay and she would tell them the
story of Jesus and his love.
It was a wonderful wedding-journey and it brought a double
blessing wherever the two went. Their experiences were not all
pleasant. One day they traveled over a sand plain so hot that
Mackay's feet were blistered. Another time they were drenched
with rain. One afternoon there came up a terrific wind storm. It
blew Mrs. Mackay's sedan-chair over and sent her and the carriers
flying into the mud by the roadside. At another place they all
barely escaped drowning when crossing a stream. But the brave
young pair went through it all dauntlessly. The wife had caught
something of her husband's great spirit of sacrifice, and he was
always the man on fire, utterly forgetful of self.
For two years they worked happily together and at last a great
day came to Kai-Bok-su. He had been nearly eight years in
Formosa. It was time he came home, the Church in Canada said, for
a little rest and to tell the people at home something of his
And so he and his Formosan wife said good-by, amid tears and
regrets on all sides, and leaving Mr. Junor in charge with A Hoa
to help, they set sail for Canada. It was just a little over
seven years since he had settled in that little hut by the river,
despised and hated by every one about him; and now he left behind
him twenty chapels, each with a native preacher over it, and
hundreds of warm friends scattered over all north Formosa.
He was not quite the same Mackay who had stood on the deck of the
America seven years before. His eyes were as bright and daring as
ever and his alert figure as full of energy, but his face showed
that his life had been a hard one. And no wonder, for he had
endured every kind of hardship and privation in those seven
years. He had been mobbed times without number. He had faced
death often, and day and night since his first year on the island
his footsteps had been dogged by the torturing malaria.
But he was still the great, brave Mackay and his home-coming was
like the return of a hero from battle. He went through Canada
preaching in the churches, and his words were like a call to
arms. He swept over the country like one of his own Formosan
winds, carrying all before him. Wherever he preached hearts were
touched by his thrilling tales, and purses opened to help in his
work. Queen's University made him a Doctor of Divinity; Mrs.
Mackay, a lady of Detroit, gave him money enough to build a
hospital; and his home county, Oxford, presented him with $6,215
with which to build a college.
He visited his old home and had many long talks of his childhood
days with his loved ones. And he was reminded of the big stone in
the pasture-field which he was so determined to break. And he
thanked his heavenly Father for allowing him to break the great
rock of heathenism in north Formosa.
He returned to his mission work more on fire than ever. If he had
been received with acclaim in his native land, his Formosan
friends' welcome was not less warm. Crowds of converts, all his
students who were not too far inland, and among them, Mr. Junor,
his face all smiles, were thronging the dock, many of them
weeping for joy. It was as if a long-absent father had come back
to his children.
The work went forward now by leaps and bounds. Mackay's first
thought, after a hurried visit to the chapels and their
congregations, was to see that the hospital and college were
All day long the sound of the builders could be heard up on the
bluff near the missionaries' houses, and in a wonderfully short
time there arose two beautiful, stately buildings. Mackay
hospital they called one, not for Kai Bok-su--he did not like
things named for him--but in memory of the husband of the kind
lady who had furnished the money for it. The school for training
young men in the ministry was called Oxford College, in honor of
the county whose people had made it possible.
Oxford College stood just overlooking the Tamsui river, two
hundred feet above its waters. The building was 116 feet long and
67 feet wide, and was built of small red bricks brought from
across the Formosa Channel. A wide, airy hall ran down the middle
of the building, and was used as a lecture-room. On either side
were rooms capable of accommodating fifty students and apartments
for two teachers and their families. There were, besides, two
smaller lecture-rooms, a museum filled with treasures collected
from all over Formosa by Dr. Mackay and his students, a library,
a bathroom, and a kitchen.
The grounds about the college and hospital were very beautiful.
Nature had given one of the finest situations to be found about
Tamsui, and Kai Bok-su did the rest. The climate helped him, for
it was no great task to have a luxurious garden in north Formosa.
So, in a few years there were magnificent trees and hedges, and
always glorious flower beds abloom all the time around the
But all this was not accomplished without great toil, and Kai
Bok-su appeared never to rest in those building days. It seemed
impossible that one man should work so hard, he was in Tamsui
superintending the hospital building to-day, and away off miles
in the country preaching to-morrow. He never seemed to get time
to eat, and he certainly slept less than his allotted four hours.
A great disappointment was pending, however, and one he saw
coming nearer every day. The trying Formosan climate was proving
too much for his young assistant, and one sad day he stood on the
dock and saw Mr. Junor, pale and weak and broken in health, sail
away back to Canada.
