Canton Villages Mission: First Letters—of—Rev. Geo. H. McNeur.
Presbyterian Church of New Zealand.
Twenty-three millions of Chinese live in the province of Kwang-tung, of which Canton, with its two millions, is the chief city. All the Chinese that emigrate to the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand go from eleven districts (out of 81) of Kwang-tung province, the very large majority to America and Australia from four districts—known collectively as "See-yup." In those See-yup, distant over a hundred miles S.W. from Canton, and speaking harsh dialects differing much from pure Cantonese, there are some seventy mission-stations belonging to the American Presbyterians, the American Baptists, the Church Missionaries, and the American Board. Of the 3000 Chinese in New Zealand only a small minority—about one-sixth—come from the "See-vup": the other five-sixths come from two districts—this, page 2 holding the eastern half of Canton City, called
that, bounding P'oon-yu on the east, called
The clannishness of Southern Chinese is very manifest oven in foreign lands. So it comes that, of the 600 and more gold-diggers in Westland, all but a score are P'oon-yu men, likewise the gardeners at Wanganui, Palmerston North, and Kaikorai (Dunedin), also the miners at Nokomai, Waipori, Waikaia, and Orepuki; while the 140 fruit-dealers in Wellington are nearly all from Tsang-shing, as are the Anderson's Bay (Dunedin) gardeners. On the other hand, the laundrymen in Dunedin, Christchurch, and Wellington are almost wholly See-yup men.
Some 2500 of our New Zealand Chinese belong to two clusters of farming villages with a total population of some 400,000. The P'oon-yu cluster, where pure Cantonese prevails, numbers about forty, and lies from 6 to 20 miles north of Canton: the Tsangshing cluster of twenty lies 35 to 40 miles east of the city. Among the former group the American Presbyterians recently opened a chapel: in the latter group the only station was that held by our own student—Mr William Chan—for six weeks last summer at Whitestone Mart.
Those Sixty Villages,
|(a),||Men from those villages are more numerous in New Zealand than elsewhere abroad; and|
|(b),||The only mission working among them in China is the American Presbyterian; and|
|(c),||Twenty years' work has been carried on by Presbyterians in New Zealand among the villagers here.|
|(a),||Nowhere else, outside of China, is there such a suitable place as New Zealand for the training of missionaries to those villages, and|
|(b),||The "Canton villages" lie more closely to Presbyterians than to any other Church, and to New Zealand more closely than to any other land.|
In November, 1898, the C.V.M. was founded by the call for two men. A year later Mr George Hunter M'Neur was accepted as the fir.it student missionary. He had had three years' special training for the foreign mission field—one year in Australia and two in Scotland. After, in addition, nearly two years among the Chinese throughout Otago and Southland studying the language and the people—a special feature of the C.V.M.—Mr M'Neur was page 4 ordained in the First Church, Dunedin, and sailed for Canton on November 7, 1901. He arrived there December 19, and soon set out to deliver the thirty-two letters and 104 sovereigns entrusted to his care by men in Otago for their friends and relatives in the villages.
Mr M'Neur's interesting quintette of first letters from Canton form a unique chapter of mission literature: it can safely be said that during these ninety-five years of Protestant missions to China no other missionary thither ever had such an introduction to the people of his prayers. Without a word of argument, these letters—written privately to me—make quite clear the peculiar responsibility and the rare opportunity of New Zealand Presbyterians.
Mr William Mawson, M.A., has been accepted as the second missionary, and is now studying Chinese with the prospect of joining Mr M'Neur about the end of 1905. At the end of 1902 Mr William Chan, formerly seven years in Dunedin, will complete his four years' course in the Presbyterian College at Canton, to work among the Canton villagers in their own land or in New Zealand as the F.M. Committee decides.
What an honour to have been the first Church in the Southern Hemisphere to open in China; but what a responsibility the care of 400,000 souls that no Church can care for as we can! Lord, multiply the hearts that cry: "What must I do?"
(The Chinese personal names are translated into literal English, for Chinese names are given more for sense than sound.)
Letters from Canton
January 7, 1902.
My first trip through the Upper P'oon-Yu district is over. Every letter has been delivered, and all the money safely handed over. I am grateful to God that He made this possible, and also made the journey a very pleasant one.
