Death stalked before us and death behind. -- Mary Bainbridge
On 3 June, Sir Claude MacDonald sent a note to Vice-Admiral Seymour assuring him that there was now a "wholesome calm" in Peking and that the legations would be the very last place to be attacked. The remaining German and Austrian guards had arrived safely that day from Tientsin, and Sir Claude believed that the Chinese had been taught a salutary lesson. He had no qualms about sending his two little daughters, Stella and Ivy, to the British Legation's summer residence in the Western Hills in the care of his sister-inlaw Miss Armstrong and an escort of marines.
The apparent tranquillity in Peking was deceptive. Out in the country the harrying of Christians was becoming more violent and systematic. A distressed Sarah Conger wrote in her diary that telegrams for help keep coming." She was very anxious for the safety of the missionaries but could understand their dilemma. "It seems advisable for them to flee to more promising places of safety, but they are not willing to leave their missions to be burned and their converts to be murdered." Reports began to filter in of the murder of two British missionaries, Harry Norman and Charles Robinson, just fifty miles south of Peking. There was also alarming news that stations were again being burned and that the railway line to Tientsin was being systematically ripped up by the Boxers.