But there was always a brave soldier waiting to step into the
breach, and the next year Kai Bok-su had the joy of welcoming two
new helpers, when the Rev. Mr. Jamieson and his wife came out
from Canada and settled in the empty house on the bluff. Yes, and
in time there came to his own house other helpers--very little
and helpless at first they were--but they soon made the house
ring with happy noise and filled the hearts of their parents with
There were two ladies now to lead in the work for girls and
women. Their sisters in Canada came to their help too. The young
men had a school in Formosa, and why should there not be a school
for women and girls? they asked. And so the Women's Foreign
Missionary Society of Canada sent to Dr. Mackay money to build
one. It took only two months to erect it. It stood just a few
rods from Oxford College, and was a fine, airy building. Here a
native preacher and his wife took up their abode and with the
help of Mrs. Mackay and two other native Christian women they
strove to teach the girls of north Formosa how to make beautiful
And now to the two missionaries every prospect seemed bright. The
college, the girls' school, the hospital, were all in splendid
working order. Mr. and Mrs. Jamieson were giving their best
assistance. A Hoa and the other native pastors were working
faithfully. God's blessing seemed to be showering down upon the
work and on every side were signs of growth. And then, right from
this shining sky, there fell a storm of such fierceness that it
threatened to wipe out completely the whole north Formosan
CHAPTER XI. UNEXPECTED BOMBARDMENT
An enemy's battle-ships off the coast of Formosa! During all the
spring rumors of trouble had been coming across the channel from
the mainland. France* and China had been quarreling over a
boundary-line in Tongking. The affair had been settled but not in
a way that pleased France. So, without even waiting to declare
war, she sent a fleet to the China Sea and bombarded some of her
enemy's ports. Formosa, of course, came in for her share of the
trouble, and it was early in the summer that the French
battle-ships appeared. They hove in sight, sailing down the
Formosa Channel or Strait one hot day, and instantly all Formosa
was in an uproar of alarm and rage. The rage was greater than the
alarm, for China cordially despised all peoples beyond her own
border, and felt that the barbarians would probably be too feeble
to do them any harm. But that the barbarians should dare to
approach their coast with a war-vessel! That was a terrible
insult, and the fierce indignation of the people knew no bounds.
Their rage broke out against all foreigners. They did not
distinguish between the missionary from British soil and the
French soldiers on their enemy's vessels. They were all
barbarians alike, the Chinese declared, and as such were the
deadly foe of China. This Kai Bok-su was in league with the
French, and the native Christians all over Formosa were in league
with him, and all deserved death!
*War in 1844.
So hard days came for the Christians of north Formosa. Wherever
there was a house containing converts, there was riot and
disorder. For bands of enraged heathen, armed with knives and
swords, would parade the streets about them and threaten all with
a violent death the moment the French fired a shot.
In some places near the coast the Christian people dared not
leave their houses, and whenever they sent out their children to
buy food, often a heathen neighbor would catch them, brandish
knives over the terrified little ones' heads and declare they
would all be cut to pieces when the barbarian ships came into
Every hour of the day and often in the night, letters came from
all parts of the country to Dr. Mackay. They were brought by
runners who came at great peril of their lives, and were sent by
the poor Christians. Each letter told the same tale; the lives
and property of all the converts were in grave danger if the
enemy did not leave. And they all asked Kai Bok-su to do
something to help them.
Now Kai Bok-su was a man with great power and influence both in
Formosa and in his far-off Canada, but he had no means of
bringing that power to bear on the French. And indeed his own
life was in as great danger as any one's.
He wrote to the Christians comforting them and enthusing them
with his own spirit. He bade them all be brave, and no matter
what came, danger or torture or death itself, they must be true
to Jesus Christ. He went about his work in the college or
hospital just as usual, though he knew that any day the angry mob
from the town below might come raging up to destroy and kill.
The French had entered Kelung harbor and the danger was growing
more serious every day when Mackay found it necessary to go to
Palm Island, a pretty islet in the mouth of the Kelung river. It
was almost courting death to go, but he had been sent for, and he
went. He found the place right under the French guns and in the
midst of raging Chinese. Some of the faithful students were
there, and they were overcome with joy and hope at the sight of
him. He gathered them about him in a mission house for prayer and
a word of encouragement. Outside the Chinese soldiers paraded up
and down. Sometimes indeed they would burst into the room and
threaten the inmates with violence should the French fire. Kai
Bok-su went on quietly talking to his students. He urged them to
be faithful and reminded them of what their Master suffered at
the hands of a mob for their sake. But, in spite of their brave
spirits, the little company could not help listening for the boom
of the French guns. It was fully expected that the enemy would
soon fire, and when they did, the Christians well knew there
would be little chance for them to escape.
But God had prepared a way out of the difficulty. The meeting was
scarcely over when a messenger came in, asking for the
missionary. A Christian on the mainland was very ill and wanted
Kai Bok-su to visit him. Mackay with his students left the island
at once and went to the home of the sick man.
They had been gone but a short time when the thunder of the
French cannon broke over the harbor. The guns from the Chinese
fort answered, and had the missionary been on Palm Island he and
his converts would surely have been killed.
