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Title: In the Forbidden Land
Author: Landor, A. Henry Savage (Arnold Henry Savage), 1865-1924
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_Times_: "The ordinary reader will be struck with the portraits, which
show that in a very few weeks he must have endured a lifetime of
concentrated misery. Other travellers, no doubt, have gone further, but
none who have escaped with their lives have fared worse.... Mr. Landor
tells a plain and manly tale, without affectation or bravado. It is a
book, certainly, that will be read with interest and excitement."

_Athenæum_: "The account he has written of his travels and adventures is
vivid and often fascinating. His frequent notices of curious customs are
full of interest, and numerous illustrations from photographs or sketches
taken on the spot render this one of the most attractive records of
travel published recently."

_Guardian_: "Life, according to Mr. Landor, has 'barely a dull moment,'
and the gloomiest of us will admit that this is at least true of that
part of life which may be devoted to the reading of his latest book."

_World_: "He has contrived, even in circumstances of cruel disadvantage,
to present a wonderfully minute and impressive series of pictures of the
life, manners, and customs of the Tibetans. No less powerful and vivid
are his descriptions of the scenery and natural phenomena of the
Forbidden Land, which are reinforced by an ample series of illustrations
that attain a high standard of artistic excellence. Mr. Landor's bitter
experiences have had at least the advantage of providing him with
material for the most absorbing travel book produced within recent

_Daily Telegraph_: "Mr. Landor's story is one of the most extraordinary
tales of modern times, yet even the most sceptical reader will admire the
vigour with which it is told, and the endurance with which the explorer
and his faithful servants bore up against their savage captors."

_Standard_: "The book fascinates ... The verbal pictures it gives are
extremely vivid, and the effect of them is greatly heightened by the
numerous drawings and photographs by the author. Mr. Landor is an artist
as well as traveller and writer, and he knows how to use his pencil and
brush to emphasise his letter-press. Whatever may be said of the wisdom
of his enterprises, his book is certainly a remarkable contribution to
the literature of modern travel."

_Daily News_: "The great library of travel in the East has not received
for many a year a more important addition than this bright, picturesque,
and instructive volume."

_Daily Chronicle_: "Mr. Landor is an artist as well as a writer, and this
handsome volume is most lavishly illustrated with sketches and
photographs. Apart from its intense interest as a story of stirring
adventure, the book is a valuable storehouse of information on Southern
Tibet and its people, and on the little known Indian district of Northern
Kumaon. This is surely a record of devotion to geographical science such
as no previous explorer has been able to show."















_With Two Hundred and Fifty-one Illustrations
And a Map_




_First Edition (2 Vols. 8vo), October 1898_
_New Impression (2 Vols. 8vo), November 1898_
_New Edition (1 Vol. 8vo), May 1899_

_This Edition enjoys copyright in all
Countries signatory to the Berne
Treaty, and is not to be imported into
the United States of America._





IN this book I have set down the record of a journey in Tibet undertaken
by me during the spring, summer and autumn of 1897. It is illustrated
partly from my photographs and partly from sketches made by me on the
spot. Only as regards the torture scenes have I had to draw from memory,
but it will be easily conceded that their impression must be vivid enough
with me.

The map is made entirely from my surveys of an area of twelve thousand
five hundred square miles in Tibet proper. In Chapter VI. the altitudes
of such high peaks in India as Nanda Devi and others are taken from the
Trigonometrical Survey, and so are the positions fixed by astronomical
observations of the starting and terminating points of my surveys at the
places where I entered and left Tibet.

In the orthography of geographical names I have adopted the course
advised by the Royal Geographical Society--viz., to give the names their
true sound as they are locally pronounced, and I have made no exception
even for the grand and poetic "Himahlya" which is in English usually
distorted into the unmusical and unromantic word "Himalayas."

I submit with all deference the following geographical results of my

The solution of the uncertainty regarding the division of the Mansarowar
and Rakstal Lakes.

The ascent to so great an altitude as 22,000 feet, and the pictures of
some of the great Himahlyan glaciers.

The visit to and the fixing of the position of the two principal sources
of the Brahmaputra, never before reached by a European.

The fact that with only two men I was able to travel for so long in the
most populated part of Tibet.

In addition to the above, I am glad to state that owing to the publicity
which I gave on my return to the outrageous Tibetan abuses taking place
on British soil, the Government of India at last, in the summer of 1898,
notified the Tibetan authorities that they will no longer be permitted to
collect Land Revenue from British subjects there. This fact gives me
special satisfaction, because of the exceptional courtesy and kindness
bestowed on me by our mountain tribesmen, the Shokas.

The Government Report of the official Investigation of my case, as well
as other documents substantiating the details of my narrative, are
printed in an appendix.

A. H. S. L.

_May 1899_





     Loads--A set of useful pack-saddle cases--Provisions and scientific
     outfit--Clothes and shoes--Medicines--Under way--The first
     march--Servants--How I came to employ faithful Chanden Sing pp. 4-10

     Pithoragarh--Fakir women--A well-ventilated abode--Askote--The
     Rajiwar and his people Pp. 11-16

     The Raots--A slippery journey--Superstitious notions--Anger and
     jealousy--Friends--To the homes of the
     savages--Photography--Habitations Pp. 17-26

     A pilgrim from Mansarowar Lake--The spirits of the mountains--A
     safeguard against them--Tibetan encampments--The Rajiwar--A
     waterfall--Watermills Pp. 27-34

     Highways and trade routes--The Darma route--The Dholi River--A rough
     track connecting two valleys--Glaciers--Three ranges and their
     peaks--Altitudes--_Darma, Johar_, and the _Painkhanda_ Parganas--The
     highest peak in the British Empire--Natural boundaries Pp. 35-40

     The word _Bhot_ and its meaning--Tibetan influence--Tibetan
     abuses--The ever-helpful Chanden Sing--The first Shoka
     village--Chanden Sing in disgrace--Weaving-loom--Fabrics--All's well
     that ends well Pp. 41-45

     Prayers by wind-power--Photography under difficulties--A night of
     misery--Drying up--Two lady missionaries--Their valuable work--An
     interesting dinner party--An "eccentric" man's tea party Pp. 46-52

     Discouraging reports--A steep ascent--How I came to deserve the name
     of "monkey"--Hard at work--Promoted in rank--Collapse in a gale of
     wind--Time and labour lost Pp. 53-56

     The _Nerpani_, or "waterless track"--Exaggerated accounts--A long
     shot--The rescue of two coolies--Picturesque Nature--An involuntary
     shower-bath--The _Chai_ Pass Pp. 57-62

     A series of misfortunes--Tibetan atrocities on British
     subjects--Tibetan exactions--Revolting cruelty to one of her
     Majesty's subjects--Assault on a British officer--A smart British
     Envoy Pp. 63-68

     Tibetan threats--My birthday--Ravenous dogs--A big dinner--Shoka
     hospitality Pp. 69-73

     Shoka hospitality--How I obtained much information--On a
     reconnoitring trip--A terrible slide Pp. 74-80

     A palaver--To see is to believe--Dangers and perils on the snow and
     ice--_Thar_ and _Ghural_--Stalking--A tiring climb to 16,000
     feet--The collapse of a snow bridge Pp. 81-85

     An earthquake--Curious notions of the natives--A Shoka tailor and
     his ways--The arrival of silver cash--Two rocks in the
     Kali--Arrogance of a Tibetan spy Pp. 86-91

     The _Rambang_--Shoka music--Love-songs--Doleful singing--Abrupt
     ending--Solos--Smoking--When marriage is contemplated--The
     _Delang_--Adultery--Punishment Pp. 92-97

     FUNERAL RITES: Departure of the Soul--Cremation--Amusement of the
     dead man's soul--The lay figure--Feasting--Doleful
     dance--Transmigration of the soul--Expensive ceremonies--Offerings
     before the lay figure--Dancing and contortions--Martial dances--Solo
     dances--The animal to be sacrificed and the lay figure--Chasing the
     animal from the village--Tearing out its heart--The yak driven over
     a precipice--Head shaving--A sacred cave Pp. 98-110

     Touching Shoka farewell--Feelings curiously expressed--Sobs and
     tears--The start--A funereal procession--Distressed father and
     mother--Kachi and Dola the worse for drink--Anxious moments--The
     bridge destroyed Pp. 111-115

     A dangerous track--Perilous passage--A curious bridge over a
     precipice--Pathetic Shoka custom--Small misadventures--A grand
     reception--Tea for all tastes Pp. 116-119

     Dr. Wilson joins my expedition for a few marches--What misdeeds a
     photographic camera can do--Weighing, dividing, and packing
     provisions--Two extra men wanted--The last friendly faces Pp.

     The Kuti Castle--Under way--Our first disaster--A cheerful and a
     sulky coolie--Mansing--A brigand--A strange medley of followers--A
     character--Tailoring--Fields of stones--Troublesome rivers--The
     Jolinkan or Lebung Pass--Sense of humour--Pleased with small
     comforts Pp. 123-130

     Want of fuel--Cooking under difficulty--Mansing lost and
     found--Saved from summary justice--Tibetan visitors--We purchase
     sheep--The snow-line--Cold streams--The petrified _chapati_ and
     human hand Pp. 131-136

     The scout's return--A small exploring party--The Mangshan glacier
     Pp. 137-140

     Snow and troublesome _débris_--The doctor's sufferings--Kachi
     disabled--Further trials--A weird apparition--Delirium--All
     safe--The descent Pp. 141-147

     The sources of the Kuti River--The Lumpiya glacier--The summit of
     the range--Bird's-eye view of Tibet--Rubso frozen almost to
     death--The Lumpiya Pass--Two coolies in distress Pp. 148-153

     Mysterious footprints--Brigand or spy?--Passes and tracks--Intense
     cold--No fuel--A high flat plateau--Fuel at last!--Two spies in
     disguise--What they took us for Pp. 154-157

     Lama Chokden--A Tibetan guard--The sacred Kelas--Reverence of my men
     for the sacred Mountain--Trying hard to keep friends with the
     gods--_Obos_--Water flowing to us Pp. 158-161

     An extensive valley--Kiang, or wild horse--Their strange ways--The
     Gyanema fort--Apprehension at our appearance--A parley--"Cut off our
     heads!"--Revolt and murder contemplated--Hypocritica ways of Tibetan
     officials--Help summoned from everywhere--Preparing for war Pp.

     Arrival of a high official--The Barca Tarjum--A tedious palaver--The
     Tarjum's anxiety--Permission to proceed--A traitor--Entreated to
     retrace our steps--Thirty armed horsemen--A pretty speech Pp.

     Spying our movements--Disguised sepoys--A gloomy
     look-out--Troublesome followers--Another march back--An amusing
     incident Pp. 174-177

     An attempt that failed--A resolution--A smart Shoka lad--The plucky
     Chanden Sing proposes to accompany me--Mansing the leper becomes my
     servant's servant Pp. 178-181

     "Devil's Camp"--A fierce snowstorm--Abandoning our tents--Dangers
     and perils in prospect--Collecting the men--One load too
     many!--Another man wanted and found--A propitious night--Good-bye to
     Wilson--The escape--Brigands Pp. 182-186

     S.E. wind--Hungry and half frozen--Lakes at 18,960 feet above
     sea-level--Cold food at high altitudes--Buried in snow--Mansing's
     sufferings--Fuel at last Pp. 187-191

     Dacoits--No nonsense allowed--A much-frequented region--A
     plateau--The Gyanema-Taklakot track--A dangerous spot--Soldiers
     waiting for us--Burying our baggage--Out of provisions--A fall into
     the Gakkon River--A bright idea--Nettles our only diet Pp. 192-197

     All that remained of my men's provisions--The plan to enter the
     fort--Appearance of yaks--A band of brigands--Erecting
     fortifications--Changes in the temperature--Soldiers in search of us
     Pp. 198-201

     "Terror Camp"--Two more messengers leave camp--A tribe of Dogpas--A
     strange sahib--Our messengers return from Taklakot--The account and
     adventures of their mission--In great distress--Two fakirs who
     suffered through me--Five hundred rupees offered for my head--The
     Shokas want to abandon me--A plot--How it failed Pp. 202-206

     A Tibetan guard's encampment--Nattoo volunteers to be a
     guide--Treachery and punishment of the Shokas--All ways forward
     barred to me--Evading the soldiers by another perilous march at
     night--Mansing again lost--A marvellous phenomenon--Sufferings of my
     men--Severe cold Pp. 207-210

     Night marching--The Lafan and Mafan Lakes--Tize, the sacred
     Kelas--Rhubarb--Butterflies--A hermit Lama--More Dacoits--Surrounded
     by them--Routed Pp. 211-216

     Spied and followed by robbers--Jogpas' hospitality--Hares--Tibetan
     charms resisted--Attempt to snatch Chanden Sing's rifle out of his
     hands--The ridge between the Rakas and Mansarowar Lakes Pp. 217-219

     More robbers--The friends of Tibetan authorities--A snap-shot--A
     meek lot--Prepossessing female and her curious ways--The purchase of
     two yaks Pp. 220-224

     Tibetan coats, hats, and boots--Why a Tibetan prefers to leave half
     the chest and one arm bare--Ornamentations--Manner and
     speech--Ignorance and superstition--Way of eating--Jogpa women and
     children--Head-dress Pp. 225-230

     A Daku's strange ideas--The ridge between the two lakes--Black
     tents--Confronting the two lakes--A chain of high
     peaks--Gombas--Change in the weather Pp. 231-234

     The Langa Tsangpo--A terrific storm--Drenched to the skin--Heavy
     marching--Against the gods--Difficulty in finding the Lamasery and
     village--A bark!--Arrival at last--Gentle tapping--Under a roof Pp.

     The interior of a _serai_--Vermin--Fish, local jewellery, and
     pottery for sale--Favourite shapes and patterns--How pottery is made
     Pp. 239-241

     Friendly Lamas--Chanden Sing and Mansing purified--Mansing's
     sarcasm--Pilgrims to Mansarowar and their privileges--For
     luck!--Outside the Gomba Pp. 242-244

     Entering the Lamasery--The Lama's dwelling--Novices--Were we in a
     trap?--Images--Oblations--Urghin--The holy water, the veil of
     friendship, and absolution--Musical instruments, books, &c.--God and
     the Trinity--Heaven and hell--A mystery Pp. 245-248

     The Jong Pen's statements regarding me--Sects of
     Lamas--Lamaseries--Government allowance--Ignorance of the
     crowds--How Lamas are recruited--Lamas, novices, and menials--Dances
     and hypnotism--Infallibility--Celibacy and
     vice--Sculptors--Prayer-wheels and revolving
     instruments--Nunneries--Human bones for eating vessels and musical
     instruments--Blood-drinking Pp. 249-256

     Illnesses and remedies--Curious theories about fever--Evil
     spirits--Blacksmith and dentist--Exorcisms--Surgical
     operations--Massage and cupping--Incurable
     illnesses--Deformities--Deafness--Fits and
     insanity--Melancholia--Suicides Pp. 257-264

     A Tibetan medicine-man--Lumbago, and a startling cure for
     it--Combustible fuses--Fire and butter--Prayers, agony and
     distortions--Strange ideas on medicine Pp. 265-267

     Tucker village--Chokdens--Houses--Flying prayers--Soldiers or
     robbers?--A stampede--Fresh
     provisions--Disappointment--Treachery--Shokas leave
     me--Observations--Five men, all counted! Pp. 268-270

     The start with a further reduced party--A reconnaissance--Natural
     fortress--Black tents and animals--On the wrong tack--Slings and
     their use--A visit to a Tibetan camp--Mistaken for
     brigands--Bargaining and begging Pp. 271-275

     What the men were like--Their timidity--Leather work--Metal
     work--Blades and swords--Filigree--Saddles and harness--Pack saddles
     Pp. 276-279

     Rain in torrents--A miserable night--A gorge--A gigantic
     inscription--Sheltered under boulders--A fresh surprise--Only two
     followers left Pp. 280-282

     My time fully occupied--Our own yak drivers--A heavy blow--Along the
     stream--Soldiers in pursuit of us--Discovered Pp. 283-286

     An interview--Peace or war?--Gifts and the scarf of friendship--The
     _Kata_--The end of a friendly visit Pp. 287-289

     Rain in torrents--A swampy plain--The sun at last--Our yaks stolen
     and recovered Pp. 290-294

     Travelling Tibetans--Over a high pass--A friendly meeting--A
     proffered banquet--Ascent to 20,000 feet--Looking for the Gunkyo
     Lake--Surprised by a phantom army Pp. 295-297

     A sleepless night--Watching our enemy--A picturesque sight--A
     messenger--Soldiers from Lhassa--Taken for a Kashmeree--The Gunkyo
     Lake Pp. 298-301

     In pleasant company--Unpopularity of the Lamas--Soldiers--Towards
     the Maium Pass--Grass--Threats--Puzzled Tibetans--The Maium
     Pass--Obos Pp. 302-305

     The Maium Pass--Into the Yutzang province--Its capital--The Doktol
     province--Orders disregarded--The sources of the Brahmaputra--Change
     in the climate--The valley of the Brahmaputra--Running risks Pp.

     Expecting trouble--Along the Brahmaputra--A thunderstorm--A
     dilemma--A dangerous river--Swamped--Saved--Night disturbers--A new
     friend Pp. 309-312

     Leaving the course of the river--A pass--An arid plain--More
     vanishing soldiers--Another river--A _mani_ wall--_Mirage?_--A large
     Tibetan encampment--The chain of mountains north of us Pp. 313-315

     A commotion--An invitation declined--The tents--Delicacies--The
     _Chokseh_ Pp. 316-320

     Refusal to sell food--Women--Their looks and characteristics--The
     _Tchukti_--A Lhassa lady Pp. 321-326

     Polyandry--Marriage ceremonies--Jealousy--Divorce--Identification of
     children--Courtship--Illegitimacy--Adultery Pp. 327-333

     Tibetan funerals--Disposal of their dead--By cremation--By
     water--Cannibalism--Strange beliefs--Revolting barbarity--Drinking
     human blood--The saints of Tibet Pp. 334-337

     Another commotion--Two hundred soldiers--A stampede--Easy
     travelling--A long _mani_ wall--Mosquitoes Pp. 338-341

     Washing-day--A long march--_Kiang_ and antelope--Benighted--The
     purchase of a goat--Ramifications of the Brahmaputra--A
     détour--Through a swamp--Mansing again lost and found Pp. 342-345

     The alarm given--Our bad manners--A peaceful settlement--A large
     river--Gigantic peak--Again on marshy soil Pp. 346-348

     Another Tibetan encampment--Uncontrollable animals--A big
     stream--Washed away--In dreadful suspense--Rescuing the yak--Diving
     at great altitudes and its effects--How my two followers got
     across--A precarious outlook and a little comfort Pp. 349-351

     Hungry and worn--A sense of humour--Two buckets of milk--No food to
     be obtained--Chanden Sing and Mansing in a wretched state--Their
     fidelity--Exhaustion Pp. 352-354

     Eighty black tents--Starved--Kindly natives--Presents--Ando and his
     promises--A Friendly Lama--A low pass--My plans Pp. 355-357

     Strange noises--Ando the traitor--Purchasing provisions and
     ponies--A handsome pony--Decoyed away from my tent and
     rifles--Pounced upon--The fight--A prisoner Pp. 358-361

     Chanden Sing's plucky resistance--Mansing secured--A signal--A
     treacherous Lama--Confiscation of baggage--Watches, compasses and
     aneroids--Fear and avidity--The air-cushion--Dragged into the
     encampment Pp. 362-366

     A warning to my men--Calm and coolness--The Pombo's tent--Chanden
     Sing cross-examined and flogged Pp. 367-369

     Led before the tribunal--The Pombo--Classical Tibetan beyond
     me--Chanden Sing lashed--The Lamas puzzled--A sudden change in the
     Pombo's attitude Pp. 370-373

     My note-books and maps--What the Lamas wanted me to say--My
     refusal--Anger and threats--Ando the traitor--Chanden Sing's
     heroism--A scene of cruelty--Rain Pp. 374-376

     A high military officer--A likely friend--A soldier and not a
     Lama--His sympathy--Facts about the Tibetan army Pp. 377-379

     Sarcasm appreciated--Kindness--A change for the worse--The place for
     an Englishman--Vermin--A Tibetan prayer Pp. 380-382

     The Rupun as a friend--Treated with respect and deference--Fed by
     the Rupun and soldiers--Improving my knowledge of Tibetan Pp.

     A bearer of bad news--Marched off to the mud-house--Mansing--Insults
     and humiliations--Iron handcuffs instead of ropes--The Rupun's
     sympathy--No more hope--In the hands of the mob Pp. 386-389

     A pitiful scene--A struggle to get to Chanden Sing--Brutally
     treated--A torturing saddle--Across country at a gallop--A spirited
     pony--Sand deposits and hills--Speculation--More horsemen coming
     towards us Pp. 390-392

     At an unpleasant pace--Drawing near the cavalcade--A picturesque
     sight--A shot fired at me--Terrible effects of the spikes along my
     spine--The rope breaks--An ill omen--A second shot misses
     me--Arrows--The end of my terrible ride Pp. 393-397

     Intense pain--Hustled to the execution-ground--Stretched and
     tied--Thirsting for blood--A parade of torturing appliances--The
     music--The _Taram_ Pp. 398-401

     Bleeding all over--Insulted and spat upon--"Kill him!"--Urging on
     the executioner--Refusal to stoop--An unpleasant sword exercise--The
     execution suspended Pp. 402-405

     Mansing arrives--A pretence of killing him--Our execution
     postponed--Fed by the Lamas Pp. 406-407

     Happiness checked--Stretched on the rack--Mansing shares my
     fate--Drenched and in rags--An unsolved mystery Pp. 408-410

     Mansing partially untied after twelve hours on the rack--Numbed--How
     the brain works under such circumstances--My scientific
     instruments--The end of my photographic plates--A paint-box accused
     of occult powers--An offer refused--Courtesy and cruelty combined
     Pp. 411-412

     An unknown article in Tibet--My sponge bewitched--A Lama fires my
     Martini-Henry--The rifle bursts Pp. 413-415

     A consultation--Untied from the rack--The most terrible twenty-four
     hours of my life--I lose the use of my feet--Circulation
     returning--Intense pain--Sports Pp. 416-417

     A great relief--The Pombo's attentions--A weird hypnotic dance Pp.

     Compliments exchanged--A poisoned drink proffered--In acute
     pain--Uncertainty as to our fate--Working the oracle--My webbed
     fingers Pp. 421-423

     Our lives to be spared--An unpleasant march--Chanden Sing still
     alive--A sleepless night--Towards the frontier--Long and painful
     marches--How we slept at night--A map drawn with blood Pp. 424-428

     South of the outward journey--Severity of our guard--Ventriloquism
     and its effects--Terrible but instructive days--The Southern source
     of the Brahmaputra--Leaving Yutzang Pp. 429-430

     Easier times--Large encampments--Suffocating a goat--A Tarjum's
     encampment--Tokchim--Old friends--Musicians--Charity Pp. 431-434

     Towards Mansarowar--Mansing's vision--Bathing in Mansarowar Pp.

     Suna--Wilson and the Political Peshkar across the frontier--A
     messenger--Our progress stopped--Diverting us over the Lumpiya
     Pass--Condemned to certain death--We attack our guard--Lapsang and
     the Jong Pen's private secretary--A document--Nearing
     Kardam--Retracing our steps--Dogmar Pp. 438-444

     A Commotion--The arrival of an army--Elected General-in-chief--How
     we were to slaughter the Jong Pen's soldiers--My men lay down their
     arms--Towards Taklakot--Delaling and Sibling--Taklakot at last Pp.

     Free at last--Among friends--Forgetting our past
     troubles--Confiscated baggage returned--A scene with Nerba--Suna's
     message delivered--How our release was brought about--Across the
     frontier--Photography at Gungi Pp. 450-456

     Civilisation once more--Paralysis--The Tinker Pass in Nepal--Kindly
     natives--Mr. Larkin--Government Inquiry--Back to Tibet--Final
     good-bye to the Forbidden Land--The return journey--Farewell to
     Mansing--Home again Pp. 457-470

APPENDIX Pp. 471-501

INDEX Pp. 503-508



A. Henry Savage Landor and his Two Faithful Servants  Frontispiece
A Chinese Passport  1
My Faithful Companion  7
My Start from Naini Tal  9
Castle at Pithoragarh  12
Lepers  13
My Abode at Askote  14
A Young Man  17
Raot on Tree  18
Raots  19
Head of Young Man  21
Two Men with Children sitting down  22
A Young Man  24
Raot Women of the Forest  26
The Rajiwar of Askote, his Brother and Son  27
Fakir Returning from Mansarowar  28
The Rajiwar and his Brother in Dandies  32
View of the Himahlyas--showing Nanda Devi and Trisul Peaks  35
Darma Shokas and Tibetans  36
View of the Himahlyas. Showing Nanda Devi and Trisul Peaks  37
Shoka Weavers  42
Shrine and Flying Prayers  46
Wrinkled Shoka  48
Lal Sing Tokudar and his Brother  49
House of a Wealthy Shoka  51
The Tent  55
Nerpani Road  57
The Nerpani Road  58
The Nerpani Track  59
The Nerpani Road  59
The Chai-Lek (Pass)  60
A Narrow Gorge between Two Mountains  61
The Gates of Garbyang  64
Matan Sing Chaprassi  66
Narenghiri Chaprassi  66
Garbyang  67
The House where I Stayed at Garbyang  69
Shoka House with Strange Ladder  71
Shoka Houses  72
Shoka Child Smeared with Butter which is Left to be Absorbed in the Sun  73
Shoka Child being Smeared with Butter  75
The Master of a High School, Altitude 10,940 Feet  76
Gungi Shankom  77
Zazzela Mount, near Gungi  78
Involuntary Tobogganing  79
Chiram  80
Kuti  82
Snow Bridges over the Kuti River  83
Old Shoka Woman Smoking  84
A Well-attended School  87
My Banker and Agent  88
The Valley of Garbyang  89
Chanden Sing and the Daku Rolling up my Bedding  91
Motema, a Shoka Beauty  92
On the Way to the Rambang  93
Shoka Earrings  94
Silver Earrings of Tibetan Origin with Coral Beads  95
Shoka Woman Weaving  96
Rambang Girls with Ornaments  97
Weeping Women under White Cloth  99
Shoka Funeral Pile  100
Women Dusting and Caressing the Lay Figure  101
Women Dancing Round the Lay Figure  102
Dance in Front of Deceased Man's House  103
The Goat with Soul of Deceased being Fed  104
Goat with Soul and Clothes of Deceased  105
Sending the Goat away from the Village  106
Martial Dance round Lay Figure  107
Tearing out the Heart of the Goat  108
Yak driven over Precipice  109
Kachi and his Relations  111
The Patan Summoning my Coolies from the Roof of his House  112
The Chongur Bridge Previous to being Destroyed  114
A Perilous Passage  117
The Photograph that Caused the Child's Death  121
Plan of Kuti Castle  123
The Kuti Castle  125
Mansing the Leper showing his Hands  126
The Jolinkan or Lebung Pass  128
Camping in Snow  133
The Snow-Line at 16,000 Feet  135
The Mangshan Glacier  139
The Spectre and Circular Rainbow  145
"I Roused the Rongba"  146
Ascending the Lumpiya Pass  149
The Lumpiya Glacier and Pass  151
Spied  155
My Men Salaaming Kelas at Lama Chokden  159
The Arrival of Reinforcements  169
The Barca Tarjum and his Officers  171
"At Night I led my men up the mountain in a fierce snowstorm"  183
Buried in Snow  189
Sheep Carrying Load  193
Dacoits with a Booty of Sheep  195
Behind our Bulwarks  199
Our First View of Rakastal  212
Rakastal and Mansarowar Lakes  214
A Dacoit  219
The Bandits laid down their Arms  221
Pack-saddles for Yaks  223
White Woollen Coat and Sashes  226
Woollen Socks  226
Man's Boot, Made at Sigatz; Snow Boot  227
Woman's Boot; Boot Made in Lhassa  227
Hat, as Worn by Officials  228
A Black Yak  232
A Tibetan Fortune Teller  234
My Two Yaks  237
Silver Lhassa Coins  239
Copper Coins; Earring Worn by Men  240
Silver Charm  240
Gold and Malachite Brooch  240
Mansarowar Pottery  241
Entrance to the Tucker Temple  246
Tucker Village and Gomba  251
Stone with Inscription  254
Prayer-wheels--Ancient and Modern.
    Showing Rolls of Prayers to Go Inside  255
Stone with Inscription  256
Branch with Thorns to Prevent Return of Evil Spirits  260
The Tokchim Tarjum  264
A Medicine-man  267
The Panku Gomba  269
Sling  272
A Natural Castle  273
Woman carrying Child in Basket  274
Tibetan Young Man  277
Swords  278
Saddle  279
Camp with Gigantic Inscription  281
Yak with Cases of Scientific Instruments  284
With only Two Men I proceeded towards Lhassa  285
A Kala  288
Torrential Rain  291
Head of Brigand  292
Brigands with Sheep  293
Saddle Bags  294
Phantom-like Visitors  296
The Gunkyo Lake  299
"I am only a Messenger"  300
Flying Prayers on the Maium Pass  303
Matchlocks  304
Source of the Brahmaputra  307
Tibetan Dog  310
Small Mani Wall  311
An Effect of Mirage  314
Black Tent  317
A Dongbo, or Tea Churn  318
The Interior of a Tent  319
Tsamgo  320
Small Tsamba Bag, carried on the Person by Tibetans  320
Tibetan Hair-brushes and Flint-and-steel Pouch  322
Tibetan Women and Children  323
The Tchukti  324
A Lady from Lhassa  325
Money Bags  326
Woman whose Face is Smeared with Black Ointment  328
Tibetan Woman  329
The Lady in Question  330
Tibetan Children  331
A Young Lama  334
A Red Lama  335
Cup made of a Human Skull  336
Chokden, or Tomb of a Saint  336
A Mani Wall on the Road to Lhassa  339
"And I give you this to make you go back"  340
Kiang  343
Our Yaks Sinking in Mud  344
Carpenter and Saddle-maker  347
Old Woman  348
Contrivance for Carrying Loads  349
Rescuing a Yak  350
Drinking out of a Bucket  353
Shrine inside Tent  354
Mud Guard-house  356
Tibetan Bellows  357
A Distaff  358
Purchasing Ponies  359
I was a Prisoner  360
Rope Riding-whip  361
Earring worn by High Officials  362
Dragged into the Settlement  363
A Spear  364
Tibetans overhauling our Baggage  365
The Pombo's Tent  368
Chanden Sing being Lashed  371
The Pombo  372
A Soldier  374
Soldier with Pigtail wound round his Head  375
An Officer  376
Purse; Flint and Steel; Snuff-box  377
Flint-and-steel Pouch  378
Leather Horse-whip  379
Charm-box  380
Pukus, or Wooden Cups  383
Soldier laying before me the Programme of Tortures  387
Handcuffs  388
Padlock and Key  389
"Sir, sir, I am dying"  391
Spiked Saddle  392
Nerba Firing at Me  394
The Ride on a Spiked Saddle  395
Coat I Wore at the Time of My Capture, Showing Effect of Spikes  396
A Display of Various Instruments of Torture  398
Lama Musicians  399
The Hot Iron Torture  399
The Taram  400
A Bannerman  403
The Executioner Brought the Sword Down to My Neck  404
Thus Elapsed Twenty-four terrible Hours  409
Belt, with Bullet and Powder Pouches, Dagger, Needle-case,
    and Flint and Steel  414
Martini-Henry Exploded  415
The Pombo's Contortions  419
The Finale of the Dance  420
Chanden Sing tied to a Post  425
A White Yak  426
Map Drawn with Blood during Captivity  427
One of Our Guard  430
Soldier Suffocating Goat  432
Strolling Musicians  433
Old Beggar  434
A Tibetan Shepherd  436
Interior of a Serai  437
Tea Churn (open)  438
A Bearer of Bad News  439
A Shoka Tibetan Half-caste  440
Sheep Loads for Borax and Grain  441
A Jumli Shed  442
We Attacked our Guard with Stones  443
Lapsang and the Jong Pen's Private Secretary  444
Jumli Trader and His Wife in Tibet  446
Cliff Habitations  447
Chokdens near Taklakot  448
Taklakot Fort  449
Pundit Gobaria  450
Dr. Wilson  451
Karak Sing Pal, the Political Peshkar  452
Mansing Showing Cuts under his Feet  453
A Glance at the Forbidden Land from the Lippu Pass  454
The Author, February and October  455
Chanden Sing's Legs, Showing Marks of Lashes and Wounds Healed  456
Mr. J. Larkin  457
Chanden Sing and Mansing enjoying their first Meal according
    to the Rules of their Castes  458
A Tibetan Temporary Shed  459
A Shaky Passage on the Nerpani Road  460
View of Askote, Showing Rajiwar's Palace  461
Snapshot of Shoka Villagers being Routed  461
Dr. Wilson, Myself, Mr. Larkin, the Political Peshkar,
    and Jagat Sing ready to ascend the Lippu Pass  462
Tinker in Nepal  463
On the Lippu Pass  464
Mr. Larkin's Party and Mine Halting near the Lippu Pass  465
Mr. Larkin looking out for the Jong Pen from the Lippu Pass  466
Bathing at 16,300 Feet  467
Dharchula. Deserted Habitations of Shokas  467
"I told you," exclaimed the old savage, "that whoever visits
    the home of the Raots will have misfortune"  468
A Picturesque Bit of Almora  469
Raots Listening to the Account of My Misfortunes  470
Map of South-Western Tibet, showing Author's Route and Return, Journey  470



[Illustration: A CHINESE PASSPORT]

ON leaving London, I intended to proceed _viâ_ Germany to Russia,
traverse Russian Turkestan, Bokhara and Chinese Turkestan, and from there
enter Tibet. The Russian Government had readily granted me a special
permission to take free of duty through their territory my firearms,
ammunition, provisions, photographic cameras, surveying and other
scientific instruments, and moreover informed me, through H.E. Sir
Nicholas O'Conor, then our Ambassador in St. Petersburg, that I should be
privileged to travel on the military railway through Turkestan, as far as
the terminus at Samarakand. I feel under a great obligation to the
Russian Embassy in London for the extreme courtesy shown me, and I desire
to acknowledge this at the outset, especially because that route might
very likely have saved me much of the suffering and disappointment I was
subjected to through going by way of India.

I was provided with introductions and credentials from the Marquis of
Salisbury, the British Museum of Natural History, etc., I was carrying
scientific instruments for the Royal Geographical Society, and I had a
British and two Chinese passports.

Having forwarded all my explosives by an ammunition vessel to Russia (the
German railways absolutely refusing to carry cartridges), I heard to my
dismay, only a few days previous to leaving London, that the steamer had
stranded just before reaching her port of destination, and that grave
doubts were entertained as to the possibility of saving even a portion of
her cargo. This was at the time of the outbreak of the Turco-Greek War,
and the Russians were reported to be mobilising their troops along the
Afghan frontier. I did not wish to delay my journey, and although my
preparations were complete for going through Russia, I nevertheless
decided to abandon that plan and go to India, with a view to penetrating
over the Himahlya into Tibet. I sailed for India on March 19, on the P.
and O. ss. _Peninsular_, and reached Bombay three weeks later.

It was my first visit to India, and my first impression was certainly not
a good one. The heat was intense, and signs of the plague were
discernible everywhere. The streets were deserted and the hotels bad and
dirty for want of servants, who had abandoned the town in fear of the

Accompanied by a Parsee friend, I went to several of the districts of
Bombay chiefly affected by the disease, but I noticed, wherever I went,
little else than a strong odour of disinfectants. It is true there were
few houses in those parts which had not ten, twenty, and even more
circular red marks, denoting as many deaths, and on one door, which I
photographed, I counted no less than forty-nine circles. But I was unable
to gauge personally with any sort of accuracy the nature or extent of the
disease, beyond seeing in the hospitals a few violent cases of bubonic

On the day following my arrival in Bombay, I proceeded by rail to
Bareilly, which was reached in three days, and from there one more night
brought me to Kathgodam, the terminus of the railway line. Travelling
partly by Tonga (a two-wheeled vehicle drawn by two horses) and partly on
horseback, I found myself at last at Naini Tal, a hill station in the
lower Himahlyas and the summer seat of the Government of the North-West
Provinces and Oudh, from whence I wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor,
informing him of my intention to proceed to Tibet. I also called on the
Deputy-Commissioner and made him fully acquainted with my plans. Neither
one nor the other of these gentlemen raised the slightest objection to my
intended journey into the sacred Land of the Lamas.


     Loads--A set of useful pack-saddle cases--Provisions and
     scientific outfit--Clothes and shoes--Medicines--Under way--The
     first march--Servants--How I came to employ faithful Chanden

I KNEW that from Naini Tal, 6407 feet (sixty feet above lake level), all
my loads would have to be transported on the backs of coolies, and
therefore they had to be divided into equal weights not exceeding
twenty-five seers, or fifty pounds. I packed instruments, negatives, and
articles liable to get damaged, in cases of my own make designed
especially for rough usage. A set of four such cases, of well-seasoned
deal wood, carefully joined and fitted, zinc-lined, and soaked in a
special preparation of mine by which they were rendered water and air
tight, could be made useful in many ways. Taken separately, they could be
used as seats; four placed in a row answered the purpose of bedstead;
three could be used as seat and table; and the combination of four used
in a certain manner made a punt or boat of quick, solid, and easy
construction, by which an unfordable river could be crossed or soundings
taken in the still waters of a lake. The cases could also be used as
baths for myself and my followers (if I could induce these to so far
indulge), and also in the developing of my negatives as tanks to properly
wash my plates. I conjectured even that in case of emergency they might
serve as water casks in arid regions, if I should have to traverse any.
One of these boxes packed was exactly a coolie load, and two could be
easily slung over a pack-saddle by means of straps and rings. It was due
mainly to the stoutness and strength of these cases that, notwithstanding
the amount of knocking about they got, my photographic and painting work,
as well as my maps, instruments, etc., were really in no way injured
until we fell into the hands of the Tibetans. Fortunately, the most
important part of my work, from a scientific point of view, had already
been accomplished. My provisions were prepared for me by the Bovril
Company after instructions furnished by me, with a view to the severe
Tibetan climate and the altitudes we should find ourselves in. They
contained a vast amount of fat and carbonaceous food, as well as
ingredients easily digestible and calculated to maintain one's strength
even in moments of unusual stress. I had them packed in tin cases and
skin bags. I carried in a water-tight box 1000 cartridges for my 256°
Mannlicher rifle, besides 500 cartridges for my revolver, and a number of
hunting knives, skinning implements, wire traps of several sizes for
capturing small mammals, butterfly nets, bottles for preserving reptiles
in alcohol, insect-killing bottles (cyanide of potassium), a quantity of
arsenical soap, bone nippers, scalpels, and all other accessories
necessary for the collection of natural history specimens. There were
three sets of photographic apparatus in my outfit, and one hundred and
fifty-eight dozen dry plates, as well as all adjuncts for the developing,
fixing, etc. of the negatives as they were taken. The collecting
materials were given me by the British Museum of Natural History, to
which institution I had promised to present all specimens of fauna and
flora I might collect during my journey. I had two sets of instruments
for astronomical observation and for use in surveying (one of which had
been furnished me by the Royal Geographical Society), such as the
six-inch sextant, hypsometrical apparatus for measuring heights, with
boiling-point thermometers specially constructed for very great
altitudes; two aneroids, one to 20,000 feet, the other to 25,000 feet;
three artificial horizons (one mercury, the others plate-glass with
levels); a powerful telescope with astronomical eyepiece and stand; a
prismatic, a luminous, a floating, and two pocket compasses; maximum and
minimum thermometers, a case of drawing instruments, protractors,
parallel rules, tape rules, a silver water-tight half-chronometer watch
and three other watches, section paper in books and in large sheets,
Raper's and the Nautical Almanac for 1897 and 1898.

Not to neglect the artistic aspect of my expedition, I had provided
myself with ample painting and drawing materials, and I trust to the
appearance of my sketches in these volumes to prove that I did not carry
them in vain.

I was provided with a very light mountain _tente-d'abri_ seven feet long,
four feet wide, and three feet high. Well accustomed to the sort of
travelling I was in for, I decided that I required for myself only a
camel-hair blanket in the way of bedding. I reduced my clothing also to a
minimum and made no difference in it from start to finish. The only thing
I ever missed was my straw hat, which I wore up in the Himahlyas just as
I had worn it in the broiling plains, because it seemed to me always the
most comfortable headgear. It was rendered unwearable through the
clumsiness of one of my Shokas to whom I had lent it to carry in it some
swan eggs (presented by a friendly Shoka), and who fell with it, or on
it, to the detriment and destruction both of vessel and load. After that
I generally went about with my head uncovered, as I only had a small cap
left, which was not comfortable. I wore medium thick shoes without nails,
and never carried a stick, and I think it was due largely to the
simplicity of my personal equipment that I was able, as will be seen
presently, to climb to one of the greatest altitudes ever reached by a
human being.[1]

My provision of medicines cost me only half-a-crown, firm as I am in the
belief that man, living naturally under natural conditions, and giving
himself plenty of exercise, can be helped very little by drugs.

And thus I started.

On the first day I rode from Naini Tal to Almora, thirty miles by the
lower and well-known road _viâ_ Khairna.

Almora (5510 feet) is the last hill station towards the frontier where I
expected to find a European, or rather an Anglo-Indian, community, and I
made it my headquarters for a few days. It was my intention to obtain
some reliable hill men, possibly Gourkhas, to accompany me. I applied in
vain for this purpose to the Lieut.-Colonel of the 1st 3rd Gourkha
Regiment quartered in the station, duly showing letters, introductions,
and documents from the highest authorities and institutions in England,
plainly demonstrating the scientific object of my journey to Tibet.

The superior authorities seemed open to negotiations had I been able to
afford a wait of several months; but, as this would have involved the
postponement of my journey for a year on account of the passes leading
into Tibet becoming impassable at the end of the summer, I decided to
snap my fingers at all the red tape the job required, and to start on my
journey without the Gourkhas.

As luck would have it, I came across a gentleman at Almora, a Mr. J.
Larkin, who showed me great politeness and gave me much useful
information with regard to the roads, the mode of travelling, etc. on the
British side of the Tibetan frontier. He had himself travelled nearly up
to the boundary the previous year, and knew that part of Kumaon better
than any Anglo-Indian in the province. In fact, with the exception of
Colonel Grigg, Commissioner of Kumaon, Mr. Larkin is the only other
official who has any knowledge at all of the north-east of Kumaon, now so
neglected by the Government of the N.W.P.


Gourkhas being unobtainable, the question weighed heavily on my mind of
obtaining plucky, honest, wiry, healthy servants, of whatever caste they
might be, who would be ready for the sake of a good salary and a handsome
reward to brave the many discomforts, hardships, and perils my expedition
was likely to involve. Both at Naini Tal and here scores of servants and
Shikaris (sporting attendants) offered themselves. They one and all
produced "certificates" of good conduct, irreproachable honesty,
good-nature and willingness to work, and praises unbounded of all
possible virtues that a servant could possess. Each certificate was duly
ornamented with the signature of a General, a Captain, a Lieut.-Governor,
or some other considerable personage, but each bearer of such testimonial
seemed sadly neglected by those who had been so enthusiastically pleased
with his services, for he invariably commenced by asking for a loan of
several rupees to purchase boots and blankets, and to enable him to
support a wife with or without a family whom he would be leaving behind.

I decided that my means did not permit of my supporting "the dear ones at
home" of the two or three dozen followers I should require, and I made up
my mind to wait and see whether I could not find men to suit me farther
on my road without involving myself in the liability of supporting the
entire population I left behind me. I made only one exception. I was
sitting one fine day in my room at the Dâk Bungalow (post resting-house)
when an odd creature entered and offered his services, salaaming me.

"Where are your certificates?" I asked.

"_Sahib, hum 'certificates' ne hai!_" ("Sir, I have no certificates.")

"Well, then I may employ you."

I had previously had a good look at the fellow. His facial lines showed
considerably more character and force than I had noticed in the features
of other local natives. His attire was peculiar. He wore a white turban,
and from under a short velvet waistcoat there protruded a gaudy flannel
shirt in yellow and black stripes, which he wore oddly outside of his
pyjamas instead of in them. He had no shoes, and carried in his right
hand an old cricket stump, with which he "presented arms," as it were,
every time that I came in and went out of the room. I at once decided to
try him. It was about nine o'clock in the morning, when I, having many
people to see, handed Chanden Sing, for that was his name, a pair of
shoes and some blacking.

"Mind I find them clean when I return."

"_Acha, Sahib_." ("All right, sir!")

"You will find some brushes in my room."

"_Bahut acha, Sahib_." ("Very good, sir!")

I left. At six p.m. when I returned to my quarters I found Chanden Sing
still polishing my footgear with all his might. He had been at it the
whole day and had used for the purpose my best hair and clothes brushes.

"Oh, you _budmash! crab log, pagal!_" ("Oh! you bad character! bad man,
fool!") I exclaimed, disgusted, making as much display as possible of the
only three or four words I then knew of Hindustani. I snatched the
blackened articles of toilet out of his hands, while he, with an air of
wounded feelings, pointed out the wonderful results he had achieved.


It was clear that Chanden Sing was not much of a valet, neither was he a
master at opening soda-water bottles. He generally managed to give you a
spray bath if he did not actually shoot the flying cork in your face. It
was owing to one (by no means the first) of these accidents that Chanden
Sing, having hit me full, was a few days later flung bodily out of the
front door. I am very adverse to the habit of punishing the natives
injudiciously and unjustly, but I believe that firm if not too severe a
punishment administered in time is absolutely necessary with native
servants, and generally saves much trouble and unpleasantness in the end.
Anyhow Chanden Sing, none the worse, returned the next day to fetch his
cricket stump which he had forgotten in his hurried and involuntary
departure. He seized this opportunity to offer his humblest apologies for
his clumsiness, and produced the following letter which he had got
written in English by a Babu in the Bazaar:

     "DEAR SIR,--I am a stupid man, but I hear you intend to take two
     Gourkha soldiers with you to Tibet. I am a good and very _stout_
     man and therefore far superior to any Gourkha. Please employ me.

     "Your faithful servant,


This was touching, and I forgave him and allowed him to stay. He improved
as time went on, and after a while became quite tolerable. One morning
Mr. Larkin called when Chanden Sing happened to be about.

"Who is that?" said Larkin.

"That is my bearer."

"But he is not a bearer! He was once a policeman, and a smart fellow too.
He worked out a good case in his own village and had many people arrested
and convicted for theft. As a reward they sacked him."

"I am thinking of taking him with me."

"He is a good lad," replied Mr. Larkin. "You can anyhow take him as far
as the frontier, but I would not advise you to take him into Tibet."

Mr. Larkin counselled Chanden Sing to be diligent and attentive, and the
ex-policeman beamed all over with joy when I told him definitely that he
might accompany me to Bhot. He turned out to be the one plucky man among
all my followers, and he stood by me through thick and thin.

[1] See Appendix. Letter by Dr. H. Wilson.


     Pithoragarh--Fakir women--A well-ventilated abode--Askote--The
     Rajiwar and his people.

THE country up to Bhot is comparatively well-known, therefore I will not
dwell at length on the first portion of my journey.

On May 9 all my baggage, accompanied by two _Chaprassis_, left on its way
to the frontier, and I followed on the next day. Two days' marching, at
the rate of twenty-five miles a day, brought me to Shor, otherwise called

The road is good all the way, running through thick forests of pine and
fir trees, and you get here and there pretty views of wooded mountain
ranges. Nevertheless, it is tiring owing to the many ascents and
descents, as will be seen from the following figures showing the
principal elevations. From 5510 feet we climbed to 7650 feet, descended
to 2475 feet, climbed again up to 6020 feet at Gangoli Hat, and
re-descended by a steep incline to 2500 feet. The intense heat prevented
me from walking at my usual pace, and I did not, therefore, reach my
destination before sundown. Walking on in the dark, we saw the distant
flickering forest fires crawling here and there like incandescent snakes
along or up the mountain-side: these are caused by the igniting of the
grass, shrubs, and undergrowth by the natives, the flames not
unfrequently spreading and playing havoc among the finest trees of the

At Pithoragarh (6650 feet) there is the old London Gourkha fort to be
seen, on a hilltop, also a well-kept leper hospital, a school, and a
mission-house. The soil is fertile and there are many stretches of
well-cultivated land dotted with habitations. Water is plentiful, and
though the scenery certainly lacks trees except in the immediate
neighbourhood of the villages and houses, it has, nevertheless, a
certain picturesqueness on account of its background of wooded mountains.
I started from Pithoragarh at 6.30 A.M.; leaving the road to Tal on the
left, I followed the track at a medium elevation of 6250 feet, arriving
at Shadgora (6350 feet) just in time to witness the blessing of a calf by
a Brahmin. Inside a diminutive shrine--into the door of which I was
curious enough to peep--I discovered two skinny, repulsive old women,
with sunken, discoloured eyes, untidy locks of scanty hair, long
unwashed, bony arms and legs, and finger and toe nails of abnormal
length. They were clad in a few dirty rags, and were busily attending to
the lights burning on several primitive stone candlesticks along the
walls of the shrine. There were also some curiously-shaped stones
standing upright among the candlesticks. The ceiling of this place of
worship was not high enough to allow the women to stand, and they were
compelled to crawl about inside on all fours. When they saw me they
stretched out their angular arms towards me, begging for money. I gave
them a silver coin, which they shoved under one of the peculiar stones,
and then, turning round, immediately made violent gestures suggesting to
me that I was to depart.


Farther on I came upon a point where three roads branched off to Deolthal
(six miles) on the left, to Askote (twelve and three-quarter miles) in
the centre, and to Pithoragarh (eleven and a quarter miles), a different
route from the one followed, on the right. I took the middle one, and
travelled on in a storm of hail and wind with a constant deafening roar
of thunder and splendid flashes of lightning, which produced magical
effects on the ever-changing and fantastic clouds and the weird
mountain-sides along which I ploughed my way.


[Illustration: MY ABODE AT ASKOTE]

I arrived late in the evening at Askote, where there is neither Dâk
Bungalow nor Daramsalla,[2] and found to my disgust that none of my
carriers had yet arrived. I was offered hospitality by Pundit Jibanand,
who put me up in his schoolroom, a structure consisting of a number of
planks put together regardless of width, height, length, or shape, and
supporting a roof of straw and grass. The ventilation of my abode was all
one could wish for, and as during the night I lay wrapped up in my
blanket under the sheltering roof, I could admire through the
disconnected portions of the walls the brilliancy of the star-studded
heaven above. When the sun arose, bits of scenery appeared between plank
and plank, until by degrees the gaps were all stopped up by figures of
natives, who took possession of these points of vantage to gaze to their
hearts' content on the sahib, who, with signs of evident suspense on the
part of these spectators, managed even to shave. Hilarity, on the other
hand, was caused when I smeared myself all over with soap while bathing.
Admiration followed at my putting on my last starched shirt and other
mysterious garments, but the excitement grew almost to fever-heat when I
went through the daily nuisance of winding up my watches and registering
daily observations of temperature, etc. The strain was too much, I fancy,
and a general stampede followed the moment I touched my unloaded rifle.

The town of Askote is not unlike an old feudal castle such as are found
in many parts of Central Italy. Perched on the crown of a central hill,
the Rajiwar's palace overlooks a fine panorama of mountains encircling it
on all sides. Among the higher peaks discernible from the palace are the
Chipla Mountain and the Dafia. Then across the Kali River, forming the
boundary of Nepal, is Mount Dooti. The "_gown_" or town itself numbers
some two hundred houses scattered on the slope of the hill, and includes
a school, a post-office, and two Mahommedan shops. The Rajiwar had on my
arrival just completed building a new Court, a simple and dignified
structure of brown stone, with fine wooden carvings on the windows and
doors, and with chimneys in European fashion in each room. One wall in
each room was left open, and formed a charming verandah, commanding a
magnificent view of mountain scenery.

The Rajiwar of Askote occupies a unique position in Kumaon. Having
repurchased his right to the tenure of land in the Askote Pargana as late
as 1855, he now possesses the right of _zamindar_ (translated literally,
_landed proprietor_), and he is the only person to whom has been granted
to retain this privilege in the Kumaon Division. Jagat Sing Pal, the
Rajiwar's nephew, assured me that the people of the Askote Pargana are
brave and good-natured. They never give any trouble to the Rajiwar, who,
on the other hand, is almost a father to them. They apply to him in every
difficulty, in sickness and distress, and he looks after them in true
patriarchal fashion. The Rajiwar is not rich, probably because he spends
so much for the benefit of his people and of the strangers who pass
through Askote. Many of these are little more than beggars, of course,
even when they travel as fakirs, or other religious fanatics, going to or
returning from the sacred Mansarowar Lake in Tibet. The present
Rajiwar,[3] Pushkar Pal, belongs to the Ramchanda family, and he is a
descendant of the Solar dynasty. His ancestors lived in Aoudh or Ayodye
(as it was formerly called), whence they migrated to the hills of Katyur
in Kumaon, where they built a palace. The hill regions up to Killakanjia
and the Jumua River were under the Raja of Katyur's rule, he assuming the
title of Maharaja. A branch of the family came from Katyur to Askote, its
chief retaining the hereditary title of Rajiwar beside that of Pal, which
each male assumes. The Rajiwar pays a yearly tribute of 1800 rupees to
the Government of India. In the time of the Gourkhas he paid nothing
except occasional gifts of _Nafas_ or musk-deer to his neighbour the King
of Nepal, with whom he is still in very close relation. He was then
practically an independent king. Still Rajiwar Pushkar Pal has always
been perfectly loyal to the Government of India.

"Are the people very obsequious to the Rajiwar?" I asked of Jagat Sing

"Yes, sir. For instance, when the Rajiwar sits on his _Karoka_ (a kind of
throne) he is saluted with a particularly respectful salaam. His subjects
bring their hand up to the forehead and support the elbow with the left
hand, as a sign that this salutation is so weighty that it requires the
support of the other hand."

At Court functions, the male relatives, friends, and servants sit near
the Rajiwar, his brother first, his son next, then his nephews, etc.
Women are of course not admitted, and although no strict code of
etiquette exists, the Rajiwar and his family are nevertheless always
treated with Eastern deference.

[2] _Daramsalla_, a stone-walled shelter for the use of travellers and

[3] _Rajiwar:_ head of kingdom.


     The Raots--A slippery journey--Superstitious notions--Anger and
     jealousy--Friends--To the homes of the

[Illustration: A YOUNG MAN]

WE had walked seventy-eight miles in three marches, and my men being
footsore, I gave them a day's rest, which I employed in going to the
haunts of the "Wild men of the forest," or _Raots_ or _Rajis_, as they
style themselves. They live in the woods several miles off, and to reach
them I had to descend a steep incline covered by an uncommonly slippery
carpet of dried grass and pine needles. I had to take off shoes and
stockings to get along, and even bare-footed I found it difficult to
maintain my hold. I was accompanied by one of my chaprassis and a man
from Askote, and we were forced down more swiftly than comfortably till
we reached a faint track, which we followed until we came upon a man
hiding behind some trees. He was a wild-looking creature, naked and
unkempt, with flowing hair and scanty beard and moustache, and, regarding
us with an air of suspicion, he was most reluctant to show us the way to
the homes of his tribe. He was a Raot, and his reluctance to let us
approach his home seemed justified enough when he said to my guide, "No
white man has ever visited our home, and should one ever come we shall
all die. The spirits of the mountains will prevent your progress--not we.
You will suffer pain, for the spirit who watches over the Raots will let
no one enter their homes."

I gave the man a rupee, which he turned and weighed in his hand.

"You can come," he muttered, "but you will regret it. You will have great

[Illustration: RAOT ON TREE]

There was something so weirdly peculiar in the tone of voice in which the
man spoke, as if he had been in a trance, himself only the channel
through which the threat of some occult being was conveyed to us, that
for some minutes I could not get his words out of my head. I followed him
as best I could, for he climbed up huge boulders with the agility of a
monkey. It was no easy job, for we bounded and leapt from rock to rock
and vaulted over fallen trees. The track became more marked and went up
along the incline of a steep ravine. We continued until, hot and panting,
we arrived at a large hollow high up in the cliff of clay. There, on a
semicircular platform with entrenchments of felled trees, were about a
dozen men almost devoid of clothing, some sitting on their heels and
resting their arms on their knees, others lying down flat. One fellow
smoked dry leaves inside a pipe of Hindoo origin. I snatched a photo of
the group as, with an air of suspicion mingled with surprise and sadness,
but no apparent fear, they stared at the unexpected visitors. Two of the
elder men having overcome their first stupor sprang to their feet and
with mad gesticulations refused to let me come nearer. But I penetrated
right into their circle, and found myself surrounded by a sulky and angry

[Illustration: RAOTS]

"No man has ever been here but a Raot. You will soon die. You have
offended God!" screamed an old man, in a sudden outburst of temper. He
bent his knees and curved his spine, protruding his head towards me. He
shook his fists in my face, waved them about in the air, opened and
tightly clenched them, digging his nails furiously into his palms.
Instead of contracting the scalp of his forehead, the old Raot raised
his eyebrows and turned his polished forehead into a succession of deep
wrinkles, stretching in a straight line across almost from ear to ear,
and showing only a dark dimple over his nose. His nostrils, flat and
broad to begin with, became widely expanded and raised so as to cause two
deep lines to diverge from the nose along his cheeks. His mouth was open
and a peculiar vacillation of the lower lip demonstrated plainly that its
owner had but little command over speech and articulation. His eyes,
which may have been brown originally, were discoloured, probably through
the abuse of excessive animal powers, to the possession of which the
formation of his skull strongly testified, but they assumed extraordinary
brilliancy as his fury increased. He opened them wide, apparently with an
effort, and showed the entire circle of his iris. The pupils were
dilated, notwithstanding that the light upon his face was strong at the

Following his example, some of the rest displayed their discontent in a
similar fashion, but others, among whom I especially noticed two youths
with sad languishing faces, drooping large eyes, and luxuriant growth of
black hair, stood apathetically apart, with head reclining towards the
right shoulder, their features perfectly composed, and supporting their
chins on their hands. Even if they had overcome their stupor, they did
certainly not betray it, and appeared perfectly emotionless as far as
their countenances were concerned.

One fellow with an extraordinary head, a mixture it seemed of a Mongolian
and a Negroid type, was the first to calm himself of those who were so
madly excited. With piercing though unsteady eyes, and with nervous
twitching movements, he scrutinised my face more closely than the others,
and seemed to reassure them all that I had not come to hurt them. He made
signs to the rest to desist from their threats, and then, squatting down
himself, invited me to follow his example, by sitting on my heels. When
the storm had subsided and they had all sat down, I drew out of my pocket
some coins and gave one to each of them, with the exception of one man on
whom I thought I might study the passion of jealousy in its most
primitive form. I watched the man closely, and soon saw him draw apart
from the others and become sulky. The others were by now comparatively
calm. They seemed predisposed towards sadness, and I could with
difficulty extract from any of them more than a very faint sort of a
smile. They turned and twisted the coins in their hands, and compared
them among one another, jabbering and apparently content. The jealous man
kept his head turned away from them determinedly, pretending not to see
what was going on, and, resting his chin on his hand, he began to sing a
weird, melancholy, guttural song, assuming an air of contempt, especially
when the others chaffed him. Having allowed him to suffer enough, I gave
him two coins instead of one, and with them the satisfaction of the last

[Illustration: HEAD OF YOUNG MAN]

I then tried to photograph them, but my camera was looked upon with
suspicion, and as plate after plate was exposed in portraying single
individuals or groups, they shuddered at each "click" of the spring.

"The gods will be angry with you for doing _that_," said a Raot, pointing
at the camera, "unless you give us a large white coin."

I took advantage of this, and promised them as best I could through my
guide "two large coins" if they would take me to their huts, some few
hundred yards below the lofty eyrie in the cliff, but I must for the sum
be allowed not only to see but to touch and have explained to me anything
I liked.

They consented, and we began our descent of the precipitous track leading
to their habitations, a track fit really only for monkeys. Several women
and children, who had come up attracted by the sight of strangers, joined
with the men in giving us a helping hand, and in fact, I believe there
cannot have been a single paw in the company that did not at one time or
other during the descent clutch some portion of my clothing in the
friendliest spirit. Holding on to one another, we proceeded in a body,
not always at a pleasant pace, down the dangerous cliff. Two or three
times one of the natives or myself tripped and almost dragged the
remainder of the party over the precipice, while the piercing yells and
screams of the women seemed to echo back for miles around. I was not
sorry when we at last reached the small huts by the river which made up
their village.


The habitations were squalid beyond measure. Constructed with a rough
frame of tree-branches, fortified by wooden posts and rafters, roofed
over with a thatch of dried grass, the majority of them measured about
ten feet. They were built against the hillside, a strong bi-forked pole
in the centre of the structure supporting the roof, and were usually
divided into two sections, so as to give shelter each of them to two
families. They contained no furniture, and but few utensils of the most
primitive make. There were circular wooden bowls scooped out in the past
by means of sharp-edged stones, and more recently by cheap blades, which
were of Indian manufacture. For such cultivation as they were capable of
these people used primitive earth rakes, and they also possessed coarse
mallets, sticks, and net bags in which they kept their stores. Their
staple food in former days was river fish, flesh of wild animals, and
roots of certain trees; but they now eat grain also, and, like all
savages, they have a craving for liquor. The interior of Raot
habitations was so primitive and lacking of furniture, that it hardly
requires to be described, and the odours that emanated from these huts
are also better left to the imagination of the reader.

Entering one of the dwellings, I found squatted round a fire of wood some
women and men, the women wearing silver bangles and glass bead necklaces,
the men very little more than string earrings. Only one of the men had on
as much as a diminutive loin-cloth, and the women had scanty dresses of
Indian manufacture, obtained in Askote.

Scanning their features carefully, it struck me that in their facial
lines many points could be traced which would make one feel inclined to
attribute to them a remote Mongolian origin, modified largely by the
climate, the nature of the country, and probably by intermarriage. In the
scale of standard human races the Raots stood extremely low, as can be
judged from the accompanying photographs. The women, as will be seen, had
abnormally small skulls with low foreheads, and although they looked
devoid even of a glint of reason, they were actually fairly intelligent.
They had high cheek-bones; long, flattish noses, broad and rounded as in
the Mongolian type. The chin was in most instances round, very receding,
though the lips were in their normal position, thin, and very tightly
closed with up-turned corners to the mouth. The lower jaw was extremely
short and narrow, whereas the upper one seemed quite out of proportion to
the size of the skull. Their ears were large, outstanding, and
unmodelled, but capable of catching sounds at great distances.

The men had better heads than the women, underdeveloped yet comparatively
well balanced. They had higher and broader foreheads, similar though
shorter noses, chins not quite so receding, the whole lower jaw
extraordinarily narrow, but the upper lip, as with the women, huge and
out of all proportion.

Undoubtedly the Raots are not a pure race, and even among the few I came
across variations so considerable occurred as to puzzle one in tracing
their origin. They invariably possess luxuriant coal-black hair, which
never attains more than a moderate length. It is not coarse in texture,
but is usually so dirty that it appears coarser than it really is. They
have very little hair on their bodies except in the arm-pits, and their
moustaches and beards hardly deserve the name.

The men generally part the crop on their head in the middle, so that it
flows on either side of the skull, just covering the ears, and I found
the same strange custom that I observed years ago among the Ainu of Yezo
of shaving a lozenge-shaped portion of the scalp in the centre of the
forehead directly above the nose. The women, using their fingers as a
comb, draw their hair to the back of the head and tie it in a knot.

The bodies of the better specimens I saw were slight and agile, with no
superfluous fat or flesh. Supple to a degree, yet solid and muscular,
with well-proportioned limbs and a skin of a rich tinge between bronze
and terra-cotta colour, these savages, dirty and unclothed as they were,
certainly appealed to the artistic side of my temperament, particularly
on account of their very majestic deportment. I noticed their regular
breathing, which they usually did through the nose, keeping their mouths
tightly closed, and also one very curious peculiarity about their feet,
viz., the length of the second toe, protruding considerably beyond the
others, and giving them no doubt the power of using their toes almost as
we should our fingers. The palms of their hands were almost without
lines, the finger-nails flat, and their thumbs stumpy with the last
phalange curiously short.

[Illustration: A YOUNG MAN]

If the Raots to-day have adopted some articles of clothing and ornament,
besides altering their diet to a certain extent, it is due entirely to
the Rajiwar of Askote, who, taking a great interest in the tribes he
rules over, provides them in a patriarchal way with all sorts of
necessaries of life. Very few Raots have of late years visited Askote, as
they are of a retiring nature and seem contented with their primitive
abodes in the forests of Chipula, which they claim as their own. Their
only occupations are fishing and hunting, and they are said to have a
predilection for the flesh of the larger Himahlyan monkey, although from
my own observation I should have said that they would eat almost anything
they could get. It has generally been assumed that the Raot women are
kept in strict seclusion and hidden from strangers, and I cannot better
prove the absurdity of this than by reproducing in these pages one of
several photographs of the Raot women, for which they posed at my
request without the slightest objection from the men. They are generally
believed to be chaste, and my photographs prove, I think, that whatever
charm they may possess for the Raot men, their peculiar beauty offers but
little temptation to others.

They are rapidly diminishing in numbers, chiefly no doubt on account of
constant intermarriage. I was assured that the women are not sterile, but
that there is enormous mortality among the young children. They bury
their dead, and for several days afterwards offer food and water to the
spirit of the departed.

I was unable to ascertain what their marriage ceremonies were like, or if
they had any to speak of, but it appeared that there was a considerable
family feeling among couples living maritally together. They are
superstitious and hold in curious awe the spirits of the mountains, the
sun, the moon, fire, water, and wind. Whether this amounts to a definite
form of worship I cannot say: I certainly saw no signs of the offering of
prayers or sacrifices.

The Raots claim to be the descendants of kings, and they refuse
allegiance to any one. They will neither salute you nor bow to you.

"It is for other people to salute us. Our blood is the blood of kings,
and though for choice we have for centuries retired to the jungle, we are
none the less the sons of kings."

After a while, and when I had spent some considerable time among them,
these royal savages seemed uncomfortable and apprehensive. I had turned
over, examined, drawn or photographed every household article I had seen,
had measured every one, male and female, who consented to be measured,
and paid them the stipulated money. As I was about to leave, the
grey-haired man approached me again.

"You have seen the home of the Raots. You are the first stranger who has
done so, and you will suffer much. The gods are very angry with you."

"Yes," rejoined another savage, pointing at the ravine, "whoever treads
along that track and is not a Raot will be afflicted by a great

"_Kush paruani, Sahib"_ ("Never mind, sir"), interrupted the guide, "they
are only barbarians, they know no better. I have myself never been here,
so I suppose I shall also come in for my share."

"You too will suffer," said the old Raot, with self-assurance.

The Raots stood round me silently as I packed up the camera, and I felt
that they looked upon me as a man whose fate was settled. They did not
acknowledge my farewell, and, had I been in the least superstitious,
might have made me thoroughly uncomfortable with their solemn, stolid



     A pilgrim from Mansarowar Lake--The spirits of the mountains--A
     safeguard against them--Tibetan encampments--The Rajiwar--A

HAVING returned to Askote from my excursion, I saw while going round the
town with Jagat Sing, in a low stone shed by the side of the palace, the
tall gaunt figure of a man emerging from a cloud of smoke.

"Who is that?" I inquired of my companion.

"Oh, that is a fakir returning from a pilgrimage to the sacred lake of
Mansarowar in Tibet. Many of these fanatics pass through here during the
summer on their religious journeys."


My curiosity drew me towards the weird individual. He was over six feet
in height, and his slim body had been covered with ashes, giving the dark
skin a tinge of ghastly grey. I asked him to come out into the light. His
masses of long hair had been plaited into small tresses which were wound
round his head in the fashion of a turban--the "_Tatta_." The hair, too,
had been whitened, while the long thin beard had been dyed bright red.
His eyes were sunken and, apparently to add to the ghastly and decidedly
repulsive effect, his forehead and cheeks were plastered with a thick
white paint. He seemed half stupefied, and had very little to say for
himself. As can be seen by the illustration, he was scantily clothed, but
he wore the _Kamarjuri_ or fakir's chain about his loins, and he had a
bead bracelet round his arm above the elbow. His waist was encircled with
a belt of wooden beads, and a necklace of plaited hair ornamented his
neck. He spent his days rolling himself in ashes and enduring
self-imposed bodily privations, with a view to attain a state of


Rumours had reached me of some curious superstitions prevalent among
these mountain folk.

"Tell me," I said to Jagat Sing, "are there 'spirits of the mountain' in
these ranges? And do the people really believe in them?"

"Yes, sir," replied the young fellow, "there certainly are a number of
them, and they are often very troublesome, especially to certain people.
They are seldom known, however, to kill any one."

"Then they are not quite so bad as some human beings," I replied.

"Well, sir, they are very bad. They seize sleeping people by the throat
with claws like iron, sitting on the chests of their victims."

"Does not that sound more like an attack of indigestion?"

"No, sir. The ghosts of the mountains are the spirits of people that have
not gone to heaven. They are to be found in swarms at night in the
forest. The people are terrified of them. They haunt the mountain-tops
and slopes, and they can assume the semblance of a cat, a mouse, or any
other animal; in fact they are said to frequently change their
appearance. Where no man can tread, among rocks and precipices, or in the
thick jungle, the spirits seek their retreat, but often they abandon
their haunts to seek for men. The person who becomes possessed generally
remains in a semi-conscious condition and ejaculates mad cries and
unintelligible words. There are men who profess to know charms to draw
them out. Some remedies are for that purpose commonly used by the natives
with more or less success. A grass called _Bichna_ (nettles) has the
faculty of frightening the spirits away when applied on the body of the
sufferer, but the most effective remedy is to make pretence to beat with
a red-hot iron the person possessed. The spirits seem to fear that more
than anything else."

"Do the spirits ever speak?" I inquired, interested in the curious
superstitions of these hill men.

"No, sir, not often, nor usually directly, but they do it through people
who are possessed by them. It is they who tell many strange tales of the
spirits. One curious point about them is that they only seize people who
are afraid of them. If defied they vanish."

"Do the natives adopt any special method to protect themselves from these
mountain demons?"

"Fire is the only sure protection. Any one sleeping near a fire is safe,
and as long as there is a flame blazing the spirits keep away."

"Do you know any one who has seen them?"

"Yes. A chaprassi called Joga tells of having been compelled to travel at
night through a forest: he heard a voice calling him by name. Terrified,
he stopped, and for some moments his voice failed him. At last, trembling
all over, he replied, and instantly a swarm of spirits appeared and
challenged him to do them harm. Joga ran for his life and the demons
vanished. Spirits have been known to throw stones at passers-by."

"Have you ever seen a spirit, Jagat Sing?"

"Only once. I was returning to the palace late in the evening when up the
steep road I perceived a woman's figure. It was a beautiful moonlight
night. I walked up, and as I passed, the face of the strange being
appeared black, inhuman and ghastly. I staggered when I saw the weird
apparition approach, my blood ran cold with fear. I struck a mighty blow
with my stick, but behold! the cane whirled through the air and hit
nothing. Instantly the ghost vanished."

"I wish, Jagat Sing, that you could show me some of these spirits; I
would give anything to make a sketch of them."

"You cannot always see them when you want, sir, but they are always to be
avoided. They are evil spirits and can do nothing but harm."

       *       *       *       *       *

Leaving Askote (4600 feet) by the winding road through a dense forest, I
crossed by a suspension bridge the Gori River at Gargia (2450 feet). The
track was along the low and unpleasantly hot valley of the Kali River, a
raging stream flowing with indescribable rapidity in the opposite
direction to that in which I was travelling. It formed the boundary line
between Nepal and Kumaon. Huts and patches of cultivation were to be seen
on the Nepalese side, whereas on our side we came upon deserted and
roofless winter dwellings of Shokas (usually but not correctly called
Botiyas) and Tibetans, who migrate to these warmer regions to graze their
sheep during the colder months of the year. The Shoka summer residences
are at greater elevations, mostly along the highways to Tibet and nearer
the Tibetan boundary. On arriving at the Kutzia Daramsalla, a messenger
brought me the news that the Rajiwar, whom I had missed seeing at Askote,
was now here for the purpose of making offerings to certain deities. He
would call upon me at 3 P.M., so, having some time to spare, I went to
bathe in the deliciously cold though, as I found, dangerously rapid
stream. Swimming was out of the question, and even an immersion bath was
attended with a certain amount of risk. The current caused me to lose my
footing, and I soon found myself washed with great force against some
rocks thirty or forty yards down stream. I came out of the water _minus_
a few patches of skin on my knees and shins, and while drying myself in
the sun, received a deputation of the _Patan_ (head village man) and
other natives, conveying with their most respectful salaams gifts of
milk, _kielas_ (bananas), _kakri_ (gigantic cucumbers), and nuts. These
hill fellows impressed me as being of a far superior standard to the
Hindoos of the plains. They were lightly yet strongly built, and showed
evidence of both character and dignity. With their fair complexion and
luxuriant black hair and moustache they resembled Spaniards or Southern
Italians. They lacked entirely the affected manner and falseness of
speech and demeanour, so common among the natives who are constantly in
contact with Europeans.

Below the Daramsalla, near the water-side, was a large Tibetan encampment
of some twenty or thirty tents which had all originally been white, but
were now black with smoke. In these were men, women, and children, with
all their paraphernalia; and the first thing that attracted my eye in
each tent was the quantity of shiny brass bowls strewn upon the ground,
the entire energy of the tent-owners seemingly being spent in keeping
these utensils clean and bright, to the utter neglect of their other
property. Walls of sheep-loads were erected either inside the tent or
directly outside, covered in the latter case with cloths in order to
protect them from the rain.

Punctually at 3 P.M. the Rajiwar arrived, carried in a _dandy_, and
followed by his brother, who sat in a mountain dandy. The Rajiwar's son
and heir rode a splendid grey pony. I went to assist the old Rajiwar to
alight, as for some years he had been paralysed. We shook hands heartily,
and I led him into the Daramsalla (2875 feet), where in default of
furniture we all sat on packing-cases. His refined, well-cut features,
his attractive manner, and the soft, dignified voice in which he spoke
clearly indicated a man of superior blood and uncommon ability. His
modesty and simplicity were delightful.

"I hope that your health is good and that you have not suffered too much
on your journey. I was grieved not to be in Askote to receive you. Are
your dear parents alive? Have you any brothers and sisters? Are you
married? I would much like to visit England. It must be a wonderful
country, and so much do I admire it that I have given my nephews a
British education, and one of them is now serving the Maharanee (Queen)
Victoria as Political Peshkar."

I answered his questions as best I could with the aid of a Hindustani
dictionary, expressive gestures, and quick sketches. He spoke of many of
our latest inventions with marked interest and intelligence.

He seemed greatly struck with my scientific instruments, but he and his
people were more particularly attracted by my rifles, revolvers, and
other weapons, especially the 256° Mannlicher, sighted to 1000 yards.

The Rajiwar pressed me to return with him to Askote, where he offered to
give me tiger, bear, and leopard shooting. Tempting as the invitation
was, I could not accept it, for my plans would lead me in the opposite
direction. His visit lasted for more than three hours; and I was pleased
to feel that we parted great friends.


On the road to Dharchula, along the low-lying valley, the heat was
unbearable, although the sun was near the horizon. We came upon a
waterfall falling from a great height over a series of umbrella-like
stalactites covered with moss. The last rays of the sun shone on the
dropping water, brilliant and sparkling as a shower of diamonds. Several
small rainbows added to the beauty of the scene. I rested some time in
this cool and beautiful retreat. There were birds singing and monkeys
playing among the trees. Farther on, where the river bends, there are two
large caves hollowed in the rock; the smoke-blackened ceilings prove that
these are used as camping grounds by travelling Shokas and Hunyas
(Tibetans). Large black-faced, white-bearded monkeys swarmed everywhere,
frankly and gladly mischievous. They throw or roll stones down upon the
passers-by, often causing accidents, the track being rather narrow and
sheer above the river.

Previous to arriving at the spot where the Tsuagar flows into the Kali
River one meets with many Tibetan, Humli and Rongba encampments.

I camped at Kalika (3205 feet) by the side of a gigantic tree with boughs
spreading well over the road, the chaprassis and men erecting a
comfortable _chöpper_ of mats, foliage, and branches.

I was anxious to get through the hot valley with the greatest possible
speed, so, notwithstanding that we had halted very late at night, I
roused my men at 3 A.M. and again set forth on the march. Here and there
along the road we passed deserted winter dwellings of Shokas, nearly all
with broken thatched roofs. Some, however, were roofed with slate, the
distinctive mark of residence of the Darma Shokas.

The primitive Shoka water-mills were curious. By a very ingenious
contrivance the water of a stream propelled a heavy cylindrical stone
revolving on the top of another. The grain fell slowly from a magazine
above into a hole pierced in the centre of the upper wheel, and finding
its way through a channel between the two cylinders, was ground into fine

Dharchula (3550 _feet_) the largest Shoka winter settlement, is situated
on a fine stretch of flat land some hundred feet above the river; the
village consists of twelve long rows of roofless houses very similar in
size and shape. Four larger buildings at the extreme limit of the
settlement attract notice. One of these is a Daramsalla. The others, two
high stone buildings, are a school, hospital and dispensary belonging to
the Methodist Episcopal Mission and under the careful supervision of Miss
Sheldon, M.D., Miss Brown, and that wonderful pioneer, Dr. H. Wilson. A
bungalow of the same mission is built higher up on the hillside.

Between the two spots where from Nepal the Lachu and the Shakta join the
Kali, was Dubart (3700 feet), and from thence one gradually rose to 4120
feet at the Relegar River, also a tributary of the larger stream. Having
crossed the Rankuti River I ascended still higher by zigzag walking,
slowly leaving behind me range after range of mountains beyond the valley
of the river; while on the Nepal side, beyond the three nearer ranges,
snow peaks of great height and beauty stood out against the sky-line. The
highest point on the road was 5450 feet, after which we descended to 5275
feet at Khela Daramsalla, which we did not reach till late at night.

Near Khela on the top of a high mountain stood a tall quadrangular rock
not unlike a tower. The natives say that a mere touch causes it to shake
and revolve, but this belief is not general, for others deny that it ever
moves. I could not spare the time to go and test the facts, nor could I
obtain reliable information from any one who had had actual experience.
So far as I could see with the aid of my telescope, the rock seemed to be
standing firmly on a very solid base. To my regret also, I was unable to
visit the curious hot sulphur springs on the Darma Ganga, and the strange
cave in which much animal life is lost owing to the noxious gases rising
from the ground. I gathered from various reports that this cave or grotto
is packed with skeletons of birds and quadrupeds who have unknowingly
entered this chamber of death.


     Highways and trade routes--The Darma route--The Dholi River--A
     rough track connecting two valleys--Glaciers--Three ranges and
     their peaks--Altitudes--_Darma, Johar_, and the _Painkhanda_
     Parganas--The highest peak in the British Empire--Natural

THERE are two principal highways from Khela to Hundes: one by the valley
of the Dholi or Darma River, the other along the Kali River and over the
Lippu Pass.


The trade route _viâ_ Darma is less frequented than the one by the Lippu,
but it is nevertheless of considerable importance, inasmuch as a certain
portion of the trade of South-west Tibet with India is carried on through
the medium of the Darma Shokas. It consists mainly of borax, salt, wool,
skins, cloth, and utensils, in exchange for which the Tibetans take
silver, wheat, rice, _satoo_, _ghur_, lump candied sugar, pepper, beads
of all kinds, and articles of Indian manufacture. For a mountain track,
and considering the altitudes to which it rises, the Darma way is
comparatively good and safe, notwithstanding that in following upwards
the course of the Dholi River the narrow path in many places overhangs
deep ravines and precipices. There are many Shoka villages and
settlements on the banks of the stream, the most important ones being the
Nyu, Sobala, Sela, Nagling (9520 feet), Bahling (10,230 feet), Sona and
Tuktung (10,630 feet), Dansu and Yansu, where there is a bridge. On the
north-east bank is Goa, facing Dakar, and farther up, at an elevation of
10,400 feet, the Lissar, a rapid tributary with muddy water.

The Dholi springs from a series of comparatively small glaciers
north-east of a range forming a branch of the higher Himahlyan chain, and
extending in a south-easterly direction as far as the point where the two
streams meet. It receives, on its precipitous descent, many small
snow-fed tributaries, those from the Katz snowfields and the Nui glacier
being the most important. Its way lies in a tortuous channel amidst rocks
and ravines, first tending towards the South-East, then due South, and
last South-West down to the point where it is joined by the Lissar,
coming from the North-West along a line almost parallel on the opposite
watershed of the range.


Tyang, Sipu (11,400 feet), and Marcha (10,890 feet), are the three most
important Shoka villages on the Lissar.


From Marcha there is a track connecting the valleys of the Lissar and
Gori. You ascend the high mountain range west of the Lissar by skirting
the northern edge of the Nipchung Kang glacier and keeping south of the
Kharsa glacier, and, on a route that is unpopular on account of its
constant difficulties and perils, you pass, as you descend in a westerly
direction, the Tertcha glacier. South of the Shun Kalpa glacier you reach
first Ralem and then Sumdu, which is situated on a tributary of the Gori
River, itself a tributary of the Kali. The rugged, barren chain of
mountains separating the Gori from the Lissar extends in a general
direction from S.S.E. to N.N.E. up to the Ralfo glacier, and there turns
in a curve North-West among a succession of perpetual snow-fields and
glaciers. The glaciers to the North-East and East of the range outnumber
those on the West, but there is one of importance called in its different
sections the Kala Baland, the Shun Kalpa, and the Tertcha. There are,
along the fifteen most northerly miles of the range, south of the point
where it joins the Himahlyan chain, other glaciers of considerable size
and importance, but I was not able to ascertain their names, excepting
that of the _Lissar seva_, the most northern of all, forming the source
of the Lissar. The inter-Lissar-Gori range is of considerable
geographical importance, not only because it forms the boundary between
the two parts of Bhot called Darma and Johar, but also because of the
magnificent peaks reaching in the Bambadhura an elevation of 20,760 feet,
and in a higher unnamed peak, South-East of it, 21,470 feet. There are
also the two Kharsa peaks, the one North-West of the glacier bearing its
name being 19,650 feet, the one South-West of it slightly over 20,900
feet, and S.S.W. one peak 21,360 feet, another 21,520 feet, and farther
still, North of the Telkot glacier, the highest of all, 22,660 feet. In a
South-East direction there are peaks 20,700 feet, 20,783 feet, and 21,114
feet high. At the point where the ridge turns South the elevations become
lower, the two highest being 19,923 feet and 19,814 feet, the latter
situated at the point where a smaller range branches off to the
South-East, the principal range running South for the next eleven or
twelve miles, with no very remarkable elevations. In the side range there
are peaks of 18,280 feet, 17,062 feet, 14,960 feet, 14,960 feet

In Lat. 29° 59' 10" N. and Long. 80° 31' 45" E. the range again separates
into two secondary ridges, one extending South-East, the other
South-West, and in turn both these are again subdivided into minor hill
ridges, along which no summits are found surpassing 13,000 feet, except
the Basili, 13,244 feet.

The Bungadhura Mountain (9037 feet), in close proximity to Khela,
terminates the South-Easterly division of the range, separating the
Pargana of Darma from that of Askote. The actual boundary line, however,
does not follow the higher mountain range as far as the Kali River, but
swerves to the south along the ridge overlooking the valley of the River
Relegar. These mountains are called the Mangthil.

There is west of the above ridge a second and even more important chain,
running out parallel to it from the backbone of the Himahlyan great
mountain system. This second ridge contains the highest mountain in the
British Empire, Nanda Devi (25,660 feet) with its second peak (24,380
feet), also Trisul (23,406 feet), East Trisul (22,360 feet), and Nanda
Kot (22,530 feet). This range and its ramifications divide the valleys of
the Gori River (the Pargana of Johar) from the most Western portion of
Bhot, the Painkhanda Pargana.

The well-known Milam and Pindari glaciers are one on the Eastern, the
other on the South-West side of this range. The Milam highway to Tibet,
frequented by the Johari traders, traverses over the Kungribingri Pass
(18,300 feet), and the Uttadhura (17,590 feet) directly S.S.W. of it into

The Pargana Painkhanda, a region equally Alpine, similarly covered with
vast stretches of perpetual snow and extensive glaciers, is in the
North-East corner of Garwhal, bordering on Tibet, and along the Dhauli
River; intersecting it, another trade route finds its way into Western
Tibet by the Niti Pass. Leaving the course of the Dhauli at Jelam (10,100
feet), this track proceeds almost due east, rising to an altitude of
16,600 feet on the Niti, in Lat. 30° 57' 59" N. and Long. 79° 55' 3" E.,
which is, from all accounts, a very easy pass, and quite free from snow
during the summer months. The people of the Painkhanda Pargana use this
pass as well as the other passes of Malla Shilanch and Tumzun, besides
the Shorhoti, visited by H. R. Strachey some years ago, over which,
however, only a small portion of the trade with Hundes is carried, for it
is considered the most dangerous of the three. The cold and turbid waters
of the Dhauli, swollen by dozens of equally foaming and muddy
tributaries, become ultimately the sacred waters of the Ganges.

