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Full text of "Fifteen years among the top-knots; or, Life in Korea"

FIFTEEN YEARS 



THE TOP-KNOT 



LIFE I2VKO 






SENTINEL GATE AT PALACE. Front iSp'. 



FIFTEEN YEARS 

AMONG 


THE TOP-KNOTS 




OR 


LIFE 


IN KOREA 






By 


L. H. UN 


DERWOOD, M.D. 


FRANK F. 


With Introduction 
by 
ELLINWOOD, D.D., LL.D. 

3 




AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY 


150 
BOSTON 


NASSAU STREET 

NEW YORK CHICAGO 



Copyright, 1904, 
By AMERICAN TRACT SOCIETY 



THIS LITTLE VOLUME 
IS GRATEFULLY DEDICATED TO 

MY HUSBAND 

IN MEMORY OF 
FIFTEEN HAPPIEST YEARS 



2216511 



INTRODUCTION 

IT may be said at once, that Mrs. Underwood's narra- 
tive of her experience of "Fifteen Years Among the Top- 
Knots" constitutes a book of no ordinary interest. There 
is no danger that any reader having even a moderate 
sympathy with the work of missions in the far East will 
be disappointed in the perusal. The writer does not 
undertake to give a comprehensive account of missions 
in Korea, or even of the one mission which she represents, 
but only of the things which she has seen and experienced. 

There is something naive and attractive in the way in 
which she takes her readers into her confidence while she 
tells her story, as trustfully as if she were only writing 
to a few relatives and friends. Necessarily she deals very 
largely with her own work, and that of her husband, as 
of that she is best qualified to speak. Everywhere, how- 
ever, there are generous and appreciative references to 
the heroic labors of associate missionaries. Nor does she 
confine these tributes to members of her own mission. 
Some of her highest encomiums are given to members of 
other missions, who have laboured and died for the Gos- 
pel and the cause of humanity in Korea. 

Mrs. Underwood, then Miss Lillias Horton, of Chicago, 
went to Korea as a medical missionary in 1888. As a 
Secretary of the Presbyterian Board, accustomed to visit 



vi INTRODUCTION 

our candidates before appointment, I found her a bright 
young girl of slight and graceful figure in one of the 
Chicago hospitals, where she was adding to her medical 
knowledge some practical experience as a trained nurse. 
There was nothing of the consciousness of martyrdom in 
her appearance, but quite the reverse, as with cheerful 
countenance and manner she glided about in her white 
uniform among the ward patients. It was evident that 
she was looking forward with high satisfaction to the 
work to which she had consecrated her life. 

The story of her arrival at Chemulpo, of her first 
impressions of Korea, is best told in her own words. 
The first arrival of a missionary on the field is always a 
trying experience. The squalid appearance of the low 
native huts, whose huddled groupings Mrs. Underwood 
compares to low-lying beds of mushrooms, poorly clad 
and dull-eyed fishermen and other peasantry, contrasting 
so strongly with the brighter scenes of one's home land, 
are enough to fill any but the bravest with discouragement 
and despair. But our narrator passed this trying ordeal 
by reflecting that she was not a tourist in pursuit of enter- 
tainment, but an ambassador of Christ, sent to heal the 
bodies and enlighten the souls of the lowly and the suf- 
fering. 

As a young unmarried woman and quite alone, she 
found a welcoming home with Dr. and Mrs. Heron, and 
began at once a twofold work of mastering the language, 
and of professional service at the hospital. Not long after 
her arrival she was called to pay a visit to the queen, who 
wished to secure her services as her physician. The 



INTRODUCTION vii 

relation soon grew into a mutual friendship, and Mrs. 
Underwood from that time till the assassination of the 
unfortunate queen was her frequent visitor, and in many 
respects her personal admirer. She does not hesitate to 
express her appreciation of the queen, as a woman of 
kind-hearted and generous impulses, high intellectual 
capacity, and no ordinary diplomatic ability. Of stronger 
mind and higher moral character than her royal husband, 
she was his wise counsellor and the chief bulwark of his 
precarious power. 

Though Mrs. Underwood's book is of the nature of a 
narrative, yet its smoothly running current is laden with 
all kinds of general information respecting the character 
and customs of the people, the condition of the country, 
the native beliefs and superstitions, the social degradation, 
the poverty and widespread ignorance of the masses. 
The account of missionary work is given naturally, its 
pros and cons set forth without special laudation on the 
one hand, or critical misgiving on the other. It is simply 
presented, and left to speak for itself, and it can scarcely 
fail to carry to all minds a conviction of the genuineness 
and marked success of the great work which our mis- 
sionaries in Korea are conducting. 

Mrs. Underwood's marriage to Rev. H. G. Underwood, 
who had already been four years in the country, is related 
with simplicity and good sense, and the remarkable bridal 
tour, though given more at length, is really a story not of 
honeymoon experiences, but rather of arduous and heroic 
missionary itineration. It was contrary to the advice 
and against the strong remonstrances of their associates 



viii INTRODUCTION 

and their friends in the U. S. legation that the young 
couple set out in the early spring of 1889 for a pioneering 
tour through Northern Korea. 

Fortunately for the whole work of our Protestant mis- 
sions, the most favorable impression had been made upon 
the Korean Court and upon the people by the striking and 
most valuable service which had been rendered by Dr. H. 
N. Allen, our first medical missionary, and now U. S. 
Minister in Korea. He had healed the wounds of some 
distinguished Koreans, who had been nearly killed in a 
midnight conflict between the Chinese and Japanese garri- 
sons at Seoul. 

Although there were strong prohibitory decrees against 
the admission of foreigners in the interior, Mr. and Mrs. 
Underwood ventured to presume upon the connivance of 
the officials at their proposed journey to the far north. 
Traveling as missionaries and without disguise, it was a 
plucky undertaking for the young bride, since, so far as 
known, she was the first foreign woman who had made 
such a tour. The journey was a protracted one and 
involved all kinds of hardship and privation. Nothing 
worthy of a name of inn was to be found, but only some 
larger huts in which travelers were packed away amid 
every variety of filth and vermin. 

The curiosity of the people to see a foreign woman 
was such that the mob everywhere scrupled not to punch 
holes through the paper windows and doors to get a 
peep. After having been borne all day in a chair, not 
over roads, but through tortuous bridle paths, over 
rocks and through sloughs, it was found well-nigh im- 



INTRODUCTION ix 

possible to rest at night. ' All sorts of noises early and 
late added to their discomfort. As to food, the difficulty 
of subsisting on such fare as the people could furnish may 
be well imagined. They were not wholly free from the 
fear of wild animals, for some districts through which 
they passed were infested by tigers and leopards. But 
their greatest danger was that of falling into the hands 
of roaming bands of robbers. Mrs. Underwood's account 
of one experience of this kind will be read with thrilling 
interest. 

Fortunately, Mr. Underwood had already made one or 
two shorter tours through the country alone, and had 
baptized a few converts here and there. The passports 
also which he carried with him secured the favor of some 
of the district magistrates, so that the two were not 
exposed wholly to hostile influences. 

It is impossible in few words to do justice to the story 
related in this interesting book, which was prepared by 
Mrs. Underwood at the request of the American Tract 
Society, or do anything more than commend in general 
terms its various presentations. One of these relating 
to the experiences of a severe cholera season, during 
which missionaries, not only medical but also clerical, 
remained faithfully at their posts, unmindful of the per- 
sonal risks and of the heat, filth and discomfort of an 
unsanitary city in the most sickly months, in order to do 
all in their power to save the lives and mitigate the 
sufferings of the poor and despairing people. The 
account is given with great simplicity, and without osten- 
tatious claims of heroism, and may be regarded as a true 



x INTRODUCTION 

representation of the faithful service often rendered by 
our missionaries in times of trial and great suffering. 

Mrs. Underwood's book will be read with peculiar 
interest at this time, when all attention is turned to the far 
East and especially to Korea, which seems likely to be the 
battleground in the war between Russia and Japan. The 
position of the poor Koreans, government and people, is 
calculated to elicit the sympathy of all Christians and all 
philanthropists. Every one wonders what will be the 
outcome for poor Korea. It is indeed a time for 
earnest prayer that the God of nations will overrule all 
current events for the best good of this belligerent people 
and for the advancement of Christ's Kingdom. 

F. F. ELLIN WOOD. 
NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 1904. 



PREFACE 

THE chapters which are here given to the public are 
simply reminiscent, a brief story of a few years of the 
writer's life in one of the most unique and interesting of 
all the Eastern countries, among a people who are singu- 
larly winning and lovable. 

I beg that in reading these pages it may be remembered 
that this book makes no pretense whatever to being a text 
or reference book on Korea, or in any respect a history of 
Korean missions. The writer has simply strung together 
a few events which have fallen under her own personal 
observation during the last fifteen years. If more fre- 
quent reference is made to the work carried on by my 
husband and myself than to others, it is simply because it 
is only with regard to that which has been woven into the 
web of my own experience that I can speak with exactness 
and authority. All it is hoped to accomplish is, that suffi- 
cient insight into the customs and character of the people, 
and their moral and political atmosphere, with the results, 
opportunities and possible limitations of mission work, 
may be given to induce the reader to study further, and 
perchance to question what his relation to it all is. 

I must acknowledge my great indebtedness to Dr. 
H. N. Allen's chronological index, by which I have been 
able to verify many dates. 



xii PREFACE 

I am also indebted to the "Korean Repository," and to 
the "Life of Dr. James Hall," for part of the story of the 
events connected with his work in Pyeng Yang, both be- 
fore and after the war, and for the official report of the 
trial of the queen's murderers at Hiroshima. More than 
all, I am obliged to my husband, by whose assistance I 
have obtained from Koreans the particulars relating to the 
Emeute of 1884, the Tonghaks, the Pusaings, the Inde- 
pendents, and the Romanists. He has also given me many 
of the anecdotes of native Christian life, and as we lived 
it all out ourselves, this volume is as much his as mine. 

LILLIAS H. UNDERWOOD. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER I 

PACK 

First Arrival First Impressions The City of Seoul 
Korean Houses Mission Homes Personnel of Mission 
in 1888 Beginnings of Work Difficulties in Attaining the 
Language Korean Religions Palace Women First Inter- 
view with Palace Women Entertainment Given in my 
Honor by President of Foreign Office The Interdict Con- 
fidence Exhibited by Government in Protestant Missionaries 
The "Baby Riots" Babies Reported to Have Been Eaten 
at Foreign Legations Restoring Confidence The Signal 
First Invitation to Palace I 

CHAPTER II 

The Palaces The Stone Dogs The Fire God's Defeat 
The Summer Pleasure House Royal Reception Hall 
Court Dress of Noblemen First Impression of the King 
Appearance of the Queen The Queen's Troubles The 
Queen's Coup d'fitat The Verb Endings The Queen's 
Generosity Stone Fight Gifts The Quaga Poukhan 
Its Impregnability Picturesque Surroundings of Seoul 
Pioneer Work Progress of Work The Queen's Wedding 
Gift Our Wedding Opposition to my Going to the Interior 
My Chair The Chair Coolies 20 

CHAPTER III 

We Start on our Wedding Journey Songdo Guards at 
our Gates Crossing the Tai-tong Difficulties in Finding an 
Inn Korean Launderings An Old Man Seeks to be Rid of 
Sin Mob at an Inn A Ruffian Bursts Open my Door 
Fight in the Inn Yard Pat Defies the Crowd Convenience 
of Top-Knots A Magistrate Refuses to Shelter Us The 
"Captain" to the Rescue Pack-ponies We Lay a Deep 



xiv CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Scheme Torch Bearers A Mountain Hamlet Tiger 
Traps Tigers A Band of Thirty Conspire to Attack us 
.Guns Used by Native Hunters A Tiger Story . .38 

CHAPTER IV 

Leaving Kangai We Choose a Short Cut Much Goitre 
in the Mountains A Deserted Village The Jericho Road 
We are Attacked by Robbers A Struggle in the Inn Yard 
Odds too Great Our Attendants are Seized and Carried 
Off The Kind Inn-Keeper Inopportune Patients A Race 
for Life A City of Refuge A Beautiful Custom Safe at 
Last The Magistrate Turns Out to be an Old Friend The 
Charge to the Hunters 60 

CHAPTER V 

Our Stay in Wewon We Give a Dinner Our Guests 
Magistrates Propose that we Travel with a Chain-Gang 
Our Trip Down the Yalu The Rapids Contrast Between 
Korean and Chinese Shores We Enter Weju The Drunken 
Magistrate Presents and Punishments Unpleasant Expe- 
riences with Insincere People Rice Christians The Schem- 
ing Colporter The Men Baptized in Weju The Lost Pass- 
port Another Audience at the Palace Queen's Dress and 
Ornaments Korean Summer House The Pocket Dictionary 
Our Homes 77 

CHAPTER VI 

An Audience at the Palace Dancing Girls Entertain- 
ment Given after the Audience Printing the Dictionary and 
Grammar A Korean in Japan Fasting to Feast Death of 
Mr. Davies Dr. Heron's Sickness Mrs. Heron's Midnight 
Ride Dr. Heron's Death Difficulty in Getting a Cemetery 
Concession Forced Return to America Compensations 
Chemulpo in Summer The "Term Question" in China, 
Korea and Japan Difficulties in the Work . . . -93 

CHAPTER VII 

The Mission in 1893 "The Shelter" Opening of Japanese 
War Seoul Populace Panic Stricken Dr. and Mrs. Hall in 
Pyeng Yang Heroic Conduct of Native Christians Condi- 
tion of Pyeng Yang after the War Dr. Hall's Death 



CONTENTS xv 

PAGE 

Preaching the Gospel at the Palace The Queen Seeks to 
Strengthen Friendly Relations with Europeans Her 
Majesty's Generosity A Little Child at the Palace The 
Slaves of the Ring A Christmas Tree at the Palace The 
Queen's Beneficent Plans The Post-office Emeute of 1884 
A Haunted Palace The Murder of Kim Oh Kiun . . 106 

CHAPTER VIII 

Mr. McKenzie The First Church Built by Natives Mr. 
McKenzie's Sickness His Death Warning to New Mission- 
aries The Tonghaks Mr. Underwood's Trip to Sorai in 
Summer Native Churches Our Use of Helpers Christians 
in Seoul Build their Own Church Epidemic of Cholera 
Unhygienic Practices Unsanitary Condition of City . . 123 

CHAPTER IX 

Difficulty of Enforcing Quarantine Regulations Greedy 
Officials "Eat" Relief Funds Americans Stand Alone to 
Face the Foe The Emergency Cholera Hospital The In- 
spection Officers We Decide to Use the "Shelter" A 
Pathetic Case The Jesus Man Gratitude of the Koreans 
The New Church The Murder of the Queen Testimony of 
Foreigners The Official Report 136 

CHAPTER X 

The Palace after the Murder Panic Attitude of For- 
eign Legations The King's Life in Hourly Danger Noble 
Refugees Americans on Guard Mistakes of the New Gov- 
ernment Objectionable Sumptuary Laws A Plan to Rescue 
the King One Night at the Palace Forcing an Entrance 
Our Little Drama Escape of General Yun .... 153 

CHAPTER XI 

Customs Centering around the Top-Knot Christians 
Sacrificing Their Top-Knots A Cruel Blow Beginning of 
Christian Work in Koksan A Pathetic Appeal People Bap- 
tize Themselves Hard-Hearted Cho The King's Escape 
People Rally Round Him Two Americans in the Interior 
In the Midst of a Mob Mob Fury Korea in the Arms of 
Russia Celebrating the King's Birthday Patriotic Hymns 
Lord's Prayer in Korean , 167 



xvi CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XII 

PAGE 

A Korean Christian Starts Work in Haing Ju Changed 
Lives of Believers A Reformed Saloon-Keeper The Con- 
version of a Sorceres-s Best of Friends A Pleasant Night 
on the Water Evidence of Christian Living Our Visit in 
Sorai A Korean Woman's Work How a King Acts at 
Times Applicants for Baptism Two Tonghaks In a Strait 
betwixt Two Midnight Alarms Miss Jacobson's Death . 183 

CHAPTER XIII 

Our Mission to Japan Spies One Korean Summer 
The Queen's Funeral The Procession The Burial by 
Starlight The Independents The Pusaings The Inde- 
pendents Crushed 201 

CHAPTER XIV 

Itineration Incidents Kaiwha Christian Evidences 
Buying Christian Books instead of an Office Seed Sowing 
Moxa's Boy in the Well Kugungers Again Pung Chung 
Pyeng Yang The Needs of the Women .... 216 

CHAPTER XV 

Another Itineration Christians in Eul Yul A Ride in an 
Ox-Cart Keeping the Cow in the Kitchen Ox-Carts and 
Mountain Roads The Island of White Wing A Midnight 
Meeting Thanksgiving Day in Sorai The Circular Orders 
New Testament Finished All in the Day's Work The 
Korean Noble Meetings of the Nobility .... 237 

CHAPTER XVI 

Furloughs Chong Dong Church Romanists in Whang 
Hai Missionaries to the Rescue Romanists Annoy and 
Hinder the Judge Results Interview between Governor 
and Priest The Inspector's Report Women's Work in Hai 
Ju Death of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Miller The 
End 254 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

SENTINEL GATE AT PALACE Frontispiece 

CITY OF SEOUL 

SCHOOL BOYS 

KOREAN OFFICIAL IN CHAIR 

KOREAN STREET 

MAIN ENTRANCE TO PALACE 

KOREAN STONE DOG IN FRONT OF PALACE GATES .... 

PLEASURE HOUSE 

HIGH KOREAN OFFICIAL, KIM YAN SIK 

A KOREAN NOBLEMAN 

THE KING OF KOREA 

SURROUNDINGS OF SEOUL 

A STREET CROWD 

INDEPENDENCE ARCH 

FERRY BOAT 

TAI-TONG RIVER 

METHOD OF IRONING 

CARRIER OX 

CANDY BOY 

GATE IN THE WALL OF NAM HAN 

HOUSE USED BY MISSIONARIES ON TOP OF NAM HAN . 

DESERTED PALACE 

DESERTED ROYAL DINING HALL 

CHURCH AT SORAI 

A KOREAN TOP-KNOT 

RUSSIAN LEGATION HOUSE 

PRINCE YI CHAI SOON, COUSIN OF KING 

CARRIERS WITH JIKAYS 

KOREAN WOMEN AT WORK 

GIRLS SEWING AND WRITING WITH NATIVE TEACHER . 

THE OX-CART OR TALGOOGY 

HORSES IN AN INN YARD 



xviii LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PARTY STARTING OUT IN MORNING FROM THATCHED INN 

BOYS PEDDLING 

A BUTCHER SHOP 

BASKET SHOP 

ELDER SHAW OF SORAI AND HIS FAMILY 

MRS. KIM OF SORAI AND HER FAMILY .... 

SMALL BOY SCRAPING UP REFUSE FOR FIRES . 

WOMAN WITH BUNDLE OF WASHING ON HER HEAD . 

A KOREAN VILLAGE 

THE ROUND GATE, SEOUL 



FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG 
THE TOP-KNOTS 



CHAPTER I 

First Arrival First Impressions The City of Seoul Korean 
Houses Mission Homes Personnel of Mission in 1888 
Beginnings of Work Difficulties in Attaining the Language 
Korean Religions Palace Women First Interview with 
Palace Women Entertainment Given in my Honor by Presi- 
dent of Foreign Office The Interdict Confidence Exhibited 
by Government in Protestant Missionaries The "Baby 
Riots" Babies Reported to have been Eaten at Foreign 
Legations Restoring Confidence The Signal First Invi- 
tation to Palace. 

I LANDED in Korea at the port of Chemulpo on a cloudy, 
windy March day, in 1888. My eyes fell on a rocky shore, 
back of which the bare sharp outline of low hills, whitened 
with patches of snow, was relieved by no trees to break 
the monotony of the scene. Dreary mud flats, instead of 
a sandy beach, lay reeking and slimy along the water's 
edge. As our boat neared the shore, for there was and is 
no pier, and ships even at high tide cannot approach very 
near, wild and strange-looking men, uttering wild and 
strange-sounding speech, came hurrying down the hill to 
inspect us. 

Their coarse black hair was long and dishevelled, in 
some instances braided in a single pigtail, in most cases, 
however, tied on top of the head, where a careless attempt 
at a top-knot had been made, but elf-locks straying round 



2 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

the neck and face gave a wolfish and unkempt ap- 
pearance. They were Mongolians with all the race 
features, not differing much from Chinese or Japanese ex- 
cept in dress, and being in the main rather taller than the 
latter people. Their garments appeared to consist of a 
short loose jacket and long baggy trousers, of a dirty 
white native cloth. These garments among the poorer 
classes are never changed oftener than twice in a month. 

These were the people among whom I had come to 
work this the country which I had chosen instead of 
the "groves and templed hills" of my own dear native 
land. My heart swelled, and lifted up a yearning prayer 
that it might not be in vain. 

In justice to the Koreans, however, I ought to say here, 
that the people whom I saw that morning were of the 
lowest and roughest class, their dress the poorest sort, 
and that Chemulpo, especially in March, is perhaps the 
most forbidding and unsightly place in Korea. Being 
the main port for the capital, it is made up, as ports often 
are, very largely of a mixture of various nationalities. 
Man) r sailors and traders, and especially Chinese and 
Japanese merchants, have built their poor houses and 
shops in the main town. 

The trip from Chemulpo to Seoul, about twenty-eight 
miles, was made the following day, in a Sedan-chair car- 
ried by four coolies. The road, although a much traveled 
one, was very bad, but is now replaced by a railroad which 
accomplishes the distance in about two hours and a half. 
The country I found pleasantly rolling comparatively 
few trees were seen, and the population thereabout seemed 
quite sparse. Here and there were squalid mud huts 
thatched with straw. I found on inquiry that this little 
land, lying west of Japan, attached at its northern ex- 
tremity to China and Siberia, has an area of about ninety 



THE CITY OF SEOUL 3 

thousand square miles and a population of over fourteen 
millions of people, with a climate varying from that in the 
north, like northern New York, to that in the extreme 
south, like southern Virginia. 

We approached Seoul about four o'clock in the after- 
noon, and I was thrilled at the sight of the first walled 
town I had ever beheld. The walls are very picturesque 
built of great blocks of stone hung with ivy, and give 
an impression of great age. 

At the time of my arrival, and for some few years after, 
a very interesting custom was in vogue with regard to the 
closing of these gates. Korea had for centuries a signal 
fire service, by which news of peace or war was with 
telegraphic rapidity conveyed to Seoul, and by number, 
frequency of repetition and other expedients a tolerably 
useful code had been established. On the south mountain, 
within the walls, were four beacons, one for each point of 
the compass, to which these lines converged. Every even- 
ing as soon as the sun had set, when the bright glow of 
these four beacon fires published the fact that all was well 
in his majesty's dominions, four officials, whose business 
it was to report to the king the message of the fires, pre- 
sented themselves at the palace, and with low obeisance, 
each announced that all was well in the north in the 
south the east and the west. On this, the palace band 
struck up its gayest airs, and when this music was heard, 
the signal was given for the tolling of the great curfew 
bell in the center of the city. When the extremely sweet 
and solemn, low and yet penetrating tones of this bell were 
heard, the ponderous gates were swung to and barred, 
not to be reopened till the ringing of the same bell 
at the first streak of dawn gave the signal to the 
keepers. 

Entering through these gates, fortunately not yet 



4 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

closed, we saw narrow, filthy streets, flanked by low mud 
houses, either thatched with straw, or tiled. It has been 
aptly said that the city looks like a vast bed of mushrooms, 
since none of the Korean houses are built more than one 
story high. 

The common people are very poor and their homes 
seem to an American wretchedly poor and comfortless, 
and yet, compared with the most destitute of London or 
New York, there are few who go cold or hungry in Seoul. 
Each dwelling is so arranged that the part of the house 
occupied by the women, which is called the anpang, or 
inner room, shall be screened from sight from the street 
and from those entering the gate for every house has at 
least a tiny courtyard, part of which is also screened off 
(either by another wall, or by mats, or trees and bushes) 
for the women's use. 

Many of the homes of the poor consist of but one room, 
with a sort of outer shed, which is used as kitchen. Such 
a place often has no window, or at most only a tiny one, 
and both window and door are covered with white paper 
instead of glass. These doors are usually very low and 
narrow, so that even a small woman must stoop to enter, 
and within it is not always possible to stand upright ex- 
cept in the center, where the roof is highest. These small 
rooms are easily heated by means of a system of flues 
built under the floor, which consists of stone and mud. A 
fire of brush and twigs is kindled under one side of the 
house, and as the chimney opens at the other side, the 
draft naturally carries smoke and heat through the flues, 
the floor becomes very hot, and the whole room is quickly 
warmed. The fireplace is built in with pots for boiling the 
rice so that a great advantage is obtained in the matter 
of economy, the one fire booth cooks and warms. Wher- 
ever it can be afforded, a sarang, or men's sitting room, 



KOREAN. HOUSES 5 

which opens directly on the street or road, or upon the 
men's court, is part of the establishment. Here any man 
may enter ; male guests are entertained, and fed, and here 
they sleep. No men not members of the family or rela- 
tives ever enter the anpang. 

It is needless to say that everything in connection with 
these houses is fearfully unsanitary, and many of them are 
filthy and full of vermin. All sewage flows out into the 
unspeakable ditches on either side of the street. Of late 
years efforts have been made to alter this state of things, 
better streets have been laid, and the open sewers, which 
have existed for many years, are sluiced out by the sum- 
mer rains, which are the salvation of the city. 

It was a great and delightful surprise when suddenly, 
entering a gate in a mud wall, we left behind us these 
dirty streets and saw around us a lovely lawn, flower beds, 
bushes and trees, and a pretty picturesque mission home. 
It was like magic. I found our mission in possession of 
native houses which had been occupied in past years by 
wealthy but now ruined or banished noblemen. They had 
been purchased at a ridiculously low price in a condition 
of dilapidation, repaired at little expense and the interiors 
more or less Europeanized. The one which I entered 
had, with great good taste, been left without other ceiling 
than its quaint and massive beams and rafters of black- 
ened wood, the walls were prettily papered, and rugs and 
comfortable furniture and a few pictures and ornaments 
gave a homelike air. The rooms were spacious, and 
having been the dwelling of the rich, they were not so low 
or dark as those I have just described. 

Our mission, which at that time had been established 
about four years, was high in favor with the government. 
Dr. Allen first, and later Dr. Heron, were the official 
physicians to the king, who had established a government 



6 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

hospital, over which he had placed them in charge. Miss 
Ellers, lately married, had been appointed medical ad- 
viser to the queen and had been placed in charge of the 
women's department of the hospital, both of which posi- 
tions she had resigned after her marriage, and to both of 
which I had been appointed to succeed. The members of 
the mission whom I found were Dr. and Mrs. Heron, 
Rev. H. G. Underwood and Mrs. Bunker (formerly Miss 
Ellers). Dr. and Mrs. Allen had returned to America on 
an official mission. 

Work had been well started, the hospital was daily 
crowded with patients, in addition to which Dr. Heron 
had a large foreign and native practice, as well as a hos- 
pital school for the instruction of future drug clerks and 
medical students. Mr. Underwood had established an 
orphan boys' home and school, had assisted Dr. Allen in 
his clinics till the arrival of Dr. Heron, and was at that 
time, in addition to the entire care of the orphanage, teach- 
ing in the government hospital school, which it was hoped 
might be the stepping stone to a medical school. He was 
holding regular religious services, and about thirty had 
been baptized. He had made a long trip into the interior, 
up to the northern borders, selling tracts and preaching 
everywhere. Language helps were in preparation, and the 
Gospel of Mark in a tentative form had been translated. 
Miss Ellers was in charge of women's medical work up 
to my arrival, and was high in favor with the queen, who 
had bestowed rank upon her, and many costly presents. 
She had also begun to work and train the first member of 
the girls' school. 

I found that help was much needed on all sides. The 
day after my arrival saw me installed at the hospital with 
an interpreter at my side. Here work usually lasted about 
three hours. My home was with Dr. and Mrs. Heron, 



THE LANGUAGE STUDY 7 

who with warmest kindness had fitted up a sunny room 
for me. Here Dr. Heron and I had a joint dispensary, and 
here I was besieged at all hours by women desiring medi- 
cal attention. I soon found that language study was con- 
tinually interrupted very seriously by these applicants, 
who respected not times or seasons. I was of course called 
upon to visit patients in their homes, one of whom, the 
wife of the Chinese minister of state, Prince Uan (now a 
very prominent personage in Chinese matters), must be 
seen every day with an amount of ceremony which took 
not a little of my precious time. However, finding that 
others were being overworked, I consented to give two 
hours each day to teaching the little orphans arithmetic 
and English. 

Of course we made slow progress, and floundered not a 
little when the teacher knew no Korean, and the pupils no 
English. This institution had the unqualified favor of the 
king, and except the hospital was the first institution in 
Korea which illustrated the loving-kindness of the Lord. 
We hoped it might become a successful school, where 
souls might be saved, ere they had been steeped for years 
in vice, and the first steps taken in the preparation of 
evangelists and preachers ; so we felt it a privilege to help. 
My first duty and chief desire was of course to acquire the 
language, but this was much interrupted by this other 
work. As we stood there, such a little company among 
these dying millions, we could not realize that hours of 
preparation then meant doubled usefulness in years to 
come, and so time and energy, that should have been spent 
mainly in study, were poured out in hospital, dispensary 
and schools. 

The new missionaries of these later days are put in a 
language incubator as soon as they arrive and kept there 
till they emerge full-fledged linguists, who have passed 



8 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

three searching examinations by the language committee 
of the missions. Then we sat down with an English- 
Chinese dictionary (most scholarly Koreans know a little 
Chinese), a Korean-French dictionary, a French grammar 
and a Korean reader with a small English primer on 
Korean, the Gospel of Mark and a Korean catechism for 
text books. We were presented to a Korean gentleman 
knowing not one syllable of English, or the first principles 
of the constructions of any language on earth, or even 
the parts of speech, and without the glimmering of an 
idea as to the best methods or any method of teaching, 
who yet was called, probably ironically, "a teacher," from 
whom we were expected to pump with all diligence such 
information on the language as he was able to bestow. 
With scanty knowledge of French, more than rusty from 
long disuse, I labored and floundered, trying now this 
plan, now that, with continual interruptions and discour- 
agements. 

Before I could more than stammer a few sentences I 
was called upon to begin religious teaching, so undertook 
a Sunday school service with the little boys, using a cate- 
chism which I could not yet translate, but (knowing the 
sounds) could hear the boys recite. Soon after I began 
holding a Bible class with a few women, with the aid of a 
little native boy who had learned English and a former 
sorceress who could read the Chinese Scriptures. This 
woman would read the chapter, we all united in the Lord's 
prayer and in singing the few hymns then translated, and 
I talked to the women through the medium of my little 
interpreter. I struggled and stumbled. The women were 
patient and polite, but to our Father it must have looked 
the spoiled tangled patchwork of the child who wished to 
help, with ignorant, untaught hands, and made a loving 
botch of it all. 



KOREAN RELIGIONS 9 

Perhaps right here a few words about the Korean re- 
ligions may be in place. Confucianism, Buddhism and 
Taouism all hold a sort of sway over the natives, and yet 
all have lost, to a great extent, the influence they once had. 
The majority have very little faith in any religion. Con- 
fucianism, otherwise a mere philosophical system of 
morals, has the strongest hold upon the people in the laws 
it enjoins for ancestor worship. This custom, enforced 
by the strongest and most widespread superstitions in the 
minds of the Koreans, binds them with fetters stronger 
than iron. If ancestors are not worshiped with most 
punctilious regard to every smallest detail of the law, 
dire calamities will befall, from the wrath of irate and 
neglected spirits. The servitude thus compelled is hard 
and wearisome, but not one jot or tittle must be omitted, 
and woe to the wretch who, embracing another doctrine, 
fails to perform these rites. He or she is looked upon as 
more than a traitor to home and friends, false to the most 
sacred obligations. Buddhism has fallen low, until very 
lately its priests were forbidden to enter the capital, and 
they rank next to the slayer of cattle, the lowest in the 
land. 

A few Buddhist temples are maintained at government 
expense or by endowment, and women and children, and 
all the more ignorant, still worship and believe, to some 
extent. The same classes also worship and fear an infi- 
nite number of all sorts of evil deities gods or demons, 
who infest earth, air and sea, gods of various diseases, and 
all trades; these in common with Satan himself must be 
propitiated with prayers and sacrifices, beating of drums, 
ringing of bells and other ceremonials too numerous to 
mention. 

Over all other objects of worship, they believe, is the 
great Heavens, the personification of the visible heavens, 



io FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

who, as nearly as 1 can discover, is identical with the 
Baal referred to in the Old Testament; but everywhere 
their faith waxes more and more feeble in these old worn- 
out superstitions. In many cases only respect for ancient 
customs and public opinion keeps them even in appear- 
ance to the outward forms of worship. They are as sheep 
without a shepherd, lost in the wilderness, "faint and 
hungry, and ready to die," and so when the gospel comes, 
it finds many weary souls, ready to take Christ's yoke 
upon them and find his rest. 

And yet how hopeless looked the task we had before us 
in those days, a little company of scarce a dozen people, 
including our Methodist brethren, many of us able to 
stammer only a few words of the language as yet, at- 
tempting to introduce Christianity into a nation of four- 
teen or more millions of people, in the place of their long 
established religions ; and beginning with a few poor 
farmers and old women. But the elements of success, the 
certainty of victory, lay in the divine nature of the re- 
ligion, and in the Almighty God who sent us with it. 
This knowledge inspired us and this alone. 

A few days after my arrival in Seoul a messenger came 
from the queen, to bid me welcome, and inquire if I had 
had a pleasant journey, and shortly after Mrs. Heron 
asked some of the queen's attendants to meet me at 
luncheon. These women are not, as in other courts, ladies 
of high rank, for such could never, under Korean cus- 
toms, endure the publicity of the palace, but are taken 
as children and young girls from the middle and lower 
classes, and entirely separated from all others, to the 
service of the majesties. They usually hold no rank, and 
are treated with respect, only on account of their relations 
to the royal family. They wear on all state occasions im- 
mense quantities of false hair, which gives them a pecu- 



THE PALACE WOMEN II 

liarly grotesque appearance ; are much powdered and per- 
fumed, with pencilled and shaven eyebrows ; wear long 
flowing silken robes, gilded ornaments in their hair and at 
their waists; and present the sad spectacle of women 
whose very decorations seem only to add to and empha- 
size their painful uncomeliness. 

Korean women as a rule are not beautiful. I, who love 
them as much as any one ever did, who look upon them as 
my own sisters, must confess this. Sorrow, hopelessness, 
hard labor, sickness, lovelessness, ignorance, often, too 
often, shame, have dulled their eyes, and hardened and 
scarred their faces, so that one looks in vain for a sem- 
blance of beauty among women over twenty-five years of 
age. Among the little maids and young wives (saixies), 
who do not yet show the effects of the heavy hand of care 
and toil, one often finds a sweet bright gentle face that is 
pretty, winning, and very rarely even beautiful. But 
these poor palace women come not under that class ; hard- 
ened, coarse and vulgar, their appearance only calls forth 
compassion. I found to my surprise that they were all 
smokers, and they were equally surprised that I would not 
accept their invitation to join them in this indulgence. 
They examined my dress and belongings with childish 
curiosity, and deluged me with questions as to my age, 
why I had never married, whether I had children, and 
why not, and other things equally impertinent and hard to 
answer ; but were after all good natured, friendly and well 
meaning. 

This was my first introduction to Korean officialdom, 
and following this within a very short time came another, 
in the form of a luncheon and acrobatic entertainment 
given for me by the President of the Foreign Office, Kim 
Yun Sik. This invitation came for the following Sunday 
and troubled me, because I was afraid the official (who 



12 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

was quite ignorant of our customs and was offering me a 
flattering evidence of courtesy and good will) would be 
hurt by my refusal to accept an invitation for that day, 
and would very likely misunderstand it. However, there 
was nothing else to be done, and with suitable explana- 
tions, I announced my extreme regret at being obliged to 
refuse his kindness. 

With great good feeling, he then changed the day, and 
I was given carte blanche to invite my friends, and of 
course asked the ladies of the Methodist mission, as well 
as our own. Several Korean gentlemen of high rank, in- 
cluding those in connection with the hospital, and others, 
had also been invited by my host. The table, for in defer- 
ence to our foreign custom, one long table, instead of a 
number of small ones, had been arranged was piled high 
with Korean dainties. Chicken, pheasant and other cold 
meats, fish, eggs, nuts and fruits prepared in many fanci- 
ful ways, Chinese preserved fruits and candies, a gutta- 
percha-like delicacy called "dock," made of rice and oil 
pounded well together, an alcoholic native beverage called 
siil, and champagne and cigars. It is needless to say that 
we Americans did not partake of these latter additions to 
the menu. A vast crowd from the streets poured into the 
large courtyard, to see the acrobats, who were a strolling 
band hired for the occasion. Their performance consisted 
chiefly in tight-rope walking and tumbling, and was in no 
way remarkable. It lasted, however, nearly three hours, 
during all of which time we listened to the monotonous 
whining of the Korean band, more like a Scotch bagpipe 
(dear cousins, forgive) than anything else I know of; and 
learned the Korean verb "anchera" (sit down), which I 
heard that day repeated a thousand times, in all its moods, 
tenses and case endings, in tones of exasperation to the 
irrepressible Korean boy, who ivould stand up to see, just 



THE INTERDICT 13 

for all the world like some boys of whiter skin, nearer 
home. 

Just before this, Mr. Underwood and Mr. Appenzeller 
had started on a long itinerating trip toward the north, 
the second Mr. Underwood had undertaken. While they 
were absent the wrath of the Korean king and cabinet 
against the Romanists reached the boiling point, and cul- 
minated in a decree forbidding the further teaching of 
foreign religions in the ports. The country was not open 
to us (as it is not to-day, except by special passports). 
The Romanists, with their well-known love of chief seats 
and high places, failing to profit by their former experi- 
ences of trouble from similar causes in China, insisted 
upon choosing as the site for their future cathedral one of 
the highest points in the city, overlooking the palace, and 
adjoining the temple holding royal ancestral tablets. The 
property had been obtained unknown to the king, 
through the medium of Korean agents, and though he 
used his utmost endeavors, both with the priests and with 
the French legation, to induce them to change this for 
any other site, they remained obdurate, utterly refused to 
yield, and proceeded to lay the foundation of their church. 
The decree immediately followed, and the American min- 
ister advised, nay ordered, us to recall our missionaries, 
who most unwillingly returned. There were, indeed, 
those who asserted that this early attempt to carry the 
Gospel into the interior had been, at least in part, the cause 
of the obnoxious decree, which made it look as if our 
work was, for a time at least, at an end. That this was 
not so was proved by the fact that Mr. Underwood had 
hardly returned ere he was waited upon by a committee 
consisting of high Korean nobles and members of the 
cabinet, offering him the entire charge of their govern- 
ment school, with a generous salary, and with the full 



14 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

understanding that he would not hesitate to teach Chris- 
tianity to the pupils. 

This offer, displaying the great confidence, instead of 
the displeasure and suspicion which foreigners assured us 
was the feeling of the Koreans toward our evangelistic 
workers, was taken into serious consideration, but was 
finally refused on account of its interference with other 
work, and for other reasons equally important. 

It remained to us all to decide upon our course of con- 
duct with regard to the prohibitory decree. Some of our 
number the majority argued, that as it was the law of 
the land, nothing remained for Christian law-abiding peo- 
ple but to obey it, to stop holding even morning prayers in 
our schools, to hold no religious services with Koreans, 
but to wait and pray, until God should move the king's 
heart, and have the decree rescinded. By this course they 
believed we should win favor with the authorities, while 
defiance or disobedience might cause our whole mission to 
be expelled from the country. 

A small minority, however, Mr. Appenzeller, now with 
the Lord, his wife, Mr. Underwood and myself, held that 
the decree had never been issued against us or our work, 
and that even if it had, we were under higher orders than 
that of a Korean king. Our duty was to preach and take 
the consequences, resting for authority on the word of 
God, spoken through Peter, in Acts, 4:19, to the rulers 
who forbade the apostles to preach, "Whether it be right 
in the sight of God, to hearken unto you, more than unto 
God, fudge ye, for we cannot but speak the things which 
we have seen and heafd." Others might stop, as they did, 
with sorrow, conscientiously believing that to be the best 
course; we continued to teach and preach, in public and 
private, singing hymns, which could be heard far and 
near, in the little meeting-house. No attempt was ever 



THE BABY RIOTS 15 

made in any way to hinder us. Christians and other at- 
tendants on services came and went unmolested. Chris- 
tianity has grown much since then, and is acknowledged 
as a factor in the politics of more than one province. No 
one ever thinks now of disguising or in any way conceal- 
ing our work, yet that law has never to this 'day been re- 
scinded. This is exactly in accord with Eastern customs. 
Laws become a dead letter, and pass into disuse ; they are 
not often annulled. 

Another event of interest, which occurred during these 
first months after my arrival in Korea, was the excitement 
culminating in what were called "the baby riots." 
Similar troubles in Tientsin, China, had some years pre- 
viously resulted in the massacre of a number of foreign- 
ers, including Jesuit priests, nuns and two or three French 
officials. 

Some person or persons, with malicious intent, started a 
rumor which spread like wild-fire, that foreigners were 
paying wicked Koreans to steal native children, in order 
to cut out their hearts and eyes, to be used for medicine. 
This crime was imputed chiefly to the Japanese, and it was 
supposed the story had been originated by Chinese or 
others especially inimical to the large numbers of Japanese 
residents in the capital. Mr. Underwood acquainted the 
Japanese minister with the rumors, in order that he might 
protect himself and his people ; which he promptly did by 
issuing, and causing to be issued by the government, proc- 
lamations entirely clearing his countrymen of all blame in 
the matter, which it was left to be understood was 
an acknowledged fact, and consequently the work of other 
"vile foreigners," namely, ourselves and the Europeans. 
The excitement and fury grew hourly. Large crowds of 
angry people congregated, scowling, muttering, and 
threatening. Koreans carrying their own children were 



16 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

attacked, beaten, and even killed, on the supposition that 
they were kidnapping the children of others ; and a high 
Korean official, who tried to protect one of these men, was 
pulled from his chair, and narrowly escaped with his life, 
although he was surrounded by a crowd of retainers and 
servants. It was considered unsafe for foreigners to be 
seen in the street. Marines were called up from Chemul- 
po to guard the different legations, and some Americans 
even packed away their most necessary clothing and valu- 
ables, preparatory to fleeing to the port. The wildest 
stories were told. Babies, it was said, had been eaten at 
the German, English, and American legations, and the 
hospital, of course, was considered by all the headquarters 
of this bloodthirsty work, for there, where medicine was 
manufactured and diseases treated, the babies must 
certainly be butchered. 

One day, when returning from my clinic, my chair was 
surrounded by rough-looking men, who told my bearers 
that they should all be killed if they carried me to the 
hospital again ; and such was the terror inspired, that these 
men positively refused to take me thither the following 
day. So I rode on horseback through the city to the hos- 
pital, Mr. Underwood, who also had duties at the hospital 
school, acting as my escort. We went and returned quite 
unmolested, and it has been my experience then and later, 
that a bold front and appearance of fearlessness and un- 
concern in moments of danger impress Asiatics, and act 
as a great safeguard for the foreigner. 

In the meanwhile, however, the European foreign rep- 
resentatives had awakened to the fact that a very real 
danger threatened our little community, and might ripen 
at any moment into destruction. Proclamations from the 
Foreign Office were posted everywhere, but the earliest of 
these were mistakenly worded, leaving the impression 



RESTORING CONFIDENCE 17 

still that possibly some "vile foreigner" had instituted 
these awful deeds, and that should he be discovered sore 
punishment would follow. At last, however, a notice ap- 
peared, written at the dictation of these same "vile for- 
eigners," in which it was positively stated that not only 
had no such thing been done by any foreigners, but that 
should any one be caught uttering these slanders, he 
would be at once arrested, and unless able to prove the 
truth of his tales, be punished with death. Detectives and 
police officers were scattered everywhere through the city, 
people were forbidden to stand in groups of twos and 
threes, a few arrests were made, and the riots were at 
an end. 

Before calm was restored, however, we had some un- 
certain, not to say uneasy, hours. On the evening of the 
day when the excitement had been at its highest, we re- 
ceived word from the American legation that should there 
be evidence that the mob were intending to attack our 
homes, a gun would be fired in the legation grounds as a 
signal, and we were then to hasten thither for mutual 
safety and defense. 

It was a calm starlit July night. We sat in the little 
porch leading into our compound, enjoying the cool even- 
ing air, when suddenly a terrific illumination of blazing 
buildings lit up the horizon, and a fearful hubbub of a 
shouting, yelling mob assailed our ears. With beating 
hearts we watched and listened. Some one said Korean 
mobs always began by burning houses, and while we 
waited, wondering what it all meant, the air was rent by 
the sharp, quick report of a gun from the American 
legation. 

This seemed to leave no doubt as to the real state of 
affairs, and Mr. Underwood and Mr. Hulbert at once re- 
paired to the legation to make sure that there was no mis- 



i8 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

take, but soon returned, with the welcome news, that the 
firing of the gun had been accidental. The burning build- 
ings also proved to have been only a coincidence, and the 
noise nothing more than common with a Korean crowd 
round a fire. In a way that still seems to be miraculous, 
the raging of {he heathen was quieted, God was round 
about us, the danger that looked inevitable passed away, 
and all was calm. 

Not long after this came the first request from the 
palace for me to attend on the queen, to which I re- 
sponded not without some anxiety, lest through some un- 
looked-for occurrence some misstep on my part, the work 
of our mission so auspiciously begun should be hindered 
or stopped. As yet somewhat uncertain of our foothold, 
ignorant to a large extent of the people with whom we 
had to deal, we trembled lest some inadvertence might 
close the door, only so lately and unwillingly opened. 
I had been told I must always go in full court dress, but 
when I came to open the boxes, which contained the 
gowns prepared for this purpose, I found that both had 
been ruined in crossing the Pacific and could not be worn. 
Alas! how inauspicious to be obliged to appear before 
royalty in unsuitable attire, which might be attributed to 
disrespect! But a far more serious trouble than this 
weighed upon my mind as my chair coolies jogged me 
along the winding streets and alleys to the palace grounds. 
I had been strictly warned not to say anything to the 
queen on the subject of religion. "We are only here on 
sufferance," it was urged, "and even though our teaching 
the common people may be overlooked and winked at, if 
it is brought before the authorities so openly and boldly, 
as it would be to introduce it into the palace, even our 
warmest friends might feel obliged to utterly forbid 
further access to the royal family, if not to banish us alto- 



FIRST INVITATION TO THE PALACE 19 

gether from the country." "Wait," it was said, "until 
our footing is more assured ; do not risk all through im- 
patience." 

I saw the logic of these words, though my heart talked 
hotly in a very different way ; but I went to the palace with 
my mouth sealed on the one subject I had come to pro- 
claim. 



CHAPTER II 

The Palaces The Stone Dogs The Fire God's Defeat The 
Summer Pleasure House Royal Reception Hall Court Dress 
of Noblemen First Impression of the King Appearance 
of the Queen The Queen's Troubles The Queen's Coup 
d'etat The Verb Endings The Queen's Generosity Stone 
Fight Gifts The Quaga Poukhan Its Impregnability 
Picturesque Surroundings of Seoul Pioneer Work Prog- 
ress of Work The Queen's Wedding Gift Our Wedding 
Opposition to my Going to the Interior My Chair The 
Chair Coolies. 

THE palaces, of which there were at that time three, 
and are now four, within the city walls, consist of several 
groups of one-story bungalow buildings, within large 
grounds or parks, which are surrounded by fine stone 
walls, twelve or fifteen feet high, of considerable thick- 
ness. Within these inclosures were barracks for soldiers, 
and quarters for under-officials and servants. A special 
group of houses stood separated from the others for 
women's apartments, and here might be seen the aged and 
rather infirm dowager queen, who died about a year after 
my arrival. The main gates in the walls of the palace I 
was about to visit are three, facing on the great main 
thoroughfare of the city. The central one, larger than the 
others, was used only for royalty ; even ministers of for- 
eign states are expected to enter by one of the two smaller 
ones on either side. 

The fact that on one occasion the central gate had by 
special royal order been thrown open for the American 
minister is an illustration of the kindness and favor 



THE STONE DOGS 21 

always shown to our representatives. These entrances are 
approached by broad, stone steps and a platform with 
handsome, carved stone balustrade, which is surmounted 
as well as the lofty gates by crudely chiseled stone images 
of various mythological animals. Some ten or more paces 
in front of these steps, and on either side, are the great 
stone dogs, so called for want of a better name, for they 
no more resemble dogs than lions. The story of their 
origin is as follows : The fire god, it was said, had a special 
enmity against this palace, and repeatedly burned it down ; 
various efforts had been made to propitiate or intimidate 
him with little success; at length an expensive dragon 
was brought from China and placed in a moat in the 
grounds. While he lived all was well, but one ill-fated 
day an enemy poisoned this faithful guardian, and that 
night the palace was again burned. Finally some fertile 
brain devised these animals, no poison could affect their 
stony digestion, no fear or cajoling could impress their 
hard hearts ; so there they stand on their tall pedestals 
fierce and uncompromising, facing the quarter whence the 
fire god comes, always on guard, never sleeping in their 
faithful watch, and, as might be expected, he has never 
been able to burn the buildings thus protected. 

I was conducted, however, through neither of these 
three main gates, but as a very strict rule was then in ex- 
istence that no chair coolies should be allowed within the 
palace walls, my chair was carried to a small gate, much 
nearer the royal apartments, so that we should not be 
obliged to walk so far. Mrs. Bunker and Dr. Heron ac- 
companied me, and we were met by gentlemanly Korean 
officials, and taken to a little waiting room, furnished with 
European chairs, and a table, upon which were little cakes, 
cigars and champagne, all of which were offered to us 
ladies, though after a better acquaintance with us, tea was 



22 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

substituted in place of the tobacco and wine. It would 
take far too long to describe all that engaged my eager 
interest as we walked through the palace grounds. A 
beautiful and interesting summer pleasure house per- 
haps one of the most unique and remarkable in the world 
stands in the center of a large lotus pond. It has an 
upper story and roof supported on forty-eight monoliths, 
the outer row being about four feet square at the base ; 
the inner columns are rounded, of about the same diam- 
eter, and sixteen or eighteen feet high ; the upper story is 
of wood, elaborately carved, and brightly decorated ; 
most of these buildings are covered with a beautiful green 
glazed tile, peculiar to royal edifices. 

There were many other interesting buildings, among 
which the royal reception hall was probably the finest. 
We saw a great number of officials, eunuchs, chusas, 
noblemen and soldiers, each kind and grade wearing a 
different attire from all the others. 

The dress of the common soldiers was intended to be an 
imitation of European military costume adapted to the 
ideas of the Koreans. The result was a hybrid which had 
neither the dignity nor the usefulness of the one or the 
other. It consisted of a loose blouse jacket, and badly 
fitting, baggy trousers, made of thin black cotton cloth, 
with scarlet trimmings. The jacket was belted in, and a 
black felt hat surmounted the top-knot, and was fastened 
insecurely beneath the chin by a narrow band. This un- 
becoming uniform has now been changed, and the Em- 
peror's soldiers are as well dressed as those of any Euro- 
pean nation. 

Korean noblemen when in attendance at the palace wear 
a dark blue coat, with a belt which is far too large and 
forms a sort of hoop in front of the person. An em- 
broidered breastplate is worn over the chest, representing 



THE ROYAL RECEPTION 23 

a stork for civil office and a tiger for military rank. The 
head-dress is a kind of hat woven of horsehair, with wings 
at either side, curved forward, as it were in order to 
catch every word uttered by royalty. Nobles and officials 
wear on the hat band, just back of the ears, buttons of 
various styles made of gold or jade, which indicate the de- 
gree of the wearer's rank. 

When the royal family were ready to see us, Mrs. 
Bunker and I were conducted through the grounds a short 
distance, passed through several gateways, and at length 
stood at the entrance of an anteroom half filled with 
nobles, eunuchs and palace women, beyond which, in a 
very small inner room, were the king and queen, and 
their son, a youth about sixteen years of age. We passed 
forward to the audience-room, bowing frequently and 
very low to the smiling party of three who awaited us. 

Never before had I, an American a descendant of 
colonial ancestors who had cast off the shackles of tyranny 
bowed so low. Never had I thought to feel as I felt 
when first entering the presence of a real live king and 
queen. The royal family had most graciously risen to 
greet us, and at once invited us to be seated. At that time, 
at least, Korean nobles never entered the royal presence 
without prostrating themselves to the ground, and such a 
piece of presumption as sitting was never dreamed of ; so 
we refused the offered chairs, having been especially 
warned that not to do so might awaken jealousy and 
make enemies to the cause we loved. The point, however, 
was insisted upon to such an extent that we could no 
longer with politeness refuse, and so we found ourselves 
sitting face to face in a chatty sort of way, in a little eight 
by ten room, with the king and queen of Korea. The 
king impressed me at that and every subsequent meeting 
as a fine-looking genial gentleman. He was attired in a 



24 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

long touramachi, or coat of rich red silk (the royal color), 
with a cap or head-dress like those worn by the noblemen, 
except that the wings turned back rather than forward 
like theirs. 

The queen, of course, excited my deepest interest. 
Slightly pale and quite thin, with somewhat sharp 
features and brilliant piercing eyes, she did not strike me 
at first sight as being beautiful, but no one could help 
reading force, intellect and strength of character in that 
face, and as she became engaged in conversation, vivacity, 
naivete, wit, all brightened her countenance, and gave it 
a wonderful charm, far greater than mere physical beauty ; 
and I have seen the queen of Korea when she looked 
positively beautiful. 

