Ritchie, Elizabeth. "Woman's work in Formosa." The Messenger and Missionary Record (1 May 1878): 92. "Work amongst the Sek-hoan women." The Messenger and Missionary Record (2 September 1878): 170-171. "Sek-hoan musical instruments, Formosa." The Messenger and Missionary Record (1 October 1878): 192. "Giam-cheng and its he-soa, or 'burning mountain'." The Messenger and Missionary Record (1 October 1878): 192.

Ritchie, Elizabeth. "Woman's work in Formosa." The Messenger and Missionary Record (1 May 1878): 92.

In Formosa there is neither a girl's boarding school, as in Amoy and in Swatow, nor has there been any attempt at Bible-women's work, as in the latter mission centre. On the other hand, there is freer access in Formosa, and especially amongst the hill peoples, to the women and girls for the prosecution of elementary education, and a considerable number of them have been taught at their own stations to read the New Testament in the Roman letter, and some of them also to write. Several of the helpers' wives have, in various of the remoter districts, done excellent service in teaching the women and children to read and write. Since Mrs. Ritchie's return to Formosa at the close of 1877, she has taken up her former work in this direction, and we have some interesting notes of work at various stations in the hill region during a prolonged visit in which she accompanied Mr. Ritchie. Writing on the 29th Jan., 1878, Mr. Ritchie says:

"My wife and I went into Kong-a-na and spent a week there. We spent a very pleasant and profitable Sabbath, and after the usual service the names of readers were enrolled. Sixteen appeared next morning, several of them Mrs. Maxwell's former pupils, Liâng-á, Khioh-á, Pô-a, &c.; but the larger half were beginners. Some of these latter got through the card (the primer) easily in the week, whilst others did not manage it. As the resident preacher, Baw-chheng, has just married a Kong-a-na girl who can read very well and also write a little, I trust these two, along with the wife of Thian-tsai, may do something to continue reading with the younger girls."

Mr. and Mrs. Ritchie then proceeded to Bak-sa.

"During the past ten days some twenty girls and ten women have been reading daily. We require from 7 a.m. til [sic] noon to get through them seriatim. Probably two-thirds of them are beginners. There is a considerable desire to learn to read, but a corresponding reluctance on the part of those who have been taught to help their juniors. "

From Bak-sa they proceeded a day's journey south to Ka-lah-paw, and writing on 7th Feb. from that place Mr. Ritchie says:

"We have been here during these days (five days). The wife of the helper (Kin-so) was formerly taught by Mrs. Ritchie at Takao, and both here and elsewhere has been very useful to her less favoured sisters. There are a number of good readers, and the beginners being thoroughly in earnest have made good progress. "

Reaching Takao on the 9th Feb. we have one other note:

"My wife occupies the forenoon with the girls, her former Sabbath class."

It is abundantly evident that the door of access for work amongst the women of Formosa is both open and inviting, and that past labours are bearing fruit.

Ritchie, Elizabeth. "Work amongst the Sek-hoan women." The Messenger and Missionary Record (2 September 1878): 170-171.

Mrs. Ritchie writes:

"The women at the three Po-sia stations part their hair right across from ear to ear, combing it down over the forehead to the eyes. The back hair is twisted up in a knot on the top of the head. Then they put on a piece of blue cloth, longer than wide, fold a bit of it back like a broad hem, let the two front corners hang loose, and tie the two back ones together, tucking them in. It looks just like a sun-bonnet, and gives them, with their peculiar dressing of the hair, a very wild, weird appearance. They retain much more of the savage look than the men."