The three Alpine Parganas, viz., the Painkhanda, Johar, and Darma (Darma,
Chaudas, and Bias) are inhabited by races closely allied and akin to
those of Tibet proper. The region is collectively named Bhot, although
that designation is more particularly applied by the natives of India to
that portion of the country which includes Darma, Bias, and Chaudas, and
which has for natural boundaries the Kali River to the South-East,
separating it from Nepal and the great Himahlyan chain to the North-East,
extending from the Lissar Peak in a general direction of about 115°.

A ramification leaving the main range at the Darma Pass stretches across
from N.N.W. to S.S.E., separating the above-mentioned Darma Ganga from
the Kuti River, along which I eventually travelled on my way to Tibet.
The main elevations found on this ridge are 18,510 feet on the Darma
Pass; north-east of the Rama glacier a peak 20,760 feet; the Gurma
Mountain 20,320 feet; and others south of them as high as 20,380 feet,
20,330 feet, 20,260 feet. East of the latter summit is one 20,455 feet.


     The word _Bhot_ and its meaning--Tibetan influence--Tibetan
     abuses--The ever-helpful Chanden Sing--The first Shoka
     village--Chanden Sing in disgrace--Weaving-loom--Fabrics--All's
     well that ends well!

THE name _Bhot_, pronounced Bod, Pote, Tüpöt, or Taipöt, by which this
inter-Alpine region is called, means Tibet. In fact _Tibet_ is probably
merely a corruption of _Tüpöt_. These lofty "pattis" of Darma, Bias, and
Chaudas nominally form part of the British Empire, our geographical
boundary with Nari Khorsum or Hundes (Great Tibet), being the main
Himahlyan chain forming the watershed between the two countries. In spite
of this actual territorial right, I found at the time of my visit in 1897
that it was impossible not to agree with the natives in asserting that
British prestige and protection in those regions were mere myths; that
Tibetan influence alone was dominant and prevailing, and Tibetan law
enforced and feared. The natives invariably showed abject obsequiousness
and servile submission to Tibetans, being at the same time compelled to
display actual disrespect to British officials. They were driven to bring
the greater number of civil and criminal cases before Tibetan magistrates
in preference to having them tried in a British court.

The Tibetans, in fact, openly claimed possession of the "pattis"
bordering on Nari Khorsum; and the more obviously to impress our natives
with their influence as superior to British, they came over to hibernate
on our side, and made themselves quite at home in the warmer valleys and
in the larger bazaars. They brought their families with them, and drove
before them thousands and thousands of sheep to graze on our
pasture-lands; they gradually destroyed our forests in Bias to supply
South-Western Tibet with fuel for the summer months. For this they not
only paid nothing, but our native subjects had to convey the timber over
the high passes without remuneration. Necessarily such unprincipled
task-masters did not draw the line at extorting from our natives under
any pretence money, food, clothes, and everything else they could
possibly levy. Some were known to travel yearly as far south as Lucknow,
Calcutta, and Bombay.

[Illustration: SHOKA WEAVERS]

So much for the gentleness of the Tibetans--a hermit nation living in a
closed country!

Chanden Sing, ever anxious to be polite and helpful, would not hear of my
carrying my own sketch and note books as had always been my custom, but
insisted on doing so himself.

"_Hum pagal neh!_" ("I am no fool!") said he with an expression of
wounded feelings. "I will take great care of them."

We started up the steep road, having first descended to the level of the
River Dholi, 800 feet lower than Khela, crossing by a wooden bridge. The
zigzag up the mountain-side seemed endless. Here and there a cool spring
of crystal water quenched our thirst, welcome indeed on that tedious
ascent in the broiling sun. Six miles above Khela we had risen to 7120
feet, and from this point the incline became less trying. Still we rose
to 7450 feet two miles farther on, where under the shade of some
magnificent old trees, at Pungo, I halted for lunch. We had entered the
first inhabited village of the Shokas, visually but erroneously called
Botiyas, and were now in that part of their country called Chaudas.

A pleasant surprise awaited me. A smart-looking lad in European clothes
came boldly forward, and, stretching out his hand, shook mine for some
considerable time in a jovial and friendly fashion.

"I am a Christian," said he.

"I should say that you were by the way you shake hands."

"Yes, sir," he proceeded. "I have prepared for you some milk, some
_chapatis_ (native bread), and some nuts. Please accept them."

"Thank you," I said. "You do not seem to be a bad Christian. What is your

"Master G. B. Walter, sir. I teach in the school."

A crowd of Shokas had collected. Their first shyness having worn off,
they proved to be polite and kind. The _naïve_ nature and graceful manner
of the Shoka girls struck me particularly on this my first introduction
to them. Much less shy than the men, they came forward, and joked and
laughed as if they had known me all their lives. I wished to sketch two
or three of the more attractive.

"Where is my book, Chanden Sing?" I inquired of my bearer.

"_Hazur hum mallum neh!_" ("I do not know, sir!") was his melancholy
answer as he searched his empty pockets.

"Ah! you villain! Is that the care you take of my notes and sketches?
What have you done with them?"

"Oh Sahib, I drank some water at the Dholi River. I had the book then in
my hand. I must have left it on a stone when I stooped to drink water
from the stream," the wretched man explained.

It is hardly necessary to say that Chanden Sing was promptly despatched
to the spot he had named, with strict orders not to appear before me
again without the book. I spent two or three pleasant hours in having
the primitive Shoka weaving-looms, the processes of spinning and cloth
manufacture, explained to me. As can be seen from the illustration on p.
42, the weaving looms of the Shokas are in every way similar to those
used by the Tibetans proper, and are quite simple in construction. The
warp is kept at great tension, and the cloth-beam on which the woven
tissue is rolled rests on the woman's lap during the process of weaving.
There are no treadles in the Shoka loom, by which the two sets of warp
threads are alternately raised or depressed between each time that the
transverse thread is passed, and all work is done by hand. The transverse
thread is beaten firmly home by means of a heavy prismatic piece of wood.
The material used in weaving is yak or sheep's wool, either in its
natural colour or dyed in the primary colours of red and blue and yellow,
and one secondary only, green. Blue and red are used in the greater and
equal proportion; then green. Yellow is very parsimoniously used. The
thread is well twisted and is subjected to no preparation before
spinning, leaving thus a certain greasiness in the closely-woven material
that renders it waterproof. In weaving colour fabrics several shuttles
are used.

Shoka women are very adept at this ancient art, and they patiently sit
out of doors day after day weaving most intricate and artistic patterns.
These coloured tissues, if we except the simpler ones with blue ground
and lines for women's garments, are usually very narrow (about seven
inches in width), whereas the less elaborate ones, such as the white
material of which men's clothes are made, average sixteen inches.

The patterns in these many-coloured materials are woven from memory, and
do not contain curves or circles, but are entirely composed of lines and
angles, combinations of small lozenges and squares separated by long
tri-coloured parallel lines, forming, so far as weaving is concerned, the
main Shoka ideas of decoration and ornament. The fabrics are
extraordinarily strong. The narrow coloured cloth of better quality is
used mostly for making bags in which money and food are carried; the
coarser kind for the double sheep-loads.

The more talented of the Shoka young women show much ingenuity in carpet
or rather rug making. They have copied the idea from old Chinese rugs
which have found their way here _viâ_ Lhassa, and though upon close
examination it is true they differ considerably in quality and
manufacture, they are pleasing enough to the eye. These rugs are woven
upon coarse thread matting, the coloured material being let in
vertically. A soft surface is obtained not unlike in general appearance
to that of Persian carpets, but not quite so pleasant to the touch. These
small rectangular rugs are offered in the house of Shoka gentlemen to
guests to sit on, and are also used to render the Tibetan saddles less

As time went on I became very anxious as to the missing book, for it
contained all my notes of the journey. The thought of its being deposited
on a rock washed by a rapid stream into which it might easily slip and be
carried away kept me in a state of suspense. At last a staggering figure
approached; it was Chanden Sing waving the book triumphantly in the air.
He had run the distance of many miles down to the river and back so
quickly that when he reached me he was utterly exhausted. He handed me
the book, and once more we started, followed by Walter and the whole
community, down the steep incline to the river. At this place some of the
Shokas seized my hands and placed them on their foreheads, at the same
time making deep bows. Others embraced my feet, while the women folks
bade me the usual Hindustani "_Acha giao_" ("Go well").

After some time had been wasted, or at least spent, in receiving these
odd salutations, I persuaded them to retrace their steps, and they left


     Prayer by wind-power--Photography under difficulties--A night of
     misery--Drying up--Two lady missionaries--Their valuable work--An
     interesting dinner party--An "eccentric" man's tea party.


TO reach Shosha I had to climb a further three miles, which proved almost
as steep as the previous ascent to Pungo.

A curious custom of praying by wind-power, probably borrowed from the
Tibetans, prevails among the Shokas. The Tibetans, with a more intense
religion than the Shokas, use for this purpose not only the wind but even
water to propel their praying machines. Let me explain these simple
mechanical contrivances for prayers. One or more rags or pieces of cloth,
usually white, but on occasions red or blue, are fastened and hung by one
end to a string stretched across a road, a pass, or a path. On crossing a
pass for the first time Shokas invariably cut a strip of cloth and place
it so that it will flap in the breeze. Also when materials for a new
dress are purchased or manufactured, it is customary for them to tear off
a narrow strip of the stuff and make a flying prayer of it. As long as
there is motion in it there is prayer, so that the natives tie them very
fast to sticks, poles, or branches of trees; and certain shrubs and trees
in weird romantic spots on the mountains are covered with these religious
signs. Moreover, on the top of nearly every Shoka dwelling a vast number
of similar little flags can be seen, as well as near their shrines and at
the outer gates of a village.

I put up at the Titela Daramsalla, one mile above Shosha village. The
weather had been threatening for several days, and a steady downpour came
upon us during the evening. Work had been accumulating daily. I decided
to develop the large number of plates I had taken on my journey, a job
hateful beyond measure when you are on the move. Having duly unpacked all
the developing dishes and prepared the different solutions, I set to work
to make the shelter completely dark. The next important item required was
water, and of this there was plenty in that wretched shanty! I had just
developed half-a-dozen negatives, and was delighted at the excellent
results, when, in consequence of the storm having grown more violent, the
rain began dripping on my head through the leaky roof of the Daramsalla.
To move all the trays of developers, baths, and fixing solution would
have been a nuisance; besides, I was too interested in my work to be put
out by such small trifles, so I patiently stood this new discomfort. I
shifted my position continually, merely with the result that the rain
dripped alternately on my back, my legs, or my shoulders, according to my
position. It fell in torrents, and the roof over me was so leaky that I
might as well have been out in the open. I was sitting in a pool of water
and could not lay my hands upon anything that was not drenched.
Fortunately my boxes and cases were water-tight, or all the instruments
and plates would have been damaged.

Annoying as it was, I had to give up work. The best thing to do was to go
to sleep. Easier said than done. My bedding and blanket were soaked. The
attempts to lie under a waterproof sheet failed, for I felt suffocated,
so I passed the cover to my servant, who, rolling himself in it, was soon
in the arms of Morpheus. Tired and disgusted, I crouched myself up and
eventually fell asleep. I woke up in the morning with a biting pain in my
toes. I had been lying face downwards, and had involuntarily stretched my
legs during the night. I discovered to my horror that one foot rested in
the developing bath and the other in the fixing solution, which I had
forgotten to empty out of the large celluloid trays.

The morning was spent in drying up things in the sun, including our
clothes, while we, clad in a "_doti_" (large loin-cloth as used by the
natives of India), squatted down in the warmth in order to restore our
saturated skins to their natural condition.

I was in the meantime interviewed by many Shokas, applying for medicines,
and wishing to sell their native wares.

A pretty girl, from whom I bought a curious set of neck hangings made of
musk-deer teeth, wished to be cured of the _goître_, a complaint too
common, alas! on these hills. Then a child was brought with a nasty
tumour in a state of suppuration inside his left ear. Others wished to be
cured of pains in the stomach and liver, which are very general among
them owing to their abuse of liquor.

Upon hearing that two lady missionaries lived a mile and a half farther
on, at Sirka, I gave myself the pleasure of calling upon them. They
possessed a nice bungalow at an elevation of 8900 feet above sea level,
by the side of which was another structure for the accommodation of
converts and servants. Lower on the hillside they had built a dispensary
and hospital.

[Illustration: WRINKLED SHOKA]

I was received with the utmost courtesy by Miss Sheldon, M.D., and Miss
Brown, of the Methodist Episcopal Mission. I have in my lifetime met with
many missionaries of all creeds in nearly every part of the globe, but
never has it been my luck before to meet two such charming, open-minded,
and really hard-working ladies as the two who now so kindly received me.

"Come right in, Mr. Landor," said Miss Sheldon with her delightful
American accent, and she shook hands with me in a good, hearty fashion.

The natives had praised to me the charity and helpfulness of this lady.
I found this more than justified. By night or day she would never refuse
help to the sick, and her deeds of kindness which became known to me are
far too numerous to detail in these pages. Perhaps her most valuable
quality is her perfect tact--a quality I have found none too common among
missionaries. Her patience, her kindly manner towards the Shokas, her
good heart, the wonderful cures she wrought among the sick, were items of
which these honest mountaineers had everlasting praises to sing. A Shoka
was telling me that it was not an uncommon thing for Miss Sheldon to give
away all her own food supplies, and even the clothes from her
back--courting for herself discomfort, yet happy in her good work.

With it was combined a charming modesty. No word about herself or her
actions ever passed her lips. A pioneer in these parts, she evidently
must have encountered much difficulty in the beginning. At present her
good influence over the Shokas is very considerable. The same can be said
of Miss Brown, who was in every way a worthy comrade of Miss Sheldon.


They have both in a comparatively short time become fully acquainted with
the Shoka language, and can converse in it as fluently as in English,
this fact alone endearing them greatly to the natives.

They were kind enough to ask me to dinner. "It is Sunday," said Miss
Sheldon, "and we shall have all our Christians dining with us. You will
not mind, I am sure."

I assured her that nothing would interest me more.

I arrived punctually at the hour appointed, and on the verandah of the
bungalow were laid some nice clean mats upon which we all sat
cross-legged in native fashion. We three Europeans were provided with
knife and fork, but all the natives helped themselves with their fingers,
which they used with much dexterity. There were among the converts some
Hindoos, some Shokas, some Humlis, and a Tibetan woman. All counted, I
suppose they were about twenty, and it would be impossible to find a
better behaved set of Christians anywhere. They ate heartily and only
spoke when they were spoken to.

"I doubt whether I have ever dined with so many good Christians," said I
jokingly to Miss Sheldon. "It is delightful."

"They would much like to hear some of the experiences of your travels if
you would be kind enough to tell them. That is to say, if you are not too
tired and do not mind."

Interpreted by Miss Brown, I related some of my adventures in the country
of the Ainu. Rarely have I had such an interested audience. When the
story ended they all salaamed me, and an old veteran Gourkha, one of the
converts, took my hand and shook it warmly.

"You must not mind, Mr. Landor: you see, we treat our Christians like
ourselves,"[4] quickly interrupted Miss Sheldon.

"Oh no, I do not mind," I replied. "On the contrary, I am glad to see it

I took my leave and asked the ladies to come to tea with me the next day.
The afternoon came and they arrived, when to my horror it flashed across
my mind that I had neither cups, nor saucers, nor spoons. I had some tea,
but I had no idea in which box it was, and to save my life I could not
lay my hands upon it. This caused a frank and delightful remark on the
part of Miss Sheldon to Miss Brown.

"Does not Mr. Landor remind you of 'that other' eccentric gentleman that
came through here last year?"

The moment she had uttered the words Miss Sheldon saw what she had said,
and we all laughed heartily.

"You know, Mr. Landor," put in Miss Brown, "we half foresaw that you
would not be provided with these articles of luxury, and we brought our
own cups and saucers."

The news was a great relief to me.

"Well now, let me persuade you to take some delicious chocolate instead
of tea."

"Very good, we would prefer it. We have not had chocolate for a long


A solid block of chocolate was produced weighing twenty-eight pounds, and
Chanden Sing set to chip off bits with a stone--a primitive but effective
method. In the meantime the kettle was boiling, while my two visitors
made themselves as comfortable as was possible under the circumstances on
pack-saddle cases.

The tea party went off well, for the ladies, evidently suspecting the
"eccentricity" of their host, had come provided not only with cups and
saucers, but with spoons, cake, bread, butter, and biscuits!

[4] N.B.--Anglo-Indians very rarely condescend to shake hands with the


     Discouraging reports--A steep ascent--How I came to deserve the
     name of "monkey"--Hard at work--Promoted in rank--Collapse in a
     gale of wind--Time and labour lost.

THE weather again became rainy and cold. The reports that I received of
the state of the roads farther up were not encouraging.

"The track is impassable," said an old Shoka who had just arrived from
Garbyang. "The Lippu Pass by which you wish to enter Tibet is still
closed, and there is much snow on it still. Then the Jong Pen of Taklakot
in Tibet, having been left unpunished for his last years' attack on
Lieutenant Gaussen, has now a strong guard of three hundred men to
prevent foreigners entering the country. The _Dakus_ (brigands) infesting
the region of the Mansarowar Lake seem to be more numerous this year than

I shall come in for a lively time, I thought to myself.

My next camp was at Shankula, 7450 feet above the sea level. It was
reached by going over a delightfully cool track, not unlike a shady path
through a picturesque park, among tall cedars of Lebanon, beeches and
maples, with here and there a stream or spring of water, and hundreds of
black-faced, white-bearded monkeys playing and leaping from tree to tree.

I encamped by the river. The day was glorious. In front of me, north-east
by east, stood, gigantic and majestic, some high snowy peaks. The valley
was narrow, and the remainder of the snowy range of mountains was hidden
from sight. What a lovely subject for a picture! I was tempted to halt
and get out my paint-box and sketch-book; and abandoning my lunch, which
was being cooked, I climbed to the summit of a high peak in order to
obtain a more extensive view. The ascent, first on slippery grass, then
over slaty rocks, was by no means easy, nor devoid of a certain amount of
danger; but so keen was I to get to the top that I reached the summit
very quickly, leaving half-way down the mountain slope the two men who
had followed me. In places near the top there were rocks to climb that
stood almost perpendicular, and it was necessary to use hands as well as
feet. It was not unlike climbing up a rough wall. I was nevertheless well
repaid for my trouble. The view from that high point of vantage was
magnificent, and I confess that I felt almost too ambitious when, having
unslung my paint-box, I attempted to reproduce on paper the scene before

"I am a fool," said I to myself, "to try and paint that! What painter
could do those mountains justice?"

I dashed off the picture as usual very hastily, but never was a rash
venture rewarded with poorer result, and those eternal giants remained

Disconsolate, I made my way down. It was more difficult even than the
climb up. A false step, a slip, and it might have cost my life,
especially along the steep precipice, where I had to cling to anything
projecting in the wall-like rock. I had gone four thousand feet higher
than the camp, reaching an elevation of 11,450 feet above sea level.

It was this performance, watched anxiously from my camp down below, as
well as by the army of men belonging to the Deputy Commissioner of
Almora, who was also here encamped, that won me the name among the
natives of "Chota Sahib," the "Langur," the "small sir," the "monkey," a
name of which I have been proud ever since.

Some seventy-three miles from Pithoragarh the Shankula River enters the
Kali, the course of the Shankula being roughly from N.N.W. to S.S.E.

The track once crossed, the Shankula stream tends towards the South-East
and with a gentle incline rises to 8570 feet at Gibti, where I encamped
somewhat above the Gala Daramsalla. I had gone through forests of maple,
beech, oak and rhododendrons, with a thick undergrowth of scrub and

The Kali River, about two thousand feet down below my camp, marks the
boundary between Nepal and Kumaon. From this high point the foaming
stream can be seen for miles, winding between thickly wooded hills and
mountains like a silver ribbon on a dark reposeful background.

The march from my last camp was a very short one, so I had the greater
part of the day left for work. Previously I had usually halted in
Daramsallas (stone-walled shelters), and in default of these my men put
up for me a neatly-made "Chahna"[5] or "chöpper," a hut of mats and
branches of trees, in the construction of which the Paharis are
wonderfully dexterous. I had also my small "mountain tent," a _tente
d'abri_, quite comfortable enough for ordinary requirements.

[Illustration: THE TENT]

It seems, however, that this style of travelling is not considered _comme
il faut_ by the officials of India. It is the number and size of one's
tents, according to these authorities, that make one a greater or a
smaller gentleman! I had put up my tent--three feet high, seven feet
long, and four feet wide--by the side of the two double-leaf eighty pound
tents of the Deputy Commissioner, but this official and his companions
were far from pleased with this act of familiarity. For a double-tented
sahib to be seen in company of another sahib whose bijou tent rose from
the ground hardly up to one's waist, was _infra dig_ and a serious threat
to the prestige of the British in India. I was therefore politely
requested to move from my cosy quarters to a more dignified abode lent
me by the one-eyed Lal Sing, a Tokudar[6] and brother of the Patwari.[7]

Being thus promoted in everybody's estimation except my own, I wrote and
copied out my first article for _The Daily Mail_, and, having done this,
I dined and spent a pleasant evening with Mr. G.

The night was stormy; the wind shook my tent. I went to sleep wrapped in
my solitary camel-hair blanket. Some hours later a sharp knock on my head
woke me. It was the centre pole of the tent that had moved out of its
sockets and had fallen on me. This was followed by a rushing noise of
canvas, and I found myself in a moment uncovered and gazing at the stars.

There were white things flying about in the air, and, to my horror, I
discovered the leaves of my _Daily Mail_ article scattered in the wind.

I jumped up, but of the ten or twelve foolscap leaves on very thin paper,
I only managed to recover two or three. The others soared gracefully to
and fro in the air, and I suppose settled eventually in the Kali. This
meant recopying the article next day, a tedious job when you are burning
to get on.

The sun rose. The camp began to wake up. All were shivering with cold. I
took my usual cold bath surrounded by a half-frozen crowd of astonished
onlookers, wrapped up in their thick woollen blankets, crouching round me
with their chins on their knees.

The tent was recovered after a while, and soon all was ready to start.

[5] _Chahna_--Pahari. _Chöpper_, Dehsi--Hindustani.

[6] _Tokudar_--Head-village man.

[7] _Patwari_--Accountant for a Pargana.


     The _Nerpani_, or "waterless track"--Exaggerated accounts--A long
     shot--The rescue of two coolies--Picturesque Nature--An
     involuntary shower-bath--The _Chai_ Pass.

THE renowned _Nerpani_, or _Nerpania_, "waterless track," begins at
Gibti. Very few travellers have been on this road, and by the accounts
brought back many people have been prevented from imitating their

[Illustration: THE NERPANI ROAD]

Personally I found the track far better than I anticipated. I have been
on worse mountain roads among less precipitous cliffs. From what I had
heard it seemed as if the greater part of the road for several miles was
supported on crowbars fixed in the rock, but such is not the case. Here
and there, however, are found along the track spots overhanging
precipices; and where the perpendicular cliff did not allow of a road to
be cut except at great expense, crowbars have been more or less firmly
planted horizontally in the rock, and a narrow path made over them with
large slabs of stone. The drop from the path to the river is often from
eighteen hundred to two thousand feet, and the path is in many places no
wider than six inches. But to any surefooted traveller that would not
constitute a real danger. The road is tedious, for the Nerpania cliff
along which it has been constructed is subdivided into three smaller
cliffs, separated in turn one from the other by ravines. It is thus
troublesome to climb up and down some thousands of feet, each time along
interminable and badly put together flights of steps, only to descend
again on the other side. Some of the descents, especially the last to
Gulamla, are precipitous, but with no nails in one's shoes and no stick
in one's hand, there is really very little danger for people accustomed
to mountaineering.

These are the main elevations on the road: Gibti, 8650 feet, 6750 feet,
7600 feet, 6700 feet, 7100 feet, 6600 feet from Gulamla. At bearings
magnetic 350°, going close to the river-bed through a gorge, one obtains
a fine view of a huge gneiss peak towering on the left side of the
_Neganza_ or _Nejangar_ Mountain. This peculiar rock, shaped like a
fortress, goes by the name of the Ladjekut Peak and rises where the
Nejangar River meets the Kali. Here we pitched our tents.

[Illustration: THE NERPANI ROAD]

Towards sunset there was much agitation in camp over the appearance of
wild goats on the other side of the Kali River in Nepal.

"Your rifle, Sahib, your rifle!" shouted a chorus of impatient natives.
"Quick, quick, your rifle!"

I seized my Mannlicher and followed the excited gang to a place some
hundred yards away, where a large boisterous crowd had collected to watch
the game.

[Illustration: THE NERPANI ROAD]

"Where are they?" said I, as I could not see anything.

"There, there!" they all screamed at the top of their voices, pointing to
the summit of the opposite cliff over four hundred yards distant.

"Oh, that is too far."

"No, no, Sahib, please shoot," they all implored.

[Illustration: THE NERPANI TRACK]

I put up the Lyman back-sight to four hundred yards, took aim and fired.
Down came rolling from rock to rock the poor wild goat, amid the frantic
excitement of the crowd around me. It rolled down until it came to the
shrub and vegetation, where its progress became slower. It fell on the
small trees and, bending them by its weight, it would drop a few seconds
later on to a lower one. The trepidation on our side was intense. At last
the graceful body stuck across a bigger tree and swung on it for some
minutes. The oscillation slowly ceased, and tree and goat became
motionless. There our prey stuck fast.

[Illustration: THE CHAI-LEK PASS]

Hatchets were immediately produced, and two tall trees hurriedly cut and
felled. A bridge was being spanned to cross the dangerous cold and swift
waters of the Kali. A tree was thrown across, and its point just about
reached a high rock on the other side. Then, amidst a dead silence, a
coolie balanced himself over it. He had nearly reached the opposite bank
when there was a crash. The tree broke, and the man was in the water,
frightened and screaming pitifully, clutching a branch with convulsive

Another coolie went to his rescue, but the tree being now swung by the
current, he also was pitched into the water. It was only after a terrible
moment of suspense that our men had the common sense to draw the tree
back towards the shore. One and all joined in a supreme effort, and the
two men were eventually saved.


Our way to the next camp was first through a high narrow gorge. A
beautiful waterfall on terraces faced us. From 6700 feet, the road
ascended to 7650 feet, then on flights of steps and in places over
crowbars the weary traveller descended to 7000 feet, where at Malpa the
road was for a space nearly level. The Malpa River, running from North to
South, was crossed. On the Nepal side across the Kali the vegetation was
luxuriant, while on the Kumaon side it was sparse and bare. Farther on
another beautiful waterfall.

The track now rose on a steep incline to 8120 feet among huge rocks and
boulders. What with the gigantic snow-peaks, the pretty waterfalls, the
weird character of the country traversed, one got so interested in one's
surroundings that one forgot all about any difficulty of climbing. From
barren hills and rocks the track suddenly became clayish and sandy, and
in a series of zigzags well shaded by _Tchuk, Utish_, and _Ritch_ trees,
with a thick undergrowth of scrub wood and stunted vegetation, we found
ourselves down as low as 6750 feet, ascending immediately after in a very
short distance to 8100 feet to Camp Lahmari.

In olden times the path went over the highest part of the cliff, and it
took a good walker the whole day to reach from one spring of water to the
next, hence the name of "waterless."

Here practically ended the _Nerpani_ (waterless track), and an
involuntary shower-bath soon awaited the passer-by, drenching him to the
skin, unless he was provided with waterproof and umbrella. The spray
descended from a great height for a length of some thirty or forty yards,
the road being very narrow and very slippery, so that progress was
particularly slow. The name of the waterfall was _Takti_.

The track, if not more level, was nevertheless better after this to the
sore-footed walker. It was less rocky and devoid of the tiresome flights
of steps.

On leaving Lahmari we immediately had a steep rise to 9600 feet. Then a
drop of 400 feet, and we found ourselves on the Buddi River, a tributary
of the Kali. Just above the bridge was a magnificent waterfall, by the
left side of which we found a kind of grotto hollowed out under a rock.
The Shokas and Tibetans used it as a camping ground.

To our right, high up on the cliffside, was the picturesque village of
Buddi (9300 feet), with its two- and three-storeyed houses. Below and
over it in long zigzags could be seen the track ascending to the top of
_Chai-Lek_, or _Tcheto_ Pass as the Shokas call it. At bearings magnetic
170° we had the towering Namjun peak, so high that I was told it could be
seen even from Almora and Ranikhet.

Then as we proceeded up the steep clayish track, I could not, on looking
back, help admiring the magnificent Kali valley with its gigantic cliffs
and gorges surmounted by lofty snow peaks. On the _Chai_ Pass the two
aneroids I had on me registered an altitude of 11,190 feet. I was now on
a small flat tableland. Darcy Bura, the richest Shoka trader from Buddi,
had erected here a bargain-house for the purchase and exchange of borax,
salt, wool, and other articles from Tibet. On the left side of the road a
large cave in the rock had been walled and partly roofed over for the use
of wife-seekers from the villages of Buddi and Garbyang. These houses
were called _Rambangs_, and were an old institution among the Shokas, of
which I shall have occasion to speak at length later on. As everywhere
else, a few high poles with flying prayers and a bell had been placed
near the pass.


     A series of misfortunes--Tibetan atrocities on British
     subjects--Tibetan exactions--Revolting cruelty to one of her
     Majesty's subjects--Assault on a British officer--A smart British

MY arrival at Garbyang was watched by hundreds of men, women, and
children, all squatting on the edge of the flat mud roofs of their
habitations, while a few dozen people followed me respectfully to my
camping ground beyond the village. A large tent had been put up for me by
Pundit Gobaria's brother, who had been informed of my coming by Anti Ram
Sah, my banker at Almora. Mr. G., Deputy Commissioner, arrived later.

I was very anxious to make immediate arrangements to enter Tibet, but all
my efforts to obtain reliable followers were of little avail.

I heard to my regret, a day or two later, that the plan of my journey,
which with so much trouble and care I had kept secret, had been divulged
to the Tibetan authorities. Misfortunes never come singly! Against my
will I had been advised to pay a certain sum at Almora, in exchange for
which I received a letter of credit on Pundit Gobaria, a rich trader of
Garbyang, who was to pay me the amount in silver. Unluckily, Gobaria was
still absent in Nepal, and no one else could cash a cheque for the amount
I wanted. This was tiresome--all the more so as I had counted on the
money. I immediately sent a runner to Almora to have the sum in silver
sent at once. This involved much publicity and considerable risk.

Also delay was inevitable. All the passes were closed and fresh snow was
falling daily. It was just possible with much difficulty for a man to
cross the Lippu Pass, but no baggage could be taken through. I made up my
mind to remain a few days in Garbyang, and took this opportunity to have
a large Tibetan tent manufactured to shelter my future followers--if
ever I could find any--and it might help me, I calculated, to become
friendly with the natives, among whom I hoped to find some willing


Doctor H. Wilson, of the Methodist Evangelical Mission, went to much
trouble in trying to get together men for me, but though his influence
was and is considerable in Bias and Chaudas, his efforts were not crowned
with success. The Shokas know well how terribly cruel the Tibetans are.
They have suffered at their hands more than once, and even of recent
years the Government of India has had reported by its own officers cases
of horrible tortures inflicted by the Tibetan authorities on British
subjects captured by them on our side of the frontier. Some of the
atrocities committed by the Lamas on British subjects are revolting, and
it is a matter of great regret and indignation to the Englishmen who
visit these regions to think that the weakness of our officials in Kumaon
has allowed and is allowing such proceedings still to go on. So incapable
are they, in fact, that the Jong Pen of Taklakot in Tibet sends over,
"with the sanction of the Government of India," his yearly emissaries to
collect Land Revenue[8] from British subjects living on British soil. The
Shokas have to pay this tribute, and do so out of fear--in addition to
other taxes and trade dues iniquitously exacted by the Tibetans.

On the slightest pretext the Tibetans arrest, torture mercilessly, fine,
and confiscate property of, British subjects on British territory.

At the time of my visit there could be seen, in Garbyang and other
villages, British subjects (Shokas) who had been mutilated by the Tibetan

Even Dr. H. Wilson, who had erected a dispensary at Gungi (one march
beyond Garbyang), was lately threatened with confiscation--and worse
perhaps--if he did not immediately comply with the exactions of the
Tibetans. He declined to do so and reported the matter to the Government,
relying on a good rifle in the house and his many servants. His
determination not to be intimidated seems to have given him temporary
security, for the Tibetans are as cowardly, when they think themselves
matched, as they are cruel.

Let me quote one example of cruelty which occurred as late as 1896. A
Shoka trader, undeniably a British subject, had gone over the border, as
is customary with them during the summer, to dispose of his merchandise
on the Tibetan market. He and another Shoka, also a British subject, had
a quarrel. Aware that the first Shoka was wealthy, the Tibetan
authorities took this pretext to arrest him and impose upon him an
exorbitant fine, besides the additional punishment of two hundred lashes
to be administered to him by order of the Jong Pen. The Shoka
remonstrated on the plea that he had done no harm, and that being a
British subject they had no right to so punish him. The Jong Pen saw his
orders executed, and further commanded his men to cut off the wretched
prisoner's hands. He was made over to two soldiers entrusted with the
carrying out of the sentence. They led him away to the place of
punishment. The Shoka was of a powerful build and possessed courage.
Though half dead and covered with wounds, he overcame his guardians and
escaped. The alarm was instantly given and a large party of horsemen sent
to capture him.

They caught him up, and when at close range fired on him and wounded him
in the knee, smashing the kneecap. He was surrounded, pounced upon,
beaten mercilessly, and last but not least, all his fingers were one by
one crushed into pulp between two heavy stones. In this condition he was
dragged before the Lamas, only to be decapitated! Mr. Sturt, an able and
just officer, who was then Deputy Commissioner at Almora, became
acquainted with these facts, and, having fully ascertained their
accuracy, reported them to the Government, strongly advising immediate
action against the Tibetans for this and other cruelties that were
constantly taking place on our frontier. Though it was undeniably proved
that the victim was a British subject, the Government of India took no
steps in the matter.

The same year, 1896, Lieutenant Gaussen, who on a shooting trip tried to
enter Tibet by the Lippu Pass, was surrounded by Tibetan soldiers, and he
and his servants were seriously ill-treated. The British officer received
a nasty wound on his forehead, and one of his servants, who behaved
heroically, was so cruelly handled that to-day, two years later, I hear
he is still an invalid.



[Illustration: GARBYANG]

Mr. J. Larkin, Deputy Collector at Almora, was then despatched to the
frontier. No better man could have been sent. Firm, just, and
painstaking, he became popular and much respected among the Shokas. He
listened to their troubles and sufferings; he administered justice
wherever possible. He refused audience to no one, and during his flying
visit became well acquainted with the country, the people, and all that
went on. The poor Shokas felt much relieved, thinking that at last the
Tibetan abuses would be put an end to. They were not mistaken, at least
for a time. The Jong Pen of Taklakot was called upon to answer for his
many misdeeds. He refused an interview. Mr. Larkin sent word across the
border that he would have no trifling and that he must come, upon which
the Jong Pen, with his officers and Lamas, crossed the snowy Lippu Pass.
Trembling with fear and bending low to the ground, the Tibetans, with
abject servility, entered the tent of our British envoy. The account of
the interview, which I received in full from a Shoka gentleman who was
present as interpreter, is amusing and curious, showing the mutability
and hypocrisy of the Tibetans. In the long run, and being well acquainted
with the cowardice of his visitors, Mr. Larkin not only obtained redress
on every point but gave the Jong Pen and his officers a severe harangue.
The result of the interview was that the collection of the Land Revenue
should be put a stop to, and that Tibetan law should no more be
administered on our side of the frontier.

Mr. Larkin's visit to Bhot was cut short by urgent orders to return
immediately to Almora.

The following year (the year of my visit, 1897), Mr. G., Deputy
Commissioner, undid much that the previous officer had accomplished. The
Jong Pen, when summoned, declined to come, and sent over deputies in his
place. The upshot of it is, that Land Revenue is again paid by the Shokas
to the Tibetan tax-collectors through the Peshkar.

I have mentioned these facts as representative of many, and to show how
it came that the natives, who had never had any protection from our
Government, were disinclined, notwithstanding the temptations I offered
them, to brave the dangers of Tibet. I, who later on suffered so much
through being betrayed by Shokas, am the first to forgive and not to
blame them. Though nominally our subjects, their actual rulers are the
Tibetans, and we do nothing to protect them against the exactions and
tortures of the intruders. Why then should we expect them to be faithful
to us? The Shokas are not treacherous by nature, but they are compelled
to be deceitful to protect their lives and their homes. Properly treated,
these honest, gentle, good-natured mountaineers would assuredly become
loyal and trustworthy subjects of her Majesty.

[8] The sums are now collected by the Political Peskhar and handed over
in Garbyang to the Tibetans.


     Tibetan threats--My birthday--Ravenous dogs--A big dinner--Shoka

THE Jong Pen of Taklakot, on hearing of my proposed visit, sent threats
that he would confiscate the land of any man who came in my employ,
besides menaces of "flogging" and subsequent "beheading" of myself and
any one caught with me. Personally I paid little attention to these

Consulting the calendar one day--a thing I did with great regularity in
these regions--I made out that it was the first of June, and I then
remembered that the following day would be my birthday. Feasts were
scarce in these high altitudes, and the prospect before me was that they
would in the near future be even scarcer. It therefore occurred to me
that I could not better while away a day at least of this weary waiting
than by treating myself to a real big feast.


Chanden Sing was despatched round the village to summon up to my tent all
the local Bunyas (tradespeople). Rice, flour, eight pounds of butter
(_ghi_), a large quantity of lump sugar, pepper, salt, and a fat sheep
were purchased. The latter was forthwith beheaded, skinned, and dressed
in the approved fashion by the faithful Chanden Sing, who was indeed a
jack of all trades.

Unfortunately, I am a careless house or rather tent keeper, and I
entrusted my chaprassis with the job of stowing away the provisions, for
which purpose a recess under the native low bedstead served to
perfection, holding as it did the different-sized vessels, with the
_bachri_ (sheep) in pieces, and the rice, flour, butter, etc.

While this was being done, I worked away hard at writing, and getting
interested, continued at it till an early hour of the morning; I got
tired at last, and, wrapping myself up in my blanket, I soon went to
sleep next to a heap of stones piled up by the cautious Chanden Sing.

"Sahib," had been his warning, "there are many hungry dogs about. If they
come, here are a few missiles ready for them!" and he pointed at the

"All right; good-night."

The wisdom of this was soon apparent, for I had not slept long when I was
aroused by the hollow sound of lip-smacking, apparently arising from more
than one mouth, accompanied by the movement of the stretched canvas bed
on which I was lying. Jumping to my feet, I alighted upon a living mass
of unwelcome guests; but before I even realised what had been going on,
they had scampered away, the brutes! carrying between their
tightly-closed jaws a last mouthful of my dainties.

The ammunition at my disposal was quickly used up--a poor revenge, even
when I heard the yell of a dog I happened to hit in the dark. On striking
a match, I found the large brass bowls emptied, the rice and flour
scattered all over the tent, and the sheep practically vanished.

I determined not to be done out of this piece of indulgence, which now
seemed desirable beyond words, although I crawled back into my blanket,
and found for a while oblivion in sleep. I was no sooner up in the
morning than I planned a new banquet. But in the nick of time, Mr. G.,
who had gone a march farther, returned with his escort of policemen,
_moonshees_, pundits, and chaprassis.

"Never mind, Landor," said he kindly, when I had told him of my trouble,
"you come and dine with me. These chaps shall get you up a special dinner
in their own way."

My stores were put under tribute, instead of the native Bunyas, and we
had a very excellent meal indeed. We had Bovril soup and Irish stew,
roast mutton, potted tongue, roast chicken, gigantic swan eggs poached on
anchovy toast, jam omelette, chow-chow preserves, ginger biscuits, boiled
rhubarb, and I must not forget, by the way, an excellent plum cake of no
small dimensions, crammed full of raisins and candy, which I had brought
from Mrs. G. at Almora to her husband, and to which we did, with
blessings for her, the fullest justice.


Thanks to Mr. G. and also to the fortunate coincidence of receiving a
batch of letters from parents and friends, which reached me on that day
by runner from Khela, I do not think that I could have spent a happier
birthday anywhere, and I knew well enough that these were to be the last
moments of contentment--an end to the fleshpots of Egypt. After this I
should be cut off from civilisation, from comfort even in its primitive
form; and to emphasise this fact, it happened that on the very morning
following my birthday, Mr. G. left and continued his journey to Almora.

[Illustration: SHOKA HOUSES]

The weather was cold and rain fell in torrents, the thermometer being
never above 52° during the warmest hours of the day. My soaked tent stood
in a regular pool of water, notwithstanding the double trenches round it,
and several Shoka gentlemen had before asked me to abandon it and live in
a house. They were all most anxious to extend to me hospitality, which I,
not wishing to trouble them, and in order at all hazards to be entirely
free and unhampered in my actions, courteously but firmly declined.
Nevertheless, quite a deputation arrived on June 4, renewing their
request; but I was determined to have my way. In vain! They would not see
a Sahib under cold canvas while they themselves had comfortable homes.
They held a consultation. Unexpectedly, and notwithstanding my
remonstrances, my loads were suddenly seized and carried triumphantly on
the backs of a long row of powerful Shokas towards the village. I had to
follow _nolens volens_, and from that day on I grew through constant
contact daily more convinced of the genuine friendliness and
kindheartedness of these people.

To prevent my coming back, they even pulled down the tent, and, wet as it
was, carried it away. Zeheram and Jaimal, two leading Shokas, held my
hands and patted me on the back as they led me with every sign of
courtesy to my new dwelling.

This turned out to be a fine two-storeyed building with nicely carved
wooden door and windows coloured red and green. So great was the anxiety
and fear of these good people that I should turn back at this juncture,
that some twenty outstretched hands seized me by the arms, while others
pushed me from behind up a flight of ten or twelve steps into the house,
where I found myself the guest of my good friend Zeheram. I was given the
front of the first floor, consisting of two large clean rooms, with a
very fair native bedstead, a table and two or more _moras_ (round cane
stools covered with skin); and I had no sooner realised that I must stay
than presents of sweets, preserved fruit, dried dates, and tea were
brought for my acceptance--tea made in the Tibetan fashion with butter
and salt in it.

Even if at first I had had slight apprehensions at the expression of such
very unusual hospitality, these were soon dispelled, and I was proud to
be assured by my host that I was the first Englishman (or for that,
European or American) who had been allowed to enter the living part of a
Shoka house and partake of food in a Shoka dwelling. The opportunity was
too good to be lost, and I was sorely tempted to tarry among them, so as
really to get an insight into their mode of living, their customs and



     Shoka hospitality--How I obtained much information--On a
     reconnoitring trip--A terrible slide.

THEY are indeed Nature's gentlemen, these worthy Shokas, and as such they
did all in their power to make my stay among them pleasant. It was a
contest between them as to who should entertain me first, and who should
be the next. Invitations to breakfast and dinner literally poured in; and
those convenient "sick headaches," "colds," and "previous engagements,"
so opportune in more conventional parts, were of no avail here. No
card--no friendly note bade one to come and be merry. They generally
arrived _en masse_ to fetch me. Pulling and pushing played a not
unimportant part in their urging, and to decline was thus out of the
question. Indeed I must confess there was but little inclination to
decline on my part. When you arrived, your host spread out fine mats and
rugs, of Tibetan and ancient Chinese manufacture, and often of great
value. In front of a raised seat were displayed in shiny brass bowls the
various viands and delicacies which constituted the meal. There was rice
always; there was curried mutton, milk and curd with sugar; then
_chapatis_ made in Hindustani fashion and _Shale_, a kind of sweet
pancake made of flour, _ghi_ (butter), sugar or honey, also _Parsad_, a
thick paste of honey, burnt sugar, butter and flour, all well cooked
together--a dainty morsel even for a jaded palate.

I was invariably made to sit on the raised seat, which I did
cross-legged, while the crowd squatted respectfully on the floor round
the room, forming a semicircle with me in the center. I generally ate
with my fingers in their own manner, a courtesy they particularly
appreciated, and although I must have seemed awkward to them at first, I
soon acquired a sort of dexterity in manipulating hot food--meat and
vegetables, for instance--with my hand. The trick is not very difficult,
but it requires practice. You gather up your five fingers downwards in
the dish, seizing a mouthful, and with a rapid circular twist of the hand
you collect as much sauce as you can round the morsel you have caught.
With a still more rapid movement, and before anything has time to drip
between your fingers, you half drop and half throw it into your mouth.


I soon found that I could, during these cordial repasts, enlivened as
they were by moderate libations of _chökti_ and _syrap_ (wine and spirit
distilled from wheat), acquire considerable knowledge of anthropological
and ethnological interest, and gather also much valuable information
about Tibet and its people. They became, in fact, in the few days I spent
among them, confiding to such a degree, and looked upon me so much as one
of themselves, that I soon obtained the run of the whole place. They came
to confide their grievances and troubles; they related to me their
legends and folk-lore. They sang to me their weird songs and taught me
their dances. They brought me to their marriages and strange funerals;
they took me to their sick men, women, and children, or conveyed them to
me for cure. Thus, to my delight, and with such unique chances, my
observations of a pathological, physiological, and anatomical character
became more interesting to me day by day, and I have attempted to
describe in a later chapter some of the things I was able to note.


After lingering in Garbyang for several days, I paid off my two
chaprassis, Matan Sing and Narenghiri, and they returned to Almora.

On June 6 I started on a journey towards the frontier, with a view to

Crossing into Nepal territory below Chongur village, and following
upwards the right bank of the Kali River in a direction of 320° (bearings
magnetic) I reached Kanwa, a Shoka village on a high cliff-like plateau
under which meet the three rivers Kali, Taki, and Kuti. The Kali turns
suddenly to 37° (bearings magnetic), while the Kuti River keeps a general
direction of 325° (bearings magnetic).

Having crossed again into Kumaon, I struck camp at Gungi. Before entering
the village, I passed Dr. Wilson's dispensary, not then completed. In the
village the houses were decorated with long poles joined by strings, from
which hung and flew gaily in the breeze hundreds of wind prayers. The
dwellings were mostly of the ancient, pure Shoka architecture, and not so
fine or so clean as those in Garbyang. The place was picturesque,
clear-cut against the curious background of the dome-like mountain, the
Nabi Shankom, a peak of uncommon beauty with its grey and reddish striped
strata. Near it on another mountain is the Gungi Shankom, a gigantic
quadrangular rock of a warm yellow and reddish colour, not unlike a huge
tower. When I reached its foot, the sun was casting his last dying rays
on it, and the picture was so magical that I was tempted to sketch it. As
I sat there, the shadow of the coming night rose higher and higher on
the mountain-side, tinting it violet blue, and above it the Gungi Shankom
stood resplendent in all its glory like a tower of fire--till night
descended covering the mountain first, and little by little the Gungi
Shankom itself. I shall not easily forget this sight.

[Illustration: GUNGI SHANKOM]

I slept under my little _tente d'abri_ and found it delightfully cosy and

At 10 A.M. the next day I raised camp. The elevation here was 10,940
feet. Interesting was the _Chiram_, a collection of tombs, five in
number, made of slabs of white stone with poles placed vertically upon
them, and from the summit of which hung flying prayers. The Kuti River to
my left was wide and rapid. On the opposite bank the village of Ronkan
(11,100 feet) made a pretty _vis-à-vis_ to the Nabi village on our side
of the stream, at the same elevation, and directly under the lee of the
Nabi Shankom.

As I rose gradually along the river course the vegetation grew sparse,
and in front of me there remained nothing but barren rocks and high snowy
peaks. The spot where, from opposite sides, the Gunkan River and the Nail
River throw themselves into the Kuti River is most picturesque. There are
on the water's edge a few pine-trees, but above there is nothing but
wilderness--rock and ice and snow.

I soon came upon much snow, and places where the track along the
mountain-side was undiscoverable. Walking was tiresome enough on the
loose shingle and shale, but it became worse when I actually had to cut
each step into the frozen snow. The work was tedious to a degree, and
the progress slow. After a while I noticed a series of lofty snow
tunnels over the raging stream, which is earlier in the season covered
entirely by a vault of ice and snow. The higher I got the harder and more
slippery grew the snow. The soles of my shoes having become soaked and
frozen made walking very difficult. At 12,000 feet, being about three
hundred feet above the stream, I had to cross a particularly extensive
snow-field, hard frozen and rising at a very steep angle. Some of my
coolies had gone ahead, the others were behind. Notwithstanding the track
cut by those ahead, it was necessary to re-cut each step with one's own
feet, so as to prevent slipping. This was best done by hammering several
times into the white sheet with the point of one's shoe until a cavity
was made deep enough to contain the foot and to support one upright. It
ought to be done carefully each time, but I fear I had not the patience
for that. I thought I had found a quicker method, and by raising my knee
high, I struck the snow with my heel, leaving my foot planted until the
other one had by the same process cut the next step.



It was in giving one of these vigorous thumps that I hit a spot where,
under a thin coating of snow, was hard ice. My foot, failing in its
grip, slipped, and the impulse caused me to lose my balance. I slid down
the steep incline at a terrific pace, accompanied in my involuntary
tobogganing over ice and snow by the screams of my horror-stricken
coolies. I realised that in another moment I should be pitched into the
stream, which would have meant being carried under the long tunnel of ice
to meet certain death beneath it. In those few seconds I found time to
speculate even as to whether those stones by the water's edge would stop
me, or whether the impetus must fling me past them into the river. I
attempted to get a grip in the snow with my frozen fingers, to stem
myself with my heels, but with no success, when I saw ahead of me a large
stone rising above the snow. With desperate tension of every nerve and
muscle, I knew as I approached it, with the foaming water yonder, that it
was my only hope. I consciously straightened my legs for the contact. The
bump was tremendous, and seemed to shatter every bone in my body. But it
stopped me, and I was saved only a few feet from the water's
edge--miraculously, although fearfully bruised, with no bones broken.

[Illustration: CHIRAM]

My fingers were cut by the ice and bleeding. When I was able to stand, I
signalled to the frightened and wailing coolies above to go on, and I
myself proceeded along the watercourse until I found a spot from which I
could regain the upper track.


     A palaver--To see is to believe--Dangers and perils on the snow
     and ice--_Thar_ and _Ghural_--Stalking--A tiring climb to 16,000
     feet--The collapse of a snow bridge.

AT Kuti I halted and summoned the leading natives to my tent.

Would it be possible, I asked them, to get over the Lumpiya Pass or the
still higher Mangshan? The first is a rarely frequented pass on the way
to Gyanema, the other a high and most difficult pass by which it is
possible, though not easy, to reach the Rakstal Lake by the jungle
without going near a Tibetan settlement or encampment.

"No," was the decided answer from all the Shokas. "The snow is now too
deep. Fresh snow falls daily. For another fortnight at least no human
being can get across. To attempt it will mean losing one's life. At their
best during one month in summer, those two passes are arduous and
dangerous. Now it would be mere folly to attempt their ascent."

With my distressingly sceptical nature I believe little that I do not
see. I started next morning to observe for myself. My bearings were
roughly North-West. Seeing me determined, several of the Kutial Shokas
changed their mind and volunteered to follow me. They were of
considerable help in many dangerous places. Here and there a few paces of
narrow track were uncovered, otherwise we went long distances on frozen
snow, over precipices down which it was almost fatal to look.

The lucky hairbreadth escape of the previous day contributed to make me
lose confidence, not in myself, but in that white emblem of purity and
innocence, in reality the most treacherous substance in creation. I soon
found that wherever there was snow there was trouble. In spots where the
snow was particularly hard frozen we dared not attempt to walk on the
steep slippery surface, and we had to descend to the river, which was
here bridged over completely with ice and snow. Crossing, we would
attempt progress on the other side, and having proceeded with difficulty
for a few hundred yards, had to retrace our steps and try the first bank
again. We thus crossed and recrossed the Kuti River more than
half-a-dozen times, each crossing being preceded by a precipitous descent
and immediately followed by a steep ascent. The cracks in the ice by the
water-side were constant and perilous, and we did not risk remaining near
them longer than was necessary. In six or seven hours we had walked a
distance of less than four miles. Leaving the Kuti River and following
due North the course of a tributary, the Kambelshio, we crossed over to
its farther bank and pitched our tents at an altitude of 13,420 feet.

[Illustration: KUTI]


There remained a few hours of daylight when we arrived, and I employed
them by going after _Thar_ or _Tehr_ and _Ghural_ (Himahlyan chamois) a
couple of miles farther. I rose to 15,000 feet on a needle-like peak
towering over the spot where, in a narrow picturesque gorge, the Tongzu
pangti enters the Kuti River. The sources of the Tongzu pangti are about
a thousand feet higher than the spot where it meets the Kuti River, and
the stream has its birth from the melting snows, descending precipitously
and in a very short distance into the larger river.

The rocks are here furred with saltpetre, and it is said to be a
favourite spot for Thar.[9]


I enjoyed my trip so much that, rising with the sun, I started on the
following morning to repeat my experience. Moreover, I wanted to climb to
some high point wherefrom I could make certain whether it was possible
to proceed immediately across the Himahlyan range, or whether it was
advisable to wait patiently until the snow had to some extent
disappeared. I walked four miles from camp, reaching an altitude of
16,000 feet. The ascent was rather tiring. Having wounded a Thar, I went
after it up a fatiguing snow-field at a speed too great to be comfortable
at such a very high elevation. When I reached the top, I was out of
breath and the Thar too far off for a second shot.

The view this high point commanded was stupendous. For miles and
miles--and it seemed hundreds of miles--snow, snow, nothing but snow!
There stood Jolinkan Mount rising above 19,000 feet. On either side of
the Kuti River were peaks as high as 20,000 feet and more. Here and there
the white sheet that covered the surrounding country seemed almost
greenish. Those spots were glaciers, and I saw many of them, feeding as
they do the numerous streams flowing into the Kuti River. I returned to
camp for lunch. It was useless to proceed and even more useless remaining
still. I gave orders to raise the camp, and at 2 P.M. we were under way
back to Kuti.

The day had been an unusually warm one, and the surface of the snow, so
hard the previous day, was now soft and watery. Several of the snow
bridges had already disappeared.

I had descended to the river preceded by some of my coolies. Two of them
just in front of me were crossing over the stream on a thick and broad
archway of ice. I was waiting for them to be safely across. When the men
had nearly reached the other side they noticed a peculiar vibration
underfoot. Scrambling away as best they could, they gave the alarm.

I drew back hastily. In the nick of time! for with a deafening roar like
magnified thunder echoed from cliff to cliff, down went the bridge. The
huge pieces of ice, only a moment before forming part of the vault, were
now swept away by the furious stream and thrown with tremendous force
against the next bridge, which quivered under the terrible clash.

Three days' marching over the same route brought me back to Garbyang.

[9] The _Gural_ is the Himahlyan chamois found at even comparatively low
elevations. They are generally seen in herds, with the exception of the
oldest males, which are usually met with alone. It is not uncommon to see
as many as eight or ten together, especially during their feeding time,
shortly after sunrise and an hour or two before sunset.

Tehr or Thar (male) and Jahral (female) is the true and proper wild goat
of the higher Himahlyan range. It is rarely found lower than 7000 feet
and often as high as 15,000 feet above sea level. Those found at lower
elevations do not possess quite such a luxuriant growth of hair, nor, I
am told, are their curved horns quite so long. They climb about
precipices and dangerous spots with the greatest ease.


     An earthquake--Curious notions of the natives--A Shoka tailor and
     his ways--The arrival of silver cash--Two rocks in the
     Kali--Arrogance of a Tibetan spy.

ON hearing that Dr. Wilson was now in Garbyang I went to call upon him.
Squatted on soft Chinese and Tibetan mats and rugs, we were enjoying cup
after cup of tea and devouring _chapatis_, when suddenly the whole
building began to shake and rumble in the queerest manner, upsetting
teapot and milk and sending the _chapatis_ roaming to and fro all over
the room.

Leaving Dr. Wilson to save our precious beverage, I pulled out watch and
compass to notice duration and direction of the shock. It was undulatory,
very violent, and oscillating from S.S.W. to N.N.E. The duration was
exactly four minutes two seconds. The earthquake began at 5.20 P.M. and
ended at 5h. 24m. 2s.

"It strikes me that it would have been wise to have gone out of the
house," said I. "It is a wonder the building did not collapse. My cup is
full of mud and débris from the ceiling."[10]

"I have saved the tea for you!" said the Doctor, triumphantly lifting in
his muscular hands the teapot, which he had carefully nursed. He had soon
discovered my devotion to the yellow liquid.

We were quietly going on with our refreshment when a band of excited
Shokas broke into the room.

"Sahib! Sahib! where has it gone?" cried they in a chorus, stretching
their hands towards me and then folding them in sign of prayer. "Sahib!
tell us where it has gone!"

"What?" rejoined I, amused at their suspense.

"Did you not feel the earth shake and quiver?" exclaimed the astounded

"Oh yes, but that is nothing."

"Oh no, Sahib! That is the precursory notice of some great calamity. The
'spirit' under the earth is waking up and is shaking its back."

"I would rather it shook its back than mine," said I jokingly.


"Or mine," added the Doctor lightly, much to the astonishment of our
awestricken callers.

"Which way did it go?" repeated the impatient Shokas.

I pointed towards the N.N.E. and they gave a sigh of satisfaction. It
must have proceeded to the other side of the Himahlyas.

It appears, according to the primitive notions of the Shokas, that inside
the earth lives in a torpid condition an evil spirit in the shape of a
gigantic reptile. The rumbling preceding an earthquake is, to the Shoka
mind, nothing else than the heavy breathing of the monster previous to
waking, whereas the actual shock is caused by the brute stretching its
limbs. When fully awake the serpent-like demon darts and forces its way
in one direction, compelling the earth to quake all along its
subterranean passage, often causing by so violent a procedure great
damage to property and loss of life, not to speak of the fear and terror
which it strikes in man and beast, should the capricious spirit by chance
make a return journey to the spot below the earth's crust directly
underfoot. It is curious and interesting, in analysing these crude
notions, to find that, independently of the cause attributed to its
origin, the Shokas are aware of the fact that an earthquake "travels" in
a certain direction. Moreover, common symptoms of the approach of a
violent earthquake, such as depression and heaviness in the atmosphere,
which they attribute to a feverish state of the giant reptile, are
readily recognised by them.

[Illustration: MY BANKER AND AGENT]

On my return to civilisation some months later I discovered that on the
same day a violent shock was felt all over India, causing considerable
damage, especially in Calcutta.

I had on first arriving in Garbyang ordered a tent, and the tailor who
was entrusted with its manufacture had, after several days' intoxication,
completed it. It was on the Tibetan pattern, with picturesque ornaments
in blue. He had also been making me some Nepalese clothes, and these
really turned out quite a success, no small wonder considering the way he
went to work. I had given him cloth and lining, which he took away with
him, but he never troubled to take my measure! He simply assured me that
the suit would be ready on the following day. This was of course not the
case, and on the next afternoon and for six consecutive days he placed
himself in a state of hopeless intoxication under my window, singing, and
making comical salaams each time I, after the custom of the country,
threw something at him to induce him to go away. On the seventh day I
caught him and shook him by the ears, explaining that if the clothes were
not ready before nightfall, I would, in default of other tailors, sew
them myself.

"I have a drop too much in me," confessed the amusing rascal. "I will go
to sleep now. When I wake in the afternoon I shall be sober and will
finish my work. Do not be angry, Sahib. If only you drank yourself,
Sahib, you would know how lovely it is to be drunk." His philosophy did
not agree with mine. But I felt sure that I had so far impressed him,
that he knew he must risk some personal violence if he delayed much
longer. Sure enough, late in the evening he came with his work.

"How they will fit I do not dare to guess," I remarked to Dr. Wilson,
"considering the condition the man has been in while making them, and
taking into account that he never measured me nor tried them on. After
all, Nepalese clothes should be tight-fitting all over."


Wonderful as it may seem, the clothes fitted like a glove. Clearly, that
man was a genius. Anyhow he was intemperate enough to have been one.

       *       *       *       *       *

One day I had gone for a walk along the deserted road from the village. I
was about a mile and a half from the inhabited part, when three men, who
had been fast approaching, stood with blunt swords in front of me. They
waved their blades clumsily and shouted at the top of their voices in an
excited manner: "_Rupiya! Rupiya!_" ("Rupees! Rupees!") Without thinking
of the money that I had sent for and expected to receive, I took their
attitude as a threatening demand for the cash I might have on me. They
were really grotesque in their gesticulations, and I brusquely pushed by
them and continued my constitutional. When they saw me depart, they
scurried away hastily towards Garbyang, and I gave the occurrence no
further thought. On my return to the village, however, some hours later,
a crowd of Shokas came up to me announcing that my money had arrived, and
that the scared messengers, not daring to come near me a second time, had
gone to Dr. Wilson's house. There I found a _peon_ and two _chaprassis_,
the three men I had met on the road. They had brought a sum of eighteen
hundred rupees in silver, nearly all in two-anna and four-anna pieces
(sixteen annas to a rupee), which I had sent for from my banker, Anti Ram
Sah, at Almora, and which it had taken three men to carry, owing to its

After an easy explanation with these three very peaceful highwaymen, the
silver was conveyed to my room, and the greater part of the night had to
be spent in counting the diminutive coins and packing them up in rolls of
ten rupees each.

       *       *       *       *       *

Just below Garbyang in the Kali River were, among a mass of others, two
large rocks in the centre of the stream. These two rocks were constantly
watched by the Shokas. The Kali, though named after a small spring below
its real source, is, like most of its tributaries, mainly fed by melting
snows. The greater quantity of water descends from the Jolinkan, the
Lumpiya, the Mangshan, the Lippu, and the Tinker passes. The first four
are in Kumaon, the last in Nepal. It stands to reason that the warmer the
weather the greater is the quantity of snow melting on the passes, and
therefore the higher the level of the river. When the two rocks are
altogether under water all the passes are known to be open.[11]

During the time I was in Garbyang I never had the luck to see this, but
the level of the river was daily rising, and the time of tiresome
expectation was certainly relieved by many amusing, and a few awkward

Having once been informed of my plans, the Jong Pen of Taklakot in Tibet
was kept fully acquainted with my movements. His spies went daily
backwards and forwards with details about me. This my friends confided
to me regularly. One of these emissaries, a stalwart Tibetan, more daring
than the rest, actually had the impudence to enter my room, and to
address me in a boisterous tone of voice. At first I treated him kindly,
but he became more and more arrogant, and informed me, before several
frightened Shokas to whom he was showing off, that the British soil I was
standing on was Tibetan property. The British, he said, were usurpers and
only there on sufferance. He declared that the English were cowards and
afraid of the Tibetans, even if they oppressed the Shokas.

This remark was too much for me, and it might anyhow have been unwise to
allow it to pass unchallenged. Throwing myself on him, I grabbed him by
his pigtail and landed in his face a number of blows straight from the
shoulder. When I let him go, he threw himself down crying, and implored
my pardon. Once and for all to disillusion the Tibetan on one or two
points, I made him lick my shoes clean with his tongue, in the presence
of the assembled Shokas. This done, he tried to scamper away, but I
caught him once more by his pigtail, and kicked him down the front steps
which he had dared to come up unasked.

Chanden Sing happened to be basking in the sun at the foot, and seeing
the hated foreigner make so contemptible an exit, leapt on him like a
cat. He had heard me say, "Ye admi bura crab!" ("That man is very bad.")
That was enough for him, and before the Tibetan had regained his feet, my
bearer covered his angular features with a perfect shower of blows. In
the excitement of the moment, Chanden Sing, thinking himself quite the
hero, began even to shy huge stones at his terror-stricken victim, and at
last, getting hold of his pigtail, to drag him round the yard--until I
interfered and stopped the sport.


[10] The ceilings of Shoka houses are plastered with mud.

[11] N.B. The Lippu Pass, the lowest of all, may be crossed, with
difficulty, nearly all the year round.


     The _Rambang_--Shoka music--Love-songs--Doleful singing--Abrupt
     ending--Solos--Smoking--When marriage is contemplated--The

[Illustration: MOTEMA, A SHOKA BEAUTY]

ONE Shoka institution, surprising in a primitive people, but
nevertheless, to my way of thinking, eminently sensible and advantageous,
is the Rambang, a meeting-place or club where girls and young men come
together at night, for the sake of better acquaintance, prior to entering
into matrimony. Each village possesses one or more institutions of this
kind, and they are indiscriminately patronised by all well-to-do people,
who recognise the institution as a sound basis on which marriage can be
arranged. The Rambang houses are either in the village itself, or half
way between one village and the next, the young women of one village thus
entering into amicable relations with the young men of the other and
_vice versâ_. I visited many of these in company with Shokas, and found
them very interesting. Round a big fire in the centre of the room men and
women sat in couples, spinning wool and chatting merrily, for everything
appeared decorous and cheerful. With the small hours of the morning, they
seemed to become more sentimental, and began singing songs without
instrumental accompaniment, the rise and fall of the voices sounding
weird and haunting to a degree. The Shoka men and women possess soft,
musical voices, and the sounds which they utter are not simply a series
of notes emitted through the throat, but, as it were, the vibration of
impressions coming from the heart, and transmitted by means of their
voices to others. Eastern in its character, the Shoka music is pleasing
to the Western ear, not because it possesses quick progressions,
flourishes, or any elaborate technicalities, but because it conveys the
impression of reality and feeling. The responsive duets, sung by a young
man and answered by a girl, pleased me most. All their songs are
plaintive, and contain modulations of the voice so mysteriously charming
in effect, and so good in tone, that they really affect one profoundly.
They only sing when the mood takes them; never with a view to please
others, but always simply to give vent to their emotions. Their
love-songs generally open with a sentimental recitative, and then change
into actual singing, with frequent modulations from one key into another.
The time is irregular, and though certain rhythmical peculiarities recur
constantly, yet each performer gives to what he sings so strong a
personality of execution as to make it almost an individual composition.
Any one hearing Shokas sing for the first time would imagine that each
singer was improvising as he went along, but on closer comparison it will
be found that musical phrases, certain favourite passages and modulations
in the voice, constantly recur not only in each song, but in all songs.
They seem all of them based on the same doleful tune, probably a very
ancient one, and only the different time in which it is given, and the
eccentricities of the singer, give it a separate and special character.
One characteristic of Shoka songs--as of so many other Oriental tunes--is
that they have no rounded ending, and this, to my ears, rather spoiled
them. A similar abrupt break is a feature of their dances and their
drum-beating. The song suddenly stops in the middle of the air with a
curious grating sound of the voice, and I could not obtain any entirely
satisfactory explanation of this: the only answer given me was that the
singer could not go on for ever, and that as long as he stopped it did
not matter how he did it. Further, they considered an abrupt ending most
suitable to music (or dancing), as it immediately brought you back to
your normal state, should your mind have been carried away. One pleasant
feature was that their songs were never sung in a loud tone of voice, nor
did they aim at notes too high or too low for their voices, but kept
themselves well within their compass.


[Illustration: SHOKA EARRINGS]

The only difference between solos given by men, and those sung by women,
was that the former showed more plaintiveness and sentimentality, and
greater mutability of thought, whereas the latter were more uniform, more
lively, and less imaginative in their representation of feelings. The
words of the love-songs, nearly always _impromptu_, can hardly be set
down in these pages. From our standard of morality, and away from their
own special surroundings, they might seem almost lewd, while in their
place they certainly did not impress me as offensive. When singing, the
Shokas usually raise the end of their white shawl or dress, and hold it
by the side of the head.


Smoking was general, each couple sharing the same pipe. A few burning
sticks of pine stuck in the rough wall formed the only illumination, save
the fire in the centre of the room slowly burning out. Signs of
sleepiness became evident as morning came, and soon they all retired in
couples, and went to sleep in their clothes on a soft layer of straw and
grass. There they slept peacefully in a row, and I retraced my steps to
my diggings amidst a deafening barking of pariah dogs. At these
gatherings every Shoka girl regularly meets with young men, and while she
entertains the idea of selecting among them a suitable partner for life,
she also does a considerable quantity of work with her spinning-wheel.
Eventually, when a couple consider marriage advisable, the young man,
dressed in his best clothes, proceeds to the house of his intended
father-in-law, carrying with him a pot of _chökti_ (wine), dried fruit,
_ghur_ (sweet paste), _miseri_ (sugar-candy), and grilled grain. If the
bridegroom is considered a suitable match, the parents of the girl
receive the young man with due consideration, and partake heartily of the
food and drink proffered by him. The marriage is there and then arranged,
the bridegroom further disbursing to the father a sum of not less than
five rupees and not more than one hundred. This is the etiquette of good
Shoka society, and of all people who can afford it, the payment being
called "milk-money," or money equivalent to the sum spent by the girl's
relations in bringing her up. The marriage ceremony is simple enough. A
cake called _Delang_ is baked, of which the friends of the two families
partake. If either the bridegroom or bride refuses to eat a share of the
cake, the marriage is broken off; if they both eat some of the cake, and
later any dissension arises between them, all those who assisted at the
function are called as witnesses that the marriage took place. Often even
this primitive ceremony of eating cake is dispensed with, and Shoka
marriages begin and continue as happy and faithful unions, without any
special form of service or rite to solemnise the tie.


They not only visit adultery on the guilty man himself by beating him,
but the men proceed _en masse_ to the house of his parents and denude it
of all furniture, stores of grain, and merchandise. They confiscate the
sheep, goats, yaks, and all their valuable saddles and loads, and present
the whole proceeds to the man whose wife has been seduced--a recompense
for the shame suffered. Frequently the unfortunate and innocent relations
of the evil-doer are bound and even beaten to death by the villagers.
These severe measures are resorted to in order to maintain a high
standard of morality and honour, and there is little doubt that,
primitive as these methods may seem, the good results obtained more than
justify them. There are very few illegitimate births, with the exception
of occasional Rambang children, and their arrival is a matter of such
disgrace that they cannot be looked upon as seriously discrediting the
social value of the Rambang.




     Departure of the Soul--Cremation--Amusement of the dead man's
     soul--The lay figure--Feasting--Doleful dance--Transmigration of
     the soul--Expensive ceremonies--Offerings before the lay
     figure--Dancing and contortions--Martial dances--Solo dances--The
     animal to be sacrificed and the lay figure--Chasing the animal
     from the village--Tearing out its heart--The yak driven over a
     precipice--Head shaving--A sacred cave.

THE Shokas ascribe death to the departure of the soul from the body, and
to this notion is due the curious reverence they show for the spirit or
memory of their dead. I witnessed a funeral ceremony quaint enough to
deserve record.

A man had died a painful death, the result of an accident. His friends
were immediately sent for, and the corpse, having been smeared with
butter (_ghi_), was dressed in his best clothes. They bent his body
double before the rigor set in, and placed him on a hurriedly constructed
wooden hearse. He was covered with a blue-and-gold embroidered cloth, and
a white one over it. At sunrise, the funeral procession left the house
for the place of cremation. First came a row of ten women, their heads
covered with a long strip of white cotton cloth, one end of which was
tied to the hearse. Among these were the near relations of the deceased,
including his wife and daughters, crying and wailing the words, "_Oh
bajo! Oh bajo!_" (Oh father! oh father!), the rest of them sobbing and
making great show of grief. The deceased having been somewhat of a
favourite in Garbyang, the villagers turned out in force to render him
this last tribute, and they took their place in the procession as it
slowly wound down the cliff towards the river. The hearse was carried by
two men, and each male Shoka following bore a log or bundle of firewood.
We reached the Kali. The body was temporarily laid on the bank of the
stream, while all the men, with heads uncovered, collected large stones
and pieces of wood. With the stones a circular crematory oven, five feet
high, six feet in diameter, with an opening on the side facing the wind,
was erected by the water-side. The wife and daughters of the departed,
with their hoods turned inside out and with covered faces, squatted down
meanwhile by the hearse, moaning and keeping a small fire alight. When
all preparations were made, the oven being heaped up with logs of wood,
the body was untied from the stretcher and lifted by two intimates of the
departed on to the funeral pile.


All valuables were removed, his gold earrings, his silver locket and
bracelets; and a large knife was used for some purpose or other which I
could not quite see, except in slitting the lobes of the corpse's ears to
remove his earrings more quickly. Branches of pine-tree were deposited on
the body, and a large pot of butter was set by its side. A brass bowl of
_chökti_ (wine) was poured on the head, and then, in profound silence,
fire was set to the pile.

A few white puffs showed that it had caught fire, and then a dense column
of black smoke rose from it, filling the atmosphere with a sickening
smell of singed hair and burning flesh. The wind blew the smoke towards
me, and I was enveloped in it for some moments, during which I could see
nothing of what was going on, and I felt my eyes smart and my nostrils
fill with the smoke and the stench. Gradually a tall flame, over twenty
feet high, leaked out, consuming the body and showing me, as the
atmosphere cleared, the Shokas down by the river washing their hands and
faces to cleanse themselves of what they look upon as unclean, the
contact with a corpse. Retracing their steps to the village, the women
cried and moaned, carrying back to the house the clothes of the deceased
and his brass bowls.

[Illustration: SHOKA FUNERAL PILE]


Reaching home, it was incumbent on them to provide lavishly for the
amusement of the dead man's soul. A lay figure crudely constructed of
straw and sticks was attired by them in the clothes of the departed, and
covered over with Indian fabrics embroidered in gold and red and blue,
and a turban was stuck on the head, with a _panache_ made of a branch of
fir-tree. The _Kalihé_ was at the side of the image. When the fire was
extinguished, a visit was paid to the cremation spot by the relatives of
the deceased, and such pieces of bone as the knee-joints, elbows, and the
larger vertebræ of the spine, usually left undestroyed by the flames,
were collected and deposited inside the clothes of the image. Wheat,
rice, and flour were purchased in large quantities and cooked to provide
food for the multitude of friends who remained the guests of the family
during the whole time of the funeral. A sheep a day is usually killed and
eaten on such occasions, and cask after cask of _chökti_ (wine), _zahn_
(a liquor distilled from barley, rice and wheat), and _anag_ (from
fermented grain of various kinds) are emptied by the mourning crowd. The
women folk of the dead man mourned round the effigy, resting their heads
on it, crying and imploring the beloved one to return to life. Other rows
of women, with their hoods turned inside out in sign of mourning, danced
gracefully in circles round the dressed-up figure, left the house by one
door in the basement, described an arc in the open, and returned by
another door, while men were dancing a doleful dance outside the house.
Beating of drums went on the whole day--languid and sad at moments;
excited, violent and rowdy at others, according to the mood of the
musicians and the quantity of liquor consumed by them. On each day of
these proceedings, which lasted for three or four days, rice, baked
wheat, and wine were placed before the effigy, until, when it was assumed
that the soul of the dead had had a sufficiently amusing time,
arrangements were made for its transmigration from the lay figure into a
live sheep or yak. If the deceased is a man, the animal chosen to
represent him is a male; if a woman, a female; but no ceremony of this
sort follows the cremation of children under ten or twelve. In the case
of the old man whose funeral I witnessed, a sheep was chosen, instead of
the time-hallowed yak, the procuring of which from Tibet used to be a
very costly business. The use of a sheep for these sacrifices is quite a
recent innovation, brought into fashion by the greatest Shoka trader in
Garbyang, called Gobaria, whose intention it was to put down the
unnecessary waste of these ceremonies; but many pious Shokas, I was
assured, are not satisfied with so small an offering as a single sheep,
and slaughter two or even more on these occasions.



After several days' dancing and gorging indoors, a crowd collects, to the
sound of the drums, outside the habitation. The lay figure is from the
room transported either directly outside the dwelling or to some
picturesque spot in the woods. This is generally on the fourth day. Bowls
with food are placed in front of it, and the dancing is begun, to a
curious sentimental strain, with a graceful series of contortions, by
girls and women waving large pieces of white material. The legs keep time
with the arms, and each leg is alternately bent at the knee until it
nearly touches the ground. The head is inclined to the right or left, and
thrown backwards or forwards according to the beating of the drum. The
circular motion in the dancing begins first very slowly, and the speed
then increases by degrees, abruptly ending in odd and suggestive
postures. During the intervals of dancing the relatives go round and
round the lay figure, dusting and fanning it with their white cloths.


In the afternoon the men join the performance, and though their dancing
has practically the same characteristics and motions as the women's
dance, it is usually so much more violent that it almost partakes of the
character of a war-dance. They hold in their right hands a sword, in the
left a circular shield, and some of the younger men show great skill in
the rapid manipulation of their blades, twirling them round their heads
and behind their backs. There are solos, duets and trios, in which the
drummer or drummers take part, and when the dancing is collective, they
head the procession, contorting their bodies and beating their drums with
a stick on one side and the palm of the hand on the other.


The whole crowd is constantly regaled by the family with corn baked with
sugar, roasted Indian corn, rice, sweets, _ghur_ and _miseri_, when the
lay figure is supposed to have had its fill. While the mob eat, the
ladies of the house return to the effigy with quick beating of the drums,
and again double themselves up in solemn lengthy curtsies. Perhaps the
most interesting, because the most accomplished, were the solo male
dancers, each performer displaying his own particular genius. The drummer
beats his drum whimsically--fast and slow alternately, with no rule--just
as it pleases his fancy, and the dancer always keeps time with him in
all his frenzies and eccentricities, so that his movements are sometimes
so slow as to be barely noticeable, and at others so rapid that his arms
and legs can no longer be distinguished. I happened to witness no less
than six funerals simultaneously in Garbyang, and a collective war-dance
of as many as three hundred men. It went on during a whole day and the
greater part of the following night, torches and a big bonfire burning.



Eventually, amidst firing of guns, howls, yells and deafening hissing of
the assembled crowd, the animal to be sacrificed is dragged before the
lay figure. Long coloured ribbons are tied round its horns, and the ends
left hanging by the side of its head. Sandal-wood is burnt under the
beast's nostrils, which is supposed to induce the soul of the departed to
enter and establish itself in the animal. The clothes, the turban, the
shield, the jewellery, are torn from the figure's back and piled on to
the goat, which is now the impersonation of the deceased. It is fed until
it can hold no more, wine and liquor being poured down its throat, and
large dishes of all possible delicacies being placed before it. The women
relatives devote to it their tenderest affection, and shed tears over it
in the conviction that it holds the spirit of their lost protector.
Stuffed with food, and stupefied by the alcohol, the beast submits,
emotionless and immovable, to the wild caresses, prayers, and salaams
showered on it. Again the hissing, whistling and yelling begin, and a
rush is made for the animal, which is seized by the horns, the neck, the
tail, wherever it can be caught hold of, and dragged, pushed, beaten, and
at last chased out of the village, but not until after the clothes,
shield, sword, turban, and ornaments have been torn from its back. It is
eventually handed over to the Hunyas or Jumlis or Humlis, who on these
occasions benefit by the simplicity and superstition of the Shokas, and
who throw it down, rip the body open, and pull out the heart, or twist it
in the inside with a jerk that kills instantly. This method applies to
sheep or goat.


When a yak is sacrificed, very much the same rites take place up to the
moment when the lay figure is deprived of its clothing and the yak
invested with it. It is similarly beaten and dragged about, and left on
the top of some mountain, the crowd calling after it, "Go! go! We have
feasted, fêted and fed you. We have done all in our power for your
welfare. We cannot do more! Go now!" With this the yak, with the soul
that has been driven into it, is left to its own devices, and as soon as
the Shokas have departed, is driven by the Tibetans over a precipice, it
being against their faith to draw blood from a yak. In the fatal leap the
animal is smashed to pieces, and the Tibetans, collecting the remains,
gorge themselves with the prized meat of their cherished yak.


As a mark of reverence the Shoka men remove their caps not only while
following the corpse to cremation, but also during the feasting, the male
relatives themselves even shaving their heads; and this practice is
occasionally extended to the whole male community in the case of a
particularly respected villager dying. The women remove their jewellery,
and, as already noted, turn their hoods inside out.

When all is over, some restitution of his property is made to the dead,
and odd articles, such as brass bowls or a gun or a shield or sword, are
placed in a sacred cave, which none dare desecrate by entering to remove
anything. These caves are high up on the mountain-sides, and are said to
be full of sacred offerings, which have accumulated there in the

I expressed the wish to see the cave on the mountain side above Garbyang,
but the natives politely asked me not to do so, as the visit of a
stranger to this sacred spot might bring misfortune on the Shoka living
community. Therefore I abstained from going rather than cause


     Touching Shoka farewell--Feelings curiously expressed--Sobs and
     tears--The start--A funereal procession--Distressed father and
     mother--Kachi and Dola the worse for drink--Anxious moments--The
     bridge destroyed.

THE day of my departure came. It was after dark. Outside my dwelling a
crowd of Shokas had assembled. I bade farewell to my host Zeheram and to
his wife and children, who with tears in their eyes wished me God-speed.


"Salaam, sahib, salaam!" repeated Zeheram, sobbing and bringing his hand
respectfully to his forehead. "You know, sahib, that a horse goes to a
horse, a tiger to a tiger, a yak to a yak, and a man to a man. A man's
house is another man's house, no matter whether the colour of our skin
differs or not. Therefore I thank Heaven that you have accepted shelter
under my humble roof. You must have been uncomfortable, for all you
sahibs are rich and accustomed to luxury. I am only a trader and a
cultivator. I am poor, but I possess a heart. You, unlike other sahibs,
have always spoken kindly to me and to all of us Shokas. We feel that
you are our brother. You have given us presents, but we needed them not.
The only present we wish for is that, when you reach the end of your
perilous journey, you will send us a message that you are well. We will
all pray day and night for you. Our hearts are sore at your leaving us."

This from the rough old boy, whom I had got really to like, was touching,
and I told him I hoped I might some day be able to repay him for his
kindness. When I descended the steps there was quite a crowd in the yard.
Every one wished to bid me farewell. The men took my right hand in both
theirs and brought it up to their foreheads, muttering words of grief at
my leaving. The women gently caressed my face and bade me "_Niku tza_"
("Go well," "Farewell"). These are the Shoka fashions of taking leave of
friends who are departing for distant lands.


Led by the hand by a really grieving company, I moved towards the narrow,
steep descent to the Chongur bridge, cut into the slope of the high
cliffs of clay. On the way I called at Kachi's house, but he had gone
ahead. A more mournful procession could not be imagined. The faint rays
of a new moon gave an added melancholy to the scene, and that peculiarly
impressive sound of sad steps, if I may thus express the pathetic
cadence of people's gait when afflicted, made me feel as if I were
attending my own funeral. I begged them to return to their homes, and one
after the other they came to embrace my feet and to hold my fingers.
Then, hiding their faces in the palms of their hands, they one by one
made their way up the grey track cut into the lofty cliff, and like
phantoms, gradually becoming smaller and smaller, vanished in the
distance. Still some twenty or thirty insisted on escorting me down to
the stream. Farther on I came upon the excited figure of an old woman
tearing her hair and crying pitifully. She threw herself at my feet,
imploring me to take care of her son. It was Kachi's distressed mother. I
comforted her as best I could, and also the desolate father (good old
Junia), who was there with tears streaming down his cheeks, to bid me an
affectionate farewell.

"Where is your son?"

"You will find him a little farther down, sahib."

I did--together with four other people lying on the ground all in a heap.
One of them who tried to stand up, called out: "Kachi, get up, here is
the sahib," and then collapsed again on the top of the others. Neither
Kachi nor the others gave any sign of life, and when I spoke to them I
discovered that they were in a state of hopeless intoxication, arm-in-arm
as they had fallen and slept.

By the side of Kachi was Dola, his uncle, supposed to be employed by me
in the quadruple capacity of interpreter, carrier, Kachi's valet, and
cook, in which latter art, after Shoka fashion, he was quite an adept,
his fame having spread all over Bias. He was, therefore, a treasure not
lightly to be abandoned, and yet, now that I wanted to act quickly and
decisively, I had to weigh whether I should proceed with two of the most
important characters in my play disabled. Should I, hampered by these
semi-corpses, be able to pass unseen the watchful Tibetan guard at the
Chongur bridge, only a few hundred yards farther on? I decided to try.
Seizing one on each side under their arm-pits, I supported them and kept
them erect. It was no easy job, and I felt our speed increase at every
step as I moved with my staggering mates down the steep and slippery
track. We reached the bottom of the hill at a breakneck rate, and as the
track was narrow along the water's edge, it was a wonder that we did not
all three of us land in the river. As it was, in coming suddenly to a
stop, my two men utterly collapsed again, and I was so exhausted that I
had to sit down and rest.