She possessed mental qualities of a high order, as I 
soon learned, and although, like all Asiatics, her learning 
consisted chiefly in the Chinese classics, she possessed a 
very intelligent idea of the great nations of the world and 
their governments, for she asked many questions, and re- 
membered what she heard. She was a subtle and able di- 
plomatist and usually outwitted her keenest opponents; 
she was, moreover, a sovereign of broad and progressive 
policy, patriotic, and devoted to the best interests of her 
country and sought the good of the people to a much 
larger extent than would be expected of an Oriental 
queen. In addition, she possessed a warm heart, a tender 
love for little children, a delicacy and consideration in her 
relations, at least with us missionaries, which would have 
done honor to any European lady of high rank. The 
queen, though a Korean who had never seen the society 
of a foreign court, was a perfect lady. It was with sur- 
prise that I learned that as much difference exists in 
Korea between the people of high birth and breeding and 
the common coolie as is found between the European 




THE KING OF KOREA. PAGE 23 



THE QUEEN'S TROUBLES 25 

gentleman and the day laborer. Their majesties kindly 
inquired about my trip to Korea, my present comfort, and 
my friends and family in America, showing the kindest 
interest in what concerned me most. The conversation 
was carried on through an interpreter, who stood behind 
a tall screen, his body bent nearly double in reverence, 
never raising his eyes. 

I learned later that Korean doctors, always men, who 
had treated the queen, felt (?) her pulse by using a cord, 
one end of which was fastened about her wrist, and the 
other carried into the next room was held in the doctor's 
fingers. The royal tongue, I was told, was protruded 
through a slit in a screen for the physician's observation. 
I found the queen's trouble nothing more serious than a 
small furuncle which needed lancing ; but as the mere sug- 
gestion of approaching her sacred person with any sort 
of surgical instrument was looked upon with unspeak- 
able horror and indignation by all who surrounded her, 
and was flatly forbidden by the king, patience and slower 
measures were necessarily resorted to. 

It was hardly to be wondered at that all the queen's 
friends were so over-cautious and fearful for her safety. 
She had suffered long and malignant persecution at the 
hands of a cruel father-in-law, whose wicked ambitious 
schemes and greed of power she had balked, and nothing 
that a fertile brain and hate combined with wealth and in- 
fluence could contrive was left undone to bring about the 
ruin of this unhappy lady. Slander, assassins, insurrec- 
tion, fire, conspiracy with hostile nations were all re- 
sorted to; many and thrilling were her hairbreadth 
escapes. Once disguised and carried on the back of a 
faithful retainer, she was taken from one end of the city 
to the other, and once in a common native woman's chair 
she was borne to a place of concealment and safety. 



26 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

Nearly her whole immediate family were destroyed at one 
fell blow, by means of an infernal machine cunningly de- 
vised, sent as a present of great value from a supposed 
hermit, to be opened only in the presence of every member 
of the family. Through some fortunate circumstances the 
queen was detained away, but all present were instantly 
killed and horribly mutilated. To understand the reason 
for this ferocious enmity, one needs to know a little of the 
royal history. 

The present king was the adopted son of a former 
childless king. His widow appointed the present king's 
father to act as regent until the majority of his son. The 
older man was greedy of power, keen and crafty, and not 
inclined to hand over the reins of government ; he there- 
fore selected a wife for his son from a family of his near 
friends, choosing a woman he supposed he could easily 
control ; but he was mistaken in her character and gifts. 
Years slipped by and time had long been over-ripe for the 
king to assume the government, and yet the "Tai-won- 
kun" gave no sign of relinquishing his clutch upon the 
reins of power ; but the king, gentle and submissive to his 
father, as all Koreans are taught to be, was unwilling 
to force a resignation. One morning, however, through a 
coup d'etat of the queen, the old man found himself dis- 
placed, and a new cabinet and set of advisers selected 
from the friends and cousins of the queen. His rage 
knew no bounds, and from that time forth he planned her 
destruction. How he finally succeeded in carrying out his 
malicious intentions must be related later. Thus far, the 
queen, equally shrewd and fortunate, had escaped his 
toils. 

To return to our palace visit, however. After examin- 
ing into her majesty's trouble, and prescribing a course of 
treatment, we took our leave, backing and bowing our- 



THE QUEEN'S GENEROSITY 27 

selves out of the royal apartments as if we had been born 
and bred hangers-on of courts. I soon learned that all 
my verbs must wear a long train of "simnaitas," "simni- 
kas," and "sipsios," the highest honorific endings when 
visiting the palace. Each Korean verb has a generous 
collection of these endings, from which the confused and 
unwary stranger must select at his peril, when addressing 
natives of different ranks; but there is no doubt, fortu- 
nately, about what must be used at the palace, and one 
feels quite safe if every verb is tipped with a "simnaita" or 
"simnika" To be sure, there are high Chinese-derived 
words, which natives always use there, .instead of the 
simpler Anglo-Saxon I should say, Korean 1 but unin- 
itiated foreigners are not expected to know them, and are 
really most generously excused for all mistakes. Koreans 
are in this respect models of kindness and politeness, and 
will often hear newcomers make the most laughable and 
absurd mistakes without a single spasm of countenance 
to show that they have taken note of the blunder. 

Not many days after this visit to the palace, an official 
appeared at my home with a number of interesting and 
beautiful gifts from the queen, including a fine embroid- 
ered screen, embroidered pillow, and bed cushions, native 
silks, linens, cotton materials, fans, pockets and various 
other articles. 

Her majesty was extremely generous, and it was noth- 
ing unusual for her thus to bestow in most munificent 
fashion gifts upon the members of our mission whom she 
had met, and upon the ladies of the legations. Every 
Korean New Year's day any of us who were in the 
slightest way connected with the palace or government in- 
stitutions received many pheasants, bags of nuts, pounds 
of beef, large fish, hundreds of eggs and pounds of dried 
persimmons. 



28 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

On the royal birthdays, too, dainties were sent to us, 
and at the beginning of each summer dozens of fans and 
jars of honey water were presented. This open-handed 
generosity indicated not only the queen's kind disposi- 
tion, but the favor with which all Americans were re- 
garded by the Korean authorities, due largely to the 
favorable impression which Dr. Allen had made, and also 
perhaps to the fact that we belonged to a large and power- 
ful nation, which had no object in interfering in Eastern 
politics in any way to the detriment of Korea, and which 
might become an efficient ally and defender. 

During my first year I had the exciting and doubtful 
privilege of being present at a native sectional or stone 
fight, an experience which few covet even once and 
which the wise and informed, at least of womankind, in- 
variably forego. Once a year at a certain season, where 
two neighborhoods or sections have grievances against 
each other, they settle them by one of these fights. They 
choose captains, arrange the opposing parties, and begin 
firing stones and tiles at each other. As one crowd or the 
other is by turns victorious, and the pursued flee before 
their enemies, and as those who are at one moment tri- 
umphant are often the very next the vanquished, hotly 
chased, it is almost impossible to find any safe point of 
vantage from which to view the conflict. At any instant 
the place one has chosen, as well removed and safe, may 
become the ground of the hottest battle. Very large 
stones are often thrown, and people are fatally injured, 
though not as frequently as one would think. It is a 
wonder that hundreds are not killed or wounded. In 
going from my home to visit a friend one day, a few 
weeks after my arrival, I was obliged to pass a large 
crowd of men, who seemed divided into two parties, and 
were very noisy and vociferous. I remarked upon this to 



A STONE FIGHT 29 

my friend, and sending to inquire, we found it was the 
preliminaries of a stone fight which I had witnessed. Her 
husband said it would not be safe for me to return alone, 
and therefore to my lasting gratitude offered to see me 
through it. 

We soon found that the stones and missiles were com- 
ing our way, and were forced to run for shelter to a 
Korean house. For a few moments the fight was hot 
around us, and then as it seemed to have passed on 
quite far down the street we ventured forth, only to find 
that the tide had again turned, and the whole mob were 
tearing in our direction. Mr. Bunker, for it was he, said 
there was nothing for it but to scale a half-broken wall 
into an adjacent compound, and run for it to the house of 
Mr. Gilmore, not far distant. So, reckless of my best 
gown, I scaled the wall with great alacrity, and we ran for 
it quite shamelessly. Missiles of considerable size were 
raining around us, and the possibility, or rather prob- 
ability, that one would soon light on our heads, accelerated 
our speed to no small degree. These affairs are often 
funny in retrospect, but smack strongly of the tragic at the 
time, while the outcome is so decidedly uncertain. How- 
ever, by much dodging and circling, frequently sheltering 
ourselves under the wall, we at length reached Mr. Gil- 
more's house, when, in a somewhat ruffled and perturbed 
condition, I waited till the coast was quite clear and found 
my way home, a wiser and deeply thoughtful woman. 

On one occasion not long since an affair of this kind 
threatened very serious results for a hot-headed young 
compatriot of ours, who went to photograph one of these 
fights. A cool-headed American recently snapped his 
camera on a tiger here before shooting it, and it may have 
been in emulation of him, that our young friend made 
this attempt. He soon became convinced that he was the 



30 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

object at which all the missiles were sent, and that the 
bloodthirsty ruffians were all seeking his life. Being un- 
fortunately as well as unlawfully armed with a six- 
shooter, over-excited and alarmed, he fired into the crowd 
and fled. His bullet entered the fleshy part of the leg of 
one of the natives, who fell, as most of them supposed, 
mortally wounded ;and now indeed the wrath of the crowd 
on both sides was directed at its hottest against the 
thoroughly frightened young man. He ran for his life 
the crowd pursuing with yells of fury. Camera and over- 
coat were flung away he had nearly a mile to go to reach 
shelter in the American legation, which he at length man- 
aged to do, panting and almost exhausted. As his victim 
was not seriously hurt, he escaped with the payment of a 
fine, a few weeks' imprisonment, a most severe reprimand, 
and a polite request to leave the country. 

The Koreans often evince considerable military skill in 
the tactics of these civil battles. Sharpshooters armed 
with slings will take possession of some high point, and 
others are sent to take them by surprise and dislodge them, 
suddenly creeping upon them from the rear, or scaling the 
rampart in the face of the enemy's fire. These natives re- 
peatedly prove themselves good fighters and no cowards, 
when armed and facing not too unequal numbers. 

During this my first summer in Korea I was invited to 
attend a royal Quaga. This was a very interesting assem- 
blage of Korean scholars, who met in the palace grounds, 
and there in little tents or booths wrote theses in Chinese 
on some subject given by the king. Those whose papers 
passed a successful examination were rewarded with some 
civil rank, supposed to be proportioned to the excellence 
of their standing. I should think that more than a thou- 
sand men from all parts of the country were gathered 
in these grounds, busily writing or copying their 



POUKHAN 31 

papers, some of which were then being handed to the 
judges. 

I was told, however, that in nearly all the successful 
cases money was necessary to aid the judgment and 
clarify the minds of the judges. We were treated with 
great kindness, invited to a fine pavilion, and later offered 
refreshments in the royal dining hall. This old-time 
(shall I say, dishonored) institution has now fallen into 
disuse for some years. No doubt in its honest beginnings 
a truly competitive examination for office, it was good 
and useful, but abuses creeping in, rendered it an empty 
form to be finally abolished as a useless and effete remnant 
of ancient days. 

Another event of the summer was a little trip made to 
Poukhan, or the northern fortress, about ten miles distant 
from Seoul. It is said by Koreans that a secret under- 
ground road leads from it to the palace in Seoul, so that 
in case of any danger, or the investment of the city by 
enemies, the royal family could flee hither for safety. It is 
in truth an ideal spot for such a purpose. European sol- 
diers have said that properly fortified it would be for 
months, perhaps years, impregnable. Our visit was made 
in Korea's loveliest season, the month of May, which is, if 
possible, more beautiful than in any other land. Wild 
flowers of the most exquisite hue and odor abound every- 
where, but at Poukhan they seemed to be in greater quan- 
tities and lovelier colors. The mountain rises bold and 
rugged in outline, and its scenery is wild and in places 
almost forbidding, but a beautiful brook dashes down its 
sides, leaping over huge boulders and turning everything 
into luxuriant beauty, like the lovely maids of fairy lore, 
in whose footsteps the sweetest flowers sprang and from 
whose lips dropped fairest gems. 

This brook flows from a spring which bubbles up in 



32 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

the top of the mountain, so that any garrison stationed 
there need never surrender for want of water, nor indeed 
of food, for after a steep ascent of about a mile, the path 
suddenly pierces the rocks, and entering a picturesque gate 
in a more picturesque wall, all hung with ivy, dips into a 
verdant valley surrounded on all sides by lofty barriers of 
rock. Here are fertile fields where food can easily be 
raised and stored against an evil time. 

Some of our missionaries often come here, and spend 
the hot and unhealthy summer weeks among the cool 
shades of these lofty rocks in some of the Buddhist 
temples. There are some delightful little pavilions, near 
clear, cool pools of water, with scenery on all sides very 
wild, beautiful, and picturesque. 

At that time, in the history of our mission nearly every 
foreigner possessed a horse, most of them Chinese ponies, 
very gentle and easy to ride. Utterly unacquainted with 
the nature of the people, it was feared by many that 
danger might suddenly arise, and that we ought to have 
means of escape at hand. We found them very useful and 
pleasant accessories, and often when the hot afternoon 
sun was low we explored some of the pretty and interest- 
ing surroundings of Seoul. 

This city lies encircled by low mountains, whose tree- 
less and bare outlines cut the blue horizon with a bold 
abruptness. Among the hills and mountain passes are 
pretty woods and groves and here lies nestled many a 
little hamlet, entered through some charming lane, bor- 
dered with blossoming bushes of clematis, eglantine, haw- 
thorn or syringa, in richest profusion. Mr. Underwood 
was often my guide on these excursions; sometimes we 
walked on the city wall, and saw the distant mountains 
and the sleeping villages beneath us, bathed in glorious 
moonlight, and thanked God for casting our lives in a land 



PROGRESS OF THE WORK 33 

of so much beauty and among a people so kindly and 
teachable. 

During all these months and the following winter 
foundations were still busily laying, language helps 
and Bible translations were under way, and through 
hospital and school, as well as by direct evangelistic effort, 
people were being reached. The number of attendants 
upon the services in the little chapel was daily increasing, 
and reports came from the natives working in the country 
of inquirers and converts there, which made it seem neces- 
sary to make another extended trip as soon as possible. 
A second trip had already been made by Mr. Underwood, 
selling books and simple medicines, and gathering in here 
and there a little handful of converts. He met with great 
encouragement, but baptized few. During his first trip 
he traveled to the northern border of Korea, stopping in 
all the large towns, Songdo, Anju, Pyeng Yang, Kangai, 
Haiju, Ouiju. During the entire year less than twenty- 
five were baptized, and from the first altogether up to that 
time hardly fifty, while Methodists and Presbyterians to- 
gether up to 1889 numbered only a little over one hundred. 
In April of 1888 he baptized seven men at Sorai, a village 
in Whang Hai, where the Gospel had been brought in 
from China by a Mr. Saw Sang Hyen, a convert of Mr. 
Ross'. Some of these men had come to the capital in the 
spring of 1887 and three had been baptized after careful 
examination. 

The seven who were received in their own village had 
been for more than a year in preparation, and then were 
baptized only after Mr. Underwood had spent ten days 
in their village, talking with and examining them. 
This is mentioned to show that extreme caution was used 
in making the first admissions to the native church, in 
order that its foundations might be laid securely, if slowly. 



34 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

In the trip made in November, 1888, certain Koreans had 
been placed in a few localities to instruct, sell tracts and 
pave the way for the work of the foreigner on a succeed- 
ing visit. One of these men was stationed at Pyeng Yang, 
one at Chang Yun, and one at Ouiju. Extremely encour- 
aging, but in some cases exaggerated reports came from 
all these places as to the increasing number of hopeful in- 
quirers, and it seemed imperative that a trip should be 
taken as soon as spring opened, for the examination, en- 
couragement and instruction of these new believers, and 
to oversee the work of the employed agents, who were 
necessarily unproved as yet. 

Mr. Underwood and I had been engaged since the early 
fall, and we had arranged to be married, and to start for 
the country on the fourteenth of March. The whole 
foreign community seemed to vie with each other in 
tokens of kindness and good will towards us on that oc- 
casion. 

On the morning of the eventful day, the jingling bells 
of many pack-ponies was heard in our courtyard, and 
I soon discovered that quite a train of the little animals 
had arrived with the gift of her majesty. One million 
cash! It sounds like "Arabian Nights," but as at that 
time 2,500 to 3,000 cash went to the making of the dollar, 
it was not, after all, more than a generous Korean queen 
might easily give, or a missionary easily dispose of. Their 
majesties arranged for several people from the palace 
to be present at the ceremony, the army was represented 
by General Han Ku Sul, a nobleman of the highest rank, 
and the cabinet by Min Yeng Whan, a near relative of 
the queen, and in highest favor with their majesties. 

A number of palace women were also present, behind 
screens, and of course some of the native Christians. The 
whole foreign community gave us their good wishes, and. 



OUR WEDDING TRIP 35 

cable messages were put in our hands just after the cere- 
mony, from each of our respective homes in America. 

Early on the morning of the I4th of March, 1889, we 
set out on our wedding trip. 

Everything except force had been resorted to by mis- 
sionaries and foreigners residing in Seoul to prevent my 
taking this journey. No European woman had, as yet, 
ever traveled in the interior of Korea, and not more than 
four of five men had ever ventured ten miles outside the 
walls, except to the port. Tigers and leopards were 
known to exist in the mountains ; the character of the 
natives was not well understood by most people; conta- 
gion in the inns, the rudeness of mobs, the difficulty of 
obtaining good water, no means of speedy communica- 
tion with Seoul, the necessity at times of long marches, 
were all possible dangers, but were greatly overestimated. 
It was freely and frequently predicted, that if I came back 
at all, it would be in my coffin, and my poor husband fell 
under the heaviest of public censure for consenting to take 
me. As he had made two trips and saw no difficulty, I 
felt I could trust his judgment, and as country work was 
exactly what I had longed to do, and what had been my 
ideal from the first, I looked forward with the greatest 
pleasure to a journey through a lovely country, to be 
filled with blessed service ; it seemed to me no honeymoon 
so rich in delight could ever have been planned before. 

It was arranged that I Should go in a native chair, 
which consisted of a sort of box frame, high enough for 
me to sit in Turkish fashion; it had a roof of bamboo 
covered with paper oiled and painted, the sides were 
closed in with blue muslin, and there were little windows 
of stained glass on either side. A curtain in the front 
could be raised or buttoned down to keep out the chill or 
the disagreeable piercing eyes of the curious sightseers or 



36 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

kugungers, as they are called in Korea. My conveyance 
was made more comfortable by cushions beneath and be- 
hind my seat, a shawl was draped around the inside to 
keep out draughts, and with a hot-water bottle and foot- 
muff at my feet, I felt positively steeped in luxury, and 
quite too much babyfied for a hardy missionary. 

I was carried by a couple of strong chair coolies, the 
poles on which the chair was placed resting in straps, 
which hung from the shoulders of the carriers, so that its 
main weight came on them, rather than on the hands, 
which grasped the poles. There were four bearers, two 
who carried, and two who, by placing a strong rod under 
the chair, lifted its weight from the tired shoulders, for 
half a minute or so, once every ten minutes. At the end 
of every three miles these lifting men and the others 
changed places, and so we easily made thirty miles or 
more every day, without much fatigue on the part of these 
hardy men, whose profession this had been for years. 

I'm afraid they were a very rough set of customers, 
and undoubtedly got us into trouble on more than one 
occasion. They were full of fun and spirits, and told long 
and fishy yarns, to the country folks, and occasionally 
played off practical jokes on these simple swains, to be- 
guile the tedium of the road. They aroused the awe and 
admiration of the natives in the country villages, by tell- 
ing them what wonderful things we carried in our packs. 
There was nothing, according to them, that we could not 
do, or had not got. "Why, even a boat," said they, "is in 
that trunk. It folds up very small, but one blows into it, 
and it gradually grows hard and large, and lo! a boat." 
Thus was magnified our rubber bath tub. That we fin- 
ished our trip with so little difficulty with such com- 
panions speaks well for the gentle good nature of the 
natives. 



TRAVELING BY CHAIR 37 

Of course, I walked as much as possible, but many 
weary miles must be endured in the chair, with its tire- 
some jogging, interrupted regularly with an upward jolt 
of several inches. The ordinary road soon came to be 
quite tolerable, but when the bearers in the half light of 
early dawn (or worse still, the evening, when tired with 
a long day's march) picked their way over the narrow 
foot-paths, slippery with clay, between half-submerged 
rice fields, or jumped across intervening ditches, the rear 
man going wholly by faith, I must say it was not easy or 
pleasant. 

We had quite a little train. Mr. Underwood was on his 
horse, with a mapoo to lead and care for it. These horses 
are all fed on a hot food of beans and chopped hay, and 
very carefully attended to. We had two or three pack- 
ponies which carried medicines, tracts, at that time mostly 
Chinese, which only scholars could read, our blankets and 
bedding, a few cooking utensils, and foreign food and our 
clothing. The question of money and changes of horses 
was a difficult one, but it had been solved by an order 
from the Korean Foreign Office, to the country magis- 
trates, to accept our receipt for any amount of money that 
we might need, and also for horses in exchange for ours, 
all of which bills we were to pay in Seoul on our return. 
The money was so extremely bulky, it was impossible to 
take more than a couple of days' supply on our ponies. 
On previous trips Mr. Underwood had carried large lumps 
of silver, which were exchanged in the towns for cash. 

The little inns along the road never charge for rooms ; 
the number of tables of rice and the number of horses fed 
are usually the only items in the landlord's bill. In addi- 
tion to chair coolies and mapoos, we had a young Chris- 
tian helper, a cook, and a kesu. The two latter left us at 
Pyeng Ya.ng and returned home. 



CHAPTER III 

We Start on our Wedding Journey Songdo Guards at our 
Gates Crossing the Tai-tong Difficulties in Finding an 
Inn Korean Launderings An Old Man Seeks to be Rid of 
Sin Mob at an Inn A Ruffian Bursts Open my Door 
Fight in the Inn Yard Pat Defies the Crowd Convenience 
. of Top-knots A Magistrate Refuses to Shelter Us The 
"Captain" to the Rescue Pack-ponies We Lay a Deep 
Scheme Torch Bearers A Mountain Hamlet Tiger Traps 
Tigers A Band of Thirty Conspire to Attack Us Guns 
Used by Native Hunters A Tiger Story. 

We started on our trip at early dawn, turning directly 
north, on the road passing under the arch, which then 
marked the spot where the representatives of Korea yearly 
met the Chinese ambassadors who came to receive tribute. 
This custom was maintained until Korea's independence 
was declared ; in honor of which the old arch was then 
taken down and a finer one erected. Beyond this arch 
lay the pass, a narrow, muddy and stony way, leading 
through the mountain. It was crowded with oxen and 
pack-ponies, going to and from Seoul. Shouting mapoos 
and coolies added to the confusion, great rocks seemed 
just ready to fall from above and crush the unlucky 
passers, and many which had fallen from time to time im- 
peded the road. Now a fine road has been made across 
the hill, and the old way of danger and discomfort is 
closed up. From its darkness, its fiendish noises, grue- 
some odors and bad going it would not have been an unfit 
image of Bunyan's Valley of the Shadow of Death. The 



A KOREAN INN 39 

snow still remained in sheltered places, for it was only 
March, and the morning air was sharp and chill, but we 
found a very fine road all the way to Songdo. 

We made our first halt at noon, at a small village be- 
tween Seoul and Songdo, and I had my first experience 
of a native inn. The Korean inn is second only in filth, 
closeness, bad odors and discomfort to those in the in- 
terior of China. There is usually only one room for 
women, which has from one to four or five paper-covered 
doors or windows they are nearly always the same size 
and bear the same name opening into the kitchen, the 
court and the sarang. This room is often not more than 
eight by ten or twelve feet large, and very low. The 
paper which covers the door is commonly blackened 
with dirt, so that few indeed are the rays of light which 
manage to struggle in a disheartened way into these 
gloomy little apartments. They boast little or no furni- 
ture, perhaps a chang or Korean cabinet (most unique and 
antique-looking chests, much ornamented with brass or 
black iron hinges, locks, etc.) stands against the wall, 
upon which are piled a great many bright-colored quilts 
and pillows, not the wooden ones sometimes described 
and much used, but like old-style long sofa pillows, and 
very much more comfortable. At the center of the ceil- 
ing, just under the roof tree, may be seen a bunch of dirty 
rags, feathers and sticks, where the household Lares and 
Penates are supposed to roost. A harrow or charcoal 
fire-pot with a smouldering fire probably stands some- 
where on the floor. This should be promptly removed, 
as its presence often causes severe headache, and some- 
times asphyxia, from which one of the missionaries was 
only resuscitated after repeated fainting and hours of 
effort on the part of a companion. 

In most of the inns very picturesque tall brass or 



40 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

wooden lamp-stands are seen. They consist of a rod 
about two and a half feet high, on a good solid base with 
a little bracket at the top for a saucer of castor oil, and 
an ox horn hanging below containing the main supply of 
oil. The lamp or saucer contains a small wick which 
yields a very tiny light, just enough to emphasize and 
make visible the darkness. Often these lamps have a 
special niche, or little cupboard in the wall, where they 
are enclosed during the day. Nearly always a stout bar 
crosses the room about a foot from the wall, and three or 
four feet from the floor, on which garments may be hung, 
and as commonly there is a wide shelf running around 
two or three sides of the apartment, very near the roof, on 
which are sundry household utensils, winter vegetables, 
very likely piles of yeast cakes for the manufacture of 
beer, and, in fact, a heterogeneous collection, too numer- 
ous and varied to mention. Here lies a dusty old book, 
there a work basket, and further on the wooden block 
and clubs used for ironing, a bottle of medicine, a pile of 
rice bowls, or a box of matches. 

The mats which are placed over the oiled paper, or more 
likely directly on the earth floor, are full of dust and 
vermin of all descriptions, which run riot everywhere. 
It is best not to begin to think how many people have, in 
that room and lying on these identical mats, been ill, and 
died, of dysentery, small-pox, cholera or typhus fever, 
since the room was even swept or the mats once shaken. 
A "really truly" cleaning they are ignorant of. Fumiga- 
tion and disinfection are as far beyond the flights of their 
wildest imagination as the private life of the man in the 
moon. The miracle over which we never cease to wonder 
and admire is that so many people of clean antecedents 
who travel through the interior are able to resist the 
microbes, bacteria, germs and all similar enemies 



HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS 41 

under whatsoever name which, according to all mod- 
ern science, ought to attack and destroy them in short 
order. 

In most of the inns, tall earthen jars, from two to three, 
or rarely four feet high, and two or three feet in diameter, 
in which AH Baba's cutthroat thieves could easily hide, are 
ranged along the side of the wall, but more frequently in 
the courtyard. They contain various kinds of grain, 
pickles, beer, wine, and there are always several holding 
kimchi (a sort of sauerkraut), without which they never 
eat rice. 

Numbers of dogs, cats, chickens, pigs and ducks are 
under foot in the courtyard, oxen and ponies are noisily 
feeding in the stalls, under the same roof with ourselves, 
only just outside the paper door, and if one is to sleep it 
must be in spite of a combined grunting, squealing, cack- 
ling, blowing and barking, anything but conducive to re- 
pose. Most of the hotels have, as has been said, only 
one inner room, where it is proper for a woman to stay. 
Our helper, chair-coolies, mapoos and other travelers 
use the sarang, packed very likely like sardines in a box, 
and the host's family turn out, and go to a neighbor's for 
the night, unless the inn is a large one on the main road. 
A large and fashionable inn in Korea would have per- 
haps five, or even six, sleeping apartments though I do 
not recollect having seen so many. 

Now we travel with cot-beds which roll up and slip into 
heavy canvas bags, and take up very little room on the 
pack. These blessings keep us off the dirty floors, which 
are usually much too hot for health, unless, indeed, one 
has come in wet, cold, and aching from a long tramp, 
when they are a specific preventive of colds and rheuma- 
tism. On that first journey, however, we had nothing of 
this sort, but we sent out for some bundles of fresh clean 



42 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

straw used for thatch one thing, at least, of which there 
is plenty in every village and piled them at least a foot 
high. We spread thereon our bed, to the confusion and 
defeat of our little enemies, ploughing their weary way 
uselessly through the mazes of that straw all night. In 
this way we slept peacefully, except when the floor became 
intolerably hot, and our bed correspondingly so, then we 
rose, piled our straw in another place, remade our couch, 
and composed ourselves again to slumber. We never did 
this more than three times in one night, and it was a mere 
diversion. 

The situation, however, develops into something quite 
beyond a joke, as was hinted in a former chapter, when 
one is forced to travel in hot weather. The rice and beans 
for men and animals must be cooked, which means in 
nine cases out of ten that a fire must be built under your 
room, and you must sleep on the stove, although the 
thermometer is already in the seventies before it is 
kindled. The room, you remember, is small and low, the 
windows opening to the court probably few. You look 
longingly at the open porch or maru, but there are 
leopards and tigers that prowl at night, or wanting these, 
no lack of rats, ferrets, and snakes ; there are foul smells 
and rank poisonous vapors, pools of green water and sew- 
age all about, a famous place in the damp night air to 
soak a system full of malaria, more deadly than wild 
beasts ; so with a sigh you turn again to your oven, pre- 
pared for the worst. Up, up, steadily climbs the ther- 
mometer, your pulses throb, your head snaps, you gasp 
and pant for breath, and at length toward morning, when 
the fire is dead, and the hot stones a little cooled, you fall 
into an exhausted feverish sleep. But an early start is 
necessary to make the next stage, and by four o'clock at 
least a new fire is built to cook more rice, and you rush 



KUGUNGERS 43 

out of doors, to draw a whiff of pure air and cool your 
burning temples. 

So even if it were not for the rains, flooded roads, and 
overflowing, unbridged rivers, we should not travel ex- 
cept from dire necessity in the summer. Tents have not 
been found practicable among the missionaries in the 
rainy season, and their use has been followed in several in- 
stances by severe and even fatal illness. One of the chief 
annoyances, especially on this our first trip, at the inns 
were the kugungers or sightseers. The paper doors are 
speedily made available as peep-holes for the foe. From 
all quarters the word "foreigner," and above all "foreign 
woman," spreads like wildfire. Never did a lion or an 
elephant create such excitement in an American village. 
The moment we entered an inn the house was instantly 
thronged, besieged, invested. Every door was full of 
holes made by dampening the finger and placing it with 
gentle pressure against the paper. It was dismaying, 
when we fancied ourselves quite alone, to see all those 
holes filled with hungry eyes. Never since have I cared 
to visit a show of wild animals or human freaks. I sym- 
pathize with them so fully, that there is no pleasure in the 
satisfaction of curiosity at such a cost. We wished to 
meet the people, but we could not talk with such a mob, in 
any satisfactory way, as their frantic curiosity about us 
made it impossible for them to attend to what we had to 
tell until they were in some measure satisfied. But to re- 
turn to our trip. 

Some twenty miles this side of Songdo the road crosses 
the Imgin river, where a ferry boat is in readiness to 
carry the traveler and his belongings to the other side. A 
story is told here of the patriotism of a nobleman who 
lived in a magnificent summer house on the bluff over- 
looking the river, at the time of the Hedioshi rebellion. 



44 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

His king, fleeing from the Japanese, arrived here at mid- 
night, and to light him and his escort to the ferry this man 
set fire to his beautiful home. As a result of this, the 
king crossed in safety, and escaped his enemies. In token 
of his gratitude, he therefore ordered that a summer house 
should be kept perpetually in memory of his loyal friend 
on the site of the one which had been sacrificed, and loaded 
him with honors and rewards. 

The city of Songdo is one of the largest in Korea, and 
from a Korean standpoint probably the most important 
commercially, as well as the richest. Here is grown the 
ginseng, so highly prized by Koreans, Chinese and 
Japanese, and sold the best at forty-five dollars a 
pound ; more than its weight in gold. Though Songdo 
was formerly the nation's capital, a successful rebel gen- 
eral, making himself king, established his seat of govern- 
ment in Seoul. 

We arrived in this ancient city about sundown, and 
shortly afterwards met ten Christian inquirers. In a few 
days we sold all our books, and medicines, which we ex- 
pected would last for the entire trip, and had to send back 
to Seoul for more. We were besieged by large crowds of 
people during our stay, so that we were obliged to ask for 
a guard at the gate. We admitted fifty at a time, and 
when their curiosity had been sated, their diseases treated, 
and they had bought as many books as they wanted, they 
were dismissed, to make room for another pushing, strug- 
gling, eagerly curious fifty. Mr. Underwood baptized no 
one, but met, examined and instructed inquirers, and di- 
rected and corrected his native helper's work. 

Songdo is about forty-five miles from Seoul, and has 
about two hundred thousand inhabitants. Thus far the 
Southern Methodists are the only ones who have a station 
there, though just why we other missionaries never started 




TAI-TONG RIVER. PACE 45 
FERRY BOAT. PAGE 43 



SONGDO 45 

work in so important a center it would be hard to say ; ex- 
cept that it did not seem to develop there at first as promis- 
ingly, shall I say, as insistently, as in some other places, 
where need was so pressing we never could obtain work- 
ers enough to supply the demand, far less start new 
centers. 

Songdo has no gates. It is said that they were re- 
moved, with the privileges as well of the Quaga, because 
the people of that city so persistently continued to despise 
and treat with contempt the authority of Seoul. Whereas 
it is the custom to speak of going .up to Seoul, they would 
refer to going down to that city ; they would not measure 
their grain from right to left, as in Seoul, but from left to 
right; and worst of all, from having constantly referred 
to the king as a pig, they came to speak of a pig by the 
king's name! 

From Songdo, we proceeded north, by short stages to 
Pyeng Yang, which was the next place of importance, 
where Mr. Underwood looked for inquirers and where 
there were already a few Christians. We reached the Tai- 
tong River, which lay just below the city gates between us 
and it, in a driving snow storm. Long and loudly did the 
various members of our party try their lungs in the effort 
to obtain a boat, but at length, when patience was quite 
exhausted, the ferryman, or one of them, arrived with a 
great flat-bottomed boat, which accommodated us all 
ponies, packs, coolies, chair, helpers and missionaries and 
landed us in mud and safety on the other side for a few 
cash. I had almost forgotten, however, to speak of the 
beautiful road leading up to this ferry, with its noble 
overarching trees and its variety of beautiful bushes and 
flowers. Even at that bleak and wintry season it was 
lovely, and a month later, when we returned, it was 
charming, with its green woodland shade and its wealth 



46 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

of sweet-scented blossoms. Now, alas ! it is quite shorn 
of its beauty, for during the Japanese-Chinese war, the 
trees were all cut down. 

We were no sooner within the city gates than a very 
noisy and constantly increasing crowd followed close at 
our heels, growing ever more annoying and demonstra- 
tive, till its dimensions and behavior were altogether too 
much like a mob. Respectable and frightened inn-keep- 
ers one after another turned us from their doors until the 
uncomfortable possibility of being obliged to spend the 
night in the streets suggested itself. However, after a 
time we found a refuge, and with the aid of a policeman 
from the magistracy we managed to keep the mob at bay, 
seeing only a stated number at a time, as in Songdo. It 
rained during most of our stay, and I could with no com- 
fort or safety go out even in a chair to see the town, for 
if I so much as peeped out, some one caught sight of the 
foreign woman, and at once a crowd gathered which made 
it impossible to move or to accomplish anything. Once 
before we left I accompanied Mr. Underwood to a 
pleasant spot outside the gates, which he thought would 
be a good site for a sub-station, and we made a visit to the 
mother of one of our Christians. She was extremely sick, 
and as she recovered not long after we were very happy in 
having left a good impression and a grateful family be- 
hind us. 

I had a practical illustration of the inconvenience of 
Korean methods of laundry in this town, for giving out a 
number of articles to the tender mercies of a Korean 
woman, they were returned minus all the buttons. They 
had pounded the garments on a stone in some stream, and 
as a precaution had removed all these little conveniences 
before doing so. There was no starch, no bluing, and 
no ironing. Korean clothes before ironing must be ripped, 



KOREAN LAUNDERING 47 

and are then pounded for hours on a smooth piece of 
wood until they obtain a beautiful gloss. Koreans are, 
however, not without iron irons. They have quite a large 
one, which holds hot charcoal, and two sorts of small ones, 
not more than half an inch wide by two or three inches in 
length, with a long handle, for pressing the seams of 
sleeves, and of garments which it is only desirable to press 
on the seam. 

After a stay of about a week in Pyeng Yang, during 
which time we saw a great many visitors, most of whom 
came from curiosity, but none of whom went away with- 
out a printed or spoken word about the gospel, we again 
started out on our journey north. Oh, if one prophetic 
vision might have been granted us of what was to be in 
such a few years ! If we could have seen those dreary and 
heart-sickening wastes of humanity transformed into 
fields of rich grain waiting in harvest glory for the sickle, 
if we could have seen the hundreds now gathered yearly 
into the garner, how our hearts would have burned within 
us ! "But the love of God is broader than the measure of 
man's mind," and though we saw visions and dreamed 
dreams, we hardly dared hope they would all be fulfilled. 
God kept the future hidden as a sweet surprise. Just after 
leaving this city an old man of seventy-six came three 
miles to inquire of us "concerning the religion by which a 
man could be rid of sin," one of the first fruits of that later 
harvest, which God permitted us to reap. 

Ernsan, one of the small villages at which we spent the 
night, turned out to be a very rough sort of place. We 
were obliged in many of these towns to use the Foreign 
Office letter to obtain the shelter of the magistracies, as 
often the inns would not receive us or would prove no 
defense against the rudeness of the curious mobs, and 
we had no Christian constituency to fall back upon. At 



48 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

this particular place the magistrate was away, and the 
"chabin duli" (roughs) were not under ordinary restraint. 

In the morning, as the time for leaving drew near, a 
crowd of about one hundred men and large boys assem- 
bled in the little courtyard waiting for a kugung (sight) 
of the two curiosities. My husband, well aware that a 
woman who permits herself to be viewed by strange men 
is not respected or respectable in Korea, had my chair 
brought into the house, and the door closed, so that I 
might be shut in there and pass out unseen. On finding 
themselves thus balked of perhaps the one great oppor- 
tunity of their lives t r behold these strange, wild animals, 
some of the baser fellows could not restrain their curiosity, 
and one of them, probably egged on by the others, broke 
open the door of my bedroom. Than this, no greater 
breach of law or propriety is recognized in the land, and 
the guilty wretch is amenable to almost any punishment 
the injured woman's friends may choose to inflict. My 
husband, standing near the door, lifted his foot as the 
proper member with which to express his sentiments 
the tongue being incapable of sufficient vigor and the hand 
too good and this, though only a demonstration the 
man was not touched was sufficient encouragement to 
my chair coolies, who, considering their own honor bound 
up with mine for the time being, rushed forth to punish 
the "vile creature" who had insulted us all. 

One of them, a brawny fellow whom we called Pat, 
from his resemblance to gentlemen of the nationality 
which favors that name, at a bound had singled out his 
prey from the midst of the crowd and dragged him forth 
from his encircling friends and protectors. 

He dragged him forth in the usual approved Korean 
method, under such circumstances, by the top-knot, a very 
convenient and effective handle, for a man once in the 



PAT DEFIES THE CROWD 49 

grasp of his enemy in this way is practically at his mercy. 
He was soon on the ground being pummelled. But it 
must be remarked that we were but a little party, four 
coolies, one helper, one missionary, one woman, and they 
were a hundred or more strong. Our calling and dearest 
hopes forbade our using severe measures, nor would they, 
even firearms, have availed for long, but would only have 
served to make enemies for us on all sides, supposing we 
had frightened this crowd into order. So it behooved us 
to make peace, and speedily, for there were black looks 
and angry and threatening murmurings as the friends of 
the culprit drew near, preparing to defend him. 

So Mr. Underwood rushed down into the crowd, drew 
off our exasperated coolie, and quieted the rising storm. 
But Patrick could not depart without giving some ex- 
pression to his indignation, and waving his chair rod like 
a shillalah in the air around his head, he stood at the top 
of the steps, his back to the crowd (the pure Korean 
method in quarrels), vociferously announcing to whom it 
might concern his opinion of such actions in general, and 
this one in particular, and bidding them, in the spirit of 
James Fitz James" at the ford to 

"Come one, come all, this rock shall fly 
From its firm base as soon as I." 

But my husband saw that it would be best to get away 
while we could without exasperating them further, and be- 
fore the temper of the crowd should change again for the 
worse. A similar occurrence in either China or Japan 
would almost certainly have ended very differently for us. 
The Koreans do not bear malice, nor are they very re- 
vengeful or cruel without great provocation. We merely 
had to do with a rough crowd, who gathered thinking we 



So FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

were probably a base sort of people ; and when they saw 
that we behaved as quiet, decent Koreans would do, they 
respected our reserve and curbed their curiosity, though a 
few boys threw stones and hooted, and they all followed 
us a few rods outside the village, but we soon found our- 
selves peacefully alone. 

Before passing on I must say a few words on the gen- 
eral effectiveness of the top-knot method. It is a great 
pity men do not wear their hair in this way in America. 
We women who favor women's rights would soon find it 
a mighty handle by which to secure them, for in the 
hands of a discerning woman it is indeed an instrument of 
unlimited possibilities. Who would care to wield a 
scepter abroad, who could wield a top-knot at home? By 
one of these well-tied arrangements have I beheld a justly 
irate wife dragging home her drunken husband from the 
saloon ; and firmly grasping this, I have seen more than 
one indignant female administering that corporal punish- 
ment which her lord and master no doubt richly deserved. 
The Korean wife stands and serves her husband while he 
eats, she works while he smokes, but when family affairs 
come to a certain crisis, she takes the helm (that is to say, 
the top-knot) in hand, and puts the ship about. 

At another of our stopping places on this road we found 
a magistrate who had been so long in the interior and who 
was so ignorant and illiterate that he neither knew the 
uses of a passport, nor could read it when presented. 
This was serious, indeed, for here with a rough and 
curious crowd to be refused the shelter of the magistracy 
might mean our being subjected to mob violence, and 
would almost certainly insure our passing the night on the 
road. Here we must exchange exhausted pack-ponies for 
fresh ones, here we must obtain money for the next stage, 
and food and fire for our tired coolies and ourselves. So 



THE "CAPTAIN" TO THE RESCUE 51 

when our helper returned with the disquieting news that 
the magistrate would none of us, "the captain" donned 
his harness, and passport in hand, strode into the presence, 
gesticulated, I am afraid, stamped, waved the passport in 
the air, flung it to the ground, and by dint of noise and 
vehemence succeeded in impressing the astonished little 
official with a sense of the dignity and importance of the 
Foreign Office passports in the hands of strenuous West- 
erners. 

He promptly and politely gave us rooms, money, ponies, 
everything we needed, in order to rid himself of us and 
our arguments, I suppose, and no doubt he still recalls us 
as the most remarkable and alarming intruders who ever 
disturbed his quiet and uneventful life. 

But although sheltered by the magisterial walls our an- 
noyances were not over. Word had been passed far and 
near of the arrival of foreigners, and the crowds gathered 
thicker and thicker. They were only rude and good- 
naturedly curious, but curiosity is a strange passion when 
really aroused, as only those who have been its victims 
know. Men will travel miles, will undergo unheard-of 
fatigues and surmount great difficulties, and will pay very 
little regard to the convenience, comfort or even safety of 
those who try to oppose them in their desires to gratify 
this passion. 

Aware that we were besieged, we hung shawls and rain 
coats round the room, before the doors and windows, 
hoping to prevent the usual peep-show made by perfo- 
rating fingers, and thus fortified, seated ourselves in front 
of our trunk, which served for a table, to partake of our 
meal during the short respite thus gained. A smothered 
titter made us look quickly around. Long slender rods had 
been pushed through the peep-holes, the curtains lifted, 
multitudes of eyes applied to new holes, and we were 



52 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

well in view. I must honestly confess that in some 
of these baffled moments, in the hot fire of the enemy's 
ungenerous triumph, I have thought with glee of the 
execution which could be done with a syringe well aimed 
at those eye-filled holes, if we were just common travelers 
and not longing to win all hearts and ready to bear all 
such small annoyances with patience for the love of these 
poor people, even the most annoying of them. And now 
that I am more fully seasoned, I endure these rude in- 
trusions into my privacy with more sang froid, excusing 
and understanding it. 

About this stage in our journey our provisions ran very 
low, and among other things sugar gave out. Natives 
do not have this article of food, but we were able to get 
the Korean buckwheat honey, than which I have never 
tasted any more delicious, and we found that it improved 
the flavor of the finest tea. 

Here in these far recesses of the interior, where we 
were uncertain of the temper of the people, and where 
many more than doubtful characters were known to be in 
hiding, the magistrates thought it necessary to send at 
least one, sometimes two, officials with us. 

At the town of Huiju we found the scenery growing 
quite wild, the hills rising into mountains (though not 
very high ones), the road zig-zagging up and up, while a 
brawling, hurrying brook ran noisily below. Here we 
found the first spring flowers under the lingering snow, 
and above the snow were butterflies darting about in the 
sunshine, quite sure that they were in the right place, 
since the Father sent them, even though it did look a 
little cold and bleak; and then if one only looked up, there 
was the sun. Just here in the steepest, dizziest and most 
difficult part of the ascent, two of those poor little pack- 
ponies which I had been pitying all along for the terrible 



OUR PACK-PONIES FIGHT 53 

way their relentless mapoos overloaded them, began fight- 
ing (loads and all), and after kicking each other in the 
liveliest fashion for some time, squealing like little fiends, 
while the poor mapoos were dancing and vociferating 
around them trying to bring about a truce, they finally 
scampered off in different directions, and then and there 
my heart hardened, and never since has pity for these 
animals entered it. They are, I firmly opine, as self-willed, 
spoiled, obstinate, quarrelsome, uncertain, tricky and 
tough little beasts as ever carried a load. 

Among many other people treated at this little village, 
a woman came sixteen miles for medicine, and carried 
away as well the news of the Great Physician. Thus the 
mission to the body proves effective to the soul, and the 
seed is scattered far and wide. How that little seed 
prospered He only knows who has promised that those 
who cast it upon the water shall find it after many 
days. 

Here, after we had eaten our supper, Mr. Underwood 
and I conceived a deep scheme to escape the stuffy little 
cage-like room and take a walk by moonlight in the midst 
of that lovely scenery. It would of course be futile to go 
out of the gate, for then the alarm would be given, and we 
should be hounded by the entire able-bodied portion of 
the populace. But the wall was low, and waiting till we 
supposed every one had retired for the night, we stealthily 
crept like a couple of criminals out of our quarters, sur- 
mounted the wall, and were at last free, and for once 
alone, away from staring eyes, to enjoy the sweet air and 
each other's company. But alas! we had hardly gone 
twenty paces when a Korean cur (than which only a 
Korean pig is more detestable) espied or nosed us, and 
at once set up a loud and continuous bark. We hurried 
on, hoping to escape, but it was not to be ; one white form 



54 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

after another appeared at the doorways, soon a quickly 
swelling stream of people were in our wake, and the game 
was up. We returned and retraced our steps, attended by 
a long retinue, entered by the gate, and hid our discom- 
fiture within the walls of our little dungeon. 

From Huiju our road led up farther, over a still higher 
mountain, and here we were provided, according to the 
conditions of our passport, with oxen instead of ponies to 
carry our loads (being stronger and surer footed), and 
also, as for all travelers belated and overtaken by darkness, 
torches of blazing pine knots or long grass carried by 
some of the villagers to a certain distance, where it was 
the business of others to meet us with new ones. The 
men who provide the oxen and torches are given the use 
of certain fields by the government in payment for such 
services, but often they are unfaithful. The belated 
traveler pounds long at their gates in vain. Some neigh- 
bor appears to say the man is sick or away. At length, 
when a reward has been given, and when patience has not 
only ceased to be a virtue, but ceased to exist at all, he or 
his wife appears and deliberately prepares the long-de- 
sired torch. 

On the other side of this mountain, as we descended 
into the valley, we found a village which presented a very 
different aspect from any we had yet seen. The houses 
were not made of a basket work of twigs filled in with 
mud, like the ordinary native dwellings, but of heavy logs. 
The little compounds surrounding each house were en- 
closed with high fences made of strong timbers, each 
sharpened to a point at the top and firmly bound together, 
instead of the usual hedge of blossoming bushes or tile- 
covered mud wall. It all looked as if these farmers and 
foresters were prepared for a siege, but from what 
enemy ? 



TIGER TRAPS 55 

There were no Indians or wild tribes here. It was a 
most picturesque place. The mountains rose grandly 
above us, all around were woods, and a beautiful stream 
rippled along between them and the village. It was a 
glorious moonlit night, the atmosphere seemed fairly to 
sparkle with brilliancy. Again, after supper, we prepared 
to take a walk. Few indeed had been our opportunities 
for such honeymoon observances as this, which are sup- 
posed to be the peculiar privilege and bounden duty of all 
the good newly married. As has been noted already, the 
large crowds which watched our every movement, and 
from whose observation not the smallest motion was lost, 
precluded any such folly on our part, but here, far off in 
the wild recesses of the woods and mountains, in a village 
whose inhabitants seemed nobly exceptional in the praise- 
worthy habit of keeping at home, here we might wander 
at will, in the enchanting light, listening anon to the 
silvery cadences of the stream. So we sauntered along in 
the most approved fashion of honeymooners until a few 
steps beyond the confines of the village, where woods 
closed in on all sides. 

We had observed here and there as we passed along 
what looked like a sort of huge pen made of logs, 
weighted with great stones on top, strangely constructed, 
as if for the housing of some large animal. Now as we 
stood on the edge of the brook trying to decide whether 
to cross into the woods, a sound as of heavy and yet 
stealthy footsteps on the dry leaves in the shadow of the 
trees arrested our attention. An uncanny mystery seemed 
to hang over everything. Slightly startled by the sound, 
we awakened to the fact that the pens we had seen must 
be tiger traps, that this was a famous tiger tramping 
ground (they would naturally come to the brook to 
drink), that the enemy against whom the village was so 



56 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

strongly fortified were these beasts of prey, and that it 
would be in every way profitable to us to postpone our 
moonlight rambles for some more propitious time and 
place. So with a less lover-like and more business-like 
pace we returned to the prosaic but welcome shelter of 
the huts. 

Korean tiger skins are very fine when the animal has 
been killed in the winter, but unfortunately the natives do 
not understand the proper method of preserving them, 
and those which are taken away, as well as the leopard 
skins, very soon become denuded of hair. The natives 
prize the claws very highly, and often remove them as 
soon as the beast is killed. They are found from the 
Manchurian border through the whole country, among 
the mountains ; more than once have they been seen in the 
capital since my arrival, and only a few months after I 
landed a leopard was seen in the Russian legation com- 
pound next to our house. As our homes were all bunga- 
lows, and the extreme heat of summer nights necessitated 
open windows, I often lay awake after this for hours 
at night, certain that I heard the stealthy, heavy tread 
and deep breathing of one of these creatures in my 
room. 

But to return to our experiences in the tiger valley, 
which were not yet done. While Mr. Underwood and I 
were having our evening prayers together we heard in 
the valley below us the sharp report of a gun. The house 
in which we were was on the side of a hill, while our 
servants' quarters, and indeed most of the village, was in 
the valley just below. Shortly some one came running to 
tell us that a tiger had just been shot. This was slightly 
exciting, but turned out later to have been a mere excuse 
to quiet any alarm I might have felt on hearing the ex- 
plosion of the gun. 



A BAND OF ROBBERS 57 

The real facts were, it seemed, that a band of some 
thirty men, probably fugitives from justice, and robbers, 
had conspired to visit us that night at midnight and de- 
stroy the vile foreigners who had dared to intrude into the 
sacred precincts of this mountain land, and thus warned, 
no more strangers should trouble their shores. They had 
drunk together to the success of their plot, and the leader 
had rather overdone this part of it. Far gone in intoxica- 
tion, he had been too much fuddled to keep to the plan, 
had come several hours in advance of the time, had 
loudly boasted in the little inn of their intentions, and 
fired his gun in a fit of bravado. At the command of the 
head of the village he was immedately seized and locked 
up and his gun taken away. It was a poor old-fashioned 
affair, arranged with a long fuse wound around the bear- 
er's wrist, lighted when ready to fire, and inserted in an 
arm held up by the trigger, the pulling of which raised and 
removed a small cap which protected the priming powder 
and dropped the fuse upon it, thus firing the gun. It is 
with these awkward and clumsy weapons that the cool 
Korean hunters face and shoot the most formidable 
leopards, tigers, wild boars and bears which abound in the 
mountains of Korea. The Korean nobles use tiger and 
leopard skins on their carrying chairs, and the teeth and 
claws for ornaments, while the bones, when ground up, 
are supposed to be unrivalled as a tonic. 

Many are the tiger stories told by Koreans ; their folk- 
lore abounds with them. One very brief one is all I have 
time to insert. Once upon a time a fierce tiger crept 
stealthily into a village in search of prey. But every one 
was in bed, the cattle and pigs well guarded behind pali- 
saded walls, not a child, a dog, or even a chicken lingered 
outside. He was about to retire in despair of finding a 
supper there when he spied through the small aperture at 



5 8 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

the bottom of a gate, such as is found in all gates for the 
egress of dogs and cats, a small and trembling dog. His 
majesty tried in vain to squeeze through this hole, and 
finding it hopeless, took a careful survey of the wall. It 
was high, it is true, and sharply spiked, but sharply set too 
was the royal appetite, and he resolved to try the leap, 
after carefully reckoning the height to be surmounted and 
his own strength. He was a great agile fellow, and with 
the exertion of all his might he jumped, barely escaping 
the spikes, and landed safely inside the enclosure, quite 
ready for his supper, well aware that he must snatch it 
quickly and be gone ere the hunter in the cottage should 
espy and shoot him. But puppy had gathered his tail be- 
tween his legs, and with loud and long kiyies had slipped 
through the opening to the outer side of the wall. Nothing 
remained for our hungry prowler but to try another leap, 
only to find that his supper had again given him the slip. 
Alas, that his brains were not equal to his perseverance 
and industry! I grieve to be obliged to relate that this 
greedy fellow vaulted back and forth in pursuit of his 
meal, his anger and appetite growing with every leap, 
until he died of exhaustion and fell an ignominious prey 
to his small and elusive foe, illustrating the fact that 
might does not always win and that the small and weak 
need not always despair in the contest with size and 
strength. 

In the little hamlet where we met the adventure with 
the man who meant to kill us we were treated to fine veni- 
son and delicious honey. All through the woods we found 
anemones and other spring flowers and saw specimens of 
the beautiful pink ibis, belonging to the same family as the 
bird so often worshiped in Egypt. On the road hither 
and all around us we saw stacked and ready for sale 
cords of fine dark hard woods, of which we did not know 



A LAND OF TREES 59 

the names, but much of which looked like black walnut. 
No one who has traveled through this part of the country 
could possibly say there was a dearth of trees in Korea, 
or of singing birds, or sweet-scented flowers, or gorgeous 
butterflies. 



CHAPTER IV 

Leaving Kangai We Choose a Short Cut Much Goitre in the 
Mountains A Deserted Village The Jericho Road We are 
Attacked by Robbers A Struggle in the Inn Yard Odds too 
great Our Attendants are Seized and Carried Off The Kind 
Inn-Keeper Inopportune Patients A Race for Life A City 
of Refuge A Beautiful Custom Safe at Last The Magis- 
trate Turns Out to be an Old Friend The Charge to the 
Hunters. 

OUR next stopping place of importance was the town of 
Kangai. This was a walled city of between ten and 
twenty thousand inhabitants in the northern part of the 
province of Pyeng An Do. Being in the center of a rather 
turbulent and independent community, at least at that 
time and when were mountaineers not so? and quite 
near the Chinese border, its governor was invested with 
almost provincial authority, had a large number of sol- 
diers always under arms, and surrounded himself with 
the greatest possible show of power and state, having a 
numerous and obsequious body-guard, a gun fired when- 
ever he left his office, and a great retinue of menials and 
officials who constantly attended him. He told us that all 
this was necessary to overawe the people and establish his 
prestige and dignity. He was a relative of the queen, 
and I had met him at the palace. 

As we approached the city and about three miles out- 
side of it, we saw in the distance a little company of sol- 
diers with flying banners and sounding trumpets, await- 
ing us apparently at the foot of a hill. What this might 



A MILITARY ESCORT 61 

portend we were at a loss to guess. It might mean fet- 
ters and warder for intrusive foreigners, it might mean an 
order to return, it might might mean our immediate ex- 
tinction, but so kind had been our reception everywhere, 
barring sightseers, that we did not entertain any serious 
misgivings, although greatly puzzled as to what the 
demonstration could possibly signify. However, we 
marched right up, as if this martial array concerned us 
not in the least. As soon as we came within saluting dis- 
tance the leader of the little company made us the most 
profound obeisance and announced that he had been sent 
to escort us to the city. So we proceeded with this rather 
cumbersome addition to our modest suite, and not only 
this, for small boys are the same all the world over, and a 
motley throng of them, attracted both by the soldiers and 
the circus (or, shall we say, the menagerie?), closed in 
around us. A mile farther on a second attachment of mili- 
tary, with its inevitable corps of small boys, was awaiting 
us, and on we went, the hubbub ever increasing, drums 
beating, trumpets sounding, flags flying, wooden shoes 
clattering over the stones, louder, it seemed to me, than all 
the rest, as I cowered in the shelter of my closely cur- 
tained chair. 

Momentarily the formidable dimensions of the crowd 
increased, while other bands of soldiers joined us at inter- 
vals, for which I was devoutly thankful, for while the 
crowd seemed good-natured and simply wildly curious, at 
the same time we were strangers, to whom Koreans had 
the reputation of being inimical. With so large a crowd 
a small matter may kindle a blaze of fury, and as we were 
rather inexperienced and ignorant of the character of the 
people, I felt that whatever the intentions of the magis- 
trate might be, the hand of the responsible official would be 
gentle compared with the hands of the mob. And yet look- 



62 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

ing back on it all now, in the light of all that has since oc- 
curred, it was not altogether inappropriate but in a way 
fitting, that the first heralds of the gospel and the advent 
of Christianity to this province should be with banners, 
trumpets and great acclaim. The Kingdom had come, if 
only in its smallest beginnings, and had come to stay. 

The wonder of it, which will grow, I think, more and 
more through the eternal ages, is that God should allow 
us, his poor creatures, to share with him in a work far 
greater than the creation of a universe, even the founding 
of an eternal and limitless kingdom of holiness, glory and 
peace. 

But to return to our noisy procession. Within the city 
the noise and excitement ("yahdan" the Koreans would 
say, and nothing expresses it so well) were far greater 
than ever. Dancing girls and hoodlums of every descrip- 
tion swelled the crowd, laughing, shouting, pushing, jost- 
ling. High points of vantage were occupied to the last 
inch with small boydom, booths or screened seats had 
been rented for the use of the ladies, and the streets were 
hardly passable. I shivered. I felt like a mouse in the 
power of a playful tiger. It is not a pleasant thing to feel 
one's self the object of desire even if merely in a sight- 
seeing way of thousands of strange people. Many in 
that crowd had come more than ten miles to behold us. 
My husband to protect me from the unpleasantness, to say 
the least, of falling into the hands of so large and eager a 
mob, hastened to the gates of the magistracy, quickly dis- 
mounted and bade the guards be ready to close them the 
instant my chair had entered. This was promptly done, 
the gates well bolted and guarded, and proud of our vic- 
tory over the small boys, we hastily retired to our rooms. 
But hark! what noise was that, like thundering of a 
waterfall, or of a river dashing away its barriers ? Alack ! 



AN EPIDEMIC OF DISEASES 63 

it was the boys. They had scaled the wall on each other's 
shoulders, and were literally pouring over it into the com- 
pound. 

I looked around the little room for some means of 
escape, like a hunted animal. Its windows and doors were 
double, the inner one sliding into the wall, but both were 
composed simply of a light frame of slender sticks 
covered with stout paper, and already the dancing girls 
and boys were tearing away the outer coat preparatory to 
forcing an entrance. Suddenly I espied a small door, 
which I found opened into a long dark closet, full of the 
dust and dirt of unclean centuries. Hither I fled, cower- 
ing in its farthest recesses. Those who looked in the win- 
dows, and saw nothing of the strange animal genus Ameri- 
canus, concluded she must be in some other place, and so a 
short respite was granted, which Mr. Underwood and the 
deputy magistrate made good use of in guarding our 
house doors. The deputy himself was obliged to take his 
station there, and threatening with awful penalties any 
soldier who should permit the "chabin duli" (roughs and 
crowd) to enter uninvited. Henceforth during my stay in 
that town I was comparatively untroubled. 

A very epidemic of diseases, however, seemed to have 
smitten the place. Every one needed the doctor, and 
old, almost forgotten complaints were resurrected and 
rubbed up, or if none existed new ones were invented to 
furnish an excuse for an introduction. People stood in 
long rows from morning till night to see this popular 
doctor, and had I been medicining for money, I might 
have charged almost any price and filled high our coffers ; 
but I was only too glad to be able to tell them of the great 
Physician, whose unspeakable gift is without money or 
price. 

The magistrate treated us very kindly, and one day made 



64 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

a dinner for Mr. Underwood at a little summer house out- 
side the city. Here, after partaking of various Korean 
dainties, he asked him a great many questions about 
America and Americans. My husband had thus a fine 
opportunity to enlighten the man on our own mission and 
work. He of course listened politely, but the Korean 
noble is very difficult to reach. He is bound so rigidly by 
so many social, religious and political fetters, that he 
usually will not allow himself to consider for a moment 
the possibility of casting them off. 

We were much disappointed at not finding here any of 
the inquirers of whom we had been told so much, and to 
examine and instruct whom Mr. Underwood had turned 
so far aside from the main road to his final destination, 
Weeju. We could only conclude that they had either been 
too shy to approach us in the public quarters in which we 
were located or that we had been entirely misinformed, 
and we were forced very reluctantly to accept the latter as 
a fact. 

The magistrate sent a number of presents to us ere we 
left a box of cigars, though we were not smokers, an- 
other of candied Chinese ginger, honey, flour, beef, vine- 
gar and potatoes. These were articles which they found 
by diligent inquiry from our attendants that we were fond 
of. They scoured the country for potatoes, though except 
in the mountains, where rice will not grow, few Koreans 
cultivate or eat them. 

On leaving Kangai we could either take a long road 
around the mountains, well known and much traveled, or 
a short cut through and over them, much less frequented, 
but which the magistrate assured us was now quite safe, 
as he had recently passed through there himself and be- 
lieved that everything was now quiet and orderly. The 
locality had a bad reputation, being off the main lines of 



f\ 




AM*. 




CARRIER OX. PAGE 54 
THE OX-CART OR TALGOOCY. PACE 197 



IN THE MOUNTAINS 65 

travel in the recesses of the mountains, where escaped 
criminals were wont to hide, and where a band of robbers 
were said to have made their lair. But time pressed, work 
was urgent, the magistrate's statements were reassuring, 
and we decided to take the shorter road. We were pro- 
vided with a police official and a soldier, who, our host 
told us, would be respected and feared, and our entire 
safety would thus be assured. 

Our road on leaving Kangai passed directly over the 
mountains, through a region more sparsely populated and 
more wildly beautiful than anything we had yet seen. 
There were a few stray farms where sparse crops of pota- 
toes were raised, but the mountains hemmed us in closely 
on all sides. They were covered with magnificent trees; 
here and there a woodcutter was seen or heard, but the 
evidences of human life were few. We had noticed with 
interest through the mountain districts a large number of 
people for these sparsely settled regions who were afflicted 
with goitre. 

At night we reached a small village of scarce a half 
dozen houses, established by the government as a place of 
rest for travelers, since there was no other place within 
convenient marching distance. A subsidy was given in 
return for which these natives were bound to provide re- 
freshments, horses, oxen, or torches for those who bore 
passports or official orders. But travel was rare and 
they had come to consider their duty a tyrannical exaction, 
their subsidy as their right ; so when we arrived an omi- 
nous silence reigned over the place, and we found it had 
been completely deserted and that not long since every- 
thing had been dropped and the people had fled and hid- 
den. This inhospitable reception was a very definite sign 
of ill will, a plain refusal to give the shelter and assistance 
they were so well paid to bestow. Of course it did not 



66 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

auger well, but there was nothing to be done for the 
present but to try to supply our needs. Fires were built, 
horse provender found, and rice for coolies, mapoos and 
attendants cooked, while for ourselves we fared well on 
the contents of our box of stores. Some of the villagers 
returned that night to their homes. 

Early next morning, having paid for what we had used, 
we started away. But the necessity for haste, as our 
stage that day was a long one, and our want of suspicion 
of any serious danger led us into making a mistake; we 
divided our small party, Mr. Underwood, the soldier and 
myself hurrying on ahead on what we afterwards called 
the Jericho road, leaving helpers and constable with the 
pack-ponies and mapoos, which traveled more slowly, to 
follow at a distance of several miles. We planned to 
reach our noon rest place early, and order food and pro- 
vender (which it always takes an hour to cook) in advance, 
so that all might be ready on their arrival and a speedy de- 
parture insured. The day was a very fine one, the moun- 
tain air exhilarating and delightful, and there were no 
sightseers, so that Mr. Underwood and I walked together 
a long distance, laughing and chatting and gathering the 
pretty spring flowers, of which there were many, especially 
the sweet-scented violets, which I was surprised to find 
growing thus wild in the mountains. We arrived early 
at the little hamlet which was our destination, and were 
immediately installed in the one tiny inn the place could 
boast. 

I am not sure how much time elapsed before our loads 
appeared, but it was not very long, and when word was 
brought that they were coming my husband slipped a 
small revolver (our only weapon) from our traveling-bag 
into his pocket. I understood too little of the language to 
know what message he had received, but he told me that 



ATTACKED BY ROBBERS 67 

some rough fellows were coming with our party and that 
there might be trouble, in which case he might need the 
revolver. He had received a message, while on the way to 
the inn, that robbers had overtaken our people and were 
following us. It seems that as soon as we were out of 
sight a number of men had overtaken our loads and 
charged one of our mapoos with theft, saying that they 
had come to reclaim their stolen property. They bound 
his hands, took possession of our ponies and loads, and 
followed us to our inn. I peeped out through a crack 
where the door stood ajar, and saw what was not re- 
assuring, a party of twenty or thirty country fellows, 
wilder and ruder looking than any I had yet seen, their 
hair falling in matted locks around their evil faces instead 
of being fastened in the usual rough top-knot, and their 
angry eyes fierce and bloodshot. Each carried a short 
stout club, and they were all shouting in angry tones at 
once, while our mapoo, his hands bound, my husband, the 
constable, soldier and helper stood in the midst of this 
wild throng. The tiny place seemed filled with the men 
and the hubbub, while the frightened villagers peeped in 
at the gate or over the wall ; our brave chair coolies had 
hidden away, for which we were later extremely thankful. 
The attacking party with loud and angry voices accused 
our mapoo of having stolen their money, a hat and a 
bowl ; and when asked for evidence, pointed to the man's 
own shabby old hat, then on his head, to a rice bowl, 
placed on top of the packs (he said by their hands), and 
to our own large and heavy bag of Korean cash, fastened 
and sealed just as we saw it placed on the pony's back in 
the morning. They refused to release the mapoo unless 
these things were delivered up. Mr. Underwood told 
them that the hat and money were ours, but that he would 
go with them before a Korean magistrate and leave the 



68 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

whole matter to his decision, only they must unbind our 
mapoo. This they would not hear to and continued to 
insist on our giving them the money. My husband abso- 
lutely refused to do this. Meanwhile, having placed him- 
self, with the brave little soldier at his side, in a narrow 
space wide enough only for two, between the wall of the 
compound and the house, he bade the latter cut the 
mapoo's bands. The mob threatened to kill him if he did 
so, but he turned to Mr. Underwood and said, "Does the 
great man bid me cut?" and receiving the affirmative 
reply, he at once cut the ropes which bound the mapoo. 
The ruffians made a rush, but Mr. Underwood, hastily 
pushing the mapoo behind him, managed with the aid of 
the soldier at his side in that narrow place to push one 
man back against the others and keep them off for some 
time. 

While his whole attention was thus engaged, however, 
with those in front, some of the party found a way to the 
rear, and coming up quietly behind, suddenly pinioned 
his arms back and held him helpless, while the others car- 
ried off our poor mapoo away outside the village, their 
voices dying away in the distance. In the awful silence 
that succeeded the uproar we waited what would follow. 
After what seemed an age of suspense they returned with- 
out the man and seized and carried off our constable. 
Again that fateful silence, that agonizing suspense ; again 
another raid, and our other mapoo was dragged away. If 
these and our other companions had shown half the cour- 
age of the little soldier and made any effort to defend 
themselves and us, and especially had the chair coolies 
stood by us, the ruffians would very likely have been 
beaten off. As it was, we were practically helpless, the 
only question was who was to be attacked next. Mr. 
Underwood was very doubtful of the wisdom of pro- 




A KOREAN VILLAGE 



THE ROBBER BAND 69 

ducing the little revolver until the very last extremity. 
One by one they carried away the members of our party 
till only Mr. Underwood, the little soldier and I were left. 

We learned afterward that they were a set of wild men, 
many of them fugitives from justice, probably an organ- 
ized band of robbers, into whose hands we had fallen, and 
the fear that lay like ice at my heart was that when all our 
friends and defenders were one by one removed they 
would carry away and murder my husband too. So I 
waited, scarcely breathing, for the next return. What I 
dreaded they did in fact propose to do, saying it was the 
right way to treat foreigners. They said they had robbed 
and killed a Japanese officer some years ago, and having 
never been punished, would be quite safe in treating us in 
a similar way. On our return to Seoul we found by in- 
quiry that this was true, that while the government had 
been forced to pay a heavy indemnity, they had never been 
able to identify and punish the murderers. Had we been 
overtaken before we reached the village perhaps our fate 
would have been that of the Japanese ; but when the affair 
reached this point the villagers interfered and forbade. 
They said they had allowed them to carry off our Korean 
servants and our money, but should we, foreigners, known 
at the palace and carrying a passport, be killed there, their 
village would have to bear the penalty, and we must be 
spared. They were only a few men, but probably people 
who, knowing the haunts of the criminals and able to 
identify them, had them to some extent in their power. 
The men therefore sullenly filed away, or at least most 
of them. One or two of the fiercest and most repulsive still 
hung about, and one of them walked into my room (an 
insult in the eyes of all Koreans) and insolently stared 
until my husband, entering, ordered him out. 

The inn-keeper was a little man not five feet high, 



70 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

who did all in his power to reassure and make me com- 
fortable, as if such a thing were possible with our poor 
friends in distress, if not dead, and our own fate only too 
uncertain. It was twenty-five English miles to the nearest 
magistracy, and doing our best, it would be difficult to 
reach it that night ; but we knew that if any help was to be 
had for the captives it must be secured at once, aside from 
the fact that we had no assurance of safety with so small 
a party until within the walls of the yamen. So it was de- 
cided to start as soon as possible. My scared chair coolies 
had sneaked out of their hiding places in a sufficiently 
well-preserved condition to be able to partake of a hearty 
meal, and were soon ready to start. My husband had a 
Korean pony which possessed the rare virtue of kicking 
and biting every one who attempted to touch him, except 
his mapoo and his master; to which quality we were in- 
debted for his being left us that day. One other pony we 
were able to obtain, but as it of course could carry only 
our rugs and bedding, the rest of our belongings we were 
compelled to leave behind. 

We asked the host to take them into his house and take 
charge of them, to which he willingly consented. His 
son, in an agony of terror, begged him not to do so, as 
the robbers had threatened to come and burn down his 
house if he sheltered either us or our goods. The stout- 
hearted little fellow, whose soul was much too large for 
his body, laughed at the threat, and bidding one of the 
very men who had attacked us give a lift, he carried our 
trunks into his house and said he would take good care 
of them for us until we should send for them. In the 
meanwhile Mr. Underwood had been urging me to eat, 
which I tried in vain to do, as a large lump of something 
hard had become fixed in my throat, would neither go up 
or down and no food could pass that way. In fact, I may 



INOPPORTUNE PATIENTS 71 

as well admit I was a very much frightened woman, and 
my whole desire was to run away as fast and as far as 
possible from that dreadful locality. It sounds, and is, 
disgraceful, but as this is a narration of facts it may as 
well be confessed. My chief grief was that we must leave 
our poor friends behind. That, indeed, seemed cruel and 
unthinkable, yet there appeared to be no other way to 
relieve or help them. 

Just as we were ready to start two or three country peo- 
ple came and asked for medicines for trifling complaints. 
Was anything ever so ill-timed? Surely we could not 
wait then, when the lives of our poor people as well as our 
own perhaps depended on our speedy departure. But not 
so, counseled my husband. These men and women 
needed help which we could give. It was our duty to show 
that we, as the servants of Jesus, had come in a spirit of 
brotherhood and love, and it gave us a fine opening to de- 
liver a message and to distribute the printed Word it 
would not take long, and in any case were we not in God's 
hands ? So not knowing what moment the ruffians might 
return to drag us away to share the unknown fate of our 
attendants, perhaps death, surely torture, I prescribed. 
Alas ! I hope none of my patients were poisoned ; but with 
so distracted a mind did I work that it was very difficult 
to fix my thoughts on afflicted eyes, ears and throats, etc. 
At length all had been seen, the medicines repacked, when 
another patient appeared ; again we waited, I diagnosed 
and prescribed and Mr. Underwood prepared the medi- 
cine ; but still another and yet another appeared, till I be- 
gan to think we should not be able to leave that day at all. 
At last, however, all were satisfied, and we started with 
our race with time, considerably after two o'clock. 

We had twenty-five English miles to travel before we 
could reach the nearest magistrate, on a road leading 



72 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

through and over the mountains. It was wild and ex- 
ceedingly beautiful, but correspondingly rough and diffi- 
cult. Sometimes it was only the narrowest foot-path, 
running along a ledge of rocks overhanging the stream ; 
sometimes it was almost lost among great boulders, which 
must be skirted or surmounted. The loveliest wild flowers 
were all around us, but for once they did not tempt us to 
linger. We had barely left the confines of the village be- 
fore we saw in the road before us the prostrate and ap- 
parently inanimate body of a man, whom we soon recog- 
nized as our constable. He proved to be not dead, but 
simply fainting from the cruel beating he had received. 
He soon revived a little and begged us to hurry on for aid. 
He was too much exhausted and bruised to be carried on 
with us, unless we abandoned our purpose of reaching the 
magistracy that night, which it seemed for the best good 
of all to do ; so most reluctantly we left him to the mercy 
of the villagers. It was a sore alternative, but otherwise 
help for the others would have been delayed many hours. 

When we had proceeded two or three miles farther we 
saw a line of armed men half kneeling barring the road 
in front of us, with their guns aimed apparently at us. I 
of course concluded that my last hour had come, but we 
decided that to advance with no signs of fear or doubt was 
the only course to pursue, and found a few minutes later 
that our formidable-looking opponents were only some 
hunters waiting game that was being driven towards them 
by others. Our road steadily ascended, and was more and 
more difficult. Where it was worst I walked to relieve 
the tired coolies, for even with four men and a light bur- 
den it is no easy matter to carry a chair up the mountain 
side on a warm April afternoon. When sunset was 
almost due, and we had many miles yet to go, the coolies 
insisted on waiting for supper. I dreaded the possible 



A RACE FOR LIFE 73 

necessity of being obliged to spend a part of the night un- 
sheltered in a country that seemed so hostile, added to 
which the other thought of the necessity for speed made it 
seem impossible and wicked to delay for such a paltry 
thing as food. 

Why the men who had seemed so bitter and cruel at 
noon had not followed and attacked our weakened party 
I have never been able to entirely explain. I can only sur- 
mise that, like most Asiatics, they were firmly convinced 
that Mr. Underwood, in common with all foreigners, al- 
ways went heavily though secretly armed, and that any 
attempt to injure our persons would result in awful 
calamity. In addition, our passport and the well-known 
fact that we were on very friendly relations with the 
palace may have made them fear the consequence of harm- 
ing us, even though they were more than half resolved to 
do so. More than this, the villagers who forbade them to 
touch us probably knew their haunts and would be able to 
hunt them out; and lastly, the fact that Mr. Underwood 
stoutly resisted them and showed no signs of fear un- 
doubtedly had a marked effect upon their treatment of us. 
Witness the fact that even the little soldier, the only man 
of our native party who fought them and showed no fear, 
was the only one of the Koreans who escaped unhurt. If 
we had at any moment shown ourselves afraid of them 
they would have taken it as sure proof that we were de- 
fenseless. Had they seen our little revolver, and known 
it for our only weapon, they would have counted us, as we 
were, practically helpless, and our fate might have been 
decided very differently. 

At the time I felt certain they were not through with 
us, but having weakened our party, they would attack us 
in the lonely road, far away from the friendly village, and 
finish their work. 



74 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

We could scarcely hope to distance them, handicapped 
as we were, but I felt we could not put too much space 
between them and us, and many a backward glance I cast, 
expecting to see them emerge any moment from some rock 
or tree. Good for man or woman it is to feel one's self 
cast utterly on God's mercy, and entirely in his hands, to 
know one's self beyond all human aid, with him alone to 
look to for succor. As I turned to my husband that day 
and said, "Well, there's nothing left to do but to trust the 
Lord," it flashed over us both how commonly we only 
trust him when there is nothing else to do, as if his help 
were the last we should ever invoke, a last forlorn hope. 
How far, far too much, we fall into the habit of trusting in 
an arm of flesh and all the frail little human makeshifts 
with which we encompass ourselves and fancy we are 
safe. But how near he seems, how strong the uplift of 
the "everlasting arms," when the soul is left alone to 
him. 

We were forced to wait some time while our tired 
coolies fed, the darkness meanwhile coming on rapidly. 
At length, rather than waste any more time, I started, 
walking in advance and leaving the coolies to follow ; eat 
1 could not. Soon the road divided into two, one a short 
cut over the mountain, the other a much longer one 
around it ; we decided to take the shorter road, which also 
leading through the woods became extremely dark, so that 
in a short time we were obliged to call for torches, the 
road too turning out to be very bad. It was barely a foot- 
hold, circling and twisting down the precipitous mountain 
side. Mr. Underwood soon concluded that he would 
rather trust his own feet than his pony's, as we heard the 
displaced stones go rattling down into depths far below ; 
but as for me, though I would have much preferred to de- 
scend from my chair, which had some time before over- 



A CITY OF REFUGE 75 

taken us, I was now so tired that it would have delayed 
us too much and added nothing to my safety. 

Still it was rather an uncomfortable thing to be carried 
along on the brink of a precipice, down a slippery, uncer- 
tain path, in a darkness which was scarcely relieved, only 
made visible, by the flickering torchlights, especially as 
they invariably burned out before the next came up, and 
we were obliged at times to proceed a quarter of a mile or 
more it always seemed more in total darkness ; and yet 
worse than this is probably often experienced by people 
traveling in the mountains for pleasure. At last, how- 
ever, after nine o'clock, Mr. Underwood came to the chair 
and bade me look up. There above us on a hill in relief 
against the starlit sky stood the walls and gate of the little 
city. A city of refuge indeed, and we realized that night, 
a little at least, of the joy of the hunted, who, closely pur- 
sued by the avenger of blood, found himself safe within 
protecting walls. The gates were hospitably open as our 
messenger had arrived, and we were expected. 

We were told that it was a custom in many towns in 
the north to set a lamp in each doorway as a token of 
welcome to expected guests who for any reason were per- 
sons of importance. As we passed down the street and 
saw these bright little beacons before each door our hearts 
were deeply touched. Although it was too late for a 
formal audience, and the gate of the magistracy was 
closed, my husband insisted on being admitted at once. 
The request was granted and he hurried in and began the 
usual ceremony of introducing himself, when a familiar 
voice exclaimed, "And don't you know me?" Then for 
the first he looked closely into the face of the official be- 
fore him, and found that he was an old friend from 
Seoul, who had often been entertained at our house. 

All was now easy. The events of the morning were 



76 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

carefully related, with the request that the police should be 
sent at once to rescue and bring back our people, reclaim 
our goods and arrest, if possible, the criminals. This he 
promised to do at once, and in fulfillment, immediately 
ordered up the hunters, a guild of brave men who know 
the woods and mountains for miles around, and who fear 
nothing. His spokesman then called out to them in loud 
tones, which thrilled through the clear starlit night, the 
order to go at once, find and arrest the robbers, and bring 
safely our attendants and goods in three days' time, or 
lose their heads. To which they replied in a sort of chant 
in a minor key that they would so arrest, reclaim, and 
bring back in three days' time or would lose their heads. 
The last syllable long drawn, rolled, rippled, and re-echoed, 
seeming to die away somewhere among the stars. The 
condition about the loss of their heads was, of course, 
merely for rhetorical effect, or very likely the echo of an 
old custom, the address and reply being probably a form 
hundreds of years old. At any rate, though they returned 
after three days had passed, their mission not fully accom- 
plished, there was no talk of beheading, or thought of it in 
any quarter. 

It may be noted that not much has been told in this 
chapter of Christian work and its results, but it must be 
remembered that conditions were somewhat unfavorable. 
Owing to the fears of our American minister, Mr. Under- 
wood had been forbidden to preach in the country at this 
time, so that his work was limited to studying the country 
and the people and their possibilities, laying plans for 
future work, examining, instructing and encouraging con- 
verts and supervising and testing the work of native 
helpers. As for me, the effort to make a favorable im- 
pression through the treatment of the sick and the distri- 
bution of tracts was the limit of my usefulness. 



CHAPTER V 

Our Stay in Wewon We Give a Dinner Our Guests Magis- 
trates Propose that we Travel with a Chain-Gang Our Trip 
down the Yalu The Rapids Contrast between Korean and 
Chinese Shores We Enter Weju The Drunken Magistrate 
Presents and Punishments Unpleasant Experiences with 
Insincere People Rice Christians The Scheming Colporter 
The Men Baptized in Weju The Lost Passport Another 
Audience at the Palace Queen's Dress and Ornaments 
Korean Summer House The Pocket Dictionary Our 
Homes. 

HERE, then, in the hospitable little town of Wewon we 
rested, made friends whom we hoped to draw into the 
friendship of our Leader, and ministered to sick bodies 
and souls, as opportunity was given. Here in a few days 
were brought our boxes and a few of the men who had 
attacked us. Still later, for they were unable to travel for 
some time, came our poor attendants, who had twice been 
cruelly beaten with clubs and left tied up all night in a 
painful and agonizing position. The mapoo's arm was 
broken, and our helper never entirely recovered from the 
injury his back had suffered. Those of the criminals who 
were found were sent up to the provincial capital to be 
punished by the governor. 

Before leaving Wewon we gave a dinner to the magis- 
trate in order to gratify his curiosity and that of his 
friends. We wished to show in some way our apprecia- 
tion of his kindness and hospitality, and Mr. Underwood, 



78 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

who had considerable experience and much skill in camp 
and bachelor cooking, undertook, in the face of some odds, 
to manage the matter; and we found our ingenuity well 
taxed in evolving a feast from the now scanty remnants of 
our larder and the few obtainable native articles out of 
which a foreign meal could be manufactured. However, 
we prided ourselves that we did quite well, with some six 
courses, including soup, fish, a bewitching little roast pig, 
well decorated with wreaths and berries, served with apple 
sauce and stuffed with potatoes, chestnuts and onions. 
Our dessert, marmalade spread on crackers, was suffi- 
ciently light to please the most aesthetic, and we introduced 
a novelty, coffee sweetened with honey, never whispering 
that our sugar was gone. The magistrate came with a 
huge crowd of retainers, who filled our tiny room and 
flowed over into the kitchen, peered into and fingered 
everything, and nearly wrecked the courses, which our 
overtried servant was attempting under many difficulties 
to serve. With nothing but a bowl of charcoal in lieu of 
a stove, and no proper kitchen utensils, it was by no means 
easy to achieve such a feat of culinary art in the far in- 
terior of the hermit kingdom, but we did not stop to con- 
sider a little inconvenience or bother, nor regret a little 
extra work where we could thereby make or strengthen 
friendship with Koreans. Trifling as it may look for mis- 
sionaries to be planning menus and giving dinners to 
country magistrates, there are more ways of furthering 
the cause than preaching only. The hearts of the people 
must be won, and he who wins most friends wins the 
readiest and most attentive audience, one inclined in ad- 
vance to favor and accept what he has to teach, and noth- 
ing is trifling which helps. 

After the return of our men and belongings, and as 
soon as the former were able to travel, we felt we must 



A CHAIN-GANG 7f 

hurry on to Weju. The magistrate of Wewon proposed 
that when we departed, the eight criminals who had been 
captured should be chained together, two and two, and led 
in advance of our company during the rest of our journey. 
Thus should we march through the land like conquerors, 
instilling awe and terror in all hearts, and none who 
looked on this tableau would ever again dare assail a 
foreigner. Now this was of course exactly the impression 
that we wished to produce as missionaries ! We pictured 
ourselves going about preaching the cross, with such an 
object lesson as this, trying to win the hearts of the people, 
while driving their compatriots before us in chains, and 
we enjoyed the vision hugely. It would hardly have been 
possible to have obtained the relief of our Koreans with- 
out the arrest of the criminals, several of whom were 
identified as notorious men, whose seizure was necessary 
to the peace and safety of the community. But we never 
would have had them punished on our own account or to 
gratify revenge, so we politely thanked the magistrate for 
his tactful suggestion, but begged to be excused. 

We found the town of Chosan, where we stopped on the 
evening after leaving Wewon, quite a unique and inter- 
esting little place. It is situated near the Yalu, or, as the 
Chinese call it, the Amno River, which forms the boun- 
dary line between Korea and China. Two "kisus," a sort 
of soldier police, were sent out three miles to meet us, and 
preceded us into the town, blowing trumpets all the way, 
to our helpless annoyance and disgust, for they either 
could not or would not understand that this sort of demon- 
stration was most distasteful to us both. 

As at Kangai, more and more soldiers met us at inter- 
vals. There were flags, music, crowds, and again we 
entered the town like a circus. The crowds, however, 
were kept well back, the place was much smaller, and we 



80 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

were undisturbed at the magistracy. As soon as we 
entered the house a small tray was brought, with cups of 
hot ginger tea, most restful and refreshing, the kind 
thought of the magistrate, who, unlike others, did not 
force himself at once upon us, but considerately waited 
until we were a little rested and refreshed. We found 
here a custom which we had not met elsewhere, that of 
sounding a bell every morning at a certain hour, when all 
morning fires must be extinguished, not to be relit until 
late in the afternoon. 

We were compelled to go on some miles farther to ob- 
tain a boat for our short trip down the Yalu. In rainy 
weather the rapids between this point and Weju are rather 
dangerous, but at this time it was only a swift current, 
which made the trip the pleasanter. We found a Korean 
junk, which served our purpose as well as any that were 
to be had, which was flat-bottomed, and thirty feet long 
by three wide. This would carry our attendants, our 
packs, two or three boatmen and ourselves. Some mats 
were rigged on bamboo poles above us for an awning, and 
others stretched across the middle of the boat for a parti- 
tion, which left one half for the use of the natives, while 
we reserved the other for ourselves. Here we spent three 
days and nights ; during the latter, however, we always an- 
chored near the shore. Provisions in plenty were obtained 
from the villages we passed, when a great many people 
came out to kugung ; but here we had the advantage, and 
while quite able to talk to them from the boat, were not 
forced to permit more than we liked to examine us and 
our belongings. 

One night we were wakened with the cry of "Pull, 
pull !" "Fire, fire!" and found the boat was on fire. Some 
one had fallen asleep while smoking and dropped hot 
ashes among combustibles ; but we were close to the shore, 



OUR TRIP DOWN THE YALU 81 

there was plenty of water and people to use it. The blaze 
was soon out, and nothing thrilling came to pass. Thus 
was it ever with our adventures. While danger in one 
form or another made itself known, as if to prove beyond 
a doubt our Father's care, we were kept as safe and un- 
harmed as a child in its mother's arms ; and were we not 
with the everlasting arms underneath us? 

As we drifted down the Amno those lovely spring days, 
with China lying on one side of us and Korea on the other, 
the contrast was wonderfully marked, almost as much, in- 
deed, as if the two nations had been separated by oceans 
rather than a river. This difference too was almost as 
marked in the physical features of the country as in na- 
tional customs. On the Korean shore the trees were 
mostly of pine ; on the China side, of oaks and other de- 
ciduous varieties. The Korean peasants' huts were of 
mud, straw thatched ; the Chinese houses of brick or stone, 
roofed with tile. Koreans dressed in white were plow- 
ing with oxen; Chinese farmers in blue were plowing 
with horses. Rhododendrons gave a lovely roseate tinge 
to the rocks and hills on either side. It was easy for the 
passing traveler to see which country bore the greater ap- 
pearance of prosperity and thrift. 

On the evening of the 27th of April we reached Weju. 
Fortunately no official notice had gone before, and there 
were no trumpets, drums, harps, sackbuts, psalteries and 
all kinds of music at hand to make our lives a burden. A 
chair was hired for Mr. Underwood, and in the kindly 
protection of the deepening twilight we surreptitiously en- 
tered these conveyances and were carried into the city as 
quietly and unobtrusively as happy common folks. 

And now, to return a little, soon after leaving Pyeng 
Yang we had met a Mr. Yi, of Weju, an agent of the Bible 
Society, then on his way to Seoul; but when he heard 



82 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

where we were going he concluded to return with us. Mr. 
Underwood was at that time trying to decide whether 
Weju or Pyeng Yang would be the better place for a sub- 
station, with a half-formed plan to purchase a house, to 
which we could go when itinerating, in charge of which 
we might place a care-taker, who would also be helper, in- 
tending to select from among the converts in that region, 
if possible, one of the most capable and earnest. This plan 
was in part communicated to Mr. Yi, and seemed to strike 
him most favorably. He shortly proposed to precede us 
to Weju and select such a place. Mr. Underwood, how- 
ever, told him plainly that he must on no account purchase 
or promise to purchase any such house for us ; that, as our 
plans were indefinite, we could not buy until we had seen 
the city and the Christians, and, in a word, until we had 
some data by which to decide whether we needed such a 
house there at all. And even then the locality and the 
house must first be seen by us. 

We, however, consented that he should go in advance 
and arrange at some inn or Christian home for our enter- 
tainment, so that we could be quietly and quickly housed 
on entering the town. We also consented that some in- 
quiries should be made as to what houses in localities con- 
venient for work were purchasable, and at what price, so 
that we might have something definite to consider on 
reaching there. Accordingly he left us before we reached 
Kangai and hurried on to Weju. When we arrived, there- 
fore, he met us and conducted us with much eclat to a very 
commodious and nice bungalow, which he said was his 
own. Here we were introduced to his consumptive wife, 
his aged father, and his little children. 

According to custom, we sent our passport to the magis- 
trate as soon as we arrived. This scarcely reached his 
office before an order was sent out for the arrest of our 





A BUTCHER SHOP 
BASKET SHOP 



A DRUNKEN MAGISTRATE 83 

servants and helper, who were forthwith dragged off to 
the yamen, beaten and locked up. We had hardly received 
this disconcerting news when it was announced that some 
messengers had arrived from his excellency with a very 
generous present of chickens, eggs, nuts, fruit and other 
edibles. These articles again had barely been received and 
the messengers not well out of sight when officers arrived 
with orders to arrest our host and have him beaten. This 
very contradictory conduct was certainly disquieting, and 
we were at a loss to conjecture what it meant. 

However, we had not long to wait. The deputy or 
vice-magistrate was shortly afterwards announced, and 
before he left, he gave Mr. Underwood to understand that 
his honor the magistrate had been imbibing rather freely 
and was not altogether responsible for his honorable (?) 
conduct, and that he, the deputy, hoped, therefore, that we 
would overlook his slight playfulness in arresting and 
beating our poor innocent people. These little aberrations 
were, he said, quite frequent, and of course when once we 
understood what was to be expected and the reason, no 
concern need be felt. We were, of course, immensely com- 
forted and soothed by this explanation, and rested with 
quiet minds in the happy consciousness that it was entirely 
uncertain what sort of magisterial and honorable earth- 
quake or cyclone might strike us next; assured it would 
be all right, as he intended no harm in his sane moments. 
The poor deputy, in a strait betwixt two (the magistrate 
near at hand, and the Foreign Office in Seoul, represented 
by our passport), had been trying to smooth over the 
magistrate's uncivil reception of the passported foreigners, 
by offerings of said chickens, eggs, etc., and this was the 
explanation of the strange combination of presents and 
punishments. 

Drunkenness is, I am sorry to say, very common in 



84 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

Korea. The people do not, as in Japan and China, raise 
tea, and even the wealthiest have apparently only recently 
learned the use of either tea or coffee, which the common 
people are far too poor to buy. Milk, strange to say, they 
have never used, and they are therefore without a harm- 
less beverage which they can offer their friends on con- 
vivial occasions. As it is, they resort only too generally to 
wines and some very strong alcoholic drinks, which they 
make themselves. 

We had had Christian workers at Weju for some 
months, one of whom Mr. Underwood had appointed and 
two who had constituted themselves such, of whom we 
were doubtful then, and later had cause to be more so, and 
who now hoped to prove themselves so useful to us that 
we would give them some good-paying position in the 
mission. Several of our experiences at Weju were very 
bitter and disappointing to us, for the insincerity of men 
whom we trusted was made clear, and yet at the same time 
they were instructive, for they taught us to be very slow 
and cautious in investing men with responsibility, and to 
be very guarded both in receiving converts and in using 
money, and helped to strengthen us in those ideas of rigid 
self-support which Mr. Underwood had already, from the 
study of Dr. Nevius' book, begun to consider deeply and 
to some extent follow. One of the self-appointed begged 
us to start a Christian school in a place where as yet there 
was no opening for it, and to put him in as teacher with a 
good salary. "But," Mr. Underwood objected, "we are 
not yet ready for such a school, and I cannot start a school 
merely to give you a living." Such unconcern for his 
material interest grieved him sorely. Long he pleaded his 
need and begged with great naivete that we would then 
inform him how he was to subsist, with refreshing guile- 
lessness rolling the whole of the responsibility of his ex- 



A SCHEMING COLPORTER 85 

istence upon us. We were obliged to tell him with some 
emphasis that we were not here to provide incomes for 
indolent men, but to further the gospel. 

Another man whom we had trusted had given us 
altogether exaggerated, and we feared intentionally false, 
accounts of the interest in Kangai, of which we had failed 
to find any signs. He did not suppose we would go there 
to verify the reports which were to accrue to his credit. 
But another and still more annoying experience awaited 
us. The agent Yi told us that the house we were in be- 
longed to us, that in spite of our repeated injunctions he 
had bought it for us, and had sold his own little home in 
part payment and installed his family here. This was now 
the only shelter of his aged father, his sick wife and his 
helpless little ones. The scheming fellow had indeed 
placed us in a serious predicament. To turn these weak 
and helpless people into the street for the sins of this man 
was not to be thought of ; to allow the man to profit by his 
dishonest trick would be to encourage every covetous 
hypocrite who sought to make gain out of the church and 
to misuse consecrated funds. Fortunately within ten days 
after a sale the money or deeds may be demanded back, 
and so we made him ask back his own house and return 
the one we had used, with a slight extra payment, to the 
original owner. It is due to the British Bible Society to 
say that they were of course deceived in this man, as we 
are all liable to be at times, no matter how careful. The 
distance from his employers at which he was working 
made supervision almost impossible. 

We were visited by a great many people, mostly men, 
who seemed deeply interested in Christianity and eager 
for baptism. Over one hundred such applicants presented 
themselves. Mr. Underwood examined them with great 
care, and found that all had studied the Scriptures and 



86 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

tracts with great assiduity, and nearly all were well in- 
formed in the cardinal truths of the gospel. One man was 
quite a phenomenon of a rather useless kind of Biblical 
erudition. He knew the number of chapters and verses in 
the Old and New Testament (Chinese, of course), the num- 
ber of characters, the number of times the name of God 
and Christ occur, and a variety of similar facts, showing 
he had an extremely facile memory, but proving nothing 
with regard to his conversion. I could not help regarding 
the poor man with compassion. It seemed too bad that 
he should have taken so much pains and spent so many 
hours of toil to gain non-essentials when the sweet bread 
of life and honey out of the rock might have been had so 
simply and easily, had he only really wanted them, had 
he learned enough of their wondrous value to desire them. 
I am afraid that this man and some of the others that we 
questioned had no inkling of what Christianity really is, 
but supposed it was a philosophy, fine and good, no doubt, 
which if adopted would bring them in touch with rich and 
influential foreigners, and find them speedy employment 
as teachers, helpers and what not. 

What we anxiously, longingly sought for in these appli- 
cants were the signs of a sincere change of heart, of a 
real love for the God who was crucified to save them, and 
of the fruit of this belief in a change of life and character. 
Out of the hundred applicants we selected thirty-three, not 
those who answered most glibly or showed the greatest 
information, but those who gave almost unmistakable evi- 
dence of sincerity of heart and true knowledge of Jesus. 
I say almost, for it is well-nigh impossible not to make 
mistakes at times. 

We had been forbidden to baptize in Korea, under our 
passport, and we all crossed the river into China, and there 
held a communion service, a very solemn and deeply felt 



SHEEP WITHOUT A SHEPHERD 87 

occasion to us, and Mr. Underwood baptized these men, 
the only ones baptized during the whole trip, a larger num- 
ber than he ever received before, or after that, for some 
years. These numbers, rather large so early in the history 
of the mission, were afterward much exaggerated by ru- 
mor. No one was able to visit this little company of new- 
born souls for two years. No response from the church at 
home to urgent pleas for help ; exacting demands of work 
in Seoul, sickness which took us to America, made it im- 
possible for any one to go and strengthen, encourage and 
uphold them. With no pastor, few books but Chinese, 
they were sadly neglected, and humanly speaking, it 
would hardly be surprising if they were scattered and lost 
as sheep without a shepherd. We had hoped to visit them 
at least once a year, but had no idea how the work near 
home would grow and how impossible it would be to leave. 
These men were not of the city of Weju, but from some 
little hamlets at some distance, some of them fifteen or 
twenty miles away. Several of the men were already 
well known to Mr. Underwood and had been under in- 
struction for more than a year, and some had been re- 
ported ready for baptism by Mr. Saw, who had been em- 
ployed by Mr. Ross when he came to Seoul three years 
before. 

This is to show that a horde of new professors, of whom 
we knew nothing, were not rashly baptized in zeal to in- 
crease the list of church-members, as was stated by per- 
sons who were ignorant of the real facts. All were rigidly 
examined, all had been long prepared, and although two 
missionaries who paid a visit to Weju on their way to 
China two years later, and one who made a long stay eight 
or nine years later, said they found none of these Chris- 
tians, we believe God was able to keep his own. It would 
not be easy, knowing neither the names of the men nor 



88 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

the villages where they lived, to find them, especially when 
we remember the roving, almost nomadic character of the 
people, most of whom had probably moved quite away, 
the Japanese war having worked marvelous changes. 
More than half of the population of Weju and vicinity 
seemed to melt away during that disastrous war. 

When our work in Weju was done we started on our 
return trip to many waiting duties in the capital. The 
magistrate had not restored our passport, so we sent for 
it, but it was not forthcoming. We waited some time, and 
again meekly requested it; still it was withheld, and at 
length we learned that on the night of our arrival the 
magistrate had been in such an irresponsible condition 
that he had no recollection to whose care he had confided 
it, and, in fact, the passport was lost. This was indeed a 
serious state of affairs ! To travel without one would in- 
volve great risk, to wait for another from Seoul would 
take more time than we could afford to spare. And, in- 
deed, whether we should believe that it was really lost, or 
that this was only the excuse of an inimical magistrate 
who meant to detain us there for some dark purpose, was 
a question. After some annoying delay, however, it was 
found and duly returned, and with sad farewells from our 
friends, but with the hope and intention of returning soon 
to feed these lambs of God's fold we left Weju, to which 
we have never as yet been permitted to go back. 

Mr. Underwood and I discussed long and earnestly on 
our return trip the comparative merits of Pyeng Yang 
and Weju for the establishment of a sub-station. In the 
one the opening was more hopeful, the other held the more 
advantageous position. We at length concluded to leave 
the matter open and allow future events to decide where 
we should start our station. We returned to Seoul by the 
main road, with as few delays as possible, and had an un- 



ANOTHER AUDIENCE AT THE PALACE 89 

eventful trip, troubled by no mobs or robbers. The season 
was somewhat advanced and the inns were very hot, but 
the country was beautiful, with many varieties of the love- 
liest flowers. Lilies of the valley we found growing in 
masses not ten feet from the roadside, lilacs, eglantine, 
sweet violets and quantities of other sweet-scented flowers 
filled my chair. We found ourselves safely at home near 
the middle of May, having been absent over two months, 
traveled more than a thousand miles, treated over six 
hundred patients, and talked with many times that 
number. 

We were dismayed to find on our return that one of the 
too loyal missionaries had, in supposed obedience to the 
edict, closed the little room, where services had been held 
with the natives, and they were worshiping secretly in 
one or another of their own little homes. We at once 
threw open our own house and regularly gathered the 
Christians there, till all the mission were willing to use the 
little chapel again. 

Shortly after our return the queen invited me to a 
private audience, in order to give me a very unique pair of 
gold bracelets, which she had ordered made for a wedding 
present, and which had not been ready before we went to 
the country. She also gave a ring set with a beautiful 
pearl for my husband. She kindly asked about our trip, 
and was, as usual, all that was friendly and considerate. 
I wish I could give the public a true picture of the queen 
as she appeared at her best, but this would be impossible, 
even had she permitted a photograph to be taken, for her 
charming play of expression while in conversation, the 
character and intellect which were then revealed, were 
only half seen when the face was in repose. She wore her 
hair like all Korean ladies, parted in the center, drawn 
tightly and very smoothly away from the face and knotted 



QO FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

rather low at the back of the head. A small ornament 
(indicating her rank, I suppose, as I have never seen any 
other woman wear one) was worn on the top of the head, 
fastened by a narrow black band. One or two very orna- 
mental long hairpins of gold filigree set with coral, pearls 
or jewels were stuck through the knot of hair at the back. 
She usually wore a yellow silk chogerie, or jacket waist, 
like those worn by all Korean women, fastened with a 
pearl or amber button and a very long flowing blue silk 
skirt. All her garments were of silk, exquisitely dainty. 

Her majesty seemed to care little for ornaments, and 
wore very few. No Korean women wear earrings (ex- 
cept young girls in the north, who wear a large silver 
hoop), and the queen was no exception, nor have I ever 
seen her wear a necklace, a brooch, or a bracelet. She 
must have had many rings, but I never saw her wear more 
than one or two of European manufacture, set with not so 
many nor so large diamonds as numbers of American 
women of moderate means and station often display. She 
had any number of beautiful watches, which she never 
wore. According to Korean custom, she carried a number 
of filigree gold ornaments decorated with long silk tassels 
fastened at her side. So simple, so perfectly refined were 
all her tastes in dress, it is difficult to think of her as be- 
longing to a nation called half civilized. 

On the occasion of this visit she gave me a fresh proof 
of her thoughtful kindness. I was wearing my wedding 
dress and very thin satin slippers, and as I was leaving 
it suddenly began to rain. My chair was nearly half a mile 
distant, waiting outside the gate, according to rule. The 
queen, whom nothing escaped, noted the rain, and my diffi- 
culty. She came in person to the window and imperatively 
ordered word to be sent to the gate for my chair to be 
brought to the waiting room. 



KOREAN SUMMER HOUSE 91 

But this was too much. The officials who attended me 
there said that such an exception as this in my favor would 
awaken bitter criticism and jealousy, that one of the 
highest officials in the land was at that moment waiting 
at the gate for the shower to pass so that he could attend 
at an audience, and would be obliged to walk through the 
rain. They therefore begged that I would wave the ful- 
filment of the queen's order and walk to my chair. I saw 
the reason and the good sense in their protest, and of 
course at once consented, as much comforted by the 
queen's kind intention as if my slippers and silk gown had 
been well protected. This rule for the exclusion of chair 
coolies was changed soon after, and my chair was brought 
close to the royal apartments. 

That summer was passed on a high bluff on the banks 
of the river, in a Korean summer house, which belonged to 
the king, which their majesties had allowed our mission to 
use a previous year, and which favor was now extended to 
us. It was situated on the rocks about fifty feet above the 
water, and was one of those charming, cool and pictu- 
resque summer refuges which Koreans understand build- 
ing to perfection. Its roof, with artistically upward curv- 
ing corners, was supported on several stout pillars, but its 
walls were all windows of light wood, in fancy open-work 
designs, which were covered with paper on one side, and 
which, being made to swing out and hook to the roof, 
formed a very effective awning. Here with a breeze al- 
ways sweeping through, effectively screened from the sun, 
with a perfect view of the mountains and the Han River, 
with its lovely green valley, Mr. Underwood worked 
nearly all summer on his small dictionary, Mr. Gale or 
Mr. Hulbert giving him much useful help at times. My 
husband had been at work on a larger dictionary, which he 
planned to make a very full and complete one, for nearly 



92 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

three years, and had already many thousands of defini- 
tions of words with synonyms. It was to be both Korean- 
English and English-Korean, not like the French, merely 
the Korean into the foreign tongue. It was a darling 
scheme of his heart, on which he was putting all the time 
that could be spared from direct mission work ; but per- 
suaded by his brethren that something was sorely needed 
immediately by missionaries now beginning to arrive, he 
laid his magnus opus aside for the present, not without 
regret, but without a backward look, and working without 
cessation from early dawn into the night hours all that 
long summer, prepared and finished the small dictionary, 
for the convenience at the present indigent moment of 
those who were struggling with the language. 

The following fall, the loved secretary, Dr. Mitchell, 
and Mrs. Mitchell visited our mission and gave us all 
much advice and help, for which we were most grateful. 
We were not then quite so well housed as now. Our 
homes were mud-walled and rather damp, often leaking 
badly in rainy season and admitting much frosty air 
through numerous cracks in the winter. Many of our 
windows were not glazed, but merely covered with paper. 
During the doctor's visit there came one night a heavy 
storm of wind and rain, which beat against the window 
near our bed, and thoroughly demolished it, the rain pour- 
ing in on the floor. The roof leaked over us, but with 
umbrellas and waterproofs we kept quite dry. In the 
morning, however, at the sight of the flooded floor and the 
paper windows hanging in shreds, Dr. Mitchell gave us a 
severe reprimand for our carelessness, warning us that 
missionaries are far too expensive commodities to be so 
ill protected. A lesson it were well for all young mission- 
aries to learn, but which, as a rule, alas ! they are too slow 
to heed. 



CHAPTER VI 

An Audience at the Palace Dancing Girls Entertainment 
Given after the Audience Printing the Dictionary and 
Grammar A Korean in Japan Fasting to Feast Death 
of Mr. Davies Dr. Heron's Sickness Mrs. Heron's Mid- 
night Ride Dr. Heron's Death Difficulty in Getting a 
Cemetery Concession Forced Return to America Com- 
pensations Chemulpo in Summer The "Term Question" 
in China, Korea and Japan Difficulties in the Work. 