When the work began at these northern stations in 1871, none of the women had the slightest knowledge of books. The Sek-hoan dialect was unwritten and their knowledge of Chinese was limited to its colloquial use. A special object, on Mrs. Ritchie's part, in visiting the three Po-sia stations and the two more western stations of Toa-sia and Lai-sia, was to ascertain the amount of educational results among the women, and to encourage as much as possible those who are learning to read and write. At these five stations Mrs. Ritchie found amongst the female worshippers the following results:

At Aw-gu-lan -- 34 readers.
Gu-khun-soa -- 22 readers.
Toa-lam -- 11 readers
Toa-sia -- 36 readers
Lai-sia -- 18 readers

These women, some of them as at Toa-sia rather aged, are able to read such books in the Amoy dialect as have been printed not in the Chinese character, but in the Roman letter. There books are still very limited in number, but embrace the whole of the New Testament, the Psalms and one or two additional portions of the Old Testament, the whole of Pilgrim's Progress, and several valuable catechisms.

The numbers given above, and which refer exclusively to the female worshippers amongst the Sek-hoan, are very encouraging. How have these results been reached? Until Mrs. Ritchie's visit, no missionary sister had ever entered those regions, hitherto so difficult of access even to the brethren. But what the foreign sisters could not do, native sisters have accomplished, and it is pleasant to record it to their honour. These native sisters are Pe-po-hoan women form the Bak-sa and Kong-a-na regions in the south, who were themselves first taught to read in 1870, and who accompanied their husbands, the native helpers, when they latter went north to labour amongst the Sek-hoan. From the engraving it will be seen that the head-dress and general appearance of the Pe-po-hoan woman distinguish her at once from her Sek-hoan sister. The aboriginal dialect in the south is also different from that in the north, so that intercourse through that medium is impossible. Indeed the Pe-po-hoan of the Bak-sa district, owing to their longer and much closer intercourse with the Chinese, have ceased to use the ancestral speech, and are become so Chinese that only the most aged amongst them possess any knowledge, and that very partial, of the old language. This is scarcely to be regretted. It is quite to the advantage of the Gospel effort. It has favoured the work of the missionaries amongst them, and now the work of Pe-po-hoan labourers amongst their Sek-hoan friends is all in the direction of an increasing use of the Chinese language and the gradual abandonment of the old Sek-hoan speech.

Ritchie, Elizabeth. "Sek-hoan musical instruments, Formosa." The Messenger and Missionary Record (1 October 1878): 192.

" When Mr. Ritchie was away at Lai-sia, the Toa-sia brethern brought out some strange musical instruments and gave me quite a treat. They played their wild mountain airs, and the women sang so sweetly; their voices are more harmonious than those of the Bak-sa folks. They have never ventured to show these to any of the pastors, lest they might be blamed for using remnants of idolatry. I had them all brought out of their hiding-places again for Mr. Ritchie to hear. Two of them, if I remember aright, are played with a bow, and one with the fingers -- long narrow instruments with several strings; another is played with two little hammers; and for the playing of yet another something is slipped on the thumb and forefinger of the right hand, into which is fixed what looks like a tooth from the large end of a comb [not unlike the method of playing the Tyrolese zither.--Ed.]" -- Mrs. Ritchie, 25th April 1878.

Ritchie, Elizabeth. "Giam-cheng and its he-soa, or 'burning mountain'." The Messenger and Missionary Record (1 October 1878): 192.

Giam-cheng is only a mile or two from Peh-tsui-khe, where the midnight attack was made on Mr. Campbell. It is a quiet, scattered Hoan village, somewhat after the Bak-sa style, and being a more populous centre than Peh-tsui-khe, the removal of the chapel to Giam-cheng was a wise step. Notwithstanding the persecution encountered at the outset, the station has grown, and a goodly proportion of the hundred hearers give evidence at least of a firm attachment to the Gospel preaching. Near Giam-cheng is the He-soa.

" We climbed," writes Mrs. Ritchie, "a hill of about 1,000 feet to see 'the burning mountain.' After winding along narrow paths, overhung by thick, long grass, all at once, in turning the shoulder of the mountain, one sees a mass of limestone rock, with the flames bright and fierce issuing from various crevices. A sulphur spring runs out below the flames, and above trees and shrubs overhang the rock. The heat from these flames was intense. Only a few yards off, however, is a delicious spring of cool water, which I discovered whilst poking about after ferns. No one previously seems to have known of its existence. "