Kachi Ram had a lucid interval. He gazed round and saw me for the first
time that night.

"Sahib!" he exclaimed, with long pauses between each word, "I am drunk!"

"That is quite true," said I.

"We Shokas have this bad habit," he continued. "I had to drink _chökti_
with all my relations and friends prior to leaving for this long journey.
They would have been offended if I had not divided with each a cup of
wine. I now see everything go round. Please put my head into cold water.
Oh! the moon is jumping about, and is now under my feet!"


I complied with his request, and gave both his head and Dola's a good
ducking in the freezing Kali River.

This had the unfortunate effect of sending them to sleep so soundly that
I thought they would never wake again. Some of the sober Shokas offered
to carry the two helpless men on their backs. We were wasting valuable
time and the sky was getting clouded. When the moon had disappeared
behind the high mountain, I went ahead to reconnoitre. All was darkness
but for the glimmer of a brilliant star here and there in the sky. I
crawled to the bridge and listened. Not a sound, not a light on the
opposite bank. All was silence, that dead silence of nature and human
life asleep. I stopped on the bridge. This structure spans the river, a
huge boulder in the centre of the stream serving as a pillar, and forms,
in fact, two separate bridges joined on the opposite sides of this
central boulder. I walked cautiously across the first portion, stood to
listen again on the rock dividing the foaming waters, and tried to
penetrate the obscurity. There was not a soul to be seen, nor a sound to
be heard. I went over the rock and proceeded towards the second half of
the bridge, when I found to my horror that this second half of the bridge
had been cut down. The entire section had collapsed, and with the
exception of a long beam still swinging to and fro with one end in the
turbid stream, and a plank or two, the whole material had been washed

I returned to my men.

"We must continue our way on this side of the river," I whispered to
them. "The Tibetans have destroyed the bridge."

"The track is traced," they replied, "but it is impassable at night."

"Never mind; we must go. Come." And I headed the silent procession.

We went about a mile. Yet another dilemma. Kachi and Dola were still fast
asleep. The others, tired and worn out with the fatigue of carrying them,
wished to turn back. The sky was now clouded all over and rain was coming

I felt that it was useless to persist. Having seen the two drunken
creatures laid flat under a shed, and well covered with blankets, I
therefore returned to Garbyang, with the intention of making a fresh
start shortly before sunrise, when the drunkards would probably be fit to
walk by themselves, and found shelter under the ever hospitable roof of
Dr. Wilson.


     A dangerous track--Perilous passage--A curious bridge over a
     precipice--Pathetic Shoka custom--Small misadventures--A grand
     reception--Tea for all tastes.

AT 4 A.M., before the sun rose, I made a fresh and hurried start. I
proceeded quickly to the spot where I had left the two drunken men. They
had gone ahead.

Indeed the track was a bad and dangerous one, overhanging precipices, and
hardly wide enough to give standing room upon it. We came to a spot where
the narrow path stopped. There was before us a perpendicular rock
descending straight as a wall to the Kali River. The corrosive action of
dripping water and melting snow, of which last there seemed to be a thick
layer higher above on the summit of the cliff, had worn the face of the
rock quite smooth. The distance across this vertical wall-like ravine was
not more than forty or fifty feet. On the other side of it the narrow
track began again.

Owing to this and other dangerous places, this route is but very seldom
used by the natives or by any one else. The road generally taken is on
the opposite side of the Kali River, in Nepal territory. Nevertheless, a
few Shokas possess bits of land on this bank of the stream, and it was by
them that, in order to surmount the obstacle before which I now stood,
the following expedient was devised in former years.

By letting down a man from above with ropes they succeeded in making two
rows of small hollows in the rock, along two parallel horizontal lines,
the higher of which was about six feet or so above the lower. The holes
were dug at intervals of three or four feet along each line, the upper
ones to be caught on by one's hands, the lower ones to support one's
feet, and none of the cavities are deeper than a few inches.

[Illustration: A PERILOUS PASSAGE]

The transit seemed dangerous at any time, and impossible just then,
because the drizzling rain which had set in had wetted the rock and made
it as slippery as glass, but I realised that the thing had to be risked,
and at any cost. With an affected air of assurance, I therefore took off
my shoes and went ahead.

I could not look about me, for I clung with my body to the wall, feeling
my way with my toes and fingers. The cavities were, as a matter of fact,
so shallow that progress was slow and troublesome. When the toes of the
right limb seemed firmly planted in a receptacle, the right arm was made
to slide along the rock until the fingers had obtained a firm grip in the
cavity directly above the one in which the toes were. Then the entire
body had to be shifted from left to right, bringing the left foot and
hand close to the right extremities and suspending one's weight on the
former, so as to render the right foot and arm ready to make the next
move forward, and so on, till I reached the other side and alighted upon
the narrow track, which was itself only five or six inches wide. Chanden
Sing having tied his shoes and mine over his shoulders, proceeded
bare-footed on the same hazardous enterprise. With none of the excitement
of personal danger, the moments of apprehension while he groped his way
with toes and fingers, half paralysed with cold and fear, were to me
worse even than those of my own passage. But he too got across safe and
sound, and after that the rest was comparatively easy.

It was necessary now to look out for signs of the two men, Kachi and
Dola, who had preceded us. I was glad to find a little farther on fresh
footmarks, undoubtedly those of the two Shokas. The track still ascended
and descended nearly all along precipitous cliffs, and was everywhere
dangerously narrow, with here and there bits on shaky crowbars. At one
spot the rugged formation of the cliff forced one suddenly to ascend to
its very top and cross (on all-fours) a rude kind of bridge made of
branches of trees spanned not horizontally, but at an angle of sixty
degrees over a precipice of several hundred feet. I found a white thread
of wool laid over this primitive structure, in accordance with the custom
of the Shokas at the death of relatives or friends away from their native
village. The soul is supposed to migrate during the dark hours of the
night and to return to the birthplace of the deceased, these white
threads showing the way at dangerous places on the road.

Having lost the track more than once, we found ourselves down at the edge
of the Kali and compelled to climb up some three hundred feet over sand
and rolling stones to regain the path.

We arrived at last at Nabi. There I found my loads safe and sound, having
got here by the better track on the Nepalese side previously to the
Chongur bridge being destroyed by the Tibetans, also Kachi and Dola, who
had got over and recovered from their drink. To make up, perhaps, for
their past misbehaviour, and probably to make me overlook or forget it,
they seemed to have induced the natives to welcome me with particular
cordiality. I was invited by them, with much show of hospitality, to
spend the night in the village.

I was led with some ceremony to a primitive sort of ladder with very
roughly carved steps, and shoved, with help from above and below, on to a
flat mud roof. Here a tent had been pitched, the floor of which was
covered with mats and rugs for me to rest on. I no sooner laid myself
down than a string of men, women and children arrived, carrying bowls
with a particularly sumptuous meal of rice, _dhal_, meat, _balab_ (or
boiled buckwheat leaves), curd, milk, broiled corn with sugar,
_chapatis_, _shale_, sweets, native wine and liquor.

During the meal, tea was served in all sorts of fashions. There was
Chinese tea and Indian tea, tea boiled with sugar and tea without it, tea
with milk, and tea with butter and salt in it, pale tea and dark tea,
sweet tea and bitter tea--in fact, tea until I--devoted as I am to
it--wished that no tea-leaf had ever been picked and stewed in boiling


     Dr. Wilson joins my expedition for a few marches--What misdeeds a
     photographic camera can do--Weighing, dividing, and packing
     provisions--Two extra men wanted--The last friendly faces.

I WAS examining a young woman who had badly injured and partly fractured
a central vertebra of the spine, when Dr. Wilson turned up and gave the
poor wretch the little relief possible in her condition, for which she
had hoped in vain from me. He was welcome to me for many reasons besides
the pleasure of being in his company. He had offered to join my
expedition for a few marches into Tibet, and I was glad indeed to have
him with me. We pushed on as soon as possible over the road between Nabi
and Kuti, which I have already described. Our journey was quite
uneventful, and the snow-bridges and snow-fields, so troublesome when I
had first taken this road, had melted and altogether disappeared. Even at
Nabi little happened. But I must just mention the following incident as
illustrative of the curious suspicion and dislike I found everywhere of
the photographic apparatus I carried with me.

I was on the point of leaving the place when a handsome Tibetan woman,
whom I had not previously noticed, accosted me with hysterical
sobs--inarticulate, but conveying a very clear impression of suffering.

"You have killed my child, and now you will kill my husband," she
complained, when she was able to talk; and I then discovered that I had
on my previous visit to Nabi taken a snap-shot at a child perched on the
top of a very heavy load that happened to be carried on the woman's back
through my camp, and that when she complained I had appeased her, in the
usual way, with a coin. She had conveyed her load to Kuti, and had
slipped, on her way back, with her child--at a spot not far from where I
had had my slide--but, less fortunate than myself, had rolled right into
the foaming stream. She managed to cling to the rock and was eventually
saved, but the infant was washed from rock to rock by the current, and
disappeared under a snow tunnel.

"Oh, sahib!" cried the woman, "if you had not before we started looked at
us through _the eyes_ (the twin lenses) of your _black box_ (the
photographic camera), I should not have lost my baby."


"And how about your husband?"

"Oh, you will kill him too."

"But I don't know your husband. Anyhow, I promise not to look at him with
these eyes."

"It is not that, sahib, but he is coming with you to Tibet. He is
carrying one of your loads. You will all be killed."

She pointed him out to me--one of the strongest among the men I had, and
the most anxious to accompany me. He was too good to lose, and I was
certainly unwilling to renounce my claim to him on account of his good
woman's tears. So I consoled her as best I could; promised to take good
care of him, and under no circumstances to photograph him.

At Kuti, Dr. Wilson and I were busy for several hours weighing, dividing
and packing in equal loads the provisions I had purchased: fourteen
_munds_ in all (1120 lbs.) of flour, rice, red sugar (_ghur_), salt, red
pepper (32 lbs.), _dhal, miseri_ (lump sugar), _ghi_ (butter), and a
large quantity of _satoo_ (oatmeal), and broiled corn. There were, in
addition, the preserved and tinned provisions which I had brought with me
from London.

To give my carriers no cause for complaint, I allowed them to choose
their own shoes, blankets, &c., and I did all in my power to humour them,
because the loads threatened to be excessively heavy. In fact, I found
that, even after dispensing with everything but what was absolutely
essential, there was still ample to carry for at least two strong men.
Every available Shoka had joined the party, and no inducement that I
could offer brought me more volunteers. I was very unwilling to delay,
and I was on the point of subdividing among the men I already had the two
extra loads, when two stray shepherds turned up, half famished and naked,
with long unkempt heads of hair, and only a coral necklace and a silver
bangle by way of clothing. I quickly secured them, and although one was
really only a boy, I decided to trust to luck and take Dr. Wilson's
assurance that he looked tough enough and would be useful.

This brought my little force up to thirty strong, and now I was ready to

[Illustration: PLAN OF KUTI CASTLE

1. PILES OF STONES  2. STEPS               3. OUTER WALL


     The Kuti Castle--Under way--Our first disaster--A cheerful and a
     sulky coolie--Mansing--A brigand--A strange medley of
     followers--A character--Tailoring--Fields of stones--Troublesome
     rivers--The Jolinkan or Lebung Pass--Sense of humour--Pleased
     with small comforts.

BEFORE leaving Kuti, I went to see the curious and ancient castle perched
on a small hill about three hundred yards south of the village. It is now
in ruins, with the exception of a quadrangular tower called by the
natives the Kuti Ker, but the foundations of the whole structure can
still be plainly seen. I made a plan, which is here reproduced, as it may
be of archæological interest. The natives could give me no information
regarding it, except that it was once a king's palace strongly fortified.
A small house of several rooms by the side of the tower is said to have
been the blacksmith's shop in which the arrowheads and swords for the
king's soldiers were made. The tower is four yards square at its base,
and built of stone. Judging by its shape and construction, and the
curious windows, I am inclined to attribute this castle to Tibetan
workmanship, for identical towers are seen in Tibet, even at Taklakot.
The windows, or rather slits, on each floor of the tower were six inches
square; those in the blacksmith's house were considerably larger. There
were outer walls for the defence of the fort at places where the castle
would have been most accessible. Quantities of stones piled up in heaps
probably served as ammunition for the defenders of the fortress in
centuries gone by.

When I returned to camp all was ready, and after endless trouble with
some of my men, who were already uncertain as to whether they would
accompany me on my journey or not, I eventually got under way in the
afternoon. The Kuti village is the highest in Bias, being situated at an
elevation of 12,920 feet.

The track was now comparatively free from snow and ice except here and
there, where we had to cross extensive slopes covered with snow. On one
of these we had our first disaster. A coolie fell who carried in his hand
a large pot containing butter. He fortunately did not slide far down, but
we had the bitter disappointment of seeing our precious pot roll into the
water and disappear for ever. We camped at an elevation of 13,050 feet.
Late in the evening, as my men were collecting wood to keep up a huge
fire round which we sat, my two coolies, who had remained at Kuti with
instructions to follow, arrived with their respective loads. They were
two strange characters. The one with a coral necklace was mournful and
sulky, the other lively and talkative. They professed to be by caste

"You see," exclaimed the cheerful coolie, "I am small, but I fear
nothing. When we cross into Tibet I shall go ahead with a pointed stick
and clear all the Tibetans away. I am not afraid of them. I am ready to
fight the whole world."

Knowing the value of this sort of talk on the part of natives, I shut him
up and sent him away to fetch wood. The sulky fellow interested me more.
He seldom uttered a word, and when he did he never spoke pleasantly; he
was apparently immersed in deep thought, from which it seemed a great
effort to draw his mind away. He looked painfully ill. Motionless and
speechless, he would stare at a fixed point as if in a trance. His
features were peculiarly refined and regular, but his skin had that
ghastly shiny whitish tinge so peculiar to lepers. I waited for an
opportunity to examine his hands, on which he sat to keep them warm. It
is there, in the contracted or dropping off fingers, that one finds the
first certain symptoms of that most terrible of all diseases, leprosy. I
asked the man to come and sit nearer the blazing fire. He came and
stretched out his open palms towards the flickering flame. Alas! my
suspicions were but too correct. His fingers, distorted and contracted,
with the skin sore at the joints, were sad and certain proof. I examined
his feet and found the same symptoms there also.

"What is your name?" I inquired of him.

[Illustration: THE KUTI CASTLE]

"Mansing," he said drily, becoming immediately again absorbed in one of
his reveries.

The crackling fire was dying down, when a stalwart Tibetan suddenly
appeared bent low under the heavy weight of a huge tree-trunk which he
was carrying on his back. He approached and threw the wood on the fire.

Here was another character! As strong as an ox, this servant of mine had
queer antecedents. He was at one time a well-known bandit in the
neighbourhood of Lhassa. He was said to have taken many lives, and,
finding his own in danger in his country, had come to settle on our side
of the border, marrying different wives, whom he constantly beat and in
turn banished from under his roof. It was owing to his latest family
squabble that he came into my employ; his abnormal strength, valuable for
carrying loads, was to me his only recommendation. In camp he went by the
name of _Daku_, "the brigand."


In looking round to inspect my other followers, with whom I had hardly
yet got acquainted, I was amused and interested at the strange medley of
creatures forming my band. There were Humlis and Jumlis with their
luxuriant black hair tied into small tresses and a top-knot over the
head, like the Coreans. There were Tibetans, Shokas of Bias, Rongbas,
Nepalese, Rajiputs and Totolas, also a Brahmin, two native Christians and
a Johari. Then Dr. Wilson. What a collection! What a chaos of languages
and dialects!

An amusing feature of this odd crowd was that each particular caste
looked down upon all the others. This from the very beginning occasioned
separation during mealtime, and the camp was lively with as many burning
fires in as many sheltered spots as there were castes of men following
me. I was glad of this, as it seemed a sort of guarantee that they would
never all join together to conspire against me.

Poor Mansing, the leper, was shivering with cold. He had been unable to
purchase himself a blanket and shoes at Kuti. He had spent the money in
tobacco instead. Dr. Wilson and I took pity upon him. The long evening
was still before us, so I got out the cloth I had purchased at Kuti, and
with scissors and needle we began to cut and sew a new set of garments
for the poor wretch. The Doctor did the cutting and I the sewing. I
cannot boast that a professional tailor would not have turned out a
better fit, but for all general purposes the newly-made clothes answered
well enough. There was only one inconvenience in the single-breasted
jacket. I had no buttons, and was therefore compelled to sew the coat on
the man himself. It thus remained a fixture, and not only looked all
right, but--which was our chief object--kept him warm.

We left camp at 5.30 the following morning. High mountains rose on either
side of us, and we followed the Kuti River flowing here from West to
East. At an elevation of 13,980 feet we crossed the Bitroguare River. On
the other side of the Kuti River were high perpendicular cliffs of a
vividly red-coloured rock with blue horizontal stratifications, and
towering over them a succession of very pointed peaks.

The action of ice on the rock was noticeable everywhere. As we went
farther we came upon extensive fields of stones and boulders brought down
from the higher peaks by the ice, and in some places we found actual
_moraines_. To our left stood a gigantic wall of stone like a natural
impregnable fortress. Travelling in a direction of 320° (b.m.), and at
elevations of 13,900 feet, 14,200 feet, 14,300 feet, we waded through
three tributaries of the Kuti; then we came to a foaming, rapid and deep
river which we had great difficulty in crossing. It was getting towards
the middle of the day, and the stream, fed by the snows melting under the
hot sun, was rising from moment to moment. Two of my coolies whom I first
sent in reached the middle, where the water came up to their chins. They
lost their footing and were temporarily helpless, and in some danger of
being swamped, the loads which they carried on their heads being partly
spoiled when we succeeded in recovering them. The other men got
frightened by the time they were ready to cross. The river had risen so
high that it was impossible to get to the other side except by swimming,
and this was out of the question, on account of the loads. We therefore
had to follow the stream upwards for about a mile, when fortunately we
found a somewhat dangerous, yet passable, snow bridge, over which the
remainder of my men and goods effected a crossing in safety. We returned
to our course on the Kuti, still passing between high, rugged mountains
along an undulating plain averaging about 400 yards wide. Though at
comparatively high elevations, there were large patches of brightly
coloured flowers--red, violet, white and vivid yellow--which gave to the
landscape a picturesque and constantly changing effect.


On reaching a small pass, 14,750 feet, the path branched to Darma by the
Jolinkan towards bearings 260°, and over the Lebung Pass. It is really
only a goat track, exceedingly difficult and fatiguing, except in the
month of August, when there is only a small quantity of snow, and it
leads to the Dholi River about half a mile south of Khumling.

The Jolinkan River, rising from the snow field to the East of the Lebung
or Jolinkan Pass, had now to be crossed. The stalwart dacoit, ever ready
to make himself useful, conveyed his load across, and lifting me like a
feather on to his back, saved me from plunging higher than my waist into
the bitterly cold water, whereas he was covered up to his neck. The
course of the Kuti turns now to 330° (b.m.). Going up and down small
barren hills, round the foot of high mountains, we attained an altitude
of 15,000 feet. Here, to the left of the track, and eighty feet above it,
is a small and beautiful lake 500 yards long and 400 wide. Its waters, in
which the high snowy peaks round it are reflected as in a silver mirror,
find an outlet in a short but most precipitous river flowing with
tremendous force into the Kuti. Soon after leaving this lake we came upon
another small sheet of water, near which were thirteen peculiar piles or
columns of stones, each one having been erected by the first Tibetan or
Shoka who crossed the pass during the summer. A similar erection could
also be seen perched on a large rock jutting out from the water of the
larger lake. Though the sun was fast going down behind the mountains to
the west, we pressed on, trying to make as much headway as we could
towards the perpetual snows. We still travelled over undulating ground,
and the marching was not heavy or difficult, save for the freezingly cold
and very rapid streams we had to wade through. It was all we could do to
get warm again after having been immersed in one, and before we had
ceased shivering we had to wade through the next, and yet the next, so
that one's chilliness increased, and the constant discomfort of cold
became very trying. Much discontent prevailed among my carriers over the
very long march, as their feet were numbed with cold. They nearly
mutinied when I would not let them stop at a camp they had selected, but
ordered them to proceed farther. A mile and a half from the point they
had favoured, we overlooked a large, flat basin of stones and gravel,
about half a mile wide and three-quarters of a mile long, which had the
appearance of having formerly been a lake. It was surrounded by high
snowy peaks, and its bed lay at an altitude of 15,400 feet. It seemed as
if the immense quantity of stones and pebbles carried by the river
feeding it had raised its bed until it had caused the water to flow into
the Kuti. When I saw it, the river formed an extensive delta with as many
as twelve arms, joining again within the basin into one single stream
before throwing itself into the Kuti. Naturally we selected the wider
expanse of water to ford, assuming that it would be shallower than the
narrow ones. Once more that day I took off my lower garments and entered
the cold water. It came direct from the snows, and its temperature was
slightly above freezing-point. The sun had gone down, and there was a
piercing wind. My feet, as I went in and out of the numerous branches of
the stream, became so cold that I could hardly stand for the stinging
pain; moreover, treading on sharp-edged stones under the water and
knocking my frozen toes against them was at first very painful, but after
a time they got so frozen that, though at each step the soles of my feet
and toes were cut and bruised, I suffered no actual pain until after
crossing five or six arms of the delta. Unable to balance myself any
longer, I struggled as best I could out of the water and rubbed my feet
violently, until slowly, and with intense pain, they came back to life.

It is curious how a little sense of humour helps on such occasions. To an
onlooker not suffering as we were, the sight of our party crossing that
dreadful delta would have been curious. The expression of disgust on all
my men's faces, not to speak of my own, could not but have caused
merriment. We carried our footgear on our shoulders; we struggled,
stumbled, and splashed in the greenish water, and now one, then another,
fell helpless through frostbite on some island or other, until we were
all disabled, and still only half-way through. In spite of our condition,
worn out as we were, the soles and sides of our feet badly cut and
bleeding, my men, so sulky at having been firmly baulked in their wishes,
became quite good-natured and amusing when I chaffed them over their
present troubles, and they saw that I was in the same plight. After
endless rubbing, we restored a certain amount of circulation to our lower
limbs, and proceeded to cross the next six arms of the delta. When, after
an hour or longer of suffering, we were at last able to put on our
footgear, we felt the happiness which comes from the knowledge of
difficulties overcome. Never can I forget the great joy arising from what
may seem a small comfort--a warm pair of socks! As I write these lines I
live over again the particular pleasure of gently drawing them on, and it
is impressed for ever on my mind as a fitting reward for the hardships I
had put up with.

We pitched our tents in a sheltered narrow valley to the North-West of
the large basin. Altitude, 15,400 feet. Thermometer: Minimum, 24°,
Maximum, 51°.


     Want of fuel--Cooking under difficulty--Mansing lost and
     found--Saved from summary justice--Tibetan visitors--We purchase
     sheep--The snow-line--Cold streams--The petrified _chapati_ and
     human hand.

ONE of the main drawbacks of travelling at these great altitudes was the
want of vegetable fuel. There was not a tree, not a shrub to be seen near
our camp. Nature wore her most desolate and barren look. Failing wood, my
men dispersed to collect and bring in the dry dung of yak, pony and sheep
to serve as fuel. Kindling this was no easy matter, box after box of
matches was quickly used, and our collective lung power severely drawn
upon in fanning the unwilling sparks into a flame only a few inches high.
Upon this meagre fire we attempted to cook our food and boil our water (a
trying process at such an altitude), keeping our own circulation fairly
normal by constantly required efforts. The cuisine that night was not of
the usual excellence, and did but little credit to the cook. We had to
eat everything half-cooked, or, to be accurate, almost altogether
uncooked. The night was a bitterly cold one, with a heavy fall of snow.
When we rose in the morning it lay quite two feet deep around us, and the
glare was painful to the eyes. I mustered my men. Mansing was missing. He
had not arrived the previous night, and there was no sign of the man I
had sent in search of him. I was anxious not only from my personal
interest in his load (the fellow carried a load of flour, salt, pepper,
and five pounds of butter), but I was afraid that the poor leper might
himself have been washed away in one of the dangerous streams. Even if
this fear were groundless, he must, I felt, have suffered terribly from
the cold with no shelter and no fire. Bijesing, who had gone in search of
him, had eaten some food before starting, and had taken blankets with
him in case he could not return to camp during the night.

It was long after sunrise when, with the aid of my telescope, I
discovered the two men coming towards us. They arrived an hour or so
later. Mansing had been found sound asleep, several miles back, lying by
the side of the empty butter-pot, the contents of which he had devoured.
The discovery of this misdeed caused the greatest indignation in camp,
for fatty matter and butter were much cherished by the natives, as being
warmth-producing, when going over these cold passes. He was nearly the
victim of summary justice at the hands of my angry men, and it was only
with trouble that I rescued him from their clutches. To prevent a
recurrence of the offence, I ordered the culprit to carry in future a
heavy load of photographic plates and instruments, which I thought would
not prove quite so appetising.

Before starting I took my usual bath in the cold stream and rubbed myself
all over with snow. I found this very invigorating, and when the reaction
came I experienced a delightful glow of warmth, notwithstanding the thin
clothes I was wearing.

[Illustration: CAMPING IN SNOW]

While we were camping, a flock of some six hundred sheep appeared, and
with them some Tibetans. As I had put up my Tibetan tent, they had made
for it, expecting to find some of their own countrymen, and their
embarrassment was amusing when they found themselves face to face with
Dr. Wilson and myself. Hurriedly removing their fur caps, they laid them
upon the ground and made a comical jerky curtsey, as if their heads and
knees moved by means of a spring. They put out their tongues full length
and kept them so until I made signs that they could draw them back, as I
wanted them to answer some questions. This unexpected meeting with us
frightened them greatly; they were trembling all over with fear, and
after getting as much information out of them as they seemed to possess,
I took advantage of the opportunity to buy some of their fattest sheep.
When the money was paid there was a further display of furred tongues,
and more grand salaams ere they departed, while all hands on our side
were busy trying to prevent our newly purchased animals from rejoining
the flock moving away from us. On our next march these animals proved a
great trouble, and we had to drag them the greater part of the way.
Kachi, who had been entrusted with a very recalcitrant and strong beast,
which I had specially promised my men for their dinner if they made a
long march that day, found himself discomfited when he saw that the sheep
had freed its head from the cord with which he was dragging it, and was
cantering away full speed in the opposite direction. Now, it is well
known that at considerable altitudes running is a very painful operation
for human beings, the rarified air making the effect of such exertion
almost suffocating. Yet Kachi, having overcome his first surprise, was
soon chasing the escaped beast, and, urged by the cheers and shouts of my
other men, who seemed much concerned over this new calamity, he
succeeded, after an exciting chase, in capturing it by its tail, a feat
easier to describe than to accomplish, for Tibetan sheep have very short
stumpy tails. Kachi fell to the ground exhausted, but he held fast with
both hands to his capture, and eventually the animal was secured with
ropes. This was the sort of minor trouble with which we had to contend at
almost every turn during our journey, and although it may appear trivial,
it was exasperating enough at the time.

On fairly undulating ground we gradually rose to a pass 15,580 feet high;
then traversing a wide flat land, we followed the Kuti River with its
high snowy mountains to the West and East. The snow-line was at 16,000
feet; the snow below this level melts daily, except in a few shaded
places. Red and white flowers were still to be seen, though not in such
quantities as lower down, and I saw enamoured couples of small black and
white butterflies.[12]

After a while there was yet another bitterly cold stream to ford; two
small lakes to skirt; three more deep rivers to wade, with cold water
from the snows up to our chests, and then we had to make the best way we
could through a large field of rocks and stones showing strong
indications of iron, my compasses being at once affected, and becoming
for a time quite unreliable owing to the deviation. A curious flat
circular stone, resting on the top of others, was pointed out to me as a
wonder; the accepted legend of the Shokas being that, centuries ago, one
of their countrymen halted by the side of this rock, and having baked a
_chapati_, laid it upon the rock, proceeding to make others, when to his
great astonishment, on raising his hand to take his first _chapati_, he
found it had turned into solid stone, and had furthermore assumed
gigantic proportions. A few feet farther on I was pointed out another
wonder, a great human hand (as the Tibetans and Shokas call it), which is
supposed to have belonged to the maker of the _chapati_. Not being
satisfied with his first experience, he laid his hand on the rock, and
there it remained, petrified, and in this case also, increasing tenfold
in size. I could see, with some stretch of the imagination, a certain
resemblance to an enormous human hand, but the thing required more faith
than observation.

Mile after mile we marched over sharp stones, wading through a second
troublesome delta of eight arms fully a mile in width, across a flat
basin of pointed pebbles and stones, until at last, to our great delight,
we came to smooth grass land, a soothing comfort to one's torn feet.

[Illustration: THE SNOW-LINE AT 16,000 FEET]

Here the Kuti River ran through a large basin, not dissimilar to the one
near which we had camped the night before, having also the appearance of
lake formation with high perpendicular rocks on the left, which gave one
the impression of a vast wall--a rugged and forbidding barrier.
Proceeding N.W. the basin became wider and the Kuti River turned to the
N.W., while the Mangshan River, descending from the East, joined the
first stream in the centre of the basin. In crossing the numerous
branches of the two rivers we again experienced, with almost accentuated
discomfort, the trials and weariness of the preceding day. The water was
colder than ever, our feet were by this time in a dreadful condition, cut
and bleeding, because it was constantly necessary to walk bare-footed.
Aching and benumbed we stumbled on, in and out of water, always, it
seemed, encountering sharp small stones. For us there could be no turning
back however; the pain had to be borne before the march was finished,
and we won our camping-ground at last under the lee of the high chain of
mountains to the North of us, and on the northern bank of the Mangshan
River. Directly in front stood the final obstacle, the stupendous
backbone of the Himahlyas; once past this I should be on that high
Tibetan plateau so accurately and picturesquely called "the roof of the

[12] N.B.--This same kind of butterfly I found at even greater elevations
in Tibet.


     The scouts return--A small exploring party--The Mangshan glacier.

FROM Kuti I had despatched a sturdy Shoka, named Nattoo, to ascertain
whether it was possible to cross the chain over the high Mangshan Pass,
as in this case I should be enabled to get many marches into Tibet by the
jungle without fear of being detected. I should thus get behind the force
of soldiers which I was informed the Jong Pen of Taklakot had
concentrated at the Lippu Pass to prevent my entering the country, and
before they could have time to discover my whereabouts I should be too
far ahead for them to find me. Nattoo arrived in camp almost
simultaneously with ourselves and had a long tale of woe to relate. He
had been half way up the mountain. The snow was deep and there were huge
and treacherous cracks in the ice. As he was on his way up, an avalanche
had fallen, and it was merely by the skin of his teeth that he had
escaped with his life. This was to him an evil omen, and he had turned
back without reaching the summit of the pass. He seemed scared and worn
out, and declared that it was impossible for us to proceed that way.
Unfortunately the thrilling account of the Kutial's misfortunes had a
depressing effect on my men. What with the intense cold, the fatigue of
carrying heavy loads at high elevations over such rough country, and the
fearful rivers which they dreaded, and so many of which we had crossed,
my carriers became absolutely demoralised at the thought of new hardships
ahead, all the more when I assured them that I did not believe Nattoo,
and that I should go and see for myself.

It was 4.30 in the afternoon, and therefore some time before sunset.
There would be moonlight. I had on that day marched eight miles,[13] and
though the soles of my feet were cut and sore I was not really tired. Our
camp was at an elevation of 16,150 feet, a pretty respectable altitude
considering that the highest mountain in Europe is only 15,781 feet. Dr.
Wilson insisted on accompanying me to the top, and Kachi Ram and a Rongba
coolie volunteered to come as well. Bijesing, the Johari, got on his feet
after some persuasion, and that completed our little exploration party.
Chanden Sing, who was really the only man I could trust, was left in
charge of the camp, with strict orders to punish severely any one who
might attempt to turn back during my absence.

We set out almost immediately after reaching camp, following up stream
the course of the Mangshan River, which is boxed in between high cliffs,
those south of it running in a direction of 100° (b.m.), those to the
north converging to 130°; the two ranges eventually meeting in the
glacier at the foot of Mangshan, about three miles E.-E.S.E. of our camp.
There was no track, and the walking was extremely difficult and
troublesome, over large slippery stones, between which one's feet
constantly slipped and got jammed, straining and injuring one's ankles.
Little trusting my followers, who seemed on the verge of mutiny, I did
not care to leave behind in camp the heavy load of silver rupees (R. 800)
sewn in my coat, which, by the way, I always carried on my person, as
well as my rifle, two compasses (prismatic and luminous), two aneroids,
one half-chronometer, and another watch and some thirty cartridges. The
combined weight of these articles was considerable,[14] and I felt it
especially during the first days of my march. On this particular
afternoon it was almost too much for my strength. However, one gets
accustomed to most things, and after a while I felt comparatively little
discomfort in marching under it. I persisted in thus weighting myself
simply to be on the safe side, so as to be always prepared in case my men
revolted or abandoned me.


We proceeded up and down the series of hillocks and in and out of the
innumerable channels that the melting snow and ice had, with the aid of
centuries, cut deep into the mass of rolling stones. At the point where
the two ranges met there stood before us the magnificent pale green
ice-terraces of the Mangshan glacier, surmounted by extensive
snow-fields winding their way to the summit of the mountain range. Clouds
enveloped the higher peaks. The clear Alpine ice showed vertical streaks,
especially in the lower part of the glacier, where it was granulated to a
certain extent. The base, the sides and top being covered with a thick
coat of fresh snow, and my time being very limited, I was unable to make
careful investigations to ascertain the recent movement and oscillations
of this glacier. Judging by the nature of the stony tracts we had passed
over, and also by the mounds, similar to those of a terminal moraine,
which increased as we approached the glacier and its snow-covered fringe,
I concluded that the glacier must have retreated considerably. The rocks
and stones, as I have already mentioned, were shiny and slippery, which I
attributed to the friction of the ice, and where the ice had extended
over gravel, this was greatly disturbed, and scarred by innumerable
channels, due, no doubt, to the mighty force of the moving ice besides
the constant action of melting snows during the summer. The slopes of the
mountains on the north showed no indication of having been disturbed, but
the range on the southern side had all the appearance of having been cut
and excavated by the ice. Probably the large basins which I had crossed
on my way from Kuti, and even the last one, facing our camp, were after
all reservoirs formed by ancient moraines with alluvial deposits.

[13] It must be remembered that at high elevations the exertion of
walking eight miles would be equivalent to that of marching about twice
the distance at much lower altitudes.

[14] See Appendix. Letter by Dr. H. Wilson.


     Snow and troublesome _débris_--The doctor's sufferings--Kachi
     disabled--Further trials--A weird apparition--Delirium--All
     safe--The descent.

THE Mangshan River rises from this glacier, but we left the glacier
(17,800 feet) to the right, and, turning sharply northwards, began our
ascent towards the pass. To gaze upon the incline before us was alone
sufficient to deter one from attempting to climb it, had one a choice; in
addition to this, the snow we struggled over was so soft and deep that we
sank into it up to our waists. Occasionally the snow alternated with
patches of loose _débris_ and rotten rock, on which we were no better
off; in fact, the fatigue of progressing over them was simply
overpowering. Having climbed up half-a-dozen steps among the loose
cutting stones, we felt ourselves sliding back to almost our original
point of departure, followed by a small avalanche of shifting material
that only stopped when it got to the foot of the mountain.

At 19,000 feet we were for a considerable distance on soft snow, covering
an ice-field with deep crevasses and cracks in it. We had to feel our way
with great caution, particularly as there was only the light of the moon
to depend upon.

Fortunately, as we rose higher, there were no more crevasses, but I began
to feel a curious exhaustion that I had never experienced before. At
sunset the thermometer which Kachi carried for me had descended forty
degrees within a few minutes, and the sudden change in the temperature
seemed to affect us all more or less; but we went on, with the exception
of Bijesing, who was seized with mountain sickness so violently that he
was unable to proceed. The doctor, too, a man of powerful build, was
suffering considerably. His legs, he said, had become like lead, and
each seemed to weigh a ton. The effort of lifting, or even moving, them
required all his energy. Although he was terribly blown and gasping for
breath, yet he would not give in, and he struggled on bravely until we
reached an altitude of 20,500 feet. Here he was seized with such
exhaustion and pain that he was unable to proceed. Kachi Ram, the Rongba
and I went ahead, but we also were suffering, Kachi complaining of
violent beating in his temples and loud buzzing in his ears. He also
gasped and staggered dangerously, threatening to collapse at any moment.
At 21,000 feet he fell flat on the snow. He was instantly asleep,
breathing heavily and snoring raspingly. His hands and feet were icy
cold, and I rubbed them. But what caused me more anxiety than anything
was the irregular beating and throbbing of his heart. I wrapped him up in
his blanket and my waterproof, and, having seen to his general comfort, I
shouted to the doctor, telling him what had happened, and that I was
going to push on as much higher as I could stand, the Rongba being now
the only one of the party who was able to keep up.

A thick mist came on and enveloped us, which considerably added to our
trials. Our efforts to get on after we left Kachi at 21,000 feet were
desperate, our lungs in convulsion as if about to burst, our pulses
hastened, our hearts throbbing (mine being ordinarily very regular) as if
they would beat themselves out of our bodies. Exhausted and seized by
irresistible drowsiness, the Rongba and I nevertheless at last reached
the top. It was a satisfaction to have got there, to have reached such an
altitude, although I had long realised the impossibility of getting my
men over by this way. It served me also to ascertain the amount of snow
on the other side of the range, which, when the fog lifted somewhat, I
found to be greater on the northern slope than on the southern. Although
almost fainting with fatigue, I registered my observations. The altitude
was 22,000 feet, the hour 11 P.M., and there was a strong, cutting
North-East wind. I had stupidly forgotten to take my thermometer out of
Kachi's pocket when I left him, and was unable to register the
temperature, although I had done so only a few minutes before I left
Kachi at 21,000 feet. The cold was intense. The stars were
extraordinarily brilliant and the moon shone bright for a while over the
panorama around me, and though it was a view of utter desolation, it had
nevertheless a curious indescribable fascination. Below me, to the
south, were mountainous masses buried in snow, and to the South-West and
North-East were peaks even higher than the one on which I stood. To the
north stretched the immense, dreary Tibetan plateau with undulations and
intricate hill ranges, beyond which a high mountain range with snow peaks
could just be perceived in the distance. I could see very little snow
near by, except on the northern slope of the range I was standing on, and
on the hill-tops which dotted the plateau.

I had barely taken it in, barely realised the wonder of nature asleep
when the mist again rose before me and I saw a gigantic phantom rising
out of it. It stood in the centre of a luminous circle, a tall, dark
figure in the folds of an enormous veil of mist. The effect was
overwhelming, and it was only after some moments that I realised that the
spectre wore my features, was a liquid presentation of my own proportions
colossally enlarged; that I stood in the centre of a lunar rainbow, and
that I was gazing on the reflection of myself in the mist. As I moved my
arms, my body, or my head, the ghostlike figure moved, and I felt myself
irresistibly changing my postures--oddly and nervously at first--then,
with an awakening sense of the ridiculous in my actions--so as to make my
image change and do as I did. I felt like a child placed for the first
time in front of a mirror.

The illustration on page 145 represents a solar spectre with circular
rainbow which I saw later on at a comparatively low altitude; the lunar
effect differed from this in that the colours of the rainbow were but
faintly distinguishable.

The Rongba had fallen exhausted, and I felt so faint with the awful
pressure on my lungs, that, despite all my efforts to resist it, I
collapsed on the snow. The coolie and I, shivering pitifully, shared the
same blanket for additional warmth. Both of us were seized with
irresistible drowsiness, as if we had taken a strong narcotic. I fought
hard against it, for I well knew that if my eyelids once closed they
would almost certainly remain so for ever. I called to the Rongba. He was
fast asleep. I summoned up my last atom of vitality to keep my eyes open.
The wind blew hard and biting, with a hissing noise. How that hiss still
sounds in my ears! It seemed like the whisper of death. The Rongba,
crouched with teeth chattering, was moaning, and his sudden shudders
bespoke great pain. It seemed only common charity to let him have the
blanket, which was in any case too small for both, so I wrapped it
tightly round his head and body. He was doubled up with his chin on his
knees. This small exertion was quite sufficient to make me lose the
tug-of-war in which I was pulling against nature. Just like the subject
who, under hypnotic influence, feels his own will and power suddenly
going from him, so I felt the entire hopelessness of further struggle
against the supernatural forces I was contending with. Falling backwards
on the snow, I made a last desperate effort to gaze at the glittering
stars ... my sight became dim and obscured....

For how long this semi-consciousness lasted, I do not know. "God! how
ghastly! Doctor! Kachi!" I tried to articulate. My voice seemed choked in
my throat. Was what I saw before me real? The two men, as if frozen to
death by the side of each other, seemed lying on that vast white sheet of
snow, motionless as statues of ice. In my dream I attempted to raise
them. They were quite rigid. I knelt beside them, calling them and
frantically striving to bring them back to consciousness and life.
Bewildered, I turned round to look for Bijesing, and, as I did so, all
sense of vitality seemed to freeze within me. I saw myself enclosed in a
quickly contracting tomb of transparent ice. It was easy to realise that
I too would shortly be nothing but a solid block of ice, like my
companions. My legs, my arms were already congealed. Horror-stricken as I
was at the approach of such a hopeless, ghastly death, my sensations were
accompanied by a languor and lassitude indescribable but far from
unpleasant. To some extent thought or wonderment was still alive. Should
I dwindle painlessly away, preferring rest and peace to effort, or should
I make a last struggle to save myself? The ice seemed to close in more
and more every moment. I was choking.

I tried to scream! to force myself through the suffocating weight on me!
I gave a violent plunge, and then everything had vanished. The frozen
Kachi, the doctor, the transparent tomb! Nothingness!


At last I was able to open my eyes, which ached as if needles had been
stuck into them. It was snowing hard. I had temporarily lost the use of
my legs and fingers. They were frozen. So violent was the shock of
realising how very near death I had really been, that in waking up from
the ghastly nightmare I became acutely alive to the full importance of
instantly making my way down to a lower level. I was already covered with
a layer of snow, and I suppose it was the frigid pressure on my forehead
that caused the dream. It is, however, probable that, had it not been
for the hideous vision that shook my nerves free of paralysing torpor, I
should never have awakened from that spell-bound silence.

I sat up with difficulty, and by beating and rubbing them, slowly
regained the use of my lower limbs. I roused the Rongba, rubbed him, and
shook him till he was able to move. We began our descent.

No doubt the satisfaction of going up high mountains is very great; but
can it be compared to that of coming down?

Descending was dangerous but not wearisome. The incline being extremely
steep, we took gigantic strides on the snow, and when we came to patches
of _débris_, we slid ten or fifteen feet each step amidst a deafening
roar from the huge mass of loose stones set in motion by our descent.

[Illustration: "I ROUSED THE RONGBA"]

"Hark!" I said to the Rongba, "what is that?"

We waited till all was silence, and with hands up to our ears listened
attentively. It was still snowing.

"_Ao, ao, ao! Jaldi ao! Tumka hatte?_ Come, come, come quickly! Where are
you?" cried a faint distressed voice from far down below.

We quickened our pace; having hardly any control over our legs, our
descent was precipitous. The snow-fall ceased and we became enveloped in
a thick mist which pierced into our very bones.

Guided by the anxious cries of the doctor, whose voice we recognised, we
continued our breakneck journey downward. The cries got more and more
distinct, and at last, to my great joy, we came face to face with Wilson,
who, thank Heaven, was alive but almost helpless, as he said his legs
were still like lead, and it was all he could do to move them.

Owing to his anxiety about us, he had been shouting for a long time, and
getting no answer, he became very uneasy, all the more so as he found he
could in no way come to our help. He had quite given us up for lost.

We looked for and found Kachi. He had slept like a top, curled up in his
warm blanket and my overcoat, and was now quite refreshed, so all united
again, we continued our race downwards, exchanging our experiences and
sensations. We had no very serious mishaps, and life and strength
gradually came back to us again when we descended to lower elevations.
The ascent from the glacier at the bottom of the mountain to the summit
occupied four and a half hours; the precipitous descent, without counting
stoppages, only the ninth part of that time, the distance covered being
about one mile and three quarters.

Over the same trying stony valley we reached camp during the early hours
of the morning. The distance from camp to the altitude reached and back
was over ten miles; therefore, during the twenty-four hours I had
altogether gone eighteen miles (quite a record at such great altitudes).
I may here also remark that, since breakfast at six o'clock the previous
morning, I had taken no food of any kind, thus making an interval of
twenty-three hours between one meal and the next. The anxiety of my men
in camp was intense. They had lost all hope of seeing us again, and they
were quite reassured when I told them that we would proceed later in the
morning by the Lumpiya Pass, which was believed to be far easier.

In no time they had lighted a fire of dung, and after having had (at five
o'clock in the morning) a handsome feed of rice, _chapatis_, extract of
meat, and strengthening emergency food, we felt we were entitled to a
well-deserved rest.


     The sources of the Kuti River--The Lumpiya glacier--The summit of
     the range--Bird's-eye view of Tibet--Rubso frozen almost to
     death--The Lumpiya Pass--Two coolies in distress.

AT 9 A.M. we were ready again to start. The thermometer registered 40°
inside the tent, and the minimum temperature outside during the night had
been 14°. We followed the Kuti River at the foot of the mountain range,
travelling in a direction of 298° (b.m). On rounding a prominent
headland, where the Kuti River flows through a narrow passage, we saw
facing us on a mound, fourteen stone pillars and pyramids with white
stones on them and the customary flying prayers of cloth. It is from this
point that the ascent to the Lumpiya Pass begins.


There are two sources of the Kuti Yangti, joining in a large basin; one
comes from two extensive glaciers to the S.W., the other from a glacier
directly under the Lumpiya Pass. The river at the junction of the two
sources is not more than six yards across. Our route gradually ascended,
going N.W. first, then swinging away to N.E. until we attained an
elevation of 17,350 feet on a flat basin covered with deep snow. So far
we had proceeded with no very great trouble or fatigue, but matters
suddenly altered for the worse. Each coolie in the long silent row at the
head of which I marched, sank in the snow up to his knees, often up to
his waist. They formed, undoubtedly, a picturesque sight in this lonely
region, the only bit of life in the picture, the white frozen sheet of
snow throwing into strong contrast their faces wrapped tightly round with
white turbans. Some wore fur caps with ear flaps; all had long sheepskin
coats and high boots of skins; many used snow spectacles; and as this
procession, silent and grave, with loads on their backs, struggled higher
and higher with piteous panting, you speculated apprehensively as to
how many of them would ever return. Moving cautiously to avoid the many
treacherous cracks, I made my way ahead with considerable trouble to a
spot six hundred feet higher, where I halted for a while on a rocky
island fairly clear of snow. As coolie after coolie arrived, breathing
convulsively, he dropped his load and sat quietly by the side of it.
There was not a grumble, not a word of reproach for the hard work they
were made to endure. Sleet was falling, and the wet and cold increased
the discomfort. There was now a very steep pull before us. To the left,
we had a glacier beginning in a precipitous fall of ice, about one
hundred feet in height. Like the Mangshan glacier, it was in horizontal
ribbon-like strata of beautifully clear ice, showing no dirt bands.
Perpendicular stripes of a darker greenish colour could be observed
arising from the unequal degrees of compactness of the ice; the strata
showed almost horizontal, with no curvatures nor depressions in any part
of them. The top, the base and the sides of the glacier were in this case
also buried in deep snow.

The doctor and I went ahead. In our anxiety to reach the summit, unable
to discern the track, now covered by several feet of snow, we mistook our
bearings, and with great fatigue climbed up an extremely steep incline.
Here we were on a patch of the troublesome loose _débris_, on which we
struggled for over half an hour until we reached the top of the range,
18,750 feet, considerably higher than the pass itself. Four men had come
with us, the others, to whom we signalled, bearing more to the west by
another dangerous track skirting the glacier.

The wind from the N.E. was piercing and the cold terrible. Under the lee
of a large rock we found temporary shelter, and through my telescope
scanned the Tibetan plateau spread out before us. From this high eyrie we
obtained a superb bird's-eye view. Huge masses of snow covered the
Tibetan side of the Himahlyas, as well as the lower range of mountains
immediately in front of us, running almost parallel to our range. Two
thousand feet below, between these two ranges, flowed, in a wide barren
valley, a river which is afterwards called the Darma Yankti or Lumpiya
Yankti. In the distance, a flat plateau, rising some eight hundred feet
above the river, and resembling a gigantic embankment of a railway line,
could be seen extending for many miles; and far away to the north, a
chain of high blue mountains capped with snow, undoubtedly the Kangri
chain with the Kelas peaks.


A painful incident had unfortunately happened to one of my followers:
poor Rubso, a Christian convert, had fallen exhausted from cold and
fatigue. He had been seized with cramp, and was lying in a semi-conscious
state, his teeth chattering and his features distorted and livid; his
eyes were sunken and lifeless, and he showed signs of complete collapse.
We hastily carried him under the shelter of a rock and rubbed him
vigorously, in the hope of restoring his circulation. After more than
half an hour of the greatest anxiety and exertion, to our intense relief
he partially recovered, and was able to proceed slowly with our help.

Having climbed the wrong path, we now had to descend to the pass, six
hundred feet lower. We made our way along dangerous rocks and _débris_. I
was just clinging with my half-frozen fingers to a prominent rock,
striving to get on the other side, when screams of distress from below
struck my ears. Notwithstanding the unsafe position I was in, I could not
help turning my head to see what had happened. On the steep incline of
snow two coolies with their respective loads were sliding, at incredible
speed. They eventually reached the basin, where the angle of the descent
being suddenly altered, it caused them to revolve several times on their
own axes, the different bags, &c., forming their loads, flying about and
being scattered in every direction. I gave a sigh of relief when I saw
the men getting up. One coolie picked up one after the other the goods
that had been entrusted to him, tied them together, got them on his back,
and began the difficult ascent a second time. The other was crying and
moaning, so that we could plainly hear him from our elevation. He seemed
giddy. After a moment or two he staggered, fell back and lay as if dead.
Hastening over the slippery rocks, and then down precipitously on the
loose _débris_, I gained the pass, 18,150 feet. Two reluctant men were
immediately despatched to the relief of the coolie in distress. They
first carried his load up, then him. After some time he, too, got over
the severe shock and fright, and though he was rather shattered and
aching all over, I succeeded in persuading the man that nothing was the
matter with him.

We then hurried down the steep declivity on the Tibetan side, to get away
quickly from the bitterly cold, windy pass. Describing a wide arc of a
circle, and then making straight down across several long snow-beds, we
at last reached the river level and pitched our tents on snow at an
altitude of 16,900 feet. There was no wood, no yak or pony dung, no
lichens, no moss, and therefore nothing with which we could make a fire.
It seemed hard upon my men that, after such a toilsome day, they should
be compelled to go to sleep without having had a good meal. They
believe--and they are right--that eating cold food at such high
elevations, with such low temperature, leads to certain death. They
preferred, therefore, to remain without food altogether. Night came, and
with it the wind blowing in gusts, and piling the grit and snow around
our tents. During the nocturnal hours, with the hurricane raging, we had
to turn out of our flapping canvases several times to make the loose pegs
firmer. Fastening all the frozen ropes was very cold work. At 2 A.M. the
thermometer was down to 12°. At 9 A.M. in the sun, it went up to 26°, and
inside the tent at the same hour we had a temperature as high as


     Mysterious footprints--Brigand or spy?--Passes and
     tracks--Intense cold--No fuel--A high flat plateau--Fuel at
     last!--Two spies in disguise--What they took us for.

IN a hurricane of grit and drenching rain we packed up our traps as best
we could and again started on our way. I was slightly in advance when, to
my surprise, I noticed, some two hundred yards only from camp, a double
line of recent footmarks on the snow. Those coming towards us were
somewhat indistinct and nearly covered with grit, those going in the
opposite direction seemed quite recent. After carefully examining these
footprints, I felt pretty certain that they had been made by a Tibetan.
Where the footprints stopped, marks in the snow showed that the man had
at different points laid himself flat on the ground. No doubt we had been
spied upon and watched. My own men had shown many signs of terror ever
since we had crossed to this side of the Himahlyas, and were now all
anxiously stooping low over these prints and speculating on their origin.
Their excitement and fear were strange to watch. Some surmised that the
man must be a _Daku_, a brigand, and that in the evening we should be
attacked by the whole band; others maintained that the spy could only be
a Sepoy sent by the Gyanema officers to watch our movements. In any case,
this incident was held to be an evil omen, and during our march in a N.W.
direction along the bank of the river we continually saw the trail. The
wildest speculations and imaginations were rife. To the left of us we
passed the valleys leading south to the Neway Pass; then a second to the
Kats, 230° (b.m.). The bearings were taken from the mouth of the river
descending from it, a tributary of the Darma Yangti.

[Illustration: SPIED]

Six miles from our last camp, at bearings 340°, was the Luway Pass.

We were travelling on flat or slightly undulating barren ground. We waded
across another cold river with water up to our waists, and my men became
so exhausted that one mile farther we had to halt at 16,650 feet.

The cold was intense, and again we had no fuel of any kind. A furious
wind was blowing, with snow falling heavily in the evening. My carriers,
half starved, ate a little _satoo_, a kind of oatmeal, but Chanden Sing,
a Rajiput, could not, without breaking his caste, eat his food without
undressing. It was two days since he had had his last meal, but rather
than infringe the rules of his religion, or take off his clothes in such
frigid regions, he preferred to curl up in his blanket and go to sleep

The doctor left the warmth and comfort of blankets to go and talk with
the men, and get their views about weather prospects and the chances of
our route. I preferred the comfort of such warmth as I could get in our
tent, where the temperature was 28° Fahr., or four degrees below
freezing. The snow was lying a foot deep, and it was still falling
heavily. The carriers were all attempting to sleep, huddled as close as
possible to each other for warmth; they refused to move, saying they
would rather die, and we found it convenient to believe them, and get
what warmth and sleep we could under blankets in the tent.

Two or three hours later the weather cleared. The coolies, half starved,
came to complain that they were again unable to find fuel to cook their
food, and that they would leave me. The position of affairs was critical.
I immediately took my telescope and clambered to the top of a small
hillock. It was curious to note what unbounded faith the coolies had in
this glass. It was evident that they believed in a childlike fashion that
I could see through mountains with it. I came down with the reassuring
news that one day's march further would bring us to a fine supply of

They cheerfully hastened to pack up the loads, and set forth with unusual
energy in the direction I had pointed out. We followed a parallel line to
the high flat plateau on the other side of the stream, the slopes of
which, in relation to the plain we were standing on, were at an obtuse
angle of about 115°. The snow-covered plateau extended from S.W. to N.E.
Beyond it to the N. could be seen some high snowy peaks, in all
probability the lofty summits S.E. of Gartok. At the point where the
Luway joins the other three rivers there is a direct way to the summit of
the tableland, along which it continues across the Himahlyas by the Luway
Pass. To our right we were flanked by high rugged mountains, with an
occasional precipitous torrent. Six hours' brisk marching took us to a
sheltered nook, where a few lichens and shrubs were growing. If we had
suddenly descended into the Black Forest of Germany, or the Yosemite
Valley, with their gigantic century old trees, our delight could not have
been greater. As it was, the highest of these shrubs stood no higher than
six or seven inches from the ground, while the diameter of the largest
piece of wood we collected was smaller than that of an ordinary pencil.
With feverish activity all hands went to work to root up these plants for

When night came, the same number of hands were busy cooking and
transferring with alarming celerity such steaming food as was available
from the different fires to the mouths of the famished coolies. Happiness
reigned in camp, and all recent hardships were forgotten.

A fresh surprise was awaiting us when we rose. Two Tibetans disguised as
beggars had come to our camp. They professed to be suffering from cold
and starvation. I gave orders that they should be properly fed and kindly
treated. On being cross-examined they confessed that they were spies sent
by the officer at Gyanema to ascertain whether a sahib had crossed the
frontier, and whether we had seen anything of him.

We had so many things to attend to in the morning, and it was so cold,
that washing had really become a nuisance, and I for my part gave it up,
at least _pro tem._ We were sunburnt, and we wore turbans and
snow-glasses, so the Tibetans departed under the impression that our
party consisted of a Hindoo doctor, his brother, and a caravan of
servants (none of whom had seen a sahib coming), and that we were now on
a pilgrimage to the sacred Mansarowar Lake and Kelas Mount.

Before the men we treated this as a great joke, but, all the same, Wilson
and I anxiously consulted as to our immediate plans. Should we make a
rapid march during the night over the mountain range to our right, and
strike east by the jungle, or should we face the Gyanema leader and his

We decided to meet them rather than go out of our way, and I gave orders
to raise camp immediately.


     Lama Chokden--A Tibetan guard--The sacred Kelas--Reverence of my
     men for the Sacred Mountain--Trying hard to keep friends with the
     gods--_Obos_--Water flowing to us.

WE altered our course from N. to N.E., rising to 16,600 feet, and leaving
the high tableland to the west. We arrived at Lama Chokden (or Chorten),
a pass protected by a Tibetan guard, who quickly turned out, matchlocks
in hand, as we approached. They seemed a miserable lot, and not only
offered no resistance, but actually begged for money and food. They
complained of ill-treatment by their superiors, stating that they
received no pay, and even food was only occasionally sent to them at this
outpost. Their tunics were in rags; each man carried a sword stuck in
front through the girdle. Here, too, we had more inquiries about the
young sahib, as messengers on horseback had been sent post-haste from
Taklakot to warn the Gyanema officer not to let him penetrate into
Hundes[15] by the Lumpiya Pass, should he attempt it. Their description
of my supposed appearance was very amusing, and when they said that if
the sahib came they would have to cut his head off, I felt so touched by
their good-natured confidence that I wanted to distribute a few rupees
among them.

"Do not give them anything, sir," said Kachi and the doctor. "These
fellows are hand and glove with the bands of dacoits; the latter will
soon be told that we have money, and we shall run great risk of being
attacked at night."

I insisted on giving them a present.

"No, sir," cried Kachi, distressed; "do not do it, or it will bring us no
end of trouble and misfortune. If you give them four annas, that will be


Accordingly the officer in command had this large sum deposited in the
outstretched palm of his hand, and to show his satisfaction, he pulled
out his tongue to its full length, waving both his hands at me for some
minutes, and bowing clumsily at the same time. His fur cap had been
previously removed and thrown on the ground. This was indeed a grand
salaam, a ceremonious acknowledgment of a gift of something less than

While the doctor remained in conversation with him, I happened to witness
a very beautiful sight. To the north the clouds had dispersed, and the
snow-capped sacred Kelas Mount stood majestic before us. In appearance
not unlike the graceful roof of a temple, Kelas towers over the long
white-capped range, contrasting in beautiful blending of tints with the
warm sienna colour of the lower elevations. Kelas is some two thousand
feet higher than the other peaks of the Gangir chain, with strongly
defined ledges and terraces marking its stratifications, and covered with
horizontal layers of snow standing out in brilliant colour against the
dark ice-worn rock. The Tibetans, the Nepalese, the Shokas, the Humlis,
Jumlis and Hindoos, all have a strong veneration for this mountain, which
is believed by them to be the abode of all the good gods, especially of
the god Siva. In fact, the ledge round its base is said by the Hindoos to
be the mark of the ropes used by the devil (Rakas) to pull down the
throne of Siva.

My men, with heads uncovered, their faces turned towards the sacred peak,
were muttering prayers. With joined hands, which they slowly raised as
high as the forehead, they prayed fervently, and then went down on their
knees, with heads bent low to the ground. My brigand follower, who was
standing close by me, hurriedly whispered that I should join in this act
of prayer.

"You must keep friends with the gods," said the bandit; "misfortune will
attend you if you do not salaam to Kelas; that is the home of a good
god!" and he pointed to the peak with the most devout air of conviction.

To please him I saluted the mountain with the utmost deference, and,
taking my cue from the others, placed a white stone on one of the
hundreds of _Chokdens_ or _Obos_ (stone pillars) erected by devotees at
this spot. These _Obos_, or rough pyramids of stones, are found on the
tracks traversing all high passes, near lakes, in fact, everywhere, but
rarely in such quantities as at Lama Chokden. The hill in front, and at
the back of the guard-house, was literally covered with these structures.
Each passer-by deposits a stone on one of them--a white stone if
possible--and this is supposed to bring him good fortune, or if he has a
wish he desires accomplished, such a contribution will enhance the
chances of its fulfilment.

The guard-house itself was of rough stone, mean and desolate, and in any
country but Tibet would not be considered fit accommodation for pigs.

After going a mile or so farther, as the sun was fast disappearing, we
searched for a suitable spot to pitch our tents. There was no sign of any
water, only the stony bed of a dried rivulet. We were discussing the
situation, when a faint sound as of rushing water struck our ears. It
grew louder and louder, and then we saw coming towards us a stream of
limpid molten snow, gradually advancing over the bed of stones. Evidently
the snow of the mountains had taken all day to melt, and the water was
only now reaching this spot. My dacoit was in a great state of

"Water flowing to you, sahib!" he exclaimed, with his arms outstretched.
"You will have great luck! Look! Look! You want water for your camp, and
a stream comes to you! Heaven blesses you. You must dip your fingers into
the water as soon as it comes up to you, and throw some drops over your
shoulders. Then will fortune attend you on your journey."

I readily fell in with this Tibetan superstition, and we all dipped our
fingers, and sprinkled the water behind our backs. Wilson, however, who
took the matter quite seriously, said it was all nonsense, and would not
give in to such "childish fancy."

Good fortune would have meant much to me, but in the days to come this
simple rite proved to have been futile!

[15] Hundes = Tibet.


     An extensive valley--Kiang, or wild horse--Their strange
     ways--The Gyanema fort--Apprehension at our appearance--A
     parley--"Cut off our heads!"--Revolt and murder
     contemplated--Hypocritical ways of Tibetan officials--Help
     summoned from everywhere--Preparing for war.

IN front of our camp was a great stretch of flat alluvial land, which had
been, to all appearance, at some remote time the bed of a large lake
about ten miles long and fourteen wide. With my telescope I could see
plainly to 40° (b.m.), at the foot of a small hill, the camping-ground of
Karko. There were many tents, and my men seemed much reassured when by
their shape and colour we made them out to be those of the Joharis from
Milam, who come over at this place to trade with the Hunyas[16]. To
E.N.E. we had a valley extending for many miles between two high ranges,
and to the W. and N.W. were hills between us and the Darma Yangti,
flowing there in a N.N.E. direction. Beyond Karko to the North, a stretch
of water, the Gyanema Lake, showed brilliantly, and beyond it some
comparatively low hill ranges. In the distance, more snowy peaks were

On leaving camp we traversed the plain for six miles in a N.E. direction,
and then, on a course of 80° (b.m.), turned into a smaller valley well
enclosed by hills, following it for a distance of three or four miles.
This formed, as it were, an arm of the other large valley.

During our march we saw many large herds of _Kiang_ (wild horse). These
animals came quite close to us. They resembled zebras in shape and
movement of body, but in colour they were mostly light brown. The natives
regarded their near proximity as extremely dangerous; for their apparent
tameness is often deceptive, enabling them to draw quite close to the
unwary traveller, and then with a sudden dash seize him by the stomach,
inflicting a horrible wound with their powerful jaws. Their graceful and
coquettish ways were most taking; we occasionally threw stones at them to
keep them at a safe distance, but after cantering prettily away, they
would follow us again and come within a few yards. I succeeded in taking
some very good negatives, which unfortunately were afterwards destroyed
by the Tibetan authorities. I still have, however, some of the sketches I
made of them. We climbed over another hill range, and descended on the
other side into a grassy stretch of flat land, in the Northern portion of
which was a sheet of water. On a hill South of the lake stood the Gyanema
Khar or fort, a primitive tower-like structure of stones, with a tent
pitched over it to answer the purpose of roof, supporting a flagstaff, on
which flew two dirty white rags. They were not the colours of Hundes, but
only wind prayers. Lower down, at the foot of the hill, were two or three
large black tents and a small shed of stones. Hundreds of black, white,
and brown yaks were grazing on the green patches of grass.

The appearance of our party evidently created some apprehension, for we
had hardly shown ourselves on the summit of the col when from the fort a
gong began to sound loudly, filling the air with its unmelodious metallic
notes. A shot was fired. Soldiers with their matchlocks were seen running
here and there. They pulled down one of the black tents and hastily
conveyed it inside the fort, the greater part of the garrison also
seeking shelter within the walls with the _empressement_ almost of a
stampede. When, after some little time, they convinced themselves that we
had no evil intentions, some of the Tibetan officers, followed by their
men, came trembling to meet us. The doctor, unarmed, went ahead to talk
with them, whereas my bearer and I remained with the coolies for the
double purpose of protecting our baggage in case of a treacherous attack,
and of preventing my panic-stricken carriers from abandoning their loads
and escaping. But matters looked peaceful enough. Rugs were spread on the
grass, and eventually we all sat down. An hour's trying parley with the
Tibetan officers, during which time the same things were repeated over
and over again, led to nothing. They said they could on no account allow
any one from India, whether native or sahib, to proceed, and we must go
back. We on our side stated that we were doing no harm. We were pilgrims
to the sacred Lake of Mansarowar, only a few miles farther. We had gone
to much expense and trouble. How could we now turn back when so near our
goal? We would not go back, and trusted they would allow us to proceed.

We treated them courteously and kindly, and probably mistaking this for
fear they promptly took advantage of it, especially the Magbun[17] or
chief officer in charge of the Gyanema fort. His marked humility, of
which at first he had made so much display, suddenly turned into
arrogance. "You will have to cut off my head," said he with a vicious
countenance, "or rather I will cut off yours before I let you go another

"Cut off my head?" cried I, jumping on my feet and shoving a cartridge
into my rifle.

"Cut off my head?" repeated my bearer, pointing with his Martini-Henry at
the official.

"Cut off our heads?" queried angrily the Brahmin and the two Christian
servants of Dr. Wilson, handling a Winchester and a couple of Gourkha
_kukris_ (large knives).

"No, no, no, no! Salaam, salaam, salaam!" poured forth the Magbun with
the celerity of speech only possessed by a panic-stricken man. "Salaam,
salaam," repeated he again, bowing down to the ground, tongue out, and
depositing his hat at our feet in a disgustingly servile manner. "Let us
talk like friends!"

The Magbun's men, no braver than their master, shifted their positions in
a nonchalant manner so as to be screened by their superiors in case of
our firing, and on second thoughts, judging even such a precaution to
ensure them but scanty safety, they one after the other got up, walked
steadily away for half-a-dozen steps, to show it was not fear that made
them leave, and then took to their heels.

The Magbun and the other officers who remained became more and more meek.
We spoke and argued in a friendly manner for two long hours, but with no
appreciable results. The Magbun could not decide of his own accord. He
would consult with his officers, and he could give us an answer no sooner
than the next morning. In the meantime he would provide for our general
comfort and ensure our safety, if we would encamp near his tent. This, of
course, I well knew to be an expedient to gain time, so as to send for
soldiers to Barca, north of the Rakstal Lake, as well as to all the
neighbouring camps. I frankly told him my suspicions, but added that I
wished to deal fairly with the Tibetan authorities before resorting to
force. I reminded the Magbun again, and made him plainly understand, that
we were merely peaceful travellers, and had not come to fight; that I was
paying tenfold for anything I purchased from him or his men, and was glad
to do so; but at the same time, let the hand beware that dared touch or
twist a single hair of any one belonging to my party! The Magbun declared
that he understood perfectly. He swore friendship, and as friends he
begged us to stop over the night near his camp. By the Sun and Kunju Sum
(Trinity) he gave a solemn oath that we should in no way be harmed. He
took humble leave of us and retired.

The doctor and I had been sitting in front, next were Chanden Sing, the
Brahmin, and the two Christians. The carriers were behind. When the
Magbun had gone I turned round to look at them. Behold, what a sight!
They one and all were crying miserably, each man hiding his face in his
hands. Kachi had tears streaming down his cheeks, Dola was sobbing, while
the Daku and the other Tibetan in my employ, who had for the occasion
assumed a disguise, were concealing themselves behind their loads.
Serious though the situation was, I could not help laughing at the
demoralisation of my men. We pitched our tents, and I had been sitting a
while inside one, registering my observations and writing up my diary,
when Kachi crept in, apparently in great distress. He seemed so upset
that he could hardly speak.

"Master!" he whispered. "Master! The Tibetans have sent a man to your
coolies threatening them that they must betray you or die. They must
abandon you during the night, and if you attempt to retain them, they
must kill you."

At the same time that this agent had been sent to conspire with my
coolies, other envoys of the Magbun brought huge masses of dry dung to
make our fires, conveying to me his renewed declarations of friendship.
Notwithstanding this, soldiers were despatched in every direction to call
for help. I saw them start: one went towards Kardam and Taklakot; a
second proceeded in the direction of Barca, and a third galloped to the

My carriers were evidently preparing a _coup-de-main_ as I watched them
through an opening in the tent. They were busily engaged separating their
blankets and clothes from my loads, dividing the provisions among
themselves, and throwing aside my goods. I went out to them, patiently
made them repack the things, and cautioned them that I would shoot any
one who attempted to revolt or desert.

While the doctor and I sat down to a hearty meal, which rumours in camp
said would be our last, Chanden Sing was entrusted with the preparations
for war on our side. He cleaned the rifles with much care, and got the
ammunition ready, for he was longing to fight. The Brahmin, on whose
faithfulness we could also rely, remained cool and collected through the
whole affair. He was a philosopher, and never worried over anything. He
took no active part in preparing for our defence, for he feared not
death. God alone could kill him, he argued, and all the matchlocks in the
country together could not send a bullet through him unless God wished
it. And if it were the God's decree that he should die, what could be the
use of rebelling against it? The two converts, like good Christians, were
more practical, and lost no time in grinding the huge blades of their
_kukris_ to the sharpness of razors.

When darkness came a guard was placed, at a little distance off, all
round our camp. It seemed likely that a rush on our tent with the help of
my treacherous carriers was contemplated, should an opportunity occur.
One of us kept watch outside all through the night, and those inside lay
down in their clothes, with loaded rifles by them. I can't say that
either Dr. Wilson or I felt particularly uneasy, for the Tibetan soldiers
with their clumsy matchlocks, long spears, and jewelled swords and
daggers, inspired us more with admiration for their picturesque
appearance than with fear.

[16] Hunyas = Tibetans.

[17] _Magpun_ or _Magbun_ = General-in-Chief.


     Arrival of a high official--The Barca Tarjum--A tedious
     palaver--The Tarjum's anxiety--Permission to proceed--A
     traitor--Entreated to retrace our steps--Thirty armed horsemen--A
     pretty speech.

QUITE early the next morning we were roused by the distant sound of
tinkling horse-bells. On looking out of the tent, I saw a long row of
pack-ponies heavily laden, escorted by a number of mounted soldiers with
matchlocks and spears. It was evident that some high official was coming.
This advance detachment consisted of his subalterns and his baggage. They
took a long sweep far away from our tent and dismounted by the Gyanema
fort. Other soldiers and messengers were constantly arriving in groups
from all directions. The leader of one party, with a considerable escort
of soldiers, was received with profuse salaams and I concluded that he
must be an important personage.

After some time a message was sent to us that this new comer, the Barca
Tarjum, practically a potentate equal in rank to a king under a
protectorate, wished to have the honour of seeing us. We replied that we
were having our breakfast and that we would send for him when we wished
to speak to him. Our experience had taught us that it was advisable to
treat Tibetan officials as inferiors, as they were then more subdued, and
easier to deal with. At eleven we despatched a messenger to the fort to
say we should be pleased to receive the Tarjum. He came immediately with
a large following, a picturesque figure dressed in a long coat of green
silk of Chinese shape, with large sleeves turned up, showing his arms up
to the elbow; he had a cap similar to those worn by Chinese officials,
and was shod with heavy long black boots, with large nails under the
soles. His long, pale, angular face was remarkable in many ways; it was
interestingly stolid, and though somewhat effeminate, had rather fine
features; unmistakable signs of depravity indicated his low class of mind
and morals. Long hair fell in loose curls down to his shoulders, and
hanging from his left ear was an earring of large dimensions, with
malachite ornaments and a pendant. In his nervous fingers he held a small
roll of Tibetan material, which he used with both hands as a handkerchief
to blow his nose inconsequently every time that he was at a loss to
answer a question. The Tarjum and his men were profuse in their bows, and
there was, as usual, a great display of tongues. These were, I noticed,
of an unhealthy whitish colour, caused throughout Tibet by excessive
tea-drinking, a practice which ruins the digestion, and furs their
tongues. We had rugs placed outside our principal tent, and the doctor
and I sat on one, asking the Tarjum to sit on the one facing us. His
followers squatted around him. It is a well-known fact that in Tibet, if
you are a "somebody," or if you wish people to recognise your importance,
you must have an umbrella spread over your head. Fortunately, the
ever-provident doctor had two in his possession; which two of our men
held over our respective heads. The Tarjum himself was shaded by a
parasol of colossal dimensions, held in position by his secretary.

In spite of the extravagant terms of friendship which fell from the
Tarjum's lips, I was convinced, by close observation of the man's face,
that his words were insincere and that it would be unsafe to trust him.
He never looked us straight in the face; his eyes were fixed on the
ground all the time, and he spoke in a despicably affected manner. I did
not like the man from the very first, and, friend or no friend, I kept my
loaded rifle on my lap.


After endless ponderous speeches, clumsy compliments, and tender
inquiries after all relations they could possibly think of; after tiring
parabolic sentences with fine sounds but no meaning; after repeated
blowing of the nose and loud coughing, which always came on opportunely
when we asked whether they had yet come to a conclusion as to what we
should be allowed to do, at last, when my patience was nearly exhausted,
our negotiations of the previous day were reopened. We argued for hours.
We asked to be allowed to go on. They were still uncertain whether they
would let us or not. To simplify matters, and hasten their decision
before other reinforcements arrived, the doctor applied for permission to
let only eight of us proceed to Mansarowar. He (the doctor) himself would
remain at Gyanema with the remainder of the party as a guarantee of
good faith. But even this offer they rejected, not directly, but with
hypocritical excuses and delays, for they thought we would not find our
way, and that if we did, we should find it very rough, and the climate
too severe; that the brigands might attack us, and so on, and so on. All
this was very tiresome, and there were signs even of a nasty side to
their attitude. I decided to know what I was about.

Still holding the rifle cocked at safety on my lap, I turned the muzzle
of it towards the Tarjum, and purposely let my hand slide down to the
trigger. He became uncomfortable and his face showed signs of wild
terror. His eyes, until now fixed upon the ground, became first unsteady,
and then settled fixedly, and with a look of distress, on the muzzle of
my rifle. At the same time he tried to dodge the aim right or left by
moving his head, but I made the weapon follow all his movements. The
Tarjum's servants fully shared their master's fear. Without doubt the
poor fellow was in agony; his tone of voice, a moment before boisterous
and aggressive, now dwindled into the humblest intonations imaginable.
With much meekness he expressed himself ready to please us in every way.

"I see that you are good people," said he in a faint whisper, accompanied
by a deep bow. "I cannot give, as I would like to do, my official
sanction to your journey forward, but you can go if you wish. I cannot
say more. Eight of you can proceed to the sacred Mansarowar Lake. The
others will remain here."

Before giving his final decision he said that he would prefer to have
another consultation with his officers.

We accorded this readily.

The Tarjum then presented the doctor with a roll of Tibetan cloth.


I had bathed as usual in the morning, and my Turkish towel was spread
outside the tent to dry. The Tarjum, who showed great interest in all our
things, took a particular fancy to its knotty fabric. He sent for his
child to see this wonderful material, and when he arrived the towel was
placed on the youth's back as if it were a shawl. I at once offered it to
him as a present if he would accept it. There were no bounds to his
delight, and our relations, somewhat strained a few minutes earlier,
became now of the friendliest character. We invited the party inside our
tent, and they examined everything with curiosity, asking endless
questions. They were now quite jovial and pleasant, and even occasionally
amusing. Tibetans have a craving for alcohol at all times and they soon
asked me if I had any to give them; there was nothing they would like
more. As I never carry any when travelling, I could not offer them any
recognised drink, but not wishing to disappoint them, I produced a bottle
of methylated spirits (which I used for my hypsometrical apparatus). This
they readily drank, apparently appreciating its throat-burning qualities,
and asked for more. The Tarjum complained of an ailment from which he had
suffered for some time, and the doctor was able to give him a suitable
remedy, and all the other officers received small presents when they

In the afternoon a messenger came from the Barca Tarjum. He had good news
for us. The Tarjum wished us to understand that "as we had been so kind
to him and his followers, he regarded us as his personal friends; and as
we were so anxious to visit the Mansarowar Lake and the great Kelas
Mount, and had already experienced many difficulties and great expense in
coming so far, he agreed to eight of our party proceeding to the sacred
spots. It was impossible for him to give an official consent, but he
repeated again that we could go if we wished."

This news naturally delighted me. Once at Kelas, I felt sure I could
easily find some means of going farther.

On the same evening, a traitor in our camp sneaked from under the tent in
which my men were sleeping, and paid a visit to the Tarjum. There is no
doubt that he told him I was not the doctor's brother, nor a Hindoo
pilgrim. He disclosed that I was a sahib, and that I was on my way to
Lhassa. From what I heard afterwards, it seemed that the Tarjum did not
quite believe his informant; but fresh doubts arising in his mind, he
sent a message during the night, entreating us to return the way we came.

"If there is really a sahib in your party, whom you have kept concealed
from me, and I let you go on, my head will be cut off by the Lhassa
people. You are now my friends, and you will not allow this."

"Tell the Tarjum," I replied to the messenger, "that he is my friend, and
I will treat him as a friend."

In the morning, we found thirty horsemen fully armed posted some hundred
yards from our tent. To proceed with the demoralised crowd under me, and
be followed by this company, would certainly prove disastrous and I felt
again that some ruse was a necessity.

Much to the astonishment and terror of the armed force and their
superiors, the doctor, Chanden Sing and I, rifles in hand, walked firmly
towards the contingent of sepoys. After us came the trembling coolies.
The Magbun and the Tarjum's officers could hardly believe their eyes. The
soldiers quickly dismounted, and laid their arms down to show that they
had no intention of fighting. We passed them without any notice. The
Magbun ran after me. He begged me to stop one moment. Dola was summoned
to interpret his elaborate speech. A pair of prettily embroidered
cloth-boots were produced from the loose folds of the official's coat,
and he offered them with the following words:

"Though your face is sunburnt and black, and your eyes are sore (they
were not, as a matter of fact, but I wore snow-spectacles), your features
tell me that you are of a good family, therefore, you must be a high
officer in your country. Your noble feelings also show that you would not
have us punished for your sake, and now our hearts are glad to see you
retrace your steps. Let me offer you these boots, so that your feet may
not get sore on the long and difficult journey back to your native land."

It was neatly put, though the mode of reasoning was peculiar. It was not
to my interest to disillusionise the Tibetan as to my purpose, so I
accepted the boots. The Magbun and his guard salaamed to the ground.

Without further parleying, we left the Magbun, and retracing our steps,
proceeded in a W.S.W. direction as though we had decided to turn back,
and leave the country.


     Spying our movements--Disguised sepoys--A gloomy
     look-out--Troublesome followers--Another march back--An amusing

WE reached the summit of the hill and crossed to the other side. My men
went on down the slope, but I remained, screened by a large stone, to
observe with my telescope the folks at Gyanema. No sooner had my last man
disappeared on the other side of the pass, than the cavalrymen jumped
into their saddles and, raising clouds of dust, galloped after us. This
was what I had expected. I hastened to rejoin my men. When down in the
plain, I again took my telescope, and watched the sky-line of the hill we
had just descended. Some thirty heads could be seen peeping over the
rocks from among the boulders. The soldiers had evidently dismounted, and
were spying our movements. I felt annoyed that they did not openly follow
us, if they so wished, instead of watching us from a distance, so I
sighted my rifle to eight hundred yards, lay down flat, and took aim at a
figure I could see more plainly than the others.

The doctor snatched the rifle from my shoulder.

"You must not shoot," said he, with his usual calmness; "you might kill

"I only wish to teach these cowards a lesson."

"That is all very well. But every man in Tibet is so cowardly that the
lesson would have to be constantly repeated," answered Wilson with his
perpetual wisdom.

I slung my rifle over my shoulder and made up my mind to start some other
time on the cyclopean task I had then so nearly begun.

When we had covered a mile or so of the plain, our phantomlike escort
crossed the pass, and came full gallop down the hill. I gave orders to
my men to halt, seeing which, the soldiers also came to a dead stop. I
watched them through the telescope. They seemed to be holding a
discussion. At last five men rode full speed northwards, probably to
guard the track in that direction. Three men remained where they were,
and the remainder, as if seized by panic, galloped frantically up the
hill again, and disappeared over the summit.

We resumed our march. The three horsemen followed a course one mile south
of ours, close against the foot of the hills, and lying low upon their
ponies' heads, they probably imagined that they were passing us
unperceived. Seeing that our bearings were for our old camp at Lama
Chokden, they left our line and rode ahead of us.

When in the evening we reached Lama Chokden, two shepherds came to greet
us. Then another appeared.

"Our sheep are far away," said they. "We are hungry. We are poor. Can we
stop near your camp and pick up the food that you will throw away?"

"Certainly," I replied. "But mind you do not pick up anything else."

These simple folk, thinking I should not know them, had left their ponies
at the Lama Chokden guard-house, and, disguised as shepherds, they were
now trying to ingratiate themselves with us, with the object of
discovering our movements and plans. They were, of course, no other than
the three sepoys from Gyanema.

At each step in our retreat towards the Himahlyas my heart became heavier
and my spirits more depressed. I was full of stratagems, but to think out
plans and to carry them into effect were two different things.

How many times had not my schemes been upset? How often had I not had to
begin afresh when all seemed ready and in perfect working order?--that,
too, when I had plenty of good material at my disposal to work upon. Now
things had changed altogether for the worse. My chances of success,
notwithstanding my incessant struggle, were getting smaller and smaller
every day. I could not but feel that there must be an end eventually to
the capability and endurance of my followers and myself. It is hard
enough to start on a difficult task, but when you are well started, and
have already overcome many difficulties, to have to come back and begin
again is more than galling.

The outlook was dark and gloomy; I stood face to face with apparent
failure, and I was uncertain of the loyalty of my own men.

At this camp, for instance, the Daku (brigand), who had changed his
disguise several times since coming in contact with the Tibetans,
announced his immediate departure. The doctor, with his usual kindness,
had already entreated him to remain, but without avail. We well knew that
in this region, infested by dacoits, this man was only leaving us to
recommence his late marauding habits. He would, in all probability, join
some band, and without much doubt we might soon expect a visit during the
darkest hours of the night. The Daku knew that I carried a large sum of
money, and during the last two days his behaviour had been more than
strange. Had he come across some of his mates? or had he heard from the
sepoys that they were in the neighbourhood?

The Daku had a bundle of his blankets strapped on his back in readiness
for immediate departure. My men, distressed at this new danger, came to
report it to me. I immediately sent for him. Speaking bluntly, and
keeping his eyes fixed on the ground, he said: "I am going, sahib."

"Where?" I inquired.

"I have friends near here, and I am going to them."

"Very good, go," I replied, calmly taking up my rifle.

His load was off his shoulder in less time than it takes to describe the
event. He resumed his work as usual. One or two other riotous coolies
were brought back to reason by similar menaces.

I heard later that a band of brigands attacked a party near the frontier
only two days after this occurred.

Another march back! How painful it was to me! Yet it was advisable. We
went a few miles and encamped on the bank of a rapid stream, the
Shirlangdu. From this point, with some difficulty and danger, it would be
possible to climb over the mountain range during the night, and attempt
to elude the spies and watchmen, by crossing the jungle to Mansarowar. I
made up my mind to attempt this. It seemed to add to the risk to have so
large a following as my thirty men, so I decided that only four or five
should accompany me. Going alone was impracticable, because of the
difficulty of carrying sufficient food, or I would have by far preferred
it. Nevertheless, if the worst came to the worst, I resolved to attempt
this latter mode of travelling, and rely on the chance of obtaining food
from Tibetans.

All the loads were made ready. Articles of clothing and comfort, niceties
in the way of food, and extras in the way of medicines, were left behind
to make room for my scientific instruments.

Each pound in weight more that I dedicated to science meant a pound less
food to take us to Lhassa. Everything that was not of absolute necessity
had to be left.