We engaged a Ts'ung-fa boat, the only kind that manages up to Yan-woh market town at this time of the year. [Ts'ung-fa is a district bordering on P'oon-Yu to the north-east. It embraces the upper reaches of the river, so boats plying between it and Canton are of very shallow draft.—A. D.] We paid Idol 30c (2s 6d) a day which was the very cheapest obtainable. In the choice of the boat, as, indeed, in all things, God's guiding hand was evident. Many times did the words run in my mind: "To guide our feet into the way of peace." Our boatman had been in the employ of Mr Pearce and Mr Wells (L.M.S.), and thus understood just what was needed. He is an honest, homely man, and we got on well together. He had his wife, a daughter and little child, with a partner.
My outfit consisted of two cotton wadded quilts, two blankets and a pillow—carried page 6 in a large basket. Then I got a food hamper, and in it stored 5lb of bread, jam, tinned meat, butter, milk, three dozen eggs, biscuits, oatmeal, coffee, tea, salt, sugar, two cups and saucers, two small plates, two large do, one bowl, with knives, forks, and spoons. Also teapot, foot-stove and charcoal, lamp and oil, besides a few small things which I forget.
For breakfast William Chan and I had porridge together, followed by an egg and some fruit, with a cup of tea or coffee. We ate Chinese dinner, cooked by our captain's wife—she is a good cook, and we fared well. For tea Willie had rice again, while 1 had tinned meat with some bread and butter. We took jars of water with us, but after we got up about Ah-woo (Crow Lake) village the river water was quite good enough after boiling. We kept a good stock of fruit on hand, replenishing at Ko-t'ong and some other place.
We started on Monday morning, December 30, and returned on Saturday evening, January 4. Whe weather was beautiful throughout—just rather warm about noon and with a touch of frost in the evening air.
Monday.—Sailed in small boat from Fati College to P'oon-t'ong, where we got on the larger boat. As tide and wind were adverse we moved slowly, and at sunset—5 o'clock—found ourselves about half a mile below Nam-kong (South River).
Tuesday.—Started at 6 a.m. We soon passed Nam-kong, and then William and page 7 I got out and walked along the bank into Ko-t'ong (High Pond) market. It was market day, and we walked right through one of its two streets and back the other. We went through and back twice and through again, and were everywhere treated with respect and friendliness. Of course there was the cry of "Fan-kwai" (foreign devil) occasionally, but with no bitterness. Many were the remarks about my height—"Ho ko ke" (very tall) being continually heard. I think I owed something to the contrast between Mr Chan and myself. Several times William or I remonstrated in a quiet way with small groups for calling the foreigner "kwai," and they seemed to appreciate the reasonableness of our rebuke. We sat down just outside the town to wait for our boat, and quite a crowd gathered. A wedding was being celebrated in a house near, and the whole party came over to examine the foreigner. They asked all sorts of questions, felt my clothes, and seemed much interested in my boots; but were most orderly and inoffensive. Their greatest surprise was at my being able to understand what they said. Again and again I was asked: "How long have you been in China?" When I told them they exclaimed, "Only three weeks, and you know our language!" The townspeople say that a foreigner is a very rare sight in Ko-t'ong, and I suppose I am the first specimen that a great many of the folk had seen. This is evidently by far the best market town in Upper P'oon-Yu district—such crowds page 8 of people and seemingly brisk business. There must have been some hundreds of buffaloes in the market, and quite a number of ponies also.
Here we met several men who showed a trembling desire to bring up from their boot-soles the English they had learned in other lands. I understood them much bettor when they talked Chinese. One man had been gardening in Wellington. Just as we were returning to the boat at the north end of the town 1 saw a Chinese in foreign dress hurrying past, and pulled him up to ask where he got his clothes. I was surprised to see him shake hands with Mr Chan, in whose garden at Forbury he had worked. He told us that "Golden Purpose" (formerly of King street, Dunedin) was just then in the town, and ran off to find him. We returned to our boat, but they did not come.
Appearances may have deceived me, but I think a good work is possible in Ko-t'ong, if entered on very carefully. [The Americans opened a preaching station here some time ago, but were forced to close owing to the antipathy of the townsfolk. It is they whose good will must be gained. On market day quite a number of returned emigrants are about, whose open friendliness more than off-sets the enmity of the residents. One shop in the town is owned by three returned Otago men, which may count for something in getting a footing here.—A. D.]
About 1.30 p.m. we left Ko-t'ong, andpage break page break page 11
about 4 o'clock neared P'ong-woo (Mussel Lake). It was interesting to see on the river bank a building with which—thanks to your camera—I was already acquainted—the High School. We landed and went for a walk into the town. There were some bad characters who were inclined to be rowdy; but we met some who had been in the colonies, and had a good look at the place. As we were going back to our boat a man said in English, "Good day." He used to work in Maori Gully, and knows James Shum and others there. He asked for a younger brother named "Third-lad," but I could not find his name in my book.
Quito a crowd followed us to the boat, some of them talking very excitedly about the "Fan kwai." After tea and reading and prayer together as usual, a small boat came alongside with some women and a man. One is the wife of "Five Duties," who was working on the Lammerlaw Mountains, out from Serpentine. She was very glad to hear that I knew where he was. Their visit was welcome after some black looks ashore.
Wednesday, January 1, 1902.—It was strange to be the only one about who thought anything of New Year's Day. Above P'ong-woo we passed over several weirs built to turn the stream into channels to work the bamboo water wheels [like the Spanish noria.—A. D.] for lifting the water and irrigating the adjacent fields. We went right up to Ko-Tsang market page 12 town, and after dinner went ashore. On the steamer between Wellington and Sydney I had met a Ko-Tsang man returning from Greymouth, so I went to the town and asked for him. He had just the day before gone out to Canton city; but we were most kindly received by his friends, and one of his brothers volunteered to guide us to Ai-kong (Dwarf Hill).
But I must break off here, and give you later a full account of the rest of the journey. Tomorrow morning (D.V.) we start about 6.30 a.m. by steam launch for the Tsang-shing district.
House accommodation cannot be had in Canton, except at exorbitant rates, and the sooner we find a home for our mission work outside the city the better. Yet I hardly think it would be wise for me to go right out into the country until I know a little more. More anon.
January 13, 1902.
You know how unsettled China becomes in the evening of the year (the Chinese next year begins February 8). Even this district, which I believe is fairly orderly, has had a deal of trouble lately. Just the night before we came up, a large band of armed robbers marched into Paak-shek (Whitestone) market-town, and page 13 looted the pawnshop. They went in about 11 o'clock and left about 4 in the morning, carrying away over 10,000 dol worth. You know how strong these pawnshops are. They made an entrance by blasting a hole in the wall. Two men were killed, and yet the band marched off without molestation and as yet have not been brougfit to justice. The other evening we got the unwelcome information that a band of 200 robbers were waiting outside the village to attack us during the night. The women-folk were scared and were running about hiding their valuables. The men were exploding large quantities of gunpowder to show that we had plenty of it. However, nothing came of it, the only disturbers of my peace being rats. Last night I heard a great deal of firing, and I suspect there was a scuffle in one of the neighbouring villages. Travelling is risky, and people don't venture far from home, and always take care to be roofed before dark. But we are on the King's business, and carry His safe conduct. Our way has been made very plain, perhaps in both senses, and it has been most enjoyable.
I am going back to the Upper Poon-Yu trip. It is pretty hard for me to settle down to write, as I am surrounded just now by girls asking all sorts of questions. They are not a bit afraid of the foreigner, but just a little too cheeky.
I left you sometime on January 1 between Ko-tsang and Ai-kong. The ground between those places is very bare, the page 14 rice-crops having been all gathered in. Here and there were patches of sugar-cane, with men and women cutting it down, while the screeches of the barrows that bore it made music hardly in harmony with the sweetness of their load. Dwarf-hill village looks very poor: it was almost deserted, excepting >by women and children. We soon found the house of "Reflection," but he was away at High-pond market. His wife—step-mother to "Eastern-brave," who sent the money—was in (she is old and blind) and we gave her the £1. Respecting the other letter and £1 for "Eastern-brave's" wife we were told that she was away, the old woman thought with her own people. Her husband had not written for over 10 years and was supposed to be dead, so the family being poor advised her to marry again, and she went away. However, another woman who had been in some of the missionaries' houses informed us that she was living in Canton with her younger brother. We decided to try to find her there.