EARLY in the fall of 1889 I was invited to another audi- 
ence at the palace, with some of the foreign state officials 
and their wives. After the audience a dinner was served, 
and later, a performance by dancing girls was given. 
And right here I must say, that although on several occa- 
sions at the palace I have seen dancing girls in these 
entertainments, I have never beheld anything at such 
times in their actions that was improper or even undigni- 
fied. Their motions are graceful, usually slow, circling 
around hand in hand or in various combinations of pretty 
figures. They wear high-necked and long-sleeved jackets 
or coats, and long skirts, the figure quite concealed by the 
fashion of the dress. And yet, thus to appear in public, 
allowing their faces to be seen by strangers, is the gravest 
breach of propriety in the eyes of all Koreans, and these 
girls are, alas ! as depraved as women can be. Like those 
of their class in all countries, they are the most pitiable 
and hopeless of women, but unlike those who have thrown 
themselves away, they deserve small blame mixed with 
the compassion one feels for them, for these poor girls 



94 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

have been sold by their parents into their awful lives, and 
were given no choice of their destiny. Many a poor little 
Korean child is sold into slavery for a few bags of rice, 
to be trained as a dancing girl, used as a common drudge, 
or married to a man she has never seen, while she is hardly 
larger than our little ones playing with their dolls in the 
nursery. 

But to return to our palace entertainment, from which 
I have made a rather long digression. The guests were 
seated on the veranda, or "maru," in front of the dining 
hall, and in the grounds before us appeared a pretty boat 
with wide spread sails, in which were seated some gaily 
dressed girls. Others now appeared, dancing to slow 
native music, a stately figure, almost in minuet fashion, 
with waving of flowing sleeves and banners. They were 
evidently the spirits of the wind, and the boat was wait- 
ing the favoring breeze. The music grew quicker, while 
faster and faster stepped the dancers, more and more 
swiftly fanning the sails with sleeves, skirts and scarfs, till 
at last the boat slowly moved forward, and with its at- 
tendants moved out of sight. When the boat had been 
thus gracefully fanned away, a couple of mammoth lotus 
plants were brought out, with great closed blossoms seen 
among the leaves. 

Following them came a pair of gigantic storks, ex- 
tremely well simulated. The birds came forward slowly, 
advancing, retreating, sideling, mincing, waiving their 
heads and long bills about, all in tune to the music, waver- 
ing and uncertain, yet evidently with some definite, not to 
be resisted, purpose in mind. At length, after long hesi- 
tation, one of them plucked up courage and gave a vigor- 
ous peck at a lotus bud, which forthwith burst open and 
released a pretty little child, who had been curled up at its 
heart. The other stork, with similar good fortune, dis- 



95 

covered another little one. I was much interested to find 
this stork and baby myth here in Korea, centuries old ; but 
those hoary nations of the East are ever reaching down 
into the apparently limitless depths of their remote past, 
and dragging forth some fresh surprise whereby to con- 
vince us there is nothing new under the sun. 

Late in November of the same year we went to Japan 
to publish Mr. Underwood's grammar and dictionary, as 
there were no means of printing such books in Seoul. In 
Japan we were forced to wait while type was made, and 
during this delay Mr. Underwood perfected the grammar, 
adding what is now the first part. A Korean teacher or 
scholar accompanied us, but great was his distaste for 
Japan and all her ways, and herculean our toils and 
efforts, as each steamer sailed to prevent his returning to 
Korea. 

Rice is the staple article of food in China, Korea and 
Japan, but it is cooked and eaten differently in all three 
countries, and no one of either will, except under dire 
necessity, eat the rice prepared by one of the other 
nationalities. Our literary assistant was of the Yang- 
ban, or noble class, he had never soiled his hands in 
labor, or cooked anything for himself, but after enduring 
a Japanese hotel with many and doleful complaints for a 
very short time, he begged us to find him a room and let 
him keep house for himself. That a Yangban should 
make a proposition like this showed to what straits he had 
been brought, so we at once complied with his request, and 
from that time on he prepared his rice with his own 
gentlemanly hands. He was a Chinese scholar of fine at- 
tainments, and his learning was much respected in high 
Japanese circles. He was often invited out, and was dis- 
tinguished by an invitation to the house of the governor 
of the city. 



96 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

Now, when Koreans attend a feast, they expect to finish 
an incredible amount of food on the spot (nor is it 
altogether unusual, in addition, to carry away as much in 
their sleeves and hands as strength will permit). Some- 
times they fast for several days previous in order to do full 
justice to the entertainment, and generally, I believe, quan- 
tity is considered of far more import than quality. Not so 
with the Japanese, among whom our teacher visited. If 
his word was to be believed, they had developed the 
aesthetic idea quite to the other extreme, and provided a 
few tiny cups and dishes of supposedly delicate and rare 
viands for their guests. So on this occasion to which I 
refer, it was almost pathetic, the poor Korean fasting to 
feast, with visions of quarts of rice and vermicelli soup, 
pounds of hot rice bread, nuts, fruits, fresh, dried and can- 
died ; meats with plenty of hot sauce, "kimchi," or sauer- 
kraut, etc., etc. Alack the day ! A few microscopic cups 
of tea, a few tiny dishes of articles which knew not Korea 
(among them no doubt raw fish), and for the rest, a feast 
of reason and flow of soul. Next day, a wiser and a 
thinner man, he sadly told Mr. Underwood that he now 
understood why Japanese prospered, while Koreans grew 
poor. "Koreans," said he, "earn a hundred cash a day 
and eat a thousand cash worth, while Japanese, on the con- 
trary, earn a thousand cash a day and eat a hundred cash 
worth." Never were truer words spoken, with regard to 
the Japanese at least. If these people have a virtue, which 
their worst enemies cannot gainsay, it is their industry 
and thrift. 

Just what is the ordinary number of slight earthquakes 
in Japan per month or year, I do not know, but during 
the six months of our stay they averaged one every three 
days. During one twenty-four hours of our experience 
there were eleven. They were not, of course, severe, but 



DR. NEVIUS VISITS KOREA 97 

sufficient to swing doors, set chandeliers clattering and 
rocking chairs in motion, and to convince me more than 
once that the house was on the point of tumbling about 
our ears. 

Just before we returned to Korea we were shocked to 
hear of the sudden death by smallpox of Rev. Mr. Davies, 
a brother greatly beloved in the Lord, who had arrived 
early the previous summer and had made phenomenal 
progress in the language, whose gifts and learning were 
unusual, but were all excelled by his spirituality and con- 
secration. His zeal never permitted him to spare himself 
in the least. He seemed to link himself at once, heart 
to heart, with Mr. Underwood, and together they planned, 
studied, worked and prayed for the salvation of the people. 
It was as if death had entered our own family when news 
came of his loss, and a black pall seemed to lie across our 
path. We knew God does all things well, and his ways 
are not our ways, nor his thoughts ours, and yet in the 
weakness of the flesh, which cannot see, with all those un- 
saved millions dying around us, we felt we could not spare 
Mr. Davies, and to us, to whom he had been confidant, 
sympathizer, counselor and friend, the personal loss was 
bitter. But we have learned that often when we think, or 
come in any way to feel that his cause depends on a man, 
God removes him, to teach us that his cause depends on no 
man, that he can bless the efforts of the weakest and poor- 
est and feed five thousand from the basket of a little boy. 

On April 26, 1890, the books were finished, and we 
started at once for Korea, reaching here in May. Soon 
after our return from Japan we were visited by Dr. and 
Mrs. Nevius. We all recognized Dr. Nevius as a king 
among men, with a mind so clear and broad, a spirit so 
genial, a heart so full of charity and with a record of such 
long years of faithful labor that we were glad to sit at his 



98 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

feet. The sense of ignorance, incompetence, inexperience, 
combined with a realization of awful responsibility, is 
almost overwhelming to the young missionary on a new 
field, and it is only by constantly leaning on the almighty 
arm that he is kept from despondence and despair. At 
such times the advice of such an elder brother is invalu- 
able. 

The little missions had by this time been reinforced by 
several arrivals, and the following summer, which was 
very warm, many of them went to Namhan (Southern 
fortress) to spend the hot months. Seoul lies in a basin, 
encircled by mountains, and is extremely unhealthy in 
summer, its festering pools and ditches overflowing with 
filth, steaming a very witches brew of evils upon the sick- 
ened air, with odors unspeakable and undreamed of in 
civilized lands. Namhan is about seventeen miles distant 
from Seoul, on top of a mountain, not quite two thousand 
feet high. It lies on the further side of the Han River, 
but is fairly easy of access, reached by a steep road wind- 
ing up the mountain. 

Dr. Heron had taken his family there, and frequently 
traveled back and forth to his duties in Seoul, which was 
doubtless too much for his strength in those hot and 
humid days. He was soon attacked by dysentery, which 
did not at first seem serious, and was consequently ignored 
too long. It finally developed into the most malignant 
form of the disease, which resisted every effort of the phy- 
sicians, Drs. Scranton and MacGill, who were unremitting 
in the struggle in which they were steadily worsted. As 
soon as the symptoms began to look grave Mrs. Heron 
was sent for. In great distress and alarm, she set off that 
very evening, in a terrible storm of rain and wind, a very 
carnival, no torch or lantern could be kept alive, the wind 
howling around the frail chair as if to tear it from its 




GATE IN THE WALL OF NAMHAN. PAGE 98 



MRS. HERON'S MIDNIGHT RIDE 99 

bearers' hands. The roads, steep and difficult in pleasant 
weather, were really dangerous when slippery with mud 
and water, in darkness so absolute that not one step in ad- 
vance could be seen, while in the woods and valleys the 
coolies were sometimes up to their waists in water. 
Drenched to the skin, this poor afflicted young wife ar- 
rived at her home near morning, after traveling all night 
in this terrible storm, to find her husband fatally ill. After 
a little more than three weeks' sickness and great suffer- 
ing, Dr. Heron passed away, to the grief and loss of the 
whole foreign community, as well as that of the Koreans 
(and they were many) with whom he had come in contact, 
to all of whom he had endeared himself by untiring kind- 
ness. 

The government had never set aside any land for a for- 
eign cemetery near Seoul, although in accordance with the 
treaty they should have done so long before. A strong 
superstition and very rigid law forbid the burial of the 
dead within the city walls, and hitherto the few Europeans 
who had died had been buried in the cemetery near 
Chemulpo. But to carry remains thirty miles in the heat 
of July, to the port, with no conveyances but chairs, to be 
forced to bury our dead so far away, was unnecessary, in- 
convenient and expensive, as well as an additional trial to 
hearts already sore. As soon, therefore, as Dr. Heron's 
death seemed inevitable, a request was made that the gov- 
ernment would set apart a place near the city for this pur- 
pose. This, with characteristic procrastination, they failed 
to do. 

On the day of Dr. Heron's death they offered a place 
which we found altogether impossible, beyond the sand 
beds across the river, a long distance off, in very low 
ground. It was then decided that as something immediate 
must be done, we would make a temporary resting place on 



ioo FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

a piece of ground belonging to our mission, where there 
was a small house, occupied just then by Mr. Underwood's 
and Dr. Heron's literary helpers. As soon as they heard 
of this plan they objected most strongly, saying it was 
against the law, and as the body must be carried through 
the streets to reach there, there would probably be a good 
deal of excitement and trouble. 

We then ordered the grave dug on Dr. Heron's com- 
pound, back of his house, sending word to the Foreign 
Office that as they had provided no other place, we were 
forced temporarily at least to make this disposal of the 
remains. The time for the funeral was set for three 
o'clock, and about a half hour before the literary helpers 
again came to us in a state of the wildest excitement and 
terror, tearing their hair, weeping and trembling. They 
averred that the people in that quarter were planning to 
mob us all, to burn down their house, beat and kill them, 
and very likely kill us too, if the body was buried within 
the walls. 

It seemed cruel that no place could be found where we 
could lay our dead. Our hearts were torn with grief for 
the poor burdened sister, who ought to have been able to 
claim a quiet and decent burial for her dear one's re- 
mains, as well as the sympathy of every one, that she must 
be refused a place for his repose, and assailed by all this 
wrangling and confusion. We were hotly indignant with 
the teachers, who we thought ought to have risen above 
heathen superstition on their own part and kept the secret 
from the people. It was now uncertain where Dr. Heron's 
remains could be laid, and they were therefore embalmed 
and hermetically sealed. The Foreign Office, however, on 
hearing that it was our intention to bury on the compound, 
at once came to terms and gave us a large field on a fine 
bluff overlooking the river, about five miles from Seoul. 



FORCED RETURN TO AMERICA 101 

This was obtained through the indefatigable efforts of Dr. 
Allen of the United States legation, who besieged the 
foreign office and insisted on this concession. 

During all these months the work was steadily going 
forward ; more than we had dared to hope were added to 
the number of believers and inquirers ; a Bible translating 
committee, of which Dr. W. B. Scranton of the M. E. 
Mission and Mr. Underwood were members, had been ap- 
pointed ; a girls' school in each of the two missions had 
been started long before, and both were steadily growing 
(though the Methodists were far in advance here), the 
boys' orphanage had been changed to a boys' school, and 
hospital and dispensary work in both missions was flour- 
ishing ; with an increase of confidence of the people in our 
friendship and trustworthiness. 

In the early fall a new member of the mission appeared 
in our family, making life richer, in a measure absurdly 
disproportionate to his dimensions and weight. Some 
months after this, sickness, growing more and more threat- 
ening and intractable, followed, until the doctors' verdict 
was that a return to America was the only condition, and 
(that a doubtful one) on which life could be saved. The 
kindness and goodness of the whole community shown to 
me were beyond expression. Here in the East, where the 
ordinary conveniences of large cities are not to be had for 
money, where we are very dependent on each other's kind 
offices, mutual love and service draw and bind us very 
closely together. 

I was nursed, and friends and neighbors helped my 
husband pack away our goods, for a year's absence means 
that everything must be nailed or locked or sealed up from 
mildew, moth, rust, rats and robbers. Furniture must be 
compactly stowed away so that the house may be occupied 
by other homeless missionaries waiting for an appropria- 



102 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

tion for a house. They sewed for baby and me, and 
spared neither pains nor trouble to help us. Two of the 
ladies, Mrs. Bunker and Miss Rothweiler, went with us to 
Chemulpo, a journey which I made, carried by six coolies 
to ensure steadiness, on a long steamer chair, stopping 
over night, half way, at a primitive Japanese hotel. 

I can never tell with what regret, shame and pain I 
left Korea. I had looked forward with pleasure to a re- 
turn after a long period of years, when the work had been 
well begun and the appointed time had come, when some- 
thing had been accomplished, but to go now, a failure, to 
leave my work scarcely begun, perhaps never to return, 
was bitter. But more bitter still was the thought that I was 
dragging my husband, in the freshness of his health and 
vigor, back from a life of usefulness, where workers were 
pitiably few and calls for help from all sides were many 
and loud. Christian tracts and hymn books were needed, 
the Bible, as yet not translated, the dictionary not half 
finished, schools to be established, a fast growing band of 
Christians to be nourished and taught, and when I thought 
of it all, it looked dark. 

But God brought a blessing out of it, as he always does 
from every seeming misfortune, for through that return 
to America several missionaries were obtained, a new 
mission established and greater interest in Korea aroused 
in the minds of American, Canadian and English Chris- 
tians. 

"Man's weakness waiting upon God its end can never miss, 
For man on earth no work can do more angel-like than this. 
He always wins who sides with God to him no chance is lost; 
God's will is sweetest to him when it triumphs at his cost. 
Ill that he blesses is our good, and unless good is ill, 
And all is right that seems most wrong, if it be His sweet will." 

On our return to Korea most of the summer was spent 



CHEMULPO IN SUMMER 103 

at Chemulpo, as our baby was very sick. We stopped in a 
so-called "hotel," kept by Chinamen. The long hot nights 
were rendered almost intolerable by the noise and odors 
of such a place. From early in the evening till past mid- 
night we were tortured by the high falsetto singing of the 
actors in a Chinese theatre across the street. The sailors 
returning to the gunboats in the bay kept the dogs in fats 
of frenzied barking, which would have effectually mur- 
dered sleep had it ever ventured near. By the time the 
dogs had begun to regain their composure, the Japanese 
venders of vegetables, fish, etc., with a devotion to business 
which under any circumstances ought to have won high 
praise, began with loud strident voices to call their wares 
under my window until it was time to rise and face a new 
day. 

All day I brooded over my starving little son with an 
aching heart, looking out across the long reaches of dreary 
mud flats to the sea, watching for the steamer that was 
bringing the only food that he could digest, and prayed it 
might not come too late. Day by day the little life trem- 
bled in the balance, but at last the ship came in, and never 
was argosy from the Indies laden with gems and treasures 
untold half so welcome. Never could ship come to me 
with half so precious a cargo as that which brought my 
baby strength and life. 

In the meanwhile Mr. Underwood toiled in the city, 
overseeing the repairs on our house, for we must be build- 
ers, contractors, carpenters, gardeners and jack of all 
trades, and throughout the summer working unremittingly 
on a hymn book which the little church now greatly 
needed. 

The "term question" is a vexed problem which as yet 
has failed to find a solution that secures the assent of all 
missionaries. This question relates to the proper word to 



104 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

be used for God. China, Japan and Korea alike use the 
Chinese characters and have words which mean "gods," 
or things worshiped, but they do not have either a definite 
article or capitals, such as those by which in English we 
can change "gods" into "the God" or "God." They also 
have names (quite a different matter) signifying the chief 
god of heaven (Sangchai or Hannanim), the god of earth 
(Tangnim) and others. 

Some missionaries hold that by using this name of the 
chief god of heaven and explaining it by instructing the 
people in the character and attributes of him whom they 
ignorantly worship, they will more easily understand and 
more readily accept our teaching. Many also believe that 
the name really refers to the great God of heaven, al- 
though of course it is impossible to claim that it refers 
to the one only God, since all the heathen who worship 
this one also worship countless other smaller deities. 

On the other hand are those who conscientiously believe 
that the personal name of a heathen deity should not in 
any way be applied to the Eternal Jehovah, that such a 
course is in direct conflict with God's own word. Then 
aside from their convictions on this matter they believe 
that the use of a heathen cognomen of one of these gods, 
be he of heaven or earth, applied to the great "I am" may, 
in addition to being forbidden, lead to dangerous mis- 
takes in the minds of the members of the infant native 
church. They believe, in short, that a false thing can 
never be right, and that to address Jehovah by a name not 
his, but another's, cannot be right or result well in the 
end. This view has been adopted by missionaries of all 
creeds in Japan, a large minority of Protestants, and all 
Romanists in China, and by all the Episcopalians and 
Romanists in Korea. They use the name Jehovah for 
God. 



DIFFICULTIES IN THE WORK 105 

Almost the entire body of the Presbyterian and 
Methodist missionaries in Korea, and a majority of them 
in China, belong to the other party, although quite essen- 
tially different words are used by the Chinese missionaries 
from those used in Korea. The Chinese use Sangchai; 
the Koreans, Hannanim. 

It is with no controversial intent that this matter is re- 
ferred to here. It is indeed a vexed question, but one 
whose satisfactory settlement is to be devoutly hoped for. 
No little feeling has been awakened, because it is a ques- 
tion which has involved in the minds of many some very 
deep principles. 

The only reason for referring to this matter is that men 
and women in Christian lands may gain a little glimpse 
of some of the difficult and perplexing problems which 
confront the workers in some of the mission fields. These 
problems vary in different countries, but they all have 
their difficulties. 

Immediately after our return Mr. James Gale's Gram- 
matical Forms was published, and about a year later his 
Korean-English dictionary, so that the mission was now 
supplied with several language helps. Much stress had 
been laid from the first upon securing a thorough mastery 
of Korean, and each missionary was required to pass three 
very rigid annual examinations. A course of study for 
first, second and third grades was made out for each year, 
to assist students, and members of the examination com- 
mittee and others were appointed to oversee and aid the 
language study of the newcomers. 



CHAPTER VII 

The Mission in 1893 "The Shelter" Opening of Japanese War 
Seoul Populace Panic Stricken Dr. and Mrs. Hall in 
Pyeng Yang Heroic Conduct of Native Christians Con- 
dition of Pyeng Yang after the War Dr. Hall's Death 
Preaching the Gospel at the Palace The Queen Seeks to 
Strengthen Friendly Relations with Europeans Her Maj- 
esty's Generosity A Little Child at the Palace The Slaves 
of the Ring A Christmas Tree at the Palace The Queen's 
Beneficent Plans The Post Office Emeute of 1884 A 
Haunted Palace The Murder of Kim Oh Kiun. 

IN the fall of 1893 we moved too early into a house re- 
cently repaired and not yet completed, with wet mud walls 
and no windows fitted in some of the rooms. It seemed a 
necessity, but resulted in continued sickness through the 
entire winter for the little one and myself, so that I was 
largely debarred from the good work going on among the 
Koreans. Many of the middle and lower classes were 
coming into the church, men's and women's meetings were 
well attended, and even the little boys in the school seemed 
full of Christlike zeal, and spent some of their holiday and 
play hours in telling the good tidings and distributing 
tracts. One of our missionaries, Dr. Moffett, had been ap- 
pointed to Pyeng Yang, other appointments of Presby- 
terians to the same place soon following, as well as that of 
Dr. and Mrs. Hall from the Methodist Mission. 

On my own part, a little, very interrupted medical work 
was done, and women's meetings were begun and carried 
on with great difficulty on account of deficient knowledge 
of the language, but little by little, in trying ever so lamely 
to use what I had, I rapidly gained more and more, so that 



"THE SHELTER" 107 

I could soon talk and pray with freedom, if not always 
with perfect elegance and correctness, and as my chief aim 
was to be understood by the Koreans, not to display my- 
self as an accomplished linguist, I was satisfied and happy 
when I had proof of this. Other women by this time were 
prepared to do this work well, in all three missions ; and 
our poor native sisters were being reached in various 
quarters. I had been invited to the palace several times, 
my child was also asked there, and petted and loaded with 
kindness. 

The Bible translating committee had been enlarged and 
now included Rev. H. G. Appenzeller (M. E.) and Mr. 
James S. Gale (Presby.), in addition to Dr. Scranton 
and Mr. Underwood. Lesson leaves were prepared for 
our Bible classes, and a number of tracts were being 
translated by various missionaries. Before our return to 
America in 1891, and for some years after, it was the 
cruel custom among wealthy natives to put servants, de- 
pendents or strangers at once on the street, if afflicted 
with any infectious disease, and it was the commonest oc- 
currence to find poor people lying by the roadside, either 
exposed to the bitterest blasts of winter or the blazing heat 
of midsummer. Sometimes a friend or relative had 
erected a rude hut of thatch over the sufferer, sometimes a 
whole family together occupied such a hut, the dead and 
living lying together. It was our heart's desire to obtain 
in some way the means to buy or build a hospital for such 
cases. While we were in America small sums were put at 
odd times into our hands "for the work," and as these 
sums increased we decided to use the money for this long- 
cherished purpose. 

Soon after our return, we were able, at a very low price, 
to buy a beautiful piece of ground on a breezy hillside, 
covered with fine trees and with a good tiled house having 



io8 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

six or seven rooms. This was large enough for our 
present purpose, and money in hand was not sufficient to 
build the sort of hospital of which we dreamed. So we 
repaired the old building and added a caretaker's quarters. 
We made the institution undenominational, arranging that 
any one might place cases of infectious disease there, 
which should be attended by any doctor desired. At the 
same time a little dispensary, given in memory of her only 
son by Mrs. Hugh O'Neil, of New York, was opened not 
far from the "Shelter," as it was called, on the main road 
to the north. Here, in addition to medical work in a small 
way, women's Bible classes were held, men's and women's 
evening prayer meetings, and often Sabbath morning ser- 
vices. July of 1894 saw the beginning of the China- 
Japan war in Korea, and the capture of Seoul by the 
Japanese. We were awakened one morning by the sound 
of firing, and soon learned that the palace was in pos- 
session of the Japanese. Excitement rose quite high 
among both foreigners and natives. 

All the legations ordered up troops from the port where 
our gunboats lay, for our protection, although it is diffi- 
cult to see how, in a case of serious danger, such small 
numbers would be of any service. There were fifty Rus- 
sians, forty Americans, forty English and nine German 
marines. The natives, high and low, were in a state of 
panic. The nobility fled from their homes in large num- 
bers and in all sort of disguises, and sought refuge at the 
foreign legations, or in the country; and to the country 
the common people started en masse. Every shop was 
closed, the city had the look of a plague-infested place. A 
solemn procession of men, women, chairs, pack-ponies, a 
continuous throng, in dead silence, with rapid steps, and 
set, terror-stricken faces, poured through the main 
thoroughfares and out of the gates. Many pathetic little 



THE CHINA-JAPAN WAR 109 

groups were to be seen; little children, whose parents in 
wild fear had deserted or lost them in the crowd, trotting 
along with tear-stained faces, alone; women with babies 
on their backs and babies hanging at their skirts; men 
carrying all their worldly goods on their shoulders, here 
and there coolies with the chair of some frightened rich 
man or fine lady, shoving aside the crowd. High and 
low, rich and poor, hurrying away from the dreaded 
Japanese, the ancient enemy of their nation. How it made 
one realize the great multitude of unsaved peoples, push- 
ing its way along the broad road and through the wide 
gate that leads to destruction. "And when he beheld the 
multitudes he had compassion on them as sheep having no 
shepherd." The servants in every family gave notice; 
they dared not stay, they said, since to remain would be to 
be killed by Chinese or Japanese. We reminded them that 
we were neither afraid nor making any preparations for 
flight, and at last only persuaded some of them to remain 
by promising that we would never go and leave them, 
which we had fully decided upon on account of the native 
Christians. 

Some very exciting and trying events had in the mean- 
while been taking place in Pyeng Yang. In the previous 
May Dr. William James Hall of the M. E. Mission took 
his wife and baby to that city to start a station, and to take 
up a permanent residence. They were almost mobbed by 
the curious throngs, whom they were unable to control. 
No police could be obtained from the governor, who in ad- 
dition, on the second or third day after their arrival, ar- 
rested and threw into jail Dr. Hall's helper and the man 
from whom he had bought his house. This is the approved 
method of forcing a man to give up a house or piece of 
ground to which he holds a good title, but which Korean 
officials object, for any reason, to his keeping. 



no FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

Dr. Hall had selected this property because it was in a 
thickly populated part of the town, where he believed he 
could do most good, but he had positively refused to pay a 
tax, which former owners had always paid to a certain 
devil-worship and sorceress house in the vicinity. 

Dr. Moffett's helper and the former owner of his house 
were also cast in jail, and his native Christians cruelly 
beaten, at the time when Dr. Hall's men were seized. It 
was evident missionaries were not to be tolerated in Pyeng 
Yang. One or two other M. E. native Christians were 
then also arrested and beaten. Dr. Moffett was in the 
capital, and the Halls were quite alone in this large town, 
among many enemies, several days' journey from Seoul 
and help. The situation was grim. Dr. Hall was obliged 
to leave his helpless wife and baby alone in the unprotected 
house while he visited the governor, or the Chinese tele- 
graph office (both long distances away), or in trying to 
relieve or help the Christians in the jail. 

As soon as his first message arrived in Seoul, a general 
meeting of all the missionaries was called at our house 
for united prayer for the Halls and our poor tortured na- 
tive brethren. Dr. Scranton, Dr. Moffett and Mr. Under- 
wood at once hastened to the American and English lega- 
tions, and obtained through them an order from the For- 
eign Office to the governor, to release the Christians and 
pay damages for the injured property. Although this was 
wired at once to Pyeng Yang, the only apparent result was 
that the natives were more cruelly beaten and water-car- 
riers forbidden to take water to the Halls, their house 
stoned and the walls torn down. The natives bore their 
cruel treatment heroically, and refused to give up their 
faith ; they were then removed to the death cell, and the 
governor sent them word of his intention to execute them. 
Two despatches from Seoul had been received by the gov- 



PERSECUTIONS AT PYENG YANG in 

ernor, but still no signs of change. In the meanwhile it 
was decided that some of the missionaries from Seoul 
should go to Dr. Hall's help. Mr. Moffett claimed the 
right to go, as his native Christians were there in trouble, 
and Mr. McKenzie, from Canada, was allowed to accom- 
pany him, being an unmarried man, although several 
others stoutly urged the best reasons why they should go, 
like boys begging for a holiday rather than men going to 
face a very serious and doubtful situation. 

We all feared that Dr. and Mrs. Hall, as well as the 
Christians' lives, would be sacrificed to the malice of the 
mob and the governor before sufficient influence could be 
brought to bear by our legations through the Foreign 
Office to save them. By the time the two men from Seoul 
had arrived there, however, five days later, the Christians 
had been released, after being again badly beaten and 
stoned. Dr. and Mrs. Hall for a month following treated 
patients and preached the Word, but when war seemed 
imminent they were ordered back to Seoul, where they 
returned, as well as Mr. McKenzie, Dr. Moffett follow- 
ing somewhat later, having lingered as long as possible to 
encourage and hearten the Christians. Pyeng Yang was 
now in the hands of the Chinese, and Seoul in those of the 
Japanese. The summer was a very hot and unhealthy one, 
and there was scarce a family among the foreigners where 
there was not one or more cases of severe and prostrating 
sickness. Two little ones died, and there were long hours 
of agonized watching, when dear lives seemed for hours 
to be slipping over the brink. None of us could leave the 
city to seek for purer air or water, no pure milk could be 
had, and one poor young father, whose little child was 
literally starving for digestible nourishing food, re- 
membering his father's farm with its good milk cows, 
remarked pathetically, "In my father's house there 



H2 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

is food enough and to spare, while I perish with 
hunger." 

On the first of October, after the defeat of the Chinese, 
the Presbyterian missionaries and Dr. Hall returned to 
Pyeng Yang to look after the interests of the stations left 
so long, in a city which had passed through such a hard 
experience. 

Pyeng Yang was in a fearfully unhealthy condition. 
One of the missionaries wrote, "The decaying bodies of 
men, horses and cattle were so numerous, that no matter 
whatever direction we went we came across them con- 
stantly, so that the atmosphere was foul beyond ex- 
pression." Another wrote, "In one place I counted over 
twenty bodies, literally piled one on top of another, lying 
just as they had been shot down. ... In another place, 
where a body of Manchurian cavalry ran into an ambush 
of Japanese infantry, the carnage was frightful, several 
hundred bodies of men and horses lying just as they 
had fallen made a swath of bodies nearly a quarter 
of a mile long and several yards wide. It was three 
weeks after the battle and the bodies were all there un- 
molested." 

According to a native superstition that the city is a boat, 
and to dig wells would sink the boat, there were no wells 
in Pyeng Yang ; but a large number of bodies of men and 
horses were lying in the river, polluting for weeks the only 
water supply. In this dreadful situation our brave mis- 
sionaries remained and worked, and on October I7th 
Dr. Hall wrote the following cheerful words, "We have 
very interesting services, the hymns of praise that less 
than a year ago brought cursing and stones are now list- 
ened to with delight, and carry with them a feeling of 
security similar to the sound of a policeman's whistle in 
New York. Comparatively few of the Koreans have re- 



THE DEATH OF A HERO 113 

turned to their homes, but every day brings fresh addi- 
tions. Every day numbers of those who have returned 
and those from the surrounding villages and towns visit 
us. They buy our books and seem far more interested in 
the gospel than I have ever seen them before." 

Very soon after writing these words Dr. Hall returned 
to Seoul; the boat on which he came was full of sick 
Japanese soldiers. There were cases of typhus fever and 
army dysentery, the water was doubtless poisoned, and he 
reached Seoul, after numerous most trying vicissitudes, 
fatally ill with typhus fever. Quite early, articulation be- 
came very difficult, but every halting sentence spoke of 
perfect peace and joy, and almost his last words were, 
"I'm sweeping through the gates." Tears dim my eyes 
while I write, for we all not only loved, but reverenced 
Dr. Hall, and we felt that he possessed a larger share of 
the Master's spirit than most of us. His very entrance 
into a room seemed to bring the Lord nearer, and his 
looks, words and conduct unexceptionally revealed the 
power and beauty of Christ. No one ever heard Dr. Hall 
speak a harsh or bitter word, no one ever heard him 
criticise a brother Christian, no one, to the best of my in- 
formation, ever knew of him anything that was not noble, 
true, faithful and Christlike. His face beamed with a 
celestial light, and without his ever assuming to be in any 
way better than others, we all felt he was a holy man. 
Europeans and natives alike testified to the same impres- 
sions of him, the same love for him, his sweet spirit drew 
all hearts to him, so that he was both universally loved and 
honored. 

While we who were in Seoul had all suffered more or 
less from ill health, everything was quiet and orderly, 
and the Japanese deserve great credit for the fine disci- 
pline of the army, and the good order and comfort of na- 



ii4 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

tives and foreigners in a city entirely at the mercy of the 
victorious troops of an Eastern nation. 

During the fall and winter of 1894 and 1895 the queen 
sent for me very often, asking many questions about for- 
eign countries and their customs, and chatting most 
affably. Frequently we dispensed altogether with the for- 
mality of an interpreter, and the king and crown prince, 
who were often present, were quite as frequently else- 
where, so with her majesty so friendly and kind, I at times 
almost forgot that I was not having a tete a tete with an 
intimate friend. I of course felt my great responsibility 
heavily, and was overwhelmed at times with the thought 
of my duty and inefficiency. At length I asked the prayers 
of the missionaries that an opportunity to speak to the 
queen about Christ might be given me, and that I might 
realize it and make the best use of it. And now my 
anxiety and trouble of mind passed away and a restful 
contentedness took its place. I felt sure that I was to be 
guided and led at the right time. 

On the day before Christmas the queen sent for me and 
asked me to tell her about our great festival, its origin 
and meaning, and how celebrated. Could any one ask 
clearer guidance or a better opportunity ? It would be im- 
possible not to tell the gospel story under such circum- 
stances, and so I told her of the angels' song, and the star, 
and the little babe that was laid in a manger, of the lost 
world to be redeemed, of the one God who so loved the 
world, and the Redeemer who came to save his people 
from their sins. 

She listened intently, and with deep interest, turning 
from time to time and repeating it in a most animated and 
sympathetic way to the king and prince, who did not 
understand my accent so well. 

A few days later, after asking many questions about 



THE QUEEN DEEPLY MOVED 115 

my own country, she said rather sadly, "Oh, that Korea 
were as happy, as free and as powerful as America!" 
Here was another opportunity which I tried to improve 
by saying, that America, though rich and powerful, was 
not the greatest or the best, attempting to picture that 
better land without sin, pain or tears; a land of endless 
glory, goodness and joy. "Ah!" exclaimed the queen, 
with unspeakable pathos, "how good it would be if the 
king, the prince and myself might all go there!" 

Poor queen ! her kingdom threatened on all sides, at that 
time in the hands of an ancient foe, traitors and relentless 
enemies among her own people and kindred, and some of 
the men whom she had raised and advanced ready and 
plotting then to betray her to death. No wonder she 
sighed for that haven of peace and rest. But I was forced 
to tell her very sadly, that no sinners might enter there. 
"No sinners !" Her face fell, the bright look faded, for 
she knew, accustomed though she was to almost divine 
honors, that she was a sinner. Then as silence fell in the 
room, I told her the good tidings, that all who would trust 
in Jesus were forgiven and purified through him, and so 
made holy and fit for that country. She listened very 
thoughtfully, and though no other opportunity came to 
talk further on this subject, I was unspeakably thankful 
that I had been permitted on these occasions to point out 
clearly the way of salvation. 

I think that in this time, when her nation's helplessness 
and weakness were emphasized, the queen sought to 
strengthen friendly relations with European and Ameri- 
cans. She gave several formal audiences to European 
and American ladies, and all who met her felt her power- 
ful magnetic charm and became at once her friends and 
well-wishers. Twice during that winter the queen bade 
me ask all my friends to skate on the pond in the palace 



u6 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

gardens, graciously asking me to act as hostess in her 
place and serve tea in the little pavilion near-by. 

On Christmas day her majesty sent a beautiful sedan- 
chair, which had been her own, covered with blue velvet 
and lined with Chinese brocaded silk, and with it any 
number of screens, mats, rolls of cloth and interesting and 
curious articles of Korean manufacture, with great quan- 
tities of eggs, pheasants, fish, nuts and dates, and on the 
Korean New Year's day five hundred yen, which the 
queen requested me to use in the purchase of pearls, or 
something similar, for myself, and a gift as well for my 
little son. 

He was then between four and five years of age, and 
the palace women were constantly urging me to bring him 
with me to the palace. This, of course, I would not do 
without a special request from their majesties, and at 
length one day the queen asked why I had never 
brought him, expressed surprise that I considered an in- 
vitation necessary, and bade me bring him next day. I 
therefore took him to the palace, and no sooner had the 
coolies lowered my chair than the women, who were evi- 
dently on the watch for us, clutched him up and bore him 
away in triumph, I, his mother, knew not whither. Some 
few minutes elapsed before I was asked to go from the 
waiting room to the audience, during which I employed 
my time in lively conjectures as to what was happening 
to my kidnapped son. When I was called for a little later 
I found him with the royal party, the center of an admir- 
ing circle. 

Both the king and queen have always shown a passion- 
ate fondness for children. Only a few months ago the 
king spent nearly four hundred thousand dollars on sor- 
cerers and temples in trying to mollify the smallpox god, 
which had attacked the youngest son, a boy of about six. 



A LITTLE CHILD AT THE PALACE 117 

So no wonder they were kind to the small American. 
The queen ordered nuts and candies brought in, and in- 
sisted on his eating then and there, although, knowing that 
it was bad form in the eyes of Koreans as well as of for- 
eigners to eat in the royal presence, and fearing for his 
health as well (for he had never as yet eaten nuts), I 
begged her majesty to allow this treat to be postponed. 
His looks and actions were praised far beyond their de- 
serts, and every expression noted and remarked upon. 
The queen drew the child to her side in a motherly 
fashion, placing her hand on his forehead, remarked anx- 
iously that it was too hot. 

When we were ready to go, the king, to my amazement, 
actually knelt down in front of the baby, and with his own 
"jade" fingers buttoned on the little coat and made a brave 
attempt to tie the cap strings, one of which, I blush to con- 
fess, in the unfamiliar tug was quite torn from its moor- 
ings. Of course I was overwhelmed with confusion over 
the bad conduct of the ribbon on such an occasion, but the 
king overlooked it, and farewells were said and again the 
child was spirited swiftly away by the palace women. I 
found him in the women's quarters handed round like a 
curio from one to another, petted, caressed, discussed, 
half- frightened, but demure. 

Poor palace women ! with no homes or children, living 
such an aimless, shut-in life, a child in their midst was 
a godsend indeed. But all Koreans are extremely fond of 
children. A child is an open sesame to their hearts and 
homes at all times. God blesses the missionary babies, and 
these little preachers open doors that yield to no other 
touch than their little dimpled fingers. From palace to 
hovel I never found a woman whose heart would not 
soften, whose eyes would not brighten, whose interest 
could not at once be enlisted by the sight of a child. 



ii8 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

That evening as we returned home through the narrow 
and winding streets of Seoul we were quite an imposing 
procession. A number of palace lantern bearers accom- 
panied us, each carrying the gayly-colored silk official lan- 
terns of their majesties, and preceding us were a train of 
servants, carrying on their heads great trays of oranges, 
nuts, dried persimmons and candies. It took little imagi- 
nation, looking at those men in their Eastern attire, at the 
lanterns and streets, and even our own chair with its 
oriental splendor, to transport ourselves into the middle of 
a chapter of the Arabian nights, with a little Aladdin sit- 
ting in my lap and the slaves of the ring attending us 
home. 

Soon after Christmas I dressed a Christmas tree for the 
royal family, but to my great vexation, the effect was 
quite spoiled because their majesties were too impatient to 
wait till dark to view it, and one cannot lock the doors on 
kings and queens and forbid them to do as they will in 
their own palaces. There were no heavy hangings or 
means of darkening the room, and so the poor little 
candles flickered in a sickly way in the glaring daylight, 
and I felt that Western customs were lightly esteemed in 
the critical eyes of the East. 

Indeed, in our superb self-satisfaction we often deceive 
ourselves in fancying that Orientals view with open- 
mouthed admiration everything European or American. 
I am reminded of a Korean nobleman, who, on being 
asked, after his return to Seoul from America, how he 
liked New York, replied, "Oh, very well, except the dirt 
and the smells, which were horrible" Another similar in- 
stance was that of one of the Koreans who went with us 
to Chemulpo and Fusan, who saw the two-story houses, 
the ships in the harbor and various wonders of civiliza- 
tion, and exclaimed, "Poor Korea, poor Korea;" but when 



THE QUEEN'S BENEFICENT PLANS 119 

he heard a foreign band play at the Japanese consulate, 
remarked with delight, "At least there is one thing in 
which Japan cannot rival or compare with us, our music !" 

Through the whole winter I was at the palace very 
often, as were the ladies of the American and Russian 
legations, and Dr. Avison of our mission, who was phy- 
sician to the king, was frequently consulted, and the re- 
cipient also personally of many royal favors. In the 
spring the prime minister came, saying the queen had sent 
him to ask Mr. Underwood to draw up plans and estimate 
the cost of a school for the sons of the nobility. The site 
selected was between the east and west palaces. Her 
majesty proposed to erect dwellings for the teachers, 
whom my husband was asked to recommend and send for 
to America. The queen was prepared, the minister said, 
to give at once thirty thousand dollars for the school, and 
twenty or thirty thousand dollars a year for the running 
expenses. 

Mr. Underwood drew up the first plans and made esti- 
mates, which were sent for her majesty's criticism and ap- 
proval. These were again referred to Mr. Underwood, 
the final plans were being prepared, and only two weeks 
before they were to be sent for the queen's approval the 
great blow fell which put an end to all her beneficent and 
enlightened schemes for the advancement of her people. 

Before proceeding further I must go back a few years 
and recall one or two events which occurred before my ar- 
rival, in 1884, in order that my readers may understand 
more clearly some of the events which are to be related in 
the next two or three chapters. 

In that year the progressive or reform party in Korean 
politics was led by a man called Kim Ok Kiun, but they 
were continually foiled in all their attempts towards ad- 
vance and reform by the conservatives, and at length re- 



120 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

ceived reliable information (so they claimed) that a plan 
had been formed to murder all their prominent leaders at 
midnight, on December the fourth. On this evening a 
banquet was to be given in honor of the opening of the 
Korean post-office, and the progressives resolved to fore- 
stall the plans of their opponents, and just before the 
dinner they cut down Min Yung Ik, the queen's cousin, 
and the most influential man in the kingdom. He would 
have died had it not been for the prompt assistance given 
by Dr. Allen, then of our mission. The other conservative 
leaders were then ordered to the palace, as they supposed, 
by royal command, but were there (five of them) assas- 
sinated by the progressive party, who, headed by Kim 
Ok Kiun, then seized the palace. The post-office was 
burned on the same night, and with it the new stamps 
which had been used only once. 

The Japanese minister and other foreign officials were 
now invited to the palace, which invitation was accepted 
only by the former, who brought one hundred and forty 
soldiers. Here the Japanese and the progressive party 
were attacked by three thousand Koreans and between 
two and three thousand Chinese. As the event grew more 
than doubtful, the king was allowed to go over to the other 
party, in the belief that if he was released the fighting 
would cease. Although this was not the case, the little 
party of Japanese fired a mine, dispersed a large number of 
the allies, and then forming a square, with the progressive 
leaders and the Japanese minister in the center, fought 
their way through the enemy, and the hostile streets, first 
to the Japanese legation, and after that to the river, with 
the loss of only five men. After much difficulty in obtain- 
ing boats, they crossed the river, made their way to Che- 
mulpo, and from there escaped safely to Japan. 

The picturesque palace, with the remarkably beautiful 



A HAUNTED PALACE 121 

park which surrounds it, was not occupied again by the 
queen. Her majesty averred that it was impossible to 
sleep there at night for the mournful wailing of the voices 
of her murdered friends, which she heard continually cry- 
ing, "Why was I killed, why was I killed?" So now the 
wind whistles and moans through the deserted rooms, 
grass and weeds push their way through the crevices of 
the beautiful marble steps, green mould grows thick on the 
once lovely lotus pond, and the charming little summer 
pavilions are falling to ruins, while snakes and lizards 
slide about the stone seats. The wide reaches of lawn are 
overgrown with long grass, and tigers and leopards are 
said to make their lairs in the noble woods and grottoes. 
The gateways fashioned in various charming designs to 
form frames as it were for the beautiful vistas beyond, are 
choked with a wild overgrowth of vines and weeds. 
Fancy has not to look far, or listen long, to read in all this 
deserted and neglected beauty the story of that one night 
of blood and horror, and to hear in every chilled whisper 
of shuddering foliage the word "haunted." 

Ten years had passed, the refugees were still in Japan, 
but Eastern vengeance does not tire or sleep, least of all 
forget. A man named Hong, probably employed by the 
government, went to Japan, ingratiated himself with Kim 
Ok Kiun, decoyed him to Shanghai, and there murdered 
him, and on April the I2th, 1894, a Chinese gunboat 
brought the assassin and his victim's remains to Chemul- 
po. Arrived in Korea, the body of the murdered man was 
divided and sent through the eight provinces. Two of 
the other refugees had gone to America, and one Pak 
Yung Ho remained in Japan. All three are to be heard 
from again. While we all shuddered at and deplored this 
revolting deed, a stain upon any government, it must be 
remembered that the man was a political criminal of the 



122 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

blackest dye, and that while any nation would under 
similar circumstances, if possible, have executed him as a 
traitor and assassin, the Korean government was that of 
unenlightened Eastern people who have not learned that 
revenge has no place in just punishment. 



CHAPTER VIII 

Mr. McKenzie The First Church Built by Natives Mr. 
McKenzie's Sickness His Death Warning to New Mis- 
sionaries The Tonghaks Mr. Underwood's Trip to Sorai 
in Summer Native Churches Our Use of Helpers Chris- 
tians in Seoul Build their Own Church Epidemic of 
Cholera Unhygienic Practices Unsanitary Condition of 
City. 

IN the meanwhile, in the fall of 1894, Mr. McKenzie, 
who had arrived from Canada in the winter of 1893, and, 
as we have said, had gone to Dr. Hall's relief, after his 
return decided to go to the interior, the better to learn 
the language and people, and to live there as much as 
possible in every way like a native. Mr. Underwood ad- 
vised him to go to the village of Sorai, or Song Chun, 
then under his care, where he had baptized almost the first 
converts ever received in the Korean church. Here he 
found a few Christians who received him as a brother. 
He made his home with one of them, and at once began to 
preach Christ by example. Long before the people under- 
stood his broken Korean they read his beautiful life, and 
little by little a change came over the whole community. 
We all thought of him often in his loneliness in that far- 
off hamlet, where, though he was a great light to the peo- 
ple, there was no real companionship for him. At Christ- 
mas we sent him a box of home-made bread, plumb- 
cake, canned fruits and vegetables, tea and milk and sugar, 
for we knew he had no foreign food and that he was living 
solely on Korean diet, but we did not know that it con- 



124 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

sisted of rice chiefly, with a chicken once a week, and oc- 
casionally a few eggs. 

When our box reached him, he handed the contents all 
over to the Koreans. He wrote that he dared not taste 
them, knowing that if he did it would be impossible to go 
back to native food. Meanwhile one and another of the 
villagers and people in the vicinity were giving up their 
old heathen idols and turning to Christ. 

Some years before the Christians of that village had 
asked Mr. Underwood to give them a church, but, like the 
young man who came to Jesus, they went away sorrowful, 
when told they must build it themselves. Now, however, 
they again took up the idea in a different spirit. Near the 
village was a rising piece of ground on which stood a 
little grove, in midst of which had been for many years the 
shrine where the village deities were worshiped. This had 
long been neglected and destroyed, and here it was de- 
cided to build the new church. Every one gave as the 
Lord had prospered him, gladly, enthusiastically, and a 
heathen master builder undertook to direct the erection of 
the building on half pay, because it was for the great 
"chief God of heaven," as he understood. Very likely he 
knew little enough of the one only God for whose service 
it was raised, but not very long after he learned both to 
know and love him. 

The little meeting house was not a very imposing or 
lofty structure. It could boast nothing of the magnifi- 
cence of our American churches, no doubt it would blush 
to be called a church at all in such a stately company, so 
I will call it a chapel, and even then it was an humble and 
unpretentious one, but it was the best building in the place. 
The poor people put into it their best wood, stones and 
tiles, the loving labor of their own hands, with fervent 
prayer. When it was finished no debt hung over it, and 





PARTY STARTING OUT IN MORNING FROM THATCHED INN. PAGE 199 
CHURCH AT SORAI. PAGE 124 



A WARNING TO NEW MISSIONARIES 125 

God, who does not see as man sees, blessed and honored 
it by filling it to overflowing with simple-minded, sincere, 
earnest people, who came with hearts ready to receive with 
meekness his word. 

In the early summer of 1895, Mr. McKenzie wrote, ask- 
ing Mr. Underwood to go and dedicate the church and re- 
ceive a number of applicants for baptism. This he 
promised to do, but just before he was to start, one sad 
day in July, when a number of us had met to hold a day 
of fasting and prayer, a messenger came with the news 
of the deadly illness of our dear brother, Mr. McKenzie. 
The pitiful letter, written with his own trembling fingers, 
showing in every sentence the evidence of terrible suffer- 
ing and of a mind already unhinged, was followed imme- 
diately by the shocking news of his death. The blow fell 
like a thunderbolt. Such zeal, consecration and usefulness 
cut short so soon ! 

It was strange, and yet there was a lesson in it for the 
noblest class of missionaries. And here let me say just a 
few words of warning to some who may have the foreign 
field in view, and to some who are perhaps already on the 
field. There are men and women, who, being John the 
Baptist sort of people, enter the work with such zeal and 
enthusiasm and allow themselves to become so over- 
whelmed with the awful responsibility for these dying 
millions (which indeed every true missionary feels only 
too heavily), that they forget the just demands of the body 
of this death. They forget that a solitary life gradually 
unseats the intellect, and that a body which has reached 
maturity, fed on plenty of nutritious food, cannot sudden- 
ly be shifted to a meagre, unaccustomed and distasteful 
diet of foreign concoction, and retain its power to resist 
disease, and to accomplish the heavy work they mercilessly 
exact from it, like Egyptian taskmasters demanding brick 



126 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

without straw. They forget that the spirit cannot remain 
united to the body unless the claims of the latter (in which 
are included those of the brain) are satisfied, and so they 
drop, one by one, our noblest and most needed laborers. 
But even so, they do not die entirely in vain, they leave an 
example of Christlikeness and devotion which preaches 
eloquently, and is an inspiration to all their brethren. 

And yet if they could only have gone on living and 
preaching, as they might, had they been able to mix with 
their enthusiasm and consecration, wisdom and temper- 
ance! During my short experience I have seen several 
illustrations of what Mr. McKenzie's death brought home 
so startlingly to us all. We learned afterwards that he had 
been sick for some weeks, his mind had been somewhat 
affected early in the history of the disease, the progress of 
which had not been very rapid, but as he had no com- 
panion who could observe the danger signals, and no 
doctor to help, his invaluable life was lost. 

The more intelligent natives urged him to send for a 
doctor, but he hesitated to call others from their work to 
undertake a long difficult trip in the unhealthy summer 
season, lest it should prove to be only a passing temporary 
ailment. And so he went on doctoring himself (just as 
any missionary alone in the interior is tempted to do), de- 
laying to call for help, from his very unselfishness and 
conscientious fear of giving trouble. 

"Take care of your head. Don't work too long in the 
sun," he said to an old woman by the roadside, "or you 
may lose your mind as I have." 

He related to his friend, the Korean leader, accounts of 
long nights of anguished struggle with Satan, and then 
again of hours of ecstatic joy with his Saviour. The intol- 
erable agony in his head grew steadily worse, until the 
end. The Koreans felt the terrible blow deeply, but they 



THE TONGHAKS 127 

have never ceased to love and revere Mr. McKenzie's 
memory. They cannot speak of him now after a lapse of 
several years without tears. Their loving hands prepared 
him for the grave and covered his bier with flowers. 
They held a funeral service as best they knew, after our 
custom, with prayers and hymns, and laid his loved re- 
mains in a quiet place, not far from the little church which 
he had been the instrument in God's hands of building. 
His influence is still felt in the village and for miles 
around. He lived Christ and laid the foundations of that 
church on a rock. He had a reputation for great courage 
and prowess, and it is said that his presence alone saved 
Sorai from invasions of Tonghaks. 

This society played a conspicuous part in the opening 
of the China- Japan war, its name means literally Eastern 
doctrine, and its aim was in brief, "the East for Eastern- 
ers," or "Korea for Koreans." They declared their de- 
sire and intention to down all Westerners, Western ideas, 
reforms and changes, and to restore and re-establish old 
laws and customs. The sudden organization and wonder- 
ful popularity of this society was doubtless caused by the 
outrageous conduct of many corrupt officials, who ground 
down the people mercilessly with unjust taxation and 
brought about a general feeling of unrest and bitter dis- 
content. 

They were in many respects like the Boxers of China, 
and believed they had immunity from death and could not 
be hurt by bullets. They soon spread all over the land, 
a terror to officials, and the Korean government was 
powerless to stop them. They gave up the worship of all 
minor deities and honored only the Lord of the heavens. 
They forced people everywhere to join their ranks and 
subscribe for their support, levying taxes on small and 
great. Starting like many other movements, in a good 



128 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

and patriotic determination to do away with abuses and in- 
stitute reforms, it grew into a great evil and terror in the 
whole land. Bad and unprincipled men, of whom there 
are plenty in all climes, who are restless and ready to 
throw themselves into anything which promises a change, 
knowing that no change can be for the worse for them, 
joined in large numbers, and many companies of Tong- 
haks differed only in name from bands of robbers. As has 
been said, the government could make no headway against 
them, and whether or not the aid of China was officially 
sought, I am not prepared to say, but the fact that China 
did send troops to Korea, nominally to control this up- 
rising, was used by the Japanese, who claimed that a 
mutual agreement existed between Japan and China that 
neither should introduce troops into Korea without the 
consent of the other, as a casus belli, and they forthwith 
sent an army to Korea, seized the palace, and sunk a 
transport bringing Chinamen to Chemulpo. 

