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from Nepal to Lassa, was seized and appropriated by Tartars on the way; and on their being told that it was for the Lassa Government, they replied that they did not care for any government. Possibly such rovers might be afraid to meddle with Europeans, but that could not be relied on; and it would be almost impossible for one or two travellers to secure themselves against a night attack.
Hence, if the explorer gets beyond Shipki, and beyond the bridge over the Sutlej, it does not necessarily follow that he will reach D’zabrung or anywhere else ; but I expect the bridge will be his main difficulty, and I have heard of an amusing story connected with a bridge, of an officer who attempted to enter Chinese Tibet at some other point. He managed to give the guard on the frontier the slip at night, and was happily pursuing his way next morning, congratulating himself on having entered into the forbidden land, when he was overtaken by a portion of the guard, who politely intimated that, since they saw he was determined to go, they would make no more objection to his doing so, only they would accompany him, in order to protect him from robbers. This arrangement worked very well for a few hours, until they came to a deep-sunk river and a rope-bridge—one of those bridges in which you are placed in a basket, which is slung from a rope, and and so pulled along that rope by another and a double rope, which allows of the basket being worked from either side. Over this river some of the Tartars passed
. first, in order to show that the conveyance was warranted not to break down; and then our traveller himself got into the basket, and was pulled along. So far everything had gone on well; but, when he had got
half-way across the river, his protectors ceased to pull, sat down, lighted their pipes, and looked at him as they might at an interesting object which had been provided for their contemplation. “Pull!” he cried out—“pull!”
" on which they nodded their heads approvingly, but sat still and smoked their pipes. “D-n it, pull, will you? pull !” he cried out again, becoming weary of the basket; and then he tried all the equivalents for “pull” in all the Eastern languages he knew ; but the more he cried out, the more the Tartars smoked their silver pipes and nodded their heads, like Chinese porcelain mandarins. They interfered, however, to prevent his pulling himself one way or another; and, after keeping him suspended in the basket till night, and he was almost frozen to death, they made an agreement, through a Tibetan-speaking attendant, that they would pull him back if he would promise to recross the frontier.
TIBET AND ITS SECLUSION.
FRIGHTFUL TORTURES-SEALING ON HORSEBACK-REASONS ASSIGNED
FOR EXCLUDING EUROPEANS — MORE PROBABLE REASONS — THE
IF half the stories be true which Mr Pagell has heard from Lamas of the punishments inflicted in Chinese Tibet, it is no wonder that the people of that country are extremely afraid of disobeying the orders of the Government wherever they are so situated as to be within the reach of Government officers. Crucifying, ripping open the body, pressing and cutting out the eyes, are by no means the worst of these punishments. One mode of putting to death, which is sometimes inflicted, struck me as about the most frightful instance of diabolical cruelty I had ever heard of, and worse than anything portrayed in the old chamber of horrors at Canton. The criminal is buried in the ground up to the neck, and the ground is trampled on round him sufficiently to prevent him moving hand or foot, though not so as to prevent him breathing with tolerable freedom. His mouth is then forced open, and an iron or wooden spike sharpened at both ends, is carefully placed in it so that he cannot close his mouth again. Nor is the torture confined to leaving him to perish in that miserable condition. Ants, beetles, and other insects are collected and driven to take refuge in his mouth, nostrils, ears, and eyes. Can the imagination conceive of anything more dreadful ? Even the writhing caused by pain, which affords some relief, is here impossible except just at the neck; and a guard being placed over the victim, he is left to be thus tortured by insects until he expires. The frame of mind which can devise and execute such atrocities is almost inconceivable to the European; and we must hope that a punishment of this kind is held in terrorem over the Tibetans, rather than actually inflicted. But I am afraid it is put in force; and we know too much of Chinese and Tartar cruelties to think there is any improbability in its being so.
It is certain that the Turanian race is remarkably obtuse-nerved and insensible to pain, which goes some way to account for the cruelty of its punishments; but that cannot justify them. In other ways, also, Tartar discipline must be very rigorous. Gerard was told that where there is a regular horse-post--as between Lassa and Gartop—“the bundle is sealed fast to the rider, who is again sealed to his horse ; and no inconvenience, however great, admits of his dismounting until he reaches the relief-stage, where the seal is examined !" I heard something about men being sealed up this way for a ride of twenty-four hours ; and if that be true, the horses must have as much endurance as the men.
The question arises why it is that the Lassa authorities are so extremely anxious to keep all Europeans out of their country. The Tibetans lay the blame of this on the Chinese Mandarins, and the Mandarins on Lamas and the people of Tibet; but they appear all to combine in insuring the result. This is the more remarkable, because the Lama country is not one with which Europeans are in contact, or one which they are pressing on in any way. It is pretty well défendu naturally, owing to the almost impassable deserts and great mountains by which it is surrounded; and it has by no means such an amount of fertile land as to make it a desirable object of conquest as a revenue-bearing province. The reason assigned by letter, in 1870, to the Abbé Desgodins, by the two legates at Lassa—the one representing the Emperor of China, and the other the Grand Lama—for refusing to allow him to enter Tibet, was as follows: “Les contrées thibétaines sont consacrées aux supplications et aux prières ; la religion jaune est fondée sur la justice et la droite raison ; elle est adoptée depuis un grand nombre de siècles; on ne doit donc pas prêcher dans ces contrées une religion étrangère ; nos peuples ne doivent avoir aucun rapport aux les hommes des autres royaumes.” This, however, is evasive; and, though they may be different in the
e east of Tibet, the Lamas at Shipki made not the least objection to Mr Pagell preaching as much as he liked ; they argued with him in quite an amicable manner, and afforded us protection.
Is it possible that the gold-or, to speak more generally, the mineral--deposits in Tibet may have something to do with the extreme anxiety of the Chinese to keep us out of that country? They must know that, without some attraction of the kind, only a few adventurous missionaries and travellers would think of going into so sterile a country, which can yield but little trade, and which is in many parts infested by bands of bardy