We had a hot walk back to Ko-tsang, and met a great many people on their way home from market. Going through the town, several men addressed me in very-much-broken English. One man had returned some years ago from Oamaru, and his face lighted up at the mention of your name. An old man in a shop had been in Australia and New Zealand. He belongs to Dwarf-hill, and kindly invited me to come back and see him. While I was page 15 talking to him, someone came through the crowd, saying "Lo Mak" ["Mak" is Mr M'Neur's Chinese surname, and "Lo"—literally "old"—is an equivalent for "Mr."] I was able to name him as Lok Look ("Emolument"), whose raspberries I had eaten, and in whose house I had spent a night at Matakanui last year. He complains very much of the poverty of China, and is sorry that he cannot hurry back to New Zealand. Some of the people in the town were inclined to be rude, but I walked through chewing sugar-cane and was left alone. In the evening we heard the music of wedding processions. I believe we heard this every night.
Thursday, January 2.—After breakfast we sailed down the river to Yan-woh (Human Harmony) market. At the landing was a man in European dress. He had returned from Dunedin some six years ago, and recognised quite a number of the faces in my photo album. [I gave Mr M'Neur some 50 photographs that I had taken of Chinese and their huts and claims in Otago.—A. D.] We walked to the town and into the Gospel Hall of the American Presbyterians, which is at present in charge of a colporteur. The building is well situated and suitable, and a better man is soon to be located here. The colporteur offered to guide us through the market, but I believe we should have been better alone, as the people seem to have little respect for him. At the school the teacher came running out, put himself in page 16 front of me, looked right into my face, and said, "Is this a foreign devil?" Our guide replied, "No, it is not." "Yes, it is," the man of culture responded, "look at his eyes." The ignorance and pride of these teachers are alike unbounded. We went into a coffin-shop, where a Christian works, and in the place that spoke so loudly of death, William Chan spoke the Word of Life. This man had been in Singapore, and became a Christian after his return home.
We returned to the boat and sailed down to Ah-woo (Crow-lake), where we landed after midday rice. We first went to Great-lane division, which lies about a quarter of a mile back from the river. "Morning-wealth" was away at Yan-woh, so we left word for him to come to our boat when he returned. We next went to East-gate hamlet, found "Perfect's" house and gave his widow the letter and money. She did not seem very grateful, and wanted to know when her brother-in-law intended returning from Cromwell. A young fellow who had been in Victoria, B.C., walked back with us to the river, and seemed interested in the Gospel. I am inclined to think he is one of the many hundreds, who, in English-speaking lands, profess interest in divine things, but drift back into heathenism on their return.
We were crossing the river to Paak-mai-kaai (White-rice street), which is on the left bank, when we heard a shout behind. It was "Golden Purpose," of King street, page 17 Dunedin. He had been looking for us, and from a good distance noticed my foreign dress. He intends returning to Dunedin. We went back to our boat and had a talk, and then he offered to go with us to White-rice landing. Before we left, one "Wooden-foundation" called. He had been in Waipori, and recognised the Waipori photographs. We crossed by the ferry, and a walk of a short distance brought us to the home of "Bright-countenance," of Gore. Here we got the warmest welcome that we had yet received. His old mother is hale and hearty, though about 75. The younger brother "Bright-virtue" came, and we were treated to the usual tea and cakes.
On our return to the boat we received more visitors. "Morning-wealth" came in and got his money and letter. Two men whom you inquired for, who used to be at Waikaia, are still alive and doing fairly well on their farms. When it got dark we pushed into the middle of the river and lay there. Just after worship together we heard a "Coo-ee" from the shore, and I knew by the call that it came from someone who had been in the colonies. He asked for "Golden Purpose,' and on being told that he had gone, asked for "Jesus Don." We poled to the bank, and our visitor came aboard with two young friends. He returned a few months ago from Grey-mouth, and knows you by repute. We had a long and very interesting talk with the three.
January 14, 1902.
Yesterday I delivered the last letter and handed over the last parcel of "gold-boys" (sovereigns). I must now finish the account of the P'oon-Yu visits.
Friday, January 3: There was actually a touch of frost last night. We started early from Crow-lake, and sailed down past the weirs to P'ong-woo (Mussel-lake). Immediately after breakfast we went ashore. The street of shops just at the landing-place houses some undesirable characters. We went to Main-north-gate, and soon found the house of "Palm-present," son of the old man of the Upper Taieri. He is a quiet man, but seemed sincerely grateful for letter and money. As at Dwarf-Hill, so at Crow-lake and Mussel-lake, I was struck with the evident poverty. It seems a crying shame that so much money should be lavished on their temples and idolatrous ceremonies when many of the people are so very poor. Near by we found the house of "Having-blossoms" and "Having-enterprise"; but they were both working some distance off, so we handed the letter and money to their uncle, "Having-riches."
We got "Palm-present to guide us to T'ong-pooi (Damback), but we had first to go to our boat. When we got aboard a crowd followed till the boat was quite full. Someone ashore began throwing stones, but some friends soon stopped that. Dam-back page 19 lies about two miles from Mussel-lake, and we had a very hot, tramp, but the reception we got amply repaid. I suppose I was the first foreigner to visit this village. We found that "Gemsplendour" had died last year, and a younger brother "East-splendour" just a few weeks ago; while "Established-splendour" is working in Canton city. His people are very anxious that "Dragon-splendour" should come home, as there is no one at the head of the house. The wife and children of the first-named have to go away and work. We waited while a letter was written to "Dragon-splendour," and then walked to Shui-lek (Watery-ridge) village. I wished to see James Shum's (a Christian at Ida Valley) friends, but they were at market. As we were leaving, the wife of "You're-famous" came asking about him: she had not heard for a long while. An old man who returned from New Zealand some 30 years ago inquired about "Clear-as-water," of Queenstown.
As soon as we got back to Mussel-lake our boat had a stock of visitors, with questions innumerable. One old woman wishes me to ask you if you know the whereabouts of her boy, "Valiantson." [He is at Cromwell.—A. D.] About 3 p.m. we riled down to High-pond mart, and went for a stroll through the town. We found the shops of "Wealthy"—formerly of Arcade. Dunedin—and "Ox," but neither were in. We visited the post office, which is kept by the brother of a man who was a fellow-passenger on the s.s. Airlie, return- page 20 ing from Greymouth, where he was a storekeeper. The evening was spent quietly on our boat. We had some visitors, but they were quite respectful. We were moored close to where the night-watches are struck. You will remember the brassy "Clang! clang! clang!" followed by the "Rub-a-dub, dub!" of the watchman's drum. Just before we turned in at 11 o'clock five passenger-boats passed up, and made a noise that one would expect to waken the town. These boats carry a large stock of arms and travel in company. Robberies seem to be weekly occurrences on this river, and it is said that Crow-lake quarters the worst band of robbers in this district.
Saturday, January 4: We breakfasted early, as we intended visiting Shekma (Stonehorse) village before leaving for Canton. A petty official, having 50 men under him, came to the boat, and very respect-fully exchanged cards. Then four or five women came from Watery-ridge with letters and questions. They had gone up to Mussel-lake and not finding us there had hurried down here. It made an interesting picture—the group of women along the side of the boat asking for their friends. They asked for "Pervasive," and I was able to show them his photo at work in his claim at Bendigo Gully. The wife of "You're-famous" gave me a letter for him. It was well worth all the trouble of writing out the long list of names to be able to answer some of the anxious questionings. [I keep a "roll" of the Otago Chinese—their surnames, names, villages, etc.—and Mr page 21 M'Neur made a similar one of those he met on the Summer Inland Tour, 1900-01.—A. D.] A number of men also came aboard, and it was nearly 9 a.m. before we started for Stonehorse. We enjoyed much the walk over the low hills thither. There I made my first acquaintance with the sweet water-chestnut. We went to Flat-sand Division of the village, and were soon introduced to "Distant," to whom I gave his father's letter. Quite a number of folk gathered, and we were treated to horribly bad English, but good tea and biscuits. One old woman asked for "Ripple," and I showed her the photograph of him and his house. [The old lady will soon see the man himself, for he left Dunedin for China on February 22.]
Then we went to the part of the village occupied by the Yuen clan, and inquired for the nearest relatives of Ah Mee, who died at Waikaka on December 2, 1900. We found that his old mother had died, and as his father and his brothers also were dead I gave the 30s to an uncle to divide among some cousins who are the nearest of kin alive. A great crowd gathered, and we were treated most hospitably. "T'ong Sin-shang" (Teacher Don) seems to be a kind of household word here. They remembered well your visit four years ago, and of course a great many of your returned friends were inquiring for you. "Refined," who returned from Dunedin last year, came to have a talk with us. We would gladly have prolonged our visit in this friendly page 22 village, but we wanted to make Canton before sunset.