Two Tibetan spies came to camp in the afternoon, in the disguise, as
usual, of beggars. They asked for food, and exacted it. Their manner was
unbearably insulting. This was a little too much for us, and Bijesing the
Johari, and Rubso the Christian cook, were the first to enter into an
open fight with them! They punched and kicked them, driving them down a
steep ravine leading to a river, then, assisted by other men in camp,
showered stones upon them. The unfortunate intruders, unable to wade
quickly across the rapid stream, received as fine a reception as they

This little skirmish amused the camp, but many of the Shokas and Hunyas
in my service were still scared out of their wits. It was quite
sufficient for them to see a Tibetan to crumble into nothing.


     An attempt that failed--A resolution--A smart Shoka lad--The
     plucky Chanden Sing proposes to accompany me--Mansing the leper
     becomes my servant's servant.

THE hour fixed for my flight was 9 P.M. Five men had been induced to
follow me by the offer of a handsome reward.

At the hour appointed no single one of them had put in an appearance. I
went in search of them. One man had purposely injured his feet and was
disabled, another pretended to be dying, the others positively refused to
come. They were shivering with fright and cold.

"Kill us, sahib, if you like," they implored of me, "but we will not
follow you."

At 3 A.M. all attempts to get even one man to carry a load had proved
futile. I had to abandon the idea of starting.

My prospects became more gloomy than ever. Another march back towards the
cold and dreary pass by which I had entered Tibet!

"You are depressed, Mr. Landor," remarked the doctor.

I admitted the fact. Every step backwards was to me like a stab in the
heart. I had wished to push on at all costs, and it was only in
consideration of my good and kind friend, the doctor, that I had
reluctantly refrained from making my way by force. My blood was boiling.
I felt feverish. The cowardice of my men made them absolutely
contemptible, and I could not bear to see them even.

Immersed in my thoughts, I walked quickly on, and the rugged way seemed
short and easy. I found a suitable spot for our next camp. Here before
me, and on every side, stood high snowy mountains; there, in front,
towered that same Lumpiya Pass by which I had crossed into Tibet with
such high hopes. I detested the sight of it on the present occasion; its
snowy slopes seemed to mock at my failure.

Whether it is that storms invariably come when one is depressed, or
whether one gets depressed when storms are coming, I am not here prepared
to say, but the fact remains that, before we had time to pitch our tents,
the wind, which had been high all through the afternoon, increased
tenfold. The clouds above were wild and threatening, and snow soon fell
in feathery flakes.

"What are you going to do?" inquired the doctor of me. "I think you had
better return to Garbyang, get fresh men, and make another start."

"No, doctor. I will die rather than continue this backward march. There
will be a far better chance if I go alone, and I have resolved to start
to-night, for I am convinced that I shall find my way over the range."

"No, no, it is impossible, Mr. Landor," cried the doctor, with tears in
his eyes. "That must mean death to any one attempting it."

I told him that I was quite determined.

The poor doctor was dumbfounded. He knew that it was useless to try to
dissuade me. I went into the tent to rearrange and reduce my baggage,
making a load small enough to carry on my back, in addition to the daily
kit and instruments.

Whilst I was making preparations for my journey, Kachi Ram entered the
tent. He looked frightened and perplexed.

"What are you doing, sir?" inquired he hurriedly. "The doctor says you
are going to leave alone to-night, cross the mountain range, and go to
Lhassa by yourself."

"Yes, that is true."

"Oh, sir! The perils and dangers are too great, you cannot go."

"I know, but I am going to try."

"Oh, sir! Then I will come with you."

"No, Kachi. You will suffer too much. Go back to your father and mother
now that you have the opportunity."

"No, sir; where you go, I will go. Small men never suffer. If they do it
does not matter. Only great men's sufferings are worth noticing. If you
suffer, I will suffer. I will come."

Kachi's philosophy touched me. I ascertained beyond doubt that he meant
what he said, and then decided to take him.

This was a piece of luck. Kachi Ram had five bosom friends among the
young Shoka coolies. They were all friends of the Rambang, and in the
evenings in camp they often used to join and sing weird songs in honour
of the fair maids of their hearts, whom they had left on the other side
of the Himahlyas.

Kachi hurried away in a state of feverish excitement. He was back in a
few minutes.

"How many coolies will you take, sir?"

"None will come."

"Oh, I will get them. Will five do?"

"Yes," I murmured incredulously.

My scepticism sustained a shock when Kachi returned, buoyant, saying in
his peculiar English:

"Five Shokas come, sir. Then you, sir, I, sir, five coolies, sir, start
night-time, what clock?"

"By Jove, Kachi," I could not help exclaiming, "you are a smart lad."

"'Smart,' sir?" inquired he sharply, hearing a new word. He was most
anxious to learn English, and he had a mania for spelling. "'Smart!' What
is meaning? How spell?"

"S-m-a-r-t. It means 'quick, intelligent.'"

"Smart," he repeated solemnly, as he wrote the newly-acquired word in a
book which I had given him for the purpose. Kachi was undoubtedly, in
spite of some small faults, a great character. He was a most intelligent,
sharp, well-meaning fellow. His never failing good humour, and his
earnest desire to learn and to be useful, were quite refreshing.

My luck seemed to have turned indeed. A few minutes later my bearer,
quite unaware that any one would accompany me, entered the tent, and
exclaimed in a disgusted manner:

"_Shoka crab, sahib! Hunya log bura crab. Hazur hum, do admi jaldi Lhasa
giao_." ("The Shokas are bad. The Hunyas are very bad. Your honour and I,
we two alone, will go quickly by ourselves to Lhassa.")

Here was another plucky and useful man anxious to come. He professed to
have no fear of death. He was the type of man I wanted. How true the poor
fellow's protestations were I learned at a later date!

Chanden Sing was a man of strong sporting proclivities. His happiness was
complete when he could fire his rifle at something, though he was never
known to hit the mark. He had been severely reprimanded and punished by
me only a few days before for wasting several cartridges on _kiang_
(wild horse) three miles distant. Ordinary work, however, such as doing
his own cooking, or keeping my things tidy, was distasteful to him, and
was invariably passed on to others.

Mansing the leper, being unfortunately of the same caste as Chanden Sing,
became my servant's servant. The two Hindoos constantly quarrelled and
fought, but at heart they were the best of friends. The bearer, by means
of promises, mingled at intervals with blows, eventually succeeded in
inducing his _protégé_ to join in our new plan, and face with us the
unknown dangers ahead.


     "Devil's Camp"--A fierce snowstorm--Abandoning our tents--Dangers
     and perils in prospect--Collecting the men--One load too
     many!--Another man wanted and found--A propitious night--Good-bye
     to Wilson--The escape--Brigands.

BY eight o'clock in the evening I had collected all the men who had
promised to follow me. They comprised my bearer, Kachi and six coolies.


We named this camp "Devil's Camp," for diabolical indeed was the wind
that shook our tents, not to speak of the snow blown into our shelters by
the raging storm. During the night the wind grew in fury. Neither wood,
dung, nor lichen for fuel was to be found. Our tents were pitched at
16,900 feet above sea-level, and to ascend to the summit of the range
would mean a further climb of two thousand feet. In such weather the
difficulties of the ascent were increased tenfold, though for evading the
vigilance of the Tibetan watchmen, who spied upon our movements, we could
have no better chance than a dirty night like this. I arranged with the
doctor that he was to take back to Garbyang all the baggage I had
discarded and the men who had declined to follow me. He must display all
our tents until late in the afternoon of the next day, so as to let the
Tibetans suppose that we were all under them, and give me time to make a
long forced march before they could get on our track. Hard as it would be
for us going forward, we would take no tent except the small _tente
d'abri_, weighing about four pounds. We should anyhow be unable to pitch
one for several days, for fear of being detected by the Tibetans, who
would be soon seen abroad in search of us. We should have to march long
distances at night, keeping mostly on the summit of the range, instead of
proceeding, like other travellers, along the valleys, and we must get
what little sleep we could during the day, when we could hide in some
secluded spot. The thought of seeing a fire had to be abandoned for an
indefinite period, because, even in the remote contingency of our finding
fuel at the great altitudes where we should have to camp, every one knows
that a fire and a column of smoke can be seen at a very great distance,
both by day and night. We pondered and discussed all these matters before
we made a start, and, moreover, we were fully aware that, if the Tibetans
could once lay their hands upon us, our numbers were too small to offer a
stout resistance, and we might well give ourselves up for lost. In fact,
taking things all round, I rather doubted whether the lives of my few
followers and my own were worth more than a song from the moment of our
leaving "Devils' Camp."

With this full knowledge of what we were undertaking, we may have been
foolish in starting at all, but lack of determination cannot in fairness
be credited as one of our faults.

The thoughtful doctor had brought with him from our last camp a few
lichens, with which he was now attempting to light a fire, to cook me
some _chapatis_ before leaving. Alas! four hours' hard work, and an equal
number of boxes of matches, failed to produce the semblance of a flame.

At midnight I sent Chanden Sing and Kachi to collect the men. Two came
trembling into the tent; the others could not be roused. I went myself
and took them, one by one, to their loads. They were all crying like
children. It was then that I discovered that in the haste and confusion I
had made one load too many. Here was a dilemma! Everything was ready and
propitious for our flight, and a delay at this juncture was fatal. At any
cost, I must have another man.

The moans and groans in the coolies' tent, when I went in search of one,
were pitiful. You would have thought that they were all going to die
within a few minutes, and that they were now in their last agonies, all
because of the terror of being picked out to follow me.

At last, after endless trouble, threats and promises, Bijesing the Johari
was persuaded to come. But the load was too heavy for him; he would only
carry half. To save trouble, I agreed I would carry the other half myself
in addition to my own load.

We put out our hurricane lantern, and at 2 A.M., when the gale was raging
at its height, driving the grit and snow like spikes into our faces;
when the wind and cold seemed to penetrate with biting force to the
marrow of our bones, when, as it seemed, all the gods were giving vent to
their anger by putting every obstacle in our way, a handful of silent
men, half frozen and staggering, left the camp to face the blizzard. I
ordered my men to keep close together, and we made immediately for the
mountain side, taking care to avoid the places where we supposed the
Tibetan spies were posted.

We could not have selected a more suitable night for our escape. It was
so dark that we could only see a few inches in front of our noses. The
doctor, silent and with a swelling heart, accompanied me for a couple of
hundred yards. I urged him to return to the tent. He stopped to grasp my
hand, and in a broken voice the good man bade me farewell and God-speed.

"The dangers of your journey," whispered Wilson, "are so great and so
numerous that God alone can guide you through. When I think of the cold,
hunger and hardships you will have to endure, I can but tremble for you."

"Good-bye, doctor," said I, deeply moved.

"Good-bye," he repeated, "good----" and his voice failed him.

Two or three steps and the darkness separated us, but his touching words
of farewell rang and echoed in my ears, as with sadness I remembered the
loyalty and cheerful kindness of this good friend. The journey towards
Lhassa had recommenced in grim earnest. In a short while our ears,
fingers, and toes were almost frozen, and the fast driving snow beat
mercilessly against our faces, making our eyes ache. We proceeded like so
many blind people, speechless and exhausted, rising slowly higher on the
mountain range, and feeling our way with our feet. As we reached greater
altitudes it grew still colder, and the wind became more piercing. Every
few minutes we were compelled to halt and sit close together in order to
keep warm and get breath, as the air was so rarefied that we could barely
proceed under our heavy loads.

We heard a whistle, and sounds like distant voices. My men collected
round me, whispered, "_Dakus, dakus!_" ("Brigands, brigands!"), and then
threw themselves flat on the snow. I loaded my rifle and went ahead, but
it was vain to hope to pierce the obscurity. I listened. Yet another
shrill whistle!

My Shokas were terrified. The sound seemed to come from straight in front
of us. We slightly altered our course, winning our way upward slowly and
steadily, until we found at sunrise we were near the mountain top. It was
still snowing hard. One final effort brought us to the plateau on the

Here we felt comparatively safe. Thoroughly exhausted, we deposited our
burdens on the snow, and laid ourselves down in a row close to one
another to keep ourselves warm, piling on the top of us all the blankets


     S.E. wind--Hungry and half frozen--Lakes at 18,960 feet above
     sea-level--Cold food at high altitudes--Buried in snow--Mansing's
     sufferings--Fuel at last.

AT 1 P.M. we woke up, drenched to the skin, the sun having thawed the
thick coating of snow over us. This camp was at 18,000 feet. The wind
from the S.E. cut like a knife, and we suffered from it, not only on this
occasion, but every day during the whole time we were in Tibet. It begins
to blow with great fierceness and regularity at one o'clock in the
afternoon, and it is only at about eight in the evening that it sometimes
abates and gradually ceases. Frequently, however, the wind, instead of
dropping at this time, increases in violence, blowing with terrible
vehemence during the whole night. As we were making ready to start again,
with limbs cramped and stiff, the sky once more became suddenly covered
with heavy grey clouds, and fresh snow fell. There was no possibility of
making a fire, so we started hungry and half-frozen, following a course
of 70° (b.m.). We waded up to our waists through a freezingly cold
stream, and climbing steadily higher and higher for six miles, we at last
reached another and loftier plateau to the N.E. of the one where we had
camped in the morning. The altitude was 18,960 feet, and we were
surprised to find four lakes of considerable size close to one another on
this high tableland. The sun, breaking for a moment through the clouds,
shone on the snow-covered tops of the surrounding mountains, silvering
the water of the lakes, and making a beautiful and spectacular picture,
wild and fascinating in effect.

Hunger and exhaustion prevented full appreciation of the scene; nothing
could stand in the way of quickly finding a suitable place to rest our
weak and jaded bodies, under the shelter of the higher hills round the
plateau, or in some depression in the ground. I was anxious to push
across the plateau, and descend on the N.E. side to some lower altitude
where we should more probably find fuel, but my men, half-starved and
fagged, could go no farther. Their wet loads were considerably heavier
than usual, they panted terribly owing to the great altitude, and no
sooner had we come to a partially sheltered spot between the larger lake
and its most eastern neighbouring sheet of water, than they all collapsed
and were unable to proceed. I was much concerned about them, as they
refused to take any cold food, saying it would cause their death. I was
really at a loss to see how they could recover sufficient strength for
the next day's marching. Eventually, by personally pledging them that
they would not die, I persuaded them to eat a little _sato_ and _ghur_.
Unfortunately, no sooner had they eaten some of it mixed with cold water,
than nearly all were seized with violent pains in their stomachs, from
which they suffered for the greater part of the night.

There is no doubt that experience had taught them that eating cold food
at great altitudes is more dangerous than eating no food at all, and I
regretted my ill-timed, if kindly meant advice. One is apt to judge other
people by oneself, and personally I never felt any difference, whether my
food was cold or hot.

[Illustration: BURIED IN SNOW]

Soon after sunset the cold was intense. It was still snowing hard, and
our wet garments and blankets were now freezing. I lighted a small spirit
lamp, round which we all sat close together, and covered over with our
frozen wraps. I even attempted to cook on the flame some concentrated
broth, but, owing to the high altitude, the water was a long time losing
its chill, apart from boiling, and when it was just getting tepid the
flame went out, and I could afford no more spirits of wine to light it
again: so the cooking had to be abandoned, and as the night grew colder
and colder, we huddled together under our respective blankets in a vain
attempt to sleep. We had made a protecting wall with our baggage, and my
men covered their heads and everything with their blankets; but I never
could adopt their style of sleeping, as it seemed to suffocate me. I
always slept with my head uncovered, for not only was it more
comfortable, but I wished to be on the alert should we at any time be
surprised by Tibetans. My men moaned, groaned, and chattered their teeth
convulsively during the night. I woke many times with a bad pain in my
ears from frostbite; my eyes, too, suffered as the eyelashes became
covered with icicles. Every time I tried to open them there was an
uncomfortable feeling as if the eyelashes were being torn off, for the
slit of the eye became fast frozen directly the lids were closed.

At last the morning came! The night had seemed endless. When I tried to
raise the blanket in order to sit up, it seemed of an extraordinary
weight and stiffness. No wonder! It was frozen hard, and as rigid as
cardboard, covered over with a foot of snow. The thermometer during the
night had gone down to 24°. I called my men. They were hard to wake, and
they, too, were buried in snow.

"_Uta, uta, uta!_" ("Get up, get up, get up!") I called, shaking one by
one, and brushing off as much snow as I could.

"_Baroff bahut!_" ("There is much snow!") remarked one as he put his nose
outside his blanket, and rubbed his eyes, smarting from the white glare
around us. "Salaam, sahib," added he, as, having overcome his first
surprise, he perceived me, and he waved his hand gracefully up to his

The others behaved in a similar manner. Kachi was, as usual, the last one
to wake.

"O, Kachi," I shouted, "get up!"

"_O, bahiyoh!_" ("O, father!") yawned he, stretching his arms. Half
asleep, half awake, he looked round as if in a trance, muttering
incoherent words.

"Good morning, sir. Oh, much snow. Oh look, sir, two kiangs there! What
is 'kiang' in English?"

"Wild horse."

"'Wild' you spell w-i-l-d?"


Here the note-book was produced from under his pillow, and the word
registered in it.

Odd creatures these Shokas! The average European, half-starved and
frozen, would hardly give much thought to exact spelling.

Poor Mansing the leper suffered terribly. He groaned through the whole
night. I had given him one of my wrappers, but his circulation seemed
suspended. His face was grey and cadaverous, with deep lines drawn by
suffering, and his feet were so frozen that for some time he could not

Again the Shokas would eat nothing, for snow was still falling. We
started towards the N.E. After a mile of flat we began a steep descent
over unpleasant loose _débris_ and sharp rocks. The progress was rapid,
but very painful. Scouring the country below with my telescope, I
perceived shrubs and lichens far down in the valley to the N.E. and also
a tent and some sheep. This was unfortunate, for we had to alter our
course in order not to be seen. We again climbed up to the top of the
plateau and rounded unperceived the mountain summit, striking a more
Easterly route. Towards sunset we began our descent from the latter
point, and we crossed the river with no great difficulty. Having selected
a nicely sheltered depression in the ground, we pitched my little _tente
d'abri_ there, by the side of a pond of melted snow. With natural
eagerness, we all set out collecting lichens and shrubs for our fires,
and each man carried into camp several loads of the drier fuel. In a
moment there were three big fires blazing, and not only were we able to
cook a specially abundant dinner and drown our past troubles in a
bucketful of boiling tea, but we also managed to dry our clothes and
blankets. The relief of this warmth was wonderful, and in our comparative
happiness we forgot the hardships and sufferings we had so far
encountered. With the exception of a handful of _sato_, this was the
first solid meal we had had for forty-eight hours. In those two days we
had travelled twenty miles, each of us carrying a weight averaging
considerably over sixty pounds.

We were at 16,500 feet, which seemed quite a low elevation after our
colder and loftier camping-grounds. The reaction was quite pleasant, and
for myself I contemplated our future plans and possibilities with better
hope. The outlook had changed from our deepest depression to a condition
of comparative cheerfulness and content.


     Dacoits--No nonsense allowed--A much-frequented region--A
     plateau--The Gyanema-Taklakot track--A dangerous spot--Soldiers
     waiting for us--Burying our baggage--Out of provisions--A fall
     into the Gakkon River--A bright idea--Nettles our only diet.

IN front of us, to the N.E., was a high mountain, then farther towards
the East, a narrow valley between two hill ranges, while at 238° (b.m.) a
river passed through a picturesque gorge in the direction of the Mangshan

It was necessary for me to proceed along the valley to the east, as we
should thus save ourselves much trouble, time and exertion, though there
would be some risk of our meeting Tibetans, especially bands of dacoits,
with whom this part of Nari Khorsum[18] is infested. We had, therefore,
to proceed cautiously, especially as my Shokas seemed no less timid and
afraid of these folks. We had hardly gone half a mile over the undulating
country, and I had stopped behind my men to take some observations with
my prismatic compass, when my carriers suddenly threw themselves flat on
the ground and began to retreat, crawling on hands and knees.

"_Dakus, Dakus!_" ("Brigands, brigands!") they whispered, as I got near

It was too late. We had been seen, and a number of dacoits, armed with
matchlocks and swords, came rapidly towards us. It has always been my
experience that, in such cases, the worst thing to do is to run away, for
nothing encourages a man more than to see that his opponent is afraid of
him. I therefore loaded my Mannlicher, and my bearer did likewise with
the Martini-Henry. I gave orders to the Shokas to squat down by their
respective loads and not stir an inch. We two strolled towards the fast
approaching band, now less than a hundred yards distant. I shouted to
them to stop, and Chanden Sing signalled that they must go back; but they
took no notice of our warnings, and came on all the faster towards us.
Undoubtedly they thought that we were only Shoka traders, and looked,
from experience, to find an easy prey. Making ready to rush us as soon as
they got near enough, they separated with the obvious intention of taking
us on all sides.


"_Dushu! Dushu!_" ("Go back!") I cried angrily at them, raising my rifle
to my shoulder and taking a steady aim at the leader. Chanden Sing
followed suit with one of the others, and this seemed to have a salutary
effect on them, for they immediately made a comical salaam and took to
their heels, Chanden Sing and I pursuing them for some distance so as to
get them well out of our way. Having occupied a prominent position on a
small mound, we discovered that a short way off they had a number of
mates and some three thousand sheep, presumably their last loot. We
signalled that they must get away from our course, and eventually,
driving their booty before them, they scurried off in the direction I
indicated. When they were well clear of us, and my Shokas, who thought
their last hour had come, had partly recovered from their fright, we
proceeded on our journey, entering the narrow valley between the two hill
ranges. That we were now in a much-frequented region could be plainly
seen from the numerous encamping-grounds alongside the stream. But our
success of the morning had raised our spirits, and we stepped out
cheerily, keeping to the left bank. A steepish climb brought us to a
plateau at an altitude of 16,400 feet, from which we obtained a fine view
of the snow range running from East to West from the Mangshan Mountain to
the Lippu Pass, and beyond to the N.E. the four lofty peaks of Nimo
Nangil, 25,360 feet, 22,200 feet, 22,850 feet, 22,670 feet. The highest
peaks were at 84°, 92°, 117° (b.m.). This plateau sloped gently, and was
broken by many deep crevasses, conveying the water-flow down into the
Gakkon River.

On the lower portion of this plateau, and then along the course of the
river, a track ran from Gyanema to Taklakot _viâ_ Kardam and Dogmar, and
another seldom-frequented track to Mangshan, S.S.W. of this place. The
edge of the plateau was 15,800 feet above sea-level, and the river 550
feet lower.

This was for us a very dangerous spot, since, no doubt, by this time the
Tibetans must be aware that I had escaped and was well on my way into
their country. I knew that soldiers and spies must be guarding all the
tracks and searching for us. This thoroughfare, being more frequented
than the others, was all the more insecure, and we had to display great
caution in order to avoid detection. In Tibet, I may here note, the
atmosphere is so clear that moving objects can be plainly seen at
exceptionally long distances. I scoured the country with my telescope,
but I could see no one, so we went on. However, my men considered it
safer to descend into one of the numerous creeks, where we should be less
exposed, but we had hardly reached the border of it when we heard noises
rising from the valley below.


Crawling on our stomachs, my bearer and I peeped over the edge of the
plateau. Some five hundred feet below was a Tibetan encampment, with a
number of yaks and ponies grazing. Unnoticed, I watched them for some
time. There were several soldiers, most probably posted there on the
look-out for me. With my glass I recognised some of the Gyanema men. We
deemed it advisable to find a spot where we could hide until night came.
Then, making a détour, we descended to the river, 15,250 feet, scrambled
across in the dark, and made our way up a narrow gorge between high
cliffs until we came to a well-hidden spot, where I called a halt.
Followed by my men, I climbed up from rock to rock on the cliff to our
left, and found a small natural platform, sheltered by a huge boulder
projecting over it. This seemed a safe enough spot for us to stop. We
dared not put up a tent, and we took the precaution of burying all our
baggage in case of a surprise during the night. Unhampered, we should at
any moment be able to hide ourselves away from our pursuers or run before
them, and we could always come back afterwards for our things if an
opportunity offered itself.

And now, just as everything seemed to be running smoothly, I made a
terrible discovery. At this stage of the journey, when it was important
for me to move very rapidly, I found that we were out of provisions. This
was indeed an unpleasant surprise, for before leaving the larger body of
my expedition I had given orders to my men to take food for ten days. The
doctor, who had been deputed to see to this, had assured me that the
loads contained quite enough to last us over that length of time, and now
for some unaccountable reason we had only sufficient food for one meagre
meal. Moreover, I discovered that we had only a few grains of salt left.

"What have you done with it?" I inquired angrily, as it immediately
flashed across my mind that there had been foul play among my carriers. I
had ordered each man to take half seer (1 lb.) of salt.

"Yes, sahib, but we forgot to take it," said the men in a chorus.

After the terrible hardships and fatigue we had gone through, and the
anxiety and difficulty of carrying on my surveying, photography,
sketching, writing, collecting, &c., under conditions of unusual
discomfort and risk, it was, indeed, a hard blow to me to see all my
plans thus unexpectedly frustrated, for we were still three or four days'
journey from Mansarowar, where I relied on getting fresh supplies. Having
come thus far, should I be compelled now to go back or give in, and be
captured by the Tibetan soldiers whom I had so successfully evaded?
Though not usually much affected by physical pain, I unfortunately suffer
greatly under any mental stress. I felt quite ill and depressed, and, to
add bodily discomfort to my moral sufferings, came the fact that I had
slipped, while jumping in semi-darkness from stone to stone across the
Gakkon River, and had fallen flat into about four feet of water. The wind
was very high at the time, and the thermometer down to 26°, so that,
sitting in my wet clothes to discuss our present situation with my men, I
suddenly became so cold, shivery and exhausted, that I thought I was
about to collapse altogether. My usual good spirits, which had done much
towards carrying me so far, seemed extinguished; my strength failed me
entirely, and a high fever set in, increasing in violence so fast that,
notwithstanding my desperate struggle not to give in, I became almost
delirious. With my teeth chattering and my temperature at its highest, I
saw all my troubles assume an exaggerated form, and failure seemed
inevitable. The more I ransacked my brain the more hopeless seemed our
position, until, when I was almost in despair, an expedient suddenly
flashed across my mind; an idea more adapted for romance perhaps than
real life, yet not, I hoped, impossible to be carried into execution.
Four of my men should go disguised, two as traders and two as beggars,
into the Takla[19] fort, and purchase food from my enemies. We remaining
in camp would, in the meantime, keep well hidden until they returned. I
spoke to my followers, and after some easily conceivable reluctance, four
Shokas undertook to perform, the daring duty. Discovery would mean to
them the loss of their heads, probably preceded by cruel tortures of all
kinds; so, though they eventually betrayed me, I cannot help giving them
credit for the pluck and fidelity they displayed in the present

During the night my men were extremely good to me. We did not sleep for
fear of being surprised by the Tibetan soldiers, and we passed hour after
hour listening to Shoka stories of brigands and Tibetan tortures,
terrible enough not only to keep us awake, but to make every hair on our
heads stand on end. Early in the morning, when it grew light, we gathered
a quantity of nettles, which were to be found in profusion at this camp,
and having boiled them in different fashions, we made of them a hearty if
not an appetising meal. They did not seem very unpalatable at the time,
only it was unfortunate that we had no more salt, for that would have
added to the digestibility of our prickly diet. We supplied the
deficiency by mixing with them a double quantity of pepper, and it was a
relief to know that, while nettles existed near our camp, we should at
least not die of starvation.

[18] Nari Khorsum--name of that province.

[19] Takla-khar or Taklak t = _Takla_ fort.


     All that remained of my men's provisions--The plan to enter the
     fort--Appearance of yaks--A band of brigands--Erecting
     fortifications--Changes in the temperature--Soldiers in search of

THE food supply for my men was now reduced in all to four pounds of
flour, two pounds of rice, and two pounds of _sato_. This we gave to the
four men who were to attempt to enter Taklakot, for their road would be
long and fatiguing. For us, there were plenty of nettles to fall back


I carefully instructed the four Shokas how to enter the Tibetan fort one
by one in their disguises, and purchase, in small quantities at a time,
the provisions we required. When a sufficient amount was obtained to make
a load, a man should immediately start towards our camp, and the others
were to follow separately for a few marches, when at a given spot, they
would all four meet again and return to us. It was exciting work to
prepare the different disguises and arrange for everything, and at last,
after repeated good-byes and words of encouragement, the four messengers
left on their perilous errand. All seemed very quiet round us, so quiet
that I unburied my sextant and artificial horizon, and was taking
observations for longitude as well as for latitude (by double altitudes,
as the angle was too great to be measured at noon), when, to our dismay,
a herd consisting of over a hundred yaks appeared on the pass, North of
our camp, and slowly advanced towards us. Were we discovered? Were the
Tarjum's men coming, preceded by their animals? No time was to be lost;
instruments and blankets were quickly cleared away and hidden, and then,
crawling up towards the animals, who had stopped on perceiving us, we
threw stones at them in order to drive them down the next creek. As
luck would have it, we were just in time to do this, for from our
hiding-place on the summit of the pass we could see, on the other side, a
number of Tibetans following the yaks we had driven away. They passed
only a couple of hundred yards below us, evidently quite unconscious of
our presence. They were singing, and apparently looking for somebody's
tracks, for they often stooped to examine the ground. Later in the
afternoon I went to reconnoitre down the Gyanema road, and in the hope of
watching, unseen, the Tibetans who passed on their way to and from
Taklakot. I saw no soldiers, but a strong band of Jogpas (brigands),
driving before them thousands of sheep and yaks, was an interesting
sight. They all rode ponies, and seemed to obey their leader very
smartly, when in a hoarse voice, and never ceasing to turn his
prayer-wheel, he muttered orders. They went briskly along in fine style,
women as well as men riding their ponies astride. The men had matchlocks
and swords, and each pony carried, besides its rider, bags of food slung
behind the saddle. I watched the long procession from behind some rocks,
and felt somewhat relieved when the last horsemen, who passed only some
twenty yards from me, rode away with the rest of the caravan. I retraced
my steps, and judging that this camp was not quite so safe as I had at
first supposed, I proceeded, with the aid of my men, to erect a rough
entrenchment and wall round our platform, along the rock under which we
lived. These bulwarks answered the double purpose of sheltering us from
the sight of the Tibetans and of acting as fortifications in case of a
night attack. All our things were buried a little way above our camp.

Another long dreary day had elapsed. We had used our last grain of salt;
and yet another day on nettles alone; and a third day and a fourth, on
the same diet! How sick we got of nettles! The days seemed endless as,
lying flat on a peak above our camp, I remained hour after hour scanning
with my telescope the long plateau above the Gakkon River in search of
our returning messengers. Every time I perceived men in the distance my
heart leaped, but on focussing them with my glass they turned out to be
Jogpas (bandits), or Dogpas (nomad tribes of smugglers), or travelling
Humlis or Jumlis, on their way to Gyanema and Gartok. And how many times
did we not listen and then anxiously peep through the fissures in our
fortifications when some unusual noise struck our ears! As time went on,
and they did not put in an appearance, we began to entertain doubts as
to their safety, or would they betray us and never return? Or, as was
more likely, had they been caught by the Jong Pen (the master of the
fort), and been imprisoned and tortured?

My bearer, who was somewhat of a _bon vivant_, declined to eat any more
food, as he said it was better not to eat at all than to eat the same
thing constantly. He swore he could fast for ten days, and he made up for
want of food by sleeping.

My fortified abode was comfortable enough during the morning, when the
sun shone on it, though often it got so warm that we had to abandon it in
the middle of the day, when the thermometer registered as much as 120°,
122°, and even 124°. From 1 P.M. till 10 at night a bitter wind blew from
the S.E., and seemed to get right into our bones; so cold was it that the
temperature suddenly dropped down to 60°, and even lower, the moment the
sun disappeared behind the mountains, and continued to fall as low as
40°, 34° and 32°; the minimum during the night. One night we had a
terrible gale and a snowstorm. Such was the force of the wind, that our
wall was blown down upon us as we slept in its shelter, and the hours we
had dedicated to rest had to be spent in repairing the damage done. On
the following morning we were gathering nettles for our meal, when we
heard the distant tinkling of fast approaching horse-bells. We quickly
put out the fires, hid our things, and hastened behind our entrenchment.
I seized my rifle; Chanden Sing loaded the Martini. A Shoka, who was too
far off to reach our fortified abode in time, screened himself behind
some rocks. In the nick of time! Half-a-dozen sepoys with matchlocks, to
which were attached red flags, slung over their shoulders, were cantering
gaily up the hillside only a few yards in front of us. They were
undoubtedly searching for me, judging by the way they looked in every
direction, but fortunately they never turned towards the castle walls
that concealed us. They were expecting, I presumed, to see a large
European tent in one of the valleys, and never even dreamt that we should
be where we were. We covered them well with our rifles, but we had no
occasion to fire. They rode on, and the sound of their horse-bells grew
fainter and fainter as they disappeared behind the pass. To be sure these
horsemen could only be soldiers despatched by the Tarjum to guard this
track. They were now probably on their way back to him, satisfied that
the sahib was not to be found in that part of the country.


     "Terror Camp"--Two more messengers leave camp--A tribe of
     Dogpas--A strange sahib--Our messengers return from Taklakot--The
     account and adventures of their mission--In great distress--Two
     fakirs who suffered through me--Five hundred rupees offered for
     my head--The Shokas want to abandon me--A plot--How it failed.

WE named this spot "Terror Camp," for many and horrible were the
experiences that befell us here. Another weary day dragged slowly to its
close, and there was still no sign of the messengers' return. Two men
volunteered to go into Kardam, a settlement some miles off, and try to
obtain food from the Tibetans. One of them had a friend at this place,
and he thought he could get from him sufficient provisions to enable us
to go on a few days longer.

They started, disguised as pilgrims, a disguise not difficult to assume,
for their clothes were falling to pieces owing to the rough marching we
had done of late. They were away the whole day, and only returned late at
night, having an amusing tale to tell. Meeting a tribe of Dogpas, they
had boldly entered their camp, asking to purchase food. Unfortunately the
Dogpas had not sufficient for themselves, and could not spare any.
Incidentally my men were informed that _Lando Plenki_--the name the
Tibetans had given me--had taken a large army of men into Tibet, and that
great excitement prevailed at Taklakot as well as at other places, owing
to the fact that the sahib had the extraordinary power of making himself
invisible when the Tibetan soldiers were in his vicinity. He had been
reported as having been seen in many places in Tibet: soldiers had been
despatched in all directions to capture him. His tracks had several times
been discovered and followed, and yet he could never be found.
Messengers had been hastily sent out from Taklakot to Lhassa (sixteen
days' journey), and to Gartok, a great bazaar in West Tibet, asking for
soldiers to assist in the capture of this strange invader, who was also
said to have the power of walking on the water when crossing the rivers,
and of flying over mountains when he chose. When I recalled our struggles
and sufferings in climbing over the mountains, and in crossing the
streams on our journey, this account of myself given by the Tibetans, and
now repeated to me, struck me as almost cruelly ironical. Anyhow, I was
pleased that the Tibetans credited me with such supernatural powers, for
it could hardly fail to be an advantage in keeping them from getting to
too close quarters with us.

Three more days had to be spent in a state of painful uncertainty and
anxiety regarding the fate of our messengers to Taklakot. On the night of
the 3rd we had retired to our fortress in despair, fearing that they had
been captured and probably beheaded. It was 10 P.M., and we were worn out
and ready to turn in; our fire down below at the bottom of the creek was
slowly dying out, and nature around us was still and silent, when I
suddenly heard sounds of approaching steps. We listened, peeping through
the fissures in our wall. Were these Tibetans trying to surprise us in
our sleep, or could they be our men returning at last?

We closely watched the gorge from which the sounds came, faint sounds of
voices and of footsteps. Silent as we were, there were not wanting signs
of the nervous excitement of my men. At last four staggering figures
crawled cautiously into camp, and we could not even then discern in the
dim light whether these were our messengers or not.

"_Kuan hai?_" ("Who is there?") I shouted.

"Dola!" replied a voice, and instantly we gave them a joyful and hearty
greeting. But our happiness was not to last long. The men did not
respond. They seemed quite exhausted, and apparently terrified. I asked
them to explain the cause of their distress, but, sobbing and embracing
my feet, they showed great disinclination to tell me. Grave, indeed, was
the news they brought, presaging much trouble in store.

"Your days are numbered, sahib," at last cried Dola. "It is impossible
for you to get out of this country alive ... they will kill you, and the
Jong Pen of Taklakot says that he must have your head at all costs."

"Do not look so far ahead, Dola," I replied, trying to calm him, "but
tell me first how you reached Taklakot."

"Oh, sahib, we followed your plan. We suffered much on the road, as the
marches were long and severe, and we had very little food. We walked day
and night for two days, keeping away from the track, and hiding whenever
we saw any one. When we got near the Tibetan fort, we saw at the foot of
the hill a few tents of the Tinker and Chongur Shokas from Nepal. None of
the Biassi or Chaudassi Shokas had been allowed to enter Tibet owing to
the Jong Pen's anger with them regarding his claims for land revenue.
There was a guard day and night at the river, and a sharp look-out was
kept to stop and arrest anybody entering the country. Two fakirs, who
were on a pilgrimage to the sacred Mansarowar, unaware of the danger, had
crossed over the Lippu Pass, and had proceeded down to Taklakot, where
they were immediately seized and accused of being you, sahib, in
disguise. As the Tibetans were not quite certain as to which of the two
was the real sahib, they severely punished both, beating them almost to
death. What became of them afterwards we were unable to learn. Anyhow,
the Tibetans subsequently found out that you had entered Tibet by another
pass, and soldiers have been sent in every direction to look for you.

"No sooner did we appear at Taklakot," sobbed Dola, "than we were pounced
upon, knocked about, and arrested. They cross-examined us closely. We
professed to be Johari traders, who had run short of food, and had made
for Taklakot to buy provisions. They beat us and treated us badly, until
your friend Zeniram, the head village man of Chongur (in Nepal), came to
our rescue and gave thirty rupees surety for us. We were then allowed to
remain in his tent, guarded by Tibetan soldiers. We secretly purchased
from him and packed the provisions, and at night Zeniram succeeded in
decoying the soldiers that were guarding us into his tent, and gave them
_chökti_ to drink until they became intoxicated. One by one we four
succeeded in escaping with our loads. For three nights we marched
steadily back, concealing ourselves during the day for the sake of
safety. Now we have returned to you, sahib."

Dola paused for a minute or two.

"Sahib," he continued, "we were told in Taklakot that over a thousand
soldiers are searching for you everywhere, and more are expected from
Lhassa and Sigatz,[20] whither the Jong Pen has hastily sent messengers.
They fear you, sahib, but they have orders from Lhassa to capture you at
all costs. They say that you can make yourself invisible when you like,
and exorcisms are made and prayers offered daily, so that in future you
may be seen and arrested. Once caught, they will have no pity on you, and
you will be beheaded, for the Jong Pen is angry with you owing to the
defiant messages you sent him from Garbyang. He has given orders to the
soldiers to bring you back dead or alive, and whoever brings your head
will receive a reward of 500 rupees."

"I had no idea that my head was so valuable," I could not help
exclaiming. "I shall take great care of it in the future."

As a matter of fact 500 rupees in Tibet represents a fortune, and the man
possessing it is a very rich man.

But my men were not in a laughing mood and they looked upon the whole
affair as very serious.

I gave a handsome backshish to the four men who had brought the
provisions, but that did not prevent all the Shokas declaring that the
danger was so great that they must leave me there and then. Appeals are
useless on such occasions, and so I simply stated that I should shoot any
man attempting to leave camp. Having now provisions for ten days, I
informed them that we must at once push on.

Sulky and grumbling they left our fortified corner and went below to the
creek. They said they preferred sleeping down there. I suspected them,
however, and I sat up watching them and listening instead of sleeping. My
bearer rolled himself up in his blanket and, as usual, was soon asleep.
The Shokas lighted a fire, sat round it, and with their heads close
together, held an excited council in semi-whispers. In the heated
discussion some spoke louder than they imagined, and the night being
particularly still and the place well adapted for carrying sound, I
overheard words which put me on the alert, for I soon convinced myself
that they were arranging to sell my head ... yes ... and to divide the

The men got closer together, and spoke so faintly, that I could hear no
more. Then they each in turn placed one hand above the other along a
stick, until the end of it was reached; each man then passed it to his
neighbour, who went through the same form; a complicated manner of
drawing lots, common among the Shokas. Eventually the man selected by
fate drew from a load a large Gourkha _kukri_, and removed its scabbard.
A strange, almost fantastic impression remains on my mind of the moment
when the men, with their faces lighted by the small flame of the
flickering fire, all looked up towards my eyrie. The culminating point of
their treachery had come, and their countenances seemed ghastly and
distorted, as seen from the fissure in the wall behind which I knelt.
They listened to hear if we were asleep. Then all but one rolled
themselves in their blankets, completely covering their heads and bodies.
The one figure I could now see sat up by the fire for some time, as if
absorbed in thought. Every now and then he turned his head up towards my
fortress, and listened. At last he got up, and with his feet smothered
the fire. It was a lovely night, and as soon as the reddish flame was put
out the stars shone again like diamonds in the small patch of deep blue
sky visible above my head.

I rested the barrel of my rifle on the wall, my eyes being fixed on the
black figure down below. I watched as, stooping low, it crawled step by
step the few yards up to my abode, pausing to listen each time that a
rolling stone caused a noise. It was now only two or three yards away,
and seemed to hesitate. Drawing back, and ready to spring up, I kept my
eyes fixed on the top of the wall. I waited some time, but the man was in
no hurry, and I grew impatient.

I slowly got up, rifle in hand, and as I raised my head above the wall I
found myself face to face with the man on the other side. I lost no time
in placing the muzzle of my Mannlicher close to his face, and the
perplexed Shoka, dropping his _kukri_, went down on his knees to implore
my pardon. After giving him a good pounding with the butt of my rifle, I
sent him about his business. The man lacked the qualities of a murderer,
but I felt I had better see that no other disturbance took place during
the night. It is true that two men attempted to crawl out of camp and
desert, but I discovered this and stopped them in time. At last the sun
rose, and the night ended with all its troubles and anxieties.

[20] Sigatz, usually called "Shigatze" by English people.


     A Tibetan guard's encampment--Nattoo volunteers to be a
     guide--Treachery and punishment of the Shokas--All ways forward
     barred to me--Evading the soldiers by another perilous march at
     night--Mansing again lost--A marvellous phenomenon--Sufferings of
     my men--Severe cold.

ON my last scouting journey up the hill above the camp, I had espied, by
the aid of my telescope, the encampment of a guard of Tibetans, about
three miles north of us, and I informed my followers of this fact.

In the morning, when we again dug up the main part of our baggage and
made ready to start, one of the men, the Kutial Nattoo, came forward and
professed to be able to guide us directly to the Mansarowar Lake. He
seemed very anxious to undertake this task, saying that there would be no
chance of detection by the route he knew, and consequently we might march
during the daytime.

We started up the creek, led by this man, and I was astonished at the
willingness with which the Shokas agreed to proceed. In a little time I
felt convinced that he was deliberately taking us to the spot I most
wished to avoid. On my remonstrating and stopping further progress in
that direction, the Shokas mutinied and, depositing their loads, tried to
escape, but my bearer quickly barred their way ahead in the narrow creek
and I prevented their escape from the opposite side, so they had to
surrender. Painful as it was to me, I had to severely punish them all,
and while I took care that no one should bolt, Chanden Sing took special
pleasure in knocking them about until they were brought back to their
senses. On being closely cross-examined, they openly confessed that they
had made a plot to hand me over to the Tibetan guard, in order to escape
the horrors of torture by the Tibetans. This last act of treachery,
coming after what had happened during the night, and from the very men
whom I had just been more than lenient towards, was too much for me, and
I used a stick, which Chanden Sing handed me, very freely on their backs
and legs, Nattoo the Kutial receiving the largest share of blows, because
he was undoubtedly the head of the conspiracy.

On climbing to a point of vantage, I now further discovered that, besides
the guard we had to the north of us, both east and west our way was
barred by Tibetan soldiers, and although it was not possible to get on
during the day without being seen, I absolutely refused to go back south.
I held a palaver with my men, who were apparently resigned, and they
agreed to accompany me as far as the Maium Pass (on the road to Lhassa),
which we reckoned to be some fifteen or eighteen marches. They further
agreed to endeavour to obtain yaks and food for me, and I was then to
dismiss them. From the summit of the hill I had climbed, I had taken
careful bearings, and when night came, aided by my luminous compass, I
led my men high up along the mountain range at an average elevation of
1500 feet above the Gyanema-Taklakot track.

The night was dark and stormy, and we encountered much difficulty in our
journey forward owing to the slippery ground, alternated with the ever
troublesome loose _débris_ and shifting rocks. We could not see far
ahead, and though we well knew from the angle of the slope that we were
travelling along a precipice, we could not distinguish anything under us
except a peculiarly luminous streak far, far down below--undoubtedly the

I could not explain this luminosity of the water, which did not seem to
come from reflection of the light of stars or the moon, because the sky
was very cloudy at the time. Moreover, the river had a curious greenish
tint quite peculiar to itself, and closely resembling the light produced
by an electric spark. In the more dangerous spots we had to proceed for
long distances on all-fours, and even then we felt hardly safe, for we
could hear the rattling of the stones rolling down the steep slope, and
by this sound we could judge that we were proceeding over a precipice of
extraordinary height. So difficult and painful was the walking, that it
took us four hours to go about three miles; and we felt so exhausted,
that from time to time we had to lie down and rest, shivering with cold,
and our hands bleeding from cuts caused by the sharp stones. I mustered
my men. Poor Mansing the leper was missing. When we last saw him he was
moaning under his load, and he constantly stumbled and fell. Two men were
sent in search, but after an hour's absence they failed to discover him.
The faithful Chanden Sing and the Shoka Dola were then despatched, as I
would not abandon the poor wretch if by any means he could be saved.
After another hour of anxiety, the two returned, bringing the unfortunate
coolie with them. The poor fellow's hands and feet were badly cut, and
the pain in the latter was so great that he could not stand erect. He had
fallen fainting from exhaustion, and it was by a mere stroke of luck that
in the darkness Chanden Sing stumbled against his senseless body. Apart
from his life, his loss would have been a very serious matter for me, as
he carried my bedding and photographic cameras.

Sleet and rain commenced to fall, and the cold was intense. We continued
to climb steadily, Chanden Sing and I helping the poor leper along. The
march soon became less difficult, as we were following a depression
formed by the action of melting snows, and were sheltered from the
piercing wind which had been hitherto driving the sleet hard into our
faces. We slowly covered some three miles more, and during that time the
storm passed away, leaving the atmosphere beautifully clear. When we
reached the pass (over 17,000 feet), a curious optical phenomenon
astonished us all. The larger stars and planets, of a dazzling brilliancy
such as I had never in my life seen before, seemed to swing to and fro in
the sky with rapid and sudden jerks, describing short arcs of a circle,
and returning each time to their normal position. The effect was so
weird, that the first thing that struck me was that something had gone
wrong with my vision, but my companions saw the same phenomenon: another
curious thing was that the stars nearer the horizon disappeared and
reappeared behind the mountain range. The oscillations of the heavenly
bodies nearer the horizon were less rapid, but the angle of the arc
described measured almost double that traced by the stars directly above
our heads. The oscillations of these, however, were very much more rapid,
especially at certain moments, when the star itself could no more be
discerned, and a continuous line of light appeared on the deep blue
background of the sky. This strange optical illusion, which began soon
after the storm had entirely cleared away, lasted some time; then the
vibrations gradually became less violent, and stars and planets
eventually resumed their normal steadiness, and shone with great
brilliancy and beauty. We crossed the pass, and halted directly on the
northern side of it, for my men's feet were in such a condition that they
could bear the pain no longer. The minimum temperature was but 12°, and
as we had no tent there was only a blanket between us and heaven. When we
woke in the morning, we found the thermometer had risen to 30°, but we
were enveloped in a thick mist which chilled us to our very marrow. I had
icicles hanging down my moustache, eyelashes and hair, and my cheeks and
nose were covered with a thin layer of ice caused by the respiration
settling and congealing on my face.


     Night marching--The Lafan and Mafan Lakes--Tize, the sacred
     Kelas--Rhubarb--Butterflies--A hermit Lama--More
     Dacoits--Surrounded by them--Routed.

DURING our night marches, up and down mountain ranges of considerable
height, we naturally had adventures and escapes far too numerous to
relate here in exact detail, and I shall not give a full description of
each march on account of the unavoidable monotony of such a narrative. In
constant storms of grit and snow we crossed range after range, travelling
during the night and hiding by day, camping at very great altitudes and
undergoing considerable privations. I steered my men towards the
Rakstal[21] Lake, and one day, having risen to 17,550 feet, we obtained a
magnificent view of the two great sheets of water, the Lafan-cho and
Mafan-cho, or Rakstal and Mansarowar Lakes, by which latter names they
are more commonly known to non-Tibetans.

To the N. of the lakes stood the magnificent Tize, the sacred Kelas
mountain, overtopping by some two thousand feet all the other snowy peaks
of the Gangri chain, which extended roughly from N.W. to S.E. From this
spot we could see more distinctly than from Lama Chokden the band round
the base of the mountain, which, according to legend, was formed by the
rope of the Rakas (devil) trying to tear down this throne of the gods.

Tize, the great sacred peak, is of fascinating interest, owing to its
peculiar shape. It resembles, as I have said, the giant roof of a temple,
but to my mind it lacks the gracefulness of sweeping curves such as are
found in Fujiama of Japan, the Most artistically beautiful mountain I
have ever seen. Tize is angular, uncomfortably angular, if I may be
allowed the expression, and although its height, the vivid colour of its
base, and the masses of snow that cover its slopes, give it a peculiar
attraction, it nevertheless struck me as being intensely unpicturesque,
at least from the point from which I saw it, and from which the whole of
it was visible. When clouds were round it, toning down and modifying its
shape, Tize appeared at its best from the painter's point of view. Under
these conditions, I have thought it very beautiful, especially at
sunrise, with one side tinted red and yellow, and its rocky mass standing
majestic against a background of shiny gold. With my telescope I could
plainly distinguish, especially on the E. side, the defile along which
the worshippers make the circuit at the base of the mountain, though I
was told that some pilgrims actually march round it on the snowy ledge
directly over the base, and just above the darker band of rock described
before. On the S.W. side can be seen, on the top of a lower peak, a
gigantic Obo.


The peregrination round Tize usually takes three days, though some
accomplish it in two days, and under favourable circumstances it has even
been done in one day. It is usual for the pilgrims to say certain prayers
and make sacrifices as they proceed, and the more fanatical perform the
journey serpentwise, lying flat on the ground; others, again, do it on
their hands and knees, and others walking backwards.

Tize, or Kelas, has an elevation of 21,830 feet, and Nandiphu, W. of it,
19,440 feet, while N.W. of the sacred mountain are visible other summits
20,460 feet, 19,970 feet, and 20,280 feet. Animal life seemed to abound,
for while I was sketching the panorama before me, a snow leopard bounded
gracefully past us. I had a shot or two at _thar_, and we saw any number
of _kiang_. We found rhubarb, which seemed to be thriving, at so high an
elevation as 17,000 feet, and quantities of yellow flowers in the same
locality and at the same elevation; and at 19,000 feet I netted two
couples of small white and black butterflies. They seemed to have great
difficulty in flying, and hardly rose more than two or three inches off
the ground, flapping their wings irregularly; they seldom flew more than
a few feet, and then remained motionless for long periods before they
attempted to fly again. I had come across the same kind of butterfly at
lower altitudes, 18,600 feet and 17,000 feet, and I invariably found them
in couples.

On nearing the lakes, the atmosphere seemed saturated with moisture, for
no sooner had the sun gone down than there was a heavy dew, which soaked
our blankets and clothes. We were at 16,550 feet in a narrow marshy creek
in which we had descended _à pic_ from the last mountain range. From the
summit of the range we had seen many columns of smoke rising from the
neighbourhood of the Rakas Lake, and we judged that again we must proceed
with great caution.

We cooked our food, and in the middle of the night, for greater safety,
we shifted our camp on the summit of the plateau in a North-Easterly
direction, and continued our journey in the morning, high above the
magnificent blue sheet of the Devil's Lake with its pretty islands.

"Sahib, do you see that island?" exclaimed the Kutial, pointing at a
barren rock that emerged from the lake. "On it," he continued, "lives a
hermit Lama, a saintly man. He has been there alone for many years, and
he is held in great veneration by the Tibetans. He exists almost entirely
on fish, and occasional swan's eggs, and only in winter, when the lake is
frozen, is communication established with the shore, and supplies of
_tsamba_ are brought to him, for they have no boats in Rakastal, nor any
way of constructing rafts, owing to the absence of wood. The hermit
sleeps in a cave, but generally comes out in the open to pray to Buddha."
During the following night, when everything was still, a slight breeze
blowing from the North brought to us, faint and indistinct, the broken
howls of the hermit.

"What is that?" I asked of the Shokas.

"It is the hermit speaking to God. Every night he climbs to the summit of
the rock, and from there addresses his prayers to Buddha the Great."

"How is he clothed?" I inquired.

"In skins."


Late in the afternoon we had an amusing incident. We came to a creek in
which were a number of men and women, hundreds of yaks and sheep, and
some thirty ponies.

The Shokas became alarmed, and immediately pronounced the folks to be
brigands. I maintained that they were not, and as Kachi expounded the
theory that the only way to distinguish Dakus from honest beings was to
hear them talk (the Dakus he declared usually shout at the top of their
voices when conversing, and use language far from select, while
well-to-do Tibetans speak gently and with refinement), I thought the
only thing to do was to go and address the people, when by the tone of
voice we should find out what they were. This, however, did not suit my
Shokas, and we were placed in rather a curious position, for to proceed
we must either pass by the Tibetan encampment, or we must march
southwards round a mountain, which would involve considerable trouble,
fatigue, and waste of time. We waited till night came, watching, unseen,
the Tibetans below us. As is customary with them, they retired at sundown
to their tents. Leaving my men behind, I crawled into their camp during
the night and peeped into one of the tents. The men were squatting on the
ground, round a fire in the centre, upon which steamed two vessels with
stewing tea. One old man, with strongly-marked Mongolian features,
accentuated by the heavy shadows which were cast by the light of the fire
above his angular cheek-bones and prominent and wrinkled brow, was
busily revolving his prayer-wheel from left to right, repeating in a
mechanical way the usual _Omne mani padme hun_, words which come from the
Sanscrit, and refer to the reincarnation of Buddha from a lotus flower,
meaning literally, "O God, the gem emerging from a lotus flower." Two or
three other men, whose faces I could not well see, as they were stooping
very low, were busy counting money and examining several articles of
Indian manufacture, which undoubtedly had been seized from Shokas. It was
fortunate that they had no dogs in this camp, for I, having discovered
our best way to pass them unperceived, went back to my men and led them,
in the middle of the night, through the camp itself. We proceeded for a
mile or so beyond the encampment, and having selected a well-sheltered
spot where we could rest without fear of discovery, we laid down our
loads and tried to get a few hours' sleep. Waking at sunrise we were
startled to find ourselves surrounded by a band of dacoits. They were our
friends of the previous night, who, having followed our tracks, and
mistaking us for Shoka traders, had now come for a little festive
looting. On drawing near they were given a somewhat warm reception, and
their instant retreat was more speedy than dignified.

[21] _Rakastal_--Devil's Lake, also very frequently pronounced Rakstal.


     Spied and followed by robbers--Jogpas'
     hospitality--Hares--Tibetan charms resisted--Attempt to snatch
     Chanden Sing's rifle out of his hands--The ridge between Rakas
     and Mansarowar Lakes.

WE wended our way along a narrow valley towards the shore of the Devil's
Lake, halting to cook our food about half a mile from the water's edge,
and I took this opportunity to make observations for longitude. Also
altitude with hypsometrical apparatus. Water boiled at 185° with
temperature of atmosphere at 64°.

I had just repacked my instruments, and was lying flat in the sun, some
distance away from my men, when I thought I saw something move. Jumping
up, I beheld a stalwart Tibetan stealing along the ground only a few
yards away from me, with the object no doubt of taking possession of my
rifle before I had time to discover him. Unfortunately for him, he was
not quick enough, and all that he gained for his attempt was a good
pounding with the butt of my Mannlicher. He was one of the Dakus we had
seen in the morning, and no doubt they had followed and spied upon us all
along. Having got over his first surprise, the dacoit, with an amusing
air of assumed innocence, requested us to go and spend the night in his
tent with him and his mates. They would treat us right royally, he said.
Being, however, well acquainted with the hospitality of dacoits, we
declined the invitation. The brigand went away somewhat shaken and
disappointed, and we continued our journey along the water-edge of the
Devil's Lake (Rakas-tal), where hundreds of hares sprang from under our
feet, several of which I killed with my rifle, using bullet cartridges.
There were signs all along that at some previous epoch the level of the
lake must have been much higher than it is at present.

Marching during the day we encountered many Tibetans, some of whom were
Dogpas, others Jogpas. When they saw us approaching they generally
bolted, driving their sheep or yaks in front of them. Nevertheless, we
came upon two Tibetan women, very dirty, and their faces smeared with
black ointment to prevent the skin from cracking in the high wind. They
were dressed in long sheepskin garments, worn out and filthy, and their
coiffures were so unwashed that they emitted a sickening odour. I ordered
them not to come too near us, for although these females had no claims
whatever to beauty--and, as far as I could see they possessed no other
charm--one being old and toothless, the other with a skin like a lizard,
they actually tried to decoy us to their tents, possibly with the object
of getting us robbed by their men. My men seemed little attracted by the
comical speeches and gestures with which they sought to beguile us, and I
pushed on so as to be rid of this uncanny pack as soon as possible.

Four Tibetans, who attempted to snatch Chanden Sing's rifle out of his
hand, received from him a battering that they were unlikely soon to
forget, and after this we were fortunately left alone for the remainder
of the day. In the evening, Chanden Sing fired at a black wolf which came
close to camp, and I discovered, about one hundred feet above lake-level,
imbedded in the mountain side, a stratum of gigantic fossils, which,
owing to their size and weight, I regretted to be unable to dig out and
carry away.

Feeling almost certain that we were being spied upon all the time by the
numerous Jogpas we had met, we attempted to dodge them by pretending to
encamp before sunset. However, we only lighted a fine fire, and then
after dark escaped, walking and stumbling for several miles, until we
found a spot high on the hillside where we considered ourselves safe.
Snow fell heavily during the night, and, as usual, we woke up with
icicles hanging from our moustaches, eyelashes and hair, notwithstanding
which we really were quite happy and well.

It was my good fortune to make quite sure from many points that, as can
be seen from the illustration reproduced in these pages, the ridge
between the Rakas and Mansarowar Lakes is continuous, and no
communication between the two lakes exists. With the exception of a small
depression about half-way across, the ridge has an average height of
1000 feet all along, a fact which ought in itself to dispose of the
theory that the two lakes are one. I also further ascertained from the
natives that there is no communication whatever between them, though the
depression in the ridge makes it probable that at a very remote period
some connection existed. The lowest point in this depression is over 300
feet above the level of the lake.

[Illustration: A DACOIT]


     More robbers--The friends of Tibetan authorities--A snap-shot--A
     meek lot--Prepossessing female and her curious ways--The purchase
     of two yaks.

JUST before leaving the shores of the Rakstal I had a great slice of
luck. It happened thus. We had been detected by another band of dacoits
who were trying their hardest to overtake us. I had been spying them with
my telescope as they rode in our direction. They were driving some twenty
yaks in front of them at an unusually fast pace. The dacoits rode ponies.
We were about a mile and a half ahead of them now, and close to the edge
of the Devil's Lake. We saw them coming down the hillside at a breakneck
speed straight in our direction. It was evident that they were after us.
My men became terror-stricken when I gave the order to halt.

The band of dacoits approached and left the yaks in charge of two women.
When they galloped in a line towards us, my men, with the exception of
Chanden Sing and Mansing, were paralysed with fright.

They were now a hundred yards off. With loaded rifle in one hand, and my
camera in the other, I advanced to meet them, knowing that, with their
old-fashioned matchlocks, it takes them a considerable time to light the
fuse and fire a shot. Moreover, it is almost an impossibility for them to
fire on horseback, their weapons being heavy and cumbersome.


I focused them in my twin lens photographic apparatus, and waited till I
had them well in the field. I snapped the shot when they were only thirty
yards away, vaulting over their ponies in the act of dismounting. The
camera, having done its work, was quickly deposited on the ground, and
the rifle shouldered. I shouted to them to put down their weapons, and
to give force to my request I aimed at them with my Mannlicher.

A meeker lot of brigands I do not believe could be found, though people
of that kind are often brave when it is easy for them to be courageous.
Their matchlocks were unslung from their shoulders with remarkable
quickness and flung to the ground, and their jewelled swords were laid by
the side of their firearms. They went down on their knees, and taking off
their caps with both hands, put out their tongues in sign of salute and
submission, and I could not help taking another snap-shot at them in that
attitude, which was comical, to say the least of it.

My bearer, who had been left to look after the baggage, had placed
Mansing in charge, and was now by my side with the Martini-Henry, when
one of the women, riding astride, arrived on the scene. She was evidently
furious at the cowardice of her men, and I liked her for that. She jumped
off her steed, ejaculated words at the top of her voice, shaking her
fists at the men still kneeling before me, and at last, foaming with
rage, spat on them. While thus haranguing the band of highwaymen, she had
an annoying way of pointing at my baggage, but her speech seemed to have
little effect on the submissive crowd.

I, therefore, went up to her, patted her on the back, and gave her a
rupee to hold her tongue. She grabbed the coin and rubbed it on her skin
coat to make the silver shine. She instantly became calm, and rubbing the
coin until it was quite bright, she raised her fiery eyes, staring into
mine, and pulled out her tongue to express her thanks.

Kachi and Dola, who knew Tibetan well, were now summoned to address the
filibusters for me, and these two Shokas were in such trepidation that
they could hardly walk, much less speak. After a while, however, seeing
how well I had these supposed terrific rangers under control, they were
at last able to translate.

"I want them to sell me some yaks and some ponies," I said. "I will pay
handsomely for them."

"They say they cannot. The Tarjum will cut their heads off if he comes to
know it. They will only sell one or two yaks."

"Very good. How much do they want?"

"Two hundred silver rupees. But," added Dola, "sahib, do not give them
more than forty. That is a great deal more than they are worth. A good
yak costs from ten to sixteen rupees."

After some three or four hours' bargaining, during which time the bandits
descended gradually from two hundred rupees to forty and I rose from
twenty to that figure, we at last agreed, amidst the greatest excitement
on both sides, that their two best yaks should become my property. I
then, becoming quite friendly, purchased pack-saddles from them, and
sundry other curiosities. They gave me tea even and _tsamba_. The fiery
woman only had still a peculiar way of keeping her eyes fixed on my
baggage, and her longing for my property seemed to increase when she saw
me paying for the yaks. If she kept one eye on my goods, I kept both
there; and I took good care that my rifle was never out of my hand, and
that no one ever came too near me from behind.


We counted the money down, some fifty rupees, including all purchases.
Each coin was passed round and sounded by each of our sellers, and when
the entire sum was handed over the coins were passed back and recounted
so that there should be no mistake. Time in Tibet is not money, and my
readers must not be surprised when I tell them that counting, recounting
and sounding the small amount took two more hours. The two yaks were
eventually handed over to us. One, a huge long-haired black animal,
restless and powerful; the other equally black, strong and hairy, but
somewhat gentler.

To catch them, separate them from the herd, pass ropes through their
respective nostrils, and tie pack-saddles on their backs, were all
operations we as novices had to master. It was hard work indeed, but we
struggled till we succeeded.

When we parted we were good friends, the bandits behaving admirably, and
I made up my mind that I would at any time rather trust a bandit in Tibet
than an official.


     Tibetan coats, hats, and boots--Why a Tibetan prefers to leave
     half the chest and one arm bare--Ornamentations--Manner and
     speech--Ignorance and superstition--Way of eating--Jogpa women
     and children--Head-dress.

IN a way, I was sorry when my interview with the Jogpas came to an end,
for, although they were undoubtedly brigands, they were certainly
interesting. Their original and curious dress and manner of conversation,
their unusual but eminently suitable mode of eating, and their jovial
freedom of demeanour, were really quite refreshing. Their dress was quite
representative of Tibet, for the men wore a great variety of coats and
hats, probably owing to the facility with which they obtained them, and
no two individuals were dressed alike, though certain leading
characteristics of dress were conserved in each case. One man wore a
gaudy coat trimmed with leopard skin, another had a long grey woollen
robe like a dressing-gown, taken up at the waist by a kamarband, and a
third was garbed in a loose raiment of sheepskin, with the wool inside.
Yet a fourth was arrayed in a deep red tunic fastened by a belt of
leather with silver ornamentations inlaid in wrought-iron to hold a
needle-case, tinder-pouch and steel, with a bead hanging from the leather
thong, and a pretty dagger with sheath of ebony, steel, and filigree
silver, besides other articles, such as a bullet-pouch and bag. In their
kamarbands or belts, the Jogpas, in common with the majority of Tibetan
men, wear a sword in front, and whether the coat is long or short, it is
invariably loose and made to bulge at the waist in order that it may
contain a store of eating and drinking bowls, the "_pu-kus_," snuff-box,
and sundry bags of money, and _tsamba_ and bricks of tea! It is owing to
this custom that most Tibetan men, when seen at first, impress one as
being very stout, whereas, as a matter of fact, they are somewhat slight
in figure. Tibetans leave one arm and part of the chest bare, letting the
sleeve hang loose. The reason for this practice, which seems to have
puzzled many people, is that in Tibet the days are very hot and the
nights cold (the drop in the thermometer in S.W. Tibet being at times as
much as 80° and even 100°), and as the Tibetans always sleep in their
clothes, the garments that protect their bodies from being frozen at
night are found too heavy and warm in the hot sun, and therefore this
simple expedient is adopted. When sitting down, both arms are drawn from
the sleeves and the chest and back are left bare; but when on foot, one
arm, usually the left, is slipped in, to prevent the coat and its heavy
contents from falling off.


I have no hesitation in pronouncing the Tibetan boots, from a practical
point of view of utility, as the best in the world. They have all the
advantages a boot should possess, especially those with flat soles of
thick twisted cord. The upper part, being made of red and green felt,
keeps the foot warm without preventing ventilation, and plenty of
spreading room is left for the toes when walking. The felt gaiter,
reaching to just below the knee, holds the soft sole of the boot flat
under the foot, giving absolutely free action to the ankle. The most
salient and sensible point in the Tibetan footgear, however, is that the
foot, all but the top part, is encased in the thick sole, thus preventing
the jamming of toes between stones when walking, for instance, on
_débris_, and also doing away with the accumulation of snow and mud
between the sole and boot, so inconvenient in our footgear. There are
many varieties and makes of boots in Tibet, but the principle is always
the same. The boots are always homemade, each individual making his own,
except in large towns, where footgear can be purchased, and necessarily
the quality is then not up to the same high standard. The difference in
Tibetan boots is mainly in the quality or texture of the soles; for
instance, the Lhassa boots have finer, softer, and more elastic soles
than those made in Sigatz (usually written Shigatze), which are quite
hard and stiff, and supposed to wear out much sooner than the more
pliable ones of the sacred city. Then there are some with leather soles,
made specially for wet or snowy regions, and these when greased over are
quite waterproof. Two kinds of these are in use, one with pointed and
curled toes for cutting one's way into the snow, the other of the usual
shape. Men and women alike wear these boots. The principal Lamas and
officials of Tibet have adopted the Chinese-pattern boots of leather,
with heavy leather or wooden soles and enormous nails under them.



The Tibetans have innumerable varieties of headgear. The most peculiar of
all, worn chiefly by soldiers and dacoits, is one in the form of a
section of a cone with large rim, made entirely of twisted cord like that
used for the soles of the boots, and with a hole at the top for
ventilation. The conical part being too small to fit the head, it is held
upon the skull by means of two strings tied under the chin. There are
also conical brown and grey felt ones, not unlike filters used in
chemical laboratories, and these, when of the better quality, are
frequently ornamented with gold, blue, or red embroidery of Chinese
manufacture. An impressive headgear was worn by the medicine man attached
to the band of robbers I had interviewed. It resembled at first sight an
exaggerated jockey's cap of red silk, but closer examination showed that
it consisted of two long strips of red silk, well stretched on a light
frame of bamboo, set at an angle of about 90°. This hat was held on the
head by means of a band round the back of the head, and it projected some
fifteen inches over the forehead. In addition to these there are of
course common cloth or fur caps with ear-flaps; and it is not uncommon to
see, in Tibet, soldiers wearing a silk kamarband bound tightly round the
head, turban-fashion, with one end left hanging down over the ear. The
commoner Tibetan, however, is not fond of covering his head, and though
he often has one or more caps stowed away in the loose folds of his coat,
he seldom wears one on his head under ordinary circumstances. This does
not apply to officials, who are never seen without a circular cap of
Chinese shape, surmounted by a top-knot. All men, except the Lamas, who
shave their heads clean, wear a pigtail, short and shaggy at times, or
long and ornamented with a piece of cloth, in which it is sewn, and
passed through rings of ivory, bone, glass, metal, or coral. Ornaments of
silver, such as perforated coins, are much used in adorning the men's
pigtails, and coral and malachite ornaments are also common in Tibet for
the same purpose, and are much valued by the natives. Men wear, passed
through the lobe of the ear, an earring with malachite ornamentations,
and often with an additional long pendant. It is usually of brass or
silver, and occasionally of gold. More common than the solitary earring
is the brass or silver charm-box, frequently containing a likeness of
Buddha, which nearly every Tibetan carries slung round his neck. Tibetans
are, as a rule, excessively superstitious and fond of charms of every
sort. Their superstitions are, of course, the result of ignorance, and so
are most of their other bad qualities. Except among the higher officials
and the Lamas, education can hardly be said to exist in Tibet, the
population being kept in the most obscure ignorance. Few can read, and
none can write, and the Lamas take very good care that only those shall
learn who are likely to be of use. Honesty and honour are two qualities
almost unknown in any class or condition in Tibet, and as for
truthfulness, all travellers in the country can testify to the practical
impossibility of obtaining it from a Tibetan. Cruelty is innate in them,
and vice and crime are everywhere rampant.


That the Jogpas had good digestions was evident from the way they ate
when, having concluded the sale of the yaks, they squatted down to a
hearty meal of _tsamba_, _chura_, and tea. They took from their coats
their wooden and metal _pu-kus_, and quickly filled them with _tsamba_;
pouring over it some steaming tea made as usual with butter and salt in a
churn, they stirred it round and round the bowl with their dirty fingers
until a paste was formed, which they rolled into a ball and ate, the same
operation being repeated over and over again until their appetite was
satisfied. Each time, before refilling, the bowl was licked clean by
rotating the _pu-ku_ round and round the tongue. Feeling the heat of the
sun, after their meal both men and women removed their garments above the
waist, showing ornaments of gold, silver and copper encircling their

The women-folk of the dacoits, though far from beautiful, possessed a
certain charm, arising from their curious wildness. Unlike those of the
generality of Tibetan women, their teeth were very good, and their
complexion was not specially dark, the black ointment with which their
cheeks, noses, and foreheads were smeared making them appear darker than
they really were, and being decidedly unbecoming. All of them had regular
features, and their eyes and mouths were full of expression. Their hair
had been plaited into numberless little tresses, brought up and fastened
in a graceful curve over the head, kept firm by a red turban, which was
arranged to show another row of little tresses on the forehead, the ends
being joined in succession to one another. They wore large earrings of
gold inlaid with malachite, and were in manner so unaffected that they
disregarded even the most primitive conventions.

The children were talkative, and had the bearing of adults. They wore
swords in their belts, even at the early age of eight or ten years. In a
basket that had been carried by one of the yaks I saw an infant only a
few months old. I caressed it, to the horror of his superstitious mother,
who snatched the child away and washed and rubbed the poor little
fellow's face until the skin was sore, declaring that children die who
are touched by strangers.

The men were just as bad in this, and when I purchased some rice from
them they would not let me handle it till it had become my property. They
objected each time that I stretched out my arm to touch the bag of rice,
and showed me eventually a handful of rice at a considerable distance, to
let me judge of its quality. I had to purchase only the handful at first.
Having assured myself that it was all right, I then purchased the


     A Daku's strange ideas--The ridge between the two lakes--Black
     tents--Confronting the two lakes--A chain of high
     peaks--Gombas--Change in the weather.

WE had marched on the same afternoon about half a mile in the direction
of Mansarowar, when we were overtaken by one of the Dakus, whom we had
left a short time before. He rode towards us, apparently in a great state
of excitement. Having dismounted, he drew his sword and began chasing one
of my yaks. This seemed so strange a proceeding that we were at a loss to
understand his intentions, but as he screamed to us that he meant no harm
we let him go on. He eventually overtook one recalcitrant yak, and, after
a struggle with the unfortunate beast, he flung his arms round its neck
and rested his head between its horns. I was anything but pleased with
these antics, fearing that this effusion was only a dodge to cut the
beast's throat. Much to my astonishment, I found that the young Jogpa had
seized a tuft of the yak's hair with his teeth and was trying to tear it
off, while the unfortunate beast was making desperate efforts to shake
off its persecutor. The hair eventually gave way, and with a mouthful of
it hanging from both sides of his tightly closed lips the Jogpa now let
go of the animal's head, and, brandishing his sword, made a dash for its

I seized the man by his pigtail, while he in his turn clung to the tail
of the frightened yak, which bolting, dragged us after it at an
unpleasant pace.

The Jogpa, in our mad flight, cut off a long lock of the yak's silky
hair, and having secured this, appeared to be quite satisfied, let go and
sheathed his sword. He concealed the stolen locks in his coat, and then
made profound obeisances to us, putting out his tongue as usual and
declaring that unless that precaution is taken when parting with a beast,
bad luck is sure to come to you. This closed the incident: the Jogpa rode
away perfectly happy, and we continued our march across the stony plain
until we reached the ridge which extends across it and divides the two
sheets of water. We climbed up to the top, rising to 16,450 feet, and to
make certain that the ridge really extended right across, I made an
expedition about half-way across, finding the northern part somewhat
lower than the southern, still rising several hundred feet above the
level of the lakes. This expedition incurred some loss of time, and when
night came we were still on the ridge.

[Illustration: A BLACK YAK]

From our camping-ground we saw fifteen black tents on the hillside, and
to the E. on the lake shore there was a large Gomba or Lamasery, with a
temple and a number of mud houses. I estimated the distance between
ourselves and the Gomba at only eight miles, a cheering fact, because I
hoped to get fresh provisions there to enable us to proceed more rapidly
on our journey. We were now quite out of reach of the Gyanema sepoys, as
well as of the Barca Tarjum and the Taklakot Jong Pen, and if we could
only obtain a sufficient quantity of food during the night, and proceed
by the jungle early the next day, there would be little danger of our
being overtaken. The Shokas were, of course, again shaking with fright at
the idea of entering a Tibetan settlement, but I told them very firmly
that we must reach Tucker Gomba and village that night.

We had below us the two great lakes, and before I left this magnificent
panorama, I could not help taking a last long look at the marvellous
scene. The Devil's Lake, with its broken, precipitous shores, its rocky
islands and outstretching peninsulas, was far more enchanting to me than
the sacred lake at its side, in which, according to tradition, dwell
Mahadeva (pronounced Mahadeve) and all the other good gods. Although the
water is equally blue and limpid; although each lake has for background
the same magnificent Gangri chain, Mansarowar, the creation of Brahma,
from whom it takes its name, is not nearly so weirdly fascinating as its
neighbour. Mansarowar has no ravines rising precipitously from its
waters, in which their vivid colouring would be reflected as in a mirror;
it is almost a perfect oval, without indentations. There is a stony,
slanting plain some two miles wide between the water's edge and the hills
surrounding it, except along the ridge separating it from the Rakstal,
where its shore is slightly more rugged and precipitous.

Directly south of the lake is a chain of high peaks covered with snow,
from which several streams descend. From where we stood we could see
evident signs, as in the case of the Rakstal, that the level of the lake
must at one time have been at least thirty feet higher than it is at
present, and the slanting bed of small rounded and smooth stones, which
extends from one-and-a-half to two miles beyond the water-line, is
evidence enough that the water must once have been up to that point; I
believe that it is still gradually receding.

Round the lake there are several tumbling-down sheds in charge of Lamas,
but only one important Gomba (monastery) and a temple are to be
found--viz., at Tucker village.

I was told that a small Gomba and _serai_ in charge of Lamas stands to
the N.W. of the lake, but I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the
statement, as I did not visit it myself, and the information I received
from Tibetans regarding its position and importance was conflicting.

As the nature of the country suddenly altered between the Devil's Lake
and Mansarowar, so, too, the weather and the temperature greatly changed.
Over the Rakstal we invariably saw a lovely blue sky, whereas over
Mansarowar heavy black clouds always lowered, and rain fell incessantly.
From time to time the wind blew off the rain for a few minutes, and
lovely effects of light played on the water, but fresh clouds, with
violent bursts of thunder, soon made the scene again gloomy and

It was much warmer on the Mansarowar side of the ridge than on the other,
and, probably owing to dampness, the air seemed quite thick to breathe,
instead of being crisp and light, as it was along the shores of the
Devil's Lake. Indeed, when I recall the Mansarowar, I cannot help
thinking that it is the home, not only of the gods, but also of all the



     The Langa Tsangpo--A terrific storm--Drenched to the skin--Heavy
     marching--Against the gods--Difficulty in finding the Lamasery
     and village--A bark!--Arrival at last--Gentle tapping--Under a

WE descended some two miles to the plain, and crossed a rapid delta of
the Langa Tsangpo or Langa River; then another, a mile farther. As these
rivers came directly from the snows, the water was very cold, and often
three or four feet deep, owing to the thawing of the snow and ice during
the day.

No sooner had we reached the shores of the Mansarowar, than the heavy
clouds which had been hanging over our heads poured forth such a torrent
of rain, that in a moment we were drenched to the skin. We were marching
very fast, as all our heavy loads were now on the two yaks, but night was
well advanced, and the darkness was such that we could only see a few
inches in front of us. We were actually walking in an inch or two of
water, and a fierce S.E. wind drove the rain and hail so hard into our
faces and hands as to cause us considerable pain. We were frozen in our
wet garments, and our teeth were chattering, though we walked quickly,
keeping close together. From time to time a bright flash of lightning
shone on the lake, followed by a terrific crash of thunder, and by what
we could see during those few seconds of light we tried to steer our way
towards Tucker village and Gomba.

The rivers, swollen by the rain, were extremely difficult to cross, and
the water seemed to flow so rapidly on the inclined bed, that it was all
we could do to keep on our feet. So wet were we that we did not even take
the trouble to remove our shoes or garments, and we splashed through,
clothes and all. Three times we went into the freezing water above our
waists, and then we marched for apparently endless miles on the pebbly
and stony incline. We could not see where we were going, and the storm
seemed to grow worse every moment: we stumbled on amidst large stones and
boulders, and fell over one another on slippery rocks. Farther on, we
sank up to our knees in mud, and each time that we lifted a foot it
seemed to be of lead. It was a downpour such as I had seldom before

"Are you quite sure, Kachi, that this lake is the home of the gods?" I
inquired of Kachi. "Why, even on the Devil's Lake we had better weather
than this."

"Yes, sir," replied Kachi. "But you make the gods angry, and that is why
they send thunder, hail and rain to stop your progress. You are going on
against the gods, sir."

"Never mind, Kachi. It cannot pour for ever."

At midnight we had no idea of our position, still we pushed on.

"Have we passed the Gomba? Have we not yet reached it?" were the
questions we asked each other. It seemed to me that, at the rate we were
going, we ought by now to be very near the place, and yet after another
hour's tramp we had not struck it. I was under the belief that we had
gone about nine miles, and I expressed the opinion that we had passed it,
but the Shokas insisted that we had not, so we again proceeded.

We had hardly gone five hundred yards, when we heard a faint, distant,
and most welcome dog's bark. It came from the N.W., and we surmised that
it must come from Tucker. We had steered too far south of the place,
which accounted for our missing it in the darkness.

Guided by the yelping, we hastily directed our steps towards the
settlements. The dog's solitary howl was at once supplemented by fifty
more angry barks, and though we knew by the sound that we were
approaching the village, it was so dark and stormy that we could not find
the place. Only when we found ourselves close to the mud huts could we be
certain that we had at last arrived.

It was now between 2 and 3 A.M. The rain still came down in torrents,
and, alas! there was no sign of any of the inhabitants being willing to
give us shelter. It was quite out of the question to pitch our little
_tente d'abri_, for our things were already wringing wet.

[Illustration: MY TWO YAKS]

The noise we made tapping outside a door was determined, so much so that
the door itself nearly gave way. This was a shelter-house, a _serai_
for pilgrims, and as we claimed to be pilgrims, we had, by the laws of
the country, a right to admission. The Kutial Nattoo, who had once before
reached this lake by a different route, led us to this house.

"You are dacoits," said a hoarse voice from inside; "or you would not
come at this hour."

"No, we are not," we entreated. "Please open. We are well-to-do people.
We will harm no one, and pay for all."

"_Middu, Middu!_" ("Cannot be, no.") "You are dacoits. I will not open."

To show that we were not what they imagined, faithful Chanden Sing and
Dola tapped again so gently at the door that the bolt gave way. The next
moment ten strangers were squatting down round a warm fire drying their
shrivelled-up, soaked skins by the flame of dried tamarisk and dung. The
landlord, a doctor by the way, was reassured when he saw that we had no
evil intentions, and found some silver coins in the palm of his hand. Yet
he said he would rather that we slept somewhere else: there was a capital
empty hut next door.

On our agreeing to this, he conducted us to the place, and there we spent
the remainder of the night, or rather the early morning.


     The interior of a _serai_--Vermin--Fish, local jewellery, and
     pottery for sale--Favourite shapes and patterns--How pottery is

OUR abode was a one-storeyed house built of stones and mud with a flat
roof. There were two rooms, the first lighted by the door, the second and
larger having a square aperture in the ceiling for the triple purpose of
ventilation, lighting and outlet for the smoke of the fire, which burnt
directly underneath in the centre of the room. The beams and rafters
supporting the roof had been brought over from the other side of the
Himahlyas, as no wood is to be found in Western Tibet.

This _serai_ was in charge of a young, half-demented lama, who was most
profuse in salutations, and who remained open-mouthed, gazing at us for a
considerable time. He was polite and attentive in helping to dry our
things in the morning, and, whenever we asked for anything, he ran out of
the _serai_ in frantic fits of merriment, always bringing in what we


The heavy storm during the night had flooded our room, and there was only
one corner slightly drier than the rest of the floor, where we all slept
huddled together. These _serais_ have no claim to cleanliness, and on
this occasion all the minor animal life that inhabited the floor had,
with a view to avoiding the water, retreated to the higher portion of the
room, which we also had selected, so that one more trial was added to
all our other miseries, for we were half devoured by a variety of
"insects." This, indeed, was a dreadful pest, and one from which we
suffered indescribable agonies, not only on this occasion but whenever we
halted near Tibetan camps. When we rose in the morning the room was full
of Tibetan men, women and children, who seemed very good-natured and

[Illustration: COPPER COINS]

[Illustration: EARRING WORN BY MEN]

[Illustration: SILVER CHARM]


"_Tanga chick!_" (a silver coin equivalent to half a rupee) cried an old
woman, who stuck a dried fish under my nose, professing volubly that it
had been caught in Mansarowar, and that it would make its possessor the
happiest of mortals. Others unrolled, from pieces of red cloth, jewellery
in the form of brooches, rings, and earrings of brass or silver inlaid
with malachite.

"_Gurmoh sum!_" (three rupees), "_Diu, diu, diu_" ("Yes yes, yes"),
"_Karuga ni!_" (two two-anna pieces), "_Gientcheke!_" (a four-anna
piece), and so on, all talking at the same time, in their anxiety to
dispose of their goods.

The jewellery was of local manufacture, and in some cases the pieces of
malachite were firmly set, but usually a kind of paste is used for
holding the stones, and consequently, pretty as the jewels are, they soon

The earrings are usually better made than the brooches, but the most
interesting of all, because simpler and more characteristic, are the flat
silver charms, such as the one I give in the illustration, ornamented
with a primitive design. This particular one, which is now in my
possession is of great antiquity, the edges being much worn down. It has
the lotus pattern in the centre and leaf ornamentations filled in with
lines radiating from a parent stem. Concentric circles occupy the inner
square, which also contains circular dots in sets of threes and
contiguous semicircles. Triangles filled in with parallel lines are a
favourite form of ornamentation in Tibetan work, and, perhaps, most
popular of all in the mind of the Tibetan artist is the square or the
lozenge outline, with a special inclination towards purely geometrical
patterns, a tradition probably inherited from their Mongol ancestors.

