Ede, George. "A Tour Through Eastern Formosa." Presbyterian Messenger (1 Oct 1890): 6-9; (1 Nov 1890): 4-7; (1 Dec 1890): 6-10; (1 Feb 1891): 5-6; (1 Mar 1891): 2-3; (1 Apr 1891): 3-5, 8-10; (1 May 1891): 12-14; (1 Jun 1891): 11-14.
A Tour Through Eastern Formosa
[p. 6][ We desire to call our readers' special attention to the following paper, the first of a short series, giving an account of a trip to Eastern Formosa. We are perfectly certain our readers will thank us for commending this account to their careful perusal. For graphic description, and life-like picturing of the grand scenery of Formosa and travel there, it is unsurpassed; and its deeply interesting glimpses into savage life and Christian work cannot but charm. The whole narrative deserves a wide circulation and a careful perusal.]
A look at the map of Formosa (in last year's Annual Report), showing as it does a large part of Eastern Formosa wholly evangelised, is enough to stir up one's interest in that region. It was so with me. I should have been very sorry to have returned to Britain without having seen that part of the island. As it is only on an average about once in three years that it has been found possible for a missionary to go to the East Coast, as it is commonly called, I wished to make my visit as profitable as possible to all classes of persons with whom I might meet, and, therefore, among other things, arranged to take with me a large supply of books and tracts suitable both for the Church people and the heathen, a set of diagrams of the tabernacle, and also my magic-lantern, the accompanying slides of which were almost all scriptural.
I left Taiwanfoo on December 18th, and returned on February 19th. During the two months I was away I passed the Sabbaths at the following places : -- (1) the village of Pun-ki-o; (2) the Camp of Lók-liâu; (3) the Chapel at Chiòh-pâi; (4) the Chapel at Chîm-kóng-ò; (5, 6) the Chapel at Tak-kai; (7) Hoe-léng-káng, usually called on the charts Chock-e-day; (8) the village of Lí-lāng; and (9) the Chapel at Tek-á-kha.
On my journey to the East Coast I was accompanied by two preachers and several of the native brethren who were returning to their homes.
Because most sections of the road are dangerous, the Chinese authorities have established military camps where wayfarers can at least pass the night in safety. No charge is made for lodging, but travellers must provide food and bedding for their own use.
It would occupy a considerable amount of space to explain in detail the physical features of Eastern Formosa. However, they may be described in a general way as follows. Running through the centre of the island are various ranges of high mountains. Near the eastern shore is a line of lofty hills passing for a considerable distance from north to south. Between these hills and the central mountains is a long narrow valley called the Lâi-pen-po. At the extremities of the sea-board range of hills this valley widens out and reaches to the shore. The Lâi-pen-po is divided into three sections by two watersheds, one drained by a river flowing south, another by a river flowing [p. 7] north, and the middle section by a river running eastward to the sea. It is proposed by the Chinese Government to establish a separate department in Eastern Formosa, but the site for the capital city is not yet fixed. Some think it would be best to found it at Pò-chong (usually called on the charts Pohson), the port at the mouth of the river draining the southern section of the Lâi-pe-po; others at Hoe-léng-káng (Chock-e-day), the port at the mouth of the river draining the northern section of that valley; but it is more likely that the centre of the district will be chosen, probably the locality known as Chúi-boé, for here more rice could be grown than at the two other places. A river runs east to the sea, so there would be a possibility of establishing water communication with the coast. Moreover, minerals are abundant in the region.
The people dwelling in Eastern Formosa are divisible into two classes: -- I. The Chinese-speaking population, composed of the Chinese proper, and the Pên-po-hoan who have migrated from the west side of the island; and II. The non-Chinese-speaking inhabitants, subdivided into two sets of people -- (1) the High-hill savages, quite uncivilized, and divided up into a number of tribes speaking two or more dialects; and (2) the Low-hill savages, partially civilised, and divided up into two or three sections speaking more or less different dialects. The larger portion of the Low-hill savages are known as A-mî-a.
Having in the preceding paragraphs given a short introduction to my subject, I now proceed to the details of the journey itself. We started from Taiwanfoo, as is stated above, on the 18th of December. By evening we reached Làm-á-khen, to which the church of Kiô-á-thâu has recently been removed. The new building will accommodate about three hundred people; but alas! [sic] the number of members is only some four or five. However, at worship that evening there were between sixty and seventy persons gathered together, so that at present there is a certain measure of hopefulness about the work there.
Next day we continued our journey southward. On the road, not far from the sea, we passed a hill called the Phoà-pêng-soan (half-side mountain). There is a legend about this to the effect that a number of years ago some immigrants from the mainland of China were boasting about the height of the mountains in their native place, when it was suggested that they should return there and bring back a specimen to compare with those of Formosa. In thinking over the matter it occurred to the disputants that half a mountain would do for the purpose of comparison just as well as a whole one. Accordingly, only half a one was brought, but as soon as it was landed its diminutive proportions were at once so evident that the mainlanders were ashamed to bring it close up against the lofty peaks of Formosa, and, therefore, left it in solitariness where it now stands, they themselves fleeing for shelter from the derision of their opponents.
Well on in the afternoon we were proceeding steadily on our journey, when we came to a field of sugar-cane by the roadside. Some of the party suddenly made a halt, and those who had guns quickly got them ready for firing. Two men had been noticed hiding among the canes, and from their suspicious movements were supposed to be robbers. When they saw the odds against them they slunk away out of sight. A great many people have of late been plundered in this district, and, in some cases, where resistance has been offered, have been killed. The authorities seem either unable or unwilling to prevent these outrages.
Just about sundown we came to a river over which we had to cross on a bamboo raft, which on its journey across was for the greater part under the surface of the water. In times of flood the passage of such streams is exceedingly dangerous. A short distance beyond this ferry is the chapel of Kiâm-po-á, where we put up for the night. Next morning we crossed to Tang-káng. Between these two places is a river, shallow on the north side and deep on the south. Over the shallow portion we had to walk, and only when the water was becoming too deep for wading did we reach the ferry-boat by which the rest of the distance was accomplished. Tang-kang being a market town, provisions were here bought for the journey across the mountains. Thereafter we proceeded to Tek-á-kha. After passing the night here, we next morning crossed in an easterly direction to a village called Pun-ki-ô, situated near the foot of the mountains. One of the mission preachers has his home here, and it was to his house we went. Next day, Sabbath, was spent in this locality. A considerable number of people came to the services which were held in the morning and afternoon. One almost wishes that public worship could be more often observed in places where there is no chapel so as to remove doubts and suspicions from the minds of the heathen, and also to let them see the way in which God's people wait upon Him. At the gathering in the evening earnest prayers were offered up for those of us who were on the morrow expecting to begin the journey across the mountains to the east coast.
Monday morning dawned fair and clear. It had been my hope to have breakfast over and everything ready for the start by six o'clock at the latest. However, this was not to be the case. A difficulty arose about the porterage [sic] of the baggage. All had to be weighed over again and a fresh distribution made. Every ounce was carefully taken note of. It was half-past seven o'clock before we were able to make a move forward. A walk of about an hour and a half brought us to the foot of the road leading across the mountains, here known as San-tiâu-leng (treble-ridged mountains).
First Meeting with the Savages.
One could not but take a good look at the heights towering away up into the blue sky and draw a long breath at the thought of having to make their ascent. However, the thing had to be done, so a stern switch of the will soon put vigour into our feet, and away up we went. A steady tramp for over an hour brought us to an elevated platform, from which we got a view of some savage houses near the top of a hill away a considerable distance to the north. The sun now began to shine out with no small degree of strength. As the heat increased, we all became very thirsty. So far no water had been met with on the road itself. It could only be got by descending some distance into the valley. For a while no one cared to risk going down for any, in case the savages might be in hiding among the bushes, but at length two or three made bold to go, and by-and-bye returned safely with several vessels full. This refreshed us very much, and away up, up we went, feeling the strain more and more as mid-day approached. Just a little after twelve o'clock we reached the first military encampment, where I was at once [p. 8] requested to drink tea -- of course, plain tea, with no sugar or milk in it, for the Chinese never partake of it in any other way. While I was enjoying this hospitality, some of the party were preparing the mid-day meal. When I came out I saw several fires at the road-side, and the cooking of rice, &c., going on in the briskest manner. This itself would have made a sufficiently interesting picture, but even more interesting was the gathering of onlookers. These were savages -- men, women and children -- who had come from somewhere, it is difficult to tell where, for no houses of any kind were visible on any side. One felt pity rather than fear for these curious visitors. The baggage-bearers, who were not a little fatigued by their morning's exertions, were alive to the possibility of getting some relief during the afternoon, and were, therefore, trying to induce the savages to carry their burdens. They offered them bits of cloth, old garments, tobacco pipes, matches, &c., and to make believe that the loads were not at all heavy, balanced them in their hands in an apparently easy manner. Finally, after much gesticulating and turning over and over of the articles to be given for the work, some bargains were concluded. While a great deal of this affair was going on, I was seated on a box eating my bowl of rice and the various tit-bits which accompanied it. Of course, I was an object of no small curiosity. The dusky spectators could hardly make me out. My white skin and my appearance in general seemed a puzzle to them. They slyly slipped to my back to view my person from that direction, and when I happened to raise my helmet to wipe the perspiration from my brow, threw up their arms and uttered ejaculations of the most astonishing kind. Altogether the novelty of the various circumstances made it the funniest picnic in which I had ever had a share.
We had still a good afternoon's tramp before we could reach the next encampment, and the road as in the morning was still up. Among the savages who had agreed to carry the loads was a woman who had divided a burden with a man who was evidently her husband. She had gathered a wisp of grass, rolled it in a bit of cloth, and thus made a pad to put under the burden which she bore upon her head. A poor wee baby was strapped in a piece of cloth across her back, its little head hanging back and leaving its face fully exposed to the blazing sun. As the mother trudged along the head wobbled to and fro in a way most distressing to behold. Had the burden tumbled backwards when the bearer was going up or down a slope, the tiny thing must almost certainly have been killed. The whole sight to me was very painful, but nobody else seemed to mind.
It was nearing sundown when we came in sight of the camp which was to be our abode for the night, but a short distance before we reached it, on our left, away deep, deep down in the valley, and situated on the crest of a flat-topped mound, we saw what seemed at first sight like a large cemetery, where the tombs were of more than ordinary size; but closer observation, especially by the aid of the field glass, revealed the fact that what we saw were the roofs of a large number of houses which formed a savage village. A small branch village lay not far off. Shale is very abundant in this region, and the savages use large slabs of this as roofing for their houses.
Savage Dress and Equipment.
As soon as we reached the camp which had just come into view, nearly every one of our party set hastily to work to get ready the evening meal, and during the time that these preparations were in progress a number of savages presented themselves. They apparently belonged to the village which we had just seen away down in the valley. None of us could speak to them, so our communications were of necessity chiefly carried on by gestures. However, they gave us to understand that they were Paiwang, being evidently very proud of the name. Some of the men certainly seemed smart fellows. Their weapons consisted chiefly of spears nine or ten feet long, and very long knives slung in a slanting direction across their left sides. The sheaths of these knives were of wood, and open on the outer side, so as to leave the glittering steel well exposed. The shafts of the spears and the handles of the knives were in many cases adorned with carvings of human heads, and near the top of the former, and at the end of the sheaths of the latter weapons dangled, in some cases, clumps of hair. A gay chaplet of leaves gave a haughty and triumphant air to these wild men of the woods. Again the bearers of our party saw the chance of perhaps getting a help with their loads on the morrow. They tried to induce some of our visitors to come early next morning and shoulder the baggage for a stage of the journey. One old man was very willing to come to terms, but I jocularly tried to make him understand that I did not think he was able for the task. As soon as he grasped my meaning, he gave me a proud look of scorn, and with a light beaming from his eyes danced about in so agile a manner as to make me think him the acrobat of the tribe. I gave him a look of satisfaction, and indicated to him that he should appear at daylight next morning, and with this we parted friends. As the sun went down, all our uncanny visitors departed.
A Night and Morning in the Hill-Country.
After finishing our evening meal we had worship. Some of the soldiers joined us. Although our surroundings were very strange, yet we felt that God was near; and we, with truly grateful hearts, thanked Him for all His goodness to us during the day, and trustfully committed ourselves to His further keeping. At this camp there seemed to be some scarcity of accommodation. There appeared to be only two spare apartments. The party was consequently divided into two sections. The section to which I became associated had for its bedroom a kind of low hut, the doorway of which was so low that one had to stoop to get through. Inside the room, across the hinder wall was a raised platform made of reeds. This served as a bedstead for five of us, and four or five burden-bearers gathered some grass and made their resting-place on the floor. The room had no door to close, but a kind of barrier was made of an open umbrella and a couple of the big straw hats which the coolies are accustomed to wear -- about two feet in diameter. All of us were thoroughly tired, and did not in any degree grudge going to bed. Five sleeping together, I in between two Chinamen, seemed to me a strange experience. The reeds which formed the bedstead were anything but even, and, as a consequence, pressed up against one's flesh in a most annoying manner. It seemed almost like trying to sleep on a large twisted gridiron. However, I, like the others around me, was able ultimately to go off into a peaceful slumber.
On awakening in the morning there appeared before the door the dark outline of the high hills, and above these the subdued light of the breaking dawn just showing itself in the heavens. The stars were there, but their light gradually went out as that of the day increased in distinctness. The [p. 9] air was deliciously fresh and balmy. For a time, too, a peaceful stillness prevailed, a kind of stillness which seemed fitted to soothe the spirit of man into a reverential calm. Nature never appeared purer to me than it did that morn, and its Author never more manifest in His works than then. I almost fancied I could hear Him whispering in softest tones, "I am here." This sweet serenity, however, did not last long. Soon the crowing of some fowls heralded the opening day in such a forcible manner that most of the sleepers were awakened thereby. Then in a very little while all was commotion. Breakfast was prepared, and our swarthy visitors of the previous evening reappeared on the scenes. Before starting on our day's journey we had worship together. This took place in the open air, with our barbarian friends standing round and looking on. Of course they were not forgotten in the petitions which went up to the throne of grace, and one could not help thinking as they stood there what a happy time it will be when the glorious sound of psalms and hymns of praise shall day by day go up to Heaven from those heights of beautiful Formosa, when, indeed, as the Psalmist has it, "The mountains and the hills shall break forth into singing."
A Day of Hard Climbing.
The hard climbing of the previous day had somewhat stiffened some of our limbs, but this was only the occasion for a little mutual joking. We had still a long pull before we could reach the highest point of the range, and, consequently, had to make up our minds for a good spell of tough walking. Moreover, the road to-day was more dangerous than that of yesterday, and we needed to be on the alert for any surprise. The distance on to the next military station was not great, and was reached in about a couple of hours. This camp is about 7,700 feet above the sea level, and is situated at the entrance to the forest through which we were now about to pass.