We got back to the boat, and soon set sail. But alas! wind and tide were against us, and although our crew worked with a will we managed to make only Naisheng by sundown. There we waited for the turn of the tide, and moved down in the darkness to P'oon-t'ong, where the Ts'ung-fa boats lie. I had a restless night. The water was filthy, and I felt out of sorts. On Sunday morning we crossed over to Fati, where a bad cold overtook me during the day and at night I had my first touch of fever. I dosed myself with quinine and have not had a return. I find I will have to be careful in many ways, but I 'hope to profit much by the experience of those who have been so long in this unhealthy field.
With regard to work in the P'oon-yu district, certainly nothing sudden will do. If anyone can get an entrance it will be the worker trained among the Chinese of Otago. But it will need both patience and perseverance before a settlement is obtained. The Americans purpose opening in Ko-t'ong (High-pond) next year. It seems to be the only centre that promises well in our district, and it will have to be handled with great caution. I have had talks with Mr Beattie, who has charge of the work in that district, and he is personally willing enough to leave Ko-t'ong to us if we can gain an opening there. I have no doubt the American Presbyterians would agree to this. There is any amount of room in the district. The Bap- page 23 tists tried to open a chapel in Ko-t'ong but had to fly at once. I think an earnest capable worker could make an opening, with occasional visits from the foreigner until it is possible to make the town a definite centre of work for our villages. It is handy to them and to Canton city. Many of the villagers come to market there. A medical missionary would be invaluable.
January 17, 1902.
The day after our return to Canton from Upper P'oon-yu (6th inst.) the wife of "Eastern-Brave" found us out. She came to Fati with her younger brother, and I was glad to hand her the money and letter from her husband. She has had a hard time of it, but her brother has been very kind. [It is a very rare thing for a man to send money to his wife while his father is still living. It was well for this poor woman that E.B. sent money to her as well as to his father, though by so doing he slighted hoary custom.—A. D.]
I must now begin the account of our trip to the Tsang-Shing district. We started up the East River at an early hour on Wednesday, January 8. The Shek-loong (Stone-dragon) passage boat by which we travelled lay across the river near Honan, so we took a sampan across. After some scrambling we got half a cabin and stowed ourselves and goods therein. About 7 o'clock the steam launch that towed us started and made splendid speed. Some of the pagodas seen on the shore are very high and picturesque—one of nine stories has a large mandarin-orange tree growing on top.
These passage-boats are very noisy places. Above our cabin a man was expounding "The Sacred Edict" with great force and at great length. It was interesting to see page 25 how passengers boarded our vessel at different places en route. The launch slackened speed a little, and as the small boat came alongside the larger the passenger was unceremoniously bundled aboard and his baggaage after him. I was told that sometimes this feat is accomplished without slackening speed when travelling down with the current. I should be glad to know that I could swim before I indulged in such gymnastics.
On arrival at San-t'ong (New-pond) we got a small boat to take us ashore, and then got our baggage stowed in a rice-shop kept by friends of Willie and Mark Chan. Then we visited John Chan's uncle and handed him the money and letter from his nephew. He asked after your welfare. We visited the chapel of the United Brethren, which is splendidly situated right on the main street. It is comfortably arranged and on market-days there should be very good opportunities. We next passed into a kind of suburb, where I visited the house of Coloured-Ripple and handed over the three sovereigns from his brother at Dunedin. As it was about 1 p.m. we found a restaurant, and had a meal of strange concoctions, some of which were very nice.
We had some difficulty in getting a boat to take us up to San-Kaai (New-street) village, the boat-people objecting that they could not return that night and there were robbers about. However, an old woman and her daughter took us and we had a very pleasant sail up the river. At Kau-yu page 26 we landed and walked over the fields to San-Kaai. There I was taken into Wm. Chan's house and shown the prophet's chamber upstairs. I had hardly got settled when "Gathering-flowers" called to know if I brought a letter from his brother. I handed it over with the money. That night he was back again with some friends to see me. He was very anxious to take me to see his newly-wedded wife, but I thought better spare her the shock. Other visitors there were—one a man returned from Wanganui, where he used to help the teachers of the Chinese Class by interpreting, seeing that the pupils attended, and so on. He says he promised that he will be baptised when he returns to New Zealand by the end of this year. He does not believe in idols, yet he argued that he owes it to his parents to attend to idolatrous rites: to which I replied that it is never right to do wrong. I saw a good deal of him and like him; with a true conception of what it is to be a Christian he will make a good man.
must have had so many that one half antidoted the other.