The most interesting objects to me at Tucker were the specimens of
pottery made by the natives, which is manufactured from clay of fine
quality, although it is not properly beaten previous to being worked into
vases, jugs, &c. Moulds are used to fashion the bases of the larger
vessels and the inner part is shaped by the hand; a rough turning-machine
simplifies the finishing of the upper part of the vase, leaving it
comparatively smooth. Two handles with rough line ornamentations are
added to the larger vessels, but one suffices for the jars with longer
neck and small aperture.

The two patterns reproduced in the illustration are those more commonly
adopted; the colour is a light greyish terra-cotta, left fairly smooth
and unvarnished. They are well burnt, in primitive furnaces, the Lamas
showing much skill in the manufacture of these vessels, which find a
ready market among the pilgrims to the sacred lake. The tools used in
fashioning the vessels are extremely simple; a piece of flat stone, and
two or three wands of wood, beyond which the Tucker potter does not
really require more than his fingers and his nails to accomplish his



     Friendly Lamas--Chanden Sing and Mansing purified--Mansing's
     sarcasm--Pilgrims to Mansarowar and their privileges--For
     luck!--Outside the Gomba.

SEVERAL Lamas came to visit me in the morning, and professed to be
pleased to see us; in fact they asked me to go and pay them a visit in
the Lamasery and temple. They said there was much sickness in the
village, and as they believed me to be a Hindoo doctor, they wished I
could do something to relieve their sufferings. I promised to do all I
could, and was very glad to have this unique chance of visiting a
Lamasery, and of studying the cases that would be brought before me. I
carried my rifle in my hand even during this friendly visit to the Lamas.

When I came out of our stuffy, dark room, preceded and followed by a
crowd of inquisitive natives, I had a good look round this strange
village. After the storm of the night, we did not have the beautiful blue
sky that might have been expected, but over us hung threatening clouds,
while the waters of the sacred lake, softly moved by the wind, made a
gentle lapping sound on the beach. Chanden Sing and Mansing, the two
Hindoos, divested of all their clothing except a _doti_, were squatting
near the edge of the lake, having their heads shaved clean by Bijesing
the Johari. I must confess that I was somewhat annoyed when I saw them
using my best razor for the purpose, but I repressed my anger on
remembering that, according to their religion, the fact of being at
Mansarowar absolved them from all sins. My two servants, with heads
turned towards Kelas Mount, seemed excited, and were praying so fervently
that I stood to watch them. They washed themselves repeatedly in the
water of the lake, and at last plunged into it. On coming out shivering,
they each took out of their clothes a silver rupee, and flung it into
the lake as an offering to the God Mahadeva. Then, with hairless faces
and heads, they dressed and came to pay their salaams to me, professing
to be now happy and pure.

"Siva, the greatest of all gods, lives in the waters of Mansarowar,"
exclaimed my bearer in a poetic mood. "I have bathed in its waters, and
of its waters I have drunk. I have salaamed the great Kelas, the sight of
which alone can absolve all sins of humanity; I shall now go to heaven."

"I shall be satisfied if we get as far as Lhassa," grumbled the sceptical
Mansing, out of ear-reach of the Tibetans.

Chanden Sing, who was well versed in religious matters, explained that
only Hindoo pilgrims who had lost both parents shaved their heads on
visiting Mansarowar, as a sacrifice to Siva, and if they were of a high
caste, on their return to their native land after the pilgrimage, it was
customary to entertain all the Brahmins of the town to a banquet. A man
who had bathed in Mansarowar was held in great respect by everybody, and
commanded the admiration and envy of the entire world.

The Mansarowar Lake is about forty-six miles round, and those pilgrims
who wish to attain a greater state of sanctity make a _kora_ or circuit
on foot, along the water-line. The journey occupies from four to seven
days, according to circumstances, and one trip round will absolve the
pilgrim from ordinary sins; twice the circuit clears the conscience of
any murder; and three times will make honest and good a person who has
killed his or her father, mother, brother or sister. There are fanatics
who make the tour on their knees, others accomplish the distance lying
down flat at each step on their faces like the pilgrims to Kelas.

According to legend, Mansarowar was created by Brahma, and he who shall
bathe in its waters will share the paradise of Mahadeva! No matter what
crimes he may have previously committed, a dip in the holy lake is
sufficient to purge the soul as well as the body! To please my men,
therefore, and perhaps bring myself some luck, I too hurled a couple of
coins into the water.

The purifying ablutions being over, I ordered Chanden Sing to take his
rifle and follow me into the Gomba, as the Lamas were so polite that I
feared treachery on their part.

The large square building, with its walls painted red and its flattish
dome of gilt copper, rose by the water-side, and was both picturesque and
handsome in its severe simplicity.

There came sounds from inside of deep, hoarse voices muttering prayers,
the tinkling of bells and clanging of cymbals. From time to time a drum
was beaten, giving a hollow sound, and an occasional and sudden touch
upon a gong caused the air to vibrate until the notes in a gradual
diminuendo were carried away over the holy lake.


     Entering the Lamasery--The Lama's dwelling--Novices--Were we in a
     trap?--Images--Oblations--Urghin--The holy water, the veil of
     friendship, and absolution--Musical instruments, books, &c.--God
     and the Trinity--Heaven and hell--A mystery.

AFTER Chanden Sing and I had entered into the Lamasery, the large door,
which had been pushed wide open, was immediately closed. We were in a
spacious courtyard, three sides of which had two tiers of galleries
supported by columns. This was the _Lhaprang_, or Lama's house, and
directly in front of me was the _Lha Kang_, or temple, the floor of which
was raised some five feet above the level of the ground, with a very
large door leading into it. At this entrance were, one on either side,
recesses in which, by the side of a big drum, squatted two Lamas with
books of prayers before them, a praying-wheel and a rosary in their
hands, the beads of which they shifted after every prayer. At our
appearance the monks ceased their prayers and beat the drums in an
excited manner. From what I could judge, there was a commotion in the
Gomba. Lamas, old and young, rushed to and fro out of their rooms, while
a number of Chibbis or novices--boys between the ages of twelve and
twenty--lined the banisters of the upper verandah with expressions of
evident suspense and curiosity depicted on their faces. No doubt the
Lamas had prepared a trap for us. I warned Chanden Sing to be on the
alert, and set him on guard at the entrance of the temple, while I,
depositing a few silver coins on the drum of the Lama to my right, took
off my shoes in sign of respect and--much to the amazement of the
monks--quietly entered the house of worship. Partly astonished at the
sight of the silver, and more so at my want of caution, the Lamas, of
whom there was a good number in the courtyard, remained motionless and
mute. The high Lama, or Father Superior of the monastery, at last came
forward, stooping low and placing one thumb above the other and putting
his tongue out to show his superlative approval of my visit to the many
images representing deities or sanctified Buddhist heroes which were
grouped along the walls of the temple. The largest of these were about
five feet high, the others about three feet. Some were carved out of
wood, their drapery and ornaments being fairly artistic in arrangement
and execution, while others were fashioned in gilt metal. There were a
number in a sitting posture and some standing erect; and they all rested
on ornamented pedestals or plainer bases painted blue, red, white and
yellow. Many wore the ancient Chinese double-winged cap, as used to this
day by Corean officials, and were placed in recesses in the wall
decorated with stuffs, wood carvings, and rough paintings of images.


At the foot of these images was a long shelf, on which, in bright brass
vessels of all sizes, were oblations of _tsamba_, dried fruit, _chura_,
wheat and rice offered through the Lamas by the devotees to the different
saints. Some of the ears of barley were ornamented with imitation leaves
of _murr_ (butter), coloured red, blue and yellow.

The ceiling of the temple was draped in red woollen cloth similar to that
of the clothes worn by the Lamas themselves, and from it hung hundreds of
strips of silk, wool and cotton of all imaginable colours. The roof was
supported by columns of wood forming a quadrangle in the centre of the
temple and joined by a balustrade, compelling the worshippers to make a
circuit from left to right in order to pass before the several images. In
a shrine in the central part of the wall facing the entrance was _Urghin_
or _Kunjuk-chick_, "God alone," and in front of it on a kind of altar
covered with a carpet a collection of donations far more abundant than
those offered to the other images.

The Lama, pointing at it, told me that it was a good God, and so I
salaamed it and deposited a small offering in a handy collection-box,
which seemed to please the Lama greatly, for he at once fetched a holy
water amphora, hung with long veils of friendship and love, and poured
some scented liquid on the palms of my hands. Then, producing a strip of
veil, he wetted it with the scent and presented it to me. The majority of
pilgrims generally go round the inside of the temple on their knees, but,
notwithstanding that, to avoid offending prejudices, I generally follow
the principle of doing in Rome as the Romans do, I could not here afford
the chance of placing myself at such a disadvantage in case of a
surprise. The high Lama explained the different images and threw handfuls
of rice over them as he called them by their respective names, all of
which I tried hard to remember, but, alas! before I could get back to the
_serai_ and scribble down their appellations, they had all escaped my
memory. A separate entrance led from the living part of the monastery
into the temple.

Lights, burning in brass bowls, their wicks being fed with melted butter,
were scattered on the floor in the central quadrangle, and near them lay
oblong books of prayers printed on the smooth yellow Tibetan paper made
from a fibrous bark. Near these books were small drums and cymbals. One
double drum, I noticed, was made from reversed sections of human skulls,
and my attention was also attracted by some peculiar headgear worn by the
Lamas during their services and ceremonies. On these occasions they not
only accompany their chanting and prayers with the beating of drums and
clashing of cymbals, but they at the same time make a noise on cane
flutes, tinkle hand-bells, and sound a large gong. The noise of these
instruments is at times so great that the prayers themselves are quite
inaudible. Unfortunately, I failed to see any of the awe-inspiring masks
which are used by Lamas in their eccentric and mystic dances, during
which, when the Lamas spend the whole day in the temple, they consume
much tea with butter and salt in it, which is brought to them in cups by
Lamas of an inferior order, acting as servants. They pass hour after hour
in their temples apparently absolutely absorbed in praying to the God
above all gods, the incarnation of all the saints together united in a
trinity, the _Kunjuk-Sum_.

_Kunjuk-Sum_, translated literally, means "the three deities," and some
take it to refer to the elements, air, water and fire, which in the
Tibetan mind are symbols of speech, charity and force and life. One great
point in Buddhism, as everyone knows, is the advocation of love and
respect to one's father and mother and the prohibition against injuring
one's neighbours in any way. According to the precepts contained in some
eight hundred volumes called the Kajars, the Tibetans believe in a heaven
(the Deva Tsembo) free from all anxieties of human existence, full of
love and joy, and ruled over by a god of infinite goodness, helped by
countless disciples called the _Chanchubs_, who spend their existence in
performing charitable deeds among living creatures. With a number of
intermediate places of happiness and punishment they even believe in a
hell, where the souls of sinners are tormented by fire and ice.

"God sees and knows everything, and He is everywhere," exclaimed the
Lama, "but we cannot see Him. Only the _Chanchubs_ can see and speak to

"What are the evil qualities to be mostly avoided?" I inquired of the
high Lama, who spoke a little Hindustani.

"Luxury, pride and envy," he replied.

"Do you ever expect to become a saint?" I asked him.

"Yes, I hope so, but it takes five hundred transmigrations of an
uncontaminated soul before one can be one."

Then, as if waking to a sudden thought, he seized my hand impulsively and
spread my fingers open. Having done this, he muttered two or three words
of surprise. His face became serious, even solemn, and he treated me with
strange obsequiousness. Rushing out of the temple, he went to inform the
other Lamas of his discovery, whatever it was. They crowded round him,
and from their words and gestures it was easy to see that they were

When I left the company of the strange idols and came into the courtyard,
every Lama wished to examine and touch my hand, and the sudden change in
their behaviour was to me a source of great curiosity, until I learnt the
real cause of it some weeks later.


     The Jong Pen's statements regarding me--Sects of
     Lamas--Lamaseries--Government allowance--Ignorance of the
     crowds--How Lamas are recruited--Lamas, novices, and
     menials--Dances and hypnotism--Infallibility--Celibacy and
     vice--Sculptors--Prayer-wheels and revolving
     instruments--Nunneries--Human bones for eating vessels and
     musical instruments--Blood-drinking.

BEFORE I left the monastery, the Lamas, who had now become more or less
accustomed to me, asked me many questions regarding India and concerning
medicine. These seemed to be subjects of great interest to them. They
also questioned me as to whether I had heard that a young sahib had
crossed over the frontier with a large army, which the Jong Pen of
Taklakot had defeated, beheading the sahib and the principal members of
the expedition.

I professed to be ignorant of these facts, and so I really was, though I
naturally felt much amused at the casual way in which the Jong Pen of
Taklakot had disposed of the bearskin before he had even caught the bear
himself. The Lamas took me for a Hindoo doctor, owing to the colour of my
face, which was sunburnt and had long remained unwashed, and they thought
that I was on a pilgrimage of circumambulation round the Mansarowar Lake.
They appeared anxious to know whether illnesses were cured by occult
sciences in India, or by medicines only. I, who, on the other hand, was
more interested in getting information than in giving it, turned the
conversation on the Lamas themselves.

Of course I knew that there are sects of red, yellow, white and black
Lamas, the red ones being the older and more numerous throughout the
country; next to them come the yellow Lamas, the _Gelupkas_, equally
powerful in political and religious matters, but not quite so numerous;
and, lastly, the white Lamas and the black Lamas, the _Julinba_, who are
the craftsmen in the monasteries, working at painting, printing, pottery
and ornamentation, besides attending on the other Lamas and making
themselves useful all round in the capacities of cooks, shepherds,
water-carriers, writers, and last, but not least, executioners. The
lamaseries are usually very rich, for the Tibetans are a deeply devout
race, and the Lamas are not backward in learning how to extort money from
the ignorant worshippers under pretences of all kinds. Besides attending
to their religious functions, the Lamas are traders at large, carrying on
a smart money-lending business, and charging a very high interest, which
falls due every month. If this should remain unpaid, all the property of
the borrower is confiscated, and if this prove insufficient to repay the
loan the debtor himself becomes a slave to the monastery. It is evident,
from the well-fed countenances of the Lamas, that, notwithstanding their
occasional bodily privations, they as a rule do not allow themselves to
suffer in any way, and no doubt can be entertained as to their leading a
smooth and comfortable existence of comparative luxury--a condition which
frequently degenerates into vice and depravity.

The larger lamaseries receive a yearly Government allowance, and
considerable sums are collected from the oblations of the faithful, while
other moneys are obtained by all sorts of devices which, in any country
less religious than Tibet, would be considered hardly honourable and
often even altogether criminal. To any one acquainted with Tibet, it is a
well-known fact that, except in the larger towns, nearly all people
besides brigands and Lamas are absolutely poor, while the monks
themselves and their agents live and prosper on the fat of the land. The
masses are maintained in complete ignorance, and seldom is a layman found
who can write or even read. Thus everything has to go through the Lamas'
hands before it can be sanctioned.


The lamaseries and the Lamas, and the land and property belonging to
them, are absolutely free from all taxes and dues, and each Lama or
novice is supported for life by an allowance of _tsamba_, bricks of tea,
and salt. They are recruited from all ranks, and whether honest folks or
murderers, thieves or swindlers, all are eagerly welcomed on joining the
brotherhood. One or two male members of each family in Tibet take
monastic orders, and by these means the monks obtain a great hold over
each house- or tent-hold. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that in
Tibet half the male population are Lamas.

In each monastery are found Lamas, Chibbis, and a lower grade of ignorant
and depraved Lamas, slaves, as it were, of the higher order. They dress,
and have clean-shaven heads like their superiors, and do all the
handiwork of the monastery; but they are mere servants, and take no
direct, active part in the politics of the Lama Government. The Chibbis
are novices. They enter the lamasery when very young, and remain students
for many years. They are constantly under the teaching and supervision of
the older ones, and confession is practised from inferior to superior.
After undergoing, successfully, several examinations they become
effective Lamas, which word translated means "high priest." These Chibbis
take minor parts in the strange religious ceremonies in which the Lamas,
disguised in skins and ghastly masks, sing and dance with extraordinary
contortions to the accompaniment of weird music made by bells, horns,
flutes, cymbals and drums.

Each large monastery has at its head a Grand Lama, not to be confounded
with the Dalai Lama of Lhassa, who is believed, or rather supposed, to
have an immortal soul transmigrating successively from one body into

The Lamas eat, drink and sleep together in the monastery, with the
exception of the Grand Lama, who has a room to himself. For one moon in
every twelve they observe a strict seclusion, which they devote to
praying, and during which time they are not allowed to speak. They fast
for twenty-four hours at a time, with only water and butter-tea, eating
on fast-days sufficient food only to remain alive, and depriving
themselves of everything else, including snuff and spitting, the two most
common habits among Tibetan men.

The Lamas have great pretensions to infallibility, and on account of this
they claim, and obtain, the veneration of the people, by whom they are
supported, fed and clothed. I found them, as a rule, very intelligent,
but inhuman, barbarously cruel and dishonourable, and this was not my own
experience alone: I heard the same from the overridden natives, who wish
for nothing better than a chance to shake off their yoke.

Availing themselves of the absolute ignorance in which they succeed in
keeping the people, the Lamas practise to a great extent occult arts, by
which they profess to cure illnesses, discover murders and thefts, stop
rivers from flowing, and bring storms about at a moment's notice.
Certain exorcisms, they say, drive away the evil spirits that cause
disease. It is certain that the Lamas are adepts at hypnotic experiments,
by which means they contrive to let the subjects under their influence
see many things and objects that are not there in reality. To this power
are due the frequent reports of apparitions of Buddha, seen generally by
single individuals, and the visions of demons, the accounts of which
alone terrify the simple-minded folk, and cause them to pay all their
spare cash in donations to the monastery.

Mesmerism plays an important part in their weird dances, during which
extraordinary contortions are performed, and strange positions assumed,
the body of the dancer being eventually reduced to a cataleptic state, in
which it remains for a great length of time.

The Lamas swear to celibacy when they enter a lamasery; but they do not
always keep these vows, and they are besides addicted to the most
disgusting of all vices in its very worst forms, which accounts for the
repulsive appearance of far-gone depravity so common among the
middle-aged Lamas.

All the larger lamaseries support one or more Lama sculptors, who travel
all over the district, and go to the most inaccessible spots to carve on
rocks, stones, or pieces of horn, the everlasting inscription, "_Omne
mani padme hun_," which one sees all over the country. Unseen, I once
succeeded, after much difficulty and discomfort, in carrying away two of
these very heavy inscribed stones, which are still in my possession, and
of which reproductions are here given.

Weird and picturesque places, such as the highest points on mountain
passes, gigantic boulders, rocks near the sources of rivers, or any spot
where a _mani_ wall exists, are the places most generally selected by
these artists to engrave the magic formula alluding to the reincarnation
of Buddha from a lotus flower.

The famous prayer-wheels, those mechanical contrivances by which the
Tibetans pray to their god by means of water, wind and hand-power, are
also manufactured by Lama artists. The larger ones, moved by water, are
constructed by the side of, or over, a stream, and the huge cylinders on
which the entire Tibetan prayer-book is inscribed are revolved by the
flowing water. The wheels moved by wind-power are similar to those used
by the Shokas, which I have already described, but the Tibetans often
have prayers printed on the slips of cloth. The smaller prayer-wheels,
revolved by hand, are of two different kinds, and are made either of
silver or copper. Those for home use are cylinders, about six inches
high. Inside these revolve on pivots, on the principle of a spinning top,
the rolls of prayers which, by means of a projecting knob above the
machine, the worshipper sets in motion. The prayers can be seen revolving
inside through a square opening in the cylinder. The more universal
prayer-wheel in everyday use in Tibet is, however, of the pattern shown
in the illustration. It is usually constructed of copper, sometimes of
brass, and frequently entirely or partly of silver. The cylinder has two
movable lids, between which the prayer-roll fits tightly. A handle with
an iron rod is passed through the centre of the cylinder and roll, and is
kept in its place by means of a knob. A ring, encircling the cylinder,
attaches it to a short chain and weight; this serves, when started by a
jerk of the hand, to give a rotatory movement, which must, according to
rule, be from left to right, and which is kept up indefinitely, the words
"_Omne mani padme hun_," or simply "_Mani, mani_," being repeated all the


The more ancient wheels have the prayers written by hand instead of
printed, and are contained in a small black bag. Charms, such as rings of
malachite, jade, bone, or silver, are often attached to the weight and
chain by which the rotary movement is given to the wheel. These
praying-machines are found in every Tibetan family, and nearly every
Lama possesses one. They keep them jealously, and it is very difficult to
get the real ones. I was particularly fortunate, and during my journey in
Tibet I was able to purchase as many as twelve, two of which were
extremely old.


Besides the rosary, which the Lamas always use in a similar way to the
Roman Catholics, they have a brass instrument which they twist between
the palms of their hands while saying prayers, and this is used
exclusively by Lamas. It is from 2½ to 3 inches in length, and is rounded
so as to be easily held in the hollow of the two hands.

In Tibet, as in other Buddhist countries, there are nunneries besides
lamaseries. The nuns, most unattractive in themselves, shave their heads
and practise witchcraft and magic, just as the Lamas do. They are looked
down upon by the masses. In some of these nunneries strict _clausura_ is
enforced, but in most of them the Lamas are allowed free access, with the
usual result, that the nuns become the concubines of the Lamas. Even
apart from this, the women of the nunneries are quite as immoral as their
brethren of the lamaseries, and at their best they are but a low type of

The Lamas who, at certain periods of the year, are allowed an unusual
amount of freedom with women, are those who practise the art of making
musical instruments and eating-vessels out of human bones. The skull is
used for making drinking-cups, _tsamba_ bowls, and single and double
drums, and the humerus, femur, and tibia bones are turned into trumpets
and pipes. These particular Lamas are said to relish human blood, which
they drink out of the cups made from men's skulls.



     Illnesses and remedies--Curious theories about fever--Evil
     spirits--Blacksmith and dentist--Exorcisms--Surgical
     operations--Massage and cupping--Incurable
     illnesses--Deformities--Deafness--Fits and

THE Lamas became quite communicative, enabling me, partly with the little
Hindustani that I knew and partly with the Tibetan I had picked up, to
enter into a conversation about illnesses and their remedies, certain as
I was that they must have strange notions on the subject. I was not
disappointed in this surmise, and from that conversation and my own
observation on previous and subsequent occasions, I am able to give a few
details of the methods of the Lamas in curing the more frequent ailments
found in the country.

The Lamas explained to me that all diseases arose from fever, instead of
fever being an accompaniment of most illnesses, and furthermore, that
fever itself was but an evil spirit, which assumed different forms when
it entered the body, and caused all sorts of complaints. The fever demon,
they asserted, was a spirit, but there were yet other demons who were so
good as to bring us riches and happiness. For instance, when a man after
a dangerous illness visited a a cave, waterfall or river-gorge which
these demons were supposed to haunt, he might have a relapse and die, or
he might be instantly cured and live happy ever afterwards. In the latter
case, as would naturally be expected, the recipient of such inestimable
privileges generally returned to pay a second visit to the kindly spirits
who made his life worth living, "but," said the Lamas quite seriously,
"when he goes a second time he will get blind or paralytic, as a
punishment for his greediness."

"The evil spirits," continued a fat old Lama with crooked fingers, which
he clenched and shook as he spoke, "are in the shape of human beings or
like goats, dogs, sheep or ponies, and sometimes they assume the
semblance of wild animals, such as bears and snow leopards."

I told the Lamas that I had remarked many cases of goître and also other
abnormalities, such as hare-lip and webbed fingers and toes, as well as
the very frequent occurrence of supernumerary fingers or toes. I asked
them the reason for such cases, and they attributed them, with the
exception of webbed fingers, to the mischievous work of demons before the
child's birth; they could not, however, suggest a remedy for goître.

Inguinal and umbilical hernia are quite common, as I have on several
occasions observed, and coarse belts are made according to the taste and
ingenuity of the sufferer, but are of hardly any efficacy in preventing
the increase of the swellings.

A common complaint, especially among the older women, was rheumatism,
from which they seemed to suffer considerably. It affected their fingers
and toes, and particularly the wrists and ankles, the joints swelling so
as to render them quite stiff, the tendons contracting, swelling, and
becoming prominent and hard in the palms of the hands.

Both before and after my conversation with the Lamas I had opportunities
of ascertaining that the stomachs of the Tibetans are seldom in good
working order. But how could they be when you consider the gallons of
filthy tea which they drink daily, and the liquor to which they are so
partial? This poisonous concoction is enough to destroy the gastric
juices of an ostrich! The tongue, as I have mentioned already, is
invariably thickly furred with a whitish coating, and Tibetans have often
complained to me of tumours as well as of painful burnings in the
stomach, the latter undoubtedly caused by ulcerations. It is to be
regretted that, even in the high land of Tibet, the worst of all sexual
diseases (called by the Tibetans _Boru_) has made vast numbers of
victims, palpable traces of it showing themselves in eruptions,
particularly on the forehead and on the ears, round the mouth and under
the nostrils, on the arms and legs. In cases of very long standing, a
peculiar whitish discoloration of the skin and gums was to be noticed,
with abnormal contraction of the pupils. That such a disease is well
rooted in the country we have proof enough in the foul teeth which the
majority of Tibetans possess. In nearly all cases that I examined, the
teeth were, even in young men, so loose, decayed and broken as to make me
feel quite sorry for their owners, and during the whole time I was in
Tibet--and I came in contact with several thousand people--I believe that
I could almost count on my fingers the sets of teeth that appeared quite
regular, healthy and strong. As a rule, too, the women had better teeth
than the men. No doubt the admixture of bad blood in the Tibetan race
contributes a great deal to the unevenness and malformation of their
teeth, and if we add to this the fact that the corruption of the blood,
even apart from disease, is very great owing to their peculiar laws of
marriage, it is not surprising that the services of dentists are
everywhere required. The teeth of Tibetans are generally of such a
brittle nature that the dentist of Tibet--usually a Lama and a blacksmith
as well--has devised an ingenious way of protecting them from further
destruction by means of a silver cap encasing the broken tooth. I once
saw a man with all his front teeth covered in this fashion, and as the
dentist who had attended to him had constructed the small cases
apparently with no regard to shape or comfort, but had made most of them
end in a point for mastication's sake, the poor man had a ghastly
appearance every time that he opened his mouth. The Tibetans are not very
sensitive to physical pain, as I have had reason to judge on several
occasions, when I have seen teeth extracted in the most primitive
fashion, without a sound being emitted from the sufferer.

In South-Western Tibet the _Hunyas_ (Tibetans) have the same strange
notions on transmigration of evil spirits that are common to the Shokas.
For instance, if a man falls ill, they maintain that the only remedy is
to drive away the evil spirit which has entered his body. Now, according
to Tibetan and Shoka ideas, evil spirits always enter a living body to
satisfy their craving for blood: therefore, to please the spirit and
decoy him away, if the illness be slight, a small animal such as a dog or
a bird is brought and placed close by the patient; if the illness be
grave, a sheep is produced and exorcisms are made in the following
fashion. A bowl of water is whirled three or four times over the sick
man's head, and then again over the animal selected, upon whose head it
is poured. These circles, described with certain mystic words, have the
power of drawing the spirit out of its first quarters and causing it to
enter the brain of the second victim, upon whose skull the water is
poured to prevent its returning back.

"Of course," said my informer with an air of great gravity, "if you can
give the evil spirit a present in the shape of a living being that will
satisfy him, he will depart quite happy." If the illness is slight, it
means that the spirit is not much out of temper, and a small present is
enough to satisfy him, but if the disease is serious, nothing less than a
sheep or even a yak will be sufficient. As soon as the spirit has changed
his temporary abode the animal is quickly dragged away to a crossing of
four roads, and if there are no roads a cross is previously drawn on the
ground, where a grave for the animal is dug, into which it is mercilessly
thrown and buried alive. The spirit, unable to make a rapid escape,
remains to suck the blood of his last victim, and in the meantime the
sick man, deprived of the company of his ethereal and unwelcome guest,
has time to make a speedy recovery. When a smaller animal is used, such
as a dog or a bird, and when the patient complains of more than one
ailment, the poor beast, having been conveyed to the crossing of four
roads, is suddenly seized and brutally torn into four parts, which are
flung in four different directions, the idea being that, wherever there
may be spirits waiting for blood, they will get their share and depart
happy. After their craving is satisfied, the evil spirits are not very
particular whether the blood is human or not. In Shoka land especially,
branches with thorns and small flying prayers are placed on each road to
prevent their immediate return. These are said to be insuperable barriers
to the evil spirits.


When a patient completely recovers, the Lamas naturally obtain money for
the exorcisms which have expelled the illness, and they never fail to
impress upon the people the extraordinary powers they possess over the
much-dreaded demons.

The Tibetans are unsuccessful in surgery, first of all because they do
not possess sufficient knowledge of human anatomy; secondly, because
their fingers are wanting in suppleness and sensitiveness of touch; and
lastly, because they are not able to manufacture instruments of
sufficient sharpness to perform surgical operations with speed and
cleanliness. In Tibet everybody is a surgeon, thus woe to the unfortunate
who needs one. It is true that amputation is seldom performed; but if it
should become necessary, and the operation is at all difficult, the
patient generally succumbs. The Tibetan surgeon does not know how to saw
bones, and so merely severs the limb at the place where the fracture has
occurred. The operation is performed with any knife or dagger that
happens to be at hand, and is, therefore, attended with much pain, and
frequently has disastrous results. The precaution is taken to tie up the
broken limb above the fracture, but it is done in such a clumsy way that
very often, owing to the bad quality of Tibetan blood, mortification sets
in, and, as the Tibetans are at a loss what to do on such occasions,
another victim goes to join the majority.

Considering the nomadic habits of the Tibetans and the rough life they
lead, they are comparatively immune from very bad accidents. Occasionally
there is a broken arm or leg which they manage to set roughly, if the
fracture is not a compound one, by putting the bones back in their right
position, and by tightly bandaging the limbs with rags, pieces of cloth
and rope. Splinters are used when wood is obtainable. A powder made from
a fungus growing on oak-trees in the Himahlyas is imported and used by
the Tibetans near the frontier. A thick layer of it, when wet, is rubbed
and left upon the broken limb, over which the bandaging is afterwards
done. In a healthy person, a simple fracture of the leg, which by chance
has been properly set, takes from twenty to thirty days to heal, after
which the patient can begin moving about; and a broken arm does not
require to be kept in a sling more than fifteen or twenty days. If these
cures are somewhat more rapid than with our more civilised methods of
bone-setting, it is merely due to the wholesome climate and the fact that
the natives spend most of their days out in the open air and in the sun,
undoubtedly the best cure for any complaint of that kind; but, of course,
it is but seldom that the bones are joined properly, and they generally
remain a deformity. More satisfactory results are obtained with cases of
dislocations by pulling the bones into their right position.

In case of wounds the bleeding is arrested by the application of a wet
rag tightly bound over the wound. In most cases of unbandaged wounds that
came under my notice the process of healing was a very slow one, the
great changes in the temperature between night and day often causing them
to open of themselves. They made good headway towards recovery in the
beginning, but the skin was very slow in joining and re-forming.

Burns are treated by smearing butter over them; and a poultice of
rhubarb is used to send down swellings of contusions as well as for the
purpose of bringing boils, from which the Tibetans suffer much, to a
speedy maturation.

Aconite is given for fever and rheumatism, and a rough kind of massage is
used to allay pain in the muscles of limbs. It is generally done by the
women, who, as far as I could judge, practised it with no real knowledge
but merely contented themselves with violent rubbing and pinching and
thumping until signs of relief appeared on the sufferer's face. Whether,
however, these manifestations were due to actual soothing of pain, or to
the prospect of the masseuse bringing her treatment to an end, I could
never properly ascertain. Tibetan fingers are not well adapted for such
work, being clumsy and, compared with those of other Asiatic races, quite
stiff and hard.

Cupping is adopted with success. Three or four small incisions are made
close to one another and a conical cupping-horn about seven inches long,
having a tiny hole at its point, is applied over them. The operator then
sucks through this small aperture until the horn is full of blood, when
it is removed and the operation begun again. With poisoned wounds the
sucking is done by applying the lips to the wound itself.

Bleeding is used as a remedy for bruises and swellings, and for internal
pain, also for acute attacks of rheumatism and articular pains. If it is
not sufficient, the branding cure is resorted to, and if this should also
fail, then the tinder cones, to be described later on, come into play
and, the seat of the pain being encircled with them, they are set alight.
When even this remedy proves inefficacious, and the patient survives it,
the illness is pronounced incurable!

Natural abnormalities and deformities are frequent enough in Tibet, and
some came under my notice in nearly every camp I entered. Deformities of
the spine were common, such as displacement of the shoulder-blades; and I
saw during my stay in Tibet many cases of actually humpbacked people.
There were frequent cases, too, of crookedness of the legs, and clubfoot
was not rare, while one constantly met with webbed fingers and
supernumerary fingers and toes, as well as the absence of one or more of
them. Malformations of the skull, such as the two sides being of marked
unequal shape or an abnormal distance between the eye sockets, were the
two most common deformities that came under my notice.

The ears of men of the better classes were much elongated artificially
by the constant wearing of heavy earrings, which sometimes even tore the
lobe of the ear.

The most frequent and curious of all was the extreme swelling of
children's stomachs, caused by the umbilical cord not being properly tied
at birth. The operation was generally performed by the mother and father
of the newly-born or by some friend at hand. The infants had such
enormous paunches that in some cases they were hardly able to stand; but,
as they grew older, the swelling seemed to gradually abate and the body
assumed its normal shape.

Deafness was common, but I never came across any dumb people, though I
now and then encountered cases of painful stammering and other defects of
articulation arising from malformation of the palate and tongue.

Occasionally, however, the difficulty of speech was caused by dementia,
which seemed very common in Tibet, especially among the young men.
Whether it was caused by cardiac affection subsequent to organic vices,
as I suspected, or by other trouble, I could not say for certain, but
presently I based my suspicions on certain facts which I happened to
notice, besides the presence of symptoms indicating great nervous
depression and strain, extreme weakness of the spine and oscillations of
the hands when spread horizontally with the fingers and thumbs wide
apart. This may in one way be accounted for by the difficulty that men
have in obtaining wives, owing to the scarcity of women. Apoplectic and
epileptic fits and convulsions were not of very frequent occurrence, but
they seemed severe when they did occur. The fire cure was usually applied
in order to drive away the spirits that were supposed to have entered the
body, but, all the same, these fits at times resulted in temporary or
occasionally permanent paralysis, and much derangement and disfiguration
of the facial expression, particularly about the eyes and mouth. I had
occasion to study three very good specimens of this kind at Tucker, at
Tarbar, north of the Brahmaputra River, and at Tokchim.

Much to my regret I never came across any violent cases of insanity
during my stay in the country, though many times I observed strange
peculiarities among the men, and signs of mania, more particularly

In women I several times noticed symptoms of melancholia, caused no doubt
by abuse of sexual intercourse, owing to their strange laws of polyandry.
I was told that occasionally it led to suicide by drowning or
strangulation. However, I was never able to keep any of the suspicious
cases under close observation for any length of time, and, as our arrival
into Tibetan camps generally created some amount of fear and sensation,
and we usually left before they could be quite at home with us, I never
had a chance of studying the subject more closely.

[Illustration: THE TOKCHIM TARJUM]


     A Tibetan medicine-man--Lumbago, and a startling cure for
     it--Combustible fuses--Fire and butter--Prayers, agony, and
     distortions--Strange ideas on medicine.

STRANGE as the Tibetan remedies seemed to be, none came up, as far as
interest went, to one I saw applied at a place called Kutzia. I had
entered a camp of some twenty or thirty tents, when my attention was
drawn to an excited crowd collected round an old man whose garments had
been removed. He was tightly bound with ropes, and agony was depicted on
his features. A tall, long-haired man with red coat and heavy boots knelt
by the side of the sufferer and prayed fervently, twirling round a
prayer-wheel which he held in his right hand.

My curiosity aroused, I approached the gathering, whereupon three or four
Tibetans got up and signed to me to be off. I pretended not to
understand, and, after a heated discussion, I was allowed to remain.

An operation was obviously being performed by a Tibetan medicine-man, and
the suspense in the crowd round the sick man was considerable. The doctor
was busy preparing combustible fuses, which he wrapped up carefully in
silk paper. When cut in the centre they formed two cones, each with a
little tail of twisted paper protruding beyond its summit. Having
completed six or eight of these, the medicine-man made his patient, or
rather his victim, assume a sitting posture. I inquired what ailed the
sick man. From what they told me, and from an examination made on my own
account, I was satisfied that the man was suffering from an attack of
lumbago. The coming cure, however, interested me more than the illness
itself, and the doctor, seeing how absorbed I was in the performance,
asked me to sit by his side. First of all the man called for "fire," and
a woman handed him a blazing brand from a fire near by. He swung it to
and fro in the air, and pronounced certain exorcisms. Next the patient
was subjected to a thorough examination, giving vent to a piercing yell
each time that the long bony fingers of the physician touched his sides,
whereupon the man of science, pointing to the spot, informed his
open-mouthed audience that the pain was "there." Putting on a huge pair
of spectacles, he rubbed with the palm of his hand the umbilical region
of the sufferer and then measured with folded thumb two inches on each
side of, and slightly under, the umbilicus. To mark these distances he
used the burning brand, applying it to the flesh at these points.

"_Murr, murr!_" ("Butter, butter!") he next called for, and butter was
produced. Having rubbed a little on the burns, he placed upon each of
them a separate cone, and pressed until it remained a fixture, the point
upwards. Shifting the beads of a rosary, revolving the praying-wheel, and
muttering prayers, the medicine-man now worked himself into a perfect
frenzy. He stared at the sun, raising his voice from a faint whisper to a
thundering baritone at its loudest, and his whole audience seemed so
affected by the performance that they all shook and trembled and prayed
in their terror. He now again nervously clutched the burning wood in one
hand, and, blowing upon it with the full strength of his lungs, produced
a flame. The excitement in the crowd became intense. Every one, head down
to the ground, prayed fervently. The doctor waved the ignited wood three
or four times in the air and then applied the flames to the paper tips of
the combustible cones. Apparently saltpetre and sulphur had been mixed in
the preparation of these. They burned fast, making a noise like the fuse
of a rocket.

At this juncture the animation of the onlookers was not to be compared
with the agitation of the patient, who began to feel the effects of this
primitive remedy. The fire spluttered on his bare skin. The cure was
doing its work. The wretched man's mouth foamed, and his eyes bulged out
of their sockets. He moaned and groaned, making desperate efforts to
unloose the bonds that kept his hands fast behind his back. Two stalwart
men sprang forward and held him, while the medicine-man and all the women
present, leaning over the prostrate form, blew with all their might upon
what remained of the three smoking cones frizzling away into the flesh of
the wretched victim.

The pain of which the man complained seemed to encircle his waist,
wherefore the strange physician, having untied his patient's arms from
behind, and retied them in front, began his measurements again, this time
from the spinal column.

[Illustration: A MEDICINE-MAN]

"_Chik, ni, sum!_" ("One, two, three!") he exclaimed, as he marked the
three spots in the same fashion as before, smeared them over with butter,
and affixed the cones. Here ensued a repetition of the previous
excitement; prayers, agony, and distortions, but the patient was not
thoroughly cured, and more cones were subsequently ignited on both his
sides, in spite of his protests and my appeals on his behalf. The poor
fellow soon had a regular circle of severe burns round his body.

Needless to say, when, two hours later, the operation was over, the sick
man had become a dying man. With a view to obtaining a few hints on
Tibetan medicine from this eminent physician--the Tibetans held him in
great esteem--I sent him a small present and requested him to visit me.
He was flattered and showed no desire to keep his methods a secret, but
even pressed me to try some of his unique remedies.

According to him, fire would cure most illnesses; what fire could not
cure, water would. He had, nevertheless, some small packets of variously
coloured powders, for which he claimed extraordinary powers.

"I am afraid your patient will die," I remarked.

"He may," was the reply, "but it will be the fault of the patient, not
the cure. Besides, what does it matter whether you die to-day or

And with this unprofessional dictum he left me.


     Tucker village--Chokdens--Houses--Flying prayers--Soldiers or
     robbers?--A stampede--Fresh
     provisions--Disappointment--Treachery--Shokas leave
     me--Observations--Five men, all counted!

WHEN I left the Gomba, having been salaamed to the ground by my new
friends the Lamas, I walked about the village to examine all there was to
be seen.

Along the water's edge stood a number of dilapidated Chokdens made of mud
and stones, with a square base surmounted by a moulding, and an upper
decoration in steps, topped by a cylindrical column. They were in a row
at the east end of the village, and, as is well known, they are supposed
to contain a piece of bone, cloth or metal, and books or parts of them,
that had once belonged to a great man or a saint. Roughly drawn images
are occasionally found in them. In rare cases, when cremation has been
applied, the ashes are collected into a small earthenware urn, and
deposited in one of the Chokdens. The ashes are usually made into a paste
with clay, on which, when flattened like a medallion, a representation of
Buddha is either stamped from a mould, or engraved by means of a pointed

The interior of the houses at Tucker was no more pleasing than the
exterior. Each habitation had a walled courtyard, and the top of the
wall, as well as the edge of the flat roof, was lined with masses of
tamarisk for fuel. In the courtyard, sheep and goats were penned at
night; and the human beings who occupied the rooms were dirty beyond all
description. There were hundreds of flying prayers over the monastery as
well as over each house, and as the people stood on their roofs watching
us, laughing and chatting, the place had quite a gay aspect.

While I was strolling about some fifty or sixty men appeared on the
scene, armed with matchlocks and swords, and I looked upon them with
suspicion, but Kachi reassured me, and said they were not soldiers, but a
powerful band of robbers encamped about half a mile off, and on very
friendly terms with the Lamas. As a precaution, I loaded my rifle, which
was quite sufficient to occasion a stampede of the armed crowd, followed,
in the panic, by all the other villagers that had collected round us.
Like all Tibetans, they were a miserable lot, though powerfully built,
and with plenty of bounce about them.

[Illustration: THE PANKU GOMBA]

Early in the morning I had made inquiries about provisions, and had
arranged for the purchase of two fat sheep and some 450 lbs. of food
(flour, rice, _tsamba, ghur_, sugar, salt and butter), and several
Tibetans stated that they could supply me with any quantity I required.
Among others was a trader from Buddhi, Darcey Bura's brother, who
promised to bring me within an hour a sufficient quantity of food to last
us ten men twenty-five days. I noticed, when these men left, that two of
my Shokas ran after them, and entered into an excited discussion with
them. Some two or three hours later, the traders returned, swearing that
not an ounce of food could be obtained in the place. The way in which
these men could lie was indeed marvellous to study. I suspected
treachery, and reprimanded my Shokas, threatening to punish them very
severely if my suspicions proved to be well founded.

The Shokas, knowing themselves discovered, and partly through fear of the
Tibetans, were now again quite unreasonable and demoralised. It was no
use keeping them by force and I decided to discharge them. From the
moment I had entered the forbidden country I had been compelled to
protect myself against them as much as against the Tibetans. I reflected,
however, when I made up my mind to let them go, that these fellows had
stood for my sake hardships and privations which few men could stand; and
in paying them off I therefore rewarded them suitably, and they undertook
to bring back safely across the frontier part of my baggage containing
photographs, ethnological collections, &c. With infinite trouble I then
managed to purchase enough provisions to last five men ten days.

The whole party accompanied me three-and-a-quarter miles farther, where,
in sight of the tumble-down Panku Gomba, a mile to the West of us, we
halted in order to make the necessary arrangements for our parting,
unseen by the Tibetans. I took observations for latitude and longitude.
The water of the hypsometrical apparatus boiled at 185° Fahr. fifty feet
above the level of the lake, the temperature of the air being 76° and the
hour 10 A.M.

We had a high snowy chain to the South of us, extending from 70° to 33°
(b.m.), the direction of the range being approximately from South-West to
North-East, starting at Nimo Namgil.

When everything was ready, the five Shokas, including Kachi and Dola,
left me, swearing by the sun and all that they hold most sacred, that
they would in no way betray me to the Tibetans, who so far had no
suspicion as to who I was.

Bijesing the Johari and the Kutial Bura Nattoo agreed to accompany me as
far as the Maium Pass, so that my party, including myself, now was
reduced to only five.


     The start with a further reduced party--A reconnaissance--Natural
     fortress--Black tents and animals--On the wrong tack--Slings and
     their use--A visit to a Tibetan camp--Mistaken for
     brigands--Bargaining and begging.

ALL was promising well when, with my reduced party, I started towards the
N.E., first following for three-and-a-quarter miles a course of 49°,[22]
skirting the lake, then ascending over the barren hill ranges in a
direction of 90° for a distance of twelve miles. The journey was
uneventful, and my four men seemed in the best of spirits. We descended
to a plain where water and grass could be found, and having seen a
camping-ground with a protecting wall, such as are usually put up by
Tibetans at their halting-places, we made ourselves comfortable for the
night, notwithstanding the high wind and a passing storm of hail and
rain, which drenched us to the skin. The thermometer during the night
went down to 34°.

At sunrise I started to make a reconnaissance from the top of a high hill
wherefrom I could get a bird's-eye view of a great portion of the
surrounding country. It was of the utmost importance for me to find out
which would be the easiest way to get through the intricate succession of
hills and mountains, and to discover the exact direction of a large river
to the N. of us, throwing itself into the Mansarowar, the name of which
no one could tell me. I started alone towards 352° 30' (b.m.), and
three-and-a-half miles' climb brought me to 16,480 feet on the summit of
a hill, where I was able to ascertain and note down all that I wished to
know. I returned to camp, and we went on towards 73° 30', crossing over a
pass 16,450 feet, and ultimately finding ourselves at the foot of a hill,
the summit of which resembled a fortress, with flying-prayers flapping
to and fro in the wind. At the foot of the hill were some twenty ponies

[Illustration: SLING]

With the aid of my telescope I was able to make sure that what at first
appeared to be a castle was nothing but a work of nature, and that
apparently no one was concealed up there. The ponies, however, indicated
the presence of men, and we had to move cautiously. In fact, rounding the
next hill, we discerned in the grassy valley below a number of black
tents, two hundred yaks, and about a thousand sheep. We kept well out of
sight behind the hill, and making a long détour, we at last descended in
an extensive valley, in which the river described a semicircle, washing
the southern hill ranges, where it was joined by a tributary coming from
the S.E. This tributary at first appeared to me larger than what I
afterwards recognised to be the main stream, so that I followed its
course for four miles (92° 30' b.m.), till I found that it was taking me
in a more southerly direction than I wished, and had to retrace my steps
along a flattish plateau. Meeting two Tibetan women, I purchased, after
endless trouble, a fat sheep out of a flock they were driving before
them. These two females carried rope slings in their hands, and the
accuracy with which they could fling stones and hit the mark at very
great distances was really marvellous. For the sake of a few annas they
gave an exhibition of their skill, hitting any sheep you pointed at in
their flock, even at distances of thirty and forty yards. I tried to
obtain from these dangerous females a little information about the
country, but they professed absolute ignorance.

"We are menials," they said, "and we know nothing. We know each sheep in
our flock, and that is all, but our lord, of whom we are the slaves,
knows all. He knows where the rivers come from, and the ways to all
Gombas. He is a great king."

"And where does he live?" I inquired.

"There, two miles off, where that smoke rises to the sky."

The temptation was great to go and call on this "great king," who knew so
many things, all the more so as we might probably persuade him to sell us
provisions, which, as we had none too many, would be of great assistance
to us. Anyhow the visit would be interesting, and I decided to risk it.

[Illustration: A NATURAL CASTLE]

We steered towards the several columns of smoke that rose before us, and
eventually we approached a large camp of black tents. Our appearance
caused a good deal of commotion, and men and women rushed in and out of
their tents in great excitement.

"_Jogpas, jogpas!_" ("Brigands! brigands!") somebody in their camp
shouted, and in a moment their matchlocks were made ready, and the few
men who had remained outside the tents drew their swords, holding them
clumsily in their hands in a way hardly likely to terrify any one.

To be taken for brigands was a novel experience for us, and the warlike
array was in strange contrast to the terrified expressions on the faces
of those who stood there armed. In fact, when Chanden Sing and I walked
forward and encouraged them to sheathe their steels and put their
matchlocks by, they readily followed our advice, and brought out rugs for
us to sit upon. Having overcome their fright, they were now most anxious
to be pleasant.

"_Kiula gunge gozai deva labodù!_" ("You have nice clothes!") I began the
conversation, attempting flattery, to put the chieftain at his ease.

"_Lasso, leh!_" ( "Yes, sir") answered the Tibetan, apparently
astonished, and looking at his own attire with an air of comical pride.

His answer was sufficient to show me that the man considered me his
superior, the affirmative in Tibetan to an equal or inferior being the
mere word _lasso_ without the _leh_.


"_Kiula tuku taka zando?_" ("How many children have you?") I rejoined.

"_Ni_." ("Two.")

"_Chuwen bogpe, tsamba, chou won[)i]?_" ("Will you sell me flour or

"_Middù_--have not got any," he replied, making several quick
semicircular movements with the up-turned palm of his right hand.

This is a most characteristic action of the Tibetan, and nearly
invariably accompanies the word "No," instead of a movement of the head,
as with us.

"_Keran ga naddoung?_" ("Where are you going?") he asked me eagerly.

"_Nhgarang ne Koroun!_" ("I am a pilgrim!") "_Lungba quorghen neh
jelghen_." ("I go looking at sacred places.")

"_Gopria zaldo. Chakzal wortzié. Tsamba middù. Bogpe middù, guram middù,
dié middù, kassur middù._" ("I am very poor. Please hear me. I have no
_tsamba_, no flour, no sweet paste, no rice, no dried fruit.")

This, of course, I knew to be untrue, so I calmly said that I would
remain seated where I was until food was sold to me, and at the same time
produced one or two silver coins, the display of which to the covetous
eyes of the Tibetans was always the means of hastening the transaction of
business. In small handfuls, after each of which the Tibetans swore that
they had not another atom to sell, I managed, with somewhat of a trial to
my patience, to purchase some twenty pounds of food. The moment the money
was handed over they had a quarrel among themselves about it, and almost
came to blows, greed and avarice being the most marked characteristic of
the Tibetans. No Tibetan of any rank is ashamed to beg in the most abject
manner for the smallest silver coin, and when he sells and is paid, he
always implores for another coin, to be thrown into the bargain.

[22] All bearings given are magnetic.


     What the men were like--Their timidity--Leather work--Metal
     work--Blades and swords--Filigree--Saddles and harness--Pack

THE men of the party were extremely picturesque, with hair flowing down
their shoulders and long pigtails ornamented with pieces of red cloth,
circles of ivory and silver coins. Nearly all had the stereotyped pattern
coat, with ample sleeves hanging well over the hands, and pulled up at
the waist to receive the paraphernalia of eating-bowls, snuff-box, &c.,
employed in daily life. Most of them were dressed in dark red, and all
were armed with jewelled swords.

With flat, broad noses and slits of piercing eyes, high cheek-bones and
skin giving out abundant oily excretions, most of the men stood at a
respectful distance, scrutinising our faces and watching our movements
apparently with much interest. I have hardly ever seen such cowardice and
timidity as among these big, hulking fellows; to a European it scarcely
seems conceivable. The mere raising of one's eyes was sufficient to make
a man dash away frightened, and, with the exception of the chief, who
pretended to be unafraid, notwithstanding that even he was trembling with
fear, they one and all showed ridiculous nervousness when I approached
them to examine their clothes or the ornaments they wore round their
necks, the most prominent of which were the charm-boxes that dangled on
their chests. The larger of these charm-boxes contained an image of
Budda, the others were mere brass or silver cases with nothing in them.

I was struck here, as well as in other camps, by the skill of the
Tibetans in working leather, which they tan and prepare themselves, often
giving to it a fine red or green colour. As a rule, however, the natural
tint is preserved, especially when the leather is used for belts, bullet
and powder-pouches, and flint-and-steel cases. The hair of the skins is
removed by plucking and scraping, and preference is shown for skins of
the yak, antelope, and kiang. The Tibetans are masters of the art of
skinning, the hides being afterwards beaten, trodden upon and manipulated
to be rendered soft. There were simple ornamentations stamped upon some
of the leather articles, but in most instances either metal or leather
ornaments of various colours were fastened on the belts and pouches, iron
clasps inlaid with silver or silver ones being the commonest.

[Illustration: TIBETAN YOUNG MAN]

These metals are found in the country, and the Tibetans smelt and cast
the ore when sufficient fuel is obtainable for the purpose. Earthen
crucibles are employed to liquefy the metals, and the castings are made
in clay moulds. For the inlaid work, in which the Tibetans greatly excel,
they use hammer and chisel. Inlaid ornamentation is frequently to be seen
on the sheaths of Tibetan swords, the leaf pattern, varied scrolls and
geometrical combinations being most commonly preferred. The process of
hardening metals is still in its infancy, and Tibetan blades are of
wrought-iron, and not of steel. They succeed, however, in bringing them
to a wonderful degree of sharpness, although they entirely lack the
elasticity of steel blades. Grooves to let in air, and thus make wounds
incurable, are generally ground in the sides of the daggers, but the
blades of the common swords are perfectly smooth and made to cut on one
side only. As can be seen from the illustrations, these weapons are
hardly adapted to meet the requirements of severe fighting, as they do
not allow a firm grip, nor have they any guard for the hand. The sheaths
and handles of some of the more valuable swords are made of solid silver
inlaid with turquoises and coral beads, others of silver with gold
ornamentations. At Lhassa and at Sigatz (Shigatze), silver filigree
decorations are used on the best daggers; but nowhere else in Tibet is
fine wire-making practised.

[Illustration: SWORDS]

It must not be inferred from the above remarks that there are no steel
swords in Tibet, for indeed many fine blades of excellent Chinese steel
can be seen all over the country in the possession of the richer
officials, such as the huge two-handed, double-edged swords of Chinese
importation, used by Tibetan executioners.

The saddles, though possibly lacking comfort, are nevertheless skilfully
made. The frame is made of solid wood (imported) and set in hammered iron
(often inlaid with silver and gold, as in the saddle here reproduced),
which, like a Mexican saddle, is very high in front and at the back.
Lizard skin or coloured leather is employed to decorate certain parts,
and a pad covers the seat. A rug is, however, invariably placed over this
pad for comfort, and the short iron stirrups compel one to sit with legs
doubled up, a really not uncomfortable position when one gets used to it.
Breastpiece, crupper, bridle and bit are of leather ornamented with
inlaid metal pieces. Double bags for _tsamba_, butter, &c. are fastened
behind the saddle, together with the inevitable peg and long rope, with
which no Tibetan rider is unprovided, for the tethering of his pony at

[Illustration: SADDLE]

Pack-saddles for yaks are made on the same principle, but are of much
rougher construction, as can be judged from the illustrations,[23] in
which the two saddles I used on my journey are represented. The baggage
is made fast by means of ropes to the two upper bars. To keep the saddle
in position on the yak, and to prevent sores being inflicted, pads and
blankets are laid upon the animal's back. Add to this protection the long
coat possessed by the beast itself, and it will be clear why it very
seldom sustains the slightest injury from these apparently cruel burdens.

[23] See page 223.


     Rain in torrents--A miserable night--A gorge--A gigantic
     inscription--Sheltered under boulders--A fresh surprise--Only two
     followers left.

WHEN night came on, I did not consider it safe to encamp near the
Tibetans. We moved away, driving our yaks before us and dragging the
newly purchased sheep. We marched two-and-a-half miles, and then halted
in a depression in the ground (16,050 feet), where we had a little
shelter from the wind, which blew with great force. To our right lay a
short range of fairly high mountains running from North to South, and cut
by a gorge, out of which flowed a large stream. At that time of the
evening we could not hope to cross it, but an attempt might be made in
the morning, when the cold of the night would have checked the melting of
the snows. Heavy showers had fallen frequently during the day, and the
moment the sun went down there was a regular downpour. Our little
_tente-d'abri_ had been pitched, but we had to clear out of it a couple
of hours later, the small basin in which we had pitched it having been
turned into a regular pond. There was no alternative for us but to come
out into the open, for where the water did not flood us the wind was so
high and the ground so moist that it was not possible to keep our tent
up. The pegs would not hold. The hours of the night seemed very long as
we sat tightly wrapped up in our waterproofs, with feet, hands and ears
frozen, and the water dripping down upon us. At dawn there were no signs
of the storm abating. We had not been able to light a fire in the
evening, nor could we light one now, and we were cold, hungry and
miserable. The thermometer had been down to 36°. Towards noon, the rain
still pouring down in torrents and there being no sign of its clearing,
we loaded our yaks and entered the gorge between the snow-covered
mountains. With difficulty we crossed the tributary we had so far
followed, and then proceeded along the right bank of the main stream to
23° 30", then to 25°.


We were so exhausted and wet that, when towards evening we came to an
enormous cliff, on the rocky face of which a patient Lama sculptor had
engraved in gigantic letters the everlasting characters, _Omne mani padme
hun_, we halted. The gorge was very narrow here, and we managed to find a
dry spot under a big boulder, but as there was not sufficient room for
all five, the two Shokas went under the shelter of another rock a little
way off. This seemed natural enough, nor could I anticipate any danger,
taking care myself of the weapons and the scientific instruments, while
the Shokas had under their own sheltering boulder the bags containing
nearly all our provisions except tinned meats. The rain pelted all night,
the wind howled, and again we could not light a fire. The thermometer did
not fall below 38°, but the cold, owing to our drenched condition, seemed
intense. In fact, we were so frozen that we did not venture to eat, but,
crouching ourselves in the small dry space at our disposal, we eventually
fell fast asleep without tasting food. I slept soundly for the first time
since I had been in Tibet, and it was broad daylight when I woke up, to
find the man Nattoo from Kuti, and Bijesing the Johari, departed from
under their sheltering rock, together with the loads entrusted to them. I
discovered their tracks, half washed away, in the direction from which we
had come the previous night. The rascals had bolted, and there would have
been comparatively little harm in that, if only they had not taken with
them all the stock of provisions for my two Hindoo servants, and a
quantity of good rope, straps, and other miscellaneous articles, which we
were bound to miss at every turn and which we had absolutely no means of

Of thirty picked servants who had started with me, twenty-eight had now
abandoned me, and only two remained: faithful Chanden Sing and Mansing
the leper!

The weather continued horrible, with no food for my men and no fuel! I
proposed to the two to go back also and let me continue alone. I
described to them the dangers of following me farther, and warned them
fully, but they absolutely refused to leave me.

"Sahib, we are not Shokas," were their words. "If you die, we will die
with you. We fear not death. We are sorry to see you suffer, sahib, but
never mind us. We are only poor people, therefore it is of no


     My time fully occupied--Our own yak drivers--A heavy blow--Along
     the stream--Soldiers in pursuit of us--Discovered.

THIS last disaster should, I suppose, have deterred us from further
progress, but it somehow made me even more determined to persist than I
was before. It was no light job to have to run afield oneself to capture
the yaks, which had wandered off in search of grass; and having found
them and driven them back to our primitive camping-place, to tie upon
their backs the pack-saddles, and fasten on them the heavy tin-lined
cases of scientific instruments and photographic plates. This task was
only part of the day's routine, which included the writing up of my
diary, the registering of observations, sketching, photographing,
changing plates in cameras, occasionally developing them, surveying,
cleaning of rifles, revolver, &c. &c. The effort of lifting up the heavy
cases on to the pack-saddles was, owing to our exhausted condition, a
severe tax on our strength, and the tantalising restlessness of the yaks
forced us to make several attempts before we actually succeeded in
properly fastening the loads, particularly as we had lost our best pieces
of rope and leather straps. Our sole remaining piece of rope seemed
hardly long enough to make the final knot to one of the girths; anyhow
neither my bearer nor Mansing had sufficient strength to pull and make it
join; so I made them hold the yak by the horns to keep him steady while I
pulled my hardest. I succeeded with a great effort, and was about to get
up, when a terrific blow from the yak's horn struck me in the skull an
inch behind my right ear and sent me rolling head over heels. I was
stunned for several moments, and the back of my head was swollen and sore
for many days, the mark of the blow being visible even now.


We proceeded along the right bank of the river on a course of 85° between
reddish hills and distant high snowy mountains to the N.W. and E.S.E. of
us, which we saw from time to time when the rain ceased and the sky
cleared. The momentary lifting of the clouds would be followed by another
downpour, and the marching became very unpleasant and difficult, as we
sank deep in the mud. Towards evening, we suddenly discovered some
hundred and fifty soldiers riding full gallop in pursuit of us along the
river valley. We pushed on, and having got out of their sight behind a
hill, we deviated from our course and rapidly climbed up to the top of
the hill range; my two men and the yaks concealed themselves on the other
side. I remained lying flat on the top of the hill, spying with my
telescope the movements of our pursuers. They rode unsuspectingly on, the
tinkling of their horse-bells sounding pleasant to the ear at that
deserted spot. They made a pretty picture, and, thinking probably that we
had continued our way along the river, they rode past the spot where we
had left the path, and, possibly owing to their haste to catch us up, did
not notice our tracks up the hillside.

Rain began to fall heavily again, and we remained encamped at 17,000 feet
with all our loads ready for flight at any moment; the night being spent
none too comfortably. I sat up all night, rifle in hand, in case of a
surprise, and I was indeed glad when day dawned. The rain had stopped,
but we were now enveloped in a white mist which chilled us. I was very
tired, and telling Chanden Sing to keep a sharp watch, tried to sleep for
a while.


"_Hazur, hazur! jaldi apka banduk!_" ("Sir, sir, quick, your rifle!")
muttered my bearer, rousing me. "Do you hear the sound of bells?"

The tinkling was quite plain. As our pursuers were approaching, evidently
in a strong body, there was no time to be lost. To successfully evade
them appeared impossible, so I decided to meet them, rather than attempt
flight. Chanden Sing and I were armed with our rifles, and Mansing with
his Gourkha _kukri_, and thus we awaited their arrival. There came out of
the mist a long procession of grey, phantomlike figures, each one leading
a pony. The advance guard stopped from time to time to examine the
ground; having discovered our footprints only partially washed away by
the rain, they were following them up. Seeing us at last on the top of
the hill, they halted. There was commotion among them, and they held an
excited consultation; some of them unslung their matchlocks, others drew
their swords, while we sat on a rock above and watched them with
undivided attention.


     An interview--Peace or war?--Gifts and the scarf of
     friendship--The _Kata_--The end of a friendly visit.

AFTER hesitating a little, four officers signalled to us that they wished
to approach.

"You are a great king!" shouted one at the top of his voice, "and we want
to lay these presents at your feet," and he pointed to some small bags
which the other three men were carrying. "_Gelbo! Chakzal! Chakzal!_"
("We salute you, king!")

I felt anything but regal after the wretched night we had spent, but I
wished to treat the natives with due deference and politeness whenever it
was possible.

I said that four men might approach, but the bulk of the party was to
withdraw to a spot about two hundred yards away. This they immediately
did, a matter of some surprise to me after the warlike attitude they had
assumed at first. They laid their matchlocks down in the humblest
fashion, and duly replaced their swords in their sheaths. The four
officers approached, and when quite close to us, threw the bags on the
ground and opened them to show us their contents. There was _tsamba_,
flour, _chura_ (a kind of cheese), _guram_ (sweet paste), butter, and
dried fruit. The officers were most profuse in their humble salutations.
They had removed their caps and thrown them on the ground, and they kept
their tongues sticking out of their mouths until I begged them to draw
them in. They professed to be the subordinates of the Tokchim Tarjum, who
had despatched them to inquire after my health, and who wished me to look
upon him as my best friend. Well aware of the difficulties we must
encounter in travelling through such an inhospitable country, the
Tarjum, they said, wished me to accept the gifts they now laid before me,
and with these they handed me a _Kata_, or "the scarf of love and
friendship," a long piece of thin silklike gauze, the end of which had
been cut into a fringe. In Tibet these _Katas_ accompany every gift, and
no caller ever goes about without one, which instantly on arrival he
produces for presentation to his host. The high Lamas sell them to
devotees, and one or more of these scarves is presented to those who
leave a satisfactory oblation after visiting a lamasery and temple. If a
verbal message is sent to a friend, a _Kata_ is sent with it, and among
officials and Lamas small pieces of this silk gauze are enclosed even in
letters. Not to give or send a _Kata_ to an honoured visitor is
considered a breach of good manners and is equivalent to a slight.

[Illustration: A KATA]

I hastened to express my thanks for the Tarjum's kindness, and I handed
the messengers a sum in silver of three times the value of the articles
presented. The men seemed very pleasant and friendly, and we chatted for
some time. Much to my annoyance, poor Mansing, bewildered at the sight of
so much food, could no longer resist the pangs of hunger and, caring
little for the breach of etiquette and likely consequences, proceeded to
fill his mouth with handfuls of flour, cheese and butter. This led the
Tibetans to suspect that we must be starving, and with their usual
shrewdness they determined to take advantage of it.

"The Tarjum," said the oldest of the messengers, "wishes you to come back
and be his guest, when he will feed you and your men, and you will then
go back to your country."

"Thank you," I replied; "we do not want the Tarjum's food, nor do we wish
to go back. I am greatly obliged for his kindness, but we will continue
our journey."

"Then," angrily said a young and powerful Tibetan, "if you continue your
journey we will take back our gifts."

"And your _Kata!_" I rejoined, sending first the large ball of butter
flying into his chest, and after it the small bags of flour, _tsamba_,
cheese, fruit, &c., a minute earlier prettily laid out before us.

This unexpected bombardment quite upset the Tibetans, who, with powdered
coats, hair and faces, scampered away as best they could, while Chanden
Sing, always as quick as lightning when it was a case of hitting, pounded
away with the butt of his rifle at the roundest part of one ambassador's
body, as in his clumsy clothes he attempted to get up and run.

Mansing, the philosopher of our party, interrupted in his feed but not
put out, nor concerned in what was going on, picked up the fruit and
cheese and pieces of butter scattered all over the place, mumbling that
it was a shame to throw away good food in such a reckless fashion.

The soldiers, who had been watching attentively from a distance the
different phases of the interview, considered it prudent to beat a hasty
retreat, and, mounting their steeds with unmistakable dispatch, galloped
pell-mell down the hill, and then along the valley of the river, until
they were lost to sight in the mist, while the poor ambassadors, who had
been unable to rejoin their ponies, followed as quickly as possible under
the circumstances, considering the rarefied air and rough ground.

Their cries of distress, caused by fear alone, for we had done them no
harm, served to strengthen the contempt in which my men by now held the
Tibetan soldiers and their officers.

The scene really was comical, and I made as much capital as I could out
of it, laughing with my companions and ridiculing to them the supposed
valour of Tibetans.

When the Tibetans were out of sight, Chanden Sing and I pocketed our
pride and helped Mansing to collect the dried dates, apricots, the pieces
of _chura_, butter and _guram_. Then having loaded our yaks we marched


     Rain in torrents--A swampy plain--The sun at last--Our yaks
     stolen and recovered.

WE were not in luck. The weather continued squally in the morning, and in
the afternoon the rain was again torrential. We went towards 78° over
uninteresting and monotonous grey country with a chain of snowy peaks
stretching from South-West to North-East. We waded through a fairly deep
and very cold river, and subsequently rose over a pass 17,450 feet. A
number of Hunyas, with flocks of several thousand sheep, came in sight,
but we avoided them. They did not see us.

At the point where we crossed it, the main stream turns in a graceful
bend to 140° (b.m.). We climbed over hilly and barren country to an
altitude of 17,550 feet, where several small lakelets were to be found,
and, having marched in all fourteen and a-half miles in a drenching rain,
we descended into a large valley. Here we had great difficulty in finding
a spot where to rest for the night. The plain was simply a swamp, with
several lakes and ponds, and we sank everywhere in mud and water. All our
bedding and clothes were soaked to such an extent that it really made no
difference where we halted; so we pitched our little tent on the banks of
a stream coming out of a valley to the North, from which, extending in an
easterly direction, rose a series of pyramidal mountains, covered with
snow, and all of almost equal height and base. To the South were high
peaks with great quantities of snow upon them. This valley was at an
elevation of 17,450 feet, and the cold was intense.

[Illustration: TORRENTIAL RAIN]

At night the rain came down in bucketsful, and our _tente d'abri_ gave us
but little shelter. We were lying inside in water, and all the trenches
in the world could not have kept it from streaming in. In fact, it is
no exaggeration to say that the whole valley was a sheet of water from
one to several inches deep. Of course, we suffered intensely from cold,
the thermometer dropping to 26° at 8 P.M., when a South-East wind blew
furiously; and the rain fell mixed with sleet for a time, and was
followed by a heavy snowstorm. We lay crouched up on the top of our
baggage, so as not to sleep on the frozen water, and when we woke in the
morning our tent had half collapsed owing to the weight of snow upon it.
During the day the temperature went up and rain fell afresh, so that when
we resumed our marching, we sank into a mixture of mud, snow and water
several inches deep. We had to cross three rivers, and to skirt five
lakes of various sizes, following a course of 83° 45'.

Seven miles of this dreary marching saw us encamped (17,380 feet) by the
foot of a conical hill 17,500 feet, where an almost identical repetition
of the previous night's experience took place. The thermometer was down
to 32°, but fortunately the wind subsided at eight in the evening. As
luck would have it, the sun came out the following day, and we were able
to spread out all our things to dry, during which process we had yet
another novel experience.

[Illustration: HEAD OF BRIGAND]

Our two yaks had disappeared. I climbed up to the summit of the hill
above camp, and with my telescope scoured the plain. The two animals were
some distance off being led away by ten or twelve men on horseback, who
drove in front of them a flock of about five hundred sheep. By their
clothing I recognised the strangers to be robbers. Naturally I started
post haste to recover my property, leaving Chanden Sing and Mansing in
charge of our camp. I caught them up as they marched slowly, though, when
they perceived me, they hastened on, trying to get away. I shouted three
times to them to stop, but they paid no heed to my words, so that I
unslung my rifle and would have shot at them had the threat alone not
been sufficient to make them reflect. They halted, and when I got near
enough I claimed my two yaks back. They refused to give them up. They
said they were twelve men, and were not afraid of one. Dismounted from
their ponies, they seemed ready to go for me.


As I saw them take out a flint and steel to light the fuses of their
matchlocks, I thought I might as well have my innings first, and, before
they could guess at my intention, I applied a violent blow with the
muzzle of my rifle to the stomach of the man nearest to me. He collapsed,
while I administered another blow to the right temple of another man who
held his matchlock between his legs, and was on the point of striking his
flint and steel to set the tinder on fire. He, too, staggered and fell

"_Chakzal, chakzal! Chakzal wortzié!_" ("We salute you, we salute you!
Please listen!") exclaimed a third brigand, with an expression of
dismay, and holding up his thumbs, with his fist closed in sign of

"_Chakzal_," I replied, shoving a cartridge into the Mannlicher.

"_Middù, middù!_" ("No, no!") they entreated, promptly laying down their

I purchased from these men about thirty pounds of _tsamba_ and eight of
butter, and got one of them to carry this to my camp, while I, without
further trouble, recovered my yaks and drove them back to where Chanden
Sing and Mansing were busy lighting a fire to make some tea.

[Illustration: SADDLE BAGS]


     Travelling Tibetans--Over a high pass--A friendly meeting--A
     proffered banquet--Ascent to 20,000 feet--Looking for the Gunkyo
     Lake--Surprised by a phantom army.

TOWARDS noon, when our things had got almost dry in the warm sun, the sky
became overclouded, and it again began to rain heavily. I was rather
doubtful as to whether I should go over a pass some miles off to 93°
(b.m.), or should follow the course of the river and skirt the foot of
the mountains. We saw a large number of Tibetans travelling in the
opposite direction to ours, and they all seemed much terrified when we
approached them. We obtained from them a few more pounds of food, but
they refused to sell us any sheep, of which they had thousands. I decided
to attempt the first-mentioned route and, making our way first over a
continuation of the flat plateau, then over undulating, ground, we came
to two lakelets, at the foot of the pass in question. The ascent was
comparatively gentle, over snow, and we followed the river descending
from the top. About half-way up, on looking back, we saw eight soldiers
galloping toward us. We waited for them; and as soon as they came up to
us, they went through the usual servile salutations, depositing their
arms on the ground to show that they had no intention of fighting. A long
friendly palaver followed, the Tibetans professing their friendship for
us and their willingness to help us to get on in any way in their power.
This was rather too good to be true, and I suspected treachery, all the
more so when they pressed and entreated us to go back to their tents,
where they wished us to remain as their highly-honoured guests, and where
we should have all the luxuries that human mind can conceive showered
upon us. On further specification, these were found to consist of
presents of _chura_, cheese, butter, yak milk, and _tsamba_, and they
said they would sell us ponies if we required them. The description was
too glowing; so, taking all things into consideration, and allowing for
the inaccuracy of speech of my interlocutors as well as of Tibetans in
general, I thanked them from the bottom of my heart and answered that I
preferred to continue my way and bear my present sufferings.


They perceived that I was not easy to catch, and, if anything, they
respected me the more for it. In fact they could not disguise their
amazement at my having got so far with only two men. When I had given my
visitors some little present, we parted at last, in a very friendly

We climbed up to the pass (18,480 feet), and before us on the other side
found a large stretch of flat land, some two thousand feet lower. I could
see a lake, which I took to be the Gunkyo. Nevertheless, to make certain
of it, I left my men and yaks on the pass and went to reconnoitre from a
peak 19,000 feet high, N.E. of us. There was much snow and the ascent was
difficult and tedious. When I got to the top another higher peak barred
the view in front of me, so descending first and then ascending again, I
climbed this second summit, finally reaching an elevation of 20,000 feet,
and obtaining a good bird's-eye view of the country all round. There was
a long snowy range to the North, and, directly under it, what I imagined
to be a stretch of water, judging from the mist and clouds forming above
it, and from the grass on the lower portion of the mountains.

A hill range stood in my way, just high enough to conceal the lake behind
it. I rejoined my men and we continued our march down the other side of
the pass, sinking in deep, soft snow. We pitched our tent at a spot about
five hundred feet higher than the plain below us, in a gorge formed by
the two mountain sides coming close together. Notwithstanding that I was
now quite accustomed to great altitudes, the ascent to 20,000 feet had
caused a certain exhaustion, and I should have been glad of a good
night's rest.

Mansing and Chanden Sing, having eaten some food, slept soundly, but I
felt very depressed. I had a peculiar sense of unrest and of some evil
coming to us during the night.

We were all three under our little tent, when I began to fancy there was
some one outside. I do not know why the thought entered my head, for I
heard no noise, but all the same I felt I must see and satisfy my
curiosity. I peeped out of the tent with my rifle in hand, and saw a
number of black figures cautiously crawling towards us. In a moment I was
outside on my bare feet, running towards them and shouting at the top of
my voice, "_Pila tedau tedang!_" ("Look out, look out!") which caused a
stampede among our ghostlike visitors. There were, apparently, numbers of
them hidden behind rocks, for when the panic seized them, the number of
runaways was double or even treble that of the phantoms I had at first
seen approaching. At one moment there seemed to be black ghosts springing
out from everywhere, only, more solid than ghosts, they made a dreadful
noise with their heavy boots as they ran in confusion down the steep
descent and through the gorge. They turned sharply round the hill at the
bottom and disappeared.

When I crawled inside the tent again Chanden Sing and Mansing, wrapped
head and all in their blankets, were still snoring!


     A sleepless night--Watching our enemy--A picturesque sight--A
     messenger--Soldiers from Lhassa--Taken for a Kashmeree--The
     Gunkyo Lake.

NATURALLY I passed a sleepless night after that, fearing that the
unwelcome visitors might return. We speculated much as to how the
Tibetans had found us, and we could not help surmising that our friends
of the previous afternoon must have put them on our track. However, such
was the inconceivable cowardice shown on every occasion by the Tibetans,
that we got to attach no importance to these incidents, and not only did
they not inspire us with fear, but they even ceased to excite or disturb
us much.

We went on as usual, descending to the plain, and when we had got
half-way across it, I scoured the hills all round with my telescope to
see if I could discern traces of our pusillanimous foes.

"There they are," cried Chanden Sing, who had the most wonderful eyesight
of any man I have known, as he pointed at the summit of a hill where,
among the rocks, several heads could be seen peeping. We went on without
taking further notice of them, and then they came out of their
hiding-place, and we saw them descending the hill in a long line, leading
their ponies. On reaching the plain they mounted their steeds and came
full gallop towards us. They were quite a picturesque sight in their
dark-red coats or brown and yellow skin robes and their vari-coloured
caps. Some wore bright red coats with gold braiding, and Chinese caps.
These were officers. The soldiers' matchlocks, to the rests of which red
and white flags were attached, gave a touch of colour to the otherwise
dreary scenery of barren hills and snow, and the tinkling of the
horse-bells enlivened the monotony of these silent, inhospitable
regions. They dismounted some three hundred yards from us, and one old
man, throwing aside his matchlock and sword in a theatrical fashion,
walked unsteadily towards us. We received him kindly, and he afforded us
great amusement, for in his way he was a strange character.

[Illustration: THE GUNKYO LAKE]

[Illustration: "I AM ONLY A MESSENGER"]

"I am only a messenger," he hastened to state, "and therefore do not pour
your anger upon me if I speak to you. I only convey the words of my
officers, who do not dare to come for fear of being injured. News has
been received at Lhassa, from whence we have come, that a _Plenki_ (an
Englishman) with many men is in Tibet, and can be found nowhere. We have
been sent to capture him. Are you one of his advance guard?"

"No," I replied drily. "I suppose that you have taken several months to
come from Lhassa."

"Oh no! Our ponies are good," he answered; "and we have come quickly."

"_Chik, ni, sum, shi, nga, do, diu, ghieh, gu, chu, chuck chick, chuck
ni_," the Tibetan counted up to twelve, frowning and keeping his head
inclined towards the right as if to collect his thoughts, at the same
time holding up his hand, with the thumb folded against the palm, and
turning down a finger as he called each number. The thumbs are never
used in counting. "_Lum chuck ni niman!_" "Twelve days," said he, "have
we been on the road. We have orders not to return till we have captured
the _Plenki_. And you?" asked he inquisitively, "how long have you taken
to come from Ladak?"

He said that he could see by my face that I was a Kashmeree, I being
probably so burnt and dirty that it was hard to distinguish me from a
native. The old man cross-examined me to find out whether I was a
_pundit_ sent by the Indian Government to survey the country, and asked
me why I had discarded my native clothes for _Plenki_ (European) ones. He
over and over again inquired whether I was not one of the _Plenki's_

"_Keran ga naddo ung?_" ("Where are you going?") he queried.

"_Nhgarang no koroun Lama jehlhuong._" ("I am a pilgrim," I replied,
"going to visit monasteries.")

"_Keran mi japodù._" ("You are a good man.")

He offered to show me the way to the Gunkyo Lake, and was so pressing
that I accepted. However, when I saw the 200 soldiers mount and follow
us, I remonstrated with him, saying that if we were to be friends we did
not need an army to escort us.

"If you are our friend, you can come alone, and we will not injure you,"
I gave him to understand; "but if you are our enemy we will fight you and
your army here at once, and we will save you the trouble of coming on."

The Tibetan, confused and hesitating, went to confabulate with his men,
and returned some time after with eight of them, while the bulk of his
force galloped away in the opposite direction.

We went across the plain to 355° (b.m.), until we came to a hill range,
which we crossed over a pass 17,450 feet high. Then, altering our course
to 56° 30', we descended and ascended several hills, and at last found
ourselves in the grassy sheltered valley of the large Gunkyo Lake,
extending from South-East to North-West. With a temperature of 68°
(Fahr.) the water in hypsometrical apparatus boiled at 183° 3½' at 8.30
in the evening. The lake was of extraordinary beauty, with the high snowy
Gangri mountains rising almost sheer from its waters, and on the southern
side lofty hills forming a background wild and picturesque, but barren
and desolate beyond all words. At the other end of the lake, to the
North-West, were lower mountains skirting the water.

We encamped at 16,455 feet, and the soldiers pitched their tent some
fifty yards away.


     In pleasant company--Unpopularity of the Lamas--Soldiers--Towards
     the Maium Pass--Grass--Threats--Puzzled Tibetans--The Maium

DURING the evening the Tibetans came over to my camp and made themselves
useful. They helped us to get fuel, and brewed tea for me in Tibetan
fashion. They seemed decent fellows, although sly if you like. They
professed to hate the Lamas, the rulers of the country, to whom they took
special pleasure in applying names hardly repeatable in these pages.
According to them, the Lamas had all the money that came into the
country, and no one but themselves was allowed to have any. They were not
particular as to the means used to obtain their aim; they were cruel and
unjust. Every man in Tibet, they said, was a soldier in case of
emergency, and every one a servant of the Lamas. The soldiers of the
standing army received a certain quantity of _tsamba_, bricks of tea and
butter, and that was all, no pay being given in cash. Usually, however,
they were given a pony to ride, and when on travelling duty they had a
right to obtain relays of animals at post-stations and villages, where
also they were entitled to claim supplies of food, saddles, or anything
else they required, to last them as far as the next encampment. The
weapons (sword and matchlock) generally belonged to the men themselves,
and always remained in the family; but occasionally, and especially in
the larger towns, such as Lhassa and Sigatz, the Lamas provided them:
gunpowder and bullets were invariably supplied by the authorities. The
arms were manufactured mostly in Lhassa and Sigatz. Although the Tibetans
boasted of great accuracy in shooting with their matchlocks, which had
wooden rests to allow the marksman to take a steady aim, it was never my
pleasure to see even the champion shots in the country hit the mark. It
is true that, for sporting purposes and for economy's sake, the Tibetan
soldier hardly ever used lead bullets or shot, but preferred to fill his
barrel with pebbles, which were scarcely calculated to improve the bore
of the weapon. Furthermore, gunpowder was so scarce that it was but very
seldom they had a chance of practising.


At sunrise the view of Gunkyo was magnificent, with the snow-covered
mountains tinted gold and red, and reflected in their minutest details in
the still waters of the lake. We loaded our yaks, the Tibetans giving us
a helping hand, and started towards the Maium Pass, following a general
course of 109° up the river, which throws itself into the Gunkyo Lake.

[Illustration: MATCHLOCK]

The valley was very narrow, and ran in continuous zigzags; but although
the altitude was great, there was abundance of grass, and the green was
quite refreshing to the eyes, tired as we were of snow and reddish barren
mountains and desert-like stretches of land. We came to a basin where, on
the opposite bank of the stream, was a large Tibetan camping-ground with
a high wall of stones. Behind it I could see smoke rising, which made me
suspect that there were people concealed there.

Our Tibetan friends asked what we were going to do, and begged me to stop
there to talk and drink tea. I said I had had quite enough of both, and
would proceed.

"If you go on we will kill you," said one of the soldiers, getting into a
temper, and taking advantage of our politeness towards him and his mates.

"_Nga samgi ganta indah_" ("If you please"), I answered with studied

"If you go another step, we will cut off your head, or you will have to
cut off ours," cried two or three others, stretching their bare necks
towards me.

"_Taptih middù_" ("I have not got a small knife"), I replied, quite
seriously, and with assumed disappointment, twirling my hand in the air
in Tibetan fashion.

The Tibetans did not know what to make of me, and when I moved towards
the pass, on which hundreds of flying prayers flapped in the wind, after
politely bidding them good-bye with tongue out, and waving both my hands
palms upwards in front of my forehead in the most approved Tibetan style,
they took off their caps and humbly saluted us by going down on their
knees and putting their heads close to the ground.

We crossed the plain, and slowly wended our way up the pass. Near the top
we came to a track, the highway from Ladak to Lhassa _viâ_ Gartok, along
the northern side of the Rakstal, Mansarowar and Gunkyo Lakes. On the
pass itself were planted several poles connected by means of ropes, from
which flying prayers waved gaily in the breeze. _Obos_, or mounds of
stones, had also been erected here. The slabs were usually white, and
bore in many instances the inscription "_Omne mani padme hun_." Yak
skulls and horns, as well as those of goats and sheep, were laid by the
side of these Obos, the same words being engraved on the bone and stained
red with the blood of the animal killed.

These sacrifices are offered by Tibetans when crossing a high pass,
especially if there is a Lama close at hand to commemorate the event. The
meat of the animal killed is eaten by the people present, and, if the
party is a large one, dancing and singing follow the feast. As I have
already remarked, these Obos are found all over the country; they
indicate the points marking the passes or summits of hills, and no
Tibetan ever goes by one of them without depositing on it a white stone
to appease the possible wrath of their God.


     The Maium Pass--Into the Yutzang province--Its capital--The
     Doktol province--Orders disregarded--The sources of the
     Brahmaputra--Change in the climate--The valley of the
     Brahmaputra--Running risks.