After a short rest we resumed our journey, the Chinese bearers having now to carry their loads themselves; for the savages who had accompanied us thus far durst not go any further on, because the next section of the road traversed the region belonging to another tribe (the Kui-á-nng) with which they were at strife. Our path still continued to ascend. The scenery was grand. Above us were piled hundreds of feet of the densest vegetation, and beneath us for a tremendous depth was the same thing. Although walking at a sharp pace it was very cool, and as we got deeper into the forest the air also became very damp. Here mosses and ferns grew in the most luxurious profusion. It was a veritable fairy land. And -- can it be believed? -- away in those dark recesses of Formosa there grew up by the roadside the jagged thistle. It was enough to thrill the heart of a Scotsman to the very core. I was inclined to take possession of the interesting object, but remembering the motto which is inalienably associated with it I soberly forebore. The dampness we were experiencing at this part of the road, by-and-bye developed into a heavy mist, so that we could not see more than a few feet before us. The bearers called out that no one was to speak, for speaking would bring on rain. I laughed at their superstitious way of talking, but at the same time knew that with the air so heavily charged with moisture rain was very likely to be formed. Sure enough in a little while on came the rain, and the bearers ejaculated, "We told you so." They were evidently annoyed, but, of course, dared not be so rude as to say anything coarse. None of us enjoyed the wetting, and were, moreover, not a little tried by the slipperiness of the slopes up which we were climbing. A cloud must just have been passing over us, for not very long afterwards the rain ceased, and we were able to pursue our journey in more comfort. By about eleven o'clock we reached the highest point of the whole road. My aneroid barometer showed an altitude of 8,300 feet, but the instrument not being very reliable I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the number indicated.
From this highly elevated point a fairly good view was obtained to the west. The position of Takow could be made out by careful observation, and further to the south, lying on the bosom of the Formosan Channel, was discerned the Island of Lombay.
A Tour Through Eastern Formosa. No. II.
[p. 4] We were all glad to get to this, the highest, part of our journey across the mountains, for the constant climbing uphill had been very severe. Our road now began to descend, but for some time but very slightly. Indeed, for about half-an-hour it seemed as if we were walking over the surface of a table-land. When, however, we came to the end of this stretch of the ground a grand sight met our view. Just in front of us was a most precipitous slope, reaching far down into the valley beneath; how far we could not see, for, as it were, a great sea of mist had found a lodgment there. A little above the inner margin of this mist, in the midst of the mass of trees covering the side of the hill, was descried a clearing containing buildings. This was the camp we were about to reach. Lifting our eyes from this scene, we beheld far away in front of us the purple outlines of lofty hills, and over their tops in the distance still further beyond was stretched a band of the most lovely blue, and, highest of all, there were the rolling clouds in the heavens. We were looking on the Pacific Ocean. I was charmed. The whole thing was a most entrancing picture.
After enjoying the varied beauties of the landscape for a little while, we descended to the slope which led to the camp at which we were to refresh ourselves with our mid-day meal and a short period of rest. Arrived at the place, we found it exceedingly damp. The mist just beneath seemed to swell upwards, and soon we were enveloped in its clammy folds. A kind of drizzling rain came on, and the temperature suddenly dropped to such a degree that we were all shivering. The soldiers at this station say that this cold damp mist comes up almost every afternoon, and often hangs about till the following morning. It must be very unhealthy, and certainly is most depressing to the spirits. We were loth [sic] to stay here any longer than we could possibly help, and therefore, hurried off as soon as could be on the second part of the day's journey. The rain, instead of diminishing as we proceeded, only increased, and, moreover, the soil over which we passed altered its character into a nasty slippery clay. Going down slopes sometimes of eighty or more degrees was anything but easy, and occasionally even dangerous. One of my burden-bearers tumbled and let my basket of provisions go rolling for some distance down the hill-side, and, as might be expected, not without a certain amount of damage being done. In his fall he received a rather ugly cut on his knee. Similar accidents happened to others of our party. If no harm resulted from any of the tumbles we managed to get a laugh out of the affair; and it was just at one of these periods that two or three persons walking on in the front heard strange noises in the brushwood at one side of the road. Branches were cracking, and the sounds came nearer and nearer. One young man, apparently bolder and readier than the rest, at once dropped his burden on the ground and picked up some stones and threw them with all his might into the thicket from which the sounds came. Then most of the others, speedily understanding that something was amiss, put down their loads, knelt behind stumps of trees and other kinds of cover, and prepared their guns for serious defence [sic], if necessary. The volley of stones was kept up for a long time, and then the sounds seemed to get less and less, and finally died away altogether. Some of our number, experienced in the ways of the savages, thought that two or three of them had been about to pay us a visit, but had finally considered retreat the better part of valour. Whether this were the case or no I cannot say, for the forest was so dense and the rain and mist so thick that we could see but a few feet before us.
This little episode over, we continued our descent down the mountain. The disagreeable condition of the atmosphere somewhat prevented us from enjoying the scenery which was presented to our view. Some sections of the road were really beautiful. The trunks of the trees which had been cut down were laid lengthwise at each side of the way, and these were in many cases fantastically covered with moss and other verdant drapery. From the branches of the trees overhead hung the most graceful festoons of twining creepers and luxuriant ferns, and flying to and fro, but in a most dejected manner, were birds of the most varied plumage. At one point a large snake wriggled its scaly body across our path, as if to revive in our memories the recollection of the place which evil obtained in the glorious paradise of the parents of the human race.
The many delays and difficulties which we had met with during the afternoon had prevented our making the progress we had originally hoped. It was dark before we reached the next camp. We were, as it were, two stages behind what had been planned as the end of the day's journey. However, under the circumstances we were very glad to find a resting-place for the night, and poor though the accommodation really was, yet we managed to secure a tolerably good rest.
Next morning, the twenty-fifth of December, dawned in brightness, and gave promise of a good day. Everything was so fresh after the rain of the previous day, and the air so bracing that we all felt in good trim for a vigorous walk. Our path still continued to descend. It seemed almost to increase in steepness as we neared the base of the mountains. Shortly after our start I happened to be taking the lead of the party, and had got some distance ahead of my fellow-travellers when suddenly, just as I turned a bend in the road, there were two savages right in front of me -- one kneeling on the ground with his arrow on the string, and the other crouching behind with his musket levelled from his shoulder. Of course, I came to an abrupt full stop. Somehow, fear never entered my mind. I waved my hand and they withdrew their weapons. Then they came forward and I went on, and as we passed I patted them on the shoulder, and they returned the compliment with a light touch on my breast. It was the oddest Christmas greeting I ever had. Presently the burden-bearers and the others behind came on, and after a short halt we all moved forward in company. A couple of hours or so longer took us to a fertile valley which opened out in the direction of the sea. Through this valley ran a fairly large mountain stream, and along the banks of this we continued our way till we came to a place called Pa-long-ūi, where a number of Chinese houses were erected. These were the homes of some Hakkas [p. 5] who apparently think more of fruitful fields than of the security of their lives. Unhappily our party here broke into two portions. Some were so overcome with the aspects of civilisation that they turned into the village, while the rest of us pushed forward with the object of reaching the seashore. I was with the latter portion of the company.
On arrival at the place where the river which ran through the valley joined the sea, a halt was made and preparations for the mid-day meal commenced. The spot was a very interesting one. The waves of the Pacific leapt upon the beach in merry frolicsomeness, the river stealing forth gently from its haunts in neighbouring glens purred with delight as it moved onwards in its way, while lofty in grandeur, but at the same time homely in simplicity, bent round on either side of the verdant hills, seeming almost as if they would enclose the smiling scene in one grand loving embrace, The [sic] only thing which detracted from the enjoyment of the view, but nothing from its glory, was the fiery brightness of the sun in the middle of the heavens above. Its rays poured down in pitiless ardour.
A Weary Walk.
We expected the hinder contingent of our party would stay but a little while in the village into which they had turned, but instead of this they took the opportunity of getting a good meal in the place. My provisions were in their keeping, so that the hopes I had had of having something savoury to remind me of Christmas were sadly disappointed. When at last the delinquents appeared there was only time to prepare a dish of the plainest fare. However, hunger is a splendid appetiser, and I really enjoyed my homely and hasty meal. We had now to make up our minds to walk vigorously, so as to be sure of reaching the camp where we were to put up for the night. Our path from this point lay along the sea-beach in a northerly direction. This tramp up the coast is the most trying part of the whole journey to our stations in Eastern Formosa. There are about two days of it. At every step the feet sink in the sand, and thus impeded walking becomes extremely exhausting. For most of the day there is not the slightest shelter from the blazing sun; and, moreover, the mountains are so very near to the water's edge that it is impossible to avoid being dazzled with the spray that is dashed forward from the breaking billows, if the wind be blowing at all hard. In the time of storms there are sections of the road over which no one can pass, owing to the waves completely covering the beach and throwing themselves in their fury upon the mountain sides. Even in cold weather there are one or two points where one has to wait for a retreating wave and then make a run forward to escape a wetting from the inflowing breakers. In a number of places the beach is strewed up with masses of boulders, partly thrown up by the mighty waves from the bed of the sea, and partly hurled down from the cliffs of the adjoining mountains. Climbing over these masses of rock is anything but easy to weary feet. And, lastly, there is a trouble of another kind. Often savages are lurking among the brushwood on the hill-sides, ready to pounce down upon any traveller whom they think they can attack without danger to themselves. A savage hates running risks. In this respect he is a most cowardly creature and an abject sneak.
Two considerations seem to have guided the authorities in selecting sites for military stations on the road leading along he [sic] sea-shore up to the port of Pò-chong (Pohson) -- viz. openings in the mountains, which might be dangerous on account of the facility they offer for the approach of savages, and fertile spots, the cultivation of which may at some future date prove sources of revenue to the Government.
A Night at Camp.
Our first night on the coast was spent at a rather miserable camp; but this did not very much matter, for we were all so fatigued that our anxiety to retire to rest prevented us being in any special degree critical of our surroundings. The next night was passed at a much better encampment. It is situated on a stretch of ground where the natives have cultivated some very fruitful fields. The people about here seem to have come from a district somewhat to the north of this place -- viz., Tî-pún. Next morning saw us on the tramp to this locality. We knew that when we reached it the hard walking over the sandy beach would be ended, for between it and Pò-chong the soil is mainly of a compact character. On the way up we had the privilege of seeing Hoé-sio-sū and Ang-thâu-sū, two islands far out on the ocean, and only visible on very clear days. The Tî-pún are apparently the descendants of persons who probably came from some northern land, perhaps Japan. The creek where these early immigrants first landed is still pointed out. Of the Low-hill savages the Tî-pún are certainly the most powerful, although not the most numerous. They hold the ascendancy all round the district where they reside. Being dwellers on the lower hills and on the plains they are an agricultural people, and only follow hunting as a pastime. In the military camp near the Tî-pún village are several savages who are engaged as soldiers, but whose duties seem to consist mainly in carrying official letters. They receive at the rate of about four ounces of silver a month, but as money is of no use to them articles to this amount are usually given to them instead. At several of the camps a few savages are thus engaged by the authorities. It acts as a kind of bribe to gain the allegiance of their fellow tribesmen. The pay is nearly as much as that of the ordinary soldiers. At this Tî-pún camp a broad-faced savage made his appearance. On each breast he had tattooed the figure of a man's head, partly encircled by the representation of a snake. It was a very horrible spectacle.
The fields of the Tî-pún are very extensive, and are highly cultivated. It was most interesting to see the people at work. Most of them were decked out in bright colours. Many of the men wore a kind of legging, which enclosed the calves of their legs and covered the front part of their thighs, leaving the back exposed. These leggings in some cases were made of differently coloured stripes of flimsy serge. Sometimes a bright red plaid was thrown round their bodies and fastened at the top of one shoulder. Here and there we came across a native riding a bullock with a most majestic air, and with a gun resting across his shoulder. They say that they are just as good as the mandarins whom they see riding on horses. One could not help laughing at their silly vanity.
The Tî-pún People and Country.
A little way outside the Tî-pún camp, in the midst of a piece of marshy ground, I came across an old boat formed by the hollowing out of the trunk of a single tree. It had evidently not been used for many a year. Near it was an old well, and not far off was a solitary savage sitting on the ground in a seemingly disconsolate mood. The boat looked [p. 6] almost historic in its surroundings. I had no opportunity of making inquiries about it. Maybe it had some connection with the early landing of the settlers in these parts. It is a very curious fact that with the ocean teeming with fish the people of the east coast do almost nothing in the way of catching them. The boat I have just referred to was up to this point of my journey the only native craft of any kind I had yet met with.
The region between Tî-pún and Pò-chong is more or less fertile. The extensive plain around the latter place is usually known as Pi-lâm, after a native village of this name. It is also sometimes called "the plain of eight cities," which include, beside Pi-lâm itself, four other Tî-pún villages and three A-mî-a ones. In former days it is said that there was a king of Eastern Formosa who had his court at Pi-lâm. The first settlers in this plain are supposed to have been the Pi-lâm savages. Then came the Tî-pún, who overcame them and finally absorbed them, only a few words being now left to tell of their former existence. Last of all arrived the A-mî-a, who seem to have become at once subject to the Tî-pún, but who are now numerically the largest race in Eastern Formosa. The Chinese all say that the A-mî-a are every year increasing very considerably. In the Pi-lâm plain it has been calculated that there are nearly 20,000 persons, exclusive of the Chinese residents. Here, then, is not a bad field for missionary enterprise.
A Courteous Invitation.
It was getting dusk when we reached Pò-chong. An inn was selected as the place for us to put up for the night. I had just entered this when a messenger from the yamen came running up to me. Judging from his manner one would think he imagined that I had some fell designs against the territory into which I had come. With the object of allaying his anxieties I gave him my Chinese card and told him to take it to the Thong-leng, the head mandarin of the sub-prefecture of Eastern Formosa; but thinking over the matter again after he left, I thought it best to call on the mandarin himself and let him know the precise object of my visit. He received me most graciously, pressed me to dine with him, and, finally, earnestly asked me to stay over the night in the yamen, to which request I assented. Before leaving in the morning he gave me his card, and said that if I had any difficulty on the road to make full use of it.
In China, at all military stations, the sun is saluted every day at its rising and setting. At the Pò-chong Camp the ceremony is gone through somewhat after the following manner: -- A drum is beaten first slowly and then with increasing swiftness, till apparently the drummer's utmost effort is exhausted. This same thing is repeated several times. Later, a few taps on the wooden part of the drum seems to be a signal for the trumpets to join in. They begin with a dull low moan, then increase slightly in pitch to a protracted groan, and, lastly, go on to a high shrill tone. During this trumpetade [sic] the drum has also been rattled (as before described) with gradually increased force and swiftness, till just at the moment when the extreme power of both instruments has been attained, all of a sudden a cracker is let off with a tremendous bang -- and all is still. One can easily imagine how such drumming and trumpeting may be made to excite the nerves of soldiers on the field, when about to make a dash on the enemy. As a morning and evening salute it is probably a relic from the distant past.