So much for a brief explanation of the Tonghaks. 
Large companies of these men threatened on three dif- 
ferent occasions to raid Sorai while Mr. McKenzie was 
there. To show that he leaned on no earthly defense, but 
only on the arm of the almighty God, he took his gun all 
to pieces when he heard of their approach. They were 
told of this, and were deeply impressed ; and were so thor- 
oughly convinced that if he was leaning on some mys- 
terious power with such strong confidence, it would be 
useless and worse to attack him, that they gave up their 
plan. The third time they decided to attack the place they 
were said to be ten thousand strong, but after coming part 
way, they turned back, and never again threatened Sorai, 
which was the only village in that section which was never 
raided. 

One day Mr. McKenzie heard that a tiger was prowling 




BOYS PEDDLING 



WAITING IN SUSPENSE 129 

around in the vicinity, and started out with his shotgun 
to hunt the beast, but fortunately did not have a chance to 
try conclusions with that weapon, which, however useful 
in killing partridges, would not be likely to do more than 
tease a tiger. As soon as we received news of his death, 
Mr. Underwood and Dr. Wells started that very day for 
Sorai, to arrange his effects, make sure the death had been 
as reported, and comfort and encourage the native Chris- 
tians. Before they returned, Mr. Underwood dedicated 
the little church, which was packed almost to suffocation, 
with crowds standing around the doors and windows. He 
baptized on that day quite a little company, as well as ad- 
mitted a large number of catechumens and held a 
memorial service for Mr. McKenzie. 

Mr. Underwood was kept longer than I expected on this 
trip, and there were no means of postal or telegraphic com- 
munication. We women, whose husbands go hundreds of 
miles into the interior, realize that we must take strong 
hold on God, and learn patience and faith. When the time 
for Mr. Underwood's return had passed, and no news 
came, I remembered flooded rivers, bands of Tonghaks, 
the various forms of deadly disease that may attack the 
man who travels in the country in July or August, and 
the waiting and suspense grew harder every day. 

Every morning I looked up the road, where it curves 
around the hill, to see if he were coming. Every evening 
when the hateful twilight hurried into darkness, I strained 
my aching vision along the awful emptiness of that road, 
and all night long I listened for the plash of oars on the 
river, or almost fancied I heard his voice as the boats 
rounded the point, for he might come in a boat. Some- 
times I saw Japanese coming in the distance, and deceived 
by their dark clothes, thought it was he. Once a native 
chair came up the road near the house, and they told me 



130 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

he had come, but it was only a stranger, and the chair 
passed on. Yet my case was not harder than that of many 
women in the homelands who must all learn what anxious 
suspense and long vigils mean, but at length, fearing he 
was seriously sick, I concluded that I would go and find 
him. 

To do this secrecy was necessary, for none of my for- 
eign friends would allow me to go at that season, if they 
were informed of my intention. So I called up Mr. 
Underwood's trusted literary assistant, and arranged with 
him to hire ponies. I planned to start from our house 
in Seoul (we were then at the river cottage), and as nearly 
every one was out of town, expected to be able to get 
away without any one's knowledge. But on the very day, 
word came that he had already started, and was well on 
his way home, his ponies had returned, and he, coming by 
water, was almost due. No use to go now, and in a day or 
two he was safe among us again, and again in contrition I 
heard the gentle rebuke, "Oh ye of little faith, wherefore 
did ye doubt?" 

The church in Sorai was the first built and paid for by 
the natives, was in fact the first Presbyterian church built 
in Korea. The Christian natives in Seoul had met in a 
little guest-house on our place, and in similar rooms in 
other sub-stations. So, Sorai in the van set the marching 
order, and all others, with almost no exceptions (in the 
Presbyterian missions), have followed in their lead. 

Paid pastors none of them have, but all the stronger 
ones employ evangelists, whom they often pay in rice or 
fields or wood, to systematically carry the gospel to their 
heathen neighbors. It is our custom to select in each 
church the most earnest and intelligent of the Christians 
as a leader, who takes charge of the services, and oversight 
of the flock, and reports progress to the missionary in 



charge. The leaders are gathered once a year, at the time 
when farmers have most leisure, at some central place, and 
instructed in the doctrines of the Bible, church govern- 
ment and history, and careful exegetical Bible study. 
They are carefully trained in conducting religious services 
and in preparing illustrated Bible readings. In every way 
possible the missionary tries to fit these men for their 
duties. Mr. Underwood is accustomed to hold one of 
these classes in the city for those who live near enough, 
and one in the country for those who are at too great a 
distance to attend the city class, and I believe nearly all 
the others do the same. 

Such is the interest felt in the gatherings and the thirst 
for more light, that many who are not invited, and who 
hold no office in the church, travel many miles, bringing 
their own rice, to attend these classes, which are often 
crowded to overflowing. The church leaders are rarely 
paid any salary, even by the natives. Each missionary 
engaged in evangelistic work is allowed one paid helper, at 
five dollars a month. This man employs his whole time in 
this way, and some missionaries who have a large field 
under their care are allowed two such assistants. 

Mr. Underwood has always had a good many men, 
who freely gave the greater part of their time to the work, 
or who were paid by the native Christians, or were pro- 
vided by him with some means of gaining their living 
which would admit of their giving much time to the work. 
Some would peddle quinine, at sufficient profit to make a 
good living. Each bottle is wrapped with a tract, and 
pains were taken to insure only the best article being 
placed in the hands of these dealers. Some of these men 
are placed in charge of little book shops, without any 
salary, some in charge of a chapel or dispensary, the 
privilege of occupying the house their only pay. There 



132 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

are always a number of young men around him glad and 
proud to be asked to serve on a special mission here or 
there, and the young men's missionary societies band 
themselves together for systematic gospel work, so that 
they each week visit some village, distributing tracts and 
preaching. All these, with the leaders, who are always at 
his disposal for work in their own vicinity, form a valuable 
corps of helpers. This plan, or something like it, I believe, 
is carried out by all the evangelistic missionaries in the 
Presbyterian missions. Mr. Underwood, also, copying 
from the Methodists, established a circle of class meetings 
among the Christians under his care in and around Seoul. 

The class leaders meet with him once a week, each 
bringing his book, make a report of attendances, absences, 
sickness, removals, backslidings, deaths and conversions. 
The class leader, being, as far as we know, the best man 
in his class, and in a way responsible for it, becomes again 
a very useful helper. 

During the spring of 1895 the Presbyterian church in 
Chong Dong, Seoul, decided to build themselves a place of 
worship. The people were all of them poor, even accord- 
ing to Korean ideas, paper-hangers, carpenters, small re- 
tail shopkeepers, farmers, policemen, soldiers, interpreters, 
writers, copyists, even chair coolies, gardeners and 
peddlers, the richest of them rarely earning more than five 
dollars in gold a month. So we missionaries decided to 
raise the most of the two thousand yen necessary among 
ourselves, encouraging the natives to give as much as they 
could. 

Mr. Underwood, however, in trying to impress them 
with the duty of supporting the Lord's work liberally, was 
met one day with the remark, that this was called a for- 
eign religion, and so it was difficult to convince natives 
that foreigners should not pay its way. "And so it will 



AN EPIDEMIC OF CHOLERA 133 

continue to be regarded, "said my husband, "just as long as 
you allow foreign money to be used in carrying it forward. 
When you build and own your churches, send out your 
own evangelists, and support your own schools, then both 
you and others will feel and realize it is not a foreign 
affair, but your own." 

"Then," said the deacon, "we will build the Chong 
Dong church ourselves." Mr. Underwood was astonished. 
"How can you build such a church?" said he. The deacon 
replied, "Does the pastor ask such a question of what re- 
lates to God's work? With God all things are possible." 
Nothing, of course, remained to be said. The missionaries 
decided that it would be wiser for them to own the land, 
in case of possible political complications, but the building 
itself would cost the whole of one thousand yen. The peo- 
ple went to work with a will, the pastor and one or two 
other missionaries took off their coats and lent a hand at 
the work, boys hauled stones, Korean gentlemen, scholars, 
and teachers who had never lifted anything heavier than 
a pen, set themselves to work on the building, carpenters 
gave their skilled labor every alternate day, working for 
their own living only one out of every two, women saved a 
little rice from each bowl prepared for the family until 
enough was laid aside to be sold, and gave the money thus 
earned, and so in manifold ways the money came in and 
the work grew. At length, however, there were no more 
funds and the building came to a standstill. No one was 
willing to go into debt, even to borrow of the missionaries, 
and it was decided to wait until the way opened. 

Just when everything seemed hopelessly blocked, the 
epidemic of Asiatic cholera broke out. Why Koreans do 
not have this every summer raging through the whole 
country is one of the unsolved problems. All sewage runs 
into filthy, narrow ditches, which are frequently stopped up 



134 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

with refuse, so as to overflow into the streets, green slimy 
pools of water lie undisturbed in courtyards and along 
the side of the road, wells are polluted with drainage from 
soiled apparel washed close by, quantities of decaying 
vegetable matter are thrown out and left to rot on the 
thoroughfares and under the windows of the houses. 
Every imaginable practice which comes under the defini- 
tion of unhygienic or unsanitary is common. Even young 
children in arms eat raw and green cucumbers, unpeeled, 
acrid berries and heavy soggy hot bread. They bolt quan- 
tities of hot or cold rice, with a tough, indigestible cab- 
bage, washed in ditch water, prepared with turnips and 
flavored with salt and red pepper. Green fruit of every 
kind is eaten with perfect recklessness of all the laws of 
nature, and with impunity (and I must say, an average 
immunity from disastrous consequence) which makes a 
Westerner stand aghast. Any of us would surely die 
promptly and deservedly if we presumed to venture one- 
tenth of the impertinences and liberties with Dame Nature 
which a Korean smilingly and unconcernedly takes for 
granted as his common right. 

The only solution I have ever reached, and that I hold 
but weakly, is, that in accordance with the law of the sur- 
vival of the fittest, none but exceptionally hardy specimens 
ever reach adolescence, or even early childhood, and that 
having survived the awful tests of infancy, they are able 
to endure most trials which befall later. 

But even these, so to speak, galvanized-iron interiors are 
not always proof. It takes time, but every five or six 
years, by great care and industry, a bacillus develops itself, 
so hardened, so well armed, so deeply toxic, that even Ko- 
reans must succumb, and then there is an epidemic of 
cholera. Eight years before, in 1887, the plague swept 
through the land, and thousands fell. Christians, both 



UNSANITARY CONDITIONS 135 

missionaries and natives, united in prayers that God would 
stay the scourge. Physicians pronounced it contrary to 
the laws of nature that it should stop before frost came to 
kill the bacilli, but, in wonderful justification of faith, the 
ravages of the plague were abruptly checked in the midst 
of the terrible heat of the last days of August and the first 
of September. 



CHAPTER IX 

Difficulty of Enforcing Quarantine Regulations Greedy Officials 
"Eat" Relief Funds Americans Stand Alone to Face the 
Foe The Emergency Cholera Hospital The Inspection 
Officers We Decide to Use the Shelter A Pathetic Case 
The Jesus Man Gratitude of the Koreans The New 
Church The Murder of the Queen Testimony of Foreign- 
ersThe Official Report. 

AND now again the rod was to fall. The disease began 
with terrible violence, men in full vigor in the morning 
were corpses at noon, several members of the same family 
often dying the same day. It cropped out in one neigh- 
borhood after another with a steadily marked increase 
every day, that was frightful in its unrelenting, unswerv- 
ing ferocity. The Japanese and many of the more en- 
lightened Koreans took the alarm early, and seeking the 
counsel of European and American physicians planned to 
establish quarantine and sanitary regulations for the 
whole country, but as an astute young Korean sadly re- 
marked, "It is easy enough to make the laws, it is more 
than doubtful whether they can be enforced." 

If officials and soldiers are sent to enforce quarantine, 
there is little doubt among those who know customs and 
people that only too many of them will be susceptible to a 
very small bribe. When the necessity for quarantining 
Seoul from Chemulpo was mentioned, the high officials 
themselves said it would be impossible on account of the 
importance of the trade between the two places. One in- 



OFFICIAL CORRUPTION 137 

stance will show the hopelessness of the attempt to carry 
out sanitary regulations. 

In the effort to prevent the enormous and insane con- 
sumption of green apples, melons and cucumbers, the sale 
of these articles was forbidden with a penalty for buyer 
and seller, and notices of the law posted everywhere. And 
yet, soon after, my husband passed a stand where they 
were being sold in large numbers, over which one of these 
very notices was hung, and several policemen among the 
buyers were munching the forbidden fruit with a calm 
relish, edifying to behold. It is due to the government to 
say that they seemed thoroughly awakened to the situation 
and were doing all in their power, but were handicapped 
by the deplorable corruption of many officials. Twenty 
thousand yen (ten thousand dollars) were granted to fix 
up a temporary emergency cholera hospital, enforce sani- 
tary laws and prevent the advance of the plague, but this 
money was, to use a common Korean phrase, "eaten" by 
greedy underlings on all hands. In the preparation of the 
hospital, more than twice the number of carpenters needed 
were employed, and these men passed their time making 
little articles for private sale, or in standing about doing 
nothing. A number of petty officials were hired to do 
little, and improved on their commission by doing nothing 
but receive their pay. 

At a general meeting of the physicians then in the city, 
European, American and Japanese, Dr. Avison having 
been chosen by vote director of this emergency hospital 
and the sanitary work, the Japanese all withdrew, saying 
they did not care to work under a Westerner, and in the 
end the Americans only were left to face the foe. 

After many discouragements and hindrances an old bar- 
racks building was roughly prepared to receive patients, 
and a corps of nurses and doctors, composed of quite a 



138 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

number of missionaries (Methodists, Baptists and Presby- 
terians, with the assistance of hired Koreans) was 
formed. The building was very poorly fitted up for such 
an exigency, the haste with which it was necessary to get 
it ready, and the character of the place, precluded the pos- 
sibility of making it very suitable for the purpose. It was 
open, damp and chilly, with no means of warming or 
secluding the patients. It was only scantily furnished 
with such absolute necessities as could be had at short 
notice in the city. And think not, Oh civilized medical 
community in America! that "necessities" according to 
your ideas are synonomous with "necessities" according 
to our possibilities in Asia. Perhaps you have a fossilized 
idea that beds and sheets and pillows are necessities. By 
no means. Our patients lay on the floor, covered with 
small cotton wool rugs, and back-breaking business it was 
to nurse them. 

But the discouragements connected with our work was 
not merely the lack of conveniences and almost dire 
necessities, or the want of proper inforcement of sanitary 
regulations and of co-operation, and although Dr. Avison 
and the foreign staff under him worked heroically, and 
with unwearied devotion, it was an unequal struggle. 
The majority of natives are not willing to go to hospitals, 
and it would have been dangerous to try to force them, 
while many will not permit foreign doctors to treat them 
even in their homes, or else use Korean medicines with 
ours. But alas ! in many cases the disease is so violent as 
to defy all that science, aided by every advantage, can do. 

It is the most desperately, deadly thing I ever saw, and 
often medicines seem useless to do more than slightly 
defer the ultimate result. The poison attacks the nerve 
centers at once, and every organ is affected. Terrible 
cramps contract the muscles, the heart fails, the extremi- 



THE INSPECTION OFFICERS 139 

ties grow cold, the pulse becomes imperceptible, the mind 
wanders, or suddenly, without previous symptoms, the 
victim falls and dies at once. Or, after the most violent 
symptoms of the disease have disappeared, vomiting and 
pain have ceased, the pulse has become almost normal and 
the patient nearly ready to be discharged, a mysterious 
change comes, and the poor victim dies of pneumonia, 
uraemic convulsions, or some of the other sequellse of this 
frightful disease. 

Mr. Underwood vas placed in charge of inspection 
offices, which were opened in different districts over the 
whole city, and all cases reported there received imme- 
diate attention. Several of his young Christians were 
trained by him to carry on this work, he himself at first 
going out with them, hunting up infected localities, using 
disinfectants, and teaching the helpers and residents how 
to purify the premises. These young men worked inde- 
fatigably, with intelligence, enthusiasm and courage. 
The inspectors and all the doctors and nurses wore a 
badge, consisting of the red cross over the Korean flag, so 
that even in heathen Korea the sign of the cross was car- 
ried everywhere, and dominated the emblem of the Korean 
government. 

The people picked up the idea that lime was a mys- 
terious agent in preventing disease, so it was not un- 
common to see a handful of it scattered, a few grains here 
and there, along the edges of some of the filthiest ditches, 
or a gourd whitewashed with lime hanging by the door 
as a sort of charm to drive away cholera. 

Koreans call it "the rat disease," believing that cramps 
are rats gnawing and crawling inside the legs, going up 
till the heart is reached ; so they offer prayers to the spirit 
of the cat, hang a paper cat on the house door, and rub 
their cramps with a cat's skin. They offered prayers and 



140 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

sacrifices in various high places to the heavens Hananim 
and some of the streets in infected districts were almost 
impassable on account of ropes stretched across, about 
five feet high, at intervals of about every twenty-five feet, 
to which paper prayers were attached. As my coolies, 
trying to pass along with my chair, broke one of these, I 
could not help admonishing the owner who came to its 
rescue, "Better put them up a little higher." 

Aye, put them up higher, poor Korean brother, they 
are far too near the earth! One of the most pathetic 
sights in connection with this plague were these poor, 
wind-torn, rain-bedraggled, paper prayers, hanging help- 
lessly everywhere, the offering of blind superstition to 
useless dumb gods who can neither pity nor hear. 

"They reach lame hands of faith and grope 
And gather dust and chaff." 

Early in August it was decided, as the plague seemed on 
the increase, to fill the "Shelter" with cholera patients, 
and Dr. Avison assigned to Dr. Wells, Mr. Underwood 
and myself the supervision and care of this place. 

The "Shelter," situated on a good high site outside the 
walls, with a number of comfortable rooms, with the pos- 
sibility of hot floors (which proved an unspeakable benefit 
to the poor cold, pulseless sick), seemed an ideal place for 
the purpose. It was not very large, it is true, but as most 
of our patients were either quickly cured or quickly suc- 
cumbed, we were able to receive a goodly number. 
Mr. Underwood and Dr. Wells worked indefatigably, 
stocking it with everything obtainable which could be of 
use. 

My husband arranged for a corps of voluntary native 
nurses. As the only missionaries available were at work 



VOLUNTEER NATIVE NURSES 141 

elsewhere, and we had seen too much of hired native offi- 
cial nurses, he decided to ask some of his Christian helpers 
to do this service for the love of Christ. Cholera is a 
loathsome disease, only love makes it easy to nurse faith- 
fully and tenderly these poor afflicted creatures, without 
overwhelming disgust. 

Some of the men thus approached belonged to the 
scholar and gentlemen class, who had never done manual 
work of any kind, and at first they hesitated. However, 
they at last decided to undertake the task, and with will- 
ing hands and a little training, they turned out to be very 
satisfactory nurses, faithful and devoted, never shirking 
the most difficult and repelling work. Every evening a 
service of prayer and song was held in the central court 
of the Shelter, where all who were conscious could hear, 
and we believe that the blessing on that work came in an- 
swer to these united prayers, and the public acknowledg- 
ment of absolute dependence in God. Here, too, the 
workers gained new enthusiasm and the strength born of 
faith and hope. 

Dr. Wells' brilliant management deserves the highest 
praise. The necessity of caring for my little one, lying 
sick five miles away, allowed me only alternate nights of 
service at the hospital, so the labor for the other two mem- 
bers of our trio was severe, but while the need lasted 
strength was given. 

Unspeakably pathetic were many of the scenes we were 
forced to witness. One poor woman, only that day 
widowed, with three little ones to care for, was brought in 
cold and almost pulseless. We spent the night trying to 
save this poor mother. Early in the morning her eldest, 
a dear little fellow of eleven, came to watch with and take 
care of her. To see the anxious little face (a child's face 
in the shadow of a great sorrow is the saddest thing on 



142 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

earth) as he chafed her hands and affirmed, half interrog- 
atively, how much warmer they were now than before, 
and as he looked eagerly to us, every time we entered say- 
ing, "Will she live, will she live?" was enough to make 
one ready to die for that life. We felt that woman must 
live. And yet . After a long contest the pulse revived, 
the extremities grew warm, nearly all untoward symptoms 
disappeared, we all dared to hope. "She will live now," 
joyfully said the child. "Oh, if I could live, it would be 
good !" said the now conscious mother. But alas ! next 
day the three little ones were motherless and fatherless, 
and another sad funeral, with one drooping little mourner, 
joined the awful procession, which nightly filed through 
the city gates, and covered the surrounding hills with new- 
made graves. One poor old father watched and tended 
his boy of fourteen with agonized devotion. The only one 
left to his old age of what was a few days before a large 
family. We all worked over the lad with strong hopes, so 
young, and many of the old had recovered, so much 
needed, surely he would be spared, but at length the cold 
young form grew a little colder, the tired little pulse ceased 
to flutter, and a broken old man followed his last hope to 
the grave. 

And yet we had great cause for devout thankfulness 
that so many of our patients were spared. Sixty-five per 
cent of recoveries is almost unheard of, and yet this was 
our record at the Shelter. 

Under God we ascribed this large percentage of cures, 
mainly to the three following causes : The use of salol as 
early and in as large doses as possible. Keeping the pa- 
tients on the very hot floor till warmth returned and cir- 
culation improved. And the conscientious and untiring 
nursing by the native Christians. 

Of course this is not the place, nor have I the time, to 



THE TREATMENT OF CHOLERA 143 

go into a minute description of the various remedies and 
forms of treatment used. We believed we were reaching 
the case with salol, but various other remedies also were 
used to control the symptoms. In fact, everything we 
knew was done, and all must be done quickly or not at all. 
Many of the cases brought to us were in a state of col- 
lapse when they arrived. Often the pulse was not per- 
ceptible, and yet repeatedly, where we felt that treatment 
was hopeless, the hot floor and vigorous charing, with 
hypodermic administration of stimulants, brought about 
sufficient reanimation to make it possible to take the salol, 
and this seemed to act miraculously. It was in obedience 
to Dr. Wells' suggestion that we tried this drug which 
proved such a blessing. In one case, that of a young man 
of high rank, his family despaired of his life from the first, 
and finally went home to prepare his grave clothes, but 
on returning with them in the morning, found him, to 
their joy and amazement, quite out of danger. Another 
striking case was that of an old lady nearly seventy years 
of age. Her son and daughter, as a last resort, but quite 
hopelessly, brought her to us. She was far gone, uncon- 
scious, and almost pulseless. We rubbed her cold ex- 
tremities with alcohol, keeping her quite warm on a fine 
hot floor (she lay practically on a stove all night), and to 
the astonishment of all, after a few hours, steady improve- 
ment began and she was soon restored to her delighted 
friends. 

I insert here our medical record, for the benefit of medi- 
cal readers, giving all the uninterested the privilege of 
skipping. We received altogether 173 patients, of whom 
61 died; of those received, 18 arrived dying or dead; 95 
were taken in rigid, of whom only 42 died ; 35 were verg- 
ing on collapse, of whom 2 died ; 4 were in partial collapse, 
of whom none died ; 20 were in the first stage, of whom 



144 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

none died. Of those who died, 25 never reacted, 2 had 
puerperal complications, 2 were already affected with 
tuberculosis, 3 developed cerebral meningitis, i complica- 
tion of chronic cystitis, i chronic nephritis, and 2 received 
no salol. 

All these recoveries made no little stir in the city, 
especially as elsewhere nearly two-thirds of those affected 
died. Proclamations were posted on the walls, telling peo- 
ple there was no need for them to die when they might 
go to the Christian hospital and live. People who watched 
missionaries working over the sick night after night said 
to each other, "How these foreigners love us, would we 
do as much for one of our own kin as they do for 
strangers ?" Some men who saw Mr. Underwood hurry- 
ing along the road in the gray twilight of a summer morn- 
ing remarked, "There goes the Jesus man, he works all 
night and all day with the sick without resting." "Why 
does he do it?" said another. "Because he loves us," was 
the reply. What sweeter reward could be had than that 
the people should see the Lord in our service. Surely the 
plague was not all evil when it served to bring the Lord 
more clearly to the view of the souls he died to save. 

A tolerably fair count of the deaths inside the walls each 
day was possible, since all the dead are carried through 
two or three gates. The numbers rose gradually to some- 
thing over three hundred a day and then gradually de- 
clined, the plague lasting not quite six weeks. The extra- 
mural population is probably as large as the intra-mural, 
including the people within the two miles radius outside 
the walls. All taken together there are between three 
and four hundred thousand people. 

When the plague was nearly over the following very 
grateful letter of thanks from the Korean office of Foreign 
Affairs was sent through the American minister. 



OFFICIAL EXPRESSION OF THANKS 145 

THE DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS. 
504th Year, 7th Moon, 3d Day. 

August 22d, 1895. 
Kim, Minister of Foreign Affairs, 

to Mr. Sill, United States Minister. 
SIR: I have the honor to say that my government is deeply 

grateful to and his friends who have 

spent a great deal of money for medicines and labored in the 
management of cholera, resulting in the cure of many sick peo- 
ple. I trust your excellency will kindly convey an expression 
of thanks to them on behalf of my government. I am, etc., etc. 
(Signed) KIM YUN SIR. 

Gifts were sent to the missionaries, who had assisted 
at the hospitals, of rolls of silk, fans, little silver inkstands, 
having the name of the Home Office and the recipient en- 
graved upon them, and most interesting of all, a kind of 
mosaic mats made of a peculiar sort of reeds grown for the 
purpose at the island of Kang Wha. These mats have 
bits of the reeds of different colors skilfully inlaid to form 
the pattern, and that on those which were given to us was 
at one end the national emblem, at the other the red cross 
and the name of the Home Office. 

This was of course extremely gratifying. No, more, it 
was a thing for which to be profoundly grateful that gov- 
ernment and people recognized that we, the representa- 
tives of our Lord (however inefficient and unworthy), 
were their friends, and, as far as in us lay, their helpers. 

The best, however, was to come. The names of the 
Koreans who had nursed and served at the Shelter and in- 
spection offices were asked for, and the intention to pay 
them stated. We told them that the men had done this 
with no expectation of pay, but to this they would not 
listen and insisted on rewarding them handsomely. On 
the receipt of this unexpected, and, for them, large sum, 
almost all the Christians (quite voluntarily, and to our 
surprise) put it all into the fund for the new church, con- 



I 4 6 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

sidering it a gift of God, specially sent in answer to 
prayer, to help them in the enterprise undertaken in faith. 

They were, therefore, now able to go on and finish the 
church, which accommodates, with crowding, two hun- 
dred people. It is an unpretentious building, entirely 
native, substantial as possible with mud walls, tiled roof 
and paper windows, yet built and finished much in the 
style of the best Korean houses, none of which knew, at 
that time, what it was to boast of a pane of glass, or brick 
or stone walls. Into it the little congregation flocked, 
and with glad hearts dedicated to God the work of their 
hands, which through sacrifice, love, faith and prayer 
was more costly and precious in his sight than gold or 
ivory, which had not been so sanctified. 

Not long after the cholera epidemic, and the events 
connected with it, occurred the tragedy at the palace the 
murder of the brilliant and progressive queen, the friend 
of progress, civilization and reform. 

Her majesty was a brilliant diplomatist, and usually 
worsted her opponents. The Japanese, after the war, had 
indeed proclaimed the independence of Korea, yet seemed 
in practice to desire to establish a sort of protectorate and 
to direct her policy at home and abroad. Many public 
offices were filled with citizens of Japan, or Japanese sym- 
pathizers as far as possible, and a large body of the 
Korean troops were drilled by and under the command 
of Japanese officers. 

Realizing that in the patriotic and brilliant queen they 
had to meet one who would not readily submit to their 
plans for the Japanizing of Korea, they objected to her 
participation at all in the affairs of government, and 
were promised, under compulsion we were told, that these 
orders should be obeyed. Naturally this was not done, 
and the queen continued to be a source of confusion and 



THE MURDER OF THE QUEEN 147 

rock of offense to them and their plans. Finally a 
decided change was made in the personnel of the Japanese 
embassy. Count Inoye, who, in the name of his govern- 
ment, had hitherto promised to the queen the support and 
protection of Japan was recalled. He was replaced by 
Count Miura, who was a man of very different tendencies. 
Count Miura was a very strong Buddhist, and passion- 
ately devoted to the supposed interests of Japan as against 
those of any other nation. 

One morning, the 8th of October, 1895, we heard firing 
at the palace. This was in time of peace, and such sounds 
we knew must be portents of evil. All was confusion, 
nothing definite could be learned, except that certain 
Japanese troops had arrived at about three in the morn- 
ing, escorting the Tai Won Kun (the king's father and 
the queen's bitter enemy), and had driven out the native 
royal guard under General Dye (an American) and were 
now guarding the palace gates. The air was full of 
ominous suspicions and whispers, but nothing more defi- 
nite could we learn till afternoon, when meeting a Korean 
noble, he told us with face all aghast, that it was currently 
reported that the queen had been murdered. 

In a few hours this news was confirmed with par- 
ticulars. The Tai Won Kun was at that time under 
guard, in exile from the court, at his country house, for 
conspiracy against the king in favor of his grandson, and 
he of course readily consented to become the leader of the 
plotters against the queen, to. enter the palace at the head 
of their troops and take possession of the persons of their 
majesties (and the government incidently), necessarily, 
of course, doing away with the queen. The troops there- 
fore marched with the old man in his chair to the palace 
gates, where all had been made ready. Ammunition had 
been secretly removed, native troops trained by Americans 



148 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

had been mostly exchanged for those trained by Japanese, 
and after a few shots, and scarcely a pretence of resist- 
ance, the attacking party entered. It was some distance 
to the royal apartments, and the rumor of disturbance 
reached there some time before the attacking party. Her 
majesty was alarmed. She was a brave woman, but she 
knew she had bitter, powerful and treacherous foes, 
and that, like Damocles, a sword suspended by only too 
slight a thread hung over her life. 

The king's second son, Prince Oui-wha, begged her to 
escape with him by a little gate which yet remained un- 
guarded, through which they might pass disguised to 
friends in the city. The dowager queen, however, was 
too old to go, and her majesty nobly refused to leave her 
alone to the terror which occupation of the palace by 
foreigners would insure, trusting no doubt to the positive 
assurances of protection that had been made to her 
through Count Inoye, and the more so, as one of the 
courtiers in waiting, a man by the name of Chung Pung 
Ha, had assured her that whatever happened she might 
rest confident that the persons of their majesties would be 
perfectly safe. This man was a creature of low origin, 
whom the queen had raised and bestowed many favors 
upon, and in whom she placed great reliance. He advised 
her not to hide, and kept himself informed of all her 
movements. With no code of honor wider or higher than 
his pocket, he of course became a ready tool of the 
assassins, and there is much evidence to show he was a 
party to the conspiracy. 

The queen therefore remained in a good deal of un- 
easiness and anxiety, but only when the Tai Won Kun 
and the hired assassins rushed in, calling for the queen, 
did she attempt, alas ! too late, to hide. 

There was some confusion, in the numerous verbal re- 



TESTIMONY CONCERNING THE MURDER 149 

ports which reached us, but two foreigners, a Russian, 
Mr. Sabbatin, and an American, General Dye, who were 
eye-witnesses of nearly all that occurred, both agreed in 
the statement, that Japanese troops under Japanese offi- 
cers surrounded the courtyard and buildings where the 
royal party were, and that the Japanese officers were in 
the courtyard, and saw the outrages which were com- 
mitted, and knew all that was done by the Japanese soshi 
or professional cutthroats. About thirty of these assassins 
rushed into the royal apartments crying, "The queen, the 
queen, where is the queen ?" 

Then began a mad and brutal hunt for their prey, more 
like wild beasts than men, seizing the palace women,* 
dragging them about by their hair and beating them, try- 
ing to force them to tell where the queen was. Mr. Sab- 
batin was himself questioned and threatened with death. 
The soshi and officers who wore the Japanese uniform 
passed through the room where his majesty stood trying 
to divert attention from the queen. "One of the Japanese 
caught him by the shoulder and pulled him about, and Yi 
Kiung Chick, the minister of the royal household, was 
killed by the Japanese in his majesty's presence. His royal 
highness, the crown prince, was seized, his hat torn off 
and broken, and he was pulled about by the hair, the soshi 
threatening him with their swords while demanding 
where the queen was."f At length they hunted the poor 
queen down, and killed her with their swords. They then 
covered her body, and bringing in various palace women, 
suddenly displayed the corpse, when the women shrieked 
with horror, "The queen, the queen !" This was enough ; 
by this ruse the assassins made sure they had felled the 
right victim. 

* "Korean Repository," 1894. 

t From official report of "Korean Repository." 



ISO FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

Soon after, the remains were taken to a grove of trees 
not far off, kerosene oil poured over them, and they were 
burned, only a few bones remaining. 

Later developments all went to prove that the mur- 
derers were actually guilty of the inconceivable folly of 
imagining that by this means it would be possible to con- 
ceal the crime and their share in it. 

Stories of all sorts were circulated, as that her majesty 
had escaped and was lying concealed, or that she had 
simply been removed for a time by the Japanese, who 
could bring her back at any moment. In the official account 
of the murder, and of the trial of Count Miura and the 
soshi, held in Hiroshima, Japan, for which I am indebted 
to "The Korean Repository" for 1895, the following 
words occur: "The accused Miura Gow assumed his 
official duties ... on September i, 1895. According to 
his observation, things in Korea were tending in the 
wrong direction, the court was daily growing more and 
more arbitrary, and attempting wanton interference with 
the conduct of State affairs. Disorder and confusion were 
in this way introduced into the system of administration 
that had just been reorganized under the guidance and 
advice of the Imperial government. The court went so far 
in turning its back upon Japan that a project was mooted 
for disbanding the Kurentai troops (Koreans under Jap- 
anese officers) and punishing their officers. Moreover, a 
report came to the said Miura that the court had under 
contemplation a scheme for usurping all political power 
by degrading some and killing others of the cabinet min- 
isters suspected of devotion to the cause of progress and 
independence. Under these circumstances he was greatly 
perturbed, inasmuch as he thought that the attitude 
assumed by the court not only showed remarkable in- 
gratitude towards this country, which had spent labor and 



THE OFFICIAL REPORT 151 

money for the sake of Korea, but was also calculated to 
thwart the work of internal reform and 'jeopardize the in- 
dependence of the kingdom.' " 

The report then proceeds to state that the accused felt it 
necessary to apply a remedy which would on the one hand 
"secure the independence of the Korean kingdom, and on 
the other maintain the prestige of this empire in that coun- 
try!" The report further proceeds to state, that confer- 
ences were held with the Tai Won Kun and with Japanese 
officials, at one of which, October 3rd, "The decision ar- 
rived at on that occasion was that assistance should be 
rendered to the Tai Won Kun's entry into the palace by 
making use of the Kurentai, who, being hated by the 
court, felt themselves in danger, and of the young men 
who deeply lamented the course of events, and also by 
causing the Japanese troops stationed in Seoul to offer 
their support to the enterprise. It was further resolved 
that this opportunity should be availed of for taking the 
life of the queen, who exercised overwhelming influence 
in the court." 

After further particulars in the completion of the plan 
the Japanese document continues : "Miura told them 
(the men who were to escort the Tai Won Kun) that on 
the success of the enterprise depended the eradication of 
the evils that had done so much mischief to the kingdom 
for the past twenty years, and instigated them to despatch 
the queen when they entered the palace." The report then 
goes on at some length, describing the various steps taken 
in carrying out the conspiracy, and continues : "Then 
slowly proceeding toward Seoul the party met the Kuren- 
tai troops outside the west gate of the capital, where they 
waited some time for the Japanese troops. . . . About 
dawn the whole party entered the palace through the 
Kwang-hwa gate, and at once proceeded to the inner 



152 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

chambers. Notwithstanding these facts there is no suffi- 
cient evidence to prove that any of the accused actually 
committed the crime originally meditated by them. . . . 
For these reasons, the accused, each and all, are hereby 
discharged. . . . The documents and other articles seized 
in connection with this case are restored to their respective 
owners. 

Given at Hiroshima local court by 

YOSHIDA YOSHIDA, 

Judge of Preliminary inquiry, 
TAMURA YOSHIHARU, 

Clerk of the court. 

Dated 2Oth day of the first month of the twenty-ninth 
year of Yeiji. 

This copy has been taken from the original text. 



Clerk of the local court of Hiroshima." 

This document needs no comment. Count Miura was 
recently restored to all his titles and dignities which had 
been temporarily removed. 



CHAPTER X 

The Palace after the Murder Panic Attitude of Foreign Lega- 
tions The King's Life in Hourly Danger Noble Refugees 
Americans on Guard Mistakes of the New Government 
Objectionable Sumptuary Laws A Plan to Rescue the 
King One Night at the Palace Forcing an Entrance Our 
Little Drama Escape of General Yun. 

IN the meantime the king and crown prince were held 
prisoners in their own palace by a cabinet composed of 
Koreans who were favorable to the Japanese government. 
Immediately after the death of the queen, before the sol- 
diers and assassins had dispersed, the Japanese minister 
had come to the palace and requested an audience. Ac- 
cording to the official report, Count Miura, with his sec- 
retary, Mr. Sugimma,* the Tai Won Kun, and a Japanese, 
who had led the soshi, were all present at this audience, 
and presented three papers to the king for signature, one 
being that the cabinet should henceforth manage the 
affairs of the country, one that Prince Yi Chai Miun 
should be minister of the royal household, and the other 
appointing a vice-minister of the household. The king 
shaken by the events of the night, and helpless in the 
hands of his enemies, signed all three. Then the Japanese 
troops were withdrawn, and the Kurentai alone left on 
guard. Soon after the ministers of war and police depart- 
ments were changed for pro- Japanese, "so that all the 



* See "Korean Repository" official account of the murder of 
the queen. 



154 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

armed forces of the government, and even the personal at- 
tendants of his majesty" were under the control of the 
opponents of the royal person and family. 

Mr. Waeber, the Russian minister, and Dr. Allen, 
Charge d'Affaires of the United States, having heard the 
firing, arrived at the palace, while the Japanese minister 
was still there, and were made acquainted by the king to 
some extent concerning the occurrences which had just 
taken place. The poor king was in a state of shock 
amounting to almost complete prostration, which was 
pitiable to behold, after the awful experiences of the night 
and the brutal murder of his idolized queen. 

The friends and connections of the royal family, offi- 
cials, soldiers, servants and hangers on about the palace, 
of whom there were several thousands, were all in the 
wildest panic. Every one was rushing in mad haste to 
escape from the confines of the palace grounds, and uni- 
forms or anything that could distinguish men as belong- 
ing to the court were recklessly torn off and thrown away. 
The American, Russian and English legations were 
thronged with people, anxious for shelter from the hands 
of those who composed the band of Korean traitors. The 
foreign representatives felt and showed much indignation 
over the cruel assassination of her majesty and sympathy 
for the king. 

For some time they visited the palace every day. As 
they refused to recognize the rebel government, they 
probably felt obliged to see his majesty personally, in 
order to know his wishes and policy, and it is also most 
likely that, feeling much uncertainty as to the intentions 
of the persons in whose hands the king was, they wished 
to keep themselves informed, and perhaps to keep in check 
any plans of violence toward the remaining members of 
the royal family. Mr. Underwood was requested to ac- 



THE KING'S PERIL 155 

company the United States minister as interpreter, while 
the French bishop acted in the same capacity for the 
representative of France, since none of the native inter- 
preters could be trusted under such circumstances. 

And right here I would stop to ask, why is it that in 
matters of such extreme importance as the affairs of state 
between our own government and Eastern nations, there 
have been up to this time no trained American interpre- 
ters, and our highest officials are obliged to depend upon 
the more than doubtful native interpreters, who even when 
not wilfully for their own purposes, or through their 
own cowardice, misrepresenting communications of the 
greatest importance, may through incapability entirely 
misconceive the idea to be expressed, or through careless- 
ness omit the most significant part of the whole sentence ? 

The king was to be seen only under the strictest sur- 
veillance of the cabinet, and apparently was under ex- 
treme coercion, so that he did not consider it expedient to 
say anything contrary to their orders and policy. On rare 
occasions, when their attention was called for a few mo- 
ments by some of the visiting party, his majesty con- 
trived to convey to Mr. Underwood a whispered message, 
a sign, a tiny note slipped in his palm, by which he briefly 
communicated his desires, or plans, or his real replies to 
questions which had already been answered publicly in ac- 
cordance with the views of his enemies. As the king stood 
in hourly fear of poison, and not without reason, since his 
unscrupulous and unnatural father, the Tai Won Kun, 
was most desirous to replace him by his grandson, 
through another son, and as so many of the conspirators 
surrounding the king had now so much at stake, were 
in so dangerous a position, and were men who had already 
proved they would stop at nothing where their own inter- 
est was concerned, he would take no food for some time 



156 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

but condensed milk brought in sealed cans and opened in 
his presence, or eggs cooked in the shells. Hearing of 
this, and glad to take advantage of an opportunity how- 
ever small to show our sympathy, the ladies from one of 
the European legations and myself alternated in sending 
specially prepared dishes, such articles as contained the 
greatest amount of nourishment, as well as of agreeable 
taste. 

They were sent in a tin box, provided with a Yale lock. 
Mr. Underwood, who was now going as interpreter and 
messenger between the legations and palace, sometimes 
twice a day, carried the key, and placed it in the king's 
own hand, while the box was carried in at any convenient 
time by the ordinary officials. It was only a small service, 
but it was to some extent a relief to be allowed to do any- 
thing for those who had a claim upon our loyalty, and who 
had been so shockingly outraged. 

One day as Mr. Underwood was going in to his majesty 
he met the old Tai Won Kun, who said, "Why do you take 
all that good food in to him? He doesn't need it. I am 
old, my teeth are gone, I need it far more than he." The 
crafty and cruel old human tiger's teeth and claws were 
still only too serviceable, alas ! For a long time after the 
death of the queen, nearly seven weeks, Americans, one or 
two at a time, were asked to be at the palace every night, 
as it was thought that with foreigners there as witnesses, 
the conspirators, whoever they might be, would hesitate 
to commit any further outrages. There is little doubt that 
had they thought it necessary to commit regicide, the lives 
of the witnesses would have been sacrificed as well, but 
Easterners stand in considerable fear of the wrath of the 
Western nations, when their citizens are killed, and no 
doubt the chances of violence to his majesty and the 
crown prince were somewhat diminished by the presence 



THE LEGATIONS FULL OF REFUGEES 157 

of the missionaries, who night after night, two and two, 
left the congenial task of preaching the gospel of peace to 
insure the continuance of it (or that small fraction which 
at that time was left to poor Korea). 

We wives at home, keeping lonely vigil, while our hus- 
bands sentineled the palace, listened with sharpened ears 
for sounds of ill-omen from that direction. But both they 
and we were glad of this service, rejoicing to prove that 
we were the friends of the people and the rightful ruler, 
from highest to lowest, and we were specially glad that 
those who had been called disloyal, because they refused 
to obey the decree which forbade preaching the gospel, 
were now able to show themselves the most active and un- 
wearied in serving the king. 

The day after the assassination, the king's second son, 
Prince Oui-wha, sent to ask refuge in our house, where, 
this being American property, he would be safe from ar- 
rest. The legations were all full of refugees of high rank, 
and several were staying in our Korean sarang or guest 
room. We were, of course, delighted to receive the young 
prince, and also to have this further opportunity to prove 
our regard for him. In consequence of the presence of 
these refugees we were honored by being kept under con- 
tinual espionage by the pseudo-government, our com- 
pound constantly watched by spies at all exits, by day and 
night. It seemed monstrous to me, who had never known 
any of the class whose movements are watched by detec- 
tives, nor ever dreamed of coming in any way into colli- 
sion with any government (much less of being of suffi- 
cient importance to do so), but perhaps it was the spirit 
of revolutionary forefathers which made me believe, that 
if governments were wrong, right-minded people must 
oppose them, and that if sheltering the friends of the just 
and lawful ruler from a company of conspirators and 



158 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

traitors was standing in an attitude of hostility to the 
powers that be, it was both right and our unavoidable 
duty to do what we could to shield them from violence 
and death. 

In the meanwhile the new government was appointing 
new officials, trying, torturing and executing innocent 
people as the accused murderers of the queen, in order to 
shield themselves useless crimes which deceived no one 
making a number of new offices and placing Japanese 
in them on large salaries, and making new and farcical, as 
well as injurious and objectionable, laws. Women were 
not to be allowed to go on the street with covered faces, 
pipes must be of a certain length, sleeves must be 
shortened and narrowed, coats must be of a particular 
color, and hat brims a certain width. This was called 
"Kaiwha" or reform. Large numbers of Japanese flocked 
to this country and made their way to the capital or into 
the interior, in the industrious pursuit of wealth, which 
we were informed was not always limited to legitimate 
measures, or the possession of sinecures. 

Missionaries returning from the interior reported that 
they had heard lamentable tales on all hands, of farmers 
strung up by the thumbs, for the extortion of money or 
deeds of lands and of women dealt with brutally. The 
poor country people were like sheep in the midst of 
wolves, their shepherd gone, their fold broken down. 

One of the measures taken by the pro- Japanese govern- 
ment, which excited great feeling and probably did more 
than anything else to arouse protest, because so cruelly 
calculated to wound the desolate and stricken king, 
was a decree sent through the whole land in the king's 
name declaring the queen a wicked woman and degrading 
her to the lowest rank. This they asked the king to sign 
and seal, but shaken as he was, he absolutely refused 



PLANS FOR THE KING'S RESCUE 159 

so to insult his dead consort, and the cabinet were obliged 
to forge his signature, and seal the paper themselves. 
This act bore the stamp of the Tai Won Kun, whose 
insatiable hate was not satisfied with the murder of the 
queen, but followed her with insults to the grave. 

In the midst of these days of confusion and excitement, 
the loyalist party, or at least some of them, made an at- 
tempt to rescue the king. This all his friends ardently de- 
sired, but it was very difficult to accomplish, as his 
majesty was surrounded constantly by spies and guards, 
whose interest as well as whose business it was to keep 
him under the strictest surveillance. 

Numbers of Koreans came to my husband with various 
schemes for the accomplishment of the king's release, 
seeking his advice and aid, but while he was very willing 
to express his sympathy with their object and his disap- 
proval of the rebel government, he did not consent to any 
part in any of their projects, partly because he did not 
know whom to trust, and partly because none were such as 
he, a missionary, could take part in or support. I do not 
doubt, however, that if he could have seen a way to do so, 
he would gladly have sacrificed much to have assisted the 
king to escape to a place of safety, where he could estab- 
lish his own government without fear of the combinations 
formed against him. 

The plans of the rescue party were made very secretly, 
so that none of the missionaries at least knew anything of 
them, though two of the leaders, General Yun and an- 
other, were in our house till a late hour the previous 
night, and perhaps to this fact was due the conviction 
which a number of people entertained that my husband 
was concerned in the loyal but unfortunate plot. The ene- 
mies of the king, however, got wind of the plans of his 
friends, and through spies and treachery ferreted it all out, 



160 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

and prepared themselves fully. One of the traitors, an 
army officer, who pretended to be ready to open the gates 
and assist the rescue party from within, really disclosed 
everything to the false cabinet, and was prepared with 
troops to receive and repel the loyalists. On the evening 
set for the rescue of the king, just before my husband's 
return from the palace, where he had been all the after- 
noon, he found Dr. Avison, of our mission, here at his 
home, with news that the Koreans were preparing to at- 
tack the palace that very night, as he had just learned 
from one of the party. Mr. Underwood was hardly will- 
ing to credit the idea, sure that all his feelings and sym- 
pathies were so well understood, he would have been in- 
formed had this been the case ; but while Dr. Avison was 
still in the house, the secretary of the American legation 
called, at the request of the American minister, to say that 
they had authoritative information of the same thing, and 
as the king would no doubt be much alarmed, and would 
be in great danger from the traitors, should the attack suc- 
ceed, the American minister asked that Mr. Underwood 
would spend the night near the king's person. 

As the gate would probably be closed and admittance 
refused to every one, the minister had sent his card for 
Mr. Underwood to present in order to gain admission. It 
was of course understood that this was only a suggestion, 
and that Mr. Underwood was perfectly at liberty to refuse, 
but he was really glad to go, and felt honored in being 
selected for this service, so he at once consented, and asked 
Mr. Hulbert, now of the government school, to accompany 
him. Dr. Avison having been called for professionally, 
also joined them, and the three men met at the palace 
gates, where the guard at once refused to admit them, 
positive orders having been sent forbidding the entrance 
of any one. Our minister's card was shown to no appar- 



GUARDING THE KING 161 

ent effect, except that the officer on guard offered to go up 
to the palace with it and obtain permission. This Mr. 
Underwood knew would be futile, for the cabinet would 
almost certainly refuse, so he replied, "No, I must be ad- 
mitted at once and without delay, I came at the request of 
the United States minister, and if you choose to refuse his 
card, and his messenger, you must take the responsibility ; 
I shall return at once and give him your reply." As an 
officer had been severely punished only a few days before 
for refusing entrance to a foreign diplomat, who had left 
the palace gates in awful wrath, the men now on guard 
hesitated. "Decide, and at once," said Mr. Underwood 
sternly. This conquered, and the Americans hurried in. 
They went directly to the king, and making known that 
they had come for the night, asked his wishes, and were 
requested to wait in General Dye's rooms, close at hand, to 
be ready on the first alarm to take their places near his 
person. 

The three guardsmen then repaired to the general's 
room to await developments, where Mr. Underwood had 
some conversation with General Dye, and the traitorous 
Korean officer, who even then suspecting that Mr. Under- 
wood had some part in the friendly plot, tried to entrap 
him and to induce him to betray himself and the others. 
But as my husband knew nothing of the persons engaged, 
or any of their plans, and was himself quite innocent of 
any complicity in their scheme, it was impossible for any 
information to be elicited from him. Suddenly at twelve 
o'clock the report of a gun was heard, springing up, he ran 
to the king's apartments, followed closely by the other 
two. A line of soldiers was drawn up, standing shoulder 
to shoulder along the path, who called "Halt," sharply, as 
he approached; paying no attention he ran swiftly past 
them, and before they had time to realize, or to decide 



162 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

what to do, Dr. Avison and Mr. Hulbert had followed. 
At the door just beyond stood a couple of officers with 
drawn swords crossed. Mr. Underwood struck the 
swords up with his revolver and rushed through, the other 
two men entering immediately behind him, just as they 
heard the king calling, "Where are the foreigners, call the 
foreigners." "Here, your majesty. Here we are," re- 
plied the three men, entering the room, where the king 
grasped them by the hand, and kept them on either side of 
him the whole night. 

As for the poor half-armed party of the king's friends, 
they were allowed to proceed until well within the pre- 
pared ambush, and when they discovered the trap, it was 
almost impossible to escape. Many were captured, some 
killed, the rest fled in all directions. This of course 
seated more firmly in power the rebels whose position had 
till now been more than questionable. Many arrests were 
made, and executions and the severest punishments meted 
out to those who were convicted of having dared to at- 
tempt the restoration of the king. 

While Mr. Underwood was at the palace we were 
having our own little drama at home. A new missionary, 
a tall Westerner, had undertaken the protection of the 
household, and armed wilth a big six-shooter, we doubted 
not, he was more than equal to any ordinary emergency. 
Our chief source of anxiety (as far as our home was con- 
cerned) was the safety of the prince, who with one atten- 
dant only, occupied a room in an ell at the further end of 
the house, distant from our apartments. What if when all 
attention was concentrated upon the palace, he should be 
carried away or murdered in our home, by the enemies of 
the country! We felt we were a lamentably small party 
of defense, still we hoped our nervous fears were ground- 
less. 



AN ANXIOUS NIGHT 163 

Just as we were about to retire, however, at about ten 
thirty, a sharp rap came at the door of our missionary 
guest's room, which opened to the garden. This was evi- 
dently some stranger, as any of our acquaintances would 
have come to the main entrance. I was called at once, 
with the added information that a Japanese officer was 
waiting to see me ! 

I found a fully armed Japanese in uniform, who asked 
for the prince. My suspicions were of course aroused, 
especially as I could only conjecture how many battalions 
he might have concealed around the corner of the house. 
I inquired who he was and why he came at that hour to 
see the prince. He replied in good Korean, that he was 
his particular friend, and gave me a name which was that 
of a Korean whom I knew to be a friend of our guest, 
adding that he had dined at our house that day, handing 
me a card engraved with Chinese characters. This was 
palpably false, as the friend of the prince had long hair, 
done in a top-knot, with a Korean hat above it, this man's 
hair was cut short like a Japanese. The Korean wore 
white silk garments, this man was from head to foot a 
Japanese soldier. 

"This card is Chinese, I cannot read it," I replied coldly. 
"You are a Japanese officer whom I have never seen be- 
fore, you cannot see the prince at this hour, you must go 
away and return in the morning if you have business with 
him." The man, however, was very insistent on seeing 
the prince then, in fact he seemed determined to take no 
denials, and the more he persisted, the more I became con- 
vinced that once acquainted with the prince's whereabouts 
in our house, he would call up his concealed assassins and 
arrest or kill him. With the strengthening of suspicion, 
my temper rose, and my verbs took on lower and lower 
endings, until I finally ordered him with the most degrad- 



164 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

ing terminations in the grammar, to leave on short order. 
All through this conversation our Westerner, who under- 
stood no Korean, had been repeating at intervals, "Shall I 
shoot, Mrs. Underwood? If you say so, I'll shoot," 
brandishing his big revolver in an excited way, dangerous 
to all concerned. So at last our visitor considering his at- 
tempt to find the prince hopeless, reluctantly went away. 
We felt we had won a great victory, and covered our- 
selves with glory, in thus dispersing the enemy. 

In the meanwhile the prince, whose door opened also 
in the garden, just opposite the one where we stood, heard 
the arrival, the long conference, the clash of a sword 
against the steps, and stood guarding his chamber door, 
while his attendant with drawn sword guarded that of the 
closet, which happening to be locked they supposed also 
opened on the garden. Next morning, when I showed the 
prince the card, he recognized with high glee the name of 
his Korean friend, and shortly afterwards the individual 
himself appeared. He had for purposes of disguise cut 
his hair that very day, and had donned garments which 
completely changed his appearance. It was owing to the 
success of this disguise that he had been ordered from our 
door with most injurious verb endings. I did not apolo- 
gize very abjectly, however, for aside from the fright he 
had put me in, he had robbed me of all my glory, and the 
occasion of all its romance, and dropped it to the level of 
low comedy, and while the laughter of the family was 
ringing in my ears, I felt I could not forgive him. 

