Fitting In and Settling In
Once the Lammermuir party landed and the missionary party found a place to stay, they immediately adopted the ways of the Chinese they would be ministering among. This included a diet consisting of a great deal of rice, and the difficult task of mastering chopsticks. They also adopted Chinese dress, which caused quite a stir among other Europeans.
The rooms they rented, which were of a necessity on the cheap side, were a bit challenging to adjust to ... Emily described them resembling a group of outhouses or barns clustered closely together, with an abundance of dust and ventilation. She also commented that they fell short of their "full compliment of doors and windows." To alleviate that issue, they used the China Inland Mission equivalent of duct tape: sheets!
Not long after their arrival, the entire group of children (remember, Emily was the Taylor's nanny) contracted measles and two came very close to dying. That, of course, took up a great deal of her time. Other responsibilities included correspondence, outfitting, and work in general. She remained the governess for the four Taylor children, as well as their teacher. During this time, Hudson Taylor's wife Maria became ill, and as her health worsened Maria took on the job of being Hudson Taylor's secretary
Two weeks before the infamous Yangzhou riot, wealthy people of Yangzhou met to discuss how to get rid of the missionaries. Soon after, pamphlets were distributed that accused the missionaries – both Protestant and Catholic – of outrageous crimes. Next posters went up, calling the missionaries “brigands of the religion of Jesus." This brought new accusations, including things such as scooping out the eyes of the dying and opening foundling hospitals in order that they might eat the children. This was all a campaign of propaganda to turn the middle-class and blue-collar workers of the area against the missionaries to force them out, without the upper class having to get their hands dirty.
The response of the China Inland Mission was to offer the local leaders an opportunity to inspect the missionary compound premises as soon as they were finished making modifications to it for safety. However, the locals would not agree to check out the compound. Sensing that major trouble was brewing, Hudson Taylor and another male missionary went to find a Chinese official who could help them.
While they were gone, the house was attacked by an angry anti-foreign mob. Maria was pregnant again and nursing a very sick baby when the riot broke out. The missionaries remaining at the compound, mainly women and children, took refuge in the upstairs rooms and began to pray. The angry mob set fire to the lower floors of the house to smoke out them out.
The missionaries threw some mattresses to the ground and fashioned a rope ladder out of sheets (again, sheets: the duct tape of the China Inland Mission). The women and children were lowered first, except for Emily who was one of the last ones to go. She wanted to make sure everyone else was out safely. When she did jump, she had to jump from the roof about twelve feet off the ground – and was injured.
The group had to make a run for it, but the mob of about 8,000 managed to catch up with them. Had the local mandarin not responded for their cry for help and safety, they no doubt would have been torn apart by the mob. When they returned to their headquarters, they found the compound had had been trashed and torn about by the rioters. The Chinese government offered to force the rioters to pay restitution, but the China Inland Mission refused to accept any money on the grounds that they came to help, not to take money from those who probably needed it the most.
TO BE CONTINUED!
Sara McCaslin is an engineer, a computer scientist, and a freelance writer.