Pò-chong, being on the sea-coast, and near the most populous parts of South-eastern Formosa, has a fair junk trade. However, having no harbour, the vessels in times of strong wind have to run off to the island of Hoé-sio-sū for shelter. Articles obtained in the chase (as skins and horns), rattan, and chû-nng (a kind of tuber, somewhat like a large potato, which yields a red juice, said to be an even more valuable "tan" than oak-bark), are among the chief articles of export. The leading imports are cloth, iron utensils, and earthenware. The inhabitants of Pò-chong are of a very nondescript character -- not a few, indeed, of a somewhat loose character. There are two main streets in the place. The houses and shops are of a very unsubstantial construction, chiefly bamboo, rushes, and grass. There is some talk of putting a wall round the site, and making it into a city. At present it would be difficult to say what would be the proper designation to give to it.
Our journey up to this point had, owing to various delays, occupied a day more than was originally anticipated. It was now Saturday morning, and there was no possibility of reaching Chioh-pâi chapel by the evening, but it was hoped that we might, without any special exertion, get as far as the village of Lí-lang, where a number of persons are in the habit of meeting by themselves for worship. Alas! [sic] we were disappointed. Two serious hindrances took place at the very beginning of the day, and by four o'clock we had only managed to arrive at the camp of Lòk-liaû. The bearers would not go any further, so here a halt had to be made. However, some of the brethren and one preacher, who were either carrying their own loads or had none at all, pushed forward and reached Lí-lang, after everybody had gone to bed. Their walk, as we learnt afterwards, was a dangerous and arduous one, but they were fortunately guided by a strong light which shone forth from a mountain side which was being burned by the savages to make a clearing for some new fields.
The camp into which we turned was anything but cleanly. As it was in general arrangement very like most of the others we visited, I may here just in a few sentences say what its construction was like. Furthest outside was a palisade made of rough stocks, then within this was a rugged wall built up of stones and boulders piled on the top of one another, and between these two erections was a wide moat, but without water in it. Within the gateway on either side were the soldiers' huts; and away on, straight in front, was the entrance to the central chamber, to which there were attached two wings, one occupied by the mandarin in charge, and the other serving partly as the dwelling-place of the minor officials, and partly as sleeping apartments for special guests. The central chamber had at the side opposite the doorway a raised platform, on which visitors are received or official business discussed. All the buildings in the camp were made of wattle and very little daub, except it might be encrusted dirt. The floors were of mud and the roofs thatch. The bedsteads were formed of a number of rattans laid over a rough wooden framework. Of the sixty soldiers at this camp only three did not smoke opium. The whole set of them were in a most plighty [sic] condition. Many were in rags, and not a few had their bodies covered with most offensive sores. On asking if the soldiers had not regular drill, I was told by a fellow-traveller that the only exercise they went through was with the "big gun," which is a name jocularly given to the opium-pipe. Small, troublesome [p. 7] insects which infest the bodies of men and animals (I do not like to write their name) were here in no scarcity of numbers. A missionary, when he cannot reach a chapel, must put up with such surroundings as he meets with. His sense of delicacy and refinement must be smothered for the time being.
Well, this was the sort of place in which our lines had fallen that Saturday evening. It was quite possible to get up early on Sunday morning and walk to the village of Lí-lang in time to hold morning service. Would it have been right to do so? After some debate in my own mind, I thought not. To go to that village might be considered a work of mercy, and certainly would also bring us into better surroundings; but, on the other hand, there were in our company several burden-bearers who were all heathen, and who, perhaps, might never again have the opportunity of being taught the duty of observing the Sabbath, and hence the decision to remain on in the camp.
A Sabbath in Camp.
Our Sabbath was spent somewhat as it would have been if we had been at a chapel. A number of soldiers attended the services which were held, and some of them afterwards entered on a discussion of the subject of our teaching. Alas, that opium has them so forcibly held in its power! Many of them would gladly be free from its thraldom. As may be supposed, we did not fail to tell them of the Great Emancipator, and further urge upon them earnestly the necessity of trusting Him for deliverance from this and every other evil. The good seed was sown, but probably only the Judgment Day will reveal upon what soil and with what result. In place of money, the soldiers receive a large share of their wages in opium. Most of the men say that they began taking this -- I hardly know what noun to use, the Chinese call it "dirt" -- to alleviate the pain of their bodily ailments, for they have no means of obtaining medical treatment in times of trouble.
We fully expected starting on our journey again on Monday, but when we awoke that morning it was to find that rain was falling heavily. So this meant another day in the camp. The fumes of the opium were stifling. Two men were smoking in the room where I was staying. The grime of the place, too, seemed owing to the damp to acquire a mustiness which materially increased the disagreeableness which we had to experience.
There is a native village adjacent to the camp, and some of the inhabitants came to have a look at me. As nothing could be bought at the place, I managed with a piece of coloured cloth to obtain from one of the visitors a fowl for my dinner. The man was gratified, and I was satisfied, so that it was not a bad bargain on either side. Towards evening the rain lessened considerably, and I embraced the opportunity of taking a walk round the village just referred to. The people were very quiet; indeed, a little afraid of me, for one or two hastily closed their doors as I was passing. Their houses were very low, but tolerably tidy inside.
On to the first Christian Chapel.
On Tuesday the weather was fair, and we consequently moved forward to Lí-lāng, where we were very hospitably entertained. I spent a considerable part of the afternoon in visiting among the people. Most of them are Pé-po hoan, but there are also a number of A-mî-a, who have settled down amongst them. The Chinese in the place are very few. In the evening (New Year's Eve) we had a capital meeting, many persons being unable to get into the room where it was held. It was not late enough to be called a watch-night service, but it gave me a pleasure not very different from participation in one.
Next day we were on the road again, and, by about the end of the afternoon, reached the Chióh-pâi chapel. The building is a very spacious one -- roughly speaking, 30 ft. wide by 50 ft. long. It is wholly built of wood, and has been erected by the brethren themselves. The church seems to be in a fairly prosperous condition. I had the pleasure, during the time I was there, of going to the homes of nearly all the people. They were very glad to see me, and, in many cases, wished me to remain over night with them. I felt that this would have been a good thing to do, but the time at my disposal being limited, I had reluctantly to refuse. To accomplish anything like thorough visitation, something in the line of staying with the people in their own houses seems to be needed. All the Church members in Eastern Formosa are so much in need of instruction that merely to spend, say, a week at each station appears sadly inadequate. Considering the known deficiencies of the people, the rarity of missionary visits, and the trouble of getting to the place, one is almost inclined fo [sic] believe that the stay of a month, instead of a week, at the different churches would be more like the minimum period required to do really effective work. Not going there as an ordained missionary, and having other duties to attend to in Taiwanfoo, I did not feel under the necessity of thus prolonging my visit. I rather tried to help as many persons as I could in the chapels, teaching them to read, and explaining to them the Scriptures.
A Tour Through Eastern Formosa. No. III.
A Sabbath at Chioh-pai.
[p. 6] On Saturday evening I exhibited the magic lantern in Chiòh-pâi. Besides the church people there were many heathens who came to see it, some from great distances. In addition to being the means of conveying Scriptural instruction, it also gave me the opportunity of advertising the Sabbath services, by telling the people to come again the next day.
Sabbath was a good day but cold. Both morning and afternoon there were large congregations, over two hundred persons each time. It was difficult to find seats for all. The deficiency had to be made up with trunks and branches of trees which were found lying about outside the chapel. We began by starting a Young Men's Christian Association. I hope the preacher who is now settled there will encourage the people to continue the meetings. At the service which followed the whole audience was very attentive, more so than I had anticipated. After its conclusion a woman rose and invited the brethren and sisters to her house on a certain day to "drink liquor." The deacon took up the tale and said that if there were no objection a marriage would be celebrated there on that day. This was, indeed, a rather novel way of publishing marriage banns, but then it must be remembered that it took place in the out-of-the-way part of the world, Eastern Formosa.
Many of the members of the congregation came from villages a great distance off, and, therefore, could not return home at mid-day and be back again in time for the service in the afternoon. Some went to neighbouring houses, but others brought packages of rice and other food with them, and these various articles of diet were all cooked together in common. When ready the rice was brought into the chapel in large pails, and the participants in the meal thus prepared sat down in a big circle on the floor. In a short time the many chopsticks of the company were rattling merrily on the basins as they began to do justice to the food before them. Both before dinner was ready and after it [p. 7] was eaten, some of the members of the congregation employed their time in reading their New Testaments and hymn-books, or else in singing. The older people seemed to feel the cold bitterly. Many of them brought with them basket-encased earthenware pots, containing red-hot ember of charcoal, which utensils they held in both hands and tucked away under their outer garments to keep themselves warm. These portable stoves had another use. In Eastern Formosa nearly every adult smokes, women included, and the burning embers supplied the light for their pipes when service was not going on. Smoking, however, is forbidden inside the chapel. To some it was evidently a struggle as to whether they were to forego the pipe or endure the cold outside.
After the afternoon service I showed and explained to the congregation the diagrams of the Tabernacle which I had brought with me. The Tabernacle, priests, and sacrifices were the means used of old to teach the Israelites, and it seems to me we can do much in the present day in following God's way of making plain to the human understanding some of the leading facts of Christ's ministry. It was on this account, therefore, that I made use of the diagrams.
The previous preacher at Chiòh-pâi, a student from the College, appears to have done his duty very faithfully; and it is to be hoped that the present one, who is an older man, will not fail to do likewise. Should it be so, there is little doubt that the next pastor who visits the station will have the pleasure of receiving a number of persons into Christian fellowship.
In one of the paragraphs near the beginning of this letter a brief account is given of the Lâi-pen-po (inner level-plain) and the outlying range of hills near the sea-shore. In the Lâi-pen-po are the two chapels of Chiòh-pâi and Tak-kai, and away eastward, over the outlying range of hills, on the sea-coast is the chapel of Chîm-kóng-ò. When about to leave Chiòh-pâi it was a question with me as to whether I should first of all go north to Tak-kai or cross over the hills to Chîm-kóng-ò. The brethren thought the latter course would be the better one, so the day following the Sabbath I spent at Chiòh-pâi I proceeded a few miles north to a village called Toā-chng, where a number of Church people live, and from which the roads leading eastward to the coast have their starting-points. Before sunset I went round the houses of all the Church people living here. While I was in the home of one family a man came in and asked me if I would go to his house and have prayer, as his firstborn and only baby was very ill. I accordingly went, and found the little thing suffering much from fever. We had prayer together, asking the Great Physician, if it were agreeable to His will, to remove the sickness; and then I gave the father a little quinine to give the child, for which small benefit he seemed very grateful.
It is very curious to notice how the people receive their visitors. After being invited in, a roll of tobacco is produced and slices cut off the end, the doorstep often serving as a block for this purpose. These slices of tobacco are crumbled down in the palm of the hand, and then a pinch is doled out all round. The common thing is to refuse the gift with the tongue, but nevertheless to take it, as it were stealthily, with the hand. Meanwhile, somebody has run away to the kitchen and brought some burning embers of wood, which are laid on the floor. Soon all the smokers are making use of these to light their pipes. Next, betel-nut is produced. Each nut is split open, some wet lime and a piece of a hot-tasting herb inserted, and the whole wrapped up in a particular kind of leaf. The dainty morsel is very much relished by those who have been accustomed to the use of the thing. It is said to be very stimulating. I have often thought some of our chemists at home might obtain from the nut a useful extract. Eaten as it is in Formosa, it discolours and loosens the teeth. In some places where a man has committed a slight offence he is made to publicly distribute the nut as a confession of and atonement for his fault.
My host at Toā-chng was the father of one of the lads at the Middle School. In the evening we had a large meeting for worship in his house, and afterwards half-a-dozen brethren agreed to conduct me next day across the hills to Chîm-kóng-ò.
The Late Rebellion in Eastern Formosa.
Toā-chng, as its name implies, is a very large village. During the rebellion in Eastern Formosa, two autumns ago, three of the leaders directed operations from this place. After the disturbance was quelled the authorities wished to get hold of these men, who, seeing their schemes had failed, had fled away into hiding among the hills. Men were secretly engaged to find them out, and make offers of important appointments to them if they would appear before the proper authorities. The ruse succeeded. Not suspecting any evil, the three men went to the place notified to them. The mandarin was there in waiting, and began by conversing with each of them about the said appointments when suddenly, giving a pre-arranged sign, soldiers, who were in hidden readiness, rushed forward and cut them down with their swords, and then threw their mangled remains out to the dogs. So much for the course of the law in China.
Mine was the first missionary visit to Eastern Formosa since the rebellion, and this consequently seemed to increase the warmth of the welcome which was everywhere accorded me. While the trouble was going on, many of the people were in great distress, having to find safety in retirement to the hills. Many were the tales they told me of their fears and dangers in those days. The chief rebels were the A-mî-a, but associated with them were many of the Pen-po-hoan, and even some of the high-hill savages. The chief aim was to exterminate all the Chinese proper who were dwelling in those parts, and also all others who in any way allied themselves with them. Hence the dilemma in which those people were placed who desired to be perfectly neutral and maintain the peace. The Chinese seem never to gain the esteem of the people they bring into subjection to them. Probably it is because of their seeking to get all they can out of the conquered race without giving them anything in return. The dollar is the Chinaman's chief deity. Just as an instance of the avariciousness of the people most inappropriately called Celestials, I may cite the following. Sometimes when a tribe of Aborigines has been overcome the people are required to worship idols as a sign of their allegiance; and then the Chinaman will go to them and say that they do not understand how properly to perform the worship, and, therefore, it will be their best policy to make him a certain payment to do it for them.
A Difficult Journey to the Coast.
There are two roads leading eastward from Toā-chng to the coast, one is called the Old road and the other the New [p. 8] road. The former is shorter, but, on the other hand, steeper than the latter. It was decided that we should go by the New road. I had hoped that an early start would be made, but somehow, when the time came for beginning the journey, only one or two of the brethren had appeared. It was ten o'clock before we got away -- much too late. The brethren, besides bringing their guns and knives, also had bags slung across their backs, into which they kindly put a part of my baggage. Among the men who were to accompany me was the father of the sick baby I had been asked to pray for the previous afternoon. It was so much better that he felt he could leave it with safety, and show his thankfulness by going with me over to the coast.