THE Maium Pass (17,500 feet), to which from where I started no Englishman
had ever penetrated, is a great landmark in Tibet, for not only does one
of the sources of the great Tsangpu, or Brahmaputra River, rise on its
S.E. slopes, but it also separates the immense provinces of Nari-Khorsum
(extending West of the Maium Pass and comprising the mountainous and
lacustrine region as far as Ladak) from the Yutzang, the central province
of Tibet, stretching East of the pass along the valley of the Brahmaputra
and having Lhassa for its capital. The word _Yu_ in Tibetan means
"middle," and it is applied to this province, as it occupies the centre
of Tibet. To the North of the Maium lies the Doktol province.

I had taken a reconnoitring trip to another pass to the N.E. of us, and
had just returned to my men on the Maium Pass, when several of the
Tibetan soldiers we had left behind rode up towards us. We waited for
them, and their leader, pointing at the valley beyond the pass, cried:
"That yonder is the Lhassa territory and we forbid you to enter it."

I took no notice of his protest, and driving before me the two yaks I
stepped into the most sacred of all the sacred provinces, "the ground of

We descended quickly on the Eastern side of the pass, while the soldiers,
aghast, remained watching us from above, themselves a most picturesque
sight as they stood among the Obos against the sky-line, with the
sunlight shining on their jewelled swords and the gay red flags of their
matchlocks, while over their heads strings of flying prayers waved in
the wind. Having watched us for a little while, they disappeared.


A little rivulet, hardly six inches wide, descended among stones in the
centre of the valley we were following, and was soon swollen by other
rivulets from melting snows on the mountains to either side. This was one
source[24] of the great Brahmaputra, one of the largest rivers of the
world. I must confess that I felt somewhat proud to be the first European
who had ever reached these sources, and there was a certain childish
delight in standing over this sacred stream which, of such immense width
lower down, could here be spanned by a man standing with legs slightly
apart. We drank of its waters at the spot where it had its birth, and
then, following a marked track to 125° (b.m.), we continued our descent
on a gentle incline along a grassy valley. The change in the climate
between the West and South-east sides of the Maium Pass was
extraordinary. On the Western side we had nothing but violent storms of
hail, rain and snow, the dampness in the air rendering the atmosphere
cold even during the day. The soil was unusually marshy, and very little
fuel or grass could be found. The moment the pass was crossed we were in
a mild, pleasant climate, with a lovely deep blue sky over us and plenty
of grass for the yaks, as well as low shrubs for our fires; so that,
after all our sufferings and privations, we felt that we had indeed
entered the land of God. Notwithstanding that I expected great trouble
sooner or later, I was not at all sorry I had disobeyed the soldiers'
orders and had marched straight into the forbidden territory--it was a
kind of wild satisfaction at doing that which is forbidden.

The Brahmaputra received three small snow-fed tributaries descending
rapidly from the steep mountains on either side of us; and where the main
stream turned sharply to 170°, a fourth and important tributary, carrying
a very large volume of water, came down to it through a gorge from 20°

We encamped near the junction of these rivers, on the right bank of the
main stream, at an altitude of 16,620 feet. From the Maium Pass a
continuation of the Gangri chain of mountains runs first in a
South-easterly direction, then due East, taking a line almost parallel to
the higher Southern range of the Himahlyas, and forming a vast plain
intersected by the Brahmaputra. On the Southern side of the river can be
seen minor hill ranges between the river course and the big range with
its majestic snowy peaks and beautiful glaciers. This Northern range
keeps an almost parallel line to the greater range southward; and, though
no peaks of very considerable elevation are to be found along it, yet it
is of geographical importance, as its Southern slopes form the Northern
watershed of the holy river as far as Lhassa.

The valley enclosed between these two parallel ranges is the most thickly
populated valley in Tibet. Grass is abundant, and fuel easily obtainable,
and therefore thousands of yaks, sheep, and goats can be seen grazing
near the many Tibetan camps along the Brahmaputra and its principal
tributaries. The trade route taken by the caravans from Ladak to Lhassa
follows this valley; and, as I came to Tibet to see and study the
Tibetans, I thought that, although I might run greater risks, I could in
no part of the country accomplish my object better than by going along
this thickly populated track.

[24] I passed the other source on the return journey.


     Expecting trouble--Along the Brahmaputra--A thunderstorm--A
     dilemma--A dangerous river--Swamped--Saved--Night disturbers--A
     new friend.

WE slept very little, as we expected the soldiers to attack us during the
night to try and stop our progress, but all was quiet and nothing
happened; our yaks, however, managed to get loose, and we had some
difficulty in recovering them in the morning, for they had swum across
the stream, and had gone about a mile from camp on the other side.

The night had been very cold, the thermometer dropping as low as 32½°. We
did not pitch our little tent, in case of emergencies, and we were tired
and cold after the long march of the previous day. There was a
South-westerly breeze blowing and I found it hard to have to cross the
river, chase the yaks and bring them back to camp. Then, exhausted as we
were, we had in addition to go through the daily routine of loading them.
We followed the right bank of the stream to bearings 170° (m.), then to
142° 30' (b.m.), where it wound in and out between barren hills,
subsequently flowing through a grassy valley three-quarters of a mile
wide and a mile and a half long. It then went through a narrow passage to
17° 30' (b.m.) and turned to 103° and farther to 142° through an
undulating grassy valley two miles wide, in crossing which we were caught
in a terrific thunderstorm, with hail and rain. This was indeed an
annoying experience, for we were now before a very large tributary of the
Brahmaputra, and the stream was so swollen, rapid and deep that I was
much puzzled as to how to take my men across: they could not swim, and
the water was so cold that a dip in it would give any one a severe shock.
However, there was no time to be lost, for the river was visibly rising,
and as the storm was getting worse, difficulties would only increase
every moment. We took off every stitch of clothing and fastened our
garments, with our rifles, &c., on the pack-saddles of the yaks, which we
sent into the water. They are good swimmers, and though the current
carried them over a hundred yards down stream, we saw them with
satisfaction scramble out of the water on to the opposite bank.
Notwithstanding the faith that Chanden Sing and Mansing had in my
swimming, they really thought that their last hour had come when I took
each by the hand and asked them to follow me into the stream. Hardly had
we gone twelve yards when the inevitable took place. We were all three
swept away, and Chanden Sing and Mansing in their panic clung tight to my
arms and dragged me under water. Though I swam my hardest with my legs,
we continually came to the surface and then sank again, owing to the dead
weight of my helpless mates. But at last, after a desperate struggle, the
current washed us on to the opposite side, where we found our feet, and
were soon able to scramble out of the treacherous river. We were some two
hundred yards down stream from the spot at which we had entered the
river, and such was the quantity of muddy water we had swallowed that we
all three became sick. This left us much exhausted, and, as the storm
showed no signs of abating, we encamped (16,320 feet) there and then on
the left bank of the stream. Though we sadly needed some warm food, there
was, of course, no possibility of lighting a fire. A piece of chocolate
was all I had that night, and my men preferred to eat nothing rather than
break their caste by eating my food.

[Illustration: TIBETAN DOG]

[Illustration: SMALL MANI WALL]

We were asleep under our little tent, the hour being about eleven, when
there was a noise outside as of voices and people stumbling against
stones. I was out in a moment with my rifle, and shouted the usual
"_Paladò_" ("Go away"), in answer to which, though I could see nothing
owing to the darkness, I heard several stones flung from slings whizzing
past me. One of these hit the tent, and a dog barked furiously. I fired a
shot in the air, which had the good effect of producing a hasty retreat
of our enemies, whoever they were. The dog, however, would not go. He
remained outside barking all night, and it was only in the morning, when
I gave him some food and caressed him in Tibetan fashion, with the usual
words of endearment, "_Chochu, Chochu_," that our four-footed foe became
friendly, rubbing himself against my legs as if he had known me all his
life, and taking a particular fancy to Mansing, by whose side he lay
down. From that day he never left our camp, and followed us everywhere,
until harder times came upon us.


     Leaving the course of the river--A pass--An arid plain--More
     vanishing soldiers--Another river--A _mani_ wall--_Mirage?_--A
     large Tibetan encampment--The chain of mountains North of us.

THE river was turning too much towards the South, so I decided to abandon
it and strike across country, especially as there were faint signs of a
track leading over a pass to 110° (b.m.) from camp. I followed this
track, and along it I distinguished marks of hundreds of ponies' hoofs,
now almost entirely washed away. This was evidently the way taken by the
soldiers we had encountered on the other side of the Maium Pass.

Having risen over the col 17,750 feet, we saw before us an extensive
valley with barren hills scattered over it. To the South we observed a
large plain some ten miles wide, with snowy peaks rising on the farther
side. In front was a hill projecting into the plain, on which stood a
_mani_ wall; and this latter discovery made me feel quite confident that
I was on the high road to Lhassa. About eight miles off to the NNW. were
high snowy peaks, and as we went farther we found a lofty mountain range,
with still higher peaks, three miles behind it. We had travelled half-way
across the waterless plain, when we noticed a number of soldiers' heads
and matchlocks popping in and out from behind a distant hill. After a
while they came out in numbers to observe our movements, then retired
again behind the hill. We proceeded, but when we were still half a mile
from them they abandoned their hiding-place, and galloped away before us,
raising clouds of dust. From a hill 16,200 feet, over which the track
crossed, we perceived a group of very high snowy peaks about eight miles
distant. Between them and us stood a range of hills cut by a valley,
along which flowed a river carrying a large volume of water. This we
followed to 126° (b.m.), and having found a suitable fording-place, we
crossed over at a spot where the stream was twenty-five yards across, and
the water reached up to our waists. We found here another _mani_ wall
with large inscriptions on stones, and as the wind was very high and
cutting, we made use of it to shelter us. Within the angle comprised
between bearings 240° and 120° (b.m.) we could observe a very high, snowy
mountain range in the distance (the great Himahlyan chain), and lower
hill ranges even as near as three miles from camp. The river we had just
crossed flowed into the Brahmaputra, and we were now at an elevation of
15,700 feet. We saw plainly at sunset a number of black tents before us
at bearings 120°; we calculated them to be two miles distant. We counted
about sixty, as well as hundreds of black yaks.

[Illustration: AN EFFECT OF MIRAGE]

At sunrise the next morning, much to our surprise, they had all vanished;
nor, on marching in the direction where we had seen them the previous
night, were we able to find traces of them. It seemed as if it must have
been _mirage_. Eventually, however, some fourteen miles away, across a
grassy plain bounded to the North-East by the range extending from
North-West to South-East, and with lofty snowy peaks at 72° some five
miles off, we came upon a very large Tibetan encampment of over eighty
black tents at an altitude of 15,650 feet. They were pitched on the banks
of another tributary of the Brahmaputra, which, after describing a great
curve in the plain, passed West of the encampment. Five miles off, in the
arc of circle described from 310° to 70° (b.m.), stood the chain of
mountains which I had observed all along; but here the elevations of its
peaks became gradually lower and lower, so much so that the name of "hill
range" would be more appropriate to it than that of "mountain chain."
Behind it, however, towered loftier peaks again with their snowy caps.


     A commotion--An invitation declined--The tents--Delicacies--The

WE wanted food, and so made boldly for the encampment. Our approach
caused a great commotion, and yaks and sheep were hastily driven away
before us, while men and women rushed in and out of their tents,
apparently in a state of much excitement. Eight or ten men reluctantly
came forward and entreated us to go inside a large tent. They said they
wished to speak to us, and offered us tea. I would not accept their
invitation, distrusting them, but went on across the encampment, halting
some three hundred yards beyond it. Chanden Sing and I proceeded
afterwards on a round of calls at all the tents, trying to purchase food
and also to show that, if we had declined to enter a particular tent, it
was not on account of fear, but because we did not want to be caught in a
trap. Our visit to the different _golingchos_ or _gurr_ (tents) was
interesting enough. The tents themselves were very cleverly constructed,
and admirably adapted to the country in which they were used; and the
various articles of furniture inside attracted my curiosity. The tents,
black in colour, were woven of yaks' hair, the natural greasiness of
which made them quite waterproof. They consisted of two separate pieces
of this thick material, supported by two poles at each end, and there was
an oblong aperture above in the upper part of the tent, through which the
smoke could escape. The base of the larger tents was hexagonal in shape:
the roof, generally at a height of six or seven feet above the ground,
was kept very tightly stretched by means of long ropes passing over high
poles and pegged to the ground. Wooden and iron pegs were used for this
purpose, and many were required to keep the tent close to the ground all
round, so as to protect its inmates from the cutting winds of the great
plateau. Long poles, as a rule numbering four, with white flying prayers,
could be seen outside each tent, or one to each point of the compass, the
East being taken for a starting-point. Around the interior of the larger
tents there was a mud wall from two to three feet high, for the purpose
of further protection against wind, rain and snow. These walls were
sometimes constructed of dried dung, which, as time went on, was used for
fuel. There were two apertures, one at either end of the tent; that
facing the wind being always kept closed by means of loops and wooden

[Illustration: BLACK TENT]

The Tibetan is a born nomad, and shifts his dwelling with the seasons, or
wherever he can find pasture for his yaks and sheep; but, though he has
no fixed abode, he knows how to make himself comfortable, and he carries
with him all that he requires. Thus, for instance, in the centre of his
tent, he begins by making himself a _goling_, or fireplace of mud and
stone, some three feet high and four or five long, by one and a half
wide, with two, three, or more side ventilators and draught-holes. By
this ingenious contrivance he manages to increase the combustion of the
dried dung, the most trying fuel from which to get a flame. On the top of
this stove a suitable place is made to fit the several _raksangs_, or
large brass pots and bowls, in which the brick tea, having been duly
pounded in a stone or wooden mortar, is boiled and stirred with a long
brass spoon. A portable iron stand is generally to be seen somewhere in
the tent, upon which the hot vessels are placed, as they are removed from
the fire. Close to these is the _toxzum_ or _dongbo_, a cylindrical
wooden churn, with a lid through which a piston passes. This is used for
mixing the tea with butter and salt, in the way I have described as also
adopted by the Jogpas.

[Illustration: A DONGBO OR TEA CHURN]

The wooden cups or bowls used by the Tibetans are called _puku, fruh_, or
_cariel_, and in them _tsamba_ is also eaten after tea has been poured on
it, and the mixture worked into a paste by means of more or less dirty
fingers. Often extra lumps of butter are mixed with this paste, and even
bits of _chura_ (cheese). The richer people (officials) indulge in flour
and rice, which they import from India and China, and in _kassur_, or
dried fruit (namely, dates and apricots) of inferior quality. The rice is
boiled into a kind of soup called the _tukpa_, a great luxury only
indulged in on grand occasions, when such other cherished delicacies as
_gimakara_ (sugar) and _shelkara_ (lump white sugar) are also eaten. The
Tibetans are very fond of meat, though few can afford such an
extravagance. Wild game, yak and sheep are considered excellent food, and
the meat and bone cut in pieces are boiled in a cauldron with lavish
quantities of salt and pepper. The several people in a tent dip their
hands into the pot, and having picked up suitable pieces, tug at them
with their teeth and fingers, grinding even the bone, meat eaten without
bone being supposed to be difficult to digest.

The Tibetan tents are usually furnished with a few _tildih_ (rough
sitting-mats) round the fireplace, and near the entrance of the tent
stands a _dahlo_, or basket, in which the dung is stored as collected.
These _dahlos_, used in couples, are very convenient for tying to
pack-saddles, for which purpose they are specially designed. Along the
walls of the tent are the _tsamgo_ or bags of _tsamba_, and the _dongmo_
or butter-pots, and among masses of sheepskins and blankets can be seen
the little wooden chests in which the store of butter is kept under lock
and key.

[Illustration: THE INTERIOR OF A TENT]

The first thing that strikes the eye on entering a Tibetan tent is the
_chokseh_ or table, upon which are lights and brass bowls containing
offerings to the _Chogan_, the gilt god to whom the occupiers of the
_gurr_ (tent) address their morning and evening prayers. Prayer-wheels
and strings of beads are plentiful, and lashed upright to the poles are
the long matchlocks belonging to the men, their tall props projecting
well out of the aperture in the roof of the tent. Spears are kept in a
similar manner, but the swords and smaller knives are carried about the
person all day, and laid on the ground by the side of their owners at

[Illustration: TSAMGO]



     Refusal to sell food--Women--Their looks and characteristics--The
     _Tchukti_--A Lhassa lady.

THE inhabitants of this encampment were polite and talkative.
Notwithstanding their refusal to sell us food on the plea that they had
none even for themselves, their friendliness was so much beyond my
expectation that I at first feared treachery. However, treachery or not,
I thought that while I was there I had better see and learn as much as I
could. Women and men formed a ring round us, and the fair sex seemed less
shy than the stronger in answering questions. I was particularly struck,
not only in this encampment but in all the others, by the small number of
women to be seen in Tibet. This is not because they are kept in
seclusion; on the contrary, the ladies of the Forbidden Land seem to have
it all their own way. They are actually in an enormous minority, the
proportion being, at a rough guess, backed by the wise words of a
friendly Lama, from fifteen to twenty males to each female in the
population; nevertheless, the fair sex in Hundes manages to rule the male
majority, playing thereby constantly into the hands of the Lamas.

The Tibetan female, whether she be a lady, a shepherdess, or a
brigandess, cannot be said to be prepossessing. In fact, it was not my
luck to see a single good-looking woman in the country, although I
naturally saw women who were less ugly than others. Anyhow, with the
accumulated filth that from birth is undisturbed by soap, scrubbing or
bathing; with nose, cheeks and forehead smeared with black ointment to
prevent the skin cracking in the wind; and with the unpleasant odour that
emanates from never-changed clothes, the Tibetan woman is, at her best,
repulsive to European taste. After one has overcome one's first disgust
she yet has, at a distance, a certain charm of her own. She walks well,
for she is accustomed to carry heavy weights on her head; and her skull
would be well-set on her shoulders were it not that the neck is usually
too short and thick to be graceful. Her body and limbs possess great
muscular strength and are well developed, but generally lack stability,
and her breasts are flabby and pendent--facts due, no doubt, to sexual
abuse. She is generally of heavy frame, and rather inclined to stoutness.
Her hands and feet show power and rude strength, but no dexterity or
suppleness is noticeable in her fingers, and she has therefore no ability
for very fine or delicate work.


The Tibetan woman is, nevertheless, far superior to the Tibetan man. She
possesses a better heart, more pluck, and a finer character than he does.
Time after time, when the males, timid beyond all conception, ran away at
our approach, the women remained in charge of the tents, and, although
by no means cool or collected, they very rarely failed to meet us without
some show of dignity.


On the present occasion, when all were friendly, the women seemed much
less shy than the men, and conversed freely and incessantly. They even
prevailed upon their masters to sell us a little _tsamba_ and butter.

Tibetan women wear trousers and boots like the men, and over them they
have a long gown, either yellow or blue, reaching down to their feet.
Their head-dress is curious, the hair being carefully parted in the
middle, and plastered with melted butter over the scalp as far down as
the ears; then it is plaited all round in innumerable little tresses, to
which is fastened the _Tchukti_, three strips of heavy red and blue cloth
joined together by cross bands ornamented with coral and malachite beads,
silver coins and bells, and reaching from the shoulders down to the

[Illustration: THE TCHUKTI]

They seemed very proud of this ornamentation, and displayed much coquetry
in attracting our notice to it. Wealthier women in Tibet have quite a
small fortune hanging down their backs, for all the money or valuables
earned or saved are sewn on to the _Tchukti_. To the lower end of the
_Tchukti_ one, two or three rows of small brass or silver bells are
attached, and therefore the approach of the Tibetan dames is announced by
the tinkling of their bells, a quaint custom, the origin of which they
could not explain to me, beyond saying that it was pretty and that they
liked it.

[Illustration: A LADY FROM LHASSA]

The illustration that I give here of a travelling Tibetan lady from
Lhassa was taken at Tucker. She wore her hair, of abnormal length and
beauty, in one huge tress, and round her head, like an aureole, was a
circular wooden ornament, on the outer part of which were fastened beads
of coral, glass and malachite. The arrangement was so heavy that, though
it fitted the head well, it had to be supported by means of strings tied
to the hair and others passed over the head. By the side of her head, and
hanging by the ears and hair, were a pair of huge silver earrings inlaid
with malachite, and round her neck three long strings of beads with
silver brooches.

Considerable modifications necessarily occurred in these garments and
ornaments, according to the locality and the wearer's condition in life,
but the general lines of their clothing were practically everywhere the
same. Often a loose silver chain belt was worn considerably below the
waist, and rings and bracelets were common everywhere.

[Illustration: MONEY BAGS]


     Polyandry--Marriage ceremonies--Jealousy--Divorce--Identification
     of children--Courtship--Illegitimacy--Adultery.

THAT the Tibetans legally recognise polyandry and polygamy is well known.
Very little, however, has hitherto transpired as to the actual form of
these marital customs, so that the details which follow, startling as
they may seem when regarded from a Western standpoint, will be found not
without interest.

First of all, I may say that there is not such a thing known in Tibet as
a standard of morality amongst unmarried women of the middle classes;
and, therefore, from a Tibetan point of view, it is not easy to find an
immoral woman. Notwithstanding this apparently irregular state of
affairs, the women's behaviour is better than might be expected. Like the
Shoka girls, they possess a wonderful frankness and simplicity of manner,
with a certain reserve which has its allurements; for the Tibetan swain,
often a young man, being attracted by the charms of a damsel, finds that
his flirtation with her has become an accepted engagement almost before
it has begun, and is compelled, in accordance with custom, to go,
accompanied by his father and mother, to the tent of the lady of his
heart. There he is received by her relations, who have been previously
notified of the intended call, and are found seated on rugs and mats
awaiting the arrival of their guests.

After the usual courtesies and salutations, the young man's father asks,
on behalf of his son, for the young lady's hand; and, if the answer is
favourable, the suitor places a square lump of yak _murr_ (yak butter) on
his betrothed's forehead. She does the same for him, and the marriage
ceremony is then considered over, the buttered couple being man and

If there is a temple close by, _Katas_, food and money are laid before
the images of Buddha and saints, and the parties walk round the inside of
the temple. Should there be no temple at hand, the husband and wife make
the circuit of the nearest hill, or, in default of anything else, the
tent itself, always moving from left to right. This ceremony is repeated
with prayers and sacrifices every day for a fortnight, during which time
libations of wine and general feasting continue, and at the expiration of
which the husband conveys his better half to his tent.

The law of Tibet, though hardly ever obeyed, has strict clauses
regulating the conduct of married men in their marital relations. So long
as the sun is above the horizon, no intercourse is permitted; and certain
periods and seasons of the year, such as the height of summer and the
depth of winter, are also proscribed.


A Tibetan girl on marrying does not enter into a nuptial tie with an
individual but with all his family, in the following somewhat complicated
manner. If an eldest son marries an eldest sister, all the sisters of the
bride become his wives. Should he, however, begin by marrying the second
sister, then only the sisters from the second down will be his property.
If the third, all from the third, and so on. At the same time, when the
bridegroom has brothers, they are all regarded as their brother's wife's
husbands, and they one and all cohabit with her, as well as with her
sisters if she has any.

The system is not simple, and certainly not very edifying, and were it
not for the odd _savoir faire_ of the Tibetan woman, it would lead to
endless jealousies and unpleasantness: owing, however, largely, no doubt,
to the absolute lack of honour or decency in Tibetan males and females,
the arrangement seems to work as satisfactorily as any other kind of

I asked what would happen in the case of a man marrying a second sister,
and so acquiring marital rights over all her younger sisters, if another
man came and married her eldest sister. Would all the brides of the first
man become the brides of the second? No, they would not; and the second
man would have to be satisfied with only one wife. However, if the second
sister were left a widow, and her husband had no brothers, then she would
become the property of her eldest sister's husband, and with her all the
other sisters.

[Illustration: TIBETAN WOMAN]

It must not be inferred from these strange matrimonial laws that jealousy
is non-existent in Tibet among both men and women; trouble does
occasionally arise in Tibetan house- or tent-holds. As, however, the
Tibetan woman is clever, she generally contrives to arrange things in a
manner conducive to peace. When her husband has several brothers, she
despatches them on different errands in every direction, to look after
yaks or sheep, or to trade. Only one remains and he is for the time being
her husband; then when another returns he has to leave his place and
becomes a bachelor, and so on, till all the brothers have, during the
year, had an equal period of marital life with their single wife.

Divorce is difficult in Tibet and involves endless complications. I
inquired of a Tibetan lady what would she do in case her husband refused
to live with her any longer.

[Illustration: THE LADY IN QUESTION]

"'Why did you marry me?' I would say to him," she exclaimed. "'You found
me good, beautiful, wise, clever, affectionate. Now prove that I am not
all this!'"

This modest speech, she thought, would be quite sufficient to bring any
husband back to reason, but all the same a number of Tibetans find it
convenient occasionally to desert their wives, eloping to some distant
province, or over the boundary. This procedure is particularly hard on
the man's brothers, as they all remain the sole property of the abandoned
bride. On the same principle, when a husband dies, the wife is inherited
by his brothers.

[Illustration: TIBETAN CHILDREN]

A very painful case came before the court of the Jong Pen at Taklakot.
The husband of a Tibetan lady had died, and she, being enamoured of a
handsome youth some twenty years younger than herself, married him. Her
husband's brother, however, came all the way from Lhassa after her and
claimed her as his wife, though he had already a better half and a large
family. She would not hear of leaving the husband of her choice, and
after endless scenes between them, the case was heard by the Jong Pen
of Taklakot. The Tibetan law was against her, as, according to it, she
decidedly belonged to her brother-in-law; but money is stronger than the
law in the land of the Lamas.

"For the peace of all, you can arrange things this way," was the advice
of the Jong Pen. "You can divide your property, money and goods, into
three equal parts: one to go to the Lamas, one to your husband's brother,
and one to be retained by yourself."

The woman consented; but, much to her disgust, when two parts had been
paid out and she was hoping for peace, a question was raised by the Jong
Pen as to why she should even retain one-third of the fortune if she no
longer made part of the deceased man's family? Thus orders were instantly
given that she should be deprived of everything she possessed.

However, the woman was shrewd enough to deceive the Jong Pen's officers,
for one night, having bundled up her tent and her goods and chattels, she
quietly stepped over the boundary and placed herself under British

The mode of knowing and identifying children in Tibet is peculiar. It is
not by the child's likeness to his parent, nor by other reasonable
methods, that the offspring is set down as belonging to one man more than
to another, but this is the mode adopted. Supposing that one married man
had two brothers and several children, the first child belongs to him;
the second to his first brother, and the third to his second brother,
while the fourth would be again the first man's child.

The rules of courtship are not very strict in Tibet, yet intercourse with
girls is looked upon as illegal, and in certain cases not only are the
parties, if discovered, made to suffer shame, but certain fines are
inflicted on the man, the most severe of all being that he must present
the young lady with a dress and ornaments. In the case of "gentlefolks"
the question is generally solved to the satisfaction of everybody by the
man marrying the woman, and by his gracefully presenting "veils of
friendship" to all her relations and friends, together with articles of
food; but if by mischance she should be placed in an awkward position
before the eyes of the world, and the man will not hear of a matrimonial
union, then efforts are made to prevent the birth of the child alive. If
these are not successful, the mother must be maintained until after the
child's birth. In such cases the illegitimate child remains the man's,
and suffers the usual indignities of illegitimacy.

Sixteen in the case of women, and eighteen or nineteen in that of men, is
regarded as the marriageable age. Motherhood continues until a fairly
advanced age, and I have seen a woman of forty with a baby only a few
months old. But, as a rule, Tibetan women lose their freshness while
still quite young; and no doubt their custom of polyandry not only
contributes to destroy their looks but also is the chief cause that
limits the population of Tibet.

The Lamas are supposed to live in celibacy, but they do not always keep
to their oath, tempted, no doubt, by the fact that they themselves
invariably go unpunished. If, on the other hand, in cases of adultery,
the culprit be a layman, he has to pay compensation according to his
means to the husband, the amount being fixed by the parties concerned and
their friends, or by the law if applied for.

In ordinary cases of marital trespass, presents of clothing, _tsamba,
chura, guram, kassur_ (dried fruit) and wine, accompanied by the
never-lacking _Kata_, are sufficient to allay the injured husband's anger
and to fully compensate him for any shame suffered.

The only serious punishment inflicted is, however, in the case of the
wife of a high official eloping with a man of low rank. Then the woman is
subjected to flogging as a penalty for her infidelity, her husband is
disgraced, and her lover, after being subjected to a painful surgical
operation, is, if he survives, expelled from the town or encampment.

High officials, and a few wealthy people who are not satisfied with one
wife, are allowed by the law of the land to keep as many concubines as
their means allow them.


     Tibetan funerals--Disposal of their dead--By cremation--By
     water--Cannibalism--Strange beliefs--Revolting
     barbarity--Drinking human blood--The saints of Tibet.

TIBETAN funerals are interesting, but they so closely resemble those of
the Shokas, which I have described at length, that any detailed account
of them would be a mere repetition of what I have already written.

[Illustration: A YOUNG LAMA]

For the disposal of the dead body itself, however, the Tibetans have
curious customs of their own. The most uncommon method, owing to the
great scarcity of fuel, is that of cremation, which is only employed in
the case of wealthy people or Lamas, and is effected in exactly the same
fashion as among the Shokas. Another and more usual plan is to double up
the body, sew it into skins, and let it be carried away by the current of
a stream. But the commonest method of all is the revolting ceremony which
I now proceed to describe.

[Illustration: A RED LAMA]

The body of the deceased is borne to the top of a hill, where the Lamas
pronounce certain incantations and prayers. Then the crowd, after walking
seven times round the body, retire to a certain distance, to allow ravens
and dogs to tear the corpse to pieces. It is considered lucky for the
departed and his family when birds alone devour the greater portion of
the body; dogs and wild animals come, say the Lamas, when the deceased
has sinned during his life. Anyhow, the almost complete destruction of
the corpse is anxiously watched, and, at an opportune moment, the Lamas
and crowd, turning their praying-wheels, and muttering the everlasting
"_Omne mani padme hun_," return to the body, round which seven more
circuits are made, moving from left to right.[25] Then the relatives
squat round. The Lamas sit near the body, and with their daggers cut to
pieces what remains of the flesh. The highest Lama present eats the
first morsel, then, muttering prayers, the other Lamas partake of it,
after which all the relations and friends throw themselves on the now
almost denuded skeleton, scraping off pieces of flesh, which they devour
greedily; and this repast of human flesh continues till the bones are dry
and clean!


The idea of this ghastly ceremony is that the spirit of the departed, of
whom you have swallowed a piece, will for ever keep on friendly terms
with you. When birds and dogs do not shrink from feeding, it is a sign
that the body is healthy, and fit for themselves.


Revolting beyond words is the further fact that, when a man has died of
some pestilential disease, and, owing to the odour, the birds will not
peck at the body, nor will the famished dogs go near it, then a large
number of Lamas, having made the usual exorcisms, sit down by it, and do
not get up again until they have devoured the whole of the rotten human
flesh! The relatives and friends are wiser and less brutal. They rightly
believe that, if voracious animals will not partake of the meal proffered
them, it is because the body is that of a sinner against whom God is
angry. And who better than the Lamas could make peace between God and
him? So let the Lamas eat it all.

In the case of not finding sufficient Lamas to perform these rites, the
body is either disposed of by throwing it into the water, or else, the
relations having first partaken of a morsel of the flesh, it is bound to
a rock to let animals or time do the rest.

The Lamas are said to have a great craving for human blood, which, they
say, gives them strength, genius and vigour. When sucking wounds that are
not poisoned, they drink the blood, and also on certain occasions wounds
are inflicted for the sake of sucking the blood. At other times the cups
cut from human skulls, found in all monasteries, are filled with blood,
and the Lamas in turn satisfy their thirst out of them.

But enough of this. It is sickening to set it down, though my book would
be incomplete if I had made no mention of the cannibalism of the Lamas.

When a saintly Lama dies, or some old man much respected by the
community, either parts of the flesh, or, if cremation has been applied,
some of his ashes, are preserved and placed in a _Chokden_ erected for
the purpose; and, judging by the number of these structures one finds all
over Tibet, one feels inclined to think that half the population of the
country must have been saints, or else that the standard of saintliness
in the sacred land of the Lamas is not prohibitively high.

[25] In the case of a sect called Bombos, the circuits are made in the
reverse fashion, as also are their prayer-wheels turned from right to


     Another commotion--Two hundred soldiers--A stampede--Easy
     travelling--A long _Mani_ wall--Mosquitoes.

COMING out of our tent in the morning, we noticed an unusual commotion
among the Tibetans. A number of mounted men with matchlocks had arrived,
and others similarly armed immediately went to join them from the tents.
They seemed excited, and I kept my eye upon them while I was cooking my
food. There were some two hundred in all, picturesquely garbed. They
seemed to be good horsemen, and looked well as they rode in a line
towards us. A little way off they stopped and dismounted, and the leaders
came forward, one stalwart fellow in a fine sheepskin coat marching ahead
of the rest. His attitude was very arrogant, and, dispensing with the
usual salutations, he approached quite close, shaking his fist at me.

"_Kiu mahla lokhna nga rah luck tiba tangan_" ("I will give you a goat or
a sheep if you will go back"), he said.

"_Kiu donna nga di tangon_" ("And I give you this to make you go back!")
was my quick answer, while I unexpectedly administered him one straight
from the shoulder that sent him flat on his back and sprawling on the

The army, which, with its usual prudence, was watching events from a
respectful distance, beat a hasty retreat. The officer, though unhurt,
scrambled away, screaming. The Tibetans had so far behaved with such
contemptible cowardice that we could hardly congratulate ourselves on
such easy successes. We began to feel that really we had no enemy at all
before us, and very likely we became even careless. Anyhow, we ate our
food and gave this affair but little thought.


The Tibetans kept their distance, and did not trouble us again that day.
Those who had not ridden off retired timidly inside their black tents,
and not a soul was to be seen about the encampment--which might have been
deserted, so silent and so empty did it appear. I registered my daily
observations, made a sketch of one of the black tents, and wrote up my
diary; after which we raised camp.


Our progress was now comparatively easy, along a broad grassy plain, and
we proceeded without further disturbance in a South-easterly direction,
observing a high snowy peak at 20° (b.m.), and a low pass in the mountain
range to our North-east at 55° (b.m.). A very high range stood ahead of
us in the far distance, with low hills between. In going round one of
these lonely hills we found at the foot of it another and more important
_mani_ wall of some length, with numberless inscriptions of all ages and
sizes on stones, pieces of bone, skulls and horns. Farther on, to the
South, there were three smaller hillocks and two larger ones. The
soldiers we had routed at the encampment had proceeded in the direction
we were now following, and we were, in fact, treading all along on the
footprints of their ponies.

We had to cross a river and a number of rivulets, and so troublesome was
it each time to take off one's shoes and clothes to wade through, that
we bundled up our clothes on the yaks, and travelled along for the rest
of the afternoon bare-footed and with nothing on but a _doti_
(loin-cloth), in the style adopted by fakirs.

In an arc of a circle from 120° to 180° (b.m.) we noticed very low hills,
and from 160° to 220°, some thirty or forty miles off, could be seen much
more clearly now the high range we had observed before. The sun was
extremely hot, the ground marshy, the air being thick with huge and very
troublesome mosquitoes. We were quickly covered from head to foot with
bites, and the irritation caused by them was intense. Halting on the
right bank of a large stream at 15,600 feet, we named this spot Mosquito
Camp. At sunset the number of mosquitoes around us was such as to drive
us nearly mad, but fortunately, the moment the sun disappeared, the
thermometer fell to 33°, and we had a peaceful night.

In the evening we saw a number of horsemen riding full speed on a course
about one mile south of ours, but converging to the same direction. No
doubt they were sent to keep the authorities ahead well informed of our


     Washing-day--A long march--_Kiang_ and antelope--Benighted--The
     purchase of a goat--Ramifications of the Brahmaputra--A
     détour--Through a swamp--Mansing again lost and found.

THE next was for us a great washing-day. The water of the stream was so
pleasant and clear that we could not resist the temptation of having a
regular cleaning up, washing first our clothing and spreading it to dry
in the sun, and then cleansing our faces and bodies thoroughly with soap,
a luxury unknown to us for ever so long.

While I was drying myself in the sun--owing to the want of towels--I
registered at 211° (b.m.) a very high snowy peak, and a lower one at 213°
30' forming part of the chain before us. There were mountains on every
side of the plain we were traversing; and another very elevated peak, of
which I had taken bearings on a previous occasion, was at 20° (b.m.). A
break occurred in the hill range to our North-east, showing a narrow
valley, beyond which were high snowy mountains. We made a very long march
along the grassy plain, going to 147° (b.m.), and encamped on the bank of
the Brahmaputra, here already a wide, deep and very rapid stream. We had
passed hundreds of _kiang_ and antelopes, and shortly before sunset I
took a walk to the hills to try and bring some fresh meat to camp. I
stalked a herd of antelopes, and having gone some five miles from camp, I
was benighted, and on my return had the greatest difficulty in finding my
men in the darkness. They had been unable to light a fire, and as they
had both gone fast asleep, I received no answer to my calls. We had
selected a sheltered depression in the ground for our camp, and there
being hundreds of similar spots everywhere round it, and no landmarks to
go by, it was by no means easy to identify the exact place.

Fortunately, at last, after I had shouted for some considerable time,
Chanden Sing heard me, and, by the sound of his voice, I found my way
back. In the morning we noticed a large encampment about a mile off on
the opposite bank of the Brahmaputra, where we might have obtained
provisions, but the stream was too rapid for us to cross; moreover, we
saw black tents in every direction on our side of the water, and
therefore there was no reason to go to the extra trouble and danger of
crossing the stream.

[Illustration: KIANG]

Much to our delight, we succeeded in purchasing a goat from some passing
Tibetans, who drove before them a flock of several thousand heads, and,
as we could not find sufficient dry fuel to make a fire, we entrusted
Mansing with the safe-conduct of the animal to our next camp, where we
proposed to feast on it.

The Brahmaputra had here several ramifications mostly ending in lakelets,
and rendering the plain a regular swamp. The larger branch was very wide
and deep, and we preferred following it to crossing it, notwithstanding
that we had to deviate somewhat from the course which I would have
otherwise followed. We thus made a considerable _détour_, but even as it
was, for several miles we sank in mud up to our knees, or waded through
water, for although there were small patches of earth with tufts of grass
which rose above the water, they collapsed on our attempting to stand
upon them.

The whole of the Northern part of the plain was extremely marshy. Our
yaks gave us no end of trouble, for when they sank unexpectedly in soft
mud-holes, they became restless and alarmed, and in their struggles to
save themselves, once or twice shook off their pack-saddles and loads,
which we had not been able to fasten properly for want of ropes. Chanden
Sing and I, however, managed to keep up with them, and at last, on
nearing the hills, the ground showed greater undulations and was rather
drier. We saw columns of smoke rising from near the foot of the range to
the North of us. We went on another couple of miles, exhausted and dirty,
our clothes, which we had spent so much soap and time in washing, filthy
with splashes of mud.


"Where are Mansing and the _rabbu?_"[26] I asked of my bearer.

"He remained behind at the beginning of the swamp. He was too exhausted
to drag along the goat you purchased."

I was much concerned, on scouting the country all round from a hillock
with my telescope, to see no signs of the poor fellow, and I was angry
with myself for not noticing his disappearance before. As there were many
Tibetans about the spot where he had remained, I feared foul play on
their part, and that he might have been overpowered. Again I imagined
that, weak as he was, he might have been sucked down in one of the deeper
mud-holes, without a chance of saving himself. I left Chanden Sing to
look after the yaks and turned back in search of him. As I hurried back
mile after mile, struggling again half across the mud swamp, and yet saw
no signs of the poor coolie, I was almost giving up my quest in despair,
when my eye caught something moving about half a mile farther on. It was
the goat all by itself. I made for it with a sinking heart.

It was only on getting quite close to it that I perceived the poor
coolie, lying flat and half sunk in the mud. He had fallen in a faint,
and though he was still breathing, he was quite insensible. Fortunately
he had taken the precaution of tying the rope of the _rabbu_ tight round
his arm, and thus not only was it owing to the animal that I had found
his whereabouts, but I had also saved our precious acquisition. With some
rubbing and shaking I brought the poor fellow back to life, and supported
him by the arm until we rejoined Chanden Sing. Not till the middle of the
night did we reach Tarbar, a large Tibetan encampment at the foot of the
hill range.

[26] The Tibetans have three distinct kinds of goats: the _rabbu_, or
large woolly animal, such as the one I had purchased; the _ratton_, or
small goat; and the _chitbu_, a dwarf goat whose flesh is delicious
eating. The _rabbu_ and _ratton_ are the two kinds generally used for
carrying loads, and they have sufficient strength to bear a weight not
exceeding 40 lbs. for a distance of from five to eight miles daily over
fairly good ground.


     The alarm given--Our bad manners--A peaceful settlement--A large
     river--Gigantic peak--Again on marshy soil.

THE alarm of our arrival, given first by scores of dogs barking at us,
then by one of the natives who had ventured to leave his tent to find out
the cause of the disturbance, created the usual panic in the place.

"_Gigri duk! gigri duk! Jogpa, Jogpa!_" ("Danger, danger; help,
brigands!") cried the Tibetan, running frantically out of his tent; and a
few seconds later, black figures could be seen everywhere, rushing in and
out of their tents in a state of confusion. It must be remembered that,
according to the manners of Tibet, one should time one's arrival at an
encampment so as to reach it before sundown, unless notice of one's
approach is sent ahead. People who arrive unexpectedly in the middle of
the night are never credited with good motives, and their appearance is
associated with all sorts of evil intentions, murder, robbery or
extortion. I tried to set the minds of the good folk at ease, by stating
that I meant no harm; but such was their excitement and confusion that I
could get no one to listen to me.

Two old women came to us with a bucket of milk and laid it at my feet,
entreating me to spare their lives; and great was their astonishment
when, instead of finding themselves murdered, they received a silver
rupee in payment. This was the first step towards a peaceful settlement
of the disturbance. After some time, calm was restored and, though still
regarded with considerable suspicion, we were politely treated by the

Unfortunately, here too we were unable to purchase provisions, the
natives declaring that they had not sufficient for themselves. So, having
feasted on the _rabbu_ which we killed, and on yak's milk, we made
preparations to strike camp early next morning.

At night the thermometer fell to 26°, and the cold was very great; but we
purchased a quantity of dung from the natives and made a fine fire in the
morning; and, having had a good meal after several days' privations, we
felt happier than usual. The natives begged as ever, showing their
unrestrained craving for money, to get which they would lower themselves
to anything.


North-west of the encampment, through a gorge, flowed a wide river which
skirted the foot of the mountains. It was snow-fed, for in the evening
the current was strong and deep, whereas early in the morning the level
of the water was several feet lower, being, however, even then hardly
fordable. On leaving Tarbar, we followed for a while the course of the
river, and, the day being glorious, we were able to admire fully the
magnificent panorama of the great rugged mountain-range to our
South-west. The higher peaks were nearly all of a pyramidical shape, and
at 226° 30' (b.m.) I observed a gigantic quadrangular peak which I took
to be Mount Everest. Next to it, at 225° 30' (b.m.), is a pyramidical
peak, very lofty, but not to be compared in height or beauty to its
neighbour. I followed a general course towards 120° (b.m.), and as the
river, which we had more or less followed, now described a big bend
towards the S.S.E., I decided to cross it. We waded through it
successfully with water up to our necks, and again we found ourselves
upon marshy land, with a repetition of the previous day's experience.

[Illustration: OLD WOMAN]

Farther on, we crossed three more tributaries of the larger stream, all
fairly wide and deep; and then we had once more to get across the main
river, now of such depth and rapidity as to cause us much trouble and no
small danger. The river traverses the plain in zigzag fashion, and,
unless we wanted to follow its banks, and so lengthen the journey by
double or treble the distance, this was the only course open to us. Thus,
while trying to travel in a straight line, we found ourselves for the
third time confronted by this great river, now swollen by other snow-fed
streams, and carrying an immense body of water. It was in the afternoon,
too, when the water was at its highest. We attempted a crossing at
several points, but found it impossible; so I made up my mind to wait for
low water early next morning.


     Another Tibetan encampment--Uncontrollable animals--A big
     stream--Washed away--In dreadful suspense--Rescuing the
     yak--Diving at great altitudes and its effects--How my two
     followers got across--A precarious outlook and a little comfort.


APPARENTLY my yaks knew this part of the country well; and I noticed
that, whenever I lost the track, all I had to do was to follow them, and
they would bring me back to it again. Even when I drove them away from
the track, they showed a great disinclination to move, whereas they
proceeded willingly enough while we were on the high road, which, mark
you, is no road at all, for no track is visible except here and there,
where the footprints of the last nomads with their sheep, ponies and yaks
have destroyed the grass.

Half a mile on the other side of the river was an encampment of some
fifty or sixty tents, with hundreds of yaks and sheep grazing near it.

At this point my two yaks, which I noticed had been marching with more
than usual smartness, bolted while I was ordering Chanden Sing and
Mansing to take down the loads, and went straight into the water.

In attempting to make them turn back, Mansing threw a stone at them,
which, however, only sent them on all the faster. The current was so
strong, and the bottom of the river so soft, that they both sank, and
when they reappeared on the surface it was only to float rapidly away
down stream. We watched them with ever-increasing anxiety, for they
seemed quite helpless. We ran panting along the river bank, urging them
on with shouts to drive them to the other side. Alas, in their desperate
struggle to keep afloat, and powerless against the current, the two yaks
collided violently in mid-stream, and the bump caused the pack-saddle and
loads of the smaller yak to turn over. The animal, thus overbalanced and
hampered, sank and reappeared two or three times, struggling for air and
life. It was, indeed, a terrible moment. I threw off my clothes and
jumped into the water. I swam fast to the animal, and, with no small
exertion, pulled him on shore, some two hundred yards farther down the
stream. We were both safe, though breathless, but, alas! the ropes that
held the baggage had given way, and saddle and loads had disappeared.
This loss was a dreadful blow to us. I tried hard, by repeatedly diving
into the river, until I was almost frozen, to recover my goods, but
failed to find them or even to locate them. Where I suspected them to be
the water was over twenty feet deep, and the bottom of the river was of
soft mud; so that the weight of the loads would have caused them to sink
and be covered over with it.

[Illustration: RESCUING A YAK]

Diving at such very great elevations gave one a peculiar and unpleasant
sensation. The moment I was entirely under water, I felt as if I were
compressed under an appalling weight which seemed to crush me. Had the
liquid above and around me been a mass of lead instead of water, it
could not have felt heavier. The sensation was especially noticeable in
my head, which felt as if my skull were being screwed into a vice. The
beating at my temples was so strong that, though in ordinary
circumstances I can remain under water for over a minute, I could there
never bold out for longer than fifteen or twenty seconds. Each time that
I emerged from below, gasping for air, my heart beat alarmingly hard, and
my lungs seemed as if about to burst.

I was so exhausted that I did not feel equal to conveying across my two
men, so I unloaded the stronger yak, and then, with endless fatigue, I
drove him and his mate again into the water. Unhampered, and good
swimmers as they are, they floated away with the current and reached the
other side. Chanden Sing and Mansing, with their clothes and mine tied
into a bundle over their shoulders, got on the animals and, after a
somewhat anxious passage, they arrived safely on my side, where we
camped, my men mourning all night over the lost property. The next
morning I made fresh attempts to recover the loads, but in vain!
Unhappily they contained all my tinned provisions, and what little other
food I had, and they had in them besides eight hundred rupees in silver,
the greater part of my ammunition, changes of clothing and three pairs of
shoes, my copper hurricane lantern, and sundry knives and razors.

The only thing we recovered was the pack-saddle, which was washed ashore
some six hundred yards farther down. Our situation can be summed up in a
few words. We were now in the centre of Tibet, with no food of any kind,
no clothes to speak of, and no boots or shoes, except those we wore,
which were falling to pieces. What little ammunition I had left could not
be relied upon, owing to its having been in the water on several
occasions; and round us we had nothing but enemies--insignificant enemies
if you like, yet enemies for all that.

I got what comfort I could out of the knowledge that at least the
water-tight cases with my scientific instruments, notes, sketches and
maps were saved, and as far as I was concerned, I valued them more than
anything else I possessed.


     Hungry and worn--A sense of humour--Two buckets of milk--No food
     to be obtained--Chanden Sing and Mansing in a wretched
     state--Their fidelity--Exhaustion.

WE went on, hungry, worn out, with our feet lacerated, cheering one
another as best we could. We laughed at our troubles; we laughed at the
Tibetans and their comical ways; we laughed at everything and everybody,
until eventually we even laughed at ourselves. When you are hungry, the
sun seems slow at describing its daily semicircle from East to West; yet
though involuntary fasting gives you at first an acute pain in the
stomach, it doesn't become unbearable until after several days' absolute
want of food; that is to say, if you are in a way accustomed, as we were,
to extra long intervals between one meal and the next. When we got to our
third day's fasting we were keen enough for a meal; and, perceiving some
black tents close by the mountain side, about four miles out of our
course, we made for them with hungry haste. We purchased two bucketsful
of yaks' milk, one of which I drank there and then myself, the second
being equally divided between my two servants. That was all we could get.
They would sell us absolutely nothing else.

After this we moved forward again, making steady, and, if one allows for
the great elevation we were at, comparatively rapid progress; noting down
everything, and holding our own against all comers. We encountered
pleasant people, and some unpleasant ones, but, whether their manner was
courteous or the reverse, we could nowhere obtain food for love or money.

Poor Mansing and Chanden Sing, not having the same interest that I had in
my work to keep up their spirits, were now in a dreadful condition. Cold,
tired and starved, the poor wretches had hardly strength left to stand
on their feet, the soles of which were badly cut and very sore. It really
made my heart bleed to see these two brave fellows suffer as they did for
my sake; and yet no word of complaint came from them; not once did their
lips utter a reproach.


"Never, mind if we suffer or even die," said the poor fellows, when I
expressed my sympathy with them, "we will follow you as long as we have
strength to move, and we will stand by you, no matter what happens."

I had to relieve Chanden Sing of his rifle, as he was no longer able to
carry it. I myself, too, felt languid and exhausted as the days went by,
and we got scarcely any food. I cannot say that I experienced any very
severe physical pain. This was due, I think, to the fact that my
exhaustion brought on fever. I had, nevertheless, a peculiar feeling in
my head, as if my intellect, never too bright, had now been altogether
dulled. My hearing, too, became less acute; and I felt my strength slowly
dying down like the flame of a lamp with no more oil in it. The nervous
excitement and strain alone kept me alive, and I went on walking

[Illustration: SHRINE INSIDE TENT]


     Eighty black tents--Starved--Kindly natives--Presents--Ando and
     his promises--A friendly Lama--A low pass--My plans.

WE reached an encampment of some eighty black tents and a mud
guard-house. We were positively in a starved condition and it was utterly
impossible to proceed farther, owing to the wretched condition of my two
men. They begged to be given ponies to ride, for their feet were so sore
that, notwithstanding their anxiety to follow me, they could not.

The natives received us very kindly, and, on my applying for them,
consented to sell me ponies, clothes and provisions. We encamped about
two miles beyond the settlement, and during the evening several persons
visited my tent, bringing gifts of flour, butter and _tsamba_,
accompanied by _Katas_, the veils of friendship. I made a point of
invariably giving the Tibetans, in return for their gifts, silver money
to an amount three or four times greater than the value of the articles
they presented us with, and they professed to be very grateful for it. A
man called Ando, who styled himself a Gourkha, but wore the garb of the
Tibetans, came to visit us in our tent, and promised to bring for sale
several ponies the next morning. He also undertook to sell me a
sufficient quantity of food to enable us to reach Lhassa, and, to show
his good faith, brought a portion of the supplies in the evening, and
said he would let us have the remainder the next morning.

We next had a visit from a Lama, who appeared both civil and intelligent,
and who presented us with some butter and _chura_ (cheese). He had
travelled in India, he told us, as far as Calcutta, and was on his way
from Gartok to Lhassa, where he expected to arrive in four or five days,
having an excellent pony. Other Lamas and men who came to see us stated
that they had come from Lhassa in that time, and I do not think that they
can have been far wrong, as the whole distance from the Lippu Pass on the
frontier (near Garbyang) to Lhassa can on horseback be covered in sixteen

[Illustration: MUD GUARD-HOUSE]

The natives, as usual, showed great reticence in letting out the name of
the encampment, some calling it Toxem, others Taddju. North of us was a
low pass in the hill range, and having already seen as much as I wanted
of the Tibetans, it was my intention, if I succeeded in purchasing
provisions and ponies, to cross over this pass and proceed towards the
Sacred City, following a course on the northern side of the mountain
range. Besides, the highway to Lhassa was getting so thickly populated
that I thought it advisable to travel through less inhabited regions. I
intended proceeding, dressed as a European, until within a few miles of
Lhassa. Then I would leave my two men concealed in some secluded spot,
and assuming a disguise, I would penetrate alone during the night into
the city. This would have been easy enough, as Lhassa has no gates, and
only a ruined wall round it.

I succeeded in purchasing some clothing and boots from the Tibetans, and
the pigtail that I needed to make me pass for a Tibetan I intended to
make myself, out of the silky hair of my yaks. To avoid betraying myself
by my inability to speak Tibetan fluently, I thought of pretending to be
deaf and dumb.

A good meal brought hope and high spirits, and when I retired to sleep I
saw myself already inside the sacred walls.

[Illustration: TIBETAN BELLOWS]


     Strange noises--Ando the traitor--Purchasing provisions and
     ponies--A handsome pony--Decoyed away from my tent and
     rifles--Pounced upon--The fight--A prisoner.

[Illustration: A DISTAFF]

DURING the night I was aroused several times by noises, and I went out of
my tent to look for the disturbers, but failed to discover any one. This
had become my nightly experience, and I attached very little importance
to these sounds.

In the morning, Ando and two or three Tibetans came to sell us provisions
and ponies, and, while my two servants and I were engaged in purchasing
what we required, I saw a number of villagers coming up in groups. Some
spun their wool, others carried bags of _tsamba_ and flour, while others
still arrived leading a number of fine ponies. Having purchased
provisions to last us a couple of months, we now began the selection of
mounts, and naturally my servants and myself were overjoyed at our
unexpected piece of luck in finding ourselves, after untold sufferings
and privations of all kinds, confronted with abundance of everything we
could possibly desire. The demeanour of the Tibetans was so friendly, and
they seemed so guileless, that I never thought of suspecting them.
Chanden Sing and Mansing, who at bottom were sportsmen of the very first
order, delighted at the prospect of getting animals, rode first one pony
and then another to suit themselves; and Chanden Sing, having selected a
handsome beast for his own use, called me to try it and examine it before
paying over the purchase-money. Unsuspecting of foul play, and also
because it would not be convenient to try the various lively ponies
with my rifle slung over my shoulder, I walked unarmed to the spot, about
a hundred yards away from my tent, where the restless animal was being
held for my inspection. The natives followed behind me, but such a thing
being common in any country when one buys a horse in public, I thought
nothing of it. As I stood with my hands behind my back, I well recollect
the expression of delight on Chanden Sing's face when I approved of his
choice, and, as is generally the case on such occasions, the crowd behind
in a chorus expressed their gratuitous opinion on the superiority of the
steed selected. I had just stooped to look at the pony's fore-legs, when
I was suddenly seized from behind by several persons, who grabbed me by
the neck, wrists, and legs, and threw me down on my face. I struggled and
fought until I shook off some of my assailants and regained my feet; but
others rushed up, and I was surrounded by some thirty men, who attacked
me from every side, and clinging to me with all their might succeeded in
grabbing my arms, legs and head. Weak as I was, they knocked me down
three more times, and three more times I regained my feet. I fought to
the bitter end with my fists, feet, head and teeth each time that I got
one hand or leg free from their clutches, hitting right and left at any
part where I could disable my opponents. Their timidity, even when in
such overwhelming numbers, was indeed beyond description; and it was
entirely due to it, and not to my strength (for I had hardly any), that I
was able to hold my own against them for some twenty minutes. My clothes
were torn in the fight. Long ropes were thrown at me from every side, and
I became so entangled in them that my movements were impeded. One rope
which they flung and successfully twisted round my neck completed their
victory. They pulled hard at it from the two ends, and while I panted and
gasped with the exertion of fighting, they tugged and tugged to strangle
me, till I felt as if my eyes would shoot out of their sockets. I was
suffocating. My sight became dim, and I was in their power. Dragged down
to the ground, they stamped, and kicked, and trampled upon me with their
heavy nailed boots, until I was stunned. Then they tied my wrists tightly
behind my back; they bound my elbows, my chest, my neck and my ankles. I
was a prisoner!


[Illustration: I WAS A PRISONER]

[Illustration: ROPE RIDING-WHIP]


     Chanden Sing's plucky resistance--Mansing secured--A signal--A
     treacherous Lama--Confiscation of baggage--Watches, compasses and
     aneroids--Fear and avidity--The air-cushion--Dragged into the


THEY lifted me and made me stand up. The brave Chanden Sing had been
struggling with all his might against fifteen or twenty foes, and had
disabled several of them. He had been pounced upon at the same moment as
I was, and had fought gallantly until, like myself, he had been
entangled, thrown down and secured by ropes. During my struggle, I heard
him call out repeatedly: "_Banduk, banduk, Mansing; jaldi, banduk!_"
("Rifle, rifle, Mansing; quick, my rifle!") but, alas, poor Mansing the
leper, the weak and jaded coolie, had been sprung upon by four powerful
Tibetans, who held him pinned to the ground as if he had been the
fiercest of bandits. Mansing was a philosopher. He had saved himself the
trouble of even offering any resistance; but he too, was ill-treated,
beaten and tightly bound. At the beginning of the fight a shrill whistle
had brought up four hundred[27] armed soldiers who had lain in ambush
round us, concealed behind the innumerable sandhills and in the
depressions in the ground. They took up a position round us and covered
us with their matchlocks.


All was now over, and, bound like a dangerous criminal, I looked round
to see what had become of my men. When I realised that it took the
Tibetans five hundred men[28] all counted to arrest a starved Englishman
and his two half-dying servants, and that, even then, they dared not do
it openly, but had to resort to abject treachery; when I found that these
soldiers were picked troops from Lhassa and Sigatz (Shigatze), despatched
on purpose to arrest our progress and capture us, I could not restrain a
smile of contempt for those into whose hands we had at last fallen.

[Illustration: A SPEAR]

My blood boiled when, upon the order of the Lama, who the previous night
had professed to be our friend, several men advanced and searched our
pockets. They rifled us of everything we possessed, and began overhauling
our baggage. The watches and chronometer were looked upon with suspicion,
their ticking causing anxiety and curiosity. They were passed round and
round and mercilessly thrown about from one person to the other, until
they stopped. They were then pronounced "dead." The compasses and
aneroids, which they could not distinguish from watches, were soon thrown
aside, as "they had no life in them," but great caution was displayed in
touching our rifles, which were lying on our bedding when the tent had
been torn down.

Great fears were entertained lest they should go off by themselves; and
it was only on my assurance (which made our captors ten times more
cautious) that they were not loaded, that at last they took them and
registered them in the catalogue of our confiscated property. I had upon
me a gold ring that my mother had given me when I was a child. I asked
permission to retain it, and with their superstitious nature they
immediately thought that it had occult powers, like the wands one reads
of in fairy tales.

A man called Nerba, who later on played an important part in our
sufferings, was entrusted with it, and warned never to let me see it
again. As we three prisoners sat bound and held down by guards it was
heartbreaking to see the Lamas and officers handle all our things so
roughly as to spoil nearly all they touched; but particularly disgusting
was their avidity when, in searching the pockets of the coat I wore
daily, and which I had not put on that morning, they found a quantity of
silver coins, some eight hundred rupees in all. Officers, Lamas and
soldiers made a grab for the money, and when order was re-established,
only a few coins remained where the sum had been laid down. Other moneys
which they found in one of our loads met with a similar fate. Among the
things arousing greatest curiosity was an india-rubber pillow fully blown
out. The soft, smooth texture of the india-rubber seemed to catch their
fancy, and one after the other they rubbed their cheeks on the cushion,
exclaiming at the pleasant sensation it gave them. However, in playing
with the brass screw by which the cushion was inflated, they gave it a
turn, and the imprisoned air found its way out with a hissing noise. This
created quite a panic among the Tibetans, and many were the conjectures
of their superstitious minds as to the meaning of the strange
contrivance. They regarded it as an evil omen, and naturally I took
advantage of any small incident of this kind to work judiciously on their
superstitions and frighten them as much as I could.


The Tibetans, having examined all except my water-tight cases of
instruments, photographic plates and sketches, seemed so upset at one or
two things that happened, and at some remarks I made, that they hurriedly
sealed up all my property in bags and blankets, and ordered the things to
be placed on yaks and brought into the guard-house of the settlement.
This done, they tied the end of the ropes that bound our necks to the
pommels of their saddles, and, having loosed our feet, they sprang on
their ponies and rode off, with shouts, hisses and cries of victory,
firing their matchlocks in the air, and dragging us prisoners into the

[27] The Lamas stated afterwards that this was the number.

[28] Counting Lamas, villagers and soldiers.


     A warning to my men--Calm and coolness--The Pombo's tent--Chanden
     Sing cross-examined and flogged.

ON reaching the settlement, my last words to my men before we were
separated were, "No matter what they do to you, do not let them see that
you suffer," and they promised to obey me. We were then conveyed to
different tents. I was dragged to one of the larger tents, inside and
outside of which soldiers were placed on guard. Those near me were at
first sulky, and rough in their manner and speech, but I always made a
point of answering them in as collected and polite a fashion as I could.
I had on many previous occasions found that nothing carries one further
in dealings with Asiatics than to keep calm and cool, and I saw in a
moment that, if we were ever to get out of our present scrape, it would
be by maintaining a perfectly impassive demeanour in face of anything
that might take place. Whether I acted my part well it is not for me to
say, but the reader can satisfy himself on that point by perusing the
Government inquiry and report made by Mr. J. Larkin, and given in the
Appendix to this book.

The tent being kept closed, I was unable to discover what happened
outside, but from the noises I heard of people rushing hither and
thither, and of shouted orders, besides the continuous tinkling of the
soldiers' horse-bells as they galloped past the tent, I concluded that
the place must be in a state of turmoil. I had been some three hours in
the tent, when a soldier entered and ordered me out.

"They are going to cut off his head," said he to his comrades; and,
turning round to me, he made a significant gesture with his hand across
his neck.

"_Nikutza_" ("All right"), said I drily.

It must not be forgotten that, when a Tibetan himself hears words of
this import, he usually goes down on his knees and implores to be spared,
with tears, and sobs, and prayers in profusion. So it is not surprising
that the Tibetans were somewhat astonished at my answer, and seemed
puzzled as to what to make of it. Anyhow, the first ardour of the
messenger was sensibly cooled down, and I was led out with more
reluctance than firmness.

[Illustration: THE POMBO'S TENT]

During the time I had been shut up, a huge white tent with blue ornaments
had been pitched in front of the mud-house, and round it were hundreds of
soldiers and villagers--a most picturesque sight.

As I was led nearer, I perceived that the front of the tent was wide
open, and inside stood a great number of red Lamas, with shaven heads, in
their long woollen tunics. The soldiers stopped me when I was about
twenty yards from the tent. Additional ropes were added to those already
cutting into my wrists, elbows and chest, and the others made tighter. I
perceived Chanden Sing led forward, and then, instead of taking me before
the Lamas, they pushed me to the rear of the solitary mud-house to
preclude my witnessing the scene that followed. I heard Chanden Sing
being interrogated in a loud angry tone of voice, and accused of having
been my guide. Next I heard wild shouts from the crowd, then a dead
silence. A few instants later I distinguished the snapping noise of a
lash, followed by hoarse moans from my poor bearer, to whom they were
evidently applying it.

I counted the strokes, the sickening noise of which is still well
impressed on my memory, as they regularly and steadily fell one after the
other to twenty, to thirty, forty, and fifty. Then there was a pause.


     Led before the tribunal--The Pombo--Classical Tibetan beyond
     me--Chanden Sing lashed--The Lamas puzzled--A sudden change in
     the Pombo's attitude.

A NUMBER of soldiers now came for me, and I was first led, then pushed
violently before the tribunal.

On a high seat in the centre of the tent sat a man wearing ample trousers
of gaudy yellow and a short yellow coat with flowing sleeves. On his head
he had a huge four-pointed hat gilt all over, and with three great eyes
painted on it. He was young-looking, and his head was clean shaven, as he
was a Lama of the highest order, a Grand Lama and a _Pombo_, or Governor
of the province, with powers equivalent to those of a feudal king. On his
right stood a stout and powerful red Lama who held a huge double-handed
sword, and behind, and at the sides, were a number of other Lamas,
officers and soldiers. As I stood silent, and with my head held high
before him, two or three Lamas rushed at me and ordered me to kneel. They
tried to compel me to do so, by forcing me on my knees, but I succeeded
in maintaining an upright posture.

The Pombo, who was furious at my declining to kneel before him, addressed
me in words that sounded violent; but, as he spoke classical Tibetan, and
I only the colloquial language, I could not understand a word of what he
said, and I meekly asked him not to use such fine words, as they were
unintelligible to me.


The great man was taken aback at this unheard-of request; and, with a
frown on his face, he pointed to me to look to my left. The soldiers and
Lamas drew aside, and I beheld Chanden Sing lying flat on his face,
stripped from the waist downwards, in front of a row of Lamas and
military men. Two powerful Lamas, one on each side of him, began again
to castigate him with knotted leather thongs weighted with lead, laying
on their strokes with vigorous arms from his waist to his feet. He was
bleeding all over. Each time that a lash fell on his wounded skin it felt
as if a dagger had been stuck into my chest; but I knew Orientals too
well to show any pity for the man, as this would have only involved a
more severe punishment for him. So I looked on at his torture as one
would upon a thing of everyday occurrence. The Lamas nearer to me shook
their fists under my nose, and explained that my turn would come next,
whereupon I smiled and repeated the usual "_Nikutza, nikutza_" ("Very
good, very good").

[Illustration: THE POMBO]

The Pombo and his officers were at a loss what to make of me, as I could
plainly see by their faces; so that the more I perceived how well my plan
was answering, the more courage I screwed up to play my part to the best
of my ability.

The Pombo, an effeminate, juvenile, handsome person, almost hysterical in
manner, and likely to make a splendid subject for hypnotic experiments (I
had reason to think, indeed, that he had already often been under
mesmeric influence), remained with his eyes fixed upon mine as if in a
trance for certainly over two minutes.

There was a wonderful and sudden change in the man, and his voice,
arrogant and angry a few moments before, was now soft and apparently
kindly. The Lamas around him were evidently concerned at seeing their
lord and master transformed from a foaming fury to the quietest of lambs.
They seized me and brought me out of his sight to the spot where Chanden
Sing was being chastised. Here again I could not be compelled to kneel,
so at last I was allowed to squat down before the Pombo's officers.


     My note-books and maps--What the Lamas wanted me to say--My
     refusal--Anger and threats--Ando, the traitor--Chanden Sing's
     heroism--A scene of cruelty--Rain.

THE two Lamas, leaving Chanden Sing, produced my note-books and maps, and
proceeded to interrogate me closely, saying that, if I spoke the truth, I
should be spared, otherwise I should be flogged and then beheaded.

[Illustration: A SOLDIER]

I answered that I would speak the truth, whether they punished me or not.

One of the Lamas, a great big brute, who was dressed up in a gaudy red
silk coat, with gold embroidery at the collar, and who had taken part in
the flogging of Chanden Sing, told me I must say "that my servant had
shown me the road across Tibet, and that he had done the maps and
sketches." If I would say this, they were willing to release me and have
me conveyed back to the frontier, promising to do me no further harm.
They would cut my servant's head off, that was all, but no personal
injury should be inflicted on me.

I explained clearly to the Lamas that I alone was responsible for the
maps and sketches, and for finding my way so far inland. I repeated
several times, slowly and distinctly, that my servant was innocent, and
that therefore there was no reason to punish him. He had only obeyed my
orders in following me to Tibet, and I alone, not my two servants, was to
be punished if anybody was punishable.

The Lamas were angry at this, and one of them struck me violently on the
head with the butt-end of his riding-crop. I pretended not to notice it,
though it made my scalp ache and smart.


"Then we shall beat you and your man until you say what we want," the
Lama exclaimed angrily.

"You can beat us if you like," I replied with assurance, "but if you
punish us unjustly it will go against yourselves. You can tear our skin
off, and you can make us bleed to death, but you cannot make us feel

Ando, the traitor, who spoke Hindustani fluently, acted as interpreter
whenever there was a hitch in our Tibetan conversation, and with what I
knew of the language, and with this man's help, everything was explained
to the Tibetans as clearly as possible. Notwithstanding this, they
continued mercilessly to lash my poor servant, who, in his agony, was
biting the ground as each blow fell on him and tore away patches of skin
and flesh. Chanden Sing behaved heroically. Not a word of complaint, nor
a prayer for mercy, came from his lips. He said that he had spoken the
truth and had nothing more to say. Watched intently by all the Lamas and
soldiers, I sat with affected stoicism before this scene of cruelty,
until, angry at my phlegm, order was given to the soldiers that I should
be dragged away. Again they led me behind the mud-house, from where I
could distinctly hear the angry cries of the Lamas cross-examining
Chanden Sing, and those dreadful sounds of the lash still being

It began to rain heavily, and this was a bit of luck for us, for in
Tibet, as in China, a shower has a great effect upon the people, and even
massacres have been known to be put a stop to until the rain should

Such was the case that day. The moment the first drops fell, the soldiers
and Lamas rushed here, there, and everywhere inside the tents, and I was
hastily dragged to the most distant tent of the settlement, which became
packed with the guards into whose charge I had been given.

[Illustration: AN OFFICER]


     A high military officer--A likely friend--A soldier and not a
     Lama--His sympathy--Facts about the Tibetan army.

[Illustration: PURSE]

AN officer of high rank was sitting cross-legged at the farther end of
the tent. He wore a handsome dark red gown trimmed with gold and leopard
skin, and was shod with tall black and red leather boots of Chinese
shape. A beautiful sword with solid silver sheath inlaid with large
pieces of coral and malachite was passed through his belt.

[Illustration: FLINT AND STEEL]

This man, apparently between fifty and sixty years of age, had an
intelligent, refined, honest, good-natured face; and somehow or other I
felt from the very first moment I saw him that he would be a friend. And,
indeed, whereas the soldiers and Lamas treated me with brutality and took
every mean advantage that they could, this officer was alone in showing
some deference to me and some appreciation of my behaviour. He made room
by his side and signed that I might sit there.

[Illustration: SNUFF-BOX]

"I am a soldier," said he in a dignified tone, "not a Lama. I have come
from Lhassa with my men to arrest you, and you are now our prisoner. But
you have shown no fear, and I respect you."

So saying, he inclined his head and laid his forehead touching mine, and
pulled out his tongue. Then he made a gesture signifying that, though he
wished to, he could not then say more, owing to the presence of the

Later on we entered into a most amicable conversation, in the course of
which he said that he was a Rupun (a grade below that of general). I
tried to explain to him all about English soldiers and weapons, and he
displayed the keenest interest in all I told him. In return he gave me
interesting information about the soldiers of Tibet. Every man in Tibet
is considered a soldier in time of war or when required to do duty, but
for the regular army all lads that are strong and healthy can enlist from
the age of seventeen, those deformed or weakly being rejected as unfit
for service. Good horsemanship is one of the qualities most appreciated
in the Tibetan soldier, and, after that, unbounded obedience. The Rupun
swore by the Tibetan matchlocks, which he believed to be the most
serviceable weapons on earth; for, according to him, as long as you had
powder enough, you could use anything as a missile. Pebbles, earth, or
nails did as good work as any lead bullet.


He told me that large quantities of these weapons were manufactured at
Lhassa and Sigatz (Shigatze), and he stated that the majority of Tibetan
men outside the towns possess one. Gunpowder was also made with saltpetre
and sulphur found in the country.

The Rupun, seeing how quick I was at picking up words, took a special
delight in teaching me, as one would a child, the names of the several
grades in the Tibetan army. The _Tchu-pun_[29] was the lowest grade, and
only had ten men under him; then came the _Kiatsamba-pun_ or
_Kia-pun_,[30] or officer in command of one hundred soldiers; and the
_Tung-pun_,[31] or head of one thousand. These officers, however, are
seldom allowed the full complement of soldiers according to their grade,
and very often the "commander of one thousand" has only under him three
or four hundred men at the most. Above the _Tung-pun_ comes the _Rupun_,
a kind of adjutant-general; then the _Dah-pun_, or great officer; and
highest of all, the _Mag-pun_ (or _Mag-bun_, as it is usually
pronounced), the general in chief.

The acquaintance of one of these generals we had already made at Gyanema.
Though my informant said that officers are elected for their bravery in
time of war and for their strength and aptitude in the saddle and with
their weapons, I knew well enough that such was not the case. The posts
are mainly given to whoever can afford to pay most for them, and to men
of families under special protection of the Lamas. In many cases they are
actually sold by auction.

[Illustration: LEATHER HORSE-WHIP]

The method described by the Rupun was nevertheless what is popularly
believed by the masses of Tibet to be the way in which military officers
are chosen.

[29] _Tchu_, ten, _pun_, officer, or officer of ten men.

[30] _Kiatsamba_ or _Kia_ = one hundred.

[31] _Tung_ = one thousand.


     Sarcasm appreciated--Kindness--A change for the worse--The place
     for an Englishman--Vermin--A Tibetan prayer.

THE Rupun possessed a good deal of dry humour, and I told him how fast
the Tibetan soldiers had run away on previous occasions when I had met
them and had my rifle by me. But he was quite equal to the situation and
exclaimed: "Yes, I know that they ran, but it was not through fear. It
was because they did not wish to hurt you." Upon which I answered that,
if that were the case, they need not have run so fast.

The Rupun seemed amused and laughed at my sarcasm. He patted me on the
back and said I was right. He professed to be grieved to see me tied up,
and said he had received strict orders not to give me food or unloose my

[Illustration: CHARM-BOX]

The soldiers, who had been listening open-mouthed to the affable and
friendly conversation between the Rupun and myself, a practice not common
in Tibet between captor and prisoner, followed their chief's example, and
from being harsh and rough, turned quite kindly and respectful. They
placed a cushion under me and tried to make me as comfortable as they
could in the circumstances.

Towards the evening, however, the Rupun was summoned before the Pombo,
and the guard was relieved by a fresh lot of men. This was a change for
the worse. Their manner was extremely rough, and they dragged me away
from the dignified seat I had occupied in the place of honour in the
tent, and knocked me violently down on a heap of dung which they used for

"That is the place for _plenkis!_" shouted one of the men, "not in the
best part of the tent."

They pounced upon me roughly, and though I made no resistance whatever,
they again tied my feet together, and another rope was fastened round my
knees. The ends of these ropes were left long, and each was given in
charge of a soldier.

No part of a Tibetan tent is over clean, but the spot where I was to rest
for the night was the dirtiest. Bound so tightly that the ropes cut
channels in my flesh, it was out of the question to sleep; but tenfold
worse than this was the disgusting fact that I soon got covered with
vermin, which swarmed in the tent. From this time till the end of my
captivity, or twenty-five days later, I suffered unspeakable tortures
from this pest. The guards, with their swords drawn, were all round me
inside the tent, and others were posted outside.

The night was full of strange events. Shouts could be heard at intervals
from a distance outside, and some one of the guard in the tent answered
them. They were to keep the men awake and make sure that I was still
there. One of the soldiers in the tent revolved his prayer-wheel,
muttering the following prayer so often that I learned it by heart:

            Sangbo, sangbo
    Yabni namla dupchenché
    Yumni sala lockchendir
    Lashin shukpi Kani san
    Pashin tagpe Kani san
    Yulo parba palui san
    Tumlo parba wumboi san
    Lassan lussan tamjeh san
    Chedan Kordan jindan san
    Takpeh yeiki polloh san
    Takpeh yonki molloh san
    Tzurzu Kaghi Tablah san
    Arah, Banza, Nattittí
    Jehmi jangla changzalu.

The almost literal translation of the words is this:

    Oh, my God, I confess
    That my father has gone to heaven,
    But my mother is at present alive (_lit._ in the house).
    First my mother sinned
    And you took all men to heaven,
    Then my mother and father sinned and I will go to heaven.
    If all other men and I sin, and we withdraw our sins,
    We are all liable to sin and the wumboo wood absolves (_lit._
            washes all) from all sins.
    On the North-west (Lassan) and South-east (Lussan) are the two
            ways to heaven.
    I read the holy book and purify myself,
    My arm-bone[32] is the sacred bone (_lit._ God's bone).
    And the sign of manhood my left arm.
    Oh, my God, who art above my head,
    And at the sacred Kujernath, Banzah and Nattittí
    I pray every day for health and wealth (silver and gold).

[32] The Tibetans believe that in men the left, and in women the right,
arm belongs to God. They regard it as sacred, because with this arm food
is conveyed to the mouth, thus giving life to the body, and also because
it is with the arms that one can defend oneself against one's enemies.
The bone of the nose is also regarded as sacred.


     The Rupun as a friend--Treated with respect and deference--Fed by
     the Rupun and soldiers--Improving my knowledge of Tibetan.

[Illustration: PUKU, OR WOODEN CUP]

IN the middle of the night the Rupun returned. I noticed he seemed very
much upset. He sat by my side, and by the light of the flickering fire
and a wick burning in a brass bowl filled with butter, I could see in his
face an expression of great anxiety. I felt, by the compassionate way in
which he looked at me, that he had grave news to give me. I was not
mistaken. He moved me from the pestilent place where I had been thrown
down helpless by the soldiers, and laid me in a more comfortable and
cleaner part of the tent. Then he ordered a soldier to bring me a
blanket. Next, to my astonishment, he became very severe, and said he
must examine my bonds. He turned quite angry, scolding the soldiers for
leaving me so insecurely tied, and proceeded to make the knots firmer, a
thing which I felt was impossible. Though he pretended to use all his
strength in doing this, I found, much to my amazement, that my bonds were
really becoming loosened. He then quickly covered me up with the heavy

[Illustration: PUKU, OR WOODEN CUP]

The soldiers were at the other end of the large tent, and seemed occupied
with a loud argument over some paltry matter. The Rupun, stooping low,
and making pretence to tuck me in the blanket, whispered:

"Your head is to be cut off to-morrow. Escape to-night. There are no
soldiers outside."

The good man was actually preparing everything for my flight. He put out
the light, and came to sleep by my side. It would have been
comparatively easy, when all the men had fallen asleep, to slip from
under the tent and steal away. I had got my hands easily out of the
ropes, and should have had no difficulty in undoing all my other bonds;
but the thought that I should be leaving my two men at the mercy of the
Tibetans prevented my carrying the escape into effect. The Rupun, having
risen to see that the guard were asleep, lay down again close to me and

"_Nelon, nelon; palad[)o]_" ("They are asleep; go").

Well meant and tempting as the offer was, I told him I must stay with my

Having my hands free, I managed to sleep a little during the night; and
when the morning came I slipped my hands again inside the ropes.

The Rupun, who seemed much disappointed, tied the ropes round my wrists
firmly again, and, though he appeared rather vexed at my not having
availed myself of the chance of flight he had given me, he treated me
with ever-increasing respect and deference. He even produced his _puku_
(wooden bowl), which he filled with steaming tea from the _raksang_,[33]
and lifted it up to my mouth for me to drink.

On perceiving how thirsty and hungry I was, not only did this good man
refill the cup time after time until my thirst was quenched, but he mixed
with it _tsamba_, and lumps of butter, which he then stuffed into my
mouth with his fingers.

It was really touching to see how, moved to kindness, the soldiers
imitated his example, and, one after the other, produced handfuls of
_tsamba_ and _chura_, and deposited them in my mouth. Their hands, it is
true, were not over clean, but on such occasions it does not do to be too
particular, and I was so hungry that the food they gave me seemed
delicious. I had been for two nights and one day without food, and, what
with the exertion of the fight and my various exciting experiences, my
appetite was very keen.

This great politeness, however, and the sympathy with which not only the
Rupun, but even the soldiers treated me now, made me suspect that my end
was indeed near. I was grieved not to be able to obtain news of Chanden
Sing and Mansing; and the soldiers' reticence in answering questions
regarding them made me fear that something awful had happened.
Nevertheless, though my gaolers were friendly, I did not betray any
anxiety, but pretended to take all that came as a matter of course. I
spent the first portion of the day in a lively conversation with the
soldiers, partly to divert my thoughts and partly to improve my knowledge
of Tibetan.

[33] _Raksang_, a vessel in which tea mixed with butter and salt is kept
boiling over the fire.


     A bearer of bad news--Marched off to the
     mud-house--Mansing--Insults and humiliations--Iron handcuffs
     instead of ropes--The Rupun's sympathy--No more hope--In the
     hands of the mob.

EARLY in the afternoon a soldier entered the tent, and striking me on the
shoulder with his heavy hand, shouted:

"_Ohe!_" (This is a Tibetan exclamation always used by the rougher
classes when beginning a conversation. It corresponds to "Look here.")

"_Ohe!_" repeated he; "before the sun goes down you will be flogged, both
your legs will be broken,[34] they will burn out your eyes, and then they
will cut off your head!"

The man, who seemed quite in earnest, accompanied each sentence with an
appropriate gesture illustrating his words. I laughed at him and affected
to treat the whole thing as a joke, partly because I thought this was the
best way to frighten them and prevent them from using violence, and
partly because the programme thus laid before me seemed so extensive that
I thought it could only be intended to intimidate me.

However, the words of the soldier cast a gloom over my friendly guard in
the tent, and when I tried to cheer them up, they answered bluntly that I
would not laugh for very long. Something was certainly happening, for the
men rushed in and out of the tent, and whispered among themselves. When I
spoke to them they would answer no more, and on my insisting, they made
signs that their lips must from now be closed.

About half an hour later, another person rushed into the tent in a great
state of excitement, and signalled to my guards to lead me out. This
they did, after making my bonds tighter than ever, and placing extra
ropes round my chest and arms. In this fashion I was marched off to the
mud-house and led into one of the rooms. A large number of soldiers and
villagers assembled outside, and after we had waited some time, Mansing,
tightly bound, was brought into the same room. My pleasure at seeing my
man again was so great, that I forgot all about what was happening, and
paid no attention to the insults of the mob peeping through the door.
After a while a Lama came in with a smiling face and said he had good
news to give me.

"We have ponies here," he said, "and we are going to take you back to the
frontier, but the Pombo wishes to see you first to-day. Do not make any
resistance. Let us exchange the ropes round your wrists for these iron


Here he produced a heavy pair of them, which he had kept concealed under
his coat.

"You will not wear them for more than a few moments while we are leading
you to his presence. Then you will be free. We swear to you by the Sun
and Kunjuk-Sum that we will treat you kindly."

I promised not to resist, chiefly because I had no chance of doing so.
For greater safety they tied my legs and placed a sliding knot round my
neck; then I was carried out into the open, where a ring of soldiers with
drawn swords stood round me. While I lay flat on my face on the ground,
held down firmly, they unwound the ropes from around my wrists, and the
iron fetters, joined by a heavy chain, were substituted for them. They
took some time in fastening the clumsy padlock, after which, all being
ready, they unbound my legs.

They made me stand up again, and knowing that I could not possibly get my
hands free, they began to load me with insults and offensive terms, not
directed to me as an individual, but as a _Plenki_, an Englishman. They
spat upon me and threw mud at me. The Lamas behaved worse than any of the
others, and the one who had sworn that I should be in no way ill-used if
I would submit quietly to be handcuffed was the most prominent among my
tormentors and the keenest in urging the crowd on to further brutality.

[Illustration: MY HANDCUFFS]

Suddenly the attention of the crowd was drawn to the approach of the
Rupun with a number of soldiers and officers. He seemed depressed, and
his face was of a ghastly yellowish tint. He kept his eyes fixed on the
ground, and, speaking very low, ordered that I should again be conveyed
inside the mud-house.

A few moments later he came in and closed the door after him, having
first cleared the room of all the people who were in it. As I have
mentioned before, Tibetan structures of this kind have a square aperture
in the ceiling by which they are ventilated and lighted.

The Rupun laid his forehead upon mine in sign of compassion, and then
sadly shook his head.

"There is no more hope," he whispered; "your head will be cut off
to-night. The Lamas are bad and my heart is aching. You are like my
brother, and I am grieved...."

The good old man tried not to let me see his emotion, and made signs that
he could stay no longer, lest he should be accused of being my friend.

The mob again entered the room, and I was once more dragged out into the
open by the Lamas and soldiers. Some discussion followed as to who should
keep the key of my handcuffs, and eventually it was handed over to one of
the officers, who mounted his pony and rode away at a great rate in the
direction of Lhassa.