The morning after the attack on the palace found Gen- 
eral Yun, the leader and promoter, in our sarang, whither 
he had fled for shelter, well knowing it would be worse 
than useless to go to his own, or any Korean house. He 
inquired who had been captured, and on learning how 
many there were, remarked, "Then I am a dead man," well 



THE ESCAPE OF GENERAL YUN 165 

knowing the most merciless torture would be used to ex- 
tract from the prisoners the names of all concerned, and if 
his whereabouts were known, the American minister 
would be compelled to give search warrants to the police. 
He was an old friend of my husband, who promised to 
conceal him as long as possible, and get him out of the 
country soon. The Russian minister, who espoused the 
king's cause as warmly as any of us, and who had refused 
to recognize the new government, was consulted, and a 
plan was formed to get General Yun to China. Next to 
our house lay that of another Presbyterian missionary, 
and adjoining that the Russian legation, just beyond 
which is a kind of diplomatic club-house, and only a few 
steps further one of the smaller city gates. 

So Mr. Yun was lodged in the Rev. Mr. M 's gate- 
quarters (between his house and ours), and that night Mr. 
Underwood shaved and dressed the general and his friend 

in Mr. M 's and his own clothes, a fur cap well drawn 

down concealed his face. Mr. Underwood conducted the 
two men thus disguised through the Russian legation, the 
club grounds and then through the gates, where they were 
never suspected to be other than what they looked. A 
short distance beyond the gates chairs were in waiting. 

Mr. M and a Bible Society agent met them and 

escorted them to Chemulpo, where they were met by a 
guard from a Russian gunboat, on which they were con- 
veyed to Chefoo, and there transhipped, and finally landed 
safe in Shanghai, where they were gladly received and 
hospitably entertained in the house of a M. E. missionary, 
until the king was restored to power. 

Mr. Underwood was bitterly accused in Japanese news- 
papers of having promoted, and even led the harmless at- 
tack on the palace, and though as he was not only abso- 
lutely innocent, but ignorant of it, and not one particle of 



166 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

evidence could be found, he was obliged to endure a 
great deal of slander, which he would not have considered 
worth a second thought had it not been made to reflect on 
his profession and the cause he lives only to forward. The 
two facts that General Yun was at our house the night be- 
fore, and that Mr. Underwood, at the request of our min- 
ister and the king, was at the palace on the eventful night, 
were used to give a show of probability to stories widely 
circulated, and allowed to remain uncontradicted by those 
who knew the facts. 

The conspirators having defeated the restoration party, 
now carried things with a high hand indeed, and among 
the other obnoxious and tyrannical sumptuary laws, which 
they proclaimed as furthering "Kaiwha," they ordered the 
summary removal of all top-knots, from the palace to the 
hovel, and it was reported that even the highest person- 
ages were compelled, in spite of useless protests, to under- 
go this humiliating treatment, and certain it is that the at- 
tempt was made to shear every sheep in the flock. The ex- 
planation of what this meant must be reserved for an- 
other chapter. 




A KOREAN TOP-KNOT. PAGE 167 



CHAPTER XI 

Customs Centering around the Top-Knot Christians Sacri- 
ficing their Top-Knots A Cruel Blow Beginning of Chris- 
tian Work in Koksan A Pathetic Appeal People Baptize 
Themselves Hard-hearted Cho The King's Escape Peo- 
ple Rally around Him Two Americans in the Interior 
In the Midst of a Mob Mob Fury Korea in the Arms of 
Russia Celebrating the King's Birthday Patriotic Hymns 
Lord's Prayer in Korean. 

MANY of the most revered, common, and firmly 
settled of the customs and superstitions of the people of 
Korea are, as it were, woven, braided, coiled and pinned 
into their top-knots, on which, like a hairy keystone, seem 
to hang, and round which are centered society, religion 
and politics. The pigtail of China is nothing like as im- 
portant, for it is really a mark of servitude, or was such 
in its origin, a badge laid on the conquered by the conquer- 
ing race. But not so the top-knot, which is many centuries 
old, and which, according to ancient histories, pictures, 
pottery and embroideries, goes as far back as the existence 
of the nation. 

When a boy becomes engaged, or is on the point of be- 
ing married, a solemn ceremony is performed. In the pres- 
ence of proper witnesses, and at the hands of proper func- 
tionaries (among whom are astrologers or soothsayers), 
the hair, which has hitherto been parted like a girl's and 
worn in a long braid down the back, is shaved from a small 
circular spot on the top of his head, and the remaining 
long locks combed smoothly upward, and tied very tightly 



i68 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

over the shaved place. They are then twisted and coiled 
into a small compact knot, between two and three inches 
high and about one in diameter. An amber, coral, silver, 
or even gold or jewelled pin is usually fastened through 
it. The Mangan, a band of net, bound with ribbon, is 
then fastened on round the head below the top-knot and 
above the ears, holding all stray hairs neatly in place 
(when a man obtains rank a small open horse-hair cap is 
placed over the top-knot), and over all the hat, which (be- 
ing also of open work, bamboo splints, silk or horsehair) 
permits it to be seen. Fine new clothes are then donned, 
especially a long coat, and the boy has become a man ! A 
feast is made, and he goes forth to call upon and be con- 
gratulated by his father's friends. Either on that day or 
the following he is married, although, as has been said, 
some boys have their hair put up when they become en- 
gaged. 

No matter how old one is, without a top-knot he is never 
considered a man, addressed with high endings, or treated 
with respect. After assuming the top-knot, no matter how 
young, he is invested with the dignities and duties of a man 
of the family, takes his share in making the offerings and 
prayers at the ancestral shrines, and is recognized by his 
ancestors' spirits as one of the family who is to do them 
honor, and whom they are to protect and bless. And right 
here, to digress a little, it is interesting io note that so 
intimately is this custom concerned with their religion 
that many of the Christian converts are now cutting off 
their top-knots when they become converted, regarding 
that as the one step (after destroying their idols) which 
most effectually cuts off 'the old life and its superstitions, 
and marks them as having come out from their family and 
acquaintances as men set apart. 

They have begun doing this quite of their own accord, 



TOP-KNOTS 169 

with no suggestion from the missionaries, and in some 
cases in opposition to the advice of some of us, who dis- 
like to see them laying aside old customs needlessly. But 
it is growing more and more general among new believers 
to sacrifice this dear object of pride and veneration, and 
one young fellow told my husband it was impossible to 
break away from his old evil associates until he cut his 
hair. They then believed he was in earnest and let him 
alone. But it costs much, and in these cases is done quite 
voluntarily, not in forced obedience to the mandates of 
conquerors and traitors, which is a very different 
matter. 

Again, far down in the social scale, lower than the boy 
with the pigtail, whom every one snubs, ranking next to 
the despised butcher, who daily defiles his hands with 
blood and gore, and with the touch of dead bodies, is the 
Buddhist priest who wears his hair shaved, a creature so 
low, that he was not at that time allowed to defile the capi- 
tal city by entering its gates. To this grade were all the 
sons of Korea now to be reduced. Tender associations of 
early manhood, honored family traditions, ghostly super- 
stition, the anger and disgust of ancestral spirits, the iron 
grip of long custom, the loathing of the effeminate, sen- 
sual and despised Buddhist priests, all forbade this dese- 
cration. Their pride, self-respect and dignity were all 
assailed and crushed under foot. Sullen angry faces were 
seen everywhere, sounds of wailing and woe were heard 
continually in every house, for the women took it even 
harder than the men. Farmers and carriers of food and 
fuel refused to bring their produce to market, for guards 
stood at the gates, and cut off with their swords every 
top-knot as it came through. Men were stationed also in 
all the principal streets, cutting off every top-knot that 
passed, and all public officials and soldiers were at once 



i;o FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

shaved. There was a voice heard, lamentation and 
mourning and great weeping. 

It was a cruel blow at personal liberty, which Anglo- 
Saxons would die rather than suffer, and which the help- 
lessness of this weak nation made the more pitiful and in- 
excusable. It was struck shrewdly too, at one of the 
specially distinguishing marks of Koreans, setting them 
apart from Japanese and Chinese, designed, we could not 
help thinking, as one of the first and important parts of a 
scheme to blot out Korea's national identity, and merge 
her into one with Japan; but if this was the intention, 
never was anything more mistakenly planned. It was 
hotly resented to the very heart of the country, and added 
still deeper dye and bitter flavor to the long-nourished 
hatred Koreans felt for their ancient conqueror and foe. 
As for us (some of us), we put ourselves in the Korean's 
place, recalled our national experience and harbored num- 
bers of Koreans on our place, protecting them from the 
knife as long as possible. The cup of iniquity was nearly 
full. The queen, looked upon as the mother of her people, 
had been murdered, the king virtually imprisoned, the 
country ruled by the dictum of conspirators and tools of 
her conquerors, and now this last blow at every 'family in 
the nation was too much. A deep spirit of anger and re- 
volt stirred the whole country ; yet they had no leaders, 
no arms, no organization and knew not what to do, a 
poor down-trodden simple folk, who knew not on whom 
to lean for help, and who had not learned to cry to him 
who hears, defends and takes up the cause of the poor 
and needy. 

Bands of Tonghaks again ranged the country, insurrec- 
tions broke out in various localities, some of the shaved 
magistrates who went to the country were sent back by 
the mobs, who refused to receive them as rulers, some 



THE GOSPELS IN KOKSAN 171 

were actually killed, and the magistracies destroyed, the 
soldiers were powerless to subdue the disturbances, and 
things seemed to be growing from bad to worse. 
Marines were ordered to the legations from Chemulpo 
(where there were many foreign gunboats and war 
vessels), and no one knew what next to expect, when sud- 
denly an entire change in the whole situation took place. 

But now I must return for a while to other matters. In 
the district of Koksan, in northern Whang Hai Do (Yel- 
low Sea Province), about two hundred miles north from 
Seoul, a very interesting Christian work had started, as 
so much of our work has, through God's own direct deal- 
ings with the people, by his word and Spirit. A man from 
that place having come up to Seoul on business, and re- 
ceiving some small kindness from Mr. Underwood, which 
he desired to acknowledge, felt that he could do nothing 
more delicately complimentary and grateful than to make 
a show of interest in his "doctrine," and so bought four 
gospels in Chinese, which he took home in his pack, and 
forthwith shelved unread. Here they remained for 
months, I am not sure how long. 

Finally one day, a friend noticed them, took them down, 
all grimy with dust, and asked what they were and whence 
they came. The owner replied that he had never read 
them, but that they were books containing a new doctrine 
taught by foreigners in Seoul. Dr. Cho's curiosity was 
aroused, he borrowed, took them home and fell to reading 
with more and more avidity the further he proceeded. I 
would not give up the priceless heritage of Christian an- 
cestry, the struggles, prayers and victories of godly fore- 
fathers, and all that Christian training from one genera- 
tion to another for centuries means, but yet I would give 
much to have been able once to read the four gospels as 
that heathen read them, with no preconceived opinions, 



172 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

no discolorations of red, green or even blue theological 
glasses, no criticisms or commentaries of "Worldly Wise- 
men," or bigoted fanatics, reading their own ideas between 
the lines, but with an absolutely unbiased mind so as to be 
able to receive that wonderful revelation as a sweet glad 
surprise ; sentence after sentence, truth after truth bloom- 
ing into sudden glory, where the darkness of ignorance 
had reigned. 

One almost envies that heathen his compensations. He 
received the word with joy, wondered and adored. Here 
was a man well read in the philosophical teachings, the 
empty husks of Confucianism and Buddhism, but who had 
never heard one word from any Christian teacher. Here 
was a mind free from prejudice, and this was the result of 
contact with God's Word. He believed and accepted it for 
God's truth with all his heart, and gave himself unre- 
servedly to Christ, turning completely away from his old 
superstitions and systems of philosophy. Quickly the 
good news spread, not more from his glad telling of his 
new-found joy than from the wonderful change in the 
man himself. 

Others also soon believed, and an appeal was sent to 
Seoul for some one to come and teach them more, lest 
something should remain misunderstood, or unfulfilled of 
their dear Lord's commands. But in Seoul, and else- 
where, workers were few, hands were reaching out from 
all directions for help, the Macedonian cry was ringing 
pathetically from many quarters, the harvest great, the 
laborers few. The Bible must be translated, work already 
started must be cared for and watched, in a word, there 
was no one who could go. Again and again came that 
call, and at last a letter which brought tears to our eyes. 
"Why," said they," will no one come to help us, is no one 
willing to teach us, have we so far sunk in sin that God 





RUSSIAN LEGATION HOUSE. PAGE 174 
INDEPENDENCE ARCH. PACE 38 



A PATHETIC APPEAL 173 

will not allow us to have salvation?" Mr. Underwood 
started almost at once, with Dr. Avison, about one month 
after the promulgation of the laws for cutting the top- 
knots. The excitement had somewhat abated in the city, 
and the call from Koksan admitted of no delay. Making 
short stops along the road for medical and evangelistic 
work, going on foot, they reached Koksan about three 
weeks after leaving Seoul. 

They found a little company of earnest simple-hearted 
believers, who had thrown away their idols, ceased their 
ancestor worship, and were in all things, as far as they 
knew, obeying the Lord. But "the washing rite," as bap- 
tism was translated, puzzled them. "He that believeth 
and is baptized shall be saved." What then was this? 
They pondered and studied. God showed them it was in 
some way a sign of washing from sin, and when after long 
waiting, no teacher came, they agreed that each going to 
his own home should wash himself in the name of the 
Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, praying for himself 
and his brethren, that if in anything they had sinned in 
this rite, God would forgive them. And so the mission- 
aries found them, and though for the sake of due order 
they were baptized in the prescribed way, it was felt that 
in God's sight it had already been done. 

When for the first time they all sat down to com- 
memorate the Lord's death in the service of bread and 
wine, there was not a dry eye in the room. Tears 
streamed from the face of Dr. Cho, and later one of his 
neighbors said, when speaking in an experience meeting, 
"Old Cho, known as 'hard-hearted Cho,' who as a boy 
never uttered a cry when his father flogged him, who 
never wept when he laid his aged mother in the grave, 
whose eyes never moistened when his beloved wife died, 
or when he buried his eldest son, on whose cheek man 



174 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

never saw a tear, Cho weeps. What miracle has brought 
tears to his eyes?" 

While Dr. Avison and Mr. Underwood were in Koksan, 
wondering and worshiping over the proofs of how God 
blesses his word, applied to simple hearts, startling things 
were taking place in Seoul. The king, who had now been 
four months helpless in the hands of his enemies, suddenly 
made good his escape to the Russian legation ! 

The story, as we heard it from one near the king, was 
as follows : Wearied and sick at heart of affairs of state, 
his majesty retired to the women's apartments, where he 
spent his entire time, escaping thus to some extent the de- 
testable espionage of his enemies, who delegated two 
elderly women, one the wife of the Tai Won Kun, and an- 
other, whose duty it was to watch his majesty in turn, one 
by day, the other by night. Their vigilance was, however, 
in some way sufficiently eluded, so that a plan for 
the royal prisoner's escape was arranged with two of the 
palace women, which was successfully carried out as 
follows : 

On a certain birthday festival, both of the duennas who, 
as was said, took turns, watching and sleeping, were in- 
vited to celebrate with the king, and to partake of a great 
feast, with plenty of wine and prolonged amusements. 
All night the king's watchers revelled, both falling into a 
heavy sleep before dawn. This is the story, but I like to 
think that as one of the women was probably the king's 
mother, her heart was tender toward her unhappy son, and 
that she purposely relaxed her watch. It would gild a 
little the long dark tale of all that preceded to find a 
touch of sweet human affection right here. At any rate, 
when every one in the palace was off guard, supposing the 
king and crown prince asleep, they entered a couple of 
women's chairs which were waiting. The bearers of these 



THE KING'S ESCAPE 175 

chairs had been specially selected and paid with a view to 
their carrying two, and thought nothing of it, as the 
palace women often went out to their homes in this way. 
So in each chair a woman sat in front of its royal occu- 
pant, screening him from view should any one glance in. 
The sentinels at the gate had been provided with hot re- 
freshments and plenty of strong drink, and were so fully 
occupied that the chairs with their valuable burden passed 
out unnoticed and unhindered. They were expected at the 
Russian legation, where one hundred and sixty marines 
from the port had just been called up, and there they 
speedily made their way, arriving at about seven or eight 
in the morning of February n, 1896. 

This meant the downfall of the usurpers. With the 
king's person went all their claim to authority and power, 
and it also meant that Japanese influence in Korean affairs 
was over for a time, and that the country had been almost 
thrown into the arms of Russia, by the short-sighted 
policy of the minister, who had desired to "establish the 
prestige of Japan." 

As our compound was very close to the Russian lega- 
tion, and fronting on the same street, we were soon aware 
that something very unusual had occurred. The whole 
road, as far as the eye could reach, was filled with a surg- 
ing mob of soldiers, commoners, and the chairs and re- 
tainers of the nobility. Guards and sentinels were 
stationed every few paces along our street, and there was 
a loud and almost terrifying babel of shouting voices, in 
the din and confusion of which it was impossible to dis- 
tinguish anything. I sent at once for one or two of Mr. 
Underwood's writers and literary helpers, who told me 
that the king had arrived a short while before at the Rus- 
sian legation, and had assumed the reins of government, 
and that the army, officials and people were rallying 



176 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

around him, each anxious to precede the other in protes- 
tations of loyalty and devotion. 

Then I thought rather busily for a few seconds. My 
first reflection of course was, "How will this affect the ab- 
sent missionaries?" How would it affect Japanese (now 
distrusted) and through them all foreigners in the in- 
terior? Would the people in the country not be likely to 
wreak the vessels of their wrath upon them, and would 
they discriminate between them and others wearing 
similar clothing? I feared not, and that the probabilities 
were that Dr. Avison and Mr. Underwood might be in 
considerable danger, as soon as the news of the king's 
escape, and the fall of the pro- Japanese party became 
known. Word must then be sent, and soon, in order if 
possible to reach them before the news reached the na- 
tives. I sent a letter to our very kind friend, the Russian 
minister, with a message to his majesty, inquiring 
whether anything could be done for the protection and 
safe return of the two missionaries. I knew an imme- 
diate reply could hardly be expected, such was the rush of 
business, and the number of visitors and claimants on 
their time, so, to leave no means untried, I called up one 
of the copyists, informed him of the necessity for speed, 
and had the satisfaction of seeing him start that very hour 
with a letter and warning message to my husband. A 
short time after, fearing that something might occur to 
detain one messenger, I sent another by a different road. 
The second man was stopped by Tonghaks, looking for 
foreigners, who for some reason suspected him, searched 
him, ripped open his clothes, where they found my letter 
(which of course they could not read), and forced him 
to go back to Seoul. 

On the day following that on which my messengers had 
started, a kind letter from the Russian legation came, say- 



IN THE MIDST OF A MOB 177 

ing that the king would at once send a guard to Koksan 
to bring back the two Americans, and at about the same 
time, a wealthy nobleman in Songdo, a friend of both, 
and brother-in-law of General Yun, knowing where they 
were, and fearing for them, also sent a special posse of 
men to see them safely home. 

Having done all that I could, the most difficult of all 
tasks, that of waiting, remained, but I remembered that I 
had a sister in the same situation, only that she probably 
was not quite as well informed as myself of the exact state 
of affairs, and did not know that any word had been sent 
to our husbands. The street running in front of our house 
was packed with excited people, but I decided to make my 
way through them in my chair and go down to Mrs. Avi- 
son, where she was living at a long distance from the rest 
of us, and try to set her mind at rest by telling her what 
measures had been taken for the safety of the absentees, 
and of what was happening at our end of the town. I 
soon passed the crowd in our neighborhood, who were in 
no way concerned with me, and in a little while reached 
the great street, which runs toward the palace, and crosses 
that on which the hospital and Dr. Avison's home stood. 

As we reached the corner, I saw a great mob of the 
roughest and wildest looking men, with flushed faces and 
dishevelled hair. They came tearing towards us shout- 
ing to each other, "The Japanese soldiers are coming, they 
are firing. Run, run, run !" I did not fancy the company 
of these gentlemen any more than their looks, nor did I 
care to be a target for Japanese troops, who were sup- 
posed to be chasing them. So I also adjured my chair 
coolies with some emphasis to "run." The whole mob 
came sweeping round the corner, into the thoroughfare 
on which we were. It was not a dignified or desirable 
situation, a Presbyterian missionary in the midst of a wild 



178 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

scramble, and with a panic-stricken crowd of roughs 
escaping for dear life, from the avengers of justice, but 
there was no help for it. My coolies needed no urging, 
they were as anxious to get away as any of us, but they 
certainly deserved great credit, that under the circum- 
stances they did not leave me to my fate, and try to save 
only themselves. A few moments running brought us to 
the hospital gates, where we turned in hastily, and were 
safe. It was not cold, and yet I found myself shivering 
like an aspen. Strange ! 

Mrs. Avison and I were soon laughing, however, over 
my late escapade, and as soon as my errand was finished I 
hurried home another way, none too soon, for the streets 
were full of angry-looking men, some of whom scowled at 
me, and muttered, "foreigner." That night we learned 
that two of the pro-Japanese cabinet had been killed on the 
street and torn to pieces by the mob; that mob which, 
having finished its awful work, accompanied me down the 
street that afternoon. A young Japanese was also stoned 
to death on the street that day. In a few days Dr. Avison 
and Mr. Underwood were with us quite safe. My faithful 
and fleet-footed messenger had taken a short cut, and 
reached Koksan in an amazingly short time. 

The news filled our husbands with anxiety for us, not 
knowing how far mob violence might go, and they made 
the distance of near two hundred miles in sixty hours, 
walking nearly all the way (the pack-ponies go much too 
slow), sleeping only an hour or so at night, and eating as 
they walked. They missed both the king's guard and the 
posse from Songdo, which had taken a different road, but 
met many poor frightened natives along the road, who 
knew not where to turn or to whom to look for protection, 
with Tonghaks on the one hand and pro- Japanese on the 
other. Later we heard of many sad tales of Japanese citi- 



THE KING IN THE RUSSIAN LEGATION 179 

zens, overtaken in the country, who were very summarily 
dealt with by the exasperated people. Japanese troops 
were sent by their minister to bring back all who could be 
found, and large sums were demanded from the Korean 
government in payment for the lives thus sacrificed. To 
which demand, it has been suggested, the reply might have 
been made, "Who is to indemnify Korea for the life of her 
queen ?" 

Thus ended for a time the unhappy reign of the 
Japanese, which, after their victories over the Chinese, had 
seemed to begin so auspiciously, and which, had they been 
contented with a temperate and conciliating policy, would 
probably have grown stronger and stronger. 

The king remained for a year at the Russian legation, 
where he was treated with the truest courtesy, for instead 
of being in any way coerced or influenced for the benefit 
of Russian interests, he was allowed the most perfect 
liberty and interfered with in no particular. To such an 
extent did the true gentleman who acted as the king's host 
carry his scruples, that he refused to advise his majesty in 
any way even when requested to do so. On the occasion 
of the king's birthday, which came in September, it oc- 
curred to my husband that it would be a good opportunity 
to give the Christians a chance to express their loyalty, 
and at the same time advertise Christianity more widely 
than ever before at one time. The idea did not occur until 
a day or two before the time when we were reminded that 
the royal birthday was close at hand. 

The time was short, but permission was obtained to use 
a large government building near the Independence Arch, 
which would hold over one thousand people, and adver- 
tised widely that a meeting of prayer and praise would be 
held there by the Christians to celebrate the king's birth- 
day. A platform was erected, the building draped with 



i8o FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

flags, and speakers obtained, among whom were members 
of the cabinet, several gifted Koreans, and foreign mis- 
sionaries. 

He sat up all night preparing tracts, of which thousands 
were printed at the M. E. Mission Press for that special 
occasion, and also a hymn, to be set to the tune "America." 

I. 

For my dear country's weal, 
O God to Thee I pray, 
Graciously hear. 
Without Thy mighty aid 
Our land will low be laid. 
Strengthen Thou this dear land, 
Most gracious Lord. 

II. 

Long may our great king live, 
This is our prayer to-day 
With one accord. 
His precious body guard, 
Keep it from every ill. 
Heavenly Lord and King, 
Grant him Thy grace. 

III. 

By Thy almighty power, 
Our royal emperor 
Has been enthroned. 
Thy Holy Spirit grant 
Our nation never fail. 
Long live our emperor, 
Upheld by Thee. 

IV. 

For this Thy gracious gift, 
Our independence, Lord, 
Bless we thy name. 



THE LORD'S PRAYER IN KOREAN 181 

This never ceasing be, 
While as a people we, 
Nobles and commons all, 
United pray. 

V. 

To Thee, the only Lord, 
Maker and King Divine, 
We offer praise. 
When all shall worship Thee, 
Happy our land shall be, 
Powerful, rich and free, 
Beneath Thy smile. 



Early in the day Christian men and boys were distribut- 
ing copies of the tract and hymns throughout the whole 
city, and long before the hour of meeting men of all 
classes began flocking toward that vicinity, and when the 
speakers and missionaries arrived it was almost impossible 
to obtain access. The building was soon packed with a 
solid mass of standing people, and all the wide exits were 
thronged, the steps and the immediate vicinity. 

The services were opened with prayer, addresses 
(mainly religious) were made, hymns were sung, and 
finally were closed by the Lord's prayer, repeated in con- 
cert. It was thrilling to hear those words repeated rever- 
ently by so large a number of people. 

I will give an interlinear translation of the prayer, so 
that readers may know just what are the words used by 
Korean Christians: 



182 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

"Hanalau Kaysin oori abbachi-sin jah yeh, Ihrahme keruk 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed 

hahsime natanah op se myh, narahhe im haopse myh, tutse 

be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy 

Hanalaya-saw chirum dahaysoh deh iroyohgeita, onal nal 

will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give \ 

oori ai gay il young hal yang sik eul, choo apsego, oori ga 

us this day our daily bread. And 
oorigay teuk chay ban charal, sah hayah choonan kot 

forgive us our debts as 

katchi, oori chayral, sah hayah chu up se myh. Oori ga 

we forgive our debtors, and lead 
seeheumay teul jee mal kay hah up seego, tahman, ooriral, 

us not into temptation, but 

heung ak ay saw, ku ha ap soh soh. Tai kay, nara wha, 

deliver us from evil, for Thine 
quansay wha, eing guanqhi, choo kay, eng wani it 

is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, 
sa-ap-nay-ita Amen. 
for ever. Amen. 



CHAPTER XII 

A Korean Christian Starts Work in Haing Ju Changed Lives 
of Believers A Reformed Saloon-ke:per The Conversion 
of a Sorceress Best of Friends A Pleasant Night on the 
Water Evidence of Christian Living Our Visit in Sorai 
A Korean Woman's Work How a Kang Acts at Times 
Applicants for Baptism Two Tonghaks In a Strait betwixt 
Two Midnight Alarms Miss Jacobson's Death. 

IN the late fall of the same year Mr. Underwood and I 
started again on a trip to the interior, the first we had 
made together since our wedding journey, but now we 
were accompanied by our child, six years old, and a native 
woman, who acted as cook, nurse and general assistant. 
She rode in a native "pokyo" or chair with the child, I in 
another, while Mr. Underwood walked or rode his bicycle, 
as opportunity permitted. Our first destination was 
Haing Ju, a dirty little fishing village on the river, about 
ten miles from the capital. Work had started here just 
after the cholera in the fall of 1895 through the teaching 
of a native named Shin Wha Suni, a poor fellow who had, 
according to his own confession, been hanging around us 
for some time, pretending to be interested in Christianity, 
in the hope of getting some lucrative employment in con- 
nection with church work. 

After the cholera hospital was opened, he was there on 
several occasions, and was much surprised to find that for- 
eign women would spend whole nights nursing sick Ko- 
rean coolies. When he chanced to see one weeping over a 
poor man, whom all her efforts had failed to save, he 



184 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

went away astonished and impressed with the idea that 
"there is something in that religion that makes them love 
us like that, something that forgets self, something that I 
have never dreamed of before, something mysterious, 
glorious, oh, that it were mine !" 

He hungered and God fed him. He sought and found 
the Saviour, and when he had found him, he set forth 
at once to tell the good news to others. Taking a jikay, 
the frame which Koreans wear on their backs to facilitate 
the carrying of heavy loads, and which all native carriers 
use, he started forth to the country to earn his living in 
this humble way while chandohaoing or "passing on the 
Word." He went as far as Haing Ju, and there on the 
sand of the river bank he talked to scoffing people all day. 

At night, when it was dark, one of the men who had 
seemed to treat his message lightly, came and asked him 
to come to his house and talk the matter over at more 
length. He went, and soon another believer was gained. 
"Oh, it was good, the taste of a soul saved," said the new 
preacher. "Now it seemed to me I could never be satisfied 
with anything else; could never rest until I had more." 
The man who had been converted offered the use of his 
house as a preaching place. The men gathered in one 
room, the women in another, and Shin read the gospels 
and the tracts and taught them the catechism and hymns. 
The number of Christians grew from week to week, and 
the little meeting place became too small and had to be en- 
larged. The whole tone of the village gradually changed, 
and from being known as one of the hardest and most dis- 
reputable places on the river, it now became a model of 
decency and respectability. 

Testimony to this effect was offered by some farmers, 
who appeared one day in my husband's study and asked 
him if he had anything to do with the Christians in Haing 



A REFORMED SALOON-KEEPER 185 

Ju. He replied in the affirmative, half afraid the people 
had come with some charge against them. "Well," the 
strangers said, "we should like to buy the books which 
teach the doctrine they are practicing there, we want to 
learn that doctrine in our village too." 

Their village, Sam Oui, was not quite three miles away, 
and in former times they had been much troubled by the 
brawls and bad character of Haing Ju. Their vegetables 
had been stolen from the fields, their fruit and chestnuts 
from the trees, "but now," said they, "the people not only 
do not climb the trees for the nuts, but the boys leave 
those on the ground untouched." 

Here was power in a faith which kept hungry boys 
from carrying off even nuts lying temptingly in reach. 
This was something the like of which they had never seen 
or heard ; they had been taught not to steal, especially if 
likely to be discovered, but a power that could prevent 
men and boys from wishing to steal was miraculous. One 
of the saloon-keepers of Haing Ju, a man whose only 
source of livelihood was in this trade, became thoroughly 
converted, and at once realized that he could no longer 
sell drink to his neighbors, nor could he conscientiously 
dispose of his stock in trade at wholesale to other dealers, 
so he emptied it all on the street. He was able to obtain 
a little work now and then, but he was not strong enough 
for coolie labor. He had no trade and no farm, and at 
times his need was great, and often the family were on the 
verge of starvation, but the man's faith never failed, he 
never gave up his hold on God. Finally sickness attacked 
him, he became very lame, and hearing of the hospital in 
Seoul, managed to be conveyed thither, and while there we 
heard his story, and as I needed just then a caretaker for 
my dispensary, we engaged him and his wife to live on 
the place and do the light work necessary. His leg did 



i86 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

not improve much at the hospital, nor did the doctor 
give him much hope, but this, too, he made a subject of 
prayer and faith, and erelong rejoiced in a complete re- 
covery. 

This is the character of the faith of these hardy fisher- 
men and farmers on the river. As we approached the 
village we were astonished to hear the strains of a Chris- 
tian hymn, "Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed 
my sins away." It was a band of little boys whom Shin 
had been training, and who had come out to meet us. We 
spent two or three days in this place, women and men 
crowding into the little building to every meeting. Mr. 
Underwood baptized thirty-eight people, a young couple 
were married, one hundred and thirteen catechumens were 
received, and some babies baptized. 

Speaking of babies reminds me of a sad little incident 
which occurred while I was holding the first meeting there 
with the women. Hoping to win their interest, knowing 
how many little dead babies are carried away from Korean 
homes, I told them of the Saviour's love for little ones, 
that he held them in his arms and caressed them when on 
earth, and had said that the spirits of these little ones do 
always behold the face of the Father ; so that would they 
only believe and give their hearts to him, they should see 
their little ones again in heaven. 

A great sob broke from one of the women who com- 
menced passionately weeping. As soon as she could 
speak, she told me, her voice broken with violent emotion, 
that she had been a sorceress, and in a moment of frenzy 
had dashed her only child, a baby, to the floor and killed 
it. She, a mother, had killed her child, and could she ever 
be happy again, could God forgive such as she, could she 
ever be permitted to see her murdered child again ? She 
feared she was too wicked. All of us wept with her, and 



DOWN THE RIVER IN A KOREAN JUNK 187 

she was told of the great mercy and pardoning love of 
God, and found peace in Christ. 

Mr. Underwood also visited Sam Oui, the village which 
had learned of Christ through the example of Haing Ju, 
and baptized a handful of Christians there, enrolling a 
number of catechumens. When people do not seem quite 
ripe for baptism, yet have put away idolatry, keeping the 
Sabbath, putting away concubines, and living a life of ap- 
parent conformity with the ten commandments, they are 
enrolled in this class of catechumens. While I was en- 
gaged during the morning with the women, the "amah" 
was charged to take care of our little boy, but when the 
service was over, as he was nowhere to be seen, we started 
out to find him. As we walked down the lane we saw 
coming toward us a row of some seven or eight boys of his 
age (the dirtiest in the town, I am sure), he in the center, 
an arm around one on either side, all chatting and laugh- 
ing together in the merriest mood possible. How could 
we help laughing, how help being half pleased, even while 
horrified at what such contact might portend, how many 
varieties of microbes, not to mention other things. 

From Haing Ju we took a Korean junk down the river 
to Pai Chun. We went on board at night, and as it was 
bitterly cold, we were told we must go down under the 
deck, as there was absolutely no sheltered place above, 
where we could sleep. The hole to which we were rele- 
gated was not attractive. There were odors of fish ages 
old, the space was not high enough even to sit upright in, 
and barely wide enough for Mr. Underwood, our child, 
our "amah" and myself to lie packed side by side (no 
turning or moving about) in the stern. 

A lantern glimmered at the other end, it looked very far. 
There was water there, and perhaps rats, and certainly 
great water beetles and cockroaches, and sometimes, hours 



:88 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

and hours after we had been packed in that gruesome 
place, a boatman came and crawled over us, and dipped 
out buckets of water. Men were tramping back and forth 
over our heads all night. I felt sure that some of them 
would come through, and there seemed to be enough 
racket to indicate a storm at sea, a collision or a fire at 
times I was almost convinced it was all three. If it had 
been, we certainly could never have made our escape from 
the trap in which we were wedged like sardines. How- 
ever, as we were merely sailing down a broad, but not very 
deep river, and could easily have neared the shore before 
sinking in most circumstances, things were not so bad 
as they seemed, and next morning when we emerged into 
the bright sunlight what had been a night fraught with 
awful probabilities was now simply an amusing epi- 
sode. 

All day Sunday we sat on the deck in the sun, singing 
and enjoying the brilliant atmosphere. From Pai Chun we 
proceeded on foot or in chairs to Hai Ju, and thence to 
Sorai, where a theological leader's class was waiting for 
Mr. Underwood. Everywhere the warm-hearted welcome 
which awaited us was a delightful surprise to me. People, 
even women and children, came out miles to meet us, and 
followed us in crowds when we left, as if they could not 
bear to let us go. 

There were only a few beginnings of work in Hai Ju 
at that time. It is the capital of the province and rather 
a demoralized town, even in a heathen country, full of 
hangers-on of government officials, people accustomed 
to getting a living out of the people through fraud, brib- 
ery, oppression, "squeezing," and all sorts of political 
dirty work and corruption; evil men and still more evil 
women spreading the cancerous disease through the little 
town, until every one appears to be steeped in "the lust of 








KOREAN WOMEN AT WORK. PAGE 



EVIDENCE OF CHRISTIAN LIVING 189 

the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life," and 
worshipers of the god of this world. 

As a special day had been set for the beginning of the 
class in Sorai, and people were coming from all direc- 
tions to meet us there, we hastened on to be in time. 
Walking along the main road thither, Mr. Underwood 
overtook a young farmer, with whom he opened conver- 
sation in a friendly way, and asked if he had heard of the 
Jesus religion. "Yayso Kyo?" "Oh, yes," was the reply, 
"I have heard much of it, many people in this province do 
that doctrine, it is very good." "Do you believe also?" 
said my husband. "Oh, no, I cannot be a believer," re- 
plied the man. "These Christians spend their time and 
money doing good to others, I must do for myself, I can- 
not afford to practise this doctrine." This was uninten- 
tional witness borne to the fair fruit of Christianity in the 
man's believing friends and neighbors. A little further 
on, as my chair was set down to rest the coolies, an old 
woman ran out of a neighboring shanty to kngung the 
foreigner. I told her who I was and why I had come, 
and asked if she knew of this doctrine. "Oh, yes, it was 
good, very good." "Then why do you not believe?" 
"Oh, I sell liquor, that is my business. I cannot do that 
and be a Christian." Another involuntary testimony to 
the lives of the Christians of Whang Hai, and to the 
sincerity of those who had been taught that the way 
must be made straight and clean for the coming of the 
Lord. 

When we arrived at Sorai I found the Christian women 
all gathered to meet me in the house of one whom I had 
known before in Seoul. They offered refreshments of 
their best, persimmons, pears, chestnuts and eggs, and ex- 
pressed their pleasure over our coming in the most cor- 
dial and heart-warming way. Most of them I had never 



igo FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

seen before, but we seemed to love each other at first sight, 
for the bond in Christ is a very strong one. 

Mr. Kim Yun O, the wealthy man of the village, one 
who had been a great sinner but was now one of the 
strongest and most earnest of the leaders, had invited us to 
occupy his new sarang or guest room. It was quite a 
commodious sunny room, and we were pleased to find it 
was quite new, so we need fear few of our little enemies. 

While Mr. Underwood was holding his classes with the 
men in the church all day, patients of all kinds came to 
me in the mornings for several hours. Then I taught the 
girls and boys how to sing the hymns, for they had never 
known what it means to sing, and though they made a joy- 
ful noise to the Lord, it was not joyful to the fleshly ear 
at all, but a most awful combination of discords, flats and 
sharps, mixed up in the most hopeless confusion, whole 
bunches of keys on one string, meanings, groanings, 
sounds of woe as if all the contents of the pit had come 
forth before the time, or all the evil spirits exorcised from 
the village had returned to spoil their praise. 

The young people were the most hopeful to begin with, 
and were soon doing remarkably well. Every afternoon 
we women had a Bible class together. Most of those who 
came were baptized Christians or catechumens, though 
some unbelievers were always present. About twenty-five 
crowded into Mr. Kim's anpang each day. It is delightful 
to be allowed to teach such women, so hungry for truth, 
so eager to learn, so full of humble loving interest in every 
word, with such a spirit of childlike faith. 

Mrs. Kim, in whose house we were staying, was a busy 
woman, and her life was not an easy one. She was small 
and frail, with two children, her husband and old mother 
to work for, with one servant to help. The preparation of 
food for her own family and many Korean guests (for a 



A KOREAN WOMAN'S WORK 191 

Korean gentleman's guest house is always well filled at 
meal time) was in itself no light matter. The rice comes 
in very rough, only partly husked, and must be pounded a 
long while in a great wooden vessel, with a heavy club, 
larger at either end, which is almost all that a woman can 
lift (a fine exercise for athletic women's clubs). Water 
is usually brought in on the head from quite a distance, 
brass bowls and spoons kept bright, garments must be 
washed and smoothed, with what pains I have already de- 
scribed, animals cared for. fires made. 

But the country women work in the fields, too, helping 
to sow the cotton, tobacco, rice and barley. When the cot- 
ton is ripe they pick and prepare it, and only after much 
toil is it ready for use. Then they weave their own cloth 
and make up their own garments, in the 'dark little rooms 
in which the women live and work. They prepare and dry 
certain vegetables for winter's use, and with much labor, 
themselves press out the castor oil which they use in their 
tiny lamps. In the fall they make their kimchi for the 
whole year. 

Timely hints dropped now and then, and the example 
of a Christian husband's care for his wife, have done 
wonders among the native Christian homes, and much 
lightened the hard lot of the women. Of course we did 
our own cooking in all these little villages, our personal 
entertainment adding nothing to the work of the poor 
house wife. The people at Sorai are extremely generous 
and were constantly bringing us presents of chickens, 
eggs, persimmons, etc. We were much embarrassed by all 
this bounty, for we knew the people were poor and that 
such gifts cost a large sacrifice on their part. 

When one's wages are not more than ten cents a day a 
chicken means quite a good deal of money. Yet we could 
not refuse their offerings, for when we tried to do so they 



192 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

felt so hurt we found it was impossible. The people al- 
ready at that time were paying the running expenses of a 
Christian day school, which they had endowed, by setting 
apart the income from certain fields for this purpose, and 
if the crop was poor and the income insufficient, they 
made it up to the required amount. 

While here in Sorai we had a new and rather unpleasant 
experience with the working of the Korean kang, which 
we thought we knew well. In the midst of winter the 
wind suddenly turned in the wrong direction for our fires. 
The fire being built at one side of the house and the chim- 
ney opening at the other, we made the very chilling dis- 
covery, that when the wind blows into the smoke vent a 
fire cannot be coaxed to light. Our room was bitterly 
cold, and it is surprising how a floor, 'which can become 
intolerably hot, can also under the proper circumstances 
become so cold and damp. I was obliged to wrap my 
rheumatic frame in furs and rugs, while they brought in a 
great bowl or wharrow full of glowing charcoal fire, with 
which I was comparatively unacquainted. However, that 
night the room began dancing about in the giddiest kind 
of way, all grew dark and my 'husband spent several 
hours with me in the cold night air outside our room, in 
the effort to ward off successive fainting attacks. When 
our child, too, complained of headache and giddiness, we 
no longer questioned the cause, and henceforth preferred 
pure cold air to carbon dioxide. 

It was interesting in the cold, sleety, snowy weather to 
see how the Christians managed to attend church, even 
from long distances. The women would fold up their 
clean skirts and put them with their shoes and stockings 
on their heads, roll up their pajies or divided skirts quite 
high out of the reach of wet, and with a thin cotton apron, 
or no outer wrap at all over their heads and shoulders, 





SCHOOL BOYS. 8 
GIRLS SEWING AND WRITING WITH NATIVE TEACHER. PAGE 



APPLICANTS FOR BAPTISM 193 

trudge miles through snow and mud, facing a cutting 
wind. Quite a number of people were examined for bap- 
tism while we were there. One old woman, whose case 
seemed rather doubtful on account of her ignorance, was 
asked what was her dearest wish. "That I may be with 
Jesus always" was the reply. ''And how do you know you 
will always be with him?" "Because I am holding close 
to him now, and will hold close all the way." She had 
at least learned that Jesus supplies the soul's whole need/ 
that to be in his felt presence is heaven, and that to hold 
and be held by him is the only way to reach and be kept 
there. Surely she had the end and aim of all theology in 
a nutshell. 

I will copy a few notes from my diary on the testimony 
given by some of the people who applied for baptism at 
this time. 

No. 15, Mrs. Kim: Said her relatives and friends had 
all been trying to induce her to believe, but her heart had 
grown harder and harder, and she had determined she 
would not be a Christian ; but suddenly one night she saw 
herself with awful clearness, a great sinner, had that mo- 
ment yielded her heart, almost involuntarily (so irresistible 
was the impulse), to Christ, and from that time had had 
perfect peace and blessedness. Asked if she had spoken 
on this subject to unbelievers, replied in affirmative. Has 
now been trusting Christ a year and three months. This 
woman has done since then much devoted voluntary ser- 
vice for her Master. 

Another : At a time when those who wished for prayer 
were asked to raise their hands, she says she raised hers, 
and at that moment felt as it were a knife through her 
heart. From that time she has felt that she belonged to 
Christ, and since then her mind has been at peace. She 
prays regularly three times a day, but is praying all the 



194 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

time in her heart. While she is praying she never falls 
into sin, but if through some inadvertence and lack of 
prayer she sins z she asks God to pardon, knowing that he 
will. 

Another, No. 5: "Why do you believe?" "Because 
Jesus forgave me and died for me." "How do you know 
you are forgiven?" "Because the Bible says he will for- 
give all that come to him." Said he used to have a wicked 
heart and worshiped devils, but now his heart and mind 
were quite changed. Asked what repentance is, replied 
that it "was mending one's conduct and eating a new 
mind." Asked if he had told the good news to others, said 
he had, but no one in his neighborhood yet believes. He 
cannot read, and asked who Jesus is, says he is God's only 
son. Asked why he died for us, says he doesn't know. 
"Do your neighbors know that you do not sacrifice any 
more ?" "Yes." "Do you know you cannot have a concu- 
bine?" "Yes." Have you suffered anything for Christ ?" 
"They abuse me behind my back." (He was the richest 
and chief man of his district.) "If you have to suffer 
severely what will you do?" "I will bear it, God will help 
me." He pays the expenses of well-taught Christians to go 
to his home and preach to his neighbors. He comes a long 
distance to Sorai to church and seems anxious about his 
neighbors' souls. He came to the class bringing his own 
rice. 

No. 6 : Says he trusts Jesus because he knows he has 
forgiven his sins. Knows they are forgiven because his 
heart is changed, his old covetousness is all gone, it is 
now easy to do what Jesus commands. "Do you ever 
forget Jesus ?" "How could I forget him ? How could I 
forget my Lord ?" 

Another : Says that since spring, when Christ came into 
her heart, all has been at peace. Asked, "Who is Jesus?" 



A CONVERTED TONGHAtf 195 

Replies, "God's only son." "What is he to you ?" "We are 
brethren since we have one Father." "How is God your 
Father?" "All believers are now his children." "Are 
your sins forgiven ?" "Entirely forgiven." "How do you 
know it?" "My mind is now at peace. I am entirely 
happy." "Are you not sad since your husband died?" 
"Since after death we shall all live again at God's right 
hand I feel no anxiety." "What if difficulties should 
arise?" "/ don't know about the future, but Go'd takes 
care of me now, and I think he will continue to do so. I'll 
tell Jesus and ask his help." "Do you commit sins now ?" 
"On account of the flesh I cannot escape from sin, I cannot 
say I do no sin." Her father-in-law is not a believer, but 
though she lives in his house she keeps the Sabbath and 
attends worship regularly. 

No. 37 was a Tonghak, rebel and robber. Has be- 
lieved nearly two years. "Who is Jesus ?" "He is God's 
son." "What has he done for us ?" "He died on the cross, 
and through his precious blood my sins are forgiven." 
"Do you know this ?" "I know it." "How do you know 
it ?" "I cannot read the Bible, but as I was a criminal, and 
Jesus has made me live, I know I am forgiven." "Where 
is Jesus?" "At God's right hand." "Anywhere else?" 
"There is no place where he is not." "What is Jesus doing 
for us?" "I don't know, I only know I am saved." 
"Have you told others about Jesus?" "I am always say- 
ing, Here was I a criminal, and Jesus forgave me, and 
saved me from punishment, and gave me peace of mind, 
how can I help but believe." 

This man comes ten miles to church in all weather. 
Even when twenty miles away at work, he would come in 
late Saturday night to be at church, stay all day, without 
his food, and go back at night over a high mountain pass. 
He was one of two rebels, who came to the leader and said 



lg6 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

they wanted to be followers of Christ and be baptized, 
The leader said that if they were sincere Christians they 
must make restitution by giving themselves up to justice. 
One of the two then went to the Romanists, and is now 
one of the most notorious of the gang of robbers and des- 
perados under the lead of Father Wilhelm. The other, 
this applicant, gave himself up, was thrown into jail and 
condemned to death. While in jail he astounded the 
jailers and prisoners by continually singing hymns of joy 
and praise. The prisoners declared he was mad, as no one 
could sing like that in such a case. While he was in jail 
the king escaped to the Russian legation, all prisoners 
were set free and he was released. He has been a happy, 
consistent Christian ever since. 

Another is a young man of nineteen, has only lately 
begun to trust in Christ. His father is a believer, his 
mother and wife are not. Baptism, he says, is a sign of 
faith in Christ. He thinks it would never do not to be 
baptized, but insists he is saved now. Says he knows and 
feels it in his heart. He has destroyed all idols, and keeps 
the Sabbath. He goes over the mountain three miles to 
church and allows no laborers to work for him on Sunday, 
though he is obliged to pay them for the day's work as 
though they had. He comes at his own expense to attend 
the class. 

The above are given merely as a few specimens of the 
kind of questions and replies commonly heard at these ex- 
aminations. Only those whose changed lives were wit- 
nessed to by leading Christians who know them were bap- 
tized. After a delightful stay with these simple-hearted 
Christians, where the world and all its evils seemed'far re- 
moved, and God very near, we were obliged at the close of 
the class to start back to the capital. Our three tempo- 
rarily hired coolies had forsaken us, disliking to wait so 



A NIGHT OF ANXIETY 197 

long (about three weeks) without work, and it was an im- 
possibility to replace them in that neighborhood, where 
nobody ever rides in a chair. 

So we had to hire an ox-cart or talgoogy, the most 
primitive of all possible wheeled conveyances, and in it, 
with our loads tucked in with all our mattresses, quilts, 
rugs and pillows, was placed our little treasure, our only 
child, with the woman servant. 

With great difficulty a man was found who consented 
to help my own servant carry my chair. But soon an un- 
looked-for difficulty arose. I found the ox-cart had gone 
by a different road from that on which I had come in my 
chair, for the former could not cross the narrow bridges 
(mere footpaths for one) over the rivers, but must take 
the fords, far too long a distance for the chair coolies. 
Nor could the cart take the narrow paths over precipitous 
passes, which the chair must follow to shorten the road 
for the carriers. I was assured that all would be well, the 
helpers and Christians were with the child, and was forced 
to submit to what could not now be helped. Mr. Under- 
wood, after seeing me well started, paced at a flying rate 
across to the other road to see that all was well with the 
boy, and then back again to the wife. 

At about five o'clock we reached a place where the 
two roads meet, but no signs of the talgoogy. It was fast 
growing dark, a mountain pass lay yet before us, the road 
was wild and lonely, we wished our little one was with us. 
At length we went on to the village just beyond the pass 
and waited. Time passed, but no tidings of the cart and 
its precious contents. Darkness fell, the cold was bitter. 
Koreans were sent out with lanterns to light the way for 
the belated, or render any needed help. Still no word. 
At length Mr. Underwood himself, unable to wait longer, 
jvent out to look for the party. And now with them both 



ig8 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

in the lonely mountain, and night upon us, I had double 
need to trust in God. One always knows that all will be 
well, will be for the best, but as one cannot see whether 
that best means God's rod or his staff, the heart will flut- 
ter in dread of the pain. Just to wait without fear upon 
him, takes a calm, strong soul, and a full measure of 
grace. 

At last, thank God, they both came back quite un- 
harmed, only hungry and cold, but the thought of tigers, 
leopards and robbers, that might have met them, only 
made me realize more fully the mercy which brought them 
safe to my arms. 

That night we slept in a small Korean inn quite like all 
the rest, only a little smaller and dirtier than most, with 
domestic animals and fowls of all sorts quartered round 
us, the paper door of our room only separating between 
them and us. Suddenly, about two or three in the morn- 
ing, we were startled out of our sleep by the most terrific 
roaring, and the sounds of a general panic in the inn ; the 
excited shouts of men, women shrieking, and such a 
chorus of barking, yelping, cackling, squealing as cannot 
be described. But the awful roaring, and a stamping and 
hustling distinguishable above all, made it seem probable 
that one or more wild animals of some sort had invaded 
the hostel. Mr. Underwood hastily extinguished our light, 
which shining through our door, might attract notice, and 
went out to discover the cause of the uproar. He soon 
came back, saying that a couple of oxen, usually so meek 
and tractable, had been fighting, had pulled themselves 
loose from their stalls, and had now escaped, one chasing 
the other out of the inn. They are enormous creatures, at 
times like this as dangerous as any wild beast, and it was 
remarkable that no one in the inn was seriously hurt, as 
they could hardly have escaped being, had the oxen re- 





KOREAN STREET. PAGE IS 
HORSES IN AN INN YARD. PAGE K 



TREATING CROUP UNDER DIFFICULTIES 199 

mained fighting in the cramped confines of that little 
place. 

Nothing worthy of note occurred during the remainder 
of our return trip, except one night, when camped in the 
tiniest and most comfortless little room, we were again 
wakened by an awful roaring. The sort of roar that every 
mother hears with a quaking heart, and knows right well 
what it imports. She knows it comes from a wild beast 
in her child's throat, and jumps to the rescue. Croup in a 
hut with paper doors and windows full of cracks and 
holes, where the wind steals in on all sides, many miles 
from home, is not too easily defied. But we soon had a 
wharrow fire and hot water, a croupy child's mother al- 
ways has ipecac and flannels close at hand, and while we 
changed hot applications for an hour or so, we were 
forced to draw on our benumbed inventive faculties for 
novel stories to interest the half -suffocated child. The 
following day we were obliged to continue our journey, 
for exposure and discomfort there exceeded what must be 
met on the road, but the child, usually slow in rallying 
from those attacks, on this occasion made an especially 
quick and favorable recovery. 

In April of this year, 1896, Dr. J. McLeavy Brown, of 
the English Custom's Service, was placed in charge of the 
nation's finance by a royal decree, a post which he con- 
tinued to fill for a long time to the benefit of all con- 
cerned, except the squeezing officials, who, now that their 
opportunities in that line were curtailed, proceeded to 
squeal lustily instead. 