We got at once into the hills. The road was really only a track, and that often very indistinct. The travelling was very hard. For a time we made our way, for the most part, up the ravines of mountain streams, which, owing to their tortuous nature and the many obstacles on their banks, had to be constantly crossed and re-crossed. The trees of the forest were magnificent. Ferns and creepers everywhere abounded. The whole scene was grandly beautiful. Often the road was almost impassable on account of the many impediments in the way. Sometimes immense boulders, which had rolled down from the mountain sides, filled up the whole width of the gully and stood up like great giants frowning on our passage through those weird domains; and at other times huge trunks of trees sprawled in all their bulky proportions right across our path, their branches stretching out on every side like the arms of some mighty monster, who was grappling everywhere to seize some prey which he might wrest to destruction; or else where two trunks were thrown down one above the other, as if the monsters, unable to find around them objects on which to wreak their vengeance, had engaged in a terrible death-struggle between themselves. However, over, under, or between these obstacles we struggled on our way, sometimes creeping, sometimes clambering, now singly, and at other times hand-in-hand.
Every now and again we came across tracks of various wild animals, and twice passed by huts which had lately been used by the savages in some of their hunting expeditions. None of these people now have their homes in the outlying range of hills, over which we were now crossing, but often in the night-time they run across the Lāi-pen-po from the high ranges of mountains in the west, where they at present dwell, having for their object either catching wild animals or else obtaining the head of some human victim. If the latter be their purpose, they will lurk about in the forest for a month at a time, subsisting merely on roots and other such articles of food as they can find, being ashamed to return to their homes unless successful in their pursuit. Often a man can only get a wife by showing his prowess in this way. Moreover, though the young men would, in many cases, gladly avoid the hardships and risks of head-hunting, still the blood-thirsty spirit is maintained by the old men of the tribe, who tell of the wondrous feats they performed in this direction in their youthful days, and urge with vehemence the continuance of the warrior-like customs of their fathers.
All day we pressed eagerly forward, but as the afternoon advanced we saw that there was a danger of not reaching our destination that night. By sunset we had just attained the very top of the range. The ground round about was exceedingly soppy, the mud often reaching to the ankles. This is easily accounted for by the heavy mists which usually hang about at this high elevation. For a while we could find no solid ground. Darkness was fast deepening upon us.
A Scanty Meal and a Night in the Open Air.
At last we came to a part of the road where the soil for a few feet was fairly compact and dry. The brethren at once set to work with their large knives, about a foot and a half long, cutting down branches from any old trees which they could discover near at hand. Soon we had a big pile. It was now almost pitch dark. With good forethought some of the men had brought dry grass with them from the lower parts of the hill-side. An attempt was made to kindle a fire. The grass burnt all right, but the logs of wood were difficult to ignite -- they were so damp. After much care and blowing some red embers were produced, but still the wood would not start up into a blaze. The grass was all used up, and the embers only emitted a very indifferent glow. For two hours these were fanned with the large hats the men were wearing. At last it was seen that the embers were only getting blacker and blacker. All this time we were shivering with cold, and away in the woods we heard the roars of bears and other wild animals. It seemed as if we were to have a bad time of it during the night. Suddenly, just as our despair was at its highest pitch, I remembered the kerosine [sic] oil which we were carrying with us for the use of the magic lantern. It was exceedingly precious, for none could be bought anywhere in Eastern Formosa. Might we try a little? After short but serious deliberation it was decided in the affirmative. A small quantity was thrown on the dying, almost dead embers. Instantly, up went the flames several feet high. Our fire was, at last, an accomplished fact. The damp wood was further slightly drenched with the wondrous fluid, and all fear of the light going out during the night entirely dispelled. The Chinese usually call kerosine [sic] "the bad smelling oil," but one brother who was present could not, in his delight, refrain from remarking that in future it would always deserve to be called "the fragrant oil." Then we had a joke or two about our magic lantern entertainment on the mountain top, and the funny audience that might, though invisible to us, be looking on from the woods around. This over, the claims of hunger began forcibly to assert themselves. We had only had a hasty cold meal at mid-day, and now it would be a treat to have something warm and nice to comfort us within. Alas! [sic] not a drop of water was to be had. Some of the cold rice that was left over from the mid-day meal was produced. We all dived into this with our hands, and got what satisfaction we could from the meagre repast. After this followed prayer, in which we thanked God for His care of us during the day, and commended ourselves to His continued protection during the night. Before starting out from Toa-chng [sic] that morning a text had curiously struck my attention, so that I read it over two or three times, and now in our peculiar circumstances after a day of severe toil its comfort was especially appropriate and cheering. "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that hath no might he increaseth strength" (Isaiah xl., 29).
As may be imagined, all of us were very tired and, therefore, anxious to get some rest. Some leaves near at hand were gathered and strewn on the ground, and there in the middle of the road, with our feet to the fire, we lay ourselves down. It was a hard bed. Happily that night there was no rain nor high wind, and after a while the moon rose in all her loveliness and looked down smilingly upon the [p. 9] poor benighted travellers. Away to the eastward was the grand Pacific Ocean, the waves of which were heard distinctly as they rolled out their music on the pebbles of the shore, and to the west lay the long deep chasm of Lài-pen-po with the silver-adorned ridges of the majestic mountains of Central Formosa rising up away behind. The night was glorious, and the surroundings impressive. However, the air was damp and chilly, so that this unpleasantness and the unyielding nature of the rocky mattress below us prevented us from getting a very satisfactory rest. Every now and again one of us would be sitting up either warming himself or else drying his dew-drenched coverlet at the ruddy fire which was burning so gaily at our feet.
On to Chim-kong-o.
At the first sign of daybreak we all rose. In the dawning light away to the north-west we got a sight of Pat-thong-koan, or Mount Morrison, as it is generally called by foreigners. Though the highest summit in Formosa, the view presented to us at this time was not such as to stir up any special rapture in our breasts. It was loftier than the many peaks around it, but that was about all the difference discernible. The morning air made us all feel very hungry. I had only one tin of biscuits with me, and these I divided out amongst the party. Then we had prayers, heartily thanking the Almighty for our peace and safety during the night; after which we began our descent to the shore.
The road on this side was much more open and less steep than on the other side of the hills. One of our number set his heart on getting something nice for our breakfast, and therefore hurried on ahead of us with his gun in all readiness for a shot. By-and-by, as we went down the slope we called out to him, thinking he might have wandered too far away, but we received no answer. A little while later we met him emerging from the woods at one side of the road, with a very dejected expression on his face. It appears that he was on the track of a very large troop of monkeys just at the time we were calling out to him. The noise frightened the animals, and away they bounded before he could get a shot at them. I was sorry for him and some of the others, but personally did not grieve over the loss. By 10 o'clock we reached Phen-á-chùn on the sea-shore. This village was almost completely destroyed by the rockets discharged from the men-of-war during the rebellion. Only a very few of its former residents had returned to the place. I engaged an old woman to make us all some breakfast. She, however, mourned that she had very little savoury to give us, for her bullocks, goats, and pigs had all been taken away by the mandarins as a punishment for the share her family had had in the rebellion. Many other villages on the coast were also destroyed by the authorities in the same manner as this one, but none of those inhabited only by A-mî-a. Phēn-á-chûn lies to the north of the place where the Chîm-kóng-ò Chapel is situated. So, after having as good a breakfast as could be given us, and a fair rest, we continued our journey in a southerly direction along the shore, expecting soon to reach our destination; but somehow, either on account of the actual length of the way or else our slowness of walking, it was well on in the afternoon before we came in sight of the chapel. Strictly speaking, it should be called Chiòh-hō-soàn (stone umbrella) Chapel from the name of the village in which it stands, for Chîm-kóng-ò is really another place some distance further south.
The people were glad to see us. They had had no preacher in ther [sic] midst for nearly eighteen months. However, one of my fellow-travellers was the preacher who had ministered to them up to the time of the rebellion, and was now to stay with them again for a few months, after which he was to go on to Tak-kai. Such is the way things have to be managed in the present great want of preachers. Poor man, when the troubles broke out he, being a Chinaman, had to flee for safety to the hills. Here he dwelt for about a fortnight, the Lord guarding him night and day amidst many dangers. It says much for his faith and boldness that he has been willing to return again for a time to the scene of his former peril. He has not a very wide knowledge of the Scriptures, but seems really to have the spirit of their teaching abundantly present in his heart. Being an old man he has not the same power for study which generally belongs to one younger in years.
Chim-kong-o and the Christians There.
After a day's rest the brethren who had accompanied me over from Toā-chng returned to their homes. Chîm-kóng-ò chapel is not particularly attractive. It would not be worth altogether more than forty of [sic] fifty dollars (say, 7 English pounds); but then it was erected by the people themselves. They are very poor, but gave their labour to build it. Money they use but little. When I asked them about the payment of their preacher, they held a conference and decided that they would give him two months' wages in cloth. It appears that at a certain season of the year they go into the forest and gather rattan, which they exchange with the junk people for cloth, no money passing hands. Hence the peculiar form of payment of the preacher's salary. I suppose if he wants articles of food he will just need to offer so much cloth for them.
During my stay at Chîm-kóng-ò, one morning after breakfast was over, I was just about to go to another village to visit some of the members, when a brother came in and invited me to dine at his house. He was so very pressing that I gave up my original plan and consented. By-and-bye he came to say all was ready, and conducted me to his house. Many good things were there, venison, &c., &c. but there was one thing to which he seemed to draw special attention -- a pheasant. I asked my host if he often caught pheasants. He answered in the negative, but said that as he wished very much to invite me to a meal he had that morning prayed the Lord to enable him to catch one. He went to the woods, at once saw what he was anxious for, fired, and knocked the bird over, and there it was before me. Could faith be simpler? After hearing this story I was very glad I had not refused the kind brother's invitation.
In the Chîm-kóng-ò church the person who has the best knowledge of the Scriptures is a widow. She has a pain in her shoulder and breast. The missionary has frequently to listen to many tales of the personal ailments of the people he visits. However, a little sympathy often goes a long way. Well, I asked the worthy dame how this trouble arose. In answer, she told me that when she was learning to read she had a baby which she strapped across her shoulder during the time of her lesson, and that it hurt her very much when she tried to stop its crying by shaking it about, and, in fact, she had never recovered from the excess of exertion at that period. However, she finally hit upon the plan of bringing the baby's bed to the chapel and laying the little thing on the platform of the pulpit while she was engaged with her reading. Here, indeed, was zeal.
The Sabbath at Chim-kong-o.
On Sunday we had a good time all day. However, [p. 10] during the first prayer in the morning service an old lady fainted. She had been in bed for some weeks, but on the day before I had visited her house and had prayer with her. Feeling much better in the morning, she rose and came to church, but was not strong enough for standing during the prayer. Hence the sad incident just mentioned. After the service the poor widow referred to above, who is rather loquacious and has a touch of humour in her, said that the affair reminded her of Eutychus when Paul was preaching. The thing was said in all simplicity, and it pleased me to find that she knew her Bible well enough to be able to cite the instance, so I only smiled at what some might have wrongly been inclined to consider a sly hit.
During the interval between the morning and afternoon services, the deacon's son came in to ask me for a little quinine. I took the opportunity to speak to him about his having forsaken the truth and taken to the worship of idols. He was the only person in the village of Chiòh-hō-soà who was thus offending against God. The man seemed to feel the force of my exhortation, for he said that he had never been happy since he commenced this sinful course, and after a while promised to destroy his idols, if a relative who lived at another village to whom they partly belonged did not hinder him. Next day this relative was spoken to about the matter, and said that he would not put any obstacles in the way of his doing what he wished. So after prayer, out came the various idolatrous objects into the court-yard before his house, where they were destroyed by fire. Then returning indoors again we fixed up on the walls some illustrated Christian tracts, and concluded by asking the Almighty to keep the backsliding but now repentant brother from again falling away from grace.
A Tour Through Eastern Formosa. No. IV.
The Church at Chîm-kong-ò.
[p. 5] The church at Chîm-kong-ò is only a small one -- about two-dozen members in all. It owed its foundation largely to a man called Goân-chhun. He lived in the house of the head-man of the village, who was much troubled with asthma, and had taken to opium-smoking to obtain relief. Goân-chhun told him that he should abandon the pipe and worship God, for by praying to Him he could be cured of his ailment. In agreement with this proposal, they filled a small cup with water, prayed over it, and then the sick man quaffed it off -- and got better! The fame of this cure spread far and wide. Goân-chhun soon had so many calls for his services that time failed him to pray over every particular case, so he hit upon the plan of dealing with the sick in bulk. A large bowl of water was prepared, prayer offered up, and then each poor sufferer ladled out a little of the "prayer-water" for themselves, with previous results -- all were cured of whatsoever disease they had! Such, at least, is the story. A sentence will suffice for the sequel to this brief account of Goân-chhun. He became a sorcerer, and is now dead. Well, then, considering the history of the Chîm-kóng-ò church, its out-of-the-way locality, and the little direct supervision and teaching it has received, the wonder to me is not how it is that it has so few members, but rather how it is that so many have held on till now. I was very grieved to find the children exceedingly ignorant and uncared for. Is it not sad to think of the young losing their birthright privileges in the Gospel? "Seed-corn" is not sufficiently valued in Formosa. Joy in a past harvest is all very well, but the commonest prudence counsels concern for the future. The Church in this island can at least hold her own as to membership if she will but obey the Good Shepherd's injunction, "Feed My lambs."
Since the rebellion, many persons up and down the coast from Chîm-kong-ò have said that they were anxious to worship God; but I am afraid this decision is not very real, indeed little more than a hope that by joining the Church they may to some extent escape from the power of the mandarins. Nevertheless, I told the preacher to encourage all such to attend the services in the chapel; for some, though perhaps coming for a temporal advantage, may, in hearing the proclamation of the Gospel, receive by God's blessing an everlasting benefit -- even the salvation of their souls.
Another Day's Hard Tramp.
The Church people at Tak-kai had heard of my having gone to Chîm-kong-ò, and on Saturday some of them arrived at the chapel here, saying that they had come to accompany me back to the Laî-pê-po. There were nine of them. The people of Chîm-kong-ò were very sorry, for they had reckoned on having me with them for another Sabbath at least. I myself was somewhat troubled by this quite unexpected turn of events, but decided in the circumstances that it would be best for me to go with the brethren [p. 6] who had so kindly come to conduct me across the hills. However, it was Tuesday before we started. I thought we might try the old road this time for a change, so to that road we accordingly turned. Its general character was much like the other one, but considerable steeper and more overgrown. After ascending several hundreds of feet, we got into a thick mist. By mid-day we had nearly reached the top of the ascent, and stopped to eat a little cold rice, when down came the rain in torrents. Everything around was soaking wet. The dead wood about the path was in a rotten, pulpy condition, and many leeches were crawling about in the dampness. Everyone of us, I think, found one or more of the loathsome creatures sticking to our persons, and drawing blood from the exposed parts of our bodies. It was horrible. Well, up and up we toiled, hardly daring to rest to take breath, for fear we should have to pass the night in the mountains, without any possible shelter from the rain. Just as we reached the summit, we had to cross over a piece of slippery muddy ground, where the pathway was so narrow that it was difficult to get even one foot planted securely upon it. On either side, too, were precipices hundreds of feet deep, so that a false step would have meant almost certain destruction.