[Illustration: PADLOCK AND KEY]

[34] A form of torture in which, after placing the legs upon two parallel
logs of wood, a heavy blow is given with a mallet, fracturing both legs.


     A pitiful scene--A struggle to get to Chanden Sing--Brutally
     treated--A torturing saddle--Across country at a gallop--A
     spirited pony--Sand deposits and hills--Speculation--More
     horsemen coming towards us.

JUST then I heard the voice of my servant Chanden Sing calling to me in a
weak agonised tone:

"_Hazur, Hazur, hum murgiaega!_" ("Sir, sir, I am dying!") and, turning
my head in the direction from which these painful sounds came, I
perceived my faithful bearer with his hands bound behind his back,
dragging himself on his stomach towards the door of one of the other
rooms of the mud-house. His poor face was hardly recognisable, it bore
the traces of such awful suffering.

I could stand no more. Pushing my guards aside with my shoulders, I
endeavoured to get to the poor wretch, and had nearly reached him when
the soldiers who stood by sprang upon me, grappling me, and lifting me
bodily off my feet. They threw me on the back of a pony.

Though I now feared the worst, I tried to encourage my brave servant by
shouting to him that I was being taken to Taklakot, and that he would be
brought after me the following day. He had exhausted his last atom of
strength in creeping to the door. He was roughly seized, and brutally
hurled back into the room of the mud-house, so that we could not exchange
a word more. Mansing, the coolie, was placed, with his arms pinioned, on
a bare-backed pony. The saddle of the pony I had been thrown upon is
worthy of description. It was in reality the wooden frame of a very
high-backed saddle, from the back of which some five or six sharp iron
spikes stuck out horizontally. As I sat on this implement of torture, the
spikes caught me in the small of my back.

My guard having been augmented by twenty or thirty mounted men with
muskets and swords, we set off at a furious pace. A horseman riding in
front of me led my pony by means of a cord, as my hands were manacled
behind my back; and thus we travelled across country for miles.

[Illustration: "SIR, SIR, I AM DYING"]

But for those awful spikes in the saddle, the ride would not have been so
very bad, for the pony I rode was a fine spirited animal, and the country
around was curious and interesting. We proceeded along an apparently
endless succession of yellow sandhills, some of them as high as two or
three hundred feet, others not more than twenty or thirty. The sand
seemed to have been deposited more by wind than by water, though it is
also possible that the whole basin, not very high above the level of the
huge stream, may at some time have been altogether under water. The whole
space between the mountain-range to the North of the Brahmaputra and the
river itself was covered with these sand mounds, except in certain places
where the soil was extremely marshy, and where our ponies sank in deep
soft mud. We splashed across several rivulets and skirted a number of
ponds. From the summit of a hill to which they led me, I could see that
the hills were of much greater circumference and height near the river
edge, becoming smaller and smaller as they approached the mountain-range
to the North. Moreover, they increased in number and size the farther we
went in an easterly direction.

[Illustration: SPIKED SADDLE]

The circumstances under which I was now travelling did not permit me to
ascertain the quality of the sand, or make any accurate investigations as
to where the sand came from, but a glance at the country all round made
me feel sure that the sand had been conveyed there from the South. This
one could plainly see from depressions and wavelike undulations, showing
that it had travelled (roughly) in a northerly direction; and although,
having been unable to ascertain this for a fact, I do not wish to be too
certain with regard to the movements and sources of these sand deposits,
I was pretty firmly convinced that the sand had been deposited there by
the wind, which had carried it over the Himahlyan chain from the plains
of India.

My guard scoured the country from the high point of vantage to which we
had ascended. Away in the distance to the East, we saw a large number of
horsemen raising clouds of dust; and, riding down the hill, the ponies
sinking in the soft sand, we set off in the direction of the new comers,
the surface at the bottom of the hill being more compact and harder.


     At an unpleasant pace--Drawing near the cavalcade--A picturesque
     sight--A shot fired at me--Terrible effects of the spikes along
     my spine--The rope breaks--An ill omen--A second shot misses
     me--Arrows--The end of my terrible ride.

WE travelled mile after mile at an unpleasant pace, until we arrived at a
spot where, drawn up in a line, was the cavalcade we had seen from the
summit of the hill. It was a beautiful sight as we approached it, though
the pain which I was undergoing rather detracted from the pleasure I
should otherwise have taken in the picturesque scene. There were about a
hundred red Lamas in the centre, with banner-men whose heads were covered
by peculiar flat fluffy hats, and the same number of soldiers and
officers in their grey, red and black tunics; some two hundred horsemen
in all.

The Pombo, in his yellow coat and trousers and his queer pointed hat, sat
on a magnificent pony a little in front of the crowd of Lamas and

Curiously enough, when close to this new crowd, the horseman who led my
pony let go the rope, and the pony was lashed cruelly and left to its own
devices. The soldiers of my guard reined up and drew aside. The pony
dashed off in the direction of the Pombo and, as I passed close to him, a
man named Nerba (private secretary of the Tokchim Tarjum), knelt down,
and, taking aim with his matchlock resting on its prop, deliberately
fired a shot at me.

Although (I learned afterwards) this Nerba was one of the champion shots
in the country, and the distance from the muzzle of his matchlock to me
not more than four yards, the bullet missed me, whizzing past my left
ear. Probably the speed at which my animal was proceeding saved me, as
the marksman could not take a very steady aim; but my pony, startled at
the sudden report of the matchlock at such close quarters, took fright,
and began rearing and plunging. I managed to maintain my seat, though the
spikes in the saddle were lacerating the lower part of my spine terribly.

[Illustration: NERBA FIRING AT ME]

Several horsemen now rode up and captured my pony, and preparations were
made for another exciting number in the programme of my tortures. In
their way these noble Lamas were of a sporting nature, but I swore to
myself that, no matter what they did to me, I would not give them the
satisfaction of seeing that they were hurting me. Acting on this
principle, I pretended not to feel the effect of the spikes tearing the
flesh off my backbone; and when they led me before the Pombo to show him
how covered with blood I was, I expressed satisfaction at riding such an
excellent pony. This seemed to puzzle them.


A cord of yak's hair, about forty or fifty yards long, was now produced,
the swivel attached to one end of it fastened to my handcuffs, and the
other end held by a horseman. We set off again on our wild career, this
time followed not only by the guard, but by the Pombo and all his men.
Once or twice I could not help turning round to see what they were about.
The cavalcade was a weird and picturesque sight, the riders with their
many-coloured dresses, their matchlocks with red flags, their jewelled
swords, their banners with long ribbons of all colours flying in the
wind; all galloping furiously, shouting, yelling and hissing, amidst a
deafening din of thousands of horse-bells.

In order to accelerate our speed, a horseman rode by my side lashing my
pony to make it go its hardest. Meanwhile the horseman who held the cord
did his utmost to pull me out of the saddle, no doubt in the hope of
seeing me trampled to death by the cohort behind me. As I leaned my body
forward so as to maintain my seat, and with my arms pulled violently
backwards by the rope, the flesh was rubbed off my hands and knuckles by
the chain of the handcuffs. In places the bone was exposed; and, of
course, every tug brought me into forcible contact with the spikes and
inflicted deeper wounds. The cord, though strong, eventually and
unexpectedly gave way. The soldier who was pulling at the other end was
clumsily unhorsed, and I myself was all but thrown by the unexpected
jerk. This ludicrous incident at first provoked mirth among my escort, a
mirth which their superstitious minds immediately turned into an ill


When my pony was stopped, as well as the runaway steed of the dismounted
cavalier, I took advantage of their fears, and assured them once more
that whatever harm they tried to do me would go against themselves.
However, the cord was retied with sundry strong knots, and, after an
interruption of a few minutes, we resumed our breakneck gallop, I being
again sent on in front.

Towards the end of our journey we had to go round the curve of a
sandhill, the track between this and a large pond at its foot being very
narrow. At this point I saw in front of me a soldier posted in ambush,
with his matchlock ready to fire. The pony sank deep in the sand, and
could not travel fast here, which I suppose was the reason why this spot
had been selected. The man fired as I passed only a few paces from him;
but, as luck would have it, this second attempt also left me untouched.

Getting clear of the soft sand, and finding harder ground, we resumed our
headlong career. Several arrows were shot at me from behind; but, though
some passed very near, not one struck me; and thus, after an interminable
ride full of incident and excitement, we arrived, towards sunset, at our

On the crown of a hill stood a fortress and large lamasery, and at its
foot, in front of another large structure, the Pombo's gaudy tent had
been pitched. The name of this place, as far as I could afterwards
ascertain, was Namj Laccé Galshio or Gyatsho.


     Intense pain--Hustled to the execution-ground--Stretched and
     tied--Thirsting for blood--A parade of torturing appliances--The
     music--The _Taram_.


TWO or three men tore me roughly off the saddle. The pain in my spine
caused by the spikes was intense. I asked for a moment's rest. My
captors, however, refused, and, roughly thrusting me forward, said that I
would be beheaded in an instant. All the people round jeered and made
signs to me that my head would be cut off, and insults of all kinds were
showered upon me by the crowd of Lamas and soldiers. I was hustled to
the execution-ground, which lay to the left front of the tent. On the
ground was a long log of wood in the shape of a prism. Upon the sharp
edge of this I was made to stand, and several men held me by the body
while four or five others, using their combined strength, stretched my
legs as wide apart as they could go. Fixed in this painful position, the
brutes securely tied me by my feet to the log of wood with cords of
yak-hair. Several men were made to pull these cords, and they were so
tight that they cut grooves into my skin and flesh in several places
round my ankles and on my feet, many of the cuts[35] being as much as
three inches long.

[Illustration: LAMA MUSICIANS]

When I was thus firmly bound, one ruffian, the man Nerba, whom I have
mentioned before as having fired a shot at me, came forward and seized me
from behind by the hair of my head. My hair was long, as it had not been
cut for over five months.

[Illustration: THE HOT IRON TORTURE]

The spectacle before me was overwhelming. By the Pombo's tent stood in a
row the most villainous brutes I have ever set eyes upon. One, a powerful
repulsive individual, held in his hand a great knobbed mallet used for
fracturing bones; another carried a bow and arrows; a third held a big
two-handed sword; while others made a display of various ghastly
instruments of torture. The crowd, thirsting for my blood, formed up in a
semicircle, leaving room for me to see the parade of the torture
implements that awaited me; and, as my eyes roamed from one figure to the
other, the several Lamas shook their various implements to show that they
were preparing for action.

[Illustration: THE TARAM]

A group of three Lamas stood at the entrance of the tent. They were the
musicians. One held a gigantic horn which, when blown, emitted hoarse,
thundering sounds, and his companions had one a drum and the other
cymbals. Another fellow some distance away continually sounded a huge
gong. From the moment I was made to dismount the deafening sounds of the
diabolical trio echoed all through the valley, and added to the horror of
the scene.

An iron bar with a handle of wood bound in red cloth was being made red
hot in a brasier. The Pombo, who had again placed something in his mouth
to produce artificial foaming at the lips, and so to show his temper,
worked himself up into a frenzy. A Lama handed him the implement of
torture (the _Taram_), now red hot, and the Pombo seized it by the

_"Ngaghi kin meh taxon!_" ("We will burn out your eyes!") cried a chorus
of Lamas.

The Pombo strode up to me, brandishing the ghastly implement. I stared at
him, but he kept his eyes away from me. He seemed reluctant, but the
Lamas around him urged him on, lifting the man's arm towards me!

"You have come to this country to see" (alluding to what I had stated the
previous day, viz., that I was a traveller and pilgrim, and had only come
to see the country). "This, then, is the punishment for you!" and with
these dreadful words the Pombo raised his arm and placed the red-hot iron
bar parallel to, and about an inch or two from, my eyeballs, and all but
touching my nose.

Instinctively I kept my eyes tightly closed, but the heat was so intense
that it seemed as if my eyes, the left one especially, were being
desiccated and my nose scorched.

Though the time seemed interminable, I do not think that the heated bar
was before my eyes actually longer than thirty seconds or so. Yet it was
quite long enough, for, when I lifted my aching eyelids, I saw everything
as in a red mist. My left eye was frightfully painful, and every few
seconds it seemed as if something in front of it obscured its vision.
With the right eye I could still see fairly well, except that everything,
as I have said, looked red instead of its usual colour. The hot iron had
been thrown down and was frizzling on the wet ground a few paces from me.

[35] Measured some weeks later by Dr. Wilson.


     Bleeding all over--Insulted and spat upon--"Kill him!"--Urging on
     the executioner--Refusal to stoop--An unpleasant sword
     exercise--The execution suspended.

MY position as I stood with my legs wide apart, with my back, hands and
legs bleeding, and seeing everything of a ghastly red tinge; amidst the
deafening, maddening noise of gong, drum, cymbals and horn; insulted,
spat upon by the crowd, and with Nerba holding me so tight by my hair as
to tear handfuls of it from my scalp, was one in which I cannot wish even
my bitterest enemies to find themselves. All I was able to do was to
remain calm and composed and to watch with apparent unconcern the
preparations for the next sufferings to be inflicted upon me.

"_Miumta nani sehko!_" ("Kill him with a rifle!") shouted a hoarse voice.

A matchlock was now being loaded by a soldier, and such was the quantity
of gunpowder they placed in the barrel that I made sure whoever fired it
would have his head blown off; so it was with a certain amount of
satisfaction that I saw it handed over to the Pombo. That official placed
the weapon against my forehead, with the muzzle pointing upwards. Then a
soldier leaning down, applied fire to the fuse and eventually there was a
loud report which gave my head a severe shock, and the overloaded
matchlock flew clean out of the Pombo's hand, much to everybody's
surprise. I forced myself to laugh; and their confusion, added to the
tantalising failure of every attempt they made to hurt me, drove the
crowd to the highest pitch of fury.

_"Ta kossaton, ta kossaton!_" ("Kill him, kill him!") exclaimed fierce
voices all round me. "_Ngala mangbo shidak majidan!_" ("We cannot
frighten him!") "_Ta kossaton, ta kossaton!_" ("Kill him, kill him!"),
the whole valley resounding with their ferocious cries.

A huge two-handed sword was now handed to the Pombo, who drew it out of
its sheath.

[Illustration: A BANNERMAN]

"Kill him, kill him!" shouted the mob once more, urging on the
executioner, who, his superstitious nature not having overcome the
ill-omened fact that the matchlock a moment before had jumped out of his
hand (which he probably attributed to the doing of some supreme power and
not to the over-charge), seemed quite reluctant to come forward.

I seized this moment to say that they might kill me if they wished, but
that, if I died to-day, they would all die to-morrow--an undeniable fact,
for we are all bound to die some day. This seemed to cool them for a
moment, but the excitement in the crowd was too great, and at last they
succeeded in working the Pombo up into a passion. His face became quite
unrecognisable, such was his excitement, and he behaved like a madman.

At this point a Lama approached and slipped something into the mouth of
the executioner, who again foamed at the lips. A Lama held his sword,
while he turned up one sleeve of his coat to have his arms free, and the
Lamas turned up the other for him. Then he strode towards me with slow,
ponderous steps, swinging the shiny sharp blade from side to side before
him, with his bare arms outstretched.

The man Nerba, who was still holding me by the hair, was told to make me
bend my neck. I resisted with what little strength I had left, determined
to keep my head erect and my forehead high. They might kill me, true
enough, they might hack me to pieces if they chose, but never until I had
lost my last atom of strength would these ruffians make me stoop before
them. I would perish, but it should be looking down upon the Pombo and
his countrymen.


The executioner, now close to me, held the sword with his nervous hands,
lifting it high above his shoulder. He then brought it down to my neck,
which he touched with the blade, to measure the distance, as it were, for
a clean effective stroke. Then, drawing back a step, he quickly raised
the sword again and struck a blow at me with all his might. The sword
passed disagreeably close to my neck under my chin, but did not touch
me. I would not flinch, nor speak, and my demeanour seemed to impress him
almost to the point of frightening him. He became reluctant to continue
his diabolical performance; but the impatience and turbulence of the
crowd were at their highest, and the Lamas nearer to him gesticulated
like madmen and urged him on again.

As I write this, their wild shouts, their bloodthirsty countenances, are
vividly brought before me. Apparently against his will, the executioner
went through the same kind of performance on the other side of my head.
This time the blade passed so near that the point cannot have been more
than half an inch or so from my neck.

It seemed as if all would soon be over; yet, strange to say, even at this
culminating moment I did not seriously realise that I should die. Why
this was so I cannot say, because everything pointed towards my end being
very near; but I had a feeling all the time that I should live to see the
end of it all. I was very sorry, if my end were really at hand, as it
seemed likely, that I should die without seeing my parents and friends
again, and that they probably would never know how and where I had died.
One is naturally at all times reluctant to leave a world in which one has
barely had a dull moment, but, after all my wretched experiences,
sufferings and excitement, I did not realise my peril so much as I should
have done had I, for instance, been dragged from my comfortable London
flat direct on to the execution-ground, instead of first having lived
through the recent past.

Naturally the scene is one that I am not likely to forget, and I must say
for the Tibetans that the whole affair was very picturesquely carried
out. Even the ghastliest ceremonies may have their artistic side, and
this particular one, performed with extra pomp and flourish, was really

It appears that the unpleasant sword exercise is sometimes gone through
in Tibet previous to actually cutting off the head, so as to make the
victim suffer more before the final blow is given. I was not aware of
this at the time, and only learnt it some weeks after. It is usually at
the third stroke that the victim is actually beheaded.

The Lamas were still clamouring for my head, but the Pombo made a firm
stand this time, and declined to go on with the execution. They collected
round him and seemed very angry; they shouted and yelled and gesticulated
in the wildest fashion; and still the Pombo kept his eyes upon me in a
half-respectful, half-frightened manner, and refused to move.


     Mansing arrives--A pretence of killing him--Our execution
     postponed--Fed by the Lamas.

AN excited consultation followed, during which, in the midst of this
scene of barbarity, my coolie Mansing arrived. He had fallen off his
bare-back pony many times, and had been left far behind. The man who held
my hair now relinquished his grasp, while another pushed me violently
from in front, causing me to fall heavily backward, and putting a painful
strain on all the tendons of my legs. Mansing, bruised and aching all
over, was brought forward and tied by his legs to the same log of wood to
which I was fastened. They informed me that they would kill my coolie
first, and one brutal Lama seized him roughly by the throat. I was pushed
up in a sitting posture, and a cloth was thrown over my head and face, so
that I could not see what was being done. I heard poor Mansing groan
pitifully, then there was a dead silence. I called him, I received no
answer; so I concluded that he had been despatched. I was left in this
terrible suspense for over a quarter of an hour, when at last they
removed the cloth from over my head, and I beheld my coolie lying before
me, bound to the log and almost unconscious, but, thank God, still alive.
He told me that, when I had called him, a Lama had placed his hand upon
his mouth to prevent him from answering, while, with the other hand, he
had squeezed his neck so tightly as to nearly strangle him. After a while
Mansing got better, and the coolness and bravery of the poor wretch
during these terrible trials were really marvellous.

We were told that our execution was only postponed till the next day, in
order that we might be tortured until the time came for us to be brought
out to death.

A number of Lamas and soldiers stood round jeering at us. I seized the
opportunity this respite afforded to hail a swaggering Lama and ask him
for some refreshment.

"_Orcheh, orcheh nga dappa tugu duh, chuen deh, dang, yak, guram, tcha,
tsamba pin_" ("I am very hungry, please give me some rice, yak meat,
_ghur_, tea, and oatmeal!") I asked in my best Tibetan.

"_Hum murr, Maharaja!_" ("I want butter, your Majesty") put in Mansing,
half in Hindustani and half in the Tibetan language.

This natural application for food seemed to afford intense amusement to
our torturers, who had formed a ring round us, and laughed at our appeal,
while Mansing and I, both of us famished, were left sitting bound in a
most painful position.

The day had now waned, and our torturers did not fail to remind us
constantly that the following day our heads would be severed from our
bodies, which I told them would cause us no pain, for if they gave us no
food we should be dead of starvation by then.

Whether they realised that this might be the case, or whether some other
reasons moved them, I cannot say; but several of the Lamas, who had been
most brutal, including one who had the previous day taken a part in
Chanden Sing's flogging, now became quite polite and treated us with a
surprising amount of deference. Two Lamas were despatched to the
monastery, and returned after some time with bags of _tsamba_ and a large
_raksang_ of boiling tea. I have hardly ever enjoyed a meal more, though
the Lamas stuffed the food down my throat with their unwashed fingers so
fast that they nearly choked me.

"Eat, eat as much as you can," said they grimly, "for it may be your last

And eat I did, and washed the _tsamba_ down with quantities of buttered
tea, which they poured into my mouth carelessly out of the _raksang_.

Mansing, whose religion did not allow him to eat food touched by folk of
a different caste, was eventually permitted to lick the meal out of the
wooden bowl. I myself was none too proud to take the food in any way it
might be offered, and when my humble "_Orcheh, orcheh tchuen mangbo
terokchi_" ("Please give me some more") met with the disapproval of the
Lamas, and brought out the everlasting negative, "_Middù, middù_," I was
still too hungry to waste any of the precious food: so the Tibetans
revolved the wooden bowl round and round my mouth, and I licked it as
clean as if it had never been used.


     Happiness checked--Stretched on the rack--Mansing shares my
     fate--Drenched and in rags--An unsolved mystery.

AFTER all the excitement of the day, we were beginning to feel a little
restored and much relieved at being treated rather less roughly, were it
only for a few moments, when, small as it was, the improvement in our
condition was checked.

A Lama came from the monastery and gave orders right and left, and the
place was again in commotion. We were pounced upon and roughly seized,
and my legs were quickly untied, a number of men holding me down the
while. Again they lifted me until I stood upright on the cutting edge of
the prismatic log: two men seized one leg and two the other, and
stretched them apart as far as they could possibly go. Then rope after
rope was wound round my feet and ankles, and I was made fast as before to
the log.

As my legs were much farther apart this time, the pain in the muscles of
my legs when they proceeded to knock me down backwards was even greater
than it had been on the previous occasion. But before I had time to feel
it in full, the Lamas, now as ferocious as I had seen them at first,
dragged my manacled arms backwards from under my body and tied a rope to
the chain of the handcuffs. This done, they passed the rope through a
hole in the top of a high post behind me, and by tugging at it, strained
my arms upwards in a way that, had I been less supple, would certainly
have broken them. When all their strength combined could not stretch me
another inch without tearing my body to pieces, they made the rope fast,
and I remained half suspended, and feeling as if all the bones of my
limbs were getting, or had got, pulled out of their sockets. The weight
of the body naturally tending to settle down would, I felt, every moment
increase the suffering of this terrible torture, which was really a
primitive form of the rack.

Mansing was likewise suspended on the other side, his feet remaining tied
to the log to which my own were fastened, only not quite so wide apart.

The pain was at first intense, the tendons of the legs and arms being
dreadfully strained, and the spinal column bent so as nearly to be broken
in two. The shoulder-blades forced into close contact, pressed the
vertebræ inwards, and caused excruciating pains along the lumbar
vertebræ, where the strain was greatest.


As if this were not sufficient, a cord was tied from Mansing's neck to
mine, the object of which was to keep our necks stretched in a most
uncomfortable position.

It began to rain heavily, and we were left out in the open. The rags to
which our clothes had been reduced in our struggle when we were first
seized were drenched. Half naked and wounded, we were alternately numbed
with cold and burning with fever. A guard encircled us, having with them
two watch-dogs tied to pegs. The soldiers were apparently so confident of
our inability to escape that they drew their heavy blankets over their
heads and slept. One of them in his slumber moved and pushed his sword
outside the blanket in which he had now rolled himself tight. This
inspired me with the idea of attempting to escape.

Two or three hours later it had become very dark. Thanks to the extremely
supple nature of my hands, I succeeded in drawing the right hand out of
my handcuffs, and, after an hour or so of stealthy and anxious work I
managed to unloose the cord that bound Mansing's feet. Then I whispered
to him to get up slowly and to push the sword towards me with his foot
until I could reach it. If successful in this, I could soon cut my bonds
and those fastening Mansing's hands, and with a weapon in our possession
we would make a bold dash for liberty.

Mansing, however, was not a champion of agility. In his joy at feeling
partly free, the poor coolie moved his stiff legs clumsily. The vigilant
watch-dogs detected this, and gave the alarm by barking. The guards were
up in a moment, and, timid as they always were, they all hurriedly left
us, and went to fetch lights to examine our bonds.

In the meanwhile, protected by the darkness of the stormy night, I had
succeeded in replacing my hand inside the iron handcuff. Putting it back
was more difficult than drawing it out, but I had just time to effect my
purpose. The men who had gone to the monastery returned with lights. I
pretended to be fast asleep: a likely thing with every bone in my body
feeling as if it were disjointed, every limb half-numbed and frozen,
every tendon and ligament so strained as to drive me mad with pain!

The Tibetans found the bonds round Mansing's feet undone. They examined
my hands and saw them just as they had left them. They inspected my feet.
The ropes were still there cutting into my flesh. They inspected
Mansing's hands, only to find them still fastened to the post behind him.

The Tibetans were so puzzled at this mysterious occurrence that they
positively got frightened. They began to shout excitedly, calling for
help. In a moment, the alarm having been given, a crowd of men rushed at
us, and with their swords drawn, surrounded us. One man, braver than the
rest, gave Mansing a few cuts with a whip, warning us that if the ropes
were found undone again they would decapitate us there and then. The
coolie was again bound, this time more tightly than ever.


     Mansing partially untied after twelve hours on the
     rack--Numbed--How the brain works under such circumstances--My
     scientific instruments--The end of my photographic plates--A
     paint-box accused of occult powers--An offer refused--Courtesy
     and cruelty combined.

BY way of precaution, a light was set between Mansing and myself, and, as
it was still raining hard, the Tibetans placed a canvas shelter over us
to prevent the light from being extinguished. At about six or seven in
the morning, Mansing's feet were untied, but not his hands. I was left in
the same uncomfortable and painful posture. The hours passed very slowly
and wearily. My legs, my arms and hands had gradually become quite
lifeless, and after the first six or seven hours that I had been
stretched on the rack, I felt no more actual pain. The numbness crept
along every limb of my body, until I had now the peculiar sensation of
possessing a living head on a dead body.

It is indeed remarkable how one's brain keeps alive and working well
under such circumstances, apparently unaffected by the temporary
mortification of the remainder of the system.

The day now dawning was one full of strange incidents. When the sun was
high in the sky, the Pombo, with a great number of Lamas, rode down from
the monastery, though the distance was very short. He went to his tent,
and presently my cases of scientific instruments were brought outside and
opened, the soldiers and Lamas displaying an amusing mixture of curiosity
and caution over everything they touched. I had to explain the use of
each instrument, a difficult matter indeed, considering their ignorance
and my limited knowledge of Tibetan, which did not allow of my delivering
scientific addresses. The sextant was looked upon with great suspicion,
and even more so the hypsometrical apparatus, with its thermometers in
brass tubes, which they took to be some sort of firearm, Then came a lot
of undeveloped photographic plates, box after box of which they opened in
broad daylight, destroying in a few moments all the valuable negatives
that I had taken since leaving Mansarowar. The Pombo, more observant than
the others, noticed that the plates turned a yellowish colour on being
exposed to the light.

"Why is that?" asked he.

"It is a sign that you will suffer for what you are doing to me."

The Pombo flung away the plate, and was much upset. He ordered a hole to
be dug in the ground some way off, and the plates to be instantly buried.
The soldiers, however, who had been entrusted with the order, seemed loth
to touch the plates, and they had to be reprimanded and beaten by the
Lamas before they would obey. At last, with their feet, they shoved the
boxes of negatives to a spot some distance off, where, in dog fashion,
they dug a deep hole with their hands in the muddy ground; and there,
alas! my work of several weeks was covered for ever with earth.

Now came my paint-box with its cakes of water-colours.

"What do you do with these?" cried an angry Lama, pointing at the
harmless colours.

"I paint pictures."

"No, you are lying. With the 'yellow' you find where gold is in the
country, and with the 'blue' you discover where malachite is."

I assured them that this was not the case, and told them that, if they
would untie me, I would, on recovering the use of my arms, paint a
picture before them.

They prudently preferred to leave me tied up.

Their whole attention was now drawn to a considerable sum in silver and
gold which they found in the cases, and the Pombo warned the people that
not one coin must be stolen.

I took this chance to make an offering of 500 rupees to the lamasery, and
told the Pombo that I would like him to accept as a gift my
Martini-Henry, which I had noticed rather took his fancy.

Both gifts were refused, as they said the lamasery was very wealthy, and
the Pombo's position as an official did not allow him to carry a rifle.
The Pombo, nevertheless, was quite touched by the offer, and came
personally to thank me.

In a way the rascals were gentlemanly enough in their manner, and I could
not help admiring their mixture of courtesy and cruelty, either of which
they could switch on at a moment's notice without regard to the other.


     An unknown article in Tibet--My sponge bewitched--A Lama fires my
     Martini-Henry--The rifle bursts.

THEY had now reached the bottom of the water-tight case, and the Pombo
drew out with much suspicion a curious flattened object.

"What is that?" inquired he, as usual lifting the article up in the air.

My sight had been so injured that I could not clearly discern what it
was; but on their waving it in front of my nose, I recognised it to be my
long mislaid bath-sponge, dry and flattened, which Chanden Sing, with his
usual ability for packing, had stored away at the bottom of the case,
piling upon it the heavy cases of photographic plates. The sponge, a very
large one, was now reduced to the thickness of less than an inch, owing
to the weight that had for weeks lain upon it.

The Tibetans were greatly puzzled at this new discovery, which they said
resembled tinder; and it was touched with much caution, for some of the
Lamas said it might explode.

When their curiosity was appeased, they took it and threw it away. It
fell near me in a small pool of water. This was a golden opportunity to
frighten my jailers, and I addressed the sponge in English, and with any
word that came into my mouth, pretending to utter incantations. The
attention of the Lamas and soldiers was naturally quickly drawn to this
unusual behaviour on my part; and they could not conceal their terror
when, as I spoke louder and louder to the sponge, it gradually swelled to
its normal size with the moisture it absorbed.

The Tibetans, who at first could hardly believe their eyes at this
incomprehensible occurrence, became so panic-stricken at what they
believed to be an exhibition of my occult powers, that there was a
general stampede in every direction.

In a way, all this was entertaining, and anyhow it served to pass away
the time. The most amusing scene that afternoon was, however, still to

After a time the Lamas screwed up their courage, and returned to where my
baggage had been overhauled. One of them picked up my Martini-Henry, and
the others urged him to fire it off. He came to me, and when I had
explained to him how to load it, he took a cartridge and placed it in the
breech, but would insist on not closing the bolt firmly home. When I
warned him of the consequences, he struck me over the head with the butt
of the rifle.


It is the fashion, when aiming with one of their matchlocks, which have a
prop attached to them, to place the butt in front of the nose instead of
holding it firmly to the shoulder as we do. So the Lama aimed in this
fashion at one of my yaks peacefully grazing some thirty yards off. While
everybody watched anxiously to see the results of this marksman's
shooting, he pulled the trigger; the rifle went off with an extra loud
report, and behold! the muzzle of the Martini burst and the violent
recoil gave the Lama a fearful blow in the face. The rifle, flying out of
his hands, described a somersault in the air, and the Lama fell backwards
to the ground, where he remained spread out flat, bleeding all over, and
screaming like a child. His nose was squashed; one eye had been put out,
and his teeth shattered.

Whether the rifle burst because the bolt had not been properly closed, or
because mud had got into the muzzle as well, I could not say; but I give
here a photograph of the broken weapon, which the Tibetans returned to
me several months later through the Government of India.

The injured Lama, I may say, was the one at the head of the party that
wanted to have my head cut off, so that, naturally enough, I could not
help betraying my satisfaction at the accident. I was glad they had let
me live another day were it only to see his self-inflicted punishment.



     A consultation--Untied from the rack--The most terrible
     twenty-four hours of my life--I lose the use of my
     feet--Circulation returning--Intense pain--Sports.

THE Pombo, who had been, during the greater part of the afternoon,
looking at me with an air of mingled pity and respect, as though he had
been forced against his will to treat me so brutally, could not help
joining in my laughter at the Lama's sorrowful plight. In a way, I
believe he was rather glad that the accident had happened; for, if he had
until then been uncertain whether to kill me or not, he felt, after what
had occurred, that it was not prudent to attempt it. The gold ring which
had been taken from me on the day of our arrest, and for which I had
asked many times, as it had been given by my mother, was regarded as
possessing miraculous powers as long as it was upon me; and was therefore
kept well away from me, for fear that, with its help, I might break my
bonds and escape. The Pombo, the Lamas and officers held another
consultation, at the end of which, towards sunset, several soldiers came
and loosed my legs from the stretching log; and my hands, though still
manacled, were lowered from the pillar behind.

As the ropes round my ankles were unwound from the deep channels they had
cut into my flesh, large patches of skin came away with them. Thus ended
the most terrible twenty-four hours I have ever passed in my lifetime.

I felt very little relief at first as I lay flat on the ground, for my
body and legs were stiff and as if dead; and, as time went by, and I saw
no signs of their coming back to life, I feared that mortification had
set in, and that I had lost the use of my feet for good. It was two or
three hours before the blood began to circulate in my right foot, and the
pain when it did so was intense. Had a handful of knives been passed
slowly down the inside of my leg the agony could not have been more
excruciating. My arms were not quite so bad: they also were numbed, but
the circulation was more quickly re-established.

In the meanwhile, the Pombo, whether to amuse me or to show off his
riches, ordered about one hundred ponies, some with magnificent harness,
to be brought up; and, mounting the finest, and holding in his hand that
dreadful _taram_, rode round the hill on which the monastery and fort

On returning, he harangued his men, and a series of sports began, the
Pombo seating himself near me and watching me intently to see how I was
enjoying the performance. First of all the best marksmen were selected,
and with their matchlocks fired one after the other at my two poor yaks
only a few yards off; but although they aimed carefully and deliberately,
they did not succeed in hitting them. I knew that they fired with
bullets, for I could hear the hissing sound the missiles made.

Next came a display of fine horsemanship, which was very interesting. I
should have enjoyed it more if I had not been suffering agonies all the
time. Still, the performance helped to cheer me. First there were races
in which only two ponies at a time took part, the last race being run
between the two winners of the last heats, and a _kata_ was presented to
the victor. Next one horseman rode ahead at full gallop flying a _kata_,
while some twenty others followed closely behind. The _kata_ was left to
fly by itself, and when it settled on the ground, the horsemen following
the first rode some distance away, and, at a given signal, galloped back
wildly, all converging towards the spot, and, bending down from their
ponies, attempted to pick up the _kata_ without dismounting. Some of the
younger men were very clever at this.

Another exercise consisted in one man on foot standing still, while a
mounted comrade rode at full gallop towards him, seized him by his
clothes, and lifted him on to the saddle.

Though I could not see as well as I wished, I got so interested in the
show, and expressed such admiration for the ponies, that the Pombo,
becoming quite thoughtful and polite, ordered the best of them to be
brought before me, and had me lifted into a sitting posture, so that I
could see them better.


     A great relief--The Pombo's attentions--A weird hypnotic dance.

THIS was a great relief, for I was suffering more from my humiliating
position, being unable to stand, than from the tortures themselves. The
Pombo told me that I must now look towards the tent, and then got up and
walked towards it.

The opening of the tent was over twenty feet long. Some soldiers came and
dragged me close to the front of it, so that I could witness all that
went on.

Two big Lamas entered the tent with the Pombo, and a number of other
people who were inside were turned out. They closed the tent for a few
minutes, and then opened it again. In the meantime a gong summoned the
Lamas of the monastery to come down, and, a few minutes later, a string
of them came and took their places inside the tent.

The Pombo, in his yellow coat and trousers and four-cornered hat, sat on
a kind of high-backed chair in the centre of the tent, and by his side
stood the two Lamas who had first entered it with him. The Pombo was
beyond doubt in a hypnotic trance. He sat motionless, with his hands flat
on his knees and his head erect; his eyes were fixed and staring. For
some minutes he remained like this, and all the soldiers and people who
had collected in front of the tent went down on their knees, laid their
caps on the ground, and muttered prayers. One of the two Lamas, a fellow
with great mesmeric powers, now laid his hand upon the shoulders of the
Pombo, who gradually raised his arms with hands outstretched and remained
as in a cataleptic state for a long time without moving an inch.

Next the Lama touched the Pombo's neck with his thumbs, and caused the
head to begin a rapid circular movement from left to right.


Certain exorcisms were pronounced by the hypnotiser, and the Pombo now
began the most extraordinary snake-like contortions, moving and twisting
his arms, head, body and legs. He worked himself, or rather was worked,
into a frenzy that lasted some time, and the crowd of devotees drew
nearer and nearer to him, praying fervently and emitting deep sighs and
cries of astonishment and almost terror at some of the more eccentric
movements of his limbs. Every now and then this weird kind of dance
terminated in a strange posture, the Pombo actually doubling himself up
with his head between his feet and his long flat hat resting on the
ground. While he was in this position, the bystanders went one by one to
finger his feet, and make low prostrations and salaams. At last the
hypnotiser, seizing the Pombo's head between his hands, stared in his
eyes, rubbed his forehead, and woke him from the trance. The Pombo was
pale and exhausted. He lay back on the chair and his hat fell off his
head, which was clean shaven, thus unmistakably showing that he too was a
Lama, and, as we have seen, of a very high order, probably of the first
rank after the Dalai Lama.

_Katas_ were distributed after this religious performance to all the
Tibetans present, and they folded them and stowed them away in their



     Compliments exchanged--A poisoned drink proffered--In acute
     pain--Uncertainty as to our fate--Working the oracle--My webbed

THE Pombo came out of his gaudy tent, and I told him that the dance was
beautiful, but that I was very hungry. He asked me what I wanted to eat,
and I said I would like some meat and tea.

A little later, a large vessel with a delicious stew of yak's meat was
brought to me, as well as _tsamba_ in abundance. However, though I felt
quite famished, I had the greatest difficulty in swallowing even a little
food. This I thought must be owing to the injuries to my spine and to the
mortification of my limbs, which had apparently affected my whole system
except my head.

When the Pombo had retired and night came on, I was again tied to the
stretching log, but this time with my limbs not stretched so far apart.
My hands, too, were again fastened to the pillar behind, but with no
strain on them.

Late in the evening, half a dozen Lamas came from the monastery with a
light and a large brass bowl which they said contained tea. The wounded
Lama, with his head all bandaged up, was among them, and he was so
anxious for me to drink some of it to keep myself warm during the cold
night that I became suspicious. When they pushed a bowl of the liquid to
my lips, I merely sipped a little, and declined to take more, spitting
out what they had forced into my mouth. I swallowed a few drops, and a
few minutes later I was seized with sharp, excruciating pains in my
stomach, which continued for several days after. I can but conclude that
the drink proffered me was poisoned.

The following day my left foot, which had remained lifeless since I had
been untied from the rack the first time, began to get better, and the
circulation was gradually restored. The pain was unbearable.

In the morning indecision again prevailed as to what was to be done to
us. A number of Lamas were still anxious to have us beheaded, whereas the
Pombo and the others had the previous night almost made up their minds to
send us back to the frontier. Unfortunately, it appears[36] that the
Pombo had seen a vision during the night in which a spirit told him that,
if he did not kill us, he and his country would suffer some great
misfortune. "You can kill the Plenki," the spirit was reported to have
said, "and no one will punish you if you do. The Plenkis are afraid to
fight the Tibetans."

Among the Lamas no important step is taken without incantations and
reference to occult science, so the Pombo ordered a Lama to cut off a
lock of my hair, which he did with a very blunt knife, and then the Pombo
rode up with it in his hand to the lamasery to consult the oracle. The
lock was handed in for inspection, and it seems that, after certain
incantations, the oracle answered that I must be beheaded or the country
would be in great danger.

The Pombo rode back apparently disappointed, and now ordered that one of
my toe-nails should be cut; after which operation, performed with the
same blunt knife, the oracle was again consulted as to what should be
done, and unhappily gave the same answer.

Three such consultations are usually held by the high court of the
assembled Lamas, the Tibetans on the third occasion producing for the
oracle's decision a piece of a finger-nail. The Lama who was about to cut
this off examined my hands behind and spread my fingers apart, expressing
great surprise and astonishment. In a moment all the Lamas and soldiers
came round and examined my manacled hands; a repetition of my experience
at the Tucker Monastery. The Pombo, too, on being informed, immediately
came and inspected my fingers, and the proceedings were at once stopped.

When some weeks later I was released, I was able to learn from the
Tibetans the reason of their amazement. My fingers happen to be webbed
rather higher than usual, and this is most highly thought of in Tibet. He
who possesses such fingers has, according to the Tibetans, a charmed
life; and no matter how much one tries, no harm can be done to him.
Apart from the question whether there was much charm or not in my life in
Tibet, there is no doubt that this trifling superstition did much towards
hastening the Pombo's decision as to what was to be our fate.

[36] The Tibetan Lamas stated this to the Political Peshkar Karak Sing,
our frontier officer.


     Our lives to be spared--An unpleasant march--Chanden Sing still
     alive--A sleepless night--Towards the frontier--Long and painful
     marches--How we slept at night--A map drawn with blood.

THE Pombo ordered that my life should be spared, and that I should on
that very day start on my return journey towards the Indian frontier. He
took from my own money one hundred and twenty rupees, which he placed in
my pocket for my wants during the journey, and commanded that, though I
must be kept chained up, I was to be treated kindly, and my servants

When all was ready, Mansing and I were led on foot to Toxem, our guard
consisting of some fifty horsemen riding on ponies. We had to travel at a
great speed despite our severely lacerated feet, our aching bones, and
the sores and wounds with which we were covered all over. The soldiers
led me tied by the neck like a dog, and dragged me along when, panting,
exhausted and suffering, I could not keep up with the ponies. We crossed
several cold streams, sinking in water and mud up to our waists.

At Toxem, to my great delight, I beheld Chanden Sing still alive. He had
been kept prisoner in the mud-house, where he had remained tied upright
to a post for over three days, and for four days he had not eaten food
nor drunk anything. He was told that I had been beheaded. He was in a
dreadful condition; almost dying from his wounds, cold and starvation.

We were detained there for the night, half-choked by smoke in one of the
rooms of the mud-house packed with soldiers, who, with a woman of easy
morals, gambled the whole night, and sang and swore and fought,
preventing us from sleeping for even a few minutes.


The next day at sunrise Chanden Sing and I were placed on yaks, not on
riding saddles, but on pack-saddles such as those shown in the
illustration in chapter xl. p. 223. Poor Mansing was made to walk, and
was beaten mercilessly when, tired and worn out, he fell or remained
behind. They again tied him with a rope by the neck and dragged him along
in a most brutal manner. We had a strong guard to prevent our escaping,
and they demanded fresh relays of yaks and ponies and food for themselves
at all the encampments, so that we travelled very fast. In the first five
days we covered one hundred and seventy-eight miles, the two longest
marches being respectively forty-two and forty-five miles; but afterwards
we did not cover quite such great distances.

[Illustration: A WHITE YAK]

We suffered considerably on these long marches, as the soldiers
ill-treated us and would not allow us to eat every day for fear we should
get too strong. They let us have food only every two or three days, and
our exhaustion and the pain caused by riding those wretched yaks in our
wounded condition were terrible.


All our property had been taken away from us, and our clothes were in
rags and swarming with vermin. We were bare-footed and practically
naked. The first few days we generally marched from before sunrise till
sometimes an hour or two after sunset; and when we reached camp we were
torn off our yaks and our jailers fastened iron cuffs round our ankles,
in addition to those we had already round our wrists. Being considered
quite safe, we were left to sleep out in the open without a covering of
any kind, and often lying on snow or deluged with rain. Our guard
generally pitched a tent under which they slept; but even when they did
not have one, they usually went to brew their tea some fifty yards or so
from us.

Helped by my two servants, who sat by me to keep watch and to screen me,
I managed, at considerable risk, to keep a rough record of the journey
back, on a small piece of paper that had remained in my pocket when I had
been searched by the Tibetans. As I did when on the rack, I used to draw
my right hand out of its cuff, and, with a small piece of bone I had
picked up as pen, and my blood as ink, I drew brief cipher notes, and a
map of the whole route back.

Necessarily, as I had no instruments with which to take careful
observations, I had to content myself with taking my bearings by the sun,
the position of which I got fairly accurately by constantly watching the
shadow projected by my body on the ground. Of course, when it rained or
snowed, I was altogether at a loss, and had to reckon my bearings by the
observations of the previous day.


     South of the outward journey--Severity of our
     guard--Ventriloquism and its effects--Terrible but instructive
     days--The Southern source of the Brahmaputra--Leaving Yutzang.

WE travelled, as can be seen by the dotted red line on the map attached
to this book, first W. then W.N.W., N.W., W. and N.W., following the
Brahmaputra along a course South of the outward journey, until we reached
the boundary of the Yutzang[37] (central, or Lhassa) province. Our guard
were not only severe with us, but they also ill-treated us in every
possible way. One or two of the soldiers, however, showed kindness and
thoughtfulness, bringing us a little butter or _tsamba_ whenever they
could do so unseen by their comrades. The guard was changed so frequently
that we had no chance of making friends with them, and each lot seemed
worse than the last.

A very curious incident happened one day, causing a scare among them. We
had halted near a cliff, and the soldiers were some twenty yards off.
Having exhausted every means I could think of to inspire these ruffians
with respect, I resorted to the performance of some ventriloquial feats,
pretending to speak and to receive the answers from the summit of the
cliff. The Tibetans were terror-stricken. They asked me who was up there.
I said it was some one I knew.

"Is it a Plenki?"


Immediately they hustled us on our yaks and mounted their ponies, and we
left the place at headlong speed.

On reaching a spot which from observations taken on my outward journey I
reckoned to be in longitude 83° 6' 30" E. and latitude 30° 27' 30" N. I
had a great piece of luck. It is at this point that the two principal
sources of the Brahmaputra meet and form one river, the one coming from
the N.W., which I had already followed, the other proceeding from the
W.N.W. The Tibetans, to my delight, selected the southern route, thus
giving me the opportunity of visiting the second of the two principal
sources of the great river. This second stream rises in a flat plain,
having its first birth in a lakelet in approximate longitude 82° 47' E.
and latitude 30° 33' N. I gave the Northern source my own name, a
proceeding which I trust will not be regarded as immodest in view of the
fact that I was the first European to visit both sources and of all the
circumstances of my journey.

[Illustration: ONE OF OUR GUARD]

This period of our captivity was dreary, yet interesting and instructive,
for, as we went along, I got the soldiers to teach me some Tibetan songs,
not unlike those of the Shokas in character, and from the less
ill-natured men of our guard I picked up, by judicious questioning, a
considerable amount of information, which, together with that collected
from my own observations, I have given in this book.

Over a more southerly and lower pass than the Maium Pass, by which,
healthy, hopeful and free, we had entered the province of Yutzang, we now
left it, wounded, broken down, naked and prisoners.

[37] Also written U-tzang.


     Easier times--Large encampments--Suffocating a goat--A Tarjum's
     encampment--Tokchim--Old friends--Musicians--Charity.

WE now proceeded in a North-westerly direction, and, once clear of the
sacred Yutzang province, our guard behaved with rather less cruelty. With
the little money the Pombo had permitted me to keep we were allowed to
purchase food enough to provide us with more frequent meals, and, while
we ate, the soldiers removed our handcuffs, which they temporarily placed
round our ankles. Thus, with utensils lent us by our guard, we were able
to cook some food; and, although we had to serve it on flat stones
instead of dishes, it seemed indeed delicious.

We crossed over our former track, and then followed it almost in a
parallel line, but some miles North of it, along an undulating, clayey
plateau, thus avoiding the marshy plain which we had found so troublesome
to cross on our journey out. We found large numbers of black tents here
and there, and one night, when we were encamped by some small lakes, we
were permitted to purchase a goat. A soldier, a good fellow who had been
very friendly to us, selected a fine fat one for us, and we were looking
forward with pleasure to a solid meal, when we found to our dismay that
we had no means of despatching the animal. We could not behead it, as the
Tibetans would not trust us with a knife or sword, and the Tibetans
themselves refused to kill the animal for us in any other way. Eventually
our soldier friend allowed his scruples to be overcome by the payment of
a rupee, and proceeded to kill the animal in a most cruel fashion. He
tied its legs together, and, having stuffed the nostrils with mud, he
held the poor beast's mouth closed with one hand until it was suffocated.
The soldier during the performance revolved his prayer-wheel with his
free hand, praying fervently all the while.


We found ourselves at last in the plain, where a Tarjum's encampment of
some two hundred tents was to be seen, and here we remained one night.
There was a large assemblage of Lamas and soldiers. In the middle of the
night we were suddenly and roughly roused from sleep, and made to move
our camp about a mile or so from the settlement; and, early in the
morning, having crossed the large stream, we proceeded in a
South-westerly direction, reaching the encampment of the Tokchim Tarjum
the same night. Here we were met by the officers who had on a previous
occasion brought us gifts, and whom we had routed with all their soldiers
when they threatened us.


This time they behaved very decently, the oldest of them showing us every
civility, and professing great admiration for our courage in persevering
against such heavy odds. The old gentleman did all he could to make us
comfortable, and even called up two strolling musicians for our
amusement. One man wore a peculiar four-cornered head-dress made of skin.
He played with a bow on a two-stringed instrument, while his companion, a
child, danced and went through certain clumsy contortions, going round
every few minutes with his tongue thrust out to beg for _tsamba_ from the
audience. The Tibetans are very charitable towards beggars, and not only
on this, but on other occasions, I noticed that they seldom refused, no
matter however small their donations might be, to give _tsamba_ or pieces
of butter or _chura_ to the mendicants. The older musician had a square
club passed through his girdle, and at intervals he laid down his
instrument, and, using the club as a sword, gave an imitation of a
martial dance, exactly like the one I have described as performed by the
Shokas. Every now and then, too, he applied it to the boy's back and
head, to inspire him with fresh vigour, and this generally drew roars of
laughter from the audience.

[Illustration: AN OLD BEGGAR]


     Towards Mansarowar--Mansing's vision--Bathing in Mansarowar.

THE next day, amidst repeated good-byes and professions of friendship on
the part of our hosts and jailers, we departed towards Mansarowar, and
late in the afternoon reached the Tucker village and Gomba, where we put
up at the same _serai_ in which I had slept on my way out. All our bonds
were here removed for good, and we enjoyed comparative freedom, though
four men walked by my side wherever I went, and an equal number looked
after Chanden Sing and Mansing. Naturally we were not allowed to go far
from the _serai_, but we could prowl about in the village. I took this
opportunity to have a swim in the Mansarowar Lake, and Chanden Sing and
Mansing again paid fresh salaams to the gods and plunged in the sacred

The Lamas, who had been so friendly during my former visit, were now
extremely sulky and rude; and, after having witnessed our arrival, they
all withdrew into the monastery, banging the gate after them. All the
villagers, too, hastily retired to their respective houses. The place was
deserted with the exception of the soldiers round us.

Poor Mansing, who, worn out and in great pain, was sitting close by me,
looking vaguely at the lake, had an extraordinary vision, the result,
probably, of fever or exhaustion.

"Oh, sahib," said he, as if in a dream, though he was quite awake; "look,
look! Look at the crowd of people walking on the water. There must be
more than a thousand men! Oh, how big they are getting!... And there is
God ... Seva.... No, they are Tibetans, they are coming to kill us, they
are Lamas! Oh, come, sahib, they are so near.... Oh, they are

I could see that the poor fellow was under an hallucination. His forehead
was burning and he was in a high fever.

"They have all disappeared!" he exclaimed, as I placed my hand on his
forehead and he woke from his trance.

He seemed quite stupefied for a few moments; and, on my inquiring of him
later whether he had seen the phantom crowd again, he could not remember
ever having seen it at all.

[Illustration: A TIBETAN SHEPHERD]

The natives came to visit us in the _serai_ during the evening, and we
had great fun with them, for the Tibetans are full of humour and have
many comical ways. As for ourselves, now that we were only two marches
from Taklakot, it was but natural that our spirits were high. Only two
more days of captivity, and then a prospect of freedom.

It was still dark when we were roused and ordered to start. The soldiers
dragged us out of the _serai_. We entreated them to let us have another
plunge in the sacred Mansarowar, and the three of us were eventually
allowed to do so. The water was bitterly cold, and we had nothing to dry
ourselves with.

It was about an hour before sunrise when we were placed on our yaks and,
surrounded by some thirty soldiers, rode off.

[Illustration: INTERIOR OF A SERAI]


     Suna--Wilson and the Political Peshkar across the frontier--A
     messenger--Our progress stopped--Diverting us over the Lumpiya
     Pass--Condemned to certain death--We attack our guard--Lapsang
     and the Jong Pen's private secretary--A document--Nearing
     Kardam--Retracing our steps--Dogmar.

[Illustration: TEA CHURN (OPEN)]

WHEN we had been marching for several hours, our guard halted to have
their tea. A man named Suna, and his brother and son, whom I had met in
Garbyang, halted near us, and from them I heard that news had arrived in
India that I and my two men had been beheaded, and that thereupon Doctor
Wilson and the Political Peshkar Karak Sing had crossed over the frontier
to ascertain the facts, and to attempt to recover my baggage, &c. My joy
was intense when I heard that they were still at Taklakot. I persuaded
Suna to return as fast as he could, and to inform Wilson that I was a
prisoner, and tell him my whereabouts. I had barely given Suna this
message when our guard seized the man and his brother and roughly
dismissed them, preventing them from having any further communication
with us. As soon as we were on the march again, a horseman rode up to us
with strict orders from the Jong Pen of Taklakot not to let us proceed
any farther towards the frontier by the Lippu Pass, which we could now
have reached in two days, but to take us round by the distant Lumpiya
Pass. At this time of the year the Lumpiya would be impassable; and we
should have to make a further journey of at least fifteen or sixteen
days, most of it over snow and ice, during which we, in our starved and
weakened state, would inevitably succumb. We asked to be taken into
Taklakot, but our guard refused, and in the meantime the Jong Pen of
Taklakot had sent other messengers and soldiers to ensure the fulfilment
of his orders, and to prevent our further progress.

Our guard, now strengthened by the Taklakot men, compelled us to leave
the Taklakot track, and we began our journey towards the cold Lumpiya.
This was murder, and the Tibetans, well knowing it, calculated on telling
the Indian authorities that we had died a natural death on the snows.

[Illustration: A BEARER OF BAD NEWS]

We were informed that we should be left at the point where the snows
began, that the Tibetans would give us no food, no clothes and no
blankets, and that we should be abandoned to our own devices. This,
needless to say, meant certain death.

We determined to stand no more, and to play our last card. After
travelling some two and a half miles westward of the Taklakot track, we
declined to proceed any more in that direction. We said that, if they
attempted to force us on, we were prepared to fight our guard, as whether
we died by their swords and matchlocks, or frozen to death on the
Lumpiya, was quite immaterial to us.

The guard, in perplexity, decided to let us halt there for the night, so
as to have time to send a messenger to Taklakot to inform the Jong Pen,
and ask for further instructions.


During the night the order came that we must proceed, so the next morning
our guard prepared to start us again towards the Lumpiya. Then we three
semi-corpses collected what little strength remained in us, and suddenly
made an attack on them with stones; whereupon, incredible as it may seem,
our cowardly guard turned tail and bolted! We went on in the direction of
Taklakot, followed at a distance by these ruffians, who were entreating
us to make no further resistance and to go with them where they wanted us
to go. If we did not, they said, they would all have their heads cut off.
We refused to listen to them, and kept them away by throwing stones at


We had gone but a few miles when we met with a large force of soldiers
and Lamas, despatched by the Jong Pen to prepare for our death. Unarmed,
wounded, starved and exhausted as we were, it was useless attempting to
fight against such odds. As it was, when they saw we were at liberty,
they made ready to fire on us.

The Jong Pen's Chief Minister, a man called Lapsang, and the Jong Pen's
Private Secretary, were at the head of this party. I went to shake hands
with them and held a long and stormy palaver, but they kept firm and
insisted on our turning away from the frontier, now that we were almost
within a stone's-throw of it, and we must perforce proceed by the high
Lumpiya Pass. Those were the Jong Pen's orders, and they, as well as I,
must obey them. They would not give us or sell us either animals or
clothes which even the small sum of money I had on me would have been
sufficient to buy; and they would not provide us with an ounce of food.
We emphatically protested, and said we preferred to die where we were. We
asked them to kill us then and there, for we would not budge an inch

Lapsang and the Jong Pen's Private Secretary now cunningly suggested that
I should give them in writing the names of the Shokas who had
accompanied me to Tibet, probably with the object of confiscating their
land and goods. As I said I could not write Tibetan or Hindustani, they
requested me to do it in English. This I did, but substituting for the
names of my men and my signature sarcastic remarks, which must have
caused the Tibetans some surprise when they had the document translated.

As, however, they refused to kill us there and then, and as Lapsang
showed us great politeness and asked us to go by the Lumpiya Pass as a
personal favour to him, I reluctantly decided to accept their terms
rather than waste any more time, now that we were so near British soil.

[Illustration: A JUMLI SHED]

Escorted by this large force of men, we had nearly reached Kardam when,
in the nick of time, a horseman came up at full gallop and hailed our
party. We stopped, and the man overtook us and handed Lapsang a letter.
It contained an order to bring us immediately into Taklakot.

We retraced our steps along the undulating plateau above the Gakkon
River, and late at night we reached the village of Dogmar, a peculiar
settlement in a valley between two high cliffs of clay, the natives of
which live in holes pierced in the cliff.


Lapsang, the Jong Pen's Private Secretary, and the greater portion of
their soldiers, having changed their ponies, went on to Taklakot; but we
were made to halt here, when yet another letter came from the Jong Pen
saying he had changed his mind and we must, after all, go by the Lumpiya



     A Commotion--The arrival of an army--Elected
     General-in-chief--How we were to slaughter the Jong Pen's
     soldiers--My men lay down their arms--Towards Taklakot--Delaling
     and Sibling--Taklakot at last.

DURING the night there was a great commotion in the place, the people
running about and shouting, and a large number of ponies with their
riders arriving.

Tibet is farmed out, so to speak, to officials who have become small
feudal kings, and these are generally at logger-heads among themselves.
To this regal jealousy, and to disputes over the rights of the road, was
due the appearance of this new army. There were altogether some hundred
and fifty men armed with matchlocks and swords. The chieftain of this
band came to me with eight or ten other officers, and spoke so excitedly
that I feared there was trouble in store for us. There was indeed. These
new arrivals were officers and soldiers from Gyanema, Kardam, and Barca,
and they had come with strict orders from the Barca Tarjum that we were
on no account to traverse his province or to cross by the Lumpiya Pass.
This was very amusing and tantalising, for we had now no way across the
frontier open to us. Our guard and some of the Jong Pen's men who had
remained behind, finding they were in the minority, thought it prudent to
eclipse themselves; and I, anxious as I naturally was to get out of the
country as quickly as possible, approved of all that the Gyanema men
said, and urged them to fight in case the Jong Pen still insisted on my
going through the Tarjum's province. All ways out of the country were
barred to us, and unless we resorted to force, I felt we would never
escape at all.

The Gyanema men asked me whether I would lead them in case of a fight
with the Jong Pen's soldiers; and I, though not very confident of their
courage, accepted the post of General-in-chief _pro tem._, Chanden Sing
and Mansing being promoted there and then to be my aides-de-camp. We
spent the greater part of the night in arranging our plan of attack on
the Jong Pen's troops, and when all was properly settled, the Tibetans,
to show their gratitude, brought me a leg of mutton, some _tsamba_, and
two bricks of tea.


The morning came, and I was given a fine pony to ride, as were also
Chanden Sing and Mansing. Then, followed by my Tibetan troops--a grand
cavalcade--we started gaily towards Taklakot. We had been informed that
the Jong Pen was concentrating his men at a certain point on the road to
bar our way: and it was this point that we must force. My Tibetans said
that they hated the Jong Pen's men, and swore they would slaughter them
all if they made any stand.

"But they are such cowards," declared one of the Tibetan officers, "that
they will run away."


All this talk stopped suddenly when we heard the distant tinkling of our
enemies' horse-bells, and though I encouraged my men as best I could, a
panic began to spread among them. The Jong Pen's men came in sight, and
presently I witnessed the strange spectacle of two armies face to face,
each in mortal terror of the other.

Notwithstanding my remonstrances, matchlocks and swords were deposited on
the ground with anxious eagerness by both parties, to show that only
peaceful intentions prevailed. Then a conference was held, in which
everybody seemed ready to oblige everybody else except me.

While this was still proceeding, a horseman arrived with a message from
the Jong Pen, and at last, to everybody's satisfaction, permission was
granted for us to proceed into Taklakot.


My army retraced its steps towards the North-west, and, deposed from my
high military post, which I had occupied only a few hours, I became again
a private individual and a prisoner. With a large escort we were taken
along the Gakkon, by barren cliffs and on a rocky road. We passed
hundreds of _Chokdens_ large and small, mostly painted red, and _mani_
walls. Then, having descended by a precipitous track on whitish
clay-soil, we reached a thickly inhabited district, where stone houses
were scattered all over the landscape. We saw on our left the large
monastery of Delaling and, a little way off, the Gomba of Sibling; then,
describing a sweeping curve among stones and boulders, we rounded the
high graceful cliff, on the top of which towered the fort and monasteries
of Taklakot.

[Illustration: TAKLAKOT FORT]


     Free at last--Among friends--Forgetting our past
     troubles--Confiscated baggage returned--A scene with
     Nerba--Suna's message delivered--How our release was brought
     about--Across the frontier--Photography at Gungi.

[Illustration: PUNDIT GOBARIA]

SUCH was our anxiety, when we reached this point, lest something should
happen and we should be taken back again, that, as soon as we were across
the wooden bridge over the Gakkon, Chanden Sing and I, on perceiving the
large Shoka encampment at the foot of the hill, lashed our ponies and ran
away from our guard. Thus, galloping our hardest along the high cliff,
where hundreds of people live in holes in the clay, we found ourselves at
last among friends again. The Shokas, who had come over to this market to
exchange their goods with the Tibetans, were astounded when they saw us,
recognising us at first with difficulty.

We inquired at once, of course, for Dr. Wilson, and when we found him the
good man could, himself, barely recognise us, so changed were we. He
seemed deeply moved at seeing our condition.

When the news of our arrival spread in camp, we met with the greatest
kindness at the hands of everybody. In a corner of Wilson's tent was a
large quantity of candied sugar--several pounds; and so famished was I
that I quickly devoured the lot. Later, my Shoka friends brought in all
kinds of presents in the shape of eatables, which Rubso, the Doctor's
cook, was set to prepare.

The Political Peshkar, Karak Sing, hurried to me with a change of
clothes, and other garments were given me by Dr. Wilson. My own ragged
attire was literally swarming with vermin; our guard had not allowed us a
single change of raiment, nor would they even hear of our washing. It was
by a very special favour and on account of its sanctity that we were
allowed to plunge in the sacred Mansarowar Lake.

Later in the day my wounds and injuries were examined by Dr. Wilson, who
sent his reports to the Government of India, to the Commissioner of
Kumaon, and to the Deputy Commissioner at Almora.

[Illustration: DR. WILSON]

Tenderly nursed by Wilson and Karak Sing, and having partaken of plenty
of good food, I found my spirits, which had fallen rather low, reviving
as if by magic; and, strange to say, after a few hours of happiness, I
was already beginning to forget the hardships and suffering I had
endured. I remained three days at Taklakot, during which time part of my
confiscated baggage was returned by the Tibetans, and, as can well be
imagined, I was overjoyed to discover that among the things thus
recovered were my diary, note-books, maps and sketches. My firearms, some
money, the ring I have before referred to as having been a gift of my
mother, several mathematical instruments, collections, over 400
photographic negatives, and various other articles were still
missing,[38] but I was glad to get back as much as I did.

To Dr. Wilson's tent came the Tokchim Tarjum, his private secretary
Nerba, whom the reader may remember as having played an important part in
my tortures, the Jong Pen's secretary, and old Lapsang in a fine green
velvet coat with ample sleeves. As can be seen by perusing the Government
Enquiry and Report in the Appendix to this book, the above-mentioned
Tibetan officers admitted before the Political Peshkar, Dr. Wilson,
Pundit Gobaria, and many Shokas, that the account I gave of my
tortures--identical with the one in these pages--was correct in every
detail. They even professed to be proud of what they had done, and used
expressions not at all flattering to the British Government, which they
affected to treat with great contempt.


I nearly got the Political Peshkar and the Doctor into a scrape; for my
blood, the little I had left, was boiling with rage at hearing the
Tibetan insults. The climax came when Nerba refused to give back my
mother's ring, which he had upon him. In a passion I seized a knife that
was lying by me, and leaped upon Nerba, the ruffian who, besides, had
fired at me and had held me by the hair while my eyes were being burnt
prior to my abortive execution. Wilson and Karak Sing seized and
disarmed me, but there was a general stampede of the Tibetan officers,
and thus our interview and negotiations were brought to an abrupt end.


In further conversation I now learnt how my release had been brought
about. Dr. Wilson and the Political Peshkar, having received the news
that my servants and myself had been beheaded, proceeded across the
frontier to make inquiries and try to recover my property. They heard
then from the man Suna, whom I had sent from Mansarowar with my message,
that I was still a prisoner, covered with wounds, in rags and starving.
They had not men enough to force their way further into the country to
come and meet me; besides, the Tibetans watched them carefully; but they,
together with Pundit Gobaria, made strong representations to the Jong Pen
of Taklakot, and, by threatening him that an army would be sent up if I
were not set at liberty, they at last obtained from the reluctant Master
of the fort[39] a permission that I should be brought into Taklakot. The
permission was afterwards withdrawn, but was at last allowed to be
carried into execution, and it is entirely due to the good offices and
energy of these three gentlemen that I am to-day alive and safe--though
not yet sound.

Pundit Gobaria, who will be remembered as having been mentioned in my
early chapters, is the most influential Shoka trader in Bhot, and on very
friendly terms with the Tibetans. He was the intermediary through whom
negotiations were carried on for my immediate release, and it was largely
owing to his advice to the Jong Pen that they resulted satisfactorily.


After a brief rest to recover sufficient strength, I recommenced the
journey towards India, and, having crossed the Lippu Pass (16,780 feet),
found myself at last again on British soil. We descended by slow stages
to Gungi, where, in Dr. Wilson's dispensary, I had to halt for a few days
on account of my weak condition.


Wilson had here a quantity of my baggage, instruments, cameras, plates,
&c., which I had discarded at the beginning of my journey, and I
immediately had photographs taken of my two servants and myself, showing
our wounds and our shocking general condition. Photographs of my feet,
taken more than a month after I had been untied from the rack, showed a
considerable swelling, as well as the scars, round the ankle and on the
foot where the ropes had cut into my flesh. In the full-face photograph
here reproduced can be noticed the injuries to my left eye, as well as
the marks of the hot iron on the skin of my forehead and nose. Chanden
Sing's legs, which were photographed on the same occasion, though now
practically healed, were still much swollen, and the marks can be seen
in the illustration where big patches of skin and flesh had been torn
away by the lashes, producing nasty wounds.


[38] Some of the articles missing were some months later recovered by the
Government of India. See Appendix.

[39] Jong Pen = Master of the fort.


     Civilisation once more--Paralysis--The Tinker Pass in
     Nepal--Kindly natives--Mr. Larkin--Government Inquiry--Back to
     Tibet--Final good-bye to the Forbidden Land--The return
     journey--Farewell to Mansing--Home again.

[Illustration: MR. J. LARKIN]

IT was really wonderful how soon we began to pick up again under the good
care of Dr. Wilson and the influence of proper food and clothing. When I
saw my face for the first time in a looking-glass, I nearly had a fit, so
ghastly did it look; but I felt more like myself when I had shaved off my
beard of several months' growth; and, after the ever-obliging Wilson,
with a pair of blunt scissors, had spent a whole afternoon in performing
the functions of hairdresser, I began to look almost civilised again.
Clothes were a great nuisance at first, but I soon got into the way of
wearing them.

The injuries to my spine were severe, and gave me much trouble. At times
the whole of my left side became as if paralysed. Besides, I invariably
experienced the greatest difficulty in sitting down when I had been
standing, and in getting up when I had been sitting down. Through the
great strain they had undergone, my joints continued stiff and swollen,
and remained so for months. I could see comparatively well with my right
eye, but was unable to use the left at all.

When slightly better I made an excursion to Tinker, in Nepal, there
being a pass in the neighbourhood I had not visited. Having crossed into
Nepal at Chongur, I followed a course towards 86° (b.m.), until we came
to the Zirri River, descending precipitously between high snowy ridges.
Then I kept on the right bank of the Tinker River, first through forests
of firs, then among barren rocks and along ravines, the track being
extremely bad in some places. The general direction was 88° (b.m.) until
the Tinker bridge was reached, by which the stream was crossed, from
which point I travelled some three miles to 74° (b.m.), and arrived at
the Tinker village, a few Shoka houses perched on the slope of the
mountain, having for a background the magnificent snowy peaks dividing
Nepal from Tibet. From the village the track to the pass is easy, first
to 78° 30' (b.m.), as far as the Zentim bridge, two miles off, where the
Dongon River, descending from 106° (b.m.), meets the Zeyan Yangti,[40]
and, following the latter stream for another four miles, one reaches the
Tinker Pass, the distance between here and Taklakot being twelve miles.
At 106° (b.m.) I observed a very high snowy peak, the Dongon.



Having seen all that I wanted to see here I made my way back to Garbyang
with all speed, as I was anxious to return to Europe as soon as possible,
and I travelled down to Askote in company of Peshkar Karak Sing. The
Nerpani road had fallen in two or three places, and rough shaky bridges
had been constructed across the deep precipices, one of which can be
seen in the illustration below. We met with a hearty reception
everywhere, and kindness after kindness was showered upon us by all




At Askote I was the guest of the good old Rajiwar, in whose garden I
encamped, and who bestowed upon me every conceivable care and attention.
Mr. J. Larkin, hastily despatched by the Government of India to conduct
an Inquiry into my case, met me there, and, though still suffering much
pain, I insisted on turning back once more towards Tibet, to help him in
his task. By quick marches we reached Garbyang, where a deputation of
Shokas, who had returned from Tibet, came to me, Mr. Larkin having gone
on ahead. Among them I noticed several of the men who had betrayed me,
and as I was told that there was no way of punishing them for their
treachery, I took justice into my own hands, proceeding with a stout
stick to teach them some idea of faithfulness, whereupon the whole
village ran up to get the fellows out of my clutches. Encouraged by the
Tibetans, the Shokas made some insulting remarks about Englishmen; so the
fight became general until, ill as I was, and alone against some hundred
and fifty men, I succeeded in routing them. The thing might justly be
doubted had I not been able to take a snap-shot of them as they fled


Soon after leaving Garbyang, I overtook Mr. Larkin, and we climbed
towards the snows. We intended crossing over the Lippu Pass into Tibet to
give the Jong Pen an opportunity of being interviewed, but he refused to
meet us.

[Illustration: TINKER IN NEPAL]

All the same, to give the Tibetans every chance, we climbed over the
Lippu Pass. It had been snowing heavily and it was very cold. A Shoka had
only a few days previously been lost in the snow in trying to cross over,
and had been frozen to death. There were some twelve feet of snow, and
the ascent was by no means easy. However, after toiling for some two
hours we reached the summit of the pass, and I slipped once more across
the boundary into Tibet. Dr. Wilson, the Political Peskhar, Jagat Sing,
and two chaprassis were with us. The illustration in which Dr. Wilson
appears holding an umbrella to shelter himself from the high wind, with
Mr. Larkin and our ponies on his right, and showing also the pile of
stones and flying prayers placed there by the Shokas and Tibetans, was
taken by me on the pass. Having found a suitable spot where the wind did
not cut quite so furiously into our faces, we halted for a considerable
time and waited impatiently on the Tibetan side of the boundary for the
Jong Pen or his deputies, to whom letters had been sent, to come and meet
us; but they did not put in an appearance, so in the afternoon of October
12 I definitely turned my back on the Forbidden Land. I was still far
from well, but was glad indeed at the prospect of seeing England and my
friends again.

[Illustration: ON THE LIPPU PASS]

We returned to our camp, a few hundred feet lower than the pass, where we
had left our baggage and our men, who had suffered much from mountain


It was at this camp that the accompanying photograph, which represents me
bathing at 16,300 feet, was taken by Mr. Larkin. Chanden Sing, having
broken the ice in a stream, poured water from a brass vessel over me,
standing, with my feet on snow, in a high wind and with the temperature
at 12° Fahr. I reproduce it to show that even in my reduced condition I
was able to stand an unusual degree of cold. As a matter of fact, the
water that had been taken from under the ice immediately froze on my
shoulders, with the result that in a second I had icicles hanging on each
side of my neck and a shawl of ice over my shoulders.


Having fulfilled our mission, Mr. Larkin and I returned by very quick
marches to Almora; and it was a great satisfaction to me that in
conducting the Government Inquiry in an open Court, Mr. Larkin was able
to obtain ample testimony from Shokas and Tibetans as to my treatment,
all of which was duly reported to the Government of India, and also to
the Foreign Office and India Office in London. A copy of the Inquiry and
Government Report will be found in the Appendix.

[Illustration: BATHING AT 16,300 FEET]



Winter setting in, the Shokas, who had by now all returned from Tibet,
were beginning to migrate to their winter homes at Dharchula, and when we
passed the settlement many were already at work repairing the fallen-down
roofs of their hibernal habitations. A large number of Tibetans with
their sheep had also come over to winter in British territory, and their
encampments could be seen all along the road wherever there was
sufficient grass for their flocks. The Tibetans--Lamas and
officials--maintained a high-handed and insolent demeanour as long as we
were in Bhot, which they regarded as part of their own country; a fact
observed not only by Dr. Wilson and the Political Peskhar, who travelled
with us up to the frontier and back, as far as Askote, but also by Mr.
Larkin, who more than once was astounded at the impudence of Tibetans
when on British soil. It must, however, be said for them that the moment
they had come out of Bhot, and had to deal with Hindoos instead of
Shokas, their manner changed considerably. Hypocritical deference and
servility replaced haughtiness and insolence. Near the frontier we
encountered hundreds of yaks and ponies laden with wood which the
Tibetans cut from our forests, and compel our natives to take across into
Tibet for the consumption of those Tibetans who do not come over to our
side to spend the winter.

At Askote the old Raot who had predicted ill-luck for me when I visited
the Raots' dwelling, came to remind me of his prophecy. "I told you,"
exclaimed the old savage, "that whoever visits the home of the Raots will
have misfortune," and I photographed the old scoundrel on the spot,
together with his mates, who listened with satisfaction to the words that
came from the lips of their prophet.


We proceeded with no delay to Almora, and from there went straight on to
Naini Tal, the summer seat of the Government of the North-West Provinces
and Oudh, where a conference was held on my case by the

Having there enjoyed the unbounded hospitality of that able and energetic
officer, Colonel Grigg, Commissioner of Kumaon, I paid off my faithful
coolie Mansing, giving him enough for a start in life. He accompanied me
to Kathgodam, the terminus of the railway, and showed genuine grief when
Chanden Sing and I stepped into the train. As we steamed away from the
platform, he salaamed me affectionately, having previously begged that,
if ever I should go back to Tibet, I would take him with me; only next
time he too must be provided with a rifle! That was the only condition.

Chanden Sing, who remained as my servant, travelled with me to Bombay,
and from there we went direct to Florence, the home of my parents, who
had suffered in their anxiety at home almost as much as I did in the
Forbidden Land.



[40] Yangti = River.


_Letter from_ SIR WILLIAM LEE WARNER, C.S.I., _Political and Secret
Department, India Office, London._

[Illustration: "_Honi soi. qui mal y pense._"]

                              INDIA OFFICE, WHITEHALL, S.W.
                                   _August_ 4, 1898.

     With reference to the request contained in your letter of the
     27th, and to your interview with me of the same day I forward
     herewith for your use a copy of Mr. Larkin's "Inquiry and report"
     into your treatment by the Tibetans.

                                     Yours faithfully,
                 (Signed)                  W. LEE WARNER.

       *       *       *       *       *


     Mr. Arnold Henry Savage Landor having been reported to have been
     captured and tortured by the Tibetans, I was sent up to Garbyang
     in Byans to ascertain the facts.

     Mr. Landor arrived in India on the 10th of April last. He
     proceeded to Almora, where he arrived on the 27th idem. He stayed
     there until the 10th of May, to make arrangements for his travels
     in Tibet. At first he was advised to take some Gurkha soldiers
     with him, but this fell through, as the military did not accede
     to his request. He then, on the 27th May, arrived in Garbyang in
     Byans _patti_. It appears to have been his intention to have
     entered Tibet by the Lippu Lek Pass. This is the easiest, being
     about 16,780 feet above sea level. It is the most frequented
     route taken by the traders of Byans and Chaudans, and is adjacent
     to Taklakot, a mart for wool, salt, borax, grain, &c. He was,
     however, frustrated in this, inasmuch as the Jong Pen of Taklakot
     came to know of Mr. Landor's intention and took steps to prevent
     it. He caused bridges to be destroyed and stationed guards along
     the route.

     Moreover, he appears to have been kept fully cognisant of Mr.
     Landor's moves through the agency of his spies in Garbyang.

     Under these circumstances Mr. Landor was compelled to resort to
     some other route, and selected the Lumpia Pass, which stands at
     an altitude of 18,150 feet.

     On the 13th July last, Mr. Landor, with a following of thirty
     men, entered Tibet. He reached Gyanima, where he was stopped by
     the Barkha Tarjum. This personage, however, after some
     persuasion, consented to permit Mr. Landor and seven followers to
     go forward to the Mansarowar Lake.

     Next day the accorded permission was withdrawn, and Mr. Landor
     and his party were turned back. The party returned three marches,
     when Mr. Savage Landor determined to go to Mansarowar by the
     unfrequented wilds.

     On the 21st July, Mr. Landor, with nine followers, at midnight in
     a terrific snowstorm, climbed up the mountain and went off, the
     bulk of his party continuing their retreat to the Lumpia Lek. By
     this strategic move Mr. Landor baffled the Tibetan guards
     (Chaukidárs). He carefully avoided coming into contact with any
     of the inhabitants, and in order to do so was obliged to keep to
     the high mountains and unfrequented wilds.

     Travelling thus, with the aid of his compass, sextant and sketch
     maps, he reached Mansarowar.

     Here five of his followers declined to accompany him any farther,
     so he paid and dismissed them. This was at Tucker. Thus Mr.
     Landor was reduced to a following of four men. He went on,
     however, and had accomplished but three marches more when two
     more of his followers deserted him at night. These went off with
     some of his supplies, all his servants' food, and ropes.

     Mr. Landor was now reduced to the following of a bearer (Chanden
     Sing) and a coolie (Mansing). Despite his misfortunes he
     determined to push on: his intention appears to have been to
     reach Lhassa.

     He went over the Mariam La Pass.[41] This attains an altitude of
     over 16,000 feet.

     Meanwhile the deserters had bruited about the information of Mr.
     Landor's intention of getting to Lhassa.

     While crossing the Nio Tsambo River one of Mr. Landor's yaks went
     under. The yak was saved, but its valuable load, consisting of
     all the tinned provisions, Rs. 800 in cash, three pairs of shoes,
     one slaughtered sheep, wearing apparel, razors, skinning
     instruments, and some three hundred rifle cartridges, was lost.

     This accident was directly the cause of Mr. Landor's capture, as
     he and his two followers, who were footsore, starving, and
     disheartened, were driven to seek food and horses from the
     inhabitants of the country. On the 19th of August 1897 they went
     to a place called Toxem. The villagers received them well and
     promised to supply them with food and horses. Next morning, the
     20th idem, a number of Tibetans came to Mr. Landor's tent
     bringing food and ponies.

     While Mr. Landor and his servants were engaged trying and
     selecting ponies, the crowd increased and came up behind its
     three victims.

     Suddenly, without any warning, the Tibetans rushed on Mr. Landor
     and his two servants, and overwhelming them by numbers, made
     prisoners of them. They cruelly bound their surprised victims.
     Then a number of soldiers (who had lain in ambush) arrived and
     took over the prisoners. The first person to be dealt with was
     the bearer Chanden Sing. He was accused of having taken his
     master into Tibet. He was questioned as to this, and also as to
     the maps and sketches found with Mr. Landor's things. I may
     mention that when the arrests were made the Tibetans took all of
     Mr. Landor's property, which they handled very roughly, damaging
     most of the things. Hearing the Tibetans accuse the bearer, Mr.
     Landor called out that his servant was in no way responsible for
     his having entered Tibet. Thereupon a Lama struck him (Mr.
     Landor) a blow on the head with the butt-end of his riding-whip.
     Chanden Sing was then tied down and flogged. He received two
     hundred lashes with whips, wielded by two Lamas. Then the
     prisoners were kept apart for the night, bound with cords. Next
     day Mr. Landor was placed on a horse, seated on a spiked
     pack-saddle. Mansing was put on a bare-backed horse. They still
     were bound. Mr. Landor's arms were secured behind his back. Thus
     they were taken off at a gallop towards Galshio. When the party
     were nearing that place they came up with a party of Lamas,
     awaiting them by the roadside. Here Mr. Landor's horse was
     whipped and urged to the front. A kneeling soldier, his musket
     resting on a prop, fired at Mr. Landor as he went past. The shot
     failed to take effect. Then they stopped the pony and fastened a
     long cord to Mr. Landor's handcuffs. The other end was held by a
     soldier on horseback. The party then continued their career, the
     Lamas having fallen in. While proceeding at full gallop, the
     horseman who held the cord attached to Mr. Landor's handcuffs,
     pulled hard at it to try and unhorse the latter. Had this
     occurred Mr. Landor must have been trampled to death under the
     troop of horsemen behind him. Thus they hurried onward till they
     neared Galshio,[42] when at a turn in the road a soldier was seen
     kneeling at the "ready," who fired a shot at Mr. Landor as he
     came abreast of him. This, like the previous shot, missed its

     Arriving at Galshio, Mr. Landor was torn off his pony. He was in
     a bleeding state, the spikes in the pack-saddle having severely
     wounded his back. He asked for a few minutes' respite, but was
     jeeringly told by his guards that it was superfluous, as he was
     to be beheaded in a few minutes. He was then taken, his legs
     stretched as far as they could be forced apart, and then tied to
     the sharp edge of a log shaped like a prism. The cords were bound
     so tightly that they cut into the flesh.

     Then a person named Nerba, the secretary of the Tokchim Tarjum,
     seized Mr. Landor by the hair of his head, and the chief
     official, termed the _Pombo_, came up with a red-hot iron, which
     he placed in very close proximity to Mr. Landor's eyes. The heat
     was so intense that for some moments Mr. Landor felt as if his
     eyes had been scorched out. It had been placed so close that it
     burned his nose. The _Pombo_ next took a matchlock, which he
     rested on his victim's forehead and then discharged upwards.

     The shock was consequently very much felt. Handing the empty gun
     to an attendant soldier, the _Pombo_ took a two-handed sword. He
     laid the sharp edge on the side of his victim's neck as if to
     measure the distance to make a true blow. Then wielding the sword
     aloft, he made it whiz past Mr. Landor's neck. This he repeated
     on the other side of the neck.

     After this tragic performance Mr. Landor was thrown to the ground
     and a cloth put over his head and face to prevent his seeing what
     was being done to his servant Mansing. This must have been done
     to make Mr. Landor believe that Mansing was being executed. After
     a short time the cloth was removed and Mr. Landor beheld his
     servant, with his legs stretched, tied to the same log. Mr.
     Landor was kept for twenty-four hours in this trying position,
     legs stretched as far as possible and arms bound to a pole, and
     Mansing for twelve hours. To add to their misery they were kept
     in the rain and were afterwards seated in a pool of water. The
     effect of this torture was to strain the muscles of the legs and
     arms and injure the spine.

     When Mr. Landor's legs were unloosed from their cords, they were
     so numbed and swollen that for sixteen hours he did not recover
     the use of them and feared they were mortifying. Mr. Landor's
     property was overhauled by the officials of Galshio and sealed
     up. On the afternoon of the third day at Galshio, the two
     prisoners were taken on foot to Toxem. It was a very trying
     march, inasmuch as several rivers had to be crossed.

     On his arrival at Toxem, Mr. Landor saw his bearer Chanden Sing
     in a very precarious condition, as the latter had had no food for
     four days. During all this time the prisoners were firmly bound
     and carefully guarded. Next day, Mr. Landor and Chanden Sing were
     placed on yaks. Mansing had to walk. Thus they were taken in the
     direction of Mansarowar Lake. It was only on arrival at
     Mansarowar that his guards unbound Mr. Landor.

