IT is hardly to be wondered at that his attendance upon Mr. Quaterman should have proved too much for Hudson Taylor at this time. But for recent vaccination the illness that followed might have been much more serious, for it was undoubtedly smallpox, and the fever ran high. As it was, it was chiefly memorable for the mercy that averted worse developments, and for an experience toward the close that brought him untold comfort.

It was early on October 20, before day-dawn indeed, when some noise in the street awoke him with a sudden start. He could not sleep again, and though outwardly quiet was distressed by palpitation due to his exhausted condition. And then, with the fatal ease of disordered nerves, one misgiving led to another, until he was overwhelmed with painful apprehensions.

All the suspense and anguish of the long months of his love for the one who might never be his seemed to come back like a flood, gathering itself up in a great fear of what was yet to come. They had suffered so much ; their love for one another was so intense, and the opposition it awakened so persistent that it seemed more than he could bear. In a few weeks now the letter would come that must decide their future. Unreasoning anxiety laid hold upon him, and though he tried to quiet his distress of mind by handing it all over to the Lord, the very effort added to his sufferings.

But " underneath," all the while, were " the Everlasting Arms." One Whose comprehension is infinite was watching over His suffering child ; and in the way of all others most sure to help, relief was given.

" All at once," he wrote to his. sister later in the day,." I became conscious of dear Maria's presence. She came in silently as a breath of air, and I felt such a tranquillity steal over me-I knew she must be there. I felt spell-bound for a short time, but at length without opening my eyes I put out my hand, and she took it in such a warm, soft grasp that I could not refrain from a look of gratitude. She motioned me not to speak, and put her other hand on my forehead, and I felt the headache which had been distracting and the fever retire under its touch and sink as through the pillow. She whispered to me not to be uneasy . . . that she was mine and I was hers, and that I must keep quiet and try to sleep. And so I did, awaking some hours later well of the fever though very weak.

" A sweet dream, I would call it ; only I was as wide awake as I am now, and saw and felt her touch as plainly as I do now pencil and paper. All my fear in the fever had been that our love would come to nothing, so you may guess how it soothed me."

It was with pleasure Hudson Taylor found on recovering from this illness that his friend Mr. Burdon of Shanghai was again in Ning-po, this time to arrange for his wedding. He had been engaged to the elder Miss Dyer for almost a year, and now on November 16, they were to be married. Without in the least grudging them their happiness, he could not but feel the contrast with his own circumstances very keenly, especially in view of Miss Aldersey's growing dislike. For as time went on she seems, if anything, to have increased her opposition to the younger's sister's engagement. Not content with having written fully to Mr. Tam in London, she continued to bring accusations of a ' serious nature against Hudson Taylor. It came to such a pass at length that Maria herself almost wondered that her confidence did not waver in the one of whom she knew so little. But their love was too deep, too God-given. She suffered none the less, however, especially during these weeks of illness, his own and Mr. Quaterman's, when she could neither come to him nor do anything to show her sympathy. Yet she had come, although she knew it not.

It was rarely the young people could meet even in public at this time, for the school in which the Misses Dyer were teaching had been moved across the river to the compound of the Presbyterian Mission. Living with Mrs. Bausum in the brown, gable-roofed house adjoining the school-building they were near neighbours of the Ways, whose love and admiration or Hudson Taylor must have been a comfort to the your sister. He would be frequently spoken of with gratitude as one who had risked his life in ministering to their brother,1-{1 In August 1905, nearly fifty years later, a sister of Mrs. Way's wrote as follows: " from Mrs. R. Way of Ning-po would have given delightful reminiscences of Mr. Hudson Taylor, but these letters, so much prized, were unavoidably lost.... Mr. Way was absent from the city when the sickness of Mr. Quarterman, proving to be smallpox, rendered the situation of Mrs. Way an her children very alarming. The doctor had him isolated, and I suppose he would have been left to the care of the Chinese, had not our Heavenly Father interposed and moved the heart of His faithful servant, Mr. Hudson Taylor, to take upon himself to be nurse, brother, and comforter in one. Actuated by the very spirit of Christ, he cut himself off from every one, and devoted himself to the care of my suffering brother. " The sad details-his sore sickness and death-brought sorrow to our hearts ; but how this was tempered by the knowledge that loving hands and devoted care had done all that could be done for our brother ! " " For this dear servant of the Lord, Mr. Hudson Taylor," added another member of the family (Miss G. S. Way, of Savannah, Georgia), " we have always felt the deepest gratitude ; and we ever rejoiced in the great things he was enabled to accomplish in winning China for Christ."}and Maria's fingers may have lingered on the keys of the harmonium that had belonged to Mr. Quaterman and was now to be given to her friend.

Not that Hudson Taylor felt free to accept the gift. Much as he would have valued it, he dared not lay himself open to further misrepresentation.

" I could not have taken pit," he wrote to his mother, " without its having been considered by some as a sort of payment, and that of course I guard against. For I would not have anyone imagine that I desire payment in this life for service to the Lord's people." For this same reason, that he might avoid causes of offence, he refrained from visiting Mr. and Mrs. Way on the Presbyterian compound, and waited as patiently as he might without communication of any kind with the one who was in all his thoughts until the letter should arrive on which so much depended.

Meanwhile with returning strength he was more than ever busy in the city. The work both in the home he shared with Mr. and Mrs. Jones and in their preachingstation was full of encouragement, and they had added to it " free breakfasts " for the very poor that were a special source of satisfaction to Hudson Taylor. The Lord was supplying his needs more bountifully than ever before, and in the spirit of the words " freely ye have received, freely give," he rejoiced to pour out all that he was and had in the service of others.

Feeding sixty to eighty people every day was a considerable tax on their resources however, and once and again they had actually come to the last penny before fresh supplies were received. This very naturally was misunderstood in some quarters, as may be seen from Dr. Martin's interesting recollections.1{1- " I conclude," writes Dr. W. A. P. Martin recalling early Ning-po days, " with two names more eminent than any of the preceding, the names of Robert Hart and Hudson Taylor. From a budding interpreter the former has blossomed into the famous statesman known as the ` Great I.G.' (Inspector-General of the Chinese Customs Service). His career to which there is no parallel in East or West will be further noticed in connection with Peking. The latter, who rules as many men and with a sway not less absolute, is the Loyola of Protestant Missions. When I first met him he was a mystic absorbed in religious dreams, waiting to have his work revealed ; not idle, but aimless. When he had money he spent it on charity to needy Chinese, and then was reduced to sore straits himself. When the vocation found him it made him a new man, with -iron will and untiring energy. He erred [7] in leading his followers to make war on ancestral worship, instead of seeking to reform it ; still in founding the China Inland Mission he has made an epoch in the history of missionary enterprise " (from A Cycle of Cathay).} But both Hudson Taylor and his colleague were walking prayerfully before God in the matter, and He honoured their faith while allowing it also to be tested.

" Many think I am very poor," wrote the young missionary in the middle of November. " This certainly is true enough in one sense, but thank God it is ` As poor, yet making many rich ; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.' . . . I would not if I could be otherwise than as I am-entirely dependent myself upon the Lord, and used as a channel of help to others."

An instance was before him at the moment of the care and faithfulness of God that he could not but share with his home-circle. For only a few days before they had found themselves in " sore straits " at Kuen-kiao-teo through their work of love and mercy. Seventy hungry people, the poorest of the poor, had had their breakfast that morning, and had listened for an hour or more to the story of Redeeming Love. Nyi, who had just been baptized, and others of the native Christians were very helpful on these occasions, and no doubt found their own faith strengthened by the experience they witnessed.

" Well, on that Saturday morning," continued Hudson Taylor, " we paid all expenses and provided for the morrow, after which we had not a single dollar left.... How the Lord would care for us on Monday we knew not, but over our mantelpiece hung two scrolls in Chinese character-Ebenezer and Jehovah Jireh-and He kept us from doubting for a moment.

And then, that very day, letters that had travelled half across the world reached Ning-po when no mail was expected. Posted in England two months previously, they had been brought in safety over land and sea, and so prospered on their journey that the prayer " Give us this day our daily bread " was answered before the sun went down.

" That very day," concluded Hudson Taylor, " the mail came in a week before it was due, and Mr. Jones received a bill for two hundred and fourteen dollars. So once again we thanked God and took courage.

" The bill was taken to a merchant, and though there is usually a delay of several days before we can get the money, this time he said ` Send down on Monday and I will have it ready.' We sent, and though he had not been able to buy all the dollars he let us have seventy on account. So all was well.

" Oh it is sweet to live thus in direct dependence upon the Lord who never fails us !

" On Monday the poor had their breakfast as usual, for we had not told them not to come, being assured that it was the Lord's work and that He would provide. We could not help our eyes filling with tears of thankfulness as we saw not only our own needs supplied, but the widow and orphan, the blind, lame and destitute together provided for by the bounty of Him who feeds the sparrows... .

" ` Oh taste and see that the Lord is good : blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. Oh fear the Lord, ye His saints : for there is no want to them that fear Him. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger : but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing 'and if not good, why want it ? "

Very soon after this Hudson Taylor found that the Lord had been working for him in other ways also. For it was toward the end of November the long-looked-for letters came-and were favourable ! After careful inquiry in London, Mr. Tam had satisfied himself that Hudson Taylor was a young missionary of unusual promise. The Secretaries of the Chinese Evangelisation Society had nothing but good to say of him, and from other sources also he had the highest references. Taking therefore any disquieting rumours he may have heard for no more than they were worth, he cordially consented to his niece's engagement, requesting only that the marriage should be delayed until she came of age. And that would be in little more than two months' time.

Oh China, China ! How the said young missionary longed, after that, to see what some one else would say, and how distractingly difficult it was to arrange an interview. To cross the river forthwith and present himself at Mrs. Bausum's would have outraged all proprieties. Anywhere on the compound where she lived, indeed, they could not have met under the circumstances ; and his own home was still more out of the question. But news of this sort flies fast, and in some way Mrs. Knowlton of the American Baptist Mission heard of the situation. She was in favour of the engagement, and lived in a quiet place outside the city-wall and close to the river. She would send a note to the school. Miss Dyer could come to see her at any time ; and if somebody else were there-well, such things will happen, even in China.

So it was in Mrs. Knowlton's drawing-room he waited while the messenger went slowly, slowly across the river and seemed as if he never would return. Let us hope that the windows overlooked the ferry, and that Hudson Taylor had not to keep up the form of conversation. At last, at last ! The slender figure, quick step, bright young voice in the passage-then the door opened, and for the first time they were together alone.

More than forty years later the joy of that moment had not left him : " We sat side by side on the sofa," he said, " her hand clasped in mine. It never cooled-my love for her. It has not cooled now."

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