As we descended on the other side of the range we found the gradients in some cases so very steep, that we had to climb down them backwards for fear of a tumble. Our hands, too, were all cut with catching hold of the sharp grass and prickly shrubs which grew on the sides of the path. Sometimes the vegetation was so dense that the foremost man had to chop it away to admit of our getting through with some degree of comfort. My boots were destroyed with the tear to which they were subjected, and my clothes were rent in several places. Moreover, I was soaked to the skin. It was long past dark before we reached the village of Toâ-chng, where we were cordially welcomed. A hot bath, a change of clothing, and some warm food worked wonders in helping me to recover from the effects of the severe strain of the day's journey. The others also brightened up under the altered and comparatively comfortable circumstances of our surroundings; so, by and bye, when we gathered for worship, all seemed to join in it with hearty zest.
The Remarkable Kindness of the People.
The kindness of the people in Eastern Formosa almost oppressed me. I don't know how many animals were slaughtered on my account. I know at least of three or four bullocks. Here at Toâ-chng, for instance, on the day after returning from Chîm-kong-ò, a young ox was killed and a whole hind quarter, as much as a man could carry, brought to me as a present. I appealed to the people to have mercy on me, for by no means whatever could I managed to get through with so much beef, but all in vain. They said, "It is only a trifle, and we are sorry we have nothing to give you to eat." Not to grieve the good friends I took it in. My boy, when we were staying at Chiòh-pâi, had done a](wonderful [sic] thing. There I had twenty or thirty pounds of beef presented me, and was lamenting to him my difficulties about using it up. By and by I went out visiting, and when I returned the faithful lad brought me a large dish of dried strings of meat. I asked for an explanation, and, with a face beaming with smiles, he told me he had boiled all the beef down to shreds, and that in this form the huge junk I had had given me would be easily portable! That evening I was expecting a nice slice of roast beef for my supper, and, to say the least of it, thought it very strange that he should boil all the beef down in this way. However, on account of his ingenuity, I smothered my chagrin and let the thing pass. But now, when the Toâ-chng donation came in, and I was concerned as to what to do with it, I quietly asked my boy to cut off from the leg a fair-sized piece and boil it down as before, leaving the remainder hanging where it was till we started in the next day, when I could excuse myself from taking it owing to the weight of the rest of my baggage, but adding, of course, that I had some of the gift already stored away in my basket.
On the Road Again.
After staying over a day in Toâ-chng, I thought it necessary to be on the move again, for I wished to get to Tak-kai, the last of our three mission-stations in Eastern Formosa, a day or two before Sunday. The brethren who had conducted me from the coast were also anxious to reach their homes.
An Improvised Sedan Chair.
Somehow they thought I must still be very much fatigued by my recent hard walking experiences, and, consequently, of their own accord made me a chair in which they wished me to sit when we started out. I protested that I was well able for another tramp, for the soles of my feet were still in good condition. However, to please them I had to take my place in the chair. Such a funny chair it was. It resembled those used by the savages. Suppose two triangles with a board laid between them and resting on their bases and then up at the top a pole inserted along under the angles of the two apices -- that was something the form of the chair. I sat sideways on the board with my arms resting over the pole. The two bearers were at either end of this. When the weight on one shoulder became too uncomfortable, up the pole was hoisted over their heads on to the other one. A slight rest for the feet was suspended from the side of the chair to which the sitter's face was turned. The whole equipage was made in about ten minutes from a few pieces of bamboo. I disliked very much having the brethren carry me, and walked for as long intervals as I could without giving them offence. After having made the chair they did not like bearing it on their shoulders empty, so I sometimes had to sit when I would fain have been on my feet trudging along like the rest.
A Tour Through Eastern Formosa. No. V.
The Tak-kai Church -- Its Character.
[p. 2] The people of the Tak-kai church belong to five villages. Four of these are on the east side of the valley, and only one, Tak-kai itself, on the west side. A big river runs along the middle of the valley, thus separating the villages referred to. In the rainy season, for about three or four months, the people on the east side are unable to cross to the chapel, and are, therefore, anxious for permission to erect a building where they can meet by themselves during that time. No doubt this request will be granted them. The chief of the four villages is called Koan-im-soan. It was to this place that we first went. In fact, the majority of my conductors had their homes here. Among them was the deacon, and to his house I was taken. Everything was done for my comfort, and yet I was not happy. The deacon drinks heavily. On the evening of our arrival at his house I was asking him about the homes of some of the church-people, when he approached me, closed my note-book, and begged me not to put any further questions to him that night for he was drunk. It was very, very sad. I said nothing to him at the time; but next morning, at worship, pointed out the necessity of everyone guarding himself carefully from the snares of so insidious an enemy as drink. It was a difficult matter to refer to, but I felt I should have been failing in my duty had I not done so. A deacon at Chîm-kong-ò had died from the effects of drink about two years ago, and, therefore, I think it well became me to warn my host about his danger. He, as far as I could see, did not take my words amiss; and I hope that by God's grace he may be preserved in future from again transgressing in this way.
On Saturday morning I crossed over to Tak-kai chapel, several of the brethren helping with the baggage. The Tak-kai church is in a bad way. Behind the chapel lives a dismissed preacher, who, by his profligate conduct, has been the means of bringing great shame on the name of the church, and now over in one of the villages on the east side of the valley lives a man, a Hakka, who was last year the preacher at this station, but who has been dismissed for going to live with a woman three days after her husband had been murdered in a drunken brawl. These two men have otherwise acted very wickedly, and brought the cause of Christ into much disrepute in the district. Several persons have left the church on account of their sinful proceedings. However, it must in fairness also be stated that some of the members themselves have not been quite careful of their own conduct in various particulars. Notwithstanding these defects, the church is not in as sad a state as that of Corinth in Paul's day; and I believe that with adequate supervision and careful training it may yet, by the blessing of the Holy Spirit, be preserved unto abundant honour. There are a few people in the church who seem really to be in decided earnest. For example, one man told me of his wife who often sits up reading her New Testament far into the night, and who not infrequently is in tears over the story of the Cross. I met the woman in her own house, and had a very pleasant and profitable conversation with her about higher things.
The Formosan Church is woefully crippled for want of workers, but if a devoted Christian preacher and his wife could be spared from the west side of the mountains and settled in Tak-kai for a couple of years, I believe that ere that time had expired the church here would show sure signs of greatly revived prosperity. As it is, in the meantime, no preacher is resident at this station, and among the people themselves there is no one well fitted to take the lead in directing the spiritual concerns of the congregation. The only office-bearer is the deacon referred to a few paragraphs above.
Sabbath Work at Tak-kai.
I was two Sabbaths at Tak-kai. On the first Sabbath there was a good attendance, and the people who gathered together seemed to listen attentively to the message proclaimed. Being the last Sabbath of the Chinese year, in accordance with the custom elsewhere, a Thanksgiving Service was held in the afternoon. In the evening, just as I was retiring to rest, a man came in and wished to have a conversation with me. His name had got mixed up with two murder cases, although, according to his account, apparently truthful, he really had no share whatever in the commission of the crimes. The first case had been settled, though with a loss to him of a number of dollars. The second case was still pending. Not only was his name connected with it, but also those of thirteen or fourteen other members of the church at Tak-kai. It appears that during the late rebellion a number of church people had to some extent joined in the disturbance, and had also been present when a Chinaman's property was plundered. Among the goods taken away were some ducks, which were afterwards found in the houses of these misguided people. A fine of two dollars for every duck stolen was laid upon them. With the payment of this penalty it was hoped that the matter had ended; but one day, when the Chinaman who was the owner of the ducks was going down to Pò-chong on business he was murdered. At once his relatives said that this was a case of revenge, and accused all the persons who had been fined for stealing the ducks of having plotted together to take away the man's life. This, then, was the other affair in which my visitor was involved. I believe that the man's statement about having nothing whatever to do with the matter was very probably quite true; but, at the same time, I saw no way in which I could help him, beyond exhorting him to put his trust in the Almighty, who could certainly deliver him from any persons who might unrighteously [sic] be seeking to do him harm. It appears that the two dismissed preachers had collected money from the members of the church to engage somebody to defend those of their number against whom the serious charge had been brought. Some of the people, it appears, doubted whether the sum collected was ever used for the purpose stated, and had grave suspicions as to what had become of it. A few days afterwards the dismissed preacher who lived behind the chapel came and asked me to take a considerable number of dollars out to his friends on the other side of the mountains. I thought it best not to accede to his request. Then there followed a discussion about the church and other kindred matters. Finally the man said he would leave Eastern Formosa with me when I returned to Taiwanfoo. It will be a good thing if he never settles down there again.
Savage Customs and Dress.
Monday being the last day of the Chinese year, when [p. 3] liquor, pork, and other festal viands are abundant on every hand, the A-mî-a and high-hill savages, here called Bān-oán, came to pay their respects to the villagers. I, being a foreigner, was interviewed many times during the day by these strange people. The A-mî-a are distinguished by having their ears bored, often in two places. In the upper opening is inserted a thin cylinder of wood or the tusk of some wild animal, and in the lower one, which is very much wider, is fixed a disc of wood, curiously ornamented, and sometimes even one or two inches in diameter. The object is to elongate the lobe of the ear as much as possible, for the tradition runs in the race that whosesoever ear reaches to his shoulder will be king over all. In some cases the stretching process has been carried too far, the lobe being torn into two fleshy pendants, which dangle about in the most grotesque manner. However, I noticed several instances where the individual tried to remedy this defect by tying the two ends of the pendants together with a piece of string. Round the neck hang a number of rows of seeds and beads of various colours; but I suppose most precious of all is a necklace of glistening tusks obtained from various victims of the chase. From this is often suspended a tobacco-box, or something to the owner's mind equally ornamental. In the case of one man I noticed a semi-circular comb. The head is encircled with a light-plaited coronet of bright coloured grass. The coat worn, if any, is made of home-spun linen cloth, gaily decorated with threads of different colours. As a rule no trousers are worn, but the loins are girded with a piece of cloth which is none too ample in length or width. The women, however, when fully dressed have gaudy pants wrapped round their legs. Some of the faces of the gentler sex (at least, I hope they are gentle) may, indeed, be described as pretty.
The high-hill savages are distinguished by the two side incisors of the upper jaw being knocked out, leaving the two central ones intact. Their ears are not perforated like those of the A-mî-a. The women have very mild and pleasant faces -- plump, and not at all dark. For a headdress they have a piece of cloth laid across the top of the head, and bound round in such a way that it hangs like a hood over the two sides and back. The other parts of their dress are somewhat like that of the Chinese, on the whole quiet and modest. Ornaments are chiefly worn round the neck and arms. Curiously, the men are more gaily dressed than the women. Bright scarlet is woven in conspicuous designs on their clothing. They have only a kind of apron instead of trousers. Their hair in front is arranged something like that of Europeans, but without any parting. At the back however, it is allowed to grow long, and is gathered up into a skin cap, shaped somewhat after the fashion of the nets formerly much worn by women at home.
The first High-hill savage that came to see me was dreadfully afraid. Gradually I learnt a few of the savage words, and then a friendship at once sprang up between these wild people and myself. They gave me the words while I wrote them down. Their language is not very difficult in regard to the elementary sounds. I tried, through a woman belonging to the church, and who to some extent knew their strange speech, to make them understand a little about God; but apparently there was a difficulty in finding words in their vocabulary fitted to convey spiritual ideas, so I am afraid not much good resulted from my attempt to teach them. However, they were present when we had worship in the evening, and joined the rest of us in closing their eyes during prayer. I was greatly delighted to have them with us. Of course, they were not forgotten in the request made to "Our Father which art in heaven." Who is there at home wanting an avocation? What nobler task than raising a race of savages to civilisation, and, above all, bringing them to a knowledge of Christ Jesus? Does one want romance or adventure? Here, I am sure, enough of it can be had to satisfy the keenest seeker. Who will come over and help this people? It îs [sic] no doubt God's purpose that His Gospel shall be preached to every creature. May He speedily open up the way whereby His will in this matter may be duly executed in regard to the wild hillsmen [sic] of Formosa.
A Tour Through Eastern Formosa. No. VI.
New Year Festivities.
[p. 3] New Year's Day is always a time of great festivity in China. Everybody looks forward to and back to it as the happiest season of the year. In Eastern Formosa the case is not different. At Tak-kai on the day previous the squealing of pigs being captured for slaughter resounded on every hand. The people have a cruel way of catching them -- viz., by setting on the dogs to chase and hunt them down. Had it not been for the fact that the pigs were thus worried, I should have enjoyed some of the pork which the villagers wished to present to me on this joyous occasion. Evidently the people were in a great hurry to begin their festivities, for from shortly after the time I went to bed on Monday night I was prevented from sleeping by the loud noises of the inhabitants of the houses round about. Shouting and letting off of crackers and guns were constantly going on. The Bān-oán were especially uproarious. Then, when the memorable day itself dawned, hilarious commotion prevailed throughout the whole place. The savages were going from house to house eating and drinking -- I am sorry to say, chiefly the latter. I went to the door of one dwelling to see what was going on. Here the Bān-oán were sitting on the floor, all with a bowl of spirit in their hands. In the intervals of their drinking they chanted a word something like Heigh-ho, but with many modulations and changes in the sound. The men at times would answer to the women, and at other times all would join in chorus. This senseless proceeding was varied at intervals by the women turning to one another, clasping shoulders, pretending to kiss each other, and then drawing back with a loud laugh and a smart pat on some part of the arm. This odd performance is called hì. I could not but be sorry for the poor creatures who apparently knew of no more rational way of making fun and being happy. The A-mî-a were much less riotous and absurd in their demonstrations of conviviality. Before the morning was far advanced the Bān-oán were nearly all drunk. Throughout the early part of the day they were constantly coming into the chapel and having a look at me. What seemed most to delight them was the repetition of some of their words I had learnt the previous evening.
The Pên-po-hoan [sic] and the Chinese, in honour of the new year were dressed out in the most gaudy manner. Their hair was done up with a superabundance of bright scarlet thread, and round the heads of the women and girls was bound a kind of coronet, from which hung down for a couple of inches or so dozens of tinsel silver pendants. On their necks, too, were suspended necklaces of all sorts, one young girl I saw having ten or a dozen dollars most ostentatiously attached. Everyone was adorned with new clothing. I am not particularly well up in the technicology [sic] of female habiliments, so refrain from any description of the wondrous garments worn by the gay and comely dames belonging to the two races of people to which I have been referring. The men and boys wore prettily-embroidered girdles round their waists, and some had hanging from their shoulders satchels on which much skill of needle work was displayed. These took the place of the bags usually carried [p. 4] when hunting, and contained nothing special except betel-nuts. The tobacco-pouches, which in most cases were suspended from the pipes, were also neatly adorned with chaste geometrical patterns of various colours, chiefly red.
