Did You Know: Hudson Taylor’s Christmas Story

On Christmas day, 1856, the missionary compound had a party where a friendship between Hudson Taylor and Maria Dyer developed.  For a time Hudson Taylor forgot his troubles of loneliness and prospect in China that was under long shadows of war.  He wrote to his sister Amelia, “We had a famous dinner—beef and plum pudding—and in the afternoon the Misses Dyer enlivened us playing some duets on Mr. Gough’s piano-forte, a very superior one, so with the party and my mail I had quite a treat. You see you have not all the good things at home.”  On the next day,  December 26, Maria had tea with Mary Jones at their home with Hudson Taylor. To her secret pleasure, as Maria had studiously kept her feelings for Hudson Taylor, Hudson Taylor escorted Maria home. While accompanying her home, his thoughts and ‘lingering hope’ were still far away with Elizabeth Sisson with whom he had three years’ countship before he left England.  Nothing in the diary or contemporary letters suggests that this was more than the required courtesy.  By Chinese custom, they would have walked suitably far apart, with a serving woman in attendance.  But they were coming to know each other.  On November 14, 1857, Hudson Taylor and Maria decided to get engaged.


(Source: A. J. Broomhall, The Shaping of Modern China: Hudson Taylor’s Life and Legacy. Volume 1, pp. 383-4, 390.)


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