     Arriving at Dogmar the party was stopped by the Jong Pen of
     Taklakot, who refused to give them passage through his district.
     This was a very serious affair, as it meant that the worn-out
     prisoners would have to be taken by a long circuitous route
     _viâ_ Gyanima and into India by the Lumpia Pass. This would
     probably have done for them. Owing to the intervention of the
     Rev. Harkua Wilson, of the Methodist Episcopal Mission, _Peshkár_
     Kharak Sing Pal and Pundit Gobaria, the most influential person
     among the Bhutias[43] of Byans, the Jong Pen was compelled to
     withdraw his prohibition and give his sanction to the prisoners
     being conveyed to Taklakot.

     Arriving at this place the prisoners were hospitably received by
     the Rev. Harkua Wilson, who is also a medical man. He examined
     their injuries and attended to them. His statement discloses the
     dreadful condition he found them in. The Tibetan guards made over
     some of Mr. Landor's property to him at Taklakot. It was then
     found that much property had not been restored. Mr. Landor had a
     list drawn up from memory of his unrestored property. This list
     (a copy) was handed to the Jong Pen of Taklakot.

     I append the list. The Jong Pen has been called upon to restore
     the missing articles. He urges that the affair did not occur in
     his district, and that he is in no way responsible for the loss
     of the property.

     He has, however, promised to try to recover them, alleging that
     the affair has been reported to a superior authority at Gartok.
     From what I could gather here, it seems probable that all the
     missing property, save the money, will be restored. I tried to
     see the Jong Pen, but he pleaded illness, and the inutility of a
     meeting in which he had nothing new to disclose. This personage
     is notorious in these parts for his implacable hatred to English

     The account of the affair as given by Mr. Savage Landor is fully
     borne out by his two servants, and, moreover, the Tibetans who
     took part in it did not try to hide it.

     In the Rev. Harkua Wilson's tent at Taklakot, before _Peshkár_
     Kharak Sing, Gobaria and a large number of Bhutias, several
     Tibetan officials corroborated the whole account as related by
     Mr. Landor. The man Nerba, who had held Mr. Landor's hair when
     about to be beheaded and have his eyes burnt out, admitted he had
     taken such part in the affair. There can be no doubt that the
     above account is true and unexaggerated, for the whole of Byans
     and Chaudans are ringing with it. The Jong Pen of Taklakot was
     given ample opportunity to explain the affair, but he declined to
     do so.

     Mr. Savage Landor held Chinese passports, and his conduct during
     his stay in that country did not warrant the officials to have
     treated him in the barbarous, cruel way they did. I satisfied
     myself, by careful inquiry from the people here, as to how Mr.
     Landor behaved.

     He is said to have been most munificent in his dealings with all,
     and invariably affable and courteous. I had seen Mr. Landor just
     before his entry into Tibet, and when I met him I could scarcely
     recognise him, though he had then fairly recovered from the
     terrible treatment he had received. I saw the marks of the cords
     on his hands and feet, and they are still visible after this
     lapse of time. He complains that he is still suffering from the
     injury done his spine, and fears that it may be of a permanent

                                    J. LARKIN.
    _October_ 15, 1897.

[Sidenote: All communications to Government should give the No., date and
subject of any previous correspondence, and should note the Department

                    No. N. 277 A. of 189    .
        A. H. SAVAGE LANDOR, Esq.,
             c/o Messrs. GRINDLAY, GROOM & CO.,
                  Bankers, Bombay.

_Dated_ ALLAHABAD, _November_ 13, 1897.

[Sidenote: Political Department.]


     In reply to your letter of November 5, I am desired to send you a
     printed copy of depositions recorded by Mr. Larkin as noted

      1. Of yourself;        2. Of Chanden Sing;
      3. Of Man Sing;        4. Of Rev. Harkua Wilson;
      5. Of Pundit Gobaria;  6. Of Kharak Sing;
                      7. Of Suna

            I have the honour to be, Sir,
                     Your most obedient Servant,
                              H. N. WRIGHT,
              _Under-Secretary to Government, North-Western_
                     _Provinces and Oudh. N.M._


IN THE COURT OF J. LARKIN, Esq., Magistrate of the 1st class.

     _In re_ The Matter of the Tortures, Robbery, &c., of A. HENRY
     SAVAGE LANDOR, Esq., and his servants, by the Thibetan

DEPOSITION OF MR. A. HENRY SAVAGE LANDOR; _taken on the 4th day of
October 1897. Oath administered by me._

     My name is Arnold Henry Savage Landor; my father's name is
     Charles Savage Landor; I am by caste European. British subject;
     by occupation artist and traveller; my home is at Empoli
     (Calappiano), police station Empoli, district Florence, Tuscany,
     Italy; I reside at London.

     Having made up my mind to travel in Turkistan and Tibet, for
     geographical and scientific purposes as well as to study the
     manners and customs of those people, I obtained a British
     passport from the Foreign Office and one from the Chinese
     Legation in London. I had already a passport granted me by the
     Chinese Government through the British Consul at Tientsin, China.
     I also possess letters from Lord Salisbury and the officials of
     the British Museum. I am prepared to submit all these for
     scrutiny. I arrived in India by the P. and O. ss. _Peninsular_
     about the beginning of April. I travelled rapidly up to Almora. I
     stayed there a short time to make arrangements for my travels in
     Tibet. I entered that country through the Lumpia Lek. I kept away
     from the road and paths, passing over several ranges of high
     mountains, camping at very high altitudes, for nearly three
     weeks. When I started I had thirty men with me. Twenty-one of
     them left me when I was only five days in. At Mansarowar Lake
     five Shokas declined to go any farther. I paid them up and they
     left. It was they who gave the Lamas of Tucker information of my
     intention to go to Lhassa. I had proceeded but three marches
     towards the Maium La Pass when my only two remaining Shokas
     deserted during the night. They carried off all my stock of
     provisions for my Hindu servants, ropes, straps, &c. My party had
     now dwindled down to Chanden Sing (bearer) and Man Sing (coolie).
     The latter was ill; I fear he is developing leprosy. His feet
     were in a very sore and cut condition, hence he could scarcely
     get along. I went over the Maium Pass and followed the course of
     the Brahmaputra River for many troublesome marches, until we
     reached the Neo Tsambo (river), in crossing which one of my yaks
     sank and its load went down and was lost. I tried hard, by
     diving and swimming in this very cold and rapid river, to recover
     my goods, but failed to do so, owing to the depth and muddiness
     of the water. The load contained all my provisions, some clothes,
     and all my shoes, cash rupees eight hundred, my lantern, some
     ammunition, and sundry knives and razors. This misfortune drove
     me to Toxem, which place we reached in a state of starvation. It
     had taken us several days to get there. Owing to the weak,
     fatigued, and starved condition of my two followers, I had to
     seek to get them food and horses, as it was impossible for them
     to get on without horses. I would not desert them, as I might
     have, as I was still prepared to push on despite the many
     difficulties I had to encounter hourly. Toxem consisted of one
     mud house and an encampment of about eighty tents. The shepherds
     received us kindly and consented to sell me horses and
     provisions. I encamped for the night about two miles beyond the
     settlement. During the evening several persons visited my
     encampment, bringing me gifts of provisions. I invariably gave
     them money in return, certainly three or four times more than the
     value of the articles presented. During the night I was disturbed
     several times, and went out into the darkness, but failed to
     discover any one. This, however, was my nightly experience; hence
     I grew to attach little moment to these noises. In the morning
     (August 20), two or three Thibetans came offering to sell me
     provisions and ponies. While I and my two servants were engaged
     examining and selecting ponies, I noticed that numbers of
     villagers came up one by one, spinning their wool or carrying
     bags of _tsamba_ (meal), while others arrived with more ponies.
     My servants, overjoyed at the hope of getting mounts, rode first
     one pony and then another to suit themselves, Chanden Sing,
     having selected one, called me to see it and try it. I walked to
     the spot, which was about a hundred yards from my tent. Naturally
     I was unarmed. The demeanour of these people had been so friendly
     that it gave me no cause to suspect that any treachery was
     anticipated. While I stood with my hands behind my back, enjoying
     the delight of my long-suffering servants, I was suddenly seized
     from the back by several persons. I was seized simultaneously by
     the neck, arms, wrists, and legs, and was thrown down in a prone
     position. I fought and struggled and managed to shake off some of
     my captors, so that I was able to regain my feet; but others
     rushed up and I was quickly surrounded and overpowered by
     twenty-five or thirty persons. Ropes were thrown round my neck,
     legs and body, and thus entangled, I was thrown three several
     times more to the ground. I fought with my head, teeth, legs,
     arms, and succeeded in regaining my legs four times. They
     overcame me at last by strangling me with the rope which they had
     thrown round my neck. Then they bound me hand, foot, and neck.
     When I had an opportunity to look round, I saw Chanden Sing
     struggling against some fifteen or twenty foes. He was quickly
     entangled, thrown, and secured by ropes. Even Man Sing, the weak
     and jaded coolie, was overcome by four stout powerful men, though
     he was not able to offer any resistance. He, too, was bound.
     While we were struggling against our treacherous foes, some
     person gave a signal--a shrill whistle--which brought up an
     ambush of four hundred armed soldiers. These soldiers took up a
     position round us and covered us with their muskets. Then they
     searched us and rifled us of any things we had in our pockets.
     They next proceeded to my tent and took possession of everything
     I possessed. They sealed up my things in bags subsequent to
     having overhauled and examined them. Then with shouts and hisses
     they led us prisoners to Toxem. There we were separated, being
     placed in separate tents. Guards of many armed soldiers were
     placed to watch us. In the afternoon of the same day a _Pombo_ (a
     man in authority), with several high Lamas and military officers,
     held a Court under a gaudy tent. I saw Chanden Sing led forward
     to this Court. I was led to the rear of the mud-house to preclude
     my witnessing the scene. I heard Chanden Sing being interrogated
     in a loud angry tone and accused of having been my guide. Next I
     heard Chanden Sing's moans and groans. Then a company of soldiers
     led me before this tribunal. I was ordered to kneel, and as I
     would not do so, they tried to compel me to do so by forcing me
     on my knees. I succeeded in maintaining a standing posture. Then
     I beheld my servant Chanden Sing lying down, stripped from the
     waist downwards, in the midst of a number of Lamas and soldiers.
     I saw two stalwart Lamas, one on each side of him, castigating
     him with knotted leather thongs. They were laying on him with
     vigorous arms from his waist to his feet. He was bleeding. As I
     could not be compelled to kneel, I was allowed to sit down before
     the _Pombo's_ officer. Then my note-books and printed maps were
     produced, and I was interrogated, first as to the route I had
     taken, then as to why I had drawn my maps and sketches. I
     explained as best I could, partly through my servant Chanden Sing
     and partly through an interpreter (a person who styled himself a
     Gurkha and who knew a little Hindustani. He wore the garb of the
     Tibetan). I explained to the officers that Chanden Sing, my
     servant, did not know the route or anything about the maps and
     sketches; that I had brought him as my servant, and that I alone
     was responsible for the route taken by me, and for the maps and
     sketches; that my servant was not to be punished; that I should
     be if anybody was punishable. Thereupon one of the Lamas struck
     me a hard blow on the head with the butt-end of his riding-crop,
     and they continued to castigate my servant Chanden Sing. I was
     led away captive, but nevertheless heard the moans of my
     unfortunate servant. It began raining heavily, and I was taken to
     a tent, where I was cruelly bound. Soldiers were placed within
     and without the tent to guard me. I was thus kept the greater
     part of the night with my arms manacled behind my back and my
     legs bound. I was so bound that rest or sleep was impossible. The
     tent was swarming with vermin, which quickly covered me; and I
     may here remark that I suffered unspeakable tortures from this
     pest all the time I was in captivity, as I was never permitted to
     wash, bathe, or change my clothes. In the tent my guard lighted
     a fire of yak's dung, and the tent was filled with a suffocating
     smoke, which well-nigh choked me. I was placed near a heap of
     this stinking fuel. I must say that it was a night full of
     indescribable misery for me. Though I was fasting all that day
     and night, yet my cruel jailers gave me no food. I was thus kept
     a prisoner the following day until about 3 or 4 P.M. Then a
     soldier entered the tent and informed me that I was to be
     flogged, my legs broken, my eyes burnt out, and then beheaded. I
     merely laughed at him; I could not but think that this was said
     merely to intimidate me. Half an hour later another person
     arrived and signalled to my guard to lead me out. Not considering
     me sufficiently secure already, they tightened my bonds and tied
     others round my body. In this fashion I was taken to the sole
     house (mud one) in the encampment. Here an enormous pair of heavy
     handcuffs were put on my hands, which were still kept behind my
     back. Even in this the treachery of my captors was shown, for
     they patted me on the back and called me a good man and told me I
     was to be taken back to Taklakot. This they said fearing I would
     resist. Then, after locking the handcuffs, they made the key over
     to one person, who rode away quickly with it lest I might
     possibly manage to get the key and unlock my handcuffs. For this
     reason I was never permitted to see or know who carried the key.
     Just then I heard the voice of my servant, Chanden Sing, calling
     to me in a very weak tone. He said: "_Hazur! Hazur! Hum
     murjaiega!_" I endeavoured to get to the poor wretch's
     assistance. Upon my trying to move towards him my several guards
     sprang upon me and ruthlessly grappled me and threw me on to the
     back of a horse. I could only call aloud to my poor servant that
     I was being taken to Taklakot that day, and that he would be
     brought after me the following day. I noticed that Chanden Sing
     was roughly seized and hurled back into one of the rooms of the
     house, so that we could hold no conversation. My other servant,
     Man Sing, had his arms pinioned, and he was put on a bare-backed
     pony. The saddle of the horse I had been thrown upon is worthy of
     description. It was merely the wooden frame of a very high-backed
     saddle. From this high projecting back or crupper four or five
     sharp iron spikes were sticking out. These caught me on the small
     of my back. My guard was then augmented by some twenty or thirty
     mounted soldiers with muskets and swords. My pony was held by a
     horseman, who rode before me. We set off at a furious gallop.
     Thus we travelled for miles until we arrived at a spot where the
     _Pombo_ with a following of Lamas, banner-men, and soldiers, some
     two hundred in all, were drawn up. Here my pony was allowed to go
     on first, and the others reined up and drew aside. As I passed
     before the _Pombo_ and his following a person named Nerba (the
     Private Secretary of the Tokchim Tarjum) deliberately knelt and
     fixed his musket on its rest and fired at me from a few paces.
     The bullet whizzed past me: I was still at a gallop, which no
     doubt saved my life, as the marksman could not take a steady aim.
     My pony took fright and reared and plunged, but I maintained my
     seat, though I was being cruelly pricked by the spikes in the
     crupper. My pony was then seized and a long cord with a swivel at
     the end was fastened to my handcuffs. The cord was about fifty
     yards long. The other end was held by a horseman. In this way we
     all set off at a hard gallop, and in order to accelerate the
     speed, a horseman rode by my side and he lashed my pony furiously
     to make it go at its hardest; meanwhile the horseman who held the
     cord did his utmost to pull me out of the saddle, so that I would
     have of a certainty been trampled to death by the cohort behind
     me. While thus riding furiously with my arms extended backwards I
     had the flesh rubbed off my hands and knuckles, so much so that
     the bone was exposed in places, and as the horseman at the back
     tugged to get me off and I clung hard with my knees, every tug
     brought me into forcible contact with the spikes in the crupper
     and wounded me cruelly. The cord was one made of yak's hair. It
     was strong, but it eventually gave way. The shock unhorsed the
     soldier. I was all but thrown. This ludicrous incident provoked
     much mirth among my guards. They stopped my pony and the runaway
     steed of the dismounted cavalier. The cord was retied with sundry
     strong knots, and after an interruption of a few minutes we
     resumed our breakneck gallop, I being in front. When nearing
     Galshio, and as I was going round the curve of a sandhill, a
     soldier, who had been posted in ambush, fired a shot at me from a
     few paces distant. The shot did not strike me. This incident did
     not stop our headlong career, and we continued on until we
     arrived at Galshio about sunset. This was the 21st August last.
     At this place there is a large monastery on the crown of a low
     hill. At some distance from the base of the hill, and on the
     plain, was pitched the large white tent of the _Pombo_. Our
     cavalcade drew up there. I was then roughly torn out of my saddle
     by two or three men. I requested to stop for one moment. My
     captors refused me this and, roughly thrusting me forward, said
     that, as I was about to be beheaded in an instant, it was
     unnecessary. I was hustled to the left front of the tent, where,
     on the ground, lay a log of wood in the shape of a prism. Upon
     the sharp edge of it I was made to stand. I was held by the body
     by several persons, while others pulled my legs as wide apart as
     they could be stretched. Then my feet were very securely tied by
     cords of yak-hair. The cords were so tight that they cut into the
     flesh in numerous places, some of the cuts or wounds being about
     three inches long. When I was thus secured one ruffian (Nerba),
     whom I have alluded to above, came forward and seized me by the
     hair of my head. He pulled my hair as hard as he could. My hair
     was long, as I had not had it cut since the day preceding my
     departure from London about the middle of March. The others
     formed up in front of me in a semicircle. Then the _Pombo_ arose
     and was handed a bar of iron, which had been made red hot in a
     brazier, the end grasped by the _Pombo_ being bound round with
     red cloths. He strode up to me, urged on by the Lamas, and said
     jeeringly that as I had gone to see the country, my punishment
     would be to have my eyes burnt out. This was in allusion to what
     I had said at Toxem, viz.--that I was a traveller and merely
     wished to see the country. He then placed the red-hot bar of iron
     parallel to and about an inch and a half or two inches from my
     eyeballs, and all but touching the nose. The heat was so intense
     that it seemed as if my eyes were desiccated and my nose
     scorched. There is still a mark of the burn on my nose. I was
     forced to shut my eyes instinctively. He seemed to me to have
     kept the bar of heated iron before my eyes for fully thirty
     seconds or so. After some moments I opened my eyes and beheld the
     hot iron on the ground. I saw him take a musket from the hands of
     one of the soldiers standing by. He placed this against my
     forehead and discharged it upwards, giving me a severe shock,
     though nothing worse. Handing back the discharged weapon to the
     soldier, the _Pombo_ seized a long two-handed sword and came at
     me. He swung it from side to side, all the time foaming from his
     mouth. This foaming, I believe, was produced artificially. He
     then motioned to the man who all this time held me by the hair of
     my head to bend my neck. I resisted with all my might to keep my
     head erect. Then the _Pombo_ touched my neck with the sharp blade
     of his sword as if to measure the distance for a clean, effective
     stroke. Then he raised the sword and made a blow at me with all
     his might. The sword passed disagreeably close to my neck, but
     did not touch me. I did not flinch; and my cool indifferent
     demeanour seemed to impress him, so much so that he seemed
     reluctant to continue his diabolical performance, but the _posse_
     of Lamas urged him on by gesticulations and vociferous shouts.
     Thereupon he went through the same performance on the other side
     of my neck. This time the blade passed so near that I felt that
     the blow had not been more than half an inch from my neck. This
     terminated the sword exercise, much to the disgust of the Lamas,
     who still continued to urge the swordsman on. Then they held an
     excited consultation. About this time my coolie, Man Sing, who
     had frequently fallen off his bare-backed pony, arrived. The
     person who held my hair then relinquished his hold, and another
     person came up and gave me a forcible push, which gave me a nasty
     fall on my back, straining all the tendons of my legs. Then my
     servant Man Sing was brought forward and tied by his legs to the
     same log of wood to which I was fastened. Then they made it
     appear that they were going to behead Man Sing. I was pushed up
     into a sitting posture and a cloth thrown over my head and face,
     so that I could not see what was being enacted. I heard Man Sing
     groan, and I concluded he had been despatched. I was left in this
     terrible suspense for about a quarter of an hour. Then the cloth
     was removed, and I beheld my servant lying before me bound to the
     log. We both asked for food. This seemed to amuse our torturers,
     for they laughed. In the meanwhile the day was beginning to wane,
     and our jailers made us understand that our execution was merely
     put off to the following day. After some time _tsamba_ (meal) and
     tea, were brought in, and it was stuffed into our mouths by our
     captors. We were kept out in the open without any shelter from
     the pouring rain. We were sitting in one or two inches of rain
     and were drenched and numbed with cold. I have already said my
     hands were manacled from the back; so also were Man Sing's. But
     at nightfall our captors increased our tortures by straining our
     manacled arms upwards as high as they could be forced, and then
     secured them to an upright pole at the back. This caused very
     severe pain, straining the spine in an incredible way. Then they
     tied a cord from Man Sing's neck to mine, the effect of which was
     to make us maintain a most painful position. A guard encircled
     us, and with them were two watch-dogs tied to pegs. The guard
     were apparently so confident of our not being able to escape,
     that they drew their heavy blankets over their heads and slept.
     One of them left his sword lying by his side. This made me
     conceive the plan to try to escape. Knowing the extremely supple
     nature of my hands, I succeeded in drawing the right hand out of
     my handcuffs. After an hour's anxious and stealthy work I managed
     to unloose Man Sing's bonds round his feet. In his joy at feeling
     partly free, Man Sing moved his legs rather clumsily, which the
     vigilant watch-dogs detected and gave the alarm by barking. The
     guard were aroused. They went and fetched lights and examined our
     fastenings. I had succeeded in replacing my hand inside the
     handcuff. They found Man Sing's bonds loose and, giving him a few
     cuts with a whip, warned him that if he undid them again they
     would decapitate him, and refastened them. Then they placed the
     light between us and put a shelter overhead to prevent the rain
     extinguishing the light. At about 6 or 7 A.M. the following day
     they undid Man Sing's feet. I was kept all that day until sunset
     in the same uncomfortable and painful posture. Thus I was kept
     fully twenty-four hours. During the day my property had been
     overhauled and sealed. One of the Lamas picked up my
     Martini-Henry rifle and put a cartridge in the breach, but failed
     to push it home firmly. He then discharged the gun. The muzzle of
     the barrel burst and the face of the Lama was much injured
     thereby. I laughed heartily at this, and this apparently amused
     the _Pombo_, for he, too, joined in. About half an hour after
     this incident my feet were untied. It was then sunset. I found I
     had lost the use of my feet. It took my right foot some two or
     three hours before the blood began to circulate freely, but my
     left foot remained like dead until the following day. That night
     my feet were secured by cords. A bowl of some boiling steaming
     liquid, which I was informed was tea, was presented to me to
     drink. The eagerness of the surrounding Lamas that I should
     partake of it aroused my suspicion. When it was pushed up to my
     lips I merely sipped it and declined it. After a short time I
     felt most sharp, excruciating, pains in my stomach, which
     continued for several days. I could not but conclude that the
     drink proffered had been poisoned. The following day Man Sing and
     I were led back on foot to Toxem, our jailers riding on horses.
     We had to go at a great speed despite our severely lacerated
     feet. We crossed several cold streams, sinking in mud and water
     to the waist. At Toxem, to my great delight, I beheld Chanden
     Sing still alive. We were detained there for that night. On the
     following day we were placed on yaks' backs and hurried off
     towards Taklakot. Thus we journeyed at an unpleasantly fast pace
     for fifteen days, from before daybreak to nightfall. Our guards
     were bent on taking us _viâ_ the Lumpiya Pass; but as this meant
     a long protracted journey of fifteen or sixteen days, over ice
     and snow, I knew that we would, in our starved, weakened state,
     succumb. We were all but naked. This was a day's journey on this
     side of Mansarowar, where our bonds had been unloosed. We
     rebelled, and it well-nigh ended in a fight, but our guards
     consented to halt at Dogmar, until they sent to inquire if the
     Jong Pen of Taklakot would give us passage through his
     jurisdiction. After much demur we were eventually taken to
     Taklakot. This arrangement, I subsequently learnt, was entirely
     due to the good offices and energy of the _Political Peshkár_
     Kharak Sing Pal, Rev. H. Wilson, and Pundit Gobaria. On arriving
     at Taklakot we hastened to Rev. Harkua Wilson's tent, where we
     were warmly received, attended to, fed, and clothed. My injuries
     were examined by the Rev. Harkua Wilson, who is a hospital
     assistant, and who will be able to depose to their nature and
     extent. In this gentleman's tent, and in the hearing of several
     persons, among whom were _Peshkár_ Kharak Sing, Rev. H. Wilson,
     and Pundit Gobaria, the man Nerba, above mentioned, the Toxem
     Tarjum, and the Jong Pen's secretary, and also Lapsang, chief
     secretary to the Jong Pen, admitted that my account of the affair
     was perfectly true. Some of my property, more or less damaged,
     was then restored me by the Tokchim Tarjum. I then gave him two
     lists, one showing articles restored me, and the other the
     articles missing. The _Peshkár_, Kharak Sing, has copies of the
     lists. I was in a very weak state, very exhausted through what I
     had suffered and little food. It was due to the kind, liberal,
     and attentive care and treatment of the Rev. H. Wilson and
     _Peshkár_ Kharak Sing Pal that I recovered. The few ragged
     clothes I had on were literally swarming with lice, as I had no
     change of raiment, nor was I ever allowed to wash. I contracted
     the vermin from the tents I was kept in and also from my guards
     who at first slept round me.

     Read over to witness.

          A. HENRY SAVAGE LANDOR.           J. LARKIN.

DEPOSITION OF CHANDEN SING, _taken on the 9th day of October 1897.

Solemn affirmation administered by me._

     My name is Chanden Sing; my father's name is Bije Singh; I am by
     caste Thatola; thirty-two years of age; by occupation _kheti_; my
     home is at That, police station Bisot, district Almora.

     I took service as a bearer with Mr. Landor at Almora on the 27th
     or 28th April last. I accompanied him on his trip to Tibet. We
     went along through the wilds, encountering many hardships and
     reached Toxem. There I insisted on my master buying ponies to
     take us to Darjeeling. This resulted in our capture, for up to
     then we had vigilantly kept away from the people. The people who
     brought us ponies to buy played us false. They informed the
     authorities, who sent soldiers, who lay in ambush behind the
     sandhills until the crowd of horse dealers and lookers-on, whom
     we did not suspect of treachery, surrounded and seized us. We
     were bound with cords by the arms (at back) and legs. My master
     was more cruelly tied than we two servants. We were taken to the
     Rája,[44] who accused me of having brought my master into the
     country. I was then stretched out and two strong men with whips
     inflicted two hundred stripes on me. I was questioned as to the
     maps. My master called out that he, not I, alone understood them,
     and asked that I should not be beaten. Thereupon a Lama struck
     him across the head and removed him to a distance, so that I
     could not communicate with him. They took all our property. Then
     we were kept separate for the night. I was put in a room and my
     hands tied to a pole. I could not sleep with the pain I was in.
     Next day my master, with his hands tied behind his back, was put
     on a spiked saddle and tied by a long rope held by a horseman. He
     went at a gallop surrounded by about fifty horsemen armed with
     guns and swords. Man Sing, our coolie, was also taken with him.
     My guards informed me my master was to be decapitated at Galshio,
     and that I was to be beheaded where I was. On the fourth or fifth
     day my master returned. Meanwhile I was a close prisoner, bound
     up without food. When I saw my master he was in a pitiful state.
     He was handcuffed with enormous cuffs, clothes torn to rags,
     bleeding from his waist, feet and hands swollen. Next day a guard
     on horseback took us back, bound as we were, on yaks' backs,
     towards Mansarowar. There I had my cords unloosed. My master was
     kept bound until we got to Tangchim. We were eventually taken to
     Taklakot, where the Rev. Harkua Wilson met us and saw our
     condition. He attended to our wants. My master was well-nigh at
     death's door. The Tibetans returned some of my master's property,
     but they have kept about 475 rupees in cash, two rifles,
     revolver, two files, a lot of soap, medicine, a butterfly dodger,
     matches, a box of mathematical instruments, a quantity (400)
     cartridges, a large box of photographic plates and negatives,
     three bags. We did not molest any one, and paid more than four
     times the value for any food we bought.

     Read over to witness.

                               J. LARKIN.

DEPOSITION OF MAN SING, _taken on the 9th day of October 1897.

Solemn affirmation administered by Pandit Krishnanand._

     My name is Man Sing; my father's name is Sohan Sing; I am by
     caste Pharswal; twenty-five years of age; by occupation _kheti_;
     my home is at Sileri, police station Bichla Kattyur, district

     I accompanied Mr. Savage Landor into Tibet. We were surrounded
     and arrested at Toxem while bargaining and selecting ponies. I
     was tied up hand and foot, and again tied to a log of wood with
     my master. When I begged for mercy, they threatened to behead me
     and struck me on the head with the handle of a _kukri_. We were
     taken to Galshio. There the Tibetans were on the point of
     beheading my master. They tried to burn out his eyes. They fired
     at him twice to kill him. They tried to pull him off his horse to
     have him trampled upon. He was subjected to many insults and
     hardships. We were kept bound and guarded until brought to
     Mansarowar. There our hands were untied. Chanden Sing was with
     us. He received about two to three hundred lashes at Toxem. I got
     off most lightly, as when the three of us were captured and
     examined, I said I was merely the yak driver and not responsible
     for anything. I lost nothing, but they took my master's
     property--three firearms, some money, and other things; I cannot
     enumerate them. We were brought back to Taklakot, where we met
     friends. My master was made to sit on a spiked saddle and taken
     from Toxem to Galshio.

     Read over to witness.

                               J. LARKIN.

DEPOSITION OF THE REV. HARKUA WILSON, _taken on the 9th day of October
1897. Oath administered by me._

     My name is Harkua Wilson. By caste Christian; forty-six years of
     age; by occupation missionary; my home is at Dwarahat, police
     station M. Dwara, district Almora. I reside at Gunji, Byans.

     I am a missionary in the American Methodist Episcopal Society. My
     work is in the northern _pattis_ or Bhot. I accompanied Mr.
     Savage Landor in July last as far as Gyanima in Tibet. We went
     through the Lumpiya Pass. It took us four days from Lumpiya to
     get to Gyanima. At this place the Barkha Tarjam declined to allow
     me to go on, but he allowed Mr. Landor (who was said to be my
     brother) with four porters and three servants to go on; but the
     following day he withdrew this permission. We then returned three
     marches. At midnight in a snowstorm Mr. Landor went up the
     mountains, determining to go through Tibet by the wilds. He had
     with him nine followers. He was then in perfect health and
     strength, and so were his followers. At the end of August I heard
     that Mr. Landor had been arrested, and, fearing the Tibetans
     would kill him, I hastened to Taklakot to do my utmost to save
     him. There I learnt that Mr. Landor and his two servants were
     being brought back. Hearing that it was the intention of the
     Tibetans to take them _viâ_ the Lumpiya, I, with Pandit Gobaria,
     Jai Mal, and Lata, induced the Jong Pen of Taklakot to allow Mr.
     Landor to be brought to Taklakot. On the evening of 7th September
     _Peshkár_ Kharak Sing arrived there. At about 11 A.M. on the 8th
     September Mr. Landor, Chanden Sing, and Man Sing arrived. I took
     them to my tent and heard their account of what had happened. I
     could hardly recognise Mr. Landor; he looked very ill and seemed
     nearly exhausted. I examined his injuries and found that his
     forehead had the skin off and was covered with scabs. His cheeks
     and nose were in the same state. His hair had grown long. He was
     unshaven and unkempt. He was in rags and dirty, covered with
     swarms of lice. His hands, fingers, and wrists were swollen and
     wounded. On his spine at the waist he had an open sore, and the
     parts around were swollen and red. His seat was covered with
     marks of wounds caused by spikes. His feet were swollen, and so
     were his ankles. The flesh about the latter was much hurt and
     contused, showing marks of cords having been tightly bound round
     them. He was in a very low condition. I attended to him, having
     given him a bath and a change of clothes. I gave him food, but
     though he said he was famished, he could scarcely eat. I am
     confident, if he had been a few days longer in the hands of the
     Tibetans and had been taken _viâ_ Lumpiya, he would have died.
     After half an hour the Tibetans brought some of Mr. Landor's
     things under seal. Some of the Tibetan officials on one side,
     _Peshkár_ Kharak Sing and Gobaria and myself on the other, made
     out a list of the property, which we took over, and a list was
     prepared of the articles taken from Mr. Landor and which were
     missing. Mr. Landor dictated the list from memory. Copies of
     these lists were furnished to the Jong Pen. I kept Mr. Landor at
     Taklakot until the afternoon of the 11th September. Then I
     conveyed him by easy stages to Gunji, where I have a dispensary,
     and attended to him. I am a hospital assistant. I sent off
     reports to the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. Chanden Sing
     and Man Sing were also in a wretched state. The former had marks
     of recent flogging from his waist to above his ankles.

     Read over to witness.

                               J. LARKIN.

DEPOSITION OF PANDIT GOBARIA, _taken on the 13th day of October_ 1897.
_Solemn affirmation administered by Pandit Krishnanand._

     My name is Gobaria; my father's name is Jaibania; I am by caste
     Garbial; forty-eight years of age; by occupation trader; my home
     is at Garbyang, police station Byans, district Almora.

     I heard that Mr. Landor had been arrested and brought down as far
     as Rungu, and saw that the Jong Pen of Taklakot was sending men
     to divert Mr. Landor by the long roundabout route _viâ_ the
     Lumpia Pass. I went to the Jong Pen and succeeded in getting him
     to allow Mr. Landor to be brought to Taklakot. Next morning Mr.
     Landor and his two servants with two yaks arrived. Mr. Landor was
     in a very bad state--in a dying state. A list of Mr. Landor's
     property as received from the Tokchim Tarjum was made. Then Mr.
     Landor had a list of things taken from him and not returned made
     out. A Tibetan, named Nerba, who was present, admitted that he
     had taken part in Mr. Landor's torture and had held him by the
     hair. The official who had tortured Mr. Landor was the Galjo
     Changjo and a Lama.

     Read over to witness.

                               J. LARKIN.

October_ 1897. _Solemn affirmation administered by me._

     My name is Kharak Sing; my father's name is Gobind Sing; I am by
     caste Pal; twenty-six years of age; by occupation _Peshkár_; my
     home is at Askot, police station Askot, district Almora.

     I am the Political _Peshkár_ at Garbyang in Byans. I knew and
     reported that Mr. Henry Savage Landor had gone into Tibet. On the
     5th September I learnt from Bhotias that he had been stopped at
     Toxem and reported it. I then proceeded to Taklakot in Tibet, to
     inquire into the matter. On the 7th September, at Taklakot, I
     learnt that Mr. Landor was a prisoner at Dogmar, and that the
     Jong Pen would not permit his being brought into Taklakot, as
     this meant that Mr. Landor would have to go to Gyanima and _viâ_
     the Lumpia Lek. I then insisted on the Jong Pen allowing Mr.
     Landor a passage to Taklakot, and warned him of the consequences
     if he declined. The Jong Pen consented, but gave orders that Mr.
     Landor should be conveyed hurriedly by night through Taklakot to
     the Lippu Lek. I protested against this, and eventually Mr.
     Landor, on 8th September, was conveyed into Taklakot. The Jong
     Pen had sent two _sawárs_ to his guard to admit them. In the Rev.
     Harkua Wilson's tent Mr. Landor related how he had been tortured.
     There were several of the Tibetans present who had taken part in
     the tortures, and they signified that all of Mr. Landor's story
     was true. Among them was Nerba, of Thokchim Tarjum, who admitted
     that he had held Mr. Landor by the hair when about to be
     beheaded, and had cut the nails of his fingers and toes. He
     admitted he had taken a gold ring from Mr. Landor, which a
     soldier had taken from him. I made a report of all this and sent
     (1) a list of Mr. Landor's property restored him by the Tibetans
     and (2) a list of articles missing. I know Mr. Landor had two
     rifles and a revolver when he went into Tibet and a considerable
     amount of money. Mr. Landor was in a very critical position; he
     was past recognition. He was wounded on the face, body, hands,
     and legs. I went to the Jong Pen and protested at the treatment
     given Mr. Landor. The former boldly admitted that Mr. Landor had
     been treated as alleged, and that it was their duty to act so.
     The Jong Pen promised to try and have Mr. Landor's missing
     property restored to him. I know he wrote off to the Garban of
     Gartok about orders issuing to the Toxem Tarjum. He has engaged
     to send me anything recovered.

     Read over to witness.

                               J. LARKIN.

DEPOSITION OF SUNA, _taken on the 14th day of October 1897. Solemn
affirmation administered by me._

     My name is Suna; my father's name is Gandachiju; I am by caste
     Khumhar; forty-two years of age; by occupation trader; my home is
     at Gunji, police station Byans, district Almora.

     I saw Mr. Landor and his two servants as prisoners about one and
     a-half month ago, this side of the Mansarowar Lake. Mr. Landor
     and Chanden Sing were on yaks; Man Sing on foot. They were well
     guarded. Tunda and Amr Sing were with me. They went on ahead to
     Taklakot while I stayed back with the sheep. They went to inform
     the Rev. Harkua Wilson of the capture. I saw Mr. Landor detained
     at Dogmar.

     Read over to witness.

                               J. LARKIN.

_Statement of property confiscated by the Tibetan authorities, and
recovered some months later by the Government of India._

                                        189 .
                                     H.K. GRACEY, Esq., C.S.,
                                 _The Deputy Commissioner of

                                 A.H. SAVAGE LANDOR, Esq.,
                                 c/o GRINDLAY, GROOM & CO.

                                 _Dated 10th December_ )
                                                       ) 1897
                                 _Received_            )

Revolver, 1.                                No. XXII. of 1897.
Jewel ring, 1.                   -------------------------------
Cash--68/12/--in eight-anna       _File No._  .
    pieces.                                   Serial No.  .
Cartridges for rifles, 110.      -------------------------------
Rifles, 2 (1 damaged).
Cartridges for pistol, 37.
Cleaning-rods for rifles, 2.     -------------------------------
Cover for rifle, 1.                    _File Heading._
    "     revolver, 1.             _Property of_ Mr. H. SAVAGE
Leather strap, 1.                               LANDOR.
Net to catch butterflies, 1.     -------------------------------
                                       Has the honour to inform him
                                 that his marginally noted articles
                                 have been received by the Political
                                 Peshkar of Garbyang from
                                 the Jong-pen of Taklakote.

                                    W. SMITH, C.S., _for_
B.R. Regr. No. 27 ) P. No. 2131        H.K. GRACEY, C.S.,
Dept. XXII. B.--  ) 11-9-96-       _Deputy Commissioner, Almora._
1,00,000 of 1896. ) P.D.               W.J.W.

          _Certificate from_ DR. WILSON.
                                         DHARCHULA BYAS, BHOT.

     I herewith certify that I accompanied Mr. A. Henry Savage Landor
     in his ascent up the Mangshan mountain, and that Mr. Landor and a
     Rongba coolie reached an altitude of 22,000 (twenty-two thousand)
     feet. Owing to the rarefied air, I and the other men accompanying
     Mr. Landor were unable to go as far as he did. Mr. Landor was at
     the time carrying on him a weight of thirty seers (60 lbs.),
     consisting of silver rupees, two aneroids, cartridges, revolver,
     &c. During the whole time I travelled with Mr. Landor he always
     carried the above weight on him, and generally carried his rifle
     besides (7¼ lbs. extra). We all suffered very much during the
     ascent, as the incline was very steep, and there was deep snow
     and much troublesome _débris_.

     I also certify that I took many photographs[45] of Mr. Landor and
     his two servants after they were released, and Mr. Landor looked
     then very old and suffering, owing to starvation and the wounds
     that had been inflicted upon him by the Tibetans.

        (Signed)                  H. WILSON,
                     _In charge of Bhot Dispensaries,
                    American Methodist Episcopal Mission._

                            DHARCHULA, _April_ 27, 1898.

     Do you remember the night when we separated near Lama Chokden in
     Tibet, you to proceed towards Lhassa, and I to return to India?

     I have in my lifetime, seen few such fierce snowstorms. The storm
     had been raging the whole day and night, and the wind was blowing
     so hard that we could not hear each other speak. I can only
     recollect with horror at the dreadful anxiety I was in when you,
     with a handful of men, escaped from the Tibetan soldiers watching
     us, and in the dark fearful night proceeded to take your men up
     the mountain range, with no path, and among loose stones and
     boulders, a way, indeed, not even fit for goats.

     That night, I well remember, you were carrying a weight much
     greater than the one you usually carried, thirty seers (60 lbs.),
     for when you left the tent you had in your hand a small bag with
     200 extra silver rupees, and you carried your revolver, your
     rifle, and some extra ammunition. I assure you that I look back
     with amazement at how you succeeded in pulling through the
     dangers and difficulties of that night alone.

                                 Yours sincerely,
              (Signed)                      H. WILSON,
                        _American Methodist Episcopal Mission._

              DR. H. WILSON'S _Statement_.

     I herewith certify that, having heard at Gungi (Byas) that Mr. A.
     Henry Savage Landor, after losing all his provisions in a large
     river, had been captured by the Tibetans at Toxem and had there
     been tortured, I proceeded to Taklakot (Tibet) in the hope of
     obtaining further news. At Taklakot the news was confirmed, and I
     heard that Mr. Landor and two servants were brought back under a
     strong guard. Some uncertainty prevailed as to what route he
     would be made to follow, and efforts were made by the Tibetans to
     make him proceed by the long, cold, and dangerous route _viâ_ the
     Lumpiya Pass, instead of by the shorter and easier route _viâ_
     Taklakot. We heard that Mr. Landor and his two men were in very
     poor health owing to the ill-treatment by the Tibetans, and no
     doubt the long journey over ice and snow by the Lumpiya Pass left
     but little chance of their reaching Gungi alive. At the request
     of Jaimal Bura, Latto Bura and myself, Pundit Gobaria despatched
     a man to the Jong Pen at Kujer to explain that we would be
     thankful and would consider it a great kindness if he would allow
     Mr. Landor to travel through Taklakot. At last, after much
     trouble, our request was granted. The officer who brought us the
     news informed us that Mr. Landor would be made to pass through
     Taklakot at night, and conveyed directly over the Lippu Pass. The
     Political Peshkar Kharak Sing Pal arrived in Taklakot that day
     from India, and we held a consultation. We agreed to keep a
     watchman in the road all night, but Mr. Landor did not go by. In
     the afternoon of the 8th, Mr. Landor and his two men arrived.
     They had been rifled of all they possessed and their clothes were
     torn and dirty. Mr. Landor and the two men looked very ill and
     suffering, Mr. Landor's face being hardly recognisable. He and
     his bearer Chanden Sing gave us an account of the tortures that
     had been inflicted upon them at Toxem and Galshio, and Mr. Landor
     showed the Peshkar Kharak Singh, Pundit Gobaria, myself and many
     Bhotiyas (Shokas) twenty-two wounds on his spine, feet and hands
     received from the Tibetans. Chanden Sing, who had been
     administered two hundred lashes, showed numerous black marks and
     open sores where the skin had been torn on both legs. From Lamas
     and soldiers who had been present at Mr. Landor's arrest and
     tortures I heard the following account.

     An ambush had been laid, and Mr. Landor and his bearer were
     caught by treachery when some hundred and fifty yards away from
     their tent, inside which were the rifles and revolver. They made
     a desperate resistance and fought for over fifteen minutes,
     struggling to get at their weapons. Thirty men were on Mr. Landor
     and twelve or fifteen held Chanden Sing, while four hundred
     soldiers armed with matchlocks and swords, and who had kept
     hidden behind sandhills, quickly surrounded them. They were
     tightly bound with ropes round the neck, chest, and legs, and the
     arms were pinioned behind their backs. Chanden Sing received two
     hundred lashes that same day. Mr. Landor and Mansing were taken
     to Galshio three days later. Ponies were provided for them,
     Mansing riding bare-back, while the wooden frame of a saddle was
     provided for Mr. Landor, the frame having several iron spikes
     sticking out of it in the back part of it. During the long ride
     to Galshio these nails produced several wounds on Mr. Landor's
     spine and back. Efforts were made, by means of a rope attached to
     his handcuffs, to pull him off the saddle and have him trodden to
     death by the hundreds of ponies of the Lamas, soldiers and
     officers that came full gallop behind. Moreover, two shots were
     fired at Mr. Landor. Mansing, unable to use his hands that were
     bound, fell many times off his steed and remained some two miles
     behind. When Galshio was reached Mr. Landor was pulled off his
     saddle, and they told him that his head would be cut off
     immediately. Dragged mercilessly by soldiers, he was taken to a
     wooden log. Here they stretched his legs wide apart, and his feet
     were made fast on the cutting edge of the log by means of tightly
     bound ropes that cut into his flesh. Then while an officer held
     him in a standing position by the hair of his head, a hot iron
     was passed in front of his eyes and a matchlock laid on his
     forehead and fired. Lastly, the head Lama approached with a long
     sword and swung it right and left close to Mr. Landor's neck, as
     if about to cut off the head. Mr. Landor remained composed and
     spoke no words. After some twenty minutes Mansing arrived, and
     was tied to the same log in front of Mr. Landor, and pretence was
     made to behead Mansing, Mr. Landor's face having been covered
     with a cloth. The Lamas professed to have been very astonished
     when, after having tied the prisoners' hands high up to poles
     behind them, Mr. Landor asked for some _tzamba_ (oatmeal), meat
     and rice, and Mansing for some butter.

     The amazement of the Tibetans appears to have been even greater
     when food was brought and Mr. Landor and Mansing partook heartily
     of it and asked for more. Mr. Landor was kept chained to the log
     for twenty-four hours, Mansing twelve hours. When they were
     brought back to Toxem they found that Chanden Sing had been kept
     four days tied hands and feet to an upright post, and he had been
     given no food.

     At Taklakot, an officer (called Nerba) confessed in my own tent,
     and before Pundit Gobaria and the Political Peshkar Kharak Sing,
     that he himself had held Mr. Landor by the hair when he was
     about to be beheaded. He had also fired a shot at Mr. Landor,
     and had moreover been ordered by the Lamas to cut off Mr.
     Landor's toe and finger nails, as well as a lock of his hair. The
     Taklakot Lamas and the Tokchim Tarjum professed to be sorry at
     the Galshio Lamas having behaved in such a cruel manner.

     At Taklakot we made a list of Mr. Landor's property that was
     still missing, and we gave a copy to the Jong Pen and one to the
     Tokchim Tarjum, that they may try to recover what they can.

               (Signed)          HARKUA WILSON,
                     _Methodist Episcopal Mission._

    GUNGI BYAS BHOT, DARMA. _Sept._ 21, 1897.

DR. H. WILSON'S _Certificate of_ A. HENRY SAVAGE LANDOR'S _injuries and

                         TAKLAKOT, TIBET, _Sept._ 8, 1897.

     I herewith certify that I have examined the wounds that Mr. A.
     Henry Savage Landor received during his imprisonment at Galshio
     in Tibet.

     There are _five_ large sores along the spinal column and the
     spine itself has sustained severe injuries. At the time they were
     inflicted these wounds must have caused profuse bleeding.

     The feet bear the marks of cruel treatment. On the right foot are
     still well visible to-day (nineteen days after wounds were
     inflicted) _six_ wounds,  viz.--

    On the heel one wound one inch long;
    Outside ankle     " half-inch long;
    Front of ankle    " one inch long;
    Top of foot, three inches above the toes,
        one wound one and a-half inch long.
    Two small wounds on the upper part of foot.

     On the left foot the _four_ wounds are of a very severe
     character, and were produced by ropes cutting into the flesh.

    One nasty wound above heel, two and a-half inches long.
    One wound below the ankle, one and one-fourth of an inch long.
    One wound three inches above the toes, two inches long.
    One wound on the heel, half an inch long.

     These wounds have caused the feet to be much swollen, the left
     foot especially having been considerably injured. Its strained
     tendons give still intense pain when touched and the foot is very
     heavy, inflamed and swollen.

     On the left hand there are _five_ wounds.

    On middle finger a wound one inch long and deep to the bone.
    On root of middle finger, a wound half an inch long.
    On small finger, a wound one-fourth of an inch long.
    On third   "         "         "        "
    On first   "         "   half an inch long.
    The four fingers are still very swollen.

     On the right hand there are only _two_ wounds.

    The first, one half-inch long, on the upper side of the hand.
    The second, a quarter of an inch long on the second finger.

     Both hands are aching and much swollen, and the wounds upon them
     were evidently produced by the heavy iron chain of the handcuffs.

     On arrival at Taklakot (nineteen days after having been tortured)
     Mr. Landor is still suffering from strong fever caused by his
     wounds, and no doubt when they were fresh these must have given
     Mr. Landor intense pain. His health and strong constitution seem
     altogether shattered by the sufferings he has undergone.

     His face, hands and feet are very swollen, and he appears
     extremely weak; he himself attributed his great exhaustion to
     having been unable to sleep for nineteen consecutive nights on
     account of the bad sores on the spine and legs and because of the
     heavy iron chains with which he was laden.

                     H. WILSON,
           _Hospital Assistant, Methodist Episcopal Mission._

     N.B.--The numerous smaller wounds, burns, &c., on the face and
     body are not taken into account.

     A copy of this report was despatched from Dr. Wilson direct to
     the Deputy Commissioner, and was forwarded to the Government of

DR. H. WILSON'S _Certificate of_ CHANDEN SING'S _injuries_.

                                 TAKLAKOT, _Sept._ 8, 1897.

     I herewith certify that I have examined Chanden Sing, Mr. A.
     Henry Savage Landor's servant who accompanied him to Tibet, where
     they were arrested and tortured. Chanden Sing has visible to this
     day on both his legs, and twenty-one days after they were
     inflicted, innumerable black marks produced by flogging. So
     severely appears the punishment to have been administered, that
     large patches of skin and flesh have been torn off by the
     lashing. Chanden Sing is now in very poor health, and it is
     evident by his appearance that he suffers greatly from the
     tortures and ill-treatment received at the hands of the Tibetans.

                     H. WILSON,
           _Hospital Assistant, Methodist Episcopal Mission._

A copy of this was sent by Dr. Wilson to the Deputy Commissioner at
Almora, and was forwarded to the Government of India.

_Certificate by_ MISS M. A. SHELDON, M.D., _of the Methodist Episcopal

    "All at it and always at it."--WESLEY.
                                                 _Sept._ 28, 1897.

     This is to certify that I have seen the wounds inflicted upon Mr.
     Landor by the Tibetans. It is now about forty days since he was
     bound and tortured. The wounds are healing well. The scars upon
     his hands caused by being bound with chains behind his back are
     plainly visible.

     The feet show even more clearly the results of inhuman binding
     and torture. The wounds have not yet entirely healed, and there
     is much discoloration. One foot is still swollen.

     I have not seen the wounds upon his spine inflicted by a
     torturing saddle, but he complains of much pain and soreness in
     that region.

                      (Signed)         MARTHA A. SHELDON, M.D.

_Certificate from_ DOCTOR TURCHINI, _a Director of the Royal Hospital of
S.M. Nuova, Florence, Italy._


[Illustration: STAMP]

                             R. ARCISPEDALE DI S.M. NUOVA,

                                FIRENZE, 12 _Febbraio_, 1898.

     Il sottoscritto Medico Primario Direttore del Turno e Gabinetto
     elettro-terapico del R° Arcispedale di S. Maria Nuova dichiara
     quanto appresso: nel mese di Dicembre appena giunto in questa
     Città visitò il Sig^re Henry Savage Landor e lo trovô affetto=

     Da _retinite_ all' occhio sinistro con suffusione dei mezzi
     trasparenti, e _da grave iperemia retinica_ all' occhio destro.
     La vista era _abolita_ a sinistra, _diminuita_ a destra=

     La _colonna vertebrale_ era dolente, se leggermente compressa con
     un dito, o se appena percossa col martello da percussione il
     dolore si faceva intenso, acuto specialmente nelle regioni
     lombare e dorsale. La deambulazione non era libera ma incerta, la
     funzionalità degli sfinteri molto difettosa per cui difficolta
     della mizione e delle evacuazioni.

     Presentava poi delle chiazze ecchimobili sopra-malleolari e
     sopra-carpiche. L'aspetto suo generale era di persona sofferente
     e molto anemica. Fatte le cure che il caso del Sig^re Landor
     reclamava, oggi 12 Febbraio notiamo; all' occhio destro risoluta
     la iperemia retinica, aumentato il campo visivo, occhio che serve
     discretamente alla sua funzione; all' occhio sinistro è molto
     turbata la circolazione endoculare e quivi la funzione visiva non
     è ristabilita; non vede gli oggetti e tutto gli fa confusione. La
     colonna vertebrale presenta sempre dei punti dolenti in specie al
     rigonfiamento sacro lombare. La deambulazione è più corretta, ma
     gli sarebbe impossibile fare una passeggiata lunga. La mizione e
     megliorata, non cosi la defacazione che è sempre difettosa per
     impotenza dello sfintere.

     Le condizioni generali sono megliorate, ma occorre pero al Sig^re
     Landor seguire la cura intrapresa, e specialmente la cura
     elettrica ed idroterapica.

             (Signed)                DOTT. TURCHINI.

                                 _Visto per la legalizzazione della
                                  firma del Sig. Dott. Turchini.
                                  Dal Municipio Firenze
    Lira Stamp.                   Li 12 Febbraio 1898.

                                                Il Sindaco.
                                                A. Artimini._


                                GARBYANG, BHOT,
                                   _November_ 13, 1897.

     I hope that you have received my letter of some time ago and that
     you may be quite well now. Are you still at Almora? I have not
     yet got back your things from the Jong Pen, but I hear it is
     quite true that all your property reached Tokchim a long time
     ago. I have sent another letter to the Jong Pen, but cannot get
     an answer as the Lippu Pass is now closed owing to a heavy fall
     of snow yesterday. It is rumoured that a Tibetan officer is
     coming from Lhassa to Taklakot to inquire after your case, and
     probably he may have reached Taklakot yesterday, and after
     examining your things he will send them down to me. Now I have
     nearly finished my work at this place. I have collected the dues
     and paid them to the agents of the Jong Pen. I will go back to
     Chaudas the day after to-morrow--_i.e._, on the 15th of this

     With kind regards and hoping to hear from you soon.

                            I remain,
                                   Yours sincerely,
                                              KHARAK SING PAL.


                                  HALDWANI, _January_ 11, 1898.

     I hope that by this time you have reached safely home. I have
     been very anxious as I have not heard from you or of your safe
     arrival there. The dreadful day of the 8th of September is still
     vivid in my mind, when I first saw you at Taklakot (in Tibet)
     after you had been tortured by the Tibetans, and where I had come
     in search of you.

     I cannot forget your fearful appearance, with long hair and
     beard, and your face, body and limbs covered with wounds and
     bruises. When you arrived at Taklakot, in a few miserable rags
     stained with blood, dirty and swarming with lice, and surrounded
     by the guard of Tibetans, I could hardly believe it possible that
     it was you who stood before me, so much you had changed since I
     had last seen you.

     I am still deeply pained when I think of the pitiable condition
     you were in, when you showed me 22 (twenty-two) fresh wounds on
     your hands, feet and spine, without counting the injuries to your
     face. And indescribable pain gave us too seeing your confiscated
     baggage under seal of the Tibetan authorities, and to find it,
     when we opened it, to be full of broken or damaged instruments
     and other articles of your property.

     I think that you may remember my inquiry and consequent anger
     when the Tibetan officers and soldiers admitted their guilt of
     tying you by your limbs to the stretching log and of placing you
     on a spiked saddle; of removing forcibly your toe-nails and
     pulling you by the hair of your head. You know quite well that I
     had no power to do more than to report the matter to higher
     authorities, but I can assure you that it was to me quite
     unbearable to hear from the Tibetans that they had brought you to
     execution, and that they boasted of having swung the naked
     executioner's sword right and left of your neck, and that they
     had brought a red-hot iron close to your eyes to blind you.

     Your servants' condition, especially that of Chanden Sing, whom
     like yourself the Tibetans kept prisoner for twenty-four days,
     and who was given two hundred lashes, was pitiable beyond words.

     I am anxious to see the photographs taken by Dr. Wilson of you as
     you were when you arrived at Taklakot. I trust that by now you
     may feel better and that the pain in your spine may have
     altogether disappeared. I believe your rifles, revolver, ring,
     &c., which I succeeded in recovering from the Tibetans, must have
     reached you by now through the Deputy Commissioner at Almora. The
     cash and other articles have not been recovered, nor is there any
     probability of getting them back. Hoping to receive news of you
     soon and with best salaams,

    I am, yours most obediently,
                        K. KHARAK SING PAL,
                       _Political Peshkar,
                    Garbyang Dharchula, Bhot._

    _Letter from_ COLONEL GRIGG, _Commissioner of Kumaon._

                       _Commissionership of Kumaon._
                         _Dated December_ 7, 1897.


     Karak Sing reports that 2 guns (1 damaged), 1 revolver, 1
     signet-ring, cash 68/12/-, cartridges (gun) 110, ditto revolver
     37, cleaning-rods 2, gun-case 1, leather straps, 1
     butterfly-catcher, &c., have been handed to him by the Jong Pen
     of Taklakot, and he has requested Deputy Commissioner's orders.

     I am glad to hear your things are coming on. I hope you are
     getting stronger.

    With our kindest regards,
                    Yours very sincerely,
                                         E.E. GRIGG.

[NOTE BY THE AUTHOR.--_This letter, as will be seen from the date,
reached me after the bulk of the book had gone to press_.]


                            ALMORA, _August_ 10, 1898.


     Yours of the 21st ult. I am glad to hear that your book on your
     experiences in Tibet is nearly finished. I wish you may have
     every success with it, as it is only what you deserve after your
     trials and hardships in that difficult land of the
     ultra-conservative Lamas. I am not aware that the Indian papers
     are attacking you. However, they apparently do not get reliable
     information if they dispute the fact of your having entered
     Tibet. We who were in some way connected with your rescue and
     return have not been "interviewed," or we would give the
     authentic account of the affair.

     I was on a few days' leave at Naini Tal when I heard of your
     capture, tortures and expulsion from Tibet. I was deputed by the
     Government to proceed at once to the borders and make an inquiry
     into the affair. I set off at once, and I met you at Askot, where
     you were being looked after by the Rajbar. What a change in your
     appearance! When I saw you standing among some of the Askot
     natives I could with difficulty identify you. You were bronzed
     and weather-beaten to such an extent that you were not
     distinguishable from the natives. I do not think you can blame me
     for not recognising you readily. Your forehead, nose and the part
     of your face below your eyes were scarred, and helped to alter
     your appearance very greatly. You did surprise me when you told
     me that you would retrace your steps back to the borders on
     learning from me that I was hastening on to inquire into your
     case. I had then seen the twenty odd wounds you had on your face,
     wrists, feet and back. I strongly protested against your
     undertaking the fatiguing journey back across the perilous and
     arduous road, as I knew you needed rest and good nourishment, and
     thought it would be wisest for you to get back to Almora, and be
     under a good doctor.

     You, however, with your characteristic doggedness, meant to
     accompany me, and I must perforce let you. I was glad in the long
     run, for you enabled me to make a fuller inquiry than I would
     otherwise have been able.

     As you know, and as I reported to Government, I found after an
     inquiry on the borders that you had with great difficulty and
     manoeuvring succeeded in entering Tibet, evading the Jong Pen of
     Taklakot, and the Barca Tarjum at Gyanema, and crossing the
     Mariam La (Maium Pass) and getting as far as Tuksem (Toxem). You
     had been deserted by all the mountaineers who had started with
     you and who had promised to accompany you wherever you went. When
     you were left with the two Kumaonis, you were surrounded and
     captured by the _Governor of that part of Tibet_ and his men.
     There, as a sequel to your innumerable fatigues, hardships,
     desertions, and privations, you and your two followers were
     ill-treated and tortured _by the Governor_. Have you not got a
     copy of my official report? I remember you told me you were
     applying for it. If you possess the copy, surely that will be
     sufficient to confound your traducers. I saw from the public
     papers that my report was to be laid on the table of the House of
     Commons by the Secretary of State for India.

     How did the photographs which we took up at the Lippu Pass turn
     out? I should particularly like to have the one of the group on
     the pass, and also the one where I am on horseback. I would also
     like to have the one _I took of you having your matutinal bath
     when the water froze in your hair and on your body_ as it was
     thrown on you by Chanden Sing; and no wonder it did, as there
     were ten to twelve feet of snow lying about, and a hardy Bhotia
     (Shoka) mountaineer had only a few days prior to our arrival been
     lost in the snow on crossing the pass.

     Doubtless it will afford you some pleasure to learn that you have
     earned quite a reputation among the natives, both Tibetan and
     Bhotias (Shokas), on account of your universal cordiality,
     generosity and pluck. They are constantly inquiring about you,
     and relating your many good traits. Should you ever think of
     returning here you have made many friends, and you would get a
     very warm welcome from the natives.

     Dr. H. Wilson tells me that, when he took you over from your
     captors, _the officials of Tibet_, you were in a dying state, and
     that he only just got you in the nick of time. How are your eyes
     and spine? I trust they are quite well again. I look back with
     pleasure to my tour up to the border with you, and our return
     journey after your journey into Tibet proper, _where you were
     subjected to tortures by the Governor of the district thereof_.

       With every good wish,
                 Yours very sincerely,
                          (Signed)          J. LARKIN.

[41] Maium Pass.

[42] Galshio = Gyatsho.

[43] Bhutias = Shokas.

[44] Raja = King.

[45] N.B.--Reproductions of some of the photographs mentioned are given
in this book.


ABNORMALITIES and Deformities, 263
Aconite, 262
Adultery, 333
Almora, 6
Altitude, greatest reached, 142
  Difficulties of travelling at great, 141, 150
Aneroids, 5
Antelopes, 342
Anti Ram Sah (banker), 63, 90
Askote, 14, 460
  Rajiwar of, 15, 30, 31, 460
  Rajiwar's Court, 15, 16
Authorities (Tibetan), 474, 475

BAGS, 279, 318
Barca Tarjum, 167, 445, 472
Bargain house, 62
Bathing, 132, 464
Bhot, 41, 468
Bitroguare River, 127
Black ointment, 321
Black tents, 232, 314, 315, 316, 317, 343, 345, 346, 349,
    355, 367, 381, 431, 432
Black wolf, 218
Bleeding, 262
Boiling-point temperature at Gunkyo Lake, 301
  at Rakstal and Mansarowar Lake, 217, 270
Bone-setting, 261
Boots, 227
_Boru_, 258
Botiyas, 43
Boundary between Nepal and Kumaon, 30, 54
Brahmaputra River, or Tsangpu, 306, 307, 308, 309, 313, 342, 429, 430
  Ramifications of, 343
  Sources of, 307, 430
  Tributaries of, 308, 309, 314, 315, 348
Brigands, 53, 176, 192, 200, 216, 217, 220, 225, 229, 292, 293
  Manner of speaking, 214
British Government, 452
British Museum of Natural History, 5
British prestige, 40
Brown, Miss, 33, 48
Buddi village, 62
Bungadhura Mountain, 38
Burns and their cure, 261
Butterflies, 134, 213
Byans and Chaudans, 475

Cannibalism, 335-337
Carpet and rug making, 44
Caves, 34, 62, 213
Chai-Lek, or Tcheto Pass, 62
Chanchubs, 248
Chanden Sing, 8-10, 352, 362, 368, 370, 374, 375, 376, 390, 424,
    470, 472, 473, 474, 477, 478, 479, 480
  Deposition of, 484
Chanden Sing, Flogging of, 370-372
Charm-boxes, 276
Charms, 240
_Chibbi_, 245, 252
Children, 229
  Identification of, 332
Chinese steel, 278
Chipla Mountain, 14
Chipula Forests, 24
_Chiram_, 77
_Chokdens_, 160, 268, 337, 448
_Chokseh_, or table with offerings, 320
Chökti, 75, 114
Chongur Bridge, 113, 114
Circumambulations, 212, 243, 247, 328
Climate, 213
  Change in the, 233, 307
Clothing, 6
Cold, 188, 209, 210, 218, 235, 347
Collecting materials, 5
Concubines, 333
Confiscated property, 490, 499
Consulting the oracle, 422
Converts, 49
Courtship, 332
Cracks in the ice, 82, 137, 141
Credentials, 2
Cremation, 334
Cowardice, 276, 439, 448
Cupping, 262

Dancing, 305
Daramsalla, 14
Darma Yangti, 150
Deafness, 263
Delaling Monastery, 448
_Delang_ cake, 95
Dementia, 263
Dentistry, 259
Deolthal, 12
Deposition of witnesses, 477
Devil's Camp, 182, 184
Dharchula, 32, 33
Dholi River, 42
Diary, Notebooks, &c., 451
Diet, 421
Digestive powers, 258
Disposal of the dead
  by Animals, 335
  by Water, 335
Diving at great altitudes, 350
Divorce, 329
Dogmar, 442, 474
Dogpas, 200, 202
Dogs, 311, 410
Doktol Province, 306
Dola, 113
_Dongbo_, or tea churn, 318
Dongon River, 458
Dooti Mountain, 15
Drinking human blood, 256, 337
Dubart, 33
Dues paid by British subjects to Tibetans, 497

EARRINGS, 168, 229, 240, 326
Earthquake, 86
Elongated ears, 262
Evil omens, 365, 403
Evil qualities to be avoided, 248
Evil spirits, 257
Execution ground, 399
Exorcisms, 259, 260, 419

Fakirs and Mansarowar, 27
Features, 376
Fever and diseases, 257, 263
Fever-demon, 257
Fire-cure, 263, 266
Fish, 240
Fits, 263
Flying prayers, 46, 47, 305, 464
Food, notions of natives regarding, 153
Foreign Office, 466
Fossils, gigantic, 218
Frostbite, 130
Fuel, 131, 156, 347
Funerals, 334, 337

GAKKON River, 194, 442, 448, 450
Gangoli Hat, 11
Gangri Mountains, 211, 233, 301, 308
Garbyang, 63, 458, 460, 462, 471, 472
Gargia, 30
Gaussen, Lieut., 53, 66
Gelupkas, 249
Ghural, 82
Gibti, 57, 58
Goats, 344
Gobaria, Pundit, 63, 452, 453, 473, 484, 487
  Deposition of, 488
Goître, 258
_Goling_, 317
_Gomba_, 232, 233, 448
Gori River, 30
Government allowance, 250
Government Inquiry and Report, 452, 460, 466, 477-489
Government of N.W. Provinces and Oudh, 469, 470
  Conference held by Lieutenant-Governor of, 470
Government of India, 451, 460, 466
Government Report by J. Larkin, 471
Government, Reports to, 451, 471
Grand Lama, 252
Grigg, Col., Commissioner of Kumaon, 7, 469
  Letter from, 499
Gungi, 76, 454
Gungi Shankom, 76, 77
Gunkyo Lake, 296, 301, 304
Gyanema, 445, 472, 475
Gyanema Fort, 163
Gyanema Lake, 162
Gyanema-Taklakot track, 194
Gyatsho, 397, 473, 474, 481, 485, 486, 492

HANDCUFFS, 387, 388, 473
Hare-lip, 258
Harness, 279
Headgear, 227, 393
Hernia, 258
Highways to Tibet, 35-40
Hillmen, 30
Himahlyas, 35-39, 41, 85, 136, 142, 148-154, 156, 308, 314, 340
Hindoo rites at Mansarowar, 242
Honesty and honour, 228
Horse races, 417
House of Commons, 500
Humli, Rongba encampments, 32
Hundes, 41
Hypnotism, 253, 418

India, 2
Indian newspapers, 499
India Office, 466, 471
Injuries and wounds, 484
Injuries to spine, 457
Inlaid metals, 277
Insanity, 263
Inscriptions, 253, 282, 305
Islands, 213

JAGAT Sing, 15
Jealousy, 329
Jewellery, 240
Johari traders, 162
Jolinkan Pass, 128
  River, 129
Jong Pen of Taklakot, 53, 65, 68, 90, 205, 438, 441, 453, 462,
    464, 472, 475, 488, 489
  His hatred of English subjects, 475
Julinba, 250

KACHI Ram, 113, 114
Kali River, 32, 56, 76, 90
Kalika, 32
_Kamarjuri_, the, 28
Kanwa, 76
Karak Sing Pal (Political Peshkàr), 438, 451, 452, 453,
    458, 464, 468, 475, 484, 487, 488, 492
  Deposition of, 488
  Letters from, 497, 498
Kardam, 202, 442
Karko, 162
_Kata_, or veil of friendship, 288, 328, 355, 417, 420
Kathgodam, 469
Kelas, or Tize, 211, 213
Khela, 33
Kiang, or wild horse, 162, 213, 342
_Kiatsamba-pun_, 378
Kunjuk-Sum, 248
Kuti, 81, 123, 124
  Castle at, 123
Kuti River, 76, 77, 82, 84, 85, 127, 135
  Sources of, 148
Kutzia Daramsalla, 30

LACHU River, 33
Ladak-Lhassa track, 305, 308, 313, 349, 355
Ladjekut Peak, 58
Lahmari, 61
Lama Chokden, 158, 175
Lamas, 242, 245-256, 334-337, 364, 368, 370, 377, 393, 406,
    408, 418, 473, 479, 485
  Celibacy of, 253, 333
  Fasting of, 252
  Hermit, 214
  Hypocrisy of, 387
  Infallibility of, 252
  Musicians, 400
  Sculptors, 253, 282
  Support of, 250
  Temporary freedom with women, 256
  Unpopularity of, 302
Landor, A. H. Savage. _See_ Savage Landor
Langa River, 235
Lapsang, 441, 442, 444, 452
Larkin J., 6, 66, 460, 462, 464, 466, 468, 471, 476, 477
  Letters from, 499
Leather-work, 276
Lha Kang, or temple, 245
Lippu Pass, 35, 53, 63, 90, 438, 454, 462, 464
Loads, 4
Loudon Gourkha Fort, 11
Luminosity of water, 208
Lumpiya Glacier, 150
Lumpiya Pass, 81, 90, 150, 438, 441, 442, 444, 472, 475, 477,
    486, 487, 488, 492
Luway Pass, 157

_MAGBUN_ (General-in-Chief), 164, 378
Mahommedan shops, 15
Maium Pass, 304, 305, 306, 472, 477
Malpa River, 61
Mangshan, 81, 90
Mangshan Glacier, 138-140
Mangshan Mountain, 491
Mangshan River, 135, 141
Mani wall, 313, 340
Mansarowar Lake, 218, 233, 234, 242, 243, 435, 472, 474, 477,
    484, 485, 486, 489
  Legend about creation of, 243
  and Rakstal Lakes, level of, 217
  Ridge dividing, 218, 232
Mansing, the coolie, 126, 352, 362, 390, 406, 407, 409, 470, 472,
    474, 477, 478, 482
  Deposition of, 486
Marksmanship, 302, 417
Marriageable age, 333
Marriage ceremonies, 327-328
  Punishments for adultery, 333
  Restrictions on, 328
  System, 328
Marshy land, 343, 344, 348
Martini-Henry rifle, 415, 483, 490
Masses kept in ignorance, 252
Matchlocks, 293, 302, 378
Medallions containing ashes of the dead, 268
Medicine-man, 265
Medicines, 6
Melancholia, 263
Metal-work, 277
Methodist Episcopal, Mission, 33
_Middù_, 274
Mirage, 314
Money, 240
Money-lending, 250
Monkeys, 32, 53
Mortification, 416
Mosquitoes, 341
Mud-holes, 344
Musicians, 432

NABI, 77
Nabi Shankom, 76
Naini Tal, 2, 4, 6, 469
Namjun Peak, 62
Nari-Khorsum, 306
Neganza or Nejangar Mountain, 58
Nepal, 76, 458
Nerba, 346, 393, 404, 452, 474, 475, 480, 481, 484, 488, 489, 493
Nerpani track, 57-62, 458
Nimo Nangil, 194
Northern range parallel to Himahlyas, 308, 314, 340, 342
Nunneries, 255

OBOS, 5, 306
Occult arts, 253, 414, 422
Offerings, 246
Officers, 287
Officials, 445
"_Ohe!_" (Tibetan exclamation), 386
"_Omne mani padme hun_," 216, 253, 254
Optical phenomenon, 209

PACKING cases, 4
Pack-saddles, 223, 279, 283
Panku-Gomba, 270
Paralysis, 263
Passes into Tibet, 154, 155
  by J. Larkin, 500
  of wounds, &c., 454
  by Dr. Wilson, 491, 498
Photography, 466, 469
Pigtails, 276
Piles of stones, 129
Pithoragarh, 11
Plague, 2
Plateau, a high, 150, 156
Plateau, 194
Plenki, 300, 301, 388, 422
Poison, 421
Polyandry, 327-333
_Pombo_, the, 370, 418, 474, 479, 480, 481, 482, 483
  Contortions of, 419
  Tent of, 368, 397
Pottery, 241
Poverty of the masses, 250
Prayer, a, 381
Prayer-wheels, 255
Provisions, 5, 122
_Puku_, 225, 229, 315
Pungo, 43

RACK, 408, 474, 483, 493
Rakastal, or Rakstal, Lake, 211, 218, 233
_Raksang_, 318, 384
_Rambang_, 62, 92-97
Rankuti River, 33
Raots or Rajis, 17-26, 469
  Features of, 23
  Food of, 22
  Habitations of, 22
  Marriages of, 25
Release, 453
Relegar River, 33
Reports (Official), 487
Rheumatism, 258
Rhubarb, 213
Rifles, 5
Rites, religious, 247
Ronkan, 77
Rosary, 255
Royal Geographical Society, 2
_Rupun_, 377, 380, 383, 388
Russian Embassy in London, 1
  Government, 1

SACRED dances, 253
Sacrifices, 305, 328
Saddles, 279
Salutations, 287
Samarakand, 1
Sandhills and mounds, 391
Savage Landor, A. H., 475, 477, 484, 486, 487, 488, 489, 491, 492, 493,
    494, 495, 496, 499
Sensitiveness to physical pain, 259
_Serai_, 435
Servants, 7
Shadgora, 12
Shakta, 33
Shankula, 53
  River, 54
Sheep loads, 31, 344
Sheldon, Miss, 32, 48
  Certificate of, 496
Shokas, 43, 68, 188, 190, 450, 451, 452, 457, 460, 462, 464, 466
  Cremation, 99
  Dancing, 104-106
  Death, 98
  Diseases, 48
  Dwellings, 73, 76
  Funerals, 98-110
  Hospitality, 72-75
  Ladders, 119
  Marriages, 95
  Notions of earthquakes, 87
  Pathetic custom of the, 118
  Punishments, 96
  Sacrifices, 106
  Salutations, 45, 111, 112
  Songs and music, 93
  Summer residences, 30
  Tailor, 88
  Traders, 450, 472
  Water mills, 33
  Winter dwellings, 30, 33
Shosha, 46
Sibling Monastery, 448
Singing, 305, 430
Sirka, 48
Siva, the god, 243
Slings, 272
Snapshot, 462
Snow and ice bridges, 78, 85
Snow-line, 134
Snowstorm, 491
Soldiers, 163, 167, 174, 201, 284, 295, 298, 302, 338, 362, 370, 377,
    381, 386, 424, 445, 471, 483, 491
  Allowance of, 302
Spectre, 143
Speech, difficulty of, 263
Spies, 90, 157
Spiked saddle, 390, 473, 480, 486, 487, 493
Spirits of the mountains, 28-30
Sports, 417
Stars, brilliancy of, 209
Starvation, effects of, 353
Storms, 154, 184, 201, 234, 235, 271, 290
Stretching-log, 398, 408
Sturt, Mr. (ex-Deputy Commissioner at Almora), 66
Suffocating a goat, 431
Suicide, 263
Suna, 438, 453
  Deposition of, 459
Superstitions, 161, 202, 229, 231, 248, 259, 364, 412
Surgery, 260
Swords, 277, 278
  Two-handed sword of executioner, 403
Sword exercise previous to decapitation, 404, 405, 474, 482, 493

TAKLAKOT, 448, 451, 458, 472, 484, 485, 486, 487, 488, 489, 492
_Taram_ (implement for hot iron torture), 400, 474, 482, 486
Tarbar, 263, 345, 347
_Tatta_, the, 27
_Tckukti_, 324
_Tchu-pun_, 378
Teeth, 258
Tents, 5, 55, 63, 88
Terror Camp, 202
Tethering of ponies, 279
_Thar_, 84, 213
Tibet, 41
  Boundary of, 462, 468
Tibetan claims and abuses, 41, 42
  Clothes, 225
  Craving for alcohol, 170
  Cruelty to British subjects, 64
  Diet, 318, 384
  Encampment, 31, 32
  Guard, 113, 137, 154, 158, 160, 166 (see also "Soldiers")
  Habitations, exterior and interior, 239, 268
  Insults, 91, 452, 468
Tibetans on British soil, 466, 469
  Practice of leaving one arm bare explained, 226
  Threats, 69, 305
  Trade with, 35
Tinker, 457
Tinker Pass, 106, 458
Tinker River, 458
Titela Daramsalla, 47
Tokchim Tarjum, 257, 393, 432, 452, 480, 484, 488
Tongzu Pangti, 84
Torture Implements, 399
Toxem, 473, 474, 478, 485, 486
Track on British soil, 116
Transmigration of evil spirits, 259
Treachery, 360, 473, 480
Treatment of umbilical cord, 263
Tucker, 233, 435, 472, 477
  Lamasery, 245
_Tung-pun_, 378
Turchini, Dr. (director of Royal Hospital, S.M. Nuova, Florence),
    certificate of, 496, 497

UMBRELLA, importance of, 168
Under-Secretary to Government of N.W. Provinces and Oudh, 476
Urghin, 247

Vessels and instruments of human bone, 256, 337
Vision, 422, 435

WARNER, Sir W. Lee (Letter from), 471
Waterfall, 61, 62
Weaving loom, 44
Webbed fingers, 248, 422
White stones, 305
Widow's trouble, a, 330
Wilson, Dr. H., 33, 64, 76, 120, 138, 438, 450, 452, 454, 464, 468, 475,
     484, 485, 486, 488, 489, 491
  Certificate of A. H. Savage Landor's wounds and injuries, 494, 495
  Certificate of Chanden Sing's injuries, 495
  Deposition of, 486
  Letter from, 491
  Photographs by, 491
  Statements by, 491, 492
Wind, 150, 187, 201, 235, 280, 309, 464
Wire-making, 278
Witnesses, 466
Woman from Lhassa, 326
Women, 218, 229, 321-326, 424
  Attire of, 324
  Scarcity of, 263
  Strength of, 322
Woven patterns, 44

YAKS, 163, 222, 310, 349, 472
Yellow flowers, 213
Yutzang province, 306, 429

ZEHERAM, 73, 111
Zeyan Yangti, 458
Zirri River, 458

                                         21 BEDFORD STREET, W.C.
                                             _Telegraphic Address,_
                                                   _Sunlocks, London_





_March 1898.

     _The Books mentioned in this List can be obtained to order by any
     Bookseller if not in stock, or will be sent by the Publisher on
     receipt of the published price and postage._


About                26  Dowson             27
Alexander            27  Dubois             11
Allen                11  Dudeney            30
Allen                30  Du Toit            11
Anstey               15  Eeden              31
Arbuthnot            20  Ellwanger          16
Aston                19  Ely                14
Atherton             28  Evans           5, 21
Baddeley          9, 18  Farrar             15
Balestier    23, 26, 28  Ferruggia          29
Barnett              22  Fitch              20
Barrett              28  Fitzmaurice-Kelly  19
Battershall          25  Fitz Patrick       26
Behrs                 8  Fleming            26
Bellamy              22  Flammarion         21
Bendall              18  Forbes             16
Benedetti            10  Fothergill         28
Benham               22  Franzos            29
Benson               13  Frederic    9, 23, 27
Beothy               19  Furtwängler         5
Beringer             30  Garmo              20
Björnson         29, 31  Garner             21
Blunt                18  Garnett            19
Bowen                20  Gaulot              8
Boyesen              13  Golm               29
Brailsford           22  Gontcharoff        29
Brandes          13, 19  Gore               21
Briscoe              28  Gounod              7
Brooke               24  Gosse       8, 13, 17
Brown                10             18, 19, 26
Brown & Griffiths    21  Grand              25
Buchanan         14, 17  Granville          26
                 28, 32  Gray (Maxwell)     25
Burgess               9  Gras               26
Byron                 3  Greard              4
Cahan                30  Griffiths          21
Caine (Hall) 10, 24, 27  Guerber            20
Caine (R.)           18  Guyau              15
Calvert              11  Hafiz              18
Cambridge            27  Hall               20
Capes                22  Hamilton       23, 30
Carr                 24  Hammar              5
Chester              16  Hanus              20
Chevrillon           11  Harland            28
Clarke               32  Harris             24
Coleridge         6, 13  Hauptmann          17
Colmore          28, 30  Heaton              5
Colomb               16  Heine           8, 14
Compayré             20  Henderson          32
Compton              30  Henley             17
Conrad               22  Herford            19
Cooper               26  Hertwig            21
Coppée               28  Heussey             7
Couperus             29  Hichens        22, 30
Crackanthorpe    24, 28  Hinsdale           20
Crackanthorpe            Hirsch             15
        (Mrs.)       30  Holdsworth     23, 30
Crane    18, 22, 30, 32  Howard             26
D'Annunzio           22  Hughes             20
Davidson             20  Hungerford         27
Davis            11, 22  Hyne               25
Dawson (C. A.)       18  Ibsen          17, 18
Dawson (A. J.)       22  Ingersoll          12
De Broglie           10  Irving (H. B.)      6
De Goncourt           7  Irving (Sir H.)    18
De Joinville          8  Jacobsen           29
De Leval             21  Jæger               7
De Quincey        6, 13  James (Henry)      24
Dibbs                26  James (Lionel)     11
Dixon                25  Keary (E. M.)       5
Dowden               19  Keary (C. F.)      23

Keeling              27  Rees               26
Kennedy              28  Rembrandt           5
Kimball              21  Renan           7, 15
Kipling              26  Ricci               4
Knight               16  Richter            15
Kraszewski           29  Riddell            28
Kroeker              18  Rives              28
Landor               12  Roberts (A. von)   29
Lawson                5  Roberts (C. G. D.) 12
Le Caron              7  Robins              7
Lee (Vernon)         26  Robinson           23
Leland                7  Saintsbury         13
Le Querdec            9  Salaman (J. S.)    21
Leroy-Bealieu         9  Salaman (M. C.)    16
Lie                  29  Sarcey              7
Linton               23  Schulz             11
Locke            26, 30  Scidmore           12
Lowe              7, 16  Scudamore          16
Lowry                28  Sedgwick           22
Lutzow (Count)       19  Serao              29
Lynch                27  Sergeant       24, 27
Maartens             28  Somerset           11
Macdonell            19  Southey             6
McFall               11  Steel              25
Mackenzie            10  Stephen            21
Macnab               25  Steuart            22
Maeterlinck          17  Stevenson  17, 24, 25
Mailing              22  Sutcliffe          22
Malot                27  Tadema             30
Marey                21  Tallentyre         16
Marsh                30  Tasma              27
Masson                8  Thompson           12
Maude                16  Thomson            11
Maupassant           29  Thomson (Basil)    26
Maurice              16  Thurston           21
Merriman             16  Tirebuck           23
Michel                5  Tolstoy    15, 17, 29
Mitford              28  Tree               18
Monk                 30  Turgenev           31
Moore                27  Tyler              19
Mûller               10  Underhill          16
Murray (D. C.)       16  Upward             30
Murray (G.)          19  Valera              2
Napoleon              6  Vandam              9
Nicholson             4  Vazoff             29
Nordau           15, 23  Verrall            19
Norris               25  Vincent            12
Nugent                6  Voynich            22
Ogilvie              17  Vuillier            4
Oliphant             16  Wagner             16
Osbourne             25  Waliszewski      6, 8
Ouida                27  Walker              9
Paget                 6  Ward               28
Palacio-Valdés       29  Warden             32
Pasolini              7  Waugh               8
Patmore              18  Weitemeyer         10
Pearce           22, 26  Wells          23, 32
Pendered             23  West               20
Pennell               9  Whibley      7, 8, 18
Perry                 9  Whistler           14
Phelps               28  White              23
Philips              32  Whitman            10
Pinero           15, 17  Wilken              9
Praed                22  Williams (G.)      10
Pressensé             6  Williams (E. E.)   14
Pritchard            24  Williams            5
Pugh             26, 30  Wood               27
Quine                22  Wyckoff            12
Raimond          26, 30  Zangwill   16, 25, 26
Rawnsley             12  Zola           26, 27
Raynor               15  Z. Z.              23




The Letters, Diaries, Controversies, Speeches, &c., in Four, and the
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Vol. I.--LETTERS, 1804-1813. With a Portrait after PHILLIPS.

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       *       *       *       *       *


Transcriber's Notes:

1. Obvious punctuation and printing errors have been repaired.

2. Colour illustrations from the 2 volume 1898 edition have been added.

3. This text contains diacritical marks and symbols, where possible
these are represented in the text by the following symbols.

Diacritical mark              above  below
--------------------------  ------  ------
breve (u-shaped symbol)      [)x]   [x)]

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