The Inn of the Sixth Happiness – The China Missionary Society


MY NAME IS
GLADYS AYLWARD. I’VE WRITTEN TO THE HEAD
OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY. HIS REPLY STATED
THAT HE’D SEE ME IF I EVER
CAME TO LONDON. IF HE’S BUSY,
I CAN WAIT. JUST ONE MOMENT, PLEASE. SIT DOWN, WON’T YOU? DR. ROBINSON WILL SEE
YOU NOW, MISS AYLWARD. HOW NICE OF YOU
TO DROP IN SO SOON. THANK YOU. I DECIDED TO COME AFTER
I’D RECEIVED YOUR LETTER. I COULDN’T
WAIT ANY LONGER. YOU’VE SEVERED
YOUR CONNECTIONS
IN LIVERPOOL? THERE WASN’T
MUCH TO SEVER. I BROUGHT EVERYTHING
I OWN WITH ME. I SEE. WELL, SIT DOWN,
PLEASE. WELL, YOU ARE GOING
TO USE ME. AREN’T YOU? YOU ARE GOING TO
SEND ME TO CHINA. IT’S QUITE IMPOSSIBLE. WHY? LOOK, I’M TERRIBLY
SORRY ABOUT THIS. I BLAME MYSELF FOR NOT HAVING
BEEN MORE CLEAR
IN MY LETTER, BUT– BUT WHY
CAN’T YOU USE ME? TO BE A MISSIONARY
IN CHINA TODAY IS
FRIGHTFULLY DIFFICULT. I’M NOT SPEAKING
FROM HEARSAY. I SPEND
THREE YEARS THERE FOR EVERY YEAR
I SPEND HERE AT HOME. YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT
YOU’D BE FACING. THE– THE FILTH,
THE SQUALOR, THE HARDSHIPS
IN THE REMOTE AREAS. THAT DOESN’T FRIGHTEN ME.
I’M STRONG. I’M USED TO HARD WORK. MY DEAR GIRL,
DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND? YOU’RE JUST
NOT QUALIFIED. WE SEND TO CHINA ONLY
THOSE OF OUR PEOPLE WHO HAVE VERY
SPECIAL EDUCATION
AND EXPERIENCE. I KNOW. I’VE HAD A VERY
ORDINARY SCHOOLING. AND SINCE THEN
I’VE BEEN A SERVANT, BUT… BUT I’VE READ.
I’VE STUDIED BY MYSELF. I’VE WORKED AT
THE LIVERPOOL MISSION
ON MY DAYS OFF. I UNDERSTOOD THAT
FROM YOUR LETTERS. AND I DO UNDERSTAND THE STRONG CALL
YOU FEEL FOR CHINA,
BUT– BUT IT ISN’T ENOUGH? THANK YOU ANYWAY. HAVE YOU ANY PLANS? N-NO. WELL, FORGIVE ME, BUT ARE YOU
ALL RIGHT FOR MONEY? OH, I’LL GET A JOB. THAT MAY BE DIFFICULT.
THERE’S SO MUCH
UNEMPLOYMENT NOW. I’LL MANAGE. NO, WAIT, PLEASE. I MAY BE ABLE
TO HELP YOU. PEOPLE SOMETIMES
CONTACT US WHEN
THEY HAVE POSITIONS– OLD CHINA HANDS,
CLERGYMEN, AND SO ON. I SUPPOSE THEY FEEL
CONFIDENCE IN ANYONE
WE RECOMMEND. YES, HERE’S ONE– SIR FRANCIS JAMESON,
THE EXPLORER, AND A GOOD FRIEND
TO CHINA MISSIONS. I’D BE VERY HAPPY
TO APPROACH HIM FOR YOU. THAT IS, IF YOU’VE
HAD EXPERIENCE
AS A SECOND MAID. YES. YES, I HAVE. FOR THAT, I’M QUALIFIED. GOOD MORNING. GOOD MORNING. WHAT IS THE FARE
TO CHINA, PLEASE? CHINA? BUT WHERE
IN CHINA, MISS? WELL, WHEREVER I
CAN GET TO THE QUICKEST. EXACTLY £90 BY BOAT. IS THAT
THE CHEAPEST WAY? NO, THAT’S NOT
THE CHEAPEST WAY. THE CHEAPEST WAY
IS OVERLAND– THE
TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILROAD. THAT IS ONLY £41. IT’S A LOT,
BUT IT’S BETTER. UNFORTUNATELY,
IT’S QUITE IMPOSSIBLE. LOOK, UH, WILL YOU
COME OVER HERE? I’LL EXPLAIN. LOOK. THIS
IS THE ROUTE. YOU GO FROM
ENGLAND TO HOLLAND, ACROSS GERMANY, POLAND,
RUSSIA, SIBERIA, CHINA. AT BEST, IT’S
A VERY LONG, DANGEROUS,
AND DIFFICULT TRIP. BUT OVER AND ABOVE THAT,
AT THE MOMENT, THERE’S A SITUATION ON
THE RUSSIAN-CHINESE BORDER TO WHICH BOTH PARTIES
HAVE SENT TROOPS. THERE’S BEEN
CONSIDERABLE DISTURBANCE. OH, THAT DOESN’T MATTER. BUT, MISS,
THERE’S BEEN SHOOTING. THIS MAY
TURN INTO A WAR. WHY WOULD ANYONE
BOTHER ME? MISS, MILFIELDS UNDERTAKES
TO DELIVER ITS CLIENTS
TO THEIR DESTINATIONS– USUALLY IN GOOD HEALTH,
BUT ALWAYS ALIVE. WE CANNOT GUARANTEE
YOUR DELIVERANCE
TO CHINA ALIVE, NOT BY THE OVERLAND ROUTE. I’M ON MY WAY TO
CHELSEA, A MILE AWAY. WHO CAN GUARANTEE
I’LL GET THERE ALIVE? WILL YOU BOOK ME
A PASSAGE, PLEASE? VERY WELL THEN.
FOR WHAT DATE? I DON’T KNOW YET.
I HAVEN’T GOT £41. BUT I’LL PAY
SOMETHING ON ACCOUNT AND COME BACK EVERY WEEK
AND ADD TO IT. I’M VERY RELIABLE. I DON’T DOUBT IT. BUT WE DON’T
SELL TICKETS THAT WAY. LOOK. COULDN’T
YOU SAVE IT UP AND THEN BRING IT IN? I MIGHT GET DISCOURAGED. IF I KNOW I OWN A SMALL
PART OF A TICKET, IT’LL BE EASIER. I’LL TAKE THE PENNIES
AND LEAVE YOU THE REST. THERE IS
£1 AND 5 SHILLINGS. IS THAT ALL YOU HAVE? ISN’T IT ENOUGH
FOR THE FIRST PAYMENT? YOU CAN’T LEAVE YOURSELF
WITH JUST FOUR PENNIES. I’M ON MY WAY
TO A NEW JOB. BUT SUPPOSING YOU
DON’T LIKE THE NEW JOB, OR IT JUST DOESN’T WORK? I’LL MAKE IT WORK. WILL YOU SPELL YOUR
NAME FOR ME PLEASE? LAST NAME FIRST.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *