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Miss Peel's voyages. All experience of travel shows that "increase of appetite grows by what it feeds on"; and it will be no surprise to find that ere long Miss Peel will have rivalled her predecessors, and compassed many a journey to the ends of the earth.
To Miss Annie R. Taylor the honour is due of having been the first English traveller that ever penetrated more than a little way into that great unexplored land— Tibet. Miss Taylor's first interest in foreign lands was kindled by hearing a missionary address from a son of Dr Moffat while she was attending a school at Richmond. Offering herself as a missionary to the China Inland Mission, she worked for a time in Tan-chan in China, near the frontier of Tibet. A lively interest in that country took hold of her, as being the only heathen country from which the Gospel was absolutely shut out. Surely, she thought, He who said, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature," did not mean that Tibet should be an exception. And as He never commands the impossible, surely He will aid any of His servants who humbly tries to obey His command. She resolved in her own person to make the attempt.
character of the people. September 1892 she set out on her expedition, trying to reach Lhassa, the sacred city of the lamas, and then purposing to continue her route to the Indian frontier. For her guide she had a Chinese Mohammedan, Noga, whose wife, Erminie, was a native of Lhassa, and wished to visit her people; she had also a Chinese servant, and a faithful Tibetan attendant, Pontso, who had been brought under her notice when in miserable health, and to whom she had rendered great service, to body and soul alike. She had not gone far when the party was attacked by robbers, who relieved her of two of her horses and a considerable part of her goods. On she went, first through agricultural tribes on the frontier, where
"fertile fields, populous villages, temples surrounded by trees, met our eyes, while the picturesque natives in their bright cotton jackets and sheepskin gowns bordered with cloths faces and animated looks, singing or of various colours, with their smiling chatting while working in the fields, struck me by the vivid contrast to the sober looks and apathetic appearance of the Chinese on the other side."1
We cannot follow her steps as she advanced towards Lhassa, though we would fain pause with her for a moment on the top of the dreaded pass of Damjan-er-la, the highest elevation to which she attained, where water boiled at so low a temperature that though boiling it was only tepid-a great drawback, as every one knows, to the brewing of a comfortable cup of tea. She had got on so well that there seemed little risk of her not reaching Lhassa, but for the treachery of her Mohammedan guide Noga. and He had proved a faithless wretch,
First she went to Darjeeling in India, on the frontier of Tibet, and spent some time in a Tibetan village learning the language. Finding, however, that it would be better to make her entrance from the Chinese frontier, she returned to Tan-chan. A year was spent on the frontier, in the course of which she visited many large monasteries and became familiar with the ways
1 Address, Royal Geog. Soc. of Scotland, December 1893. VOL. CLX.-NO. DCCCCLXIX.
and had made more than one attempt on her life, in order to possess himself of her whole property, and it was a relief when he left her; but the scoundrel hurried on in front of her and gave the authorities information of her approach. She had just come within sight of the sacred province of U when she was taken prisoner, and after in vain remonstrating and palavering with the Lhassa chiefs, obliged to turn back toward China. But no incivility or violence was offered to her; on the contrary, as the various robberies she had experienced had left her destitute of money and even the necessaries of life, they gave her the wherewithal to retrace her steps to the half-way town of Ke-gu, where she left her tents, and for many nights slept in the open air. Whether parting with her tents was resorted to for the purpose of procuring a little money, we are not told; yet nothing but dire necessity could have driven her to that step in such a climate, where a hole in the ground with a piece of felt to cover the ice was a welcome bed, and her night-dress consisted of a bag into which she crept, clothes and all.
Of the people she says:"I have nothing but praise to give the Tibetans for their chivalry and kindness. Setting aside their raiding proclivities, they are hospitable, friendly, trustworthy, and by no means averse to intercourse with Europeans. In simplicity and naïveness, more especially, those people
form a decided contrast to most
Asiatic races. Although the lamas, for political reasons, do not wish to see us in their country, it is the Chinese who force Tibet-though this country is only partially tributary to them to so jealously guard her frontier, and this principally for their own trade interests; nor do they hesitate to do all they can to impede any intercourse between the
Tibetans and Europeans, and to raise bad blood."
Miss Taylor, after visiting this country, returned to the borders of Tibet, where she is employed in useful work, but without having as yet made any new attempt to reach Lhassa.
There are other ladies well entitled to the name of travellers and a place in our record. We can but mention two. One is Miss M. W. Kingsley, whose exploration of the river Ogowé is graphically described in the 'Scottish Geographical Magazine' for March 1896. The other is Mrs Littledale, the wife of Mr St George R. Littledale, and the intrepid companion of his three journeys-first, in 1891, across the Pamirs; next, in 1894, across Central Asia; and lastly, in 1895, across Tibet. Mr and Mrs Littledale, after surmounting incredible difficulties and hardships, had actually got within forty-three miles of Lhassa, and Mr Littledale was determined to fight his way, if necessary, over the remaining space, in spite of all opposition, when the dangerous illness of his wife compelled him to return. (See Magazine of the Royal Geographical Society for May 1896.)
It goes without saying that our story reflects high credit on the courage, the perseverance, and the benevolence of the gentler sex; it is a record of which women may well be proud. And there is this
further to be said—that in no case has their travelling enthusiasm involved the sacrifice of obvious domestic duty; nor has it brought out any qualities inconsistent with the modesty, the grace, and the gentleness that must always be regarded as the fitting ornaments of the sex.
AN UNCROWNED KING.1
A ROMANCE OF HIGH POLITICS.
CHAPTER XIX.-PILGRIMS PERFORCE.
THE journey was a long one, by train and carriage as far as Boloszjen, thence by various lines of rail to Pavelsburg. At Boloszjen Cyril parted from the travellers, after seeing them safely into their train. Nadia had not exchanged a single unnecessary word with him since leaving Bellaviste, for the hatred she had frankly avowed to him in their interview had not been diminished by the words which had finally sealed Caerleon's fate, but now she put aside her dislike sufficiently to appeal to him on behalf of poor old Madame Bruics, who was to return alone from the Scythian frontier. Precluded by her deafness from receiving either advice or warning, unless these were tendered in writing, the old lady would be quite helpless if left to herself, and Nadia told Cyril that he ought to send Wright to escort her and bring her home. This plain speaking was rather a bitter pill for Cyril, who was wont to pride himself on his foresight and tactful consideration, and felt that in this case especially he had done more than could ever have been expected of him, but he recognised the cruelty involved in sending poor Madame Bruics upon a wild-goose chase over the railways of Central Europe, and put the crowning touch to his self-abnegation by depriving himself and Caerleon of Wright's services for some days. He and Nadia parted in a polite and hostile manner-that is to say, she did not offer to shake
hands with him, and he went away marvelling at the uncharitableness of some people.
Wright was an escort much more to Nadia's taste than his master, although he thought it his duty to appear at every station and inquire whether the ladies would like some teatea seeming to be, in his opinion, the only refreshment acceptable to the feminine mind, and as such, capable of being imbibed at all hours and at very short intervals. When they had reached the Scythian frontier, and Nadia, to her great joy, had found Marie Karlovna, a German lady of her godmother's household, waiting to meet her, she commended Madame Bruics to Wright's care with great earnestness, which he viewed as impassively as he did the coin which she ventured to slip into his hand. But when she had seen Madame Bruics established in the return train, and was turning away with Marie Karlovna, she heard footsteps behind her, and looking round, saw Wright close at hand.
"Beg your pardon, ma'am," he said in a low voice and with great embarrassment, "but don't you go for to take on about the King. 'E alway rides straight, 'e do-not like some people as ought to know better and doesn't-and it do take something like a 'orse to carry 'is Majesty," he added with professional pride; "and 'e knows 'is own mind, and as some poetry chap say, "'Is 'eart is always true."
For a moment the presumptuous
1 Copyright in the United States.
groom felt ready to sink into the earth under the combined weight of his own daring and the glance which Nadia turned on him; but while he was wondering apprehensively whether she would give him in charge or write to Lord Cyril to complain of his conduct, the fire died out of her eyes, and she said gently
"Thank you, Wright. I know quite well that what you say of the King is true. He is the best of men, and nothing of all that has happened is his fault."
Wright touched his hat and turned away, deciding in his honest mind that Miss O'Malachy would make a sight better wife for 'is Majesty than that there princess would 'ave done, and that he 'oped he might one day 'ave the honour of trainin' a 'orse for 'er to ride. And Nadia travelled on to Pavelsburg with Marie Karlovna, who had evidently received strict orders not to tease her with questions, for she talked unceasingly of the great conference of members of different evangelical denominations which had recently been held in Pavelsburg, and of other matters interesting to the supporters of the Cercle Evangélique. At last the capital was reached, and Nadia saw await ing her on the platform a tall, stout, carelessly-dressed form which she knew well, with the abundant grey hair surmounted by a ludicrously unfashionable bonnet. She could scarcely wait for the door of the carriage to be opened, but precipitated herself down the steps and into her godmother's arms.