During the morning rain commenced to fall heavily, and thus considerably interfered with the enjoyment of the people. It had been arranged to have a prayer-meeting in the chapel for a short time during the forenoon, but the wet weather prevented the gathering. However, in the afternoon the clouds cleared off and permitted the members on the east side of the valley to come across to Tak-kai, but so many congratulatory visits had to be paid, that the proposed meeting had to be further postponed till the evening. This suited very well, for it had been arranged to have a magic-lantern exhibition after dark, and an earlier assembly for prayer could easily be called together.
In the course of the afternoon some of the more boisterous of the savages returned to their homes, and I thought we might risk asking the remainder to join us in the evening. They consented, but with a certain dubiety of expression in their countenances. At the hour appointed all were present. The chapel was crowded with people. Many heathens were in attendance from the beginning, and thus perhaps had an opportunity of learning from the short prayer-meeting some Gospel truth which it might not have been their lot to listen to had this service been held in the morning at the time originally fixed. Thus even disappointments may turn out to be the means of blessing.
A Magic Lantern Exhibition.
A short description of the way in which a lantern exhibition is managed in these strange parts may perhaps be regarded as interesting. Previous to the meeting all the apparatus needs to be carefully prepared and arranged. It is safest also to try a specimen slide before the people arrive, so as to be sure that everything is in proper working order. The lantern is placed on a table about the middle of the long side of the room, so close to the wall that nobody but the operator and an attendant can find a place there. In military tactics it is regarded as a fatal blunder to leave the rear of an army exposed to danger, and the same holds good in regard to magic-lantern tactics. To the right and left sides of the table forms are placed across the room, the two front rows being joined closely together in order to form a barrier in case of a crush from beyond. Between the lantern and the screen logs of wood are put on the mud floor, and on these the children are seated. In this way all can see well, and at the same time not interfere with the projection of the views on to the screen. The forms are chiefly occupied by the Church people -- the men on the one side and the women on the other -- and the spaces behind to the right and left are free to all who like to come. I have exhibited the lantern many times and never had a mishap, chiefly, I believe, on account of this plan of arrangements. On this particular occasion I reserved one empty row of forms in the front for the use of our distinguished strangers, the savages -- I say distinguished, but of course in a different sense from that commonly understood. The little boy and girl savages just sat on the floor mixed up with the other children. The men behaved themselves admirably; but one woman (I don't think she'll find out if I tell her name -- it was La-loosh), who had evidently not recovered from the large quantity of liquor she had drunk during the course of the day, was rather restless, but not so seriously as to interfere with the conduct of the entertainment. With this slight exception, everything went off very happily. The A-mî-a, who came in too large numbers to have special arrangements made for them, took their places like any of the rest of the company. All seemed greatly delighted. It may be that many of the audience could not understand in the least the explanations I gave about the pictures, yet they perhaps saw something which may have been the means of conveying to their minds a glimmering of Biblical instruction. At all the six exhibitions of the lantern I gave in Eastern Formosa non-Chinese-speaking aborigines were present. Before leaving Taiwanfoo I was somewhat in doubt as to the advisability of taking the lantern such a long distance; but the fact that it proved so useful has been the cause of much joy to me. There is no pleasure like that of making others happy.
Out Among the People.
The morning following New Year's Day the High-hill savages came to see if I would return with them to their homes. On the day previous one of the men, a fine young fellow, had got me to mount on his back to see how heavy I was, with the object of making a kind of staging on which I was to sit when he carried me up the hills. I had set my heart on going with them; but, partly owing to the wet weather, and partly on account of my extra exertions the previous evening, I was disagreeably troubled with fever, and, therefore, felt it would be wise not to go with them, more especially as the rain showed little signs of clearing off for some time. The people were chagrined, and I think a little displeased. Rainy weather, of course, mattered nothing to them. However, I opened a tin of biscuits to comfort them, and then away they went, and I was left in comparative peace.
The rain continued for two or three days, and it was only on Friday that I could get out any distance to visit the Church people. I wished to go to two of the villages on the east side of the valley; but, as the streams were very much swollen, I was compelled to get a chair (a "savage" one) to take me across. Two A-mî-a carried me. When we came to the deep water, one of them at once slipped off all his clothing -- a little all at the most -- but the other one who wore trousers, before performing the act, with more sense of modesty in my presence, tied round his waist a piece of cloth which he had brought with him for the purpose. The water was very cold and very deep. I wondered how the men were willing to undertake the task; but I suppose they were used to it, and consequently did not very much care.
It is very pleasant getting out among the people and visiting them in their homes. Merely seeing them en masse on Sabbaths is not nearly sufficient. Each one has his or her special peculiarities and trials, which can only be properly discovered by personal intercourse. A word of comfort or encouragement often goes a long way. To know all the symptoms of a medical case is a prime requisite towards dealing effectively with it. Most probably the same principle applies to the case of Church people, whose hearts are often troubled in many ways. Anyhow, every careful observer must have noticed that individual dealing has a wonderful power of stirring up interest on both sides. At Tak-kai, as also at the other mission stations, I had the privilege of calling on nearly all the Church members at their homes; but, owing to the wet weather, it was impossible to get out as often as I wished. Two things especially saddened me -- namely, the great neglect of the children, [p. 5] and the drinking customs of the people. So much, indeed, was the danger of the latter borne in upon me that, on the second Sabbath I was at the place, I felt it my duty publicly to refer to the matter, taking as the ground of my remarks the concluding paragraph of 1 Corinthians vi. Some of the audience, I believe, were considerably impressed with the truth and force of the observations then made. It pained me very much to have to speak about this affair, for everybody had treated me with the greatest kindness. Wherever native races have taken to drink, before long it has led to their decay; and, in some cases, to their extinction. It will be the same with the aboriginal races of Formosa, if they are not taught to shun the evil ere it be too late.
Unexplored Country and My Companions.
Having now visited all three mission stations, I wished to go northwards to the end of the Lāi-pên-po. This stretch of country has never, I believe, been travelled over by an [sic] European. It is a journey of about three days. For the first day no villages with Chinese-speaking inhabitants are met with -- only those belonging to the A-mî-a. Then for the next two days the land is like a region of death. The only dwellers in it are the soldiers in the camps. Many parts of the district are fertile, but nobody dares settle in them for fear of the High-hill savages, who are constantly seeking an opportunity of proving their skill in head-hunting. When, however, Hoe-lêng-káng (Chock-e-day) is reached there is comparatively little need of fear. Nevertheless, the area of security is not a wide one; for, even here, the high hills are not very far off.
My plan was to start on Monday, pass the following Sabbath in Hoe-lêng-káng, and then the next day begin the return journey south. I desired very much to have the pleasure of making known the Gospel in Hoe-lêng-káng. Indeed, had it not been for this evangelistic project being in my mind, I doubt whether I would have been prepared to undertake the additional journey. Having made my purpose known to the brethren, three of them agreed to accompany me; but when we were about to start off on Monday morning three others also joined us. All the six were well armed with guns and long knives. Besides these men our party also consisted of a brother who is a mason by trade but a doctor by profession, one burden-bearer, my boy, and myself. The mason-doctor belongs to Taiwanfoo, where he usually deals with bricks and mortar. Occasionally, however, he seems to tire of this form of occupation, and then goes away to the country and practices medicine and vaccination. He is of a very headstrong temperament, and in doing work in the Mission Compound has several times given me occasion to reprove him somewhat seriously. Nevertheless, the man seems to have in him something sterling. I believe him to be a real Christian. Most of the members of the Church seem to be about all alike, but this individual has given proofs of a distinctively independent spiritual experience. In a competition some time ago for the best essay on prayer he took the first place. Well, this man hearing of my proposed visit to Eastern Formosa, abandoned his tools, gathered his drugs together, and attached himself to me as a kind of companion, accompanying me first of all to the Lāi-pên-po, and afterwards, as stated above, to Hoe-lêng-káng. Further, he has decided to remain in Eastern Formosa for several months, and is even hoping to make out a visit to the island of Hoé-sio-sū, and perhaps, also Ang-thâu-sū. I rather like the man, for, with all his failings, he is original and, to a considerable degree, enthusiastic for the proclamation of the Gospel.
A Tour Through East Formosa. [No. VI continued].
On The Road Again.
[p. 8] As we set out on our journey on Monday morning the weather was unsettled. The Lai-pe-po being a long narrow valley between the central mountains of Formosa to the west and the outlying range of hills running along the sea-coast on the east, the mists gathering about these eminences seem often to fold down upon it like the flaps of a trap door, and shut out for several days at a time all sight of the sun, and not only so, but, as if taking advantage of the seclusion thus obtained, also frequently distil upon the land beneath a heavy dew or even a steady downpour of rain. We had not gone very far on our way when we experienced all the unpleasantness of this meteorological phenomenon. The rain came down and not only gave us a drenching but materially impeded our progress. Indeed, on this account we were half a day later than we expected in reaching Hoe-lêng-káng. We found it very disagreeable tramping through the rain, especially as there was no place of shelter all the way along except at the camps, which are separated by very long distances. In the southern parts of the Lāi-pên-po [sic], the A-mî-a sometimes imitate the Chinese in wearing trousers, but north of the region about Tak-hai, at the most only kilts are worn. In many cases the men have this reduced to a small piece of cloth in front, and often even this is absent. I was very much amused by seeing the A-mî-a women smoking large cigars -- about three or four times the size of those ordinarily used in western lands. Being made up on the outside, at least, of green tobacco leaves, they seemed to me more like cabbage stalks than anything else.
The central river-basin of the Lāi-pên-po [sic] is very rich in minerals. The main river flows out from the foot of Mount Morrison, and after long heavy rains gold is sometimes found along its course.
Night in a Camp.
Our fist night was spent at a camp situated near an A-mî-a village. The colonel in charge is an enlightened and kind-hearted man. He has encouraged the soldiers to cultivate rice-fields in the immediate neighbourhood. His object is partly to let the A-mî-a see how the necessary agricultural operations are conducted. In some cases the Chinese authorities in other places have paid persons to teach the natives how to grow rice, for at many camps there is often a great scarcity of this staple article of food. Just before dark I took a hurried walk round the A-mî-a village above referred to. It was a decidedly pretty place, beautifully embowered in fine trees. The houses were free from dirt and very tidy, and the roads kept in good repair. In fact, the whole village was much more pleasant to the eye than those of the Chinese usually are. The people were, of course, astonished to see me, but were very orderly and well-behaved. A curious arrangement obtains among the A-mî-a. When lads reach their teens they all have to sleep together in a large open building till such time as they are married. Sometimes several dozen youths may be accommodated in one of these structures. They are very little more than platforms with a roof overhead. Having no sides they must make very cold quarters in the winter time. This inconvenience is, however, partly met by large log-fires which are kept burning in the centre of the erection. The Palangkans, as I understand they are known in some parts, are also the places where visitors are received and matters of public concern are formally discussed.
When we were having worship in the camp before retiring to rest, some of the soldiers and officers came in. Among the hearers was the mandarin's confidential adviser and secretary. After we were finished he entered into a long discussion on the subject of the teaching of the Scriptures. Finally, he confessed that he did not believe in the worship of idols, but thought the worship of ancestors was a fit and necessary duty for all to perform. It was difficult to convince him that worship in its strict sense should be paid to God alone, and although, after hearing the proofs, arguments, and illustrations in support of this doctrine, he seemed softened considerably, yet I am afraid he was not in his heart at all ready to yield on this particular point. Alas! [sic] his case is not a singular one. Multitudes in China [p. 9] have this same difficulty. Confuscianism [sic] generally is slowly but surely breaking down. While China was secluded it served very well as the foundation of home-rule, but now that this sheltered isolation has been broken in upon, it has been found wanting. Intercourse with foreign nations requires the application of other principles than it supplies. Consequently, the Christian missionary may take comfort, and believe that this obstacle to Gospel progress will with constantly increasing rapidity be removed out of the way. Ancestral worship is different. It will hold its own much longer. Only the powers of the Gospel itself can get rid of it. This is Satan's chief stronghold in China, and, consequently, that against which Christian effort must forcibly direct itself.
The A-mî-a Tribe.
The next day when we rose the rain was falling heavily. We were afraid we should need to be prisoners for the day. However, after waiting for a couple of hours, the weather cleared a little, and out we started. It was very curious to see the A-mî-a going to their field work. Besides their baskets, which they bore upon their heads, most of them had with them only a hoe or mattock about a foot long, and a small mat, which served as an umbrella to protect their heads, a coat to over their backs, or as something to lay on the ground when they sat down. This people originally had no bullocks, but are now gradually becoming the owners of a number. At the beginning they made an agreement with the Chinese to feed their oxen, on condition that they received all the calves born while they thus tended them. Having no money, and few goods to barter, this was about the only way by which they could acquire possession of these useful animals. However, like the Chinese, they only employ them in field work, and never think of getting milk from them.
This mention of oxen reminds me that about the middle of this, the second day of our travel, we came to a camp, outside of which were suspended from a kind of trestle, about ten feet high, two human heads. It appears that a short time ago some of the people to the south had been constantly having their bullocks stolen, and had complained to the higher authorities. The officer in charge of this camp was blamed for allowing the culprits to pass by his way, and was warned that if he did not succeed in stopping this practice he would be made to suffer capital punishment. This apparently mettled [sic] him, and before long he heard of an individual who had committed the offence referred to, and tried to catch him, but the man, with great daring, took refuge up among the High-hill savages. The officer, however, gathered a large body of soldiers together, and in the night time marched to the place of hiding, surrounded it, and brought the thief back to the camp, where he speedily decapitated him. His was one of the heads I saw hanging up. The other was that of a man caught just a short time afterwards, and treated in the same way. It is wonderful the risks some human beings will run to do wrong. In connection with the case of the first man, I may mention a curious fact told me by one of my companions -- namely, that the High-hill savages value bullocks more by the length of their horns than by the flesh on their bones. In Eastern Formosa some of the natives are said to worship deer skulls. It may be that the wild savages regard bullock skulls in the same way, and hence their special estimation of the long horns. However, the only place where I saw a deer skull hung up for worship was in a Chinaman's house; but this may perhaps be explained by the fact that he was a kind of interpreter to the natives.
In a previous paragraph it is mentioned that the High-hill savages often descend from their fastnesses on the west side of the valley, and stealthily run across it to the hills on the east. We came upon the tracks of quite a number who had recently done this. Then at another point we saw the fires that they had kindled on the hill-sides, and lastly saw some of the men themselves dodging in and out among the trees at the foot of the hills. They were a good distance off, and it was only by the aid of the field-class [sic] that I could recognise them distinctly. Although they evidently saw us, yet they did not venture out to molest us in any way.