After breakfast we walked to Sha-t'au (Sand-bank) village and asked first for Joseph's mother. We were invited to enter one of the large public halls and there treated to cakes and tea. Presently the old lady, who is like her son, came. She asked about his business and wished to know when he is coming home. A returned Walker street man, "Autumn-Child," tried his best to make me feel at home. We met another Dunedin man, who had a garden at Anderson's Bay, and another, and yet another. One said he had wished to attend the services regularly, but the larrikins hindered him. We called on Wong K'au-Foon, who had had an encounter with a thief two days earlier and got his foot hurt. Then we found the father of Lai-Ts'oi, of Stafford street, who had just received a letter saying that we were to be expected.
On our way to Paak-shek (Whitestone) market-town, we passed "Coming-Prosperity" working his plot of ground. Mr Chan says that when he was at Anderson's Bay he used to attend your services regularly; but he came to none of the White-stone meetings last summer. In Whitestone Mart it was soon evident that Mr Chan is well-known and respected. Everywhere he was greeted with "Seen-shang" (teacher). We saw the outside of the building that he held the meetings in, but could not get in as the landlord was away. There was great excitement in the town owing to the rob- page 30 bery of the pawn-shop two days before. After visiting several of the shops we walked across to T'ong-mei (Pond-end) village, where a foreigner is a rare sight. A big fellow whom we passed at the gate came running alongside saying quite excitedly: "I have not seen one before." A little child fled in great alarm, and soon its mother came requesting that the child might be allowed to taste of my spittle so as to prevent bad effects of the fright. [Dr Henry, once when inland from Canton, had to cut off a piece of his clothing with which to make a drink for a child that had been scared by his appearance. On the same principle as "Take a hair of the dog that bit you "—homoeopathy in embryo. By the way, in this very district a remedy used when a child has been greatly terrified by a dog is to find and catch that dog, pull a tuft of hair from its skin, wrap these together in a small package and fasten this to the child's clothing.—A. D.] We very soon found the house where lives the wife of "Deep-Forest," and I was glad to unburden myself of 22 sovereigns. The gladness was by no means all on my side. His wife, his younger sister, and in fact the whole street, rejoiced with me. I was able to tell them where the younger brother is working in Otago. We had a fine time there, and had to drink syrup and eat cakes, while the women-folk made up a package of yam-flour. Their kindness did not end here, for on the Sunday the sister came to New-street with a letter for "Deep-page 31
Forest," also a basket filled with yam-flour and oranges. Leaving this village, we saw a scene that seemed to call for a camera, but it would have needed a snapshot. The water had been drained off the village pond, leaving several feet of mud. In this mud the village boys and men were disporting themselves and trying to catch eels, which did not seem to be very plentiful. Just outside the village, on the Whitestone side, a large temple is being built. We returned to New-street through Understone village, lying under the shadow of Toad Hill, familier already to me by your photograph. After dinner we went to the Wanganui man's house for the afternoon, winding up with a great Chinese meal.
January 18, 1902.
This letter closes the account of our "gold and letter" visits.
Friday, January 10: After dinner we walked across to Hok-hoi (Stork-sea), having to use a ferry-boat twice. This village is small, and we soon came to the house of "Girdle-bound," whose wife and old mother were glad to get their letters and money. I got a very warm welcome and a very close examination. It is amusing to see their wonder at the first foreign specimen seen by them. One old woman about 80 was specially interested, and said many quaint things that I cannot remember. Great wonder is expressed at one so young having a moustache. On the way back we passed quite a number of small villages.