The Chinese were no match for the French gunners. The bombardment
destroyed the fort and killed every soldier who did not manage to
get away. A great shell crashed into the magazine of the fort,
and the explosion hurled masses of the concrete walls an
incredible distance. The city about the fort was completely
deserted, for the people fled at the first sound of the guns.
As soon as the firing was over, the rabble broke loose and a
perfect reign of terror prevailed. The mob carried black flags
and swept over town and country, plundering and murdering. The
Christians were of course the first object of attack, and to tear
down a church was the mob's fiercest joy. Seven of the most
beautiful chapels were completely destroyed and many others
In the town of Toa-liong-pong was the home of Koa Kau, one of Kai
Bok-su's most devoted students. Here was a lovely chapel built at
great expense. The crowd tore it to pieces from roof to
foundation. Then, out of the bricks of the ruin they erected a
huge pile, eight feet high; they plastered it over with mud, and
on the face of it, next the highway where every one might see it,
they wrote in large Chinese characters:
MACKAY, THE BLACK-BEARDED BARBARIAN, LIES HERE. HIS WORK IS
They knew that the first was not true, but they firmly believed
the latter statement, for they understood little of the power of
At Sin-tiam the crowd of ruffians smashed the doors and windows
of the church. Then they took the communion roll and read aloud
the names of the Christians who had been baptized. As each name
was announced, some of the murderers would rush off toward the
home of the one mentioned. Here they would torture and often kill
the members of the family. The native preacher and his family
barely escaped with their lives. One good old Christian man with
his wife, both over sixty, were dragged out into the deep water
of the Sin-tiam river. Here they were given a choice. If they
gave up Jesus Christ, their lives would be saved. If they still
remained Christians, they would be drowned right there and then.
The brave old couple refused to accept life at such a cost.
"I'm not ashamed to own my Lord," was a hymn Kai Bok-su had
taught them, and they had meant every word as they had sung it
many times in the pretty chapel by the river. And so they were
"not ashamed" now. They were led deeper and deeper into the
water, and at every few feet the way of escape was offered, but
they steadily refused, and were at last flung into the river--
faithful martyrs who certainly won a crown of life.
These were only two among many brave Christians who died for
their Master's sake. Some were put to tortures too horrible to
tell to make them give up their faith. Some were hung by their
hair to trees, some were kicked or beaten to death, many were
slashed with knives until death relieved their pain. And on every
side the most noble Christian heroism was shown. In all ages
there have been those who died for their faith in Jesus Christ;
and these Formosan followers of their Master proved themselves no
less faithful than the martyrs of old.
And where was Kai Bok-su while the mob raged over the country?
Going about his work in Tamsui as of old. Only now he worked both
night and day, and the anxiety for his poor converts kept him
awake in the few hours when he might have snatched some sleep. He
was here, there, everywhere at once, it seemed, writing letters
to encourage the Christians in distress, visiting those who were
wavering to strengthen their faith, teaching his students,
praying, preaching, night and day, he never ceased; and always
the mob surged about him threatening his life.
The French ships now sailed out of Kelung harbor and took up
their position opposite Tamsui. Every one knew this probably
meant bombardment, and Dr. Mackay and Mr. Jamieson, standing on
the bluff before their houses, looked at each other and each knew
the other's thought. Bombardment would mean that the mob would
come raging up and destroy both life and property on the hill.
But just as they expected the roar of guns to open, there sailed
into Tamsui harbor a vessel that flew a different flag from the
French. Mackay, looking at her through a glass, made out with joy
the crosses on the red banner of Britain! England had nothing to
do with this Chinese-French war, but as a British vessel can be
found lying around almost any port in the wide world, there of
course happened to be one near Tamsui. She gained a passport into
the harbor and sailed in with a very kindly mission; it was to
protect the lives of foreigners, not only from the French guns,
but from the Chinese mobs.
The ship had been in the harbor but a short time when a young
English naval officer, carrying the British flag, came up the
path to the houses on the bluff. Dr. Mackay was in the library of
Oxford College, lecturing to his students, when the visitor
The missionary made the sailor welcome and the young man told his
errand. Dr. Mackay was invited to bring his family and his
valuables and come on board the vessel to be the guest of the
captain until the disturbance was over.
It was a most kindly invitation and Dr. Mackay shook his
visitor's hand warmly as he thanked him. He turned and translated
the message to his students, and their hearts stood still with
dismay. If Kai Bok-su, their stay and support, were to be taken
away, what would become of them? But Kai Bok-su had not changed
with the changing circumstances. He was still as brave and
undaunted as though trouble had never come to his island.
He turned to the officer again with a smile. "My family would not
be hard to move," he said, "but my valuables--I am afraid I could
not take them." He made a gesture toward the students standing
about him. "These young men and many more converts scattered all
over north Formosa, are my valuables. Many of them have faced
death unflinchingly for my sake. They are my valuables, and I
cannot leave them."
It was bravely said, just as Kai Bok-su might be expected to
speak, and the English officer's eyes kindled with appreciation.