After further desultory fighting, the remaining leader, losing heart, fled into Kwei-chow province, and for a time was allowed to wander away; but later, a sum of a thousand taels was offered for him, dead or alive, and I have no doubt of the reward proving too great a bait for his followers. He has probably been given up.[Q] In the month of May the Miao people rose to prolong the rioting, but their efforts did not come to much, although guerilla warfare was prolonged for several weeks, and British subjects were not allowed to travel over the main road beyond Tong-ch’uan-fu for some time after; indeed, as I write (July 1st, 1910), permission for the missionaries to move about is still withheld.
Then, following the rebellion, rumors spread all over the province to the effect that the foreigners were on the look-out for children, and were buying up as many as they could get at enormous prices to ch’i the railway to Yuen-nan-fu, which by this time had been opened to the public. Daily were little children brought to the missionaries and offered for sale. Child-stealing became common; the greatest unrest prevailed again. Members of the Christian churches suffered persecution, and adherents kept at a safe distance. Scholars forsook the mission schools. Foreigners cautiously kept within their own premises as much as they could. Mission work was at a standstill, and all looked once more grave enough. Two women, caught in the act of stealing children at Chao-t’ong, were taken to the yamen, hung in cages for a time as a warning to others, and then made to walk through the streets shouting, “Don’t steal children as I have; don’t steal children as I have.” If they stopped yelling, soldiers scourged them.
A man was lynched in the public streets in that city for stealing a child, and only by the adoption of the most stringent measures, which in England would be considered barbaric, were the mandarins able successfully to deal with the rumors and the trouble thereby caused. Even far away down on the Capital road, children ran from me, and mothers, catching sight of me, would cover up their little ones and run away from me behind barred doors, so that the foreigner should not get them.
This latter trouble was felt pretty well throughout the length and breadth of Yuen-nan, and it must have been very disappointing to Christian missionaries who had been working around the districts of Tong-ch’uan-fu and Chao-t’ong-fu for over twenty years, and had got into close contact with scores of men and women, to see these very people taking away their children so that they should not be bought up by the very missionaries whose ministrations they had listened to for years.
In course of time, things settled down again, but at the time my manuscript leaves me for the publisher the danger zone has not been greatly reduced.