"Oh, Marraine, I have longed to see you so much!" she cried.
"Not more than I to see you, dear child," returned the Princess, patting Nadia's shoulder affectionately. "You have been out into the world since we parted. How has it used you?"
"Oh, I have so much to tell you,
to ask you," said Nadia, with a sigh that was almost a sob, but her godmother repressed her eagerness with a gesture.
"When we reach home, my child, not now. Come, we attract attention. My good Marie, I am rejoiced to see you. You are ready? The carriage is waiting."
"They have not been taking care of you while I have been away, Marraine," said Nadia, when she was seated by the Princess's side. "You want me to choose your dresses and bonnets for you again."
"Very well, my child," smiled her godmother. "Marie Karlovna has looked after my clothes since you left me, and she said that it was of no use my getting expensive things, because I always gave them away." Marie Karlovna made a deprecating gesture of assent, and Nadia smiled, remembering that she had seen the princess take a sable-lined cloak from her own shoulders and give it to a beggarwoman. "But this bonnet," Princess Soudaroff went on, "I chose for myself, and I think you must like it, dear child. I saw Olga Ivanovna, the Bible-woman, wearing one, and it pleased me so much that I asked her to have one made for me exactly like it. And she did, and this is the bonnet."
"Oh, Marraine, I shan't rest until I have taken you out shopping, and made you get some fresh clothes," said Nadia, laughing; and then the contrast suddenly struck her between her coming back to take up her old duties as if she had scarcely been away a week, and the scenes through which she had passed in the interval. The tears rose into her eyes, and her godmother laid a sympathising hand upon her arm.
"Have patience, my child-you shall tell me everything as soon as we reach home;" and Nadia brushed away her tears, and tried
to assume an interest in the changes that had taken place during her absence in the streets through which they were passing. When the great house was reached, of which the Princess occupied a part, she was sufficiently calm to be able to reply with a smile and a kind word to the greetings of the servants who crowded to welcome her, and who were a motley group, owing to the Princess's propensity for taking up other people's failures and giving them another trial.
"I see the house is as full as r," said Nadia, as her godmother led her in, after bestowing a kiss of welcome on her at the door.
"Yes, you will find many old friends, although some have gone to other situations. Ah, do you remember my maid Katinka, the pretty girl who married the handsome young carpenter on my country estate? Poor thing! he has deserted her most cruelly, and she came to me almost in despair. I could not take her back as maid, for I am trying to train little Vera, a protégée, as you may remember my telling you, of Countess Wratisloff's. She was serving in a little shop, amid very undesirable surroundings, and she did not get on as Countess Wratisloff's kitchenmaid, so I offered to take her. It was a little trying at first, but she does better now. Of course I cannot turn her out and give Katinka her place, so Katinka is sempstress now, and I can scarcely find her work enough to do."
While she was speaking, the Princess was leading Nadia into the rooms she had always occupied, and she now pointed out the little changes and improvements she had made in view of the girl's
"How good you are to me, Marraine!" said Nadia, gratefully.
"Would you have me cruel to
you, my poor child? Now, come," and she sat down in the armchair-" come and tell me everything."
"Oh, Marraine!" cried Nadia, throwing herself down beside her and burying her face in her dress, "I have given up everything because it was right to do it, and I cannot even learn to forgive!"
"Not even forgive? But that is often the hardest thing of all. Tell me about it, my child," repeated the Princess; and Nadia poured out the story of her first meeting with Caerleon, of his kindness to her, and of the way in which each had learnt to love the other; then his sudden acceptance of the kingdom, with all the changes it had brought with it; his repeated appeal to her to share his throne, the intrigues by which Scythia had sought to gain an ascendancy over him by her means, her journey to Bellaviste to warn him of the plot against his life, and her resolute but ignominious departure.
"I gave him up because it was right, Marraine," she said, "and not only am I miserable myself but I have made him miserable."
"Was it right?" asked the Princess, quietly.
"Oh yes, Marraine, of course, at least, I knew that it must be because it was so hard to do."
"Is that the way in which you test your duties, my child? It is a wise plan in many cases, but sometimes dangerous-as when difficulty takes the place of right. You are told to 'endure hardness as a good soldier,' but never to follow hardness as an aim in itself. It is Christ you are to follow. What would you think of a soldier who chose to live out in the snow rather than in the barracks provided for him? Would he be any the better soldier for ruining his health and risking his life in such a way?"