In the summer of 1896, Miss Jacobson, an enthusiastic 
young missionary nurse, who had learned the language 
with wonderful quickness, and won the hearts of Koreans 
on all sides, was very ill with dysentery for several weeks. 
She recovered apparently and returned to her work, but 



200 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

was soon attacked by violent fever, which refused to yield 
to the usual remedies, until at length the existence of a 
local organic disease was developed, which in spite of 
every effort carried our dear sister away. But her death- 
bed was a place of rejoicing rather than mourning. More 
than one exclaimed it was good to be there. Bitterly as 
we knew we should feel the loss of so helpful and sympa- 
thetic a sister later, we could but enter into her joy at that 
hour. Her bedroom seemed like the ante-room to the 
throne-room itself. Her face was wreathed in smiles, and 
a look of unearthly glory lay upon it. Her words were all 
of joy and hope, and full of the rapture the realized pres- 
ence of the Lord only can give. 

We felt we had no right to make place for selfish 
mourning there, she was so manifestly happy, and to de- 
part was so far, far better. When her remains were taken 
to the cemetery, now becoming rich with much precious 
dust, her casket was carried on the shoulders of the native 
Christians, who sang joyful songs of the better land all 
the way. It was like the return of a conqueror, and the 
country people, as they saw and heard, asked what kind of 
death or funeral was this, all triumph and joy? Where 
were the signs and sounds of despair that follow a heathen 
corpse ? 

To carry a dead body is looked upon as very degrading. 
So the fact that the native Christians insisted on doing 
this, and would not allow hired bearers to touch the dear 
form, showed how they all loved and honored Miss Jacob- 
son ; and I have told it to show the kind of feeling which 
exists between the people and their foreign teachers, as 
well as to lay a little tribute to the memory of a noble and 
devoted fellow-worker. 



CHAPTER XIII 

Our Mission to Japan Spies One Korean Summer The 
Queen's Funeral The Procession The Burial by Star- 
light The Independents The Pusaings The Independents 
Crushed. 

IN the following spring Mr. Underwood was asked to 
go to Japan, with instructions to assist his highness, the 
second prince, to leave for America. 

It was thought best that he should there, under Chris- 
tian tutors, prepare for college, or a military training, and 
my husband, realizing of what immense importance this 
plan well carried out might be to Korea in the future, 
gladly consented to accept the mission. All arrangements 
were made by the government in Seoul, and Mr. Under- 
wood was instructed exactly as to the wishes of his 
majesty. To our combined amusement and indignation, 
we soon discovered we were followed everywhere by spies 
from the day we left home. Mr. Underwood's letters to 
gentlemen in Tokyo, although mailed with care and 
secrecy, were read by others before they reached the hands 
of those to whom they were addressed. We were 
shadowed everywhere, and even had the creepy pleasure 
of knowing that a detective slept on the landing just below 
our room. 

Thus for the second time in our lives were we honored 
by being made the special objects of espial, connected in 
the respectable mind with criminal courts, jails and all 
sorts of ill odors and combinations of the unutterable. 



202 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

However, as we had nothing on our consciences, I believe 
we rather enjoyed our detectives, aside from a slight in- 
dignant sense of insult. We certainly took a mischievous 
pleasure in the hunt. There were undoubtedly those who 
considered it to their interest to keep the prince in Japan, 
but when the king's commands were fully understood, no 
further difficulty was made, and the long-desired end was 
gained, as far as a departure for America was concerned, 
but as through influence beyond our control, and without 
our knowledge till later, a Romanist interpreter was sent 
with him, the plans and hopes for his royal highness in 
America were destined to disappointment. 

In the following summer sickness entered our home, a 
debilitating fever which would not yield to treatment kept 
my husband week after week confined to his bed. His 
strength of course steadily failed, he became extremely 
emaciated and unable to retain nourishment in any form. 
We were at the river Han, in a house on a bluff, where we 
usually spend the hot and rainy season ; but it was several 
miles distant from the city, advisers and remedies. It was 
lonely work, not knowing what turn the disease might 
take, with friends and helpers so far away. 

At length, one night my trials seemed to reach a climax. 
The rain poured down, more like a foe with iron blows 
besieging a fort than water from the clouds. The wind 
blew with almost hurricane fury and the lightning was 
constantly accompanied by terrific claps of thunder. My 
husband was too ill to notice and in a heavy stupor. Soon, 
however, the poor thatched roof began leaking like a sieve, 
while water flowed in around the window and door case- 
ments. 

The invalid lay in a heavy bed, extremely difficult at any 
time to move, still more so with his weight and the neces- 
sity of moving it as gently as possible. Our cousin, a lady 



STRUGGLING WITH SICKNESS 203 

of no great size or strength, and I managed by exerting all 
our combined force to shove the lumbering piece of furni- 
ture to a place where water did not drip on it and the in- 
valid ; and then ran to find pieces of sacking, bath towels, 
sheets, waterproofs, etc., to soak up the flood that was 
constantly pouring in everywhere and dripping through 
from the second floor to the first. 

The kitchen was almost emptied of utensils, which were 
placed under the waterfalls all over the house. While 
every now and then my husband's bed must be pushed or 
dragged to a new place. The frail house rocked as if it 
must surely fall before the fury of the storm. It was one 
of those occasions which probably every one experiences, 
once or twice in a lifetime, when inanimate nature seems 
to join with untoward circumstance, and even God himself 
seems to have hidden his face, and all the seen and unseen 
powers of the universe to have combined against body and 
soul. But he who has drunk the very dregs of every bit- 
terness we ever taste never forsakes us no matter how 
dark things look, and I knew on that awful night we were 
not as desolate as we seemed. 

In the morning Dr. Avison came out from the city and 
kindly invited me to have Mr. Underwood taken there to 
his home, which was on a hill with plenty of breeze, and 
where I should have advice and medicines close at hand. 
So our sick man, placed on a long cane chair with 
poles attached to each side, covered with waterproofs, 
blankets and umbrellas, and carried by eight coolies, was 
taken back to Seoul. 

Not more than a week later our little one was stricken 
with the same fever. Both father and child were desper- 
ately sick for another fortnight, but both were spared, and 
after weeks of prostration moved about like pale skeletons, 
whom nobody found it easy to recognize. 



204 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

About this time a great deal of uneasiness was begin- 
ning to be felt among certain classes over the king's long 
stay in a foreign legation, especially by all pro-Japanese, 
and in October, 1896, the king was formally requested by 
a Council of State to change his residence. In the fol- 
lowing February, at about the time when Mr. Waeber was 
leaving the country and another Russian representative 
coming to take his place, the royal household was removed 
to the Chong Dong palace, near the English consulate and 
American legation. Russian officers were in charge of all 
Korean troops, and Russian influence predominant. 

In October of 1897 the king assumed the title of em- 
peror, and immediately after the dead queen's rank was 
raised to that of empress. In the following November, 
her imperial highness' funeral took place. It is common 
among people of high rank to keep the honored remains 
embalmed and sealed for months, or even years, until a 
suitable time and place for burial has been pronounced by 
soothsayers, and so two years after decease, after repeated 
consultations with these costly and ghostly advisers, who 
repeatedly changed their directions, a grave site was 
finally decided upon and prepared and a day set. 

Two weeks before this, daily sacrifices were offered in 
Kyeng-won palace, and on the first and fifteenth of each 
month since her death special sacrifices had been offered. 
All court officials wore heavy mourning and all citizens 
wore half mourning. 

The grounds selected for the grave site were about 
three or four miles from the east gate outside the city, 
and many acres in extent. Money flowed like water, and 
no pains or expense were spared to make the service and 
everything connected with it as magnificent and stately as 
the queen's rank and the king's devotion to her memory 
required. The grave was prepared of solid masonry at 



THE QUEEN'S FUNERAL 205 

the summit of a mound fifty feet high, a costly temple for 
the temporary shelter of the remains, where the last rites 
were to be performed, was erected near its foot, and a 
number of other buildings were put up for the accom- 
modation of the court, the foreign legations and other 
invited guests, for the funeral was to be held at night. 
Refreshments and entertainment was provided for Ko- 
reans and foreigners, officials, friends, soldiers and ser- 
vants to the number of several thousands. 

A courteous invitation was sent from the Foreign Office 
to the legations, inviting the private residents (foreigners) 
of Seoul to share this hospitality. The casket in a cata- 
falque was carried from the palace at eight o'clock on the 
morning of the 2ist of November, attended by five thou- 
sand soldiers, four thousand lantern bearers, six hundred 
and fifty police, and civil and military dignitaries of in- 
numerable grades. The scene was one of extreme and 
varied interest. Thousands of people crowded the streets, 
arches were erected over the road at intervals. There 
were numberless scrolls recounting the queen's virtues, 
magnificent silk banners, beautiful small chairs, wooden 
horses (for use in the spirit world), which, with all the 
varied accoutrements of ancient and modern arms, and the 
immense variety in the dress and livery of court and other 
officials, retainers, menials, chair coolies and mapoos, made 
a scene quite beyond description. 

The emperor and crown prince did not follow the bier 
until one o'clock in the afternoon. His majesty had sent 
us a special invitation to be present and go in the pro- 
cession, but we preferred to go quietly later, as humble 
private mourners for a loved and deeply lamented friend, 
in a spirit which had nothing in common with the brilliant 
procession. 

When we arrived at nearly eight o'clock in the evening, 



206 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

we found the extensive grounds lighted by red and yellow 
(the royal and imperial colors) native lanterns, not two 
feet apart, in double rows, along a winding and circling 
road for a distance of three miles. Brilliant banners 
streamed forth on the air, and here and there all over the 
field were brightly blazing fires of fagots, where groups 
of soldiers stood warming themselves, for it was bitterly 
cold. It was a starlit night of crystal, sparkling clearness. 

There is much that is fitting in this custom of holding 
funerals in these calm and holy hours of night, when 
things of time and sense dwindle and look insignificant, 
when the world's bustle is all hushed, when the unsym- 
pathetic glare of happy day is veiled, and only the sooth- 
ing balm of the quiet and darkness in harmony with the 
sorrow-stricken heart is to be felt. In that hour the di- 
vine presence seems to be most imminent, or more fully 
realized, and eternity and the spirit world close around us. 

After six sets of prayers and sacrifices, and a final cere- 
mony of farewell, the remains were to be interred. At 
three o'clock A.M. everything was in readiness. A 
beautiful yellow silk imperial carrying-chair, for the use 
of the royal spirit, was first taken up the hill in great state, 
by the appointed bearers. Then followed another of green 
silk, and lastly the royal casket on its bier. Long ropes 
were attached to the latter, held by men standing as closely 
as possible to each other, along the whole length, in order 
to insure the greatest steadiness. In addition, of course, 
were the regular bearers, while one stood on the front of 
the bier directing and guiding all. Everything was done 
with beautiful precision, there was not a misstep nor a jar. 
It is said that on such occasions a bowl filled to the brim 
with water is placed on the bier, and if a drop overflows 
severe punishment and disgrace falls upon the carriers. 

A solemn and stately procession of soldiers and re- 



AN IMPRESSIVE PROCESSION 207 

tainers, bearing banners and lanterns of alternate red 
and yellow, accompanied and followed the casket, march- 
ing in double file on either side and in close ranks, all 
uttering in unison a low and measured wailing as they ad- 
vanced. Thus all that remained of our brilliant queen was 
carried to its rest. 

Nothing could be more impressive, solemn and beauti- 
ful than this procession, circling up the hill, beneath the 
clear faithful watch of the stars and the fathomless depths 
of limitless space, in that dark hour just before day. After 
the bier followed the king and prince, who personally 
superintended the lowering of the precious remains into 
the tomb, even entering the crypt to see that the casket 
was well rolled back under the great block of granite 
which covered it. 

Sacrifices and prayers were again offered, the gigantic 
wooden horses were burned, and the mourners retired. 
An audience given to all the diplomats and invited guests, 
for the expression of farewells and condolences, ended the 
ceremonies at about eight o'clock in the morning. 

For some time before and after the removal of the king 
to his own palace in Chong Dong, a growing feeling of 
anxiety and distrust was felt over the preponderance of 
Russian influence, which found expression in the formal 
request made to the king to leave the legation. 

While his majesty was still residing there, and before 
the uneasiness with regard to Russia had arisen, the "In- 
dependent Club" had been organized by Mr. So Jay Peel, 
with the consent of the king, to emphasize Korea's inde- 
pendence of China. The old columns, where tribute col- 
lectors from that nation were received, were pulled down 
and a new Independence Arch erected, as well as a large 
building for the official business of the club, called Inde- 
pendence Hall. The crown prince contributed a thousand 



208 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

dollars for this purpose. The club was immensely popular 
with all classes and many of the nobility as well as the 
commoners were members. But the real object of the club 
was to keep Korea independent of all foreign powers in 
general, and of Russia and Japan, as well as China, in par- 
ticular; to protest against, and prevent, if possible, the 
usurpation of office and influence by foreigners, to stand 
for the rights of the people, the autonomy of the nation, 
its gospel being in a word, "Korea for the Koreans." 

So that now, when the menace seemed to shift its 
quarters from the west to the north, the Independence 
Club began to make itself heard against Russia. 

A word with regard to one or two of its leaders may 
be of interest. Mr. So Jay Peel had previously belonged 
to the progressive party, and had been obliged to flee to 
Japan, where after a short residence he went to America. 
He was of very high rank and a wealthy family, but his 
property having been confiscated he worked his own way, 
graduating from a first-class college with highest honors. 
Then taking a civil service examination, he had become an 
American citizen. He obtained a government position, 
which gave him light work with sufficient salary to enable 
him to take a course in medicine, after which he received a 
very fine government medical appointment, on a competi- 
tive examination. 

But his heart turned to his country, and after the 
Japanese war and the establishment of Japanese prestige, 
he returned to Korea, where he became adviser to the 
king, and soon after started a newspaper called the "Inde- 
pendent," which was printed half in English and half in 
the native character. Mr. So proved himself a gifted, bril- 
liant and eloquent man, full of enthusiastic devotion to the 
emancipation and welfare of his country, perhaps too im- 
patient and precipitate in trying to hasten the accomplish- 



THE INDEPENDENTS 209 

ment of these great ends, a fault common with young and 
ardent patriots. Mr. So was the first president of the club, 
and was succeeded by Mr. Yun Chee Ho, a son of Gen- 
eral Yun, who had led the attack on the palace for the 
rescue of the king. Like Mr. So, he had been for some 
years away from Korea, having been educated partly in 
China in an American Methodist Mission school, and 
partly under the same auspices in America. Both he and 
Mr. So are members of American Protestant churches. 
Mr. Yun, who, however, still retains his Korean citizen- 
ship, is also both a fine writer and speaker, and an en- 
thusiastic patriot and progressionist. He afterwards suc- 
ceeded Mr. So in the editorship of the "Independent." 
Their following consisted quite largely of impulsive, eager 
young men, many of them Christians, very many of them 
students, and probably included the majority of the bril- 
liant, energetic, and sincerely patriotic young men of the 
capital. 

As has been said, after Mr. Waeber's removal and the 
king's departure from the Russian legation, and a new 
Russian minister had arrived, Korea became more than 
ever subject to Russian influence. Russians swarmed in 
the palace, the army and the treasury were completely in 
their hands, and their absolute supremacy seemed only a 
question of a few brief weeks or months. 

At this time, February, 1898, the Independence Club 
offered a petition to the king asking the removal of all 
Russians from the army and government offices. The 
Russian minister requested the king to state his wish in 
this matter, and soon after, being informed in the affirma- 
tive, the Russians were all withdrawn for the time. April 
12, 1898, coincident with this, Port Arthur was ceded to 
the Russians by Japan, a fact which it was thought by 
many had much to do with the retirement from Korea. It 



2io FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

is most improbable that the action of Russia was in this 
case out of consideration for the preferences of Koreans. 

The Independence Club now grew more and more 
popular and held frequent loud and clamorous meetings, 
at which public affairs were discussed with great freedom, 
the wrong doings of high officials severely censured and 
held up to public scorn, and unpopular laws sharply criti- 
cised and bitterly inveighed against. They were full of 
hope and patriotism, their aim and expectation seeming to 
be to have all wrongs righted, all abuses done away with, 
and Korea remade in a day a free government and people. 

The Independence Club held large mass meetings. The 
shops were closed, the whole population was stirred, and 
even women held meetings, incredible as it may seem. 
As a result of which a written petition was sent to the gov- 
ernment, asking for seven reforms, abolishing torture and 
other objectionable customs, and granting more liberties. 

The cabinet approved the request, the king added six 
more new rules for reform, and Yun Chee Ho was made 
vice-president of the Privy Council. At once another gen- 
eral meeting of the public was held, and a committee ap- 
pointed by them printed tens of thousands of copies of the 
new laws, and distributed them everywhere. Among the 
thirteen new rules, it was suggested and consented to that 
there should be established a sort of popular congress, a 
law-making body, with powers advisory (certainly very 
limited), composed of one hundred people, fifty of whom 
were to be elected by the popular vote, and fifty to be ap- 
pointed by the king. But now the government began to 
take the alarm and to realize that they had opened the 
sluice gates of a flood which threatened to overwhelm 
them. 

The night before the first election to this body was 
to have taken place at Independence Hall, seventeen lead- 



POLITICAL DISTURBANCES 211 

ing members of the club were arrested. It was the inten- 
tion of the minister of law to put these people to death, but 
the populace rose en masse, crowded and excited meetings 
were held everywhere, and so much feeling shown, that 
the decision was changed, and they were sentenced to ban- 
ishment instead. But the populace continued to rage. 
Large masses of people, who, while they did not arm them- 
selves or resort to violence, were angry and threatening, 
gathered in front of the government offices in all public 
places, demanding the release of the seventeen or that they 
themselves should be arrested. At length, after five days' 
of threatening demonstrations and angry mobs, the seven- 
teen were released. Now, indeed, the Independents felt 
they had gained a victory, the government had been de- 
feated, and the people henceforth could accomplish any- 
thing. 

The demand for the fulfilment of the king's still unful- 
filled promises of thirteen reforms was again renewed. On 
this the officials in person presented themselves before the 
crowds, commanding them to disperse and promising 
everything that was asked if they would do so, as a result 
of which the people quietly dispersed. 

After long and patient waiting, without result, no 
promises kept or reforms instituted, and on the contrary, 
the bad officials who had been put out of office again re- 
instated, the people assembled again one month later at 
Chong No (the great thoroughfare) to renew their de- 
mands. The police were then called up by their chief and 
told to go to Chong No, and regardless of consequences 
draw their swords and put to death all of the unarmed 
multitude who would not disperse. Almost to a man, the 
police began throwing off their official badges, saying they 
were one with the people, and absolutely refusing to obey 
such orders. 



212 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

The soldiers were then called out, large bodies of troops 
stationed in the main thoroughfares, and the crowds dis- 
persed at the point of the bayonet. 

The Independents then asserted it must be bad officials, 
and not the king, who were thus oppressing them, and that 
their petitions could never have reached his majesty. They, 
therefore, according to long-established custom with peti- 
tions for royal favors, all convened in front of the palace. 
Thousands of men sat there quietly, night and day, for 
fourteen days waiting to be heard. 

It was a thrilling and impressive sight. There was 
nothing laughable about those rows of silent, patient, de- 
termined citizens. Many had their food brought to them, 
some had little booths or tents where they prepared meals 
or slept, while others watched and waited, a few went 
away to take food, only to return as speedily as possible. 
The people had come to the palace to stay, until an an- 
swer could be had from the king. 

After the Independents had been camped for some days 
thus in front of the palace, the "Pusaings" or "Peddlers 
Guild," gathered and camped in another part of the city, 
with the avowed intention of attacking them. 

The "Pusaings" are, as their name indicates, a guild of 
peddlers, bound together as a secret society for mutual 
benefit and protection. They have connections and 
branches all over the country, and are sworn to render 
each other assistance whenever needed. Like the Masons, 
they have secret passwords and signs, by which they make 
themselves known to each other, and any member of this 
great guild meeting another, even for the first time, is 
bound to help him to the full extent of his ability. In this 
way they soon become extremely powerful, and feared by 
high and low, rich and poor. They could assemble a for- 
midable army at short notice, and their reputation as a 



THE PUSAINGS 213 

ruffianly body of men has long been established. During 
the reign of the Tai Won Kun, that crafty and astute old 
politician decided to make friends of this dangerous guild, 
rather than antagonize them, and accordingly granted 
them a number of special privileges, one of which was 
the right to collect taxes of certain kinds of merchandise, 
in return for which they were to be regularly organized by 
the government and to place themselves under the con- 
trol of governors of provinces and other officials, holding 
themselves ready for service at any time. They wear a 
peculiar straw hat and a somewhat different dress from 
other Koreans, so that they are easily recognized where- 
ever seen. 

On the appearance of this large body of "Pusaings" the 
king sent word to the people, in order to calm their sus- 
picions, that they need have no fear of the Peddlers, as the 
police should be ordered to keep them back, and a cordon 
of police was therefore drawn around the petitioners. At 
length, however, the "Pusaings" made an attack one day 
at an early hour in the morning, when some of the Inde- 
pendents, who had retired during the night or had gone to 
their breakfast, were away, and the number considerably 
reduced. The police were immediately withdrawn, and 
the whole assemblage of Independents were driven away, 
and many of them seriously injured. When they attempted 
to return the way was barricaded by soldiers, and their 
enemies, the "Pusaings," were being feasted with food 
sent out from the palace. The populace then assembled in 
large numbers, with the determination to drive away the 
Peddlers, which they did, wounding and killing a few. 
Shortly after, however, a second battle was fought, in 
which the people were forced to retreat and one of the In- 
dependents was killed. 

The people's party then again assembled at Chong No, 



2i 4 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

when the king again sent, promising he would give all 
they asked if they would disperse, which they accordingly 
did once more. Ten days later the king called them to 
meet before the palace. On that occasion he came out to 
them, standing on a platform built for the purpose, with 
his officials around him, and the members of the foreign 
legations occupying a tent at one side, and a large number 
of other foreigners also present. This was indeed a new 
thing in the history of so hoary a nation for the king to 
come out to confer with the populace on matters of state. 
The president of the Independents at that time, Kung 
Yung Kun, and the ex-president, Yun Chee Ho, were 
called up and presented by the king with a document 
printed on yellow imperial paper, in which he solemnly 
promised the establishment of the thirteen reforms. 

The meeting then dispersed, and the people waited an- 
other thirty days, but nothing came to pass. With wonder- 
ful determination and persistence, worthy of success like 
the widow in our Lord's parable, who waited long on the 
unjust judge till by continual coming she wearied him and 
obtained her desire, they again assembled at Chong No 
and renewed their demands. 

Had they only possessed a Hampton, a Cromwell, a 
Washington, or a Roland, history might have repeated 
itself once more. And yet perhaps it was no more the 
want of leaders of the right fearless stamp, than the need 
of thousands of such determined dauntless, unconquer- 
able souls as those who stood back of Cromwell and Wash- 
ington. 

They, however, renewed their requests, and insisted 
they would allow no government business to be done until 
the king's promises were fulfilled. Soldiers were sent out 
from time to time and dispersed them, but they gathered 
again and again. 



THE INDEPENDENTS CRUSHED 215 

At length the government accused them of scheming to 
establish a republic and elect a president, and bodies of sol- 
diers and police were placed all over the city. Wholesale 
arrests were made, little groups of even three or four were 
dispersed by the use of detectives and a very wide system 
of espionage, meetings were prevented, the Independents 
crushed, and their buildings and property confiscated. 
Thus, for the time at least, ended what looked like the be- 
ginnings of a revolution, but the people were not ready 
and the time not ripe. 



CHAPTER XIV 

Itineration Incidents Kaiwha Christian Evidences Buying 
Christian Books instead of an Office Seed Sowing 
Moxa's Boy in the Well Kugungers Again Pung Chung 
Pyeng Yang The Needs of the Women. 

ANOTHER long trip into the interior was taken the 
following year, some newly arrived missionaries from 
Canada who wished to study methods and people accom- 
panying us. Just before this Mr. Underwood had re- 
visited the river villages where there were Christians 
under his oversight, and found as usual a steady growth 
everywhere, not that there are no drawbacks, none who 
have backslidden or proved insincere, but that such in- 
stances are marvelously rare, and that the encouragements 
far exceed the discouragements, that the little groups are 
steadily growing in numbers, in enlightenment and the 
home life is vastly higher in tone. At Haing Ju a commo- 
dious new chapel had been built, a fact which the people 
had kept as a surprise for the missionary. As usual he 
found new groups of believers which had sprung into life 
since his previous visit. 

The beginning of one of these at Kimpo, as related by 
Mr. Shin, was very interesting. Mr. Shin said that one 
night as he lay asleep he thought he saw the Moxa come 
up to him, with the long walking-stick in his hand which 
he uses on his country trips. Prodding the sleeper vigor- 
ously with it, he said, "Come, come, why don't you go to 
work ; get up and go over there (pointing across the river 



PROGRESS OF THE WORK 217 

to Kimpo) and pass on the Word." Shin woke up, but 
fell asleep again, and again the Moxa came back and even 
more urgently bade him get up, and go and carry the gos- 
pel to Kimpo. Again he awoke, and the third time fell 
asleep, and dreamed as before. He knew no one at Kimpo 
and had no reason to think there was any more hopeful 
opening there than elsewhere, but the dream impressed 
him so strongly, that he felt he must go. When he reached 
there, he found one or two families whose interest had be- 
come awakened through some books, and who were long- 
ing for some one to come and teach them more. One man, 
once a burly and notorious prize-fighter, is now the leader 
among the Christians in that vicinity, and one of the shin- 
ing lights among the river villages, and this same Kimpo 
is one of the most promising centers of work. 

The training class, the instruction of which was part of 
Mr. Underwood's business in the interior that fall, was 
to be held in Hai Ju. The class was taught five hours each 
day, and women who would come were met and taught by 
me in my room. One hour after the men's class in the 
afternoon was given to street preaching, our Canadian 
friends, Dr. Grierson and Mr. McRae, helping immensely 
with music and singing and in the distribution of tracts. 
A general meeting for prayer and Bible study was held in 
the class room every evening. 

When the class had adjourned, we proceeded to make 
the usual circuit of the part of the province under our 
care. As on the river, so here along the sea and in the 
mountains, the numbers of new centers of gospel growth 
were amazing. "It springeth up he knoweth not how." 
In one place a couple of old men, travelling along rather 
weary, sat down by the roadside and as they rested sang a 
hymn. A farmer whose house was near, overhearing the 
strange words of the song, came and questioned, and ere 



218 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

long became a believer, with his family. From this house- 
hold the blessing overflowed for neighbors and friends. In 
another case a young bride made a strong stand for Christ 
in the heathen family into which she had married, until she 
had won over the entire family to the same faith, and they 
again had brought others. These are only a couple of ex- 
amples that were paralleled in many communities. 

Some of the answers of these poor half-taught people 
when catechised were given in a previous chapter, another 
that of an old woman I thought significant and touching. 
When asked where Jesus was, she said promptly, "He's 
right here with me all the time." "Yes, but where else is 
he?" Confused and troubled that she could not satisfy 
the Moxa, she said, "I'm only a poor ignorant old woman, 
I don't know where else he is, but I know he is right here 
in my house all the time." The devotion of the people to 
us, because through our hands had come the bread of life, 
was to me exceedingly affecting, and everywhere the re- 
lation existing between the people and their Moxas is a 
peculiarly close and tender one. When one of the mis- 
sionaries was sick for some time, the women in the coun- 
try villages through a large section held united daily 
prayer for her for several weeks. This without her knowl- 
edge, quite spontaneously, and without prearrangement 
among the different localities. 

The following year I was providentially hindered from 
making the trip to the country with my husband, but in 
1900, with Dr. Whiting, Mr. Underwood and our little 
son, I was again able to go to Whang Hai province. We 
started in February, and as there was now a little steamer 
which had begun to ply between Hai Ju and Chemulpo, 
we decided to profit by it, as this would be both easier and 
cheaper than the old way. Kaiwha (as they call prog- 
ress) had "twessocd" (become) considerably since our 




:ANDY BOY. 



KOREAN PROGRESS 219 

last trip. A railroad had been laid between Seoul and 
Chemulpo, with trains traveling about fifteen miles an 
hour. The steamers referred to are a marvel also as speci- 
mens of said kaiwha. About the size of an ordinary de- 
spatch boat, or small tug, they are not too commodious. 

There are two cabins, neither of which is high enough 
for tall people to stand erect in, one of which, with hardly 
room for three or four to occupy it with comfort, is 
packed with the unhappy second-class passengers. The 
other is somewhat larger, about twelve feet long by six 
wide. This room contains a table and six chairs, and in it 
are often stowed from ten to twenty first-class passengers. 
Here one meets "the world." Korean officials, Korean, 
Chinese or Japanese merchants, French Romanist priests, 
strolling acrobats, singers, dancing girls, and Protestant 
missionaries. All except the latter smoke until the air 
will slice nicely, and many of them indulge in native or 
foreign liquor till their society is almost past endurance. 

The boat follows the river northward past the histori- 
cal island of Kangwha, with its picturesque walls and 
gates, till it flows into the sea, an arm of which our course 
crosses at this point to reach the shore on which lies the 
little village which is the port for the city of Hai Ju. On 
the day in question, when we profited for the first by all 
these contrivances of kaiwha, the ice was still in the river, 
ours being only the second trip made since it began to 
break. Nothing could be seen on all sides but great 
blocks of ice, much larger than our little craft, and all in 
a conspiracy apparently to prevent our advance, banging 
and pushing us, now on one side and now on the other. 
With much panting and puffing, occasionally sustaining a 
pretty severe shock but quickly gaining advantage lost and 
shoving aside her clumsy opponents, our boat steadily 
forced her passage onward and gradually gained the clear 



220 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

waters of the sea. This trip lasted only sixteen hours, 
while it would have taken three days overland. 

We landed at half past eight on the edge of a long 
stretch of mud flats, covered with slimy boulders and 
stones, all of which now lay under a foot of half frozen 
snow, which hid the rocks and made the going very pre- 
carious in the darkness. There was only one warm room 
to be had and no food, while the "warm room" was only 
a little less cold than out of doors. Thoroughly chilled, 
tired and hungry, and somewhat dispirited, as hungry 
folks are apt to be, we all retired to the floor, to rest finely, 
and waken in a better mind next morning, none the worse 
for our seafaring. 

At Hai Ju the believers gathered around us with the 
warmest welcome. They were all mourning the loss of a 
beloved leader who had died a short time before. We of 
course held meetings with them during the two days, 
which were all we could spare at that time, saw and talked 
with all who would come, trying to strengthen and com- 
fort the believers, and promising if possible to remain 
longer with them on our return. One poor young 
wife whose husband had given up Christianity and gone 
back to the his old life, and whose heathen mother-in-law 
was persecuting her cruelly, excited our pity. Pale, emaci- 
ated and tearful, she came begging our advice and help. 

From Hai Ju we proceeded to Chang Yun Eub, where 
the training class of leaders was to be held this year, and 
where Dr. Whiting and I had planned to hold a somewhat 
similar class for women. On the way a stranger, seeing 
my husband was an American, asked if he knew "a certain 
'Un Moxa' (Preacher Underwood) who sometimes came 
down that way and taught people to be good and kind to 
each other," showing that he had been reading from the 
book of native Christian practice. All along this road, 



ITINERATING 221 

where only a few years before there was absolute igno- 
rance of the gospel, we found evidences of the dawning 
light. Here and there in a wayside inn we found a Chris- 
tian book, or a family half timidly beginning to believe. 
Everywhere they had heard of "the doctrine," and heard 
well of it. 

Everywhere there was a pleasant welcome for us and a 
ready ear for our story. At Chang Yun Eub, quite a 
number of Christian women had gathered to meet and 
welcome us. One or two days after reaching there I took 
a ten-mile ride in a bitter wind to visit a sick woman, 
which resulted in severe influenza and bronchitis, which, 
though I managed to fight off for five days, at length con- 
fined me to my room and bed for three long weeks. Many 
of the women had come from five to twenty miles on foot 
to study with us, so it was bitterly disappointing, but Dr. 
Whiting did her own part and mine, too, nobly. Nearly 
all the villages in that district were represented by the 
local leaders and pastors at Mr. Underwood's class. They 
at this time organized a missionary society, which they 
themselves originated and planned in part, before our ar- 
rival. They perfected their scheme with Mr. Underwood's 
advice. 

Taking a map of the district, they arranged to work in 
couples, and to each man was assigned four heathen vil- 
lages, each to be visited once a month, each man pledging 
himself to do this work every Sunday during the year. 
Two superintendents were appointed to oversee the gen- 
eral work, advise and help these missionaries, and report 
to Mr. Underwood. All were to go at their own expense. 

By the time the class was over I was able to be carried 
along the road in my chair, and only one who has been 
shut in for three weeks, in a tiny room not eight feet high, 
without a pane of glass in it, quite alone most of the time, 



222 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

can realize how glad I was to be released into the fresh, 
sweet air and sunshine. Before leaving Chang Yun we 
bade a long farewell to one of the Christian women, who 
with a smile and the sweet words, "It's all grace, it's all 
love," fell gently asleep in Jesus. Dr. Whiting, in accord- 
ance with previous plans, did not go with us further, but 
returned to Seoul. After leaving Chang Yun, our first stop 
was made at the village of On Chang, where we met quite 
a little handful of believers. One of these, a woman who 
was the first convert in that place, had been much troubled 
and burdened with a sense of guilt. At length she heard 
that in Chang Yun there were people that could tell her 
of One who could forgive sins. She went forthwith and 
learned of Jesus and found peace and pardon, and came 
back to spread the good tidings and "pass on the word" 
to her neighbors. 

One of these women was a peddler, a class who have to 
make some sacrifices to keep the Sabbath. Nearly all their 
business is done at the little fairs or market days, which 
take place every five days at one or another of the hamlets 
in a certain curcuit. Quite often one of these days falls on 
a Sunday, and so a whole five days' profit is lost. But 
this makes no difference, the day is cheerfully kept ; an- 
other who kept an inn as cheerfully decided to sell no more 
liquor, her chief source of profit. 

Our next stopping place was at Cho Chun, and as soon 
as we neared the vicinity, we were met by men, women 
and children, who had walked out to meet us and conduct 
us to the home of the leader, in this case the richest and 
chief man of the whole neighborhood. People professing 
Christianity gathered here from several small villages, 
were examined and many baptized. It seemed too hard 
that we had only so short a time to stay in these places 
where we were needed so much. Most of the women 



NATIVE KINDNESS 223 

actually wept when we were obliged to say farewell, and 
the men and boys followed us miles, sometimes to the next 
stage in our journey. They are touchingly grateful for 
the little we do for them, while we thank God for allowing 
us to learn from them, their simple childlike faith and en- 
tire dependence on him. 

Mrs. Ha, the wife of the leader, was the only one in the 
village who could read, and she taught the other women 
beautifully. Calm, strong, intelligent, she seemed to me a 
rare type of a Korean woman, and one who was destined 
to be very useful if she were only better instructed. She 
was well acquainted with the Gospels and Acts, the only 
Scriptures till quite lately in their hands, and with nearly 
all the hymns. But her opportunities for study and in- 
struction were also very few. 

After leaving Cho Chun nearly twelve miles distant was 
our next destination, a little country town of about two 
thousand people, which we reached after a few hours' 
travel. Here we lodged in a neat and comfortable little 
building consisting of two rooms, with a lean-to kitchen, 
which the natives had built for us near to the church, half 
at their own expense. The steps by which we ascended 
to our rooms were the family ancestral worship stones, 
which the Christians had once greatly treasured, but for 
which they had no further use. The women flocked in to 
greet me, and next day I had the larger room, sixteen by 
twenty-four feet, crowded with heathen women who came 
to see the foreign woman and child, but were willing to 
hear about Christ. Gifts of candies, fruits and other food 
poured in as usual. 

Many were examined for baptism, and gave most satis- 
factory evidence of conversion, but among them all one 
deaf old woman interested me most. She was very deaf 
and stupid. It seemed almost impossible for even the Ko- 



224 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

rean leader to make her hear or understand the questions. 
She was most anxious to be baptized, but how to learn 
whether she knew enough of the gospel, we were at a loss 
to discover. 

At last a question seemed to reach her, "Where are you 
going when you die?" Her face brightened and the an- 
swer came, "I'm going to Jesus." Mark, not heaven, but 
Jesus. This is the keynote that is always struck, Jesus, 
their stay now, and hope hereafter, their wisdom, right- 
eousness, and sanctification. 

The first news of the gospel was brought here to Eul 
Yul by a man of high family, considerable wealth and offi- 
cial connections, who went to Seoul with the intention of 
buying an office. He heard about Christ, however, while 
there, and instead of an office, bought a donkey load of 
books, which he took back to Eul Yul, and there dis- 
tributed among his neighbors. About the same time a cer- 
tain magistrate, just appointed, and going down there to 
his office, who was a friend of my husband's, invited him 
to visit him at Eul Yul when in the country. Mr. Under- 
wood thanked him, but replied, "You know if I go it will 
be only with the one purpose of preaching." "Certainly, 
come and preach," was the answer. 

So Mr. Underwood promised he would do so if his 
friend, the magistrate, would see that a large and con- 
venient official building was placed at his disposal for ser- 
vices while there. This was willingly promised at once, 
so the class was appointed to be held there that year, and 
with the rally of Christian leaders, and the earnest pre- 
paratory work of the man who had preferred Christ to an 
office (of which Mr. U. had not previously been in- 
formed), Christianity in Eul Yul began most auspiciously. 
Up to the present time, however, he who had been so 
earnest in preaching the gospel, and so generous in sup- 



SEED SOWING 225 

porting it, had never been baptized. The difficulty was 
that he had two wives, with neither of whom could he 
bring himself to part. These concubines have a strong 
hold, and justly so, on the men who had made them part of 
their family, and on whom they are dependent. All a 
man's magnanimity, generosity and tenderness are ap- 
pealed to on behalf of these women, who, unlike the danc- 
ing girls, have in the eyes of the community a certain share 
of respectability, and are usually not bad or unprincipled, 
but have been taught to look with toleration and com- 
plaisance on such a life, the common custom. 

However, now, at last, he decided while we were there 
to take the step and put away the second wife, providing 
her with a home and fields enough to give her a good in- 
come. So he and his wife and baby, and his grown son 
with his wife and little one, in company with a number of 
others, were baptized. The people of Eul Yul had built 
their own church, as well as one-half of the guest house, 
for their missionary. When we left, every believer who 
could walk came to bid us farewell, "Pyeng anikasio" 
(Go in peace). We had a last prayer and praise service, 
and parted with mutual good wishes and regrets, a long 
train of men and boys as usual streaming out along the 
road, with and behind us. 

Our next station was Pak Chun, six miles away (the 
distances used to be twenty and thirty miles, now six, 
eight or twelve), but before we reached there we must 
stop and meet a little band of Christians at a farm where 
seed had been dropped by passing believers and where a 
whole family had been converted. Here we met a young 
bride from another hamlet not far distant, who with her 
husband had lately become a believer. At Pak Chun we 
were received with the usual hearty welcome. Here I 
found Mrs. Kim of Sorai like a ministering angel going 



226 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

her rounds of self-appointed, unpaid ministration of the 
Word, teaching the gospel to these poor women, not one 
of whom could read. A good many from neighboring 
villages were examined here, and we held a baptismal and 
communion service just before leaving. The church was 
as yet unfinished and extremely damp and cold, as well as 
uncomfortably crowded, so I sent our little son out of 
doors to play until we should finish. But scarcely had the 
meeting well begun when word came that "the Moxa's 
child had fallen in the well." Mr. Underwood rushed to 
the rescue, giving out a long hymn as he started, to keep 
the crowd occupied. However, by the time we reached the 
scene he had emerged from his cold bath and been taken 
to our room. 

The ox-cart with all our packs was standing at the door, 
just about to start for the next place. It was the work of 
a few moments to pull down the whole load, open our 
trunks, and get out dry garments, only too thankful that it 
had not already trundled several miles on. I found a 
dripping, shivering little animal awaiting me as I rushed 
into our quarters, but no harm was done, he was soon 
quite dry and warm, his wet apparel dangling from the 
ox-cart acting as an excellent road sprinkler. Just before 
leaving I saw a child quite naked, covered with smallpox 
pustules in full bloom, standing near our door. I asked 
one of the natives if there was much of that disease in the 
village at present. "In every house," was the concise re- 
ply. "Why there is none in the house we are in," said I, 
with confidence. "Oh, no, they took the child out the day 
you came in order to give you the room," was the re- 
assuring answer. We had eaten and slept in that infected 
little room, our blankets all spread out there, our trunks 
opened, everything we had exposed. We had even used 
their cooking utensils and spoons and bowls before our 



"DIVERS DISEASES" 227 

own packs had arrived. For ourselves we had been often 
exposed, and believed ourselves perfectly immune. Mr. 
Underwood had nursed a case of the most malignant type, 
and I had been in contact with it among my patients, but 
our child ! So we sent a swift messenger with a despatch 
to the nearest telegraph station, twenty-four hours away, 
to Dr. Wells, in Pyeng Yang. He at once put a tube of 
virus into the hands of a speedy runner, who arrived with 
it a week later. 

We found the country full of smallpox, measles, and 
whooping cough, and added to our smallpox experience, 
an exactly similar one with measles. The record of one of 
these little villages is much like another. At Pung Chun, a 
place with a magistracy, we found the crowds almost un- 
bearable, especially as the magistrate was away and his 
substitute unwilling to help us. No foreign woman or 
child had ever yet been there, and we were fairly besieged 
by people who after any fashion, lawful or otherwise, were 
determined to see the curiosities. Too tired that night to 
do more than hold a brief meeting with the few Christians 
who lived there, we barred, barricaded and curtained our- 
selves in. How often under such circumstances I have 
been able to sympathize as never before with our blessed 
Lord, who was forced to withdraw to the mountains and 
desert places for a little rest and quiet from the impor- 
tunity of the eager selfish crowds, who thronged him and 
followed him even there in thousands. We read "They had 
no leisure as much as to eat," and that he forbade the peo- 
ple he healed to spread the news abroad. Quite uselessly. 
What weariness, what longing he must at times have felt 
for a few hours of quiet and peace, only the hunted can 
realize, yet how patient, gentle and compassionate he was ! 
The next day I talked to a room packed full of heathen 
women, those who could not force an entrance crowding 



228 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

around the doors and windows, as many as could get a 
view or hearing. They listened with interest and atten- 
tion for more than an hour, asking intelligent questions 
occasionally, and treating me with perfect respect. 

In the afternoon I had another and smaller company of 
those whom Mrs. Kim of Sorai had culled from among 
those she had been visiting and teaching as the most hope- 
ful cases. With these we talked, sang and prayed, trying 
as usual to make the most of the few hours we could be 
with them. A few people were examined and two or three 
baptized of those who had been believing for some time. 

From Pung Chun we passed through a lovely valley and 
over a beautiful mountain pass to a village nestled right 
up in the mountains. Here the interest had extended to 
two villages of hardy mountaineers, all of which had been 
started by an old woman from Sorai. She cannot read, but 
she continually preaches Christ to every one whom she 
meets. Her son is the local leader, and his family are all 
Christians. 

Thus far Mr. Underwood had during our circuit ex- 
amined one hundred and fifty people and baptized seventy- 
five. About half of the other seventy-five were received as 
catechumens. At Pung Chun we were greatly interested 
to learn that the Koreans have a custom of sprinkling 
blood on the door posts, and above the door of the home to 
drive away evil spirits. When I told my class at Chang 
Yun how the Jews did this before leaving Egypt, and 
what it meant, they looked at each other and exclaimed 
with surprise, "Why, that is our custom, too." But at 
Pung Chun we found that it had only recently been done 
at the very inn where we stopped, and were told that it 
was quite a common custom in that part of the country. 
The natives also have a cold rice festival, much like the 
feast of unleavened bread. 



BUSY DAYS 229 

The scenery from Chil Pong to Won Tong is very 
beautiful. The road winds through the mountains, accom- 
panied by a charming little river most of the way. There 
is a wonderful restfulness in the quiet of these mountains, 
where no rattle of the world intrudes to break the divine 
silences, or to interrupt the voices of nature, which only 
emphasize the peacefulness that envelops one. One 
feels God near and communion with him easy. The heart 
lifts itself with no effort in scenes like these. 

From Won Tong we passed to Sorai or Song Chun, to 
which reference has already been often made in these 
pages. We were lodged in the school room next the 
church, a sunny, pleasant apartment. This Sorai school 
was already famed through all the country round, and 
Christians were sending their boys from other villages to 
obtain the advantage of Christian teaching. Next morn- 
ing early a company of little girls and boys were waiting 
outside my door, dressed in new clean garments of the 
brightest possible colors (starched, dyed, and pounded to 
a miraculous crispness, gloss and glory of tint, chiefly 
scarlet, green and yellow), especially for this occasion. We 
had a singing class with them every morning after that, 
and a Bible story was told and explained, too. The 
women's class was held immediately after the children's, 
but many women came to the children's class, and most of 
the children came to that held for the women. In the 
afternoon the women came again for another Bible lesson, 
and in the evening men, women and children met for 
united prayer, praise and Bible study with Mr. Under- 
wood. 

I was again taken very sick here at Sorai, but recovered 
when that result seemed most unlikely, through God's 
answer to the prayers of our native Christians, one of 
whom, Mrs. Kim, spent the whole night in prayer for me. 



230 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

Such love and devotion makes the tie between pastor and 
people very strong. 

As soon as I was able to travel we hurried back to Hai 
Ju and Seoul, for word had come, bringing the sad news 
of the death of Mr. Gifford in one of the country villages 
about sixty miles from Seoul. He had gone alone with a 
Korean helper, and after a brief illness had passed away 
suddenly at night, probably scarcely aware that he was 
seriously ill. He was loved by all the Koreans, who could 
not fail to recognize his spirituality and consecration. 
Mrs. Gifford was then in an extremely weak state, having 
never recovered her strength after a violent attack of 
Asiatic dysentery the preceding summer. She had just 
begun to improve a little, and we to hope that at last we 
might look for her return to perfect health. 

A native messenger, all unannounced, rushed into her 
presence and told her that her husband was dead. She 
never saw his face again, or had the sad comfort of a mes- 
sage, or one of these little souvenirs which women prize 
and console their aching hearts withal. She wilted like 
a lily, rudely snapped from the stem. When the first shock 
was over and her mind became a little composed, several 
days later, after friends had left her for a peaceful sooth- 
ing night's rest, a Korean servant entered the room and 
told her that her husband had been neglected and slighted 
in his last illness, and had died alone quite uncared for. 
She never rallied from this blow. Sweet, calm, uncom- 
plaining, she grew weaker and weaker, and only one 
month after her beloved husband passed away her gentle 
spirit followed. They had been extremely congenial and 
well suited, and it seemed a gracious providence that they 
were so soon reunited. 

Mrs. Gifford was a woman greatly beloved by every 
one, and one of the most effective and consecrated women 



CHANGES AT PYENG YANG 231 

workers on the field, with a modest unassuming quiet 
spirit, but with untiring devotion and self-effacement. 
She worked here ten years for Christ. The Koreans, 
whom she had loved so well and served so faithfully, bore 
her to her grave and laid her beside her husband. We all 
felt that the loss to the work was beyond expression, and 
from a human view point irreparable. 

In the following fall we visited Pyeng Yang for the first 
time since our wedding journey in 1889. The annual 
meeting of all the mission (now grown quite extensive) 
for the discussion and settlement of plans for work for the 
coming year was to be held there ; so we all risked our lives 
on a crazy little steamer, which, however, contrary to 
probabilities, landed us safely not far from our destination. 

Great were the changes we beheld. Missionaries in 
comfortable pleasant homes, a large church (paid for with 
native money), newly built, able to accommodate nearly 
two thousand people, and great gatherings of simple 
earnest farmer folk, which it did one's soul good to see 
and hear. To us, who on our last visit looked on that 
great waste of heathenism, and discussed the advisability, 
or otherwise, of starting a sub-station there, it was almost 
overwhelming. To us, one of whom at least had come to 
the country in the very beginning of the history of our 
Protestant missions, and to whom in the light of the 
records of work in other fields the task looked so stupen- 
dous, so overwhelming, to find here in the far interior the 
wonderful evidences of the power and goodness of God 
filled our hearts with joy and awe. How could we ever 
shrink or doubt, or fear again, or do aught but ascribe 
"glory and honor, dominion and power, to him who sits 
upon the throne and to the lamb for ever." 

I regret that I have not personally seen more of the 
work of God in northern Whang Hai and in Pyeng Yang 



232 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

provinces, so that I might give interesting incidents which 
would put my readers more in touch with the Christians 
there, but I copy from the reports of Pyeng Yang and 
Syen Chyun stations for the year 1901 and 1902 the fol- 
lowing : 

"In the whole territory covered by this station, Pyeng 
Yang, there are 3,100 baptized adults, 3,737 catechumens 
enrolled, and over 12,000 who attend more or less regu- 
larly and in various ways come in touch with the gospel. 
The total number baptized this year is 642, and the num- 
ber of catechumens received 1,363. There are in the Pyeng 
Yang city church 1,153 members and catechumens, with a 
congregation of from i ,200 to i ,600 on the Sabbath. 

"There are besides this eight country circuits, including 
Ool Yul circuit, in the Seoul station work, and 184 out-sta- 
tions, with 5,684 members and catechumens. 

"There are 40 primary schools, one academy and 42 
teachers 37 men and 5 women with an attendance of 
740 pupils. Thirteen schools were organized this year. 
All the country schools but one are self-supporting, and 
that nearly so. There were 9,094 persons in attendance at 
the hospital, also a medical class consisting of 4 members. 

"Apart from those held in Pyeng Yang, 107 special 
Bible classes were held, bringing about 2,300 under in- 
struction ; 20 were taught by the missionaries, 87 by native 
helpers and leaders. All these classes were carried on at 
the expense of the Koreans. 

"There are now 136 chapels, 21 having been built this 
year, at a cost of 5,367 nyang contributed by the Christians 
unaided. 

"The total native contributions for all purposes (ex- 
cluding the hospital) amount to 43,949 nyang, about 5,860 
yen (or $2,930 United States gold). 

"The working force to look after and carry on this work 



SOME INTERESTING FIGURES 233 

consists of 7 ordained missionaries (one on furlough and 
one newly arrived on the field), one medical missionary, 4 
single lady missionaries and 7 wives of missionaries. 

"There are also 21 unordained native preachers or help- 
ers, 7 Bible women and 15 colporters and other assistants 
doing evangelistic work." 

From the general report of the Syen Chyun station for 
1901-2 I also quote, "We now have organized groups in 
15 of the 21 counties of the province, and believers in at 
least 4 more of the other 6. The groups that have been 
organized by a missionary's visit, and organized with a 
separate roll and church officers, number 44, but there are 
at least 8 other places where Christians gather for worship 
every Sabbath, and where the helpers visit regularly. 

"The number of persons baptized during the year, July 
to July, was 267, which is the largest ingathering we have 
yet been permitted to see in one year. All of these 267, 
with the possible exception of 3 or 4 old persons, had been 
catechumens on probation for at least a year. The harvest 
would have been much larger had it been possible to visit 
the western Eui Ju Circuit this spring, where a very large 
number of candidates are waiting for baptism. 

"The number of infants baptized was 15. The number 
of catechumens received amounted to 696. All of these 
had been believers at least for two months, and in most 
cases for a very much longer time, and were received only 
after a very careful examination, under which, at the very 
lowest estimate, 150 candidates were deferred. During 
the same time 5 church members were suspended and 5 
excommunicated, and 16 catechumens dropped. 

"July first, therefore, there were on the church rolls 677 
church members, 25 baptized infants and 1,340 catechu- 
mens, or a total of 2,042 enrolled Christians, who with the 
unenrolled believers make a total of 3,429 adherents in all. 



234 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

But of the above church members, n are under suspen- 
sion, and 8 more, unless they show signs of repentance, 
will be disciplined when the missionary next visits their 
groups. These 19 amount to 2.8 per cent of the church 
membership. Amongst the 1,340 catechumens there are 
109, or 8.1 per cent, whose names are retained on the 
books, although at present they have lost their interest in 
Christianity. Experience has taught us that it is well to 
retain such for at least three years, unless they have been 
guilty of some grave sin whereby the church is brought 
into disrepute, as many of them coming under some new 
influences are often won back to a Christian life." 

The above quotations show how the church is growing, 
and, especially the Pyeng Yang report, how well they are 
giving both in labor and money for the support of the 
gospel, and for its advancement among their heathen 
neighbors. I will also insert a paragraph taken from the 
above report for the same year, on the subject of self- 
support. 

"Just as soon as the native church produces ordained 
pastors she must support them. For this the church is 
being prepared. In this station but one helper is entirely 
supported with foreign money, and four or five receive a 
part only; all the rest of our unordained preachers or 
helpers are entirely supported by the native church. With 
a single exception, all of the thirty-five country schools 
are entirely supported by the native groups where such 
schools are carried on. It has long since been the rule for 
the native Christians to provide their own house of wor- 
ship, the only exception being a few cases where a little 
help seemed wise. Every possible means is being em- 
ployed to develop the same idea in the academy, thus put- 
ting the highest possible value upon education, creating 
the sentiment that it is an acquirement for which the 



NATIVES APPEAL FOR TEACHERS 235 

student may well labor or pay. It is being appreciated, too, 
so far as it has been acquired at a respectable cost. Even 
the hospital is on a fair way to become self-supporting to 
the extent of paying for medicines and treatment. 

"In every way the Korean Christians have shown them- 
selves not only able, even during a famine year, but also 
willing to bear their share along the line of support. They 
have not only borne the running expenses of the various 
groups, supported their own country primary schools, con- 
tributed to the academy, paid the salaries of the unor- 
dained preachers, sent representatives to the training 
classes at Pyeng Yang r and delegates to the council at 
Seoul, but have given a considerable amount to help the 
poor and contributed liberally to the Committee of Mis- 
sions." 