On Saturday morning I was awakened early by the women below pounding rice into flour. The harder they pounded the louder and faster they talked. It was hopeless to try to sleep, so I got up. We left after breakfast for Long-ha. It was a long hot walk, but very interesting. After going again through T'ong-mei, we crossed a low range planted thickly with lichee trees. Then we struck across country parallel to the great Nam-heung Mount, meeting several groups or Hakkas on their way to market. Their villages strongly resemble those in Upper P'oon-Yu. Near the far end of the mount is Long-ha, and the first page 33 shop we entered was that of the man we sought—brother to "Rich-face," of Cardrona. The old mother came in, and was greatly delighted when she heard who I was. She is over 80, yet looks hale and hearty and has such a nice grandmotherly face. We were treated to syrup and many other good things. A man who has been in Sydney and Melbourne escorted us all over the village, which is splendidly built. They pressed us strongly to stay overnight, and we left them with the hope that we should soon return and proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Going back, we took another road and passed through Paak-shui (Whitewater) village, where there is a Chinese girls' school conducted by a Chinese Christian woman. We also passed Sheung-shiu, whence I believe a good number go to New Zealand. Just outside we stopped to buy some sugarcane, and found that the old stall-holder is a professing Christian returned from abroad. Several others who had been abroad greeted me kindly. As we were about to enter Whitestone Mart we met a man who had been in Sydney. He invited us to his house, which he has built, as far as possible, in Western style. Another man came up who was in Dunedin two years ago. After our long walk we were quite ready for the rice that awaited us at New-street village. The usual company of visitors came in the evening.
On Sunday I felt the effects of having walked so far in the hot sun, though I page 34 had been careful to keep a white-covered umbrella open overhead. At noon we had service, I suppose the first of its kind in New-street. There were eight of us present—W. Chan, Sin Fook-Kwai, Chan Chi-yung. Lau Yu-hon, Looi Yut-k'ai, Wong K'au-foon, myself, and Willie's tathei—all professing Christians except the last. Mr Siu is a young colporteur employed by the American Bible Society, past 20 years of age, and a nice lad. After rice together I was glad to lie down; but when the sun set I rose and we climbed to the top of Toad Hill, from which we surveyed the surrounding villages, canals, and hills.
Monday, January 13: After breakfast we started for Kong-Naam. We went right through that village and at length met a man who had been in Sydney. He was very anxious to resurrect and air the English he had learned—his Chinese was much more intelligible. He took us to the house of "Little-peace," to whose mother we bore a letter and four sovereigns. We found that the old woman had died over three years ago, but his brother would not send out the news lest it might keep "Little-peace 'from returning home. We met an old friend of yours—one "Vigorous-roots," who used to keep the shop near your church in Walker street. At the house we were treated to the usual delicacies, and your old friend brought out from his mind's inner recesses some fragments of "The Gate Ajar," "Jesus Loves Me," etc., which you had taught him. Over a score of people page 35 gathered, the colporteur read a chapter and Willie preached the Gospel to them.
On Tuesday I had a spell. I photographed the new tower and the bridge at New-street, also a family group at Willie's home. During the day I was presented with three lots of eggs, so I return to Canton with a bigger nestful than when I came away.
Next morning we were up early and got a boat down to San-t'ong Mart. It was very pleasant on the water. I was much amused at our boat-woman's two-year-old son. He, dressed in nothing but a shirt, was bravely helping mother at the oar, stepping out just like an old hand. [Chinese stand to row.—A. D.] At San-t'ong we had not much time to spare, as the steam launch towing two passage-boats came down about 10 o'clock. We found much difficulty in getting room, but at length got seats in the purser's cabin. One cabin we tried to enter was occupied by some kind of official, who had a brace of pistols lying on one side and a sword on the other. He looked unpleasant, and surveyed the interlopers with undisguised contempt. We were glad to get down to Canton again. The first thing I did was to invest in a mosquito-curtain. In spite of this precaution, the enemy found entrance somehow and gave me a welcome home.
With regard to the Tsang-Shing District, I think we should begin work there as well. P'oon-Yu will be a difficult and discouraging field: Tsang-Shing promises to be the opposite. How good it would be page 36 to be able to turn for a time from the op-position of Upper Poon-Yu to the comparative friendliness of Tsang-Shing. With regard to spiritual need, both districts are on a par. What a group of villages there is within reach of Whitestone Mart untouched by missionary effort!
Round about this district there is quite a number of men who have professed faith in Christ in other lands, but returning here have drifted back until there is little to distinguish them from the heathen around. A church would make it much easier for them to stand true. Whitestone would also be a good place to establish a Christian school.
I hope another missionary will be ready to join me at the end of this year or the beginning of next. It would make such a difference if there were two of us.
Otago Daily Times Print, Dunedin.