At the camp where we stayed the third night, the Mandarin had somehow become possessed of two savage women, a mother and a daughter, the latter of whom he treated as his wife. Her cheeks and chin were covered with tatto [sic] marks, which formed a kind of geometrical pattern made up of parallel lines and intervening crosses. On her head, too, right in front of the brow, was a figure formed of a vertical line crossed horizontally at the top, bottom, and middle by three others. This is the distinguishing mark of the tribe, and because it is exactly like the Chinese character "ong," the people are commonly called Ong-jí-thâu, which translated means "king-character-head." They are otherwise known as the Bok-koé, which is also the name applied to the river which flows northwards and falls into the sea at Hoe-lêng-káng (Chock-e-day).
During all our tramp we were constantly crossing streams which came rushing down from the mountains, or else the larger currents which gathered up their waters. The passage of some of these was very difficult. Sometimes two or three persons had to hold one another's hands to avoid being toppled over while fording them. Quite a number of travellers, chiefly Chinese soldiers, have lost their lives in trying to cross some of the swifter streams. Great boulders are rolled down by the force of the current and strike against the legs of those attempting to make the passage, with the result that they are upset, and in the rush of waters are carried away to destruction. The danger is chiefly to be apprehended in the rainy season. We happily escaped without accident. My boy, a good sort of a lad, with plenty of muscular strength, bore me across all the larger streams on his back. He fastened a cloth round his shoulders and made a kind of a loop of it a short distance down his back. On this I knelt, and steadied myself by resting my hands on his shoulders. The water was sometimes waist deep, very cold, and, in some cases, impregnated with some mineral or acid substance which causes the skin of the feet and legs to crack, and afterwards smart somewhat severely.
Meeting the Savages.
On the fourth day, in the morning, just as we were about to cross the last stream and were nearing Hoe-leng-kang, we saw about fifty Low-hill savages coming forward at a trot. Some of them were stark naked and others had on them but little clothing. Long spears were swaying backwards and forwards in their hands and at their sides dangled long glittering knives. When they saw us, they hesitated for a moment, and then with a bound dashed into the water and danced forward with the utmost precipitancy to the bank where we were standing. Before I had time properly to understand the situation, I [p. 10] was surrounded on every side. Evidently, I was a strange being in their eyes. They wandered round and round me in wild curiosity. I tried to get a smile from some of their faces, and happily succeeded. This quite reassured me. However, a few of them only returned me a scowl for the pleasant look I tried to cast upon them. The chatter and excitement for several moments were quite distracting. Finally, I inspected their weapons and such coverings and ornaments as they had on their bodies, and they did the same with my clothing. Some of the men were fine stalwart fellows, and as the stream at hand was difficult to ford, and having seen how expert they were in crossing it, I selected the tallest and strongest individual in the company, and tried by signs to induce him to carry me across, offering him as a reward a bright-coloured handkerchief, the only suitable thing I had at hand. He seemed to acquiesce, and up I jumped on his back, but my boy coming forward at the moment with serious concern depicted in his face, I suppose dreading what might happen to me, the fickle-minded being espied the turban round his head, and indicated that he wanted that instead to bear me over the stream. I tried to make out to him from the height at which I was perched that article was not mine to give; but the man would not relent, so down I came to the ground again. Suddenly, someone shouted something, and off they all went like a shot. They certainly made a very picturesque appearance as they started off. Their dusky bodies were in some cases relieved by a bright red-coloured cloth, which was slung something like a plaid from their shoulders, and also by the other ornaments which were suspended from their weapons or hung round their necks. Their ears were bored like those of the A-mî-a in the south, and into them a kind of bone ornament, something like a mushroom in shape, was inserted. In fact, although their words were different, I judged them to belong to the same race as that people. They called themselves Pan-cha. We afterwards found out that they were going into the hills near where we met them in order to cut down rushes and timber to build a Chinaman's house, he having made a contract with them to do this for a certain amount of cloth and one or two meals.
III. -- Tour in Eastern Formosa. No. VII.
[p. 12] [Preface: Mr. Ede, our missionary teacher at Taiwanfoo, has been describing, in an interesting manner, a toilsome and adventurous expedition across the hills from Taiwanfoo to the east side of the island, and then away far to the north, along the shore or down the long, narrow valley between the central mountains and a range of hills close to the coast. The instalment [sic] we print below takes him to the most northerly point he visited, where he touched the work of the Canadian Mission in North Formosa (Dr. Mackay's). Mr. Ede's first desire was to comfort and edify our own stations in East Formosa, three in number -- Chim-kong-o, where a little church was planted ten years ago, Chioh-pai, and Tak-kai, all of which the sadly undermanned condition of our Formosan Mission has rendered it impossible properly to superintend and foster. In the course of the tour he has had many opportunities of doing the work of an evangelist. He has preached to the aborigines and to Chinese soldiers in their camps. He has shown his magic lantern again and again, with its Bible stories in pictures. He has rebuked backsliders in the little churches, and has encouraged those who are struggling amidst many difficulties to hold fast faith and a good conscience. It must be that blessing will follow his visit.
The Christians at these eastern stations all belong to Mr. Barclay's "low level" aborigines, the Pe-paw-hoan. The little churches are in a backward state, whether because of the impossibility of adequate supervision and instruction, or, as Mr. Barclay suggests in his paper, because the conversions of the aboriginal villagers were a tribal movement, rather than the result of individual conviction. At Tak-kia, the most northerly of these churches, there is no preacher. Worse than that, two preachers have had to be dismissed within the last year or two for gross immoralities, and they still live on in the neighbourhood discrediting the Christian name. Mr. Ede's host at Tak-kia, a deacon of the church, the only office-bearer it has, was drunk the night of Mr. Ede's arrival there. A deacon of the Chim-Kong-o Church died through drink two or three years ago. Carelessness and drunkenness are lamentably common in these Christian households. "Drink is the curse of Africa," said Mackay of Uganda. "Drink," say both Mr. Barclay and Mr. Ede, "threatens the extinction of the Formosan aborigines." Still some earnest Christians remain, and their hearts must have been greatly strengthened by the short sojourn among them of our devoted missionary. It would be a happy event if, as Mr. Barclay tells us is possible, the Reformed Church of Holland would return to Formosa and take this whole eastern coast as their field.
In the section of his narrative given a month ago, Mr. Ede describes how he reached Hoe-lêng-káng, on the coast, at the north end of the valley (Lai-pe-po) behind the eastern hills. From Tak-kai, our northernmost station, to Hoe-lêng-káng is a three days' journey, probably never before taken by an [sic] European. Mr. Ede was laudabln [sic] ambitious to be the first to tell the story of the Cross in Hoe-lêng-káng; having done which he proposed to turn homewards again. He did spend a Sabbath there; but before that day arrived he paid a visit to a tribe of savages, the Pan-chá, inland from Hoe-lêng-káng; and hearing there that a Christian preacher was at a place called Ka-lé-óan, some distance northwards, he made his way thither. These two visits and the first stage of his journey homewards, from Ka-lé-oan to Hoe-lêng-káng, are recorded in the paragraphs which follow.]
A New Mode of Learning a Language.
The river which falls into the sea at Hoe-lêng-káng is near its mouth deep and wide; but unfortunately the entrance is blocked by a bar, which makes the place inaccessible to shipping. Outside the usual Chinese camp there is a street with shops on either side, chiefly wattle and daub, roofed with thatch. When we entered the village we saw one or two hundred Pan-chá savages crowded together in the street. On Chinese New Year's Eve there had been a fire, and about a dozed shops had been burnt down. Some of these were now being put up again, and the Pan-chá men had been engaged for the task. We had no sooner appeared than all the builders left their work and pressed round us. It so happened that one of the houses being re-erected belonged to an official called the Chong-lí. He at once brought me a chair, but my sitting down only made matters worse, for it occasioned more pushing and squeezing, to get a look at me. At last I hit upon a plan to gain a little order and calmness. I got my back against the side of a house, then took out my note-book and began to take down the native names of the various parts of the body and of other objects round about. This amused the people wonderfully. They were so delighted to hear me repeating their words that they forgot to feel my clothing or to stare into my face, and other such objectionable methods of satisfying their curiosity. By-and-by I got the word for go, and used it with an energetic waving of my hand. A considerable number did go at my bidding. I then retired to a rough cooking-shed away to the back. Some of the people followed me even here; but the Chong-lí ordered them out. Food was preparing, and after a little while he invited us to share in the meal. The house that was being rebuilt for him [p. 13] had been commenced in the early morning, and he expected to have it finished by the evening -- a speed quick enough to satisfy an American. The house seemed to take shape something like a balloon swelling out when being inflated with gas.
A Night with the Pan-cha.
Learning that the villages of the Pan-chá or Lâm-sì-hoan, as they are also called, were not far off, and getting an introduction from the Chong-lí to the leading interpreter there, I thought I would like to pass the night in the midst of that curious people, so in the afternoon off we went to one of the villages, which is called Pòk-pòk. On the way we passed two sheds where were laid up the boats in which the ancestors of these savages are said to have come to Formosa, relics duly reverenced by their descendants. Altogether they number about 5,000 people, residing in a group of seven villages -- just a nice little field for a missionary. The Chinese are seeking to gain authority over them, but as yet their influence is mainly nominal. Like all primitive races they have no surnames, and the Chinese, to meet this need, have given each village a surname, and all the people belonging to it are supposed to bear it as theirs. The villages lie to the west of Hoe-lêng-káng, near the foot of the mountains, and the inhabitants are at deadly feud with the "high-hill" savages.
As we entered Pòk-pòk we observed a number of children on stilts, a sight awakening happy boyish memories. It was the first time I had seen anything of the kind in Formosa. My presence was soon known to all the villagers and they trooped out to see me. I took out my note-book and went over the words I had learnt a few hours before in Hoe-lêng-káng, which delighted them immensely. Shouts of laughter went up at each new word I uttered. Next to this they derived most entertainment from my taking off my helmet and letting them see my hair, which, except for the parting, was not very unlike their own.
After our evening meal, kindly provided by the official interpreter, we had some singing, which pleased the people very much. Then followed worship; and then, after we had dismissed our inquisitive friends, we retired to rest. The room which our host gave us had in it a long raised platform which served as a bedstead, and on this my companions and I, nine persons in all, spent the night.
Next morning early the interpreter took me round the village. It was remarkably clean. Little bridges were made over the water channels. The houses were low, but very tidy. Outside most of them were bundles of firewood neatly piled together. Inside the houses everything was trim and free from dirt. The clothes of the inmates were hung on poles round the walls, and their guns and other weapons laid on a frame. Deerskin mats were spread carefully on various parts of the floor, which was of rattan and raised some distance from the ground. There was only the one long room in each house, and at one end of it was the fireplace, a square opening in the floor, filled up with earth, and surrounded by a low border. In the middle of this space were placed three large stones, and on the top of these was laid the cauldron for cooking the food. Near at hand, in a corner of the wall, was the family larder. Happening to ask about their mode of punishing offenders, I was told that one way was to take away their goods and pull down their houses about their ears.
Touching the Canadian Mission.
Having heard that there was somebody preaching at a place called Ka-lé-oán, some distance still further north, I was anxious to see him. The interpreter kindly gave me a guide, and we reached the place about mid-day. As soon as I was seen, out came a number of people, two of whom (women, be it told) literally received me with open arms. Presently a man approached me, who turned out to be the preacher. I soon ascertained that he came from Dr. Mackay's mission in North Formosa. I at once informed the people that I did not come from there, and that the church to which I belonged, though at one with that presided over by Dr. Mackay in the north was quite distinct. I further explained that being in the neighbourhood, and hearing that they were worshippers of God, I had only come to pay them a friendly visit. Since coming home to Taiwanfoo, I have learnt from Dr. Mackay that the "preacher" I met was not commissioned by him to preach. In fact, the man had only been a cook for three months at the college in Tamsui. The people of this district of Ka-lé-oán (a different place from the Ka-lé-oán in North Formosa, where Dr. Mackay has a regularly-appointed station) are Pê-po-hoan. They came originally from the Kap-á-lân (also called Kap-chu-lân) plain in the Gî-lân county of the North Formosa Prefecture. They have the bronzed expression of the Japs [sic]. They say that the home of their fathers was the island of Ang-thaû-sū. There are five villages altogether, containing a total of about eight or nine hundred persons. They still use their native dialect among themselves, but can also speak Chinese.
A View Northwards.
In Eastern Formosa there are no villages further north than those of this district of Ka-lé-oán. From its northern side I saw a large triangular plain in which nobody dare settle for fear of the "high hill" savages, the mountains where these wild men live gradually approaching nearer and nearer the coast, till at a headland called Toā-chio'h-kong they run down into the sea. From this promontory to Dome Point, some distance further north (near to the place commonly called Saw-bay), is a region over which no one can pass. The Chinese a few years ago forced a road through, but have been unable to keep it open. Since my visit the Governor-General has been down with gun-boats to that stretch of country, attacking the savages with rockets and other deadly missiles, probably with little success. While we were looking towards the high mountains, a shout suddenly went up all over the fields; the savages had been seen, and my conductors hurried me back to the village. As we reached the village gate, we saw a number of men digging a pit behind it, and making arrangements to fasten the gate securely for the night. It appears that they were afraid of an attack from the blood-thirsty mountaineers, who only a few days before had come to the next village and killed two persons. After tea there was a very large gathering for worship. The room which served for a chapel was very small, and only about half the people who came could get inside. Those within the building were most inconveniently packed. Some even climbed up on to the bamboo framework which held the house together, and with their heads touching the roof, viewed what was going on below. The "preacher" conducted worship, and then I spoke from John iii. 16. During my visits to some of the houses an hour or two before I had noticed that the idols were not destroyed, so I further pointed out that it was not possible to worship God and idols at the same time. Over sixty persons said that they were [p. 14] willing to burn or cast them away; and they would, I suppose, have done so at once if I had asked them. However, I said that as the doctrine had reached them from North Formosa, it would be best to wait till a missionary from that part visited them; but, in the meantime, they should on no account worship these false gods. About eleven years ago the people of these five villages rebelled and had their villages destroyed by the Chinese authorities. Then the worship of idols was made a test of their allegiance to the Government. Therefore, to have told them to do away with their images might immediately have caused serious trouble, which could only be dealt with by a missionary acting with full authority. Dr. Mackay now knows all about the matter, and, of course, will understand how best to act in the circumstances. He, however, informs me that his plan is never to open stations which cannot be properly superintended and visited. Ka-lé-oán is certainly an awkward place to get at either from the north or the south. That evening it was very late before the gathering separated. The children and others kept up singing hymns till the light went out, and while they were so engaged I was having a good time with the people outside, explaining to them what was meant by worshipping the true God. Everybody was very attentive. The brethren who had gone with me to this place were quite taken with the enthusiasm which prevailed.