One more extract from these reports, that of Miss 
Chase of Syen Chyun, I feel must not be omitted. It 
ought to touch the heart of every Christian woman who 
reads it. It is as follows : 

"There are 199 baptized and 588 catechumen women, 
and as a conservative estimate 1,200 Christian women, in 
north Pyeng An province. I have been able to go to the 
merest fraction of this number. Those whom I have met 
are much that we desire to have them be, and much not to 
be desired, but as I think of them individually and collec- 
tively, every other thought is eclipsed by the deep impres- 
sions they have made upon me by their yearning to be 
taught. The need for another for this field speaks for it- 
self. We request the mission to consider the urgent need. 
In some places there has been manifest murmuring among 
the people. They say they have waited long for a visit 
from their pastor, they have waited long to receive the ex- 
amination for the catechumenate, they have waited long 
for a woman to teach them. Every time that women come 



236 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

in from distant places they beseech me to promise to visit 
their groups the next time I leave Syen Chyun. 

"Many a woman who has attended my classes has said 
with tear-stained face, 'As for believing, I believe. I am 
clinging to Christ for salvation. I have no desire for any 
trust but in him, but I am so ignorant. I know so little 
about my Bible. I know not how to read its thoughts with 
my dark mind. I know so little about the great Jesus 
doctrine. How can God be pleased to call me his child, 
when I know not how to glorify him ?' They say the men 
stand out far on the other side of the curtain* and teach 
great and wonderful things which they cannot compre- 
hend, but a woman can sit in their midst and listen to all 
of their unlearned questions, and they are not ashamed to 
let a patient woman see how little they know ! It is not 
easy to hear these heart-felt burdens and be helpless to 
meet their need in any adequate manner." 



* Churches are divided by a curtain down the center, with 
men on one side and women on the other. The preacher can 
see both sides. 



CHAPTER XV 

Another Itineration Christians in Eul Yul A Ride in an Ox- 
Cart Keeping the Cow in the Kitchen Ox-Carts and 
Mountain Roads The Island of White Wing A Midnight 
Meeting Thanksgiving Day in Sorai The Circular Orders 
New Testament Finished All in the Day's Work The 
Korean Noble Meetings of the Nobility. 

WE left Pyeng Yang about the 26th of September, 1900, 
by one of the toy Japanese steamers, and reached Chi- 
nampo, a half- Japanese, half-Korean port, at night. We 
were accompanied by three young ladies, one of whom, a 
new arrival, wished to study methods ; one who needed the 
bracing effect of out-of-door country life in the north for a 
few weeks ; and one who had previously arranged with me 
to carry on a women's training class in Eul Yul that fall. 
We were obliged to spend the night in Chinampo, but ar- 
riving late, we did not know where to find an inn, till we 
met an old friend, Rev. Mr. Smart, of the Church of Eng- 
land mission, who kindly found us a Japanese hotel. Here, 
after telling them our nationality, our ages, our condition, 
past lives and future intentions, and having been forced in 
spite of all protests to remove our shoes, they conde- 
scended to receive us as guests, at an outrageous price. 
We must not use our own camp beds, but the mats which 
had served no one knew whom before us ; nor might we 
have water in our rooms, but must perform all our ablu- 
tions in the public hall on the lower floor. 

Next morning we gladly bade our too particular hosts 
farewell, and crossed the river in a wretched old junk, 



238 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

which looked as if it were on the brink of dissolution. 
Fortunately, the weather was fine and mild, and the river 
calm, else I am sure we should all have been dipped, for 
even I had never yet beheld so dilapidated a craft. We 
were all day on the river, only able to land after dark, 
thanks partly to the nature of our vessel and partly to the 
tides, for which we were forced to wait before landing. 

The following night was hot, the inns nothing more or 
less than ovens, and morning found us all in an unusually 
wilted condition, and to add to the general misery, the 
young ladies of our party had made important additions to 
their luggage, which threw us all four into the utmost con- 
sternation. That evening we reached Eul Yul, where both 
men's and women's classes were to be held. As usual the 
people crowded in to meet us as soon as we arrived. Al- 
though harvesting was on and it was one of the busiest 
times of the year, quite a number of women came to study 
with us. They were so bright and receptive, it was a 
pleasure to teach them. I had some very interesting visits 
with the women in their own homes, and was edified to see 
the bright and practical way in which the Christian who 
accompanied us talked with some of the unbelievers. One 
woman was hesitating, fearing she was too ignorant or too 
wicked to receive salvation, to which our native friend 
said, "Why, if you are hungry, and a bowl of rice is set be- 
fore you, you eat right then, and just so if you want sal- 
vation, you have only to take and eat." 

The listener's eyes filled with tears, it seemed too good. 
All the time we were talking, another Christian woman sat 
with bowed head asking God's blessing on the word. In 
the examination of applicants for baptism, I was much in- 
terested to see how carefully our native leaders questioned 
them. ''You say you sin daily, but ask God to forgive, and 
so have a happy and calm mind. Is it then no matter that 



CHRISTIANS IN EUL YUL 239 

you sin ?" Again, to a woman who said her past sins were 
forgiven, and her present sins were confessed every day, 
he said, "Well, then, what sin have you committed to- 
day?" She could or would only speak in a general way, 
and after various questions, mentioned nothing in par- 
ticular. "But," said Kim, "is that honoring God, to go and 
confess you have sinned, and ask him to forgive you know 
not what?" On Sunday twenty people were baptized. 
During the communion service all eyes were streaming, 
and some sobbed like children at the thought of what the 
Lord had suffered for them. 

In the afternoon our native elder, Mr. Saw, gave us a 
delightful illustrated Bible lesson on the Christian armor, 
with illustrations drawn and colored by himself, and with 
most appropriate references. The native Christian was 
first represented in ordinary dress all unarmed, and in suc- 
ceeding pictures, one after another of the needed articles, 
helmet, shield, sandals, breastplate and sword were added. 
These illustrations were unique to the last degree and ex- 
tremely well drawn. In the evening an experience meet- 
ing was held, when one after another told what the Lord 
had done for them. Some had been the slaves of drink, 
and had fallen again and again after repeated attempts to 
resist, in their own strength, but now for years had been 
free men in Christ, and were looked upon as miracles of 
grace by their friends and neighbors. 

One man told something of his home life. He had been 
a dissolute gambling fellow, whose reputation was well 
known through all the surrounding counties. When he 
went home at night, after days of absence and dissipation, 
his angry wife would scold and reproach him, and he in 
return would beat and maltreat the poor little woman. "It 
was all misery and discomfort, but now, all peace and 
love." A neighbor who came in often remarked on this 



240 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

exceptionally happy home life, wishing hopelessly for 
something like it in her lot. She could not believe the 
happy wife when she told her it had once been so different, 
and that all this came through Jesus. 

Then Mrs. Kim called in her husband and bade him 
tell if this was true. "Why," said he, "I'll do more, I'll 
give my bond for it, bring paper and pen and I'll write a 
bond to any amount you choose to name, that if Jesus 
comes into your home there'll be peace there." "Why," 
said he, "people say if the Lord were only here now to do 
some of his miracles every one would believe, but I tell you 
the Lord is doing greater miracles now than he ever did 
on earth when he takes a vile wretch like me and changes 
his heart." One man had been afflicted with an apparently 
incurable disease for over forty years, and now the Lord 
had healed him ; and one had been such a liar that no one 
believed his honest statements, and yet now was implicitly 
trusted by every one. 

It was decided before we left Eul Yul that the native 
Christians of that district should employ two helpers or 
evangelists to work among the ignorant believers of that 
vicinity, and that twelve Bible or training classes should 
be held in the different districts in that province during 
the year, six to be in charge of Mr. Saw, and six taught by 
Mr. Kim Yun Oh, our most intelligent leader. From Eul 
Yul we went to Pung Chun, while Mr. Underwood visited 
several smaller places more difficult of access. Miss 
Chase and I divided the meetings, and were most thought- 
fully and attentively heard, the little room being packed 
whenever we announced a service. 

Our quarters were not of the best, as the only place as- 
signed us for preparing our food was a little corner of 
the cow's stable. We have heard of people who "keep the 
pig in the kitchen," but to keep the cow there was certainly 



THE COW IN THE KITCHEN 241 

a degree worse than our flightiest fancy, and we at length 
rebelled, with the result that a more sanitary place was 
found for our culinary performances. 

After Mr. Underwood arrived, eleven people were bap- 
tized here. The first public service for all was held in a 
hired room in the largest inn in the place. The chief man, 
after listening to all that had been said, arose and spoke 
to the crowd as follows : "We all know that what we have 
heard is true, there is nothing left for us to say but that 
from to-day on we will believe." Some of the men who 
attended this meeting remained outside the door at first, 
unwilling to be seen in such company, as they were re- 
spectable gentlemen. After listening awhile they conde- 
scended to step inside, and before the service was over 
they had seated themselves in the front row, and admitted 
it was very good. 

Aside from our kitchen arrangements, and a little 
anxiety lest the cow should conclude to visit us in our 
bedroom at night, and the persistent cock crowing at my 
head from two in the morning, we had a lovely time at 
Pung Chun. 

Again at one of the little villages up in the mountains 
some of our chair coolies deserted us, and there was 
nothing left for it but for our two young ladies to ride in 
an ox-cart. They were a little doubtful about this new 
mode of procedure, but the Koreans assured us it was 
quite safe, and as our little son had traveled miles that 
way, we encouraged them to try it, especially as it was a 
last resort. So with many misgivings they perched them- 
selves on top of the loads, and the ox, a great spirited ani- 
mal, was brought up. When Miss Chase asked if he was 
to be trusted, they assured her with the statement that he 
could fight any ox in the country. It was supposed a good 
deal of harnessing would follow, but when a noose was 



242 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

merely slipped over a hook, and with no warning the steed 
literally galloped off, we were all somewhat startled, and 
the young ladies gave themselves up, with such a team 
running away. 

The ox-cart is extremely primitive, its two wheels have 
only the clumsiest attempt at heavy wooden tires. The 
soft mud roads are full of deep ruts, so that under the 
most favorable circumstances the bumping and jolting are 
unspeakable. When therefore their mettlesome animal 
was at length of a mind to pause a little in his mad career, 
they lost no time in the order of their descent from that 
vehicle, and started off at a brisk pace, evidently decided to 
walk all the way back to Seoul rather than jeopardize 
their lives in such a contrivance and behind such a creature 
again. However, the way was long, and before night they 
changed their minds and resigned themselves to the ox- 
cart, when his bovine spirits were a little subdued by his 
journey, and he was somewhat less light and frisky than 
in the morning. 

We arrived at Chil Pong, one of the villages perched 
up in the mountains, early in the evening, but not so our 
loads, which the country people manage in some miracu- 
lous way to drag up the steep mountain roads on the ox- 
carts. 

It turned out that the ox-cart in use that day was a 
very weak one and gave out entirely, breaking down half 
way up the mountain. Another had to be brought from a 
distance, and long delays ensued, where the average speed 
is a snail's pace, in spite of the experience with the lively 
animal the day before. Fortunately by this time we had 
obtained more coolies for the young ladies, so that our 
party were all together ; the little son having become such 
a walker that he seldom patronized either chair or cart, 
and often walked twenty miles a day. One of the helpers, 



THE BEAUTIES OF THE MOUNTAINS 243 

Mr. Shin, said, as he came up with the loads, supperless 
and quite tired out, at twelve o'clock that night, that had it 
not been that he was determined the pastor's wife must 
not go without her bed and pillows, the cart would not 
have arrived at all. So tenderly do the people care for the 
needs of their teachers. 

We found the mountains more beautiful, if possible, 
than ever. It was October, and hills that in the previous 
spring were rosy with rhododendrons and peach blossoms, 
were now scarlet, gold and purple with the magnificence 
of autumn foliage, asters and golden-rod. There was dis- 
played on all sides some of the most brilliant coloring I 
ever saw. There were quantities of bitter-sweet wreath- 
ing all over trees and rocks, berries of many varieties, and 
bushes reminding me of that which Moses saw in Horeb, 
burning but not consumed. And though in a different 
way, still I too felt that the ground was holy with the un- 
seen but felt presence, and that it would be well to re- 
move one's worldly shoes, which figuratively I did. 

A few days later we crossed a mountain pass at over two 
thousand feet elevation, where we found the scenery more 
and more beautiful and wild. The gallant and unwearied 
"Captain" almost carried the rheumatic partner of his 
travels up the last steep ascent. The alternative was to sit 
in a chair and trust one's self to a couple of tired coolies, 
who might stumble and dash one to atoms ; or with chi- 
pangi (alpenstock) in hand, slowly drag one's self up 
and then down over the rocks and steep slippery road. 
Arriving at the foot on the other side, we were once again 
in dear Sorai, where a good hot floor soon took out all the 
pain and weariness. 

It had been decided that from Sorai we were to visit a 
certain island called Pang Yeng, or "White Wing," where 
quite a number of people were believing through the teach- 



244 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

ing of some of the natives. The story is worth telling. A 
man, who had been banished to this island for a political 
offense, had received a Christian book from his nephew, a 
Methodist, just before his departure. The young man 
told his uncle that this religion was the basis of all civil 
liberty and civilization, so that the banished man in his 
loneliness proceeded to read it, and to publish and teach 
its doctrines among the islanders. He had been informed 
that on the opposite shore at Sorai lived people who could 
further explain the book and its doctrines, so one of the 
natives, the oldest and most honorable in the village, made 
a trip to Sorai, and begged Elder Saw to return with him 
and teach them. 

They were lamentably ignorant, and while believing in 
Jesus were still carrying on heathen worship ; they were as 
blind people only partly restored, who saw men as trees 
walking. Saw was not able to go at once, but after some 
time, when he visited them, he found the whole village as- 
sembled with all preparations made for offering their 
heathen sacrifices. He talked to them very earnestly and 
faithfully, and they then at once gave up all their idola- 
trous worship, and in a body promised only to serve the 
one true God. 

The elder could not, however, remain long, and several 
months later, when Mrs. Kim, the indefatigable voluntary 
evangelist, visited them, she found that many of them 
seemed to have fallen back almost completely into old 
practices and beliefs. At first no one would receive her in 
their homes, but she talked to the women outside the 
houses so sweetly and winningly, that they at length in- 
vited her in, and gathered around her to listen. A great 
change was wrought through her teaching. 

We made the trip in a little Korean sailing junk, which 
was rather small and uncomfortable for bad weather, but 



THE ISLAND OF WHITE WING 245 

not at all out of the way on such a day as that on which we 
started, with blue sky above, blue and sparkling water be- 
low, and charming islands studding the sea like jewels. 

We found that White Wing measured about twenty 
miles round the coast line and was nine miles long, with a 
capital and several hamlets. It is extremely beautiful and 
fertile, well fortified by bold picturesque cliffs along the 
coast, with delightful valleys and gently rolling country 
snugly nestled behind them. The people are all farmers, 
living in the simplest and most primitive way. Money is 
rarely seen, there is indeed no need for it, with no fairs or 
stores. Their wants are few, they raise what they need 
for food, clothing, warmth and light on their little farms, 
bartering among each other to supply such simple articles 
as their own labor has not provided. 

All appeared to have plenty of rice and firewood, and to 
be quite content. Drunkenness and dishonesty are almost 
unknown. The magistrate told us they rarely needed even 
the slightest punishment, but were as they seemed to us, 
a gentle, kindly, simple, honest farmer and fisher folk. 

We found a small church built on the hillside, and a 
little company of believers, who were waiting for exami- 
nation and baptism. Although very ignorant, they were 
most anxious to be taught, and Mrs. Kim, who had gone 
with me from Sorai, and I were kept busy instructing the 
women. Like the women everywhere in Korea, they 
especially enjoyed the hymns, and were most eager to 
learn them. The words were comparatively easy, but the 
tunes were quite another matter. We realized the ad- 
vantage in their learning them, both as a means of fixing 
divine truth and publishing it to others. 

We were to leave very early in the morning to catch the 
tide, and the night before we had a farewell service in the 
little church. When this was over, and good-byes said, I 



246 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

went to the tiny room to pack our belongings, and Mr. 
Underwood to one of the Christian houses to give last di- 
rections and counsel with the leaders. About ten o'clock 
Mrs. Kim came to my door with one of the women, asking 
very humbly if I would go to one of their homes and teach 
them a little more this one last time, though it was late. 
"We are so ignorant and have none to guide and teach 
us," said they pathetically. Of course I was delighted to 
go, and followed them to a farmer's thatched cottage. It 
was one of the poorest and rudest of the native homes ; in 
one corner a farm hand was lying asleep, in another a tiny 
wick burning in a saucer of oil was the only light in the 
room. We sat down under this, and the poor, rough, 
hard-working women clustered round us as closely as 
possible. Their faces and hands bore the marks of care, 
toil, hard lives and few joys, but they were lighted with a 
glorious hope which transformed them, and this with the 
awakening desire for knowledge had banished the look of 
wooden stolidity, which so many Korean women wear. 

While we talked of our Lord and his teachings and 
conned again and again the hymns, a cough was heard at 
the door, and it was found that a number of "the brethren" 
were standing out there in the cold, frosty air of the 
November night, listening to such scraps of good words as 
they could catch. So when one of the women asked if they 
might come in, although generally out of regard for Ko- 
rean custom and prejudice, I not only teach no men, but 
keep as much out of sight as possible, there were on this 
occasion no two ways about it, they must come, and in 
they thronged. It was a picture which I shall never for- 
get, the dark eager faces, every one leaning forward in 
eager attitude, all seeking more knowledge of divine truth, 
hungering and thirsting after righteousness. A little 
dim humble room, and only such a poor feeble wick to 



A MIDNIGHT MEETING 247 

light them all. Such a poor feeble wick was I, and all 
were looking to me for God's light. "Feed my lambs," 
was his last command, and yet in many a hut and hamlet 
his hungry little ones are starving. 

Next morning at the first streak of dawn they again 
came, and with tears streaming down their faces, begged 
me to come soon again. "Oh, we are so ignorant, and so 
weak, how can we escape the snares of Satan, with no one 
here to lead and teach us !" they exclaimed. 

Our return trip was very different from our first cross- 
ing. A severe storm of wind and rain came up, the little 
ship was tossed about on the waves like a plaything, and 
Mrs. Kim and I were miserably sick, not to mention being 
drenched with rain. It was impossible to make our port, 
and we were obliged to attempt the nearest coast, which 
offered no shelter from the wind, in addition to which, the 
tide being out, our boat was bumped about mercilessly on 
the rocks and stones with no chance of a landing for some 
hours. 

However, all things come to an end sometime, and we at 
length effected a safe landing, and were soon dried, 
warmed and fed in a fishing village at hand, and reached 
Sorai next day. Before we left Sorai, the Christians held 
their annual Thinksgiving service. The church being too 
small to hold all the people, a tent was spread outside. 
After thanking God for their bountiful harvests and grow- 
ing prosperity, they offered thanks for the spiritual har- 
vest he had given. 

During the year over two hundred and fifty people of 
the neighboring villages had been baptized through the 
missions and labors of this one little church, not counting 
a much larger number of catechumens received. They had 
enlarged and repaired their church and school rooms, built 
a house for their school teacher, one for their evangelist 



248 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

and another for the entertainment of strangers, who come 
from a distance to the Sabbath services. 

They are an open-handed people, and when they read 
of the famine in India they took up a collection, amounting 
to fifty yen. As their daily wage rarely amounts to more 
than ten cents gold, and as the community is small, this 
was a large gift. Several of the women who had no 
money put their heavy silver rings in the plate. These 
rings are in many cases their only ornaments, and are 
most highly prized, so that when they were given, we 
knew that our people were giving till they felt it deeply. 

In the famine so severe in many counties last year, 
Sorai, which was more blessed, helped many of its sister 
communities. On our return to Hai Ju we had some in- 
teresting visits with the women both in their own homes 
and at our rooms. We were allowed to help prepare the 
"dock," or bread, which we found them making in one of 
the houses, for a prospective wedding. They were having 
a "bee," a number of friends had come in to help, and 
they seemed much amused and pleased when we asked to 
be allowed to assist. We were very clumsy and awkward, 
but we gained our end by making them feel we were one 
with them. Later we were invited to the wedding, and 
forced to swallow an amount of indigestible food, which at 
other times we should consider as simply suicidal. But 
when it is a duty, one simply shuts one's eyes to conse- 
quences, takes all risks, and comes through with an im- 
munity which I verily believe is miraculous. 

One old woman, who attended the meetings very regu- 
larly and was very devout, is quite a character. With a 
loud strong voice, but not the remotest glimmering of a 
notion of harmony, time or tune, she shouts away several 
lines and bars before or behind the rest, no consequence 
which, and quite often, if the hymn chosen is not in her 



AN ALARMING EDICT 249 

book or according to her mind, she chooses another and 
proceeds as zealously as ever. When gently remon- 
strated with, she replies, "Oh, that is no matter, I'm not 
following you, I'm singing (?) by myself." 

We had only been in Hai Ju a few days when a fleet- 
footed messenger from Eul Yul arrived with a letter con- 
taining the news that a secret royal edict was being sent 
round to the various magistracies in that province, com- 
manding all Confucianists to gather at night on the second 
of the next month (about fifteen days later), each at his 
nearest worshiping place in his district, and from thence to 
go in a body and kill all Westerners and followers of 
Western doctrine, and destroy their houses, churches and 
schools. A friend in the magistrate's office, holding some 
petty position, happened to be present when this arrived, 
noted the excitement and agitation which the official 
evinced on reading it and the care with which it was 
guarded, and determined to learn its contents. He con- 
trived an opportunity to read it unseen, and as some of his 
near relatives were Christians, he at once communicated 
the terrible news to them. One of the same family, a 
young man who was a fleet-footed runner, was instantly 
sent to us with a copy of the edict. 

No words can express our state of mind on receiving 
the news. Thought flew back to one peaceful little com- 
munity after another, which we had so lately visited, all 
rejoicing in the beautiful new life, all growing up toward 
Christ, like flowers reaching up to the sun, with the light 
of a glad hope in their faces, happy, harmless, kindly peo- 
ple, the aged, the little toddling children, helpless women, 
unsuspecting farmers, all consigned to utter destruction. 
As for ourselves, we were in one of the worst of Korean 
cities, it was impossible to make the slightest movement 
without attracting the notice of every one, for we were 



250 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

constantly the center of the observation of the whole town. 
It would be impossible to make our escape if any one 
wished to detain us. To make matters much worse, we 
had two young ladies and a child in our party. Probably 
little danger threatened us personally, as the governor 
was friendly, but our first duty was to send word to the 
American minister in Seoul, and it must be done quickly. 
To send a dispatch in any Eastern or European language 
would be futile, as, if suspicion was aroused, there were 
means of interpreting any of them. We at length con- 
cluded to send a Latin message, not to our minister, but 
to one of our mission, as less likely to attract attention 
either in Hai Ju or Seoul. This was done, and the mes- 
sage was at once carried to the American legation. 

The news was at first received with incredulity, so 
friendly had the attitude of the government always been, 
but when it was remembered that recent Boxer disturb- 
ances in China might have suggested a similar course here, 
and that there were strong Buddhists high in influence at 
the palace who might have caused this strange measure, 
and when at the Foreign Office, through admissions and 
contradictions, it was made evident that the circulation of 
such an edict was not unknown to them, all doubt was 
over. Not long after it developed that from similar 
sources (that is, friends of Christians or of missionaries) 
the news had been carried to missionaries in Kang Wha 
and in Pyeng Yang. That it was unadvisedly done, and 
speedily repented, was proved by the fact that a few days 
later another edict rescinding the first was sent every- 
where. Nevertheless and notwithstanding, I breathed 
freely and slept well for the first time since hearing the 
bad news, when I found myself on the little Japanese 
steamer well started on my way back to Seoul. The sup- 
posed authors of the order were put under arrest, and I 



THE NEW TESTAMENT IN KOREAN 251 

believe punished, the Korean officials vigorously protest- 
ing that it was all a mistake and sent without the knowl- 
edge of the king or the government. 

These trips to Whang Hai province usually occupied 
six or eight weeks of our time, and full of delightful inci- 
dents and experiences as they always were, did not repre- 
sent more than a fraction of the work. In the fall of 1900 
the whole New Testament was given to the people. To 
celebrate this event a large meeting was held in the Metho- 
dist church, the largest audience hall in Seoul, composed 
of as many natives and Christians as could be packed with- 
in its walls. A suitable thanksgiving service was held, 
and the board of translators and their native literary 
helpers were presented by the American minister with 
copies of the book, with very kind remarks on their work. 
The board now consisted of Rev. H. G. Appenzeller, Dr. 
Scranton, Rev. W. D. Reynolds, Rev. James S. Gale and 
Mr. Underwood. 

In addition to the editorship of a weekly religious 
newspaper, Bible translation, preparation of tracts and 
hymns, city training classes, weekly religious services and 
meetings, supervision of schools and language class for 
missionaries, Mr. Underwood felt that a special effort 
ought to be made for the nobility and gentry, the hardest 
people in the country to reach with the gospel. This is 
the case, partly because officials who would retain office 
must go at regular intervals and offer certain prayers and 
sacrifices at royal shrines,, partly that the ideas of caste 
are so strong that the nobility are unwilling to seat them- 
selves on the floor in our churches among farmers, ped- 
dlers, coolies, merchants or even scholars, to listen to the 
gospel ; and in addition, that their family life is grounded 
and interwoven on and in the concubine system. All of 
them have two or more families, some of them many. 



252 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

These numerous wives, their parents and progeny would 
make life intolerable should the husband put them aside. 
His friends and relatives would look upon him as too evil 
to live should he neglect to worship the ancestral tablets, 
and the spirits of his ancestors themselves would follow 
him like harpies, with all sorts of misfortunes and dis- 
eases. 

Each man, too, looks forward with great complacency 
to being honored in his time as he has honored his dead 
parents, and seems to be overwhelmed with something 
like terror at the idea of having no one to worship his 
memory and offer sacrifices before his tablets, so that 
childless men usually adopt sons to keep their memory 
green. The ladies of this class, the first wives, are, as I 
think I have said before, very closely secluded, and are 
never seen except in their own apartments or the anpang 
of their kin, whither they are carried in closely covered 
chairs. 

In such a state of affairs it is not strange that men 
should hesitate to listen to the doctrines of a religion 
which would turn their whole social world upside down, 
wreck their homes, cast upon them the blackest stigma, 
turn them outside the pale of court and official life, rob 
them of their income, and rank them with the common 
people. Knowing that it was almost impossible to induce 
them to attend church, an invitation was therefore issued, 
asking a large number of them to come to our house to 
talk over religious matters. To our surprise the call was 
most heartily responded to, and two large rooms were 
crowded with high Korean gentlemen, all of whom came 
no doubt from politeness or curiosity. 

There were princes, generals, members of the cabinet, 
all men of the highest rank and birth. All listened with 
the closest attention, many of them asking thoughtful 



A REMARKABLE PROPOSITION 253 

questions, which showed their real interest in what was 
said by the missionaries who came to assist Mr. Under- 
wood in receiving and talking with them. Some asked 
for books, and many came repeatedly to talk over these 
matters in private. Meetings were held regularly Sun- 
day afternoons, and a stereopticon exhibition was given, 
showing a series of scenes from the life of Christ. 

One result of these meetings was that Mr. Underwood 
was approached with the suggestion that he should estab- 
lish a Presbyterian state church. We were told that a 
large number of officials would prefer (if they were to be 
forced into giving up their own religion and joining a for- 
eign church, as at that time seemed likely) to make it one 
of their own choosing, and connected with Americans 
rather than Russians. They were, of course, informed 
that we could not organize churches in that way, nor bap- 
tize men for state and political purposes. The suggestion 
was not official, but if we had been willing to use oppor- 
tunities of this sort, the roll-call among the high class of 
nominal members might have been greatly swelled. 



CHAPTER XVI 

Furloughs Chong Dong Church Romanists in Whang Hai 
Missionaries to the Rescue Romanists Annoy and Hinder 
the Judge Results Interview between Governor and 
Priest The Inspector's Report Women's Work in Hai Ju 
Deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and Mrs. Miller 
The End. 

IN 1901 we took another furlough, during which we 
were brought in touch with American Christians in nearly 
every large city in the country, and thus were able to 
make the church aware of God's wonderful dealings in 
Korea and to enlighten the public on the needs of this 
country. On our return, we missed among the faces of 
dear old friends who came to welcome us that of our 
work-fellow and beloved brother, Rev. H. G. Appenzeller. 
Mr. Appenzeller, the first evangelistic worker of his mis- 
sion, had labored with my husband, heart and hand, for 
over sixteen years, and they had taken their earliest itiner- 
ations to the country in company. The loss fell heavily 
upon both native and foreign community, and seems to 
grow, as we feel the need of the enthusiastic and ready 
service everywhere. On our return our first attention was 
given to our dear Chong Dong (city) church, the mem- 
bers of which have from the first been marked as ener- 
getic, generous and full of faith. With a membership, as 
has been said, of two hundred and nineteen, they carry on 
five missions near the city, within a radius of five miles. 
These are places where chapels have been built but they 
have also several other missions in districts where services 



THE CHONG DONG CHURCH 255 

are held in private dwellings. The church members con- 
duct and take charge of all these services. They have 
contributed during the past year (1:902- 1903), reckoned 
in gold dollars : 

For their school $75-8o 

Church running expenses 75-4 

Evangelistic work 45-82 

Charity 20.66 

Gifts of City Mission Society 5O-5O 



Total $268.18 

This total, however, is not a complete report, not in- 
cluding the gifts of the largest mission, that of Chandari, 
a (from a Korean standpoint) prosperous little farming 
community outside the city. For the women and girls, 
beside Sabbath services and regular prayer meetings, six 
weekly Bible classes are held in different neighborhoods, 
all but two of which are well attended. There are a num- 
ber of these women well fitted for Christian teaching, and 
one or another of them has repeatedly gone off on a six- 
weeks' trip, with some of the lady missionaries, asking 
nothing more than her bare expenses. They often go 
away on evangelistic trips quite at their own instance, 
visiting village after village, distributing tracts which they 
themselves have bought for the purpose, and teaching the 
country women who cannot read. 

Very soon after our return to Korea my husband was 
requested by the American minister and the members of 
our mission to visit Hai Ju, in the province of Whang Hai, 
on a mission of very serious importance. We were sent to 
Hai Ju in February, and since the preceding September, it 
had come to be a matter of common report that the native 
Romanists (of whom there are said to be twenty thousand 



256 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

in that province) had, under the lead of the French priests, 
been robbing, torturing and blackmailing the poor people 
of the province "for money to build churches," resisting 
with arms, maiming, beating and even imprisoning officers 
of the law sent to stop them, and establishing a veritable 
reign of terror through the whole district ; so that the 
weaker magistrates dared not lift a finger against any 
criminal favored by the priests, or belonging to that 
church, and fairly trembled for fear of them, obeying with 
the alertness of terror their slightest behest. 

The state of affairs grew so bad at length that the gov- 
ernor sent a manifesto to Seoul, saying he could no longer 
carry on the government of the province in such a state of 
insurrection and anarchy. The following is a translation, 
made for the Korea Review, of the official copy of a part 
of the governor's complaint : 

"In the counties of Sin-ch'un, Cha-ryung, An-ak, 
Chang-yun, Pong-san, Whang- ju, and Su-heung, disturb- 
ances created by the Roman Catholics are many in num- 
ber, and petitions and complaints are coming in from all 
quarters. 

"In some cases it is a question of building churches and 
collecting funds from the villages about. If any refuse to 
pay, they are bound and beaten and rendered helpless. 
When certain ones, in answer to petition, have been 
ordered arrested, the police have been mobbed and the offi- 
cers of the law have been unable to resist it. While in- 
vestigating a case on behalf of the people, I sent police to 
arrest Catholics in Cha-ryung. They raised a band of fol- 
lowers, beat off the police, arrested them, and dismissed 
them with orders not to return. Then I sent a secretary. 
to remonstrate with them. At that the Sin-ch'un Catho- 
lics, a score or more of them, armed with guns, arrested 
the secretary, insulted him, etc," 



TROUBLE WITH ROMANISTS 257 

One of the priests, who is apparently most influential 
and has been most notorious, whose Korean name is Hong, 
and who is known among foreigners as Father Wilhelm, 
told my husband that the native Romanists were not to be 
blamed for all this, for they had only obeyed his orders. 
Mr. Underwood had had a slight acquaintance with this 
priest for some years, meeting him occasionally and 
knowing little of his life, but supposing he was doing an 
earnest if mistaken work of self-sacrifice, he was unable to 
believe that the priest was cognizant of all that was being 
done by his followers, until he had both written and had 
a personal interview with him, when he was sorrowfully 
forced to see that rumor had not misrepresented his con- 
duct. 

This sad condition of things might have gone on, no one 
knows how long, but some of the people so robbed and tor- 
tured were Presbyterian Christians, and there is some- 
thing about Protestant Christianity that resists oppression 
and favors a growth of sturdy independence and a love of 
freedom and fair play. One of these men was a particu- 
larly determined fellow who had been persistently seeking 
justice ever since, and would not be discouraged or 
daunted. He first went to the missionaries, who told him 
to take the matter to the Korean courts, but as the pro- 
vincial courts were quite helpless against such a giant evil, 
he went up to the capital. The officials at the capital, 
probably in awe of the French, dared not interfere. He 
and his companion, another sturdy farmer like himself, 
went from one missionary to another in Seoul, all of whom 
put them off, disliking to take up native quarrels, and on 
principle opposed to using influence with Korean officials, 
and none of them realizing to what threatening dimensions 
the affair had grown. 

These poor men were not eloquent, they could only 



258 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

tell a plain, simple story, but they knew that they and 
thousands of others were deeply wronged and were able 
to do one thing well, namely, to persist. Persist they did 
with unwearied resolution. 

Failing to obtain any help or satisfaction, they at length 
decided to go directly to the French legation and seek 
justice and relief there. They were received, attentively 
heard, carefully questioned, given a promise of redress, 
and sent politely away. They waited long and patiently, 
but no redress came, nor any sign of it. Again and again 
they sought the fulfilment of the promises of the represen- 
tative of France, only to be put off repeatedly with fair 
words and indefinite assurances. 

So at length they published their whole story in the 
leading Korean newspaper in Seoul. Then the French 
minister did indeed begin to act. He immediately re- 
quested the Korean Foreign Office to have the men beaten 
and imprisoned, on the ground that conduct like theirs 
had caused the Boxer trouble in China. 

When affairs came to this crisis, the Protestant mission- 
aries awoke to the situation. Rev. Mr. Gale and Mr. 
Underwood went to the office of Foreign Affairs and pled 
for the men, and also laid the matter before the American 
minister, Dr. Allen. He gave it his careful attention and 
succeeded in having a commission appointed by the Ko- 
rean government to go to Hai Ju and investigate the 
charges. Dr. Moffett, of Pyeng Yang, and Mr. Under- 
wood were also requested to be present and attend the 
trials. From the beginning to the end of this attempt to 
bring the truth to light, the French priests by every art in 
their power tried to block and delay the proceedings of the 
judge, to annoy and overawe him in Hai Ju, and (we were 
informed) by letters, special messengers and telegrams, 
to limit his power, hinder his plans, and undermine him in 
Seoul. 



THE PRIEST'S TACTICS 259 

He was a sturdy, clear-headed, determined man, who 
had had long intercourse with Europeans in his post in the 
Foreign Office, and held his own with much self-posses- 
sion and sang-froid. It was said of him that he carried on 
the trials more fairly and more in accordance with equity 
than had ever been seen before in Korea. 

The priests arrested and tortured a policeman who had 
been sent to bring some of the accused to the court, 
hanging him by his wrists. They used all the influence 
they possessed in Seoul, through the French, to force the 
Korean government to order the commission to yield to 
their demands for the release of prisoners already in the 
hands of the law, and for the remittance of punishment as 
they should dictate. 

They induced the commissioner to promise that he 
would not try to arrest any one for a week, on the solemn 
assurance that they would themselves bring all the ac- 
cused to court, and then, although they had two of the 
most notorious malefactors in their house for several days 
before the week expired, they allowed them to escape. 

They forced themselves into the commissioner's pres- 
ence and with bluff and reiterated demands wearied him 
into sending his resignation to Seoul, which, however, the 
king refused to accept. 

"Father Wilhelm's" church is in a valley about ten miles 
from Hai Ju, entirely surrounded by high hills. The en- 
trance to the valley at that time was guarded by sentinels, 
and the points of vantage on the hill tops were occupied 
in the same way. When any one is seen approaching, a 
signal is given, and the people (for the village is full of 
fugitives from justice) flee into the church, which it will 
be seen serves the triple purpose of a court with torture 
chamber, a citadel, and a place of worship. 

When police were sent there with warrants of arrest for 



260 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

some of the worst miscreants, Father Wilhelm met them 
at the door with a revolver, demanding what they wanted. 
When told, he requested to see the warrants, denied that 
any such persons were there, would not allow them to 
enter, nor would he return the warrants, but with threats 
bade them begone. On more than one occasion posses of 
armed men were sent by him to rescue criminals who had 
been seized. 

The crudest forms of torture, such as are used only by 
Korean officials in cases of murder and treason, were used 
by the priests in their churches to force poor peasants to 
give over their money or the deeds of their houses and 
farms. Mr. Underwood and Dr. Moffett spent some 
weeks in Hai Ju, carefully studying these matters and in 
close attendance at the trials. In addition to the above 
facts they discovered that this was not a persecution 
waged upon Protestants by Catholics, but a system of 
blackmail laid on the whole community, and that the num- 
ber of complaints brought in by non-Christian natives 
were, compared to those from Christians, as twenty to one. 
Again, that the French priests were (in the present in- 
stance, at least) demanding, as in China, a right to sit with 
a judge in a court of justice and modify sentences. We 
learned further that the people were tormented to the 
verge of insurrection, and had planned to rise on a cer- 
tain day, when the news that a commission had been ap- 
pointed, and that the missionaries had come down to see 
fair play at the investigations, calmed and decided them to 
await further developments. 

The results of the trials were very unsatisfactory. With 
the small force of men at his command, with the priests 
foiling every effort to make arrests, few men were appre- 
hended. Those who were brought to trial, by their own 
admissions and self-contradictions, and by the consistent 



THE OFFICIAL REPORT 261 

and overwhelming testimony of many witnesses, were all 
proved guilty of the charges laid against them. The 
priests, and by far the majority of the miscreants, includ- 
ing the ringleaders, who could not be caught, went scot 
free. The commissioner made a report to the Korean gov- 
ernment, asking for the deportation of the two priests, 
Wilhelm and Le Gac, which the Korean government did 
not ask, but which it would have been thought should 
hardly have been necessary. Were not the Koreans long 
suffering to a remarkable degree, as well as a feeble 
power, they would long since have risen and cast out all 
foreigners from their desecrated shores. In the light of 
what we have seen and heard here, the cause of the Boxer 
troubles in China is not far to seek. Thus is national senti- 
ment aroused against us ; for long persistence in conduct 
similar to this was foreign blood spilled like water there, 
and for such reasons are the gates of Thibet barred to the 
gospel. 

The following official report of the interview between 
the priest and the governor of Whang Hai province, 
in the presence of the inspector sent by the king, will show 
what a state of affairs existed. 

"Translation of the official report of the interview held 
between the governor of Whang Hai Do and Father Wil- 
helm, in the presence of the Inspector Yi Eung Ik. Eighth 
day 2d Moon Koang Mu. 

"In the seventh year of Quang Mo in the second moon 
and eighth day, the governor of Whang Hai Do, Yi Yung 
Chick, and the French teacher, Hong Sok Ku (Mons. 
Wilhelm), conferred. Hong Sok Ku said, "The contro- 
versy between the governor and myself arose from the 
governor's not appeasing my wrath by arresting Mr. Pak 
Chang Mou of Whang Ju, and punishing him. This Pak, 
at night after dark, had thrown stones at the church of 



262 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

Han Sinpu (a native Korean priest), and I therefore had 
spoken to the local magistrate of Whang Ju and asked to 
have him arrested and imprisoned, but Pak, through his 
local influence, had returned undisturbed to his home, and 
as there seemed no other means of having him punished, I 
wrote a letter to the governor, asking that he would have 
Pak brought up to the provincial town of Hai Ju and 
severely punished. The governor replied that he could 
not have the people of local magistracies brought up to 
Hai Ju, and I therefore supposed that the governor had 
no power to arrest the people of outside local magistracies, 
and when I learned to my surprise that there was an order 
for the arrest of some of the Christians (Romanist) of 
Shinampo by the governor, feeling sure that it was a false 
order, I released by force all those whom the police were 
arresting, and at once ordered all my Christians, if any 
one came out to arrest them again, to resist it utterly." 

The governor replied : "As for the business of Pak of 
Whang Ju, since he had been already arrested and im- 
prisoned in Whang Ju, and there was therefore no reason 
why he should be brought up to Hai Ju, I did not do so as 
you had asked, and as for my reply in my former letter, 
that I could not arrest him, it was in accordance with the 
Chibang Cheido (Book of Laws) in regard to local and 
provincial jurisdiction, and the reason why, after 1 my peo- 
ple have appealed, I can order them arrested to try the 
case, is in accordance with the Chaipan Chang Chung, 
or book of rules for courts of justice, and if you had any 
doubts about the earlier or later affair, while it would not 
have been out of the way to have asked a question, is it 
right with your followers to gather a crowd and organ- 
ize a band to arrest and carry off policemen, to release and 
set free those who have broken the laws, and to order 
your followers to resist authority, so making your people 



THE INTERVIEW 263 

fall into sin, and making it impossible for the appointed 
authorities to administer justice ? 

"Desirous of instructing these ignorant people, I sent 
one of the Chusas (high official next to the governor) at- 
tached to this governorship, but you sent out a company 
of men with firearms, twelve miles, and after dark seized 
and carried off this official. A Chusa is a national govern- 
ment officer, military arms are outrageous things ; leaning 
upon what authority did you do such things as these, and 
by whose authority do you arrest and carry off Koreans 
and try to administer justice?" 

Mons. Wilhelm replied: "I myself know that these 
things are not right, and did them purposely. As far as 
the book Chaipan Chang Chung is concerned, I know 
nothing about it, but I simply relied upon the previous 
letter which you had sent. I desired to understand the 
matter, and sent you another letter, and because you sent 
my letter back to me I still feel very angry." 

The governor replied : "But your saying that you only 
recognized my first letter shows you simply know one 
thing and cannot know two ; as for your letter and my re- 
turning it without an answer, it was because, after the ar- 
rest of my Chusa, I had sent by special messenger a letter 
to you, and you had given no answer and sent the man 
back emptyhanded, I was indignant. As I had no reply 
to my letter to you in regard to the Chang Yung affair, 
why should I only answer letters? Because I thought it 
would be wrong for me to keep your letter that I did not 
answer, I returned it." 

Father Wilhelm replied: "Because in the governor's 
last letter on the envelope he had written Saham I did not 
answer the letter." Saham is written outside of letters 
which are replies from one slightly superior in rank. 

The governor replied : "Is it right to allow questions to 



264 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

go unanswered ; is it because you have nothing to say that 
you fail to answer all these questions ?" 

Father Wilhelm replied : "When Pak Chang Mou's 
wrong-doings had not yet been punished, is it right that 
he should have been made one of the tax collectors? 
When you have arrested and brought him to Hai Ju and 
severely punished him, then only will my wrath be ap- 
peased." 

The governor then said : "In the eighth moon of last 
year when I went to Whang Ju, I looked carefully into 
this affair of Pak's. Although it was stated that he had 
thrown stones, there was no sure proof, and yet he had 
been locked up in the local jail and had been punished, 
during the investigation, how, then, can you say that he 
has gone unpunished? How can you claim that giving 
him a petty office several months later is an injustice? 
Then, too, you took this man to your church and there 
beat him, and still claim that your wrath has not been ap- 
peased. Would you have me arrest him, bring him here 
and make him and the complainants face each other?" 

Pere Wilhelm answered : "Although I did have him 
beaten with ten strokes, it was not a punishment for his 
main crime, but because when his magistrate sent Pak to 
confess his sins he was on the contrary impudent, and 
therefore I punished him, but his former offence still ex- 
isted." 

The governor replied : "When you are not a Korean 
official, is it right that you should arrest and beat Ko- 
reans ?" 

Father Wilhelm said: "It is because if I did not beat 
them I could not hold my position as superior that I do it." 

The governor answered : "You, a private citizen, arrest- 
ing and beating Koreans and doing wrong, and your writ- 
ten orders to your people, have caused them to break the 



CHARGES AGAINST ROMANISTS 265 

laws in eight different ways. They resist the authority of 
the government, beat the underlings, and refuse to pay 
their taxes. 

"In addition, at their churches and meeting places they 
establish courts of justice. 

"Still further, without order, in companies they rush 
into the presence of magistrates to terrify them. 

"Still again, of their own accord they arrest, beat and 
imprison the people. 

"Again, calling it money for the building of churches, 
they extort contributions by force from the people. 

"Furthermore, at their own desire they cut down trees 
used for Korean spirit worship, they organize bands to 
forcibly bury the dead and move graves ; and still further, 
they force people, who have no desire to do so, to enter 
their church." 

Father Wilhelm replied: "I will with great care stop 
these eight offences and will not allow them to do as be- 
fore ; have no fear." 

Thus ends the report of this unique interview between 
the governor of one of the most populous provinces of 
Korea and the French missionary. It is to be regretted, 
however, that his ready promise in regard to nearly all the 
eight offenses was repeatedly broken within a very short 
time after it was made. I will add one or two other tran- 
scriptions from the official documents, which came directly 
from the commissioner's office to our hands, and which 
translations appeared in the Korea Review, March, 1903. 
The first report of the imperial inspector to the govern- 
ment: 

"I have looked carefully into the disturbances among 
the people in the different counties, and the various 
crimes up to this date noted in the public records are only 
one or two in hundreds. Outside of two or three counties, 



266 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

all the magistrates have been under this oppression, and 
with folded hands, are unable to stir. The poor helpless 
people sit waiting for doom to overtake them. Receiving 
imperial orders to look into the matter, I have under- 
taken the task, and daily crowds with petitions fill the 
court. There are no words to express the sights one sees, 
the stories one hears. Depending on the influence of for- 
eigners (French), the Catholics' issuing of orders to ar- 
rest is of daily occurrence ; their runners are fiercer than 
leopards, and the torture they inflict is that reserved 
for only thieves and robbers ; life is ground out of the 
people, goods and livelihood are gone. Unless this kind 
of thing is put down with strong hand, thousands of lives 
will be lost in the end. 

"A French priest by the name of Wilhelm, living in 
Chang-ke-dong in Sin-ch-un, a retired spot among the 
hills, has gathered about him a mob of lawless people. 
Their houses number several hundred. Many of them 
carry foreign guns, so that country people are afraid, and 
dare not take action. A number of those already arrested 
have been set free by this priest. Most of those who have 
slipped the net have escaped there, and now form a band 
of robbers. There is no knowing where trouble will next 
arise, and it is a time of special anxiety. Those who 
assemble there at the 'call of the whistle' (bandit) are 
outlaws, and must be arrested. They may, however, make 
use of dangerous weapons, so we cannot do otherwise 
than be prepared for them. This is my report. Look care- 
fully into it. Send word to the office of generals. Wire 
me permission to use soldiers, and as occasion offers lend 
me a helping hand." 

While this painful business was on, and my husband 
was daily attending the trials and listening to the harrow- 
ing tales of the poor, tortured and robbed people, and see- 



A DEVOTED WORKER 267 

ing heartrending evidences of the cruelties inflicted upon 
them, I was holding meetings with the Christian women 
who came every morning to study the Bible. One visit 
only was made to a small village a short distance outside 
the city, where there were quite a number of Christian 
families. 

All the Christian women quickly assembled at the house 
of my hostess, a wholesome farmer's wife, who came out 
to the road to welcome me, took both my hands in hers 
with a long gentle pressure, and a look of gladness as 
bright as if I had been a radiant angel from heaven, or a 
returned apostle. Her small rooms were soon filled with 
Christians and others, who listened while we held a ser- 
vice and talked of the things concerning the kingdom. 

Then they, with bounteous hospitality, brought in a 
store of the best their homes contained of dainties. They 
feasted my two native companions and myself and all the 
visitors, both Christians and mere sightseers, and even my 
chair coolies were given as much as they could eat, which 
is no mean amount. 

One woman said that her eldest son had just returned 
from Sorai and was urging his father to sell his good 
farm and home and move there with his family, so that he 
and his brothers might attend that school and church and 
learn more about God and his will. 

The work in this hamlet all started through the in- 
strumentality of a young girl in Hai Ju, not seventeen 
years old, who, having formerly lived here, after her mar- 
riage into a Christian household in the city, and after her 
conversion, often returned to her old home and begged her 
family to believe and accept Christ. 

Though they scoffed and reviled at first, after a while 
they began to listen, and finally one, then another, yielded 
their hearts. After the manner of Korean Christians, 



268 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

they "passed on the word," and so at length seven families 
were trusting Christ. 

After seven weeks in Hai Ju we returned to Seoul, 
having done all that was possible in the matters we had 
been sent there to look after, and having made it plain that 
Americans would not stand by and see the natives perse- 
cuted and wronged without a strong protest ; for while we 
try not to interfere between them and their rulers (and this 
is at times extremely difficult), we do not feel the same 
obligation in the case of French priests. Our hope now is 
that these outrages will henceforth be somewhat restricted 
and that Protestants will at least remain unmolested, as 
the mere advertisement and bringing to the light of the 
evil would do much to prevent its repetition, the children 
of darkness having an ancient dislike of the light. 

Before we returned from Hai Ju we learned of the 
death by smallpox of our dear brother, Mr. W. V. John- 
son, who had arrived early in February of that year, his 
consecrated young wife having died on the way to the 
field, in Kobe, Japan. 

We all felt the sweet devoted spirit of the earnest young 
brother, and knew that these two valuable lives were not 
given in vain, but that God has accepted their sacrifice 
as if they had done all they planned, and has chosen to 
call them to reward a little earlier, because they will better 
so fulfil his purpose, for, through and in them. Again, 
only a few months later, we were all called to part with 
a dear sister, Mrs. F. S. Miller, whose loving sympathy 
and patient endurance of sickness and pain had endeared 
her to missionaries and native Christians alike. Not a 
month before her own death, her hands prepared the 
casket for the cold little form of one of the dear little mis- 
sionary babies, of whom so many are now in heaven. And 
so, as was said at the time of her release, "Korea seems a 



GREAT OPPORTUNITIES 269 

gate to heaven." Sure it is good to go from service to the 
vision of the King. 

This little chain of reminiscences is now at an end. Its 
object has simply been to interest Christian people in this 
most interesting country, and to show what God is work- 
ing here. 

It has been necessarily limited, mainly to the experience 
of one pair of missionaries, because the writer has neither 
the knowledge nor the liberty to speak freely of the lives 
and work of all, and neither the ability nor the space to 
write a complete history of mission work in Korea. It is 
hoped that although so restricted, as to be a mere glimpse 
of a small fraction of what is being done, it will serve to 
make plain what grand opportunities are theirs (at 
present) who would lead a nation out of bondage into 
liberty, the only liberty worth calling the name, or that 
sinful mortals can use, "the liberty of Christ." 

Korea, lying as she does so close to China (whose 
future is fraught with such mighty possibilities of good 
or evil to the whole world), with such close affinities and 
wide sympathies for that people, is, we hope, to be a 
polished shaft in God's quiver in conquering that great 
nation for his kingdom. But whatever his eternal purpose 
may be, there is no doubt as to our present privilege and 
"power to the last particle is duty." 

If in these pages you have seen much that leads you to 
think the land is a difficult one in which to live, if you 
have read of political unrest, bad government, riots, rob- 
bers and plagues; if you have learned that missionaries 
have died of typhus fever, smallpox, dysentery and other 
violent forms of disease, this will only serve to remind you 
that the more valuable the prize to be won, the greater the 
difficulty and cost. If you desire to share in the joy of this 
great harvest, and are worthy, you will fear no danger, 



270 FIFTEEN YEARS AMONG THE TOP-KNOTS 

shrink from no obstacles, either for yourselves or for your 
loved ones, whom you are asked to give to the work. 

God placed an angel with a flaming sword which turned 
every way at the gate of paradise. Is the kingdom still 
thus guarded? Must we all who would enter follow him 
who was made perfect through suffering ? What was our 
Lord's meaning when he said, "The kingdom of heaven 
suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force." Some 
of us are ready to pray that God would place another such 
flaming sword at the gate of our mission fields, so that no 
man or woman who could or would not brave such bap- 
tism of fire should enter. There is no more place on the 
mission field for the fearful and unbelieving than in 
heaven itself. Like Gideon's army, let the applicants be re- 
duced till only the resolute, the consecrated, those who be- 
lieve in God, the people and themselves, are accepted for 
this mighty privilege, this high calling. 

Let it only be remembered by all who would enter the 
Lord's army to wrest the kingdom of heaven from the 
rulers of darkness, that he, whose we are, and whom we 
serve, he who never faltered on the thorny road that led to 
Calvary, who trod the wine press alone, who came with 
dyed garments through the conflict to victory, has bidden 
those who profess to love him, as one of his last com- 
mands, thrice repeated, feed his sheep. 

"Lovest them me? Feed my sheep." 
"Lovest them me? Feed my sheep." 
"Lovest them me? Feed my lambs." 

I. 

Oh, never swear them lovest me, 

Who lovest not my sheep ; 
For he who would my servant be 

My treasured flock will keep. 



THE END 271 

II. 
Oh, never vow thou lovest me, 

As follower leal and true, 
Who shrinkest in my paths to be, 

Or fearest my will to do. 

III. 
Oh, never weep thou lovest me, 

My lambs who feedest not; 
Who wouldst my crowning glory see, 

But hast the cross forgot? 

IV. 
Nay, if thou lovest, feed my sheep, 

On desert moors astray; 
The charge I gave thee surely keep, 

Until the final day. 

V. 

Yea, if thou lovest me, thy Lord, 

My feeble lambs feed thou ; 
They wander o'er the world abroad, 

Many lie fainting now. 

VI. 
Then never swear thou lovest me, 

Who loves not these of mine; 
Who would my true disciple be, 

Shall prove his love divine. 



THE END. 



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