Next morning I went round all the villages and visited quite a number of houses, in some of which we had singing, prayer, or a word or two about the Gospel. Then a little after mid-day I returned to Hoe-lêng-káng. The colonel at the adjoining camp had previously invited me to stay there; but I preferred having a place where we could have full freedom on the Sabbath, so we went to a sort of inn. Before leaving Ka-lé-oán we learnt that the scare of the evening before was not groundless. A man and his wife were walking together through some fields a little to the south, when the husband, who was a short distance to the rear, was stabbed to death by a savage who was in hiding. The woman escaped; indeed, as a rule, the savages do not kill women, but carry them off to the mountains.
Tour in Eastern Formosa. No. VIII. (Concluded.)
[Note: In this concluding section, the editor introduces several of Ede's passages with his own paraphrases; Ede's passages are generally rendered in quotes.]
[p. 11] In his journey northward Mr. Ede, it will be remembered, reached the extreme southern point on the east coast to which the Gospel has been brought from Dr. Mackay's Mission in North Formosa. His purpose had been to go no farther north than Hoe-lêng-káng, at the mouth of a river, a village and camp never before visited by a European, to be the first to tell the people there the story of the Cross, and then to turn homeward. Hearing of a preacher at Ka-lé-oán, a few miles to the north of Hoe-lêng-káng, he went on to see him. His brief visit accomplished, he returned to Hoe-lêng-káng, to spend the Lord's day in that place.
A Busy Day.
The day was bright, and the morning and afternoon services were both held in the street of the village, where a table and some forms had been set. The audiences were large and motley; the villagers, the Chinese, and a crowd of the Pan-chá, the "high hill" savages who had come to Hoe-lêng-káng to rebuild some burnt shops, who added picturesqueness [sic] to the scene by their shining skin, their strange features, and their weapons. The morning sermon was on the Prodigal Son; and after the service Mr. Ede found that some prodigals had been amongst his hearers, and had not been unmoved. In the afternoon the text was the parable of the Ten Virgins. After the second service, Mr. Ede made a house-to-house visitation of the village, leaving in each house Mr. Thow's tract on "The True Doctrine of the World's Salvation." At evening worship in the inn the travellers were joined by a member of Dr. Mackay's Church at Ke-lung, and by another man who had also heard "the doctrine" at one of Dr. Mackay's stations, and who repeated a couple of hymns when asked what he knew of the Gospel. The Ke-lung Christian had his hymn-book with him, and showed it to Mr. Ede. He was the captain of a small junk which had been wrecked outside Hoe-lêng-káng, and was waiting there for a chance of returning to his home. It was refreshing to meet a witness for Jesus in this heathen village.
A Pan-cha Supper.
"Just as it was getting near sundown the Pan-chá who had been engaged in building ceased from their labours and sat down in groups in the middle of the street. Rice was brought to them in large pails. The older men were served first, and there was no scrambling. Each man received his rice either in a broad leaf or in his straw hat, or in the end of any piece of cloth he might have about his body. The amount given to each was not large; yet, strange to say, nobody grumbled. Next followed the distribution of a small portion of molasses to each individual. [p. 12] Some, I noticed, rolled their share up in a bit of a leaf, probably to take to their children. Lastly there were brought round large jars of liquor, into which the men dipped small cups made of sections of bamboo. It was a scanty meal, but then what more could one expect from a wily John Chinaman dealing with simple savages?"
The next day saw Mr. Ede on his way south. The Laī-pên-po, the narrow valley at whose northern end Hoe-lêng-káng is situated, [which was a] "murky, humid tunnel" while they were making their way through it before, was now lit up with brilliant sunshine; and as they went on they could see the peaks of the higher mountains away to the west, some of them covered with snow. "The Chinese said that the savages were sunning their silver, and we should all go to gather some."
Visit to Ami-a Village.
Lying a little west from the main road, at the point they had reached at noon on the second day, is a village of the Amî-a, one of the largest of the tribes of mountain savages. A stockade surrounded the village, and the gateway was a formidable structure of strong posts, twenty feet from the outer entrance to the inner end. The Chinese interpreter (representing the government) was very gracious, the headmen of the village were kind, and there was the inevitable crowd to see the white man. Each of these headmen is in receipt of a government allowance of 15 oz. of silver monthy [sic] -- double the salary of one of our preachers -- no doubt to secure their loyalty. It seemed likely to rain, and the way back to the main road and on to the camp at which Mr. Ede proposed to spend the night was rough and long. The Amî-a headmen, with unexpected kindness, provided a native chair for him, and four lithe, merry young fellows to carry him on their shoulders, two at a time. As they went on they chanted and whistled gleefully. Suddenly the vocal demonstration would reach a climax in a sharp, shrill shout. Then, dropping again to a pleasant, low tone, they would each use different words, and, finally, they blew their tune into one bright, stirring chorus. When their passenger, after many attempts, succeeded in joining their strange song their delight was unbounded. On the way they crossed a stream. Then they set the chair on the ground, bathed in the river, decked their heads and necks with their ornaments, completed their scanty toilet, took up their burden, and resumed their march and song; trudging on without a murmur through the mud and rain (the rain had now begun to pour down) till at length they reached the evening's resting-place, just at sundown. They were quite satisfied with a payment in cloth, of which each man's share (a piece as long as he could hold stretched out, when his arms were extended as far as possible) was worth about 8d. Mr. Ede bought the cloth from a man in the Chinese camp, who gave him back the change out of a dollar -- 200 "cash," equal to 8d. or 9d. The "cash" is supposed to be made of pure copper, a small, thin, round coin, with a square hole in the middle that they may be strung together. The 200 "cash" given to Mr. Ede were all bad. Forgers of money may have their fingers chopped off. But a great deal of bad money is made and in wide use through the empire, and Mr. Ede had to accept the bad coins.
The Efficacious Worship.
Three days later Mr. Ede spent the night at a village a few miles south from Chióh-pâi, where there is a little Christian Church. When he entered the village, an old woman came out and took him into her house. It turned out she was a church member and had been taught to read by Dr. Maxwell many years ago, when she was residing on the western side of the mountains. About five households in this village attend service at Chióh-pâi chapel. Some time ago there was an epidemic in the district, and a considerable number of persons who were ill tried the idols and failed to get better and therefore transferred their "worship" to God, when they got well almost at once. There was no conviction of sin on their part, but just the fact that, after in some formal way beseeching God, they received this temporal benefit. They said God was "siàn" (efficacious) -- the very word they use in regard to their idols. By-and-by some other trouble arose, and this time they did not find God "siàn" in the way they expected, and away they went back to their idols. A great many of the backsliders we have been deploring of late years at many of our Formosan stations fell away for the very same reason. At the evening worship in the old woman's house a good many of the villagers were present, and amongst them some of those who had returned to idolatry, to whom some kindly earnest words were spoken.
By noon on Saturday Lī-lang had been reached, the place at which Mr. Ede was anxious to spend the Lord's-day, twelve or fifteen miles south from Chióh-pâi. "In this village there are some persons who go all the way to Chióh-pâi to attend service. This means that they start from their homes on Saturday morning and return to them again by Monday evening, giving up three days in seven instead of one. There are a number interested in the Gospel who cannot possibly follow this plan, and for their sakes especially I was anxious to spend a Sabbath here.
"Saturday afternoon was fully occupied in visiting some of the people and in preparing the magic lantern for an evening's entertainment. Most of the villagers are Pên-pó-hoan, and know very little beyond what is required for tilling their fields. I was amused at some of the questions asked me. One was, 'Is there a land where there are only half-men, so that when they wish to walk two need to go together?' I enquired how they came to think of such a thing. They replied that they had evidently been deceived by the Chinese. I cannot here help relating a little incident which shows the kindly nature of the Church people in Eastern Formosa. About dark a man arrived from Chióh-pâi and gave me a dollar, saying that it was sent to me by a sister at that place. It appears that she was hoping to invite me to to dine at her house, but as I scarcely halted at Chióh-pâi on my way south, she had not had the opportunity of entertaining me, and therefore sent a dollar to enable me to engage a chair on the road. I wrote the good sister a letter all to herself and thanked her for her 'unmerited benevolence'; but I did not return the dollar, lest she should be offended. If hereafter I ever hear any one say that the Chinese only enter the Church for what they can get I will not fail to tell them this story.
"The exhibition of the magic lantern was a source of great wonder and delight. After it was over, I had a formal visit from a number of the Amî-a who apparently sought to honour or thank me, I don't know which, by [p. 13] singing a number of songs. One of these ditties had several verses with a chorus to each. The general effect was somewhat pleasing, but I was too tired to ask what it meant. Nevertheless, I tried to be as appreciative as possible of the goodwill of my visitors, and they at last left me, quite pleased with themselves and with me."
A Missionary's Sorrows.
A happy Sunday was spent in Lī-lang. Two services were held, each attended by sixty people; and the Christians insisted on Mr. Ede singing almost all the hymns in their hymnbook, so anxious were they to learn to sing them themselves.
A hard walk of fully twenty miles, on the Monday, brought the travellers to Pò-chong, an important Chinese camp on the seashore, where the mandarin had been Mr. Ede's host some weeks before. This time he went to an inn; but a disagreeable wrangle, in which the quarrellers sought to involve him, soon made him seek shelter elsewhere. One of the two Tak-kia preachers who have had recently to be dismissed for shameful misconduct was with the missionary party, going back with them to Taiwanfoo. He had been to some extent involved in a case of murder at Tak-kia. The Chinese people there had collected some money to be paid to the murdered man's relatives, by way of compensation. Two men came to the Pò-chang inn, to accuse the ex-preacher of having retained the money for his own use. As Mr. Ede knew that the man had with him more than a hundred dollars, probably the charge was not groundless. But he wisely refused to interfere in a case which a magistrate should decide. Leaving the inn, in order to escape the angry strife, he met a young woman, who greeted him with the Christian salutation, "Pên-an" ("peace.") He found that she belonged to Kam-a-na, one of the Pen-po-hoan stations on the west side of the island. But whenever he asked any questions which involved a reference to her husband or her married life, she burst into tears. People crowding round about the two, Mr. Ede judged it prudent to leave her, first speaking some words of comfort, and much puzzled. He discovered afterwards the too sufficient cause of her grief. Inside the inn, at the door of which the little scene occurred, sat her husband, within hearing of everything that was said. He, too, like his wife, had had Christian teaching, but he had given it all up and had just sold the poor thing to another man for eighteen dollars. She had come to the door of the inn to try to see her husband, but he sat still, indifferent.
Along the Seashore.
Next morning, before setting out, Mr. Ede visited every house in Pò-chong, leaving at each a copy of Mr. Thow's tract. Two or three thousand tracts and books were sold or given away during the tour; not, it may be hoped, without some result of blessing. On the return journey, Mr. Ede noticed the Christian almanacs he had given away at the camps he had passed fastened up on the walls; and so every time soldier or official looks at the calendar his eyes must also rest on some short gospel message. The next stage of the march was a two days' tramp along the shore, much of it on soft sand, the mountains sometimes coming so close to the sea that the traveller has to walk on sand, which the sea covers at high tide. Sometimes great boulders have to be clambered over, as fatiguing as the walk on the loose sand.
On the second day -- both days being dry and sultry -- Mr. Ede began to feel dreadfully worn out. They halted at mid-day at a camp, and the mandarin, hearing how exhausted he was, allowed him to engage two of the soldiers to carry him in a chair. The Chion-pai sister's dollar was their payment, and the help was of immense service. That evening they arrived at the village of Pa-lóng-ūi, near the sea, at the foot of the road leading across the mountains, to Western Formosa. At evening worship a number of the villagers were present, and amongst them a Hak-ka (Highland) woman from Lâm-gān, a mission station with a Hak-ka congregation on the west side of the island. She was not a member of the Lâm-gān Church, but had often worshipped there, and knew the hymns. Little sparks of light, it is manifest, are flickering (at least) all over the island. Some of them may yet burst into flame. The mission only wants more men -- missionaries and native preachers -- to find easy access to hundreds of villages and towns. It is much to be desired that the Dutch Reformed Church should return to the island and take Easter Formosa as its field of labour, as it thinks of doing. There is a harvest ripe for the sickle. May the reapers soon appear!
Across the Mountains.
Two days of hard climbing, and equally fatiguing trotting down the hills, brought the party to Pun-ki-o, one of our stations not far from the western coast, where a comfortable room and a kind welcome from the preacher's family (he himself was from home) were much appreciated. The mountain journey was even more than usually dangerous. Some of the savage tribes were at feud with the people of the plain; and the Bhootan tribes to the south had just broken out in revolt against the Chinese Government, a rebellion not yet quelled. Through all perils and fatigues God brought His servant in safety, wearied but unharmed. A pleasant Lord's-day was spent at Tek-a-kha, another of our stations, a little north from Pun-ki-o. The Church here has no preacher, and the membership is diminishing; but there are still some living disciples. Mr. Ede established here a Young Men's Christian Association, the fourth during his tour.
Back to Taiwanfoo.
At Pi-thau, a day's journey north from Tek-a-kha, Mr. Ede heard of the death of the preacher at Tak-ao. Tak-ao was for some time the chief centre of our Formosan Mission, after the expulsion of Mr. Carstairs Douglas and Dr. Maxwell from Taiwanfoo in 1865. The usual equipment of a central station was there -- church, hospital, and other mission premises. Some of the Tak-ao Church members were heroic martyrs in those early days of trouble. By-an-by Taiwanfoo was re-occupied and made again the headquarters of the missionaries, because of its greater suitability as a centre of work. Now, alas! the Church at Tak-ao is virtually extinct. The young preacher, whose death had just been reported to our travellers, was one of Mr. Ritchie's students, and had for some years laboured faithfully and successfully in the middle school at Taiwanfoo. Then his health broke down, and he was sent to Tak-ao for rest. Mr. Ede went to see his mother. She told him that her son had passed away quite peacefully, trusting in Jesus.
"Next morning, Wednesday, February 19th, I reached Taiwanfoo, where the friends were pleased to see me again safe and well, for owing to the miscarriage [p. 14] of my letters they had been without news of me for about six weeks. Mr. Campbell had attended to some of my work during the last two or three weeks of my absence so that I was able at once to get into the regular swing of my ordinary duties."
Mr. Ede ends his careful and interesting narrative with an expression of gratitude to God for His abundant help all through the weeks of his tour, and, not least, for so touching hearts that unvarying kindness was shown him by people of all sorts in every place he visited, and with the hope (which we are sure will be realised) that his account of Eastern Formosa may make the land better known to friends at home and may deepen their care for its spiritual needs. May the island soon be full of the knowledge of the Lord, and all these mountains and their tribes "clap their hands," because to them has come "the Gospel of the glory of God!"